By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke
The Nigerian financial sector has significantly grown in leaps and bounds; thanks largely to technology. Currently, banks’ services have been automated. Customers are no longer required to visit their brick and mortar branches to perform any transaction.
With their smartphones, they can process local and international transactions. These are exciting times for the Nigerian banking sector as the long hours spent at the bank have been greatly reduced. This laudable effort means that fintech has a key role to play in boosting financial inclusion in Nigeria.
As a result of technology, a fintech platform like Jumia Pay and others are disrupting the way banking business is done. Now, it seems like the banks are playing catch-up.
Although Nigerian banks are exploring and exploiting fintechs to improve their services, they are not taking advantage of it as quickly as the private firms whose services are entirely online.
Services Offered by Fintechs
The edge that fintechs like Jumia Pay and others have over the banks are in the services they offer. Many Nigerians and businesses are trooping to fintechs because of the flexibility of their services. This does not necessarily mean that they have abandoned the banks.
There are some key services that make fintechs stand out or unique. They include (1) eCommerce payment: online retailers can now seamlessly pay for their orders, thanks to the payment gateway service offered by fintechs. To make payment easy for its millions of customers, Jumia, Nigeria’s no 1 shopping destination launched Jumia Pay. This has enabled every Jumia customer to pay for transactions across the Jumia ecosystem (2) Loans: When it comes to loans, the fintechs are far ahead of banks. Without collateral, you can apply for a loan and receive it within 24 and 48 hours. They also have a flexible payment plan. As an entrepreneur, you may need a loan to shore up your business, you can apply for Jumia loan and you can go and sleep because the repayment plan is the best in the Nigerian fintech world. (3) They also provide mobile money transfer and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data Services.
The services of these fintechs are not only restricted to persons in Nigeria’s urban areas, but they are also accessible to many in rural communes. This is because they are willing to go where the banks are not necessarily ready to. Of course, we know that there are millions of unbanked Nigerians in the countryside.
Now, you find small payment kiosk or stores in these rural areas where you can perform different transactions including sending and receiving payment. And if you do not want to visit the stores, they can simply download the Jumia One app to buy a prepaid card, pay for a subscription and perform many other financial transactions.
All these activities combined are in one way or the other helping to promote financial inclusion. Even though there is so much to do, these baby steps are significant to close this gap.
Teeth Cleaning for Children and its Significance
Teeth cleaning is really substantial, so for children as for adults. Tooth plaque and bacteria can be removed by brushing teeth and avoiding the illnesses of gums and decay of teeth. People should brush their teeth in the morning and in the evening just before falling asleep, that is twice a day.
Parents should teach their children to clean their teeth early in the morning and make teeth cleaning an indispensable part of the list of their daily must-do activities so that this habit will stay with them when they become adults.
From what age, children should start off brushing their teeth?
Commence teeth brushing once the first tooth appears, in general beyond seven months of age. First and foremost, start to apply a mild wet cloth, as well as parents, can try cleaning the teeth using water and a mild toothbrush. Teeth are extremely significant for adults and, notably, for children. Teeth aid babies in speaking and eating, so it is significant to take care of them properly from the first months of life onward. Many children do not allow cleaning their teeth as it is an unpleasant activity for them. In this case, parents are advised to try to entertain the kid with the games on smartphones, for this a vivid instance can be the casino gaming like 22Bet Nigeria. So, as the parents adore much to play, they are able to grab the attention of children by these games and clean their teeth in the meanwhile.
The pickup of the right brush and toothpaste for kids
Children under 18 months only make use of only water during tooth brushing.
From 18 months to 6 years old, apply a toothbrush with a tiny head and mild stubble. Check out the fluoride quantity on the pack of toothpaste, it should be with a low.
Teach your kid the right brushing of teeth
Cheer your children up to be engaged in the process of tooth brushing with pleasure. Support them to adopt this skill and entitle them to brush their teeth on their own. After the age of 8, kids develop the perfect motor ability required for cleaning the tooth. Nevertheless, control over the children is mandatory until parents are assured that the kids are able to succeed in this activity and many others by themselves.
After cleaning, cheer your child up to spit out the toothpaste, rather than to swallow it with water.
Making 2023 General Elections a Rewarding One
By Jerome-Mario Utomi
The central interest of this piece is not to spot leadership faults in Nigeria or proffer solutions to what the present administration is not doing well to salvage the socio-economic well-being of the poor masses. Rather, the present piece is out to perform two separate but related functions.
First, as the nation races towards 2023 general elections, the piece x-rays the volume/strength with which foreign observers have in the past two decades raised strong voices against uncivil antics particularly the thorny transparency challenge that characterized concluded elections in Nigeria and the organized resentment it brought to the nation at the global stage/ exposed the nation to the pangs of sociopolitical challenges that prevent her from enthroning true democracy that ensures a corruption-free society.
Secondly, it is primed and positioned to find both practical and pragmatic ways Nigerians and particularly the present administration can use the forthcoming 2023 general election to correct the nation’s leadership challenge which is gravitating towards becoming a culture.
Aside from the fact that we cannot solve our socio-political challenges with the same thinking we used when we created it, the 2023 electoral project will among other things demand finding nations that have met the electoral challenges that we currently face, how they had tackled it and how successful they had become. We must admit and adopt both structural and mental changes, approaches that impose more discipline than is conventional.
Indeed, we are challenged to develop the world perspective in performing the traditional but universal responsibility which the instrumentality of participatory democracy and election of leaders confers on us, as no individual or nation can live alone and our geographical oneness has to a large extent come into being through modern man scientific ingenuity.
Again, with the amendment of the electoral Act that presently accommodates the electronic transmission of results, one can say that as a nation, we have made some political/electoral gains.
However, to help achieve electoral perfection in the country, there exists also, a study report which provides a link between the factors that impede credible election in Nigeria as well as made far-reaching measures that could pave way for development and orderliness in the nation’s political sphere.
The report was put together by the Centre for Value in Leadership (CVL), Lagos in partnership with the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), and supported by MacArthur Foundation. It has as title; Ethics and Standards in Electoral Process in Nigeria (guiding tools/principles).
Going by the content of the report, an election is said to be credible when it is organized in an atmosphere of peace, devoid of rancour and acrimony. The outcome of such an election must be acceptable to a majority of the electorate and it must be acceptable within the international community.
If elections are to be free and fair, laws designed in that regard must not just exist; they must be operational and be enforced. And the power of freedom of choice conferred on the electorates must be absolute and not questionable.
But contrary to these provisions, since the re-emergence of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, our country has conducted different elections. These elections have many common features and few things differentiate them.
For instance, the elections were all conducted periodically as expected. They were closely monitored by domestic and international observers, and they aroused varied contestations from Nigerian politicians and voters and they were marred by varying degrees of malpractice.
The implication of this finding is that the electoral process in Nigeria is rendered vulnerable to abuse, through massive rigging and other forms of electoral malpractices by political parties- especially by those in power as they seek to manipulate the system to serve their partisan interest.
Elections, which are a critical part of the democratic process, therefore, lose their intrinsic value and become mere means of manipulation to get to power.
This, the study noted, derogates the sanctity of elections as an institutional mechanism for conferring political power on citizens in a democratic dispensation.
As a way forward, it underlined four basic conditions necessary to create an enabling environment for holding free and fair elections. These include; an honest, competent and non-partisan body to administer the election, the knowledge and willingness of the political community to accept basic rules and regulations governing the contest for power, a developed system of political parties and teams of candidates presented to the electorates as alternative choices. And an independent judiciary to interpret electoral laws and settle election disputes.
For transparency and accountability during and after the election, INEC should; be free from any form of financial encumbrance, funding of INEC should henceforth come from the first-line charge. The commission should also be removed from the list of Federal bodies. And, the procedure for the appointment and removal of the INEC chairman and members of the board should be reviewed.
To perform its role effectively as the final arbiter of electoral dispute, and curb the excesses of the politicians, the court must possess both juridical expertise as well as political independence. There should be adequate time between resolution of conflicts and swearing-in of elected officials; section 134 (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 should be reviewed such that election tribunal cases are expedited. And finally, the court must resist the political or financial pressure and adhere strictly to the underlying legal grounds in their consideration of injunctions.
Aside from adopting or enforcing provisions requiring aspiring candidates to have been a member of a political party to address a high prevalence of defections before elections which dilutes political party growth and development, political parties should act as a bridge between people and the government and help integrate citizens into the political system. Also, they should inform citizens about politics through socialization and mobilization of voters to ensure that the decisions are made by the people.
While the report stressed that any discussion on democracy without the right to receive and impart information is empty. It, however, regretted that journalism in Nigeria with regard to its constitutional roles is not scientific; adding that Nigerian politicians have always used the media in an unwholesome manner.
To exit this state of affairs, the report urged practitioners to help build enlightened electorates as public enlightenment is a prerequisite for free and fair elections.
The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, private and state-owned media outlets should strictly enforce, and adhere to regulations on media neutrality and take steps against hate messaging and misinformation in the media. The media should uphold the ethos of providing accurate and factual information to the citizens at all times.
While this is ongoing, the Nigerian Police Force should be guided by, and conform to the appropriate principles, rules, codes of ethics, and laws governing police duties especially in relation to crowd control and use of firearms. They should maintain impartiality and eschew partisanship or discrimination between the ruling and non-ruling, big or small.
Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org/08032725374.
Money, Society, Development and Economics
By Nneka Okumazie
For some people, all they will ever become is what money can make them.
For them, the power of everything money can do makes everything about money.
They often measure to money and measure for money. They talk for it and ensure it is what is seen about them.
Many of these people have money above all culture in some of the countries the people there have described as unbearable.
In most of these countries, the same reason government does not work is the same thing outsiders are about, bringing the country to a contiguous halt.
Government is all about who can grab for self and interests, around power, resources and money.
This same reason is why many organized crimes exist and several kinds of harmful practices across the private sector.
Money will never develop any country. Though some continue to say money is what is lacking.
Money will never change anything about anyone because if there are real changes at any point, money may have enhanced it but was never cause.
Things that look like changes that money made does not change; they are just more of how money keeps itself important.
For many things done because there was money to do it, they are many times purposeless. There are also others that should be been important, but because money was more important in that project, it also became purposeless.
If in some developing country, someone lives in a nice apartment or drives a cool vehicle, making that individual seem important, the importance of the individual is to whom, and what purpose does it serve, and for what it serves, what does it change, affect or improve?
The comfort that is lived in many of these places is a false peak.
It keeps them there and there is rarely much else to find meaning for.
Money continues to dictate how to be seen to have it, going around in circles, absent of progress, but ensuring participants are unaware.
Money, for what it can, makes people become a sunset. Money stays important using people as tools to itself.
[Ecclesiastes 6:7, All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.]
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