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SOMEONE WANTS YOU TO CREATE SOMETHING

Top BoyHave you met some folks who seem to have no drive to do anything? I knew a guy like that. He used to live across my grandma’s house in Lagos. Every morning, he stood bare-bodied on the exit corridor of the multi-room compound and stared at people going to work and traders jostling the streets. At this time I was  home taking care of my grandma and working at my dad’s Law Chambers, which was also in the same building where grandma lived. In the evenings, this 30-something year old guy would dress up and go hang out with friends at adjoining streets, doing nothing but having loud conversations.

Lagos Island was littered with such young men, guys coming from somewhere but seemingly not going anywhere. From Campbell street to parallel streets like Igbosere, Bamgbose, Tokunbo, to sides streets like Ricca, Odunlami, Joseph, etc with a fearsome population, these were the boys of the area (I use that because the term Area Boys have become quite derogatory. These boys however were not all illiterate and dangerous). I spoke with a lot of them, and we interacted on the make-shift football pitches all around the corners of the Brazilian Campos Square.

These were disillusioned young men with raging hormones, freelance street politics and sports commentators, football/table-tennis/snooker playing, Ewa Agoyin and Agege Bread eating, boys tired or bored with school work. They constantly searched for the slightest and easiest opportunity to make money, then run to Mandilas corner off Broad street to buy the latest Italian baffs and prey on gullible feminines of their kind. Some of them ended up popsie-ing five kids from five different women.
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THE TRUE POWER OF THE INTERNET

internet-business-ideasI was quite eager when the opportunity came to relocate to Lagos from Calabar after my secondary education. Despite opposition from some peudo-motherly quarters, I made the exciting trip by road to Lagos (with a bottle of non-alcoholic wine to celebrate). This threw me into a whole new circle of activities and contacts with new people, although my grandma was always there to stabilize my emotions. She was the reason I moved anyway.

Months later in 1994, I was invited to a Vacation Bible School, at the end of which I made quite a few friends and collected several addresses and phone numbers. Before now, I had only posted letters a few times in my whole life; a couple letters to my dad in Lagos, and one or two to my uncle in the United States. I was used to telephone conversations, which were far between in any case. I remember our NITEL phone number then was 087-222889. My brother and I used to randomly choose numbers from the telephone directory and prank calls, until the day my mum screamed at the phone bills.

In Lagos however, grandma had no NITEL telephone. My only options were to write letters to my new friends, or walk from Campbell Street down to NITEL tower at Marina to use the pay phone, which meant I would have to gather enough 10 kobo coins to place my calls. These were precious moments. To hear a friend’s voice at the other end and spending minutes conversing inconsequentially, or hearing the post man opening the postbox outside the house, was most times the highlight of each day.

It’s hard to look back and relate to those days, when communication was carefully planned and labouriously thought through. Today, we carry about fancy gadgets that instantly perform multi-functions, and we rarely think about what we channel via these devices. The rise and pervasiveness of communication technology has so sharply widened the gulf between our immediate past and today that I can’t even imagine how I stayed in touch or fixed appointments with friends.
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Live in Lagos – Can I help?

Help by force!

I arrived Lagos like an Israelite carrying the half-baked dough into a determined exodus. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, particularly how I will react to the weather, coming from extreme conditions like we saw this year in the Northeast US. Nothing really changed about the humid conditions, even at 8pm the wind was warm and slightly noxious. But hey! I am used to this, just have to acclimatize a bit. Err…I will dare not talk about Murtala Mohammed Airport, else it will be the rantings of a raving lunatic. Lekki Airport to the rescue!!!!!!!!!!

The road from the airport still is the famished road. It is fast becoming a bush path and reminds me of the road from Onitsha to Owerri in the late 1980s into early 1990s, It may soon need the kind of old Mercedes-Benz 9-11 trucks to ply it. It still amazes me that the government expects people to encounter that road first on a visit to the country through Lagos. Again it may be one of those roads that fall into the grey divide of Federal and State roads and no one is responsible for it. Very soon I will get dangerously upset to code red levels and will fix it. If the government refuses, private business making a fortune refuses, very rich men whole have stolen us blind also refuse to act socially responsible (at least to save face and the impending anger of the State), mere men like me will one day carry a digger and shovel to repair the road. At least beyond our children traveling safely, the police checkpoints will run smoothly and not be afraid to stop more vehicles and harass tired travelers. I have an idea, I will first start by asking my neighbour from Borno, who owns an active barn in his backyard (suitable to shoot a medieval movie), to lend me his cattle so they can graze the weeds shooting from the islands on the entire stretch of the airport road.
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My Third Muse on Ideas

preg ideaToday I was the United Nations Building in New York for a conference, and I was talking with a few people about some projects I ran when I was doing my mandatory Youth Service in Zamfara State of Nigeria. It was not known by most of my friends what I was doing because I didn’t want the information to leak out easily. Coupled with the fact that it was difficult carrying it out, there was also the issue of poor telecommunications facilities in that village. We only had one GSM service operator and they provided signals something like three days a month. My idea there was to create a reporting system through which I could inform the central Financial Crimes Unit in the State of things happening in the local government that needed to be addressed. Continue reading

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UNDERSTANDING YOUR IDEA

WakeUpYourIdeasNow I realize that one of the most obvious stumbling block before the path of most people is the fact that many have no idea what they want from life. They simply live and accept whatever is thrown at them and complain when things do not go well with them. This is like a man who goes to the market without first deciding what exactly he will be spending money on. The result of this is that whatever is enticing in the market is likely to catch your attention, whether it is beneficial to you or not. It is also likened to those who watch sales television, and end up buying so much stuff they have no need of. Life is full of luring options that can misdirect you far away from what will give your life upmost value, and you ability to sieve through these distractions is based upon your clear-headed apprehension of what you want out of life, and what you intend to give back. Continue reading

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WHERE IS YOUR IDEA?

ideasA few days ago I wrote on the need to focus on work rather than on a job. Like I stated, a job may pay your bills, but it’s your work that gets you actual satisfaction and keeps you moving even in very difficult times. Have you wondered why some people who have a job seem most frustrated and will give anything to get out of such hellish conditions, while others with no income based activity are seriously excited at what they have found to do with their hands? Yes it happens, and the key reason here is that only what comes out of you, can truly give you the ultimate fulfillment in your life. This points me to the issue that I want to point out here, and I am beholden to the thing called an ‘idea’. It is also one of the most important responsibilities that people will have simply ignored or deferred to the next person. However, I have come to realize that though unappreciated in its full context, it still forms the basis through which a person can be delivered from the punches of life, into a state of continuous excitement, relevance, and achievement.
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