Monday, 30 September 2013

Our Bad News

Uncle Judas betrayed Grandpa Yesu
He escaped with the returns from the New Yam Harvest
And absconded to a far country, which no one knows
Then Grandpa Yesu, the aged family breadwinner, dies
And while everyone argues his funeral arrangements
The old thief walks in gallantly, flaunting his luxurious garment

We heard Uncle Judas made big money from unarmed robbery in the big city
We know he married a strange woman who bears him weird children
But we also know his woman as the biggest problem in our village
Since the rich bandit brought home the evil-ridden gorgon
And proclaimed her his till-death-do-us-apart
We have stopped seeing goodies in his stagnant life

Since she started getting pregnant and coughing phlegm
And giving birth to monsters that are no taller than a witch’s broomstick
We have caught many thieves who often disappeared before daylight
Since she started chanting incantations in the briskest hour of the night
Alleging the performance of her precious family sacraments
We have lost count of infants whose living are quelled in the daytime

Since she joined the naive women at the market square
Selling articles that only unfortunate foreigners buy
We have heard incessant cries from neighbouring villages
Since some politicians from Nigeria started patronising her
Seeking her blessed curses for their selfish ambitions
We have started hearing funny stories about that country

Now, we are fed up and will remove her from her place
We are angered by her unleashing of this living hell
And will offer sweet-smelling burnt offerings to set it away
But, she was the same witch a mob stoned to death one fortnight ago
The one they thought had died –who also lived the next day
Some say it was Uncle’s life that she took to live again

It was also heard that she had died nine awesome times
And she has relived life to enjoy the freshness of air at her balcony
In the cool of the evening hours, upon the inexplicable death of another child
Yet, in a revelation, we see the end of life come to her quickly
For she will be a sign and an object of God’s terrible power
She will be a scapegoat to her comrades and a message to the politicians

Since she houses no more of innocent orphans for voodoo power
And has no more of her own children to die her own death
We know she has run out of her so-called uncountable life lines
And the gods of this world will beg the God of all things on her behalf
They will offer many unsolicited sacrifices at their dirty shrines
But at the endmost end, nemesis will be found in the right hand of God

Then, our infinite bad news will know a definite end
And our good news will find a place in foreign ears
And with smiles long-lost and ecstasy newly restored
We will assemble in the public squares of our land
Without chains, singing songs of change in growing cheer
And in the end, we shall doubtless yell in harmony, “Jubilee!”

Happy Independence Day in advance
© Moraks 2012

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Project Time Management

Considering life, time is a unit of measurement since all events occur within its intervals. In fact, no two recurrent activities in history can be absolutely described without due reference to it. For instance, when intercontinental events such as the Olympics, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) world cup and Wimbledon are occur repeatedly in the same location, they are mainly referenced based on their years or dates of occurrence. Again, time is generally an independent resource which we spend and can never retrieve –we can only attempt to compensate for it presently or in future. Therefore, in achieving project objectives and producing deliverables, time is a critical constraint to which all human resource must be sensitive.

When customers, sponsors and other stakeholders outside an active project team appraise the team or their projects highly, they often adjudge them based on the team’s ability to maximally influence the main constraints of time, cost, scope and quality. This suggests that a team’s collective ability to produce the totality of expected deliverables in a satisfactory manner at a friendly budget within the appropriate schedule is what qualifies them as an ace project team; not the presence of a few highly-skilled or vastly-experienced individuals. While it is true that the presence of an effective project manager makes a team prone to being more successful, most successful teams are actually constituted by members who each understand the overall effect of working in proximity to planned schedule. If a team of fourteen members contain seven persons that are variously certified by PMI as CAPM®, PMP® and PMI-RMP® credential holders and these individuals apply and transfer the knowledge obtained from the consulted editions of the Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) across the entire team, the likelihood of the team’s overall success will escalate as the factor of time will be handled more efficiently.

Dynamic project managers and team leads adequately imbibe the schedule management tools and techniques recognized in the PMBOK® Guide and consciously influence their subordinates to do likewise. Great team members are persons who always desire to keep the disparity between planned project time and the actual work durations minimal. They demonstrate a working knowledge of the flow of work. They understand how the duration of each preceding activity affects its successor and can proactively predict their resulting effects on the overall project length. However, this does not overrule the ultimate responsibility incumbent on project managers to verify the appropriate completion of work packages. Rather, it fosters the probability of keeping the time expended in actualizing the deliverables at relative parity with the pre-planned durations and schedule baseline...

To read on, please visit: Project Times where it was first published.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

CPRsouth/CPRafrica: Transforming Lives & Economies through Policy Research

Photo Credit: Christoph Stork

Once upon a time, there was an inquisitive girl named Nanna. She lived with her parents in the village of Beiyerunka and was an only child. One time when Nanna was seven years old, her father took her to his brother’s house in the city of Lagos for holidays. Nanna’s uncle, Dr Timothy, was a reputed computer science professor at the single research institute in the entire city. He had a Pentium I computer at home and always wanted to teach his children how to use it. However, none of them was fascinated by the machine so it was hardly in use. When Nanna arrived at her cousin’s house in Lagos, she took much interest in the machine and her uncle gladly taught her how to use it. After eight weeks of steady tutorials, Nanna fell in love with the computer. She had learnt how to use the DOS command prompt and was beginning to learn programming.
At that point, her cousins often joked that one day, they would marry her off to the computer and post both of them to Microsoft in USA. When it was time to return to the village, Nanna’s father sojourned to Dr Timothy’s house to retrieve his daughter to the village life. That day, Nanna wailed and begged to be left with her cousins in Lagos but her father simply listened with absolute deafness. Dr Timothy’s wife and children were moved with compassion. They knew that Nanna wanted to stay because of the computer and joined in the soliciting until Nanna’s father got annoyed and said, “Abeg, make una no intafair for dis situation. Abi na for wia una espekt make I get di kin moni wey Timothy sef stil dey hussle to pay ya skool fees?” Meaning, “Please, do not interfere in this situation. Or where do you expect me to get the kind of your money that my brother Timothy struggles to make to pay your school fees? Nanna became angrier and childishly insulted her father. Her father turned red with fury, lashed her sore and bundled her back to the village. That was the first and last time Nanna ever visited the city or moved near a computer. I do not think that she lived happily ever after.
It is true that nothing good comes easy and it is not all the best things in life that are free. Sometimes, a few good people just have to carry out informed research to help create or influence policies that will ensure that they happen. While reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers sometime ago, I was reminded that Bill Gates could have been a foreign version of the curious Nanna if an accessible computer had not been brought within his vicinity. In fact, no one would have brought the computer if the national ICT policy of the United States did not allow or encourage it. In every good story, there is always an element of fateful intervention or underlying factor that comes as an opportunity and catalyzes the achievement of human desires, thereby transforming possibilities into realities. Nevertheless, someone somewhere has to do something to trigger the required chain of positive reactions.
In support of this truth, two dynamic think tanks, LIRNE Asia and Research ICT Africa, collaborated with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Ford Foundation to hold a crucial conference on communications policy research in September 2013. The expository event which focused on Changing Asia & Africa through Innovation and Entrepreneurship in ICT was themed CPRsouth8/CPRafrica2013. It was held at the prestigious Infosys campus in Mysore, India and attracted tons of seasoned researchers, regulatory officials, young scholars, experienced academics, government representatives, dynamic entrepreneurs and other dignified stakeholders who nurture similar interests and expertise in fields that are relevant to the research of communications policy.
The entire event was initiated with the training of new young scholars from various parts of Africa and Asia-Pacific on how to carry out evidence-based research, create policy briefs and cause policy change. The papers that were presented at the event profiled research works that have been performed and are ongoing in the areas of financial inclusion & mobile money, gender in ICT policy regulation, drivers of policy change, gender and other divides, assessment of ICT policy regulation, what works and does not work for the governments of a few nations in communications policy, benefits of using ICT and challenges & other mobile applications. These presentations further spurred reflections and discussions by policy experts, regulatory officials and key researchers on the use of evidence in policy briefs and regional reflections on research priorities in Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia-Pacific. 
This significant event has certainly honed the skills of researchers (especially the new and young ones) and influenced the thoughts of the regulatory and government representatives that attended. Perhaps, this would help end the miseries of countless unknown Nannas and discover the smaller and bigger versions of Bill Gates in various developing economies.
It is strongly believed that the yearly event will continue to foster the perpetual execution of quality communications policy research which is capable of transforming lives and reshaping economies to obtain national and intercontinental gains. Moreover, it is the hope of all young scholars and other beneficiaries that the team of experts at LIRNEasia and Research ICT Africa would receive incessant support from financial sponsors, NGOs and government bodies to annually and seamlessly organise the CPRsouth/CPRafrica forum and further promote the development of policy experts in both Africa and Asia-Pacific.

This article was first published on Omojuwa' website