Category: life and culture

THE CHANGES IN DEMOGRAPHY OF THE WORLD

Abstract

This write-up was to explain the structural changes faced by the demography of the world. It tried to focus on some important factors like population increase and its effects, use of human resources, unemployment among the youths, immigration and its effects, generational conflict, and pressure on the social security system and the roles The United Nations could play to proffer solutions to these structural changes. As a result of these factors, many instabilities and unfavourable conditions are present all over the world. Increase in population in some parts of the world especially in developing and under-developed countries pose a serious problem to the populates in regards to the use of available resources, unemployment among youths, generational conflicts, poverty, high natality rate, and so on. And while this is going on, in other parts of the world like Europe, almost the reverse is the case. In Europe, depopulation, low fertility rate, low natality rate, a high number of ageing population, pressure on the social security system, and so on are the issues at hand that need attention both from national and international levels. As solutions to these problems, the work has tried to indicate the roles The United Nations together with its principal organs and special organisations could play. These roles are; provision of effective access to sexual and reproductive health education in collaborations with governments of each nation or country, maintenance and sustainability of existing structures and projects that could help achieve the aims and objectives of sexual and reproductive health education to the populates, channelling large part of the fund meant to support abortion and sterilisation to developing nations in support of sexual and reproductive health education and projects that could help better the lives of the people, intervention to halt or control exploitation of mineral resources from developing and under-developed countries and support to research projects in collaborations with the governments of the countries cornered, and control of immigrants through effective and proper collaboration with the countries concerned through establishing structures that would enable the immigrants to fit well in their new society and contribute to the economic development of their host countries. Proper and effective control on immigrants would go a long way to help solve to a large extent the problems of a high rate of retired and aged workers in many developed countries, increase the population of countries experiencing depopulation which indirectly would reduce the pressure on the social security system. Full and effective support to countries running entrepreneurship programmes by The United Nations and other non-governmental organisations can play a vital role in youth unemployment in the world. The intervention of The United Nations with other international organisations against human right violation mostly in African and Asia continents will go along way to solve some structural changes present in our world today. These structural changes our present world is experiencing need urgent attention from all and sundry and with the help of The United Nations in collaboration with other organisations and governments worldwide in redefining, replanning and restructuring of new strategies and policies to the existing ones can help militate against this world phenomenon termed “ Demography Tsunami.”

THE ROLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS AGAINST STRUCTURAL CHANGES IN DEMOGRAPHY OF THE WORLD

Introduction: The uncontrollable growth of the human population has been the concern of many individuals and organisations all over the world. Policies and measures are constantly been put in place by many national and international bodies to remediate the effects caused by structural changes in world demography. The exploding rate at which the world population is taking poses a serious problem and threats not only to human beings but also to the environment and this calls for urgent and strategic interventions from all. John Bongaarts a Dutch-American demographer said that, “ Today the world’s population is up to 7 billion but this figure keeps fluctuating through three processes: fertility, mortality, and migration according to (2009) but nevertheless there is a constant and gradual increase, indicating future adverse effects if measures are not taken in order to resolve it.” He went further in describing briefly these three processes; fertility as the number of children that women have and is to be contrasted with fecundity ( a woman’s childbearing potentials), mortality as the study of the of causes, consequences and measurement of processes affecting death to members of the population, and migration as the movement of persons from one locality of origin to a destination place across some pre-defined, political boundary.

Demography according to Wikipedia is the statistical study of populations, especially human beings. As a general science, it can go further to analyse any kind of dynamic living population, that is, a population that changes over time or space. It encompasses the study of the size, structure, and distribution of population, and spatial or temporal changes in it in response to birth, migration, ageing, and death.

From recent findings and research, it has been observed that while an increasing number of countries are experiencing depopulation, low fertility rate, pressure on the social security system, and ageing, other under-developed and developing countries are experiencing the opposite with continuing explosion of unemployed youth and lack of resources. Many developed and rich countries in Europe are experiencing some similar problems just like other developing and under-developed countries especially in Asia and Africa. The major ones are youth unemployment, generational conflict or gap, and high pressure on the social security system. But the effects of these problems are more felt in developing and under-developed countries where the population growth is high and available human resources are low. The root cause of these problems especially in Africa is sometimes linked to corruption, bad system of government and poor economic growth. Nigeria as a country in West Africa with a population of 188,462,640 according to 2015 estimated census keeps increasing every day especially in the northern parts and despite the rich and abundant human and natural resources present, the government is still facing serious problems in catering for the needs of her populates due to high corruption rate in governmental system and private establishments, poor management of infrastructures and social amenities, poor economic growth, lack and poor implementation of policies on sustainable human developments, unemployed youth, late age retirement in civil service, to mention but a few. The issue of unemployment on its own has triggered other problems like social insecurity, armed-robbery, family instabilities, and high rate of kidnapping.

Due to environmental changes and different world view perspectives between parents and their children, there is a generational gap or conflict between them. This environmental changes and different world view perspectives between youths and their parents take it root from differences in their epoch based on their social, cultural, political and economic aspect of life. The youth of nowadays no longer reason as their parents do and in some ways they are right. Right in the sense that things are no longer the way it used to be. The Dictionary of American History (2003) defined generational conflict or gap as a difference of opinions between one generation and another regarding beliefs, politics, or values. In today’s usage, it is seen as a perceived gap between younger people and their parents and/or grandparents.

The Potential Roles of The United Nations

The United Nations as an intergovernmental organisation in promoting international cooperation, together with her five principal organs can cope with the structural changes the world demography is experiencing through playing the following roles:

POPULATION INCREASE:- Population increase poses a threat and future negative implications in world demography and is still being experienced in developing and under-developed countries especially in Africa and Asia.

According to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) in the world population data sheet, the world population will reach 9.9 billion in 2050. Its president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jeffrey Jordan went further to say that “ Despite declines in fertility rates around the world, we expect population gains to remain strong enough to take us toward a global population of 10 billion,” significant regional differences remain, though. For example, very low birth rates in Europe will mean population declines there, while Africa’s population is expected to double.” Increase in human population has negative effects on the lives of the populates and the environment. Poverty, poor health, unemployment and lack of sustainable human resources are the most immediate effects that do arise. United Nations as a body can play a potential role through the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF). This United Nations organisation addresses reproductive health and population issues all over the world. Through working with governments of different countries, this organisation has been able to provide access to sexual and reproductive health education, promoting the rights of women and young people and empowering them to reach their full potential especially in developing and under-developed countries. Proper, effective, and easy access to sexual and reproductive health services by United Nations Population Fund will go a long way in providing good and concrete knowledge in family planning, voluntary fertility reduction and reduction in infant, human empowerment, and maternity mortality. Though some of these countries have already structures and facilities on the ground to help in sexual and reproductive health education it is unfortunate that these structures are either not functioning properly or not functioning at all and are poorly equipped and need the intervention of The United Nations.

Billions of dollars are been spent almost on yearly bases by some European countries in collaboration with NGOs in promoting abortion and sterilisation under the name of population control. I believe that if these resources could be channelled into health and educational infrastructures and their maintenance in countries that are in need, many lives would be transformed for good. From my own observations,  promotion of abortion and sterilisation succeeded to a large extent in making larger poor families into smaller poor families.  I see this a waste of fund to some extent because the size of the family was reduced but the level of poverty still remains and is on the increase from one generation to the other. Gender mostly affected are women. Men who after the fatigue of the day either in the farmland or from petit trade businesses that pay them little or nothing at the end of the day,  have no other means of recreation or distracting themselves at night other than sex and drinks especially in remotes parts of some countries. In a situation like this, a woman will be given birth every blessed year with little or nothing to feed the children. But with the help of United Nations Population Fund, the provision of proper, effective and improved sexual and reproductive health education and services to individuals in remote areas of the world will enable them especially women to break out of intergenerational cycle poverty. Through this means, they will be empowered and enlightened together with their husbands to enable them to decide whether, when and how to have children in line with their religious belief and tradition if possible, thereby increasing women autonomy within their households, educational level and improved earning power. In one of  United Nations Population Fund’s publications titled “Population and Poverty” stated that: “ Meeting the reproductive health and contraceptive needs of all women in the developing world pays more than for itself and for every dollar invested in contraception, the cost of pregnancy-related care is reduced by $1.43.” I am not against this idea but if we can imagine what might have happened if it had been invested in health, education, and research programmes in these countries. The answer is clear to all.  

United Nations Development Programme can also play a vital role. Since this organisation focuses on poverty reduction, HIV/AIDS, democratic governance, energy and environment, social development, and crisis prevention and recovery,  in partnership with other organisations like World Health Organisation (WHO), International Monetary Group (WMG), and International Monetary Fund (IMF) can help in provision of loans or monetary assistance to developing and under-developed countries to establish policies, effective strategies and implementation of programmes that could help in solving problems caused by overpopulation. The provision of funds have been in existence to countries that are in need but the major problem is control and effective follow-up on how the funds are been used by the beneficiaries in establishing and executing the stipulated programmes for the populates.

The table below from the Population Reference Bureau on world population data shows an estimate of world population from 2016 to 2050.

RESEARCH PROJECTS AND USE OF RESOURCES:- Many countries in the world most ones pay little or no attention to research work. Take Nigeria as an example. There are much research works been supported by the government at the initial stage but only to be abandoned before completion and the remaining fund for the project will end up in individuals pockets. The Nigerian government has been in partnership with many governmental and non governmental organisations in terms of carrying out research works but many have not been realised and if at all realised, they do not last because of the following problem: lack of supervision, misuse of fund by the beneficiaries, lack of maintenance and continuity in the research work, corruption, and so on. In this case, if The United Nations through her Specialised Agencies could develop new strategies and system in sponsoring and monitoring research works especially those ones dedicated to finding peaceful strategies to transitions nations from corrupt governance to truly representative and accountable governance, the economic and social aspects of the beneficial countries will be affected positively.  

The resources especially natural ones that are found in developing and under-developed countries are been exploited by developed countries sometimes out of selfishness and greed. When this becomes the order of the day, what do we think will be the fate of these countries that are been exploited. Many countries in Africa are victims to this act and we know the rest of the story. United Nations Economic and Social Council with International Court of Justice can intervene to help remedy the situation through dialogue with the parties involved in order to create an atmosphere of good support and effective economic development that allows the populace of each nation or country to use her resources for their own good thereby leading to an enhancement of human rights worldwide and good economics for all. This pertinent point really needs serious attention because it is not helping matters at all. For over centuries now, Africa has been an exploiting field for other parts of the world even though many times out of greed the African governments have been collaborating to the detriment of their people. Another typical example is the Democratic Republic of Congo, a land blessed with diamond and many other mineral resources but when you look at its social and economic aspects, it is nothing to write home about. I have been there and it was an experience lived. Other countries in the world are also experiencing either similar or the same situation.   

The efforts of the United Nations for peacekeeping in some countries during wars and political instability is highly appreciated by many but if it can go an extra mile in responding to the cry for help of the populates of these countries to international organisations, through developing effective means and strategies in monitoring the exploitation of natural resources, it will help to reduce the rate of exploitation. From my own observations, while I was in DR Congo, the rate of exploitation is always high during political instability, inter-tribal wars and conflicts with neighbouring countries.    

YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT:- Youth unemployment is the unemployment of young people, defined by the United Nations as 15–24 years old. An unemployed person is defined as someone who does not have a job but is actively seeking work. There is 1.2 billion youth in the world aged between 15 and 24, accounting for 17% of the world’s population, 87% of them live in developing countries. The problems of youth unemployment are greatly felt in countries with the poor educational system, the unskilled labour force in the labour market and poor regulations, and overpopulation. Taking the first cause stated above and linking it to the situation in Nigeria, the quality of education is really getting off the rails. The government pays little or no attention to the educational system of the country and this has greatly affected the quality of learning and directly affecting the number of youths who are capable of employment. Due to this, many graduates are been produced every year in the country that is not capable of applying the knowledge acquired in practical form. Even with the little available job offers, there is still a lack of qualified graduates for the available jobs.

United Nations can go into a collaborative activity and agreement with governments in developing and under-developed countries in rendering quality education and establishing centres for acquiring qualitative and effective entrepreneurship skills, not only in the provision of funds but also in its organisation and continuity. For instance, in a country with 5000 job offers from the government yearly and each year more than thirty thousand persons graduate from tertiary institutions. What do we think will be the effects of this? Definitely, if this continues every year, the number of unemployed youths will keep increasing. The annoying part of the whole thing is that almost all graduates want white collar jobs. But I believe with proper management and organisation of existing entrepreneurship scheme programmes and if possible the creation of more especially in rural areas, the issue could be handled.

Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the economic development of any nation. The problem in some African countries is not the establishment of entrepreneurship centres but their proper and effective management and continuity. I strongly believe that the United Nations can play a potential role here in providing sophisticated learning materials and experts in the management of these centres and forming of indigenous people that could continue in the management. The United Nations should look for more efficacious and new strategies in making herself fully involved in promoting entrepreneurship skills acquisition in countries where there is a high rate of youth unemployment. This will go along the way to refine the mentality of many Africans that are desperately in need of white-collar jobs instead of looking for other alternative measures in making themselves useful and productive in life. Many youths in some African countries are still dependent on their parents for their livelihood and this is one of the causes of generational conflict. Establishment of sophisticated entrepreneurship centres in poor populated countries by The United Nations will go a long way to reduce youth aid dependency and unemployment. This was confirmed by Wim Naude in his article titled “ Entrepreneurs and Economic Development” where he said that “ In many of these countries, including resource-poor North African countries, where populations consist of many young people who see little prospects of gaining employment with decent wages. Promoting youth entrepreneurship here has become a vital policy objective of many development organizations and donors.”

The United Nations has been playing its roles in adjudicating disputes among states in cases related to war crimes, illegal state interference, and ethnic cleansing, but more attention and focus should be placed in some African countries where a high rate of corruption is rampant and the misused of fund provided by non governmental organisations working  in collaboration with The United Nations. This will help to monitor the ways fund made available by the United Nations and its organs are been used in carrying out the purpose(s) it was meant for.

Continuity in youth empowerment programmes by the United Nations could be used in collaboration with governments to tackle the issue of unemployment among the youth in the world as a whole. This fact has been recognised fully by the United Nations in the just concluded Annual Youth Forum held in the United Nations headquarters. From the addressing speech of Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, he said, “ Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for youth will generate decent jobs for them and assist in their transition from school-to-work.” He went further to described the initiative as a unique partnership with governments, the United Nations system, businesses, academic institutions, youth organizations and other groups to scale-up action to create new opportunities and avenues for quality employment in the global economy. As this year’s forum focuses on the role of young people in implementing, communicating and realising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development, which aims for global changes through 17 goals within the next 15 years. I repeat, there should be proper and effective supervision of the above-mentioned goals between the United Nations and governments in programming, implementing, maintenance and continuity. Ethiopia and many other countries are really benefiting from the United Nations Development Programme in terms of entrepreneurship. The continuous support to entrepreneurship programmes all over the world will help resolve the issue of employment to a large extent. It would also help change the mentality and ideological nature of the youths that one must be employed by the government, forgetting that one could be self-employed in life. Once this change of mentality is achieved, people especially the youths will be oriented and motivated in developing and acquiring skills for a better tomorrow. One good news about entrepreneurship is that it is a chain process because individuals who participated in the programme will end up employing others once they are established and this continues.   

IMMIGRATION:- The issue of immigration has been one of the most current and daily news headline in many developed and rich countries like Germany, United States of America, Italy, Brussels, and so on. From recent research, the number of immigrants in these countries is on the increase every blessed day. This poses a serious problem to the demographic nature of the host country and the immigrants’ countries of origin. Many of these immigrants left their home countries due to wars, political crises, economic crises and instability, and lack of employment in search of green pastures and a better life elsewhere.    

According to Karoly Lorant, an economist, in his research work titled “ The Demographic Challenge in Europe”, said that “ Over the past 15 years, the number of people crossing borders in search of a better life has been rising steadily. At the start of the 21st Century, one in every 35 people is an international migrant. Globally the stock of migrating people increased from 75 million in 1965 to 175 million in 2002.” He went further to ascertain that, “ Most of those who have left their countries are motivated by a desire for better opportunities. But there are also millions of people who have been forced to migrate for fear of persecution.

The current waves of immigrants and asylum seekers from the Middle East and North Africa are linked much more to the worsening conditions in these countries, than with labour shortages in Europe.” It is clear that most developed and rich countries in Europe that are experiencing depopulation and low level of working-class persons need the presence of immigrants to help increase their population and if possible workforce in their economy. This is due to low fertility rate, longer life expectancy, high aged population and low working population. In Karoly Lorant work, it was made clear that  “A report by the United Nations makes the strongest argument for the free flow of immigration. The reason was that population growth is crashing throughout the industrialized world. This will either impose an intolerable tax burden on future workers or force more of those over 65 years to remain in the labour force. The report says that to keep the population at its present level until 2050, Europe would need 1,6 million new immigrants every year, that is to say, 80 million people.”

          In the speech of the former Secretary General of The United Nations Kofi Annan on 29th January 2004 to the European Parliament, he said, “ It would be unwise for Europeans to keep their doors closed to immigrants because at the long run, it would harm the long term economic and social prospects.” I believe if the United Nations could collaborate very well with developing and developed countries especially in Europe based on proper and effective immigrants control, the demographic tsunami can be handled. The issue of migration can be a solution to the declining and ageing population in rich and developed countries in Europe but it should be looked and studied critically in order to avoid negative consequences in the future. The United Nations Population Division in one of its research on demographic forecast saw migration as a solution. This was started as follows from the work of Karoly Lorant:

“ United Nations Population Division carried out research

whether the migration would be a solution to the declining and                                                                                    ageing population of the developed countries.                                                                             According to the projections (medium variant), Japan and virtually all the countries

                               of Europe are expected to

decrease in population size over the next 50 years. In addition

these countries are undergoing a relatively rapid ageing process.

To maintain the population at the present level the

European Union (EU-15) needs some 47 million

net immigrants in the period of 2000-2050.

 If the goal was to keep the number of the

working-age population(15 to 64 years)

at the present level the European Union (EU-15)

 would need 80 million net immigrants.

The same goals for the enlarged Union (EU-25) would

 require additional 10 and 17 million net immigrants

respectively. From the unchanged working age

 population scenario (80 million net immigrants)

 comes the often mentioned 1,6 million yearly

 net immigrants Europe is advised to receive.”

The United Nations together with its organisations should collaborate properly and effectively with the governments of these countries experiencing a high flow of immigrants in creating means and developing policies which would enable the government benefit from the immigrants and indirectly helping the immigrants to be useful. This collaboration could be a formulation of projects and creating an enabling environment for immigrants to participates actively in the economic development of the countries they found themselves and if need be, financing these projects if the countries concerned are not buoyant enough to take up the projects on their own. The integration of immigrants into the economic activities of European countries experiencing low fertility rate, long life expectancy, and high ageing population will help reduce the pressure on social security system by boosting the working population rate. But in all this, control measures should be put in place to help in checking immigration rate especially in Europe so as to prevent over population in the future.

As earlier mentioned, the majority of these immigrants left their countries for many reasons that could be justified. The works and presence of the United Nations in some of these countries like the Republic Democratic of Congo, India, Pakistan, Somali, and Liberia are fully and duly recognised and appreciated by many. But if the United Nations efforts and collaborations with the government of these countries could be intensified in all ramifications ( security, peace keeping, and human right), the number of immigrants in Europe could be drastically reduced and once this is achieved, developed countries in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme and other NGOs can design programmes the will enable immigrants to acquire one or two skills for those who are not intellectually qualified so that they can fit in to their present society and be useful to the society and to themselves instead being a nuisance. And to immigrants who are qualified intellectually and otherwise and  capable of working, there should be a system in place that will enable them as foreigners to find a job and start a living. The current trend now is that citizens of many countries all over the world especially in developed countries are lamenting that their government pays more attention to foreigners rather than to their own citizens in terms of job provision. They are right in what they are saying since they are been affected negatively but that is not sufficient to repatriate foreigners. There must be a way of balancing the equation. Here I believe with the intervention of the United Nations Development Programme, the problem could be addressed and solved amicably.    

Alexis de Tocqueville after his American travels concluded that “ Each generation is a new people.” As earlier mentioned, generational conflict arises whenever the interest or ideals of one generation collide openly with those of another generation, ( Dictionary of American History, 2003). One of the major events that can trigger generational conflict especially in developing and under-developed countries is National Emergencies, a situation that threatens the safety and health of the citizens. This is what many countries in African are really experiencing. The United Nations through the International Court of Justice can collaborate lawfully and forcefully if need be with the governments of these countries where national emergencies are frequent. I believe that generational conflict and many other issues triggered by demographic changes could be handled properly to a large extent in resolving national emergencies. Is true The United Nations have been working with governments of many countries based on this issue but more efforts and new strategies should be developed to tackle it properly. I will not fail to appreciate its efforts in trying to bring to order the governments in some African countries like Cameroun, Somalia, Sudan, South Africa, and many more who are violating the fundamental human rights of the their citizens.

Many countries in the world have totally or partially failed in addressing the issues of fragmenting families, crime and drug epidemics, and schoolroom chaos which can be referred as social pathologies affecting the younger generations and a causative agent to generational conflicts. I believe that if an extra mile could be taken by The United Nations Economic and Social Council in proper and effective collaboration with NGOs and the governments of the countries concerned on this issues, could resolve generational conflict through sustainable development.

Conclusion:- The structural changes being experienced by world demography is really a problem that needs attention so as to find possible readjustment to the changes. These changes include: low fertility rate, rapid ageing, pressure on the social security system, and depopulation in developed countries, rapid ageing of society before becoming rich, unemployment, overpopulation in developing and under-developed countries, generational conflicts, and so on. The first approach The United Nations can take is  balancing the equation. This means that like countries experiencing depopulation, immigrants or foreigners should be welcome in an already established system that could enable them to integrate well into their new environment so as to be useful to themselves and to their host countries. In collaboration with governments of other countries, effective measures should be put in place to help filter out immigrants with bad intentions. The second approach is the change of the existing system and laws that were really major causes of these changes. An example is the use of fund meant for abortion and sterilisation for investment in health and educational infrastructures, and in research dedicated to finding peaceful and effective strategies in transforming a corrupt governance into a truly representative and accountable one. The third approach is the intervention of the United Nations Development Programme in youth unemployment. Proper guiding and effective support to entrepreneurship programmes will help solve unemployment. Intervention of the United Nations in defending human rights violated by individuals and governments of many countries is also an effective role the intergovernmental organisation can play to help remedy world demography and its structural changes. United Nations support in collaboration with governments of other nations research works and projects, and its intervention on behalf of countries whose natural resources are been exploited to their own detriment would be a positive step to militate against the world phenomenon known as a demographic tsunami.  

Writing by: Chidi Nzugbe

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YOU ARE THE CAUSE OF YOUR PROBLEMS AND WORRIES

Since time immemorial, this particular concept has developed in the lives of men and embedded itself in him to form part of his being. He carries it wherever he goes even to the grave. But I strongly believe that worries and problems are subjective rather than objective.

When you are able to control your subconscious mind and your the way you see life, you will never be angry or be worried about anything in life. This I thought was practically impossible. But after reading some psychologist and philosophical books about the human mind, I came to understand that whatever name you baptise the events of life with, that they will take and will be realised in the practical aspects of your life. One of these books that baffled me most was “The Game of Life, and How to Play it.” Look critically at those things you see as problems or worries in your life, you are the cause why they are what they are because that was the name you gave them. The moment you allow the words of people and events around you to have full control on you, then you are like a remote control or like a porous vessel. There was a day someone insulted me while I was trying to do him a charity. It wasn’t only that he rejected my charity but he insulted me on it. Maybe he misunderstood my intention. Before leaving his presence, I thanked him and left. People who were around were the ones who became angry on my behalf and were mad at him. They wanted to tear him apart. What I said to myself after the incident was, “Tony, bless this young man. See in him the image of the Divinity. You don’t know what he is passing through at that moment or before, and remember, it was only a charity which could be accepted or rejected.” Instantly, I became happier than even before the incident. I never allowed the thought to control me or make me sad. A few days later, I was completely nonplussed about the whole thing. There were many instances in my life that I have applied this principle and it worked perfectly for me.

When you are been provoked or faced with an unpleasant experience, you have the choice whether to allow the situation to control you or you control it. The choice is yours to make, whether to be angry or remain in the state of mind you were. Since you are free to make a choice, then why can’t you go for the positive one rather than the negative one that will tear your apart. Believe me, the power lives in you. The power to baptise every situation in your life. The baptismal name all depends on you. And the names you give them, these they will be in your subconscious mind and reflect in your real life. I am not obliged to be angry when you provoke me or when unpleasant things are happening in my life. Since I have the power to baptise them, then I can make a choice whether to be controlled by them or I been in control of them. I repeat, you are the cause of your problem. Think about it.

IF I FORGET YOU. . .

As we walked down the street of Bravetta Forte, admiration filled my mind. I so much admire how empty the streets are and how lonely the roads are. These during the day, masked a different identity. I acknowledged the security, goad roads, perfect infrastructures, constant electricity and water supply, and the wonderful people around.

But I see myself living in a world where you hardly find a soul walking along the street once or even before it is night. They are only found in nearby restaurants and in their cars driving to a destiantion best known to them. But from where I came from, the story is different.

I see myself in a world where people go to work by car and return home through the same means. They work hard to create out time just for a 20mins walk, which sometimes is difficult for them. But I came from a place where people; men and women, children and adults, young and old walked for kilometers each day as they struggle for a living. It pays them from the health point of view.

I live in a world where people have no choice but to eat all kinds of genetically modified food because for them, they are safer and the best even when they know the health implications that will occur in the future as a result of consuming such food. But I came from a place where nature has blessed the land with all kinds of plants, providing natural food for us. The last thing we can think about is to eat genetically modified food. Genetically modified food is nowhere to be found because nature has not given it the opportunity.

I live in a world where marriage is nothing to write home about. It has been reduced to dust. Its sacredness and value have been erased completely without leaving any trace behind. Dogs have taken the place of children. Dogs have taken the love meant for children and even human beings in general. But there are still people who love and care for others. There are still people who dream to marry and have children but societal pressure is high on them. But I came from a place where marriage is sometimes seen as an achievement in life, an edge over others who are not yet married. My people see marriage as something that should preoccupy the mind of every female at a certain age in life. They see marriage as a refuge centre. They see it as not only a sacrament but also as a sacrilege when it is not properly lived as instructed by their Christian faith and doctrine.

I live in a world where the number of old people outnumbered that of the young. I keep asking myself if I am the only one who worries about this and what it will bring in the near future. The child-parental conflict is high due to generational gap or difference. Many fear the pain of childbirth as if they fell down from the sky. Many fear the bondage and loneliness in matrimonial life in their reality of their world. Many deemed it not necessary to marry. Many see marriage as a waste of time and energy. But I came from a place where children are seen as a blessing from God, so they can have as many as possible. A place where the number of young people outnumbered that of the old. And the old are very comfortable about it because they see it as a blessing from God; the children should bury their parents and not the other way round.

I live in a world where every illness is seen as a mental one. We all smiles but no inner peace. We have all what we desire but there is something still lacking in our mind, a space which the joy of matrerial things can’t fill. We look joyfully, but deep in us frustration masked our minds. We are all seen as people having mental illness. But from where I came from … you know it already friends. Complete the sentence for me.

CLIMATE CHANGE

To some persons, the issue of climate change makes no meaning to them, while to some, it still remains one of the challenging issue in their lives. Climate Change! Climate Change!! Climate Change!!! Many seminars and conferences have been organised concerning it in the past are still more are on the list. The people of the mother earth are crying bitterly for something to be done.

But I keep on wondering why majority of those crying and asking for something to be done are the poor masses. Does it mean that they are the only one the adverse effects will affect? I am not dying the act that our leaders are not working towards finding a lasting solution to it, but they are doing with with a lot of diplomacy for the fear of what they will lose. They consider more their businesses more then the lives of human that are in danger. Man can be a brute sometimes.

Click here to read what students all over the world are saying about climate change. Please, don’t be indifferent. In your own little way as an individual, you can still do something through creatinf awareness in your community, educating people around you on what climate change is all about and its effects on human and the universe, and being a good ambassador for a positive contribution to global change.

THE INNOCENT ACT

I was brought up by a man who really has a great likeness for animals. But the admiration of this man who is my dad was counteracted by my mother who had the opposite feelings for any kind of animals. I came to learn how to like animals from my father. I nursed the hope of having my own pet one day.

One fateful day, I was going to the market and saw a man selling canaries. Canary is a type of bird I cherished most because then, I used to see them in some of the movies I watched. They are colourful in nature and this was what I liked most. I took the last cash in my pocket to buy it. When I came back home, my dad was very happy, but my mother was mad at me. She asked me not keep the bird in any of the rooms. For the love of my bird and for the sake of peace, I decided to put in my father’s room with his permission.

From the very day that bird entered my house, I was a different person. I stopped going out to play with friends, any house chore given to me, in the twinkle of an eye, I was already done with it. I did everything possible to stay close it. I watched how it moved around, how it used to eat, and shook its feathers. I lost myself in taking care of my bird and new friend.

I got to a point that, I would sleep off close to the birds cage while admiring it. Several times, my dad had to wake me up so that I could go to the bedroom to sleep with my siblings. Even while at school, my thoughts were fixed on my bird. After three days, out of joy and admiration, I decided to be feeding it. And it was going well without any stress. I did this for 5 days and since then, it had to wait for me to come to feed it. I really derived joy in doing it because I used to feed it to my satisfaction and not to its satisfaction. Even when it refused eating after being fed well, I used to forced food into its mouth. Its growth was okay and it was getting used to my presence. My dad used to come to see for himself how the bird was fairing. He was also impressed.

One day, I thought of bathing it. For me, it was abnormal because since it came to my house, it had never been bathed. Then, I took water in a cup, removed it from the cage and bathed it. After, I noticed how the bird was shivering. I went out in search of a kerosene lamp, lighted it, and kept it close to the bird. The shivering continued. I saw that the heat produced by the lamp was not okay. I thought of what next to do, and the idea of putting it inside a carton came to my mind. I search for a carton and found a small one that could contain the lamb. I put the lamb together with the bird inside the carton, and dropped the carton inside my dad’s wardrobe.  I was totally restless that evening for the fear of losing it. After an half an hour, I went straight to see how my lovely friend was fairing. When I open the carton, smoke was already coming out slowly, and I saw my poor bird lying on the floor of the carton. I thought it was sleeping; not knowing my lovely canary was already dead. When I discovered that it was dead, I cried. I mourned for it for a week.

Children are innocent indeed!!!!!!!

THE LUCKY SACRIFICIAL LAMB

Not all were born with a golden spoon. According to Gordons, a Nigerian comedian, “If you are not born with a golden spoon, don’t ask why. Go and create yours. It is very simple. And the highest mistake you will do is to ask your father why.” I was not born with it but I created mine. 

Life then in the barracks was peaceful and calm. People living like one family, where each person sees the other as his or her brother or sister. Then, only a few women were having a professional job or work. Majority of them were pretty traders. And my beloved mom was among the majority. She was a great entrepreneur, with great mastery skills in selling and buying. She normally traded her wears in public places, occupying a small portion where she could place wares on the floor. She usually engaged with seasonal fruits business because they give more profit than other wares for her. 

After school, I used to give her a helping hand in marketing. But one fateful day, I failed to come at the usual time. I got lost to cashew nuts game. She waited for me for about 2hrs but I didn’t show up. In school, when I came back to my senses, I was totally confused. I thought of what to do so as to remedy my punishment, but no idea was forthcoming. A thought came to me a few minutes later to drop all my cashew nuts. I called all those I won in the game and distributed the nuts to them. They were very happy for such a charity. They never knew what was happening to me, it was only a forced charity. I left the vicinity like a swift and headed to meet my mom. When I arrived, the lovely woman saw the way I was breathing. She knew already that something took my attention in school. And that could be nothing other than the cashew nuts game. She took my school bag, searched it thoroughly but couldn’t find any nut. I stood like a statue, waiting to know what my fate would be. One of her neighbours said, “Nne, finally he has come. Children nowadays can be very stubborn. Just the other day, I sent my son to buy me a bottle of kerosene a few metres from my house. It took him the whole day to buy it.” “Who asked this woman to intervene? Instead of pleasing with my mom to forgive me, she is there adding fuel to the fire.” My mother dropped my school bag and started tidying up herself. I was afraid because it wasn’t yet time for us to go home and moreover, there was still some large quantity of wares that were still unsold. “Nne, are you closing for the day? My mom looked at her and smirked. She never understood what she meant by that smirk. But as her child, I knew already that something terrible would happen. “If you don’t sell all these things, don’t enter my house,” she said and left. Her friend called her but she didn’t even make a sign that she was the one being called.

That day was not a good day. From all indication, she didn’t make a good sale before my arrival. The wares were still as if they were just bought from the whole-sellers. One thing I so much love my mom is that she can never correct or reproaches you in public. I looked left and right, thinking of how I would sell everything that very day and returned home. The other women around had pity on me. But they couldn’t help. “You children think that food used to fall from heaven. You don’t know that we mothers work day and night to feed you,” the woman close to me said. It was almost 5 pm and the market used to close at 6 pm. I sat on the floor facing my wares. I wasn’t crying physically, but emotionally, I was. All of a sudden, a song came to my mind. This was a song I learned from my mom. From my little observation, she used to sing the song whenever she was emotionally down. The business is not the normal type. It was survival of the fittest. You as the seller, you had to call and persuade customers to buy your wares. As if I knew she would say something because three persons had passed in front of me, and I never called their attention to what I was selling. I was there sing more slowly and gently while the other women were struggling for customers. 

It was already 5: 15 pm, no sales yet. Another thought immediately came to my mind that If at the end of the day, nothing positive happened, I would sleep in the market with the security guards. A woman, who looked like a civil servant, came to me and asked how much I was selling my wares. I told her their various prices just the way they were been partitioned by my mom. She bought four partitions without bargaining the price. I was short of words when I was putting them inside a polythene bag. The other women were amazed and speechless. A few minutes later, another woman was just passing with her child by her side. The small boy gazed at my fruits and told said to his mom, “Mummy, I want some oranges and Udara (African star apple).” ” But Junior, you just had your juice now come on, you can’t be stressing me like this,” She said to her son. The child refused to move and stood still crying. Suddenly, she came to me and asked about the prices of my wares. While I was telling her the prices, the other women nearby were busy calling her attention to look also at their wares too. In the end, she bought a reasonable quantity and left. Omg! I could not belief what I was seeing. Immediately she left, two other persons just walked straight to me and asked me to package two portions for each of them. They asked after my mom before leaving. I told them she was not feeling fine and had to go home earlier. ” One of the sellers looked at me and frowned her face. I pretended as if nothing happened.

Other sellers were already gathering their belongings since it was almost time to close for the day, but they were still some fruits left. The instruction was that I have to sell everything before coming home. I knew she meant every word in her order. Lost in the thought of how my night would look like, a young man walked to me and said, ” Edu Brazil, are you the one selling today?” “Good evening sir,” I greeted him. He was a young soldier, who just came newly to the barracks. Since he came, I was the one going almost all the errands for him. He so much trusted me that sometimes he could leave his house for me to tidy it up in his absence. He was with two other military guys. These were the people that saved my life. They bought the remaining fruits that were left and gave me some extra cash.

While I was busy putting things in order to leave, all eyes were on me. They could not believe what they were seeing. One of them said, ” Your God is with you my son.” “Ah! You don’t even know his name. His name is Chinedu, which means ‘ God leads’ ” When I got home that very day, my mom was in a state of confusion when I gave her the cash from the sales of that day. She didn’t know what to say, whether to thank me or reproach me again.  

I LOVE YOU, MAMA!!!!