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Posted 2 Months ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments


Somtochukwu Ezeaniomenyi is the Chief Executive officer, CEO, Som-Tee Group, a multilateral cleaning company in Anambra state. He is a young and dynamic Nigerian entrepreneur currently making waves in industrial cleaning business. Born to Igbo parents of Neni extraction in Anambra state,  Somto, in this interview with LAWRENCE NWIMO x-rayed his experiences in the female dominated cleaning business and what triggered his passion to be an entrepreneur. He also spoke on the draw-backs hindering business and what government must do to help young entrepreneurs in the state and country. Excerpts:

 

May we meet you?

My name is Somtochukwu Ezeaniomenyi. I'm a native of Umuabani Village, Neni in Anaocha Local Government Area Anambra State. I am the Managing Director of Som-Tee Cleaning Services Ltd.

 

How was your childhood days and family experience?


My growing up was fun. Though I was not born with a silver spoon, it was not too tough because I am the sixth child out of seven and the second boy out of three so I had siblings that are older, though there were ups and down, you know. I didn't grow up in a first-class family and because of that, it was a tough fight, trying to make it through the primary, secondary and then tertiary institutions.

What was your childhood dream?

My childhood dream was to become an engineer but later switched my desire to becoming a lawyer.

Now, you are neither an engineer nor a lawyer, what happened to the both?

Well. Like I said, when I was growing up, actually, my first dream was to become an engineer because I loved constructing and repairing things. But that dream was shattered in my secondary school because I was bad in physics - so, I switched from Science to an Art class and my interest shifted from being and engineer to a lawyer because I felt I was very good in arguments. I never saw me becoming a professional cleaner or establishing a company for business, laughs.


What drove you into Professional Cleaning?

I started cleaning job immediately after my secondary education. Within the one year I stayed at home waiting for admission; I had a friend of my sister that was into industrial cleaning then. My sister linked me up to him and I was working for him as a laborer; that was in 2014 and I was being paid one thousand naira (N1,000) per day because I did more of the menial jobs. The nature of the job was tough for me at that time. Again, it needed strong hands but I devoted my time with him to learning the craft. I worked for him for ten days before he suddenly stopped calling me for works after he noticed that I was gradually learning the craft indirectly. As a result, each time I called my colleagues to know how far, they would say they went for work. Then when I ask my Oga, he would say ‘work no dey.’

What happened later?

In December 2014, a friend of mine whose uncle just finished building a house, convinced me to go and meet his uncle for the job. I had wanted to link the man to my boss because I was scared to take up the job myself. After much persuasion, I later took up the courage to do the job myself with the little knowledge I gathered while working with my former boss and the rest was history. That was the first contract I got in the cleaning industry and it happened to be the turning point of my life because from that day onwards, God made a way for me. As a matter of fact we have done over 600 cleaning Jobs and have worked for varieties of companies and individuals over the years.

Have you encountered any challenge along the line?

There were many challenges. One of our major challenges was Finance. There was no machine which made the work so hard for me and my Team. We were doing most of the jobs manually. it was so hard purchasing working equipments because I always rely on a job to purchase the materials needed. However, I don’t have a vehicle so I made use of the commercials; it was so hard to transport our working equipments to some locations. Due to some bad road networks in the state, some of our client’s locations are difficult to access. Again, most people in Anambra especially Onitsha where I started perceived cleaning as an ordinary work that can be done by anybody, this has resulted to many rejections from contractors and house owners, but so far we are trying to change the narrative. Also, after I gained admission to study at Federal College Of Education (Technical), Umunze in 2015, I was in constant battle, trying to combine work with Education. You know, my Education usually take all of January to September so, I usually face the heat period of ember months as cover-up for lost times.

Did you envisage continuing the work after school?

No. I wasn't serious with the job in any way because I didn’t see myself continuing with it after school. It was more of part time or casual work.

Were there other things you did to survive in school within the January to September months?

Yes. I could remember I sold face caps and shirts around 2016/17. That aside, I was into interior decorations. I decorate people's house; paintings and the rest. I was also doing some menial labours like job man, site work and even served masons. In 2018, I learnt how to do Sharwama and also ventured into doing that too. I did Hypeman job in clubs too. I was doing anything legal called work and I did all these to survive.

Why did you decide to go into cleaning having been exposed to these numerous jobs?

Well, when I finished my NCE program in 2018, I asked myself: what next? Because I realized I needed something to sustain myself. The works I do then had all been part time and among them all, it was cleaning that gives me the profit to believe in. I found out it is something I do with passion. Cleaning work doesn't come always but when it comes, I take it with love. So, after graduation, I continued with it and was only keen to develop it. At a point, I started surfing the web on industrial cleaning and noticed that it is one of the biggest industries in the world. I noticed it was not too conversant in Anambra state then, I decided to carve a niche for myself in the area.

At what point did you decide to have a Som-Tee as a brand?

In 2020 during the lockdown season, the vision was to build a standard company and not just a one man company in cleaning industry. That’s why I’m building it as a company; a brand in the industry that would be running even in my absence. I did not want the legacies I had set over the years to just die off. So, I had to set it up to a standard with vision of where we are going to.
 

Cleaning is a female-dominated field. How does it feel competing with women?

It has not been an easy task. In fact, you can count the number of men in this industry. Sometimes, you find out that site owners have sisters and female friends that do the cleanings for them. However, what has kept me going is excellence. Because it is usually my clients that recommend me to other clients and it is due to our job quality. Over the years, I have found refuge in recommendations. Most of the big jobs we have done so far were gotten from recommendations and referrals and it is due to the excellence in my work.
 

Are there times you felt like leaving the industry considering its competitiveness?

Of course! There were times I wanted to give up on the industry. It is very competitive and demanding. People outside might not really know these but it is we that are into it that know the level of competition here. You can see people that just started cleaning business yesterday and today, they have all the machines available and you’re still struggling. So sometimes, especially at the initial stage, when the needed finance was not there to acquire certain machines, I felt like dropping back.

Why do you refer your company as a conglomerate?

Som-Tee Group is a conglomerate because we are designed to deal in Everything Cleaning. Som-Tee specializes in all kinds of cleaning ranging from:

1. Domestic/Residential Cleaning which includes Regular Cleaning, Deep Cleaning, Janitorial Cleaning, Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning, Polishing of Tiles and Bricks.

2. Industrial/Commercial Cleaning which includes Post-Construction/Renovation Cleaning, Facility Management/Maintenance, Retainership Services, Training/Mentorship and General Consulting/Contracting.

3. Environmental Cleaning which includes Waste Management and Disposal, Estate/Street Cleaning, Drainage and Sewage cleaning, etc

4. We also have plans of Venturing into Production of Cleaning Substance and also Sales of Cleaning Equipments and Materials. Laundry Hubs, Car Wash are also in the pipeline.

So Som-Tee Group is a Specialized Conglomerate of Everything Cleaning, We are building a company that would be a sort out company when it comes to Cleaning.

What stands your brand out from others?

We offer credibility and excellence. Like I told you before, what has kept us so far over the years is excellence. Our staff works with passion because they see the passion in me. I didn't start cleaning because of the money I was making but the passion I have for it. So, excellence is the watchword and any house we are called to clean, we clean it like our life depends on it.

You established the company even before you graduated from the university, what was the secret behind the feat?

It was Grace from God. I wouldn't have been here as a fresh graduate and an owner of such a brand without His Grace. It was not an easy journey physically but it was His Grace that kept me going. I finished my NCE in 2018, and by 2019, God made this company even grew bigger. In the process of my Degree Education, being able to combine it was a very rough and risky journey but His Grace was there to see me through.

Would you consider going into other sectors if given the opportunity?

Well. Like I said earlier, Som-Tee Group is a conglomerate. We are working towards branching into so many things. We are working towards production of different cleaning materials, sales of cleaning equipments; importation of different kinds of machines for cleaning, procurement services and lots more. Our vision is to build a standout company that can handle anything cleaningIf any opportunity comes aside these; I can grab it as well.

So far, could you name your biggest achievement(s)?

My biggest achievement, so far, is being able to run this company for the past seven years.Som- Tee at seven, many things happened. Building this business up to this level and handling over five hundred jobs alongside going through school and acquiring Two Certificates in Education. That has been the biggest achievement of my life so far.

How many jobs have you been able to create through your conglomerate?

My company has been able to create no fewer than 50 jobs for youths in Anambra state. Both Fulltime and part time.

Where do you see your brand in the next five years?

We should be among the top class cleaning conglomerates in Nigeria because we would be all round in the cleaning industry including environmental, commercial, residential and domestic cleaning. We would also be all round in supplies of cleaning machines and products. So, in the next five years, expect Som-Tee Group to operate beyond the shores of Nigeria by the grace of God.

How well do you think Anambra government has done in creating business opportunities and what is interesting about Anambra man?

Anambra state has done well in all ramifications, such as natural resources, oil and gas, urbanization and structural planning, culture and tourism, religion, education, entertainment, business and politics. Anambra state has improved drastically in all of these sectors over the years. Anambra State has list of notable men and women both old and young in all sectors both in within and outside Nigeria. The people of Anambra are known for being Industrious, hard working and Smart. Despite some challenges they face when it comes to governmental structures and policies, People of Anambra are known for their resilience. They have shown great courage in striving to survive no matter the Economic Situation in the Country. Being Onye Anambra is something one should be very proud of. The people of Anambra are known for their resourcefulness and they are associated with Success and progress Regardless of the conditions surrounding their environment. I am proud of being Onye Anambra.

What triggered your passion to be an entrepreneur and how viable is doing business in Anambra?

To many youths in Nigeria, becoming an entrepreneur might seem like a scary and high risk taking journey, but to me, this unpredictable adventure seems like the perfect path that my life should take. There are many reasons that triggered my passion to be an entrepreneur. I have always admired great and Successful entrepreneurs. Seeing successful people inspire me a lot to become successful. This gives me the hope and makes me believe that becoming an entrepreneur will allow me to network with people who have already built great businesses. I believe that I have enough potential to find the next profitable idea and change the lives of millions of people.

Being an entrepreneur gives me the freedom to explore my creativity. There is a saying that goes thus “Different Strokes for Different Folks”. People have different callings in Life. Being a 9-5er doesn't feed my burning passion for creativity and innovation. I feel like I am simply doing what the society expects of me instead of making a difference in the world. It is through starting my own business that I get to freely express my creative ideas and fulfill my dreams. I became an entrepreneur because I see it as a mandatory journey to take. A strong fire in my heart makes me believe that I have a strong purpose in the world that surpasses the reality of being an employee. As an entrepreneur, I am driven with the need to succeed and control my own destiny. Owning a business gives me no limitations on the profit and opportunities that I can gain.

I look out to manage projects with high stakes because I have enough confidence to execute them. I love the act of betting on an idea and watching it develops, it makes me smile. I have always wanted to use my company to impact people’s lives and also improve the economy with new job opportunities. I am passionate about helping people more than the pursuit of material things, I derive priceless joy when I offer my service to people and see the happiness and joy it creates in them. That is even more than any reward I can get from a Job.

How viable is doing business in Anambra?

Anambra State is one of the fastest growing states in the country. Like many other states in the country, Anambra state is faced with its own unique challenges. However, due to its fast growing economy, doing business in Anambra is rewarding and Profitable. Doing business in Anambra is very promising and I believe that with persistence, perseverance and Consistency which entrepreneurship requires, I will definitely succeed in an economic driven state like Anambra.

Being someone that started from the scratch, would you say government is fair to the youths?

Well. I would say government has been fair to some extent but there are still rooms for improvement. Government still needs to empower the youths because if they are empowered, they would do more. We have lots of youths doing many things. We have youths with visions. If they are empowered with loans and grants, in the next few years, there would be powerful indigenous companies in Anambra state. Again, when youths are empowered, it would reduce the burden of employment on the government.

Aside loans and grants, do you think there are other things youths need to be successful entrepreneurs?

Yes. Youths need to plan. A youth will succeed when he plans himself very well. You must have a mapped out business plan consisting target audience and areas. When you plan yourself very well, work towards it. Have team members on the edge working and doing their specific duties from their own angles. Though there might be setbacks along the way but if you do your risk management very well, you would be able to cope. But you must plan first.


You are a man of diverse skills, you hold TRCN, NCE and B.Ed certificates, and do you see yourself becoming a teacher someday?

Well. I don't know what God has in stock for me but I always hope for the best. I wouldn't say I will not accept it if the opportunity to lecture or teach comes but it would all depends on the condition attached to it. I acquired the certificate quite alright and so if I am meant to practice it, it’s on God.


Would you consider using the skills you acquired as a teacher in training youths on industrial cleaning?

Sorry I didn't mention it earlier. Part of the conglomerate is Som-Tee Training Academy, where all our newly recruited staff is given sound training. Soon we would be organizing seminars to teach people who are ready to learn the craft so as to establish their own company in the future.


Are you single?

Yea! I'm still single.


How do you cope with female admirers?

It is a big challenge anyway but God remains God. I have been in series of relationship in the past but now I'm working on myself and my future. I want to develop myself before thinking anything about relationship again.

Do you have role model(s)?

Yea! My number one role model is Dr. Stanley Uzochukwu, the CEO of Stanel Group. He is my Boss, Father, Mentor and my overall Chairman. Ever since I met him, my vision has widened. I also have the likes of Arc. Chukky Ezenwa, CEO GSS Group, Tony Elumelu,CEO Heir Holdings, Dr Cosmas Maduka, CEO Coscharis Group, and lots more. They are the people I look up to and wish to become like someday.


What is your advice to the youths who may want to toe your path?

In as much as they go to formal schools, every youth should learn a skill no matter how small it is. Having a skill is more or less a second plan. There are skills in writing, producing and even in the tech world. There are many skills that can be acquired in the tech world. It is good to learn and practice a skill. We should also have a vision of growing the skill to make something out of it and above all, always pray to God.

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Posted 3 Months ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments

How to Start a business when you don't have money at All. 



  I have a good news to everyone here who want to start online or offline business here in Nigeria. No capital or experience needed. Your CV is not included also. 


  Anyone can start a money making online business - once you have this two things, your phone and connection App. 

 There are lots of business out there today, but I want to show you something different today. Do you know with no money, you can become a Consultant with a company and earn good commission has a closer, Copywriter, students, self-employed, employee, unemployed, retiree etc. 

  

  If you are looking for a way to invest your savings, why not consider real estate. There are many ways you can earn from real estate industry, has this business is very lucrative in Nigeria. 


  You don't need any CV or experience before you start this business, because am going to give any interested member an free ebooks that explain step by step on how to do them. 


  Become a real estate agent and consultant and earn big, this can be part- time or full- time, online or offline. 


Now, what is real estate? 


  Real estate is property comprises of land or rent house and any structures or natural resources on it, including water bodies and mineral deposit. 


How does it work and become a member

  This is simple and it totally free. What you got to do is to follow this process, then you're a member of the family and you start getting paid daily, weekly and monthly. 


  Step 1: use this link to register has a member 

  
 

Step 2: send a message to  and you get the ebook training for free.


 Step 3: Read the training materials from cover to cover, start from scratch to finish. For question send it also to the email. 


Step4: Check your portal, once you register ( you're now a real estate agent partners with over 37 real estate network in Nigeria. 


Step 5: Contact us, to be added to the real estate Consultant group ( this group is only for members) 


Step 6: Check the Ebook sent to you and choose your product. 


Step 7: Start marketing and selling the real estate properties in the company portfolio by using all knowledge in the Ebook.  ( you will also Learn other vital information in the E-BOOK.) 


  The joy you'll have once you join this company is just wonderful. Your earning is unlimited has you get paid daily according to your sale you make. You earn once you make sale each day. 


  With all this training course giving to you for free, you are good to go and start making millions every months. 



 So what are you still waiting for?  


  

Congratulations, you just start a business with no money and earn at the comfort zone of your home




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*Why You Are Broke 6*


*You Are Not Accountable*



When I get to speak to young ministers about money, I always tell them that Anointing does not cover Accounting.


Because money came through anointing does not mean it will not go quick through bad accounting.


You see, the easiest thing about money is spending it. No one needs oil to be poured on their head to know how to spend money. It is so easy even children know how to do it.


A popular Nigerian musician sang that Money is hard to enter but money is quick to go.


Money is not hard to enter for some of us. But so many others, as easy as it comes, na so e dey go.


The reason most people are still broke is because they don't keep an account of what they spend and they don't even know where their money goes to.


I have a big register where I write my income and expenses (I think

there is also an app for it).


Get one for yourself too. *For 30 days, write down the source of every money that comes in and where it goes to starting today.*


At the end of the 30 day period...


You will see how MTN, Glo and other networks have all built foundation on your head through airtime and data.


You will see how Kilimanjaro, Golden Tulip, Genesis and the likes are using you to open new branches everyday 😀


You will see the little areas that your money has been going into and you will find ways to block the holes.


Don't get me wrong, I am not against people enjoying themselves, I am

the minister of selective enjoyment myself but I am totally against people not doing it from a *budget.*


My mentor T. Harv Eker recommends you have 10% in your play account for doing the things you like.


Hold yourself accountable to make more money.


Hold yourself accountable to save more.


Cut down on your expenses.


Stop spending money you don't have to impress people that don't like you.


Stop trying to prove you are not broke to people who are broke on a broke salary.


Be accountable if you want to live a life of wealth...

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There was a time when all you needed to earn a high income was a certificate.


But I am grateful for the times that we live in now because all that has changed.


Today, you don't need any godfather or connection with any politician to make it.


The internet has made it possible for you to start and grow a business with very little or no capital and sign your own paycheck.


If the government doesn't employ you, you can employ yourself and employ others.



Even if you’re on paycheck, I know very well your salary won’t be enough to take care of you and the family.


You need to add something to the salary 


You don't need millions to start a business.


You don't need a shop to start a business.


You don't even need a laptop to start one online.


That Smartphone in your hands right now is enough to get you started.


Your Smartphone has the potential to change your life financially within 12-24 months.


The problem is that you are not utilizing it.


Maybe you are still seeing it as just a tool to take pictures and post on social media to gather Likes and Comments.


Of what use is Likes and Comment if you cannot convert it into sales?


Likes and Comment doesn't pay the bills until you're able to convert it into sales.


We are now in the 1st Month of 2022


Don't get to the end of this year and start asking "God When?".


The truth is that money is not made, money is collected.


To collect money you must sell something.


All money is been collected by someone selling something to someone else.


✅ Find a starving crowd with a pressing problem.


✅ Research and find the solution to that problem.


✅ Package that solution, sell it to them and collect their money.


You can create a digital Product and make so much money for your self 


Just make sure the product you're selling is solving people's problems.


People are paying for the solution not the product.


By all means, just make sure you're selling what people want to buy.


You can create a course Online and start teaching people to make your Money.


Learn more here.


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Posted 4 Months ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments


By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu


The award-winning young Nigerian writer and journalist, Izunna Okafor has clocked 28 years old, with laudable feats, goodwill and achievements.

In an interview with newsmen, Okafor (born January 9, 1994), said his life has indeed been a testimony, looking back to his background, where and how he started.

Recalling and recounting how hideous it was for him in his early years, particularly in his teens; he appreciated God for His marvelous work and infinite mercies.

He went memory lane to narrate how he studied his primary school (at the Community Primary School, Ebenator) and some parts of his secondary school (at the Community Secondary School, Ebenator) barefooted, and with tattered school uniform, to the credit of his family's background.

According to him, being a son of a palm-wine tapper, hunter and electrician in a rural village; he started struggling his way out early in life, precisely during his secondary days when he began to do some handiworks, such as cutting palmnut, hunting, clearing bushes for farmers, tilling the ground/farmland, packing/dumping sands (in rivers), among things.

It was from these, which he said he was doing after school hours, that he saved money to publish his first book, ‘Ikem's Adventure’ back then in 2012 during his secondary school days —a single act that did not only pave way for metamorphosis in the taste of his life story, but also eventually landed him on the track of greatness where he rides and resides till date.

A second son and third child in the family of Mr. Josephat Okafor Udeze and Mrs. Susan Okafor Udeze in Ebenator, Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Izunna Okafor, is an award-winning young Nigerian novelist, poet, essayist, journalist, editor, translator, publicist, Igbo language activist and an administrator.

He graduated from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, where he studied Public Administration. He also holds O.N.D in Public Administration from the same school.

A published and best-selling author, Izunna books include 'Ikem's Adventure' (his first book) published in Nigeria in 2012, during his secondary school; 'The Curse of A Widow' (his second novel), published in 2013; 'The Faithful Children' (his third book), published in 2014 (which received outstanding recognition in the Ezenwa Ohaeto Prize for Young Nigerian Novelists 2015); 'Ajọ Enyi,' his debut Igbo novel and fourth book, published in 2015. 

With 'Ajo Enyi', he became the first person to win the Nigerian Writers Award 2015/2016 as the Indigenous Writer of the Year. Also, with Ajo Enyi, he won the Pita Nwanna Award for Igbo Literature in 2015; and also got shortlisted for The 2015 Young Nigerian Writer of The Year, and the 2017 Nigerian Writers Award.

His other books include ‘Nzúzù M Egbuo M’ (Igbo novel), ‘Educated Illiterate’, and ‘Teach Me Grammar’.

He has been published in many anthologies, nationally and internationally; has thousands of articles/essays as well as poems and short stories published online to his credit. 

A diglot writer, Izunna writes perfectly in Igbo and English languages, and has published widely in both languages. 

He has won and been nominated/shortlisted for a number of awards, which include:

He graduated from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, where he studied Public Administration. He also holds O.N.D in Public Administration from the same school.

A published and best-selling author, Izunna's books 'Ikem's Adventure' (his first book, published 2012, in his secondary school days) 'The Curse of A Widow' (2013); 'The Faithful Children' (published 2014  and given outstanding recognition in the 2015 Ezenwa Ohaeto Prize for Young Nigerian Novelists); 'Ajo Enyi' (Igbo novel, published 2015).

With 'Ajo Enyi', he won the 2015/2016 Nigerian Writers Award as the Indigenous Writer of the Year; won the 2015 Society of Young Nigerian Writers Award/Pita Nwanna Award for Igbo Literature; and also got shortlisted for the 2015 Young Nigerian Writer of The Year, and the 2017 Nigerian Writers Award.

His other works include 'African Blood' (a short story), 'Nzúzù M Egbuo M' (Igbo novel), 'Educated Illiterate', and 'Teach Me Grammar'.

He has edited and co-edited over 25 books and anthologies (published nationally and internationally).

He has been published in many magazines, anthologies, journals, etc, both nationally and internationally; has thousands of articles/essays as well as poems and short stories published online to his credit.

A diglot writer, Izunna writes perfectly in Igbo and English languages, and has published widely in both languages.

He has won and been nominated for some prestigious awards which include:

The Nigerian Writers Award/Indigenous Writer of the Year 2015/2016

Pita Nwana Prize for Igbo Literature 2015

Society of Young Nigerian Writers Award Nigeria

Heritage Icon Award/Young Writer of the Year Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2016

Merit Award from the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (2016)

Award of Recognition from Students Union Government, Unizik (2017)

Nigerian Writers Award/Young Writer of the Year 2015/2016

N.Y.S.C. Essay Competition 2012

SLAM Hero Youth International Award/Innovative Youth of the Year 2016

First Prize Winner, NAPAS Essay Competition, 2016

The Future Award Africa 2016

Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Youth Writer of the Year 2016

Award of Academic Excellence from National Association of Public Administration Students (2016)

Inspire Award /Outstanding Youth in Academics 2017

NAPAS Academic Icon of the Year 2017

Anambra Campus Award 2017/Campus Writer of the Year 2017

Award of Excellence from the Society of Young Nigerian Writers 2016

Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Outstanding Youth of the Year 2017

Youth Writer of the Year 2016

Starlett Entertainment Award/Creative Writer of the Year 2016

Young Author Award, 2018

Creative Crew Africa/Young Talent of the Year 2018, among others

Campus Best Writer of the Year, 2018

Campus Best Journalist of the Year 2018

Young Achievers Award/Best Young Writer of the Year 2019

National Light Staff of the Year 2019

Anambra Media Excellence Award/News Reporter of the Year 2019

Recognition Award, Anambra Through A Lens, 2020

Amazon Masterclass Award/Most Resilient Male Student 2021

Anambra Media Excellence Award/Best News Reporter of the Year 2021

ACORP/Awka Diocese Media Personality of the Week (November) 2021

South East Media Award 2021

He also has some certificates of award, recognition and participation, the most recent of which include:

Certificate of Recognition from the ImpactField Global Initiative (2018)

Certificate of Award from the Applex Art and Creative Crew Africa (2018) 

Certificate of Completion for the SprinNG Advancement Fellowship, 2020

Certificate of Participation, Naija Haiku Poetry Workshop, 2020, among others.

Amazon Masterclass Certificate, 2021, among others


At the age of 21, Izunna was nominated for The Future Award Africa 2016/African Prize For Education, which is one of the biggest and most prestigious African youths awards.

Aside being a creative writer, Izunna is also an Igbo language activist who has played and continued to play great roles in sustaining and promoting Igbo language and culture. He preaches and takes the 'gospel' of Igbo language and the need for its sustenance to every nook and cranny, ranging from schools to churches, radio/television stations, and to other public places, being part if his own contribution and strategic measures to ensure that the language does not go extinct as predicted by the UNESCO in 2012.

He has also been featured in many radio and television stations across the country on this mission.

In addition to these, Izunna is also a renowned journalist and columnist currently working with Anambra Newspaper and Printing Coporation, the publishers of National Light Newspaper, Ka Ọ Dị Taa (which is the only Igbo Language Newspaper in Nigeria) and Sportslight Xtra.

He also writes for Igbo Radio which is an online Igbo language news hub headquartered in Canada, and also freelances for other media/publishing houses, both the online and print media.

Izunna is the Coordinator of Society of Young Nigerian Writers, Anambra State Chapter, which is a literary body that hosts Chinua Achebe Literary Festival, an annual literary event held in memory and honour of Late Prof. Chinua Achebe, since 2016.

He is the Editor-in-Chief of Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology which is an international anthology annually published in honour of Achebe. The most current editions of the anthology include 'Arrows of Words (for Chinua Achebe)', and 'Achebe: A Man of the People', ‘There Was a Man’, among others.

In April, 2020, Izunna was appointed the Project Coordinator, Writers Against COVID-19 Movement. He is the editor of the COVID-19 Poetry/Essay Anthology, titled 'Ripostes of Locked Down Voices', which is the first international anthology of poems and essays on COVID-19.

He has served as a judge in many national and international writing-related competitions.


He is also an alumnus and 2020 Fellow of the SprinNG Advancement Fellowship, being championed by the SprinNG Literary Movement.


He edits and publishes an annual Special Valentine Poetry Collection, which are all available online for free download.


During his undergraduate days, he was also an Editorial Board member of the FAMASSA Magazine.


He is Ambassador of TFA Africa in Nigeria; and Ambassador of Read Across Nigeria in Anambra State.


An alumnus of Unizik, he is also a former Secretary General of the National Association of Public Administration Students (NAPAS), as well as the current National Secretary General of the Society of Young Nigerian Writers.


Today, Izunna Okafor marks his 28th birthday.


Congratulations to him.

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By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Awka


It was tears of sorrow yesterday in Obinagu Village, Ugwuoba, Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State when some elders of the community bitterly complained of the plans of the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation to forcefully hijack 88.9 hectares out of their 150 hectares of their ancestral land. 


The elders, led by 96-year-old Boniface Igweze decried the destruction of their property worth several millions of naira, including houses, cash crops, farmlands and ancestral deities by the Housing Corporation in order to forcefully take over their Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land for a housing estate, without their consent.


Addressing newsmen in Awka shortly after their village meeting to place ancestral curses on those bent on trespassing on their ancestral land, the elders in their 90's and 80's, appealed to the Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to use his good office to call the Housing Development Corporation to order in the interest of peace and humanity. 


The Elders Council of Obinagu insisted that after 14 days, if Governor Ugwuanyi refuses to intervene as a father and Governor of the state, those trespassing in the land may have to contend with their ancestral spirits and no recourse to them when spirits fight their battle for them. 


Igweze, flanked by other elders including Kenneth Nwangwu, 95 years; Dominic Anochili, 92 years;  Chukwuma Ndibe, 85 years; Pius Madubuchi, 75 years, Chief Daniel Okeke, 79 years; David Ndubuisi, 70 years; and Chief Samuel Nnebeife 67, years; among others, said they have restrained their youths from engaging in violence over the ownership of the land because they believed in lawful pursuits and the Governor's understanding and intervention for peaceful resolution. 


They appealed to Governor Ugwuanyi to call the Managing Director of the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, Mr Chimerie Agu and all his cohorts to order, as their insensitivity has stretched their patience, hence their resolution to hand over the battle to their gods, aside continued pursuit of the case through all lawful means possible. 


The community elders warned prospective investors and developers to stay clear of their own 88.9 hectares in the Ibrahim Abacha Estate Anioma Obinagu Ogboo Ugwuoba land, to avoid regrets and collateral damages to them, financially, and otherwise including undiagnosed health challenges from their ancestral gods. 


They noted that government at their time was not known to support evil but to stand with the people for a better society, wondering why the excesses of the Housing Development Corporation MD is being condoned by its supervising ministry and the Government of Enugu State, led by Governor Ugwuanyi.


They claimed some of them have died of high blood pressure over the land, as the community has no other land aside that piece, hence Enugu State Housing Development Corporation should hands off their land.


Court Order 


This is coming as an Enugu State High Court, Oji River Judicial Division, presided over by His Lordship, Hon Justice C.V.C. Ezeugwu on 22nd December 2021 granted an order for status quo ante bellum to be maintained with regards to the Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land in dispute.


Justice Ezeugwu, after hearing the submission of O.C. Ugolo Esq for the plaintiff/applicant adjourned to 25th January 2022 for Motion on Notice. 


The order on suit number: HOR/41/2021 was between Fabian Anyaka and Madubuchi Onyeka and four others on behalf of Obinagu village Ugwuoba and Enugu State Housing Development Corporation and Chiemerie Agu, the Managing Director Enugu state Housing Development Corporation. 


On the strength of this State High Court that nothing shall happen on the land till after determination of Motion on Notice. 


Governor Ugwuanyi, MD Housing Development Corporation react


Efforts to contact the developer, Seaman's Global and Ugwuanyi's relative blowing trumpet for Mr. Agu, for possible shedding of light on the matter proved abortive; while calls to the Managing Director, Enugu state Housing Development Corporation, Mr Chimerie Agu were not picked.


Also, several calls to the Governor's SSA on Media, Onyebuchi Louis Amoke were not responded to. Further efforts to reach the Governor on his mobile lines were not successful as the lines were switched off.



Petition to Enugu State Governor


Meanwhile, in a petition dated 30th November, 2021 to the Enugu state Governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, through the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Obinagu village, Ugwuoba through their lawyer, Okechukwu C. Ugolo Esq frowned at the arbitral acquisition of their land - Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land without their knowledge and consent. 


In the petition, Obinagu People reminded the Governor Ugwuanyi that the Anioma land is their's undisputably and it never belonged to Agolo/Okpuno and despite the several attempts to covet the land in court through appeals, Obinagu people remained the true owners of the Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land till date. 


Obinagu people prayer Governor Ugwuanyi and the Attorney General to ask the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation to steer clear their land pending when the proper things are done. 


They noted that Ugwuoba land holdings does not encourage general land ownership but lands are owned individually or by villages.

 

They further reminded that Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land belonged to them Obinagu People by virtue of the judgement in suit number ORCC/18/98: Rev Canon Dr J.O Iloeje and two others versus Innocent Ezeokafor and 6 others, hence the presence of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation is unlawful, amounting to trespass.



Reports have it that Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land has been a subject of litigation between Obinagu people and Agolo/Okpuno communities both in Ugwuoba, Oji River Council Area of Enugu State, but Obinagu won at the Ugwuoba Customary court on 9th November, 1998. 


And all efforts by Agolo /Okpuno to set aside the judgment failed, hence the Housing Development Corporation wrote the community on November 10th, 2014 ,18 years after wrong acquisition of the land in 1996 by the backdoor from Agolo/Okpuno. 


Enugu state Housing Development Corporation in their letter lamented that they were led to believe the said land belonged to Okpuno/Agolo villages of Ugwuoba, hence the Housing Development Corporation had executed a grant of the said land with the 2 villages and actually taken possession and commenced development with a C. of O. issued to the Housing Development Corporation, by Enugu state government. 


The said letter noted that development stalled because of lack of funds but in recognition of the court judgment restoring the title of the land to Obinagu village, thus they wrote the Community through its Chairman stating that they have recognized Obinagu Ugwuoba as rightful owners of the land. 

They equally noted in the letter signed by Barr. Ngozi Chibuoke as the Secretary, and Hon. Henry Achiekwulu as the Chairman of Committee, that all agreements entered into with Agolo/Okpuno villages regarding the land were hereby denounced and declared null and void.


The Enugu State Housing Development Corporation stated that it was desirous of perfecting her title to the land and continuing development of her proposed Ibrahim Abacha Estate and that wise made some requests. 


The requests included that the Housing Development Corporation should provide infrastructural facilities, including asphalt roads , electricity and water in the proposed estate; perform the traditional 'Igba Mmanya Ani' ceremony in due course and grant 20 percent of the realized plots to the community as compensation of the land as well as both the community and the company shall execute a formal deal of grant on the said land. The Housing Development Corporation even requested for a date to start implementation of the demands, hence it is wondered what went wrong for the new Housing Development Corporation Managing Director to ignore all the protocols, and insist on taking the land by force. 


History 


This Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land, located along Enugu-Onitsha Express Road, according to the Chairman Obinagu Village, Hon, Onyeka Madubuchi, should be left alone, as they are now uninterested in any form of department, since it has caused their elders sleepless nights. 


Hon. Madubchi said this latest illegal invasion or trespass on the land occurred on 20th day of October, 2021, when the land grabbers mobilized different types of earth moving machines and forcefully entered the land, cleared it and started digging foundations in furtherance of their desire to illegally parcellate and allocate the land to unsuspecting members of the general public who are not aware that the land validly belong to the people of Obinagu village, in Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State.


He reiterated: "The Obinagu people wish to state that there have been unsuccessful attempts in the past by the people of Agolo/Okpuno Communities in Ugwuoba, Oji River to forcefully take over the said parcel of land (Ani Oma land) which prompted them to file an action in court against Agolo/Okpuno Communities in Suit No. ORCC/18/98- Rev. Cannon Dr. J.O. Iloeje & 2 Ors. V. Innocent Ezeokafor & 6 Ors. It is however instructive to note that the Court in the suit, held that the people of Obinagu village (Plaintiffs) are entitled to the customary right of occupancy over the land. The Court further made an order of perpetual injunction restraining the people of Agolo/Okpuno Communities (Defendants), their agents, servants and/or privies from further entry into the said Ani Oma land.


"On appeal to the Court of Appeal, Enugu Judicial Division in appeal No. CA/E/177M/99, the Court of Appeal set aside the decision of the Enugu State High Court delivered by Hon. Justice A.I. Umezuluike and affirmed the judgment of the Customary Court, Oji River, which held that the Obinagu people are the valid owners of the land. 


"Interestingly, while the dispute over the Ani Oma land between Obinagu village and Agolo/Okpuno communities which started as far back as 1992 lingered on, and to the knowledge of the ESHDC, the self-same Corporation working in collaboration with the Agolo/Okpuno Communities contrived a Deed of Customary Grant where they purported to have acquired the Ani Oma land in dispute from Agolo/Okpuno Communities who are themselves trespassers per the judgment of the Enugu State Customary Court and as upheld by the Court of Appeal," he said.


He further added: "Perhaps, even more interestingly, despite knowing that the validity or otherwise of their title over the Ani Oma land rested on the outcome of the then pending suit between Obinagu and Agolo/Okpuno Communities on the question of which of the villages is the valid owner of the land in dispute, the ESHDC refused, failed and/or ignored to apply to be joined in the case as an interested party. Rather, it stood by, and watch the parties lock horns on the issue until it was resolved in favour of Obinagu Community up to the Court of Appeal.


"Needless to say, the Corporation, by electing to stand by instead of applying to join as a party in the then pending suit, is deemed to have accepted to be bound by the outcome of the suit. This is because, being privies to the Agolo/Okpuno villages from whence it purports to have acquired its title over the disputed Ani Oma land, by virtue of the Deed of Customary Grant. The Corporation is by law not only bound by the judgments and orders made by the courts in the suits, but also by the order of perpetual injunction which restrained her landlord or grantors from further entry on the Ani Oma land.


“Unsurprisingly, on realizing the above correct statement of the law and being at the time, under the leadership of a Managing Director who is God-fearing and law abiding, the ESHDC vide a letter dated November 10, 2014 wrote to Obinagu village, acknowledging that the land belongs to Obinagu village, and that her dealings with Agolo/Okpuno villages regarding the land are denounced and declared null and void.


"The Corporation thereafter solicited to re-acquire the land from Obinagu village but could not finalize their friendly approach with Obinagu village before the tenure of the then executives expired," he added.


The community said that they are thus alarmed that instead of toeing the peaceful and lawful footsteps of the immediate past Administration, Mr. Chiemerie Agu has preferred the path of brigandage by threatening the people of Obinagu village with impunity. 


"In furtherance of these threats, our people are witnesses to the mobilization of different types of machines to aid forceful and illegal entry into the land.


“The people of Obinagu village in their usual peaceful and law abiding disposition, have refrained from taking laws into their hands but have rather commenced contempt proceedings against Mr. Chiemerie Agu and 5 other principal members of ESHDC. 


"Yet, despite the pendency of the contempt proceedings, Mr. Chiemerie Agu and his cohorts without the consent and/or approval of the people of Obinagu village and in total and flagrant disobedience to the orders of the court have forcefully entered into the Ani Oma land for the second time to resume construction works, preparatory to allocate to members of the general public.


"Our people are worried that in spite of the huge damages land grabbing has caused in Enugu State with its attendant crisis, divisions and violence, Mr. Chiemerie Agu is hell bent on pitching the good people of Obinagu village against the Enugu State Government for his primordial and primitive interests. 


"Consequent upon the above, members of the general public are therefore warned to desist from dealing with ESHDC or Mr. Chiemerie Agu in any manner whatsoever in relation to the Ani Oma land along Enugu—Onitsha Expressway.


“For the avoidance of doubt, whoever deals with them does so at his/her own peril. Pursuant to the judgments of the courts, the land belongs to Obinagu village and it is not for sale no matter the amount or consideration,” he concluded.

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It is with a thankful heart of joy that young Nigerian Writer and Journalist, Izunna Okafor excelled unto his 27th rung in the ladder of years.

This was contained in a statement issued by the celebrant, Okafor, who celebrated his silver jubilee last year, being a fellow of January 9th 1994.


Recalling and recounting how hideous it was for him in his early years, particularly in his teens; Okafor, an award-winning said his life was indeed a testimony, and also appreciated God for His marvelous work and infinite mercies.


He went memory lane to narrate how he studied his primary school (at the Community Primary School, Ebenator) and some parts of his secondary school (at the Community Secondary School, Ebenator) barefooted, and with tattered school uniform, to the credit of his family's background.


According to him, being a son of a palm-wine tapper, hunter and electrician in a rural village; he started struggling his way out early in life, precisely during his secondary days when he began to do some handiworks, such as cutting palmnut, clearing bushes for farmers, tilling the ground/farmland, packing/dumping sands (in rivers), among things.


It was from these, which he said he was doing after school hours, that he saved money to publish his first book —Ikem's Adventure— back then in 2012 during his secondary school days —a single act that did not only pave way for metamorphosis in the taste of his life story, but also eventually landed him on the track of greatness where he rides and resides till date.


Born (9th January 1994) to the family of Mr. Josephat Okafor Udeze and Mrs. Susan Okafor Udeze in Ebenator, Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Izunna Okafor, is an award-winning young Nigerian Novelist, Poet, Essayist, Journalist, Editor, Translator, Publicist, Igbo Language Activist and an Administrator.


He graduated from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, where he studied Public Administration. He also holds O.N.D in Public Administration from the same school.


A published and best-selling author, Izunna books include 'Ikem's Adventure' (his first book) published in Nigeria in 2012, during his secondary school; 'The Curse of A Widow' (his second novel), published in 2013; 'The Faithful Children' (his third book), published in 2014 (which received outstanding recognition in the Ezenwa Ohaeto Prize for Young Nigerian Novelists 2015); 'Ajọ Enyi,' his debut Igbo novel and fourth book, published in 2015. 


With 'Ajo Enyi', he became the first person to win the Nigerian Writers Award 2015/2016 as the Indigenous Writer of the Year. Also, with Ajo Enyi, he won the Pita Nwanna Award for Igbo Literature in 2015; and also got shortlisted for The 2015 Young Nigerian Writer of The Year, and the 2017 Nigerian Writers Award.


His other books include "African Blood" (A Short Story), "Nzúzù M Egbuo M," (Igbo novel), "Educated Illiterate," and "Teach Me Grammar."


He has been published in many anthologies, both nationally and internationally; has thousands of articles/essays as well as poems and short stories published online to his credit. 


A diglot writer, Izunna writes perfectly in Igbo and English languages, and has published widely in both languages. 


He has won and been nominated/shortlisted for a number of awards, which include:


The Nigerian Writers Award/Indigenous Writer of the Year 2015/2016


Pita Nwana Prize for Igbo Literature 2015


Society of Young Nigerian Writers Award Nigeria


Nigeria Heritage Icon Award 2016/Young Writer of the Year, Federal Republic of Nigeria


Merit Award from Society of Young Nigerian Writers (2016)


Award of Recognition from Students Union Government, Unizik (2017)


Nigerian Writers Award/Young Writer of the Year 2015/2016


SLAM Hero Youth International Award/Innovative Youth of the Year 2016


Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Youth Writer of the Year 2016


Award of Academic Excellence from the National Association of Public Administration Students (2016)


Inspire Award 2017/Outstanding Youth in Academics


Academic Icon of The Year 2017 (from National Association of Public Administration Students, NAPAS)


Anambra Campus Award 2017/Campus Writer of the Year 2017


Award of Excellence from the Society of Young Nigerian Writers 2016


The Future Award Africa/African Prize for Education, 2016.


Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Outstanding Youth of the Year 2017


Youth Writer of the Year 2016


NAPAS Essay Competition 2017


Starlett Entertainment Award/Creative Writer of the Year 2016


Young Author Award, 2018


Creative Crew Africa/Young Talent of the Year 2018, among others


Anambra Campus Award/Campus Best Writer 2018


Anambra Campus Award/Campus Best Journalist of the Year 2018


Best Secretary General of NAPAS (2018)


Young Achievers Award/Best Young Writer of the Year 2019.


Joint Winner, ANPC Best Staff of the Year 2019


Recognition Award, Anambra Through A Lens, 2020


Certificate of Award from SprinNG Literary Movement, 2020


Young Achievers Award/Most Influential Young Writer of the Year, 2020 (though yet-to-be awarded, due to COVID-19)


Certificate of Recognition, from ImpactField Global Initiative, 2018


Certificate of Award from Applex Art and Creative Crew Africa, 2018


Certificate of Completion for the SprinNG Advancement Fellowship, 2020


Certificate of Participation, Naija Haiku Poetry Workshop, 2020, among others.


At the age of 21, Izunna was nominated for The Future Award Africa 2016/African Prize For Education, which is the biggest and most prestigious African Youth Award.


He has been published in many literary magazines, websites, and blogs.


Aside being a creative writer, Izunna is also an Igbo Language Activist who has played and continued to play great roles in sustaining and promoting the Igbo Language and culture. He preaches and takes the 'gospel' of Igbo language and the need for its sustenance to ever nook and cranny, ranging from schools to churches, Radio/Television Stations, and to other public places, being part if his own contribution and strategic measures to ensure that the Igbo Language does not go extinct as predicted by the UNESCO in 2012.


He has also been featured in many radio and television stations across the country on this mission.


In addition to these, Izunna is also a renowned journalist and columnist currently working with the Anambra Newspaper and Printing Coporation, the publishers of National Light Newspaper, Ka Ọ Dị Taa —which is the only Igbo Language Newspaper in Nigeria —and Sportslight Xtra.


He also writes for Igbo Radio which is an online Igbo Language news hub with its headquarter in Canada, as well as freelance for other media/publishing houses, both the online and print media.


Izunna is the Coordinator of the Society of Young Nigerian Writers q (Anambra State Chapter), as well as the initiator, "Chinua Achebe Literary Festival," which is an annual literary event organized in memory and honour of Late Prof. Chinua Achebe, under the umbrella of Society of Young Nigerian Writers, Anambra Chapter. 


He is the Editor-in-Chief of Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology which is an anthology annually published in honour of Nigerian literary star, Late Prof. Achebe, and which attracts entries and submissions from different countries of the world. The most recent of these anthologies is the "Achebe: A Man of the People" which was published in 2020, during the year's edition of the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival.


Izunna is the Chairman, Project Coordinator, Writers Against COVID-19 Movement, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the "Ripostes of the Locked Down Voices" which is an international anthology of poems and essays on Coronavirus.


During his undergraduate days, Izunna was part of the editorial team of the FAMASSA Magazine.


He is Ambassador of TFA Africa in Nigeria, and the Ambassador of Read Across Nigeria in Anambra State.


An alumnus of Unizik, he is also a former Secretary General of the National Association of Public Administration Students (NAPAS), as well as the current National Secretary General of the Society of Young Nigerian Writers.


In 2019, Izunna met and discussed literature with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, at a literary evening that climaxed the 2019 Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop, organized by the international literary figure, Adichie.

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For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption (Acts 13: 36)

A vital lesson you need to learn from his life is that each of us is born to serve his or her generation by doing the things God approves. Your service to God is incomplete without your service to men. If David served his generation by doing the will of God, then get ready to do the same.

     What does it mean to serve one’s generation? It is to provide men and women, boys and girls you meet on the earth with something that is necessary or useful through the help of the Holy Spirit. It is to share God’s riches inside you with people that God has predestined you to be a blessing to. It is to meet the needs of people around and beyond you using available resources without seeking to be worshipped by anyone.

 

How Should I Serve My Generation?

1. Serve them your gifts: A gift is a natural ability that you are born with. It is that thing that you are exceptionally good at doing. It includes abilities such as singing, drawing, acting, administration, interior decoration, teaching, event management, painting, creative writing etc.

     God has given you at least one of such gifts and He expects you to use your gifts to make the world a better place than you met it. He has made you His minister and you are to administer His grace and gifts to your generation (1 Peter 4:10-11). You only have the duration of your life on earth to accomplish this task. Wherever you are now, use your abilities for the glory of God.

 

2. Serve faithfully: To serve faithfully is to discharge your duties to the best of our abilities and without murmuring or eye service. David served his generation faithfully and sincerely. He began to serve his generation by serving his father first. He ran errands for his father and took care of his father’s sheep. He protected these animals with everything he had. He also served his generation by running errands for King Saul and fighting wars for Israel. He provided leadership for Israel. Whatever you have been assigned to do in your home, school, workplace or church by your parents or superiors please do it faithfully and sincerely.

 

3. Ask for divine direction and guidance: David never fought any battle without consulting God first. He consulted God for two reasons: (1). To be sure of God’s presence with Israel on the battlefield (1 Samuel 23:1-5). (2). To receive strategies for winning a battle (2 Samuel 5:22-25). He never lost any battle because he followed divine direction and guidance.

     You need to seek God’s direction and guidance on where and how best to use your natural abilities for the growth and development of members of your generation beginning from your immediate environment. If you do this consistently, you will become a solution provider and resourceful person to your generation.

 

4. Pursue personal development: Please pay the price of becoming the best of your God-given abilities by doing the following:

a. Read Inspired Books: Spend your time, energy and resources wisely by buying or borrowing books written by those who have enjoyed a significant measure of success in your area of service. Study and search for the truths in them, meditate on, and practice the truths they contain. You need the instructions and truths in them to succeed in any area of life that you desire to succeed in and serve your generation better.

 

b. Get mentors: Mentors are influential persons gifted with the ability to impart knowledge on a particular field of life to those who seek it. They are the custodians of knowledge and time-tested truths that had been acquired through prolonged years of studying and practice. They are men and women of deep understanding.

God has placed around you godly persons who have obtained what you are trying to obtain. Intentionally submit yourself to the direct, personal, face-to-face counsel, instruction, corrections and intimate exposure of these successful persons and apply their secrets in your pursuits.

Be like Elisha who learned all that he needed to learn from Elijah. He knew that his stay with Elijah was but for a moment -it will not be forever. He maximized all the moments he had with his teacher. He took nothing for granted. He followed Elijah to the end and obtained what Elijah had to offer-his position and a double portion of his influence.

c. Pursue further studies: Education, either formal or informal will help you to develop your gifts and passions so that they can be used to the maximum. It offers you an opportunity to meet with professionals in your area of interest and rub minds with them. It provides you with a platform to learn from them and be mentored by them. Please go back to school for further studies if you can afford it.

d.Join a club or department in your church that brings out the best in you and allows you to use your gifts freely. Use all the available internet facilities, radio and television networks to showcase the riches of God in you. The whole world needs your gifts, talents and skills. Please do not be stingy with them.

 

Benefits of Serving Your Generation

1. You would be at peace with yourself: You were created with a particular set of talents, passions, and personality traits to fulfill a specific purpose on earth. Life on earth would not be meaningful to you until you discover the virtues that God has placed inside you and use them to serve your generation. The discovery of these virtues and their maximum utilization will help you attain fulfillment in life. You will need it to be an accomplished member of the society.

2.  You will add value to other people's lives: God has blessed you with specific virtues not just for your personal use but to be a blessing to other persons who need your giftings. Your life is not yours. It is given to you so that you can be a blessing to the people around and beyond you (1 Peter 4:10).

      David maximized his gifts. He added value to the people of Israel who were debtors, distressed and discontented and later became their captain. Through the diverse training he gave to them, they became territorial commanders and mighty men of valour (1 Sam 22:2; 2 Sam 18:1). God saw his sincerity and promoted him to become the king of Israel (Psalm 78:70-72).

 3. You will receive commendation and promotion from God and man: David was highly commended by God as a man after His own heart. He was committed to doing God’s will everywhere he went (Acts 13:22). The Lord raised him up to become a replacement for King Saul. He was also commended by the people of Israel who saw his good works (1 Samuel 18:6-7, 14-16). If you serve your generation sincerely, you will be commended and rewarded greatly by both God and man (Matthew 25:20-23). Your good works will outlive you.

 

4. You will enjoy permanent greatness: You cannot be great if you are not willing to serve. The greater the number of people you serve with your gifts, the greater your influence and wealth (Proverb18:16, Matthew 20:26-27). David’s wealth and influence grew from his home to the palace and to the entire kingdom of Israel. Do all you can to serve as many persons as possible with your gifts.

     You can’t serve God’s purpose for your life in any other generation except your own. In all you do in your service to mankind ensure that you use your gifts effectively by doing the things that God approves and your light will shine brighter even to the ends of the earth.  

 

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By SYNW Anambra


Prof. Justice Peter Umeadi is set to grace the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival And Maiden Memorial Lecture, as a Special Guest of Honour.


Prof. Umeadi, FCArb, who is a former Chief Judge of Anambra State and Life Bencher, confirmed this in his acceptance letter to the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (SYNW) Anambra State Chapter, which is the literary body that organises the November 16 event. 


The letter succinctly reads in parts, "I gladly accept to be the Special Guest of Honour at the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Maiden Memorial Lecture slated for 16th November 2020 at Awka, Abambra State.


"Accept the assurance of my warmest regards."



On his own part, the Coordinator of Society of Young Nigerian Writers Anambra State Chapter, Izunna Okafor, said the Chinua Achebe Memorial Lecture, which is the first of its kind, will be delivered at the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival, which is a literary event annually hosted in honour of Nigerian Literary Icon, Late Prof. Chinua Achebe in celebration of his life, works and legacies.


In his word, "The Chinua Achebe Literary Festival which started in 2016 and which is in its fifth edition now, will feature drama, open microphone, announcement of winners of Chinua Achebe Essay Writing Competition, award presentation, unveiling of the Fifth Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, “Achebe: A Man of the People” published in honour of Achebe; art exhibition, entertainment, and other literary packages slated for the day."


Izunna Okafor who is also the initiator of the Achebe Literary Festival further noted that the Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Chief Oseloka Henry Obaze, who is a former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) in Anambra State and Keynote Speaker at the event themed "Chinua Achebe: Our Heritage In A New Normal".


He also revealed that the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival And Maiden Memorial Lecture will hold on 16th November (Achebe's birthday) 2020, at the Anambra State Central E-Library, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria, starting at 10:AM.


The event, according to him, will be chaired by the MD/CEO, Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC), Sir Chuka Nnabuife, who is also an author, art curator and veteran award-winnig journalist.


Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezigbo, Odili Ujubuonu, Maxim Uzoatu among other prolific Nigerian writers are also expected at the event.


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The Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter) is seeking submissions of quality poems and essays from writers across the wolrd, for her 5th Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology.


The annual anthology is published in honour and memory of Late Prof. Chinua Achebe, a foremost Nigerian literary legend and the father of morden African Literature. The prestigious anthology will (as usual) be unveiled at the 5th edition of Chinua Achebe Literary Festival which is slated to hold on 16th November 2020, at the Anambra State Central E-Library (also known as Prof. Kenneth Dike Central E-Library), in south-eastern Nigeria. 


According to the Project Coordinator, Izunna Okafor, who is also the Coordinator of Society of Young Nigerian Writers in Anambra State, Chinua Achebe Literary Festival is an annual literary festival held by Society of Young Nigerian Writers in memory and honour of Achebe, in celebration of his life, works, contributions and legacies in the literary field. The event, he notes, was initiated in 2016, and holds on Achebe's date of birth since then, with the last edition held in 2019, during which the most recent edition of the anthology Chinua Achebe Essay/Poetry Anthology —"Arrows of Words" —was unveiled.


It is with a view to mark this year's edition of the Festival in a more remarkable and memorable way that the organizers are calling for quality poems and essays from burgeoning and accomplished writers to enter their thematically-articulated essays and poetry in memory of Achebe for the fifth anthology. The anthology is in honour of Prof. Chinua Achebe; hence, only entries that revolve around Achebe, his works, his literary prowess and legacies will be accepted for publication.



SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:


1. Only essays and poems are accepted for the anthology


2. Entrant must specify the genre of his entry, that is, specify whether it is Poetry or Essay


3. The essays and poems MUST be in the memory of Chinua Achebe, and may focus on his life, works personality, writing style or other areas.


4. The essays or poems should be brief and concise —a maximum of 500 words for essays or reviews, and a maximum of 30 lines for poetry.


5. Author’s information —location/contact address, phone number, e-mail address, and a short bio of no more than 40 words should be included in the submission.


6. Submission is FREE and open to writers from any part of the world.


7. Entry MUST be the original work of the author/poet.


8. Only one entry per person is allowed.


9. Entrant may choose/write on any interesting title of his/her choice.


10. Entries should be sent via: synwanambrachapter@gmail.com , with the subject "FIFTH CHINUA ACHEBE ESSAY/POETRY ANTHOLOGY (SPECIFY THE GENRE OF YOUR ENTRY)"


11. Entry MUST be type-written and sent in the body of the mail; NOT AS AN ATTACHMENT. Entries sent as attachment will be automatically disqualified.


12. Submission Deadline: 20th October 2020. Late Entry will not be accepted.


13. Entries could be written in either English or Igbo Language.



BENEFITS:


● All successful/shortlisted essays and poetry will be published in the Fifth Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology (soft and hard copies).


● Online promotion of successful/published essays and poems and the entrants.


● All successful entrants shall receive Certificate of Participation.


● Each successful entrant is entitled to author's copy of the published anthology


● Authors/poets of the best ten essays and poems shall be given outstanding recognitions and Certificate of Award at the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival.


● Entrants (if present at the event) shall be allowed to present their essays/poems at the event.


● Automatic/free membership and admission into the the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (for successful/published young Nigerian entrants.)


For inquiries or support, contact:


synwanambrachapter@gmail.com


08163938812

Izunna Okafor (Coordinator, Society of Young Nigerian Writers Anambra Chapter)


07010178124

Maureen Onyinyechi Kenneth

(Secretary)

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Editor's Note:

Out of their ardency, eighteen poets and poetry lovers identified with the need to give the 2020 Valentine celebration a poetic taste glamour.


With a view to harvest and immortalize this zeal, each of these bards donated a tranche of poetic condiment in response to a call for submissions made in that regard.


The fabrication of these romantic lines of epopees, as was edited by Izunna Okafor, gave birth to this panoramic poetic montage —My Love My All.


Here in this second edition of this journey, these poets explore the theme to register what love holds for them and their inamoratos in its various dimensions.




They write:



My love my all

In whose heart my treasure grows

From whose spine my pleasure flows

Nigher oh my love for in you I repose my all


Where is the inamorata who chained my treasure

She whose smile holds my pleasure!

The time fast approaches,

With its augur on rose hedges..


Where are you, my love, my all.

You whose love tower, I grow tall.

The field of love is verdant with hue;

My heart wanders for nothing, but you!


Give me the love that leads the way

And the kiss that heals the pierced heart

The faith that nothing can dismay

Lest I sink to be a clod.


Stretch your loving hand to me my love

The hand which comforts beyond measure 

In the midst of adversity  

You shall forever be my treasure.   


Come to me my love. 

And feel me all as my heart trembles for your love 

Out of my loneliness  

Heal me and hold me closer to thee.


Loneliness becomes an unbearable sickness

Every second your absence is felt

Storms trouble my sailing heart

In every flash of our last romance.


Never will the world ever be sweet

If not with you reposing on my laps

In you alone

I found meaningless of life without a woman.


You are my all and true love

Both far and near

For in you, I felt what Nnewi's progenitor felt for Nnobi damsel

That made him start a religion deifying her


Your love tastes like abacha 

And Nwoke Udi special palm-wine

joined together

My love my all

Ị sọgbuo m!!!


The smile on your face is sun

The only thing that stands when everything becomes dark.

Your smile is a map directing men of goodwill

I will camp you in my heart forever.


For you are my salt

That flavors the taste of my love.

And you are my light,

That brightens my darkest plights.


For God's love to all,

He gave His only Son.

But for His love for me,

He gave a precious gift of you

my heart's key.


You pick the lock

Oh! You do it all over again

My heart, creaking, opening its arms to you

You, gliding in with a fragrance of warmth.


Your visits leave me nimble

Your sweet perfume arouses my soul

And when you sway, that liquefied sublime motion

My brain falls into oblivion.


Deeper in your veins my love flows

Beckoning you closer to my sinews 

Peak me to the point my love temper swells

For in you all trust I my all


Your love and touch are sensational

They give this feeling of nostalgia

And make me feel like an infant

Please let me be your boo just for a day or two.


Thy love is better than wine

Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels

As the lilly among thorns

So is my love for you!


As the apple tree among trees,

So are you before me always.

Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet,

Onitemi! kiss me, with the kisses of your mouth.


Clothe my heart with your love,

For its own love is dead.

Toss off one bit of it,

And the garden would be finer than Eden.


Hold my lips, let's make it last,

Now I am seconds closer to you.

Let it be a thing they could jot down,

Knowing well how much we love each other.


Youare my love my all, 

On this beautiful island of scented glory, surrounded by the emerald sea 

Under the blue sky and crescent moon of passion

And blessed with the sweet serenade of nightingales. 


I crave to dwell in the freshness of your presence

Which is as pure as a lily;

As rare as a blue rose 

And as lovely as venus.


I only desire company of you

To better express the freedom

Found in our affection

For you are my all.


In sincere confession of this,

I beseech God to marry us

In timeless matrimony of divine and infinite love

Beneath the twilight of cupid's divinest dreams.


My love you’re my all

My forever Valentine 

My giant for eternity you make me feel secure even when all around me is chaos!

Your imperfections are nature's reward to me.


They define your humanity, 

In that man who is perfect lies all the deceit in the world.

My love you’re my all


While we fold and drink from each others' lips

And as moon lends a scenting aroma to our eyes

At this love station, countless for the trip,

Then I hear a voice pouring from the skies:


"This liquid love will soon solidify

Only take your sleep gently and watch tears dry

For I shall be coming by,

Yes, I."


How can I make you see what I feel

When love is blind? 

When I push hard

You might think love is wicked 


Here you are staring at me

The only thing I want is to deep my lips into yours

And our love will be unbreakable 

Don't call it magic, it's a miracle!


With you, it's like honey and bread

Sweet to the body and blessing to the soul

My love, with you I know we will reach for the stars and even beyond

With you, I have no cause to look elsewhere, cause I am at rest.


With you, I feel complete

You make me see the beauty in my imperfections

Your love gives me room to live and truly live

With you, I am a giant with great strides.


Give me your love, and I will give you my all

Kill me with love, and resurrect me with love

For it's a season of love

Oh! Valentine is here again.





Contributors:



Izunna Okafor

Nket Godwin

Odinaka Nworie

Innocent Chikodiri Paul

Nwokeabia, Ifeanyi John

O'star Eze

John Chizoba Vincent

Stanley Ezechukwu

Rosemary Nwadike

Dishon Obok

Gloria Oluchi John

Kayode Awojobi

Chidiebere Ezekwesili

Marcel Ike Okonkwo

Dayo Ayila

Maureen Onyinye Kenneth

Udo Okoronkwo-chukwu

Michael David Ogbonnaya.



Compiled and Edited by Izunna Okafor

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The traditional African religions are a set of highly diverse beliefs that include various ethnic religions. Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural, include belief in a supreme creator, mythology gods and goddesses, belief in spirits, veneration of the dead, use of magic and traditional medicine. 

There are African writers, who invest their energy to make sure these African myths and folktales never die.

Here's why we have compiled this short list of African mythology novels about myths, folktales, king gods and spirits from Africa.


  1. Children of blood and bones

1*DHp2tMREgCBzAxVtwMbMMQ.jpeg

Children of Blood and Bone is a 2018 young adult fantasy novel by Nigerian-American novelist Tomi Adeyemi. The book, Adeyemi's debut novel and the first book in a planned trilogy, follows heroine Zélie Adebola as she attempts to restore magic to the kingdom of Orïsha, following the ruling class kosidáns' brutal suppression of the class of magic practitioners Zélie belongs to, the maji.


Writing the book over 18 months and 45 drafts, Adeyemi drew inspiration from novels like Harry Potter and An Ember in the Ashes as well as West African mythology and the Yoruba culture and language.


 The hopelessness she felt at police shootings of black Americans also motivated her to develop the story of Children of Blood and Bone. The book received one of the biggest young adult publishing deals ever, including preemptive sale of film rights to Fox 2000



Blurb:


They killed my mother.

They took our magic.

They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.


Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.


This book was published by: Henry Holt and company

https://us.macmillan.com/henryholt/



2. Akata Warriors









1*rRiqvy_eTi08uMHGlmPVtw.jpeg

Nnedi Okorafor (full name: Nnedimma Nkemdili Okorafor; previously known as Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu; translated from Igbo into English as "mother is good", born April 8, 1974) is a Nigerian-American writer of fantasy and science fiction for both children and adults. She is best known for Binti, Who Fears Death, Zahrah the Windseeker, and Akata Witch.



Blurb:

A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book.


Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity.

Much-honored Nnedi Okorafor, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards, merges today’s Nigeria with a unique world she creates. Akata Warrior blends mythology, fantasy, history and magic into a compelling tale that will keep readers spellbound.

This book was publsihed by :

Penguine random house









1*uMcG9QvGAyi7bnwNS-icGA.jpeg

3. Children of vengeance and virtue


Blurb: After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.

Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari's right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy's wrath.









1*uQWlBwZje_e4NKZ4oLEoOA.jpeg

4. Black panther


Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor for The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues for TheAtlantic.com and the magazine. He is the author of the 2008 memoir The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood. His book Between the World and Me, released in 2015, won the National Book Award for Nonfiction. Coates received the MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" in 2015.



Blurb:


Klaw stands supreme! The Black Panther's greatest foe has returned, ready for war! Can T'Challa finally defeat Ulysses Klaw, the man who killed his father, while his country threatens to rip itself apart? To make matters worse, Wakanda's gods disappear - and the Originators return! The former gods are back, but what are their intentions for a land that has forgotten them? And all this is only the beginning, as a cadre of villains returns, monsters pour through strange gateways and Wakanda is brought to its knees! T'Challa must defend his country from within - but with his hands full, who will come to Ayo and Aneka's aid? And as Klaw steals the very lifeblood of Wakanda, the Panther turns to unlikely allies. Who will join the king's ill-fated crusade? The answers will surprise you!


This book was published by Marvel.









1*NV__eZ-wjh5V67-cq5bMnA.jpeg

5. Fib and the axe of fury


Esosa Kolawole (a Nigerian) is already making waves in respect of creative writing. She is mostly conspicuous on the internet, and has already published some tentative works and books.


Yes she loves ‘spooky’ stories about magic, myths etc! She has written a number of thrilling short stories, and at least a novella titled Tella. She's a big fan of Percy Jackson series and Cupid's Match.


Blurb:


Aaron Oni has just two more months to live.

When Fibikemi lost her eyeglasses, a magical barrier protecting her from herself, she encounters something strange.

It’s only the beginning of a weird and terrifying journey and in a matter of time, someone dangerous will come for her. Her obsession with saving Aaron pushes her to do the unimaginable and eventually, she discovers exactly why she must never take off her eyeglasses outside her home.

Brilliantly paced, with an exciting heroine and a twisting, imaginative story line, Fib and the Axe of fury is a strange African mythological story.


This book will be publsihed by Zuma Publishing

https://zumapublishing.com





6. Anansi the Spider




Screenshot_20190403-205503-01.jpeg




Gerald McDermott is an award-winning children’s book illustrator and an expert on mythology. His work often combines bright colors and styles with ancient imagery.


He has created more than 25 books and animated films. His first book, Anansi the Spider, was awarded a Caldecott Honor, and he’s since won the Caldecott Medal for Arrow to the Sun and another Caldecott Honor.


Anansi the Spider is one of the great folk heroes of the world. He is a rogue, a mischief maker, and a wise, lovable creature who triumphs over larger foes.


In this traditional Ashanti tale, Anansi sets out on a long, difficult journey. Threatened by Fish and Falcon, he is saved from terrible fates by his sons. But which of his sons should Anansi reward? Calling upon Nyame, the God of All Things, Anansi solves his predicament in a touching and highly resourceful fashion.


In adapting this popular folktale, Gerald McDermott merges the old with the new, combining bold, rich color with traditional African design motifs and authentic Ashanti language rhythms.



7. Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters


Screenshot_20190403-205702-01.jpeg


John Steptoe was an award-winning author and illustrator of children's books from New York City. He began working on his first children's book, Stevie, while still a teenager and achieved great success during his tragically short career, encouraging the advancement of African American culture by producing work about the African American experience that children could appreciate. 



Blurb:


A Caldecott Honor and Reading Rainbow book, this memorable retelling of Cinderella is perfect for introducing children to the fairy tale as well as the history, culture, and geography of the African nation of Zimbabwe.


Inspired by a traditional African folktale, this is the story of Mufaro, who is proud of his two beautiful daughters. Nyasha is kind and considerate, but everyone—except Mufaro—knows that Manyara is selfish and bad-tempered.


When the Great King decides to take a wife and invites the most worthy and beautiful daughters in the land to appear before him, Mufaro brings both of his daughters—but only one can be queen. Who will the king choose?


Award-winning artist John Steptoe’s rich cultural imagery of Africa earned him the Coretta Scott King Award for Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters. The book also went on to win the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. This stunning story is a timeless treasure that readers will enjoy for generations.




8. Precious and the Monkeys




Screenshot_20190403-210251-01.jpeg




Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and he was a law professor at the University of Botswana. He lives in Scotland.



Blurb:


Well before Precious Ramotswe founded her Number One Ladies Detective Agency, as an eight-year-old girl she was already solving mysteries. Here we find out just who has been stealing her schoolfriend's snacks and how the young Precious became the crafty and intuitive private investigator we all know and love



9. Zoo City



Screenshot_20190403-205814-01.jpeg



Lauren Beukes


She is the author of Broken Monsters, about art, ambition, damaged people and not-quite-broken cities, The Shining Girls, about a time-travelling serial killer, the nature of violence, and how we are haunted by history, Zoo City, a phantasmagorical noir set in Johannesburg which won the Arthur C Clarke Award and Moxyland, a dystopian political thriller about a corporate apartheid state where people are controlled by their cell phones. Her first book was a feminist pop-history, Maverick: Extraordinary Women From South Africa’s Past, which has recently been reprinted.


Blurb:


Zinzi has a Sloth on her back, a dirty 419 scam habit and a talent for finding lost things. But when a little old lady turns up dead and the cops confiscate her last paycheck, she’s forced to take on her least favourite kind of job – missing persons.


Being hired by reclusive music producer Odi Huron to find a teenybop pop star should be her ticket out of Zoo City, the festering slum where the criminal underclass and their animal companions live in the shadow of hell’s undertow.


Instead, it catapults Zinzi deeper into the maw of a city twisted by crime and magic, where she’ll be forced to confront the dark secrets of former lives – including her own.






____________________________________________



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Tech giant, Google will make available free Wi-Fi facilities in about 200 sites in Lagos and five other states in Nigeria between now and 2019.


Within this period, about 10 million Nigerians, including Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are expected to benefit immensely from this project. The other states are Kaduna; Port Harcourt (Rivers state); Ibadan (Oyo state); Enugu and Abuja.


The project, which comes as Google Station, is in partnership with 21st Century, a leading ISP in Nigeria. Four of the Stations, including Local Airport, Landmark; The Palms and Ikeja City Mall, went live on Wednesday.


Nigeria is the fifth country to launch Google Station, following India, Indonesia, Mexico and Thailand.



Google Station is a service that allows Google partners to roll out Wi-Fi hotspots in public places by providing software and advice on hardware to turn fibre connections into Wi-Fi.


Speaking with The Guardian and some five other select media houses on Wednesday, in Lagos, Google’s Vice-President, Product Management, Anjali Joshi, said the service, which is targeted primarily at countries, where the next-billion Internet users are set to come from, aimed to give users fast, secure, and easy-to-use Wi-Fi experience.


Joshi explained that in order to provide the service, Google offered fibre carriers, the companies, which build software for Internet-connected hardware, and venues a cloud-based platform and devices, which make it easier for them to provide, manage and monetise the Station hotspots.


She disclosed that the initiative is a long term project and that the security aspect has been fortified and encrypted to guard against any breaches.


Joshi said Google was doing this because the Internet has the potential to completely transform Africa. “Across the globe, countries which have invested in nurturing digital and innovation-based cultures not only enjoy extraordinary wealth (and job creation), but have also transformed the way people live and do business. That positive change can only happen, however, if everyone can access the Internet,” she stressed.


Speaking in the same vein, Google’s Country Director, Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, who said the move was to ensure that more Nigerians participate in the digital economy, noted that the technology firm hoped to roll out Station to as many public locations as possible, including markets, malls, bus stops, city centres, and cafés, universities so that people can have a consistent Wi-Fi experience during their daily routines.


On the choice of Nigeria now, Ehimuan-Chiazor said the country is an important market for Google and the largest market in Africa, saying that the target was to develop the technology ecosystem and later scaled to other part of Africa.


Silent on the amount gone into the investments, she disclosed that the initiative was targeted at a populated area, with the hope that by 2019 about 10 million Nigerians must have benefitted.

According to her, there are huge possibilities of the initiative helping the country to leapfrog the 30 per cent broadband target set by the Federal Government for this year, “knowing full well that a World Bank report claimed that there is direct correlation between broadband and GDP growth. That is a 10 per cent increase in broadband correlates to 1.38 per cent increase in GDP growth.


“Even beyond GDP growth, the Internet provides opportunities to pursue social and developmental objectives. So we expect this to fuel some changes, especially in creating jobs, helping the SMEs, among others.


“We have believed since the very beginning of Google that when more people have better, more dependable and secure access to the Internet, everyone in the entire Internet ecosystem benefits. Google Station will work to this mission by bringing more people fast, reliable, quality Wi-Fi to more places.”

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Chinua Achebe, who died in Boston today at the age of eighty-two, was a few weeks shy of thirty years old when Nigeria was granted independence from the British Empire, on October 1, 1960, and he was already acclaimed, worldwide, as the preëminent novelist of black Africa. The British publisher Heinemann had brought out Achebe's first novel, Things Fall Apart, only two years earlier, and it had to have been the first African novel that many of his admirers on the continent and off had read. The sure tragedian's authority with which Achebe tells the story of Okonkwo, an Igbo elder of immense strength and pride, a figure of heroic qualities within the traditions of his culture, who is ill-served, brought low, and undone by those same qualities in his first violent encounters with colonial power, has ensured that still today, with more than ten million copies sold, Things Fall Apart remains the best-known work of African literature.
The great African novel? The book could as truly be called a great novel, period. Many writers would prefer to carry that badge of universality, but Achebe who has gone to his grave without ever receiving the Nobel Prize he deserved as much as any novelist of his era has said that to be called simply a writer, rather than an African writer, is a statement of defeat. Why? Because his project has always been to resist emphatically the notion that African identity must be erased as a prerequisite to being called civilized. Growing up as what he called a British-protected child in the colonial order, the young writer came to see that the Empire's claim that Africans had no history was a violent, if at times ignorant or unconscious, counter-factual effort to annihilate the history of his continent's peoples.
Achebe made his case in many forms essays and lectures, interviews and acts of protest, and as an ideologue and propagandist for the failed Igbo-nationalist secessionist state of Biafra but he made it most cogently on the final page of Things Fall Apart. With the reader in the full emotional grip of the many dimensions of Okonkwo's epic fate, the author boldly and deftly adds another, shifting to the perspective of a colonial governor who considers Okonkwo's story good material perhaps not a whole chapter but a reasonable paragraph for the book he is planning to write:  The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger.
Having, with his first effort, created a permanent place for the African novel in the world literary canon, Achebe continued to be a prolific imaginative writer, producing novels and stories that evoked, in a range of voices, the trials of Nigeria's pre-colonial and colonial history, and the traumas of its post-independence ordeals: from No Longer at Ease and A Man of the People in the sixties to Girls at War and Anthills of the Savannah in the aftermath of the Biafran war. But the fact that he must be remembered as not only the father but the godfather of modern African literature owes at least as much to the decades he spent as the editor of Heinemann's African Writers Series. In that capacity, Achebe served as the discoverer, mentor, patron, and presenter-to-the-world of so many of the now-classic African authors of the latter half of the twentieth century. The series's orange-spined, generously inexpensive paperbacks carried a stamp of excellence that drew readers everywhere to essential works by writers as varied as Kenneth Kaunda, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Dennis Brutus, Tayeb Salih, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Ousmane Sembène, Wole Soyinka, and Nadine Gordimer, to name but a few: it is an extraordinary legacy.
As a storyteller, as a voice of his nation, as a cultural impresario, an intellectual combatant and provocateur, Achebe gained with age the status in Nigeria of a bard and a sage that the modern world rarely affords to writers. After suffering terrible injuries in a car crash, he spent much of his time in the last decades of his life in America, where he settled into long-term professorships at Bard College and Brown University. But when he returned to Nigeria he was received as a national hero. Crowds of thousands sometimes tens of thousands gathered to pay tribute to him. The adoration hardly softened him, though. He was, in his old age, as much a scold to his compatriots as he had ever been in his youth.
I met Achebe a few times in his wheelchair-bound American years. When he gave you his hand it was at once firm and soft and notably warm. He had a gentle presence a man fully capable of wit and mischief and open laughter, but whose default expression, at ease, was one of sympathetic melancholy. His voice was another matter: low-pitched and rich and adamant. When he spoke, it was with great command and unmistakable music. In Boston, in 1999, at a celebration of the centennial of Ernest Hemingway s birth, I had the honor of sitting on a panel with Achebe, on the subject of writing about Africa. He was as cogently withering about Hemingway's Africa a place he could not recognize because there were no speaking Africans there as he was, in one of his most famous essays, about Joseph Conrad s. At the end of the session, the floor was opened to questions. An evidently confused woman in the audience took the opportunity to ask In what sense are you writers about Africa? The other panelists Nadine Gordimer and Kwame Anthony Appiah were too baffled to respond. Not Achebe. He leaned into his microphone, and very slowly and melodically, with rolling Rs and drawn out Os, roared: Read. Our. Books. The woman said, But I'm asking you. And Achebe said, I'm telling you: Read. Our. Books. 
What better epitaph for the man, and what better way to remember him today: read his books.
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