Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Now I Can Exhale. Congratulations Nigeria!




In 2011, I was part of the strategy team for one of Nigeria's top contenders for the Presidency. After a brief stint, I left. I felt the campaign was too 'bourgeois' and bourgeois does not win elections. I was right. They didn't win.

Friday, 27 March 2015

MUST READ: The 30 Day Challenge Finale - A Clarion Call To The Nigerian Patriot

Dear Patriot,
I'm glad you were able to secure your PVC. Blessed are you amongst many. Indeed. It's a little over 24 hours to that moment most of us have been waiting for. For some the outcome is important. For others, life needs to continue and the numerous campaigns have been a distraction.

Since I was born, I have never seen this level of intensity and participation from Nigerians about the future of this country. It is at the same time scary and refreshing; and somewhat heartbreaking. Heartbreaking because, again, we have been polarized along tribal and religious lines with a sprinkling of reason in the ensuing madness. It's obvious from my observations on and offline, we haven't moved very far from where we were in the 60s.

And therein lies the problem. 

Nigeria has gotten to that point where it can no longer be business as usual. The social fabric that has bound us together has been ripped in so many places, it will take a lifetime to mend. The process must begin now and that is where you come in.

See, I have heard the arguments, I'm aware of the lies and mudslinging and propaganda that has driven this year's campaign from every side. It tells me that Nigerian politicians have finally come to realize that you are important and indeed you are. While it may sound cliche, it is true: The future of this country is in your hands. Where we go and how fast we get there will be determined by the decision you make in the next 24 hours. They know so, that's why they have employed every means necessary to get your attention and ultimately, your vote.

When you vote, think about your motivations and what drives them. Think about Nigeria as it is and Nigeria as it should be. Think beyond now, this moment and what needs to be done. Think about the kind of country you will like your children to grow up in. Think about the values that must define us as a people and what must be done to entrench them. Think about all that is right and all that is wrong with this country. Think about Nigeria post-elections and imagine life as it would be when we get back to business. Think about you and what you want, what you should aspire to; what you must begin and continue to demand from those you have elected to serve you. Think about the Nigerian brand and sustainability - if we continue like this, will we still have a country in 10 years? Think about the candidates and what they have come to represent; do those things resonate with you or have you allowed the media to influence your perception?

When you vote, make sure you do for the right reasons. Just this once, I ask that you think like a patriot: After all has been said and done, what does Nigeria really need? Who will sincerely serve her interests at this time? Then do the right thing, that history may remember you kindly.

Naomi Lucas

Monday, 2 February 2015

The 30 Day Challenge: Day 11, Starting From The Top

CALL TO ACTION
What kind of leader does Nigeria need at this time?
Can you think of 10 qualities that describe him/her?

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The 30 Day Challenge started on the 14th of January and will last until election day (February 14, 2015).
To read previous articles on the subject, type 'The 30 Day Challenge' in the search box.

You can nominate your friends (And foes) to take the challenge by hitting the share button and tagging them or copying and pasting the link on their timelines.

© Naomi Lucas

Friday, 30 January 2015

The 30 Day Challenge: Day 14, We Could All Do With Some Rehab

A few years back, I took a bus. Engrossed in thought, I didn't notice how dilapidated the bus was until it started moving. I could see the tar, I felt every single pot-hole, the windows had no glass. I was shocked at how comfortable everyone looked. I asked the conductor why he was driving a bus with bare windows. I asked what he would do if it began to rain. Before the conductor could speak, the passengers adopted the problem. Some asked what I was doing in the bus since I was so finicky. Some said I should get down and take a cab since I was looking for comfort. My heart broke when an old woman by my side said in Yoruba, 'There's no need to complain, so far the engine is good.' I was shocked into silence by that encounter and it stayed with me for a long time. 

I was in damaturu sometime for a training and asked some indigenes to tell me what the governor had done. They said he built some roads. I had never seen such pride in my life. All I felt was pity that they didn't know how much more they could have, demand for and how much more was available to them.

I have realized that for you to aspire for more, for better, you must first convince yourself that it is out there somewhere, that you deserve it and that you can get it if you try. Nigerians need to think this way. Anything goes in this country. Mediocrity is celebrated from the market to corporate corridors. It is not okay. But things will never change as long as we accept them as they are.

CALL TO ACTION
Don't settle for less. People tend to meet your expectations when they realize you know what you want and nothing short of that will do.
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The 30 Day Challenge started on the 14th of January and will last until election day (February 14, 2015).
To read previous articles on the subject, type 'The 30 Day Challenge' in the search box.

You can nominate your friends (And foes) to take the challenge by hitting the share button and tagging them or copying and pasting the link on their timelines.

© Naomi Lucas


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The 30 Day Challenge: Day 16, Rethinking Religion And It's Stranglehold

He called me everyday for more than a month. Every single day. More than once each day. While I understood his predicament, I knew I won't employ someone I have no need of.

Then the opportunity came. I was handling a major brief. It was political. I knew his background and knew we would need his skills set. I arranged an interview with my Admin Manager with the intention to finalize with him so he could start.

I got to the office and was told he had left. I found it odd he did especially 'cos I'd instructed that he wait for me. My Admin Manager told me what happened. Her questions revolved around Nigeria's political space, what his thoughts were about the issues, the challenges and the opportunities. He said he didn't have an opinion. Curious, she asked why. Obviously, his religion did not permit him to have one and he had scriptures to back every single question that was thrown at him. Feeling really frazzled he left without finishing his interview.
***
I needed a facility manager who could work late and on weekends too and asked for one to be recruited for that purpose. Again, I was told there was a suitable candidate, but. But what? He had to ask his Pastor first. I asked for an explanation 'cos I couldn't wrap my head around what I'd just been told - Boy does not have a job and looks like he desperately needs one. Boy gets job and was asked to start as soon as he could. Boy says, I will but first, I need to ask my Pastor...

What is this thing that religion has done to us? Why have we stopped thinking? Why have we lost focus on what's truly important and instead begun to worship mere men?

CALL TO ACTION
  • If your religion discourages you using the brain you were born with, from questioning things and finding meaning for and by yourself, there's a problem. 
  • For the Christians reading this, I don't care what anybody says, your bible remains the ultimate standard. If anything you are told contravenes what it says, then there's a problem. 
  • And if you are closer to your Pastor than the one your Pastor represents, I'm very truly sorry for you.
© Naomi Lucas

--
The 30 Day Challenge started on the 14th of January and will last until election day (February 14, 2015).
To read previous articles on the subject, type 'The 30 Day Challenge' in the search box.
You can nominate your friends (And foes) to take the challenge by hitting the share button and tagging them or copying and pasting the link on their timelines.

Monday, 26 January 2015

The 30 Day Challenge: Day 18, The True Meaning Of Freedom

Freedom (noun): The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.

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At 11:30 local time (10:30 GMT) on Wednesday 7 January, a black Citroen C3 drove up to the Charlie Hebdo building in Rue Nicolas-Appert. Two masked gunmen, dressed in black and armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles got out and approached the offices. They burst into number 6, Rue Nicolas-Appert, before realising they had the wrong address. They then moved down the street to number 10 - where the Charlie Hebdo offices are on the second floor.

Once inside, the men - now known to be brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi - asked maintenance staff in reception where the magazine's offices were, before shooting dead caretaker Frederic Boisseau.
One of the magazine's cartoonists, Corinne Rey, described how she had just returned to the building after picking up her daughter from day care when the gunmen threatened her, forcing her to enter the code for the keypad entry to the newsroom on the second floor - where a weekly editorial meeting was taking place.
The men opened fire and killed the editor's police bodyguard, Franck Brinsolaro, before asking foreditor Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb, and other four cartoonists by name and killing them, along with three other editorial staff and a guest attending the meeting...
Most of us are familiar with the Charlie Hebdo story so I will not belabour the point. It's a tragic and deeply saddening one. Most importantly, the deaths were needless.
The obvious reason for the bloodbath was the overtly offensive and unapologetic satire the comic outfit thrived on. Does it justify the killings? I think not. But it leaves some food for thought.
Charlie Hebdo persevered on it's shocking brand of satire on the premise of it's right to freedom of speech. So insistent were they on expressing their creativity, they lost their ability to understand, to feel, to respect the sensibilities of the cultures and people they didn't understand.
Freedom means respect for people, institutions, countries, governments. Whether or not you understand it/them or not is beside the point. To me, your freedom ends where the right of the next person begins. Unfortunately, where to draw that line is a personal decision and some of us erase that line in our bid to exert our right to act, speak, or think as we want.
CALL TO ACTION
You must find a way to live with the things you do not agree with. Where you insist on change and work towards making that happen either in an individual or large group, remember people are born with a mind of their own, one that may never see the point in your argument.
© Naomi Lucas
--
The 30 Day Challenge started on the 14th of January and will last until election day (February 14, 2015).
To read previous articles on the subject, type 'The 30 Day Challenge' in the search box.
You can nominate your friends (And foes) to take the challenge by hitting the share button and tagging them or copying and pasting the link on their timelines.

News source: BBC

The 30 Day Challenge: Day 19, A Case For Taking Responsibility

He was looking for a job. I asked what office productivity tools he could use, apart from MS Word, he was technically clueless. I asked why, he looked at me with sincerity in his eyes and said, 'You know how our lecturers are now? They don't teach you these things.' If he was within reach, I'm sure I would have conked him for saying that. Okay, that was an exaggeration but I'm sure you can relate.

The young man sat in front of me with no skills and expected someone else to be responsible for his own development. This is the case us, with most of our leaders and ultimately with Nigeria.

Progress, change, the kind that we all seem to so badly want is not a third party affair. It's not something other's do so life can be better for the rest of us. It's what you and I do so we can leave a place, any place, better that we met it. It's rooted in personal responsibility - The understanding that your actions or lack thereof matter. The kind that makes you live knowing you are ultimately responsible for your life and how it turns out.

CALL TO ACTION
  • Imagine one thing in the near future you will love to see happen. 
  • Stop the blame game and procrastination, take one step each day that brings you closer to that dream.

©Naomi Lucas

--
The 30 Day Challenge started on the 14th of January and will last until election day (February 14, 2015).
To read previous articles on the subject, type 'The 30 Day Challenge' in the search box.

You can nominate your friends (And foes) to take the challenge by hitting the share button and tagging them or copying and pasting the link on their timelines.