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Posts Tagged ‘nigeria’

Nigeria’s Medical Industry: Ascent or Decline

Posted on: December 6th, 2016 by The Moderator 1 Comment

Welcome to the Octagon Room
Thanks for taking time out to join this conversation which will end in 1hour. Before we go into the discussion, Please let everyone know your name, and a little bit about what you do.

Olamide: Hello everyone. My name is Olamide Craig and I am a Family/Occupational health physician. I also write a column on BellaNaija called AskDrCraig.

Uju: Uju Okoye, public health physician/Healthcare consultant in the US. I work with HIV policy here and also run my own consulting company.

Omolola: Hi, my name is Omolola Sokoya. I’m a Managed care Nurse with with United Healthcare International incharge of case management and quality assurance

Nene: Hi, I’m Nene Usman. I’m a public health physician. I work with Kaduna state university.

Lawal: I’m Lawal Bakare. I trained as Dentist, practiced for two years and have since moved into health communications. I currently run: EpidAlert (formerly EbolaAlert), HEIT Solutions, Chora and also serves as the Technical Assistant on Communications to the CEO of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

Kanyinsola: Hello everyone. My name is Oluwakanyinsola Fowler. I’m a clinician with an MPH. I work as a Senior Analyst at the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria.

The Octagon: Thank’s everyone.

According to an interview with the president of MDCAN. “Nigeria’s Public health sector is an unstable one. The incessant strike by health professionals has been identified as a major contributor to the country’s poor health indices.

Over the years, this has brought untold hardship, sufferings and death to many families and patients across the federation. It has forced many people away from public hospitals to privately owned ones where cost of services is prohibitive and hardly affordable. Many others too have had to rely on traditional medicine as an alternative. “

He further expressed how his professional colleagues had not been able to make any meaningful impact in health care delivery in the  country.

While these are valid concerns, we believe that there are many issues with the Public Health Sector in Nigeria.  In your opinion, what are some of the challenges the sector faces ?

Uju: My responses will be completely from the outside looking in. I think the biggest issues lie around governance, sustainability, infrastructure and cultural. One of the biggest flaws is expecting clinicians to somehow have the administrative tools to manage the  system. Nigeria has a unique problem because of our population. While it is also easy to blame governance, the attitudes of some clinicians sometimes helps to compound the already dire situations. Even with proper financing, there is still  lack of understanding even within the healthcare system, on how to create a system that addresses the Nigerian problem, rather than one that copies the NHS and foreign models.

Olamide: It is easy to fault a large chunk of what is Nigeria’s health care system when comparing it to the UK. And while this and other systems in the developed world are a standard to aspire to, my responses will first attempt to assess the Nigerian system in relation to itself and after this I will go ahead to  compare it to the gold standard. Nigeria has an informal  health care system. There is nominal government oversight but this is perfunctory at best.

Kanyinsola: Governance is the key challenge – Good governance will go a long way to address infrastructure, sustainability and cultural issues.

Nene:  The health sector is poorly financed. Human resource for health is also a problem. Health centres in rural areas are poorly staffed and most times d staff available are unskilled in life saving techniques. Primary health care PHC is d bedrock of our health system and ensures that every Nigerian has access to health care. However, the areas with the greatest need are the areas with the largest gaps. There is also the problem of inequitable distribution of resources. Finances, human resources, materials such as drugs, vaccines etc are usually sent to urban areas. Most people would refuse to work in hard to reach areas. Then there is the problem of misuse of government allocated funds. Every health system relies on these building blocks: leadership/governance, financing, health information systems, human resource for health, service delivery, and materials like drugs, vaccines etc… Each one of these areas is seriously lacking in this country… any solution will have to use a multi pronged approach

Omolola: Our health sector is poorly financed and this balls down to poor goverance. Our primary health care system is faced with challenges , and there is an urgent need to improve the quality of service delivery there. There is also a need to expand it to many communities who still lack the presence of any health facility.

Lawal: From my close observation I feel poorly developed consumers have created weak expectations. That may be the reason all key stakeholders have no reason per se to do anything differently.

Olamide: Training. Let’s not forget training. The West African and National colleges are still boys clubs.

Uju:  I agree. But are those even leading the healthcare system equipped with the right administrative and healthcare management training to manage effectively? Sure everyone is a skilled and talented Clinician but without that, there will always be an issue. Misuse of government funds and corruption happens everywhere. It is not unique to Nigeria, so we really must work around that issue.

Olamide: Public health is dependent on foreign aid. Polio, Measles,  Cold chain, are all funded by donor agencies.

Uju: Great point you just highlighted. This is so absurd.

Kanyinsola: Too dependent on foreign aid.. sometimes I wonder what will happen when the aid ends. Guess we’ll soon find out.

Lawal: Measles funding froze for some months this year and the laboratory surveillance grounded. That’s what will happen when the funds are out. There is an existing solution in our strategic healthcare plan. That document simply needs implementers. In Rwanda all public activities are tailored to their national plan. The reason they seem like magicians. If we can prioritize that plan, we will be fine.

Uju: But wouldn’t it be unfair comparing Nigeria to Rwanda given the enormity of population?

Lawal: That’s a joke Uju. Nigeria’s resources matches our challenges. We are not as complicated as India, Not as complicated as China. Rwandans sorted out leadership quickly. Leadership is the priority of our health system revamp strategy as documented in the plan. I do not think Nigeria should even compare herself to Rwanda. Rwanda is far behind Nigeria in human capital. To fix leadership is a bit of a Long walk.

Olamide: But India like Nigeria is an informal system. Most of the health care is private. And that’s why our challenges have to be tackled differently.

Omolola: I totally agree we have more than enough resources to match our challenges in this country. Our problem is putting this resources into good and proper use.

Kanyinsola: I wouldn’t call our system informal: not organized and poorly managed but definitely not informal. Well we need good leadership that’s ready to get down to business; get their hands dirty. To tackle all of the challenges including the attitude of the health workforce and resource allocation.

Olamide: Okay. Point taken. Poorly organised. However how do we organise it? What do we do in the interim ? Cuba had a repressive got but some of the best health care, as did Libya. So perhaps good leadership is not a prerequisite for good health care?

Lawal: I was at the campaign frontline during the last elections. Nigerians didn’t ask for healthcare. Given that leadership requires us to bring participation from both sides. Good leadership MAY help fix other functions. It is not a stand alone. We never gave ourselves the chance to prove that fact. Leadership here is not political system. An average Cuban physician is driven by a stronger code of participation.  Sense of belonging and ownership. The zero PMTCT recorded in Cuba couldn’t have happened without citizens too.

Olamide: True. Sense of Ownership is key. That’s something we as Nigerians don’t really have. That National cake mentality was ingrained in us from small.

Kanyinsola: I don’t think that’s entirely leadership’s fault. The typical Nigerian doesn’t pay attention to his health till an issue arises. We bury our heads in the sand or act like it can’t happen to us.  I think the Government’s participation is key. The private sector, CSO, the public and other stakeholders can’t create a sustainable and affordable health system on their own. Proper allocation of resources – Government currently spends almost 70% of the allocation to health on the tertiary level mainly on salaries. You can imagine how much gets to the primary health care level.

The Octagon: Great points raised. What would we consider are the top 3 things needed to be done to solve these issues we are faced with? Is there a way around government participation?

Olamide: Strengthening all arms of our health care system. Our tertiary is very strong and primary is weak. Access to health care in rural areas. Training of doctors and allied health professionals. Strengthening of Institutions. Development of an integrated nationwide  health and informatics system to make access to medical data uniform across different.

Lawal: I am achieving some successes and my ingredients have been:

  1. Participation (for citizens especially elites)
  2. Revamped Consumers
  3. Revamped leadership in public sector (civil servants and political actors)

If we can fix these fundamentals in a democracy. The system will define a sound balance for itself. We have records of free but under-utilized health services. I believe in empowering the system to drive itself.

In the last 10 years the leading enabler of governance in Nigeria is participation according to the IIAG (mo Ibrahim foundation). If we can drive this into healthcare we may be heading for that desired success. We saw it play itself earlier this week with telecoms tariffs.  When we start participating, we start winning.

Kanyinsola: 1. Improved quality of health services (including capacity building for health workforce)

  1. Better leadership/ Governance (Proper allocation and management of resources inclusive)
  2. Increase knowledge and awareness among the public so they can better demand for health services.

Omolola: Access to and afforable health care in the rural areas.

Uju: Great solution strategies raised.Thank you for organizing this platform

Kanyinsola: Thank you for organizing the platform and for inviting me 👏🏾👏🏾

Omolola: Great platform you have. happy to have been a part of it.

TheOctagonYouthSpeak on the educational system vs the job market

Posted on: November 28th, 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 in 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?

Femi: I am ‘Femi Akinseye, a 300 level Mass communication student at the University of Lagos. I am a part-time creative writer and voice-over artist. I also doodle in my notebook. I am very passionate about politics.

Beatrice: I am Nwoko Beatrice, a student of Mass Communication, university of Lagos. I am a motivational speaker. I love kids and music.

Afolabi: My name is Afolabi Oluwatosin Oluwabusayo, a student of mass communication, Unilag

Aramide: I am Ayinla Aramide. I’m a 300level student of sociology.

Adeola: I am Adeola Omotoye, a 300 level student of Mass Communication.

Shittu: Good evening everyone. I am Shittu Adedoyin. A student of Philosophy.

Inioluwa:  Hi guys, my name is IniOluwa and I am a passionate person focused on community development and nation building.

The Octagon: Thanks for the introductions. Our topic today is around the Educational System Vs Job Market.

The rate of unemployment in Nigeria is alarming and this is no news to even students still seeking admission into the universities. There is however, the hope that after the four years in school, an individual will get the opportunity to not only be hired but also get paid really well.

There is has also been the discussion that many companies complain about the quality of students finishing from Nigerian schools as they do not meet up with requirements and standards.

Do you believe that the educational system is adequately preparing you for the job market? Give reasons for your response.

Aramide: No. I mean there are courses that are offered in Nigerian Universities, where those who graduated with a degree cannot get a decent job. They usually have to switch courses for a second degree. The educational curriculum has not been reviewed in years, and it’s still breeding clerks and teachers rather than professionals. Undergraduates are not trained according to the needs of the modern Nigerian society, but according to years of repeated schemes of work. Also, the budget allocated towards education is nothing to write home about. Education is the bedrock of society, and it breeds other social institutions. But even the minister of education is clueless about managing the system. The reality is that not everyone needs to go to University. University has been seen as the yardstick for greatness, but I think Polytechnics are even more important – they teach technical and vocational skills that a graduate can use in the work force. Yet, people attend Polytechnics as a last resort to avoid staying at home. The educational system is in Shambles.

Beatrice: I think we need re-orientation. Most students just study to pass. No practicals, no genuine interest in what they’re doing. Most kids are forced to go to school. Not everyone is cut out for Formal Education.

ADEOLA: But we can’t exactly say the educational system is not preparing us because without the knowledge acquired there, we won’t understand the field of study we are pursuing. Then again, the situation of the country is not helping our educational standards because most people don’t use their acquired skills at their jobs

FEMI: It’s no news that well over half the students that graduate from Nigerian universities remain unemployed for a while. While we understand that there are hardly any jobs in the labour market and the government doesn’t really have any clear policy in place to combat that, the real question remains ARE THESE GRADUATE EMPLOYABLE?

The simple answer is no. At least a vast majority aren’t.

Our educational system is structured in such a way that the students right from secondary school are bombarded with information that is most likely irrelevant to their eventual career paths and they aren’t even given adequate orientation concerning the various available university courses to choose from and most importantly what to consider when making a choice.

These students eventually leave secondary schools and proceed to the University without a proper understanding of what they want to study and what they’ll do with what they’ve studied.

After getting the admission, they’re faced with a university curriculum that is archaic and outdated to say the least. They are also taught by lecturers who really have little or no field experience and are not in tune with modern day requirements for success.

It’s hardly possible for anyone to graduate with enough skills required to succeed in this kind of system, hence the unemployability.

ARAMIDE: True talk. I think students need to know that university education is not a do or die affair. If there are quality Fashion schools, Art schools and other vocational colleges, people would complain less about unemployment. Most business schools in Nigeria are only accessible to students who studied Business Admin as their first degree. Nigeria probably has the highest number of Primary and Secondary Schools in West Africa, and yet we have graduates that cannot even articulate their thoughts properly.

ADEOLA: This country’s system of education is lagging behind and this is one of the reasons many of the rich would rather send their students abroad to study and if they study here, they will do their masters abroad. When I start hearing stories and motivational quotes of the world’s greatest people and how they have succeeded without education, I just can’t help but wonder where this education is taking me.

FEMI: Another thing to consider is the amount of time spent in school and how judiciously(or not) the time is used.

A kid who goes to school everyday and learns fine art for only one hour a week out of the Available 30 hours or more, and then returns home to take some extra lessons which deprives him of time to practice design that he may eventually find himself pursuing a career in – Eg. art directing.

How then does such a kid reconcile the lost hours taking irrelevant irrelevant physics classes?

How does he make up for that lost time that his mates probably spent focusing on the arts?

Inioluwa: As a recent graduate, I cannot say that the education I received from the university has made me employable. Apart from a brief internship, I know next to nothing about companies criteria for employment. Education is not the culprit here, but rather management, policies and exposure are the real issue.

Shittu: Well, I do not think the educational system adequately prepares one for the job market. If it does,then every graduate would get employed easily. The educational system in Nigeria is nothing to write home about. We need creativity and ideas not just sitting in a lecture room and studying the same thing over again. For example, philosophers are supposed to be critical thinkers but in the university today, we do not study philosophy, we just study philosophers. After graduation, most students only know about the philosophy of philosophers and do not have their own philosophy.

Imagine this type of student being called for an interview, how would the life of Plato and Aristole get him a job ?

In the end the educational system just teaches us everything about nothing . It is after school we now begin to develop our personal skills which we are not given the opportunity to express in the lecture room.

Aramide: Agreed. There’s also the issue of conformity. In Nigeria, we conform too much. We shy away from speaking english with our accents. Take a look at China – English and other European languages are electives. You study them not because you have to.

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#TheOctagonYouthSpeak on NYSC

Posted on: November 21st, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

Welcome To The Octagon. 

We appreciate you taking time out to Join this Chat Session which will end in 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.

Ini: Hi guys, my name is IniOluwa and I am a passionate person focused on community development and nation building.

Ayo: Hello everyone, I’m AyoOluwa, a Medical doctor and I just finished youth service.

Ayotemide:Hello everyone, I’m Ayotemide. I’m a Medical doctor and writer. I just completed NYSC.

Adewale: Hello everyone,I’m Adewale. I’m an MC and kiddies event planner. I’m a Student of the university of Lagos.

Igbinoba: Hello, I’m Igbinoba Osaro. I’m a law student of university of lagos. I specialize in ankara crafting, and I’m the legal secretary of Terranexus.

Oyin: Hi I am Oyinlola Olawale… I am studying quantity surveying in the University of Lagos.

The Octagon: Thanks for the introductions.

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is an organization set up by the Nigerian government to involve the country’s graduates in the development of the country. There is no military conscription in Nigeria, but since 1973 graduates of universities and later polytechnics have been required to take part in the National Youth Service Corps program for one year. This is known as national service year.

NYSC has been met with criticism from Corpers, most of whom believe that the program is a waste of time, and does not fulfill it’s promises.

Question 1 : In your opinion, does NYSC offer any benefits ? If yes, what are the benefits?

Question 2: What are some of the De-merits of the program ?

Ini: I can’t speak of any benefit, and most of my friends who have participated in the scheme have nothing positive to show for it except a certificate that says “You’re now fully employable”. As for demerits, there are a couple I can mention off the top of my head – Squandering of the youth power and potential. You are forced to leave a lucrative and hard-fought job, abandoning your brainchild, small business that is adding value to you personally and your community. The reason why we have very good theoretical minds, wonderful policy makers and strategists, but so few implementors and technocrats. A massive waste of human resources.

Igbinoba: I believe NYSC should be scrapped, because it has lost its value and purpose in Nigeria. Government should channel the money to developing society.

Ayotemide: I feel NYSC has some benefits. The highlight of the experience for me was meeting new people, and being exposed to a whole new culture. It helped me understand some important reasons why health is still so bad in Nigeria. But the programme does not provide valuable work experience for an individual’s career path and it does not effectively utilize an individual’s knowledge and skill set. For example, it is quite painful that an engineer or lawyer is forced to teach, when he can use his knowledge and skill set to do something that he/she is more interested in doing.

I also had a few friends who had to abandon their start up businesses back home for the sake of NYSC and it was not a good move for them.

Another issue I have with this scheme is the substandard services provided, like the uniforms, feeding, and the ridiculously meagre amount of money paid as transport allowance. What message does this send to Nigeria’s youth? It’s as though there’s no standard of excellence to look up to anymore. Things are done anyhow, and we’re expected to accept this as the norm.

Oyin: There are no benefits I can think of, except the fact that some people use the one year experience to build their CV. My colleague at work Is currently serving at a popular construction firm, which defeats the whole purpose and aim of the NYSC. What’s worse, you’re unemployable for a year. I think like everything in Nigeria, corruption has affected NYSC.

Ayo: The NYSC scheme offers tremendous benefits. For one, It offers a medium where young adults are forced to think about others and not themselves, creating opportunities to really serve and at the same time make new friends you would otherwise not have met, basically increasing network. I think the initial plan for the scheme was fantastic, but over the years NYSC has become, not something to be enjoyed or a learning process, but somewhat of a punishment because it was allowed to just become a routine without value being imparted. I think that it should be remodelled to fit into now, as what was initially planned isn’t working anymore.

Adewale: I think I concur with this thought to an extent – Yes it creates a platform for meeting people, and learning a different culture. However, it has a larger demerit – I feel it has become something of Zero importance in Nigeria. Why should a lawyer and engineer start teaching, after learning in school instead of experimenting what he or she has learnt ?

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Octagon Survey Results – Starting a Business Partnershp

Posted on: November 8th, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

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Our previous survey on partnerships give a picture of how businesses are gradually evolving in Nigeria. 138 people took part in the survey with 113 males and 26 females. The greatest number came in from those in the age group of 30 – 35 years and the lowest 50 – 60 years.

In this survey, we asked our participants if they would warm up to the idea of partnerships in business. 118 people said yes and 20 said no.

It is interesting to note that even though 62% said they have had bad experiences with partnerships in the past, over 85% still confirm that they warm up to the idea of partnerships. Other results in relation to choosing a partner suggest that this might mean that we attribute failure of partnerships to the character of people versus the business idea. Since 3/4 of our poll group are between the ages 20-35 and have been in business for only 0-5 years this suggests that most small business owners are continually open to collaborations even though they get increasingly cautious.

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The following results showed the percentage of key determining factors when choosing a business partner; 45% said values, 16% Business Development, Finance 14%, Creativity 12%, Management 5%, Marketing 2%, Logistics 1%, Technology 1%, Other 1%, Connection 1%, Friendship 1%.

76% of the participants said they would discuss long-term goals with their partner before commencing any sort of partnership, compared to the 24% who would discuss long-term goals after commencing partnership.

In this survey, we see 61% of participants saying the deal breaker for closing in on a partner would be lack of trustworthiness, 15% said lack of vision, 8% said incompetent execution, 7% for poor relationship skills, 5% for pride, 3% for lack of knowledge and 1% for family.

When asked which they would rather go for, 57% said investment, 30% would go for partnership, 12% for acquisition and 1% said none. This might suggest that more people consider that business financing is what they need rather than having another person/persons on board.

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How much equity would they give to investors and do they understand that this in itself is a form of partnership?

When it comes to partnership, there is always more than two or more people involved. 68% said they would be comfortable partnering with two people, 17% said three works for them, 13% stuck with one, 11% said 4 is a comfortable number for them while 9% said five and just 1% said 10.

The feedback on this question was a bit surprising to us. Until a few hours before compiling results, the role of COO was the most preferred option. How is it that people who are over 75% cautious of going into partnerships are not willing to jump at the opportunity of taking the role that gives the company direction.

Among the 139 participants, 97% (135) said they would have clearly laid out roles before starting a partnership compared to the 3% (4). Among the following roles, 35% said they would most likely be comfortable taking CEO (Chief Executive Officer), 33% said COO (Chief Operations Officer), 13% said Board Member, 12% said Team Member, 5% said CTO (Chief Technical Officer), 1% said CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) and the remaining 1% said CFO (Chief Financial Officer).

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The question we might also need to answer is, are more people running away from the hectic responsibility of steering a small business in todays economy? The above shows that a total of 45% are more concerned with the day to day operations of the business.

When asked what they would consider as top most for success in partnerships, 50% said trust, 19% said they consider vision as the top most, another 16% said passion, 8% said values, 4% said respect, 2% said relationship and 1% said knowledge.

If a partner acts unethical, how would you handle it? 64% of the participants said they would simply speak to their partner, 20% said they would go legal, 7% said they would seek the counsel of a mutual friend, 7% said they would work towards replacing them, and 1% said they would walk away. None of our participants considered reciprocating with an unethical act.

37% of the participants would approach a partnership to be innovative. While 26% said the focus was to make more money, 23% said their end goal would be to do more, 9% said save the world and 5% said conserve their energy.

In this survey, we had 47% who have been in business for 1 – 5 years, 37% 0 – 1 year, 105 5 – 10 years and 6% have been in business 10 years and above.

The Octagon Session – Nation Building with Joshua Ajitena

Posted on: November 8th, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

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Our first Octagon session which held on the 10th October 2016 was on Nation Building with Joshua Ajitena.

This 2 hour session which is the first of many consisted of a key note address and a breakout workgroup. Joshua Ajitena, a management consultant and speaker based, with this session passionately spoke on prospects, challenges and solutions. Here are some clips from the event.

Along side Adaora Mbelu Dania and Akinlabi Akinbulumo, Joshua facilitated a conversation amongst the 20 participants as they suggested a roadmap to achieving desired results. The group broke into three groups and focused on thinking through problems and solutions facing 6 sectors. Here are the results of the exercise.

EDUCATION
Challenges:

  1. Disconnect between curriculum and real life issues/challenges
  2. The gap between public and private schools
  3. Outdated curriculum
  4. Poor quality of teaches and lack of availability
  5. Lack of infrastructure
  6. Lack of parent/teacher inter-phasing around quality education

Solutions:

  1. Revised curriculums and inclusion of new fields in schools
  2. Internship should be focused on learning vs attendance
  3. Private schools and public schools mentorship program
  4. Training programs for teachers with certification
  5. Mandatory donations and scholarships by organization

GOVERNMENT
Challenges:

  1. Lack of transparency
  2. Lack of enabling policies for businesses
  3. Inadequate provision of infrastructure
  4. Disconnect between the levels of Government
  5. Disconnect between the leadership and the people

Solutions:

  1. Mandatory interactions between constituencies and mystery shopping
  2. Frequent measurement of public offices and a public declaration of assets and savings
  3. Portal to submit petitions and changes faced by businesses
  4. Training on leadership and policy formulation and governance

RELIGION

Challenges:

  1. Lack of tolerance
  2. Too much messaging focused on making the people lazy
  3. Lack of education and information

Solutions:

  1. Inclusion of mixed studies in early secondary education
  2. Society focused campaigns on the valve of hard work

MEDIA

Challenges:

  1. Accuracy of information
  2. Distribution and dissemination of information
  3. Quality of information
  4. Control of information

Solutions:

  1. Staff training and orientation
  2. A strong regulatory body that checks the media companies
  3. A body overseeing the education curriculum in this profession
  4. Less government control
  5. Passing the Freedom of Information Bill

SECURITY:

Challenges:

  1. Inadequate training/training facilities
  2. Welfare
  3. Education
  4. Abuse of power

Solutions:

  1. Provision of adequate training facilities and trainings
  2. Improved welfare/welfare packages
  3. Proper orientation for security agencies/public
  4. Checks and balances for misconduct

COMMUNITY

Challenges:

  1. Tribalism
  2. Religion
  3. Inadequate town planning

Solutions:

  1. Build up adequate infrastructure
  2. More community service from the public
  3. Re-orientation

ECONOMY
Challenges:

  1. Heavy reliance on importation
  2. Devaluation of naira
  3. Overdependence of oil and specific industries
  4. Issues with economic policy
  5. Wealth distribution

Solutions:

  1. The need for diversification
  2. Encourage SMEs, Local Businesses
  3. Price control
  4. Enforcement of regulatory bodies
  5. Influence economic policies

INFRASTRUCTURE

Challenges:

  1. Absence/lack of maintenance
  2. Under utility of historic buildings
  3. Review and evaluated projects
  4. Insufficient health insurance policies and providence
  5. Technology as a key catalyst

Solutions:

  1. Preservation policies
  2. Sensitization campaign to the public
  3. Independent body to manage review
  4. Health insurance (vast network)
  5. Expanding and maintaining our transport networks.

EQUALITY
Challenges:

  1. Intolerance for religious differences
  2. Tribalism
  3. Gender inequality/gender roles
  4. Class stratification
  5. Sexuality

Solutions:

  1. Education/sensitizing the public
  2. Level playing ground e.g. sports
  3. Influencing legislature

Meet Joshua Ajitena. Also known as Mr. Genero or Mr. Speaker. Poised with a passion for creativity and impacting the minds of his generation. Josh is the mind behind GeneroLiving, i-Rock Seminars, and The Genero Brand.
Joshua as stood on several podiums in the UK to address audiences of various sizes, his message is clear, ‘Life is to be lived curiously, only then can we explore the good things that are hidden with each creative endeavor’.
Joshua has spoken in over 250 schools & colleges, universities, startup networking events, churches, and many other gathering in the UK.
His passion is infectious, his delivery is powerful, one can describe Mr. Genero as a force on stage. With Tact and Witt, he is able to convey a message so complex or simple in the most clear and understanding way.
Josh is highly sort after in the UK, with sold out seminars and workshops, he is set to have a very eventful year ahead. Currently anticipating his acclaimed book ‘100’, set to be released in 2017. There sure is allot to expect and from him. In his words, ‘every opportunity to stand and speak is a
treasured moment, no audience is too big nor to small, it’s all about serving.
Joshua has had his eye and heart set on his motherland, Nigeria, for a while. Now, we hope Lagos is ready for the storm that is Mr. Genero.

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

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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?

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Can technology truly help traditional Nigerian Businesses experience astronomical growth?

Posted on: August 1st, 2016 by The Moderator 8 Comments

Welcome to The Octagon

See the profile of our guests in this Octagon room conversation

The Octagon: 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.

Bade: Bade Adesemowo – Co-Founder, Social Lender; & Deputy Group Head, Bincom ICT.

Kazeem: Kazeem Bello-Osagie MD QUO Courier & Logistics

Daniel: Hello All,  I’m Daniel Oparison. Head, Growth Strategy & Brand Marketing @ Paga. Exec Creative Director @ Dmastermind Agency.

Udoka: Udoka Uzoka. Technologist. Run a software development company (Cubix Labs) and a few startups with focus on Education (BrightCube) and e-commerce (Heels.com.ng).

Mayor: Hello All. My name is Mayor. I like Game of Thrones and work in Brand Management/Marketing to be able to pay for this passion. (Hands of the King (And Queen) are very expensive!)

Dami: Hello, Akinwale Damilola. I used to work in Financial services, now I am on the proverbial Streets looking for a Unicorn.

Sam: Hi my Name is Sam Uduma, serial entrepreneur with a flair for innovative technology and Impact investing. Give me $ 1billion and you’ll get a dent in the African Eco space.. Give me $1m and I’ll get you a billion

Kola: Hello house. I’m Kola Aina. I provide leadership at Emerging Platforms Group – a suite of technology companies. We also recently lunched Ventures Platforms Hub (hybrid incubator / co-working / enterprise development / investing) with our first campus in Abuja – Ventures Park.

The Octagon: Great! Everyone is here….

Over the last few years we have seen technology change the face and pace of businesses around the world. So many tech driven businesses have not only emerged but have earned great profits in their very early years. Uber is a great example of the speed at which new markets are created, and it’s all driven by technology. Nigeria is not left out in this global trend. Do you think Nigeria is at the point where technology driven businesses can truly thrive? Can technology help traditional Nigerian Businesses and SMEs experience astronomical growth? Do we encourage and bring business developers and tech solution experts together to collaborate? Or should these exist as separate items? Over to you guys!

Mayor Esiaba: Ah Yes. Uber another famous American Unicorn

Dami: To be honest I don’t think the question can technology help traditional businesses is necessary anymore we are past that stage. The question is more how can we use technology to help solve uniquely Nigerian business problems quickly. Don’t get me wrong technology will not solve all of our problems.

Mayor: I would really like to Segway slightly to what has indeed driven “change” in Nigeria, helping us along the way elect a new Government. We can lay our current woes at the doorstep of tech. Our first technology powered elections ensured the voices of most Nigerians counted.

Kola: For me I think the real question here is not what tech can do for Nigerian SME’s rather is that how can we get SME’s to leverage tech in becoming more global brands. My other concern is how our SME’s and tech companies can collaborate more and build bridges for scale.

Kazeem: Technological advancement is a global trend & Nigeria being in the forefront of Black Africa must embrace this phenomenon or be engulfed by it. History has taught us the unhappy truth, that we must at all times engage or open up to disruptive technologies, because sooner or later, it becomes the norm.

Sam: I don’t mean to throw a spanner in the works… or maybe I do… But I’d like to shed some light on what I feel is a fundamental misrepresentation

Dami: OK Sam lay it out

Sam: Uber is not a tech business… Uber is a customer service and a tracking business powered by technology. Customer Service to stake holders, Tracking to vendors, and merchants as the case may be

Mayor: Errr…Mr. Travis says he runs a tech business. He collects rounds and rounds of money, whilst terrorizing everyone in his path.

Sam: Cos it’s sexy. Tech is sexy. But ask Andressen Horowitz. The Hard things about doing hard things

Mayor: Therefore the entire sharing economy isn’t tech?

Sam: Tech is the sexy dress you put on a fully functional paper/mortar business.

Kola: I agree with Sam. Tech leveraged well can make “any” business sexy. The key lies though in the business engineering first and building the tech to scale and make delivery more efficient.

Mayor: So Uber is just a Taxi company?

Sam: Nah Uber isn’t a Taxi company. Customer service and tracking, and seeing the fuel Come out of a sexy filling station tank, we wanna go and build our own filling station.

Mayor: Do you mean like DHL/FedEx? Sam, all of us who deal with direct to consumer businesses are in the end simply in the business of logistics and customer service.

Sam: Mayor, you are getting me now. And until we see ourselves as that, we are building castles in the sky.

Kazeem: Uber is the largest taxi company that owns no vehicle. So I will say it’s more of a taxi company.

Mayor: Nope. Not a Taxi business. You cannot be in the taxi business and own no taxis.

Kazeem: Most airlines lease their planes.

Sam: Monsieur Kazeem, Uber builds its customer service business on taxis but can easily switch that to moving goods around and take out your business. They can even start carrying technicians around and take out my business.

Mayor: They’re already doing that in New York. You can now deliver stuff whilst Ubering and earn some cash.

Sam: Uber eats will soon launch. If not already, they will take food delivery businesses out, and then dove tail into Uber for Okada… And then we don hear am. That’s why Travis is going to collect more money every month. Simple – For world domination. Same as Mark Z, all he wants is to be president of the largest country in the world. Anyway, I’m sure you get my point.

Mayor: Sam, I am absolutely passionate about tech, but have desperately worried about what the current American model of executing tech has done to their economies.

Sam: Hey Mayor … Me too. But I’ve failed a few times to know what won’t work at the least.

Mayor: I believe this growth in tech is responsible for the extreme Nationalism that has emerged across the World and the clowns masquerading politicians who come with them.

Sam: My problem with addressing these questions laid so intelligently by The Octagon is this. Nigerian businesses have caught on late in the tech game… So what they are seeing is result of years of infrastructure development by the Henry fords and Rockefellers. We are catching up to decades of pipe laying.

Bade: I think it is inevitable. That we are generally behind the curve is also true. Imagine a tomato seller on the street actually using basic technology. If we think of technology as an enabler, the question will be slightly different.

Mayor: Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. Hi Bade. I’m now with Sam. She’s at her core, tomato Seller

Kazeem: Lol @ tomatoes seller

Dami: Bade, but she does already. If she wrote down all her customers numbers and called before venturing out she could scale.  I.e. determine what routes are best, and how much quantity to take with her.

Bade: that’s actually my point, she would actually scale better based on the technology available to her. For example, if someone put her tomatoes on Konga and we all knew I can get quality tomato on Konga. She would sell more, and we would buy conveniently. There is a site like that by the way. So I think the focus should be on the how … and actually the massive education required on both end of the value chain.

Daniel: Uber is getting more airplay than our Tomato seller here… and she’s the one who needs the enablement #justsaying.

Dami: @Bade I think that’s where we start to make mistakes. By scaling too quickly.

Bade: @Dami managing scale can also be done with other technologies, but more education is required.

The Brand Ambassador / Influencer Dilemma

Posted on: July 25th, 2016 by The Moderator 8 Comments

 

Welcome to The Octagon.

See the profile of our guests in this Octagon room conversation

The Octagon: 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

Bayo: Good Afternoon People. I am Bayo Omishore. I write seldom.

Wale: My name is Wale Adetula (call me Tula). I’m the founder and CEO of thenakedconvos.com (Nigeria’s largest open digital publishing platform).

Toks: Hello people. I’m Ola-tokunbo. I’m a creative and a brand person.

Eddie: I’m Eddie Madaki, publicist and Marketing communications practitioner.  I work with iBlend Services/ EddieMPR IMC.

Eze: Hello all! My name is Ezegozie Eze, brand and content developer, specifically entertainment & lifestyle brands.

Chuka: Hi Everyone. I’m Chuka Obi, ECD at DDB Lagos

Tayo: Hi everyone, my name is Tayo. I work as a digital strategist with Ogilvy One.  I’m the founder of Isten Digital, recruitment and training in digital marketing. Partially into photography

The Octagon: Ground rules for branding are rapidly evolving.   Social media, content marketing, the younger generation, second screening, thought-leadership and the demographic shift are just some of the many things that are pushing brands to think differently. Customers want to identify with a brand they can grow with, that earns their trust and makes them feel valued. As a result, today’s competition among brands to capture the attention and hearts of their audience is really tough and challenging. This has forced so many organisations to adopt certain approaches to engage their market to transact with them. One of this approaches is the use of brand ambassadors and influencers.  Do you think that brand ambassadors truly help these brands and businesses grow , create greater sales and equity? What is wrong with way brands are going about this?

Wale: I don’t think brand ambassadors have helped a lot of the brands that have gone that way here in Nigeria and it’s mostly down to the reason why they made the decision in the first place. You just mentioned how the ground rules of branding/marketing is continuously evolving. Marketing needs to be way more intelligent nowadays and not based on emotions or who the MD of a particular organization likes or doesn’t. However, I think it is important to note that most of the success stories aren’t particularly exceptional cases. Signing on a brand ambassador so you can gain rights to his music (at a cheaper rate) is a no-brainer. And most of the so called success stories fall in this space.

Toks: I think the bitter pill most of us brand people who know, without a doubt, that the brand owners are going about brand ambassador-ship wrong is that it’s actually working for a few of these brands. Where the real issue is is that, a strategy works for company A and companies B, C and D rush to get on that bandwagon, regardless of whether it fits their brand or not.

Tayo: I agree with Toks. I think that brand ambassadors and influencers have their place in marketing. However, it’s the use of these resources that determine how useful they are to the brand. Brands do not really do brand fit. They just randomly pick people. I believe that ambassadors are mostly for awareness while influencers are for conversions.

Toyosi: Marketing has to evolve with the rest of the world and whether we like it or not using celebrities/influencers (real and imagined) is part of that evolution. People now use Instagram comedians eg I am Kanmi that was just mentioned as MCs for their shows because they know they can pull the crowd they want.

Bayo: I’ll speak from the perspective of a consumer who just so happens to have worked with a number of entertainment brands and say No. In the first instance, I question if the brand managers on the side of the product understand their own product enough to find a music brand that sufficiently mirrors their brand. For the sake of synergy. Or perhaps they sacrifice that on the altar of making a quick buck by hiring the guy that can attract the highest number of coins they can take a nice slice off.

Eddie: Bayo, I beg to differ. Most consumers purchases are won on an emotional level and the right influencer actually wins a larger market share for the product owner IF he/she has the ears,eyes and hearts of the target market the client is looking to penetrate. Now unfortunately since its the trend most agencies just pick anyone for personal/sentimental reasons and that’s when such campaigns are not effective. But if Brand influencer to market segment is a perfect fit, the campaign will work. And it’s cost effective and cuts across most media channels making for a much more organic way to connect with consumers

Bayo: That’s idealistic Eddie. What’s happening in reality is different. The question is, are mothers buying Pampers because of Tiwa? Or Pepsi because of Wizkid?

Wale: hahaha… Or are they even buying at all ?

(continued on next page)

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