Monday

Editorial Flashback: It's an e-mail scam, not a "Nigerian scam"....

Editor-in-Chief

Imagine my surprise when I turned to the consumer page of the Attorney General of the State of Washington to find that a whole people, in this case citizens of Nigeria, had been painted with a wide brush (see former website content below in italics). Regarding the latter, I am talking about the much talked about e-mail scams or advance fee fraud, many believe originated from that West African nation.

"E-mail Scams - Advance fee and counterfeit check/Nigerian scams: If you suffered a financial loss you can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov"
To better understand this issue, it will be prudent to give a brief overview of the most populous country on the African continent, a nation that has disbursed so much good to much of humanity, with some bad mixed in (show me a perfect country or people).
Nigeria gained its independence from Britain on October 1st, 1960. Since then, the country has experienced a civil war (that lasted for three years 1967-1970 and killed 1 million of its citizens) while also enjoying a long spell of economic prosperity and boom from the 70s to the late-80s (much from oil and other natural resources she has been blessed with).
Lately, beginning in the 1990s, the country's infrastructure, image and over-all national reputation has taking a beating, mainly as a result of defective leadership laced with unbecoming greed and avarice.
The general climate of corruption (not quite different from what you would find in most countries but quite overt in Nigeria) has led to an expected societal breakdown, where law, order and common decency became an exception and not the norm.
For all of its struggles with corruption and the systematic destruction of its storied institutions and culture, much of this by its own military, with the acquiescence of the West (the latter mostly concerned with taking its resources by any means), the country has re-set itself back on course, with democratic elections in 1999 and has never looked back since.
The descent into "white collar crime" with the e-mail scams and other forms of criminal activity (by a very marginal minority) does NOT define the nature and character of Nigerians (over 200 million people), with many Nigerians contributing as physicians, scientists, technology experts and business executives in much of the world, particularly Africa, Europe and the United States (with a well established immigrant population in the Puget Sound as well).
While the e-mail/advance fee scam has generally been portrayed as a "Nigerian Scam", recent investigations by the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS) (working in conjunction with the FBI and Interpol) have shown that most of these crimes (e-mail/advance fee scams) have actually been committed by citizens of other West African countries, namely Ghana, the Sierra Leone and Liberia (due to the wars and extreme poverty in the latter two).
The interesting spin to the preceding information is that America's next door neighbor, Canada, has become a notorious breeding ground as well for a large proportion of these e-mail and other transactional scams. Witness the Canadian "lottery winner" e-mails as well as the offer to send you a "cashiers check" when you try to sell your car on Craigslist.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a body recently set up by Nigeria's democratically elected government, has also been very aggressive in pursuing the perpetrators of ALL financial crimes, within the Nigerian state.
While it is true that the Nigerian government "needs to do more" to ensure that this menace is curtailed (at least within its borders), one can say that the US government also needs to do more, by advising its citizens not to reply to e-mail solicitations to receive money from "relatives", they never had in Nigeria or anywhere else in the first place.

The advance fee fraud and e-mail scam developed a life of its own by the default of enablement. The greed and avarice in the United States (particularly on Wall Street) is there for all to see, but I am yet to see any Attorney General websites or newspapers refer to those as "American scam" or even worse still, label the scam on Wall Street with an ethnic delineation.
I am grateful to the deputy Chief-of-Staff of the Washington AG at the time for heeding my call and that of other well-meaning and hardworking Nigerians to remove the "Nigerian" label on this disgraceful activity.

One would hope that the likes of Sean Robinson (Staff Writer at the Tacoma News Tribune) might also learn something and understand that much like the criminals on Wall Street and those on the corners of the worst neighborhoods of Tacoma and indeed America who murder (serial killers et al), rape, pillage, molest and commit countless heinous crimes, are not branded with an American or other ethnic-American brush, it would be fool-hardy to do the same to others.

Sunday

A powerful message from the late venerable Archbishop Benson Idahosa

CC™ Sunday Revival

This was a powerful message from the late Bishop Benson Idahosa. Simply riveting and worth listening to as we wade through this dark world of uncertainty and spiritual paucity.

Saturday

Again, Nigeria must do away with Gernot Rohr as he is wasting away Nigeria's golden generation of players

Super Eagles Coach Gernot Rohr is not the future
CC™ Viewpoint - Editor-in-Chief

a) Gernot Rohr has been on the job going on five plus years and in that period, he has discovered zero viable Nigerian talent (at home or abroad).

b) Nigeria's talented players like Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Leon Balogun and Ndidi among others, have not fully developed under Rohr and in fact, some of them have regressed, namely, Leon Balogun and Iheanacho.

c) Rohr is tactically inept and is a lousy talent evaluator and as such, he has been unable to discover gems from the local league (like Westerhoff, Bonfrere and Keshi did) and instead has resorted to introducing mediocre players from lower divisions in European and backwater leagues.

d) Nigeria has not been able to discover and groom a solid goalkeeper under Rohr despite giving him and his crew all the support to do just that. Now, rather than watch the local league and work hard for once, he (Rohr) sought to introduce an Under-18 goalkeeper from England and also brought in an equally unproven goalkeeper (at the time) from the fourth-tier of the German league to a team of Nigeria's caliber. Although Maduka Okoye has been somewhat adequate between the sticks, he is still not of the same caliber as the legendary goalkeepers Nigeria has been blessed with in the past.

e) The Super Eagles are a global brand and Rohr is a classic square peg in a round hole. Nigeria is simply too big for him and his ambitions do not match that of Nigeria's players or its teeming and football crazy supporters. Rohr has reached his pinnacle with Nigerian soccer and may we never have a coach that celebrates a bronze finish in the AFCON again! Can anyone tell me who finished third at the 2013 AFCON that was won by Nigeria? No Google search allowed please. 

f) Rohr is stupidly stubborn, rigid and bereft of the requisite man-management skills to handle our players. 

g) Rohr is almost 70 years old. Nigeria needs a young and dynamic coach, local or foreign (if foreign, must be Dutch as the Dutch style of total football fits us perfectly) that will work with local and talented (equally young and dynamic) coaches to inculcate the unique Nigerian way of playing from the U-17 all the way to the Super Eagles. Rohr is just after his pension and he has sucked us dry enough already.

h) This upcoming crop of Nigerian players is probably the best in a generation and Rohr has already wasted a critical portion of their development years.

i) Rohr will not change and expect him to continue calling up the likes of Daniel Akpeyi (who has zero upsides) et al to camp when the Super Eagles camp reopens.

j) Rohr is LAZY and is not a winner! Simply put, if you have never won before, Nigeria is not the team to coach with subdued expectations as Nigerians expect a lot from the Super Eagles. In a nutshell, the Captain of the Super Eagles is the single most important person in Nigeria; even the President of Nigeria barely sniffs a semblance of importance next to him. 

The recent loss to the Central African Republic in Lagos of all places, as well as the lackluster performance of the team in the following games against the same CAR, Liberia and Cape Verde respectively, are warning signs the NFF and all football stakeholders must heed.

There seemingly has to be something unholy and untoward between Rohr and the NFF leadership, as most Nigerians continue to wonder exactly what the journeyman has accomplished to justify his retention as the head coach of the Super Eagles.

Gernot Rohr has absolutely nothing to offer Nigeria and it should not take anyone with any semblance of intellect and football sense to see that. 

Rohr needs to go!

Friday

Nigeria: The prophetic consequences of dining with the devil.....

President Buhari (L) and the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo (R)
CC™ Viewpoint - By Ike Amaechi

Shortly after overthrowing Muhammadu Buhari's military junta on August 27, 1985, Ibrahim Babangida set up what he called the Nigerian Political Bureau. The 17-member panel inaugurated on January 13, 1986, with Samuel Cookey, a professor of political science, as chairman was charged with the responsibility of refocusing Nigeria's political trajectory by chiseling out a new socio-political order. 

With membership cutting across academia, business and labour - Abdullahi Augie, Bala Takaya, Dr. Edwin Madunagu, Prof. Oye Oyediran, Mrs. Hilda Adefarasin, Prof. Eme Awa, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Prof. Sam Oyovbaire, Dr. Ola Balogun, Haroun Adamu, Comrade Paschal Bafyau - the bureau reached out to prominent Nigerians. At the end, it received well over 27,000 memoranda on issues ranging from religion to ethnicity and ideology from ever-willing and rambunctious Nigerians. 

But Obafemi Awolowo was not sold on the project and refused to participate.

In his rejection letter addressed to Cookey, Awo was clairvoyant and made a damning proclamation. 

"I received your letter of February 28, 1986, and sincerely thank you for doing me the honour of inviting me to contribute to the national political debate.

The purpose of the debate is to clarify our thoughts in our search for a new social order.It is, therefore, proper that all those who have something to contribute should do so. I do fervently and will continue fervently to pray that I may be proved wrong. For something within me tells me, loud and clear, that we have embarked on a fruitless search. At the end of the day, when we imagine that the new order is here, we would be terribly disappointed.

"In other words, at the threshold of our new social order, we would see for ourselves that, as long as Nigerians remain what they are, nothing clean, principled, ethical, and idealistic can work with them. And Nigerians will remain what they are, unless the evils which now dominate their hearts, at all levels and in all sectors of our political, business and governmental activities, are exorcised.

"But I venture to assert that they will not be exorcised, and indeed they will be firmly entrenched, unless God Himself imbues a vast majority of us with a revolutionary change of attitude to life and politics or, unless the dialectic processes which have been at work for some twenty years now, perforce, make us perceive the abominable filth that abounds in our society, to the end that an inexorable abhorrence of it will be quickened in our hearts and impel us to make drastic changes for the better."

But in the event that Nigerians were not attuned to heeding the advice, there was, Awolowo said, an alternative option: "To succumb to permanent social instability and chaos." Nigerians obviously settled for the alternative option and 33 years after, we are still treading that self-destructive path. No matter how anyone cuts it, Nigeria is in trouble. The country under President Muhammadu Buhari's watch is gradually but inexorably succumbing to permanent social instability and chaos. When Nigerians elected Buhari president in 2015, they believed that they were enthroning a new order. Change was the slogan. Today, not a few are terribly disappointed. Truth be told, with Buhari, we embarked on a fruitless search.

Buhari has neither ruined himself nor about to. In fact, he doesn't care. I doubt if he gets it. But Nigeria is worse off for the shenanigans of his government. And the conduct of the last governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States reinforces the prevailing pessimism.

Under President Olusegun Obasanjo, elections were a do-or-die affair. As bad as that was, Buhari has taken the ugly trend to the next level, a notch higher, where it does not really matter whether you do or you don't, being a Nigerian willing to express a contrary political opinion makes you an enemy of the state with dire consequences. Which explains why the Kogi State PDP Woman Leader, Mrs. Salome Abuh, was burnt alive in her home just because of elections.

In broad daylight, hoodlums that were not masked arrived at Abuh's house, blocked every exit, knowing full well that she was inside, poured petrol on the building, set it ablaze, stepped back and fired gunshots continuously to scare people away from rescuing her. Terrified villagers who apparently knew the assassins could only watch the gory spectacle from afar, helplessly.

Meanwhile, the murderers were having a ball - smoking, drinking and chatting away - without a care in the world while their victim was wailing and begging for mercy. The blood-thirsty thugs waited patiently, mocking their victim. They had the license to kill. Like a child sent on a stealing voyage by his father, who loudly and without a care kicks the door open, they stood there supremely confident that their bestial act will go unpunished.

That is the level Nigeria is today. To date, nobody has been punished for this horrific crime. I dare say that nobody will be made to pay for the heinous crime. Lesser incidents will convulse any other country. Abuh's tragic fate reminds me of Mukaila Abdullahi, Kano State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, who was burnt to death at his Kano GRA residence on April 4, 2015 together with his wife and two children.

Abdullahi presided over the presidential and National Assembly elections. He didn't live to superintend over the governorship and state Assembly elections. His remains were buried in his home state of Jigawa even before investigations started. To date, there has been no serious attempt to unravel the mystery. Why should there be when the police concluded without any investigation that the entire family "suffocated after inhaling black smoke emitting from the split air-conditioner hose that caught fire after an electrical fault." To date, Kano residents and Abdullahi's neighbours dispute that account.

The Kano State police commissioner who made the announcement, Ibrahim Idris, became the Inspector General of Police, IGP, shortly after. Under Buhari's watch, Nigeria seems to have succumbed to permanent social instability and chaos. The homes of Nigerians are routinely burnt down and innocent citizens murdered in cold blood for daring to assemble as was the case of Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lawyer to leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, this week.

The government cherry picks which court order to obey. The National Assembly has become a mere rubber stamp with lawmakers misconstruing patriotism to mean allegiance to the president rather than the Constitution of the country. Nigerians have been cowed into silence. A Hate Speech Bill that prescribes death penalty is hanging over the heads of naysayers like the axiomatic sword of Damocles. There is also the Social Media Bill. The ominous warnings are back. Mere protest is a treasonable felony that must be firmly and ruthlessly put down. Any act of dissent is a potential banana skin.

On Tuesday December 3, 2019, the Department of State Services, DSS, sounded an ominous warning, claiming to have uncovered plots by some undesirable groups to cause a breakdown of law and order in parts of the country by instigating protests, mass action and violence. "These predetermined actions have been designed to take place simultaneously in the major cities across the geopolitical zones in the coming weeks," DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, announced in righteous indignation.

"Considering the implications of these on public safety and national security, the Service wishes to warn the anti-democratic elements responsible for these heinous plots to desist forthwith from their inglorious acts. Consequently, parents are advised to rein in their wards and enjoin them not to allow themselves to be used to foment trouble. Similarly, heads of academic and public institutions are to warn their students and employees respectively from engaging in any untoward activity against public order. The Service and other sister agencies are at alert and will ensure that peace and security are maintained in all parts of the country before, during and after the festive periods." 

Recently, the world also watched as Nigerian soldiers shot at innocent #EndSARS protesters as the latter were demonstrating against the activities of the murderous Special Anti-Robbery Squad Unit, accused of murdering innocent Nigerians, mostly the youth, in cold blood. There are also reports from inside sources that the Buhari administration is in a clandestine alliance with Boko Haram as the Northern leaders, namely the Sultan of Sokoto (who is the standard bearer of Fulani Jihadism), Nasir El-Rufai, the tyrannical Fulani irredentist Governor of Kaduna State and the Aso Rock Northern-Muslim Cabal surrounding President Muhammadu Buhari, seek to hold that as a dark horse over the country, ahead of the 2023 elections. 

The gloves are off. Buhari claimed he was a born-again democrat. Nigerians believed him. But can the leopard actually change its spots? Hardly! Buhari is exactly who we thought he was and Awolowo was right. He saw this coming more than three decades ago.

Thursday

Perceptual Organization - Making sense while thinking

Editor's Corner

In a recent article, I had stressed the fact that the human brain, in addition to being the most extraordinary creation of the human anatomy was also the epicenter of thought, conviction, emotions, consciousness and purpose. In this particular article, the subject/topic of perceptual organization will be the focus of my discussion.

It therefore seemed appropriate to start this discussion with a reference once again to the human brain, as perceptual organization would ‘naturally’ be a part or component of the intricate but detailed functionality of the human brain.

Knowing fully well that learning may play a significant role in perception, there is the school of thought that perceptual organization does reflect innate properties of the human brain. 

More recent work in perception seems to infer that studying perception is basically studying the human brain. In particular, there seems to be more and more, an alignment of such school of thought with physiological observations of the human brain.

What is Perceptual Organization and even more importantly, how does one organize raw sensory stimuli into meaningful experiences that would ultimately make sense (at least to a recipient of the experience generated by the said stimuli)?

Furthermore, in the process of making sense of the ‘sensation’, is the thinking process an evolving one and subject to an individual’s perceptual organization of his or her experiences? Also, what set of mental activities are involved in this organizational process and how ’influential’ are they in the process? Perception involves organization and grouping as well as distinguishing objects from their surroundings.

I do believe and will state that the organization of raw (sensory) stimuli into experiences that make sense and are meaningful to an individual or larger society would normally involve some cognitive functionality. This cognitive functionality would comprise processes such as thinking, knowing, remembering and in some cases, forgetting. This would seem to be a logical sequence as it makes for an organizational process that would ultimately seek to incorporate that which is favorable while through the forgetting process, eliminate that which the senses deem unfavorable.

Throughout this process, the importance of knowledge and experience will ultimately be established as knowing as a result of thinking generates a learned experiential state which whether favorable or unfavorable would ultimately help develop a perceptive frame of reference for the individual concerned. Now, I am not sure if I am making that much sense here, but I am simply stating what I think is in essence the obvious, based on my own perceptual organization.

In asking some of the questions I asked in the second paragraph of this article, I did not do that with the aim of necessarily answering the said questions. I did that in the hopes of asking even more questions by creating a forum for intellectual conversations as to what perceptual organization really is all about; without seeking to necessarily narrow down its definition. What seems to be rather clear however is the realization that knowledge and experience are probably the most critical components of the perceptive process since those two factors may in fact help us better make sense of the input to our sensory systems.

According to Gestalt laws of grouping, there is the school of thought that the whole differs from the sum of its parts (Ehrenstein, W. 1930). The Gestalt theorists for the most part in the 20th century sought to single out the brain processes that would ultimately be responsible for the organization of perception. They argued that while simple sensations essentially consisted of organized percepts, the percepts themselves could be said to be basic to experience. There are also various arguments out there that seek to identify whether or not these experiences are for the most part private (Ehrenstein, W. 1930).

As I had stated earlier, perception, in addition to involving organization and grouping, also involves the process of distinguishing an object from its surroundings (Ehrenstein, W. 1930). There is the notion that the moment we perceive an object, the surrounding area around the said object is then the background. Gestalt psychologists are the biggest proponents of this school of thought. That would seem to suggest a concept of separating the figure from the ground and according to the Gestalt school of thought, this process is replicated throughout the various experiences of the percepts themselves (Ehrenstein, W. 1930).

There is no question this is probably one of the most difficult (if not the most difficult concepts - perceptual organization) for me to chew on, but I am of the school of thought that a thorough understanding of the subject itself is an evolving one in as much as the knowledge and experience of the percepts themselves, as part of the complex make-up of the human brain.

References:
Ehrenstein, W. (1930). Figure-Ground Segregation. Current Psychology of Cognition, 117, 339-412.

Wednesday

Tuesday

The saga of transactional sex on the campus of Nigerian universities

CC™ Editorial By Oludayo Tade 

Transactional sex among female undergraduates in Nigeria is a social reality. The practice has been reported on regularly in the mainstream media and explored in various research papers

This cross generational relationship is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, and across the world where sponsors are commonly known as “sugar daddies”.

In our study on transactional sex in Nigerian universities, my colleague and I looked at the symbiotic relationship between some female Nigerian undergraduate students and aristos – wealthy, married or unmarried men. The students have transactional sex with the aristos in exchange for financial, social or educational support.

Because a great deal of these relationships happen undercover, there are no solid figures on the number of women involved in them. But there are many reasons that these relationships happen. It’s a practice that’s driven by economic hardship, a desire to network socially, and peer influence.
To understand more about these relationships we conducted 30 interviews with female undergraduates – commonly known as “runs-girls”.
We found that the students engage in transactional sex for pleasure and money. Typically, wealthy students would be with an aristo for pleasure, while those who needed financial support did it for the money. Most of the women we spoke to viewed it as a critical survival life investment strategy and rejected the “prostitution” label.
Although these relationships could offer the students economic, emotional, and political support, their effects can also be negative. The students expose themselves to sexually transmitted infections, physical violence and academic setbacks, because the relationships can distract from their studies.
Those with sexually transmitted infections risk spreading these to their boyfriends, while also suffering economic losses seeking treatment.

Finding clients

Aristos are usually wealthy postgraduate students, lecturers, politicians, business people and military personnel. They are people with wealth and authority.
The students looked for these clients on and off campus, using connections and referrals. They then familiarized themselves with the potential client’s routine, aiming to eventually manufacture an encounter.
There’s usually a generational gap between the “runs-girls” and the aristos. The students often refer to their clients as “uncle”, “daddy” and, more recently, “aristo”. All of these bring connotations of the person’s expected role: to take care of the student.
If the students don’t have much financial support from their families, these relationships provide them with that security. Some started as a one-off “date”, for which they got a sum of money. But longer-term relationships also developed in some instances.
In return for sex, the women were given luxury possessions, like cars and mobile phones; investments for businesses they might start; or work placements when they finish their studies.
As one female student said:
The type of connection I have with politicians, lecturers, and military men cannot be purchased with money. At times, when I have problem, all I do is to make a call, depending on the nature of challenges…
In Nigeria, about 23% of young people are unemployed. These connections, with people of influence, may be a ticket to employment. As one “runs-girl” revealed:
One of my clients who happened to be a commissioner connected my senior sister to get a job at immigration even without any much stress…
Transactional sex isn’t limited to financially strapped students. We spoke to rich female students who engaged in it for sexual fulfillment. One 24 year old student said:
I am from a rich home, my father is even a Major (in the army), and my mother a nurse, but I’m involved in campus runs because of sexual satisfaction, although nothing goes for nothing, because sex is for enjoyment. I have a guy that I help financially, and on the long run he pays me back with sex.

Challenges

In this research we identified a few challenges.
Some “runs-girls” accepted offers of unprotected sex for better pay. This put them at risk of catching sexually transmitted infections and, consequently, the cost of treatment. As one student said:
I am always scared of having naked (unprotected) sex. Most times I use (a) condom because one can never know a man that has HIV/AIDS. Although sometimes some men always want naked sex and in that case, they will have to pay triple than what is earlier bargained. Part of the money realized as a runs-girl are used in revitalizing the body, in which I go to the hospital once in a month to examine myself.
Other risks are that the women could be physically harmed. This is particularly true if the clients choose not to pay an agreed amount.
Their education could also suffer as they may choose to engage in “runs” rather than go to class.

Action needed

Getting the government or even universities to take action will prove difficult because our evidence suggests that policy makers, politicians and the business class are involved, as aristos.
Nevertheless, given the risks associated, something ought to be done.
One possible solution might be to establish part-time jobs for vulnerable students, and to institute courses about running businesses so that young women can earn money independently.
In addition, institutions should put together and roll out communications campaigns that teach young people about the implications of transactional sex.

Monday

The 21st Century Marriage


From a recent study done in the United States of America, about 49% of all marriages end in divorce and you might think the odds of failure of marriages will be much less for couples heavily involved in the church but I am sorry to shock you, it is not quite so. Ministries today reports the divorce rate up 279% in the last 27 years! This, if anything, is frightening!

Taking a survey of all ministers in all denominations, 50% of their marriages will end in divorce. A recent ABC News broadcast also reported that the divorce rate in the "Bible Belt" is 50% higher than in other areas of the US. The Christian-Based Research Group reported in January 2000, that 21% of atheists and agnostics will or have experienced divorce while 29% denominational Christians and 34% of non-denominational Christians will or have experienced divorce. This is a rebuke to the church! Where are we getting it wrong?

Most marriages are predicated on faulty foundations and marriages with such foundation cannot last. People get into marriage for the wrong reasons for some it is the wealth that will be available at their disposal, others for reasons other than genuine love entrenched in God's approval.

I read a story about Tony Toto, of Allentown, PA. He operated a pizza parlor there. Tony Toto survived at least 5 attempts on his life, all arranged for or carried out by his dear wife, Frances & her lover. Twice she arranged for assailants to beat him over the head with baseball bats. On one occasion she put a tripwire across the basement stairs in their house, hoping that he would trip over it & plummet to his death.

She also arranged for him to be shot, at least on two occasions. The first time she drugged his chicken soup so he would sleep soundly; he was shot in the head, but miraculously survived. The 2nd time he was shot in the chest, but only sustained minor injuries.

Even more miraculous than Tony's survival was his attitude toward his wife once he found out she was responsible for all of this. Tony said that he held his wife blameless.

When she was found guilty and sent to prison for arranging for his murder, he took their 4 children and visited her every week - every single week. Then when she was released from prison, she went back to their red brick home to resume her married life with Tony.

With his arm around her, Tony said, "We're more in love now than ever before.Wow! What a man! This is one very rare case, but how many people can live up to this? I am sure a lot of people would have thrown out the woman at the first attempt or probably kill her in the process. What is happening to our homes and marriages today?

Is your marriage going through a strain? Are you so stressed and worked up and thinking of calling it quits? Divorce should not be an option, you can work this through. During my counseling sessions, I have asked couples 'what attracted them to each other in the first place and if that object of attraction is still present.'

Most marriages get into murky waters when there is a downward shift in the relational disposition of either or both partners. When the gifts stops coming, the communication becomes brief and formal and the romantic sparks becomes extinguished…you had better watch out, you are standing on a divorce time-bomb waiting to explode!

Let me share with you some secrets that I have shared with my audience. It is embedded in the four letter word L.O.V.E. I am not saying love by mouth but this is love from the very depth of your soul, it's a connection you must have with your spouse, if anything comes in between this connection then you are on a dangerous path. Let's look at this together:

L - Living for One Another: Living for one another is one of the strong keys to living together till 'death do you path.' It means your spouse becomes the reason for your living. When you live for another it means you are dead to self, it means you are broken. At this stage, it is not about your qualification nor is it about how much money you earn more than your spouse…the moment you begin to see yourself as the more important part of the relationship then you are digging the grave for your marriage. When you live for one another, then you will grow in each other.

O - Open Up to One Another: Secrecy is a silent and gradual terminator of the peace and joy within the home. Many homes have been destroyed as a result of secrets that were believed to have been kept but later came to the fore. Your spouse has the right to know everything; that is why you are married. You owe each other that obligation. Open to one another and you will enjoy the peace that passes all understanding. Many individuals have held back secrets from their spouses which later inflamed them and their marriage never was the same again.

Openness rides on the wings of a healthy communication within the marriage. Couples, if when together are at lose of what to discuss or say to each other are already exhibiting symptoms of 'communication wilt.' Communication must be fun, informal and sincere. Openness is the first defense against external infiltration into your marriage. Be open about everything. Genesis 2:25 says "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed." There is no shame in being open. These should include our finances, sex, relationships and every other area.

V- Value for One Another: Value means worth. When you value your spouse then he/she is worth more than all the valuables of the world put together. A man that values his wife will not treat her as a slave. Learn to appreciate your wife. Treat her as the queen that she is and let her feel that sense of worth. How do you treat your husband? Do you discuss her with your friends and by extension make him a laughing stock before them. Do you disrespect each other before extended family members? Value means you are sensitive to the needs of your spouse and that you hold each other in high esteem. Do you value your spouse?

E - Encourage One Another: Your spouse should be your first pastor. It is not every problem or misunderstanding you take to the church or your parents. Be the shoulder upon which your spouse can lean on. There is power when you agree on something together. Rather than place curses on each other, make positive declarations of a better life together.

There are women who bathe their husbands with curses and true to their word, the man will never make progress and you cannot expect to have peace in return in such situation, the devil will succeed in turning that home to a battle field. Encourage and pray for another.

The success of one should be the joy and success of another. Don't take your spouse to the threshing floor of the public, since when he/she is ridiculed you will also be humiliated in your home. Make Jesus your focus. 

Face that challenge together and see God come out strong on your behalf. Your family will be beauty to behold and a reference point in the comity of families.

God bless you mightily! 

Gbenga Owotoki, is the founder and Presiding Coordinator Hephzibah Network International Ministries; a Ministry committed to stirring up the 'sleeping giant' in people for end-time exploits. A US trained Business and Change Management Strategist. He is widely known as the 'Change Driver' for his simple but yet unique ways through which he initiates changes that are rejuvenating lives and organizations and helping to restore hope in individuals who had completely given up. A widely travelled international conference speaker and Convener of the annual Giant Conference and Life Summit that have been a blessing to many.

Sunday

Steve Jobs died 10 years ago but his ideas about the future endure


CC™ ViewPoint

By Nick Kolakowski

Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs died 10 years ago. With a decade of hindsight, we have an even greater sense of how deeply he impacted the tech industry—but also how the tech industry is beginning to move beyond some of the paradigms he established and the battles he fought.

Unlike many other tech CEOs who rose to prominence in the early part of the 21st century and subsequently faded away, Jobs continues to hold the public’s attention. He’s elevated as an icon of creativity, the rare executive who could not only run a business, but also predict what consumers really wanted. Apple’s track record during his tenure—from the iMac to the iPod and the iPhone—certainly bears this out. 

“As thoughts grew into ideas, however tentative, however fragile, he recognized that this was hallowed ground. He had such a deep understanding and reverence for the creative process,” Jony Ive, the former head of Apple’s design and a close friend of Jobs, wrote in a new piece in The Wall Street Journal. “He understood creating should be afforded rare respect—not only when the ideas were good or the circumstances convenient.”

Ive added: “Ideas are fragile. If they were resolved, they would not be ideas, they would be products. It takes determined effort not to be consumed by the problems of a new idea. Problems are easy to articulate and understand, and they take the oxygen. Steve focused on the actual ideas, however partial and unlikely.”

Jobs’s focus on high quality and aesthetics helped transform Apple into a multi-trillion-dollar company. Whether Apple continues its stratospheric growth for yet another decade may hinge on whether it can successfully evolve into a provider of cloud services in addition to hardware—a shift that Jobs dimly saw before his deathIn an October 2010 email, he suggested that the tech industry was on the verge of a “post-PC era,” and that 2011 would not only be “Year of the Cloud” but also see the continuation of Apple’s “Holy War with Google.” Unless Apple moved beyond an “old paradigm,” it would eventually fall behind its rivals.

While Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android still compete for their respective slices of the mobile OS market, Apple’s opponents have multiplied over the past decade. For example, Apple’s dedication to user data privacy under current CEO Tim Cook has put it in direct conflict with Facebook, whose business model hinges on vacuuming up as much data as possible from users. Apple has also been locked in a fierce legal battle with Epic Games, creator of the ultra-popular “Fortnite” game, over the size of Apple’s App Store commission

In addition, Apple must ensure that it can continue to compete with its rivals in cutting-edge technologies including (but certainly not limited to) artificial intelligence (A.I.), machine learning, and the cloud. Although Apple was one of the first companies into the digital-assistant game when it rolled out Siri in October 2011, it has since lost ground to Amazon’s ultra-popular Alexa and Google’s voice-activated assistant. While most of the company’s hardware devices remain society-redefining hits, if there’s one thing that Jobs understood, it’s that the tech industry can shift very quickly under your feet.

DICE 

Saturday

Ten Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Skills

Editor's Pick

Don't discount the importance of interpersonal skills in the workplace. How you are perceived by your manager and coworkers plays a large role in things as minor as your day-to-day happiness at the office and as major as the future of your career.

No matter how hard you work or how many brilliant ideas you may have, if you can't connect with the people working around you, your professional life will suffer. The good news is that there are several concrete things you can do to improve your social skills and become closer to your colleagues, all of which will ultimately help you succeed in today's working world.

Here are 10 helpful tips for improving your interpersonal skills:

1. Smile. Few people want to be around someone who is always down in the dumps. Do your best to be friendly and upbeat with your coworkers. Maintain a positive, cheerful attitude about work and about life. Smile often. The positive energy you radiate will draw others to you.

2. Be appreciative. Find one positive thing about everyone you work with and let them hear it. Be generous with praise and kind words of encouragement. Say thanks when someone helps you. Make colleagues feel welcome when they call or stop by your office. If you let others know that they are appreciated, they'll want to give you their best.

3. Pay attention to others. Observe what's going on in other people's lives. Acknowledge their happy milestones and express concern and sympathy for difficult situations such as an illness or death. Make eye contact and address people by their first names. Ask others for their opinions.

4. Practice active listening. Actively listening is a way of demonstrating that you intend to hear and understand another's point of view. It means restating, in your own words, what the other person has said. Your coworkers will appreciate knowing you really do listen to what they have to say.

5. Bring people together. Create an environment that encourages others to work together. Treat everyone equally and don't play favorites. Avoid talking about others behind their backs. Follow up on other people's suggestions or requests. When you make a statement or announcement, check to see that you have been understood. If folks see you as someone solid and fair, they will grow to trust you.

6. Resolve conflicts. Take a step beyond simply bringing people together and become someone who resolves conflicts when they arise. Learn how to be an effective mediator. If coworkers are bickering over personal or professional disagreements, arrange to sit down with both parties and help sort out their differences. By taking on such a leadership role, you will garner respect and admiration from those around you.

7. Communicate clearly. Pay close attention to both what you say and how you say it. Being a clear and effective communicator helps you avoid misunderstandings with coworkers. Verbal eloquence projects an image of intelligence and maturity, no matter what your age. If you tend to blurt out anything that comes to mind, people won't put much weight on your words or opinions.

8. Humor them. Don't be afraid to be funny or clever. Most people are drawn to a person that can make them laugh. Use your sense of humor as an effective tool to lower barriers and gain people's affection.

9. See it from their side. Empathy means being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes and understand how they feel. Try to see things from another person's perspective. You can help yourself with this by staying in touch with your own emotions, since those who are cut off from their feelings are often unable to empathize with others.

10. Don't complain. There is nothing worse than a chronic complainer or whiner. If you simply have to vent about something, save it for your diary. But spare those around you, or else you'll get a bad reputation.

AllBusiness.com