Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The NCC's directive to raise Data Prices makes NO sense!

My text message to the Minister of Communication

Imagine for a moment that NAFDAC requested Coca Cola and the 7Up Bottling Company to price Coke and Pepsi at N150 per 50cl bottle so that Big Cola can stay in business and gain share. Would you think it made any sense?

Probably not.

I exaggerate a little for emphasis, but that is exactly what the NCC has tried to do with their recent re-introduction of price floors for data. In the absence of a press release from the NCC explaining their reasons, we turn to excerpts from a post on The Cable, the writer of which claims to have seen NCC’s letter to the Telecom Companies.
“In order to provide a level playing field for all operators in the industry, small operators and new entrants to acquire market share and operate profitably small operators and new entrants are hereby exempted for the price floor (0.9k/MB) for data services,” it said. 
“For the avoidance of doubt a small operator is one that has less than 7.5 percent market share and a new entrant is an operator that has operated less than three years in the market.
“Also, note that effective date for the interim price floor is December 1, 2016.”

Thursday, November 10, 2016

For Hillary Clinton; Heartbreak...

I have exerted great effort to avoid all news media, spending far less time than usual on Facebook, Twitter, and Quora. I scroll past furiously when news related to Trump appears in my newsfeed, and I am uncharacteristically missing CNN's Quest means Business for the second night in a row.



When I made this post yesterday, I thought it was because I was weary of all the news about America's election. It had crept into my life and dominated my thoughts and conversations for weeks. I thought I was grateful it was over, so I hastened to document my thoughts in a bid to quickly move on.

I was wrong.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

President Trump; Now - What Next?


When President Obama ended this skit by saying "At least I will go down as a President", I wanted desperately to believe his implied statement that Mr. Trump would never be President - although I had my doubts already. Now it is confirmed: Donald Trump will also go down - at least - as a President.

I am no political pundit, and I am not American. I am a concerned Nigerian who describes myself as a citizen of the world, and I am invested in living happily and helping other people rise above poverty and live happily too.

I had a cornucopia of thoughts on the way to work this morning, and I wanted to document them so I can come back (hopefully) in four years and see how my expectations turned out versus reality.
Trump won in more counties where most adults did not have Bachelor's degrees
1. Globalization is slowing rapidly, and nationalism and xenophobia are on the rise. My theory is that us (educated) folks from developing countries like globalization because it affords us the opportunity to move to and live in developed countries where systems work. (Educated) folks in developed countries believe in globalization due to a variety of reasons - including the exposure afforded them by education. Big businesses like globalization because they can leverage global supply chains to maximize gross margins. On the other hand - I also theorize that the (uneducated) natives in these developed countries who lose their jobs to immigrants are fed up with this situation - and are voting for that to change. Closely linked, people are tired of seeing their jobs move to Mexico and China, or go to Poles, Nigerians, or other immigrants who will do the same job for less money or benefits. Net - I think it's a new world order, one that is less "global".

Friday, September 30, 2016

MMM: Mokú Mogbé Mòdáràn!


Today was crazy. (Thank you, Shereen). Scratch that – the past few weeks have been crazy. I have been wanting to write about the MMM rave for a while, but couldn’t find the time – so I have had to be content with liking other people’s posts and dropping sarcastic comments here and there on Facebook. Right now I need a break from writing recommendations and thinking about foreign exchange, so I have decided to finally write this.

First some context for the uninitiated. MMM is a Ponzi an investment scheme that offers 30% returns on a monthly basis. Yes. You read that right. 30% monthly. To help put that in perspective, if you invest provide help of N100,000, you can expect returns to get help of N130,000 in thirty days. If you leave this N100,000 in for twelve thirty-day cycles, it becomes N2.3 million at the end of the period. That is a 2330% annual rate of return!


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Looking forward to when next I'll have these many cakes! :)
I can’t believe it’s already one year since my last birthday… Like really. Just like that? It feels like I was posing for pictures with my record number of cakes only yesterday. And wasn’t it last week or the week before that I was 18? Or 21? I am now confused. Where are all the years rushing to?

Can the 2000s come back here already?

Wasn't this exam only last month?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Why we need a new CBN Governor


I think the CBN needs a new governor. Like yesterday. It appears there is active manipulation going on to keep the Naira in the low N300s. The value in the parallel market, in the low N400s, is a better indicator of the Naira's true worth. Whether it is due to their inability to educate or convince the Presidency or whether there is some ineptitude in the mix, I no longer trust the current leadership of the CBN to weather this storm. Our best bet in the short term at strengthening the value of the Naira, other than an unlikely jump in the value of oil, is for foreign investors to return with their dollars. Forget all that talk about ramping up local production of non-oil goods. Making anything in Nigeria is incredibly expensive, and it will take years of concerted action on power, transportation, finance, labor (read everywhere) to create a significant base of export-worthy goods. We have a lot of English-speaking people and a lot of raw talent, so another option is to ramp up exportation of services - but that's a story for another day. Companies like Andela are leading the way here, but there's a lot more that we can be doing. Back to foreign investors.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Touch not my Anointed and other Scams: (My Problem With Church (2/x))


A 'man of God' is caught pants down with a female church member, but say nothing because ... touch not my anointed.

A 'man of God' is jailed in a foreign country for a variety of financial offences, but do not comment on newspaper article because ... touch not my anointed.

A 'man of God' is obviously manipulating people, making them eat grass and drink petrol... yet, say nothing, because - touch not my anointed.

Really?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Who large population don epp?


I feel envious when I hear about or research a country that has a manageable population.

Switzerland and Israel, for example, have about 8 million people. The UAE has under 10 million people. Canada and Australia, both of which have taken a decent amount of Nigerian immigrants in recent years, have 36 million and 24 million people respectively. We often point to Singapore as a model for rapid and sustainable economic development; they have just over 5 million people.

On the other hand, Lagos alone has about 20 million people. Kano has somewhere between 15 million and 20 million. Nigeria nets out somewhere between 150 million and 180 million - depending on who you ask. Some projections have it that we will number 400 million people by 2050.

Yes. 400 million people.

*****

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Supporting your Family vs. Investing in your Dreams

Young Padawan,

I received your letter requesting advice on balancing your obligations to your family with funding the pursuit of your goals. It is a difficult one to respond to, as I am in similar shoes and I am adjusting my approach as I go. I will share what I have learnt from others and found out for myself, and I hope it helps you.

Let us start with some common ground: you are partly responsible for your family. Your parents and siblings should not suffer lack of food, clothing, or healthcare if you can do something. They have shared good and bad times with you, loved you in health and nursed you through sickness, and as you mentioned – sacrificed to pay for your education. Yes, you did not ask to be born, and many of these things are parental responsibilities. But, do you ever wonder how things would be different if they hadn’t performed these duties?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Nightlife, Afropolitan Vibes

Promo poster for this month's show
I was writing about free markets and the floating Naira, then I thought - why don't I write about something fun since it's a Friday night?

So I scrapped my previous post.

It's Friday!!!

Cheers to the freaking weekend!!!

**7**

When I travel, I always make time to see the nightlife; I could literally be drooping with a backache from sitting all day, but I would always, always get out in the evenings to see how the people have fun. I have walked nearly an hour in almost zero temperatures in Europe while "following the music", I have gotten lost at 3am in East Africa while finding my way back to the hotel after a night out, and I have bluffed my way into a Middle Eastern club by telling the bouncers I was a Nigerian prince (this is technically true, although I am probably a few hundred people away from any thrones).

Sunday, June 12, 2016

You are not a Tree


This quote by Jim Rohn is one of my all time favourites.

It is sometimes difficult to just up and move, particularly when you have dependants, do not have a safety net, or simply can't afford the risk. BUT, greatness doesn't come easily. Nobody achieved great stuff without some discomfort.

There is hope for improvement so long as there is life.

You can change things.

You are not a tree.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

What will you be doing in five years?


If you asked me five years ago what I would be doing today, I would have looked straight into your eyes and given you a confident answer. I would have maintained eye contact all through the conversation and thrown in a few verses from the Bible for good measure. If you were a peer, you may have left thinking something was wrong with you for not having that degree of certainty about your future.

I was absolutely sure what I would be doing in five years.

I was also absolutely wrong.

*****

I recently read my personal mission statement from 2007.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

RIP Stephen Keshi, Death is a Bastard

The Big Boss, how I will remember him.
I saw the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final at a bar in Ogudu. It was not a nice place. It smelled of vomit, the boys were loud, and the waitress was rude. I am generally averse to rough places, but it did not cross my mind to leave. It was the first time in thirteen years that we were in a final and we had a real chance to win. I wanted to witness the making of history.

I screamed when Sunday Mba scored, danced a jig when the referee blew the final whistle, and fist pumped the air all the way back home. It was a big deal. Stephen Keshi had done what many foreign coaches couldn't do - win the Nations Cup. The excitement was palpable, and for a brief period we united as one country behind the win.

Stephen Keshi was good for Nigerian football.

Stephen Keshi was a great Super Eagles player and coach.

Stephen Keshi died last night.

*****

This post chose itself.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Memories from my Childhood

At seven, attending the naming ceremony of my now favourite teenager!
My earliest memory is of being made to kneel in a corner facing the wall for pulling someone's glasses off their face, then falling asleep in the dark corner. That someone must have been one of my parents, more likely to be my dad; my mom would never let me fall asleep in a corner.

It is interesting that this is my earliest memory. Why don't I remember being taken to a park, eating an orange, or getting a toy? What about kneeling in a corner makes for a sticky memory?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Meeting Chimamanda Adichie...


I was having trouble sleeping, so I thought I would write about meeting Chimamanda, world famous author and feminist, at Yellow Chilli two days ago.

We had just sauntered into Yellow Chilli for an easy evening and were heading for our table when Ehis spotted her. We could not quickly decide whether to engage her, particularly because it meant interrupting her conversation with her companion, but she seemed to notice our conundrum and waved us over.
A woman once got nasty when she asked to take a picture with me and I said no, because I was exhausted and I looked terrible. Another person once said to me – “you must always smile no matter what.” I thought: “how absurd. Do YOU always smile?” I’m actually quite the smiler but I certainly will not smile if I am upset about something. Everyone has good days and bad days and I treasure my human right to have good days and bad days.
I think the idea of celebrity is that you are supposed always to be ‘on,’ always in performance mode. And I certainly can’t and won’t do that. - Interview with Olisa.tv.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I miss my parents...


Last night, I had one of those dreams where I was nine years old again. My dad was a hero, my mom was the love of my life, and my siblings were adorable little tots who thought I was a mini-god.

Life was much easier. My biggest worry was probably our old Windows 95 computer that took nearly ten minutes to boot up. I had no clue what terrorism was, what a job entailed, what it meant to make a budget or pay my own bills, what it was to look for fuel like it was an extraterrestrial liquid, or what it meant to save for the 'future'.

This morning I wished I could go back in time, and be a young child again for a few days. My mom would wake me with a hug first thing in the mornings, and my Dad would ring the bell for morning devotion. Simi would sing all sorts of songs that ensured we would be late for school, and Fehintolu would sleep through the entire thing like the rest of us didn't even exist. I can't possibly get started on the noise, the banter, the fights...

Sometimes I think I grew up too fast. Looking back, I was in such a hurry to come into my own, and leave the nest so I could fly. I was obsessed with 'adulting', and now that I'm here - I have these moments where I don't mind giving it up for a few days.

I'm grateful that I still have both my parents around, and I look forward to escaping to Ibadan sometime soon so I can have a few days of pretending to be a child.

I'll leave you with Mary Schmich's words... "Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future."

Have a fab day.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lekki Building Collapse: We Need A Culture of Responsibility


Leaders don't take responsibility for anything around these parts. Their default reaction is to choose one or more from the options below:

  1. Blame a predecessor,
  2. Issue a muted statement attributing whatever it was to God,
  3. Shed a few crocodile tears ala "dia ris God in everything we are doing",
  4. Deny that it happened,
  5. Insist it was the work of their political detractors.

In most cases, they don't do what leaders should do - take responsibility, own their mess!

I am not often excited at someone losing their job, but I am very pleased that Ambode fired the General Manager of the Lagos Building Control Agency, along with other key officers at the agency. 34 people died because the Building Control Agency didn't do their job properly. They had to be held responsible.

I have long argued that we suffer from a dearth of strong institutions, and I believe this is a step towards strengthening our institutions and ensuring they take responsibility for their jurisdiction. People and agencies need to know that they will be held responsible if things go wrong on their watch, and conversely - that they will be celebrated when great things happen.

It should no longer be business as usual, where Civil Servants spend their days watching Africa Magic and selling fabric to each other.

Think what you want about Ambode. He is on to something!

PS: PRESS RELEASE AFTER THE CUT

Friday, March 11, 2016

"If I were Dangote's son..." and other excuses...


"If I were Dangote's son..."
"If I had a Bachelors Degree..."
"If I had a MacBook..."
"If I worked for General Electric..."
"If I had a million dollars in funding..."
"If I didn't have bow legs..."
"If I wasn't married..."
"If I had gotten a degree in Engineering..."
"If I had a car..."
"If I had a job..."

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Lekki Building Collapse: Thoughts On Greed & Nigerian Capitalism


Nigerian Capitalism often seems to me to be driven by greed, more so than by a desire to make a honest profit.

Greed is the only way I can explain some of the things that happen here.

Greed is why 18 people died and 15 others were severely injured in the Lekki building collapse, and while we don't have the full incident report yet - we already know someone thought it was alright to exceed the approved number of floors for the building.

Spot the extra floor being added on top of this 'already painted & completed' building?*
It added that it has also been discovered that in a brazen act of defiance and impunity, the owners of the building, Messrs Lekki Worldwide Estate Limited, the promoters of Lekki Gardens, criminally unsealed the property and continued building beyond the approved floors until the unfortunate incident of Tuesday which has led to loss of lives. LASG Press Release.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

You're Unstoppable: Happy New February!


It seemed like it would last the entire year, but folks - January is over! Can I hear an hallelujah?

And no - we can't call it wraps and move to 2017. There are eleven months to go, and there is a lot to come. There will be promotions, birthdays, and weddings; there will be some 'not-so-good' stuff too, but let's not think about those for a moment.

We cannot completely control the outcomes we will experience in February, but we can try to influence the odds in our favour. Set new goals or review existing ones, think about what worked and what didn't in January, and adjust your plan accordingly.

You can be all you want to be, but you've got to put in the effort!

PS: I recently fell in love with Unstoppable by Sia, and I think its chorus is a great theme for February.

I'm unstoppable,
I'm a Porsche without brakes;
I'm invincible,
I win every single game;
I'm so powerful,
I don't need batteries to play;
I'm so confident,
I'm unstoppable today - Sia.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Farewell Nigeria: A Love Letter From A Nigyptian Girl

Nigyptian Shereen Wardakan
I was planning to write my farewell note a few days later, but walking out of the airport today - I felt my heart crunch. It’s my last time heading from the airport back to my home in Nigeria. It’s getting too real… I’m leaving in a week and it's just so sad. I'll miss living in Nigeria...a lot...but I figure I’ll get over this as I seek new opportunities and I'm motivated by challenges and experiences.
Before I delve into a wonderful future on the back of an amazing past, here's my farewell note to Naija...
They say the whole world conspires for you to get what you really want… well the world did in my case and I came to Naija in 2014 after my first visit in 2009. It was love at first sight.
Dear Naija, those past two years have been the fullest in my life… You actually brought me back to life! I recall all the warnings and sarcasm I got when I asked to move here but for some reason it felt so right and time has proved to me that the heart never lies. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I Buy Nigerian: Simple Thoughts on Local Manufacturing and the Nigerian Economy

This post was first shared on Medium and The Naked Convos

I love NASCO cornflakes. Eating NASCO for breakfast reminds me of my childhood. I buy NASCO whenever it is available. I don’t mind stares from people who seem to pity my inability to afford pricier brands*.

I was happy to see yesterday that NASCO has overhauled their packaging. I always thought the old packaging sucked, and that it looked out of place beside attractively designed brands like Kelloggs.

The cashier asked if I chose NASCO because it is made in Nigeria. I was surprised. I buy NASCO because I love it, because it brings fond memories. I couldn’t care less where it is made.

His question got me thinking about the concept of ‘buying Nigerian’, so I decided to address some themes that have recently gained traction.

Monday, January 04, 2016

How To Set Goals (Or: How I Set Goals)


There is ample evidence that people who set goals tend to get better results than people who don’t. Goals drive focus on achieving important results rather than running in multiple directions, and cause us to apply more effort to attain stretch targets; they also help us to continue trying after others concede defeat. When supported by excellent execution and persistence, goal-setting has often proved the difference between average and excellent results.

Why then doesn’t everyone set goals?

I found that some people don’t believe they can improve the quality of their results by setting goals beforehand. In many cases, they already deliver good results and don’t see how things can be any better. I also found other people who try to set goals, but are overwhelmed by the perceived complexity of the task and lack a framework they can reapply.

I have written this for the second category of people, to share my framework.


Here’s how I set goals:

Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy New Year 2016


Happy New Year, people.

I wish you lots of joy, happiness and progress in the new year. I also wish you the courage, strength, and discipline to do things differently this year - without which your results may be no different than they have always been.

Have a good one!