Sunday, August 17, 2014

Who Owns Nigeria? By Onyi Uchegbulam @prettyonyi

After careful observation accompanied with deep thoughts, I dare say that our root problem in Nigeria is ownership- ownership of our country; people, community & environment. In my opinion, about 80% of Nigerians look forward to absconding (and probably never come back) or staying back with the intention of taking as much money possible for self gratification. This thought made a deep impression in my mind as I travelled through the states (as a result of the nature of my job) and realised that every state had one thing in common: lack of maintenance. Yes, lack of maintenance of structures at first but when I began to brood on it, I found out, it goes much deeper than that.

Think about this; if something belongs to you, and it is of value to you, naturally its wise usage and maintenance will be of interest to you, to ensure its effectiveness. We've used up and keep using up our country (carelessly) without a maintenance plan.

An average Nigerian does not 'believe' this country belongs to him/her and so cares less about her. Take a look at our structures. As simple as a good maintenance plan for our existing structures can comfortably make our country almost as beautiful as any developed country. I say 'almost' because I acknowledge that their rate of development is faster than ours (for now).

Jos, the capital of Plateau State, used to be a town worth going to on vacation but following different crisis perpetuated by certain Nigerians, Jos has become a shadow of itself. We have misused the town following various crisis created by our minds.

Nigeria is gifted with beautiful natural sites but who will own the land and make it a duty to harness & create something out of it?

Our human capital are both misused and not 'maintained'. Consider how our youths are used to perpetuate evil, in a country where they should be making innovative decisions as leaders. Our current leaders do not see the need to own us and invest wisely in us, knowing that our success is their success and that of the entire nation.

Who cares for Nigeria? The pains of dis-unity it bears, the effect of our molestation on her, the damage our malignant tumour-ous activities on her brain. I ask again who cares for our country?

How far do we wish to go on taking all we can from her, weakening her and giving nothing back? And then we stand and curse her with words like ' this country is not going anywhere' this country is hard' our followers are ungrateful' our leaders are selfish'.....and so on. Even the Bible let's us know that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Ironically, we speak death to our Country and complain that it is dead.

Dear Nigerian, before you throw trash on the road, run a traffic light, spoil the tap of runny water in your office and walk away, use youths to rig election, sponsor terrorists, brain wash innocent kids on the streets for evil, send your child to a UK school and watch ASUU strike for months, keep avoiding retirement such that the younger generation don't come into office, curse our leaders and followers, before you get involved in these acts, stop and ask yourself 'Who owns Nigeria?



Onyi Uchegbulam
Follow on twitter: @prettyonyi

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Building a generation of youth with sound minds

Happy International Youth Day!

"If we don't take care of our future, if we don't make sure that young people are really given opportunities to realise their potential then we cannot hope to develop our continent." – Mo Ibrahim

Building a generation of sound mind

The theme for this year's International Youth Day (IYD) reminds me of my trip to the psychiatric hospital in 2010. I had an enlightening interview session with two doctors on the alarming increase of factors affecting mental health and the socio-cultural vices limiting medical interventions and treatment of mental disorder. You might want to check out the full report here

As we mark yet another exciting IYD with a focus on "Youth and Mental Health", I hope the day will not just be a whirlwind of activities. Each and everyone of us must commit and positively reach out to a young person in our community [neighborhood] and consciously mentor, support, groom, liberate him or her for a better today and tomorrow. This will reduce young people's vulnerability to mental disorder.

If you know a young person- out-of-school youth, or undergraduate, kindly forward this link [http://www.scribd.com/doc/210221423/Half-A-Loaf-A-Bakery-by-Jennifer-Ehidiamen-and-Funso-Bukoye] to download a free copy of "Half a Loaf & a Bakery," a book on youth volunteering, education, entrepreneurship and employment. It also tells the story of how five young people who are top leaders in their fields today started out. Please follow this link to download a copy of the book for FREE.

Half a Loaf and a Bakery

ISBN:
 978-978-936-307-0

Author: Jennifer Ehidiamen

Interviewer: 'Funso Bukoye

Foreword: Mrs Oby Ezekwesili

Publisher: Click Weavers Communication (CWC) Limited.

Also available on OkadaBooks [android app] and bookstores near you [Media store, Silverbird Galleria Abuja; Florence and Lambard bookstore Palmgrove, Lagos; Terra Kulture, Victoria Island Lagos].

Stay mentally healthy!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Apply for, participate in, support TechCamp West Africa [@GhanaThink @USEmbassyGhana]

From @abocco:

For all the entrepreneurs who meet the minimum requirements, please read below and apply to take part in TECHCAMP WEST AFRICA.

Are you between 25 - 35 years? Do you believe that your generation can be the catalyst for job creation? Have you made positive change in your neighborhood or community? Are you ready to be part of a greater community? Do you reside in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, or Togo? We want to hear from you.

GhanaThink in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Ghana is organizing TechCamp West Africa in Accra, Ghana from November 14 - 16, 2014 to address the primary concern of youth in the region -- “Unemployment and Job Creation.” Our objective as solution seekers is to create and develop a lasting network of change agents to increase regional communication, coordination, and ultimately trade across West Africa. Together with private sector experts, the 100 selected participants will explore obstacles to small business growth and share best practices for private and social entrepreneurs for solving regional challenges through idea-sharing, collaboration, partnership and learning. Intrigued? Apply to be part of TechCamp West Africa at www.techcampwestafrica.org http://www.techcampwestafrica.org/ before August 15.

Come and share, explore, and build with us at TechCamp West Africa. For more information, see www.techcampwestafrica.org or contact GhanaThink via Twitter @GhanaThink or US Embassy Ghana @USEmbassyGhana


BackgroundDozens of TechCamps around the world have brought together representatives from the private sector and civil society to seek solutions to community challenges. They are unique in that after the event is over, civil society voices are connected to global networks of technologists, sponsors and digital volunteers interested in helping implement solutions.



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Advice to potential investors or #entrepreneurs


Mr Audu Sani, an entrepreneur based in Lafia, compares the process of starting a business to eating an apple... :-)

Advice to potential investors or entrepreneurs
Sani: People invest in businesses and after a few years pack up. You don’t just venture into business and expect to start making money. In this town, I have seen a lot of businesses come up and fold up- I have seen people open shop and close up. When we go into business, we should not expect to see profit immediately. That is where our people loose focus. When you start up a business, you should have a plan B. Plan B is where you can now be getting funds to feed yourself and family. Whatever business you start, it needs to be nurtured. It is like the Apple. You know when you want to enjoy your apple, you don’t just buy your apple and start eating it. You will not enjoy it. When you buy the apple, you wash it. If possible, if you are not allergic to cold, you will freeze it. Then, you wait. When it is chilled, you bring it out. Then you place it on a saucer, pick a knife and gradually cut and enjoy it. You don’t just buy the apple and bite it. How do you chew it? It becomes a problem. What I advice is when we invest into a business, take enough time to nurture that business, watch it carefully. Look at the result. Listen to the feedback, whether it is positive or negative. Most people don’t even watch business programmes on TV, they find it boring, they prefer movies. There is nothing wrong with it. But these are things that can help out. So that when the business has any challenge you’ll have the patience to tackle it.

Read the full interview on RURAL REPORTERS
http://ruralreporters.com/doing-business-in-north-central-nigeria-interview-with-mr-audu-blackgold-sani-lafia-based-entrepreneur/


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

EXPLORING THE UNTAPPED POTENTIAL IN LOCAL PHARMACEUTICAL SECTOR


Pharmacist Usman Sambo, a local pharmacist based in North-central Nigeria, sheds light on the reality of operating a health related venture- highlighting the opportunities and challenges facing a local pharmaceutical company. Despite operating in one of Nigeria’s youngest states that was once ranked 7th easiest place to start business in Nigeria, Sambo says there are still many obstacles hindering entrepreneurial growth in the state amidst the opportunities.

Here is the one-on-one interview held in his office based in Lafia, Nasarawa state. 

 Pharmacist Usman Sambo, launched his business, Eternity Pharmaceuticals Limited, in Lafia Nasarawa State in 2011. This was after 20 years of serving as a Civil Servant in a government parastatal. Sambo says, he started his business out of necessity. Starting Up I am not very good at buying and selling even though I am a pharmacist. I always believe that service to humanity is the best work of life. I worked in [public service] right from the time I graduated in 1979 up to the time I was retired in 2007. I would say it is necessity, which they say is the mother of invention, that made me launch my business. Initially I started with consultancy. Unfortunately I wasn’t getting much job. And I’m not used to sitting down at home doing nothing. So I felt since I am a pharmacist, I should be able to establish a business. I’m hoping that this will catapult me into opening a pharmaceutical manufacturing unit. . - See more at: http://ruralreporters.com/exploring-the-untapped-potential-in-local-pharmaceutical-sector/ | Rural Reporters


Wednesday, July 02, 2014

For Kids, This Long-Holiday via @BetricEbunoluwa cc @KidsAndTeensNG #Nigeria #Lagos


"If you are looking to engage your kids with a different kind of learning and activity outside the classroom during the long holiday. This may be for you. Creative writing/story telling, critical thinking, crafts with ankara, financial literacy and more. It runs for two weeks." Contact @BetricEbunoluwa for more info!

For registration details call+2348038591002+2347025158046  Email: summerofdreams2014@gmail.com


Venue: Ogudu GRA, Lagos


Monday, June 23, 2014

An Exciting Opportunity For Under 35 Female Entrepreneurs in West #Africa


She Leads Africa Launches Female Entrepreneurs Pitch Competition in West Africa, $10,000 Cash Prize for 1st Place

She Leads Africa has announced the launch of a business pitch competition exclusively for female entrepreneurs, which will give the most promising female entrepreneurs in West Africa a platform to connect to prominent mentors, business funding and new market opportunities. 

“Female entrepreneurs are unfortunately missing from the conversation around Africa’s growth story but the continent will not be able to reach its full potential without the full economic participation of women”, says lead organiser Afua Osei. She Leads Africa addresses this challenge head on with a series of programs to help female entrepreneurs gain business fundamentals, connect to an active business network, and increase their access to financing.
The first initiative to increase access to finance is a Pitch Competition in September which will screen applications from across West Africa to identify the top 10 talented female entrepreneurs who have founded or co-founded early stage startups. Finalists will be selected by professionals in the consulting, venture capital, and finance industry based on the strength of the idea, ability to scale, understanding of the market, and quality of the management team. Special consideration will be given to entrepreneurs in the technology sector. 

Finalists will be paired with mentors to help advance their businesses and the entrepreneurs will be brought to Lagos to pitch their businesses to a panel of notable business personalities including Hakeem Belo-Osagie Chairman, Etisalat Nigeria; and Ngozi Edozien, CEO InVivo Partners; and Bola Adesola, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank. Finalists will compete for a $10,000 cash first place prize, one-on-one meetings with venture capitalists, legal advice from a premier law firm, free business lines and internet packages for a year, tablets, SME accounting software and more.

The Pitch Competition is supported by sponsors Etisalat, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, FSDH Capital, Start Smart Ghana and media partners Genevieve Magazine, Tech Cabal, Venture Burn, and Bella Naija.

Applications for entrepreneurs open June 23rd and will close July 30th 2014. For more information please visit: www.SheLeadsAfrica.org or email: info (at) sheleadsafrica.org.


About She Leads Africa

She Leads Africa is a social enterprise ensuring that women are part of Africa’s growth story by helping female entrepreneurs gain access to the knowledge, networks, and financing to build and scale strong businesses.



Contact: 
Web site: www.SheLeadsAfrica.org

Email: info (at) sheleadsafrica.org      Follow on Twitter @SheLeadsAfrica