Thursday, January 24, 2019

It's International day of Education and 13 million Nigerian Children are out-of-school!

It’s January 2019 and if you’be been following the trends, the quality of education in Nigeria has steady done down over the past 20 years at least. I left secondary school in 1999 and 20 years later the schools of my time - including my alma mata, are a shadow of themselves. Talk about the king’s and Queen’s colleges of 20 years ago. They are nothing close to what they used to be. Infrastructure has continued to degrade, supply of teaching and learning materials continue to dwindle and the negative effects of the skewed value system we operate in Nigeria continue to destroy the character of both students and teachers.
Today, you will find students who no longer respect their teachers and teachers who believe it’s very ok to set up a market right beside their desk in classrooms. Needless to say, little or no learning occurs in most of our school from primary to tertiary. The case is worse in the public schools.

The story is long so let me go to the one that is ‘paining me’ right now. It’s the story about 13 million children that need to be raised!! I didn’t say 13 million Naira or even 13 million dollars- that wouldn’t be a problem to raise at all. But 13 million children and counting will not be in school today as you read this article and as we celebrate World Education Day! What is an education day with —-% of children below 15 out of school?! Mind you, a lot of these children are not dropouts, they have never been enrolled in a school!!

In 2005, I read a cover story in TELL magazine titled: "Street kids". From that day a fire started up in me. I decided that as much as I can, I will ensure every young person gets the education they need. This fire led me to implement a personal community development project called “wisdom impact club” during my National Yourh Services year in Lokoja, Kogi State, Nigeria in 2005/2006. I went into schools and taught life skills to young people.

Today, this fire has led to the establishment of Wisdom Impact House (WIH). An initiative with the goal to “empower young people for future relevance”. It’s still small beginnings but I, under the name of the organization and with the support of some friends currently have succeeded in returning 15 children to school, and support them by paying their fees and buying books in primary and secondary schools in FCT, Abuja and Lokoja, Kogi State. I am excited about this!! One of the students I enrolled in September last year, was an 18 year old boy who had to be enrolled in primary 2 after the enrollment test. When I saw him dressed in his uniform heading to school one day, my heart pounded and my eyes watered. Joy and sadness in equal proportions. I was happy that he was on the path to getting some skills but what prospects does an 18 year old primary 2 student have in today’s Nigeria? Or should I say the Nigeria that will be when he graduates from primary school at 22 years, or secondary school at 28 years old!!

With all these drama, 15 is just 0.0001% of the growing 13,000,000 (thirteen million) out of school children. Note that the quality of the education is not being accounted for here.

Anyway, it’s World Education Day! Wisdom Impact House is doing her bit. What can you do to ensure access to education for all! What can you do to support improved quality of teaching and learning in our schools?

WIH’s most prominent activity for now is returning children to schools and supporting them with extra lessons in literacy during the holidays. You can support by volunteer to teach at the holiday lessons and you can support financially so that we can keep paying fees, keep enrolling more children, and keep the literacy camps going year round.

Make a commitment to support quality education for all.

Happy World Education Day!

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Don't stop confessing

Recently, I was trusting God for some very specific things.. I had scriptures I was holding on to and confessing with faith.  Within my own estimation of timing, I felt my prayers were not quite answered as I wanted and I just wanted to relax. My 'deadline' had passed so there was no urgency anymore. However, God reminded me about this scripture in Hebrews 10 verse 23:

Hebrews 10:23 KJV
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23 NKJV
That scripture brought the spring back to my step!! It says don't stop confessing!! Don't stop believing... God who promised is faithful to keep his word!!

The truth is, God's time is not in our hands! OUR TIMES are IN HIS HAND!! Sometimes when life places a deadline on you, remember that God is Lord over time!! What puts us under pressure does not faze him!  When we learn to live like we truly live IN him, we will not be under any pressure cos we will realize that He is the one doing the living. We will learn to cast the burdens where they belong and allow Christ live IN us.

Sure we are on a journey to this full understanding, but let us be more deliberate about it! Like Paul said, let us continue because God is faithful.

He who calls you is  faithful, who also will do it.
I Thessalonians 5:24 NKJV
So, dear's not over until God's promise is in your hand. Don't change your confession. God IS faithful, He will do it .


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Blessings from a well

well signifies supply. A well signifies provision. There might not be a river in sight but a well brings hope of water. In a patched desert, rivers dry up but wells linger long into the dry season providing succour for all around.

Hagar was despondent lacking supplies. Indeed death was imminent 'cause without water, life ceases. God did not cause it to rain, He did not cause a river to gush forth from a rock. Rather, He 'sent' a well.

Genesis 21:19 KJV
And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

Jesus' famous encounter with the Samaritan woman was at a well. Was that a coincidence or did Jesus deliberately have to had met her at a well? I guess not, for He would eventually offer her a well of water that springs up into everlasting life.

John 4:14 KJV
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

What about Rebecca? It was at a well that destiny found her as Abraham's servant prayed God to make his mission successful.

Genesis 24:15-16 KJV
And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. [16] And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.

Ah! We must make mention of the wells dug by Isaac! A source of much contention as everyone struggled for survival by means of the wells. Not until the well named  Rehoboth was dug,  did Isaac finally have peace to enjoy water from his well.

Genesis 26:22 KJV
And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the Lord hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.

The significance of wells can not be over emphasized. Without them scarcity looms and in time death.

Isaiah 12:2-3 KJV
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. [3] Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

Are you in the desert place of life? Are you in the midst of huge contention? There is a well that the Lord has dug on the path if your journey. May He open your eyes to see it.



Thursday, June 16, 2016

Day of the African Child 2016 - Right to participate: Let Children be seen and heard.

Today is Day of the African Child.

The African Child continues to live in an intensely challenging environment.
On a day like this the least we can do is reflect on how we view children around us with an aim of making better discisions. What value to you place on them, how do you relate with them, how do you view and take care of their needs?

In our country, the needs of children continue to go uncatered for. As though children begged to be brought into this world, they tend to be treated as a troubling resource consuming entity. You know, like an annoying itch!!

We pay lip service to loving them, but more often than not, we use them simply as a crutch to support our weak egos and seared consciences.

The call for the rights of children has always rang out especially with the enactment of the Child's right act in 2003 but where have we gone since then? Children still hawk during school hours, children still go hungry even in our cities, children are stil being used as begging assistants, children are still being excluded from basic school, children still lack adequate clothing and shelther both at home and in school.

Even the church, who should be the epitome of societal ideals, falls flat on its face in this regard! Building fantastic worship domes that have no space for its children, conducting services that have no relevance to the children. Of course lip service is still paid... especially on children's day... but, how many parents will be happy to have their own service conducted in the spaces made out for their children. How many parents take time to share their faith with their children (if its really so important)?

Children have feelings exactly like yours. They know when they are being catered for. They know when they are important in the scheme of things and believe it or not, they are forming their world view gradually from each and every experience.

Children today are the adults of tomorrow! We owe them every responsibility to grow up in a secure and enabling environment!!

Today is the Day of the African Child! What will you do to make lie better for them? What will you do to make them to be seen and heard?

-Adelakun-Adeyemo Oluwatoyin

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Being a Woman

Today is International Women's Day. Someone said over the radio this morning that the day is about feminism, not femininity. Chimamanda Adichie also once said that every woman should be a feminist. When ever the discussion is about women, its not long before the word FEMINISM pops up and takes centre stage just like its about to do now. But, I don't think I want to talk about feminism per say, I just want to talk about being a woman. You can research feminism yourself.

My overall thoughts on the topic of this post is that: being a woman is a dichotomy! Everyday I wake up and many times feel trapped. Why do I need to go to work all day away from home when half the time, I'll be thinking about what happened at home, whats happening at home or what would happen at home later in the day. Why do I have to pursue a career that makes me feel apprehensive and a target for a guilt trip when and if something goes wrong 'at home'. A Yoruba proverb says "a bad child is his mother's". More often than not the woman is told to keep 'her home'. Asked to forgo her career to take care of 'her children'. Admonished to quit her job to 'support her husband'. Compelled to get married to keep up with what society deems expected,virtuous and respectable. What about being threatened to keep quiet in the face of abuse? Oppressed into killing her dreams because, well, she is a 'commodity' to the society- one to be used to bargain for the greater good, more often than not!?

Historically, the place of women in society has been mixed. We have the Queen Aminas, the lady Emotans, the Margaret Ekpos and the Fumilayo Ransome-Kutis who were able to fight against great odds to rise to prominence. But we can't ignore the reality of the millions more who are trafficked as sex slaves, used as cheap labour, abused, discriminated against and bullied in the home and even in the workplace. How about the families and cultures where giving birth to a girl is an unfortunate incident, forgetting that the 'birthing machine' IS A WOMAN! and moreover, sex determination scientifically rests with the MAN?!

The contraption called woman is in deed a complex entity stirring great emotions both left and right. Physically, emotionally, economically and socially, the woman card is a game changer at anytime. Fragile yet strong. Vulnerable yet powerful. Passive yet ferocious.

As we celebrate 2016 International women's day with the theme: Pledge for Parity. I have taken the liberty to voice my stance on the issues of gender equality and parity. My stannce stems from the traditional role of women. By traditional role, I mean mostly biological. In advocating gender parity, the biological role of women especially in child bearing must take centre stage. Let me  quote from an article I read a while ago that put this succinctly: "Women pay heavy baby penalty" (you can read the full article here). This is the true reality and one that must be fundamentally addressed if we are ever going to make any headway in the issues of gender parity. Indeed, what we really mean when we advocate for gender parity? As much as we might want to say that the beginning of this parity is ensuring women's rights e.g. the right to make decisions that affect the, we cannot be judged fair to thrust women such 'rights' when we know that there are uncontrollable circumstances that affect her decisions. In fact, it is as though nature had made some of the decisions for her, at least as far as the interplay between biology and sociology is concerned. As much as a woman might be interested in building a career in the corporates for example, she almost always has to choose between climbing the ladder along with her peers or building a family. Women who have two to three children during their career life, can loose up to 10 years off their career progression. This reality is daunting.

Society must come together to decide what it really wants to do with its Women folk. These pockets and bursts of policies that don't address fundamental issues will not take us very far. For example, when you allow women study engineering but most companies who don't want to employ them are not sanctioned, its just nonsense.

Women must be allowed to create their own sense of achievement and they must be respected for their choices. Like I have emphasized, the biology of women, 'stands against' the society's present push push for parity. A woman who decides to be a 'stay-at-home' mum should not be discriminated against, especially financially. Many women everyday opt for lower paying jobs simply to have more time for their family, especially their children. How do we 'pay' for this selfless sacrifice?

Pushing women into the boardroom, while it has its benefits, creates more problems in my opinion, especially when the same society does not leave the woman alone to make decisions about her need to or not to procreate!!

  • Women should be allowed to decide if and when they want to marry.
  • If they do get married, their decsion as to if and when they want to procreate should be supported.
  • Organizations and institutions must be sanctioned for playing the 'baby card' against women. 
  • Society must allow women to take advantage of medical advancements in deciding how, when and indeed IF they want to have children.
  • Our labour laws must make it easier for women to carry on their God given responsibility of child bearing with little penalty.

Since I have taken the family bias to achieving gender parity, it behooves on families under pined by cultures, to reorient themselves in these regard. I firmly stand against using women for cheap labour especially in the the home without commensurate recognition and/or compensation. This for me is the greatest stumbling block to the campaign for parity.  You cannot expect an oppressed person to naturally excel. Respect for women must be enshrined in our family values for women to blossom and supply their quota in the development of our society.

As for me I am deciding to be my own personal crusader. As we wait for society to come to terms with the kind of environment needed for women to fulfill their potential, I'll do my bit. I'll keep my own space. I will allow society neither to sterotype me nor to blackmail me. I will fulfil my potential in my own way and in my own time. I will juggle the balls at my own pace! And I will look into the mirror and smile to my self, congatulating me for a job weldone.

Happy International Women's Day! Celebrate yourself and all you mean to the world!!

Please drop your views and comments below. Thanks for reading.

Photo credits: photostock, 123RF

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2016: Talk is cheap!

 As we start a new year, I do not need to reiterate the frenzy with which we plot plans and goals and prayer requests. Churches allover the world come up with a watch word for the year. For some it's just a scripture vers; others attach a slogan to it : 'my year of ...'. It's all well and good. I too have a word for this year and it is 'talk is cheap'. You may be wondering how that can be a word for the year so before your mind gets messed up, let me explain.

The scriptural records started with chaos in Genesis chapter 1. And so it was until God spoke. Speech is the concretization of the musings of our heart. Jesus made this clear when he said 'out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks' (Matthew12:24). Before you can speak something out, your heart must be FULL of it. However, when we speak out, tremendous energy is released to bring our words to fulfilment.

Mark 11:23 KJV
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Ephesians 3:20 KJV
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Ezekiel 37:4 KJV
Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord .

Ezekiel 37:4 NLT
Then he said to me, "Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, 'Dry bones, listen to the word of the LORD!

We can see the power of the spoken word in this verses. In Proverbs 18:21 (NLT) we read: 'The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.' No doubt the tongue has power, I hope you agree.

So let's wrap it up. Seeing the power we can unleash with our tongue, talking, I say talk is cheap. It costs you and I nothing to speak into the atmosphere. To prophesy to your circumstances. To say what your heart is full of!

Talk is cheap dear friends and it can set great things in motion! Talk is what set our whole world in order for 'God said.... and there was...'

In this year 2016, say it until you have it, say it until you become it, say it until it looks like it,say it until you get there. No one's going to charge you a dime for it.

Talk is cheap!!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Keeping a straight walk

1 John 2:26-27 NLT
I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray. [27] But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true-it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.