Thursday

The 7 habits of highly successful organizations

Editor's Corner                                
As organizations seek ways to improve functional output and operational effectiveness, it becomes incumbent upon business leaders to understand what best practices to adopt, in their quest to achieve sustainable growth and brand stability.

Many are quick to point to the "successes" of some of the world's biggest brands such as GE, Microsoft, Disney, Walmart, Apple and Google, among others. The truth however lies somewhere in between as to what exactly constitutes success beyond just the bottom-line.

A "healthy bottom-line" does not necessarily translate into being an attractive brand or ensure sustainable growth.

What organizations such as Google and more lately Apple have in fact shown, is that there are other mitigating factors that go towards determining the long-term success and brand equity of an organization.

In this piece, a prelude to a more in-depth analysis to come, we explore and profess the key habits that would seem to characterize truly successful organizations.

a) Hire well - As organizations such as Google, Microsoft and Apple (much lately) have learnt, hiring the right talent goes a long way towards building your Intellectual Capital portfolio.

b) Invest in your employees and thus your organization's future - While some of the better known brands are able to attract some of the best talent initially, holding on to that talent pool becomes even more critical. It is not enough to just pay well; in addition to that, organizations that have managed to hold on to their prized talent base, have invested heavily by way of benefits and other quality-of-life perks that are essential to keeping the poachers at bay.

c) Encourage independent thought within your organization - In conversations with peers in the business community, most believe this is one of the areas where Microsoft in particular "went wrong" (the current CEO Satya Nadella has since righted that ship). It's main competitors are said to have seized on a culture (supposedly) within the organization at the time, that did not encourage or value independent thinking.
Organizations that frown on the idea of "thinking-outside-the-box" ultimately leave little room for their business units to procreate. A resulting dearth of unique ideas will ultimately result in the natural death of the said organization.

d) Reward independent thought within your organization - In addition to encouraging a "think-outside-the-box culture within your organization, it is also equally important to acknowledge those with unique and creative ideas. Promotions, raises, bonuses and other forms of recognition should reflect this, as it will only augur well for the continued growth and development of the organization, its brand and of course, its people.

e) Be true to your founding ideals and core corporate principles - Make taking care of your customers/clients a guiding business principle. It is the best practice you could ever indulge in as it engenders brand affinity through credibility.

f) Seek strategic partnerships that complement your business model and strategy - It is important that you align yourself with organizations that share your ideals, beliefs and ideas and subsequently provide a synergistic nirvana.

g) Manage your growth while continuing to innovate - Maintain your identity and stick to a working strategy. Adapt to the pervading business climate in your own unique way and continue to deliver consistently. 

© 2021 2CG Media. All Rights Reserved.

10 key leadership skills for successful cross-functional team management

Editor-in-Chief

An organization's cross-functional team provides many benefits and can be a veritable asset in helping to ward off divergent obstacles, that naturally arise in the workplace. 

Management is key to determining whether your cross-functional team either delivers on a consistent basis or itself becomes an impediment to its effectiveness. A well organized, transparent and flexible management structure is crucial in ensuring the success of a cross-functional team.

The following represent some key leadership characteristics of a successful cross-functional team.....

a) Effective Organization - To manage a team of such diversity and complexity, you’ll need a system for organizing deadlines, files, notes, data, research, and whatever else you bring to the project.

b) Equally Effective Communication - Without a clear but concise strategy for effective communication, your cross-functional team doesn’t stand a chance. This is the first and most crucial component of your team’s success and should not be taken lightly.

c) Unified Objectives - It is extremely vital that every one of your team members understands the importance of the task(s) at hand. Keep in mind that the responsibilities of the cross-functional team are often in addition to your team members’ already established duties. If they don’t value the cross-functional team’s objective, they won’t put in the time or effort you require. Help them understand why the team’s objectives should matter to them.

d) Clarity of Purpose - When working with a cross-functional team, conflict and misunderstandings that result in a lack of accountability are commonplace.You can prevent potentially frustrating situations by instituting clearly-stated goals and expectations, not only for the team but on an individual level as well.

e) Conflict Resolution - As should be expected, when a team is comprised of people from different functional areas of any organization, you are going to experience some conflict. It’s important to be prepared to handle this naturally-evolving conflict effectively. Many industry experts suggest you provide your cross-functional team with conflict-resolution training before bringing them together.

f) Be Flexible - One of the greatest benefits of a cross-functional team is that it fosters innovation. By bringing several different areas of expertise together into a positively enabling work environment, you’re creating fertile ground for fresh ideas and new, game-changing insights to flourish. To take advantage of these ideas and help the company improve, you must be flexible, open-minded, and allow these opportunities to manifest. The worst thing you can do to your cross-functional team is to stifle it with narrow thinking.

g) Only The Best (OTB) - Before assembling your "A-Team", it is advisable to spend some time defining the team’s goals, while making a list of the strengths and skills required to accomplish those goals. You will then be able to put together the "perfect team" according to your predefined list of required skills and qualifications.

h) Requisite Cohesion - Provide ample opportunities for your team members to get to know each other better through team-building exercises (both indoor and outdoor). This will foster a spirit of mutual trust and engender a unanimity of purpose and direction.

i) BEFA (Build Each For ALL) - It is important to get to know each member of the cross-functional team with a view to ensuring that the sum of each person's individual strengths is commensurate with the PIE (Professional, Intellectual and Emotional) Capacity needed for the team to achieve its defined objectives.

j) Individual Accolades - Even though at the end of the day, it is all about achieving something tangible for the team/organization, remember to acknowledge the contributions of each member of the team towards realizing the desired goal of the project.

Wednesday

The art of managing people

Editor-in-Chief 

Organizations struggle everyday with the germane issue of what the effective management of people, an organization's most prized asset, actually entails. The effective management of people within an organization requires a thorough understanding of the following: 
  
  • Motivation - Whether intrinsic or extrinsic and the importance of positive triggers....
  • Job design and environment....
  • Company's rewards system and how it is structured and also possibly layered....
  • Group influence as a function of Group-think and other allegiances....
Motivation
Human beings are creatures of habit and by that, I mean it is natural to expect that individuals will have different triggers within their genetic and socio-cultural make-up, that ultimately control what their motivations are, where they originate from or worse still, whether or not they have any at all.
Of course, as a business owner or a leader, you would hope you haven't hired someone or lead a group of people on the bottom rung of the Motivation Trigger Index™ (MTI).
Usually, one finds that most people with intrinsic motivation tend to have a higher MTI. They are the high achievers and are usually not driven to succeed or excel necessarily as a result of positive external triggers, but do so because it is just in their make-up. It is however important to note that for these group, the Positive External Triggers (PETs) only serve to further elevate their MTI scores. As for those, whose Motivational Intelligence (MI) require external triggers, they tend to be either in the middle or the lower rung of the Motivation Trigger Index™. People in this category tend to require an appreciable amount of Positive External Triggers (PETs) and ironically, if they have quite a bit of this, they are bound to excel at their tasks, in some cases, even with distinction. However, unlike the first group, their MTI scores tend to vacillate between just above average to poor, as a function of the amount of PETs they are exposed to in their work and related environment.
Job Design and Environment
Over the years, scientific management has sought to strip workers of their initiative, thus ridding the work environment of key intangibles such as skill set diversity, autonomy and most important of all, feedback, constructive or otherwise.
A perfect example of empowering employees and creating an environment that engenders optimum productivity and creativity is to seek input from your employees, even when you, as a leader, know what the solution to a problem is. They may even suggest the solution you have in mind and you can give them credit for it.
Rewards System
The rewards system must be one that does not give rise to suspicion or insinuations of favoritism. While majority of organizations, big or small, insist on building a "team atmosphere", it is imperative that top performers, particularly those that most closely espouse the company's core principles within the framework of its corporate culture, are duly rewarded and recognized as such.
This process should however be carefully monitored and managed, so as to ensure that everyone (including the non-monetary contributors) feels a sense of belonging to the organization, through their own respective contributions.
It is a well-known fact that the successful execution of a company's business strategy must involve everyone on the ship.
Group Influence
This can either be a "good thing" or a "bad thing", but it depends on how you look at it. Now, while it can create a negative work environment due to its potentially divisive and mostly political nature, it is an unavoidable phenomenon.
Most organizations have learned to not only exist but also flourish with just the "right amount" of group-think, as it actually may engender a spirit of collaboration towards reaching the ultimate objectives of the organization.
The overriding attitude becomes one where the conclusion is that if the company wins, then everyone wins. 

© 2021 2CG MEDIA. Coker Confidential™

Tuesday

Quota system: Why is Nigeria still breastfeeding the North?

President Buhari has been accused of ethnic bias
CC™ Viewpoint - By Dr. Ugoji Egbujo

Nigeria: Imagine two students in the same secondary school in Kaduna. They are 18. They are filled with youthful patriotism. They sit for admission exams into the NDA. They both want to read Mechanical Engineering. Efosa scores 280. Musa scores 180. Efosa's celebrations are cut short. He is not invited for an interview. Musa who scored 180 is hopping around. He has been invited for an interview. Musa is admitted. Efosa and Musa are Nigerians but from different states. Efosa with his 280 repeats the NDA exams the following year. He takes another 2 years to achieve a score of 300 and is finally admitted. Musa and Efosa become military officers. Musa who scored 180 when Efosa scored 280 is Efosa's boss. Musa remains Efosa's boss for the entire military career.

Musa would be happy. Efosa would carry a grudge against the country in his heart. Musa would be celebrated someday. He would be called Nigeria's finest. Efosa might get his chance. But with the grudge in his heart, he might not reach the top. Someday it would seep out and it could be Musa that would retire him.

Emir Sanusi is right, quota system should have an expiry date. But I think our quota system has already expired.

The North is full of smart people. It only needs to treat education with the same seriousness with which it attends to elections. If the north had come to education with the same keenness with which it approached population and census over the years, it would have been more educationally advanced than the south.

Quota system doesn't do the image of the north any good. Quota system creates the impression that the north is mentally handicapped. The north must understand that quota system ridicules it. The sort of mockery fit for a young adult who has refused to let go of feeding bottles.

Quota system distorts the system. It confers on its beneficiaries advantages meant for the handicapped. When persons who have two legs take advantages meant for wheelchair users they ought to feel some shame. 60 years after independence, the quota system we practice today is disgraceful.

The sections that benefit from it must feel the weight of its shame. It's possible they have never really addressed their minds to its ugly implications. The quota is simply an admission of inferiority. It simply says some groups lack the capacity to compete with others. That should be a humiliating position to adopt. So why are the beneficiaries marching around oblivious of its shame?

Quota system like other affirmative actions is righteous if they serve moral purposes. Whites in the United States denied blacks education and denied them participation in society. When slavery and racism were abolished, those chronic injustices meant blacks had been left far behind others. Since blacks couldn't compete but had to be included, blacks were allowed to get into Ivy League universities with lower scores. That was an adjustment made to accommodate their handicap. It was done to correct a gap created by injustice.

Quota system in Nigeria of today would be pardonable if it served to uplift women. Women and girls have been subjugated for ages. Girls in the far north have been excluded from education by retrogressive cultures. Quota system for northern girls only could be excusable to some extent. But a quota system used to service the ambitions of able-bodied but indolent men must be properly characterized as corruption-a reward for laziness.

Our statesmen who instituted the quota system must have intended a short-term measure to improve the participation of certain groups in national education and perhaps policymaking. They couldn't have anticipated a situation where political leaders in the north would abandon education and not be confronted with the consequences of their waywardness. Laziness should not be rewarded. The abysmal school enrollment figures in the north must reflect on the bigger stage.

Imagine a situation where admissions into the Nigerian Defense Academy were carried out only by merit. No one would be expected to disclose his state of origin. The best students would be chosen the way we choose players for the Super Eagles. We would have an officer corps chosen solely on merit. It could become lopsided. There could be grumblings about its lopsidedness. But no one would complain he had been cheated. States who abandon education would face the consequences of allowing rent-seeking manipulative politicians lead them.

When the nation was at infancy, sections like children had to be appeased with candies. Those who showed retardation had to be propped. But 60 years after independence, 60 years after all sections have had a chance to improve their educational system, 60 years after those who were thought weak have held the steering wheel, no section deserves this national babysitting.

When a system is used to improve political inclusion, it is good. When a system is used to perpetuate mediocrity and reward indolence it is evil. The quota system cannot continue to be used to help the very group that has dominated political leadership in the country.

Katsina has had two presidents. Katsina had a deputy military head of state. Niger state has had two heads of state. Katsina and Niger have been in the thick of things of national politics for ages. Yet, Katsina and Niger, are still deemed so educationally backwards that their indigenes cannot be allowed to compete with indigenes of Edo state.

Take a state like Borno. The National Security Adviser, the Chief of Army Staff, the president's Chief of Staff, the EFCC chairman are all from Borno. Borno occupies more positions than any other state in the security architecture of this third world country. Why should Borno state indigenes be allowed to get into the military and security services with lower scores than people from Delta state?

I looked at the list of students for the National Common Entrance Examinations from just a couple of years ago; Zamfara literally didn't participate. If that list is reliable then almost everyone who applied from Zamfara would gain admission because the number that applied from Zamfara is less than the number that applied from every small school in Lagos.

Yet, tomorrow, from amongst that small number of largely unqualified Zamfara students that would be admitted, the federal character would step in and catapult them to the highest positions in the land. If we practised such a decadent system in our football or athletics we would be about the worst sporting nation in the world. So why do we practice it in politics, 60 years after trying to weave a nation?

I have read the arguments that say politics is not football. They mean exclusion would cause discontent and instability. But nothing causes discontent and instability more than injustice. When we shout 'One Nigeria,' we must mean it. True 'One Nigeria" is a Nigeria where all citizens are equal; where neither state of origin, religion nor ethnicity confers any advantages or disadvantages.

The north is full of smart people. Polices that cast it in negative light must stop. The abolition of the quota system is long overdue.

Monday

Dealing with an incompetent and unethical lawyer

CC™ Informational 

It is frustrating when you are dissatisfied with your lawyer or her work -- especially if you don't know what to do about it. Here are some strategies for dealing with common problems that arise during legal representation. 

For starters, the distressingly common problem of non-communication doesn't have an easy solution. A lawyer who doesn't return phone calls or communicate with you for an extended period of time may be guilty of abandoning you -- a violation of attorneys' ethical obligations. But that's for a bar association to determine (if you register a complaint), and it won't do you much good in the short term. 

If your lawyer doesn't seem to be working on your case, sending a polite but firm letter laying out your concerns should get your lawyer's attention. Don't threaten to file a malpractice lawsuit or complain to the bar association; such threats will probably make your lawyer angry and defensive, not attentive.

If your lawyer does not respond, or subsequent meetings or conversations are not fruitful, consider suggesting mediation to work out your communication problems if you still want this lawyer to represent you. A bad deskside manner doesn't mean that the lawyer isn't an excellent lawyer, and it can be difficult to find a new one in the middle of a case.

If you conclude that you simply can't work with your lawyer anymore, fire your lawyer and find someone new. You may also want to have a second lawyer evaluate your first lawyer's actions and advise you about paying (or refusing to pay) any bill you receive, filing a complaint with your state lawyer discipline agency, or suing the lawyer for malpractice.

The Lawyer Is Dishonest or Totally Incompetent
If your lawyer has actually stolen from you or acted with gross incompetence, the authorities in charge of disciplining lawyers in your state should show some interest.

File a complaint with your state's lawyer discipline agency

Every state has an agency responsible for licensing and disciplining lawyers. In most states, it's the bar association; in others, the state supreme court. The agency is most likely to take action if your lawyer has failed to pay you money that you won in a settlement or lawsuit, made some egregious error such as failing to show up in court, didn't do legal work you paid for, committed a crime, or has a drug or alcohol abuse problem. 

Unfortunately, these state agencies are famous for moving at a slow pace, not pursuing complaints vigorously, and communicating poorly with people who file complaints. Still, it is important to report a legal skunk. Many agencies wait until they have several similar complaints about a particular attorney before taking action. 

Getting compensated 

State bar associations are primarily concerned with punishing lawyers (though rarely severely), not compensating clients. But all states except Maine, New Mexico, and Tennessee do have funds from which they may reimburse clients whose attorneys stole from them. 

You're Concerned About the Lawyer's Work 

It's often hard for a client to know whether or not a lawyer is doing a good job. But if you think your lawyer's ability leaves something to be desired, investigate -- before it's too late. 

Communicate

If your lawyer doesn't seem to be working on your case, talk to your lawyer and explain your concerns. 

Get your file 

If you can't find out what has (and has not) been done, you need to get hold of your file. You can read it in your lawyer's office or ask your lawyer to send you copies of everything -- all correspondence and everything filed with the court or recorded with a government agency.

If you've already ended your relationship with the lawyer, you need your file pronto to make sure all deadlines are met, mistakes are repaired, and the matter keeps moving. If the lawyer is unresponsive and the matter involves a lawsuit, go to the courthouse and look at your case file, which contains all the papers that have actually been filed with the court. 

If you've hired a new lawyer, ask her for help in getting your file. Also, ask your state bar association for assistance. If that doesn't work, as a last resort you may need to sue your lawyer in small claims court, asking the court for money to compensate you for what you've spent on redoing work in the file or trying to get the file. 

Research 

If you're not satisfied with your lawyer's strategy decisions or with the arguments the lawyer has been making on your behalf, you may even want to go to the law library and do some reading to educate yourself about your legal problem. 

Get a second opinion

If you've got serious doubts about how your case is being handled, see a second attorney. Second opinions are relatively inexpensive -- an hour or two of a lawyer's time spent talking to you plus any time spent reviewing papers. And they are often very valuable in helping you decide whether to stay with your current lawyer or change to someone better suited to the task.

The more you can tell and show the second lawyer about your case, the better advice you will get about whether your case is being handled correctly and what might be done differently. Keep in mind, though, that no two lawyers handle a case in exactly the same way, and that a second opinion is usually a cursory review, not a comprehensive analysis.

Fire your lawyer

It's your absolute right to fire your lawyer at any time for any reason. Give it serious consideration if you're convinced the lawyer is doing a bad job or if your relationship with the lawyer has become intolerable. 

But dumping a bad lawyer can be expensive. If you hire a new lawyer, you'll have to pay him or her to get up to speed on your case. If the first lawyer hasn't done much, this shouldn't cost a lot. But if you have a trial scheduled for three weeks from now, your new lawyer will have a monumental and time-consuming job. 

Sue for malpractice 

If you lost money because of the way your lawyer handled your case, consider suing for malpractice. Know, however, that it is not an easy task. You must prove two things:
  • your lawyer messed up and
  • you would have won your case otherwise.It's not enough to show that your lawyer made a mistake -- you must show that the mistake caused you financial loss that you would not have suffered if your lawyer had handled your case properly in the first place.
If you want to sue for legal malpractice, do it as quickly as possible. A common defense raised by attorneys sued for malpractice is that the client waited too long to sue. And because this area of the law can be surprisingly complicated and confusing, there's often plenty of room for argument. 

Legal malpractice cases are expensive to pursue, so do some investigating before you dive in. There's no point in suing if the lawyer doesn't have either malpractice insurance or valuable assets from which to pay you if you win.

Source: NOLO

Sunday

Nigeria: The prophetic consequences of dining with the devil.....

President Buhari (L) and the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo (R)
CC™ Viewpoint - By Ikechukwu Amaechi

Shortly after overthrowing Muhammadu Buhari's military junta on August 27, 1985, Ibrahim Babangida set up what he called the Nigerian Political Bureau. The 17-member panel inaugurated on January 13, 1986, with Samuel Cookey, a professor of political science, as chairman was charged with the responsibility of refocusing Nigeria's political trajectory by chiseling out a new socio-political order. 

With membership cutting across academia, business and labour - Abdullahi Augie, Bala Takaya, Dr. Edwin Madunagu, Prof. Oye Oyediran, Mrs. Hilda Adefarasin, Prof. Eme Awa, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Prof. Sam Oyovbaire, Dr. Ola Balogun, Haroun Adamu, Comrade Paschal Bafyau - the bureau reached out to prominent Nigerians. At the end, it received well over 27,000 memoranda on issues ranging from religion to ethnicity and ideology from ever-willing and rambunctious Nigerians. 

But Obafemi Awolowo was not sold on the project and refused to participate.

In his rejection letter addressed to Cookey, Awo was clairvoyant and made a damning proclamation. 

"I received your letter of February 28, 1986, and sincerely thank you for doing me the honour of inviting me to contribute to the national political debate.

The purpose of the debate is to clarify our thoughts in our search for a new social order.It is, therefore, proper that all those who have something to contribute should do so. I do fervently and will continue fervently to pray that I may be proved wrong. For something within me tells me, loud and clear, that we have embarked on a fruitless search. At the end of the day, when we imagine that the new order is here, we would be terribly disappointed.

"In other words, at the threshold of our new social order, we would see for ourselves that, as long as Nigerians remain what they are, nothing clean, principled, ethical, and idealistic can work with them. And Nigerians will remain what they are, unless the evils which now dominate their hearts, at all levels and in all sectors of our political, business and governmental activities, are exorcised.

"But I venture to assert that they will not be exorcised, and indeed they will be firmly entrenched, unless God Himself imbues a vast majority of us with a revolutionary change of attitude to life and politics or, unless the dialectic processes which have been at work for some twenty years now, perforce, make us perceive the abominable filth that abounds in our society, to the end that an inexorable abhorrence of it will be quickened in our hearts and impel us to make drastic changes for the better."

But in the event that Nigerians were not attuned to heeding the advice, there was, Awolowo said, an alternative option: "To succumb to permanent social instability and chaos." Nigerians obviously settled for the alternative option and 33 years after, we are still treading that self-destructive path. No matter how anyone cuts it, Nigeria is in trouble. The country under President Muhammadu Buhari's watch is gradually but inexorably succumbing to permanent social instability and chaos. When Nigerians elected Buhari president in 2015, they believed that they were enthroning a new order. Change was the slogan. Today, not a few are terribly disappointed. Truth be told, with Buhari, we embarked on a fruitless search.

Buhari has neither ruined himself nor about to. In fact, he doesn't care. I doubt if he gets it. But Nigeria is worse off for the shenanigans of his government. And the conduct of the last governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States reinforces the prevailing pessimism.

Under President Olusegun Obasanjo, elections were a do-or-die affair. As bad as that was, Buhari has taken the ugly trend to the next level, a notch higher, where it does not really matter whether you do or you don't, being a Nigerian willing to express a contrary political opinion makes you an enemy of the state with dire consequences. Which explains why the Kogi State PDP Woman Leader, Mrs. Salome Abuh, was burnt alive in her home just because of elections.

In broad daylight, hoodlums that were not masked arrived at Abuh's house, blocked every exit, knowing full well that she was inside, poured petrol on the building, set it ablaze, stepped back and fired gunshots continuously to scare people away from rescuing her. Terrified villagers who apparently knew the assassins could only watch the gory spectacle from afar, helplessly.

Meanwhile, the murderers were having a ball - smoking, drinking and chatting away - without a care in the world while their victim was wailing and begging for mercy. The blood-thirsty thugs waited patiently, mocking their victim. They had the licence to kill. Like a child sent on a stealing voyage by his father, who loudly and without a care kicks the door open, they stood there supremely confident that their bestial act will go unpunished.

That is the level Nigeria is today. To date, nobody has been punished for this horrific crime. I dare say that nobody will be made to pay for the heinous crime. Lesser incidents will convulse any other country. Abuh's tragic fate reminds me of Mukaila Abdullahi, Kano State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, who was burnt to death at his Kano GRA residence on April 4, 2015 together with his wife and two children.

Abdullahi presided over the presidential and National Assembly elections. He didn't live to superintend over the governorship and state Assembly elections. His remains were buried in his home state of Jigawa even before investigations started. To date, there has been no serious attempt to unravel the mystery. Why should there be when the police concluded without any investigation that the entire family "suffocated after inhaling black smoke emitting from the split air-conditioner hose that caught fire after an electrical fault." To date, Kano residents and Abdullahi's neighbours dispute that account.

The Kano State police commissioner who made the announcement, Ibrahim Idris, became the Inspector General of Police, IGP, shortly after. Under Buhari's watch, Nigeria seems to have succumbed to permanent social instability and chaos. The homes of Nigerians are routinely burnt down and innocent citizens murdered in cold blood for daring to assemble as was the case of Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lawyer to leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, this week.

The government cherry picks which court order to obey. The National Assembly has become a mere rubber stamp with lawmakers misconstruing patriotism to mean allegiance to the president rather than the Constitution of the country.Nigerians have been cowed into silence. A Hate Speech Bill that prescribes death penalty is hanging over the heads of naysayers like the axiomatic sword of Damocles. There is also the Social Media Bill. The ominous warnings are back. Mere protest is a treasonable felony that must be firmly and ruthlessly put down. Any act of dissent is a potential banana skin.

On Tuesday December 3, 2019, the Department of State Services, DSS, sounded an ominous warning, claiming to have uncovered plots by some undesirable groups to cause a breakdown of law and order in parts of the country by instigating protests, mass action and violence. "These predetermined actions have been designed to take place simultaneously in the major cities across the geopolitical zones in the coming weeks," DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, announced in righteous indignation.

"Considering the implications of these on public safety and national security, the Service wishes to warn the anti-democratic elements responsible for these heinous plots to desist forthwith from their inglorious acts. Consequently, parents are advised to rein in their wards and enjoin them not to allow themselves to be used to foment trouble. Similarly, heads of academic and public institutions are to warn their students and employees respectively from engaging in any untoward activity against public order. The Service and other sister agencies are at alert and will ensure that peace and security are maintained in all parts of the country before, during and after the festive periods." 

Recently, the world also watched as Nigerian soldiers shot at innocent #EndSARS protesters as the latter were demonstrating against the activities of the murderous Special Anti-Robbery Squad Unit, accused of murdering innocent Nigerians, mostly the youth, in cold blood. There are also reports from inside sources that the Buhari administration is in a clandestine alliance with Boko Haram as the Northern leaders seek to hold that as a dark horse over the country, ahead of the 2023 elections. 

The gloves are off. Buhari claimed he was a born-again democrat. Nigerians believed him. But can the leopard actually change its spots? Hardly! Buhari is exactly who we thought he was and Awolowo was right. He saw this coming more than three decades ago.

Saturday

Flashback: Whither the GOP and true conservatism

By the Editor-in-Chief

I was a young man those days when I was back in Lagos, Nigeria. Lived on the Island, good family upbringing, went to some of the best schools, had a healthy knowledge of current affairs and world politics at a young age and above all, grew up in a political family which gave me a vantage view of the nuances and intricacies of the oldest game in the world.

Yes, politics is a game upon which the dreams and aspirations of many hinge. It is because of the latter that it is incumbent upon us all as a nation, a people and a world to get it right.

This brings me then to the current state of American politics, particularly the GOP as it is presently constituted. As I would watch the NTA (Nigerian Televison Authority) World News @9 pm those days, I would reel off the names of the members of Ronald Reagan's team. These were essentially all Republican stalwarts. The likes of James Baker III, George Schultz, Casper Weinberger and many others. Many of the Reagan aides went on to serve in the administration of Bush 41 (Herbert Walker) and we also saw the advent of one Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney? Whatever happened to him an old friend of mine from back home asked the other day? Dick Cheney's "metamorphosis" into the abyss of political thuggery masked as altruistic patriotism is the one line that most perfectly describes the current state and decline of this once storied party.

I don't know if I have said it here before, but I have never been a Democrat, as the party was in fact the party of segregation, Jim Crow as well as the marginalization and abuse of African-Americans for decades and even centuries if I might add. It was not until the realization of reason and human decency, thanks to a "Texas red-neck", Lyndon Baines Johnson that blacks began to be treated with the decency deserving of humans and it was during this period that the "Dixiecrats" (Southern Democrats) left en-masse and it is unquestionable that they have now found a home over the years in the GOP.

I am also not a Republican, but I have always admired the party mainly because of Ronald Reagan and Bush 41. They were both decent men who respected their opponents and had a statesman-like disposition to them that was appealing to many across the political and other divide. I was brought up in a family where education, hard work and self-less sacrifice were imbibed into us and passed from generation to generation. We were told that we represented not only ourselves, but our family name and its ideals and believe in personal responsibility and dutiful citizenship.

While it is the duty of government to "correct" the wrongs of the past, I have NEVER believed that overtime, it was also the duty of government to teach fathers and mothers how to be responsible parents and conduct themselves with dignity and a strong sense of purpose.

The crux of the GOP's mantra on personal responsibility - a "small government" built on enduring and fiscally responsible policies, as well as a "strong defense", has always appealed to me. The problem though is that the GOP, Reagan included, has left the nation in debilitating debt each time they have been in power, thus betraying their own ideals and in the process eroding the confidence many had reposed in them. However, the difference between the Reagan/Bush 41 years and this current band of marauders masked as conservatives, has been how low they have sunk in their attempt to control the tone and direction of the national conversation.

While I would posit that the one component missing from the Reagan dynamic was that of a certain form of compassionate conservatism, Bush 41 addressed this during his tenure in office and it is no wonder he was never liked by the rabid-dog neo-cons that have now usurped the mantle of leadership in the GOP. Both Reagan and Bush 41, I will reiterate, were decent men and believed that the GOP had room for as many as possible without the party necessarily changing its core ideals and principles.

Reagan and Bush 41 were however both pragmatic men with great vision as Reagan reached out to democratic leaders consistently during his tenure, while Bush 41 had one singular act that showed how much wisdom he had as a leader by resisting every attempt by hard-core "conservatives" to lure the US into invading Iraq having ejected Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. His son, Bush 43 went against his father's sound judgment (and the US and indeed the world has been worse off for it) with the invasion of Iraq (the torture at Abu Ghraib in particular) being a solid rallying point and recruiting advertisement for radical Islam and its murderous proponents.

While I largely disagreed with the policies of both Reagan and Bush 41, with regard to their seeming indifference to the policies of the apartheid regime in the then racist enclave of South Africa as well as their "tepid" support for civil rights, they both still recognized the importance of a party where dissension was actually healthy as it helped shore up whatever "policy white spaces" there were in the political landscape. The current GOP, in the last two decades or so has become increasingly intolerant, xenophobic and downright unrelenting in its attempt to rid America of its most important source of strength and dynamism, its diversity.

That the leaders of today's GOP look to the likes of Sean Hannity (a Neo-Nazi sympathizer), Rush Limbaugh (an unabashed racist) and Joe "the plumber" is really quite telling. That the notion of someone being educated and going to some of the best schools in the US and indeed the world makes them an elite is also quite revealing. That the usurpers of the party of Lincoln see nothing wrong in America spearheading torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay while forceful defending the same tactics used by the Nazi and imperialistic Japanese soldiers shows just how much the GOP, as presently constituted, is not the party to lead this nation.

Indeed again, I must ask. Whither the GOP? The party of Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest leaders in the history of mankind, has been taken over by those who resent a culture that encourages a divergence of opinion and backgrounds within their ranks and through their rhetoric and seditious irredentism, these agents of intolerance and hatred have created an atmosphere where discord is the order of the day, and destructive violence, in the name of religion and "morality", has again been visited on the American consciousness.

This is not the party that gave us decent men like Bush 41, Ronald Reagan James Baker III and Brent Scowcroft I must say. Obviously Dick Cheney was always "a wolf in sheep's clothing" as his conduct has betrayed the dignity, integrity and decency of most of the men he served with under Reagan and Bush 41.

In a write-up by former New Jersey Governor, Christine Todd Whitman, she alluded to the convincing dynamic of the Obama candidacy and asserts his victory was a "personal" one steeped in the persona and vision of the candidate himself, much like Reagan and that it was not a victory based necessarily on ideology. She states, rather cogently, that the GOP's inability to figure out a way to hold together a coalition of economic conservatives, foreign policy conservatives as well as social moderates and conservatives while resisting the specter of a circular firing squad, has been to the party's detriment and will be so for a long time to come.

I am not one of those that wants the GOP to die away, on the contrary, like the true democrat that I and most Americans are, I very much want a vibrant two-party system like we've always had as I believe it is healthy for our democracy. The GOP as it currently stands, however makes that increasingly less likely.

Friday

Laura Ingraham: An epitome of hypocrisy and a walking contradiction of privileged ignorance

Fox News Host Laura Ingraham aptly 'salutes' her fans 
CC™ Editorial - By Deji Fashola (Contributing Editor)

One of the most consistent things in life is time. Time never fails to tell the story. The story of the day, the story of your life and the events that have shaped that very life; but even more importantly, time never fails to remind us of our past, with historical and poignant markers that speak to how our past actions ultimately determine where and who we are, or will become.

For Laura Ingraham, a talk show host of Fox News and someone whom I had never heard of until she name dropped basketball superstar, Lebron James, a couple of years ago by telling him to shut up and dribble, time has essentially encapsulated the very essence of her being, as it relates to her place in the evolving but contentious conversation about Americas contract with people of African descent, in particular.

I am not a consumer of American news as a matter of principle, be it CNN, Fox, MSNBC or any other alphabet news organization, but one thing I will say having had a glimpse of Fox news in particular, is that the latter (Fox news) is the most brazen attempt at instituting State-run TV in a country that is supposed to be the very epitome of democracy.

Time and time again, we are inundated with the Republican mantra that seemingly serves to eschew the tenets and principles of so-called conservative values. But, what exactly do these values entail. 

According to Laura Ingraham et al, conservative values seek to:

a) Preserve the sanctity of life pre-birth but seemingly abuse and devalue it after birth, especially if the life in question is of the wrong hue.

b) Promote avaricious greed that encourages limitless profit by a very limited few to the detriment of the overwhelming majority.

c) Encourage and promote governmental interference in the lives of others with the exception of those who profess a divine following of a God, whose commandments and ordinances they (the so-called conservatives) never abide by, but project and force on others who merely seek to live and let live.

d) Bully, vilify, slander, defame, abuse and in some cases, seek to intimidate with threats of violence those they disagree with, including defying constituted authority even though the latter's conduct and ordinances are within the framework of the laws and statutes of the land.

A perfect example of this vilification is the Republican messaging of referring to those who ask why the wealthiest nation on earth has more than half of its population without basic healthcare, as socialists.

These same conservatives (Republicans) have no problems though with the government giving away billions of dollars in corporate welfare to big corporations, deemed too big to fail. To them, the average American is too irrelevant and too small to succeed or be cared for, so long as Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Tom "call in the troops" Cotton, Josh "inordinate ambition" Hawley and the always opportunistic Rafael Ted Cruz line their pockets and those of their corporate benefactors.

e) Extol the virtues of democracy and civility when in the majority or win elections but then turn the same institution on its head, refusing to concede when you lose, and then seek to undermine and subvert the will of the people by judicial fiat. And when the latter fails, incite a violent insurrection against the duly elected leadership of the country, namely the Vice President and Congress, a co-equal branch of government, by the sitting President of the United States of America.

The four years of the Trump misrule of incompetence, laced with brazen nepotism, cronyism and racism, as well as unbridled corruption, was undoubtedly egged on by State TV (Fox News), with Sean Hannity (the former construction worker and high school dropout) and Laura Ingraham as the unofficial spokespersons of the Trump-led civilian junta. 

It remains to be seen if the resulting socio-political scars remain embedded in the mental and institutional psyche of the nation, for decades or even generations to come.

Thursday

Thomas Isidore Sankara: An African lion with an everlasting legacy.....

CC™ Videoscope

“Imperialism is a system of exploitation that occurs not only in the brutal form of those who come with guns to conquer territory. Imperialism often occurs in more subtle forms, a loan, food aid or even blackmail. We are fighting this system that allows a handful of men on Earth to rule all of humanity.”
― Thomas Sankara

Wednesday

Editorial Flashback: It's an e-mail scam, not a "Nigerian scam"....

Editor-in-Chief

Imagine my surprise when I turned to the consumer page of the Attorney General of the State of Washington to find that a whole people, in this case citizens of Nigeria, had been painted with a wide brush (see former website content below in italics). Regarding the latter, I am talking about the much talked about e-mail scams or advance fee fraud, many believe originated from that West African nation.

"E-mail Scams - Advance fee and counterfeit check/Nigerian scams: If you suffered a financial loss you can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov"
To better understand this issue, it will be prudent to give a brief overview of the most populous country on the African continent, a nation that has disbursed so much good to much of humanity, with some bad mixed in (show me a perfect country or people).
Nigeria gained its independence from Britain on October 1st, 1960. Since then, the country has experienced a civil war (that lasted for three years 1967-1970 and killed 1 million of its citizens) while also enjoying a long spell of economic prosperity and boom from the 70s to the late-80s (much from oil and other natural resources she has been blessed with).
Lately, beginning in the 1990s, the country's infrastructure, image and over-all national reputation has taking a beating, mainly as a result of defective leadership laced with unbecoming greed and avarice.
The general climate of corruption (not quite different from what you would find in most countries but quite overt in Nigeria) has led to an expected societal breakdown, where law, order and common decency became an exception and not the norm.
For all of its struggles with corruption and the systematic destruction of its storied institutions and culture, much of this by its own military, with the acquiescence of the West (the latter mostly concerned with taking its resources by any means), the country has re-set itself back on course, with democratic elections in 1999 and has never looked back since.
The descent into "white collar crime" with the e-mail scams and other forms of criminal activity (by a very marginal minority) does NOT define the nature and character of Nigerians (over 200 million people), with many Nigerians contributing as physicians, scientists, technology experts and business executives in much of the world, particularly Africa, Europe and the United States (with a well established immigrant population in the Puget Sound as well).
While the e-mail/advance fee scam has generally been portrayed as a "Nigerian Scam", recent investigations by the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS) (working in conjunction with the FBI and Interpol) have shown that most of these crimes (e-mail/advance fee scams) have actually been committed by citizens of other West African countries, namely Ghana, the Sierra Leone and Liberia (due to the wars and extreme poverty in the latter two).
The interesting spin to the preceding information is that America's next door neighbor, Canada, has become a notorious breeding ground as well for a large proportion of these e-mail and other transactional scams. Witness the Canadian "lottery winner" e-mails as well as the offer to send you a "cashiers check" when you try to sell your car on Craigslist.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a body recently set up by Nigeria's democratically elected government, has also been very aggressive in pursuing the perpetrators of ALL financial crimes, within the Nigerian state.
While it is true that the Nigerian government "needs to do more" to ensure that this menace is curtailed (at least within its borders), one can say that the US government also needs to do more, by advising its citizens not to reply to e-mail solicitations to receive money from "relatives", they never had in Nigeria or anywhere else in the first place.

The advance fee fraud and e-mail scam developed a life of its own by the default of enablement. The greed and avarice in the United States (particularly on Wall Street) is there for all to see, but I am yet to see any Attorney General websites or newspapers refer to those as "American scam" or even worse still, label the scam on Wall Street with an ethnic delineation.
I am grateful to the deputy Chief-of-Staff of the Washington AG at the time for heeding my call and that of other well-meaning and hardworking Nigerians to remove the "Nigerian" label on this disgraceful activity.

One would hope that the likes of Sean Robinson (Staff Writer at the Tacoma News Tribune) might also learn something and understand that much like the criminals on Wall Street and those on the corners of the worst neighborhoods of Tacoma and indeed America who murder (serial killers et al), rape, pillage, molest and commit countless heinous crimes, are not branded with an American or other ethnic-American brush, it would be fool-hardy to do the same to others.