Friday, June 09, 2006

Be Your Boss

Be Your Boss

THE world has finally agreed in the words of Brian Tracy "that the primary source of value is no more land, and capital but knowledge, information and ideas." Thus, only business people with knowledge, with information and understanding will be the ones to prosper in the brave new world that has reduced the geographical boundaries lined between nations to a very chin line.
"The more one knows, the more one will be able to control events." This thought found in the works of 16th century philosopher, Francis Bacon, has never been truer than today.
Without doubt, the reasoning of Tracy and Bacon seems to be the underlying current behind the new wave of global glamour for entrepreneurship.
Generally, there appears to be, especially in developing economies of Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, a global shift towards entrepreneurship, even as large-scale entities are failing and in many instances, in an irrecoverable manner. Thus the new breed of entrepreneurs is characterised by greater vigour in turning knowledge, information or ideas into profit.
These entrepreneurs are usually young people as GEM 2005 survey revealed that people in the 25 to 34 age bracket account for the highest level of entrepreneurial activity with a significant drop in the level of activity among those under 25 and above 44 years of age. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) is a joint research initiative to study the complex relationship between entrepreneurship and economic growth. By conducting a solid research across many countries in the world, GEM provided an authoritative basis for understanding the key issues involved in global entrepreneurship.
With the need for development all over the world exacerbated, therefore, logging into the new entrepreneurial spirit is very urgent and profitable. Although, the entrepreneurial process is immensely complimented, involving an endless stream of trade-offs and variables, a practical framework to guide fledging entrepreneurs through the complexities of business venturing is largely lacking, hence the need for this programme.
However, being fully aware of the huge scope of the topic, I would suggest specific areas that will push individual entrepreneurs here towards the fulfilment of their entrepreneurial initiatives and ambitions.
These include the following:
(i) Identifying entrepreneurs.
(ii) Traits of entrepreneur.
(iii) Stages of an entrepreneurial venture.
(iv) Practical guide to venturing
(v) Advise for the plunging entrepreneur.
(b) Identifying Entrepreneurs
Several attempts have been made to define entrepreneurship using several yardsticks as well as viewing it from different perspectives, honestly there is no unique definition, but what is basic is that entrepreneurs are marked by a need for achievement, a need to see something they create and a need to be masters of their destiny.
They do not like structure or control and do not work well with others. They tend to be creative and persistent hence they clash in a number of ways with factors that made a mature organisation's work.
Entrepreneurs seek to be autonomous and do something different, but mature organisations have reporting systems and controls geared towards minimising deviation.
They have a high tolerance for uncertainty, but mature organisations try to promote efficient processing of information and decision by reducing uncertainty and ambiguity.
As innovators they tend to be independent and unstructured and do not value conformity; mature organisations breed interdependence and co-ordination through structures and specialisation.
Entrepreneurs see their success as primarily a function of their energy and efforts. They seek conditions that offer individual freedom, but mainstream managers see their effectiveness as a result of their ability to work with and influence others.
While entrepreneurs look to express their ideas and their individuality, mature organisations work to ensure consistent treatment of people through policies and procedures.
Invariably, entrepreneurs do not exhibit behaviours that fit a mature organisation. The conditions for entrepreneurship are antithetic to the success of mature organisations.
(c) Traits Of An Entrepreneur
While there are several traits, one major trait at the heart of entrepreneurship is the recognition of opportunities followed by the will and initiative to seize these opportunities.
Secondly, it is also closely related value creation. Most successfully entrepreneurs are opportunity focused.
Thirdly, they are also very good observers as these normally produce unique opportunities.
Entrepreneurs also exhibit a high propensity to start new ventures and a readiness to assume risks while some people need certainty and fail to take decisions whereas several indices of success are wrapped in uncertainties. Entrepreneurs fail to evaluate risks and subdue all indices under the excitement of their innovative ideas. A year of failure does not paralyse entrepreneurs as it does other types of people. In fact, they have gambling mentality. This trait-strong risk taking nature is the most overriding consistency found in the behaviours of all entrepreneurs. The ability to bet the farm on one's belief is fundamental to successful entrepreneurshp.
Finally, there is a general consensus that most entrepreneurs posses the following traits: Inno-visionary personality; autocratic-like a king; charismatic; inspirational leader; Competitive - winning is everything; confident - awesome self-esteem; Driven - result oriented; focused Goal oriented to a fault; mpatient - intolerant of mediocrity; Intuitive - right brain mentality; passionate- psychic and libidinal energy; persistence -persevering prevails; persuasive - Pre-eminent salesperson; rebellious - defies tradition; risk-taking; gambling mentality
Stages Of An Entrepreneurial Venture
This classification is important as it will assist in understanding the topic better. There are typically three stages of organisational development: start up, growth and maturity.
Stage 1: An entrepreneur launches a start-up company by doing nearly everything, including designing the product, financing the business, lining up customers, and delivering goods. Risk is high in this stage. The organisation structure is flat. Even as the firm grows and the owner hires help, roles and responsibilities remain loosely defined. The entrepreneur plans and controls the company while he or she gradually assigns operating duties to others.
Overall, the style is one of individualism, informal relationships and close attention to market place success.
Stage II: If the start-up organisation succeeds it, it then evolves into the growth stage as the entrepreneur adds employees, equipment and control methods hence hierarchy and division of labour become pronounced. Personal relationships give way to job definitions and formal reporting systems. Management looking to gain control of the mushrooming organisation starts to rely on more formal procedures. Close contact between the owner and customers may diminish and be replaced by the introduction of more formal marketing and sales definitions. The threat of failure decreases in stage if because the organisation has acquired a stable base. Now, management's tendency to avoid risk rises, thereby leading the business toward the next stage of development.
Stage III: The mature company starts experiencing slow growth because of increasing competition or a changed environment. Growth makes necessary complex budgeting and planning systems substantial increases in staff to handle administrative and reporting requirements and the greater value of business managers strive for stability and control to improve results, therefore they focus on strengthening the planning process and control systems.
The company again tends to focus on activities rather than results, developing more layers of hierarchy which slows its decision, making process.
Prolonged maturity leads to rigidity and sometimes rigour morths. There will be serious attempts at re-enacting the past entrepreneurial drive, but too many troubles impairing implementation.
(d) Practical Guide For Entrepreneurs
The major issues for the development of the entrepreneur are attempted here.
These include:
(a.)Choosing the appropriate business.
(b.) Quick check on the business feasibility.
(c)Marketing tips for the entrepreneur.
(c)Preparation of a thorough business plan.
Recognising Business Opportunity/Idea Generation
There are several methods to generate business idea. Below are some few examples:
(c.) Identifying human need
(d.) Assess skills and goals
(e.) Navigate the market
(f.) Trendspotting
(g.) Problem identification and solving
(h.) Purchase reports
(c)Perform A Quick Check On The Chosen Idea
Ask questions on the basic areas necessary for the success of the business venture. The basic areas are:
(i.) Technical/operation analysis of the venture
(j.) Market for the venture's product
(k.) Monetary issues
(l.) Management of the enterprise.
(c) Niche Market Identification And Tips
It is necessary for the entrepreneur to distinguish itself from other businesses in a crowded market place with superior goods and services. These can be done using the following strategies:
Defining core competency
Explore the market
Choose a specific customer focus
Choose a market focus
Identify a dominant need
Turn the need into a performance-specific offer
Size up the competition
Imagine the future
b. Preparation Of A Business Plan
i. Executive Summary
ii. The service/project description and the general industry scenario
iii. The market and marketing strategy
iv. The technical analysis and requirements of the venture
v. Investment cost determination and financing
vi. Financial analysis of the venture
vii. Project implementation scheduling
viii. Conclusion.
5.Advice For The Plunging Entrepreneur
a. Prioritise carefully.
b. Harness win-win. opportunities.
c. Make every Naira count.
d. Work with your market in mind.
e. Remember that management is more important than technology.
f. Invest in partnership that works.
g. Economise on administrative and regulatory capacity.
h. Use market instruments where possible.
i. Involve employees adequately
j. Syncrhonise the business. goal with the 'environment' from the start.
k. Be not detached from your structural source.
The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, nor a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will, according to Vince Lombardi.
Being excerpt from a paper delivered by Bamiyo at the FECA Entrepreneurs Seminar organised by Eastflair Consulting at Dover Hotel, Lekki, Lagos recently.
Prepared by Thomaseun Onih.

Life is all about what u call it

Please endeavour to go through this at your leisure time Its long but its worth the time.Got it from a friend.It helps us appreciate the fact that life is a gift and the best we can put back into it is to try and touch the lives of the everyday people we most times ignore.
Be Inspired to touch a life today

This is from a column (Segun Adeniyi) in one of the Nigerian dailies (This Day, March 3rd or so, 2006). I just feel like sharing it. I first read the story of the girl back in 2004.

Dear bro. Segun, good morning. Please it is only from you I can seek for this help. Please, I want to tell you that my mum is not feeling fine so I need your help. Even before I was coming to church this morning she had not taken anything because there is nothing with us, no money and no food. So I tried to tell her that I will inform you, may be you can help us for some money, so we can use to manage for her health. God bless you as you help, it's me (name withheld).
Given the state of the economy that has turned many otherwise respectable people into beggars, we all, from time to time, recieve these kinds of letters from friends, relations and sometimes the next-door neighbour. Of course, most often, the situation is not as grim as it is being painted. But the fact that someone would beg depicts a certain level of deprivation though one is also mindful of the fact that begging has become an industry in Lagos. That explains why when I received the foregoing letter in Church last Sunday morning, I tried to ask the brother who brought it to identify the sender. He pointed in the direction of about six well-dressed teenage girls and I concluded it must be one of those letters since none of the people I saw could have been going through the situation so described in the letter.The particular girl he pointed at happened to be active in church and she looked anything but hungry so I concluded that she probably needed money to buy GSM recharge card. By the way, buying a recharge card has become such a heavy burden for ladies nowadays that no lie is considered too big just to get 'credit'. Well, I called a friend's wife, Mrs. Ronke Kayode, to discuss with the girl to find out what her real problem was and I soon forgot about it. A disciplinarian, Mrs. Kayode detailed three men to follow the girl home to pray for the 'sick mother' and to take some money along just in case the tale happened to be true. By the time they came back, however, the reality hit us hard that we are really in trouble in this country.The home of this girl happened to be a dingy face-me-I-face-you room she shares with her mother and three other siblings in a part of Yaba generally regarded as a slum. The brothers who went said they could not stay beyond ten minutes in the place because they were almost suffocating in the room reeking with indescribable odour of poverty. The mother was indeed sick and she and her four children, including the girl, actually had nothing to eat. Having been abandoned by her husband, father of the children, she sells what they call 'paraga' (dry gin usually sold to local touts). The girl herself finished secondary school a year ago and without any prospect of further education, she has been looking for a job that is not there.I have had to worry about that girl since Sunday because if she could be facing that type of ordeal with the facade of all-is-well I see around her all the time, I wonder how many young people in our country today go about hungry and helpless. Yet from what we can see now, things can only get worse as real income shrinks against a rising population. This should be a serious challenge for all of us. Because if, for instance, a girl had not eaten and there was no prospect of how her family would feed, then chances are high that she would use what 'she has' to get what she needs. None should therefore wonder why prostitution has almost become a compulsory course on our campuses. Whether we want to admit it or not, there must be a nexus between the level of moral decay in the society and the seeming hopelessness of many of our young people. What makes our situation particularly sad is that young people are the hardest hit by poverty because it destroys the potentials for their physical, mental and intellectual development, all of which have terrible consequences for the future, especially when it is agreed that if a child's growth and development is stunted by poverty, this often becomes a lifelong handicap. And with poverty in many Nigerian homes today, what really does the future hold for us as a nation?...
When I wrote the foregoing lengthy piece on July 22, 2004, in my column titled My Mum is Sick and There's No Food..., I did it not to seek charity for the girl whose story I used to illustrate the message but rather to draw attention to the level of poverty within our society and to arouse the conscience of those in authority. My contention was, and still is, that most Nigerians see money and power as end in themselves and not as means to advance the development of the people. Incidentally, while the message was lost on those for whom it was meant, some people were touched by the story of the girl that they volunteered to help. Mr. Akin Malaolu invited me to his office and gave N20,000. My friend, Usman Umar, leveraged his position at MTN to secure for her a job that would have fetched N20,000 a month, so she could at least help to put food on the family table. But while it was still being processed, the JAMB result came out and the girl scored 259 marks, high enough a grade to get her admission into the University of Port Harcourt.I spoke to the Speaker of the River State House Assembly, Hon Rotimi Amaechi, on the possibility of his intervention in the girl’s education and he said I should remind him at the next meeting of the National Stakeholder Working Group of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) of which we are both members. Amaechi is a progressive-minded politician with a social conscience and my interactions with him in the last two years have reinforced my belief that there are indeed good people in government. Even while domiciled in Port Harcourt, he has been very active in NEITI work whereas his colleagues in National Assembly who reside in Abuja have not shown as much commitment.My plan was to persuade Amaechi to get the state government to take up the responsibility for the girl's education as an indigene. While he was, however, ready to help, it turned out that the girl actually hailed from Bayelsa state and that door closed. But notwithstanding, he still gave me N100,000 for her mother to start some little business while promising N50,000 for the girl, a promise he kept. But having decided that the Teens Unit of my church which I head would take up the education of the girl, I asked Amaechi whether he would be ready to support me financially if I needed assistance while the girl was in school and he answered in the affirmative. Meanwhile, I brought the money he gave me to church and handed over to my pastor (Niyi Ajibola) who detailed another pastor, Gbenga Olanlokun, to liaise with the girl's mother who became a member of the church and was thereafter being cared for by the parish. Meanwhile, the girl went to register at the University of Port-Harcourt and she also began a new life. A few weeks in school, however, she called me frantically that she gathered her mother was terribly sick and wanted to come home. She did and money was provided for her to take her mother to the hospital. The next day she came to my office crying. Her mother had been diagnosed as HIV positive. I was not surprised because given to the woman’s physical condition, it was almost too glaring she had full-blown AIDS. In all these troubles, I always marveled at the girl’s strength with the enormous burden she had to shoulder at age 18. With the development concerning her mother's health, Pastor Niyi had to detail a pleasant mother of another teenager, Mrs. Bunmi Utomi, as the woman's guardian and she was rather wonderful in the ways she related with the woman who, perhaps for a long time in her life, saw love. Her condition, however, taught me several lessons about life and in all my interactions with her, I was always conscious of the fact that she had but a short time to live.Of course, no one is sure whether he or she would live long or would die young but in her own case, long life was already out of the question. Eventually, last November, she succumbed to death. This was a fatal blow but the girl took it very stoically when she came from school. Fortunately, my Head of Department, Mrs. Folake Fajemisin of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), took a special interest in her and had become more of a mother to her.I most often reflected on the life of the girl with imagination that she would end up a success story, someone whose tale would inspire many young people that notwithstanding the hard knuckles of life, one could rise above adversity to become something. I had this conviction because even as young as she was, she already had an understanding of what it meant to bear her misfortune with exemplary grace. To me it was good that she could still dream and I was happy to be part of the story. I just felt that she was coming from a background of sheer hopelessness, the kind most of us see around us everyday now. I believe without any iota of doubt that a girl like that had a story to tell in future. You can then imagine my shock last Friday when my pastor called to say that he had bad news from the University of Port Harcourt: The girl and another student as well as the okada rider carrying them were all crushed to death by a trailer!At the time the news was broken to me, I was with my aged parents in Ilorin and when I broke down in tears they were quite naturally alarmed. After I had narrated the pathetic story, wondering why such calamity could befall such a girl, my mother, in trying to calm me down, said: "You are reacting like that because you are a small boy. If you live long enough, as we have, you will see more of such mysteries..."For almost an hour, I listened to an unsolicited sermon about life but that still did not take away the fact that a sudden, unexpected death like the girl's is usually harder to accept than an anticipated death for which we have had time to prepare. The circumstance of her death, which is rather cheap, also greatly complicates the grieving process. That perhaps explains why the last few days have for me been a rather sobering period because when an elderly person close to you dies, it is said that you lose a part of yesterday; but when you lose a young person for whom you cared, you lose a lot of tomorrow. The death of the girl has brought to me the futility of life and all our daily struggles. She obviously had dreams, having suffered deprivation through no fault of hers beyond the accident of birth. But then, we also had dreams for her, thinking of the endless possibilities of what she could do for her other siblings and perhaps even her run-away father. But all of these turned out as mere vanity of human wishes. Expectedly, it was an emotional period for all my teenagers in church last Sunday when the news was broken. Tears flowed freely but there was nothing we could do. The reality though is that whether we are young or old, poor or rich, powerful or powerless, beautiful or ugly, we would all answer the call of death at one unknown point in time. Death is, however, one thing people hardly want to talk about, even those of us who preoccupy our minds with making heaven. Yet, a reflection about death, which remains the most significant but often unconsidered variable in the cold calculations of those whose minds are forever fixated on acquiring ill-gotten wealth or perpetuating themselves in power, would help. Because it brings home the reality that there are situations for which we have no control. For the first time in years, I have in the last one week closed my mind to the happenings around me: The anti-democratic antics of Ibrahim Mantu and his third term orchestra, the roforofo Senate fight between Taliban Sule Yari Gandhi and Militant Lee Maeba, the rising political tension and the intermittent telephone calls from the Niger Delta MEND hostage takers. The loss of the girl at such a tender age and in that gruesome manner has indeed brought home the message in the poem by an anonymous author. I commend it to readers as I bid goodnight to Justina:
The clock of life is wound but once,And no man has the power,To tell just when the hands will stop,on what day or what hour.
Now is the only time you have,So live it with a will,Don't wait until tomorrow,The hands may then be still.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Neva giv up

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for GOD to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.
Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions.
One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger.
"GOD, how could you do this to me?" he cried.
Early the next day he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" Asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.
It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because GOD is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain, and suffering.
Remember that, the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground; it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of GOD.
You May Want To Consider Passing This On, because You Never Know who Feels Like Their Hut Is On Fire Today.
Man says that seeing is believing, but God says that believing is seeing.

Digital world

The onus of bridging the digital divide between the developed and the under-developed nations lies on both the private and the public sectors of the economy. In the past, computer was perceived as a kind of television meant for only the affluent and beyond the reach of the poor.

But the world has been reduced to a global village and the removal of geographical boundaries by information and communications technology also complements not only the relevance but also the importance of computers to economic growth of any nation and relevance in the comity of nations.

In an effort to comply with the United Nations’ objective of ensuring that computer is available for at least 80 per cent of the world’s population by 2015 and the move towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, both the public and private sector operators in Nigeria have also taken the lead in ensuring that more people have access as well as own computer.

The Federal Government has tapped into the opportunity provided by a United States-based non-profit organisation to manufacture and distribute about 10million computers to seven countries, namely, China, India, Brazil, Nigeria, Egypt, Thailand and Argentina.

Under the One Laptop Per Child Project, a laptop, which is expected to cost $100, would be designed to give one million Nigerian children of primary school age access to knowledge, educational tools and bridge the digital divide between the rich and poor countries.

The government will buy the machines and distribute them free to students under the pilot project expected to take-off in the first quarter of 2007. The project is now enjoying the backing of the United Nations Development Programme.

Speaking recently on the project, the Project Director, Prof. Nicholas Negroponte, said that given the fact that a great proportion of the target populations were children of the rural poor, the laptops would be designed to be rugged, very fast and consume low power, adding, “The $100 laptop is an inexpensive, robust computer, with open-source software and a very low power consumption. It can also be powered by handcranking.”

Early this year, the Federal Government announced reduction in tariff on imported used computers to allow more Nigerians to own computers.

Organisations such as Zinox, Omatek, Hewlett Packard Nigeria, NetnearU and individual initiatives, including the collaborations between Chief Tunde Fanimokun and SchoolNetGlobal, also put in place various projects to ensure that more Nigerians have access as well as own computers.

HP initiated the “With out Worry” to help Nigerians own laptops with ease. HP initiated the project in partnership with other organisations, which directly sell to end-users. Under the WoW, people have the opportunity to pay for an N series of HP notebook over a period of 24 months.

The Marketing Consultant of HP Nigeria Limited, Ijeoma Onyuike, told THE PUNCH on Tuesday, that even though HP do not sell to the end-users directly, the system would allow Nigerians to own computer without stress. She added, “This is an opportunity that Nigerians should tap into, to bridge digital divides and enhance the nation’s technological advancement by acquiring modern knowledge available in other parts of the world, especially the developed countries, through the Internet.”

Zinox, an indigenous computer company, put in place the “Computerise Nigeria Project, which gives working Nigerians opportunity to own computers very cheaply. The scheme provides for workers to pay for notebook and desktop computers under an agreed format through their organisations.

NetnearU recently unfolded a project, where Nigerians could own computers, paying as little as N20,000 monthly, with a warranty of two years. This was done in collaboration with HP, Zinox, Microsoft, Intel and some financial institutions, such as Ecobank Nigeria Plc, among others.

The Chief Executive Officer of NetnearU, Mr. Kaycee Kennedy, at the roll out of 300 new wireless fidelity hotspots, told our correspondent that his organisation’s agreement with Intel takes care of provision of hardware solutions that address the challenges faced in the deployment of personal computers in Nigeria, such as affordability and use in the rural areas.

He said Intel explored further opportunities to collaborate with NetnearU on the digital inclusion initiatives, such as Computer for All Nigerians Initiative, WoW and rural connectivity

She died and rose after eight hours
Umuahia Wednesday, April 26, 2006

• Evangelist Oluchi Precious KanuPhoto: Sun News Publishing

Ever heard of a mortal who rose from death? That’s what happened when Evangelist Oluchi Precious Kanu lay dead for eight hours only to wake up later.Indeed, the story of the 20-year-old evangelist is as thrilling as it is interesting. She told Daily Sun her story."I started serving God in the year 1997, though I answered His call in 2004. My dream had always been to read Law. I was working hard academically for it. It never occurred to me that God had other plans for me."I was in a dream one day when a man came to me. In this dream, I was holding a dictionary. The man collected the dictionary from me and gave me a Bible. I never knew what this meant when I woke up. I entered for WAEC examination. The day I was sitting for Mathematics, God appeared to me and asked me to use the money I had ear- marked for NECO examination for a crusade.“I asked myself how a little person like me could do that. I told God that this was not possible”.“After the WAEC examination, I was lying on a sofa when God spoke to me again, telling me that Friday of that week was a day of competition between Him and I, and that whoever won the other would serve. "On that Friday, I was lying down when I passed out. People started crying that I had died. They did everything to revive me to no avail. I laid down there for eight hours and when they felt that I was dead, they sent somebody to go to the village and call my father. Before the person could leave for Uzuakoli, I woke up and there was jubilation everywhere. In that "death" state, God took me to a big hall and stood me on an altar. I saw more than 100 ministers of God in that place. It was a big cathedral and the altar covered half of the auditorium. I mounted the altar and started preaching to the ministers."God told me that unless I agree to go and do so in the land of the living, He would not allow me to go back. I then agreed to come back and work for Him. This lasted for eight hours, under which people thought I had died."How did I know that it was God? When He came, He told me that He was the elder with grey hair who never grew old. Then he started growing up and I saw only his legs and he kept growing until I did not see him again."When I did not do the crusade he directed me to do, I was afflicted with stroke and for a period of six months, I was bed-ridden. I decided to do the crusade which he demanded. In that crusade. I was holding a microphone with one hand and before I could finish, I was completed healed. "God opened my eyes and exposed many evil doers in my community and I know them. He asked me to call their names, which I did. It was during her crusade that the revolution by the youths of Uzuakoli to wage war against witches and wizards erupted in which over 30 unrepentant witches and wizards were banished from the villages."Sometimes, when I finish ministration, people would tell me what I said. I tell them to write down what I say during preaching. I am just a vessel through which God does his work. I am not the miracle worker.


Purdue grad student arrested for Internet threats

Vikram Buddhi, a 34 year old grad student and teaching assistant is in federal custody.
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HEADLINES David MacAnally/Eyewitness News
West Lafayette, April 17 - The Purdue University community is shocked over the arrest of a teaching assistant for making threats against President Bush and other national leaders.
Vikram Buddhi, 34, is charged with making threats in an online Yahoo chat room that landed him in federal custody.
The Purdue students Eyewitness News spoke with couldn't believe it. "He is a nice guy and helped my friend to move," said one student. Another said she didn't believe the charges "because he is such a nice person."
Commments on a Yahoo chat site were allegedly traced back to Buddhi's computer at Purdue.Among the messages attibuted to him: "Call for assassination of G.W. Bush.," "Go Iraqis," "Kill Bush," "Rape, kill Laura Bush," Kill Cheney, white fat pig," "Rumsfeld: old geezer crook," and "Kill Republicans."
Buddhi allegedly urged people to target key sites like nuclear power plants.
Eyewitness News asked another student if that sounded like Buddhi. "I don't think so. I don't see him as the kind of person that would do this."
Buddhi is still in custody. He has nutritional supplies placed at his door waiting for him. He lives in grad and undergrad campus apartments on the edge of campus with a roomate. No one Eyewitness News met got to know him there.
His lawyer said their neighbor was just exercising his free speech rights and didn't intent to act. His neighbor did come to his defense.
"Obviously there are a lot of opinions like internationally. I think threats on an internet chat room don't have a lot of validity."
A web surfer in Texas spotted the message and contacted the Secret Service. Buddhi could face disciplinary action at Purdue.Three years ago Buddhi was recognized as an outstanding graduate teaching assistant.

Wonders shall never end

efcc: The arrest of Manira
6th February

Have you heard that Manira Haruna Dariye has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission? This, I shamefully confess, is not the first time the EFCC has arrested anyone and therefore it ought not to be news. But, quite unfortunately, it is news all the same because Manira is a newborn baby who, if you were to put the money allegedly laundered by her Uncle Joshua Dariye in her tiny hands, she would try to chew it thinking it were food. But whether she could tell the difference between money and bread is immaterial as little Manira is as much under arrest as if she could tell the difference between her right hand and her left.
It is Manira’s enviable fortune to get arrested so early in life so that she would learn later in her formative years that justice does not roll down the high plateaus of Jos like a mighty stream, nor does it cover the heightening rocks of Abuja like a harmattan fog. It should do her a lot of good because suffering breeds patience and patience breeds character and character breeds honesty. And honesty, according to conventional wisdom, pays – though it does not seem to pay enough to satisfy the Alamesieyeghas, Baloguns, Dariyes, Wabaras and Osujis of this world.
According to media reports, the EFCC had gone to arrest the younger brother of the embattled Governor Joshua Dariye of Plateau State, Mr Haruna Dariye. Not finding the man they decided to arrest his wife? Which action, I figure, the EFCC could justify by sanctimoniously quoting the fact that the Good Book and conventional wisdom declare that the two (the man and his wife) shall become one. And since little Manira had just been born she had to be arrested alongside her mother to also prove to Nigerians at home and abroad that the sins of fathers shall be visited on their children (even to the third generation) by the all powerful EFCC.
Press accounts of the incident of the arrest of Manira have left the facts a little murky. There clearly was a fight and some men (including EFCC officials) were injured. One account even has it that an EFCC man was abducted. Manira could not have joined in the fight and she could not have cared a wee little bit about it. She would have been crying in her cot over all the noise, and desirous of being breast-fed. But she, poor child born at the "wrong" time to the "wrong" couple, deserved to be arrested because the daughter of a lion would eventually become a lioness, and the daughter of a Dariye would ultimately become a Dariye – that is if EFCC does nothing about it in the national interest. So they picked her up to keep her under their watchful eyes and see how by careful genetics engineering they can kill the Dariye genes and turn her into a Ribadu or better still, Obasanjo, and thereby make the world a better and safer place for you and me.
Uninformed people could argue that in civilised societies you do not arrest a woman or a baby for the sins (or if you prefer, the crimes) of her husband or father. You could even refer to the Good Book which posits that no more shall it be said in Israel that the fathers’ have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But this is not Israel, so if a father eats sour grapes his children should begin to worry about their teeth being set on edge. Though the whole problem here is that Manira has no teeth to be set on edge, and as such should have been given time to grow something which could be set on edge before her arrest.
You could argue that babies ought to be spared arrest in the macrabre drama of money laundering and sundry financial crimes committed by the high and mighty in our land. That, I suppose, is a position informed by the fact that you were once a baby. I sympathise with you. Well, if you must know, folks like us (EFCC officials and me) were born as adults. We were never babies and we do not know why a baby should be innocent of the father’s misdemeanor. Ribadu, I have it on good authority, was solving mathematical puzzles before he was born and the day he was born he looked the doctor straight in the face and said "Decent conduct demands that you do not look at a naked man who has just come out of the womb. You can leave now Mr Man, I can take care of myself from here." You who were once babies hold babies in high esteem, eh? That is okay, but not folks like us (Ribadu and me) who missed this metamorphic stage of mankind’s existence.
So… this is partly why EFCC does not have compunctions about the moral imperatives of right and wrong in arresting a baby. To them Nigeria is made up of two kinds of people – thieves and the President’s men and women. And they know for a certain that the son or daughter of a thief is either a thief or a thief in the making. They are not concerned with civil liberties and civil rights – they would rather leave such distracting matters to the Ganis of this world and focus on catching thieves through using avowedly McCarthyist methods.
Of course lately the EFCC’s operational methods have reminded one of McCarthyism. The word McCarthyism is derived from the activities of United States Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy (1908-1957). During the cold war, Senator McCarthy - one of the most patriotic Americans who ever lived and a man who left his office as a circuit judge to fight for his country during World War 11 - headed the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He waged an obsessed and paranoid campaign against communists and members of the American Communist Party. His methods left a lot to be desired but he capitalised on the paranoia of Americans for communism and got away with his unorthodox methods for a time. Much later moderates put paid to his unwholesome hounding methods and his only ignominious legacy is the contribution of the word McCarthysm to the English language. This word according to Encarta Dictionary means the practice of using unsubstantiated accusations or unfair methods of investigation to discredit people. One may not accuse the EFCC of using unsubstantiated accusations to hound its quarries, but you can sure accuse them of using unfair methods in their investigations.
The same mistake Joseph McCarthy made is being made by EFCC. It is a mistake captured perfectly a couple of millenniums ago by the Roman orator and statesman, Cicero (106 - 43 BC) when he said "extreme justice is extreme injustice." But these are not the best of times to pontificate on the need for the respect of citizenship rights by the commission in its fight against endemic corruption in high places in the nation. As a matter of fact, you lose your citizenship right at the moment the EFCC’s torch swings in your direction.
As a point of fact, forceful arrest in the kind of case involving Governor Dariye is supposed to be effected in a situation where a citizen ignores a summon or an invitation to appear before a competent investigative body or judicial panel. We have not been told that Manira had such an invitation extended to her, nor did her mother receive such an invitation. Newspaper reports have not also said whether Haruna, Manira’s father received his invitation before the swoop on his house while he was (by his own account) in Gombe. EFCC believes in shooting first and estimating the damage after.
But let’s not digress further, let us consider the question of what should be done to Manira. I suggest she should be found guilty immediately of being born at the wrong time, to the wrong man, who married the wrong woman, and lived in the wrong house and had a wrong brother, who became the wrong governor of a wrong mountainous state named after a plateau. And do note that a plateau is defined in one of its entries as "a phase of stagnation: a phase in mental or physical development during which little headway is made." Let us convict her of not having the common sense and moral rectitude to decline to suck breasts assisted with laundered and embezzled funds. Since the father used laundered money to marry her mother and nurtured her with this same money when she was pregnant, the baby should have known better than to be born to such a couple and would have elected to be born to my wife who is interested in a ‘third’ child. As a matter of fact she is an accomplice after the fact of crime and a potential key prosecution witness. Meanwhile, I suggest her name be changed from Manira to Ma-Naira or better still, Ma-Nigeria.
But if this is not all right by Ribadu, I would simply suggest that he should keep the baby and throw away the bath water.

Monday, February 13, 2006


A young man, a graduate of a large university, aftersearching for several months for a job, became discouraged. He was too proud to ask for assistance. He hadworked his way through college and had no reserve capital; he hadpractically nothing but his diploma and his courage; and now hiscourage had left him. He had gone 2 days without food, and had beenobliged to give up his room because he couldn't pay his rent. He hadslept upon a park bench for several nights. It seemed to him that thebottom had dropped out of everything. He didn't see any use ina college education, and felt that the world didn't have anyuse for him or any place for him. He was completely obsessed by discouragement, andby a frightful fit of the "blues," which had stuck by him for days,balking his efforts at hunting for a job. He couldn't see anylight in the future, or any prospects ahead. He had a horror of finally drifting into the ranksof the unfit and the failures. His clothes became faded andwrinkled from constant wear without change. He couldn't keephimself in a presentable condition, and he was turned downeverywhere. At last he got a job washing dishes in a cheaprestaurant, which at least provided him with his meals; but hecontinued to sleep in the park. One night, in the midst of his wretchedness, hehad a sort of vision. He saw emblazoned in letters of fire acrossthe sky these words: "Trust yourself." He slept no more that night. At dawn he got upfrom the bench, went to a watering trough and washed his face andhands and shaved himself as best he could. He made friends with abootblack who allowed him to polish his shoes. Then he set forth determined to get a positionthat very day. Fortified by his vision he did not go slinking intoany office as though he had been a thief; but he entered withan air of confidence, of expectation. There was grit in his very _expression. That day he got a place. It was not what he wanted, but it was something,an opening wedge. Best of all, he had solved a problem; he had learnedthe great lesson of trusting himself, of believing in his ownpowers. The vision of that night never left him. This young man has climbed to an enviable positiontoday, and he says he owes it all to his vision, "Trustyourself." All his early life he had been a victim of diffidence. Hehad suffered greatly in school and college. The calling of his name for recitation was likesticking a knife into him. He had never dared get up in any publicmeeting. It paralyzed him to think of being singled out, ofhaving attention called to him. Although he had ability, he graduallybecame so disheartened that he didn't believe he could succeedunder any circumstances. He accepted as a fact the estimate thatdiscouragement pointed out to him. It kept whispering to him that he couldnever do that which he was undertaking, that there was no use intrying. But once with his feet on the upgrade, he began toawaken to his powers. He began to trust himself more and more,instead of standing back or relying upon others. This self-trust has grown until now this man is soself-reliant and has such a vigorous initiative, that no onewould dream he had ever been a victim of timidity and discouragement. The "Know yourself" of the Greek sages is butanother _expression of this universal truth. We say today, "He can whothinks he can." "Didn't dare to begin" would make a good epitaph formultitudes of people. "He was discouraged" is on the tombstones ofcountless others.

You are special



You're My friend,

through good times

and bad

my friend,

my buddy,

through happy and sad,

beside me you stand,

beside me you walk,

you're there to listen,

you're there to talk,

with happiness,

with smiles,

with pain and tears,

I know you'll be there,

throughout the years!

You are all good friends to me

and I am grateful to you.

Forward this to all your good friends on-line to show them you are friends.

This is sweet, I hope I get it back!

Watch out

That Red Alert On Used Computers By Ojeladun Taiwo A.

There was a disturbing article in The Guardian of November 28, 2005. It was titled "Red alert on used computers, electronic devices," and written by Sonny Aragba-Akpore. The article brought the spotlight on the problem of used electronics being dumped in Nigeria. It highlighted a report written by the Seattle-based hazardous waste watchdog, the Basel Action Network (BAN), which sent a team to Nigeria to assess the problem. The report, titled, "The Digital Dump: Exporting Re-Use and Abuse to Africa," should be of interest to every Nigerian.
The picture painted by the report is horrifyingly grotesque and the report has been highlighted by several media outlets in the United States including The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic News, and Baltimore Sun. Each month, hundreds of thousands of used computers, televisions and other electronic components - about 500 container loads - arrive in Nigeria. One container may contain 500 computers. Of these, half are unusable and immediately end up in landfills. BAN's executive Director Jim Puckett says, "There's an amazing expertise in repair, but so much of what's coming in is worthless that it is just dumped."
The internationally accepted environmentally sound solution to used electronics is recycling. But unlike the EU and Japan, the US has no clear rules on recycling obsolete electronic equipment and no regulations to prevent the kinds of export we are talking about. According to reports, the US is the only developed country that has not ratified the Basel Convention, an international treaty on trade in hazardous waste. In order to avoid the huge cost of recycling of the more than 63 million computers that would become obsolete in the US by the end of this year, those Puckett calls "waste cowboys acting as e-scrap brokers" will package these and ship them off to India and China where there are inexpensive and environmentally unsound methods of recycling, and to Nigeria where too many of them will be thrashed. Nigeria has zero electronics recycling facilities and the equipment sent to Nigeria and end up being thrashed are sent under the guise of recycling or reuse. To put it all more clearly, the "waste cowboys" pick up thrashed equipment, package them together with tested working equipment meant for commercial resale and send these to Nigeria.
The environmental and health impact of these can only be conjectured. The BAN found that much of the junked equipment is adding to the considerable hazardous waste problems of a country that lacks facilities to properly handle it. It took photographs showing enormous open dumps of junked electronics along roadsides in residential neighbourhoods, sometimes set ablaze to reduce bulk, with children wondering near them. According to experts, intact computer and other electronic equipment pose zero health hazards, but when computer and television screens, circuit boards, batteries, and other high-tech electronics are broken up or degraded or burned, they release toxic substances. These include cadmium, barium, mercury and chromium. An average computer monitor contains as much as eight pound of lead along with plastic components that contain brominated flame retardants. These can accumulate in human blood and fat tissue and can disrupt the body's hormonal balance. When burned some of these plastics release dioxins and furans which are culprits in cancer as well as a host of other health problems.
If you think the dumping of used computers here is bad enough, there is another dimension, more insidious, to the problem. The other day I was at a technician's shop to try to fix a monitor at Ikeja in Lagos. A fellow came around and had cause to advise the technician to dump my monitor. "How you go dey waste your time repair new monitor? New monitors no good. If you buy monitor today, you go use am for three months before i spoil. Na fairly use come better pass new thing. China dey do mass production. Wetin dem go use do one dem go use am do hundred." Shortly after, looking at the heap of thrashed monitors near the shop, another fellow said, "China no be hooman been. See! See! See!"
Listening to these technicians, you see the problem clearly. We have been reduced to preferring the pestilential items from America over new products! This is a tragedy. It would appear that Asians make good things and ship them to the West where there are strict standards, and make bad things and ship them here where nobody can care less. This problem goes beyond computers. Around here one is always buying electric sockets that don't fit or work for a few days and get burnt.
However, the problem also goes beyond Asians. The reason the Chinese and Taiwanese ship substandard electronics here is us. It is not because they dislike the spelling of Nigeria or they despise our faces. The other day, as I was discussing the problem with a friend, he put his finger right on it. He said earlier this year he got in touch with a firm in Asia to send him some USB phones and they asked him to give them specifications. Lost, he asked them what they meant. He then told them to send him the best ones. He was later to learn that Nigerian businessmen tell the Asian firms to make these cheap things. When they are brought here, we buy them happily because we can afford them. That is why the middlemen ask for cheap specifications - because more people can afford them and they want to reap good profits. But most of them don't work well. Of course, these cut-throat businessmen and their Asian partners-in-crime harm the public. Unfortunately, the federal standards agency, the SON, justifies its existence entirely by paying salary to its staff every month.
Perhaps the greatest challenge about the environmental disaster brewing around Nigeria is the complete lack of awareness. Minimum global standards are unheard of around here so people ordinarily see nothing wrong with the use of cellophane wrappers in the night markets, and very few of the upmarket supermarkets and fast food outlets have adopted paper wrappers. We dump refuse in the rivers. We see nothing wrong with electronics being dumped in our neighbourhoods and then set ablaze. We are perfectly at home with any contraption called a generator spewing horrible fumes in the effort to generate some badly-needed energy.
Global warming, ozone depletion and the like would sound like ancient Greek to too many of us. Even desert encroachment and ocean surge we fail to associate with our practices. So we deliberately set fire to the bush. And no thanks to NEPA's arbitrary billing system, we make no efforts to conserve electricity when we could. In other climes, some people put the environment into consideration when deciding which car to buy. The last time someone tried to bring some sanity to bear on the importation of used cars into this country people yelled blue murder, as if cars were bread.
It is not surprising then that the alarm on used computers was raised by a foreign-based group and has not generated much ink from local opinion writers in the media and listserves. The article in The Guardian says, "Curiously, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reportedly conceded that there were indeed inappropriate practices in the industry but did not think that the immediate solution was to stop the export of the equipment." So what is the immediate solution? They don't know. But then we are talking about the US EPA, not the Nigeria EPA. The Federal Government has reportedly issued policy statements on the importation of used computers into the country.
To be sure, I am drafting this write-up on my home computer which I purchased "fairly used". Should someone place a total ban on importation of used computers, people are bound to yell like they did in the case of cars when even many of those who welcomed the idea felt the ceiling was too high. But Technology Times editor Shina Badaru is of the view that the only way to curb "digital dump" is local manufacture of computers.
But before then...?


By the middle of the 21st century it will be possible to download your brain to a supercomputer, according to a leading thinker on the future.Ian Pearson, head of British Telecom’s futurology unit, told the UK’s Observer newspaper that the rapid advances in computing power would make cyber-immortality a reality within 50 years.Pearson said the launch recently of Sony’s PlayStation 3, a machine 35 times more powerful than the model it replaced, was a sign of things to come.“The new PlayStation is one per cent as powerful as the human brain,” Pearson told the Observer. “It is into supercomputer status compared to 10 years ago. PlayStation 5 will probably be as powerful as the human brain.”Pearson said that brain-downloading technology would initially be the preserve of the rich, but would become more available over subsequent decades.“If you’re rich enough then by 2050 it’s feasible. If you’re poor you’ll probably have to wait until 2075 or 2080 when it’s routine,” he said.“We are very serious about it. That’s how fast this technology is moving: 45 years is a hell of a long time in IT.”Pearson also predicted that it would be possible to build a fully conscious computer with superhuman levels of intelligence as early as 2020.IBM’s BlueGene computer can already perform 70.72 trillion calculations a second and Pearson said the next computing goal was to replicate consciousness.“We’re already looking at how you might structure a computer that could become conscious. Consciousness is just another sense, effectively, and that’s what we’re trying to design in computer.”Pearson said that computer consciousness would make feasible a whole new sphere of emotional machines, such as airplanes that are afraid of crashing.By 2020 Pearson also predicted the creation of a “virtual world” of immersive computer-generated environments in which we will spend increasing amounts of time, socialising and doing business.He said: “When technology gives you a life-size 3D image and the links to your nervous system allow you to shake hands, it’s like being in the other person’s office. It’s impossible to believe that won’t be the normal way of communicating.”But Pearson admitted that the consequences of advancing technologies needed to be considered carefully. –

New discovery

Before you next flush the toilet, consider this: Scientists in Singapore have developed a battery powered by urine.Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology created the credit card-size battery as a disposable power source for medical test kits.Scientists have been scrambling to create smaller, more efficient and less expensive “biochips” to test for diseases such as diabetes. Until now, however, similarly small batteries to power the devices remained elusive.Diagnostic test kits commonly analyse the chemical composition of a person’s urine to detect a malady. Ki Bang Lee and his colleagues realised that the substance being tested – urine – could also power the test.“In order to address this problem, we have designed a disposable battery on a chip, which is activated by biofluids such as urine,” Lee wrote in an e-mail to National Geographic News.The research team describes the battery in the current issue of the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering.Daniel Kammen, director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, said the technology is a welcome innovation in a time of rising energy prices.“All jokes (about) urine aside, what is needed are low-cost batteries. …” he said. “The other neat thing about this is the fact that it’s basically a biodegradable battery.”
Urine PowerTo make the battery, Lee and his colleagues soaked a piece of paper in a solution of copper chloride and sandwiched it between strips of magnesium and copper. This sandwich was then laminated between two sheets of transparent plastic.When a drop of urine is added to the paper through a slit in the plastic, a chemical reaction takes place that produces electricity, Lee said.The prototype battery produced about 1.5 volts, the same as a standard AA battery and runs for about 90 minutes. Researchers said the power, voltage and lifetime of the battery can be improved by adjusting the geometry and materials used.Urine contains many ions, (electrically charged atoms) which allows the electricity-producing chemical reaction to take place in the urine battery, said UC Berkeley’s Kammen. Other bodily fluids, such as tears, blood and semen, would work easily as well to activate the battery.“Little bags of urine may generate chuckles,” Kammen said. “But really urine is just a nice example (of) a whole variety of compounds that do this stuff.” Even children’s lunch-box fruit-juice packets are sufficient, he added.
Alternative EnergyWhile medical devices inspired the urine battery, it can activate any electric device with low power consumption, according to Lee, the battery’s co-inventor.“For example, we can integrate a small cell phone and our battery on a plastic card. This can be activated by body fluids, such as saliva, during an emergency,” he said.According to Kammen the technology could even be applied to laptop computers, mp3 players, televisions and cars. Body-fluid-powered batteries “can do all kinds of things. The issue is how they scale up” to produce more power, he said.One approach is to simply build larger batteries. Another method is to link lots of little battery cells side by side, which is how the batteries in laptop computers work, Kammen explained.Kammen, who advocates government funding for alternative energy research, says the wide number of applications for cheap and efficient biofluid-powered batteries illustrates the value of research. “Investigation leads to innovation,” he said

I gbadun this interview

He has steadily built up a reputation for himself as the scourge of Nigerian politicians, a one-man crusader and an enemy of corruption. Call him a rebel with a cause and you won’t be far wrong. He and his former partner (Jonathan Elendu) of took Nigeria by storm in 2005 and gave the phrase investigative reporting a whole new meaning; they got tongues wagging, and many politicians diving for cover. But just when Nigerians were beginning to get used to their weekly firebrand stories and investigative reports, Omoyele Sowore, former University of Lagos Students Union President, announced that he was disengaging from, thus fuelling speculations of a bust-up with Jonathan Elendu. In this excerpts from the interview conducted by Uche Nworah, Sowore speaks on his life, his mission and why he left

Tell us a little about yourself ? I was born in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria in a small village called “Kiribo” in Ese-Odo local government area of Ondo State. I come from a small Yoruba –speaking tribe known as “Ijaw-Apoi” (Ijaw-Apoi- because the Ijaws claim their territory or nation starts from there!). My father was a local teacher and my mum a full-time, never- retiring housewife. I come from a polygamous family, I have lots of brothers and sisters, 16 of us; - don’t ask me if I remember all their names!What about your educational background I studied Geography and Planning at the University of Lagos from 1989 to 1995 (for six years), after being expelled twice for political reasons and because of my student activism. I did my youth service in Yola, Adamawa State from 1995-1996; I was never given a discharge certificate till date for whatever reasons. I also have a Masters degree in Public Administration from Columbia University in New York, I graduated in May 2003. Briefly tell us about your professional background (working life) both in Nigeria and abroad Until I left Nigeria in 1999, I worked as a pro-democracy activist. I didn’t have a job really; I only had a career as a civil rights activist of a sort, a very dangerous career especially in our part of the world... And with that career you can’t get a day job, there were no paid jobs anyway! I currently work with the Catholic Charities in the New York tri-state area, that’s my job at the moment, my career remains the same.People have been wondering what drives and motivates you, being that journalism and writing in the Nigerian context does not fully pay the bills, who funds your various story researches which usually transcend many continents? Like I said earlier, I have a day job and my Internet reports are funded from my private funds, but some of the reports are also made possible by the research efforts of some patriotic Nigerians who reach out to us because of the seriousness with which we took the reports. I have a network of these great guys all over the world that I tap into from time to time. So many of the tools we use for our investigations are basically somehow available and when we need to go to the higher levels we contact these 'Good Samaritans' who in turn deplore their resources to help make things happen, but let me be clear on this, I have never received any funding from any source for my work. For so long, I have been consumed with the passion to see a different nation, which I believe to be very possible. I have thrown my life into it. In terms of my balance sheet, I am operating at a deficit financially, but no one sent me to do this, so I am not complaining. I can’t forget the example set by a good friend, (Kayode Ogundamisi) who had to disguise as a delivery man in order to take pictures of a Governor's Bentley in his garage in London. These are the type of commitments I have been able to tap into to make these reports possible for all Nigerians, to see what their governors and other officials do with their money. What inspired you to go into this type of ‘death-wish’ journalism, if you like? If you have ever travelled through any West African country you will be really pissed at Nigerian leaders, there is no basis for the current poverty and the wreckage of Nigeria, that in itself is more than enough to motivate anyone... Writing exposés, as you call them is my basic method of 'anger management' since I don’t have the means or motivation to nuke up our leaders. Writing became an option because I hate stories in the local media that carries clichés such as 'names withheld'. I think our style of writing demystified those journalistic jargons and clichés. It was also an avenue to deliver unadulterated news report to average readers with access to the Internet, though still a negligible minority. The news of the moment is your disengagement from, as their star writer, what do you think will be the fate of the outfit now that you have left? I don’t subscribe to titles, what do you mean by a star writer? Most people, including you, can write better than I do. I don’t think that my departure would affect the writing skills of the people running the website. I wasn’t writing for stardom, I was writing for change, I went into writing to support my aspirations for a better Nigeria. I did not leave with the aim that it would collapse. I hope that it gets better; this decision had been in the pipeline for sometime. I even took a break sometime in November 2005. Principally, Jonathan (Elendu) indicated to me that he would go into political consulting in 2007, which means that the outfit will take a partisan position somehow. With due respect, I don’t believe in the current political process in Nigeria. I didn’t want to be hemmed into any political alliance which will damage my legitimate aspiration to seek freedom outside of the confines of the democratic contraption labelled as democracy in Nigeria today, the only purpose Nigerian democracy serve is its usefulness as a tool for blackmailing Nigerians into silence. I thought it would amount to suicide to consult for or with any of the political entities in the present Nigeria without thoroughly compromising my principles. This is the principal reason for leaving, of course amongst other private concerns that I have expressed to him and other members of our close-knit network over time. Can you share with us how you met Jonathan Elendu and how both of you successfully forged an investigative writing force in so short a time? The most shocking part of this is that we have never met before in person, I mean till the time I left. It was an association that emerged purely on faith (even though I am not a religious person). I met him shortly after I returned from Nigeria last year (2005). I had just conducted that famous interview with Governor Orji Kalu of Abia State, the one that he flatly denied that he ever spoke with me. Amongst the various Nigerians that e-mailed me –taking different stance, for or against- was Jonathan Elendu, he told me that he had practiced journalism for sometime and wondered if I actually interviewed Kalu. I told him yes, and that I need not lie about that. He asked if I could give him Kalu’s telephone numbers, I gave him everything. He interviewed Kalu after interviewing me. He came back later and said that he was shocked to find out that Kalu admitted that we spoke, but then he was having difficulties publishing his interviews (with me and Orji Kalu) with the outfit that he had worked with for five years! He was upset. I told him not to worry, as we discussed he told me that he had an idea to start a website and wondered if we could partner together. I was hesitant because I didn’t know him, and hadn’t heard about him before then and I didn’t share his commentary about the interview with Kalu, he said I was the “other side of the same coin as Kalu”- which I objected to but respected his rights to make his judgments. But as time went on we had useful discussions and I decided to give it a try. He wanted me to have a title with his website. I declined, as I thought it was unnecessary. I decided to remain an ordinary writer, which means that I also kept my regular e-mail. I told him that I always want to have a choice to publish anywhere I wanted. That was how we started. In all fairness to him, he had maintained that he would like to do political consulting. But I thought we had gotten to a point where he could not be involved with working for any political candidate without compromising the work we were doing. Gradually my enthusiasm began to wane in terms of continuing to work with him. I respect his skills as a writer but I think we came to the project or enterprise together for different reasons. He sees our engagements differently, for me, I see it as a battle to change Nigeria, I believe he views it as a means to further his consultancy work; we began to part ways in different directions from that point. If you work for change, you seek to build movements that would make them happen, but individuals who seek to further consultancy work only work to build their Rolodexes. I enjoyed every bit of our work. It has revolutionized Internet publishing in Nigeria. And also it has created a sense of alternative media, it was something very fantastic! It is quite obvious that whatever model you guys used, that it worked; do you think that such a model can work again if tried by other writers/journalists and what is its longevity? Definitely the model will work again, what I would like to see is a duplication or multiplication of this type of effort, when the Wright Brothers invented the airplane (please ignore my high-floating comparisons here!) they never thought about huge airplanes that can take half of a city across the world. I really hope this can motivate more partnerships amongst our citizens to democratize freedom of information more quickly. We were able to help provide Nigeria’s local media with alternatives such that Reuters and BBC were no longer the only sources of credible news. The longevity of any partnership is always dependent on variables such as the ideology and philosophy of such partnerships. Part of the problem with ours was that we had so much work to do; we didn’t even think that we needed to work out a real partnership that would be guided by certain principles. The demand for our work was overwhelming! Do you have friends in government and who are they? That’s the funniest question I would say; I only know people in government in Nigeria the same way a student would learn about them in a civics class. I have never been to a governor’s office before, never met anyone in the executive arm of the government in Nigeria. As a policy, I don’t attend gatherings where Nigerian government officials gather. Only if there was a protest! I could never pretend that I love characters that put my home country in bondage by wearing my best attire to a reception and act as though I love what they do! Has President Olusegun Obasanjo or other government officials ever tried to contact you over a story, directly or indirectly? Until recently, whenever we published stories I never even have a contact e-mail attached. Jonathan’s contact and office phones are the ones listed on the website. There are a few moves here and there, usually an unsolicited offer to make donations towards our work, that I suspected were attempts at reaching out to me from government quarters, but I am really very quick to rebuff such attempts. I make it clear that I have no interest in working either for Obasanjo or any of the other people running Nigeria today. But from our sources in Nigeria, we have been regaled by the stories that they are concerned about our activities. I am usually happy when I hear that they ask who those boys are. There was no room in my heart to consider working for any of them; I hate their type of governance with passion. Have you finally reconciled with Governor Orji Kalu? And what do you think of his 2007 bid for president? I never had any beef with Governor Orji Kalu. Shortly after he denied the existence of that interview with me, he called me to say some nice things about me and he told me that he believes in what we do, but with a caveat that he wants us to be friends and would like me to get familiar with his campaign for President. I detest politicians especially Nigerian politicians and I have never thought much of Orji Kalu. In 2007, I think he will be running for relevance, his presidential bid is of value as long as he is not ignored. I think Gov. Orji Kalu is obsessed with publicity to the extent that he will fall sick if he were to open a newspaper in the morning and not find his name! How do you relax in your free time? I don’t really have much free time. I swim during the summer, if I ever have time to do so. I grew up beside a lake, I love water a lot! Do you have any role models? I read about role models in primary and secondary schools in civics/history class. In the university, I had to fight each and everyone of them, part of what needs to change are those ideas of role models, our history celebrates crooks, we now know better. Finally, what are your dreams for Nigeria? People who can’t sleep can’t dream, I would like to see a Nigeria the day after a revolution. Seriously, the world of dreams smacks of certain laziness that makes me think we are still on our knees waiting for answered prayers; it depicts a surreal life of something out of space. Dreams make me think of complacency, you don’t really need to go to sleep to know how you want Nigeria to be!

You will get there

Before an eagle is even born, they actually have a small tooth on their beak and that helps them to break out of the egg. If anyone tries to help that eagle chick to escape, it will probably not survive because breaking through the shell is the tenacity and the fight that the eagle needs to make it in life.
(a)The higher you climb, the better the view- keeps going on, never say stop;
It is only with courage and a will to win that can make us reach the summit one day.

(b) A traveler in Africa saw one of the large butterflies of the tropics struggling to free itself from the cocoon. He pitied it and with his knife cut, the cords at which it was straining. It was released but all the brilliant coloring was gone! The struggle was necessary to make the color appear. As you gain the victory over trial and adversity, you will see beautiful colors and qualities come from your life. People who never had difficulties or problems tend to be very shallow.

(c)Great trials are often necessary to prepare us for great responsibilities. The nest is a period when you begin to have food and shelter along course to maturity, the difficulties, problems and setback we have in life are required for our development.

As a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, from rich home or poor home, it is always too soon to quit.
Whatever mountain you have to climb like an eagle, whatever burden you have to carry, whatever problems you are facing and whatever trials and difficulties surrounds you, it is too soon to quit. If you want to move from the nest to maturity in life, then never give up.
Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall. The greatest failure in life is to stop trying.
The tougher the job, the greater the reward. No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself. Perhaps, it is time for you to leave the comfort zone of egg. Sure breaking through the shell is tough and life outside is going to be tougher but life with all its excitement and rewards lie ahead.

To make it in life, you need the following:

Vision: Eagles have remarkably developed eyesight which includes both sideways and binocular vision. The eyes are not fully at nest (birth) but develop with maturity. It can readily identify its prey from about 1 mile. Its eyes adjust quickly and accurately with depth of field and focus.
A dynamic life is fired by vision. If you can imagine it, you can achieve it, if you can dream it, you can become it.
Once you catch that beam of sunshine in your eyes, once you catch the vision of the full potential of your life, then you will really begin to fly. Visible sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible.
Seun onih.
Know 3 vital things about vision.

(a) Vision creates power: Enthusiasm is produced from vision and the power from enthusiasm is the energy that drives every successful idea.
(b) Great vision comes from being quite still, often alone, to spend time in solitude and reflection.
(c) Never allow your vision to escape you: Just as a fire will die without fuel, so too will your visions and dreams unless you keep them constantly alive. Your vision should be part of what you are living with day by day.

Focus: When an eagle locates its prey, it develops singleness of mind and purpose. From that moment, every part of its powerful beautiful body is locked into line with the focus of those keen eyes.
Don’t zigzag through life. You are now switching from sail power to engine power in reaching your destination. Focus will take you to where you want to go, but watch out for distractions such as;

(a) Obstacles: These are the things you see when you take your eyes off the goals. If you come to a mountain, climb on it, go round it, and turn through it. Don’t allow it to stop you but let it make you and develop you.
(b) Criticism: If you are in the frontline, you will be the first to get shot at. Of course, you will be criticized but eagles would never trade places with a turkey. If criticism is leveled at you, analyze it. If there is something you can learn that will help you, use it, otherwise throw it behind you and keep going.
(c) Circumstances: History is filled with inspiring stories of those who fought against the odds and won. Don’t allow health, ethnic background, where you‘re born, lack of education and other factors to hinder you. Just make up your mind and fly. Focus on your dreams by controlling your time. When an eagle is on the attack, it does not have time at that moment to look on another valley closer or farther. This is focus time. Time is your most valuable personal resource. Use it wisely because it can not be replaced.


An eagle’s nest is usually pierced in the highest trees and located in the most remote, unattainable spot that any bird can find. In the face of storms, fires, blizzards earthquakes- no matter how often the nest is destroyed, the eagle rebuilds continually until he succeeds, he never looks back to past failure, that goal that vision imprinted deeply within him.

Benefits of Goalsetting

(a) Goals simplify the decision-making process.
(b) Goals tune mental and physical health.
(c) Goals generate respect. People admire and look up to a person who knows where he’s going.
(d) Goals help you to realize and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.
(e) Goals deliver you from living in the past.


Sense of Humour: Eagles indulge themselves in the very joy and thrill of living. They often soar and wheel about the sky diving and zooming through the clouds for sheer joy and pleasure.
(a) Count your Blessings: Learn to count your blessings and not your burdens. Move to Bangladesh where it floods their house regularly or Kenya where you walk in big slums or Russia where communism controls them. One of the biggest problems of the western world is an ungrateful spirit. So, develop a grateful attitude.
(b) Learn to live in the Now: Many times, we think of the future that we tend to forget to enjoy now. Do not procrastinate. Do what is supposed to be done now for delay is dangerous.
(c) The great key to real joy is serving others. Some people are bad spellers; they spell “service”- “serve us”! Life is a double win. The more we help others, the further we all go. Seek to help and rescue souls from their problems. Be a solution to your friends, colleagues, mates and family. They will appreciate you because service to humanity is service to God.

Eagles are magnificent creatures. It is one of the largest and most powerful birds in the world. Eagles are seen as the king of the birds, the symbol of the conqueror. In Australia, they can knock kangaroos and small sheep from cliff tops. With boldness and courage, they attack animals much larger than themselves. When the wind is especially favourable, golden eagles are believed to be able to carry prey weighing as much as their own weight to their nest.

Characteristics of Eagles

(a) Speed
(b) Strength
(c) Power
(d) Majesty
(e) Boldness
(f) Courage
(g) Pride
(h) Ferocity

Lord of mercy

May the Lord of mercy have mercy on you
May the Lord of freedom grant you freedom
May the Lord of breakthrough perform one in your life
May he lift you up and make success out of you
May your success have a positive reflection on your generation
May your generation be blessed as a result of your success

I pray this week that God's unspeakable peace shall be your portion.
Have a nice week!

Let's prays

May the God of heaven renew your strength
May he empower you to do exploit in your endeavours
May you run with vigor and never be tired
May there be a positive distinction on your life
May you always be a blessing to others
Happiness shall be your portion in life.

Have tantalizing year

Judgement day

Those That Fell

One of the more striking images and lessons of the year that has just ended can be traced to the circumstances and fortunes of a number of persons who had hitherto occupied the high quarters of life and society but who suddenly found themselves on the other side of fate, most unexpectedly, and in the face of which they were, and have been completely helpless. As a new year begins, it might be useful to reflect on their stories, the morality as it were, which reminds us of the ineffectuality of all human strivings. Nothing is certain in life except uncertainty itself. A man may be high up today, tomorrow he may find himself in the company of knaves. Knowing this to be true, it seems most strange that men in positions of authority and privilege tend to carry on with the attitudes of gods in the firmament.
Nigerians in particular love power and position. Give a man a position with an important title and then some power, he would exploit the position to the limits. It is perhaps the hubris that all men suffer: this illusion of importance, this assumption of God-like proportions. When persons fall from grace, they remind each and every one of us of the need to be humble. Man after all is not the most supreme of all beings as he is wont to think. He is in reality, no better than the gnat, an item of existence, a plaything of fate, surrounded by danger and happenstances, capable of disgrace, death and despair. His life is as cheap as that of lower animals. It is in this duality, this ambiguous polarity, that the very essence of life resides.
The entire purpose of our being therefore is this continual struggle between the two opposites, our management of ontology and teleology, as we search for meaning in an eternal, universal pattern that is at the root of humanism. But let no man blame fate, for every man is the architect of his or her own fortunes. And so Shakespeare advises in King Lear (1606) that "this is the excellent foppery of the world, that,/ when we are sick in fortune - often the surfeit of our own behaviour, - we make guilty of our own disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars;/ as if we were villains by necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves and treachers by spherical predominance, drunkards,/ liars, and adulterers by an/ enforced obedience of planetary influence."
This passage would seem to describe the experiences individually and collectively in the year that has ended of former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, former South African Vice President Jacob Zuma, Nigeria's former Minister of Education, Professor Fabian Osuji, former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, former Minister of Housing Mobolaji Osomo, former Inspector-General of Police, Tafa Balogun, former Governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Chris Ekpenyong, former Governor of Anambra state, Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju. For each of these persons, the year 2005 held painful memories; it confronted them with the ephemerality of all things, good and bad, and the rest of us watching them, in contemplating the circumstances of their experience need not moralise, only to take the lessons to heart.
Saddam Hussein was once regarded as the most powerful man in the Middle East. He ruled his country, Iraq with an iron hand. With a murderous state machinery under his command, he exercised the powers of life and death over those whom he loved and those who stepped on the wrong side of his sword. With his open defiance of America's supremacy, he soon became an international celebrity. But his world has since unraveled. When Saddam was smoked out of the hole in which he had hidden away like a frightened rat, he was paraded on television like a common criminal, and his ordinariness was exposed. The strong man of Iraq was no better than any other coward; in the face of defeat, he fled.
In 2005, his humiliation was well-advertised. He was shown on television as he and his former aides stood trial for the murder of more than 140 residents of a Southern Iraqi town after a 1992 assassination attempt against him. Saddam Hussein used to look so impressive in his military uniform. That has been taken away from him. He used to be surrounded by an elite corps of Presidential guards; today he is ferried to court like a common criminal, thrown into a cage and treated like an ordinary man. He was dressed in a black suit and white shirt, without a tie. On one occasion, he asked to be allowed to go for prayers, he was disallowed, and he closed his eyes in open court and simulated the ritual of praying. Here was the same Saddam who once seemed like the "God of Iraq."
His experience should provide good lessons for those who often rate themselves above their nation and people. We have seen leaders who ended up in front of the firing squad, those who went to prison, gained freedom and still returned to prison: all because they embraced madness, refused to listen to wise counsel and forgot to be humble.
In South Africa, Jacob Zuma, former Vice President to President Thabo Mbeki, also fell from grace. In 2005, he was accused of corruption and thrown out of office. He has been going in and out of court to defend himself and to respond to an additional charge of rape involving a 31-year old AIDS activist. A self-made man, Jacob Zuma earned his laurels as an active member of the Umkhonto We Sizwe. He spent 10 years in Robben Island having been accused of trying to overthrow the apartheid South African government. After his release in 1973, he continued to serve the ANC in many capacities. With the dismantling of apartheid he emerged as one of the leaders of the new South Africa, not just in his KwaZulu Natal province but in the entire country.
In 1997, he was appointed Deputy President of the ANC, and two years later, Executive Vice President of South Africa. As at March 2005, Zuma looked like a possible successor to President Mbeki in 2009. He is still Deputy President of the ANC but his integrity is under assault; his reputation has been torn into shreds. The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) which used to feature him on its programmes only recently cancelled a scheduled Newsmaker of the Year interview with him. Obviously, the managers of SABC do not want to offend President Mbeki. Zuma is alleging victimization by the President, and misrepresentation by the print media, notably by The Mail and Guardian, but the only persons still supporting him are those who call themselves "Friends of Zuma", and they are very few. They can be found on the internet soliciting for financial support to enable the former Vice President pay his legal bills! Zuma has become persona non grata in many places.
Here in Nigeria, we had similarly dramatic cases. In January 2005, the former Inspector-general of Police, Tafa Balogun was suddenly removed from office and charged for corruption. He was in and out of court for the rest of the year in a trial that ended with his conviction for a period of four years and eight months in prison, on eight-count charges that are supposed to run concurrently. The facts and circumstances of his trial remain open to debate but the more shocking image that struck Nigerians was when on the occasion of one of his appearances in court, the former Inspector-general of Police was rough-handled by the police, in an attempt to re-arrest him after he had been granted bail by the court. He was pushed and kicked into a standby vehicle; when the vehicle moved off, its doors flung open and the former police boss was thrown out.
The rear tyre sped over his leg. This was classic police brutality and inhumanity on display. Nigerians were horrified, but they were not surprised as they pointed to the irony of the situation. Only a few months earlier, Balogun had been the top police boss. How could his own men, those who used to be under his command treat him so poorly? But that is life, isn't it? Human beings are forever present-minded. They accord you respect especially in work situations only because you wield certain powers over them. The moment you lose power, you could be treated with scorn. Have you not heard of stories of former Managing Directors who have been kept in the sun by the same receptionists who used to worship the very grounds on which they walked when they were powerful.
Also in April 2005, former Senate President Adolphus Wabara lost his position as the country's No 3 man, having been accused of collecting a bribe of N5 million. The then Education Minister Fabian Osuji who was said to have given a total bribe of N55 million to facilitate a positive consideration of the budget for his Ministry was also fired and publicly embarrassed. Another Minister, Mobolaji Osomo who had been in charge of Housing was also sacked. She was accused of abusing due process in the sale of Federal Government houses under her Ministry's supervision. Wabara, Osuji, and Osomo have since disappeared from the front pages of newspapers. If they would be willing to talk, they will readily admit that the crowd of hangers-on and admirers who used to call them Honourable Minister has vanished. The mountain of invitations to events, which they used to receive, would have thinned down. Last Xmas, they must have received fewer hampers and cards than they would ordinarily have received if they were still in power. Power is sweet only when you still have it. Once it slips away, be prepared for life in the cold.
Former Governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamiyeseigha should know this. Up till three months ago, he was still a very powerful man. He granted interviews and spoke like a warrior. He insisted on his innocence against allegations of corruption and money laundering. His supporters called him the Governor-General of the Ijaw nation and conqueror of the British system from which he had jumped bail. When Alams was impeached by the Bayelsa House of Assembly, he suddenly found himself all alone. Those who used to swear by his name vanished. The Council of Ijaw elders which used to queue up behind him, has since issued a statement expressing support for the new Governor, Goodluck Jonathan. The same contractors who benefited from Alams as Governor have gone to pay homage to his successor. Alams is in EFCC custody. The other day when he was brought to court and slammed with a 40-count charge, the man broke down and started weeping like a child. The tears rolled down his cheeks.
Those were hot tears of sorrow and regret. Seeing this, why are men and women whose moment of gracelessness may still come, so arrogant.

Don't worry yourself

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension. One of these days is Yesterday with all its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders,its aches and pains.Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday.We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone forever. The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow with all its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and its poor performance; Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow's sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise.Until it does,we have no stake in Tomorrow,for it is yet to be born

Be Thankful

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don't already have everything
you desire. If you did, what would there be to
look forward to? Be thankful when you don't know
something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times. During those
times you grow. Be thankful for your limitations,because they give you opportunities for improvement.Be thankful for each new challenge,because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach
you valuable lessons. Be thankful when you're
tired and weary, because it means you've made a effort.
It's easy to be thankful for the good things.A life of rich fulfillment comes to those whoare also thankful for the setbacks.Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,and they can become your blessings.
so, be thankful to God for everything

You can't fail

Welcome to Febuary! Its my birthday this month (21st) and once again, I find myself analyzing my life. I have a little ritual that I like to do as I approach my birthday: I take a few days' vacation by myself to reflect on the previous year and generally do what most people do on New Year's eve/day. This year, however, the usual apprehension and anxiety seem to be missing from the equation. I finally feel as though I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I am meant to be. Do you know that feeling? I may still have a long way to go, but at least I know I am facing the right direction! As a result, I am now tucked away somewhere in sunny England, reflecting on the years of turmoil brought about by self-doubt, pain and loss that I endured before finally deciding to go for broke and follow my own dreams; and making concrete plans for the next phase. So, to all of you out there still striving for your ideal life, to those still carrying around their dream of a better life in their hearts, to those who have risen up yet again after a setback, to you I dedicate this week's quote. This Week’s Quote
"The secret of success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill. How to Overcome the Fear of Failure
Are you afraid of failure? Does any of the following sound like you: you back out of projects because of what people might say? You refuse to consider a business idea because you once had a business that folded up? You stay in a dead-end job because 'a bird in hand is better than two in the bush'? You wont trust your partner because of a previous bad experience with an ex? Or maybe even something silly like returning a fashion item because you felt 'guilty'?We all each have an inner critic even as we have an inner champion. The trouble is, the critic is usually more vocal and persistent. It is your job to shut it up!Ask yourself this: what is your biggest fear? Is it that you will be criticized by others? Maybe laughed at or judged unfairly? Is it losing money or even making money? The fear of failure can show up in very unexpected areas of our lives. I once had a client who spent all of her time and energy making sure that no one ever thought she was a bad mother - and she succeeded. A divorced mother of three, she took her kids on frequent holidays and they always had the latest toys. What no one knew was that she was in serious debt because of it. It took almost a year for her to finally realize that she had a fear of failure and that she needed help.Let me ask you again: What are you afraid of? Really take a moment and ask yourself this. How might this fear be holding you back? If you are in transition, the liberating thing is that, chances are, you have already failed at something - so at least you can give yourself a break! It is better to fail at something and be a success in your life as a whole, than to be a success in something and be a failure in life.Whatever you are afraid of failing at does not constitute your entire life, so put things in perspective. So what if your last attempt to run your own business failed? There is nothing to stop you from venturing into business again. You can learn from your mistakes and get the right support before going into business this time around. Successful people never venture into anything without very strong support in place. Join a mastermind group. Hire a coach. Get a business mentor – anything to ensure that when you go out there, you are not all alone.This week, I challenge you to begin to lay the foundations for a successful future. Put some effort into it. Invest in it. Put the past behind you. It’s never too late to create a successful life.