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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

9jaFlave TalkBack - Your Most Inspiring Post On The Blog in 2014

The year is slowly coming to an end and it is all about giving thanks, sober reflection and meditation. While going through the blog posts through the year, I am sure there must have been one post that stood out clearly to you. For me it was this post from May 2014 : Powerful Life Lessons From a Navy Seal. "Lesson #10. If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.", stood out to me. In simple terms, Never ever give up. Read the post below and feel free to share yours in the comments section.

Naval Admiral William H. McRaven returned to his alma mater, University of Texas last week and spoke to the graduates with lessons he learned from his basic SEAL training several years ago. They are powerful life lessons and #10 - 'If you want to change the world don't ever, ever ring the bell.' stood out to me. Go here for full text and read excerpts below:

I have been a Navy SEAL for 36 years. But it all began when I left UT for Basic SEAL training in Coronado, California. Basic SEAL training is 6 months of long torturous runs in the soft sand, midnight swims in the cold water off San Diego, obstacles courses, unending calisthenics, days without sleep and always being cold, wet and miserable. It is 6 months of being constantly harassed by professionally trained warriors who seek to find the weak of mind and body and eliminate them from ever becoming a Navy SEAL. But, the training also seeks to find those students who can lead in an environment of constant stress, chaos, failure and hardships. To me basic SEAL training was a life-time of challenges crammed into 6 months.

Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed. If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack—rack—that’s Navy talk for bed. It was a simple task, mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that we were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs—but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

9jaFlave Talkback - Thank You For Being Part of My 2014, Hope You Were Inspired

I believe the year has been a great one for you, and that in one way, you found some kind of inspiration from this blog. Though the world and our environment is currently clouded with a lot of negative news, we can still choose to find the good and positive things to motivate, challenge and inspire us. I believe strongly that in Nigeria today, young people are in need of good role models that will inspire them to dream big, defeat mediocrity and make a difference in the world.

I believe many great writers, designers, teachers, artisans, entrepreneurs are still yet to be discovered. Some of them only need some inspiration to believe and act on their dreams. This is what motivated me to start this blog in the first place, I felt our youth had little or nothing inspiring to read in the blogosphere.  Knowledge is power and I believe inspiration can be a starting point for change. One inspiring story can be the turning point in someone's life and it is only right to put the spotlight and share stories of individuals, young people doing great things.

In the coming year, I really hope we can work together to inspire many others through our own stories, or the stories of someone you know. I truly hope you found some inspiration on this blog in 2014, feel free to share your story with us and also help to spread the message. May the year 2015 bring us into greater things. Thank you for being part of my 2014. Stay inspired!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas From 9jaFlave

Wishing all of you my dear readers a very Merry Christmas and prosperous 2015 ahead.

Let who you are keep reflecting the essence of the season. Let the world see Jesus in your eyes, words and actions. He came to give us life, hope and a reason to live, find that reason and light up other hearts.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Meet Nigeria's First Blind Female Photographer

Meet Taiwo Lawal, Nigeria'a first blind female photographer. As impossible as this may sound, this 35 year old woman is on a journey to completely master the art of photography. She embarked on this journey about 2 years ago, and now takes pictures with her camera. She said: “At the start, I kept wondering how a blind person could learn photography. I thought it was impossible. But the person who introduced me to it said it was possible. So, I agreed to do it.”

Taiwo and her twin sister were born blind to a mother who got pregnant after she was raped by a man in a village in Ondo State. When the man later found out that the twins were born blind, he absconded.  She said, “We had no clothes to wear, only panties. People treated us badly, and sometimes, they threw stones at us. We were fed 5-day-old food. We didn't have any choice then but to eat it. Now, I can laugh about it because it’s in the past.”

Giving an insight into how she is mastering the art of photography, Lawal said she uses her sense of hearing and touch to take pictures. She said, “If I want to take a picture, I would go to where the person is, and feel his location; then I would communicate with the person to sense the direction, as the sound of the person tells me where he or she is. Also, if I want to take pictures of nature, I first feel the object by touching it, then move back and take the picture. When I touch a flower, for instance, I see the colours in my mind. I can also tell if someone is happy or sad, because I know it would be reflected in the picture.”

Passion, Drive and Discipline Is Key To Success in Business - Founder MUDI AFRICA

Meet Clem­ent Mudiaga Enajemo, the man behind popular fashion brand, MUDI AFRICA. His story and rise to the top reflects the true entrepreneurial spirit of refusing to give up. In a recent interview with Sun News, he shared about his entrepreneurial journey, the need for Passion, Drive and Discipline to succeed in business and why our government should glamorise artisans. Read below:

How has the journey been so far for you as an entrepreneur?
Let me use the word, challenging, because when I started up, there was no structure. I had no capital or a godfather to assist me. That I was able to rent my first shop was through Richard Mofe Damijo’s (RMD) assistance. Then I was trying to raise money to rent a shop, until I became stranded, confused and frustrated but it was RMD that came to my rescue.

I needed N47, 000 to complete the rent, but had only N17,000 with me, so RMD lent me N30,000 to make up the rent. Before he gave me the money he called my name and admonished me in pidgin saying, “Mudi, this money wey I wan give you, I no wan regret am o” (Mudi, I don’t want to regret lending you this money). I pleaded with him that I under stood how difficult it was to trust people but that he should give me the benefit of the doubt and assist me.

Back then, I was going from one office to another and was kept waiting at reception halls before I could come and beg for some financial assistance. When RMD wanted to give me the money, I asked him to allow his younger brother, Matin Mofe-Damijo to go with me and make the payment in their name. This happened here in Anthony Village, La­gos, in 1996. We made payment for two years and when the landlord heard that the payment was made by the Mofe-Damijos, he got ex­cited, signed and rented the shop to me. After payment, it took me another three months to move into the shop because I needed to raise money to put up essential facilities like ceiling fan, carpet and painting. That was how I started working.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Young Female Entrepreneur Who Quit Her Accounting Job To Follow Her Passion

Meet Gloria Ihekauche, a young budding entrepreneur, who runs a beauty house named Liora. She is a make-up artist with big dreams and a huge passion to stand out in her chosen field. In a recent Tribune interview, she opened up about quitting her accounting job to follow her dream. Read excerpts below:

How did you discover your passion for making people more beautiful?I have always loved looking good, the slogan looking good is good business has always stuck with me. I grew up with a passion to build a career in fashion, although I had no specifics at the time but I used to draw and make sketches and I have always been drawn to beautiful faces. 

So, when I was done with school and had the opportunity to make my life choices, I decided to start my journey into building my fashion empire and with the most accessible avenue, I had to go through a make-up school. I was taught at the make-up school that make-up was also an art and a door into so much more in the world of fashion and style. Every day, I learnt more at the school, my passion for it grew and now, I am super sure I am where I have always wanted to be.

When you ventured into make-up professionally, was there any challenge?When I started professionally, I did have my fair share of challenges. First was my job which demanded so much of my time. It was difficult combining my job with attending make up classes.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

'I Still Miss Kefee So Much' - Teddy Don-Momoh

Branama Queen, Kefee, passed away about 7 months back and her husband, Teddy Don-Momoh, recently opened up on how much he misses her. He said “It has not been easy for me. It’s been by the special grace of God and His grace has been sufficient for me. Because getting used to waking up in the morning and at night with someone beside you and all of a sudden, you get to wake up to see just books. It is not easy but all I will say is, it is well.”

Recounting some of the things he missed her for, he said “I miss everything that she epitomized, her smiles, the way she lightened up the environment and everyone around her, her food and so many other things. I have lost a lot of weight since she passed away because there is no one to cook or call to find out what I would like to eat. "

She went the extra mile of cooking breakfast, she packs what I would have for lunch in the office. She would still give me a call to remind me that I have to eat lunch. She turned me from ‘eating out’ to ‘eating at home’ and I find it difficult to eat out now. I miss that love, the union and her brainstorming. I just miss everything she stood for. “We had a lot of fun memories together and I would not want to share them with the world. It is very personal and I miss those memories.”

Thursday, 11 December 2014

India's Kailash Satyarthi Also Receives His Nobel Peace Prize

India's Kailash Satyarthi has also received his Nobel Prize alongside Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai. The 60-year-old, who shared the Prize with Malala, forfeited a promising career as an electrical engineer in India in 1980. Satyarthi is an Indian children's rights advocate and an activist against child labour. He founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan in 1980 and has acted to protect the rights of more than 83,000 children from 144 countries. Go here for full speech.

In his words: I represent here the sound of silence. The cry of innocence. And, the face of invisibility. I have come here to share the voices and dreams of our children, our children, because they are all our children. I have looked into their frightened and exhausted eyes. And I have heard their urgent questions. Twenty years ago, in the foothills of the Himalayas, I met a small, skinny boy. He asked me: "Is the world so poor that it cannot give me a toy and a book, instead of forcing me to take a tool or gun?"

I met with a Sudanese child-soldier who was kidnapped by an extremist militia. As his first training, he was forced to kill his friends and family. He asked me: "What is my fault?" Twelve years ago, a child-mother from the streets of Colombia - trafficked, raped, enslaved - asked me this: "I have never had a dream. Can my child have one?" There is no greater violence than to deny the dreams of our children.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Malala Yousafzai Receives Her Nobel Peace Prize, Gives Inspiring Speech

Pakistani Teenage/ Child's education activist, Malala Yousafzai today received her Nobel peace Prize alongside India's Kailash Satyarthi. The 17 year old who is the youngest Nobel prize winner, also delivered an inspiring speech to a hall filled with Royals, Celebrities, 6,000 school-children and honorary guests.

In her words,  "I had two options," she said of her life after being shot in the head by the Taliban more than two years ago. "One was to remain silent and wait to be killed. And the second was to speak up and then be killed. I chose the second one. I decided to speak up." She said the terrorists tried to stop her and her friends, but that their bullets could not win. "We survived. And since that day, our voices have only grown louder." Read full text of her speech below:

Bismillah hir rahman ir rahim. In the name of God, the most merciful, the most beneficent
Your Majesties, distinguished members of the Norweigan Nobel Committee, dear sisters and brothers, today is a day of great happiness for me. I am humbled that the Nobel Committee has selected me for this precious award. Thank you to everyone for your continued support and love. I am grateful for the letters and cards that I still receive from all around the world. Reading your kind and encouraging words strengthens and inspires me.

I would like to thank my parents for their unconditional love. Thank you to my father for not clipping my wings and for letting me fly. Thank you to my mother for inspiring me to be patient and to always speak the truth- which we strongly believe is the real message of Islam.
I am very proud to be the first Pashtun, the first Pakistani, and the first young person to receive this award. I am pretty certain that I am also the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize who still fights with her younger brothers. I want there to be peace everywhere, but my brothers and I are still working on that.

Monday, 8 December 2014

9jaflave Soliloquy - The True Value of Life Is Not In Its Duration But In Its Donation

How much value is your life adding to humanity? How much of your humanity is felt by those closest to you? Will the world feel an angel depart when your light fades away? Think about it. The true value of life is not in how long you live, but how much impact and memories you live with those that were privileged to have met and known you. I leave you with the words of Dr Myles Monroe...

The value of life is not in its duration, but in its donation. You are not important because of how long you live, you are important because of how effective you live. And most people are concerned about growing old rather than being effective. 

The people who have impacted the world didn't live long....Martin Luther King. John F. Kennedy. These people who impacted the world were not old people, but they lived so effectively that we cannot erase them from history.” So live your life effectively and leave footprints in the hearts and lives of many. Xoxo

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Social Entrepreneur Alan Knott-Craig Jr On Why Entrepreneurs Should Marry Young

Alan Knott-Craig is a social entrepreneur involved in a non-profit initiative, Project Isizwe, championing free Wi-Fi in under-serviced areas. He shared his thoughts on why he thinks entrepreneurs should marry young.

Knott-Craig got married at 25 to a chartered accountant, which he admits is helpful in entrepreneurship. A second income, and a strong one, can be a great way of cushioning an entrepreneur from the financial blows of failure. However, he is not suggesting that young people get married simply as a career move. Yes, there should be love, he added. It should be the right person. But he argues that marrying the right person at a young age does have advantages for entrepreneurs. “It’s a no-brainer, and it lowers your overheads.”

Looking back, he believes it was one of the reasons he was able to focus on his entrepreneurial ventures at such an early age. “I stopped going out on Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night – so I wasn't hungover, I wasn't tired and I wasn't spending [unnecessary] money. During the week I was not constantly SMSing and chatting with girls… No distractions. I worked much harder,” he explained. “And the compounded effect of all those extra hours I had for five years – while all my friends were playing the field and then got married at 30 – got me ahead of the pack.”

Pastor Sam Adeyemi On Marriage, Family and Ministry

Pastor Sam Adeyemi is the Senior Pastor, Daystar Christian Centre, Lagos. He also anchors ‘Success Power,’ a motivational programme on radio and TV.  He spoke about marriage, family and ministry in a recent Punch interview. Read excerpts below:

What are your thoughts on family and marriage institution?As someone who teaches success and studies other people, I have come to realise that you can’t change anybody. Many marriages break up because a lot of people are busy trying to change the other person and it never works; only God can change a person. I will always take a strong stand for family; it’s the primary institution that God built in the formation of society. Once something goes wrong in the family, everything goes wrong in the society. I want to encourage young people to marry and not only focus on the bad examples where things have gone wrong. Marriage is the place where you build character because it will challenge you.

How are you able to strike a balance between ministry and the home front?How I invest my time and money is a reflection of the things that are most important to me. When the church was very young and our kids were also very young, I used to go everywhere preaching and by the time I got home, they would be asleep. I sensed something was wrong. I thought to myself that they won’t be kids forever and if I miss the opportunity to influence them now, I would be the one chasing them tomorrow and I would find it difficult to catch them.

So I turned down the invitations and fixed a time in the year when all of us go away. During that time, there would be no phones, counselling, preaching, and because they know their parents are public figures, they relish those moments fully. Naturally, because I am in ministry and leadership, the demands are heavy; I am invited to speak all over the world, all I do is prioritise— God comes first, then family is next and then work. Whenever I plan my year, I set my goals: First, it is my spiritual life; family, vacation, birthdays, kids’ school dates, resumption, half-term, etc are all in my dairy before the church programme gets in there. Then, whatever space is left, I can take in invitations from people. I love to spend time with my family, it is the most fulfilling time I have.

Nigeria And The Compromised Church - Pastor Agu Irukwu

I saw this article posted on my facebook page and felt it was worth sharing. One question that has plagued my mind overtime and I am sure yours too is, how come with all our religious activities, vigils and prayer programmes in Nigeria, we still cannot see or feel its effect in our country. Is it that God has closed his ears to our cries? Or have our lights simply faded away with the darkness? The article is a long read but it is worth your time. Read excerpts below and go here for the full article.

I’m not a pessimist; everybody who knows me knows that I am an eternal optimist. But as I look at our nation, Nigeria, I can’t help but say that this description presently fits the nation. Through indolence, through negligence, through carelessness, the rafters of state affairs have decayed; the roof sinks in and sadly at this point in time, the house is leaking. We look at our nation and our hearts bleed and we cry. And if we feel like that, you can only imagine what those who have given their lives for that nation literally - like General Gowon - would feel. I guess if it wasn't for his Christian faith, he would be pessimistic. But because he knows he serves a God that can do the impossible, he is hopeful for the nation.

The institutions are compromised. Institutions that we once held in high regard in the nation are totally compromised. There is hardly an institution in Nigeria now that is not completely compromised. At one time, we held the judiciary in high regard. But everyone knows now that the judiciary is compromised. The legislature is compromised. The executive is compromised.Even the army is now compromised. It’s almost like the description in Ecclesiastes the 10th chapter and the 6th verse, describes Nigeria: that folly is set in great dignity and high places. The Message Bible says immaturity is given a place of prominence while maturity is made to take a back seat.

It goes on in that same chapter in verse 7 to say “I have seen servants on horses and princes walking as servants on the earth.” The Message Bible says “I have seen unproven upstarts riding in style while experienced veterans are put out to pasture.” And this in a sense describes the sad state of the nation: unproven upstarts riding in style while experienced veterans, those who could guide the affairs of state, are put out to pasture. Nigeria is synonymous, sadly, with certain words that you and I grieve when we hear mentioned. It’s synonymous with corruption; it’s synonymous with decay; it’s synonymous with degeneration; it’s now synonymous with violence. And the list can go on and on and on.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

A Nigerian Father's View On The Need For Collective Effort In Marriage and Parenting

A Nigerian father took out time to share his opinion about why marriage and parenting is a joint effort by both couples. He aired his views raw and straight from his heart on's facebook page. Read below

I wept after watching that maid from Uganda that almost killed a child that was left under her care and I kept wondering if we can't cope without maids. Marriage needs collective efforts and that's why we plan for marriage. Some men fail to understand that marriage is not all about going to ur office or shop, come back and eat, then wait for your wife to service you. No No No! that is not how to build a home. Your wife is your helper. you brought her to assist you and not the other way round.

You sit down together and plan every week. My wife and I are both working and we cope because there is division of labour. We have 6 kids. Monday to Friday, my duty in the morning before work is to bath the kids and prepare them. When I come back from work, I wash their uniforms while my wife bathes them and prepares dinner. I don't joke with my Saturdays, I stay with them and wash their accumulated clothes for the week while my wife goes shopping, comes back and cooks and it has been working for us for the past 10 years of marriage. 

Believe me when I say hard-work, collective efforts and determination make a beautiful marriage.. Women are fragile and the strongest in the world. A woman will wake up by 4 or 5am, bath the kids, prepare breakfast and leave for work or shop, come back in the evening, wash the kids clothes and yours, prepare dinner, bath the kids and still service u kwa. Na only u waka come? wetin sef? u wan kill her? Is she a camel? and tomorrow you will say she is ageing. And some will still collect their wives salary at the end of the month. Is she your Nwa boy?

Pakistani Teenager Malala Yousafzai Donates School Uniform She Was Shot In

Pakistani teenager and education activist, Malala Yousafzai, has donated the school uniform she was wearing when she was shot by the Taliban on Oct. 9th 2012. The teenager who is a strong advocate for children's education, spoke about her decision to show the uniform at the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate exhibition. She said it represents her fight for the right to education.

“My school uniform is very important to me because when I was going to school I would wear it. The day I was attacked I was wearing this uniform. I was fighting for my right to go to school, I was fighting for my right to get education. This is my right, it is the right of every child, to go to school. This should not be neglected.” The  uniform is now on display at the Nobel Peace Center in Norway.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Orange Academy Founder, Kenny Badmus Opens Up About Living With HIV For 15 Years

The world is marking World Aids Day today, and Nigerian brand specialist & founder of Orange Academy, Kenny Badmus chose today, to share about his 15 year journey living with HIV.

In his words, "Thank God for HIV. I wish I never had it, but Lord I did! It made me run after myself. Maybe I would never have understood myself; that no one can save us but us. Maybe I would never know the refreshing power that loneliness can bring when we embrace our broken self." Read his inspiring journey below:
Today, Monday December 1st, is World AIDS day, and I’m celebrating my resolve to live with this damn virus all these many years without letting it define who I am. Every journey I take, every picture of me you see, and every new challenge I take on are all huge reminders that I must never stop living my best life. So, I decided to share my journey with you today. Honestly, I don’t know what exactly you are dealing with but I'm writing you this to hold tight to your dream. Here’s a quick sketch of my journey from the first day I tested positive, 15 years ago. My upcoming book tells the full story.

1999. After three years of different pains and minor illnesses, I was encouraged by my best friend and Professor Soyinka, an HIV specialist, to go get tested so I could face my fear. I had just resumed work as a Copywriter at McCann. I’d rather not know. I was working on Coca Cola, and I would rather live in the joy of that dream. It was that point when you assured yourself this was only a lie from the pit of hell. I had not been a ‘bad boy,’ I would assure myself.

Today is World Aids Day

Today is World AIDS Day and on December 1st each year, people all around the world have the opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. 

World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away, and that there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education and knowledge about the disease.

World AIDS Day 2014 is an opportunity to harness the power of social change to put people first and close the access gap. Ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 is possible, but only by closing the gap between people who have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services and people who are being left behind. Closing the gap means empowering and enabling all people, everywhere, to access the services they need. Remember An HIV/AIDS-free generation begins with you!!!!

Happy New Month

Happy New Month Guys!! It's the last month of the year 2014. I am so glad we have all made it this far. Thank God for the gift of life, thank God for opportunities, thank God for faith, hope and love. Thank God for the journey so far.

The year maybe gradually winding up, but I would like to say to you, keep hope alive and never ever give up on yourself and your dreams. Remember "Anything is Possible to him who believes".
Cheers and have a wonderful December filled with pleasant memories.