A Whole New Mind

(c) Amazon.com/

I learnt about the book from Edward Popoola, and searched for a copy at a number of airports for a while. When airports and the best of bookstores couldn’t help, I went to the place I should have visited first — the web. Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age is a must-read for anyone who would like understand why some people appear to be lucky while others keep adding skills to their resumes, but never really find the meeting point between career and fulfilment. Tom Peters had this to say about the book:

This book is a miracle. On the one hand, it provides a completely original and profound analysis of the most pressing personal and economic issue of the days ahead — how the gargantuan changes brought by technology and globalisation are going to impact the way we live and work and imagine our world. Then Dan Pink provides an equally original and profound and practical guidebook for survival — and joy — in this topsy-turvy environment. I was moved and disturbed and exhilarated all at once. Few years ago, Peter Drucker wondered whether the modern economy will ever find its Copernicus. With this remarkable book, we just may have discovered our Copernicus for the brave new
age that’s accelerating into being.

I finished reading the book less than 72 hours ago, but can’t say enough about the way the book helped me identify silent aptitudes I’d built over time — and that will be extremely relevant in the days to come. For those of us who have been searching for personal and career development — and of course, fulfilment — this book will help you connect with the soft skills that you’ve had no name for, but have propelled you ahead of the pack. Daniel Pink spent time arguing about the place of R-Directed thinking (using the right brain, which deals a lot more in wholesome perception that the left brain’s logical approach), and he went ahead to describe how Asia, Automation and Abundance have combined forces to move the world from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. The book is actually about getting ready for the days ahead, and it speaks in details (with supporting materials) on Design, Play, Empathy, Design, Story and Symphony.

My major concern for young people in developing economies is that while many of us are still considering how to compete within the Information Age, here’s someone coming to announce the arrival of a new day. If you run with men and get tired, what will happen to you when you contend with horses? While reading the book is not the measure of wisdom, it would do a lot of good if you lay your hands on a copy — or discuss the contents with someone who’s read the book! And from A Whole New Mind, I move on to The Google Story, which is proving more interesting that I imagined. Its 2:44am on a day that I’ll have to be at the NTA (TV station) Studios by 9am (following a quick stop-over at the Lagos Digital Village), but you can be sure that every moment spent with this book is worth it. A peep into the “biggest business, media and technology success of our time” indeed! When I read the first few pages, I tried something funny — searched for “Google” in a Google search window 🙂 And the first result was of course the most recent issue at Google — the Chinese agreement, towards setting up local servers in China and allowing google.cn to fly. Google is in the news a lot these days, and it will be interesting to watch how things unfold for the “biggest business, media and technology success of our time” — until the next innocle (an enterprise or effort that lies somewhere between innovation and miracle) is revealed.

“E je ki a maa so oro naa…”

Africa's Voice!

I grew up listening to the local radio and TV stations, but when I inched closer to the age when you got curious about news and happenings beyond your borders, my elder brother introduced me to VOA. Then BBC crept into my life, CNN followed — and in the wake of my Arabic interest, Al-jazeera reared its sharp head. The major worry I kep having was the need to understand why news about Nigeria or Africa had to come from outside our shores before it could be regarded as authentic. I know that almost all newsrooms in Nigera monitor the “big few”, and that explains why you see major headlines of national dailies follow after the earlier reports of CNN, BBC, AFP and others.

In fairness to African broadcasting, one must however note the role that the likes of NTA, SABC and others play. But how objective are the items on these networks (but is there really any objective news?) The height of this was when some airline disasters happened late last year. Most Nigerians trusted the foreign networks for reliable news, while the incidents wee actually a few miles away from such homes. When will Africa start reporting Africa? In the battle between the hunter and the hunted, the one who lives to tell the story is the “owner” of history. Part of the reason why many Africans assume the role of “inferiors” is because of the lack of our historical pedigree! Civilisation has its roots in Africa, and iur sons and daughters keep feeding the world with innovative creations in times of need.

In the next few hours, I hope I can lay my hands on one of those articles that make your head “swell” (as it is often said here) when you read them. Till then, let me share some great news with you. Received from Chifu through the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA-Africa) mailing list, this article says that Africa will start telling her own story by March 2007. You can get the entire story by following this link, but let me share some few inspiring lines with you:

  • “African will within a year be having a television network reporting on the continent for the world. Leading business people, broadcasters and journalists have modelled the new network along the lines of Arabic satellite network, Al Jazeera. Salim Amin who is the head of the group said the aim is to tell the African story through Africans. African Television is to raise an initial capital of 35 million US dollars. The network aims to go on air from March in 2007.”
  • “We want to show the success stories as well as the failures, and show there is more to us than famines and wars,” he (Salim Amin) said. “We need to remind ourselves, as well as others, that there are people here who are contented with their lives. My father always talked about how important it was for Africans to receive news from other Africans.”
  • “Driven by this vision of Africans reporting on Africa for the world, a group of professional broadcasters, businesspersons and reporters is pulling their resource together insetting up a Pan-African satellite television.”
  • “My vision is to give a more balanced view of Africa by Africans rather than by foreign correspondents,” Amin told Reuters Wednesday. “The way the international 24-hour news machine works the big networks have a lot of other big stories that need to be covered and they can’t devote the resources that I believe are necessary to cover Africa properly,” he added.
  • “The new African channel, which is intended to combine the reach of CNN with the agility of al-Jazeera, will have small bureaus in 50 countries across the continent staffed by well trained local journalists. The channel would begin by airing around six hours of news a day, and eventually turn into a 24-hour news channel. With the cost of broadcast technology falling rapidly, it is also easier to start up a news channel on a lower budget.”
  • “With those few bureaux you can’t really be everywhere, and what they do concentrate on is the big news stories and they are unfortunately usually the ones about war, famine, corruption and HIV,” he added. “We are not here to do PR for Africa. But we want to balance the hard news stories with stories about the successes on the continent—the people, the fashion, the entertainment, the sport, the music,” he added.

But while we wait for this great news that could once again remind the world that the pyramids of Egypt were not accidental creations (but deliberate efforts announcing the uniquness of a people), blogging keeps our fair documentation of Afrcan stories intact. I often tell people that no one can lie about me even after I’m long gone because all facts are documented on my hard drive, my website, and other yet-to-be-announced locations 😉 With more Africans blogging by the day, one can be sure of reliable information on Africa and by Africans within the news space. Fellow brothers and sisters, keep blogging!

E je ki a maa so oro naa, ki ariyanjiyan ma baa sele lojo ola! That was in my local language (Yoruba), and it means, “lets keep speaking so that there will be no arguments in the future”. That explains why my blog is titled “Oro” (word). In the days to come, our words will speak for what we stand for — and the fruits of our many labours will also stand by the words.

“Reaction to Gbenga Obasanjo” — Omoyele Sowore

Omode yi jo baba re!

I have just read (from my daily dose of Nigeria Today Online (Sunday, January 15, 2006) Omoyele Sowore’s reaction to Gbenga Obasanjo on the now-popular The News “interview”. Well, you need to read the materpiece… quite revealing, and worthy of an additional category in my blog, “Naija Politricks” — which hopefully will become “Nigerian Politics” when the politicians of the New Nigeria appear on the stage with good governance on their shoulders. For now, enjoy Omoyele Sowore’s reaction (unedited):

Reaction to Gbenga Obasanjo
By Omoyele Sowore, sowore@hotmail.com
Culled from Nigeria Today Online (Sunday, January 15, 2006)

These are really interesting times in Nigeria. The entire nation is already inundated with reactions over a published conversation between Gbenga Obasanjo and I. This reaction would not dwell on individual, official and legal reactions to what is obviously a revealing story. The interested public should note, however that negative and threatening reactions to published stories that exhibit unbearable slant towards the power elite has become the hallmark of the Nigerian leadership. Whenever it suits them, they made journalists the scapegoat, sometimes going to the extent of assassinating them in their line of duty when others ways of intimidation fails.

Precisely, on December 15th 2005 as I was engaging on the last leg of my trip to Nigeria. (This was so because of my ‘adopted’ mode of travel, which requires that I travel a certain route when visiting or leaving Nigeria). As I was leaving my hotel in Cotonou, I noticed there was a fellow dressed in Kaftan (popularly known as “Senegalese”) also leaving the same time as me. This was a bulky fellow, who obviously was Nigerian. I disregarded the person and hired a vehicle to take me to the Nigerian border, in tow with two of my friends who came down from Lagos to help with my travel.

Shortly after we left the car park at the NOVOTEL Hotel in Cotonou, I saw there was a car following behind us, also apparently headed in the same direction, though I was bit curious, it didn’t bother me too much. As we made to cross the border to the Nigerian side, a tout who pointed to an empty desk across from us stopped us. There, I saw a person in mufti with his legs conveniently crossed on the wooden table. He beckoned on us to come over. Since it is a regular occurrence with Nigerian officials to harass travelers for money at the border, I decided I was going to confront him and try to report my encounter with the Seme border officials. I went over to the desk and the officer asked where we were coming from, he started ranting about how he was upset that we didn’t pay attention to his “man”- the tout.

He said this problem would have been solved if you had talked to his ‘man’. I protested to him that I did not know how to relate to touts at the border. And since the he too wasn’t in uniform, I could not tell the difference. He got upset and said I should surrender my passport, I complied and he looked at it and said I should talk with him; otherwise he was going to delay me for a while. Just as I continued protesting his attitude, the bulky fellow who was in the car that followed me from NOVOTEL Hotel showed up and started castigating my colleagues and me. I was upset because he did care to listen to us. He looked at the officer and asks him to let us go. The officers were all standing and paying him serious attention at this time. He then signed an exercise book at the border and handed his passport to the customs. They didn’t look at it. They just gave him back his passport and also returned ours and let us go!

In curiosity, I looked at the book he signed and saw his last name: “Obasanjo”, I greeted him as he made to turn away; I introduced myself to him and explained that I would love to speak with him. As soon as knew who I was, he went off on me and complained to me about how he felt about our reports regarding his father’s government and public officials in Nigeria. Since I was always in interested in reporting the truth, I asked if he would like to speak with me about his views about our reports and Nigeria as a whole, he declined and walked away from us, saying he wished me luck and admonished us not to be emotional in our reports.

I left the scene and started on a journey into Lagos Nigeria by foot in search of a vehicle to take us to Lagos. His car drove a past us, it was a dark colored SUV with his driver, a police escort in mufti and another fellow on his left side (whom he later introduced to me as his cousin). Suddenly he stopped, wound down his windows and asked if I would want a ride to Lagos. At first, I rejected the offer because I was unhappy with his paternalistic behavior at the border. Also I was a little concerned about my personal safety. On a second thought and due to his persistence I accepted the offer simply because it would present an opportunity for me to ask him nagging questions some of which he already started talking about at the border post. So, I asked if we could talk on the way to Lagos and he said “sure”.

In all fairness to him and what appears to me to be an act of kindness, he personally came down from his car and help load my bags into the trunk of his car. But then the car could not take all of us three- at which time he requested that he would only take me. I rejected that request and insisted that he at least let one of my friends be in the car with me or else, I would gladly reject his offer for a ride. He looked into the back of the car and he found a spot for one of my friend. I quickly turned to the third fellow gave him some money, told him to copy the license plates of the car, and instructed him to call a number in case he doesn’t hear from me in two days!

Let me restate here that my involvement in news reporting revolve around the principle of freedom of information both for the media and the human person. If the interest Nigerians were at stake, I take the route of siding with the people. I did not expect that these volume of information will become accepted to the government or be celebrated by the political elite affected, but it has become my self-imposed duty to help reveal hidden information that will strengthen and re-awaken public consciousness about the state of Nigeria’s democracy and governance which all our people have accepted is currently in bad shape.

Going on with Gbenga to Lagos I did not mince words about my intentions; I sat sandwiched between him and his cousin. He was on my right side. I immediately started the conversation from where we stopped at the border. To my chagrin, Gbenga was very frank and candid, and in a way that “evinced some patriotism” as stated by his lawyer. He spoke fluently and eloquently about sundry issues as I put questions to him one after the other; I have reported the conversations in the most accurate, matured and professional manner. I could not include so many unprintable things he said because I didn’t find it necessary. It was a conversation solely undertaken between him and I, there was never a time when anyone else present in the car intervened, except when he turned to his cousin to buttress his point about his impending divorce.

He knew that I am not a ‘wannabe’ reporter; I introduced my trade to him and he could identify my style from our published reports. For those reasons, we didn’t have any ‘private’ discussions, it was not necessary. It was a conversation that had far reaching political connotations and ramifications hence the weight of the output on the entire Nigerian society today! We all know that the current regime brings their families and baggage into office in ruling Nigeria. The argument about the family’s privacy is a convenient fallacy that is untenable, they should be reminded that they have consistently used the apparatus of government to defend their families as at when it suites them.

Anyone who knows Lagos traffic and the condition of Nigerian roads could tell that if you drove from Seme border to the car park of Sheraton Hotels in Ikeja, Lagos you would have quite a distance covered and a lot of time on your hands. Within this period, we never stopped conversing. His cousin, his police orderly, driver and my friend who sat at the back of his car would attest to this, if they haven’t been intimidated already! I could understand that Gbenga Obasanjo became lily-livered due to untold pressure brought to bear on him by his father’s office and the decadent Nigeria political establishment since this story broke.

On my part, since I started news/report writing I do not miss an opportunity to bring truthful and undiluted information to Nigerians or the rest of the world even under the most inconvenient circumstances. Also, there are times when one has to choose between being frightened by professional hounds and scarecrows and the interest of a battered and helpless people, such as Nigerians of today.

I understand too well, that when public service of this proportion is offered one’s nation state it is bound to have repercussions, there is always a scapegoat sought by the ruling class as evidenced by the frenzy of denials and pressure that since followed the release of this particular story. I urge Nigerians to look at the story from the substance contained in it and ignore the antics of lawyers; spin-doctors and paid public hirelings whose job is to scare the rest of us with their well-known semantics.

These reactions reveal to us, once again, that the current regime operates both a dysfunctional presidency as well as a dysfunctional family. For the sake of history, truth, sacrifice and the love for my country, I stand by this story!

Thank you!

Omoyele Sowore

Knotty by Nature

Knotty by Nature

Two significant things happened on the 28th of December, 2005. That was the day my dad sat a few seats away from me while I was making a presentation in my village, having been invited by the National Association of Igbara-Oke Students (NAIS). It was such an emotional moment when he walked into the hall, and was invited to take his seat with the special guests. At the end of my presentation, he notified the chairperson of his intention to “ask our lecturer a question”. Now, that was funny… but trust my dad, he satisfied his curiousity about the Nigerian satellite program (especially considering the plan to launch a Communication Satellite in 2007). I can still remember making a joke about the day he was driving us (myself and my elder sister) home after school — let me not bore you with the details… 🙂

The second event of the day was one eMail message that arrived my inbox (but I didn’t get to see it until the next day because Igbara-Oke is yet to have a cyber-cafe). The edited version (same content, but names deleted) follows:

merry xmas and a prosperous new yr in adv.
i’m a member of … and i’m one of the freshers dat was present at the
three day limit seminar.
i just want to ask u a question on the plan u told us to make.
i’m a bit confused and i just want u 2 give me an
example of what the plan can look like.
i’ll be so grateful if i can get a descriptive sketch
of a 5-year plan.

That was from a young man who had listened to my passionate plea for freshmen to have a detailed plan that could guide their stay (or sojourn, as it usually is) in the University. And he’s not alone… others (professionals, etc) with whom I’ve shared the thought say similar things. I would easily argue that Perceived Luck = Preparation + Opportunity (which in English means that those we usually perceive to be lucky are those who learnt to plan ahead, and thus were able to recognize opportunities), but the usual questions is, “how do I prepare”? That is the exact reason why I refer to this thought-line as Knotty by Nature. The task of setting the pace of one’s life is not linear, its a complex matrix coming from background, experiences, decisions, exposure, education, relationships, discoveries, etc… though knotty, the task is not impossible.

In the past few months that I have caught myself placing more emphasis on the need to plan ahead, I have come to learn the following (some of which I’d lived out without thought before now):

  • Your past may not determine how far you will go in life, but it usually is a pointer to some issues you will need to address — overcoming the weaknesses it throws up and sharpening the strengths that appear;
  • There are no two people that have had the same growing-up experiences in the finest details (not even siamese twins), hence the need to learn not to run your life’s race on another person’s track — you need to discover what works best for you (while still enjoying the spirit of “healthy rivalry”);
  • If you are honest with yourself in admitting what you can not do, the confusion on where you’re headed in life will be less. I only sing well in the shower (a more polite way of saying that I can’t sing), so, I have no plans for a singing career;
  • If you deliberately watch out for the skills that you enjoy, the happenings that naturally get you to the edge of the seat, and the success stories that make you shed a tear of joy, then you have an idea of strengths that will aid you on the way;
  • The fact that you’re not comfortable with just waking up every other day (with no specific plans) is a sure sign that you are alive and well. Pain is a friend (as it tells you that you’re alive and can still feel); so is the feeling you have when you just want to know what’s next;
  • Watch out for the people who share similar passion with you — especially those who will not tell you that your hair looks great when you know that the stylist messed up — and they’ll keep you on your toes;
  • Celebrate your little successes and document the process of discovering your pathway. If nothing else, it helps you know where you’re coming from;
  • “In case of doubt, ask questions”, remains a wise saying!

The task of deciding your pathway from you (now, e.g. January 11, 2005) to You (in the future, e.g. December 31, 2015) may not be linear. It is indeed knotty by nature, but it is an enjoyable experience that keeps you learning and improving yourself with every step that you take — and every move that you make.

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In Honour of Pat Utomi @ 50

The man, Pat Utomi; (c) Google Images The man, Pat Utomi; (c) Google Images“Whoever compiles any list of Nigeria’s most authentic role models and refuses to include the name of Dr. Patrick Okedinachi Utomi simply wants to team up with those who quarrel with success… If you have ever read a newspaper or watched television, you must know Prof. Pat Utomi… Those who have encountered him say he can motivate you to walk through a wall and listening to him is like listening to a sage…”
— Sun Newspapers

Mentorship. Leadership. Next Generation… If those words mean anything to you, then you will understand why it is important to celebrate Nigeria’s best while they are with us. Pat Utomi needs no introduction. From discussions and newspaper pages to boardrooms and your living room (through the television), he brings his wealth of wisdom to bear on issues such as entrepreneurship, mentorship for young Nigerians, good governance and upholding the common good.

A fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria and a senior Faculty of the Lagos Business School (Pan African University), Prof. Patrick Okedinachi Utomi is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of the Centre for Applied Economics at the Lagos Business School. He has served in senior positions in government, as an Adviser to the President of Nigeria (at the age of 27); the Private Sector, as Chief Operating Officer for Volkswagen of Nigeria; and in academia. He is the author of several management and public policy books including the award-winning “Managing Uncertainty: Competition and Strategy in Emerging Economies”. His academic background covers a range from Policy Economics, Business Administration, and Political Science to Mass Communication. As an entrepreneur he has founded or co-founded companies that are active in fields including financial services, ICT, and media. Among the 16 boards on which he serves as Chairman are Platinum Bank Limited (now Platinum-Habib Bank, following the banking consolidation exercise), Leapfrog Venture Partners, BusinessDay Media Ltd, Graceland (the New Jersey, USA, Chocolate manufacturer), and Arivia.Kom Nigeria, the subsidiary of the South African IT Group.[1]

Prof. Utomi is married (with five children) to Dr. Linda Ifeoma Utomi, a consultant orthodontist and member of the Faculty of the College of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital. A look at the life of this distinguished son of the nation and tall citizen of the world reveals that no one — except maybe you — can stop you from attaining to the heights you so much desire! This year (on the 6th of February), Pat Utomi turns 50. It is instructive to note that in these days that Nigeria — and Nigerians — are coming to terms with the need for exemplary leadership, mentorship for young people and elevating the common good above self interest, honouring individuals such as Prof. Pat Utomi go way beyond individual celebration.

Scheduled to hold the day before Pat Utomi turns 50, a forum has been put together with young people in mind — with the hope that Nigeria’s youth will have the opportunity to learn from the life of this mentor of mentors, and also join hands in weaving a New Nigeria (one that we can all proudly call home). Details of the event follow:

Lead Speaker:
Prof Eghosa Osaghae, Vice Chancellor, Igbinedion University

Segun Adeniyi, Hon Chris Asoluka, Niyi Adesanya and ‘Gbenga Sesan

“Advancing the Course of Democracy and Rule of Law in Nigeria: Beyond a Messianic Agenda”

Resource Centre, Anifowoshe street, Victoria Island, Lagos

Sunday, February 5, 2006

2pm prompt (Guests must be seated by 1:45pm)

Meanwhile, other activities that have been designed in celebration of Prof. Pat Utomi include:

24th January:
Special edition of Patito’s Gang (“Leadership, Mentorship and the Next Generation”), with the panel led by Rueben Abati, and featuring ‘Gbenga Sesan, Linus Okorie, Niyi Adesanya, Fela Durotoye, Lanre Kupoluyi and Taiwo Akerele;

31st January:
Readings from the book, “Why Nations are Poor,” at the Lagos Business School cafetaria (from 3pm to 5pm) by Prof. Pat Utomi, Doyin Salami, and others;

4th February:
Thanksgiving Mass at the Church of Assumption, Falomo (2pm). Mass will be co-celebrated by Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie and the Archbishop of the Owerri Catholic Diocese;

6th February:
Center for Values in Leadership 3rd annual lecture and book presentation (“Why Nations are Poor”) at 11am. Venue will be the Nigerian Institute for International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island.

[1] Culled (with adaptations) from http://www.whartonglobal.com/wgbf2003/africa/pat_utomi.asp

When a Woman is Man of the Year

Dora is 'man' of the year! (c) Google Images

Dora Akunyili has been voted Nigeria’s “Man of the Year” for 2005! In a contest put together by the Silverbird Group, and with Nigerians voting by SMS and email, she emerged the winner of the title (along with one million naira prize, which she has since donated to civil war amputees and lepers). While receiving the award, she hinted that it was “entertaining” for her to note that a woman has been voted “man” of the year. According to her, “I have received over 300 awards in various places across the globe, but this means a lot to me. It is an award decided by Nigerians — the Nigerian people — by text messaging and eMails, and this means a lot to me”.

Anytime she’s mentioned, accolades follow — but what many of us seem to ignore is the thought around her emergence. Before Dora, there was NAFDAC. After Dora, there would be NAFDAC. But what makes all the difference, so much that everyone (including those who would rather plant a bullet in her skull since she’s brought their illegal business to a stand-still) considers her an obvious example of “light in darkness”. These days that the most popular stories about Nigeria seem to be around a rumoured sit-tight President, an he-she governor, self-imposed god-fathers and so much talk about “rotating the Precidency”, it is relaxing to note that the likes of Dora — and of course Ernest Ndukwe, El-Rufai, Okonjo-Iweala, Nuhu Ribadu, Obi “Due Process”, etc — are examples of qualitative leadership in the face of an unpredictable system.

I will be glad to read the personal memoirs of these few examples that remind me of the phrase, “square pegs in square holes”, but have noticed a repeating theme in the few materials (mostly media interviews) that I have had access to. They all had the option of giving the usual excuse – “nothing works in Nigeria”. But they chose to stand out from the lot. Each one of them focused on developing their competencies and have gone ahead to grow personal development into nation building, and of course, global impact. Their leadership styles show that they seem to understand the principle of reproducing themselves in their followers so as to ensure sustainability — and avoid the “I’m the messiah” attitude (which is a popular poor excuse for the third term unspoken debate, anyway).

Many people have said that Dora is lucky — she is not! She was prepared for the opportunity of the office that has given her a platform to express the virtues that she has acquired over the years. When I remember my first opportunity to speak at a United Nations plenary, I smile. I remember that everyone was trying to make me comfortable. “‘Gbenga Sesan, we know you can do it”; “You will be great”; “You look so nice”; and so on. But deep within my skull and frame, I knew I was ready. I had been “addressing the UN” since I was in the university: I would face the mirror and tell myself, “one day, you will speak to the world and they will listen to you. Don’t despise the days when you are the speaker and the mirror (plus your image) represent the audience”. And then, the mirror grew into birthday parties, and then student group meetings… and then, the stage was set for the days of opportunity.

Dora’s announcement as the “Man of the Year” says a lot about what will happen to Nigeria in the next few years. In the secrecy of their abode, some young Nigerians are busy preparing themselves for the day of opportunity. Before you go to the press and label them “lucky”, remember the new equation for the New Nigeria, “Perceived Luck = Preparation + Opportunity”. I see a New Nigeria emerging, and you (yes, you) and I are the ones laying the building blocks. It won’t take a few days, maybe not weeks, and it might extend into years, but just like it is said of Rome, it will be said that, “the New Nigeria was not built in a day”! Congratulations Dora… thank you, angels of the present-day Nigeria. But beyond celebrating the visible ones in governance, I await the next few days with hope. “What about the next few days,” you may ask. On February 6, 2005, one of Nigeria’s best will be 50. I will write more about Pat Utomi in the next few days: the man, his role as a mentor to many, and some of the events in his honour — including a seminar for young Nigerians, and a TV show (featuring young Nigerians) for the entire nation.

The Humour of Preparation and Opportunities

Happy New Year

Is it too late to wish you a Happy New Year? My last words last year in this space included a promise to make my December 30 presentation available… Please feel free to download and read Where Are You: Positioning You for Personal Development, Nation Building and Global Competitiveness.

When the story of Youth and ICTs in Nigeria will be told, one name will sure stand out — Shina Badaru. With many other media mentors of young people that dot the Nigerian Information Society space, he keeps pumping energy into the space through cutting-edge news items and will never shy away from any opportunity to inspire young people. I walked into his office earlier today to pick up some copies of Technology Times since the Lagos Digital Village (along with some other young people) now enjoy free subscription. He was working the phones as usual, and you will not blame me if I say that I heard him talk about many of the things that may just shape the year in terms of ICTs and Nigeria — distruptive technologies, unified licencing, and more.

There are many highlights of my visit, including my new book — The Google Story. After ordering the three books I was going to start the year with (A Whole New Mind — Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age; Culture Matters; and Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists), I had scheduled The Google Story: Inside the Hottest Business, Media and Technology Success of Our Time with other books (like The Book of Life — a collection of autobiographies; and Travel the World) for the end of January. But as I picked the book and told the story of the book I was presently reading (and how I had the book on my shopping list), Egbon Shina said, “you’re lucky that I’ve not written my name on it, you can have it”. Well, I have always argued that Luck = Preparation + Opportunity — and this goes to show that again. Talk about preparation and opportunities… but that is not the juice in the story 🙂

Now to the real story behind the humour of preparation and opportunities. While planning 2006-15, I had hinted that I would do a lot of writing and research, which of course speaks of more books and publications — including the climax which would be my autobiography. By 2015, I will be two years shy of 40, but the plan is to begin work on the autobiography at 35, and possibly conclude at 38 (in 2015) so I can focus on some advanced planning for the second phase of my life (post-40). Well, it so happens that egbon (who happens to be the Founder/Editor of Technology Times) invited me to consider a weekly column in the foremost ICT newspaper, aka Newspaper of the Nigerian ICT Sector. Opportunities like this could sweep you off your feet, but God bless the word called “preparation”. Before leaving his office, I shared three articles that I had written for such opportunities (and was actually thinking of sending to media houses for possible publication). While I continue putting final touches to what the name of the column will be (or do you want to eMail or SMS an idea to me?), may I invite you to watch out for the physical expression of my blogging spirit. I remain with you online, but for Nigerians who are subscribed to Technology Times, I’ll see you offline!

Mmmmmm… the humour of preparation and opportunities. Happy New Year…?