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How Green Is The Grass On This Side?

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Recent statistics have pointed to the fact that many young Nigerians, over the past few years, have been leaving the country in alarming numbers. The search for better living conditions and an enabling environment to fulfil their dreams drives the youths to seek more financially stable economies.

It is no secret that the economic condition of the country has plunged many into poverty. Although Nigeria is rich in natural resources, its economy is unable to meet the basic needs of the populace. Alarmingly, the population continues to increase at a fast rate. The disparity between the snowballing rate of poverty and the growth of the GDP shows that distribution of wealth in Nigeria is slanted.

32% of households in Nigeria have testified to their economic situation worsening over the period of a year while 64% consider themselves poor. National statistics reveal that poverty is declining, but in a slow manner. Lack remains a critical challenge for the youths. Many have dreams that need to be fulfilled. Others desire to go to school. Jobs are hard to come by and businesses need financial backing to thrive. The plight of the youths is worsened by the indifference of the government.

These factors, therefore, create the mentality that life in Nigeria is not worth living. The belief is that countries outside Nigeria and Africa, in general, have better standards of living. Although, this may be true, and migration might be the answer to the financial situation of many Nigerians, there is need for the youths to be aware that a conscious and thought-out migration plan is more important.

Choice destination countries for most migrants include Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, Russia, Greece and Spain. All mentioned countries already have organized and established guidelines and laws for their citizens and immigrants. This is to ensure that everyone registered legally in the system gets the basic amenities and support from the government. In addition, it is to make certain that crime is brought to the barest minimum, ensuring the safety of everyone in the country. Their borders are open for migrants, but only via regular means. However, the bulk of Nigerians migrating into Europe do so via irregular means, with no plans as to how they would better the economy of the destination countries they plan to get into.

The mentality is to simply get in, and the rest would take care of itself. They end up being on the run from the police, struggling with decent jobs and accommodation, working twice as hard as they would in Nigeria, and finding themselves being exploited, sold into slavery by traffickers and smugglers and engaging in crime. The journey alone, via the desert and through the Mediterranean Sea, has claimed the lives of thousands and left many more in slavery and debt to traffickers.

Women are sold into prostitution while men are used for hard labor and crime. The freedom to live and work as one desires here in Nigeria is taken from them. They are then left to grapple with worse financial difficulties than they had previously had, and added hardship. Some are killed and their parts harvested for organ trade.

This is the reality of illegal Nigerian migrants on transit to Europe and even for those living there. Very few of them make it into comfortable living conditions. Very few significantly turn their situation around enough to lift others back home out of poverty. Little wonder you hear scores of stories of family members disappearing abroad and never being heard of again. You hear of many traveling and abandoning their families back here.

What then is the solution to this? How can young people be encouraged to look within themselves and their immediate environment to lift themselves out of their current struggles and to create an oasis in the middle of the desert?

The answer lies within the youths themselves. A change in government policies would go a long way, but while we wait for that, it is imperative for the youths to seek enabling environments and programs within Nigeria that can push them forward.

Certain non-governmental organizations have risen to the occasion to better the economic condition of young Nigerians via empowerment initiatives. Notable amongst them is Dare 2 Dream. Founded by Kinabuti, it engages the youth and women through empowerment and economic development, using various initiatives such as the “Dare2Dream” initiative. It is a youth empowerment platform set to channel young creative talents with opportunities that can help them achieve their dreams and design their lives the way they want.

Suleiman Danladi Lukman from Kwara State is a beneficiary of one of Dare 2 Dream’s programs in conjunction with OIP Computer Institute in Lagos. Unable to further his education due to financial constraints, he picked a form that helped him register for basic training in ICT. Subsequently, he attended a class that spanned over the course of four months, which had him falling in love with computers. He now tutors others with the same knowledge he had learned.

His motivation is seeking a life that is better than what his parents had. He is now the breadwinner of his family, and hopes to do much more for them in the near future. Suleiman believes that Nigeria brings the best in all of us. “Even those who are fleeing away, the best in them is hidden. They will go abroad and have to adjust to the way of life there, killing their talents and dreams, just so that they can survive.”

He believes the hardship in Nigeria doesn’t have to kill you. It can rather drive you into pursuing hard after your dreams. He advises youths to start planning for the future and not seek for quick cash that won’t last long.

Suleiman emulates what Dare 2 Dream has done. He plans to pay it forward by empowering young people with knowledge on information technology.

Yusuf Lukmon Olawale has similar dreams, and is already living them. Dare 2 Dream had given him the boost he needed to kick off his career in ICT. Because of the free training he gained, he passed his final exams from Yaba College of Technology with an upper credit, and today he is a junior instructor in OIP.

Yusuf is certain that the Nigerian situation has pushed him to be dogged. He believes he has the die-hard Nigerian spirit, and every Nigerian has it as well.

“When you open a particular book, each page gives a different story. I don’t see the Nigerian problem affecting my own success. My plan of the future is how to have my own company and not work for anyone.”

Counseling Nigerian youths, he tells them never to let any challenge weigh them down.

“Keep moving, be focused and be prayerful. Things would get better.”

Millions of Nigerian youths remain skeptical about the improvement of the state of things in the country. However, one must divorce oneself from wallowing in a perceived reality and accept reality, and work hard at accomplishing what one desires to have. The journey through the Sahara desert and Mediterranean has not produced great minds. Instead, it has robbed a beautiful nation of dreams, youth, brains, labor, creativity and innovation. It has made many parents childless and left young people traumatized and haunted by nightmares.

Like Yusuf and Suleiman who made green the grass on their own side, every youth must seek to build their dreams with their own hands.

Chyllian, a returnee from Libya, who now works in helping Nigerian youths pursue their ambitions here in Nigeria, has this to say:

“Travel for the right reasons. A lot of us travel because of finance. That’s not a good reason to travel. But how about building our country? It’s our responsibility. We don’t have to start running off because there is hardship. We have to look at what we can do to proffer solution to what we are passing through. If all the brainy and intelligent people in Nigeria should leave, who would build the country?”

 

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Breaking: Again, CCT Judgment On Walter Onnog‎hen Shifted

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The judgment of the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Justice Walter Onnoghen, who is being prosecuted on charges of assets declaration breaches, has been shifted from 9am, the original scheduled time, till noon on Thursday.

Onnoghen had arrived the premises of the tribunal at about 8.40am ahead of the judgment.

Only two of his lawyers and a handful of his aides were seated in the courtroom when a court official announced the postponement at about 9am.

No member of the prosecution team was in court when the postponement was announced

None of them arrived as of the time of filing this report at about 9.11am.

Onnoghen had yet to step out ‎of his vehicle as of the time the postponement was announced.

His convoy left the premises as soon as the information about the new development reached him.

The Chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, after the prosecution and the defence made closing arguments on Monday, specifically fixed judgment for 9am on Thursday‎, a departure from the usual 10am sitting time of the tribunal.

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AMBODE RECEIVES UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TROPHY IN LAGOS

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Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday received the UEFA Champions League Trophy alongside its Ambassador and former captain of Barcelona FC of Spain, Carles Puyol in Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja.

Puyol, a three-time Champions League winner is in Nigeria on a three-day visit to lead the UEFA Champions League Tour connecting with consumers and football lovers.

Governor Ambode, who was represented by the Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr Kweku Tandoh, also received Nigerian football legend, Austin JayJay Okocha, who was part of the delegation.

Speaking while receiving the trophy, Governor Ambode expressed excitement with the fact that the organisers of the tour considered Lagos as one of the states to visit, adding that the development was particularly gratifying more so that the synergy between sports and entertainment as well as tourism had been massively played up in the last four years.      

The Governor also lauded the contribution of Puyol and Okocha to the development of the round leather game in Nigeria and worldwide, saying they deserved to be appreciated and celebrated.

“I must say I am very pleased with the organisers of this Trophy Tour for deeming it fit to take the UEFA Champions League Cup to Lagos. We are particularly excited because our administration has focused on the synergy between sports, tourism, entertainment and the arts, among others and the people can see the positive effects of our efforts in that regard.

“We are pleased to also welcome Barcelona FC and Champions League legend, Carles Puyol to Lagos, as well as our legend, JayJay Okocha to Lagos House. Many of us underrate this legend that we have and just yesterday, I understand Puyol had a very difficult time on the field of play in Uyo when JayJay had to give him a few tricks.

“Unfortunately, JayJay did not get to play for Barcelona; he would have lifted the Champions League but I must say we appreciate what Okocha has done for Nigerian football. If you have a player that is sometimes compared to Messi, Maradona and spoken about in the same breath, then we know we have a star in our midst and so I like to thank JayJay for his contribution to football,” Governor Ambode said.  

He said in order to ensure a successful Trophy Tour, the relevant security and government agencies have been contacted, assuring that all the activities lined-up as part of the tour would be hugely successful.

While wishing the team a successful tour in Nigeria, Governor Ambode said the State Government would be glad to receive the trophy back in the State in the nearest future, just as he assured that the government remained committed to make Lagos the sports hub not just in Africa but the entire world.

Speaking earlier, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Breweries Plc, organisers of the Trophy Tour, Mr Jordi Borrut Bel thanked Governor Ambode for warmly receiving the team, saying the Trophy Tour was specifically organised to bring the tournament closer to fans.

He said as part of the tour, there would be a road show from Maryland Bus Stop to Ikeja City Mall, among other activities.   

Besides, he commended Governor Ambode for his well-though out policies and projects in all sectors and sections of the State, saying the Governor deserved to be appreciated for also creating enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the State.

“I will like to say that this visit is a great opportunity for the management team of Nigerian Breweries to appreciate Governor Ambode on the success that he has recorded in the last four years of administering the State which is a testament to the fact that well-thought policies have been implemented as has been witnessed in security, in transportation, in health, in welfare sectors in the State, and particularly in the continuous construction of impactful infrastructure as well as the Governor’s focused and dynamic leadership in the State.

“We also want to thank the Governor for sustaining a supportive business environment in the State,” he said.

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Awolowo Commends Ooni For Positively Showcasing Nigeria To The World

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The Director General of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council(NEPC), Mr Segun Awolowo has desribed the Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II as a unique African traditional ruler with giant srides, commending him for positively shocasing Nigeria and Africa to the world.

The NEPC boss made this assertion in his Abuja office recently while playing host to a delegation from Ooni Ogunwus which was led by the Asoya of Ile Isoya in Osun state, Oba Muraina Adedini in respect of the maidden edition of TellAfrica International Arts & Craft Festival(TIAF) slated for June this year in Baltimore MD, USA and Dublin in Republic of Ireland.

“Kabiyesi Ooni, being a foremost African monarch has undoubtedly lived above expectations going by his giant strides especially in Agriculture, youth empowerment and cultural tourism. He is indeed a great ambassador of our culture who has been positively showcasing Nigeria and Africa to the global community.” Awolowo said

While pointing out the benefits in agriculture, Mr Awolowo urged relevant stakeholders to uphold it and make it the mainstay of the economy. He also mentioned processing of agricultural produce like cashew and cocoa among others, which he said would be better than sending raw goods abroad.

On tourism, Awolowo revealed plans to link TellAfrica up with National Council of Art & Culture(NCAC) for possible collaboration as part of measures to ensure a successful TIAF events as scheduled.

Leader of the Ooni’s team, Oba Muraina Adedini thanked Mr Segun Awolowo and his NEPC team for the honour and respect with which the Oonis delegation was warmly recieved. He said the contributions of the Ooni Ogunwusi towards the development of agriculture and tourism are unprecedented which have always been supported by the Federal Government.

While seeking unflinching support of the NEPC on the forthcoming Art & Craft festival and other international programmes of Ooni Ogunwusi, he stated that the collaboration Between the House of Oduduwa/TellAfrica and NEPC will make huge impact on the Nigerian Art and cultural tourism sector.

Ooni’s director of media and public affairs, Comrade Moses Olafare had earlier while introducing the Ooni’s team told the NEPC that Ooni Ogunwusi has adopted Agriculture and tourism as greatest potentials for developing the Nigerian youths, adding that productively utilizing the both sectors will immensely lead to an immeasurable economic properity.

Olafare enumerated how NEPC and the House of Oduduwa are in tandem, particularly through the exportation of non oil products and promotion of tourism in the country through cultural festivals like TIAF.

The maidden edition of the Ooni’s TellAfrica International Art and Craft Festival(TIAF 2019) is billed to hold in Baltimore USA from 13th to 16th and in Dublin, Ireland from 24th to 30th, June 2019.

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