No matter who you are, where you are from and what you want to become, good health is the pivot to your success. It is the ultimate key to riches as it opens the door to everything good in your life. In every nation, regardless of their economic status, improving the quality of life and increasing longevity are common threads that tie us together. Sadly, far too many people in many places lack basic resources like food, clothing and shelter; it is essential for us to protect our diverse populations from the devastating impact of preventable illnesses and death.
Senator Isaiah Balat of Kaduna, Veteran journalists Yakubu Abdulaziz of Kwara, Rufai Ibrahim of Nasarawa; Nigeria's former Charge D'affaires in Lebanon Terimi Jimoh and Chris Ghomorai of Bayelsa were my bosom friends killed by Nigeria's poor environment. The problems are cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease all of which are non communicable. Together they are the world's leading cause of preventable death and represent the defining global health crisis of this generation.
In the 1990s, forty percent of deaths from non communicable diseases were in our developing countries; compared to 75 percent today. This surge can be traced largely to four areas: tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, insufficient physical activity and unhealthy diet which leads to obesity.
Each year, 38 million people die from these diseases globally. But three quarters of these deaths occur in poor countries like Nigeria. In addition, these health threats carry an economic burden of increased medical costs with lost wages and unpaid pensions that continue to climb. A 2011 report of the World Economic Forum estimated that non communicable diseases could cost the world a cumulative output loss of $47 trillion by 2030. Of course this doesn't begin to factor in the emotional toll on family and friends- the abandoned children without parents; students left without teachers and businesses left without leaders.
But what is to be done? We all have an obligation to help ourselves and the community to control their risk factors. It is more straightforward than you may think. A 2015 study published by the American Journal of Medicine concluded that chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and cancer could be cut by a half if people adopted healthy lifestyles such as regular exercise; diets low in sodium and added sugars and abstaining from using tobacco. Adopting healthy lifestyles however, doesn't happen overnight. There is science behind why people change, as each person is inspired and motivated by varying emotional and life factors.
While taking an individual approach to extending and saving lives is effective, think about what a dramatic impact we can make by casting a bigger net and creating a culture of health. This means designing infrastructures so the healthy choice is the easy choice. For instance, nations can prioritize creating and maintaining safe spaces for exercises; low cost options to purchase healthy foods and clean air laws that protect people from the dangers of second hand smoke. It doesn't have to be an entire nation. It could happen in a community, company or neighbourhood. Every little bit helps to preserve and prolong human life.
Effective prevention also means understanding the unique risk profiles based on race or ethnicity. In the United States, African Americans have a high prevalence of hypertension, a major risk factor for stroke; not surprisingly, stroke rates are much higher among African Americans. Where you live can make a huge difference between the length of your life. We have seen life expectancy differ by more than 20 years for people living just five miles apart. With creative problem solving, there are many more ideas and more solutions. The key to salvation is in working together, by so doing, we can create a world that is healthier and all manner of prosperity is sure to follow.
The protagonists of the New Evangelism believe that another name for the Supreme Being is Abundance. You can meet these people in the social media particularly on Facebook. These new theologians believe that by being attuned with God Almighty that permeates the universe, you acquire the right to ask Him for your fair share of His riches. It is your right to ask God to become the most you can be. And you should ask to make earthly contributions which can reverberate beyond your lifetime. At the same time you must not neglect your workaday duties, for work is prayer in another form. This is exemplified by the Latin adage: He prays the most who works hardest.
"With the last word, the transformation begins. He hears a tremendous crack. Then a roan, and a rumble as the gate swings away from him in a wide arc. There, stretching to the horizon, are fields of blessings. And Jabez steps forward into another life." Simply put, God favours those who ask. To ask God that you want honour isn't arrogance in Jehovah's eyes. It isn't self- centered either. God's kindness in recording Jabez's story in the Bible is proof that it is not who you are, or what your parents decided for you, or what you were fated to be that counts. What counts is knowing who you want to be and asking for it.
In a nutshell, do not be afraid to ask for blessings in your life. With the help of divine power, you can do more and more. The character Jabez is mentioned in the Bible book of Chronicles. The idea that an average person could obtain blessings and abundance through simply asking and being given suggests a new appreciation of how God works and therefore the foundation for any aspirant for prosperity in life.
The story of Jabez is hidden because he did nothing remarkable in ancient Israel. He appears in chapter 4 of Chronicles in the listing of the descendants of Judah. Jabez's start in life was not good. In his wish to improve himself he prayed the following: "Oh, that You would bless me indeed. And enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain." After this comes the simple line: "So God granted him what he requested." Nothing is said about what subsequently happens to Jabez. All we know is that his prayers were answered.
Thus, it is good to ask. Great people of faith do not think it is selfish to ask for huge blessings from God. They felt that to fulfill their task, they will need more resources and power than the average person. So it is right to be selfish in your prayers, to say: "Bless me abundantly." Indeed, the example of the Jabez prayer is that your demand becomes a habit, said daily. Never be afraid to ask for more, even when you swim in abundance. God's supply of blessings has no limit.
Asking for more is supported by Proverbs 10:22: The Lord's blessing is our greatest wealth; all our work adds nothing to it. Two, James 4:2: You do not have because you do not ask. Finally, Matthew 7:7: Ask and it will be given to you. Note that while Jabez asked for huge blessings,he left it open to God to decide the exact nature of the blessing. God will shower you with blessings when your faith in His goodness is absolute. Yet God waits to be asked as a precondition for helping you. Always pray, believing that no obstacle is larger than God.
Jabez asked: Enlarge my territory. Do not be ashamed in asking for more influence and responsibility, since you were born to be more and do more. Moreover, never be surprised when your blessings turn out to be more than you can handle; bringing new challenges. You may even feel you are the wrong person for the job. This is the paradox of the big blessing: That through God we embark on things which are too big for us to do. Yet, this brings further blessing. We're expected to attempt something large enough that failure is certain, unless God steps in.
That's how God sets you up to be a hero; making others wonder how you achieved it. Always ask for the hand of God in your life, since He wants to work with you and through you. So, it is not selfish to pray to be great in the service of humanity. It is a fulfillment of Jehovah's blessing. Jabez says, "Oh, that you would keep me from evil." If said daily, the Jabez prayer enables you to avoid being in temptation. Finally, Jabez asks that he not cause pain to others. Such a humble request is a basic element for a blessed life.
The morale of Jabez is that what you want for yourself is little compared with what is in store for you if you become open to divine guidance. Just do not allow your upbringing limit you. History is replete with average persons who became remarkable due to their openness to a particular direction quietly suggested in prayer or meditation.
To pray for abundant prosperity is to feel and live in gratitude. Live to give and you will live larger and better than you have ever lived. Close your eyes and imagine you are being born again. And this is the very first day of your new life. Take a deep breath and open your eyes. Look around you; take note of your pristine hearing.
Are those birds chirping? Is the wind rustling the dry leaves? There are no flaws with your rebirth. Your mind is a tabular rasa, it is as clean as the slate and you are the author of this chapter of this book. Imagine this new day and this new you as a gift of the universe. It is a new day to climb mountains, to fly, to touch other lives more positively and to gain a new appreciation of the little things that were so often missed.
Your rebirth is the gift of gratitude. Gratitude is the essence of being thankful, the feeling of elation for every thing your senses experience, for all the items that help establish convenience in an otherwise chaotic environment; for knowing that you have the ability to make of your life, what you want it to be.
Now in charge of your life as the pilot, able to navigate your way through this messy world of chaos; into brighter skies.Gratitude is your aircraft. It is at the ready to be used as a vessel to show appreciation for those who are kind and even to the ignorant. It gives you the opportunity to be a gardener, to plant friendship, kindness and compassion. Thus, you are able to cultivate the qualities of gratitude. With the breaking of this new day, and this new you, learn and practice the prosperity prayer, the most powerful prayer in the world.
The seeds of my happiness today were planted two years ago, and the seeds of my happiness two years from now, are being planted today. The seedling of my being transcends what I am seeing, as discontent plows into divine countenance, nothing to be counted. When the bucket is empty, it is always filled with any water. Which is why I am a flowing reality; all I am is now, I smile because I am in this sunny Cosmos. I am so grateful and so blessed; thank you dear Lord for enabling me to serve.
During the growth of your new life, remind yourself of the positivity of the present while reciting the prosperity prayer. If you have lost your job, it is a new door opening. If you experience loss, you may look deep down and see that the energy is still connected with yours ; you must feel grateful for the memories. Be elated today at having experienced all the good and bad qualities if the people.
Surely, life teaches us lessons and for that we are thankful. You must rise above your ego and recognize that ego and gratitude cannot exist together. As Buddha said: "Let us rise up and be thankful; for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little. And if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick; and if we got sick, at least we didn't die." The ancients say that gratitude is the shortest shortcut to happiness. Even in your rebirth, you must struggle to learn proven ways that will help you manifest calmness and gratitude. Always approach negativity with new frames of mind; instead of focusing on the negative, spend time searching for the positive. Surround yourself with positive influences by listening to your intuition. It will keep your body and mind aligned. You must be able to care for someone without being around them.
Always speak up, you don't have tomorrow; you only have today.Express your thankfulness to all you know. Identify negative thought patterns, for negativity has the ability to creep upon you unawares. Practice self awareness in order to stay teachable. Watch how you breathe through meditation. Keep a journal for being human you are naturally forgetful. Read your notes of elation to remain grateful to man and God. Volunteer your services freely, for the best part of compassion, kindness and gratitude is in giving back. Action is the substance of compassion. Endless rewards are created when you give freely to others. Practising gratitude is a rewarding experience. Science has proven that practising gratitude leads to higher quality of sleep, increased energy and motivation. Also, gratitude reduces physical pain, decreases anger, regret and resentment. So open your eyes feeling grateful for successful living means living today as if it were your last.
Every human being has fears, for fear tends to evolve and change over time. A child might be afraid of the dark while youngsters are afraid of embarrassment during speech making. Newborns are afraid of loud noises. All fears are learned. What have you learned to be afraid of? Losing your life, illness, discomfort cause you fear. If it is only your ego taking, you will know fear isn't in your best interest. That is the fear that keeps you tied to your comfort zone.
Thus, you must reframe your situation. That you are physically uncomfortable should not control your thoughts and actions. When you are agitated by anxiety, take it as a sign that a lucky break is in the offing. Step out of your comfort zone and take advantage of the opportunity. Use fear to your advantage for it cannot be avoided. Embrace fear by making a list of your fears. It might be the fear of success or the fear of being isolated. By understanding the essence of your fears, you are able to conquer them.
By addressing the core of your fears you are able to eliminate them. Use fear to propel you forward. Champions have been those able to conquer their fears successfully. Conquering one fear makes you more capable. The next fear will even be easier to manage. The confidence gained through conquering your fears will spread all over every area of your life. Recognize that fear is self induced. It is only your perception of events that creates your fear. Even then, fear is just a feeling; even with physical symptoms, it is a mere feeling. Fear is just a guess. When you realize that fact, you will be able to conquer the fear.
Use fear to enhance your personal and mental discipline. Discipline is the ability to do things you don't feel like doing. You don't need discipline to do things you enjoy. Fear gives you the opportunity to learn about yourself. It should enable you to examine your belief system, your religion and freedom of thought. The secret of happiness is freedom. And the secret of freedom is courage. Use courage to conquer fear. The first freedom is bravery, without bravery no real benefit can ever come from any task we undertake. Conscience is the root of all true courage.
To conquer fear and gain the freedom to be happy in life, you must cultivate courage and bravery. One, promise yourself not to hold your past, your previous mistakes against yourself. Take the past as a lesson learned. Your experience helps you to grow and make better choices today. Two, live a life that feels right to you; not one that looks right to everyone else. Follow the path of your personal happiness. To gain something great, you have to let go of something else; which could be a relationship that wants to keep you at their level.
Three, give up relationships that limits you. People come into your life simply to teach you something. They are not meant to live with you for ever. Four, never allow any situation to permanently steal your joy. Always reflect on things that have lasting meaning in your life. And then rejoice about how far you have come in achieving your set goals. Rough situations build strong people. Finally, keep stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone. Every great success endured many stresses and struggles before becoming celebrated as champions. Struggles make you stronger and smarter. The more time you spend grappling with problems, the faster you learn what it takes to be a winner.
While reading messages sent me by readers of my newspaper columns, I stumbled on an interesting one which read in part: "I just wanted to thank you for giving me the strength and hope to stay alive. As I was fighting cancer, I read your columns in the hospital. Your words kept me high when I needed it. And the 20 percent chance of survival my doctors gave me a year ago became 99.9 percent this month. My doctors concluded my cancer is in complete remission."
Indeed, her email reminded me that too many of us wait too long to live our best lives. We keep putting everything off until tomorrow. Like my reader, make today the beginning of your second chance at life. Take time to achieve what you want. Take time to scrutinize your religion or belief system. Your religion may not permit you to realize your goals. You must take time to take risks. To attain your aims you might have to change jobs and residences to the chagrin of your pastors.
One, you must accept that this moment is all you have. Your life is between now and your next breath. So live every moment in full without fear or regret. A lifetime isn't very long. Which is why you have to fight for whatever you believe in. Two, the sacrifices you make today will pay dividends in the future. You should be willing to live some years like many people won't, so that you can spend the rest of your life like many people can't.
Three, happiness is when you feel good about yourself without feeling the need for another person's approval. But be aware that behind any great life, there have been some pain. So regard it a priceless gift to struggle and overcome challenges in your pursuit of excellence. Pain forces you to use your imagination. But imagination isn't bound by time, space and rules.It is an expression of your divine munificence, a limitless thought form. Society and religion have conditioned us to disbelieve our imagination. But our perception creates our reality. Our imagination was free to explore the universe until religion preconditioned fear into us.
So free yourself from the limitations imposed by tradition. Tradition is the enemy of progress. It is the tribes and clans that have adapted to environmental and climate change that have survived till today. For example, do you know there is a religion of empowerment called Wicca? It teaches you to take control of your life and future. Wicca is living in tune with Nature and creating a balance between all things both masculine and feminine. Wiccans believe in the Goddess that gave birth to the universe including the God who is Her consort. This Goddess is in all things making the universe to be divine. We are all connected to each other biologically and the universe atomically. It is a scientific fact that we are made of the same stuff as the stars.
Adherents of this old religion believe in peace; there is no Satan or devil in Wicca.The devil was inherited by Islam from Christianity both of which are sects of Judaism. There are no demons; Wiccans believe in a divine law that decrees 'harm no one' for karma says that any bad we give out will come back to us. In this new millennium, our imagination is challenged into higher realms. The human race is shifting its collective consciousness from the fourth to the fifth dimension. People are now waking up and asking more questions instead of sheepishly accepting what they are told as truth. This is the process of ascension each of us is going through at this moment; whether you are aware of it or not. Human life isn't going to be the same again, so what you experience will be unique to you. There is no right or wrong; there is only what is true to you at this moment. For success, I offer you this blessing: May the road rise to meet you; may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face. And the rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
Dr Jossy Nkwocha's book: Reputation management and Branding is an interesting addition to your repertoire, your library and toolkit. First published in September 2016, this bulky paperback is the toast of Zoom Lens Publishers, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Jossy Nkwocha, a distinguished journalist and public relations consultant is also the author of Effective Public Relations now in its third edition. Reputation management and Branding has 298 pages; two parts, thirteen chapters and an index of five pages. The book addresses the reputation challenges of businesses, government and non governmental organizations. The book is applicable to company chief executives,students, government image makers, marketers and public relations practitioners.
In his Foreword to the book, the director of the Lagos Business School, Professor Pat Utomi avers that modern corporations are conceived to live forever; but their average lifespan is shorter than that of man. Goodwill also known as reputation is a critical asset in achieving success in business. But from the last decade of the 20th century, corporations and governments have come to realize the great value of good reputation. Which is why they have deployed immense human and material resources to manage their reputation through branding.
Thus, Reputation Management is replete with the critical elements of the subject, including corporate governance, strategic communication, corporate social responsibility, events management and crisis management. Nkwocha has extended the frontiers of identity management and customer relations with the unique selling point of case studies which are rare in most of nigeria's published works. Those case studies help explain the practical application of the concepts enunciated in this volume.
These principles are from Nkwocha's doctoral dissertation at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2014 and his public relations columns the BusinessDay newspaper between 2004 and 2007. In her Preface to this first edition, the head of the department of Marketing at the university of Nigeria, Enugu campus, Professor Justie Nnabuko, says that reputation management and branding are important courses in marketing, public relations and Advertising.
Every organization and business needs reputation management and branding. Happily, how this can be applied is clearly explained in this book. Even individuals, company executives, country presidents and state governors will record amazing successes in their reputations through shrewd management and branding. Since perception is everything, so is reputation. In public relations and marketing,reputation is taken very seriously. Perception may not be real, but in the minds of the people, it is more powerful than reality.
That reputation is everything shows that a company's reputation is its most valuable asset. As a highly prized possession, reputation is a most potent driving force for the progress and profitability of businesses and governments. Reputation is more solid than image. It takes time to build and nurture reputation. Reputation endures more than image. But reputation built over decades could be ruined in an instant through a mistake. This is why corporate organizations and governments devote great resources to managing their reputation.
Reputation management and Branding: With Nigerian Case Studies is the PhD thesis of the author. He distilled it into this 13 chapter book. The diversity of the study and its findings in corporate reputation management make the volume an invaluable addition to your toolkit. Reputation and branding involves everyone in an organization. A company's products, services, policies and programmes play key roles in its reputation.
Part one deals with definitions, explores the multi disciplinary nature of corporate reputation. Chapter three examines the differences between reputation and image with the various arguments put up by scholars as to why reputation is superior to image. The author enumerates the key drivers and benefits of corporate reputation. He makes it crystal clear that good reputation enhances business growth, profitability and survival in the competitive global market.
In chapter five, Nkwocha discusses the main strategies in reputation management, namely, corporate identity programming, communication of its activities and policies, corporate social responsibility, the corporate website, crisis and events management. The book gives insight into the branches of reputation management which include corporate affairs; employee relations,communications, community relations, publicity and public affairs. Part two begins with chapter eight from where an expose of how to build brands begins. The chapter has three case studies with which to illuminate the subject.The next chapter deals with how to build house journals, a significant corporate reputation management strategy.
Ethics is important in any profession; how this affects reputation management is adequately covered in chapter eleven. In summary, this book provides you as Corporate Affairs manager or commissioner of Information with the essentials of reputation management and branding. The book reflects Nkwocha's backgrounds as an academic, researcher, practising journalist and columnist. Before his fruitful foray into public relations, Jossy had worked for 19 years as a journalist. He won many laurels as the general editor of Newswatch magazine, Africa's greatest investigative weekly magazine in the closing days of the 20th century. As adviser to the Bureau of Public Enterprises he participated actively in President Olusegun Obasanjo's privatization programme. In 2007, Dr Nkwocha was appointed Head of Corporate Communications at Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals in Port harcourt and in 2010 he was elevated to his present position of Special Adviser to the Managing Director. As a columnist, he enhanced the knowledge base of public relations practice through his books and newspaper columns. He is also a knight of St Christopher in the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion. He is married with many children one of them brought me this book from Port Harcourt.
In this day and age, life is hectic, very demanding and it is easy for you to feel life spiraling out of control. However, you can bring balance into your life if you make life a priority. It is so easy spending all day chasing your objectives; only to feel you have accomplished nothing at the end of the day. Most of us have experienced this. But it does not have to be that way. Balancing your life is possible. A busy life can be injected with meaning, candor and vigour. Here is how.
One, get started in the first hour of the day doing something you are passionate about. For me, it is studying, finding encyclopedia explanations to topics of the past week, building my online business of blogging. Also, I browse with my desktop and walk to the office to keep me physically fit. I always look forward to getting out of bed with excitement. Time is such a valuable resource that how you utilize it will determine how rich and happy you become in life.
Two, simplify your life through planning and budgeting. In today's world, it is easy to buy more things than you need and take on more responsibilities than you can manage. You may even be subsidizing the profligacy of others without knowing. Every extra item and responsibility in your life creates imbalance. Take time to analyze and eliminate things that don't serve you. Harmony and happiness will come to your life thereafter. This might mean saying no to demands from friends. Moreover, people knowing you work to schedule mitigates nuisance. Adherence to plans promotes and maximizes creativity. Have you ever noticed how solutions appear when your mind is relaxed? That is your intuition getting a chance to speak.
Three, give your health a priority. When life gets hectic, our first response is often to sacrifice ourselves for everyone and everything else. We eat convenience food and cut back on exercise. That is a mistake though I used to eat junk food when I am broke. Without good health life is ruined. If you don't give your health the priority it deserves, your resulting bad health will hurt you eventually. Do not take your health for granted; so take time to look after yourself, your health is your life.
Four, learn to be more patient. Your life might be more balanced than you realize; it is hard to notice this if you are impatient. A lack of patience makes every situation more challenging. Impatience renders you less capable at your job. Five, spend more time on activities that mean the most to you. Your family should be a priority. Working shouldn't be the only priority in your life. Not having hobbies, not hanging out with peers will affect your enjoyment of life. The more time you spend on enjoyable activities, the more you will enjoy your life.
Six, make yourself your biggest priority. When you take good care of yourself, you can take better care of others. When you are at your best, your work performance will be at its highest. Be selfish in prioritizing your needs and happiness; for everybody will benefit from that mindset. The Spanish philosopher and humanist Ortega Gasset affirms that self centeredness is the very basis of ambition. One must love himself well before he can become great.
Seven, get enough sleep. Research shows that performance increases by 80 percent, when subjects receive at least seven hours sleep every night. You will get more done by sleeping adequately every night. Eight, spend time on your relationships. This includes your romantic relationships. Keep up with your friends and extended family. Spend more time with the people that you love and enjoy hanging out with. Finally, define what having a balanced life means to you. Balancing your life is impossible until you clarify what balance means to you. Measure the time you spend at work, the time you spend with family at5 home; and the time you spent on leisure. Create a balanced life by choosing your priorities wisely.
Assume the sun striking a newspaper on a Nigerian beach. If even the paper were to remain there for ten years, there would not be much sun damage. Indeed, the pages would only become yellow and fade, for the most part, the tabloid would remain intact. But if we were to use a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun, we would set the newspaper ablaze in minutes. Such is the power of focus. Which is why loss of focus equals loss of direction.
Like the sun, you have enormous potential power. But it will not bear much fruit if it is not focused. Your good ideas and intentions can easily evaporate if not focused. One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power in a particular direction. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master any skill in particular. If we really understand the great power within us, we would act differently. Instead we dissipate it, but those who harness their power achieve greatness through being focused.
However, to help you focus on your dreams, write them down. When you write down your ideas you automatically focus your full attention on them. Few if any of us can write one thought and think another at the same time. Thus, a biro and paper make excellent concentration tools. But don't just write down your goals, write down your plans on how you will reach your goals. Planning helps you remain focused. Asking yourself questions is another way to remain focused. What is the best way to spend my time now? is a useful question to keep you focused. What step can I take now that will bring me closer to my goal? What do I need to do differently? Champions realize they are not immortal. We have limited time to achieve our goals, so we must act immediately. Reminding yourself that you cannot live forever helps you remain focused.
Here are the main things to focus on in your march toward stardom. One,focus on your choices. What you have become today is as a result of what you decided to focus on in the past. What you will be tomorrow depends on what you choose to focus on today. The locus of your focus determines your future. Two, focus on what is relevant to your ambition. You will never be able to read all the books on entrepreneurship, so concentrate by narrowing your focus on what you want. The elephant hunter does not stop to throw stones at birds. Three, focus on success. Success does not come by accident, success comes to those who worked for it.
Four, focus on the present moment; it is the only moment in your power. Now is the only time we have to focus on; we must act on our plans and monitor our progress. Only when you consciously focus on the moment can you receive the gifts, the lesson and the delight that it has to offer. Five, focus on your strengths. Spend more time focusing on your strengths than your weaknesses; for your strengths will propel you to glory. It is what you are good at that will define you; offering you opportunities to excel. Always focus on doing your best. Never underestimate your commitment to doing your best. It could just be the best the world had yet seen at that moment.
Early this month, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan(ERGP). The Plan is to restore the Nigerian economy from recession to growth by 2020. The ERGP is to reduce inflation from 19 percent to seven percent. Two, it is to restore the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through agriculture. Three, ERGP is established to boost power, the energy mix and renewable energy. Four, it is to make Nigeria become an exporter of petroleum products by 2020. Finally, it is to boost the anti corruption and national security efforts.
In the aftermath of the failure of previous administrations to fulfill their economic promises such as house for all in the year 2000; visions 2010 and 2020 and others, it looks pedestrian for Buhari to launch another short-term National Poverty Alleviation Programme. Since ERGP isn't captured in the 2017 budget, it is assumed the Federal Government (FG) will borrow to execute it. However, we believe it is unwise to borrow money either internally or from abroad to finance ERGP. Though this plan aims at lifting the economy from the doldrums, the quality and value of spending has to be better than those of previous administrations.
Indeed, the expansion of the economy which ERGP connotes, must have a limited lifespan otherwise it will crowd out lending to the real sector comprising infrastructure, employment and a new electrical power structure. The data released for the end of 2016 by the Debt Management Office (DMO) shows that the debt burden has soared from N354 billion in 2010 to N1.23 trillion in 2015. Domestic expenditure accounts for more than 90 percent of the total debt service because government's obligations are predominantly loans obtained from multilateral and bilateral agencies which are cheaper than its domestic borrowing.
The debt office's medium term debt strategy seeks a 60 to 40 split between domestic and external borrowing, compared with 76 to 24 blend at the end of 2016. However, the Eurobond of February 2017 was a great success because it revealed Nigeria's healthy external trade balance sheet. Total debt service in 2016 reached 35.4 percent of FG revenue. This ratio is particularly alarming because revenue collection in Nigeria have been very poor. The plummeting oil price since 2014 highlighted the derisory level of non-oil tax collection.
The ERGP will force up the total debt service ratio further to 38.1 percent by 2018 before easing out to 34.5 percent by the end of the plan period of 2020. The foregoing shifts deficit financing from 54 percent in domestic matters to 66 percent by 2018. By 2020 our external debt will amount to 72 percent deficit. In the circumstance, DMO will need to procure a deficit of N1.25 trillion in the 2017 budget- through raising funds from its monthly auction of bonds. That was started by Buhari through raising N535 billion from auctions in february 2017.
There is need for caution however, for sourcing for money via bonds will lesson a rigorous management of public finance. The ratio for the public rather than the sovereign debt stock would be about 25 percent after making allowances for domestic borrowings of states; AMCON bonds and takings from NNPC. The FG debt of N2.2 trillion unearthed last December adds to the impropriety of borrowing to fund ERGP.
For the last leg of the ERGP mandate, to boost the anti corruption war and national security. This administration has too narrow a definition of corruption. Theirs is only to catch a thief. They are doing nothing on cleaning the stable and building institutions that will stand the test of time. Sadly, our culture has become corrupt. This means to curb the malaise, our economic team must contain disparate disciplines. Like in the USA, the Council of Economic Advisers which overlooks the economy is staffed by about 30 people, 21 of which are professional economists, statisticians and demographers.
When you catch thieves that you cannot jail, it means the lawyers, the prosecutors and the judges are corrupt. How then do you hope to beat corruption? It means to win this war government must evolve a strategy. One way is to install expenditure tracking, a mechanism which must include tracking government foreign transactions, even including the presidential medical vacation abroad. This economy isn't as buoyant as it is made out to be. Corruption funded companies are folding up and laying people off. Unemployment is exacerbated by tertiary institutions graduating students which cannot get jobs.
Indeed, the economy will only be better when the north drops its opposition to the Host and Impacted Community Dividends clause in the Petroleum Industry Bill. This gives members of the host community a stake in the wells in their communities. Such recognition of the host community guarantees zero vandalism for the simple reason that one does not vandalize one's own property. Northerners opposition to the passage of PIB amounts to making Nigeria poorer in order to stop your neighbour from getting richer.
Finally, to make ERGP work, both the FG and the states must appoint boards to monitor, manage and execute its strategies. Also, the budget minister must ask for a separate budget for the plan. Better still, Parliament should create the Council of Economic Advisers to supervise the economy to enable nigeria overcome her economic backwardness. Fortunately, the International Monetary Fund came calling weeks ago urging Nigeria to take urgent steps to revamp our economy. It advised that priority be given refurbishing infrastructure, enhance the business environment; improve access to financing small and medium enterprises and strengthen the anti corruption war.
Also, the Fund specifically recommended that FG increase value added tax, excise duties and the removal of oil subsidy and the harmonization of our many exchange rates. Furthermore, a CBN release shows FG had a deficit of N3.2 trillion carry over from 2016. This huge domestic debt makes it necessary for us to fix the debt burden through the enthronement of a proper team of economists. Thus, FG and state governments should stop domestic borrowing for it crowds out SME lending. We should cultivate greater self reliance if we are to improve our economic fortunes.
Make a deeper commitment to participating in your personal unfolding by identifying and activating the emerging patterns of your soul's calling. Learn to let go of parental and societal influences dictating how you should be - and embracing what you were meant to be. Embrace what you were meant to be with gusto, love, acceptance and joy; and become a vibrant conduit to manifest your vision.
Allow yourself to be pulled by the dynamic vision already coded within you, instead of being motivated by outside influences. Learn how to express and radiate your unique giftedness, let it emerge with guided inspiration to actualize your mission and purpose. Finally, live in a field of pure potentiality, and radiate the dynamics of peace and prosperity- truly living your magnificent vision of abundance.
Abundance means wealth and thinkers understand the importance of saving and investing in accumulating wealth. Which is why they direct their mental energy toward accumulating wealth through serving people and solving problems. Here are strategies to fulfill your purpose of building wealth from self made millionaires who have done it. One, develop multiple streams of income. You won't get rich without multiple flows of income. That starts from the income you already have. Increase that income and start adding multiple inflows. You want what they called symbiotic flows. Do not just add disconnected flows. Instead, find other ways you can to add income to the job you already have.
Two, invest your money everyday. In just five years, Grant of Millennial Money went from having $2.26 in his bank account to $1million. On his blog, the 31 year old self made millionaire shares: "The single most important hack", he used to build wealth, "I break down all of my money goals into daily goals. I deposit money everyday into my investment accounts." He started with the goal of setting side $50 a day. He rarely missed a day. Then he tried making as much money as possible everyday so he could invest it. He stopped thinking long-term and thought of making that $50 threshold everyday. His daily goal of $50 deposit soon became his daily minimum. He later started setting aside $70, $80 and $5000 a day.
Three, pay yourself first. This means that in your daily gain, you save your minimum agreed sum in your investment account. According to the millionaire and best selling author David Bach, "There is one proven, easy way to get rich, that is to pay yourself first." That means when you earn a dollar, the first person you pay is yourself. Four, change your mindset about money. Getting rich begins with the way you think and your beliefs about making money. The rich figure out that training your mind to find solutions to problems is the real secret of making money. Riches are possible to anyone who conditions his mind to thinking in ways to transform thoughts into action. With the stream of money finds without investing, you can see that Nigerians condition their minds to poverty rather than wealth.
Life is not a bed of roses. It can be tough some of the times. And you have paid a heavy price to get this far, so your best option is to make your pedestal count by moving forward from where you are. Free yourself from the ignorance of negativity which tells you can and cannot do. Thus, start making positive promises to yourself by looking ahead, living ahead and getting ahead. Promise to fight back, fight harder, laugh harder and longer and slap adversity into oblivion. Promise to be a champion because you are a force to be reckoned with. Make these promises to yourself and keep them forever.
Do not hold your past against yourself. Your setbacks, regrets and mistakes are lessons, they teach you, if you are willing to learn, they will destroy you if you fail. So, everyday, take everything as lessons learned. At that time, you did your best within the limits of your experience. Your decisions were made with a young mind; if you were to make these decisions today, you would choose differently. Time and experience have a wonderful way of helping us grow and make better choices.
Two, live a life that feels right to you, not one that looks right to everyone. Permit yourself to follow the path that makes you happy. And be aware that some people in your life will refuse to walk beside you as you embark on your journey to greatness. They simply won't approve of it no matter what you say and you should accept this. Indeed, when you commit yourself to creating your own happiness, it clashes with the perception of others. Sometimes, when you make a great gain, you have to let go of something else. And this something else is a relationship that only wants you to do what they want you to do.
Three, you should let go of relationships that are obviously not meant to be. Most people come into your life simply to teach you something. They come and go to make a difference. And it is well that they are not in your life any more. Not all relationships last; but the lessons they bring to you should do. If you learn to open your heart and mind to anyone, including coworkers who drive you mad; that will teach you something worthwhile. Sometimes, it will feel weird when you realize you spent so much time with one you are no longer connected to. But that exactly is how it is supposed to be. You are where you are now because actions you took previously.
Four, do not allow any situation to permanently steal your joy. Even in moments of trial, pause, remember who you are. Reflect on things that have lasting meaning in your life. Then, smile about how far you have come. More so, nothing is more powerful than a smile that has struggled through tears. Everyone is happy in good times. It takes a strong and courageous soul to develop smiles out of weeping. Tough times never last only tough people do. Tough situations build strong people in the end.
Finally, keep stretching yourself beyond your present level of comfort. Just because you are struggling doesn't mean you are failing. Every great success requires worthy struggle. Struggling makes you stronger and smarter. The more time you spend struggling the faster you learn and the more courageous you become. Better to spend ten minutes growing than a mediocre hour running a factory. Everyday, practice stretching yourself to the very end of your ability, making mistakes and learning from them.
By looking more closely at how false information moves and mobilizes people, we can develop a richer picture of not only how much fake news circulates and how it resonates amongst varying publics. This column is exploring new and more subtle ways of looking at the fake news phenomenon and how our lives are mediated in an age of data platforms. Here is what we found why reports of events don't match outcomes.
Six months after the United States elections, where media reports affirm a Democratic Party victory but the results return Republicans as winners. Since then, fake news remains high on media, political and public agenda; sparking off a wave of concern in countries around the world. This is because without reliable and truthful information governments cannot plan and communications will turn awry. Media and technology companies have established new projects charged with ten thousand person units to deal with them-leading to concerns about solutions. Governments and public institutions have launched investigations to research and respond to these issues.
The term: fake news has become a keyword for both the media and political parties who contest it. Those institutions do not want the public to know it as corrupt enrichment. Driven by countless reports, opinion columns and despite numerous attempts to declare the issue dead, the issue endures like an endless argument where no one could give a convincing judgment. Amidst the panic, what are we to make of this politicized issue? How we are to collectively respond to this phenomena is the centre of our concern.
As a researcher of economic, social and cultural inquiry, I have been engaged in some projects tracing the production, circulation and reception of fake news online and to see how we might bring fresh perspectives to this debate. This is fascinating object of inquiry because of its highly contested character which tells us the nature of social institutions whose functions we may not usually notice as does social feelings and blind spots.
Our concern isn't just because fake news is being exploited routinely by advertisers, the media and politicians but rather that the rules and norms that bind us together are being violated- perhaps for fun, profit or political gain. But in following fake news online, we encounter not only rogue producers, propagandists but also xenophobic and hyper partisan mobilizations. We also learn about the patterning and politics of collective life online, with different technological and economic modes of organization that undergird it.
Here, we have the uncanny perception that, in hot pursuit of the perpetrator, is a trail leading to our doors as media practitioners. The platforms at the centre of fake news can be understood, not as black boxes but as relational achievements that involve and evolve alongside our own lives online and on the social media.
One can make the point that holder of the fake news weapon is not the only one with blood on his hands. Indeed, the issue can be leveraged as an opportunity for reflection, economic imagination, thoughtful attention with ambitious interventions around the platforms and infrastructures which pattern our lives in this digital age.
Beyond becoming more efficient at work as media practitioners, there are many ways of seeing fake news. One, fake news challenges binary conceptions of fakeness. Two, fake news challenges sharp distinctions between content and circulation. Three, fake news is driven by corruption. It is made possible by the economics and the platforms of the web. Finally, fake news websites and initiatives responding to them often have different publics. Fake news was responsible for the failure of the media to predict Brexit, Buhari's and Donald Trump's victories. Fake news is fueling distrust for the media. It is painting the media as being corrupt.
Owing to our growing knowledge of nutrition, children grow up very fast nowadays. Before you know it, they are out there in the real world; you are left hoping you've done enough for their workaday encounters. As parents, often we feel concerned about our ward's well-being and education. In fact from research we've discovered the well-being and education of wards as heirs are more important to parents than anything else. With heirs running all over the place asking questions about everything under the sun, we are compelled to share so many truths for the well-being of the future generation of Nigerians.
Thus, here are some useful canons that can transform the world of the coming generation. One, learning how to think is more important than learning what to think. Your future is determined by the decisions you take in the present. Which is why you must take wise decisions. Your present situation in life was determined by your past decisions. So it is important to learn how to think. Two, life is not a bed of roses, but you get stronger as you play along. Allow yourself and heirs the freedom to experience things on their own terms. Let heirs learn from life firsthand. Journeying through life on your feet is a learning process. You become stronger, become more confident learning from experience.
Three, a major disappointment in life results from misplaced priorities and expectations. Our expectations balloon with each passing day. Approach life with a positive mental attitude. Four, worry is an enemy of personal growth. It steals your joy and keeps you busy doing absolutely nothing. With worry you use your imagination wrongly by thinking of the evil that may befall you, whereas, what you imagine becomes your reality. Use your imagination to express the way you wish to be.
Five, being grateful makes you happier and healthier. A lifelong pursuit of happiness means finding meaning in life. Having a clear-cut goal enables you to keep track of your life and add meaning to it. The pursuit of happiness is far more elusive, if it is not based on any particular circumstance or goal. What you can really pursue is meaning; living a meaningful life. Six, the right journey is in the destination. The most beneficial experience is not in actually achieving what you want, but in seeking it. It is the journey towards your goal that matters because goals move forward with you as you chase them.
An example of a moving goal is the pursuit of the Nobel Prize. It is awarded yearly. It is the world's greatest award and it determines how creative a people are. Nigeria with a population of 180 million has one Nobel laureate. Compared to Israel which has 8.3 million people and with nine Nobel laureates. From this comparison you can affirm that Nigerians are not as creative as they believe they are. That is why we are in the governance mess that we are. As you pursue such goals, your life becomes more meaningful and you learn along the way. Within such a journey, passions are realized, love is found, strength and sagacity are gained. You cannot gain any of that without firsthand living. Which is why the right journey is in the destination.
Finally, the most effective road to victory is to embrace what you want. Never think of what you do not want. By focusing on what you want you abandon the negative. Action speaks louder than words. Children are never good at listening to their parents but they never fail to imitate them. Let your heirs watch you set good examples in all that you do. Then reinforce actions with verbal guidance. Ultimately, what you want in life comes from what you really do in life.