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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Close Associates and Students Speak About President Buhari And Yemi Osinbajo

Finally Nigeria has a new President, and everyone is watching with eyes wide open to see what this new season births for our country. These words from his Inaugural speech, particularly stood out to me, "Having just a few minutes ago sworn on the Holy Book, I intend to keep my oath and serve as President to all Nigerians. I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody."

Meanwhile close associates, colleagues, students and church members of the President, Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo are speaking out about them. I am truly inspired by some of these revealing words and this gives me more reason to remain hopeful. Nothing is more inspiring than when a man's character and integrity remain constant overtime. Read excerpts from some of these interviews from The Punch below:

Juventus Ojukwu, a close associate of President Muhammadu Buhari
Do you think the Buhari you know hasn’t changed as a person?
He has remained constant in his principles and integrity. Biologically, he has changed as is expected of all humans. There is a way age catches up with all of us one way or the other. We tend to lose our youthful agility. But as a person, he has not changed in terms of the high principles he holds dear. His attitude towards life has remained the same over the years. 

He has always been forthright and honest in all the positions he’s held in this country. I saw that in him while he was in the military. I saw that in him when he was in charge of the petroleum ministry. He has been able to maintain his overall personality without a chink in his armour. Buhari is a good man; a man of integrity. One cannot say the same of any Nigerian leader. He has always stood for the same principles over the years. It’s rare to find a man who has kept a straight path all his life. This is not praise-singing; it is what I have personally observed about him as a person.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Happy Democracy Day 2015 From 9jaflave

Happy Democracy Day to all Nigerians out there. Let us remain hopeful and know that it can only get better for our great country. Let us all keep the flag flying.

I also want to congratulate my new President Muhammed Buhari and his Vice - President Yemi Osibanjo, as they take over leadership in our nation. I wish them well as they begin this new journey and pray that God's wisdom and grace will light their path.

Meanwhile I believe Timi Dakolo's song, Great Nation, ignites hope and makes you believe again in Nigeria. Read the lyrics of this inspiring song below:

Here we stand as a people
With one song, with one voice
We're a nation, undivided and poised
We will take our stand, and build our land
With faith to defend what is ours

Here we are as a people
With one heart, for one cause
We're determined to rebuild and restore
Where freedom reigns, and truth prevails
A land where there's hope for us all
A land where there's hope for us all

We're all we have, we'll defend our land
We believe in this nation, and we know we'll get there
We're all we have, we'll defend our land
We believe in Nigeria and the promise she holds
And that one day we'll shine like the sun
We're a great nation

Thoughts From A 21 Year Old Female Entrepreneur Chineye Okoro Onu

Meet 21 year old female entrepreneur Chineye Okoro Onu, a Nigerian and co-founder of the Mosaic Inspiration Project, an initiative she launched while studying at Radford University College in Ghana. Mosaic Inspiration Project’s signature artworks are paintings and mosaics of people who have brought positive change to the world.

The start-up brings together struggling artists to produce creative pieces from recycled material, such as plastic and polythene waste. The aim is to empower young artists with entrepreneurial skills and training, who then generate a monthly income off the sale of art and exhibitions. Last year she was named one of the 12 finalists for the Anzisha Prize, a pan-African competition for entrepreneurs aged between 15 and 22. Read her thoughts below from a recent interview:

What has been your biggest mistake, and what have you learnt from it?
One was taking certain things for granted and almost giving up on my dreams because of a financial situation I found myself in. But as an entrepreneur you need to be able to think outside the box. If you think you are losing focus, take a deep breath and try again. And be creative. In line with the old saying: ‘If life throws you a lemon, why don’t you start up a lemonade factory?’ The most important lesson I have learnt is to never give up.

What is the best advice you have ever received and would like to pass on to other young entrepreneurs?
As a young girl from the west coast of Africa, where young women usually have to really strive to be great people in their society, my parents would always say, and I quote: “Chi, your destiny is in your own hands – if you want to be somebody in life, make yourself useful.” I must say, those words keep ringing in my head every day of my life.

9jaflave Solililoquy - I Choose To Remain Hopeful

As a new dawn begins tomorrow in Nigeria, I choose to remain hopeful and believe in a great future for my dear country.

As the baton of change is handed over tomorrow to Muhammed Buhari and Yemi Osibanjo, and the new mantle of leadership takes over the affairs of our nation, I choose to remain hopeful that things will be different in my generation and that of my children.

As we herald in a new government and a new set of leaders on board to take charge of the affairs of this country, I choose to remain hopeful that a new era has come and change will truly be seen.

As we welcome our new president and vice-president, with hopes and expectations so high, I choose to remain hopeful that our faith and trust in their leadership will indeed be worth it.

As Nigeria with its many challenges and broken dreams step into another season and opportunity to take its place in the world, I choose to remain hopeful that its citizens will feel a new surge of hope and energy within, that our minds will be renewed and orientation changed, that we will feel a sense of purpose and renewed vision.

That we will be patient with our new leaders and join them in rebuilding our country. That we will begin to see what we can be and how we can be part of that change we all clamoured for. That we will all play our part as individuals, as families, as organisations, as entrepreneurs and as citizens. I still choose to remain hopeful.

Ufuoma Fijab

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Happy Children's Day + My Thoughts On Why Children Matter

I know this is coming in late.....but I wouldn't let the day end without wishing all children around the world..Happy Children's day. To mine and all the wonderful children linked to me, I say you are special and your presence in the world makes it a better place. You are truly blessed.

My thoughts on why Children Matter....
- Children are the future and are those who will give value to and impact the next generation.
- Children are the seeds we as parents, individuals and a nation have the privilege to tend and nurture into plants that will bear life giving fruits.

- Children put laughter and hope in our hearts and life, their innocence and sincere outlook at life make great lessons for living.
- Children are special and should never be treated less than that. They are the ones through which we can leave lasting legacies and imprint values so strong the world can not but notice them.

This is why they matter, they should be given that opportunity at life and living.Give them an education, give them good healthcare, give them shelter, give them clothes on their back, give them food on their table, give them a secure home and environment to live, give them laughter and hope, give them a future to believe in, give them a family to call their own, give them faith to believe in themselves, give them values that will live beyond them, give them love unconditional, show them that they truly matter. Happy Children's Day. You are all special!!!! XOXO

Ufuoma Fijab

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

9jaflave Soliloquy - Inspiration Ignites Hope, Courage and The Will To Move Forward

Everyday or through the journey of your life so far, somebody somewhere must have inspired you. You may have found that inspiration in a book, in a person, in a situation or even from within you and I am certain that moment changed you and propelled you forward.

This is why we must daily find some inspiration in our lives. We must daily seek inspiration to chart our own destinies. A young entrepreneur's story, the story of a woman or young girl who has broken barriers to achieve her dreams, a mother's story, all of these can ignite that fire and passion within you. Seek to be inspired every single day of your life, Inspiration Ignites Hope, Courage and The Will To Move Forward.

This is why I blog, to inspire you and through you inspire many others. When you are inspired, you find hope, break barriers and find courage to do that which you ought to do. I hope you have been able to find some inspiration here @9jaflave. Thanks for being part of my journey so far and I really would welcome suggestions, real life inspirational stories, pictures and events from you. Feel free to send me an email and keep being inspired @9jaflave. Cheers!!!!

Nike Okundaye - From Humble Beginnings to World Acclaimed Artist

Meet Mrs Nike Okundaye, the woman behind Nike's Art Gallery, her works are celebrated around the world and her designs exhibited in countries like the United States, Italy and Germany. In 2006, she was awarded one of the highest national awards of merit by the Italian government in appreciation of her efforts in using art to address and solve the problems of Nigerian sex workers in Italy.

Some of Mrs Okundaye's works can be found amongst the collection of prominent politicians around the world, including the White House. In her words: “When President Bill Clinton of the US visited Nigeria, he asked to meet the woman behind Nike Gallery, and I was taken to Abuja to meet him. It was the same thing with President George Bush. I was invited to meet him in Abuja during his visit to Nigeria. I was the one that decorated the room where the president stayed during the visit. What honour can be greater than this? I feel accomplished.”

Nike's journey began in her native village of Ogidi, Ijumu local government area, Kogi state, after losing her mother at the age of 6 and was sent off to live with her grandmother. It was there she was exposed to and learnt the art of weaving and textile design. Today, she is grateful to her grandmother for inculcating in her the virtue of hard work. She says: "It was through her that I learnt that you must persevere in whatever you do and never give up on your dreams.”

In her words :“I look at my childhood and all that I went through as something designed by destiny. Who knows, maybe if my mother had not died and I had gone ahead to be educated, I may never have had the kind of opportunity that I have today and may never have risen to the level that I am.” Mrs Okundaye never went to school to study art, but became an expert in adire making, dyeing, weaving, painting and embroidery, by simply watching her grandmother and practising thereafter.

Monday, 25 May 2015

9jaflave Soliloquy - Is Your Life Inspiring?

How inspiring is your life? In what little ways have you added value to someone else's life. What matters most to you in life? What values do you hold dear to your heart? Most times we seek to do extraordinary things and forget to seize little moments and opportunities to make an impact.

We want to change the world and make impact, yet forget that changing others only begins when we are changed ourselves. Life is a gift and who we are and what we reflect is our message to the world. Our words, our thoughts, our actions only show who we truly are and others are watching closely.

You can speak volumes without saying a thousand words. You can shine by virtue of your character. You can change the world with the message of your life. Your life is a storybook many are reading, what lessons will they learn by flipping through its pages? Is your life inspiring? Make your life's message one that will inspire the world. Cheers!!!

Ufuoma Fijab

Sunday, 24 May 2015

9jaflave Soliloquy - Be Willing To Do Something That Will Live Forever

Ever wondered why you are on this earth, living, breathing and loving life? There must be a definite reason for our very existence. Are we just here to fill up space and add up numbers to the world's population? I wonder myself many times.....

Life is more than just existing, it is about giving and leaving behind a lasting legacy. Our goal really is not to live forever for we will surely pass away someday. So now in this moment, time, space and season, how can we leave behind something that will live on forever. Think about it.

What will you be remembered for? What impact will you make in this moment you have? How many generations will be influenced by your choices?  How much will the world benefit from the rich deposits of gifts, talents, abilities and treasures that lie deep within you? Are you willing to do something that will live on forever, long after you are gone? Remember living is more than existing and life is all about giving.

Cheers!!!! Have a wonderful and fulfilling week ahead.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Toluwalase Falode - Finding Strength and Inspiration In Her Grief

Ace TV presenter Aisha Falode lost her only son, Toba Falode  in faraway Dubai about a year ago. He was believed to have been murdered and still justice is yet to be served. His sister and only sibling Tolu Falode found new strength and inspiration while coping with the loss of her brother. This traumatic season in her life birthed the book ‘Gift of Grace, A Sibling Bond’ , a book she has dedicated to her brother.

Tolu reveals that writing helped her deal with the tragedy that befell her family. She kept writing until she realised that she had enough material for a book. She says, that the aim of her book is to help the lost and those who are grieving, to show them that they are not alone and that God is ready to help them through it. The book was released yesterday May 19th, the day her brother would have turned 21. Read excerpts of her interview with the Vanguard below:

How did you set out to write a book about this?
The process of writing this book was accidental. It was my coping mechanism. I remember that when I first heard about his death, I couldn't walk on concrete and I couldn't look up because I really loved my brother. The thought that he had to die in such circumstances was too much for me to bear. His body was splattered on the floor and this is somebody I had known all my life and we loved each other very deeply.

So how do I begin to compute the fact that he fell from the height of a building I couldn't see from the ground? How do I digest that? So, I started writing because I was fighting depression and all sorts of bad thoughts. I was feeling suicidal because I couldn't digest the fact that he was no longer living and I was still alive. I started writing a lot.

My mum had her own battles to fight losing her only son because we are a very close knit family. I shared some of the things I wrote with her to help her deal with it. I'm not sure how much it helped her, but I think it comforted her to some extent. One day, she said to me that it would be nice if it’s published as a book. At that point, I realised I had written about a hundred pages. That was how the idea of a book started. I had started writing before I knew it would become a book.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Inspiring!!!! Sosoliso Plane Crash Survivor Graduates Top Of Her Class

 On December 10th, 2005, over 100 people lost their lives in a fatal plane crash involving Sosoliso Airlines. Popular Pastor, Bimbo Odukoya lost her life in that crash while 2 people survived the fatal crash. One of the survivors Kechi Okwuchi has just graduated from the University of Thomas, Texas, USA top of her class.

Kechi  who was seriously injured during the crash, has spent several years recovering from severe burn injuries and has had more than 100 surgeries, including skin grafts. Her story of survival continues to inspire many daily.

Against all odds, this inspiring young woman graduated with a degree in economics and marketing from the University of St Thomas in Houston, Texas on May 16, 2015. She was also inducted into 6 academic honor societies and was the most outstanding student for her major in Economics. Kechi also won the opportunity to give the commencement speech to the class of 2015 during the graduation ceremony. Big Congrats to her.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

9jaflave Soliloquy - The Day You Are Born And Why

So I stumbled on this interesting quote by Mark Twain above and it really does strike a chord. When we are born, there's lots of celebration and excitement in the air, a child has come to brighten up lives, prayers answered and love rekindled.

The day you are born remains special hence the annual birthday celebrations. You are given the opportunity to live, love and make a difference in the world. It's obviously a very important day and worth celebrating. But how about why you were born? Mark Twain states that the 2nd most important day in your life is when you find out why you were born. Did you just come to add to the world's population? Were you born just to pass through life? What is your mission on earth?

Why were you born? It's a question worth pondering and finding answers to. Every man and woman was born for a reason. We aren't in the world to count numbers and just feel good, we came to add value to humanity and make the world a better place. So why were you born? When you find out, it will also be worth celebrating, for then your life will have purpose and great meaning and you will definitely leave the world better than you met it.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

9jaflave Soliloquy - Name One Woman Who Inspires You Outside Your Biological Mother

Happy Mother's Day to all the lovely mothers out there. You are worth celebrating indeed!!!!
I believe outside your own biological mother, there must be one woman somewhere who remains priceless in your heart, who inspires and motivates you and who is an unforgettable part of your success story and life's journey.

Your paths may have crossed physically, spiritually, through books or even social media. Let's celebrate that special woman with you here on the blog. Share your story about this inspirational woman and why she inspires you.

The stories of many mothers inspire me, but today I would like to stick with Sonya Carson, mother of world renowned neurosurgeon, Ben Carson. This is why she inspires me.....She had a third grade education, was divorced and a single mother of 2 boys whom she raised in desperate poverty. Her son Ben, had been labelled the class dummy for his very poor performance in school. She prayed for wisdom on how to raise and guide her sons towards the path of success and direction to show them the importance and value of education.

Mrs Carson went on to cut off the time her sons spent watching TV, instructed that they read 2 books a week, and submit a written report about the books to her. This decision opened up Ben's mind to knowledge on a variety of subjects through books and he eventually rose from the bottom of his class to the top. Today Dr Benjamin Carson is a world renowned neurosurgeon who has performed life changing surgeries to give children a new lease of life. He is an author and also a well sought after speaker.

He has often times spoken about the influence of his mother on his life. In his words: " I not only saw and felt the difference my mother made in my life, I am still living out that difference as a man." What if Mrs Sonya Carson simply ignored her sons and chose not to go the extra mile in raising her children and seeking a great future for them, the world would have missed their well of knowledge and gifts and their positive influence in the lives of many around the world.
Thumbs Up to Mrs Sonya Carson for being a great and inspirational mother.

Happy Mother's Day + 3 Reasons Why Mothers Are Special

Happy Mothers Day to my mum and every mother around the world. You are all so special!!!!!!!!!

3 reasons why I personally believe mothers are special. 

1) If you are alive and breathing today, it is only because your mother became a willing vessel to carry and nurture you inside her, she laboured to bring you forth in pain and great endurance. She carried you in her arms, nurtured you at her breasts, filled you with great warmth and comfort and has walked you through different seasons of life. This makes her special.

2) If you have ever felt strength in those low moments of your life, if you have always found courage to move on despite impossibilities, if you have found hope in the darkest seasons of your life, then your mother or a mother somewhere is the reason. Her children are her joy and pride, they are her future and legacy, she is willing to burn the midnight oil in prayer for their success, she travails and intercedes on their behalf throughout her lifetime. This makes her special

3) Mothers care for you and love you unconditionally. Many children stray and have brought great heartache to their families, yet a mother never gives up. She always believes and holds on in faith for the lives of her children. She stands strong loving a disabled child passionately, she gives warmth and counsel to a straying child, she holds and comforts you in your trying times. She believes in your dreams and abilities and blesses you always from the depth of her heart. This makes her very special.

Mothers are worth celebrating not just once but everyday in our lives. Their actions and commitment are priceless, their strength and courage are lessons for our own life's journey. Their prayers and words of counsel are worth keeping to heart. Their victory is when we are successful, when we find purpose and when we are impacting the lives of our own children and others positively.

Ufuoma Fijab

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Tennis Star Maria Sharapova Pays Tribute To Her Mother

Tennis Star and 4-time Grand Slam Winner, Maria Sharapova has paid tribute to her mother, Yelena. She revealed that, though she spent much of her earlier years training alongside her tennis coach dad, she relished the opportunities that she had to experience alongside her mother. 'I spent a lot of time playing tennis when I was growing up and I was always around my father so I think my mother’s biggest commitment was making sure I’d finished all of my homework on time and making sure I pursued my education,' 

She also gives credit to her mother for opening her eyes to a totally different world outside of being an athlete. 'She has shaped me in so many ways, from raising me, guiding me in the right direction, opening my eyes to the world around me and exploring it with me.'

And while her father Yuri may have helped to turn her into the successful athlete she is today, Maria adds that it was her mother, Yelena, who helped her to achieve the kind of mental toughness and discipline required in order to survive as a professional athlete. 'Discipline allows you to set clear goals, and diligently follow a plan for achieving them.' This is something my mother taught me and it is true no matter what industry you are in.

Thoughts From A Young Female Ghanaian Entrepreneur Who Builds Bikes From Bamboo

Meet Winifred Selby, 20 year old female entrepreneur from Ghana, who co-started Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative when she was just 15. Her company makes bicycles out of bamboo, a need she decided to meet after observing students walk long miles to school and farmers walking long distances with heavy loads, just to get their goods to the market.

Her words: “But I was 15, a student, and didn't have any money. I can’t make cars – they are too expensive. But I kept thinking, what can I do to add value to bring a change in Africa? And then I realised what to do because I remembered my country is blessed with many things.” One is bamboo which Ghana has an abundance of. So with the help of two older students, Bernice Dapaah and Kwame Kyei, discovered they could convert the bamboo into sturdy, shock-resistant bicycle frames. And so the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative was born.

The company employs around a dozen people, produces between 60 and 100 bicycles a month, and has provided hundreds with a means of transportation. Her bikes have also found a large export market and received some international recognition. In November 2013 UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon took a ride on one of Selby’s bikes at the Warsaw Climate Change Conference.

Selby believes it is important for entrepreneurs to draw inspiration and courage from their own dreams and passions, rather than simply rely on the support of others. “There were so many friends who laughed when they heard about the bamboo bike idea. Some people will definitely discourage you, but one thing I’ve realised in life is that you have to be focused,” she added. “People never understand your journey because it is not theirs to understand.”

Tope Williams-Adewunmi On Quitting Her Job At KPMG To Becoming A Fashion Entrepreneur

Meet Nigeria's Tope Williams-Adewumi, a fashion entrepreneur, trainer and motivational speaker.
She is the CEO of Martwayne, a fashion retail and training outfit that is all about giving people ‘power through fashion’.  She has a BSc in Economics from the Obafemi Awolowo University, and a BA in Fashion Design from Future Excellence Design Institute of South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa coupled with a Higher Diploma in Management from the Australian Business and Retail Academy.

Mrs Adewunmi resigned from a promising career in KPMG to attend fashion school, a decision which eventually paid off, with her being awarded the 2010 Exquisite Lady of the Year (ELOY) Award for Best Designer (Newcomer). Read about her decision to go into fashion and advice to upcoming entrepreneurs below:

What informed your decision to go into fashion?
I got sick and tired of my tailor always wrecking my clothes and I told her I would go and learn how to sew so I could come back to teach her! That was it! No it was never the story of “Oh I had always loved sketching when I was a child… Blah blah…” In fact I could not draw a straight line without a ruler or even thread a sewing machine when I went to fashion school. I learnt everything from scratch – including the creative aspect!

Friday, 1 May 2015

Thoughts From A Young Ugandan Entrepreneur Who Started His Business At 14

Ugandan entrepreneur Noah Walakira was aged 14 when he started his own business, Namirembe Sweater Makers, an organization that started off by manufacturing knitted jerseys for schools, but today employs around 20 people in his community and has diversified to manufacturing various uniforms for schools in Uganda, as well as for other organizations such as security companies.

The 23 year old, has put himself and other young employees through school with the earnings from his business. He is also an Anzisha prize finalist. Below are some thoughts shared by this young entrepreneur.

“Let your vision and passion drive you,” advises Walakira, adding that without these two elements, young entrepreneurs will not be able to persist when facing the overwhelming number of challenges."

“If you do not love what you are doing, then go back to the drawing board and find something you do love.”

“Follow that small voice that is talking to you inside of your heart, and listen to it with your mind, but critically. It will help you make the right decisions.”

“I’ve learnt to listen to my intuition. And it has helped me make better decisions around managing people and my business."

Source - howwemadeitinafrica

Happy New Month!!!!!!!!

Happy New Month and welcome to the month of May.
I am happy we have made it this far.
May this new month bring about greatness, fulfillment, joy, peace, good health and miracles in your lives. Have a fulfilling month ahead and remain blessed.