Tuesday, 29 May 2012

On the Path of Winners By Bayo Ogunmupe Praying your way to riches


On the Path of Winners
By Bayo Ogunmupe

Praying your way to riches
HE prays the most who works hardest, is the constant phrase you hear from Chief Afe Babalola, a friend and proprietor of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria. Also, we got into contact with ideas stating that prayer is equal to hard work in the memoirs of Ibn Battutah, the great 14th century Arab traveler and historian. However, in order to succeed in life, prayer is the twin of hard work on your way to riches.
  Before Israel entered Canaan, Jehovah gave two important instructions to their leaders: One, “Cross over ahead of your brothers,” Joshua 1:14. If God has called you to lead, step up to the podium. Believe in yourself and in your mission. Accomplishments are more than just working harder and smarter. They are about believing the right things. Someone called it “the sure enough” syndrome. If you expect to fail, sure enough you will. If you expect success, sure enough you will succeed. Success begins with a change in your beliefs. What you believe determines what you expect, while what you expect determines how you act. In the long run a belief is more than just an idea you possess. It is an idea that possesses you!
  Two, “Be strong and courageous,” Joshua 1:6. Your life will expand or shrink in proportion to the courage you display. If you are willing to take risks you will go further than those who timidly follow the safe and predictable path to riches. Orison Marden, the great essayist and philosopher writes: “The moment you resolve to take hold of your life with all your might and make the most of yourself at any cost, to sacrifice all lesser ambitions to your one great aim, to cut loose from everything that interferes with that aim, to stand alone, firm in your purpose whatever happens, you set in motion the forces implanted within you for your own development. Live up to your resolve, work at what God meant you to work at for the perfecting of His plan, and you will be invincible. No power on earth can hold you back from success.”
  “In everything God works for the good of those who love Him because that was His plan,” Romans 8:28. When you are in a situation where you’ve got more questions than answers, it takes faith to accept that “in everything God works for the good of those who love Him.” What you consider wasted experiences can become confidence-builders and priceless sources of insight when you make up your mind to learn from them. If you don’t learn from your experiences, they keep happening till you learn from them. The Israelites went in circles for 40 years before they finally wised up to enter Canaan. Don’t let that happen to you.
  When you get too satisfied in your comfort zone, God stirs things up for your good. The mother eagle teaches her kitten to fly by making their nest so uncomfortable that they are forced out of it. Next, they are pushed out of a cliff’s edge. Can you imagine their thoughts? “It is my mother doing this?” Who and where you are at this time has been divinely appointed for your benefit.! God knows that you need this challenge in order for you to mature and stretch you. The job you dread doing everyday is developing your skills for mastery, enriching you in this world of struggle. The job grants you endurance and sense of responsibility. Those who rob you are actually making you strong like Jesus the Christ. Apostle Paul says: “God understands and knows what is best for us at all times,” Ephesians 1:8. So instead of asking Allah to change things, thank Him for the experience and the lessons of wisdom given you. And if you can’t figure out what those lessons are, ask Jehovah, James says, “If you need wisdom, ask God,” James 1:15. When you do ask Jehovah for wisdom, you will discover that you are part of His plan to make you rich.
  Our champion for today is Oscar Sanchez Arias, the Costa Rican statesman and administrator, president of Costa Rica (1986-90), who won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1987 for his Central American peace plan. Born into a wealthy-coffee growing family in Costa Rica in September 1941, Arias studied economics at the University of Costa Rica and earned a PhD from the University of Essex in England.
  In the 1960s, he began working for the socialist National Liberation Party. In 1972 he was appointed Minister of Planning in the government of President Jose Figueres, a post he held until 1977. He was elected secretary-general of the PLN in 1979, and in 1986 won the general elections to become the president of Costa Rica.
  As president, Arias took measures to cope with Costa Rica’s heavy indebtedness and other economic problems. However, his main interest is in restoring peace and political stability to the strife-torn countries of Central America. While being harshly critical of the Sandinista government in the neighbouring Nicaragua, he forbade the regime’s guerilla opponents (the contras) from operating in Costa Rican soil.
  In February 1987, he proposed a regional peace plan for Central America that would set a date for ceasefires between government and rebel forces, ensuring amnesty for political prisoners and scheduling free and democratic elections in those countries.
  Arias and the leaders of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua signed this plan in August 1987. In October of that year, Arias was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in recognition of his efforts to achieve peace in Latin America. Incidentally, the Arias plan achieved and sustained peace in Central America till date.

On The Path Of Winners By Bayo Ogunmupe Let Prayer Change your Life


On The Path Of Winners
By Bayo Ogunmupe
Let Prayer Change your Life
BECAUSE Jehovah’s blessings are not all packaged the same way, we get the idea God gives preferential treatment to certain people, but the Bible says: “He does not show favouritism,” Acts 10:34. However, in the New Testament the words grace and favour are used interchangeably because both come from the Greek word charis meaning gift. Think about it, when you ask somebody for a favour, you are counting on his kindness and generosity when there is no obvious reason for him to favour you.
  Throughout the scriptures, Jehovah’s favour is what made it possible for people who otherwise would not have amounted to much, to  do great things. For example, when God chose a teenager called Esther to deliver her people and she stepped out in faith to meet the King: “She obtained grace and favour in his sight,” Esther 2: 17. God made a way for her to do the job. Moreover, without divine grace, it is certain that Ruth a Moabitess, wouldn’t have been accepted by the Israelites. But because God had plans for her life, and her heart was pure before Him, she ended up marrying Boaz, “a man of great wealth,” Ruth 2: 1. And their ancestral line came King David, from whom descended Jesus the Christ. David said, “you bless the righteous, you surround them with your favour,” Psalm 5:12. When God approves of your riches, people start favouring you; too often for reason they cannot explain. Solomon said, “A good man (or woman) will obtain favour from Jehovah.” So ask for God’s favour, expect it, walk in it. The reason you don’t have what you want is, you don’t ask God,” James 4:2. Imagine walking into a restaurant on a whim and asking if your order is ready. “When did you give the order?” the server asks. “Oh, I didn’t,” you reply. “I just thought perhaps you would have something on my name.” sounds ridiculous? No more so than expecting God to answer requests you haven’t made. James adds: “Even when you do ask you don’t get it because you want only what will give you pleasure,” James 4:3. Your motives need to be in tune with what God knows is best for you. John says, “This is the confidence we have in Him, if we ask anything, according to His will, He hears,” 1 John 5:14.
  Expectant prayer demonstrates confidence in God’s goodness: “The Lord is good to those who wait expectantly for Him,” Lamentations 3:25. Instead of fretting and taking matters into your own hands when you say, Jehovah I’m going to trust you with this, regardless of the outcome.” Then God will honour your faith. Apostle Paul says “Pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks,” Ph. 4:6. Christ said, “It gives your Father great happiness to give you the benefits of His Kingdom,” Luke 12:31. God wants to be good to you, so tell Him the desires of your heart,” Ps 37:4. Thank Him, but the answer will come in His time.
  But God wants you to succeed.” He sought his God and worked wholeheartedly, so he prospered,” 2 Chro 31:21. However, you have to do certain things. One. Set an achievable goal. Then work towards it settling one priority at a time. You fail due to broken focus, so avoid distractions: “A double minded man is unstable,” Jas 1:8. Two, write your plans, giving yourself deadlines. Three, visualize attaining your goals. Talk and think in success pictures. Moses did. He made it to Canaan because, “He had his eye on the One no eye can see, and kept right on going,” Hebrew 11:26. Four, stay informed. Lifelong learning is the prescription for success. “A wise man will hear and increase his learning,” Pr 1:5. Five, create a climate of confidence around you, you wont win while you are talking defeat. Don’t rehearse your mistakes, that only reinforces your doubt. Remind yourself that your “sufficiency is of God,” 2 Co 3:2. With Jehovah as your partner, your success is guaranteed. Six. Help others become successful. “Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord,” Eph 6:8. That is the way to conquer self centeredness. Seven, put God first. You are his child. He wants you to succeed. Deepen your relationship with God.
  Our champion today is Adolfo Esqiuvel Perez, the Argentine sculptor, architect and champion of human rights and non-violent reform in Latin America. His work as secretary-general of Peace and Justice an ecumenical human rights foundation won him the Nobel Peace prize in 1980. Born in November 1931, in Buenos Aires, Argentina to a Spanish fisherman who emigrated to Argentina, Perez’s mother  died when he was three and despite his poverty, he attended the Belgrano School of Fine Arts and the National University of La Plata where he trained as an architect and sculptor. Ultimately he became professor of architecture and for 25 years taught at the university there.
  Perez began working with the Latin American Christian groups in the 1960s. he gave up his academic career in 1974, when he was chosen as coordinator for a network of Latin American groups promoting the liberation of the poor through non-violence.
  After the 1976 coup which brought  the dictatorship of General Jorge Videla to power, Perez formed a civil society organization namely, Service, Peace and Justice Foundation which served to defend human rights. His foundation promoted a campaign to denounce the atrocities of the Videla regime. For this, Perez was detained by the Brazilian Military Police in 1975. He was jailed in 1976 in Ecuador. The Argentine Federal Police tortured and held him without trial for 14 months between 1977 and 1980. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 for his efforts in the defence of human rights.
  He published, ‘Walking Together With the People,” in 1995. There, he relates his experiences and was appointed professor of Human Rights by the University of Buenos Aires in 1998. He has remained active working against the free trade areas of the Americas. He is a key driver to eradicate malnutrition and bridge the health divide with a special priority for the least developed countries.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

On the Path of Winners By Bayo Ogunmupe How to gain happiness


On the Path of Winners
By Bayo Ogunmupe

How to gain happiness
PEOPLE say they want to be happy, yet real happiness seems an impossible dream. Everyone reaches for it so desperately but for many, it never seems to come any closer. What are we doing wrong? Is it the times we live in?
  Well, it isn’t as bad as it seems. There are many people having a wonderful time with their lives. They are living to the maximum and love every minute of it. But they don’t talk much of it, they are busy enjoying themselves. They don’t usually write articles about their state of well-being. Not many people have that zest for daily living. Too few people have mastered the art of being happy!
 But do you think happiness can be learned like dancing or pottery? I don’t think so. I think you are either happy or you are not. You can’t decide to be happy. You can go after the things you hope will make you happy. You expect happiness to happen to you. Firstly, you have to realize you have probably been looking for happiness in he wrong place.
  The source of happiness is not outside of you, it is within. Most of us have not begun to tap our potential. And we will continue to sell ourselves short as long as we are looking for someone to give us the key to the kingdom of happiness.
  We must realize that the kingdom is already in us, we have the key already. We are accountable only to ourselves for what happens to us in our lives. You must realize that you have a choice, you are responsible for your own good time. It is as if we can push a magic switch and turn on happiness. But there is no magic switch. Only there is an attitude. To take responsibility for our lives means making a profound change in the way we approach everything. We even talk about our own feelings as if they were visitors from outer space. We say, “this feeling came over me,” as if we were helpless creatures overwhelmed by mysterious forces, instead of simply saying, “I feel that way.” We speak as if our feelings change from sunny to stormy like the weather, over which we have no control. This meteorological view of reality is very useful. It takes us off the hook for the way we feel. We diminish ourselves just in order to push away the chance of choice.
  Indeed, you have to make the decision to lift yourself up or put yourself down. People worry about pollution. But the harm we do to ourselves is a lot more dangerous than the damage we do to the environment. We don’t need television to pollute our minds, we do a much more efficient job of it ourselves.
  Of course, there are many people who see nothing but their bright spots. But they don’t really believe it. But how great are those who are working that hard to convince themselves and others that they are perfect? They do so because they think their choice is between being perfect and being the worst thing that ever lived. However, you must see the ways you are pulling yourself down and decide that isn’t what you want to do. Then you can start doing the things that give you pride and pleasure in living.
  Those things that give us the pleasure of living includes being aware of our own achievements. When you do something you are proud of, dwell on it a little, praise yourself for it, relish the experience. We are not used to doing that. When things go wrong, they call our attention. When things run well, we must actively bring them to our attention. Don’t wait for notice to come from others. When you compliment yourself, the glow stays with you permanently. These are the factors of happiness.
  Our champion for today is Octavio Paz, the Mexican poet, writer, diplomat and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature for 1990. Born in Mexico City in March 1914, he died in April 1998. Paz’s family was financially ruined by the Mexican civil war, thus he grew up in straitened circumstances.
  Paz published his first book, Forest Moon in 1933. In 1937, he visited Spain where he identified with the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War. His experience of those events: Beneath Your Clear Shadow and Other Poems, was published in Spain in 1937. The book revealed him as a writer of promise.
  In Mexico, Paz founded and edited several literary reviews including ‘Workshop’ from 1938 to 1941 and ‘The Prodigal Son’ – which he co-founded in 1943. His major poetic publications included, They shall not pass; Freedom Under Parole, (1951); Eagle or Sun, (1957); The Sun Stone. In the same period he produced prose volumes of essays and literary criticism including “The Labyrinths of Solitude (1950) an influential essay in which he analyses the character, history and culture of Mexico and the Bow and the Lyre (1956); The Pears of the Elm (1957).
  Then, Paz entered Mexico’s diplomatic service in 1945. Serving in a variety of assignments, he was Mexico’s ambassador to India from 1962 to 1968. In the latter year, Paz resigned in protest over Mexico’s treatment of student radicals. In his later years from the 1970s, Paz edited Plural magazine, a review of literature and politics, Paz’s later works are suffused with his understanding of Indian-American myths and discussions of world’s cultural attitudes. He wrote books on international politics with emphasis on the relationships between the United States and Latin America.
  Paz was influenced by Marxism, Surrealism, Existentialism and Buddhism. In the poetry of his maturity, he used a rich flow of surrealistic imagery in dealing with metaphysical questions. As one critic said he explores the zones of modern culture outside the market place and his most prominent theme was the human ability to overcome existential solitude through erotic love and artistic creativity. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Paz received the Cervantes Prize – the most prestigious Spanish language accolade. His Complete Works were published in 1994.

On the Path of Winners By Bayo Ogunmupe How to persuade other people


On the Path of Winners
By Bayo Ogunmupe

How to persuade other people
THE ability to persuade is the key to power. We often condemn persuaders, yet we all win through life by persuasion. A winner increases his power by getting people to do what he wants. And the most effective tools to accomplish your desires are flattery, rewards, guilt and fear. Everyone reacts favourably towards flattery.
  There is a basic insecurity that prevents people from feeling pleased with themselves and their successes. The key to successful flattery is to zero in on those areas of his concern – his new car, his promotion, his daughter’s history prize.
  Besides, second hand flattery can be greatly effective. Things like, Gregory told me that everyone at your office is excited about your new campaign jingle. You must be a genius to craft such a magnificent product. Congratulations. This bolsters the ego, lets him know you think he is a great guy – and that his coworkers do too. It makes you feel good to know that people are talking about you in favourable terms.
  Flattery isn’t confined to compliments. Using someone’s name several times in a conversation is flattering to that person – if you are his superior. Many executives take a few minutes everyday to write stroking letters to friends and acquaintances who have received promotions or awards or delivered a speech or gotten married. The recipient’s opinion of you rises because he feels that you have a high regard for him. Write your stroking letters by hand to deepen your intimacy. Henry Kissinger, Nobel Laureate and former U.S. Secretary of State was a skilled practitioner of flattery in his diplomacy. “You must be subtle,” he explains in his memoirs. “Most leaders are extremely shrewd. They have great resistance to being manipulated, because they manipulate others.” Flattery enhances a man’s confidence, making him believe he can solve his own problems.
  Listening, not imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery. Most people don’t listen. They simply wait out another person’s comment, planning just what they are going to say when he stops talking. The result is a series of monologues instead of an exchange of views. If you want to influence a person, don’t just sit alert at his presence, listen to what he is saying. Don’t look for the flaws in his speech ask him to clarify points. Then tell him what it is that you want and point out to him areas where you agree with him. He will be flattered that you have listened intently to him, and that you take him seriously.
  This sensitive listening technique is a very good way to make friends. Listening involves more than your ears. Just letting a man talk while you listen is enough to bring him around to your way of thinking. The only way to handle people who jump to conclusions, who are opinionated or suspicious, is to let them argue themselves around to doing what you want.
  There are three steps to this listening technique, one, state what you want very clearly. Two, listen to your interlocutor’s arguments. Do not interrupt him. Let him talk himself out. If he should pause for seconds, you can ask him to amplify a certain statement, but also do not try to argue with him.
  Three, when he has finally finished talking, then react by saying, “yes, I think I understand your point, but I want you to know exactly how I feel about this.” When you finish your brief statement, let him talk more. By the time he finishes, he would have talked himself out of his original position and adopted yours. If he is still adamant, forget it. You can’t win them all.
  Also, you may flatter someone by letting him know how seriously you are listening to him, and by using body language. Do this by sitting up in a relaxed but alert way. Keep your hands still and watch the other person’s face. You are telling him more clearly than if you used words that you are listening carefully to what he has to say.
  The world’s most successful men have always used flattery to help achieve their purposes. “There is nothing that so kills the ambitions of a man as criticism from his superiors,” said the 19th century American multimillionaire Charles Schwab. “I never criticize anyone. I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault.” If you like something, you should be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise. That means criticism will get you no where in your ambition for greatness.
  Helping your opponent save face is the key element in any successful negotiation, be it a contract, lease or getting a bill through parliament. However, rewards are the pleasantest of tools, but you should use it sparingly. For the moment it is taken for granted, it loses its power to enchant.
  Our champion for today is Horst Stormer, the German American physicist who with Daniel Tsui and Robert Laughlin won the 1998 Nobel Prize for physics – for the discovery of the fractional quantum Hall effect.
  After earning a PhD. In Physics form the University of Stuttgart in 1977, Stormer moved to the United States. In 1978, he joined the research staff of Bell Laboratories in New Jersey working with Tsui. Stormer was head of Bell Labs from 1992 to 1998 when he became  a professor at Columbia University.
  The research of Stormer and Tsui was based on the Bell effect which denotes the voltage that develops between the edges of a then current-carrying ribbon placed flat between the poles for a strong magnet. In 1980 Klaus Von Klitzing discovered that at extremely low temperatures with the Hall resistance occurring in discrete jumps thereby inhibiting quantum properties. Stormer and Tsui extended Klitzing work, observing the Hall effect in temperatures close to zero. In 1982 they saw that under these conditions the Hall effect varies not only stepwise but in fractional increments, implying that the charge carriers carry exact fractions of an electron’s charge. In 1983 Laughlin explained this phenomenon, proposing that the electrons form a quantum fluid made up of quasi-particles that have fractional electric charges. Daniel Tsui is a Chinese American physicist who discovered the Hall effect with Stormer. After his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1967, he joined Stormer at Bell Labs. He became professor of physics at Princeton University in 1982. For Robert Laughlin, the last of the trio who won the 1998 Nobel Prize for physics, he explained the Hall effect, which Stormer and Tsui discovered. Laughlin was born in California USA in November 1950. After gaining his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1979, he conducted research at Livermore Labs at California. Laughlin joined the faculty of Stanford University in 1985 becoming a professor there later. He received his share of the Nobel Prize for explaining the puzzling experiments of Hall effects which he explained in 1982.
  However, it was not until 1983 that Laughlin could provide the theoretical explanation for the experiments, positing that the electrons condense into quantum fluid which was why they behave as fractionally charged quasi particles.


on the path of winners


On the Path to Winners
By Bayo Ogunmupe

How to get what you want
POWER is a loaded word. It makes people uncomfortable. But yet everyone wants power to be able to get what he wants and make others do what he wants, which is what all that power really is. This piece is for those whose goal in life is power. Women are actually more power hungry than men. Studies indicate that while they are in high school and university, they pursue power goals for more than male students. It is impossible to draw valid conclusions from findings, however, until follow-up studies are done to see if the power drive is maintained over time.
  Power has only recently become a possibility for women. But Dr. Okonjo Iweala did not lose to Yong Kim on the platter of gender. Kim is just too pre-eminent as a thinker and development catalyst to lose. When enough women achieve power, it is possible that they may change the world. Perhaps then, they may adopt male power patterns. One thing we do know however, is that the man or woman driven by the need for power does not need any test to find out what he wants other than power. He or she knows he wants power.
  Damola did not have to seek power. She inherited it. Her father died when she was 30, and left her the sole owner of a vast business empire. No one expected her to be more than a figurehead. Perhaps not even that because she had all her life been devoted to pleasure and excitement. She flew her own jet, was constantly on the gossip columns, her name always linked with rich and famous men. Her father doted on her, amused by her escapades. But he died and the scramble for power and control of his business began.
  As first born, Damola was the nominal head of the empire, but the power was in the hands of the director of operations, one who was hungry for power and money, and sure to get it. Damola had shown no interest in her inheritance. She was grief-stricken, gone into seclusion. She emerged to make occasional headlines when she attended royal weddings and involved in automobile crash, forcing her into another temporary seclusion. The business however, went on, suffering from infighting owing to lack of a leader. Then rumours of a takeover rent the air.
  Then Damola grasped the power she had inherited. The takeover maneuvers have shaken her from slumbers. She was used to being the heiress, the beauty, the daredevil playgirl. Suddenly, she realised she had enjoyed vicarious power only. The new reality had set the tone of her life. Now, her life was endangered by power hungry employees.
  It took less than a year to turn her empire around. She cleared the deadwoods, fired those executives who opposed her – men she had formerly deferred to, now surrounded herself with vigorous executives who were ready to break with the old ways of doing things. Thus at 35, Damola is in complete control of her empire. Now her name is in  the financial pages of the tabloids, not in the gossip columns. And she is referred to as a shrewd gambler and brilliant operator, no longer as playgirl and spoiled heiress. Thus Damola discovered power is the ultimate excitement. When one intrepid reporter asked if she planned to get married, Damola answered bluntly, “I could not respect a husband who was not my equal. And there are very few men today who are. Who else has as much power and as much money?”
  People who possess power bestowing resources are often unaware of their power, until like Damola, they are in danger of losing it and shocked to realise how much they have been taking for granted. The ability to manipulate effectively is the key to power. Bertrand Russell, the philosopher and winner of the 1950 Nobel Prize for literature defined power as, “the production of intended effects,” which means, “getting what you want.” Howe do you produce those effects? It is by manipulating people and circumstances. Manipulation is the tool of witches. Subtly, cleverly, they push you to corners, misadvise you to get their way. That’s how it works. With varying degrees of skill, the secretary who insists the executive calling her boss must come onto the line before she puts her boss on the phone, the mother who tells her two year-old that it is time for ice cream and juice instead of saying, “come home now it is getting cold outside” are manipulating. And there are many ways to manipulate. Physical persuasion is one. If you threaten a person with violence, harm, he might do whatever it is you want, although he won’t like it.
  Physical persuasion is a clumsily primitive method of manipulation. The power person achieves and increases his power by getting people to do what he wants them to by making them want to do it. The most effective tools to accomplish manipulation are flattery, rewards, guilt and fear in that order. For instance, my wife had flattered me over weeks after  I had refused to replace a rug soaked by windstorm and our wardrobe mirror she negligently broke. Eventually I was cajoled into paying to replace those items after an initial refusal. It was months later I realized I had succumbed to manipulation.
  So when you tell someone she is marvelous, talented, beautiful and brilliant, that person is going to lap it so much that she will be delighted to do anything to please you. Moreover, second hand flattery is also very effective. Things like, “Chike told me that everybody at your office was excited about your new campaign jingle. You must be very inventive. Congratulations.” This bolsters the ego, lets him know you think he is a great artist. If you want to influence someone, listen to what he says. Don’t be alert to the flaws of his arguments. Listen. When he finishes, ask questions, then tell him what you want and point out the areas where you are in agreement. He will be flattered that you have listened intently, that you take him seriously and that you respect him.
  My piece on creativity created a furor on the lackluster achievements of my country men in the areas of creativity, discovery, courage and leadership. Femi Ogunsanwo a Daily Times co-worker friend and author corrected me, proving that Columbia University is the leading school among Nobel Prize laureates with Barack Obama as its 96th laureate. It was closely followed by the University of Cambridge, UK, with 88 laureates. Dr. Aderogba  Otunla of Bingham University, Lafia, Nasarawa State then unearthed Prof. John Dabiri of Graduate Aeronautical Laboratories in the California Institute of Technology, USA as an inventor and distinguished academic. What we know of him is that he is Yoruba, which means he is either a Nigerian or a Beninois from Benin Republic, West Africa. In 2010, he won the Mac Arthur Fellowship.
  Dabiri graduated from Princeton University in Aeronautic Engineering with first class. He went to Caltech as a National Defence Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow. Then he earned a master’s in Aeronautics followed by a PhD in Bioengineering in 2005. He joined the Caltech faculty in 2005. Popular science magazine named him one of its “Brilliant 10” scientists for 2008. His expertise is in mechanics and dynamics of biological propulsion, fluid dynamic energy conversion. His patented inventions includes: self contained underwater velocimetry apparatus. Two, a two-dimensional army of turbines, three, propeller based pulsed jet propulsion system and four, passive mechanism for pulsatile jet propulsion. All patents registered in the United States.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Title: Monopoly of Wisdom Publisher: Fourth Floor Press, 2012, Ottawa, Canada Author: Afam Nkemdiche Reviewer: Bayo Ogunmupe


Title: Monopoly of Wisdom
Publisher: Fourth Floor Press, 2012, Ottawa, Canada
Author: Afam Nkemdiche

Reviewer: Bayo Ogunmupe

THE book, Monopoly of Wisdom is a novel written by Afam Nkemdiche, a Nigerian educated in Britain and the United States. The book is set in the early 1950s during Nigeria’s struggle for independence. It tells the story of a king Obong Ufot, a tale reminiscent of the Calabari  Kingdom in Cross River State, Nigeria. This Obong is a well educated young man. This man of the world breeming with new ideas finds himself desperately seeking solutions to the problems of his domain.
  Also, the name of his kingdom – Okoko, looks like a place in Lagos State called Okokomaiko, but the placing is different. This Okoko community faces a decade long drought which has impoverished the kingdom forcing residents to flee to neighbouring countries. As the drought noose tightens with the land drying up, this formerly prosperous territory finds its inhabitants migrating abroad in hope of finding new ways of livelihood.
  Caught within the ancient beliefs of his people and the West European tradition this traditional ruler finds himself torn between two opposing doctrines, two different sets of wisdom. Out of dispair he adopts the traditional, weather-worn beliefs of his people through the advice of his chiefs.
  Unfortunately, the ancient wisdom isn’t a match to the modern problems of his day, culminating in disastrous consequences. Monopoly of Wisdom is a new voice in the discordant tunes that rues the Nigerian federation. This book is both challenging and moving, it continues to be an entertaining parable of the struggle to redeem the heritage of Africa.
  This book is rather large, it has 358 pages, 33 chapters and the author’s biodata. The first eight chapters delineates the physical environment of Okoko Kingdom. It is a land of farmers, because the land is rich and develops food crops of all types: yam, cassava, sugar cane, coca and coco-yam. Okoko is also endowed with rich materials and animals such as fish, lamb and other meat producing animals.
  Apart from farming, teaching is the second most important occupation of the people. Their many primary and secondary schools encouraged many to go for teaching positions in order to keep up with modernity and educate Okoko indigenes. The landscape consists of extensive lava plains dotted with many extinct volcanoes.
  The animal life includes chimpanzees, gorillas, wild dogs, leopards and giraffes. The tree-studded savanna housed them. The riverine areas become the reserve of snakes, lions, crocodiles and many other species of animals.
  Much of Okoko region is available as pasture while a sizeable portion is arable land. One day, on their way to the farm, very early in the morning, Umana the protagonist of this story, three of his sons, and eight farmhands among a handful of other farmers, joined four returning visitors at a school junction on the east main road to Okoko. Not unlike their ceremonial chalk marks, all the kingdoms in the region had distinct methods of salutation. Which was why Ekanem knew that the strangers were from Ikot Abasi, his maternal grandmother’s birth place.
  Scenes like this dotted the novel, making it pleasurable reading. From chapter nine to 12, we notice a description of family life where an argument as to the genealogy of Ekanem is the centre of the dispute. Had Mama Ekanem had not known her husband, Umana, as a teetotaler, she would have thought he was drunk of palm wine. But in their 34 years of marriage she could not recall, once, when her farmer husband was ever drunk. She could not decipher the fact from jokes, for the charge that Ekanem is a bastard was too grave to be dismissed with the wave of hands. However, Ekanem’s mother defended her son’s genealogy, that he is a full blooded Umana because he took after Umana’s flat nose and broad forehead. In all, she succeeded in defending her chastity, claiming a good child is always accepted by the father but when a child behaves badly, the father disclaims him.
  From chapter 16, Ekanem began to understand the problems plaguing his kingdom. Laying awake on his straw mattress in the room he shared with his younger siblings, Asuquo and Ettas, Ekanem resolved to seek a second opinion on Victor’s homily from his kinsmen. If Victor’s explanation of the travails of Okoko was correct, then the people must have done something wrong for them to earn the wrath of the gods.
  Therefore, Ekanem thought the solution before him lay not in fighting their enemies but in seeking out what it was that had incurred the wrath of the gods.
  The explanation of his friend Victor, eventually convinced Ekanem of the curse of the gods on Okoko. This position was all the more convincing to Ekanem when seen in the light of his father’s earlier remarks that, “some of the profound secrets of life are revealed as a common joke from the least expected lips.” It is from that phrase that “Monopoly of Wisdom” was revealed as the title of this fable. That is to say, error comes from the belief that you have a monopoly of wisdom. To think of yourself as a wise man is be wallow in error.
  From chapter 17 to the end constitutes the quest by Ekanem and his advisers to gain solutions to the plight of Okoko. This book is available at amazon.com; Laterna, Lifestyle, Glendora and Debonair Books. It is also on sale at the Book Company. Canada.
  At this time of trouble from Haramists in Nigeria, this book gives a deep breath of mountain air, an antidote to weariness and confusion.
  Monopoly of Wisdom is a wonderful reading in getting to know the Nigerian reality. In this book, Afam Nkemdiche has devised a formula to help his readers to live more abundant lives, giving them courage and insight with which to lead happy lives.
  The author, Afam Nkemdiche is indigenous to Ugbodu, Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State. But he was born in Enugu 50 years ago and educated in South Bank University, London, UK and at the University of Detroit, USA.
  He worked with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) before establishing his own engineering consultancy company in Abuja, Nigeria. Afam lives with his family in Abuja.