Arise, O’ compatriots – the anthem we still clamour
the labours of our heroes to stand aloft in honour
yet in talks, in deeds we settle for horror
devout, uncouth, our hearts full of terror!
– Azeez Okeyale (2016)
His labour will forever be in vain. Their blood will forever go down the drain.
With our self-created sense of insecurity championing the awareness of a looming total wipe-out of a particular faith in a State as diverse as Nigeria.
You may call me ‘useful idiot’ as some of those campaigns have suggested but in retrospect is this not myopic?
As rational people and in a narrower sense, it is known that every public seat or office, private post or position in Nigeria can only be occupied by either of the two religions. If it’s not one, then the other religion gets the nod.
From the political perspective:
There are selection criteria for every vacant seat depending on the constitution, discretion of the selector, the qualification of nominees and at times the participation of the citizenry. With the frequent withdrawal and sometimes greedy nature of the legislators of a particular faith, there are compromises and it is seen that the other faith probably has more people in power than the former.
Who is to blame?
The people of the latter religion for wanting to participate in politics more and loving power?
The people of the latter religion for being able to make the legislators ‘compromise’?
The people of the former religion for promoting abstention from national matters and indoctrinating even the young ones with the message of hooliganism in politicking?
The representatives of the former religion for being ‘buyable’?
Remember, Nigeria do not officially run party systems based on religion like Holland, neither on ethnicity or political ideologies. So, why the campaign when the supposed threat has its root at home. It could be the other way round too in a matter of years if strategies to do so are mapped out and implemented.
Make the right awareness. Achieve so much relevance, be so good to be ignored. It has happened before and it may happen again. During the previous regimes with Christian leaders and public office holders, we never heard a clamour of Nigeria turning a Christian state, why now?
Or are the propagandists pushing for a Nigeria with Christian leaders only and always at the helm? That’s amusing if not impossible. It is time we faced the facts. Nigeria is one state with diverse faiths and will remain as such.
True, we know of regions in the country with serious state of insecurity of lives and properties and we daily hear of ‘tales of infringement on the right to practice any religion freely’ from that quarters. Yet, basing our assumption of a campaign to wipe Christianity out in the whole of Nigeria on that is at best fallacious. It is relative.
Those Northern occurrences will not happen in the East; it will be fiercely repelled. Neither will it surface in the West.
So, where is the one-faith State of Nigeria coming in?
The entry of Nigeria into a particular list may come to mind, but when has that taken the place of a salvation message to convert you, you and you from your faith? The Governor and Apostle face-off may also appeal, but laws are laws and meant for everyone. The Fulani herders and Farm owners, I think that’s an age-long crisis a good policy should resolve.
I may consider however, of seeing a push for a one-faith Northern Nigeria because of present happenings or because of the history of that area, yet facts in hand are insufficient and inconclusive as the other faith daily deny any links with the terrorist sect, accusing them of impersonation and counting them simply as rebels. I understand the severity of happenings in that area and I do commiserate with the affected and put them in prayers every day, but even achieving that is legally unlikely as Nigeria is still one country in the geographical sense of the word.
Finally, I perceive that the campaigns of a one-faith State by some devout, sometimes uncouth are just intrinsic fears or worse still attempts to unrest the country further by inciting law abiding, faith-full faithfuls to pick up arms, spill blood, red and thick and then make his labour, their blood shed on the altar of “DEMOCRACY” go in vain and down the drain.
It will not happen!
Let’s get busy with prayer, evangelism and radical self-development to seize on opportunities, rather than generalizations that downgrade our power as believers.
His blood and water throw tantrums as foes in the rain
forever longing the chance to assume his reign
His teeth creak and of cold knock
with unrest we lock him out to the cold rain!
Long Live MKO Abiola’s Legacies. Long Live Nnamdi Azikwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello …
It’s the twelfth day of June, 2016.
Yours in Nation building,
Azeez Okeyale.


In a century characterized by amazing amounts of unwithheld information and unbridled exposure as the one we find ourselves in today, it may not be untrue if and when we say only a few things evoke more emotions, sprout more opinions, trigger more debates and brighten more faces than the sound of the word LOVE.

Surprisingly, rather regrettably this commendable virtue fast becoming an oft overused word has also bordered on comparison with ‘triggering fear’, ‘creating doubts’, ‘lingering expectations’ and ‘fading hopes’ due to the way it has been handled.

Unfortunately, this latter description fits the present state of love, or call it charity as a virtue in the church and/or the body of Christ at large. However weird it may seem, untrue it may sound, gory, absurd, ridiculous, ludicrous, awkward it may portray, however relative we may want to think it is, however much we may want to feign ignorance, somewhere deep inside our hearts every Tomiwa and Prudence know it is true, and every other Emeka and Mariam are in the know.

Perhaps, where we have failed is not in the awareness of the knowledge, rather the understanding and the appropriation of the phenomenon cum virtue itself, that is what it entails and the various ways it can be expressed.

Unlike faith that is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, rather as Paul puts it in his epistle to the Corinthians, love is kind, love suffers long, love endures all things…

Faith may be abstract, bar grammatical inclinations everything about love is concrete!

If to some these revelations are novel, to many they are far from new as in fact they are extant characteristics of love, or say charity as expounded by the Bible which remains the ultimate authority for any professed follower of Christ.

Can we then say in retrospect and in all sincerity that we are true followers of the Lord Jesus if we have failed in the aspect of love not just to humanity generally, but especially to “those of the household of faith” as admonished in Galatians 6:10?

Is our weak, one-sided or non-existent follow-up as the case may be for our young brethren going to the ivory towers – exposing their fragile frames to fields of filthy flames – not reminiscent of love that has failed to suffer long?

The one-time congratulatory message only on the days of matriculation may also sound like love that has misplaced its enduring might.

Even in the book of 1 John 4:20, the Bible quizzes how a man can say he loves God that he has not seen and yet hates, that is dislikes, that is not show love to his neighbour – a man – he sees daily.

We may say we do not hate our brethren, but how about these young ones shuttling between home and their campus world full of as much good as froth and unwelcoming enticements without anyone caring to ask how they fared all year long? One would rethink if love is not supposed to be kind!

Love is beyond our mere vocal confessions, sensual attractions, mutual sensations and platonic relations we share with each other in times of contact and comfort. Love is more than the hugs and kisses we donate cheerfully to dear ones on sight because even Judas donated a kiss to Jesus just to betray him.

Love is a way of life. It extends to the less-noisy habit of networking and striving to keep relationships working and active. It extends to care and welfarism. It does not leave out frequent phone calls to check up. It may come with it tolls too, but the gains apparently outweigh the pains.

As Richard Templar, the author of the bestseller book, “Rules of Love” posits, “Strong, long relationships are what life is about”. And until we learn to handle tricky and testing times between them well, we might never be able to keep our relationships fresh and rewarding as they ordinarily should have been.

Finally, as a model body of Christ and thought leaders in view, it is imperative we understand the pros and the cons. It is high time we understood the rules if truly we want to remain a beacon of a balanced Christian family that we are known as, and then be a model for the world to simulate and embrace.

… And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  (1 Corinthians 13: 2)

Love is life! Live – Love – Lead!

Yours in love,
Azeez Okeyale.

Rural Chronicles

So on Monday, 27th of February 2017, I had to do again one of the things I love to do – Educating People.

This time in my field. I talked on the challenges and prospects of Agrinformation in Nigeria.


It is no more news that the economy of Nigeria has plummeted. Economic recession has gradually become a trending term in this clime these days. For all the publicity however, very few people can boldly say what it means other than some hardship and irregular cash flow that are obvious characteristics.

The Nigeria Bureau of Economic Research says economic recession is a temporary period of significant decline in economic activity spread across few months and normally visible in the Gross Domestic Product, Real Income, Employment, Industrial Production, Wholesale and Retail Sales.

As a result of the foregoing, it comes as no surprise that scholars and analysts have touted Agribusiness as a prime solution to the economic problems of Nigeria due to the relative stability Agribusiness offers.

For all the promise tilling the ground holds in redefining the fate of our flailing economy, absence of proper orientation, education and information have proved a tough opponent for the few youths who are intrinsically motivated to practise Agribusiness as Agriculture is now being addressed.

Rural youths are the future of food security but it is becoming increasingly difficult to entice and sustain these youths in the business of Agriculture particularly in the rural community, hence the advocacy for incentivization alongside information.

There is a direct link between nationwide food security and education of rural children according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation. As such, access to knowledge and information is crucial to the prospects of Agriculture.

For us to shape agripolicies, we need appropriate and timely information and education.

Take Keesan village in Olorunda, Abeokuta as a case study, they are predominantly farmers and processors as we have seen. Imagine their young ones have access to at least basic education that urban children are exposed to, imagine the effects on their productivity levels, comportment, packaging and overall production process.

When children are hungry, they will obviously lack energy to go to school, even if they do their assimilation level will suffer.

In many rural areas and some urban settings, agricultural knowledge and farming know-how are passed from parents to children, and of course as it is with oral tradition, it is either too padded or too shabby eventually leading to inefficiency.

What are the directions we should look at to ameliorate these challenges?

  1. Extension services, Vocational trainings and Internships

Youths should be engaged in vocational trainings and trainings like the AgroWealthminders Programme. Philanthropists should also look into the area of Agriculture when thinking of social impact and Community Development Services.

Extension services should be a two-way process. Input and Output.

On the input, EAs should attend capacity building seminars to advance their knowledge and subsequently volunteer to help other farmers attain higher levels of knowledge – this the output.

  1. Rebranding the field of Agriculture such that the discipline does not suffer the ignominy of discrimination from other favoured courses.

Specialised schools of Agriculture should be funded and monitored so that researches and extension services are carried out exactly the way they should be.

  1. ICTs: Young farmers should leverage on the power of Modern ICT tools like social networks, applications, websites, online Ads and Search engines. Information now spread in no time and failure to move with the tide may leave one stale.

Farm Management tools like Agrivi should be maximised. Trends on major agribusiness websites should be followed and provision of quality content on Agriculture may also be considered. This may lead to networking and a fast approach to attaining Authority status.

Although mobile devices are plentiful these days, the internet is not! PCs are still very much expensive and electricity is at a premium in some places. These are major challenges of ICT in rural these days.

  1. Open schools for youths and women
  2. On the job training
  3. Resource centres on Agriculture

To cap it all, I submit that quota system be introduced for gender issues in training programmes and research institutes. And just like what Mr Ayopo Somefun is doing with AgroWealthminders, incentives like feeding, accommodation and stipends should be provided at training camps for as many people with interest in Agriculture but devoid of experience.

Providing scholarships for deserving tertiary institution students and strengthening the capacities of institutions can only end up favouring all stakeholders.

I take a bow.

P.S.: If you are wondering what my field is really. I’ll tell you. I am a qualified Agricultural Economist, Farm Manager, Rural Sociologist, Schooled Extension Agent and Agricommunicator.

Now that you know, when next you need consultancy services in Agriculture or you know someone who needs, you can as well reach out to me.



So, yesterday I officially attained the second standard age of responsibility as it is with many other countries other than Nigeria and I celebrated that responsibility with RESPONSIBILITY.

Before now, I used to think that the tears on the face of Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and some others on their return to Stamford Bridge as footballers for other sides were just an attempt to play to the gallery since the phrase “emotional homecoming” has almost turned a cliché in the footballing circles these days.

But when tears dropped freely in my eyes in the afternoon of Tuesday, February 14 2017 as I joined the current crop of Briggs Gate Comprehensive College students in Ilupeju, Lagos to sing the school anthem, I knew indeed what the term ‘emotional homecoming’ was playing out and for real too.

I reached out for the back of my palms to mop the tears right there on the stage. I had spent about 14 years of my life in that school. More than half my age obviously and you should see why.

The maiden edition of the Azeez Okeyale Collegiate Essay Competition and Imperial Contemporary College Talk was a success at least at that level.

Much thanks to the co-convener – Sam Bada, our theme speaker – Chinenye Nzom, stand-in agrifacilitator – Emmanuel Israel, Logistics chief – Dayo Bada, Compere – Mc Ashafa, Ushers – MojolaOluwa Adeniyi, Oluwatosin Fayomi, Essay assessors – Patience Jehoiakim, Seyifunmi Adebote, Sponsors – Joshua Bolarinwa, Kehinde Jeremiah Bada, Daniel Akakabota, Paul Oyelaran, Babatunde Kareem, Victor Briggs, the management of the school – both line and staff and our dearly beloved participants.

We believe we can do this in some better fashion at some other time. Thanks again for your sacrifices!

Below is the welcome charge as delivered by Azeez Okeyale, a co-convener of the event.

Warm regards to everyone here and I must say I am very happy to be among you here once again. It’s like a homecoming for me. I really want to appreciate every faction that have worked together to make this day a reality and it is my prayer that the Almighty meets our earnest desires.

Mr Sam Bada is unavoidably absent and he sends his apologies. Circumstances beyond his control has so far hindered his presence. It may be however, that he joins us in the course of the programme. Thanks for coming around Miss Chinenye.

I know that I will be speaking the mind of Chinenye, Sam Bada and as many of our guests if I say that although we are not where we want to be, we are not where we used to be.

You see Miss Chinenye with a professional degree from the London Business School. You have heard about Mr Sam Bada with a diploma from Ireland, Joshua Bolarinwa as a fellow of the Association of Agricultural Economists in Africa and you are also aware I have an international standard leadership certificate from the West Africa Regional Leadership Centre, Accra in Ghana sponsored by the United States of America.

These are not magical. You can go even further if you determine to RISE and ACT on your dreams, your ideas.

If I decide to sample this audience and ask you all about your individual dreams when you slept last night. We will obviously have reactions. Why does he want to do that? What does he need that for?

Well, I’m obviously not going to that for time reasons but I am quite sure if I did, we will arrive at the following categories of people. I want you to listen carefully and evaluate yourself, know what category you fall in and what best you can do to improve.

  1. No dreamers: These people sleep and don’t dream. Don’t we have those kind of people here today who slept yester night and did not dream one bit? Away from sleep and to reality, these category covers those people who are lazy with life or are going through some emotional troubles. They consistently suffer from brain freeze, creativity block or are reminiscent of the lazy servant who refused to invest his master’s coin in Jesus’s parable. Are you not like that?
  2. Dream discarders: These people simply trash their dreams. They forget about it because they cannot remember the dots and pieces. Many of the people in this hall are like that. In reality, this people have ideas that come as a flash in the pan but because they are not attentive to their inner man enough and are not considerably meticulous on the outside, they let the million-dollar idea slip and they are back to square one
  3. Negative dreamers: These ones have nightmares and are you usually scared by it. They were probably having good times in the dream and something tragic happens to spoil all the fun. It’s most terrible of all. In reality, this exists too. They are the people who have the most achievable ideas but the fear of threat, cost implications, peer influence and parental questions are all over their mind and these lead them to think embarking on that idea can only give a bleak future. So, they are afraid to even take one step towards the realization of the good times they first saw in the dream. But this type of dream has two implications:
  • It either pushes the dreamer to defy the odds and be rewarded with a breakthrough or
  • It leads the dreamer to become afraid, demotivated and in the state of nothingness
  1. Lofty positive dreamers: These ones have the fantasy dreams of glorious future. Everything seems to be falling in place for them and life is almost a bed of roses. In reality, there is no utopia but then, this can happen. An idea may seem virgin, noble, achievable with requisite human and material resources readily available. As with the negative dreamers, there are two implications.
  • Dreamers becomes complacent, carefree as if everything were achieved already and failure strikes unrepentantly.
  • Dreamer becomes alive to the idea, motivated, eager and follows through to the end of the project

A quick solution to these likely samples.

If you belong to category one. Understand first this is the right time to start dreaming – your youthful age. Tomorrow may just be too late as you may have been phased out with developments (social and technological) duplicating geometrically by the day. Your time is your life, your life is your time. Don’t spend it, invest it – in reading profitable books, surfing the internet, hanging out with people that matter and soon you will find out that your barrenness with ideas will vanish and your horizons will expand. Good luck with that!

For the second category, work on your retentiveness! I suggest you read “MIND YOUR RECEPTACLE” by Azeez Okeyale. It is freely available on the internet simply by Google searching that topic with the names inclusive. Keep records, the faintest pen they say is sharper than the sharpest memory. Writing your dreams, ideas, goals down in a safe place will do you much good than harm. It will keep you in constant competition with yourself, it will check you and career your ways.

Category three should talk more to relevant people about their problems, perhaps a counsellor, a mentor. A problem shared is half solved. Who says your ideas can not work? The best of innovations today were the weirdest of ideas yesterday. See biogas fuel innovation for instance.

Harness the power of partnership, team work to ease creativity stress, to bear capital burden (losses and profits) and soon you will see that the dream is working. Keep trying even if you fail at it but employ discretion as to when to stop.

For the final category, seek mentorship as well, procure funding, WORK and attain relevance. The only secret to attainment is WORK like Antonio Conte (Chelsea coach as at the time of writing) will say.

Practically, everybody dreams at one point or the other. You, you and you but the difference in another ten years between Yusuf and Amos, Mojola and God’s grace will be in how they have stood up to fight for the achievement of their dreams. It is your decision to take.

Picture this, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode relays to you in your dream that when you wake, just walk down the road, you will find him waiting for you to hand you a parcel. Good news right?

A dream with a chance to turn real but with certain conditions.

Tell me, is there any chance of you knowing if there is any parcel if you never rise up from bed? The obvious answer in NO! The only way to effectively discard the dream is to still Rise and Check! That checking is the ACTION you need for every of your other ideas.

Today, I admonish you to RISE and act on that dream, idea of yours and by RISE I mean:

R – Realise: Where you are at the moment. Where you want to be in the nearest future. What you will do to get there. What are your strengths, weaknesses, risks and opportunities? Ask germane questions that will bubble your mind.

I – Initiate: Do something. Volunteer, apply for scholarships, learn a skill and market yourself.

S – Sever: Separate from bad influence. Remove bad habits – sleeping extremely late, gambling etc.

E – Endure: Even the Bible says all that will live godly shall suffer persecution, a Yoruba adage complements that by adding that ikoko to ba ma je ata, idi e gbona join join. The summary of both is that there is a price to pay for the prize, so you have to be ready for the challenges.

As I fall the curtain, I will like to correct one notion. I understand our spirituality and respect for religious leaders of our many faiths and of course I revere them too, but don’t be unreasonable. For all the talk by the pastor on the power of confession and the khutba of the Imam on the effectiveness of Khunfayakun especially in the absence of Alfansa AlMunkar, there is something they have forgot to tell us and that is there is a gap between saying something and achieving something.

This gap can ONLY be filled by doing, by acting!

So, my beloved brothers and sisters having sermonized all day, I will charge you to dream but after dreaming all you can, please RISE because it’s in your hands!

Happy Birthday to me.


Azeez Okeyale

A new year and so what?

2017 will spell good for you.
There is no gainsaying if I conclude that not everyone believes that the new year will spell well for them. If anything, they presume doom. They are probably asking – what’s the worth really … of the wish, of the new month, of the new year, of life?
Here is the good news, however.
Every second lived is worth the breath because the existence of the next breath gives a renewed chance to have a go at where you failed initially.
Take Roberts for instance.
Just a few years ago, Roberts had the requisite academic qualifications to comfortably head a plastic production company but he inevitably found himself at the lower rungs of the establishment, wining and dining with the gate-tenders owing to the terrible state of unemployment in the land.

Coupled with the ignominy of underutilization and lack of deserved recognition he daily faced, he was equally the beloved courier of the gaffer.

On one his many Tuesday deliveries at the gaffer’s office, he mistakenly dropped his wallet. A quick scan through the array of International Membership Cards left the “soon-to-retire” boss mouth agape.
He immediately arranged for a meeting with Roberts for Thursday just before he relinquished his leadership position at the weekend.

With the message duly delivered. Roberts allowed his frustration get to him with the thoughts that the demanding boss had lined up another exhausting task for him. Roberts feigned illness and never showed up on the due date only to discover upon resumption that the outgone boss had considered recommending him for a management role upon proper conversations with him.

His unavailability denied him any chance there was.
Roberts probably thought: “What’s the worth?” but he discovered he stopped one foot from gold, a little too late.
Be Smart. Don’t be like Roberts.
So, today I admonish you to weigh carefully your acts and decisions for in them lie the glory days you always dreamt of.
Living is worth it. The risk is worth it. Work is worth it and so is the sweet rest after labour.
Revel in the new month! Smash and grab this week… and 2017 too.



Indeed, these are trying times and may equally be the most enticing times to undertake “new ventures” in order to “hit it big” leveraging on the record sky-high Naira to Dollar exchange rate, compulsory time to balance the books, mandatory period of remaining the “bigger boy” or maintaining the “happening bae” status.

Likewise, it is the perfect time to recall I Timothy 6:9 that reads: But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

By being rich, here the Bible aptly refers to greed or love of money, which is totally different from riches or wealth in itself.

This is no “sink in poverty”, “don’t bother trying”, “pauperized holiness” message. It is a clarion call to watch our ‘engagements’, ‘ventures’ as we strive to find a ‘lifting-up’ where some others have faced a ‘casting-down’.

If you ask me, I’ll prefer to reach heaven the Abraham-esque way and not a la Lazarus. However, it is worth noting that Abraham accrued his wealth in legal ways possible. If he lived in this time of recession, I am quite sure he would do without cyber fraud – phishing, abduction, assaults, drugs, prevarication, bunkery, bribery or betting.

Lo, they that will unscrupulously long for wealth without ideals for morality, legality or eternity will fall into a snare that drowns men into perdition.

Be wise!


We probably haven’t shown enough love but you haven’t been miserly with yours constantly bringing 170 million Nigerians joy and laughter and making us proud to once again call ourselves NIGERIANS.




To thee we crawl

o! tender tide of Elegushi

to bath

and wash perhaps

this once our muse make tune


Your sons – the dons

wield asunder


no to parity


They tread on us with lips

and pens

like we share no good to beasts

and men

We turn fun skits in streets

and hood

Tears we drip

when cripple… they blab


Hit at us like flakes in sacks

‘blind and dumb’

they spot and point

not a mite of their thought

we worth

still the flag in pains we bear

and golds unsoiled for all we win


O! Mama Elegushi

rest not this time

Wash us till snow we turn!

Heal them of stigma

of neglect, of assault

and us too

of weening and whining


Bath us! o! bath us

till no man disbelief our strength

and all men see clearly

ability in disability!


Dedicated to the Team NIGERIA delegates at the Rio 2016 Paralympics doing themselves, their families and the nation proud!

Voicing the words of thousand voiceless Nigerian People Living with Disabilities.

We probably haven’t shown enough love but you haven’t been miserly with yours constantly bringing 170 million Nigerians joy and laughter and making us proud to once again call ourselves NIGERIANS.




The Nigerian education system is at the nadir for the umpteenth time. Now and again, changes in baton at various offices and parastatal have flattered to deceive even the frankest and pessimists of Nigerians.

Are we back to the zero point? Whatever or whoever is the root cause is not the bone of contention, rather what we hope to drive home is the fact that the system, the academia is in a dire state of health, gasping for breath with all the strength it can muster and if urgent steps are not taken to meander, and avert the foreseen cardiac arrest, Nigeria might be forced to witness a reaction of sort along with the death of the ailing system as the depth of patience of students may have been exhausted after these series of tests.

Just few weeks ago, it was the University of Ibadan resuming after a seven-week long student-management face-off.

Days after, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka kicked into gear internal industrial action at the expense of the students.

In the middle of the above was the outcry of students from Niger-Delta University, Bayelsa pleading for their school to reopen after months on the sidelines with negotiations failing to reach break-even.

Also a certain Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta that her administration has decided to put the hands of ‘postponement’ into paper, deferring anything that can be deferred. Only God knows how long and how much the FUNAAB contract with ‘postponement’ is worth.

And while we are yet sulking, the news that the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) strike action as of yet has not been called off filtered in.

When six years of the life of a student is expended for a four-year programme, it leads one to ask how long we will continue like this?

In light of this, Azeez Okeyale of Naija CampusVibes, FUNAAB in solidarity with the Association of Campus Journalists, OAU joins hands with the entire student body on your renewed call for the reopening of your esteemed Ivory Tower.

We enjoin every influential stakeholder to take a look into this and help in the realization of our plea to #ReOpenOAU

Pending this realization, I urge every well-meaning and concerned student to join the online campaign aimed at reopening the gates of OAU with the hashtag #ReOpenOAU on Twitter and Facebook.

Remember, an injury to one is an injury to all.

Azeez Okeyale
Naija CampusVibes, FUNAAB.


Shobande Matthew Damilola celebrated his birthday and guess where he chose to do that…

At the Stephen’s Children Home in Abeokuta.

It was and it still remains a privilege to be called upon to deliver the theme lecture at the official launching of his social service setup – MATTYDAMMY FOUNDATION.

Talking to the lads and lasses – mostly Internally Displaced People, aftermath of the Boko Haram insurgencies in the North East and orphans – on the need to RISE, because it is in their hands to do so is an opportunity so great to inspire these young ones who may have lost all drive there is.

Below is the theme lecture in full as delievered by Azeez Okeyale on the occasion of Shobande Matthew’s birthday and the launch of his foundation on the 3rd day of June, 2016 at the Stephen’s Children Home in Abeokuta.


Good afternoon distinguished ladies and gentlemen.

I love to call you distinguished because I belong to a school of thought that believe strongly that we all – regardless of our religion, ethnicity, social status, state of health or financial background – have a unique ability deposited in us by the Most High to stand us out from the crowd.

So, today I congratulate you for being here and more so I like to appreciate the chief facilitator of this social service setup – Future Goal Foundation, Mr. Matthew Shobande for heeding the call to create a better world. I also say a very big well done to the Organizing Committee for putting together this platform. I very much value this opportunity to deliver the keynote address at this gathering. I can only hope and pray for more of God’s amazing grace on you all.

Today is not the day for us to sulk about what we have done wrong in the past or analyze what could have been. Rather, we have come here today to dialogue on how the doer of deeds – you and I – can do better, while making use of our very much limited available resources to benefit ourselves and the society at large.

To start with, I want to tell you a story of a young lady.

Eight years ago, this lady was playing street football at the school field of the Bishop Aggey Memorial Grammar School in Mushin, Lagos. If you are conversant with the news and the map of Lagos, you would know that Mushin can be attributed with tenacity, youthful vigour, strength, energy but most usually directed to the wrong places, rioting, hooliganism and every negative qualification available.

A year later in 2009, she was playing local football somewhere in the Nigeria with amateur side FC ROBO. In 2013, she joined Rivers Angels of the Nigeria Female Professional League.


In 2014, this lady starred for Nigeria at the under-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada winning the Most Valuable Player award for performances related to the tournament.

That same year, she won the CAF African Women’s Footballer of the Year award.

A year later in 2015, she led the line as the Senior Women national team of Nigeria filed out at the Senior World Cup in Canada, stealing the show with glimpses of her ability on and off the ball.

In 2015, her tenacity, doggedness and diligence paid off as she attracted international interest and she signed for the Liverpool FC ladies becoming the first full-blooded female African to play in the feminine version of the English Premier League called the FA Women Super League.


Her exploits at home and abroad confirmed her as the inaugural winner of BBC Women’s World Footballer of the year award sometimes in March, 2015.

After a series of electric performances, another legendary team in Arsenal ladies FC snapped her off the books of Liverpool Ladies and today she does business with Arsenal ladies FC as their first choice striker.


She is Asisat Oshoala. She went from the doldrums and ghetto of Mushin to North London.


You can do that too. Conceive and achieve. From Abeokuta to the rest of the world.

It’s in your hands to conceive. It’s in your hands to achieve. It’s in your hands to deliver the solutions that the world so much crave. It’s in your hand to provide a better future for yourself and generation unborn. It is in your hands, so RISE.

Many things I admire about Mr Matthew, what I admire most however is his reasoning ability.

Consider this analogy from one of his works, he posited that when we look at an egg, we see three major components: The skull, The albumen and The yolk.

The shell represents your environment, the albumen is you and the yolk represents the potentials you are born with to achieve the purpose for your life. The shell provides a good atmosphere for the albumen to develop into an embryo and then, a new life.  The yolk serves as food for the embryo throughout the developmental stage. Now, just as the yolk is in the albumen, the same way your potential is in your hands and your life is in your hands too, so rise!

We have seen the example of Asisat and there are several other people like that too, she never allowed her environment or potentials to be hinder her from achieving her set goals.

Every man is born with a purpose to achieve in life. You are born to solve a problem, fill a vacuum and write a new story. Everyone is a world changer and everything you need to achieve these are within you. For you are born with gifts, potentials, and talents, skills and innovative ideas which are enough to fulfil your purpose and make the world a better place.

Open your hands and look closely into your palms. In your palms are written some coded information, the map to reach the better future, that is, the key to achieve your purpose. Unlike a roadmap, the lines in your hands are ACTION MAP/PLAN which means all you need to get to top is there written in your hands. A man who sits without finding a thing to do, is like a traveler who sets out on a journey without his travelling map. Stand up and get to work.


Nothing will be possible if you fail to ‘RISE’ and ‘ACT’. Therefore, it is necessary that you rise up to DREAM and WORK towards a BETTER FUTURE, because, you have everything you need. A Yoruba proverb says; “atelewo eni kii tani-ije”, which means your hands will never deceive you. Therefore, whatever you do with your hands diligently will surely yield a good result.

If the albumen (embryo) fails to make use of the yolk; it will fail to develop and die. In the same vein, if you fail to make good use of skills, potentials, talents and everything in your hands, you will not grow; and a life that fails to grow will die, that is, failure to achieve its purpose in life.

God is not a magician. Forget the spiritual motivations of confessions and professions. Since Adam, there remains a void between conceptualisation and actualisation that mere confessions have failed to fill. Something is only ever achieved because someone chose to rise and act.

So, what does it mean to RISE?


R means Realize

What does it mean to realize? It is the conscious evaluation of where you are at the moment. If indeed we really want to make progress, it’s high time we became sincere with ourselves asking questions like:

  • Where do I see myself in the next ten years?
  • How far am I from where I want to be?
  • What will I do to get to that position?
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • What opportunities and/or threats abound?

You should at this point know what your strengths are, what you can do, what you do exceptionally well and what you enjoy doing.

You should likewise know what your weaknesses are, what you cannot do well, what you do too much/to a fault, what impedes your free flow, what gets on your nerve etc.

What to do?

Develop your strength always. Assume you write, you only become a better writer by writing frequently and assessing them. Assume you sing, whenever the inspirations come, endeavour to get a note to pen those lyrics and when possible, do some audio recording.

Improve your weaknesses. If your bane is studying, you read a bit and you are tired. Start small, probably with 30 minutes at a stretch, then to 45 minutes and on and on. You will discover in no time that your strengths will take you up there, that is open opportunities for you and improving upon your weaknesses will keep you up there.

I stands for Initiate

Leave that comfort zone. Pick up that no-pay job. That opportunity to learn a skill. Apply for scholarships. Let people know your strength. Convince people of your ability and let them bring challenges to you. One thing about telling people of your ability is that it brings about efficiency as such tasks are knit with deadlines as such you become more proficient at what you do.

S stands for Sever

To sever is to separate. To remove. There are certain decisions you need to take. Friends you need to unfriend. Ideas you need to unlearn, attitudes you need to change if indeed you want to unlock your full potential and rise to the highest.

E represents Endure

It’s not to scare you. Even the Bible says all that will live godly shall suffer persecution. A Yoruba adage corroborates that by saying, ikoko to ma je ata, idi a gbona. Although, it’s not always, but most of the time. You need to be tenacious, develop your strength of character. Know it adversities, oppositions will come, at first people might not believe in what you stand for, in your dreams but know it that if you endure just a little more, flourish is about the next bend.

Everybody dreams, even the lazy man does. But the difference between the super achievers and the under achievers is in their perspectives in following their dreams. One waits for the dream to unfold or unravel, the other sets out to unravel and demystify the dream. My dear brothers and sisters, dare to dream because it’s in your hands… and after dreaming all you can, remember to please RISE!



“The thing which hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done; and there is no new thing under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 1:9

When King Solomon scribbled the above lines by divine inspiration, he definitely must have pictured our generation, the previous generation and the ones to come in his sound and intellectual mind.


How fitting it is that the advice to take seeming novelties, trends, “unparalleled achievements”, “distinguishing wealth” et al like we would a pinch of salt comes from the “Wisest man that ever lived”. How defiant can we still be?

To draw a line, the old sage did not mean we should disregard innovations, technological advancements, discoveries and postulates as we find them in abundance today. Neither did he advocate that we throw to bin the genuine groundbreaking and breathtaking ideas we conceive. What he maintains however is that regardless of how brainy that idea may seem, be sure there are one hundred and one people to have thought it over before you came to being, there are one thousand and one people with that same idea presently and there one million and one persons that will improve upon that proposition long after you are gone.

It goes beyond ideas alone; it cuts across finance, talents, networks etc. in our possession.

So take things easy and tread softly, some have fallen for not taking heed!


“Today’s better was yesterday’s best and today’s better is as good as “good” only for tomorrow.” – Azeez Okeyale (2016)

The wealth, fashion, war strategies, dogmas of this world pass away, reinventing themselves in similar or diverse versions year(s) after. Care is paramount in a bid not to be swept away by these ephemeral yet recurring phenomena.

Make no mistake, this is not to promote the Theory X attributes as McGregor puts it in his theory of administration in 1960, neither is it to discredit high achievers nor dissuade us from reveling in our moments of breakthroughs. It is a charge for us to employ the right attitudes and dispositions towards landmarks in scientific field, development in social sphere and accomplishments in personal life.

Remember; “… vanity of vanities, all is vanity” – The Preacher.

Azeez Okeyale

Azeez Akorede was born in Lagos more than two decades ago to the family of Okeyale.

Azeez is by academic qualification an Agricultural Economist and Farm Manager, and by passion a Communications Coach and teacher. A patriotic Nigerian and Nation-builder to the core, he’s also a keen observer and commentator on social and political events in Nigeria.

OKEYALE, Azeez Akorede is a not-to-be-intimidated optimist and non-conformist. He supports the Super Eagles of Nigeria passionately and follows the Pensioners of English football, Chelsea unwaveringly.