Friday, December 31, 2010

Le progrès, c'est chic

What is currently wrong with Nigeria and my thoughts on possible effective solution(s) to address the problem. December 31, 2010 update. By Tosin Otitoju.

The people of Nigeria have prioritized three action areas for our leadership to pursue:
1. Electric Power
The current administration aims to attract foreign investment to the power sector. The plan is laudable, but the reform should be led by an expert at deregulation, who is wholly committed to fairness (hint: Ndukwe over Nnaji). Also, the insistence on a transmission monopoly is wrongheaded; please liberalize everything.
2. Better Government
At the national level, Nigeria needs a technocracy – leadership by those with know-how. At the local and state level too, the quality of candidates must rise. Good people (such as yourself) must offer themselves for service.
To destroy the corrupt culture, known looters must be punished. We must commit to anti-fraud practices, such as service automation, forensic accounting, and public oversight.
3. Job creation
To create jobs, we need more risk-takers over job-seekers. They must be provided with capital, often micro-capital. We need access to overseas markets, and better transport and communication networks for local trade. Our education must give effective preparation.

My 2008 essay highlighted some problem areas. Since that time, many programs sprouted to train youth for leadership and entrepreneurship, and Lagos State Government massively improved that city. On the other hand, corruption remains an issue, and religion remains a source of deadly conflict. The arts flower tentatively, with recent successes in film, music, festival, and literary production. Civil society is awakening; citizens stage the occasional protest, only to find that their voices DO count.

As black people, we will continue to define success on our terms: rooted in universal principles, founded on a sense of our history, and in harmony with other cultures. Our quest for a better society will find us copying success stories, for example, an African Union patterned after the European Union; Institutes like the IITs that produced the high-tech workforce of India; press freedom and open government as in Scandinavia; and sovereign wealth management as in the Arabian Gulf. At other times we will walk our own path, for example: doctors favoring homeopathy, legislators working part-time, engineers for reforestation, agricultural chic, and Imams for Jesus.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Think Global, Be Global

It’s another year end, just less than 2 weeks to a new one. And this is wishing everyone great compliments of the season. I know it’s been an eventful year for all with its ups and downs, the high times and the low, but I know more assuredly that it has endowed us all with lessons and discoveries like no other year. Let me use this opportunity to ask any who is willing to share any of theirs to please send me a mail ( and we can have others read and keep to guide and to encourage.

It is a good time in the year to reflect, to review goals, especially in anticipation of other opportunities in the New Year. It is an appropriate time to be grateful too, thankful to the One beyond man who has kept and preserved. I’m sure if we think well, we’ll have a number of things to give thanks for, starting with the gift of life.

For me, 2010 has been quite eventful. For instance, I was able to share regularly on FOOTSTEPS (this means a lot to me), I took a bow to paid employment, I got certified & inducted as an HR Professional and on another extreme, took on a skill in fashion. I can imagine what awaits me in 2011. However, I’m going to take my plans from a different angle this time around, which I believe some would need as well.

Sometime in November, I attended a conference in Lagos. I am very keen on personal development; in fact, I do plan to contribute significantly to the Education Sector sometime in the nearest future, which is what drove me to sit at the Syndicate session on Education. Amongst other things shared, one thing I took away from this meeting was a comment by the Speaker – Mrs. Susan Oyemade, “…you have to be a global teacher, you have to be a global pupil, you have to be a global housewife...” In other words, whatever you have decided to pursue, you need to do it with the world at large in mind, you need to think beyond the local environment, and you need to set a global standard (“world-class", as used in many circles) for yourself.

For a teacher, that’s an easy one. The delivery styles and the contents of the course material for instance need to be worked on, but one would wonder, how can a housewife be global? Well, what recipes is she working on in her food lab (kitchen), the same old ones with the same styles and the same ingredients? What looks does she have on the few times she’s out of the house for a school function or an outing with her husband? While one ponders on this, one has to agree there is room for everyone to think global and to be global.

As we come to another season where we strategize for another year of our lives, we need to ask ourselves what our peers on the global scene are doing better. What are they using to make their work different that we can acquire; what skill have they gained that we can learn, who have they connected with to help them be all they are now, that we need to consider networking with as well (for this we could get their peers in our vicinity). Whichever way, something new and/or something different needs to be worked into our norm to position us globally.

A few, may just actually be ahead of their peers globally already. In Performance Management we refer to them as operating on the Exceed Expectation rating. These ones need to up the stakes, look at their superiors, whose standard they now need to work towards.

I don’t know what we all may have in mind for 2011, but as I challenge myself, I leave this challenge with you, position yourself to become GLOBAL.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Part-time legislature

We need a cheaper, more inclusive legislature. Here is one:

Should Siasia (coach of the Super Eagles football team) be the highest-paid Nigerian staff? What is David Mark (Senate President) doing that is more vital to Nigeria than Siasia's mandate? Should Siasia's wage become the maximum wage in Nigeria?
How come the law gave the Senators one paycheck and then they get paid many times more than that? Shouldn't they pay back the balance to the treasury? What are your thoughts? You're the legislators today, so join the "debate" here

[youth development in Nigeria] apply: Desplay Africa Season 6

Africa's No. 1 youth program for deepening youth understanding of democracy and good governance and breeding
next generation African leaders.

Democracy Series Participatory Learning and Active Youth (DESPLAY Africa), the foremost and consistent annual youth democracy academy in West Africa since 2005 is accepting applications from interested youth. In the past 5 years, DESPLAY Africa admitted youth from Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Cameroon, who were educated on different broad based democracy and governance issues.  For DESPLAY Africa Season 6, about 40 youths from Nigeria and other African countries shall come together under a unique learning platform to deepen their knowledge about democracy and also foster youth participation in governance processes in Africa. This program is for young people that are concerned about Africa's growth and development. It is for those youth who desire to be part of the region's emerging transformational leaders. It is also for those who believe that as youth we can begin to foster positive change in our continent within our space. It has been professed that Africa is the continent of the new millennium, to achieve this potential, new entrepreneurial and transformational actors must emerge to drive the processes. But most critically is the fact that these emerging new actors require unique platforms for interaction, capacity building, knowledge-sharing, and networking among others in preparation for the huge task of leap-frogging Africa's development. It is on this background that we offer DESPLAY Africa Season 6 and invite all those who share in this aspiration to participate therein.

v  Three different workshop/semesters of 4 days each.
Each workshop shall hold in a different city of Nigeria after 3 months interval. This allows participants better appreciate our national diversities and re-enforce the spirit of peaceful co-habitation among people of different socio-religious backgrounds.
v  About 40 different sessions and activities offered.
Each Semester lasts for 4 days and each contain atleast 4 different interactive sessions and activities, including breakout sessions, film shows, debates, panel session, reading class among others. A team of well experienced facilitators ensure quality interactive experiences.
v   Win the "I Debate" Campus debate award.
10 participants of DESPLAY Africa Season 6 shall have the opportunity to each conduct students debate in a higer institution in their state of residence using a template format to ensure uniformity. Finalist from each campus based debate shall be invited to the grand finale during DESPLAY Semester 3 to compete for the "I Debate Prize".
v  Participate in our maiden " Young Champion for Democracy Challenge"
Knowledge, passion, advocacy etc without Action is like wishing to drive a car but not able to actually drive a car. DESPLAY Season 6 shall offer participants the chance to compete in the "Young Champions for Democracy Challenge". It is a component that encourages participants to identify a key issue in our democracy and to implement a project to address that challenge. All projects must be completed 4 weeks before semester to qualify for the award.
v  Opportunity to vie for President of DESPLAY Republic for season 6.
Every season of DESPLAY offers any interested participant the chance to become the DESPLAY Republic President during an election to be conducted in semester 2 by the participants themselves. The current DESPLAY President is Femi……..
v  Gain visibility through Youth Power Weekly Radio Show on Highland FM Jos.
All participants shall enjoy the benefit of featuring on our new weekly radio show Youth Power to contribute to related discussion, give visibility to their projects as well as bring to visibility issues of concern among the youth demography.
v  Participate in a self funded Learning Visit to a Democracy in Africa.
Since 2007 every year, a team of DESPLAY participant raise funds and travel to a democracy in West Africa for a 2 weeks learning visit during which they interact with a cross section of the society including lawmakers, youth leaders, NGOs, students etc. DESPLAY Season also offers this unique learning experience after Semester 2 for those who can afford to raise the required funds. 
v  Become a DESPLAY Fellow and get a DESPLAY Certificate of Participation among others.
From DESPLAY Africa Season 6, all participants who complete the program shall graduate as DESPLAY Fellows! Moreso, 5 participants shall emerge as Senior Fellows with unique benefits attached to the Senior Fellows status!!
Moreso, DESPLAY allows you meet with youths from different African countries as well as gives you the rare opportunity to join a robust community of young and emerging leaders united in their passion for democracy and good governance in the Africa region.
Young people from Nigeria and African countries aged between 18 - 35 years.

Ø  30 persons shall enjoy full scholarship covering feeding, accommodation, conference materials and travel subsidy on paying N5, 000 registration fees per semester/workshop.

Ø  While 10 persons shall enjoy  partial scholarship covering feeding, accommodation and conference materials on paying N20, 000 registration fees per semester/workshop.

Payment are only made after you have been finally selected and officially informed of your selection.


December 17th 2010.

Bola                             +234, 806547981707072000256
Emma                         +234 7039634873
Nandak                       +234 8065353382

Posted By Blogger to youth development in Nigeria at 12/15/2010 01:24:00 AM

Saturday, December 11, 2010

[youth development in Nigeria] Apply: Ninth Annual Global Social Benefit Incu...

The GSBI, the signature program of Santa Clara University's Center for Science, Technology and Society, is designed to help leaders of social-benefit enterprises create sustainable and scalable business plans that maximize social impact. The 20 selected entrepreneurs receive four months of on-line mentoring and assignments, culminating in their attendance at a motivating two-week in-residence program Aug. 7 – 19, 2011, at Santa Clara University.
It's not just the 20 chosen social entrepreneurs who benefit: Applicants who fulfill all of the Social Edge application process requirements receive constructive feedback from Silicon Valley mentors and other experts on their application and business plans.
The Global Social Benefit Incubator application process starts December 7th on Social Edge, the online community for social entrepreneurs and a program of the Skoll Foundation.

For more details, click here

Posted By Blogger to youth development in Nigeria at 12/11/2010 12:12:00 AM

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dad is running

Watch Video: OFS Otitoju for Senate 2011

[youth development in Nigeria] Apply: Sustainable Thinking Platform multimedi...

The Sustainable Thinking Platform has launched the second round of its multimedia competition aimed at people aged 18-30 years old from all around the world. Participants are allowed to submit a maximum of 1 essay, 3 pictures and 1 video.
This edition will run from 1 September until 31 December and all entries must address the following question "With an ever-increasing population, how can we maximise resource efficiency to meet our growing needs?"

For more details, click here

Posted By Blogger to youth development in Nigeria at 12/09/2010 11:41:00 PM

Thursday, December 09, 2010

[youth development in Nigeria] Apply: H.J. Heinz Company Foundation Fellowship

The Heinz Fellowship was established in 1982 by an endowment from the H. J. Heinz Company Foundation to the University of Pittsburgh's University Center for International Studies. The fellowship is managed by the Global Studies Center at the University Center for International Studies, and is offered annually providing one year of practical, professional, and non-degree educational experiences through the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, USA. The University of Pittsburgh is one of the leading research universities in the United States and includes 16 professional schools, 28 departments in the arts, social and natural sciences, 3,400 faculty members, 27,000 students, and library holdings of over 4.7 million volumes. Pitt is located in an urban center of cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity.
Heinz Fellowships are granted to individuals from developing countries who demonstrate potential as future leaders in the public, government, non-profit, or private sectors. The goal is to improve, early in a career, the fellows' capacity to contribute to the development of their country and to enhance their understanding of the United States. This is accomplished through a year of sitting in on selected courses and participating in practical professional activities while based in Pittsburgh. Upon acceptance of their final report, fellows will receive a program certificate from the University Center for International Studies. This is non-degree program. Courses are observed on an informal basis, and do not earn credit towards any academic degree.
Fellows will receive a living stipend of $18,000 (paid in monthly installments), mandatory health insurance, round-trip transportation to and from Pittsburgh, and a $2,000 program and professional activities fund. Please note that, if the fellow comes from a country which does not have a tax treaty with the U.S., the fellow must pay U.S. taxes amounting to 14% of the stipend. No transportation costs, living allowances, or insurance funds are provided for dependents. The fellowship does not include allowances or services for dependents, whether or not they accompany the fellow. As a condition of the grant, applicants will be required to submit a statement of their ability to finance the transportation and maintenance expenses for any accompanying dependents. Please note that U.S. government visa restrictions make employment opportunities for dependents rare.

For more details, please click here

Posted By Blogger to youth development in Nigeria at 12/09/2010 05:12:00 AM

[youth development in Nigeria] Apply: OECD 50th Anniversary video Competition

To celebrate the OECD's 50th Anniversary, young people worldwide are invited to create a short video describing their vision of Progress.

» Who is Eligible
The competition is open to young people (18-25 years) in every country worldwide.

» How to Enter
Submit your video before MIDNIGHT (Paris time) - 1 March 2011 by responding to the OECD competition video on YouTube. You must also complete and submit the online registration form by this date. Any short films received after this time will not be considered.

» The Prize
  • An all expenses paid trip to Paris, France.
  • Screening of the winning films at an international forum.
  • An opportunity to meet government, civil society and media from around the world.
For more details click here

Posted By Blogger to youth development in Nigeria at 12/09/2010 02:07:00 AM

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

[youth development in Nigeria] Apply: 2011 unreasonable institute fellow

Apply to be one of the 25. 2011 Unreasonable institute fellows. The second annual unreasonable institute will unite 25 exceptional, young entrepreneurs for 6 weeks in the summer of 2011 in Colorado, United States.

During that time, they will live and work with 60 world-class mentors, pitch their ventures to hundreds of investors, obtain free legal advice and design consulting, form relationships with up to 30 impact investment funds and prepare to launch financially, self sustaining, globally scalable ventures that can serve the needs of at least 1million people.

For more details, click here

Application closes December 15, 2010

Posted By Blogger to youth development in Nigeria at 12/08/2010 05:11:00 AM

Monday, December 06, 2010

[youth development in Nigeria] Apply: the Struggle for health Workshop for yo...

The International People's Health University (IPHU) of the People's Health Movement (PHM) jointly with Human Action for Integrated Development in Senegal (AHDIS) and Forum des Alternatives Maroc (FMAS) announce "THE STRUGGLE FOR HEALTH" a short training course for young health activists from 30 January to 11 February 2011 in Dakar, Senegal - including participation in the World Social Forum (WSF), 6-11 Feb. 2011.


The IPHU short courses are to enable younger health activists to make new connections, share experiences and study together. They aim at strengthening the growing activism of the People's Health Movement.

Who is the course planned for?

  • Young health activists and practitioners working on the issues of health, gender and human rights and particularly including those involved or wish to be involved in the People's Health Movement (PHM).
  • Applicants should have a university degree or equivalent.
  • Priority, with respect to enrolment, will be given to
    • Younger people motivated to get involved in PHM and have endorsed the People's Charter for Health;
    • Primary health care and public health practitioners;
    • People with a track record as health activists within the PHM, in particular, people who have been actively involved in organizations which are part of the PHM.
  • A total of 50 participants is expected.
  • The enrolment policy aims to achieve:
    • geographical mix
    • gender balance
    • diversity of involvements: community based organizations, health care agencies, NGOs, universities, government officials, etc; and
    • diversity of skills, records of activism, interests, experience, and educational backgrounds
    • For more details, click here

Posted By Blogger to youth development in Nigeria at 12/06/2010 08:00:00 AM

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Straight from

"...a more inquiring media can make a difference in the world

3.1 The Malaria Case Study: the antidote is good governance born from a strong media

Malaria is a case study in why good governance not just good science is the solution to so much human suffering. This year, the mosquito borne disease will kill over one million people. More than 80% of these will be children. Great Britain used to have malaria. In North America, malaria was epidemic and there are still a handful of infections each year. In Africa malaria kills over 100 people per hour. In Russia, amidst the corruption of the 1990s, malaria re-established itself. What is the difference between these cases?

Why does Malaria kill so many people in one place but barely take hold in another? Why has malaria been allowed to gain a foothold in places like Russia where it was previously eradicated? We know how to prevent malaria epidemics. The science is universal. The difference is good governance.

Put another way, unresponsive or corrupt government, through malaria alone, causes a children's "9/11" every day. [1]

It is only when the people know the true plans and behaviour of their governments that they can meaningfully choose to support or reject them. Historically, the most resilient forms of open government are those where publication and revelation are protected. Where that protection does not exist, it is our mission to provide it through an energetic and watchful media.

In Kenya, malaria was estimated to cause 20% of all deaths in children under five. Before the Dec 2007 national elections, WikiLeaks exposed $3 billion of Kenyan corruption, which swung the vote by 10%. This led to changes in the constitution and the establishment of a more open government. It is too soon to know if it will contribute to a change in the human cost of malaria in Kenya but in the long term we believe it may. It is one of many reforms catalyzed by WikiLeaks unvarnished reporting.3.2 The importance of principled leaking to journalism, good government and a healthy society" Read the rest

Some comments:
1. Scandinavia, not America, is where to look for models of participatory democracy.
2. Nigeria, with the egregious abuses of cliquish access to money via elected office, will innovate and come to lead the world in practising decentralized democracy.
3. Because we are not even under military rule, the amount of freedom we possess is enormous. It is only fear that holds us back. Pity.
4. Did you know that all formal activities of the Nigerian (federal) legislature are currently on their official website? A few state legislatures have limited sites as well, with phones/emails of state assembly members, and record of legislation passed. This is commendable and should allow a watchful citizenry to observe and comment on their government.

Next I'll post links to the websites of a few (Nigerian) state houses of assembly and expect your comments on what transparency improvements you want to see.

Speaking of transparency, buy Sunday next Newpaper today. At =N=200, it's the deal in Sunday newspapers. I just read mine, and it's worth it for the editorial column alone.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Falling prices for phone calls and internet

Very exciting how competition improved service and pricing in telecommunication in Nigeria.
Who's switching to Airtel?
BusinessDay reports that "In the coming weeks, Nigeria’s highly competitive telecommunications market will witness sweeping squeeze in call-rate prices following Airtel Nigeria’s move to crash prices of mobile phone talk-time to as low as N9 per minute from the current industry rate averaging N35 to N42 per minute across networks...

Analysts view Airtel’s move as strategic for market share as it intends to invite new subscribers on to its network and wrestle existing ones from competing networks. This, of course, will boost revenue in the long run as Airtel will enjoy better economies of scale through reduced cost per unit of delivering services as volume increases.

[meanwhile] The internet download price slash has forced prices down to as low as N3,000 from N10,000 in less than three months with MTN leading the slash race. Industry experts believe the price will in no time drop to levels comparable to UK charges which is currently about N1,250 or 5 UK pounds sterling

On the other hand,
I wonder how much competition is planned in Nigeria Electric Power: not as much as one would like. Instead we have excuses about how inefficient it would be to duplicate distribution and transmission systems. This means that while there might be multiple players in power generation, we would try again and see if a government transmission company would replenish its infrastructure and give reasonable performance. No way. If we want decent electric power, we must duplicate first, harmonize later. It may seem wrong, but it's going to be right.

Previously on UpNaira