Success isn’t magic or hocus-pocus. It is simply learning how to focus—Jack Canfield
A group of engineering students and their teacher were given free airplane tickets to go on a holiday. Once on the plane, the captain announced that they were on the plane the students had built.
Everyone freaked out and rushed out of the plane, except for the teacher who stayed there calmly. When the flight attendant asked why he hadn’t left, he responded: “I know the abilities of my students.
This shit won’t even start”
So, let us talk about wolves…
Wolves are indeed known for their remarkable discipline and organizational skills, especially when it comes to their social structure and hunting tactics. Here are a few key points that highlight their disciplined and organized nature:
1. Social Structure: Wolves live in tight-knit family units known as packs, which are typically led by an alpha pair – the dominant male and female. The pack hierarchy is well-defined, with each member understanding its place within the group. This social organization helps maintain order and coordination within the pack.
2. Division of Labor: Within a wolf pack, each member has specific roles and responsibilities. For example, while the alpha pair often leads the pack and makes important decisions, other members may be responsible for hunting, caring for the young, or patrolling the pack’s territory. This division of labor contributes to the overall efficiency and success of the pack.
3. Communication: Wolves have a sophisticated system of vocalizations, body language, and scent marking that they use to communicate with one another. This clear and effective means of communication helps them coordinate their activities, whether it’s during a hunt or while defending their territory.
4. Hunting Tactics: When hunting, wolves display remarkable discipline and cooperation. They often work together to pursue and capture prey, using tactics such as strategic positioning, teamwork, and coordinated attacks. By working as a cohesive unit, they increase their chances of successfully securing a meal.
5. Territory Maintenance: Wolves are territorial animals, and they are disciplined in defending and maintaining their territories. They mark their boundaries with scent markings and vocalizations, and they work together to repel intruders or rival packs.
6. Adaptability: Wolves are also known for their adaptability. They can adjust their social dynamics and hunting strategies based on the availability of prey, changes in their environment, and other external factors. This flexibility allows them to thrive in a variety of habitats and conditions.
You would have been forgiven to think that my column would just be about wolves…
Last week, Lagos task force crushes 1,500 seized motorcycles was how a national daily put the news, it further stated that The Commissioner for Transportation in Lagos, Oluwaseun Osiyemi, along with the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Wale Musa, on Monday, observed the destruction of 1,500 seized motorcycles on the Lagos State Task Force premises in Oshodi.
The Lagos State Government posted images of the exercise on its X account on Monday.
The caption read, “Commissioner for #lagosMOT1, Oluwaseun Osiyemi, with the Permanent Secretary, Wale Musa, at the crushing of 1,500 seized commercial motorcycles at the Lagos State Task Force premises on Monday.”
I don’t want to go into the demolitions of property in Abuja, Lagos and other such places because it has become a norm.
What do we produce as a nation, not with factories closing like finished toothpaste at the end of the month or the fact that those that are still managing to exist do so like a faded toothbrush.
Do you know that this is the country where an ex-accountant general stole billions, are we okay in this country where a civil servant was making billions for manufacturing “pure water”. Don’t let me remind us of the monkeys, snakes and all those carnivores and reptiles that constantly made away with public funds, but we are the same people that spent N535.8 million on school feeding programme during the lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic.
From toothpicks to pencils, Panadol to inhalers we produce nothing, when we manage to produce, we look for foreign or imported options and abandon ours. We export crude and import fuel, I recall a senator once serving palm wine imported from Malaysia at his event shamelessly. It is like eating Pringles imported from the UK in Bokos, the land of Irish potatoes in Plateau State.
Even Wolves cannot understand us, our banks declare profits year in and year out, do all sorts of bonanzas, give loans to importers, politicians at the expense of local industries and agripreneurs, and when it gives, they take kickbacks and fronts in manners that the real farmers never get these facilities.
There is a crisis in Israel but we still will look for where to go in the name of pilgrimage and stone the devil but come back home and continue to steal. The wolves cannot understand that in this country, torrential rain washed away tractors that were bought by a state government or that a whole ship was declared missing. That our politicians protect ballot boxes more than they protect citizenry.
In conclusion, wolves’ disciplined and organized nature is essential to their survival as a species. Their social structure, division of labor, communication methods, hunting tactics, and adaptability all contribute to their success in the wild. Studying wolves can provide valuable insights into effective teamwork and cooperation, which are applicable to various aspects of human society as well.
My anecdote about the airplane built by engineering students is a metaphor for the challenges faced by Nigeria. The teacher’s confidence in the students’ abilities parallels the need for belief and trust in the capabilities of Nigerian citizens. The flight’s failure to start symbolizes the potential setbacks Nigeria faces in achieving success.
Like Jack Canfield puts it, success isn’t magic or hocus-pocus. For our leaders devoid of focus, there is plenty of focus on hocus-pocus. We simply refuse to get it right, every act of governance raises questions regarding sanity or otherwise. My question is, when will we learn from the wolves so that Nigeria may win!
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo loves to hug the limelight. I was expecting him to write one of the damning letters he is noted for to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu but he diverted his attention to democracy. I still expect him to write to Tinubu sooner or later. Penultimate week he came down heavily on democracy, magisterially returning the verdict that the ageless system of government developed by the Greek city-states has failed his African people.
Cleisthenes (Born: c. 570 bce; died: c. 508 bce) is reputed as “the father of democracy”; he was a statesman regarded as the founder of Athenian democracy, serving as the chief archon (that is, highest magistrate or ruler) of Athens. Democracy comes from the Greek word “demos”, which means “common people” and “kratos, which means “force or might”. Under Cleisthenes, what is generally referred to as the first example of a type of democracy in 507 BC was established in Athens. Cleisthenes created a new system of government where the people of Athens were given a chance to vote on the way the city was governed. How did he do this? He broke up the unlimited power of the nobility by organizing the citizens into 10 groups based on where they lived, rather than on their wealth.
Other notable Athenians who were reputed as having contributed to the birth of democracy were Solon (in 594 BC) and Ephialtes (in 462 BC). Solon, it was said, never intended for the “demos”or common people to rule; nevertheless, he introduced a new idea about broad citizen participation that put Athens on the road to democracy. He was reputed to have laid the basis for democracy by eliminating debt slavery. Although the Athenian democracy lasted only for about two centuries, its reverberations stand, till date, as one of ancient Greece’s most enduring contributions to our world.
Pericles, nicknamed ‘The Olympian’ and described as a populist, was another great Athenian ruler under whose leadership Athenian democracy and the Athenian empire flourished, thus making Athens the political and cultural focus of Greece between the Greco-Roman and Peloponnesian wars. It will, however, amaze you to know who gave democracy the definition it is famously known as today. No Greek leader did but the United States of America’s Abraham Lincoln was the man who defined democracy as “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people” Said Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States of America: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth” But Athens’ democracy officially ended in 322 BC when Macedonia imposed an oligarchic government on Athens after defeating the city-state in battle.
Scholars posit that there are three types of democracy, out of which only one is popularly known as such. The three are consensus democracy, which is rule based on consensus rather than the traditional and better-known majority rule system. The second, which is the most well-known, is constitutional democracy. The third is deliberative democracy, in which authentic deliberation, and not only voting, is central to legitimate decision-making.
Today, democracy as a system of government is known as one-man, one vote, in which the people are held as sovereign. Power, it is said, belongs to the people. Those who bear rule over the people – the three arms of government as defined by Montesquieu (the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary) – are described as the servants of the people, subject to the will of the people. Democracy of the Greek city-state style is, however, impossible in today’s world. Population explosion alone has made it impossible for every citizen to gather at the village square, the type Chinua Achebe described in “Things Fall Apart”, to deliberate and take decisions on issues affecting them. The democracy that we practice today is thus called representative democracy, in which the people elect representatives to take decisions and bear rule over them. Representative democracy, also known as indirect democracy, is a type of democracy where elected delegates represent a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy. The democracy that is practiced in Nigeria today and, indeed, everywhere else, is representative or indirect democracy. This is what Obasanjo said has failed us in Africa. Has it failed us or we are the ones that have failed it?
Why did Obasanjo, a former military as well as civilian Head of State, return such a damning verdict on democracy? The reasons are both immediate and remote. For one, it is a carry-over or hang-over of his frustration over the last February 25, 2023 presidential election which his preferred candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, failed to win. Obasanjo has never stopped sulking after APC’s Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu coasted home to victory in that election. In the countdown to the country’s first presidential election in 1979, Obasanjo, who was preparing to hand over power to a democratically-elected government, made the statement, which later came out to be true, that the best candidate might not win in that election. Chief Obafemi Awolowo was the presumed best candidate in that election; he failed to win while an unprepared and the least qualified of the front runners, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, was declared the winner of the election. What do you make of a democracy that picks the worst over the best? Since 1979, that has been our experience here, again and again. The worst bears rule over the best in Nigeria’s democratic system.
After the June 12, 1993 presidential election, adjudged the freest and fairest in the history of the country, the same Obasanjo went outside the country to declare that the winner of that election, MKO Abiola, was not the messiah Nigeria needed. Yet, that election was credible, free and fair. Abiola won it free and square in all the nooks and corners of the country, except in Igboland. He beat his challenger, Bashir Tofa, even in Tofa’s polling booth and home state of Kano. Yet, Abiola was not allowed to rule. He took up the gauntlet to reclaim his annulled mandate and was arrested and detained. He died in detention years after, fighting gallantly but unsuccessfully to regain his mandate. What kind of democracy is this, in which a man won the popular vote but was not allowed to exercise his mandate? He died fighting for it and all was calm!
The truth of the matter is that democracy as a system of government that respects the wishes of the people, acting freely and electing their leaders and or representatives in periodic elections has failed to take root on African soil. Democracy has operated in fits and jerks here. We have witnessed spells of success stories in which we celebrated, only for such joy to quickly turn into ashes in our mouth. We have the recent example of Liberia where the sitting president, George Weah, allowed free and fair election, lost it, and calmly accepted the verdict. He congratulated the winner and handed over power. No court cases, no acrimony. No baying for blood and no blood-letting. But we must wait to see whether this will prove a lone affair and pyrrhic victory for democracy. Should the shoe be on the other foot in the next election, will the new sheriff act like Weah has done?
Said Cassius to Brutus in William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”: “Why, man, he (Caesar) doth bestride the narrow world/Like a colossus, and we petty men/Walk under his huge legs, and peep about/To find ourselves dishonourable graves/Men at some time are masters of their fates/The fault, dear Brutus/Is not in our stars? But in ourselves? That we are underlings” The fault is not in democracy, dear Obasanjo; it is in us Africans. Twice, the complainant himself, Obasanjo, has supervised the failure of democracy here. Should we blame democracy for that or Obasanjo? When the same Obasanjo decided to subvert the Constitution by going for a third term in office, he failed miserably because people stood up to him; otherwise, he could have had his way and our history might have been different.
In the United States of America, Donald Trump tried to subvert one of history’s longest running democracy but failed woefully because the people and the institutions of the State stood up against him. Otherwise, the course of democracy in the US might have been altered. The Law, the institutions of State (strong institutions) and the People themselves must defend democracy for it to succeed.
In Nigeria, we already have a Constitution, however imperfect (and, truly, it is imperfect!) that prescribes democracy as our system of government. We have a plethora of laws that attempt to safeguard the practice of democracy and virtually every organ and institution of government in saner climes where democracy thrives are also replicated here: But why do they succeed elsewhere but fail here? The fault, O Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, is not in democracy; it is in us that we are underlings in this business of democracy! Alexander Pope posits that the problem is not in the system or type of government adopted; what is best administered, is best. In other words, “We, the People” are the defining factor, not the system of government. And no matter the system of government adopted – call it African whatever – it will still fail for as long as we remain who we are.
Now, there is nothing novel in what Obasanjo has proposed; he has only dusted up the propositions of notable African leaders like Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Nwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania without giving them the credit. Does that sound familiar? Nkrumah came up with what he called “Scientific Socialism” while Nyerere romanced Ujamaa and African Socialism. Mouamer Gaddafi toyed with Arab nationalism and Arab socialism and later Third International Theory. The problem of democracy in Africa lies in the mindset of African leaders and peoples; until positive change is effected there, nothing will change for the better.
Milton Obote got a second chance to rule Uganda. He failed more spectacularly in his second coming than in his first. On both occasions, he was chased out of power. Obasanjo himself failed as military head of state and failed more spectacularly as a civilian president decades’ after. Muhammadu Buhari failed as military head of state and failed more fantastically as civilian president decades’ after. In all the three instances, the leopard could not change its skin. They failed as autocrats; they also failed as so-called democrats. Tell me, is democracy the problem?
Fiery student leader, Segun Okeowo, and other past leaders of the student movement who have transited to immortality must be turning in their graves. The vibrant movement for which they laboured has been turned into a gravy train with all sorts of rodents savaging its soul. The socio-political decay that has rendered the country prostrate has also permeated unionism.
The result is that the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) which succeeded the proscribed National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS) after the Ali-Must-Go national struggle of 1978 is no longer recognisable. The current generation of student leaders who should be at the vanguard of agitating for a better society is itself shackled down by the same cankerworm of avarice afflicting their parents in the larger society.
From Nuns To Nans
This writer was in the thick of things as Nigerian students gathered the pieces of their movement after the military came down with a sledgehammer in 1978. Military governments don’t negotiate. They destroy. Or compromise their perceived adversaries. It is either their way or the highway. Their strategy of containing student unionism after banning NUNS was based on infiltration and division. But their attempt to foist a stillborn association of polytechnic students on the student body in order to truncate the massive following of the fledgling NANS was resisted. Thus emerged Danlad Sunday Oladele (Lado) of the Yaba College of Technology as the first NANS president.
Over the years, NANS has regressed. The association has mushroomed offices and responsibilities in tandem with the rot in the larger political space. The officials now ride luxury cars and have a busload of aides, just like their ‘heroes’ on the national stage. Horror of horrors, many of them are now acolytes of political bigwigs and supplicants of political parties. Little wonder that NANS campaigns are now so capital intensive that a candidate without a fat war chest has no chance whatsoever.
It would be unfair to heap all the blame of the youths without mentioning Nigerian politicians who have used their filthy lucre to blight unionism. Where the military government of the 70’s failed, today’s political leaders have recorded spectacular successes in using NANS as an integral part of their youth wing.
That much is evident in recent events that led to a shooting war between various factions of NANS in Abuja the other day. According to a report published by Sahara Reporters, trouble allegedly started when stakeholders kicked against the planned imposition of a 48-year-old man, identified as Lucky Emonefe, as president. It was claimed that the said candidate left the College of Education, Warri, Delta State, in 2003! That’s a professional student of sorts.
His campaign is said to be well funded and his opponents— seven, I’m told — seem frightened that he could buy up all the votes on election day. The name of President Tinubu’s son, Seyi, is freely dropped by both sides in the conflict as sponsoring Emonefe. The young man has maintained a loud silence over the matter.
Speaking on the African Independent Television (AIT) network, the senate President of NANS, Nnalue Attah, tendered a public apology to the nation on the shooting war. “When you see the weapons that are being caught with various interest groups in regard to this election, you will wonder if we are travelling to Gaza … I apologise before Nigerians … It is not telling well of us. Various groups who are related to the federal government who are interfering in this election should pull off their arsenals.
Different era, different standards! In the 70s, the mere linkage of an aspirant with an external influencer was enough to disqualify that person. I remember a vice president who was impeached at the University of Ife for being associated with the then ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN). I recall, too, that when we started building the students’ self-help hostel, I had to table the offer of a N10,000 donation by the then Works Minister, Mr. Victor Masi, before the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) in order to fulfil all righteousness. It was only after the parliament okayed the move that I accepted the personal cheque of the minister. Contrast that with how student leaders go about like mendicants these days in their quest for free money.
In those days, student unionism and state security maintained separate parallel lanes.
Now, there are allegations that the Department of State Security is neck-deep in student politics. A group within NANS has called out a DSS official, Mr. Martins Zamani, for interfering in the affairs of the association. They describe the man as the Student Desk Officer of the DSS who is tasked by the government with infiltrating NANS and installing a compliant leadership.
“We request the authorities at the Department of State Security Services to call to order Mr. Martin Zamani whose continued interference is now becoming a sore which may be too late to heal”, they declared.
In the heat of the campaigns and propaganda by contestants, the chairman of the Convention Planning Committee was sacked by the outgoing president, a move interpreted by opponents of Emonefe as evidence that the outgoing president was determined to install his chosen candidate as successor.
In their press statement, the stakeholders iterated: “We align with the majority opinion that the Convention Planning Committee headed by Comrade Adamu Matazu be allowed to conclude the good work it began before his unconstitutional removal by Umar Barambu. We aver that no authority, people or persons can suppress the original owners of NANS, the students, in deciding the fate of her leadership.”
Since 1999 politicians have employed a divide-and-rule stratagem to destabilise and factionalise NANS. In September 2022, the association had two factional presidents — Usman Umar of the Federal University Dutse and Umar Lawal of the Department of Library and Information Science at Bayero University, Kano.
Analysts, however, note that any perceived government interference in NANS is well deserved because the students have sold themselves cheap to the politicians. They make reference, for example, to the presidential campaigns of 2019 when the then President of the association, Danielson Bamidele Akpan, promised on live tv, to deliver 20 million voters among Nigerian students and youths to president Mohammed Buhari during the presidential election of that year.
This made a former president of the association, Abdul Mahmud, renounce his membership of NANS. How could the national student body endorse a general who, as head of state, promulgated draconian decrees and clamped many activists, including the then president of NANS, Lanre Arogundade, in detention?
More recently, in the run-up to the 2023 elections, various NANS groups publicly endorsed candidates that tickled their fancy or filled their pockets — an indication, say some critics, that they were political jobbers.
Retrace Your Steps
A former activist who now practices law in Abuja put the matter in bold relief as follows: “NANS is now for hire. That’s why you hardly see university students as NANS presidents who nowadays are usually in their 40’s and exposed to the corrupt system of Nigeria… Politicians now use the association for their political gains, and as we know, money is always an issue. The association should retrace its steps back to the original purpose of its existence.”
Victor Hugo’s immortal words ring in my ears: “40 is the old age of youth, 50 is the youth of old age.”
At times like this, I remember the inimitable Fela Anikulapo-Kuti who always cautioned us against merely mouthing cliches and slogans without living up to the demands of a revolutionary movement.
“Our people have been suffering for too long”, said Fela. “Stop telling them, ‘A luta continua’. They’ve been struggling all their lives. The struggle must stop. A luta stoppay!”
To every aspirant eyeing some loot with regard to NANS’ unique leverage as a bastion of democracy, I say, ‘A-Looter stoppay!’
Nigeria has no fewer than 1,411 participants at the ongoing 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Codenamed: “COP28,” the United Nations-backed conference is ongoing in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
The number of Nigerians participating in the conference was revealed by Statisense, a leading AI data company specialising in financial report analysis, bank statement evaluation and AI chatbot services.
The registered participants under Nigeria, according to Statisense, showed that of the 1,411, the State House, led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has 138.
Also represented at the conference are the National Assembly, Niger Delta Development Commission, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and State Governments among others.
State House: 138
National Council on Climate Change: 54
Federal Min of Environment: 53
National Assembly: 36
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: 21
Ministry of Environment: 16
Lagos State Government: 14
Bank of Industry: 13
Ministry of Petroleum Resources: 12
Federal Capital Territory Authority: 11
Ministry of Environment & Climate Change: 9
Rural Electrification Agency: 9
Govt House, Kaduna: 9
Embassy of Nigeria Home-Based Office: 9
Ministry of Environment & Natural Resources: 8
Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs: 8
Zoetic Global: 7
NEA Engineers: 7
Nigerian Midstream & DPRA: 7
Federal Min of Transportation: 7
Federal Min of Finance: 7
Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission: 6
Min of Niger Delta Affairs: 6
National Population Commission: 6
Sustainable Development Goals, Nigeria: 6
Niger State Govt: 6
North-East Development Commission: 6
Climate Wednesday: 6
Cross river State Govt: 6
Federal Min of Labour & Employment: 6
Federal Min of Power: 6
African Union Development Agency: 6
Formal Act Legacy Ltd: 6
Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project: 6
African Aviation & Aerospace University, Abuja: 6
Environmental Health Council of Nigeria: 6
Nigerian Maritime Admin & Safety Agency Vivacity: 5
Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones Program: 5
Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas: 5
Oando Clean Energy: 5
Nigeria Labour Congress: 5
African Finance Corporation: 5
Federal Min of Environ ACReSAL: 5
Borno State Govt: 5
Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria, Ltd: 5
Office of the SSG: 4
National Agency for the Great Green Wall: 4
Natural Eco Capital Ltd: 4
Min of Budget & Econ Planning: 4
Sahara Group: 4
Zamfara State Govt: 4
Cyprus has introduced its Golden Knowledge Programme for foreign nationals in the ‘research and innovation’ sector to apply for expedited citizenship through a fast-track process.
In a bid to attract tech talent to the island, the Cypriot House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Civil Registry Law, introducing more lenient criteria for granting Cypriot citizenship to foreign nationals in the research and innovation sector.
Nairametrics learns that the revised law incorporates safeguards to ensure that only qualified and deserving individuals are granted citizenship. Applicants are therefore required to have a physical presence in Cyprus, establishing genuine connections with the island.
This recent legislative amendment represents a strategic move to draw tech talent without relying on traditional citizenship-by-investment programs, emphasizing knowledge-based immigration with built-in safeguards for economic advancement.
What the Minister said
According to MP Nicolas Papadopoulos,
- “The aim is to attract qualified specialists in specific fields. Investing in research and innovation means investing in our country’s future, and this will have an immense economic benefit”.
Papadopoulos also clarified that it is not a ‘golden passports’ program but rather a ‘golden knowledge’ program whose amendments primarily address the residency requirements and language proficiency for foreign nationals seeking Cypriot citizenship.
Concerning the amended law, applicants in the research and innovation sector must exhibit functional proficiency in Greek, financial self-sufficiency, a clean criminal record, and good character, with the processing time for citizenship applications limited to eight months.
Key Provisions of the Amended Law:
- Fast-track citizenship for foreign nationals in the research and innovation sector.
- Requirement of a working knowledge of the Greek language for applicants.
- Financial self-sufficiency and a clean criminal record
- Family members of applicants are also eligible for citizenship.
- The processing of such citizenship applications is streamlined, taking no more than eight months.
Benefits of the amended law
So far, the benefits of the amended law are to attract tech talent to Cyprus, encourage the retention of skilled workers in the country, and stimulate economic growth in Cyprus.
Bitcoin price moved closer to $39,000 for the first time in over a year in a latest bullish in cryptocurrency market. The rally comes as traders’ bullish bias for Bitcoin produced the best November performance since 2020.
After traders digested the Binance settlement, the hype around the markets’ belief that a spot BTC exchange-traded fund (ETF) would be approved and bring significant cash inflows to Bitcoin, pushing prices across the crypto market higher.
Most major digital assets rose Friday, in sync with US equity indices, which climbed as investors assessed the latest comments by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.
The CoinDesk Market Index, which tracks 185 digital assets, was up 2.5% in the past 24 hours, while the Nasdaq 100,
Bitcoin (BTC/USD), the largest cryptocurrency by market value, rose 2.9% in the past 24 hours to $38,830, having reached a day high of $38,954, according to CoinMarketCap data. Trading volume was $23.5 billion, up 27.8%.
The most popular cryptocurrency is on pace to conclude the week with a gain of more than 2%.
Ethereum (ETH/USD), the second-largest digital asset, was trading 2.5% higher at $2,095 and headed for a weekly gain of 0.2%.
BNB (BNB/USD), the third-largest digital asset by market value excluding stablecoins, gained 0.6% and XRP (XRP/USD), the fourth-largest, was up 1.1%.
Solana (SOL/USD) climbed 0.9%, Cardano (ADA/USD) added 2.6%, while Dogecoin (DOGE/USD) was down 0.3%.
Powell said Friday it would be too early to “speculate” when interest-rate cuts may begin while the central bank’s monetary policy committee is ready to raise rates further, if needed.
The total market value of the cryptocurrency industry was up 2.3% over the last 24 hours at $1.45 trillion. The total trading volumes increased 16.9% to $50.74 billion.
Daniel Etim-Effiong inferred that the problem of Tbaj's quest for love that ended in devastation as seven suitors abandon her could be a problem with her.
The Big Brother Naija reality star and talented disc jockey, Tolanibaj fondly called Tbaj has expressed her deep disappointment as she reflects on her romantic history. The vibrant personality has candidly shared that, regrettably, none of the men she has been involved with in the past have taken the significant step of marrying her, leaving her feeling disheartened.
She shared that she has been involved in seven relationships, each one holding the promise of a lifelong commitment. However, to her dismay, fate had other plans as each of these suitors eventually departed, leaving her with a sense of heartbreak and disappointment.
Speaking in the latest episode of the Bahd And Boujee Podcast co-hosted by her and actress Moet Abebe, engaged in a thought-provoking conversation with an esteemed guest. During this captivating episode, the guest, whose identity remains undisclosed, made a striking statement regarding the current state of the dating scene. With conviction, she expressed her belief that the available dating options have dwindled to mere fragments, emphasising that the pool of eligible bachelors is now predominantly occupied.
She expressed her sentiments, stating, "Within the realm of dating, it seems that we are left with mere fragments, mere remnants." In a world where love seems elusive, it is often said that the most desirable individuals are already taken. This sentiment holds true as many believe that the best ones are, indeed, married. Regrettably, our arrival at the train station was delayed, resulting in a missed opportunity to board the train. The individual in question has disclosed their romantic history, stating that they have been involved with a total of seven individuals. With a sense of optimism and hope, they believed that each of these individuals held the potential to be their ideal partner.
During a recent podcast episode, popular actor Daniel Etim-Effiong made an intriguing statement regarding the ongoing issue at hand. He implied that the root cause should not solely be attributed to the actions of the seven individuals involved, specifically mentioning Tbaj. In a surprising turn of events, it appears that the source of the problem may lie within the individual making the statement.
Former Director General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Bola Akinterinwa, said he was not surprised that state governors, former ministers, and political associates of President Bola Tinubu are lobbying for ambassadorial appointments.
Akinterinwa said one of the reasons for lobbying for the positions is diplomatic protection, saying that those with corruption charges want continued protection after they leave their posts.
In an interview with The Punch, the former NIIA boss said another reason for lobbying to be an ambassador is to show off and reclaim the help rendered to the president during the election.
Akinterinwa asserted that the Foreign Service is not a place that should be treated like the civil service and asked President Tinubu to stop this special consideration given to political cronies.
He wrote: “There are many reasons why people lobby to be ambassadors. For instance, those who have corruption charges want continued protection after they leave service; they call it diplomatic protection, and this is of two types, as provided in the 1961 Vienna Convention and as provided by private international law. People complained when the service chiefs under former President Muhammadu Buhari were considered for ambassadorial positions.
“Governors who have stolen money still have immunity, but after their tenure, such an appointment gives them another four years of immunity. So, everybody is struggling to get an ambassadorial position for protection. Another thing is that people like titles in Nigeria. If Tinubu wants to succeed as President, he needs to stop this special consideration given to political cronies.
“The problem with Nigerian politicians is that they are more interested in self-survival than national survival, and there are many cases to illustrate that.
Bank customers, as well as Point Of Sales (POS) operators have continued to lament the new directives by commercial banks pegging daily cash withdrawals to a maximum of 50 percent of what was previously obtainable.
In some states, the maximum amount of cash that can be withdrawn in a day is as little as N5,000, while in other states, customers are yet to notice any difference in their daily withdrawal limits.
In Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the new directive according to some banks’ officials came into enforcement following the scarcity of bank notes (cash) which forced the deposit banks to evolve means of allowing their customers access to cash.
LEADERSHIP Sunday findings across the three senatorial districts of the state revealed that most POS operators cannot make a cash withdrawal beyond the sum of N50,000 per day, making it a total sum of N250,000 as against the previous total amount of N500,000 per week.
This is coming just as deposit bank customers are also finding it difficult to withdraw cash beyond a total sum of N40,000 per day through most of the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that are also generally failing to dispense cash even where such a bank’s network is fully functional.
Sources within the commercial banks’ corridors confided in LEADERSHIP Sunday that the new banks’ directive allows customers using the ATM cards of specific banks and wants to withdraw from the same bank can make a maximum cash withdraw of N40,000, while those with a different bank’s ATM are restricted to a daily withdrawal of N20,000.
In an interview with LEADERSHIP Sunday, a female POS operator who pleaded anonymity for fear of being sanctioned by her deposit banks said her two banks emphatically told her that they would not issue her more than a total sum of N50,000 per day and that she should equally pass same condition on to her customers.
Lamenting that such a directive is already taking a toll on her business, the POS operator appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to quickly intervene, stressing that such posses a danger to their daily income.
Also speaking in an interview with LEADERSHIP Sunday, Mr Soyemi Olusegun Owolabi who is into shoe-making and leather works under the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMSEs) in Ogun State lamented the trend which he said has scared away many customers intending to do business with him.
Soyemi explained that the non-availability of cash would cripple several businesses unless the appropriate authority quickly wades in.
“Even when you ask customers to make transfer, you would discover that the banks’ network is very unreliable as it usually takes close to 72-hours before you can see such transfer. Even in most cases, such bank’s cash transfers are reversed, thereby leaving you to continue to wonder. I have had occasions where I had to quarrel with customers and such is not good for business,” he said.
Soyemi appealed to the appropriate authorities to rise up to the challenge and safe the SMSEs from collapsing.
To Mrs Oghenekome Ochuko, a business woman in Sapele, Delta State, she is unable to stock her shop for the festive period due to this new policy.
“I went to bank to withdraw about N500,000 last month, to buy goods, but I was told that I could not withdraw more than N5,000. What can I use just N5000 to do?” Mrs Ochuko queried.
A mechanic in Sapele, Sunday Emeka, also shared his ordeal with LEADERSHIP Sunday. He said, “After making trouble at the bank, I decided to go to the POS to withdraw my money. I walked up to five POS agents before one agreed to give me N40,000 for a fee of N1,000. The rest POS agents asked for as high as N2000 for withdrawal of N40,000.”
Meanwhile, in Ojota, Lagos, banks in that axis pegged withdrawals to only N50,000 per day.
For instance, a POS agent in Ojota, Lagos, Ms Mfon Ebong, lamented that it was only Zenith Bank that gave customers up to N50,000 on Friday. “I walked up to three branches of Sterling Bank and I was told there is no money. Only Zenith gave me N50,000,” she stated.
When asked if the ATMs were dispensing money, Ms Ebong told LEADERSHIP Sunday that since late November, most ATMs in Ojota do not dispense money as frequent as they used to, adding that, “For those that could dispense, we are allowed to withdraw as little as N40,000. What can that do for me?”
Ms Ebong appealed to the federal government to reverse this policy, adding that, “Nigerians cannot go back to what happened to us early this year. We do not have the resilience to manage another round of hardship.”
Similarly, POS operators at Arepo along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway are facing the same constraints. An attendant simply identified as Bisi said she is not giving more than N10,000 to any customer and if there is a need to collect more than that, it will attract more than the usual charges.
When asked why, she said, she was told that there are not many notes in circulation.
However, another attendant said she has no problem giving out more than N10,000 as she has access to cash supply.
At Simbiat Abiola, Ikeja, Sterling Bank card users could withdraw N40,000 up to four times, while non-Sterling Bank card users could take a maximum of N10,000 up to four times. Zenith Bank cardholders could collect N20,000 per withdrawal, while non-Zenith cardholders could withdraw N10,000.
At Oba Akran Avenue, Fidelity Bank gate was locked because there was no cash in the ATM. FCMB, First Bank, Zenith Bank, GTCO, and Wema Bank were all not dispensing cash while only Access Bank was dispensing N40,000 to Access Bank card users and non-Access card users could access N5,000 four times.
A customer voiced his displeasure at not being able to withdraw cash from the second bank he visited. He said, “These people have started their bosh again. No money in the ATM; is that not rubbish? People keep money in the bank and can’t have access to it; is that not rubbish? They can give POS merchants money, but to load money into the ATM, they can’t. No be Nigeria we dey? POS merchants and banks are doing business.”
LEADERSHIP Sunday observed that despite these banks not dispensing money, there was no long queue at the ATMs dispensing, and this could be attributed to the large number of POS merchants around.
Around Bariga in Lagos Mainland, ATMs in almost all the banks were not working while some POS attendants, hanging around the banks are using the non-availability of Naira in ATMs as loophole to make huge profits.
No scarcity of cash in Kano
The recent problem of scarcity of cash that is showing itself in some parts of the country is yet to hit Kano as commercial activities continue without much challenges.
The situation is such that it has not been visible to the public even if it exists as people patronise POS operators more than the banks when they need cash due to accessibility as it is easier to reach the next POS than a bank.
Some banks allow N150,000 withdrawal per week, which is normal depending on the type of account one is operating. There are procedures by which one could increase the amount he can withdraw from the bank.
Although the public have complained of not having enough smaller denominations in circulation thereby getting change after small purchases or services become a bit of a challenge. This affects commercial vehicles operators and small-scale businesses the most.
POS operators have not increased on the charges of N200 for every N10,000 collected, proving that there is reasonably enough cash in circulation.
At the POS, one is able to withdraw any amount depending on the available cash they have as long as he pays the required charges per transaction.
In a lot of public places, including motor parks and markets, POS operators are readily available to give their services to their customers, cash, for those need it, and transfers for those who need it.
In Gombe State, although there is no any serious cash scarcity, POS operators lament that the cash withdrawal limit at the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) prevented them from making adequate cash available for their customers.
A POS operator, Sani Abdulrahman, told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the daily withdrawal limit at ATMs is N40,000 which he said is not sufficient to satisfy his customers.
He added that some banks do not allow them to withdraw from canters and even when they would do so, they waste precious time in queues or give token sum of money to the bankers to be given huge cash.
“As a result of the ATMs N40, 000 daily limit, I cannot provide my clients with sufficient cash and this also reduces my profits and gains from this business.”, he noted.
Our correspondent gathered that many people have stopped going to banks or ATMs to withdraw money but patronise POS operators due to their proximity and availability everywhere as against the banks that are all sited in one location known as Bank Road in the state capital.
In Borno, the scarcity of the naira notes in banks has been a source of concern to both residents and POS operators.
Although, the situation was far better last month when people could withdraw up to N500,000 cash limit placed by the banks to customers, the last one month according to residents and POS operators has been very difficult as customers were restricted to withdrawal of N5,000 to 20,000 for Automated Teller Machines (ATM), while others who want to withdraw across the counter are restricted to N50,000, when cash is available in the banks.
However, speaking on the predicament of bank customers, a resident, Umaru Abdullahi, alleged that the banks are selling the available cash to wealthy customers to the detriment of the common customers.
“I have witnessed such atrocious act in one of the banks in Maiduguri. On that very day, we were waiting at the bank in turns for withdrawal when a wealthy customer came in to the bank requesting for a huge amount, and to our shock, the bank staff went as far as removing cash already stocked in the ATMs of the bank to service the customer.
“Another contributing factor to the scarcity of naira notes in most of the banks is because customers have lost confidence in depositing their monies in the banks since they can hardly withdraw the required amount when the need arises due to the withdrawal limits,” Abdullahi said.
Corroborating the scarcity of the naira notes, a POS operator at the Post Office area of the metropolis, Hassan Dennis, said most banks in Maiduguri were either complaining of not having cash or dispenses as low as N5000 to customers.
He said the situation has forced many of his colleagues out of business while those still in it only survive on commissions from money transfers.
Nigeria’s foreign exchange volatility may linger for a while due to low crude oil production and limited foreign exchange inflows into the country, Daily Trust on Sunday reports.
The development is weighing heavily on the financial standing of Nigeria and its international reputation as a country that is ready for businesses despite the recent assurances by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that all bottlenecks to investment had been removed.
“Africa has moved beyond the false past notions of business disincentivisation and poor adherence to the rule of law. We now fully recognise the nexus between the inflow of investor money and the sanctity of contracts,” Tinubu recently said during his visit to Germany.
But key to boosting investors’ confidence is the seamlessness in repatriation, which every investor doing business in Nigeria would be desirous of. In addition, foreign businesses would see a business environment with strong foreign exchange liquidity and one that guarantees not only a return on investment but predictability of returns.
As at last week, foreign businesses were said to have lost over N900 billion due to naira devaluation in 2023 alone.
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that Nigeria’s currency has suffered massive depreciation against the foreign currency. Exchanging officially at N800, it has recorded over 500 per cent depreciation in the last eight years. This was in addition to the debilitating inflation, which is now at 27 per cent.
At the heart of this is the liquidity challenge in the country’s forex market, which has seen the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) accumulating over $10 billion in forex forwards to commercial banks and businesses operating in Nigeria.
The effect has been much visible in the airline industry, earning Nigeria the notoriety of being the only country blocking the largest chunk of airlines’ $1.6bn blocked funds in Africa.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has been calling out Nigeria over the development, which is said to be responsible for the surge in airfares across international destinations as airlines had to adopt an anticipatory forex rate in pricing their tickets.
Beside the foreign airlines, local carriers are also baring the pangs of forex scarcity, leaving their aircraft stranded abroad while incurring huge demurrage on a daily basis.
Azman Air, for instance, has three of its aircraft stranded abroad. Manufacturers are unable to access foreign exchange to import raw materials. The president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Prof Cyril Osifo, told our correspondent that prices of drugs were on the increase because of the high forex price to import Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs). He said it was high time Nigeria boosted domestic production.
Why Nigeria’s crude export not translated into forex liquidity
An analyst, Babatunde Adeniji, said Nigeria’s Letters of Credit had become mere papers to foreigners as they no longer honoured them in doing business with Nigerian companies.
The National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, recently opened up that the Tinubu administration inherited a “bankrupt country” from his predecessor.
“We are facing very serious budgetary constraints. It is okay for me to tell you. It is fine for you to know. We have a very serious situation.
“We have inherited a very difficult country, a bankrupt country, to the extent that we are paying back what was taken. It is serious.
“But this administration is doing its best to meet our requirements, including that of the armed forces,” Ribadu said at the Chief of Defence Intelligence Annual Conference, hinting that the present administration is “paying back what was taken.”
Our correspondent reports that Nigeria’s public debt hit N87trn in the second quarter of 2023, up by 75 per cent from Q1 2023.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) said Nigeria’s total public debt rose to N87.38trillion in the second quarter (Q2) of 2023, recording an increase of 75.29 per cent. It was worsened by what experts call abuse of Ways and Means, which represents the loans taken directly from the CBN Act, and must not exceed five per cent of the previous revenue. But this was largely abused, prompting the Senate to quickly amend the act to increase it to 15 per cent.
For the 2024 budget, the federal government has proposed N26.01trn, with N8.25trn for debt servicing and other parameters as explained by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Abubakar Bagudu.
“The assumptions include the oil price benchmark, which I said for 2024, we were assuming $73.96, oil production of 1.7 8million barrels a day at the exchange rate of $700.
“Then the inflation of 21 per cent and gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 3.76 per cent. The aggregate expenditure is estimated at N26.01trn for the 2024 budget, which includes statutory transfers of N1.3trn, non-debt recurrent expenditure of N10.26trn, debt service estimated at N8.25trn, as well as N7.78trn being provided for personnel and pension costs.
“Debt service increased because N22.7trn Ways and Means was securitized, meaning that it became a federal government debt at 9per cent.”
Analysts, however, said the parameters might not align with the current macroeconomic realities in the country.
Inflation has crossed 27 per cent; oil production is currently at about 1.3m barrels a day, lower than the OPEC Quota and the exchange rate, which is hovering around N800/$.
Crude swap, a serious trap
There are reports that Nigeria has entered into crude oil swap deals running into billions of dollars by previous governments.
Apart from the fact that Nigeria is not meeting the OPEC quota of 1.7m barrels per day, the ones being supplied currently are said to have been paid for in crude oil swap deals, which the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has promised to terminate.
But data from the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) indicated that the NNPCL exchanged crude oil valued at N2.6trn for refined petroleum products in 2021 under the Direct Sale Direct Purchase Agreement (DSDP).
The NNPC allocated a total of 98.92 million barrels of crude oil valued at $7.11bn (N2.73tn) for the local market in 2021. However, no crude was delivered to any of the local refineries in 2021.
“Instead, the NNPC used 95.25 per cent of this crude for crude exchange for products at the international market under the DSDP arrangement, while 4.75 per cent was sold at the international market.
“This may be due to the fact that none of the refineries were operational in 2021. The sum of N2.23tn ($5.85bn) was the actual domestic crude sales receipts in 2021, out of which the sum of N1.64tn ($4.30bn) represents 2021 sales receipts, while the sum of N588.68bn ($1.55bn) relates to settlement of prior year receivables,” the report stated.
The report also showed that the NNPCL lifted and exported a total of 24.84 million barrels of crude oil valued at $1.70bn on behalf of the federation in 2021.
It stated that the sum of $1.58bn was traced to the respective bank accounts as the actual sales receipt in 2021, of which the sum of $1.55bn represents 2021 sales receipts, while the sum of $24.32m relates to settlement of prior year receivables.
While experts said this was not new in the international crude oil market, they said Nigeria must be able to ramp up crude oil production to service the local refineries, which are expected to come on stream in a few weeks time like the Dangote Petrochemical Refinery, the Port Harcourt Refinery and other refineries, which the federal government has promised to revive, as well as the tens of modular refineries being licensed across the country.
An oil and gas expert, Jasper Nwachukwu, said the crude oil market was a future market, which means that supplies of months to come must have been bid for by the prospective buyers.
But he said Nigeria was facing a forex shortage despite being an oil-producing state because of mismanagement.
The expert said the NNPCL, which should have been the saviour for Nigeria in terms of relieving the country in its present forex liquidity crisis, was also not “liquid.”
Nwachukwu said, “Crude oil is a future market. Oil of the coming months has already been sold to refineries; that is why eventually, if they can’t make it they have to declare a force majeure, but besides that, in the Nigerian context, I think the problem is that we are spending too much money on debt servicing. We have borrowed so much money during the last administration and we are expending almost 90 per cent of our incomes to pay for debt servicing.
“Secondly, the NNPC is also not very liquid. They have to export cash calls from their JV partners. So these cash calls are coming from that same point, and most importantly of course is the issue of corruption, not knowing how much oil we are selling on a daily basis. You may know what you are producing but you don’t know how much is sold because part of it is stolen by oil thieves. Essentially, you can only guess and your guess work will turn out to be false.
“Then we are also not able to meet our OPEC quota. We are short of our OPEC quota by almost 300,000 barrels a day, so that is also a huge amount of money you are going to get.
“Until these characters in government find a way to spend less because they are also spending more than they are earning to maintain their lifestyle – buying SUVs of N150m, spending money to buy a yacht, and so on.
“We are not earning the amount of money we should be earning from our oil, whatever we earn is used on servicing debts, and we are still borrowing more.”
‘Govt running on life support’
The expert said the implication of not making enough money from the sale of crude oil is that the government cannot meet its obligations to the citizens.
“At the end of the day, we will have a government that is not well conversant with what it’s supposed to do. The government is running on life support, like it is in an intensive care unit.
“You want to be throwing money at every opportunity, even the ones that don’t need money,” he added.
On the solution, he said, “I can’t tell you what I think is the solution because I don’t know it myself. I don’t see forex coming down soon because it is a business for some highly placed government guys. They jack up their prices for the common man and they want it to go on.
“There are refineries in Europe that need this oil; and you know refineries cannot shut down, so they are waiting for crude oil, and they are on 24/7. So it (advance crude oil sale) is an international way of doing business and not peculiar to only Nigeria. The little money we get is used to service debt and not to boost production.”
Dr Garuba Dauda, another oil and gas analyst and expert, said, “I am of the view that we need to do serious thinking on the forex liquidity thing. Why Nigeria’s situation seems to have defied solution is that we are facing artificial scarcity caused by hoarding. Privileged people are buying up dollars in circulation to secure themselves in the face of an increasing fall in the value of the naira. This practice is putting pressure on forex demand, thus compounding the situation.
“Nigeria needs to address this issue by adopting the approach of Singapore. The approach is buying up the dollars that pass through the CBN, while denying speculators access to information about the country’s foreign/forex reserves,” he said.
A chartered accountant and financial risk expert, Olabode Afolayan, said to optimise the forex earnings, citizens must cut their appetite for foreign made goods and also de-dollarise the economy.
He said importation was putting so much pressure on the naira, adding that there should be a change of mindset by Nigerians.
“We need to have a change of mindset and be more patriotic. We need to buy more homemade items than importation. Although people are not buying Nigerian made things due to quality, we need to do what the Chinese did by going local.
“We need to start producing our own televisions, our engineering students in the universities should be able to build local technology for this, we need to start manufacturing en masse,” he advised.
He also urged the government to clamp down on Nigerians hoarding the dollars as they are very powerful. The government is doing more to maintain momentum against the dollar.
“We need not sabotage the effort of the government; and the government should talk to those hoarding the dollar because they are the big boys of Nigeria and not ordinary Nigerians.
“When they hoard, the government should clamp down on them because the government is doing everything to make naira appreciate by clearing the forex backlogs and clearing trapped funds of foreign airlines. I learnt the government cleared some of this outstanding issue; hence the naira appreciated,” he added.
Forex liquidity rising – CBN
The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Olayemi Cardoso, speaking in Lagos on recently during the 58th annual Bankers Dinner, said there was an improvement in the forex market liquidity.
He said, “We have already witnessed improvements in FX market liquidity in recent weeks as the market responded positively to tranche payments, which have been made to 31 banks to clear the backlog of FX forward obligations.
“We have been subjecting these payments to detailed verification to ensure that only valid transactions are honoured. In a properly functioning market, it is reasonable to expect significant FX liquidity, with daily trade potentially exceeding $1.0bn.
“We envision that with discipline and focused commitment, foreign exchange reserves can be rebuilt to comparable levels with similar economies.”