YERIMAGATE: CAN WE FILTER THE DISCOURSE?

YERIMAGATE: CAN WE FILTER THE DISCOURSE?

The inability of the Senate to successfully push through a constitutional amendment on July 17, 2013, has led to so much uproar all across the nation. Many advocacy groups have risen to bare their minds on the failed constitutional amendment. Social media is abuzz with the subject and the level of angst and agitation is high. In the melee that has ensued in the social space, much of the issue has been muddled up and we are increasingly confronted with extreme positions.

I think the first thing is to break the issue down so everybody can be on the same page. If we are fighting a cause, it is important that we understand the cause we are fighting. I have heard some analysts cum activists say that the Nigerian Senate has passed a new law permitting child marriage. For the records, the Nigerian Senate has NOT passed a new law allowing for child marriage. What the Senate tried to do was to amend S.29 (4) (b). This section is in Chapter 3 of the 1999 constitution which deals with the subject of Citizenship. Section 29 is specifically on Renunciation of Citizenship. Here’s what’s contained in the section:
“29. (1) Any citizen of Nigeria of full age who wishes to renounce his Nigerian citizenship shall make a declaration in the prescribed manner for the renunciation.
(2) The President shall cause the declaration made under subsection (1) of this section to be registered and upon such registration, the person who made the declaration shall cease to be a citizen of Nigeria.
(3) The President may withhold the registration of any declaration made under subsection (1) of this section if-
(a) the declaration is made during any war in which Nigeria is physically involved; or
(b) in his opinion, it is otherwise contrary to public policy.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section.
(a) “full age” means the age of eighteen years and above;
(b) any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age.”

The contentious section which the Senate tried to amend is that last bit in highlight. What the Senate wanted to do was to remove it altogether. To successfully do that, it needed a two-third majority or at least 72 senators voting “Yes”. Unfortunately, only 60 senators voted “Yes”. 35 Senators said “No”. The remaining senators abstained from voting or were not registered to vote on the matter. That’s 13 senators minus the Senate President. If among those 13 senators, 12 had voted “Yes”, the amendment would have succeeded. The full list of how the senate voted can be found here: http://www.thescoopng.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/how-senators-voted1.jpg. So, the senate did not enact a new law. It was only unable to amend an existing constitutional provision.

The next question, naturally is, had the Senate been able to push through the amendment, would it have amounted to setting the minimum age for marriage? NO! This is because (i) this section only applies to renunciation of Nigerian citizenship by a Nigerian woman (obviously married to a foreigner) and (ii) marriage is on the residual list (meaning it is only state houses of assembly that can legislate of the minimum age for marriage). What the deletion of this subsection would have done at best is depriving an under-aged married Nigerian girl of an opportunity of renouncing her citizenship before the age of 18.

I subscribe to the #ChildNotBride initiative. However, I think we are taking the battle to the wrong quarters. Perhaps the distraction is due to what we think Ahmed Sani Yerima stands for. I am aware that in 2009, he was reported to have married the 13-year-old daughter of his Egyptian driver. But the greater challenge is with the system that allows that. The critical legislation that will stop child marriages in the north is the Child Rights Act. Nigeria adopted the Child Rights Act in July 2003 but it must be passed by a state’s house of assembly to be effective in that state. Ten years down the line, only 24 states have domesticated and signed it into law. In otherwords, 12 states have not approved the Child Rights Bill. These states are said to be Enugu, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi, Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Adamawa, Bauchi, Katsina and Zamfara. In case you have forgotten, Yerima is from Zamfara State.

We may not like Yerima. We may not like his actions. However, we cannot recall him from the Senate. The UN cannot do that. Only his constituents can do that if they think he has not represented them well. Allowing the debate to degenerate into name-calling, religious posturing or even a north-versus-south thing will not result in any tangible achievement. Afterall, Niger State is a northern cum predominantly muslim state but has legislated against child marriage through the Child Rights Act whereas Enugu State, a southern and predominantly Christian state is yet to do same. What is required is a serious lobby of the lawmakers in the 12 state houses of assembly that are yet to pass the Child Rights Bill into law.

The provisions of the Child Rights Act provide enough protection for the child. Among other things, it provides as follows:

1. It prohibits child marriage (S. 21)
2. It prohibits child betrothal (S. 22)
3. It prescribes punishment for child marriage and betrothal (S. 23)
4. Bans tattoos and skin marks on a child (S. 24)
5. Prohibits the employment of under-age children (S. 28)
6. It prohibits sexual intercourse with a child (S. 32)
7. It outlaws all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation against a child (S. 33)

For example, if you live in a state that has passed the Child Rights Act has been passed, you cannot marry or marry off a child. You cannot betroth your child to a man and cannot keep someone that is less than 18 years old as a domestic servant. So, if you have a nanny or house-girl that’s not up to 18 years of age, you are in breach of the law.

In summary, I say the battle is not to the UN or the Nigerian Senate. Medical experts have educated us on the dangers of child marriages, one of which is versicovaginal fistula (VVF), a medical condition associated with teenage child-birth resulting from prolonged labour (see http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Versicovaginal_fistula, or http://www.forwarduk.org.uk/key-issues/fistula/definitions or http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/12318635/). I would thus recommend first, an intense lobby for the passage of the Child Rights Bill in the remaining 12 states of the federation. The next step would then be a series of sustained enlightenment campaigns for a change of mindsets. Whether we believe it or not, certain practices are rooted in the cultural and religious ways of certain people and would require more than a law to change such attitudes.

Now, I digress.

On the same July 17, 2013 that the Senate was unable to delete the troublesome S.29(4)(b), it successfully approved a recommendation seeking life pension for principal officers of the National Assembly. The alteration of Section 84 (new subsection 5a) of the constitution (clause 8) reads: “Any person who has held office as President or Deputy President of the Senate, Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall be entitled to pension for life at a rate equivalent to the annual salary of the incumbent President or Deputy President of the Senate, Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.” (See http://thewillnigeria.com/politics/21999.html ). And in a survey published by The Economist, Nigerian lawmakers emerged as the highest paid in the world earning as much as $189,500 which is almost 116 times the GDP per head. (http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2013/07/daily-chart-12). This is the same National Assembly that voted against the payment of social security stipends for unemployed Nigerians. Now, this is a battle to take to the National Assembly!

Follow the author @ehissman.

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Constitution Amendment: Senate didn’t pass any bill on child-marriage

Constitution Amendment: Senate didn’t pass any bill on child-marriage

By Enyinnaya Appolos

A lot of Nigerians believe that the 1999 Constitution is part of the nation’s many problems. Those who subscribe to this school of thought believe that; as a product of the military, the constitution as it is, will always have an uphill task to sit-in with tenets of democracy. This and other reasons are why the National Assembly has taken it upon itself, as an arm of government that represents the people; which is also saddled with the responsibility of making laws for the nation, to review the constitution so as to accommodate the democratic yearnings and aspirations of the people, and disperse the people’s opposition to the constitution.

The 7th National Assembly at its inception in June 2011, didn’t leave anyone in doubt that it was going to continue where the 6th national assembly stopped in reviewing and amending the constitution. To ensure that this exercise was carried out, both chambers of the National Assembly set up separate Constitution Review Committees, headed by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu for the Senate and Hon. Emeka Ihedioha for the House of Representatives.

After rigorous efforts of the committees to review the constitution, the Senate committee submitted its report and it was debated along various lines of interests by the senators. On Tuesday June 16, 2013, the senate voted on the alterations of the constitution that was brought before it by its committee. Clause by clause, senators electronically voted ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ on 31 clauses.

A copy of the report of the Senate committee in my possession does not have any clause on marriage. The fact that there was no clause on marriage, puts a lie on the report that Senate passed an age-limit marriage.

It is surprising however to note that, shortly after the Senate concluded its voting on the report of its committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution, reports in some sections of the media alleged that the senate has made a law for under-aged marriage.

The matter became worst on the social media, where bloggers who probably may not have read the constitution, and may not have also read the alterations contained in the report of the senate committee, were bent on misinforming the people.

The height of this misleading report is a purported petition to the United Nations by one Eme Awa, calling on the UN to ‘Stop The Nigerian Senate From Making Under-Age Marriage The Law’. A lot of people are ignorantly ‘signing’ the so-called petition on the social media.

It is important at this juncture to call our attention to the fact that Nigeria is a sovereign nation.

Here is a copy of Eme Awa’s purported petition to the UN.

“Petitioning The United Nations
United Nations: Stop The Nigerian Senate From Making Under-Age Marriage The Law!

Petition by
eme awa
hyattsville, United States

July 17, 2013.
The Nigerian Senate just approved language that would remove the protection for young women and girls from repeatedly being rape in the guise of early marriage.
New York-based Guttmacher Institute’s study reports that the Nigerian authorities have been failing to implement sexual health education for decades and now, the Nigerian Senate has made it part of the Nigerian Constitution to give adult men the right to take any young girl as a wife, even as young as ten years old. Here is the senate’s new rule: “”The Nigerian Senate also resolved to alter Section 29 (a) of the constitution that stipulates that a woman shall not be qualified for marriage until she attains the 18 years as they deleted age specification for women being married from the draft constitution and left the marriage age for women open. The Senate claimed that a woman is deemed to be “full of age” once she is married irrespective of the age she did so.”
We need your help to get ACTION from the United Nations to stop the government of Nigeria from this grave injustice!
Help our young girls grow up to reach their God-given potential.
Sign This Petition Now!”

A careful reading of Eme Awa’s supposed petition, shows clearly that the petitioner does not have a copy of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, if he does, he has failed to read it to know what it provided in section 29. Another reason I strongly believe that this supposed petition is dustbin bound, is that fact that the petitioner, has not read the report of the Senate Committee on the review of the constitution, instead, like a busybody, he made false claims and horridly quoted the report out of contest to achieve a misleading goal, a goal that is dead on arrival.

The senate didn’t pass any bill on age limit for marriage. What the senate was trying to do was to alter Section 29, and delete its subsection 4(b) of the constitution which really has to with renunciation of one’s citizenship.

Section 29 of the constitution as it is, provides that until a Nigerian is of “full age” he or she can’t apply for citizenship elsewhere as a Nigeria.

In defining what full age means, the constitution in subjection (4) of section 29 provides that: “(a) “full age” means the age of eighteen years and above; (b) any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age.”

The alteration of this section, which actually didn’t scale through in the Senate, has nothing to do with marriage.

Here is the full provision of section 29 of the 1999 constitution.

“29. (1) Any citizen of Nigeria of full age who wishes to renounce his Nigerian citizenship shall make a declaration in the prescribed manner for the renunciation.

“(2) The President shall cause the declaration made under subsection (1) of this section to be registered and upon such registration, the person who made the declaration shall cease to be a citizen of Nigeria.

“(3) The President may withhold the registration of any declaration made under subsection (1) of this section if-

“(a) the declaration is made during any war in which Nigeria is physically involved; or

“(b) in his opinion, it is otherwise contrary to public policy.

“(4) For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section.

“(a) “full age” means the age of eighteen years and above;

“(b) any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age.”

Mind you that this section of the constitution is not a new amendment, rather it has been there, what the Senate wanted to delete subsection 4(b).

What actually happened that day, which am sure is the reason religious connotation has been brought into the debate, was the comment made by former governor of Zamfara State, Senator Sani Yerima, who not too long ago, took a 12 or 13 years old Egyptian teenager as wife, drew the attention of the senate to the fact that the constitution forbids any amendment to any provision of the sharia and customary laws.

It was upon this that the senate rescinded on its decision to delete subsection 4(b) of section 29.

Rather an engaging on unnecessary busybody, I wish to suggest that we read the constitution and other laws of the land, before inciting people with our unguided comments.

Section 29 of the Constitution which deals on a citizen’s right to renounce his or her citizenship has nothing to do with marriage and it was not altered by the senate.

Beyond Politics: Let’s Go To Equity

Many Nigerians like politics but pretend they don’t. If you doubt this, take a stroll to the vendor stand. The members of the Free Readers Association of Nigeria (FRAN) you will find at the vendor stand (many of them unemployed youths, some lowly civil servants, and some, touts) are very likely to be discussing two issues: Football and Politics. If there is no vendor near you, no wahala. You can try the pepper soup joint down the road. You will find very robust political discussion. Even if you are too “tush” or too “ajeboish” for these places I have mentioned, you can go to twitter facebook or play around with your remote for some local TV station and you will still find a high level of political discourse from your fellow countrymen.

We love to discuss politics. And football. But then ask any member of such a “panel” or forum to run for political office. His response will be “I don’t like politics”. If the man who daily discusses politics and political office holders does not “like” politics, then who does? And when he finds someone he knows making a move to become involved in politics, he goes, “ah, politics is dangerous ooo”.

So, the typical Nigerian shies away from running for political office and discourages loved ones from doing same. Yet this same Nigerian loves power and the benefits that flow from the corridors of power. Most are quick to criticise those at the helm of affairs for bending rules or circumventing the process. Yet when an opportunity to circumvent the process presents itself, these same critics hardly think twice about it. They think it doesn’t matter. I can cite several familiar examples. Have you ever been in slow-moving traffic and then out of nowhere emerges a siren-blaring convoy with gun-toting and horse-whip-waving uniformed men trying to create a way for a “big man” hidden behind tinted glasses? Have you observed that as soon as this convoy successfully creates a way, many buses, taxis and other vehicles struggle to join the convoy and get out of the gridlock? What do you see on the faces of fellow countrymen trying to do that? You see excitement and smiles.

I understand that power sweet. It can even be exhilarating to find oneself receiving preferential treatment. Nobody likes waiting in a queue. Many do not enjoy following the process. But to change things, we must endure these basics. The popular position is to lampoon politicians and blame them for all that is wrong with our society. There are excesses among the political class alright. Their behaviour is very repugnant, to say the least. Foreigners coming into our country for the first time receive a kind of shock (yea, culture shock, if you will) when they see the lengths of convoys of political office holders and the sheer number of aides that mill around them. Even more appalling is the way they conduct themselves. In many fora across the country today, the talking point is what happened in the hallowed chambers of the Rivers State House of Assembly of recent. Yet, the problem is deeper than that.

Somehow, I wonder whether we condone impunity because impunity is latent in us. We have come to a stage in our national life when we must begin to re-evaluate our value system. It is important to note that in defining a value system, the keywords are “consistency” and “ethics”. In otherwords, we must be prepared to apply the same rules of conduct on a consistent basis.

I love politics but I am not aware of a separate assembly line for producing politicians. What political office does basically is to accentuate the hidden character flaws in a man. The man who may not be holding political office may actually be doing as much harm as the man he criticises. I am not against calling on political office holders to be accountable and to behave responsibly. We must do that and more. We must embody the behaviour we expect of others and the larger society. He that comes to equity must come with clean hands. Let us think. Surely, we can stand for something positive.

Have a great week!

The Leadership Lessons From Morsi’s Fall.

The Leadership Lessons From Morsi’s Fall.

“One of the true tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.”
Arnold H. Glasgow.

In the last one week, so much has been written on the Egyptian experience and Morsi’s fall. There have been arguments for and against the ouster of Mohamed Morsi. Some of the analyses have been very incisive with some attempts at objectivity. Some others have been very partisan and patronizing.

Irrespective of the slant of the various analyses, the ultimate losers from what has happened are the Egyptian people themselves while the culprit (I expect there will be some disagreements here) is Mohamed Morsi himself. I say the Egyptian people are the ultimate losers because even as I write, there are increasing reports of escalating violence in different parts of the country. Scores have been killed and injured. After two years of revolting, the end is not in sight. In fact, the revolt or revolution has gathered fresh impetus. Those who started as comrades when the “revolution” began two years ago have now found themselves in opposing camps. What will happen to Egypt’s economy?

Mohammed Morsi was elected as Egypt’s president in 2012 on the platform of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood and was sworn into office on June 30, 2012. Considering the circumstances that preceded and precipitated the elections, the expectations were high both within and outside of Egypt that he would rally the nation together and put the country on the sure path to peace and prosperity. Less than one year after he took oath of office, it became clear to the Egyptians that their revolution had “entered on chance”, to use a Nigerian expression. And just on the anniversary of his government, Morsi was shooed out of office.

This is not an examination of the propriety or otherwise of the method Morsi’s ouster. At the end of the day, it seems the Egyptians, to my mind, have opted for their own version of a “home-grown democracy”. Even the major world powers seem to see it along these lines judging from their reactions. For instance, the almighty US with all its democratic posturing chose a middle-of-the-road approach (See the full text of the White House statement on the change of guards on Egypt here: http://m.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3…). The focus of this piece is to highlight useful leadership lessons for the rest of Africa from the Morsi’s experience.

Jim Rohn says that “the challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly”. In otherwords, leadership must be to able balance contending interests and find a way forward. In this regard, Mohamed Morsi failed. Apparently, he forgot that the victory that brought him to power was a slim one – a 51.7% win. What he needed to do was to form an all-inclusive government to unite all the forces that campaigned in the Egyptian Revolution. He did not do that. In fact, his party was accused of playing majoritarian politics, another expression for the “winner-takes-all” brand of politics that has not taken African anywhere.

In retrospect, it does seem like Morsi was an “accidental public servant” (with due respects to Mallam Nasir El-Rufai). It is a moot point that many in Africa do not spend enough time preparing for the highest office in the land and is part of the leadership problem in Africa. In many other climes, particularly in advanced democracies, it is possible to trace the paths of leaders all the way back to how and when they started. Here in Africa, there’s still so much of the politics of opportunism where people who are ill-prepared for office suddenly find themselves thrust on the political scene. Without preparation, such people finding themselves in power end up being overwhelmed, struggling to coast along or plainly misusing the power. The end always is disaster. This may have been the case with President Morsi and the Freedom and Justice because the Muslim Brotherhood did promise not to field a candidate for presidential elections early on after Hosni Mubarak was toppled. Eventually, when elections came, Morsi’s name was on the ballot. Was this an indication of things to come?

Another lesson to be drawn from the things that happened in Egypt is that reforms must be fundamental and touch the lives of the common man. Security and the economy were two areas that did not receive the right attention. According to a New York Times editorial, “. . . They failed to make any real progress toward the economic and social goals for which Egyptians are desperate — security, jobs, education, a check on inflation.” (Follow this link for the editorial: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/07/02/opinion/military-ultimatum-in-egypt.html). If there was a plan at reforming the hated police that brought people to the streets during Mubarak, the people of Egypt never felt it. The security services and the Interior Ministry were not purged. Crime was said to have gone up. In the same upward trajectory went the price of bread. Ironically, at the start the revolution in January 2011, the people’s demand had been “bread, freedom, and social justice”. Surely, a hungry man is difficult to govern. Egyptians experienced fuel shortages under his watch and power outages and blackouts became common. The streets again became the more attractive proposition.

The opening quote of this write-up is credited to Arnold H. Glasgow. It means that a leader must be able to see what the followers see and farther. Leaders must scan the horizon frequently, recognize where problems are likely to arise from and put in place measures to deal with the problems. Didn’t Morsi and his cabinet realize that there was a problem before even Egyptians started gathering at the famous Tahir Square again barely thirty months after? In retrospect, it is clear that the government under-estimated the protest. It is also apparent that he was unable to build a relationship with the military. Did he forget so soon that the military had long held the reins of power in Egypt both on stage and behind-the-scenes? And, by the way, who gets a 48-hour public notice from the military to “fix the problem or be eased out of office” and still does nothing? He could easily have opted to cut short his presidency and conducted early elections or offered to share power with the opposition. He did none of these and the rest, like they say, is (recent) history.

The summary of all this is that even while the protests continue on the streets of Egypt, African leaders should learn the lessons. From my reading of the situation, it would appear that African leaders are not seeing this through the right prism. I do not know whether they noticed it but the word “coup” has just been redefined. Rather than suspend Egypt over what happened, the African Union should have offered to mediate in the crisis. Let African leaders learn. A truism is that you MANAGE things, but LEAD PEOPLE. An extension of this is that you must also manage events and happenings that INVOLVE people.

There’s a mass of hungry, unemployed and restless youths all over Africa. The time to tackle this problem with every sense of responsibility is NOW!

You can follow this author on twitter @ehissman

Now That The Broadcasts Are Over . . .

Now that the “Happy New Month!” broadcasts are over, we can have some respite. Well, almost. Broadcasts are never really over. Somehow, the ones who didn’t send their own broadcast messages yesterday (perhaps because their subscriptions expired or they couldn’t power their phone batteries or due to the network problem from operators we have come to live with) will still send theirs.

If by now you are still wondering what I mean by “broadcasts”, I am talking about Blackberry broadcast messages popularly known as “BC’s”. And even if you do not use a Blackberry but use Whatsapp, Viber or some other instant messaging app on your phone, it means the same thing: messages that are sent to several users at the same time.

Many Blackberry (including Whatsapp) users find broadcast messages very annoying, no, downright irritating.

Some of these broadcasts are seasonal. Like those you receive during festivities and public holidays (Easter, Christmas, New Year, Sallah, etc.). Others come once in a while (like a vacancy announcement that might be helpful to someone or a business promotion). Yet other have no pattern, no informational value, completely inappropriate and childish.

Yesterday, for instance, was the first day of July. As expected, there was an avalanche of “Happy new month. . . “ broadcast messages. Some were colourful. Some others, though not so colourful, were very likely from the heart of the senders – genuine prayers and expression of goodwill in the new month. However, many were just pirated- same messages being recycled over and over.

So, what’s the point of this whole piece? Well, it’s partly to educate many of us Blackberry users that we all can be a lot more sensitive about the broadcasts we send and to prepare the minds of others who receive such on the best attitude because the BB messenger feature is the most popular one among users in Nigeria. You just get used to it or like they say, “get a Nokia phone”.

To begin with, there are particular kinds of broadcasts I do not like. See them:

1. “Broadcast or Update Cancelled”: I used to get a lot of these rapidly circulating messages claiming that Blackberry users must broadcast the same message to all their contacts or they would miss out on a BBM update and would no longer be able to chat with friends because they would have the old version. This is a hoax and of no effect.
2. “Broadcast and Get New Symbols”: These one urge users to broadcast the message and some new symbols or emoticons would be automatically updated on their phones. Laughable!
3. “This is from Jim Basalmic”: The messages used to claim that “this is a message from Jim Basalmic, CEO of Blackberry . . . bla bla bla.” This was as a time when the name of the company was still Research In Motion (RIM) and had two co-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. RIM is now Blackberry and has Thorsten Heins as CEO. But those who send these broadcasts have moved from Blackberry to Whatsapp. The messages on Whatsapp now are “. . . this is a message from Jim Basalmic, CEO of Whatsapp. . .” Naija!!!
4. “Don’t break this chain or . . .”: These ones are chain messages telling you to broadcast and your phone would ring within minutes for good fortune or to prevent some evil from happening to you. Balderdash!
5. “Contact Check!”: What’s the use? If you are not sure that someone is still on your contacts list, why not send the person a personal message to find out?

I know some of those reading this have a lot more of those kind of broadcasts. Of course we can’t forget the days when all kinds of “Akpors Jokes” held sway on BB. Maybe those “Akpors Jokes” broadcasts are still common but I haven’t received any in a while. Perhaps that I haven’t received any in a while could be due to the fact that I had to modify my contacts list (that means I deleted the most guilty ones).

Now that I have mentioned contacts list, it is pertinent to note that the type and quality of broadcasts you receive is a function of the kind of people you have on your contacts list.

We have talked of recipients of broadcasts. What about those who are always sending broadcasts? Believe it or not, your broadcasts say a lot about you, whether you originated them or you simply rebroadcast. Here are some ways broadcasts reflect on you, the sender:
1. It reflects your intelligence: Plenty people send broadcasts without even reading them. There was this particular broadcast that kept circulating about a baby with blood group AB lying critically ill somewhere in Abuja and urgently in need of blood. Now, if you ever did biology in secondary school, you can recall that people with blood Group AB are referred to as universal receivers because they can receive blood from any other group. So, I just kept deleting this broadcast because I knew someone was playing on our collective intelligence. I couldn’t stomach it anymore when a doctor friend on my contact also forwarded it. So I engaged her on whether it was a difficult thing to get a donor for someone with that blood group. It turned out that she had not even bothered to read the message before re-broadcasting.
2. It reflects how sensitive you are: Imagine you received a message like “daughters are beautiful and a blessing. If you believe this, use your daughter’s photo as a DP”. On the surface, this looks innocent enough and an appreciation of daughters. But if you have on your contacts a woman who has just lost an only daughter and you forward this to all your contacts including that woman, you are being insensitive and could end up reminding of her loss albeit unintentionally. So, the thing is to know your contacts and weigh what broadcast is relevant to them.
3. It reflects your values: The saying “Better to shut your mouth and be thought stupid, than open it and completely remove all doubt” holds true here. What you broadcast, whether photos, jokes, or other messages you send says a lot about what your values are. So, when you keeping sending those sexually explicit jokes your contacts form an opinion about you. You say “it’s just a joke na”. Really?
4. It shows courtesy and respect: Some folks ask for your BB pin and add you. They don’t even bother to say “hello”. Next thing you have is a bombardment of broadcasts from them. This is not right. The reason we have people as BB contacts is not so we can send the broadcasts. Put to good use, the blackberry messenger can be a fantastic relationship management tool.
5. It reflects on your credibility: Every time you have to retract a broadcast or offer and apology for sending an erroneous broadcast, your credibility takes a hit. And if a pattern forms with regards to this, chances are that people will simply learn to ignore your broadcasts or messages.

I’m not knocking broadcast messages. Sometimes, broadcasts have proved very useful. For instance, I follow @Gidi_Traffic and @TouchPH on twitter for regular traffic updates in Lagos and Port Harcourt and I get their updates via blackberry broadcasts also. So, even when I am not in Lagos, or Port Harcourt and I get such broadcasts that I think will affect some of my Lagos or Port-Harcourt-based contacts, I share with them and many have been very thankful for the information.

That’s one more thing about broadcast messages. You don’t necessarily have to send to all your contacts. Thankfully, Blackberry affords us the option of either sending to all or sending to a select group. Sometimes, you will need to weigh the message and decide on who it’s more useful to among your contacts.

And as for the message itself, be specific if it is location- or time-bound. Supply the location and time. Remember that tomorrow is the day after today. So, when you send a broadcast that says an event will happen tomorrow, that tomorrow may continue to be re-broadcast even two weeks after.

You can follow the writer on twitter @ehissman.

Crash: The Anyenes reject Dana compensation, urge reform

Monday 01 July, 2013

The Anyenes, which lost six members and three in-laws to June 3, 2012 Dane plane crash, met again on Saturday and resolved not to negotiate for any financial compensation from the airline for their loss.

The family members were in Lagos from their bases to hold first year memorial lecture and service of songs in honour of victims from the family.

Spokesman for the family, Christian Anyene, who is a medical doctor based in New York, said the family’s interest was beyond financial compensation.

He said, “Keeping the family together within the last one year was tough, but as children of a catechist in the Catholic Church, we were determined to move on. It was rough but we were resolute in our decision.

“The Anyene family wishes not to deal with Dana Air to negotiate any compensation. We lost a whole family and money will not bring them back.”

Christian said the family would rather appeal to the Federal Government to show interest in the life of air passengers.

“We will prefer that the government erects functional air safety measures so that no family will suffer such a painful loss again in Nigeria. To honour more than 150 victims of the crash, government should show more interest in the safety of those who choose to fly.”

Onyeka’s mother had to be taken away from the event as she broke down in tears a few minutes after entering the venue. But Christian insisted that the family members were putting the grief behind them.

He said, “I’m quite glad that we are at this stage. A year ago, we were depressed, we cried and grieved for months.

“Today, We have out sad event behind us. We remember the successful life that my brother, Onyeka, his wife, Maimuna and their four children lived. They used their God-given gift to help many others and that is what we remember them for a year after their demise.

“When he was leaving Connecticut, US for Nigeria, I went to the house and picked the whole family and our in-laws to the airport, I never knew that I was seeing them for the last time. A week later, they were all gone.

“When Onyeka was born as twins, the civil war had just started in Nigeria and I helped in taking care of him and the twin sister because our father was posted away from where we lived. He was an active boy in his youth and his brilliance earned him success in the short life he lived.”

Wife of the former Vice President of Nigeria, Alex Ekweme, Beatrice, who is Onyeka’s aunt, said it was important to recognise the positives in the lives of the victims.

She said, “I was in Onyeka’s house when I heard the news. We were waiting for his arrival but instead of welcoming him, we heard of the tragic news of his death and that of other members of the family. It’s a day we wish to put behind us.”

Culled from Punch Mobile

http://mobile.punchng.com/output.php?link=http://www.punchng.com/metro/crash-the-anyenes-reject-dana-compensation-urge-reform/