Monday, December 26, 2011

2011: The Year that was...

What will you remember 2011 for? Where were you when OBL was assassinated? Or when Ghadaffi was caught? Or when Mubarak fell? 2011 surely will be remembered as the year of the upheaval; when finally the think fabrics of deception in our society started tearing apart to reveal the ugly under belly of repression, inequality and sometimes greed.

Domestically in Nigeria, it was a year of suicide bombings: now by a different sect (Boko Harem), than the ones that started it (MEND). From two polar opposite corners, these two revolutionary groups (or so they think..actually terrorists) - one for economics, the other for religious purpose- have rained bombs of destruction and maiming upon innocent Nigerians starting form last year's Nigeria independence celebrations which have now become serial bombings on public buildings and house of worships. Unfortunately, the new President is a decided failure; seemingly incompetent and incapable of finding creative solutions to our persistent problem. Simply put, we still have a large leadership deficit. His cabinet, his budget, his few policy decisions be it on tenure elongation or fuel subsidy exposes a clueless president.

Personally, 2011 have been a year of fulfillment. The ideas of 2010 are finally translating into concretes. The incubation model of last year presented at Stockholm is now the first start-up accelerator in Nigeria: the Wennovation Hub. The love story of last year, translated to the engagement  of mid-2011. Indeed, the professional aspirations of 2010 are the licensures and certifications of 2011. On the personal development, the search for service and spiritual growth finally did intersect this year: for which I am very gRateful. It has been personally an eventful year: one that has taken me to places only previously imagined.

Per the usuals: I wrote less, read more and had a lot more meaningful travels in 2011. From NYC to Vegas to Daytona to AbuDhabi/Dubai the first half of the year were filled with those dash around the world that makes your head dizzy. Of course, with three trips to the homeland and two to Ghana and Cameroon in the kitty my visits across the continent are also providing a deeper perspective to my larger body of experiences.

Finally, I Started also to finally pen the book, watch this space as that project evolves. The most transforming literature of 2011? It got to be "This House Has Fallen". Quite a piece.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Funny Thing About Destiny & the Sherman Mind

The concept of destiny, fate and inevitability is one philosophers and religious folks tend to struggle with. On one hand, the inevitability of life happening to us allows us to premeditate the very existence of an unseen power, an unseen hand- far powerful and mighty that directs the affairs of men. While this augurs very well for the spirit minded folks, it also puts us firmly in the realm of dependency in our every day lives. If this is true, then perhaps we are not prone to do right or strive for righteousness because we were not destined to be. It also puts the Supreme in the inevitable position of wickedly deciding those that will succeed and fail, preserving good fortunes for some and bad fortunes for others.

To the sociologists that study the fortunes of men, destiny could as well be race, education, birth place, genes, economic class of parents, choice of schools made by others (especially parents) and above all peer pressure. They reason, you can't possibly be born to an Harvard attending parents and end up flipping buggers at the nearest BK Joint. Life's fate inevitably are decided at conception..the home you were born into. It determines your likely family status, marital history, your life income, even your health and what disease will likely spell your inevitable end. 

Some Philosophers have forged the idea of second nature, that men while predestined for a specific end, will have their path towards that end charted by their decisions, choices and will. Though somewhat comforting, and somewhat a palatable hybrid of the polar concepts of will driven, it feels more like a comfort pill the more one chews on it. So Mr. A is inevitably ended for an unhappy, bankrupt ending but he can chart a more comfortable path to that by becoming a Ponzi Schemer succeeding like Madoff for years and living the good life because of choices (bad to some good end in this case)until he is caught and then he goes bankrupt and dies miserable. Sounds familiar?

Oh well, speaking of Madoff..I'm I the only one not buying his wife's crocodile tears on TV last weekend? Please.

Book Review- Mindset of a General

This book in a series focused on America's Generals reveals the mind of General Sherman from a somewhat judgmental perspective. Like many reviews of war leaders of the civil war era, the authors somewhat could not help but slant the readers' views of this Great General based on their own biases or the biases of the modern reader against total warfare which General Sherman implemented against his Southern Cousins during the civil war. Of course, further cherry-picking the General's strategy by emphasizing his obvious racist nature (something shared by 99% of White Americans of his era..) to further abuse the readers' mind of the Great General exploits versus his person further the blurs the line between this biography and an opinion. While the book is rich in details, it would perhaps be best to have focused on the strategic underpinnings of the decision maker which such books in this series have tend to focus on. Was he a great warrior? I bet he was! Then what else matters? 

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

RE: Simon Kolawole on fuel subsidy fraud

Saying, we the people should pay for our government's corruption and inefficiency, by accepting higher fuel prices which translate to:
  • Higher cost of goods and higher inflation
  • Indirect taxation on industries since the same corrupt government cannot provide electricity that we provide through generators
  • Direct destruction of jobs as businesses will need to reduce staff or pass on the cost to their employment
  • Increased crime since the poor becomes poorer and the rich will only get richer under this regime
  • And then what? the government spend less on subsidy, and the politicians have more to steal! It doesn't even translate to more money for the important stuff they are now lying about! 
Is simply..cutting our nose to spite our face. Kolawole's argument is an elitist one. The solution is to wash and hose the government down of corruption starting with the Corrupter-In-Chief in Aso Rock (and I have proof, if you need one). The second solution is designing a system that will minimize corruption. I laid out such system in my article here; which is:
  • Commercialize the 4 refineries into 4 independent companies. Hire fresh management for them using the international HR firms (Nigerians and foreigners alike..let the best men win). Take them public, selling 51% on the Nigeria Stock Exchange and London's Alternative Investment market (AIM)..Duration: 6-18 months
    • On one hand, you get new companies
    • On the other, the 51% raised can be used for capital expansion and improvement by the new management
    • Lastly, as commercial companies now majority public owned they'll act in the interest of their shareholders in London and Nigeria. Indeed, as 49% government owned, Nigeria will still benefit from the upside of the reforms and government can still have a say in how they are run..but as minority holders. This is the arrangement in Brazil, India, Egypt, China ..etc. I can go on & on 
  • Once commercialized, 
    • Continue the practice of selling crude oil to the refineries at below international market rate i.e. indirect subsidy, which allows the refinery turn profit; while putting a lid on the domestic pump price through a regulated system of tariffs similar to electricity.
    • Allocate excess refine products demand to the four operators: allowing them to organize importers to meet this demand beyond what they produce, while disbursing subsidy directly to them to meet the regulated pump price.
    • At the same time, the new regulatory regime should not allow these operators to import directly or through any subsidiary or joint venture, rather they’re to source their imports from the open market, paying market price for such while bridging this with government paid subsidy.
This system essentially means that as a commercial operator, they’re giving up certain margins to the middlemen importers in so far they don’t produce domestically; encouraging them to eliminate these middlemen quickly. Also, the fewer players feeding at the government trough of subsidies will also mean less corruption. As public companies responsible to shareholders, these companies will only act in self interest to continue to expand production to meet local demand and eliminate the middle men. At the same time, government incentives for new refinery builders including tax holidays, a capital expansion fund that provide up to 51% equity funding or loan guarantees to these builders at the Central Bank will be a more efficient way to spend $6billion than giving it to the President’s buddies. Of course one of these incentives might be a bite at the juicy oil blocs that the majors always want: no refinery no, crude oil concession, no deal. It is called negotiation.

In any case, if the PDP government knew deregulation was the right thing to do, why didn't President Jonathan campaign on this issue when he was running? I dey laugh! In any case, the man is getting is priorities wrong. He should listen to Governor Sanusi, and figure out how to get money away from the overbearing federal government into the states, reduce overhead of the federal government and begin discussing how to reconfigure the country into viable units.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Warfarian Psalm 23...For Laughs!

Psalm 23 in pidgin English
1.      The Lord na my shepherd, I dey kampe. 
2.      E make me sidon for where better dey flow and come put me next to stream make my body thermocool. 
3.      E panel beat my soul come spray am white, come dey lead me dey go  through express road of righteousness sake of Him name.
4.      Walahi!, if I waka pass where arm robber, 419 and juju people boku, come even join okada reach valley of the shadow of death self, my body dey inside cloth. Your rod and staff nko ? Na so dem dey like back bone dey comfort me.
5.      You don prepare Egusi and Pounded yam make I chop. All my enemies dey look waa waa. You rub me for head wit Vaseline intensive lotion. my cup na River Niger wey overflow him bank.
6.      True true, better life and mercy go gum my back till I quench. And man pikin go tanda for God house from lai lai to lai lai. GOD ALMIGHTY NA YOU BIKO AMEN.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

iDeas, iNnovation, iNspiration..Steve Jobs Passes but Lives

The man and the legend...just passed away. Steve Jobs was an inspiration to those of us that occupy the innovation complex. I know for sure that at LoftyInc, Steve Jobs particularly occupied a special place in our hearts. 

I remembered Wole (co-founder of LoftyInc)  and I have had our Apple moments, discussing how Steve Jobs shaped his products and the company, we seeking how to adapt these lessons earlier on into ours. His focus on quality, user experience and perfection were simply impressive. Apple and Steve Jobs have consistently defied the adage that the customer knows best....Steve never shied away from creating a new need for his clients; that is what we aspire to be to our clients. Create a user experience the user never realized they even needed!

The height of my personal Steve Job moment came about exactly one and half years on the clock at LoftyInc. I was preparing for an epochal presentation at the World Bank ABCDE Conference at Stockholm, Sweden.  I had to turn to the master: Steve Jobs.

After reading the book, "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs- How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience" by Carmine Gallo, I was turbo charged for this audience. At the end of it all, and after my 50 or so recorded practice presenting like Steve Jobs, I was at Stockholm selling our ideas which today is known as the Wennovation Hub. Yes, our strategic partner- the Africa Leadership Forum was part of that audience at  Stockholm...two weeks later I was on a plane heading to New York to sign us up. 

Everyone have their Steve Jobs story. His black turtle neck wears, his secret preparations and product releases, the perfection in product aesthetic and functionality, his ability to read your need and even his choice of product name, makes Steve miles apart from his peers. He was a showman, a presenter and above a special human being. His insistence on perfection, sometimes near dictatorial handling of product releases was also legendary. 

You want to demo?  do it in your office...those are not for his users. Your release product must be bug free, and plug and play: that was the Steve Philosophy. Here was a technology visionary, an astute entrepreneur, an entertainer, a designer and above all an innovator. Steve will be missed, but he lives with us all. 

As I shut down my MacAir writing this, I'm amazed how beautifully functional it is: and grateful I have it to fittingly pay this tribute to the man who can proudly say of this product in the words of Wole Soyinka's Bambulu: "this is the child of my brain; the product of my endeavors....the materialization of inventive genius". Genius...that is Steve. Inspiration..that is what he left us. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

On Ideologies, and making politics sexy and sensible

Ideology as a concept seem under sustained klieg lights of late; in some places, the emptiness of the politics is based on the theory of a lack of it e.g. Nigeria, in other democracies the seeming polar ideologies of conservatism and liberalism seem determined to drive the world to the precipice of economic abyss. Ideology was blamed for the debt downgrade of America, and is why Greece may as well default! Ideology is the bad child for nothing making himself so available, or for just being there too much.

Oh well, what is ideology? Well, let us check Wikipedia, where it is defined as:

An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things (compare worldview), as in common sense (see Ideology in everyday society below) and several philosophical tendencies (see Political ideologies), or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society (a "received consciousness" or product ofsocialization). 

I think here is an example of Wikii being wrong. For indeed ideology is commonsense, then why is ideology driving our world mad? Well, I submit here is the kernel of the problem. Ideology as it is currently constituted or contrived is simply not common sense? Does it make sense to claim to be pro-life, yet be so pro-war? Does it make sense to support welfare payments, and resist drug testing and tough on crime actions that will get folks out of a lifestyle of dependency or ask them to behave given the freebies? Does it make sense to advocate small government for your corporate buddies yet see nothing wrong in using the central national government to promote your views on gays and marriage? Does it make sense to advocate wealth distribution, yet advocate economic policies that put heavy burden on the richest that create such wealth?

Rather, a new ideology makes sense to me. Perhaps once I indoctrinate enough people on my idea of progressive libertarianism then the word "politics" will become sensible and sexy again. Here we go:

1. It make sense to support robust public infrastructure, education , health and welfare spending  as well as being tough on crime: including a tough stance on death penalty. When you spend money on welfare, you expect less crime. Anyone that runs foul of the law must be dealt with with a heavy hand. Progressive Libertarianism advocates this common sense provision.

2. It makes sense to support low regulation but high taxes to fund these robust social safety nets. Low environmental, safety and other regulations will ensure business thrive, but high taxes will ensure those who thrive by imposing these "dirty or risky" conditions on the collective pay it off in high progressive taxes as high as 60%. Ensuring our ability to clean up after their capitalist mess, and support the weakest links in our society. One for the PLs.

3. It makes sense to support, as Progressive Libertarians do, a relaxed social atmosphere. No regulation on business means no regulation on gays, alcohol, prostitution and gambling. These will also generate more revenues for government, ensure more welfare can be provided as well as more prisons built to ensure even the slightest criminal is locked up or electrocuted.

Progressive Libertarianism makes sense. Dump the current politics. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dump Stocks, Invest in Frontier Markets Entrepreneurs

The next few years present few opportunities but great dangers for common stock holders in the stock market: especially those of the US, EU & Japan. It is simply put: the age of High Volatility, Low Growth due to mostly political imposed conditions in the US, European Union, Japan and China (yes, read China). The unsaid truth of those buy and hold disciples, and angels of long term economic proposition to buy stocks is the sad fact of the low creep economic outlook for the globe under these conditions. 
In the US, the deepening ideological divide will mean next to no reform on public spending, required investment in public infrastructure and reforms in education/health will be made in the next few years. As the meanness pervades the political atmosphere, one new congress will stifle the next new executive and the structurally defective economy foisted by two decades of stupidity at the top cannot be changed. This will ensure policy inadequacies leading to low growth and uncertainties due to circus like disagreements leading to high volatility.

In the EU, the situation is not different as different countries struggle under the burden of unified currency with no unified government or debt offering instrument (Eurobond); essentially ensuring volatility while the mad austerity culture stifles growth. In Japan, the incessant change of guard under the burden of aging population and low growth will lead to high volatility. 

The crazy one is China, where unlike the West or Japan does not suffer from the disease of policy indecision and low growth, but is unlikely to bail out the rest of the world as it looks increasingly inwards as the economic disease ravages her partners and customers. To this end, Africa & South America represents the free lunch.

This is why it will be crazy to get sucked into the idea that now that the market is collapsing is the time to buy...well, it depends on what you are buying! Fact is, I expect corporate profit to continue to balloon as the governments are driven comatose, but I also expect no investment in growth due to volatility and uncertainty which nearly will ensure common stocks will continue to crash. Capital preservations my friends...or may be not. 

This is not a moment to compare your luck to that of Warren Buffet ; you're simply not Uncle Warren. Preferred shares will beat ordinary shares; warrants/royalties will beat dividends. Private equity ownership in small growing businesses and young smart entrepreneurs in isolated sectors like Technology, Healthcare and Energy, as well as Agriculture will beat index investing.

Investing directly in frontier markets like West Africa in small start-up firms not their stock market will beat investing in any emerging or developed economy. The next 50 000 bagger is in a small country, small village and a very young mind that will upend the cart of innovation. Question is, have the world found the vehicle to make such investment? Will you help create such vehicle? Have you got the guts to make the bold bet on next wave innovation? 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Delta State Criminal Investment in OFN

The Delta state government claims it was spending N3 billion for a "joint venture" with Obasanjo's Farm in Otta, but it cannot provide decent classrooms for its pupils.

These photos were taken recently at Oviore primary school in Delta state. The classrooms looks like poultry pens.

Photos courtesy of Liberate-Delta's Peoples Movement

Delta State Revenue since 2007 ?? =N=464 billion (i.e. $3.75 bn)

26. State Gov’t

415,409,908,477.29 – 1999 -2007

201,080,763,425.32 - 2008

91,878,569,772.83 – 2009

171 800 000 000  - 2010-11 Estimate

PHOTONEWS: The State Of Education In Delta State: Primary Schools As Poultry Pens

Posted: August 9, 2011 - 17:21

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

S&P Madness...

I have to say I have been thoroughly enjoying the pouring down on S&P- the world's policeman of debt issued who cannot police itself. Can you imagine what arrogance? Who even made these rating guys lord of manors. My best read are or quotes are these:

 S&P commenting on US credit is 'like the Catholic church lecturing scout leaders on proper behavior towards boys"

"These guys personify amateur hour."

"They've shown a stunning lack of knowledge about basic U.S. fiscal budget math," said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

he decision "smacked of an institution starting with a conclusion and shaping any arguments to fit it" declared Gene Sperling, a top White House economics adviser

President Obama appears to agree. "No matter what some agency may say, we've always been and always will be a AAA country,"

Here is my take, in an humble email to a friend whose permission I have to share...which is totally imaginary based on these backlash of reactions from government and government connected agents: 

I believe the CIA is now working on organizing coordinated attacks on the company that will render S&P insolvent in the next year (think lawsuits, security attacks on IT systems, disappearing revenue due to blackmail and scared clients) and mean the only company that downgraded the USA will be bankrupt next year and gone with the wind (alongside its rating and the thrash book on which it was written). Come think of it, it is Democrats fault that S&P can write this nonsense. Why are these rating agencies still in business after the faux pas of 2008? Shouldn't they now be subjects of multitude lawsuits, multiple DOJ investigations as well as outright ban on their monopoly. Blackrock does more serious credit analysis that Moodys, S&P and Fitch added together anyway!
Folks, for serious credit ratings visit . Just in case you don't know I'm in the rating business too! LOL
Now you know folks..please patronize me! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

From Cameroon with Love...and Insights

Been perambulating across neighboring country Cameroon for about a week now. Cameroon, an ex-french colony appears stuck in the past in everything from the moment one makes landing at the more than decaying Douala airport. Here, one will start appreciating the shack Nigeria calls airport in MMA.  The entire airport area is filled with filthy smell, no air conditioning and of course overran by beggars and errand boys. Getting outside, I quickly negotiated a Taxi to the Le Meridien where I was staying as the baggage boys literally begged me to pay them in Naira! Who would have thought so?
Visiting Project Sites with my Team across Cameroon

On getting to the hotel, quickly checked in and made some friends with some fellow Nigerian business visitors. Both human beings Funmi and Taiwo, were such a trip. It made the visit worthwhile to have familiar hob nobs about town. The next few experiences recounted below were somewhat our joint recollections of a country so full with potential yet suffering from a lack of human capacity to exploit them.
Easting fish at Limbe Water Side

"Driving through fields of football playing youths heading from the airport , one can tell soccer is life in Cameroon and you see the very reason why the Indomitable lions have been a thorn on Nigeria's side forever. Here, football is a state supported institution as the long time dictatorship of Paul Biya uses the sport to engage and distract the youths. Another pattern that emerged in Biya's strategy to hold on to power is the use of excessive cabinet positions to bribe the political class. God save you to ask for one date from a Cameroonian official, the long list of ministries and departments will give you a fit.
By far the freshest and tastiest bananas you'll ever get

The bureaucratic bottlenecks and sit tight-ism in this country knows no bounds. We had a raw taste of this as myself and my team hunt data for couple of studies I'm managing across the country. It was not like Nigeria where state secret may be the excuse; here, turf holding and obvious lack of interest to help you because of the protection of little favors is the open reason why you'll never get information out of any civil servant. A visit to government offices will for a split second remind you of a shopping mall in the West. Well, here the government is all powerful and suffocating and it is stifling the private sector.
A typical mountain neighborhood in the West of Cameroon

Speaking about the private sector, whatever that is is controlled by the French (more on that later), and some recently emerging East Asians (Chinese & Koreans). The commercial sector is largely Nigerian dominated in their larger "cities" of Douala, Yaounde and Limbe, and that is about it. Here business closes early, and opens late. It is like the entire country is on vacation. Opportunities abound around them and no appears to be seizing it except foreigners. There is not a single fast food eatery in this entire country, and no one is building any!  Mobile phones abound, but the rates are just plain exploitative!
Live in Yaounde

Speaking about foreigners, the country is an epitome of French loot ongoing at ex-colonies. More than once, we were told tales of progressive projects nipped in the bud because it puts French business out of order. For example, we found only about 8 KM of dual carriage road in an entire country - half the size of Nigeria. The plans to link main city Douala with capital city Yaounde with dual way was turned into a very good single , narrow but dangerous road to protect the snail rail system operated by the French. Projects to pipe petroleum about the country died since the rail and french ships do the shipping about the country inefficiently. A cement plan being proposed in Limbe will import Limestone from Canada and Korea when Cameroon have bountiful of it!
I got this white guy eating ero!

French prime contribution here is supporting an active sex trade industry which begins about dusk and ends at early dawn. Another great contribution is the near ever split between the bilingual country of anglophones in the West (two provinces) and the remaining eight francophone provinces. The Anglo don't feel ownership here, and they are bitter. Oh well, why did they leave Nigeria?

One day we went to a proposed project site at tourist town Kribi, on our way back late in the evening we drove 3 hours and so no electricity. Here this commodity is stable, but only if you're connected. Few are connected to the grid in this country and the southern region specifically is like a black out zone. One other thing here that struck me was how distant their food choice is to neighboring Nigeria. Largely no variety and often mimicking the French, I enjoyed food at Grenada more than this neighboring country. It was only when I got to the Western English speaking region that at least a bowl of ero and roasted fish made up for my forced fasting in the week!

In spite of this tale, what the country don't have in infrastructure and organization, it has in peace. The average city is largely peaceful here and an average Cameroonian is hospitable and goes about their business. One good bottle of drink, and the celebration of a weekend begins here just at the beat of a drum. Welcome to French Central West Africa."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Handicapped by a lack of Vision

Got a devotional from the First Lady today, as she so dutifly sends me everyday (God Bless her soul). It went thus (I'll copy and paste)..

25 Jun 2011Is there a better way?Let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything god has for us... Philippians 3:15We must never stop asking, 'Is there a better way?' You can't pray for progress and fight change. In 1829, Martin Van Buren, Governor of New York, wrote to President Andrew Jackson cautioning him about the future: 'President Jackson, the canal system of this country is being threatened by the spread of railroads. We must preserve the canals for the following reasons: 1) If canal boats are supplanted by railroads, serious unemployment will result. Captains, cooks, repairmen and lock tenders will be left without jobs, not to mention farmers now employed in growing hay for horses 2) Boat builders would suffer, whip and harness makers would be left destitute 3) Canal boats are absolutely essential to the defence of the United States. In the event of the expected trouble with England, the Erie Canal would be the only means by which we could ever move the supplies so vital to waging modern war. As you may well know, Mr. President, railroad carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 mph by engines, which, in addition to endangering life and limb, snort their way through the countryside belching out smoke, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. Surely the Almighty never intended people should travel at such breakneck speed.' Poor Martin - what would he think if he knew we were flying 33,000 feet high, at 500 mph sipping coffee and typing on a notebook computer? God is the author of all true progress, so we must never stop asking, 'Is there a better way?'
On further reading on the man Van Buren, here is what Wikipedia says:
As Andrew Jackson's Secretary of State and then Vice President, he was a key figure in building the organizational structure forJacksonian democracy, particularly in New York State. As president, he did not want the United States to annex Texas, an act which his successor, John Tyler, would achieve eight years after Van Buren's initial rejection. Between the bloodless Aroostook War and the CarolineAffair, relations with Britain and its colonies in Canada also proved to be strained.
His administration was largely characterized by the economic hardship of his time, the Panic of 1837. He was scapegoated for the depression and called "Martin Van Ruin" by his political opponents. Van Buren was voted out of office after four years, losing to Whig candidate William Henry Harrison
Clearly, this was a man that lacked vision and was seriously handicapped by not having one! He even did not see why Texas need to be part of the union! Wow..guess all that oil and job creation would have gone the way of Mexico left to Van Buren. Or may be, we would have been spared GWB..or may be note. Dude's father is from Maine! Clearly, that stock lacks vision!

Do you suffer from inadequate vision? Have your dreams scared you lately? In the words of  President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf "If your Dreams Do not Scare you, They are not Big Enough"

Have your dreams scared you lately?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Unshakable Conviction- How Bhutto puts Men to Shame!

Been watching the PBS documentary on the life of Benzir Bhutto, first and only female Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. If the life of this incredibly brave and resilient woman have intrigued me, it was the chronicling of her death in this work that gives me perhaps the greatest shudder.

Born to an inherent political heritage of a father and Statesman, who like many charismatic and brilliant leaders overreached in his convictions, and got destroyed i.e. executed (or taught a "severe personal lesson" in the words of SoS Kissinger for embarking on the Pakistani Nuke Program) by an international conspiracy that led to local events triggered by coup that eventually led to the first in a series of tragedy that beset the resilient Bhutto family which today still seats atop Pakistan against all odds.

As a young lady, witnessing the execution of her father, poisoning of her youngest brother by State Intelligence, and exile and solitary confinement and finally seeing a short lived victory that led to disgrace out of public office; one got to be challenged regardless of our station in life to make a difference against all odds. Benzir was not necessarily dealt the best of hands being born a woman in a country that enshrined discrimination against the girl child; yet, against all odds she beat the system to be the leader of such conservative Islamic Society.

As if these were not enough, the perpetual political struggle of her second term- bearing the brunt of the death of another brother, and the clear intrigues behind the true power ISI that controls the Pakistani military state clearly inserting themselves in a family dispute will confound mere mortals. But not Bhutto. See, my first knowledge of this courageous woman was second hand negative ones from a co-worker- clearly of the old conservative order that found no reason why women like her should be in politics. Regardless however, the love which she still enjoys and goodwill extending to her family (Husband now President, and Son as Chair of the ruling PPP party) shows that she reaped fully the seeds sown by her father but more importantly watered by herself.

A series of judicial trials leading to 11 years incarceration for current Pakistan President and husband- of 17 years in marriage, exile and separation, raising children in exile as a working mother, return and first assassination attempt gives an insight to unshakable faith of a would-be martyr. For if two suicide bombs on the day of your return do not scare you, what will?

Indeed, for those of us comfortable with the luxuries of the good life and with plenty a one excuses for not doing something about the station of others especially our own, the life and times of Benazir Bhutto and her immediate family puts many of us to shame. What could we possibly not do for fear of harm? Loss of limb? to bring freedom, succor and comfort to many? Or to enjoy the convenient stations that life has afforded us while we squander away the opportunities for genuine change. This is a challenge. Democracy truly, is the best revenge.

P.S: This documentary offers perhaps the best insight into the inter-relation between CIA, ISI, Nuclear Bombs and terror in the world as we know it today. What goes around, truly comes around. Now we know why OBL was found at the doorstep of the military academy..or shouldn't we? It is my considered opinion that massive education reforms is what Pakistan needs, and that is where US should put the money not in buying arms for a military so compromised as recent events have revealed.

Updated June 13:

Speaking of women and shame, there is another nascent political; but this one is shame herself. Picking up the book "The Quotable Rogue" was sure a mistake. Full of trite, self effusive statements made from an apparent empty barrel, one quickly realize how such a dodgy adventure John McCain was about to engage the country and the world with such a circus show of a run mate!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Elegance in Design

Spent the evening watching documentary on two young men who have a lot in common. I'm having one of those weeks, where failing inspiration one can just feel I'm lapping on any thing I can find. This is my way of relaxing this evening.Their story...

Both British..both involved in the world of lifestyle and fashion..and both at the pinnacle of their endeavors as true Afropreneurs in Britian. I speak of Ghana Born, Ozwald Boateng  and Nigerian Born Alexander Amosu. Truly inspiring stories of preparation, meeting opportunity through hard work. Success is at the end of the tunnel with vision, persistence and determination.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Post-Election Analysis

2011 elections will be remembered as a watershed moment for the followings reasons:

- Even though voting might have been free and fair, the collation of election results have been contrived with irregularities. Figure analysis from some states, GEJ strongholds, basically do not make sense. While I suspect the President won, the vote was probably closer and might have tipped the race into a run off. Ambassador Campbell did a better analysis here. Truth sometimes can be uncomfortable. Professor Aluko, also agrees.  However, I have no doubts that the winner won the is the margin that is suspect. 

- For the first time, a President carried 24 states restricted to every region except the North East and North West. This indeed is the first time that these two regions have not voted for a winning Presidential ticket in Nigeria's history. Basically, we have an alliance of North-South Minorities with two other major ethnic groups ( a National Conference of Ethnic Minorities towards devolution of power from the center to the states now a real political possibility?)

- For the first time, nearly one-third of Nigeria's states will not be having governorship elections (Breaking News! Appeals Court stops elections indeed in 5 additional states!). Basically, Nigeria now have off cycle elections holding in some states. This increases the possibility of diversity of parties at this level, and encourages federalism and devolution as these parties tend to have a mind of their own (less centralization? less march step elections like zombies of Abuja? increased possibility of off year loss for the ruling party?)

- For the first time, a single party will not have control of two thirds of the Senate, and may only squeak by with a thin majority in the House of Reps. More diversity and decreased representation of the ruling party will mean more checks and balances, and a higher possibility programs that seeks devolution (e.g. rebalancing of federal allocations to favor states, and/or state police will get better and fairer hearing in the legislature. ). That is assuming of course we don't start seeing opposition defections

Now the question is, will this 4 year alliance between West & East (for the first time in Nigeria's history) and the ethnic minorities of the North & South result in fundamental restructuring of the polity? of course, that will depend on if the man in Aso Rock indeed have the balls to implement such radical program. He is not beholden to the primary unit that used to oppose this direction under a different dispensation, so he is free to act. 

But can he? Time will tell. Will Goodluck Jonathan bell the cat or will his supporters be disappointed in 4 years with a fundamentally unchanged political landscape and still no electricity and good roads? 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nigeria Presidential Elections Results..LIVE Analysis as they come in


With 44% of registered votes, being statistically equal  to the average turn out reporting, Jonathan convincingly leads polls with 59% of votes..and there is no way Buhari can make up for this deficit and he is therefore projected to win as at 2.00 PM CST. Congratulations Mr. we have a nation to govern.

With 80% of states reporting, and 44% of registered voters 2.00 PM CST

Click to Enlarge Chart!

Old Notes & Analysis:

6.00 Some results from early states have begun to drip in..some few unusual figures noticed and analysis follows. Rig alert warnings will be inserted in results, based on projections and analysis of pure raw figures. Figures are cross checked with independent sources and have not been confirmed by INEC.

8.00 Results in Abia is very suspect given the gap. It appears PDP will use the South East and South-South to build unholy advantages to counteract their inability to manipulate northern results. This appears to be the hidden game plan perfected since last week's National Assembly Elections. The 80% turnout also recorded in Abia state as opposed to the national average of 41% so far, is also very suspect. 

10.00 Trend has  been turnouts at 40% level of registered voters. This is low. Indeed, the South West & Edo/Kogi/Kwara region have been experiencing 30% turn out level, perhaps due to the dominant ACN party not fielding a strong presidential candidate and the fact that most South Westerners are essentially voting split ticket. This may be good and bad news for Goodluck Jonathan. It is definitely bad news for PDP in the upcoming elections for Governors upper Tuesday.  The higher than usual turnout in the South East is definitely indicating some manipulations going on. 

12.00 GEJ leads with about 2 million votes with the major population centers of Kano and Lagos (and other SW states) already reporting. Buhari will have to make up for votes with massive wins in Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Zamfara and Kebbi (the remaining states of the NW- with the most  registered voters). Since SW has the second number of registered voters, and GEJ won here impressively, NW provides Buhari the only answer to the 2 million vote gap...before we head East. ANPP Shekarau can be the spoiler for Buhari in this region.

On heading East of Nigeria..splitting the nation into two (top to bottom), GEJ is sure to earn massive wins with most advantage coming from Delta, Rivers, Anambra, Cross Rivers and Bayelsa states. The first three being high population areas, where the opposition has little or no presence. Only Ribadu can be a petty spoiler in this region for Goodluck Jonathan. Indeed, Buhari will need to answer to respectable victories in the North East- failing which will mean he can kiss the presidency goodbye the third and last time. Ribadu can be the spoiler for Buhari in this region.

Still too EARLY to call as at 12PM CST on 04-17-2011. 

12.30 We can also confidently announce that based on the trend so far, it is unlikely the second requirement of 25% in 24 states will not be met by eventual winner. Hence, elections WILL NOT go to second round.

Some Political Videos from Nigeria...

Yes, of my favorite legislator now out of our Legislative Hall due to his loss last week..his grammar is of cataclysmic proportions! lol

and yes of PDP rigging in River State elections, last week

From deep investigations, the Polling Unit is 32/12/4/008 - Where 32 stands for Rivers State, 12 stands for Gokana LGA, 4 stands for the ward (B-Dere) and 008 stands for the Polling unit, with latitude4.673696 and longitude7.269785. The PU is a building located at Gio-Gon Boobana Lebe square, B-Dere, about 13 Kilometers South-East of Port-Harcourt.
- Prof Bolaji Aluko --------------

The woman in question (if indeed her name is "Ms. Barivure, a staff of Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt" ) was quite busy using her thumb as if she was in a factory; the woman in scarlet (if her name is indeed "Baridi Naleloo, PDP women leader for Ward 4B-Dere and a staff of Gokana local government, working for Mr. Victor Giadom, chairman of the council and a cousin of Hon. Magnus Abe" ) was watching out for any disturbances to their nefarious activities; while some young men floated in and out of the picture. Madame Baridi even almost slapped one of the young men!
When shall we stop deceiving ourselves?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

PDP set to win Simple National Assembly Majority, Governorship too- ACN Tsunami

PDP winning 27 of 50 contests declared..set to claim 55-60 seats in the Senate (with 109 seats at stake) by my projections. Their demise was much exaggerated. Even though this is far less than the current 83 members of PDP in the senate, CPC, ANPP & APGA thoroughly underperformed in the just concluded NASS elections. ACN & LP outperformed expectations. ACN net gain from 4 seats to 18 on conclusion of ALL races is being projected.

Very slim chances PDP will lose House of Rep even though they are faring worse than in the Senate. Governorship?? Any takers? Looking like 18-20 seats for PDP. Oyo and Ogun to flip to ACN camp to bring total to 6. Bayelsa to flip to LP to bring total to 2. ANPP to retain one governorship, and CPC may gain 7 at best. Given their current under performance, I bet they get only 5.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

PDP Elections Hit List with Federal Character...

How come Plateau state and Niger state with incessant bombings at political rallies (up until last week) not on the list? I guess this list of bad crops is an opposition hit list with federal character - 2 states in each zone! LOL..I dey laugh! Why does everything PDP does have to be zoned and geopolitically balanced?

By the way, the list looks like the list of states PDP is most likely to lose on Saturday and they are not willing to give up on!__
FG names Oyo, Ogun, 10 others as violence prone

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thisday's Poll & Nigeria's 2011 General Election Permutations

Based on their methodology of conducting this poll, I think this poll is heavily flawed. The polls did not take into consideration the relative size of the registration of voters which I think accurately reflects the “likely voters” given that the register is fresh, and the process was difficult. No one goes out to register during this JEGALIZED process that will stay behind and not vote.

In any case, as someone who likes to have fun with numbers and permutations- I still have to take a look at this for what it is worth (knowing full well that Thisday is a PDP newspaper- remember their former editor was Yardy’s spokesman: so this might be a GOP like attempt at skewing the field!).

Even if Ipsos-Thisday is correct in their sampling, they can only reasonably arrive at 49-55%. I think it will be within this  tight range. GEJ have a 75% chance of avoiding a run off basically in this model, and a 25% of seeing a run-off.  This is of course discounting the second requirement which is 25% of 24 states and the effect the National Assembly elections in which the PDP will sustain heavy losses will have on this permutation! Under this requirement all bets are off under my is a 50-50; hence the jittery in Aso Rock as we speak.

The more interesting part of the numbers to me is the Governorship. Ipsos is claiming 4 states are done with: Bauchi, Bayelsa, Imo and Benue. I think there are more. Their giving Oyo to PDP is plain ridiculous given my own well worn roots to Oyo state, I can authoritatively tell you Alao-Akala is a dead political animal walking. Don’t bet on that horse…here is how I know the Ipsos poll is rubbish!

In Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna and Borno- PDP will lose at least 3 of  this 4.  PDP will also lose Ogun. So put 7-8 not 4 in their loss column (since Bayelsa may not have a poll in the absence of a discharge of existing judgment on the conduct of that poll). With 8 states gone, and 5 states already firmly in the hands of the opposition from no elections, and another 4 states already firmly in CPC/ANPP hands in the North, PDP may well be looking at a total of 15-16 states in opposition territory.

This actually reflects my 20 states projections for PDP in the National Assembly race which will have impact on the National Race, and may force the second round where all bets are off!

Conclusion: Jonathan may win in the first round but with a narrower margin than suggested below. If this goes into a second round, all bets are off! In any case, Jonathan or whoever the new President will be will govern with a divided-minority government which is more variegated than the current one-party legislative anomaly ongoing on all levels. 2011 is the beginning of change.

Jonathan Leads with 60%, PDP May Lose Four States

21 Mar 2011

The latest poll conducted by THISDAY/Ipsos ahead of the 2011 general election indicates that President Goodluck Jonathan may secure 60.3 per cent of popular votes in the presidential election. However, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), may lose the governorship polls in four states.
In the poll conducted in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) between February 25 and March 16, 2011, 60.3 per cent of respondents said they would vote for Jonathan in the presidential election, while his closest rival, Major General Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) scored 22.4 per cent.
Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, the flag bearer of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), scored 5.9 per cent, while the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, scored 4.7 per cent. Shekarau was generally acclaimed to have won the presidential debate last week but this poll had been conducted before then.
Buhari has a clear lead among polled samples in Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa and Bauchi and further holds narrow leads in Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno and Gombe.
Jonathan leads in all Southern states with the exception of Ekiti, where Ribadu has a 54-per-cent score, and Osun, which is considered too close to call, even though Jonathan leads. Ribadu and Shekarau had a strong showing in the state, thereby making it difficult to call for Jonathan.
A noticeable trend is the likelihood that PDP may win governorship in a state and lose presidential in the same state – or vice versa.
In Lagos, for instance, over 80 per cent of the polled voters said they would vote for Jonathan (PDP presidential), while 92 per cent said they would vote for Babatunde Fashola (ACN) in the governorship election. 
It is even more common in some Northern states where PDP could win governorship and lose presidential in Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara. 
Also, PDP is in danger of losing the governorship elections in four of the states it currently controls – Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue and Imo.
In Bauchi, the CPC candidate, Yusuf Maitama Tugar, was rated the highest by respondents. He scored 55 per cent, leaving the incumbent Malam Isa Yuguda of the PDP with 34 per cent; the ANPP flag bearer Nazeef Gamawa with 6 per cent; and ACN candidate Baba Tela with 4 per cent. 
In the president’s home state of Bayelsa, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and former presidential adviser on amnesty, Mr. Timi Alaibe, led with 56 per cent among the polled potential voters, while the incumbent Chief Timipre Sylva scored 44 per cent. Alaibe is of the Labour Party (LP), while Sylva is flying the flag of PDP.
A similar scenario is playing out in Benue State where the PDP governor, Hon. Gabriel Suswam, is trailing the ACN candidate, Professor Steve Ugbah. Suswam has 19 per cent, while his rival has 72 per cent.
Imo is also endangered for the ruling party as Governor Ikedi Ohakim trails Chief Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). The state is considered too close to call because even though Okorocha polled 34 per cent in the survey, 41 per cent of the voters are still undecided. Ohakim has 14 per cent, while ACN’s Ifeanyi Araraume has 12 per cent.
The battle ground states for governorship, according to the survey, are Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Borno, Oyo and Delta.
But the PDP remains competitive in Zamfara, where Governor Aliyu Shinkafi leads the pack by 43 per cent, closely pursued by ANPP’s Abdulazeez Yari with 37 per cent.
The PDP is also competitive in Oyo and Kaduna, where it holds narrow margins. In Borno, the poll favours the ruling party. It is too close to call in Delta but the ruling party is very competitive there.
Ipsos is one of the leading pollster companies in the world with more than 30 years of experience researching political attitudes. 
It has the most long-term and comprehensive set of polling data of all polling agencies in the world. 
Speaking to THISDAY yesterday on the latest polling results, the CEO for Sub-Saharan Africa, David Somers, said: “We initially designed a very large sample to cover the entire country. It’s a sample of 11,000 approximately of what we did in every state that will allow us to have estimate per state and in general. We conducted face to face interviews and as we talk to people in local dialects and personally on the ground, we asked people a series of questions about how they feel about life and about things in general and about things they want from their politicians. And ultimately for whom they will vote for whether at the presidential level or at the gubernatorial level. It’s honestly a traditional poll which we do all over the world. 
 “So the way we arrived at figures was to go to all the states, interview the people within those states and then aggregate all the data from the states up to a national level. We rate data accordingly so that each state will be represented correctly within the total national figure by the census and also by the voter registration. So we used as a waiting measure plus some other factors which we discovered while we went into this and that is how we got the national figures.”


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