Leading Right, Nigeria is a book in two volumes by Philip Ejiofor. Published just this year by The Exclusive Edge magazine, Ogudu, Lagos. Leading Right explores the challenges and solutions of leadership and governance in Nigeria. The book is autobiographical, being the collation of Ejiofor's thirty years experience i Nigeria's corporate governance; reaching into government, business, teaching and as an observer of the debilitating socio-economic condition of the Nigerian people.
Leading Right is a compelling review of Nigeria's vision and delusion in the past 56 years of our independence. It contains thought provoking nuggets of leadership principles and practices. Written in simple and clear language, the book explains what it takes to make leadership an interesting skill to be embraced by aspiring Nigerians. The book shows why our people are dying needlessly within Nigeria as a result of the poor handling of our armaments. It blamed insecurity on the embezzlement of military budgets by the top echelons of the military and the politicians.
Accordingly, Ejiofor resonates the Tel Aviv District judge in Israel, Justice David Rozen who said: "Bribery by its nature, does not limit itself, but spread out, erodes and causes the collapse of public institutions and the rule of law." Based on this premise, Ejiofor argues that the idea of giving corrupt public officials a soft landing on accountability was tantamount to encouraging corruption in the country. The combined pagination of the two volumes of Leading Right is 906 pages, they have 26 chapters; 49 pages of appendix, 26 pages of references and 18 pages of index.
The author dedicated the book to groups of people among them Nigerians at home and those in the Diaspora who have suffered from corruption and poor leadership, the twin evils that have bedeviled Nigeria since 1960. Another cluster Ejiofor mentioned are the disgruntled Nigerians who continued to die without realizing their dreams. He also hailed those who have died from poorly conceived infrastructure owing to ineptitude and lack of foresight by the leaders.
The last group that earned Ejiofor's dedication are the men and women who failed to emerge from subsistence economy because the elite has stolen or appropriated to itself the socio-economic good of the country. However, the author remembered the politicians, the public officials and entrepreneurs who have acted in good faith but whose services were sabotaged by political jobbers at the corridors of power.
This book is modeled after the Nigerian Constitution. The first five chapters discussed the vision and the ideals of the nation. It covered service delivery, leadership principles, political party ideologies and federalism. Chapter six was devoted to explaining the executive arm of his dreams. But in Nigeria the executive power remains nebulous and poorly defined. In the United States executive authority is laid bare by the Executive Powers Act. There the executive is immutable in moments of crisis or war.
Chapter seven covered the legislature. Except otherwise omitted, every appointment, policy option and military adventure must be approved by the senate, which epitomizes the equality of the federating states of the union. In the Nigerian Constitution, the legislature comes first, which signifies it as first among the three arms of government. As usual the judiciary is treated last. He chronicled the vicissitudes of the judiciary with citizens habitually having to buy judgments detailing other character deficiencies of the Nigerian elite.
Surprisingly, Ejiofor treats the civil service ahead of the media: the Fourth Estate of the Realm. Here, with her poor leadership competencies, Nigeria is viewed as lost in the storm of global competitiveness where nations slug it out in the interest of their citizens. He characterizes Nigeria's greatest drawback as the inability of our leaders to escape from primordial attachments hinged on ethnic and religious bigotry. The Fulani through Ahmadu Bello having plans to dominate by dipping the Quran to the sea of Atlantic Ocean. On the hand, the Igbo, through Nnamdi Azikiwe avowed the domination of the lazy tribes of the Sahel.
Accordingly, where some leaders would have succeeded, they faltered because sycophants within their social milieu hoodwinked them into taking parochial decisions. In the opinion of Ejiofor, one of several reasons Nigeria has been stuck in this political quagmire is because, aware of their own injustice, past Nigerian leaders archived history as a course of study in school,preventing new generation of Nigerians from knowing the challenges of their nation.
This lack of historical knowledge prevented citizens from discerning the quality of political leaders put forward by political leaders. The author amplified his exegesis by quoting John Maxwell in his book: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success; thus:"Mistakes (history) are messages that give us feedback about life. Interruptions that should cause us to reflect and think; signposts that direct us to the right path; keys that we can use to unlock the next door of opportunity; explorations that let us journey where we have never been before."
Those are the advantages of the study of history which previous leaders denied us. Leading Right closed the conversation with his analysis of non-governmental organizations. Just like the judiciary citizens and non governmental organizations were made to undermine the enthronement of a great Nigerian nation. Ikechukwu Philip Ejiofor had his first degree in History and Political Science from the Onafemi Awolowo University. He gained his master's in Public Administration from the University of Lagos while he is now pursuing his doctorate in public policy Walden University, Minnesota in the United States. I commend the book onto your perusal for knowledge and wisdom. It is a must read for all.
The Rotary Club of Ikeja, Lagos State penultimate Sunday, invested Adeniyi Adelaja as its 51st president of its district. The well attended ceremony was graced by the representatives of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos and the United States ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington. Then, Adelaja inducted his ministers, his 2017 board of directors before giving his inaugural address.
The installation began with saying the Rotary Grace, the inaugural address and the Guest Speaker's Speech. The guest speaker, Ambassador Symington of the USA was represented by the US commercial counsellor and head of its Lagos consulate, Brent Omdahl, a Mormon American with six children one of whom he adopted from Vietnam. Omdahl's speech was very enlightening. He said Nigeria's population would overtake America's by 2050; that 20 million Nigerians live in the USA and that Nigeria has the fourth largest Diaspora remittances in the world.
Omdahl said the challenge from our expanding population is that we should make it a dividend rather than a bubble. The kernel of his message is that we must invest on leaders of integrity, quoting the 34th president of the United States, General Dwight Eisenhower on integrity as the soul of leadership to buttress his point.
In his goodwill message delivered by the Secretary to the Lagos State Government(SSG), Tunji Bello, Governor Ambode was full of appreciation for the efforts of Rotary clubs in the development of Lagos State. Ambode said Rotary clubs' humanitarian activities have impacted positively on the economy of the state. The governor said that in the last 50 years, Rotary clubs have been partners in progress through their development initiatives to alleviate the needs of the Nigerian people. They have complemented government's efforts in the provision of the basic needs and infrastructure, he said.
Ambode urged Adelaja as the 51st president of the Rotary Club of Ikeja to imitate his illustrious predecessors such as the late Chief Anofi Guobadia, Prince Julius Adeluyi and Chief Bintan Famutimi. The governor solicited the support of Rotary members in the development of Lagos state by keying into their vision of creating a sustainable climate of entrepreneurship and the provision of world class infrastructure.
As the ceremony drew to a close, Adelaja briefed the press on his plans for the development of Lagos. He said he has six projects in view and craved media support and public cooperation for success. Among his projects are conflict resolution, disease prevention and treatment; water provision and sanitation, vocational training for the unemployed and polio in Lagos state. With a budget of N12.6 million, his immediate projects are provision of adult literacy, renovation of dilapidated classrooms and the donation of furniture to schools.
Born in November 1969 at Ibadan, Adeniyi Adeola Adelaja graduated with honours in architecture from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso in 1998. He now runs his own interior design and renovation company. He is married to Yetunde Adelaja and they are blessed with two children.
Certain qualities of highly intelligent people have been observed throughout the ages. One of these is that they approach every problem systematically and logically. This powerful method is aimed at keeping emotions out of problem solving. This forces you to take an objective view of the problem, forcing you to work it through step-by-step. There are many steps to this method of problem solving.
The first step is for you to always assume a logical solution to any difficulty or goal. Your attitude toward a problem determines whether you release your creativity or keep it locked up. Approach every problem as though there were a logical and practical solution just waiting to be found. Your goal as a champion is to be calm and unemotional as much as possible throughout the creative thinking process.
Step two is for you to use positive language to describe the difficulty. Use the word situation to describe the problem. Whereas a problem conjures up a negative condition that agitates the emotion, a situation is neutral which enables you to deal with the difficulty in a calm and objective manner. Even better is the word 'challenge' rather than problem. A challenge is something you rise to, whereas a problem is an obstacle that causes stress or frustration. The best word of all is 'opportunity'.
When you define each situation as a challenge or opportunity, you begin to see possibilities that may have been blocked or obscured up till now. Your third step is to define the situation clearly. Accurate diagnosis is half the cure. Often, a problem well defined; either as a challenge or opportunity can be quickly solved once it becomes clear to everyone. A clear diagnosis might show the causative factor was a unique event that happens once and does not require a systematic change. In another case, the problem might be a systemic case that requires a total change in the way the business is run in that area.
Step four asks: What are all the possible solutions? This enables you to proffer many solutions, including doing nothing; before you move to the decision making phase of the process. Step five is for you to make the decision. Taking the previous steps, the ideal decision will emerge logically, as the cream rises to the top of the milk. If you need more information to take a decision, set a deadline for your decision.
Never allow a situation hang in the air with no resolution. After setting a deadline, assigning responsibility to yourself or another person, you finally take action. Implement the solution right away. Action is everything; the faster you take action, the faster you get constructive feedback that enables you to change course and take more effective actions. From my observation as an economic consultant, without exception, I have noticed that high level executives and political leaders go calm when dealing with challenges which cause others to become upset and angry.
By keeping yourself calm and following the steps outlined in this column, you will be amazed at the quality of the solutions you come up with and the excellence of your decision making ability. However, in your problem solving, you must observe this golden rule of business, the reality principle. This is the ability to see the world as it really is, not the way you wish it would be. This is the ability to be perfectly honest with yourself in any situation, no matter how much ego you have invested in being right.
What the first employee billionaire, chairman and chief executive of the US General Electric Company, Jack Welch would ask in a problem solving meeting was: What's the reality of the situation? This should be your question as well. The billionaire who built the sports marketing company in the world and the author of the best selling: What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School, Mark McCormack, said that there were three statements executives had to learn to use if they wanted to succeed in life. They are, "I was wrong." The second is: "I made a mistake." And finally, "I changed my mind." To change your mind isn't a sign of weakness. It is a mark of courage, character and competence. You changed your mind after realizing that the situation has changed and that you must change your thinking if you are to survive and thrive.
The kingdom of Morocco. an Arab state in North Africa is seeking membership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). She applied to join it through an application submitted at the 51st ordinary session of ECOWAS heads of state in Monrovia, Liberia on June 4, 2017. This is being considered by the 15 member organization which includes Nigeria. Though no decision has been taken, there are media reports that elements in ECOWAS had expressed general support for the application.
Though this isn't a commitment on the part of ECOWAS to admit Morocco. The heads of state directed the ECOWAS commission to examine and advise them on the Moroccan application "in the light of the provisions of ECOWAS revised Treaty of 1993." The ECOWAS commission report will be presented for consideration at the 52nd ordinary session of the organization in December this year in Lome, Togo. This allows member states adequate time for multilateral consultations on the application.
Nigeria has maintained a studied silence on the matter. But there can be no doubt about a strong opposition to Rabat's bid to join ECOWAS. But first to mouth opposition was Togo's Foreign minister who advised his government against supporting the application. Based on this, Nigeria has made her reservations on Rabat's membership known to other ECOWAS member states. Given Nigeria's political, economic and demographic influence in West Africa, it is unlikely her views will be ignored.
Two former Nigerian foreign ministers, Prof Bolaji Akinyemi and Ambassador Ignatius Olisemeka have in separate fora, expressed their opposition to Morocco's bid. The Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) has also opposed Rabat's bid to join ECOWAS. Recently, the Abuja and Lagos chapters of ARCAN met Nigeria's foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama with a joint resolution outlining their objections to Morocco's bid. The minister assured them that government will pay due attention to their objections.
But what are the grounds for objection to Rabat's bid? First, in accordance with its statute, ECOWAS was established in 1975 to promote economic cooperation among member states of West Africa. Morocco is neither in West Africa nor contiguous to it. Morocco is in North Africa contrary to the treaty that established ECOWAS. General Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria and President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo were the initiators of the organization. Morocco didn't qualify then as now due to its geographical location.
The Abuja Treaty of 1993 also resolved that ECOWAS was one of five regional groups of the African Economic Community (AEC). However, similar organizations have been established in Northern, Central, Eastern and Southern regions of Africa, all of which are thriving. Morocco belongs to the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) of North Africa. Its headquarters are in Rabat the Moroccan capital. Morocco also belongs to the Arab League. Moreover, the Abuja Treaty is opposed to African states joining two or more regional economic communities. In effect, it is the objective of the African Union to eliminate multiple membership of African states in regional unions, for it would complicate continental integration.
Thus, it is clear by contiguity and multiplicity of membership that Rabat isn't qualified to be a member of ECOWAS. The second reason for ECOWAS to reject Morocco is that ECOWAS treaty would have to be revised to admit Rabat. And that would be tedious and tortuous process that will be divisive and damaging to the unity of the organization. Efforts at admitting Rabat constitutes a diversion of ECOWAS from the real issue of regional integration and monetary union. The AMU should offer Rabat adequate platform for economic cooperation with her neighbours. So should the Arab League. Morocco's admission will dilute and weaken ECOWAS which aims at a common currency, the Eco.
Thirdly, morocco's bid to join ECOWAS was meant as a platform for its annexation of Western Sahara. It also wants it to subvert the independence of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic(SDR). She wants to use ECOWAS to bolster her dubious sovereign claims over SDR. Moreover, for decades, Morocco had been in open disagreement with her neighbours over SDR independence. Thus, her joining ECOWAS was designed to enable her annex SDR because of SDR's phosphates; mining of which the UN had declared illegal.
Therefore, admitting Morocco will create conflicts that will be against the interest of the group. While maintaining good bilateral relations with Rabat, ECOWAS should imitate the European Union which put Turkey's admission on hold indefinitely. Morocco's aims are to weaken ECOWAS in the aftermath of the successful deposition of Yahya Jammeh as President of Gambia.
The slaughter's slab as a metaphor is the title of a book arising from an inaugural lecture given at the University of Lagos in March by Professor Lai Olurode, a professor of sociology at the university. It was published this year by the University of Lagos Press. It contains 25 chapters, a table of recommendations on election violence reduction strategies in Nigeria. The book is dedicated to five victims of political assassination.
Those victims are Chief Bola Ige, then Attorney General and minister of Justice, killed on 23 December 2001; Barrister Barnabas Igwe, then the President of the nigerian bar Association, Anambra branch, killed 1st September, 2002; Chief Marshall Harry, former All Nigeria Peoples Party vice chairman-5 March 2003; Chief Funsho Williams, Lagos State governorship aspirant-27 July 2006 and Malam Abdullahi Munkaila, then resident electoral commissioner in Kano state,he, his wife and children were killed on 3 April 2015.
The title, the metaphor of the slaughter's slab arose from Olurode's efforts to explain to his illiterate mother, the course of study for which he was admitted at the university of Lagos in 1976. Olurode enrolled to study political science. Explaining that to his mother was a herculean task for she was perplexed that her son would be pursuing a profession whose practitioners are reputed for causing public assault, arson, mayhem and brigandage.
The memories of the political crisis in Western Region remained indelible for most people of her age. To mama, political scientists and politicians are birds of the same feather that must flock together. That perhaps influenced Olurode from changing his course to sociology in his second year. But mama Olurode's fears have been justified by the appointment of Olurode as an electoral commissioner by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Though his mother wasn't at ease until the end of his tenure. But mama was vindicated by the murder of Abdullahi Munkaila and his family while working as the resident electoral commissioner for kano state in 2015. Munkaila's blood is now haunting his killers. Professor Olurode's autobiographical booklet has 74 pages and six pages of tributes. In his introduction, the author avers that the pursuit of happiness and prosperity as the primary goal of human life. And pursuant to these goals, the Nigerian Constitution avow that Nigeria shall be a state based on democracy and social justice and that security and social welfare shall be the primary purpose of government.
Indeed, the thirst for vast territories was not just for fame, glory or nationalism but motivated by the economic objective of prosperity. Accordingly, the sociology of today's world, Olurode finds four sociological explanations for the current crisis in the world. One, the world is in turmoil because of the growing social inequality due to injustice between and within nations. New technology is enlarging inequality.
Two, the prevalence of insecurity around the globe, acts of terrorism,violence and risky migratory behaviour which engager lives and freedom. Three, dogma, social prejudice and discrimination are sources of concern for the world. Moreover, we have enthroned money as the ultimate power. The love of money for vanity has eaten deep into the fabric of society. As an expression of inequality- life expectancy in Nigeria is 54 years, the lowest in the world; whereas, it is 80 years in Norway.
From his experience as a retired electoral commissioner and professor of sociology, Olurode gives the following recommendations to reduce violence during elections. One, Nigeria's rural sector should be activated through poverty reduction. Two, we must make concerted efforts at mobilizing the people through the national orientation education. Three, we must curb acts of impunity: politicians must be punished for flouting party as well as electoral rules. Finally, cost of elections must be reduced. Elections are too expensive in nigeria which is why contests are a do or die affair. The courts and the election commissions should liberalize election regulations.
Economists are unanimous that local and foreign direct investment are a key factor in driving a nation's economic growth. Investment is particularly needed to complement economic growth and in the transfer of appropriate technology, the transfer of knowledge and access to foreign markets. Moreover, every level of investment is necessary for boosting employment, reducing inflation and in augmenting food production and in improving the living standard of the people.
For instance, Singapore, an inconsequential British colony with a population of 1.6 million in 1960, transformed itself to one of the richest nations in the world through attracting foreign investment to itself. Therefore any country seeking economic prosperity must attract investment to prosper. Central to Nigeria's ability to attract investment is ease of doing business in the country. That was why as Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo issued an Ease of Doing Business Presidential Order to facilitate improvements in our investment portfolio.
Indeed, fostering the ideals of ease of Doing Business enhances our infrastructure, access to raw materials, communication and transportation links and the acquisition of relevant technological skills. Also crucial to attracting foreign investment are the upholding of the rule of law, an end to impunity; part of which consists of a robust and independent judiciary, impartial and prompt adjudication of disputes. Beside being the prerequisite for attracting investment, these statutory practices are the preconditions for sustainable growth in any society.
Unfortunately, we are not doing well on these scores. More so, we can only boast of dilapidated infrastructure, insecurity due to periodic agitation for self determination here and there. Though our huge population promises us much investment; which is why investors can overlook these disabilities. But investors are unwilling to accept our culture of impunity for which we are notorious. It has become our character to illegally terminate agreements, contracts and projects without compensation.
That unruly behaviour has not ended even with the return of democracy. One example of bad faith was an attempt by the National Assembly to illegally and unilaterally amend the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Act to force it to remit three percent of its yearly budget as funding to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). This is expressly contrary to the contract agreement freely entered into by Nigeria, the NLNG and other stakeholders covered by the Bilateral Agreement Treaties with France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Nigeria had agreed to retain fiscal and security regimes of the investment agreement, not to amend the NLNG Act without express agreement of the other stakeholders.
The NDDC traversed the courts right up to the Supreme Court seeking to compel NLNG to pay the levy, only for the courts to affirm the right of NLNG not to pay the levy. Apart from large scale looting, this is another atrocity of the Goodluck Jonathan regime. Like in all cases with Nigerian politicians and cohorts with special interests, they attempted thwarting the court judgment by rushing to amend the NLNG Act thereby endangering the continued survival of the NLNG and the flow of future foreign investment to Nigeria.
Regrettably, it is often the case in Nigeria that once investors begin to flourish, Nigerian governments and her regulators begin to heckle these businesses, through seeking to extort money or subject them to hurriedly enacted laws and regulations in the name of protecting Nigeria's national interest. This greedy behaviour scares away investors. Yet the sing song of every Nigerian government , that are known to travel to the ends of the earth is to solicit for foreign investment.
In the days of yore, when Nigeria could rely on oil revenue, we could call the bluff of investors, but now with low oil prices, Nigeria will do herself a world of good by removing all the impediments to local and foreign investment. Another poor economic judgment from the Buhari administration is the US $3 billion loan taken by the Federal Government. Recently, Finance minister, Kemi Adeosun disclosed that Nigeria plans to refinance $3 billion treasury bills in order to improve Nigeria's debt profile.
Adeosun said the government wants to refinance her maturing short term treasury bills with dollar borrowing of up to three years' maturity. The minister said it is the plan to restructure the debt portfolio into longer term maturities by borrowing more offshore and less at home. This she said, will support private sector access to credit to boost the economy. However, data from the Debt Management Office (DMO) show that the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has N3.6 trillion outstanding treasury bills as well as N8.1 trillion bonds.
Servicing these loans cost the FGN 15 percent of her budget per year. According to the DMO, the FGN has spent N449 billion as interest payments in servicing these debts in the first quarter of 2017. Thus, $3 billion that would be raised, is hoped to boost dollar liquidity by raising our external reserves, strengthening the capacity of the Central Bank to support the naira. It is also hoped to reduce the cost of borrowing as less demand for domestic debt will lead to lower interest rates.
This economic adventure is untenable in public finance. For the dollar debt service in the same period, FGN paid $127 million according to the DMO. It is expected that such loans should be linked to the building of infrastructure. Mexico's tequila crisis is an example of the dangers of borrowing to pay foreign exchange spending. Like we're doing now, Mexico borrowed to buy foreign luxury goods. But when the US Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan raised interest rates in 1994, the boom for Mexico came to an abrupt end. In spite of attempts to devalue the peso, Mexico's currency crashed by more than 70 percent.
It was the International Monetary Fund that came to bail Mexico out. Even then, Mexico"s economy continues to be on the brink of collapse till today. With an uncertain economic future; without a professional economic team to shepherd the Nigerian economy, this plan to plunge Nigeria deeper into debt should be scrapped. We are well advised to listen to the World Bank that warned the CBN from borrowing to fund our budget and import luxury goods. Borrowing dollars to buy cars for our ministers and legislators isn't the right economic option for us now. It can only lead us further into depression.
Borrowing to import goods for the rich exacerbates inequality. And inequality makes it harder for economies to benefit from innovation. However, if people have access to credit it can offset the effect. Inequality is preventing people with less income from reaching their potential in terms of education, creativity and invention. There is also less entrepreneurship. Inequality shrinks market for new goods. When incomes are more equal among people, people less well off buy more.
Having a large market for new products enables companies to create new goods to sell. This boosts national growth and prosperity. When wealth is concentrated among a small group of people, it increases demand for imported luxuries. In contrast, distributed incomes means more mass produced goods are manufactured locally. But reducing trade and innovation will only make everybody poorer. Giving people access to credit is the panacea for prosperity. Providing access to credit is an unfailing means of stimulating growth. Hopping towards full employment, growing food locally through easy credit is the way forward for Nigeria, not borrowing dollars to import luxury goods.