Connect with us

Feature/OPED

Election, Debate and the Need for Attitudinal Change

Published

on

Election, Debate and the Need for Attitudinal Change

By Omoshola Deji

Debate is a vital, far-reaching and inexpensive means of campaigning and earning the voters admiration before election. It is identical to an interview session wherein the employer (electorates) assess the job seekers (contestants) suitability for the job. In developed nations, candidates save debate dates and prioritize attendance over other political activities or duties. Participating in debates is not based on self-determined conditions or wish. It is an essential responsibility. Absence at debates is a political suicide that can break the backbone of a candidate’s political career or end it. In such climes, reeling out manifestoes, the implementation methodology and facing public scrutiny is not construed as rendering favour to the people, but a solicitation of it. The reverse is the case in Nigeria.

After returning to democratic rule in 1999, our political consciousness has increased, but our political culture remains undeveloped. On political consciousness, individuals were once upon a time begged to contest for top political offices, but people now struggle hard to become Councillors. Lagging behind, our political culture has not developed swiftly as the consciousness. Candidates still discount political debates since participation and performance are inconsequential on election results. The electorates are responsible for this. Top on most persons’ candidate suitability checklist is ethno-religious connection and political affiliation. Debate and manifesto assessment is rated unimportant. This emboldens candidates, especially that of the dominant parties to dishonour debate invites. Such is the case witnessed at the just concluded Presidential debate organized by the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON) and the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG).

Five presidential candidates, out of over seventy, were opaquely selected to debate. The five selected candidates are Obi Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and Kinsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party (YPP). Ezekwesili, Durotoye and Moghalu turned up for the debate, Atiku put in an appearance, but declined participating, in fulfilment of his earlier alert that he would not participate if Buhari does not show up.

Atiku’s refusal to debate diminished the admiration his visit to the United States earned him. Nigerians were initially impressed he returned from the US few hours to the debate and made it to the venue on time. His inner circle and political strategists miskicked the ball when they made Buhari’s decision determine their action. Atiku contends that he withdrew from the debate because Buhari “who is at the helm of affairs of the nation is not present to defend himself or his policies”. This argument holds no water. What if Buhari is a first term contestant and not an incumbent seeking re-election?

Atiku shouldn’t have stormed out of the debate without participating. His action mirrors an applicant excluding himself from a job interview because a particular candidate is not present. Such action will, almost certainly, not earn the applicant the job. In this case, Atiku had the confidence to act in such manner because the employer (the electorates) has not made debating a winning determinant like the other employers in developed nations. Avoiding the debate because Buhari is absent is a disregard to the Nigerian populace who have stayed tuned to hear how Atiku intends to ‘get Nigeria working again’. It is also an unnecessary attack on Buhari’s right of choice. Buhari’s absence shouldn’t make Atiku desist from presenting his policies to the populace. Atiku took such action because non-participation in debates has no effect on electoral votes.

Atiku’s seems to have acted based on concerns other than Buhari’s absence. He apparently left to avoid being humiliated by other candidates. He may also consider debating with presidential candidates who can’t earn half a million votes a waste of time and disrepute to his person. Such reasoning and ego is prevalent in our polity. Moghalu, Ezekwesili and Durotoye’s weak political structure humbled them to participate. They would have most likely behaved like Atiku or Buhari if they were in their shoes.

Nonetheless, it is un-presidential for a president not to attend a presidential debate. Buhari lost a golden opportunity to convince Nigerians that he is fit to continue being President. Avowing that busy official and political schedules clashed with the debate is an untenable excuse, especially when many people are casting doubt on his mental ability and had predicted his non-participation.

Defending Buhari’s absence is encouraging wrongdoing. Shuttling the country to campaign is good, but debating is a better means of reaching more people, including the electorates, Nigerians in diaspora, and the international community. Other programs should have been postponed if the President considers it important to take part in the debate. If it were to be his personal electoral duties such as the submission of nomination form, collection of return certificate, or swearing-in ceremony, would he be absent?

The APC and Buhari’s inner circle allegedly prevented him from participating in the debate in order not to further expose his intelligence deficiency. The Aso Rock cabal is handling Buhari like the late President Yar’Adua. They are encouraging him to stay in office despite being aware of his deteriorating health. One can only pray that Buhari doesn’t end like Yar’Adua because of the greed of a few persons. Buhari means well, but his ability to function effectively can’t increase, it will decrease further as he aged.

Atiku unrelentingly challenging Buhari to debate – and the President’s abysmal performance at public functions lately – made his team prevent him from attending the debate. This decision is irrational, but wise. Buhari lacks communication skills and the ability to speak on crucial issues offhand. He would have probably made a mockery of himself if he had debated with persons like Moghalu and Ezekwesili.

Aside Buhari and Atiku, Presidential candidates will continue to boycott debates because majority of the voting population don’t cherish or know the importance of debates. The real Nigerian voters are largely the less educated people comprising of artisans, traders and thugs who neither watch television nor surf the web. Most of those clamouring for debate are the (social media) elites who do not have a voter’s card. As long as this trend persists, candidates will continue to shun debates and rather rely on handing out freebies and stomach infrastructure to win elections.

The three candidates respected Nigerians by participating in the debate, but Nigerians won’t reward them with their votes. Debate and brilliancy don’t win elections in Nigeria, political structure and financial strengths do. Moghalu performed better than Ezekwesili and Durotoye, but the three are all winners, the losers are the absentees – Buhari and Atiku. But then, the obvious truth is that one of the absentees will eventually win the election. Other political parties are too syndicated or ethnic fixated to win presidential election in a plural nation like Nigeria. The less dominant parties must unite into a strong force, if they wish to beat the APC and PDP in 2023. 2019 Presidency belongs to either APC or PDP.

Nevertheless, Nigerians need a robust party other than the dominant APC and PDP. The difference between both parties is that between six and half-dozen. Castigating one for the other is a waste of time as none of them can transform Nigeria.

We must also abolish all the socio-political anomalies that breed inefficiency. Anomalies have turned Nigeria into the Durkheim (1893) propounded state of anomie. If civil servants retire when they’re sexagenarian, why should a septuagenarian contest for President? If Nigerian graduates needs to serve the nation for one year before they can secure government jobs, why should school certificate be the minimum academic requirement to become President? So long as this anomaly remains unrectified, the less credible and incompetent ones would continue to occupy crucial leadership positions. The debilitating effect is a continuous rise in the political consciousness to grab power, and a political culture that accommodates underdevelopment, poverty and inefficiency.

Political Scientists need to further research factors that’ll compel candidates to participate in debates. Measures such as tackling illiteracy, encouraging political participation, and initiating a robust voter education exercise will improve Nigerians ability to assess candidate’s competence via debates. The ability to take decisions without primordial sentiments will usher in a high political standard that’ll transform the political culture. Attitudinal change is urgently needed to sanitize the monetized political system and redefine the rules guiding the conducts of elections and debates.

Omoshola Deji is a political and public affairs analyst. He wrote in via moshdeji@yahoo.com

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Feature/OPED

Okowa’s Financial Aid to Mission Schools

Published

on

Ifeanyi Okowa Delta State

By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi

The recent decision by the Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, to provide financial aid to 40 schools it returned to religious missions in 2011 again underscores the time-honoured belief that leaders must learn the art of management, an art of engineering and skill to absorb and mater success in their mission. As there is no hard and fast rule but involves a lot of practical wisdom and prudence in one’s functioning style and performance.

Speaking at the thanksgiving service to mark the end of the 16th Synod of Asaba Diocese, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), held at the Cathedral Church of St. Peter, Asaba, Okowa, who read the first lesson, congratulated the new Bishop of the diocese, the Rt. Rev. Kingsley Obuh, on his consecration and enthronement.

Acknowledging that the running of mission schools is difficult given the current economic condition of the nation, the governor commended the church for drawing his attention to the plight of the schools, especially his promise to ensure that grants were given to missions to assist them in giving a firm standing to the schools that had been returned to them. This, he explained, became necessary to assist the schools in running effectively, particularly in view of the prevailing harsh economic situation in the country.

Indeed, from the above comment by the Governor, it is evident that he is not taking success in leadership for granted or attributing the same to a function of luck and destiny but achievable through effective planning, genuine efforts and technique followed sincerely and scrupulously in their mission.

By his latest action, it is now evident that the Governor considers education as the bedrock of development. More than anything else, his promise to ensure that grants were given to missions to assist them in giving a firm standing to the schools demonstrates a leader with an understanding that with sound educational institutions, a country is as good as made -as the institutions will turn out all rounded manpower to continue with the development of the society driven by well thought out ideas, policies, programmes.

Secondly, it is a sign that he recognizes the challenges of perennial underfunding bedevilling the education sector not just in missionary schools in Delta State but across all the privately and government-owned schools across all the states of the federation.

This challenge has as a consequence brought upon the nation an astronomical increase in the rate of out of school children, especially in the northern part of Nigeria, to swell in number, even when it is obvious that the streets are known for breeding all forms of criminals and other social misfits who constitute the real threat in the forms of armed robbers; thugs, drunkards, prostitutes and all other social ills that give a bad name to the society. This underfunding challenge has also visited the sector with a state of affairs where a number of Nigerians are in school but are learning nothing; as schooling, according to UNICEF, does not always lead to learning.

“In Nigeria, there are more non-learners in school than out of school,” UNICEF concluded.

More specifically, aside from being in the best interest of the state government that those schools returned to the missions are supported to stand because they provide a space for study for some of our children across the state, Okowa’s current gesture reinforces the belief that we all have reasons not only to feel worried but collectively work hard to deliver the nation’s education sector in ways that will bring to an end the reign of thoughtless demand for fees of varying amounts/ proposed by the school authorities-a development that is financially squeezing the life out of the innocent students and their parents.

There exist more concrete reasons as to why Governor Okowa’s present move needs to be applauded.

At the most fundamental levels, it refreshes the minds of Nigerians of the passionate plea by the United Nations for government-private sector collaboration for sustainable development.

For instance, there was a veiled agreement among stakeholders at a recent gathering in Lagos that the government at all levels in Nigeria is shirking the traditional but universal responsibility of provision of educational, economic and infrastructural succour to the citizenry which the instrumentality of participatory democracy and election of leaders confers on them.

Essentially, participants at that event were unanimous that the 2030 sustainable agenda has partnership and collaboration at its centre. It was clearly stated that the scale and ambition of this agenda call for smart partnerships, collaborations, ecosystem thinking, co-creation and alignment of various intervention efforts by the public and private sectors and civil society.

The conference, which had as a theme Partnership for Sustainable Development and Innovation, was among other goals aimed at finding an ‘urgent need for creative and innovative thinking by all strata of the society-public and private sector and civil society-to promoting sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental protection’.

To further buttress the imperativeness of this needed commitment from all the parties in tackling the agenda, the conference stressed that the partnership is at the very centre of the sustainable development agenda as it is both a means to an end since it is a crucial enabler for the attainment of the other goals and an end to in itself since Goal 17 is a means of implementation and revitalised global partnership’.

Very instructive also, finding a solution to the societal problems, particularly providing access to adequate and quality education for the youths of this nation will in some ways help solve the youth unemployment challenge and develop a climate of sustainable future and innovation among our youths.

Talking about youth unemployment in Nigeria, a report recently put it this way: “We are in a dire state of strait because unemployment has diverse implications. Security wise, the large unemployed youth population is a threat to the security of the few that are employed. Any transformation agenda that does not have job creation at the centre of its programme will take us nowhere”

Youths’ challenge cuts across, regions, religions, and tribes, and has led to the proliferation of ethnic militia as well as youth restiveness across the country. This may, in turn, hamper the peace needed if handled with levity.  But this threat has become more pronounced in the oil-rich region of the country with the chunk of the proponents spearheaded by the large army of professionally trained ex-militants currently without a job. Proper management of these teaming youth is the panacea for determining the success or otherwise of the 2030 sustainable agenda, it is only by engaging these teeming youths through employment creation that the incessant youth restiveness can be abated.

One fact we must acknowledge is that the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal was formulated to among other aims promote and carter for people, peace, the planet, and poverty but nurturing to bear the premeditated result will depend on not just the private sector but our government.

To, therefore, move this nation forward, we need to like Governor Okowa, recognize that a sound educational sector and sustained infrastructural development remain the spine. We must learn that nations such as the Jews progressed because they possessed a tradition of education combined with social and political action. They enthroned education and sacrificed to get it.

We must as a nation make quality but subsidized education a human right that will be accessible to all Nigerians irrespective of tribe/ethnicity, sex, religion or creed. And develop the political will to fund education in compliance with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) budgetary recommendation.

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

Continue Reading

Feature/OPED

Tips for Building a Low-code Strategy

Published

on

Low-code Development

By Hyther Nizam

Over the last few years, businesses have been racing to digitise their processes and offerings. Whether you’re working from home, banking online, or doing a quick grocery order, you’ve likely noticed a significant rate of transformation. Given that every aspect of a consumer’s daily life is connected to the digital world, the challenge of digital transformation may be daunting. Traditional ways of developing consumer and internal applications are time-consuming and usually require a large number of development resources.

Fortunately, low-code/no-code (LCNC) development platforms empower businesses to quickly create cross-platform applications without writing thousands of lines of code. Low-code/no-code not only simplifies development but also saves time and money. Low-code is not a new concept, but demand for it has increased as a result of the pandemic and the necessity for businesses to speed up their digital transformation initiatives.

The advantages of low-code/no-code 

LCNC platforms provide a visual environment for building applications. As they provide snippets of pre-built code in a simple drag-and-drop user interface, people with little to no programming experience can also build custom web/mobile applications. However, it’s crucial to take the time to identify the most effective LCNC platform for your business before diving headfirst into app building.

The LCNC platforms help teams develop applications faster and with fewer errors than traditional coding. Because the platforms provide standard components such as forms, report templates, and ready-to-use code snippets, months of development time can be saved. By eliminating some of the more complex aspects of the application development process (such as creating frameworks and linking databases), these platforms empower people across the organisation to get involved in application development and bring their business ideas to fruition, without having to depend on IT assistance.

Zoho Creator, Zoho’s low-code platform, aims to facilitate efficient app development and effective collaboration. It uses pre-built integrations to connect with hundreds of systems and cloud services to make app development quicker and easier. Organisations can seamlessly integrate Creator with other Zoho applications and third-party platforms like QuickBooks, Zapier, and PayPal. To facilitate effective collaboration, Creator gives organisations the power to assign roles to users and grant them access to information relevant to their jobs. Role-based access controls help ensure the application development process is both streamlined and secure.

Now that digital transformation is an ongoing imperative for most businesses, agility and collaboration are critical. Our research shows that 40% of organisations are involving their business teams in their digital transformation processes. This indicates a growing understanding that digital transformation affects the whole business—not just IT teams.

Considerations for using LCNC strategies

First, and potentially most important, your business must know what to look for in LCNC platforms. Besides the visual modelling and drag-and-drop interfaces that make these platforms easier to use, your LCNC platform should be secure. It should have the required security framework certifications in place and espouse data confidentiality measures. It’s important to avoid using software that potentially opens the door to hackers.

Your LCNC platform should be equipped for multi-device deployment (meaning that you only have to create an app once for it to be accessible on any device), and scalability so you can add more users to your application as your organisation grows.

Once you’ve identified the right platform, it’s time to start cross-organisational planning for the digital experiences your organisation will provide, and the ways low-code can be leveraged to create those experiences. Remember, one of the major strengths of a good low-code platform is that it allows for collaboration. People across the organisation need to be exposed to the platform to understand what it can do for them.

The time is now

There has never been a better time for your business to embrace an LCNC strategy, as the world is undergoing an unprecedented rate of digital transformation. It is essential, however, to combine the correct platform with a strategy that enables your entire company to realise the benefits of low-code development. This is the most effective way to put your business ahead of the competition.

Hyther Nizam is the President of MEA at Zoho Corp

Continue Reading

Feature/OPED

B2B e-Commerce: Fostering Sales, Distribution with Data Analytics

Published

on

Data Analytics

The informal sector is a major source of economic growth and productivity globally. According to both the World Bank and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) statistics, more than 2 billion people representing 61% of the world’s employed population work in the informal sector.

Of the number, 93% are reportedly in emerging and developing countries. Around 86% of employment in Sub-Saharan Africa is in the informal sector, while 80% of household retail distribution is said to be delivered via informal retailers.

Nigeria is reputed to have a huge informal sector that makes up 50% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and accounts for over 90% of employment. The informal retail market value is estimated at US$100bn out of which the food and consumer goods retail segment is worth over $40bn.

B2B e-commerce firm Alerzo’s CEO, Adewale Opaleye, described the informal sector as a major source of economic growth, productivity and competitiveness.

Despite the importance of the sector, informal retailers face complex challenges that impede their business growth, financial and income stability and service quality. The challenges include limited inventory due to high demands, meaning the market is underserved; and limited access to funding which sometimes leads them to stock low-quality products.

The retail market is also clustered; products are often overpriced because prices are largely unregulated. Distance to market especially those in hard-to-reach locations; opportunity costs; dangers of travel; inadequate logistics such as transport to move purchased goods also impact informal retailers adversely. The unstructured nature of most retail businesses is another setback.

The challenges faced by consumers at the base of the pyramid also represent another key issue in the retail market. Often, lack of access to reliable product information, quality products and services, and low purchasing power deny consumers access to everyday essentials such as food, medicine, hygiene and household products.

The fallout of the challenges in the retail market segment is that manufacturers and distributors are often unable to track data on informal retail sales, regulate quality or access BoP customers for research, marketing or the delivery of social mission goals.

As a strategic pivot for national GDP growth, reforming Nigeria’s informal trade is a key to unlocking socio-economic prosperity for the citizens, and improving the lives of the retailers themselves including their families, and the communities in which they operate.

Hence, initiatives that remove barriers in the Factory-to-Retail distribution chain for consumer goods companies are most welcome. The role of e-Commerce, in particular tech-driven B2B e-Commerce platforms, is pivotal in this regard.

“Our mission is to empower these informal retailers through our ecosystem of digital products, so they are equipped to run profitable and sustainable businesses. We strongly believe that technology has the potential to transform the way informal retailers conduct their businesses, by using it to facilitate – with just a click of a button – fast and easy access to a wide assortment of consumer products at zero delivery cost to the retailers,” Alerzo CEO, Opaleye said.

B2B e-Commerce platforms are beneficial to manufacturers and tier one distributors as enablers of data gathering and market intelligence. By utilising an array of digital technologies to gather market intelligence and analyse data, they arm goods producers with vital information on consumer behaviour to further help them in research and product development. Distributors also use such information to scale up operational efficiency.

The use of customer data significantly fosters sales growth and enhances customer relationships. According to Statista, a 2018 survey in the United States showed that 84% of industry-wide leading firms revealed that data analytics helped to bring greater accuracy to their decision-making. That is, data utilisation and related analytics methods were reported to deliver the most value to firms by reducing expenses and creating new avenues for innovation and disruption.

Data analytics enable manufacturers and distributors to strengthen their business operations. For example, in supply chain management and customer relationship, data analytics can support the personalisation and customisation of sales and customer services to build stronger and more personal relationships with customers.

By deploying data technologies and tools, B2B e-Commerce platforms like Alerzo collect data and market intelligence to identify what customers actually expect from companies and to predict their future demands. In other words, data analytics help to create business knowledge, that is, information and understanding related to business processes and the business environment. It can additionally reveal hidden behavioural patterns.

Furthermore, B2B e-Commerce can provide manufacturers access to real-time data and instant information, creating real-time knowledge of markets, and when properly implemented, can increase sales. McKinsey’s research suggests that a healthy data culture, that is, an organisational culture that accelerates the application of data analytics, is becoming increasingly important for leading and lagging companies. Also, the deployment of data helps to provide accurate and timely information within an organisation.

B2B e-Commerce platforms by utilising their digital solutions can make the collection of data more feasible and cost-effective for manufacturers and distributors. Data analytics as one of the emerging areas in the domain of B2B marketing can even support businesses with access to big data thereby increasing access to quantitative and qualitative information beyond just transaction data such as purchase quantities.

In a nutshell, B2B e-Commerce in so many ways offers solutions that are helping to address the needs in the Factory-to-Retail distribution value chain holistically – at the supply side (manufacturers, top-tier distributors and last-mile retailers), and the consumers (demand) side.

Continue Reading

Latest News on Business Post

Like Our Facebook Page

%d bloggers like this: