Thursday, November 26, 2015

We have Moved!

We have moved this blog and its content to our new platform on http://squarepegsandroundholesblog.com/

Thanks for your support. Please continue to follow us on the new webpage.

SAN

Monday, November 23, 2015

Classic Alert: 1991 560 SEC

1991 Mercedes Benz 560 SEC
This is the W126 series 560 SEC. This car was built from 1985 to 1991. A flagship wide body icon, with a 5.5L V8 engine. This one shown is with the AMG body kit. This car was originally priced at $145, 000, but can now be had for anything from $5,000 all the way to $30,000 depending on the condition and if it's an original AMG model. I would buy this car, even in 2015, if just to have it sit in my driveway and constantly take me back to the late 80s / mid 90s, when all I could do was watch it drive past on 'A' list locations like Allen Avenue and Opebi. How we would tell ourselves that it had to belong to a drug dealer, even if we did not know that for a fact.

My cousins had a very neat 500 SEL that I drove a couple of times, circa 95/96 (actual pic below). While you would find the old money crowd and foreign missions use the SEL, the SEC was for the young cats. We saw Bobby Brown pull up in this, with a loud screech, in the "My Prerogative" video and we were sold. This car was for the dude who would not wait until tomorrow. The one who just made good from his latest deal. The long throat new money rich boy who would eat his future today. The one who did not want to delay gratification. So many times I wish I was that one, just so I could drive the 560 SEC.

500 SEL, Campbell street, Lagos Island. (Eid al Fitr, 1995)

Watch this video from another passionate enthusiast and understand what this car meant to us.


SAN

Photo credit: ebay.com
Video credit: Youtube.com/Electricfederal

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Kollington, Akala or who?

Source: @aganamike on twitter

Whoever he is, he should be making a video to a song called Kasabubu or Ijo Yoyo.

That's a lot of "shains" and multicoloured epiderms...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Tackling Suicide Bombings - The 25 year Plan

Let us first establish that there is a difference between insurgency and terrorism, even as related as both are in some cases. I have written about this before. While insurgency can be tackled by a good military strategy, terrorism is more difficult to combat through physical means. Terrorism is characterized by instilling fear from mass killings, especially through "random" bombings and targeted assassinations. This is mostly executed by small cells of individuals who are well trained in the art of disguise and melting into a crowd. A chief tool of terrorism is suicide bombings or martyrdom through gun attacks in the open populated centers. It is very difficult to combat this element of terrorism. The battle is one of hearts and minds.

The real question is “what is it that makes an individual kill themselves in the quest to kill several other strangers who have done nothing wrong to this individual?” What is the motivation? What allows for the lack of remorse? What removes humane considerations?
Guys, it is false religious doctrines. Whether we agree or not, there is more than sufficient information out there that shows how people are brainwashed into wanting to go to heaven even at the nearest opportunity and in a manner that guarantees certain rewards. I will not be posting any videos here, but I'm sure you've seen some currently trending on social media. I saw one on 72 virgins just today and I also saw the one from Al Jazeera, shot in an Afghan elementary (Taliban) school. It is a well-established fact, so, let’s get real. 

While one might read this and assume this is an attack or indictment on any religion, I would caution that what I propose are just pragmatic steps towards reorientation and mindset correction. Whilst religion is not the root cause, it does certainly act as a catalyst. There are those who will be used to achieve political ends using violence when they're brainwashed to believe they're doing it for God. Where the real failure lies is in the system that allows some preachers and authorities of religion to preach doctrines which provide shelter and comfort for those who will be coerced into performing inhumane acts against others with the encouragement of reward in the hereafter. 

So in response to a commentator on my previous post who asked for an outline of the plan that I had called a 25 year plan, here are a few steps in what would be a deliberate program of state instituted and supported activities with appropriate collaboration from relevant civil society groups or stakeholders.

1. Review the UBE act to do the following:
                                                       I.            Extend the tenure to 12 years – full primary and secondary education
                                                    II.            Uniform “basic” curriculum across the country – it should be relevant to national integration, current direction of the economy and promote self-sustenance after school. 
                                                 III.            The sections which deal with punitive actions for parents that refuse to send their children to “proper” schools should be reinforced with stronger sanctions and well communicated. Kaduna and Sokoto states are already leading in this direction.

2. Religious teachings must be regulated and monitored by government, working with the different religious councils. Extreme doctrines that preach hate, isolationism, disdain for the structures of state and our laws and false martyrdom based on carrying out heinous acts with a promise of a hereafter of comfort, should be criminalized. 
It must be made sufficiently clear that when a religious injunction says it is a sin to kill the innocent, that this includes all human beings. Not just believers. No one has a right to take life under any guise and there is no reward in heaven for killing for God.

3. The real religious leaders should come up with a program for preaching the counter narrative (Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: 2015). There must be a deliberate, disciplined and sustained effort to tell the truth about what true religion is and discredit the false doctrine that is so prevalent and easy to believe. This needs to have leadership support right up to the recognized heads of religion in Nigeria. 

The reason this is a 25 year plan is that we have already lost one generation and the demographic that is most affected is in the age gap of 15 - 27.

So even if you solve the politics, poverty and non-inclusion in society and leave out the aspects mentioned above, it will continue to be a tool to be used whenever the need arises. Remember that so far as humans and nations exist, there will be conflicts, disagreements and political manipulations. 

The real achievement will be that they are able to employ other means of resolving these conflicts that do not use humans as willing tools for committing mindless terror through suicide bombings. Life here on earth needs to be seen as having value. Expectations of the hereafter and what will merit one getting there need to be in line with the “real message” in “the religious book” and not one sold by devious puppeteers.

SAN

The Ignorant Electorate: A Danger to Democracy



A population with low intellect may not be capable of making beneficial decisions. They argue that the lack of rationality or even education is being taken advantage of by politicians, who compete more in the way of public relations and tactics, than in ideology. While arguments against democracy are often taken by advocates of democracy as an attempt to maintain or revive traditional hierarchy in order to justify autocratic rule...

- Keith Richburg, Head to Head, African democracy, 2008.
_____________________________________________________________________________

When a people are presented with more than a dozen candidates from diverse backgrounds, track records and political party affiliation and yet make the election one between the devil and the deep blue sea, then they have only themselves to blame. This is not just about Wada/Audu (Kogi 2015). Several others voted drug barons and failed governors to represent them in the senate, past and present.

Until the electorate is enlightened and made to understand the real reasons for voting and what politicians are supposed to do for them, they shall continue to vote in the most benevolent thieves and incompetents and not necessarily the ones with either proven (good) track records or with noble intentions.

The voter must be made aware that by that singular act of selecting a candidate via the ballot, they have been offered a chance to determine the positive or negative outcome of the next four years of government intervention in their lives. They must also be mature enough to live with the consequences while basing their next voting attempt on the lessons learned from the last one.
To grow our democracy to where the impact will be felt in governance and national development, agencies charged with national orientation must make voter education an utmost priority.
An ignorant electorate is the Achilles heel of democracy.


SAN

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

It is Well

Synopsis of a Nigerian Hospital Visit

[Visitor 1]: Sorry o brother. You're looking really weak. What are the doctors saying?
[Patient]: (coughing) the doctor says my enemy has bronchitis
[Visitor 2]: (with stern expression) I reject this diagnosis and rebuke the tongue of that Doctor!

SAN

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Constitution on Nigerian Citizenship

Image Credit Okechukwu Ofili of www.ofilispeaks.com

A Citizen as defined by the Oxford Dictionary is a person who has full rights in a country. A citizen could also be a person who is recognised by a country as being her citizen because such person possesses some characteristics (e.g. To be born in that country) which entitles him or her to some rights in that country. Under the Nigerian 1999 constitution, one may be a citizen either by birth, registration or by naturalisation  ( see Section 25 - 32 of 1999 Constitution). 
Citizenship by birth.

 A citizen by birth in Nigeria is a person who was born in Nigeria before or after independence and whose parents or grandparents belonged to a community indigenous to Nigeria or any person born outside Nigeria either of whose parents is a citizen of Nigeria.
Citizenship by Registration. 

The President may register any person as a citizen of Nigeria if he is satisfied that such person is of good character; he has shown a clear intention to be domiciled in Nigeria and has taken the Oath of Allegiance. Such persons are usually women who are married to Nigerians or people born outside Nigeria who are of full age capacity and either of  whose grandparents are Nigerians.   

Citizenship by Naturalization.
 Any person may also apply to the President of Nigeria to be granted a certificate of naturalisation. However such person must satisfy the following conditions:
-  He must be a person of full age and capacity;
- He is a person of good character;
- He has shown a clear intention to be domiciled in Nigeria;
- He is in the opinion of the Governor where he plans to reside to be acceptable to the local community as has assimilated the way of life of Nigerians;
- He has made or is capable of making contributions to the advancement; progress and well - being of Nigeria;
- He has taken the Oath of Allegiance;
- He has resided in Nigeria for a period of fifteen (15) year;
- He has resided in Nigeria for a period of 12 months and preceding that has stayed in Nigeria for periods amounting in aggregate to not less than fifteen years.   

Persons who are citizens by registration or by naturalization may forfeit their Nigerian citizenship if he retains or acquires the citizenship of another country where he is not a citizen by birth and any person who is of full age capacity may renounce his Nigerian citizenship by declaration and the President shall cause the declaration to be registered. Such declaration will however not be accepted if made during any war in which Nigeria is physically involved or is contraty to public policy in the opinion of the President. 

Any citizen of Nigeria by registration or naturalization may be deprived of his citizenship if within 7 years after becoming a citizen such person is sentenced to imprisonment of not less than 3 years or if he has conducted himself in ways that shows disloyalty towards the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

- See more at: http://legalnaija.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/citizenship-under-nigerian-law.html#sthash.YzsH2ihj.dpuf

Common Warri Proverbs...

"Crase no hard to form, na the trekking be wahala.
" English translation: "Easier said than done.

"No matter how hot your temper be, e no fit boil beans.
" English Translation: Calm down, your temper won't solve the problem.

"Chicken wey run from Borno go Ibadan go still end up inside pot of soup.
" English Translation: You can't run away from your destiny.

"Today's newspaper na tomorrow Suya wrap.
" English translation: Keep calm! Nothing lasts forever.

"Cow wey dey in a hurry to go America go come back as corn beef.
" English Translation: Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don't rush!

"Akara and moin moin get the same parent,na wetin dem pass through make dem different.
" English Translation: How you start doesn't matter, what matters is how you finish.

"Leave matter for Mathias and Sabi for Sabinus.
" English Translation: Give everyone what they deserve.

"The difference between puff-puff and doughnut na packaging." 
English Translation: Don't judge based on appearance alone.

"Escort me, Escort me, na im slave trade take start.
" English translation: Serious things sometimes start like a joke.

"Water wey dem take make eba no fit return".
" English translation: Don't cry over spilled milk.

"No be today yansh dey back"
English: The more things change the more they stay the same
 
"Na clap dem take dey enter dance"
English: Once you start its out of your control

"At all at all na winsh"
English: Half bread is better than none

"I get am before no be property" 
English: Don't rest on your laurels

"Who no go no know"
English: Experience is the best teacher

"NO be the way dem take dey drink water dem dey drink peppersoup"
English: Adapt your plans to new situations

"I no fit climb - na ground dem for dey talk am"
English: Do not start what you cant finish

"Who dey cry dey see road"
English: Use common sense even in sorrow

"I no gree, I no gree na im dey tear trouser
English: Avoid conflict from the beginning...know when to let go

"Na cooperation make rice dey ful pot"
English: You can achieve more with team work

"Feel at home naim dey spoil TV"
English: Don't be too comfortable to the extent of fiddling with other people's property

"Bring suya, bring suya, na nama (cow) body dey suffer am"
English: every action has a consequence

"Pickin wey take agbada start guy go talk wetin go wear when e don old"
English: Slow and steady wins the race. Don't hurry through life's stages.

"Cassava today naim dey be garri tomorrow"
English: No condition is permanent

"if your neigbour bear bear catch fire, you go quick soak your own for water"
English: Prevention is better than cure

"Small pikin wey talk say e go shake iroko tree,na im head e go shake"
English: Know your limits

"Person wey borrow cloth go party no dey dance too much"
English: Use other people's things carefully

"Who get big teeth must get big lip"
English: Be ready to solve the problems you create

"Its a small world - Oya make your papa come trek am na"
English: Easier said than done

"Na house wey collapse na im make goat climb am"...
English: People who ordinarily should not be up to you will take advantage of your downfall.

SAN

Indoctrination and Terorism


Image source: colbycriminaljustice.wikidot.com
Until ideologies that allow people to act without humane considerations and carry out evil based on the justification of an eternal hereafter of reward, are completely discredited and erased, we shall continue to have young minds that are fertile for indoctrination to be used as tools of terror.

Whether this be based on racial/tribal superiority, religious fanaticism or other forms of extreme propagation of faith, brand identity and natural affiliations, they have the potential to be used to achieve devious political and ideological ends.

In the case of the Middle East and Northern Nigerian variants of terrorism, whilst religion may not be the root cause, it does certainly act as a catalyst and an enabler. There are those who will be used to achieve political goals, using violence, when they're brainwashed to believe they're doing it for God. But when people read this they think "Oh, he's blaming my religion, etc.” Well I'm blaming the system that allows some preachers and authorities of that religion to preach doctrines which provide moral shelter, validation and comfort for those who will be used to perform inhumane acts against others with the encouragement of reward in the hereafter.

While it is important to tackle poverty, injustice and non-inclusion in society, we must also remember that these are not exclusive ills to any one people or part of the world.

SAN

Postcript
I found these two videos from the internet that go further in buttressing my point. One is from Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, a renowned Islamic Scholar from Pakistan, and the other from Al Jazeera. I enjoin you to watcg both these videos for cause, symptom and solution. The Al Jazeera video will amaze you, I promise.


1. Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, on Islamic fundamentalist extrmism and related terrorism: https://www.facebook.com/javedahmadghamidi/videos/988843541159597/

2. Al Jazeera video showing children being indoctrinated by the Taliban: 
https://www.facebook.com/frontline/videos/10153169295601641/



Saturday, November 14, 2015

On Peaceful Protests and Protest Organizers

Image by DAVIDAOWENS2013

Some people have a wrong conception of what a peaceful protest is. In our clime, that terminology has been bastardized! Some now think a peaceful protest is just one in which the protesters are not armed. It goes beyond that. A peaceful protest is one that shows displeasure of the protesters without offering fear or threat of harm to anyone. You carry your placard if you like and march in peaceful procession; or take position at a location and stand or sit in but at worst, you march. When you behave as a mob, chanting war songs, hijacking vehicles from their owners or compelling motorists to carry your members; making bonfire on highways, blocking roads and creating fear among the populace, then that protest is no longer peaceful.

The criminal code describes it as a riotous assembly and while it does not call for military force, it certainly calls for police intervention to safeguard the populace. For this, no live ammunition will be employed. The police will use baton, tear gas and water canons to disperse such riotous assembly. If the riotous assembly starts attacking people, looting shops and setting fire to private or public properties then they become looters and arsonists which crimes carry lengthy jail sentences and police may use live ammunition to quell it even when those involved are not armed!

If such becomes widespread and police can no longer contain it then the military will be called in. If that happens, anyone who still need his life will have to disappear from the street. Army does not have tear gas or baton. The minimum they have is a rifle with live ammunition. Unlike the police who are trained to shoot to maim, soldiers are trained to get the heart or the head. They shoot to kill. Once you see them on the streets, you confront them at the risk of death.

Finally, protest organizers need to be told that protests can easily be infiltrated by people who do not share the ideals of the organizers. Touts, looters and thieves can easily hide under the cover of the crowd to perpetrate crimes. People with pent up grievances can unleash bloodthirstiness on innocent residents and motorists. It is important to note that protesters and their organizers bear the responsibility for such if it happens. A mob has no identity. Any member of the protest can therefore be held liable for any deed done by any other member. It is sufficient to establish that the fellow took part in such protest.

The wider political implication is that an action that leads to death of another ethnic nationality in such protests, even if not intended, can trigger a vicious backlash in form of retaliatory attacks in areas far removed from the scene of incident. Those who organize protests should have these thoughts at the back of their mind.

- Remi Adeoye

Friday, November 13, 2015

I Can Wait

Eketi Edima Ette

(This message is mainly for unmarried people like myself, who are trying to navigate the waters of singlehood and still stay chaste).
“Eketi, you don’t get it. I’m actually offering to take away your virginity for free. Men aren’t marrying virgins anymore o. So I’m doing you a favour. Your husband will thank me. You see my babe, she wasn’t a virgin when we met. We men don’t have the energy for you women’s disvirgining drama. See, if you die now without “doing” it’s ants that’ll eat it in the grave o!”
I was 16 years old when this 28 year old man offered to “help me” get rid of my hymen.
When I was ten years old, I thought I knew all about sex. You see, that’s when my mother gave me a detailed sex education; the difference between the penis and the vagina and what happens when the two come together in copulation. She was a biology teacher, so she also drew diagrams.
As she talked, all I wanted was for the ground to open up and swallow me. Embarrassed. Mortified. Discomfited.
But the woman no look my face; she just dey talk dey go.
Unlike some of my friends whose mothers told them they’d get pregnant just by being touched by a man, I didn’t have the benefit of such ignorance. Mum said that as a Christian, my body is the temple of the Holy Spirt and it’d be a wonderful thing for me to honour God with my body. One way of doing so was not to have premarital sex. She also said it’d be a “gift” for my husband.
Along the line, I grew up and decided I wasn’t going to be chaste because of what Mum said or for a man. I was going to do it for me, and because I love Jesus. I would wait till marriage.
When I was 13 and four of my mates got together and decided to have sex as their birthday presents to themselves. When they did, they began to act like they were superior to me. But I paid them no mind.
When the world went crazy and being a virgin became very unfashionable, to the point where some people verbally abused me for being one, and tried to shame me into having sex, I held on. “Sufferhead. The last Nigerian virgn,” they'd say. “You don’t know what you’re missing!” “If you start having sex early, you won’t have pains during childbirth.” Through the lies, I held on.
Sex no get expiry date. Being chaste is nothing to be ashamed of.
When I saw the havoc and the high cost of premarital sex in many lives around me, I held on. When some people would openly boast about their body counts and yet tell me to shut up, that my virginity should be a private matter, I held on.
Some even felt that by being a virgin, I was judging them who weren’t—I still don’t see the logic nor understand the connection sha. We dey waka different roads. How my car come take jam ya car?
Today, I am 29 years old and I am still waiting.
Let me be honest: waiting is darn hard and I am neither Superwoman nor a saint. In fact, it took me years to learn that virginity is useless without sexual purity. I found out the hard way, that watching porn, making out, and doing every-every, without actual penetration only made me an addict and a fraud. My walk to sexual purity was a long and hard one. But through Christ, I made it.
There have been times when konji has nearly killed me. Ayayai! Those times eh, I’ll be like pussycat, looking for somebody to do gum-body with.
There are times when I tell myself, “Which kain suffer be dis sef? Who dey send you work? All these running, praying, playing PS4 and FIFA to distract yourself and baffing cold water—will not help you. Find somborri and do de sontin!”
I’ve had several arguments with Baba God—“Papa, did you really mean pre-marital sex is a sin? Maybe these people misinterpreted what you said—you know, lost in translation kinda thing. Are you sure? Ehen? But what if I do it only once—eezit still bad? Youdonmeanit! Ok nah.”
I’ve seen up close, the kind of intimate bond that sex can bring in a marriage. I know that it's a beautiful thing.
That’s why I'm waiting for that special man, who will match this special woman, move for move, thrust for thrust. No uncertainties, no comparisons.
I am waiting for that man, who knows that this woman has almost 30 years of bottled up passion to unleash and is ready to receive it all. And when that time come…..hehehehehhe….God help him!
And even if that special man never comes along, I'd still wait.
I wait because I love Baba God and this temple of his deserves honour.


Make or buy decisions – Remita, the TSA and CBN

Source: ThisDay Newspapers


In systems engineering management, one of the concepts we learnt was “make or buy decisions”.  This is the same model used in the "outsourcing vs in-house" decisions in business.
The results of make or buy decisions determine whether an item is to be designed and manufactured at the producer’s facility or purchased from an outside source. (Blanchard: 2004).

The make-or-buy decision is the act of making a strategic choice between producing an item internally (in-house) or buying it externally (from an outside supplier). The buy side of the decision also is referred to as outsourcing.
 Factors that may influence a firm's decision to buy a part rather than produce it internally include:

1.      Lack of expertise
2.      Suppliers' research and specialized know-how exceeds that of the buyer
3.      cost considerations (less expensive to buy the item)
4.      Small-volume requirements
5.      Limited production facilities or insufficient capacity
6.      Desire to maintain a multiple-source policy
7.      Indirect managerial control considerations
8.      Procurement and inventory considerations
9.      Brand preference
10.  Item not essential to the firm's strategy
(Referenceforbusiness.com) 

Remita and TSA
Without the benefit of hindsight, one would argue that point #10 makes this decision to outsource a very questionable one.  Most other considerations, (save for lack of expertise) are weak in defence of this decision.  While lack of expertise (#1) is a very major consideration, the CBN is also reported to have in-house software that has the same basic capabilities as Remita. Surely, a personnel contracting support model, which has contract IT professionals sit in the CBN offices to administer this system, while receiving negotiated remuneration and HR outsourcing surcharge would have been an option here. This would have seen the CBN avoid the huge cost of transaction commissions.

A core part of outsourcing any service or product manufacturing is the legal contract. Several considerations need to be included to cover risks and uncertainties that may favour the business owner or the outsourcing company.
This is something that one hopes the CBN did in their TSA contract with SystemSpecs (Remita). The present uproar is because the processed cash volume drastically increased after this administration decided on a total implementation of the policy on single treasury accounts. With the alleged 1% transaction fees on monies handled, the commission to SystemSpecs will definitely go through the roof. While this is a perfectly legitimate earning for the company, it could be argued that better negotiation could have seen the company still rake in a healthy profit while the government gets to keep some extra billions of valuable Nairas to be employed in critical sectors of the economy. I have heard folks suggesting a reducing scale commission, as used in large real estate transactions, as one of the tactics that should have been considered in the contract.

In conclusion the interests of government and the outsourcing vendor must be considered in the contract. While they should both share in the outcomes arising from an upsurge  or downturn in transaction volume, the interest of the FGN must be paramount and properly covered in the contract. The current state of the economy cannot afford the commissions we are hearing about; and it will become an even bigger concern as tax revenues begin to pour in from government's efforts at diversifying the economy and plugging holes.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

On Whining Children

What every parent should learn is that constantly pandering to the whims and cries of one of their kids will not only create an unhealthy sense of entitlement in that child, but will increase the likelihood of the other kids envying and turning against that sibling. In the end the children will grow up somewhat disunited and will be constantly looking for ways to gang up and antagonize that child, especially when the parents are away from home.

Also, there will be attempts by the other kids to copy the antics of the manipulative child. This usually leads to being spurned by the parents who are by now sick and tired and don't need another like the spoilt child they now have. This will cause bitterness and a sense of despondency in the copycat child.

So you end up having a spoilt child who will throw tantrums any time they don't get what they want, sulking ones who think "why not me" and other brooding children just laying in wait to teach the special one a lesson.
Be wise.
And, yes, I am going somewhere with this...think about it.

SAN

Post-Election Tribunals and Re-Runs

Wike, Amaechi, Dakuku and Odilli of Rivers.

While I like the fact that the process is been followed and hopefully more legitimacy will come through the judgement outcomes, the cost (financial, disruption in governance, heating up the polity, etc.) is considerable.
At what stage do we also resolve the root and immediate causes of these aborted elections? Systematic issues need to be addressed and consequence should be applied to those responsible for wilfully circumventing the process and carrying out acts of electoral fraud and violence.
That said, we have come a long way from where we restarted in 1999 and confidence is gradually returning to our electoral process.

SAN

Nigeria as a Welfare State


N1.25 Trillion is what you get when you multiply N5,000 by 25 million people. This is 15% of our proposed N8 Trillion 2016 budget. The US will spend 9.8% of her 2016 budget on welfare. They have a poverty rate of 15% of their population. This translates to a family of 3 living on less than $18, 550 per annum.
Nigeria has a poverty rate of 62% (based on other definitions), which supports a need for some kind of poverty alleviation or social welfare.

Implementing welfare systems depend on the availability of accurate data, and systems for monitoring, evaluation and control.

Statistics are very interesting. They put facts and figures to ideas. I know we have a president and VP who are interested in lifting the "very poor" out of poverty. From what I have heard them say, it is clear that they understand that investment in critical infrastructure, diversifying the economy, realigning educational direction and removing barriers to doing business will do more for poverty alleviation than any welfare scheme. They also understand urgency and the low hanging fruit theory.

Yet, a promise is sacred and integrity is a bankable asset.
But more important is making a decision to do only what is truly sustainable and being bold enough to engage your publics to sell your your decisions and gain alignment.

My bet is still on the FGN.

SAN

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fuel Subsidies - Palliatives and the Seven Questions

Palliative: Treatment or medicine which relieves pain or alleviates a problem without dealing with the underlying cause.
Often used this: "short-term, palliative measures had been taken"

Synonyms: soothing, alleviating, sedative, calmative...
We have been told that the government is working on some palliatives before embarking on the removal of fuel subsidies.

Per the definition above, my questions are:
1. Which palliatives are we talking about and how exactly will they soothe the problem?
2. How long will they be in place and take effect before subsidies are removed? By the way, OPEC predicts that crude oil prices will rebound soon...meaning an increase in subsidy is imminent.
3. Which country in the world, with a mono product economy and with our oil production (barrel) per person ratio, currently subsidizes fuel prices?
4. What is the percentage of our revenue being used to subsidize fuel prices? In 2013, it was close to 20%.
5. What are our alternative revenue sources, to make up for the subsidies and when will they mature?
6. How do we pay for the programs intended to put infrastructure in place, diversify the economy and give struggling Nigerians the welfare package or jobs promised by this administration?
7. Why are we still keeping all the refineries and maintaining a full complement of overhead when that sector continues to be unreliable and not showing impending signs of turning a profit or adding value that brings down the cost of petroleum products?

SAN

Leadership, Will and Resolve - Raji Fashola

Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, (right) asking an army  Colonel why he drove on the BRT lane illegally - July 17, 2012


In disorderly societies, one of a leader's most effective qualities is (demonstrated) strong resolve.
The people must have no doubt that cases of non-compliance, willful sabotage, deviant and disruptive behavior will be pursued to the full extent of the law.
- SAN

The people of Lagos will never forget the strong message sent by Governor Fashola's personal involvement, in stopping a senior army officer caught violating Lagos traffic laws by driving on a designated BRT lane in July of 2012.

The soldier was later fined N25,000 and made to apologize by the top military command led by the chief of army staff, General Minimah.

Hear the governor, speak about this incident:


"It is very unfortunate that those who ought to stand in defence of the democratic values of the nation are the ones violating the law. But it signifies my commitment and the commitment of the Lagos State Government that all those who will not comply with our laws should leave our state. We will not back down. There is a zero tolerance for lawlessness. There is zero tolerance for breach of our regulations and we are going to do more of this. We are going to take control of our traffic. We cannot build our way out of traffic congestion; our responsibility is to manage traffic and manage congestion”.
Image: Vanguard News


Sunday, November 1, 2015

What Do You Have in Your Hand?

Everyone is born with a skill. Something innate that usually needs the right conditions before they're made manifest. Your skills are often tuned to your surroundings. God, the creator made it so, to enable you thrive where you are naturally located. However, you may have some other skills that present circumstances in your current location would not favor.

Having a skill is no guarantee of success, but it's a foundation you can build on. There are other qualities like diligence and hard work, ability to recognize opportunity and persistence, etc.
What is that thing you can do better than most? What comes naturally to you? How can you profit from it? What are the factors that can either promote it or obstruct it? What other character traits do you need to actively develop to complement your skill? What help do you need and where can you get it from?

As we have skills, so also do we have limitations. These are things that will negate the value from your skills and reduce the chances of you profiting from them. Some are a bad attitude, laziness, poor teamwork, glory seeking, pride, failure to ask questions or ask for help, untrustworthiness, inability to keep to time and general indiscipline.
You must identify them and actively work to reduce or eliminate them.
You may even be limited by your current location. A Fuji singer is no good in Maiduguri. He needs to relocate to Mushin or Ibadan.

So, today I ask you: Do you know how to cook very well? Are you good with colours? Do people easily follow you and work with you in accomplishing tasks? Do you have ears for melody? You good with numbers? Can you speak really well? Can you write? Are you given to long hours of study and research? Are you comfortable with strange shapes and complex design bits? Where you a champion Lego builder as a kid? Are you compassionate? Do you have charisma? Can you hold your head in a crisis? Do you like the earth and things that spring up from it...a natural farmer  perhaps? In what area of endeavor or everyday living do you receive the most complements? There are many others. These are just primary attributes that can be rolled up into higher level secondary skills.

Message
You have been gifted something in you that can sustain you. You have something that you can build on besides the drudgery of your 9-5. Do not be afraid. Observe and ask questions from folks around you about yourself. Take notes. Show yourself open to criticism, correction and complement.

In closing, I ask again: What is that in your hand?

SAN

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Outsourcing Responsibility

Responsibility in a lay man’s view is having a duty to deal with or having control over something or someone. It also means the state or fact of being accountable (or to blame) for something. By inference, you cannot be responsible for something you are not in control of and that is why words such as authority, control, power, leadership, management, influence are used interchangeably with responsibility.
I think one of the major challenges of our generation is that we often time outsource responsibility in order to avoid accountability.
Locally produced movies are also quite unhelpful with their over reliance on supernatural interference. In a lazy bid to cover up the inability to weave a logical plot, or tell a simple didactic story; we do what Yoruba people call (jomo to the answer) and quickly posit that the villain is so because of some uncontrollable stimulus that have taken over his reasoning. Spouses who cheat were bewitched by the strange man or woman.
This juju/jazz angle provides a haven for the writer/storyteller to avoid a simple exploration of character flaws and human failings. At the end of the day, there is eventually no villain because all actions were not committed consciously. But in real life, men & women stray without spiritual or extraterrestrial manipulation. God in his wisdom also ensured that we have the power of choice. I believe the spirit world only helps the weak mind make faster decision that will help in destroying them. There is always a seed for the supernatural to cultivate.
Simple lessons such as a spouse losing the partner because of carelessness or difference in values are ignored. We grandstand and undermine the basic interplay of cause and effect. As a man of faith, if you stay around your weakness; you will compromise your faith. Envy happens, jealousy is real, pride and covetousness are human vices that should be guarded against. Even the bible says so (Galatians 5:19-21 – “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God). Because these are possible slips, they require no mystical influence, please do the work.
Some parents blame children’s’ waywardness on enemies from the village, absolving the child (or themselves) of accountability and further promoting irresponsibility.
Even the way we speak show that we do not like to be accountable. We pass exams but are failed by lecturers. Haba! I have seen mothers make excuses for children who have poor outing in examinations. That lecturer was quite mean (mother dearest!), but someone had a first class with the same lecturer?
A man or woman who has been selfish their entire life gets married and all of a sudden the spouse is the cause of bad behavior. Seriously? Did the spouse do a character surgery on your relative? Or are you admitting that your relative was fickle from the onset and could be manipulated at will? Face the issues; character and values are not suspended so easily I promise you. Address the problem.
The same mindset applies where you go and fight the strange woman with whom your husband is having an affair. Hello? Who made a vow with you? Did she exchange a ring with you? Face your man, yes! the man and the man alone, his influences are immaterial. Deal him clinically.
I have heard a lot of people condemn the Kardashians for how Lamar’s life has turned out and I find that laughable. He was damaged all by himself, like he did bad ALL by himself. $75k dollars for whaaat? Some people said the reality show ruined him, how? Was he forced to appear? Was he not paid? He still earns money even for the spin offs. Come on, choices are choices! “One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility”. - Eleanor Roosevelt. The Kardashians do not do drugs! I can also easily say that his father has always done drugs and that is why he has turned out this way; but that is still tantamount to making excuses for him. It is like saying that everyone from a broken home must fail at marriage. Makes no sense! He can turn a new leaf today because “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility”. - Eleanor Roosevelt
What are your influences? Anyone who lives on Telemundo will have issues grappling with the real world. Ask me, it took long to realize that the lean six-pack blue eyed men described in M├Člls and Boons are not in every street corner. As a matter of fact, Rob Lowe was the first blue eyed man I saw and I had almost given up on a childhood delusion by then.
The same way some home videos resolve life challenges by making the female character find (and marry) a rich man. That man becomes a god, he alone sends the siblings abroad, opens a big shop for the mum, establishes the father and catapults the 'bride' into a life of opulence. They play down self-development and personal achievement for the other characters, his stupendous wealth solves all problems. Please teach your daughters to study and work hard. The Cinderella/Pretty woman angle is getting blurrier by the day.
We should teach ourselves and our children to take responsibility. For our attitude, choices, actions and the consequences thereof. Make the world a better place through accountability.

-- Olufunke Olaofe Isichei