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Saturday, May 12, 2018

This month on TIMELESS...

Africa’s Growing Art Scene Turns To Private Funding
Across the continent, from Morocco to South Africa, philanthropists are pouring money into developing a cultural ecosystem, opening museums and sponsoring residencies, art fairs or symposia, and sketching out plans to reinvigorate dilapidated state-owned galleries. Read more...

The Nigerian Rice Conversation And The Nexus With Food Security
Nigeria depending on the data being presented and the one you believe consumes between 5.5 -7.0million metric tons of rice per annum. About 3.9 million tons of that is produced locally meaning we technically have a gap of 3 million tons, which can only be met by legitimate imports or smuggling. Read more...

High Heels With Lilian
In this month's High Heels With Lilian, Lilian Imoni speaks with Patricia Omoqui...Life Transformation Coach, Internationally Recognised Speaker And Writer. Read more...

Interview with Dr Tokunbo Alli of AXA Mansard Health Insurance
Malaria continues to constitute the biggest killer disease across Africa especially of children below 5. The World Malaria Day happened recently and the Group Head, Medical Services of AXA Mansard has something to share with Nigerians. Read more...

Obasanjo Delivers Public Lecture at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, two-time Head of State and Chairman of the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG) Panel of Advisors, recently delivered a Public Lecture titled ‘Leadership in the African Context – How to Drive Transformational Change in African Countries’ at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. The Lecture was made possible by a partnership between Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG) and the Blavatnik School of Government, based on the shared purpose of building good governance and public leadership in Africa. Read more...

And in our Living & Style section
We serve you a Digitally Simple Chocolate Cake by Cakeflair and Thai Chicken And Vegetable Spicy Stir Fry by Grubsmagazine. Read more...

This Premier League Player’s Position? Left Out
For much of the last 18 years, he has barely played at all: just 95 times in total; only 10 games since 2009 and not at all since 2015. This has earned him a reputation as that of a man who “loves going round clubs, earning money for doing nothing.” Read more...

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

World Happiness Day: Nigerians' Social Interactions Remained High Amidst Poor Economic Situation

The United Nations (UN) World Happiness Day is observed on the 20th of March annually. The day aims to recognize the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals in the lives of people around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives. The main theme for 2018 is “Share Happiness – focusing on the importance of relationships, kindness and helping each other”. The day also recognizes the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all people.

In commemoration of the 2018 World Happiness Day, NOIPolls released its findings from its past poll on Personal Well-Being conducted in Q4 2017, which highlighted the satisfaction of Nigerians with respect to various aspects of lives. Though the Economic, Standard of Living and Achievement in Life indices were the lowest ranked indicators, the Social Interaction Index which is a vital aspect of happiness was ranked highly and experienced an increase of 1.9-point from Q3, 2017 to stand at 79.4-points in Q4, 2017. This corroborates a report released by a United Kingdom based charity Age UK in 2017, which revealed that staying social is one of the key ways of staying happy. Social activities such as going to the cinema, joining a sports club, or getting involved in a volunteer group are some of the most effective ways of boosting feelings of happiness and well-being, as well as overall health.

In line with the Day, the World Happiness Report released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations on March 14th 2018, ranked Nigeria the 91st happiest nation in the world and 5th in Africa. As revealed by the report, Nigerians seem to be happier now, as the country moved up from her previous position of 95th at the global level and 6th in African in 2017. 

Nigeria’s position in the World Happiness Report has shown that despite the economic and security challenges being faced in the country, her citizens strive to remain happy. This substantiates the Q4, 2017 Personal Well-Being Index, which revealed a high ranking in social interaction (79.4-points) and health (76.4-points) indices despite the low ranking of the Economic, Standard of Living and Achievement in Life indices.

The above goes to show that Nigerians can achieve even greater feats if key government policies tackling mental health, happiness and permanently putting to an end the security and economic crisis in the country are formulated and strongly implemented.

Thursday, March 1, 2018


YouREAD Initiative, a CSR initiative of GTBank launched last year to rekindle interest in reading, has given its support to a 40-year old Nigerian, Olubayode Treasures Olawunmi, who is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the Longest Marathon Read Aloud.

The current record holder, Deepak Sharma Bajaan attained the feat in 2008 after he read a total of 17 books in 113 hours and 15 minutes. Now, Treasure Olawunmi is taking a shot at breaking the world record by reading over 15 Nigerian published books in 120 hours over a period of 6 days at the Herbert Macaulay Library, Yaba recently refurbished by the bank.

Treasures Olawunmi started the challenge on Monday 26th February, 2018 at exactly 1:30pm Nigerian time. So far, he has read nine books including Toni Kan’s The Carnivorous City, Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s Independence, Leye Adenle’s Easy Motion Tourist, Elnathan John’s Born on a Tuesday amongst many others.

Today, 1st March, has been set aside by UNESCO as the World Book Day and it is the 3rd day of his marathon attempt, he has done over 72 hours of reading. YouREAD Initiative celebrated the day with him, students from various schools in the environs and over 250 readers who filled the library to capacity.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Murtala Muhammed: 42 Years Later, and A Call for National RebirthGen

General Murtala Muhammed

13th February 2018 (last week Tuesday) marked the 42nd anniversary of the death of General Murtala Ramat Muhammed, Nigeria’s then Head of State and Commander-in-Chief, through an assassination in an attempted coup in Lagos, Nigeria’s then federal capital city. He was just 37, leaving behind his only wife, Ajoke, and six young children. A fine gentleman and revolutionary leader, General Muhammed stood for patriotism, positive nationalism, pan-Africanism, and strategic foreign policy.

In a statement released by the foundation founded in his honour, his daughter Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode, CEO and trustee of the Murtala Muhammed Foundation noted that 42 years later, the time remains ripe as ever to examine and extrapolate the ideas and ideals of the late General in the context of the existential challenges, which our country Nigeria currently faces.

During his time as Head of State, Nigeria became relevant in Africa and the world. General Muhammed was not only ideologically driven, he was methodical as he employed the power of plans and think tanks. He named Abuja as the new Federal Capital Territory, citing the geographical centrality of Abuja as a uniting factor. He also re-federalised Nigeria with the creation of seven states, including Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Imo, Niger, Ogun and Ondo. He re-organised the Nigerian armed forces and initiated a comprehensive review of the Third National Development Plan, all within his one year at the helm of the affairs.” She noted

On October 1st 1975, General Muhammed announced the five-stage program of transition to civilian rule, from 1975 to 1979. This comprised the creation of new states and the reorganisation of the local government system, the setting up of a Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), followed by a Constituent Assembly (CA) to deliberate on the draft constitution, lifting of the ban on politics, elections into state and federal legislatures, and the handing over of power to civilians on October 1, 1979. Muhammed recognised that structural reforms were required with the demilitarization process, to create a viable political system that will be stable and responsive to the needs and realities of the country. However, this transition to civil rule program had barely started when he was assassinated.

Today, our country Nigeria is still facing problems that General Muhammed sought to eradicate 42 years ago; corruption, poverty, civil unrest and a shaky foreign policy architecture. At the global level, Nigeria can and should leverage on the legacy of General Muhammed, for Africa to once again find its dominant space in world affairs. His Afro-centric foreign policy strategy not only placed Nigeria above its African counterparts, it effectively crashed the pillars of injustice and apartheid in Southern Africa. The ‘neutral’ stance of Nigeria during the cold war era as against the politically correct ‘non-aligned’ movement of the time made Nigeria stand out from the pack. That there is no more cold war should not diminish the voice of Africa’s most populous country,” the statement noted.

Gen Muhammed with Prof Bolaji Akinyemi

It is important at a time like this when our continent is being derided to recall General Muhammed’s speech to the AU leadership on the 11th of January 1976, delivered with so much pride and expectation: “Africa has come of age. It’s no longer under the orbit of any extra continental power. It should no longer take orders from any country, however powerful. The fortunes of Africa are in our hands to make or mar. For too long have we been kicked around; for too long have we been treated like adolescents who cannot discern their interests and act accordingly.”

The foundation further noted that sound and strategic foreign policy can be the bedrock of national development as it was in the days of General Muhammed. Global politics it said is an extension of domestic policies and Nigeria needs restructuring of minds, of attitude, of economic thinking and of course, of governmental structures.

Above all, if we can begin to train the minds of the young and the old at domesticating pan-African ideologies of self-reliance and self-sufficiency, we will overcome our developmental challenges. An opportunity for our national rebirth is here, if only we can replicate some of the values and virtues of our heroes past, as demonstrated by the Late Murtala General Muhammed (1938-1976). Reflecting on General Muhammed’s short-lived innovative leadership and legacy, we believe time is now for a re-interrogation and re-calibration of new forms of thought towards national rebirth.”

Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode announced that the Foundation is expanding its co-funded educational scholarship and financial aid fund to N50,000,000 a year and the launch of its quarterly conversations in partnership with the Daily Times of Nigeria with a focus on governance, and leadership in crisis leading up to the 2019 elections and beyond.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Heritage Adoption Support And Advocacy Group Holds Conference On Adoption

The Heritage Adoption Support And Advocacy Group held its first conference recently with the theme, “The Power of Adoption”. Special Guest of Honour at the event was Her Excellency, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, wife of the Vice President of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria.

Speaking at the event, the wife of the Vice-President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo urged Nigerians to adopt saying, “We must choose to fight the negativity that is around adoption and raise our voice to speak out against the stigma, uncertainty and fear attached to adoption.

According to the Managing Trustee and project coordinator of the group, Eme Akenzua, “The aim of this conference is to change the negative perception associated with adoption and thereby make it more acceptable to childless couples and any responsible and God-fearing adult that has the heart and resource to adopt. By so doing, we would achieve our aim of getting all abandoned and needy children into responsible, God-fearing homes.”

The Heritage Adoption Support And Advocacy Group is an offshoot of The Heritage Homes orphanage founded in 2006 by Pastor Ituah Ighodalo. The vision of the group is simply to change the negative perception of adoption in the society and render support to prospective adopters, adoptive parents and adoptees and advocates for better adoption laws.

Speaking at the event, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo said “Adoption would depopulate our streets of children who can easily fall prey to all kinds of vices and become criminals and ultimately a threat to the society. Adoption transforms the lives of both childless couples and adopted children. Through adoption, loving and caring parents are able to fulfill a lifelong desire of having their own child. The culture of shame and stigma associated with adoption in our society must stop.”

He said adoption can be embraced by people who have biological children, but they should have the heart and resources to take another child off the street. He appealed to all government authorities to make it easier for people to adopt children without compromising on the stringent checks and balances to prevent trafficking. He called for the co-operation of religious organisations, government and non-governmental organisations (NGO), corporate entities, the press and all Nigerians to take it as a collective responsibility to promote adoption.

The aims of the conference were to dispel the negative impression of stigma and shame associated with adoption in the society, garner support for the adoption cause, enlighten the general public on the subject of adoption and to let prospective adopters, adoptive parents, adoptees and the entire adoption community know there is a support and advocacy group they can be a part of.

The conference highlighted the issue of infertility in the Nigerian society, which affects about 25% of married couples in the country. The conference noted that while some infertile couples will respond to different types of fertility treatments, some sadly will not and fortunately for such couples, adoption offers an opportunity to have a family. Unfortunately though, because of the stigma and shame associated with adoption, this is usually shrouded in much secrecy. It is this stigma and shame that the group seeks to dispel by enlightening people appropriately on the subject of adoption.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Google Trains One Million African Youths In Digital Skills In 11 Months

Reporting by Ayodeji Jeremiah

Juliet Ehimuan Chiazor, Google Country Manager Nigeria and Vanessa Morris

Mayowa Oshindero, Segun Aboderin, Vanessa Mbaramah, Tele Aina and Vanessa Morris

Bunmi Banjo, Head of Google Africa and Mrs. Moni Udoh,
Director of ICT. Ministry of Communication

Titi Akinsanmi, Policy and Govt Relations Mgr Google and
Taiwo Kola Ogunlade, Communication Mgr. West Africa, Google

On April 12, 2016, Google Nigeria announced an initiative that will provide free digital skills training for one million youths (between ages 18 and 35) within a one year period. The programme was designed to address the issue of unemployment especially amongst young people and provide opportunities for them to succeed in today's digital economy.

Google convened a media briefing in Lagos recently to announce that it had achieved the one million milestone albeit in 10 months. At the event witnessed by partners, the media, participants and Google executives, Google Country Manager for Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor in her welcome address said young people accounted for 60% of unemployed people on the continent; "it's very important to empower young people with the right digital skills for them to create opportunities for themselves and take advantage of the digital economy.”

Titi Akinsanmi, Google Government and Policy Relations Manager moderated the panel discussion that included Mrs. Moni Udoh (representative of the Ministry of Communications), Mr. Smart Akande (from the office of the Special Assistant on the SDGs to the Vice-President) and Mr. Tayo Olosunde (from Mind The Gap, one of the major training partners on the initiative).

Feedback from participants centered mainly on the realisation that most now knew what they wanted to do career wise; they could now be more productive online and they can use the present resources they have more efficiently.

One of the main goals of the MDGs (now replaced by the SDGs) is addressing poverty within the population. With the average age of an African being 19.5 years, the bulk of those that will be affected by poverty will be the youths. With this realisation and the fact that these young people still have their future ahead of them, empowering and educating these sub set of the population (which the Goodle Digital Skills Training provides) is crucial in addressing economic and political challenges on the continent. Bunmi Banjo, Google Brand Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa said “Having one million digitally skilled young people in Africa is good for everyone. If young people have the right skills, they will build businesses, create jobs and boost economic growth across the continent.”

Google is extending its committment by providing offline kits that don't need data to access the training, roll out the training using indigeneous languages, and go outside of their area of operations to reach local communities they ordinarily won't reach.