Asisat Oshoala can become an advocate for women sports participation in Nigeria

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For a country with a huge population of women (slightly less than half of an estimated 186million according to various sources), Nigeria needs to tap into the sport potentials of this huge demographic.

It is a common fact that women make decisions about household purchases as well as key decisions about which schools and sports children will play and how much time kids will have to play outside the home.

A good presentation

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Yesterday was an interesting one. I finally got the opportunity to make a presentation about the RIOU MSA course to the visiting staff and 20 sports management masters students of the Université Paris-Sud while being watched by our Vice Rector and Director of Studies. My talk started with the city of Sochi being the “gateway to the Russian Riviera” (Lonely Planet) before delving into the uniqueness of the MSA course and RIOU as a legacy of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

How sport can help human development in former Boko Haram territories

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I recently watched an Al Jazeera documentary about the progress that is being made by women footballers in Rwanda, more than two decades after the ugly genocide that tore that country apart.
While football is not and can never be a panacea for righting the wrongs of the past and making amends for human rights abuses, it certainly has changed the way of life and given a breath of hope to the women who play it.

A paradigm shift for Nigerian sport in 2017 and beyond

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​I’ve been a journalist for 11 years now. For the last seven years I’ve worked in sport and core football for the last five. The first thing for me had always been about the story. I concentrated on sharpening my story sniffing and telling skills, that’s all that mattered.
But in 2016 I started to feel that there was more to sport than just the story, which unfortunately abounds so much in Nigeria – stories of corruption, neglect, negligence, in-fighting, etc.
As a journalist you want to have your fingers in the juiciest stories. But I began to think that there should be a better way. Why do people in Nigerian sport act the way they do? 
I wanted to know why sport thrives in other parts of the world but not in Nigeria. I love stories of triumph but wasn’t seeing enough in the local media where reports of corruption abound.
It was the reason why I left my job at Goal Nigeria last August to pursue a Master of Sport Administration at the Russian International Olympic University. 
My mind has opened up to the limitless possibility that sport offers a country endowed with immense physical ability like Nigeria. 
While this piece is just a tip of the iceberg, it is my hope that in 2017, administrators will begin to focus more on the issues that really matter. 
Sports ministries from state to the Fed should be looking at increasing the number of people who have access to sports facilities in order to increase participation all over the country. 
For too long we have been fixated on qualifying for international competitions while failing to develop a strategy for creating a healthy society. 
My advice to my friends who will hold political office in the years to come is, do not see sport as just another portfolio for putting your friends who have no experience whatsoever. It’s a key portfolio where you need experience in order to engage youth and create a long lasting healthy and strong society. 
Sport is about winning medals and the glamour of stardom, but it’s also beyond that. 
Sport is about increasing participation and ensuring that every boy and every girl in every community all over the country can have access to sports facilities in order to improve their health and lifestyle. We should have a deliberate strategy to engage them instead of placing all our focus on qualifying for the World Cup.
I’ve recently been in touch with other Nigerians who are studying for future management roles in sport. I believe that this crop of passionate people will help to transform our understanding of how the industry works when they return home and get the opportunity to bring their experience to the ground. 
I wish Nigerian sport all the best for 2017.

How money will determine which African countries qualify for the 2018 World Cup

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algeria

Algeria fans will hope their country makes it to Russia 2018 from a group that includes Nigeria, Cameroon and Zambia.

Sports economists have written about the impact of the amount spent on sport on countries’ ability to win medals at the Olympics.

It is the reason why the United States will always predictably top the medals table every year. Their annual sports spending is above every other country in the world. World champions Germany have the third largest economy in the world and it paid off on the pitch in Brazil in 2016.

I would like to relate this to Nigeria’s campaign to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in a group that includes Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia.

In terms of GDP per capita, Algeria has the highest of the four with a GDP per capita of $5484 in 2014, Nigeria was $3203, Cameroon $1407 and Zambia $1715.

Keep in mind that the more wealth a country has, the more money it will allocate to sport.

At the 2016 Olympic Games, only two of the four countries made it to the podium: Algeria won 2 silver medals and Nigeria a bronze medal in football.

Recently the Nigeria Football Federation cried out that it had no funds to take the national team to Zambia for its World Cup qualifier. Can this foreshadow which country will take the ticket in Group B?

In terms of talent, the pool has become deeper with many Algerian, Cameroonian and Nigerian footballers regularly turning out for top teams in England and Spain. In this case there’s not much difference in quality of talent on the pitch.

Per history, all four teams have won the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria being the most recent while Cameroon have the highest number. Three of them played at the 2014 World Cup with both Algeria and Nigeria reaching the knockout stages.

However, while history and desire can be a good thing, the financial strength of the countries could be the difference in who will take the ticket to Russia.

The ease of paying players’ bonuses, charter of private planes for away matches, hosting visiting teams and match officials, booking expensive and cosy team hotels on the road, refunding flight tickets, etc will do as much good or damage on and off the pitch.

It is no surprise that Nigeria have failed to qualify for any of the men’s football tournaments (Afcon, U17 & U20) this year as they face a great recession.

Money is a big deal in sport and we will see this play out in coming months.

Lolade Adewuyi Chats with Ebola Survivor Dennis Akagha As He Celebrates His Late Fiancée, Justina Ejelonu One Year After

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I first met Dennis Akagha in January 2015 when we both attended a Dirtpol focus group at the University of Lagos. The discussions centred around public perception of the Ebola virus, a few months after the country had been declared free of the disease.

Dennis and Justina

You can guess everyone’s amazement when he let it out that he had survived the virus and that his fiancée had been taken by the disease. Suddenly, all the news reports of previous months came together to be embodied by this bespectacled young man who sat across from me. To show that I wasn’t one of those guilty of stigmatization, I reached out to shake his hands.
We took a photo at the end of the discussion as he told me how his fiancée Justina Ejelonu, a nurse at First Consultants Hospital, contracted the virus on her first day at work and how he had to deal with neighbours who were afraid of contracting the virus from him. It was also shocking to note that no one from his work place ever got in touch during the tribulation.

One could sense strength and purpose in his voice as he spoke of plans to set up an NGO to help victims of stigmatization across the country and the continent.

Months later, Dennis is in India undergoing training to set up a social venture at the Kanthari Leadership Institute for Social Visionaries in Kerala, India.

On Friday, August 14, Dennis would hold a Twitter chat in remembrance of his fiancée Justina Ejelonu. He would answer questions using the hash tags #CelebratingJustinaEjelonu and #RIPEbola.
In a recent interview, Dennis tells me about his healing process. Excerpts below:

It’s been a year since your fiancée Justina Ejelonu died as a result of contracting the Ebola virus at her work place, do you feel that she could have been saved if the disease had been found out earlier?
Well, I still believe everything happened for a reason, I have no right to question God because He knows best and understands what happened. Some persons were brought to the hospital earlier and they still did not make it. Humanly thinking I would say yes, but God still knows best and why everything happened the way it did.

You were with her through it all, do tell us how it all happened. She just got a new job at First Consultants, what was your plan together?
Justina and I had big dreams and visions but our major concern was to cement the relationship to become husband and wife. We wanted to do things right but due to some financial challenges on my part, it was really a problem for me, although we had done introduction and were hoping to finalize the whole process by September last year. Our plan was to set up an NGO for children, premature babies precisely, because she fell in love with babies born too soon during her NYSC days. But first thing was settling down as husband and wife. However, the Ebola incident cut everything short.

A year after her death, how have you found healing and what are you doing now?
Finding healing has not been easy, most especially with someone you truly love. After her death, I found myself doing those things I ordinarily wouldn’t do just to find healing

What are the things you found yourself doing after her death?
This one is personal sir. All the same the healing couldn’t come but I believe it’s a gradual process and it might require someone to be in the picture before I fully heal.

You contracted Ebola from Justina, how did you survive?
I survived by the grace of God…nothing more, nothing less.

How did you overcome the trauma and stigma?
Well, I think one of the things I did to overcome the trauma and fear of people towards me was to speak to the press immediately after I was discharged. I spoke with Sahara Reporters, then to Vanguard. That was how my story began and that was able to solve some of the problems I had even in my neighbourhood. Although some persons still avoided me even till December. This gave me a general overview of what people who are suffering from one infectious terminal disease or the other are facing in terms of stigma and discrimination, for instance HIV/AIDS.

Your fiancée died, you lost your job, people were afraid of you, you were stigmatized, some other person would have given up on humanity. How were you able to find equilibrium and bounce back to living a whole life again?
First was my determination to bounce back and secondly my family members and the family of Justina, most especially her mother and her elder sister, they all showed me love and care. I was always checked on to know how I was doing. My family would always want to see me around the family house, this helped me a lot. I also found solace in the presence of God (church).

Familial support and faith are always very important. At the moment you’re in India doing a social work programme, tell us about this and what your plans are when you return home.
I am not doing a social work programme but undergoing a training that will enable me set up a social venture in Nigeria. This passion was as a result of my personal experience as a survivor of a dreaded disease and what I went through as regards stigma and discrimination. Ebola may not come into Nigeria again but people need to know that being infected with diseases such as HIV, cancer, etc is not a death sentence. These people need to be loved and cared for. As a matter of fact, my dream social venture is to spice up the lives of these kind of people that the society has given up on.

A nursing organization has named an award in honour of Justina, do you think this is a good way to keep her memory alive?
As a matter of fact, yes. The initiative started this year but before then they paid her family a courtesy visit and sought permission from her parents. That was a very good move by the Nursing World Organization and I applaud them for that initiative.

Join the #CelebratingJustinaEjelonu chat at 10am on Friday, August 14.

FIrst published by Bella Naija

Anti-Corruption is a work always on its way- Prof Shizhou Wang

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The Lady Lawyer

On Thursday, August 13, 2015, my LLM class had the distinct honour of listening to Prof Shizhou Wang from the Faculty of Law, Peking University in the People’s Republic of China. The lecture was about anti-corruption and criminal law in China. Prof Wang’s CV is very intimidating and I had looked forward to the lecture for some time. In person, he cuts a very imposing figure.

IMG-20150814-WA0004 Prof Wang listening to my question after his lecture at the Faculty of Law University of the Western Cape on August 13, 2015. Photo by Thato Toeba.

The lecture opened with the history of the anti-corruption legal regime in China from the Yu Shi Tai since 221 BC to the modern system. He noted that corruption is a serious socio-political problem which usually skyrocket in periods of transitional. I noticed that one of the focal points of the Chinese anti-corruption system is the so-called ‘official…

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Human Trafficking and the Lure of Free Visas: Who regulates Nigeria’s travel operators?

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Are newspapers like Complete Sports overlooking the public good by carrying adverts that are questionable in intention?

Are newspapers like Complete Sports overlooking the public good by carrying adverts that are questionable in intention?

Open today’s Complete Sports newspaper, Nigeria’s biggest sports daily, and you are confronted by adverts promising travelers work and sweet pay in Dubai and Turkey, as long as you have an international passport.

An advertiser even sweetens the deal with the headline: “First time ever, Pay back in Dubai!!! Get a 2years Dubai visa + Ticket. This batch is for WOMEN only. The minimum salary is N150,000, graduates or skilled (artisans) get more, pay back the money spent on you abroad,” as he lures Nigerians into the world of shady travel as many seek to escape a country where good jobs are increasingly hard to come by and living day to day brings with it troubles and uncertainty.

So I called up the number on the bottom of the advert saying I intend to send a younger sister abroad in order to make money for the family.

“It is nanny work,” responds the man, who confidently tells me the visa will be issued to my fictional sister.

When I talk about the fear of turning women into prostitutes during the trip, he responds: “I can’t lie to you, I’m a good Christian. I don’t deal with things like that.

“The visa will be out in a month,” he assures.

Despite Dubai's stringent new immigration rules, adverts like this promise easy money

Despite Dubai’s stringent new immigration rules, adverts like this promise easy money

Another advert promises jobs, “free ticket, free accommodation, free feeding, free medical and four years permit” to work at American military bases in Spain and Turkey among many other offers.

In broad daylight, Nigerians are asked to surrender their freedom to traffickers on the pages of major newspapers.

In a time when human trafficking is such a big deal, shady deals are advertised in broad daylight inside Nigerian newspapers to lure desperate individuals who are thirsty for a better life and the promise of heaven on earth in foreign countries.

Who is monitoring these activities?

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) oversees all issues pertaining to illegal travel.

When I called their Lagos zonal office, a female officer told me they are regularly monitoring the media and doing underground investigations.

However, she wasn’t aware of today’s publication in the Complete Sports.

“We will get [the paper] and do our own underground investigation,” she said.

How often do they sweep the media for open advertisements like these?

“We do, we have our own ways of doing this kind of thing. But this one that you said, I don’t know maybe the people in investigations have any hint about it. So I will get across to the Zonal Commander,” she said.

As long as implausible offers of travel to foreign lands continue to be allowed in the media, Nigerians will continue to fall prey to human traffickers.

Let’s hope they bell these cats.

Emmateks

Promise of work and free living in Turkey and Spain could lure unsuspecting Nigerians

Do you have a human trafficking tip off? Call the Lagos NAPTIP office: 07080601801. Email: infolagos@naptip.gov.ng

African artistes keep silent as Kwazulu-Natal Kingdom, scene of recent xenophobic attacks, hosts MTVBase Awards

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Rappers Jesse Jagz and MI perform on stage at the Afropolitan Vibes at Freedom Park, Lagos on April 17, 2015. Photo by Lolade Adewuyi

Rappers Jesse Jagz and MI perform on stage at the Afropolitan Vibes at Freedom Park, Lagos on April 17, 2015. Photo by Lolade Adewuyi

In April 2015, the King of Zulu Land made a speech that denounced immigrants to South Africa as taking jobs from locals.

This speech increased tensions between locals and foreigners which led to the killing of more than 50 immigrants, the looting of their shops and destruction of their livelihood in the townships around Durban, the coastal Indian Ocean city that is known for its pristine beaches and eclectic mix of races.

The xenophobic violence spread across the country to as far as the commercial capital Johannesburg with foreigners needing to stay in shelters in order to secure their lives.

All over the continent, we watched our TV screens in shock as black people descended on other black people with knobkerries, stones and knives.

It was like a scene out of Phillip Saville’s 1987 ‘Mandela’ movie – this time, instead of white policemen chasing down blacks in townships, it was black citizens hunting down and destroying businesses and homes owned by black immigrants.

The actions of this hate-filled group led to international uproar and the threat of sanctions against South African businesses as well as the threat to report King Goodwill Zwelithini to the International Criminal Court.

Many artistes, singers and actors spoke out against the killings which threatened the relations of South Africa with their neighbours whose citizens were killed.

Continental music channel MTVBase Africa is set to hold its fifth Africa Music Awards (MAMAs) in Durban on July 18, less than five months since those attacks on African immigrants.

The Awards, the second time in the city, are being supported by the Kwazulu Kingdom and would showcase the culture of the Zulus and their King.

Yet no artiste has spoken about the horrors of the recent past.

Have we suddenly forgotten the outrage of April and the way Africans were treated by the Zulu people?

What kind of conscience do we have as a people, as a race, as a continent?

Major artistes like 2Face Idibia, Diamond Platinumz, Davido, Yemi Alade and Wizkid are all billed to perform at this event that is supposed to celebrate African music, culture and unity in a land that recently consumed African migrants without apology.

With music increasingly uniting the continent – we have seen an increase in collaboration between artistes across the continent like never before – yet musicians are not doing enough to pass the message that they stand up against hate.

It is not enough for Mafikizolo to enter the studio with MayD and sing “Happiness”, they must also speak out against the perpetrators of sorrow.

Our big time music acts need to take a stand against Durban’s playing host to the awards this year otherwise they would be guilty of being part of the crime against other Africans.

While the African acts have kept quiet, US artistes Ne-Yo, Jhene Aiko, Young Thug and host comedian Anthony Anderson have also not seemed perturbed by the recent history of the city.

With the recent public denouncement of prejudice by American billionaire Donald Trump, we know that this would not have happened if it was in the West.

However, this is Africa where its people are not worth much to the world.

To attend the awards on July 18 is to thumb up the hate of the Kwazulu king and a sod off to every African immigrant who lived through weeks of agony and fear for their lives in the heady days of April on the streets of Durban.

African artistes must stand up against hate, unfortunately they are failing.