In Athens, Old Meets New

(c) IGF 2006 Website

The ancient city of Athens is playing host to the world over the next few days, and the event that brings everyone together is the much-awaited first meeting of th Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The IGF is a follow-up meeting to the concluded World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) that held in Geneva (2003) and Tunis (2005), and holding the first meeting in Athens (a city known for myths and ancient landmarks) is some sort of marriage between the old (city) and the new (Internet technologies).

On the IGF community website,, a good description of the event is given: “The Internet Governance Forum, or IGF, is a remarkable experiment in knowledge and experience sharing across the Internet by all the people that use it, including business, governments, organisations and you, the individual. ‘Governance’ does not mean ‘government’, but rather the large and ongoing decisions made by societies across the globe when dealingwith the Internet. At this inaugural meeting in Athens, the issues have been divided into four main categories: openness, security, diversity and access.”

While tons of text and speeches will fly around in the next few days, it is hoped that at the end of the meeting, the world’s appropriate and accessible use of the Interent for development would have moved some steps ahead. While the next meetings of the IGF have been scheduled to hold in Brazil (2007), India (2008) and Egypt (2009), the issues discussed in Athens (openness, security, diversity and access) must be seen to have moved us forward. Otherwise, the cycle of meetings, speeches and coffee breaks will only favour hotels and host countries. The event’s webcast and audiocast can be accessed at

180 Degrees Comes to OOU, Ago Iwoye

180 Degrees in OOU, Ago Iwoye

Every time we discuss 180 Degrees, my whole being smiles. From the very first day we discussed the concept, I knew that myself and Deolu Akinyemi had eventually discovered the platform we always discussed — a platform on which we can deliver change opportunities to the world, beginning with young Nigerians. And as they say, a lot of water has gone under the bridge… first in Lagos on May 1; then in Ife on August 2; now, the 180 Degrees train moves to Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye!

The date is Saturday, November 11 2006, time is 11:00am and the three speakers for the event will be Prof. Pat Utomi, Adeolu Akinyemi and ‘Gbenga Sesan — and each speaker comes with a distinct message that will help connect you with the change you require. While you can read more about 180 Degrees at, the goal of 180 Degrees is to inspire personal change that can influence your other areas of intervention.

So, for those who’ve been asking about the next edition, here comes. Ago Iwoye is in Ogun state so its accessible to those who’ve been writing from Ondo, Osun, Oyo and Lagos states in particular. To register, click here, and please note that the seminar will kick off at 11:00am prompt. Ask those who’ve been to any 180 Degrees session and they’ll tell you what you’ll miss with each tick of the clock from the take-off time.

Between now and November 11, I will be speaking at some other important seminars/events, and it’d be great to meet up with you if you’re in any of the locations. Please see below:
October 26: Abuja (Presidential Task Force on ICT Harmonization)
October 27 – November 3: Athens (Internet Governance Forum)
November 4: Ibadan (Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship Annual Convention)
November 8: Lagos (Mushin Budding Leaders’ Summit)
November 10: Akure (Inauguration of the Nigeria Internet Group’s FUTA Student Chapter)

One Week MBA for Youth Corpers

In one week,
we identified a business opportunity,
determined the business strategy using information technology,
developed a unique, identifiable brand,
assessed the financial needs,
created a process flow design,
marketed our services,
conquered entrepreneurial challenges in Nigeria,
and solved business problems using our high ethical standards.

What are you doing this December?

Junior Achievement of Nigeria (JA Nigeria), a non- profit educational organization in partnership with Lagos Business School and Accenture has concluded plans to host this year’s Venture in Management Program (ViMP). A yearly program, ViMP is modeled after Harvard Business School’s Summer Venture in Management Program (SVMP), and is designed as a one-week intensive mini-MBA session to introduce 50-55 members of the National Youth Service Corps to the different facets of managing a business and making crucial business decisions.

According to JA Nigeria’s President, Mrs. Kunbi Wuraola, the goal of ViMP is to prepare youth corpers for the world of business as general managers and entrepreneurs. This opportunity is designed to expose future business leaders to the responsibilities, opportunities, and demands of a career in management.

The weeklong programme will include rigorous and stimulating classroom meetings (led by LBS faculty), case studies, panel discussions, study groups, guest speakers and recreation, culminating in a strategy workshop, during which the participants will present solutions to different business problems.
The learning environment will mirror that of the top business schools around the world with case studies focusing on Business Ethics, Accounting & Finance, Marketing, Strategy, Social Enterprise, General Management, Leadership and Entrepreneurship.
The program will hold between the 4th of December and 8th of December 2006. Application for the program is on-going.

Given the tremendous success of the last five editions of ViMP, JA Nigeria remains convinced about the potential life-changing impact that ViMP can have on participants. Past editions of the program have been supported by prestigious organizations such as Lagos Business School, Acenture, Restral Consulting and FCMB. Thanks to the generous support of sponsors, the entire programme will be free to participants again this year! Application closes on October 27, 2006, and you can download the application form from the JA Nigeria website or when you click here.

NIG-YDC Hosts “Youth ICT Roundtable”

Youth at their best...

The Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) Youth Development Committee is proud to announce that applications are open for the first edition of the quarterly Youth ICT Roundtable. The roundtable will bring together seasoned young ICT enthusiasts and aspiring professionals to discuss and learn about key issues around ICTs, with particular reference to Nigeria. With the theme, Innovation: What Nigerian Youth Should Be Doing, the NIG Youth Development Committee hopes to equip intending ICT professionals.

Twenty young people with passionate interest in ICTs are expected to learn from our Keynote Speaker, Dr. Gabriel Obi (past president of the Computer Professionals’ Registration Council of Nigeria — CPN), and brainstorm on relevant issues defining successful youth participation in ICT issues. The Youth ICT Roundtable holds at 10:30am prompt at the Secretariat of the Nigeria Internet Group on the 18th of October 2006. To attend, you must apply for a seat in advance. Please send your resume and a cover letter (upper limit 250 words, detailing your area of interest in the ICT sector and what Nigeria stands to gain from your involvement) – to Applications must be received on or before 16th October 2006.

The Future Awards 2007

(c) The Future Awards' Website 2006

Get ready for another explosion from young Nigerians! It’s The Future… Awards 2007… Nominations open on the 1st of October and close on the 31st of October – one full month! Go to to nominate and to get ALL the information you need for the BIGGEST event for young people! Don’t forget that the nominees must be between the ages of 18-31!!!

Please see The Future Was on Sunday for information on The Future… Awards 2006.

Nigeria’s Conscious Walk to Freedom…

A New Nigeria!

In my presentation at the October 1 meeting that held at Nigeria’s premier University, I chose a topic that could reflect the exact words on my mind — Time Up!: It’s Time for Nigeria’s Conscious Walk to Freedom….

The introduction was very generous! It was a very youthful audience, and our presence in Ibadan provided an opportunity to tell the story of a man who still lives in that city to date — the man who designed the national flag. With ready help from an article written by Dike Chukwumerije titled The National Flag, I explained: “The Nigerian national flag was designed by Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi in 1958. His design was chosen from about 3,000 entries to the National Flag Design Competition. M.T. Akinkunmi was a student of Ibadan at that time. Flying over his native land on his way to London for his university work, he was impressed by the virgin green land below him and chose that colour as the primary symbol for Nigeria in the flag. His original design also had a red sun emblazoned on the white stripe on the flag.” Talk about Taiwo Akinkumi’s generation and I think of high-end patriotism (at that time)…

That helped set the tone for my next question: “Is a 46-year-old (wo)man who still crawls worthy of celebration?” Well, your guess is as good as mine. While explaining that the odds against Nigeria included daily reports from the front cover of national dailies, global perception and socio-economic realities, I hinted that we cannot solve a problem by staying at the same level of intellect where it was created. What is is not always what will be, and the gap between the two is most often filled with two elements – people and time. I stepped onto an interesting terrain when I started a discussion on God’s Own Countries. It is obvious that owing to many factors, many Nigerians would rather carry navy blue or wine passports (being the colours of two countries that are usually referred to as God’s own countries) but all nations have gone through moments of decision – no nation was delivered perfect! Truth also is that transition will be slow for any nation until a generation makes the decision to understand and take action on Newton’s first law of motion (which states that, an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by a force). I posited that God has no favourite countries, but heaven smiles on those nations that are able to maximize its potentials.

I shared deep thoughts on why I always speak of a New Nigeria, beginning with the fact that while putting together my 15-year personal development plan (which leads into the year 2025), I noticed that it was possible to turn Nigeria into an envied nation — and I am not alone on this. I placed a lot of emphasis on the need for vision and stated that the reality of vision is that “what you cannot perceive, you cannot attain to”. Hence why I reiterated the need for a jointly-agreed national vision for the New Nigeria. Of course, you can be sure that vision influences our thoughts and informs our action — and it decides what is (or isn’t) acceptable. I then continued with a few pictures that helped paint a picture of what the postcards sent from Nigeria will look like in 2025 — with what would today be described as breath-taking views, but will be the norm in the Nigerian landscape at that time. It is important to state that the pictures were obtained from a popular document made available by eMail. The entire presentation is available here. The pictures included a view of Apapa, Port Harcourt, Obudu Cattle Ranch, Zamfara Business District, Green Section of Idanre Hills and the WaZoBia Cenotaph in Niger Delta state. I hinted that Niger Delta state would be the custodian of its own resources (oil) while other states would have perfected revenue generation from non-oil resources (human capital, agriculture, ICTs, and more!)

I also discussed the need for Nigeria to move from independence to interdependence. The road towards 1960 was traced by a generation that decided it was time to move on to the next level… it was then time up for dependence. Of course, independence didn’t make every evil thing good, but it provided an opportunity to take charge of our own lives but in the twin areas of succession and maintenance, we missed it big! The question then was, “What next?” I opined that Independence Day 2006 provided another opportunity to promote the strong need for collective efforts towards a conscious national rebirth — we may be independent, but we need to go a step further by becoming interdependent. As far as I know, we seem to have a few stars in the Nigerian firmament, but our destination is a deliberate networking of strengths and cancellation of weaknesses — 128 million will be better than a few! I inched closer to the end of the presentation by announcing that time was up for the old Nigeria in all of us. I listed a few needs as follows:

  • For national rebirth, each citizen must become an ambassador
  • The Nigerian nation must sign a social contract with it’s citizens
  • Adequate leadership must emerge (please see Restoration Group)
  • Extended freedom comes from a deliberate effort to impact your sphere of influence — so we can create positive ripples
  • Personal freedom comes when we move from unconscious existence to conscious existence to conscious influence to unconscious influence
  • We must begin to identify opportunities — seeing all of today’s inadequacies as an opportunity for better professional service tomorrow

It was an interesting discussion for me, and I ended by stating that I see a new Nigeria emerging… one that will be built on the labours of our heroes past, hewn out of the debris of the present waste and engineered by the strength of the future leaders: the youth. These young men and women will adopt relevant tools for the purpose of personal development, nation building, regional cooperation and global participation. They exist unknown today, but in the secrecy of their abode, they master the tool that will change their lives and that of their nation!

My Life: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

I have always believed that everyone’s life is defined by the complex relationship between three (3) days — yesterday, today and tomorrow — but I saw a unique expression of this reality today. At 4:30pm, on my way from a symbol of my past and with a friend whose presence was a sure expression of my present realities, I took a step that could influence the rest of my life.

Walking through the same path I used to walk daily between February 1989 and June 1994 was quite an experience, with the present principal of the school showing us what the present state of the school is. After the guided tour, a few others (ex-students of the school) gathered in the school’s staff room and we discussed the future. And when it was time to leave, reality dawned on me that as an individual, a future need was yet to be met. The unique opportunity of “coming from the past” provided an opportunity to ask a key question about the future. Just like any other question with no assured answer, I know not what the answer will be but I remain confident that the meeting between yesterday, today and tomorrow could pretty-much define the story of my life.

4:30pm. October 2, 2006. Between FGC Idoani and Lagos.