Friday, 24 April 2015

READY FOR FAST AND FURIOUS 8?

READY FOR FURIOUS 8 ?
Fast action, adrenaline hyped movie addicts are by now wondering if there will really be one last throw of the dice for them. Although accounts indicate that "Fast and Furious 7 has been bursting bank vaults, but with the sad passing away of Paul Walker on 30th November 2013, many were thinking that would be the end of this amazing action 'longstory'.


However the feelers out there show that indeed there will be FAST AND FURIOUS 8.
 A release date for the movie has already been set according to the SOURCE magazine:
http://thesource.com/2015/04/24/furious-8-coming-to-theaters-in-2017/
Well, at least the adrenaline dose is guaranteed!!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Fallouts of the Eblola Crisis: Returning to school in Post Ebola Sierra Leone :

FALLOUTS OF THE EBOLA CRISIS -- RETURNING TO SCHOOL IN POST EBOLA SIERRA LEONE :

        Laughter perched on their faces,
        smiles brightened the corners of their eyes.
        With swinging steps and swaying paces
        clutching satchels, and bags and what-have-you,
                 They trudged on,
                            ...drove on
                          .... raced on.....
                       'Tis time for school once again.

The chirping was endless. Careful not to hold hands unnecessarily, they nonetheless told their stories with zest. Each had his or her own story to tell: Each with his group of friends. All you had to do was listen as some shouted above their voices and others laughed on. For school children of all ages in Sierra Leone, Tuesday 14th April was a welcome 'release'.
After almost 7 months away from school, and a hard to calculate degradation of Education in Sierra Leone, Schools were instructed to reopen by government on Tuesday April 14th, 2015. In an effort to encourage parents to send their children to school, government also announced it would pay the school fees of all children in government schools. But typical to Sierra Leone, the first week saw less than 50% return rate. However, one week on, the number of returning students and pupils doubled.

For many parents it was great joy that their children would begin the upward climb again -- to gain an education they so badly need. For others it was a blessing that Government had promised to pay the school fees of all students in all government schools.

For a few of us though, this was a 'red-flag'.

The intentions are no doubt noble, but the practicality of it bothers the thinking mind. With yawning gaps in the quality of the facilities and school assets and the salaries of teachers and education workers waiting to be serviced, and the unpaid subsidies to government schools, plus the many other commitments struggling the capture government's limited resources, one wonders if this good intention is not, in actuality, a recipe for disaster. A local newspaper reported an encounter in Bo, at the Methodist Primary School. One of the teachers could not help but say:

 "we have not received any subsidy from government for two terms now and yet government says we should not collect fees..." She left the sentence hanging. Her unspoken words painting a far more clear picture than any spoken words could have done.

It is an Igbo proverb that says: you look at the size of a child's hand before you cut Eba and put into it. Unfortunately for Sierra Leone, government is both the parent and the child in this instance.

While in Freetown many parents may indeed still keep their younger children in the non-government owned schools , knowing that these schools do provide a little more in terms of quality of education , parents in the provinces on the other hand, may decide to seize upon this goodwill gesture, and before you know it the schools may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of students turning up.

The bigger question however, is this : How does a government whose economy is in dire trouble, fund a project such as this ? Where will the money come from ? I must admit that NRA claims they have exceeded the projected target for the quarter, but I guess it is no secret that a number of very vital multinationals operating in the country have either scaled down considerably or closed shop.

Being the fourth month of the year it is quite certain that government did not provide for this expenditure in the 2015 appropriations. If indeed this government intends to open up the education space and offer more children the opportunity to access education would it not have been better to encourage truly international non-profit organizations to assimilate the fees for students as a direct responsibility, with a few select government schools(on a trial basis at first), so that government can free itself to attend to its obligation of providing quality facilities and assets for the schools under its care, as well as ensure that workers in the education sector receive their salaries and compensations as at when due without 'ifs or buts'. To develop such a plan of action would require detailed consultation and rigorous work with technocrats in Education from Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora as well as those at home and  in concert with International community.
                                                           ..... Victor Omotayo Sawyerr 21/04/2015

[Kindly feel free to share your thoughts with us. Also feel free to comment on this opinion and others in this blogsite. We value your contribution.]

Saturday, 18 April 2015

SIERRA LEONE : RETURNING TO A NEW NORMAL

SIERRA LEONE: RETURNING TO A NEW NORMAL.
Flying into Lungi International Airport on Sunday 12th April 2015 was no different from when I flew in, in April last year. The land space looked the same. Surface structure looked the same as well. But a year ago faces smiled easier. Last year when someone smiled it easily became a laugh. One year on smiles fizzled out before they reached the eyes. At the entrance to the terminal building everyone queued for the mandatory hand wash. This also was not there last year.
Checking through immigration was quick and easy, but the airport seemed lean. One year ago it was busy, robust. Not so this time. I forgot myself. I stretched out a hand for a shake to a friend who worked at Lungi and had come to help me evacuate my luggage. My hand was left hanging. My friend busied himself fretting about my luggage. I collected myself. I did not need to remember. The memory was there all along, only sub-surface. Now it imposed itself on me: Ebola.
We got to the airport shuttle that would take me to the sea coach terminal. I thanked my friend. He barely looked me in the eyes. My sister had done the needful a day before, and all arrangements facilitated for getting me to town so I was sure my friend's reticence was not as result of pending obligations. We boarded the speed boat. Carefully guarded salutations were exchanged. Each passenger sat disciplined. Not the easy ' laid-back' ride a year ago. Ebola had abraded the collective 'easiness ' inside Sierra Leone. The sea coach ride to town was serene. Waves hit against each other as we sped along. Forced by the noisy quiet I sank into deep thoughts. How would my family react to me? Mama, my brother, my sister , my nephew, my little girl, my big boy, my nieces -- how would they react ? How would I react on seeing them? Would their psyche be so abraded as well, that they would stand aloof -- devoid of emotion not yielding to even a handshake? Tears pinched the corners of my eyes not because I was weak, but just because I could not bear to keep thinking the thoughts.
It was about 3.00 O'clock in the afternoon. I threw my eyes at the passing waters. The sunlight threw a shimmering silver pattern on the dancing waves as we sped along. There was beauty here. And warmth too. But is there now? Is this aloofness -- the' non-touch technique' -- the new normal? Would a smile be a always careful, henceforth?
My heart beat a little faster. We were almost at the Jetty at Aberdeen. As we turned into the Jetty I sighted Mama. She always had her 'head-tie' (enkincha) tied in a particular style, so I picked her out easily as she stretched her neck to see whether I was in the boat. Going on mid-eighties, mama was slender naturally. But now she looked very thin. Still agile and active, nonetheless something seemed missing. My eyes searched further. I saw my sister. She was still round but I could see she had lost some weight. I dragged on a bit before disembarking so I could watch without being seen. From the side as I watched. I felt something was missing. Not something tangible. Something effervescent. I could not place a finger on it. Then she saw me -- my sister. For a fleeting second the thought came to troubled me: Would I shake a hand-- her hand? It was the right thing to do wasn't it -- to NOT shake .
The thought lasted but a fleeting second. There was no reasoning this -- no reasoning here . I left my luggage, dashed forward and hugged her. Mama saw us and dashed towards us we hugged and my little jumped into my hands . They were all stronger than me -- emotionally. I chocked back a tear. Mama could not hold hers back it filled her eyes. We were raised with a different kind of closeness -- a different kind of attachment. We were closed in that embrace for no more than thirty seconds. When we pulled apart a few eyes were on us. But for me the bonding was good enough. There was a new normal in Sierra Leone and it has its own benefits but I was happy I could feel the heartbeat of my sister, see the tears well up in mama's eyes and experience the joy of my little girl's embrace.
At home an hour later, the evidence of Ebola's terror in Sierra Leone was visible too. The thinking and worry had gotten the better part of the family. The stringent measures had formed a part of their daily lives but for us there was still some warmth -- not from the hot African sun but from the love that glows within our hearts. And in my heart of hearts I pray this would not be the story of my family alone but the story of all Sierra Leoneans, who today or tomorrow may yet retell the Ebola Story.

                        ......... Victor Omotayo Sawyerr 18/4/2015
[Please feel free to share your stories with us or comment on any of ours.]

Friday, 10 April 2015

INEC INSIST ON PVC FOR GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS

NIGERIADECIDES2015: THE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS

With less than 24 hours to the Governorship elections INEC has once again affirmed that any voter who turns up at a polling unit without his Permanent voter's card (PVC) would not be allowed to vote.
This clarification comes on the heels of statements made by some Governors from the North who have been urging voters to come out and vote even if all they had were their temporary voters cards.

The consensus among general population is that the use of PVCs during the Presidential Elections thirteen days ago, helped in curbing election fraud.
Below is the  statement from INEC



INEC RELEASE



Friday, 3 April 2015

LAGOS2015

THE GUBERNATORIAL RACE KICKS IN

Lagos 2015: I’m In This Race To Serve, Says Ambode

AKINWUMI AMBODEThe governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, has maintained that he is in the race to serve.

The APC candidate, at the weekend, reassured supporters and stakeholders that he was in the race to serve humanity and lead by example.


In a statement by his Director of Media and Communications, Steve Ayorinde, Ambode said Lagos had a record of “excellent service” in the past 15 years and the more than 17 million people living and working in Africa’s largest city-state, “deserved a tested hand, who would continue in that tradition of excellence”.

The APC candidate said: “The governor that Lagos State deserves at this period of our continued growth and development is a man with a track record of performance and excellence; a man who is tested, who understands governance and is an experienced administrator who will not experiment with the resources and growth template of this state. I, Akinwunmi, Ambode, is that man”.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

#NigeriaHasDecided.: President Johnathan Concedes defeat.

PRESIDENT GOODLUCK EBELE JOHNATHAN'S STATEMENT AFTER THE FINAL ANNOUNCEMENT OF RESULTS OF NIGERIA'S 2015 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
Fellow Nigerians
I thank you all for turning out en-masse for the March 28th 2015.
I promised the country free and fair elections. I have kept my word. I have also expanded the space for Nigerians to participate in the democratic process. That is one legacy I will like to see endure.
Although some people have expressed mixed feelings about the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) , I urge those who may feel aggrieved to follow due process basedon our constitution and our electoral laws in seeking redress. As I have always affirmed, nobody's ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian. The unity, stability and progress of our country is more important than anything else.
I congratulate all Nigerians for successfully going through the process of the March 28th General elections with commendable enthusiasm and committment that was demonstrated nationwide. I also commended the security services for their role in ensuring that the elections were mostly peaceful and violence free. To my colleagues in the PDP, I thank you for your support. Today the PDP should be celebrating rather than mourning. We have established a legacy of democratic freedom transparency economic growth and free ans fair elections.
For the past 16years we have steered the country away from ethnic and regional politics. We created a Pan-Nigerian political party and brought home to our people the realities of economic development and social transformation. Through patriotism and diligence we have built the biggest and most patriotic party Nigerian history. We must stand together as a party and look to the future with renewed optimism.
I thank all Nigerians once again for the great opportunity I was given to lead this country, and assure you that I will continue to do my best at the helm of affairs until the end of my tenure.
I have conveyed my personal best wishes to General Muhammadu Buhari.
May God Almighty continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I thank you all
Goodluck Ebele Johnathan, GCFR.
March 31, 2015.

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