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Monday, 1 December 2014

LET US IGNITE AN ENTREPRENEURSHIP REVOLUTION IN NIGERIA !

Global development is entering a phase where Entrepreneurship will increasingly play a more important role. An analysis of sources of economic growth by the World Bank( 2013), finds that the biggest differences between developed and developing economies are in innovation performances. It emphasizes that while Entrepreneurship and Innovation are very critical for economic growth,they have also become increasingly important for addressing major development Challenges, such as the ones related to poverty, inclusion and sustainability.

According to the World Institute for Development Economics Research( United Nations University), it is expected that Entrepreneurship will continue to make significant contribution to growth and employment generation in advanced, emerging and least developed economies alike. This is a reasonable expectation- one that is supported by recent findings of historians, economists and management scientists.

In the highly industrialized West, economy of the 1970s-2000s, characterized by reliance on big business and mass production has given way to an ' entrepreneurial economy'. In the emerging countries, most notably the BRICS countries, impressive growth has been driven by a veritable ' entrepreneurial revolution'. Even in the least developed countries, where aid dependency is high, donors have been shifting the emphasis in development cooperation towards private sector development.

Unfortunately the developments in this sector in LDCs, Nigeria inclusive,remain a far cry from the quantity and quality required to effectively fire up the economies. Issues of infrastructural inadequacy,weak funding,and unaffordable financing, low entrepreneurial capacity, corruption and the surfeit of cheap foreign-made goods that choke locally made goods out of the market, coupled with a barrage of policies, like multiple taxes and difficulty in acquiring property, that appear insensitive to the existence of these challenges, particularly at the sub-national levels, all combine to militate against meaningful progress in this sector.

World Bank statistics shows that, as at 2012, Nigeria had a new business density( a measure of the growth of Entrepreneurship) of 0.91. Though this represents an appreciable growth from its rating in 2004, when it had a new business density of 0.32, the country is still significantly behind such developing economies as Uganda (1.17), Tunisia (1.52), Malaysia ( 2.28), South Africa ( 6.54), and Singapore ( 8.04).

There is therefore a crying need to conscientiously transform the structure of Nigeria's economy by propelling positive industrial trends through growth in the small and medium scale industrial groups and eventually in the large scale manufacturing sector. This must involve a major and revolutionary effort to galvanize and motivate the entire citizenry to adopt the Entrepreneurial mindset. And to do so will require a holistic review of the Policies and incentives on ground to promote enterprise development.

First, we need to rethink our educational philosophy, to graduate students who are solution providers and job creators. The current preparation for seeking jobs and carriers in employment can no longer handle the volume of products from our institutions of higher learning, hence the unacceptably high level of chronic unemployment and underemployment, with its consequences on our social milieu. Thank God, the Government has taken some initiative in this direction but what is on the ground is only symbolic. Theoretical teaching only will not do it , we need a lot of experiential impartation and mentoring.

Second, we need strong, consistent and carefully structured awareness creation. This must be run as a campaign, not propaganda and tokenism. Every person must know what is in place to promote entrepreneurship. The objective should be to make enterprise development a first option for young Nigerian graduates, not a fall back option when nothing else is forthcoming. For many young graduates today, their first option is political appointment, because that is where it is 'happening'.The few who are lucky to be employed in companies still depend on their parents, five years post graduation whereas the councillor, Local government Chairman's PA or Party youth leader achieves financial independence within 18 months with Jeep and house to booth.

Third, we must maintain an unceasing focus on building capacity in all ramifications of the Entrepreneurial pursuits. It must be emphasized that possessing technical or vocational skills does not translate to entrepreneurial skills. The financial,the business management skills, the ability to measure and manage risks are critical skills for enterprise development and we must develop an integrated capacity building scheme that will enable our young business men and women build successful businesses .

Fourth, we need to ensure that we have, develop and adopt appropriate technologies that will leverage product and service delivery. In the global competitive market environment of the 21st century, Technology has become a major differentiating competitive phenomenon. If we drive on the left when others are driving on the right, we may be the only ones who will buy our automobiles for example. The World has gone digital and the Nigerian business culture must therefore be run on this 21st century technological platform. Luckily our youth are highly adaptive to this new technology, all we need is to create generous access.

Fifth, there is a crying need for enhanced access to Venture capital. In Nigeria there is a deficit of entrepreneurial 'promotive'capital. Some reasonable efforts are currently being made with the support of the Central Bank and the Federal Ministry of finance. As much as this is important and most welcome, private venture capital is more sustainable. Given the attractiveness of our market, we need to get other elements of competitiveness in place to build confidence and attract a lot more of venture and equity capital from the global private sector to complement the domestic public-sector supported initiatives.

And sixth, we need to be deliberate in promoting Innovation and innovative entrepreneurship. Most of our current entrepreneurial pursuits are directed to meeting basic human needs-raw materials, cocoa, flour, sugar, cereals, cement,crude Petroleum, importation of refined fuels, trading, banking services,tele-communications etc. Most of these are commodities with global price ceilings. But in the innovative realm which is essentially creative destruction of what exists and creating new or bringing what only exists in the imaginary realm into present reality. Here, the inventor and creator determines his margin and can quickly ramp up wealth. Most of the wealthiest men in the developed world come from the knowledge and innovation realm- Microsoft,Apple, Yahoo, Goggle, and Alibaba.

The truth is that these can be achieved only through strategic partnerships among key stakeholders- governments( and their agencies), Research centers, educational institutions and well-meaning private sector organizations( including NGOs) and individuals to form a network that can drive the movement for revolutionizing our entrepreneurial land scape. The current efforts by the government must be widely promoted and supported. I believe that it is in the pursuit of this need to form a coalition, that will ignite the Entrepreneurial revolution in Nigeria that the African Centre for Business Development, Strategy & Innovation ( ACBDSI) has organized the National Summit on Entrepreneurship & Innovation (NSEI) which will hold 20/21November at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel.

This summit with the theme: Entrepreneurship, Job creation & Poverty Reduction will bring together Policy Makers,Financial intermediaries, Industry Leaders,Business Promoters, Business Researchers, Professionals and budding Entrepreneurs in Nigeria and the West African sub-region to network, share ideas,question paradigms, challenge status quo and generate creative solutions to contemporary issues revolving around the use of entrepreneurship & innovation to stimulate economic renaissance. My hope is that the expected generous presence of the older and successful Entrepreneurs will motivate,stimulate and mentor the younger and struggling Entrepreneurs with their stories. This in my view will show that so much is possible in our country and help change the narrative.

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

THE SIGNS ARE OMINOUS: NIGERIANS PREPARE FOR A ROUGH RIDE!


Those who know me or who read my writings will agree that I am very optimistic about this Country. I believe in the resilience of the country and its ability to withstand centrifugal forces trying to tear the country apart and abort its destiny of leading Africa and the black race.But I must say that I am worried with recent developments in the Polity. The signs are omnious and troubling.

First, the onslaught of the terrorists is not abating. The terrorists are bombing and killing themselves and many innocent Nigerians. They are also capturing and occupying territories in the North East Nigeria, precipitating the highest level of internal displacement of Nigerians since the civil war. Many Nigerians are truly troubled with the apparent difficulty our Security forces are having in halting and dismantling this vicious rebellion. To put it mildly, Nigerians feel despondent and helpless and are wondering what next we need do to resolve this seemingly intractable national challenge. It was suggested, we should seek International help and I believe we have had American advisers for a while, some of whom survived a recent Helicopter crash landing in Yola. For me and for many, all that we can do now is to pray harder for our Security forces and for the suffering Nigerians. God, please save us!

Second, all of a sudden, the price of crude Petroleum has been dropping and hell seems to have been let loose. There is an economic fever spreading all over the Nation. Indeed there is some panic in the air. I am afraid that this panic is causing serious injuries to the economy. The Federal Government has announced some austerity measures and the MDAs are in state of ambivalence. Some State Governments are almost declaring 'force majeure' and declining or are unable to meet their commitments. Un paid salaries and unpaid contractors bills are beginning to pile up.The Stock market is in a down ward trend as equities loose value and there is some divestment and capital repatriation.The Naira exchange rate is under pressure and a devaluation is being predicted. The stable macroeconomy we have had over the last few years seem to be under threat. This calls for the best of our economic management skills and an effort made to calm the pervading panic.

Third, we hear of the political rumblings in EKITI State. The APC Legislators in the State have determined that Governor Ayo Fayose will govern alone, with no commissioners and no aides. Just as was done when the EKITI Eleven wanted to employ the judiciary to stop the swearing in of Fayose as Governor, after what was a convincing win; which led to the mishandling of a Judge in the State, the PDP has used its minority members in the house, to approve the Governors request and to impeach the Speaker, Dr Adewale Omirin. Hon Oladele Olugbemi of PDP has been installed by the Minority and Governor Fayose has recognized this travesty.

I have been worried about EKITI since Ayo Fayose came from the 'dead' to beat sitting Governor, John Kayode FAYEMI. The loss was unexpected and has been seen as a big slap on the face of APC leaders especially that of the Asiwaju. And it seems to me that what APC could not get from the ballot box, they are determined to get by other means. Now with their majority in the house, they have determined to lock down Ayo Fayose's government. They will not approve his list of commissioners and advisers and may never approve his budget proposals or other bills. That seems to have encouraged or "forced" Fayose to take the laws into his hands. The Parliamentary rascality we saw in Edo recently where the Minority PDP members tried to take over the Edo house seems to be repeating in EKITI , perhaps with more dangerous dimensions. This situation must be halted. My counsel is that Ayo Fayose must show exemplary leadership by finding ways to reach out to and accommodate the APC legislators. The strong arm tactics he seems to be adopting in what is truly a great challenge to him, may only yield temporary results that are not sustainable . He can not govern the State that way and succeed.

On the other hand, all well meaning Nigerians must appeal to APC and its leadership to learn to respect the wishes of the majority of the people of EKITI, no matter how 'stupid ' they think the people are in choosing Fayose instead of governor FAYEMI. They should allow Fayose to run the government for the good of the people of EKITI State. If they blatantly refuse to cooperate with him, the only party that will suffer, are the good and'foolish' people of the state. If governance is about the people, then, all the obstacles on Fayose's road to good governance must be dismantled by the APC and its legislators . I recommend that they should spend their time and energy more on strategizing for 2018. Four years run quickly and they could return to the staple . But if they continue to prevent Fayose from governing, they may actually be hurting themselves as Fayose could win the people's Sympathy.

Then when we thought that we had seen the height of political rascality, our sensibilities were badly assaulted by the specter of parliamentary brigandage we watched at the National Assembly a few days ago. Right in our eyes, we saw ' honourable' members of the house scaling fences, somersaulting and pushing down gates. Then we saw them and a motley of others running helter and skelter as the Police threw tear gas at the 'Invading' crowd. Then we saw the Senate President being hassled as he entered the Chambers of the Representatives, perhaps to calm the nerves of the Members who had literarily fought their way into the chambers. The Representatives were highly agitated and tempers were roof high and palpable. There was shoving and finger pointing. Indeed, some fisticuffs were exchanged and some 'honorables' took off their shirts ready for Fight. It was like a free-for-all brawl. I was shocked by the unfolding drama. I could not believe my eyes. I was downcast and I cried for my Country. What was all these about?

The Police in their 'wisdom' decided to lock out the Members of the National Assembly for security reasons. They said that they had intelligence report that hoodlums were about to invade the National Assembly. All well and good. How I wish they used more of this 'intelligence' expertise to stop Boko Haram bombers from destroying the North East. Now if the Police had this information and they were shutting the gates in good faith, why did they not find a way to send information to the members of the National Assembly alerting them of this plan of hoodlums and advising them to stay away until the threat is cleared. Why not ask each member to identify himself or herself, so we can separate the wheat from the chaff.How much will that have caused them and the Nation ? Can that cost be compared with the disruption of the polity that we saw on Thursday(20th. November) and the ripple effects that would last many months, leading to a further destabilization of our Nation.

If the police was wrong in taking this precipitous action of locking the gates against the members of the National Assembly without due notice, the action of some members of the house who climbed the gates to force entry was also reprehensible . Two wrongs can never make a right. If those representatives were honorable and law abiding as we expected them to be, then they could not have resorted to self help that made them look like miscreants and militants. And some of these are parents! What could they possibly be teaching young Nigerians? What message could they be passing to those on the fringes of society, those who are angry with Nigeria, those who are looking for opportunities to express their anger against the country( the 'dishonorable' members inclusive). If a privileged class( over indulged some would say) as members of the National Assembly can descend so low and promote deviance and violence, what do they expect most of the other 'angry' Nigerians to do. Is it any wonder that this Nation is gradually becoming a violent Nation? If Gold can rust, what will iron do?

In my recent commentary on Tambuwal, I had indicated that I was going to watch how far this 'cunny' man would go with his cunning. Something tells me that all the brouhaha and 'roforofo'that we just witnessed and may yet witness a lot more are all about him. May be he does not care much about Nigeria, just as the Boko Haram insurgents and their sponsors do not care. What is important to him and his ilk is to take political power, employing every trick available. If he cares for this Country's survival and peace, if he believe's that nobody's political or economic ambition is greater than the survival and peace of this Nation, then he should save this country from this avoidable cataclysm. If he is noble, then he should do the honorable thing; resign his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives, because he has moved from a majority party to a minority party in the house, and allow peace to reign. He can not eat his cake and still have it. The democratic right he has to switch from one party to another without blinking an eye lid, is the same right the majority party in the house has to elect the Speaker. He must stop being a dog in the manger. That way he will show his love for this Nation, regain his nobility, receive the gratitude of most of the Ordinary People of Nigeria who are not politicians and who just want to have a peaceful Nation to work, live and die. These Ordinary Nigerians are the ones making sacrifices and bearing the brunt. They pay the taxes that maintain the politicians in office.

Many predictions have been made about the challenges facing Nigeria as we head to the 2015 Elections. In as much as many of us do not believe in those projections and 'prophecies', I think it is wise for our political leaders not to write off those projections with a wave of the hand. My leadership training tells me to hope for the best but to be prepared for the worst. In which case, I would be careful and sensitive. I would refrain from doing anything that will make the worst to become a reality. In addition, I will resist any temptations to play into the hands or circumstances that may promote the worst . What am I saying? Our Political leaders starting from the President to the Ward councillor must not light any fire that could burn the Nation or any part of it. They must also not stoke any destructive fire, no matter who lights the fire. My counsel is that it is the leadership's responsibility to calm every situation. Yes, leaders can be provoked, insulted or humiliated, but they must not allow themselves to be drawn into baits. I am convinced that there are people in this Country today( Boko Haram et al), who do not care a hoot about what happens to this Nation. I believe the Tambuwal's matter is a Bobby- trap. Let us be wise to jump and pass. Let us use constitutional means and legal methods to resolve it and other such matters. Resort to self help will only imperil our Nation. I believe that everything decent and right must be done to protect our democracy, peace and orderly development of our Nation. No sacrifice will be too much.A word is enough for the wise.



Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR



HOW & HOW NOT TO SURVIVE THESE AUSTERE TIMES


Last week I admonished Nigerians to prepare for a rough ride ahead, given the Security, Political and Economic challenges confronting our Nation, one climbing on the back of the other. As I had predicted, some salvos were fired during the week by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The naira was devalued, though I hear that my brother, Dr Nnanna, Deputy Governor designate of the CBN, says it is not devaluation. May be we can call it a steep depreciation of the Naira. Today the dollar is exchanging for more than 180 naira in the Parallel market. The interest rate was adjusted upwards, prompting immediate review of the pricing of most bank loans and creating new nightmares for the industrial sector including the SMEs. With depreciation of the dollar in an import dependent nation and with rise in interest rates, it will not be long, before inflation will begin to inch up. The consumer at the end of the day will bear the full brunt of these austerity measures.

I had planned to do a follow up article on 'how to survive these austere times', as a modest effort to suggest to my readers, some steps they may need to take both in their personal and business conducts to overcome the current and developing economic challenge. But I was compelled to adjust the topic a little bit, when I realized that we may be taking some actions( consciously or unconsciously) that may worsen our ability to ride the storm. I was jolted into this reality when I heard that at its last meeting, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the purchase of Cooking stoves worth 9.7 billion Naira. What kind of stoves? At this austere time ? I was really troubled to reconcile my self with how these stoves will help with tightening our belts which the Federal Government has advised the Nation to do.What fuel will these stoves use?Firewood, coal or kerosene? Who will procure the fuel for the rural women, who often spend many productive hours searching for kerosene. Or will the second phase of the contract be for the fuel supplies? I once heard that we wanted to move Nigerians from kerosene to gas for domestic cooking. How does this stove and 'wonder bags' business promote gas utilization ? Please I need some education!

To be sincere, I would have no problem with anything done for or in the name of our rural women were we not recently regaled with admonishments by senior government officials of the need to reduce expenditure in the face of dwindling income from crude oil. To send home this message, the CBN has decided to ' punish' importers with high exchange rate and industrialists with high interest rates. That tended to put me in the mood to think that we are going to be extraordinarily careful and selective in spending our National income henceforth. But these cooking stoves and 'wonder bags' have left me totally confused and wondering. What kind of austerity measures are we promoting? Are we truly serious?

And then the 60.9 billion naira contract award to KARKATAR for the provision of Engineering infrastructure for Kyami District, Zone C, Abuja. I knew it! When I began to hear and see on prime time advertising on Television of this hitherto unknown company, with claims of being entirely Nigerian and having built a bridge over two 'islands' in Abuja, I smelt a rat and suspected that something was cooking. I am happy that an indigenous Nigerian company has won a contract, the type that was only won by foreign companies in the past. My only worry is , must we be giving new contracts of that nature now? In austere times, should we not concentrate on completing ongoing contracts and paying off the huge debts owed Contractors. The last time I checked, Nigerian contractors are owed almost 1 trillion naira. My own sense of austerity dictates that I should be careful in entering into new debt obligations when I am uncertain of my source of income. May be my sense is exaggerated!

But that will be my first advice to Nigerians that they should limit new commitments, except they can guarantee source of repayment. Not only are incomes sources likely to diminish, interest rates are going higher. So I would do my utmost to limit my commitments only to guaranteed income and minimize building up new debt obligations.

Second, I will do my best to carry or keep minimum cash around. I will also not leave much money in my current accounts. The minimum is that every kobo that I will not need in the next four weeks should be either in a savings account or deposit account. This will help me hedge against inflation and ensure that I make my money work for me at this time, even if passively.

Third, I will not make long term commitments in foreign exchange. I will be very careful if I have to borrow in US dollars or any other international currency. If I must borrow, then I must begin to plan repayment as soon as possible. If I sell in naira then I must convert into dollars soon after to hedge against further deterioration or devaluation. With the current devaluation, many who borrowed in dollars or who must pay their suppliers in dollars must be 'sweating' profusely. Some businesses could easily be wiped out!

Fourth, I will advise prioritizing of expenditure. I will recommend that everyone learns to work with a budget. Make a budget and do your best to match expenditure with certain income. This is not the time to spend anyhow, trusting that 'God will provide'. He expects us to be wise and not to be foolish. I will for now focus on meeting basic needs. I will ignore anything that looks like I can do without it. My major focus should be on how my money will work for me, creating more money and improving my ability to have money to spend in the future. Nigeria's main income earner- crude oil is under threat and no body, not even the CBN Governor knows how low the price will go. As I was writing this, I was watching on Television, the pain on the face of Governor Suswan as he tried to explain his inability to pay the salaries of the Benue civil servants for a couple of months now. He allowed the wage bill to rise when he was getting excess crude money and 'argumentation' but now, no more 'show' and he has decided to reduce salaries and the workers are resisting. Guys, this problem is more serious than many of us have been led to believe! And it has long been brewing!

Fifth, this is the time to seek multiple streams of income. Tell me how the Benue State civil servants are surviving if they do not have multiple streams of income? They must be yam farmers or have other forms of investment through which they are getting some food to eat while they continue to tango with their governor. Every able bodied man or woman, especially those in employment should seek something to do after office hours and at weekends for supplementary income . The anticipated rise in prices of goods precipitated by higher exchange rate of the dollar and the higher cost of borrowing, will lead to drop in sales in the short to medium time frames and this may also create cash flow problems for some businesses. Default in meeting obligations, including salaries may increase in the private sector as well. So all wise salary earners must hedge against this possibility.

Sixth, we may also need to review our investment portfolio at this time. In uncertain times like we are in or about to get into, we need advice on what kind of investments we should get into. As much as possible, we have to avoid speculative investments. It is better to invest in low yield,low risk and more guaranteed investment options. You may consider asset acquisitions at this time, especially immovable assets like land and building for those who have some cash. Landed properties are better stores of wealth at uncertain and potentially volatile periods as we are entering into. Also, this may be a good time to return to the stock market as many who divest from the currency and money market because of volatility may head to the stock market, thereby boosting the stock market and leading to share price appreciation. Secondly, the adjustments undertaken by the CBN promote some level of increased confidence by foreign portfolio investors who see opportunity for higher returns in the Nigerian stock market.

Seventh, this may be time for many to take positions in the export trade. Ideally, the devaluation of local currency makes domestic products cheaper and more attractive in the export market. Agricultural products and even manufactured products can now better compete in the international markets.

Eight, I advise a more aggressive approach to business. Given the anticipated overall drop in demand and re prioritizing of expenditure by consumers of all sizes, competition for market space will intensify. Those who win will be those who take a better advantage of the market opportunities by adopting more aggressive marketing strategies including offering bargains to the consumer.

Nineth, there is wisdom in minimizing risks this season. Every investment decision and business transaction must be fully evaluated to measure risks and deliberate efforts taken to hedge against risks. One major way will be to ensure binding agreements and contracts. Another way, may be to share risks. So we may consider strategic alliances, which in addition to helping us build competitive strength, can help us leverage the market and then share risks.

Tenth and last, this is the time to trust God more than ever. I know that God loves Nigeria but in times of uncertainties and increased volatility in the Polity and in the Economy we need to seek His Help more than ever. One thing is certain, this season too will come to pass.

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

Chairman, African Centre for Business Development, Strategy & Innovation( ACBDSI)



Thursday, 20 November 2014

AYO FAYOSE,'POLITRICKS' AND THE ATTEMPT TO SUBVERT THE PEOPLE'S WILL


  When Dr John Kayode FAYEMI ( JKF) did the unusual by quickly conceding defeat to Mr Ayo Fayose at the   EKITI elections, I was one of those who hailed him. In my article titled "EKITI Elections: INEC raises its game and Gov FAYEMI redeems the political class ",I concluded that JKF had placed his name in the hall of exceptional democratic leaders. His action was atypical among African politicians. To concede defeat in a political contest without a fight? Even if this was ever going to happen in Nigeria, it was inconceivable that it Would come from an APC Governor. My observation is that the APC Publicity machinery has mastered the art of crying wolf, when there is even no cat in the distance. They spoil for fight, when there was no reason for disagreement. And then to be quiet when there was battle in their backyard was befuddling. Perhaps they were shell-shocked by the convincing trouncing by the PDP, against the run of play, that they lost their voice for almost a week after the election and after JKF had made that memorable broadcast on that memorable Sunday in June, a few hours after the result of the elections were announced by INEC.
    I am sure that when JKF will write his memoirs, he will be gracious enough to first tell us, the true motivation for his conceding defeat so quickly. Forget the story that he did it, so that EKITI would not burn. That is a lame story. How could EKITI burn? What were the large contingent of Police and Military men in EKITI for? To watch EKITI burn? If that were his true reason, why then did he allow the set up for EKITI to burn in his last days in office? I trust that he will reveal the true reasons in the memoir. Second, I believe he will be candid enough to tell us how much 'beating' he received from the leadership of APC for doing what he did. I can visualize him receiving tough bashing from the Asiwaju. Indeed, if ever there was another opportunity to go for political office elections, JKF may be denied any such opportunity by the APC for easily "giving up" Ekiti State. But I am sure that move has endeared him to Nigerian voters and he will reap the benefit. He is still young and has a great political future, party affiliations notwithstanding.
  So what to do? The party decided to go to the tribunal and tried to coerce JKF to change his narrative. But nobody could be sure that would work, giving perhaps the convincing evidence of defeat. Infact, the Party chairman had said at the initial time that they were not appealing against the result but against the militarisation of the State and the bias of the security officers against APC members. Iam not sure the Party has not changed course since then!  Also because the "rules" of the game especially concerning the judiciary had been altered somewhat, no body can rightly predict judicial outcomes any more. So what to do to stop Ayo Fayose from becoming the governor even after convincingly winning the election? Politricks?
   As a matter of fact, many commentators after the result of the elections had been announced said in essence that the majority of the EKITI electorate was "foolish" and "stupid "for voting Ayo Fayose and actually seemed to be expecting apology from either the people or from Fayose for "deceiving "the people and getting them to vote for him. When none was forthcoming, then a plot had to be hatched to subvert the will of the 'foolish' people. And most of those in this plot or those supporting it  parade themselves as 'progressive democrats '.
   And the EKITI Eleven was born! A collection of 'reversionists'who believe that their will must override that of the majority of EKITI People and that the verdict of the People must be reversed.Their position was that Ayo Fayose was not qualified to contest the elections, because he was impeached or because there were some allegations against him. They pretended they were pursuing a just cause through the judiciary and connived with all those who hate Ayo Fayose  with a passion to push the judiciary to take hasty decision so that Fayose could be stopped from being sworn on as the governor. If any thing can make EKITI burn, this was one. And I was disappointed that JKF would allow this evil plan to go on under his watch. In his famous speech at conceding defeat, he was on record as saying that " the EKITI People had spoken" and that he was willing to submit to their will. So, how come that he will allow a small clique of elites,no matter their credentials to enter into an "unholy" alliance to undermine and thwart the will of the People.
   What gets me sad in all this is the conspiracy of silence in our Country when evil is being perpetrated by the vocal few. I am appalled by the hypocrisy. Because it is Ayo Fayose, any thing can happen!. No body believed that Fayose would win the elections except perhaps Fayose himself, not even his party. He won convincingly against most predictions. INEC could not disqualify him, his opponents could not prove he was in eligible to compete. Then despite all the evil stories told about him, despite all the heavy propaganda and de marketing of Ayo Fayose, a convincing majority of EKITI voters decided to vote for him. Should we not respect the wish of this "foolish" majority and allow democracy to thrive in EKITI State and in Nigeria? Must we use surreptitious methods including 'biased'Judicial panels to thwart the will of the majority and enthrone that of the minority?. I whole heartedly condemn the reported attack on the Judge in EKITI, as such act is uncivilized and anti democratic. Having said so however, we must beg our desperate politicians on all sides not to set up the judiciary! If all electoral choices have to be made by the courts then something must be terribly wrong about our brand of participatory Democracy.
  Ayo Fayose may not be the best person in the World and he certainly has his weaknesses and his failings, most of which have been generously advertised, but the fact is that the majority of voters in EKITI find him trustworthy to lead the State. To have convincingly defeated two incumbent Governors at two elections to emerge governor of EKITI twice is no mean feat. Like it or hate it, Mr Ayo Fayose is a phenomenon who has not been properly represented in the Media. Most of his personality is as portrayed in the media. It is escapist for many commentators to suggest that he won the election just because of "stomach infrastructure" or because he ate pounded yam and bushmeat in bukateria. I am not from EKITI, and except for a few casual meetings, I have no personal relationship with the now Governor Fayose. But Iam thoroughly intrigued by his political prowess. He is indeed a master strategist and I believe , that rather than vilify him, we need to try and understand the content of his strategy. My bible tells me that when the righteous come to power the people rejoice and when the wicked bear rule the people mourn.
   With his coincidental swearing on the 16 th of October, same day he was impeached eight years ago, Ayo has been offered another opportunity to complete the work he started in EKITI state. I believe he deserves the prayers of all lovers of EKITI State and true democracy. To continue to insist on undermining or subverting him, to me will be like kicking against the stone.  May the People of EKITI Rejoice!
 Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

DECLINING OIL PRICES: Good news,bad or no news?


  Since June this year, the price of crude oil in the international market had been trending down. From a high of nearly 110 dollars per barrel at the peak to 86 dollars per barrel for our sweet Bonny light as at this week. To me it is essentially no news and I am surprised it is making the headlines. What is newsy about an event that is cyclical and predictable. First, the prices of all commodities go up and down and you may say this is about 25% decline from the peak. And so what? Have we not had 50% decline! sometimes much more precipitous than this one. In 2008, we went from 140 dollars to 40 dollars in a matter of days! That is about 250% decline, if I can still remember my elementary mathematics . That was newsworthy if you ask me, not 25 % decline over nearly four months. 
   To be sincere, if it is news at all, then it is good news! From a global perspective, it must be good news that a commodity that generally contributes to the cost of doing business and affects global pricing levels is coming down in prices. This will have a salutary effect on industrial output and temper inflationary pressures. It will stimulate more investments and expand opportunities for job creation. In a global economy where unemployment has been at a high rate since the global economic crisis of 2008-2009, any significant event that will promote job creation must be good news. Indeed all consumers of petroleum products all over the world will find the development interesting because,I do not know anybody who will not feel good to pay less for gasoline and other petroleum products. And to be true, it is not only the gasoline or petroleum products that will go down, many other products and services where significant energy is expended will be benefit from the drop, especially if the decline lasts long enough, which I hope it does. 
   Now if it is bad news, then it must be bad news for Nigeria and Nigerians. It is a big shame that any time the price of oil drops, even for a week, Nigeria begins to tremble and quake. Governor Fashola announced to us recently that Nigeria is broke and Governor Chibuike Amaechi has amplified it. Actually I was surprised that Fashola was the one to break the news to us. At some government Empowerment programme in Lagos recently, he veered off course to announce to the bewildered youths and women that our Country was broke. Evidence? His commissioner for finance called him or he called his commissioner of finance( which ever) who had gone to Enugu to share the Federation 'booty',who told him that they were asked to go home, that there was no money in the National kitty. Indeed, some rumour had it that those who insisted on taking something home were advised to go the Onyema mines and fill their 'Ghana must go' bags with pieces of coal.  I do not know if this rumour was true and as at press time, my 'field reporters ' could not get Governor Chime of Enugu State to confirm or deny the authenticity of the report.
   Now the issue of the rumour is by the way. The verifiable story was that the State Commissioners of finance of the 36 states and the FCT( hopefully) were asked to go back empty handed, that there was no money to be shared. The way Governor Fashola broke the news, it is not difficult to figure out that he felt disappointed. Perhaps some government cheques had been written awaiting the 'alert' so they could be signed and released.  Now if a state like Lagos State, that is reputed to generate so much internal revenue( IGR),that it can do without the 'Abuja' money would be in this situation, I shudder to think of what would be happening in EBONYI or Taraba States. Just a few days delay! Just a few months of drop in price of oil!
   The Coordinating Minister for the Economy( CME) and the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala called a press conference to counter the allegation. He said Nigeria is not broke. I watched on television, as she labored to explain the situation, with parables and anecdotes. As long as we can pay workers salary, Nigeria is not broke. Actually I got really more worried after listening to her tongue-in-cheek explanation. "We have to forgo one or two things, like ice cream or sweets". It is really painful that Nigeria will be talking of forgoing one or two things just because oil price has dropped to 86 dollars, which is still higher than the budgeted benchmark oil price. The CME did not tell us everything . Yes, it is her job to reassure Nigerians to avoid panic. Yes,we may not be broke but we are not buoyant either. And if the truth must be told we could easily get broke if the decline in oil price persists much longer.
   All the State Governors who do not want the excess crude account and all those who are fighting the Federal Government for setting up the Sovereign Wealth Fund, should be prepared to tell us how we will survive if the decline worsens or persists. When the CME talks about how we survived the Global Economic crisis(2008-2009),she needed to draw attention to how much we had in the excess crude account then and compare it with the paltry sum we have today. How long will this provide cushion? Perhaps only a few months! What of our distinguished Senators and honourable members who often mix economics with politics. Every year they try their best or should I say their worst to raise the benchmark for oil to unrealistic levels. Their objective being to ensure that all crude oil sales are monetized and shared, with nothing in the excess crude account. And as soon as the money gets to the states, it is quickly gobbled up, with little or no savings. That is why there is apparent panic even in Lagos State for a few days delay in sharing the 'Abuja' money. The  2014 budget was delayed so much largely on account of this . The President who had better advice from his economic team to keep the benchmark at a lower rate was  'blackmailed' and pressurized to give accent to the budget against his conviction. Now they should be getting ready to tell Nigerians what to do as we may  soon run short of excess crude savings. With no buffer, they should tell us how to absorb the impending shocks, which may  be more than giving up ice cream or cakes( apologies to the CME). 
   Another reason, this could be bad news for Nigerians is that, unlike most of the World, the fall in price of crude oil may not result in reduction of the pump price of Petroleum products. This is because the prices are fixed. And that is because some Nigerians say we should not fully deregulate the downstream petroleum sector. There is therefore a need for such Nigerians to change their minds and allow the government to complete the deregulation so that the retail prices of Petrol, and Kerosene will respond to the drop in the international price of crude oil and enable Nigerian businesses and consumers take benefit. Perhaps, this may also be the opportunity to discontinue the wasteful subsidy regime and turn the news to good.
  The other country that may see this decline as bad news is the United States of America(USA). The USA had had shale gas for many years but have been unable to develop it. The main reason was that it was not economically viable in the face of cheap hydrocarbon or fossil fuels from Africa and the Middle East. So in addition to their desire to build strategic reserves of crude oil, they preferred to focus on importation for many years. But due to several developments in the Global Energy sourcing and particularly the high cost of crude oil, they found economic justification to invest in developing the shale oil. That drastically reduced their imports as domestic production rose, helping to boost economic recovery. So if the prices continue to decline further and may be long enough, the economic realities will change and may imperil the commercial viability of the shale gas exploration.
 That could be good news for oil exporting countries especially Nigeria that had lost its biggest oil customer, the USA to Shale gas.  But this scenario of possible increased exports may not be sustainable. The reason is that beyond shale gas, hydrocarbons are becoming less favoured as prime energy source of the future. Environmental issues and the campaign against global warming are making the World turn to more environmentally friendly  or cleaner and renewable energy sources . So it may take a few years , it may take longer, but let it be known that some day, perhaps sooner than later, we may have crude oil that nobody will be willing to buy. And unlike Palm oil or groundnut oil, we can neither drink the crude oil or cook soup with it.  May God not allow us see bad thing. Can I hear a thunderous Amen?
    Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

TAMBUWAL, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS AND STATE GOVERNORS


  This week, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, performed what is most likely to be his last official function as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, transmitting the 3rd amendments of the 1999 constitution to the States houses of Assembly for concurrence or rejection( in part or in full). The smart Alec that he is, he allowed the motion for adjournment of the house plenary sitting to December 3 to be moved and passed before announcing his long expected official defection to APC. By that move, we can only speculate on what could have happened the next day on the floor. I am prepared to bet with my pension income that it would never have been business as usual! I am sure that he understands the popular Nigerian proverb:'cunny man die, cunny man buriam'.
   Aminu Tambuwal is a smart, and cunning politician. It is difficult to correctly interpret the coy smile on his face most times. But he is a damn good strategist. Since the return to democratic governance in 1999, he is the first speaker or indeed , the first leader of the National Assembly ( both house and senate) to assume office against the wish of the Party and the President. In the Obasanjo times, you could dare to go against the wish of the Party, but could not attempt to go against the wish of the President. But not so with our 'civilian' President Jonathan who is certainly more tolerant of the separation of powers. So Tambuwal had remained speaker for almost 4 years with apparent ease. Not once was his position threatened! Even in the split seconds that APC assumed the majority of the house after the gale of defections, there was no shaking! 
  It must therefore be admitted that Tambuwal has exhibited an uncanny ability to wield together proposition and opposition. I do not know how he did it, but my guess is that he was two parties in one. On his outer shell was PDP but his inner core was APC. It must be recalled that he was originally a member of ANPP, one of the legacy parties that merged to form the APC and that he only defected to PDP in 2011, most probably out of political expediency and so it is plausible to conclude that he truly does not share the PDP philosophy but did his best to walk the tight rope maintaining allegiance to both parties, while bidding his time to return to his party of comfort. I salute him for his political dexterity and sagacity( apologies to K.O Mbadiwe). I do not know exactly where next he is going, perhaps to be governor of Sokoto State  or to try his hand at the Presidency. I will keep a watch on him and see how far this dexterity and ability to run with the hares and hunt with the lions will take him.
   The National Assembly has proposed 23 amendments to the constitution in this 3rd round of review of the 1999 Constitution. According to them, the amendments represent the wishes of most of the Nigerians they spoke to during their tour across the Nation. Yes in many respects true, but not in all . For example, Most Nigerians wanted the immunity clause for Governors and President removed. But they rejected this popular demand, retained the immunity clause and actually extended the immunity to include themselves. 'He who blows the pipe, must find space to blow his nose!'
   Among the 23 amendments passed by the National Assembly and now passed to the State Houses of Assembly for concurrence, none is more critical and enjoys near total agreement than that which seeks to remove Local Governments as mere appendages or surrogates of State governments and give them administrative and fiscal autonomy. Since 1999, our local governments have not worked. In most of our States, the State governors just emasculated the local governments in the name of joint accounts. They usurped the money but failed to deliver on the LGA mandate. To ensure this goes on unchallenged many State Governors refused  to allow Elections in the Local governments, even when it was certain that their nominees would win wily nilly . They preferred care taker committees or transitional committees, because these could be appointed this morning and removed in the evening. It was sickening how the transitional Chairman's chair was rotating in some States.
   In many States, it made the Governors too powerful and some became Emperors and acted as Military sole Administrators. This has neither served the suffering masses well, nor given our democracy any good name. Resources that should have been used to solve local problems and elevate the quality of lives of the local folks who live in the run down and neglected rural villages are concentrated in the centre and used to pamper the elites or pursue fanciful projects of the governor and his political associates. This is one major reason, poverty has remained pervasive in our Country. We are constantly 'Robbing Peter to pay Paul'
  This is why, I wish to use this medium to appeal to our governors to allow that particular amendment to pass. Because of their hold on the state legislature, it is only what they want passed that will pass. Having 'fed' on this 'fat cow' for a long time, it may be difficult to let it go and certainly not without a fight. It is only natural that the governors will see this amendment as a big affront that will erode their powers and influence and may use all their 'powers' to kill it. But I beg them to look beyond the 4  or 8 years when they are governors, and think of life after that. They should be Patriots and statesmen and grant this universal wish of the People of Nigeria. Luckily, many of them are completing their second terms and heading to the senate, so the 'loss' will make minimal impact. 
  Concerning the issue of autonomy for the State Legislatures, this is also good as it will strengthen our democracy and actualize the separation of power in the states as has been largely achieved in the Federal. But if you ask me, seeking for this autonomy for Legislators as well as asking for autonomy for the Local Governments at the same time, may be too much for our governors to bear at the same time. Perhaps, this can await the next round of amendments or when a new constitution will be written. It is clear from what the National Assembly has done, that they paid scant attention to the resolutions and recommendations of the recently concluded National Conference. One of their major recommendations is that only the States should be the federating units, in which case, the States would be free to create, fund or refuse to fund as many Local government areas as they wish. If this happens, the State governors may recover the local government resources and it will be easier for them to grant the state legislature autonomy. But for now it may be challenging to achieve both. For me, I vote for local government autonomy but if we also get State legislative autonomy, that will be like a bonus from our Governors and will indeed signify that our democracy is maturing.
  Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

EMERGENT SEASON OF POLITICAL BUSINESSES


We have finally arrived at the Political season. The Pre-political season had been on for over a year ago. The next six months from this October to March next year is the main season and nothing else will matter except Politics. This is the time when governance will be relegated to the background. It will also be time of freedom for the civil servants to do as they like as the political class will be too busy in the field, except to come back every often to 'refill'
   Nigerians, this is the time all the money that has  been piled up over the last four years will be spent. Some that had been exported abroad will be repatriated to fund electioneering campaigns and other associated expenses. My rough estimates indicate that at least 1 trillion naira will be spent in Nigeria in the next six months on election related issues alone, outside legitimate government expenses relating to INEC and security for the elections. When you add all up, we may be spending up to 2 trillion naira in this election season! If you think, this is far fetched, then recollect that we spend about 1 trillion naira a year on fuel subsidy alone and that in 2011 we spent double that figure.The Presidential elections this year will be the most expensive ever, because if there was ever a 'do or die ' elections in the past, this one will be it.
   Often in my consulting work in Enterprise development, clients ask me what type of businesses should they invest in to make the best returns over a given period. Some times I receive a fee for giving them my thoughts. But I have decided to avail willing Nigerian Entrepreneurs and business wise people especially those who read this column faithfully my advice pro-bono on TEN businesses they can invest in and make maximum return within this political season. These ten businesses are categorized into three depending on the capital requirement and the time required to launch the business. The first set are
1. PRINTING
Any one who goes round our nation today will see that the country is one big poster board. Every available space is used up to place posters of the multitude of aspirants for state assemblies, National Assembly( House & Senate), Governors and the President. Posters of all colors, shades and logos deface every electric pole, road median and every wall of public and private buildings in every nook and cranny of Nigeria, except perhaps the territory that is occupied by Boko haram insurgents. Even posters of aspirants from obscure parties that have been deleted from INEC register for not winning any  elections since 1999 have posters everywhere. I believe their strategy is to position for negotiation and 'settlement '
  So if you are already in Printing, this is your season, just scale up. Those who want to enter, this is a good time. If you do not own printing machines or can not afford, that should  not be a major deterrence, you can be an agent or intermediary.  In Shomolu and Mushin areas in Lagos, you can easily 'rent' printing machines. I believe similar clusters exist in Onitsha, Aba , Kano and in many other cities in the Nation.
2. ADVERTISING AND MEDIA CONSULTING
This is a boom season for those in the advertising business. They are the ones who produce the newspaper ads, the radio jingles and the Television ads. They even design the posters and billboard ads. If you have a flair in this area or you studied marketing, advertising or graphic arts and have not been busy, this is your season. I am sure many advertising companies will be working under tight schedules and will require additional hands.
3. BROADCASTING & PUBLISHING
This political season is largely for Publishers and Broadcast organizations. Check the size of Newspaper pages. Beyond frank advertisement, paid advertorials and rebuttals, the headlines are catchy political news which attract increased patronage. The air waves are gradually being filled with campaign slogans and lyrics. This will intensify after the party primaries. If you own television stations and radio houses, this is your season to maximize income. Despite the need to obtain broadcast license from Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), which can delay investment in this area, any determined investor can overcome this by buying licenses from those who have not utilized theirs. A radio Station can be set up in 6 weeks. This is the right time to make an entry into the market. And when you combine that, with the intervening Christmas season, there could not be a better timing.
   The next category are less tasking in terms of capital required and the time needed to set up:
4. OUTDOOR CATERING
  Demand for food, drinks and refreshment is high in this political season. At the different meetings, Caucuses, Congresses, and campaign rallies from ward to National levels, much food and particularly much drinks will flow. So go and get contracts from all the aspirants and party leaders at all levels to service their meetings, diurnal or nocturnal. If you can have mobile trucks that can move food and drinks from one arena to another, that will be advantageous as many rallies can be going on simultaneously even in a local government headquarters. Also prepare to supply food and drinks to the voters who will be 'watching and protecting ' their votes after the elections. Many voters have been educated to 'protect' their votes since many can not trust INEC or the Security forces to do so.
5. RENTAL BUSINESS
Whether it is raining or the sun is in full blaze, there will be need for canopies, chairs and Tables at the rallies. So go and set up a rental business. Again, because of the intervening Christmas Season with its own demand for out door events, this is the right time to step into this business. You can start with little capital but if you can have Large tents then you will have bigger customers including religious organizations.
6. CROWD HIRING
 Another business that thrives in Political seasons is Crowd hiring or crowd Rental. Some how many politicians have this belief that the size of the crowd at their rallies is directly proportional to their ability to win elections. There seems to be an important need to massage egos and to make belief in the whole political enterprise. So those who can mobilize crowds readily to the campaign rallies are in great demand at this time.  This business does well when combined with the hiring of buses and other modes of transportation including 'okada' and  ' Keke Napep'. One other success factor for this business is the ability to sow t-shirts and the uniforms of the different political parties. That way the same crowd can appear at the PDP rally in the morning and quickly change costumes and be at APC rally in the afternoon. Talk of Mobility of labour!
   The following last set of four businesses, three of which I recommend ,especially for those who are unemployed or unemployable, the retired or those seeking to get a piece of the over 1 trillion naira political elections expense, are easy to set up and require minimal start-up capital:
7. LOBBYING
  This is a good period to set up lobbying organizations. In political seasons, you get nothing by right or merit. You have to lobby for everything. Some of us have problems making a case for our selves and asking for any position. It is here that the lobbyists come in. They can be hired or they can offer their services to lobby for you. From being 'elected' a delegate at the congress, which today is one of the best paying adhoc political appointments , to  being 'persuaded'to run for any office in the political chain, the lobbyists can make very strong case on any issue. In addition they are the ones that are sent to negotiate with and arm-twist opponents to obtain concessions in cash and kind when we need to step down for more popular or better endowed opponents. The lobbyists can work for both sides at the same time. In this business, conflict of interest does not arise and should it arise, it is ignored with no adverse consequences.
8.OTIMKPU/BODYGUARDS
If you have a big body bulk or you can quickly build up your muscles, there is great opportunity as bodyguards to our politicians- aspirants or not. There is not enough policemen to go round and even if there was, experience has shown that when the going gets rough as it is bound to be in the very fierce competition ahead, no body can be sure of some of the police men. They can drop their guns and run as some of our soldiers are rumored to have done in Mubi last week or they can be withdrawn by the DPO with or without orders from the IG as was recently done to 'cunny man' Tambuwal.
   If you do not have the bulk or nerve to serve as body guard, you can become Otimkpu or praise singer.  Just arrange your troupe with or without 'oja' ( wooden flute)  and follow the political aspirant around. Your job is to praise him and let him know that he is the one everybody has been waiting for. Let him know that he really has no opposition and that he has already won. That way he and his supporters will 'spray' you with crisp naira notes. If you are too sophisticated or shy to personally undertake this job, you can organize the troupes, and send around to the different political aspirants and parties, possibly with the political party costumes . All you need do is to appoint the 'treasurer' who alone can collect the monies being sprayed or 'dashed'.This is to ensure accountability and to eliminate infidelity.
9.DANCING/ SINGING / CHOREOGRAPHY
   Can you sing? can you dance? Are you an unemployed theatre arts or music graduate, then there is a great opportunity for employment in this political season. I am told that the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria(TAN) can not find enough dancers. There is a possiblility that they may produce music and dance in all the over 200 linguistic groups in Nigeria . Naturally, the contending group will do theirs and perhaps they will include Chadian, Camerounian and Niger Republic music and dance so as to reach our CHIBOK girls who may have been dispersed to those Nations. What a pleasure to sing and dance and get paid handsomely- political business.
  Of course Singing and dancing at political events is the forte of our women folk. They will help to promote the business of 'Aso EBI' textile traders and uniform makers. In this season, there is something for everyone including 'pancake' makers, as every woman dancer must look young and beautiful. Our mothers and grandmothers will forget their arthritis this period as they undertake daily dancing exercises at the rallies, even if they have to make up with  paracetamol and  flexodene at night.
10. TALE BEARING/ RUMOUR MONGERING
  In case you do not have the stomach for all the political business opportunities enumerated above, you may wish to consider this one-man business of bearing tales, spying on the opponent and spreading rumors. I certainly do not recommend it but it is a thriving Political business. A few days I got a message from one of the practitioners of this trade who sent me a message completely twisting the things said at a meeting called by a political aspirant in my constituency which I had attended. He concoted a mixed grill of half truths, innuendos and bare faced lies and sent out as resolutions reached at the meeting to the utter consternation of the political aspirant but certainly to the utmost pleasure of the opponent who is his client but he attended our meeting and pretended to be an ally. In fact in the last election in 2011, one practitioner went round town announcing that a particular election had been postponed, as a ploy to keep the voters from coming out, knowing that his client had little electoral support in the town. This is the business of de marketing your opponent and causing disaffection with his supporters by giving false information.
CONCLUSION
If ever we desired full employment, this is the time to achieve it. If you can not take advantage of any of the above business ideas in this political season, you may have yourself to blame. In that case, you have to stop blaming the government that there is no job and that there is no business. Finally to assure success in all these business and employment opportunities,except business no 10 in which I have no expertise whatsoever and which I do not recommend at all because I fear God, please contact me to help you with a business plan. Certainly for a fee! It is well with Nigeria.
  Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

LET US IGNITE AN ENTREPRENEURSHIP REVOLUTION IN NIGERIA !



 Global development is entering a phase where Entrepreneurship will increasingly play a more important role. An analysis of sources of economic growth by the World Bank( 2013), finds that the biggest differences between developed and developing economies are in innovation performances. It emphasizes that while Entrepreneurship and Innovation are very critical for economic growth,they have also become increasingly important for addressing major development Challenges, such as the ones related to poverty, inclusion and sustainability.
   According to the World Institute for Development Economics Research( United Nations University), it is expected that Entrepreneurship will continue to make significant contribution to growth and employment generation in advanced, emerging and least developed economies alike. This is a reasonable expectation- one that is supported by recent findings of historians, economists and management scientists.
  In the highly industrialized West, economy of the 1970s-2000s, characterized by reliance on big business and mass production has given way to an ' entrepreneurial economy'. In the emerging countries, most notably the BRICS countries, impressive growth has been driven by a veritable ' entrepreneurial revolution'. Even in the least developed countries, where aid dependency is high, donors have been shifting the emphasis in development cooperation towards private sector development.
 Unfortunately the developments in this sector in LDCs, Nigeria inclusive,remain a far cry from the quantity and quality required to effectively fire up the economies. Issues of infrastructural inadequacy,weak funding,and unaffordable financing, low entrepreneurial capacity, corruption and the surfeit of cheap foreign-made goods that choke locally made goods out of the market, coupled with a barrage of policies, like multiple taxes and difficulty in acquiring property, that appear insensitive to the existence of these challenges, particularly at the sub-national levels, all combine to militate against meaningful progress in this sector.
   World Bank statistics shows that, as at 2012, Nigeria had a new business density( a measure of the growth of Entrepreneurship) of 0.91.  Though this represents an appreciable growth from its rating in 2004, when it had a new business density of 0.32, the country is still significantly behind such developing economies as Uganda (1.17), Tunisia (1.52), Malaysia ( 2.28), South Africa ( 6.54), and Singapore ( 8.04).
  There is therefore a crying need to conscientiously transform the structure of Nigeria's economy by propelling positive industrial trends through growth in the small and medium scale industrial groups and eventually in the large scale manufacturing sector. This must involve a major and revolutionary effort to galvanize and motivate the entire citizenry to adopt the Entrepreneurial mindset. And to do so will require a holistic review of the Policies and incentives on ground to promote enterprise development. 
  First, we need to rethink our educational philosophy, to graduate students who are solution providers and job creators. The current preparation for seeking jobs and carriers in employment can no longer handle the volume of products from our institutions of higher learning, hence the unacceptably high level of chronic unemployment and underemployment, with its consequences on our social milieu. Thank God, the Government has taken some initiative in this direction but what is on the ground is only symbolic. Theoretical teaching only will not do it, we need a lot of experiential impartation and mentoring.
  Second, we need strong, consistent and carefully structured awareness creation. This must be run as a campaign, not propaganda and tokenism. Every person must know what is in place to promote entrepreneurship. The objective should be to make enterprise development a first option for young Nigerian graduates, not a fall back option when nothing else is forthcoming. For many young graduates today, their first option is political appointment, because that is where it is 'happening'.The few who are lucky to be employed in companies still depend on their parents, five years post graduation whereas the councillor, Local government Chairman's PA or Party youth leader achieves financial independence within 18 months with Jeep and house to booth.
 Third, we must maintain an unceasing focus on building capacity in all ramifications of the Entrepreneurial pursuits. It must be emphasized that possessing technical or vocational skills does not translate to entrepreneurial skills. The financial,the business management skills, the ability to measure and manage risks are critical skills for enterprise development and we must develop an integrated capacity building scheme that will enable our young business men and women build successful businesses  . 
  Fourth, we need to ensure that we have, develop and adopt appropriate technologies that will leverage product and service delivery. In the global competitive market environment of the 21st century, Technology has become a major differentiating competitive phenomenon. If we drive on the left when others are driving on the right, we may be the only ones who will buy our automobiles for example. The World has gone digital and the Nigerian business culture must therefore be run on this 21st century technological platform. Luckily our youth are highly adaptive to this new technology, all we need is to create generous access. 
 Fifth, there is a crying need for enhanced access to Venture capital. In Nigeria there is a deficit of entrepreneurial 'promotive'capital. Some reasonable efforts are currently being made with the support of the Central Bank and the Federal Ministry of finance. As much as this is important and most welcome, private venture capital is more sustainable. Given the attractiveness of our market, we need to get other elements of competitiveness in place to build confidence and attract a lot more of venture and equity capital from the global private sector to complement the domestic public-sector supported initiatives.
  And sixth, we need to be deliberate in promoting Innovation and innovative entrepreneurship. Most of our current entrepreneurial pursuits are directed to meeting basic human needs-raw materials, cocoa, flour, sugar, cereals, cement,crude Petroleum, importation of refined fuels, trading, banking services,tele-communications etc. Most of these are commodities with global price ceilings. But in the innovative realm which is essentially creative destruction of what exists and creating new or bringing what only exists in the imaginary realm into present reality. Here, the inventor and creator determines his margin and can quickly ramp up wealth. Most of the wealthiest men in the developed world come from the knowledge and innovation realm- Microsoft,Apple, Yahoo, Goggle, and Alibaba.
 The truth is that these can be achieved only through strategic partnerships among key stakeholders- governments( and their agencies), Research centers, educational institutions and well-meaning private sector organizations( including NGOs) and individuals to form a network that can drive the movement for revolutionizing our entrepreneurial land scape. The current efforts by the government must be widely promoted and supported. I believe that it is in the pursuit of this need to form a coalition, that will ignite the Entrepreneurial revolution in Nigeria that the African Centre for Business Development, Strategy & Innovation ( ACBDSI) has organized the National Summit on Entrepreneurship & Innovation (NSEI) which will hold 20/21November at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel. 
  This summit with the theme: Entrepreneurship, Job creation & Poverty Reduction will bring together Policy Makers,Financial intermediaries, Industry Leaders,Business Promoters, Business Researchers, Professionals and budding Entrepreneurs in Nigeria and the West African sub-region to network, share ideas,question paradigms, challenge status quo and generate creative solutions to contemporary issues revolving around the use of entrepreneurship & innovation to stimulate economic renaissance. My hope is that the expected generous presence of the older and successful Entrepreneurs will motivate,stimulate and mentor the younger and struggling Entrepreneurs with their stories. This in my view will show that so much is possible in our country and help change the narrative.
 
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR