Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Family Sample budget

With the Nigeria's budget saga ongoing, I recently challenged folks on facebook to look inwards. Whilst we are quick to judge the government on the budget, I wondered how many people have personal and/or family budgets. I shared this link to those who wanted Family Sample Budget

Monday, January 16, 2012

Now that the subsidy is over

With the subsidy discussion over or almost over

If subsidy was not being discussed in the nation, what would we have been talking about? Nigeria has always had a topic to discuss from time to time and the last one year has got me thinking so much that I wonder if Nigeria is like a meeting with an agenda and the topics for discussion and time allotted for each discussion planned. From late 2010 to end of April 2011 it was all about Elections with a brief interlude on JEGA’s performance when we became logistics experts. Following that was a string of discussions on election violence that moved swiftly into the term elongation discourse in July and we all became constitutional lawyers. This was interrupted with Boko Haram bombings and everyone became security experts recommending what should or should not be done. And now we have all become petroleum economists and budget specialists.

I don’t have answers; just questions and a plea. Is this a predetermined list, if so what will be on the topic in July this year?

Two alarming things happened this last week and may be one or two newspapers reported it. A man in the UK was charged to court for smuggling guns into Nigeria and Ghana says seized guns and ammunition headed to Nigeria. Whereas the Uk incident was in 2007 no one has come forward with an explanation on where the guns ARE, who he supplied it to and whether I can sleep with both of my eyes closed. The Ghanaian case is even scarier. The truck driver confessed that this was the second trip. What happened to the first trailer? Was this truly the second? How many was planned? Who is receiving this ammunition? If our borders are porous and fuel, subsidized by my tax is flowing out, I think I would be more content being an unwilling Good Samaritan than to have a porous border that allows guns and ammunition in. Should we be discussing Nigerian Customs Reforms? Or should it be our Security Service reforms (and I don’t mean arresting activists wondering if they were sponsored by opposition but those who smuggle guns)?

It gets scarier. Nigeria has asked that the people should be transferred to Nigeria for further investigation. Given Nigeria’s excellent track record for cases that don’t get prosecuted or the hands of the leadership being tied (as Mrs Waziri and Mrs Dizeani have confessed) is this a right move? Could it be that these two incidents came to news BECAUSE they were not within Nigerian borders?

As I said earlier, I don’t have answers just questions. I won’t dissuade us from the issues on the table. However, let’s take a step back and see a bigger picture and not be distracted from other issues of importance. This is my plea: if you can pray, please pray (I got an email last week that is worth reading); If you’re an activist, please let’s add this to the list of the demands; If you have the ear of the president, please tell him we are alarmed; if you speak for the president, let’s know what’s on his mind because our children want to sleep in peace.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I think teamwork better exemplified by the Formula 1 than by a relay . In formula1 every one brings her unique skill and strength to the team whereas in relay races, the best result is achieved when everyone in the team is a clone of the best runner. If everyone is your management team is a man, woman, introvert, extrovert or in someway "clones", you're in someway short of the best. Research shows that ~94% of heterosexual marriages are made of men and women who are different in a significant way. Afterall, if they are clones, one is not needed. Diversify your team!

Lessons of Life

I have learnt that there are differences and diversity is not meant to divide. Rather it is an opportunity to see life from across the divide.
I have learnt that teamwork is not about clones, I am learning to work with those who do not work as I do.
I have learnt to be more gentle on those who stumble; very soon, it may be my turn.
I have learnt that speaking up solves more problems than one can imagine; people are willing to comply if someone is willing take the lead.
I have learnt to both talk and speak, either way, to get my points across. The person who seems to be hurting me on purpose may not even be aware.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Our greatest fear .....

"Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others." -- Marianne Williamson/Nelson Mandela

Monday, January 14, 2008

You don't need "experience"

"....there are jobs that experience is not required: President of a country, husband and an entrepreneur"

Many people I have talked to told me this...."I will work for a few years, gather capital and start my business" Most of them are still working. I agreed with the MTN advert when it said, "go start something."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Enviroment, Economy, Intellectual and Social

Is there a link between the enviroment in which a person is bred and the society they create?
Does this explain the result we see in Africans?

As a man thinks so is he. The intellectual content of a man define his person and his productivity. However, the thoughts are the result of the seed sown by his enviroment (people he admires and the culture).

Is the life and the mentalities bred in the villages in the 50s and 60s facilitated by the economic conditions of people of that day affecting the kinds of societies these people are creating today?

Can this explain the Africa of today?

....Just thinking

Poor People can think!

*Farmers Turn to Science to Boost Crop Yields
*http://allafrica. com/stories/ printable/ 200801080725.
NEWS8 January 2008
Posted to the web 8 January 2008By Elizabeth Dickinson
Sabon Gari Ganu late last June, farmers in Sabon Gari Ganu village in northern Nigeria's Katsina state divided their plots of land into 56 rows. Using seeds from 16 African countries, the farmers planted each row with a different variety of millet---some small seeds, some round, some dark and some light. Throughout the rainy season, the farmers watched carefully to see which varieties would grow and which would not.

Five months later, the farmers sat down to vote on which seed varieties they preferred. Women and men were each given ballots, either light or dark blue, respectively. Four seeds were chosen. "Our plan now is that the four chosen will be intensively promoted," explains A. Kabir R. Charanchi, a chief agricultural officer for the Katsina state government who works on the project. "We are now going to bring more seeds for multiplication. "

The morale of the news item:
1. Small business people even local farmers can think. It is good to help to fund the research. We may not have to fund relief efforts!
2. SMEs are looking for better ways of doing their business.
3. They are willing to change if you can convince them it works (powerpoint presentations from HBS or IITA may not be the best. Sit with them.)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Telecoms evolution in Nigeria: An Idea

A few years ago this was the norm. If a woman was told that her daughter in America wanted to speak to her at 7 pm, she would leave her house at dawn to sit and chat at the neighbor’s house where she would receive the call. About the time the call was expected, the padlock that clipped the dial to prevent unauthorized use was removed. When the phone finally rang, she would lift the phone carefully. She would listen painstakingly for the almost inaudible voice of her daughter but after saying hello and may be a few words, the line would cut off. The attempt by the child to call back was often futile; but the woman would happily give up because she was reassured that her daughter was alive. She waits till the next month for another try. Last year, at my mother’s birthday, my siblings and I sang the birthday song on a conference call from different cites of the world. Things have changed.

Some time ago, someone thought things could be better than it was and chose to do something about it. Someone thought that one could speak to another person in a distant location. Another person thought that making those calls did not have to be wires. Yet another thought could be digital. One person thought it could be portable. Thinking did not stop there. Someone thought making calls could add value hence profitable. Someone thought it could be a business. These thoughts birthed the revolution we have today. As important as technology was to the development of telecoms, the profit angle was critical to its success. In Nigeria, the profitability of NITEL was not evident but with the advent of Econet Wireless (now Celtel) closely followed by MTN, MTEL and later on, Globacom, we have what we see. The evolution of phones from one per community to dozens per household came because somebody had a thought and did something about it. Both the technician and the entrepreneur thought and did something. What are you doing about that idea?