Friday, 18 November 2016

Love as your winning strategy

                 By Bayo Ogunmupe.

       If your struggle for success in life is inspired by love, you are bound to win because  love never fails. "Love never fails, I Corinthians 13:8." Interestingly, money doesn't bring happiness; fame doesn't bring self worth and revenge doesn't bring satisfaction. Only love never fails. When Mother Teresa addressed world leaders at  the United Nations, she was asked, "How can we have world peace?" She replied, "Go home and love your family."
       If we all did that, Paradise that was lost will be regained. Napoleon Bonaparte's intellectual greatness and intensive egotism make his tribute to the supremacy of leadership by love, all the more striking. He said, "Alexander the great, Caesar and Charlemagne and I myself founded great empires, but upon what did the creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded his empire upon love, and to this day millions would die for him."
       Often, leaders are mere power holders. Since you cannot love others without making yourself vulnerable, they see expressing love as a weakness. But actually you can't love and keep all of your options open. To truly love your spouse, your children or your followers, you must give of yourself unreservedly that you can be hurt and be rejected. The fundamental principle upon which power holders operate is to protect themselves and their property. Whereas, the cardinal principle of leadership  is to give of yourself without restriction whatsoever.
       Love as an attribute of leadership seems now outmoded. Yet according to the scriptures, love  is the strategy by which you can attain your wishes. Indeed, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind, 2 Timothy 1:7." But the love talked about in the bible isn't the sentimental type. The scriptural love is compassion, caring and concern for the well-being of another. This love is based on commitment, not convenience. It is an act of your will not emotion. If you love only those who love you, where comes the credit? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get the credit? Luke 6:32,33."
       Loving is the hardest thing you will ever do. Love your enemies. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and then you will be like the children of the Most High, for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your father is compassionate. Do not judge others and you will not be judged. Give and you will receive.
       Do not condemn others or it will all come back against you. Forgive others and you will be forgiven. Give and your gift will return to you in full- pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.
       The critic of Jesus the christ asked him, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Matthew22:37." Jesus' answer is a timely reminder to leader and follower alike. This reminds those worshippers who sit on pews and those who stand at the pulpit, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment: Matthew 22:37, 38." As a leader you must never leave a question in anyone's mind as to who is God. "You shall have no other gods before Me." Exodus 20:3.
       Though we must teach people to respect, honour and reward good leadership, but the Christlike leader discourages adulation and shies away from the limelight. Only when a leader becomes impervious to applause and approval and dies to ego, is God glorified in his or her leadership. Indeed, when God is exalted is when a leader smiles  and says,Thank you, Lord, that is how You intended it. Upon all Jehovah is your friend, you must be grateful and loyal to Him.

Living the purpose driven life

                  By Bayo Ogunmupe
       It is fair to say that if you do not have a life purpose,  you won't have time working on it. So what will you be doing with your time instead? One, you will be working on your needs. Two, you will be working on other people's purposes. Three, you will be working for other people's purposes.
       If you don't have purpose, the limit of your work will stop at the level of need. As you work for others, you will be putting efforts into satisfying their needs and greeds. But you may be very lucky to work for someone who is focused on achieving a conscious purpose.
       However, if you do not have your own purpose, you cannot consciously choose to work for someone whose purpose aligns with yours except by chance. Which is why there is a good chance that you will be working hard to achieve a purpose you don't agree with. Thus, you might be given a purpose to achieve which isn't your own choice. Indeed, accepting to spend your whole life that way would be amusing.
       So, if you don't know your purpose in life, you end a nymph. Your life is owned by others. Why? Because without your own purpose others will put you to good use in achieving their own purposes. The company you work for wants to own you and you cannot refuse because you do not have another option.
       However, if you are self aware of your purpose in life, then you will know what is missing in the above scenario. Freedom to pursue  personal happiness was missing. When you don't choose your own purpose, a purpose will be given you by others.
       "What is the meaning of my life?" If you let someone else answer that question for you, then you are owned. Besides, it may not be only one person giving you that answer. Moreover it could be a collection of many sources: advertisers, employers, coworkers, friends and your family. Each contributes its piece to your and answer. That there are so many contributors the answer becomes fuzzy and complicated. So you end up leading a fuzzy life crafted for you by other people.
       Which is why you are only free when you know your purpose and live it consciously everyday. Thus, freedom means you focus on what you can control and by so doing your influence expands so you become a leader no matter your formal position. Your leadership comes from knowing your purpose.
       While your circumstances change, your inner compass remains constant. You could be caught in a sea of problems, yet you are always steering a straight course which gives you the certainty and confidence no one else could muster. It does not matter your position, when you live your purpose you become a leader. When you do not live your purpose, you become property.
       When you choose the work you like doing, you align with your purpose. You will still be bombarded by messages from others who want to own you. But they will become harmless, unable to sway you to their camp. When you live a life of purpose, you begin living on a deeper level where surface happenings, like corporate politics cannot knock you around. Your purpose provides unshakable stability and security.
       If you don't live on purpose, you would not even know how to set goals. Then whose goals are you working so hard to achieve? Perhaps, you are mortgaging your freedom for the purchase of a car to be of a better service to your owners? To break free, you have to know your own purpose. Then your life becomes immensely fulfilling. You will finally be free.

The Art of the Deal

                 By Bayo Ogunmupe

       The Art of the Deal is the title of Donald John Trump's best selling book which catapulted him to become one of 50 greatest prosperity thinkers in the world. It was published in 1987, a symbol of capitalism in New York City, the United States. Owing to his self promotion, extravagant lifestyle and big business deals, Trump was already famous by the time The Art was published.
       The book's timing was lucky, coming out just ahead of the troubles that beset Trump in the late 1980s. Much to his enemies' chagrin, Trump sorted himself out, coming back bigger than ever. Whoever said  there are no second chances in business did not count on the power of a brand, a large part of Trump's fortune comes down to his name. When in 2003 television producers approached him to be the focus of a new reality television series based on entrepreneurship, a subject that he is an expert in, The Apprentice, he seized the opportunity to cement his fame with a new generation.
       Despite the array of books Trump had published to capitalize on the success of his show, The Art is still the best insight into the man and his philosophy of prosperity for all and life more abundant. Now 29 years on, it contains Trump's essential philosophies, practices and ways of working that have sustained his success for more than forty years. the only difference is that , then he was a brash upstart willing to take on anything and anyone, and now he is a wise, if still very showy, business and managerial guru.
       The scale of Trump's operations may have quadrupled, but the Trump of the eighties is largely the same one that dramatically pulled off a stunning election upset in 2016. Here we look at some of his deals, beliefs and strategies that have seen him thrive and prosper even in the face of malice and denigration.  In a nutshell, in The Art, Trump recommends: To succeed in business, balance boldness and promotion with patience, caution and flexibility.
       Trump's father was a developer of rent controlled housing in New York. Despite it being a low margin and unglamorous real estate business, his tenacity ensured  his success. Though Donald spent much of his boyhood following his dad around sites, he always dreams of creating landmark projects that made statements in Manhattan. Trump's first project was the Commodore, a huge hotel in a low rent Manhattan district. At the time he notes: "I was only twenty-sevenn years old and had never slept in a hotel." But he embarked on building a 1,400-room monster which remained the biggest in New York for 25 years.
       It is a myth Trump observes, that location is everything in real estate. It is important, but to make the most of any property, what you need to create is a sense of worth or mystique that will make people want to buy. He says: "People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That's why a little hyperbole  never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular."
       To get your project noticed, you must be different, even outrageous and being so increases your chances of becoming a story in the media. He does not court publicity for publicity's sake; in fact, he claims to be a very private person. However, he notes that a small article in New York Times will be worth many times more than a full page advertisement costing $100,000, even if its slant is negative.
       Despite his flashy image, a major element in the Trump success is being prepared to wait. For example, for years he prized the Bonwit Teller site that would eventually become Trump Tower; repeatedly writing to its owners to state his interest. He kept up his interest, he notes: "because much more often than you'd think, sheer persistence is the difference between success  and failure."  When the site fell into the hands of new owners who were in a poor  financial situation, it was to Trump they turned to sell.
       Many of his successes came from offering to buy assets before they were on the market. You need leverage, find out what the seller needs , give them this in  addition to the purchase price. One of his trademarks is his hubristic confidence amplified by facts about his article of purchase. Other things we learn about Trump is that while in College, he preferred reading listings of property rather than reading comic or sports. In his biography of Trump: No Such Thing as Over Exposure, Robert Slater said Donald is more forgiving and generous than his image suggest. Indeed, it was the beneficiaries of his munificence who urged him to contest for president.
        Trump was born in Queens, New York in 1946, the fourth of five children of Mary, a Scottish immigrant and his father, the son of German immigrants originally named Drumpf who ran a hotel in British Columbia. At 13, Donald went to New York Military Academy; later he studied economics at Fordham University. Lastly he went to University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Finance, America's foremost school of entrepreneurship, graduating in 1968. He briefly worked  for his father before venturing out on his own. Trump has five children from three women. The Forbes Rich List if 2006 estimated Trump's fortune at $2.9 billion; making him America's 94th richest person. Donald J Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the USA in January 2017.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The Change We Want

        By Bayo Ogunmupe
     Life is endless battle and conflict, and we cannot fight effectively unless we can identify our problems or enemies. In the modern world, any kind of problem is solved through strategy. A mind that is easily overwhelmed by problems and emotion; a mind that is rooted in the past instead of the present, that cannot see the world with clarity and urgency, will create strategies that will always miss the mark.
     It was with this mindset and perception that I visited Aso Villa on the ides of July. Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity gave me a rousing welcome. I had lots of newspapers to read, albeit for the first time because they could only be bought by the State House. Without a focused, profit oriented Post Office that can ferry the papers throughout the federation, half of the journals could not circulate beyond the Federal Capital Territory.
     While we embraced the penitentiary to make Muhammadu Buhari president, our vision of a new Nigeria that emboldened us to act so daringly isn't the one we are seeing now nor the promises being kept. Which was why I asked Adesina why they refused to constitute an economic team that will liberate our economy from its import dependency syndrome. Adesina told me the vice president chairs the Buhari economic team with the Central Bank governor and the ministers of finance and Budget as members. Then I told him that since an economic team means a team of economists, the present team cannot solve our problems.
     Since the vice president and the minister of Budget are lawyers; the CBN governor and the Finance minister are accountants their team cannot usher in the change we want in Nigeria. Adesina simply replied: "Your notion of a team of economists is a matter of opinion." As my host, I cannot argue with him. Now, I wish to enunciate on what an economic team ought to be. Germany as the first country to recognize economics as a tool of development, created a ministry of economic affairs in government. German chancellor,Konrad Adenauer {1876-1967} appointed Ludwig Erhard his Minister of Economic Affairs in 1949. Erhard was responsible for the German post war economic miracle which achieved full employment in Germany by 1950. Erhard was rewarded by being appointed Deputy chancellor in 1957 and succeeded Adenauer as chancellor in 1963.
     In the United States, the Council of Economic Advisers was created by the Employment Act of 1946. The council was to provide presidents with objective economic analysis and advice on economic issues. As an organ of the Presidency, the council has a chairman and two members. Its staff consists of a chief of staff and 20 academic economists, plus three permanent economic statisticians. The council's main aim is to provide full employment in the United States.
      In Nigeria, we have had Philip Asiodu, Magnus Kpakol and Christian Soludo as chief economic advisers. Thus, the way toward achieving the change we want is in appointing a chief economic adviser with adequate staff and provisions.

Nigeria's Road To Economic Salvation

         By Bayo Ogunmupe

     As Nigeria's economy contracts owing to low oil prices, domestic challenges of being unable to meet previous oil production levels, the country of Champaigne drinkers has been overtaken by recession. The profligacy of the past that attracted luxury goods salesmen and investors had disappeared with the naira being exchanged at N390 per dollar and a pound sterling selling for N500. Everyone now knows we are riding out the worst economic downturn in recent memory.
     Price domestic goods rocketed with increases inching on 100 percent, foreign exchange shortages and a lack of investor confidence triggering capital flight. When President Muhammadu Buhari deregulated the oil market a couple of weeks ago, ending decades of wasteful expenditure on subsidies that benefited the corrupt elite  who diverted billions of dollars yearly from productive enterprises. This culminated in many workers leaving their gasoline guzzling cars at home in favour of pool vehicles and public transport as an open testimony for the changing times.
      Now manufacturers are battling to get foreign exchange to import components and inputs with many seeing dwindling disposable incomes due to hyper inflation. Indeed, energy supply is more erratic  than ever, forcing greater reliance on other expensive sources of power. Traffic to the ports are reducing in the wake of a raft of import restrictions leading to a decline in customs revenue. Job losses are mounting, from the banks layoffs have spread to the automobile industry, the newspapers and the printing industry. Inflation is ravaging at 17 percent now.
     Which is why Buhari has continued to come under attack for his lack of focus, his lack of a team of economists to energize the economy. The lackluster performance of the Buhari cabinet and six month delay in signing the budget has eroded confidence in his competence. The President's laudable anti-corruption drive has lost its impetus, undermined by short term utilities shortages. Upon the storm came the Niger Delta militants wreaking havoc in the oil fields. Attacks on oil installations have cut oil production by half, significantly reducing power supply via cuts in gas pipelines to urban centres.
     Undoubtedly, Nigeria has a long road to walk to salvage the nation from the ruins of profligacy, mediocrity and incompetence of its past leaders. Thus, the road to salvation is in reducing cost of governance through restructuring. Then let the President constitute a veritable Office of the Chief Economic Adviser, staffed with a team of economists. Its mandate should be to move Nigeria toward full employment and reasonable price stability within a specific time frame.
       Like the depression in the United States between 1953-55 our economic advisers should deploy neo-Keynesian economic interventions which would result in many families staying in the middle class with just one wage earner feeding our extended family system. But this might entail the establishment of the National Full Employment Programme whose mission shall be to create jobs within the Organized Private Sector. With everyone gainfully employed the backbone of poverty would have been broken.
     However, Buhari's poor economic performance for which the Catholic priest, Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka lambasted the president is worthy of note. But Buhari cannot carry the entire blame alone. These challenges have been piling up since 1999. Like energy exporters now suffering from excessive dependence on oil and gas, Nigeria failed to diversify at the time when oil prices were booming. Then, the governments were too complacent, they neglected small and medium scale enterprises that are the mainstay of inclusive growth. Then, the governments benefited from corruption ignoring justice and security.
      Thus,public assets were stashed away through crony capitalism, with tacit foreign support. Moreover, discretionary award of oil blocs by each successive Nigerian president ridicules government reform claims. That issue was raised by the Niger Delta agitators who listed inequitable spread of oil wealth emanating from their land. They claimed inequitable allocation of oil blocs by past presidents made Northerners stupendously rich while Niger Deltans remained poor. Those facts were released at the 40th edition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers Conference in Lagos recently. These unethical practices are fueling both vandalism and recession.
     Now, that the full impact of our economic illiteracy has come upon us, the next step is to devise  a means of navigating the country out of recession before it deteriorates into depression. We need a series of stimulus programmes such as Arthur Burns did for the U.S in 1953-54. Likewise, Barrack Obama's $831 billion package in 2009 was designed to preserve American jobs. Singapore's $14 billion stimulus package in 2009 provided welfare  for the poor. The Federal Government should stop dithering by taking decisive action. In the weeks to come, Buhari must protect fiscal sustainability by any means. He must reduce imbalances and reinforce  the resilience of the banking sector. Most importantly, he must forcefully execute structural reforms for sustained and inclusive growth.

Leaders are made, not born

             By Bayo Ogunmupe

       Why does God call people who don't necessarily feel qualified to lead? So, we will depend on God more than ourselves. When God called Moses, he asked, "Who am I that I should go? When Jehovah called Gideon, he replied, " I am the least in my family". When God called Solomon, he said, " I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties."Kings 3:7. When God called Jeremiah, he replied, " I do not know how to speak." Yet all of them became great leaders.
      How did they do it? By saying yes to Allah's call, learning from their mistakes and growing wiser, and drawing strength from God each day. So whether your God-given assignment in life seems large or small, you can grow into it. A teacher once told Mary Martin the famous American singer, that she had an inferior voice and would never make it in the field of music. But she determined otherwise and for over fifty years she reigned as the world's most loved and famous singer. Mary overcame her seeming deficiency through determination and self discipline.
       The Greek statesman Demosthenes had such a speech impediment as a boy that it was embarrassing for him to speak before a group. But by investing long hours by the sea in unrelenting practice, he overcame his problem. As a result he became one of the most famous orators of all time. You may not have a natural aptitude for leadership, but under God's guidance you can develop into a visionary leader of our dreams. This is because even though you may be limited, Jehovah who lives within you isn't limited.
       Thus, success comes through group cooperation. Each of you is a part of it. None of us can do individually, what all of us can do collectively. Apostle Paul said: All of you together are the body of Christ (the church), and each of you is part of it. But the body of Christ has been known to misbehave. The brain discounts the heart. Academics discount worshippers. The hands criticise the knees. Men of action criticise people of prayer. The eyes refuse to partner with the feet. Visionary thinkers won't work with steady workers. The mega city needs the smaller towns. The liberal needs the conservative while the pastor needs the missionary.
       Cooperation is more than a good idea, it is a scriptural command. "Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace", Ephesians4:3. When we work together in unity, the bible says God commands His blessing to be upon us. We have not been called to compare, to compete, to complain or to criticise one another. No, we have been called to complement one another. Jesus said: "When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I will be there,"Matthew 18:19-20. What an astounding promise; when we come into agreement Jehovah notices. He shows up; He hears and answers our prayers.
      Which is why we should cooperate, patiently embrace change and the new leader Muhammadu Buhari. God who abides in him will guide him to prosper the nation. Our duty is to pray for Jehovah's direction. We become like those we spend most of our time with. If we spend time with angry and resentful people, we risk becoming angry and resentful ourselves. So choose your friends carefully, for attitudes are contagious.
       Good and quiescent attitudes get our prayers answered. For the right answers, we have to ask what we desire in accordance with the will of God. Otherwise, we might have been sabotaging our prayers. God told the Israelites the reason they were not getting answers to their prayers was because they were engaged in finger-pointing and criticism. It is just as important to glorify Jehovah through your spoken words when you are not praying, as when you are. There is a direct link between having a critical, careless tongue and not getting your prayers answered. How you treat others will determine how God treats you.
       God made it clear: "Stop oppressing those who work for you; treat them fairly, share your food with the hungry and those who are helpless, poor and destitute. If you do these things Jehovah will shed His own glorious light upon you. He will heal you; your godliness will lead you forward; goodness will be a shield before you and the glory of God will protect you from behind. Then when you call, God will answer. Stop making false accusations, stop spreading vicious rumours, help those in trouble and your light will shine out from the darkness and your surroundings will be as bright as day: Isaiah 58:6-11. That means the answer to your prayers is contingent upon your attitude and actions towards others.

How corruption destroys the Nigerian economy

            By Bayo Ogunmupe

     The recent Global Corruption Barometer shows that 12 of the 13 countries with the worst record of bribery are in Africa. The African Union estimates that 25 percent of the GDP of African states or some $148 billion, is lost to corruption every year. The African Development Bank (AfDB estimates corruption costs Africa up to 50 percent in lost tax revenues and over $30 billion in aid, yearly. In comparison, Africa receives about $22.5 billion in development aid from industrial countries, according to the Organization for European Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
     In 2014, Kenya sold government bonds to foreign investors to raise $2.82 billion for infrastructure projects and to pay off outstanding debts. But $1 billion of that amount cannot be accounted for. Recently, Samuel Ukura, Nigeria's auditor-general, reported that $16 billion in oil proceeds was missing from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). After that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) uncovered NNPC's $2.3 billion not remitted to Nigeria's Treasury Single Account. The culpable Nigerian commercial banks hid the amount with the intention of corruptly enriching themselves and their collaborators.
     At independence, Nigeria started development with low economic development foundation. For instance, we inherited no significant private sector and little infrastructure. In order to expand these rudimentary economic foundations and create wealth, we needed to build capable public services, create new private enterprises and expand infrastructure.
     To achieve these projects, Nigeria needed to allocate scarce public resources efficiently to foster equitable development, foster efficient state- owned enterprises, specific industrial policies and develop quality long-term economic policies. These are instruments by which government stimulates the economy to create new industries.
     But after independence, Nigeria continued to export raw materials without adding value, which would provide wealth, bricks- and- mortar investments and jobs. Nigeria's economic challenge is to diversify its industrial base on the back of its raw materials and agricultural products- that is- spinning off new industries from these or developing new ones from scratch.
     Corruption is one of the reasons why Nigeria has not industrialize as a nation. In fact since independence Nigeria has de-industrialized by producing at the same level or at even lower level. Corrupt elements have captured the areas of policy intervention, which could reverse Nigeria's de-industrialization, causing a vicious cycle of underdevelopment. Because the Nigerian state has been captured by corrupt elements, scarce resources are not distributed optimally to boost development.
     According to the OECD, as a result of corruption, investments are not allocated to sectors  and programmes which present the best value for money or where needs are highest, but to those which offer the best prospects for personal enrichment of politicians. Public resources are often distributed where kickbacks are high and tenders are given to the company or individual that pays the highest bribe- not the company that can deliver the best quality products and services or make the best investment.
     Because of corruption, state owned companies become a drag on public funds rather than a catalyst for growth. Because of corruption, very few new dynamic industries are created because resources are channeled to corrupt individuals or unproductive investments. In a corrupt environment, long- term investments- so crucial for development- are not a priority. In fact, dominant leaders, groups and factions try to eat as much as quickly as possible, and amass wealth, before the next incumbents push them from the feeding trough.
     Alternatively, some dominant leaders supported by their minions, try to remain in perpetuity. That was what Olusegun Obasanjo sought to do by his third term agenda and in allowing the National Assembly members to pad the budget, award and pay contractors.
     Because it is so easy for the politically connected to live off rents, they lack incentives to build bricks- and- mortar companies. This means that the Nigerian economy cannot expand productive capacities, because the corrupt milk the existing capacity and kill off new productive capacity by choking not- so- politically connected innovators, entrepreneurs and new ideas, even before they get to start-up,whether in finance, mining, services or trading. 
     Public procurement, where companies have to bid to deliver services on behalf of government, is especially vulnerable to corruption. The World Economic Forum estimates that 25 percent of the cost of procurement contracts is lost to corruption, which also undermines the delivery by the state of basic public services. The poor suffer disproportionally more from corruption because they depend on basic public services the most.
     For development aid received, it is also captured by corruption and misdirected to the bank account of individuals or to unproductive projects; such as the reliefs targeted at the Internally Displaced Persons which were found in the bank accounts of non- governmental organizations.
     Ultimately, corruption shatters the confidence of citizens, organizations and investors in government as is happening in Nigeria today. When government loses confidence it cannot enforce rules aimed at increasing productive capacity, economic growth and per capita income. Where leaders, legislators and ministers and other government functionaries are perceived to be corrupt, private sector organizations and investors also try to shirk their duties. They find ways to avoid tax or to move income offshore or bribe officials to secure trading licenses The result is that government is deprived of income.
     In many cases Western governments and companies have been complicit in encouraging corruption in Nigeria. Former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz says, "Every bribe that is taken has a payer, and too often the bribe payer is a corporation from an advanced industrial nation or someone acting on its behalf".
     Nigeria with one dominant resource, is now experiencing  a natural resource curse. This well recognized phenomenon occurs when the export of the commodity does not benefit the country as a whole, but only a privileged few. Stiglitz says the reason for the resource curse is the prevalence of corruption, whereby Western companies abet the siphoning off the income from our oil to Nigerian leaders and elites in return for selling the natural resource at discount prices in global markets.
     Foreign investment is also impacted by corruption. Investors are often asked to pay bribes to secure tenders, licenses and protection to operate without interference. China for example, has been accused for targeting  African political leaders and governing political parties, providing them with patronage to secure trading licenses, favourable investment terms and freedom to shirk its duties in terms of local laws on labour, human rights, wages and the environment.
     In Nigeria, local and foreign private donors fund governing parties in return for favourable policies  subverting regulations and the drive toward efficient privatization. This stymies development. Developed countries exacerbate the situation by harbouring the proceeds of corruption in secret bank accounts.
     Illicit outflows of money from Nigeria come in form trade mis-pricing, payments between parent companies and their subsidiaries and profit shifting strategies aimed at hiding income. These corruption reports implicate governments, mining, oil and banking as well as legal and accounting firms.
     Corruption leads to brain drain of Nigeria's best talents, it distorts mechanisms like fair competition. It deters domestic and foreign investment, thereby stifling growth and creating large scale unemployment. The IMF says investment flows to corrupt countries are 6 percent lower than other countries.
     Nevertheless, Nigeria's civil society groups, media and individual whistleblowers must continue to point out corrupt practices. They need to be supported  by transnational bodies such as the African Union, Transparency International, Global Witness and Action Aid. All of which have done well in exposing corruption. Abdulmumin Jibril must also be commended for exposing corruption in the National Assembly.

Your Path to Prosperity

             By Bayo Ogunmupe

     Rectify your heart and you will rectify your life. Lust, hatred, vanity and self indulgence- breed poverty and weakness; whereas love, meekness, compassion and self forgetfulness grant you wealth and power. It is the mind of a virtuous person that has power to create prosperous circumstances and happiness. In a nutshell, you will only become prosperous when you are disciplined. Indeed, wealth and happiness come most easily to those who forget themselves in their service to others. The above mentioned matters constitute the mindset of the people marked for prosperity.
     Then where is the path to prosperity? Certainly, you can find it  through stocks, bonds, real estate or the ownership of a company. These are tangible expressions of wealth, but they say nothing on how to gain prosperity. In fact, prosperity is created by individuals, but such a people harbour particular personal qualities. In his book: The Path To Prosperity, James Allen argues that prosperity is always personal, resting squarely on the degree you have refined or bettered yourself. Though it is possible for anyone to become rich, but to be happily prosperous suggests that you have peace of mind in addition to monetary riches.
     Allen is most famous as the author of : As A Man Thinketh, which beautifully expresses the idea that you create your world through your thoughts. The Path To Prosperity goes deeper into the link between your mindset and material abundance. From these books we learn that to be prosperous, you must have a good heart by becoming truly valuable to your fellow human beings. To be rich, you have to follow the path of righteousness, not the path of corrupt enrichment that turned Nigeria into a rich one percent glowing in a sea of mediocrity.
     A prosperity seeker abjures evil. He accepts problems as gifts which he attracted to himself through ignorance. He then chooses to endure them, becoming free to become a careful molder of his own circumstances. The self awareness gained through struggle enables you to choose the true path. You, realising all you are, is as a result of what you have thought. If you are happy, it is because you are thinking thoughts of happiness. That is why people with a positive mindset quickly get over setbacks and soon become prosperous.
     Being an optimist essentially makes you think in certain ways despite current reality- this can be learned and it often makes all the difference to a person's career success or failure. Thus, to get out of undesirable conditions, stop being a complainer. The way to a better life is through delivering service and providing love. Adversity helps you master yourself through patience and self control.
     The paradox of true prosperity is that it comes to those who forget about themselves in providing service to others. As they become highly valued, they are showered not only with money but with love and honour. Anyone can gain wealth if he tries hard enough. But prosperity and peace of mind only arrive at the door of people who have mastered themselves. You can pursue wealth directly but it is wiser to purify yourself in the provision of service. For in the midst of riches, you remain virtuous, seeing yourself less as an owner than as a steward of divine abundance. Outside of contentment, there is neither prosperity nor power, but only the appearance of abundance.
     The path to true prosperity revolves around good character, also known as integrity. The Greek philosopher Aristotle said: "The hardest victory is the victory over self", but it is a victory that empowers you to win in all other spheres of life. In this 21st century you do not need religious faith to understand that the greater your moral depth and courage, the more you stand out from your peers.
     No work on refining your virtues of diligence, integrity and sympathy is ever wasted. The more abundant such qualities the more easily riches are attracted to you, compared to people who only chase short- term gains.

Riches through multiple streams of income

             By Bayo Ogunmupe

     Every naira is a money seed. Just as a tiny acorn contains power to grow into a mighty oak, each kobo has the power to grow into a mighty money tree. Rich men have always known, if one stream dries up, they have many more to tap into for support. Which is why ordinary people are much more vulnerable. If they lose their one and only stream it wipes them out. Now you need a portfolio of income streams, not one, not two, but many streams from completely different and diverse sources-so that if one stream dries, you will barely notice. You will be safe. You will be able to have time to adjust your finances. The prosperous do not depend on only one source of income but grow orchards of money trees.
     In the 20th century, and before the onset of the 2014 recession in Nigeria, most families could survive on one income. Today, most families need more sources of income. Now we need multiple streams of income to be truly prosperous. People think that having a good job means security, but ever so often it happens, with one job, prosperity can turn to poverty with amazing speed. Widening your sources of income provides peace of mind, because if one source dries up, you not only have others but have the time to find more.
     Robert G. Allen is famous for his 'creative financing' real estate books; so you would expect his: Multiple Streams of Income: How to Generate a Lifetime of Unlimited Wealth, to focus on the flashier, high- growth ways to wealth. Allen taught conservative investment strategies such as having a survival account containing three month's emergency cash; making sure that 10 percent of your income is always channeled into investments. Then, if you go to the stock market you must stick mainly to index funds. Allen is big on the power of compound interest. The richest man of his time Baron de Rothschild described Allen's advocacy as the eighth wonder of the world" noting that in a span of a lifetime, a dollar a day will grow into $1 million.
     Most people will be looking to make money at a faster rate than that over a lifetime. However, this is where Allen showed incredible creativity: he identified three money mountains- investing, real estate and marketing. From here the average person should, with a little knowledge and effort be able to obtain at least 10 streams of income that keep ever flowing. In the process creating freedom from a single employer. For the concept of multiple streams of income to work for you, you must stop the leaks. One leak is taxes. That is why wealthy people are not afraid to spend money on getting the best tax advice available.
     Another leak is spending. Prosperous people do things differently. They make sure that most of their purchases are planned. The longer the time frame before a purchase, the less you will pay. As oil magnate Jean Paul Getty put it, "I buy my straw hats in the fall". That means he buys his Christmas groceries in September. Rich people ask for and get discounts. They never pay retail. They balance their accounts regularly. 

Habits that hinder your prayers

   Habits that hinder your prayers
             By Bayo Ogunmupe
     In an attempt to make human existence meaningful, people craft measures to make impact in the world. They live to achieve goals so as to realize their full human potential. The only way to achieve this is to work and pray. The belief in one God who answers prayers started among the Jews of ancient Israel in about 1513 Before the Christian Era (BCE). They named that God in Hebrew: Yahweh or Jehovah. Followers of this first religion that believe in one God- Judaism use Moses to beg Him in prayer. The English call Jehovah, God or the Almighty. The Christians, a sect of Judaism use the name of their founder Jesus the Christ to beg God so that Jehovah can hasten the acceptance of their prayers. The Arabs call God, Allah and use the cities Makkah, Medina, the hills Saffah and Marwa and the mosque Kaabah to beg Allah in worship.
     While our prayers must be constant, persistent and without ceasing, to gain God's acceptance; we need them to overcome satan's power. We need prayer to prevent satan from ensnaring us into sin. Also, prayer is appointed by God as the means by which we can obtain favour from Him. For us, prayer accomplishes many things. It promotes our spiritual growth. Prayer gives us power for any work be it in our career or profession. Prayer for results is a definite and conscious appeal to God which underscores the power of united or group prayer. God delights in the unity of His people- and seeks to emphasize it in every way. Indeed, where two or more people perfectly agree to ask for a thing, such prayer has irresistible power.
     In the nations of Asia: China, India, Russia and Japan, they appeal to God in their native faiths and God accepts their prayers. In Japan where 84 percent of the population believe in Shintoism, God accepts their supplications.Yet, they are prosperous, without oil or steel they are the third largest economy in the world. Brandishing work as prayer, the Japanese have banished poverty becoming a world leader in refining oil and building automobiles.
     The first hindrance to prayer is to ask God's favour in order to spend it for pleasures. Sin is the second hindrance to prayer, Isaiah 59:1-2. Your prayers are not answered because you wallow in sin. The third hindrance to prayer is to keep idols in your heart, Ezekiel 14:3. An idol is anything that takes the place of God, anything that is the supreme object of your affection. God alone should be supreme in our hearts.
     The fourth hindrance to prayer is to be found in Proverbs 21:13. "Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard." There is no greater hindrance to prayer than stinginess, the lack of liberality toward the poor and God's work. It is the one who gives generously to others  who receives generously from God, Luke 6:38; 1 John 3:22. And when you stand praying, forgive. Lack of forgiveness is the fifth hindrance to prayer. A wrong relationship between husband and wife is the sixth hindrance to prayer. This enjoins you to deal honestly with your spouse.
     Finally, prayers are hindered by unbelief. God demands that we believe His scriptures absolutely. To question is to make Him a liar. Let not any man without faith think of any answer to his prayer. "But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally- but let him ask in faith," James 1: 5-7. Work and prayer go hand in hand. Worship comes later, when you have the time. Mostly we have substituted worship for prayer in Africa which is why we are poor; God does not hearken to our prayers. We have only poverty and corruption to show for our hypocrisy. Let us learn from the prosperity of the Japanese who believe that work is prayer. He prays the most who works hardest.

Infrastructure concerns of local governments

             By Bayo Ogunmupe
      Local governments are the third tier of government. The first two are the state and federal governments. So far there is where in the world where local governments are independent either of the state or the federal government. When local governments are independent the states become irrelevant, because the states will no longer have access to the land and the people. Besides, federations all over the world three tiers of government.
      Be that as it may, local governments are nearest to the people. They comprise the executive expressed in the Council chairman and the supervisors. Like the states and the federation, supervisors represent commissioners of the states and ministers of the federation. Like the council chairman, councillors are elected. They constitute the legislative arm of local governments. Like state and federal legislators, councillors make laws- such laws are called bye-laws. Councillors also have oversight functions in the councils. They ensure the chairman and supervisors adhere to the budget, execute projects and the like.
      It is for these reasons that the refusal of some states to conduct local government elections are objectionable. Under section seven of the 1999 Constitution, it was envisaged that some people shall be elected  to take charge of the affairs of the local governments. The Constitution mandates the people to assume office as prescribed by it. For that reason the basic law directs that there shall be elections to the 774 local government councils of the federation. The Constitution clearly forbids anyone or group from taking control of the government of Nigeria or any part thereof except as prescribed by law.
      Thus those saddled with discharging authority at the local government level without election constitute the usurpation of the authority of local governments. The governors should be blamed for these lapses. Indeed, failure to conduct local elections as at when due, is a grievous breach of the Constitution. But governors have a duty to defend the Constitution by preserving the values and ideals of democracy. In the circumstance, council chairmen are mere pawns in the hands of governors. Expenditures of local governments are variously regulated by the governors. Therefore governors should give utmost priority to local elections as learning process for federal elections.
      Adhering to such recommendations will boost democratic practice in Nigeria. It will also ensure that the dividends of democracy reach the grassroots faster than ever before. However, we should not miss out the federalist doctrines which confer power on the federating states to control and promote their local authorities. Certainly, the present Nigerian federalism is skewed to favour some communities; because states and local governments were arbitrarily created. That arbitrariness has encouraged many states to create area councils without the corresponding financial powers.
     However, to reduce the cost of governance, particularly now that states can no longer pay salaries of workers; we should convert zones to states with the present becoming local governments. Then, councils can create housing estates in order to provide shelter for the people. Thus, the infrastructural concerns of such councils could be met. Such concerns include: rural roads, low cost housing, water supply and flood control measures. Indeed, the urgent task of the people should be how to make council officials accountable to the people.
      While some states have complied with constitutional provisions on council elections, many have done other things that render local governments irrelevant and powerless to fulfill their functions. Under the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution, the functions of local governments include:  construction and maintenance of roads, streets, street lightings, drains and other public highways, parks, gardens, open spaces and such public facilities as may be prescribed from time to time by the House of Assembly of a state.
      It is disheartening that some states have conspired to strangulate the importance of councils  by diverting their funds to other uses. Thus, the constitutional provision requiring the payment of council statutory allocations into a joint account with the states has not been helpful. However, that does not necessitate independent local governments. The clamor for independent local governments is borne out of ignorance and profligacy. As poverty and unemployment ravage Nigeria, councils should be empowered to assist in the establishment of local and import-substitution enterprises for our prosperity.
      This may be done through the institution of a N720 billion national full employment programme for the country. In this way we my heave a sigh of relief from the debilitating scourge of poverty ravaging the country. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, unemployment in Nigeria doubled between 2006 and 2011. At the same time, we allowed our factories to close down in favour of a trader mentality that imports everything  including toothpicks from China. If we must use Chinese for there cheapness, why don't we bring them here to manufacture the goods and create jobs? Clearly, many things are wrong with Nigeria. Let local governments build this nation for us just as Amuwo Odofin Local Council Area is blazing the trail for all Nigerians in Lagos state.

Courage as the catalyst of visionary leadership

  Courage as the catalyst of visionary leadership

             By Bayo Ogunmupe
      The writer and clergyman Sydney Smith asserted, 'A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage'. To discover and grow visionary leadership, you need courage. Before he joined the army, Winston Churchill desired to create a reputation for bravery. But he didn't know whether he had the talent for it. Then he went to Cuba to test his courage in a controlled environment. He understood that a person doesn't know what he is really made of until tested. If you fear the test then you never get the chance to develop your vision.
      Our courage is tested when we respond to changes when inactivity is more comfortable. Never leaving the familiar means you are comfortable. But your willingness to let go of the familiar means  you are courageous. Greatness is founded on bravery. It takes courage to escape from old ideas and respectable ways of doing things.
      To become a visionary leader you must be willing to give up the present to become all you can be. By leaving your comfort zone and bravely striving on, you can reach heights you thought were impossible. The opposite of courage is cowardice. Cowardice is conformity. It isn't enough to believe in something; you must live it. Learning and growing require action. Learning forces a change in behaviour. You haven't learned a thing until you can take action and use it. From knowledge comes strength that subconsciously inspires you to push on in the face of stiff opposition.
      No one makes the most of his talent in isolation. Which is why you must seek the cooperation of others in order to accomplish your aims. By treating others better than they treat you, you make others willing to work with you. People admire leaders and innovators. People honour them, historians write books about them; sculptors chisel their images on the face of hills. However, others want to knock them down. thus, if you want greatness, you never wait for a crowd. You strike out alone. That takes nerves and grit, so you must have both. Greatness is the accomplishment of things which people think were impossible.
      Adversity is the enemy of progress; so as you move forward, obstacles get in your way. How you overcome obstacles teaches you about yourself. Success makes you wiser and stronger. Greatness is gained by facing difficulties with courage. If you wish to develop more courage, then do the following. One, courage is inside not outside of yourself. During the great Depression in America, the great inventor Thomas Edison, delivered his last public message. He said, "Be courageous, I have lived a long time. I have seen history repeat itself again and again. I have seen many depressions in business. Always the nation has come out stronger and more prosperous. Be as brave as your fathers before you. Have faith, go forward."
      Edison knew that when we experience fear, we must move forward. Courage starts from the mind before it is displayed. Two, grow courage by doing the right things, not the expedient. Florence Nightingale observed, :Courage is the virtue of those who choose the right thing over the expedient thing. It is the common currency of those who do what they are supposed to do in time of conflict, crisis  and confusion." 
      Three, taking small steps of courage prepares you for greater challenges. Mostly, we want to grow quickly, but genuine growth is slow. To be successful therefore, we must start from small things and do them everyday. Your life changes when you change something you do everyday. Which means being made a leader won't give you courage but courage can make you a leader. Former British premier Margaret Thatcher remarked, "Being a leader is a lot like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are one, you aren't." The position does not make a leader. The leader makes the position. Leadership is an expression of courage that compels you to do the right at all times. Your influence expands with each courageous act you espouse.
      People who are willing to take risks, explore their limits, and are ready to experience defeat will go farther than those who timidly follow the safe path of living. When you resolve to sacrifice lesser ambitions to your great aim, to stand alone, firm in your purpose, you set in motion the divine forces God has implanted in you for your greatness.
      Therefore, visionary leadership means you have developed convictions that are stronger  than your fears. Your vision must be clearer than  doubts. Your tenacity of purpose must be stronger than popular opinion. Your dissatisfaction with the Nigerian reality must be more  forceful than the status quo. Your risk taking must be stronger than your desire for personal security. Your desire to serve justice  must be more robust than rationalization. Your goal of realizing your full potential must be more than seeing people appeased. Only courage can propel you to greatness. You must trade what you have for what's best for your success.