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Economy

Succession and Obligation of Leadership

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Obligation of Leadership

By Jerome-Mario Utomi

Am I a good leader? I do not know and I guess no one else does. The people, the future and history will stand judged and I will accept their judgments no matter what they might be. Nevertheless, I am fully convinced that I am leading my people, not only on the right part but on the only one available -Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirate (UAE).

Presently, the global community is in agreement that Nigeria is blessed with abundant resources –both human and natural. But in spite of these resources, development professionals are concerned that the nation is equally littered with a huge number of ‘coercive’ and selfish leaders as against truly ‘democratic, pace-setting and coaching’ leaders.

Essentially also, Nigerians, particularly the poor masses, are aware of these disappointing performances of their leaders and need no one to remind them. They are visible realities.

Aside from these failures exacerbated by public office holders/policymakers non-recognition that the efficiency of the government does not only affect the performance of the public sector –but affects that of the whole country including the private sector, Nigerians have in the past six years watched the country lie prostrate and diminish socially and economically with grinding poverty and starvation driving more and more men into the ranks of beggars, whose desperate struggle for bread renders them insensible to all feelings of decency and self-respect while the privileged political few continue to flourish in obscene and splendour as they pillage and ravage the resources of our country at will.

Also rings apprehension is the awareness that with less than two years to the expiration of this administration, there is neither a sincere desire among elected officials to engage best minds to help get the answers and deploy the resources we need to move into the future or engineer a sustainable process of generational change in the nation’s leaders structure via recruitment and allocation of rightful leadership positions to, but youthful Nigerians.

From the above realities, the following questions may be asked; what is the obligation of leadership in any given society, state or nation? What is giving a boost to Nigeria’s poor leadership that is notoriously reputed for, and devoid of a sincere succession plan?

Why is such negative leadership practice gradually becoming a norm in Nigeria? Why are public office holders in Nigeria reluctant to alleviate the real condition of the poor, the deprived, the lonely, and the oppressed or at the very least, get into their lives and participate in their struggle? How come public office holders in Nigeria are never willing to give, train, or admit youths into leadership apprenticeships? Why is this practice of leadership type characterized as self-centred and non-coaching? Why is Nigeria’s leadership ideology not based on considerations such as; meritocracy, pacesetting, people-focused but primarily on mundane factors such as tribal/ethnicity, religion, power rotation and federal character? Why has leadership in the country seriously failed to provide security and pursuit of the economic welfare of citizens which are the only two constitutional responsibilities of the state which all leaders must achieve?

To many, the answer to the above is signposted in leaders’ ground propensity/penchant for corruption, cronyism, backdoor or under the counter leadership approach/ practices. Others argue that more often, leaders believe that knowledge is power and that they retain power only by keeping what they know to themselves. Their implicit strategy is to preserve their leadership discretion by deliberately leaving the rules for success and failure vague. In their calculation, it is better to maintain control by keeping the people at arm’s length as bringing them close would represent a threat.

Could this be the only explanation?

Definitely not! There also exist public office holders in Nigeria who understand power as the ability to protect their interest and not as an opportunity to engineer social, political and economic prosperity.

However, one can make a stronger case as to why Nigeria’s leadership challenge is a crisis.

To support this claim, this piece will bring to mind/cast a glance at how Kuen Yew, Pioneer Prime Minister of Singapore used creative leadership prowess characterized by talent hunt, education, leadership apprenticeship/ coaching, to stamp out leadership mediocrity in Singapore, and in its place, install sustainable leadership excellence for the nation via the establishment of succession structure/culture that allows brilliant minds to collide and create.

Let’s listen to Lee; our greatest task was to find the people to replace my ageing ministers and me. My colleagues and I had started to search for younger men as possible successors in the 1960s. We could not find them among the political activists who joined the PAP, so we scouted for able, dynamic, dependable, and hard-driving people wherever they were to be found.

In the 1968 general election, we fielded several PhDs, bright minds, and teachers at the universities, professionals including lawyers, doctors, and even top administrators as candidates. In by-elections in 1970 and 1972, we fielded several more. We soon discovered that they needed to have other qualities besides a disciplined mind able to marshal facts and figures, write a thesis for a PhD, or be a professional.

Leadership, he added, is more than just ability. It is a combination of courage, determination, commitment, character, and ability that makes people willing to follow a leader. We needed people who were activists with good judgment and interpersonal skills. The search became more urgent at each subsequent election because I could see that my colleagues were visibly slowing down.

To do this, Lee said something interesting; I had to find and get into the office a group of men to provide Singapore with effective and creative leadership. Had I left it to chance, depending on the activists coming forward to join us, I would never have succeeded. We set out to recruit the best into the government. The problem was to persuade them to enter politics, get themselves elected, and learn how to move and win people over to their side. It was a slow and difficult process with a high attrition rate. Successful, capable professionals and executives are not natural political leaders, able to argue, cajole, and demolish the argument opponents at mass rallies, on television, and in parliament.

To see how wide the net must be cast for talent, I had only to remember that the best ministers in my early cabinets were not born in Singapore. Three-quarters of them had come from outside Singapore. The net that brought in my generation of leaders was thrown in a big sea that stretched from South China across Malaysia, to South India and Ceylon.

Whenever I had a lesser minister in charge, I invariably had to push and prod him, and later to review problems and clear roadblocks for him. The end result was never what could have been achieved. When I had the right man in charge, a burden was off my shoulders. I needed only to make clear the objectives to be achieved, the time frame within which he must try to do it, and he would find a way to get it done, he concluded.

Indeed, while the above account in my view sums up the obligation of leadership, this piece must underline without fail that Nigeria and Nigerians need leaders like Lee of Singapore and Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of UAE to lead them not only on the right part but on the only one available.

Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via jeromeutomi@yahoo.com/08032725374.

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Economy

Popoola Urges Investors to Diversify Portfolios to Reduce Risks as Stock Prices Rise

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Nigeria's stock exchange

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Investors in the stock market have been advised to embrace the strategy of diversification of portfolios in order to get a better return on investment (RoI).

The chief executive of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, Mr Temi Popoola, while reacting to the current uptrend rally in the equity market, stressed that diversification of portfolios would go a long way to reduce risks, explaining the need for investors to re-balance their stock basket.

So far this year, the local bourse has been buoyant with the NGX-All Share Index (NGX-ASI) Year-to-Date (YTD) returned at 26.62 per cent as of Friday, May 27, 2022, and is currently over the psychological 54,000-level for the first time since the 2008 crash, as opposed to the broad-based bearish performance experienced in other markets.

Mr Popoola stated that in spite of the current appreciation in prices of equities in the country, opportunities still exist for investors in other asset classes.

He said as a multi-asset Exchange, NGX has various products for every investor regardless of what their investment goals, risk appetite or return expectations might be, listing the products like equities, fixed income, Exchange Traded Funds and Derivatives.

According to him, there are opportunities in every segment of the market, emphasising that it is important for investors to do the analysis, and understand where those opportunities are, as there are opportunities, not only on the equity side but across the various assets classes.

He, however, said that the Nigerian capital market and the business of the stock exchange would always be impacted by dynamic economic trends and investor demands.

Explaining further, he said achieving success through growth that creates value will increase the Exchange’s ability to operate efficiently and profitably in the transient advantage economy that has unfolded in Nigeria and around the world.

“While there has been no respite in the macroeconomy and operating environment due to lingering oil price and foreign exchange pressures, our long-term outlook for the Exchange remains positive as listed companies continue to show resilience and our members have been repositioned to deliver superior value to investors,” he said.

Mr Popoola noted that NGX would continue to find more products that a lot of Nigerians and the youth demography are attracted to, and introduce to the market.

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Economy

Nigerian Exchange Index Skyrockets to 54,085.30 points After 1.76% Rise

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Nigerian Exchange

By Dipo Olowookere

It was another fantastic day at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) as the recent bullish run witnessed lately continued after a short disruption caused by the raising of the interest rate to 13.0 per cent from 11.5 per cent by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday.

Yesterday, the stock market appreciated further by 1.76 per cent on the back of renewed interest in local equities buoyed by the release of the much-awaited financial statements of FBN Holdings Plc for the 2021 fiscal year.

At the exchange on Friday, the All Share Index (ASI) skyrocketed by 933.98 points to 54,085.30 points from 53,151.32 points, while the market capitalisation jumped by N504 billion to N29.158 trillion from the preceding day’s N28.654 trillion.

The gains were influenced by sustained buying pressure in shares in the banking, insurance, energy and industrial goods sectors, which appreciated by 0.48 per cent, 0.32 per cent, 0.24 per cent and 0.01 per cent respectively, while the consumer goods counter depreciated by 2.41 per cent due to sell-offs in Nigerian Breweries, UAC Nigeria and others.

During the session, investors traded 208.1 million equities valued at N5.5 billion in 4,898 deals compared with the 266.2 million equities worth N5.1 billion transacted in 5,501 deals a day earlier, representing a decline in the trading volume and number of deals by 21.83 per cent and 10.96 per cent respectively and an increase in the trading value by 7.92 per cent.

Cutix was the highest price gainer yesterday as its value went up by 9.96 per cent to N2.87, Airtel Africa appreciated by 9.89 per cent to N1,767.00, Wema Bank gained 8.63 per cent to finish at N3.65, Ardova improved by 7.09 per cent to N15.10, while FBN Holdings increased its value by 6.98 per cent to N11.50.

On the other side of the coin, the heaviest price loser was Nigerian Breweries as it deflated by 10.00 per cent to N69.30, UAC Nigeria reduced by 9.87 per cent to N10.50, University Press declined by 9.52 per cent to N2.85, Royal Exchange went down by 9.26 per cent to 98 kobo, while Linkage Assurance depleted by 6.67 per cent to 56 kobo.

Business Post reports that the market breadth was at equilibrium on Friday as there were 19 appreciating stocks and 19 depreciating stocks.

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Economy

Naira Trades N617/$1, N419.50/$1 at P2P, I&E FX Windows

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strong dollar demand Naira

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira had a bad day on Friday as it depreciated in the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) segment of the foreign exchange market against the Dollar by 0.16 per cent or N1 to N617/$1 in contrast to the previous day’s N616/$1.

Also, at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the forex market, the Naira depreciated by 0.15 per cent or 62 kobo against the American currency to N419.50/$1 compared with the N418.88/$1 it was transacted on Thursday.

According to data obtained from FMDQ Securities Exchange, the domestic currency suffered this loss amid a reduction in the forex turnover for the trading session.

FX trades worth $107.84 million were carried out yesterday compared with the $157.46 million executed a day earlier, representing a decline of $49.62 million or 31.5 per cent.

At the interbank segment of the market, the local currency closed weaker against the Pound Sterling as it depleted by N1.01 to trade at N524.57/£1 compared to the previously traded rate of N523.56/£1 and against the Euro, the domestic currency fell by 19 kobo to close at 445.26/€1 in contrast to N445.07/€1.

In the cryptocurrency market, the bulls took control as seven of the 10 cryptos tracked by Business Post pointed north, with Dogecoin (DOGE) recording the highest rise of 6.9 per cent to trade at $0.0827.

Binance Coin (BNB) recorded a 2.4 per cent increase to trade at $302.89, Solana (SOL) appreciated by 2.1 per cent to $41.99, Ethereum (ETH) gained 0.7 per cent to sell at $1,770.73, Cardano (ADA) added 0.4 per cent to its value to finish at $0.4625, Litecoin (LTC) improved its price by 0.3 per cent to trade at $62.66, while Bitcoin (BTC) appreciated by 0.1 per cent to settle at $30,000.

On the flip side, the highest loser was the rebranded TerraClassicUSD (USTC), which continued its windfall with a 6.4 per cent loss to trade at $0.0397, Ripple (XRP) recorded a 2.4 per cent slide to quote at $0.3867, while the US Dollar Tether (USDT) moved downwards by 0.01 per cent to sell for $0.998.

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