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Courtship Via Social Media Networks: An Emerging Phenomenon



These days, social media networks are fast providing new platforms for courtships between persons seeking love.

More prospective lovers now find it convenient to sit back in the comfort of their homes and offices to make indirect contacts and search for lovers via the social media networks, some of which are Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, 2go and Twitter.

“So tempting is the new trend that one can just lie in bed and fall in love. Wow!” says Bobby, who is in his 20s.

Observers note that the emerging phenomenon contrasts sharply with the past when it was ludicrous to “toast” a complete stranger — one you never met before — on love matters via the cell phone and the social media sites.

In many traditional societies in Nigeria, such acts amount to taboos and indeed anathema, by reason of their value systems, social and religious sensibilities.

The reality, however, is that things have changed and Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind the rest of the world in modern trends in Information Technology (IT).

Some Nigerians of various shades and professions have shared different perspectives on the emerging phenomenon of dating via the social media.

For Mr Segun Bello, a 33-year-old estate agent in Garki, Abuja, the introduction of social networking sites gives a new hope regarding love life.

This is because, for many years before he finally succumbed to the attractions and benefits of ‘2go’, Bello found it difficult to attract and socialise with singles of the opposite sex.

He recalls that he was hardly able to construct a romantic sentence in front of a lady and this made him ashamed of himself for “being too shy and quiet”.

“At times, I cursed myself for being the way I was; I had thought that my quiet and shy nature would have been of advantage to me then.

“I never knew I was so quiet and shy until ladies started running away from me, claiming that I was ‘too boring and not bold’.

“I thought of ‘blind-dating’ but it still did not work out and pressure kept mounting on me to look for a life partner to settle down with.”

Bello further recalls that he felt broken-hearted to the extent of wanting to die due to frustration and loneliness until a friend introduced him to the ‘2go’ social network site.

“I was sceptical about it at first but when I started using the site, I found out that I was more relaxed, composed and bolder in interactions with the opposite sex.

“Thereafter, I was no longer shy and I could say whatever I wanted to a woman; that was how I met and won the love of Remi — the love of my life,’’ says Bello beaming with pleasure.

Bello’s reasons for using the social network may be different from those of many others afterall!

For Kehinde Jibril, an applicant in Gwagwalada, a suburb of Abuja, her physical challenge prompted her to try her luck on ‘Facebook’, another social network site, for a heart throb.

She had lost faith in “direct-contact” courtship when she realised that no one wanted to appreciate and accept her physical challenge.

She recalls that whenever she explained her condition to her dates, they always tried to avoid her.

“Whenever I met a guy and explained to him how I got injured in an okada accident that I can’t now walk very well like before, it was as if I heaped a huge burden on the guy and he just would never come back to me. They would all `run’ away.

“It happened so many times; I felt very terrible at first but decided to move on with my life and never sought love again till I heard about ‘Facebook’ and how two people can meet and be friends from any part of the world without even meeting or seeing each other.

“So, I tried it and luck came my way when I met a guy online, who understood my plight, appreciated me and my physical condition. I thought there was no man for me but I was wrong.

“Mr Isaac  is from Ekiti State is his name and today we are engaged ‘on-line’; we have met once and there is the prospect of our getting married soon,” Jibril says.

Observers say that social media dating also has its seamy sides as some “on-line predators” do take advantage of it to swindle unsuspecting victims.

Mr Ojo Busuyi, an Abuja-based businessman, says he is averse to “Internet-dating” largely because of his sad personal experience.

“It would have been better if Internet dating was never there. I have tried it many times. “Whenever I met someone I liked, we started communicating but I always noticed that there was always some dark secret or something sinister about that person, very different from what she claims.

“I have eventually met some face-to-face but they turned out to be very different from the pictures they pasted on their web pages. It’s mostly deceit, as some pretend to love you only to try and get money from you.

“Sometimes, I give and sometimes, I refuse; and as soon as they get tired of me, they dump me and stop corresponding with me. Kai! I never knew our girls also engage in ‘yahoo-yahoo’. Now, I am scared of any girl I meet online,’’ he moans.

Miss Comfort Ekene responds to these drawbacks, insisting that even in real life relationships, deceits and frauds do exist.

“Though dangers do exist online, they also exists in the real life but it is always wise to proceed with caution when online becomes the option for courtship. I am more or less now a veteran in the game. I back out of any online relationship once I get suspicious.”

Broadly speaking, however, communications experts say that social networking sites are meant to connect strangers based on shared interests as political views and other activities.

“It is all something of an ‘on-line community’, where anyone can chat with anybody in any part of the world once you log into a particular site, depending on your areas of interest,” says Michael Danjuma.

Social networking dates back to 1997 when “”, a social networking site came onboard. Since then, the number of such websites has increased just as their interests have varied.

Today, social network sites have become a global phenomenon and are getting more attractive by the day, by reason of new packages and opportunities on the net.

Wale Babs, an architect, says that networking sites are fast becoming a necessity in the minds of many singles.

“Most people don’t want to go out again. They just meet on these sites and end up as couples, period.’’

Mr Bode Allen, the manager of a cyber café in Wuse, Abuja, expresses the viewpoint that there is nothing wrong or vulgar about courtships via social network sites.

“I don’t think there is anything wrong with the idea of courting someone via the internet; it’s almost the same thing as physically going out to search for someone you like and whom you would want to spend your life with.”

Allen, nonetheless, concedes that there are some challenges with the use of the social sites, especially with the growing activities of fraudsters.

“Yes, these sites were made to reconnect people and create avenues for social and business interactions among people who share similar interests,” he says, adding: “Dating is one of the interests but ironically, the sites are also deployed by dubious persons for nefarious purposes.’’

While it is true that a healthy and lasting relationship may require more than a social network platform to thrive, it is also a statement of fact that social networking could also consolidate, or at least serve as starting point for relationships.

For the vast majority of Nigerian youths, however, social networking sites are the in-thing and they have become part of their daily existence, the drawbacks and risks notwithstanding.

Some members of the older generation have also been caught up in the web of socialisation via social media networks and twitter and facebook have been ready options.

With the rising popularity of social media networks in the country, the innovative phenomenon of online courtships will certainly remain with us for quite some time.

Yetunde Bada writes for NAN


Yetunde Bada

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What Do Nigerians Expect In 2022?



As the year 2021 was winding up with all its ups and downs, it was natural for people to state some of their expectations in the coming year, 2022. And what are some of these prospects?
Joseph Omeje, is an economist and lecturer with the Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT). He believes that human beings are usually very optimistic. Hear him: Yes, the economy of the country and globally is very bad but I expect that 2022 will be better than 2021 only that we have to plead with the political leaders to play the game of electioneering very gently. Let there be human face in whatever they are doing. We wouldn’t like to hear that the youths are being used to kill or to commit all evil in a bid for some people to realise their political ambitions. Our leaders should do their best so that we do not incur much human losses anymore. We have suffered a lot in the hands of these religious extremists and those who are pursuing their personal goals.
Economically, Nigeria will do better once there is security. The insecurity problem in the country is something that government can tackle if they want. Once the security situation in the country is improved so as to allow farmers go back to their farms and Nigerians go about their businesses freely, then the nation wouldn’t be as bad as it was in the last year. Government should dialogue with agitating groups. Whatever is the problem let them discuss it so that there will be peace in the country. When there is peace, the economy will improve. I believe that political solution is much better than judicial solution.
I also expect that government should take a second look at the idea of giving out money in the name of allowances. What is N5000.00 for a household or even an individual in a month? Instead of all these handouts, government should create an environment where people can get employment. When we were growing up I know that some states had stakes in businesses. In my own state, Enugu, we had cashew industry, aluminium roofing sheet industry and all that. All these are moribund now. If all these can be revived and new ones added, you will see that there will be a lot of jobs. And once you have job opportunities for the youth, you will see that even the problem of insecurity will reduce and per capita income will increase and the economy will improve.
It is also my expectation that the excessive borrowings will stop. We have borrowed enough. It’s true that no country can do without borrowing but when we keep borrowing and we are not putting it into real investment portfolio or productive sector so that it helps the economy to grow, then there is a big problem. And how do we intend to pay back these loans? We heard what happened in Uganda recently. The Chinese government has taken over the only international airport they have because of their indebtedness to China. What if the same thing should happen to Nigeria?
For Mrs Dorathy Mayford, a civil servant, the experiences of the previous years have taught her not to have any expectations from the government, the society or individuals as doing so affects her health negatively. “I have learned that the best way to live is without having any expectations from life. Expecting good from our leaders in Nigeria will end up getting you disappointed. For some years now workers in the state and the nation have expected that their salaries will be increased to enable them cope with the prevailing harsh economic realities in the country. Civil servants in the state have expected that they will be promoted but these expectations were never met.  So, I have decided that in order to stay healthy and happy, I will not expect anything. I only put my trust and hope in God because only He will not disappoint or fail me.”
A technician, Mr Malachy Amadi, expects that there will be plenty of money in circulation in the country in 2022. In his words, “2022 is a year preceding an election year. It will be a period of campaigns and the politicians will bring out all the money they have been stealing from government’s coffers and saving. So, there will be a lot of money in circulation and that will make life better and easier for the masses.”
Joel Ogwuche, a stock broker, projects that Nigeria will be a better society, a well-planned environment where people can begin to make plans for the future. “As it is, presently, nobody can plan for tomorrow in this country because of several policy summersaults. Those in authority change the existing policies at any time and introduce new ones without even notifying the citizens. Nobody can make a sustainable plan in this type of environment. So, I expect that in the coming year, our leaders will begin to do the right thing for the benefit of the entire citizens and not for a few individuals”, he said.
Miss Grace Moses, a housekeeper, is of the hope that in 2022, security would be a major concern for those in the authority both at the federal and state levels. Grace, an indigene of Kaduna State, working in Port Harcourt, narrated that many people from her state have been forced out of their state and into other major cities around the country where they engage in all kinds of menial jobs to survive. According to her, the prices of food and other commodities are rising daily in the country because farmers have been driven away from villages by Boko Haram militants disguised as Fulani herdsmen and other criminals. She, therefore, expects that in 2022, the problem of insecurity will be given a sincere, adequate attention so that people can go back to their villages.
Jake Baridon, a legal practitioner expects the national and state assemblies to be on the side of the masses and make laws that will benefit the generality of the people instead of being “rubber stamps”. He continued, “I personally will expect the National Assembly to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on electoral bill. The bill, as far as I know, represents the desire of the electorates in the country and it is wrong of Mr President with withhold his assent for the second time for some flimsy reasons. The year 2020 should be a period for us to start seeing vibrant law making, practical separation of power and checks and balances in our nation. These people have been dormant for a long time and it is high time they showed that they can not only bark but that they can also bite.”
He also expects the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government, the police, the EFCC and others bodies to play their respective roles in fighting corruption in Nigeria, adding that the high rate of corruption in the country is disturbing and if nothing is done to check it, the future of the country will be very bleak.
Arinola Moyo, a youth corps member, says she wants to see true leadership in the country, especially at the federal level. In her words: it’s been as if we don’t have a true leader since the current government came on board. Every time you hear the Presidency said this, the Attorney General of the Federation said that, Lai Mohammed said that. You hardly hear from the President, making it seem as if these people are the ones ruling the nation. So, I want to see more effective leadership in the country.
“Government should also do something about the high unemployment rate in the country. Thousands of graduates come out from schools every year without jobs for them. That is why some of them join Internet fraudsters and other bad gangs.
“I also expect federal and state governments to implement the recommendations of the various judicial panels on #EndSARS. This issue is so delicate to be swept under the carpet.” Moyo said.
Christian Chidi is a businessman. He expects that with the issue of COVID-19 being curtailed, life will come back to the business sector in the country. According to him, since the advent of the pandemic two years ago, business has been dull with many oil companies working from home and many private companies folding up.
A housewife, Lady Pep Iroh, is projecting that, come year 2022, adequate attention will be paid to the problem of soot in Port Harcourt which she alleges is causing serious health issues for the residents of the city.
Pastor Godswill Abalagha envisions that the grace of God will be abundant for the nation and the citizens in 2022 to help see them through all difficulties and challenges. He, however, advised Nigerians to turn away from their wicked ways, including stealing government’s money, shedding of blood, kidnapping, corrupt practices and rather seek the face of God.

By: Calista Ezeaku

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…Creates Two New Offices In Govt House



The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has announced the creation of two new executive offices to guarantee efficiency and effectiveness of activities at the Government House, in Port Harcourt.
The governor’s action was made known in a statement signed by the Special Assistant on Media to the Rivers State Governor, Kelvin Ebiri in Government House, Port Harcourt, last Monday.
The terse statement reads, “To ensure activities are functioning efficiently and effectively, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has announced the creation of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt.
“The Deputy Chief of Staff will be in charge of the Logistics, Correspondence of the Governor and Legal Matters.
“Similarly, he has also announced the creation of the Office of the Special Adviser on Aviation”.

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Accelerating Gender Parity In Nigeria



In virtually all societies, women are in an inferior position to men. Sex or gender determines  more rights and dignity for men in legal, social and cultural situations, These are reflected on unequal access to or enjoyment of rights in favour of men.
There are also the assumption of stereotype social and cultural roles.
In Nigeria, gender inequality has been for decades in spite of modernization and the fact that many females have done better than men in many spheres.
Analysts are convinced that gender inequality is largely influenced by religious and cultural beliefs, as some cultures and religions still hold strongly that women are the weaker vessels created mainly to be home keepers and child bearers.
Analysts are also worried that gender inequality negatively affects status in all areas of life in society, whether public or private, in the family or labour market.
Although the Global Gender Gap Report 2018 by the World Economic Forum (WEF) shows some progress amongst the 149 countries that were indexed, the progress toward closing the gender gap is slow, because it will take 108 years to close the gender gap and another 202 years to achieve parity in the workforce, according to the report.
The report benchmarks the 149 countries on their progress toward gender parity across four dimensions – economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.
A number of initiatives have been made by corporate organisations and governmental and non-governmental organisations  to address gender imbalance in Nigeria.
One of the latest is the launch of First Women Network  (FWN) by the First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., in commemoration of the 2019 International Women’s Day (IWD).
IWD is celebrated globally every March 8 to recognise social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
The celebration is also a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
The global theme for the 2019 celebration is “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” while the theme for the social media campaign is “#BalanceforBetter”.
According to the bank, the FWN initiative is an avenue for career management and mentoring for women to enable them to balance their career with private endeavours.
The aim,  according to the bank, is to address gender gap and increase women representation in its senior and executive levels, as well as encourage women to tap into opportunities and contribute to nation-building.
The bank’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Adesola Adeduntan,  explains that First Women Network is targeted at the banks’ staff and customers, among others.
He believes that women can achieve more if given the necessary strategic support, hoping that the initiative
will increase the bank’s productivity and profitability.
Adeduntan notes that the initiative is  also a demonstration of First Bank’s adherence to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Sustainable Development Goals which mandate increased women representation in all banks.
The sustainable goals require that the financial services sector should adopt a quota system to increase women representation on boards to 30 per cent and that of senior management level to 40 per cent by 2014.
Adeduntan is optimistic that the FWN will address six key area –  career management, personal branding, mentoring, welfare, financial planning and empowerment.
He is convinced that the initiative will address gender disparity at the workplace.
“It is commonly agreed that gender parity is an essential factor influencing the advancement of institutions, economies and societies.
“Studies have shown that gender parity in corporations promotes increased performance and returns on investment.
“The need to invest in composite women empowerment and enhance their contributions at senior management levels to achieve organisational goals cannot be over-emphasised,” the CEO says.
For him,  it is paradoxical that the presence of women in paid employments continues to increase, yet the progression of professional women to positions of leadership and management remains slow.
“Gender gaps persist in economic opportunities and political participation in many countries.
“This is part of the reasons for this women network initiative,” he notes.
The chief executive officer wants employers of labour and the entire society to encourage women to advance, excel and contribute optimally in  workplaces and communities.
Mr Abiodun  Famuyiwa, group head, Products and Marketing Support, promises that First Bank  will continue to promote female entrepreneurship for national growth and development.
“We recognise that promoting female entrepreneurship and independence is key to economic viability of every home in the country,” he says.
 According to him, FWN is a further demonstration of the bank’s commitment to women empowerment after the launch  of FirstGem in 2016.
He is satisfied that FirstGem is providing opportunities for women to achieve their financial goals and aspirations through with access to support funds, free business advice, specialised trainings on business development and insight on business development.
For Mr Lampe Omoyele, managing director, Nitro 121, an integrated marketing communications agency,  points out that courage is important in addressing gender imbalance.
“For gender imbalance to be resolved, there has to be courage, vision, values and character,” he says.
He is convinced that women should  have courage and confidence in taking risks within  organisations.
Omoyele advises that women must not play the victims.
“Ultimately, whether you are a female or male, what is going to sustain you is your character and values.
“You need to have values; character is important in the balance that we live to, and it sustains you as you move into the future,” he adds.
The Chief Executive Officer,  Standard  Chartered Bank, Mrs Bola Adesola, wants women to take advantage of FWN to make their lives better.
 She urges women to aspire to grow in their endeavours and refuse be limited because of their gender, stressing that they should use all resources at their disposal to grow.
 For the bank chief, FWN is not a silver bullet to creating the first female chief executive officer of First Bank, but  about opportunity.
“So, it is important that as women, we take advantage of it,” she urges.
 Ms Cecilia Akintomide, independent non-executive director, FBN Holdings Plc, is dissatisfied that Nigeria is still far in gender balancing.
Akintomide says Nigerian  women are still being restricted from working in some places and owning some property.
According to her, restrictions are rendering 50 per cent of Nigeria’s population –  mainly women –  economically unviable.
 A First Bank customer,  Mrs Ifeyinwa Okoye, lauds the FWN, and urges the bank to ensure that its customers – the secondary target of FWN –  benefit from it.
Okoye describes women as critical to economic growth and development but regrets that many women were lagging behind in their endeavours because of gender inequality.
She wants the banks to enlighten its customers on FWN for maximum results.
 “If you empower a woman, you empower a nation.
“Empowering women is especially effective because the benefits are felt throughout the whole community,” she argues.
Analysts call for more strategic support for Nigerian women to  enhance gender parity.

By: Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma
Joel-Nwokeoma is of the News Agency of Nigeria.

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