By Adedokun Boluwatife Loyce
Biologically, parasitism is a kind of relationship between organisms in which one organism benefits at the expense of others; a non- mutually beneficial between the host and parasite. Interestingly, this concept can be aptly be applied to the state of the contemporary Christendom in Nigeria as it had apparently developed over the years with the consistent proliferation of ‘modern churches’ with their attendant observable regularities. Besides spirituality, Christianity should be a medium of social, moralistic, economic and political solace for its acolytes and also the church, as its main institution, should act as the conscience and an informal check of its nation as it had been, until recent, since the antediluvian time; then the relationship between the church and the society can be said to be symbiotic. From the Marxist perspective, the church has abruptly gone capitalistic; capitalism as a mode of production is based on a relationship of interminable economic subordination of the working class (proletariats) by the owners of the capital (bourgeois). Also, it involves the concentration of the means and instrument of production in the hands of the minority at the detriment of the masses, in fact, it is a parasitic relationship. Ironically, the Nigerian ‘Christian proletariat’ does not only provide labour is also the perpetual provider of ‘capital’ but not its owner. ‘Religious capitalism’ is accurately akin to ‘religious parasitism’
It is very evident that the foundational creeds of Christianity are becoming trite and fictitious as they are being continuously overlooked in favour of the ear soothing messages. Doctrines such the Second Coming Of Christ and other creeds that serve as the map of the ‘pilgrim’ such as restitution, holiness, forgiveness, no divorce and remarriage are swiftly losing their prominent positions to prosperity, business expansion, fame and other corporeal things of this world. However, this preceding notion does not infer one as an ‘anti-prosperity’ advocate as even God had already promised wealth and prosperity in abundance; the affluence of the biblical patriarchs like Abraham, Solomon, David, Job et al is an attestation to God’s munificence but a common denominator to these hitherto mentioned patriarchs is that they sought the kingdom of God first before other things of this world were added unto them. As much as it not a crime for one to succeed (even the Bible affirms success) but in our worship in our various churches I do not think the church should lose sight on its focus- The Second Coming Of Christ. Continue reading “Parasitic Capitalism and Contemporary Christianity in Nigeria” »
By Darasimi Oshodi
Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pistorius, Aaron Hernandez. Why are superstars falling from grace to grass? Pistorius’ and Hernandez’s cases are still in court so it is subjudice, using the legal parlance, meaning one cannot make any conclusive statement on them, at least not in public. The sports world was shaken earlier this year when Armstrong admitted that he had been using drugs for a very long time despite repeated denials. He admitted he used performance-enhancing drugs during all seven of his Tour de France wins. During his confession, which he made to Oprah Winfrey, one of America’s top show hosts, he said, “I view this situation as one big lie I repeated a lot of times. I made those decisions, they were my mistake and I’m here to say sorry.”
One question that probably has been running through the minds of sports followers/lovers is why our revered sports heroes fall from their place of exaltation to great depths of ignominy. Why do people we have come to admire and hero worship turn out to be pretenders, hypocrites and at times criminals or lawbreakers? These individuals were once stars who were famous because of their dazzling sports career but due to crucial errors in judgment and sometimes, persistent ill habits, their names and careers have been tarnished. Check this short list:
Tiger Woods: Top golfer and former champion Tiger Woods was charged with infidelity and extra-marital affair. The scandal cost him his marriage and sponsors. It is believed he had extra-marital affairs with as many as 17 women. Woods accepted that he was a sex-addict and was admitted to re-hab. Only recently has he managed to get a few sponsors back though his form remains shaky on the golf course.
Mike Tyson: A former undisputed heavyweight boxing champion who had the record of knocking down his opponent in the first 91 seconds of the fight. He was arrested for rape and was later sentenced to six years in prison followed by four years of probation. Apart from rape, he has been embroiled in different controversies but his most remembered controversy was when he bit both ears off Evander Holyfield during a match.
Ben Johnson: Johnson tested positive for performance enhancing drugs after winning the 100 metres sprint at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and was forced to give up his medal. He later admitted to having used the banned substance the previous year at the World Championship and was stripped of that title as well. He attempted to stage a return but failed another test and was banned for life.
Marion Jones finished with three gold medals and two bronze at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, a feat that had never been done. But Jones was stripped of her medals after she admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. After the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Jones was accused of taking steroids by her ex-husband, among others. Tests proved nothing but Jones confessed to lying to federal agents about her drug use. She returned the five medals she had won and was also handed a six month prison sentence. She had been accused of using illicit substances from her school days. As if that was not enough, she was also accused of being part of a check-counterfeiting scheme linked to her former coach, Steve Riddick, her sports agent Charles Wells, and her ex-boyfriend, Tim Montgomery.
The stories related above are sad because the characters involved were, at one time, on top of the world but came crashing down and even out of our consciousness. What must have caused this? Simply put, lack of character. All of these sport stars either lacked character or lost their character at a point. They got to the top but could not stay at the top. At different times and fora, I have heard that ability/talent can take you to the top but character will keep you there. This is indeed true of the characters in the aforementioned stories and many other celebrated personalities who have been disgraced. The absence of character has caused many to fall from grace to grass in all spheres of life. The list is endless.
So what is character? Character is much more than just what we try to display for others to see, it is who we are even when no one is watching. Good character is doing the right thing because it is right to do what is right. People without character live hypocritical lives. The personality they present to people is different from what they are in their closet. And eventually their secrets are exposed bringing them great opprobrium. There is a saying in Yoruba land, where I come from, that character is like smoke and that no matter how hard one tries to hide it, it will eventually be detected
From these stories, I have again learned that character is essential and must be maintained at all times. While we all have our weaknesses, we must ensure to deal with them. Why? The weakness we don’t deal with will deal with us. The vice that we don’t overcome will overcome us and may disgrace us. If we must stay at the top, we must maintain good character. As we enter the year 2014, let’s check ourselves and identify weaknesses that we need to deal with and then go ahead and deal with them.
P.S: I pray that justice will be rightly dispensed in the Oscar Pistorius’ case.
By Darasimi Oshodi
If Nelson Mandela was a Nigerian
Was Nelson Mandela a man from our clime? Was he truly African? He definitely did not think or act like an African. He looked like he came from another world. He exhibited characteristics that you would hardly find in an African leader and that is why he is respected the world over. He was a true statesman, a man of integrity, a man of peace, the father of a nation, a bridge builder, a visionary, a selfless personality, a man who knew how to connect with the people he led, a man who lived for the people and who will continually be in the hearts of people the world over.
This post is a tribute to this extraordinary person. It is my own way of showing how much he was different from the rest of us in Africa and particularly, our politicians in Nigeria. The following, therefore, are my thoughts on how he might have acted if he was a Nigerian.
If Nelson Mandela was a Nigerian:
- He would have spent more than one term in office as president.
- He would have tried (and might have succeeded) to tinker with his country’s constitution to elongate his time in office perpetually.
- He would have found a way to get back at a particular ethnic group for the years he spent in incarceration.
- He would have set up a sham truth and reconciliation commission.
- He would have made himself the life patron of the African National Congress (ANC).
- If he eventually left office, his home would be the venue of different political meetings where fates of election candidates would be determined.
- He would have installed his crony or a puppet in office as his successor.
- He would have spoken against the administration of succeeding presidents.
- He would have denied his health condition or the cause of his son’s death (when he died of AIDS in 2005) but instead would have provided various cover-up stories.
- His children would have been made ministers.
- He would have asked to be flown out of the country for medical treatment.
- An expatriate company would have built a palatial mansion for him as a retirement gift.
- He would never have retired from public life (that’s actually a strange concept to Africans). He would be seeking relevance by all means. Ironically, the great Madiba was relevant till death and still is even in death. He never sought relevance but he could not be ignored. He was venerated. He was loved. He was celebrated.
By Dr. Kwabena Amponsah-Manager
There is a popular saying that ‘garbage in, garbage out’. What this means is that if you receive poorly refined instructions, codes, methodology, you act on it as you receive it. When this is true, it reduces one to the level of a robotic machine or a lower level being.
What makes you a superior being, that is if you think you are, is that you are not at the mercy of the external instructions you receive. You have the capacity to refine and filter out the ‘garbage in’ so that the output is not garbage. This is the reason I do not run chemical reactions that explode and burn my laboratory buildings or develop ‘weapons of mass destruction’ despite the myriad of information available to me on the web and the library.
You are the middleman between the instruction, information and codes you receive and the output they are meant to produce. Whether you receive the bulk mixture from your accountant, PTA, spiritual leader, politician, counselor, etc., your role is to filter out the garbage, retrieve and concentrate the fine code to get required output.
There will always be garbage in, but that does not mean there has to be garbage out if you and I pay our part.
Legal icon and Human Rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana and top Nigerian film maker, Mr. Kunle Afolayan were among eminent Nigerians honoured by Youth Focus Initiative (Y.F.I) on the recognition of distinguished roles they have played individually in motivating several young people in the society.
The historic event tagged “Youth Focus Role Model Awards 2013 and Public Presentation of SOURCES OF SUCCESS” was held on Saturday 19th October 2013 at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Conference Building, Ikeja Lagos.
In his welcome speech, the Founder of Youth Focus Initiative and President of Upward BAO Consulting, Dr. Tunde Oseni said Y.F.I is a pet project which he started in 2001 at the age of 24. He asserted that since then, the idea has remained to motivate and engage the youths wherever they are. “I am happy to report to you that our strategy is working. We have transformed Y.F.I into the Corporate Social Responsibility and Advocacy of Upward BAO Consulting, a growing Human Capital Development Company’.
The awardees and their categories of awards are: Petroleum Geologist and retired Senior Manager of Chevron, Prince Adekunle Oduborisha (Leadership), Mr. Femi Falana S.A.N (Career Development), Mr. Kunle Afolayan (Entertainment), Founder and C.E.O, Flying Doctors, Dr. Ola Orekunrin (Social Entrepreneurship) while Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan (Chairman, Ejigbo LCDA) and Comrade Ayodele Adewale (Chairman, Amuwo Odofin Local Government) bagged awards on their roles in Grassroots Development. Continue reading “Youth Focus Initiative Honors Falana Afolayan, Others, Report by Ajibola Olarinoye” »
Categories: Issues, Motivation & Self-Help, Social Enterprise, Student Center Tags: corporate social responsibility, human capital development, Human Rights activist, sources of success, Youth Focus Initiative
by Dr. Kwabena Amponsah-Manager
Doing something and feeling at the end that you did the right thing at the right time gives a kind of a sweet feeling.
Last week I was at Aketenchi, a village in the Western Region of Ghana to help train health workers as part of the Ghana’s grassroots healthcare delivery program. After the training, I had about 2 hours before our team was scheduled to depart from the village. I had a wonderful idea. I did something which was the most fulfilling part of the day. If everything works right, I believe I might have prepared the next presidents, UN Secretaries, teachers, pastors, businessmen and women of the next two decades, hoping every kind of luck under the sun works out too.
I called three kids who were roaming about the streets of the village and started to talk to them about the importance of school and education. Initially I was afraid what their parents would say if they found me talking to these children without the patents’ knowledge. I had no idea what I was getting into. Within minutes of starting, the crowd had grown to over 40 children and 14 adults. I was scared. I was really terrified about someone getting hurt with each child trying to find their way to get as close to me as possible. I had no security personnel for crowd control.
I talked to them about why they need to love school and stay in school. I assured them of the possibility that any of them can become the president, a teacher, a scientist, a pastor, footballer, a businessman or woman or the next PULSE volunteer to come and help their own community in the future. The grins on their faces were beautiful. They listened attentively.
I had some gifts (pencils, crayons, books, balls, games etc) that I carried with me to the village that day. Because I had not planned for such a large crowd, I did not have something for everybody. I therefore gave a quiz and the kids who got the answers right got gifts first and everybody else by chance. It was chaos but so much fun. Continue reading “Motivating Tomorrow’s Leaders: Doing it While the Plane is Still on the Runway” »
by Dr. Tunde Oseni
Being a Communique of The Obafemi Awolowo Foundation Executive Leadership Seminar On The National Conference held at the foundation’s office, Lagos, on October 7, 2013.
The Obafemi Awolowo Foundation mounted an Executive Leadership Seminar on the theme: ‘The National Conference: Roadmap to Nigeria’s Stability?’
Held at the Foundation’s office located at 15 Lanre Awolokun Road, Gbagada Phase II, Lagos, on October 7, 2013, the seminar was convened at the instance of the Executive Director, Dr Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu and chaired by Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, CFR. It was attended by academics, civil society activists and other professionals who brainstormed exhaustively on various aspects of the proposed national conference.
In particular, the seminar considered the following sub-themes:
a) The case for a national conference;
b) Lessons from other lands;
c) Modalities of the conference, especially the issue of design and representation; and
d) ‘No-go’ areas
The conference commenced with a call by the chairman for a minute’s silence in memory of all those who lost their lives in recent tragic events, including the air crash of Thursday October 3, 2013, and the massacre of students by insurgents.
The Executive Director’s welcome address emphasized that the seminar was called as an effort to contribute to the on-going national discussion on the national conference.
The seminar received a goodwill message from Chief Olu Falae. Papers were also received from Professor Banji Akintoye and Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro.
After thorough and careful deliberations, the seminar observed and recommended as follows: Continue reading “National Conference: Roadmap to Nigeria’s Stability? by Dr. Tunde Oseni” »
British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline is seeking regulatory approval for the world’s first malaria vaccine after trial data showed that it had cut the number of cases in African children.
Experts say that they are optimistic about the possibility of the world’s first vaccine after the trial results.
Malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease, kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide every year.
Scientists say an effective vaccine is key to attempts to eradicate it.
The vaccine known as RTS,S was found to have almost halved the number of malaria cases in young children in the trial and to have reduced by about 25% the number of malaria cases in infants.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is developing RTS,S with the non-profit Path Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), supported by funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Many millions of malaria cases fill the wards of our hospitals,” said Halidou Tinto, a lead investigator on the RTS,S trial from Burkina Faso.
“Progress is being made with bed nets and other measures, but we need more tools to battle this terrible disease.”
The malaria trial was Africa’s largest-ever clinical trial involving almost 15,500 children in seven countries.
The findings were presented at a medical meeting in Durban, South Africa.
“Based on these data, GSK now intends to submit, in 2014, a regulatory application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA),” GSK said in a statement.
The company has been developing the vaccine for three decades.
The statement said that the hope now is that the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) may recommend the use of the RTS,S vaccine from as early as 2015 if EMA drugs regulators back its licence application.
Testing showed that 18 months after vaccination, children aged five to 17 months had a 46% reduction in the risk of clinical malaria compared to unvaccinated contemporaries.
But in infants aged six to 12 weeks at the time of vaccination, there was only a 27% reduction in risk.
A spokeswoman for GSK told the AFP news agency that the company would file its application to the EMA under a process aimed at facilitating new drugs for poorer countries.
UK politician Lynne Featherstone, International Development Minister, said: “Malaria is not just one of the world’s biggest killers of children, it also burdens health systems, hinders children’s development and puts a brake on economic growth. An effective malaria vaccine would have an enormous impact on the developing world.
“We welcome the scientific progress made by this research and look forward to seeing the full results in due course.”