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Why ‘Churches’ Need To Be Closed Down!

God is not interested in ‘Church Planting’ and establishment. Rather, He’s interested in Truth planting and establishment. By ‘Church Planting’ I mean setting up places of worship. In the past (bible times), men spent a lot of time in Temples, Synagogues and at home, yet such places of worship and meeting never exceeded ONE Temple in Jerusalem and very few synagogues (depending on the size of the town/city). Neither Jesus nor His disciples ever built a place of worship to accommodate their followers and propagate their ‘unique’ teaching and worship style. “Every day they continued to meet together in the TEMPLE COURTS. They broke bread in THEIR HOMES…” (Acts 2:46). Despite the strong opposition to their message, they never ‘broke away’. Rather, all the believers CONTINUED to meet in Solomon’s Porch, a part of the temple (Acts 5:12). What we see in Christianity today where any ambitious young man (or woman) who knows bible very much and has ‘anointing’ or ‘a Call’ goes to set up his/her Church is nothing but brazen arrogance and crass ignorance of the due order.

Nowadays, Truth is supposed to be established in the corporate world where men spend most of their day. Hence, it becomes necessary for most ‘churches’ to be closed down by government. Having 10 ‘churches’ in one street is nothing but nuisance. Land that would have been used for more productive purposes are now being purchased for religious gathering. No wonder most ‘churches’ have NATURALLY closed down in Europe and America because it is not compatible with advanced system of life.

Our response today is not to go plant new ‘churches’ there because it will not work. Rather, go plant Truth where they spend most of their time. And mind you, Truth is not a religious idea! Go plant truth in schools, colleges, offices, laboratories, hospitals, construction sites, banks etc. This is their world – Go into all the world and proclaim and plant Truth (Mark 16:15). Go to their fields of endeavour, and “the field is the world…” (Matt. 13:38). By so doing, we will eliminate the nuisance value caused by the ambition of ignorance and be more effective in National Transformation…

Written by Emeke Ossai
Email: emyjosh@yahoo.com
Twitter: @EmekeOssai

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“Everything rises and falls on leadership” – John C. Maxwell

The importance of leadership in Nation-Building cannot be overemphasized. Our misfortune in Nigeria has been the inability of the nation to rise beyond the stature of its political leaders. It has been the failure of the political leadership to embark upon, with dogged determination, the urgent task of nation-building. In my opinion, political leadership is the most crucial of all the areas of leadership. We have not lacked quality business leaders, religious leaders, academic leaders, & so on. But surely, we have been in want of quality political leaders. I have said again and again, and will continue to say that Nigeria can NEVER make any progress without a deliberate effort by relevant STAKEHOLDERS, to SCIENTIFICALLY and PRAGMATICALLY midwife the nation into true existence, because no Nigerian nation can emerge until true leadership becomes our political reality.

I have said that if a nation is not making progress, the first thing you look at is LEADERSHIP, the next is the CONSTITUTION. It is said that a leader is an EMBODIMENT of the ASPIRATIONS of his people. It is also said that a Constitution is an embodiment of the aspirations of the people. What this implies in effect is that the leader is in SPIRIT what the constitution is in LETTER. For Nigeria, neither the constitution nor the political leadership embodies our aspirations. The Constitution, being a written document representing all the political, economic, cultural, religious, social and even historical forces conditioning the perception of a people, and powerful enough to produce a Preserver, Upholder and Defender of itself, is altogether defective! Since the defective constitution has failed to produce true political leadership for the Nigerian people, and the consequent failure of the extant leadership at the upper echelons of power, the only hope for the common man is the leadership of the lower rungs of the political ladder, fueled by a KINDRED SPIRIT. This alternative leadership then would be from the dictatorship of the POLITICISED petty bourgeoisie and the proletariat!!!
To Be Continued…!

Written by Emeke Ossai
Email: emyjosh@yahoo.com
Twitter: @EmekeOssai

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“The way to get soldiers together and maintain morale is to make them feel part of a group that is fighting for a worthy CAUSE. That distracts them from their own interests and satisfies their human need to feel part of something bigger than they are…Unite your troops around a CAUSE. Make them fight for an IDEA” – Robert Greene

“Nigeria is a country… with no IDEOLOGY or COHERENT BODY OF THOUGHT postulated by any national leader. Hence, the drift, the drift in hopelessness, if not nothingness” – Chuba Okadigbo

Every true nation is an IDEA, an idea in LETTER and in SPIRIT, an idea channelled towards a CAUSE. “O God of creation, direct our NOBLE CAUSE…” But do we really have any cause in Nigeria? Maybe, maybe not! Now more than ever, people have a hunger to believe in something. They feel an emptiness, which, left alone, they might try to fill with all kinds of vices and vanity. It is actually the absence of, or an ill-defined NOBLE CAUSE that makes it literally impossible for us to make progress. A ship cannot be said to be taking a journey just because it is sailing, but because it is moving closer to a KNOWN DESTINATION. The ship of the Nigerian State has not made, and can NEVER make any progress because:

1. there is no KNOWN DESTINATION.
2. there is no MAP to guide the sailor.

The ‘known destination’ can be referred to as a Noble Cause, National Vision, or Common Aspiration. It is said that where there is no vision, the people perish or are CAST OFF RESTRAINT. One common denominator in underdeveloped nations is lack of LAW and ORDER. This phenomenon is largely due to the lack of a true and compelling National Vision that is made plain, which has the ability to call up our national psyche, speak to our national conscience, and invoke the right passions and nationalism among Nigerians. Nigeria is such a diverse ‘entity’ with diverse ethnic nationalities that we need a powerful National Vision or Common Aspiration to truly unite and integrate us. Creation of states or NYSC will never integrate or unite us. Sunday Adelaja in his book ‘Money Won’t Make You Rich’ posited that “money moves in the direction of vision”! Could it be that our economic challenges as a country are a result of our lack of National Vision?
Secondly, the MAP that guides this ship of state to its pre-determined destination is Sound Ideologies based on Principles. In Nigeria, there is no set of principles or ideology that guide the choices we make. The sage, Awolowo, identified among others, a complete absence of an ideological direction on the part of those in government as a cause of the failure of the First Republic. The situation has still not changed. Williard A. Mullins posited that an ideology:

(a) must be capable of GUIDING one’s evaluations,
(b) must provide GUIDANCE towards action,
“If you want to achieve your highest ASPIRATIONS and overcome your greatest CHALLENGES, identify and APPLY the PRINCIPLE or natural law that governs the results you seek… Success in any endeavour is always derived from acting in HARMONY with the principles to which success is tied” (emphasis mine) – Stephen Covey

If we really want to build the greatness that we are destined for as a nation, then we must follow the legitimate path to greatness as suggested above.

Written by Emeke Ossai
Twitter: @EmekeOssai

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The Place Of The Nigerian Youth In Nation-Building

“To overthrow oppression has been sanctioned by humanity and it is the highest aspiration of every free man.” – Nelson Mandela

In 1985, IBB was the President of Nigeria, and students then were told that they were the leaders of tomorrow. Twenty-five years later, the same man said unequivocally in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service that the youths are not prepared to take political leadership in the country. This is the unfortunate mindset of the ‘Baby Boomers’ of Nigeria (those presently in their 60s and 70s), and it is what has informed the pattern of leadership succession in the ruling party, so much so that a 60-year old is the national youth leader of the party. But don’t they have the right to think this way, when so-called youths in Port-Harcourt, about a year ago, shamelessly went ahead to protest the Farouk Lawan Subsidy Report, which was hailed by many Nigerians as a courageous step in the right direction? Why would this not be so, when the future of the youths have been mortgaged for personal gain; when their minds have been denied the advantages of instruction and enlightenment because of the wreckage, neglect and rape of the education sector for almost three decades? When their value system has been warped by the bad example of leadership? But Nigeria is a nation of youths, where over 70% of the population are U-35! And this calls for a rude awakening on the part of the Nigerian youth in the area of RESPONSIBILITY if we are to deliver the future and save the next generation from utter destruction, and from the cold hands of the baby boomers and their stooges in government.

I have a certain mixed feeling concerning the future of Nigeria. It is one of pessimism and optimism. My pessimism mirrors the statement made by the eminent Professor Samuel Aluko (of blessed memory), when he said in his article titled ‘The Case For Rapid Indutrialization In Nigeria’ in April 1970: “Unless we take measures that will prepare us for a technological and industrial revolution, before too long, the Nigerians of the 21st century will become much more inferior to the 21st century inhabitants of Europe, America, Japan and Oceania than our fore-fathers were to their imperial masters in Europe in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th century” – this seemed to have happened, unfortunately! My pessimism lies in the fact that a vast majority of Nigerian youths are grossly unprepared to function in leadership and in the 21st century. But my optimism is built on the truth that there is a remnant who have the potential to turn things around; for a nation is not saved by majority, but a few who decide to take RESPONSIBILITY. Taking responsibility is the foundation of leadership!

“A leadership commits a crime against its own people if it fails to sharpen its political weapons where they have become less effective” – Nelson Mandela

It is to be agreed that the average Nigerian youth is living in an oppressive sociopolitical climate that deprives one of opportunity and stifles productivity. The United Nations Development Programme concluded from a survey in 1990 that Nigeria had one of the worst records for human deprivation of any country in the developing world! Things have become worse since then. From research, an average Mexican living in Mexico becomes twelve times more productive when he migrates to the U.S. It is much more than that for the average Nigerian. Considering our enormous natural resources and favourable climate, this ought not to be so. It is this DEPRIVATION and OPPRESSION that must be overthrown. It has become necessary, therefore, that the average Nigerian youth be POLITICIZED, because according to Ojukwu “The problem with Nigeria is political. It is politics that distorts everything, and it is politics that by an infernal dialectic, renders everything we touch putrid and poisonous.” To overthrow this oppressive sociopolitical climate is the CALLING of this generation of Nigerian youths, and should be our highest aspiration.

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors” – Plato

What then should be our response to this call? It is simple!
STEP 1: Our brightest and best brains should begin serious preparations NOW by forming alliances with each other. The preparations would involve both NETWORKING with like-minds and men of like-passion, and developing ideologies in line with an overall National Blueprint/Master plan.
STEP 2: Move away from the sidelines of political commentary and analyses into mainstream political work by joining/invading political parties (not for everybody though, but for those whose vocation and calling is in politics).
STEP 3: Set up structures that will influence the ideological direction and major policy decisions in such parties.

In 1943, a group of young men (mostly in their 20s and 30s) who felt the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa had lost its fire, FREQUENTLY MET TO DISCUSS IDEAS. They felt the ANC as a whole had become the preserve of a tired, unmilitant, privileged African elite more concerned with protecting their own rights than those of the masses. The general consensus was that some action must be taken. A YOUTH LEAGUE would be formed, as a way of lighting fire under the leadership of the ANC. To cut the story short, though their proposal was initially resisted, they succeeded in establishing a YOUTH LEAGUE whose manifesto partly read “…The Congress Youth League must be the BRAINS-TRUST and POWER-STATION of the spirit of African nationalism” (Emphasis mine).
Within a few years, the leaders of the Youth League (including Mandela) became executives in the main ANC!

In conclusion, we need the wisdom of the old, but they must bow to our vigour. It’s time for the New Generation to stop seeing themselves as too young to take up political leadership in this country. We must NOW form alliances, join political parties, and begin to TRANSFORM things from WITHIN. We cannot do it without!

Written by Emeke Ossai
Email: emyjosh@yahoo.com
Follow @EmekeOssai for more direct engagement.

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#MyOgaAtTheTop – Implications For a New Nigeria

“I will prepare myself and when my time comes, I will be ready” – Abraham Lincoln

On Tuesday, July 27, 2004, a star was finally born in American politics and the event was the National Democratic Convention of that year. He was chosen amongst several other prospective speakers to give the keynote address. His time has finally come. After the address, he became an overnight celebrity, became a best-selling author, went on to win a Senate seat, declared a Presidential ambition two years later, finally became the most powerful man on earth, and also winning the Nobel Peace Prize nine months later. His name is Barack Obama, United States President and Commander-in-Chief!
What seemed like an overnight success had taken more than two decades of preparation. Just as champions aren’t made in the ring but only recognized there, there are no overnight successes! The recipe is simply Opportunity + Preparation. In fact, after being chosen as the keynote speaker, Obama reportedly laboured over the first draft of the speech for some two weeks, often beyond midnight. He would have three one-hour practice sessions in the use of a teleprompter, while also learning various techniques in speaking to a live and TV audience, then finally doing some backstage rehearsal of his speech. The speech was so well received that former Jimmy Carter speechwriter Hendrik Hertzberg considered it slightly better than Mario Cuomo’s 1984 keynote address, stating, “If he wrote that speech, then he should be president, because it’s such a great speech. If he didn’t, he should be president because he found such a great speechwriter.” A speech can turn you into a President (although not in Nigeria). Little things matter!

A social virus has infected the Nigerian cyberspace, and it has become a social epidemic. The episode of the Channels TV Interview with Obafaiye Shem Sunday, the Lagos State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps
(NSCDC) which has become viral, has undoubtedly revealed once again the growing power of New Media. An otherwise simple gaffe in the spelling of his organization’s official website, which would have gone unnoticed if it happened 10 years ago, has become a huge destructive force to his person, family, and career. But what are the real implications for us as Nigerians?

On a personal basis, I sincerely empathize with the man, considering the humongous embarrassment, rude compunction and emotional trauma it would have caused him and his family. But on the weight of national importance, I’m glad at what has happened. Nigeria is a cocktail of oddities and absurdities, where the best and brightest of us hardly get rewarded by the system. Instead, mediocres, evil geniuses, thieves and charlatans happen to find themselves in high office.

Pain and Pleasure are the determinants of human behaviour. In all our actions, we are either avoiding the former, or seeking the latter. It is the carrot-and-stick rule of life. And except we build institutions and establish systems that reward hard work and excellence, and punish laziness, nonchalance and mediocrity, we can’t be great as a nation. If an aspiring President for example knows he’s going to be subjected to three major, intense and highly televised debates with his political opponent(s) before elections, bordering on major policy issues, both domestic and international, and hence, testing his intelligence, experience, knowledge, morals and values etc, won’t he think twice before he nurses such ambitions? I have read a lot about great men, and one common denominator with them is that they all went through the irrefutable Law of Process. Process that required intense preparation, mental and spiritual conditioning, and even physical training for fitness. Leadership is complicated with many facets such as Respect, Experience, Emotional Strength, People Skills, Discipline, Vision, Momentum, Timing etc. Leaders require much seasoning to be effective. Such years of preparation imparts in you a spontaneity that commands awe, almost magical. Such process not only develops Character and Competence, it also imbues one with Charisma, finesse and panache.

Thomas Jefferson recognised the power and importance of the media when he said “I will rather have a free press and no government than a government and no free press. In Nigeria, we clearly have Ogas at the top who lack the basic qualities of leadership. But I perceive that as we evolve, a vibrant new media that will showcase true champions and punish charlatans, will begin to change the rules of the game, and begin to shape governance toward a better and new Nigeria. The unfortunate incidence that has befallen the NSCDC Commandant is very welcome. If Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which has gone down in history as one of America’s finest speeches, could be ridiculed by the media of his day, then who should escape the pen and the eyes of the press? Below is an excerpt of a scathing remark about the address:
“While this hallowed spot is sacred to the memory of the brave soldiers who faced death for the love of country, it will remain a MONUMENT OF DISGRACE to Lincoln’s Administration, whose IMBECILITY drove our brave army into the jaws of death to meet a useless encounter. Yet, Mr. Lincoln, not abashed, mounts a rostrum erected over the graves of his countrymen, made by his own BLUNDERING INCAPACITY, and jabbers some VULGAR JARGON to the multitude, who assembled there with the expectation of hearing an appropriate address.” (Emphasis mine)

To be frank, I want to see the media expose and disgrace the incompetence, corruption and wickedness of more of our public officials. It can serve as a deterrent. Datzall!

Written by Emeke Ossai
Twitter: @EmekeOssai

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The World Cannot End Until…

“Politics, at the end of the day, simply cannot explain Africa’s prolonged economic crisis. The claim that Africa’s corruption is the basic source of the problem does not withstand practical experience or serious scrutiny” – Jeffrey Sachs

Several weeks ago, I seriously pondered on the issue of development in Africa, and expectedly, an avalanche of ‘whys’ and ‘why nots’ flooded my consciousness. Coupled with the famed rumours of the Mayan ‘End of The World’ saga some weeks earlier, I shuddered to imagine the world end with Africa still remaining in this sorry state of widespread poverty, disease, illiteracy, bad governance and backwardness. The chronic ridicule, mockery and derision that have greeted the Black race type, comparing her to lower forms of life, was disquieting; it was shameful to say the least! I had asked myself “what went wrong”? I felt we had been cheated; I felt we had been denied a place of honour and dignity in the comity of nations. We have been shipwrecked! Could all these woes be the result of mere bad luck or happenstance? I wondered! However, my theological mind and orientation that has subscribed to the theory of Intelligent Design of creation and Divine Agenda in the scheme of things, would not accept fate by chance. Hence, I wrote on twitter that “…” This gave rise to a brief dialogue with a friend below:

@EmekeOssai: The world cannot end until Africa sees development, or else, God would have proven that He’s partial!

Friend: Our destiny lies in our hands!

@EmekeOssai: Yeah, but it would have shown that we are an inferior race.

Friend: The Onus lies on Africans to make Africa great and none (Colonial masters, not even God) is to be blamed for Africa’s Paraplegia!

@EmekeOssai: Sure! But if others could, why have we not? Don’t you think we are an inferior race?

Friend: We weren’t created to be inferior…We made ourselves (the Leaders mainly) inferior!

@EmekeOssai: Why did others not make themselves inferior?

Friend: The Pathology in Africa has been Inept, Selfish and Visionless Leadership…

@EmekeOssai: I know the Pathology. I am asking why other races don’t have the same Pathology. Why Africa?

Friend: Do you feel we were created to be inferior? Please, don’t accuse God of Racism!

@EmekeOssai: All I have said and still saying is that since God isn’t a racist and is just, the development of Africa is sacrosanct!

From the above, it is glaring that I finally came to a conclusion that since God is just, not racist and impartial, He would definitely allow Africa to taste modern development as a proof that we are not inherently inferior as a race. But how did I come to this conclusion? I searched, researched, and found out that the rest of the world left us behind simply because of our geography; nay, an accident of Nature. In his book ‘The End of Poverty’, Jeffrey Sachs noted that countries are shaped profoundly by their location, neighbourhood, topography, and resource base. Adam Smith, also in his book ‘The Wealth of Nations’ (1776) observed – “Africa had been poor from time immemorial because it lacked the navigable rivers and natural inlets that afford the benefits of low-cost, sea-based trade.”

Historically speaking, the major barrier to development, and the stagnation seen in Africa was due to her relative isolation from the rest of the ancient world caused by geographical obstacles to communication both internally and externally. The Sahara has been a barrier in the north, and the Atlantic coast had no contact with the rest of the until the first Europeans arrived around 1500. While the rest of the world kept on changing and developing through the exchange of ideas and its transmission from generation to generation, Black Africa remained stagnant. It is noteworthy that Africa has a whopping 15 landlocked countries, which is by far the most of any continent. Some have alluded that corruption is the cause of our underdevelopment, but statistics show otherwise. For example, Ghana with a corruption perception rank (CPR) of 70 had an average yearly GDP per capita growth of 0.3 from 1980-2000 period; Malawi with CPR of 83 had 0.2 average growth. However, India with an equal CPR of 83 with that of Malawi, had a growth of 3.5 (17.5 times more); Indonesia with a CPR of 122 had an average growth of 3.5.

With all our setbacks as a race, I found solace and repose in an idea beyond the intricacies of politics and economics. I remembered that it is inherently embedded in the earth’s organic form to go through cycles. I also reasoned that nations go through historical cycles, and where a thing or phenomena begins, there will it end, most likely. Hence, civilization which started in Africa 5,150 years ago (but did not spread) will surely revisit the continent in an amazing and unprecedented way. The Mayans have a Long Count calendar which lasts just over 5,125 years, which is referred to as a Great Cycle. Mayan theories of time are based around cycles that repeat themselves and extend on throughout history. The calendar actually ended 21 December, 2012, signifying the beginning of a new era, a new world order. Fortunately, it is no coincidence that this new era also approximates with the beginning of another historical cycle of civilization. Therefore, a new wave of development will begin to greet Africa. Get ready!!!

Written by Emeke Ossai
Email: emyjosh@yahoo.com

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Profiles In Courage

“Whatever course of action you decide upon, there’s always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it through requires… COURAGE” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

When looking back through the mystique of history, we tend to impose super-human status to those who stood up for their beliefs in a revolutionary way. For some of them, the decision to act was a conscious defiance to the status-quo. For some others, they were simply in the right place at the wrong time, and found themselves acting on behalf of others lacking the courage to speak out. But we should also remember that they were ordinary human beings, who made a choice!

     They were divergent in time and generation, separate in culture and heritage, tempered by varying trials on the anvils of destiny; yet, they were caught in a single string of goodness, and tied in a mutual garment of virtue, bending the arc of history toward the hope of a better day. The world has little noted, nor long remembered their detractors, but it can never forget their courage!

          Stout in stature — they did not cringe; pristine in posture — they did not falter. The arsenals of their weaponry was courage, courage… and courage! for without courage, all other virtues lose their meaning. Without courage, princes walk like servants upon the earth — for audacity has made Kings! Great things are done more through courage than wisdom — for knowledge without courage is sterile. Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage – for courage has built empires.

     Let me freely speak of the German Theologian & Reformer Martin Luther. Born in a century where despicable and worn-out dogmas perpetuated by the Papacy & authorities of the Draconian Roman Catholic Church engendered the inhibition of free thought and research. Any attempt to go against the standing order was considered heretic, and punishable sometimes by death at the stakes. But through courage and sheer audacity, he penned his ninety-five thesis that sparked off the Reformation and dealt a deadly blow to the Head of a dark, deceptive and hypocritical religion. When asked to recant, he replied — “Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise”.

     Through courage and utter gallantry, the U.S. General and Statesman George Washington, led a small, poorly trained army, lacking in supplies and weaponry against Britain’s army, second to none in the world. He persisted doggedly against overwhelming odds, finally bringing an imperialist Empire to its knees.

     We shall not forget Rosa Parks, who through a singular act of civil disobedience, signed her name indelibly, in the books of history, and established her footprints in the sands of time. That singular act of courage became the flashpoint of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s, that hoisted America from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.

     My ink will fail me to write about these profiles in courage and my tongue will cleave to the roof of my mouth in telling them.

     The torch has now been passed to a new generation of Nigerians. The onus hugely rests on us, the budding leaders of our great nation, to learn from the inglorious tales of the past 52 years and chart a workable course for ourselves.

     Let us beat our plowshares into swords, and our prunning hooks into spears, and be ready to wage war against the spoilers of our commonwealth…! For audacity has made Kings.

Written by Emeke Ossai
Twitter: @EmekeOssai

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The Fourth Estate

“Public opinion, though generally slow to form and slow to act, is in the end the paramount power in the State” – William Pitt

The close of the 20th Century brought with it the dawn of a new age – The Information Age, characterised by the shift from traditional industry that the industrial revolution brought through industrialisation to an economy based on the MANIPULATION of information, i.e., an information society. Never before in human history has there been an era in which we would literally live in a sea of information. The world’s technological capacity to store information grew from 2.6 exabytes in 1986 to 295 exabytes in 2007. You would need 404 billion CD-ROMs of 730 megabytes to store the information. Piling up the imagined 404 billion CD-ROM from 2007 would create a stack from the earth to the moon. What do all these imply? Follow me:

First, public opinion, which according to William Pitt (1708-1778) is the paramount power in the State, is no longer slow to form and slow to act. The Arab Spring, the Occupy Movements around the world including Nigeria is a testament to that fact. Information and communication is the lifeblood of any human population, hence, the potential to build and destroy has been greatly multiplied. For instance, it took U.K. 150 years to double per capita income. India and China is set to do same in one-tenth the time – amplified speed! More importantly, the humongous information available to man and the speed it is being transmitted has transformed the Mass Media. The mass media has been referred to as the ‘Fourth Estate of the Realm’ after the House of Lords (Spiritual and Temporal) and House of Commons, or after the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. This is so because of the recognition of its powerful influence on public opinion. To underline the importance of the media, the 3rd US President, Thomas Jefferson once said “I would rather have a free press and no government, than a government and no free press”

“Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression…The word ‘Nigeria’ is merely a distinctive appelation to those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria from those who do not” – Obafemi Awolowo

Sadly, the Nigeria of today still maintains that ignoble status of “a mere geographical expression”. Hence, Nation-Building is an urgent task that must be undertaken, without which our collective future is in jeopardy! To understand the role of the media in Nation-Building, it will be appropriate to first define what a nation is. Anthony Smith defined a nation as “a named human population which shares MYTHS and MEMORIES, a MASS PUBLIC CULTURE, a designated homeland, economic unity, and equal rights and duties for all members.”
Mass media play a large role in shaping modern culture, by selecting and portraying a particular set of beliefs, values, and traditions (an entire way of life), as reality. That is, by portraying a certain interpretation of reality, they shape reality to be more in line with that interpretation. The extent to which media exposure shapes audience perceptions over time is known as Cultivation. Benedict Anderson in his book Imagined Communities, defined a nation as an imagined political community and also alluded to the influence of the media in creating such imagined community. In his book, The Commercialisation of American Culture, Matthew P. McAllister says that “a well-developed media system, informing and teaching its citizens, helps democracy move toward its ideal state.” In essence, the mass media remains the fastest way of strategically creating a nation.

One of the most influential men of the 20th Century, Adolf Hitler, understood the power of the media by specifically creating a ministry for it – The Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment. The ministry’s aim was to ensure that the Nazi’s message was successfully communicated through art, music, theatre films, books, radio, educational materials and the press. He used all available media of mass communication in his time, and he was absolutely successful. Education is by some included in social media, and in this sense it could eventually be used as a powerful means to introduce in individuals some “politically useful” concepts: what a man learns in his youth, in the phasis in which the fundaments of character are created (which many believe will seldom greatly vary after), is brought to him by family, schools and other clubs, and mass media.

Finally, the recent invention of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Stumblr, Flikr, LinkedIn, Blogs etc has brought a new twist and flare to media. In the age group of 25-34 and 35-44 year olds, the amount of time on social networks now exceeds time spent on a PC. Apps are becoming widespread and are a convenient and quick way to obtain and create information and media and then share that on social networks in an instant. However, African youth who embrace digital technology mostly deploy their knowledge to the distracting rewards of social media. It is then left for a visionary and intelligent government to provide leadership and harness the power of the Fourth Estate into this urgent task of Nation-Building. The world faces a grimmer future without a globally compliant Africa. The challenges are not for the youth. They are for the world.

Written by: Emeke Ossai
Email: emyjosh@yahoo.com
Twitter: Follow @EmekeOssai for more direct engagement!

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The First Art of Nation-Building

“The first and most demanding form of personal growth takes place in the family, and it also provides the greatest contribution to society, for no society has ever survived its break-up” – Stephen Covey

Society may be conceived of as an organism animated by the coordinated functioning of its organs and systems. However, all the great advances in the biological sciences and in medicine would not have been possible if our understanding stopped at the systemic or organ level. The breakthrough in the field came with the invention of the microscope by Anthony Leeuwenhoek. Suddenly, a whole new world hitherto unknown to man was opened up. It became clear that life existed beyond what the unaided human eye could see. It also became clear that the cell is the smallest unit and building block of life – “… the basic unit of structure, function, and
organisation in all organisms.”

“The problem with Nigeria has been the failure of its leadership to embark upon, with doggedness, the urgent task of nation-building.” – Odumegwu Ojukwu

It is quite easy to know a government that is clueless and one that is effective by simply observing their policy thrusts, especially in the area of Human Capital Development. A clueless government is usually enamoured with white elephant projects and all forms of externalities that tend to portray the ‘busy-ness’ of government. On the other hand, an effective government engages in policy thrusts that are principle-centred, based on clearly defined philosophies and an understanding of human nature. It is said that the perception of truth is by the detection of an analogy. Therefore, just as advances in the biological and medical sciences have depended on an understanding of the cellular (and even molecular) processes of an organism, even so, the advancement of any society cannot be without a critical understanding of the dynamics of its smallest unit – the family

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” ~ Frederick Douglass

I believe very strongly that every nation can be engineered to a predetermined outcome. But the first place this engineering takes place is in the home. According to David O. Mckay, “The greatest work we will ever do will be within the walls of our own home”. This work is called ‘Parenting’! Parenting takes a lot of skill and patience and is constant work and growth. Developing nations are mostly unskilled in this art of parenting. This is very vital because according to Erik Erikson’s psychosocial development model, such attributes like Drive, Hope, Self-control, Courage and Will, Purpose, Method and Competence, are attained within the first 12 years (sometimes earlier) of a child’s life. These attributes and more are the greatest influencers and determinants of a nation’s economic growth and development than any economic policy issued from Government House. This is explained by the Sociological and Puritanical Ethic theory of economic growth & development. What should then be our approach?

In an article published by the Harvard Business Review, author Joseph Bailey examined what it took to be a successful executive. In conducting his research, he interviewed more than 30 top executives and found that every one of them learned first-hand from a mentor. What is true for career development and success is even more true for life development and success. The first mentor(s) a child encounters is his/her parent(s). Hence, there should be a systematic mentoring program in all our institutions of learning. Parenting courses and subjects that deal on family dynamics should be introduced into our curriculum at the secondary and tertiary levels of education. The next generation should begin to see family as a nation-building unit, and parenting as a nation-building project. National values should be imparted into children from kindergarten because every nation is built by the institutionalised discipline of structures and systems that embody shared VALUES.

Written by: Emeke Ossai
Email: emyjosh@yahoo.com
Twitter: @EmekeOssai

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Of Leaders, Factories and Worlds!

“Nigeria is a country without heroes, with nobody to look up to. With a bag of complaints about every national leader, with NO QUOTABLE QUOTE from any quotable person, with no statue to commemorate and with NO IDEOLOGY or COHERENT BODY OF THOUGHT postulated by any NATIONAL LEADER. Hence, the drift, the continual drift in hopelessness, if not nothingness” – Chuba Okadigbo

The above expression succinctly captures the very essence of our struggles to attain nationhood. Nigeria as it is stands on a shaky foundation, too shaky that you don’t need to be a prophet to predict her eventual collapse. We have wobbled and wavered for more than 50 years without making any real progress. And by ‘collapse’ I do not mean Nigeria will cease to exist as a country, but the government of the day will sooner or later give way to something REAL and lasting. It is not a prophecy but a Law of History; for history prophesies the fate of nations whether they will thrive or collapse!

The state of our ‘nation’ Nigeria is very worrisome, but it’s no surprise considering the calibre of leaders she has had from Independence. According to Obafemi Awolowo, “The influence which a nation exerts, the respect which it enjoys, and the prestige accorded to it on the world scene, depend on two important factors: the size of its wealth and the CALIBRE OF ITS LEADERSHIP” (Emphasis mine). In my study of nations, I have found out that the wealth of a nation is directly proportional to the calibre of its leadership. But what is this definitive quality that defines the calibre of leadership? KNOWLEDGE! The foundation of any nation that will thrive must be on sound knowledge laid by its leaders.

In 1814, during the war between the US and Great Britain, the newly established Library of Congress was set on fire by British troops, and the 3,000 volume of books within, destroyed. However, the following year, one man sold his personal library of 6,487 books to the nation. His name was Thomas Jefferson – a Founding Father and 3rd President of the United States of America! He is also the author of the ‘Declaration of Independence’, the Founding Document of the US. Another Founding Father who also greatly shaped American thought in the decades preceding Independence, Benjamin Franklin, also possessed a great collection of books. His personal library contained 3,742 books! In other words, the US as a nation was systematically crafted and founded by some of the most enlightened minds of that time. The wheel of political leadership should thus be steered by ‘Philosopher-kings’. It was Plato who said that only men of ideas should aspire to lead their societies.
In fact, it is not possible to evolve from a Third-World nation to First-World without having world-class leaders as typified by the largeness of their minds, and if I may add, their libraries. And the only man who seemed to have qualified as a world-class leader in Nigerian history was Awolowo. Awo took time from his busy political schedule to indulge in the philosophical pursuits of knowledge, political thoughts and theories which he formulated in books, newspaper articles, lectures and public addresses. He kept over 15,000 volumes in his library in Ikenne. Not one of his Nigerian contemporaries in public life had time or the inclination to indulge in such intellectual romanticism.

“The purpose of knowledge is to understand, align with and harness the principles that govern our existence – our sentient beings and Mother Nature” – Emeke Ossai

First-World nations are also known as industrialised nations because of the strength of the real sector ie the manufacturing sector. Their factories use technologies based on sound scientific knowledge to churn out products that solve the needs of society. Nation-Building is a science, and the factories thereof are our schools and educational institutions. The easiest and surest way to build a viable nation into whatever pre-determined design we choose is through the school system. A world-class leader and first Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, understood this. From the very beginning, Lee Kuan Yew understood that education would be an essential element in the creation of a single unified nation from a group of clashing ethnic and religious groups. He thus invested so much in education that Deng Xiaoping of China had to send tens of thousands of Chinese to go study in Singapore. He transformed Singapore from a crisis-prone, illiterate, poverty-stricken and resource-poor Island to an orderly, highly educated and prosperous nation in one generation!

In my estimation, it will take at least 16-20years to substantially reap the dividends of massive investment in education. For an underdeveloped country like Nigeria, it will be a transformation from a Third-World nation to a First-World nation. But first, the few who are enlightened must work round the clock to ensure that a world-class leader is chosen and elected in the next 2015 general elections.

By Emeke Ossai
MOBILE: +234 8061227025
EMAIL: emyjosh@yahoo.com
TWITTER: @EmekeOssai

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A Nation of ‘Immigrants’!

” The United States has always been ENERGISED by its immigrant populations. America has constantly drawn strength and spirit from wave after wave of immigrants…They have proven to be the most RESTLESS, the most ADVENTUROUS, the most INNOVATIVE, the most INDUSTRIOUS of people” – Bill Clinton, 1998

It is a well-known history that the slave trade of centuries past, most notably the Transatlantic route, robbed Africa millions of its able-bodied, virile and young population. It could also be deduced that the geopolitical space known as Nigeria today contributed the most to the economic development of Europe and the Americas by the sheer number of ‘Nigerian’ slaves that plied their cotton and sugar cane plantations. However, my focus is not in the distasteful swill of our bitter past, but to draw a parallel between history and the promise of a better future.

Rena Singer of the American Christian Science Monitor (February 26, 2002 edition) estimates that 15 million Nigerians live abroad. The number is definitely far more than that by now! We are very much like a black version of dispersed Jews; there is probably no country in the world where there is no Nigerian. Whether this phenomenon is due to the harsh socio-economic realities at home, or an inherent wayfaring and adventurous spirit in the average Nigerian, it cannot be told for certain. However, one thing common among emigrants is their adventurous, risk-taking, dare-devil disposition to life. Hence, an immigrant population constitute a real/potential asset to a nation’s economic growth and development. In the coming years, there shall be a wave of immigration in Nigeria, an influx of our very own ‘Nigerians in Diaspora’. But how shall this be? And what will be their role? Read on!

The anaemic growth in the rich world has made sub-Saharan Africa an attractive destination for money and its managers. J.P Morgan has just added Nigeria to its government bond index for emerging markets; South Africa had hitherto been the only African country on its list. The American bank, the world’s biggest underwriter of emerging-market debt, predicts that adding Nigerian bonds to its benchmark will lure an extra $1.5 billion to the country. What this simply means to the financial and business world is that Nigeria is a good place to invest!

Israel owes much of its success to a deep Diaspora network that other countries from Ireland to India and China, have also developed. China’s Diaspora is the source of 70% FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) into China, and India’s Diaspora did much to help build its homeland’s high-tech infrastructure when the country’s economy and legal system were both underdeveloped. In a similar vein, a new economic era will be spearheaded by Nigerian immigrants in Nigeria, leading to an economic recovery faster than that of Japanese post-war economic miracle. Every World Power that has emerged in the past, beginning from the Babylonian Empire, has had their own unique political and economic story. I believe that the political and economic story of Nigeria that will launch her into a place of dominance and relevance in the comity of nations, shall be the 9th wonder of the world!

However, a criterion that must be met seems to be the presence of an EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT. This will be the flashpoint and critical success factor that will propel Nigeria into her long awaited greatness. Therefore, more than ever before, we the people must be more intentional about the processes that lead to the election of our leaders.

By Emeke Ossai
MOBILE: +234 8061227025
EMAIL: emyjosh@yahoo.com
TWITTER: @EmekeOssai

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Collective Children of Anger (1980-1989)

“The SENSE OF POSSIBILITY so necessary for success comes not just from inside us or from our parents. It comes from OUR TIMES: from the particular opportunities that our particular place in history presents us with” – Malcolm Gladwell

Throughout history, the wheels of human progress or otherwise have been geared more often than not by men who belonged to certain epoch-making generations. This obtains from the fact that life in society is like the ocean whose tide is influenced by the attraction of the moon and sun. The human experience as it relates to achievement and possibilities seems to stem from an interplay of innate abilities and a corollary of historical and environmental forces that impacts on a generation.

The chequered history of the Nigerian state has been a tale of woes, of a country beleaguered perpetually by inept leadership, ignorance, poverty, disease, common and economic crimes of all sorts. A hidden cry within the hearts of most Nigerians is ‘the emergence of a Saviour’ who in one fell swoop will exterminate all the spoilers of our commonwealth. They will be disappointed! Rather, it is going to be ‘the emergence of a GENERATION’!

A careful look at the list of the world’s richest men and women of all time in history shows that 14 were Americans. Strikingly, they were all born between 1831-1840! In the 1860s and 1870s, the American economy went through perhaps the greatest transformation in its history. This was when the railroads were being built and when Wall Street emerged. It was when industrial manufacturing started in earnest. It was when ALL THE RULES by which the traditional economy had functioned were BROKEN and REMADE. It actually mattered how old you were when that transformation happened. If you were born in the late 1840s, you missed it. You were too young to take advantage of that moment. If you were born in the 1820s, you were too old: your mindset was shaped by the pre-Civil War paradigm. However, there was a particular nine-year window that was just perfect for SEEING the POTENTIAL that the future held.

In addition, there is a generation known as the Baby Boomer generation (1946-1964). These were a post WW2 generation. There are key characteristics of this generation, including the fact that globally, they are known to be the wealthiest generation. In 2004, the UK baby boomers held 80% of the UK’s
wealth. It is also similar in Nigeria. Nevertheless, the TIMES are changing; a new generation of Nigerians is emerging. In the seemingly derogatory words of Reuben Abati (SA to the President on Media and Publicity), they are the “pestle-wielding critics, the unrelenting self-appointed activists, the idle and idling, twittering, COLLECTIVE CHILDREN OF ANGER…” Yes, they are angry, and they want to do something with that anger!

There are also key characteristics of these ‘Collective Children of Anger’ (CCA). They are mostly born within the nine-year window of 1980-1989. Most of their parents are the Baby Boomers of Nigeria, who were too young to play active roles in the Civil War, but old enough to have a strong and lasting mental picture of the gruesome war. Hence, they could not and did not attempt anything revolutionary. The task of revolutionary change has now fallen on the CCA. The CCA are exposed to the harsh 21st century realities of GLOBAL warming with its attendant environmental effects, GLOBAL credit crunch etc. Hence, they cannot afford to fold their arms and imagine the impending misery that awaits them in the future if they do not do something URGENTLY. However, more importantly, the CCA became adults just when the world around them shrunk into a GLOBAL village. Thus, they have a mental and emotional investment of truly GLOBAL proportions, with an unprecedented social currency (identity, affiliation, information, conversation, and advocacy) to achieve their vision of transformation, courtesy social media!

Again, the Baby Boomers world over are going into retirement, hence, more economic power is becoming available to the CCA. In the coming years, the CCA will be sufficiently empowered politically and economically to herald the long awaited change that will birth forth a New Nigeria; for this is their MISSION and it is their TIME!

Written by Emeke Ossai
Email: emyjosh@yahoo.com
Twitter: @EmekeOssai
Mobile: +234 806 122 7025

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“Any man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting” – Aldous Huxley
“Without books the development of civilisation would have been impossible. They are the engines of change, windows of the world, lighthouses erect in the sea of time. They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print” – Barbara Tuchman
“Institutions are the monuments of thoughts, they are the garrisons of power” – Emeke Ossai
Among the seven continents in the world, Africa ranks second in area and population. Surrounded by seas, peninsulas, and oceans, she is blessed with abundant natural resources and a large range of climate favourable for growth and development. However, Africa’s potential has remained trapped and buried in the great vaults of human destiny. That Africa is a mockery in the eye of many cannot be denied. It is only euphemistic to refer to major African countries as developing nations while the correct usage of this word “developing” is far from being applied to almost all nations of the continent. The blatant truth is that Africa still remains underdeveloped!
It is an intellectual challenge to fully grasp the historical causes of Africa’s underdevelopment and to distinguish between internal and external factors. Many pundits have related Africa’s underdevelopment to slave trade, colonialism, corruption, bad leadership illiteracy etc. While these are all true and very valid, they do not touch the heart of the matter because they are all a chain of effects, and if properly traced, would lead to the answer that few have spoken about, if any!
We all desire greatness and development, but there are no shortcuts to greatness. We cannot simply circumvent or bypass the evolutionary and revolutionary processes that have led to the development of the civilized world and expect to get similar results. It is painful and disappointing to see that all our policies and development programs are merely aimed at the externals – Fiscal Consolidation, Inclusive Growth, security, infrastructural development etc. While these are all good, they are products of a core factor which we have tried to escape. They do not pierce the very soul of human nature, and hence, cannot unlock the secret code of national greatness. We must of necessity discover and unlock this code – that is, our ORIGINALITY.
Historically speaking, the major barrier to development, and the stagnation seen in Africa was due to her relative isolation from the rest of the ancient world, caused by geographical obstacles to communication both internally and externally. The Sahara has been a barrier in the north, and the Atlantic coast had no contact with the rest of the world until the first Europeans arrived around 1500. While the rest of the world kept on changing and developing through the exchange of ideas and its transmission from generation to generation, Black Africa remained stagnant. Why is this so?
It is very vital to understand the value of a writing system of communication, and how it has shaped human evolution since antiquity. Human civilisation began when men created and developed a way to transmit their thoughts in written and readable forms. Hence, thoughts could be preserved unchanged and reproduced from generation to generation. Civilisations are advanced by thinkers who preserve their conceptions of the world in readable form. Such thinkers are called philosophers. They feed society with their thoughts that have been organised into themes and subjects covering all aspects of human life and endeavour. Such organised knowledge, which is the monument of thoughts, gave rise to institutions, and men began to gain POWER. Biologically speaking,” it is hard to imagine that life would have advanced very far without skeletons” (Shuhai Xiao – Professor of Geobiology, Virginia). I t is also known that animals without skeletons cannot grow beyond a few inches. Likewise, society can never grow and develop into an advanced civilisation without the skeleton of organised knowledge. Isaac Newton once said “If I can see any further, it’s by standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before me”. Africa could not see or advance any further because she never had a writing system of communication, which generations to come could build upon. No wonder Chuba Okadigbo once said “Nigeria is a country…with no ideology or coherent BODY OF THOUGHT postulated by any national leader. Hence the drift, the continual drift in hopelessness, if not NOTHINGNESS”.
The political instability prevalent in most parts of Africa could also be traced to a lack of institutions and a writing system of communication. It is not surprising that before colonialism, Africa had over 10,000 distinct political entities all in a territory of just 30,221,532 sq.km, each with their culture, language (dialect), values, beliefs etc. Since culture is transmitted through communication, oral tradition alone gave rise to cultural instability. As people migrated, culture began to disintegrate and language began to change, because there was no recorded history and body of knowledge. This phenomenon gave rise to numerous small and scattered tribes and ethnic nations, at war with each other. This slowed the wheels of progress, and Africa became frozen in time, with backwardness, ignorance, superstition and all forms of primitiveness that characterised early forms of human existence becoming our reality.

As stated earlier, there are no shortcuts to national greatness. In order to make progress, Africa, and indeed Nigeria, must go through her own revolutions. We are fortunate enough to have history furnish us with examples of previous civilisations and what made for their advancement. Inarguably, every true revolution (political, social, cultural, religious etc) was preceded by an INTELLECTUAL REVOLUTION. The transformation we seek in Nigeria that will hoist us from the dark and dank valley of underdevelopment to the sunlit mountain of development will of necessity involve a cultural and political revolution brought about by an intellectual ferment.
Before we chart the way forward in Nigeria, it will be of benefit to highlight some historical instances. For example, the material and intellectual forces released in 12th-century Europe continued to have an impact throughout the next 200 years, and it turned Europe into a CULTURAL UNITY! More significantly, the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1450 led to a great proliferation of knowledge and terminated the inhibition of free thought. Consequently, the thirst for knowledge which characterised the Renaissance would become the crucial factor that will change humanity forever. Again, another significant era in Western Civilisation was the Age of Enlightenment. Age of Enlightenment was a cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilise the power of reason in order to REFORM SOCIETY and advance knowledge. It was sparked by PHILOSOPHERS and thinkers, notably John Locke, Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes, Denis Diderot, and Voltaire etc. Invention of the printing press made possible the rapid distribution of knowledge and IDEAS that precipitated the Enlightenment.
Considering the above, it can be succinctly put that for Nigeria to experience any significant change, we must have our own company of PHILOSOPHERS who will continuously churn out IDEAS and IDEOLOGIES, market them effectively to the GRASSROOT level, thus, causing an INTELLECTUAL REVOLUTION, and mobilise the people into ACTION. Napoleon Bonaparte once said “A revolution is an IDEA that has found its bayonet (combat weapon)”. I firmly believe that with this intellectual revolution, the scattered tribes and ethnic nations of present day Nigeria will become UNITED under a common aspiration and home-grown ideology which they will be willing to die for!

Written by: Emeke Ossai
Mobile: +234 806 122 7025
Email: emyjosh@yahoo.com
Twitter: @EmekeOssai

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Religious Opium – A Bane Of Society

“It is not so much religion itself but what religion has turned into, the use to which religion is being put…” Wole Soyinka
From surveys, it has been widely held that Nigerians are the happiest people on earth. Lord Fredrick Lugard once opined “In character and temperament, the typical African of this race-type is a happy, thriftless and excitable person…” Despite the deplorable state of basic infrastructures, lack of social amenities, poverty and hunger, bad and corrupt leadership, Nigerians are still relatively ‘happier’ than the citizens in the more developed and advanced nations of the West. How is this possible? First, we must understand that happiness is derived from fulfillment, and hope. Franklin Roosevelt said “happiness comes not from the mere possession of money, but from the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort”. While the typical African has derived a form of happiness from hope, his happiness can also be traced to the smallness and superficiality of his mind, and he is easily content and fulfilled in just engaging in spiritual activity (religion). A little child is usually always happy because his mind is still small, he does not really work, he has no goals to pursue, and is entirely hoping in his parents to take care of everything. A typical Nigerian is like a child. He does not really work, has a superficial mind, has a lot of fantasies and is entirely hoping in God to just sort everything out as he engages in his fantasies.
Concerning the African, Lugard further said “…his mind is far nearer to the animal world, and he exhibits something of the animals’ placidity and want of desire to rise beyond the state he has reached through the ages”. We have never made any real advancement since independence despite our much prayers and fastings because of these tendencies.
I have often compared the effect of religion to that of opium. And as the use of opium can have its benefits and adverse effects, so is religion. The superficiality of our minds has often made us misapply religious injunctions, and we substitute the power of reason for scriptural pronouncements and anecdotes in order to suit our proclivities. They must go together!
Opium gives inspiration; in fact, the French Romantic composer, Hector Berlioz, used opium to be inspired. We are often inspired and motivated after a ‘wonderful’ sermon in church, shouting and jumping all over the place, only to go home and fold our arms. Opiates produce a tranquil and euphoric effect (happiness effect). We often claim to have the peace of God that surpasses all
understanding, yet we go home and sleep in peace for several hours or engage in idle activities. The complacency of most Christians can be traced to this effect. No wonder Martin Luther King told the Negroes “This is not the time to engage in the luxury of cooling off, or take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism”. The mountain- moving, goliath-slaying faith we claim to have are no different from a man ‘high’ in opium and believes he can do all things. He sees men as grasshoppers and feels he can jump from a ten storey building unharmed. The major difference between the effects of opium and true religion are results. A few
examples will explain this:
A good example is the popular prosperity message. When the removal of fuel subsidy was announced, I began to see different reactions from religious
Christians, quoting scriptures. They said that during the famine in Gerar, Isaac became more prosperous (we shall examine this below). Therefore, even in the increased hardship caused
by total deregulation and reduced standard of living, they will simply prosper, not caring what happens in the world, because they are in Goshen.
They said their economy was from heaven, and when men shall say “there is a casting down”; they will say “there is a lifting up”. They do not realize that what they have effectively done is to console themselves by swallowing the pills of religious opium and drinking from the cup of religious alcohol. Hence they “…forget their poverty and remember their miseries no more” (Prov. 31:6-7). But in the end, nothing will change! We have been doing this for decades and the economy keeps declining, expecting a supernatural intervention in our lives and nation. This is the definition of insanity. They have forgotten that 112 million Nigerians live on less than $ 1 a day and run the risk of extinction by that harsh policy. Instead of rising up to the occasion like Esther did when her people were targeted for destruction, we simply pray, trust in God and fold our arms. Did Esther not also fast and pray, and trust in God? But she went further to risk her life saying “if I perish, I perish”, thus, bringing deliverance to many. Moses also prayed and trusted in God, but he went further to challenge the tyrannical Pharaoh who had subjected his people to poverty and slavery eyeball-to-eyeball, repeatedly declaring “Thus saith the Lord, let my people go” (seven times). As a result, Israel left Egypt with plenty and gained freedom. But our Pastors and Prophets refuse to confront the ‘pharaohs’ in government, instead they shout and scream at our faces saying “you shall be free”, “you shall be rich”, and encouraging the people to shout their loudest Amen. Martin Luther King prayed and led 250,000 to the streets of Washington to demand for their God- given rights and privileges as bona-fide citizens in the country. But our Pastors are content holding end of year meetings, gathering hundreds of thousands of people to declare “a new thing” and “a new wave of glory”. In May 2010, a powerful vigil was held in Abuja by frontline men of God to contend with the powers of darkness and make prayers for Nigeria. Today, Abuja is less secure than ever before. There must be something wrong with our approach to religion and Nation Building. They forgot that while Moses was lifting up his hands on the hill, Joshua was in the battlefield discomfiting the people of Amalek with the edge of the sword (Exodus 17:12-13).
Now, back to the story of Isaac! How did Isaac really get his prosperity, and how has the Church gotten her prosperity? Isaac’s secret is found in Genesis 27:28 – the DEW OF HEAVEN (God’s blessings) and the FATNESS OF THE EARTH (cultivation of the land and natural resources, production). While the famine in Gerar was a natural disaster, the famine and poverty in Nigeria is not! The Church now has more disposable income to build gigantic cathedrals and buy jets, but where has this wealth truly come from? Why has the GDP per capita of Nigeria remained low and embarrassing? Is it not logical that if the Church is more prosperous, it will reflect in an increase in GDP per capita? We must really be fooling ourselves. The true source of the Church’s wealth has not come from production; rather it has come from slush funds and stolen monies. We now have several members of the order of Cecilia Ibru and Erastus Akingbola who have stolen hundreds of billions, and then deposit fat tithes, offerings, and vows in the church. If you really trace the value chain of any stupendously rich church or mosque, you will discover it is from the dividends of corruption. That’s why 70% of Nigerians still remain miserably poor. The church did not behave like Abraham who refused wealth from the king of Sodom, lest he says “I have made Abram rich” (Gen.14:23). We have been able to challenge the principalities and powers in the spiritual realm, but we have never challenged their representatives in the
physical realm. This is where we have always gotten it wrong. We spiritualize everything and do not go forth in this our might like Gideon. This mentality, this attitude, this religious opium, has
been a bane of the Nigerian society.
Written by: Emeke Ossai
Email: emyjosh@yahoo.com
Mobile: +2348061227025
Twitter: @EmekeOssai

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Life in the world is often defined by various people, using different metaphors with connotations that often express their perceptions and experiences. In a similar vein the world in life has been defined.
Many years ago, the world was defined in economic terms at a G5 meeting held in Geneva. Economically and technologically developed countries aligned to the United States were designated First World; those affiliated to the Soviet Union were designated Second World. Third World consisted of economically and technologically less developed countries belonging to neither bloc. The big question then is, why the disparity? Why have some nations like Japan and Singapore developed despite little or no natural resources and others like Nigeria, Congo and Angola with rich natural reserves remained underdeveloped?
A Mexican migrant to the U.S. is five times more productive than one who stays home. Why is that? It is because the average American has access to over $418,000 in intangible wealth, while the stay-at-home Mexican’s wealth is just $34,000.
In his book – The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith asserted that the wealth of a nation is proportional to its cultivated natural resources. If we go by that, how can we account for the wealth of those nations with little or no natural reserves (natural capital)? Secondly, in 2008, the World Bank’s environmental economics department set out to assess the relative contributions of various kinds of capital to economic development. Its study, “Where is the Wealth of nation? – Measuring Capital for the 21st Century”, began by defining natural capital as the sum of non-renewable sources (including oil natural gas, coal and mineral resources),cropland, forested areas and protected areas. Produced, or built capital: the sum of machinery, equipment and structures (including infrastructures) and urban land. But once the value of all those are added up, the economists found something big was still missing: the vast majority of the world’s wealth! If one simply added up the value of a country’s natural resources and produced, or built capital, there’s no way that can account for the country’s level of income. The rest is the result of “intangible” factors – such as the trust among people in a society, an efficient judicial system, clear property rights and effective government.
Sometime ago, as I began to meditate deeply on this issue – the disparity between rich and poor nations and why, I made an amazing discovery that tallied with the above research
conducted by the World Bank. I realised that real wealth did not lie in a country’s natural resources but rather in its intangible or invisible resources which I categorised into two: Productive value and Protective value. Since money is nothing but the medium of exchange of value, real wealth then, lies in the interplay of these two values.

Nature consists of the invisible world and the visible world. The former controls the latter. The things which are seen are made from the things which are not seen. Matter, which is visible, is made up of atoms consisting of neutrons, electrons and protons which are invisible. Man’s ability to tap into these unseen forces of nature is what determines the control he will have over the natural environment and the resultant wealth that can be generated from them because matter (the visible world) is made of unseen forces. Thus, ultimate value lies in his ability to control his environment . The only resource at man’s disposal to tap into these invisible forces of nature is our thoughts – creative thoughts, which I call man’s productive value. From thoughts you get ideas, ideologies, beliefs, visions and dreams, philosophies, and these are what rule the world. Invariably, any nation that has no value for creative thoughts will forever remain poor irrespective of her abundant natural resources. The human mind is what determines how much value you get from a material resource.
Therefore, all true wealth begins in the mind. This is why today; technology is what determines the value of a physical resource and how large a supply of it actually exists. Technology can turn a waste product into an invaluable resource. Herein lies the disparity between First World and Third World nations.

You probably have heard of the term “Intellectual Property”. It simply means creative works from original thought that has economic value protected by law. These include patents, copyrights and trademarks. For example, patent law protects inventions that demonstrate technological progress. Intellectual property differs from other forms of property because it is intangible –that is, it is a product of the human imagination. Just as a seed or tender plant cannot thrive under unfavourable climatic conditions, so, productive value cannot thrive under a lawless society.
Just as productive value is the result of creative thoughts, protective value is the result of what I call ‘character thoughts’, ‘attitudinal thoughts’ or ‘lawful thoughts’.
The character thoughts are the foundation of a nation’s culture and constitution. One common denominator in underdeveloped nations is the lack of law and order. No nation therefore can develop without the robust enforcement of law and the presence of a healthy culture. In fact, the World Bank finds, “Human capital and the value of
institutions (as measured by the rule of law) constitute the largest share of wealth in virtually all countries.
From the above, it is now clear that rich countries are largely rich because of the skills of their populations (productive value) and the quality of institutions (protective value) supporting economic activity. What the World Bank economists have brilliantly done is to quantify the intangible value of education and social institutions.
According to their regression analyses, for example, the rule of law explains 57 percent of countries intangible capital. Education accounts for 36 percent. The rule-of-law index was devised using several hundred variables measuring perceptions of governance drawn from 25 separate data sources constructed by 18 different organisations. Switzerland scores 99.5 out of 100 on the rule-of-law index and the US hits 91.8 percent. By contrast, Nigeria’s score is a pitiful 5.8; Burundi’s 4.5; and Ethiopia’s 16.4.
The natural wealth in rich countries like the US is a tiny proportion of their overall wealth – typically 1-3 percent – yet they derive more value from what they have. Overall, the average per capita wealth in the rich Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) countries – 30 wealthy developed countries is $440,000, consisting of $10,000 in natural capital, $76,000 in produced capital and a whopping $340,000 in intangible capital. By comparison, the World Bank finds that the total wealth of low income countries averages $7,216 per person. This consists of $2,075 in natural capital, $1,150 in produced capital and $3,991 in intangible capital. The countries with the lowest per capital wealth are Ethiopi (1,965), Nigeria ($2,748), and Burundi (2,859). In fact, some countries are so badly run that they actually have negative intangible capital. Through rampant corruption and failing school systems, Nigeria and The Democratic Republic of Congo are destroying their intangible capital and ensuring that their people will become
poorer in the future.

Written by Emeke Ossai
Follow @EmekeOssai

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