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Posts Tagged ‘Nigeria’

spousal rape

April 4, 2020 1 comment

What to Do if You're Raped on a Date - Date Rape Victim

Yesterday afternoon, my wife brought an Instagram post to my attention. The post was a screenshot of an email from a distraught woman to a popular Nigerian relationship platform. The woman, a wife, narrated the gruesome story of how her philandering husband raped and beat her [in the presence of their three-year-old daughter] after she refused to have sex with him. She asked for advice on what to do as they’re observing an isolation period. We discussed how terrible and unfortunate her situation was/is, read some comments (which included sound advice offered), and moved on.

Later that night, my wife showed me the screenshot of an email from another subscriber in response to the woman’s email. This email proceeded to berate the woman for being a bad wife who deserved what she got. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I read. The basic gist was a husband owns his wife and cannot rape her; and because he paid her bride price, he can do with her as he pleases. Honestly, I wasn’t going to comment on the issue, until I remembered he stated his entire high school alumni Whatsapp group agreed with him. I suspect they attended an all boys’ school. Apparently, the only person who had disagreed with him was his wife! Yes, he’s a married man. So, if his claim that scores of other men agreed with his logic, then there’s clearly a huge problem with a lot of men who were raised in this country.

I sent an email to the platform to set him straight. I’m not sure if it was posted, but I figured I might as well go on a larger platform to address the issue. As Edmund Burke said,”The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

First, like I did in my email, in case there is someone going through or has gone through something similar, I sympathize. It must have been so devastating to be raped and beaten, not by a stranger or boyfriend, but by your husband [and in front of your daughter/son]. According to her narration, their daughter was crying and telling her dad to stop. I hope the little girl is too young to remember that traumatic experience. Anyway, in the email, since they apparently live in New York, my advice was for her to report the abuse to the police as promptly as she could, before the situation escalates into something life-threatening; because sadly, that pattern of abuse may continue and worsen. If that’s happening elsewhere, like Nigeria, I’d advice doing the same, and additionally telling someone who can help and/or reaching out NGOs like the popular Crime Victims Foundation (CRIVIFON) and Stand To End Rape (STER) Initiative. I also applauded her for sticking it out with her husband – living with him, making his meals, doing his laundry and all, despite the cheating and insults.

Secondly, I apologized to all women for the shameful comments some men put up there to insult the woman or cheer the “responder”. The comments from a lot of men were appalling and disappointing. There were many stand-up guys that condemned that behavior, but it seemed to me that egoistic and unexposed men were the majority; and they were from all across Nigeria, and the diaspora as well, unfortunately.

Now, to the issue at hand. If my wife refuses to have to sex with me, and I force myself on her, it’s rape. Plain and simple. Once there’s sex without consent, it is rape; whether she is your wife or not. A woman being your wife or paying bride price doesn’t make her your personal sex slave nor does it rid her of her individuality. It is absolutely possible to rape your wife, and if you forcefully have sex with her, you’ve raped her!

It is absolutely ridiculous to me that grown men are defending the actions of such a shameless and uncultured husband. He supposedly has a girlfriend who is currently unavailable (due to the isolation), and because of that, turned to the wife, who he regularly ridicules and disrespects, for sex?! Who does that? How shameless and horny does one have to be to do that?

Another thing, the “responder” quoted a popular Bible passage to buttress his point on submitting and letting a husband have his way with his wife. I hate it when people quote the Bible out of context. Let’s just stop. The passage is Ephesians 5:22-25. The summary is women submit to your husband, men love your wives. If you, as a husband, love your wife the way Christ loves the church (that is, unconditionally, with all your might, with all your heart), she will undoubtedly submit to your leadership and respect you. God’s word is infallible. Don’t demand respect or submission, if you haven’t been loving. God is not a liar. Do your part and she’ll do hers!

Granted, the good book also says couples shouldn’t deny each other their bodies in marriage (1 Corinthians 7:4) – whether in spite or whatever – a husband’s body “belongs” to his wife’s and her body “belongs” to him, but your wife can say no, if she doesn’t want to. It can be quite upsetting, but rather than dwell on that, the onus is on you, as her husband, to understand the reason why and see what can be done. Self control is very important here. Wanting to have your way every single time is how children behave; that’s not being a good man/husband.

If your wife doesn’t want to have sex and you do, it could be for several reasons. It might be because she’s tired or not in a good mood, and you should try to understand that. It might be not easy, but that’s marriage. Maybe you could give her massage, or get her to talk about what’s wrong etc. She might feel better and pounce on you later, she might sleep off, she might not want to talk about it at the time. Whatever it may be, the important thing is to respect her and respect her wishes.

Her refusal is also not grounds for infidelity. No one can chase you into the arms of another woman. If the refusal is frequent, maybe see a marriage counselor. My point is, please do not force yourself on your wife; it is rape. You made a vow before God and man to cherish, honor and love her, and you should have the integrity to keep it. Husbands, please, be responsible and respectful to your wives. Think about the sort of example are you setting/planning to set for your daughters and sons.

think

March 28, 2020 1 comment

Pensive

Why are you in Nigeria?

I’ve been asked that question more times than I can count. My answer is usually the same – I have some ventures I’m looking to explore. Sometimes, there are looks of confusion, heavy sighs, or just good old-fashioned disbelief and head-shaking. But, I understand. Someone moving to Nigeria from Canada, at time when people are leaving Nigeria for Canada in droves, is puzzling. I guess my “interviewers” are wondering whether I know something they do not. Maybe I do.

I lived in Canada for eight years, and within that period, started three different businesses there that did fairly well (most popularly, Pearl Kreations) before I moved back. I came here to set Nigerian subsidiaries and explore other possibilities. I did I come with a mindset to introduce new concepts, disrupt/turn things around and rake in millions? Absolutely. Have I been humbled? Most definitely. Have I done well? Yet to be determined. I’m joking; by God’s grace, I’m doing well. However, here’s what I’ve realized about entrepreneurship in the Nigerian economy – there readily is no reward or support for competence, effort and ingenuity. The system largely favors those with access to power/political connections and rewards them with highly lucrative government contracts and ridiculous grants. Vusi Thembekwayo put it this way – if you look at how the top 25 wealthiest and most celebrated people in your country made their wealth, you can easily determine the type of economy you live in. Did the top 25 wealthiest Nigerians all build their businesses from the ground up (without backdoor deals and government favors)? You decide.

Of course, there are/will be exceptions to the rule, and certainly, you can live comfortably as an entrepreneur, especially if you’re a professional, like an accountant or architect. Anything other than those, would be tough, but not impossible. However, real wealth may elude you. As you may have concluded, there are very few entrepreneurs in this country who have built substantial wealth without connections or government contracts/favors. That says a lot about our business environment. This is particularly disappointing for me because a little over ten years ago, I had a totally different experience.

After running my first business for about a year, I applied to be a vendor for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. I noticed there were vendors for all manners of merchandises, but no one selling button-badges (which was my product). I saw that opportunity and applied. I got a response requesting for, what then seemed like, all sorts of random documents. I can assume now, in actuality, they were probably things like business registration documents, bank statements and so on. I replied the email stating that I was a freshman at McMaster University, had started a small business, saw an opportunity and decided to take it; I had none of the documents requested of me. A few days later, I was approved! I got sent all the documents verifying my business community membership by mail, and a congratulatory email as well. Just like that, I got in. No connections; except God, of course.

Small businesses are the backbone of any economy, and in recent years, it seems Nigeria has caught on. Things are still a little dodgy, with hints of favoritism here and there, but improving. I’m thrilled that with the impending COVID19 lockdown, so many people have gotten fired up to start a venture of their own, either to complement their income, or in transition from former employment. Whatever the reason, the best time to start is now.

However, in my experience, a lot of Nigerian SMEs aren’t equipped to take advantage of the new business environment and emerging opportunities. They are simply not very creative in their quests for business opportunities. They’re not entrepreneurial. I’ve discovered that what most people get into, and aspire to go into, once they have some capital is trading – purchase and resale of goods – and this makes them traders, not entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneur is a word that has become so loosely used, people think it’s a synonym for business owner. The fact is, not every business person is an entrepreneur. By the way, with the way things are going, except you’re selling foodstuff or hygiene essentials, you’re in the wrong business (as a trader).

The truth is, people pay for solutions, and entrepreneurs are solution providers.

Entrepreneurs create products and/or services that meet the needs of people for a profit. Entrepreneurs meet needs and get paid for it.

If you really want to be successful and wealthy, as an entrepreneur, you need to solve problems.

We tend to think too small here in Africa. The average entrepreneur is scared to be ambitious. Rather than thrive, they’re content with surviving. Well, I won’t stand for it. I’m incredibly passionate about small business, and for the past three years, have devoted most of my time into Herança Financial, the venture through which I work with/help budding entrepreneurs start, grow and manage their businesses. Coupled with my personal experiences, I’m somewhat of an expert in business (humble brag). So, with current state of the nation and the shape of the economy, I think now is as good a time as any, to share my knowledge and expertise with a greater number of people, and help them start the right way and avoid the unnecessary hardships that ignorance tends to lead.

First of all, I’ll reiterate. An entrepreneur identifies a need and works towards satisfying it, or works towards improving upon an already existing product/service, or creates demand for a product/service of value i.e. creates a need and provides the solution. The provision of the solution brings the reward – money. The bigger the problem, the bigger the reward for its solution.

Once you have a solution, please ensure the product or service has a Unique Selling Point (USP). A USP is the mark of distinction of any business. It can also be referred to as your value proposition. In all likelihood, your company won’t be the only one offering that product/service (at least, not for long), so it’s important to have either a feature, advantage or benefit that’ll separate your business from current and prospective competition. Without a USP, you won’t stand out. Please note, lower price is not a good strategy for a small business; it’s just not sustainable.

Next, identify your target market. Never make the mistake of assuming your product or services will appeal to everyone. You’re dreaming. However, your target customers will want and appreciate your products or services. They can be grouped into primary, secondary and invisible; I’ll explain later. Just know that they are the persons or businesses with the highest probability of buying your products or services. Once, you’ve identified them, profile them. Your profile should include their locations, spending habits, hobbies, and age group. These will help you know how much they would be willing to spend on your product/service and the best way to reach them. I like using Indomie Noodles as an example. Their target market isn’t everyone, it’s children. Children are their primary target market. That’s why their ads are so playful and colorful; why they invented “The Indomitables” (Superheroes) figurines and stickers; why their ads are on television and radio, not Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (most children are not on social media). They have bigger sizes (like Hungry Man and Belleful) for adults, their secondary target market.

With the proper identification of your target customers, you need know your competition. Your competition is the person or business who offers the same products/services or benefits (as perceived by your target customers). They can be grouped into direct, indirect and invisible. Direct competition are those that offer the same products/services you do; for example, Coke and Pepsi. Indirect competition are those that offer the same benefits; for example, Domino’s Pizza and KFC – different products but same benefit (fast food). Invisible competition are those you didn’t consider. They usually the bigger players that have the capacity [and potential desire (especially if you’re successful)] to offer the same product/services or benefits as you. By understanding your competition, you gain competitive intelligence. Competitive Intelligence is the process of learning, collecting/gathering and using information about your competition for the purpose of growing your own business. It helps you to keep improving upon or redefining your business model, so you’re not easily surpassed.

I’m sure I’ve given you more than enough to think about, so I’ll stop here.

The first step is to sit down and think! Find a need, preferably in an area you’re passionate about. Ask God to reveal the solution to you, and provide you with the means to execute it. Entrepreneurship isn’t just about the idea, but the execution of the plan. And as you execute, remember, please think globally. Find the application of the solution not just within your locale, but regionally and worldwide. The world is bigger than Nigeria.

All the best!

patriot

August 15, 2018 1 comment

For the longest time, I considered myself unpatriotic. It stemmed from a complete disdain and disgust for how things always seemed to work in Nigeria. It wasn’t just the state of the country, it was unapologetic irresponsible behavior of most of those in power. I knew things could be better because from an early age, I was fortunate to spend my summer holidays in the western world and exposed to life in a developed environment. I wondered why Nigeria wasn’t the same. I mean, I learned in primary school that Nigeria has, apart from crude oil, arid land, bitumen, coal, gold and lots more. Nigeria has the makings of a super power, but remains an under-developed country. After the era of Nationalists like Nnamdi Azikwe, Tafawa Balewa, and Obafemi Awolowo, its leadership was consumed by insatiable greed – one after the other, looting millions of dollars from a non-dollar-spending economy, treating the national treasury as their personal piggy bank – to the detriment of their own people.

I noticed the imbalance in wealth distribution from a tender age. The very first time the reality dawned on me, I was on my way to school, in an air-conditioned car, with my dad. As usual, beggars would approach the car for alms. However, on this particular day, an elderly beggar walked up to the car, put his palm on window, and caused a smudge. I remembered thinking, Yuck, didn’t he have his bath? Then, I started thinking about all the things he wouldn’t get to do – he probably would live his  entire life without riding in a car, learning how to drive, being driven, or even enjoying a ride in an air-conditioned car, and none of it was his fault. It made me sick.

As I got older, I realized, or rather, it seemed obvious things would never change. Coming to that conclusion, I felt Nigeria was a disaster, and like so many young people, wondered why I had to be born Nigerian, instead of being from somewhere in the United Kingdom or United States. I became so disconnected and didn’t want to have a thing to do with Nigeria. I never saw myself as someone interested in fixing things, but I grew into someone not even remotely interested in making things better. As far as I was concerned, I was simply whiling away time in Nigeria until it was time to finally leave, either through my Master’s or some act of God. I wasn’t even interested in learning to speak or understand any Nigerian language; I made an active effort not to. In fact, Yoruba was the constant red in a sea of blue or the only F in the midst of As in my results all through high school, and I was never fazed. My WAEC result was no different.

At some point, I felt Nigeria was being ruled by people from impoverished backgrounds. That seemed to be the only logical reason why the moment these people got into positions of power, they would decide to alter/change the course of their future generations by shamelessly syphoning millions. I thought, if only Nigeria could have someone from a wealthy family, or at least, someone who could not be fazed by money, finally, things would work. I didn’t know how wrong I was.

I left Nigeria to redo Grade 12 at Southern Ontario College (SOC) to increase my chances of getting into an ivy-league Canadian University. While at SOC, most of my classmates included those who had finished from schools like Atlantic Hall, Grange, Greensprings, Lagoon, Olashore and co. In my mind, these were the cream of the crop. There were few very government-educated people, except for me from Federal Government College Lagos (Ijanikin) and some ladies who finished from Queen’s College. I was finally among people that think like me, or at the very least, those with similar backgrounds. To my astonishment, during a conversation about whether or not to move back to Nigeria, one of the students I met there, who was quite possibly from one of the wealthiest families, said if he got into office, he would take his cut of the national cake. For those who may not be familiar with that phrase, he basically said he would loot too. I was shocked, especially because his father isn’t a politician or politically-connected, so what corrupted him? This was a pivotal point in my life. It became obvious to me that corruption transcends education or pedigree, it is a mindset; a mindset that had, unfortunately, already eaten into my generation.

I was heartbroken. I lost faith in my generation, in Nigeria. I became more resolute in my desire/decision to not return. I loved my country, and I could see its potential, but I wasn’t going to waste my time figuring out how to make the lives of millions of people better when I wouldn’t be able to identify a sect of people I could trust or depend on. I got into McMaster University for a degree in Psychology, started a business in my first year, started another, and then a third business working as a Business Consultant. My life was taking shape rather nicely. In the course of doing business, I came across some concepts I thought could be real moneymakers in Nigeria, so decided to move back for a year or two.

In the summer of 2014, I was blown away. En route to Nigeria, I stopped over in Dubai for an 18-hour layover. Right from the airport, you could already envision what’s to come. I had been through the airport a couple times before – Emirates is my favorite airline – but this would be my first time really taking a look around and leaving the airport for the city. As we being driven through parts of the city, I just shook my head in disbelief. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a country just like Nigeria. Well, it isn’t even like Nigeria because they don’t have as many resources as we do, but the one thing we do have in common, they have utilized for the maximum benefit of the Emiratis. I’ve heard people say “Oh, it’s Arab Money”, if you never knew, Nigeria has Arab Money. Nigeria is disgustingly, filthy rich, but some of our leaders won’t let the country be great.

Someone shared an image of a newspaper story from 1973 with me on WhatsApp some time ago that surprised me. I have shared the excerpt below:

nigeria airways 1973

Can you imagine that? The UAE seeking advice from Nigeria. A little over 40 years later, Emirates is the world’s best airline and Nigeria Airways is defunct. What happened?

I honestly believe Nigeria could be infinitely better than the UAE, not only because of its natural resources, but also because of its human capital – the largest in Africa (180 million people); instead, majority of its people are suffering, living in fear, begging for food, sleeping on the streets and under bridges, and dying from thirst, starvation and lack of basic amenities. What kind of a life are my people living? I read recently that Nigeria has surpassed India as having the most people living in extreme poverty in the world – a prediction given by World Poverty Clock barely a year ago. What a shame.

It is pathetic the state this country is in. The average politician struggles to get into office simply to enrich him/herself, not the lives of the people who put their faith in him/her, the people who casted their one vote for him/her. They get into office and begin to misbehave, and if he/she is “magnanimous” enough to fix roads and provide basic amenities, people think he/she is a great person. I don’t dispute that such a person should be commended, but that’s the job they signed up for and what the resources at their disposal are meant for.

A few weeks ago marked my fourth year back home. I’ve thought about returning to Canada several times. I can’t even tell you how many people have asked me why I came from Canada to Nigeria, when people are fleeing/leaving Nigeria for Canada! I won’t deny that there is a sense of comfort owning a British, Canadian, or even, for now, American residence papers, and living a comfortable life, but no offense to anyone uninterested in returning, I cannot be selfish anymore. I can no longer act like whatever happens here is none of my business. I see people who through the actions of visionless leaders, have no/poor education, no exposure, no prospects, no future. I care that the average Nigerian suffers daily just to survive, while their elected leaders live in paradise. Granted, every Nigerian cannot be wealthy, that’s just the way the world is – 1% own 99% of the world’s wealth and all that; my point is the quality of life and cost of living of most Nigerians can be better. I cannot stand idly as our leaders abuse and squander the resources and potential of our nation.

This is not necessarily a campaign; anyone who knows me can testify that I’m most likely the least political person ever. Even if I were to campaign for anything in Lagos (I’m from Badagry), I can’t even speak Yoruba, not very well anyway, talk less of Egun lol. On a serious note though, ranting aside, I’m fed up and I just wonder if there are any youths like me out there – with a similar mindset and relatively strong moral compass – imagine what we could achieve if we band together. Things have got to improve (“change” has been marred by APC) and I certainly cannot do it all alone.

This is more like an appeal. If you love this country and want the best of it, love your people, your family and want the best for them, let’s stand behind a candidate with integrity, with a vision, with a plan, with a moral compass. Life can be better in Nigeria if we, as responsible youths, back such a candidate. Let’s stop voting for parties and vote for the individuals. Nigeria is not a two-party state. It doesn’t have to be one or the more. We don’t have to pick the lesser of two evils. We can make a difference February 16th by electing someone with a heart for Nigeria, a heart for the people, a true patriot. I won’t tell you who; if you know, you know. Fellow young Nigerians, let’s do Nigeria a favor and vote right. Let’s vote in a lion of a president; one without an evil agenda or complacent attitude. We owe it to ourselves and future generations.

God bless Nigeria.

agric

November 8, 2014 2 comments

I came to Nigeria a few months ago to explore some business opportunities. During the course of my stay, I’ve met up and run into a few friends; people I’ve managed to keep in touch with all these years. One of those friends, Onyew B*, has been a friend of mine for over thirteen years. During one of our many talks, she told me about an organisation she has working with – Quintessential Business Women Association (QBWA), under the Quintessential Young Leaders (QYL) arm. From what I understood, the aim of QYL is to prepare and train young people for leadership roles in various aspects business. However, the parent group, QBWA, is laser-focused on the development and empowerment of women and young people for business in the agriculture and solid minerals sectors.

I told her my SME Advisory firm, Herança Financial, has clients in that industry, but I’ve never personally cared for business in agriculture. She tried to encourage me to consider it, but I wouldn’t budge. Last week, she invited me to a conference the QYL was organizing in partnership with QBWA and the Federal Ministry and Youth Development in Abuja. I was going to be  Abuja that week, so I accepted.

Friday, November 7th, I found my way to the National Centre for Women Development. It wasn’t hard to find, so I got there at about 8:35am. It was to start at 9:00am.

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To my surprise, unlike a couple other events, I had been to in my short time back, it started relatively on time – about 9:30am-ish. It was called White Collar Job In Agric. They meant business lol. Everyone got a lanyard with a participant card, plus a branded pen, folder and notepad. I thought that was quite impressive. 

IMG_20141107_254pm

They had ten speakers, but I could only stay for the opening speech (which Onyew gave) and the first presentation (which I was most interested in) on business in agriculture by a representative from the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN). Before the SMEDAN representative began, there was a short charge by Shimite Katung, Founder of QBWA. She was quite electrifying lol. I could tell she’s very passionate about developing people for leadership as well as helping develop highly successful businesses in the Agriculture and Solid Minerals industries.

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The presentation was quite informative. I hardly get excited about things, but yesterday, the speaker piqued by interest. QYL hoped for five hundred attendees, but they made about half of that while I was there. To help out, I’ll share what I learnt about QYL and starting/owning a small business in Nigeria’s agriculture sector.

Agriculture is a major branch of any economy, most especially the Nigerian economy. It has the potential to generate employment for up to seventy percent (70%) of the population. Unfortunately, Nigeria relies more on imports than being self-sufficient. Nigeria is at a point where the export of crude oil isn’t going to cut it anymore, and requires its youth to become agro-entrepreneurs.

Nigeria is so richly blessed that each of its thirty-six (36) states has at least two unique agricultural products it can contribute to the economy – for both its populates and for export, but the opportunities aren’t being properly explored. The Nigerian agricultural industry has the raw materials to mass produce and export beef, cassava bran (garri), dairy products, fish, fruits, goat, groundnuts, grass-cutters, poultry, rice, snails, variety of vegetables, and waste-to-work materials.

If you’re wondering, as I was, how successful a business in agricultural produce can be, here are some numbers we were given at the conference: Africa spends thirty billion dollars ($30,000,000,000.00USD) annually on the importation poultry products, and Nigeria spends fifty billion naira (N50,000,000,000NGN) on the importation of fish annually. That’s a lot of money in any currency lol.

With all this potential, there is very little interest because of the stigma attached to agriculture in Nigeria. A lot of young Nigerians think agriculture and farming are synonymous, and they are not interested in being farmers; and there lies the misconception. Agro-entrepreneurs aren’t farmers; they are people who make money from running successful businesses in the agricultural sector. As was pointed out during the conference, there are different avenues available – beef production, cattle raring, fish farming, poultry farming, mechanized farming, development of devices and machinery for farming, frozen foods facilities, logistics and transportation, packaging facilities, and warehousing.

I have a lot on my plate, but I think I wouldn’t mind investing in an agric start up, or partnering up with someone or a group of people looking to take advantage of the opportunities in the Nigerian agricultural industry. Apparently, even the government is giving grants to companies looking to develop quality agricultural products for local consumption and exportation.

Alright, that’s about it. I hope I’ve inspired someone to take a chance. As Sir Richard Branson once said, “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity, and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.”