Wednesday 29 October 2014

#WhatDoesBHWant? A Q&A with @ContactSalkida about #BokoHaram - 01/11/14 at 8:00PM

8:00PM on Saturday 1st November 2014 – Nigerian time.
The plan
Dr. Jibrin Ibrahim and Akin Akintayo have been invited to moderate a Q&A session with Ahmad Salkida about Boko Haram, its ideology, its operations, the violent onslaught and other difficult to understand activities of the sect.
Boko Haram is crudely translated to ‘Western Education is forbidden’ and officially known as Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'Awati Wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Prophet's Teachings for Propagation and Jihad).
To many of us, what Boko Haram does is just purely unfathomable madness, yet, I would suggest that for centuries we never understood what madness was, what caused it, why people were affected and what impact it had on people society would suggest are mad.
Explaining the madness
With the development of psychiatry and psychology, we have a better understanding of madness, or rather mental illness and in some cases medicine and therapy has provided the means to manage it and probably suppress the very lunatic episodes.
With that thinking borne in mind, I want to opine that Ahmad Salkida who has written extensively about Boko Haram is like our psychiatrist, the expert who can explain the madness that appears to drive Boko Haram and bring some understanding to the issues that hopefully would help us contain and probably neutralise the menacing and marauding activities of Boko Haram.
Our frustrations
Going into the 7th month, the Chibok Girls are still in captivity, the #BringBackOurGirls movement is unrelenting in their protests, carnage has destroyed life and property, states have been under a State of Emergency for over a year and yet, Boko Haram seems to run writ large on Nigerian sovereign territory.
With every engagement with the Nigerian armed forces, we are left us none the wiser about who is winning, who is losing, what agreements have been reached if a ceasefire exists and whether there is any justice or peace at the end of all this.
Ahmad Salkida will bring some insight and hopefully some enlightenment in this objective forum, and this is something we need within the turmoil of confusion and uncertainty about terrorism in Nigeria.
The discussion is embedded below, within the blog.
In offering to moderate this Q&A session, these are the ground rules.
1.   The Q&A session will kick off at 20:00 hours on Saturday the 1st of November 2014 – Nigerian time, which is 19:00 GMT.
2.   All questions should be in clear and plain English and must use the hashtag #WhatDoesBHWant
3.    Every enquirer must exercise the best of manners - be civil, be polite, be respectful and be friendly.
4.    Every Question must be in the context of learning and understanding #WhatDoesBHWant, we will not digress from that mandate to tackle distractions.
5.   Questions that attempt to excite passions and display personal animus will be ignored, the Q&A is NOT a forum to score points or settle scores.
6.   We all have every reason to direct our anger at Boko Haram, however, Ahmad Salkida is NOT a member of Boko Haram, he is a knowledge expert and he has offered to share his knowledge and insights with us out of good faith.
7.    No abuse or aggression will be tolerated during this Q&A session, all frustrations must be tempered with the utmost self-control.
8.   We would try to have as many questions answered as possible, there can be follow on questions, but we would not revisit questions that have already been answered. At the end of the Q&A session, the conversation will be Storified and published for people to review for posterity.
We hope that all well-meaning Nigerians would participate in this discussion in patriotic good faith and we can all come away wiser and more understanding of what we need to do to end the problems that Boko Haram exacerbates on Nigeria and its neighbours.
Thank you.
Further Reading
Nigerian reporter threatened over Boko Haram coverage [Committee to Protect Journalists – March 2012]
Another Look At The Boko Haram Philosophy- Ahmad Salkida [Peace and Collaborative Development Network – November 2012]

Saturday 25 October 2014

Thought Picnic: A history of my conservative view on drink

Drinks exposure
I might well be considered a conservative for expecting people to be able to put one foot in front of the other surely, if they are able-bodied and regardless of the hour of the day.
Generally, I do not have a palate for much drink, I did my share by the time I was 15. I had already done light beer at 10 and rum by 14, all outside parental supervision, but still with guidance.
Cancer exposure
At 15, my first job was in a brewery laboratory, I did a few things from determining the pH value of water used in the fermentation tank farms and the also measuring the chlorine levels of water used in processes around the brewery.
There were lax safety rules because, the senior lab analysts knew o-toluidine used to test for chlorine was a human carcinogen, yet they were happy for this young man to handle it without any protection of gloves or defined processes.
With time, I got to looking at dead yeast cells under a microscope, the ones stained blue were dead, we needed a ratio of dead to living yeast cells to end the fermentation process and start filtration to draw out the lager. This was all a long time ago.
Wild exposure
However, rather than acquire a taste for beer, I completely went off it. The only thing I like was called the first wort which was the first liquid extract from cooked malted barley, before the hops, sugar, salt and yeast were added to start the brewing process. It was rumoured to be a good aphrodisiac, but for a 15 year old?
The grounds of the factory were wild, I got stung twice by bees and once saw a deadly snake slither into its hole. It was no place for the faint-hearted.
Life exposure
As I grew older, where many of my colleagues became teetotal for religious reasons, mine was just because I had no palate for the stuff. Now, I am fine with wines, but mainly with meals, I never drink alone and whatever I try is with almost extreme moderation.
I know to be at home if ever I seem to get light-headed and the once I had a hangover, having had a dry sherry and a port in one night that I was utterly sickened, I have been as well behaved as saint.
I have seen drink do silly things to people, mess up their gait, loosen their tongues and strip away dignity like nothing else could. I do not know what drives people to drink, yet those who seek help are probably on the way to recovery.
Character exposure
The social drinkers however, who appear to think they have no problem and do it to excess with regularity are probably the most dangerous. They would be reckless enough to drink-drive and nasty enough to do the most dastardly things.
I broke up a friendship of 21 years when a ‘friend’ having so stupidly gotten so inebriated in broad daylight said the most atrocious things to me. I had tolerated this behaviour for years until a point that I decided I was not taking it any more. We have not spoken for over 2 years and I do not intend to renew that relationship without a grovelling apology.
Drink should never be an excuse for bad behaviour, it simply reveals what people really are, from the lack of self-control giving place to lasciviousness to utterly reprehensible conduct.
Maybe in that way I am a conservative because I have a very low tolerance for the abuse of alcohol and if you are doing that before high noon, the less said as it leaves much to be desired.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Opinion: How we sentimentally undermine our justice system

Until broke
The criminal justice system in developed democracies exists to suggest that everyone is equal before the law. It is an ideal we aspire to, but the reality is, whilst everyone can have their day in court, not everyone has competent or exemplary legal representation.
There is an often paraphrased saying attributed to Prof. Alan Dershowitz, "Everyone is innocent until proven broke."
I think he said this about one of this high-profile trials of a Kennedy scion, O. J. Simpson or Michael Jackson, either way, the respondents got off, or got off lightly.
By intimidation
In Nigeria, the reality is, justice is procured by intimidation. There is no limit on the number of senior lawyers that can represent you in court. The Nigerian equivalent of the UK's Queen's Counsel (QC) is the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
A typical high-profile case can have over 5 SANs representing the respondent and thereby in advertently intimidating the opposing counsel and the bench whilst getting the most atrocious verdicts in the process. It is a travesty in need of urgent review.
Yet a case well-argued can have a defendant literally getting away with murder. A situation that can exercise the public and lead to the mass expression of displeasure at what is put forth as justice. The system has built-in mechanisms to correct this, if the will remains to pursue such.
Avoiding sentiment
However, justice in the criminal justice system has to derive from law and statute, not from sentiment. If society cannot abide or tolerate a judgement for its harshness or its leniency, it is incumbent on the state to review, reassess and probably appeal. That is how the system works.
Once judgement is passed and the sentence served, that due to society has been paid even if the crime that elicited judgement is atrocious, despicable or heinous. Justice cannot be the domain of public opinion or sentiment in civilised societies or we cede order and peace to the mob.
I am concerned for the situation where some members of the public have initiated petitions to additionally thwart the return to productive engagement in society because they are unhappy with the crime and the supposed criminal who has served their sentence.
Undermining the role of justice
For someone not to be able to return to their profession, though influential but not directly engaged with vulnerable members of society because some people have gathered to oppose it is unfair.
It defeats the whole purpose of punishment for crimes as part of a criminal justice system that sanctions as a deterrent and the purpose of prison as a place of correction and rehabilitation for return to society.
We must be careful not to become members of a sanctimonious and sententious mob of petitioners whose busybody distractions militate against order to exercise sentiment oversight of a fully-functional criminal justice system that has fulfilled the needs of the law.

Thought Picnic: Paper bound in leather and glue

The memory from before
“It’s only a book, paper bound in leather and glue.”
These were the words of a song I heard on a children’s programme too many decades ago for me to remember who sang it or what the name of the programme was.
However, the tune and the music were striking enough for the lyrics to stick in memory that any time I remember the song, I feel like I am watching that programme again.
The book is just what it is; paper bound in leather and glue. Yet, what is written in the book might be useful or it might be useless. The evolution of the book through history is long, from cave drawings through Egyptian papyrus, parchment, animal skins, paper, printing and now petabytes of electronic data.
Words unread are nothing
The book stands as a record unaltered, words written for posterity which might be reprinted, edited or laid waste if no desired for the knowledge contained therein endures.
The words however do not come to life of their own volition, nor does the book animate like some living thing, the words have to be read and comprehended, then in the mind of those that process the words, the book gains potency in the actions or reactions of people.
The value we place on a book should be based on the derived content brought to use by the reader, properly understood in its context, setting, relevance and intention.
Where we miss these elements, the book becomes a guide for malevolence, something misread, misunderstood or misinterpreted, something read out of context, applied to the wrong setting, finding no particular relevance or pandering to the wrong motives and the seeds of destruction are sown to reap a harvest of carnage.
Wholly unholy acts
Yet, even in these modern times, we have people of the Book, religions tied to holy tomes that appear to have all the answers to life and living, read and use to destroy life, liberty and livelihood as a demonstration of power and influence.
The barely educated wielding tyranny like a deaf child being handed a loaded machine gun and at the same time shouted at to put the gun down. The danger not being in the book itself, but in how what was apparently learnt from the book is demonstrated.
That we give the books names and titles, does not change it from it physical and material constituents, and whilst the words therein might bring great meaning to some, the body should not by that suddenly become sacred, except where the words need to be preserved, and alternatives abound.
Book your context right
For instance, if I downloaded a holy book unto my laptop and then destroyed the laptop, would I suffer as much sanction as if I burnt the book? We need to be reasonable and exercise a lot of reasonableness about the things we so easily elect to have offend us.
As a repository, the book does have value, it archives and stores knowledge, but it is not the end of the world, it is paper bound in leather and glue.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Nigeria: The Collapse of Order

Collapse upon collapse
Like the head of the synagogue upbraided Jesus for healing the sick on the Sabbath, the contemporary head of the synagogue now threatens us with wrath, retribution and terror for asking the sensible questions. A collapse of reasonableness.
A month has passed since a building collapse claimed over a 100 lives of which more than 80 were South Africans, the many who had come on a sort of pilgrimage to Lagos to prolong their lives with the expectation of miracles bordering on magical acts for healing, peace or some particular touch of grace, mercy or favour for this man of God. A catastrophic building collapse.
The man has every right to go about his business, but it must not be at the expense of lives carelessly lost for the very likelihood that building codes were flouted and ignored. Yet, this is a collapse of institutional heft to ensure laws are adhered to.
The untenable collapses
The whole idea that some unidentified flying object hovering over the building shook it to its pulverised destruction according the head of the synagogue is as fantastic as it is risible, yet this atrocity has had no one held responsible for it. Suffice it to say, this is a collapse of reason.
Each apparent message that appears to come out from the establishment seems to put the focus on the head of the synagogue as the victim of machinations both spiritual and temporary, his own personal crisis that he intends to overcome. No doubt the collapse of accountability that is the everyday expectation of the powerful in Nigeria.
The hapless victims sacrificed to this atrocity have been labelled martyrs and surreptitiously this characterisation lends itself to exculpating the whole officialdom of the Synagogue Church of all Nations (SCOAN) from any responsibility for the deaths of these people. Besides the collapse of responsibility is the collapse of real compassion for the lost.
The inexcusable collapses
The government itself has been derelict in its responsibility too by pandering to the whims of men of God, fearful of their power and followership that the law consequently grants immunity for more impunity by these demigods. The collapse of the lien of civil authority to ensure public order is kept by holding everyone equal before the law.
The president and the governor should by rights have visited the site of the disaster, but were ill-advised to have a photo opportunity with the head of the synagogue until they had established the truth about the building collapse. The collapse of discernment and discretion on the part of people who should have known better.
Besides, the visit could have precipitated a diplomatic crisis with South Africa and soured relations with them, considering South Africa was more forthcoming about the numbers of their citizens lost than the head of the synagogue who while schmoozing with the press for favourable coverage wanted them to concentrate on mentioning survivors of the mishap. A collapse of diplomatic tact considering the number of foreigners that perished in the incident, it was utterly careless.
Avoid more collapses
Sadly, if nothing is done to bring the law to bear on this event with at the minimum indictments of manslaughter imposed on the leadership and the corporate person of the (Synagogue Church of All Nations) SCOAN, we would have lost the best opportunity to show that no one is above the law regardless of whether the person is a religious leader or not, and that someone can and should be held accountable for avoidable accidents as a result of people acting unlawfully and carelessly. A collapse of our criminal justice system resulting in the collapse of justice for the victims and of judicial process.
Nigeria needs to be delivered from the stranglehold of untouchable men of God answerable to no temporal authority and thereby are deluded into acting with untrammelled licence leave destruction in their wake and leaving God to clean up their mess. Here we risk the collapse of the primacy of the secular state that applies the law equitably, expeditiously and rightly.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Thought Picnic: Picking up the rice where the wedding has been

We are social animals
I was watching a nature programme probably on the BBC about an ape colony. The alpha male had just been beaten in a fight with an upstart and the social rules within such colonies required the vanquished leave that community.
What was so profound was how in the space of weeks the vanquished had acquired deathly pallor as he wasted away without care in loneliness and dejection.
Then I wondered about us human-beings as social animals who may decide we need our space, but we cannot be totally bereft of interaction and that to the extent of companionship, relationship and even love.
The fear of loneliness
The fear that threatens the sanity of lonely people who for all sorts of reasons live in cities and yet are hermits, secluded from the vitality of fun and banter than comes for well-developed friendships.
Many single people by choice or by situation exist sometimes without an inkling as to how to change things to develop a social life. The answer is not just getting out, there is more to getting that expression of engagement than just being out there as I noted in my last blog.
Even those of us who appear to be extroverted are probably only so when the setting is familiar, I have been at parties where until someone comes to chat to me, I probably would not do much more than try to be inconspicuous.
Change is not easy
My voice in probably stronger in my writing, it is also asynchronous, yet, in a business setting as at work, I might well have a more assertive persona, at least, and that must be why none of my managers ever recommended me for an assertiveness course.
Assertiveness however does not make up for handling the more social element of cultivating relationships of the heart. In essence, we all desire to a point, someone to be near us, to share with, to care for and to dare with, that someone I lost 5 years ago, yet, the need for someone still matters, not to forget the lost, but to appreciate again the gift of someone who can touch the heart.
If we had the choice, may we never become another Eleanor Rigby; the haunting words of a song that tells a very sad story of loneliness.
Eleanor Rigby
(John Lennon, Paul McCartney)
Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people

Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Father McKenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near
Look at him working, darning his socks in the night when there's nobody there
What does he care?

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people

Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved

All the lonely people (Ah, look at all the lonely people)
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people (Ah, look at all the lonely people)
Where do they all belong?

Monday 13 October 2014

Thought Picnic: By chance, for choice, to certainty

The chance unsure
Chance is very unpredictable being the harbinger of luck or disappointment, the effect which can presage significant life-changing situations, it is the precursor of uncertainty.
Yet, we leave a lot to chance with the hope that things would yield a result we have no certainty we would get. Even if we are not certain, it probably cannot be planned to ensure the outcome we desire.
The choice-less chance
In a lottery and many other areas of life, we get hopeful, raise our expectations and sometimes begin to daydream, building castles in the air, even daring to create kingdom and empires in our minds, drifting away from our reality and almost succumbing to delirium.
Sometimes we think that abundance offers options and take the chance that we might find suitable choices, yet having many choices does not mean we would find a suitable match.
Know your chance from your choice
This is evident in trying to start relationships and finding out that we might be in vast populations and yet be alone and lonely, not finding a partner we can choose from the chances we have to meet many who come into and leave our lives.
Sometimes, we might find that chance in life for happiness that sometimes eludes many, but we cannot live by chance and hope that choice would create certainty.
Use chance sparingly, take choice with wisdom and celebrate certainty as a blessing, they are gifts to life.

London: Making light of irksome sights

A small centre
London still remains a place of new discovery for me in many ways just as I never knew that I did not need to change at Leicester Square for Charing Cross to get to Trafalgar Square almost 25 years ago, or that if I got off at Liverpool Street, I did not have change trains to get to my office between Liverpool Street and Moorgate.
I have taken to walking as much as I can within London having realise that the London Underground, known as the Tube sometimes makes central London feel a lot bigger than it really is.
For instance, London Euston Station to London Waterloo Station is just 2.1 miles or 3.36 kilometres, it is literally one straight road down and over the Thames – give it about 50 minutes of a brisk walk. It is better to do this than get on the Tube.
The bastards of Westminster
Then, I have walked from London Euston Station, through Old Street to Liverpool Street and then London Bridge before walking the south embankment of the Thames called the Queen’s Walk all the way to Vauxhall.
As I pass Westminster Bridge, I see the mother of parliaments, the Palace of Westminster and lament the whoring that has given her bastards for children.
The many politicians who have never had a life outside politics, rent seekers who are leveranciers of the poverty they portend as policy. Looking upon them from the tower is Big Ben that I pray when next she tolls at the point we are asked to find new leaders would toll for this lot.
Dressed to ostracise
Yet, London presents fascination from mundane observation, like walking into a T. M. Levin shop full of seemingly formal wear to find that the shop attendant does not know what a cravat is. I could not muster the strength to be aghast, I was beyond that. What training do these label readers and payment till get to man these shops? Perish that thought.
Further along the road was a family out for the day, the man proudly strutting along with his wife and two children. Well, I am not sure of the kind of pride in a man that would have his wife all covered up except for the slit in the garb made for her eyes to peer through.
If the lady were walking alone, maybe it might ward off interest, but with her husband and family, it is more about the man than the woman. The concept of dressing to cultural and religiously defined codes in a very secular society does sometimes make one wonder about societal cohesion and integration – this applies to all, by it Muslims, Jews or even Sikhs – these being the ones that come easily to mind about men, women and their dress sense.
I paid for better than this
Off clubbing we paid to use the coat check and were given numbered tickets to identify our things. At the end of our revelling, we presented our tickets and told them the initials as a security safeguard against them giving our bags to others.
Unusually, we were ask what our bags or jackets looked like and 10 minutes on they were still looking for my bag just as the mess in the coat check storage had become too chaotic for words, it was disheartening and annoying in the same measure.
I remonstrated and I was asked to calm down at which point I smacked the counter with an open palm loudly stating I paid for the service beyond which it was just unacceptable to have to wait this long to find my things.
The supervisor then came forward to take control of the situation, but it was not before one of the team took exception and offence to my attitude. I was having none of it, we celebrate incompetence to the point of excusing atrocious customer service, even apologising for poor customer service that we have paid for, not if I could help it.
Eventually, after a third time of describing my rucksack, they found it, I was not effusive with thanks, I was infuriated. Am I supposed to demand for the service I paid for or allow people act without responsibility for the jobs they have been hired for? I think I am just getting too old-fashioned for the lack of attention to order or detail, but I would not tolerate it.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

#LindaGate: It was mainly about Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the copying or paraphrasing of other people’s work or ideas without full acknowledgement. Intentional plagiarism may incur severe penalties, including failure of your degree.” University of Oxford. [1]
Conflicts of lessons not learnt
As one predicted on Monday, enough evidence was presented to Google to have the gossip blog pulled down.
There is no doubt that the lady would regroup and re-launch, however, it is unlikely that the hard lesson of life and experience has been learnt going by the rebuttal she posted yesterday.
Unfortunately, many were quite conflicted and confused, abandoning the objective for the subjective, she played victim and we were suckered.
Nigeria in a big world
We must recognise that anything we do online today is no more confined to Nigeria, we are part of a global village, and there are rules and standards to play by. We are constantly put up to global scrutiny in terms of our attitudes and conduct.
The many things people got away with on the Nigerian streets would find sanction and excoriation when given a global review on the Internet. It behoves us to know how those rules work so as not to be caught out by them to the extent that we might suffer dire consequences.
Breaking the rules
The Linda Ikeji Blog, broke the rules with impunity and the blogger was deluded into thinking the small fry that accused her of infringements could do nothing to have the blog taken down. Now, she knows better.
What we must never lose sight of is the reason why the blog was taken down - PLAGIARISM - and the blogger was an unrepentant plagiarist, we should not be confused or conflicted about this fact and truth.
Plagiarism is wrong and it is worse when material you did not originally produce is falsely passed off as yours on the one hand and you use that material directly or indirectly for financial gain.
Measuring character over success
We also have to check our values and appreciate that success mainly measured by wealth, power, influence or following without character or virtue is fleeting. Our measure of respect for a person which might include position should really be of a higher standard of being seen and known to do the honourable thing, having integrity and a modicum of humility.
A person of integrity has no need of things to express that innate virtue and it can be learnt if we have a teachable spirit.
We need to understand how the seemingly grey areas can blacken and besmirch what we have painstakingly built and invariably bring ruinous reputational loss.
Know the bad behaviour
Moral equivalences are no excuse for bad behaviour, we need to declare conflicts of interest and maintain the transparent standard of full disclosure so as to avoid being labelled hypocrites and worse still, dishonest or frauds.
If whatever we publish is not originally ours, we must, acknowledge, attribute and reference or we are plagiarists. If we need to seek permission and we receive no expressed consent, we risk being labelled thieves.
In all truth
Plagiarism however is no trivial matter; students have been rusticated and indicted criminally for cheating, journalists and politicians have lost their jobs for being plagiarists, it is dishonest and reprehensible; careers and reputations have been ruined because of it.
Plagiarism is the "wrongful appropriation" and "stealing and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions" and the representation of them as one's own original work.Wikipedia. [2]
It is the greatest slight to be proven a plagiarist and there is no badge of honour in copying and pasting the work of others and passing it off as yours. What is wrong is wrong, and nothing can excuse plagiarism nor should it be tolerated when exposed.
Finally, lest we forget, the Linda Ikeji Blog was taken down on proven evidence of serial unrepentant PLAGIARISM whether people had a hateful, jealous or envious agenda is beside the point. Google acted on evidence of misappropriation of material, intellectual property abuse and infringement, not on sentimentality.
Read up on plagiarism.
I acknowledge to my observation that the first use of #LindaGate was by Funmi Iyanda.

Monday 6 October 2014

Opinion: You can't honestly celebrate plagiarism

The truth in hypocrisy
The use of moral equivalences to deflect justified criticism and possibly shut the critic up is a well-used attack strategy as much as is the use of argumentum ad-homimen to take ground from someone who posits or comments.
In some ways, hypocrisy is a good thing if we cut to the truth of the issues. Like the example in the bible whether a man had a speck in his eye and the other had a beam in his eye is beside the point, fundamentally, the truth is, both the speck and beam do not belong in the eye and they both need to be taken out.
Ethics and rules
Which brings me to an issue that came up on my Twitter timeline this weekend about the fight by a media analyst to have material lifted off his forum properly acknowledged and attributed when used by others.
The other being a very popular Nigerian gossip columnist whose penchant for plagiarism with impunity is without parallel.
Whilst the media analyst had none of the following or popularity of the gossip blogger, he knew the rules and had a number of times warned the gossip of infringements before following Google’s rules to have copyrighted material taken down from the gossip’s website.
Criminal lack of foresight
The looming danger was that the gossip could easily be proven to be a repeat offender and consequently have her popular money-spinning blog taken down by Google and that would be the death of the golden goose.
Sadly, there are too many narratives to this matter and the least of them is the influence or the commercial opportunity the gossip blog offered the owner. Success measured by how much you make by gossip and abusing copyrighted material might count for much in Nigeria, but beyond those borders, it is disreputable and reprehensible, nothing to be celebrated at all.
Beyond this, it is unfortunate that the gossip never developed her business model beyond the rudimentary once she began to make money that what she now has is put at great risk for what one might uncharitably term, foolishness.
Portability is security
For instance, I used to have my blog hosted by a small company and it was referenced by their own URL to which I prepended the name of my blog. 7 years into my running the blog on that site, I was given 18 months to take my material elsewhere because they were we no longer interested in the business of hosting blogs.
Probably by prescience, I had started an alternative blog elsewhere, some years before, but had not published much apart from an introduction. I then painstakingly moved each of over 1,500 blogs to this new location over the next few months.
At the same time, I published simultaneously on both blogs to keep the old going and introduce people to the new. One mistake I decided not to commit again was to leave the name of my blog dependent on the URL provided by my host.
I registered my own domain name and that is now the identity of my blog. If at any time the content collateral of my blog is threatened, I simply have to move the content to another hosting service and transfer my domain name to that location.
Foolish to a fault
It then really beggars belief that such a successful gossip blog never considered polishing their act and adding a touch of professionalism to their product. Something that non-commercial blogs like mine have done for years.
However, making your blog portable by being able to move the content and retain your domain name regardless of where the content is hosted does not excuse the fact that both clout and reach has been used to ignore ethical practice in commercial dealings.
Check your values
Being a blog does not exculpate the blogger from charges of plagiarism, if the content you are publishing is not originally yours, you must reference, attribute and acknowledge and the indictment of plagiarism is even worse if the blog has commercial value.
There are things to comment the gossip blogger for, but this particularly is not one of them and the lack of foresight to protect the blog from being yanked off the Internet for being an abuser and infringer of copyrighted material is damning to the point of being just plain stupid.
For those who find the gossip a role model of sorts, the only thing to caution is check your values and check your value system.

Thought Picnic: Knowing your cards

What to give and what to hold
A friend as he was thriving in his mid-level executive role once said to me, “I always go into meetings with three points in mind. The things I ready to negotiate, the things that are non-negotiable and the things that are open for discussion.” In essence, he knew what to give, what to hold and what he could afford to lose.
There is a discipline that goes into preparing for meetings if at the end of that meeting you intend to come away better informed and better prepared to tackle the issues discussed.
Degrees of tolerance
This discipline however does not just pertain to meetings, it pervades all spheres of life and can be recast as what one is willing to accept, what things are just unacceptable and the things in view of the situation or circumstance one is willing to tolerate, endure or even excuse.
It takes a good sense of self, self-worth and self-esteem to project in those ways and generally that is what is viewed as character and or principle in makeup of that person.
Chaotic is not living
Yet, I wonder about the distractions of life and of technology in some cases that makes many things negotiable and very little constant. That some people thrive on upheaval rather than stability is not only strange, but it could well be that the life is more chaotic than engineered.
The inability to commit, when stability is in the horizon because we are presented with more choices yet no choice. The quest for better over the good in anticipation for the best and ending up worse is an unnecessary precursor to stress and depression.
Where we think we are making decisions, we are sometimes running away from our reality and engaged in pursuit of Utopia in life, in relationships, in our work life and many more areas of endeavour.
Stand somewhere to run anywhere
It is unhealthy. We need to find a platform of stability to launch ourselves from, a steady boat on stormy waters, something that is part of routine so that we can work better on our creativity and creativeness to be better people to ourselves and our communities.
We need to limit the distractions so that we can become involved participants rather than spectators and worse still, voyeurs ogling at the experiences of others. This is not to dampen our sense of curiosity, but if curiosity is for titillation rather than the opportunity to learn something new, we would be left with mirages and images of the lives of others and nothing to talk of, of ourselves.
We need to stand somewhere to be able to run anywhere.