Dr. Abi Adegboye is the Director of AfriLeads, Inc, an organization that builds leadership capacity. She is a public speaker and writer passionate about helping individuals lead their best lives. Author of Wanna B Prez? 10 Life Strategies from President Barack Obama's Journey to the White House, Abi tours the country speaking to groups about 'vision in position.' Ignite your leadership star by connecting with Dr. Abi at www.afrileads.com or book her for your event at (678) 590-5810.
The idea of lessons learnt implies mistakes were made. I definitely made some in 2012 and learnt lessons from them but I also learnt lessons just by living through specific experiences both personally and vicariously.
F.E.A.R often is False Evidence Appearing Real: I always thought this was a pithy saying and mocked that it should be told to someone being chased by a cheetah. But in 2012, I realized that there is some truth to it. I became well-acquainted with fear in 2012 as I changed jobs and moved residence. I was afraid I would not find a home to live, and then I was afraid I would not get a rental agreement, and later I was afraid that I would not be able to register the girls in school… At a point, I was afraid of making a move in any direction. So many steps caused a paralysis fear that when they eventually turned out right, I was stunned by how much I had feared the outcomes. I realized that some things I built into gruesome obstacles were mere puny challenges that with the right strategy could be overcome. Now, I know to feel the fear and do it anyway. I know not to let fear be a paralyzing emotion by remembering that it is false evidence appearing real.
Following your dreams takes hard work: forget ‘work smart not hard’ and other fanciful ideas which sound great in theory but are impractical. You must WORK HARD to achieve your dreams. I learnt that running my own business means that I have to be on top of everything going on. I must vision, plan, and see to the timely execution of my plans. I must keep the agenda and also the books. Sure, I am learning to strategically employ others to help me achieve my dreams (by the way, beware of web designers who promise an awesome website and deliver malware), but ultimately, the accomplishment of anything depends on me. Its either I do what needs to be done or I lean heavily on someone I pay to do what needs to be done. Period.
We are all connected one way or another: My aunt said of 2012, “the highs were really high and the lows really low.” Indeed, the lows of 2012 had greater global impact than in previous years. The crash of Dana Flight 992 brought home the reality of our global village not just for Nigerians but for Indians, Chinese, Americans, and others connected to the victims of the ill-fated plane. It taught me that turning a blind eye to corruption is not a viable option nor is it an approach for dealing with the kind of sanctioned evil perpetrated against innocent children in Newtown, Connecticut. We must fight evil with everything we’ve got before it gets us.
Some people are really not worth the time: I used to be a sucker for intellect. Give me a guy spouting ideas and I am a goner (correction, I was a goner). No more. In 2012, I encountered more time-wasting intellectuals than you could count on your fingers. Folks who spun brilliant ideas, inspired others to “work towards the goal,” and came up empty. Very disappointing. I am officially cured, thank you.
Other lessons of 2012 include: don’t expect Nigerians to RSVP, simply prepare for a horde; don’t expect the same group to keep time, you should simply keep your own time; and what you eat matters, quit the junk habit and get with the program or into a program as the case may be. Finally, there’s a difference between potential and performance – a person might have the potential to do a big something but may never do it. So, I am building on my lessons and moving from potential to performance in 2013. See you next year by God’s grace.
My friend Brian is petrified about going ‘home’ to the village to celebrate his parents’ golden anniversary. He’s endured endless calls and emotional pulls to make him change his mind. Initially, I joined the herd, “You know, it would mean so much to your parents. If fact, you shouldn’t go alone but with your entire family,“ I remonstrated thinking to myself, I would never do such a heartless thing my parents. Almost as soon as I finished, his brother called to check on his flight plans and his estimated time of arrival. He hemmed and hawed and got off the phone then rounded on me. “Look! I have four kids under ten years at home and I don’t want my wife to suffer taking care of them alone! I mean, everyday, I hear news of people being kidnapped and held for ransom. We don’t have the kind of money these mad men demand. Besides, even if friends are able to raise a ransom, there’s no guarantee the person will walk out of their clutches alive!”
Of course, his concerns over being kidnapped if he travelled to his village in Eastern Nigeria to celebrate 50 years of his parents’ union, is well grounded in reality. The latest kidnapping saga involving the mother of the finance minister underscores his concerns – kidnappers respect no one – rich or poor, local or expatriate, young or old, father of four or son of devoted parents. As a social scientist, I was irked by the fact that I couldn’t offer him any certainties about his travel other than, “God forbid you get kidnapped; we will pray that everything goes well on your trip.” I wanted to be able to say something professorial like, “frankly, your concerns are ungrounded because research findings suggest that kidnapping activities have a higher frequency in areas of the lower east and not close to your hometown. Further, kidnapping peaks between January and March and the demography often targeted are older women with six or more children living outside the country.” But I couldn’t offer any of these “findings” with any veracity. So, I am appealing to social scientists out there is the field to offer data to help Brian go home. Data needed include:
There’s plenty of work for all manner of researchers – psychologists can provide us with a profile of a kidnapper so family members may spot them and turn them in; sociologists can generate data on the environment where kidnappers thrive and recommendations on how to change such environment. Criminal justice researchers could tell us how to better police our streets and how to effectively apply punitive measures to reduce the crime. Political Scientists can determine which policies would effectively deter such activities and to promote security.
Ogbon ju agbara lo; brains surpass power – Yoruba proverb.
One could look at the campaign of 2012 as the triumph of brains over brawn, strategy over power, tactics over wealth. Indeed, pundits discuss Obama’s strategy as one which early on aligned him with the middle class but discredited his opponent as a friend of the wealthy. As noted in Wanna B Prez?, Obama’s game plan in 2008 included a physical and virtual campaign, 50-state door to door grassroots organization, and effective use of social networks. Likewise, 2012 revealed a repeat of this strategy alongside a harder-edged message engineered to give him an edge over his opponent. On the long run, his strategy paid off and helped him to triumph over his better funded and perhaps, more powerful, opponent.
Systems work. Strategies are effective. Planning matters. Planning is the difference between a rousing success and utter failure. Without a game plan, your dreams become mere hallucinations of an addled mind. As Benjamin Franklin noted, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Nobody gets up and decides to rule a nation in one day; the task requires vision, focus, and strategic planning. Make plans today to attain your goals.
To outline your game plan, create a table with the following columns: goals (what you want to achieve), objectives (sub-goals or actual actionable steps that you will take to accomplish your goal), action steps (each step needed to fulfill each objective), timeline (when you will take the outlined step), and check (a column for a pass mark when you finish your action steps, objectives, and goal). Go ahead; create your game plan today.
[adapted from Wanna B Prez? 10 Life Strategies from President Barack Obama’s Journey to the White House].
You face the biggest challenge of all: to have the courage to seek your big dream regardless of what anyone says...
- Oprah Winfrey
You cannot stroll to your goal. And heck no, your record does not speak for itself. There is no better illustration than this past presidential race. When we look at President Obama’s record, we could argue that he has accomplished more than many presidents did in their first term in office. He got Bin Laden, wound down two wars and won two more without committing more troops into combat, saved the middle class from sure extinction, yet he had to fight to retain his seat as president.
In the 2004 race, we recorded that then Senator Obama faced many obstacles to his candidacy including being a black male with Islamic sounding names in a post-9/11 America. He was relatively unknown, lacked major funding, and of questionable nationality. Yet, he showed up. In this past campaign, we saw him campaigning vigorously particularly in key states reassuring his base while striving to garner support from outsiders. He worked the campaign trail tirelessly. He showed out!
So many people these days simply want to ‘stroll to their goal’ thinking life owes them a living. I hope you are not one of these people. Life owes no one a living; you must roll up your sleeves and do what you need to do to bring your dreams into reality. So take an inventory, what would it take to achieve your dreams and goals? How smart and hard do you need to work? When and where do you need to work? Then hit the ground running.
[adapted from Wanna B Prez? 10 Life Strategies from President Barack Obama’s Journey to the White House].
Stiff Republican opposition…
Highly Liberal agenda…
Heavy funding of opponent…
Even as the pundits are spinning President Obama’s win as a fluke resulting from narrow wins in key states, we must pause to acknowledge the enormity of the feat. This is a president who has been unable to deliver on major 2008 campaign promises due in large part, to a Republican Congress. Indeed, his lack of delivery caused many 2008 supporters to turn away from him in this election. Coupled with a flailing economy, he was guaranteed failure. A poor economy has sunk the reelection aspirations of many an incumbent regardless of whether or not they caused it. To further jeopardize his position, Obama ran on a highly liberal agenda with the promise to tax the rich and fund social programs. Hence the rich responded by overfunding super PACs and stiffling the airwaves with negative ads. And the virulent, rabid racism? Towards the end of the race, it seemed everywhere you turned, some redneck was swearing to “get the n** out of office!”
Yet, unwavering in his dream, President Obama requested four more years.
Arguably, the president had a recipe for failure, and for a while, some believed he was a one-termer. But he dared to dream of a second term and to infect enough people with his impossible dream so that they rose up and campaigned tirelessly for him, going door-to-door, calling voters, cajoling those undecided, and raising funds in bits and pieces until his dream was realized.
Do you have an impossible dream? Or perhaps your first question should be, “do you DARE TO DREAM? Are you brimming with talent but no vision? Borrow a leaf from the President and Dream Big! Dream of using your talents and gifts to impact our world in a positive and meaningful way. Dream of creating a legacy that stands the test of time. Face challenges and obstacles boldly but hold on tight to your dream. Infect others with your dream that you may not crusade alone. And above all, dream till you win!
[adapted from Wanna B Prez? 10 Life Strategies from President Barack Obama’s Journey to the White House].
This election more than any other has caused me to reflect on the nature of the battle between good and evil; moreso on the Christian message that good always triumphs over evil or the better person wins. As a Sunday school teacher, it makes great teaching and the building of upright citizens to admonish them to do good because “good guys always win.” We throttle out the story of Daniel in the Lion’s den, the four Hebrew boys in fiery furnace, even Lot’s escape from Sodom and Gomorrah as examples of how the good guy wins in the end. But what about the story of Jesus, an innocent man by all accounts, who was hung on a tree simply because the crowd voted for a thief?
While no politician can be compared to Jesus Christ, I still want a triumph of integrity over lies, d**ned lies, and *--* liars. I want to be able to go out to my youth meetings and proclaim, “integrity matters, you can’t just lie your way into the highest office in the land – or any office for that matter. Your lies will convict you!” I want to be able to tell them that the problems we’ve been having in Africa have been caused by a lack of integrity in leadership and that if we have candidates of character, the people will vote them into office and they will transform the landscape.
But I can’t, because just as masses in the day of Jesus Christ, voted for the thief and hung the righteous man on a tree; they continue to make such ‘interesting’ choices. Sure, the Jews of those days had their reasons – “he claimed to be king!” some decried. “He turned the people against Caesar!” others condemned.
Corrupt temple traders, tax collectors, priests, and demons grumbled under their breath, “he ruined our businesses.” And the crowd ‘went along just to get along.’ So, the good man lost. Just as we often see in our world today, the good man loses. And society suffers. “So why be good if it will cost you an election, a job, a community or pray not, a life?” a young person asks.
Because, in the very final analysis, good still wins. Good often is its own reward and it yields great rewards both in the short and long term. Just as we see in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, his death brought about his resurrection and the saving of billions from hell, so also, we believe that when good people lose, they yet win.
[This essay is by no stretch of the imagination, advocating a ‘que sera sera’ attitude about this or any other election. If you have not done so, go vote; if you are denied the right, tear shirt and raise the roof. By all means, both necessary and advantageous, righteous people should fight to put good people into office. Good benefits not only the individual but the society, and world at large].
Story reference: Holy Bible, Matthew 27: 16-26.
We all know the saying, “behind every successful man, there is a supportive wife;” but do you know the other one? - behind every successful vagabond, there is a cadre of co-dependents? These codependents are the people who legitimize and reinforce his/her vagabondry.
Take the experience of an acquaintance whom we shall call RET (Real Estate Tycoon). RET went to Lagos to celebrate his daughter’s wedding. Having made good in Yankee, he decided to ship in his S-Class for show during the nuptials. Upon arrival, his mother recommended someone to clear the car at customs and deliver it to him speedily.
“Omoluabi ni,” Mom said, invoking the image of a man of integrity, “he will clear it and bring it to you very fast.”
So RET contacted “Omoluabi” and negotiated the cost of clearing the car. “Omoluabi” demanded N250,000 to clear the car by Monday. As an incentive, RET promised N20,000 extra if he delivered the car on Monday as promised.
On Monday, RET got a call from “Omoluabi” who said, “Ah Oga, I didn’t realize that your S-Class is custom built o. The car is not an ordinary car, now. Ah… to clear it would cost N100,000 more o!”
“What the F**k!” RET exploded slipping into ‘Americanese’ for a moment. “I described the car to you during our negotiation so you can’t tell me you didn’t know it was custom-built. Secondly, you gave me your word that you will deliver my car today. Now you are talking trash. Let me warn you, if you don’t deliver my car by Wednesday, you will find yourself in a jail cell.” He hung up.
Sitting in the parlor, Mom heard the conversation and immediately jumped on RET after he hung up, “Why are you using such bad language? And threatening the poor boy who is only trying to help you? Please stop talking like that; we don’t do that here.”
Chagrined, RET apologized for his language and explained why he’d used it. What happened next shocked the H-E-double sticks out of him and led to his telling the story and my writing it. Mom said, “Heen, what “Omoluabi said is correct, now. If he told you the car would cost more to clear, it would cost more to clear. He is a very honest man!” RET could not believe his ears – his own mom who had been a disciplinarian school principal when he and his siblings were growing up, was justifying extortion! She was not only agreeing with the vagabond, she was actually defending his actions!
Why would a highly educated, otherwise morally upright disciplinarian justify criminality? Why would people agree to pay exorbitant prices to derelict providers who don’t deliver quality? Why would anyone vote for a well-known thief? And why would anyone excuse the actions of terrorists and kidnappers?
My article, the Arelu Phenomenon or Why Evil Thrives, illustrates how codependency is a common phenomenon amongst Africans worldwide. Co-dependents don’t rat out the drug dealer in spite of the havoc he causes because they each assume, “there goes I but for the grace of God.” And codependents acquiesce to the shenanigans of a morally-bankrupt corps of leaders because they believe it is the only way to ‘preserve the peace.’ Like RET’s mom, they advocate for a bad guy for fear that should they do differently, he would come after them. Thus, behind every successful vagabond is a brigade of co-dependents who vigorous justify and thereby reinforce his behavior.
The unfortunate thing about such sycophantic self-preservation techniques is that they don’t work. The same vagabond who delivered the car at an exorbitant markup could arrange with armed robbers to come steal it and kill everyone obstructing the success of his heinous mission. So is it better to stop him at the pass…Or appease him?
Disclosure: while the word vagabond actually means tramp or vagrant, it is used here to mean miscreant, vermin, perpetrator of corruption, scum of the earth, morally bankrupt, colluder, parasite, and all things evil.
On Thursday, my cousin sent this BBM, “Please join me to pray that the USA, Ukraine, Jamaica, Brazil, Germany, Trinidad & Tobago, and the Netherlands all either drop their batons or fall down to ensure Nigeria can win a medal. If not, na last we go carry. Oya my people PRAY!!” Sure, it was sent tongue in cheek but it prompted me to think about Nigeria’s Olympic gory. No, I didn’t forget the ‘L’ in glory; there is simply no L in Nigeria’s 2012 Olympic presence. And there are many reasons for this sorry state of affairs.
Take definitions for instance; twenty years ago, the term athletes was used to describe individuals who excelled in a sport such as sprinters, long jumpers, soccer players and the like. Today, the term is used loosely to describe folks who are related to sports officials or those able to bribe their way to a spot on the country’s team. They are barely talented, poorly trained, and worse mannered. Yet we know that countries that mean business, scout for athletes year round and invest in grooming the best for a chance at Olympic gold.
Further, we allow aging athletes to remain on the team year in year out without replacement. As one commentator noted, Nigeria fielded the same 33 year old athlete in a game of youngsters. And he wasn’t even commenting on the fact that we field grown folk in games of youth; anyone remember the first outing of the baby eagles?
Today, our stadiums have been converted into beer parlors and the money required for training superb athletes, stolen by all manner of corrupt officials. Even when these officials are imported, they are unable to overcome challenges of nepotism in athlete selection, embezzlement of training funds, and outdated equipment and modes of operation.
Lastly, we must not forget our ‘fire-fire’ approach to training whereby we don’t begin to practice until the Olympics is round the corner. We don’t even select coaches until the year of the Olympics while countries like China start pumping money into training their athletes as early as age 4.
Can we not borrow a leaf from China, Australia, UK, and the like? Or USA where athletes are afforded the best training equipment? Like everything, corruption has permeated our sports yet, instead of building systems to reduce the impact of corruption, we pray that all our contenders suffer a handicap. Amen.
It is Aso Ebi season in Georgia – summer weather, kids on holidays, and parties aplenty. Every weekend features a variety of weddings, birthday parties, association meetings, and funerals; each an opportunity to participate in the buying and selling of aso ebi or ‘Aso-ebinomics.’ Defined, it is the art or perhaps craft of financing the purchase of aso ebis. It should not to be confused with ‘Ebinomics’ or the hemorrhaging of one’s finances by relatives both real and imagined. Aso-ebinomics encompasses both the tangible and intangible profits and accruals from the purchasing and trafficking of Aso-Ebi. Now, when we say ‘trafficking,’ we don’t mean those who sell yards of cloth for a living but those who make a side hustle from selling said yards of cloth or head attire to raise petty cash for their parties.
Say, your friend wants to throw herself a 40th birthday bash but does not have the requisite cash, she may creatively finance her party by buying lace or the fabric du jour and accompanying headgear at cost and selling them to you and others at inflated prices. This way, she will raise enough capital to finance her bash.
So you participate in your friend’s asoebinomics because you love your friend, want to garner goodwill towards your own future celebration, or simply don’t know what to do with your money (as in money miss road). What does it actually cost you? And what do you gain? One, you will certainly stand out at the party, receive preferential treatment, and definitely receive invitations from others to continue participation in asoebinomics. On the other hand, if you choose to invest same amount in a carefully selected mutual fund, even in this dire economic times, you may experience a different outcome. Below is a rough sketch of both scenarios:
$500 (complete lace, headgear, bag, and bata)
$500 x 5% annually
You honored your friend, looked glorious, had a great time, and posted your photos on Facebook.
$525 in mutual funds
Fluctuation in value of investment
Argued with your friend over certain undisclosed issues.
Market fluctuations cause a drop in the value of your stocks - $450.
Your reaction to market fluctuation
You now have a former friend.
You leave your money in mutual funds.
Your former friend throws another 40th bash to mark her 43rd birthday and you buy the aso ebi to mend fences - $650.
After three years, your stocks recover some value and ROI increases by 10% annually -
Total Investment after two years
50% in goodwill because you may again disagree with your friend over other undisclosed issues.
50% in goodwill because your friend has come to accept you as a nonparticipant in asoebinomics.
If your idea of a good party is staying home and watching movies or if you want your guests to have something to do while waiting for your party to start, kick back and enjoy Yoruba theatre and movies.There's a plethora of movies to choose from depending on your taste – old or new school.Hubert Ogunde (1916-1990) is considered the father of modern Yoruba/Nigerian theatre, launching his theatre group in 1946 following the pattern of traditional Alárìnjó dramas which accompanied the Egúngúns.
Since Ogunde, there have been other theatre groups and more recently, movies which artistically combine drama, music, and dance celebrating Yoruba culture. The movies usually present jùjú prowess, family relations within polygamy, societal issues, and Yoruba cultural values.
Behind the scenes making on-screen magic are playwrights, directors, and group managers. This truly remarkable bunch include: Wole Soyinka, Ola Balogun, Ola Rotimi, Dapo Adelugba, Kola Ogunmola, Art Alade, Ben Tomoloju, Wale Ogunyemi, Adebayo Faleti, Gbenga Adewusi, Femi Osofisan, Femi Lasode, Wale Adenuga, Jimoh Aliyu, Fred Agbeyegbe, Muyideen Alade Aromire, Tunde Kelani, Tade Ogidan, and Kareem Adepoju (Baba Wande).
Stars of Yoruba Theatre
1950 - 1960s
Drama: Hubert Ogunde
Comedy: Moses Olaiya (Baba Sala)
Movies: Yoruba Ronu,Otito Koro
Drama: Duro Ladipo (Oba k'oso)
Comedy: Funso Adeolu (Chief Eleyinmi)
Ibidun Allison (Amebo)
Movies: Oba k'oso, Ajani Ogun, Ogbori Elemoso
Drama: Oyin Adejobi
Lere Paimo (Eda Onileola)
Adeyemi Afolayan (Adelove)
Ishola Ogunsola (I show pepper)
Comedy: Tajudeen Gbadamosi and Ayo Ogunsina (Jacob and Papalolo)
Ola Omonitan (Ajimajasan)
Sunday Omobolanle (Aluwe)
Tunji Oyelana (Sura the Tailor)
Movies: Aiye, J'aiye simi, Aropin n'tenia, Ayanmo, Arelu
Drama: Toyin Adegbola (Asewo to re Mecca)
Comedy: Babatunde Omidina (Baba Suwe)
Lola Idije (Iya Rainbow)
Modupe Johnson (Fali Werepe)
Kayode Olaseinde (Pa Ajasco)
Movies: Saworo Ide,Owuro l'Ojo, Agbara Nla,
Ti Oluwa ni Ile, Maradona, Sango
Drama: Femi Branch
Taiwo Hassan (Ogogo)
Comedy: (Baba Latin)
Movies: Eta'nu, Owo Ale, Jenifa, Arugba
(Culled from Owanbe! Yoruba Celebrations of Life by Abi Adegboye & Ibiyemi Dare)