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Twitter: Trump Is Doing the Right Thing for Wrong Reasons

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By Joel Popoola

When Donald Trump suggested you could cure COVID-19 by drinking bleach, Nigerians could be forgiven for thinking his public statements should come with a health warning.

But a row has broken out in America after Twitter labelled two of the President’s posts with a truth warning, describing them as “potentially misleading”.

In response, the president used executive powers to attempt to limit liability protections for social-media companies –making them legally responsible for the content that gets posted on them for the first time.

As a Nigerian tech entrepreneur and digital democracy campaigner, I believe this is an example of the wrong person doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. It is overdue that social media companies take responsibility for the content that is posted on them, but not because one politician resents being shamed for using that platform irresponsibly and inaccurately.

Ironically, the controversial tweets; not even that controversial by this President’s standards, accused postal voting of being “substantially fraudulent” with ballot papers “forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed”, concerns some Nigerians will probably share!

But Nigerians are all-too familiar with our own fake news crisis. Fake wars, fake terrorist attacks, fake cloned Presidents – we’ve had the lot. One state governor has even spoken of reading about how at that exact moment he was apparently in a coma, following a magic tortoise attack!

Social media allows these stories to be spread across Nigeria before the truth has even put its shoes on. And part of this problem is social media companies have historically refused to accept that the things that get posted on their platforms are anything to do with them.
To social media companies, their platforms are just blank canvases. If anyone writes something dangerous or misleading on those blank canvases, it’s has nothing to do with them – even if what is written is dangerous or misleading.

Social media companies have historically refused to admit that they are not blank billboards. They are media providers. And imagine if any other media providers behaved this way.

Imagine the newspapers were just blank pieces of paper that whoever got to the shop first could write whatever news they wanted on, even if that “news” was politically-motivated misinformation.

Imagine the nightly television news was people taking turns to read out their conspiracy theories, daydreams, and fantasies. Dangerous nonsense, masquerading as credible information.
As Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has himself said, social media platforms must do more to tackle the “fake news or provocative information” he believes “can cause chaos, civil unrest, war, and even death”.

On the other hand, whilst social media companies should not be punished for belatedly taking steps to ensure that their users have access to the truth, who decides what the truth is? With three of the largest social media organisations owned by the same people, doesn’t that concentrate enormous power in the hands of very few (completely unelected and unaccountable) people?

Politicians need to ask themselves why social media provides such fertile soil for dangerous rumours to take root, and in Nigeria in particular, one of the main reasons is the lack of trust electors have for the elected.

Fighting the fake news which has become all too prevalent in Nigeria in recent years necessitates the public having reliable sources of information they can go to online – and where better than going direct to their local representatives?

It is for these reasons that the Digital Democracy campaign created the free Rate Your Leader app – a direct (and abuse-proof) line straight to elected officials from the people who they serve.

Ask them anything, person to person, direct from your phone. And with that contact comes accountability. If you don’t like the answer you get or you don’t get an answer at all, Rate Your Leader lets you rate your local politician appropriately for everyone to see.
Voters aren’t the only ones to benefit. The app helps politicians understand what matters most to the people who elected them, build relationships of trust with the electorate, and get important messages straight to them.

Nigerian voters need to know what information they can trust, and also that they can trust their local representatives. Digital engagement is the most effective and efficient way of delivering that.

To put it another way, politicians, do you want your local residents to be getting their information from you, or the man telling them to drink bleach?

Joel Popoola is a Nigerian tech entrepreneur and digital democracy campaigner and is the creator of the free Rate Your Leader mobile app. Contact us via Joel@rateyourleader.com

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Food for Living: A Solid Relationship Precedes Success

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

Relationships are very vital for our success.  It is rather unfortunate that many people don’t understand the rationale behind, as well as the influential nature of having a dynamic relationship. It is imperative to note that we are all products of relationships. We relate with our spouses, children, friends, family, colleagues, and humanity in general. It is often advised to be civil to all, social to many, and familiar to few. However, having the ability to nurture these relationships is very important in life. But of more important is being able to decipher how to relate to each, and knowing the exact persons you admit into a relationship. Note that a wise man once said “be careful who you let into your ship because some people will sink the whole ship just because they can’t be the captain”. A word, they say, is enough for the wise.

Notwithstanding, we are not unaware that relationships are very important in our lives. We are all products of relationships. We are created as relational beings. We live for relationships. Little wonder when God wants to bless us, he uses people. Of course, when the devil wants to mess us up, he also uses people. Relationships will either make or mar us, so it is wise to ensure that we don’t allow toxic relationships, and we don’t take beneficial relationships for granted.

Before you relate to anyone, you must relate with yourself. You can never relate cordially with others if you cannot relate with yourself. A better relationship with yourself begins with understanding yourself. If you cannot relate to yourself, you will find it difficult to relate with others. Many people don’t understand themselves and therefore, find it difficult to relate with others.

Every relationship is literally different. Just as our faces look different, our attitudes, behaviours, character and instincts are different. Every relationship needs different ingredients to thrive. A business relationship needs trust, discipline, understanding and honesty to thrive, while a marital relationship needs romance, honesty, tolerance, understanding, communication, compromise, trust, sacrifice, and compatibility to thrive.

Just to let you how powerful a relationship is, in some social parlance, it is often said that if God wants to bless a man, he sends a man and if he wants to destroy a man, he sends a woman. Relationships come in different ways; your relationship with your wife can make or mar you. If you marry the wrong person, your life will take a different route, but if you marry right, he/she will attract opportunities, blessings, and a good support system for you.

In business, the ability to meet your clients and customers where they are is critical to your success. People will do business with you if they trust and like you. Building relationships doesn’t entail relating only with the high and mighty in society. It does not mean relating with only productive people. Yes, these sets of minds are very resourceful and should be generally used for evaluation, but do you know that a good relationship with a security officer, cleaner, cook, artisan, and the low class in the society can be the icing on your cake that will change the course of your life. This is because they may have access to your potential investor.

In order to have a fruitful relationship, it is important to study emotional intelligence because it will go a long to manage the vicissitudes of life in addition to letting you know if the relationship is for you or not. Emotional intelligence deals with self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, social management, and then empathy. These are very important for a successful relationship, and need to be well managed.

As human beings, we are products of two major factors 1. Nature – how we were born and 2. Nurture – How we grow (parents, environment, school, friends, experiences, etc.). These two factors put together determines our make and personalities. Emotional intelligence will help you to nurture your relationship.

We all desire to have a fruitful relationship, no doubt. It can be in our personal or professional capacity. However, it is important to note that there’s no formula or script for any successful relationship; one needs to be deliberate and intentional to make it work. A relationship is simply like a gift that’s yet to be open. No one sees the full picture of a gift, the same is applicable to a relationship. You can hardly tell the surprise character or attitude your partner can spring up during your relationship. Therefore, an individual’s level of emotional intelligence will determine a lot. Good emotional intelligence will help you to be aware and manage your partners’ emotions, creating a room to accommodate mistakes and learning to forgive.

In order to have a successful marital relationship, here are some bullet points to avoid

1.          The urge to control your spouse, partner, people, etc. Resist this urge nor matter how hard it tries to raise its ugly head. For instance, if you are the provider for the family and you are a female, resist the urge to control or manipulate your spouse. Any form of manipulation is witchcraft.

2.          Avoid the need to always be right at all costs. Generally, in marriage, there’s no winner and loser. You either win together or lose together. The best way to approach this issue is by applying the best interest judgment. Both parties must hear each other and select the best point.

 3.          Resist the temptation to retaliate and not forgive. Avoid the habits of digging up past hurts and wounds to retaliate. In marriage, you are bound to hurt each other, the ability to tolerate is very vital to the success of your marriage.

 4.           Resist the urge to criticize far more than you encourage: Marriage needs appreciation and support to grow. However, if you are to criticize, you must do it constructively. If you are criticized objectively, two things are possible; if it is untrue, ignore the urge to be irritated, but if it is true, it is not a criticism, it’s a lesson; learn from it.

 5.           Communicate how you feel. Communication is the life wire of any marital relationship. Without communication, the marriage dies just like a plant dies without water. Communication works in different forms for different people. Communication helps to build intimacy in marriage.  Words are very important in marriage, in fact, they can ignite a fire that can lead to the dissolution of a marriage if the wrongly used.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a mindset coach and 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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Developing Yourself for Effective Leadership (Pt. 1)

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“It is the role of every wise man or woman to help one another to put the ‘kid’ in the ‘king’ to sleep in the day, when work calls, and to wake the ‘kid’ in the ‘king’ at night when it is time to rest. This is an indication that only a ‘teachable’ spirit can help us build and re-build ourselves to the perfect stature as ordained by God Almighty for the true display of the authentic leadership role that Man has been called to display before other creations. It is, therefore, clear to us, as peoples, corporates and nations; that true leadership starts from within because no one can give what he or she doesn’t have in possession. Your world ‘within’ awaits you, so as to be able to furnish your world ‘without’”.Tolulope A. Adegoke

The book of reveals Proverbs 24:3-5,7 (KJV) reveals that: “3through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: 4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. 5A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. 7Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.”

It is pertinent to note that every house, home or relationship is built and maintained by Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding.

Wisdom – is a divine encounter into strategic realms to flourish, which is mostly imparted on you when you seek God for it. James 1:5 (KJV) unveils that: “whosoever lacketh wisdom, let him ask from the Lord that giveth it liberally” – that is why it is the combination of two major words:  Wise and Dominion which equals toWIS(e)DOMinion (that is, only the wise dominates). These operational words elevate you into kingdoms or territories as a commander (goodly and Godly Manifestations). Wisdom comes in packaged ideas that look so little because it operates just like dynamite. It comes in small packages, such that you would almost ignore it or underrate it at first; but if adopted guarantees DOMINION which could be split into DoMINION and On.

Knowledge – This is the combination of three (3) simple words, which are: To KNOW, to Lead, to be LED by counsels, instructions or principles you have been exposed to either by reading (books), experiences or tutelages (Mentorship) or teachings from higher vessels, as these would give you EDGE over others

Understanding – Two cogent words and meanings can be derived here: Under, which connotes submission, while Standing could be said to be elevation, that is, consistently forging as a result of our daily subscriptions to sitting at the feet of masters to learn, observe and do (act) or apply with imparted wisdom in dimensions and realms for desired results beyond the ordinary as long as you remain humble and meek (open to be consistently filled the right values and not being full of your “will” (self). Until you come under knowledge, you will not successfully stand, let alone soar! Until you come under the tree of knowledge, you are likely to die under the scorching heat of ignorance!

So, developing effective leadership starts from empowering yourself, your home, family, before you can advance into the corporates and nations. That’s why God made Adam, first, then later created Eve from what has been made. He started a family, first and later made nations out of them. You must therefore engage the above principles called: Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding to build yourself, first; so as not to become a disaster or a burden to yourself and your partner and even to those connected to you in life and destiny (which may be called generation).

You also need to understand that your life, home, relationships and whatever that you may be building at the moment can only be glorious to the degree of your personal or individual development. It is most important that you build yourself, first.

Take for example, the sensitive roles being played by Deborah, Esther, Sarah, Ruth, amongst others in the Holy Book; you would realize that it took the wisdom (powered by grace) for them to have succeeded, not only for themselves but for their entire generations. The Book of Proverbs 14:1 (KJV) shows us that: “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” In other words, it requires Godly wisdom to build and re-build a house, whether it is a man or a woman. Every wise man or woman maximizes the effects of his or her husband; so it is our duty, to start from within before we launch out to the outside world. It is wise to save yourself first, within, before you go out to save another so as to be able to stand the tests of time. It is important to understand that in every kid, there lies a king; and in every king there lies a kid (the same goes for the Queen also). So, it is the role of every wise man or woman to help one another to put the ‘kid’ in the ‘king’ to sleep in the day, when work calls, and to wake the ‘kid’ in the ‘king’ at night, when it is time to rest. This is an indication that only a ‘teachable’ spirit can help us build and rebuild ourselves to the perfect stature as ordained by God Almighty for the true display of the authentic leadership role that Man has been called to display before other creations. It is, therefore, clear to us, as people, corporates and nations that true leadership starts from within because no one can give what he or she doesn’t have in possession. Your world ‘within’ awaits you, so as to be able to furnish your world ‘without’.

Thank you all for reading.

Watch out for the Book titled: “The Power of an Empowered Zero” (Awakening The Giant Within You) byTolulope 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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INEC is Wrong: We Need More Digital Democracy to Build Trust in Our Political Process

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By Joel Popoola

The Independent National Electoral Commission has apparently turned its nose up at electronic voting, claiming Nigerians don’t trust our democracy enough for it to work.

They are quite right that Nigerians simply do not trust our political leaders or institutions.

But this is a classic example of “what came first, the chicken or the egg”. And I think INEC is wrong. It is not the case that a lack of trust makes digital democracy impossible. In fact, digital democracy like electronic voting is exactly what Nigeria needs to build trust in our democracy.

Speaking at an event in Ondo State, INEC director Nick Dazang argued:
“The main issue in our election is that of trust. Once we continue to do things transparently and stakeholders, including politicians, media, political parties, observers and civil societies trust INEC, you don’t even need to use sophisticated technology for election”

Dazang claimed that electronic voting is too easily hacked to be trusted by voters.
This of course implies that putting bits of paper in a box and trusting the person watching the box to deliver it to the right place and then trusting the person counting it to count it correctly – or at all – is a foolproof and incorruptible system! If that was true, perhaps Nigerians would trust our democratic processes!

On his main point, Dazang is quite right. What Nigerian democracy needs most is urgent practical steps to address our trust crisis.

72% of Nigerians believe the statement “most politicians are corrupt” describes our country well – and six-in-ten say it describes Nigeria “very well”.

Only 39% of Nigerians are satisfied with the way democracy is working in our country, while 60% say they are not satisfied.

And – probably as a result – our voter turnout is the worst in West Africa, 34.8% at the last presidential election compared to 68.6% in Ghana.

Electronic voting can guarantee confidentiality, ensure that only eligible – and living! – voters vote and that the votes they cast actually reflect their choices, and are counted.
And as a year of remote working as a result of COVID-19 has demonstrated, software solutions allowing the secure digital transfer of confidential information are widely available and easy to use, with a year’s worth of relentless international testing to prove it!

A central element of the trust crisis in Nigeria, and across Africa in general, is an absence of credible elections.
Using new technology to address the practical problems which detract from the credibility of our democracy is an opportunity we need to seize.

Other advantages of an electronic system include the faster delivery of election results, increased trust in elections through minimisation of human error and even long-term cost savings.
This is just one of the ways we can take advantage of technology to improve the transparency of and trust in our political process – while making our democracy work faster and more efficiently.

At the digital democracy campaign I lead, we are also working to bring electors and elected closer together.

We’ve developed a free smartphone app – Rate Your Leader – to use smartphone technology to allow elected officials to interact directly with confirmed voters in the divisions they serve – and to do so in a way which makes insulting communication difficult, and dishonest communication undesirable.

This way politicians and people can use Rate Your Leader to engage person-to-person, and understanding each other’s needs and positions. This way, leaders can find out rapidly what matters most to the people who elect them, and collaborate to address those issues. And voters can even rate their politicians for their transparency and accessibility.

And that in turn builds transparency and trust, which are such scarce commodities in our political process.

For INEC to be publicly spurning electronic voting is particularly disappointing following its announcement that in May 2020 that it intended to “pilot the use of Electronic Voting Machines at the earliest possible time, (and) work towards the full introduction of electronic voting in major elections starting from 2021.”

Universal electronic voting is clearly not viable in a country where many still lack access to reliable and secure internet. But there is nothing stopping us from starting down the path towards becoming Africa’s first truly digital democracy.

Because in 2021, democracy is digital.

More Nigerians own a smartphone than Permanent Voters Card (PVC). And as our experience of Rate Your Leader proves, it isn’t just the most effective and efficient way of conducting political activities, it’s the way that the electorate wants to carry out those activities.

Joel Popoola is a Nigerian tech entrepreneur, digital democracy campaigner and creator of the Rate Your Leader app. You can follow Joel on Twitter @JOPopoola

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