30 November 2013


(Image Credit: mrdowling)
As of now, and in the course of writing this Weekly, I am on my knees- literally. It seems to me, having tried pacing, and the immersion of head in water to cool my brain and my being that on my knees is where I better can deliver this article which burns in my consciousness, despite the many itches surrounding it. 
Back in the days when men fought wars and lived on honour, sweat and blood, a mighty man of valour walked, leaving giant footprints that the sandstorms of time have failed to erase. Alexander the great, King of Macedonia. I assume you, as well as many others are familiar with the story of Alexander who fought many wars and never lost any, who lived by the sword –though he didn’t die by it; who drafted battle plans, went on many conquests starting from the age of twenty and conquered lands till his death, at the age of 32. It is needful to give this brief history of the man who rode the wings of time and lives on, on the many bloodied pages of history.


“Because of the lack of education on AIDS, discrimination, fear, panic, and lies surrounded me” ~Ryan White

If you think medicine is the only way to heal HIV/AIDS then Dr. Lizzy will make you think again. Through her book “Blood on the Page”; The Literary Responses to HIV and AIDS from South Africa and Zimbabwe from 1990-2005; her collection of interviews with the first writers to write about HIV and AIDS from South Africa and Zimbabwe published in 2010; she effectively used Literature as a tool to raise awareness about this disease and generated ideas on ways to fight it.

A mom, sports fan, and avid reader; Lizzy holds a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and she’s currently the Administrator of Africa’s leading Literary Prize—the Caine Prize.

We talked about HIV/AIDS, her book, her future plans; and she also shared tips on what the judges will be looking out for in awarding the 2014 Caine Prize. For World AIDS Day, here’s my stroll with Lizzy;

29 November 2013

SYMPATHY AND THE PALESTINIAN QUESTION (For International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People)

Guest Writer: Emmanuel Dairo
(Image Credit: UN)
Suffering is a common theme in world history. The European had his share of suffering during the heydays of Greco-Macedonian and then Roman westward campaigns. Mongoloid history is a long tapestry of wars of conquest or subjugation that relieved one group of people of their misery while plunging others into unmentionable anguish. Later Negro history tells of the harrowing fate of helpless African mass-slaughtered and enslaved under repeated waves of European assault. All these were triggered by the desire of one group to achieve dominion over another group and that group’s territory, culminating in the two deadly twentieth century wars where Asian, African and Anglo-American flesh in their millions were heaped up and sacrificed in battle theatres, burnt offerings to man’s heedless ambition to lord it over his fellow men.

Today, we remember a nation of people who have in recent times borne more suffering than any other. No group of people is in direr straits than the beleaguered Palestinians who have suffered long and hard, dispossessed of their homeland by a combination of British complacency and Zionist racism and herded into the confined cubicles they currently call home – Gaza and the West Bank. Current victims of a macabre historical play that has been acted out in the Land of Canaan for the best part of three millennia, the people of Palestine find themselves without much shelter, little water and even less food – and these deplorable living conditions are becoming increasingly worse by the minute as Israel maintains tighter and tighter blockade of the region, fearful of being targeted by vengeful Palestinian insurgency.

25 November 2013

TILL RAPE DO US PART (For International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women)

Guest Writer: Elnathan John
In the past three days I have had cause to be scared for Nigerian women. I had long online debates with at least 30 young Nigerian (married and unmarried) men from different professions: lawyers, engineers, civil servants, teachers on the issue of marital rape. It has taken me a while to get over the shock of some of what I heard to write this article debunking the popular myths surrounding marital rape.

One does not need to have experienced rape to understand the seriousness of rape as a crime. Its highly intrusive, sometimes violent nature makes it capable of deep, lasting damage- more so than many other violent crimes. Often, the perpetrator of rape, (some put the frequency at as high as 90% of the time) is known to the victim- a neighbor, friend, uncle, cousin, husband, teacher, pastor, ex-partner. Rape takes on a new dimension when the victim is raped by someone close- then it even becomes harder to report. [Please note that while rape and sexual violence also happens to men, the focus of this article is marital rape as perpetrated by men]

DUSTING THE PATHWAYS OF TIME (For International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women)

Guest Writer: Mary Ajayi
(Image Credit: dreamstime)

He sat before me in the living room, sketching on a piece of paper and humming the nursery rhyme he learnt in school. Starring at him, I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been without him, this child –my anchor and hope. I sit watching his chubby hands sketch the image of a football, face concentrated in a serious attempt at doing it just right so he could show it to me like he had several others he had drawn weeks back.

‘Mummy, have you been keeping my football drawings?’ he asked, still concentrating on the task at hand.

‘Yes dear. I have them all tucked away in our secret place.’

‘Okay. I want to show these sketches when I become a footballer like…er…erm…’ face scrunched in remembrance, he searched long and hard for the name of his role-model.

A STROLL WITH CHRISTINA LAMB (For International Day For the Elimination Of Violence Against Women)

“Break the silence. When you witness violence against women and girls, do not sit back. Act” ~Ban Ki-moon

The world watched with horror as the ambulance carrying the 23-year-old female medical student—who was gang raped in a private bus in Delhi—drove to the hospital in Singapore where she later died, thirteen days after she was raped—and beaten with a metal rod—by 6 men and thrown off the moving bus with her male friend; who was also beaten during the assault. This incidence sparked a lot of protests in India and drew condemnation from the international community. But  what has changed?

Well, not much. Women are still being raped daily—and it’s not just in India, all over the world—8-year-old girls are still trafficked and made to work in red light districts; old women are still being targeted during community clashes and wars; the violence goes on. That is why today is declared an ‘orange day’ by the secretary-general’s UNiTE to end violence against women campaign. The aim of this is to draw attention to violence done against women, and to unite the world in fighting against it.

Christina, my guest, is a multi award-winning journalist, author, mom, and Officer of the order of the British Empire. She’s currently foreign correspondent for the Sunday times and is an expert in regions like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Israel. Among the many books she has authored, she recently co-authored ‘I AM MALALA’ with Malala Yousafzai, in which they both inspired other girls and women around the world to stand up for what they believe in at all cost, even if they have to risk being shot in the head.

We talked about women, violence, Malala, and how we can end violence against women globally. Here’s my stroll with Christina:

21 November 2013

A STROLL WITH TOPE FOLARIN (For World Philosophy Day)

“I have gained this from philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear” ~Aristotle

In a world dominated by dos and don’ts, philosophy gives us a reason to reason. To open up our God-given minds and stretch our thoughts to the extremes of logic in the aim to find out what we are doing, and why we are doing what we are doing.

Someone once said “all great writers are philosophers”, that is why my guest on the stroll today is a writer; and not just a writer but an award-winning writer. Mr.Tope Folarin is the winner of the 2013 Caine Prize for his short story ‘Miracle’, set in an evangelical Nigerian church in Texas. And considering the fact that philosophy and religion have always been clashing, I don’t think I’d have found a better guest with enough contradiction to make a great stroll for world philosophy day.

In course of our stroll, we discussed extensively on philosophy and its use in the society today; he did a rewind on his past before the Caine prize; gave me a sneak peep into his future plans; and I also asked him about the rumours making the rounds that he’s holding a grudge against Chimamanda Adichie.

Here’s my stroll with Tope;


Guest Writer: Davis Donatus
(Image Credit: cutecaster)
Bowing of the knee in religious circles is a display of piety, submission to God and the god-figure; it is also categorized as a human show of humble descent to aid the divine ascent of prayer for the expected answers that may follow. But, this act is also generally used in certain African societies as punishment for wrongdoing. Men who proved themselves worthy in the English societies knelt to be knighted, whilst others did kneel in the paying of homage and in displaying allegiance to lords, nobles and kings. In essence, kneeling is plainly a human thing.

The physical bowing of the knees has a of psychological effect on the mental positioning of the individual kneeling and the figure to whom his knees are bowed. But, there is nothing spiritual about kneeling. Nothing at all. If one kneels to pray, that prayer would be a short one. How long can the bones that make up the joints in your knee bear the entire weight of your body -from head to thighs- before it begins to ache and is blistered? The timing sure varies per individual, but one would definitely tarry longer in prayer on his feet or some other position desired. Not the knees. To me, kneeling not only ruins prayer, it'd have you feasting on the proverbial half-baked cake; being weary amid your act of piety will be a great instigation to discontinuance.

TRENDING TECHNOLOGY (For World Television Day)

Guest Writer: Oluwafemi Ogunjobi
(Image Credit: healthcareasia)
Growing up, as a first child born into a semi-literate, and an average-income family, I filled my years with activities that rarely make meaning to some. After school hours, at around 3p.m, when I'm done with the house chores and school assignments, I'd vacate the house to watch television at the ''Area's rich man's'' house. Not that we were poor, or we did not have electronic gadgets, I only queue at the Old Man's place to watch some interesting programmes that our own 'local antenna' won't pick. I was fascinated by the coloured-screened digital set, nothing like our 'black and white' gadget, and also enjoy such programmes when there is power outage, programmes I will definitely miss if I don't go to the rich man's residence to see them. My father returns at night to power our gadgets with his car battery while the Area's rich man powers his house with generator when there is power outage. This endeared me to visit his place the more. Luck however shone on my family one day when my father got 'all new' electronic gadgets, including a generator. We all were very happy at the new phase of life. I remember how my mother brought the good news to me at the rich man's house, where I was busy in front of the TV. And that was when I stopped being pests at other people's electronic gadgets. What have I been saying? To me, I agree with Helen Fisher who said: 'Television is like a global campfire, we shield around it and it shapes our mind'.

20 November 2013

THE CONVERSATION (For Universal Children's Day)

Guest Writer: Olisakwe Ukamaka Evelyn
(Image Credit:5forum.biz)
Chidinma sat before me, eyes fixed on mine, brows creased in expectation, waiting for when I would begin The Conversation. It is important, this conversation, because:
She is growing faster than I can breathe.
I never had this conversation with my own mother. It would have been easier if I had it with my mother. There are many ways she could get taught wrongly, if I avoid this conversation. She really wants us to talk about this.

CHILD (For Universal Children's day)

Guest Writer: Lekh Raj
(Image Credit: worldfotographyart)
When first approached to contribute something to mark ‘Universal children’s day’, I found myself in a quandary and made use of internet connectivity which has numerous information, virtually at your fingertips. It is there to remind us of the disparity of conditions between children growing up all over the world. Of how no child deserves to be without the necessities of food, shelter, medical care and schooling. You can find out more about this observance by clicking here. (http://www.un.org/en/events/childrenday/)

19 November 2013

TO BE A MAN (For International Men's Day)

Guest Writer: Ikhide R. Ikheloa

(Image Credit: justhappyquotes)

For the Men in Our Lives...
We are living in fascinating times – on many levels. Relationships are being assessed in the light of civil and human rights and life as we know it in the 21st century. Labels abound; misogyny, misandry, feminism, patriarchy, matriarchy, etc. Depending on which side you are. Most of these labels are pejoratives used to describe crushing dysfunctions. Anyhow you look at it, man, as in the male, seems to be under pressure, if not under attack, to change his ways. The family structure with the man at the top or at the center is now seen as something designed by Early Man, something that should go the way of the dodo. There is good reason for these feelings. Patriarchy in its worst forms is a form of oppression and even in societies with robust laws, structures and processes, women and children often bear the brunt of patriarchy and its attendant misogyny. Change is coming, but it is not coming fast enough.

REMEMBER US (Action Plan For International Journalists' Remembrance Day)

Image Credit: tweepi
Journalists are the fourth estate of the society. This fourth estate defends the cause of truth, freedom and justice and the men and women who make it up, are fearless people who challenge the polity and dimensions of governance with their Pen. Needless to say, some of these ones have lost their lives in the cause of defending truth, freedom and justice and striving to create necessary changes in necessary places. On a day like this, we're hopeful that their spirits are still with us in  Press rooms all over the world and on the field, even as we carry on the cause for which they died for, building on their legacies and seeking the permanent establishment of truth, freedom and justice. We call on you to act in the commemoration of this day and those great ones we hold dear in fighting this cause.  

A STROLL WITH JENNIFER EHIDIAMEN (For International Journalists' Remembrance Day)

“I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is an immediate short-term weapon.” ~Tom Stoppard

From the village town crier reporting at the market square to the foreign correspondent on cable TV, we are grateful to all the men and women who invest their time, resources, and even put their lives on the line to keep us all informed on a day-to-day basis. Journalism has evolved over the years, and the evolution of technology has facilitated this process a great deal. Right now we have a wide range of information sources to choose from and we can even share our own views with people from around the world in real time.

My guest, Jennifer, is a tech savvy Nigerian Journalist keen about using the new media as a tool to disseminate information. She’s presently serving as a senior reporter and media trainer at Global Press Institute, and she’s a 2013 new media fellow at the International Reporting project at John Hopkins University SAIS.

We talked about her flare for journalism; the evolution of Global journalism down the years; other youth leadership and entrepreneurial ventures she’s involved in; and so much more. For International Journalist’s Remembrance Day 2013, here is my stroll with Jennifer Ehidiamen;

16 November 2013

FLORENTINA (For International Day for Tolerance)

Guest Writer: Dike-Ogu Chukwumerije
Image Credit: wesfaulk
I grew up in the darkness because there was always something wrong with the transformer in our estate, on the boundary between Lagos and Ogun. This was 1992 when Sango-Ota was still a quiet backwater. And the roads in Ojuore were all sand, and crooked. But my brother had a guitar. And at night he would sit, with a lantern at his feet, stroking strings at the edge of the kerosene-scented halo.

15 November 2013

Can Science Solve all the Problems in the World? (For World Science Day for Peace and development)

Guest Writer: Richard Oduor
Image Credit: www.kazembassy.hr
In the 21st century, the word ‘science’ means ‘solutions’. The international Observance, World Science Day for Peace and Development, offers us a platform and a chance share our ideas for a better world and reiterate, once more, that science is the solution for all the world’s material problems. Over the centuries, science has transmuted from being a sacred discipline accessible only to a select few to become a way of life. Every single day, individuals, consciously or unconsciously, rely on established scientific principles to make individual, family, community, national, and global decisions. The world would never have achieved the current state of technological advancement without scientific thought. Science is the furnace where ideas are smelt, purified, and modelled into useful tools.

14 November 2013


Image credit: www.theguardian.com
I have always been one to defy tradition and laws I do not believe in; sacrificing for freedom of self and expression, even as I angle to help fight the cause of human right, justice and equality. In this weekly, there is a deep call from within to consider this, take advice (whatever you glean) and speak your mind. Enjoy, even as you think.

A STROLL WITH TADE IPADEOLA (For Day Of the Imprisoned Writer)

“The writer’s curse is that even in solitude, no matter its duration, he never grows lonely or bored.” ~Criss Jami

Some writers don’t just write stories to tickle fancies. They use their pens as megaphones to speak against powers that try to deny people the basic human right of freedom of expression, and often these writers are persecuted, imprisoned, and even killed. That is why since 1981 PEN International has dedicated November 15th to draw attention to persecuted writers around the world.

My guest on the stroll today is a poet, lawyer, and the president of PEN Nigeria. He’s also the winner of the prestigious NLNG Prize for Literature (2013)—one of the biggest literature prizes in Africa—for his book the Sahara Testaments; which has attracted a lot of positive reviews from around the world.

He told me about some imprisoned writers around the world and how we can help them; the secret writing process behind the Sahara Testaments; the various projects PEN Nigeria is involved in; and so much more.

Here’s what we discussed;

9 November 2013


Stella Oduah, Nigeria's Minister for Aviation (Image Credit: Jaguda)

Structures of whatever structure are put in place, for things to fall in place; leadership structures are no exception. When people gather to choose and implement their choices to represent their interests, be it in national or international affairs, these choices are expected to function well and with the interest of those who have chosen them in mind. Those who did the choosing can and should always hold these choices accountable.The choices are responsible to those who have chosen them; by choices, I mean ‘leaders’ of any kind and on any platform.

TOWARDS A BETTER SCIENCE-DRIVEN SOCIETY (For World Science Day for Peace and Development)

            Guest Writer : John Oyewale

I am thinking of science (and inexorably of technology) and at once I am thinking of Archimedes, Avicenna, Dalton, Newton, Boyle, Lord Kelvin, Tesla, Edison, Mendeleev, Pasteur, Koch, Fleming, Harvey, Salk, Roentgen, Einstein, Sanger, the Curies, Sir Gurdon…we could go on and on. I am also thinking of the Industrial Revolution, the rise of the United States of America, the World Wars and their attendant atrocities, the post-WWII arms race, the first manned flights in the skies as well as into space, the discovery of everything from, say, antimalarial drugs to the metabolic pathways of the human body and to the Higgs-Boson particle, the lingering struggle with multi-drug resistance, the incredibly vast network of the information superhighway on which Bill Gates and the perspicacious ghost of Steve Jobs may be driving on, side by side with a Lagos highway beggar and an Ile-Ife market woman…

A STROLL WITH CHINEDU MBAMALU (For World Science Day for Peace and Development)

                                    “Science shouldn't be a luxury” ~Jack Andraka 

Since the discovery of the wheel by our ancient ancestors, science and technology has really increased the will of man on earth. We can do almost anything right now; fly into space to visit neighboring planets, take pictures of a fetus developing in the womb, grow a new hairline for bald men, and even cook our food in split seconds. Science is indeed the foundation of our civilization. And whenever we talk about science and innovative ideas, our minds go to the highly sophisticated labs in developed countries because of the quality of ideas and products that have been made in there. But, today’s stroll will shock you!

Meet Chinedu, the man who believes he can revolutionize the Jet propulsion system and No, he’s not a student of MIT, Oxford, or Stanford. He’s a self-taught Nigerian Scientist who taught himself rocket science—I mean that literally—and thinks beyond the limitations of his environment.

We talked about his dreams and how he has managed to stay focused so far; his current projects; and how science and technology can be used for good in the world. Sit back and get inspired, here’s our conversation:

6 November 2013

THE UNPUBLICISED VICTIM OF WAR (For International Day for the Prevention of the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict)

Guest Writer: Ojekunle Aderemi

'Though mankind has always counted its war casualties in terms of dead and wounded soldiers and civilians, destroyed cities and livelihoods, the environment remains the unpublicized victim of war.'

I salute every courageous environmental activist, social workers, and others in this celebration of enlightenment which the UN has set aside for the education of the impacts of war and armed conflict on our environment.