Tuesday, 24 December 2013

On The Path Of Winners BY BAYO OGUNMUPE They Conquer Who Believe They Can

On The Path Of Winners
They Conquer Who Believe They Can

‘THEY conquer who believe the can’ is the motto of Okebadan High School, Ife Road, Ibadan, Oyo State. As a teacher, vice principal and Acting Principal there in the 1970s, I imbibed the spirit and intendment of the motto. That aphorism marked out the pace of my progress through life, I had left journalism before then, for not being lucrative. This motto: you can conquer if you believe you can, drove me back into newspapering – it taught me that money isn’t paramount in life but that only happiness counts.
  The contentment derived from the perception, the motto has given me happiness, good health; making me look younger than my years. Which is why it is important to know when you are under spiritual attack – and when you are not. Indeed, there is a tendency among Nigerians to view unpleasantness as spiritual warfare rather than retributive justice, i.e. reaping what you have sown. For example: If you have rejected your role as spiritual teacher to others, as an elder, pastor or man of letters, God may let your children fall into sin. If you have been dishonest, Jehovah may let you reap the consequences. God disciplines those He loves. It would be foolish to ask Him to ease your discomfort when He is disciplining you so as to get your attention. However, it is tragic if you never uncovered the connection. Thus, God’s discipline won’t help you if you dismiss it as satan’s doing. In your mischief, you may blame Allah for not answering your prayer by failing to protect you. Meanwhile, God may be warning you of an impending danger. “For a little while you may have had to suffer that your faith may be proved genuine,” 1 Peter 1: 6,7.
  A blacksmith with a chunk of metal on his anvil envisions what he wants. But it means melting down the old, recasting it, repairing scars, and purging impurities until what was useless becomes valuable. Finally he plunges it into cold water until it hardens into unbending tool. An instrument is useful only if it is in the right shape. So if God could place you on His anvil, be thankful, He thinks you are worth reshaping.
  George Bernard Shaw, Irish literary critic and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925 said: “People always blame their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get ahead are those who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, they make them.” As man, thinketh in his heart, so is he! Put another way: what you can conceive and believe, you can achieve.
  Your mind is a fertile land. It doesn’t care what you plant in it, what you sow returns to you. Success lies in your reading of scriptures and prayer. Be of service to somebody everyday. Do something for somebody who cannot repay you. Do something that will take you out of your comfort zone. Be thankful for what you have. Ask for help when you need it. Give God through prayer the best part of your day.
  Paul writes: “For a great and effective door has opened to me and there are many adversaries.” What are you focusing on, opened door of adversaries, obstacles or opportunities? In 1866, a geologist discovered diamond in South Africa. Later a Scot, James Gregory was sent to investigate. He reported back that South Africa wasn’t suitable for finding diamonds, he speculated that previous discoveries were brought by gem eating ostriches from distant lands. But a few days after the Gregory report, an eighty-three carat diamond was found. That launched South Africa as the world’s largest producer today. And what about Gregory? His name lives but not as he might have wished. When somebody exhibits bad judgment, it is called “pulling a Gregory.” If you ask Jehovah, He will help you find the treasure in your family farm, Mat 13:44. If Jesus could turn water into wine and feed five thousand people with a boy’s lunch, there’s nothing God cannot do through you. You only need to believe you can do a thing and nothing will stop you. They conquer who think they can.
  Our champion for today is John Forbes Kerry, the American politician, who was the 68th and current United States Secretary of State. Born in 1943, he turned 70 last December. He served as a senator from Massachusetts from 1985 to 2013, and was chairman, senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 election, which he narrowly lost to incumbent George Walker Bush.
  Son of an Army Air Corps veteran, he graduated from Yale University in 1966, majoring in political science and thereafter studied law at Boston Law School. Then he co-founded a private law firm. Kerry served as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts under Michael Dukakis from 1983 to 1985. He was elected senator in 1984, and was sworn in January 1985.
  Prior to his senate career, he had enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1966 and during 1968-69 served in South Vietnam as officer in charge of a Swift Boat. In 2002, Kerry voted to authorise the President “to use force to disarm Saddam Hussein,” but warned the President should exhaust all diplomatic avenues before launching war.
  Kerry became chairman of the Senate foreign Relations Committee in 2009, and 2011 he was appointed to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. Having been nominated by President Barrack Obama to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, he was confirmed by the Senate in January 2013 and he assumed the office on February 1, 2013.
  Kerry was married to Julia Thorne in 1970 and they had two daughters. Thorne who was suffering from severe depression asked Kerry for and was granted a divorce in July 1988. Thorne later remarried but died of cancer in 2006. Kerry also remarried Teresa Heinz, a widow in May 1995. Though Kerry is a Catholic, his grandfather had converted to Catholicism from Judaism. Kerry believed the Torah, the Quran and the Bible share the same story, which connects with readers. He is fluent in German and French.

On The Path Of Winners BY BAYO OGUNMUPE Preparation Draws Success To You

On The Path Of Winners

Preparation Draws Success To You

GOD allows us to suffer in order that we may discover that He is the rock at the bottom. Gideon faced an army of 135,000 troops with just 32,000 men. And 22,000 of them left the battlefield and went home when Gideon offered them the option. In his mathematics, Gideon thought there was no way they could win. But then, God explains: The people who are with you are too many for me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, “My own power has delivered me,” Judges 7:2. There it is again, the age old battle of ego that we all fight daily. It is why the Lord’s Prayer ends with: Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever, Amen,” Mathew 6:13.
  Where does our power come from? From God of course. Who should the glory for our successes go to? God! How long does this arrangement last? Forever. God had to break Jacob of self-sufficiency so that the “Israel” within him could be born. Sometimes, God had to bring you down before raising you up. Moses was the meekest man on earth. But it took forty years of living as a shepherd in the wilderness to detoxify him of pride and get him submitted to Jehovah. Only then was he ready to stand before Pharaoh and perform miracles that demonstrated, Jehovah’s power which vindicated Moses.
  Failure does not mean being a wimp, inferiority complex or having a case of low self-esteem. Thus, being broken-hearted means praying to Jehovah unceasingly.
  We don’t always know the reason for our trials. But God revealed to Paul the reason for his problems. It was to keep him from being exalted, 2 Corinthians 12:7. Success can intoxicate and intoxicated people aren’t known for being trustworthy.
  What happens when you get a thorn in your flesh? It hurts and disturbs. Which is why you let everything go while you focus on removing it. Three times Paul prayed for God to remove the thorn but God had another plan. Jehovah is at His strongest when we are at our weakest.
  On discovering that God’s power in his life was tied to his affliction, Paul responded, “I am content with weaknesses, hardships and calamities. For whenever I am weak, then I am strong “2 Corinthians 12:10. Therefore, if its for my good, bring it on Lord! If you have a thorny person in your life from whom you have prayed to be delivered and it hasn’t happened, maybe, God wants you to experience His grace and power through that person. But you won’t experience this until you move from pain to praise. This is the meaning of Bible’s sacrifice of praise of God, Hebrews 13:15. A sacrifice means something has to die on somebody’s altar. So if you want to experience God’s grace, you must be willing to die for your beliefs. The willingness to die for his beliefs raised Nelson Mandela above his contemporaries.
  However, a powerful technique in changing your mindset is visualization. If you looked up visualization online, you will find numerous pages from motivational gurus shilling the idea that you can achieve your wishes through the simplicity of picturing your achievements in your head. Accordingly, if you see yourself achieving your goals, you eventually will.
  While there is scientific evidence backing this theory but this is buried beneath countless pages of Internet salesmen. These people have been touting it as a method of turning impossible dreams into reality. But visualization transforms your thinking by training you to change your thinking, feelings so that you can change your behaviour.
  However, many people wrongly believe they can simply sit and picture themselves into earning fabulous salaries, then wait until their world is raining green. But making visualization work for you is a practice that takes plenty of time, work and patience. You cannot just pull up images in your head and think of attaining your goal. You must take time to learn the right techniques and practice everyday.
  Your brain is a fascinating organ that executes millions of processes daily. To change your mindset, you must study the methods of visualization, then practice them. Find a suitable method for you. The meditation approach is easier. Begin to explore your ideal life, your ideal money situation and focus your breathing and thoughts on living these your dreams. Don’t let your mind wander. Practice visualization consistently. Think of what you want alone. Allow yourself to get lost in the physical feelings of your dream so that your brain can carve these images. Those images will create pathway, that will eventually bring you what you want. Your brain will grow increasingly alert to your wants and what you need to do to render your dream into a reality. Do this everyday and you will gradually start thinking differently about success, money and achievement.
  Our champion this week is Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigerian general, diplomat and statesman. Born in Abeokuta, Ogun State of Nigeria in March 1937, Obasanjo was the first military leader (1976 – 79) in Africa to hand over power to civilian rule. In 1999 he was elected president. He served two terms (1999 – 2007).
  Obasanjo joined the army in 1958 and rose rapidly through the ranks. During the Nigerian Civil war (Biafra secession – 1967-70) he headed the Third Marine Commando that was instrumental in ending the fighting. After the assassination of Brigadier-General Murtala Muhammed in 1976, Obasanjo his deputy became the head of state.
  As leader, he emerged an influential statesman, pushing forward Muhammed’s time-table for civilian rule. Over the next decade, he worked as a diplomat, holding positions in the United Nations. As a vocal critic of Sani Abacha who seized power in 1993, Obasanjo was imprisoned in 1995 charged with plotting a coup against Abacha.
  Following Abacha’s death in 1998, Obasanjo was released and drafted by the dominant People’s Democratic Party to contest and win the Presidency in 1999. As Nigerian civilian ruler in 15 years, he sought to alleviate poverty and curb corruption. But he only succeeded in introducing the global system of mobile communication to Nigeria. However, what marked him out as an outstanding leader is his courage. This he has just demonstrated yet another time by criticising President Goodluck Jonathan through a letter he wrote accusing the president of running an administration neck deep in corruption. But his best option is to score another first through leading the opposition to wrest power from Jonathan in 2015.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Values that Make You Great

On The Path Of Winners

Values that Make You Great
REMEMBER that the force that gets you what you want is the quest for abundant life. And what you want is an opportunity to live and enjoy more life. But you can get what you want by the operations of the universal law by which all life advances into fuller expression. That law is that whenever an organism has more life that can’t find expression on its given plane, its surplus life lifts it to the next higher plane or level. When you put the totality of yourself into a project, or work by doing it perfectly, your surplus power will extend your work into a larger field, propelling you into greater umbrage.
  Indeed, it is essential that you should have an aim in mind so that your surplus power may be turned to the right channel. Whatever you can conceive and believe, you can achieve. But do not let your ambition to interfere with your present job. Your ambition is a guide to your energy and an inspiration to cause you to apply your energy to the utmost to your present work. Live, work and plan for the future now.
  Suppose your desire is to have a supermarket chain and you only have enough capital to start a groundnut stand. Do not try to start a supermarket today on a groundnut stand capital. Just start the groundnut stand in the full faith and confidence that you will soon be able to develop it to a supermarket.
  Look upon the stand as the beginning of the supermarket. But get more business by building on human values that will enable you amass a fortune in the future.
  Do not desire for today what is beyond your ability to get today. But never take less than the best you can get today. If you are satisfied with less than the best, you will cease to move forward. The law of evolution says whoever more than fills his present position must be advanced. But it is not enough for you to put surplus life into your ambition. You will not advance far if you are an untrustworthy employee, a bad husband and father or an unfaithful friend. Your failure in those respects will make you incapable of using your surplus value for the advancement of your life. Avoid the competitive spirit because abundance is limitless, there is enough to go round. You do not need to rob others.
  However, there are moral or ethical values that will propel you towards your goals. They might include forgiveness, honesty, liberty, love, respect for life and self-control. Our values influence our behaviour, priorities as well as the moral guidance we give our children. The problems of today: armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism and oil theft are traceable to the decline in our moral values. In 2008, researchers in the United States interviewed adults about their views on moral values. “What is disheartening is how bad they are thinking and talking about moral issues,” said David Brooks in The New York Times. Most felt that rape and murder were wrong but “aside of those extreme cases, moral thinking didn't enter the picture.
  Many viewed the matter this way: “If it feels right, do it. Go with your heart.” Is that thinking wise? Those realities should move us to question our own heart, not blindly trust it! Indeed, the Bible states: “he that is trusting in his own heart is stupid,” Proverbs 28:26. Like a compass, our heart needs to be calibrated with sound values, if it is to serve us well. But where can we find such values? Many look to the scriptures, appreciating both their wisdom and candour.
  Let us show a few examples: “Clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union,” Col. 3:14. Saint Paul the same Bible writer also said: “If I do not have love, I am nothing” – 1 Cor. 13:2. Love is neither sexual nor sentimental, it is governed by principle. It is love that moves us to help a stranger in difficulty, with no thought of a reward. When families lack such love, everybody suffers, especially children.
  A particular enemy of love is materialism – the belief that material well-being and pleasure are the highest values. Yet research repeatedly shows that beyond a surprisingly modest threshold, more wealth does not bring more happiness. In fact people who adopt materialistic values may actually be investing in unhappiness. This view finds support in the Bible book of Ecclesiastes 5:10 “A mere lover of silver will not be satisfied with silver, neither any lover of wealth with income. This too is vanity.” Another aphorism says: “Let your manner of life be free of the love of money,” Hebrews 13:5.
  Giving makes you happier than receiving. The Bible says: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving,” Acts 20:35. But the best and most rewarding form of giving is giving of ourselves, in the form of time and energy. Indeed, by walking in the way of Jehovah, you reap many rewards. In fact, God promises: “Keep God’s way and He will exalt you to take possession of the Earth. When the wicked ones are cut off, you will see it,” Psalm 37:34.
  Our champion today is Mike Mansfield, in full: Michael Joseph Mansfield, the American politician and diplomat who served as U.S. Representative (1943-53) and U.S. Senator (1953-1977) from the U.S. state of Montana. A member of the Democratic Party, Mansfield was the longest serving senate majority leader, serving from 1961 to 1977. He was an opponent of the Vietnam War.
  After returning from the senate Mansfield served as U.S. ambassador to Japan from 1977 to 1988. Also, Mansfield is the longest serving American ambassador to Japan in history. Born in Brooklyn, New York City to Patrick Mansfield and Josephine (nee O’Brien) Mansfield, Irish Catholics, Mansfield, after the death of his mother, he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Great Falls, Montana. There, he turned into a habitual runaway and dropped out of school at 14.
  Lying about his age, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War I. after the war, he was discharged after his real age was known. Thereafter, he enlisted in the Army as a private in 1919, serving in the Marine Corps in the Philippines. He was released in 1922. Then he worked as a mucker in the Montana copper mines for eight years. Having never attended high school, Mansfield entered the Montana School of Mines in 1927, he became a mining engineer in 1928. Then he met his wife, Maureen Hayes, a teacher who encouraged and financed Mansfield to earn a BA in the University of Montana and the MA in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University in 1934.
  Mansfield entered Congress in 1943, serving five terms and the senate from 1953 till 1977. As Senate President, Mansfield delivered the lead eulogy as President Kennedy’s casket lay in state in the Capitol rotunda on November 24, 1963. Later, retired from the senate in 1976, he was appointed ambassador to Japan, serving for eleven years. He died at the age of 98, survived by a daughter, and was buried at the Arlington National Cemetery. The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library was the monument named for him at the University of Montana.

God Delays You For Good

On The Path Of Winners
God Delays You For Good

THIS generation has been dubbed the microwave generation for good reason. Because we charge through life like we are on fire. But Jehovah has His own timetable and it cannot be rushed. So when He puts you on hold watch your tongue. Like a small rudder on a big ship, what you say determines your direction and helps stop wrong thoughts from infiltrating your mind. The mind is a garden, thoughts are the seeds, your harvests are either flowers or seeds. So ask God to help you control your emotions.
  Apostle Paul said: “Be glad for all. God is planning, be patient in trouble and prayerful always.” Complaining magnifies problems, prayer turns negative energy into a powerful force for good. Solomon said: “He who is of a merry heart has a continual feast,” Proverbs 15:15. Laughter dispels tension, lightens the burden and fills your soul with joy.
  Appreciate the chance to learn. The Chinese view problems as prospects, in their culture the symbol for problems and opportunities is the same. Solomon said, “The diligent make use of everything,” Proverbs 12:27. Learn from your experience regardless of how hard it is, and remember, some of the world’s greatest discoveries and breakthroughs resulted from crises.
  Love unconditionally, problems are caused by people; under pressure it is tempting to lash out. The bottom line is that we all make mistakes and nobody is beyond redemption. Learn to see people through God’s eyes. Overcome evil with good. Be courteous and maintain your dignity when you are under pressure. Make peace your priority. When you go to war everybody suffers. Look for a breakthrough from an unexpected source. Don’t be surprised when the people and circumstances He sends into your life aren’t what you expected. He spoke to Balaam through a donkey and used Burning Bush to get Moses’ attention. Don’t be in such a hurry.
  Ever notice that the faster you go the more behind you get? Jesus said, “By your patience possess your souls.” God’s timing is the best. God is more interested in a relationship with you than He is in what you can do for Him. “Don’t be too proud to ask for help, with humility comes wisdom,” Proverbs 11:2. If helpers you turn to aren’t immediately available, be patient, don’t give up. God designed us to work together and somewhere up the road, you will be called to help somebody by sharing what you have. God moves alongside us when we go through hard times. And before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else so that we can be there for that person, 2 Cor. 1:4.
  We all want the crown of life God promised, but we don’t want the problems and trials that develop the strength of character in us. But you cannot be great without character! Here are what you learn in tough times. One, enjoyment, count it all joy when you fall into trials, James 1:2. It is when you pass God’s test that He fills you with His joy. So pull your groans out of your prayers and throw in a few hallelujahs. Pain is inevitable misery is optional. Two, enlargement; most of the things we know best, we learned the hard way. Our greatest progress comes from our greatest pain, hence God doesn’t save us from it, but strengthens us in it. Three, enlightenment, we don’t realise how little we know until we walk through life’s dark places, and Jehovah turns on the light. Four, endurance, apostle James laments: “See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its crops and how patient he is for the seasons’ rains.” You too must be patient and stand firm. You can’t shorten the seasons or hurry the harvest, so be patient. And pay attention while you are waiting for God is working for you. Tests of faith are trials and hardships that invite you to surrender something of personal value to Allah, even when you have every right not to.
  Our champion for today is Everett Mckinley Dirksen, the United States politician and the leader of the Senate Republicans during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Born in Pekin, Illinois in January 1896, Dirksen died in Washington in 1969. He left the University of Minnesota before graduation to serve in World War I, becoming a businessman after the war. With his election as Pekin city finance commissioner in 1926, Dirksen began a lifelong career in public service.
  Elected into congress in 1932, a conservative Republican Dirksen voted against most New Deal measures, except Social Security. A severe eye ailment forced him to resign his House seat in 1948, returning to Illinois to practise law, having gained admittance to the bar while in Congress.
  Dirksen’s health now fully restored, he ran successfully for senator in 1950. As an old guard Republican, he supported Robert Taft for president in 1952 and Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist crusade until the crusade was discredited. Elected senate minority leader in 1959, Dirksen supported liberal legislation of the 1960s – The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, The 1964 Civil Rights Act and The Voting Rights Act of 1965. From the Senate and through television Dirksen became a folk hero for his imposing oratory, attributes for which he was dubbed “the wizard of ooze.” He served in the senate till his demise in 1969. He was the greatest forensic orator of his day.

Monday, 2 December 2013

State of the Nigerian Economy 2013

State of the Nigerian Economy 2013
By Bayo Ogunmupe
IN order to measure the performance of an economy, you have to visit the economic policy of the government. To be able to act on economic information therefore, you have to look into the statistics, data, and other clusters of available information. Reading the statistics poorly may end up in wrong decisions taken. Timely readings will stimulate meaningful policy actions. According to Ayo Teriba, Chief Economist of the Econs Associates. Com, data updates in the Nigerian yearbook, Fact books aren’t reliable for they won’t be available for use till very late in the year.
 For example, the Annual Report of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which ought to be published by the second quarter of the year, in June, had not been published by October 31, 2013. Also, only the 2010 Annual Abstract of the National Bureau of Statistics was available by the end of October this year.
Therefore, we can only rely on statistics obtained from the Internet. So much for the hindrances to measuring the state of the Nigerian economy. However, in this exercise, we shall measure the state of the economy on such parameters as our dilapidated infrastructure, absence of regular electrical power, and the rut and neglect of our tertiary education!
Nigeria’s current economic travail is linked to things we should do which we did not do, either due to the dearth of leadership, traceable to intellectual weakness or our penchant for financial profligacy. Another contributory factor is impunity – situations where culprits should be punished but the authorities refused to act.
Let us start finding the panacea for our economic woes through examination of impunity from prosecution now rampart in the polity. The level of impunity that goes on in government is amazing.
Since 1999, successive administrations have been wasteful and also failed to demonstrate purposive leadership. From the Presidency to the states, from the National Assembly to the state houses of assembly, the federal ministries to the state ministries and parastatals, it is impunity all the way.
The recent report of a committee chaired by Ahmadu Lemu, president of the Supreme Council of Sharia, accused the executive arm of government of bleeding the economy. The report had more knocks for federal lawmakers who it accused of flamboyant lifestyle in the midst of nationwide poverty.
The Lemu panel accused the National Assembly of taking a large chunk of the nation’s earnings, raising the alarm that what is being spent on the lawmakers would soon send the nation into bankruptcy. However, some federal lawmakers have argued that the three percent allocation given them in the annual budget is too insignificant to affect the economy.
It isn’t the legislators alone that are bleeding the Nigerian economy. The same impunity goes on in the executive branch, where public office holders steal with reckless abandon. This is why government agencies shroud their activities in secrecy. Public funds are used to fund private ambitious. Which is why a state governor can own 35 houses in choice places in the country and a fleet of automobiles within four years of entering public office.
This impunity culture was recently taken a notch higher with the reported purchase of two armoured cars for N255 million for the use of a minister. As usual, Aso Rock has maintained sealed lips over the matter while calls for the sack of the minister have reached fever pitch. We are particularly irked by a government that claimed the economy would be grounded if it met the requests of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) but was buoyant enough to fund N255 million vehicles. Sadly, this onset of impunity may slide into anarchy if governance continues to be business as usual.
Actually, criminality thrives because of impunity. Although President Goodluck Jonathan promised to check impunity during his last media chat, critics aver that the president’s hands are tied because oil thieves are people he cannot fight, they are his cronies. However, going by recent reports, economists say that Nigeria’s revenue dropped by 42 per cent because of the disruption to oil production caused by oil thieves who hacked into pipelines.
Worse still, reports from the labour market leave much to be desired. Indeed, Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose from 21.1 per cent in 2010 to 23.9 per cent in 2011, so said the National Population Commission (NPC) in a release on October 10, 2013. The NPC said figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed Nigeria’s economic growth had not translated into job creation.
The NPC report said that NBS estimates Nigeria’s population grew by 3.2 per cent in 2011 from 159.3 million people in 2010 to 164.4 million people in 2011, reflecting rapid population growth.
In 2011, our unemployment rose to 23.9 per cent compared to 21.1 per cent in 2010. It said the labour force swelled by 2.1 million to 67.2 million people with just 51.2 million persons employed, leaving 16 million people jobless. The report added that unemployment was higher in the rural areas at 25.6 per cent than urban centres where it is 17 per cent.
Thus, unless government takes decisive steps by clamping down on oil thieves, confidence in the government will be eroded. Government needs to openly dissociate itself from allegations that those in oil theft have its backing, otherwise people will continue to see as hypocritical, government preaching against the crime. Jonathan’s estimation in the eyes of Nigerians would be poor as he would be seen as an ethnic jingoist who is more interested in the affairs of his kinsmen than the good of all Nigerians.
Meanwhile, Jonathan’s persistent search for the saving grace may be found in steering Nigeria towards modernity. This can be achieved by strengthening the institutions meant to protect Nigeria from internal and external economic disasters. For example, the Excess Crude Account and the Sovereign Wealth Fund shielding the economy from the declining oil prices are now in place. Jonathan should be shopping for a competent replacement for the meticulous and indefatigable Lamido Sanusi, the outgoing Central Bank governor. For an active Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), a transparent Bond Market and a Stock Exchange that is on the rebound are areas where we have recorded significant gains.
Our current financial boon has gone beyond oil and gas. The growth of our non oil sector has been impressive. Agriculture, wholesale and retail trade and services have come to the fore to compete with petroleum. But the pace has been slow compared with the joust between the president and the state governors over federal allocations. These fights are often dressed in the costume of true fiscal federalism.
Though both the states and the federation have tax raising powers, both never exercised such powers. However, what we sorely needed now are institutions which ensure security of lives and property. Such institutions are hospitals, a larger and more disciplined police, the National Guard and Financial Independence for the Judiciary. Indeed, the National Guard should be doing the duties of our present Joint Task forces. The Army should be divested of police duties.
On hospitals, the best hospital in Egypt is owned by Egyptair, Egypt’s biggest airline. Nigeria can imitate that by partnering with a private company to foster medical tourism through creating big and efficient hospitals. Jonathan should call on Globacom, Shell or Mobil to establish hospitals for the good health of Nigerians instead of mindless promotions by our communication companies. Two, private companies can partner with government on a joint stock basis with a company becoming the core investor.
On security, government should increase the strength of our police force from 377,000 cops to one million men, because as 170 million people, Nigeria needs 1.7 million policemen.
In spite of our economic boom, the Nigerian nation state remains vulnerable to factional disputes such as that of Boko Haram. Repeated outbreaks of violence show limited access to security, making the people vulnerable to instability because of shifts in the dominant ruling coalition. Thus, it is essential for our democracy to build a strong, united and enlightened civil society to check the excesses of a predatory government elite. The contributory factor to the general malaise of corruption and impunity is illiteracy. Only recently, the UNESCO dubbed Nigeria with highest number of illiterate people in the world!
Next on our agenda is the profligacy of the past as a factor in our present underdevelopment. In 2004, during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, and the first coming of Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Then the Paris Club of Creditors wrote – off $30 billion debt. We then paid arrears of six billion dollars which was 40 per cent of our debt. But now in the light of the present indebtedness of such nations as the United States, Britain and France, it is arguable whether that lump sum debt payment was wise. We believe it was most unwise that Obasanjo heeded the behest of Okonjo-Iweala in the payment of that debt in a once for all basis.
Presently, the national debt of the US, before the October 2013 two week shutdown was $17 trillion. Yet the US isn’t thinking of payment part of it in a once for all basis. That stand was informed by the opinion of economists since debt levels do not affect economic growth.
In 2010, economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart reported that among 20 developed countries, the yearly growth of GDP was 3 per cent, when debt was low (i.e: under 60 per cent of GDP).
But it dips to 1.6 per cent when debt was high, i.e. above 90 per cent of GDP. However, other economists including Nobel laureate Paul Krugman have argued that it is low growth which causes national debt to increase rather than the other way round – meaning debt propels the economy forward.
Indeed, out-going U.S. Central Bank chairman, Ben Bernanke stated in April 2010 that “Neither experience nor economic theory indicates the threshold at which government debt begins to endanger prosperity and economic stability. However, a high debt level may result in inflation if currency devaluation is viewed as a solution to debt reduction. If wages are rising due to inflation, fixed amount of debt can be paid off more easily using cheaper dollars. This helps the debtor but hurts the debt holder, who receives less value in return for their loan. Those pieces of information rendered the 2004 debt payment ill-advised and profligate.
But despite government’s no cause for alarm’ assurance, Nigeria’s debt is mounting. After the debt relief initiative of 2004, our stock of foreign debt declined with US$3.8 billion domestic debts by August 2006.
The revered Scottish economist Adam Smith (1723-1790), author of The Wealth of Nations said that when national debts are accumulated to a certain level, there is scarcity since such debts have never been completely paid. That aphorism is coming home to roost as Nigeria treads the old path of foreign indebtedness. According to an article by Okonjo-Iweala on Nigeria in the Internet, Nigeria’s current external debt stands at $34 billion. She gave our domestic debt as N6,537 trillion as at December, 2012. However, the total domestic debt of the 36 states and Abuja has been put at N1.5 trillion in 2012.
But as at 30 September 2013, Nigeria’s debt has risen to N8.32 trillion, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has said. This excludes the domestic debts of the 36 states and the FCT. These data were released on the DMO website on 11 November, 2013.
This was contained in the 2013 Report of the Annual National Debt sustainability Analysis of the Debt Management Office.
However, economists have raised the alarm that Nigeria is treading the old path of indebtedness. For instance, Nigeria signed a $1 billion loan with China for infrastructure development as part of a US$3 billion facility approved by China at low interest rate. Thus, we have returned to the era of the debt ridden society of the new millennium. In order to stem the tide of the debt deluge, Dr. Teriba averred that Nigeria should engage the President to institute an annual state of the economy address where the president shall provide the people with where the economy is coming from, where it is going and wherewithal to attain full employment for the people.
According to Teriba, Nigeria’s economy has grown very fast since the year 2000.  This was in response to surges in global trade. In particular, our GDP has doubled from N20 trillion in 2007 to N40 trillion in 2012. Our oil and gas output rose from N7.5 trillion in 2007 to N15 trillion in 2012. In the non-oil sector, our GDP rose from N12 trillion in 2007 to N25 trillion in 2012. Crops rose from N6 trillion in 2007 to N12 trillion in 2012. On trade and commerce our economy’s GDP rose from N6 trillion in 2007 to N11 trillion in 2012. Comparatively, with a nominal GDP of $250 billion in 2012, Nigeria is 30th, among the list of world’s biggest economies. We were 40th in 2005, 52nd in 2000. Nigeria is the second largest economy in Africa, coming behind South Africa. Nigeria is set to become one of the 20 biggest economies by 2020.
Unfortunately, Nigeria’s growth is cyclical because of our dependence on global commodity price swings. Our gains may be wiped out by any oil price crises. Which is why we need new creative thinkers as policymakers. The profligacy of paying $6 billion as debt arrears in 2004 is responsible for our present lack of electricity, poor state of tertiary education because of our inability to refurbish university laboratories. Also the current state of our economy confirms the persistence of mediocrity among our leaders. Moreover, lack of patriotism has been identified as the missing link between our oil wealth and the present widespread poverty among the populace.

Ogunmupe: How Swedish academy picks Nobel laureates

  Bayo Ogunmupe: How Swedish academy picks Nobel laureate

 WINNERS of this year’s Nobel prizes began to be announced on October 14, 2013. The winners of Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences were the last to be announced. The awards went to Eugene Fama of the University of Chicago, USA, Lars Peter Hansen also of the University of Chicago and Robert Shiller of Yale University, New Haven, USA. The trio gained the award for their empirical analysis of asset prices. The Laureates and their collaborators have demonstrated that stock prices could be predicted over three to five years.

   One approach interprets research in terms of the response by national investors to uncertainty in prices. High future returns are then viewed as compensation for holding risky assets during unusually risky times. Another approach focuses on departures from rational investor behaviour. So-called behavioural finance takes into account institutional restrictions, such as borrowing limits, which prevent smart investors from trading against any mispricing in the market. The laureates have laid the foundation for the current understanding of asset prices.
  Other achievements being honoured in 2013 are as follows. The Nobel Peace Prize went to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons which is currently destroying chemical weapons in Syria. The prize for Literature was given to Canada’s Alice Munro, hailed by the award giving Swedish Academy as a “master of the contemporary short story.” The 82 year-old winner is often called “Canada’s Chekhov.”
   The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was given to three U.S. based scientists for developing computer models that predict complex chemical reactions that can be used for tasks like creating new drugs. The winners are Martin Karplus of both University of Strasbourg, France and Harvard University; Michael Levitt of the Stanford University School of Medicine and Arieh Warshel of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
  The prize in Physics was awarded for a theory of how subatomic particles get their mass. The prize was shared by two men who proposed the theory independently of each other in 1964. Peter Higgs of Great Britain and Francois Englert of Belgium.
  The medicine prize honoured breakthrough in how key substances are moved around within a cell. Disturbances in the delivery of the substances can lead to neurological diseases, diabetes or immunological disorders. The prize was shared by Americans James Rothman of Yale and Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley and German American Dr. Thomas Sudhof of the Stanford University School of Medicine.
  However, the most important issue germane to the public is how to win and be nominated for a Nobel prize. This prize is any of five prizes until 1969 when the sixth, the prize for Economic Sciences was added. The prizes are awarded yearly by four institutions three Swedish, one Norwegian, from a fund established under the will of Alfred Nobel (1833-1896). Distribution was begun on December 10, 1901 on the fifth anniversary of the death of the founder.
  In his will, Nobel specified that the awards should be made “to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” The six prizes are those enumerated above. The Economics prize was set up in 1968 by the Bank of Sweden and the first award was given in 1969. The awarding institutions are the Royal Swedish Academy, for physics and chemistry; the Royal Caroline Medical Institute, for Physiology or medicine, and the Swedish Academy for Literature, - all in Stockholm – Sweden; the Norwegian Nobel Committee, for peace, located in Oslo, Norway – and appointed by the Norwegian Storting (parliament).
  Each award consists of a gold medal, a diploma bearing a citation, and a sum of money, the amount depending on the income of the Nobel Foundation. The selection of the prizewinners starts in the early autumn with prize awarding institutions sending out invitations to nominate candidates. Those competent to nominate are required to do so on the basis of professional competence and international range-federal character basis in our own parlance.
  Self-nomination automatically disqualifies a person. Nomination must reach the appropriate authority in writing by February 1. From the first of February, six Nobel committees, one for each prize group, start their work on the nominations received. If necessary, the committees may call in experts, irrespective of nationality. During June and July, the committees submit recommendations. The final decision by the awarders must be made by September 15. The committee recommendations are usually but not always followed.
  The deliberation and voting are secret at all stages. Prizes may be given only to individuals, except the peace prize which may also be given to an institution. An individual may not be nominated posthumously, but a prize duly proposed may be so awarded, as with Dag Hammarskjold (for peace in 1961) and Erik Karlfeldt (for literature in 1931.) Awards may not be appealed against because the awarders are independent of the state.
  A prize is either given entirely to one person, divided equally between at most two works, or shared jointly by two or three persons. Sometimes a prize is withheld until the following year. It also happens that a prize is neither awarded nor reserved. Two prizes can be awarded in the same field in one year. If a prize is declined or not accepted, the prize money goes back to the funds.
  Motives for non-acceptance of prizes may vary; mostly the real reason has been external, such as Hitler’s decree of 1937 which forbade Germans to accept Nobel Prizes because the Peace Prize to Carl von Ossietzky in 1935 was taken as an affront. Prizes are withheld or not awarded when no worthy candidate in the meaning of Alfred Nobel’s will can be found or when the world’s situation prevents the gathering of information required to reach a decision, as happened during the two World Wars. Nobel Prizes, the greatest accolade of achievement in the world are open to all, irrespective of nationality, race, creed, or ideology.
  They can be awarded more than once to the same recipient. The ceremonies take place in Stockholm, Sweden but that of Peace takes place in Oslo, Norway on December 10 the anniversary of Nobel’s death. The laureates usually receive their prizes in person, each presents a lecture in connection with the award ceremonies. The principles governing the awards were modified in 1900 to clarify ambiguous words. The basis for the Economics Prize was scientific, mathematical or statistical rather than political or social. The first two economics laureates: Ragnar Frisch (Norway) and Jan Tinbergen (The Netherlands) were given the prize for their work in econometrics – the analysis of economic activity by means of mathematics. Which is why the scientific and medical prizes have proved least controversial. The literature and peace awards have been the most exposed to criticism.
  A special regulation gave the right of nomination to members of the Swedish Academy and other academies. Others so empowered are institutions and societies similar to academics, university teachers, professors at universities and university colleges. The right to nominate was also extended to previous prize winners, or presidents of societies of authors and the like.
  The statutes also provided for Nobel Committee to give their opinion in matters of the award of the prizes, and for a Nobel Institute with a library which was to contain a substantial collection of mainly modern literature.
  For the founder Nobel, he was a Swedish chemist, engineer and industrialist. He invented dynamite and many other explosives. Through his mother, Nobel descended from the Swedish naturalist Olof Rudbeck. From his father, Immanuel Nobel, he learned the fundamentals of engineering and like his father, he was a versatile inventor, educated mainly by tutors and was a competent chemist by 16. He was fluent in English, French, German and Russian. He spent a year learning chemistry in Paris and four years in the U.S.A studying building under John Ericsson the builder of the warship-Morutor.
  Nobel’s interests in explosives and his large holdings in the Baku oil fields brought him immense fortune. He was a recluse and he never married. Nobel had an abiding interest in literature, writing poetry in English. He left his immense fortune in trust to establish this most highly regarded of all awards, the Nobel Prize.
• Ogunmupe is a columnist with The Guardian.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Why You Must Seek Riches

On The Path Of Winners
Why You Must Seek Riches
THE desire for increase is inherent in nature. It is the fundamental impulse of the universe. Every human activity is based on the desire for increase. People are seeking more food, more clothes, better shelter, more luxury, more beauty, greater knowledge, more pleasure and more life.
  Every living organism is under this siege for continuous advancement. When increase of life ceases, dissolution and death set in. man instinctively knows this and he is forever seeking more riches. This law of perpetual increase is set forth by Jesus the Christ in His parable of the talents. Only those who continuously gain more, retain any. From him who has not, shall be taken away even from whatever he has left. Thus, to aspire for increase is lawful. Which is why all men and women are attracted to him who can give them more of the means of life.
  Do everything that you do in the firm conviction that you are an advancing person and that you are giving advancement to everybody. Feel that you are getting rich and that you are making others rich by conferring benefits on all. Do not boast of your riches, true faith is never boastful. The boastful person betrays doubt and fear. Let every act, tone and look express the assurance that you are getting rich. Undying faith in your riches will attract wealth and helpers to you.
  Impress others in such a way that they will feel that in associating with you, they are getting and will continue to get increase for themselves. See that you give everyone use value greater than the cash value you are taking from them. Take pride in doing this and let everybody know it.
  For that, you will have no lack of customers. People go where they are given increase and Jehovah who desires increase in all, will move you toward men and women who have never heard of you. Thus, your business will increase rapidly and you will be surprised by the windfall of benefits accruing to you. Hence from day to day, you will be able to secure greater advantages.
  But doing all these, you must never lose sight of your vision of financial independence. However, hearken to this word of caution! Beware of the insidious temptation of seeking power over others. Nothing is so pleasant to the profane mind as the exercise of power over others. The desire to dominate for selfish gratification is a curse of civilization. For ages, kings have drenched the earth with blood in their battles to extend their dominions. This is the source of poverty in a country like Nigeria. Corrupt leaders lay waste the lives and hearts of millions in their scramble for power over others. Commercial gain inspire politicians to lust for power. Therefore, you should  beware of being tempted to seek authority, to become a “master” and be considered a lord, one who is above the common herd, to impress others with lavish display of wealth.
  The mind that seeks mastery over others is the competitive mind. In order to become a champion, it is not necessary that you should rule over your fellowmen. Indeed, when you fall prey to the struggle for high office, you begin to be conquered by fate and your environment. Thus, your getting rich becomes a matter of chance and speculation. This is the golden rule of creative action. Do all you can do at work with your undying purpose of getting ahead. But do not work with the idea of currying favour with your employer. It isn’t likely he will advance you by your good work.
  The man who is merely a good workman, is valuable to his employer, it is not in his employer’s interest to promote him. He is worth more where he is. To secure advancement, being more than too large for your place, is necessary. The person who would advance is the one too big for his place and who has a clear vision of what he wants to be, and who is determined to be what he wants to be.
  Begin to think and act this way and opportunities will speedily open for you. Do not try more than fill your present position with a view of pleasing your employer. Do your work with the idea of advancing yourself. Hold the faith and purpose of increase and soon your power of purpose will begin to radiate and new opportunities will be attracted to you. There is a divine power that never fails to offer opportunities to the advancing man, who is moving in obedience to natural law. God cannot help helping you if you act this way. God must do so in order to fulfil His purpose through you. Do not wait for opportunities, seek new and take opportunities as they come. It will be the first step toward a greater opportunity. There is no such thing in the universe as a lack of opportunities for the man of genius. It is inherent in the cosmos that all things shall be for him and work for his good.
  Our champion for today is Otto Heinrich Warburg, the German physiologist, medical doctor and Nobel laureate. He was an officer of the elite cavalry regiment during the First World War and won the Iron Cross for bravery. He was a leading biochemist of the 20th century who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1931. In total, he was nominated an unprecedented three times for the Nobel prize for three separate achievements.
  Son of the physicist Emil Warburg, Otto was born in October 1883 and died in August 1970. Warburg’s father was a member of the illustrious Warburg family of Altona but had converted to Christianity from his Conservative Jewish parents. Warburg earned a doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Berlin in 1906. He earned the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the University of Heidelberg in 1911.
  Between 1908 and 1914, Warburg conducted research in marine biology in Naples, Italy. He left the Army to return to Academia at the behest of his friend Albert Einstein in 1918. Warburg investigated cancer cells and in 1931 was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the nature and mode of action of the respiratory enzyme. In 1963, the German Society for Biochemistry instituted The Otto Warburg Medal to commemorate Warburg’s outstanding achievements in molecular biology. It is the highest award for biologists and chemists in Germany.