Friday, 21 September 2012

SELF CONTROL AS A CATALYST OF RICHES


On The Path Of Winners
By Bayo Ogunmupe
Self Control As Catalyst Of Riches
A MOST important dial of our self image thermostat is the sense of self control.
  When I am in control of myself, I feel competent to perform and reach my goals. This confidence in me is built upon a foundation of experiencing success. Success breeds success. With poor self image, you destroy your self confidence by remembering past failures, forgetting your successes.
  Thus, dwelling on failures mentally erodes your power of self control. If you want to win by practicing double win, you must always remember your tiny footholds of success and remembering, reinforcing and dwelling upon those footholds.
  A research experiment had a group of adults solving ten different puzzles. Everyone worked on his puzzle and turned in his result. Half of the people being tested were told that they had done well, and solved at least seven out of ten puzzles correctly. The other half of the group learned that they had done poorly, that they had gotten seven out of ten puzzles wrong. Of course, the puzzle results were fictitious. But the researchers wanted to see what the two groups would do when given ten more puzzles to solve. The results were predictable. Those who had been told they had done well in the first round did better in the second, while those who had been told they had done poorly did worse. Mere association with past personal success apparently leads to more persistence, higher motivation or something that makes them do better.
  The sense of control is crucial to the attainment of your goals. Have you ever spun out of control such that a stranger you will never see again could ruin your day, much less you forever? How we control things or ourselves is an important aspect of our drive for financial freedom!
  The human brain works like a space shuttle. It works like this: you set your goal and pursue it. You monitor feedback as it comes from the environment. After receiving feedback, you engage in self talk or self adjustment. Then you take a decision to allow your self talk to be positive. If you programmed yourself with positive thoughts, the self image thermostat in your brain automatically adjusts your course to the right direction. Without consciously thinking about success, you go on pursuing and finally reaching, your goal. Winners always win because they tell themselves over and over again, with words, pictures, concepts and emotions that they are winning personal victories now. Double winners remind themselves how by giving of themselves to others, they receive in return.
  In this essay, we will look at seven skills which, though not a fail-safe formula for instant success, will help you win any race you chooce to run. One, make the goals yours. No goal set for you by others will ever be sought with the same zeal and commitment as one you set for yourself. Remember, the personal goals you want are those you can achieve. And keep your goals to yourself or share them only with role models who will take the time to give you positive feedback and input.
  Two, set goals with deadlines. It is an irrevocable part of nature to work harder at our goals as our deadlines approach. A goal isn’t a goal unless it has a deadline.
  Three, set explicit goals. The more specific the goal, the easier it will be achieved. Four, commit your goals into writing. Solicitors know the wisdom of the written contract. It demands clarity, specificity, conditions, a time frame and commitment of money. When all the terms are understood, it usually results in better performance. A good contract is an instrument of success. Always carry a 30-day calendar with you everyday. My Samsung cell phone carries a 30-day calendar.
  Five, set goals that can be incrementalized and measured. Since long range goals don't lend themselves to step by step reinforcement and feedback, it is better to break them into many short range ones where you can experience the thrill of victory on a smaller scale. Victory propels you to victory. Six, set goals with pulling power. Goals we can reach without effort have no pulling power. The excitement of reaching a challenging goal is often greater than the actual achievement.
  Seven, do your goals pass the double win test? To be a true winner in life, you must consider the impact of your achievements on others. Your success must be beneficial to others otherwise you are a rogue not a winner. A good goal cannot succeed without the help of others. The winner is a goal minder, who becomes a gold miner, who shares his wealth with others. The gold digger is a rogue, like the woman who loves you for your money. You won’t learn of your poor judgment until your last days on your death-bed.
  Our champion for today is Daniel Kahneman, the Israeli American psychologist and winner of the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He is notable for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision making, behavioural economics and hedonic psychology.
  With Amos Tversky and others, Kahneman established a cognitive basis for common human errors using heuristics and biases. They developed prospect theory. Kahneman was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize for Economics for his work on prospect theory. In 2011, Foreign Policy magazine named him onto its list of top global thinkers. In the same year Kahneman published, Thinking Fast and Slow, which summarizes much of his research. It was a best seller.
  Kahneman was born in March 1934 in Tel Aviv, Israel while his mother was visiting relatives. He was raised in Paris, France where his parents had emigrated from Lithuania in the 1920s. Kahneman and his family were in France when it was occupied by Nazi Germany in 1940. After his father died of diabetes in 1944, Kahneman and his family fled to British Mandatory Palestine in 1948, just prior to Israeli independence.
  Kahneman received his first degree in psychology and mathematics in Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1954. Thereafter he served in the Israeli Defence Forces. In 1958, he went to the United States for his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. He began his academic career as a lecturer at Hebrew University in 1961. Later he became a visiting scientist at the University of Michigan (1965-66) and at the Applied Psyhological Research Unit of the University of Cambridge, UK (1968-69). He was a fellow at the Centre for Cognitive Studies at Harvard University in 1966-67.
  Kahneman left Israel in 1978 to take up a position at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Then, Kahneman and Tversky became fellows at Stanford University where they met a young economist, Richard Thaler. There, Kahneman and Thaler built the Prospect Theory in Behavioral Economics. Thaler, Tversky and Kahneman collaborated until Tversky’s death in 1978. Kahneman is currently professor emeritus at the Department of Psychology, Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs, Princeton University, USA. He has published two books with Anne Treisman, his wife since 1978.

TOWARDS A GREATER NIGERIAN RESOURCE CONTROL


Towards Greater Nigerian Resource Control
By Bayo Ogunmupe
BY greater Nigerian Resource Control, I mean that the Executive Council of the Federation of Nigeria should exercise stricter control over Nigeria’s mineral resources, particularly oil. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is Nigeria’s main oil corporation that serves the interest of Nigeria’s Federal Government in the oil industry. Founded in 1977 by a merger of the Nigerian National Oil Corporation (NNOC) and the Petroleum department of the Ministry of Mines and Power. The NNPC by law was set up to manage the Joint Venture (JV) partnership between the Federal Government (FG) and multi-national oil companies prospecting for oil in Nigeria. Some of such oil companies include Royal Shell, Chevron, Exxon, Mobil, Agip, Total, Elf and Texaco.
  Apart from performing regulatory functions, the NNPC also serves as the platform for Federal Government’s participation in the oil industry. However, the NNPC is essentially a royalty collector. Otherwise, the corporation’s role in the oil industry is peripheral. The core duty, which the corporation is to perform is lacking. This is unlike its counterparts in the other oil producing countries that are fully active in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the oil industry, thereby helping to build a strong economy and leveraging their people.
  Indeed, the NNPC should be an active player in the oil industry. It ought to be actively involved in oil exploration, refining and marketing. Also, the NNPC should lead in producing the needed technical expertise for Nigeria’s oil industry. The NNPC failed to do much because it was originally created to collect rent from foreign oil producers without involving Nigerians as stakeholders in the oil industry.
  The NNPC lacks the technical expertise needed in the oil industry. If the joint venture partners were to leave the industry today, the Nigerian oil industry will grind to a halt, because there are no homemade alternatives. However, if we compared NNPC with Petrobrasy, the Brazilian national oil corporation, that will give us insight into the missing link in the NNPC operations. This comparison will give us the means by which NNPC could be reformed to serve a more beneficial purpose to the Nigerian economy.
  The Beginnings of Oil
  Shell-BP Petroleum Development Company pioneered prospecting for oil in Nigeria. After 30 years of concerted effort, in 1958, oil was discovered in commercial quantity at Oloibiri in present day Bayelsa State. By 1959, the Nigerian colonial government introduced the first regulations governing petroleum taxation. Under the regulation, profits made from oil were to be shared equally at 50-50 between the government and the respective oil companies. That arrangement was expedient at the time since the colonial administration was almost out of office in a matter of months. Arguably, it was not meant to serve as the framework for sharing oil revenue in independent Nigeria.
  On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained independence from Britain; British flag the Union Jack was lowered and the reins of government were handed over to the new Nigerian authorities. In the same vein, the management of the oil industry was transferred to the government. It was indeed at that time that Nigeria should have fashioned out a patriotic framework for exploiting the oil resources and the sharing of revenue. That was the time the government should have called on interested Nigerians to be stakeholders. Unfortunately, that was not done. Nigeria’s founding fathers failed to do what was expedient but settled for royalty collection. Consequently, Nigerians were denied stake in the oil today.
  The oil profit sharing formula of 50-50 between the government and the oil companies should have been changed to give Nigerians equity share and participation like in Brazil, where oil was seen as belonging to Brazil and its people right from the beginning in 1953. The philosophy adopted in Brazil was, “The Oil is Ours.” Brazilians were made major stakeholders in the oil industry without foreign participation until 1997.
  But the critical vision was not conceived in Nigeria. Without creating room for Nigerians to be core investors right from the start, the Nigerian government assumed the role of a passive royalty collector while the foreign oil companies have the upper hand. Thus, it was government that edged itself and Nigerians out of the core activities in the industry and also denied Nigerians the opportunity to be stakeholders.
  This trend has persisted till today. Nigerians only hear about oil and at best act on the periphery. Local content is not an important issue. Worse still, government officials and politicians corner whatever revenue accrues to the country for selfish enrichment. Corruption is rife. Thus, rather than bringing about the much needed development, oil has brought poverty and misery to the overwhelming majority of Nigerians. Fifty years of oil exploitation has led to ecological disaster in the Niger Delta. The situation would have been different if Nigerians were major stakeholders in the industry. The ugly state of affairs needs to be changed for the oil to benefit Nigerians.
Formation of the NNPC
  Between 1958 when oil was discovered and 1970, there was no national body responsible for managing oil in Nigeria. The Western oil companies were fully in control of the industry and only paid royalty to government.
  The precursor of today’s NNPC was the Nigerian National Oil Corporation, which was established by Decree No. 18 of 1971. Its mandate was “to participate in all aspects of petroleum including exploration, production, refining, marketing, transportation and distribution.” The corporation was also charged with the task of “training indigenous workers; managing oil lease over large areas of the country; encouraging indigenous participation in the development of infrastructure for the industry; managing refineries; participating in marketing and ensuring price uniformity across the domestic market; developing national tanker fleet; constructing pipelines and investigating allied industries such as fertilizers.
  Following alleged operational failures and poor accounting procedures, among others, the NNOC was reconstituted as the NNPC by Decree No. 33 of 1977. Like its predecessor, the NNPC started essentially as a holding company. It inherited the assets and liabilities of the NNOC. It had a board structure similar to that of the NNOC. The same inefficiency that plagued the NNOC caught up with the NNPC early in its life. The accounting procedures and record keeping were ineffective and this has persisted till today.
  In line with the indigenization Decree of 1979, the NNPC’s equity holdings in the oil major’s operations was raised to 60 per cent. The companies were Elf, Agip, Mobil, Texaco, Gulf and Pan Ocean. Similarly, the NNPC’s stake in Shell venture was raised to 80 per cent after BP lost its 20 per cent stake following disagreements with the Nigerian government over apartheid South Africa.
  From then on, the NNPC was riddled with accusation of gross mismanagement and misappropriation of funds. That prompted the then President Shehu Shagari in 1980 to make a national broadcast and establish the Crude Oil Sales Tribunal that uncovered the gross mismanagement in the corporation. Ever since, the NNPC has not been able to rise above board to manage the nation’s oil industry efficiently to benefit Nigerians. The bug that afflicts government owned companies caught up with it and it remains inefficient.
Reform and Commercialisation
  The outcome of the Crude Oil Sales Tribunal in 1980 was a series of reforms that were meant to decentralize the NNPC and instill more commercial approach into its operations. Thus, in 1988, the corporation was split into several subsidiaries that presently constitute its operational structure. The subsidiaries are:
  • National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS)
  • Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC)
  • The Nigerian Gas Company (NGC).
  • The Products and Pipelines Marketing Company (PPMC)
  • Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL)
  • Nigerian LNG Limited (NLNG)
  • National Engineering and Technical Company Limited (NETCO)
  • Hydrocarbon Services Nigeria Limited (HYSON)
  • Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Co. Limited (WRPC)
  • Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical co. Limited (KRPC)
  • Port Harcourt Refining Co. Limited (PHRC)
  • Eleme Petrolechemicals Co. Limited (EPCL)
  It is important to note that some of these companies are not wholly owned by the NNPC but operate as joint venture concerns like the NLNG. Similarly, there are moves to privatize the refineries but which have not yet materialized. The operations of the other companies are in lip and bounds. There are hardly any of the companies managed by the NNPC that operates optimally as a profit-making venture.
  For instance, none of the four refineries is operating at full installed capacity, even after billions have been spent on Turn Around Maintenance (TAM). The result is that virtually all the petroleum products used in the country are imported. The NNPC has grossly failed to leverage the Nigerian economy as an oil-producing nation, which has in turn truncated development. According to a 2005 statistics, the NNPC made $2.6 billion in sales. This is grossly below the standard expected of its after three decades of operation. The problem, however, is that there is no accurate statistics on the quantity of oil produced, exported or sold. Also, there is no record of the quantity of oil stolen through illegal bunkering.
  By depending on 60 per cent royalty payment from the oil majors without attempting to grow into a profitable company, the country has never benefited from its abundant oil resources. This explains the need to recreate the NNPC such that it could operate profitably as a growing concern that would leverage the economy.
The Petrobras Model
  Petrobras-sa is Brazil’s giant multinational oil company. Founded in 1953, it is semi-public with the Brazilian government owing 55.7 per share while Brazilian people privately own the rest. Its motto, “The Petroleum is Ours,” underscores Brazil’s vision to be fully in control of its oil and gas resources without foreign involvement. The privately owned shares are traded on BM&F Bovespa, where they’re part of the Ibovespa index. Thus, between 1953 and 1997, a period of 44 years, Petrobras was the sole legal monopoly in Brazil’s oil market.
  Unlike the NNPC, Petrobras is rated as the largest company in Latin America by market capitalization and revenue with a 2008 sales of $118.3 billion. Compare this with NNPC’s sales of $2.6 billion in 2005. Petrobras controls significant oil and energy assets in 18 countries in Africa, North America, South America, Europe and Asia. The company’s holdings worldwide altogether amount to a total asset of $133.5 billion. The company is rated as the 63rd largest company in the world according to Fortune 500 Companies.
  Before 2001, Petrobras operated the world’s largest oil platform known as the Petrobras 36 Oil Platform, which unfortunately sank on March 15, 2001 after an explosion. But in 2007, the company inaugurated the Petrobras 52 Oil Platform to replace the damaged one. The Platform is the largest in South America and the third largest in the world. Petrobras is also a major sponsor of environmental conservation projects in Brazil. The company is involved in whale conservation projects and in the production of bio-diesel, using the H-Bio process.
  After many years of impressive performance in exploration, production, refining and transportation, two new bodies, the Petroleum’s National Agency (ANP) and the National Council of Energy Policies were created to regulate and supervise the sector activities. This followed agitation by foreign and national companies over Petrobras’ monopoly of the market. Before the new turn of events, however, Petrobras had already made a mark and helped to place Brazil among the emerging economies of the world.
Charting Future Course for the NNPC
  From the early days of the oil industry in Nigeria, there has been no enduring framework for exploiting the oil and channeling the accrued revenue to the benefit of the country. Besides, the country has dealt with one conflict or the other in form of civil unrest, political instability, border disputes, corruption at the highest level and poor governance. The remote cause of the civil war, for instance, was oil. With the splitting of the country into states, discontent has increased. Since 1999, agitations by sections of the country over marginalization and control of resources have led to militancy in the Niger Delta.
  At the same time, the Federal Government has been promising to introduce changes in the NNPC but action to get that done has been slow. There is presently the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that is at the National Assembly that is said to contain far-reaching changes but which is being politicized. It is not known how far the bill would be tinkered with or how soon it would be passed into law given the mounting conveyance over it. Even at that, there is no guarantee that the interest of Nigerian people has been protected.
  Over the years, military dictators have largely supervised Nigeria’s oil industry. That explains why the sector has been mismanaged. But since 1999, when the current democratic politics was inaugurated with President Olusegun Obasanjo, government has been working to reorganize the oil and gas industry, with emphasis placed on natural gas development.
  Before now, most of the country’s gas has been wasted through flaring, a grossly environmentally unfriendly process. The decision to terminate gas flaring and increase revenue through gas export led to the setting up of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural gas (LNG) Plant in Bonny in 2003. The NNPC is also working on the West African Gas Pipeline project, which would supply gas to Togo, Benin, and Ghana.
  Since 2005, there have been plans to privatize certain segments of the oil and gas industry with focus on the four refineries. At the same time, government is pushing for deregulation of fuel prices. It is not clear how deregulation would affect business and how the market would respond to it.
  While there are indications that the NNPC is on the path to a positive bright future given the reforms on ground, issues dealing with civil unrest and dissatisfaction remain grave in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. Also, Nigerians are not given stake in the sector. The reforms proposed have done nothing to make Nigerians part owners of the oil like in Brazil. This is the gap that needs to be filled.
  At this point, the Federal Government should consider adapting the Petrobras model into the NNPC to make its operations and services beneficial to Nigerians. The following recommendations should be considered for adoption:
  • The Federal Government should re-define ownership of the country’s oil and gas resources and who should benefit from it given Nigeria’s underdevelopment and mass poverty. Presently, Nigerians have no share in the oil and benefit nothing from it. Foreigners and their Nigerian collaborators in government and top political offices share the oil proceeds.
  • Once the ownership is re-defined to include Nigerians, the law setting up the NNPC should be amended accordingly. The National Assembly should enact a law similar to the indigenization Decree of 1979, which would increase the equity holding of Nigeria to at least 80 per cent. Out of this, Nigerians should be given 40 per cent share holding while the NNPC retains 40 per cent.
  • The NNPC should be made a growing business concern with public ownership. With Nigerians owning 40 per cent equity share in the corporation, its operations would change as a commercial business concern and not as a government-owned company that doesn't work.
  • The NNPC shares should be quoted and traded on the floor of the Nigerian stock exchange. In this way, the corporation would be required by law to operate transparently like other publicly quoted companies. Its books of accounts would be audited and made public like any other publicly quoted company. Lack of transparency and accountability has been a major problem of the NNPC.
  • Finally, the NNPC should engage in core oil and gas operations. It should be involved in all aspects of petroleum industry including exploration, production, refining, marketing, transportation and distribution as contained in its original mandate. The NNPC should divest itself the status of being a passive non-performing royalty collector and operate as a full-scale business concern to leverage Nigerians and engender national development.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Remembering Abiola


Remembering Abiola

State governments in the south-western Nigeria, human rights groups mark June 12; pour praises onMoshood Abiola
ACTIVITIES MARKING the eighth anniversaryof the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential electioncame up at Ibadan, Abeokuta and Lagos last Tuesday.
At Ibadan, the Yoruba used the occasion to unveil what they call the Yoruba constitution. The document contains 10 articles with 66 sections. It also contains an elaborate preamble and a lengthy appendix. Its stated goal is “constitutional re-formation of Nigeria.”
Bolanle Gbonigi, a retired Anglican bishop who chaired the occasion, extolled the virtues of humility, generosity and justice of the June 12 hero, Moshood Abiola. He was supported by Beko Ransome-Kuti, human rights activist and Hafsat, a member of the Abiola clan.
The guest of honour, Ahmed Tinubu, the Lagos State governor, was represented by his chief of staff, Lai Mohammed. The Oyo State governor, Lam Adesina, was represented by his trade union adviser, Layi Agbaje.
The Yoruba constitution was presented to the public by Segun Gbadegesin, a professor of political science at George Washington University, USA. It demanded among many other things, true federalism, regional police, regional armies, regional constitutions and resource control. It also pleads for a return to derivative revenue allocation.
According to Gbadegesin, “Yoruba wants freedom for all and life more abundant; that Yoruba stands for freedom of thought, conscience and belief.” According to him, “the Yorubaman’s ways of life show his beliefs. We want restructuring, not the break-up of Nigeria. We want restructuring in the manner set out in 1920 by Hugh Clifford, a former governor-general of Nigeria.”
Making a case for a sovereign constitutional conference, Gbadegesin said government was in place in 1954 when a constitutional conference was held, “so, we could also hold one now despite the government in place.”
Gbadegesin called Kudirat a reincarnation of Moremi; but while Moremi sacrificed her son to save the Yoruba, Kudirat sacrificed herself to save Nigeria.
In her speech, Hafsat Abiola, the guest speaker said that democracy guarantees civil liberty, the right of life, liberty, dignity of human person and the pursuit of happiness. She wants these liberties to be guaranteed to all Nigerians without exception. “Moshood Abiola and Kudirat Abiola fought and died so that freedom would ring everywhere in Nigeria. Yet, today freedom does not ring! Today, while we have political structures that have democratic labels, we do not have democracy,” she said.
She said Nigeria could only have democracy when the people are liberated from the shackles of ignorance, poverty and disease. “Democracy is about transparency in governance, openness; when a government is run like a cult, it becomes an oligarchy, not a democracy,” she said. “We are transiting to democracy,” she added.
In his review of the Yoruba constitution, Femi Fani-Kayode, a lawyer, berated President Olusegun Obasanjo for banning the broadcast of Abraham Adesanya’s speech to the Yoruba on radio and television.
In Lagos, the Civil Liberties Organisation celebrated June 12. Abdul Oroh, executive director of the organisation said at a press conference that the celebration was a tribute to all those Nigerians who lost their lives or became socially dislocated in the struggle for May 29.
“Although, we are not at the helm of affairs today, we would be proud, if not now, but in the future to say yes, we were there and we did what we had for our country,” he said.
He said some Nigerians viewed June 12 as the day Babangida fought dearly to preserve military power, while others see it as the day Nigerians stood up to challenge the culture of militarism, but it is still too early to say if the culture has been defeated or whether it is in retreat.
According to Oroh, the present administration has attempted to re-write history by denying its existence, “forgetting that but for June 12, we would not have had May 29. That is why we are marking June 12 as a tribute to the late Moshood Abiola, Kudirat, his wife and others who gave their lives in the struggle for democracy in Nigeria.”
Oroh told Newswatch that those at the helm of affairs today have not managed democracy well, because they don’t understand it, since they didn’t fight for it. He accused Obasanjo of lack of commitment to transparency because he failed to co-operate with other branches of government for greater democracy and accountability.
Oroh believes that democracy is endangered bysharia, violence in the Niger Delta, the endemic corruption and political instability engendered by a faulty constitution.
As part of the anniversary, the CLO published its 1999 annual report on the state of human rights in Nigeria. The report provided evidence that the 1999 elections which brought Obasanjo to power were a monumental fraud. The CLO insists that before new elections, there should be a constitutional conference that will review the constitution and conduct a referendum to ratify the constitution.
At Abiola Nursery School, Ikeja, Moshood Erubami, president of the Campaign for Democracy, recounted the ordeal of June 12, its significance as the harbinger of democracy. He told Newswatch that the annulment of June 12 election exposed the evils of military rule.
In Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital where the event was also marked, Governor Segun Osoba poured endless encomiums on Moshood Abiola and his slain wife, Kudirat. He described Abiola as a generous man who gave freely. He described how many benefited from Abiola’s benevolence. Osoba assured Abiola’s children that one day one of them would become the president of Nigeria. Osoba promised to ensure that June 12 shall be made a work-free day every year in Ogun State.
According to him: “All of us holding political offices today, from the president to the house of assembly members, to the councillors, everybody in government, we owe our survival today to MKO Abiola.” He said the revolution started by Abiola on June 12 is still burning.
Lola Abiola Edewor, eldest child of the late hero responding for her family, thanked the people for the honour done to her father. She gave special thanks to Osoba for his support for the Abiolas.
June 12 was marked as a public holiday in the AD-controlled states of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun.
Abraham Adesanya, leader of the pan-Yoruba cultural organisation, Afenifere, in his address to the Yoruba on the day said that June 12 did not create a gulf between the North and the South. He restated his call for the SNC and that the federal government should immortalise Abiola.
Additional reports by Phillip Oladunjoye and Rosemary Udoh
Newswatch Volume 33 No 25, June 25, 2001

Thursday, 13 September 2012

On the Path of Winners By Bayo Ogunmupe Getting rich as change agent


On the Path of Winners
By Bayo Ogunmupe

Getting rich as change agent
A popular coach, while celebrating a successful soccer game, was asked how his team managed to win. He responded, “A game isn’t won on the field but on the field of proper preparation.” It is the same way with success in life. It is those who prepared for success in advance who ultimately win.
  The educated elite has knowledge which makes him an advocate. The getting of a sound education enables a change agent pursue change with ease, communicating effectively with boldness, for knowledge as power, emboldens you when knowledge is thoroughly obtained. A change agent starts his career early and continues without retiring until death, and even after death like Martin Luther King Jnr.
  In your pursuit of greatness, you need three things to survive. One, faith to strengthen and support your activities. Faith enables you to accomplish your goals. Two, family solidarity, you gain support from them while pursuing your goals. Three, friends with which to share your dreams. They offer helping hands for your success. If you are surrounded by strong faith which keeps you going in the middle of challenges; your family to boost your hopes, and faithful friends to promote your dreams, you will soar high as a star in the firmament.
  Here are 12 tips for productive action in your pursuit of abundance. One, think ahead, look before you leap, lest you fall into a pit. Rash action can lead to destruction. Be very careful in front of the media, because they can twist your response. Sometimes, you can employ the service of a lawyer to help you act diplomatically.
  Two, identify necessary time frame in the achievement of your set goals. Getting things done at the appropriate time is vital to your overall success. Never procrastinate, take action with immediate effect. Three, pursue excellence, it is essential for you as a change agent in order to make a difference. You have to be committed to excellence in order for you to deliver change. Mediocrity is the hobgoblin of little minds. Four, notice and communicate progress report. Maintain a strong line of communication by carrying everybody along. Make no secret of your distrust. You must let your members know the progress and challenges so that they can help you attain your wishes. You cannot become rich alone. You have to make others rich before you can become a millionaire.
  Five, develop leadership traits by reproducing leaders. Manufacturers produce products that can be reproduced which is why as a challenge agent you must develop leaders in order that you must earn your name. Create a team from where others can succeed you as leaders. Let your disciples know that leadership is a wonderful opportunity to shine and excel. Let your disciples be willing to aspire to leadership positions and lead like you. Be a good example that your disciples can emulate.
  Six, promote learning by being an epitome of erudition. Make an investment in learning by showing a passion for accuracy, competence and statistics.
  Seven, always take appropriate action on time. Cut your coat according to your size. Step by step, slow and steady wins the race. Finish every task you start. Don’t start a project you cannot finish. Eight, be ethical, but ethics cannot be used as excuse for inaction. Nine, correspond with those who can help you. Let experts, people who had leadership experience use their empirical knowledge to assist you in decision-making. Execute projects with experts that will boost the changing-the-world process.
  Ten, be organized, a change agent in disarray cannot change the world. Focus your actions on tasks related to your goal. Don’t be a ghost leader, always be at where the action is, to achieve excellent performance.
  Eleven, always keep hope alive, whatever the odds against you. Hope drives action. The hope of success keeps the change agent confident and faithful. The man of action lives with the Biblical passage which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Since the power to make change belongs to God, your faith and hope can help you attain indelible change. Finally, you can create opportunities for others by creating things differently. Gather a mastermind around yourself. Occupy your associates with reasonable assignments. Give them your mission statement. Let them know their opinions are welcome.
  Indeed, other techniques and tactics of making change include: Having a goal. Back your goal with action. Change is a process, follow it to the end. Don’t allow others to distract you. Only participants can advise you, only they can change the rules leading to the attainment of your goal. In your pursuit of abundance, people are either allies or targets. So think out how you are going to treat the people.
  The great obstacles to change are fear, apathy and ignorance. Conquer fear by ignoring what others are saying. Use action to destroy apathy. By acting courageously, facing the situation you conquer the indecision created by apathy. Ignorance is a toxin. Banish it by acquiring all the knowledge you need to gain your heart’s desires. Also, use the power, knowledge and focus of your mastermind group to break all obstacles erected against you. If your environment isn’t conducive to the attainment of your goals, leave the place. That was what Jesus did to attain his goals. Jesus was born in Nazareth. When he started his ministry there, he was despised. He then moved to Capanaum, where he prospered and became the greatest man who ever lived.
  Our champion for today is Paul Robin Krugman, the winner of the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his contributions to the New Trade Theory and New Economic Geography.
  According to the Nobel Committee, the prize was given Krugman for his work explaining the patterns of trade and the geographic concentration of wealth, by examining the effects of economies of scale and of consumer preferences for diverse goods and services. Krugman was born in February 1953, in Albany, New York. He earned his BA economics from Yale University with first class honours, in 1974 and his PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1977. While in MIT, he was part of a group sent to work at the Central Bank of Portugal for three months in 1976 – in the aftermath of the Carnation Revolution in Portugal at that time.
  In 1978 Krugman wrote the Theory of Interstellar Trade, an essay on interest rates. It was bestseller – among economists. He joined MIT in 1979. He then spent a year working at the Reagan White House as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers. He was promoted Professor of Economics at MIT in 1984. Krugman has also taught at Stanford, Yale and the London Scholl of Economics (LSE), U.K.
  In 2000, Krugman joined Princeton University as professor. He is currently Centenary Professor at LSE and his best known job as an economics columnist for the New York Times. In recognition of his influence, The Washington Monthly called him the most important political columnist in America. He has been ranked as the 14th most influential economist in the world as of March 2011.
  Krugman has been married twice. Robin Bergman his first wife is an award winning designer. He is currently married to Robin Wells, an academic economist with whom he collaborated on many books including an undergraduate textbook on economics. Krugman has done very much to revive the Keynesian resurgence during the 2008/2010 economic recession, so much so that commentators referred to it as Krugman insurgency.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Book Review Title: Academic Success, Brain Power Guide For Every Student, Publisher: Giantthoughts International, Lagos, 2011 Author: Ogbo Awoke Ogbo Reviewer: Bayo Ogunmupe


Book Review
Title: Academic Success, Brain Power Guide For Every Student,
Publisher: Giantthoughts International, Lagos, 2011
Author: Ogbo Awoke Ogbo
Reviewer: Bayo Ogunmupe

THIS book is a timely and relevant publication to teach academic tools, as well as noble exhortation to the youth of Nigeria on how to attain academic excellence. This is a practical roadmap for students who desire academic success but are unsure of how to achieve it.
  Through its ten chapters, it shows the principles of maximizing the abilities of every student. The first chapter contains the introduction. It says that in the highest of civilizations, the book is still a great delight for human progress and development. It is captioned, Rekindling the Faded Prestige of Rigorous Academics. It relates Glenn Doman in his book: How to Teach Your Baby to Read, where it is observed that, “Non-reading children are the greatest problem in American education.” The same is true in Nigeria.
  To experience outstanding academic achievement, you must understand how your brain works and how to get the most out of it. When you do, learning will become a thing of joy and not punishment.
  Awoke Ogbo also admonishes: The best way to honour your parents for paying your school fees is to take your academics seriously.
  Your brain is wired for wonders, is another caption to be found on Chapter two of this book. Here the author relates the amazing brilliance of the great actor, Marlon Brando. Brando’s teacher, Stella Adler had instructed Brando’s class to act like chickens upon whom a nuclear bomb was about to fall. While most of his class clucked loudly, Brando sat calmly and pretended to lay eggs. When Adler asked why he reacted that way, Brando replied: “I’m a chicken, what do I know about bombs? His brilliant reply classed him the most influential actor of the 20th century.
  These introductory chapters are very crucial to the understanding of the skills of learning. “How to read and understand is the heading of chapter III. No skill is more crucial to the future of a child then literacy. Forget spiritual attack. Concentrate on your greatest asset – your memory. Learn to read and understand. Befriend the dictionary. Two elements for effective reading are concentration and comprehension. The practice of cramming is dangerous. It isn’t the best way to engage your memory. After cramming wears away, you are left with nothing. But learning to understand stands permanently in your memory. Also, you should avoid poor learning environment. Bad learning environments include your parlour where siblings and strangers throng for meals or relaxation. Study environments should be spacious, have adequate lighting, and be properly ventilated. The place must be quiet and free from buzz, stinging insects and the like. The worst enemy of achievement in learning is distraction.
  Another obstacle to success in learning is poor eating habits. If you have the habit of wolfing down mounds of pounded yam and vegetable soup just before the mathematics lecture, you are deceiving yourself. You will sleep. All the blood in you would rush to your stomach to tackle the hefty task of digestion, leaving only trickles in your oxygen-hungry brain. How would you then understand what the lecturer is saying? Know when to eat light. Healthy eating provides essential nutrients to your brain.
  Moreover, a deficient vocabulary is the prescription for failure. Words are a medium of exchange between people. Research shows that the more words you know, the greater your chances of success and achievement. If your vocabulary is deficient, you will have difficulty reading and understanding. Also, deficient vocabulary is responsible for the damning levels of graduate unemployment in Nigeria today. The dictionary is your tool for academic excellence. You cannot succeed without befriending the dictionary.
  Spelling is another tragedy. This has been worsened by cell phone’s short messaging service (sms) and the Internet Social media. Each level of education has a comprehension threshold that is, the minimum number of words you must know to understand what you are studying. Whenever you come across a new word, take note of its spelling and correct usage. If you want to comprehend English correctly, stop speaking pidgin English. It will confuse your understanding of the English Language. You can speak pidgin for fun but never for erudition. Also, the first casualty of your Blackberry sms addiction is your spelling power. Academic success is impossible without self control and discipline.
  I will skip “What to Do If You Think You Have Learning Disability,” the heading of Chapter IV. I assume you don't have a learning disorder. However, I urge you to buy the book for your salvation. Instead I will treat “Improving Your Memory” which is the caption for Chapter Five. Alexander Smith, a 19th century Scottish poet wrote  “A man’s real possession is his memory. In nothing else is he rich, in nothing else is he poor.” Here Mr. Ogbo delineates the three memories: Sensory, short term and long term memories to enable you comprehend the powers of your memory. The top secret is that the brain thinks in pictures. It does not operate in texts. Thus, the best way to empower your memory is in mnemonics, that is by associating things in pictures. That is the way you can increase the quality of your memory. Use graphic (photographic) organizers to organize your studies. That is the way geniuses do. Mnemosyne is the Greek goddess of memory. It is one of the most powerful deities in Greek mythology, why? Because your success in life depends on your memory. Memory makes thought and reasoning possible. It is the very foundation of civilization, of creativity and inventiveness.
  Long before the invention of writing, our very survival depended on lessons passed on by word of mouth from generation to generation. But the secret of a good memory is remembering by association. Because the brain thinks in pictures, any time you come across the word orange, what comes to your mind? It is the picture of the orange fruit of course. This is why visualization is a powerful aid to memory. Your memory is a connection building system. You are able to remember things better by associating them to familiar matters. The key to academic success is love. You must love your subject to the extent of dreaming of it. In showing examples of successful associations to memory work, Mr. Ogbo chose James Allen’s Eight Pillars of Prosperity.” Mr. Ogbo could easily recall Allen’s pillars as: Energy, Economy, Integrity, System, Sympathy, Sincerity, Impartiality and self reliance. He could easily attach these principles to episodes in his life because of his love for prosperity. This is a way of using mnemonics to aid memory. This Brain Power Guide to Academic Success has ten chapters, 108 pages and is beautifully printed. The book is written by Awoke Ogbo who has a master’s degree in Geographic Information Systems from the University of Ibadan and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
  Ogbo started his career with Shell. Two years into Shell, Chevron snatched him with a bigger offer. Six years later, Shell induced him back to their fold. Less than three years later Ogbo resigned to pursue his passion for skills coathing, writing and motivational speaking. Ogbo consults for corporate organizations, universities and schools. He is a guest lecturer in several radio shows and the national media. He hosts a weekly television show. Healthy, Wealthy and Wise on Silverbird Television. This book is a treasure chest of memory tools, as well as noble exhortation to Nigerian youth and beyond.

On The Path Of Winners By Bayo Ogunmupe The Kamikaze Route To Riches


On The Path Of Winners
By Bayo Ogunmupe
The Kamikaze Route To Riches

THE Kamikaze route is an unfailing road to wealth in this money crazy Nigerian society. It is characterized by the adoption of Kamikaze methods used by the Japanese in World War II. Kamikaze is any of the Japanese pilots who made deliberate suicidal crashes into enemy targets, usually ships.
  The term also denotes methods, aircraft used in such operations.
  The Kamikaze practice was most prevalent for World War Two’s Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944 to the end of the war. Kamikaze means “divine wind” in Japanese, a reference to a typhoon that fortuitously dispersed a Mongol invasion fleet threatening Japan from the West in 1281 AD.
  Kamikaze attacks sank 34 ships and damaged hundreds during the war. Kamikaze inflicted its greatest losses ever suffered by the American Navy in a single battle. It killed more than 5,000 men at Okinawa in a single combat. Thus, you will be inexorably rich by adopting Kamikaze methods in your road to riches.
  However, success isn’t something that can be packaged, bottled or captured in a simple formula. But there are certain areas and skills you must continue to study and master if you want to be rich. Becoming a winner is a lifelong challenge. Certainly, I am not anywhere near where I would like to be in practicing these Kamikaze principles. But we are making progress, and can see a real difference in the quality of the experiences that hang together in the continuing puzzle we call life.
  Wealth cannot be gained by reading books alone. It isn’t that simple. I have learnt from life to abhor putting winning methods into a neat set of steps. But we believe, there is need to plan for and take action in certain ways, if you are going to convert theory into practice. Which is why we are going to look at nine areas that I prefer to call skills to success rather than steps to success. You must learn these skills if you want to be a Kamikaze winner.
  In this exercise, I will concentrate on helping anyone aspiring to become a winner by putting theory into practice. Winners enjoy and reinforce past successes. They learn from past mistakes, make decisions in the present, setting goals just out of sight but not out of reach, for the future. Here are the first two skills in getting on with this process of Kamikaze winning. One, decide to take action, two: set reachable goals. In our previous encounters, I discussed some aspirants as spectators who show up to watch the game of life being played. They are puppets caught in the habit of letting life happen to them.
  Your skill area one is your deciding to take action. Action is the seed of greatness, sow it today. I am an ardent admirer of the Reverend Robert Schuller, author of many books on self mastery. One of his favourite lines is,” Beginning is half done.” Let me modify this slightly to apply to our subject. My new label is, beginning is half won. Just by making the decision to get in the arena, you are half way to victory. People who refuse to act suffer from inertia. Victims of inertia lack the skill or will to change. But the science of physics recognizes two kinds of inertia. One, standing objects tend to remain stationary. Two, moving objects tend to stay in motion. This simple illustration goes to show us as passengers in a car. When the car accelerates, we are in a state of stationary inertia.
  Thus, the people we should blush for are the ones with stationary inertia.
They are the procrastinating type who resist change because they are afraid of the perceived costs of success. And the costs are there: one, taking responsibility to give up bad habits. Two, setting a good example. Three, distancing yourself from a peer group that isn’t helping you to succeed. Four, leading yourself and others down an unfamiliar path. Five, delaying self gratification as you work hard to reach your goal.
  And finally, facing criticism, ridicle and jealously.
  These and other costs of success are why people decline the present by occupying their minds with past memories or future expectations. Kamikaze winners, who are bent on succeeding or dying, are not dismayed by the cost of success. They are always on the go, building positive inertia. Winners get going and build momentum, pursuing their full human potential and looking forward to an endless dialogue between their talents and the claims of life.
  To be a winner, you must assert yourself by taking responsibility for making the best use of your talents, your experience. On the skill arena, the winner must take the decision to take action now. And always carrying with you the motto: beginning is half won. However, in attaining your goals, you need to set the right goals, goals that mean much to you. Success that others can benefit from is the true success. And the greatest hindrance to success is habit. You beat habit by setting personal goals, set them with deadline, commit them into writing. Know that you cannot succeed in isolation, you need helpers or fellow travelers. The Kamikaze winner is a goal minder, who becomes a goal miner who shares his wealth with others. You can never succeed and be happy alone.
  Our champion for today is Desiderius Erasmus, the Swiss Humanist who was the greatest scholar of the Renaissance and the first editor of the New Testament Bible. He is an important figure in classical literature. Born in Rotterdam in October 1469, he died in Basel, Switzerland in July 1536. The son of Roger Gerard, a pastor and Margaret a physician’s daughter, Erasmus was reared in schools in Holland. Later he became an Augustinian canon and ordained as a priest in 1492. Studies in France brought him into contact with humanist groups. He visited England (1499-1500) (1505-06) (1509-1517), lectured at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and became acquainted with Sir Thomas More and John Fisher, who inspired him to study the Bible. Erasmus studied Greek, visiting Italy where he widened his humanist contacts.
  The writings of Erasmus, covering a variety of topics rank him the greatest scholar of his time. The Adagia (1500) published in Venice and containing more than 3000 proverbs from the works of classical authors, established his reputation and The Praise of Folly (1511) and his edition of the New Testament (1516) assured him the greatest thinker of his day.

On The Path Of Winners By Bayo Ogunmupe The Kamikaze Route To Riches


On The Path Of Winners
By Bayo Ogunmupe
The Kamikaze Route To Riches

THE Kamikaze route is an unfailing road to wealth in this money crazy Nigerian society. It is characterized by the adoption of Kamikaze methods used by the Japanese in World War II. Kamikaze is any of the Japanese pilots who made deliberate suicidal crashes into enemy targets, usually ships.
  The term also denotes methods, aircraft used in such operations.
  The Kamikaze practice was most prevalent for World War Two’s Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944 to the end of the war. Kamikaze means “divine wind” in Japanese, a reference to a typhoon that fortuitously dispersed a Mongol invasion fleet threatening Japan from the West in 1281 AD.
  Kamikaze attacks sank 34 ships and damaged hundreds during the war. Kamikaze inflicted its greatest losses ever suffered by the American Navy in a single battle. It killed more than 5,000 men at Okinawa in a single combat. Thus, you will be inexorably rich by adopting Kamikaze methods in your road to riches.
  However, success isn’t something that can be packaged, bottled or captured in a simple formula. But there are certain areas and skills you must continue to study and master if you want to be rich. Becoming a winner is a lifelong challenge. Certainly, I am not anywhere near where I would like to be in practicing these Kamikaze principles. But we are making progress, and can see a real difference in the quality of the experiences that hang together in the continuing puzzle we call life.
  Wealth cannot be gained by reading books alone. It isn’t that simple. I have learnt from life to abhor putting winning methods into a neat set of steps. But we believe, there is need to plan for and take action in certain ways, if you are going to convert theory into practice. Which is why we are going to look at nine areas that I prefer to call skills to success rather than steps to success. You must learn these skills if you want to be a Kamikaze winner.
  In this exercise, I will concentrate on helping anyone aspiring to become a winner by putting theory into practice. Winners enjoy and reinforce past successes. They learn from past mistakes, make decisions in the present, setting goals just out of sight but not out of reach, for the future. Here are the first two skills in getting on with this process of Kamikaze winning. One, decide to take action, two: set reachable goals. In our previous encounters, I discussed some aspirants as spectators who show up to watch the game of life being played. They are puppets caught in the habit of letting life happen to them.
  Your skill area one is your deciding to take action. Action is the seed of greatness, sow it today. I am an ardent admirer of the Reverend Robert Schuller, author of many books on self mastery. One of his favourite lines is,” Beginning is half done.” Let me modify this slightly to apply to our subject. My new label is, beginning is half won. Just by making the decision to get in the arena, you are half way to victory. People who refuse to act suffer from inertia. Victims of inertia lack the skill or will to change. But the science of physics recognizes two kinds of inertia. One, standing objects tend to remain stationary. Two, moving objects tend to stay in motion. This simple illustration goes to show us as passengers in a car. When the car accelerates, we are in a state of stationary inertia.
  Thus, the people we should blush for are the ones with stationary inertia.
They are the procrastinating type who resist change because they are afraid of the perceived costs of success. And the costs are there: one, taking responsibility to give up bad habits. Two, setting a good example. Three, distancing yourself from a peer group that isn’t helping you to succeed. Four, leading yourself and others down an unfamiliar path. Five, delaying self gratification as you work hard to reach your goal.
  And finally, facing criticism, ridicle and jealously.
  These and other costs of success are why people decline the present by occupying their minds with past memories or future expectations. Kamikaze winners, who are bent on succeeding or dying, are not dismayed by the cost of success. They are always on the go, building positive inertia. Winners get going and build momentum, pursuing their full human potential and looking forward to an endless dialogue between their talents and the claims of life.
  To be a winner, you must assert yourself by taking responsibility for making the best use of your talents, your experience. On the skill arena, the winner must take the decision to take action now. And always carrying with you the motto: beginning is half won. However, in attaining your goals, you need to set the right goals, goals that mean much to you. Success that others can benefit from is the true success. And the greatest hindrance to success is habit. You beat habit by setting personal goals, set them with deadline, commit them into writing. Know that you cannot succeed in isolation, you need helpers or fellow travelers. The Kamikaze winner is a goal minder, who becomes a goal miner who shares his wealth with others. You can never succeed and be happy alone.
  Our champion for today is Desiderius Erasmus, the Swiss Humanist who was the greatest scholar of the Renaissance and the first editor of the New Testament Bible. He is an important figure in classical literature. Born in Rotterdam in October 1469, he died in Basel, Switzerland in July 1536. The son of Roger Gerard, a pastor and Margaret a physician’s daughter, Erasmus was reared in schools in Holland. Later he became an Augustinian canon and ordained as a priest in 1492. Studies in France brought him into contact with humanist groups. He visited England (1499-1500) (1505-06) (1509-1517), lectured at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and became acquainted with Sir Thomas More and John Fisher, who inspired him to study the Bible. Erasmus studied Greek, visiting Italy where he widened his humanist contacts.
  The writings of Erasmus, covering a variety of topics rank him the greatest scholar of his time. The Adagia (1500) published in Venice and containing more than 3000 proverbs from the works of classical authors, established his reputation and The Praise of Folly (1511) and his edition of the New Testament (1516) assured him the greatest thinker of his day.