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Opinion: Nigerian Leaders Sowed the Wind

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By Owei Lakemfa

In my first year at the University of Ife (Now OAU) a ‘National Sailing’ by a secret confraternity was scheduled for the campus. On the eve, the local branch held a procession at midnight. The procession stopped an ambulance conveying a student to the hospital asking it to switch off its lights. Tragically, the student later died. A mourning student populace was enraged when news filtered that the confraternity had stopped the ambulance, even though it was for a few seconds.

The Students Union immediately banned not only the national convention of the fraternity, but all such groups on campus. In those days, the Union’s decision, was law amongst students. To further placate the student populace, the university authorities instituted a probe and meted out disciplinary actions on identified members of the confraternity.

Such were the powers of the union, that the Shagari administration, though elected, thought it was better to subvert independent student unionism in the country. It bribed student renegades; some with brand new cars. It also tried to stop the 1980 emergence of a unified national student body; the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) which covered students in all tertiary institutions. Partly to achieve this, the administration sponsored the establishment of a sectarian body; the Nigerian Universities Students’ Association (NUSA) But it was a still birth.

When NANS was eventually established, the government within three months, expelled its leadership under Tanimu Kurfi from the Bayero University, Kano, and tried to impose an illegal “Steering Committee” This failed.
That same period, the Shehu Shagari government expelled 13 student leaders at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and student leaders at the Polytechnics in Akure and Bauchi, Kwara College of Technology and the Schools of Basic/Preliminary Studies in Keffi and Makurdi. It also suspended the student unions in Ibadan and Kaduna polytechnics and the College of Education, Ilesa.

But those were not the most dastardly acts of that government in its efforts to destroy independent student unionism. That 1981, at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) it expelled 30 student leaders and rusticated 165 others.

The government then turned to the University of Ife where it killed seven students during a protest on June 7, 1981. Its follow-up attempt to use the Justice Salihu Moddibo Alfa Belgore Tribunal Report to flush out student leaders, was firmly and successfully resisted by the student populace and lecturers led by Dr. Biodun Jeyifo, the then National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) The Shagari administration also tried to repress freedom of speech by banning and occupying the premises of a number of newspapers.

However, the Shagari adminstration was a ‘saint’ compared to the subsequent military regimes under Generals Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha. The Buhari regime was a cyclone which smashed through national institutions including the judiciary and the media. In the case of the press, it enacted Decree 4 of 1984 which made reporting falsehood and the truth, punishable offences. It enacted Decree 2 of 1984 under which Nigerians were detained without trial. It turned to smashing the campuses; it introduced school fees, abolished the Cafeteria System which subsidized food for students on campuses, and accused lecturers of inciting students against its dictatorship. When students staged a national protest against its draconian policies, the Buhari regime not only went out to smash the protests, but also kidnapped the then NANS President, Lanre Arogundade at the post office in Ile-Ife. All these were concerted attempts to destroy independent student unionism and consciously or unconsciously make way for the emergence of cultists who would not be loyal to students, but take directives from the regime.

But it was the Babangida regime that consciously destroyed the Student Movement; expelling as many student leaders as it could lay hands on, and most infamously, promoting cultists to seize student unions across the country. In 1986, it killed “only” four students of ABU during a protest, and when the NANS called a national protest over this, it shut down many tertiary institutions and banned student unionism across the country. The Babangida regime also in June 1986, occupied the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) premises because labour decided to stage a solidarity protest for the students, and detained a number of Congress leaders. The detention of labour leaders was repeated in December 1987 before the regime banned the NLC in February, 1988.

In its attempts to finally smash independent student unionism, the regime established two Tribunals of Inquiry, one led by retired Major General Emmanuel Abisoye and the second by Justice Mustapha Akanbi.
Perhaps the most devious move by that regime, was the establishment by its security services, of Student Peace Councils or Peace Committees to impose ‘peace’ on campuses. This included the sponsorship of cultists and sleeper agents to infiltrate the student unions, take them over or sabotage them. The arrow head of these councils was based in the University of Ibadan, and it was there an epic battle ensued in which the student populace took him on, flushed him from the campus and burnt his room.
However, it was in the University of Benin, the most vicious battles between students and the Babangida regime were fought. They were so bloody that the regime issued a directive to the police and security forces to “shoot students at sight” Lecturers like then ASUU President, Dr. Festus Iyayi and Professor Itse Sagay were not even given quite quit notices; thugs simply invaded their homes, broke the doors, threw out their families and replaced the doors.
By 1999 when civil administration was restored in the country, cultists, thugs and security agents had taken over some student unions.

Things degenerated so much that when a NANS Convention was held in Abuja, matters were settled with guns, and genuine student leaders loyal to the Student Movement, were overcome. Cultists, security agents, traders and street toughies have taken over some student unions to the extent that a few years ago, when I was invited to speak with a cross section of student leaders, I discovered that the NANS President was not a student! Many of the student leaders knew and whispered it but none was bold enough to table it.

Now, this later generation of student leaders have graduated into political leadership in the country holding executive and legislative positions. Increasingly, elections are being settled not by votes, but bullets; in election after election, the country is drowned in rivers of blood, especially in Rivers State. Youths are said to be ‘the leaders of tomorrow’ The youths produced by our leaders yesterday, are taking over today . Prophet Hosea might have had Nigerian leaders in mind when he proclaimed in Hosea 8:7 “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind”

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Food for Living: No Pain, No Gain

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

Suffer the pain of discipline, or suffer the pain of regret.

Nothing gladdens the heart more than success. With success, making an impact in the society and being a blessing to others become much easier. As a matter of fact, one gets a listening ear because every other person believes they have experience to share which can impact their lives.

The interesting thing about attaining success is that, in most cases, the work is done in secret. It’s just like a website designer who does most of the work at the back end via coding or use of templates, and when the work is completed, the website will go live. The impact of this analysis is that the website designer will experience pain fixing the website for people to have ease navigating it.

In the grand scheme of things, most people celebrate the glory, but they don’t take time to appreciate the associated pain that birthed the success. It’s instructive to note that every success has a painful story, and every painful positive undertaking, with value normally has a successful ending. Therefore, it’s important for one to accept the pain and get ready for success because there can never be success without a corresponding pain.

The sad reality of life however, is that many of us are not ready to undergo the pain of success.

Every successful person travels a painful journey. Suffering, in more than a literary sense, is an integral and essential part of any real pursuit of success. Nothing about success comes easy, but every perseverance attached story has the potential to have a successful ending. You may as well accept suffering as a traveling companion, rather than resist it, and create more struggle.

Did you know that a single book, song, skill, or movie can make a difference in life if properly done? If you understand this principle, you will know that success in life comes with associated pain.

Did you know that success has a psychological pattern? It is working hard in silence and allowing the positive outcome to make the noise. To understand this philosophy, imagine an author who published a trailblazer book; the process of writing the book might be tedious; he might have experienced numerous sleepless nights, reading and researching, but when the work is finally released and appreciated, most people won’t understand the amount of work that was put in at the back end.

To understand how the pain of success works, imagine how tired you feel when you reading, but notice that you never get bore when on social media gallivanting and having fun. Again, imagine a pregnant lady in labour, her pain will be over when she delivers.

Note that in the journey of success, one must surely experience pain, and there will be the urge to give up; one might even lose relationships, doubt themselves, their decision, their knowledge, and experience untold fears of failure.

There will be situations that foretell discouragement and encouragement juxtaposed, but never get deterred especially, if you feel and heard right on the project and vision.

In summary, just like the rewards of success can be great, so will the corresponding opportunity cost be, but in the end, it will be worth the effort. So, accept the pain, understand that it is the path to success, and keep moving forward with unwavering determination.

As you navigate the inevitable challenges and hardships, remember that your success story is being written one page at a time, and it will be more glorious because of the pain you’ve overcome.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator.  He’s the founder of Gloemi. He’s a Transformative Human Capacity and Mindset coach. He is also a public speaker, youth advocate, creative writer and author of Design Your Destiny Design Your  and Unleash Your Destiny .  He can be reached via info@gloemi.com

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Food for Living: Go the Extra Mile

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

“One of the most important principles of success is developing the habit of going the extra mile” – Napoleon Hill

Going the extra mile is the habit of champions…it’s the key behavior that separates the professionals from the amateurs, and the champs form the chumps” – Gary Ryan Blair

The journey to greatness is not a joke. It’s not for the faint hearted because it takes a lot to be great. Whoever wishes to achieve success must dare to succeed. It’s either one dies trying to succeed or they don’t try at all, and still die. So, why not take the risk to succeed by going the extra mile.

Did you know that giving success a try is like wooing a lady. The worst one will get is a no, which is an indication to restrategise and start again, and apply the principle of going the extra mile. Going the extra mile is a strategic step in business, and a risk worth taking for the unfolding of maximum success.

If you ask a thousand and one persons, their desires in life, you will be surprised at the responses you will get. But if you ask them what they are willing to do to get to their desired destination, you will also be shocked to know that some of them, if not the majority of them, are not willing to go the extra mile. It’s sad to note that most people want to go to heaven, but they are not willing to die. How ironic can that be?

It’s sad to see promising people settling for less than they deserve. It’s pertinent to note that the top is scanty while the bottom is crowded. If you want to associate with the top 1%, you must distinguish yourself by going the extra mile.  Per Gary Ryan Blair, “Average is over. Mediocrity is a death sentence. You must embrace the fact that for you to remain competitive, relevant and of value…you have no choice but to go the extra mile and always exceed expectations.”

Most of the successful people we celebrate today dared to succeed by going the extra mile. They didn’t succeed because they were lucky, though luck contributed to some extent, but the greater part of their success can be attributed to the extra work they did because the more they explored opportunities, the luckier they got.

If you truly want to succeed in life, you must be intentional in going the extra mile. Nothing happens in life if there’s no action. Every action comes with a corresponding reaction. When you go the extra mile, most people will see and reward you generously in due time.

On a personal note, I have taken the extra steps in the pursuit of success. Writing a weekly article is not a joke. Being an author of two books and a co-author is quite tasking, being interviewed by New York Times, being on television several times, partnering with the United Nations Development Programme amongst others did not come easy. All these acts didn’t happen overnight; they happened because I went the extra mile, and my extra work attracted the opportunities.

So, if you are interested in succeeding, you must be intentional in going the extra mile.

It’s instructive to note that your success in life will come because of the corresponding effort you are willing to put into your work. This is called going the extra mile. It should be noted that, on this extra mile journey, there are usually no traffic jams. It is a lonely stretch, and takes so much effort.

According to Gary Ryan Blair “The distance between those who achieve their goals consistently and those who spend their lives and careers merely following has everything to do with one’s ability to go the extra mile.”  So, for those, who work in a corporate environment, the fastest way to get the attention of your boss is to go the extra mile. When you go the extra mile, management will notice you, your boss will notice you.

Gary Blair further stated that “It’s simply not enough to just show up and do your work. Superior performance is not, never has been, nor will it ever be, the by-product of ordinary efforts.” He further stated that The masses are always foolishly on the lookout for a new gimmick, a shiny new performance hack, a shortcut…but the truth is, the quickest way to advance your career, earn trust, persuade people to buy from you and to be first in line for new opportunity is by developing the habit of going the extra mile.” — Gary Ryan Blair

Going the extra mile does not entail working extremely hard, but what it really means is doing just a little bit more strategically. So, if you are advised to work eight hours a day and you work ten hours, that’s extra mile; if you are supposed to resume work 9am and you resume 8am that’s extra mile; if you are supposed to leave 5pm and you leave 6 or 7pm, that’s extra time you can use to do some work. In all of these, your boss and management will notice you are investing in the company and in yourself and you might be surprised when you are rewarded with financial and managerial position.

Going the extra mile also means showing people you care. For instance, sometimes, people care less about your money, they need your presence and attention. In customer service, the extra mile means asking a customer if there’s any other thing you can help the person with. You can give your clients a little more to show appreciation. This helps to set you apart from them.  According to  Nelson Boswell, “Here is the simple but powerful rule… always give people more than they expect to get.” – Nelson Boswell

Going the extra mile in life and in your career, endeavor is not about fantasy. It takes love to go the extra mile for what you like. It’s on a few occasions some progressive minds engage in careers they don’t really like just to pay the bills. In some situations, when they get what they want, they tend to follow their passion. Gary Blair was right when he stated “Going the extra mile is about love; it’s a passionate obsession with excellence. It is the result of good intention, uncompromising standards, sincere effort, intelligent design, attention to detail and skillful execution.” — Gary Ryan Blair.

It is easy for one to say he’s passionate about a cause, but one might not be involved in any activity. It may surprise you to note that people see those that participate. The easiest way to show people you are interested or passionate about a cause is by showing your work.

Let me share a practical experience with you. In 2019, I was invited by Harvard University for an information session to study master’s in public administration program, from my understanding during the interview session, my trajectory path played a critical role in considering me for the admission because I have worked as a Case Manager, written articles, published a book, and had videos which portray my interest in leadership and human capacity development. Why is this important, despite studying taxation in New York Law School, I wasn’t passionate about the tax major.

Assuming I settled for a Taxation job, it will be hard for me to align my profession, vocation, and ministry. As a matter of fact, I turned down a good paying job by the New York City Department of Finance to work as a Tax Associate for a low paying Case Manager job which offered almost three times less pay compared to the New York City Department of Finance.

In retrospect, do I regret my decision, no, as a matter fact the Case Manager job has continued to serve as a litmus test to my passion for humanity. So, I’m going to ask you a question by Gary Blair, “What is the one thing you can do to persuade people that you are the one for the job, the one thing you can do to earn someone’s vote, the one thing you can do to persuade people to open the doors of opportunity? The answer is as simple as it is profound. Develop a reputation for going the extra mile.”  The moral here is that whenever you go the extra mile, there’s this feeling one normally gets knowing fully, they have done their part for posterity to judge.

I will conclude with a quote from Gary Ryan Blair to assist you in going the extra mile“To win big in life, the solution is simple. Go overboard…do everything you can to overwhelm, over-deliver and overcompensate, and you will overcome any obstacle that stands between you and the goal you desire.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator.  He’s the founder of Gloemi. He’s a Transformative Human Capacity and Mindset coach. He is also a public speaker, youth advocate, creative writer and author of Design Your Destiny Design Your  and Unleash Your Destiny .  He can be reached via info@gloemi.com

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Food for Living: Succeeding with Grace and Favour

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

Everyone needs a support system as they journey through life. This support system can come from any source; family member, friend, associate, colleague, mentor, mentee, boss, spiritual leader, or even a stranger. Without a strong support system, the journey to life will be an arduous task.

It’s imperative to note that we live in a wicked world where not everyone wants to see you succeed. They fail to understand they are not the creator who destined everyone to succeed at different times and seasons. These set of people have the Pull Him Down (PhD.) mentality, and don’t want to see the success of their perceived enemy.

Success is not limited to any shape, size and colour, it only produces results, and that’s what people care about.

It’s worthy to note that nobody achieves genuine success without favour and grace. Favor is like a perfume, which when sprinkled on someone, the aroma will attract people to them.

Overtime, I have come to the sublime realization that when you shower people with favour and love, it has a way of coming back to you in ways and manners one may not understand. However, some uninformed people think that when they have money, they are blessed and favored.

I agree that money is necessary for success, but there are certain levels of blessings that money cannot buy, and this form of blessings come with favour and grace, especially when one is not qualified to have it. Just to give you an example; there are people money cannot buy, and so, one’s prayer should be they agree to work with you because they are literally priceless.

In life, we all need the blessings of our parents, mentors, boss, and authentic spiritual leaders to speak into our life. This is because no matter how hard you work in life, there’s a limit you can go, especially when you don’t have a favor following you. You can have favor, but favor comes in different ways. For instance, if you are destined to be an Accountant, and you decide to study Law or Business Administration just because you feel they are lucrative courses or you just like the name, you might “succeed” but may not get the true fulfilment.

To understand how this works, at creation, everyone has an assigned angel following them. This angle is designed to help you succeed in your place of assignment.

Did you know there are people who have been positioned to assist you in your place of assignment?

So, imagine if you decide to study Law while your destiny helper is an Accountant, you might be frustrated having a boss, who is an accountant or even a colleague who is making life unbearable for you despite having money. This ordinarily might not happen if you have studied Accounting. In fact you’ll thrive with relative ease in the profession and might be offered more lucrative offers just simply because the universe is working in your favour.

To understand how the grace of success works, when you have it in your journey, you will attract favour from men, you won’t have to work as hard as your counterparts, your product will receive recognition even though it might not be the best. In the journey of life, most of us struggle too much and get little or no result, while some of us work less and get more results. One may be wondering why. Well, the answer is not far-fetched. I call it the spirituality of success because the universe has a way of connecting people when they are working according to its purpose.

Let me share a practical experience: In 2019, I met a great mind, Sulyman Sodeeq A’akeem who reached out to me on X According to him, he has been following me on the app. He requested me to be his mentor, an offer I gladly accepted, especially when he showed me a series of quotes he got from reading my articles.

When we began to relate closely, he shared touching information based on his trajectory in life. We didn’t spend more than six months relating closely, I made him the Chief Operating Officer of my company when I saw enormous and ingenious talent in him. For a lack of better word, he is extremely resourceful. He’s simply awesome! I call him an ideal hand for every progressive mind interested on resourcefulness.

Fast forward to four years, many people have a disdainful attitude towards him and look up to him for succor. The moral of this post is that not only did I bless him, but I also became the greatest recipient of his knowledge, wisdom, loyalty, profound articulation and understanding and most especially, honesty and steadfastness. The interesting part of our friendship and brotherhood is the grace that has found both of us. It’s instructive to note that, I’m not the richest nor the best to work with, neither is he the best of the most resourceful, but we tend to have bonded and mutually benefited from each other because we greatly share similar interests and values. I call it grace and favour.

When you have the grace of success following you, you will attract favour like a magnet. Whether you are in business, academic, pastoral ministry, or marriage, you will receive mercy wherever you step.

You might be the least in a company, you may not even look or have all the qualifications or experience, but when favour locates you, the rules will not only be broken for you, you will see people agreeing to work together just to make sure you succeed.

Did you know that when favour is at work, people will buy your books and share it among their friends and network as an author; your business will be referred to people of interest, people will unusually trust and like you. When people google your kind of business, despite seeing other people doing what you are doing, they will be attracted to settle for you for reasons they can’t understand or explain. When you have favour and grace following you, it will be easier for your talent to be unleashed.

While most people work hard, strategic, and smart people understand the role luck has to play in order to actualize their vision.

According to a renowned Economist and philanthropist, Tony Elumelu, luck played a big role in making him who he is today. While he acknowledged the role of hard work, he knows truly well, there’s a limitation to hard work because luck can trump hard work.

Did you know that if you can do everything in life without anyone assisting you, you are not favored. You should be able to get to a stage in life where people will naturally assist you in doing somethings for free. For example, if you are a success, you don’t need to pay for all the services you get.

In conclusion, as your journey through life, be intentional in seeking favour because it will save you numerous stress.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator.  He’s the founder of Gloemi. He’s a Transformative Human Capacity and Mindset coach. He is also a public speaker, youth advocate, creative writer and author of Design Your Destiny Design Your  and Unleash Your Destiny .  He can be reached via info@gloemi.com

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