Monthly Archives: July 2010
It is becoming clearer by the day that the future of world economic and political activities would rest on our ability to realign our behaviour to the sustainability of the global environment. Of these two horns of global interactions, the economy appears to be the most susceptible to the carbon age.
Industry analyst today estimate carbon management business presently at about 2 trillion dollars and this amount is expected to rise to an astounding figure of about 20 trillion dollars in the next 10 years. The future of industry rest squarely on how we are able to arrest the emission of carbon and its related compounds into the environment. The implication of inaction is the continued depletion of the ozone layer with its inherent raising of global temperatures, melting of polar ice in the northern hemisphere, drought and desertification in Africa, disastrous economic damages due to hurricanes in the Americas, loss of bio-diversity in warming ocean beds and terrestrial habitats and countless other collateral damages.
With the Montréal protocol of 1987 which banned the production and use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s)-substances which deplete the ozone layer, the Basel Agreement on movement of trans-boundary hazardous wastes (1987) which set mitigation’s on dumping of hazardous wastes in developing nations, and more appropriately the Kyoto framework on climate change of 1982, it seems as if the sound of environmental sustainability and the carbon future has been long in coming. Ours is to make the best of it because with it also comes lots of opportunities.
Businesses could save a lot on cost by good energy conservation and carbon reduction management, and also earn incomes that far out stripe their present earnings by getting involved in the trade in carbon, and also earn good social credit for community relationship -a major corporate income mostly unquantifiable in real terms. This becomes a veritable enterprise in converting waste to wealth. Developing nations with low carbon emission accrue income, clean technology and energy production infrastructure from carbon trading by selling pollution permits (CDM) to the developed world.
The concern of major financial and green analysts is that with the fast pace of market growth, companies in developing economies may be left behind if they do not tune in at this early stage of the carbon economic development programs.
The direction of the new US government is a useful indicator to where global policy direction is driving with respect to a green economy. The US stimulus package allocated about $90 billion dollars for development of a new energy future of low carbon emission and sustainable businesses/manufacturing operations. President Obama has further promised to pass laws on carbon cap and trade that would reduce carbon emission.
What this means is that energy companies and other carbon emitting entities that exceed their legal limits can purchase credits from a company that is not using all its available credits, or from companies whose business is to store and sell credits because they create activities or products that reduce carbon emission such as forest plantations which sequester carbon. The carbon issue is an international feature because national boundaries are immaterial to where a carbon laden plume of waste emissions flows. Recently the provincial government in Ontario Canada enacted a green energy act meant to boost incentives for energy conservation and encourage sustainable energy use. This measure practically implies that the government intends to reduce the amount of carbon emission in Ontario. This empowers government agencies to audit consumer energy use.
To sell a house in Ontario with this new regime you may likely pay a green tax of about $300 dollars. Experts are tinkering with policy considerations of carbon taxing fossil fuel from the point of exploration. This means that each unit or litre of fuel will be taxed, and this would definitely be passed on every stage from the point of production to the consumer. All over the globe there is increased capacity and incentives for businesses to develop around environmental sustainability.
For companies, understanding the implications of the series of regulations emanating globally on indigenous, regional and international activities could be quite challenging, more especially as many of these rules are still evolving. Understanding how to manage carbon accounts without increasing overheads and alienating themselves from mainstream global and regional economies and relationships should be a prime goal.
In most developed nations today, companies are required to reduce their green house emission. Inability of a company to do this will increasingly earn dire reprobation’s and/ incur cost from monitoring authorities and could even lead to closures. Though the type and number of companies to be regulated may depend primarily on national interests and exigencies; international businesses and relationship of major global entities is progressively based on how well you impact the environment. Companies and government are increasingly wary of the carbon content of their imports. This boils down to the carbon or ecological housekeeping of the businesses they deal with. This scenario will trickle down to regional and intra national concerns with time.
Aside from a company’s financial status, one question companies, banks, governments, institutions, communities, including international agencies, the United nations , International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, now ask each other before establishing a business’s relationship is – are you in ecological deficit or credit? These questions are more explicit today than implied. In other words they also require knowing of your environmental balance sheet. But they are all the more relevant and important if we are to sustain our activities and productive enterprises with the earth’s diminishing resource base. You are in credit if your carbon foot print is low and in debit if it is beyond your global capacity. This generic measurement index is referred to commonly as global hectares. Quite tasking new business terms for many no doubt. That is why these processes also need to be fine tuned to meet the unique requirements of the developing economies.
This is where the twin financial and environmental consultancy companies like Hayman Corp with global linkages and in house experts on carbon trade, eco-foot printing and benchmarking becomes most essential; to assist companies maintain competitiveness, profitability, social responsibility, track their carbon footprint, produce and communicate conformance report for carbon management which are all imperatives to properly align businesses and governments to still flourish today without losing their foothold in the emergent carbon future.
Kingsley Ejiogu. read more
Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ogbonna Onovo, a source at the weekend indicated, is expected to convene top-level security meeting where the FCT Police Command would strategise on how best to sweep Abuja of these protesters before it becomes another kidnap theatre. The other security agencies , we gathered, are also back to their drawing boards to ensure that the seat of government and indeed all the states are made safer than the prevailing situation since the now threatened Amnesty Deal.
Top on the security agencies’ list of priorities is how to spread their dragnet to cover Abuja and its surburbs, not leaving out the hotels, brothels and any other foreseeable hideout.
National Daily gathered that top politicians have not allowed the telephone lines of the IGP to rest. Most according to sources are demanding additional protection for their family members.
In view of these bombardments, the IGP has deployed more personnel throughout the nook and cranny of the FCT, at least to safeguard life and property till the threatened siege is over.
But as the militant advance continues to send jitters down the spines of rich Nigerians, they are finding it hard to reconcile the reality on ground with the optimism of Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs Timi Alaibe that there would be light at the end of the peace tunnel.
Speaking to the media penultimate weekend as the retraining programme took off, Alaibe reportedly said the government opted to use experts from the United State Centre for Non-Violence and Peace Studies to help rehabilitate the once restive Niger Delta youths because America has one of the best hands in such field.
He had listed the benefits of the post-Amnesty programmes to include renewed peace in the region, a better perception and improved investment climate in the Niger Delta region and erasing the negative image of the country, which portrays it as heaven of kidnapping and killing of expatriates.
Alaibe stated that the U.S. experts numbering about 24 would help train about 20,000 militants in Obubra, Cross River State in line with the post-amnesty programme of the federal government. “We are going to take the ex-militants in batches of 2000, starting from today, the programme non-violence transformation, will last for two weeks. Within the period, we will document them properly there will be biometric wellness, test guidance, and counseling, peace and conflict resolution classes and reintegration classification. This is not the end, rather the beginning of a long journey.”
“If you are an ex-combatant, used to drugs, used to firing guns, and all of a sudden, you find yourself in a class of non-violence, at will take a whole lot of reorganization, he counseled. The former combatants, he said would be re-introduced into the society once their training was completed to help deliver socio-economic dividends to the region and the nation as a whole Alaibe also observed that peace in the region would guarantee increase in the level of crude oil production from the current 2.3 million barrel per day. This he explained; would have direct positive impact in foreign exchange earnings for the country, as well as fast-track development in the region.
“The first phase is to clean up for the purpose of reintegrating the hitherto violent psyche behaviour activities and is now converted to civil behaviour. The programme has been restructured, the strategy has changed; priorities have been recorded this is why we have the team from the United States of America. “Those are key in this programme, at has ensured that stood, there is tranquility in the Niger Delta region; can you still hear of breaking of pipelines, blowing up of oil installations, have you forgotten that the oil production at 700,000 barrels per day, when he concluded the amnesty granting, came up to 2.3 million barrels per day.”
“This country is looking forward to four to five million barrels per day, after all the training process for ex-militants are concluded this is just the software aspect of the post amnesty programme, meaning the individuals who form the core of the system. The hardware aspect or component of the post amnesty programme is that consultant projects and programmes will be happening in the region as people say the machines will continue to work, the grandiose project that the federal government is implementing will start happening.”
Also speaking at the forum, the U.S. based Center for Non-Violence and Peace Studies Consultant, Bernand Lotayette, said: “this is not sample taking people through some exercises we are talking about transformation not sharing a little more information and the difference is that we have shown that the transformation of ex-militants has accelerated the socio-economic fortunes of the countries of the world.”
But despite Alaibe’s optimism, the grouse of the estimated 1,000 militant protesters, allegedly from Bayelsa State who last week blocked the major highway linking Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, with Lokoja on the Abaji-Gwagwalada end of the road leaving thousands of commuters stranded remains unresolved.
It would be recalled that Alaibe was recently rough-handled by the militants at the “peace training” camp in Obubra, over the delayed allowance issues. SaharaReporters said that Alaibe who is believed to have amassed a vast fortune during his headship of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), was accused of embezzling funds meant for militants who voluntarily accepted government Amnesty last year.
The repentant militants had claimed that instead of paying their allowances, Alaibe brought in expatriates to teach them “peace.” Meanwhile, Alaibe reportedly has accused the Governor of Bayelsa State, Timi Sylva, of being the brain behind the militants’ action to storm Abuja.
Both Alaibe and Sylva who are said to be eyeing the governorship of the oil-rich state have been lurked in a battle of wits. But unfolding events in recent times suggest that there could be more to the whole saga than already perceived.
It would be recalled that at the 3rd Civil/Military Forum held in Port Harcourt recently, the stakeholders had stressed the need for the Federal Government to implement the Amnesty programme with seriousness and vigor with a warning that a delay could cause another devastating onslaught on the oil and gas installations in the region.
Sadly, the stakeholders observed that the Federal Government had not shown enough political will to implement the Amnesty programme but preferred to treat the matter with kid-gloves. They cautioned that unless something urgent and meaningful is done in the Niger Delta, in terms of infrastructure development, nothing would deter the militants from hitting the creeks.
Professor Ebere Onwudiwe, one of the eminent participants at the forum, stressed on the need for cordial relationship between the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Civilian. Delivering his lecture titled: “The Nigerian Military, Our Struggle with Good Governance and democracy,’ Onwudiwe solicited a balance civil and military equation by promoting cordial relations existing between the military and civilians.
But he regretted that after years of historic experience with democracy, the country has earned little for African largest democracy. “Let us keep it that ways, although the road to advancement has been rough,” he said and urged the military and civilians to explore the best road to cordial relationship and consolidate our democracy.”
Onwudiwe described the military as a key symbol of nationhood and sovereignty everywhere, but stressed that Nigerian Armed Forces are insulated legally from politics and socio-economic development and functions. Specifically, he said that Section 127 of the 1999 Constitution spells out the function of the Nigerian Armed Forces as the Defence of Nigeria from external aggression by land, air and sea.
Thus, the duty of military of Nigerian is maintaining of Nigeria’s Territorial integrity and security of its bonders, suppressing internal insurrection and acting in aid of civil authority, though to restore order, he said. Implicitly, the military is not supposed to meddle in politics, contrary to what promptings from many political big wigs, some of whom incidentally had been in armed service, National Daily learnt.
“When the military is called out to aid the civil authority in restoring law and order where police is overwhelmed, some citizens think the military is usurping power, but because the constitution allows the president to do so, he deploys them,” the don said.
For instance, the Joint Task Force, since the troubling militant onslaught in the Niger Delta region have been positioned there to reassure residents of their safety and secure government facilities as well as the multi-national oil companies personnel installations.
Onwudiwe said the military had been doing great in support of the nation’s fledgling democracy. But he noted that the greatest damage of military rule to the government of democracy in Nigeria may be that it did not allow Nigerian politicians who never had experience in democratic governance to learn from their own mistakes, adding that the damage is very deep and still constitutes one of the biggest obstacle to the government of democracy in Nigeria today. “Fears are that, action power, the military has obviously been the greatest obstacle of democratization in Nigeria. But today, who is the culprit? I can tell you clearly, that today the supreme obstacle to democratic constitution in the country are you and I. Yes, it is not our – political leadership alone, it is our judicial fellowship, and lone leadership as well.”
He, however, observed that due to political crisis which the nation faced in recent times, one maverick politician even made a public call for the military coup. He pointed out that the problem of democratic consideration in country is no longer problem, but it is a civilian problem. He regretted that Nigerian civilians know little or nothing about the military, in spite of the fact that the military’s existence from (1863) predates the emergence of Nigeria, and its independence (1960).
Onwudiwe said: “147 years after its formation and 50 years of defence services to the Nigerian Nation, Nigerian citizens know little or noting the military.” He expressed confidence in the support of then “Chief of Defence Staff, Air Vice Marshall Paul Dike and his team of service chiefs. They decided in 2007 to turn things around and do whatever was necessary to improve and build on cordial relationship between Nigerian citizens and Nigerian military personnel,” he noted.
Onwudiwe said part of what Dike did to ensure cordial relationships between the military and civilian was to commission FuTeLIV company in charge of the facility and stimulated a solid round of the programme.
One aspect of the military brilliance showing since 1960, he stressed, was particularly in several “peacekeeping operations at the multi-lateral: United Nations African Union and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and bilateral levels. The Nigerian military has also been assisting the police in the maintenance of law and order, and internal security especially in the combat of armed robbery and current kidnapping” craze.
“The military played important role in dousing the civil war which took place between 1967 and 1970, he noted, saying despite all these it does not enjoy the appreciation of Nigerian communities because of the incursion into politics, he stressed.
Now, the retired generals are warming up to scuttle President Goodluck Jonathan’s ambition for the 2011 mandate. Indications are rife that may trouble brew if the North maintains its stance on the now seeming moribund Presidency zoning quota of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, an unwritten accord which endorsed two term tenure for each geo-political area. Fear has been expressed by profile politicians and analysts that the militants would likely resist an anti-Jonathan moves with all their might.
Thus as Nigerians await the dividends of the training, sources said last week’s protest for yet to be fully ascertained motives could be a cover for monitoring from a closer range, developments at about the seat of power and not anger at their exclusion as perceived in some quarters. As things stand currently, only the right stitch in time by the FG will decide whether the Amnesty Deal, as well as security in Abuja, and in other parts of the country can be ascertained.
Reporting from National Daily Newspaper read more
When we talk about small business people in Nigeria, ABA immediately comes to mind. The ingenuity and enterprise of the residents of Aba are legendry, that people all over the world castigate their imitations of original products as made in “Aba” due to its substandard nature. But come to think of it, most emerging economies in the world today like China and Taiwan started by faking and producing imitations of original products from other advanced countries, they were also then castigated by the world due to the substandard nature of their imitations. But their government recognizing private efforts of its citizens, stepped by creating an enabling environment for them like the provision of good road networks leading to their business area, easy access to credit, reliable electricity and water, good security network, zero taxation for a number of years and subsidizing their raw materials. All these were to encourage them to expand their businesses, reducing the unit cost of the products, improving the standard to make it acceptable and competitive in the International market. Even Michael Porter recognizes the importance of having an imitation strategy as a method of innovating.
The small business people at Aba are lacking such aggressive assistance by the government of Nigeria; presently they are faking and imitating any product you can think of, but their area of strength lies in the production of leather related products like bags, shoes, and belts. A young entrepreneur by name Emeka Ofor, the chief executive officer of EMex, a shoe and bag company at Aba who agreed to speak with us told us about the frustrations of manufacturing business in Nigeria. This young chap like his other colleagues started of as apprentices, Emeka served someone for ten years, got his freedom and from the cash settlement he got from his boss, he started his own company. His story is also the story of thousands of his colleagues; he is fully involved in the day to day running of the business with the help of his four apprentices.
The journey so far has not been easy for him and his colleagues due to a lot of factors standing against the expansion of their businesses and improvement of product standards. A lot of their profits are spent on generating power and this has the added effect of increasing the unit cost of product. The roads leading to their business area is in a deplorable state that it even discourages most of their customers especially the foreign ones. There is also the problem of multiple taxation, these has also helped in increasing the cost of production. The government has been unable to protect these young industries by their refusal to check the smuggling and dumping of cheap products similar to their own products from abroad and this is killing all their efforts to grow. It is also very difficult to get the raw materials for production, access to credit facility is almost impossible. There is total lack of security for their business and customers, this has lead to their customers feeling unsafe and they start to consider other options like Taiwan or China to transact their business.
Government is either stupid or visionless not to recognize the potentials of Aba to put Nigeria on the world map as a producer and exporter of leather products. Government is presently busy wasting scarce resources on unviable concerns like the ongoing expansion of Abuja roads and the recent billions wasted in South Africa during the world cup, when we took a bunch of old men and shameless government officials for a jamboree. It is time government spared a thought for these vibrant entrepreneurs at Aba, by creating an enabling environment that will put them in good stead to compete favorably in the International market. Government can achieve this by fixing all the access roads to their business areas, ensuring reliable power supply to them, protecting them from smugglers of cheap products from abroad, looking into the problem of multiple taxation, even going further by giving them a tax haven for some years as an added incentive, providing adequate water for them, making available interest free loan to them, giving them technical support, making it easy for them to access raw materials or even subsidizing this raw materials.
All these will go a long way to build up their capacity to expand their businesses, taking in partners plus the multiplying effect of reducing unemployment and the unit cost of products. This will make for improved products from them, making their products more competitive in the International market. There is need for a total change of strategy by government. We must start encouraging productive people wherever we find them in Nigeria to help grow our economy and reduce unemployment. The importance of small scale business in our nation cannot be over emphasized. Vibrant and productive people like Emeka Ofor in Aba who have long been operating in a deplorable environment with a lot of odds stacked against them, needs a break and our help to stay in business.
Yesterday, when I received an interesting call from a friend in Stoughton Massachusetts to attend an Imo state indigent meeting; my initial response was to say no, but after my friend had hung up, I did what I always do, what I call my “RRR” which means reflect, review and where possible revise. And revise, I did. I called my friend and told him that I would be available to attend the meeting with him. An hour later at roughly 4:30pm on Saturday July 18, 2010, my friend arrived house.
On the phone, prior to his arrival, he had indicated that the ISAM meeting was to be held at 5:00pm at Roxbury community college in Boston. I held my breath. At the back of my mind, I understood Nigerians like making grand entrances what ever that is; like coming late but call it African time; Nigerians are individually successful but collectively unsuccessful. With these truths in mind I attempted to delay our departure from my house arguing that we would be a little too early and no body would be there or if there were people there they would be from a number perspectives insignificant to have an effective meeting.
He brushed aside my arguments against timeliness and predilection for grand entrance to the curb, and rather swiftly we drove off in his Japanese made vehicle (a good number of us love Japanese auto’s). We arrived without fan fare and rather early as I projected. And I wrung my face as if to tell him I told you so. But I will get to that in a minute. I have seldom found it difficult to understand why Igbo’s are unable to work together for a common purpose. Many say it’s because they are too smart (or rather think they are); some say they are too serious and everything is framed as an intellectual argument. Nigerians of other ethnic origin are quick to comment quite frankly however, in closed doors that the Igbo man is plain stupid! and they never work together with each other. More importantly it is now evident to me that this perception or truth that “The Igbo’s cannot work together” has sadly become the face of the Igbo brand.
This brand was completely laid bare when we got to the meeting at Roxbury College at approximately 5:00pm. First we searched for the venue foolishly because my friend failed to write down the exact location(less detailed, modicum planning). When we finally arrived our destination, there were exactly 5 people in attendance for a meeting of ISAM (Imo State Association of Massachusetts. Please pause for a minute and reflect on a bit of stats. To help you; a quick unscientific poll of the number of Imo people in MA reveal a staggering 20,000 or more. But only five people were in attendance for this meeting. The agenda for the meeting was as follows:
- Call meeting to order and opening prayers
- Chairman’s opening remarks
- Constitution Final Review and Acceptance
- Any other business (ISAM –Joining ISCA)
- Closing prayer and adjournment of the meeting
You would have thought that a meeting where the constitution was being signed off would attract more than five people or in this case seven my friend and I included. In the meeting I learnt that this effort to form ISAM has been ongoing since 2006; that Ohakim the governor of Imo state had met with the group; that the group has had numerous conference calls; that ISAM is not yet registered in Massachusetts and does not have an active bank account because it does not have a treasurer. I could go on but the point I am trying to make here is that:
a) We have too many sub Igbo groups in the Diaspora
b) The multiple layers of Igbo groups expressing their own version of igboness diminish our direct impact locally and indirect impact in Nigeria.
c) We have thousands of Village and ethnocentric meetings or should I say social engagements in cities all around the US. And yet we cannot come together for the good of our people and unborn generations.
This meeting reminded me of early 2006 when I attended a convention by the World Igbo Congress (WIC) with this same friend. It was nice to see intelligent Nigerians from all works of life gathered in Boston to celebrate. There was dancing (trust me we are good at this), lots of rhetorical pontification (and this), shouting and dealing (and this also). It was the political season at that time and the debate was centered about a 3rd term for the then president of the federal republic of Nigeria – Olusegun Obasanjo.
I was not happy with what I saw then, the bickering, the name calling and individualistic positioning by many in attendance. And I am more so dejected from what I am seeing even today. It is now 2010 and the pregnancy within WIC and ISAM still persists. With the multiplicity of factions within the WIC organization, one could argue that few people attend the ISAM meeting because of the undisguised natural struggle for leadership. That’s not really my concern at this point. My issue is that leadership must come with a collective work ethic and responsibility.
The general consensus appears to be that if you are in the US, have gone to school in the US, work in the US- then you are a leader and you know some stuff- this is wrong. As evidenced by the trend within WIC a weak organization that was founded in 1994 and WICF another weak foundation unable support the goals of WIC; its main founding principle. The idea was that if Igbo’s of timbre and caliber came together they could create an organization that can function by creating a circle of influence that can get lawmakers within the US to use soft power to pressure Nigerian leadership to effect positive political and socio-economic change for the Igbo man and woman. They wanted and failed to become like AIPAC: An Israeli PAC within the US that has been known to get what it wants from the US congress. ISAM is trending in this direction and needs stakeholders to buy-in and participate fully. No half measures, if you can’t attend a meeting and you are a stake holder then send a surrogate, dial in, do something to ensure that there is business continuity. This was also a point I made in the meeting on Saturday, “Everyone cannot lead at the same time. Stakeholder from the multiple sub ethnic Igbo groups must participate actively within and with a cohesively collective mindset to achieve social good for Igbo’s in Nigeria from the Diasporas”
What right do these people have to play with Igbo brand? I ask. They cannot lead and it is time we start suing any organization that mismanages and misrepresents our brand. Their goals are not our goal if they cannot perform. Their issues are not ours if all they do is bicker and fight. They have no basis to scold Politician’s in Nigeria if they themselves are morally bankrupt. They cannot claim to represent Igbo’s and must be held accountable. Dr this, Dr that, is utter rubbish-Nigerians must stop respecting titles and start demanding accountability with our so called ‘Nigerian Diaspora’, and at home.
As one who believes that there is no substitute for experience bounded by principle, I hasten to say that the crop of people leading this initiative need to get there acts together immediately. There is no room for elitism that is bereft of the interest of Nigerians. ISAM is a worthy course because when people put aside their nuanced position for the common social good, they do great things. ISAM will not succeed without the right crop of leaders open to constructive criticism. read more
Gunmen freed four journalists and their driver who were abducted last week. The journalists were on their way to Aba, the Abia state capital.
The kidnappers ambushed a convoy of cars carrying the journalists in the southern state of Akwa Ibom on Monday as it approached Aba, the capital of neighbouring Abia state.
“Due to the pressure from various quarters, the kidnappers had to release us this morning,” Wahab Oba, chairman of the Lagos state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, told reporters shortly after being freed.
African Analyst has stressed the need for Nigeria to focus on this Kidnapping issue and fund all necessary resources to curb this stench in the community. The NUJ Lagos Council
Abdul Wahab Alabi Oba (Chair NUJ)
journalist abducted were Wahab Oba chairman NUJ and features editor for the federal ministry of information, Mr. Sylva Okereke; Secretary NUJ and business editor of the weekly magazine,
Slyva Okereke (Asist Sec NUJ)
Mr. Adolphus Okonkwo; Mr. Shola Oyeyipo with the driver of their vehicle, Azeez Yekini.
The kidnappers reportedly demanded an initial 250million but later reduced it to 25million. This is very telling and points to the fact that our youths are struggling to survive and will result to whatever means to make money. We cannot let this continue and the federal government must partner with the local and state government to prevent further kidnapping. This is bad news locally and damages the Nigerian brand globally- whatever is left of it.
No ransom was paid per Wahab Oba. read more
President Goodluck Jonathan has fulfilled the promise he made on May 15th, 2010 at University of Port Harcourt convocation ceremony. He has created a facebook page which he has vowed to manage himself. The President argues that the facebook page will give him the opportunity to interact with Nigerian youths and take in their suggestions on how to make Nigeria a better nation. I wish Nigerian leaders kept to more important promises like the vision 2010; and getting rid of corruption in Nigeria instead of a promise to open a facebook page?
Not that there is anything wrong with the President having a facebook page; however, there are certain elements of a facebook page for the President as means to communicate with Nigerian youths that strikes me as an action that is lacking in good judgment.
But first, what happened to the official site of the Nigerian government?
The government official site will be fully functional on July 25, 2010. Is it right to assume then that this will be the first time a functional website has been opened for the government?
If this assumption is correct, a more serious approach to interacting with Nigerian youths would have been to make sure this official government site is up and running and a serious campaign mounted to encourage Nigerian youths to visit their government’s website. Not just to interact with the President alone but to be aware of other government involvement. Given the current state of internet security, my assumption is that the President does not expect to receive any serious suggestions on facebook on how to move Nigeria forward.
In the week that the President opened his facebook page, there were over 6, 000 comments posted on his page. Since the President has promised to manage his facebook page himself, my initial reaction was to think about the time he has to read and react to these comments.
Is the President’s promise to manage his own facebook page an indication of how little he has to do as President of Nigeria?
The current World Bank indicator peaks Nigeria’s population at 151 million people. If this number stands, and more than 85% live under global poverty level, I think the President has more important jobs than managing his own facebook page.
A facebook page for the President as a means to solicit for ideas on how to make Nigeria a better place confirms the superficial approach which Nigerian leaders give to the many pressing and nagging issues that Nigerians face.
An example of such superficial approach was the rebranding project. A project that was supposed to change the image of Nigerians abroad, even, when Nigerians at home live under some of the worst economic conditions in the world. My argument then was that Nigerians living in Nigeria should enjoy the same level of infrastructures and a leadership that is accountable to its citizens. It is only in doing that Nigerians will gain the respect of the world where ever they go.
Now, the President has a facebook page as a means to understand how to make Nigeria a better place, I make similar argument. To make Nigeria a better place does not need a facebook suggestion box. We know what the problems are. Let us start with the basics – good schools that can compete globally, security so that Nigerians will be able to pursue their dreams, good road network to enable commercial activities, steady and cheap power supply to encourage industries.
I am sure that the President knows these issues better than I do. That brings me to another point that strikes as a reason behind his facebook page.
Is it possible that the President has joined this recent trend when Nigerian politicians are pandering to the Diaspora as opposed dealing with the issues at home?
In my opinion, this is one more thing that the President’s facebook initiative has in common with the rebranding project. The target audience is Nigerians in the Diasporas. In recent times, it has become fashionable for politicians to pander to the Diaspora because of fears that they may be the ones to effect the desired changes that we need in Nigeria.
The danger is that the real problems that exist with Nigerians at home are completely ignored while bogus projects that have nothing to do with the fundamental issues we face as a nation are pursued. For instance, the President in replying to someone on facebook said “I spent time reading your comments and yesterday a youth named Toyin Dawodu indicated that he had an idea for a project that could deliver 4,000 MWs of electricity”.
What will be rationale in pursuing a facebook claim on knowing how to start electricity supply projects that would create thousands of jobs? What happened to the government agency in-charge of power supply in Nigeria?
The role of government is not to sponsor such projects; rather, the role of government is to create a secure and trustworthy business environment for individuals with such ingenuity to thrive on their own. Can you imagine how many of such projects that will rare up in Nigeria if government decides to get in the business of sponsoring projects?
President Goodluck Jonathan knows Nigeria well. He knows what the issues facing Nigerians and Nigerian youths are. The hand writing I see on the wall of the President’s facebook page suggests to me that he is running for re-election, he has started a virtual campaign and his target audience is Nigerians in the Diasporas.
The body of a pregnant woman was found Thursday morning in the basement of a Randolph beauty shop. Her ex-boyfriend has been charged with her murder.
Karneetha Sanders, 28, was discovered at 88 North Main St. at Flora’s Braiding and Beauty Supply in Randolph Square.
Sanders’ ex-boyfriend, 56-year-old Edward Aduayi, was arraigned on a murder charge this afternoon in Quincy District Court. Aduayi and his wife manage the beauty store.
The victim was last seen yesterday at 8:50 a.m. at her apartment by Aduayi. Sanders never showed up to her shift at Children’s Hospital. Authorities say she only missed one day of work in six years.
Police traced Sanders’ cell phone to the beauty shop. When police arrived, they heard banging in the back and found Aduayi, who had trapped himself in the basement. Police said when they asked him where Sanders was, he pointed to the barrel where her body was dismembered inside.
According to police, Aduayi told police two different stories during interviews. At first he told poice that he was driving in the car with Sanders when she began stabbing herself for no reason. When he realized she was bleeding, he said, she was already dead. He admitted in this interview to dismembering her body and putting it in the barrel.
In a second interview, Aduayi said he and Sanders had an altercation in the car in which she was the aggressor. He said she cut him on the finger and ended up stabbed to death. He drove around with her body in the car until he could figure out what to do with her body. read more
An evil is pervading our land, destroying and killing our youths. Our value system is vastly being eroded. No one is interested in hard work any more. A sudden craze for quick wealth is the vogue now. Everyone is to blame, government, parent/ guardians, elders.
The pressure on the youths to get rich quick is enormous, most times leading to their early demise plus affecting their desire and need for education. “Go and get the money, the charge from parents and Guardians. No one bothers how the sudden wealth came about. The drums are rolled out by community to celebrate their son that has suddenly made it. How he made it no one is interested in knowing. Parents encourage this craze for sudden wealth by selling their land or even borrowing money to sponsor their sons abroad, a boy without any known qualification or skill to survive over there. You now imagine the unwholesome activities they engage in to survive; they kill, steal and sell drugs.
This craze for sudden wealth is more noticeable amongst the “Ibos” in Nigeria. The unnatural competition to better each other financially is unimaginable. You begin to wonder, what would be, if this enormous energy spent on striving to travel abroad is channeled to pursuit of excellence in education.
South Africa, not Europe or America is now the most lucrative destination for the youths in IBO LAND. For instance a community called Umunze in Isu L.G.A once noted for their youth’s success in the advanced fee fraud scam. One of their youths, traveled to South Africa and made a fortune in just 3 months. Please don’t ask what he did to get the fortune it doesn’t matter. He came back home with the wealth and his community celebrated their successful son. Suddenly every youth there, wants to travel to South Africa for a piece of the action. With the direct support and urging from their parents, they traveled in droves to South Africa.
Six months after no good news from most of them, just some rumors that most are in jail. Suddenly the unexpected, caskets started arriving from South Africa with some of the youths in them. Most family became victims of the death flight from South Africa wailing and lamenting every where you go. Africa analyst was present at such an occasion when a casket arrived at a family compound from South Africa and had a conversation with a community elder, and it went thus “Just look at what we have brought on our self. We sent our youths to their early grave, made our women young widows. I think the Gods are punishing us for, our greed; we receive one casket every month in this community, what a tragedy. This scenario is replicated in most communities in Ibo land. Before this was not the case, Ibos were known for their hard work and enterprise, they were also their brother’s keeper. Communities then contributed to send their brilliant children abroad for studies. You may want to ask what suddenly happened. Why the sudden craze for early wealth? Why is education no longer valued? Questions, Questions…
One thing is certain though; the Ibos cannot continue in this evil part, a change is needed if the race wants to survive. First we must place an emergency ban on traveling abroad for our youths without any convincing reason. We must have in place a committee of responsible elders that will vet all requests for traveling by youths in Ibo land to ascertain the genuine ones. A total orientation of the Ibo youth is necessary to refocus them. We must revert back to the former practice of frowning and rejecting any sudden wealth. The world Ibo congress must make itself relevant by taking a stand on this issue. read more
“I never think of the future,” Albert Einstein once observed. “It comes soon enough.” Most business managers, confronted with the global forces shaping the business landscape, also assume that their ability to sculpt the future is minimal. They are right that they can do little to change a demographic trend or a widespread shift in consumer consciousness. But they can react to such forces or, even better, anticipate them to their own advantage. Above all, they ignore these forces at their peril.
Business history is littered with examples of companies that missed important trends; think digitization and the music industry. Yet this history also shines with examples of companies that spied the forces changing the global business scene and used them to protect or contribute to the bottom line. Companies ranging from insurers to energy producers did precisely that in embracing the growing social concern about climate change. So did Wal-Mart Stores in applying technology to automate inventory management and reduce costs dramatically for the company and its suppliers.
The fact is, trends matter. Systematically spotting and acting on emerging ones helps companies to capture market opportunities, test risks, and spur innovation. Today, when the biggest business challenge is responding to a world in which the frame and basis of competition are always changing, any effort to set corporate strategy must consider more than traditional performance measures, such as a company’s core capabilities and the structure of the industry in which it competes. Managers must also gain an understanding of deep external forces and the narrower trends they can unleash. In our experience, if senior executives wait for the full impact of global forces to manifest themselves at an industry and company level, they will have waited too long.
For much of the past year, a team at McKinsey has revisited and retested our assumptions about the key global trends that will define the coming era. We have identified five forces, or crucibles, where the stresses and tensions will be greatest and thus offer the richest opportunities for companies to innovate and change:
- The great rebalancing. The coming decade will be the first in 200 years when emerging-market countries contribute more growth than the developed ones. This growth will not only create a wave of new middle-class consumers but also drive profound innovations in product design, market infrastructure, and value chains.
- The productivity imperative. Developed-world economies will need to generate pronounced gains in productivity to power continued economic growth. The most dramatic innovations in the Western world are likely to be those that accelerate economic productivity.
- The global grid. The global economy is growing ever more connected. Complex flows of capital, goods, information, and people are creating an interlinked network that spans geographies, social groups, and economies in ways that permit large-scale interactions at any moment. This expanding grid is seeding new business models and accelerating the pace of innovation. It also makes destabilizing cycles of volatility more likely.
- Pricing the planet. A collision is shaping up among the rising demand for resources, constrained supplies, and changing social attitudes toward environmental protection. The next decade will see an increased focus on resource productivity, the emergence of substantial clean-tech industries, and regulatory initiatives.
- The market state. The often contradictory demands of driving economic growth and providing the necessary safety nets to maintain social stability have put governments under extraordinary pressure. Globalization applies additional heat: how will distinctly national entities govern in an increasingly globalized world?
Our thinking is exploratory rather than definitive. Precisely how these forces will unfold—and, as important, how they interact—is very much a work in progress. Still, our research, extensive one-on-one contacts, and broader survey data give us confidence that these topics should be framing every organization’s strategic conversations about how best to chart its future course. Over the coming year, McKinsey will dive deeper into each of these five areas to draw out the business implications and inform the strategic debate. We can be certain that this new era will not evolve smoothly. Future economic crises—quite likely, major ones—are inevitable. And management theory for the 21st century, the first with truly global enterprises, is being invented in real time, as thousands upon thousands of companies make it up as they go.
What we do know is that the forces driving the emergence of this new world are too powerful to be denied and that running a 21st-century company is exponentially more complex than running a 20th-century one, of any size. Companies must pay attention to more stakeholders, more regulations, and more risks—and watch to see what their customers are tweeting about them. That complexity is greater, but so, we believe, is the opportunity.
Even the most talented strategists will have, at best, incomplete knowledge of what comes next. But from our experience, we know that an understanding of the forces defining the future will also provide the best chance for seizing it. read more
The entire world witnessed the unprofessional play of the Luis Suarez. In the 94 minute of the quarterfinal round of the world cup with the entire continent of Africa behind them the Black Stars of Ghana or should I say the Black Stars of Africa were denied a chance to go down in history as the first African nation to move to the semifinal round.
As an African watching my heart skipped several beats and like a typical African I placed my hand over my head in utter disbelief. For 94 minutes, on African soil everyone felt like a Ghanaian. Emails and text messages were flying around; some friends indicated that they would switch their citizenship to Ghana if they were to be victorious over Uruguay. It was painful. What happened for me after the 94 minute did not matter. Ghana won in my eyes and they are true champions or stars of Africa. We all know how that game ended after 30minutes of extra play followed by an interesting round of penalty kicks. So, I will bore you with the details. Rather, I will try to capture the feeling of being “ONE” with Ghana as witnessed by the resounding “Vuvuzelic” support of the entire African continent.
Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole! This feeling of solidarity with Ghana is best captured with the headlines of the major newspapers around the world.
AP’s David Crary “Nobel on Defeat, Ghana team visits Nelson Mandela
Sowetans called them the “Hope of Africa” We salute you”
“The boys played their hearts out,” said the Ghanaian Times.
Many of my friends could not hold back the tears; they starred at the television with their mouths wide open. Why? They asked, why? Online bloggers will look for answers to this question but they will not find one. You cannot say they were unprepared or failed to plan like the Nigerian Super Eagles. On the contrary Ghana showed deep dedication to the sport and executed when push came to shove. Some will say FIFA should change their rules but they would be wrong. For insofar as these rules are applied consistently with each Match, the rules remain fair. As we all lend our voice in support of Ghana and their Noble attempt at the world cup, let us pray that the Hand of Suarez or the hand of the Devil never befalls any other African nation as the Continent pushes forward for greater recognition in the global arena.
I have ordered the Ghanaian world cup team Jersey and will wear it proudly. read more
The story of Nigeria is, more often than not, a chronicle of struggles to deal with the upsurge ofcorruption. As always, with the 2011 elections are lurking around the corner politicians are shuffling their political cards and everyone is accusing every other person of being corrupt. Yet in the corruption-battered Nigeria no one is corrupt, not even the General who was implicated in the Pius Okigbo Panel Report over the $12.4billion Gulf War oil scan (BusinessDay, May 6, 2010). This is not to mention his alleged connection with the brutal murder of Dele Giwa, the founding editor-in-chief of Newswatch, onOctober 19, 1986(Agbaegbu, December18, 2000). The reality, however, is thatboth young and old, man and woman and the sane and insane recognize the havoc bribery and corruption have cause in the society.
The death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has again resurrected the debate on the ‘war’ against corruption. It has widely been reported that the Code of Conduct Tribunal has officially dropped the charges against the indefatigable and courageous former EFCC boss, Chairman Nuhu Ribadu (BusinessDay,May 5, 2010) who was chased out of the country by Yar’Adua and his bunch of sycophants. On his returnNuhu Ribadu is expected to serve as President Goodluck Jonathan’s special ‘adviser on anti-corruption, good governance and sundry matters’ (NEXt, April 4, 2010).
Since the news of his imminent return surfaced the chorus of venomous of criticism has intensified as the ‘bad boys’ are viscerally opposed to his home-coming. The negative criticisms in the face of his great achievement should not deter President Goodluck Jonathan from waging a serious ‘war’ against corruption. Plenty are hungry for positive change; and they feel that only a strong-willed person like Nuhu Ribadu can fight corruption, which is worsening the nation’s economic situation.
MadamFarida Waziri is among those who are jittery as she has reportedly vowed not to take orders from Nuhu Ribadu if he happens to come back (Punch, May 3, 2010). Madam Waziri is free to pick her baggage and head home if she thinks she is ‘too big’ to take orders from the young man. The EFCC has not been working, as it should, since she took over. She is only good at pointing out to the world how everyone is making her job difficult. If one should ask the madam, where are the 23 corrupt governors? No amount of criticism would obliterate for fact that without Nuhu Ribadu the corrupt D.S.P. Alameyeseigha of Bayelsa could have remained a powerful politician; and Tafa Balogun (former IG) would be untouchable. Nuhu Ribadu already zeroed in on Bode George and James Ibori before Yar’Adua and his group ran him aground. Soon after Madam Waziri took over, she removed James Ibori from the list of ex-governors that were billed to go on trial (Punch, April 11, 2009).
Chairman Nuhu Ribadu to the rescue! Nigeria is a wonderful country! The society needs one who has the audacity to confront the political contractors and the big-time looter-Generals who are now re-branding themselves in a desperate attempt to get access to the national treasury, again.In a lawless society such as Nigeria it takes a rude shock and public humiliation sometimes to get the message across.
This writer is not saying that Nuhu Ribadu is saint. Certainly, there were some mistakes. His agency was used by Obasanjo to harass his political enemies. And some of the looters are complaining that he was very harsh in dealing with them and that he wasworking for the PDP.Butanyperson who cares less about the rights of others when stealing their money should not complain when crude method is adopted to recover the loot. The reality, however, is that in every war or revolution there are some accidental damages. As Alexis De Tocqueville has noted in Democracy in America, “There are no revolutions which do not shake existing belief, enervate authority and throw doubts over commonly received ideas” (see abridged version, edited by Richard Heffner, 1984, p.145).
Good people look for what is positive in every situation. As noted earlier, despite some irrational exuberance, Chairman Nuhu Ribadu performed wonderfully well given the nature and history of Nigeria. During his time at the EFCC the agency was feared and every corrupt official would duck for cover at sighting the officials. He had the political will and courage to question the gods; his agency probed both the dead and the living. There were reports of how the commission seized the fraudulently acquired wealth of a deceased INEC official. Death wouldn’t save the looter! The evil he did lived after him! To really rescue Nigeria from the claws of corruption the society needs one with the capability to demystify the gods. Setting up corruption-probe panels has not done the society any good.
Having said that, there is room for improvement in the manner with which the EFCC (and other law enforcement agencies) should conduct its business. Nigerians should not be harassed, tortured or detained indefinitely. The commission should operate within the laws. As Philosopher Spinoza has noted, too much “power corrupt even the incorruptible” (as cited in Will Durant, 1976, p.193). Those whoneed to be questioned should be invited formally. Crude method should be applied only as a last resort: refusal to honour official invitation or resisting arrest.
The problem with Nigeria, as in every other defective democracy, is “the tendency to put mediocrity into power” (Durant, id, p.195). Why are Nigeria’s top public servants very rich? National dailies are awash with news of how public officials are acquiring million-dollar homes and stockpiling stolen public money abroad. Yet the nation’s infrastructure and institutions are begging for repairs.
Nigeria lacks effective institutions to tackle corruption, which has hampered national development. The society should begin to keep track of people’s source of income and hold the politicians to a very high standard. Serious nations require everyone to explain their sources of income; and even ‘marital infidelity’ and traffic offense could disqualify a candidate for elective office. But in Nigeria even convicted felons are masquerading as political leaders; some of the current political leaders are known ‘419’ scam artists. And if the search light looks closely some of them are parading bogus academic certificates. Nigerians are suffering today because those in the position of authority are mindless crooks.
To sustain Nigeria’s anti-corruption crusade and democratic experiment, and for the society to develop there must be some form of social transformation.The EFCC and ICPC should be strengthened and empowered to thoroughly question any person who aspires to lead Nigeria. As currently constituted, the agencies lack the capability to tackle to the powerful political looters. Nigeria should fight corruption “like a devil” (Durant, p.249) it really is. Aunit of these agencies should be established in every state and local governments in the federation; and a special court should be established in every state for expedited trial of any person or group fingered for corruption.
The future and development of Nigeria depends on the effectiveness of the agencies entrusted to fight corruption. The society needs the like ofNuhu Ribadu in government to tame bribery and corruption, which has tarnished the image of Nigeria and stalled her development. With his unparallel zeal and vigor Nuhu Ribadu is the best thing that has ever happened to Nigeria. The people are again crying for justice. ChairmanNuhu Ribadu to the rescue! read more
The war against this killer disease is progressing positively around the world. But here in Nigeria the story is different, as with every other thing.
The International community has demonstrated more than enough resolve through their intervention agencies like USAID in fighting this scourge. Billion of dollars are being channeled for the war against this sickness in Africa, Nigeria inclusive. The National Aid Control Agency (NACA), is the local agency in charge of controlling the spread of this disease in Nigeria, also they receive foreign donations, coordinating the activities of all the various groups fighting the disease. All the efforts so far are being frustrated in Nigeria by the Nigerian factor and the unprofessional attitude of the healthcare workers. The National Aids Control Agency in charge of the various intervention efforts is presently clueless on how to resolve the various problems stifling the war, especially the stigmatization issue.
Not enough is being done to enlighten and sensitize our health workers about the dangers of stigmatizing person living with HIV. African analyst during investigations was shocked by the revelation of inhuman treatment the people living with HIV get from these ill trained health workers. A nursing mother that was confronted lamented bitterly about her experience in a public healthcare facility at Aba in Abia State during her pregnancy. According to her, the health workers were careful not to be close to her. They devised ingenuous ways of distinguishing her and others like her. First the personal hospital folder, for positive pregnant women is green, while the one for negative women is yellow. The bed sheets for the positive women are green and most times unwashed, while the negative ones are given white bed sheets. They also allocate to them different wards and labor rooms. They are even more technically in identifying the positive pregnant women to the negative ones by poking their mouths at them when they are not looking. They do this so the can avoid them. And the negative pregnant women respond by distancing and protesting any attempt to put them together in a room. This has led to most of the positive pregnant women going away to quacks for help. If this is not the height of callousness, tell me what is.
The people living with these virus, are going through a lot, their plight is not being positively addressed. The war on this sickness should be attacked in a two prong way. As we are availing the victims of the drugs, we should also be looking into their welfare. It is clear that for the drugs to act well, the people taking it must feed well, since the drugs are said to increase the craving for food. The issue of nourishment and welfare of victims is of paramount concern to us, because of our encounter with a person living with HIV that also belongs to a supporting group. A support group is an interactive meeting of persons living with HIV. This particular victim happens to be an executive of the support group. He said, for me I can effectively carter for myself, but what of the rest 80% of our members that cannot, you will notice that during our monthly meeting, members come so impoverished that you will only pity them; they are taking these drugs in an empty stomach, the situation is unacceptable. I am doing the little I can, when we come for our monthly meetings, at least to give them transport fare back home. He went further to say that there is need to add welfare to the strategy of containing this disease. These people are not looking for handouts, but assistance for them to start a business or learn a trade. Most are out of work because of their status.
Something quick need to be done, a change in strategy is really needed. I hope NACA is listening, they keep campaigning that people should come out and acknowledge their status. Those bold enough to do so are stigmatized and alienated to the point of frustration. We must be ready to tackle the consequences that could come out with these disclosures of status by people. More efforts need to be put into the training of our health workers, since they are directly involved in the realization of our collective efforts to reduce the number of casualties from this disease. All forms of illegal discriminations in our public health facilities must be identified and stopped. Perpetrators of stigmatization must be identified and sanctioned.
We must work closely with the various support groups to identify those in need amongst them in other to empower them.
This sickness is not a death sentence; victims must be assisted to live on. Stigmatizing them will only lead to their faster demise. read more