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life is heavy

Hey my reallers,
How have you guys been?? I know its has been long but i just wanted to let you guys know that this month has just been hectic. Everything of mine has been going south as per where i am right now in my life. Its like i have reached the point where you can easily give up without even thinking twice but you do know us reallers we are not the type to give up easily. image
It might seem like a long journey now with the end far out of sight but such are the times that we tell ourselves that ” You know what!! Its clearly tougher than i expected. I need to get up or life will just tear me apart.”
Let us not give in to our challenges. Cause at some point you might feel like no one is recognising your work or not even appreciating what you are doing. Yes you will feel deverstated but come on now dear..its not about them,its about being you,being true to yourself and doing what you feel is good to you.
You might feel like everything is dark since nothing seems to go your way but i guess we all have to be patient and prayerful. If something is bound to happen then it will happen at its rightful time my reallers, but until then just hang in there.
After every hardship there comes a time you will be soring higher and higher. Why do you think they said after every storm comes a rainbow. It simply means hardships or challenges are not here to last, its just for a short while.
And also my dear reallers if you really want God to work miracles in your life, you must first go to Him with the little you have for Him to do wonders, don’t just go empty handed, even Jesus went before God with 5loaves and 2 fish, He was not empty handed.
That’s all for today my reallers. Remember we are in this together. No matter how this month is taking me, i might feel like giving up or just quiting but i can’t do that because i cherish my reallers( my readers) and i must deliver for you guys to be happy.
Much love from yours truly

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2019: No credible candidate besides Buhari – Ortom



Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Tuesday said there was no other credible candidate for the 2019 presidential election that has the capacity to move Nigeria forward apart from President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ortom, a governor elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, said this in an interview with State House correspondents shortly after he met with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

While saying he is happy seeing Buhari “bouncing every day,” the governor prayed that God will help the President to lead the nation till 2023.

Ortom said, “I came to appreciate the President and to encourage him to be steadfast and committed to his leadership.

“I believe that what God brought him to achieve in this country, he will definitely achieve it.

“Now we see him bouncing every day to the glory of God. We appreciate this and we look forward that God will help him to take us through 2015 to 2019 and then 2019 to 2023.

“That is our prayer because for now, there is no credible candidate as far as I know that has the capacity to take Nigeria out of where we are today.

“I believe Mr. President has the capacity and let God sustain his health and consummate his healing so that Nigeria can be on the right path.”

© 2017, Sunday Emmanuel. All rights reserved.

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Why the army vaccination rumour caused panic



One picture stood out from the rest. It was the picture of a boy of about five years in a pink shirt and blue shorts speeding away from school. The look on his face and the way his right foot shot into the air showed his determination and desperation to get out of harm’s way.

Unlike other children behind him, the boy had no schoolbag or lunchbox. He must have abandoned those items in the school before running for dear life. His bag or whatever possession of his meant nothing compared to his determination to escape from the threat.

If that boy was sought and groomed for athletics, Nigeria could have a Chidi Imoh in the making, especially at a time like this when the country has virtually disappeared from global track and field medal table but for occasional triumphs recorded by Blessing Okagbare.

There was another picture that told a million stories. It came in three shots. It was the picture of a young mother who stood by the locked gate of a school with other parents. It was obvious they wanted to enter the school to take their children. When it became clear that the school authorities were not keen on opening the gate, the woman was shown in another shot scaling the fence of the school in her gown, while another woman stood behind her waiting probably to follow suit.  Maternal instinct was at work.

The rumour was that the members of the Nigerian military were coming to schools in the South-East to forcefully vaccinate schoolchildren. There were different stories, one of which was that the soldiers would inject monkeypox or some deadly disease into the children in continuation of their Operation Python Dance II in the South-East.

In this era of mobile telephony and the Internet, the rumour spread fast. Within minutes schoolchildren were either fleeing from schools or parents had besieged the schools to take their children home.

Reacting to the rumour, the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army said: “The Division wishes to make it clear that the free medical outreach is not a vaccine intended to infect monkeypox or any major contemporary or emerging diseases in Nigeria to the people of South-East or any part of the country.

“The exercise is part of the corporate social responsibility initiatives imbued into the overall Exercise Egwu Eke II package, to the people of the South-Eastern Region which is the Area of Responsibility of the 82 Division NA and is also the theatre of the Exercise.”

Therefore, the Nigerian Army had gone to Ozubulu in the Ekwusigo Local Government Area to conduct a free medical programme. But before their arrival in Ozubulu, there had been messages that the Nigerian Army should not be allowed to vaccinate children in the South-East, given their activities during the Operation Python Dance II (also known as Egwu Eke II in Igbo), which claimed lives and involved torture. The messages accused the Nigerian Army of using the opportunity of the vaccination to reduce the population of the South-East. The rumour later said it was monkeypox that the army would inject into the children. At first, the rumour sounded weird. But when the Nigerian Army personnel were seen in Ozubulu conducting the medical outreach, news went round that the soldiers were in Ozubulu forcefully vaccinating schoolchildren. It tallied with the earlier rumour that the soldiers were planning to vaccinate schoolchildren. It caused mass hysteria. Parents besieged schools to take away their children while schoolchildren fled from schools. There was a kind of pandemonium in the South-East states as well as in neighbouring Delta State. Schools were hurriedly closed. The social media and the mainstream media went wild.

Clearly, the rumour was masterminded by those who wanted to get back at the military, especially for the shooting of civilians recently in the South-East as part of the Operation Python Dance II. Members of the separatist Indigenous People of Biafra, acting as individuals or a group, may most likely have their hand in that rumour. It is condemnable, because the panic it caused could have caused the deaths of people. It could have also caused a psychological fear for schools by many South-East children.

However, it was a clear message to the military and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. That message was that the people of the South-East are alienated from the administration of Buhari and have no trust in the Nigerian military. The Nigerian Army that should protect the citizens from external aggression turned their guns on the citizens and fired, leaving many dead, and the whereabouts of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB and Director of Radio Biafra, still unknown.

The South-East has always had a high rate of participation in all immunisation programmes. Consequently, it has had a good record on freedom from deadly childhood diseases like polio and measles and adult diseases like meningitis, leprosy, guinea worm, and the like. If the immunisation or free medical outreach was from organisations like Red Cross, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International, such a rumour would have been dismissed as baseless.

The military chose a wrong community service project in the South-East. It will be difficult to convince the people that the military meant well. Imagine suspecting that someone was responsible for the death of your father and then receiving Christmas food from that person. If you were polite, you would accept the food but throw it into the trashcan later. If you were not the politically correct type, you would tell the person bluntly that you would not accept any food item from an enemy.

Rather than embark on a medical programme in the South-East, I think the military should have done something else like cleaning the streets, painting the sidewalks, rehabilitating some schools or community hospitals or some roads. While executing any of the above-listed projects, passersby and the benefiting communities would see the soldiers in action. Gradually, the people may start to feel that the Nigerian Army means well.

As things stand today, wrongly or rightly, the people of the South-East believe that the Nigerian Army and the administration of Buhari wish them dead. It is, therefore, contradictory that these two groups would be involved in saving or caring for the lives of these same people. That was why the schoolchildren fled. That was why parents besieged schools to take their children away.

The Nigerian Army needs to build trust first in the South-East. Buhari has approached his relationship with the South-East the wrong way. It is not the South-East people who will first of all love Buhari for him to love them. Buhari needs to show the South-East people in practical ways that he loves them, and they will reciprocate.

Inviting South-East state governors and political office holders to Aso Rock and promising them what he will do for the South-East will not win the hearts of the South-East people. On most Nigerian issues, the common people do not feel that political office holders represent their interest.

Unlike in other climes where the President visits different parts of the country in times of celebration or mourning, when tragedies befall any part of Nigeria, the governor of the affected state goes to Abuja to meet with the President. The President does not know how to show that he cares for the people. He keeps away from the people he governs. He does not even grant local interviews or engage in townhall meetings with the people.

The Nigeria Army is under the command of Buhari. If Buhari continues to do things his own way, he will continue to get the same result.

© 2017, Sunday Emmanuel. All rights reserved.

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What we learn from the world’s fastest-rising university



The world’s fastest-rising university is neither in Europe nor in North America. It is in Asia; but neither in China nor in India. It is in Singapore; not the National University of Singapore but the Nangyang Technological University. Since 2003, when a new President (i.e., Vice-Chancellor) took over the leadership of the university, NTU has been climbing steadily in the ratings, especially from 2010 to 2011 and from 2017 to 2018, when it jumped 122 places in the world ranking, landing at 52 in the latest world ranking of universities by Times Higher Education.

Nigerian university authorities have a lot to learn from NTU’s rise, especially from the points of view of leadership and governance; adequate funding; setting goals and achieving them; and locating opportunities and seizing them.

NTU’s President from 2003 to 2011, Professor Su Guaning, radically changed the fortunes of the university. It is tempting to conclude that he was the Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore’s university system. Just as Lee eschewed populist policies in favour of long-term social and economic measures, Prof. Su eschewed the teaching structure he inherited and put his faith in research and long-term measures to make NTU a world-class university.

Right from the start, Su set his mind on raising NTU’s profile by getting it to be one of the world’s top universities. He began by surrounding himself with top senior people in his administration, including hiring two reputable Deputies. One of them was Prof. Bertil Andersson, who later became the university’s first Provost. He devolved specific powers to his Deputies.

For example, Andersson was charged with establishing a new faculty tenure system to ensure that only those who were potentially productive in their research got tenure. Andersson had wide international experience, including being a former University Rector in Sweden and Chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry. He drew on these experiences to change the focus of tenure from teaching to research, with all the implications of increases in citations to faculty publications and industrial outreach.

The government of Singapore worked hand in hand with Su, funding the university as needed and providing necessary facilities for improvement just as it continued to assist the rival National University of Singapore. According to Su, the rivalry between the two national universities was also an inspiration to him: “If you look around the world, the best universities usually have somebody competing with them on a similar level. If you take Stanford, you have Berkeley. Take Cambridge, you have Oxford. Take Harvard, you have MIT”. Incidentally, these are universities frequently in the top 10 in the world.

Su’s observation provides an oblique commentary on Nigerian universities, where the often myopic management often operates like an island unto itself. I often cringed whenever I heard Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, introduced as the best state university in Nigeria. I did not know what to make of it when Lagos State University was also recently introduced as the best state university in Nigeria. I could only ask myself: Do the authorities in both universities ever talk to each other?

Another interesting aspect of Su’s leadership is the maintenance of a dual system of hiring young people, while also recognising age and experience as critical to the university’s stability and growth. Young faculty could eventually propagate the legacy of excellence, but older and more experienced faculty have to grow it first. Accordingly, he worked hard on increasing the retirement age by 10 years in order to provide further opportunities for tapping into the experience of senior faculty.

One of the important qualities of leadership is the ability to see far into the future and plan accordingly. That was what Su did with regard to China. NTU quickly took note of the significance of the rise of China and was ahead of the curve in launching training and degree programmes in Chinese, including a course on market-oriented economics for communist officials. The number of Chinese Master’s programmes was increased, leading to a large cohort of NTU alumni in China today. This raises an interesting question for Nigerian university authorities. How many of them go to other African countries to recruit students, like Ghana and South Africa do in Nigeria?

At the same time, NTU broadened its admission policy by increasing international students to about 20 per cent of its undergraduate intake. Its 10,000-strong postgraduate students are, however, mostly international students. It did not stop at that. It also internationalised faculty hiring in order to develop a melting pot of different but complementary perspectives. Although already within the system, Andersson was eventually appointed, after an international search, to succeed Su, thus guaranteeing continuity of the strong tradition of excellence they both jointly developed. Needless to say, Andersson is not native to Singapore.

Another factor in NTU’s favour is its relative autonomy and academic freedom. The university decides on who teaches what, how, where, and to whom. There are no outside regulatory bodies and no unions to disrupt the academic calendar. There were, of course, occasional intrusions of the government into some university decisions. For example in 2013, there was a debate over academic freedom in Singapore, when Associate Professor Cherian George of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communications was denied tenure for publicly criticising Singapore’s system of media control and its ruling party. Although his department recommended his tenure, it was rejected by government representatives on the university committee.

It is a lesson on the politics of criticising the government from within the university. In Singapore’s case, the government totally funds its universities and provides over 70 per cent tuition subsidy to Singaporean students. So long as government funding is involved, relative restrictions on academic freedom will persist, thus cutting back on university autonomy.

Last week, I endorsed the establishment of Centres of Excellence to be given the mandate of growing their institutions to world class status just as NTU did, and enjoined some private universities to join the race. However, given the tradition of disrespecting goals and deadlines in Nigerian universities, it is necessary to establish appropriate quality assurance measures. In the next contribution to this series, I focus on quality control, comparing the regulatory functions of the National Universities Commission with broader quality control measures adopted elsewhere.

© 2017, Sunday Emmanuel. All rights reserved.

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“Beautiful Ones (Acoustic)” from Beautiful Ones (Acoustic) – Single by Hurts. Released: 2017. Track 1 of 1. Genre: Pop.