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Esie Museum and My Disappointment With Lai Muhammed – By Abdulrazaq O Hamzat

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A few days ago, I took a trip to Oro town in Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, the home town of Alhaji Lai Muhammed, the Honorable Minister of Information and Culture.

The trip was a courtesy visit to meet with political associates of our group, Kwara Must Change, some of whom had traveled down to Kwara from Lagos. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Within my short stay in Oro, what I heard, from people, whom I had assumed to be Alh. Lai’s supporter is, to say the least, disappointing.

With bitterness written all over their faces, they narrated different tales of Alh. Lai’s misdeeds and misdoing, which cannot be regarded as a rant by foes. However, what they said or did not say is not the reason why I feel disappointed in the minister, but what I saw in Esie museum, the first museum in Nigeria with the largest soapstones in the world. To put it mildly, I encountered what broke my heart in the minister’s home town.

In 2015, when Alhaji Lai Muhammed was nominated as minister of the federal republic, his major opposition came from Kwara South. At the time, many accused him of not being a Kwara based politician, a claim I found to be very unreasonable.

However, as ridiculous as that argument seem, the agitation against Alhaji Lai was so much that I had to become more like his unofficial spokesman.

Even though I do not know him personally, nor try to even get to know him, I saw myself always defending him and in the process, stepping on many toes. Maybe, just maybe this is why the outgoing state government always insisted that Kwara Must Change is being sponsored by Alh Lai, a claim far away from the truth.

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After Alhaji Lai became minister of Information and Culture, the attacks against him didn’t subside. A lot of people from Kwara, particularly Kwara South continue to describe him with demeaning adjectives.

In 2016 specifically, we had what can be described as heated exchange with a lot of people on the social media about Alhaji Lai Muhammed which pitched me against the outgoing Kwara South Senator, Distinguish Senator Rafiu Ibrahim.

I recall vividly that within the heated exchange and in an attempt to defend Alhaji Lai Muhammed, I made a particular reference to the daughter of Senator Rafiu, a reference he found very offensive. To express his annoyance with my reference to his daughter, the senator had to send me a private message, urging me to desist from bringing his daughter into a political discussion on the internet. We disagreed fiercely and later agreed mildly with no love lost.

So, it saddens and humbled me, to realize that Alh Lai may actually be guilty of some of the allegations made against him by many of our comrades in Kwara South.

While in Oro and still finding it hard to believe many of the things said about Alhaji Lai, we decided to take a walk to Esie, where we have the Esie Museum, the first museum in Nigeria and the one with highest Soapstones in the world.

Esie is the center of culture, not only in Kwara State and Nigeria but also in the whole of Africa. Esie became famous for the existence of the Esie Human Stone Images whose existence has attracted the attention of tourists and scholars around the globe.

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As a result of the unique discovery of the Ere Esie, the first national museum in Nigeria, in which the colonial government placed great premium, was erected in 1945.

For years now, different groups have been advocating for improvement and investment in our tourist industry and with the appointment of Lai Muhammed as minister of information and culture, one would expect that the man who came from a cultural area like this would find it appropriate to give this historical center the deserved attention.

This museum is one that requires just a little bit of attention by government and investment and it would become self-sustaining, but unfortunately, nothing absolutely have been done.

What this basically means is that the first national museum in the whole of Nigeria, with the highest soapstones in the world, is located in the home town of the Honorable Minister of Information and Culture and yet, the place got no attention whatsoever.

It was also reliably gathered that since becoming minister, Alhaji Lai had never visited the Museum, not to talk of giving it the required attention. I must then ask, how would Alh. Lai, minister culture, if Nigeria’s cultural centers are deserted like plague?

As I walk away from the historic museum, what continues to bother me was that, if the first museum in Nigeria, located in the home town of the Minister in charge of it could not get the required attention, not even an ordinary visit, what hope do other museums across the country have?

If Alh Lai cannot help his home town shape its historic asset in the interest of the nation and the benefits of his own people, what else can he do? This is really saddening.

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I later learned that despite the total neglect of the museum, the management of the historic center is doing its best to keep the place alive and functioning.

For example, it was said that every children’s day, 27th May of every year, the center organizes children’s day celebration, where it promotes Nigeria’s cultural values among children as well as create forum for children from different background to meet, interact and learn. Over 1000 children from various parts of Kwara often participate in the programme and this year’s children day celebration will come up next month.

Let me conclude by saying that, should Alhaji Lai Muhammed finish his tenure as minister of information and culture without seeing to the proper development of Esie national museum and make it an attractive historic center with sustainable public and private funding mechanism, he would really have been a very huge disappointment.

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Latest Report Reveals Oppo Smartphone Democratising Access To Professional-Grade Photography

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By Abdulrahman Obaje

Improvements related to camera have been a major factor driving smartphone evolution over the past decade and the telephoto lens technology is among the important factors that determines how far the camera system can go, hence an indication of a larger trend in consumer behaviour, showing a preference for smartphones with enhanced photographic capabilities. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({}); January 2024 report of a market research firm, Counterpoint Research shows that the penetration rate has increased over the years to more than 19 per cent in H1 2023, nearly 3 per cent higher than it was in H1 2022.

So, what separates you from becoming a professional photographer this days is insignificant compare to the old ways of photography. It is just a thin line with the advent and rise in popularity of telephoto lenses in smartphones. This is because the growing trend in consumers’ desire for telephoto photography, something that can only be found exclusively in professional cameras; telephoto lenses integration in smartphones is now the main stay in the industry, a trend that industry player said is just the beginning of a larger trend.

Reports by Counterpoint had shed more light on the evolving landscape of smartphone photography. According to Counterpoint Research’s most recent report, more than 200 million telephoto lens-equipped smartphones were sold globally in 2022, with that figure expected to rise even further by 2024.

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The telephoto lens feature was initially available exclusively on exceptional smartphones. However, the study has also found that mass-market adoption of telephoto lens is increasing, particularly among sub-$400 segments. The increasing popularity of telephoto lenses in affordable smartphones mirrors consumers’ inclination for advanced features without the accompanying high cost. In acknowledgment of this demand, smartphone manufacturers have promptly responded by enhancing their mid-tier line-ups with telephoto capabilities, enabling a broader audience to partake in upgraded photography experiences that were traditionally exclusive to high-end models.

Users can capture images that stand out for their precision and elegance. Apart from its ability to be able to capture a distant landscape, telephoto lens also stands out in shooting portrait as it can compress the subject and background, creating dramatic bokeh effect. The 50mm or 85mm equivalent focal length provides a field of view similar to human eyes with minimal distortions.

The report also revealed that these lenses are becoming increasingly integrated into smartphones around the globe. The ability to zoom without sacrificing image quality, combined with the unique visual effects a telephoto lens can produce, has made it a popular choice among smartphone users. The proportion of smartphones equipped with a telephoto camera has increased both internationally and in China, reaching 19.3% and 24.4%, respectively, demonstrating the importance of telephoto lenses in today’s mobile photography environment.

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The report further revealed that the newly launched OPPO’s Reno11 series, positioned as “The Portrait Expert”, has been instrumental in bringing high-end telephoto lens features to more affordable smartphone models with the innovative “Telephoto Portrait” feature saying that OPPO has been instrumental in making high-quality mobile photography accessible to a greater majority of the masses.

“This strategic move by OPPO has not only democratized access to professional-grade photography features but also underscored the brand’s position as a leader in mobile photography innovation. ”, it said

The Reno11 series boasts features such as a 32MP 2x optical zoom camera powered by Sony IMX709 flagship sensor, enabling users to capture sharp, detailed images from a distance. The series also integrates advanced AI algorithms to enhance image quality, especially in portrait photography, providing users with the tools to capture life’s moments with unparalleled clarity and creativity.

The report thereby anticipates a positive outlook for telephoto lenses, affirming their pivotal contribution to the progression of mobile photography.

The integration of telephoto lenses is just the beginning of a larger trend. The future of mobile photography is expected to see upward progression, with telephoto lenses playing a significant role in how consumers capture and engage with the world around them. This trend is poised to redefine the standards of mobile photography, pushing the boundaries of what smartphones can achieve.

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Abdulrahman Obaje is a Journalist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media, Information and Computer Technology Consultant. A quintessential Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist is based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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Why We Must Not Lose Guard About The Potential Risks Of AI – Part 1

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By Abdulrahman Obaje

The most globally talked about scientific discipline at present is AI, short form of Artificial Intelligence, garnering attentions from main stream media organisations such as CNN, BBC, Forbes, New York Times, Daily Trust newspaper and the kinds of them. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Unfortunately this technology also poses the most threats to society and humanity at present.

AI is a scenario whereby a piece of an electronic device or software behaves as though it is digital human assistant. Some can make and take decisions that ordinarily may take time for human being to accomplish. AI-based device may be trained to even perform responsibilities that usually requires human intelligence to accomplish. Such tasks include solving complex mathematical problem, complex medical diagnosis, language translation, etc.

Example include Language translators, Facial recognition capabilities on mobile phones and other devices, Facebook’s language translation feature,  Google Assistant on Android, Siri on iPhones, friend suggestions on Facebook to mention but few. An AI-based system can actually act like a smart helpful digital friend.

AI serves as the foundation for transformative technologies like the much talked about ChatGPT with more than 18 million active users daily. Now, the GPTs store has been launched for business. Also, AI non-invasive device to read what a human is thinking in his mind, convert it to text and display the text on a screen. The research that has been conducted and pilot tested in the University of Sydney has a multifaceted benefit to the human. Anyone with speech impairment can use the device to communicate his or her thoughts and wants with people without talking.

As modern Artificial Intelligent-based systems are now being trained to learn from past experience; in the form of gathered information, making it able to adjust to new information that enable it to be independent in some areas to some extents, the voice of warning against the potential risks of AI is growing louder.

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The tech community has long debated the threats posed by artificial intelligence. Automation of jobs, the spread of fake news and a dangerous arms race of AI-powered weaponry have been mentioned as some of the biggest threats posed by AI.

There is also growing concerns that these things could get more intelligent than the humans and that they could one day decide to take over, and that there is why we need to worry about how we prevent that from happening.

A Computer Scientist, Geofrey Hinton also dubbed as the Godfather of Artificial Intelligence, a name he got from his foundational work on machine learning and neural network algorithm, in 2023 left his position at Google to talk about the risk of Artificial Intelligence, insinuating that a part of him even regrets his life’s work.

Hinton is not alone in this concerns. More than 20,000 tech leaders had in March 2023 persuaded in an open letter to put a pause on large AI experiments, citing that the technology can pose profound risk to society and humanity.

According to Wikipaedia, Pause Giant AI Experiments: An Open Letter is the title of a letter published by the Future of Life Institute in March 2023. The letter calls “all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4”, citing risks such as AI-generated propaganda, extreme automation of jobs, human obsolescence, and a society-wide loss of control. It received more than 20,000 signatures, including academic AI researchers and industry CEOs such as Yoshua Bengio, Stuart Russell, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak and Yuval Noah Harari.

One of the risks posed by AI system is the lack of AI transparency and explainability. This is as AI and deep learning models can be difficult to understand, even for those that are working directly with the technology. This leads to a lack of transparency for why and how Artificial Intelligence comes to its conclusions. This conclusion cannot be trusted one hundred percent of times because of lack of explanation for what data AI algorithms use, or why AI may make biased or unsafe decisions. These concerns explain the rise to the use of explainable AI, but there’s still a long way before transparent AI systems can become common practice.

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The second area of concern is job loss due to job automation. As AI-powered job automation is adopted in industries like marketing, manufacturing and healthcare. By 2030, tasks that account for up to 30 percent of hours currently being worked in the U.S. economy could be automated. According to McKinsey. Black and Hispanic employees especially is more vulnerable to the change while Goldman Sachs even states 300 million full-time jobs could be lost to AI automation.

“The reason we have a low unemployment rate, which doesn’t actually capture people that aren’t looking for work, is largely that lower-wage service sector jobs have been pretty robustly created by this economy,” futurist Martin Ford told Built In. With AI on the rise, though, “I don’t think that’s going to continue.”

As AI robots become smarter and more dexterous, the same tasks will require fewer humans. And while AI is estimated to create 97 million new jobs by 2025, many employees won’t have the skills needed for these technical roles and could get left behind if companies don’t upskill their workforces.

The third area of risks poses by AI is Social manipulation. This fear has become a reality as politicians rely on platforms to promote their viewpoints. For example Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., wielded a TikTok troll army to capture the votes of younger Filipinos during the Philippines’ 2022 election.

TikTok, which is one example of a social media platform that relies on AI algorithms, fills a user’s feed with content related to previous media they’ve viewed on the platform. Criticism of the app targets this process and the algorithm’s failure to filter out harmful and inaccurate content, raising concerns over TikTok’s ability to protect its users from misleading information.

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Online media and news have become even murkier in the wake of AI-generated content such as images and videos, AI voice changers as well as deepfakes infiltrating political and social spheres. These technologies make it easy to create realistic photos, videos, audio clips or replace the image of one figure with another in an existing picture or video. As a result, bad actors have another avenue for sharing misinformation and war propaganda, creating a nightmare scenario where it can be nearly impossible to distinguish between creditable and faulty news.

“No one knows what’s real and what’s not,” Ford said. “So it really leads to a situation where you literally cannot believe your own eyes and ears; you can’t rely on what, historically, we’ve considered to be the best possible evidence… That’s going to be a huge issue.”

Abdulrahman Obaje is a Journalist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media, Information and Computer Technology Consultant. A quintessential Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist is based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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Kwara’s Growing National Profile

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Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara
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By Abdulrazaq Hamzat

Before transition into a people’s government, through the otoge political revolution in 2019, the only thing most people outside the state of harmony knows about the state is its political godfatherism. adsbygoogle || []). push({});

Fortunately for Kwara, things are changing and the state’s national profile is taking a new look.

In this past months, I have been traveling around the country, from Kogi, to Lagos, to Abuja.

As you all know, we have been accostom to the popular saying that the world is a global village, but nothing reinforces such claim and brought it close to home like the experiences I had traveling around the country lately.

It all started in Lagos, while in midsts of Nigerians from different parts of the country. A conversation about the current state of affairs in the nation began and soon after, the conversation was narrowed down to the issue of lawmakers in the country.

To my greatest surprise, one of the individuals in the gathering made reference to the Legislative Watch Assessment Report, produced by Grand Plan in partnership with Kwara Must Change, which was piloted here in Kwara State.

When I first heard reference being made to this report, it was kind of surprising because the person making this reference is from Kano and I was surprised that a project done in Kwara State could have such impression on somebody from far away Kano. So, while asking questions to probe what this individual really know about Legislative Watch, the other individual who came from Nasarawa State jumped in and also spoke glowingly about Legislative Watch and the impact it made in their state.

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According to him, the project was trending in Nasarawa for weeks.

When I said it’s just a Kwara report, both individuals strongly disagreed. That project is beyond Kwara, it is a report like no other and it’s impact was felt all across the federation. They concluded.

While these conversation were taking place, they never knew I had anything to do with the report. So, it was a shocking moment for them, when I said that we did the project and that I was the lead researcher. They went berserk in excitement, looking at me strangely and affectionately and I began to feel excitedly scared for myself.

It was at this point that I thought of bringing up conversation about the national perspective of Nigerians about Kwara State and the current administration in the state.

Even when you know the truth, sometimes, it is always good to aggregate opinion of independent third parties that are not connected to the players or affected by their prejudice.

Fortunately, all of the people in this gathering have nothing but praise for the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq led administration in Kwara State. Some of them even compared his activities to that of their own state and concluded that Kwara State is at the forefront in governance.

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This encounter spurred my interest in wanting to have a real feedback about national perspective of Nigerians on Kwara State.

So, I decided to make a delibrate random survey anywhere I go about Kwara State.

In Lagos State, I asked 15 people about their perspective of the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq led administration in Kwara State.

While 3 of them do not have any real opinion because of limited information, 10 of them spoke about the state in glowing terms. The remaining 2 were critical of the state due to the ongoing dispute between the ruling party.

Although, out of the two individuals critical of Kwara State because of the ongoing dispute between Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, one praised the governor for taming the minister, noting that he belongs to the same constituency with the minister in Lagos and they have also been looking for ways to deal with him.

In Kogi State, it was positive feedback all through for Kwara State, amongst the 5 individuals sampled.

Furthermore, at the federal capital territory in Abuja, Kwara State is seen as one of the top 3 performing state in the country.

Amongst the 20 individuals sampled, only 3 were critical of the government in relation to it’s ongoing dispute with information minister and the opposition leader, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

While 17 individuals spoke positively about the government and its performance, 3 individuals think the situation with the opposition leader, Dr Bukola Saraki could have been handled with more diplomacy. They also think the dispute with Alhaji Lai Muhammed was unnecessary. However, when they were provided with context to both issues, they seems to understand it better.

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In all, Kwara State is now a state of interest for many across the federation and whatever happens here makes alot of impact in other states.

The administration of Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is also seen as a leading light in terms of governance and we must encourage the government to continue to improve on its chosen path until the state get to its promise land.

While it is always good to criticise government projects and policies, such criticism should seek to add value to governance, not diminish it. Valid criticism doesn’t hurt anyone, it strengthen us all and make good governance a reality, not a dream.

Abdulrazaq Hamzat writes from Abuja, Nigeri

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