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DRUG ADDICTION/ABUSE

The topic of discourse is not a new one. Many erudite scholars and professionals have dealt deeply on the subject matter. However, because it has always been a headache to the addicts themselves, the homes, society and government, thereby constituting a big nuisance to the society on daily basis, we found it imperative to revisit the hydra-headed subject.

Drug addiction or abuse is not peculiar to any country. It is a global phenomenon. In fact ,it was reliably reported that most of these deadly drugs found their ways into   this continent, nay Nigeria through the Western world. For instance, certain evidences suggest that the cultivation of cannabis and its use as a drug was introduced into Africa from India by the SUFI sect and Asian traders and travelers probably around 16th century. Also, there was the evidence that soldiers returning from world war II were responsible for increased incidence of cannabis  abuse in West Africa particularly, in Nigeria. By the name India hemp, one would find it difficult not to concur the entry of the weed from India.

We shall try to look at various types of harmful drugs and see how they are being abused by the youths, and adults, the negative effect or damage that these drugs are having on youths, homes society and national developments. We shall also lend our voice to some prescriptions to curb the menace of drug addiction or abuse.

DEFINITION: Drug abuse or addiction can be defined as….’as excessive or inappropriate use of (psycho-active) substance by a person, such use being considered or judged  to be illegal or immoral by the culture and resulting in harm to the person or society”. A drug user is addicted to the substance fond of using when his/her body starts to need it regularly and unable to stop using it.

TYPES OF DRUGS ABUSED-Depending on the country concerned or the environment, various drugs that are being abused are as follow 🙁 but not exhaustive)-benzene, glue and petrol, cocaine, heroin, cannabis (marijuana or Indian hemp),opium, china capsule etc.

In Nigeria, the common types are cocaine, cannabis sativa, or marijuana, cough syrup, China capsule and alabukun powder. We also have some high content spirits/alcohol for consumption which some addicts soak with marijuana, dry it drink the solution and also smoke the weed. Some also inhale the alabukun powder in a bid to get high.

Research has shown that there is the increase of abuse of benzene by inhalation among the Sudanese children. Also, Kenga, Somalia, Swaziland and Zambia show abuse of glue and petrol by inhalation. In Ethiopia, Kenga, Madagascar and Somalia, the substance KHAT is chewed to get them excessively excited or intoxicated.

In Nigeria, cannabis, cough syrup, glue and lizard dung are used by students. Their excuse for the use of cannabis is to improve their academic performances and enable them to socialize or active. The truck drivers, labourers, bus conductors, load carriers at the markets, civil servants, top politicians and technocrats make use of cannabis sativa to keep themselves agile while labourers put a defense that it give them extra energy to do their work. The same with top rated artisans and musicians who indulge in these drugs in order to perform actively on stage even though some of them always deny their involvement in drugs until tested positive like the athletes using it for the pitch events. In Nigeria , another dimension to it is mixing cough syrup with water or soft drink. They sip this unsuspectingly until they begin to misbehave or become hyper active. This is common among students

HOW PEOPLE GET ADDICTED:

  1. Peer pressure-this may be from their mates either in school or environment
  2. An addicted close family friend may introduce it to his/her cousin.
  3. Wrong association or unholy gathering or parties.
  4. Get rich quickly syndrome-via introduction to unlawful or wrong kind of business as drug trafficking or being a baron across the globe.
  5. Lack of parental care or broken homes
  6. Joblessness or idleness.

NEGATIVE EFFECT OF DRUG ADDICTION

  1. Production of maladjusted citizens
  2. Constant motor accidents on highways

3.Increased rate of armed robbery and kidnapping

  1. It destroys the natural immune system that guards people against certain infections.

5.Insanity-cases abound in our psychiatric hospitals and rehabilitation centre and on the streets and corners.

6 It gives bad image to the country concerned as barons and traffickers  ae easily caught and either jailed or killed depending on the point of arrest and the law of that land.

WHAT TO DO

  1. Parents should be very close to their children.
  2. Parents should try to conduct  a background check on their children’s friends to know them intimately.

3 Schools should make use of professional counselors and psychologists to put students on the right path.

  1. Vocational skills should be introduced and intensified in schools to curb idleness.

5 Affluent in the society should impact the indigent ones to rid our society of miscreants.

6.Our motor parks, roadsides kiosks and public places should be rid of traders selling or hawking these harmful drugs. Constant raiding of these places should be intensified with sincerity of purpose and patriotism.

  1. The word of God should be exposed to the addicts as the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

ESCAPE FROM 'GULAG'

The exact date and month I cannot recollect now, but I guess it was around June/July of the year 2005 when I came to Lagos for the greener pasture.My inability to put this in print ever since that time was deliberate as I decided to allow a breathing space on the story to hide my identity so as not to allow the high-muck-a-muck ‘specialist’  to feed on my innocent blood.

The day was bright and promising. I have just returned from work as a guardian to teenagers in a boarding house where one of them was sick  and decided to take him to a nearby ‘Clinic’ in the highbrow estate in Ikoyi,Lagos. One spectacular thing about this ‘infamous clinic’ is that it has no signpost(and not planning to have one)because of the reason best known to the owner despite others in the neighbourhood having signposts in their various hospitals/clinics.

Most of the time,this lone ranger ‘doctor’ was not always in his clinic but allows patients to be admitted on menial ailments just to make his money. What they do is to place the patient on drips for the doctor to attend(if fortunate) to him two or three days later!

On that fateful dayas usual,he was not in the office. Idid all the registration/documentations for the boy and was diagnosed of typhoid(by the nurses) and put on admission. I was visiting the boy on regular basis at the hospital and the boy’s complaints each time was not able to see the doctor. Surprisingly, he was discharged the third day and was left to leave the hospital alone to go home and come back for his injections! I met the boy in the hostel  when I returned from work and wondered why he left the hospital. He narrated his travail and vowed not to go back to the ‘clinic’ despite having injections to take. I calmed him and let him realised the implications of not completing the dose of prescribed injections.. He obliged but did not fail to recollect all the trauma he went through:bad ventilation,mosquitoes, bad food and a host of others.Mind you, he had not yet seen the doctor but only nurses.

The following day,in company of my superior officer,went to the clinic for a comprehensive report on the boy’s ailment and whether it was true he had been discharged ‘but the doctor was not available. We left the clinic but my boss left a message for the doctor to send his bills to the office for payment if it was true the boy had been discharged.

I repeated the visit the third day with the boy and yet the doctor was in the office but was quickly called on phone by his receptionist and surprisingly, in a jiffy made his way to his clinic and ushered us into his office. He gave a stern instruction to his receptionist not to allow anyone  in and put the door under lock with key and put the key in his pocket!! I was flabbergasted.It was like a criminal in the dock giving evidence before the jury! To safe time, I opened the discussion by thanking him for his ‘efforts’ treating my boy and the information that he had been discharged. That we came together for him to receive the remaining injections.I did not forget to remind him that he should forward his bills to my office as earlier said.

To anybody who has witnessed a snake spit his venom before, such would be better imagined how strangely this ‘doctor’ began to vomit fire! To my consternation,he laced me with virulent and vituperative words for almost an hour! We became(me and the patient) a prey to this vampire ‘doc’ who did not stop with his display of shame and callousness but descended on my boss(in absence) as well.He posted horrible words at my boss-to use his words”I want you to to tell those useless people who sent you here so that they can come here to meet me…I will show them the stuff Iam made of….” When I could no longer stomach his unwarranted  insults,threats,vituperation and scurrilous remarks on my personality and that of my boss,called him to order(forgetting that I was in a ‘dungeon’) afterall,we were his customers and customers ,no matter what happens ,as business etiquette is concerned are always right and we have not committed any crime to warrant such negative response. I cut in boldly and said”Mr man, I am not here to fight but to thank you and to see to the fomal discharge of the boy admitted in your hospital”. He became furious the more. He became ferocious.He rose from his seat and pounced on me like the infamous and inglorious Orji-the notorious cannibal of Lagos in the early 90’s. This self acclaimed Doc(as I later learnt that he is not a qualified doctor but married a nurse) stood;held me by the tie and pronounced that he would kill me.! Hear him”-You called me Mr man,who is your Mr man? I can kill you now and nothing would happen”. This was unbelievable in a civilized society with a supposedly ‘literate’ being who we all believe are engaged in humanitarian service. No wonder his office has no signpost!

I was terrified at this juncture. What filled my heart went beyond his wild moment.I was seeing poisoned injections,acidic knives or even forceful application of killer drugs on us. I kept calm and did not struggle or respond  to all his threats and violent words,afterall,he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. He had made up his mind to eliminate us and cover his tracks-he confirmed this in his statement of wrath,maybe he’s a professional at this.

Ask me what my boy ,the patient was doing? He was shivering,mouth agape and flabbergasted. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. It was like a theatre of the absurd left for the two of us to watch alone.

My boy was looking at the two of us like a dodo but suddenly with tears in his eyes, he summoned courage and muttered some sympathetic words-”Please Sir, leave him for my sake” These few words worked like magic and the butcher withdrew  his ‘knife’ and the day was saved from the vampire under the cassock of a medical doctor.He brought out his office key from his pocket and opened his office door for us ,having held us hostage for almost one hour! As we escaped from the ‘ doctor’s’ gulag, WE BURST INTO A VICTORY SONG AND PRAISES TO GOD that saved us from untimely grave.

Please take a cue from the above scenario; take somebody along whenever you want to visit a clinic or any stranger and let somebody be on the standby for you,awaiting your coming out . If you are arrested ,somebody will go back home to report.

By Idowu Akintunde.

To

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Idowu Akintunde <akintunde.idowu@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 3:24 PM
Subject: ESCAPE FROM ‘GULAG’
To: idowu akintunde <akintunde.idowu@gmail.com>

The exact date and month I cannot recollect now, but I guess it was around June/July of the year 2005 when I came to Lagos for the greener pasture.My inability to put this in print ever since that time was deliberate as I decided to allow a breathing space on the story to hide my identity so as not to allow the high-muck-a-muck ‘specialist’  to feed on my innocent blood.

The day was bright and promising. I have just returned from work as a guardian to teenagers in a boarding house where one of them was sick  and decided to take him to a nearby ‘Clinic’ in the highbrow estate in Ikoyi,Lagos. One spectacular thing about this ‘infamous clinic’ is that it has no signpost(and not planning to have one)because of the reason best known to the owner despite others in the neighbourhood having signposts in their various hospitals/clinics.

Most of the time,this lone ranger ‘doctor’ was not always in his clinic but allows patients to be admitted on menial ailments just to make his money. What they do is to place the patient on drips for the doctor to attend(if fortunate) to him two or three days later!

On that fateful day as usual,he was not in the office. I did all the registration/documentations for the boy and was diagnosed of typhoid(by the nurses) and put on admission. I was visiting the boy on regular basis at the hospital and the boy’s complaints each time was not able to see the doctor. Surprisingly, he was discharged the third day and was left to leave the hospital alone to go home and come back for his injections! I met the boy in the hostel  when I returned from work and wondered why he left the hospital. He narrated his travail and vowed not to go back to the ‘clinic’ despite having injections to take. I calmed him and let him realized the implications of not completing the dose of prescribed injections.. He obliged but did not fail to recollect all the trauma he went through:bad ventilation,mosquitoes, bad food and a host of others.Mind you, he had not yet seen the doctor but only nurses.

The following day,in company of my superior officer,went to the clinic for a comprehensive report on the boy’s ailment and whether it was true he had been discharged ‘but the doctor was not available. We left the clinic but my boss left a message for the doctor to send his bills to the office for payment if it was true the boy had been discharged.

I repeated the visit the third day with the boy and yet the doctor was in the office but was quickly called on phone by his receptionist and surprisingly, in a jiffy made his way to his clinic and ushered us into his office. He gave a stern instruction to his receptionist not to allow anyone  in and put the door under lock with key and put the key in his pocket!! I was flabbergasted.It was like a criminal in the dock giving evidence before the jury! To safe time, I opened the discussion by thanking him for his ‘efforts’ treating my boy and the information that he had been discharged. That we came together for him to receive the remaining injections.I did not forget to remind him that he should forward his bills to my office as earlier said.

To anybody who has witnessed a snake spit his venom before, such would be better imagined how strangely this ‘doctor’ began to vomit fire! To my consternation,he laced me with virulent and vituperative words for almost an hour! We became(me and the patient) a prey to this vampire ‘doc’ who did not stop with his display of shame and callousness but descended on my boss(in absence) as well.He posted horrible words at my boss-to use his words”I want you to to tell those useless people who sent you here so that they can come here to meet me…I will show them the stuff Iam made of….” When I could no longer stomach his unwarranted  insults,threats,vituperation and scurrilous remarks on my personality and that of my boss,called him to order(forgetting that I was in a ‘dungeon’) afterall,we were his customers and customers ,no matter what happens ,as business etiquette is concerned are always right and we have not committed any crime to warrant such negative response. I cut in boldly and said”Mr man, I am not here to fight but to thank you and to see to the formal discharge of the boy admitted in your hospital”. He became furious the more. He became ferocious.He rose from his seat and pounced on me like the infamous and inglorious Orji-the notorious cannibal of Lagos in the early 90’s. This self acclaimed Doc(as I later learnt that he is not a qualified doctor but married a nurse) stood;held me by the tie and pronounced that he would kill me.! Hear him”-You called me Mr man,who is your Mr man? I can kill you now and nothing would happen”. This was unbelievable in a civilized society with a supposedly ‘literate’ being who we all believe are engaged in humanitarian service. No wonder his office has no signpost!

I was terrified at this juncture. What filled my heart went beyond his wild moment.I was seeing poisoned injections,acidic knives or even forceful application of killer drugs on us. I kept calm and did not struggle or respond  to all his threats and violent words,afterall,he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. He had made up his mind to eliminate us and cover his tracks-he confirmed this in his statement of wrath,maybe he’s a professional at this.

Ask me what my boy ,the patient was doing? He was shivering,mouth agape and flabbergasted. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. It was like a theatre of the absurd left for the two of us to watch alone.

My boy was looking at the two of us like a dodo but suddenly with tears in his eyes, he summoned courage and muttered some sympathetic words-”Please Sir, leave him for my sake” These few words worked like magic and the butcher withdrew  his ‘knife’ and the day was saved from the vampire under the cassock of a medical doctor.He brought out his office key from his pocket and opened his office door for us ,having held us hostage for almost one hour! As we escaped from the ‘ doctor’s’ gulag, WE BURST INTO A VICTORY SONG AND PRAISES TO GOD that saved us from untimely grave.

Please take a cue from the above scenario; take somebody along whenever you want to visit a clinic or any stranger and let somebody be on the standby for you,awaiting your coming out . If you are arrested ,somebody will go back home to report.

By Idowu Akintunde.

VALENTINE DAY

Valentine Day is a unique day that is celebrated on February 14th. People in the United States, Canada, Australia and most European countries celebrate Val’s Day.

In Nigeria and other African countries, Valentine day has also been embraced and celebrated with pomp and pageantry.

Many people send greeting cards called Valentine’s to sweethearts,friends and family members. Some people send flowers or Candy to their wives,husbands,friends or sweethearts. Many Valentine candy boxes are heart shaped and adorned with red ribbon.

I recall with nostalgic how Valentine Day was celebrated during my secondary school days in the early60s-70s. Some days before February 14th,wrapped papers with the inscriptions of names of all students and staff would be passed round the school for all to pick a name. The name of the one you picked became your Valentine. On the Val Day itself,everybody would sit in a circumference on the school’s pitch or playground as the chief organizer opened the show ,mentioned his own name and requested to know his Valentine. His Valentine would emerge and they would exchange gifts or handshake. And this would go round until everybody was able to know and met with his or her Valentine. It was all fun lazed with light refreshment and we all looked forward to the D.DAY.

No one knows for sure how Valentine’s Day started. The idea of sending greetings on Valentine’s Day goes back more than a hundred years ago. Some people think this idea may have come from from events  in the life of saint Valentine, a Christian Saint.

One story says that Valentine was a friend of many children. The Romans put him in prison because he believed in Jesus Christ and would not pray to Roman gods. The children missed Valentine and tossed loving notes to him through the windows of his jail cell.This story may explain why people send messages on Valentine Day.

Valentine cards were first sold in the early 18000’s. Many of them were blank inside, leaving a space for the sender to write a message.

Kate Greenaway, a British artist, became famous for her Valentine’s in the late 1800’s. Many of her cards had pictures of happy children and lovely gardens.Valentine’s include both humorous and romantic cards. Special ones are printed for sweethearts and for husbands,wives and relatives.

In Nigeria today,Val Day had been adopted and taken seriously. Lovers meet on February 14th every year to” show their love” for one another. Cinema houses, Malls are visited. They hold hands ,go for shopping and end up in one another arms. Some may be lucky to meet new friends  on Val’s day. Many of the Val’s cards they give read”BE MY VALENTINE”

As you mark this year Valentine Day on February 14 ,remember to show love to your friends and neighbours. Beware  of lust and don’t borrow  unnecessarily to celebrate Valentine day-It is just a day.Husbands,wives,you are to show love and care always to your spouse and not just on February 14 alone. May the brotherly and sisterly love continue. Remember and love your country Nigeria too by doing the right thing to change it for better.

Happy Valentine Day.

By-Akintunde Idowu

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MEDIA AS CONSCIENCE OF THE NATION

The history and pattern of media could be traced  to Nigeria subordination to imperialism . Prior to that period, ancient or traditional forms of inter-personal
and mass communications such as drums,town criers etc were employed as instruments of mass enlightenment and mobilization among various people of what we now know as Nigeria.
The role of the media cannot be over-emphasized not only in Nigeria but in the world. The media, always referred to as the forth estate of the realm is needed in the polity to preach change and educate people on how to go about national development. They are the conscience of the nation.

AREAS OF CONCERN:
1. USE OF MEDIA STRATEGIES-Nigeria as the father of the African countries  needs the media to propagate national developments especially development at the rural levels. The media can help in nation building by effectively making use of national communication policies that spell out functions,politics, uses, ownership, control or regulation of the mass media,so that it will be employed sorely for national development. The media need to make use of communication or media strategies as information campaigns to change people’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviours for development purposes.
2  .SHUN POLITICAL PROPAGANDISTS
According to Jika ;1984” there are bourgeois or reactionary journalists who studiously continue to defend and propagate reactionary views , ideas,values and positions and who are used as fronts for ideological propagation of bourgeois values. Such journalists are megaphones and propagandists of the status quo. They are  apologists of bourgeois domination. Apart from raising non-issues to fundamentals,primordial sentiments are elevated over and above issues of class” The aim being  to confuse,obfuscates and becloud issues.
Nigeria media  should shun those politicians and money bags who want  to pocket them on the altar of Nigeria’s development.Politicizing developmental reportage is counter productive. In journalism, we were taught that the name of the business is ”publish and be dammed.” This is in order to put any government on its toes. Thanks to the freedom of  information law?  Accurate and adequate research , digging deep into the fabrics of governance will prevent overzealous and corrupt politicians and civil servants from dipping his/ her hands into the mud.
3. YOUTHS AS AGENTS OF CHANGE
Our media should focus  more on the youths in this dispensation of change and righting the wrongs of the past. They are  to hammer more on the youths and adults to developing  positive attitudes toward work.  It is an understatement that many of our youths no longer want to  use their  God-given talents but want cheap money or ‘national cake’. Yet  they want to own  fantastic buildings all over the country and overseas ,hence all sorts of cases such as ”baby factories, drug trafficking and kidnapping. The media are to bring this awareness  to people  that,everybody is inclusive when it comes to nation building and not the government alone.In fact,youths have vital roles to play in nation building as catalyst in the positive change ideology of the present government.Notwithstanding,we still have vibrant youths that are very intelligent,knowledgeable and are ready to do legitimate work.  Some are innovators who need only to be assisted.
4.GOVERNMENT ROLE
Human Development Report(1990) defined human development as ”a process  of enlarging people’s choices” that are created by expanding human capabilities”The media are trying in this area with various articles,interviews,discussions on radio and television stations. More efforts should be geared  towards making the government do what  the poor people want that can better their lives.’ Apart from higher income ,poor people put a high value on adequate nutrition,access to safe drinking water, better medical facilities, better schooling for their children,affordable  transport, adequate shelter,secure livelihood ,productive and satisfying job” The government should not  serve itself  but the people that put them in government,if truly,democracy is ”government of the people,by the people and for the people”. Not only the salaries and allowances of  the elected senators and representatives are to be constantly adjusted or reviewed but also that of the civil servants;the peasants farmers making palm oil  in our villages should also be encouraged by providing good roads,  seedlings and other  vital  materials   for  them.

4.RADICAL JOURNALISTS
There are radical journalists who identified  themselves with the ideas, values and aspirations of the marginalized classes and who despite intimidations by powers  that be on their practices, continue to express and champion pro-revolutionary  ideas, values and positions. But these  brilliant,conscientious and  bold journalists should not forget to always  let those youths(and adults) involve in damaging  people’s properties and calling them  government properties know that directly or indirectly, they will have a bite  of the hardship  they are trying to create for people.They are impoverishing the poor more.The media should let them know that violence and destruction are not  the solution  to bring their desired  change in their environments and the country as a whole. The media, along with other institutions such as political structures,cultural institutions,churches and mosques are super structures of any socioeconomic  system  and are to be utilized  to bringing  the desired positive change in our society.
CONCLUSION
Journalists are poorly remunerated. As a result of lack of resources or mismanagement and little or no professional motivation, not much of investigative journalism is seen these days.This aspect of journalism  profession has always been the most hazardous to pursue,even in  this critical time of economic doldrums. Efforts should be made  to look into the salaries of journalists,provide insurance cover,pension and gratuities for them (especially  the private media practitioners). These incentives will encourage those on active service and the budding ones preach the ideas of national developments with boldness,  making their consciences and ethics of the profession their guiding lamp-post in deviant of personal interest.

By Akintunde Idowu

Idowu Akintunde <akintunde.idowu@gmail.com>

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WEIRD BUT TRUE

In the Holy Bible-Galatians 6:7says,”Be not deceived. God is not mocked;for whatever a man sows,that shall he also reap”.

Find below men and women who in the past used words to despise God and the repercussions:

1.JOHN LENNON(Singer) many years ago,during an interview with an American Magazine,said”Christianity will end ,it will disappear. I do not have to argue about that. Iam certain. Jesus was OK,but his subjects were too simple,today we are more famous than Him”(1966).Lennon,after saying that the”Beatles” were more famous than Jesus Christ,was shot six times.

2.CHRISTINE HEWITT-(Jamaican Journalist and Entertainer) said,”The Bible,word of God was the worst book ever written”.In June 2006, she was found burnt beyond recognition in her motor car.

3. In Campinas, Brazil,a group of friends, drunk,went to pick a friend ………The mother accompanied her to the car and was so worried about the drunkenness of her friends and said to the daughter,holding her hand who was already seated in the car:”My daughter,Go with God  and may He protect you”. She responded, ”only if He (GOD)  travels in the Trunk, cause inside here…..it’s already full”.Hours later, news came in that they were involved  in a fatal accident  and everyone in the car died and the car could not be recognized.However, surprisingly,the Trunk was intact. Inside the trunk of the car was a crate of eggs,none was broken!

4. TANCREDO NEVES(Ex-President of Brazil),during the presidential campaign,said,”if he got 500,000 votes from his party,not even God would remove him from Presidency”. Truly, he got the votes,but he fell sick a day before being sworn in as President,he later died.

5.CAZUZA(Bi-sexual Composer,Singer and Poet)- During a show in Canecio(RIO deJANEIRO),while smoking his cigarette,puffed out some smoke into the air and said:”God, that’s for you’. He died at the age of 32 of Lung Cancer in a horrible manner.

6.MARILYN MONROE(Actress)- Billy Graham visited Marilyn Monroe during one of her presentations of a show. He said”the spirit of God had sent him to preach to her. After hearing what the preacher had to say,she said:’I don’t need your Jesus”. A week later, she was found dead in her apartment.

7. BON SCOTT(Singer) The ex-vocalist of the AD/DC.sang in one of his:songs:”I’m going down all the way,down the highway to hell”. On the 19th of February 1980, Bon Scott was found dead;he had been choked by his own vomit.

8. The man who built the TITANIC(a ship) after the construction of the Titanic ship,a reporter asked him  how safe the Titanic would be? In an ironic and emphatic tone he said:”Not even God can sink it”. The truth is that the TITANIC set on sail but sank that same day.

Make a reflection on the above and bridle your tongue.

WHY PAST AGRICULTURAL PROJECTS FAILED IN NIGERIA

Farming is an age old profession. The genesis of farming could be traced to the garden of Eden(in the Bible)where God put the first people on earth-Adam and Eve.It has been practised by past  generations and will continue to be by generations yet unborn. It is the most rewarding but highly neglected occupation in Nigeria.

At independence,farming was a hereditary career handed over to the son by the father.. A child followed his father to the farm and watched him did the job and learnt the rudiments of farming in the process. That was only for subsistence in nature and farming was done with crude implements -hoes and cutlasses.

INTRODUCTION TO SCIENTIFIC FARMING

Today,civilization or education has brought a lot of changes to agriculture. Science and technology have introduced mechanized farming and instead of hoes and cutlasses,mechanized devices such as tractors,mowers,and other machines  are employed to weed,cultivate and harvest farm produce. However,majority of our farmers in Nigeria still depends on the obsolete implements which are are wearisome and frustrating. Full mechanized farming is mostly practised by the elite farmers who have access to the corridor of powers and use their political leanings to monopolise the machines.

LACK OF CONTINUITY OF GOVERNMENT POLICIES

In all Geo-political zones in Nigeria,there are suitable form of one agricultural products or the other. Now that oil has failed us,each of the state of the federation is involving and diverting attention to agriculture.Perhaps, one of the major constrains of Nigeria’s development apart from corruption in the polity can be attributed to lack of continuity of development policies on the part of the government and its indigenous development agencies..As such, numerous development programmes have suffered  still-birth owing to abandonment by successive administrations.Some of the development programmes that are now relics of history include:OFN,GREEN REVOLUTION,DFRRI,FSP,FEAP,PAP etc.

In 1970s, General Gowon’s National  Accelerated  Food Production Programme and General Obasanjo OFN both concentrated on extending cultivable areas through large scale mechanized farms which were run inefficiently. The productivity problems of Nigeria’s peasants who accounted for over 90% of total agricultural output were ignored. The Shagari administration continued this agriculture  programme but with a different tag-Green Revolution tailored towards agricultural development. What happened to it after Shagari’s era?  Total neglect for quick to get oil glut.

As mentioned above, in Nigeria,successive governments have been known to have advocated a mass return to the land on the part of the youths of this country. They have posited that the destiny of this country is with the youths going back to the farms,hence the slogan”Back to land”.  A critical examination of this reveals that the whole exercise is nothing short of delusion because it was not properly handled. No amount of television agriculture propaganda or campaign to score cheap political points will make the youths go back to the land  unless the governments take pragmatic approach  to bring  a change to the use of obsolete agricultural implements used on farms. Farming should be made as attractive  as pushing a pen. Most of the agriculture graduates are complaining of lack of patronage or discouragement in taking farming  as their professions. Only few ones are lucky to be trained by governmente lucky to be trained by governments.  Loans are difficult to come by and they still use crude implements and made to employ labourers on the farms with huge wages paid to them leaving them with little or no profits.

BENEFITS TO EXPECT FROM FARMING

There are numerous advantages in farming. Farmers get a lot of food from the farms freely which in turn will save a lot of money  that could have been spent to buy them  in the markets. Such money saved,may be used for other domestic purposes. As a professional or government, there is the opportunity to be involved in large scale farming. Produce from cash crops or arable farming can be utilized  in the country and also export to foreign countries.This will earn us foreign exchange and positively affects our GDP There will be food in abundance at affordable prices both for the rich and the poor.

SUGGESTIONS

—Efforts should be made by governments to provide enough tractors for rentage at rock bottom fees  and provide adequate seedlings for the established  and would-be farmers.

— Loans should be made available to young and willing graduate farmers who want to be involved in farming

—Farmers should not be heavily taxed as it has been the practice in the past to encourage them on the farms.

—Governments at the Federal and local levels must create a monitoring team who will see to the genuine distribution of farming implements,seedlings and even loans to the ready farmers and youths.

—-There  should be price  incentives and guaranteed profitable producer backed up by well run countrywide buying organisations for farmers who  choose to engage with them.

—-Wide Silos and other storage  facilities should be developed.

—-There should be a reduction in waste and inefficiency by governments handling the distribution of local and imported fertilizer to private organisations.

—-Some of the governments reserved lands could be leased out to farmers and young graduates .These lands are usually used for low cost housing estates which mostly are not affordable by the middle-level workers meant for because of the high prize tag on them
—-Also , the rubber plantation in the East,groundnut pyramid  in the North and Cocoa plantation in the South-West should be REVIVED.to boost our local consumption and foreign reserves.
CONCLUSION
The government should stop playing politics with farming. Farmers in Nigeria  are still poor and regarded as voiceless in the scheme of things,be it business, politics and what have you. This is not so  in advanced countries such as Ceylon,USA,India, China etc.These countries are prosperous because they take farming and farmers seriously.
The country, Nigeria is suffering in the midst of plenty because of past governments  lip service or lackadaisical attitude towards it because  of  cheap oil glut that has now back pedaled and snowballed us to square one.Nigeria should be  able to achieve self sufficiency in such produce  as: :yam,maize,cassava,beans,rice etc and even export surpluses within a reasonable period of time if some of these suggestions are taken seriously for implementation.
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WHY YOUTHS SHOULD SHUN GAMBLING

 DEFINITIONS OF GAMBLING:
Gambling,stylishly called”gaming” according to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English is”when people risk money or possessions on the result of something which is not certain,such as card game or a horse race”. Also,the Encyclopedic Edition of The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary of English Language says”To play a game for money,to take risks in the hope of  getting better results than by some safer means or to stake one’s money or hopes….”
Silver Leigh defines gambling as a scheme to escape labour but in reality,gambling is an evil  spirit that kills and destroys.”

MENACE OF GAMBLING

Gambling has reached an alarming rate all over the world.It has caused a lot of woes to individuals,homes, and a large percentage of the youths.In Massachusetts,about 47% of the 7th graders and 3/4 of high school Seniors,have played the lottery.A Louisiana State University shows that Louisiana youngsters in juvenile detentions are roughly four times as likely to have a serious gambling  problem as their peers.2/2 of  the hardcore gamblers in detentions admitted stealing specifically to finance gambling.”Even where rules forbid gambling in schools, studies indicate as many as 8% of Teens are already hooked on gambling”. Betting also threatens the integrity of the Collegiate athletics. A national study by the University of Michigan  found 45% of male College football and basketball players admit to gambling on sports, despite rules explicitly prohibiting such acts”.

In Nigeria,there is no reliable or accurate data to the percentage  of gamblers but what can be established is that as late as 1960s, pools staking and Casino game otherwise known as “kalokalo”( derived  from the way the casino machine swallows the inserted coin have  been with us. The pools staking though fading away, yet pockets of adherents still patronise the hide and seek game of chance!

However, the one in vogue now is the ”Baba Ijebu”(name derived probably from the  patron’s home town), the mind -set is given as games of probability which most of  the time may end  in pains, sorrow and blood! Researches indicate that from every part of Nigeria,Lagos, Abuja, Enugu,Ijebu, Abeokuta and Kano to mention few, rate of gambling has doubled in recent times. There is also the betting on sports which is not only among the working class or sports fans but also among  the artisans and elites.Some people posited that unemployment or economic doldrums or frustration made and still making a lot pf people to go into gambling in order to make quick money. But the question is ,are they really making the money? The answer is rhetorical. Right from the time of pools staking in the 1960s,and till now,pools staking and betting have been thriving,not because there were no legitimate  jobs then to do, but the mind-set to getting rich quickly.If we can rightly surmise, the percentage of those who have made huge  money from these games of chance ,it will be as low as 2%. Laziness and wrong association have been adduced as part  of the reasons for gambling. Teenagers enticed to gambling may start  picking pockets at bus stops  or Malls to get money  in order to satisfy the lust  for money to gamble and when not satisfied lured into armed robbery or other vices.

GAMBLING AMONG YOUTHS IN BOARDING SCHOOLS/HOSTELS

The alarming rate  at which gambling has penetrated  the youths extends  also to our schools especially  students in the boarding houses/hostels -whether in the universities or colleges. Sometimes,some adults that have been exposed to gambling in the cities introduce ”the business”  to the young and innocent ones and they start the ”gaming” thing as a play or trivial thing until they gravitate to a big- time gambling using  big money , material things and the like in order to prove to their colleagues or mates that they are ”big” or ”civilized”. At times during gambling,the other party may be cheated ; argument may lead to confrontation and blood spilling.They do all these even when they are supposed to be reading their books or resting  most especially in the night time.

If by the definition earlier quoted above ,that gambling is a scheme to escape labour,the victims are drones not ready to do hard and legitimate work before making money..They are” the covetous,foolish and over-ambitious ones. What do they spend the money gained on? Majorly, they spend the ”gains” from gambling or betting on frivolous escapades. They spend the ”gains” on parties, booze,prostitutes,illicit drugs and what have you. Some adults get back home to beat and nag their wives having lost all their stakes. They refuse to shoulder their domestic responsibilities. Some even go as far as selling their ‘prized’ properties to gamble whenever they are broke or out of cash,yet they refuse to quit this monstrous game . Those in schools on the other hand, are jittery and not  doing serious study.They skip lectures to gamble, make some money(if ‘lucky’) and end up in narcotic jungles. By this acts, some have gone insane and dropped out of schools.Many of them have been stabbed by co-gamblers and have lost their precious lives in the process.

Thomas Jefferson said”Gambling corrupts our dispositions,and teaches us the  habit of hostility against mankind”. The great statesman,Benjamin Franklin said in’ Poor Richard’s Almanac’ concerning gambling-”Keep flax from fire, youth from gambling”. All these postulations from these great  men and widely traveled and experienced  public figures should not be waved off as inconsequential. They are much concerned about the extent of damage gambling had done, is doing and would still be doing if not curtailed
WAY FORWARD

1. Engage in Dignified Jobs-Youths can look for other menial jobs that will provide them with regular income on daily basis without  the permutation formula of the pools  staking and ”Baba Ijebu’s” creation. Youths should take their future seriously and disregard gambling as an alternative to escape labour.  Gambling should not be regarded as a legitimate profession.  Many people that took to  gambling in the past ended up in zero .They must believe that there is dignity in labour but not the cheap and undignified venture like gambling.

PARENTS ROLE

Parents should truly know their children’s intimate or casual friends,research into their backgrounds and be cautious of the money that flow into the hands of their teenagers. Teenagers should be taught  money management and living  within their means,no matter how meager it may be-contentment with Godliness is great gain.

THE GOVERNMENT

The government  should not be complacent only on the gains from gambling operators that come in from taxation. She should  understand that the future of her youths is sine-qua-none to present and future developments. Of what use is a youth who supposed to be an inventor but abandons his highly prized ambition for gambling and eventually ends up in gaol or become a nuisance  and liability to the society? If possible,strict control, and close monitoring should be put in place to discourage children from going the way of gambling. Radio,TV jingles should make this a priority to discourage our youths from involving themselves in this wild games.The ministry of information,both at federal and state levels will help in this area. The National Orientation Agency should also be involved in the awareness campaigns.The newspapers and magazines  available should not relent in their efforts  to discouraging gambling in their write-ups.

A WORD FOR THE WISE

Investigations revealed that casino  machines are built to favour the operators.That about 80-90% of the winning numbers go to the  patron and the chance  to win is very slim.Yet,the attraction to make money is very high.No wonder we find even some public figures involving in gambling! Of recent a video clip  on the internet revealed one Nigeria popular musician in a gambling mood. What an irony of life and bad example to the youths! Gambling encourages laziness and violates God’s commandments. The foundation and attraction to it is excessive love of money.

CONCLUSION

By conclusion, George Washington frequently quoted the French proverb”Gambling is the child of (greed),the brother of iniquity and the father of mischief”.  Youths and adults should shun gambling and use their God given talents to better their lot.

By: IDOWU  JULIUS

TIPS ON BEING A POSITIVE PARENTS

Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer and Cassandra Jardine have vital tips on being positive parents. The following are suggested panacea:

X       BE IN CHARGE

Show that you are in charge by setting rules and boundaries. Children should not be given adults responsibilities.

You have the benefit of past experience. Use it wisely to guide them.

X        SHARPEN YOUR LISTENING SKILL

Listen to their difficulties with non-judgmental ear. Appreciate that their problems,although they seem trivial to

you, can be very real to them. Help them work out solutions in a step-by-step way.

X         CELEBRATE THEIR LITTLE ACHIEVEMENTS

Show enthusiasm and celebrate their achievements, no matter how small and share their passion where you can.

X             PRAISE THEIR EFFORTS

Focus on efforts  rather than results. Although results are important, acknowledge efforts your child  has

made to improve or reach certain targets.

 

X             BUILD THEIR CONFIDENCE

Boost their   self-belief and self confidence by reminding them that you are their  biggest fans,whatever they

achieve.

X               ENCOURAGE THEM IN THEIR  PASSION

Encourage them to pursue  their genuine ,legitimate and decent passion. When you don’t agree with them,you

only need to counsel them and show them the reason you don’t agree with them.