Flaunting the Views

Courtesy RedSeaHotels.com

I was reading Rueben Abati’s The Lonely Women of Port Harcourt (The Guardian Newspapers, Friday August 31, 2007) when the plane made a sudden bend towards my side. I was concerned (well, who wouldn’t be) because we were flying over what I thought was an impressive strech of red surface. I took a look to my side and got the message — the pilot actually did that deliberately, to have us enjoy a better view of the impressive mountains. It was a one hour journey between Cairo and Sharm El-Sheikh, and I must confess that the views were worth all the flaunting. Another look and I knew just had to get my camera to take a few pictures but… the lights were turned on — ahead of the descent. That word beauty must be what God had in mind when weaving those Sinai mountains. Unfortunately, my return flight is at night so I only hope I can get good pictures while in Sharm.

The flight arrived about 15 minutes ahead of schedule, and I think we have the windspeed to thank for that (which also explains the near-difficulty we had with landing). Those few minutes spent getting set for the doors to open proved useful as I had a quick chat with one of the organizers (Randa, the beautiful woman who sat beside me all-flight long) — and I had to tell her how pleased I have been with the logistics around this whole event. All around me, there are young men and women wearing white T-shirts with Youth Speak, We Listen boldly printed on them. I hope to combine work, rest and fun over the next few days and look forward to my presentation tomorrow morning. With the theme, Building Bridges across Geographical Boundaries, the moderator is the never-tiring, always-inspiring Walda Roseman, the CEO of Compass Rose International. Other speakers include my friend, Jennifer Corriero of TakingITGlobal, Mahmoud Shalaby from Cairo University, and Hanan Ouna, an International Telecommunication Union Youth Forum Fellow (like myself). I plan to speak on The Boundary in My Head.

Inside Bibliotheca Alexandria

Image from the BA website

I have just listened to an amazing speaker whose last few words resounded the need for young people to remain curious and make sure that they ask questions instead of accepting what life brings. This resonates with me, and naturally took my fingers to the keyboard, because of the need for young people to begin to see every problem as something begging for a solution. The speaker hinted that maybe someone in the audience might just be rewarded with a Nobel peace Prize for work done, but I am just excited about the fact that we (as young people) can solve the problems around us — and, more-often-than-not, be rewarded for it.

I’m in Egypt until the 3rd of September for two meetings (the Youth Employment Summit in Alexandria and the International Youth Forum in Sharm) but spent the first few days in Cairo for reasons best known to the deadlines starring at me from my two calendars. Inflight, I read a bit about the City of Peace, Sharm El Sheikh, where the Suzanne Mubarak Foundation is hosting a unique youth event that focuses on ICTs and Peace. I won’t be there until tomorrow, so I guess I should just wait and see if its as thrilling as magazines and websites say.

While here, I’m following the great progress with the Ajegunle.org project (led by Ugo Nwosu for PIN). Latest updates include the good news from FATE Foundation: 11 slots have been reserved for the Ajegunle.org trainees on various programs at FATE’s school of entrepreneurship. And on the 31st of August, a trainee of the first set of the project will walk into Trade & Investment, British Deputy High Commission, Lagos, as an intern! I could go on and on… but let me also talk about the Nigerian by Choice (NBC) Conference. Set to hold on the 15th of September, confirmations keep coming in from every end — on FaceBook, through the registration platform, by phone (+44 78 779 030 56), through eMail (kayode[at]netwoxltd.com)… please spread the word among Nigerians in the UK.

Back to the Biblioteca Alexandria now… you can’t help wander each time you look up in any of the various rooms in this library (which, by the way, hosts an archive of the Internet ;-)). I don’t know the name of this particular room (or should I go outside to check?) but it also offers some unique design that merges art with style. When you do come to Egypt, please visit Alexandria and see this library — and you can take a sneak preview online at the online gallery.

The break is over… talk to you soon.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Reply


“…Young Nigerians in the United Kingdom Discuss the Nation’s Future”

The role of any nation’s Diaspora in its development does not need any debate. For Nigeria, the role of its citizens in other nations cannot be ignored, especially when consideration is given to their size and the inspiring roles that they play (or will eventually play) in those countries where they presently reside. The size of the Nigerian Diaspora in the United Kingdom — from students to professionals — places additional responsibility on the shoulders of both the Nigerian nation and her people in the United Kingdom. While the citizens can use their various platforms of influence to engage government (and contribute their own quota) towards improving living conditions, they can also benefit from the emerging opportunities that are increasingly available in Nigeria.

The Nigerian by Choice conference is an opportunity for young Nigerians in the United Kingdom to discuss the future of Nigeria. This conference does not seek to discuss the problems, but will serve as a forum where solutions, opportunities and networking will be the action guides. We believe that it is time for Nigerians living in the United Kingdom and are below the age of 40 (who can appreciate the need to take action in order to move from where we are to where we should be) to take action in order to create the nation we can be proud to call home. The September 2007 conference will focus on the following objectives:
* Encouraging the need to take advantage of ICT-enabled Entrepreneurship to help meet Nigeria’s employment needs;
* Organizing Socio-Economic Missions that will enable Nigerian professionals in Diaspora to use their expertise to support relevant efforts;
* Networking the expertise of the participants to influence policy and demonstrate how Nigeria can take practical steps towards development;
* Celebration of “What’s Great About Nigeria” because if we don’t, the world won’t have an example to follow!

Featuring brief keynotes, break-out groups, panel discussions and quality question-and-answer time, the conference will deliver on its promise of kick-starting a process of networking ongoing efforts towards addressing the need to place Nigeria on its path of becoming one of the best places to call home during the first quarter of the 21st century!

Date: Saturday, September 15 2007
Time: 11am to 4pm
Venue: Women’s Library Centre, London Metropolitan University, 25 Old Castle Street London E1 7NT [See directions at www.pin.org.ng/nbc/logistics.php]
Entry: FREE [Register at www.pin.org.ng/nbc]

Programme of Events
1000 – 1114: Arrivals, Networking and Registration
1115 – 1120: National Anthem
1121 – 1130: Opening Remarks
1131 – 1150: Keynote 1 (“Investment Opportunities in Nigeria”)
1151 – 1210: Keynote 2 (“ICTs and Entrepreneurship”)
1211 – 1225: Tea Break
1231 – 1250: Keynote 3 (“Socio-Economic Missions”)
1251 – 1320: Break-out Groups
1321 – 1350: Report-back from Groups
1351 – 1410: Light Lunch Break
1411 – 1440: Panel Discussions
1441 – 1525: Interactive Session (Questions and Discussions)
1526 – 1545: Wrap Up

The conference will be delivered through the joint efforts of Netwox Limited, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, and other partners. Netwox Limited will serve as the coordinating institution for the conference, and Paradigm Initiative Nigeria will be responsible for the post-conference coordination — including the publication of conference proceedings and management of the post-conference process as decided by the participants.

Kayode Afolabi
+44 1 375 483 822
+44 78 779 03 05 6

Fate Model Entrepreneur Award 2007 Call For Nominations

This year, FATE (again) is seeking previously uncelebrated high impact, successful, and ethical entrepreneurs across the length and breadth of the country as its FATE Entrepreneur for 2007. The essence of the FATE Entrepreneurial Awards (FATE Model Entrepreneur Award &
FATE Alumni Model Entrepreneur Award) is to celebrate successful and ethical Nigerian entrepreneurs, who have distinguished themselves in their enterprises, and then offer them as credible role models to inspire budding Nigerian entrepreneurs as well as FATE Entrepreneurs.

FATE Model Entrepreneur Award seeks to recognize and celebrate ethical Nigerian men and women who have successfully established a fast growing business, created employment as well as contributed to the fostering of other businesses in the country. FATE’s hosting of the FME Award is driven by the need to rectify the dearth of role models in the Nigerian society; a dearth which is at the root of the decay in values in the society and the festering of sharp and corrupt practices. FATE’s belief is that searching for such inspiring and respect-commanding Nigerian entrepreneurs through a very competitive and transparent process, would help identify people who have through hard work, ingenuity and tenacity traversed the rough and sometimes hostile Nigerian business terrain and struck success, celebrate and present them as role models for other Nigerians to aspire to.

Transparency is one of the tenets of the Foundation, and the process for selecting the FME is done as openly as possible. Nominations for FME are called from the general public through advertisements in the print and electronic media. The FME Award committee reviews all nominations and using the approved selection criteria, prepares a shortlist of awardees. This is followed by extensive interviews with staff and client of the nominees’ organization as well as the nominee, to further ascertain that they match the profile of FME.

Criteria are:

  • FME must be self-made Nigerian with a successful business that has provided employment for a significant number of Nigerians;
  • FME must possess the attributes of ethics, creativity, discipline, hard work and innovation. (NB: FATE is very particular about ethics);
  • FME must have demonstrated social responsibility and positively impacted his/her community;
  • FME must be an accomplished individual who has recorded notable milestones

    Nominations (online: www.fatefoundation.org; email: fmeaward2007@fatefoundation.com) to include Name, Business and Contact details (if known). Please forward to your network to help us discover those men and women who are transforming the society through their businesses.

Making Progress on Ajegunle.org


Its been a while, but you can be sure that a lot has been brewing. Let me quickly update you on the Ajegunle.org project. With the project’s complete description at www.ajegunle.org, permit me to provide information about where we are — and where we are headed.

Following the project design (April 2007), partnership development meetings (May – June), baseline study (May – June), program logistics’ evaluation (July) and trainee selection (July), we hosted the orientation session on July 24, 2007. This was followed by the ICT Capacity Building component of the program which was anchored by Korean Internet Volunteers (who were sent by the Korean Agency for Digital Opportunities and Promotion, to help PIN on the project). The first training segment was laced with courtesy visits, media exposure and cultural exchange. The KIVs and PIN also took time out to share the outcome of the first phase of the project with students outside Lagos — along with young Nigerians who joined us in celebrating this year’s International Youth Day.

Having completed the first component, we commenced the entrepreneurship component of the training last week and we are excited about the response of the students to class work, assignments and group discussions. Upon completion of the entrepreneurship module on August 24, the trainees will spend a day at the offices of the publishers of Success Digest and Complete Football — and will meet with Dr. Sunny Obazu-Ojeagbase, who will share his entrepreneurial story as a form of challenge to the trainees. Ahead of the commencement of the next training in October, this first set of trainees will continue the training chain and also use ICTs to ignite their entrepreneurial passion. Two of the trainees will have the opportunity of interning at the Trade Division of the British Deputy High Commission, where they will get exposure to the world of work and international trade. We are also discussing with other partners on additional internship opportunities.

PIN hopes to partner with 2 dynamic institutions who may host the different components (ICTs and Entrepreneurship) of the training beginning with the next set, and will also host a Graduation Ceremony/Public Presentation of the Ajegunle.org project in September 2007. You may download the interim project report here or from the Ajegunle.org website.

Intergenerational Dialogue (InterGen) 2007, Ghana: Face to Face with an African President

Come October 2007, 40 young and emerging leaders from different countries and backgrounds in Africa shall assemble for the maiden edition of InterGen 2007, for a life time experience! Intergenerational Dialogues (InterGen) offers young a life time opportunity to meet and interact with a past African President for 3 days, in a condusive and informal atmosphere. Where the host elder-stateman shares with participants his leadership experiences, decision making challenges, the art of international diplomacy, the challenge of being an African leader, among others. The participants are also opportune to ask questions and seek clarification on areas of interest to them. InterGen 2007……………. a meeting point for the generations of the last millennium and the generation of the new millennium!

– To annually provide a practical and systematic process of improving the leadership qualities of emerging and young African leaders through a direct learning experience from a living Elder-Statesman/ woman.
– To facilitate a tangible knowledge transfer from the older generation to younger generation about Pre-Colonial Africa, The Struggles of Independence, Pan Africanism and Contemporary Africa.
– To gain rare insight into the issues of leadership and governance at the highest level vis-à-vis the challenges of being an African leader.
– To foster a platform of shared leadership values from which youths from different countries can unite to engage and contribute positively in improving leadership in Africa from the local to national level.
– To develop and provide easily accessible youth friendly resources on youth involvement in leadership development in Africa.

Who Stars in the Maiden Edition of InterGen 2007:
His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings, former President of Ghana has formally accepted to feature in the maiden edition of InterGen, scheduled for October 15 – 17, 2007 in Accra Ghana! A renowned leader of rare reputation, courage, intellect, controversy and leadership. Some hate him unrepentantly, others love him with a passion, yet, Ghana’s history is replete with the leadership style of this living legend. Known for his bluntness on issues, he is a sage with deep knowledge about African development and international diplomacy. Young people love to meet and engage the thoughts and minds of this living sage, we like to know what he may have done differently from the past, we like to share his vision for Africa, we like to meet this President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana! InterGen provides a rare opportunity for young people to tap from his chest of history as he passes on deep knowledge and leadership skills to an emerging generation.

Who Can Attend and How:
InterGen 2007 is open to young African between the ages of 21yrs and 35yrs of age, interested in African leadership and development. InterGen seeks young Africans that are already demonstrating prospect for future leadership in their sphere of endeavour in their various countries. Youth leaders involved in democracy activities in higher institutions, non-governmantal organizations or community based organization, young professionals and young democrats below the ages of 35yrs of African origin are welcome to apply.

Participation Fee / Sponsorship:

All participants are responsible for their travel cost to and from Ghana, including accommodation. At the moment, no scholarship is being offered to any participant. Those who are eventually selected to attend shall be expected to pay a registration fee of between $100 to cover administrative costs. This fee is to be paid ONLY on arrival in Ghana. So please begin early fundraising for this event.

To apply / application deadline:
To apply, please send in your CV, 2 passport photographs and a 2 page essay on the topic “The Interrelationship between Leadership, Good Governance and Africa Development in the New Millennium”

Applications are only accepted by post please, entry closes August 25th 2007. Only successful candidates shall receive a letter of invitation to be sent out by the first week of September 2007. Invitation package shall include a formal letter of invitation from Youngstars Foundation and a clearance letter from the office of the Former President Jerry Rawlings. This step is to ensure credibility of the process and to also ease travelling procedure.

Please post your completed application to:
Youngstars Foundation Intl,
Chief Botmang House, A.M. Dung Str.
Dadin Kowa, P.O. Box 515, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria.

Email inquiries to:

InterGen 2007… a meeting point for the generations of the last millennium and the generation of the new millennium!.

Announcement courtesy YoungStars Foundation

The African Leadership Academy Seeks Students

(c) ALA Website

The first time I heard about the African Leadership Academy (ALA), I didn’t waste any moment before signing up as a volunteer. Africa is suffering from a leadership crisis and the earlier we sorted out the next generation (in terms of helping them focus on the need to see leadership as service and also to prepare for leadership as one would for a profession), the better. Now, the ALA is seeking its first set of students who will resume in September 2008. Please see the announcement below, and let’s support the ALA and other efforts aimed at bridging Africa’s leadership gap!

Have you heard of African Leadership Academy? The Academy is a two-year co-educational, pre-university boarding school located on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa. It is a leadership institution aimed at developing the next generation of African leaders. Our inaugural set of students will commence school in September 2008. The Academy’s student body will be comprised of the brightest and best 15 to 18 year olds from all over Africa and the Diaspora. The Academy seeks students who not only have stellar academic credentials but, in addition, a demonstrated potential for leadership, a passion for Africa, a desire for public service, and an entrepreneurial spirit. Our students will receive a world-class education based on a unique curriculum, comprising A-Level studies, leadership, entrepreneurship, and African studies modules. For additional information, please visit: www.africanleadershipacademy.org.

Our major driving force is not profit (the Academy is a not-for-profit organization); it is a belief that the problem of the African continent is largely one of leadership and that we can identify kids with leadership potential and train them to be future servant leaders of Africa. We train doctors, journalists, lawyers, and engineers, etc. Why not leaders? Our ultimate goal is to produce agents of positive change in every area of human endeavor in Africa.

The Academy seeks to establish links with Africans of all ages and from all works of life because we want to build a deep network of contacts for our students, particularly in their post-Academy years. In addition, because the Academy is one long term initiative to address Africa’s crisis of leadership, we want to share our vision with you, create opportunities for an exchange of ideas, and establish mutually beneficial links with those who buy into the vision.

Do you know any outstanding 15 to 17 year olds (as of September 2008) who possess the characteristics that we seek in our students?

Do you know any such youth who are leaders in your community?

Do you know any such youth who are inspired by the idea of leading Africa in the next generation?

Encourage them to apply by contacting Tinuade Awe at tawe[at]africanleadershipacademy.org. The first stage of the admissions process closes on November 30, 2007. Thank you.

Imagining the Internet: A History and Forecast

(c) Imagining the Internet Project

In October 2006, I was in Athens at the Internet Governance Forum, to join global experts in discussing the possible future of the Internet — and how certain issues could be resolved. During the event, I met the Imagining the Internet team and they asked for an interview. I’m glad to inform you that the interviews are now online, “packaged as a documentary film and as 27 individual interviews. These videos can be accessed at elon.edu/e-web/predictions/internet_governance_forum_2006.xhtml.” In the words of the organizers, “… [the interviews] offer the full content of … sessions conducted in 2006 with international stakeholders from 18 different nations at the world’s first Internet Governance Forum in Athens, Greece. They were asked to speak about their deepest hopes and fears for the future of the internet, and they addressed topics tied to their areas of expertise.”

I was excited to see my interview, but the opportunity of sharing the documentary space with the legendary Vint Cerf (and 25 other pioneers in their own rights) left me almost speechless. Vint’s video (34.6MB) is at http://stream.elon.edu/predictions/igf_2006/cerf.mov while mine (107MB) is at http://stream.elon.edu/predictions/igf_2006/sesan.mov.

NB: For those who have been contacting Ugo for the Lagos and Warri meetings, please see the announcements again for more details.


“…Motivation, Leadership, National Development and ICT”

In the midst of major world challenges, something profound is being reborn — a recognition that ordinary people with concern, vision and commitment can make significant contributions to transforming the planet. That is what Dare 2 Dream Youth Initiative (D2DYI) is all about, a coming together of youths that believe in self motivation, value-based leadership, the New Nigeria Dream and the ongoing digital revolution. We agree with Margaret Mead that you “… never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”.

“Some men see things as they are and say, ‘why?’ I dream of the things that never were and say, ‘why not?'” — George Bernard Shaw.

We see a New Nigeria and we are committed to seeing it come to pass. We are stepping above the limitations of our environment, we are daring to dream, knowing that in the dream of a better tomorrow lies the very future we hope for. The D2DYS meeting objective includes:
1. To inspire and motivate youths towards self-realization and actualization;
2. To make youths see that we could have a new Nigeria, having a dream that could create the future (a new paradigm);
3. To discuss the place of ICT and youths in national development;
4. Highlighting the role and duties of the youths in national development;
5. To help youths take their rightful place as contributors to a new enlightened world.
6. To engage and empower others to be truly motivated to work in the coming years with respect to Nigeria and the world at large — via Information and Communication Technologies.

Peggy Hotel Hall
Opp Delta Careers College
Along Airport Rd

Saturday, 11th August, 2007

(i) IN YOUR HANDS: Deciding the next few years of your life
(ii) Today & Tomorrow: My Life, my choice and my nation’s future…
(iii) ICT and Youth development
Our Dream For A Greater Nigeria: Challenges, Issues and Imperatives
The Power of Self Discovery

‘Gbenga Sesan
Social Entrepreneur & Information Society Researcher
Nigeria’s first Information Technology Youth Ambassador

Dr. Brown Ogbeifun
Former PENGASSAN President

Ogaga David
Advisor, D2DYI

Dare 2 Dream Youth Initiative
“… Greater Self, Greater Nation, Greater Future”