Pacesetters, by Pius Adesanmi

(To be read to the accompaniment of Tim McGraw’s “Grown Men Don’t Cry”

Dad, I don’t know why I went straight to your library when we got back from the cemetery that dreary day in the spring of 2007.

Could it be because I rode back home in Dr. Wale Okediran’s car and we still managed to mention one or two books even in the context of my grief? He was then national president of the Association of Nigerian Authors and had flown in from some assignment in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, took care of some business in Abuja where he also served as a member of the Federal House of Representatives, before heading out to Isanlu to be by my side as I buried you. Dad, he did that just for you and it went without saying that I would ride in his car in the long procession back home.
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Baba E Wi Hun Hun, by Dr. Pius Adesanmi

Baba E Wi Hun Hun

By Pius Adesanmi

(Speech delivered at the Nigeria @ 50 symposium jointly convened by the Nigerian High Commission, Ottawa, and the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa on September 30, 2010)

Baba E wi hun hun would be approaching his 100th birthday by now if he was still alive. My Dad, who passed on three years ago in his seventies, used to call him “boda”, a common Yoruba cultural honorific, possibly a domestication of the English, “brother”. Like my Dad, Baba E wi hun hun belongs in that generation of Spartan, colonial, missionary-trained teachers who were the very incarnation of Nigeria’s moral and ethical fabric from the fifties down to the very early eighties.

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GARDENER. mentor. friend. 1

This is not a direct sequel to “Best Gift, Ever!”, but it almost is.

I got so many positive comments and questions after that particular blog-post that I started to imagine my future celebrity book-signings, huge six-figure (even seven-figure) royalties. Why, I was even already on Oprah, to talk about my latest book and how well it’s doing on New York’s bestseller list. Dr. Phil was recommending it as well. Just before it became recommended reading for every child-psychology course in the US and Canada. Translated into fifty different languages, many hospitals were already talking of putting it in every new parent’s hands. Wonderful! Amen, somebody!

But coming back down to earth, the immediate questions that faced me were, if you indeed want to give your child or ward the best gift ever, how would you go about it? How would you help your child become independent in this world, and have the ability to navigate this world as she pleases? How do you prepare her for a world that does not yet exist?

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“My Daddy said…”

“My Daddy said I can play outside…”
“My Daddy said he will buy me a bicycle for Christmas!”
“My Daddy said he will take us to Disneyland during the holidays”
“My Daddy said I can have it!”

We see and hear children revel in the power of their Daddies to do and undo. We see them wait for just the “word” from their fathers. Then they take off, based solely on that word. Yes, mothers have some of that power as well, but there is something extra-ordinary about what Daddy said. Even Mummy will be confronted boldly with “…but Daddy said…”

Once Daddy gives the permission to do something, no-one can challenge the child that knows about it. He will let you know on whose authority he is riding in the rain. He will let you know that his actions are backed up by a power that’s higher than him; and higher than you that is challenging him.

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Blessed Beyond Expression pt. 1.

Ps 112 [The Living Bible]
(**Emphases mine)

112 Praise the Lord! For all who fear God and trust in him are blessed beyond expression. Yes, happy is the man who delights in doing his commands.

2 His children shall be honored everywhere, for good men’s sons have a special heritage. 3 He himself shall be wealthy, and his good deeds will never be forgotten. 4 When darkness overtakes him, light will come bursting in. He is kind and merciful- 5 and all goes well for the generous man who conducts his business fairly.

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Joseph’s Diary (pt 1)

“You’re what? What are you saying, Mary?”

That was my response when I got the text message from my sweetheart, Mary, many months ago.

I mean, can you imagine my shock as all this unfolded? I was leaving Grandpa Matthan’s house. My little cousin just had his bar-mitzvah (the coming-of-age ceremony we Jews hold, you know), and there was so much fun and laughter with the whole clan and all. I really had fun, but missed Mary terribly. She was supposed to come here with me but she had to go to her Aunt Elizabeth’s place. She took the train earlier that day. That is one relation of Mary’s I still haven’t met. The woman is really old and her baby, John, is just about six months old now and you would think she’s the grandmother. You can imagine the looks they get at the malls. But I digress.

So, that night, almost a year ago, I was on my way back, when I got the barely logical text from Mary, “Aunt Lizzy just confirmed by prophecy what Angel Gabriel said earlier. I know it’s just the first trimester but I already feel pregnant”.

My first thought was “what the #*@& (pardon my Hindu) is all that about first trimester and being pregnant?”. I was shocked, confused, and it took me a few hours for all the implications to totally sink in. Sure, I’ve known Mary for most of my life. Heck, I’ve known her for all of her life, and the conclusions did not look good on her reputation and character. I know she’s a virgin, as I am, as all godly unmarried Jews are. I also know many sons of Belial, town drunks and unrepentant Casanovas all, that have been trying to have their evil ways with her, Moses’ laws notwithstanding.

Did she… ehm… did she…?

I was in this state of flux for two whole days, with every thought imaginable (and some unimaginable) going through my mind. One thing was sure anyway; “When she comes back, Mary’s got a whole lot of explaining to do.” I know I’m still a virgin, so whose child is in her womb? When did it happen? How? Was she raped? How long gone is she? Do her parents know? I didn’t know anybody to talk to about this. I did not get any other texts from her again that weekend. I stayed home through the Sabbath, and my workshop remained closed on Sunday.

It was later on Sunday evening that I read her text again “…what Angel Gabriel said earlier”. What Angel Gabriel? She’d mentioned her”vision” to me some weeks before but how was I supposed to take that serious? When you fast as often as Mary does, you’re bound to start seeing things.

I can still see the glow on her face when she told me she’d seen a vision. She’s beautiful, I tell you. But she even looked more beautiful as her eyes lit up as we talked that day. An angel had appeared to her and promised her that her son will be king. Yea, right! I’m David’s seed but these Romans are everywhere; Herod is King of Judea, and he isn’t consulting the priests on succession. Yea, the priests are still important, and if they or the Pharisees were to hear that Mary got pregnant out of wedlock, she’d be stoned to death, as required by Moses. There’d got to be a way round this thing.

That night, I concluded I’d just have to let her go, quietly. I can’t let them stone her, and I can’t marry her. I dozed off thinking about this.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen an angel before, but I’m not kidding, they can’t get it right in Hollywood. These guys are big and shiny. They have this brilliant luster to them that it’s just difficult to describe. And wings, I don’t think they need them. How do I know?

Because I saw one. That Sunday night of course. As I dozed off, I was woken up by an angel that just simply dazzled. He said many things, but standing in front of such a heavenly being, it didn’t take much talking for me to get the message. We were to bring the wedding forward from June to first week in February. The following week, in fact. That way, the baby will definitely be known as my son, a son of David.

The wedding went very well, and it was obvious that it was the right thing to do.

Mary is almost due now, but it looks like we really have to travel (again!). The census thing, of course. But it’s a good opportunity to see Grandpa Matthan again, and my parents whom I haven’t seen since that bar-mitzvah weekend. Should the baby choose to come when we’re in Bethlehem, we’ll come back here with little Jesus then (or should we retain the Hebrew version and call him Yeshua?)

On Why Nigeria Remains Backward by Pat Utomi

08 Apr 2012

Dear Simon Kolawole, when I read your column, “Why Nigeria Remains Backward”, I was not sure whether I should commiserate with you, encourage you not to be despondent or just welcome you to the club of Nigerians, who are depressed by the Nigerian condition. In the end I thought I should share with you some of my reflections and experiences on the subject.
Your start-out lamentation that even if crude oil sells for $2000 a barrel for the next ten years it were not likely to see a significant improvement in the quality of life of most Nigerians, in many ways sums up the central concern that has made my spirit restless.

I worry though that you sound like you are in the surrender mode. I have been close to giving up many times myself. But I have been brought back from that mind frame by lessons from my history. My favourite examples that keep me stubbornly hopeful that this nightmare will give way to light and progress are Indonesia and Japan. When Nobel Prize Winning Economist Gunnar Myrdal wrote off Indonesia as hopeless and stuck in “intrinsic stagnation” and noted Harvard Economist Edwin Reischeller said Japan could not hope to make economic progress, and both economics turned around within a decade of their predictions. Who could have anticipated later times? Besides Faith, and a certain conviction that the political and bureaucratic class that have burdened us with much backwardness by their actions do not desire backwardness for Nigeria. They are, unfortunately, victims of limited knowledge and atrophied imagination. So I live in hope that something will open their eyes to the true cost of their conduct. Have hope.

There were seasons in times past as you did, when I have been driven by anger. How can we have a generation so foolish their years of desperation for power only have a disgraceful misery index to show for it? My anger nearly consumed me and the conditions got worse even as the powerful lived it up in the country of the big man with much swagger. It occurred to me at some point that my anger strategy was not working. My expressions of outrage did not stop the schools from getting worse, the police from becoming less effective, and the economy from creating fewer jobs even as the population ballooned. And some, ever ready with counsel, suggested that if you criticise them harshly, they would not listen when you speak. So I was quiet for a season, offering counsel I thought would incline the hearts of power to the common good. But it made no difference. Again those ready with counsel said you see they do not trust you. If you join them, become part of their party you can get inside and once inside you can use power and do much good.

So I looked at those who got inside. One cultured gentleman, who spent eight years in the senate, told me it was the biggest waste of a huge portion of his life. Again I looked at technocrats who were useful in boosting credibility before the world. The sterile advice they offered, which missed the beat of the heart of a simple people tired of living so much hardship in a land of plenty, did not seem to improve things much, beyond occasional celebration of statistics of progress of GDP growth often negated by figures that showed the absolute poor increasing in their tribes. Then I decide I cannot afford not to be angry. But I am tired of anger because the core of my being is a contrary emotion, it is really of love. So I resigned to a frustration mode so palpable in your column of last Sunday. But I know that is no good. I think of my children and I engage again.

In this rollercoaster of emotions I am given to long reflections on what can work. How can one deal with so anti-Fanon a generation, so unable to discover its mission, or so comfortable in the betrayal of that mission. I realise from faith that despair is not an option.

But is the trouble with Nigeria leadership, as Chinua Achebe concluded five years ago; or is it, as you suggest, the five obstacles of “too many checkpoints”, “your turn to eat”, “too much politicking”, “incompetence” and “crime with no punishment”?

While these are critical factors the collapse of culture assures sustainable progress is improbable. As leaders shape culture and values shape human progress Achebe may not be far off the point even if people more directly feel specific aspects of this collapse of culture.

The reign of impunity and retreat of the rule of law stokes the fire of the mindless pursuit of riches, mainly through corruption and direct stealing. As justice is denied all but the rich and powerful, the desperation to have it and power has filled the corridors of power with many hardened criminals. Try reading newspapers. It’s one page after the other of missing billions. These days if I see a man convicted I think first this must be a framed innocent, because criminals seldom get convicted in Nigeria. We may have to outsource that assignment of convicting the truly guilty to British courts. In all of these there was a question of personal accounting. What should I do to make a difference? Maybe teach better because I can influence many more people. Or should I just try and make a lot of money, ignoring the bribery required there so I could use the proceeds to do well. Teach well, use your media skills and be active in civil society and your life will yield much more impact on businessmen your affect as business angel will make more money collectively, and civil society effort will help build institutions and affect culture.

I turned to active politics when I found civil society was not making politicians account.
Civil society, especially media, has failed to facilitate horizontal accountability and citizenship. It was as citizen that I had hoped to find meaning for being. But I went from founding one to joining another, concerned professionals, Nigerians United to Resist Anarchy etc. It was clear that as poverty and illiteracy held majority captive, the educated middleclass was too desperate to protect its small gains. It would not risk working for the good of broader base. The fuel subsidy protest proved my point that if that class failed to rise to its role anarchy or a bloody revolution would be inevitable. Those who think they would have escaped the rain into the house of politics, creating a “democracy” that is government of politicians, for politicians, by politicians, will find they will end up with nothing if we do not now cut the cost of government and abuse of commonwealth by politicians.

It remains true that if you have power in Nigeria you can steal one bank and be applauded for it even as you crush  the well-being of hundreds of thousands because impunity knows not history, it knows now. The Nigeria that does not remain backward will have to find men and women obsessed with their place in history to lead, and to shape culture.

The trouble with the kind of political class we have is that the idolatry of the worship of ill-gotten gains is so blinding to what is coming that they always imagine they are invincible until they end up in refugee camps scrambling for a bowl of rice. An old school mate from graduate school days in the US who served as Liberia’s Ambassador to Nigeria in the years of that country’s traumatic conflict used to say to me that it amazed him we could be sacrifice so much of Nigerian blood and material resources to save his country yet run our country without learning how they got there. So when Karl Meier writes that this house has fallen and that it’s midnight in Nigeria, and others predict failed state status beckons, the political class is not minded to saying how do we sit and talk about how to avert the coming anarchy something is wrong, they dismiss people who express the feelings like your column as alarmist. Perhaps, I should say see you in the refugee camp SK, if we are lucky, but in the spirit of Falomo, the citizen’s revolt of January, let us hope that raised voices will inspire action that will deliver us.

•Prof Utomi is founder, Centre for Values in Leadership

The Lucky Bastards! And the rest of us…

Interviewer: “You were appointed DG of the institute (NIIA – Nigeria Institute of International Affairs) at 33. How was the experience?

Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi: “First, I wasn’t that unique in age. The young have always been in charge of the country. …The cabinet was made up of very young men….. How old was Yakubu Gowon when he became head of state? If I went to the institute at the age of 33, how old was the then head of state, Murtala Muhammed? He was about a year older. Obasanjo was his number two man, but nobody really ever knew his age (sic). I became a minister at the age of 43, but Ibrahim Babangida, who was the head of state, was only eight months older than me. So, in a way, young people have always been given opportunities. I wasn’t unique.”

Professor Bolaji Akinyemi @ 70 (The Punch, Saturday Feb 11, 2012)

Call me irreverent if you like. See if I care.

Like I say in most of my essays, I am a child of the 70’s and 80’s Nigeria, entering university just two months before Abiola went to prison in 1994. Abacha was in power when I turned 18, you see; so please pardon my anger.

I need to make a clarification though. I will, in a few minutes give my candid opinion of a vast majority of what our very own Nobel Laureate Prof. ‘Wole Soyinka has described variously as “the wasted generation”, referring to his own generation of Nigerians that had absolutely no reason to fail the country as they have so spectacularly done.

My clarification is that every generation has a sprinkling of these bastards, and it’s a huge disservice to the worthy ones (like one of my favorite Nigerians quoted at the beginning of this piece –Prof Bolaji Akinyemi) who did their very best to make Nigeria proud. It’s a huge disservice to have to lump them all together with this irreverent tag. Looking at the individuals, you can definitely pick up Nigeria’s great sons (Akinyemi, Soyinka, Achebe, Fela, Fawehinmi readily come to mind), but as a group, they should have been aborted. I’m sorry.

I knew an article was coming when I first read the interview, part of which I have quoted above; then this evening, I picked my father’s copy of “Military Leadership in Nigeria: 1966 – 1979”, written by Maj. General James Oluleye (rtd.), who was a front-row observer during the civil war (1967-1970) and who also held several critical positions in the Murtala/Obasanjo Governments of 1975 – 1979. His last major role was as Minister (then called “Federal Commissioner”) for Finance in the last 3 years of the Obasanjo regime in the late 70’s. In reading the book again, I am forced to note that these young chaps were just doing as they liked. They had absolutely the whole nation to do as they pleased with. And what have they done with it? Anyway, I get ahead of myself.

Lucky indeed

These fellows to whom we owe this rot of a country were born mostly between 1930 and 1945. Yes, if anyone turns 70 or 80 around you, he belongs to that generation. But the year of birth is not all that determines which were the worst of them.

The decade 1930 – 1940 means different things to different nations.

For the United States, that was the decade of the New Deal, when the Great Depression bit real hard, and America elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt whose time in the White House saw the laying of the foundation of America’s social welfare system; as he promised a car in every garage and chicken in every pot. It was a tough decade but it got the government working and got them more or less ready for when they had to get involved in what was formerly known as “Europe’s War”.

For most of Europe, it was a terrible decade, as they moved from epidemics to war. They also elected phenomenal people in Mussolini and Hitler. Indeed, it was a decade they would like to forget.

If that decade was terrible for Africa, not much has been reported of it, but from the sons that have ruled Africa since 1957 when Ghana got her independence, that decade brought Africa’s worst bastards.

Incidentally, they were fed as sons. The children born to Nigeria in this decade were mostly teenagers when the final battles for independence were being fought.

You cannot call them the founding fathers of Nigeria. That title is reserved for the Awolowo generation. It was this much older generation (born 1900 – 1920) that started the agitation for independence from their days as students all over the United Kingdom in the ’30s and ’40s. They knew they could make something great of Nigeria, and showed it by the way they governed Nigeria’s three regions in the six or seven years before the 1960 independence.

How lucky was this “Wasted Generation”, you ask? From 1954, they enjoyed Free Education and free health (until 18). They had a new independent nation handed over to them on a platter of gold. They were the very first students in Nigeria’s new Universities springing up in Nsukka, Lagos, Ife, Zaria (the one in Ibadan was already 12 years old in 1960). This ungrateful generation did not fight for the independence in any way; neither did they really have many of the older generation restricting their chances in career progression. For those that chose to go to school, scholarships were thrown at them from every angle, from Nigeria, from the Capitalist West, and from the Socialist East.

[With America’s John F. Kennedy circa 1962]

Then Nigeria found oil, and in commercial quantity. More deposits were found as the decades rolled in, so much so that by the time these fellows were in their 30’s, they complained (loudly) that money was not Nigeria’s problem; it was how to spend it.

Much has been written about the events that led to the ousting of the nation’s founders from political leadership, especially with the coming of the January 1966 coup, and in fact there is absolutely no way to know how Nigeria would have turned out if we did not have that first phase of Military Intervention (1966-79). Some really terrible elements (the Okotie-Ebohs and co) made the soldiers coming very welcome. However, I will not dwell much on the failings of the Akintolas and Okparas, but the obvious failings of these old men we see now. What did they do with our collective wealth, and with our national honor? What did they do with our future, and our bargaining power in the markets of the world?

For a minimum of forty five years (for Nigeria – forty six), most of Africa has been in the grip of the Lucky Bastards, who enter the twilight of their years, leaving populations that have actually tripled between independence and now. Nigeria’s population was barely 60m in 1960. Now we are closer to 170m than to 160m. Now, we’re close to 170m, and hungry.

We have become beggars because our fathers stole us blind.

The Nation’s statistics office released their new figures a few days ago. Officially, we now have at least 110million people living in poverty in Nigeria. How did we let this happen? How did we eat ourselves out like this, with no social welfare system, with very little encouragement for enterprise, and with much wanton aggravation of the poor with your display of ill-gotten wealth?

As they grow old and are gradually forced to retire (thankfully, there is old age, and death), our infrastructure has all but crumbled, our educational institutions are just shadows of their former shadows (!); and alas the world is in some un-understandable financial turmoil, the likes of which have not been seen since these bastards turned up more than seventy years ago.

What can we do?

This is not even written for their benefit, you see. They are the wasted generation and their history is already written. Neither is there much hope for the one that follows, whom I will call the “Cabal Generation” whose god is their belly, and political patronage is their philosophy. All decisions must be made with the belly in mind for the generation of these people, in their 50s and 60s.

Can the rest of us start to rebuild in spite of them? Can we start to save ourselves, please? Can we start from the very foundations, determining for ourselves what we want Africa, nay, Nigeria to look like when we are 70?

Interestingly, we have the numbers. More than 100million Nigerians are between the ages of 1 – 35.

More than numbers, we have the tools to reach everyone with, in our continuously connected world. We have the benefit of youthful vigor, and can learn from the mistakes the dying old men made of their lives. We can find our own ways of talking (with or without a National Conference, Sovereign or Not), and gradually effecting the change we desire.

We should as a matter of urgency, come up with a blueprint for the Nigeria we desire, in all the important areas- the standards and expectations our society will meet, in education; health; law and order; economy; and gradually become what we were meant to be, honorable.

If we do nothing, we ourselves will undoubtedly become nothing but the
Grumbling Bastards. God forbid.

©Chukwudi Adepoju. 25 Feb 2012.

I would speak freely, please!

Would I be too humble
Having gained an audience?
Would I start to mumble
Awed by the… ambience?

Of heaven, of light,
Of glory, so bright
Too bright, to even see
The One to whom I speak

Would I hang my head
And hardly be heard?
Would I speak in whispers
Like one in despair?

I’ll raise my head and speak
Words from deep within
Yes, Raise my voice and seek
Real answers from Him

I would speak freely, please
and not care for my feet
I would speak boldly, seeing
This open cheque I’ve received

I’d start from the short list
Expandable, Maslow-esque
Or even start from the long
Like a bird in an early song

Or take the smartest choice of all,
Shout with my arms spread out wide:
The only wise one, and giver of life .

©Chukwudi Adepoju 19 dec. 2011

Best Gift, Ever!

I smile, with my choice of this title, as it actually reminds me of my brilliant 61/2 yr old nephew, Dipo in Newcastle (upon Tyne). He uses the word “ever” very frequently these days, to express the ‘mostest’ of whatever it is he is trying to describe. “Ever!” simply signifies the highest attainable degree to which that attribute can go. So you regularly hear him say how a meal is “the best breakfast, ever”, or you hear him talk about “the nicest holiday, ever” and so on and so forth. It is a joy to see the glee in his eyes as he describes these beautiful observations of his. Of course, he’s still my best nephew, ever!

This discourse is not about Dipo though, at least not directly.

I saw a poser in a Nigerian magazine today. An innocuous poser, you might say, and I’m certain you have come across it at one point or another, no matter your parenting status. It is the very commonly asked question:

“What is the Best Gift You can give to your Children?”

“Education, of course”, I hear you say, as the magazine article also went on to answer in the very first paragraph of the article. I don’t quite know what it is now that stopped me from moving on with that line of thinking, but I spent some time ruminating on that wonderful answer we have accepted to be the right one for, maybe centuries, or at least decades, and my conclusion is that the answer –Education – is the wrongest answer, “ever!”

One strong reason why we think education is the best thing we can give our children, apart from the fact that it is the only response we have heard in decades, is that, for most of us, that is what we have. I like to point out to people that I am a second-generation university graduate, and a child of the 1970s/80s Nigeria, whose parents’ education put them in a social class well above that of their illiterate parents. Most of us “second-generation” graduates had grandparents that were relatively poorer than our parents, and these were grandparents that looked at the white colonials with awe. Anyone that could understand them as they spoke through their nose, and wielded tremendous legal power, was next to the gods, as it were.

Our grandparents were very proud, and rightly so, to be the proud parents of lawyers (that could take your ancestral lands away in the English man’s courts); doctors (that could save the life of all the pregnant women, and even give orders to the king, in form of drug prescriptions); and teachers (who often doubled as priests of the new religions, interpreters of the new laws, and were essentially the custodians of superior knowledge). We must concede that point to them. Education, for the baby boomers, was the best gift they could have gotten from anyone, anywhere.

What we have come to appreciate, and their parents admired, is not necessarily the education they had, but what that education gave them. It gave them political power; it gave them economic power, as African nations nationalized decades-old colonial establishments, in a frenzy. The education they had gave them the thing that I believe is the best gift we can give our children:


By independence, you should know that I do not mean a new flag, and a change of national anthem.

By Independence, I mean, the means/skills/ability to navigate the world as you please.

The more educated our parents were, we find that the more choices they tended to have, as to who to marry, where to work, where to live, how long they lived there, what houses to build etc. But the world has changed in a biiiig way. It’s a whole new world out there, where the present group of youth in the age bracket 25-34 is at their most “educated” ever, and they have the highest levels of unemployment, ever! All over Europe, this pitiable demographic has an unbelievable percentage still living at the parents’ homes, well after their college degrees (the highest level of the so-called “Education”).

They were educated, but it seems their education is not so useful in the face of global economic depressions.

Truly, the system that worked before is broken, and the situation is much worse for countries like Nigeria that from the beginning, had a wrong understanding of what education was all about. Truer in Nigeria than in the developed countries, education was more about churning out clones of the tutor, and not about asking more questions to re-order knowledge, and in so doing improve our lives and the way we do things.

Independence on the other hand, would ensure that you are equipped, no matter the level of your “education”, to know how to communicate effectively; Independence will ensure that you are equipped to know how to “win friends and influence people”-that you have wining people-skills, to borrow the words of Dale Carnegie; Independence will ensure that you find your own natural abilities and talents, and that you hone those abilities so well, that you could never be out of work. What you have in you, well-tailored, will always be in demand – or you would not have come here in the first place.

To make things much easier, the internet offers us the ability to find out a lot about what the so-called “education” was meant to show us, and interestingly, for every successful man with a paper showing he is educated, there are undoubtedly at least two without the paper, but have discovered their natural abilities and are now very successful having honed them and put them to very good use, either building software firms from inside garages in the United States, or selling car parts or cement in Lagos. You find them as rich actors in Hollywood, and as footballers in Barcelona.

What we need to give the younger generation, our children, is the ability to navigate this world as they please.

The ability to be the best they can be, ever! Let their schooling not stand in the way of their education (as Mark Twain once said), or they will find, if we insist on this same old models of education, that :

In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” – Eric Hoffer.