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The wise Mallam

by Kazeem Olalekan

On this Passion Sunday, we are reminded what happens in 2 weeks – who could forget. And so my mind drifts to a post I made on the old version of the website on 26/01/2012 – over 5 years ago – titled: The wise Mallam. The content was valid then as it today, so I will re-post the blog here.

The Wise Mallam

If you see a snake just kill it – don’t appoint a committee on snakes. – Ross Perot

The above has always been my mantra for as long as I could remember until I met this wise Mallam. In Nigeria, where I grew up, you see a snake; you kill it. No questions asked. So when we were in secondary school and on the farm (as was mandated by our then principal – Mr Oluyemi, God bless him); if someone shouts snake, everyone else stops whatever they were doing, get their cutlasses and run to the scene. The aim is clear: the snake must die! More often than not, the snake does.

My encounter with a snake and the response of this wise Mallam is the subject of this blog. I have pondered for a long time what this encounter meant but I feel I now know, as far as I can tell anyway. It happened when I was just about 9 or 10 years of age (give or take a few years):

I grew up in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State and we had just moved to my father’s newly built house in Oke Lantoro. At the time, the house was surrounded by ‘forest’ because the area was still relatively under-developed. Our new house was in a gated compound in the middle of no where, surrounded by overgrown herbage and trees. Because he owned the piece of land at the back of the house, he built a 4 bedroom boy’s quarters (- a common name we used to describe these buildings – something like this although not as posh!). This served as residents for builders during the construction of the house but when the house was completed housed the Mallam who lead the security team that looked after the house at night. Every house of this size had security of that nature – More of a deterrent from opportunistic thieves. We all know that real security is not something you can pay for. Nevertheless, this was a valuable way to employ the nomadic Mallams from the north of Nigeria.

Continous Reading →
A motion of no confidence

A poem by Kazeem Olalekan

 

A motion of no confidence!
A motion of no confidence!!
A motion of no confidence!!!

That change in position of an object over time
That change in displacement
That change in distance
That change in velocity
That change in acceleration
That change in speed
The only constant is time!

Time changes everything
A binary year earlier, I passed a motion
I was tired, but who isn’t
There were no obvious signs
But deep down, I knew something was wrong
It must have been the difficulty of passing that motion
Without help, and the motion
Looking like a sausage, I delivered the goods
With cracks on its surface.

Now this! This motion, this faexit, this shit!
Splattered in red blood
But it has also changed colour
It is black alright! And the smell: awful
The pain: excruciating! And I am still tired, moreso now
My bowel habits have changed over the last months
And I needed help to deliver this one
Eight sachets of that orange drink in six hours
And then a little more, was what it took
To deliver separate hard lumps, like nuts

What loss. I have lost a great deal of weight!
I know what this is.
I can feel it in my bones, I can feel it in my soul
This is cancer. Yes the motion has passed
The faexit has been delivered
But the cancer remains
Lodged deep in my consciousness
But noxious to my tenaciousness.
And where do I go for respite?
My NHS, Our NHS: whatever is left of it!

I have no confidence in this motion!
I have no confidence in this motion!!
I have no confidence in this motion!!!

A motion of no confidence.

 

Continous Reading →
The Power of Observation – revisited

by Kazeem Olalekan CEO Iforg Limited

In the early days of Iforg Limited, I have always blogged about issues that excited my interest. On the 25th of March 2007 (over 8 years ago now! How time flies), I posted one of those blogs which I entitled: “The Power of Observation – the pill counter example”. My aim was to illustrate in a graphic way, what Iforg Limited was and is about. I have decided to re-visit that blog because it is fundamental to what I am trying to achieve with Iforg. I am re-posting it below. Enjoy!

as posted on 25th March 2007 on the old Iforg Limited website:

The Power of Obeservation – the pill counter example

by Kazeem Olalekan

If you have ever worked in a pharmacy, you will recognise the ubiquitous triangular pill counter  (figure 1). Ever wondered how the row of numbers were derived?

pill-counter

Figure 1

The row of numbers looks something like this (figure 2):

row-of-numbers

Figure 2

So if you have 7 rows of tablets, the number of tablets you would have counted is 28 and so on. The question of how these numbers were derived exercised my curiosity recently. I wanted to develop a mathematical model for working out these numbers. The process I went through highlighted some profound issues relating to the power of observation.

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The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
The Second Coming by William Butler Yeates

This is a story of second chances. A second chance to get things right. A second chance to make a difference. If we get it wrong, things will certainly fall apart and the centre will crumble. Mere anarchy will be loosed and all because the falcon failed to hear the falconer!

 

If I were to start from the point of my “moment of truth”, it would appear that God is trying to tell us something but as with most things human, we know best! We don’t listen, we offer our own interpretation. I was dead alright, in a metaphorical sense, but the restoration was complete. It was my second chance to get things right. My second coming. It was a privilege and I was determined to make it count. I think I did and will continue to do so within the constraints of current reality. But time is short and it is not in my nature to beg for what should have been properly appropriated. Don’t just take my word for it, let us just re-examine the evidence in a chronological order:

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Osusu Owo

by Kazeem Olalekan

 

Disclaimer:

This is not a political blog. The views expressed in this piece are mine and mine alone. I have been clear from the start that ‘I don’t do politics’. It has nothing to do with my view of the political class – they have important roles to play – It is just me. It may have something to do with the concept of political suicide which I alluded to here. What I have to say in this piece might however, have political implications. I have no problem with that. As a citizen in a democratic country, I see it as my duty to express my viewpoint, so far as I take great care to make it a balanced one. I write this piece with a heavy heart. So bear with me. The purpose is not to influence you (you will make your own mind up in any case) but rather to explain why I feel the choices we face are so important and may have far reaching consequences.

 

Devolution max or Independence is the stark choice that faces the residence of Scotland in exactly one month from now. The referendum on the 18th of September is on whether Scotland should be an independent country (link). To get to the position we now call the United Kingdom, a lot of water has gone under the bridge. The history of these lands are littered with unity and disunity (link). It is of no use rehashing and feeling bitter about these events; rather it is a time to move forward together like the proverbial osusu owo. England had absorbed Wales and Cornwall by 1543 but it took a failed attempt in 1603 (link) and another attempt in 1707 (link) to finally get the ‘rogue’ nation on board! It is a shame that we use unhelpful and demeaning adjectives to describe those that will eventually become our staunch allies. It is this superiority complex (notably an English trait) that must be quashed if people are to work together going forward as equal stakeholders in a Commonwealth of nations. As an African, I carry my own ancestral scars – a remnant of the slave trade which led to the dehumanisation of my race (link). Whilst the British were active participants in this trade, they were also instrumental in ending it. Yes, I carry the scars but I am not bitter. I am sure our histories are a conflation of positive and negative experiences.

 

Analysis of this history reminds me of our stool (link). It is a mishmash of something old, something nicked, something borrowed, something built and something created. Something old because of the christian heritage. In that heritage, Jesus is at the centre. At times in our history, we lost sight of what it means to put Jesus at the centre. We viewed religion as an instrument of oppression and as a cover to engage in fruitless crusades. We even turned the cannons of war on ourselves in the Reformation (link), when we should have been true to the text of the Holy Book. The Catholics wants to kill the Protestants and vice versa: a relic of the past which still raises its ugly head even in today’s society. Something nicked because it is about conquest. The language is about conquering and pillaging not negotiation or trading. The Plantations in Ireland (link)  in 16th and 17th century were the confiscation of land by the English crown and the colonisation of this land with settlers from England and the Scottish Lowlands. Africa, and Nigeria – my country of birth – also has its own tales to tell. Nonetheless, the United Kingdom has been described as a nation of immigrants (link) and by borrowing the intellectual capital of these diverse immigrant people, it has been able to build a strong and prosperous nation. The result is this modern miracle that is the United Kingdom – A nation created on very strong principles that bring together different people with different heritages. The future of that nation is what is at risk in the forthcoming referendum. I will employ you to take this decision very seriously.

Continous Reading →
Healthcare

by Kazeem Olalekan
CEO Iforg Limited

To say that Iforg Limited cares about heath is an understatement: We are passionate about it. The health care journey is a lifelong one: from cradle to grave. That is why our efforts thus far has been about how best to make a difference in this area. We have made some giant strides but the magnitude of the task ahead means strides will not be enough: Giant Leaps are required but we are constrained at this junction by our famine of financial resources and a general dearth of courage to walk in step. There is a fundamental need to do things differently in our cherished institutions: something akin to creative disruption in general business parlance.

If You Do What You’ve Always Done, You’ll Get What You’ve Always Gotten

– Anthony Robbins

Continous Reading →
The Open Source Philosophy

by Kazeem Olalekan CEO Iforg Limited

A recent piece by John Naughton of the Observer on the Public apathy over GCHQ snooping and his anecdote about how he tried to convince his lay audience about the concept of ‘open source’ got me really thinking about this. Furthermore, the launch of our net-projects website this month and the implication of some of the posts on open source is glaring. The statistics provided by Mohammad Khamash of Jordan Open Source Association is rather compelling. So if this is a recipe, I want to use this piece to cook you an open source meal and demonstrate why open source is a force for societal good. And by the way…doing good is our philosophy at Iforg.

Our company prides itself on doing good through strategic use of Information Technology to deliver healthcare solutions. We explore meaning using the universal truths framework. We can provide professional engagement in areas of project management, strategic analysis, web development and healthcare resourcing. We manage projects of varying complexity in house that satisfy our project implementation strategy.

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Web Development

by Kazeem Olalekan MRPharmS IP, MBCS, MSc (BIT), DipPharmPrac

One of our core service provision is Web Development. At Iforg, we are committed to leveraging the IT skills acquired during our many project developments. As an example, I have Masters in Business Information Technology from Northumbria University and continue to acquire valuable experiences through Continued Professional Development, which has helped in the development of web infrastructures at www.bookapharmacist.com; here at www.iforg.com and at www.openlta.com.  There are a lot more and as a Professional Member of the British Computer Society, I am committed to maintaining public interest, professional competence and integrity, duty to relevant authorities and duty to the profession (Code of Conduct). At Iforg, we describe this simply as:

We promise to deliver exactly what we say we can – Iforg Projects

Continous Reading →
Technology and Healthcare

by Kazeem Olalekan MRPharmS

The use of technology in healthcare has been at the heart of what Iforg Limited is all about from the very beginning. Our tagline should therefore come as no surprise. At the outset, I have been fascinated by technology. I posted a few years back how I discovered computers when in my final year at the University of Sunderland. The backspace key fascinated me relative to the now, possibly archaic, correction fluid used in typewriters. In 2002 when I was incorporating the business, I was fascinated by the somewhat acrimonious conversations happening in pharmacy, my profession, about whether people should be able to buy medications via online pharmacies. As a young pharmacist then, I was surprised because I could see that many other businesses where embracing this technology. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported that this Christmas, online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 19.2% in December versus a year earlier, the highest growth in four years. The online penetration rate achieved 18.6% in December. The key point here is that we must engage constructively with technology if we are to maximise its benefits.

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A reboot

by Kazeem Olalekan
CEO
Iforg Limited

The end of one year and the beginning of another is a perfect time to press the re-boot button. At Iforg, we have been very busy although it might not be that apparent. In any case our blogging and podcasting has floundered. That will change in the new year. Our mission remains the qualitative use of information technology to deliver healthcare productivity.

What has been happening:

  • This year I published my first book (The Doctrine of Universal Truths) with the help of the company
  • We launched our new-look website in April
  • We are sailing a steady course in this financially turbulent times

Continous Reading →