What in the World is Going On?

Leadership in many African countries is under huge scrutiny. From Libya in North Africa, to South Sudan, Congo Democratic Republic, down to Nigeria, Cameroon, Angola, South Africa and Kenya to mention a few.

Citizens are generally disillusioned by the quality of leadership they are experiencing, which stems  from issues relating to poor economic conditions, corruption, security, human rights violation, clannish nepotism and outright leadership incompetence being experienced in many of these countries.

The constitutional solution for the citizens, is to be patient, bid time and wait for the next round of elections, (which hopefully will be free and fair) to vote in new and hopefully more competent leadership. However, this has arguably proven not to be a meaningful solution. Just ask the average Nigerian Citizen for their opinion of this solution.

In light of this, and on a lighter note, isn’t it time we considered an outright outsourcing of leadership in some of these countries.? I have heard people argue about how they wished the colonialists waited a bit longer in some of these African countries before handing over power to the indigenes. They claim their countries would have experienced better development than they are currently experiencing. They compare pre-independence infrastructure erected by the colonialists with that put up after independence, and conclude that the earlier ones were of better quality and functionality. They compare the quality of the civil service, the military, education, health care, and general security. There is a strong argument that life was probably better during the colonial era. True/False?

Now, imagine these countries were blue chip business entities, with faulty unproductive management, stemming from several years of bad quality leadership; the share holders and promoters would be right to consider hiring or outsourcing some of the key roles and responsibilities to more competent hands outside of the company’s hierarchy, probably expatriate professionals. If this would work for them, why don’t we consider doing same for those countries that have been groaning for decades under the strain of poor leadership?

 Image: newsheadlines

Image: newsheadlines

In Nigeria today, there’s a great 'hue and cry' about the state of the nation under the present leaders. All sorts of solutions are being proffered for future leadership, however one very critical possible solution is yet to be proffered…OUTSOURCING LEADERSHIP!

Interested nations may consider outsourcing their leadership to proven statesmen and past leaders of other countries or organizations, who have excelled at high levels of leadership. It will clearly do away with local sentiments, clannish nepotism, and tribal favoritisms presently being experienced in such countries.
However, it should be noted that the constitutions of most countries do not permit non-citizens to vie for political positions. Such countries, will require constitutional amendments should they consider outsourcing key leadership positions.

This is clearly “Food For Thought”…

Greatness has proven to come out of “innovation” and “creative thinking outside the box”


 Image: frequencyleap

Image: frequencyleap


Terence McArthur

Comments Welcome

Are Youths Ready to Rule?

Just recently, the not too young to rule bill was passed into law. it is not just a big celebration for youths and millennials (like yours truly) everywhere, it also brings a first step to the statement, ‘let the children of the next generation rule.’ A statement I have heard for more than a decade and never seen to fruition till now. The bill enables youths from the age of 25 years campaign for a seat in State Houses of Assembly as well as the Federal House of Representative. It allows youths from the ages of 30, to campaign for governorship seats, and from the ages of 35 years, you can become President, PRESIDENT...I TELL YOU!

A big win for the youth, a step to a whole new revolution, but let us not get carried away by the euphoria of such a feat. There is a lot of work to do and a lot of realities to face, there are a few things our youth need to note, and I have questions that need answers.

 Image: allafrica

Image: allafrica

Are The Youths Ready And Equipped To Lead?

I brought up this question when I sat with friends recently, obviously they all said yes; I said nothing, but only smiled. How many youths do you know, who are mentally mature and intellectually equipped, to rule such sensitive positions at 25 years of age, this is not America where many youths at the age of 24 years may have finished their Masters degrees, and have had kids and are married. Nigeria is a different case, most youths have delayed school admission, due to dilapidated educational system; so give and take, many Nigerian youths have their first degree by the age of 26. Getting a job is competitive and tasking, but getting into the political elite class, is a different kind of wonder which could take years of lobbying and 'briefcase carrying' to get to.

Nigeria is currently very divided; it has been since the civil war, and even though I cannot leave out our politicians contributing to this, the present high levels of tribalism and ethnic rivalry is being agitated by the youths. The youths, are being used and are contributing to the civil unrest brewing in the country. Note that these are the same youths that want to rule the country, what an irony. Even if we have a candidate that fits all the criteria imaginable, our youths who are filled with regional, ethnic, religious and tribal opposition, will have issues coming together to support such a person, and our political elites know that.

Are Youths Not Corrupt?

If any youth believes that electing a youth with automatically end the trail of corruption, they are wrong. Corruption has existed as long as Nigeria has existed as a nation, and our elders, youths and children will grow knowing of its existence. Corruption does not only exist in politics, it exists in our everyday lives, it is hard to affirmatively say, that a “Youth President” will not be corrupt, because just like those before him or her, they are Nigerian and human.

Are Our Leaders of Old Ages Past Going to let Go?

There is a massive elephant in the room, and that is the facts that not all our political elites want to let go of power, and not all of them were in support of the bill, is proof enough that there are people who will not want to see this work. Hopefully the youths will see this as a challenge, not another reason to protest.

What is Next For Our Youths?

The Bill has become law, so the ball is firmly in the court of our youths….what is the next move?  Are we running for 2019 presidential elections, or 2023? Do we have a candidate in mind? Please do not give me all these celebrities, with more than 1 million followers on Instagram, or the children of existing Political elites. Can we come up with exposed, well spoken, and creative minds for candidates. Those who have reputations of respect for people’s belief, religion, and criticisms. Do you have a party name in mind? What are the ideologies? We the youth need to prepare, otherwise this golden opportunity might be lost.

 image: enca

image: enca

I might get a lot of flak for being a bit pessimistic, and jumping in this way, but I believe in proper planning and actions. I asked these questions so we as youths can realise we have a long way to go. Let’s get to it.

So do you agree? Are the youths ready to rule? 

Let me know in the comment box...


This is Faith Nte for The Street Hawker and this is my impression


Sebastian Kurz, 31, became the world's youngest national leader when he was elected prime minister of Austria in October 2017. Formerly the country's youngest-ever foreign minister, Kurz is a staunch advocate of tighter restrictions on immigrants and refugees and his election as the head of the conservative People’s Party marks a rightward shift in Austrian politics.

Kim Jong-un, who succeeded his father as supreme leader of North Korea in 2011, is just 33. He has continued to brutally repress opposition within the closed-off country and escalate testing of its nuclear missiles.


Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, 36, is the Emir of Qatar — a post he took over in 2013 from his father, who took power from his own father in a non-violent coup 18 years prior.


Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 37, is the fifth king of Bhutan — a position he took on when he was just 26 and his father abdicated the throne. Wangchuck oversaw the institution of the country's new constitution in 2008, and is encouraging democratization.

Macedonian Prime Minister Emil Dimitriev, 38, took power in January 2016 after his predecessor, Nikola Gruevski, agreed to step down following protests against Gruevski for alleged mass wiretapping of Macedonian officials.

Saleh Ali al-Sammad, 38, is the leader of the Houthi militants, who control much of Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa. (The US is providing support to the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis, and Yemen also has a separate provisional government with a president and prime minister.)

Jüri Ratas, 38, became the prime minister of Estonia in November 2016 and is the leader of the country's Centre Party, a centrist, socially liberal and populist political party.


Volodymyr Groysman, 39, is Ukraine's youngest ever prime minister. He was elected by Parliament in April 2016 and is a close ally of the president, Petro Poroshenko, who took power in 2014 following the ousting of the Russian-backed authoritarian Viktor Yanukovych.

Emmanuel Macron, 39, became France's youngest-ever president in May 2017 after founding a centrist political movement, En Marche!, or Onwards!, a year prior. Macron was previously economy minister under Socialist president François Hollande, and calls himself "of the left," but open to ideas from the right.

Are We Losing Oil Power?

Guess what? Nigeria is no longer the largest producer of Oil in Africa.

I wish this news came as a shock to me, but it really does not. Earlier this year, OPEC (Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries) wrote on their site that Angola had replaced Nigeria to become the highest oil producer is Africa.

When I was studying for my Masters Degree, in one of my courses, we were placed in teams and told to research Africa’s natural resources. I was quite excited.

 Image: khelomcx

Image: khelomcx

One, I was the only black and female African in my Cohort. Two, being Nigerian, I naturally looked into a resource I could readily relate to Nigeria - Oil i.e. Petroleum. Even then, when we started the research into the oil Industry, it was obvious that Nigeria was not going to hold that position much longer.  According to an OPEC report of February this year, Angola’s currently produces 1.651 million barrels per day (bpd), compared to Nigeria’s 1.576 million-1.604 million barrels per day, however what I found more surprising in the article, was that Nigeria had just regained the status of top oil producer from Algeria in December 2016, then lost it less than two months later to Angola.

Now that we have gotten this out of the way, it is important to note that this article is much more than having a title, it is not even more about maintaining it, because just like Nigeria, Angola gets most of its country’s revenue from exporting oil. It is the issue of we, (not just our government and political elite) not being unable to properly manage resources. It is an issue that for over 50 post independence years, we have not been able to harness the massive revenue from oil, to develop our nation, and also build and empower other sectors. Oil Well Owners consider oil a personal property, and are unable to understand the simple fact that Oil as a resource today, can become scarce or even less of a resource in the near future, and that there is a need to constantly invest in Research, Development and Innovation to find alternatives. Everyone should ask this question.

 Image: nolasia

Image: nolasia

If our oil wealth dried out, what is next?

Electric Cars have been out for years in more developed countries, we have also heard of cars made to run on water. We even have cars running on compressed air, being developed in countries that are traditionally Africa’s biggest buyers of oil. With all these alternatives, the demand for our oil will keep reducing; our leverage will also decline, and then what?

It is about time for a gathering of young intelligent minds to deliberate and formulate a way forward. Intelligent minds referred to in this write-up are not those who have certificates alone, or Directors, CEOs and MDs, looking to use and make money from other people’s ideas, I mean young people who realise that most of the people currently at the hem of affairs, will not be here, when we start facing challenges. As youths, we need to start collaborating and stop competing. We need to come together and create a sustainable future for us, and our generations unborn.  Please think about this, as I certainly will.

Share your thoughts, what can we do? lets brainstorm in the comments section

Thank You

My name is Faith Nte for The Street Hawker, and this is my Impression.


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A World Order in Coma?

At best Donald Trump has put a dampener on the so called new world order.  At worst he is simply killing it!

I'm really not surprised, especially as he came into office preaching "America first" and "America for Americans", basically advising everybody else to go help their own circumstances.

What ever happened to Ronald Reagan's Star Wars and his new world order? His, was truly going places, which is more than you can say about the Trump administration thus far.

Under President Trump's watch, the U.S Intelligence agency recently upset their British counterparts by the leakage of sensitive intelligence material concerning the Manchester bombing to the press. Thereby attempting to compromise the subsequent investigation; though Trump has since apologized. Earlier, President Trump himself had upset a number of US allies by discussing sensitive intelligence on ISIS with the Russians, and potentially exposing the identity of an Israeli mole working with ISIS.

Can we say President Putin of Russia may be one to look up to, somewhat? Up till now, he has stayed in the shadows, playing a delicate game with the Americans in Syria, and yet another game using his little ‘cousin’. North Korea.

 Image: The Nation pk

Image: The Nation pk

North Korea has been a different kettle of fish. Insular as they present a throwback to the cold war days!  Economically unlike their brothers in the South, they have been counter-productive. We have not seen much manufacture goods coming from them. Purely military hardware and constantly threatening fire and brimstone, thereby destabilizing the entire region!

It appears President Trump is Operating from an "in your face" standpoint, regarding North Korea, even "threatening" to visit North Korea! More realistically, he is trying hard to get China to rein in the North Koreans. Again It may turn out to be a case of one insular country, North Korea against another one the US, attempting to go insular Trump style! It’s interesting for It is not in the American character to cut an insular pose.

Though Russia has not been able to make an economic impression on the world, like China has; its traditional strength has always been in the military and intelligence gathering. President Putin in this aspect now seems to be master of the game!

Up till now we can't really put a finger on what America's foreign policy under President Trump really is.

It appears the President would rather "roll with the punches", preferring to take things as they come.

Finally, you need to ask, where is Africa in all of these? We seem to be lost in space as we fight our own peculiar economic demons. The ‘Global Village’ now only ‘village’ with the Global knocked off, is fast reducing, and the gap between the Tesco market and our local market is much wider. We definitely no longer belong to the same market. More so now that President Trump insists on “everybody for himself, God for us all!”

- Barr. Stephen Olu Aluko


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Leading in Challenging Times

“The strongest oak tree of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It's the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.” (Napoleon Hill)

A lot of people will invest in a crystal ball if it comes with a guarantee of foreseeing the future. With the situation currently facing us – falling oil prices, shifting market trends, increased competition, demanding stakeholders, economic crisis, security issues, layoffs, personal hardships, among others – most would just want to know when all these would end, or at least be under control. Increasingly people become concerned for their future; often they turn to their leaders for information, guidance, and direction. Leaders are then faced with the two-fold challenge. First, watching the bottom-line, and second, nurturing the individuals.

 Photo: quietrevolution

Photo: quietrevolution

What, then, is a Leader to do?

Leaders are constantly called to provide direction even during tranquil times, but faced with adversity, there is a more urgent call to provide keener strategic focus for the organization. Challenging times magnify failure a hundred-fold, resulting in grave consequences, thus leaving less room for missteps. It is in this state that the dual leadership challenge is rightfully addressed.

It would be close to impossible to harness the synergy of the entire organization if it is unclear where the organization intends to go. With that in mind, the leader is tasked with crafting and championing the vision – the desired future state, and disseminating the same to each and every individual employed, or contracted, by the organization. The values of the organization – how the vision will be achieved – should also be strengthened.

Work with Dimensions

Another great help for leaders is to work with competency-based integrated human resource systems. For this purpose, competencies, or dimensions, are descriptions of clusters or grouping of behaviors, motivations, and knowledge related to job success or failure under which new data on motivation, knowledge/skills, and behaviors can be reliably classified. Competency-based systems provide a highly-effective way to measure and guide individual and group performance. The strength of implementing an integrated system during challenging times lies in having an objective and stable measure to anchor and guide performance.

Leadership Roles

The leader would do well to take on several roles – simultaneously or at different points in time. These roles range from being navigator to strategist to change driver to enterprise guardian, among others. Individuals comprising the organization look up to all these roles to lead them and their organization towards success. Most especially during times of adversity, there is a need for leaders to quickly and flawlessly shift from one role to another. Indubitably, many organizations with intractable and non-agile leaders have suffered bitter fate.

In today’s turbulent economy, leaders need to become more resilient at handling the extremely high demands of their jobs and the ever-changing business landscape. The following seven principles will help you sharpen your leadership skills so that you’ll be better equipped to handle any challenge that comes your way.

Clarify your Direction
Direction consists of where you want to end up, both personally and professionally. It provides purpose, energy and hope, along with a criterion for making decisions. Clear direction, personally and organizationally, provides the energy needed to overcome obstacles. Unfortunately, the stresses of work and life cause many people to lose sight of their direction.

To clarify your direction, imagine how you’d like your work and life to be five to ten years from now. What are you doing? Who is around you? Where are you? What do you feel proud of? Then do the same for your business.

 Photo: cmdhorizon

Photo: cmdhorizon

Step into your Incompetence
One of the greatest challenges of leadership is that although a leader may want others to perceive him as some extraordinary leader who has all the answers, the reality is that leaders do not have the answers; rather, they are adept at finding the answers and then moving forward.  Finding the answers and stepping into your incompetence takes courage. A good way to push yourself to take the leap is to sign up for projects that will force you to stretch and learn new skills. Ask others on the project team to hold you accountable for your results. Use the experience to force yourself to grow.

The same concept holds true for the business itself. Look at avenues in which the company can expand. Are there risks the business needs to take? Can you enhance a current service or product? Is there a business growth issue you’ve been avoiding? Let your direction stretch your capabilities.

Revisit your Values
If you were to lose your title, your office and your car, who would you be? Some people feel empty when the external trappings are gone. They have engrossed themselves in their work for so long that they have forgotten what they stand for and what is really important to them.

Values, which can include things like integrity, financial stability, family, community involvement, meaningful work, innovation and personal development, play a key role in defining who you are. You need to clarify your values so you can stay true to yourself when you face difficult decisions. You must also examine how your behaviours support your values. After all, it is one thing to say you value honesty; it is another to take a stand in the midst of a business decision that would benefit you if you were dishonest. Only when your values and actions are aligned can your company grow and attain results that matter most.

 Photo: hrdailyadvisor

Photo: hrdailyadvisor

Develop a Learning Mindset
How do you approach obstacles? Do you see them as burdens and inconveniences or as opportunities? This question is important because your mindset regarding challenges plays a big role in your future success.

"Oh no" leaders view everything as an attack on themselves. They spend their time protecting themselves and blaming others. "Oh well" leaders take the challenges in stride and do the needed work, but they overlook the long-term benefits of the experience. "Oh wow" leaders respond to the event with interest and learning rather than judgment and blame. They ask "why" and "how" questions in order to use the event as an opportunity to better themselves. These leaders are in the habit of asking themselves, "What can I learn from this experience?" Strive to be an "Oh wow" leader.

Maintain and Improve Relationships
Every leader is aware of the high costs of losing contact with his or her customers. But they may ignore some of the key relationships in their personal lives. Schedule time for friends and family, then take your relationship-building skills a step further by encouraging your staff to follow your lead. Encourage your team to maintain contact with customers, suppliers and partners. Make yourself accessible to your team to prove that you value relationships and are there to help.

Increase your Knowledge/Skills
Most importantly, develop your communications, problem-solving and resiliency skills. Useful training opportunities include how to lead change, how to delegate tasks and empower employees and how to communicate effectively. In addition, consider exploring an area of interest like pottery or music.

Encourage ongoing learning in the workplace. As your company adds or removes operational layers or departments, everyone will need to know how to change and develop new skills. Some learning only requires that you give team members the time to work together. Broader issues may require investing in training for a particular department or for the entire organization.

Take Action
Proactively making decisions and moving forward in spite of uncertainty requires courage. Clearly identify any issues you may be avoiding, confront them and then take action to overcome them. If you make a mistake, learn from it and carry on. Once you take the first step, you begin a learning cycle for yourself and your business that continues as you and your company grow.

Organizations do not change until leaders change. And, you can’t become a better leader if you are unwilling to face your doubts and weaknesses.


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Olusegun Awolowo, CEO Nigeria Export Promotion Council; Strategic Leadership in Challenging Times

“The strongest oak tree in the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It's the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.” - Napoleon Hill

Leaders will invest in crystal balls with a guarantee of foreseeing the future. When countries are  faced with economic challenges such as falling oil prices, shifting market trends, increased competition, demanding stakeholders, economic crisis, security issues, layoffs, personal hardships, among others – most would just want to know when all these would end, or at least be under control. Increasingly people become concerned for their future; often they turn to their leaders for information, guidance, and direction. Leaders are then faced with the two-fold challenge. First, watching the bottom-line, and nurturing the populace.

Following the crude oil price slump, the country has been inadvertently forced to enhance its non-oil exports for increased revenue. The responsibility for this falls on some ministries and parastatals, such as Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), which was established in 1976 by the Federal Government of Nigeria to make the world a marketplace for Nigerian non-oil products, with a mandate to spearhead the diversification of the economy by increasing non-oil exports for sustainable economic growth.

The objective of the council is to diversify the productive base of the Nigerian economy away from oil and foster a market-oriented, private sector-driven economy.

Its responsibilities include promoting the development and diversification of Nigeria’s export trade, promoting the development of export related industries, promoting the implementation of export policies and programmes of the Government, spearheading the creation of appropriate export incentives, coordinating and monitoring export promotion activities in Nigeria.

Our Interview with the Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo sheds more light on the role of the organization in improving non-oil export revenues, its plans in achieving the objectives, and the successes so far (For Full Interview, see Special Features Segment of the The Street Hawker App/Website)

In this segment, we commend NEPC, The CEO, & The Team.  Olusegun Awolowo, the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC). NEPC is the Federal Government’s agency for the development and promotion of non-oil exports to expand Nigeria’s economy. He heads a staff almost 400 strong operating in 15 zonal offices throughout Nigeria as well as the corporate headquarters in Abuja.

So far, NEPC has increased international markets for Nigerian goods and services, which have resulted in accelerated growth of non-oil exports and improved global trade relations.

The Council has developed strategies and initiatives for diversification of the economy and accelerate growth in Nigeria’s non-oil exports, the flagship program is the “Zero Oil” plan.

The “Zero Oil” plan provides a roadmap to replace oil as the major national foreign exchange earner through carefully conceptualized interventions. The plan is one of the key components of the country’s recently released Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. The goal is to grow national earnings from non-oil exports first to US$8billion and eventually US$25 billion.

The “Zero Oil” plan also aims to diversify the country’s export base away from exporting raw commodities to value added products, increase participation of SMEs in export trade by 50%, achieve $706 million in non-oil export to the West Africa Sub- region and create 1.5 million new jobs in the SME sector by 2020.

The Plan

  • Selecting export products (Palm Oil, Cocoa, Cashew, Sugar, Rice, Cement, Iron ore/metals, Auto parts/cars, Aluminum, Petroleum products, fertilizer/Urea, Petrochemical and Methanol) to ensure that sufficient income can be earned to replace lost national revenues within a reasonable investment cycle.
  • National Strategic Export Products (NSEP): A plan to diversify the Nigerian economy through the exportation of 13 strategic products that can earn Nigeria foreign exchange and are capable of replacing oil.
  • One State One Product (OSOP): A strategy that challenges all 36 states in Nigeria to develop at least one key exportable product through the value chain based on their comparative advantage.
  • Nigerian Diaspora Export Programme (NDEX): An initiative meant to leverage on the strength of the millions of Nigerians in the diaspora living outside of the country.

His goals are to shift Nigeria’s focus from exporting raw produce to value added products that increase revenue and value, create jobs and of course, improve lives. Mr. Awolowo believes the diversification of Nigeria’s economy away from oil, is the only way forward. Nigeria must continue its drive towards industry by supporting and promoting the development of budding entrepreneurial exporters.   

Segun Awolowo

Prior to joining the Council in 2013, Mr. Awolowo held various positions both in and out of the Nigerian Public Sector. A lawyer by trade, he was called to the Nigerian Bar in December of 1989. He began my legal career by working with Abayomi Sogbesan & Co. SAN and GOK Ajayi & Co. SAN. He then had the opportunity to serve in various positions in President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration, first as Special Assistant on Traditional Institutions then Legal Due Diligence and Legal Matters, during which he covered a wide range of legal issues for Mr. President.

In 2007 he joined the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) serving first as the Secretary for Social Development Area Councils then later as the Secretary of Transport. As the Secretary of Transport Mr. Awolowo played a significant role in evolving a Master Plan for an efficient urban transportation system in the FCT. His experience at the highest level of the Nigerian Government has exposed him to national policy making across the country.  He is married with three children.


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Is Africa Equipped To Join The Rest of The World? - Melford Ita

Africa “Zou Chu Qu,” Chinese for “Swarm Out”

Is Africa equipped to join the rest of the world and be accounted as worthwhile?  Can its nations have vibrant economies, or are they condemned to perpetual poverty, political and economic insignificance, “Kundun” is a 1997 film directed by Martin Scorsese, written by Melissa Mathison. It is based on the life and writing of the Dalai Lama – Tibet’s exiled political and spiritual leader. In the film, the young Dalai Lama is asked, what are the causes of suffering? He looks thoughtfully at a rat drinking water from a goblet, and answers; firstly, one understands that he/she causes much of his/her own suffering needlessly. 

Secondly, he/she looks for the reasons for this in his/her own life.  To look is to have confidence in his/her own ability to end the suffering. Finally, a wish arises to find a path to peace because all beings desire happiness; all wish to find their pure selves.

Each day, you are likely to read or view a report that a far-flung foreign entity; government, aid agency, group and even individuals are going to partner with Nigeria, pledged or donated several billion Naira to tackle one shortfall or another in Nigeria. Commendable, but against the backdrop of these unending reports, here are the facts; in Nigeria if you want a steady supply of electricity, buy a generator.  Regarding roads, you are at the mercy of the potholes and whatever else maybe out there. Alluding to safe drinking water, there are no guarantees, and the list goes on. 

 photo: pintrest

photo: pintrest

Objectively, it could be argued that it took the Highly Developed Countries (HDCs) many years to get to where they are today, but considering the gains made by many African countries since independence, one can only wonder what is inherently wrong with Africa? According to reports in 2006, the European Commission intended to launch the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF) with a contribution of up to 80 million euro over 4 years, starting with 15 million euro. Purportedly, the GEEREF is a 100 million euro global risk capital fund proposed by the European Commission to boost energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in emergent countries. Set up in 2007 as a global public-private partnership offering new risk sharing and co-funding options for various commercial and non-commercial investors, the scheme would support regional funds for sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific Island States, Latin America, Asia, North Africa and other European Union (EU) neighbouring countries. European Commission’s Environment Commissioner said the GEEREF underlines the Commission’s commitment to assist emergent nations invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency, which will bring clean, secure and affordable energy supplies to the 1.6 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity. His colleague, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said lack of access to energy is a major obstacle for regions that already experience problems in accessing capital. The GEEREF can mobilise private investments and become a real source of development, particularly in Africa, he added.

Yet, how often have we seen agreements, conventions, treaties and co-operatives promise much but delivered little; from the initiative offered by the European Parliament in response to the Rio Earth Summit process, to the National Indicative programme, World Trade negotiations, the Fourth Lomé Convention, and Regional Economic Partnership Agreements. Moreover, when many of these schemes were brought into question, talks usually fell apart leaving an unresolved state of affairs, which ultimately sent many developing countries down a slippery slope.

Nevertheless, I worked tirelessly to deliver the GEEREF to the Nigerian people.  Today, you cannot get a straight answer on the GEEREF; repeated calls to reach the Commission’s Environment Commissioner and his colleague Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, for comments have fallen on deaf ears, allowing for a conceivable deduction that sub-Saharan Africa remains a lesser priority. 

An old African adage says a man who was once tossed by a buffalo, on seeing a black ox, thought it was another buffalo. Subsequently, despite claims by the European Commission, that it is committed to a partnership with emergent and transition countries, clearly, development wished by others is inferior, and comes if at all at a snail’s pace.

Africa continues to face many development challenges.  Many of its states are weak, with mostly basic economies at best and hardly any value added before export.  Similarly, the manufacturing base; power, i.e. energy, transport, roads and communications infrastructure are under strength, along with Managerial and skilled-worker capacity. 

Recently, a CNN production entitled “Trapped,” aired in Germany.  The production featured aspects of human trafficking in Nigeria, including wretchedness and destitution; it was heart rending.  Poignantly, why do Africans in alarming numbers [often placing themselves in grave danger] continue to migrate to Europe, and elsewhere?

Is Africa equipped to join the rest of the world and be accounted as worthwhile? 

Can its nations have vibrant economies, or are they condemned to perpetual poverty, political and economic insignificance?

Certainly, Africa can be turned around and made to compete with the best in the world, but to overcome inertia will require mettle, a total change in thinking and behaviour. Feed a person today, tomorrow he/she will be hungry again. One way of transforming lives is through job creation – putting people to work.  Disbursing financial resources to fight malaria, HIV-AIDS, or saving children’s lives is welcomed, but imagine the impact on a family, if parents can be employed, children go to school, and they can buy the drugs themselves to fight the diseases.  Is that not a wonderful opportunity, is that not the way forward?

Against all odds, numerous African women have developed businesses – some of them world class.  A Nigerian entrepreneur makes children’s clothes, which she started as a hobby and has now grown into a business; to a stage where she even got an order from Wal-Mart, for 10,000 pieces. Similarly, a Rwandan national opened a flower business and is now exporting to the Dutch auction in Amsterdam, each morning.  She employs 200 other women and men to work with her. These are shining examples that Africa has its share of stoic, capable, focused and diligent people.  Regrettably, many others with entrepreneurial talents are cash-strapped and entangled in a vicious cycle of ill-advised policies underpinned by lack of vision, greed and corruption.

There is no harm in reasoning outside of a box; in fact, this should be encouraged because business environments are constantly evolving. 

The bulk of money used by the least empowered groups to operate their micro-businesses comes from friends, family members, or distant but concerned persons, interested in some little margin of income at a due period.

Micro-finance Executives ought to be given the opportunity and necessary support to articulate the broad range of financial services available to people excluded from conventional banking. 

Did you know that growth in the micro-finance sector could help redirect lending patterns, and if micro-finance lending survives in Africa, micro-finance institutions stand to realise significant windfalls? 

A Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) estimates that over 500 micro-finance banks will be needed for the drive; this implies remarkable opportunities that can transform lives.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can be a catalyst for change. It is globally driven and by taking into account local peculiarities and stakeholder expectations, CSR seeks to define and encourage acceptable corporate behaviour. Besides, owing to its multifarious influence on socio-economic development and world peace, social responsibility cannot be ignored.  To this end, more CSR intervention is needed. 

However, I am acutely aware, that given the inadequate structured administrative governance and due process in Africa, issues requiring social responsibility interventions are enormous. Nevertheless, relenting is not an option; there are creative and non-confrontational ways to achieve desired results.

Empirical evidence shows that electricity is vital for development and enough has been written about this to fill a library. 

From the small bakery to hair and beauty salons, Internet cafes, hospitals, welders, hotels, ice-block vendors, manufacturing, or service industries, these groups continue to commit huge financial resources towards generators, fuel and maintenance services; money that could have been ploughed back into growth and development.

Look at the simple chewing stick; it remains a largely untapped industry. Chewing sticks could be standardized for local consumption or even export, but then one is faced with an emerging environment issue; cutting of trees to produce chewing sticks, but even this can be countered by embarking on massive tree-planting campaigns. This is clearly a win-win scenario; whilst the environment would benefit through greenhouse gas reductions, and income-generating jobs would be created, you still need reliable electricity.

Georg W. F. Hegel [1770-1831] believed the various periods of the world’s history are manifestations of an “absolute mind” striving to realise itself in a state of perfection. Moreover, the character and actions of all individuals are determined by their own culture, preceding cultures and historical events, Hegel added. Karl Marx [1818-1883] held a view that human characters and actions are economically and socially determined by an evolutionary process led from early agrarian economics, through monarchies and feudalism, through the rise of the middle class and industrialism, to capitalism and eventually to socialism.

Should we reject Hegel’s comment about an “absolute mind” striving to realise itself in a state of perfection, his remark that the character and actions of all individuals are determined by their own culture, preceding cultures and historical events, is incisive.

Nigeria is a very dynamic country with very dynamic people. For this reason, predicting which way the future will turn is difficult.  Nevertheless, there is some comfort in focusing more on precedence.  Lately, whilst many sectors opened up and have done remarkably well, others are beginning to understand Nigeria’s economic potential. I am inclined to think that perhaps in a few years we will see many interesting developments.

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The Legacy of Colonialism - The Economy, Civil Service & Education - Hon. Funke Adedoyin

Our Economy Today

The private sector is decentivized  by its own government which on the one hand is pushing it out of the market yet extracting more from it via taxation! 

The price of powering the manufacturing sector- has tripled in the last 6 months- diesel has gone from 95N to 270N per liter.

With an international recession and low international oil prices, and the oil industry unable to meet its quotas due to civil unrest in the South South, an entire region displaced by religious unrest in the north east, agriculture disrupted by the activity of herdsmen, increases in criminal activity by the newest craze of kidnapping for ransome, an ineffective internal security mechanism, a private sector earning less and expected to give more in an extremely hostile operating environment- the economy is under massive strain.

The incentives necessary to stimulate the economy are simply not being provided.

In any case, we never implement more than 65% of any budget-ever! & less than 20% of the 2016 capital budget had been released as at December! Let's for a moment ignore whether the budget is good or bad, we are still designing wish list budgets that are simply not being implemented.

Hon. Funke Adedoyin, Member House of Representatives, 2017

Let's look at some very critical areas of what I call the legacy of colonialism; the Economy, the Civil Service and Education. We ought to examine the economy or the economic structure that we inherited, as it is the biggest legacy of colonialism. I shall first take an overview of the broad aspects of our economic structure, to get a clearer picture, and to gain an understanding of how this issue drives the everyday socioeconomic lives and conduct of our nation. 

 Photo: Nigerianeye

Photo: Nigerianeye

While it is true that the Nigerian economy is mainly dependent on oil, that oil is not linked to the lives of Nigerians generally, and the benefits of the oil boom has not been incorporated into our development, nor has it had an appreciable impact on real growth in the economy. To gain adequate understanding of the root cause of this situation, we must look at the origin of an organized economic system in Nigeria. Prior to independence we didn’t really have a ‘nation’; for many centuries we had Kingdoms, which had some rudimentary monetary & fiscal management mechanism and budgetary system. Tithes were collected (sometimes forcibly), taxes were paid to the king, and people farmed or fished; there were artisans also, and they all made provisions for the upkeep of the kingdom, palace & the royal household.

Spoils of war provided a boost (at a price), to depleted treasuries (kingdoms raided other kingdoms to improve the kingdom treasury); this system was not regulated and it certainly lacked accountability, but it worked (or didn’t) and kingdoms flourished or diminished using these methods until we were colonized, and the colonial masters incorporated the traditional rulers into the system of government, and rulers began to earn salaries!

Under colonialism, we had a rudimentary type of budgetary system; our budgets were designed in White Hall, in the colonial or overseas office. The Nigeria budget was basically prepared as a subheading under the budget of the British Empire at that time, as part of the budget that the queen presented to parliament once a year. By the 1960’s, each region had fairly basic regional budgets, some presenting budgets which were more rigorous than others, and then, we developed a fad for “rolling plans”; plans of various time spans, which were largely just statements of our dreams, and not properly anchored on any resource base.   

 Photo: dpi

Photo: dpi

I was fortunate while at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic studies to on the economy of this nation in the last 30 years. It is sad to say that we have always produced incomplete budgets; from a study conducted in 1998, it was found that we didn’t have a proper budget that captured all the elements of our national economy until the Anthony Ani, the Finance Minister then, under the Abacha regime, who was the first Minister of Finance to produce a balanced budget that captured the major aspect of national economic life though it was incomplete in terms of details. 

Today, we have a budget that doesn’t truly capture every aspect of economic life; where funds that could be referred to as ‘hidden funds’, are deliberately excluded from the budget. In the years past, we did not have a precise figure for oil receipts, sales, amount consumed internally, revenue, or figures for outstanding payments; there were ‘dedicated accounts’, a great deal of secrecy, and lack of accountability in the process. Up till the advent of democracy, and till date, there are agencies, of government, which have internally generated funds which are earned and spent at the discretion of the management of those agencies.  We also have a large influx of foreign capital, in the form of aid, grants and donor assistance in cash and kind, which are not captured in any of our budgets.

A nation like Kenya gets 17% of its national budget on health in the form of aid and assistance, and so these figures referred to as donor assistance are not insignificant, but actually form a large chunk of total spend, impacts on money supply, on fiscal and monetary management. They also have a major impact on our ability to deliver ‘public good’. The monies and the activities to which they are directed ought to be planned, managed, and employed effectively.  Monies come into government ministries and agencies in forms such as assistance administered by small units and directorates, of which, even the Ministers sometimes do not know. Directors and Heads of Departments have direct access to donor partners and they design programs and projects, and they administer funds which may not come in time for the annual budget, but which certainly ought to be captured!

Our budget process is typically such that each Ministry presents a list to the Federal executive Council and the National Assembly, then the Ministry of Finance allocates a set figure- based on how much money is available to the ministries. Ministries haggle, pull strings and do everything possible to get as much as possible for its statements of intent.

Now, the accepted practice in modern economics is the separation of monetary and fiscal policies to regulate and manage the finances of nation. One of the major challenges that Africa, or should I say, Nigeria, has faced, has been that of balancing monetary and fiscal policies, thus different administrations swing from total concentration on monetary policy, and then, another one swing to total concentration on fiscal policy, which affects our capacity to regulate the economy. The economic structure of Nigeria is designed based on extractive industry; the colonials extracted raw materials from this nation in the way of agricultural goods, produce, and minerals, and then they designed a transportation system that facilitated the evacuation of agricultural goods, and produce to the Western Europe for processing. We have continued that trend, and we have discarded agriculture, which has an impact on GDP, for oil which doesn’t. 

Every student of economics knows that to amass wealth, you either have to save and invest your income, if it’s from a single source, or you create multiple streams of income. The motivation of the colonialist was not to ‘develop’ our economy; but to develop theirs; so they created multiple streams of income for their economy by ‘trading’ with many of their colonies. They didn’t need (or desire) to develop an economic structure which had ‘balance’ in any of their colonies, because they used the colonies as one source, among many, for creating a multifaceted, diverse, value adding, and balanced industrial base for their own economy! They developed the structure for managing international finance, because they traded with other nations, particularly the United Kingdom. Our former colonial masters, then the biggest trading nation, had the biggest Navy in the world, developed an international commodities exchange, (and produce boards in the colonies) to regulate the prices of everything from gold to tea, and they controlled, supervised, regulated, and decided on all products from far away.

In effect, the economic structure we inherited was not that of a ‘nation’, but of a province! In other words, we are using a local government’s economic structure to direct a nation’s economic affairs!

When we had regional governments, each region developed a budget based on its inputs and outputs; as imperfect as those budgets were, they enforced a type of discipline. Each region relied on its areas of comparative advantage, its own productive capacity, and its GNP (the money it made) was reflected in its GDP (the productive capacity of its inhabitants as well as consumption and contribution of the resources employed in and generated within that region).

Unitary administration under a military government, coinciding with the increasing income from oil, led to a massive distortion of the already unstable economy of Nigeria. What we were spending or earning (GNP) had no correlation with the value we were creating (GDP). Money (in form of oil receipts) was an income the citizens had expended no energy to earn, and because we had not developed an absorptive capacity (i.e. we hadn’t grown the ability to use that money), we just poured it into whatever caught our fancy!

To make any progress from this distorted structures, we need to ask ourselves some tough questions “WHO, HOW? WHAT DO WE WANT TO BE?

What is our vision? What are we capable of doing to foster that vision? What do we have already? What do we need to acquire? How do we intend to acquire it? How much will it cost? How will we pay for it?

With all due respect to vision 2020, NEEDS strategy etc, we are still in a world of dreams!  We need to use what we have to get where we want to go.  Let us use oil & gas as an example; if we want to employ gas (which is our main endowment) and its associated mineral - oil, as a propellant to fostering real growth, that is, an improved standard of living for our people. We must do some serious accounting!  

Our scenario building must include concrete projects. A model of our income over 10 years may be adopted, to see how best to use these endowments to impact the areas which best contribute to GDP growth. We would also decide how many people we need (in terms of specialist knowledge) to own whatever project we believe best serves our desire to impact GDP, thenidentify, train, develop these people. Partnerships with the private sector, other countries, and the states will be required to fund and run the projects. For example, developing a world class petrochemicals industry (learning to add value to our “free” mineral endowment, and separating ourselves from the colonial model of being a raw material, one product nation) would impact every area of our national life – agriculture, housing, transportation, manufacturing! As far back as the 1970’s we had a well developed template for developing this sector,  which would have impacted everything from our finances to the environment in the Niger-delta; but we didn’t cost it, prepare for its, nor allocate, money for it. We just drew the template and thought that somehow it would transport itself from paper to reality!  

We cannot build a new economic structure by tinkering with a distorted legacy of colonialism, we have to abandon the old ‘income structure spending model’ and develop the ‘desired outcome/input/output model’. We must take each sector of the economy; education, transportation, agriculture etc, envision a desired outcome for each for each sector, for example, if the goal is universal primary education, we have to start from – what number of children do we want to be in schools by 2010?, What is the national distribution of these children? How many classrooms do we need and where? What skills do we want these children to be equipped with? How many teachers of what skill levels do we require? What are the issues that impact on attaining these goals? How do we allow for the impact? What do we have now?

Then, we plan, allocate the funding, and determine its effect on the building industry, the printing paper industry, and all the associated segments of the economy, we map it out, sell it to the states (get each state adopt a portion from the whole), allocate the funding necessary, provide the laws to back it up, and most importantly! – DO IT!!!  Track the progress, build in milestones, measure conformance, adjust in the face of emerging trends and challenges. 

No nation has developed by allowing its economy or economic structure to evolve; it has to be guided! But it can best be guided by a system that has an end goal in mind, and this end goal must be multifaceted and must foster public good and real growth, by contributing to the well being of the majority of its citizens; and its budgets, must be outcome based, not resource based, that is, based on a new model of planning for economic development and real growth

The gap between fiscal & monetary policy is what has created this ridiculous (& continuing) collapse of the Naira against international currencies! 

If the private sector is to grow the economy out of recession by increasing productivity, it cannot do that without cheap capital (interest rates for short/ medium term borrowing hovered at 20-25%) as well as access to foreign exchange for raw materials & machinery- since we have little to no local equipment manufacturing capacity.

 At the same time, government has grown to become the largest borrower of local funds as it continues to reduce foreign loans by increasing local debt- competing for, thus reducing available capital to the private sector. 

Yet the largest increasing source of internally generated funds at all levels of government, is taxation. 

Princess Funke Adedoyin, The Street Hawker Archive, 2008


Hon. Olufunke Adedoyin

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Gambia - Nigeria, Today & The Future - Barr. Kayode Ajulo, PhD


Gambia is a small country on the coastline of West Africa, sharing borders with Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. It is situated on either side of the Gambia River, which flows through the centre of the Gambia. Banjul is the Gambian capital, and the largest cities are Serekunda and Brikama.

 Photo: dailytrust

Photo: dailytrust

Among other African nations, Nigeria and Gambia, apart from being members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and African Union (AU), enjoy socio-political ties among others.  

Gambia is not endowed with so many mineral and natural resources, neither does it have a large agricultural base. Most of its population depend on crops and livestock, and cottage type manufacturing; mostly of peanuts, fish, and animal hides. The economy basically runs on foreign aid, and International Monetary Fund's management. 

Big Brother's Crisis

Big Brother, Nigeria, on the other hand, has retained the pride of being Africa's biggest in terms of population and strength of economy.  The country faces it's own myriad of domestic problems, including brutal insurgencies, poverty, and widespread corruption. Nigeria emerged as the largest economy due its population numbers and cultural strength, vibrant music and film industry, and by its peacekeeping role in West Africa.

Watchers say Nigeria's leaders lack a sense of awareness and purpose, and this has led to confused policies and blunders. This leadership snag overshadows other great developments and milestones being achieved in some sectors of the economy, especially in technology, fashion, music, sports (soccer), and the movie industry; much of which has had nothing to do with government planning, policy or promotion.

Nigeria's next generation has revealed that the country is destined to lead.

Weak leadership and governance, failures in regulations, bureaucracy and lack of goodwill is a barrier to Nigeria's development, creating a gap, and allowing corruption to thrive. All of these do not speak well for Nigeria as a leader of the continent. it must address its issues and repair its foundations.

Is Nigeria ready to get itself out its quagmire?

But hope, unlike faith, is premised on reason and justification.

The Relationship

Nigeria has often stood behind Gambia, same way it does for other African States, especially when economically or politically challenged. The Nigeria and Gambia relationship has often times provided the opportunity to discuss issues of common interest, and review bilateral relations for the purpose of strengthening their ties and promoting the countries' economic growth.

The two countries have had cause to examine areas of mutually beneficial cooperation, notably the areas of trade, energy, health, justice, maritime transport, education, air transport, and the combat of all forms of illicit trafficking. The countries also share interest in trade as regards relevant ECOWAS protocols and the aegis of South-South Cooperation. There were instances where Nigeria and Gambia have had agreements to re-energize their Joint Commissions, for diversifying and strengthening the cooperation in all the sectors, therefore maintaining regular consultations, which also include talks on education and capacity building, especially for the youth, by giving priority to the sectors of training, in order to ensure economic growth, creation of employment and harmonious integration of the youth. They also engage in talks concerning food security, energy, climate change, poverty reduction, and guarantee for sustainable development. Cooperation in the areas of investment promotion and development of small and medium enterprises are also not left out.

They have both maintained a climate of peace and understanding and palpable commitment to mobilize all the resources and energies to ensure the well-being of their peoples. One can virtually touch the dynamism, the exemplary comportment, level of organization and excellent integration of Gambian and Nigerian communities.

The Terms of relationship has also involved the political and socio-economic developments in the West African sub-region, as regards the world economic and financial crisis. It has understood the necessity to stimulate further, the regional integration through the promotion of trade and economic activities between the States, and the acceleration of the programme of integration in Africa, through harmonization of the Regional Economic Communities (RECS).

The Commitments

Concerning the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the countries work jointly on alleviating the suffering caused by hunger, diseases and illiteracy. They have recognized the need to speedup action towards all the goals by focusing on those that are most off-track, and those that face particular development challenges i.e. the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and countries affected by, or recovering from conflict or disasters.

Similar Political Crisis

The retrogressive leadership and virtual anarchy under a President who wants to reign forever in Gambia, can be compared to the situation in Nigeria in 1993, when the presidential election was annulled. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, was then president, and a military leader. 

The U-turn of President Yahya Jammeh on election results that was to replace him after 22 years of occupying the Gambian political space, in a manner similar to Babangida 's in June, 1993, did raise serious concern globally. His return to the public glare to reject/annul the result of the presidential election, which he once declared free and fair, made many Gambians, friends of Gambia, regional and global powers, ask questions about African leadership.

 Photo: voanews

Photo: voanews

In Gambia's self journey to the near political doom on the heels of Jammeh 's adventurous stance, is one evil tag that characterize politics and power in Africa; a bane and undoing which has largely contributed to the socio-economic ailments of the continent. Nigeria again rose to the occasion of the Gambia, despite her it's and buts in the garments of international assemblies.


Visionary leadership can transform a country, even a small country, like Gambia, without rich endowments in natural resources.

Gambia's new President, Adama Barrow, whose ascendancy the world worked for, and witnessed in the face of threatening domestic resistance, must not fail; he must not fail to take his people out of the protracted want and wailing.

One can only imagine the wonders that would take place, if Nigeria, with its wealth in huge natural resources is joined with visionary leadership.

Again...But hope, unlike faith, is premised on reason and justification.

Nigeria, one of the world's consequential players and Africa's big brother, the rest of the world and the rest of us, await the change Barrow brings. 

Dr. Ajulo is the Principal Partner of Kayode Ajulo & Co. Castle of Law, Abuja, former National Secretary of a leading Nigeria Political Party, Labour Party and Founder of Egalitarian Mission for Africa.

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Richard Mofe Damijo, An Industry Leader & Former Public Servant

Actor. Lawyer. Businessman. Public Servant

You did serve Delta State...for how long and in what capacity

Well, after serving my state for 8 years as both a special adviser for entertainment and talent and Commissioner for Culture and Tourism.

What are you up to now?

I am back to working in the creative industry and corporate communications.  

I have always had White Water, my company, which has maintained a presence in the corporate communications and public relations business.

Personally I consult on a wide range of creative subjects and intellectual property law. 

Also glad to mention, that I always manage to first throw myself into films, my real first love, anytime I get a break from corporate world or public sector.

So I have a massive cone back movie based on the struggles of the Niger-Delta people, called ‘Oloibiri’ it also stars Olu Jacobs, Taiwo Away Lycette, and young sassy rising star Ivie Okujaiye. It will hit the cinemas in August in Nigeria and the United States.

What was most challenging about Public Service?

The Challenge of public service for those of us who join as technocrats, is having to learn the politics of governance.  Striking a balance between your desire to hit the ground running, and the stifling bureaucracy was tough. 

Majorly the creative, cultural sectors and even tourism still take a back seat in the scheme of things; but there is hope yet.

The potential of the creative industry is enormous and hopefully successive governments will see the need to have proper budgeting for it than interventions every now and then. 

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

When I am not working, I spend time with my family. I travel a lot too.

I Read a good book; I am old school, I still prefer to turn the pages physically, on notebooks or kindle.

I live a healthier life style now. So I don't over-indulge in anything anymore.

Boring? U will be amazed what the healthier life style does for you. The choice it throws up.


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Our Concept of Leadership I

Looking at the linguistic origin, the term leadership has its roots in ‘lead’ which could mean:

-       To go forth, die

-       To be out there in front

-     To set the pace, to maintain social order

 Photo: tomtunguz

Photo: tomtunguz

Individuals or groups who go forth, die; be out there in front; set the pace or maintain social order are driven by passion –  passion for that which they cherish. It then goes to say, that having passion for what we are engaged in is a strong underlying current for progress and development of any kind. No longer should we wait for messiahs and super humans to take over the reigns of our governments. We are our own messiahs. In the space where you find yourself, what manner of passion have you?

Beyond the passion, leadership should never be devoid of strong morals and beliefs, therefore it must be value laden. No longer must we continue to exhibit moral laxities, corrupt tendencies and indiscipline in the tasks assigned to us no matter how little or insignificant they are.

A Prescriptive Concept of Leadership

- A definition and understanding of leadership must take into cognizance our cultural assumptions about leadership.

- It must be practical

- It should aim at social useful activities

- It must offer a broad definition of social usefulness

Leadership must mobilize: motivating, organizing, orienting, and focusing attention. It is not a position or a set of personal characteristics as it is often misconstrued. It is an activity.

Two Definitions to Compare

-       Leadership means influencing the community to follow the leader’s vision

-       Leadership means influencing the community to face its problems and resolve them.

In the first definition, the leader gets people to accept his vision. In this context, if anything goes wrong, it is the fault of the leader.

In the second definition however, progress on the problem is the measure of leadership. The people are mobilized by the leader to face problems. In this context, if anything goes wrong, it is the fault of the leader and the community.

It has been earlier stated that leadership is an activity – such a description allows for leadership from multiple positions in a social structure. In this situation both the president and the clerk can lead. All that is needed is are a variety of abilities, because personal abilities are the resources through which leadership can be applied differently. A citizen from any station can mobilize people to generate a socially useful outcome. Here the socially useful outcome must be something that meets the needs of both the leader and the led.

Leadership Truths

- Leaders are interdependent with followers

- Leaders always accelerate change

Leaders have a rock solid value system that is congruent with their followers

Thanks to globalization, we are in a new paradigm of society that requires new ways of thinking and acting. We therefore need new perspectives to the concept of leadership as individuals and as a nation.

Henry A. Agbonika is a freelance journalist and an alumnus of the Africa Leadership Forum, Ota. 

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Talk With Donald Duke, A Visionary Leader




Governor Donald Duke of Cross River State is one of the most daring people in the history of leadership and development in Nigeria. He has in no way settled for cheap targets, but has aimed at incredible projects and values for his state. We decided to listen more than talk; we needed to hear what he was not saying, to read between the lines of the drive and commitment that brought about the structural, social and economic developments in Cross Rivers State.

 Listening to him was with emotions of sadness and joy. Sadness because of the possibilities that lie in Nigeria, and joy for the seeming impossibilities that have been brought to life through projects that will be enjoyed by generations to come, that may never have been conceived because of the so called ‘Nigerian factors’.   

 There are a lot of laudable projects traceable to your administration. I think the development at Tinapa is awesome.

I still think the ranch is the most awesome of all the projects. The ranch is a true compliment between nature and man.

You like challenges. Where did that come from, and how do you sustain it?

I like dominating my landscape. I enjoy making things happen. I am passionate about creating economy in the state, we don’t have an economy. What you see going on now was conceived ten years ago, and I think I have had a unique opportunity to implement it.

I am not daunted by seemingly big things. Some people may be daunted by them and think they are not realistic. When I run through it in my mind and I think it can be done, I find a way of doing it. You need to go to the ranch and ride the cable car. We needed to do that to prove a point. Nobody believed it would work. Nobody!

The sheer development on the ranch, overcoming the challenges that are posed there, enhancing the beauty and keeping the city of Calabar clean were all things that no one thought could happen.

 There is a limit to how clean a Nigerian city could get but I said ‘No’ we are going to be the cleanest city in Africa, and I think we are there now.

How did that happen?

They knew I meant business. I mean I’ll come out of the car and pick dirt from the road and trash it. So after about three to four years, everyone just zeroed in, and now, it’s a thing of pride. If you noticed after the carnival, the last band was the clean–up band.

So by the following day, the city was back to normal. We’ve done that for the last four to five years and it works.

 So it’s in the leadership really

Yes! You got to show leadership. You’ve got to drive the bus, you can’t conduct. You’ve got to be on the driver’s seat and show passion for it otherwise you are just giving instructions, and because they don’t have the vision, and don’t know how far you want it to go. You say oh! I want the place to be clean, but their standard of cleanliness may be different from your standard of cleanliness, and they pick dirt and leave rubbles. To them, rubble is not dirt. It is rubble. “Oga say make I clean doti, e no say make I carry stone. You understand what I mean?

You’ve got to make them understand that rubble also is a nuisance.

 What about the values that has kept you going?

Just, a ‘can do’ spirit. I believe that we can be the greatest nation in the world, if we want to. We are where we are because we chose to be, but if you are daring, you will overcome your circumstance.

During my campaign, I said if I become president, you know we are sitting on five trillion dollars worth of oil in Nigeria, I will give Nigeria world class infrastructure with an incredible gas network. Any factory that needs gas to power will get it once in a year regardless of the amount of gas they consume, because you flare that gas anyway, so you get as much gas as you want.

What are the advantages? Your factories will be working because the greatest problem we have is power. They will be competitive because energy cost will be totally eliminated.

What are the social benefits? You reduce unemployment. You can just go on and on …

So for industrial application, gas will be free. You just bring your own plants and hook it up. And you would jump start the economy of the country.

I was in Kano the other day, the place is dead. Kano was the second largest industrial centre after Lagos. What is the problem? The power that all those factories use in Kano and were producing virtually everything – a lot of consumer items in Nigeria were produced in Kano are dead. And if you have this gas network, in 30 months, you would have the best road infrastructure built to the highest international standards.

With what we are doing now, we will never see it. It will not happen. You would not have the 20th largest economy by the year 2020. You’ve got to set the next five years to put world class infrastructure in place, and then come up with incredible and attractive tariffs.  Nigeria has such a poor reputation, so you just add a sweetener.

Why should I come to Nigeria?

Free energy. So, even if you are not producing for consumption in Nigeria. You want to come because it is cheaper to produce here.

You see these air conditioners, let them come in, but CKD, they must be assembled here to create jobs, because if this thing goes bad, I am going to buy new ones, you can’t fix them, no parts, nothing. You create jobs, you transfer technology, and you have spares.

 If you did that for a lot of our consumer items, you’ll create 2.3 million jobs a year easily, then getting the factories to work at optimum capacity, you would absorb easily another ten million people, then the spin – off from there again.

We are sitting on five trillion dollars! With 10 percent, we’ll give Nigeria rail, road, and gas network. The oil companies will be responsible for generating gas, power; you have one agency, NEPA, doing transmission get it to the state, give it to the state governments it is their business how they distribute it, and collect their revenues.

How do we get money back? We deduct it at source, so if Cross River State consumes 100mega watts of power per month, at the end of the month, we deduct it at the federation accounts, you go get it from the consumers. That is the way it will work.

So it makes it easy?

Look, when we came into office, Cross River State had only 15% on the national grid. Today, we are at 75%. If not for Tinapa, we would have been fully on the national grid. We have the highest in the country, and it’s not the Federal Government. It’s done by the state, but we can’t collect the revenues. So, the state has been responsible for all the distributions. Power generation can be privatised; the oil companies can do it easily so that all the money we are put into power will go into transmission only, so that the entire country is covered.

The federal government can use one transmission agency, and because transmission is interstate, when it gets to the states, they will charge and even make some money on it. Today, all the revenues from the rural electrification, goes back to the Federal Government. We never get anything, when the transformer breaks down; we have to fix it for them.

 We have a sad story. If you are not a Nigerian, looking out from the outside, you would be easily contemptuous of Nigeria. What has happened is that Nigeria has disappointed the world so many times. Hopes rise and crash. We are sitting on enormous wealth; I am not talking of gas; just oil. Roads, industries etc will jumpstart several others.

Culled from the TheStreetHawker archives 2007

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Our Concept of Leadership II

The ‘4 Es’ and values of leadership 

Envision: Having a vision then developing a plan

Enable: Creating systems and processes for action

Empower: Letting people achieve the vision

Energize: Motivating, selling and simplifying

 Photo: stmattpar

Photo: stmattpar

Values: Deeply held values and principles provide the road map for the way we lead and the way other people respond to us.

- Envision - Innovate fast

- Enable - Connect the knowledge

- Empower - Teach leadership

- Energize - Facilitate

All routed in a 100% congruent value system

Envision the change: If you can’t innovate fast, you can’t lead

Empower the change: If you can't connect people, you can’t lead

Empower the change: If you can’t teach, you can’t lead

Empower the change: If you can’t facilitate, you can’t lead

Thanks to globalization, we are in a new paradigm of society that requires new ways of thinking and acting. We therefore need new perspectives to the concept of leadership as individuals and as a nation.

Henry A. Agbonika is a freelance journalist and an alumnus of the Africa Leadership Forum, Ota. 

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Spending Executive Time



There are Many Currencies, the Most Expensive is the Time Currency; when lost it cannot be regained.

You don’t have to be an executive to place value on your time, which is the most valuable currency to spend.

Your success is actually tied to your ability to manage your time and set your priorities.

A professional would cost his time per hour, no wonder most services are charged per hour in many countries.

What do you do with your most prized asset?

You must figure out what you can delegate. Know the tasks that only you can do and those that could be performed by others, so that you can concentrate on those which leaders are required to perform, such as creative thinking, innovation, problem solving and making success.

 Photo: easyrock.com

Photo: easyrock.com

For example, being chauffeur driven may not be luxury for a busy executive when he needs to think, make calls, send emails, write messages, and a do whole lot of being on top of his game.
Time spent driving through traffic, getting worked up by angry drivers, parking, fueling, and so on could be spent on doing the stuff that keeps food on the table for the entire crew.

You don’t have to work too hard…work smart hard!

Don’t Waste Precious Time…


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Occasionally, it doesn’t rain but pours; it appears that there isn’t enough hours in the day. You are up to your neck, cranked-up and ready to yell.

…It is time to learn to manage yourself better. One way to resolve this is to prioritize so that you are more efficient, and less stressed.


 photo: assets.entrepreneur.com

photo: assets.entrepreneur.com

You cannot go wrong with a personal companion – a diary/calendar (it is a good alibi); it can serve for your lists as well.

Make your to-do-list daily and post scheduled appointments and tasks on the appropriate future dates (this is best for storing expiration dates) 

Arrange tasks consecutively (rather than trying to multitask. While the ability to multitask is a good skill, it has its stress factors)
It would help to prioritize...
Decide and arrange and your list in the order of - 

·         Urgent and important

·         Urgent but not important

·         Important but not urgent

·         Not important and not urgent

 photo: jollyguru.com

photo: jollyguru.com

Knock things out of your list progressively.
Now you can manage stress a little better.

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