One Good Turn Deserves Another: Celebrating KWASU’s Unmatched Precocity- Olasupo Abideen Opeyemi

“Spend not all you have, believe not all you hear, tell not all you know and do not all you can,” runs the wise old saying. But what greater injustice would it be to sweep such an impressive experience under the carpet when there could be a moral lesson in it for all and sundry? I cannot help but let out my firsthand experience with a university of unrivalled practicality and unsurpassed dedication to human capacity building and community development.

In a country where the fundamental values of volunteerism and community involvement are known to a few, at a time when university learning could not advance beyond rote learning and theoretical consumption, the heavens blessed the Nigerian nation with an institution that defied the typical Nigerian university operation. Springing into action some seven years ago, precisely on February 2009, the Kwara State University has successfully established itself as a benchmark drawing on her mode of operation which has set her as a world-class institution. If great doings are still rewarded in this country, the University deserves an epaulette on her shoulders.

There is a leaf to borrow from the giant strides made and laudable feats recorded by the University for Community Development. A higher institution which should be in its budding age is soaring high in the sky, beating many of her forebears hands down and setting a pace for others to follow. From time immemorial, it has always been a dictum that the leading horse sets the pace, it will be awe-inspiring how a following horse is managing to set a path for the earlier ones to look back to and walk up to greatness. This begs for an appreciation of the factors that has set this great citadel of learning primus inter pares – first among equals.

The Kwara State University, KWASU, as it is enthusiastically called by all and sundry, has established itself as a force to reckon with and a varsity to beat. This is not a product of mere chauvinistic proclamation, as every man’s farm is the best to him. It is rather an imposing reality which is founded on several consequential achievements the school has recorded within the very short span of its establishment. Little wonder the unprecedented accomplishments of this school provoked an international confession. Overwhelmed by the fantastic pace at which the school moves, David Atwell, a Professor of English (Modern Literature) at the University of York, United Kingdom, once remarked; “The University is only opened for six years now and there is so much development and so much is still going on. The University has achieved an enormous amount in a very short space of time. That is my overall impression and I can see from the vision of the Vice-Chancellor that great things are still in store for KWASU.”

The success story of Kwara State University was drafted with the clever choice of entrusting the infant institution in the care of the ingenious Professor Abdur-Rasheed Na’allah, an academic colossal who has also distinguished himself as an adept administrator, having served as the Chairman of the African American Studies Department of the Western Illinois University, Macomb, United States of America among other administrative capacities. Having being delivered by this experienced accoucheur, who has not only delivered the baby but has also tended tenderly to her thenceforth, her fate has been sealed, making it a sensation carved from the cradle.

Coming in an age when the theory-laden Nigerian education is impeding the country, an ugly reality which calls for an urgent attention, Kwara State University came as a revolution to the predominant unhealthy university practices in the country. No news is it that it is in Nigeria that a student of engineering cannot fix a fuse. It is also in this country that a student of business, after four years of entrepreneurship studies, will be waiting for a white collar job. Thanks to the Kwara State University for coming around to alter this perilous course of history.

You might actually not know that KWASU is the only university that is preparing Nigerian youths for the future by taking entrepreneurship beyond black and white. In this beautiful institution, every student, at his second year, is mandated to put his knowledge of entrepreneurship into practice by registering a business under the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Not only that, the university is the first institution in Nigeria to organize the Global Entrepreneurship Week, a platform where by business investors flock to feast on the worthwhile business ideas and pitches made by students. As a result, many students do not graduate from the school to join the army of youthful job seekers but become job creators and employers of labour. All this would be impossible without the ingenuity and rare expertise of Dr. Abdul Hakeem Ajonbadi, the Director for Center for Entrepreneurship. I have met a few geniuses, but Dr. Ajonbadi is an exceptional one.

As the name implies, Kwara State University, asides developing the economy of the city, directly or indirectly gives back to the community on a very large scale. The multi-million naira project executed by the University community is more than what many a member of a federal legislative house would do in an eight-year tenure. The Malete town, and her neighbouring villages and hamlets will never be able thank this establishment enough for her impactful projects. Big kudos to the Directorate of the Centre for Community Development Centre! What more can any community wish for than a concerned establishment like the Kwara State University?

If it is a century or millennium-old dictum that it is the leading horse that sets the pace for others to follow, it will not be too great a twenty-first century improvement that a following horse, at times, may have more to offer than the leading one. In the giant strides made by the Kwara State University, there is certainly a leaf to borrow for every other institution. Moreover, the Kwara State Government as well as the Federal Government would do themselves a world of good by acting accordingly to the adage: one good turn deserves another.

 

Olasupo Abideen Opeyemi is a Youth Leader, Business Consultant and Digital Marketer. He is the Executive Director, Brain Builders International- A United Nation accredited Non Governmental Organisation (www.brainbuilders.com.ng). He can be reached on +2347068775529 or abideenolasupo@gmail.com

Lest We Forget, By Johannes Tobi Wojuola

Consciously or unconsciously we become amnesic of the memories of ugly pasts as we make progress in life. And like a clergyman once said: for every new level we ascend, there is a new devil to challenge – sounds poetic, but beyond the rhythm is an aphorism that highlights the reality we face when we have won a battle, so to say. The focus is to war the “new devil” so that we can climb to yet another higher realm. Still, even while we climb to new levels and struggle with their attendant worries, we must gaze in retrospect to appreciate our growth and change in fortune.

Permit me a brief flashback.

A couple of years ago, the forest of Sambisa seemed as uncharted territory; it was regarded as a bastion of the terrorist group Boko Haram, where they recorded boastful and denigrating videos, where they launched deadly attacks that degraded security apparatuses, taking charge of towns and hoisting their disdainful flags on the soil of the captured territories – in defiance of the sovereignty of our great country.

And when came Christmas, it was a time we became unusually guarded – not for the sanctity and honour of the celebrations that come with the season, but for the fear of guerrilla attacks, car bombs, or suicide bombers. It was a time when our phones were flooded with security tips, more than we received even of the Christmas well-wishing messages. Broadcasts were disseminated warning us where to go and where not to go, indeed popular businesses suffered for this; others cautioned on the manner in which we were to judge people – based on their clothing, their mien or even their beards. Sadly.

Fast-forward to 2016. A different season has been witnessed this yuletide: peaceful; and for the socialites and hedonists, fun-filled. The major highlight of this season was the capture of the once occupied fortress of Sambisa – larger than the whole of the Federal Capital Territory, and perhaps, more than 15 times the size of Lagos State – by the Nigerian Military from the Boko Haram Terrorist Sect. Camp Zero was the last enclave of this vast swath of land to be captured after period of military advancement into the notorious Forest.

The Military have moved the necessary step further and are consolidating on this great victory: they say they would convert the vast forest into a Military training centre and also a military equipment testing ground; they have begun constructing new roads to further this domination; and an intensified mop-up operation is further underway.

As businesses open up in Borno State, and the commercial capital of North Eastern Nigeria inches towards thriving again, the once war-torn region and economic backwater is headed, out of war, desolation and destruction, and to reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation. Already, roads closed for close to three years, and more in some instances, have been reopened for users. The return to absolute normalcy would take time no doubt; one would be futilely prophetic to forecast that the wanton destruction and loss would be rebuilt in ‘3 days’. Yet, assuredly, it would happen – step after step, house after house, road after road, school after school, hospital after hospital.

To boot: the joy savoured from this victory is not limited to the territory reclaimed, or in the near defeat of the terrorists, it also flows from the glory re-established of the Nigerian Military – known all around the world for their great valour, resilience, professionalism, and might.

The fall of Sambisa would be one of the greatest landmarks of the Buhari administration. It is a promise made, and kept.

Judging by the economic recession that hit the country, due largely to falling oil prices and militancy in the Niger Delta, 2016 may not seem to be the best year for some, but for the worth of where we are coming from – the sleaze and corruption that wasted an auspicious economy; the low morale of a military fighting a war, coupled with diverted funds meant for the purchase of weapons; and dwindling revenues – the positive and sturdy foundations that have been put in place, the Rice Revolution that has just begun, the unprecedented Social Investment Programme of the Buhari Administration, the massive infrastructural reforms underway, this exultant victory of the Nigerian Military and more, has made the year worth it – and an assurance that we can aspire to a more victorious and propitious 2017.

The journey has just started. And we must not be quick to forget the tears we shed in 2015 that were wiped in 2016; the story has changed for the better. But we hope for the best.

Yes, lying ahead is the looming fear of guerrilla and isolated attacks that may be experienced as the dissipated terrorist group struggle with their last breathe – this must be dealt with; more: the resuscitation of the infrastructural, humanitarian, economic and social well-being of the region must be done expeditiously; also, the rehabilitation and return to normal livelihood of about 2 Million displaced persons in the region is a task that must be done soonest; the release of the abducted Chibok Girls who have been captive for almost a 1,000 days too; indeed, the task ahead is as onerous as the one we have done behind.

While these bothers and keep us on our toes, for anything, we must not forget one event that culminated a hard fought year: Camp Zero has fallen.

Johannes Tobi Wojuola is a lawyer and a member of the Abuja Global Shapers (an initiative of the World Economic Forum)

Governor Nasir Ahmed El-Rufa’i, The Epitome Of Peace Building, By Ibrahim Abass

Aside his desire for creativity, innovation and love for investment to make Kaduna great, the exemplary leadership qualities of the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Ahmed Nasir El-Rufa’I, in managing the security issues in the state has continued to amaze members of the public.

It is no longer news that, recently there was a leadership crisis at the Sultan Bello Mosque in Kaduna, which led to the expulsion of Sheikh Balele Wali, the then Chief Imam of the mosque; and subsequent appointment of Dr Khalid Abubakar, as Acting Chief Imam by the Zaria Emirate Council. However, some members of the Mosque led by Dr Ahmed Gumi stalwartly opposed him.

The situation was gradually taking an intra-religious dimension and becoming an issue of great concern, with possible adverse implications to the security of the State; a development which El-Rufa’I the pacesetter with a zeal to maintain law and order in Kaduna State did not want to take chances.

Given the fragile and sensitive nature of Kaduna, El-Rufa’I swung into action and immediately brokered peace between the contending parties and the issue was adequately resolved. This is against the backdrop that, Kaduna State has suffered so many conflicts, which were provoked by ethno-religious intolerance, leading to the death of over twenty thousand (20,000) persons and destruction of property worth millions of Naira.

The Governor joined worshippers at Sultan Bello Mosque to perform his Friday Juma’at prayer on 4th November 2016, where he addressed them and explained why the State intervened in the religious matter. He went ahead to apologize for the unfortunate incident between the worshippers and security agencies on 28th October 2016, where some worshippers were teargased during Juma’at prayers.

The proactive and timely intervention of Governor El-Rufa’I saved the situation from degenerating into a gargantuan crisis that would have engulfed not only the Mosque, but also the State as a whole. It is only a concerned leader, who cares about his people’s wellbeing that will personally get involved in resolving a mosque leadership crisis as such.

Indeed, this action clearly shows the Governor’s love for his people and the desire to ensure peace is sustained. Without prejudice to whatever willful inadequacies of every mortal, Nasir Ahmed El-Rufa’I, the outstanding Governor of Kaduna State deserves to be commended.

 

Ibrahim  Abbas writes from Kawo, Kaduna

Southern Kaduna Attacks Not Ethno-Religious, By Barnabas Jack

It is worrisome to imagine that, some hooligans are exploiting the past antecedent of Kaduna to further generate division among the good people of the state. I hear people speak and associate the recent attacks on some communities in the Southern Kaduna to religion, but I asked “what about the attacks on communities in Birnin-Gwari, Igabi Local Government Areas and the likes?

Over the years, Kaduna witnessed several ethno-religious crises, which have done more harm than good. One begins to wonder why a state like Kaduna is yet to experience rapid development. But how can it? When mutual suspicion amongst the people of the state has become the order of the day.

Criminal activities have become a global phenomenon. Before the coming of the current administration, there have been selected attacks on communities across the state, not only southern zone. The security challenges were what the Nasir El-Rufai’s led administration inherited from the past Government.

However, the state government did not relent, but braced up to these challenges and immediately initiated peace and reconciliation programmes, towards ensuring peace is restored to the Southern Kaduna zone and other troubled areas across the state.

El-Rufai has continued to ask relevant stakeholders, especially those in the affected communities of Birnin Gwari, Jema’a, Kaura and Zango Kataf Local Government Areas (LGAs) on way forward towards addressing the menace. The Governor has held several meetings wit them at the State level and also directed that similar meetings should be convened at their respective areas on a regular basis. All these are to continually review the security of the areas and address contentious issues before they degenerate.

With the already emplaced measures, peace is gradually returning to the troubled zones and members of the public need to acknowledge the admirable leadership charisma of El-Rufa’i. Let credit be given to one whom credit is due.

For one who has the interest of this State at heart, you will agree with me that, it is about time we unite and support the present administration in its peace efforts. Let us consider negotiations and dialogue, and say NO to reprisal.

It is my humble advice that, we ignore inciting comments that can instigate us to take arms and wage war against each other. Nothing good can be achieved through violence and our beloved State needs you and I.

Barnabas Jack writes from Kachia, Kaduna State

Senator Shehu Sani And His Familiar Deceitful Terrain, By Musa Baba Sabo

There is no gainsaying the fact that the senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Senator Shehu Sani has spent the better part of his almost two years in the senate attacking our political leaders, including Mr. President and his economic policies as well as our amiable governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufa’I, in his vaulting ambition to become Governor of Kaduna State in 2019.

For those who are familiar with his antics and penchant for blackmail and intimidations to further his political interests, Shehu Sani’s recent tantrums and diatribe against our amiable and hardworking Governor, whom he perceives as a stumbling block/obstacle to his inordinate ambition of becoming governor of Kaduna State in 2019, will not be a surprise.

We remember clearly how he employed blackmail and intimidation, his stock-in-trade, in the build up to the 2015 elections to turn the people especially our teeming party supporters, against the gentle Senator Sani Saleh in his quest for the seat. These antics and maneuvers are well known to us and in the fullness of time we will expose him. Here’s a man who deceptively bears the toga of activism, pretending to champion the interest of the masses, but we have since unraveled his deceptive character. His recent tantrums are nothing but the manifestation of a Senator who has lost focus on his objectives in the senate at the expense of the good people of Kaduna State.

It beats my imagination that while the state government under Mallam El-rufa’I is working assiduously hard towards making Kaduna great again, detractors such as Shehu Sani continue to pull our collective wheel of progress in their determined effort to distract our leader and retard our progress as a result. My advice, this pretender should be ignored.

The All Progressive Congress Party in the state has stated that it suspended the senator following his various anti-party activities and utterances, which are capable of destroying the party in the state. Instead of addressing with the party, he resorted to using the social media for vitriolic attacks on the person of Mallam.

Shehu Sani should know that Mallam El-Rufai is the governor of Kaduna State and does not deserve such uncouth choice of abusive words.  But we know Shehu Sani, just like the leopard cannot change its colour, the Senator is treading his all too familiar terrain of vitriolic attacks on leaders as a springboard for political recognition in furtherance of his primordial interests. We are also aware that he stage-managed the so-called ransacking of his constituency office by some hoodlums, true-to-type without waiting for police investigation; he ran to the media and accused the State Government. Haba! Senator, your antics are well too familiar.

It is humble advice that, we ignore Shehu Sani’s inciting comments designed to provoke negative reactions against Mallam and aimed at frustrating Government’s effort in ensuring sustainable development in the State.

Let me use this medium to call on all peace loving people of our dear State to unite and support the administration of Governor Nasir El-Rufai in its uncommon developmental efforts, which is visible for all to see. Kaduna State has been neglected for too long; it’s about time we moved to the next level and with Mallam El-Rufai, we will get there sooner than later.

 

 

Musa Baba Sabo

Malali Kaduna

E-Governance for Good Governance, The Sokoto Example By Imam Imam

Until now, not much was known about Sokoto’s huge investment in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. But that situation changed when it defeated 35 other states in the country to win the prestigious award of Best State in e-Governance at the 2016 E-Nigeria Expo and Conference. The award, instituted by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), recognises and promotes excellence in governance through ICT.

The assessment criteria for the highly competitive award include capacity building in the sector, generation of employment opportunities, improved education and healthcare services using ICT, operational efficiency of ICT tools, self-help services among others.

E-governance is regarded as the ICT-enabled route to achieving good governance. It integrates people, processes, information, and technology in the service of governance initiatives. The expected benefits have led to increase in the efficiency of government operations, strengthening democracy, enhancing transparency, and providing better services to citizens and businesses.

The vision of e-government is the optimization of services so that government can achieve its goals. When Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal took over the mantle of leadership in Sokoto State in May 2015, he outlined the ‘Government ICT Strategy’ which aimed to ensure that, in a dynamic technology environment, it can achieve the government’s plan of an ICT-enabled transformation of public services of the state.

The ICT Strategy provided an opportunity of benefitting from several emerging game-changing trends that support better public service by putting citizens and public institutions at the centre of design and delivery of digital services.

The Government ICT Strategy 2015 has three focus areas: Enhancing Citizen Awareness about ICT; Applying ICT in public sector transformation; and Partnerships with the private sector and other stakeholders to deepen application of ICT in the state. The success of the strategy has so far led agencies to collaborate with one another and with vendors to deliver better public services to the people of Sokoto.

In practical terms, to achieve the aims and objectives of the government’s e-strategy, Tambuwal revived the State ICT Directorate and made it a parastatal under the Ministry of Science and Technology. The Directorate has helped to coordinate and spearhead transformation of the state’s ICT landscape. To demonstrate government’s commitment to the sector, the ICT Directorate was allocated the sum of N1.1 billion for its operations in the 2016 budget. This amount is staggering considering the fact that only N80m was allocated to the Directorate in the preceding year.

Realising the importance of social media to today’s governance strategy, Tambuwal, upon assumption of office, created a Social Media Unit domiciled in his office. The new Unit, which operates closely with the office of the Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, is enjoying the same privileges as the (traditional) media crew attached to the Government House. The Unit coordinates activities of all government-assisted online groups, and interacts, on behalf of the government, with interested persons and groups seeking information about government’s policies and programmes.

Tambuwal had made it clear that he would continue to explore different avenues to widen interaction with special groups, especially the youths. “Adequate training will be organised for the youths to equip them with the latest knowledge in online information management. By the creation of this Unit, we hope to engage our youths and also get their inputs in the running of the government. Our youths played critical roles during the campaigns to mobilise our people for the task ahead. We want them to do more by offering quality suggestions on their vision for Sokoto State,” the Governor had said while announcing the creation of the new Unit. Buoyed by the success of the Unit, the government later gave approval for the integration of Social Media Units into all MDAs to effectively publicise government activities.

In March 2016, Sokoto became one of two states to represent Nigeria at the Smart Cities Program in Washington DC, USA, which was organized jointly by the United States Government and Government of Nigeria through NIST & NITDA respectively.

Widening the scope of the application of information technology in governance saw the state deploy ICT in the accreditation of all its students schooling abroad, thereby modernising record keeping at the State Scholarship Board. This ensured massive savings of public funds. The focus of e-governance also led to the provision of computer facilities in all tertiary institutions, and select primary and secondary schools to serve as pilot centres for ICT education. This is not forgetting the building of Computer Based Test Centres (CBT) in the three senatorial zones for students writing JAMB and other public officials writing promotion examinations.

Government has made public commitment to support entrepreneurs in the ICT sector. Once the policy is implemented, knowledge will be enhanced, while start-ups will benefit from new investment to develop their expertise.

Another important project that will come on stream in 2017 is the world class Data Analysis Centre for the state Ministry of Health. The Centre will be used in tracking and analysis of health-related data in Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi States.

The government is not relenting in efforts to deepen application of ICT in all public endeavours. Recently, it announced that it is working with the Federal Government to develop the sector. Briefing reporters after a meeting with the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, Tambuwal said the state government will leverage on the modest achievements recorded in the ICT sector in the last one year, and welcomed the opportunity to partner the Federal Government for the benefit of the state. He said his administration has “extensively applied ICT in various spheres of governance,” and will continue to do so because the new method enhances good governance and helps in tackling corruption at all levels.

No doubt, use of modern day technologies such as medical treatment databases, cell phones to improve livelihoods, and computers to enable citizens to compete for online jobs in the global market, will continue to enrich the lives of the people in many ways. The example set by Sokoto is that governments can become closer to its people through the use of information technology and communications, thereby increasing efficiency and helping to make their lives better.

 

*Imam writes from Sokoto and is on Twitter @imamdimam

Fayose and Those Led By Their Stomachs, By Olalekan Adigun

Since he was elected in 2014, the Ekiti state Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose, has always been in the news, often for wrong reasons. If he is not defending election rigging, he is justifying his poor performance as chief executive. In the very best, the only noble achievement he boasts of is his notorious “stomach infrastructure” programme with which he loots state funds. No one as seen a single road his administration built or renovated. He has no legacy of sustainable development other than his so-called stomach infrastructure, on which he has a “Special Adviser”, by name one Mr. Sunday Anifowose.

If the so-called stomach infrastructure is development-oriented and creative, maybe the struggling Fayose’s administration might have a face-saving excuse, but no. rather, Fayose prefers to be seen in “ponmo” or “agbo Jedi” sectors eating and drinking as though governance is not a serious business. His media team will take pictures of him eating in public restaurants during office hours like a jobless man. If the stomach infrastructure is something that leads to, say the revamping of the Igbemo Rice mill (just like the Abakaliki rice) which has the capacity to generate thousands of jobs for numerous unemployed youths in the state, things would have been better. Can you cast your pearls before swines? Fayose will rather prefer to lead a people who, like pigs, are led by their stomachs than a people who are led by their heads!

Before we are been accused of being an anti-PDP writer, let us be quick to educate those who prefer to be led by the stomach that the Ebonyi state government (under a PDP governor) has increased rice production to the extent that the state is selling rice to other states in Nigeria in the process creating employment for its people. Can the loquacious Fayose be at least humble enough to learn from his Ebonyi counterpart how to make money producing local rice at a time like this? Even the Lagos state government during Christmas decided to partner with faraway Kebbi state for the production of rice when there is the potential in Ekiti to produce rice. Is it not an indictment that Mr. Fayose is not aware that the partnership has created opportunities for Nigerians in Lagos to buy a bag of rice in Lagos at N12,000 while it is sold at N20,000 in Fayose’s  Ekiti?

Let us even be bold enough to ask what Governor Fayose has done with the bailout funds provided by the federal government since 2015? I remember posting on my several social media accounts in October for anyone with adequate information on Ekiti to furnish me with information on how many roads, schools or hospitals so far built by the Fayose administration since 2014. What and what has the governor been doing with the funds provided for him? He was one of the governors that came up against the federal government probing the funds to the state, so what did he do specifically with his portion in Ekiti? I tweeted this to the governor’s official Twitter handle and got no reply. I probably did not get a reply because I didn’t include stomach infrastructure. That is what you get when a people are led by their stomach like pigs!

Olalekan Waheed ADIGUN is a political analyst and independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria. His write-ups can be viewed on his website http://olalekanadigun.com/ Tel: +2348136502040, +2347081901080
Email: olalekan@olalekanadigun.com, adgorwell@gmail.com
Follow me on Twitter @adgorwell

Leveraging The Power Of Internet For Wealth Creation, By Naufal Ahmad 

Do you know that the internet contributes to over $2.2 trillion in annual retail sales?Or that the total number of WordPress users rivals the entire population of Turkey?

The internet has now become such a force to reckon with, responsible for trillions of dollars in direct and indirect revenue annually, and understanding how it contributes to the growing world economy will only help your business grow.

There was a time when the social media was considered a passing trend that’s only for the “tech savvy kids” and that it can never be used for anything serious like business or education, these skepticisms have been proven wrong overtime as there are 3.26 billion Internet users this December with more than 2 billion of them having active social media accounts.

Social media can generate huge amounts of data about customer in real time, there are more than 1.79 billion monthly active users on Facebook that generate 4.5 billion likes daily,

twitter has more than 500 million monthly users that generate over a 100 million tweets everyday.

Instagram has a total of 600 million monthly active users and 300 million daily active users.

The economic opportunities offered by the social media are huge if only used for the right purposes.

The Internet is fortified with extremely powerful learning tools like YouTube with millions of video tutorial on nearly everything ,all that is required of a person is to have the entrepreneurial mindset and the will to learn and monetize these skills..

Popular social media platforms have now become marketing Giants offering SMEs with unique businesses tools responsible for the spontaneous growth of startups to million dollar empires in no time.

A statistical study by the United Nations in 2014 showed a direct link between Internet penetration and drastic reduction of poverty.

ThIe Internet is so powerful that you can use it to 1.learn s skill 2.develop it to a product or service 3. Market and sell it online.

And this is not just another global phenomenon,it also applies to Africa and Nigeria in particular as we are leading in the continent with regards to Internet penetration breaking the record of 97.21 million internet users in 2016 according to NCC, we also have highest number of social media users,according to Facebook 16 million Nigerians visit Facebook monthly beating Sout. h Africa’s 12 million and Kenya’s 4.5 million monthly users.

According to NCC 83% of Nigerians used the Internet for shopping in 2016 as the population becomes more internet savvy and price conscious,people now tend to want to do a thorough research on products and find best prices before throwing their monies around.

With that being said I think it’s unwise for any Nigerian business owner to ignore the significance of building a comprehensive and meaningful online presence.

Social media platforms provide a unique opportunity for small businesses to meet many prospective leads and convert them to loyal customers,it allows the businesses to gain free inputs from customers to enable businesses improve and grow.

Small business have now with the help of social media become global brands and can sell across the globe with direct contact to unique customers.

I will like to tell you of a sensational entrepreneur Gary Veynerchuck who took over his family’s wine shop and grew it from #3m to #60 million dollars in just 5 years using the Internet and ,he’s now an angel investor with investments in Facebook,twitter,uber and other big investments.

Another interesting Internet success story is story of two sisters from Zimbabwe that started as for fun street photographers which later transformed to the biggest fashion blog in Africa and around the world,this blog later gave birth to a very unique African fashion label called Mafashio which was chosen in the top 10 fashion talents in the “Future voices ” completion.

Online shopping platforms like Zuvaa are able to globalize African fashion by shining lights on Talented African designers and creating link between the designers and the global market.

These are not just stories because I can personally relate to this important phenomenon,my brother an I started a clothing line about a year ago with the help of social media we made about 125 sales in 2 months nationally and internationally that’s equivalent to about N 625,000 ..now I’m not saying we are we we should be yet but we are working on improving and uplifting our capacity as a company ,this is all due to the effective utilization of these social media platforms.

I know of a photographer that goes by the name Madugu Photography that started his business 9months ago,taught himself how to take pictures using YouTube,uses Instagram to promote his work and is now rubbing shoulders with big names in the photography business and this is all due to the effective utilization of the Internet and the social media.

There is no excuse for being unemployed nowadays,use your internet wisely.

The giant social media platforms recognize the unique needs of business which lead to the creation of special “for business features/profiles”which allows businesses to add their Geo location,email addresses and contact numbers.

There’s no excuse to being unemployed on this Internet age,all the resources required to build successful business is yours for the taking,all you need to do is use the social media effectively.

Naufal Ahmad
Instagram/twitter @9aufal

In memory of Ibrahim Dasuki, the 18th Sultan of Sokoto, By Abdussamad Dasuki

It was Colonel  Haruna Dasuki who ordered that I return to the hospital in military style “maza maza dawo asibiti” on what easily became one of the darkest days in my history. On November 14, 2016, we confronted one of our deepest fears – our father, Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki died. He died minutes after his eminence Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar left his bed side. Unknown to us, this was a farewell visit from the symbol and custodian of the institution my father revered until his last moments, the caliphate. We, his children hoped that somehow he will pull through this hurdle like he had done throughout his eventful life. Although he would have been Ninety-Three years old today, December 31, 2016; it was not enough to neutralize our grief.

Baba taught us many lessons in life and in death; he continues to teach us more. Every part of him told a story; his eyes, his mannerisms, his speech – a story of faith, honor, industry, contentment, sacrifice, duty and dependability. One of his mantras was “abun da ka shuka, shi za ga girba: ku shuka alheri” meaning “you reap what you sow; therefore sow good things”. He served this nation diligently in various capacities which all contributed to the formation of his solid character. He was private secretary to the great premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello. He moved on to head the Northern Grains Board, which at the time managed the famous groundnut pyramids. In the private sector, he chaired the board of African International bank (AIB) before his eventual coronation as the 18th sultan of Sokoto. He left indelible marks along the way, building lifelong bonds with his associates. Their condolence messages show the unique bonds they shared with him; each with a different narrative. From Traditional rulers to captains of industry to political office holders to average Joes; his network was vast and diverse.

At the home front, he was our hero. Each and every one of us connected with him in a different way. He was unison, he brought sanity and he was the power horse behind the scenes that ensured we carried on in life with dignity. If there was a problem, we were confident that he would fix it regardless of the magnitude. He was not perfect and neither is our family. However, he navigated our imperfections in a perfect manner. Some of us experienced hilarious shock upon discovering our biological mothers around the ages of eight or nine. This is the flavor of polygamy which my father practiced. He nurtured such trust amongst our mothers that each of them raised children birthed by others with unparalleled grace. He was equitable yet strict, certainly not one to shift the goal post. Discipline was very important to him. There were times when he asked children of our domestic staff to punish us when we derailed. I am not sure if it was the finesse of my brother Col. Sambo Dasuki or the quest for discipline that made him send my generation of Dasukis to military schools. While Ibrahim, Haruna and I went to Nigeria Military School and NDA in Kaduna, Muhammadu Buhari, and the girls attended Airforce Military schools in Jos respectively. Reflecting on my moments with him brings mixed feelings; Sadness for obvious reasons and Joy, for Baba left a part of him in each and every one of us his children. For instance, our eldest sister, Ya Amina, wife of the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji, knew Baba for longer than any of us. Perhaps this is why she radiates the best part of him, his superlative virtue of patience.

Despite belonging to a different generation, Baba’s advice was somehow always applicable and relevant to contemporary situations. In March 2010 when I was at a crossroads in my life; precisely when I was considering seeking elective office. I approached him and stated with conviction my motivation and desire to run for office. I described the landscape, the opportunities and threats. He listened attentively to my grandiose presentation. His advice was concise but deep. He told me categorically to return to the grassroots and prove my worth to the people at that level. ”How can you aspire to lead a people with whom you have seasonal contact?” That was quintessentially Baba. Not one to evade or beat around the bush to please you. I walked away from that room still unsure of what the future held but with a clear understanding of the enormity of the responsibility that lay ahead. It was not my birthright; I had to earn it. This is the way that our father eased our paths – not with silver and gold but with his values, principles, wisdom, humor, courage, strength and most importantly prayers.

No conversation about Sultan Dasuki will be complete without talking about his courage. He ingrained confidence and fearlessness in each and every one of his children. He never got tired of urging us to “fear no one but Allah” and “beg no one but Allah”. This will later put him on a collision course with late General Sani Abacha and lead to his deposition and subsequent unjust incarceration for years in Zing, Taraba State. The rest they say is history. One of his proudest moments as a father was when he learnt while in detention that his children refused to beg General Abacha for his release. Upon his return, he met a household that was understandably apathetic towards the General. He reacted by lecturing us on the fruitlessness of hatred and requested that we pray for the repose of the General’s soul. Incidences like these defined my father.

I could never do justice to my father in a few paragraphs but I owe it to him to embody his values in the course of my own life. By divine decree, we are entrusted with a duty towards our people as envisioned by our ancestors. As the constant in our lives, his presence made us complacent in a way. His absence on the other hand, unearths the fact that the oars rest squarely on our shoulders to perpetuate his ideals for the benefit of current and future generations. He leaves us the legacy of an exemplary life occasioned by trials which he wouldn’t let define him. Clearly, the real test of Baba’s disciples begins now and I get the feeling we are well prepared.  I conclude in these regulatory words of my father: “Honorable is far more than a name prefix; to be honorable is to be dutiful and to be dutiful is to be mindful of the various layers of expectation of your people”. May Allah grant him al-jannah firdaus and make it easy for us to complete the good work that he started.

Abdussamad Dasuki

Member Representing Kebbe/Tambuwal

Prediction: Nigeria And The Prophesy Of Change In Budget, By Ade Ilemobade

“Lust for possession and greed has ravaged the soul of humanity like a great cancer, metastasizing throughout society in the form of a nouveau post-human, consumer hedonism.”? Bryant McGill, Voice of Reason

Prediction is basically about forcasting the future or a guess work about events likely to happen futuristically speaking based supposedly on evidences available at the moment of making such prediction. On another level we can make prediction based on logical reasoning or abstraction an intellectualization of thought, seeking coherency of data as we often observe in economic analysis with a caveat ceteris paribus because of speculation and the failure of our knowledge and experiences if/when we justaposition them sometimes with reality. Therefore, prediction of socio-economic and political fotunes of Nigeria in 2017 is not something I would like to get myself into for obvious reasons.

It is important to note here that evidences presented in claim(s) to support whatever prediction made may not always be absolutely justifiable since data or circumstances and factors prevalent might change accordingly. My hope is that the change promised for 2017 by the president would be realised and the data presented to Nigerians during his budget speech to the joint session of the national assembly would sustain any permutations within the change paradigm.

I am not very optimistic given the wastefulness, padding and duplication observable in budget 2017. How do we explain ”Presidency’s ‘kitchen equipment’ gets N100 million despite N325 million spent before” – http://www.premiumtimesng.com.

If you read further in the same article you cannot but have hypertension when mind boggling amount in naira was budgeted for food stuff and catering materials for the president and the vice president respectively in a country where majority of the populace live on less than a dollar per day really this is beyond comprehension when you juxtaposition the gross wastefulness, avarice and hedonisticism purveyed in this budget 2017 taken into consideration the mantra of “change begins with me”.

What are the nutritional values of the food stuff or is the president and vice president going to eat one cow per day. I wonder whether they spend that much on food stuff as a private citizen. Is it not the same Eba, Amala, Ewedu, Fura, Tuwo Shinkafa etc they will continue to eat in Aso rock?

Let us even per assumption granted that they have private visitors everyday, is that good enough reason to engage in hedonistic lifestyle of wasteful spending spreading food largesse to every Tom, Dick and Harry?

Father Mbaka is right with his latest advice to the president to ”Act, Nigerians are hungry, Father Mbaka advises President Buhari” -http://www.premiumtimesng.com

My sincere opinion is that corruption has crept into this administration big time to the extent that the paraphernalia of power has made those in authority become myopic to the sufferings of Nigerians, they are now only interested in pursuing their own happiness via material accumulation and unbridled hedonisticism spending our commonwealth on expensive wining and dining costing the taxpayers millions of naira per year. WHERE IS THE CHANGE?

“Men in the vehement pursuit of happiness grasp at the first object which offers to them any prospect of satisfaction, but immediately they turn an introspective eye and ask, ‘Am I happy?’ and at once from their innermost being a voice answers distinctly, ‘No, you are as poor and as miserable as before.’ Then they think it was the object that deceived them and turn precipitately to another. But the second holds as little satisfaction as the first…Wandering then through life restless and tormented, at each successive station they think that happiness dwells at the next, but when they reach it happiness is no longer there. In whatever position they may find themselves there is always another one which they discern from afar, and which but to touch, they think, is to find the wished delight, but when the goal is reached discontent has followed on the way stands in haunting constancy before them.”? Johann Gottlieb Fichte

President Mohammadu Buhari must wake up and stand firm against wastefulness and corruption in the corridors of power in Aso rock if he wants 2017 to be a gloriuos year for Nigerians. Nigerians are willing to persevere but those at the pinnacle of power must change their apetite for hedonistic lifestyle.

 

OTUNBA ADE ILEMOBADE is a philosopher

Twitter: @pearl2prince

 

“When Prophecy turn Prediction, By Abiodun Shomoye

My natural stubbornness might the cause, and if it is, I appreciate that character in me. Somehow, I find it difficult to believe words of over glorified men of God who due to overzealousness turn personal opinion to message from God. It’s an indirect slavery orchestrated by deceitful words of men who believe they’re closer to God than you and I. Willingly, some has outsourced their thinking into the hands of these people, hence find it difficult for them to apply logic anytime their small gods talk. I’m so happy am not a patient of such abysmal clinic.

So many scientists on daily basis predict but that’s not done on mere assertions, rather they carefully and critically study indicators before coming out with any prediction (call it prophecy). Their reasons of going through much stress before publishing their propositions (when ordinarily they can announce such on anointed podiums) is because they understand the fear any careless prediction could cause.

If inanely or out of self developed, public serviced ego, an authority of a field publishes a pseudo intelligent research work, I’m certain people in related field (juniors or seniors) won’t hesitate to give a more witty review of his work. This is only possible because they found themselves fallible. Hey, this won’t result into arguments neither will it turn to enmity or hatred. It’s norms in environment where no one knows it all.

The reverse is the case in our spiritual world. Well some say we shouldn’t criticise our spiritual doctors, because; you don’t judge. On daily basis, same set of people will lampoon medical doctors for any carelessness, forgetting that the difference between a PASTOR, ALFA or BABALAWO and a MEDICAL DOCTOR is; one takes care of our spiritual lives while the other takes care of the medical lives. They call such behavior hypocrisy but who am I to label them what they’re; hypocrites.

Due to this obnoxiously gullible shielding of the so called spiritual fathers, most of them have seen us as toy they can play with, throw, break, smash and bury with no repercussion. Immunity is its nomenclature in the political clime.

Jan 1 2016, knowing fully well that the world was yet to recover from the trauma created by the sudden appearance of Ebola Virus, a spiritual father with no fact unwittingly pronounced the possibility of another Sexually Transmitted Disease, he packaged it perfectly and released it as a prophecy. Today is December 31, 2016, meaning we have less than a day to 2017 and am yet to hear of any new STD. Should I say he lied? Well, lying has a meaning, you can check and make the judgement within your plain mind. I have to be culturally obedient before my mum spanks me, but left to me, your baba lied.

Mind you, I have nothing against any spiritual father and his clans. All am saying is 2017 is around the corner, you’ve not failed in 2016, promote your self from land of cretins. Before you celebrate baseless predictions painted as prophecies, take some time, think, look at indicators, these things help a lot.

Happy New Year in advance and rather than arguing, wish me a Happy Birthday too. World is not war.

Lest I forget, you can read the uncalculated prediction that orchestrated this long essay in the link below:

http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/01/a-new-sexually-transmitted-disease-will-surface-in-2016-adeboye-predicts/

Abiodun Shomoye
@MrShomoye on Twitter.

The Season Of True Change By @DeleMomodu

Fellow Nigerians, as we enter the last day of the year today and start the beginning of a new year tomorrow, please, permit me to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous year ahead. This is the ritual we are all familiar with. Many of us would head to church tonight to try and pray and possibly cajole God to grant all our best wishes pronto, as soon as the new year begins. More often than not, we want God to do things for us even if we refuse to do His bidding, the commonest of which, according to my faith, is to love our neighbours as ourselves and forgive our enemies seventy times seven times. The dearth of love and the absence of forgiveness, I believe, is one of the major reasons Nigeria is in such a mess today.

I will never get tired of sermonising about this unfortunate reality. Nigeria needs love in all ramifications. It seems we are too oppressive to one another. The wickedness of man’s inhumanity to man has manifested itself in our daily lives. It is the reason some of us misbehave and carry on with no modicum of care in the world. We love religion but hate religious tenets which regulate our beliefs. We love the good things that we see abroad but fail to replicate same at home. In fact, we believe those things are not meant for us and should be the exclusive preserve of those who can afford to travel and return home to regale us with tales of a glittering Dubai and a New York that never sleeps.

We have lamented endlessly and it seems there is no end to our woes in sight. Life should not be as tough and rough as it is in our dear beloved country. I think this season affords us the opportunity to rethink and reroute our ways of doing things. We must start by reconciling our many and varying differences. We can’t and won’t go far until we come to terms with the issues that divide us and make a conscious effort to embrace the things that can unite us. No nation can ever develop in an atmosphere of permanent state of topsy-turvy.

At the level of different tiers of governments in Nigeria, there is so much chaos everywhere; unpaid salaries, poor infrastructure, vindictiveness, profligacy, nepotism, and all the ailments Fela sang about aeons ago are still very much with us. We have blatantly refused to try new methods and methodology and yet expect miracles to happen. Of all our problems, the one that worries me the most is our propensity to prefer the use of brute force above the well-tested strategy of persuasion despite the failure of tyranny on too many occasions. I wonder why mankind starts a war, destroys everything along its path before returning to the negotiation table. Why was it blinded in the first instance about the possibility of peaceful settlement?

The latest theatre of madness is in Syria where foreign powers are taking time and turns to gang-rape that historic country. No matter the outcome of the latest ceasefire, Syria and Syrians are already sentenced to a life of perpetual misery and penury. When and if tomorrow comes, the same super powers would queue up to determine who gets what business for the reconstruction of a totally battered nation. It is such a big shame. I’ve noticed and noted the same similarities in Nigeria where we prefer to waste our resources on fighting dirty and abandoning governance before returning to our senses and begin to preach peace and reconciliation.

I had admonished the ruling party in Nigeria, APC, when it started its own war of attrition but hardly did anyone listen. Rather they accused us of working for certain enemies at the time when we were only concerned about the collateral damage to true and productive governance. Nigerians voted last year for a singular purpose which was to arrest the drift towards perdition and enthrone a new regime of performance, discipline and integrity as opposed to incompetence and corruption. Nigerians wanted to witness a sporadic change in their lives and not listen to a plethora of excuses for failure. If truth be told, the APC frittered away its humongous goodwill and lost a lot of its uncommon equity when it got carried away over the assumption of its invincibility. APC behaved like it had all the time in the world and failed to take cognisance of the traditional impatience of Nigerians. It is not too late for APC to retrace its steps and give Nigerians a new political order. I shall endeavour to give my humble suggestions, as always.

I have always maintained that nations are never governed by saints but by performers. Therefore, let me assure President Muhammadu Buhari that his seeming search for saints to work with may not yield fruits after-all. I now plead with him to urgently search for some vibrant and accomplished Nigerians to work with in the new year. In another five months, two years would have passed since Nigerians in our collective wisdom or amnesia catapulted the President back to power after over three decades in retirement. It is a rare honour and privilege that should never be rubbished by anyone. I’m certainly convinced that a few things have definitely gone wrong with his avowed plans to make Nigeria one of the greatest nations on earth. Let me fathom a few guesses.

The President is probably surrounded by people who are not in tune with current trends in the modern world. The President may be a veritable victim of his own persona which makes people around him to live in dizzying fear of an omnipotent boss. Only the President can release such people from their gilded cage. The President would not be privy to quality advice and factual information if the people around him are too timid jelly-like to speak out their minds because they are afraid of a backlash. There may truly be a powerful mafia that has grabbed the jugular of Nigeria while the President has been practically hypnotised by them. Whatever it is, only the President can confirm if he thinks the current mafia is what he needs to deliver on his attractive promises to Nigerians made on the soap box.

I doubt if there is any serious Nigerian today outside the corridors of power who feels the present team of President Buhari can drive Nigeria to the promised land we all anxiously want to see. If I were the President, I will change the tempo of governance within the first month of 2017. I do not know the level of power and authority currently given to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, but I would like to see him get more involved and become very assertive. He is relatively young, highly cerebral and innovative with far reaching global contacts that Nigeria can benefit from. As a distinguished scholar, he is conversant with modern trends and can gain access to the most brilliant Nigerians that litter everywhere on this planet. I’m not sure Nigeria is currently making use of one of its best assets in government today.

The time has come to reduce the dangerous level of mistrust and distrust in our country today. From North to South and West to East, Nigerians are at war against themselves and their country. The perceived fear of a Northernisation agenda can be curtailed if President Buhari can make that extra effort to speak directly to Nigerians and explain certain decisions that inform some of his appointments. He should never dismiss the agitations of any part or group of Nigerians. Every Nigerian citizen should be given a sense of belonging. The senseless killing of Nigerians in certain parts of our country should be totally discouraged. No country can afford to operate in complete paranoia. The rule of law must be followed and obeyed in dealing with criminals and troublemakers. The government should never assume the role of accuser and judge at the same time. A situation where the government becomes a Law unto itself may lead to occasional skirmishes and even anarchy. This explains the volatility we’ve witnessed recently in some parts of Nigeria.

The Buhari government must rejig its war against corruption. There is no marked difference between the style operated by President Olusegun Obasanjo and the current format. Instead of the present staccato fashion, President Buhari should restructure the operations in a way that it would not only target certain individuals but also the particular institutions that attract and thrive on corruption. As noted on this page in the past, not all corrupt tendencies emanate from greed. My thesis is that corruption in Nigeria has become almost irredeemably endemic as a result of chronic needs from top to bottom. It is so easy to attack a few Governors, Ministers and legislators but corruption begins from the time many of the government operatives were certified paupers. Significantly, the government cannot preach integrity when it is distinctly lacking in such integrity itself, epitomised by its failure to keep its covenant with its workers through the payment of their salaries. You cannot continue to recklessly commit the country’s funds to frivolous and wasteful projects and expect that those involved in doing the donkey work on these projects should go unpaid but nevertheless retain a semblance of decency.

It is impossible for an average Nigerian to survive on his normal income. I still don’t know how most workers manage to get to work on paltry salaries. Many don’t receive their salaries for several months and the employers can also not be totally blamed due to some dwindling turnover. The quality of education has dropped abysmally and many graduates are thus not employable by the few companies that can still afford to do so. And if lucky to get the job, you must pay for transport, cough out one or two years’ rent in advance, feed on something and still cover sundry bills. This reality has driven many Nigerians to desperation and the need to survive, by fire by force. No amount of preaching by any government can change the debilitating conditions that force many honest people to resist the temptations of surviving against all odds.

In other climes, the solution is not too far-fetched; there must be a credit system. It is a no-brainer that credit begets and creates wealth.  It expands the economy and puts more money and purchasing power into the hands of a lot more people. However, obtaining credit in Nigeria is not an easy matter and never a better option due to many factors that are so obvious to you and I. The Buhari government should work with the Central Bank of Nigeria on how to ease the inherent fiasco of obtaining rents, mortgages, car loans, health insurance, education grants and scholarships, business start-ups and so on. No government can employ even ten percent of all employables but it can help facilitate many difficult necessities of life. Those hoping President Buhari would help them find jobs should, please, stop living on false and misguided hopes. I reiterate, there is a limit to the number of jobs that any government can create of its own accord.  All that government can do is to formulate policies that can alleviate the suffering of average Nigerians. This is not too visible at the moment.

President Buhari should not be distracted by the politicians who think more of contesting elections and who will therefore be telling him that all is well.  Mr President Sir, all is definitely not well. Indeed, it seems that nothing is well! The best and easier way for you to win the next Presidential election if you are so interested, and rightly so, is to perform now. Believe me, Nigerians would voluntarily ask you to continue. That should be your priority at this highly critical, tense and depressive period in our country’s development. Only true change across board can ameliorate the situation. The time to embrace such change is now, as we begin a new year. That must be the President’s New Year Resolution.  It will take us all out of the doldrums.

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