Parenting: How To Handle Toxic Friends 

I have worked with a lot of children and teens with behavior problems over the years—and believe me, very few of their parents liked their friends. It’s like the national anthem of parents: “It’s not my child; it’s those kids he hangs out with!” When I hear that, I always say, “Maybe that’s so, but the reason he hangs out with that group is because he’s similar to them. And just like you’re saying, ‘It’s those other kids he hangs out with,’ those other kids’ parents are saying it’s yourkid who’s the problem.”


The old axiom is true, birds of a feather do flock together—and that’s especially accurate in adolescence. In fact, one of the main needs of their particular developmental level is to belong to a group and be accepted. That’s why teenagers are always so worried about how they look and act. And once they find a mode of dress, a type of music and a group of kids who accept them, it’s very hard for parents to break through.

The first thing you have to realize is that you can’t pick your child’s friends. In fact, if you criticize their friends, you will see them react very strongly. That’s because they’re developmentally bound to defend their chosen peer group. When kids enter adolescence, they employ a way of looking at the world in which their friends are more important than anybody else. You’ll often hear them say, “You just don’t understand.” And another part of that mindset is, “Nobody understands me but my friends.” So if you criticize or attack their friends, you’re really just making the relationship stronger. And no matter how you feel about your child’s friends, I don’t believe this direct kind of attack is effective. In fact, there are kids who like the fact that their parents don’t approve of their friends; it adds to the flavor of the relationship. Understand that while your goal as a parent is to keep your child protected and safe, your child’s goal is to be with people who like him.

When You Don’t Like Your Child’s Friends:

6 Ways to Deal with the “Wrong Crowd”

  • Try to Avoid Repeated Criticisms of Their Friends

    I personally don’t think repeatedly criticizing your child’s friends or pointing out that they’re bad is going to be a successful strategy. Again, adolescents are developmentally at a place in their life where they’re defending their friends. And so it’s very difficult for a parent to turn around and say, “Your friends are no good,” and expect to have a conversation. Your child’s natural urge is going to be to protect his or her friends, whether or not they know you’re right. Realize that criticizing your child‘s friends is like criticizing an aspect of your child. It’s going to meet with the same resistance and hostility—even if what you’re saying is true. And all it will do is further alienate your child from you.

  • Make Clear Statements about Behavior

    I think if you don’t like your kid’s friends, the most effective thing to do is state: “I don’t like the way they behave.” That’s the first thing you can say. “I don’t like you hanging out with kids who get in trouble, because you get in trouble with them.” Can you say this every day? No. But you can say it once in awhile. Be sure to simply state the facts. State what you don’t like about their friends’ behavior. You’re not judging them. As a parent, I think you want to be a little smooth about that. You could say, “Look, I’m sure your friends are great to you. But they all smoke pot and they all get into trouble. If you hang out with them, you’re going to get into the same trouble.”

    Remember, when we’re having conversations like this with our kids we want to keep our observations on a level we can see. By that I mean talk about things that are recognizable: “I don’t like that Jackie got arrested for shoplifting. I don’t want you to get arrested for it, too. I don’t like that your buddies all use drugs because I don’t want you using drugs. I don’t think it’s good for you.” Make those observations and keep it simple and direct.

  • Use Structure

    I think that structure can be very helpful when dealing with your child’s friends. In other words, if you don’t like the kids he’s hanging out with, then don’t let him go out on school nights. Try to have more control over where he goes and what he does. If he says he’s going to the football game and then you catch him down at the mall with those friends, that’s his choice. He chose to go some place which you didn’t know about and there should be consequences.

    Set Limits
    If you know your child’s friends are engaging in behavior that isn’t in line with your values, then I think you should set limits on how much time they spend with those kids—or whether or not your child can see them at all. If his friends are breaking the law or doing things that are unhealthy, you can say, “Maybe they’re your friends, but I’m not going to let you hang out with them.” With a lot of adolescents, defiance becomes a big problem. Many of the kids I dealt with would climb out their windows when told they couldn’t go out. But again, you set the standard as the parent; you set the expectation. If your child doesn’t meet it, at least he knew there were standards and expectations to begin with, and now he will have to face the consequences and be held accountable for his actions.

  • Going Out on Friday Night is Not a “Right”

    All of a sudden, kids hit a certain age when they think they have the right to go out. Well, I don’t think so. I think kids have to behave responsibly in order to earn the right to go out. And you can say, “I’ll let you go out if you show me that you’re trustworthy.” Behaving responsibly does not include hanging out with kids who use drugs and drink—that’s all there is to it. I also think going out on Friday or Saturday night is not a right; it has to be something that is discussed every week. My son used to come to me and say, “Listen, Saturday night we’re all going up to the lake. Is it okay if I go?” Saturday night was not his automatic night out. Instead, that was negotiated each week, and the answer wasn’t always “Sure.” As a parent, I think you should be saying, “What are your plans this weekend?” Your child should know that they have to have their plans Okayed by you first, and that they have to behave responsibly in order to earn the privilege of going out.

  • Talk to Them about Mean Friends

    What if your child is hanging out with kids who treat him badly? Know that he’s hanging out with them for a reason. He’s probably afraid of them so he’s trying to become one of them. When kids are afraid of bullies and other kids, one of the options they have is to join the group and become a bully. Because even though these kids are mean to him, there is a sense of safety there. The deal they make is, “I’ll let you be mean to me and tease me, but you won’t abuse me or beat me up or take my lunch money any more.”

    But I think if your kid’s friends are mean to him, the kind of questions you want to ask are, “What are you trying to accomplish by letting people treat you this way? What are you getting out of that?”

    Try to have an adult conversation with your child. You can say, “Listen, you have choices; you don’t have to hang out with these kids. You don’t have to be a victim. I can get you help with this.”

When Your Child Hangs Out with Kids Who Use Drugs 
As we’ve said, there are several reasons why people gravitate toward different groups. If you have a kid with behavior problems, you will often find that they are attracted to friends who also have behavior problems. If you have a child who doesn’t do his homework and fails in school and is resistant and mouthy, he’s going to gravitate toward friends who won’t hold him accountable for that kind of behavior. Instead, his chosen peer group will reward and reinforce what he’s doing. In order to belong, he just has to do what the other kids are doing. That might be any number of things, including shoplifting, defacing property, using drugs or drinking.

It’s a simple fact that kids who use drugs hang out with other kids who use drugs. These kids are not likely to ask, “Did you get an A in science?” If these are your child’s friends, realize that he is almost certainly engaging in the same type of risky behavior—even if he says he’s not. Let me be clear: there is no other reason for your child to pal around with kids who do drugs.If he says, “Well, they do it, but they don’t do it around me,” that’s a lot of nonsense. It’s just something kids tell you to throw you off track; and sadly, it’s often a far cry from the truth. 
Some parents say things to their kids like, “Well, you shouldn’t smoke pot, but everybody experiments with it.” Don’t give your child that cop-out line.

Make it very clear: “No matter what you see your friends or other kids doing, there is no using drugs. That’s our expectation of you.”

We were really clear on that with our son. I personally feel parents cop out when they say, “You shouldn’t do it, but everybody else does it.” Your kid is not equipped to make decisions about drugs. Drugs get you high, drugs take away stress, drugs take away feelings of panic or crisis, and that means something. Once kids start using drugs, it’s easy for teens to become dependent on them because adolescentsalways feel stress. Drugs can become a dangerous way for them to get relief from all their fears and anxieties. Make no bones about it, drug rehabs today are filled with teenagers whose parents said, “They’re only experimenting” when their kids first started using.

There are important problem-solving tasks adolescents have to work through in order to prepare for adult living. Also, there is knowledge about the world that teenagers have to learn in order to make healthy choices and keep themselves safe. The use of drugs and alcohol in adolescence inhibits the possibility of these milestones being reached. So I don’t think parents should turn a blind eye or make excuses. Many times, parents are afraid to feel powerless, so they’ll make those kinds of statements instead of just telling their child “no.” But you need to hold your child accountable and tell them right from wrong; that’s simply the way it has to be. You have to be very clear and take a stand: “No drinking. No drugs.”

When Your Child’s Behavior Changes
If your child starts changing as a result of the kids he hangs out with, use a structured parenting routine: set limits and manage their time. I also think you should expect that they’re going to change during adolescence. They’re going to find a group with whom they’re going to identify. When you see an adolescent, believe me, he’s probably rebelling against adult authority in a lot of little ways. And while your child may go to school and be fairly responsible, you’ll find that through music, through clothes, through a myriad of different things, it’s a rebellious time in his life.

I think it’s important for parents to understand that rebelliousness has a developmental function. Teenagers are individuating from their parents; what I mean by that is they’re becoming individuals and separating from their parents. This feels as natural to adolescents as water feels to a duck. Saying that, it’s often a very hard thing for parents to accept and manage.

Here’s the bottom line: kids are going to make mistakes and they’re going to make bad choices. The best we can do is guide them, set limits, project our view of what’s right and wrong in the world and hold them accountable.


By, James Lehman. MSW                             Empoweringparents. Com 

Rotary Club of Abuja CBD Collaborates With NPF, Unveils Billboard In Abuja

The Rotary Club of Abuja, CBD, led by the District Governor, District 9125 of the Rotary International, Engr. Nnoka Mbanefo, unveiled its billboard in Abuja recently. 

Rotary Club Abuja

Situated at the Ahmadu Bello WA y / Kur Mohammed intersection, Central Business District Abuja, the project, a collaborative effort of the Club and the Nigerian Police Force, displays a two-sided billboard which has the Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit – PCRRU, Nigeria Police Force (PCRRU) contact information and that of the club.

In his remarks, Mbanefo explained that it was necessary to have these billboards across the country to create awareness about Rotary.
“Many people are unaware of Rotary and what we do despite the fact that we have so many humanitarian projects we have done and a lot more yet to do. So far, we have sunk about 30 boreholes and laid foundations for about 5 community health centres out of our resources and raised by friends of Rotary. This is one of the signposts we want to commission to show the public that we exist in Abuja.”
He said the aim is to create awareness and have more people join Rotary in humanitarian service because the work is much and the labourers are few.”
He also commended the role the PCRRU is playing regarding police accountability.

Rotary Club Abuja


The Club’s President, Mrs Salome Garba said that by putting up the billboard, “our presence can be felt and collaborating with the PCRRU will bridge the gap between the police and members of the public while reinforcing the promise that the Police can be relied on 24/7 to assist. She also promised additional support of her club and collaboration with PCRRU.
She said that under the Club’s 3-year strategic plan, it had adopted a community called Gidan Gimba, in Nasarawa State and plans are underway to build a 2-room block of classrooms, a health facility as well as sinking boreholes for the community to have clean water.
The event was attended by the AIG, Ezekiel Zang and Head of PCRRU, ACP Abayomi Shogunle who extended the appreciation of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris NPM mni to the Rotary Club of Abuja CBD for erecting the billboard at such a strategic location within the Abuja Central Business District.

Friendships I’ve Built Through Photography Are Priceless – Mohammed Alamin Samaila

Every photographer sees pictures as one of the simplest means of communication. Mohammed Alamin Samaila, CEO Photography by Amin, is no different. His love for beautiful imagery and stories told by pictures in a split second cannot be over emphasised, he tells TMG.

Photography By Alamin

TMG>Tell us about yourself:

Mohammed> My name is Mohammed Alamin Samaila and I come from Plateau State. I’m a graduate of MBA(IT), Bsc Software Engineering from Staffordshire University, University of East London respectively and CEO, Photography by Amin.

TMG> Why photography?

Mohammed> Well, as cliché as it sounds, photography is my hobby and the love for doing it takes away the stress of the profession. I could not picture myself doing a regular 8-5 job, plus it’s fun and you always meet new and interesting people.

TMG> What was your original career path? How did it grow from hobby to professional photography, and actually doing it for a living?

Mohammed> Initially I wanted to be a software developer, but soon realised I was more drawn towards visual content and contextual elements. I’ve always documented my travels with my phone and that pushed me towards getting a camera and I kept upgrading ever since and the need to do it professionally came when my school started paying my photography club to take pictures during school events, festivals and functions. So I took it a step further to hone my craft and try and be more professional. When I returned to Nigeria, I worked at a Photo studio but felt stuck creatively, so I quit and my friends started helping me get jobs and one thing led to the other.

TMG> Where and how were you trained? Did you go to professional school to learn photography & what credentials did you earn through the program?

Mohammed> I didn’t attend a photography school, however, my passion drove me towards attending lots of workshops and courses. Among notable ones are are Sony Alpha Workshops, Learnfinity, Creativelive and KelbyOne. I’m still learning though, so I would not rule out photography school yet.

TMG> What other positions/jobs have you previously had before going into photography?

Photography By Alamin

Mohammed> Well, I run a vegetable farm which produces beef and cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and Cucumbers. It’s taken much of my time in the past but I’ve slowly given my passion the time and energy it deserves so the farm has taken a back seat.

TMG> What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?

Mohammed> Pictures are one of the simplest means of communication and are more dangerous than weapons in some instances, hence my love for beautiful imagery cannot be over emphasised. It’s the stories the pictures tell in a split second and how it defines the subject that motivates and wants to keep telling more powerful stories to my imagery.

TMG> Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?

Mohammed> Gregory Heisler, Joe McNally and Dani Diamond are photographers I always look up to. Heisler’s ability to bring out emotion in his portraits is something I’m still trying to emulate. McNally could light anywhere with ease and Dani’s images have a look and feel that’s just mind boggling. Henry Orgi (Big H) and Obisomto are also awesome photographers; I love their work.

TMG> They say photography is a medium of expression. What exactly do you intend to express with your photographs?

Mohammed> I am always trying to appreciate nature and depict it in the best way my technical abilities allow. I always try to avoid a busy and distracting background, colors need to balance out hence complementary colors are a must on most of my pictures, and finally, placing my subjects to a pleasing compositional frame and then click the shutter.

TMG> How do you get the person, place or thing that is in front of the camera onto the film, chip or paper in just the way you want?

Mohammed> I think the most important thing when it comes to portraits is the relationship you build with your subject. Being the director means I will always engage with my subjects and make them comfortable and relaxed. Once they are in this state, it’s an easy task to make beautiful photographs.

Photography By Alamin

TMG> What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused as you photograph?

Mohammed> In terms of Camera gear, I strictly use Sony Alpha and some of their best lenses (Zeiss 16-80f4,70-200 f2.8, 50mmf1.7, 11-16f2.8, 90mmf2.8 macro).I use an Apple MacBook Pro  15”retina for all of my editing due to its power and portability. I like to use reliable equipment whenever I can afford them, as that keeps you focussed on your subjects without fussing with technology .

TMG> How many employees report to you and how efficient are they? If you are alone how do you manage?

Mohammed> I work alone presently  but usually have an assistant or two whenever I need extra hands on set. I usually work with people I trust are reliable and professional in handling themselves. I’ve developed a system that lets me work alone as well, with lots of redundancies just incase something decides to fail. 

TMG> In case of problems, how do you manage? Do you seek for help from another professional?

Mohammed> I am always expecting a problem so I have enough backup in most cases, however, I have a set of really awesome friends that help me when I am in a situation that needs them.Photography By Alamin

TMG> What do you do to stay educated about new trends?

Mohammed> I am mostly overloaded with information on my industry, especially now with the ease of internet access. I always learn new things or better ways to do things. I’m on You tube at least 3 times a week learning new techniques and a couple of websites to keep me updated on what is going on in the photo industry.

TMG> What are your challenges and how have you been able to handle them?

Mohammed> My major challenge has to do with being under appreciated as a professional and this affects most photographers and our ability to grow and compete with our global peers. The recession is not helping as well, hence this is the perfect time to do lots of personal projects and try new things that will hopefully be used in future Jobs.

TMG> Give us an example of someone you have trained or mentored. Where did they start and where are they now?

Mohammed> I haven’t trained anyone professionally but I do guide people willing to learn mostly through assisting me and learning practically on the job.

TMG> Tell us about an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career.

Mohammed> While I’ve won a couple of photography competitions, it’s the friendships that I’ve built through photography that I am most proud of.

TMG> Describe to us a problem you have had with any customer and how you handled it.

Mohammed> There was this time a customer got me to shoot their pre-wedding with the agreement and promise that they would pay with the wedding booking. I ended up forfeiting that payment as they stopped picking my calls. Needless to say that it taught me a lesson and has affected my payment before service policy ever since.

Photography By Alamin

TMG> What is your management style like and how do you handle your clients?

Mohammed> Every potential client is important and every customer is special in their own way. I usually go above and beyond to make my clients happy. I never promise something I can’t deliver and really value building a relationship out of every client. I’ve gotten lots of return clients and referrals from happy ones, which is something I am building upon – trying to please them without hurting my business.

TMG> Tell us 3 things that you consider to be your strengths in photography?

Mohammed> 1) My smile is one I think – I always handle every possible situation with a smile on my face and because I mostly enjoy working it’s usually there by default;
2)Planning – I usually plan out every thing and go over every possible detail before any shoot and that has helped me anticipate and prepare for eventualities;
3)Friendships – I can’t overemphasise how friends have helped me and how they opened doors where there were none .

TMG> Tell us something you would like to learn or improve upon as a photographer?

Mohammed> I would like to learn to market my business better and effectively. I’m a shy person so I’m not always willing to walk up to everyone and try and sell myself but that is something I really need to improve on and perfect.

TMG> How do you manage risk, in terms of damages or loss?

Mohammed> Risk is present in every endeavor so my best techniques in mitigating it involve having contracts drawn with clients, Model releases with models, insurance for your equipment but above all, being careful and not taking anything for granted is a must.

TMG> Would you encourage other youths to go for entrepreneurship instead of depending on government for jobs?

Mohammed> One way to encourage other youths is by succeeding in what you’re doing and being a good role model; most will want to emulate you and with that drive they’ll chase their passions which no government job can provide. Another way is to encourage and nurture young talent from a small age so whatever they do becomes second nature to them. The Chinese Olympic teams are an excellent example of this on how they’re grooming different sets of youngsters that’ll represent their country in upcoming competitions.

Photography By Alamin

TMG> Do you have time to socialise and how?

Mohammed> Yes, just a little though. Hanging out with friends , doing some fun adventure or even taking photo walks with other photographers with no goals but to share and network with each other. Other times it’s traveling to new places to meet new people and experience their culture. Is Proud Of Lukman Isiyaku Lukman (Junior)

Lukman Isiyaku Lukman Lukman Isiyaku Lukman graduated with Bsc Computer Science from ESAE UNIVERSITY COTOUNO in Benin Republic With Second Class lower. 

He was born on 20th may 1991 to the family of Isiyaku Lukuman and Tasalla Isiyaku Lukuman. Heal from Jimeta Yola North local Government Area of Adamawa state. He went to Command Nursery & Primary School,  Government Secondary School Bwari and Institute of information Technology Kazaure in Jigawa State before ESAE UNIVERSITY COTOUNO. is proud of you and wish you all the best on your future endeavor.


The Need To Excel And Be Helpful Motivates Me- Fatima Umar Balarabe

To make a success of what you do, one has to be vibrant, hardworking and a go-getter like Fatima Umar Balarabe, the CEO Teecakesnbakes and founder of Arewa Market Hub and Kaduna Food Festival. She shares her thoughts on what it’s like being an entrepreneur with TMG.

Fatima Umar Balarebe

TMG> Tell us about your background and what you do? 

Fatima> My name is Fatima Umar Balarabe, I come from Kaduna State and I’m a baker/caterer and also an event planner. I am the CEO Teecakesnbakes and also the founder of Arewa Market Hub and Kaduna food festival respectively.

TMG> You are into many things at the same time…what informed this?

Fatima> While growing up, I found myself interested in business and it was not just one particular type of business….I have been involved in so many businesses, including farming. But I realised that I have more passion in the kitchen as a baker /caterer and talent in event planning.

TMG> How far have you gone with all of them? 

Fatima> Alhamdulilah. I am a baker/caterer and I have been in this line of business for as long as I can remember. Although I started my event planning career not too long ago.

TMG> Which areas do you need to improve on in your business?

Fatima> I believe the areas that need improvement in my business is the aspect of marketing and publicity.

Fatima Umar Balarebe

TMG> What do you feel is the next step in developing your business skills?

Fatima> I feel the next step for me to develop my business skills is to gain more experience, and learn innovations.

TMG> What are some of the challenges you have faced in starting your business?

Fatima>  In every business challenges are necessary, both in the aspect of baking and event planning. Finance and marketing have always been a challenge; getting your products and services to reach a wide range of people is usually not an easy task.

TMG> What style of management do you think works in becoming successful at your kind of business?

Fatima> Carrying everyone along and working as a team rather than being a boss and lording it over them has always worked for me in managing my business successfully.

TMG> Tell us about a successful business pitch you have used for a difficult client. How were you able to handle it? 

Fatima> Having at the back of my mind that without a client there’s no me and no business. Also, knowing that a client’s referral is the best marketing strategy to a business makes it easier for me to deal with clients. Once I had a client who ordered a cake and then came to collect her cake earlier than the agreed date of delivery. She insisted that she had told me the date she wanted the cake, even after I showed her evidence of the order she had placed. I was angry but calm. She demanded a refund and called me incompetent but I told her to come back in a few hours so that I can arrange her money. After she left, I set to work and made her a cake and also gave her a free box of 12 cupcakes. She returned angry but left with a smile after apologising for the way she spoke to me and told me how impressed she was with me for not retaliating. A few weeks later, 3 different customers called to order cakes through reference by that same client.

Fatima Umar Balarebe

TMG> Tell us how you manage other responsibilities and businesses? 

Fatima> I believe that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. I carefully delegate duties to responsible and capable people who I work with as a team.

TMG> Have you ever lost during sales and what did you learn?

Fatima> Yes, I have lost during sales. Some circumstances are unforeseen, and as a Muslim I believe in fate (either good or bad).

TMG> What motivates you?

Fatima> The need to excel and be of help when needed motivates me.

TMG> What is your ultimate career aspiration?

Fatima> My ultimate career aspiration is to be a globally recognised professional baker/chef and a competent event planner

Fatima Umar Balarebe

TMG> How do you keep a smile on your face during a hard day to make sure your clients feel good?

Fatima> There’s always a smile on my face as long as am relating with a client… I have programmed myself that way. The thought that what I am doing will put a smile on another person’s face automatically makes me smile despite the hurdles I am going to go through. Besides, this is what I love doing. 

TMG> What way do you think your business could do better?

Fatima> Gaining more experience and publicity would really make my business do better.

TMG> What’s your approach to handling people or Entrepreneurs?

Fatima> My approach to handling people in general is respect. Everyone wants to be respected for who and what they are.

TMG> What role does marketing play in your business?

Fatima> Marketing plays a vital role in any business. Without the people knowing about your business, there’s automatically no business.

Fatima Umar Balarebe

TMG> In terms of skills, where would you like to get better?

Fatima> In terms of skills, I know I would like to be more experienced, more creative and more innovative.

TMG> Tell us about the greatest goal that you’ve ever accomplished professionally?

Fatima> The greatest goal I have accomplished is contentment- knowing that my products and services are valued, appreciated and honored is an achievement.

TMG> Have you remained persistent during a business deal, even though everyone else around you had given up? How and what have you learned? 

Fatima> I have remained persistent in some business deals, and alhamdulilah, believing in God and in myself has brought out my inner capabilities

TMG> What’s your approach to handling people or Entrepreneurs?

Fatima> So far the editions of the events I have planned have been a success in all ramifications. So handling people is one of the greatest ‘weapons’ and gift any business person should have. 

Fatima Umar Balarebe

TMG> What kinds of sacrifices have you had to make to be successful?

Fatima> Time: I have sacrificed a lot of time and attention to what I do. Because apart from it being my passion, for now it’s my source of livelihood and that of others.

TMG> Tell us something you would like to learn or improve upon? 

Fatima> Even though I know a lot of things about what I do, there’s so much I still don’t. Knowledge is vast, so I would like to know more about other aspects of baking and also improve in my techniques.

TMG> How do you manage risks, in terms of damages or loss?

Fatima> Even though I believe in fate, when there’s a damage or loss, I try all possible ways to move forward and also review why there was a damage or loss and also develop ways to avoid a reoccurance

TMG> Who are your role models and people that inspire you to move on in the world? 

Fatima Umar Balarebe

Fatima> I have a lot of role models, and they inspire me in different fields, but in the field of baking, the cake boss and Yolanda Gamp are my role models.

TMG> What way can you encourage other youths to be self-reliant in order to depend less on government for jobs?

Fatima> As a young person, the only one you should depend on is yourself, and you can’t do that comfortably if you rely on government jobs; think of government work as a bonus,  if they come, fine, if they don’t, no problem. Just get something enterprising to do. No matter how little, self-reliance always pays off.

Fatima Umar Balarebe

TMG> Do you socialise and when?

Fatima> Yes, I do socialise, especially during the events I plan.

INEC Urges Political Parties To Increase Women Participation During Electoral Contests

The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has reiterated the need for an all-inclusive and gender balance political space to encourage women participation in the electoral process.
Professor Mahmood, made the call today when he received the United Nations Women Country Representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Comfort Lamptey, at his office in Abuja.
He noted that the Commission in collaboration with gender-based organizations such as the UN women had been taking steps to encourage Political Parties to increase women participation during electoral contests.
The INEC Chairman noted with delight that the Commission’s consultations with Political Parties had been yielding positive results.
Speaking on the INEC Gender Policy which was launched in 2015, Professor Yakubu, said: “We have already launched the Policy and are committed to ensuring that we deepen its implementation as we move towards the 2019 general elections.”
As part of the Commissions efforts to ensure an all inclusive participation in the 2019 general elections, the INEC Chairman hinted that the Commission in collaboration with UN women and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) would be developing strategies aimed at making the number of women count in the elections. “It is beyond engaging with the Political Parties, we also need to engage with CSOs in that respect”, he said.
Earlier, the Commission’s guest, Ms. Comfort Lamptey, who recently assumed office as UN Women Country Representative in Nigeria, noted that the UN Women and INEC had been working towards increasing women’s participation in the electoral process but noted that there, was room improvement.
She pointed out that Nigerian women have the least representation in parliaments across Africa a position she said needed to be addressed especially as Nigeria was regarded as a leader in Africa. 
The envoy pledged the support of her organization in the implementation of the INEC Gender Policy as well as collaboration towards gender mainstreaming in the electoral process in Nigeria.

I Feel A Sense Of Responsibility In Helping Refugees- Rakiya Witwer

Rakiya Witwer is a Cosmetologist turned Economic Empowerment specialist working with refugees at the International Rescue Committee, a non profit organisation that helps refugees from around the world assimilate into communities through employment.

While sharing her experience in this interview with TMG, she describes what it’s like supporting vulnerable people.

 Rakiya Witwer

TMG- Tell us about yourself:

Rakiya- I was born in 1970, in Lagos, Nigeria. I attended Capital Primary School Sokoto and Zarumai Primary School Minna for my elementary education, then proceeded to FGGC Bida for my secondary education. I studied Industrial Designs at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and later relocated to the United States of America in 1995, where I proceeded to study Aesthetics and Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetology from the San Rafael Cosmetology Academy. I became Board certified Cosmetologist and worked as a licensed Cosmetologist for 18 years. I made a decision to return to college. I attended the University of California Berkeley, where I studied Social Welfare and Global Poverty and Practice. I live in Albany, California with my husband and two children.

TMG- You worked as a Cosmetologist for 18 years before changing your career path. What prompted that decision? Are you fulfilled?

Rakiya- My decision to be a cosmetologist was an extension of my creative side; I loved makeup, hair and skincare. So Cosmetology marries all three areas. I could have focused on just skin care or doing hair, but I felt I would be more marketable doing all three. It was rewarding and fulfilling because It helped me express my creative and artistic side while at the same time it allowed me to make a living. My decision to change careers is because I realised that as much as I loved being a cosmetologist, I still felt a strong pull towards academia.

My work at the IRC is more fulfilling because I am helping people who have lost everything rebuild their lives. When I show up at work and a refugee client is waiting to thank me because they got hired, that to me is the icing on the cake. To me that’s priceless.

TMG- Tell us more about the International Rescue Committee and your work there…

Rakiya- The IRC is a nonprofit humanitarian and development organisation that was founded in 1933 by Albert Einstein. The organisation offers emergency aid and long term assistance to refugees and those displaced by war, natural disaster or persecution. The IRC is located in over 40 countries worldwide. What we do in the US which has 22 locations is refugee resettlement and helping them become self-sufficient. Basically, we help refugees rebuild their lives.

TMG- What inspired you to work with refugees?

Rakiya- I came to the US many years ago as an immigrant and my experience navigating a new country and the challenges I had to face, even with my western education led me to this job. I had to work hard to be accepted. I was in a new town, where I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t really have anyone to help me find all the resources I needed. So when I had this opportunity, I thought what a great way to do your job helping people who are where I was many years ago. Some of these refugees are in even worse positions than I was because they don’t speak English and this language barrier is a huge challenge.

Rakiya Witwer

TMG- How many refugees do you work with on an average?

Rakiya- As an employment specialist my primary goal is to get my refugee clients into the labour force and have them self sufficient in the shortest window of time which is 180 days in our early employment program. I work with at least 10 refugees per day. And like I mentioned earlier, one of the major challenges is the language barrier, the inability to speak English limits the kinds of jobs refugees can apply to. Lack of basic English means I can only find entry-level menial jobs for my clients regardless of how educated or skilled they may have been in their country of origin. I have had refugee clients who were emergency room surgeons in the country only to come here and have to work as dishwashers, because they don’t speak English! This happened a lot with many of my Syrian refugee clients.

TMG- As an employment specialist what jobs are available to them?

Rakiya- As an employment specialist the jobs I procure ranges from hospitality industry for example housekeepers, dishwashers, bell hopping, to the technology industries, for example, Tesla assembly. It just depends on the education, skills and language proficiency of each refugee. One of my jobs is employment advocacy, I reach out to local businesses to let them know who we are and what the IRC does. I serve as a broker of sorts bringing the refugee and the employer together. My job involves putting the business owners at ease by letting them know that refugees are hard working people who can be an asset to their business and the community, because they have real marketable skills. I also have to make sure businesses in the community know that our refugee clients are not here illegally, they have been screened and vetted, they are green card holders which allows them to work legally in the US.

TMG- How do you prepare newly arrived refugees for the job market?
Do you also assist with job applications?

Rakiya- I start by interviewing each refugee to assess their education and skill level through that identify their marketable skills. I then prepare a CV for those who don’t have one and update or revise CVs for those who do. We make sure CVs are in the standard American format. Once their CVs are ready I assist them in job searches and preparing for interviews once they have applied for jobs and received responses. I also accompany them to the interview in many cases, because some of them require interpreters which means I have to bring one along to the interview. Once they actually find work, I also have to continually check in with them to get a report on how the job is going from both the refugee and the employer. The employment process start to finish is different for every refugee, but my goal is to find meaningful employment for them- a job that allows them to become productive members of American society.

Rakiya Witwer

TMG- What are some of the lessons you have learned since working there?

Rakiya- I learned so many lessons working at the IRC. One thing that sticks out to me is that no matter who you are, our humanity is important. Every refugee I have been fortunate to work with just wants to survive and live their lives. Many of the refugees I worked with especially from Syria didn’t choose to come to the US, they were just brought here after spending close to 3 years living at a refugee camp. Another eye-opener was meeting a young refugee from the Congo who was born and lived in a refugee camp his entire life and he was 25 years old. I learned about PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) a common thing among many refugees who have lost everything and have to start over with no guarantees in the US I could go on and on. I just feel a sense of responsibility to contribute to helping them. There is an IRC office in Maiduguri and I often think about working there if I can convince my family to let me go there.

TMG- What challenges does the organisation face in dealing with refugees and how is it meeting those challenges?

Rakiya- The IRC is having issues of funding at the moment. This is due to the Travel Ban imposed by the Trump administration. This led to the immediate suspension of funding from the Department of States Bureau of Population, Refugee and Migration and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement. These two federal government bureaus match all funds the IRC raises privately. This has affected the number of refugees we can help. The IRC now has to increase its funding through fundraisers and soliciting grants from wealthy corporations and other private foundations. Overall it has been a challenging time.

TMG- Have you had any mentors or role models that have influenced you? Describe the impact

TMG- I have many people that I would refer to as mentors and role models. I am really influenced to do what I do by two of them: the first is Laura Nader a professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley who shaped my thinking in terms of law and development, and the second is Robert Reich a professor of Public Policy also at Berkeley shaped my thinking with regards to wealth and poverty. The combination of these two people allowed me to focus on what’s really important to me in terms of how I want to contribute to humanity. The impact of their influence is that I have become more involved in issues of social and environmental justice and I have become a strong advocate for civil rights and matters that affect us all instead of being a bystander.

Rakiya Witwer Interviewed By TMG
Rakiya Witwer Interviewed By TMG

TMG- What’s in the future for you?

Rakiya- I hope to continue my career in humanitarian work  wherever that may take me. Maybe the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) or International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Who knows? Time will tell.
My goal is to continue to do my part in the service of humanity.

I Want Every Soul To Be Inspired By Images I Create – Ayodele Akinwale Oyewopo

Ayodele Akinwale Oyewopo is a final year student of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State who found that his passion in photography could not be ignored. He built on it and now, the CEO of AKINKOREDE Studio, Akinkorede OAK films and (APA) Akinkorede Photo Academy has sucessfully carved a niche for himself in the world of the camera. 

Ayodele Photography

TMG> Why did you choose to go into photography as a student of Law?

Ayodele> I believe I didn’t choose Photography, “it chose me.” Growing up, I was really good at drawing, painting and basically anything that said ‘creativity’. However, all this changed when I gained admission into OAU to study Law. It was as if the ability left me because I simply did not have time for it. Ironic how I now have a career in Photography, right? Naturally, I began to manifest traits of one who will come to create great images and it all began while I was in my 100 level. 

TMG> What was your original path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?

Ayodele> Well, the line between an aspirant and a full-fledged service provider is resolve. I remember there used to be a time when images I took looked good to me, then I started to get exposed. Convinced that I could be a lot better than I actually was, I started my journey. Photographers all know and agree that getting to your destination in terms of desire is likened to building blocks. You cannot get it all once except you’re sitting on oil money and even so, there is the skill acquisition in itself as opposed to the gear acquisition. As a photographer, one of my mottos is “Rome wasn’t built in a day, definitely my studio cannot be built in a day”. The little you have at intervals must go a long way into making up for the large you need.

TMG> Did you go to a professional school to learn photography & what credentials did you earn through the program?

Ayodele> Because of the level of understanding I had while starting, moreso, it wasn’t as serious as it is now, and also because of the little or no resources at hand, I had nothing more than few opportunities to experiment with and immediate environment exposure. I had to do a lot of trial and error. It helped me create something new each time and chased me into seeking to know more. Need I tell you that today, there should be only master classes, there really are no beginners at anything because technological resources can give you most of the foundation you need in pretty much anything.

However, that basic knowledge will only take you few steps. At some point I understood that to leave the local champion’s saloon I had to have formal interaction with the standard. In 2015, I enrolled for the Fayrouz l’originale contest with my team of 3 others. I like to refer to this moment because it happens to be the point where I became trully enlightened for the first time. As it is said, competitions make us discover the best of ourselves while we learn from others too.

 Ayodele Photography
TMG> What other positions have you previously held before going into photography?

Ayodele> I’m not sure if this would qualify as a position but I was good at playing the guitar, I was a blogger and poet as well. Other than that, I was just another regular person on the street.

TMG> What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?

Ayodele> God motivates me. Everything around speaks to me as His marvelous masterpiece of creativity. I feel like a little god when I document and create. My surrounding motivates me. The thought of excellence motivates me. Just knowing that there is something better with your name on it just around the corner is exciting. I know there is no limit to creativity and how it can be manifested. This limitlessness inspires me to keep plugging away. There is always a story waiting to be told. Being the one telling such stories is a great honour. Also, veterans and highly creative individuals from every field especially photography motivate me to do more. To start mentioning names is to end this dialogue.

Ayodele Photography

 TMG> Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?

Ayodele> As you already know, Kelechi Amadi Obi influenced me- being a law graduate also keeps me inspired because it applies so directly to me. My best friend and photographer Imogirie Afouda also, had a role to play. By the way, he went ahead to become the first runner up at the Fayrouz challenge. On the political phase, Bayo Omoboriowo of His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, Tollani Alli (Ajimobi Oyo state), Oladapo Jullius (Aregbesola State of Osun) and TY Bello amongst others. Tollani once told me, “Never allow anyone tell you what pictures to and not to take. This is your voice” I went ahead and took that portrait of the Governor of Osun state. Others like Bisi Daniels, Trans4maz, Dami Taiwo were close by to advise. On retouching, I also learnt a lot from Trans4maz works as well as ArtbyOye, Artssassin in Kaduna, ChuckDaniels and the king PrinceMeyson. Lastly, my Big Uncle, the Sarkin of Sokoto, George Okoro with Weddings. These are to mention but a few!

TMG> Exactly what is it you want to say with your photographs, and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?

Ayodele> Photography is seeing through your mental eyes and causing others to see in that same light. It is beautiful that when this is intended, various other things are seen too, things that the photographer himself may not have noticed or intended. I want to tell my story with my photographs, I want people to see where I’ve been, what goes on in my thoughts what I know that can help them be better people. Also, with portraits, I want to inspire people to see the heights of perfection they can reach. Alli said,”To be the best, tell yourself you’re the Best. If you’re not, pretend you are.” Images help people to believe. In law, it’s called Evidence. “If it’s in an image then it’s probably true or possible” so when I create an image, I want every soul that sees it to know exactly what I’m telling them and be inspired.

TMG> How do you get the person, place or thing that is in front of the camera onto the film, chip or paper just the way you want?

Ayodele> I think this is a practical question. After the image is taken, it goes through a process we call the post-production. This is to fine-tune the features of the image. When a client asks for a portrait, I take many things into cognisance including their preferences and view. This helps me bend and blend the image into a suitable piece of art that the client or subject will appreciate. This process happens on electronic devices such as a computer or some really topnotch phones. For paper, we take the images to digital or dark room labs. However, dark rooms are easily substituted today for more efficient as well as faster digital photo labs usually called the Printer. 

 Ayodele Photography

TMG> What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused, as you photograph?

Ayodele> Today, there are multifarious options to pick from in the world of photography. There has been an age-long comparison between Canon and Nikon photo brands especially cameras. You know for instance, 6D(canon) or D610(nikon). Personally, I hold my preferences to myself as I can handle both camera brands just fine. However, in my years of experience,I’ve only been opportuned to own Canon brands. Currently, I shoot a Canon 7D. Softwares like OneCapture, Photoshop, Lightroom, Snapseed are my favourite choices for studio practice.

TMG> How do you get paid to do what you want to do with your photography?

Ayodele> Ideally, I have a price range catalogue I draw out and work with. But before that, as a photpgrapher, I first came out and made it clear of what I was about to start. People need to know how serious you are before they can feel comfortable paying you for something. I won’t buy something, if I know it’s bad or fake. Therefore, a venture that intends to be commercial must first brand itself. Registration is another important thing but branding is the image people remember when your advert isn’t on anymore which drives them to still pay you for what you do. Also, to keep getting paid, I resolve not to be better yesterday than I am today. Continuity in brand content is the soul of any business-as is advertising. If you are better than you were yesterday, people want what you have and pay you for it.

TMG> How many employees report to you and how efficient are they? If you are alone how do you manage?

Ayodele> Right now, I only have interns that work with me as one of the requirements in our Academy. No paid staff except my Manager. As regards their efficiency, it’s a known fact that sometimes you can’t have everyone on the same page as you, which is why I feel reluctant to jump into training people because many people love photography and want to practice it.  However, after a while, they quit because of one challenge or the other. So most times, we have people who are not a hundred percent committed and some even refuse to show up later. But we won’t quit.

I started alone and I have coped well for a very long time. I actually learnt to get used to it. So if I’m alone, delivery remains intact.

 Ayodele Photography

TMG> In case of problems, how do you manage? Do you seek help from another professionals?

Ayodele> While in my early stage, I ran into challenges and problems frequently. Most times, gear related and some other times, intellectual challenges or roadblocks. It’s good to connect with others in the field because no one is a compendium of knowledge or experience. Everything is unique and when you throw your pride away, you learn and move faster. From time to time, I call other professionals even now, to get clearance. Recently, I was working on a wedding movie and I’ve not spent as much time shooting videos as I have taking pictures. I needed to deliver to the client on a DVD device and I was having issues burning. I tried every software at my disposal and even started to doubt the quality of the disc and my computer. I then made a call(not the first) and what my friend had asked me to do was a tiny detail different from what I had been doing. But it worked and I learnt further.


TMG> What is the volume/revenue your establishment has gained in a year? Any profit?

Ayodele> My management may not allow for a full disclosure of figures but I can assure you that with photography, as long as you have made returns yesterday and used it to upgrade your base, no matter how little, you have made profit. Sometimes clients as natural bargainers present unfavourable bills and sometimes the cost of what I’m doing and the price being paid are on the same level. Sometimes all you have is a bottle of coke in between but if there is a satisfied client as well, it is worth the risk for me. However, I like to create the image that I’m trying to get somewhere and that the more cutbacks I allow, the harder I am able to get where I’m going. AHEAD! Conversely, I make enough to invest in my business and move ahead.

TMG> What do you do to stay educated or abreast of new trends?

Ayodele> I’ve got several platforms to do this, most efficient of which is the Social Media. To stay up to date or educated as you have put it, I create a hunger coupled with that desire I mentioned earlier- desire to be better than yesterday. That’s what drives me to research. Also, one must dig deep into one’s creative soul and explore the possibilities that lie within. Like I said, it’s not enough to harvest from the media, I must also plant in it. Contribution is key and this is what keeps us all educated. Because as students learn in class, so also does the Teacher. The easiest way for beginners is to stay close to their mentors and role models and follow their steps.

 Ayodele Photography

TMG> What are your challenges and how do you intend to handle them?

Ayodele> The earliest challenge I faced as a photographer apart from the obvious challenge of limited resources faced by most beginners is that of parental support. I lacked that. Having parents who feared for your outcome should you let something as ambitious as Photography get in the way of studies earned me nothing but the sore disapproval. Every parent wants what is best for their child and will stop at nothing to protect them from harm,especially the ones that may be caused by the child. I later understood this and didn’t blame them for not supporting. As a matter of fact, my father also practiced Photography in his days. 

Ayodele> So I believe what parents need is a conviction that their ward is not just busy wasting his/her life on a futile endeavour. Record success at what you do and people will see why you did it in the first place.

Another challenge as I said before is the lack of resources (mostly financial) which sets me chasing one grant or the other or meeting prospective investors far and wide. All because photography is not a cheap hobby. 

TMG> Give us an example of someone you have trained or mentored. Where did they start and where are they now?

Ayodele> One of my “Brightest stars” as I like to call them, who went ahead to establish his career and whom I can tell will go far is Victor Abiola, Founder of Purisima pixels. He shows promise. He started off with me as one who knew next to nothing as far as Photography is concerned but due to his unquenchable thirst and desire to be rooted coupled with a vast reserve of passion for photography (permit me to use the phrase-“THE GAME”) He has not only established his name here in Ife, he has proven that in a short time, he will make additional giant strides. The peak of my joy was insurmountable when earlier this year (2017), he was nominated into the same award category as I was- the joy of every proud father…(sorry, teacher) His quest for knowledge can drive you nuts. And that’s all a student should be. There are others but because you said “an example”- that must mean only one. 

TMG> Tell us about an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career.

Ayodele> Wow! Many. Very many. In my time so far I’ve been nominated for more than 10 awards both inside Nigeria and out. Altogether, I’ve bagged only two but a fire of encouragement burns within me anytime I get nominated. I go learning from the other people’s works and even sometimes when according to other people’s standards, they may not be as vast in experience as I may be, I still end up learning a whole lot collectively on how to be better. 

The day I got to meet Kelechi Amadi Obi must be the first of those days. He was the judge sitting in terms of photography. Then the words came out of his mouth:” Your picture is really good, I like it” I was only just getting exposed for the first time and this was a surge in my bones to exploit harder. The audition even got aired on SoundcityTv

Another huge accomplishment I choose to admit was the day I was called to photograph 2 Nigerian Governors on visit. I was in the clouds all through.

The most recent of the accomplishments was when I was nominated for an award I didn’t even know about till time was almost up. ‘The Law Gala and Awards Abuja 2017’. It meant a lot to me even though I didn’t make it. It told me that someone somewhere was watching.

TMG> Describe to us a problem you had once with any customer and how did you handle it?

Ayodele> The only major problem I consider serious is when my client doesn’t like what I’ve given them. Unsatisfied clients are my greatest challenge. Not knowing what they want or not being able to provide it. Because we all prefer different things, it may be quite challenging for a photographer to cope. But if I can standardise my production to a level of excellence, the ration of unsatisfied client will surely dwindle. Which is why I try my best to have substantial understanding of every part of client behaviour and service delivery.

I once got commissioned to document an event early 2016. A beauty pageant, because of unknown reasons to me, I didn’t get the balance of my bill which was a little more than half of the entire bill. My client was just hellbent on not paying claiming he did not want the job anymore. I considered what was at stake if I took it up with someone so influential, so I decided to take a’ bullet’ that day. My business image is far more important than a few thousands of naira. 

Sometimes, my problem arises from not being able to meet up with deadlines based on unforseen logistical challenges, thus creating a confused spot for both myself and the client. What I do in those situations is simply to compromise on certain benefits and leverage with the client. ADDED VALUE FOR THEM. Anything to make them happier. Also, I learnt to apologise a lot.

 TMG> Tell us about your management style and how you handle your Customers?

Ayodele> I handle my clients on an individualistic basis. When the client walks in to sit on the model stool, they become my subjects, but before then, we must have driven through the wall of unfamiliarity and most times, I have lunche dates or meetings with my client first of all before beginning anything. I want to know my client as a person, then as my subject. That is what then enables me to create a world for them in my head. You must know this, to build a concept around somebody, you must first have an understanding of their personality. Some ideas work with some and don’t for others. As one of the banks in Nigeria will say, “we are the ONE CUSTOMER BANK”, I’d like to consider myself as a One subject Photographer. 🙂

I always try to make the client important and feel that way too. Talk with respect and want to know everything about them. They see me ask a lot of questions, they feel that someone cares about the unimportant stuff” about them, they tend to loosen up. When they loosen up, I get to capture their true self. Then you hear things like:” oh I like this one, ah and this too. I don’t know which one to pick. You pick for me” and so on. 

Lastly, I convince my clients that I will stop at nothing till I give them my possible best.

TMG> Tell us 3 things that you consider to be your strengths in photography?

Ayodele> First is INSIGHT. Very early enough into photography I noticed I could tell possible outcomes; hardly anything runs by me. Also, this led to an ability to create ideas within split seconds of something happening. I enhanced my speed of capture. Which is why events are my most efficient works. I see myself all over tracking multiple subjects at the same time. It increases your productivity as a “shooter”.

Second is PHOTO ART. The ability to decipher what makes a picture look it’s best. A picture might have come out in its not-so-best form, I believe I possess the skill to even the odds and make it top-notch again mostly through post production. This works hand in hand with understanding the viewing audience demand. What they want to see. Which is why markets sell. 

Third is Resourcefulness. I remember on several occasions whereby I’ve been limited on resources, perhaps in the studio, or outdoors where I’m lacking something pivotal to shoot, my head works faster in those situations to find alternatives. And make the best of what is at hand. 


TMG> Tell us something you would like to learn or improve upon as a photographer?

Ayodele> I’d like to do a lot of investment on my knowledge and control of light. The ability to bend light to your every will is one of the hallmarks of a Top-notch Photographer. Also, in terms of developing other skills, I’d love to work under big and experienced names in Cinematography like Clarence Peters, Kunle Afolayan, WalinteenPro, James Abinibi and Abula.


TMG> How do you manage cost? If your labour is running high with low profit, what measures do you take to control it?

Ayodele> Profit is something that as a startup, you cannot control or predict. You just have to keep on giving your best. When cost is running low or profit rather, I cutback on purchases. Also, I have a separate account for my studio; whenever there is insufficiency of funds for the business, I invest by myself with my own money. I payback if I can and if I can’t, no harm done. I try not to take out of the business account for things unrelated to my business.

I must also say at this point that Profit is measured in several forms. It doesn’t manifest only in cash. Half of the clothes I wear, I shot to get them. What matters most is the value added. Some clients may have better need of the money you’re asking them for while they have something you may need. Just let that one time go. Not everytime though. Ultimately, in managing my cost, I’ve never lacked.

TMG> How do you manage risk, in terms of damages or loss?

Ayodele> Risk is inevitable, I tell myself. Those who run from risk, never get anything done. A risk is a reason standing against what you need to do. In risk management, I have come to learn that some risks are affordable while some are not. Not that the higher the risk of doing something, the higher the gain if you succeed. However, you need to weigh every option and consider yourself at the wrong end of that situation- is the risk worth the failure? Will your business survive the fall if things don’t work out? I ask myself these questions and to whatever extent I’m able to answer them, I decide. If I don’t have enough to get a damage or loss fixed, I search for alternatives to maximise the time. I try at all times however to make sure I can afford the risk I’m taking.

TMG> In what ways can you encourage other youths not to depend on government for jobs but to be self dependent?

Ayodele- I’m currently sourcing for a grant which I applied for not too long ago. One of the reasons I gave was that, impact is a reciprocal concept. To impact others, you must first be impacted by something or someone and also to be impacted, one must have already caused some level of impact no matter how minute. 

Nobody will save this country but God, through us.  Look at it this way, we are all woodpeckers on a dying tree. Some of us fat and convenient while some of us on the verge of desperation.. If we don’t figure out a way to repair this tree, even if we abandon our eggs(the future) and fly off to another tree, we might live but someday, that tree will fall, that’s if we don’t peck it down first. 

What I’m saying is, “woodpeckers must learn to plant or repair trees”

If every youth in Nigeria is providing a solution to his immediate environmental challenge, people will pay to see that need go away. If I’m hungry, I’ll need to buy some food to make the hunger go away. Whoever is making the food doesn’t need to wait for the government to come to his aid. He is already empowered. 

I always say, with every problem, there comes a solution. YOU JUST NEED TO FIND IT.

Ayodele Photography

TMG> Do you socialise and when?

Ayodele> I do socialise, although not in the general sense of it. I don’t club, drink or smoke but for as long as i can remember, I’ve enjoyed meeting people. My vocation does not allow me to meet people.


Why The Person You Hate The Most Is Often The One You Love The Most

I doubt that I’m alone in saying that I don’t like most people. I’m fairly certain that most people don’t like most people — which, when you think about it — is amusing and interesting in itself.

The concepts of liking and disliking things is likewise interesting. You’d think that such a crucial process, a process that governs all of our decision-making, would be objectively measurable. It, however, isn’t.

When we talk about liking or disliking something or someone, we don’t say that the individual is likable or dislikable.

We don’t say that that something or someone is liked or disliked; we say “I” or “we” like or dislike that something or someone. By nature, to like or dislike is entirely subjective. The real question is: Why does this matter?

It matters because what or whom we like or dislike reflects more about us than it does that something or someone under the microscope. Of course, we may believe that the reasons we have for liking or disliking something or someone would be shared by everyone else, but the fact is that they wouldn’t be.

For any person who has a certain opinion, you’ll find at least one other that has exactly the opposite opinion — and as we’ve already established, because liking or disliking something or someone are subjective, they as well are nothing more than opinions.

Good and bad are not the same as likable and dislikable. There are people in this world who like bad — even if it’s for twisted reasons, bad does give some that pleasurable feeling we experience whenever it is we come into contact with something or someone we like.

The only way we know whether or not we like or dislike someone or something is by the way that someone or something makes us feel.

It’s incredible that even the littlest things can make us feel something emotionally. What’s even more incredible is the depth of our emotions and how only other human beings seem to be capable of showing us those depths.

You can like and dislike things, but you can only truly love or hate other people. Only people are capable of finding such creative ways of pushing our buttons.

There is one complication that makes understanding love and hate a bit difficult. Because they are such elevated states of emotion, they often overlap — making it difficult to differentiate the two.

The truth is, you can’t always differentiate between love and hate. Emotions aren’t so black and white; they’re more like complex cocktails served at mixology bars — lots of different ingredients blended together to make one unique emotion.

This isn’t to say that every person we hate we also love. Don’t be ridiculous. But it does mean that it’s sometimes the case. Most often it’s between two lovers, or past lovers rather.

When you find yourself in such a situation, how you interpret those emotions that you’re feeling will make all the difference.

If you interpret that love/hate cocktail as primarily love, then you will hopefully learn from the experience, grow as an individual and continue the healthy relationship.

If, on the other hand, you interpret the emotions as under the umbrella of hate, then you’re likely going to deny yourself love and instead break things off. Unfortunately, doing so more often than not catches up with you. Let me explain.

With the understanding that loving or hating someone reflects more about us than it does about the person in question — just as does liking and disliking — in mind, what sort of things do we believe can spark such an emotional response from us?

Lots of things that have little relation to us can make us feel strong emotion. The things that make us feel the strongest emotions, however, are always those that do involve us directly.

It’s the things that we feel either benefit or harm our egos that solicit such intense emotional responses. Think about it. We love the people we love because they’re either someone that our egos want or someone that reaffirms our personal value by loving us in return.

We love to love because loving is as close to selfless as any want or yearning can possibly be. We love to be loved because it makes us feel better about ourselves.

This means that we hate people because they are hurting our egos in some way. They may be lashing out at us and demeaning us. They may be disrespectful toward us or simply using and taking advantage of us, belittling us in the process. Or… they may be telling us some truth that we don’t especially want to hear.

That’s the thing about egos… they come off so strong and resilient, but at the first signs of potential bruising, they push you to run for the hills. In order to love someone deeply, you have to let that person in — all the way in. That someone has to know you inside and out.

The problem with this is that when you allow someone to see the real you, it often doesn’t line up with the version that you have of yourself. If his or her version isn’t quite as spectacular as your own, it takes a mature and intelligent individual not to be offended.

It all comes down to the person you are and the person you believe yourself to be. Most people — statistically, you’re likely to be one of them — refuse to take a good look at the person they’ve become. Most people simply don’t want to know — or are too afraid of what they’d have to come to terms with.

The true problem arises when we find an individual we fall in love with. For the stretch of the honeymoon phase, most people don’t point out the flaws of the other.

It’s once you’ve been dating for a while and you get very comfortable with each other that your partner is bound to show you a side of yourself that you aren’t especially excited to address.

Most people will then feel insulted, attacked and hurt — maybe they’ll even lash out in response. Things escalate and the love that we once felt has somehow mutated into hate.

All of this, surely, could have been avoided were we mature enough to understand that it’s okay for the person we love to point out our flaws and weaknesses.

They aren’t doing so to hurt or insult us — although this will also vary from individual to individual — but to allow us to see ourselves the way everyone else sees us. It can be difficult to get a full view of our lives from a first-person perspective — we need someone to help us see.


Instead of hating your lover for showing you your flaws, ask him or her to help you work on correcting them. If they are truly flaws then you should be happy to address them sooner than later.

A relationship is a partnership, and partnerships are only worth something when both parties are working toward improvement and further success. Your instinct may be to hate those that hurt your ego, but keep in mind that our egos aren’t capable of running the show.

They aren’t equipped for such complex reasoning — they only respond, never act proactively. You can listen to your egos, but at the end of the day, you need to use rational thought to make the right decision.

Before you call it quits, make sure the person you once loved, whom you now hate, isn’t the best thing that could have ever happened to you.


By,  Paul Hudson