Category: News

Y! invited to the HP Global Influencer Summit in Shanghai

Y! (www.ynaija.com) – the media content company under the Red Media Group – was one of two media houses from Nigeria invited to the HP Global Influencer Summit in Shanghai, China. The Summit held on 9 and 10, May, 2012.
At the event, HP unveiled new additions to its line of personal computers and printers at the first launch for the newly created HP Printing and Personal Systems Group.

The other media house from Nigeria was Thisday Newspapers. Y! was represented by one of its editors.

RED Managing Partner to speak at New Media & Governance Conference

 

The Managing Partner of Red Media Group, Chude Jideonwo, will be speaking at the New Media & Governance: Tools & Trends conference in Abuja, Nigeria on May 14 – 15, 2012. He is speaking in his capacity as Executive Director of The Future Project and founder of Enough is Enough Nigeria.

The conference is organised by the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation, along with partners including The Canadian High Commission, The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Independent National Electoral Commission, the International Republican Institute and the MacArthur Foundation.  Jideonwo will be moderating the first session on May 15 – on the Naija Generation and New Media.

The discussion will focus on how new trends in entertainment and popular culture can drive new levels of youth engagement and participation in governance. Discussants in the session include the Minister of Youth Development, Bolaji Abdullahi as well as singers Darey and Banky W, and actress Stella Damasus.

Jideonwo will also be participating as a Resource [person at the Breakout Session on Social Trends: Drivers for Progress, alongside Kayode Akintemi who is the Chief of Operations at Channels Television, amongst others.

The Essential Bridal Handbook by Funke Bucknor

Funke Bucknor-Obruthe presents The Essential Bridal Handbook

 

Nigeria’s foremost Event Planner – Funke Bucknor Obruthe is set to launch ‘The Essential Bridal Handbook’ on the 31st of March, 2012 at the Civic Centre. Funke, Founder & Creative Director of Zapphaire Events (an event consultancy, marketing, planning and management company) has published a ground-breaking taking body of work based on her years in the event planning business along with contributions from key experts and icons in the events management industry: The Essential Bridal Handbook.

 

This Bridal Handbook, a first-of-its-kind practical guide to the Nigerian wedding terrain for the bride searching for excellence, highlights important issues surrounding the Pre-Wedding, Wedding and Post-Wedding phases. The book offers detailed information about every aspect of the planning process to help every bride make critical decisions, and checklists and worksheets to keep them organized. It also includes the all-important journal page that encourages them to record their thoughts and ideas as they go through the planning process.

The Bridal handbook which also contains loads of practical information is intended to be a Resource Directory on the latest in wedding planning trends and options as well as service providers’ selection guide complete with templates to use as they meet and engage various vendors. The Essential Bridal Handbook has a lot of great features; it is easy to read, has tabs for easy category finding, it has contact details of various vendors, a bridal calendar plan and more… The Bridal handbook which is to be launched on the 31st of March, 2012 at the Civic Centre is already available at various stores nationwide.

 

RED Managing Partner Invited as a Panellist at the HP ‘Be Original Conference’ on April 18, 2012.


Managing Partner Red Media Group, Chude Jideonwo has been invited as a Panellist at the HP ‘Be Original’ Conference holding on 18April, 2012. The theme of the conference is “Music, Art, Entrepreneurship and Business- everything that enriches a society.” The purpose of the event is to underscore the importance of advancing and protecting intellectual property as important conditions for societal wellbeing, to draw attention to the importance of promoting and defending intellectual property in all its forms and also to mark the annual World Intellectual Property Day.

This forum will bring together distinct constituents with the common interest to urge actions that advance an environment in which I.P, in all its forms, is appreciated and valued for its broader contributions to a country’s wellbeing.
 The event starts by 10am at the Protea Hotel, Isaac John, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.

RED Managing Partner Invited as a Discussant at Terra Kulture on March 23rd

The Managing Partner of Red Media Group, Chude Jideonwo has been invited as a discussant for iREP International Documentary Film Festival at Terra Kulture & Freedom Park holding on March 23, 2012. The Theme for the event is: Democracy and Culture – The Documentary Film Intervention. The panel session is to explore Democracy, Development, and Demonstrations in view of the unfolding realities that trailed the January protests in Nigeria.

The scope of the Festival would cover such areas as Democracy and Demonstrations, New media technology and participatory democracy, and will include the potentials of Nigerian films to explore and exploit the documentary format in its production values.

The event starts by 10am at Terra Kulture, Plot 1376, Tiamiyu Savage, Off Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.

 

“It’s nothing new!” – Marketing /New Media Strategies for Small and Medium Scale Businesses

 

“It’s nothing new!” – Marketing /New Media Strategies for Small and Medium Scale Businesses

Being a Presentation by Chude Jideonwo, Managing Partner of the Red Media Group, at the Rosabon Financial Services Entrepreneurship Training for SMEs, Small Businesses and Start-Ups

4 April 2012 – Lagos, Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

This is about marketing strategy in general, with an emphasis on new media, for obvious reasons – that’s the new fad – but I will focus solely on New Media and use that as case study to advice you on Marketing generally.

DON’T GET TOO EXCITED!

–         A business requires every tool that it can find in order to make it a) More effective b) More productive

 

–          Technology should not be adopted for its sake i.e you don’t need to use Facebook because others are using Facebook or because it’s the cool new tool.

 

THE QUESTIONS IS: DO I NEED THIS TOOL?

For branding purposes – the catchphrase is ‘Own’ not ‘Use’. For instance, half of you do not need Youtube and do not need Google+. Do you?

Understanding – You must understand that there is a New Media factory driven in America – and I you run to every new new medium – you will find yourself lost somewhere between Pinterest and Instagram. Don’t get sucked into another man/woman’s marketing strategy. Focus on “your race.”

Need vs want – Our marketing communication firm Red Media has provided New Media services to everyone – Google, Etisalat, Nigerian Idol, the Nigeria LNG and everyone else – but I am telling you to ask yourself – why am I using this? Do I need it?

 

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS AN ENTREPRENEUR

Why am I starting on this note? Work smart!

Your job as an entrepreneur is to be both bold and cautious. You must take risks, but they must be calculated; you must take action, but they must be measured.

If you are MTN or Glo or Etisalat or Airtel you want to be everywhere; if you are an SME you want to be only at the place where you need to be for maximum impact.

Note: It is also mostly a mistake to have a specific New Media arm as a small business – unless that is your core service offering. It should be integrated with the rest of your business.


 

 

SO LET’S START FROM THE MIDDLE – WHAT ARE NEW MEDIA?

New media has been defined, and I like this one, as any interactive forms of communication that use the Internet and Mobile Technology.

–         New media makes it possible for anyone to create, modify, and share content and share it with others, using relatively simple tools that are often free or inexpensive.

–         New media requires a computer or mobile device with Internet access.

New media tools help you:

  1. CONNECT people with information and services.
  2. COLLABORATE with other people.
  3. CREATE new content, services, communities, and channels of communication that help you deliver information and services.

New Media expansion:

That’s the official definition, but as a century has gone by over the past ten years, these days, I say “new” media or “new” technology means small steps forward.

Examples: You know the instances – Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Ustream and Blogs/Websites. Somewhere there you might want to add Sms, Mobile Phones, Skype, WhatsApp and BlackBerries.

LET ME BAMBOOZLE YOU

Facebook stats

  • As of February 2012, Facebook has more than 845 million active users globally.
  • Facebook penetration in Nigeria is 2.83% compared to the country’s population and 9.78% in relation to number of Internet users.
  • The total number of FB users in Nigeria is reaching 4302600 and grew by more than 416340 in the last 6 months.
  • Currently, there are 4302600 Facebook users in the Nigeria, which makes it #38 in the ranking of all Facebook statistics by country.
  • The the number of Nigerian Facebook users has increased from 400, 000 in the last four years to 4.3 million at the end of December 2011. The figure places Nigeria in the third position in terms of the number of Facebook users on the African continent, coming behind Egypt and South Africa with 9.4 million and 4.8 million users respectively.

Twitter stats

  • A survey carried out by a Kenya-based agency places Nigeria among the continent’s top tweeting nations.
  • Portland Communications, says Nigerians are the third most active Twitter users in Africa.
  • There are over 300 million users as of 2011, generating over 300 million tweets and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day.

Mobile phone stats

  • From 400,000 mobile subscribers in 2002, the Nigerian Communications Commission, as at September 2011, shows that active subscriber lines have reached over 93 million in a space of 9 years!
  • Nigeria has the fastest growing mobile market in the continent.

Other stats

Internet usage is above 45, 000, 000 (43,982,341 verified as at April 2011). According to Technorati, there are over 112 million blogs on the Internet.

SO, FOR YOUR MARKETING AS A SMALL/MEDIUM BUSINESS

Role:

–         The role of the new media is to modify the activities of the traditional media to reach a wider audience in a different dimension and speed.

–         New Media is crucial for two marketing incidents – publicity, for lack of a better ward, and customer interface (or care, or relations)

The matter of Market Segmentation:

Who are you trying to reach? The student in IMSU, then use Facebook; the radio presenter in Lagos, then use Twitter.

The advantage in a nutshell

New media is a marketing and communication tool that uses technology such as video, multimedia and the web to convey a message. This new and innovative form of communication enables anyone to express their ideas and opinions in an interactive way.

As new media is becoming more common many businesses, advertisers in particular, have found it a very valuable tool. New media ad spending keeps growing. With the increased opportunities involving new media, many advertisers are turning to this trend and finding it a powerful and essential marketing tool.

New media creates the opportunity for a business to be taken to a whole new level. Web videos, for instance, are a new way for businesses to communicate with customers in a more emotional environment. Combining the use of audio and visual effects on the web, can be a much more memorable experience for customers, and have much more of an impact.

Technology which allows businesses to view what type of customers are purchasing their products, and viewing their videos can be very beneficial to a company. Many companies provide spaces for comments and customer feedback on their websites. Receiving this type of information from customers saves businesses a tremendous amount of time and money, which would otherwise be spent on researching customer’s wants, needs, and opinions.

THE VIRAL TRAP

There is a deception/fallacy about how to make material ‘Viral’

Yes, it is possible. Web 2.0 is a term used to describe the new generation of the World Wide Web. No longer simply a collaboration of several websites, the web is now thought of as an application that fits somewhere between a traditional web browser, and desktop applications. A major benefit of Web 2.0 as a whole, is the ability for users to communicate with one another and share their information online, in a simple and organized fashion. The Web 2.0 allows online experiences to be much more interactive than in the past.

Whereas the old generation of the web was about companies and ownership, the new generation of the web is about sharing and communities. The Web 2.0 is growing at a tremendous rate. With new applications and technologies available, it will not be long until the Web 2.0 completely changes the way we once viewed and used the web.

It’s classic push-pull. Most times, to get a campaign viral, customers have to pull.

NOTE: This is controversial, but in some markets however, there’s no space for pull. Your mechanic doesn’t pull – and based on (low-cost), he doesn’t need to just yet.

 

 

7 ADVANTAGES OF NEW MEDIA FOR YOUR MARKETING

  1. Cost: Facebook and Twitter are free; using online video advertising allows businesses to bypass the high costs of producing television commercials.
  2. User-Interaction/Direct Feedback
  3. Control – You might not be able to choose your advert page, but you control your Facebook page
  4. Options
  5. Larger audience – Global etc
  6. Accessibility – Easy to use, etc
  7. Trackability/Measurement

It’s still the same old questions; nothing’s really changed, or really new – just the tools we use, and maybe the methods.

Like with all business decisions, you ask yourself 1) What do I need? 2) How do I achieve it? 3) What’s the most cost-effective option? 4) What is the outcome? 5) Does it add to my bottomline?

As it is with new media, so it is with all the marketing decisions, and eventual strategy for your business. It is more urgent for you because as a small business, your margin for error is almost non-existent. As an entrepreneur, you must first understand your environment, confront the facts, understand you’re your business, and then proceed based on that.

Ya dig?

 

THANK YOU.

Sources: WebKnox Corporation, CNN.com, Techcrunch, Business Standard, SocialBakers.com, Portland Communications, Technocrati, IternetWorldStats.com, Technology Times, Nigeria, Technuzu.com, The Punch Newspapers.

 

Watch The Future Awards Symposium for Young & Emerging Leaders live from 9am today! Official hashtag is #TFASymposium

You can literally cut the excitement from various sections of young people as they gather from around the country for the historic Nigeria Symposium for Young & Emerging Leaders happening from 9am today at the Shell Hall of the Muson Centre in Lagos.

Speakers already in Lagos include the Headline Speaker Obiageli Ezekwesili, the governors of Rivers and Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, amongst others.

Other speakers are Prof. Pat Utomi, the Managing Director of Mnet Africa, Biola Alabi; Channels TV chairman, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, the Honourable Minister of Youth Development, amongst others.

The panels are made up of young Nigerian leaders drawn from the public sector, the private sector and civil society from the six geo-political zones about the country, addressing the topic: The Challenge of Responsible Governance – How Can Our Generation Do Better?

The event will be recorded for later broadcast on Channels Television this week but you can watch it live online via www.ynaija.com/live! You can also follow the conversation via Twitter through the official hashtag #TFASymposium.

It is presented by The Future Project and First Bank, in association with EnoughisEnough Nigeria and the International Republican Institute.

It’s history in the making! Be a part of it!

What if we are not the Turning Point Generation?

Will we end up just like the generations before us – unprepared, hypocritical and ineffectual?”

Speech Title: What if we are not the Turning Point Generation?

(Being Text of the Opening Address by Chude Jideonwo, Executive Director of The Future Project, at the Nigeria Symposium for Young & Emerging Leaders 2012, held on March 19, 2012 at the Shell Hall, Muson Centre, Lagos)

Let me first thank those who have made today possible. Our co-presenter First Bank, our co-organisers EnoughisEnough Nigeria, the International Republican Institute and Channels Television; as well as our funders and partners the Ministry of Youth Development, the World Bank, the Nigeria LNG, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria as well as our media partners Beat FM, FAB, NigeriaNewsDesk CpAfrica.com, BellaNaija.com and Y! (www.ynaija.com) .


In April last year, I learnt – perhaps the hard way – an enduring lesson about leadership. I had been invited as one of 6 young people to speak to President Goodluck Jonathan about specific issues concerning the youth at the President’s pre-inauguration meeting with youth. It was a well-received speech at the venue. My speech asked Mr. President to take responsibility for the corruption in his government and emphasized that anything but a bold departure from the past would lead to failure. In a prophecy partially fulfilled through the historic #FuelSubsidyRemoval protests in January this year, I warned that “We are watching you.”

Unfortunately, that otherwise productive event was tainted by stories of money changing hands after myself and many others had left – and in the aftermath, SaharaReporters.com published a false, and rather dodgy story, that I was one of the brains behind both the event and the subsequent ‘Naira rain’. The disappointed responses were visceral – many young people thought their trust, their faith had been abused.

I was livid. Penning a rejoinder to the site, and taking to social media, I set about defending the “small integrity” that I had. I remember that I spoke to Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, our headline speaker, and she described it succinctly as my leadership ‘baptism of fire’.

Op-eds were written that I found terribly unfair. But from one such article, much of which I still disagree with, was a paragraph that stood out: “There is a reason why Nigeria is the way it is today and we all know it. To get results that will give us some level of satisfaction, we must do differently when we get the chance to do so not act like our parents can be expected to act.”

Suddenly, I realised: This wasn’t about me; it wasn’t about my integrity and my desire to defend myself against a terribly false accusation – it was about a disillusioned generation that had decided to hold its primary representatives to a higher standard; and our mutual duty to each other to ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of those before us.

And that is the real tragedy; that you can look at the young people around you – those in government, those in the opposition, those who are critics – and sadly not see much difference from the past. We see our friends who get into government and become just like the rest of them, members of the opposition whose principled disagreements cease soon as they are given a seat at the table; we see critics who choose sensation over sense, bombast over engagement, and insults over nation-building. Essentially, by observation and interaction, we have become like those fathers.

That scares me. Are we set as a generation to prove the cynics right? Those who think that all the passion for country and hunger for change are just part of a cycle of Nigerian leaders who are only concerned about their pockets? Those who are convinced that Nigeria can never change, that everyone is just looking for a piece of the pie and so they will not waste their time occupying anywhere?

As anyone who has read Achebe’s The Trouble with Nigeria knows – every generation has sworn to be better, but has colossally failed. Will we end up just like the generations before us – unprepared, hypocritical and ineffectual? Starting out burning with passion, praised for skills, reaching great personal heights but ultimately changing nothing? Will we become the examples that the next generation will point to in a vicious cycle of failure?

No. No, no, no, no, no; we cannot afford to provide to prove them right. We are supposed to be the Turning Point Generation – we are supposed to be the generation where everything changed. It doesn’t mean that we will be angels or that we will not stumble amid the pressure now and then; it means our hearts must be in the right place; and we are prepared to do the work to be different.

The truth is, we are not intrinsically better than those that came before us. As my friend Tolu Ogunlesi wrote on the YNaija Frontpage two weeks ago, “The above and more have conspired to convince us that the answer to our problems is to cut down on the numbers of ‘oldies’ with access to power, and allow the youth to have a shot. I hear it all the time, those who insist that until everyone above a certain cut-off age is put to death by firing squad, Nigeria will not progress.

“But really, does the novelty and exuberance that youth offers guarantee change by itself? Should we continue making the mistake of assuming that by themselves Nigerian youth will change their country, and succeed in accomplishing what all those ageing leaders failed at?

“I suspect it’s high time we cured ourselves of a certain blind optimism in the power of the ‘youth’. The young have it in them to be as clueless and as corrupt and as close-minded as the old. Our social media savvy and general openness to technology will not by itself save us.”

What arrogance to think that we are better than those presently in leadership just because we were born in a different generation!

See, it is difficult to see Nigeria’s problems from the rooftop of the Transcorp Hilton! It’s about crying fire and brimstone on Twitter – it’s about what happens when you see the kind of money, for instance, tha you have never been seen, to do something that you had sworn never to. That’s why “good people” get into the lavish lifestyle of Aso Rock and other centers of power and become unrecognisable. In the past year, as a deliberate student of power and governance, I have been shocked by a lot of things; including the amount of money – cash! – that circulates in the public sector and its incestuous relationship with the private sector.

Ah, ladies and gentlemen, it is not just to say “I will not be corrupt!” Passion alone cannot withstand corruption. When you enter government for instance, you have to navigate a dysfunctional civil service, an entrenched patronage-and-sycophancy system, a systemic disregard for honour, ample opportunities for corruption, the ethnic and parochial fault-lines. You have to have be prepared.

Lee Kuan Yew, Lula Da Silva, Nelson Mandela, Paul Kagame – individuals who have transformed their countries – did that, not by blind passion, but by determined strategy. Being better comes from doing better, from learning better, from strength of character built over time, and solidified by practice.

That is why we are here. That is why we have here gathered young leaders from across the breadth of the country. We have to build our capacity to do better, before we get sucked in – under the pressure; the pull between career and passion, between advocacy and income; before needs and wants pull us in places we swore never to go.

It is in our own interest – it is enlightened self-interest. If not, any of us here who are leaders will become the citizen ducks when the inevitable mass revolt occurs and heads roll. You will be leaders in a country that is ungovernable and where your own children cannot live in. I don’t want that. You don’t need that.

At The Future Project we always say: don’t work to change Nigeria because you are patriotic; don’t work to change Nigeria because it is the right thing to do; don’t work to change Nigeria because it is a duty – let’s work to change Nigeria, because we have no choice.

So let us have a frank conversation. For our own sakes, let today be the start of something sustainable. Let us drill and grill the Lead-In speakers and not let them go until we have interrogated thoroughly. This is not a time for dead clichés. Not here, not today. After all, this is not a gathering of politicians gaming for a piece of the pie; this is a hall pulsating with energy. Let us talk sincerely to ourselves about our own challenges, let us start a discussion that will not end.

“Young Nigerians ought to start toning down that “Na we turn, give the youth a chance!” noise. It won’t save us from driving Nigeria deeper into a hole, when the buck begins to stop at our tables. The noise we should be making, instead, should be around this question: “What can we do NOW, to increase our chances of making Nigeria work, when the time comes?”

Today, we must answer that question.

God keep us all, and God bless Nigeria.

The challenge of responsible governance: How can this generation be better?

by Obiageli Ezekwesili

First let me thank the organizers of this event for the resilience with which they ensured that we not only got this on my swampy agenda in the first place but that it did manage to remain on it after they rescheduled the original date! The capacity of Adebola and Chude to relentlessly pursue their “target” until captured is one hard lesson that I have learned in the six years since I was Minister of Education and was persuaded by their vision to celebrate the excellence of youthfulness in our nation. I do want to publicly applaud these two young men and the rest many of you who have over the years been associated with the Future Award for the lofty work of creating a platform that showcases the greatness that is exists within our population’s youthful segment. I of course thank all the partners collaborating to host this epic Leadership Symposium for the opportunity of addressing this impressive array of the nation’s inspiring young ones full of energy and creativity. By your individual accomplishments and service you all personify the age old maxim that that the young are almost always the conscience of any nation and the drivers of social change. I am very delighted to share the platform with your other speakers all distinguished. However, let me particularly pay my respect to Governors Rotimi Amechi of Rivers State who is also Chairman of the Governor’s Forum and Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State. They are both very close friends of mine and I am proud to publicly acknowledge that they are giving their best shot in public service at a time that citizens’ appetite for results in governance is huge.

Having shared all the pleasantries, let me now declare that I was quietly on my own when you successfully needled me to accept to speak as your Headliner. By that singular risky act, you gave me permission to provoke and dare you. You gave me the permission to tell you that you are not quite as great as you have pampered yourselves to believe. You gave me permission to be my usual super candid friend of the young- sufficiently young at heart to be your kindred spirit on all matters open to debate and dialogue but old enough to admonish on the basis of modest wisdom acquired from experience both good and bad over the years. No matter how much our position on some of the issues may differ, one thing I guarantee is that the only thing you will hear from me shall be the TRUTH as I know it to be backed by facts.

I like to believe that as is the case with my three young sons, I am the elder you can count on who understands the bursting energy of youth that many of you today wear like clothing. In fact, I find it sometimes find pretty uncannily you bear resemblance of the passion that friends like Pat Utomi, Governor Kayode Fayemi and I carried at great cost at your similar age range campaigning for democracy and good governance in the late 80s and 90s.

Hence when I read an article by David Wraight which I shall return to again later in my speech, I simply could relate. He posits that there is a globalized generation of youth – often referred to as the Millennial Generation – while I call their Nigerian variant the Turning Point Generation. “They believe that they can change the world for the better, but they are unsure what they should change the world to; so they search for an ideology or system of belief to use as a foundation for the change they seek. They are actually searching for something worth living for and dying for.”

“They are optimistic and idealistic with a deep desire to make their mark in the world. They dream of what can be, and follow their dreams with passion and perseverance. They are no longer prepared to be spectators watching the world go by, but want to be ‘players’, to get their hands dirty, to make a difference. They are knowledgeable about the affairs of the world and very mobile, travelling as much as resources and opportunity allow.” As globalization and modern technology continue to shrink our world people are connecting worldwide as never before – particularly young people – overcoming cultural, geographical, language and ethnic barriers with ease. For the first time in human history we are seeing the emergence of a global youth culture with common values, dreams and desires.

 

The theme of your Symposium at its original incarnation was centered on the legendary issue of leadership and especially anchored on the very exciting topic of emerging leadership among your millennial generation of those born between 1981 and now. Following the events of January and the remaining agenda between the citizens and those that govern, you have brought the governance and leadership issues into sharper focus by asking me to speak on the “Challenges of Responsible Governance: How can this Generation do Better”. Your topic is eloquent even if it feigned diplomacy in delivering a not so charitable assessment of generations that have gone ahead of yours as not having attained your high marks in the business of responsible governance. Indeed, your topic does little to mask your pained frustration at the performance of those in my generation and others before mine in not having succeeded in tackling the challenges of responsible governance.

Like a number of you, I am an eternally curious soul who also delights in analysis and diagnostics. I like to be persuaded by evidence and not mere anecdotes in matters of performance or argumentation. Thus, it would help if we started off by doing three things.

First is to define and agree the concept of “Responsible or Good Governance” as well as “Better Performance as alluded” by first establishing that there is a correlation between Good Governance and economic, socio political performance among nation states.

Second would be to at least define some universally agreed benchmarks on the basis of which we can establish what we are measuring and whether evidence is indeed persuasive that all generations of leadership until yours have been bedeviled and challenged by “Responsible Governance” or the more globally used “Good Governance”.

Finally, is that once we established on the basis of facts that we, your forebears have failed you and the nation in the manner of the dismal results or performance of decades of poor governance, we can then move on to the second part of your topic. That is the aspect that is forward looking and seeks a pathway for you that are fundamentally different from the status quo ante. Certainly, everyone including generations that you seem to suggest evidence would indict for the failure of governance would be relieved to see your resolve to lead differently. A recent global survey showed that your generation around the world stands out as the most connected to the developments in international affairs. So, most of you will assuredly be aware that not just in our nation but that everywhere else world over, people are seeking for those who can solve the Big Problems in their respective nations. Surely, should we establish that our own Big Problem is the one you have posed as your Symposium theme, and then nothing would more give hope than to know that you seek to also be our Solution?

What then would be the critical factors that would help guarantee the higher probability of success and a break with the past should you remain determined to pay the cost of actions necessary for the new path? If by the end of your Symposium our people – both leaders and followers – became confident through your actions that you are all truly ready to lead us out of the undignified trajectory and legacy of failure great indeed shall be our collective rejoicing. I make bold to say that majority of your compatriots would at this point be persuaded by whatever you can do to positively produce something different – a fundamental positive outcome that becomes our new norm.

So what is Responsible or Good Governance and what does empirical research reveal on the long drawn and continuing debate on the relationship between “good governance and better economic performance”?

Broadly speaking, the term governance is all encompassing word that defines how a country is governed. “It is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective, efficient, equitable, and inclusive and follows the rule of law. At a minimum, good governance requires fair legal frameworks that are enforced impartially by an independent judiciary and its decisions and enforcement are transparent or carried out in a manner that follows established rules and regulations. Since accountability cannot be enforced without transparency and the rule of law, accountability is a key requirement of good governance. Not only governmental institutions, but also private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders.”

On our second point, extensive empirical evidence does suggest that there is a correlation between strong economic performance and good governance. For example, Kaufman and Kraay tracked the quality of governance from 1996 to 2003 in some two hundred countries.4 The quality of governance is divided into six categories aimed at capturing how governments are selected, monitored, and replaced; a government’s capacity to formulate and implement sound policies; and the respect of citizens and the state for the institutions that govern them. The six measured indicators are: (a) voice and accountability; (b) political stability and lack of violence; (c) government effectiveness; (d) regulatory quality; (e) rule of law; and (f) control of corruption. The authors conclude that good governance is not only critical to development but also that it is the most important factor in determining whether a country has the capacity to use resources effectively to promote economic growth and reduce poverty.

The character of weak states is of course that the institutions are fragile, and act arbitrarily, weak protection of civil liberties, and inadequate regulatory and legal framework to guarantee property rights, enforce contracts, and reduce the transaction costs-deprive these countries of needed productive investment and economic growth. How important is good governance for economic growth? Can economic growth be sustained without good governance? “The answer is best captured in the oft-cited aphorism that good governance promotes growth and that growth further improves governance.” Mauro notes “a consensus seems to have emerged that corruption and other aspects of poor governance and weak institutions have substantial, adverse effects on economic growth. No country has been more widely seen around the world as the poster country for great destiny corroded by cancerous corruption like our country Nigeria. In its pernicious malignancy, systemic corruption has gnawed away at our collective dreams and aspirations for a nation on which many bet for the greatness many decades ago.

Now going on to some universally agreed benchmarks I shall use some of the slides I have generated to tell the story. You will find such indicators like the GDP, GDP par capita/ Income par capita, global competitiveness ranking, the Doing Business Ranking, Human Development Index, Global Logistics Index and such like. I shall also use domestic performance indicators such as the slide that I shall put on regarding the quality of our education system. In many instances as I take you through the slide explanations please bear in mind that these sets of data should enable any rational and discerning person build a substantial analytical basis for concluding on whether your fundamental premise for this topic is faulty and that you should find other issues other than Good Governance to engage your restless minds. The counter factual is that by the time I am through with the slides you all began to shake your heads in absolute awe as to how everything you assumed was wrong by mere anecdotes turns out actually much worse than originally assumed. So off we go to the slides:

First the education slide to use in showcasing the state of education and the manifestation of those “challenges of responsible government” in the sector that most matters for our youthful population.

Second use the slides on relative lower size of the Nigerian economy when compared with the most inane of sizes of random things operating on a global scale to address the criticality of a more prudent, less showy attitude of leadership and followership.

Third, we use the slide on relative country performance to better understand when exactly if ever we fell of the comparability sheet and what lesson we learn from the better performing countries as we plan the take a new direction based on the proof of applicability once the conditions are right.

Well, distinguished Nigerian community of the young, all things considered it is obvious that overwhelming evidence does indeed suggest that so much more would have been necessary on the part of your forebears for us to have conquered the demons of poor governance which has thus far eluded us all.

Are the basis of these failures structural, systemic, organic and hence requiring root and branch fundamental change of approach or are they merely normal derivatives of cyclical pattern of challenges which ultimately normalize as a matter of course? Well, I do not know your individual take but for me, I think that our country is neck deep in a state of structural dysfunction occasioned by a multiple of political, sociological, historical and economic bad choices that both citizens and leaders at all levels of our society have made over the years. You do not solve a structural problem with Demographics , Productivity slowdown, Innovation slowdown Resource depletion

So now what can you offer that is any different considering that the apple does not fall far from the tree! Why should your generation be any different from the rest? Four things which have been major roadblocks to the attainment of greatness by the old you of which you are not encumbered – colonialism, military adventurism, blown out war, underperformance. None of these variables has any hold as an albatross on you all both as individuals and as a collective group of citizens determined to drive positive change. Conversely, they had profound adverse impact on the many generations before yours in multi dimensional socio-psycho, pathological way in stultifying the performance long hoped for from Nigeria as a nation of great potentials.

What you in fact possess is a world view much more global and multinational with you being high wired through social media to be connoisseurs of the best that technology can offer in your change agent role.

However, do you really have the legitimacy to represent the teeming population of your generation in its 70% majority of Nigeria? Is every young person in our country like you? Do they really care for the issues that assail you whether in its altruism or for personal gain? Of course not! The demographics clearly caution that as our economic fortune leaves many more behind in sharing the benefits of growth, your breed is thinning out more and more especially as the nation underperforms in offering quality public education to the teeming poor to support their break out from the dynastic legacy of poverty. The scariest data on this is captured in a study “The Next Generation Nigerians” conducted by the British Council which reveals that . Gunnar Heinsohn, a social scientist at the University of Bremen (Germany) writes that when 15–29-year-olds make up more than 30% of the population — violence occurs. Today, there are 67 countries where a “youth bulge” exists. (That is populations where more than 30% are young adults or kids.) 60 of those countries are presently in civil war or are experiencing mass killings and our beloved nation is now placed among these. Does this ring a bell? Tragically sad!

Regardless of how anyone else responds though I think your focus is to trigger the necessary dialogue on how you would prepare yourselves to be the change drivers for a failing society. So I dare to offer you a few options:

Define your objective with clarity and keep the message simple. “Corruption is our common bad -tax and we are tired of paying it”. “Ready to usher in the new Nigeria”. “I believe in a market economy and want to see Budgets work as the important policy tools to change the extractive structure of the Nigerian economy. I believe in absolute power of individual choice, incentives and sanctions to promote the thriving society of people with diverse gifts and talents and will advocate against any action that represses these. Do not crowd out your agenda with too many things. Pick three.

Being a social change driver is not meant to take the place of a real job. Avoid any mix up and watch your credibility endure. Create a job when you cannot find one. Get Big for big is the new way for private enterprises.

It does not matter how lowly, misguided persons may consider your job. There is great dignity in labor. How about simple messages like this one- It is the age of your idea that matters and not the age of your birth! Get rid of those with the mentality of the generation that have persistently failed before they ruin you. Poverty derives no comfort in its ethnicity, religion, gender or other persuasion. Jobless in Lagos is as bad as jobless in Kano. Poor in Lokoja is as bad as poor in Nnewi. Binging on rent from the soil- living to enjoy the time bound spoils of extractive sector rather than identifying new opportunities in human capital is dated, old and not an idea for the now and future. Living on corruption motivated public contracts as a day’s job puts you below the one who being an entrepreneur thrives, makes effort, fails, fails, fails and then ultimately succeeds.

It is those who are prepared to pay the price of change that the Now and the Future belong to. How many among you are prepared to defer your gratification- adulation, office, money, celebrity activist? Regulate your motivation…. Avoid the over drive. Kill your hubris before it kills you.

The era of adversarial engagement with those we disagree with is over. We can disagree but collaborate to solve our common problems. The poor cannot afford the luxury of elite squabbles. The language of contest of ideas is civil. You cannot build a New Nigeria speaking like them old types. I will absolutely disagree without being obnoxious.

Your tools for solving today’s problems are multiple. They multiply further depending on your willingness to build effective coalitions. The era of the single person activist is completely over. No wonder Crowd sourcing.

No anecdotal rhetoric will benefit the public debate of important public policy issues. Get issue oriented. Get empirical. Get analytical. Invest in and make proper use of data to demand for accountability and to set agenda for both the government, the private sector, the society at large and yourselves. Bridge the gap between you and the rest of your generation that consider you part of the oppressors. You cannot change the land without their consent. Information is power has become more than a cliché. Build multi sectoral /multi ethnic, multi task teams even as you break up the narrow jingoists. Who is tracking? Who is following up? Who is defining results from public spending? Scrutiny makes the treasurer uncomfortable but who is watching daily? Where is your own structure and governance that works? Insist that the governments go back to policy analysis, prioritization, evaluation, results and feedback.

Make our society follow public policy debate rigorously. Work with the mainstream media in addition to twitter and others to keep the debate on policy choices vibrant. It ultimately works for us all.

Acting your Talk is the epitome of credible advocacy. What you are doing is so loud; I cannot hear what you are saying. What you are doing is so loud; I am absolutely convinced about what you are saying. Have you considered the grass root level mobilization as a prototype for replication? Think local, act national. Do your neighbors know why they must be as effectively angry as you? What is their incentive for bordering to join you in the demand for good governance, accountability and anti corruption? Never ever lose your Voice. I said Voice not Noise. There is substance in Voice but Noise has but mere fluff and no one really cares for it.

I read and gained a highly interesting insight on the four very distinct responses anyone of us could have to the agitation of your generation to make a difference and impact your world. David Wraight states that there can be four possible responses to you all when you ask for a better here and now and future: the institutional response, the organizational/programmatic response, the abandonment response and finally the empowerment response.

The Institutional Response – most likely to perceive young people as ‘leaders of the future’ rather than leaders for today until tested and proven. Millennials do not think of themselves in terms of ‘earning a place in the future’. They are ready to make a difference now, and will reject any individual, system or organization that tells them that they aren’t old enough, qualified enough or experienced enough to lead today. The institutional response will inevitably drive young people away to places where they feel free to operate as agents of change.

The Organizational/Programmatic Response – Organizations are far more accommodating of young people than institutions and will often provide them with opportunity to lead. However, in many cases organizations are defined by programs and practices that must be followed without deviation or interpretation. Today’s young person will not respond well to prescriptive programming that squashes their creativity and limits their capacity to change lives and positively impact the world.

The Abandonment Response – With their enthusiasm for adaptation and change, Millennials are often viewed as a threat and a problem to veteran leaders. From their perspective these young people are naïve, pushy and disrespectful with a very limited understanding of the world. Unfortunately, when young people are given an opportunity to lead a common response from long-term leaders is to abandon them – to say to them, “So you want to lead? Go ahead, give it your best shot, I’ve done my time, I’m out of here – you’re on your own”. Veteran leader abandonment of emerging young leaders is fuelled by a misunderstanding of who these young people are. Unlike generations of youth before them, rather than dismissing ‘older’ people as being irrelevant, Millennials are seeking intergenerational relationships. They are looking for sages and mentors who will believe in them and encourage them as they pursue their vision for changing the world. They long for someone with whom they can share their dreams, a wise guide who will walk beside them, affirming them in their calling and providing them with a place of safety to explore and test ideas and plans.

The Empowerment Response – I believe the most appropriate response to this globally-connected generation of world changers is to convey to them that we trust them enough to let them lead us – to invite them to share their dreams, affirm them in their desire to bring about change for good, validate them as leaders for today, and equip, resource and free them to lead. We need to be their ‘armour bearers’, their champions, advocating for them as they step out into their vision and calling, defending them from the attacks that will surely come, believing in them when others don’t and empowering them to be all that God has designed them to be.

In closing, I copiously quote from one of my previous pieces on Governance. For this youthful population, I wish to leave them with the knowledge that poverty in any part of our country leaves its victims with exactly the same devalued and depreciated human value regardless of the ethnicity of the non performing leaders who through egregious abuse of the public space consign their citizens to subhuman existentialism. It will take a nation state that has quality political and public sector leadership for the stage to be set for much needed stellar improvements in Nigeria’s productivity and competitiveness performance. It is such improvements that will begin to secure improved quality of life for our people majority of whom are in their prime of youth today and guarantee them a future. Without doubt, it is the rot in the quality of leadership across the spectrum of our nation’s public space that has trapped our citizens in pernicious poverty. The common enemy of the poor should therefore be anyone who though possessing the power in the public space to change the course of the poor blatantly chooses to do otherwise. Some that walked that space including yours sincerely tried but their best was not enough. The massiveness of our nation’s problems requires much more than the episodic flicker of light in the tunnel that we have occasionally experienced since when I was born three years after our independence.

The kind of sustained and irreversible change that Nigerians urgently deserve is inconsistent with incremental, marginal change in the cumulative leadership quotient of our public space from its current lowest base. To take the nation out of the deep rot it currently finds itself direly requires a tidal wave tipping point that is triggered by collective forcefulness of vision, deep intellectually grounded competency, uncompromising strength of character, and indomitability of the capacity of every of our public leadership at all levels of government- local, state, federal as well as executive, legislative and judiciary. Your generation has a historical opportunity at a season like this. As I recently posted on my Face Book page to my friends, “when stuck @ a low equilibrium level of performance, the same-same solution will not work. You need a shocker to rupture the stagnation. Find the shocker and go for it”!

The greatest lessons in life, if we would but stoop and humble ourselves, we would learn not from grown-up learned men, but from the so-called ignorant children. – Mahatma Gandhi

Our youth are not failing the system; the system is failing our youth. Ironically, the very youth who are being treated the worst are the young people who are going to lead us out of this nightmare. – Rachel Jackson

LET’S KEEP WALKING & TALKING

 

Perhaps Talking has become the only viable industry that has come to define our country today. On a serious note, Talking is one of the major gains of our democracy and its constructive engagement is what averts war, puts food on the table, provides shelter and offers all that is required for the good life. The pursuit of the good life is the driving force of democracy. The question is what kind of talk are we engaged in? Who is talking and what is the content of the talk? Where are we holding the talks? All these seemingly trivial questions are very important in defining why Talking is so important for our future and our life.

The freedom of speech is so important in democracy, but in our case, we have not been able to refine the idea behind it, nor have we given it the time and careful nurture to make it meaningful. Freedom of speech is not freedom to speak nonsense of abuse or impugn others. It is essentially freedom to speak, be heard and hopefully help feed the notions of the common good. This is why, what we say, whom we say it to, where we say it and how we say it are all so important.

The difficulty with our situation in Nigeria has always been the fact that everyone is an expert in the problems of Nigeria and is also convinced of the fact that they possess the solutions. Years of subversion, intimidation and blackmail of the intellectual elite have had a devastating impact on our public policy. The idea that those who governed us were not interested in long grammar meant that the military mind which could not address consensus, privileged quick solutions, short term and short cuts, believing that all had to be done with immediate effect. They loved speed but forgot that speed injures or kills. We are where we are because we took a wrong turn and have continued to move on.

Now, we seem to be poised to a new dawn. Or at least so we think. There are new kids on the block who are inspiring confidence in our future. My good friends, Dr Ngozi Iweala, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Lamido Sanusi, Raji Fashola, Rotimi Amaechi, Adams Oshiomohle, Oby Ezekwesili, and a host of others have found their way into the main cabin of the bus. They remain a reference point of inspiration to many a young man and woman today. Our world will not change in a day. However, together we can begin a gradual process of building confidence in our nation.

We have secured freedom, the key to development and progress. How we use it is as important as having it. However, we need to move away from the spineless, effete, and visionless ranting by con-men and women who have seen politics as another phase of their brigandage. We must not mistake their grandstanding, garrulousity and demagoguery for statesmanship. So far, most of the sabre rattlers calling for one form of Negotiation, Meeting, Conclave, Consensus, Conference, Dialogue, and the we-must-sit-down and talk syndrome forget that if talking were all we needed, whether sitting, kneeling or standing, we would be el dorado today. It is clear that beyond the grandstanding, our nation needs imagination, vision, determination, courage and dedication. I hope we can find the courage to dream and dream big for tomorrow. God bless you all.

MHK

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