Wednesday

Preventing future attacks like those of Boko Haram

Dr. David Leffler

Violence and conflict have plagued mankind throughout history, and the terrorist attacks by Boko Haram are just a current manifestation. 

How can Nigeria protect itself from future attacks? Ideally, the best way to guard against emerging terrorist threats would be to have no enemies. No enemies = no terrorism! 

An unfamiliar but effective human resource-based approach called Invincible Defense Technology would help the military of Nigeria to begin creating a lasting peace by preventing such enemies from arising, both internally and externally.

Invincible Defense Technology (IDT) is a scientifically validated solution to conflict and violence. There are over 50 published studies confirming its effectiveness. This recently revived method of preventive defense promises to end terrorism and conflict. Its adoption in Nigeria can set an example of peace-based defense for the rest of the world - something all military leaders would value.

Militaries have tried to quell violence and conflict through a dynamic approach, i.e., with weaponry and military personnel. But, interestingly, even with advanced weapons, they cannot eliminate problems like terrorism. New terrorist threats constantly emerge, and the number of terrorist cadres and cells continues to grow. 

Even with more fully equipped police and paramilitary forces, militaries cannot eradicate them. More alarming, defense experts predict that terrorists will soon start using portable, easily concealed weapons of mass destruction to launch their attacks around the world.

Imagine the dire ramifications for Nigeria if a dangerous terrorist group like Boko Haram could obtain such devastating weaponry.

So the question remains: Can war and terrorism be prevented with the military methods used in the past? Again and again, history shows that the answer is "no." War, conflict, violence and terrorism are human problems. Therefore, they require a human solution. 

Their underlying cause is accumulated stress in society's collective consciousness. If the collective consciousness is full of tension and fear, then disorder is more likely to erupt into some specific act of violence than if the prevailing mood is one of contentment. Social injustice and unfavorable economic conditions thrive in and contribute to chaotic environments. 

Unresolved religious, territorial, political, and cultural differences further add to the unrest.

Thus, a dissatisfied and frustrated population contributes to its own instability. The buildup of this sort of tension is dangerous to any nation's sovereignty, producing an unstable government that is prone to war. However, if the collective social stress driving these problems is prevented, negative manifestations would cease. Thus, zero collective stress ultimately means no war and no terrorism.

Invincible Defense Technology is rooted in the ancient Vedic knowledge of India, which describes the best approach to prevention as Heyam duhkham anagatam (Yoga-Sutra 2.16): "Avert the danger before it arises." Similarly, Yoga-Sutra 2.35 affirms Tat sannidhau vairatyagah: "In the vicinity of Yogic influence - unifying influence, integrating influence, coherent and harmonious influence - conflicting tendencies do not arise." These ancient principles were effectively applied in past, and they have already been successfully applied in today's world, with commendable results.

According to Vedic tradition, conflict results from ignorance - ignorance of how to prevent the buildup of collective stress through the harmonizing influence of coherence. For example, the Ramayana states that "...ignorance will have no access within eight miles from [the Yogi's hermitage]." The Ramayana describes the ancient city of Ayodhya, whose name means "Invincible." Certainly, Ayodhya relied on the conventional defense technologies of its time. 

For instance, "It was enclosed by strong fortifications and a deep moat, which no enemy, by any expedient whatsoever, could penetrate." Also, "Ayodhya abounded in warriors undefeated in battle, fearless and skilled in the use of arms, resembling lions guarding their mountain caves." However, the descriptions of the enlightened, stress-free life of the inhabitants of Ayodhya indicate that its first line of defense was the city's freedom from collective stress. According to the Ramayana, this low stress level, based on life in harmony with Natural Law, made Ayodhya worthy of its name.

In today's modern cities, however, social stress gets generated by countless violations of natural laws (i.e., crimes are committed every day). People's weakness results in an inability to find positive and life-supporting ways to fulfill their desires. Crime contributes to a growing cloud of negativity for a city and for a nation. When the stress from crime, frustration, unhappiness and lack of national fulfillment grows beyond a certain limit it spontaneously erupts into terrorism and war. 

Therefore, ignorance, or lack of understanding of how to act in accord Natural Law, is responsible for suffering in human affairs.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi revived the practical components of this silent approach for national defense. They are all-known around the world as the Transcendental Meditation® and TM-Sidhi® program. These programs are evidenced-based solutions, with a substantial amount of published, peer-reviewed research that has accumulated since 1970. 

Because they are human resource-based technologies, they are easy to implement and practice. It is important to note that they do not involve religious belief or practices. Members of many faiths worldwide have practiced these meditation techniques. Extensive scientific research documents the ability of the TM and TM-Sidhi program to dissolve stress on the individual and collective levels.

Could the ideal of Ayodhya's preventive defense again be accomplished by militaries today?

Yes! It is already starting to happen now. Military-related leaders in the USA, Latin America, and Africa, are applying TM because peer-reviewed scientific papers have confirmed that regular practice produces many other wide-ranging, measurable benefits. 

These include increased intelligence, creativity; reduced stress and improved health; and more fulfilling and harmonious interpersonal relationships. Most importantly to warriors, TM increases resilience, mental clarity and physical strength as well enhancing mind-body coordination (See Defense and Security Alert, Vol. 4, Issue No. 8, pages 34-39). Also, from a practical standpoint, the TM program is easy to do and has no religious philosophy attached.

For nearly sixty years it has been taught to millions of people (including schoolchildren and their teachers) around the world from every race, cultural background, religion, ethnicity and educational background.

Are soldiers willing participants in such an unusual endeavor? Again, yes! A study was conducted by Ecuadorian army psychologists to assess the value of the IDT preventive defense program after its soldiers had been practicing it for one month. The results? Over 96% of the soldiers thought it was a very practical activity. Why are these warriors convinced? As the study showed, 92% felt their performance in activity had improved and they were better able to deal with stress; 96% declared their relationships with others had improved; and 95% said their practice of IDT was completely satisfying.

The operative part of IDT requires having a Prevention Wing of the military. This wing is comprised of a small portion of the armed forces of a country. The rest of the military carries on with their usual duties. The Prevention Wing of the military creates societal coherence by practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi program in large groups morning and evening. Their collective practice produces positive benefits for both themselves and their adversaries. Peaceful overtures increase from all sides.

Similar coherence-creating groups have been deployed in many war zones and conflict-prone areas with great success. Extensive scientific research indicates that when the square root of 1% of the population practices the advanced TM-Sidhi program in a group, a "field effect" is created. Scientists call this field effect the "Maharishi Effect." Many carefully controlled studies have documented and validated positive social trends such as reduced conflict and lowered crime rate resulting from the Maharishi Effect. These studies have been scrutinized and published in respected peer-reviewed journals such as Social Indicators Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Mind and Behavior and Journal of Crime and Justice.

This coherence-creating effect has also been documented on a global scale in a study published in the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. When large assemblies of practitioners of the TM-Sidhi program exceeded the Maharishi Effect threshold for the world (about 7,000 at that time) during the years 1983–1985, international conflict decreased 32%, terrorist casualties decreased 72%, and violence was reduced in other nations without intrusion by other governments.

IDT is a force multiplier because it creates coherence for the entire military and the whole country, thus making everyone's jobs easier. While the majority of the military continues with the dynamic approach (weaponry, equipment, training), the minority implements the silent approach of Invincible Defense Technology. Defense of the nation is perfect, thus invincible, when both these approaches are combined.

The military of Nigeria cannot solve the problem of terrorism by standard military means alone. It also needs a silent approach that will help people focus more on peaceful means of settling differences. Nigeria needs to deploy Prevention Wings of the Military immediately to prevent terrorism, and achieve true invincibility and permanent peace. The authors urge Nigerian leaders to immediately adopt this evidence-based approach.

Major General (Ret.) Kulwant Singh, U.Y.S.M., Ph.D., leads an international group of generals and defense experts that advocates Invincible Defense Technology. He was awarded the Uttam Yudh Sewa Medal, the second highest decoration for senior officers during operations in Sri Lanka as part of IPKF (Indian Peace Keeping Force).

David Leffler, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS). http://www.StrongMilitary.org. He served as an Associate of the Proteus Management Group at the Center for Strategic Leadership, US Army War College. Dr. Leffler is the author of "A New Role for the Military: Preventing Enemies from Arising - Reviving an Ancient Approach to Peace." 

Monday

Ten things we've learnt about identity politics in the United States

CC™ Editor-in-Chief

a) Racism is an institution not an event, statement or action, as evident by the silence and acquiescence of the Republican members of Congress to the dangerous and highly-charged statements, and actions of former President Donald Trump for 4 years, that ultimately culminated in the violent insurrection by White Supremacist supporters of his, against the Congress of the United States on January 6th, 2021.

b) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually instigated the singling out (in 2019) of the women of color in the U.S. House by referring to them as "just four people with no following". That was all President Donald Trump needed to strike at the time, against those women. 

c) Donald Trump "is not a racist". The power structure that enabled him become the POTUS (still incredibly threatens to bring him back in 2024) and continues to facilitate his trampling upon the Constitution with impunity is racist, and was set up to be that way by the founding fathers, who enslaved the Africans that were brought to America and saw them as less than human.

d) President Barack Obama would not have been elected to office if he had bragged about sexually assaulting women, and he would definitely have been impeached, and removed from office, if he had conducted himself in office as Trump did.

e) Imagine what would have happened if Barack Obama had asked those that criticized his administration to leave the country, if they did not like the way things were being done. Or worse still, if he (Obama) had threatened to unleash the U.S. military on American citizens, protesting in the streets. Lastly, I am confident Barack Obama would have been impeached and convicted within a week (at most) if he had instigated an insurrection against a co-equal branch of government.

f) Gratitude is not a requirement of citizenship. Furthermore, all U.S. citizens (naturalized or natural born) have equal rights or do they.......?

g) The old order of the Democratic party is completely out of touch and the treatment of the four women Representatives of color by Speaker Pelosi three years ago, serves to buttress that point.

h) The Republican party has always had a playbook steeped in identity politics. Anyone remember the Willie Horton ads? Trump is not doing anything new. He simply took it to another level.

i) The palpable silence of the so-called religious leaders (especially the white religious leaders) in the United States tells you all you need to know about them.

j) The silence of most top American CEOs and business leaders (until recently) also tells you all you need to know about them and their organizations. The ones that have 'spoken out' are not only late to the game (about four years late at least), but are speaking out merely to 'sanitize' their brand, as well as clear whatever is left of their conscience (assuming most of them actually have one).

#Racism #Willie Horton #Barack Obama #Donald Trump #Capitol Insurrection #White Supremacy #White Nationalists

Sunday

Saturday

Flashback: The GOP and the dearth of true conservatives

Reagan takes oath of office
Editor-in-Chief - Boyejo A. Coker

This piece was written (ahead of the 2012 U.S. general elections) as a sequel to a preceding piece titled "Whither the GOP and true conservatism." Both pieces served to profess a prelude to the emergence of both Barack Obama and Donald Trump on opposite sides of the political spectrum. The article continues below.....

In an article I wrote a few years ago, I touched on the debilitating frailties of the GOP as presently constituted and how they may have led to the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States.

As we get into the decisive months of presidential politics in the U.S. general elections, one sees the same pattern beginning to unfold once again, as the GOP-led Congress (at least on the House side) would much rather play side-bar politics, that could ultimately re-energize the left to turn out in solidarity of what most observers perceive to be an under-performing president.

There is no question that the president is vulnerable and worse-still is the fact that he seems unsure of what he needs to do, in order to get the economy moving again.

For independent voters (they hold the "swing votes" in key elections), the two choices for the White House would seem to be a replay of 2008 all over again.

Then, most independents seemed to initially lean towards John McCain, as they respected his service to country as well as his penchant for reaching across the aisle, to get the business of the nation done, when it was absolutely necessary.

The fringe right of the GOP was however cool to the McCain candidacy and they eventually forced his hand into choosing someone that many felt became a liability to both his candidacy as well as the poignant message true conservatives were trying to send to the American people.

Key political watchers would argue that true conservatives never warmed up to Sarah Palin the minute they realized there was nothing behind the looks or between the ears.

For all the so-called Tea Party would like most Americans to believe, conservatism is not defined by a resentment for a sterling educational pedigree or impeccable intellectual acumen. Rather than see those with the preceding qualities as snubs, a true conservative views the composite as an invaluable asset; one that typifies a sense of ambition, responsibility and ultimately speaks to the crux of the conservative message of a commitment to excellence.

The reality is that this president is way in over his head, but the GOP leadership in the House of Representatives has consistently giving him a way out by stalling and styming his feckless efforts aimed at "reviving" the American economy.

And when they are not styming the president's "well intended efforts" they are busy issuing subpoenas to the Attorney General of the United States for a program that was actually started under a Republican president; it was then called Operation Wide Receiver and it was the first known ATF "gunwalking" operation to the Mexican drug cartels, beginning in early 2006 (under the Bush White House) and ran till late 2007.

Not to digress onto this matter, but what makes the Darrell Issa-led over-reach even more laughable and at best mis-directed, is the fact that under the Bush administration, there were no known reviews by either the DOJ or the Congress at the time. In fact, it was not until Barack Obama took office in 2009, that the Eric Holder-led DOJ started an intensive review into Operation Wide Receiver, with arrests and indictments subsequently made, as a result of the investigations.

Rather than focus on the key issues that continue to affect the generality of the American people, the ECONOMY, ECONOMY and the ECONOMY, key GOP leadership and their surrogates, would much rather play divisive politics and once again, give a much needed opening and life-line to a struggling presidency.

True conservatives are not blinded by their parochial and ideological idiosyncrasies, but are instead committed to espousing the true values and ideals of transparency, accountability and responsible governance; doing so with dignity and firmness, as well as a sense of cordiality that belies their resolve and determination.

The message of individual responsibility, self-determination, personal discipline and accountability must not be lost in the abyss of incendiary vituperations laced with jingoistic redundancies.

The American people deserve much better this time around, than a default presidency as that may ultimately lead to a couple of plausible scenarios that could eventually obtain here. The first is that Barack Obama's "third term" is ensured (4 years from now) by the lack of purpose and direction currently being exhibited by the core GOP establishment. The other scenario is that an anti-establishment candidate may arise out of the ashes of the impending GOP establishment's implosion. That person would then become an unlikely but much welcome voice (to the far right) of parochial irredentism that may change the political landscape of the United States forever.

Chief Editor's commentary: The 'anti-establishment candidate' I predicted almost a decade ago, in this piece, turned out to be Donald J. Trump. Four years of his chaotic presidency has turned American democracy on its head and January 6, 2021 was indeed a defining day in the history of the United States of America. Let no one be fooled here either by the incendiary posturing of some GOP fringe stalwarts of the disgraced former president, as it relates to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. 
The facts are that Donald Trump was first impeached for withholding military aid to a friendly nation in exchange for a purported favor from that nation (Ukraine) against a potential opponent (Joe Biden) of his, in the upcoming presidential elections, at the time. Trump’s feckless presidency and rudderless leadership strengthened Putin’s hand politically, as it relates to the former Soviet Republics, Ukraine especially, from a strategic standpoint -geopolitically. 

Friday

Band of thieves and purveyors of ineptitude.....

"BARBARIANS AT THE GATE"
CC™ Viewpoint 
By Boyejo A. Coker - Editor-in-Chief

It actually does not matter what aisle of the 'political' spectrum you belong to, this rudderless leadership has failed Nigerians, more-so even worse, since the inception of the 4th Republic in May, 1999.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held sway for fifteen mostly inglorious years (1999-2015) under the stewardship of the following:

a) Rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo (1999-2007)

b) The late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua (2007-2010)

c) Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (2010-2015).

For at least 12 of those first 15 years of the 4th Republic, corruption, by and large, became the norm while the climate created by avaricious greed, further engendered a general state of lawlessness.

Kidnappings and killing orgies became commonplace and have continued unabated, till today.

While some may say that there was a certain degree of accountability, with the accompanying restoration of some semblance of sanity during Yar'Adua's brief reign, the truth remains that his vision of a better Nigeria was never going to see the light of day, given the scavengers and marauders he was surrounded by.

For this piece, we will absolve Umaru Yar'Adua of some of the PDP misrule when one considers that he was never in charge, as the cabal (whose stranglehold on the proverbial throat of Nigeria has never been in doubt) led by the one Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo et al essentially pulled his strings. When he (Yar'Adua) then dared to think for himself, he was murdered by the demonic powers behind the Nigerian throne of oppression.

Then came Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo again, as in his quest to maintain his inordinate hold and that of his fellow 'barbarians at the gate' on the destiny of Nigeria, he ensured that the next Nigerian leader would come from his "political family tree' (unfortunately, nothing good has ever come from any Obasanjo tree including his biological family tree). Thus, the dysfunctional reign of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, an absolute and utter misfit for any public office, was visited upon Nigerians.

It remains telling that only Goodluck Ebele Jonathan could have made an ethnic and religious bigot attractive to the same Nigerians that had rejected him (Muhammadu Buhari) a resounding three times (2003, 2007 and 2011) prior to his resounding victory in the 2015 general elections.

In case some have forgotten how we got here, this was the "scorecard" of the PDP misrule, particularly under Jonathan:

a) Coffers-to-personal account accountability (or lack-there-of) where public funds were used for personal gain including the extravagant wedding of GEJ's daughter http://www.myjoyonline.com/…/goodluck-jonathans-daughter-re….

b) An aviation industry (once led by Femi Fani-Kayode and then later by the certificate forging Stella Oduah) that was nothing short of a death trap. I should know as I lost a close relative, Deji Falae (Ondo State Commisioner for Culture and Tourism at the time) to one of those unfortunate but far-too-common air crashes under the PDP misrule.

c) Fabricated economic numbers embellished masterfully by sycophants in the Finance and Economic Ministries to obfuscate the fact that the average Nigerian could not afford the most basic amenities under the Jonathan misrule.

d) Religious over-reach where Jonathan consistently employed openly the advise and services of so-called Christian Pastors and even embarrassed the country by taking his whole cabinet to Israel to "pray". Can you imagine the outcry from the same hypocritical CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) and their egunje leadership if PMB had gone to Saudi Arabia with his whole cabinet to pray?

e) Under Jonathan, the bigotry and balkanization of Nigeria was effectively set in motion as Jonathan was essentially committed to the disintegration of Nigeria; and this was made even more apparent with the systematic decimation of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Jonathan, in an act of subterfuge against the Nigerian state, then employed foreign mercenaries (former South African soldiers under the apartheid racist regime) to fight Boko Haram at the end of his unfortunate misrule. 

f) Do Nigerians also forget that Jonathan attempted to scuttle the democratic process during this period of shame and disgrace to the Nigerian nation by postponing the elections?

g) The use of the DSS to terrorize, intimidate and kill (thousands of people disappeared without trace) Nigerians in the North, the SE and the SW (in particular) with Femi Fani-Kayode, Ayo Fayose and Musiliu Obanikoro leading the assault on political opponents in the SW with the firm support of the DSS, much like the days of Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, that weaponization of a State Security apparatus against the citizenry has continued under the autocratic administration of Muhammadu Buhari.

h) Nigeria became a pariah state under Jonathan and effectively lost its voice both on the African continent and globally. Anyone who underestimates the forces that are against this current administration with its stated desire to sanitize the nation must be truly misinformed. The forces are both spiritual and physical and I will caution Nigerians that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.  

And the circus has continued under the rudderless and despotic rulership (note I didn’t use the term leadership) of Muhammadu Buhari, who has proven himself to be just as incompetent a leader as he was as a soldier. Sadly, the teeming masses of hardworking and highly industrious Nigerians remain saddled with an unbecoming band of brigands and marauders as so-called leaders.

Nigerians need to realize that they are merely pawns in the game of high stakes chess being played by a corrupt and morally bankrupt political class. The truth is they (the political class) even intermarry and are not bothered by ethnic or religious so-called differences, while at the same time fanning the embers of ethnic and religious warfare among the desperately poor who just would like to have a fair shake in life, for once. 

As the late Sunny Okosun said in his famous song from almost three decades ago, "Which way Nigeria. Which way to go?" The answer lies squarely in the hands of the Nigerian people and the sooner they realize how much power they have to make a change, the sooner that change will come.  

Heaven, as they say, helps those who help themselves. 

Thursday

Racism: Why 'the children of a ‘lesser God’ must redefine the next human century and beyond.....

CC™ - Editor-in-Chief

I have always stated to many, including black intellectuals that racism is not an event, statement, person/personality or even an action. Racism, at its very core and foundation, is an institution and that is why I laugh consistently at the notion by white liberals and some blacks that racism must be defeated.

Defeated? Those who are actually 'in the know' understand the implication of that statement and as such they will NEVER allow that to happen; as it would mean the loss of their privilege and influence. I mean why would anyone in their 'right senses' want to give up the power and position they have benefited from for generations.

That opening flurry then brings us to the state of things not only in America (particularly under Donald Trump, the 45th POTUS) but also in the world as we, 'the children of a lesser God' seek to navigate our way through s system and indeed a world that continually views us as a threat. Yes, I said 'as a threat' as the founders of the racist establishment that currently runs the world understand very well how formidable and capable Africans (blacks) are.

Whether it is in the corporate world, national and international politics, sports and entertainment, the system engendered by racism has ensured that blacks in particular remain removed from positions of influence (where far-reaching decisions are made) that determine the ultimate outcome of events in the critical arenas of human life.

THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC SYSTEM

A closer look at the global economic system would serve to buttress my point regarding the institutional nature of racism. It defies logic that a continent (Africa) that produces majority of the worlds key natural resources remains the poorest and the most indebted. A situation where the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (all created to perpetuate neocolonialism and western imperialism) determine if, when and how the governments of African countries function basically ensures that the rusty shackles of slavery are replaced by new and shiny ones. It is not a coincidence that the fate of African countries in the hands of these Western institutions is similar to that of blacks in America, Europe or South America when dealing with financial institutions. Blacks generally, even when they have great credit on the average pay higher interest rates than whites and end up being buried (much like African governments) under the weight of indebtedness.

THE UNITED NATIONS

When one looks at the United Nations and most international non-governmental organizations, the tale is the same. There is an undue influence exerted by the United States and Europe (Western Europe to be exact) in the daily affairs of those organizations. Of the five permanent members of the United Stations Security Council (UNSC), only one (China) is non-European. The other four permanent members are Russia, United States of America, Great Britain and France. When you look at that list, three of those five permanent members, the United States, Great Britain and France were three of the key perpetrators of the worst carnage in human history, the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade that robbed a whole continent of its future and destroyed the promise, hope and aspiration of a whole race.

GLOBAL SPORTS AND ORGANIZATION - FIFA, NFL AND THE NBA

When you look at organizations such as the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), the National Football League (American Football) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), the mark that has been laid down by the institution of racism and white privilege can not be over-emphasized. FIFA for the longest time only allowed a whole continent (Africa) with over 50+ countries to produce just one representative to the global showpiece from its inception in 1930 until the 1982 edition (52 years later). At that 1982 edition, FIFA allotted just two slots to Africa in a field of 24 nations (Europe was allotted 14 spots out of the total 24).

The odds continue to be stacked against African reprsenetatives at the FIFA global showpiece with a view to ensuring that an African country never wins the most prestigious global event in the world. FIFA and the European Football Confederation (UEFA) want to ensure that there isn't a repeat of the 1996 Men's Olympic footbal tournament that saw Nigeria defeat global soccer giants (with star studded players) such as Brazil and Argentina on their way to winning the first Gold medal in soccer (football) ever by an African country or a country outside of Europe and South America. FIFA and the IOC went on to ensure the watering down of the Olympic Men's soccer tournament shortly after that Nigerian victory.

THE REALITY

The fact remains that the African (black) resurgence can't be stopped. That resurgence is not intended to ensure the destruction, eclipsing or eradication of anyone (unless they decide to get in the way of its actualization), but instead, the restoration of the basic construct of our humanity. The latter has been lost over the past generations, as avaricious greed, obtuse imorality, unbecoming debauchery and senseless over-indulgence have become the order of the day. What separates humanity from animals is basic and common-sense restraint, as necessitated by our core human make-up. There are consequences to our actions, both intended and unintended. Guns, climate change and politics are not the problem.

The problem lies with the human beings that pull the trigger, engage in actions that harm the environment or profess political views that seek to promote hate, division and a general sense of social anxiety. The first 'black" POTUS (Barack Obama) and the first African President of South Africa (Nelson Mandela) both brought a humanity to their respective positions during their tenures, that had been lacking from their predecessors. While both were invariably still bound by the ubiquitous realities of the positions they held, they nevertheless sought to bring a more humane reality to it and that was evident by the ressistance both had to face while in office.

In conclusion, while the future may seem bleak, one thing remains a constant; the potential and the opprotunity to rewrite the human destiny lies in the African resurgence. The West will not lead, as evidenced by European and American regression into the throes of bigotry and intolerance (with the ascent of the likes of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Italy's Matteo Salvini). Africa must and will lead as history has shown that continent and its people as the ever-enduring moral compass for the world.

© 2022 2CG MEDIA. Coker Confidential™

Wednesday

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

Tuesday

7 best practices to keep you ahead in the workplace

CC™ Introspective - By Remi DaCosta

As a working adult, you spend more time at work than you do with your family, so it’s easy to then see your co-workers to an extent, as an extension of your family. 

Always have this in mind though; since they are colleagues, try to draw a line between normal and intimate conversations which you might regret spilling later. How professional you want to keep your relationship all depends on you. 

In order not to create problems for yourself professionally in the future, here are some things never to do with your colleagues.


1) Discussing your sex life. From experiences to escapades, it will land you in trouble if it gets to the wrong ears.

2) Telling your superior how you spent your weekend is an absolute no-go area, unless it is necessary and related to work. 

3) Gossiping about another colleague. It diminishes your integrity and credibility as a person and besides earning you negative marks on the character side of things, it ultimately does not encourage those you work with to confide in you or trust you. After all, if you would gossip about another person, they would expect you to do the same to them. Steer clear of office politics, gossip and chattercrawl altogether! 

4) Don’t form unnecessary cliques or sideline some people at work. People are really sensitive to issues like this. As the saying goes, keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. 

5) Revealing big secrets to another co-worker. Talking about big mistakes you made in the past with a colleague or your superior could come back to haunt you. 

6) Be careful about whom you trust and confide in. Watch, learn, verify and document. 

7) Find at least one or two people that you can use as either references or resources from both a professional and personal standpoint, and do not pre-judge anyone until you have had the opportunity to get to know them, within reason. 

At the end of the day, always use your best judgement and understand that life continually evolves and is not determined by just one event, but a series of them. Make sure that at every turn, you are exhibiting the commensurate level of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) needed to ensure you are always at least one step ahead.

In closing, while the aforementioned steps are intended to help you navigate the slippery slopes of the work place, the best approach to staying ahead is to understand the underlying culture of your organization. That basic understanding will help you best ensure the preservation of both your (personal) brand and your career.

Monday

Sunday

Flashback: Buhari Is An Ethnic Bigot, Religious Fanatic – Bola Tinubu


CC™ Retrospective

Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State and leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, once described General Muhammadu Buhari as an agent of destabilization, ethnic bigot and religious fanatic who if given the chance would ensure the disintegration of the country, according to a Wikileaks transcript of a conversation between Tinubu and the US consul-general in 2003.

Tinubu disclosed this to the United States spy posing as the consul general – in a 2003 conversation- that Buhari should not be trusted due to his bigot tendencies. He pointed to Buhari’s tribalistic nature as potentially dangerous to the unity of Nigeria. In Tinubu’s summation, he stated: ‘Buhari and his ilk are agents of destabilization who would be far worse than Obasanjo.’ The conversation was recorded by the US Consul General and wired back to Washington DC for analysis. Of which, Wikileaks got a hold of the recorded transcripts and published the conversation.

Section 6 (C) reads “Turning to the presidential contest, Tinubu disclosed that he does not like President Obasanjo because he contributed to the end of democracy in Nigeria during his tenure as a military president and is now benefiting from that history. That said, Tinubu admitted that he and his party, the Alliance for Democracy, must support Obasanjo. Southwest Nigeria is Yoruba land and the President is Yoruba. Tinubu’s party had no choice since it has not fielded a presidential candidate. Moreover, Obasanjo is the only candidate who stands a chance of blocking his rival, General Muhammadu Buhari, whose ethnocentrism would jeopardize Nigeria’s national unity. Buhari and his ilk are agents of destabilization who would be far worse than Obasanjo. Tinubu and many other governors are therefore implementing a strategy to re-elect Obasanjo, partly in an effort to prevent Sharia from spreading. Tinubu predicted that the President will follow his own course, if re-elected, since he will not need as many friends the second time around.”

However, barely 11 years after, Tinubu and Buhari have forged an alliance to upstage the PDP government. The curious marriage between both men has got many tongues wagging. While some see the new Tinubu-Buhari liaison as a marriage of convenience just to undo the PDP, others expressed suspicion at the intent of Tinubu to sell Buhari to Nigerians this time round, barely one decade after he dismissed the leadership credentials of the former military dictator.

During his reign as Head of State, Buhari introduced a notorious decree to restrict press freedom, under which two journalists were jailed. He ruled with iron fist and was unable to reflate a sagging economy.

His attempts to rebalance public finances by curbing imports led to the closure of businesses and many job losses. The economy took a downturn as prices of goods rose, while living standards fell, leading to a palace coup by Gen Ibrahim Babangida on 27 August 1985.


INDEPENDENT

Friday

Thursday

16 Laws of Psychological Power

CC™ VideoScope

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

3 Risk Management Functions for Secure Cloud Governance.....

CC™ Technocrat

The method of managing risks on cloud has witnessed a big shift as the pressure on governance model to track variants of risk has become high.

While risk formats have changed in the industry, business continuity is said to be affected with the ushering in of cloud model. The pressure on cloud service providers is increasing in terms of identifying and tracking new risks emerging out of this trend, which sometimes has an adverse impact on the business. 


Sethu Seetaraman, VP/Chief Risk Officer, Mphasis, says that risk management basics do not change with cloud. However, the way in which a control is implemented and monitored is what has changed. “As far as BCP/DR is concerned, the organisation owns BCP/DR in case of Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service. Service providers will own BCP/DR in case of Software as a Service. 


You must build or take these services from the cloud service provider based on the availability risk,” avers Seetharaman. 


Why 3 functions of Risk Management are Key to Governance.....


Just as with IT governance, risk management in cloud governance must fulfill three functions argue most CISOs.

Atul Pandey, The ICT Rainmaker: GRC, GSD, PMO & BPM, mentions the three functions: a) Assessing risk b) mitigating risk, and c) measuring the success of that assessment and mitigation.

Pandey says that this is not a static scenario. Risk shifts continually, and the cloud governance model must be able to track these shifts.

Stating facts established by Thomas J. Betcher in his report on a clear analysis of risk and cloud in Cloud Computing: Key IT-Related Risks and Mitigation Strategies for Consideration by IT Security Practitioners,’ Pandey puts forth the type of risks to be managed under the cloud model. 

They include:
  • Policy and Organisational risks: Lock-in, loss of governance, compliance challenges, loss of business reputation, cloud service termination or failure.
  • Technical Risks: Availability of service, resource exhaustion, intercepting data in transit, data transfer bottlenecks, distributed denial of service.
  • Legal Risk: Subpoena and e-discovery, changes of jurisdiction, data privacy, licensing.

According to Pandey, one particularly important observation in the Betcher report relates to risk and frequency. Many traditional IT governance models are designed around IT life-cycles of around three years. 

Within these cycles, IT audit leaves a detailed trail of version and upgrade information.

With the cloud, this changes. Not only does the cycle shrink massively (change can now be measured in hours and weeks rather than in years), the actual versioning of the technology behind the service can remain completely hidden from the consumer. 

As a result, cloud governance models must be able to assess risk from this entirely new perspective.

How Continuity is affected.....

Pandey believes that continuity in itself is solicited as the USP of cloud, at least in comparison with traditional infra.

Business continuity management (BCM) is the result of critical functions and processes assuring that a system performs its mission without incidence, and that the entity responds to all acts or events in a planned, consistent manner. 

Business continuity planning is rehearsed through scenario analysis which:
  • Targets new, evolving or projected risks affecting business operations.
  • Simulates and evaluates the effect of disruptions in information systems support and response time delays.
  • Provides the ground for experimenting on effective solutions to every type of BCM disruption entering into the scenario.
“The analysis to which reference is made is instrumental in elaborating BCM clauses in service level agreements (SLAs) with cloud computing providers,” says Pandey and adds, “Sound governance assures that business continuity studies are part of the evaluation process preceding any top management decision in adopting cloud computing; it also constitutes a factor in choosing a cloud provider.”

Reprinted/Republished with permission from: www.csoforum.in

Sunday

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.

© 2022 2CG MEDIA. Coker Confidential™

Saturday

The Human Brain - A complex but detailed assembly

Editor's Corner

The human brain is probably the most complex but unique creation present in the anatomy of humans. It would be an understatement to refer to the brain as just an extraordinary creation as I would actually go out on a limb and call the brain the most extraordinary creation in the human anatomy. 


The human brain is home, one can say, to everything that makes us tick. In addition to the human mind as well as our various intricate personalities, the brain is the abode of human consciousness, passion, emotion and purpose.

This article marks the beginning of my attempt to find answers to some of the puzzling questions I have always had as to why people do some of the things they do and what the primary triggers for their action or inaction might be. One case that came to mind for me was that of the Vietnamese father in the news a couple of years ago, for killing his four young children. What could have motivated this man to take the life of his own children? The human brain is an organ that essentially is built to learn, hence was this man’s action as a result of some form of defective learning behavior? 


While nature may play a dominant role in our lives, does nurture (one’s environment and learned experiences) however have a more defining role in how we see, interpret and react to events or episodes in our lives? In asking all these questions and having read the details of this particular event, I started to wonder as to what part of his brain cell may have ‘misfired’ and why to lead him to ‘rationalize’ taking the lives of his own children.

In learning to become familiar with our brain, we look to understand not only how its various parts work, but more importantly how we nourish, protect and develop it. I would propose that the human brain in its most basic as well as most complex element is constantly changing and evolving with each experience we encounter. Did the Vietnamese father above therefore ‘readjust’ his notion of what was rational as a result of certain negative experiences in his life or was his action merely a projection of his own self-worth due to a defective processing of information by his brain. 


Was there a critical disconnect between the two hemispheres thus resulting in this defective ‘rationalization’ or was his behavior more as a result of systematic desensitization to what’s wrong as a result of observational learning (modeling) of deviant but admired behavior within the larger American society?

In a society where serial killers, rapists and murderers are ‘revered’ and gain notoriety even over their victims, does the nurture aspect of human brain development through information processing then cloud the Grey area between what is socially acceptable behavior and what is deviant or anti-social behavior? I would hazard a guess that in his native Vietnam, such behavior would lead possibly to immediate execution of the perpetrator or some form of punishment that aims to discourage such anti-social behavior. 


I would also presume that in his native Vietnam, serial killers, rapists and murderers would never be ‘revered’ like the Charles Mansons and Jeffrey Dahmers of the United States; people who actually had movies made about them as well as books written about them.

Therefore it seems as though the human brain, although home to everything from a nature perspective that makes us tick, is however subject to the varying complexities of an individual’s environment and how the same individual reacts or relates to varying stimuli within the said environment. So, while we may nourish our brain by eating the right kinds of foods, getting the right amount of sleep, while also engaging in physiological exercises aimed at maintaining the brain structure at optimum capacity and productivity, the environment might be perhaps the most critical deciding factor as to whether or not information is processed constructively or defectively. 


I would suggest that this might however be open to debate as there are several instances where we can probably show that although the influence of the environment might be a very strong one, how an individual actually processes information on a consistent basis as well as having the right chemical balance within the brain structure may be more of a deciding factor as to the ultimate state of our minds.

Thus, the question arises again. How well do we really know our brain? But more importantly, how do we do our part in ensuring that this most delicate and intricate part of the human ‘anatomy’ remains an asset to the human mind and ambition. The search for answers continues and we are all a part of the process.


© 2022 2CG MEDIA. Coker Confidential™