Olowogbogboro: How the apostles broke through into the mind of the Gentiles – Poju Oyemade 

Olowogbogboro: How the apostles broke through into the mind of the Gentiles by Poju Oyemade 
As the apostles went out into the Gentile world to preach the gospel, they obviously came across a certain challenge. It was easy to tell the Jew about the coming Messiah and to use types and shadows in the old covenant and tabernacles with other historical events in Scripture to show that Jesus Christ who came in flesh was the Messiah and the true Saviour.
You could teach on why the law was given, Mount Sinai, the High Priest etc but not to the Gentiles who had no such concepts in their background. They knew nothing about Sinai nor Zion. They had no Scriptural background.
How then were they to preach Jesus? There must be a way around this they must have thought. Then they saw it. God is omnipresent and if so, His presence must be recognizable in the cultures of the people.
Paul said it this way in Acts 17:26-28 (KJV)

“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring”- even their poetry spoke to this.
There must be a way through which the people who felt His presence tried to reach Him. They knew if they looked into their cultures they will find God’s presence and they could preach from there.
Paul clearly saw it. In Acts 17:22-24 (KJV) it says

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.

For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you”
satan had clearly exploited the ignorance of the people to turned the people into idolatry.
Paul further explained to the Romans that even though the Law wasn’t given to the Gentiles, if you went into their midst you would find the presence of God witnessing in their consciences the same things the Law said.
Romans 2:14-15 (KJV)

“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)”
Prof William Barclay, a man of Scottish origin and one of the finest theologians who has a version of new testament in print due to his vast knowledge in Greek had this to say about how John came to use the word Logos to define Jesus to the Gentile world. 

I quote
“By the end of the first century the Christian Church was faced with an acute problem in communication. The Church had been cradled in Judaism, but now she had to present her message to a Greek world, to which the categories of Judaism were quite alien. As Goodspeed puts it: ‘A Greek who felt like becoming a Christian was called upon to accept Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah.
He would naturally ask what this meant, and would have to be given a short course in Jewish apocalyptic thought. Was there no way in which he might be introduced directly to the values of Christian civilization without being for ever routed, we might even say detoured, through Judaism? Must Christianity always speak in a Jewish vocabulary?’
Round about A.D 70 there was a man in Ephesus called John who saw this problem. He was perhaps the greatest mind in the Christian Church; and suddenly he saw the solution. Both Jew and Greek possessed the conception of the logos of God. Could the two ideas not be brought together?

Let us see the Greek background with which John had to work. 
(i) Away back in 560 B.C there was a Greek philosopher called Heracleitus, who also lived in Ephesus. He conceived of the world as what he called a flux. Everything is in a state of change; there is nothing static in the world. But if everything is changing all the time, why is the world not an absolute and complete chaos? His answer was that ‘all things happen according to the logos’.
In the world there is a reason and a mind at work; that mind is the mind of God, God’s logos; and it is that logos which makes the world an ordered cosmos and not a disordered chaos. (ii) This idea of a mind, a reason, a logos ruling the world fascinated the Greeks. Anaxagoras spoke of the mind (nous) which ‘rules over all things’.
Plato declared that it was God’s logos which kept the planets in their courses, and brought back the seasons and the years in their appointed times.
But it was the Stoics, who were at their strongest when the NT was being written, who passionately loved this conception. To them this logos of God, as Cleanthes said, ‘roamed through all things’. The times, the seasons, the tides, the stars in their courses were ordered by the logos; it was the logos which put sense into the world.
Further, the mind of man himself was a little portion of this logos. ‘Reason is nothing else than a part of the divine spirit immersed in the human body,’ said Seneca. It was the logos which put sense into the universe and sense into man; and this logos was nothing other than the mind of God.
(iii) This conception was brought to its highest peak by Philo, who was an Alexandrian Jew, and who had the aim of joining together in one synthesis the highest thought of Jew and Greek. To him the logos of God was ‘inscribed and engraved upon the constitution of all things’. The logos is ‘the tiller by which the pilot of the universe steers all things’. ‘Every man is akin in understanding to the divine logos.’ ‘The logos is the high priest which sets the soul before God.’ The logos is the bridge between man and God.
Now we can see what John was doing when he uttered his tremendous statement, ‘The Word was made flesh.’ (i) He was clothing Christianity in a dress that a Greek could understand.
Here is a challenge to us. He refused to go on expressing Christianity in outworn and Judaistic categories. He used categories that his age knew and understood.
Again and again the Church has failed in that task through mental laziness, through shrinking from possible heresy; but the man who would discover a new continent must accept the hazard of sailing upon an uncharted sea.”- end of quote
Next time people ask you who is this Olowogbogboro you worship? simply reply thus He said
“Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me”

My Early Start as a Rapper/Singer and a Life Lesson from it for our Generation(s) 

Many people that know me today find it hard to picture me as a rapper. 

But yeah, I was a rapper and got on stage to rap in front of crowds and my last live show was in my 2nd year in the university at the Miss UNN pageant. It was my first time rapping on stage in UNN and it was my last too.

But hey, right before then, I used to be a singer way back in secondary school (Science College). I had a boy band and we were the FLAME in our school…Oh well, we were actually known as FLAME (a.k.a Outlawz for Christ).

Okay, go ahead…laugh.

Yup. I and my friends came together and we formed that group. Almost every Sunday, we would get on stage in our school’s chapel and sing different songs, including Acapellas. We were tired of having boring chapel services and thought of how to spice things up so we and other students don’t die of boredom.

Every time we got on stage, the girls/guys used to be thrilled. You could literarily see people run out from the bush and other places they hid to ‘dodge’ evening chapel and into the hall whenever we got on stage and shouts rent the air.

People looked forward to coming to the chapel expecting us to sing. The once ‘so boring’ evening chapel became a ‘goer’ for students because we made it lit anytime we got on stage and because we never announced if we’d be on stage at any service, students showed up almost every other Sunday hoping we would get on stage.

Right as we shone on, a group of junior students came together and tried to do what we used to do and were bent on doing it ‘better’ than us. My group saw it as competition but I told them I was glad we had inspired others to join in making the Sunday evenings lit and that they’d help us keep the chapel charged when we weren’t performing.

We gave them the spot and they were the ones on stage for a while. Then, on the last Sunday before our graduation, they had planned for it to be their biggest performance but they had issues during their performance because some were trying too hard to outshine others and they ended up making a mess out of the whole thing.

I looked at my guys and told them we had to go up there. We nodded…we grouped up outside…sent word to the chapel prefect and he excitedly ran and announced that FLAME would be on stage that evening. The chapel went up in flame (pun intended) as students screamed in excitement.

We got on stage, sang and then switched to rap and yes, the place burned down (Figuratively). Screams everywhere. The whole place was something else and people actually ran and followed us when we left the stage.

After this, the younger guys met me and one of them that was close to me confessed that they had grouped up to replace us. That they had wanted to outshine us and make us irrelevant because most of his class mates felt we were ‘doing’ too much.

You see, that is the problem right there. I and my group got on stage to drive away boredom from school and make people look forward to evening chapel but these young guys actually grouped just to drive us off stage and become the ‘superstars’.

This is the conflict amongst and between generations today. Most people in the younger generation usually try to replace their peers and even those older in the profession without understanding that the original purpose of doing what is done is to better society, not to be seen as the ‘best superstars that ever liveth’.

Many of them expend their energy trying to ‘overtake’ those they should be meeting up to be mentored by or shown the light as well as those they should be ‘collaborating with’ to do better. Many run with slogans like ‘takeover’ and the rest and even pray in church asking for grace to take over and outshine others.

They miss it.

We are called to a noble cause. Whatever we do here on earth should be to better life here. Life is not a rappers’ beef/dis track. Life is more like a duet or group song with each person on it aiming to thrill the listener, not compete with the others.

We miss it when we see others as competition and expend our energy and existence on trying to outshine them or take their spot. That mentality is so much a goner.

Reach out and work with people in your field of pursuit or endeavor. We are not at war. We are all in this life together. Young people, work with each other and even an older colleague. Older people, bring the younger guys in on what you do.

Philip Asuquotes with some of his protege(s) at PAQ SESSION


Most of the professions you see today were actually started by noble men for a noble cause that would help humanity. Many young people come up and without knowing the right reins about their profession, they fly into practice with a vow to beat the others and be the best…as if that was the reason that profession was ever set up.

Let the baton of nobility be passed from generation to generation.

Let us actually know and do what we are here to do, without the faulty mentality of ‘taking over’ or outshining the other. Life is about succession. Let the noble teach the newbies and let them in turn show their peers the noble way to life on earth.



ABOUT THE WRITER

Philip Asuquotes is a strategy consultant, poimen and futurist. He studied Mass Communication in the University of Nigeria Nsukka and has been active in the sphere of branding and public relations. He is the convener of PAQ SESSION, a live intellectual and thought leadership summit. He can be reached via philipasuquotes@gmail.com or @philasuquotes on Twitter | www.thebloomsquare.com

EXEMPLARY LIVING BY PASTOR STEVE SOYEBO

We are in a season where there seem to be a scarcity of the word of God, but then again, we know God always has His remnants whose task is to keep teaching and preaching the true word of God. This message you are about to listen to is titled exemplary living by pastor Steve .

Pastor Steve Soyebo is the Senior Pastor at House on the Word Church, which is a non-denominational, multi-cultural church in the city of Houston. “Bishop”, as he is fondly called, is known for his servant heart, compassionate acts and leadership skills. Through the help of the Holy Spirit, he carries a clear message of empowerment, hope, healing and transformation. He is widely regarded as a visionary leader and bridge-builder.

Pastor Steve is passionate about helping people around him develop to their fullest potential. His experience in the real estate business, traveling and speaking internationally has helped shape his commitment to showcasing a ministry where people of all racial and ethnic groups worship God in a loving and caring atmosphere

Should Pastors Run for Political Office? – Bethany Blankley

In his 1958 book, Stride Toward Freedom, Martin Luther King, Jr. argued that pastors must play a critical role in politics. While pastoring the Montgomery Alabama Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, he wrote,

“The important thing is for every minister to dedicate himself to the Christian ideal of brotherhood, and be sure he is doing something positive to implement it.

“He must never allow the theory that it is better to remain quiet and help the cause to become a rationalization for doing nothing. Many ministers can do much more than they are doing and still hold their congregations.”

Similarly, in January, 2015, David Lane, the founding director of the American Renewal Project organized a movement to encourage 100,000 pastors, their friends, family members, and congregants to consider becoming more involved in their communities, and in particular, to consider running for political office.

One of his primary goals was to equip 1,000 pastors to run for office in 2016– either for city council, school board, county commissioner, mayor, or state legislator. But, pastors, after learning about the process from attending the American Renewal Project’s Issachar Training events, began encouraging their congregants, friends, and family members to run for office.

Lane estimates that “by simple arithmetic, if the Lord called 1,000 pastors to run in 2016 and if they averaged 300 volunteers per campaign, then that would mean 300,000 ground-level Evangelicals working within their local precincts. When my own pastor, Rob McCoy, ran for office, he saw 625 volunteers join in his campaign. A similar grassroots, Evangelical movement—from coast-to-coast—would change America for good.”

“No one I know is under the illusion that politicians are going to save America,” he repeatedly says. But, because “virtue is a key component of freedom,” it is necessary for “spiritual men and women … to bring wisdom and righteousness to every area of society.”

Naysayers may criticize Lane and others for attempting to “create a theocracy.” But it’s important to recognize that a theocracy, and whatever that supposedly means, isn’t even realistic. And, genuine Christians recognize that a “theocracy” is not even remotely close to the purpose of Christianity.

More importantly — it is because of Christians — that America is not a “theocracy.”

(The Puritans tried, but failed quite miserably, evidencing that most Christians cannot agree on what theological interpretation should govern, if it should govern at all.)

What most may not realize and take for granted is that pastors– more than anyone else–are best equipped to meet and suggest solutions for societal problems.

Why? Because they are already on the front lines of every societal problem– from beginning to end of life. Pastors are the ones teaching about healthy marriages, relationships, and family development– officiating marriages and blessing births. They are already supervising the oversight of educational initiatives, Christian schools, homeschool and community activities, acutely aware of children’s needs. They’re pro-life beyond protests– they adopt and are foster parents.

Pastors are already counseling grieving, hurt, and broken people. They speak at funerals and spend time with prisoners– even on death row. They, better than anyone else, know firsthand the needs, struggles, and dreams of their congregants and neighbors– average Americans who struggle and celebrate every stage of life.

Also taken for granted, and not well known, is the reality that pastors and their wives are involved in perhaps the most stressful and discouraging profession of all. The majority lead small churches, struggle financially, receive death threats, and in no way compare to the mega-churches advertised on television. According to nearly 20 years of research compiled by several ministry research organizations, more than 70 percent of pastors– more than doctors, lawyers, or politicians– regularly consider leaving their profession because of stress and burn out. And 35-40 percent of pastors do give up within five years.

This initiative, even pastors who don’t run for office, encourages and reminds Christians of their rich heritage as Americans. Encouraging pastors to become involved in politics neither seeks to “reshape the face of America into a Christian evangelical one,” nor to create “Christian nationalism.”

Instead, the goal is to restore America’s Judeo-Christian heritage, a heritage that never previously existed in any government in history. purposed to define and safeguard individual liberties and freedoms. And– a call for pastors to return to their historical roots. Indeed, the Revolutionary War would not have happened were it not for pastors teaching and encouraging their neighbors.

The British recognized the most powerful force in the colonies was pastors, whom they called the Black Robe Regiment. Famed political philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville, also pointed out that Christianity, more than anything else, was instrumental in defining American exceptionalism.

If pastors can encourage people to live in such a way that embraces fathers and intact families, prevents teen pregnancy, alleviates poverty, drug abuse and crime, squashes racism, and condones materialism and greed– wouldn’t that “make America great again?”

If a better alternative to the status quo exists for individuals, families, and societies, why not be open to it, even embrace it?

Bethany Blankley is the Senior Editor for Constitution.com. Her syndicated show, “America’s Betrayal,” can be heard on Conservative Review Radio, WAAR Radio, and other talk radio stations. Her columns have been published by The Washington Times, Newsday, Western Journalism, Townhall, The Christian Post, Charisma News, and others. She was a former communications strategist to four Senators, one Congressman, one New York governor, and several nonprofits. She holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in Theology and Political Science. Follow her: @bethanyblankley & http://www.bethanyblankley.com.

Are You a Smartphone Smombie? – Jim Denison

“Smombies” are people who stare at their smartphones while walking like zombies. They are a problem: according to a University of Washington study, one in three of us is busy dealing with a smartphone or other electronic device at risky road crossings.
 
Here’s one solution: Officials in the city of Augsburg have installed traffic lights embedded in the pavement. The idea came after a fifteen-year-old girl was killed by a tram. Police say she was distracted by her smartphone as she crossed the tracks. The new lights are more obvious to those looking down at their devices while walking.
 
Technology fixation is not just dangerous while we are ambulatory. Hearing loss, sedentary weight gain, sleep disruption, and damage to the eyes, neck, wrist, and fingers are all connected to excessive smartphone use. In addition, media multitasking contributes to poor attention span, depression, and anxiety. One study showed that people who multitasked while doing cognitive tests dropped as many IQ points as if they had just smoked marijuana.
 
In other words, smartphones make dumb people. What’s the answer?
 
Experts tell us to make rules such as: no smartphone usage at social events, while driving, or during interactions with others. Turn off all alerts at certain times during the day. Some people even create a long, frustrating password that makes it harder for them to turn on the phone casually.
 
This is all helpful advice, but I think something more visceral is at work. My smartphone makes me feel relevant by connecting me to the world. It also makes me feel important when people call, text, or email me. And feeling relevant and important is relevant and important to me.
 
Perhaps there’s a better way than basing our self-esteem on a slab of technology. Perhaps the best way for us to find significance is to stop seeking significance and seek Jesus instead. C. S. Lewis:
 
Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking at Him.
 
Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it.
 
Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead.

Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.
 
Jesus was clear: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:23–24). Have you answered his call yet today?
 
For more, please see my latest website article, Shakespeare and the Quest for Purpose.
 
 
Publication date: April 27, 2016
 

For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.

How Can You Maintain a Christian Worldview in a Post-Modern Culture? – John Stonestreet

I meet folks all the time who sense that things have changed. What Francis Schaeffer and Chuck Colson once called “a post-Christian” culture has become a “post-Christian-and-darn-proud-of-it” culture. Living out your faith is, well, difficult these days. And it’s frustrating.
 
Yet here we are. We, like every other generation of Christ followers, are still called to share our faith in this cultural moment. We’re still called to live our faith out in our communities, places of work, neighborhoods, etc. But how do we do this?
 
The most important thing, Chuck Colson believed, was to be equipped in Christian worldview, with the ability to communicate it in what he sometimes called “prudential language.” Here’s Chuck describing what that means.
 
While we have to be immersed in scripture and understand it fully, we also have to know when and how to use it in public discourse.
 
Let me give you an example. G. K. Chesterton, the famous British writer, was once invited to a meeting of the leading intellectuals in England. They were asked if they were shipwrecked on an island, what would be the one book they would want to have with them.  Everybody expected Chesterton, a prominent Christian, to say “the Bible.”
 
When it came his turn to speak, however, Chesterton said that if he were shipwrecked on a desert island, he’d like to have “Thomas’s Guide to Practical Shipbuilding.”
 
The point is that oftentimes we need to understand things that aren’t covered in the Bible. And we need to understand things that help us apply biblical teaching to all of life. This is why I teach biblical worldview.
 
A man once told Oswald Chambers that he read only the Bible.  Listen to what Chambers said:
 
“My strong advice to you is to soak, soak, soak in philosophy and psychology, until you know more of these subjects than ever you need consciously to think. It is ignorance of these subjects on the part of ministers and workers that has brought our evangelical theology to such a sorry plight…The man who reads only the Bible does not, as a rule, know it or human life.”
 
And when it comes to making a biblical case on any hot topic—taxes, the deficit, homosexuality, whatever—we need to understand the issue and how to make that case in a way that is accessible to believers and non-believers alike.
 
The sad fact is that today, starting a conversation with “the Bible says” will often cause the listener to stop listening.  So what you do is make arguments based on what the Reformers called common grace, or what historically has been known as natural law.

This is what Paul did when he gave his famous sermon at Mars Hill, his first foray into the Greek culture. He quoted Greek poets; he referred to Greek artifacts.  He thoroughly engaged their culture.  And then he used their beliefs to lead directly into the gospel.
 
This is why we’ve got to study biblical worldview, to compare how the Bible works out in life versus how other systems of thought do. I assure you: You will see that the biblical way is the only way to make sense of the world, to live rationally in the world, and eventually, your friends will see this as well.”
 
That vision led Chuck to start an exclusive nine-month training program for Christians that is now known as the Colson Fellows. The program is intense: reading the best worldview books, participating in teleconferences with top Christian leaders, and attending three in-person residencies with the best worldview teachers in the country. Now it’s not for everyone, but if your heart is being tugged to go deeper in the way that Chuck described, it may be for you.
 
The next class of Colson Fellows will begin their study near the end of summer, and the deadline to apply is May 15. Visit ColsonFellows.org to learn more.

ENOUGH SAID: What Fuels Nigeria’s 2030 Space Travel Ambition? – @Philasuquotes

FAST FORWARD TO THE FUTURE – Imagine a time in the future when the world would have been over-populated and over-dominated by world powers whose struggle for territory would  make them look for other available spaces elsewhere. Where best is there to get more space than outer space? For those powerful nations who already have satellites mounted in space, this will be an easy cheese. They simply gather the intelligence from over time and start making trips out to space to claim a spot and build their outer space colonies. 

WELCOME TO NOW – That moment you are about to drive to the next town in Nigeria and you have less than half a tank of fuel in your car…What’s even scarier is the fact that almost all the filling stations on the road will be shut tight. Why? Because there is scarcity of petrol.

Now, even if we have not been told the reason for it, news made rounds recently that Nigeria will send an astronaut to space by 2030. While a handful of Nigerians got excited over the news and a lot more shrugged it off and opined that they would rather hear the solutions for Nigeria’s current problems than space tales, it is pertinent that we take a look into this.

Obviously, the announcement has raised more eyebrows and questions than applauding hands and the reasons for this does not need a rocket hop to be deduced.

Is it yet another white elephant endeavor which is just to score a political point?
Is it a covet diversion from the stark realities Nigerians are currently facing due to the economic quagmire that besiege the nation?
Is it to be a stroke to the nation’s ego or that of the individual who mouthed the idea?

While the answers to these questions remain in rhetoric planes, let’s take a look at the reactions that accompanied this news and saddle up for even more questions in this post.

Someone asked if there will be enough fuel and electricity to power the rocket that will fly to space and if the Nigerian space traveler won’t be stranded for lack of fuel to return to earth when he gets there.

Another asked if it isn’t better to say that the Nigerian space travel will be done by year 5050.

Yet, more asked if it wasn’t better to focus on the problems of today than to start thinking of traveling to space in 2030.

These questions all point to one thing – Nigeria needs to fix its current problems before we get to the proposed 2030 year of the Nigerian Astronaut.

Ofcourse the current problems just might hinder the actualization of this space dream. For one, the rocket that will carry the astronaut will need to be worked on with electrical appliances and we know it will require electricity to be powered up when it is ready. With the current epileptic power supply and constant drop in power generated from the national grid, we just might make history by making the first generator-powered rocket in human history if we don’t fix the sorry electricity situation in the country today.

Another major problem that is hitting the country and that might be a hindrance to our rocket man is scarcity of fuel. A space rocket needs 1million gallons of rocket fuel to get to space. Now, with the glaring fact that we do not refine even the fuel we use for our cars but rather import them, are we going to buy rocket fuel from Russia to power our rocket in 2030 and at what cost?

 It sure would be quite preferable to refine and source our own rocket fuel from here. We need to start building local refineries that can refine not only PMS for cars but that can refine and produce rocket fuel in due time. No, we don’t have to play ‘politricks’ with this. We need to be truly committed to seeing it happen and also ensure it happens.

One other question that begs an answer is this – While Nigeria plans to put an astronaut up in space by 2030, what are the plans of other nations that have already done so way before now? Will we be yet, late again, if we wait all through these years just to get to put out a ‘coat of arm’ wearing astronaut out there and pat ourselves in the arm?

From the brief trip to the future at the beginning of this write up, it can be deduced that other nations that already have satellites and have made outer space trips might just have started building their space colonies before 2030 where our astronaut might go to lodge in space, refuel and do other things while being seen as a late comer that came on ‘Nigerian time’. Ofcourse he would pay through and through for those services.

Now, note that the time there is expressed as ‘Nigerian Time’, not ‘African Time’. This is deliberate because already, an African have made a trip out to space.

Are you surprised?
You didn’t know that the first African to go to space actually went there in 2002? He was born and raised in South Africa. He is hailed as the first Afro-astronaut (even though he is of white descent) and had to undergo training in Russia for 7 months before that trip.

His name is Mark Shuttleworth and going to space was his personal dream which was made possible with research started by some South African Scientists. He actually concluded a number of experiments they did and was able to go to space from there.

And yes, South Africa has a national space Agency called SANSA (South Africa National Space Agency), yet they don’t make noise about it.

In 2013, South Africa’s ANC Youth League congratulated a Black South African, Mandla Maseko, for being the first black African enlisted to be part of a space travel. He was hailed for defying physical and political gravity.

Besides these, have you heard of Space X? It is a space project by another South African called Elyon Musk.

Elyon Musk invented the online payment system called Paypal and has invented and worked on so many other things. He went on to work on his Space X project and NASA had to partner with him.

Now, the truth is that he needed good power supply to be able to work on the things he did. He needed to be able to fund his project without buying fuel at an outrageous cost to power his generator or travel around while working.

My country plans to have an astronaut in space by 2030 but basic infrastructure has been politicized over and over while being used as a permanent feature of every government’s campaign manifesto.

South Africa made their country conducive for the likes of Elyon Musk to develop himself and stun the world with witty inventions.

I checked a recent list of top 500 African Companies and found out that South Africa has the highest number of Africa’s richest companies. And yet they haven’t announced and politicized going to space or sending an astronaut there.

Even with the problems they have there, the country has got the very infrastructure that helps such businesses and pursuits thrive.

My country wants to send an astronaut to space by 2030 but right now most of her citizens can’t travel to the next town and back without their pockets or bank accounts having a huge space after the expenditure.

Do I believe that Nigeria can have an astronaut in space someday?
Yes.

But of what benefit will that be to her citizens?

You see, the first men to go to space did so over 47 years ago. They were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and were both seen as celebrities of sorts when they returned to earth from the first recorded space trip in human history. Pundits say it was just another ‘feather-ish’ accomplishment with no clear benefit other than educational research.

Space travel is a project of the future for humanity. It is about man venturing out to see opportunities in space, explore new discoveries and carry out a few other ‘hush-hush’ activities they intend to stun the world with – some are already doing so.

But please note that it is first a dream carried by individuals. Individuals venture out and then their government establishes Space Agencies and start with the knowledge from the individual.

In Nigeria, sadly, our government shoot for lofty goals, spend huge money on equipment and projects and yet fail to see that all we need is for the country to be stable and conducive for her citizens to develop and create the things that will advance this nation.

In one of his ‘Common Sense’ videos, Senator Ben Bruce pointed out that Nigeria has underwater cameras and the likes but lack skilled people to man it. We put so much emphasis on acquiring equipment and machines and forget that the people needs to be properly equipped in order to man those machines and make them and the nation work.

Africa’s first Black Astronaut, Mandla Maseko

Too much priority is placed on our mineral resources and too much is being said or done on the grounds of political grandstanding, point-scoring, etc. Our human resources tend to be repeatedly neglected and efforts to truly make Nigerians get a better deal out of the government seem to be portentously thwarted either by persons within the government of the day or the opposition who distract them and even create conflict and crisis where none existed.

If we want to make this country work, we need to come more together and make it work. We must not dastardly oppose the moves made by any government in power just for the sake of making them look ‘clueless’, ‘inept’, and ‘incompetent’ way ahead of elections. Nigeria has been plagued with the same problem of poor infrastructure for years over.

We need to wake up, come together and solve this problem in this generation so that the next generation of Nigerians will have something to thank us for.

Dear politician, basic amenities and good infrastructure are what should be made available to the people without making it look like you are doing them a favour.

At this juncture, please permit me to point out that the 2030 space travel ambition seems to be the only projection into the future that the present government has made.

Every great nation today came to a point in national realization in their yesterday and built from there. They began to commitedly build into the future they saw for themselves and their leaders came together to make it all work.  The likes of world powers like the US and UK both have ‘United’ in them. The likes of China, India, Dubai etc closed up and looked within to develop themselves out of the rot they were in.

Every nation needs a vision. What is the Nigerian vision?
Is there really a road map vision for this country?
Does Nigeria have a concrete vision of where we are headed in the next 30 to 50 years?

We have leaders, yes, but where are they leading us to?
A leader should have or at least see a vision and lead his/her people towards and into it.

As earlier pointed out, the only concrete projection into the future so far is the Nigerian Astronaut dream project. However, without a concrete vision, we will just be a nation orbiting and floating around in space.

Dubai was made great by a single vision of creating a beautiful oasis in the desert. India became a tech hub after determining to use technology to advance their society. China is economically independent right now because they grew local industries and today, we are asking them for a $60bn loan and giving their currency a place in our foreign reserves.

All these nations couldn’t do it without their people. Are we investing in our people?

More importantly, while we pursue or not pursue a vision for the future, the government of the day should solve the nation’s problems of today. Doing so will give the citizens confidence in whatever future is promised.

Telling us a Nigerian astronaut will be sent to space is not enough. There has to be tangible benefits of that travel outlined and concrete steps taken from now to not only ensure it happens but first to fix the problems of now that just might hinder it.

– We need to start improving our electricity supply.
-We need to set up and run our own refineries.
– We need to re-inforce science studies in schools. With the rate of cheating in exams and the outdated curriculum being used in schools, we need to overhaul the education system from bottom to top.
– We need to establish research institutions.
– We need a grand plan that will activate that ambition
.
And at the end of it, what will it give us after we successfully send a man to space and back?
Let’s pretend it will totally transform Nigeria.

But I really think the major benefit will be that we will be seen to have solved some of the problems that plague the nation if we improve electricity to power our national rocket, establish refineries to produce rocket fuel (at least car fuel will be easier), improve our education system and do other things to make it all a smooth take off to space.

Sadly, some of these politicians won’t be active by 2030. So, the right thing to do is to set the grounds right for the young ones that will make that rocket trip possible.

We aren’t asking for too much. The government should tackle the ‘now’ problems of electricity, fuel, insecurity, outdated curriculum, etc. We will build from there. We are already building from here and we are doing so with generators and expensive spending on fuel.

If you are a young man and you have dreams of being an astronaut, you are better off researching and working on projects that will eventually lead you to that dream rather than downloading every hit song that drops online and passing your day and time obsessing over things that don’t get you closer to your dream.

Don’t sleep and dream only at night. Wake up, stay up and work on your dreams even if it requires doing so through the night.

Finally, it is the youths that will deliver and live in the future of Nigeria. Let’s invest in them even as I urge them to invest in themselves. Our youths will have to rise and defy the laws of physical, political and psychological gravity that hold them down and create platforms/products that will skyrocket the nation into the future. I believe we can.

Philip Asuquotes is a frontline media and strategy consultant who believes that the African continent will be advanced by Africans through their intellect and committed endeavors. 

You can reach him via philipasuquo360@gmail.com
Follow him on Twitter,Facebook and Instagram via @Philasuquotes

#ENOUGH_SAID with @Philasuquotes: Unemployment, Unemployable Youths and Our National Work Force

‘I will resign the moment I see that I am not adding any value to your company and yet still be getting salary and benefits’, I said.

I remember telling this to the CEO and Managing Director of a company who got me employed in their firm after I consulted for them for just a few weeks.

They actually sacked a friend of mine to replace him with me. It was a sad moment for me and that friend but I understood that the company needed results and results were what they would get.

I was ready to give results..I didn’t care what my position in the company was.

Just like in other places I had been employed, I came in as a consultant but the management decided to give me a position in the company and within few weeks, they offered me a partnership in the company.

This was not because I warmed the chair in the office so well. It was because of results they saw and the ones they saw coming.

When I work, I put in all I have into it. Most times when some other staff slack, I fill in and get the job done there.

Why? Because I understand that efforts put in determine the result. Once we have a target and find out that there is a weak link in our chain, something needs to be done to strengthen that weak point. If it requires me folding up my sleeves and jumping into work in that direction, I do so.

But really, what is happening to our work force today? Why are people so lackadaisical about their work? Why do people get employed only to enjoy the benefits of the job while their work in the job suffers?

Yet, there is an amplified cry over the rate of unemployment in our African countries. How ready for employment are our Youths? How competent will they be on th job? Should the debate really be about ‘Unemployment’ or ‘Unemployability?’ 

I remember a friend of mine putting up a notice calling for the services of a sales girl in one of her fashion shops. I was privileged (or was it mis-privileged?) to be around when two girls walked past her shop and came back right in to ask for the position.

Now, I had to give them space for the interview to be carried out but after it all, I spoke with my friend and she told me the girl that answered the questions asked for the salary and then told her she would have to employ her and her friend. Obviously, she can’t be employed while her friend is unemployed…or is it that she needs her friend’s company while working?

Is that supposed to be to the additional cost of her employer?
Having your friend to gist with while working and having your employer pay you both?

This is sad.

Really sad.

Obviously, the young girl is not aware that she will have to start and build her career at a point in her life without the apron strings of her parents or cordial cords of her friends.

We need to take work seriously. This lackadaisical attitude to work really needs to stop.

I was speaking with a team mate of mine recently and pointed out that if we each don’t work on the tasks put before us in our positions on a team or project that it would affect the overall project.

A thing stops working when we stop putting work into it. A company fails to work when it’s workers don’t work.

A nation doesn’t work when its workforce are not working either as a result of unavailability of work opportunities or their unemployability.

The issue of unemployment has been on the front burner in Africa. Recently, the EFCC was made to probe the 2014 Immigration Employment racket that led to the loss of the lives of several Nigerian youths in Abuja.

I took a look at the pictures of the youths at the stadium and what I saw made me cringe with a tinge of gloom. The crowd that came out to get recruited into the Immigration was more than a football crowd. The stadium was filled to the brim with young Nigerians who were assumed to be unemployed all clamouring for the few advertised vacant positions.

Now, amongst those in the crowd, how many of them were really unemployed? Were they seeker another means to make money from a government parastatal? We all know how most civil servants seemingly ‘laze’ through the months while awaiting their month-end salaries. This has been repeatedly decried yet still seems to hold sway.

We’ll get back to this but let’s look at how many of those youths were actually ‘Employable’. You see, the problem of the ‘unemployability’ of our youths is as much a bane as the ‘unemployment’ we complain about.

Many youths today are not just unemployed but are actually unemployable. You see, Robert Kawasaki once said that when you are young you should work to learn more than you work to earn. That doesn’t seem to be an ideology our youths thumb print to these days.

Many youths you see today that want to work are actually concerned about how much they will get paid even before knowing what the job entails. Many more would do just about anything as long as it puts some money in the pocket or bank account. Yet still, many haven’t realized that they should put in work in a field that relates to the one they will end up in.

What’s even more sad is that a lot more get to put tags on themselves even without being qualified for what the tag says they do. We have a lot of ‘Consultants’, ‘Life Coaches’, ‘Journalist’, etc that don’t even know how to offer their services to themselves talk less of offering such to other people.

Indeed, you should learn before you earn.

You should learn under someone that is already in the field you want to go into. You can also research and enroll for some trainings that would help up your ante on that career you see as a choice.

The work you put in while young should get to pay off when you eventually start practicing your profession. So, you need to ensure that wherever it is you seek for a job or some short-term engagement should be somewhere that will add up someday to what you want to do or become in the long run. Don’t do it just for the money.

Do it to learn first.

Now, let’s go back to our nation. Our civil service is really a cause for concern. It has become more of a social cause than our nation’s work force. Civil servants are supposed to render services in the parastatals they serve in but we have more of them who are there just to while away time, do some routine and ‘ancient history’ work and collect salary when it is made available. Even the ones that join the civil service with gusto eventually seem to get sucked into the rigmarole.

It is like a gorging cyst of ineptitude, routine of incompetence and ofcourse laziness. Yes, there are civil servants who are proactive and whose input can stir a change in the system but the system itself needs more than a stir. It needs a heavy shake and a revival.

Many gifted and competent persons end up working in the private sector or starting up their own companies but it sure is necessary for us to have a civil service that is competent and innovative.

Imagine if the likes of Dangote, Fela Durotoye, Steve Harris, Leke Alder, Tara Durotoye, etc were civil srvants or heads of parastatals and were all given the free will to innovate and move that sector to the optimum it can become?

Well, those mentioned names have made their marks in life and in the nation. We will not wait for a Dangote or a Tara Durotoye to make that move. It can be made by me and you. Let’s take work serious and make whatever it is we put our hands to work…even as we put the nation to work.

Philip Asuquotes is one of the Strategic minds that have been concerned about the growth of Africa through her youths. He is a strategy consultant and a seasoned mediapreneur. You can reach him via philipasuquo360@gmail.com or 07063607101.

ARTICLE: WHAT’S ALL THE MADNESS ABOUT THE SECULAR – Unachi Sunday

The day has started well and the sun’s beam is already warmly around when I sat to write today. something has caught my attention and its a question that has been on my mind of late: “What’s all the madness about the secular? ”

Hmmmm. Today,i am going to rant and talk. It will be a combination of both so permit me to respond   to all the questions giving me sleepless night of late.

What’s all the madness about the secular?

So you are asking me that question? You are a part of the world so don’t tell me you are not part of the secular. Do you think patronizing the secular gives me an edge over others who can’t? Let me take a sip of my hot tea because the weather here is not favorable. Coughing…..

Many questions bubbling in my mind like a child kicking in the womb of the mother. I have decided to ‘yarn’ and I hope the drama rocking 2016 will not catch me. Even if it does, I am ready for the trolls.

But Wait a minute, why would you ask such question ” whats the craze for the secular?” Where are you sitting or standing right this minute? I’m certainly not loosing the consciousness of where I am. The Holy books makes it clear that I am here, but not of here. Yes our definition to all of this is personal but I think at the end of the day I should make sense to you but be prepared to answer most of the questions yourself as we go along because they will be much. Lets get to the matter.

 

I will start properly by commending all the gospel bloggers across the country who are working tirelessly to get gospel content to every single one out they [lovers of gospel music and the like] the advent of new media has contributed immensely to spreading the gospel. Most of us grew to listening to unedifying music and to get gospel music it has to be in church. This trend has changed particularly with the growth in technological development across the world.

In the past three years, many blogs have emerged as well as the older ones waxing stronger, providing up-to-date content to the growing number of gospel music lovers including our friends from the other side. But I am amused that the people whom this platforms were created for have different view to what is. With questions like, “Oboi you sure this people get followers? I want massive download of my jam ooo. I no fit get am on any of this guys them blog. Guy you know anybody wey fit help put my song for them other blogs?” it seems obvious.
Often, you get the other dimension that goes something like:”How much abeg you go put am for me? Then he/she pays and they are excited, link shared on every channel available. Then you imagine how come anyone would even ask what the crazy is about the secular.

How is it that so many artiste are not ready pay a gospel blogger to put a song on their site/blog but yet can do so to the later? Are we not proud of the gospel site/blog that publishes our work? Are they secondary? How is it that we share the secular music first but the gospel comes last? Wait! who is fooling who? What is the craze about?

Let’s get this education together – do you know that every gospel site/blog spend so much time and energy sharing content via all the channels you could think of? To mention a few BBM, Whatsapp, Facebook, twitter etc. A lot go the extra mile to sponsor their page and thousands of people connect to their page and search for music.

May be its time we cure the madness. The ‘min-dustry’ can grow faster than we imagine if we place value on our own. Can a child prefer another woman to be his mother than his/her biological mother? Even though the concept of adoption is our reality and very acceptable, it is still impossible to deny biologically that one’s mother is one’s mother by birth. It will be crazy to deny science right? …right!

 

So for every gospel artist who hears this voice through my rant and truth I would love to stop with these perspectives to you: It’s time to invest in our own. If we want to put an end to all of the questions, then we really need to invest in our industry and stop going gaga with the secular that we do not even sing about. Isn’t it funny that at the end of the day our artiste’s music are actually sidelined on their pages, and those special songs are never on their home page yet we drive gospel music lovers into their page and they end up viewing and downloading songs that will not edify.

Those platforms were promoted by their own do same to your own.