Tuesday, 25 August 2009

This is the Koko of a 9ICE article about M.I!

(Strictly for the young)
IT all started with Music Africa. No matter what was on anywhere else, I would constantly flip back to the programme from 12 noon till 3pm every day. It was my daily fix of all things Nigerian, all things entertaining. No, not everything on it was fab; in fact, some videos made me wonder how unfair it was that some artistes have money while others don’t. But whatever it was, I watched.

One day, I saw the coverage of a concert in England. Gbenga Adeyinka introduced one guy on stage. I had the remote in my hand, and I was like that till the guy finished performing.
The guy was handsome, but that was not the koko. The koko was not even, the harmonica he played, nor the stagecraft he displayed. For me, the koko was, All The Way, the song he performed. I knew there and then that I wanted to hear more from him, and I told everyone I could about that.
There was no facebook back then or I would have made it a status update. But still I looked forward to the guy they called D’Banj, and when he came to Nigeria, I saw him live. I was not disappointed.
Still glued to Music Africa, I then saw the video for 2shotz song, Make Dem Talk. There was a guy there singing. He looked and sounded interesting. I noted him.

A FEW years later, I heard a song at a party. I had no clue what was being said at first, but the beat was catchy, and the guy singing had a pied piper quality to his voice.
It felt like whatever he was selling, I was buying! I asked around and was told the song was Gongo Aso, and the guy was 9ice, the same one that sang, Little Money and Ganja Man.
Really? Same dude on Make Dem Talk and on Ruggedy Baba? Wow! He has something oh!
I searched for that song, and that guy everywhere. I went for almost any show that had him on the bill, and started to learn the lyrics to his songs.
In fact, I played Gongo Aso so much that my co-workers on Apprentice Africa, and my family, had the tune playing in their heads!
Then there was this guy. His name was M.I. He had a song, Crowd Mentality. I saw it on television once. He was based in the North, they said. But one day, I saw him in Lagos. I heard him perform, Blaze, and I heard the song once or twice on Biggy’s show on Rhythm. There was something about these songs. And then there was something more. It wasn’t just the music, it was the person.
On stage, he was electrifying. You had to notice him, pay attention to him, respect him...
There was something about him.
“There is something about him” is not something that is said often. But some people have something, and you can’t bottle it; there is no formula. It is charisma and grace, combined with talent and energy. And more.
Of course, none of these artistes is perfect, and I daresay they have, and will make some mistakes along the way. Maybe an album that disappoints fans, or dodgy videos, or the few minutes of attitude re-adjustment. Life is not about being perfect however. It is about living. And art is not about the best... sometimes, it is about the most daring. And I may not know the formula for making a great artiste, but I know being one of the crowd can’t be the first step!

You are what you eat
VARIOUS metabolic processes occur in the human bodies that are vital for life and survival. They include breathing, transmission of nervous messages, blood circulation, excretion etc.
The body needs energy to fuel these processes efficiently. Food provides the energy for these internal processes and also energy for all forms of physical and mental activity.
Eating of food as a practice should be both healthy and pleasurable.
Eating for enjoyment alone will deprive the body of the valuable nutrients it needs and on the other hand, eating wholesome foods in an unattractive manner and combination will make meal times a boring chore.
Therefore, the need for nourishment and variety in eating. As for tastiness of food, it belongs to the imagination and skill of the cook. But for the healthy aspect, it is essential that one learn the nutritional needs of the body and how food fulfils that need.
First and foremost, food preparation including the meal time-table (even for meals eaten outside) should be charted according to the time available (it will be difficult for someone after a hard-day’s work to arrive home and prepare a dish as tasking as moin-moin), food preference (personal choice), and eating habits. Next is how to prepare (or purchase) a meal that is varied but has all the essential nutrients in the right proportions.
All foods have a whole range of nutrients but in varying amounts.
A food would have a particular nutrient in very small amounts while another food would have it in very high degree (e.g. milk is rich in protein and calcium but has little amounts of vitamin C while oranges are very rich in vitamin C but have some amount of protein and calcium).
This is why foods are said to have complementary values, as the excesses of that nutrient in another will cancel the deficiency of a particular nutrient.

PROPOSING a general, ideal timetable for all and sundry is not necessary as individual needs and circumstances differ.
The most important thing is knowing the functions of different classes of foods (because when the purpose of something is unknown its abuse is inevitable) and making sure that your meals are energy-giving (from carbohydrates), protein-rich (meat, fish etc) low-in-fat and having enough vitamins and minerals (fruits and vegetables are rich in these).
Carbohydrates and fat are needed for energy. (Fats though they increase palatability are to be eaten sparingly as they have been linked to heart diseases), protein for body-building and repair, vitamins and minerals for the digestion of the three earlier mentioned nutrients and for the smooth running of the system.
Hence the need for a balanced diet. Not eating foods in their right proportions is not good because the body works like a network and any unalignment will be detrimental.
Also, eating excess of a particular food will turn out to be more harmful than beneficial as seen in diabetics (excess of carbohydrates) and heart- disease patients (excess of fats).

Keep this in mind that mal-nutrition is not only under-feeding but also over-feeding. Stop eating at the first sign of fullness the stomach gives as excess food will be stored as fat leading to over-weight and obesity (that’s another problem).
Water is needed for good health so drink copious amounts of it.
The benefits of the right nutrition are too good to be ignored. Your body enjoys from it because its functioning depends on it. You’ll have a strong immune system, radiant skin, mental alertness, physical energy just to mention a few.

E-mail etiquette

(Good Manners)
THE Internet and cell phone are two developments of the last two decades that have effectively killed letter writing. ‘Check your mails’ now refers to the electronic mail rather than the post office box.
Many of us cannot remember when last we visited the post office. The last time I was there, I needed guidance on the value of stamp for standard in-land mail. It was like walking into a museum.
However, whether the post office dies or not (no be my mouth you go hear am) one thing will never go out of fashion: corresponding .
This is about two people or organisations communicating through the written word. If corresponding will not go out of fashion, is it not better to learn how to do it well using the modern platform offered by the internet?
The rules for good e-mail etiquette are not much different from what your Primary 4 teacher taught you about letter writing.
The need for the sender’s address on the top right hand corner may have been obviated, but nothing has changed about the opening greeting or salutation.
Opening greetings still remain the same for formal or informal correspondences not minding the medium. There is no place for “hi” in a formal e-mail.
Can you think of a job application starting: ‘Hi Employer’? If this sounds like an extreme example, how about many informal mails that have no salutation nor are they signed off?
It is true the e-mail automatically shows who the sender is and his address, but it does not automatically supply a ‘Dear Mike’, for example.
There are purists who insist the sender must start with an opening greeting and sign off with his name at the end of an informal e-mail.
My position on this is that the sender must keep his relationship with receiver in view on these matters.
An informal mail to your uncle should observe a different, stricter code from that to schoolmate and friend.

THE electronic mail platform should not provide an excuse to let go of the rules of etiquette, which emphasise decency, grace and in human conduct.
Many who thought they enjoyed confidentiality on the Internet and exchanged indiscreet stuff learnt their lesson the hard way.
Office e-mails should not be used for very personal stuff. The administrator of a Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN) can compromise anybody’s site on the network.
Former CNN correspondent, Jeff Koinange’s case is the international locus classicus on the matter.
The gossip and confidences he exchanged with his girlfriend even came up to haunt him. Many nude pictures have inadvertently found their ways to the public domain through this means.
Also the use of alpha-numeric shorthands have gained currency with short message services on the cell phone and the e-mail.
You now read stuff like ‘I want 2 say dat was a gr8 thg 2 do”. This should have no place in formal correspondences.
Even in informal ones, one should spare senior people the ardour and disrespect of trying to decode these psychedelic codes.
Except you are communicating with your paddy who uses the same shorthand for you, try to be as explicit as possible with your e-mail messages and SMS.

AGAIN spell check does not come as standard on the ‘compose’ and ‘reply’ tabs on the e-mail. In formal correspondences, mis-spelled words can be an indication of the daftness of the writer as the un-seriousness of the firm or organisation. One should therefore use PC spell check or a printed dictionary.
Lastly, unsolicited attachments can be nuisances when they are bulky. Forwarded mails with copious colorful attachments take a lot of bytes on the messages folder and can be difficult to open. Crop them or warn the receiver in advance before sending them.

Sitting pretty
(Just Life)
EVERYONE was gaily dressed in the colours of the day, fabulous orange and magnificent gold.
There were touches of cool cream here and there perhaps to tone down the brilliance of the other two colours.
The ladies were resplendent as only Nigerian ladies can be when all dressed up. The band was playing a lively tune and everywhere you looked people were hugging each other, smiling, laughing.
We looked around for where to sit. Choosing a place to sit at gatherings like this is usually no easy task.
There were so many little things to consider which would all add up and make the difference between whether you would enjoy your time at the party or not.
Top of the list for us was finding seats, which would allow us, have a view of happenings.
We always try to avoid psychedelic women because they sometimes have headties as big as the National Theatre!
We wanted to be able to observe all that would be happening without having to turn around or crane our necks so the seats would have to be somewhere near the front but not just anywhere upfront.
Now, there were some seats next to the band stand which was way up in front and perhaps if the band hadn’t already been playing when we came in it would have seemed like a good place to seat but there was no way our eardrums could bear being next to those loudspeakers for anything longer than a few seconds at a time.
We wouldn’t even be able to hear ourselves think talk less of having a conversation. Beside who knows what would happen when the rice came? The grains would probably jump right off the spoon from the vibrations!

WE looked around, searching for a familiar face because at least when you sit with a good friend laughter usually flows and everything seems so much better but this wasn’t going to be one of those days because we saw no one we knew.
Or more precisely, we saw people we knew slightly which meant that the laughter could not be guaranteed.
We thought of seating next to the serving table but quickly decided against it when we remembered that the last time we did that, we succeeded in finding out how long you have to wait to get your food if about 500 people who are being served by really inefficient waiters get theirs first!
Our wait was about thirty two minutes. Be assured that after this experience we also tried sitting far away from the serving table. We had a 20-minute wait, which wasn’t so bad in comparison.
It was also important to get seated with the ‘right’ group as this might just make the difference between getting attended to or not especially if you are at a party where dem dey look face before they serve.
I personally try to avoid tables with teenagers (or young men) mainly because if you happen to be like me with a baby who demands to be breastfed anywhere and everywhere, the last thing you want is a group of curious eyes trying to peek while you are not looking, to see if what they were taught in Biology 101 about lactation etc is true!
We found a space on a table with a rather nice looking young couple. It wasn’t too far from the serving table and it was right in front so we could see all that was going on. Now, I just hoped it wouldn’t rain or drizzle because the part of the canopy that I was sitting under had huge holes!

EVERYONE has an inherent brand. A personal brand is a name or an entity that reflects the perception of how a group of people, market, or industry thinks of the name or identifier.
Brands can either be positive or negative. We all have our perception about a product or service that we see or get. When a brand is negative, it is important to re-brand, so as to make the negative brand a positive brand. Every Nigerian is a brand. While re-branding Nigeria defines our image, re-branding Nigerians defines the people.
Who is an average Nigerian? Is an average Nigerian hunger-stricken, fraudulent, and undisciplined? Who should an average Nigerian be? Answer for yourself. What role do I have play in re-positioning Nigeria?
Develop yourself. You have to define your personal brand. What’s your mission on planet earth? Who are you? Are you the person you are supposed to be? What are your goals? What motivates you? What do you think about all day long? What can you do to make Nigeria a better country?
You have to look for how to be an expert in your field. That is the essence of personal branding. To be an expert, you have to always be in the eyes of your customers, especially in your business.
Some people repel new ideas. They are only receptive to ideas that have been proven to work. These crop of people do not have what it takes to seize the future. The present belongs to those who want to follow the proven principles and business practices. The future however, belongs to those who will think outside the box. It belongs to those who want to do something different from what everyone has seen or experienced.
New ideas demand to be tested and tried. They require extra work, extra hassle, extra risk; and hey! when your dream is bigger than you, you only have to depend on your instincts and actions to make it work.
The people you hold in high esteem in your life will discourage or ignore you when you really begin to think outside the box.
Take the risk. Taking risk is an important aspect of being an entrepreneur. You need to be positive about risk-taking.

CONCERNING new ideas, the question you need to ask is “What if it works? That is the way forward.
Don’t forget that all you need is one sound idea and you will smile to the bank for the rest of your life.
It was the idea of running Microsoft on personal computers that made Bill Gates the richest person in the world today.
A new idea is a disruption. Most people like continuity of what they are doing, not disruption. That’s not the way forward. Doing same of the same thing is like swirling around about a fixed point.
Remember the Chinese proverb that says that if you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always got. If you are tired of the status quo and business as usual, then you have to innovate or stagnate.
Products and services must change or soon endup without buyers. Churches must adjust, or the pastor will soon speak to a graying audience, with no younger generation for the future.
“It doesn’t matter what you did last week to justify your employment; ‘What have you done for me lately?’ is the question within a competitive workplace environment.” (Jeff Key, Real Estate and Financial Analyst).
Innovation means to change your concepts approaches, and there will be a new result — that’s the outcome.
There is a new idea in your mind. You only need to dig it how. Just go to a quiet place every night, and pay attention to your heart desires. Where your heart is, there your greatness is.
Take action. Buy a new book and tag it “My idea book.” Any weird idea that crosses your mind should be etched in the pages of your idea book. Commit to thinking for just 15 minutes every night about improving your life and the life of others.
There is something you can do for Nigeria. You can make a difference. You can fill in the gap somewhere. The future of Nigeria is dependent on you, so take charge.

Solving money problems (3)

(Biz tool Kids)
If the goal of our various efforts to acquire academic and professional education is for us to earn a better pay or experience quality lifestyles, shouldn’t we pay more attention to the issue of financial education just as do to academic training?
Most of us started school at five years and spent close to 20 years or more to acquire a master’s degree. When you add this up, you have 25 years or even more. If we live to 90 years, that means we’d need to manage our lives for 65 years.
Your university education only affords you meal tickets, but financial education provides you with the know-how on how to make, manage, budget, leverage, multiply and protect your income in order to live your dreams all the days of your life.
Financial intelligence certainly scores higher than formal education, though the latter is necessary for us to know how to read and write and communicate our thoughts.

What is financial intelligence?
Financial intelligence is the ability you get through financial education to grow or increase your income or cash or investment over a certain period of time. It’s also the ability to discern, determine and wisely seek the best financial investment option open to you per time. Financial intelligence helps you know how to make, manage, budget, leverage, protect and multiply your money.

Six principles that aid financial intelligence
Desire. You must desire to leave the rat race of the poor. Be a wise seeker of what you can do legitimately to get out of the gutter of poverty. Your desire determines your destination.
Income Generation. You need to earn some income if you want to change your financial story. You need to trade your ideas or skills or labour to earn something. By making an income, you have started out on the path to creating wealth for yourself.
Financial plan. Develop a personal financial plan and consciously work towards it. When you’ve put a financial plan in place, it helps you know correctly what you want, and then forces you to think on the options to adopt to get there. Furthermore, research has found out that when you write down your goals, they’re 50 per cent accomplished.
Savings Culture. This principle is very powerful. My financial mentor, Robert Kiyosaki, believes that saving one’s money for saving sake is a dumb idea now since what we get as returns on our savings is quickly eroded by inflation. I couldn’t agree more! However, there is a spiritual law about savings. Every income you earn has a seed and bread in it. The bread is for your consumption and the seed is for your multiplication. When you consume your seed, you deny yourself a future harvest. Before South Korea could get out of its economic problems, it mandated its citizens to save 60% of their income. If you don’t save, you are not safe financially! But to make the effort worthwhile, save to invest in income-generating assets!
Delayed Gratification. One other principle that will help you save and invest instead of spend all you earn is when you delay your gratification. Take for example, if you want to buy a car now as a young Executive, by delaying it and putting the money in an investment that can yield 20 per cent or more per annum, at the end of 12 months, you can afford to buy the car and still will be left with some change. Isn’t that a smart move? But you have to delay gratifying the desire of getting that car immediately. By the time you build a solid personal financial asset base, the different streams of income it generates can meet your diverse needs.
Financial Literacy. You can acquire financial literacy through financial books, tapes, CDs, seminars and workshops. Your earning ability is tied to your learning capacity. You can’t earn above what you’ve learnt. Skilled workers get paid more than unskilled workers because of the difference in learning. Therefore, build your own financial literacy library where relevant text on investment, entrepreneurship and financial literacy can be found.

Olotu is the CEO/Lead Consultant, DEAIM Innovative Resources Ltd, bridgetolotu@gmail.com

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