OPINION: BEFORE YOU APPOINT THAT MEDIA ADVISER

By Ikenna Anene

It was Jim Morrison who said “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.”

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This, has been tested time and time over and it is the reason public entities ranging from Organisations, Politicians to Public figures, take the media very seriously. Hence the need for a personnel, whether a media consultant or an adviser; whose job is to manage their image and public perception.

They are officially the first point of contact for media (TV, radio, newspapers, online). They write media releases, press conferences and any other communications required. It could include maintaining an entity’s website, facebook page, twitter account and other social media platforms.

Media advisers also monitor the media, to see if the issues important to their client or principal are being mentioned, in case there’s a needs to clarify or make adjustments.

They’re usually the success or undoing of an organisation, government, political or public figure. Hence, they must be strategists who also understand the business of buying and selling; because in the end, it’s all about convincing the buyer and selling the product. It’s all about information management.

Making this selection is usually a daunting task, particularly for politicians and governments in this part of the world, who often turn to writers or commentators who have over time, built a reputation as popular or famous critics, instead of strategists and promoters. Better still, the OGAs compensate theirs cronies with the slot/job; clearly undermining the role.

These respected critics, usually carry along that attitude and modus operandi to their new engagement/assignment, focusing on perceived competitors or opposition. This is typical of an average media adviser in Nigeria at all levels, as they often put on the whole armour of sycophancy and pettiness and then set out to war.

Without being judgemental, all they do the whole time, is exchange banters with opposition in a bid to impress their principals, instead of promoting their activities and works; forgetting that it is the creative stories and pictures you tell and paint to the people, they will believe. Often times, they loose out to their opposition, why? people believe the wrong narratives creatively presented to them by these opposition and detractors.

It will be very unfair, if this piece forgets to resound that the job of a media aide in Nigeria or anywhere in the world, isn’t “moi-moi”; especially when dealing with a multi faceted and over expectant race like Nigerians. Indeed, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. However, greatness doesn’t come on a platter or to the feeble mind.

The job doesn’t come without its challenges, as media advisers always have to interface with intelligent and smart journalists, sometimes annoying ones who care less of the brown envelope. They also bear the brunt of churning out information on both expected and unexpected topics, and so resort to lies and deceit in many instances. One thing is clear in this age, surpressed truth will always and somehow find its way to the tabloids. People are also over expectant of them.

One is not sure, whether these information managers are genuinely carried away by the accompanying exposure, fame and monetary gains. Understand that it is only but a temporal outing. This consciousness is vital to the success that’ll be recorded.

Nevertheless, Mr media adviser, kindly also understand that your job is to creatively package your product/brand (principal) and sell same to the masses. A media adviser should promote, promote and promote; except ones has an empty principal, who has indeed refused to show working and this is the greatest challenge of a media any aide. Though a rare gift, one must be able to descern when to join issues with every piece of information from the opposing side and detractors.

One who really wants to succeed in this line of job, should never create a team of hungry sychophants, who will only do your bidding, always ready to write silly rejoinders without facts and never question the status quo. These set of people are your greatest enemies. Avoid them. Hungry but creative people, who have a mind of their own, will grow to become very stable; that’s great too.

Although the job expects one to constantly engage annoying with journalists, commentators and critics, one must also endeavour not to loose enjoyed goodwill to lies. There’s really nothing wrong with creatively telling the truth, even if it has to be half the truth.

Oga adviser, if you must lie, remember never to shamelessly tell lies of damaged furnitures and rodents. Never! It will finish off, whatever is left of your reputation and the people will never believe you.

While some school of thought, believe that the job of a media adviser, is to package roasted corn as shawarma and sell to the people. This piece is strongly in opposition. What happens when the corn is unveiled? Rather a roasted corn should be packaged and presented as the best roasted corn, so that even when it’s unwrapped, eaten and doesn’t turn out to be the best, it is corn still.

So, OGA, before you appoint Mr Special Adviser on Media, make sure you’re not an impossible task and then “shine ya eye”.

Do have a great day and week.

Ikenna Anene is a Media Entrepreneur/Strategist, Writer and Development Advocate.

 

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Nigeria treats us like slaves’ – but is Biafra the answer?

Leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu greets supporters in Umuahia

It is 50 years since Nigeria’s brutal civil war calling for the secession of Biafra started. By the time it ended in 1970 over one million people had perished. Now a new movement has emerged calling for independence. The BBC’s Tomi Oladipo explores its popularity.

Hidden high in the luscious, green hills of Enugu in south-east Nigeria, down a beaten track – under a sign that says leprosy colony – is the Biafran war veterans’ camp.

Like its location, residents there are verging on obscurity.

Four old men sitting on parallel wooden benches, propped up on metal crutches – swaying and chanting along to an old battle song.

They fought and were crippled in the bloody Biafran war.

“We went to that war with nothing, we went empty-handed,” says Francis Njoku. “Some held machetes, some had sticks. They [Nigerian forces] had machine guns.”

Mr Njoku, now 69, lost his kneecap in a gun battle.

It was a desperate fight for survival. But it ended in a ceasefire and Biafra became part of Nigeria again.

Biafra War veteran Francis Njoku

Biafra war veteran Francis Njoku: “Nigerians are maltreating us – like slaves”

 

At the end of the war, the Nigerian head of state General Yakubu Gowon declared there was “no victor, no vanquished” – this became the motto of reunification.

But for many people in the south-east, the reunion has been an uneasy one.

“If you come to Igbo-land you can see there is no development here,” says Mr Njoku.

It’s a common perception we heard many times here – that Igbo people are marginalised in a Nigeria that only serves the interests of the two other main ethnic groups – the Hausa and Yoruba.

Although government statistics show that poverty rates are far higher in the north than other regions, there are some genuine complaints.

In almost 30 years of democracy, Nigeria hasn’t had an Igbo president.

“We still need [Biafra],” says Mr Njoku. “Nigerians are maltreating us – like slaves.

It’s a strong sentiment and one that a new crop of activists is playing on. Among them a new leader has emerged.

Despite bail conditions saying he cannot speak to the press, Nnamdi Kanu invited us for an interview. He also invited his many supporters to greet us.

We were to meet in his father’s compound in the south-eastern town of Umuahia – the last bastion of the Biafran state before its surrender.

As we approached Umuahia it was clear that the crowds were there for our benefit.

We had arranged the interview the afternoon before and in that time he had gathered up to 1,000 people – they surrounded his father’s compound waving huge striped flags, carrying the Biafran symbol of a half-rising sun, and foghorns – chanting their support under the pouring rain.

Senior government and police officials live a few hundred metres away but no attention was paid to their presence.

The cheers escalated to roars as they spotted Mr Kanu emerge onto the balcony of the house with his fists raised.

Nnamdi Kanu with cheering crowd

He has gold and black cloth wrapped around his shoulders and a matching gold cap on his black suede designer loafers. “They’re calling for Biafra,” he says softly, with a smile.

All of this for a cause that has him facing treason-related charges in court.

“Basic human development, basic economic development, basic social development, can no longer be attained for the simple reason that there exists in the polity mutual suspicion, mutual hatred, mutual resentment,” he says.

“So the best thing to do is to separate.”


Biafra at a glance:

States claimed by Ipob for an independent Biafran state

IPOB claims these existing states would make up an independent Biafra

 

  • First republic of Biafra was declared by Nigerian military officer Odumegwu-Ojukwu in 1967
  • He led his mainly ethnic Igbo forces into a deadly three-year civil war that ended in 1970
  • More than one million people lost their lives, mostly because of hunger
  • Decades after Biafra uprising was quelled by the military, secessionist groups have attracted the support of many young people
  • They feel Nigeria’s central government is not investing in the region
  • But the government says their complaints are not particular to the south-east

Mr Kanu is calling for Biafran independence through a referendum.

“We just want to control our political destiny so we can build factories, [build] our roads, cities, bridges, not having to depend on somebody in [the capital city] Abuja.”

The Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) movement that he leads believes an independent region will resolve the issue of the marginalization of the Igbos but they also want to bring the non-Igbo, oil-rich Niger Delta into the breakaway state.

They insist it was part of the original Biafra.

“Should any other part of Nigeria wish to join Biafra they are welcome to do so, as long as they are Judeo-Christian… the value system that underpins Biafra.”

The movement for Biafra clearly has significant influence around the south-east of Nigeria.

plaques and portraits dedicated to Nnamdi Kanu the Igbo leader.

Nnamdi Kanu’s father’s house is full of plaques praising him

 

A recent stay-at-home protest ordered by Ipob was heeded in many towns. However it seems from many people we spoke to in the region that while they support the idea of Biafra, they are not clear as to where it may take them.

The generation that witnessed the war insists on pacifism, as the men at the veterans’ camp told us.

“We are talking about dialogue, not by fighting,” said Mr Njoku.

Some are profoundly afraid of where the current rhetoric could lead.

Reverend Moses Iloh is an Igbo but he grew up in the north and now lives in the south-western commercial hub of Lagos.

When the war broke out, he moved to the Biafran Republic to work with the Red Cross.

“The war was one of the crudest you can find,” he recalls. “Sometimes there would be more than 50 or 100 children – you would dig a big trench and pour their dead bodies in. I was there. I am not telling you a lie. The suffering was so bad.”

Like many Igbos, he supports their ethnic solidarity but sternly warns that any attempts to secede again would be catastrophic.

“Nigerians will not let them go, they will slaughter them – and the whole world will turn their heads and say it’s an internal affair.”

Pro-Biafra supporters in Nigeria - November 2015

In response to the recent pro-Biafra agitation, a group in northern Nigeria issued a threat, giving all Igbos in the region three months to leave.

The move received widespread condemnation, even in the north, but reflected the delicate nature of Nigeria, a country created when hundreds of different ethnic groups were brought together by the British colonial powers.

While the Igbos comprise one of the three largest ethnic groups, they have fewer states than the Hausas in the north and the Yorubas in the south-west, and subsequently get a smaller budget allocation.

This, some feel, puts them behind the other regions. The south-east has not been at the forefront of Nigeria’s development and none of its cities are major economic hubs.

Path of uncertainty?

Over the years the Nigerian government has always ruled out the possibility of the country’s fragmentation. Acting President Yemi Osinbajo recently addressed the Biafra issue:

“Clearly our strength is in our diversity, that we are greater together than apart,” he said. “Brotherhood across tribes and faiths is possible”.

Top Igbo politicians recently rejected calls for Biafra but stressed the need for fairness and equality.

Though for some, these leaders are the problem, entrenched in the corruption that plagues Nigerian politics.

Mr Kanu has called on his followers to boycott upcoming local and national elections.

The people of the south-east are left with a choice: Stick with their current leaders – and Nigeria – or choose a much less certain path.

CREDITS: This article is written by Tomi Oladipo, and was culled from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-40506251

Five Reasons Nigerian Children Are Not Speaking Their Mother tongue

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In the past children spoke Nigeria’s indigenous languages namely Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa fluently and unashamedly. However, today, the complete opposite is the case. Kids can barely communicate in Efik or Idoma without adding a bit of English.

The consequences of this are that many of these languages are facing extinction while some of them have gone extinct. A research that is cited by those concerned to lend credence to the import of indigenous languages is that of former Minister of education, Prof. Babs Fafunwa.

The late Prof made a case for the mother tongue as the medium of education for the first 12 years of the child’s life. Through an organized mother-tongue education program, they discovered children taught in the Yoruba language performed better. Regardless, it has not changed the fortunes of these languages because kids have refused to communicate.

In line with this, we share five reasons children are not speaking their mother tongue.

1.Parents don’t speak the languages to them

Parents don’t speak their mother tongue to their children anymore. In fact, some of these parents when they go for attending events one of the best hotels in Lagos, they order their children not to speak the language. How can such a child learn the language? Parents should speak more to their kids in their mother tongue.

2.It is tagged vernacular

In some schools today, Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo among other languages are banned because they are considered vernacular. A child who speaks his or her mother tongue would be penalized. So from the formative years of these children, they already have the perception that speaking their mother tongue is bad.

3.They are uncivilized

Many people believe that you are uncivilized or local if you speak your mother tongue. So, in other to join the bandwagon and be accepted, they ditch Ibibio for English. This is all in the name of being civilized. Children have also been caught in this web

4.It is not compulsory in primary and secondary schools

While English is compulsory in secondary schools today, the indigenous languages are not even though a child must study one of these languages. Children will think the languages are a joke. Hence, they won’t bother to learn or speak it.

5.Technology

The engagement or interaction of children with technology is entirely in English. Their smartphone, video games, laptop and other tech gadgets are in English. So since many of them spend so much time with these gadgets, they don’t have anything to do with the languages. This is a challenge to Nigerian developers to design tech gadgets in the indigenous languages.

Six Ways Technology Has Actually Made You Lazy

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You love technology because it has significantly simplified our lives. In fact, you eat, dream and sleep technology today unlike in the past when you have to make painstaking effort to get things done. Also, you can just sit on your sofa and you are interacting with the world. This is good. But, at the same time, it has made you lazy.

We share Six ways technology has made many of us lazy.

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1.Shopping online

There are a lot of online shops where you can buy whatever you want and the good will be delivered at your doorstep. So, you don’t see the reason why you should go to the market or offline store for shopping. However, what you don’t know is that you can bargain offline which you cannot do offline.

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2.No more in-depth research

Google is now a verb for searching anything online. It takes you seconds for you to get results of your search. But, before, you have to do in-depth research where you have to distribute questionnaires and go to the library and even buy books to make your findings expansive. But with search engines, you don’t need to do this.

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3.You don’t need to run your errands

There are now chatbots like Kudi that can help you run your errands. The managers of these chatbots will be the ones to help you buy recharge cards, go to the market, pay utility bills and make deliveries on your behalf.

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4.You don’t spend time with friends

Social media and instant messaging sites have ensured that you no longer visit our friends and family. You can just chat them up on WhatsApp or BBM or rather you put a call through to them. The societal bridges for physical interaction have collapsed.

5.Libraries have been abandoned

Public libraries have been abandoned because nobody uses them. This is because the internet is a cesspool of information. Even now very few people buy hard-cover books due to the fact that you can get e-books online.

6.News at a click

You don’t need to rely on traditional media like newspapers, radio, and television for news. The news is now all over the place on social media that even you don’t know what to believe due to the prevalence of fake news. So, you don’t need to make any effort to get news.

WILL GENERATIONAL GAP INFLUENCE NIGERIA’S POLITICS IN 2019?

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In December 2006, the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai, then as FCT minister, caused a stir before an audience at the launch of the Heart of Africa project in Washington DC, USA by saying that only Nigerians aged 44-55 would be elected president in April 2007.

Indeed, the late Malam Umaru Musa Yar’adua aged 55 then emerged president. Not everyone buys into generational theories and some censure historians, marketers and social scientists for stereotyping people.

Though, when it comes to generations, features and qualities are often referred to as the collective persona. Neil Howe and late William Strauss (1993) in their popular book titled; “13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail”? define Generation Xers as those born between 1961 and 1981. The age range for Generation X as of 2016 is 55 to 35 (my broadest definition). In 2011, the first Xers turned 50 and the youngest turned 30. Xers are presently the “sandwich generation” in Nigeria which is caring for aging parents and raising more than 60 percent of the nation’s children under 18.

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From independence in 1960 till date, all those that led the country fell into categories the media has used as stereotypes for every generation. For example, Americans born between 1901 and 1924 were originally dubbed the “Greatest Generation”. While those born between 1925 and 1942 were dubbed “The Silent Generation”, those born between 1943’s and 1960 are the “Baby Boomer Generation”. Those born between 1982 and 2004 are regarded as “Generation Y” or (The Millennial’s) who are now in their 20s and 30s are characterized as narcissistic, over ambitious, entitled, lazy, ICT-oriented, social media gurus and impatient. Those born from 2005 to date are dubbed the “Homeland Generations”. Those generalizations evolved and dissipated over time not only in America but on every continent. For example, in Nigeria today, the Xers complain too much of being neglected and ignored, whereby the majority of those that criticize, lead political, economic, leadership and public discourse on social media platform are the millennials. It would be easy enough to blame society’s rage against the aging generations. It often feels that they’re sitting high in their ivory towers and leadership positions rewriting history by refusing to give way to the younger generations. This, many younger generations could have carried on, trusting they we will have a chance to rebrand ourselves and move the country forward if the older have given way to them.

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On the other hand, rather than pointing fingers and conveying censure, we can hub on what lies ahead. Questions such as what has the past taught us? What are the past mistakes? What do we want the future to look like? Most importantly, what power do we have now, using all these traits – desirable and undesirable alike – to shape the next generation? For example; all those that lead the country since the collapse of the First Republic were all born before 1960 It’s also an undeniable fact that in the previous and present administration, some Xers had opportunities to be elected and appointed into leadership positions.

While some of them were disappointing and embarrassing to the country and the generation they represent on their stewardship, some excelled in leadership. The shortcomings of some Xers in their previous leadership outings shouldn’t be an excuse that the country is in shortage of competent, tested and capable members of the generation that is prepared for the nation’s top job.

Ibrahim Muye Yahaya wrote from Muye, Niger State.

Obama returns to South Side Chicago. When will you return home?

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Former American President, Barack Obama and his wife Michelle are back to their home town, South Side Chicago where they will build the Centre for Obama Foundation.

After eight years of serving America, its now time to serve and help in developing his area of Chicago. What? Develop South Side Chicago? Is South Side Chicago not developed? Whatever be the case, the bottomline is that the Obamas’ deliberate choice of South Side Chicago as the headquarters of the Obama Foundation buttresses the sayings that “there is no place like home” and “charity begins at home”.

As far as they’re concerned, it is time to be among their people and help in attracting anything their current and former status can attract to their people.

I am reminded of a discussion I had with my former boss, Late Ambassador Raph Uwechue, at his “African House” residence in Okwashi-Ukwu in Delta State sometime in 2011. The then former Ambassador and President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo who I served as media consultant said to me, “Enyi, I don’t know what we can do to encourage our people and leaders to return home after national service to be with our people. It is my wish to see Igbo leaders return to live among our people and open their businesses among our people after their national service. Part of our problem here is that our leaders refuse to come home even at old age. They prefer to live in Lagos and Abuja even when they’re not needed there and we end up receiving them in beautiful caskets when they die. I built this African House here at Okwashi-Ukwu 30 years ago because I knew that after all said and done, I will return to my people to live with and among them.”

Abia State is blessed with men and women of timber and caliber, but we do not “feel” them, neither do our communities feel them.

Our big names live in Lagos and Abuja and many of them do not have even private homes at either Aba or Umuahia. Yes, some of them have buildings in their villages, where they spend few days every year, usually during Yuletide period and zoom off with their heavily armed convoys after Yuletide season.

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Umuahia City

Imagine what Aba or Umuahia will look like if we have our big names living among us or owning businesses at home.

Frankly, at times like this, i wish I am not the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu as I would have been at liberty to write as I wish. I would have name names, but unfortunately my hands are tied. I can’t do that now before they say “the Governor said” when he never said anything.

For emphasis, this is my opinion as Enyinnaya Appolos, the common man from Isiko. Please take note.

Back to the issue. As I was saying, imagine that we have our big names, former this and former that, living with us after serving at the federal and state levels. All their big name friends and partners will come to visit them in Abia and contribute to the state’s economy one way or another.

If the big men brothers of my friend, John Okiyi Kalu, had built their homes at Umuahia, at least there would have been a GRA in Umuahia today that is not the product of colonial action. Same goes to Aba.

Even when our big men ask for and get land allocations from the state Government they merely wait for the allocating government to expire then sell the land and go to Abuja or Lagos to spend their profit from what is at best ugly land speculation in their home state.

Not long ago an elder statesman from Abia celebrated his 70th birthday at Abuja and invited the “who is who” from the state and beyond, to the event. As if reading my mind, one of the celebrant’s political sons who incidentally is from a neighboring Igbo state publicly confronted him and told him that his contemporaries from the south west and north will never celebrate this milestone at Abuja, and would have retired home at this time to live with their people. He pleaded with his mentor not to celebrate his 71st birthday at Abuja but rather to retire to his village before then. Unfortunately the elder statesman didn’t make it to his 71st Birthday as he died few days before the date and his body was repatriated to Abia and buried in his palatial village home that he obviously didn’t enjoy post retirement.

I wish other living Abia elders will learn and retire home once they finish national service.

This is one reason I will always appreciate my elder brother, Eziuche Ubani, no matter his real or perceived shortcomings. When he was ready to build a radio station he thought of Aba first. Now you can imagine what Aba would have been today without Magic 102.9fm.

As an erudite journalist who have seen it all, as far as media practice is concerned, having a Magic FM at Abuja or lagos would been more economically lucrative to Hon. Ubani, but he chose to forfeit the ‘huge’ financial gains he would have made at Abuja or Lagos, and brought magic FM to Aba.

Today, because magic Fm is at Aba, we now have “Aba half marathon” which attract athletes from across Africa, and common folks have an outlet to express their views. Even Abians living abroad can get information on what is happening at home because Magic FM is available online from all parts of the globe. Also because of Magic FM at Aba, we now have one Idoma man called Bonny Onogwu, aka Big Bonny, with us in Aba. We have Abi-Serah, Pastor Metu, Iyke D-Gee an many others who otherwise wouldn’t have had anything to do with Aba and they all pay income tax to Abia State Government.

Also, Mr. Raymond Nkemdirim, another Abian who retired recently from active service to Nigeria, has also opened a radio station-Flo FM in umuahia…good one I must confess.

What am I saying here? John Okiyi Kalu, tell your fellow big men and your brothers to always return home after national service to live and invest at home. JOK, tell your “money bag” brothers and sisters to come home and invest. I once heard you discussing a man you called Noko whom you praised lavishly for building a hotel at Abiriba and opened filling stations at Aba and Abiriba. (Meanwhile reserves rooms at the Hotel for my Igbiji Aku Mba ceremony coming soon in Abiriba). Abia needs more men like him and as far as I am concerned people like him should be the type we celebrate daily.

According to Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s senior adviser; “The South Side is the President and Mrs. Obama’s home so he intends to not only build the Center there, but also bring opportunities to the area. The President (Obama) was very eager to hear suggestions from the community members and encouraged them to continue the dialogue with his team after he left.”

If you come from Abia think…just think.

CREDITS: Enyinnaya Appolos is the Chief Press Secretary to Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu. He writes from Isiko.

 

SIX BUSINESS LESSONS FROM BUHARI-LED APC GOVERNMENT

 

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Imagine Nigerians as investors and the Buhari led APC Government as an entrepreneur seeking funding, here are six business lessons every entrepreneur or fund seeker must learn from our ongoing experiences as a nation.

  1. UNDER PROMISE AND OVER DELIVER– Many times in a bid to get funding and impress investors, we over promise and then have challenges delivering the promises when we eventually get the funding.

Failing on a promise goes to the root of trust. From the failed graduate job seekers allowance to paying 23million graduates 5,000 Naira monthly, reducing pump price to 45 Naira per litre and stabilising the Naira which currently stands at 500naira to one dollar, entrepreneurs should learn from Buhari led APC Government’s promises.

  1. MAKE REALISTIC PROMISES: When you eventually identify the promises you want to make, ensure it is based on realistic need and risk assessments because integrity is key to promise making.

Two years into the APC led Government, there is an obvious difficulty keeping to promises made. As entrepreneurs, always check your fact and be sure you can deliver. Learn from Buhari.

  1. QUIT WHINING ABOUT THE PROBLEM, PRESENT YOUR SOLUTION: So imagine me constantly reporting to my investors that I’m unable to do anything because the government isn’t building infrastructure and providing for pregnant women? Imagine me repeating this excuse consistently for two years even after receiving funding?
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President Buhari must return to the drawing table and rejig his plans for the development of Nigeria

Investors already know what the problem is. You’ve told them several times in your application for funding and countless times thereafter. It’s also the reason you got the funding. So why are you still whining about the problem? Why not get moving and deliver on the solutions you promised investors? We all know PDP government looted us blind but this isn’t about the PDP, this is about the APC Government and delivering on its promises. Learn from Buhari.

  1. IN YOUR TEAM, COMPETENCE SHOULD TRUMP LOYALTY- One thing investors are interested in is the constitution of your team and you should work to ensure you put together a competent team.

If you keep focusing on loyalty based on tribe, past relationships and other inconsequential factors, you will find yourself moving around with dead weights and defending the indefensible.

  1. THE COURAGE TO CHANGE OR AMEND A FAILED IDEA OR POLICY- Changing a failed idea or policy midway isn’t weakness, it is strength and the investors will admire you for the courage to do that.

It’s okay if economic policies or other policies aren’t working. The Government shouldn’t be ashamed to admit that the policies aren’t working and put forward a better thought out policy.

Learn from Buhari.

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Apparently, the Buhari-led APC government is experiencing difficulties in keeping to their promises.
  1. CRITICISM IS A TYPE OF FEEDBACK, EMBRACE IT- Sometimes, just like some Nigerians wanted to protest against president Buhari, investors will disagree with some steps, ideas or action we intend taking or have taken. We must respect differing views and opinions, understanding clearly that criticism is also a type of feedback and we must embrace it.

We’ve got two more years left of this government and I’m hoping entrepreneurs will have some positive lessons to learn as we go along.

CREDITS: This article is written by Adepeju Opeyemi Jaiyeoba, founder of Brown Button Foundation and Mother Delivery Kits.

BETWEEN 2BABA AND THE FEBRUARY 6TH PROTEST

“Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about the things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jnr

I took out a large chunk of my sleeping time last night to read through some of the opinions and arguments for and against the planned protest partly organized by celebrated Nigerian entertainer, Innocent Ujah Idibia, popularly known as Tuface (now called 2Baba).

The most intriguing line of argument to me is the one presented by a professor, who used so many caustic words for a short Facebook post to repudiate the planned protest by the “African Queen” crooner. It is mind boggling how some people think that their title bestows on them the authority to determine who does what in the society, other than the laws of the land.

Mind you professor, that creativity is as important as literacy. Knowledge is no value until you put it into practice. You know all the elected and public functionaries embezzling funds, and with all your magna cum laude honours and certificates you did nothing, but you are quick to discredit 2Baba who is simply exercising his constitutional responsibility. My dear, borrow yourself brain!

2Face in Sokoto

Dear young Nigerians, throwing cheap shots, statements like “let’s educate…”, “he couldn’t have written the open letter…” are absolutely unnecessary and any who allowed themselves to be tempted into using those points against the protest should be deeply ashamed, because the hallmark of literacy – the reason why parents invest so heavily in this education business is not only so that their kids can be rich, but also that they may become active and positively meaningful members of the society. Is that not what the singer is trying to be? Is that not what he has urged the Nigerian people to do? Agreeing to listen to and enjoy the music of a “promiscuous illiterate” but turning around to use the same thing against him when he chooses to speak to the sorry state of things is not the most educated nor woke stance to take in 2017.

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For the records, 2Baba endeared himself to many through his creative contributions to national issues; he has been an activist and a great influence in Nigeria’s socio-political scene. From his first solo album – Face2Face – released on May 15, 2004 2Baba has always dedicated a track or skit to lend his voice to national consciousness, social situations and to criticize government’s poor people policies.

He had the ‘Police Skit’ in his Face2Face album, ‘E be like say’ and ‘For Instance’ in Grass To Grace album, ‘Power of Naija’ in the Unstoppable International edition, ‘steady steady’ and ‘freedom is life’ in Away & Beyond album, and ‘Not a Surprise’ in his latest album released in July 21, 2014 – The Ascension.

He has also released singles for notable projects, like the “Vote Not Fight’ – a project theme song for his foundation’s 2015 election peace campaign, and “Break the Silence”  which he sang to shore up support for the global #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) campaign.

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Through his 2Face Foundation, he has initiated several campaigns across the nation, such as the “Vote Not Fight – Election No Be War” campaign, geared towards a violence free electoral process in 2015. A campaign, which he later revealed, cost him over  one hundred million naira (N100m). In October 2016, he organized “A Million Voices For Peace” – a campaign against religious intolerance in northern Nigeria. This came weeks after his conferment as Peace Ambassador for the Ooni of Ife’s peace project.

2Baba’s numerous humanitarian projects did not go unnoticed. In May 2016, he was awarded an honorary masters degree in Arts by Igbinedion University, Okada City, Benin, Nigeria.

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In November 2015, He was turbaned as the “Tafidan Kudendan” of Kudendan in Kaduna state.

Tuface was turbaned at the palace of the traditional ruler of the Kudenda community, Gabriel Galadima, in Chikum local government area.

According to the traditional ruler, Tuface was honored with the title because of his pet project – ‘Voice No Violence’ which has helped communities in the area preaching peace among themselves.

“We were in dire need of real presence of peace advocates and programmes and 2Face came to the rescue and that is why we honoured him.

“He has been outstanding in not only singing peace, but participating in actualizing it,” said Mr. Galadima.

The roles of citizens are to obey law, pay legal taxes and hold government accountable. This protest is not about 2Baba. It is about Nigerians exercising their key duty as accountability partners with government. The way this works is that you call your elected servants to order once they start to underperform. That’s democracy – in fact, that is life as a responsible adult citizen.

Not just because 2Baba’s citizenship roles or forthrightness makes this cause worthwhile, the purpose for which the protest is convened is apt, and that makes it tick.

According to 2Baba’s post on Instagram, the protest is “A call for good governance! A call for explanation into the reckless economic downturn nationwide… A call for nationwide protests as we say No to the Executive, No to legislature, No to judiciary; you have all failed us. We have to come out and protest the obnoxious, baseless policies and excuses of the government of the day.”

Furthermore, he sought answers to several questions like:

“Where are the recovered looted funds? Why do we keep seeing peace talks in Niger Delta, Fulani herdsmen and IPOB without any solutions being reached, while the strategies keeps aggravating, the people involved as political leaders stage forums to extort funds in the name of addressing their subjects? Why did we have petrol price rise to 145 for the sake of global oil price crash and removal of subsidy but such price is still being maintained despite significant re-awakening of the oil price from $30/barrel to $56/barrel?”

2Baba concluded the lengthy post with “There’s need for Nigerians to rise against what is happening in this country having waited patiently for the legislators that were elected to represent the people all to no avail.”

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Societal movement and development requires certain actions and inaction. Our leadership in political, traditional and religious circles has failed to defend the weak in our midst. They are all in one accord benefitting from our collective resources – they enjoy over estimated allowances, bogus pension as past legislators, governors, presidents at the expense of millions of jobless youths.

It is a pitiful situation that we pray every day but a few minority of elites have kept us in perpetual stagnancy and bondage through religious, ethnic and political sentiments.

Like 2Baba, I am miffed by the current administration’s rudderlessness, which has left too many Nigerians languishing in poverty with little to be hopeful for about the future. I totally support the February 6, 2017 “Enough is Enough National Protest.”

According to Desmond Tutu, “Power enslaves those who hold it as well as those who are held by it. Yet, only the oppressed can free the oppressor! If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

These are difficult times. Be careful who you are allowing to decide your narrative. Stop delegating your thinking to others. Take time to think – it is the source of power!

This article is written by Iheanyi Igboko, a social advocate and educator, working actively in the education and youth development sector.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giant Strides of KWIRS: Awodun is the real MVP in Kwara State

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It is one thing for one to work smartly and assiduously to achieve something; it is another to use the achieved resources as the case maybe to fetch in more opportunities. There is no doubt in the fact that Nigerians are hard-working, and they so much cherish the products of their sweat. It’s however not understandable how hard-working people live and settle conveniently in a state where almost nothing works when, in advanced countries, hard work is matched with convenience. Then, we want to ask ourselves where the convenience that is supposed to match our hard work as Nigerians lie?

States have been fashioned out under the democratic rule to reduce the burden on the federal leadership, even though federal governments still have responsibilities to carry out in these states. In countries where things work, certain productive measures are being institutionalised in the state level which makes the state independent financially; and when this happens, a whole lot can be done in the state to bring convenience to meet people’s toils.

Kwara state is one of the 36 states in Nigeria and one of the states that works diplomatically and dynamically around improving the lives of her people in no small way, while also helping the state continue on the path of progress.

The continuation of the process of revamping the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the State made the administration of the present Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed, go the full hug. This he did by putting together the Kwara State Revenue Administration Bill which was sent to the House of Assembly last year. The bill was successfully passed by the House of Assembly and was signed into law by His Excellency, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, on the 22nd of June, 2015. The government found the creation of KWIRS an opportunity to gain more revenue to meet their expenditures around developing the State and making her people’s toil convenient. It would also liberate the State from the shackles of being broke, as federal allocation to the State among others is dwindling.

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If KWIRS must live up to its standard, then it should have capable hands working for the sole reason of its creation. The government in town then found this institution not only qualified hands, but men whose integrity nothing can buy, under the leadership of Dr Muritala O. Awodun, the man who has been turning things around positively. The mission of this revolutionized cause which is to mobilize revenue for the strategic development of Kwara State would definitely meet challenges as Nigerians are not blessed with the patience of having to sacrifice the money they work hard to gain without seeing anything for it. What remains thus is how this cause would materialise.

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The leadership of KWIRS set out to meet traditional leaders to help them with the campaign for people to pay their tax to help the State climb heights of progress. They met traditional leaders like the Emir of Ilorin, the Emir of Kaima among many other traditional rulers who supported them on the cause by promising to pay their taxes too. This strategy didn’t only win them the support of the traditional rulers, but their people were also convinced on the benefits paying tax would bring. If you toil hard to get what you need, and you contribute a token from your hard-earned money to the development of your state, you get that token back in manifold, this is the idea KWIRS pitched to the public.

One important thing Nigerians fail to appreciate is the fact that tax collection is very crucial for any State or Nation that wants to progress. The collected taxes are channelled at ensuring the progress of the state and the well-being of her people. KWIRS has vowed that it would serve the residents of Kwara State in the most convenient strategies which will add value and integrity to the revenue mobilization process and actualize the developmental objectives of the government. What else should one expect? But in a country where almost nothing works, nobody wants to drop their money only to see nothing. And who are we to blame Nigerians who think this way?

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The core values of KWIRS have continued to guide their services as honesty, integrity, responsibility and trust are the lights that glow from the image they present to the society. This institution led by Dr Muritala O. Awodun has continued to live up to its standard by working assiduously in ensuring they meet up with targets that would help residents  of Kwara State live meaningfully. This man and his team have collected a total of ₦8.09 billion into the coffers of the State for the first half of 2016 alone. It’s important to note this figure is higher than the total ₦7.2 billion collected for 2015 by the defunct Board of Internal Revenue in the State. It is also interesting to know that PAYE collection has increased from ₦200 million to ₦450 million. With no mincing and missing of words, Awodun is the real MVP and he deserves an award.

Indigenes in Kwara state have in no small measure benefitted from this profitable exercise, ranging from road repair to rebuilding of shopping outlets and other developmental objectives of the government they have breathed life into. It can thus be concluded that paying tax at the right time would only bring about convenience for our toils, as this would help government put in place necessary things to improve the standard of living of the people, which no doubt brings convenience to the people, even as they toil to earn their living.

 

CREDITS: This article is written by Olasupo Abideen Opeyemi, a Youth Leader, Business Consultant and Digital Marketer. He is the Executive Director, Brain Builders International- A United Nation accredited Non Governmental Organisation(www.brainbuilders.com.ng). He can be reached on +2347068775529 or abideenolasupo@gmail.com

Want a long-lasting relationship? Here are 5 Things to Never Post About Your Relationship on Social Media

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We are all familiar with social media in this 21st century where almost everyone is a digital/tech nomad or geek. However, due to its unhindered accessibility to all, many people abuse. And unlike in the past where social media is not on the list of causes of breakups, today is arguably on top of the list. This is why it is essential for you to be conscious of what you post on social media in order to save yourself from potential relationship headaches.We share 5 of these things. You may think it is harmless, but it can result in serious consequences.

Anything personal about your partner, without his or her permission

You know that your post is an important expose about your relationship, but you still went ahead to share it. Your partner will not feel good. This said, if you can’t control your cravings, you can ask your partner to be for permission before you post it. It’s safer this way.

Relationship Issues

If you and your partner get into a fight, you may want to rant to your Facebook fans about how much pain you are going through, if you do that, you are reducing your chances of resolving the issues. Constantly posting your relationship problems is information strangers don’t need to know. Don’t be like Tiwa Savage.

Your nude pictures

No matter how much you love your body, the whole world doesn’t need to see it. Always keep your nudes to yourself. Your partner will be embarrassed if others see sensitive parts of your body which are meant to be private.

Your breakup

Spare everyone the details of your breakup. If you and your partner break up, the emotional mess is enough to clean up without having to field comments and advice from the relationship advisors. Keep it simple. If it’s over, it’s over. No need to broadcast it to the world which many of us do these days.

Personal conversations

Don’t post personal conversations, not only is it wrong but it’s rude. Even if someone messages you saying something nasty about them, don’t put them on the hot seat. You should be matured enough to ignore, delete it and move on.