Thursday, August 25, 2011

War by remote

Thoughts of a friend that I'm totally in agreement with...

It's always been about opportunism and money. Many in Washington have long memories and would have liked nothing better to deal with Gaddafi. This rebellion was a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. They are perfecting this strategy of war, destruction and restoration.

Phase A: Use media to allege that a certain dictator is a danger to either his people or the Western World
Phase B: Pressure the UN and International bodies to give them a loose mandate to attack said dictator
Phase C: Find and court dissenters, arm them and get them to do the bulk of the dirty work
Phase D: Start the campaign - war - to get rid of the said dictator
Phase E: Galvanise Western Corporate wolves to plunder the Country under the guise of rebuilding and entrenchment of democracy

Nice tidy business for all!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Customer service loss

Most of the time our customer service operatives in this country do not think. The customer is the reason that they have a job in the first place, and when you talk anyhow to such a person, he can, and indeed in Western countries almost always takes his business elsewhere. It is in Nigeria that CSOs behave like they own the world.

Three quick anecdotes.

This morning a caller to Smooth FM announced to Lagos that he was throwing his Globacom SIM card away. What was the reason? He went to the Adeola Odeku Customer Service office of the carrier, and they were rude to him. That's a customer lost to Glo because of a stupid CSO...

An acquaintance of mine, who has a DSTv subscription, as well as a HiTv subscription, went to a HiTv office to pay for his subscription. They asked that he bring his decoder to the office for reset. He reminded the CSO that his house was far away from the office, and he did not have the time to go and come back. He also reminded them that their main competition (if it can be called that), actually have facilities where you can pay from the comfort of your home. Finally, he reminded them that HiTv is not that interesting anymore, and that the only reason he still pays his subscription is the sentimental reason that HiTv is a Nigerian owned business...

Yet another acquaintance is closing his Intercontinental Bank account. Reason, the CSO at their Alausa Branch who kept him on a 3 hour runner, and still could not give him his new cheque book. Stanbic IBTC, a South African bank, will be taking on his business...

I have had my fair of complaints, and have indeed abandoned not one but two bank accounts because of inefficiency. Personally, I think our people will behave a lot better when we begin to boycott certain businesses...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Revolution? I think not

So I have been hearing increasing murmurs by young people saying that a "revolution" is the only way to change Nigeria.

The most common definition of a revolution is "an overthrow (usually violent), and thorough replacement of an established government, or political system by the people governed".

At face value, this is actually the solution to the problem in Nigeria. However, from my experience it is not, and I will give just one example why, so I will not bore you.

Aper Aku was governor of Benue state from 1979 to 1983 before he, like the rest of the Shagari administration was kicked out in ignominy (for the sake of this history lesson, he died a broken man, of jail induced ill-health in 1988).

One thing that is most instructive is that a good 70% of projects in present day Benue state, were started by Mr. Aku! Most were abandoned after he was kicked out of power. Bear in mind that there was this state creation exercise that split a part of Aper Aku's domain into Kogi state.

One of such projects is a hotel on the banks of the Benue River, the Sheraton, which was left abandoned until last year. Some geezer from Niger came to Makurdi, got government consent, and began renovation work, then he was stopped.

Why was he stopped?

Some local politicians decided in their wisdom that since he is not a Tiv man, he cannot own such a big project on Tiv soil. The locals rejoiced because the Tiv "bigmen" had "protected" the sanctity of the Tiv heritage.

Of course, it never occurred to any of the celebrating locals that our Nigerien friend's investment would provide jobs that will take on a lot of Tiv boys and girls, in this, Nigeria's 7th most populated state, but 15th in terms of PPP...

Therein, in this anecdotal tale, lies the reason why a Chinese type "people's revolution" in Nigeria is doomed to failure.

Nigeria's population have largely bought into the bullshit spewed forth by our elite that it is the next man from the next ethnic group (I hate the word tribe) that is responsible for our problems. It is not. I have written a lot about how the elite regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation have conspired to keep the country down, no doubt I will write more.

However, that is not the thrust of this piece.

A violent change of guards is predicated on one thing, that the population in question has a sufficient enough sense of national unity and oneness to follow the process through. History bears this out, in France, in Russia, in China, in Cuba.

When the population is deeply divided along ethnic or religious lines, the revolution quickly degenerates into anarchy. History again bears this out, The Peasant's Revolt in England in 1381, The Indian Revolt against the British East India Company of 1857, the second Russian revolution, the rebels in today's Libya who in reality are fighting amongst themselves as much as they are fighting against Gadaffi...

Nigeria, sadly has a largely ignorant population, yes, even those who have Doctorates are largely ignorant of their own country and its peoples. What is worse, is that most Nigerians are ignorant of our own history. A violent revolution will only lead to anarchy. What we need here, is a revolution of our minds. We need real education.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Excellent writing on the Brit riots

It's been a long time since anyone had me giving a standing ovation, but this piece by Peter Oborne did just that...

I will give my thoughts later.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Credit ratings, an idiot's guide

This morning credit agency Standard & Poor's slashed the credit rating of the world's largest economy from triple A to the less fancied double-A. This means that only 16 countries in the world hold the highly coveted triple-A rating from both Standard & Poor's and Moody's.

Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland are among those with the undisputed stamp of approval, as are Australia, Finland, the Isle of Man and the Netherlands.

The triple-A rating enables nations to borrow funds at a low cost, because their governments are considered stable and their bonds safe, something that is a long way off for Nigeria...

The U.S. for example, has seen its dollar become the world's No. 1 reserve currency because its bonds were held in very high regard by investors. They're backed by the "full faith and credit of the U.S. government" -- which until today, had never been called into question except by the Chinese, who's ratings agency actually downgraded the U.S two years ago.

Already the downgrade has taken a toll.

Before November 2007, the United States boasted some of the safest bonds in the world. That started to gradually change with the recession.

Investors can discern the "risk" associated with a country's debt, by looking at the cost to insure against a possible default -- through a financial instrument called a credit default swap. In the case of the U.S., that cost surged on Thursday to its highest level since 2009.

Because of that, U.S. bonds are no longer in the clear lead as a safe bet, compared to other triple-A rated countries.

By looking at the prices of 5-year credit default swaps, Norway's debt ranks the safest, followed by Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, the Netherlands and Australia.

Even with Tuesday's debt deal, today's ratings cut means that the U.S. has joined the ranks of the lower-level, double-A rated countries like China, Spain, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

In a nutshell, it means that the world's economy has just changed forever.

For the records, Nigeria, according to Standard & Poor's has a credit rating of B+. Their major concern regarding our ability to meet our financial obligations has to do with just one thing, POLITICS.

In their exact words, "high political risk, weak political institutions, and an ongoing struggle with good governance".

The bottomline is that the tie-in between politics and economics has been made VERY obvious with this. Foolish politics makes for hard econokic realities. Foolish politics have brought America down from its pre-eminent position, and on this side of the pond, our brand of politics is somewhere below foolish...
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

Friday, August 05, 2011

We the people...

That's the first line of our Constitution, but the question needs to be asked if we really understand what this means.

You see, from the reaction (the Nigerian reaction), to yesterday's monumental story about the need to spend upwards of US$1billion, and at least 30 years to clean up Ogoni land, a reaction that was very muted, a lot comes into play.

We really don't care about each other, yet we expect the government to care about us? Forget it, it ain't gonna fucking happen.

Truth is this, with the exception perhaps of Diezani, all of our current government topshots were once "floor members" of Nigeria, a part of the masses. The examples abound: GEJ was a bloody lecturer 15 years ago. Adams was an aluta continua type fellow 8 years ago. Kalu was a student union leader 21 years ago. Lucky and Alao-Akala were "motor park" boys years back. Ikedi was in a cybercafe years back. Reuben was a government critic months back. So how did these people suddenly transform into people who are so out of touch with the average Naija?

They did not transform. They only moved to the next level. Like will happen to all of us given our proclivity of being unconcerned with our next door neighbour.

The words of Jesus, "Love thy neighbour" mean fuck all to the average Naija. A more civilised take in today's Daily Times...