Adhan: Thy Government Come (Altar Economist in Nigeria) – Business Post Nigeria

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By Oremade Oyedeji
Let me start this piece with a transcript from Rev. Badejo’s memorial service held in his honour, a great man of God.
For those who don’t know him, Rev. Badejo was the first General Overseer in Nigeria to leave office after completing his term. He left veterinary work in the 90s and worked on many farms as mentioned at the memorial. The last was the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) award-winning Hackon Farm Limited in Ewu Oliwo, Sagamu, Ogun State, where he “shepherded a flock of chicken” before he went into pastoring flocks of men.
At the event, former President Olusegun Obasanjo described him in many kind words and reiterated that “there is God in the affairs of men.”
The Nigerian ecosystem is still often referred to as poor and is characterized by weak civil society institutions (e.g churches) and government institutions, producing committed tithers, who in most cases evade taxes, and have limited or sometimes no access to limited public institutions available nor civil society run organization like schools and hospital, but will rather produce strong rich and powerful individuals who are pastors, General Overseer or General Overseer Worldwide in specific cases.
Some of them even run for elective political office or influence bad leadership by supporting some elements of political office, one of which has resulted in the poorly run Buharinomics’.
I recently had a meeting with Alhaji Olaitan, a successful printer, who had benefited greatly from Mike Adenuga’s businesses and I brought one of the players I manage, Olawale Oremade. He is a goalkeeper in Nigeria’s U20 football squad, the Flying Eagles.
This was a familiarization meeting of sorts as I have been trying to secure a club for him in Europe. At the meeting, Alhaji asked Wale a few questions; the last being what his religion was, to which responded that he was a Christian.
I was surprised and wasn’t sure why he said so because I knew for a fact that he is Muslim. I looked at his face because I know that answering the correct form would have made Alhaji happy. I had to intervene and replied that he was in fact, a Muslim and in order to win his affection, I pitched that he was a committed Muslim just like you. Wale replied to Alhaji that he was in between. The conversation was smooth, with no hard feelings, I am a Christian myself.
This led Alhaji to share his experience with us when he was a member of a popular Pentecostal church in the 80s. He said his former boss from whom he learnt the printing trade was a member, and since he was living with him at the time, his parent didn’t have a problem with him becoming a member of the CAC at the time.
So, I asked him why he changed back to Islam after experiencing a praying church like that. In many words, he narrated his ordeal with the church generally and why he had to change back to Islam. The most touching for him was after the death of one of the senior pastors’ sons in the church. He was discouraged because, in his words, they were not seeing anything. To drive home his point, he indicated that the CCTV camera in front of him sees more than them.
In a relative view, a similar event occurred with one of the biggest churches recently. Alhaji believes he changed because the Muslims were more united and when people are united, they are difficult to conquer.
Without deviating, his remarks really got me thinking about the Nigerian political scene where a Muslim-Muslim ticket was presented. Can a “united Muslim population” truly win an election in Nigeria amid fears that they want to Islamize Nigeria? Are Muslims truly united? A real test of this unity you will say, as City Boy Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (a Yoruba native) accepted the challenge to field a Northern Muslim, who has been called by many for what is considered extremist, as his running mate.
Are Muslims from Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria practising the same way? This will be an uphill task for the City Boy to demystify.
Back to my story, Alhaji ended his point with a rather conflicting view of his earlier point. He said most of his staff are Christians (perhaps 80% or more). Does that mean his business will not perform well if he hires only Muslims or sells to only Muslims as a show of unity? As his consultant, I know he doesn’t bank with the crop of Islamic banks, and I know most of his immediate family are still Christians.
Well, those descriptions of Alhaji Olaitan or using another example of the City Boy, who is married to a pastor, can only be seen in a Yoruba country (in Southern Nigeria). The Hausas (Northern Nigerian Muslims) are perhaps united by religion (homogenous by religion).
My submission is that the Yoruba in the West is not united by religion but by purpose. This is contrary to the belief popularized by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi that there is no 100 per cent homogeneous state.
His (God’s) Purpose Church
Another of my submission is that most churches in Southern Nigeria are united by purpose, maybe not by religion as Alhaji pointed. In churches in the West, I have seen Muslims allowed to speak freely.
For example, former Governor Raji Fashola (a Muslim) spoke at the Excellence in Leadership Conference at Daystar Christian Centre a few years ago and just this year, Abike Dabiri Erewa (also a Muslim) also spoke at the Covenant Christian Centre, among many others.
Trust me, the non-homogeneous churches (self-righteous churches) will never allow other Christian brothers to speak at their congresses, let alone a Muslim.
Well, the permutation (united by purpose) may not be correct with the Northern part of Nigeria as they may be truly united by religion, evidenced by the existence of radical Islamic group (Boko Haram) in the North East and Sharia practices in most northern states (All supported by the government of the states).
Roll call of a self-Righteous Church
In my article, the New World Order, I explained that the New World Order is any new period of history evidencing a dramatic change in world political thought and the balance of power. It is interesting to know that this order also includes the churches and their influence on our society and way of life.
Also, in another piece, Pandemic of the Prodigal Generation – 4IR Economy or Politics, I wrote about the Nigerian economy realigning to coming post-pandemic changes.
I did emphasize in that piece that politics will reset, thereby having an unimaginable impact on people, communities, companies and economies, this also does not exempt the churches who technically contribute little or no material input to GDP directly.
I must admit this is a very difficult subject to discuss, especially because I am not an expert in it or a pastor, but I speak with pastors.
Pastor Mark, a former RCCG pastor outside Nigeria, had this to say, “I love the church, I love the pastors, but the church is going in a wrong direction. RCCG only keeps people active, they are not growing in the Lord anymore and they are not growing in the Word.”
He also said RCCG, like others, is following the commandment of men and not of God. The institution has its own agenda and only cares about its own kingdom and not the kingdom of God. He added that the system man created is forcing them (pastors and members) to do that.
Generally speaking, he said people are more addicted to the environment of the church than the home church. Churches all over the world (he said) are watering down and adulterated and after the orthodox churches, Pentecostal churches also got corrupted they said.
For some reason, I strongly believe the “confederation of Nigeria” will learn a lot from the United States of America. Nigeria still has a lot to learn in building a sane society. God bless President Joe Biden, God bless the United State of America.
Let me conclude this piece by highlighting a few facts about religion in Nigeria.
Nigeria has far more Muslims (+75 million) than Saudi Arabia (22 million). There are more Muslims in Nigeria than there are in other African countries. The world’s largest Christian gathering is the Holy Ghost Congress of RCCG. The world’s largest church auditorium is Dunamis Church Abuja. The largest church in Diaspora UK, Ukraine, Kenya, and Tanzania are owned by Nigerians.
Nigeria 2023–Emilokan, Abi Akoko wa ni

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By Prince Charles Dickson PhD
…hand dey shake, leg shake…, Nigerians wey no well, Dem no know say awalokan.
The Yoruba phrase akoko wa ni is the closest to awalokan meaning (it is our turn)—I really do not know, but I remain a cautious optimist about the Nigerian project. At the beginning of the year, I had promised that for 12 months, In Shaa Allah, I will once a month X-ray the issues around the forthcoming General Elections in the world’s largest black population and sufacracy. This is number nine, and three more to go.
Nigeria has three musketeers plus one as flag bearer come the General Elections, all elites, all part of the problems yet all coming cap in hands preferring solutions to problems they are largely part of.
For me, I have never ceased to say that you cannot build something on nothing, there is no amount of emotions that can solve the Nigerian malaise, the conversation and engagement around Muslim-Muslim ticket, or the globetrotting meetings of gladiators in other climes looking for solutions to problems that are of our own making.
My nation is at ease, historically in recent times, animals have made away with a very scary amount of money. When will it be our turn when the agriculture ministry spends N18.9B to clear bush according to the House of Representatives. Whose turn was it when almost half a billion was spent on school feeding while there was a COVID-19 Lockdown just in two states and the FCT Abuja.
The youths are worse hit, but whose turn is it really, when Festus Keyamo, a serving minister states in public space that some N100B has been disbursed to unemployed youths, and small businesses.
When will it be the turn of the masses, despite the fact that Mr President has been Minister Extraordinaire for petroleum, three dormant refineries have left over N136 billion as operational deficits.
According to a Guardian report, the shutdown of 445,000-capacity refineries for two years kept the over 1,701 staff at the facilities, as rehabilitation for the Port Harcourt refinery took $1.5 billion and those of Warri and Kaduna took ancestral kola nut of $1.4 billion.
In August 2020, the total losses incurred by the refineries was N7,088 billion, it was N7,043 billion in September of the same year before moving to N5,489 billion in October. In November 2020, it went up to N5,995 billion and went further up to N8,279 billion in December that year.
In January 2021, the operational deficit was N5,371 billion, February recorded an N6,879 billion loss, N3,866 billion in March, N3,544 billion in April, and N5,243 billion in May, N4,014 billion in June, N3,752 billion in July and N3,819 billion in August 2021.
On average, NNPC spends, plus or minus, N68 billion in paying salaries and other expenses at the moribund refineries, yearly. In the last two years, the losses have amounted to an average of N136 billion.
And we in the same space of time have seen what a Dangote Refinery could finally look like, even with the same federal government investing in the same. In Nigeria many things we don’t understand…
I wonder who really had the turn, when a national carrier without any planes, no roadmap, was busy spending millions designing a logo and with seven years, five failed to take-offs, some N14.6b in four years, under 5% govt’s equity, the only Nigeria Air flying are our numerous problems as we head towards 2023 taking on us like local witches.
I honestly hate to dabble into the Nigerian Government vs ASUU drama, but again, it is one of those slippery grounds that needs a robust conversation for whoever wants to lead this nation, sadly, without sounding pedestrian when I read that the United States (US) government has signed an agreement with the Federal Government to repatriate $23 million Abacha loot to Nigeria.
The fund, which is tagged ‘Abacha-5’, was a product of a series of negotiations and meetings between Nigeria, the US Department of Justice and the United Kingdom (UK) National Crime Agency. Our money, yet it is not our turn because
According to our AGF, in line with the terms of this agreement, Mr President had already approved the funds to be utilised for the ongoing Presidential Development Infrastructure Funds (PIDF), projects namely: Abuja-Kano Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge under the supervision of Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
These are very important essentials but truth be told our sense of priorities is weak, and our staying power is absent, I love Nigeria, we are largely a people with a short fuse memory, preferring to largely forget very quickly from a point of learning slowly, we either never remember or we choose to totally forget.
We are a nation that has no staying power. We do not have the staying power to push through an issue or go through substance, our strength or determination to keep going until we reach the end of any matter is lacking.
Our deficit of staying power is deadly and often at the root of many of the problems we face.
Our case is like the, “Mocking bird, you are accused of insulting the king.” It asked when would it have time to insult the king, seeing that it must sing two hundred songs in the morning, two hundred in the afternoon, and two hundred at night, mixing it all up with some frolicsome notes?
One of the main reasons for our continuous failure is a lack of persistence. We live in a society where almost everything is “instant” and available on tap. This “instant” mentality robs many of us of the lucrative advantages of critical thinking and following through on issues and subjects of national importance.
We are not able to grind something out until the desired outcome is achieved. That is why we are not tackling the educational problem that has become ASUU vs FG, no persistence, no consistency, but we are organizing one million marches all over the place for political elites that are exactly the problem, feigning solutions and deceiving the gullible us.
When will it really be the turn of the masses, do the masses know what they want, Nigeria as a nation and her people has poor persistence…the leadership and the people are birds of the same plumage, and there are reasons aplenty, excuses abound why this could not be done.
Let me end with this riddle; a man is wearing black, black shoes, socks, trousers, and gloves. He is walking down a black street with all the street lamps off. A black car is coming towards him, its lights off but somehow manages to stop in time. How did the driver see the man? He saw the man because it was daytime, when will it be the day for Nigeria, her leaders, and people to see through all our dramas and face the issues head-on, indeed emilokan or awalokan—only time would tell.
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Many companies have asked for employees to come back to work, whether it be full-time, flexitime or on a hybrid model. And as everyone starts trickling into the office, it can be difficult to switch back to the pre-pandemic harmony that may have existed in your place of work.
For the most part, we’ve grown used to working in our own space, on our own. To now have to share space with people who are not in our bubble, can be daunting for many. And while working in close proximity to others could potentially breed germs, it could also breed hostility.
So, just how can employees create a harmonious workplace? How can business managers and bosses ensure that there aren’t any dishwasher wars taking place between colleagues? Here are tips for creating a safe workplace for all.
Get extra help where needed 
Everybody has become fanatical about cleanliness – and rightfully so. As employees start coming back to work full time again, it’s probably just a matter of time before a dirty cup is left in the sink or someone doesn’t clean up after making themselves a sandwich. While it may be a minor irritation at first, it could flare up into something bigger and before you know it, people are fighting over who didn’t pack their dishes into the sink and who left their half-eaten lunch in the fridge to become an ecosystem all of its own.
Awazi Angbalaga, Country Manager for a cleaning services company, SweepSouth, suggests that businesses hire someone to come in on a regular basis to clean the space. According to Angbalaga, this takes the burden off of the team to always be on top of things in addition to their daily work and ensures that surfaces and areas are properly cleaned.
A study done by microbiologist Dr Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona to measure bacterial levels in offices shows that personal work areas contain alarmingly high levels of bacteria. Desks, in particular, are teeming with germs.
In fact, says Dr Gerbera, the average desk harbours 100 times more bacteria than a kitchen table! A desk can support 10 million bacteria, and without proper cleaning, even a small area may contain bacteria that can make you ill. Work surfaces need to be kept hygienic by regularly cleaning them with an antibacterial product.
Phones and keyboards also need to be wiped down weekly to stop them from becoming bacterial battlegrounds. According to British microbiologist Professor Sally Bloomfield, our hands and the surfaces we touch are the superhighways for bacteria. And, because we touch our phones and keyboards so often, they top the list of the dirtiest items on our desks.
“People are still feeling very nervous about the spread of germs in shared workspaces,” adds Angbalaga. “You need to see to it that your office is being cleaned properly and thoroughly so that your team is working in the best conditions possible.”
Other sanitary measures to implement include placing bottles of hand sanitisers around the office and encouraging any employees who are hot-desking or using phones that others have used, to keep antimicrobial wipes handy, advises Angbalaga.
“Remember to also ask your office cleaner to disinfect hand-contact surfaces like door handles and the buttons on the photocopier – both of which are of the most touched spots in the office. Ensuring your workspace is sparkly clean not only creates a space where people feel more comfortable and happier, but it could also result in fewer employees getting sick and needing to take off work,” she adds.
Physical environments that support wellness 
The impact the physical work environment has on our well-being is increasingly well understood. In the world of hybrid work, the workplace needs to be more than a functional place in which work is done, but rather be an inviting space that promotes creativity and collaboration, or “less office cubicle and more cafe lounge”, as the Harvard Business Review puts it. Consider office design that is inviting – spaces that incorporate greenery, natural light, art and design, all of which contribute to making the space a pleasant one to be in.
Office workers returning to corporate spaces will have spent the past two years surrounded by their houseplants and taking afternoon walks, so will undoubtedly have a heightened desire to avoid spending hours in workspaces with poor ventilation and no natural light, or spaces that have dust or contaminants in the air.
Workspaces that feel more eco-friendly definitely have a positive impact on workers’ well-being and productivity and will definitely go a long way towards creating a peaceful work environment. Green spaces promote an open and calm feel, which, in an office context, could result in team members interacting more harmoniously and collaboratively – a big plus as businesses rally to rebuild post the pandemic.
Lastly, as people learn to work together at the office again, consider holding inspirational team events that rekindle old, or foster new bonds amongst colleagues. As companies start finding their “new normal” they need to transform and evolve in ways that not only suit the company’s purpose but also recognise the tremendous value of happy employees.
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By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi
Talking about the theory of value judgment, media professionals are of the view that ‘the function of the press is very high, almost holy and to misstate or suppress information is a breach of trust.
Moral philosophers, on their part, are also worried over the issue of standards for evaluating leadership performances. Some prefer the purpose of action shown in the ethical theories. Others prefer the nature of action to its purpose. Some still prefer the usefulness of action. Whereas, the rest talk about the relevance of duty performed by a leader to the subjects.
In line with the above arguments, Deltans, especially this author, without any shadow of a doubt, believe that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has done fairly well when it comes to infrastructural provisions in the state. This is a peripheral fact which cannot be suppressed or misstated.
However, when one goes beyond this fact, and brings into view the governor’s other critical leadership performance (or is it judgement) and juxtaposes the same with a recently unravelled shoddy state of affairs in the Ayakromo community, Burutu Local Government Area of the state, situating Okowa’s leadership assessment in the past seven years becomes not only complicated but an onerous task.
Aside from the fact that the referenced sleepy but egalitarian community is conspicuously laced with portraits of neglect and pictures of socioeconomic deprivations with no state government’s presence save for the now near-abandoned bridge that took two different administrations—Emmanuel Uduaghan (2007- 2015) and Okowa May 2015 till date—in Delta state over nine years to construct. That the yet-to-be-completed Ayakromo Link Bridge is not up to a kilometre says something unpleasant.
Further qualifying the condition of the Ayakromo community as a contradiction of sorts and a reality that all Deltans of goodwill, including Okowa,  must worry about is the sad awareness that the bridge, which was awarded in 2013 by the Uduaghan-led administration to link several communities in Burutu LGA and other communities in the adjourning local governments within the coastal part of the state, was never starved of budgetary allocation.
Why this piece is particularly concerned about the abandonment of the bridge is that the state governor, Okowa, had at different times made public declarations that this is one of the projects that must be completed during his administration.
For instance, when the administration learnt in January 2020 that the Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative and Ayakoromo youths planned a protest against the ‘abandonment’ of the bridge, the Okowa-led administration, through the Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, in a statement in Asaba, stated that the state leadership was committed to the completion of road projects it has embarked on.
It added that the Ayakoromo bridge project had not been abandoned and, therefore, urged the groups to shun their planned protest. The statement also noted that the state government had already made provisions for the completion of the bridge in the 2020 budget and that it was desirous of completing the project.
Again, six months after that statement, precisely in June 2020, the Delta State Government in a similar style assured that the Ayakoromo Bridge would be vigorously executed as a top priority project. This time around, the Commissioner for Works, Chief James Aguoye, made the disclosure in Ayakoromo while speaking to newsmen.
Aguoye, according to media reports, said that the project had a budgetary provision of N1 billion in the 2020 budget. The Commissioner added that the project would be up-scaled in 2021.
In January 2022, after the first Executive Council meeting, which was presided over by Governor Okowa, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, announced that the Delta State government has recently approved an upward review of the contract cost of the Ayakoromo Bridge project from N6 billion to N10.5 billion, noting that the review was necessary as a result of present economic realities in the country.
The underlying objective of this piece is not to chastise any individual or group, but to draw the attention of the Okowa-led government to this mess, in ways that will assist him to perform the traditional but universal responsibility of provision of economic and infrastructural succour to the citizenry, which the instrumentality of participatory democracy and election of leaders confers on him.
As an incentive, it is important that a new contractor is appointed backed with adequate funds, superior technical skills and experience to replace the current contractor, who obviously lacks the wherewithal to complete the bridge.
Government must give the desired new lease of life and satisfactory service/governance to the people of the community. Above all, the state government must design more creative and development-focused ways to holistically serve and save Deltans.
Most importantly, the state government must not fail to remember that the Bobougbene community and its environs in Burutu LGA are reputed for the production of palm oil in commercial quantity and supply of same to Warri metropolis and Okwuagbe markets in Ugheli-South LGA.
The bridge when completed will provide easy access to these markets.  This is a very important reason why the state must pay disciplined attention to that project. It must not for any reason be abandoned.
Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi of Social and Economic Justice Advocacy writes from Lagos; 08032725374
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