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Christianity, Racism, Economics, Hostility, Rape & Protests

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Shiite Protesters

By Nneka Okumazie

It is quite parlous to forget that this world is a hostile environment. It is great self-deception to not understand possible spontaneity of hostility at any moment from anyone or any source.

There are cyclical, geographic, atmospheric, disease hostilities, etc.

There are people that health is hostile to. There are people that economics is hostile to. There are people that find hostility because of how they look, think, their choice, decision, reward, desire or hurt.

The power to give hostility is often preferred. The prevalence of hostility from history continues to show the world hasn’t changed much.

Progress towards adaptation or ease is conspicuous in certain areas, but the branches of hostility on earth are infinite. Some comforts are to forget or keep off certain hostilities.

But, why is this earth so hostile? What exactly is wrong or went wrong?

It is possible to not believe anything without evidence or scientific method, but is there a way to approach the unknown with the known?

For anything to move, it needs a source of power, or energy. Is it possible hostility – movement – is powered?

If there’s a property, there’s an owner – or multiple. Some ownership is disputed. Some ownership is leased, or made available. Is it possible this earth is owned, leased, or contended?

If people die, or say are evicted, and become part of the earth – where hostility isn’t felt, what parties directly and indirectly hold power for that eviction?

If genetics is forceful and sometimes powerfully influential on progeny, are there other kinds of unknown ‘genetics’ responsible for mind, behaviour, hostility, outside biology?

If certain wants are sometimes difficult to get, or tiring when had, isn’t possible hostility uses wants?

There are so many questions from what is seen and understood that can be used to seek the unseen and mysterious – towards finding our more about earth’s strange hostilities.

There have been so many people born into this world – warriors, leaders of some religion, etc. who were said to have had some encounter with some force telling them they were special.

They were able to do miracles. Some went on to become really powerful, or find incredible success. What exactly is responsible for some of these people and what they displayed?

If there’re always people like that through history, those with similar encounters now, not in known leadership, what are they using their powers for and what is their source?

The hostility of this world drives people to find comfort in anything. There are people with some situation where they have to use a coping mechanism – but it comes with its own destruction.

If there’s a problem to be abated temporarily by something else that causes permanent damage, or loss, or finalizes hostility, was that problem genuine or was just a channel for eviction?

There are several groups of hostilities in this world, but possible major ones are national economics, personal economics, physical health, mental health, natural disasters and artificial disasters.

If the world has to be a better place, hostilities from those have to be nearly or totally defeated.

But assuming there are no easy answers or there is no better option, how about focus on a reachable?

It is possible to argue that a reason for several problems in this world is because individuals aren’t exactly born valuable – according to economics.

Value has to be acquired, which becomes capital to be demanded, desired or paid for.

But this model is also hostility.

The way children born into royal families are important from their first second should be how every person on earth is valued – at the expense of everything else.

There is no great idea or incredibly thoughtful policy that has designed this, even for a community of a few thousand.

Talent, skill, employment on any grade will count, but not at the cost of humans. Free labour economics or say royalty economics, not free markets.

Since humans are ‘not’ valuable, unemployment, under employment, child labour, different designs of slavery, wickedness, racism, rape, hate and more are also hostilities off impaired economics.

Money is king. People serve in its court. Some do whatever it takes – with high greed & resolute cruelty.

It is possible to protest against something, but what form of hostility is it? If the problem is directly from something, what are the ultimate reasons?

Maybe the greatest idea to change the world is supremacy of humans – in any economics.

Still, no matter the great ideas or advances, eviction on this earth is inescapable.

The story of the fall of man is the angle Christians use to understand hostility of this world. The attachments of true Christians to Jesus is like whatever happens may be deserved, but Lord, please have mercy – against deserved and positioned hostilities.

They understand that sin rids of grace. Though mercy can sometimes interchange for grace, they know they should stay away from sin.

On sin, people generally think because nothing happens after, it means it’s permissible, but just like people hate to see things waste, is the same way any sin wastes grace, but no one sees.

Some people have horror on their minds, but have no opportunity, or how to get away with it.

Jesus, who was in the beginning, came into the world, to save and redeem – after the fall of man.

Jesus is not any individual who had any encounter with anything else, for power or glory.

Atheism can also be refusal to believe in the absolute divinity of Christ.

The sermon on the mount and several other teachings of Christ instruct everyone to avoid becoming the source of hostility to others.

For example, thinking in the heart about sex with another person can be broadly interpreted as a form, or source of rape. Rape is evil hostility. Viewing sex is similar.

Refusing to love a neighbour as self can mean availability to hate, and hate can result in prejudice, racism, rape, oppression, persecution, etc.

Focus on criticisms of others always is a form of hostility that refuses to let people change their own bad behaviours, which is a beam in their eyes.

Some people want others to be wrong, so they can correct, or feel superior or better.

To show mercy and compassion always to others is from understanding that this world is hostile.

Jesus, the ultimate owner of this earth, His property, already saw the future of the world with all the hostilities, gave redemption, showed example and taught.

It is possible to argue against Christ with internet enlightenment many have, but they should look at what hostility troubles them and what hostility – they are – in that moment to their neighbour.

Many people totally believe that knowledge is everything, but the weakness of knowledge is what it permits to advance. The side effects of several advances are hostilities people choose to be blindsided to, or see and accept. Yet, knowledge is everything to them and Christianity they regard not.

Christ won’t struggle freedom with an individual because soon, eviction, from whatever source, cometh.

Some people have watched as their state of happiness shrunk within hours into dark psychological mood, without any event, showing that something measurable [or unmeasurable] is regulated.

The documentations of Jesus and Christianity are contended by many, but the teachings are matchless.

True salvation in any life makes this world a far better place than obvious guesses.

[John 1:38, Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, what seek ye? They said unto Him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest Thou?]

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The UNILAG’s Post UTME Crisis

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UNILAG

By Jerome-Mario Utomi

Similar to every new invention which comes with opportunities and challenges, when candidates preparing for the University of Lagos Post UTME, got the news about the university’s management decision to allow candidates write the test from any location of their choice, it elicited two sets of reactions.

For a better understanding of the piece, UTME stands for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), a computer-based standardized examination for prospective undergraduates in Nigeria, designed to assess the problem-solving, critical thinking knowledge of each of the students.

For some, joy flashed on their faces. They and their parents were particularly happy because such a development will assist in saving both time and resources for the student that resides outside Lagos state.

Chiefly, It will save parents from inherent discomforts and risks associated with travelling on Nigerian roads which includes but not limited to; road mishaps, armed robbery attacks and kidnapping.

To the rest, the development was viewed with scepticism and fears. The crux of their fears is that the well thought out programme and intention will be destroyed by what they called ‘the Nigerian factor’. These worries were given a boost and further fed by arguments which bothered on lackadaisical and nonchalant attitude to work by an average Nigerian civil servant-and inability of regulators to go extra miles to ensure that the given assignments are perfectly executed.

But looking at the gamut of complaints within few days into the exercise, of how unreliable, inefficient/effective the UNILAG online portal has become as it randomly shut out students without prompting or recourse to stipulated time, coupled with highhandedness, lackadaisical and nonchalant attitude of the staff, and other instincts coming from the candidates, the fears raised earlier by some can no longer be described as unfounded but a word made flesh and now dwells among us.

For those that hitherto praised the initiative, such eulogy has like light faded, and jeer has since overtaken the cheers while hatred for the initiative, and fears about what becomes the admission fate of their children looms. They have come to the conclusion that as an unchained and uncontrolled torrent of water submerges whole countrysides and devastates crops, even so, has the UNILAG online post-UTME serves but to destroy student’s ambition, serve them with bleak admission opportunity and cause dropping spirits among parents.

As a matter of fact, each passing day at the university brings more evidence that the school is facing serious administrative emergencies-that demand immediate actions.

Out of many, this piece will accommodate ‘testimonies’ from three affected candidates to assist the university management look inward, reflect critically on their own role, and identify the ways they often advertently or inadvertently contribute to the problems and then change how they act by addressing the present debacle.

Going by their accounts, at about 11.a.m on Tuesday, February 15, 2021, one of the candidates, a male, (name withheld) arrived at a business centre located somewhere around Ketu part of Lagos. He got connected via the system to the UNILAG portal as a signal was established.

After the preliminary protocols, the system electronically generated the first subject. And he gladly and promptly attempted questions one and two. As he was expecting the number three question, what he got to his greatest surprise was a message from the portal signalling that he exited the examination page/sheet.

The experience of the second candidate was not quite different from the first. Everything started very fine but at about the 7th minute into the journey, the portal for inexplicable reason got him disconnected.

But if these accounts are considered a challenge, the experience of the third candidate is a crisis.

First, he successfully logged in to the school portal and just immediately, he got a message ordering him to remove his earpiece which he promptly complied with. And in a matter of seconds, another instruction popped at the portal directing him to remove his face cap. As he raised his right hand to comply with this second directive, the next message that followed to his greatest dismay was that he has exited the examination port. These are verifiable facts.

This discomforting accounts aside being a reality Nigeria and Nigerian must worry about, it will necessitate the posers as to; how many of the youths in Nigeria would be affected? Who will stop UNILAG from this disappointing arrangement? And who will be the judge? Or must we allow this injustice like good and evil go on together allowing our nation to reap whatever fruit that comes in the nearest future?

Certainly, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that our schools work and our children properly educated at the right time. But in this particular case, if the University of Lagos management and other concerned arms of government fail to do the needful, it will again dispatch another sign of a nation unmindful of the fact that our children enjoy the right to education as recognized by a number of international conventions, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which recognizes a compulsory primary education for all, an obligation to develop secondary education accessible to all, as well as the progressive introduction of free higher education/obligation to develop equitable access to higher education.

We must not also fail to remember that very recently, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in line with its mandate to promote and protect human rights has established the right to education as a thematic area of focus to drive its vision of having all children enrolled in school as well as to ensure that the culture of human rights is promoted and maintained in schools.

Certainly, this piece holds the opinion that they (candidates) reserve the right to hold the nation and leaders alike accountable if they (government) fail to provide this traditional but universal responsibility to the citizenry which the instrumentality of participatory democracy and the election of leaders confer on them particularly now that their future/ civilization is hanging in the balance as a result of such failures.

Another urgent reason why the school authority and of course the Federal Ministry of Education must reassess this process and address the present injustice are the threat that keeping brilliant children on the waiting list for university admission for too long could pose to the nation. Idleness could make them take to the street.

As we know, the streets are known for breeding all sorts of criminals and other social misfits who constitute the real threat such as armed robbers, thugs, drug abusers, drunkards, prostitutes and all other social ills that give a bad name to the society.

Ideally, this is not the best time to glut over the cost implication of organizing fresh examination for these candidates as no amount of investment in the education sector will be considered too much. We also need to face the fact that the traditional progressive solution to societal problems is to redouble emphasis on education.

This fact has made education an extremely valuable strategy for solving many of society’s ills. In an age where information has more economic value than ever before, it is obvious that education should have a higher national priority.

As Nigerians and the watching world await UNILAG’s decision, If we do nothing about this, it simply means our youths/nation by extension are faced with a bleak future. But then, one point to remember is that bringing a radical improvement or achieving sustainable development in a way that both protects the rights and opportunities of coming generations is overwhelmingly urgent. These teaming students are knowledge-hungry. What they innocently ask for is another opportunity for examination delivered in an environment that works.

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

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New EFCC Boss Abdulrasheed Bawa: A Fair and Thorough Professional

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Thorough Professional

By Sunday Adebayo

It is no longer news that Abdulrasheed Bawa is on his way to becoming the new chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) as nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari, pending the Senate’s approval.

This relatively unknown young man appears to be the perfect match for the country’s fight against corruption, both in the low and high places, going by his antecedents.

This was contained in a letter by President Buhari on Tuesday, February 16 to the upper chamber of the House of Assembly, as a matter of constitutional urgency, to confirm Bawa in accordance with Paragraph 2(3) of Part 1, CAP E 1 of the EFCC Act 2004.

A lot of controversies have surrounded the office of the anti-graft agency over various tenures, from preferential treatment to not following due process, unfair judgment in its investigations, cherry-picking who to take to the slaughter, and the likes. That seems to be the very ‘vices’ Bawa has come to nip in the bud.

For the first time in history, after so much drama surrounding the sack of the immediate past chairman, Ibrahim Magu, an officer who rose through the cadet of the agency is going to be leading the war against corruption. This is vital as he already knows and understands the terrain, which is going to be key in its leadership operating style going forward.

So, age and youthfulness are not just the things that stand Bawa out in this highly revered position. Bawa, who rose from being the pioneer cadet of the commission, is a maven when it comes to financial crimes investigations, having gone through several pieces of training in the agency institution in addition to his first degree in Economics, Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy while currently pursuing another degree in Law.

Those who know him well tell tales of his bravery, dedication, fairness, and balance in his investigation expertise and well known for seeing through any case he hits with his teeth.

His thorough stand for the truth, interest in hearing both sides before taking a stand are some of the features that distinguish him in his wealth of experience in the institution.

The 40-year-old was the brave brain behind the famous Deziani crude oil swap, Atlantic Energy, and petroleum subsidy fraud investigations by the country’s formidable anti-corruption institution, recovering millions of dollars worth of properties in the UK, Switzerland, U.K., U.A.E., U.S.A., Canada including 92 of such assets in Nigeria and billions of naira, prosecuting many companies.

The former Ibadan-zonal head of the EFCC was said to have run the notorious yahoo boys in the area out of town, before moving to Port Harcourt to wage war against oil bunkers.

He has also been part of the prosecution of advance fee fraud, bank fraud, official corruption, money laundering, and other economic and financial-related crimes.

Bawa, who has been in the anti-corruption fight for about 17 years now, is also said to be putting to bed the impression that some people are untouchables as he is said to be taking the war to the house of ‘the bouillon chief’, former governor of Lagos and a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He is also chesting the investigations against the former governor of Niger State, Muazu Babaginda Aliyu, who is currently facing trial.

Prior to his appointment, Bawa, who is the youngest ever to lead the EFFC, the commission has been without a substantive chairman since Ibrahim Lamorde in 2015. The immediate past chairman, Ibrahim Magu, operated in an acting capacity from 2015 to 2020, after the Senate failed to confirm him and was later removed in controversial circumstances.

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Abdulrasheed Bawa: Setting the Pace in Fight Against Corruption

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Abdulrasheed Bawa

By Wole Arisekola

The appointment of 40-year-old Abdulrasheed Bawa by President Muhammadu Buhari as the head of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), no doubt ushers in new dawn at the anti-graft agency that has over the years been riddled with leadership crisis since its establishment many years ago during the second term of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The nomination of the youthful and very thorough security operative to replace the embattled and suspended former chairman, Ibrahim Magu, will obviously set a new pace for the commission, what with Bawa’s track record of inimitable achievement as a groundbreaker.

Since the laudable appointment of Bawa who is a Chief Detective Superintendent, mixed reactions have continued to trail his new office on account of those who dread what he can do if allowed to hold sway without any encumbrance.

As one of the earliest recruits into the commission at inception, without a police training and background, Bawa has assiduously worked in close contact with all the previous Chairmen of the commission, unblemished and diligently. His coming on board now as the chairman of EFCC comes with a varied wealth of experience in the fight against the hydra-headed monster of corruption and other financial vices.

Against the background that those before him as chairman of EFCC came from their privilege background as top police officers with insights into the workings of what goes on in high places viz-a-viz corruption, Bawa is coming in from a totally different and fresh background without being an appendage to anyone in the corridors of power, and may just be the breath of fresh air needed in the fight against corruption without fear or favour, a development that is giving many a reason to believe that the fight is already a win-win battle.

A trained security operative with a vast experience in investigation and prosecution of Advance Fee fraud cases, official corruption, bank fraud, money laundering and other economic and financial crimes, Bawa holds a BSc in Economics and a Masters in international affairs and Diplomacy. He is one of the pioneer EFCC cadet officers when the commission was set up in 2005. He has undergone several specialized trainings in security and investigating matters both at home and abroad.

Perhaps these sterling qualities and the very impressive and intimidating dossier is what is giving many of his traducers the jitters since his appointment as they have begun to run series of clandestine campaigns of calumny against him to frustrate him even before he hits the ground running as he is always won’t to be.

But those who know Bawa well will tell you that he can never be intimidated or arm-stronged to bow to anyone’s whims and caprices as he remains undaunted to take his job very seriously without minding whose ox is gored.

Here are 10 things to know about the incoming EFCC boss:

* He was born in Jega, Kebbi State, 40 years ago. This makes him the first person to be appointed to the EFCC job from anywhere in Nigeria other than the North-East zone.

* ️Bawa is the first career operative to head the EFCC. His appointment puts to rest agitation by “core EFCC staff” to have one of their own to head the commission.

* Bawa served under all EFCC past chairpersons, starting with Nuhu Ribadu, who recruited the first set of civilians into EFCC (including Bawa) in 2005.

* The operative started work with EFCC from its Lagos office, after his recruitment in 2005. He went on to work at the headquarters in Abuja, and for a year in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

* ️He was educated at the Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Economics in 2001 and Master’s in International Relations and Diplomacy in 2011.

* ️He is a Deputy Chief Detective Superintendent, a position he was promoted to in 2016.

* ️Bawa has led a number of key corruption and financial crimes investigations including the infamous case of former Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, the case of former Niger State governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu and that of the controversial crude oil swap. He was also involved in the investigation of petroleum subsidy fraud (2012-2015).

* ️Bawa has headed EFCC zonal offices in Ibadan and Port Harcourt between June 2018 and December 2019.

* ️From Port Harcourt, Bawa was posted to Abuja as head of Capacity Development Division of the EFCC Academy, Karu.

* ️Bawa was trained by the FBI, KPMG and many other institutions in the UK, United States and Nigeria.

The coming of Bawa will definitely bring a new dawn to the long protracted fight against corruption which has defied all known measures to nip it in the bud. Bawa is set to break records if confirmed by the Nigerian Senate to lead the commission.

Wole Arisekola, a businessman, writes from Lagos

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Nano, Micro, and Small Businesses: Path to Growth with Government Services And Contracts

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Timi Olubiyi Recession and Pandemic

By Timi Olubiyi, PhD

In today’s turbulent business environment, predominantly with the economic recession, inflation, and the disruptive novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, strategy becomes the main source of competitive advantage for businesses and organisations.

However, for a strategy to be meaningful, a business must have a reliable and working business and organisational structure.

The fundamental problem that occurs in most businesses particularly the nano, micro, and small-sized enterprises in the country is that they operate informally and how to establish a successful and profitable enterprise in a way to satisfy the common and personal interest is complicated.

I am delighted to correctly inform you that this issue revolves around sound business structure planning. Hence, when a business and its activities are divided, organised, coordinated, and controlled without duplications and are hassle-free, it is said to be structured.

An organisational structure can be seen as ways in which responsibilities and power are allocated and work procedures are carried out in a business by operators and workers.

From context observation small businesses in Nigeria are rarely structured, usually, they have a small working group and face-to-face communication is frequent, this generally undermines formality, business growth, and productivity.

A point to note is that this informal arrangement is prevalent in the country and is a worrisome culture amongst start-ups and small businesses.

Thus, this piece is to share the importance of business formalisation and the need to have organisational procedures, established rules, and responsibilities assigned, regardless of the business size, employee size, revenue generation, or the range of the business function.

Having a business incorporated or registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and setting up a business account in a commercial bank are only the starting points of formalisation of business, structure involves a whole lot more.

The idea of structure in a business is for efficiency and effectiveness because it affects the safety of assets, fundraising, taxation, customer experience, governance, and engagements.

The smooth continuation of any business upon ownership change or succession and the financial information of the business is also affected by the structure in the business. Business requires structure chiefly for continuity, growth, and profitability.

In my view, the efficiency of a business can be measured by how well the business is structured. Therefore, for a business either large, small, or nano to fulfil its purpose and have a mechanism constructed to achieve the purpose, a functional structure has to be in place in the business.

More importantly, functional structure affects business operations in two ways. First, it provides the foundation on which standard operating procedures and routines rest.

Second, it determines which individuals get to participate in which decision – making processes, and thus to what extent their views shape the business operations.

To substantiate the perennial issue of informality and lack of structure among businesses, a survey was conducted on MSMEs in Lagos State, the commercial nerve centre of the country – (The computer village Ikeja, Alaba International Market, and within some market associations (Auto Spare Parts and Machinery Dealers-ASPAMDA and Balogun Business Association) to get more insights.

The survey revealed that a large percentage of close to 97.4 per cent of the respondents who are business owners and SME operators have organic structure (no accountant, no operating software, no technology usage, no rules, and procedures) in their businesses.

With the survey, a high number of poorly run businesses with little or no structure were identified and this is a huge challenge to business continuity.

Some of the issues they face as a result of this informality include high employee turnover, and hiring problems, low productivity, high number of low skilled staff, lack of bookkeeping, and in most cases no accounting or customer/sales data.

However, such data could be used to gain insights into sales, profitability, patronage, and for strategy, implementation to stay ahead of the competition.

More so with such data sets (business and customers) if available, it can help to identify areas of weakness and strength of the business and also ensure no part of the business operation or customer experience is overlooked.

With good structure, businesses can provide exceptional customer service experience and audited financial statements useful for government procurements, services and public contract qualifications.

For a business to have a good structure, these components; the board, the management, business goals, vision, operations, governance, accounting, bookkeeping, human resources, and technology usage have to be defined. Because they have a significant effect on the way the organisation performs its activities and if one component does not fit, the performance of the whole business will be hindered.

For instance, improper accounting systems and bookkeeping can result in financial disaster for a small business or even cause a business failure.

In addition, governance structures and leadership is equally important because it is the frameworks that can help businesses achieve long-term success for all their stakeholders.

Significantly, to improve the structure and efficiency of a business the most central formalisation tool available is the technology and the organizational chart.

We live in an age of high technology development in various sectors and industries, this increasingly improves the adoption of automation for businesses and is, therefore, a more logical way to support business structure. Business structure with technology will reduce operational cost; provides standardized procedure, accountability, and clear reporting among others.

For several reasons, large firms may have a comparative advantage over small businesses however mainly on business and organizational structure.

Nano, micro, and small businesses are poorly structured all across the country, therefore formality and adequate structure are advised for business sustainability and growth. It is also apparent that SME operators need to adopt good governance, prepare a financial statement as at when due, and keep proper records.

It will help such small businesses take other opportunities such as taking part in government services, procurements, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and contract exercises.

Recall, the government is the biggest procurer of goods and services, operating in the public sector space should be a target, however, it requires adequate formality and structure. If this part of your business is sorted it will be easy to identify and qualify for opportunities within the government and public space. This can provide a leverage considering the current economic realities.

Other opportunities include raising funds in the capital market, attracting foreign direct investment, seeking a loan from the bank, and so on.

Raising long-term funds with low cost through the stock exchange should not be a daunting task for small businesses if a structure and good governance are in place.

In conclusion, to stem the tides of the effect of this current reality and harsh economic climate, businesses need to innovate from an organic structure to a functional structure and divide the organisation into units, based on their function.

When a business environment changes, the organisational strategy needs to change, structure, roles, objectives, and functions should realign with the new realities.

The big question is, has your business acted? If you have a structure, have you done a performance review or done a technology upgrade? If it becomes increasingly difficult to re-engineer or structure your business where necessary, the engagement of knowledgeable professionals can make a substantial impact on your business operations and for strategy advice. Good luck!

How may you obtain advice or further information on the article?

Dr Timi Olubiyi is an Entrepreneurship & Business Management expert with a PhD in Business Administration from Babcock University Nigeria. He is also a prolific investment coach, seasoned scholar, Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registered capital market operator. He can be reached on the Twitter handle @drtimiolubiyi and via email: drtimiolubiyi@gmail.com, for any questions, reactions, and comments.

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Nigeria’s Business Support System: Perception Versus Reality

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Nigeria's Business Support System

Today, Africa is facing multiple challenges like inadequate healthcare and education, logistical complications and mobility problems.

However, it is also a spot for innovation. The complications it faces translate to opportunities that spur the development of many industries.

Here is a look at how conducive the African environment is to businesses in 2021.

First, one should remember that the African terrain is not homogenous in terms of economic and technological opportunities. When comparing across countries, you will see drastic differences.

For instance, most of the top 10 cities with favourable business conditions for start-ups are in Nigeria. But what about the rest of the continent?

Impressive, But Not Ideal

At the moment, some of the most promising areas are Lagos, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, and Abuja. This rating is based on the time and procedures necessary to start a business. The entrepreneurship culture index also plays a part.

The World Bank Group Doing Business 2020 report offers a few available insights. The study confirms that Nigeria is leading the way in terms of business climate improvement. In fact, it is one of the top improvers worldwide.

Nevertheless, these conclusions are not universally accepted. The report is focused on Nigeria and looks at perceptions of interpreters and factors that may hinder progress. Let’s look at the positives first.

Unique Solutions for the Local Market

In recent years, Nigeria has seen quite a few Innovations. For example, consider Helium Health, a start-up focused on increasing accessibility of healthcare. The company wanted to avoid problems with the electric supply by using solar batteries, particularly in government facilities.

All the country also has a rapidly expanding online forex trading sector. Global Forex brokerage brands, such as ForexTime, are now tailoring their services to the local needs.

Nigerians may open accounts in the naira and save on conversion fees. They may work from home, trading on the largest financial markets. Entry is also extremely affordable, as one may open a live account with only $10. Anyone can learn forex trading in Nigeria — there is so much free information available.

Generally, the country is slowly moving towards digitalization. Still, in many realms, modernization is a challenge. For example, consider NextCounsel, a legal tech start-up. According to its CEO Gbadebo Ojikutu, many law firms are still mired in manual paperwork, and spending on technological innovation is unimaginable. The market needs to be enlightened to raise productivity.

Key Challenges in 2021

In terms of entrepreneurs’ perception, there are no surprises. They still have concerns about Nigerian infrastructure, regulations, and data. These factors are generally viewed as adverse. State regulations are restricting innovation in the country; tech industry veteran Emeka Okoye supports this view.

Adverse Government Initiatives

Another challenge is the controversial relations between mobility start-ups and the government of Lagos. Prohibition of okada was followed by clamping down on ride-hailing businesses. In the future, regulation is likely to continue hindering innovation in areas where there is a lot to innovate around. Each region has its own approach.

Data and Literacy

The dearth of data has hampered the development of AI. The country is falling behind despite its inexhaustible talent pool. According to Abdulhakim Bashir, the founder of the Chiniki Guard, a theft detection start-up, the company is struggling with a lack of input.

The general level of tech literacy leaves a lot to be desired, just like financial inclusion. Of course, some issues are specific to the innovation model. For example, underbanked is less of a problem as companies may adopt agent banking. However, an educational start-up providing access to training via websites needs to cope with imperfect internet penetration.

The Taxi Controversy

Sometimes, start-ups are pitted against the state government, which comes up with similar solutions. In such situations, it is difficult to say that there is beauty in competition. AutoSave, a failed vehicle rescue-on-demand service has faced such challenges.

Lagos Taxi Ekocab

In March 2020, Ekocab started providing taxi services alongside ride-hailing apps. The company, supported by the Lagos government, was presented as an effort to boost the relevance of regular yellow taxis.

However, this clearly put Uber and its likes at a disadvantage. Coupled with the tightening of restrictions for apps and the ban on okada, the measure was ridiculed on social media. The timing made it extremely unpopular.

Success Is Possible

Despite the controversial actions of the Nigerian government, some start-ups in the country have taken off, and they are thriving. What sets them apart from losers? Clearly, it is a better understanding of the business environment and adaptability. Succeeding in Nigeria is not easy, but it is possible for companies which are flexible enough.

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Top Ways to Make Your Money Work for You

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Money

Money is an essential tool for everyone. It helps us achieve our financial objectives. It can be a source of financial stability and comfort when you store up some money for yourself for the future and unexpected occurrences.

However, for you to enjoy having money, you must derive strategies to make your money work for you. You should be in control of your money and use the control to increase your financial stability and make yourself financially secure.

Invest Your Money

The best tip to making your money work for you is to invest your money. One of the best places to invest your money is the stock market. You should not be lied to that you must have a lot of money to qualify to invest in the stock market.

You can start with at least $600 and add more money as days go by. If you are keen enough, you can follow the advice on this review to understand how the stock market has been.

Such reviews will also enable you to understand which stocks to own for a long time and what to buy and what not to buy. You should also read important reviews to understand which stocks you should simply hold to earn some money.

Remember that there are stocks that are regarded as a passive investment that you simply buy and relax as your money grows. You can also take advantage of some tax-efficient accounts like 401ks and IRAs. These investment accounts can allow your money to exponentially grow. If you are thinking of tax-advantaged savings account for your retirement, these accounts are ideal.

Consult an Expert

It is essential that you talk to a financial expert to help you manage your spending and think about investments and savings. Ask your financial expert as many questions as you have regarding the best way for you to use your finances.

You can also talk to individuals who are close to you and have succeeded in managing their money. Let such individuals explain to you step by step how they got to their points of financial independence.

Such individuals can help you make realistic financial goals and have appropriate strategies in place to achieve financial independence too.

However, it will be wise if you wrote down what particular advice you would want from your financial advisor. Financial matters are wide and therefore narrowing down to a specific component like budgeting or investment can help you reap the best results out of your appointments.

You could ask them to help you identify short term to long term financial goals and develop an investment plan as well as strategies for you to achieve your financial objectives. These experts can also help you choose tax-efficient investments that shall not drain your finances.

Always Operate on a Budget

There’s nothing as important as having a budget and sticking to it religiously. Stick to your basic personal budget. It helps you know where you have spent more money and know what to reduce spending money on.

A budget shall also help you realize whether you spend more than you can afford. It helps you spend money on the things that matter the most and consequently avoid spending on non-essentials.

Remember, your budget has to be comprehensive for it to help you out. You should incorporate all your daily expenses in your budget and compare the money you spend on expenses with your daily wages to see if it’s reasonable for you to spend that much. With this knowledge, you can effectively come up with a savings plan which can enable you to create an investment plan as your savings grow.

Note down all your fixed expenses, variable expenses, and discretionary expenses. You can also take advantage of the various budgeting tools available online to help you track your budget. You can use a budget calendar. If you don’t mind going old school, you can enjoy doing it on your spreadsheets.

Invest money

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Financial independence contributes immensely to your enjoyment of life. You should thus always have a savings account. You can have an emergency savings account too so that emergencies don’t eat into your other savings. You can also save your money in a bank account that yields high interest.

Investing your money in different aspects like real estate and stock markets shall help you grow your money. Financial experts also exist to feed you with the relevant financial information that can help you be more in control of your finances.

Ensure you put restrictions on your emergency savings account to regulate the amount of money you can withdraw within a certain timeline. You should also ensure you do not pile up debts for yourself as they can drain your finances.

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