Friday, 29 March 2013


 ·                How do you relate at work with your colleagues; at home with your spouse, children, domestic staff, neighbors etc?
·                Workplace acrimony builds cracks in the walls of corporate growth, lessens productivity, and lowers employees’ performance. How can employees increase their interactive and relationship skills so as to bolster productivity in the workplace?
·                How can employees key into the vision of the organization, and achieve career fulfillment while working for others?
·                Is it advisable to save all your money in a joint account with your spouse?
·                Is it proper to take care of all your children’s needs before taking care of yours as parent?
·                What role has native laws and customs got to play in relationship enhancement?
These and many more are among the issues discussed at the training and coaching class organized by Spaces for Change on Leadership, Relationship Intelligence and Workplace Productivity held in Lagos on March 27, 2013.
Conflict erupts in our day-to-day engagement, experiences and events. How such conflict is managed and effectively contained before it snowballs into an uncontrollable conflagration was the main thrust of the training. Relationship Intelligence, also known as Relationship Enhancement (RE) is one way to strategically and effectively handle conflicts, especially when it is unplanned. RE involves better communication and showing understanding. In a more specific level, RE entails listening; paying attention to words and body language; putting yourself in the other person’s place; describing what you have come to understand by naming thoughts feelings, concerns and desires; accepting and making corrections graciously.
The aim of the workshop was not only to inform, but to train participants in ways relationships can be strategically sustained at work, at home and the society at large. Through short dramas, practical exercises, simulations, experience-sharing and power-point presentations, participants learned the benefit of dialogue and personal responsibility; and developed new skills for avoiding workplace acrimony, domestic violence and unnecessary anger.
The facilitator, United States-based Mr. Martin Okpareke employed various teaching methods and exercises which aroused and sustained the participation of all the trainees throughout the program. For instance:

  • Perspective exercise – Two people stood side by side facing different directions, but with the back of their heads put together. They were then asked to describe what they saw. The exercise was used to buttress the fact that each person sees  things differently and from their point of view. No one is totally wrong or right.

  •  Take a stand activity – the facilitator, in this instance, asked series of questions, and each participant took a stand whether to agree or disagree, giving reasons for their positions. This explained that we all have choices and the power over the decisions we make.


  • Avoid trigger words. What you say matters, but the way you say it matters most.

  • Maintain a personal vision that fits in with your religious teaching, moral upbringing, family life and employer’s vision.
  • Take time out by paying attention to yourself.

  • Don’t slide through situations but make decisions by calculative and constructive reasoning

  • The end game is moving our relationships forward through the choices we make. 

  • To be on top of one’s expression skills, start engaging in arguments by remembering what is good; speak from one’s own point of view rather than what is good or normal; be specific by talking about particular behaviors ,events and concerns; talk about your feelings; ask for what you want.

Monday, 18 March 2013


 The Rivers State government has marked all the entire houses, business premises, homes, schools, churches, and buildings on both sides of the 4km Akpajo to Elelenwo Road for demolition, in order to pave way for a road expansion project. Tension is very high among  business owners and  residents of the densely-populated neighborhood, as they fearfully await the arrival of the state's ruthless bulldozers. In the context of an ongoing urban development and renewal programme that commenced in 2007, the Rivers State Government has forcefully evicted tens of thousands of residents, and demolished buildings, homes, businesses, schools and properties across the metropolis, especially the densely-populated waterfront communities.

Owners of the marked buildings have not been compensated nor provided with alternative accommodation. If allowed to happen, tens of thousands of families will be rendered homes and stripped of their sources of livelihood. Unlike Njemanze and Abonema Wharf waterfront communities that have been flattened by the Rotimi Amaechi-led demolition friendly government, Elelenwo Road is not a slum. Some local residents claim they have both customary and statutory title to their lands, and obtained approval prior to erecting the marked structures. 

Governor Amaechi is known for his deep resentment for public consultation and citizen engagement on matters relating to urban renewal. As such, it is not likely that he will heed the growing calls for restraint considering the soaring rental costs in the city. 

All Nigerian citizens, including the inhabitants of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, are entitled to the fundamental right to property, as guaranteed by Section 43 and 44 of the Nigerian Constitution. In addition, an array of national legislations such as the Land Use Act, and the Rivers State Physical Planning and Development Law of 2003 specifically protects all rights-holders against arbitrary seizure by state and non-state actors. For instance, section 90 of the Rivers State 2003 Law requires that the government provide affected persons grants, loans, compensation, alternative lodging or sites for accommodation. The Rivers State government has never provided an acceptable alternative location and/or accommodation for demolished communities.

The right to property is violated when the government orders or carries out mass demolition or forced evictions without adhering to the statutorily laid down procedures. Apart from property and housing rights, forced evictions and demolitions also violate the fundamental right to life, dignity, and health, as expressed in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, ratified into Nigerian law.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Ngozi Nwosu and an ailing health sector

By Aruviere Martin Egharhevwa
Two weeks ago, ailing Nollywood actress Ngozi Nwosu finally got on a flight to London, United Kingdom, where she is reportedly receiving treatment for a kidney malfunction. Before her departure, and probably due to the fact that she is a well-known public figure, several harrowing details about her health had circulated in the news media. The most distressing of such details was her reported desperation for money to offset the anticipated cost of her treatment in the United Kingdom.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

WWW: What I Learned from Tim Berners-Lee

By Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri
Meet Tim Berners-Lee, the computer scientist who stunned the world when he invented the world wide web. What this man did will resonate beyond generations. He simply captured "fire"! When he invented the world wide web, he didn't name it after himself, or even attempt to brand it, because he so much believes in web neutrality.  

The director of the World Wide Web Consortium, (W3C) definitely has lots of important lessons and experiences to share with both veteran and upcoming digital designers and users. That was exactly what he did last week at the annual SWSX Festival held in Austin, Texas, United States on Saturday, March 9, 2013.  Like many others, I was thrilled to meet him in person!

Expectedly, Berners-Lee presentation, "OPEN WEB PLATFORM: Hopes and Fears" was explosive,  packed with great insights into the technological advancements in internet evolution, while offering practical guidance to impactful web-use creativity and and digital fulfillment.

Berners Lee said:  Once you invent something big and powerful, its not about what you can do, but what others can do with your stuff. Imagine what others can build on top of your idea. That is impact! The focus should be on creating digital platforms that provide value to others. That is where the excitement comes from. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013


By Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri

Recently, densely-populated Lagos slums, Makoko and Badia painfully faced the wrath of the Lagos State government's bulldozers, rendering thousands of families, including women and children homeless during the rainy season. Forced evictions, including the demolition of areas predominantly lived by the poor have increasingly become an urban re-engineering tool in Nigeria, with spiraling effects on social security, employment, health and human rights. These demolitions are often executed without prior notice and provision of compensation, or alternative accommodation to the affected populations.  

American Democracy Has Been HACKED! - Al Gore

By Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri
I consider listening to Al Gore – former Vice President of the United States - a big deal. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t queue for over an hour waiting to gain entrance into Exhibition Room 5 of the Austin Convention Center in Austin Texas, USA to hear him speak directly to an audience of not less than 3,000 persons who had come from far and wide to be part of the SXSW Interactive (Digital) Festival. In the one hour no-holds-barred discussion anchored by Walter Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal, Al Gore discussed his latest book,  “The Future”, revealing inconvenient truths about the changing global order in a provocative manner that intensely aroused deep (mixed) feelings.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Spaces for Change Director Emerges SXSW Winner

The SXSW Interactive scholarship program recognizes individuals from all sectors and from anywhere in the world who are using new media to push the boundaries of tackling community problems. Non profit leaders, grassroots organizers, individual citizens, and civic-minded entrepreneurs are all eligible. We focus on people whose work (whether it's a job, a hobby or volunteer) helps people through technology. For this scholarship, we sought undiscovered creative talents who can use the springboard of SXSW Interactive to make connections in the tech sector. The following listing of community heroes will be recognized for their good work at SXSW in March in Austin:

Victoria Ohaeri is a human rights lawyer, development researcher, freelance writer and community engagement specialist with extensive practical experience in law, development and human rights. She is the executive director of Spaces for Change, an non-governmental organization that leverages technology, crowd sourcing concepts and web-based communication tools to conduct researches, promote public awareness, and facilitate citizen engagement in the policy, legislative and institutional processes of the oil, natural resource, security, housing and power sectors in Nigeria. Ms. Ohaeri serves on various committees and working groups of national, regional and international bodies and associations.

Click HERE to see the full list of winners!

The North Does Not Control Nigeria’s Oil Blocks (1) - Toyin Akinosho

By Toyin Akinosho

Senator Ita Enang’s spirited claim at the National Assembly Wednesday to the effect that 83% of the country’s oil block is in the hands of northerners appears to be inspired  from assertions contained in an old article by a newspaper commentator, Mr. Ross Alabo-George whose famous essay was titled Poverty And Deprivation: Why The North Is Poor. 

In the excerpted refutation below, Toyin Akinosho, a petroleum geologist with over two decades of work at Chevron and now publisher of the well-regarded Africa Oil and Gas Report, argues angrily that such lines of thought canvassed by the likes of Senator Ita Solomon Enang and indeed Mr. Ross Alabo-George are merely hysterical, and tendentious, designed to mislead the public. Mr. Akinosho characterizes the arguments as crappy and crummy. It is excerpted from the African Oil+Gas Report for the value it brings to the current debate about Nigeria’s oil resources and the National Question.

The North Does Not Control Oil Blocks Anymore (2)- Diminas

By Samuel Diminas

The North actually does not control Nigeria’s oil blocks anymore: A Rejoinder to Toyin Akinosho: THE NORTH DOES NOT CONTROL NIGERIA'S OIL BLOCKS

While Senator Ita Enang’s assertion that Northern interests control 83% of Nigeria’s oil blocks may be dated, this assumption is still widely believed in the oil producing communities of the Niger Delta. This is not a totally unfounded speculation; between 1991-1998 several very lucrative oil blocks and ‘crude oil lifting allocations’ were awarded by the then ruling military regimes based entirely on the prerogative of the military rulers.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

With great excitement, we unveil our new website to YOU! Our aim is to have an accessible, dynamic, top quality website that provides up-to-date service information that can be easily accessed by the public, and from anywhere in the world. 

On the new site, you can now easily sift through our portfolio of projects, programs and activities, making it easier for you to navigate and better understand our wide range of services and capabilities. A variety of icons on the top right corner of the header will take you directly to our online portals on the social media: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn and 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Kim Kardashian Lagos Misadventure

By Emeka Ibe
On Sunday, 17 February, 2013, the “Love Like a Movie” event held at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos. The show was anchored by Nigeria’s renowned musician, Darey Art-Alade. Other top-rated artistes like 2Face Idibia, 9ice, Flavour, Banky W, Jozi, Waje, etc., also featured at the much publicised event for which individual tickets sold for as much as N100,000.00. The promoters of the event had earlier gone to town with the news that Miss Kim Kardashian, an American reality TV star, was coming to Nigeria to co-host the show with Darey Art-Alade. This particular angle put a lot of hype on the event, as teeming Nigerian fans of the reality TV star could not wait to have a personal encounter with their idol. There were very high expectations amongst her fans, particularly after Miss Kardashian herself confirmed on twitter that she was coming to co-host the red carpet of the show with Darey Art-Alade.

Sunday, 3 March 2013


A February 27, 2013 Facebook post by Adesoji Adebisi, matched with a photo evidence, alerted members of Spaces for Change (S4C) network about the conflicting reports of a cholera outbreak in Kula community in Rivers State caused by the lack of potable drinking water. Adesoji's post provoked intense debate and discussions among concerned members  generating over 80 comments full of proposals for mitigating the reported water crisis. To begin with, two members of the network, Penshd Ibiminji Darego and Oraye St Franklyn voluntarily undertook to visit the community to verify the claims of a health crisis, and document the actual water quality situation on the ground. The Rivers State government had in a statement, categorically refuted the story about a cholera epidemic within the community. 

Friday, 1 March 2013


Today marks one full year of Spaces for Change’s full scale physical operations, and the second year of a strong online presence. What started out in May 2011 as regular blogging, daily Facebook and twitter postings, and a coordinated online network of change-seeking youths unassumingly, metamorphosed into a structured advocacy group, Spaces for Change (S4C), in March 2012. Today, S4C is famed for leveraging technology, employing crowd sourcing concepts and the social media to conduct high-profile researches and to facilitate public engagement on the policy and legislative processes in the oil and gas, energy, environment, housing and security sectors in Nigeria. 

It is now common for key policy makers, lawmakers and development experts to regularly join in, and participate in webinar sessions, e-conferences and moderated discussions in S4C’s online platforms to communicate important updates and enlightenment regarding government social and economic policies and programs to the public. Our online exchanges have also enabled critical stakeholders to exchange information, forge alliances, build consensus around possible solutions to complex social and economic issues connected to the reform programs in key economic sectors. 
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