Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Top 10 Most Inspirational Facebook Friends of the Year - 2009

This year, 2009, was a groundbreaking year for me on Facebook. Through the magic of the internet, I interacted with people who shared their thoughts, perspectives and insights on a variety of issues. A couple of them made a major deposite to my knowledge bank, by sharing and exchanging inspiring thoughts. I was inspired by people, most of whom I have not met. Without further ado, here's my Top 10 Most Inspirational Facebook Friends of 2009. The following list is in alphabetical order:

1) Jemia Asobo: She is one of the few I have met in person. As a matter of fact, she was my teacher in secondary school. She introduced me to French language and English Literature. We've not met for a long time. But, thanks to Facebook, she remains my teacher and continues to inspire me from a distance. She updates her status with poetic quotes, from time to time. I hope someday she reads this: Thank you very much, Ms. J! You're still the best!

2) Hilaire Aben: Wow! I don't think I have met Hilaire. But I suspect our paths crossed somewhere in Cameroon (we have many mutual friends). From the day I added him as a friends on Facebook, I knew he was a guy to watch. Guess what happened? After a very short period of time, he published his blog: MY FOOD FOR THOUGHTS YOU DO THE DISHES. His blog inspired me to publish mine - which was unpublished for a very long time. I hope you're reading this, brother: Keep doing your thing; you never know who's watching!

3) Lema Abeng-Nsah: My big sister and mentor! What can I say? I'm sure she knows her name will be on such a list. I can never thank her enough for her support and leadership. Without her, I'd still be the "little boy" I was prior to October 8 2008. She exposed me to an opportunity which has made me the man I'm today. Needless to say, she has been with me every step of the way and is determined to support me all the way to the finish line. I read her blog, Face2Face with Success  daily. I suggest you become a fan of her blog on Facebook. You won't regret it! I'd be doing her justice by mentioning that she inspired the title of my blog: On The Road To Success. I can write all day long about her, but I promised myself to be brief. (I wrote something about her in detail, here). Simply put, I'd name her my person of the year - 2009, if I have to. I know she's reading this: Thank you very much. You've earned a place in a chapter of my success story (no matter when I write it). Remember, you still have many lives to impact. You can't stop now! Come 2010, "we gonna post up on the top spot!" Right? The road ahead is daunting. But I'll see you at the finish line.

4) Lincoln Parks: I like the name Lincoln Parks! We have not met but he continues to impact me from afar. He got me interested in a great success coach - the late Jim Rohn. Consequently, whenever, I quote Jim Rohn, it's thanks to my friend - Lincoln Parks. I hope he reads this: Thank you very much Mr. Parks. I'll see you in Atlanta, GA in 2010 (God willing). Keep putting out those great messages. I remain a fan of your blog:

5) Marilyn Figueroa: Great Facebook friend! Again, I must confess, I like the name Figueroa! She's a great leader who believes in business ownership. She reaches her audience via videos. She puts out great messages and inspires me to take my business to the next level. I like her video on Customer Service. Thanks, Marilyn. I enjoy your every video!

6) Paul Kroto: We have not met! He has a lot energy and passion for his business. He puts out lots of inspirational messages too and I  visit his website - - from time to time to see what he has been up to.

7) Sama Ndango: I have not met Sama. He's an upcoming motivational speaker who reaches out to his audience via videos. He puts out lots of inspirational messages and he has an amazing STORY. The day I read his story, I was like, WOW! Recently, he started his talk show - the Sama Ndango Show. He's one of those ordinary people doing extraordinary things. A guy to watch!

8) Tamiko Zackery: I like this name too! I have not met Tamiko but we have spoken on the phone. She's a great leader who's dedicated to helping people reach their full potential. I wonder where she gets her Facebook status updates - very inspiring. She's one of those who get me back on track when I loss focus. I love a quote on her website - "Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact." - William James.

9) Tishina Pettiford: She's a leaders' leader! She trains and motivates me from afar by giving me the opportunity to participate LIVE in Super-Saturday business events all across the United States. I was particularly motivated by an episode of "Life of a Platinum." She streamed it LIVE from Montgomery, Alabama on December 19, 2009. It was awesome!

10) Wilma Colon Ariza: She's one of my favorite bloggers. In her own words, "I review everything under the sun and share it with you and the world as a Social Media Personality, Internet Marketing Strategist, Personal Development Advocate, Social Causes Activist, Blogger, Author and Speaker." What you want to do is follow her blog, Everything Wilma. Thanks, Wilma! You have such an incredible STORY. You're an epitome of mothers who refuse to throw in the towel. You defy the odds and you've inspired me, not to make excuses. I have you in my prayers. I'll see you at the TOP!

The aforementioned people have inspired me in one way or the other and I'm grateful. My word to them: Thank you all very much for making 2009 go down in my history books, as the most educative and empowering year. As we enter 2010, my wish for you is that you continue to impact lives and may all your resolutions be achieved.

To all my Facebook friends: Thank you for being my friends. I appreciate you all. As we begin a new decade, I encourage you to "form winning alliances" and make room for the right people in your life. Happy New Year! I hope many more people make the list in 2010.

Debt Can Make You Rich!

Debt, in this context, refers to something owed, such as money, goods or services. It's the condition of owing.

For many years, I've known debt to be a bad thing and I've tried as much as possible to be debt free (I'm debt free). This is in line with the preconception that getting out of debt is ideal. Every financial expert would advise a client to get out of debt because debt is bad. After some research, I have realised that debt can also be a good thing and it can make you rich. Today, there's good debt and bad debt.

I know some people would be quick to point out that they know the difference between good debt and bad debt. I used to think so too. Growing up, bad debt was a jargon. We considered bad debt to be debt which would never be paid back. In an event where money was loaned to someone who'd not pay back, we often qualified the debt as "bad debt." Good debt on the other hand was considered to be debt which could be paid back. Those days are gone and my understanding of good debt and bad debt have changed.

According to Robert Kiyosaki, the difference between good debt and bad debt is simple - good debt makes you rich while bad debt makes you poor. Good debt puts money into your pocket while bad debt takes money from your pocket. In fact, debt can make you rich! How? Hear from the investor and financial guru himself - in the video below:

Make sense? The problem is, many people get into debt for all the wrong reasons - to impress. They get into debt and buy liabilities (things that take money from their pockets) - things like cars, boats, a Rolex watch on a credit card, a vacation on a credit card, cell phones, computers, you name it. Smart people on the other hand use debt to get rich. They buy things that put money into their pockets. In other words, they use debt to invest.

The bottom line is, debt can make you rich. But in order to make it happen, you need to know the difference between good debt and bad debt. Most people say, "get out of debt." If you ask me, get out of BAD debt!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What are Human Rights?

A combination of factors render people empowered and self-confident. Among the many factors, one is premodial - EDUCATION. In my case, not only am I educated (and can compete in the job market), but I'm educated in what I consider empowering - human rights. Human rights is a subject many of us take for granted. It might be shocking to you but the truth is, many people can't aptly define human rights, although it affects us all in daily life. What are human rights?

Simply defined, human rights are the rights we have simply because we're human. They're the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. Many people say the definition is obvious. But it's not! To make it even more complicated, what rights are human rights?

There's a lot of unawareness about what rights are human rights. Hence, many people have been exposed to barbarous acts by virtue of ignorance. Many don't know human rights are applicable to everyone, everywhere and are absolutely empowering. As a matter of fact, knowing your rights would set you free!

There was a time I was not so sure what rights were applicable to me. The consequences were devastating. When I first traveled to Europe from Africa, I was vulnerable to human rights violations. Make no mistake about it, I left Cameroon with a Bachelor of Laws degree. This was not enough. I still didn't know what rights were applicable to me, especially in a foreign land. I didn't know what I was allowed to do and vice versa. This alone, was a major determinant to how much success I could achieve in a land where the majority of people don't look like me. At the time, I was intimidated by almost everything. I couldn't get on the bus freely, I couldn't talk freely in public, I didn't even know I was allowed to own a car and drive. All this was due to ignorance. This is the story of many people who travel abroad. Can you imagine that?

Many people don't know that human rights are international and are applicable to EVERYONE. Many mistakenly think some basic rights are reserved for citizens of the country where they reside. This is far from the truth.

Human rights are enshrined in a document called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It is the most widely accepted document on the subject. Every right and duty on this document is applicable to EVERYONE on this planet. According to the United Nations (UN), there're a total of 30 human rights. So, what are human rights?

Watch the following video:

Unfortunately, the UDHR does not yet have the force of law. It's only a declaration. The good news is, we can do something about it simply by educating ourselves and our children about human rights. It doesn't stop there - we have to fight for our rights when trampled upon. Luckily, many human rights have the force of law in most countries. But there's a problem - many of us simple walk away when our rights are trampled upon. This is honorable, no doubt. However, for how long shall we walk away? More importantly, shall our kids be able to move away? We need to do more than just look the other way and teach our kids to do the same. Remember, those who fought for the basic human rights we enjoy today were not super-heros. They were "free thinking individuals" who refused to be silent.

Visit and help bring human rights to life!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Remarkable Battle Against Poverty and Illiteracy: The Youngest Headmaster

"... ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." - John F. Kennedy

Most often, we listen to great speeches, applaud but never take home anything from the speech. The moment I read the story of the youngest headmaster in the world, a speech delivered by John F. Kennedy, in January 1960, echoed in my mind. In the speech, JFK called on his fellow Americans to focus more on what they can do for their country; not what their country can do for them. A young man in Murshidabad, West Bengal, India, is doing what he can do for his country and inspiring young people around the world, in the process.

Have you heard about the 16-year-old Babar Ali? The teenager is in charge of teaching hundreds of poor children, in his family's backyard. Around the world, millions of children are not getting education because their families are too poor to send them to school. In India, Babar Ali is transforming the lives of hundreds of such children, through a remarkable education project in his village.

Babar Ali is a schoolboy who understands that many less previleged children have a burning desire to learn amid poverty. He is a student in the Raj Govinda School - a free government-run school. Students in the school only have to pay for their uniforms, books, and in some cases, a ride to school. In Babar Ali's case, he lives 10km (6 miles) away. Hence, he takes an auto-rickshaw ride to school. His education cost 1,500 rupees a year ($40). In West Bengal, and in many parts of the world, that is a lot of money. Consequently many families cannot afford to send their children to school, even when it's free.

The 16-year-old has made it his mission to help hundreds of poor children in his village get basic education. How does he do it? After school, Baba Ali dashes off home to share what he has learnt with the children in his village. At 4 o'clock every afternoon, he surmones children into the yard behind his family house. Every day, the children line up, sing the national anthem, get lectures about discipline from the headmaster - Baba Ali, then study begins.

How does this concern you? This story strikes a code because many of us are more privileged than the young Babar Ali. But for some reason, we do not give back to our communities. Some of us come from poor societies but once we make our way into "greener pastures" we forget the society and the poor people we left behind. I have heard many people say they'd NEVER return to their countries until things change. This boggles my mind. When would things change? Who would effect the change we expect to see in our countries?

Today, Barbar Ali has over 800 students in his "school." The question is, what are you doing for your country?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Are World Leaders Safe?

It all started in Baghdad when an Iraqi man hurled his shoes at the U.S. president George W. Bush in 2008. I was shocked by the news and even more shocked when I watched the video footage. The million dollar question is - are world leaders safe?

One year later, 2009, attacks on public figures and world leaders have increased.

On December 13, 2009, a man threw a statue at the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, during a rally in Milan. The Italian leader was not so lucky like former U.S. president - George Bush. He was struck and injured in the face. Where was his security team?

Less than two weeks later, December 24, 2009, a woman jumped over a barricade in St. Peter's Basilica and knocked down the Pope - Benedict XVI, at the start of the Pope's Christmas Eve mass. Where was the Vatican security?

The aforementioned disturbing events have left many questions lingering in my mind: Are world leaders safe? If yes, why were the aforementioned leaders vulnerable to attacks? Why were they assailable? Who is next? What would be the gravity of the next attack? (God forbid).

In case you didn't notice, both assailants in Italy were said to be "unstable." Prime Minister Berlusconi's assailant, Massimo Tartaglia, 42, was arrested and questioned by the police. The police later said he suffered from "psychological problems" in the past. On December 24, after the papal knock-down, the assailant was taken away by the Vatican security and questioned. The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, later said the assailant appeared to be "unstable." Do all assailants have "psychological" problems nowadays? Is this setting a precedent? These are tough questions which should be answered.

In a nutshell, you'd agree that these are tough times and tough times require tough measures.

What are your thoughts? Are world leaders safe?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas at the Home of a Typical Finnish Family

In Finland, Christmas is celebrated on the December 24. This year, 2009, I celebrated it with a Finnish family, in Helsinki. We didn't do it like Rock Stars but we had a lot of fun.

On the morning of December 24, I woke up, energized like every other day. But I did something different - set up a Christmas tree. While setting up the Christmas tree, it struck me that I was no longer excited about a Christmas tree as I used to be. In the past, I'd threaten to set it up on December 1. But here was I, setting up a Christmas tree on December 24.

After setting up the tree, we set out for the family home. As we drove through the city of Helsinki, there was a lot of traffic. The roads were jammed with people driving to and from the Malmi cemetry. That's when I was told Finns traditionally visit cemetries on December 24, to pray for the dead. Did you pray for the dead on Christmas day?

After about 15 minutes drive, we arrived at the family home. On arrival, we placed our gifts under the Christmas tree. Food was not ready yet, so we were offered drinks. There were assorted wines and beers. As usual, I went for red wine. 20 minutes later, we were ushered to the dining table.

The menu included the following:
  • Kinkku (Christmas ham)
  • Porkkana-lanttu and imelletty perunalaatikko (3 different stews made of carrots, swede and potatoes)
  • Keitetyt perunat (boiled potatoes)
  • Punaviinikastike (red wine sauce)
  • Kylmäsavulohta (cold smoked salmon)
  • Lohenmätiä with smetana and sipuli ( salmon roe served with smetana and onion)
  • Etikka silliä and -sipuleita ( pickled herring and onions)
  • Sienisalaattia (mushroom salad)
  • Rosollia (which includes beatroot, apple, pickled cucumber, carrot) with wipped cream
  • Herneitä (peas)
  • Karjalanpiikakoita ja munavoita (Karelian pasty and egg butter)
  • Maksapatee (Liver patée)
As we ate, I could not help but think about those who have nothing to eat (even on a day of "plenty" like Christmas day). I thought about those caught in armed conflicts, running away from their homes on Christmas day, those in hospitals in the forgotten parts of the world, with nothing to eat. Is there something I can do? I wondered. These thoughts punctuated my conversation on the dinning table, especially as I watched all the food, which we clearly could not finish.

After the meal, we retired to the living room and continued winning. Then came time for gifts - we exchanged gifts. Everyone was excited. I got many gifts - a pair of shoes, a pair of winter shocks, a pack of chocolates, playing cards and a Master Mind code-breaking game. Awesome!

At the end of the day, I count myself lucky to have had the opportunity to celebrate Christmas 2009 in a typical Finnish fashion. Celebrating Christmas in Finland, no doubt, is a PLUS to my wealth of experience. Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

Photo Gallery: Zuzeeko's Photo of the Day 26/12/2009

Christmas 2009 dinner at a Finnish family home. Christmas in Finland is celebrated on December 24.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

BBC African Footballer of the Year 2009: Why I'd Vote for Samuel Eto'o

Every year, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) canvasses football experts across Africa to compile a shortlist of Africa's best players. The BBC African Footballer of the Year award is the only award of its kind to be decided ultimately by fans. By implication, the nominee with the greatest number of fans who vote grabs the award. Is it an award based on talent or number of votes? This is a question to be answered by the organizers.

The 5 candidates for the 2009 BBC African Footballer of the year award have been revealed. The nominees (as seen above) are Tresor Mputu Mabi, Samuel Eto'o, Michael Essien, Yaya Toure and Didier Drogba. According to football experts in Africa, the aforementioned are Africa's top 5 footballers of the year 2009. Now it's up to us to vote for the player we think is the King of African football.

Many have asked why I'd vote for Samuel Eto'o. Is it because he's a fellow Cameroonian?

Samuel Eto'o has been an unstoppable Indomitable Lion playing for Cameroon and Barcelona in 2009. Eto'o ended the 2008-2009 season in Spain, finding the back of the net 30 in 36 league games, with another 6 goals in 12 games in the Champions League. He was instrumental in Barcelona's La Liga and Champions League wins. Eto'o is one of only two players to ever score in different Champion League finals. He scored in the Champions League final against Manchester United in Rome and against Arsenal in 2006.

Samuel Eto'o has been three-times African Footballer of the Year and was installed captain of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in August 2009. He scored three times and led Cameroon from two points adrift to the top of Group A in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Samuel Eto'o's goal tally is virtually second to none.

After being compared to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eto'o said, "I'm Samuel Eto'o and don't want to compare myself to anyone. I believe the victories I have earned up to now can contribute to giving the right value to my name."

All in all, I'd vote for Samuel Eto'o because he's the best of the best in Africa. Eto'o is unstoppable and has medals in the Champions League, African Nations Cup, Olympics, you name it. It boggles my mind that the BBC African Footballer of the Year award remains illusive for this prolific footballer. I hope my vote makes a difference this year - 2009.

Voting: The voting process of the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2009 runs from 1700 GMT on Monday November 30th to 1700 GMT to Monday January 4th 2010. The winner will be announced on January 8th 2010 at 1600 GMT on the BBC World Service.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Millionaire at 14: From Poverty To Plenty

"My story, though unique is not unlike others who began with nothing more than a dream fueled by sheer determination. I believe my story will remind you of the kid in all of us who know no limits and believes anything - and everything - is possible."
- Farrah Gray.

Have you heard the name Farrah Gray? He is a dynamic young man who became a self-made millionare at 14 years old. He was born on September 9, 1984 (I'm older than him. Are you?). How exactly did he do it? Watch the video below:

It's an inspiring story, isn't it? I have not yet read his book - Reallionaire. But it's definitely on my to-read list. In the book, Farrah laid down 9 steps to becoming rich from the inside out. The above video highlights 3 key steps:
  • Never fear rejection; everything you want is on the other side of fear. Farrah says, "it's amazing what you can achieve when you don't know what you can do." Imagine what would have happened if Bill Gates feared rejection. What would have happened if he feared that people would not buy his software?
  • Seize every opportunity. Opportunities rarely come around. Hence you have to be at the right place at the right time. As a matter of fact, "you have to be everywhere all the time."
  • Give back. It is in giving that we receive.
Farrah's story is lesson-packed, that's why I'll be reading his book in order to find out how he was able to do it so fast. I encourage you to read the book as well (if we share the same goal).

Jim Rohn said, "take a little time out to listen to someone else's experiences and see if it might cause for you a little moment of correction."

To Read:
Reallionaire: Nine Steps to Becoming Rich from the Inside Out.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Swedish Police Interrupt Refugee's Wedding: A Violation of Civil Rights?

On Saturday 19 December, 2009, Swedish police interrupted a wedding in the city of Malmö, in Southern Sweden. The wedding was aborted as the police used pepper spray on the 24-year old groom before he was arrested.

The man in question is a refugee from Afghanistan. His application for asylum was rejected and he "disappeared" to avoid deportation. Prior to the wedding, the man was at large and wanted by the police. Somehow, the police got information that he was to wed at the city hall in Malmö.

Anders Kristersson of Malmö Police Department said, "we knew that they were going to the city hall. We had to act before they managed to perform the ceremony." He said pepper spray was used because the Afghan man resisted arrest. The question is, was the interruption of the wedding necessary? Was there a violation of the bride and groom's right to marry?

Sweden is party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This Covenant obliges the government of Sweden to recognize the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedoms in its territory. Article 23 (2) of the ICCPR states:

"The right of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to found a family shall be recognized."

Did the events of 19 December, 2009 amount to a violation of the civil rights of the Afghan and his bride?

Many have argued that the groom was an undocumented immigrant and has no protection under the law. The last time I checked, Article 23 (2) of the ICCPR did not make any exceptions. Besides, the groom did not pose any immediate threat to national security or to society. The police already had the information that he was wedding at the city hall and had the power to arrest him after the ceremony. There's no evidence pointing to the fact that the groom would "disappeared" after the ceremony. The police were not under any pressure to arrest the groom the way the did. It was bad timing. In my opinion, the interruption of the wedding by the police was unnecessary and amounted to a violation of the civil rights of the Afghan and his bride.

There's some reason to believe that the police interrupted the wedding for fear that marriage to a Swedish citizen would have an effect on the man's deportation. But a representative of the Swedish Immigration Board (Migrationsverket) said, preventing the wedding was unnecessary because marriage to a Swedish citizen wouldn't have any effect on the man's deportation because the decision for deportation had already been made.

I agree with the Migration Board communication manager, Jonas Lindgren, who said the police had abused their authority. The Malmö police responded promptly, in a bid to get an undocumented immigrant off the streets of Sweden. However, I'm afraid the police just bought the immigrant some more time in Sweden. With a good lawyer, justice would be served and his right to marry restored. If he's not happy with the decision of Swedish courts, after exhausting all domestic remedies, he reserves the right, under the First Optional Protocol of the ICCPR, to complain to the Human Rights Committee. But, his days in Sweden are numbered because the deportation decision by the Migration Board would not be affected.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rape as a Weapon of War in the DR Congo

"There is an Epidermic of Rape in DR Congo that has Reached Epic Proportions." Between January and September 2009, the United Nations (UN) has recorded more than 7,500 cases of sexual violence against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). As if this is not enough, 1,400 civilians were killed during the same period. In an earlier post, "Africa's First World War: The Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo," I painted a picture of the conflict in the DRC. Research shows that the conflict is the "biggest humanitarian crisis on the planet." and it's the "world's deadliest war since World War II." The situation is degenerating. On 18 December, Human Rights Watch announced that the atrocities continue in the DR. Congo. Rape is used as a weapon of war in the region. Women and children are hardest hit.

"They killed my husband with a machete and two of them raped me." This is the story of a woman who was abducted by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), during an attack on Busheke village in late January 2009. "They killed my father and raped my mother and sister before killing them as well, with a machete. They abducted me and brought me to their camp where I was made the "wife" of Captain Jean Claude. He raped me everyday."

Another woman, who lost six members of her family when the Congolese army attacked Shalio hill on April 27, 2009, said, "They were all beaten to death by wooden clubs in front of me. Then four of the soldiers took me and raped me. They told me that I'm the wife of an FDLR and they can do whatever the want with me." Notice that the former woman was raped by rebels while the latter was raped by government armed forces. That's the plight of the Congolese women.

Civilians are caught in the cross-fire between rebel militia groups like the FDLR and the UN-backed Congolese army forces. The rebels and soldiers accuse villagers of supporting the enemy and "punish" them by attacking them with machetes, and not stopping short of raping women and girls. In some cases, the women and girls are abducted and forced into sexual slavery. Those trying to flee are killed.

The point of interest is the support provided by the UN peacekeepers. The peacekeepers are there to support the Congolese army. But, the Congolese army is turning against the civilians they were deployed to protect from the rebels. By providing support to the abusive Congolese army, the UN is compromising its goal of bringing peace to the region.

Anneke Van Woudenberg, Senior Researcher at Human Rights Watch said, "continued killing and rape by all sides in eastern Congo, shows that the UN Security Council needs a new approach to protect civilians. The Security Council should send a group of experts to kick-start a serious civilian protection plan."

Human Rights Watch has made recommendations: All commanders with known records of human rights abuse should be removed from operational responsibilities. The procedures and conditions should be made public. Human Rights Watch urged the peacekeeping force to immediately cease all support to the current military operation until clear procedures are put in place to prevent violations of international humanitarian law.

For more shocking stories, read the 183-page Human Rights Watch report, "‘You Will Be Punished': Attacks on Civilians in Eastern Congo."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cameroon and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

The Republic of Cameroon - as located on the map - is bordered by Nigeria to the west, Chad to the northeast, the Central African Republic to the East and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo to the south. All the aforementioned neighboring countries (except Equatorial Guinea), and more than 30 African states have signed and ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The question at this point is - why has Cameroon not ratified the Rome Statute?

The Rome Statute is a treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC). It entered into force in July 2002.

As of 20 December 2009, 110 countries (UPDATE: 114 as of 12 October 2010) have ratified the Statute. But Cameroon - like other countries with questionable human rights records - is hesitant to ratify it.

Ratification means States Parties recognize the jurisdiction, functions and structure of the International Criminal Court. Above all, ratification binds States Parties to the decisions of the court.

The ICC was created to try and punish individuals who commit genocide and other serious international crimes. The crimes in the jurisdiction of the ICC are laid down in Article 5 of the Rome Statute and they include:
  • The crime of genocide
  • Crimes against humanity
  • War crimes
  • Crime of aggression
It's worth mentioning that the court has jurisdiction only to crimes committed after the entry into force of the Rome Statute.

The Rome Statute of the ICC was adopted by the UN General Assembly by a vote of 120 to 7, with 21 abstentions.

The 7 countries that voted against, all have human rights concerns. All 7 countries have a record of human rights violations either at home or abroad. These countries include, the United States, Iraq, IsraelLibya, China, Qatar and Yemen.

It is no secret why these countries voted against the creation of the ICC, but it's difficult to understand why Cameroon - which prides itself as a country that respects human rights and the rule of law - is hesitant to recognize the ICC.

Does the government of Cameroon have skeletons in the closet? Would a government which has nothing up its sleeves hesitate to recognize the jurisdiction of a court designed to protect human rights?

Remember, "if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck."

Recommendations: Civil society organizations in Cameroon should take responsibility for promoting the Rome Statute to the public and the government should take steps to ratify the Statute as soon as possible.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Photo Gallery: Zuzeeko's Photo of the Day 18/12/2009

Women in the armed conflict in the DR. Congo flee from their homes, carrying their children and belongings. The UN recorded over 7,500 cases of sexual violence against women and girls across North and South Kivu in eastern Congo, between January and September, 2009.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Coaching Beyond Sports: Who is Helping You Succeed?

I'm not a big fan of soccer but I've watched many soccer matches and have developed some interest in the sport. I sometimes tend to admire the role of the coach more than the role of the players. This might sound strange to many fans because most fans concentrate more on the action on the pitch and ignore the role of the "master planner" behind the scenes. Coaching plays a major role in the realisation of extraordinary results. This explains why every team gets a coach. It's worthy of note that the role of a coach is not limited to sports. More often than not, people mistakenly limit coaching to sports. In reality, it goes beyond sports. Football players, volleyball players, basketball players, you name it, all have coaches to help them succeed. The question is, who do you have to coach you to succeed in the greatest game of all - life?

Coaching is a professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their careers, businesses or organizations. Coaching deeps learning and improves performance. The coach is there to listen and contribute observations. He creates clarity and moves the client into effective action. The coach's efforts and the application of the coaching process produces amazing results.

We've seen the extraordinary role of coaching in soccer and other sports. We've seen how coaches galvanize teams and produce mind-blowing results. We've seen teams with great players suffer the effects of poor coaching. I vividly remember the day Chelsea Football Club lost a great coach - Jose Mourinho (see picture above). The world was stunned on 19 September, 2007 when Coach Mourinho dramatically left Stamford bridge. Needless to say, the effects of his absence were far-reaching. Great players became demoralized, the team suffered numerous defeats and was at the brink of "disaster." Luckily, the club was rescued by another coach.

Even the living tennis legend - Andre Agassi, understands the importance of coaching. He was at the bottom of his carrier when Tony Robbins subjected him to training. Coaching helped Agassi broke a losing spell within a very short period of time.

You're a player in the greatest game of all - life. Do you have a coach? Do you have a mentor? Who is helping you achieve your goals? From time to time, we give up on our dreams and forget what matters to us. That's where a coach comes in. The coach is there to help you overcome fear and doubt and support you to take the necessary steps towards what you want.

Some of us think we can do it alone. That's alright. Afterall, self-confidence is a good character trait. But with a coach, you'd be challenged, empowered and stretched to your limits. That's when you reach your full potential.

FACT: Every guru was once a student.

Wealth Survey: Discover what The Wealthy Have in Common

Most people (including me) want to be wealthy. But, we set out to achieve this goal in different ways. Yes, we all venture out into different roads, in search of that "brass ring." Once in a while, it's smart to pause and evaluate our progress. In this way, we would ascertain whether we're on the right track or not. Since we share the same goal, I thought a wealth survey would be helpful.

A survey was given to 5,000 people. The questions in the survey were divided into 4 categories:
  • Financial attitude and behaviours
  • Goals
  • Personality
  • Non-financial behaviors
The responses to all the questions asked were used to map out the difference between the wealthy and those at the bottom of the economic ladder. The responses to the questions revealed that there were 4 main economic groups of people in the U.S.:
  • The wealthy (3% of the population)
  • The financially comfortable (27% of the population)
  • The paycheck-to-paychecks (54% of the population)
  • The further-in-debtors (15% of the population)
Permit me to call the bottom group - "broke." However, it doesn't mean the paychecks-to-paychecks are safe.

That said. According to the survey, 20 factors distinguish the wealthy from the broke and everyone else. The following factors help the wealthy climb to the top of the economic ladder:
  • They have reduced outstanding debt
  • They have invested for retirement
  • They feel stocks are worth the risk
  • They save regularly for emergencies
  • They devote money to personal savings each month
  • They aim to retire comfortably
  • They want to be financially comfortable during their working years
  • They always knew what they wanted to do
  • They made it a goal to accumulate $1 million
  • They want to own a home
  • They're confident
  • They're happy
  • They're optimistic
  • They're leaders
  • They're competitive
  • They have a college degree
  • They socialize with friends once a week
  • They read newspapers regularly
  • They're married
  • They exercise at least 2 to 3 times a week
The survey reveals that you need only ten (10) of the above factors to be financially comfortable and twelve (12) to be wealthy. Is that too much to ask?

Before you move on to another article on this blog or before you quit, endeavor to sincerely grade yourself, based on the above factors. In this way, you'd know what needs to be done in order to move up the economic ladder. Depending on your present position on the ladder, movement can either be from broke to pay-check-paycheck, or from pay-check-paycheck to financially comfortable (this is alright) or from financially comfortable to wealthy (highly recommended). Note that I do not completely rule out the possibility of a reverse movement.

More information about the survey can be found in the book entitled, The Difference: How Anyone Can Prosper in Even the Toughest Times by Jean Chatzky.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Worries about Cameroon: Will history repeat itself?

President Paul Biya.
Cameroon is home to almost 20 million people and has been ruled by one man since 1982. Paul Biya, 76 years old, is the only president many Cameroonians have known and he's determined to be president for life.

In April 2008, after 26 years in power, his government modified the Constitution by suppressing the two-term mandate limit for the office of the president, which means he can run for president until nature calls.

In 2006, Mr. Biya's government was applauded for creating an independent body - Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), to manage elections in the country. This move was welcomed with the believe that it would put an end to phony elections that have dogged Mr. Biya's regime for many years. As a matter of fact, the transfer of elections management from the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization (MINATD) to ELECAM was a major step towards democratization.

Today, the situation in Cameroon is not looking good. Hopes of free and fair elections in 2011 have been shattered. In 2009, authorities appointed the 12 board members of ELECAM. To the disappointment of many Cameroonians, 11 of the board members are members of the Central Committee and Political Bureau of the ruling party - Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement (CPDM). In other words, elections management was transferred from MINATD to the ruling party.

Is it possible to be both player and referee?

Note that the law creating the ELECAM clearly states that board members "shall be designated from the midst of independent personalities of Cameroonian nationality, reputed with their stature, moral uprightness, intellectual honesty, patriotism, neutrality and impartiality."

The appointment of members of the Political Bureau and Central Committee to the board of ELECAM has been criticized both in Cameroon and abroad. The head of the European Commission Delegation in Yaounde, Xavier Puyol, expressly condemned the move. Puyol said he understands Cameroonians' frustration with the electoral system and called on the authorities to do something to regain the peoples' confidence. He noted that if something is not done, fewer people would register to vote in 2011. In his own words, "it's sad that Cameroon which has a population of close to 20 million inhabitants has never succeeded to register up to 5 million on the voter list. This could be worst in the 2011 election and that is not good for the country."

Of course, as a Cameroonian, I'm worried about voter registration, and I'm determined to register and vote in 2011. However, my major worry is what would happen after the elections. I vividly remember the events that followed the controversial 1992 elections. Trust in the electoral system was down to zero, the ruling party emerged victorious, animosity flared and things went out of control. The human and material damage that ensued the violence was colossal.

With the 2011 presidential election around the corner, one question lingers in my mind - will history repeat itself?

Modern-day Slavery: The Story of African Women Trafficked to Russia

Human trafficking is trade or commerce in people. It embodies many features of slavery. Article 3 of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (the Palermo Protocol) defines human trafficking as:

"The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation."

The Russian Federation (Russia) is a source, transit and destination for people trafficked for purposes of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Make no mistake - human trafficking prevails in "epidemic proportions" in many countries. However, the story of women from Ghana and other parts of Africa, trafficked to Russia for commercial sex purposes caught my attention.

Ghana's [diplomatic] Mission in Russia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia carried out an investigation which uncovered a human trafficking and prostitution ring which operates between Ghana and Russia. It's specialized in recruiting young Ghanaian woman for commercial sex work in Moscow and other cities in Russia. The Ghanaian Mission in Moscow notes that 10 of the women are in custody of 3 Nigerians and each of the 10 women had been requested to pay between $35,000 and $45,000, in order to obtain their freedom.

According to a report on the findings of the investigation, young women in Ghana are enticed by the promise of further education in Russian Universities. Upon arrival, they're kept in confinement and their documents and personal items are confisticated. Those who prove to be non-cooperative are maltreated. According to the report, "the girls are being subjected to rape, torture and assault."

It's worth mentioning that not only Ghanaian women are African victims of human trafficking for the purpose of commercial sex in Russia. According to the report, "two Nigerian prostitutes were thrown down to their death from apartment buildings." The Ghana Mission in Moscow estimated that there're over 500 Nigerian and Cameroonian girls engaged in prostitution in Russia and said the prostitution activities affect the behaviour of African students in the region, especially at the People's Friendship University.

In my opinion, the collaborative investigation undertaken by Ghana's mission in Moscow and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia was successful, at least to an extent. No doubt this is the case because the resulting report was very detailed and transparent. The report revealed the names (even an address) of the traffickers (criminals).

According to the report, most of the perpetrators of this heinous crime are Nigerians. For more details and the names of the victims and perpetrators, click here.

Well, a human trafficking and sex ring has been uncovered, the perpetrators and the victims are known. The question is, what next?

Justice must be served. Three out of the four countries of interest in the report - Russia, Nigeria and Cameroon, have signed and ratified the Palermo Protocol. Hence, they have an OBLIGATION under international law to protect their citizens from human trafficking and bring the culprits to justice. Unfortunately, as of today, Ghana has not signed nor ratified the Protocol.

  • Ghana should sign and ratify the Palermo Protocol.
  • The government of Ghana should investigate and bring the agents of the sex ring in Ghana to justice.
  • The government of Ghana should seek the extradition of Ghanaian human trafficking suspects in Russia.
  • The government of Cameroon should investigate the situation of Cameroonians alleged to be victims of human trafficking in Russia.
  • The government of Nigeria should investigate and bring to justice, Nigerians involved in human trafficking both at home and abroad.
  • The government of Ghana should investigate the allegation of Ghanaians involved in Ghanaian passport racketeering.
  • Russian law enforcement agents should cooperate with the Ghanaian Mission in Moscow to break the illicit trade in Ghanaian passports.

Human trafficking is a crime that shames us all. The good news is, we don't have to be specialists to help eradicate human trafficking. A lot can be done by simply creating awareness and sensitization programmes. You can help create awareness simply by sharing this storing on Facebook or twitter. This simple gesture can save a life.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Never Make a New Year Resolution Before You Read this!

As the year draws to a close, people are thinking about their New Year Resolutions. It's a tradition which dates as far back as 153 B.C.

A New Year resolution is a commitment made by an individual, to a project or the reforming of a habit. It is called the New Year's resolution because the commitment goes into effect on New Year Day. It is worth mentioning that different cultures have different New Year days. But the most common is 1 January.

Simply put, a new year resolution is a goal. As people begin a new year, they set goals and stick to them until they're fulfilled or abandoned. Just like many other goals, new year resolutions are more often than not, abandoned. No doubt, this is the case because very few people have mastered the art of setting goals and achieving them. Recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieve their goals. The question is, are new year resolutions made just to fulfill a tradition?

The most popular new year resolutions include:
  • Quit smoking
  • Loss weight
  • Enjoy life more
  • Quit drinking
  • Get out of debt
  • Learn something new
  • Help others
  • Get organized
  • Appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends
  • Improve grades
  • Get a better job
  • Reduce stress
  • Be less grumpy
Did your new year resolution for last year make the list? Was it fulfilled or was it abandoned?

If it was abandoned, you have another chance this year. But, before you make another resolution, you have to change your mindset. You can't make another resolution with the same mindset you had last year and expect a different result. More importantly, if you didn't write down your resolution last year, make sure you write it down this year. Write it down where you can always see it. When you have it written down, you'd have a stronger commitment and seeing it everyday will remind you of your commitment.

Above all, if you failed to fulfill your resolution last year, you MUST make the same resolution this year. This will remind you of how much of a failure you were in the past year. The point is, when you fail, just like in school, you have to take the course all over.

Make a self-evaluation. If you sincerely know you fulfilled your resolution last year, raise the bar this year and set a higher goal. That's the only way you'd become a better person and achieve more.

I can't fail to mention those who don't make any resolutions or set clear goals. This is like blowing in the wind. As Jim Rohn said, "it's the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go."

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Poor and the Middle Class Povery Trap

I have often wondered why the poor remain poor and the middle class remain, socio-economically, between the poor and the wealthy.

Growing up in a middle class family, I watched my parents work very hard to break the glass ceiling. Despite their hard work, our standard of living never improved. Were they working hard to secure a place in the middle class? Is there a poverty trap for the poor and the middle class?

After a lot of reading and research, I realised that the poor and the middle class are trapped in poverty by the things they buy. On payday, the poor and the middle class spend their money on things that don't generate any income. Hence, they depend on one source of income - usually a job.

The poor spend money on inexpensive things that they don't need to survive. They buy "stuff" that don't add real value in their lives. Their income does not generate any income. Consequently, they're trapped in poverty by the things they buy. Simply put, they've not mastered the wealth creating formula.

People in the Middle class have the same delimma. These are people society mistakenly thinks are rich. They earn good money from their jobs. Some even earn up to 6 figure incomes and bring home a lot of money on payday. However, just like the poor, they're trapped in a life of struggle by the things they spend their money on. When the middle class go shopping, they buy things that don't generate any income (just like the poor). They spend their money on things like cars, boats, credit card debts, mortgage on the lovely large house. After all their expenses, they're left with no disposable income and MUST go back to work in order to maintain the lifestyle they have designed for themselves.

No doubt, the poor and the middle class are trapped in poverty and a life of struggle. All their income is dependent on their personal effort and they must exchange their time for money - money they spend buying things that don't generate any income. Worst of all, if the poor and the middle class don't go to work, they don't make any money. The things they buy trap them in the middle class.

The wealthy don't buy "stuff" and things that don't generate income. They're constantly looking for opportunities to invest and generate more money. They've mastered the wealth creating formula and fully understand the concepts of assets and liabilities. They know a job alone cannot make it happen. The wealthy spend money on assets - things that generate income. Consequently, they make more money and get richer. It's not a mystery.

In a nutshell, the poor and the middle class are trapped in poverty and a life of struggle by one thing - MINDSET. With a change in mindset, the glass ceiling would be broken and more and more people would become financially free and wealthy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Don't Try to Look Wealthy; Be Wealthy!

Nowadays, many people seem to have forgotten what it means to be wealthy and what living the good life is all about. More and more people tend to live a "lobster lifestyle on a tuner fish budget."

As a kid, I used to think the good life constitutes living in a big house, driving a Mercedes Benz (I love the brand - Mercedes Benz), being dropped off and picked up from school, having a personal driver, having a maid, you name it. Growing up in Africa, I never included things like a luxurious yacht, a summer cottage, a convertible BMW for the summer. But now, after all the traveling and exposure to different cultures and ways of life, all the above mentioned, are included in my definition of the "good life". What's your definition of the good life?

Many people want to be wealthy. This is goo! I'm an advocate for wealth because I believe it would set a people free. What I don't support is the quest to become wealthy for the wrong reason - to impress. Wanting to become rich to impress others has landed many people into trouble. Besides, it's one of the major causes of today's global economic meltdown.

I used to admire people living the "good life" and assumed they were successful. However, a closer look revealed that many are in debt of over 50% of their gross income and have plenty of credit cards and student loan payments. In most cases the car is leased. As a matter of fact, many people living the "good life" cannot write a check with their own money. They live a life of struggle and have borrowed money to look and feel rich. Is this the good life? Is the good life a myth or a reality?

There's an unbelievable amount of wealth in the world but the majority of people in the world are not wealthy. In the U.S., for example, nearly half of the wealth is owned by less than 5% of the population. Don't get me wrong, many people make good money. However, they still live paycheck to paycheck due to misplaced priorities. All the money they make is invested on looking wealthy. As if this is not enough, saving has become an illusive concept. Statistics show that in America, for every dollar earned, $1.22 is spent. Very few people invest money in building true wealth. Does this ring a bell?

The celebrity culture today has led many ordinary people to the wrong direction. We see the celebrities living the good life. What we don't see is the hard work and investments behind the scenes. The picture many of us see and copy is - EXTRAVAGANCE. This has distorted the view of what success is all about.

Most (if not all) wealthy people are investors. They invest in income generating opportunities. An investor may never realise a hugh salary, but make no mistake, the cash flow is very significant and that's what wealth is all about. There're many routes to wealth. You won't find them unless you're open to hearing about them. Once you find them, make sure you read the map before you venture out. The bottom line is, financial independence is more important than displaying high social status. Forget looking wealthy; be wealthy!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Damaged Game: Golf without Tiger Woods

He has won 93 tournaments since going pro in 1996 and has made a hundred million dollars in titles alone. Earlier this year, he hit the billion dollar mark. His name is Tiger Woods.

You might have noticed that I'm a big fan of Tiger Woods and have been taken aback by the media frenzy that surrounds him.

Every morning, I watch CNN International. Today, while on the breakfast table, news broke that Tiger Woods (the greatest golfer of his time) is leaving professional golf indefinitely, to focus on "being a better husband, father and person." To me, this is bad news. Golf without Tiger Woods?

Tiger Woods has worked very hard over the years to brand himself and to be what we all know him to be today. Tiger Woods is golf! We can't talk golf without Tiger Woods. As a matter of fact, yesterday, while I was watching the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, a perfect swing was called - a "Tiger Woods" swing. That's what I'm talking about!

Since Tiger crashed his car outside his Florida mansion, late last month, he has been mired by controversy. I understand why it's big news. Afterall, he's Tiger, right? What I don't understand is why people can't separate Tiger Woods (the man) from Tiger Woods (the brand). Is there a conspiracy to destroy the brand?

Tiger is human and just like everyone else, he's prone to make some "transgressions". It's either people don't understand this or they're just out to destroy the brand.

Earlier (2 months ago), I explained 4 reasons why everyone is not happy about your success. The events surrounding Tiger Woods reminds me of the fact that not everyone celebrates success. When you're successful, there'll always be those who'd seize the least oppotunity to tear you down. Most often, they'd tear you down not because they don't love you, but because it makes them feel better for not working hard enough to attain your level of success. That's the way I see it.

That said. There're a couple to lessons to be learnt from the Tiger Woods saga:

  • There'll always be supporters and haters.
  • With success, comes greater responsibilty and media scrutiny.
  • Do not cheat on your wife/husband.*
  • Respond to situations promptly and apologise as soon as possible (if you must).
  • Avoid reading or listening to negative things about you. It drains your energy.
  • All human beings have difficult times.
  • A single "transgression" can destroy everything you've worked hard to build.
I must say I'm disappointed by Tiger's decision to break away from professional golf indefinitely. This makes the pundits, haters and losers feel better.

All in all, I'm confident Tiger will bounce back to the golf course soon. He has endured tougher times on his way to the top. He'll be back to safe golf, because he knows the game would be damaged without him.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sweden: "White Power" Groups on the Increase

"... the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

I never thought we'll be having this conversation in 2009 (almost 2010). Are we moving forward or are we moving backwards?

Many societies have experienced a decline in the number of "white power" groups. However, these groups are on the increase in SWEDEN.

According to Expo Foundation (a foundation which aims to map right-wing extremist and racist trends in Sweden), "white power" groups in Sweden have stepped up their activities over the past year.

Earlier this month, an annual report presented by the Expo Foundation found that 39 "white power" groups were active in Sweden in 2008, with 25 of them having been created in 2007 or 2008. The report reveals that 1,946 actions were carried out by racist "white power" organizations in 2008. The Local, a Swedish news agency reported that the figures represent an increase of roughly 800 of such groups over the previous year.

In the words of one of the authors of the Expo report, Kenny Hjalte, "this is a movement which saw an increase in activity in 2008."

The report listed the leading groups operating in Sweden. These groups include, Info 14, the Swedish Resistance Movement, the Nordic Union and the National Socialist Front, just to name a few.

An increase in the number of "white power" groups in Sweden or anywhere in the world is of interest to me because these racist groups seek to challenge the core of my belief that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. This is a belief enshrined in the greatest document of all time - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The "white power" groups (or whatever they call themselves) seek to continue spreading the lie of the inferiority of a people; a lie which unfortunately, has been accepted as truth in the world today. This lie has been passed down through many generations and has had catastrophic effects on a people.

Now, it's up to us as individuals to decide whether to accept the lie or reject it. Rejecting the lie requires us to unite, stand up for what is right and make our voices heard; rejecting the lie requires us to empower ourselves and prove to the world that we can be whatever we want to be and not what society wants us to be.

Personally, I don't think there's any such thing as "white power." I believe in individual strength and capability.

As the great Dr. King said, "a man can't ride your back unless it's bent." Anybody can be what he/she wants to be. It's up to you!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Swedish TV Presenter: "Tiger tried to Recruit me as a Lover"

Since Tiger Woods got involved in the much talked about car accident, I have tried not to get involved in frenzy that surrounds the accident. However, events of yesterday exposed me to many articles that prompted me to break the silence.

On 9 December 2009, The Local, an online news portal, published an article about a 31-year-old Swedish TV presenter who claimed Tiger Woods tried to recruit her as a lover six or seven years ago. Is this just another person seeking five minutes of fame? Have we forgotten what success is all about?

Tiger Woods and his family are facing some tough times. For some people, this is just an opportunity to make a name for themselves and boost their celebrity. If Tiger Woods actually tried to recruit the TV presenter as a lover, why did it take her seven years to reveal the story?

Drawing from numerous events, such as the Balloon Boy fiasco and the White House Dinner Party crashers, there will always be someone seeking fame though crafty means. As Dr. Phil McGraw would say, there will always be somebody who will be glad to walk through fire or sit in cow dung or eat worms to get headlines. And sadly, they do get headlines.

Many people seem to have forgotten the meaning of fame, celebrity and success. What happened to the days when success, fame and celebrity was achieved through hard work? Some have credited the TV presenter for revealing the story at the right time. In my opinion, she's just another person seeking fame, even if it means destroying the marriage of her fellow Swede, Tiger Woods wife.

The TV reporter reportedly loves the spotlight and over the years she has done some crazy stuff to attract attention. I won't go into the details. A lot has already been written about her. Read more on The Local.

Did Tiger Woods Cook Dinner for his Mother-in-law?

I have done my best not to get involved in the Tiger Woods saga but the events of yesterday, 8 December 2009 prompted me to get involved.

Yesterday, Tiger Wood's mother-in-law, Barbro Holmberg collapsed at his home and was rushed to a Florida hospital. This raised more suspicion and speculation in the media, making it the second media frenzy in two weeks surrounding the legendary golfer.

A 911 call from Tiger's home was followed by an ambulance leaving his home with a lady, dubbed, "the mystery woman from Tiger's home" by the media. The "mystery woman" was later identified as Barbro Holmberg, a Swedish politician and the pro golfer's mother-in-law. She was rushed to the hospital with stomach pain and was later released about 11 hours later and returned to Tiger's manson. According to the hospital spokesman, Dan Yates, "she was wheeled out in a wheelchair just like everyone else."

Without going into the details of what happened yesterday, I was shocked by the global response when the news broke. Like every other CNN breaking news, I received this one on my cell phone and immediately swapped channels to CNN International. I later logged into Twitter, all in a bid to get peoples' response to the news.

The response that shocked me most, amid other shocking responses, was a comment posted on an article in The Local (a Swedish news agency). The comment went thus: "Did Tiger cooked dinner for her?...". Regardless of the grammatical error, I understood the comment. As a matter of fact, the comment hit me like a bombshell and I was like, "what?"

Thinking outside the box is important. But sometimes, our thoughts go too far. I wish there was a rule that people should only talk when they know what they're talking about. Speculations don't hold water, that's why submissions are overruled in court on grounds of speculation.

Imagine a world where people only talk when they know what they're talking about and not because they have to say something.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Home in Cameroon gets a U.S. Phone Number

In telecommunications, the concept of a long distance call is gradually being wiped out.

Telecommunications is being revolutionalized in a way that even Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone would never have imagined. Who could ever imagine a day when a home in Cameroon, West Africa would have a U.S. phone number?

We're making it happen! A home in Bamenda, Cameroon has a phone installed with a 404... Atlanta, GA phone number. How is this possible?

Well, we sent a Digital Telephone Adapter (in the picture above) to my sister who lives in Upstation, Bamenda, Cameroon. She got the internet installed at home and connected the adapter as indicated in the picture above. The adapter has a 404... Atlanta, GA number (it's possible to choose any number). For $30/month, her household can make UNLIMITED calls to mobiles and landlines in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and landlines in 75 calling areas around the world. This has completely changed the way we communicate because we no longer need to buy calling cards. The same applies to all my siblings in different parts of the world. We all have U.S. phone numbers and call each other at anytime (weekday or weekend) and talk for as long as we want without worrying about minutes. Afterall, it's always a local call. We're working to get the system installed at our family home in Foncha Street, Bamenda.

This is the future of telecommunications. Of course, broadband internet is not readily available in most households in Africa. But this is going to change in a few years. Internet is gradually becoming affordable in Nigeria, for instance. Kenya and other East African countries are getting ready for the laying of fiber optic to provide broadband internet to the people of the region (Read more, here). This tells me that broadband internet is going to Africa sooner than expected.

The availability of broadband internet in Africa will usher in a new era in telecommunications in the region. More and more homes will use the Digital Telephone Adapter and communication will be taken to a whole new level. Imagine a day when you just pick up a phone and call a friend or family member in Africa, Europe, Asia or the Middle East without worrying about minutes.

Our company made it possible for my sister to have a U.S, phone number ring in her living room in Cameroon. We're spearheading the VoIP revolution in Africa and I'm even more excited by the possiblilities that lie ahead, as more and more homes gain access to the internet.

We're pioneering the digital phone revolution in Africa. In August 2009, we opened an office in Lagos, Nigeria. Our service is now available in the Nigerian market (the fastest growing telecoms market in Africa) and we're looking for serious-minded individuals to join the revolution and build wealth. If you're reading this post and you see the vision of this company, I urge you to get in touch with me as soon as possible.

By the way, when was the last time you had an opportunity to be part of a telecommunications revolution of this magnitude? At some point, all phone calls will be routed through the internet. The question is, when this happens, do you want to be a consumer or a provider?

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