Nigeria's Central Bank Governor wins Forbes award

Lamido Sanusi
Nigeria's central bank governor Lamido Sanusi has been voted Africa Person of the Year by Forbes magazine.

He beat five other candidates for the inaugural award - including Nobel Peace laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote.

Mr Sanusi, 50, has spearheaded reforms in Nigeria's troubled banking sector since his appointment in 2009.

The central bank bailed out nine banks and removed their chief executives who were accused of fraudulent practices.

Several of the ousted bankers have been put on trial for alleged financial mismanagement.

Forbes magazine's readers gave Mr Sanusi the most votes in an online poll.

He beat Mrs Sirleaf, the Liberian president who was awarded this year's Nobel Peace prize, Mr Dangote, a Nigeria business tycoon who tops Forbes' list of Africa's richest people, former Cape Verde President Pedro Verona Pires, who won this year's $5m Mo Ibrahim prize for good governance in Africa and Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan Nobel Peace laureate who died in September.

Last year, another financial publication, The Banker, named Mr Sanusi the Central Bank Governor of the Year.

Mr Sanusi's critics says his reforms have led to massive job losses in the banking sector.
But when receiving the award, he said the central bank's role was not to create jobs but to create an environment for business to thrive, Nigeria's privately owned newspaper, The Daily Trust, reports.

He called on the government to show tighter fiscal discipline and to discourage imports.

"You cannot be exporting crude oil and be importing refined petrol," Mr Sanusi said, according to The Daily Trust.

Nigeria is a leading oil producer but its leadership has consistently misappropriated billions of dollars of crude oil revenue, since it gained its independence from Great Britain in 1960.


AT&T and T-Mobile USA withdraw merger application

US telecoms giant AT&T and Deutsche Telekom have cast doubt over the $39 billion sale of T-Mobile USA by withdrawing their merger application to the industry regulator.
AT&T also said it would include a $4 billion charge in its fourth-quarter accounts to cover any potential compensation due if the deal does not go ahead.
The US Justice Department moved to block the sale at the end of August.
The two firms said they would focus on clearing the deal with the government.
AT&T agreed to buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom in March, aiming to create the largest US wireless network.
However, the government has said the merger would lead to higher prices and restrict choice, and has requested a court order to block it.
As a result, the two firms have withdrawn their application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
This would allow them to "focus their continuing efforts on obtaining antitrust clearance for the transaction from the Department of Justice", the companies said.
They would then focus on seeking approval from the FCC, they added.
The deal needs the approval of both the Justice Department and the FCC to go ahead.
AT&T's bid to buy T-Mobile would give the US telecoms firm about 43% of the US mobile phone market.


Water The Bamboo® Moment: Fear of Failure or Fear of Success

“What could we accomplish if we knew we could not fail?”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Fear of failure or success has haunted many would-be successful people. To put it bluntly, graveyards are filled with countless intentions that were never acted upon because of fear. Fear is generally about control. People with a fear of flying don’t really have a fear of flying, they have a fear of crashing. The mind is so powerful it can make something seem real that has not yet occurred.
Recently, a young man told me that he could not get a job and I asked him how many had he applied for. He replied, “none.” I challenged him to get 33 rejection letters or emails in a row, and if he did I would take him to dinner and give him $100 dollars. After checking on him a few months later, he was unable to collect on the bet because he was gainfully employed after only 7 rejections.
Bamboo Rule: Success awaits those who are willing to deal with rejection.
Fearing rejection before you apply for a job is normal. Nobody wants to get rejected but there is no reason to assume the answer is no. What if you went for the rejection? After studying the most successful people I found that they had the ability to recover from failure or rejection. In other words, they kept on watering. In Water The Bamboo® I recommend creating a vision board—I call mine a success board—it inspires me and keeps my vision vivid. I can see it, feel it, even smell it—this helps me stay focused. When I reach a milestone or suffer a setback I am not thrown off my vision.
Bamboo Rule: The turtle only moves when it sticks its neck out.
To learn more about how you can achieve success by pushing through rejection, read Chapter 16, Take Risks in Water The Bamboo®: Unleashing The Potential Of Teams And Individuals.

Penn State, Joe Paterno and the defacing of America


"Joe (Paterno) is perceived to be a father figure or grandfather figure, and that's a very hard thing for people to get to that realization, that your dad is bad."------ former Penn State assistant coach Matt Paknis. 

Like most people this past week, I have followed with rapt but uncomfortable attention the news coming out of Penn State University as it relates to the child sex-abuse scandal.

Former defensive coordinator Gerald "Jerry" Sandusky is accused of sexually molesting boys as young as 10 years old (the very thought of that makes me cringe with disgust) over a 15 year period.

While it is true that emotions and opinions have run across the spectrum in just about every direction you can imagine, one thing  has been evidently clear, albeit unfortunately; that the victims, no, not the so-called student athletes or Joe Paterno or the Penn State student body, the real victims - the little boys (at the time) who were sexually assaulted by this sick and utterly depraved excuse for a human being, have been relegated to the background of the real conversation.

I am really not sure if I can say anymore about this matter. Why, you might ask?

Well, like most folks in the country who were all wrapped up the the "legend of Joe Paterno", a man who many saw as the very epitome of morality and everything that was good about America, I really just realized that I knew nothing about this case until I read the full grand jury findings.

Then it dawned on me why Joe Paterno was fired and why he should NEVER be allowed to coach again or be trusted with the mantle of custodial leadership on any American college campus! It also dawned on me how much we were lost as a nation, when the well-being of our most precious asset, our children and those that are vulnerable in society are sacrificed time and again, for a buck and change.

The Board of Trustees at Penn State University has demonstrated leadership that is at best rudderless and the conduct of some of the students has been at best disgraceful; what with the distasteful hero-worship of a man (Joe Paterno) who we've now found out was not exactly who we thought he was.

Like most individuals who conceal their true nature and put on appearances for the rest to see, Joe Paterno showed us not just how flawed he was, but how dishonest and callously deceptive he could be.

We have him (Joe Paterno), the Board of Trustees at Penn State University and the general "leadership" at Penn State to thank for destroying the innocence and future of America, while aiming to preserve their reputation, integrity and financial well-being.

It is obvious from the news still emanating in "drip-drip" fashion from Happy Valley that Joe Paterno ran a dictatorship where no one challenged his authority and everything was aimed at protecting him and the program from being maligned, at all cost.

Joe Paterno and everyone in a position of authority at Penn State knew about this sick man.

This video from 1987 shows Jerry Sandusky talking about his "work with children" and as the grand jury document shows, he was investigated just a decade later for having "inappropriate" contact with a young boy.

I shudder to think Penn State might actually not be an isolated case and that this decadence may in-fact be common place, particularly in small-town America, where all they have is the college football team and the ol' ball coach.

Read the full grand jury presentment here.... and it can't help but make you weep for this nation of ours.


Billionaire Warren Buffet buys "huge" stake in IBM

Warren Buffett - one of the world's most closely watched investors - has disclosed building a 5.4% stake in IBM.

Mr Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway fund started buying shares in the firm in March, eventually spending around $10.7bn.

The billionaire had steered away from technology firms in the past.

However, he said that he had been impressed by IBM's road map for how it planned to attract IT firms outside the US to sign up to its services.

"If you're in some country around the world and you're developing your IT department you're probably going to feel more comfortable with IBM than with many companies," he told the US television station CNBC.

He said he started buying the stock after he read IBM's 2010 annual report and spoke to technology professionals in the businesses his fund had already invested in.

He said he realised there was a lot of "continuity" in the US-headquartered business.

"It is a big deal for a big company to change auditors, change law firms, or change IT support," he said.

"There's a fair amount of presumption in many places that if you're with IBM, you stay with them."

Mr Buffett said he had not told IBM's chief executive, Sam Palmisano, about the investment before announcing it on TV. He added that he does not plan to increase his stake which was why he was comfortable talking about it.

Until now the US bank, State Street, was the biggest known investor in IBM by a clear margin. A September filing revealed the lender owned 5.5% of of the firm.

When asked about other investments Mr Buffett noted that he would never buy stock in Microsoft because of his friendship with the company's founder and chairman Bill Gates.

Mr Buffett's actions are closely monitored by other investors because of his track record for spotting and buying undervalued stocks. However, IBM's shares only rose slightly after the broadcast.

IBM said it is not commenting on the news at this time.

Source: CNBC News


BMW unveils new electric and hybrid concept cars

Getty Images - BMW i8 Concept car
NEW YORK — BMW unveiled a pair of concept cars  Wednesday, one a hybrid and one electric, made of light-weight carbon fiber  and a see-through glass exterior.
The cars are expected to go into production within the next two to three years.
The carbon fiber in the i3 city car and i8 sports car significantly reduces the weight of the vehicle and the size of its frame, giving designers more flexibility and creating more interior space for passengers, said Richard Kim, who designed the exteriors of both vehicles.
The material, used in the aerospace sector and also for high-end bicycles, is valued for its strength-to-weight ratio. Its uses are expanding, however, and engineers are designing everything from camping equipment to pool cues.
For the German automaker, it allowed for more glass where there is traditionally metal, Kim said. The doors of both vehicles are mostly made of glass, along with much of their roofs and tail ends.
BMW said the car offers "superb safety in the event of a collision."
The final product may not appear as dramatic, but will have the same feel as the concept cars, Kim said.
"You may not see as much glass, but you will be able to see the light coming through," Kim said at a sneak peak event Wednesday in New York. The cars officially debut next week at the Los Angeles auto show.
The i3 is expected to go into production in 2013, with production of the i8 following a year later. The cost of the car has yet to be determined, though carbon fiber is not cheap.
The four-door i3 is designed for urban driving, with its wheels pushed out to the corners of the frame for stability. It has coach-style doors, with rear and front doors swinging open at the center of the vehicle.
The added stability of carbon fiber allowed designers to eliminate the support pillar traditionally found between the front and back doors, which will make it making it easier to enter and exit the vehicle, Kim said.
The i3 comes in an all-electric version that can go 80 to 100 miles on a single charge, but buyers have the option of adding a small gas engine that would recharge the battery if needed. It takes about six hours to fully charge the battery.
The sporty i8 has two winged doors made of glass and a sleek silhouette. The exterior is designed to help the car cut through the air more efficiently.
The all-wheel drive car has a battery and a gas engine that work together, with the battery powering the front wheels and a gas engine powering the rear wheels. Without the gas engine, the car has a range of about 20 miles, but fully charges in less than two hours.


Africa's silent but robust mobile phone industry growth

Africa is the fastest-growing mobile market in the world, and is the biggest after Asia, an association of worldwide mobile phone operators has said.

The number of subscribers on the continent has grown almost 20% each year for the past five years, the GSM Association report on Africa says.

It expects there will be more than 735 million subscribers by the end of 2012.

Analysts say bad and expensive landline connections in Africa are responsible for the high mobile phone usage.

Peter Lyons, GSMA's director of spectrum policy for Africa and Middle East, told the BBC that mobile penetration in Africa had reached 649 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2011.

"That is equivalent to a 65% penetration rate. Out of every 100 people, 65 have some form of mobile connectivity," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

In a report, GSMA says that 96% of subscriptions are pre-paid with voice services currently dominating, although uptake of data services is increasing steadily.

The Kenyan government's abolition of the 16% general sales tax on mobile handsets in 2009 has resulted in handset purchases increasing by more than 200%, it says.

Kenya is at the forefront of mobile money transfers, with 8.5 million users, the report says.

Nigeria has the highest number of mobile phone subscriptions in Africa - more than 93 million, representing 16% of the continent's total mobile subscriptions, GSMA says.

South Africa, with its more developed infrastructure, has the highest broadband penetration - 6%, followed by Morocco with 2.8%, the report says.

"The mobile industry in Africa is booming and a catalyst for immense growth, but there is scope for far greater development," Mr Lyons said.

He said 36% of people in the 25 largest African mobile markets still had no access to mobile services.

"To take full advantage of its potential, African countries need to allocate more spectrum for the provision of mobile broadband services, as well as introduce tax cuts for the industry," Mr Lyons said.

The report says African countries have allocated far less spectrum to mobile services than Europe, the Americas and Asia, which inhibits connectivity to many people in rural areas.

"Sufficient spectrum should be provided for mobile broadband services through 3G, HSPA [High-Speed Packet Access] and LTE [Long Term Evolution] technologies," it says.

Source: BBC Technology News


Cain 'beyond reproach' as Perry stumbles over his lines....

Texas Governor Rick Perry
Texas Governor Rick Perry could not remember the third government agency he plans to abolish, if elected president.

The eight contenders for the Republican presidential nomination have faced off over the economy at a debate in the state of Michigan.

Front-runner Mitt Romney criticised the government bailout of US car makers in the state, while his rivals said banks should not become too big to fail.

The debate was the first since sexual harassment allegations emerged against Mr Romney's chief rival, Herman Cain.

He dismissed the accusations, calling them "character assassination."

To a chorus of boos from the audience - aimed at the CNBC interrogators and not at Mr Cain - the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza said his character was beyond reproach.

"The American people deserve better than someone being tried in a court of public opinion based on unfounded accusations."

The biggest drama of the evening came when Texas Governor Rick Perry stumbled over his lines, finding himself unable to name the three federal departments he would eliminate if he became president - a key policy and a regular part of his stump speeches.

"The third agency of government I would - I would do away with education, the... commerce... commerce and, let's see. I can't. The third one, I can't. Sorry. Oops," he said.

The answer he was looking for, he told moderators later, was the Department of Energy.

The Michigan debate, staged by the cable business channel CNBC, was held at Oakland University in Rochester.

In a series of questions focused on pressing economic issues, candidates discussed a range of topics from the eurozone debt crisis to the domestic housing market to bailouts for the domestic auto industry.

They generally agreed that the US should not "bail out" Europe, but warned that budget deficits in the US could create a similar crisis to the one faced by eurozone nations.

Candidates also used the time to reprise their calls for flat tax plans, social security reform and the repeal of President Barack Obama's healthcare law.

Each candidate was asked specifically what they would do about healthcare costs immediately after repealing the law.

Mr Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, called for individual state decisions on health care laws, while former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman argued for better access to medical records as a way of improving care.

The debate came nearly two months before the first votes are cast in the Iowa caucuses to nominate a Republican nominee.


Tyrants: From figures of fear to figures of fun

A younger Muammar Gaddafi
By Mary Beard

From Roman emperors to Colonel Gaddafi, it's easy to turn tyrants from figures of fear into figures of fun. But while their behaviour was often brutal and bloody, that's not all they were, writes Mary Beard.
On 11 March, 222 AD, a posse of rebel soldiers tracked down the Roman Emperor Elagabalus to his hiding place - he had come to power in a coup just four years earlier, supposedly dividing his time between fundamentalist religious reforms, corruption and self-indulgence - but not before they had sodomised and skewered some of his few remaining loyal troops.
Now the tyrant was holed up in a latrine, desperately hoping to keep clear of the liberators, out for his blood. No such luck. The rebels rooted him out, killed him, triumphantly dragged his body through the streets and then threw his mutilated remains into a drain.
The Roman accounts of Elagabalus's end, if not outright unreliable, are certainly embellished at the edges. They may be as misleading as those confused mobile phone images that purported to record the final, bloody moments of Colonel Gaddafi a couple of weeks ago. But what is clear is that one of the basic story lines of "the death of a tyrant" - from hopeless hiding places to sewers and sodomy - was already well established 2,000 years ago.
It's more, though, than just these stories of the tyrant's death that we share with the Romans. We've inherited from them the standard cliches about the life of a tyrant too. In fact, we still operate with a more-or-less Roman view about what's despotic about a despot.
Then as now, of course, killing was central to the image, on a mass scale and sometimes in ingeniously ghastly ways. The Emperor Nero not only massacred his opponents, but he tried to get rid of his own mother using a specially constructed collapsible boat. In fact the tough old bird was a strong swimmer and had to be disposed of using more orthodox methods.
But it doesn't stop with violence. Tyrants are responsible for all kinds of lurid disruptions to the normal rules of social life. Disruptions that have been the trademark of tyranny for at least two millennia.
Take the rules of gender, for a start. Gaddafi's battalion of high-heeled, heavily made-up female bodyguards seem uncannily close to Elagabalus's new Roman governing senate, which was to be made up entirely of women.
But you can add to that the tyrant's penchant for eccentric accommodation - from Gaddafi's idiosyncratic "tent" to Nero's notorious "Golden House" in Rome - and his dubious hobbies. The emperor Domitian was said to have spent his leisure hours stabbing flies with his pen, Gaddafi obsessively collecting pictures of Condoleezza Rice and sticking them into his scrapbook.
'Hearsay and fantasy'
More than anything though, the tyrant - ancient or modern - adopts weird forms of dress. Elagabalus was criticised for being the first Roman to wear outfits made entirely of silk. Gaddafi was derided for his silly, pantomime military uniforms, with their row upon row of spurious medals. To be honest "silliness" here is largely in the eye of the beholder. Quite why Prince Charles's much decorated, gaudy military outfits are not thought silly even though he has never, to my knowledge, seen a single day's service in an actual war, I really can't imagine.
These stereotypes of tyrants are a confused mixture of truth, semi-truth, hearsay and utter fantasy. I very much doubt Gaddafi had the time to go searching for pictures of Condy in the international press, or that Elagabalus's female senate was more than the figment of some ancient tabloid imagination.
So why have they proved so lasting? For various reasons I think. Partly, they are a neat way of turning the dictator from a figure of fear to a figure of fun. Partly, the silly costumes and the mad houses are a whole lot easier for us to talk about than the torture and the murder that goes with tyranny.
But partly, it's laziness. It requires almost no intellectual effort whatsoever to bandy around an off-the-peg, identikit image of the monster - wicked from his clothes to his very core.
It's harder to think about the nuances of tyranny. And it's particularly hard to face the uncomfortable fact that very few of these loathed tyrants are as wholly bad as it suits us to assume.
Nero may have been a murderous persecutor, but even his fiercest critics conceded that he mounted admirable and unprecedented relief measures for the people after the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD. And, as we know, even the most vicious murderer may love his family deeply, be kind and generous to them, and be loved in return. "Badness" comes in inconveniently complicated ways.
Oil profits
I'm not trying to rehabilitate Nero, or stand up for Gaddafi. If I lived in Libya I hope I would be on the rebel side. And I feel confident that overall the world is a better place without the colonel. Though whether it will be a better place with whatever the National Transitional Council turns into we'll just have to wait and see.
My point is not that we should see Gaddafi as a good man - no-one would try to convince the relatives of Yvonne Fletcher or of the victims of Lockerbie of that. My point is that we sell ourselves short if we don't work a bit harder to move beyond the stereotypes and get a more complicated view of the tyrant. We need to understand why some people supported him, as they passionately did - and not always bad people for bad reasons.
Have you ever wondered why Nelson Mandela was such a friend of the Libyan leader? Or why Mandela's grandson is actually called Gaddafi. It goes back to the 1970s and 80s when Gaddafi gave cash and weapons to the ANC in their fight against apartheid.
Sure, he probably did the same for any band of thugs who fetched up in Tripoli, with a begging bowl for some "anti-colonial cause". But, in this case, at a time when many European countries were still treating anti-apartheid freedom fighters as terrorists, and when the British government was dragging its heels even on economic sanctions against white South Africa, Gaddafi came up with the goods. The Libyan record is bound to look different when you see it from an African rather than a European point of view.
Adulation is 'distrusted'
It also looks a bit different if you dip into some of the statistics about recent conditions in Libya before the war, gathered by the UN and the US state department - hardly natural friends of Gaddafi. No, they don't include any good news about Libyan human rights. Gaddafi's regime was authoritarian at best, violently repressive at worst.
But how often are we told that life expectancy in Libya far exceeds its neighbours, that Libya has a substantially lower child mortality rate than Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Tunisia, the highest literacy rate in North Africa - on US estimates, not the Libyan propaganda machine - as well as free hospitals and childcare?
The profits of oil have not simply been flowing into the pockets of the few, or into the weapons that still stuff the warehouses. Among all the things that have been going terribly wrong under the Gaddafi regime, some things have been going right.
The Romans were actually a bit more prepared than we are to face up to the complexities of tyranny. Among all the cliches they tossed around about the Emperor Nero, they did stop to wonder how to explain the seemingly good things he did. Did he start out well and only later go to the bad? Or was he the victim of a change of advisers?
But it was Publius Cornelius Tacitus, the sharpest Roman historian of them all, who hit the nail on the head. In the introduction to his book that would include an account of the reign of Domitian (the notorious fly-stabber), Tacitus reflected on how best to analyse tyranny. It's problematic, he wrote, because it's very hard to find out the truth.
The temptation is to go one of two ways - total adulation for the tyrant's achievements or blanket vilification of his crimes. Readers, he went on, distrust adulation. It looks like flattery. They tend to trust vilification, as criticism appears more objective. But that doesn't mean, he warns, that it is necessarily right.
Maybe we should remember Tacitus's words the next time some time-expired despot crawls out of a sewer to his death.

Mary Beard is Professor of Classics at Cambridge University in the UK. She is also an author.


Even in the face of potential Israeli attack, Iran remains defiant....

By Marwa Awad - Reuters
The United States fears Iran's growing military power because it is now able to compete with Israel and the West, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in comments carried by an Egyptian newspaper on Monday.
Responding to a toughening stance from the United States and Israel against Tehran, Ahmadinejad accused Washington of inventing conspiracies to discredit Iran and sowing discord with its near neighbor Saudi Arabia.
"Yes, we have military capabilities that are different from any other country in the region," Egyptian daily al-Akhbar cited Ahmadinejad as saying. "Iran is increasing in capability and advancement and therefore we are able to compete with Israel and the West and especially the United States."
"The U.S. fears Iran's capability," he told the paper. "Iran will not permit (anyone from making) a move against it."
Iran's Islamic rulers, who say Israel has no right to exist, deny accusations that they are seeking nuclear weapons and have warned they will respond to any attacks by striking at Israel and U.S. interests in the Gulf.
A senior U.S. military official said on Friday Iran had become the biggest threat to the United States and Israel's president said the military option to stop the Islamic republic from obtaining nuclear weapons was nearer.
Ahmadinejad repeated that Iran does not own a nuclear bomb, but said Israel's end was inevitable.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, is expected this week to issue its most detailed report yet on research in Iran seen as geared to developing atomic bombs.
"It is Israel that has about 300 nuclear warheads. Iran is only keen to have nuclear capability for peaceful means," he said, accusing Washington of lumping Iran with Syria, the Islamist Hamas movement that rules Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The U.S. portrays those four as "the Axis of Evil to save the Zionist entity (Israel). But the Zionists are bound to go out of existence," he said.
Responding to a U.S. claim that Iran was involved in a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Ahmadinejad said: "Iran is farthest from thinking of carrying out such crimes but the U.S. is always inventing conspiracies against Iran."
"The U.S. fears any friendship between us and Saudi Arabia and therefore incites disagreements," he said. "To stop the U.S. in its tracks we must deepen the elements of friendship... We are ready for this and the relation between Saudi and Iran already exists and has not been cut off."


More bloodshed in northern Nigeria as Jonathan stands pat

President Jonathan in pensive mood
By the Editor-in-Chief

It has become an all too common occurrence, more-so since Nigeria's current leader, Goodluck Jonathan assumed power in May of 2010.

Just to establish the facts as they are, the last time there was another "upheaval" along ethnic or religious lines, was when another Southerner, Olusegun Obasanjo, also a former military ruler, was in office. It was then the Northern states decided to adopt the Islamic code of Sharia, again in defiance of the central government.

While many are quick to refer to the recent wave of attacks as strictly a religious affair, under the auspices of the Boko Haram Islamic sect, this writer begs to differ, as any right thinking observer with deep knowledge of the inner-workings of Nigeria's political power-play, will understand exactly where I am coming from.

To get a clear understanding of the reasons behind Nigeria's political malaise, one has to go back to the origins of the "marriage of convenience" called Nigeria. The truth is that while the latter "has not worked" to date, it has not been for a lack of the requisite ingredients for success, but more as a result of the machinations of a powerful few within the Northern political establishment and their backers in the South.

Since Nigeria's independence from the United Kingdom on October 1, 1960, the country has been plunged into untenable political tension, mostly as a result of the legacy of feudalism and political entitlement practiced and felt by the Northerner ruling class, respectively.

The legacy of the British Empire as it relates to the contraption and division of several African States (including Nigeria) that were under their rule at the time, is unquestionably what has led to majority of the wars you see across both North Africa and much of Africa to the South (this writer detests the term sub-Sahara and as such will not use it).

Nigeria is a prime example of the preceding point as the 1961 plebiscite, which showed the rather sharp differences between the Hausa dominated North, the Igbo dominated East and the Yoruba dominated West, led to the fracturing of the country as the power imbalance continued to shift more in favor of the core North.

This disequilibrium and perceived (but real) corruption of the electoral and political process led to several back-to-back military coups in 1966. The first was led by a collection of largely Igbo military officers who went on to assassinate then Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (a Northerner), the Northern Premier Ahmadu Bello and Premier Ladoke Akintola of the Western Region.

The instability from this coup then led to a counter-coup orchestrated largely by Northern military officers and it led essentially to a blood-bath of immense proportions, with military and civilian figures, mostly of Igbo extraction, bearing the brunt of it.

With a young "Northern" officer, Yakubu Gowon (his background itself lending credence to the complicated nature of Nigeria's body polity) now at the helm of the central government, the ethnic and religious undertones of the successive coups, would only serve to fan the embers of division in the country.

Nigeria was soon plunged into a civil war as increasing violence against the Igbo across much of the North, only increased their desire for autonomy, as the military and other security apparatus in the country (largely dominated by the North at the time) offered the Igbo little or no protection.

By May 1967, the Igbo dominated Eastern Region had declared itself an independent state called the Republic of Biafra under the leadership of Lt Colonel Emeka Ojukwu in line with what he said were the "wishes of his people". The Nigerian Civil War began as the Nigerian (the North with the acquiescence of the West) side attacked Biafra (South-eastern) on July 6, 1967 at Garkem signaling the beginning of the 30 month war that ended in January 1970. Over a million people died as a result of the three year war for the soul and destiny of what is today still Nigeria.

Then leader, Yakubu Gowon, in the spirit of brotherhood declared "no victor, no vanquished" as the Biafra rebels surrendered and Nigeria "remained in tact".

Events since the end of that Civil War would seem to however buttress the notion of many watchers of the Nigerian political climate, who claim the country remains a "power keg" waiting to explode.

Since 1970, Nigeria, after the first two military coups, has had six military coups, with two being unsuccessful - the one in 1976 which killed the Head-of-State but did not remove the government and the unsuccessful Gideon Orkar-led coup of 1990 against then military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida.

This is hardly a recipe for success and the fact that Nigeria seemed to have turn the corner in 1999 with the advent of the still fragile Second Republic, does not change the fact that the ethnic and religious undercurrent, a tool used by the Northern elite in particular to advance their selfish interests, remains a headache and one for which the cure is no where in sight.

The biggest obstacle to Nigeria's progress remains the greed and avarice commonplace with the ruling class, in the North and the South as well. The Northern ruling class however have a voracious appetite for power and have shown over the years that they are willing to do anything to not only get it, but also hold on to it.

Their cohorts in the Southwest and the Southeast are always there to strengthen them from behind, as long as the stakes are not so high that the over-arching interests of either of them (North and Southern ruling class) is threatened.

Consequently, the general population, who really could care less about the ethnic or religious "differences" being used by a few sectional interests to divide them, remain the proverbial pawns in this dangerous game.

The Northern power structure is intent on destroying the political and social fabric of the nation, unless their wishes are granted. Their born-to-rule disposition which was hatched in the incubators of power in the North and perpetuated in the corridors of power across much of the nation, has become a self-fulfilling prophesy, but with unintended consequences.

Boko Haram was not supposed to go on a killing spree and murder innocent Northern and other civilians, as well as their political leaders (Boko Haram's benefactors). The Northern power brokers, with the usual suspects leading the charge, can only watch as the fire they had hoped would "burn gently" has slowly engulfed their domain, while threatening the corporate existence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It has not helped matters either that Nigeria has a "smiling president" that thinks he needs not do anything, but hope for "Divine Intervention". One can't however blame a man who has never really worked for anything he has become, but had it all given to him, literally.

President Jonathan needs to however realize that the blood of the innocent citizens who have been murdered in cold blood by these band of marauders and terrorists, must be avenged. While I know the concept of revenge, more-so when it is justified, has become untenable to the sycophants in the halls of the UN and the liberal Human Rights Watch (both organizations that have outlived their usefulness), Nigeria's government must NOT negotiate with Boko Haram, but ensure that the group and its benefactors, who are well known to those in power, are brought to task for their acts of treason and sedition against the Nigerian State.

The Nigerian people and much of the civilized world needs to see this president finally live up to his responsibilities and duties as the leader of one of the most important democracies in the world.


Intellectual Capital: Unique solutions from development to deployment

In my first installment of a new weekly feature to be titled "Intellectual Capital" (on Wednesdays), I will be delving into the unconventional but effective business model of a Northwest company that is stirring up the pot in the IT Consulting and Software Development space, iFusionIT.

iFusionIT, LLC is a software development company that specializes in SOA (Service Oriented Architecture), Gaming, BI (Business Intelligence) reporting and IT Consulting. The Bellevue based company also has earned critical acclaim for its work in the Utilities and Finance verticals.

Established in 2006, the company has managed to stay on a clear path, even in the most trying of times, the last three years in particular.

The IT Consulting space is about as compact as the Telco space was a few years back. However, in keeping with the vision of its founders (IT gurus in their own right with a combined experience of close to two-thirds of a century), the company has stuck to its business model, by leveraging its solid base of partners, consultants and industry network, while executing with precision on its clients' mission critical needs.

In addition to an office in Bellevue (its corporate headquarters), iFusionIT also has an office in India and the company has stayed lean and efficient, while maximizing its expertise and core competencies to its advantage, as well as that of its clients.

Most private organizations are reticent to talk about their growth, more-so in this most dire of economic times, in recent memory.

The leadership at iFusionIT however extolls its own virtues in this regard, pointing to its almost 200% growth (organically) over the last three years, again, in the face of some of the most emaciating economic circumstances.

How did they do it, you might ask? Well, for starters, they have never wavered from their number one guiding principle, that of understanding their customer's needs and thus tuning their processes to meet those needs in a timely and efficient manner.

In the age of Cloud Computing, Lean Project Management and Data Warehousing, it can be rather easy for an organization to lose sight of what made them successful in the first place.

At iFusionIT, the focus seems to have always been on doing what was needed, when it was needed and precisely just the way it was needed.

That may sound rather simplicistic, but far too often, organizations make things more complicated than they ought to be, but at iFusionIT, the key to the company's ability to stay ahead of the game, has always been to keep things simple.

While keeping things simple, iFusionIT has also understood the importance of pioneering in technological innovation. The company is able to support development projects, by virtue of its State-of-The-Art network infrastructure, it claims is second to none.

Furthermore and perhaps critical to its ability to be strategic, is that its project management team specializes in the most conventional project methodologies, such as SDLC, AGILE, SCRUM and WATERFALL, from design to implementation.

It is quite a tall order for a relatively small company to be so ambitious, but iFusionIT has shown that it has absolutely no qualms in mixing it up with the big boys.

The future will tell, but for now, it looks pretty bright.

About iFusionIT
Founded in 2006, iFusionIT envisioned building a comprehensive solution to lead IT Consulting services, Mobile Application Development, Gaming services and Service Oriented Architecture. The founding members have over 50 years of IT experience themselves; leading, developing and designing IT projects.

The company through its innovative ideas has grown in various verticals such as IT, Utilities, Gaming, Finance and Business Intelligence Technologies.

We are a trusted partner to the world's leading organizations and institutions. We believe in an eco-system where everyone working for us benefits and we take pride in doing what is right for the customer.