Square Pegs and Round Holes


November 2015

Nigeria as a Welfare State

N1.5 Trillion is what you get when you multiply N5,000 by 25 million people for 12 months. This is 25% of our proposed N6 Trillion 2016 budget. The US will spend 9.8% of her 2016 budget on welfare. They have a poverty rate of 15% of their population. This translates to a family of 3 living on less than $18, 550 per annum.
Nigeria has a poverty rate of 62% (based on other definitions), which supports a need for some kind of poverty alleviation or social welfare.

Implementing welfare systems depend on the availability of accurate data, and systems for monitoring, evaluation and control.

Statistics are very interesting. They put facts and figures to ideas. I know we have a president and VP who are interested in lifting the “very poor” out of poverty. From what I have heard them say, it is clear that they understand that investment in critical infrastructure, diversifying the economy, realigning educational direction and removing barriers to doing business will do more for poverty alleviation than any welfare scheme. They also understand urgency and the low hanging fruit theory.

Yet, a promise is sacred and integrity is a bankable asset.
But more important is making a decision to do only what is truly sustainable and being bold enough to engage your publics to sell your your decisions and gain alignment.

My bet is still on the FGN.


Fuel Subsidies – Palliatives and the Seven Questions

Palliative: Treatment or medicine which relieves pain or alleviates a problem without dealing with the underlying cause.
Often used this: “short-term, palliative measures had been taken”

Synonyms: soothing, alleviating, sedative, calmative…
We have been told that the government is working on some palliatives before embarking on the removal of fuel subsidies.

Per the definition above, my questions are:
1. Which palliatives are we talking about and how exactly will they soothe the problem?
2. How long will they be in place and take effect before subsidies are removed? By the way, OPEC predicts that crude oil prices will rebound soon…meaning an increase in subsidy is imminent.
3. Which country in the world, with a mono product economy and with our oil production (barrel) per person ratio, currently subsidizes fuel prices?
4. What is the percentage of our revenue being used to subsidize fuel prices? In 2013, it was close to 20%.
5. What are our alternative revenue sources, to make up for the subsidies and when will they mature?
6. How do we pay for the programs intended to put infrastructure in place, diversify the economy and give struggling Nigerians the welfare package or jobs promised by this administration?
7. Why are we still keeping all the refineries and maintaining a full complement of overhead when that sector continues to be unreliable and not showing impending signs of turning a profit or adding value that brings down the cost of petroleum products?


Leadership, Will and Resolve – Raji Fashola

Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, (right) asking an army  Colonel why he drove on the BRT lane illegally – July 17, 2012
In disorderly societies, one of a leader’s most effective qualities is (demonstrated) strong resolve.
The people must have no doubt that cases of non-compliance, willful sabotage, deviant and disruptive behavior will be pursued to the full extent of the law.
The people of Lagos will never forget the strong message sent by Governor Fashola’s personal involvement, in stopping a senior army officer caught violating Lagos traffic laws by driving on a designated BRT lane in July of 2012.
The soldier was later fined N25,000 and made to apologize by the top military command led by the chief of army staff, General Minimah.
Hear the governor, speak about this incident:
“It is very unfortunate that those who ought to stand in defence of the democratic values of the nation are the ones violating the law. But it signifies my commitment and the commitment of the Lagos State Government that all those who will not comply with our laws should leave our state. We will not back down. There is a zero tolerance for lawlessness. There is zero tolerance for breach of our regulations and we are going to do more of this. We are going to take control of our traffic. We cannot build our way out of traffic congestion; our responsibility is to manage traffic and manage congestion”.

Image: Vanguard News

What Do You Have in Your Hand?

Everyone is born with a skill. Something innate that usually needs the right conditions before they’re made manifest. Your skills are often tuned to your surroundings. God, the creator made it so, to enable you thrive where you are naturally located. However, you may have some other skills that present circumstances in your current location would not favor.

Having a skill is no guarantee of success, but it’s a foundation you can build on. There are other qualities like diligence and hard work, ability to recognize opportunity and persistence, etc.
What is that thing you can do better than most? What comes naturally to you? How can you profit from it? What are the factors that can either promote it or obstruct it? What other character traits do you need to actively develop to complement your skill? What help do you need and where can you get it from?

As we have skills, so also do we have limitations. These are things that will negate the value from your skills and reduce the chances of you profiting from them. Some are a bad attitude, laziness, poor teamwork, glory seeking, pride, failure to ask questions or ask for help, untrustworthiness, inability to keep to time and general indiscipline.
You must identify them and actively work to reduce or eliminate them.
You may even be limited by your current location. A Fuji singer is no good in Maiduguri. He needs to relocate to Mushin or Ibadan.

So, today I ask you: Do you know how to cook very well? Are you good with colours? Do people easily follow you and work with you in accomplishing tasks? Do you have ears for melody? You good with numbers? Can you speak really well? Can you write? Are you given to long hours of study and research? Are you comfortable with strange shapes and complex design bits? Where you a champion Lego builder as a kid? Are you compassionate? Do you have charisma? Can you hold your head in a crisis? Do you like the earth and things that spring up from it…a natural farmer  perhaps? In what area of endeavor or everyday living do you receive the most complements? There are many others. These are just primary attributes that can be rolled up into higher level secondary skills.

You have been gifted something in you that can sustain you. You have something that you can build on besides the drudgery of your 9-5. Do not be afraid. Observe and ask questions from folks around you about yourself. Take notes. Show yourself open to criticism, correction and complement.

In closing, I ask again: What is that in your hand?


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