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Opinion: The Wonders of Grace

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“You cannot rise above everything without knowledge – insight that comes from above! The knowledge from above is the one that elevates you! So divine knowledge is a grace-provoker! Grace, on the other hand, is the heavenly key that unlocks every vast and difficult door!” Tolulope A. Adegoke

The grace of God is one indispensable factor for self-discovery, true success and lasting accomplishments. The Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:10, says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am…” Whatever you will become, it is grace that determines it; wherever you will reach, it is grace that determines it. Again, in Ephesians 4:7, the Spirit of God says through Paul, “But to every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” This means that when we say that a person is gifted or talented, we are simply saying that such a person is endued with grace!

It is grace that causes your gifts to be seen. It is possible to be gifted or talented and remain hidden. It is grace that uncovers talents. It is grace that uncovers the treasures that are inside of you! Grace is what strengthens the weak! In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Apostle Paul says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ” Apparently, therefore, the strength that the weak can enjoy is only accessible by grace.

Without the gift of grace, a person’s destiny can be easily frustrated. So, if destructive frustration is to be eliminated from the path of your destiny, it can only be achieved by divine grace. Ephesians 2:4-7 says, “

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. “

Therefore, the grace of God is the greatest demonstration that He loves us.

Again, Paul, in 1 Corinthians 1:4, says, “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ.” When the grace of God is upon the life of a man, he does not fall behind in anything. It is therefore important for you to understand that grace is a non-negotiable factor in the race of life. This is why you must not only be loaded with grace, but must increasingly be so.

See, friend, you can not run the race of life successfully without grace. It is the grace of God that makes the pursuit of destiny without depression or frustration. Grace means that we are doing the race with God, which provokes ease and breakthroughs, against all odds! Here is the way Zechariah 4:6-7 beautifully puts it. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel, thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. “

Here is something else to blow your mind. There is no record of achievement recorded in Scripture that can not be broken in this generation. You only need to obtain greater grace. Hebrews11:39-40 confirms to us that God has ordained every feat you can see to be broken: “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”

This means that whatever we can see written in the scriptures is not yet the perfect or final result-because God said He has better things for us! In fact, as the Scripture says, everything written in the past was written for our learning, so that we may, through the comfort and patience of the scriptures, have HOPE!

Everything recorded in Scripture was written for our learning. That is to say, all the amazing feats recorded in Scripture were written as patterns for us-if we can do what the champions did, if we can engage what they engaged, then we must see what they saw or even beyond! Hebrew 6:12 says: “That ye be not slothful, but followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

The example of Joseph is particularly interesting and instructive. He is such an interesting picture in Scripture because he exemplifies the possibilities of God for every one of His children. Genesis 39:2-6 says: “And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him; and he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer of his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he did not know what he ought to have had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. “

The grace of God was so mighty upon Joseph that even while in a foreign land, he was well-favoured. The effect was that Potiphar literally handed over his house to him. Again, by the time Joseph was wrongfully sent to prison, the Bible notes that the prisoners were basically handed over to him to manage (Genesis 39:21-23).

When Joseph eventually interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, Pharaoh practically handed over the entire nation to him. Genesis 41:37-41 narrates, “And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, “Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art. Thou shalt be over my house, and according to thy word shall all my people be ruled: only on the throne will I be greater than thou.”

What am I highlighting here? Grace can transit a nonentity to a celebrity overnight; it does not take time; it takes GRACE! So children must understand the power of God’s grace and make the most of it.

It is equally important to see that the grace of God in the life of Joseph was provoked by the force of divine WISDOM, as Pharaoh himself testified. The grace of God upon his life functioned on the platform of divine wisdom. No wonder the Bible tells us that wisdom is the principal thing, because where there is wisdom, there is grace, and where there is grace, you become great – that is, you emerge as a hero!

Observe closely what I call the kind of wisdom that Joseph demonstrated divine wisdom. This should reveal to you that the wisdom that makes great is not natural wisdom; it is not diabolic wisdom; it is not academic wisdom-it is wisdom that comes from above. And here is the truth: Without wisdom-the wisdom that comes from above-you cannot end up above all! The wisdom that is above is the one that sets you above! So, divine wisdom is a provoker of grace! While grace is the divine opener of every great and impossible door!

Watch out for the Book titled: “The Power of an Empowered Zero” (From Zero to HERO) by Tolulope A. Adegoke. Foreword by Dr Yomi Garnett (CEO/Chancellor, Royal Biographical Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S.A., U.K., Abuja, Nigeria.) Edited by Ola Aboderin.

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Voice of Emancipation: Lessons from Nehemiah (Pt. 2)

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By Kayode Emola

Special Credit: Dr. Bethan Emola

It is exactly one year today since “Voice of Emancipation” began publication, and I would be remiss were I not to thank all those who have made this project the huge success that it has become. I want to especially thank Bob Dee for giving me this platform, where I can share with readers of the Boss Newspapers what enormous benefits an independent Yoruba nation can offer.

I also want to thank the Boss Newspaper’s editor, Eric Elezuo, for helping to develop the concept and the idea in the early stage. And I must not forget my beloved wife, Dr. Bethan Emola, who has helped proof-read and edit every single write-up since the column’s inception. Most importantly, I want to thank you, our readers, for your immense support, your positive feedback and constructive criticism when necessary, which have shaped “Voice of Emancipation” into what it is today.

Following the last two weeks’ break, I am returning to what lessons we can learn from the Biblical story of Nehemiah. Whether you believe this to be an accurate historical account or not, whether you are religious or not, I believe there is useful information from which we may extrapolate and apply to our own struggle for an independent Yoruba nation.

To recap for those who may have missed the first part (and if you want to go back and catch up, you can find the article here: https://thebossnewspapers.com/2022/04/22/voice-of-emancipation-lessons-from-nehemiah-part-i/) and are unfamiliar with the events recounted, Nehemiah was a prophet of Israel during the time of their exile under the Persian Empire. He ultimately returned to Jerusalem and organised the rebuilding of the walls, at the same time as his contemporary, Ezra, was rebuilding the Temple.

I believe that the account of Nehemiah has relevance to the Yoruba struggle today, as there are similarities between his situation and our own. He was in a land that was not his own country, under oppression from an external state, and he was seeking to bring his people back to their own sovereign nation. This has parallels with our position as a nation of people within a larger state, where we did not choose to be, where we do not want to be, where we are oppressed, and from where we are seeking to leave and return to self-governance.

Previously, we looked at Nehemiah’s concern for his people, his humility, prudence and diplomatic approach. Today we will continue, looking at his preparatory techniques.

As we covered in Part I, Nehemiah was not the sort of person who acted before thinking. Rather, he took time to consider and prepare before he even took the first step. He spoke to King Artaxerxes – the ruler of the Persian Empire – and asked him to write letters of safe passage for his journey, and for resources.

As we proceed on our journey towards self-determination, there will be people for whom the idea of an independent Yoruba nation is deeply concerning. These people have a vested interest in Nigeria continuing in the current arrangement, who stand to lose out if Yoruba secede. They are likely to try and hamper any progress, even going as far as to use military force to preserve the status quo. How are we, as a nation, preparing for this? We must anticipate who is likely to oppose us and by what means they may do so.

Then we must identify our allies. Who are the individuals sympathetic to our cause – among our peers, among the leaders, local and national, within Nigeria; among those in positions of influence in other countries? Which countries are likely to support us, at a diplomatic level such as the United Nations, or at a military level, should it come to it? Which countries are likely to bring us opposition? Which countries are currently ambivalent, and how can we sway them toward supporting us?

Many, indeed most if not all, countries seek their own self-interests above all else, even if few state it as explicitly as the previous President of the United States, Donald Trump, did with his “America First” campaign. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has become a stark demonstration of this, with NATO’s refusal to intervene to assist Ukraine, in a bid to avoid Russia declaring war against the NATO alliance. They are, to a greater or lesser extent, leaving Ukraine to fend for themselves in order to prevent Russia turning their attack to them.

So it will not be enough to appeal to a government’s sense of altruism or justice to encourage their support for our cause. If we seek to garner support from presently ambivalent countries, we need to present to them a case for why it will be beneficial for them to ally with us; or, at the very least, why it would be detrimental for them not to assist us. This is not to say that we should be threatening action or sanctions against those countries who are unwilling to assist; rather a simple and unprejudiced statement of fact of what the global consequences will be if the Fulani are permitted to continue as they are unchecked. Every Yoruba person who lives in a local authority can do this. Write to your local governor, senator, congressperson or member of parliament explaining the situation, why it is unsustainable and what destination the current trajectory is leading us to.

Nehemiah’s preparations did not end once his journey began. He continued to assess each situation that he encountered and to put in place contingencies for every step he took. Once he arrived in Jerusalem, he took three days to analyse the damage that the walls had sustained before he even raised the issue with the officials or nobles. He made sure that he had all the information before instigating action among others.

Not only this, but when he met with the officials, he didn’t just describe the problem in clear detail. He also presented solutions. The creation of a new sovereign state requires consideration of a myriad of sectors and infrastructures. Who will govern and how? On what principles will the new nation be founded? How will new laws be reviewed and enacted? How will national income be generated? How will the economy function – what currency will be used, will there be hard currency, how will any new currencies equate to those in current circulation? How will the banking systems run? How will the nation defend itself should we come under attack? Education, health, transport, housing, social care, manufacturing, communication networks, food, agriculture, administration of justice, granting of citizenship, production of energy, international relations and trade negotiations – these all require planning down to the minute detail before any attempt to break away is initiated.

This is not a project where an ad hoc approach will suffice, where one can improvise as you go along. This is a serious undertaking where the end must be known from the beginning, and every stage in between. Not that the plans must be fixed, rigid, and unchanging even if circumstances require an alternative approach; but one where every contingency is considered and planned for, and then adapted as the situation necessitates.

I would urge every Yoruba person to fully consider the questions posed above. Yoruba nation, in contrast to present-day Nigeria, is to be a country that honours and nurtures every one of its citizens, not just the privileged few. As such, every Yoruba individual should have the right to have their say in its formation. It is only by voicing one’s needs that they can be integrated into arrangements; and it is only by carefully considering the situation that one can determine what one’s needs are and how they could be met. This is not the time to sit back and be passive, leaving the responsibility of generating solutions to someone else. This is the time to stand up, speak out, and to make sure that your voice is heard.

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Food for Living: Handle Your Success with Care

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

Whenever you take delivery of very important and fragile packages, you are bound to see, boldly written at a corner, ‘handle with care’, In the same vein, once you have taken delivery of success in whatever form, there is a sign at a corner of your mind, saying handle with care. Success is very important, and at the same time fragile, and consequently, must be handled with care for preservation.

There is nothing that brings joy to the heart the way success does, and that is why it is imperative we handle each great stride accomplished with great care. According to some schools of thought, success is a journey and not a destination. No one can say they have attained a particular stage of success, and therefore, has nothing worth striving for any more. Even if you have a trillion dollars, there is always a tendency to explore more options to make it double. That’s human nature. Man is insatiable in nature. Even if you feel you have reached the peak of your career or have achieved a feat either in your business, academic or professional life, trust me, as a rational being, you will still have the urge to set another record, except of course, one wishes to remain in his comfort zone.

Success is fragile in nature; you must handle it with delicate care. Never think you have arrived because you have fortune or power, always know that money and power are visitors, and you may not have them forever. The best you can do is to manage them very well when they are with you.

Do you know that just like how you take care of yourself, you also need to take care of your success? You can do this by forgiving yourself if you have ever made a mistake. Don’t be hard on yourself. Each of us has made one mistake or another. Learn to see the positivity and inherent lessons from whatever mistake you may have made in the past. Do you know that just like your mess can turn to a message, your pain can also turn to gain and people will pay you for it because of your experience?

Another way to handle your success is to appreciate anyone who may have helped you in one way or the other. Showing gratitude is priceless. Your appreciation might not only be in monetary terms, but it can also be in the form of a gift or words of appreciation. Most times, uninformed minds think when they achieve success, they don’t need anyone to advise them. They fail to understand that human relationships are priceless.

The interesting thing about success is that it elevates you to another stage or standard in life. Success can influence how people relate with you. That’s why it’s always important to be humble with your achievements by remembering where you are coming from. Success should indeed, humble you as opposed to bloating your ego. Success can come to you in terms of power, authority, cash, academic qualification, or business..

It’s instructive to note that success is truly fragile, and it must be handled with delicate care. As a progressive being, you are expected to manage your success and not your success managing you. To understand how delicate success is, imagine buying a crate of egg, how will you carry the egg? I believe you will handle it with care.

Again, imagine having a tissue in your hand, if you pour water on it, will it be useful again? I guess no; you see the reason you need to handle success with care.

Success is like building a home, a contractor knows fully well that the foundation of a house is the most important part of a building and as such he/she must exhibit the highest level of professionalism if the house is to stand the test of time.

Success is also like a man trying to woo a lady for relationship/marriage purposes. During the process, he will do all that is necessary to make the woman like him. And when he finally gets her, he is expected to continue the act by investing in the relationship; watering and spicing it, as opposed to withdrawing believing he has already achieved. If he does that, the lady might begin to question his initial motive. Moral: See success like a plant which you must continually water, otherwise it will die.

The big question we must ask ourselves is how do we handle success? Managing success is like managing a treasure. Imagine having global leaders listening to you, you may be tempted to boast, and if the emotion is not properly managed, it can lead to disaster.

The journey to authentic success is a process. You are advised to spend at least one or two hours each day on a craft or business you have deep interest in to master it. When you finally succeed, it will be foolhardy to toy with the success.

A major factor which affects success is not believing in their vision. They just engage in any business because they feel they can make quick money. Let me tell you, nobody will believe in your work if you don’t believe in yourself. Investors must see the passion and energy you radiate in your business before they can invest in your business. When you believe in your craft, you can attract other people to believe in it.

In conclusion, as you strive to make global impact with your craft, don’t forget to take care of yourself while taking care of your business and success.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success and President of gloemi.com. He can be reached via info@gloemi.com

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Opinion: The Travails of Leadership

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke Ph.D.

“The ultimate assignment of leadership is not to raise followers, but better leaders through greater impacts by living a life of great examples and never to forget to help them with emotional intelligence which is a key factor for leadership inputs and outputs.”

Character is developed by ‘trials’. Testing is the development of ETHICS. Character is built or developed through pressure, temptation (trials) and resolve. The credibility of leadership is character! The force of leadership is character! The trust of leadership is character! The legitimacy of leadership is character! The integrity of leadership is character! The reason why people still celebrate Nelson Mandela, Koffi Annan among others is because he was tested and trusted. The reason why Nelson Mandela had so much credibility all over the world is because, while he was alive he went through a test of 25years in prison, because of a conviction he had, he was just like a ‘statue’ with this notion:

I cannot bend; I am going to jail just like this;

I believe in what I see, I believe in a dream,

I believe in my convictions, because they are right,

I will not compromise; I will not change!

Nelson Mandela stayed faithful, he went through the test and trials, and people trusted him. In prison, he was the same, he was severely tortured, he was the same, when he had to cut the rocks with chisel, he was the same, and when he came out of prison he was still the same, and was eventually made the President of South Africa just because he was the same. People could trust him.

Even the late Dr. Myles Monroe once said: ‘People often look at me as if I was born the way I look, but I have been through a lot of things, pressures, scars on my back, tribulations, criticisms, attacks, but I decided, I believe what I believe! I stay steady! The world reads my books, I have been invited to over a hundred and fifty-two nations across the world and they wondered: who is this young man, but I have developed my character through tough times.’

Anybody could begin something, a few people finish! How many things have you begun? how many things have you started managing? how many of it have you finished? Where is your character? Are you steady under pressure? Can you be faithful under being disappointed? Can you still believe when no one is with you? When you have character, you are ready to go alone! Everybody is evil, not me! Everybody is corrupt, not me! Everybody is failing, not me!

You have to work by yourself to develop character! Your innate gifts are at the mercy of your character! Your character is more important than your gifts, because without character, you can lose your gifts. That is why God gave Man CHARACTER (His IMAGE) before He gave him DOMINION (Control). Most people lose their provisions because they lost their character! That is why it is important for you to protect yourself by your character (IMAGE), and that is why character (IMAGE) is God’s utmost priority! Character is necessary for DOMINION (Control); it guarantees a tamed- freedom.

Character breeds decent followers; it builds them into enviable leaders that can ‘MANage’ the natural resources as given them by God, and then, put them into appropriate and decent usage for the good of all mankind. Leadership is simply service to humanity, it is not selfishness, not greed, not abusive…Only character determines and promotes service. Service is followership, help; it is the authentic exhibition of our innate being. Character builds a nation; it builds kingdoms, Empires, family and the world at large. Character tames freedom so as not to abuse absolute power; it promotes sustainable peace and global development that guarantees the handing over of a better world to coming generation. It is a baton which must be passed on and on forever. Life is a mysterious gift given to man by God Almighty embedded with so many hidden treasures… its usage is up to man, but only the deeds of men pollutes it!

Character therefore, should not be mistaken for REPUTATION. Reputation has become much more important in the world today than character, and that is a tragedy, because, position has become more important than disposition. As a matter of fact, we need leaders with character, not leaders with personality! Some people have well packaged personality but lack character, yet they are the most celebrated in our world today. Many people are well branded as dignified figures vying for leadership positions, unfortunately, ignorant people rush up to them, vote them in, then the economy and political structure of their countries crashes! Instead of voting the man with CHARACTER (i.e the right IMAGE), which compliments leadership to the position of reliable leadership.

Nigeria and other developing nations must first of all confront their domestic problems by consolidating their democracy. Democracy is not just the question of holding periodic elections, Important as this is, it means developing a democratic culture underpinned by the rule of law. We must build an egalitarian society with careers opened to talents. It should be possible for any (Nigerian) talent(s) to rise to any position that these talents entitle him or her. We must face the question of the economy squarely.

Sixty-one years after independence, we still operate a dependent economy based on export of raw materials and industries of import substitution. We must reverse the process by building industries, particularly agro-based industries in which we have comparative advantage. Nigeria can support huge textile and garment industries based on local production of cotton. This is also an industry which the current regime of the World Trade Organization favours for developing countries. The so-called Tiger economies of South East Asia, China and India virtually dominate the textile and garments industry of the world. We ought to be able to compete with Israel and the United States in providing the world with properly packaged tropical fruits. We should cut our tastes for unnecessary luxury goods and use what we can produce. We need to open our market to investments from the outside world. One hopes present policies in this regards would be determinedly pursued.

The economy is a major factor to earning respect in the international system and we must do everything to develop our economy. There is no strategy of economic development better than those that have been tried and that have worked in the Western liberal democracies. Any attempt to graft economic development on an authoritarian regime will fail.

Character is key factor! We need to take a look at the example of Botswana (few years ago), when, where honest and liberal government and proper management of national resources and patrimony have led to development. Character sees people as greatest ASSETS and not properties. Value your fellow man greatly, they are the only tool that can stand by your side anytime any day, they shall be the one to continue your leadership processes in the future for the benefits of all as a result of your tremendous impacts on them.

The ultimate assignment of leadership is not to raise followers, but better leaders through greater impacts by living a life of great examples and never to forget to help them with emotional intelligence which is key factor for leadership inputs and outputs.

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