Sunday, 15 April 2018

THE BURDEN OF LEADERSHIP



The leadership conundrum in Nigeria has been an ever recurring decimal in our march towards self-sustained development. Many authorities have proffered all sorts of hypothesis on this problem but like the proverbial offensive odour of an elephant’s fart, it has refused to go away. Unfortunately, our leaders have failed to adhere to the various injunctions pertaining to leadership in a community. Most of them are people of questionable pedigree, dubious characters and most often people operating on the periphery of crime. Therefore: Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes off thorns, or figs off thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:16-20)
Jules Masserman, United States professor of Psychoanalysis, University of Chicago says the leader must fulfil three functions:
1.    The leader must provide for the well-being of the lead ... The leader, whoever he is, must be interested in your welfare.  He must not be ravenous like most of the vampire leaders of the ‘Third World’; such as our present day political and religious leaders; who have turned the masses into their ‘milking cows’, to be exploited to satisfy their greed and lust. 
2.    Leader or would be leader must provide a social organization in which people feel relatively secure ... a Leader must provide a social order free of self, voracity and ethnicity. Unfortunately, “there is still with us much sorrow and sin, injustice, oppression, wrong and hate. Still does arrogance deaden conscience, rob struggling souls of even the crumbs of pity, and make, of loathsome flesh and crumbling dust, fair-seeming idols for worship. Still does ignorance blow a mighty horn and try to shame true wisdom...  Still does greed devour the substance of helpless ones within its power: Nay, more, the fine individual voice is smothered in the raucous din of groups and crowds that madly shout what they call slogans, new, old falsehoods, long discredited! What can we do to make God's light shine forth through the darkness around us? Prof. Jitendra Dhoj Khand.  We are a helpless people, who have refused to make efforts to help ourselves; architects of our own misfortune. Like Cassius lamented to Casca in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar,” And why should Caesar be a tyrant then? Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf, But that he sees the Romans are but sheep. He were no lion were not Romans hinds.” 
3.    The leader must provide its people with a set of beliefs or national ideology. It is easy to talk of the fellowship of men under a single banner. This has not been possible in our clime as the leaders are bereft of vision and mission; and are not endowed with the spirit of corporate, political or spiritual leadership. They do not have any apparition of a ‘promised land’. Neither are they agitators who are more likely to possess these qualities. 
Leadership denotes the ability to move masses of men, the talent to produce ideas, and forge the union of theorist, organizer and leader all in one; a rare phenomenon which we find only in great men of history: Ghandi, Napoleon, Caesar, Lenin, Mao, JFK and Hitler.
The leaders we have are charlatans, deceitful leaders and men of untruth. Like they say: A false man cannot build a brick house! If he does not know and follow truly the properties of mortar, burnt clay and what else he works in, it is no house that he makes, but a rubbish heap. It will not stand the test of time and it will fall straightaway.  It is like a forged bank note; they get it passed out of their worthless hands.” Heroes and Hero-worship), p.58.  It is sad indeed! And the 21st Century is fast going.
Let me end by quoting the conclusions of Olutola Abolurin in his treatise on Religion and Religiosity, when he said: Nigeria therefore is not suffering because of the open show of religiousness, rather there are too many professing religion who do not really have ingrained in them the virtues of the religions they profess and have no intention of seeking the redemptive paths offered by their religions. Religion has become for many the mask to wear to obtain preferment or to lull others into dropping their guards in their personal and business interactions.
The problem we have is the leadership of the society - political, business, civil, and religious. We all claim to be religious but we do not reflect the values of our professed religions in our behavior, in politics or in governance. Indeed for most of us, politics or business is a “do or die” affair and anything goes. And a lot get away with it. Institutions to curb our excesses are corrupted by us. Religious leaders unfortunately also pander to those who are rich or powerful, and in the process, undermine the religious values that should provide the moral anchor for the society. By our actions and inactions as leaders we debase the society and the people become cynical and alienated. We, the leaders in Nigeria, nay Africa, are the problem.
Barka Juma’at and a Happy Weekend.
Take One:
The Apapa gridlock, which has been in place for the best of the past 15 years, defying succeeding regimes, is a great sign that Nigeria is a country that cannot solve the most elementary of its problems. We have ports in Warri, Sapele, Port Harcourt, Onne, and Calabar. We have also river ports in Onitsha, Lokoja and Baro. Why can’t we activate them to disperse these trucks and tankers to other ports and allow Apapa to breathe? Why must the whole nation depend only on Apapa and Tin Can Ports? Why can’t we rehabilitate the various fuel depots around the country so that tankers will not need to come to Lagos to load fuel? Can’t we quickly complete the roads in Apapa? Can’t we activate the Apapa rail corridor to join in evacuating goods? When will Nigeria have a government (leaders) that can solve problems? Emmanuel Okogba, Vanguard Editorial.
Lastline: My favorite auntie; Alhaja Idayat Adetona was 75 yesterday. A very genial and quiet woman and an epitome of contentment and a true daughter of the Ashafa/Motajo ancestry. We wish her happiness, good health and Allah’s blessing for the remaining tenure in this life.  
-- 
Babatunde Jose iPhone 7

THE SIN OF INGRATITUDE



Ingratitude can be seen in the actions and behaviour of many people in today’s society, from children to adults, both the rich and the poor: It is all encompassing and pervasive. Children are often ungrateful to parents, despite all the sacrifices made to make their life worth the while. Husbands and wives often fail to appreciate each other and their efforts. The height of ingratitude is discontentment with what one has and a long throat; wanting what has been provisioned for others: Such people fail to be thankful to God and for one another.
Ingratitude is: “Want of gratitude or sentiments of kindness for favors received; insensibility to favors, and want of disposition to repay them; unthankfulness; all of which are abhorred by God and man”.
Ingratitude is, therefore, the bankruptcy of an individual of a warm emotion or feeling by the receiver of a benefit, for the benefit received, or towards the one by whom the benefit was received.  Charles Spurgeon once said, “I cannot say anything much worse of a man than that he is not thankful to those who have been his benefactors; and when you say that he is not thankful to God, you have said about the worst thing you can say of him”.
Clive Wilson in his Sin of Ingratitude says that gratefulness is, “An emotion of the heart, excited by a favour or benefit received; a sentiment of kindness or goodwill towards a benefactor; thankfulness. Gratitude is a virtue of the highest excellence, as it implies a feeling and generous heart, and a proper sense of duty”.
Ingratitude however, is a characteristic of the wicked and a sin (2 Tim. 3:2; Rom. 1:18-23 cp. Num. 11:4-6). The fact that ungratefulness is included in a list of some of the most egregious sins demonstrates its enormity and abhorrence to God.
Ingratitude is often proof of pride in one’s own self and achievements as demonstrated in those ‘professing to be wise, but became fools’ and in us if we refuse to acknowledge the source of our blessings.
Last Saturday I had an unpleasant encounter and I am most grateful to God and a few good men who were able to save the day; and turned what could have been a terrible situation into amazing ending.
My brother Ahmad who is on holiday with me had a health crisis at about 12:30 AM on Saturday. It was a frightening crisis that shook all of us to our foundation and would subsequently erase any iota of faith in our healthcare system. Our first port of call was the Health Centre on Lagos Street, where the doctor on duty explained to us the gravity of the situation and the need for referral to a bigger hospital. He gave first aid in form of respirator and wrote a referral to the Emergency Unit of Lagos University Teaching Hospital. He also, provided an ambulance with a staff nurse to accompany him. Problem started on getting to LUTH where they refused to touch the patient on the excuse that they had no space; neither was the patient examined nor First Aid provided. 
The Doctor at the Health Centre then asked us to proceed to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja LASUTH. Here also, we met the same rejection; without any examination or evaluation. This has been and would be the fate of many challenged Nigerians in the hands of our teaching Hospitals. There are worse cases where the patients have died.
Meanwhile, the doctor at the Health Centre asked us to come back for him to continue his First Aid pursuant to our transferring my brother to a specialist in the morning.
Fortunately, we were able to get a Cardiologist in the morning who agreed to see him immediately. After due examination and ECG, he confirmed that the First Aid administered by the kind doctor at the Health Centre saved by brother’s life. 
I am therefore most grateful to Dr Idowu and the Night Duty staff of the Health Centre for their good work and dedication to the Hippocratic Oath: Unlike the doctors at LUTH and LASUTH who exhibited a nonchalant, and lackadaisical attitude to a patience in an emergency; a topic for another day. 
I also want to express gratitude to Dr Kingsley Kola Akinroye, a foremost Cardiologist; Executive Director of the Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF), past Vice President of World Heart Federation (WHF) and Africa Epidemiological Association (AEA) and Medical Director of Humana Medical Centre,  for his prompt attendance to my brother and a service above the call of duty. 
Before ending this piece, let me go back to the issue of ingratitude, which was triggered by a letter soliciting for funds for the 10-Year remembrance anniversary of late Senator Abraham Adesanya; a nationalist, defender of the oppressed and a great freedom fighter for democracy; and a great friend of my late father.  On seeing the letter my mind went to the beneficiaries of that great man’s struggles and I asked why the need to resort to begging and solicitation for fund. The beneficiaries alone are able and capable of underwriting the cost of whatever ceremony they want to do in his honour; particularly the governors in the South West, both serving and retired. Alas! They would not do so, ingrates and sinners. Unfortunately, it is a sign of the times in which we live. In Paul's letter to Timothy, he said that ingratitude would be one of the evils found in the last days. Benjamin Franklin said, "Most people return small favors, acknowledge medium ones and repay greater ones – with ingratitude." William Shakespeare addressed the subject in numerous of his plays: He said, "I hate ingratitude more in a man than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness, or any taint of vie whose strong corruption inhabits our frail blood.”
As we open the Quran, the first chapter starts with ‘Alhamdulillah’ which is generally translated as “all praise is for God.” In reality, the word Alhamdulillah signifies gratitude in our everyday lives. In Chapter 55 of the Quran, titled “The Lord of Mercy,” God asks the same question thirty-one times,“Which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?”God has created us and then made this world for us. We are getting benefits from all of His creations! After realizing all this abundance, how can a sensible person be anything but thankful to God?
As for me, I am thankful to God and appreciative of the kindness of the doctors; Idowu and Akinroye. 
Barka Juma’at and a happy weekend

-- 
Babatunde Jose iPhone 7

Allah-De... Grapling with Realities of life: A book Review




By Bayo Ogunmupe

THIS book, Winner takes all, is a collection of essays, written as newspaper columns, by a veteran journalist Alhaji Alade Odunewu. In it, Odunewu was trying to grapple with the realities of life at the time he was writing the columns. Thus, Winner takes all, concerns itself with events of public interest between 1963 and December 2000. This means that the subject matter of the book is Nigerian politics and society in the 20th century in general and the Republican era in particular.

Odunewu's pen name is Allah DE which means God exists, by innuendo it means God is the final judge. By the book, Odunewu has made his timely comments immortal essays as a new art form. Indeed, journalism which is the report of journalists had to endure the disdain of certain critics who in recent times, believe they are insulting a writer when they describe his work as journalism. Such criticism has aroused writers all over the world to take up arms against destroyers of creativity in historical documentation. This rebuttal led to the emergence of New Writing, a journalism based exposition now prevalent in Europe and North America. 

Winner takes all belongs to this classical tradition of exposition as a literary form. Each of the essays has two parts: the leader, arising from the topic sentence and the adjunct which is an elucidation of the topic sentence. Odunewu wrote his essays with style.

Moreover, the author made classical allusions in his pieces. Examples are: "A place of Elysian happiness," which is an allusion to the Elysian Gardens i.e, the Garden of Elysium which in Greek mythology is a place in paradise for the repose of good people. Another allusion is: "The law of Medes and the Persians." This refers to the laws given by ancient empires of the Medes and Persians. These are stories of events which happen in a period before the Christian era.

Indeed, Allah De's prose style or use of language isn't without its charm, his frequent use of innuendoes is particularly entrancing. Alternations and assonances make his style glitter like gold i.e.: "all strut and show," "fussy and foppish," "Paul Pry" and the play on the title of the play: "Look back in anger" on page 144 of the book. Odunewu's essays reminds one of episodes, images and language of Eric Blair, alias George Orwell's book: 1984.

Also, the author's style encompasses the copious use of humour. His use of humour evince perpetual surprise. He causes you to lauch which is the hallmark of a good book and forms the credo of journalism: to inform, to educate and to entertain. Winner takes all is very entertaining.

From this collection, you can imagine Nigeria as a nation of downs and buffoons. Which in my view it is. Imagine presidents who rig and annul elections in the name of Allah, and those who keep saying: "It is no business as usual" and who are more corrupt than their predecessors. Odunewu mocks, ridicules, lampoons and satirises subject after subject or victim after victim.

Indeed, if there is a feature that deserves a niche in history in this book, it is its engaging funniness. In a book like this, it is a mater of priority to seek to find the message of the author. Also, you would want to locate or situate his ideological stand. That task is a little difficult in this case. The book is a reflection of the Nigerian reality, no consuming passion, no ideology: a spirit of live and let live.

Winner takes all contains no explicit ideology, except the expression of opinion demonstrated in its title. Which is a correct assessment of governance in Nigeria since Independence. This title also suggests an age of greed and excess, an age of deception and betrayal in high places.

There isn't any visionary speculation in Winner takes all, the author is profoundly simple, calm and sceptical. He laughs at our politicians and public officials, he does not take their claims seriously. The greatest value of the book is as history. It is a good eyewitness narrative which makes it more authentic as a criticism of the age. In the book, we are guided about an era of history which are very critical in the development of our nation and continent.

These engrossing columns take us through momentous events with wit, calm and an abundance of laughter. It is an effort deserving our attention and perusal. Winner takes all has 476 pages, five pages of index and each column is given the date it appeared in the papers. Winner takes all contains a selection of articles reflecting the range of the thoughts of Alade Odunewu, who hails from Ikorodu in Lagos State. The epitome of his journalism career was as the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Times. His training included a year in the school of Modern Languages in London, United Kingdom.

HE emerged from the school with the Commonwealth prize donated by The New Statesman for the best student. In Nigeria, Odunewu worked as Editor of the Sunday Times and the Daily Times, maintaining their reputation as quality tabloids with the largest circulation figure in the country. In the 1960s, he enhanced his reputation as a critic with the column. The thoughts of Allah De. Then he became the chief executive of the magazine division of the Daily Times.

In the 70s, from 1973 to 1975, Alade Odunewu became Commissioner for Information and Tourism on the Lagos State Executive Council. In 1976 he was appointed a Federal Electoral Commissioner. Odunewu returned to the Daily Times in 1979 as Group Publishers Controller. He was appointed Ombudsman in 1984. He is now chairman of the Nigerian Press Council and a trustee of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence.

Dis Fela Sef, an Idonije memoir



                              By Bayo Ogunmupe
    The book, Dis Fela Sef is the untold story of the legendary musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti. It is a memoir by his friend and manager, Benson Idonije. The author, now 82 years old, is the most credible chronicler of Fela's sexual escapades and tempestuous career as a musician and man of the world. Idonije was with Fela from the beginning till the end of his career as musician, politician and human rights activist. Fela's great musical creativity endeared him Idonije while Benson's love of music as a producer in Radio Nigeria cemented their relationship.
     Thus, as Fela's confidant Idonije became the power behind Fela's throne. And Fela's respect and trust an elder brother gave Benson access to every facet of Fela's life.  Which is why Dis Fela Sef is so accurate, deep and authoritative. This memoir was published in 2016 by Festac Books and reprinted by Havilah Grand Pearl Limited, Lagos, Nigeria. It has 20 chapters, an epilogue, 284 pages, two pages of bibliography, 13 pages of pictures and the chronology of Fela's life.
    In his introductory: Why this book? Idonije answers that there are still more legends to be known and misunderstandings to be corrected about Fela's tumultuous lifestyle and apostasy. As an Art critic on The Guardian, Nigeria for almost 20 years, and contemporary of Fela barely two years Fela's senior, Idonije has written about Fela more than any journalist in Nigeria. His original intention was to assemble those stories and publish them in book form. But his friends urged and assisted him to write a memoir of his friendship and as manager of the Fela Ransome Kuti Quintet from 1963 till 1970.
    Indeed, as band manager, Idonije was intimately involved and grappled with every activity of Fela's life and commune. Dis Fela Sef isn't a biography, nor is it a musical study, especially because not all of Fela's music is discussed. This is Benson's memorial of Fela, it is a new perspective, the story behind the story. with more legends to be told. Though Fela died on August 2, 1997, we still speak of him in the present tense; he is omnipresent. We use his first name to acknowledge the pervasiveness of his influence.
    Fela's music is the inspirer of modern hip hop in West Africa. Afrobeat bands are being formed around the world drawing from his overwhelming influence. Musicians and fans lapse into his vocal rasp to make a point. Fela has been celebrated on Broadway Theatre in New York, USA. Felabration continues to wax stronger and bigger with activities at every yearly edition even as they celebrate him with excessive veneration. Fela's Kalakuta commune has been recreated and turned to a museum for his immortalization.
    In treating the first ten chapters of this volume, I shall start from the chronology of Fela's life from 1938 to the time of his death in 1997. From his ancestry, his musical odyssey, redefining Highlife music to resurrecting the Koola lobitos culminating in the making of a new Afrobeat genre after his visit to the United States. It goes without saying that Fela's pervasive influence is proof of his ingenuity as a musician and man of letters.
    In the middle of the 19th century, one Egba gentleman named Kuti, Fela's great grand father fell in love with a princess called Efupeyin. The marriage of these lovers produced a son christened Josiah  inn 1855. Both were heathens but Efupeyin, Fela's great grandmother converted to Christianity. At her baptism in 1848 Efupeyin took the name Anne. In his memoirs, Josiah, Fela's grand father wrote: "To her I owe my Christianity today for my father lived and died a heathen." Kuti was a staunch weaver of cloth and musician. He is the one Fela appeared to be his alter ego and reincarnation. Fela's grand father was Josiah Likoye Kuti while his father was Oludotun Ransome  Kuti
    His mother, Frances Olufunlayo Ransome Kuti nee Thomas was in the forefront of women liberation in Nigeria during the colonial era. She championed female rights to vote and founded the Nigerian Women's Union. For these achievements, she earned international fame and recognition. Olufunlayo was a great admirer of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of the republic of Ghana and his pan African ideology. Nkrumah also recognized her for her political activities.
    Mrs Kuti was so courageous that her organization, the Nigerian Women's Union, chased the Alake of Egbaland out of his palace into exile in Osogbo for levying taxes on women. For so doing she became a heroine of Nigerian politics. Through Mrs Kuti Nigerian women achieved universal suffrage by being exempted from paying tax and allowed to vote and be voted for by 1959. She founded the Nigerian Women's Union in 1949. 
    Of Funlayo's children, Dolapo, the eldest, a female chose  the nursing profession. She excelled there, retiring from the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital as a matron in 1974. Next in line was Dr Olikoye Ransome Kuti. He was professor of Paediatrics at the Lagos University Hospital. He was appointed Minister of Health by President Ibrahim Babangida. As minister he transformed our health care delivery system  for which he received acclaim and was made a director of the World Health Organization.
    Fela's younger brother Beko, born in 1940, was also a physician and former secretary general of the Nigerian Medical Association. He was a strong opponent of military rule. Later, he became chairman of the Campaign for Democracy. For his democratic views he was imprisoned during the regimes of Buhari,  Babangida, Ernest Shonekan and Sani Abacha. He had been framed with involvement in a plot to overthrow the military government and was slammed with a 15 year jail term. He was only released in 1998 after a change of government.
    All of the Fela siblings have died. But their pedigree is awesome. Not many Nigerians living or dead have documentary records of their lineage dating back to 1850 like them. Fela studied classical music at Trinity College of Music in London. He married Remilekun Taylor in 1961. He had three children: Yeni, Femi and Sola. He returned to Nigeria with his family in 1963. He gained employment as music producer at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation in 1964. he launched his band the Koola Lobitos in 1965. He played at the yearly Havanah Dance Festival organized by the  Sigma Club, University of Ibadan in 1965.
    Fela resigned from NBC to manage the Koola Lobitos full time in 1968. Thereafter, he devoted his life to music. But in February 1976, Kalakuta Republic, his Agege Motor Road commune was burnt down by soldiers. In April of the same year he changed his name from Ransome Kuti to Anikulapo Kuti. He sang it loud and clear that religions not indigenous to Africa should be discarded. He established a shrine and appointed priests in order to worship God in the African way. He married 27 wives and kept them in his commune to rubbish Western culture we are adopting.
    In his last days, considering his type of music you would think Fela was on drugs but no. Later bad companions led him into sex, women and marijuana. He eventually succumbed to HIV/AIDS. While Idonije was a bachelor, his apartment became Fela's slaughter slab. He sometimes had three different women a day. Which is why Idonije book became a best seller. In fact the copy I used in this review is a pirated one: there is no greater testimony to the success of Dis Fela Sef.
    Benson Idonije studied communication engineering at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. He joined Radio Nigeria in 1957 later becoming a presenter of famous programmes. The high pint of his career in broadcasting was his transfer to the training school where for eight years he became principal lecturer  in programme production. After he retired in 1992, he wrote art columns for The Guardian, Nigeria. Now 82 years old, Pa Idonije is still alive and writing.

On your marks, a startup handbook






                              By Bayo Ogunmupe
    On your marks is a business start-up handbook. This book is not exclusively for people seeking self employment as entrepreneurs, either for love, as a way of life or as a sop for being unemployed. It is also for the general reader, for lifelong learning as a prescription for success. Published in hard cover, On your marks was published in 2018 by Ben Oketola Publications, Somolu, Lagos, Nigeria. Its author is Noruwa Edokpolo, an International Labour Organization master trainer, facilitator and entrepreneurship consultant.In 124 pages Edokpolo crafted a practical and compelling book that captivated me as I  digested the content from cover to cover.
      On your marks has ten chapters and in his foreword, the director general, Nigerian Employers' Consultative Association, Segun Oshinowo said for the Nigerian economy that isn't rich in employment growth, an unemployment rate of 40 percent, the book has been a boon. With large scale youth unemployment, Nigeria has become a world dilemma and tinder box and time bomb requiring multi-prong approaches if national security was to be maintained. therefore this book is an excellent narrative to benumb the looming crisis of mass unemployment in Nigeria. Unlike other books on the subject, Edokpolo shows great in depth research which is reflective of his multi faceted personality as a mentor, pastor and entrepreneurship coach.
      This book is particularly fascinating because  of its recognition of the various segments of youth unemployment and the unemployment of the elderly alike. The author's use of normative logic as a new epistemological system of analytical reasoning and cognition is commendable. This enables him to proffer cues, tips and gambits that are suitable for each segment of the society. Surprisingly, the book highlights the myths and traps that surrounds entrepreneurship in Nigeria. Herein, Edokpolo shows his experience of loss while starting his first company in 2002. This forms the basis of his learning process within Nigeria's tough business terrain.
    The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) estimates that only 20 percent of new businesses survive in Nigeria. To avoid joining those sections with high mortality rate, it is a wise proposition for you to do your due diligence before plunging into a business disaster. The first five chapters covered crossroads, your passion in life, your competence, marketability, motivation and the business model you wish to pursue. When you are deciding which business you wish to establish as an entrepreneur, you must know that you are taking risks in hope of making profit. Also, being your own boss might be your way of leaving a legacy. Then the best business to start will be the vocation you are passionate about.
    Should your passion be blogging, consultancy, interior decoration or gardening, so long as you passionate about it you can turn this dream to reality. For some category of people, money isn't their motive. It is what he loves. For example, Christopher Kolade took on the job of Nigeria's High Commissioner in London at 61; when his peers were on retirement. Now in his eighties, he is still active at work, proving that it is never too late to make a change. Starting a business is the obvious solution to Nigeria's present economic straits. Often in life, when all roads are are closed, you have to make your own way. You have to take the initiative and create a platform for yourself. Passion isa force that unleashes creativity, for if you are passionate about an idea, you will be more willing to take risks to achieve your goal.
      The remaining section contains testing the waters of your business, your business plan, minding how technology affects your business; balancing work and living such that you do not die suddenly and Edokpolo's final thoughts about entrepreneurship. It is good for you to remember that education doesn't always make you smarter than your contemporaries; age doesn't necessarily make you wiser. But risk taking and lifelong learning will make you smart, healthy and wise. Noruwa Joseph Edokpolo is an International Labour Organization certified Start and Improve Your Business trainer. he has trained and coached  many entrepreneurs on business strategies. He has consulted for states and the federal government in the provision of business development services. he is happily married with a wife and many children.

How exercise slows down your ageing


 

                              By Bayo Ogunmupe
    At certain points in our lives, we develop a negative relationship with the mirror. This is just because it keeps showing too many lines, too many grey hairs and sagging breasts. Thus, quite a few people end up refusing to face the mirror for any reason whatever. But we don't all have to resort to such drastic measures because there is something simple and enjoyable you can do to slow down your clock of ageing. As we grow older, we suffer a decline in mental and physical fitness. This is often made worse by conditions like Alzheimer's disease.
    However, we're constantly being reminded of the health benefits of exercise and keeping physically active. A new study published in the open-access journal: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows certain people who routinely do physical exercise can reverse ageing in the brain and dancing as a form of exercise is the most effective. Dancing is the most effective exercise for the brain because it has the beneficial effect of slowing or even counteracting age related decline in physical capacity, according to Dr Kathrin Rehfeld the lead author of the study, based at the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, Germany.
    In the study, it was shown that two different types of physical exercise (dancing and endurance training) both increase the area of the brain that declines with age. In comparison, it was only dancing that produces noticeable behavioral changes in terms of improved balance. The researchers invited 62 healthy elderly volunteers aged 63-80 years to join the study. Eventually, they chose 52 who met their inclusion criteria. They were then randomly assigned to the experimental dance group and the control sport group.
    The content of the dance classes induced a permanent learning situation with constantly changing choreographies, which participants had to memorize accurately. The programme for the sport group included endurance training, strength endurance training and flexibility training. Both groups showed an increase in the hippocampus region of the brain, the area of the brain specifically prone to age-related decline. It also plays a key role in memory and learning, as well as in keeping one's balance.
    But only participants in the dance group showed volume increases in more subfields of the left hippocampus and only dancing led to an increase in one subfield of the right hippocampus, namely the subiculum. While scientists know that physical exercise can combat age-related brain decline, this study showed that dancing, specifically continuously changing dance routines and choreography, is superior to repetitive exercise like cycling or walking.
    Dr Rehfeld explains, "We tried to provide our seniors in the dance group with constantly changing dance routines of different genres (Jazz, square, latin American and Line Dance). Steps, arm pattern formations, speed and rhythms were changed every second week to keep them in a constant learning process. The most challenging aspect for them was to recall the routines under the pressure of time and without any cues from the instructor."
    Dr Rehfeld and her colleagues are building on this research to develop new fitness programmes that have the maximum anti-aging effects on the brain. But what about those of us with only two left feet and no sense of rhythm? Instead of focusing on how awkward you might be looking, just lose yourself in the music. Music has many therapeutic benefits. just listening to music lifts our spirits and if you can manage to lift your backside as well, so much the better.
      Like me, i believe everybody would like to live a happy, independent and healthy life, for as long as possible. Physical activity is one of the lifestyle factors that can contribute to your leading a long and happy life. It also counters ageing by slowing down age-related decline. Thus, I recommend dancing as a powerful tool for you to set new records of a healthy body and mind in old age.

Reasons why being dogmatic is divisive





                              By Bayo Ogunmupe
    Spirituality is important but religion is optional. We cannot overcome what we ignore. Nigerians ignore their religiosity too often, and this is inimical to our unity. Whether you choose to follow Hinduism, Islam, Christianity or the African traditional religion, the choice to become a follower of any religion will not increase your spirituality and growth, but hinder it. here are the reasons. A religion demands absolute obedience. There is no greater authoritarian regime than our traditional religious institutions.
    These institutions are designed to rule all of your free will and they do this on purpose: the more followers resemble sheep, the easier they are to be commanded. Religions are built to make you docile and weak; so that they can preach their dogma without worrying about dissent. Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time. But spirituality is for the uneducated. If you had any high education, you should be well aware that religion and spirituality do not truly add to your awareness of the universe.
    Indeed, religion lowers your understanding of consciousness, by bottling the meaning of the universe into a book with a thousand rules that need to be followed. This burdens your mind with false notions, giving you none of truths you seek. From the best selling author Carl Sagan is this quote: "How is it that hardly any religion has looked at science and concluded, "this is better than we thought! The universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?" A religion that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths."
    Moreover, churches and mosques are filled with pedophiles nowadays. See how these religious institutions regularly ask for donations and contributions for conferences and conventions. The hard truth is that every naira you donate is another money that goes for the protection of pedophiles.  Hundreds of Catholic teachers and priests have been ousted as pedophiles, harming children, yet the Pope and the church continue to keep them on board. And with that they flush away your time. Time as a most important asset you can never buy back, is wasted for no justifiable cause.
      The problem of religion is that it takes all your time if you want to turn yourself into a devout Catholic. You are wasting this time learning concepts that could take a fraction of the time to understand. So much of what religion teaches is repetitive ritual like going to the mosque a dozen times daily repeating prayers and memorizing ancient lines that nobody understands or listens to. Much of the scriptures is plain weird. As you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents, revised, translated, distorted and improved by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors and  copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning nine centuries.
    Answer this question: why are you  currently following the religion you follow? There is an incredibly high chance that your answer is that it's the religion you were born into. You inherited the religion from your parents, who taught you to worship their God for their sense of security and safety. Most religions are just a collection of myths and legends from previous religions and traditions most of which are based on pagan cults. However, you are well advised not to indoctrinate your children. Teach them to think for themselves, how to evaluate evidence, and to disagree with you and their friends gracefully.
    In Nigeria, the religions teach fake compassion. But religions love to preach compassion, but how much of that compassion do they actually follow? Haven't you heard of how a pilgrim welfare board embezzled hajj fares in Plateau some years ago? Kidnappers, insurgents, herdsmen and Boko Haram members all have religion. Unconditional love is a  foreign concept when it comes to the promotion and spread of religions around the world. People aren't being willingly allowed to accept religions; instead, most of the time they were forced into adopting the religions of their conquerors and colonizers. Thus clannish christians and muslims, herdsmen and Boko haram have no compassion to teach.
    One thing most religious leaders won't admit is that they breed incest, they promote marrying and breeding within small communities. This is how they keep their beliefs contained and thrive off us versus them mindset and keep communities as enemies of one another. That mindset discourages members from abandoning the religion while still enabling them to proselytize. Thus mainly to maintain social order than rewards loyalty and punish freedom of thought.
    A great misunderstanding in religion is that piety enhances spirituality. Sadly, the opposite is the truth. By forcing yourself down the throat of a single religion, you prevent yourself from understanding more than one perspective of spirituality. Your spirituality immediately loses depth because you have blocked yourself from other theologies and perspectives on life.
    The first way the religions market themselves is through fear. They teach us to be afraid of the Man in the sky judging our every action instead of actually teaching us the difference between right and wrong, why we shouldn't do evil; we're simply taught just to fear God judging our actions. We do not learn why it is bad to hurt or steal from or cheat others, only that we should make sure we do not get caught doing it.
    Therefore you can only retain your religiosity as a hypocrite. You either blindly follow the drivel the priests and imams tell you but still hypocritically follow it. Either way you have no way of getting out of this with your dignity intact. You don't need religion to have morals. If you cannot determine right from wrong, then you lack empathy, not religion. Knowledge has made religion obsolete.

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