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The “Motivational” Leader vs the “Instructional” Leader

Posted on: September 19th, 2016 by The Moderator 3 Comments

The Octagon: Welcome to The Octagon. 

We appreciate you taking time out to Join this Chat Session which will end at 5pm (1 Hour). We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do ? 

Thank You.

Sam:  Good day, gentlemen. I am Sam Ikoku, Ocean Lifter, and a Productivity Consultant with NAKACHI Consulting.

Oyiza:  Good day everyone, I’m Oyiza Salu and I lead the HR team at GTBank

Shina: Shina Atilola, I lead the strategy and communication team in sterling bank.

Aruosa: Good day all, i am Aruosa Osemwegie, my day job is Lead Partner, Enable Africa and Programmes Director, The HR School; my night job is speaking and writing people and organisations forward and some books have gotten published through some restlessness.

Chude: Chude Jideonwo, co-founder RED here!

Dikko: This is Dikko Nwachukwu. CEO JetWest Partners.

The Octagon: The relationship between leaders’ behavior or the leadership style and subordinate has gained increased attention in recent times especially with the emergence of millennials in the work place. Their career aspirations, attitudes about work, and knowledge of new technologies define the culture of the 21st century workplace. Millennials want a flexible approach to work, but very regular feedback and encouragement. They want to feel their work is worthwhile and that their efforts are being recognized. As a result there have been increasing complaints and even employee turnover rates. This is a real concern for businesses as these are “tomorrows people” and understanding how to manage them is key.

There is also the discussion that the larger organizations lose their core/essence, ability for top leadership to impact and give accurate appraisal as it keeps expanding operations.

All these impact the employee to customer relationship and more businesses are loosing the loyalty they once enjoyed.

How important are employees to a business success? Does leadership style affect organizational productivity? Is there a problem with the way leadership in Nigerian Businesses relate and channel its employees? Are there any leadership styles to lean towards?

Shina: Employees in business are like the blood in a human system. Therefore they are not only important but the most important for business success. Leadership can make or mar an organization. A critical trait of leaders that are successful is the ability to get the best from people always. It takes you knowing them beyond the work place. Building trust and creating a conducive environment.

Sam Ikoku: I believe The Octagon is addressing all types of people so I’d like to look at the two types of leadership from 60,000ft.  More and more the term employee is becoming obsolete. Partners best describe them and leadership must recalibrate to better manage them. A phrase attributed to Steve Jobs captures this well. “Why do we hire smart people if we tell them what to do?”

I believe the topic raise really cuts to the heart of the matter because the type of leadership now becomes a part of the business model.

For me,  after more than twenty five years of trial and error, I have come to some resolution on the difference between Instructional and Motivational Leadership. Despite talk about the Millennial Generation, both types of leadership have a role to play. The tweaking is in the prominence of one over the other. It is the employees who drive the business. Before now their role was mostly tactical, but more and more they formulate strategy as well.

Oyiza: It goes without saying that people are the core of any business. A lot of the times, you hear the phrase -“Our people are Our greatest assets” but to what extent is this demonstrated day to day? That being said, I believe that a lot of effort has actually gone into making this saying come to life within organizations especially with today’s reality of managing a diverse workforce.

Aruosa:  There is a limit to what one person can do. Having more people on board (otherwise called recruitment), is a way to multiply our results. Then if this group of people achieve synergy only then can they ACTUALLY multiply their efforts. And leadership style affects the ability for us to reach this synergistic state. The Nigerian business or Nigerian entrepreneur has a lot to learn but they might be finding it difficult to learn with the a difficult macro economy and a lot of learning of the wrong things too. Particularly if one doesnt create alternate communication diffusion systems which allows real info to get to you and of course creating a culture of candor

Oyiza: I agree with Sam & Dikko’s assertions. In terms of leadership style, it is important to find a balance depending on a number of factors including Organizational Culture. Also leaders need to ensure that they are not far removed from the goings on in the organization. They should be accessible to a large extent in order to really feel the pulse of their people, sell the vision and get buy-in.

Chude: I’m interested in Sam’s point about how to marry the two.

Sam: In my view, instructional and motivational leadership are different parts of the same spectrum which begins with self-awareness and ends with appreciation.

Dikko: Having led a company of 1500 people. I can tell you that when a leader sits in his or her ivory tower. You only get to see what your people want you to see. I think a leader needs to be visible and accessible.

Aruosa: @ Dikko, would be nice to know if and how you solved it.

Dikko: @ Aruosa i spent one day a week working in the field and got on flights whenever I could helping out in every aspect. From loading bags, to cleaning aircraft to checking in passengers. It resonated with our people very well. They felt motivated. They had direct access to put suggestions and ideas that made the system work better. It also made us the senior management understand their issues better. So it wasn’t always about Naira and Kobo. And when the catering department said they needed a high loader we quickly bought one because we too had carried food on to the aircraft and it was back breaking work.

Oyiza: @Dikko – That’s a very good way Of building credibility and trust.

Sam: @Dikko, I think that is a good example of instructional leadership. I want to assume you seize upon every learning moment.

Aruosa: Wow. Instructive. Sounds like what someone called Management by Walk Around. We can see exactly how YOUR leadership style affected their morale and company results. Thanks for sharing.  A leader defines the climate in his/her team and climate being simplistically “How it feels here to me”….and how it feels to me as an employee affects or defines how i do my job; how I relate to other staff and customers and whether i go the extra mile or not.

Sam: @Dikko One question. Would it help if leaders walk the path before creating job descriptions, providing tools and negotiate remuneration?

Aruosa: By the way what is instructional leadership…and what is motivational? thinking getting commonality of meaning would help deconstructing the matter.

Sam: I believe they are part of one spectrum. In that spectrum instructional leadership, which is the centre point is bracketed on both sides by motivational leadership. On the self-awareness side motivational leadership is inspirational due to the leader’s own achievements. On the appreciation side it is due to the leader’s ability to create an empowering environment for those working on a common vision.

The Octagon: The motivational leader is one who leads by getting buy in and constantly pushes his team to take ownership …. The instructional one leads by giving tasks/instructions.

Aruosa: For an academic discussion it would be nice to ask which is better or needed between instructional and motivational, but from a practitioner discussion, BOTH are needed….a leader needs to have both in his/her repertoire.

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Artists and the contracts they sign

Posted on: September 5th, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

The Octagon: Welcome To The Octagon. 

We appreciate you taking time out to Join this Chat Session which will end at 7pm (1 Hour). We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences. 

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do ? Thank You. 

Gbubemi: Hi Everyone, my name is Gbubemi Fregene. I am Chef Fregz sometimes.

 Tyeng: Hello everyone. My name is Tyeng Gang, and at the moment I’m the program director for Urban96 Network (Radio).

Tobe:  Hi Everyone. My name is Tobechi Nneji. TobeDaDiva sometimes 😀. I am a presenter and content creator.

Uyi: Hello Everyone. My name is Uyi Osifo. I’m an artist manager and co-owner of Flux Factory Group.

Tobi: My name is Tobi Adeola. I’m a sponsorship specialist with Etisalat Nigeria

Eniola: Hello Everyone my name is Eniola Leyimu and I am an Intellectual property lawyer. Nice to e-meet you all.

Andre: My name is Andre Blaze Henshaw and I’m a broadcast creative and policy administrator.

Nike: My Name is Nike Fagbule. I am Chief Strategist and sometimes founder  at Zebra Stripes Networks, a Public Relations Company in Lagos, Nigeria. #ThatsAll.

The Octagon: ”As an artiste, you have hustled and chased the dream. Finally some record label, or an investor shows up promising you the ride of a lifetime, and checks so fat, that you could see money falling out of it. But before you sign on the dotted line, perhaps there’s a need to make sure you actually understand what you’re signing so your dreams of fame and fortune don’t turn into a nightmare.”

With the growth of the Nigerian entertainment industry comes more structure, and contractual agreements. In recent times, we have seen various artists and their labels/management looking to the court to solve disputes.

Do you think that Nigerian artists are generally overvalued or undervalued when it comes to contractual agreements ? Why do you think that Artists are continuously having issues with their labels/management ?  Finally, What are some of the things you think that every Nigerian artist should consider before signing contracts ?

Tyeng: Artist are so eager to have a ‘record deal’, they’ll sign almost anything. And you know ‘we’ don’t read terms and conditions.

Tobe: I think there is, maybe, an initial  ‘take-anything-I-can-get’ mindset on the part of the artists. They pretty much just sign anything, after they’ve been told some attractive figures and sold the ‘dream’. They hardly ever read and understand and negotiate other components of the contracts. Then they ‘grow a brain’ a few years down the line and want to level up the agreements and the investors don’t agree.

Uyi: But then again, you have investors coming into the business without a clue or an understanding of the business.

Tobi:  The entertainment industry is one the rise, but the corporate issues around it is still a concern. Beyond artists being desperate, you will notice after one or two hits, they instantly want to own a Label without really understanding the business side of music. Also regarding valuation of artists with respects to the contracts they sign, we really don’t have the data to measure the quality of contract and the value within it.

Nike:  I don’t think it is a case of read and understand. I think they really just want that big break and no matter what their lawyers or managers say. They just see how the money or platform can take them to the next level. You will hear a lot of ‘It is me that is in it not you’.

Tobe: @tobi and @uyi. I agree. So it’s a mix of ‘desperate’ artists and ‘unaware’ investors.  A classic case of bad cook and rotten tomatoes.

Uyi: The thing is, these artists are usually blinded by empty promises, the investor in most cases just wants to be famous and make money off the project ASAP. Usually this ends in a messy situation. The investor is expecting an ROI on every investment. This usually isn’t the case.

Eniola: There’s a famous saying in the music industry, that it all begins with a song. If there is no song, there can be no recording session or artist singing the song. A distinction not often made in the music industry in Nigeria is between the musical  composition and the sound recording. So for example, I can write a song for another artist. While I own the song, the artist or whoever pays for the sound recording owns it. This is where record labels come in, they usually pay for the recording. The question then is if their investment justifies what they get back.

Tyeng: These ‘Investors’. They aren’t trying to develop you, groom you, help you better yourself, improve you and the industry – Just make them money. That’s why the quality of music sucks. Song writers, producers, get nothing after, which is so sad.

Tobi: It’s OK for an investor to want to make money, for them it’s business. As you will see the Nigeria market is quite complicated and unregulated, content is not safe. Artists are now only able to make real money from endorsements and performance opportunities, and if they are good enough, they get to go on international tours. This and more are the new ways they are able to make some money, of which a part of it goes to the investor.

Uyi: @Tyeng, it’s just business, and I really don’t blame investors because they see the artist the same way they see their other investments. With regards artists being overly valued. A clear case is Skales whose buy out clause is £10,000,000.

Nike: Well. I think the buy out was not based on the value of said artiste. I think it was more to ensure that the contract is fulfilled.

Eniola: Traditionally, record labels could justify their wanting to take as much as possible because music was sold via physical copies. They also had the distribution networks under their control.  However in this day and age where most music is digital or live, and artists can promote via social media, can record labels still justify their take as much as possible approach? I do not think so.

Nike: And the sharp ones see a way to make quick money. Get that house in Banana Island and travel around. The others just keep waiting for when investor will wake up and remember that there is a label somewhere. Either way. They forget about the reason they set out to be artistes in the first place.

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Would you hire a non-graduate over a Graduate or vice-versa?

Posted on: September 5th, 2016 by The Moderator 4 Comments

Welcome to the Octagon

The Octagon: We appreciate you taking time out to Join this Chat Session which will end at 5pm (1 Hour). We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do ?

Gbenga: I’m Gbenga Totoyi. Head, People & Process for L5lab – a Tech firm with interest in Venture Creation and Funding across Africa. I’m deeply interested in helping folks resolve their career related challenges.

Debola: I’m Adebola Olomo – MD Deefrent Limited (Digital Agency – Web & Online PR/Marketing) nice to be here.

Ope: Hello guys, this is Ope. I’m a growth strategist with D’mastermind. We enable businesses grow.

Ibrahim: Good afternoon all. I’m Ibrahim Fearon, Managing Partner 1StepAhead Consultants. We do HR consulting, recruitment, vocational education for youth, and training.

Yvonne: Hello everyone, I’m Yvonne Anakwe, i lead Procurement,Travels and Logistics and Office Management at Fbn Capital

Bankole: Hi, I’m Bankole Ojo-Medubi. Managing Partner at Westwood Works. I’m an architect who specializes in woodwork and shipping container construction. Also COO at Fashion For Charity.

Demola: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, my name is Demola Adeyemo,  I worked as a HR executive @Gr8an and studying an action learning MBA and focusing on HR. Good to be here.

The Octagon: Thanks for the introductions. Let’s Begin.

There has been the talk about high unemployment in Nigeria in spite of the number of graduates from our higher institutions for a few years now. This has been attributed to two factors; high pay demands vis-à-vis low returns in business and the qualification of hands for available roles. Employers seek people who will fit with their company strategy and more importantly deliver the sort of value that will ensure the organization is profitable. Amidst these challenges more and more business owners are now faced with the question of hiring a graduate or non-graduate for value sake.

Some people are of the opinion that the academic setting is an artificial place where people are highly trained to succeed only in a specific environment. At the end of the day, people with a college degree are far more highly employed and make more money than those who don’t graduate.

What are the biggest challenges employers of businesses face in Nigeria today? Would you hire a non-graduate over a Graduate or vice-versa? Why? Would you agree with the school of thought that so many Nigerian organizations are seeking over qualified employees? Should industry pricing determine salary structure or should this be determined by each organization?

Gbenga: You can’t take away Industry pricing in certain sectors e.g Banks but, then more and more organizations are reviewing their peculiar talents, and their plans to stay afloat through these tough times. Organizational needs will always be different per time hence, the need to approach Talent Management differently – from type to cost, training and the likes. Personally, I will hire a non-graduate for ‘specific roles’ where I know they fit in or offer more value.

Debola: Some job roles allow for skill quest over degree but yet I will expect them to finish getting a degree while working. But will hire a skilled programmer with no formal degree over a graduate with lesser skill or passion. I believe the biggest challenge employers face is actually finding the right talent to fit dynamic new systems of business whilst using old formats of selection. But the crop of graduates these days though…..

Bankole: The reality for me, is that I have little choice in the matter. Graduates are very scarce in my line of work.

Ibrahim: Industry pricing as Gbenga said can’t be taken away from certain sectors.. However in my opinion I have employed a lot of non graduates for their passion, drive and have turned out to be of better value than graduates. However for organizations, Its all about fit, managing talent to ensure results are delivered. Graduates these days are struggling because we have half baked teachers who have no clue at all.

Gbenga: Half baked teachers in unapproved schools teaching courses that are no longer needed in the marketplace. I doubt if our universities and the associated elements see what the real need/focus of higher education should be about. Sure we all know a few who see it purely as money centres or places of pleasure/fun with the younger generation.

Demola: Would I hire a graduate or a non graduate? I can hire a non graduate that meets particular criteria as pertains to the job description and the strategic directions of the company. However this decision would be dependent on several background factors.

Ope:  I think the main point for me is, I need to get people who can add value to my organisation. Self starters, people who can think, plan and also execute. The question is do our universities produce these quality of people. Maybe, maybe not. While I do not rule out education as a bedrock for success in career, organisations of today need more than just having a degree for the sake of having one.

Bankole: In a previous, octagon conversation, someone said we have a generation of strategists and no implementers. But,  we also have a large untapped resource of millions of people that are our low skilled workers that have been totally ignored by the system.

Demola: But is it the graduates fault or the lecturers fault? I think our systems are stagnant whilst the business topography is rapidly changing always.

Ibrahim: Demola, The buck lies with leadership. How many professors do we have yet our educational system is comatose, what is the government doing to improve where we are today? Reason I say government is because unemployment levels 16-30 are ridiculous. In Kaduna state its 87%. Now tell me will anyone be willing to take on some of these youth who are tomorrows future? There needs to be a stronger emphasis on education in our businesses so that there’s a trickle down effect.

Gbenga: Demola, Great point on the stagnation..which is why I strongly believe, the onus is on young adults to wake up to the realities of the Marketplace and adjust asap. In my line of work though, I’ll rather put the Leadership debate at the foot of young adults – government all over the world is overwhelmed and can’t afford to ‘fix everything’.

Yvonne: For me it all boils down to the industry. Depending on what line of business I will employ either. Industry and role determines who to employ, I mean if you are employing a Doctor, it better be one who went to college. Some roles do need some sort of formal education. In the Industry where I work, which is Financial, about 80% of the roles there require you have more than a 1st degree plus experience and one can’t dispute that. To be honest guys higher education adds some Polish and finesse to a workers skill. I’ve seen it over and over again. Education is very important. It’s best they have some degree, at least it puts some structure to their passion, but I will take the skill and passion if good, but yet encourage education.

Bankole: True. But a lot of graduates aren’t ready to learn the workers skill, so there’s nothing to lay the polish and finesse over.

Yvonne: Hey Bankole, that is where training and motivating the staff comes to play.

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Is there a future for sports in Nigeria?

Posted on: August 29th, 2016 by The Moderator 1 Comment

Welcome to The Octagon

The Octagon: We appreciate you taking time out to Join this Chat Session which will end at 4pm (1 Hour). We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences. Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do?

Thank You.

Shamsu: My Name Is Yusuf Shamsudeen Tijjani. I’m a Football Agent/Intermediary and also Co-owner of the Football Fives World Championship Franchise For Nigeria F5WC. I’m also the MD of NewAge Sports Africa, a sports business company.

Rehia: Rehia GIwa -Osagie. Owner elitebox.  We are experts in boxing and combat sports. I’m a general sport lover.

Boma: I’m Boma Ekiyor, a US soccer licensed intermediary and president of BEA LLC, a sport development/representation company. Also founder of Youth Converts Foundation, a non profit that focuses on sports development and using sports to address social issues. Also spent 15 years as a sports business executive in the NBA- Atlanta Hawks, NFL-Tampa Bucs, and NHL- Atlanta Thrashers. Also served as Project lead for the Racial and Gender Report Card for the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.

Bambo: Hi All, Bambo Akani, Founder & CEO of Making of Champions, a Sports Media & Management Company dedicated to reviving Track & Field in Nigeria. I’m also the Executive Producer and Director for Top Sprinter, a Reality TV Talent Search we launched last year to find Nigeria’s best Sprinters for the 2020 Olympics and beyond.

The Octagon: 

Nigeria may lack in the area of sports achievements but never in festivities and events. Many have called for a total change of leadership of the sports governing bodies following the country’s failure to win a single medal in two consecutive Olympic Games. While others are of the opinion that participating at the Olympic games is not primarily about winning medals.

However, no one argues with the lack of preparedness or low support for representatives at international games. Over the years more and more initiatives have been set up to discover new talent with little focus on developing these and existing ones.

If we stay on the current path we are on, will there be a future for sports in Nigeria? What are the real challenges facing sports in Nigeria? How do we address them?  How do we ensure that we are able to get quality representation and not lose our best to other countries?

Rehia: Typically in this terrain the right person for the job doesn’t always get the job. For Example the minister of sports in theory should be a huge pioneer and beacon for progressing sports within any country but in Nigeria sports may be the least of his/her priority. That being said, Understanding your environment plays a role –  the support will not necessarily come from the government. The enthusiastic and avid sports lovers themselves need to make the change they want to see.  People need to stop sitting down and watching premier league at home and actually go out and support the local leagues or create their own pockets of sporting platforms.  Every little initiative can help somebody. It’s just a start it’s not a revolution . Revolting doesn’t happen here, so let’s work within realistic frames and make baby steps. More pro-active participation in creating awareness and platforms for sports within. Support your own first. It’s a similar story for every sport . Football, Boxing, Athletics Tennis etc.

Shamsu: First of all I would say, sports in Nigeria is not seen as something the Government should bother or worry about unlike in other countries. We only focus on the major events like the World Cup and the Olympics were we just do the fire brigade approach and hoping a miracle Will happen. If we don’t plan then we’re planning to Fail. Mind you preparations for next Olympics starts immediately when the current one ends. Development has been our biggest problem. It’s just lip service by the people in charge. It is time the Government leaves the sport and focuses on other sectors. They can help in Infrastructure set up. In the world today, Sports is a business. It’s not selling akara. It requires huge investment.

Rehia: Haha. Sometimes miracles occur because we have some good talent .

Bambo: Unfortunately sports in Nigeria is mostly funded by the government and the Sports governing bodies and over the years these bodies haven’t demonstrated the level of accountability, transparency and value that would attract sponsors and other forms of private funding in sports in Nigeria. Actually preparation for any Olympic Games starts at least 8 years before. So essentially we’re already 4yrs behind serious nations even if we start preparing right now for 2020.

Rehia: 1- Education/empowerment 2-Cooperation/Mutually beneficial projects 3. Execution

Boma: I believe a clear and specific definition of the problems in Nigerian sports have not been identified. If I were to ask how many Olympic style swimming pools are in the country? Who can give me a clear answer? Or how is the NIT organized ?Or how many reps work for the NSC ? There are some deep rooted issues that need to be identified before a solution can be arrived at

Shamsu: I agree. Even the Football that we claim to be so good at is no more attractive any longer.  How many adequate football pitches do we have in the country? Not Sand pitches.

Rehia: How many quality boxing rings in the country?

Bambo: Huge investment is needed, yes, but unfortunately even if $10 billion was poured into Nigerian Sports today that money will disappear by tomorrow. The emphasis should be on finding the right people to govern sports else we’re going to be saying the same things for years to come.

Boma: Majority of the people that implement Nigerian sport are civil servants that work for the ministry.  And we all know how civil servants work in Nigeria.

Shamsu: That’s why it doesn’t need to be run by civil servants any longer. But then, who are the right people ? Not the NFF, NSC ?  For Example: How many of these so called football academies that have sold players over the years have Invested in their own Academies? None. Not even a Bus, Balls, School. So sometimes it’s not just the Government, even the private individuals claiming to be in the sport have nothing to offer. For them, money is the motive, nothing else.

Rehia: The Right person for the job doesn’t always get it – Individuals that are passionate and have unadulterated drive to grow a sport.

Bambo: Very good question, who are the right people? Not only do they need to have a large range of skills to grow sports (management, media, fundraising skills etc), they need to be selfless enough to put country way before themselves. In Nigerian Sports we don’t have much of either unfortunately.

 

The Octagon: From the points raised, clearly the approach to sports in Nigeria has either failed or been set up for failure. Do we consider that another strategy should be employed to set up sport administrative bodies? Maybe even consider PPP for developing both infrastructure and managing talent?

Boma: Clearly, another strategy needs to be created and implemented by competent people.  I believe PPP can be an option, however the involvement of the government must be clearly defined, even minimized. Another option will be creating a new platform for development. Because the government’s involvement in sport will not stop…it’s too political. A new platform for development is clearly the way. Tap into the 180 million, create leagues nationwide. Make sure the platforms have strong business plans. What that platform is will depend on the sport. The business of sport must be practiced – without it, it’s pointless. What can be sold, how can it be sold, and how will it contribute to development.

Shamsu: PPP can work. But the right people in both the Government and the Private sector must be identified, or else it won’t work. I’m with Boma on creating a whole new structure, without the government. All these men in Agbada’s and their over sized Coats won’t take our sports anywhere.  There are many youth in this country doing nothing. How can we tap into that?

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The Buy Nigeria Conversation

Posted on: August 29th, 2016 by The Moderator 2 Comments

Welcome To The Octagon. 

The Octagon: We appreciate you taking time out to Join this Chat Session which will end at 5pm (1 Hour). We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.  Let’s begin with introductions. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do?  

Ofili: I’m Okechukwu Ofili, a multipotentialite Addicted to Truth and Allergic to Bullshit! Founder ofilispeaks.com and okadabooks.com. Author of 4 funny books

Bolaji: My name is Bolaji Iwayemi and I’m the Marketing Team lead for Paga, Nigeria’s No.1 payments company.

Daniel: Hi, I’m Daniel Emeka … Digital and Marketing communications| Rookie Tech Entrepreneur.

Gbadebo: Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour – Architect and Creative director for Literati clothing.

Lolade: My name is Lolade Fadoju. I work within Digital Marketing for GTBANK and Head the SME MarketHub. It’s a pleasure to meet you all

The Octagon: Thank you for the introductions.

Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally-owned business, rather than a nationally-owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.

Senator Ben Bruce recently started the #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira campaign. 

In his words, “Obviously we cannot cut ourselves off from the world. No nation is an island, but at least we can fly Nigerian airlines, eat locally produced food and patronise our football league. If we do this, not only will our economy grow and produce jobs for Nigerians, it will also make our goods and services improve in value such that they will be attractive enough to be imported.”

Understanding the need for Local content, Should we be creating localized versions of international businesses winning the Nigerian market.? How can we get Nigerians more comfortable with Buying Local and appreciating local businesses? 

Bolaji: Quality plays a huge part in buying Nigerian. No matter how much I love my country I will not excuse mediocrity. Another issue is the fact that little to no manufacturing occurs in Nigeria. So when we “buy Nigeria” are we actually buying Nigerian.

Gbadebo: Currently a £20 pound T-shirt now costs 10k. I think at the rate we are going it would no longer be a question of making people comfortable. It would be people actively looking for substitutes. The onus would be on the makers to be able to fill that gap.

Bolaji: @Gbadebo very true but we need to change your perceptions first.

Daniel: Understanding the consumer and insights that drive their purchase behavior  is key creating good enough content for them to buy. I started www.ethnikcity.com on the premise that, a lot of Nigerians complain about failed processes when dealing with Nigerian artisans and manufacturers.

Ofili: But can they? Is the Government doing enough to help us grow. Doing business in Nigeria is very hard. Legal Taxes are high and illegal taxes are higher aka omo nile.

Bolaji: @Ofili how do we by-pass the govt and “create our own destinies”?

Ofili: It’s difficult …with okadabooks we have minimum exposure to Government. We are a software, and our office exists in the cloud. But for manufacturing businesses it is difficult. I watched my Dad become a shell of himself trying to run a plastic company in Nigeria as an honest man. It killed him. The government took everything he had and gave him nothing. No light no power nothing. So it’s hard. Lindaikeji can thrive because it’s software same with Bellanaija. But when you start manufacturing physical products it’s impossible to dodge the government.

Bolaji: The cost of 3D printing is dropping. Imagine your Dad could running his company at about half the cost. For food and some elements of clothing “buy Nigeria” is very alive.

Ofili: Agreed. But you still have to deal with Government regulations. You have to transport. You need power. They will tax you etc. In the US you get tax breaks as a business. In Nigeria you get broken by taxes.

Bolaji: There are tax breaks in Nigeria. Pioneer status entitles you to 4 years without paying income tax

Ofili: Can you explain that term “pioneer status” I am not familiar with it.

Bolaji: Pioneer status – you’ve created something new in the market

Daniel: Nigerians will not buy from you because you are Nigerian. They will buy because your product feels a void. But from a branding perspective … the #BuyNaija causes trials. Retention is now what your product and service gives you.

Gbadebo: I think we need to separate consumers. The mass market does not care too much about where things are made. Mr Ofili wrote a brilliant piece about made in Aba once. There was a time that the made in Nigeria perception was a positive one.

The Octagon: Until recently when it became harder to purchase imported brands, it was difficult for Nigerian businesses to develop products to compete with these brands. The competition did gave them little or no chance to break in. If dollar rates where low how do we still convince the populace that buy Nigeria is important. Or this conversation only important for tough times.

Bolaji: This is a very good point because once FX stabilizes people will go back to foreign products.

Ofili: Buy Nigeria is key and logical. It’s just that the quality has been lacking. I printed books in Nigeria and now I give them out for free because the print quality was bad.  But hopefully companies like Printivo can break that cycle.

Gbadebo: Currently to stem the effects foreign exchange has on our business we have localized our production, especially the labor-intensive parts. Another thing to consider is the huge margins one can make by earning foreign currency with sales to the International  Diaspora.

Bolaji: The Government has a very important role to play to create a conducive environment to manufacture locally.

Ofili: I don’t think so. If the quality is good people will buy Nigeria. It’s quality. How do we get quality.  A handy man has done the same job in my house 2 times, each time it was poor. If we somehow get our people to understand quality it will help. And I feel it starts with our universities and technical colleges. The quality disrespect starts at that level.

Bolaji: I was watching NARCOS and thought that the model used was great to bring in Forex but the product was wrong.

Lolade: I believe every individual plays a role, not just government. Consumers demand good quality and competitive pricing. For a long time, several businesses survived by importing top quality to feed local demand. Of course, this has become more challenging with USD hovering around N400 and GBP north of N500 (would be north of N600 if not for Brexit ). Because of this, we are noticing some new trends with businesses trying to circumvent the FX challenge.

1) Some are importing MORE from other markets outside of the US and UK (eg, China, India, Canada, Turkey, Middle East).

2) Some are trying to start producing and sourcing locally.

Unfortunately, as everyone would agree, manufacturing is a major challenge. Seems a little like a chicken and egg problem, but my conscience still pricks me to support Nigerian businesses because I believe it is for the greater good. This means sometimes I will have stones in my rice or even a roughly finished seam in my clothing. But for me it is an ethical decision.

Bolaji: Very well said. However, Quality is relative. A brand like Polo by Ralph gives a distinct experience that no local brand can give.

Ofili: The other thing I see is that a lot of businesses look to create products for Lagos and not Nigeria. So the quality products are priced and branded for one market.

Gbadebo: What we did in our case was we set up a 5 month experimental phase, sourcing the fabrics washing and testing them, then doing several samples until the tailors stepped up to the quality of finishing we expect. It is a costly process but we also have to consider that the quality of finishing and workmanship is a direct reflection of the ‘anyhow-ness’ that pervades our society…and most Nigerians don’t actually see what we call poor finishing as normal. It’s

Bolaji: Hmmm research and development. Something that’s lacking here. Well done

Gbadebo: That’s what we did I don’t think it applies to every sector, but that was a solution in ours. Another thing is to go out of your comfort zone, I got that advice from The Octagon actually. So we went to ikorodu to set up.

Lolade: There is a woman by the name of Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu. She runs a company called Sole Rebels based out of Ethiopia. She has been used as a case study by the global trade community for her role in ethical manufacturing. She sells shoes that are made by marginalized communities in Ethiopia. Her products retail at Urban Outfitters in the US. Guess what…people buy them not because the finishing is perfect, but because they understand that there is an ethical obligation to supporting developing economies

(Continue to the Next Page)

Are religious Institutions playing their part in Nigeria’s Society?

Posted on: August 22nd, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

Welcome to The Octagon.

The Octagon: We appreciate your taking time out to join this chat session which will end in an hour. We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences. Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do? Thank you.

Reginald: My name is Reginald Bassey. I’m a startup farmer, and I enjoy great extended conversations over good food.

Onyeka: Hey everyone! My name is Onyeka. I currently work with GTBank PLC (and No you cant call me when you have issues…just kidding) as a unit head in a marketing team.  I am very passionate about development and adding my quota in making the world better.

George: My name is George Anyanwu. I’m a travel Consultant, and I enjoy service in whatever form especially when it’s value oriented.

Dipo: My name is Dipo Adesida, writer and broadcast content producer. Travel and driving very fast is my thing.

Muyiwa: My name is Muyiwa Oludayo, a lecturer and administrator at Covenant University. I am committed to raising value adding personalities (VAPs not VIPs).

Isioma: I am Isioma Asiodu-Otughwor. An engineer by profession, mother and wife by choice, cook by force, natural idea integrator and people lover.

The Octagon: It is believed that around the world religious organizations perform important roles in contemporary society by strengthening community bonds and helping the poor and needy. Most also say religious institutions protect and strengthen morality in society. That they are meant to be a force for good. However, some express reservations about religious organizations, saying they are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved with politics.

What is the Role of Religious Institutions in Nigeria’s Society? Do you think they are playing this role properly? Are there lapses, and how can we fix them?

Dipo: Religious institutions are a metaphor for a moral set of values that define a society. And that usually shaped what that society considers ‘important’.

Onyeka: Religious Institutions play a major role in shaping values and beliefs and these come to play in our interactions within the society.

Dipo: @Onyeka I like the word ‘interactions’.

Isioma: The Power of our Choices.

Onyeka: Issey I agree with you. No matter how much we hear at our respective worship places, humans still do what they choose to do ultimately.

Dipo: But many times, those decisions are largely influenced by a moral government.

Onyeka: @Dipo the thing is our cultural beliefs in Nigeria are largely shaped by our religious beliefs that’s why you will see Nigerian vehemently protest the LGBT movement, no matter how westernized we have become because, most of the bedrock of our cultural beliefs are borne from religion.

Isioma: There is no single set of rules that define religious institutions for starters. Take a look at the 1800s, religious institutions were the top of the political ladder and have been influencing politics since then. Today, politics is still played within the church.

Dipo: Because that’s the premise for a lot of our actions and decisions whether in civil society or politics. It is perhaps impossible to separate religion from politics.

Muyiwa: Religious institutions help individuals to access their higher self within the framework of a supernatural being. This is what informs it’s rating as higher than any other institution in the world. The practices and rites promise the things that mortals will sweat for.

George: I agree with Isioma that religious organizations have always existed in society infact they have been the very fabrics of society from time immortal. Why do regions institutes exist in the first place? That should give us a better understanding to what and how they can shape society and if they are in the actual sense?

Onyeka: I truly believe institutions shape the society and people shape these institutions.

Onyeka: As a Christian, I have gone through various phases one of which was thinking all I need to do is prepare for heaven but I realize I have a lot to do here on earth before heaven. I’m saying this to buttress my point that religious institutions have a lot to do in what happens within a society. Bringing it home to Nigeria…for some time…’religious’ people used to see politics as something filthy and not to be involved with, but truth is if we leave politics for people who have no scruples then we have become at their mercy. My religious belief expects me to respect the government, pay my taxes and bills, and be the best at work but then I may choose to not pay my taxes…decide to call that electrician to ‘connect me direct’ to avoid paying what I ought to pay for the power I enjoy.

Reginald: I believe Religious Institutions are custodians of moral value that guide human behavior and society at large. In a sense this is likened to light. I see them as being the light to the society, and in Nigeria this ought to be the major role that such institutions play.

Do I think they are playing this role properly?

No they are not! It is impossible for these institutions to guide conduct in society, when it is embroiled in the dynamics of societal corruption. In some measure, religious institutions are playing a role, but this is not clearly defined and that’s why we seem to hold this question needful.

Are there lapses, and how can we fix them?

I think we need to first establish the purpose for these religious institutions, perhaps that will guide our understanding of what role they should play in society.

George: Religious institutions actually transcend the Christian faith actually, though our contributions are largely infused by moral and spiritual exposure. Religious institutions exist as a moral guide and an institutional socializing agent aimed at shaping human behavior towards a predetermined form.

In the past, they played a key role in shaping society and governance but their existence over the years have seen a decline in their ability shape society (Man) collectively. And this is largely unconnected with the disconnections the Spiritual (worship) and the Natural (morals).

However when it comes to contributions towards societal needs, a lot of religious institutions have identified gaps where the governments have performed poorly and attempted to produce and provide enviable solutions that are worthy of note.

Though on the other hand, we have some religious institutes that have played a negative role in defining the success of society through anti society orientations based on their perceived negative opinions of society at large.

Muyiwa: The platforms these institutions are creating to service the needs of the society informs their relative performance. Institutions such as schools, hospitals to Mention a few.

Onyeka: The Truth is Religious leaders from their podiums have a voice and a platform to guide their listeners on the right values and ethics and if everyone decides to adhere…we have institutions that work as these people make these institutions and invariably, the society begins to enjoy sanity and development.

Dipo: We seem to agree on a point that regardless of faith, religion plays a role in affecting the morality of a society. However, the question then is: how well are these institutions doing? Is the ‘moral standard’ of a society measured by its religious piety? Or otherwise?

Nigeria is perhaps a very ‘religious’ country. However, can we say that those moral codes that are released from the leaders are really affecting how we behave?

Isioma: I think they are playing their role though not to the best of their capability. Unfortunately, the institutions are made up of mortals with weakness of the flesh so they have lapses and gaps. After all. who does not know that some priests and pastors dread being posted to the poorest of the poor areas. We must not forget that these religious houses take on projects in the areas that government has neglected. If not for missionaries, we would have more illiterates in our society.

Onyeka: I think the role of religious institutions is to provide a guide for social behaviour truly. Nigeria is a very ‘religious’ country and to an extent I think that’s helping in keeping us together, if not we would probably be a city without walls. But more importantly beyond morality, I think religious institutions can and should do more in regards to development. We see a lot of Faith based educational institutions and that’s good but as with everything there is always space for more.

Reginald: Both in the Koran and Bible, there is some mention of the word “LIGHT” being used as a description for those who are ardent followers of the teachings of these religions.

Light is simply use to illuminate the darkness and to provide direction. This is what I believe R.Is should represent in society. They are to expose every trace of corruption in society and as well present to society the best approaches to solving problems. When it comes to education, health care, order in communities, wealth creation, etc, the Religious Institutions ought to show society how it should be done.

Onyeka: Religious institutions should provide a guide for societal behaviour…how you relate with every player within the societal component, or within the Society – the government, Infrastructure, Neighbours. ..etc We should also bear in mind that although there are ‘rules’ or guides for each religious faction, it still comes down to people deciding to do the right thing.

Isioma: Somehow, I think being ” religious” is now a status thing. I agree with Onyeka, they can do more in terms of development. So it is imperative that they interact with the government and politicians as well. The religious may do well to meddle in politics from the stand point of the altar and embedding moral values in the characters of their followers. However, The Nicodemus visits and other rumors and fraternizing plus this burgeoning gospel of prosperity…makes me wonder if indeed Jesus died on the cross for me to own a house in Banana Island with 4 servants.

Onyeka: Truly any genuine religious leader talking about prosperity will also clearly provoke the listener that the wealth is not for you alone. The wealth is for you to contribute your quota to make the world better.

Reginald: The Bible talks about being “SALT OF THE EARTH”. This is the second metaphor use to refer to people who adhere to Christianity. Which speaks to the measured influence they should have on the earth in preserving it. In other words, where there are elements of human induced destruction being foisted on society, the adherents should be able to preserve society from falling into decadence. So my thesis for these problems ought to be fixed is based on the understanding these RIs have about being “LIGHT” and “SALT”. Outside of these two descriptive, RIs might wade into aspects they are clearly not empowered to cover or play within.

Onyeka: The fact that only a few will adhere shouldn’t stop them from speaking out because I mean with these insurgents we see 1 man brainwashing these people by perverting the right things and spurring them to destructive behaviour. In the same vein, consistently talking about the right things will hopefully brainwash us into doing the right things and ultimately building a Nigeria we can all be proud of.

(continued on the next page)

The Octagon Room 7: The need for more young people in Politics

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 by The Moderator 1 Comment
tegaO’tega Ogra
O’tega is the Group Head , Corporate Communications at BUA Group – one of Nigeria’s largest indutrial conglomerates. A suave brand strategist and astute communications professional, O’tega has continued to expand the possibilities of achievements for young people in the marketing space in Nigeria.
Having previously worked with the German Agency for International Development and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) in various capacities, O’tega became the youngest Head of Corporate Communications ever in the Nigerian Financial Services Industry at the age of 24 whilst at Wema Bank – a role in which he also had direct oversight function for the Bank’s Social Media and Digital Marketing activities and oversaw the Bank’s rebranding project.
O’tega possesses a rarely matched wealth of knowledge and top-level experience in the areas of corporate communications & brand strategy, content marketing, reputation management, acculturation, crisis management and digital marketing for corporates in Nigeria and the West Africa sub-region. He is passionate about Young People, Politics, Public Policy and Technology.
O’tega regularly consults for individuals and organizations especially in the public service on communications strategy, digital convergence & the use of new technologies for media effectiveness.
Brandit. Ideator. Implementer.

 

DAREALIUDare Aliu
Dare Aliu is a career engineer, specializing in Power.  He is currently the lead developer of the Honeywell Group’s Greenfield and Brownfield power project development activities. He supports the formulation of initiatives and strategy in these endeavors. The purview of his responsibilities covers leading a team of project developers and a range of external resources and service providers engaged in these projects.
Dare has worked in similar capacity at Shoreline Power Company Limited as a Business Development Manager/Project Coordinator. He was also Head of Operations at Dominum Energy Limited, where he re-engineered the operational matrix and corporate structure of the organization.
Dare is a Russian trained electrical and electronics engineer with a passion to see a Nigeria where its energy needs are fully met. He is a member of the Nigerian Gas Association among other professional bodies.
Dare is a serial entrepreneur and sits on the board of TDA Group of companies, a company with diversified portfolio investments in the fashion and services industry. He has consulted for a number of power companies on their entry and sustainability strategy in the Nigeria power space.
Dare speaks English, Russian and Yoruba fluently and enjoys playing cricket and occasionally writes articles on solutions to problems of Nigeria, with topics ranging from power to politics to people.

 

banksBamikole Omishore
Bamikole Omishore is the Special Assistant on New Media to the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki.
‘Banks’ as he is fondly called by friends and colleagues is an alumnus of Coppin State University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. His career path has taken him from working directly with numerous business and political leaders to working with young and emerging leaders.
His accumulated wealth of experience spans working with finance giants and fortune 100 Company, Bank of America for over 5 years. He was appointed a Special Advisor for UNESCO in 2010.
Banks’ heart pumps passion and he is always eager to produce positive change.
A strategist by volition, he has for years been a major advocate for youth inclusion in politics and governance. As an activist, he strongly believes in educating Nigerians and friends of Nigeria of the positive image that is usually not available of this great country. He is happily married with a beautiful daughter.

 

oluseunOluseun Onigbinde
Oluseun Onigbinde is the Lead Partner of BudgIT, a civic organization based in Nigeria & Sierra Leone, that works to use creative data presentation to intersect civic engagement and institutional improvement in West Africa. BudgIT, founded in 2011 uses technologies of any form that appeal across every literacy span to make public finance data more accessible, transparent and understandable to citizens.
BudgIT has provided infographics, visualization, civic technology and data comprehension support to over 750,000 citizens, 35 civil society organizations and also 15 public institutions in West Africa.  BudgIT is leading the drive for fiscal transparency and also expanding to the fold of active citizens who demand accountability.
Oluseun is a recipient of Ashoka Fellowship, Aspen New Voices Fellowship, Future Awards and Knight Fellowship with International Center for Journalists. Oluseun is a member of the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance and also sits on ONE Africa Policy Advisory Board.

 

ishanIshan Mbelu
Ishan Mbelu is an Executive consultant and practice leader in strategy and business development  with 20 years of experience in his field. He has experience working with clients in numerous industries, including telecommunications, financial services, local government, state government, federal government, high technology, energy, construction, media, and entertainment. Recognized thought leader with a large body of completed work. Significant experience in presenting at industry conferences, workshops and seminars. Has led the design, development and delivery of multi-dimensional cross-functional solutions to clients, bringing together Strategy, Business Process Design, Organizational Design, Change Management, Hardware, Software, IT & Infrastructure Outsourcing and Business Process Outsourcing.
He has also served under the Office of the Special Adviser to the President of Nigeria, on technical matters.
kinglseyKingsley Ewetuya
Kingsley Ewetuya (@Damocleansword) is a Project Interface Manager and Pipeline Engineer in the US Subsea Oil and Gas Industry.

 

He  is responsible for managing technical and administrative BP project cross functional interfaces on Thunderhorse Water Injection Project using BP project management software, PMCS.
In addition he’s an avid political junkie and is often commenting  on Nigerian and global politics on diverse platforms.

 

gbengaGbenga Olorunpomi
Gbenga Olorunpomi is the Senior Special Assistant to the Executive Governor of Kogi State.
Gbenga is a social media enthusiast with a rare skill set; combining his knowledge of PR, branding and digital marketing to always provide his clients with winning strategies. He is a lover of God, family, and life.

The Need for more Young People in Politics

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

Welcome to The Octagon.

See the profile of our guests in this Octagon room conversation.

The Octagon: We appreciate your taking time out to join this chat session which will end at 4pm. We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do? Thank you.

 

Kingsley: My name is Kingsley Ewetuya and I am a Project Engineer and Interface Manager in what’s left of the Oil Industry.

Ishan: Hi everyone. My name is Ishan. I’m a strategy and business development consultant. I have spent a good part of the last 11yrs working in the political sphere, more specifically in and around the presidency.

Seun: I am Oluseun Onigbinde, Lead Partner, BudgIT

Dare: Hello everyone, I am Dare Aliu, I am a power Engr. Team Lead of power at Honeywell group and EA to the chairman. I am passionate about the possibility of a Nigeria where things actually work . I have narrowed that passion to seeing the power sector work.

Banks: My name is Bamikole Omishore, better known as Banks. Special Assistant on New Media and Advocacy to Senate President. Strategist by volition . Been working with Senator Saraki for 5 years. I like to think of my self more as a serial investor.

Gbenga: I’m Gbenga Olorunpomi. A Digital Marketer and political animal. I currently serve at the pleasure of the Kogi State Governor as his Senior Special Assistant on New Media. I’m an incurable optimist and a lover of innovation and dancing.

Tega: I’m O’tega, a passionate Nigerian citizen who tries to know a bit about everything. I’m currently the Group Head for Corporate Communications at one of Nigeria’s largest homegrown conglomerates, BUA Group.

Mark Amaza: *

 

The Octagon: Thanks for the introduction.

Having been taught that democracy is “government of the people, by the people and for the people”, one of the major challenges facing democracy this century is how to translate citizen demands into responsive and accountable politics.

Young people between the ages of 15 and 25 constitute a fifth of the world’s population and yet decreasing levels of youth participation in elections and shrinking membership in political parties. Surveys have shown that whilst trust of government is low, trust in public services is generally high amongst young people.

Why don’t we have enough young people in Politics? Has Nigerian politics discouraged the inclusion of young people? Is It important to have more young people in government? How can we get more Young people interested in holding political office?

 

Banks: First we have to clearly define what group or who qualifies as young/youth. I honestly think Nigeria has a different definition for youth than the rest of the world.

Tega: By young people do you mean those aged 15 – 25 like you initially pointed out or are we expanding that to include those aged 25 – 35 years (or even 45 like some of our political parties’ youth reps)?

Dare: “While recognizing that member states use different chronologies to define youth, the United Nations defines youth as persons between the ages of 15 and 24 with all UN statistics based on this range, the UN states education as a source for theses statistics. The UN also recognizes that this varies without prejudice to other age groups listed by member states such as 18-30. A useful distinction within the UN itself can be made between teenagers (i.e. those between the ages of 13 and 19) and young adults (those between the ages of 18 and 32).The UN also states they are aware that several definitions exist for youth within UN entities such as Youth Habitat 15-32 and African Youth Charter 15-35.”

Gbenga: Young people will only participate in activities they find interesting, Profitable and appealing. I think the brand of politics and the quality of leadership before 2011 wasn’t exciting or inviting enough to attract the attention of young people. I don’t think we give enough credit to those who dreamt up and actualized Team Ribadu in 2010. That movement was built and sustained by social media. It had representation in every sate of the country and all the participants shared stories and encouraged each other. Many are still in touch today, 6 years after the launch of the movement. The perceived competence and incorruptibility of the man at the centre and the collective anger at the status quo ensured that young professionals gave up their time and resources to support a political cause. True, many had diverse ideologies and wanted different things but we all agreed that corruption had to go and professionalism had to return to leadership. I often imagine if we had allowed that group to grow beyond that man.

Tega: Haha. Gbenga, people must eat.

Gbenga: You’re right. Poverty and helplessness also play a role. So, what we need is a system that quickly empowers and educates the masses in the shortest time.

Seun: Poverty is a key challenge and politicians use it as leverage. This makes our politics more expensive.

Ishan: I agree with Gbenga. The short cut is a mass enlightenment campaign. The more people that are aware and knowledgeable, the more of a chance guys like you will be elected to office.

Kingsley: There are two institutional barriers to entry, that need to be uprooted.

  1. Financial: purchasing even the registration forms is independently unaffordable for most people. Even our President said he had to take a loan. We need campaign finance reform
  2. Political: Two subsets here: We have a policy of indigenization which makes it almost impossible for people to seek office in their state of residency rather than origin. That needs to go.

Also, there is no allowance for independent candidacy. This means that the political future youths are subject to the whims of party powers who simply aren’t ready to let go.

Dare: Kingsley, thanks for highlighting those two points. However I must reiterate that finance is the key factor that prevents the youth from engaging in active politics. The United States which represents the most advanced democracy has done its best limit the effect of finance in elections but still have a long way to go. Until we can reasonably separate entry into the political sphere and deep pockets, the youth will remain at the mercy of the older generation.

Seun: Our brand of politics is too expensive and does not appreciate ideas but slogan. This is why I think young people find it hard to enter politics.

Tega: Putting this issue at the doorstep of finance especially is one way we as young people ‘lie’ to ourselves and exclude us from the political process. Who says you have to be ‘elected’ to actually make your voice heard and impact felt in Nigerian politics – as an insider or otherwise?

(Continue on next page)

The Octagon Room 6: To partner or not to partner in business

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 by The Moderator 1 Comment
KUNLEKunle Erinle
With a Career spanning 13 years of web, mobile and enterprise solution design and integration.

 

Kunle considers himself a bridge between Technology and Business.
A passionate entrepreneur and natural optimist, currently CEO of Intelligent Campaign Hub a Digital solutions service provider based  in Lagos Nigeria.

 

Kunle loves meeting people, sharing ideas and turning ideas into wealth.

 

BANKOLETECHBankole Oluwafemi
Bankole Oluwafemi is Editor-in-Chief of TechCabal.com, Africa’s fastest growing tech blog covering technology, startups, mobile and digital media.

 

He has blogged extensively on these and related spaces since 2011. Bankole’s writing and quotes about technology in Africa are regularly featured in prestigious publications such as Quartz and Fortune.

 

In 2014, Bankole and the TC team hosted the inaugural edition of TechCabal Battlefield, the biggest showcase of technology startups in Nigeria vying for a $20,000 prize.

 

OTISIOtisi Ukiwe
Otisi Ukiwe is a business development consultant. He currently works with Salama Fikira Nigeria Limited, a risk management and security consultancy company in Lagos.

 

Otisi is also the managing partner of Kainetix Sports Management, a sports marketing and talent management company and also involved in other companies operating in different industries including agriculture, real estate and technology.

 

Otisi has an MBA from the Lagos Business School and a keen Arsenal Football Club supporter.
dozieChiekezi Dozie 
Chiekezi Dozie is a seasoned IT professional and currently works as a Sales Director for a multinational ISP.
Other than this, he is also a professional photographer and has dabbled in the new tech space for many years.

He is also a Co-Founder in the following platforms; www.africangamingleague.com, www.nigerianbride.com, www.ediyara.com

He is a proud supporter and evangelist for Nigerian tech.

 

EMIEmi Faloughi
Emi Faloughi is MD of TEEOF Holdings Ltd, a family owned company with a diverse portfolio of business and investment interests.

 

During an 8 year period in the US, she received her Masters in Urban Planning and worked as a Transportation and Air quality planner in New York and Philadelpahia before coming back to Nigeria 2007.
Before taking up her current position a year ago, she spent 8 years with Shell Petroleum Development Company developing and managing contract management systems and solutions.

 

Emi is a self described travel junkie, book lover and art nut!

 

DONALDDonald Okudu
Donald Okudu is a consummate creative with a unique passion for the experiential. With a varied and diverse experience in events, entertainment , branding and experiential design. He is the creative director for Mesh ADS a Port Harcourt based design agency. Mesh ads is a design and strategy firm that offers creative direction of corporate and private events in a variety of sectors encompassing brand awareness and all aspects of production, from brief, concept development, budget planning to implementation.
Mesh ads is a design and strategy firm. We transform businesses at scale by creating systems of brand, product and service that deliver a distinctly better experience. Our passion is to transform ideas into realities. We partner with clients to anticipate the future, evolve organizations and advance the human experience.
Over the years we have learnt that the key to designing great user experiences is not just about multi-disciplinary expertise but in the subtle art of integrating them with a clear business and product vision.
Gbengaade
Gbenga Adegoke
Gbenga Adegoke is the Head, Consumer Banking, Propositions & Products at Sterling Bank Plc. In his 15 years as a banker, he has been instrumental to not just developing ground breaking products for some banks but has been involved in the engineering of thier business processes.
Gbenga loves photography and always seizes the opportunity to shoot when he is not working. He is happily married with a child.

To partner or not to partner in business – Pros and Cons

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 by The Moderator 4 Comments

Welcome to The Octagon.

See the profile of our guests in this Octagon room conversation

The Octagon: We appreciate your taking time out to join this chat session which will end at 7pm. We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do?

 

Otisi: My name is Otisi Ukiwe. I work with a risk management and security company in Lagos. I have a passion for sports and own a sports marketing and management company. May I just be permitted to state that being invited by The Octagon is an honor and also very humbling

Tobi: I am Tobi, I manage Strategy for a Financial Institution.

Gbenga: Product Manager, Financial Institution

Bankole: Bankole Oluwafemi, Blogger. Co-founder of BigCabal Media, publishers of Techcabal and Zikoko. Currently missing his stop in a Keke because he is typing this.

Emi: Name is Emi Faloughi. Currently running my family holding company AKA learning to be a Jack of all trades and trying to be master of all!!! I Love travel, art and making jewelry (which I flog by the way!)

Donald: Donald Okudu, Creative Director, Mesh Media Labs & Mesh Ad studios

Kunle: My name is Kunle Erinle. I’m a certified Solution Architect, and I work with Intelligent campaign hub ltd – we create digital solutions.

Chiekezi: I am Chiekezi Dozie, I work as a sales director for a multinational ISP, I’m also a professional photographer, serial techpreneur, Co founder of Ediyara Technology Group and Co founder of www.nigerianbride.com.

 

The Octagon: Great. Everyone is here. Let’s Begin.

Growing businesses face a range of challenges. As a business grows, different problems and opportunities demand different solutions – what worked a year ago might not be the best approach.  Effective leadership creates a clear path and makes the most of the opportunities, creating sustainable growth for the future. The adage that two brains are better than one may explain why a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners create partnerships. Today, business partners start businesses together with little planning and few ground rules. Sooner or later, they discover the hard way that what’s left unsaid or unplanned often leads to unmet expectations, anger and frustration.

Should more Nigerian small businesses consider partnership?  What are the Pro’s and Con’s of partnering in Business? What are the ways in which a partnership can work?

 

Otisi: In my opinion partnerships are very important and key for growth. One of the key partnerships I feel is in the employees – a big partnership that is generally ignored.

Chiekezi: I agree totally with this but I think a lot of people don’t go the extra mile with employees. For me 20% equity is vested in all employees.

Tobi: I think small businesses need to partner to succeed or expand. You can’t know everything required to grow your business.

Chiekezi: For me the fundamental principles of partnering in nigeria as simply trust, mutual respect and openness. Partnerships are key as all knowledge cannot and does not reside in one person.

Otisi: I agree Chex. But I will also partner with someone I don’t trust. I will however build the required barriers. Even thought this could be limiting. Buhari/APC/CPC by rhetoric partnered with groups/people they hated 4 years prior. What happens if someone who you don’t like/trust can be the route to achieve what you want to achieve ? Will you shift your goals ?

Chiekezi: No I won’t shift goals. I will find another way to either hire or buy the expertise via consultants.

Kunle: Would you say that the APC partnership is working well less than 2 years down the road?

Emi: @Otisi Limiting…but Necessary. I work really simply – I trust u but I verify. The key I find is to understand (as best as you can ) the underlying motivations of those u are partnering with. I like what you say, but actions speak louder than words.

Tobi: Building the right culture is the single hardest thing in business. Ownership mentality however is even harder to instil or brew within an organisation. Like Emi mentioned it’s hard to figure out everyone’s motivation and that is crucial to ensue ownership.

Donald: Totally agree and maintaining that culture or rather improving it. People’s motivation changes with time.

Kunle: Partnership is key when complimentary skills are brought to the table, however our culture is one of the reasons why partnerships here often fail. Successful partnership is built on honest open and objective discussions. In Naija we tend to do things based on sentiments a lot.

Chiekezi: This is quite simply because in my opinion Nigerian Workers do not understand the concept of ownership culture unless they are vested.

Otisi: I think the thing about partnerships is just about the goal.

Chiekezi: I disagree. Not about the goals but for me more about shared vision and each individual’s fundamental principles.

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