Wednesday, August 29, 2007


As I read through my bible this morning I came across the meaning of true love. And I asked myself "in the Nigeria we live in today, can we draw strength from love?" I can only but see that we tend to embrace modernity, civilization and imported culture coupled with a barrage of misunderstood antecedents which we found ourselves evolved from.

Modernity, Civilization and imported culture says better roads, power supply, food, employment, health, transparency, leadership by example, active participation in positive initiatiives, good and standardized education, law and order, applicable technologies, progressive cultural exchange. Not brand-new flashy cars bought from stolen money on bad roads, Not power supply to only a certain class (elites) and expensive power-generating sets, Not importation of adulterated foods and drugs, Not bribing to get employed nor getting employed by godfatherism instead of by merit and experience, Not providing health care facilities that are far from the reach of the common man, Not rolling about in tinted vehicles and claiming busy schedules while lavishing time and money., Not "do what i say and dont mind what i do". Not creating initiatives with an ulterior motive of decieving to achieve selfish goals. Not education by bribing and cheating ones way through school. Not being lawless and knowing ways you can get away with it.

We as Nigerians cannot be quick to compare ourselves with others but not quick to identify the shortcomings in this fast-paced modern world we dwell in. In identifying the shortcomings, only then would we be able to incline our minds to positively directed changes. Lets approach development and change with a different attitude. An attitude of honest disposition to the long thrust of making Nigeria the Nigeria of our dreams; embedded in our hearts; seen in our faces especially when we come together on rare ocassions like a football match. It is an attitude of love for one another. The effect can only be imagined.

Talking about imaginations, I look at a new born child and imagine how the choices I make today will affect the child's tomorrow (destiny). I look at a labourer out in the sun and imagine what happens to him and his many children when the sinews of his bone become weak. For a meagre N700 daily pay he toils and toils, goes back to a home you cant really call a home, manages to feed his wife and kids and setting out the next morning for the same routine for the sake of his love for his wife and children. I look at the Nigeria of today and imagine what i would be like if we all operate in love for the Nigeria of tomorrow i.e. if we can see that through the eyes of the unborn.

Think about it. When modernization, civilization, imported culture and every other thing fail, can we draw strength from love. We can if we create our own modernity, civilization and have a strong sense of cultural belonging. Not destroy, but preserve and create.

I'll leave you with this portion of the Bible:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, [1] but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
[2] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What better way to capture the moment than this?

The first prize winning photo in the Spot News Singles category of the 2007 World Press Photo Contest, by Reuters photographer Akintunde Akinleye, shows a man rinsing soot from his face after a gas pipeline explosion in Lagos, Nigeria December 26, 2006. The prize-winning entries were announced on February 9, 2007.

A Nigerian man rinses soot from his face at the scene of a petroleum gas pipelineexplosion near Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, Tuesday, December 26, 2006.

A ruptured petroleum pipeline burst into flames while scavengers were collectingfuel from the underground pipeline punctured overnight by an armed gang whosiphoned fuel into road tankers, leaving behind a stream of stray petroleumgasoline for hundreds of resident scavengers. The Red Cross said the fire killedat least 269 people and injured dozens that were trapped and burnt on the groundnext to a ramshackle automobile workshop and a saw-mill in the densely populateddistrict of Abule-Egba, an outskirt of Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos.
Nigeria, Africa oil giant, is the eight largest producer of crude oil in theworld and its earnings soared by the rise in the world market, allowing it tobuild up to 40 billion US Dollars by the end of 2006; but it is also one of theworld poorest countries with a large number of its 140 million people enduringextreme poverty amid widespread graft that makes a handful of people wealthy.This inequality motivates those who sabotage oil pipelines and the villagers whopilfer the fuel for sale in the black market where it is sold three-fold.
While the response of the emergency fire service equipped with leaking water hosesdelayed, other villagers assisted in using water collected in buckets, to subduethe fire that lasted four hours.

Akintunde Akinleye Reuters, Lagos, Nigeria.

Akintunde Akinleye (36), Nigeria, started in photography at high school, later graduating with a Bachelor of Education degree in Social Studies from Ondo State University. He enrolled at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, for a post-graduate diploma in Journalism in 1999, and in 2003 completed a master's degree in educational technology at the University of Lagos. Later in 2003 he was employed as a staff photographer on Nigeria's Daily Independent, moving on to a job at Reuters in 2005. He has had work published in such newspapers as such as The Washington Post, International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In 2005 Akintunde was a participant of the first photojournalism course organized by World Press Photo in cooperation with the Nigerian Institute for Journalism. In January 2007, he had a solo exhibition at the gallery of the School of Art, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. See Akintunde Akinleye talk about his work. Click here to start the flash film