Saturday, December 27, 2014

On Civic Responsibility and the New Nigerian

Not too long ago, I was at my favorite Asun and foamy liquid spot, at Ikota/VGC in Eti-Osa East LGA, killing off the afternoon and wondering when my phone will buzz with the usual "where are you?" signaling time to face westwards. I sat with the usual set of young entrepreneurs, employees on leave and those breaking their home bound trip after work, etc. So you can imagine the gist drifting from politics to LASG greed, BH, real estate, latest market initiatives and how much your appearance opens doors for you "in this Lagos", etc. 

Here goes: 
"APC needs to go. They are not masses friendly. You pay for everything in this Lagos. Imagine charging N300 for that new Lekki/Ikoyi bridge! Yet, the new road built in Itire/Ojuelegba is not tolled. Lagos does not want poor people." 
I glance at the cars parked just meters from us. G-Wagon, Range, Acura ZDX... Hmmm... So who is the alternative in PDP and what are their policies for Lagos, especially towards generating IGR to sustain a teeming and burgeoning population of 14M or so? 
"Any PDP candidate will transform Lagos..."
As they have done where? Akwa Ibom. Have you been there? Do you know what their population, monthly allocation, 15% derivation, rate of urban growth, diversity of population and general scope of development is? 
"I have heard the guy is building roads!" 
"These Lekki estates are ripping people off with service charge. Haha! Imagine my estate requesting a service charge of N200k per annum! What is the point of being my own landlord?"

What is the service charge used for? 
"Security, cleaning common areas, renovating roads once in a while, generating power to light up estate in absence of NEPA, provision of treated water and disposal of waste. That's all!" 
Really? How many security personnel do you have in that estate? How much is the average salary they earn? How much NEPA light do you have and how does that affect diesel usage! How many houses are in your estate???
"I'm not sure. I just know it's too much. They only pay N100k or so in VGC." 
Ok. Did you know that VGC probably has thousands more residents than your estate and their water is not is metered at point of use. Do you attend residents meetings? Have you volunteered to be part of the budget process? 
"Who has time for that nonsense meeting when all they do is to go there and argue. Hiss". 
"Why is LASG trying to register residents? I bet they are up to no good. Is the population census not enough? All they're after is more tax. That is all they know". 

Have you registered though? 
"Of what use? Make I let them begin send me nonsense tax increase?" 
Ok, where you counted in the last population census? 
"At my home state. Not Lagos". 
Are you registered to vote? 
"Also at home". 
Did you know that you would be unable to vote in Lagos? How do you intend to elect your PDP government? Silence. Looks at others for confirmation. 
So I used the opportunity to talk about the benefits of the LASG resident’s registration. LASSRA. Still not buying. 
"As for me o, I pray the Labour Party wins in Lagos. Tinubu's hold is too strong abeg". 
Who are the Labour Party prospective candidates? Who are their party leaders in Lagos? 
"All I know is that my state governor is From LP and he is doing very well". 
Are you talking about Ondo state? Yes. Please give me some examples of his good works. 
"Hmmm... He built an ultra-modern market, he has renovated schools and he pays teachers’ salaries promptly". 
"Btw, are you saying you have no issues with this LASG?" 
Yes, I have. I would have preferred them to have built a coastal alternative road before tolling the Lekki/Epe express. I would like them to eradicate trading at the Ajah roundabout and build a flyover there. I wish they could do more in providing power by bringing in an investor to float a power plant in our axis...this is even as they are still the most ventured state government in IPPs. I would also like them to build a proper general hospital in the Lekki-Ajah axis, etc. But I have no regrets paying for all the services I enjoy both in my estate and at state level public utilities, tolls inclusive. 
So we leave, one after the other. Some prompted by their phones, others simply back to their businesses, etc. I drove home with different sound bites from that conversation on my mind. These are educated folks in their 40s. Civic responsibility is still a challenge with us today. How do we grow our country when we just don't understand our part as citizens? Are those coming after us any better? Who are their role models? Same folks who would not want to pay taxes at home are planning trips abroad where people pay up to 40% taxes.... You want to change a government and you are registered to vote in your state of origin and not in your state of residence? People still do not know what pull they are on a society when they are not counted as residents? They don't know how this is factored into revenue allocation and distribution of social amenities...a population of ghosts! There is work to be done folks.


Can Your Kids Dance?

Guys, how do you handle a situation where your son just cannot move? I mean, when your child dances like a whitey (lol). A few months ago, I had cause to rant about this on another forum. Please enjoy.
My son is going to be 4 soon and he still can't dance. Sigh! No, it's not down to shyness. And yes, I also could not dance when I was even 10. I grew up a shy kid. Watching him dance to my morning exercise playlist....hmmm...not good. Since he got back from a holiday and got impressed by a much older cousin (Bobos) doing some kick boxing-break dance type moves and doing the "helicopter" on his head, we haven't heard word in this house again! He now jumps off key and kicks about, prancing from one end of the room to the other like Oyinbo Abaka! Why can't he just stay on one spot and deliver? Ah ah! Now watching him move to his favorite tunes "paper" and "pull over". No rhythm! I consider this a personal affront. Don't worry; he's a boy, so I'm not scared of bum bum dance or any of that other hoochie mama stuff. He's got the 007 license. Just bust a move son! Not sure how to handle this...Now Sekem is playing and he's saying "Daddy come and dance it"...make I go show am the move and hope he follows...wish me luck guys.


Ameyo Adadevo: A Tribute

That is what captains do. They are the last to leave...they ensure everyone is safe. They put themselves in harm's way. They tell evil "you would have to pass me first!”. Dr. Adadevoh saw Nigeria as her ship. She was reported to have not only ensured Sawyer was tested for Ebola, but prevented him from leaving the hospital by bodily putting herself in harm’s way! She did not make excuses...even with having a wonderful family with expectations. It was a progeny that came full circle. Her great grandfather, Herbert Macaulay, set us on the path to Nationalism; she took the baton several eons later and saved us from a potentially debilitating plague. As the Yoruba's say, "bibi ire ko se fowora". Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh - this is dedicated to you...for all you have done.

Discussion With My Warri Friend. #Politico

Location: Slicks, VGC.

"Why can't these people just leave Jonathan alone to finish his two terms?"
"I hate that APC abeg. No be so so thief like Tinubu dem dem full there? Which change dem wan bring sef?"
The constitution does not guarantee two terms, he would have to win elections. 
"These Yoruba and Hausa people sef. Dem no see how the Ibo people dey cooperate?"
How do you mean?
"APGA came out openly to support GEJ and they will not be fielding any candidate at presidential".
Oh, I see. They must be benefitting from this government to the extent that they don't need any instability.
"Yes na. Continuity, so that the transformation go kuku complete". 
Bro, the eastern roads are some of the worst in the country. They must have other reasons for supporting him. And do not generalize, there are lots of Yorubas supporting PDP. There's Buruji, Abati, Okupe and now the latest billionaire in town, Ayeni. 
No, Ayeni. He donated N5B to the campaign. And he's Yoruba. What other support does GEJ need? 
"What of voters? Why na so so APC APC all the people wey I know for Lagos dey halla since?"
Oh, so you know say N5B na money and not votes abi, ok. Nice one. 
Meanwhile the agent don answer you? (He's moving to Lagos from Warri).
"Bobs, I don taya for that town. Person no fit waka for night, dem snatch my guy motor last week, dem kill Oneya pickin as she dey commit for bank...I no go fit stay there again abeg. That your agent never give me better offers. Na so so after Ajah e dey send me since. Na vgc I want, or that Chevron side..."
So na so the Lagos enter your body? 
"Ol boy I fear you o. Which person body Lagos no go enter? See how everybody dey move freely. People dey sweep express! Express! Imagine? So so fine shopping mall, better night clubs.... The last time Wey I stay one hotel for Lekki, na so I see Oyinbo Wey dey jog for road...E fit try that one for Warri? Abi even Arab sef dey carry police escort, not to talk of original! This LAgos eh! If them fit just take this kain Fashola stone us for Delta... O bobs! E go too pure abeg."
Shuo! I think say una governor dey do well before o.
"Abegi! No be only! With him bad head. Him and him wife don kolobi all the contract for the full Delta. Only that one e Sabi. the guy no work abeg. 
Which day you come Warri last? So so crusade poster full everywhere, Bendel estate sef don busy anyhow, the governor don broke all the road finish and e no gree complete the projects, avenue to Deco road still scatter till today. The guy no gree complete wetin Ibori start since. I bow for awa governor abeg. Thank God say Tompolo don cantab am. No senate for am. Odi Odi."
So no be the same APC wey you no like naim dey make Lagos good for you to wan come so? You no think say dem suppose go work for the whole Nigeria from Abuja?
"You mean president? For wetin na? That Hawusa, abi na Arab e be sef, no go near that president until we complete our two terms. No follow all these lagos people o. You know say you be full Warri...You be area o. Abeg Ocho no bring that leg...wetiiin...ah ah. Na that matter you dey use style dey bring since? No go there o!"
"Where all those girls dem...ehen, where you...abeg give us another round of Orijin..."
"For wetin! no be only Buhari, na APC......mcheew...(muttering under his breath)...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Pulp Fiction - Best All Time Movie

I am not even going to review this movie here. If you like Tarantino, you got to love this one. And with me, it’s a big hit. I can never get enough of it. I just cannot get over the characters and the dialogue. Not sure which is my best scene here, but this one is close:

Vincent (John Travolta) at this drug dealer's (Lance - Eric Stoltz) house, trying to buy some coke. Clearly, Lance's wife, with a face full of studs, makes quite an impression on Vince. Hear him:

Lance: what do you think about Trudy? She ain't got a boyfriend. You wanna hang out and get high? 

Vincent: which one is Trudy? The one with all the shit in her face?
Lance: No. That's Jody, my wife. 

That just cracks me up every time.

What about the scene where Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) reads Ezekiel 25:17 before killing some guy? Or the one where war vet Captain Koons, played by Christian Walken,  visits a hero’s home and tells his son the tale of how his late dad preserved their family heirloom watch up his ass while a prisoner of war? “He died of dysentery”…lolllllll

“You OK? Nah mehn. I’m pretty fucking far from OK…” – This after Butch (Bruce Willis) liberates Marsellus (Ving Rhames) from a very sordid “prison initiation type experience (If you know what I mean) at the hands of Zed and the Gimp!

I'll leave you with a Youtube collection of quotes and scenes from this movie. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Islamic Militancy in Northern Nigeria - Looking Back

I read this piece on what the author termed - The origin of Boko Haram - a few days ago, on a friend's Facebook page, and found it quite compelling and to the heart of the matter regarding Islamic Fundamentalism and terrorism in Northern Nigeria. Now, this must be taken for what it is. It is not an open and closed insight into today's current upsurge of terrorist activity in the North. I have quite a different take on that. However, that in itself would not have been possible without the background that Damola Awoyokun speaks of here.
Enjoy the read.

Boko Haram that has killed up to 10,000 people is an eventual outcome of a progressive malaise in Northern Nigeria. Only that the world wasn’t paying attention then. In February 2000, Governor Mohammed Ahmed Makarfi of Kaduna, the most multicultural state in the North imposed sharia. Not only was the imposition contrary to the provisions of the country’s secular constitution, it was an act of religious extremism. The apex Islamic bodies, Jama' tul Nasril Islam (JNI) and Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) did not condemn that extremism. The second bloodiest religious riot in Nigeria’s history then ensued in the state and the body count ran well over 2000.

But it was Zamfara State governor Ahmed Yerima Sani who a month earlier launched the sharia spree that has now engulfed 12 northern states. To confirm his seriousness, in March 2000, he ratified the cold-blooded cut of Buba Bello Jangebe’s hand for an allegedly stealing a cow. He too allegedly stole billions from the public purse- one of the worst according to the federal anti-corruption czar, yet his own limbs are still with him. His deputy then, Mamudu Aliyu Shinkafi was the one in November 2002 who pronounced the fatwa that scurried ThisDay newspaper’s fashion correspondent, Ms Isioma Daniel into exile in Norway during the Miss World pageantry officially hosted by Nigeria. Despite the fact that the pageantry’s organizers conceded that the girls would not wear bikinis on stage, the fanatics street and their political leaders still went to work. They seized on the 18 words of Isioma Daniel that speculated on what Prophet Mohammed would think of the beauties. Sponsored riots that led to the death of 217 broke out in Abuja and Kaduna. The extremists didn’t want the pageantry because it would violate the holy month but they didn’t think their killing spree would.

Instead of Islamic leaders condemning the mass murder, they blamed the organisers. Dr Lateef Adegbite, secretary general of Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) argued that with the murderous riots the government and the organizers will learn to take them seriously. If they don’t want a program, they don’t want it. To which Wole Soyinka, Nigeria’s Nobel laureate called him “a fool” i.e. how can you stake your need for respect on the lives of others. Then Zamfara state deputy governor pronounced: “It is binding on all Muslims wherever they are, to consider the killing of the writer [Isioma Daniel] as a religious duty. …. Just like the blasphemous Indian writer Salman Rushdie, the blood of Isioma Daniel can be shed.” Two years later, he rose to become the governor of the state while his boss the governor became a federal senator that married a 13 year old girl. The Zamfara Information Commissioner, Tukur Umar Dangaladima added a week later: “Anyone who kills her [Ms Danie]is a martyr who will go to Heaven…it is a reality based on the teachings of the Quran.”
All these were not said or done by an outcast terrorist organization but highly placed people in power. June 2009, in the town of Sara in Jigawa State, a mob descended on a police station and burnt it down for failure of the Police to hand over a fleeing man that sought refuge there. They claimed he had blasphemed against the holy prophet. October 2007, Shehu Sani’s book The Phantom Crescent satirizing sharia leaders, lawyers, judges, and Hisbah (their police officers) was banned in Kaduna by the Upper Sharia Court. In February 2006, the extremists took to the streets of Maiduguri over the Danish cartoons; 16 people were killed including Rev Fr Mathew Gajere who was helping his altar boys escape when the siege began. They didn’t know why they were rioting; they were just told to go into the streets by their sponsors. And so they choose their usual targets: non-indigenes, non-Muslims but no Danish nor European.

This is from The Nigerian Punch newspaper of March 22, 2007: "Muslim pupils at a secondary school in Gandu, Gombe state, beat a teacher to death after accusing her of desecrating the Koran... The teacher, Oluwatoyin Olusesan, a Christian, was invigilating an Islamic Religious Knowledge exam at the Government Day Secondary School, Gandu when the incident occurred....the teacher suspected that a foul play was about to take place when one of the students wanted to come in with his books to the exam hall. The teacher collected the books and threw them outside, unknown to her, there was a copy of the Holy Koran among the books. The principal said before they knew what was happening, the students had started chanting Allahu Akbar (God is Great). All efforts to control the rampaging students proved abortive even when the school principal, Mohammed Sadiq, tried to protect the teacher in his office. The principal was also terribly beaten and injured while they set the teacher's car, three classes, the school's clinic, administrative block and library on fire." Note: these happened during their Islamic Religious Knowledge examination. Maybe they did not know at their young age, that like the Islamic leaders reaffirmed, Islam is a religion of peace. There were no arrest and conviction as usual.
In the state that eventually became the headquarters of Boko Haram, during the January 2001 lunar eclipse in Borno, Muslims youth began a rampage destroying hotels, bars and brothels blaming them for the cause of the eclipse. In September 2001, Governor Yerima Sani forbade women to come out and cheer President Obasanjo on his official visit to his state because according to sharia, women and men should not mix freely in public. The women refused. In October 2001 in Sokoto, Safiya Hussaini was sentenced to stoning to death for adultery by Judge Mohammed Bello Sanyinlawal while acquitting the 60-year-old Yahaya Abubakar who impregnated her. After sustained international pressure, Safiya was acquitted a year later and made honorary citizen of Rome. Sokoto Governor Attahiru Bafarawa and Zamfara’s Ahmad Sani condemned the honor with the latter adding, it was act of proselytization. It was the turn of Amina Lawal in March 2002. She was sentenced to public stoning for getting pregnant outside wedlock in Katsina. In 1998, Muslims youth like the Taliban that can’t get use to the compromises of tolerance and diversity, invaded the Olofa’s palace and razed down the shrine of Moremi, a traditional goddess in Offa. December 1994 in Kano city, Gideon Akaluka, a trader, was beheaded and paraded danse macabre because his wife desecrated the Koran.
In February 1989, death to Wole Soyinka posters were carried around during Zaria riots because he defended Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, urged artists to launch their own creative jihad against the Iranian Ayatollahs, and called on civilized nations to expel Iranian diplomats from their territories. And then the Maitatsine massacre in December 1980 in Kano -the bloodiest single massacre in the nation’s history. 4,177 lives were lost, 8,712 received various degrees of injuries. As usual, there were no convictions. Religious violence is always considered a sensitive issue to warrant prosecution.
Then came Boko Haram. To continue with the tradition of no conviction, less than 2 weeks after the bombing of the UN headquarters in Abuja, the governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso ordered 20 members of Boko Haram released as part of celebrations of the end of the holy month of fasting. Even if Boko Haram was crushed today, if the North does not line up completely with modernity, another terrorist organization will roar its ugly head.
-Damola Awoyokun

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What GEJ Should Have Done - A Lesson in Crisis Management

What GEJ should have done after getting the report of abducted girls:

1. From the day the news broke, immediately request the result of a full investigation from the police IG and the SSS director, Waec and education minister. Give them 48hrs to submit their first report
2. While assuaging the families, Ensure each parent is visited by the appropriate investigative agencies and information gathered on association to child, family tree, etc.
3. Communicate clearly, to parents and school authorities alike, that this is a criminal and national security case and that it is not optional to cooperate with the security agencies
4. Ensure the appropriate authorities give daily briefings to Nigerians
5. Immediately secure other schools in the area
6. Work with international agencies and governments (from day 1) in resolving the issue. Ask for any help needed
7. Seal off all north eastern borders and deploy appropriate security to likely escape routes
8. Prevent his wife from causing any public stir that creates a distraction
9. If found that this was indeed a hoax, visibly punish all those involved
10. Redeploy security agents who are likely to be saboteurs
11. Use my powers as CIC to actively checkmate any elected official at any level who may be in the way of my job as chief security officer
12. Keep information channels alive and show transparency in order to gain the support and trust of Nigerians
13. Fire Labaran Maku and Okupe



Monday, April 7, 2014

A Widow's Plight

Chioma Odilinye's hair being scraped off with disposable blades...tradition!
She cried.
But they held her down and shaved off every strand of hair on her head.
Her tears touched them not and as they subjected her to this humiliation called tradition, they knew they were not done with her. They had their eyes on the plots of land the young man was leaving behind. They were also looking at the five trucks generating the income. Even the house he built at Oke Afa in Isolo Lagos was an item in their unhealthy avarice.
Chioma Odilinye, the young widow from Asaba but married to the late Onyebuchi Odilinye from Ogidi in Idemili Local Govt Area is going through a terrible experience in the hands of her brothers and sisters inlaws.
My name is Chioma Odilinye. I was married to Mr. Onyebuchi Odilinye. The marriage is blessed with a son. My husband fell sick sometime last year and it demanded that he would be flown to India for an operation. He left to India in company of his immediate elder brother, Mr. Hyacinth Odilinye. I spoke with my husband in India and he told me the operation was successful, that they will be back in a few days. I called again but nobody was picking my calls and after other trials, I discovered d number has been unavailable. I was forced to try my husband's Nigeria number which went through and I spoke with his elder brother, Hyacinth, who told me that they are back from India and are now in a referral hospital in Abuja. I asked to speak to my husband but he wouldn't allow me on the reason that he was too weak to talk. I demanded the address of the hospital in Abuja, but he wouldn't give me. This went on for weeks. # During this period, my husband's younger brothers (Emenike and Chukwujekwu) sent an urgent message that all our seven haulage trucks have been grounded by police and the only condition to release them was to provide the original documents of the trucks. I obliged them with d documents. Little did I know that my husband had died and they were using that as a ploy to collect all our properties.

Even our Highland SUV that was used to convey my husband to d airport has not been returned. # After the burial and funeral of my husband, Mr. Hyacinth Odilinye with sisters in the village at Ogidi in Anambra State, locked me, my mum and my son up in a room that the only condition to our release was upon handing over of the documents of the house I and my late husband suffered to build in Lagos. It took d intervention of some villagers for them to release us, but their sister Ebere followed us back to Lagos to collect the document. We got to Lagos and I made it clear to Ebere that the house belongs to I and my husband and I can't give her the documents. This irked her and she threatened me that they will ensure that I suffer with my son. Few hours later, the elder brother Hyacinth called and also threatened to kill me if I don't provide the documents. On several occasions lately, two people on a motor cycle would come at my gate, release one or two gun shots and speed off.
# I implore you to use your good office to recover my properties and also save my life which is in danger.


Hmmmmm...Not sure who this message should be going out to. Do I address bad inlaws who think their only mission in life is to wait for their son/brother to die so they can raid his house and disposes his wife of her late husband’s property after debasing and abusing her, all in the name of culture? Or should my anguish and frustration be directed to the late husband who neglected to put systems in place to ensure this did not happen? What about the wife? Did she become a slave to tradition and culture? Was she abducted or hypnotized to the ground where her hair was shaved or did she forget her right, as a human being, to self-dignity. What do our country’s laws say on inheritance? Do they not supersede these archaic and barbaric cultures?  As this usually is a vicious circle, would this wife also do same if tables were turned? You can see in the pictures that the dehumanization and torture is being administered by fellow women. Sad.

Before you go thinking this is peculiar to a certain part of the country, I am here to tell you that I know of a case very similar to this one happening in Ogun state right now. The late husband’s mom and siblings have taken the wife hostage and are basically administering her late husband’s estate without her consent. I know of another recent case in Delta state. As they say, “Warri no dey carry last”. This babe checkmated the family members to the extent that they are now calling her to negotiate. Whosai! She don enter breeze with her pickins and all papers intact! Each time I hear about these cases, this Warri babe’s story is my usual example of what every woman needs to learn. She exemplified the Warri maxim which says “person wey dey cry still dey see road”. No dulling.

Back to Chioma's case.
In closing, I leave this message for every husband
  1.   Present her as a queen to your family…mark her as untouchable!
  2. Educate and empower her to know her rights
  3.  Use the format "Mr. and Mrs. Ochuko and Abimbola Okoye" in all your title documents
  4.  Make her a joint signatory to your personal bank accounts
  5. Ensure she has income of her own from work or business
  6. Make her your next of kin in all sensitive dealings
  7. Ensure she has your phone PIN
  8. Let her know your movement and dealings always
  9.  Buy life insurance
  10. Write a will


Sunday, April 6, 2014

BMW M3 Generations

The BMW M3 generations from left to right - E30, E36, E46 and E92
The BMW M3 is a motoring icon that has endured for 29 years now. It is the performance upgrade version of BMW's most successful 3 series brand. Originally produced as a racing car, it quickly caught on with car enthusiasts and the hunger for a street legal version had to be satisfied by the Munich based company.  The first edition E30 rolled off the production line in Regensburg, Germany sometime in 1985. It was in response to the Mercedes Benz 190E (W201) which was released in 1983. Since then the M3 has gone through evolution from the E30 to E36, E46, and the current E90/92 and 93 models. 

Traditionally the M3 has always had the coupe and convertible body styles, but from the E36 which started in 1992, a limited amount of 4 door M3s have been built. The cult followership of the M3 has made it a worldwide commercial success, spurning other M model variants in the 5 series, 6 series, X5 and X6. BMW announced that they had made the last M3 Coupe and convertible models in July of 2013 with the E92 and E93. An enduring legacy of the M3 will be their masterful naturally aspirated engines churning out tons of horsepower without a turbocharger. They have now been replaced by M4 Coupe in 2014. The M3 shall, however,  continue in its 4 door E90 variant.

 The closest I have come to owning an M3 has been a 1988 4 door 325 Coupe with M Technique kit (European edition). We bought this car in 2002 with about 80,000 KMs on it. Still one of the best handling cars I have ever driven.  It had everything the E30 M3 had without the 230hp engine. Personally, I will continue to chase my dream of owning a proper M3. My focus right now is the 2006 E46 M3 with 330 horses and the traditional in-line straight 6 engine. The 2007 and beyond E90/92/93 engines are a little too heavy and thirsty for me, what with their V8, 414 horses and 14 mpg city gas mileage! As before, if all else fails and the cost of M3 parts and maintenance scares me, there's always the 2006 (E46) 330i (with ZHP performance package) to fall back will be 2002 all over again.

Here's a video link of the M3 generations for your enjoyment.


One Day You Will Lose Your Job!

Someone sent me the article with the caption on the blog post title, a few years ago. At that point I had worked a little over 10 years at the same company in different positions. I had also done private business and abandoned it, since it was becoming a distraction. This is now a few more years down the road and I am still working at the same company. The industry is unstable and my company released about 10 percent of her employees last year. An industry competitor,  known for mass employee purges, has plans to drop about five times what we did at my own end later this year. I now have a small business that deals in intangibles and the returns are few and far between and it is not fun yet. My dream is to start an FMCG line. I digress. This is really about realizing early enough and starting from somewhere...NOW! Please read the article below and the addendum in part two and share as broadly as possible. Someone somewhere needs the wake up call!

One day you will lose your job! Either by choice or by force! One day you will have to go away from that place you have been going and coming from for however long it has taken you. In life, everything has a start and an end; there is a day to be born and a day to die, a day to begin and a day to end. Those who live the highest quality of life are those who live today with an eye on their end. The greatest liberation any human can ever experience is when his/her fears don’t hold him/her back. The same way that dying makes living exciting, the same way the thought of the day we’ll lose our jobs, should make you spend the time you currently have wisely! 

I have heard of GMs, SMs, Ds who lived in big houses, drove the flashiest cars end up as high-class beggars and mere social and political commentators. Why? Because while they were on their jobs, they thought erroneously that it would last forever. They did not know that the end was nearer than far. While they carried buckets, they considered the act of stooping to build pipes too low for them. Some of them left their jobs with huge bank balances, but the entrepreneurial way, which has no respect for years of experience, dealt them a knock out in the early rounds of their ventures. Some of them were thieves, what they got was stolen and it went the way of stolen funds. The words I write to you today will stand firm as judgment for your future, if you ever live less than what you were created to do! When your life can be summarized by a routine that does not have a date of escape, you are like the children of Israel who kept on cycling round a mountain instead of making progress. Stop hiding incompetence or inability to add value behind a company logo. Start exposing yourself and getting yourself set for when you will lose your job. Mark my words, the first showers of the great storms is all that we have seen, many who are comfortable today will beg tomorrow. Many who are not developing skills today will be slaves tomorrow, and many who have ill gotten money today will be needy tomorrow. The storm is coming, let who is wise join the company of Noah in the Ark of deliverance that is being built and let the fools scorn and laugh. He, who laughs last, laughs best. A few days ago, I dug into a few past articles I had written on this blog. The popular ones and the not so popular ones. 

1. Do not Steal! 
Whatever money you make by fraudulence, by taking what does not belong to you, by playing on your employer’s intelligence will not last, no matter what you use it to do. Some people refute this perspective and say they can use the stolen funds to buy assets, build houses, invest in shares or other companies, if you care to know the truth; every activity you participate in is seed for your tomorrow and a harvest of your past. Ill gotten wealth is like a caterpillar; it looks like all it can do is crawl until it develops into a butterfly and flies. Be honourable, better a broke employee living within his/her means than a successful, wealthy employee with questionable resources. Life has its way of bringing the harvest - with loss, death, calamities etc If you have stolen before or are currently stealing, don’t just repent, go and make it right. 

2. Get a life! 
If most of your friends are in your office, you are being sucked into the maze. Don’t get yourself stuck with the same people you work with for the best hours of your life. Go prospecting for friends that are different from you, go for some clearly better than you, don’t have friends by accident, don’t be chosen, choose. Experts say you should watch the people you hang out with most, your life will end plus or minus 10% of their life! Financially and otherwise, your life gravitates to a region slightly below or above the lives of your friends. It’s not how much you have in your account that always counts, it’s who you have access to that matters more. 

3. Have Options! 
Many people are slaves to their employment and their bosses, not because it’s so enjoyable but because they do not have options. They have a few other things they are doing but they are not sure of any of them. Their existence as corporate biggies makes majority only look for deals that are already big. Unknown to many, if you start big, when the storms of life hit you hard and take you down, you will need to beg to start big, but if you start small, you can always start all over again! Get options, be willing to start with nothing, be willing to start small. Don’t disqualify anything small today true, but if it all will stop when you lose your job, you are gambling with your future. Stop, think, and ask questions. Venture, dare, take risks. You will lose some and you will win some. If you are willing to lose long enough, you will win long enough. There are people not as bright as you, not as opportune as you doing more with their lives, look outside the window of your office, once in a while. 

4. Learn! 
Invest in knowledge. Empty your pocket to fill your head, and your head will fill your pocket. Learn like knowledge is running out of fashion. Read books, watch interesting history, attend seminars organized by people who have seen things different from you, learn from experience, others and yours, get a mentor. Do whatever you need to do within ethical boundaries, but by all means learn! Empty bags can’t stand tall, empty heads can’t be confident. Wisdom, which is the application of accumulated knowledge, makes a man’s face to shine. Your confidence level is an indication of the stuff that you have. If whatever you are doing doesn’t give you an opportunity to learn, run! Take your life off the flames! 

5. Give Exceptionally. 
I have found out in life, that those who have the propensity to give the most, get wealth the most. The universe is set up by God based on principles, and the principles cannot be broken. If you give, you will reap it somewhere in your future. If you don’t faint in doing good, you will be rewarded! Don’t wait until you are stinking rich before you begin to give scholarships, sponsor students, take care of orphans or contribute to worthy courses. Start now, before you lose your job! What you will regret in this life is not how much you should have gotten, but how much value you could have added, how much a difference you could have made, and what else you could have done! Don’t work like a moron - going and coming and going and coming without leaving a lasting impact on your world. Give yourself and give of yourself! 

Pt 2.
Now, when you do lose your job, here are a few steps to coming back and making the best of it. The following is culled from Don F. Perkins article from the weblink below.

In October 2008, along with 240,000 other Americans that month, I was laid off – contributing to the highest U.S. unemployment rate in over 14 years at the time (6.6%); a rate that rose to 10.1% a year later – the worst in 26 years.
Yes, I was upset, worried, stunned; especially since two weeks earlier my employer assured me that though changes were happening, I had nothing to worry about. I learned a lot during that time, most of it the hard way. Perhaps these 12 tips can make life a little easier for those losing their jobs now…

1. Take a Breath

It may feel like the end of the world… but it’s not. Don’t panic. Read Stephen R. Covey’s book: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It will help you sort out and balance the stuff you’re experiencing and feeling and form a plan to move beyond the current moment. Don’t get caught up in the here and now. Make time to think a year out, two years out. You are worth more than many sparrows. Potential employers can smell panic a mile away.

2. Don’t Look for a Job

Don’t look for a job; in the traditional sense. Instead, look for problems and learn how to solve them. Look inward and discover who you are. Start a blog, join networking groups, ask questions, answer questions that showcase what you know and what you are about. Find out what’s needed most and make a plan to be the most marketable solution to that problem. Potential employers are not looking for “job seekers” – they are looking for problem solvers.

3. Make the Spiders Go Away

Get on a budget, reduce your debt – and reduce your stress! My wife and I read some great books by Dave Ramsey that helped tremendously with this. Within months the only debt we had was our mortgage payment. This was a quick victory, a big relief and allowed us freedom to focus on the things that matter most rather than worrying about how we were going to keep all those debtors off our porch.

4. Move Away from the Desktop

Don’t become a slave to your inbox, or your Twitter stream, or any other medium. Set a regular time to check out what others have sent you, but then leave it to go pour your energy and time into reading, learning, engaging others… building your future instead. Chris Brogan made a great point about this the other day: email mostly delivers somebody else’s priorities to us. It’s up to us to manage that flow and not be slaves to other people’s priorities. As I said in a previous blog post: “24 hours is all you get today, are you ready?” Be intentional about your time – don’t get sucked into inbox monitoring.

5. Giving is the Way to Peace

Volunteer at your local charity. Realize you’re not going to starve if you help out for an hour without pay. Somebody out there needs what you have to offer and more importantly you need to give it. We were made for each other, not for self; we need to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Get involved somehow in making the world a better place and you will find harmony and peace like never before. This will help you in your job search. People can see peace all over your face!

6. Be a Part of the Community

Network, network, network – talk to everyone you can. Make it about them, engage, be genuine, be helpful. Interact. Laugh. Add value. Repeat. Tell them about your day, your situation, but don’t dwell there. Find a way to exchange in the give and take of humanity.

7. Get Off the Wheel

Give yourself a break. Don’t assume that you have to do what everybody else does for work. Sit quietly for a minute and think about what you WANT to do (not just what you feel like you HAVE to do), what are you made of? What do you like about you? Build on that. Make it accessible to others. They – and you – will be glad you did!

8. Know Something, but Not Everything

Nobody has all the answers. Don’t pretend you do or others will think you’re full of @%#$! If someone asks you something you don’t know, admit it and turn the conversation back toward them. Ask questions that show you are capable of learning and getting answers to the questions you don’t have. Always be learning and eager to learn.

9. Explore Starting Your Own Business

So you know nothing about starting a business? Then learn! There are a ton of free resources available to entrepreneurs. Who knows, you might just be the next successful entrepreneur. Stranger things have happened. Bonus: learning to think and talk like a business owner can make conversations with business owners much more engaging (potential employers like people who understand their worlds and talk their language).

10. Be Active and Proactive

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who do things and those who have things done to them. Don’t wait for others to find you. Go out and find them. Scour the earth to find the people who are extraordinary; people who are making things happen. Learn how they think. Align yourself with them. Become a person who makes things happen, not a person who waits around for things to happen. Initiative is very sexy to a potential employer.

11. Get Good at Improvisation

Very few things in life go according to script. In her book: “Bossy Pants,” Tina Fey says the rules of improv are: Rule 1: Always agree and say “YES.” In other words, respect what others have to say. Rule 2: say “YES, AND…” Build on what others say with something of your own. Rule 3: Make Statements. Don’t ask questions all the time because it puts pressure on the other person. Rule 4: There are no mistakes, only opportunities. This brings me to my next point… roll with it.

12. Roll with It

Be king (or queen) of lemonade island. Nobody (and I mean nobody) likes a sour puss and nobody wants to hear negativity. If you are feeling disenfranchised, go drink it off, or cry on your friend’s shoulder a while. Punch a wall. Then round that corner and make it a positive force for your future. Think about every bad situation as a learning opportunity – and spin it that way to yourself and others. Positive people attract good.
You’re not the loser nobody wanted… you’re the comeback kid! You’ve got amazing things to offer. Take charge of your attitude, your time and your efforts… or somebody else will.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Wedding Entrance of Life...

I found this somewhere on Nairaland and had to share. Let's just say its the wedding entrance with the most drama and creativity I have seen anywhere. I'll leave you to decide. It definitely took some practice... and the groom has some moooves!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Makeovers...The Morning After

Guys, how do you handle this model's metamorphosis...especially in the morning, when the mask comes off? I once heard of a dude who thought he had struck gold only for him to ask the person coming out of the bathroom (after going to freshen up) if she was in the right hotel room. Lol. Don't get me wrong, this model's make-up is "on point", as they say, but mehnnnn...check the original naaa. How she go transform from "Omonososo" to "La Shondra" and come switch back again? Abeg abeg kuku leave the make-up permanently on, if na so. I would feel betrayed if you went back to plain old Clark Kent after this! And this is why I prefer my woman's make up to be just a slight touch here and there. No masks please!

So, what's your take guys? Ever did a double take in the morning? Ever told your wife to pleaaase keep the new face? Would you like that make up to be permanent or just kuku stay with plain ol' Missus? What's your opinion on make-over make up? Let's talk.


*** Btw, this model's make up is very nicely's not about her. #Respect! ***

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Exposing the Fraudulent Accounting System of the NNPC - Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Here is text of the submission from the central bank governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to the Senate during a recent hearing on the issue of non-remittance by NNPC and the thorny subject of the missing $20B. I hope you enjoy it.

Exposing the Fraudulent accounting system of the NNPC 

By Lamido Sanusi⁠ 

I am pleased to stand before the Senate’s Investigative Public Hearing on Unremitted Oil Revenue and present a summary of my latest submission on this subject. The submission itself is about 20 pages long with 30 Appendices, providing documentary backing for all material statements. The background to this session remains my letter to the President in which

I indicated that there was a difference between the value of crude lifted by NNPC between January 2012 and July 2013 and the amount of foreign exchange repatriated into the Federation Account. This difference was placed at almost $50 billion and I respectfully advised the President to order an investigation into a number of areas I suspected were responsible for leakages in oil revenue.

My letter was, sadly, leaked and published in a highly politically-charged atmosphere. The Central Bank was practically accused of involvement in politics and in December it was clear to me that no tempered and positive discussion would take place. In order to calm nerves and avert major crisis I agreed to a joint press conference with Finance Ministry, the Petroleum Ministry and also to present a common front at the National Assembly.

Since December, however, there has been an orchestrated campaign aimed at undermining our credibility and misleading Nigerians into believing that all monies due to the Federation Account have been either remitted or accounted for. I am, therefore, compelled to present to this committee detailed evidence that NNPC has in violation of the law and constitution been diverting money from the Federation Account, and involving itself in activities that warrant full investigation for more serious violations of the law.

I have established, in my presentation, the following:

1. That NNPC, in paying what it calls kerosene subsidy, is confessing to a number of serious infractions. First, I have shown, based on NBS data, that kerosene is not a subsidised product, and, therefore, the so-called subsidy is rent generated for the benefit of those in the kerosene business. Second, I have produced evidence that President Yar’Adua had issued a presidential directive eliminating this subsidy payment as from July, 2009. Third, these huge losses inflicted on the Federation Account have not been appropriated.

The burden of proof on NNPC is to show where they obtained authorisation to purchase kerosene at N150/litre from Federation Funds and sell at about N40/litre, knowing fully well that this product sells in the market at N170-N220/litre. At what point was the presidential directive revered? NPA records would suggest that NNPC imports about 4-6 vessels of kerosene a month. Industry sources place the value of each vessel at $30m and the amount of “subsidy” per vessel at $20m. This means, at an average of 5 vessels a month, the Federation Account loses $100m every month to this racket.

2. I have also shown, in my submission, that claims by NNPC of spending the money on PMS subsidy are not credible. I have submitted proof that as from April, 2012, NNPC has consistently rendered returns to FAC indicating that it made no deduction for subsidy. This is after rendering returns on amount deducted monthly for 20 consecutive months to March, 2012. NNPC had previously explained that it had stopped deductions from 2011 and that the N180b taken in Q1:2012 related to fuel imports for Q4:2011. As from 2012, the directive was for NNPC to submit its papers to PPPRA, the relevant government agency set up and given the responsibility for verifying and paying subsidy claims. Having officially reported that it was not making deduction for fuel in 2012 and 2013, it is surprising that the GMD and GED of NNPC would now claim that $8.49b was used to pay for subsidy.

I am convinced that a major source of revenue leakage from the system is NNPC’s unverified claims for subsidy and unilateral deduction from the Federation Account. If we take the PPPRA template, subsidy/litre of PMS is about 1,136litre/MT, the subsidy is around N1.5b. This means that for every $1b claimed by NNPC as subsidy deduction, the corporation is claiming to have imported at least 100 vessels of PMS. In addition to the N180b reported in Q1:2011, NNPC had deducted N845 billion in 2011. According to the Farouk Lawan report, NNPC deduction for PMS subsidy in 2011 alone amounted to N1.7 trillion, if we add claims on Excess crude naira account. Any serious investigation into these matters will require an audit of NNPC’s database which it is statutorily required to keep based on subsidy guidelines. Only verification of the legitimacy of these claims can form the basis for a true reconciliation.

3. Based on NNPC’s disclosure to the effect that it shipped $6b worth of crude oil on behalf of NPDC, I have argued here that at least a part of this amount is due to the Federation Account. This part relates to oil produced from blocks operated under “Strategic Alliance Agreement”. I have given you three legal opinions that unanimously argue that these agreements merely serve to transfer revenue due to the Federation to private hands. I have also shown how, based on these arguments, NNPC has effectively given tax relief and concessions to its business partners.

Also customs duties and levies are treated as “development costs” and recouped from “cost oil” and “cost gas”. These companies recover OPEX and COPEX from production, take 20-70 per cent of the profit and pay no tax, on JVs in which the Federation was previously entitled to 55 per cent of the entire profit oil when Shell was the operator. I have given details of these transactions and my concerns in the paper.

4. Although the above 3 areas exhaust the areas covered in NNPC’s explanations, I have also taken time to submit my analysis of the crude-for-refined-product swap contracts entered into by PPMC. This is because a significant part of the domestic crude taken by NNPC is in these transactions. I have indicated where i believe we are losing money in these transactions.


Having thus explained my major opinions on NNPC‘s explanations, I will come to the reconciliation.

NNPC itself has submitted that it lifted $67b worth of Crude between January 2012 and July 2013. Of this, we have been able to agree that the following amounts have been remitted to the Federation Account:

1. $14 billion as equity crude

2. $15 billion as payment to FIRS by IOCs. They paid in crude which was lifted by NNPC on behalf of FIRS. There was nothing in our records linking the two transactions.

3. $2 billion Royalty payment to DPR by IOCs under similar arrangements as in (2) above.

4. $16 billion out of the 428b taken as Domestic Crude Paid in Naira, not dollar.

The following items are outstanding and need to be proven by NNPC:

1. $12 billion out of domestic crude sales yet to be remitted. NNPC has already disclosed N180 billion as subsidy payment in Q1.2012. If PPPRA confirms this number, we will adjust the balance accordingly. As for the balance of $10.8 billion, NNPC has publicly disclosed that 80 per cent applied to petrol and kerosene subsidy. We have already explained why this explanation is untenable and NNPC needs to provide the relevant proofs.

2. $6 billion shipped on behalf of NNPC. We have explained why some this belongs to the Federation and the need to investigate and audit the SAAS to recover amounts unconstitutionally diverted.

3. $2 billion “third-party” financing” we have not been given any documents explaining or proving this along with other claims around pipeline repairs, maintenance, strategic reserves etc.

There was no appropriation for these expenses and NNPC also needs to substantiate them.

In summary, it is established that of the $67 billion crude shipped by NNPC between January 2012 and July 2013, $47 billion was remitted to the Federation Account. It is now up to NNPC, given all the issues raised, to produce the proof that the $20billion unremitted either did not belong to the Federation or was legally and constitutionally spent. There is no dispute that $20 billion out of $67 billion has not been paid into any account with the CBN.

Our recommendation remains that this matter requires thorough independent investigation, as simple explanation will not suffice.

I concluded my submission with recommendation for the future, to protect the economy from these unsustainable losses.

I would like to make the following recommendations going forward:


NNPC should stop collecting 440,000bbl daily as “Domestic Crude”. The amount of crude should be reduced to the refining capacity of its refineries based on a signed refining contract that clearly states what products are to be delivered for each barrel. Sale proceeds net of recognised processing costs are to go to the Federation Account;

All Crude for Product Swaps should be terminated and crude should be exported and sold at market price.

Where NNPC needs to generate cash flow to fund PMS imports, it can “borrow” crude, on the approval of the Finance Minister, for 90 – 120 days. This crude is to be valued at the ruling market price. NNPC may sell the crude, import PMS and sell through its outlets. It should claim subsidy from PPPRA like every other marketer and present all required documents. Thereafter, NNPC should pay back the full value of crude lifted to the Federation Account and retain the profit. Where NNPC delays payment, the amount outstanding should attract interest at commercial rates until payment.

All the SAAs entered into by NPDC should be investigated for constitutionality. The production numbers, Opex and Capex, and profit shares should be audited. The tax arrangements entered into with these parties should be reviewed and all revenues due to the Federation collected. If possible the SAAs should be terminated. Certainly, NNPC should be prohibited from entering into any SAAs in the future.

NNPC to account for subsidies claimed in 2010-13 by producing documentary proof of legitimacy.

As for what action needs to be taken on what has happened in the past, we express no opinion. The decision on what to do in this case rests entirely with the Government. My task is limited to raising an alarm over what I think is a development that is harmful to the economy, and establishing that the alarm was neither spurious nor baseless. I still insist that an investigation is needed to establish the extent of the losses and the nature of offence committed.

I believe I have placed enough information before this committee to make the point. The amount in 19 months may be $12 billion or $19 billion or $21 billion, we do not know at this point but if we extend the period the amount will increase anyway, since this has been going on for a long time. The first priority is to stop it. It is unsustainable, and it will ultimately, if not stopped, bring the entire economy to its knees.

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor and delivered this address at the Senate’s Investigative Public Hearing on Unremitted Oil Revenue.

Source: Elombah