Reaching that Elusive Goal | By: Tony Ogunlowo

We all have dreams of where we want to be in Life or what we want to achieve in Life. But for some reason, or reasons, our aspirations become an elusive goal. Despite our best efforts it still remains elusive.

What are we doing wrong?

For the uninitiated Life is too complicated: we live in the matrix whereby outside influences, often beyond our control, dictate how we live our lives. Things like peer pressure, culture, religion and conformity to society’s expectations of us determines how we live. Break away from all this and you are labelled as a non-conformist, or even worse!

The secret to achieving your elusive goals in life is very simple……

….break away!

It’s your life and nobody else’s and if you know what you want you have to make that conscious decision to walk away from the matrix that is holding you back. It kind of echoes the time when Jesus told his first disciples to leave behind everything of their lives as fishermen and follow him: literally just walking away from everything they had and were.

It takes a brave man to leave everything behind and venture into the unknown: but these are the brave men who’ll go on and achieve greatness. They are the ones who discovered that the Earth wasn’t flat, that Man could travel into space or even land on the moon, or risk everything they had – money ,life, reputation – to invent things that have not only made our lives easier but better. Where would we be without electricity, planes, cars, the internet or most important of all – smartphones?

The second secret to reaching your elusive goal is to be a maverick. Being a maverick is entwined with leaving the matrix – not one without the other.

Everybody wants you to conform and be like everybody else. Nobody likes a maverick because they are disruptors and non-conformists who’ll by-pass reason and stake everything on a nonsensical dream or goal.

Perhaps, but they are the ones who are now the multi-millionaires and billionaires re-shaping our world with their crazy inventions and ideas.

The third secret to achieving your elusive goal is Time. How much time are you prepared to devote to going from A to B? A year? 5 years? 10 years? Or are you super-crazy enough to devote the rest of your life to attaining that elusive goal? This is where 99% of people chasing their goals fall off the ladder: they don’t have the time to waste. Some will give it a month, a year or even a few years before they throw in the towel. We are all conscious of time and every morning when we wake up is another day less of our time in this world. We can’t turn back time, slow it down or freeze it : the countdown to our Death-Day started the day we were born.

If you’ve got a dream you can’t keep an eye on the clock: let it click away! (- but also set yourself a reasonable time frame to complete the task). While the clock is ticking away you need to ask yourself a question: do you want to be an old man ( – or woman) on their deathbed regretting the things they could have done in this life but didn’t because they didn’t have enough time? My simple answer to this is I would rather die trying than give up. This way I can go to my grave, with a smile on my face, knowing I gave it my best shot. And if I achieve that elusive goal? Well, roll out the bunting, the party tables and we are going to rock until we drop!

No pain, no gain: you only come to this world, in your current incarnation, once. You are not coming back again. So if you want to do something exemplary, something great or you just want to be the first person in your family to climb Mount Arafat then as the American Marines will say,”…it’s time to haul ass!”

Follow me on Twitter: @Archangel641 or visit

Opinion: Paper versus Digital: The Future of Work | By: Somesh Adukia

One of the most prevalent challenges facing employees working remotely is access to important documents, both digital and physical.

Digitization is revolutionizing the way businesses operate across the globe, and Africa is no exception.

Over the past two years, remote and hybrid arrangements have become the norm in the workplace. We have seen the proliferation of new digital tools and platforms to support hybrid work, such as video conferencing, cloud-based software, and collaboration platforms like Teams and Zoom. IT teams have had to support this transition by providing technical support for these new digital tools and platforms, all the while ensuring cybersecurity and data protection, and managing remote access to company systems and applications.

The challenges of navigating digitization in a hybrid working world

Navigating digitization in a hybrid working model can be challenging for both businesses and IT teams. Research conducted by Walnut Unlimited on behalf of Canon shows that there is a divide between businesses and employees when it comes to hybrid working. While businesses think they are largely digital, employees are experiencing a host of niggling issues.

One of the most prevalent challenges facing employees working remotely is access to important documents, both digital and physical. This, combined with other related issues (such as difficulties with business processes, and having to visit the office to print, pick up or sign documents in person) suggests a wider problem – organizations have not yet completely rebuilt their business processes to function in a virtual environment. As a result, we’re seeing employees struggling to perform basic steps in everyday document-based workflows, like processing invoices or contract approval, when outside of the office.

Moreover, equipping new workspaces has been a major challenge for IT teams.

According to 2021 research conducted by McKinsey, 65% of companies had increased spending on digital and technology during the global pandemic, despite significant cost cutting elsewhere in the business. This suggests that most companies are aware that they need to undertake digital transformation, fast.

According to our report, 71% of IT departments say that solutions that would support their hybrid working are not compatible with their legacy infrastructure. Furthermore, 72% say their printers and scanners used in different locations were not designed to work together.

While companies may have the basics in place, most businesses have yet to rebuild their document-based processes for a new hybrid work. By creating a digital-first culture that empowers employees to work smarter, businesses can help ensure that their digital aspirations are aligned with the everyday work experiences of their workforce.

On the African continent, the challenges that employees face with technology are more complex than regions elsewhere. Some of these challenges are:

  1. Limited internet connectivity in parts of Africa: In many parts of Africa, internet connectivity is limited or unreliable, which can make it difficult to maintain consistent connectivity between employees working remotely and those working in the office.
  2. Limited access to hardware: In some cases, employees may not have access to the necessary hardware, such as laptops or smartphones, to effectively work remotely.
  3. Inadequate IT infrastructure: IT infrastructure in companies may not be equipped to handle the demands of hybrid work.
  4. Security concerns: Hybrid work can create new security risks for companies, particularly when employees are accessing company data and systems from remote locations.
  5. Lack of digital skills and expertise: Many countries face a shortage of skilled professionals in the tech sector, which can be a significant barrier to the adoption of digital solutions.

It’s important for businesses to recognize the unique challenges faced by employees in Africa and work to create solutions that meet their needs. To overcome some of these issues, companies can invest in improving internet connectivity and providing access to digital tools and technology to support remote work.

By addressing these challenges proactively, businesses and IT teams can help ensure a successful transition to a hybrid working model in Africa.

The transition to paperless operations

Despite the adoption of digital technologies in the workspace, businesses have still not moved to paperless operations. While digital solutions have made it less expensive and easier to store, retrieve and share information, paper documents still have a place in many business operations, especially in Africa. A great deal of business on the continent still gets done on paper in the workspace via scanners, printers, photocopy machines and faxes. Many small-to-medium sized business operate in a paper centric environment, using paper as part of their everyday workflow and transactions.

One of the advantages of the blend of paper and digital in the hybrid workplace is its flexibility. The use of digital technologies allows for seamless collaboration across physical locations, while paper documents provide a sense of tangibility and familiarity that can be useful in certain contexts.

To make the most of the blend of paper and digital in the hybrid workplace, businesses must identify which processes require paper documents and which processes can be digitized. This may involve investing in document management systems, scanners, and other technologies that can facilitate the transition to digital workflows while maintaining the use of paper documents in specific contexts.

By identifying which processes require paper documents and which can be digitized, businesses can create a flexible and productive workflow that accommodates both in-person and remote work.

Somesh Adukia is the Managing Director of Canon Central & North Africa

Opinion: May 1: Awaiting a Happier Workers’ Day | By: Most Reverend Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo

Workers’ Day, May 1st every year all over the world, necessary calls for an evaluation of work, workers and working conditions all around the world. This is because work is one indispensable resource by which God made man and by which man sustains the world. We are told that after all the work, God saw that what he had done was good. For this reason, we know that there is dignity in work and work is really love made visible. It is thus befitting to congratulate workers on this day to congratulate all who provide work and do same to all who provide the conducive environment in which work can be done. Important and fundamental though work is however, too many factors deny millions of workers of the joy and fulfillment which they should derive from the work they do. Regrettably today, conflicts, discrimination, unjust structures, scarcity of jobs, bad management and greed hamper the integral human development that work ought to bring to individuals, family and the society. This, to say the least, is unfortunate and deserves urgent attention.

Integral human development, the ideal of all humanity, will remain a mirage if contentious issues concerning work are not resolved. The Catholic Church teaches that just wages are a legitimate fruit of work. It can be grave injustice to withhold or refuse it. “Remuneration for Work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social and cultural levels…” .

Governments and people cannot honestly desire peace or authentic development without ensuring just wages for work done. Exploitation of others or their resources, forcing down prices of raw materials, inhospitable conditions of work, unjustly taking over the property belonging to others or the like, impugn human dignity, damage social trust and offend the moral law of God. Conversely, at the personal levels workers too must do just work for the wages they receive in order to fulfil the social contract and in order not to be guilty of dishonesty and stealing.

The Catholic Church has always taught that there is dignity in labour and that work is a vocation with a spiritual dimension. Every worker in some way participates in the divine project of advancing the work of creation. According to Pope Francis, May 1st, each year, the feast of St Joseph the Worker, is the day the Church remembers the world of labour. On that day the Church demands “that work be dignified everywhere and for everyone,” and that the work of men and women everywhere “inspire the will to develop an economy of peace all over the world.” The Church also prays for all those who in the course of their work have lost life, limbs, and property in the course of their work, especially victims of corrupt and unjust systems, that their sacrifice be not allowed to pass in vain.

In Nigeria the condition of most workers remains pathetic. Government insensitivity to the plight and demands of workers like doctors, nurses, teachers, journalists, and security agencies is nothing short of cruel, especially when compared to politicians’ remunerations. This, sadly affects the entire masses who rely on the services which those workers provide. In fact, working conditions in both the public and private sectors yearn for serious and urgent overhauling. Nigeria, so to speak, needs a moral blood transfusion. Nevertheless, with the imminent dispensation, employers and employees must embrace a new “regime of merit” and rebuild the crumbling labour fortress. Only a just relationship driven by dialogue and sensitivity can guarantee an escape from the quagmire of resentment and suspicion which currently characterize the relationship between employees and employers in the country. With that new hope it is still pertinent even today to say to all: Happy Workers Day with hope for a brighter future!

By Most Rev Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo: Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Oyo.

There is no ‘insecurity’ in Nigeria | By: Tony Ogunlowo

Nuterus has recently been voted for as one of the safest countries in the world to live in. It has a zero-crime rate and you’re a lot safer walking the streets of Lagos than you are in London or New York.

This of course, is one big fat lie!
As part of his Eid el Maulud message to the nation President Buhari suggests “time has come to revise the prefixes ‘rising insecurity’ with ‘declining insecurity’ “. In short, he’s asking us to be economical with the truth. So, in short, the DSS can only do so much to stop the truth getting out and now the Presidency is politely asking journalists to “lie small, small” (- or else?).
Twitter is down (unless you are using a
VPN) and any other Social Media site used to discuss the rising insecurity in the country can be shut down with a single nod from Aso Rock.

Now, we can’t all be Lai Mohammed, as a reporter/journalist/columnist we have a job
– and responsibility – to report what we see, truthfully, for the benefit of the populace. To follow the Presidents directive would be like telling a doctor to downplay the dangers of the Covid pandemic.
The general public has a right to know what is going on in the world around them. If you downplay the insecurity in the country you risk lulling people into a false sense of security and the criminals will become bolder knowing the people have dropped their guard.
This comes at a time when the Nigerian Airforce allegedly had to bribe bandits, with
N20 Million, to return an anti-aircraft gun they had stolen but we’re not allowed to report it, Wall Street Journal dey lie!

A journalist code of ethnic’s states that a journalist must serve the people with devotion, educate while avoiding sensationalism without distorting or manipulating the facts.
So for 48 hours of ‘declining insecurity’ in Nigeria the following happened:
– 43 people killed in a Bandit attack in Sokoto state.
– 10 bandits killed in Giwa LG, Kaduna.
– Village head kidnapped in Katsina.
– The NDLEA made more than 700 arrests.
– Bandits kill 12 in Zamfara.
…and that’s not taking into account all the other ‘minor’ crimes like the Fulani herdsmen going on the rampage, again, and everywhere; cultists killing one another in running battles across the country; armed robbers having a field day in Lagos, kidnappers etc.
In 2019 I wrote an article entitled “ The Death of Free Speech in Africa” in which I pointed out that African leaders were back to their old tricks of controlling the media and this was
before the Twitter ban in Nigeria: control the media and you can control the people forever. It works well in North Korea, China, Russia and some African countries and now its slowly becoming practice again in Nigeria. Again, its being brought back by the same man who in 1984 tried to repress the press with the infamous Decree 4.
So, in my article I’ll be writing that the glorious Nigerian Army has exterminated all but five members of the dreaded Boko Haram: Governor Nasir el- Rufai has announced that Kaduna state is finally bandit free; the South-East is the most peaceful – and safest – place to live in Nigeria and all yahoo-yahoo boys and
cultists are being rounded up.
I wish!

Opinion: The Next Generation of Print :By Duygu Sanac Keçeci

Now is an important time for the print industry. It’s a time of change and where new and emerging technologies are influencing its future. The print industry is unique and has developed over many years, transitioning from analogue to digital technologies, but there’s still so much more to come. For it to continue to grow and transform, we need fresh ideas and out-of-the-box thinking. And one way that we can support this growth is to attract the next generation.

Print to you and me is a range of innovative applications that we interact with within our daily lives. However, print to someone who doesn’t know print’s full capabilities or creative potential could be seen as just a book or a poster you put up on your wall. Those outside of our industry don’t realise all that ‘print’ encompasses – everything from a calendar to instruction manuals, or wallpaper to window graphics. In fact, everything you read that is not on a screen (besides a handwritten letter) is printed. But if this is the perception of print, then how do we attract new and young talent to fuel future innovation?

Print is more than just a word

We know that print is rapidly advancing due to new technologies such as automation, augmented reality and robotics, and it’s these additions that present the opportunities for new talent.

In order to attract the future workforce, we need to re-look at the term ‘print’. What does it actually mean? For me, the word limits the scope of what print really is – it’s purely the output of what we do. And it’s impossible to encapsulate what our industry can do with just one word.

The magic of the industry is the end-to-end journey behind it including software, hardware, finishing etc. It should be positioned as a creative technology industry and this is what we need to bring to the fore to attract the next generation.

Young people today are digitally savvy, having grown up with smart technology at their fingertips. Some of them see print as old-fashioned and not ‘sexy’ like digital. So, we need to combine new technologies that they’re au fait with – and perhaps that they wouldn’t necessarily relate to print – in order to appeal to them. We need to speak their language and show them the strong role that print has to play alongside these digital and virtual platforms, and how they can be part of its exciting future in bringing the two more closely together.

Attracting the future print workforce

With a perception outside of the industry that print is dying, why would someone starting their career want to work in, what appears to be, a doomed industry? What they don’t know is that there are so many opportunities for growth – it is not a dying industry, but one that is constantly evolving. And it has huge creative and technology innovation potential.

One of the things I noticed when beginning my career in print, is that it offers such scope for variety, bridging the gap between popular career routes such as technology and marketing. My background is in mechatronics engineering and I’ve been able to transfer these skills and apply them to new digital print technologies such as robotics and automation. Today’s digital printing devices integrate significant levels of automation to control virtually every aspect of production, thus changing the skill sets now required to operate these machines.

As a product manager in cut-sheet toner, I need to understand the technology behind the performance – but I also need to understand how to explain this technology in terms of benefits to the customer – the print service provider – and the customer’s customer – the print buyer. And this is where the skills I have developed through achieving a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree have helped in my conversations with customers to explain how to sell and market the technology and the role that print plays in helping them to grow their business.

There are so many different career avenues within the print industry where skills can be deployed – creativity and design, data analytics, technology, engineering, business development, customer loyalty, marketing strategies – whatever their skills, they could find a match within the print.

We need to explore more engaging ways to relate print to younger generations’ hobbies and interests. Take someone who is interested in sport, for instance. They probably don’t know about all of the huge opportunities for print at just one sports stadium – from tickets to flyers to graphics. If they have a passion for fashion, they could get involved with fabric printing or textile design.

Or perhaps one young individual is considering a career as a data analyst. They could be the brains behind a revolutionary software solution that integrates brand-customer relationship management systems with print.

Love to travel? With a calendar of global print and packaging exhibitions and customers located around the world, there’s plenty of opportunities to explore new cities and countries.

The onus is on us, the print industry and large vendors, like Canon, to get out and in front of the younger generation. Attend trade fairs, work with colleges and universities or why not even send personalised print directly to their doors? We need to be in front of them to show them what print is really capable of; demonstrate how they could be part of this evolving industry and how they can contribute to the future of it.

Innovate with new talent

Time and time again I’m told that I’m still ‘new’ to the print industry, whereas, in any other workplace, three and a half years isn’t considered a short period of time. This demonstrates that it’s rare for people from other industries to start working in print and proves the need for our industry to cast the net wider when looking for new talent.

The advantages of hiring from within our industry are clear – people know the markets, competitors and technology. However, all this knowledge can be learned, we can help teach new recruits. And the good news is that younger generations are quick to adapt, so we need to begin imparting our knowledge to help build the print generation of the future.

We know that it’s a combination of people and technology that bring about change and innovation. Technology is rapidly evolving, so now is the time to integrate new talent with new ideas and perspectives to not only enhance digital print technology but also evolve print’s role in the future.

The benefit for us? They will bring innovation and fresh ideas, which will help us change our ways of working, for the better, and position print as an exciting medium that won’t be disappearing anytime soon. Now, more than ever is time to be a part of this creative technology industry and re-shape its future.

Opinion: Towards Effective Policing in Nigeria ~ By: Tony Ogunlowo

The Nigerian Police Force is an outdated, inefficient and corruption-ridden institution that lacks the ability to fight crime in the 21st century.

The lawlessness of the Fulani herdsmen has yet again brought into focus the heightened insecurity of living in Nigeria. This has led  to a number of Southern states to consider expelling them from their lands. This is a very tricky situation: the constitution of Nigeria stipulates that anyone has the right to live and work where ever they want to. A breach of this might lead to ugly tit-for-tat situations: you expel them from the South and they respond by expelling your people from the North and before long we’ll be witnessing bloody inter-tribal clashes as last seen in 1966 that lead to the Nigerian- Biafran civil war.

The problem here is not just the Fulani herdsmen, who have been allowed to get up to all sorts over a long period of time, unchecked, but the lack of security operatives to deal with the problem before it got out of hand. Where are the police and the army, ask the people? ( – probably busy shooting innocent protesters or guarding VIPs!)

The mischief-makers are not just the Fulani herdsmen but also cultists, Boko Haram, kidnappers and armed robbers killing innocent people on a daily basis with the security services powerless to stop them because they lack the Strategic intelligence to know who’s doing what; lack the ability, will and equipment to mobilize quickly to deal with situations and are further hampered by a slow bureaucratic chain of command that takes its orders from the Head of Police in Abuja.

The Federal Government needs to understand it’s time to dissolve the Nigerian Police Force, as we know it, and let each and every state set up their own police forces to deal with insecurity and crime: an Inspector-General of Police, sitting on his backside, in Abuja can’t know the crime situation in Lagos or Kogi intimately as the indigene police officers and can’t deploy his men effectively. State policing is proven to work well as we see in countries like America. We can see a good example of how effective state policing can be with Amotekun, a security outfit recently set-up by the Western states, ability to mobilize their forces and deal with situations, faster, even before the IG can pick up his phone in Abuja. In Kano, they have the Hisbah, a religious police force that keeps trouble makers at bay by enforcing their Sharia law. ( I may not agree with Sharia law but it works for them)A state governor and his advisors know their state inside out and with their own police force, at their command, can deal with incidents faster and more effectively instead of waiting for the slow chain of command of the IG to act. And if and when they get their own state police forces, they should instil in them discipline and make them aware of the fact they are crime fighters and not bribe collectors ( no more ‘egunje’ or ‘kola’) and cannot act as if they are above the law like the now-defunct SARS. And if there are situations whereby the state police can’t cope the Federal Government can then draft in the army to assist just like the National Guard gets drafted in to help state police in America if things get out of hand.

With anarchy rife and the security forces powerless to bring the situation under control we are witnessing the impending implosion of the country into a cesspit of frequent bloody tribal( – and religious) clashes: Fulani herdsmen killing Southerners will soon lead to Southerners killing any Fulani man they come across and we still have ritual cultists, Boko Haram and others killing everybody. And soon it will be a free-for-all with everybody fighting everybody. It won’t be a civil war because there will be too many different factions fighting each other.

And when recruiting police officers the NPF needs to up its standards: current recruitment practices don’t screen potential candidates well enough; there are no IQ tests and you have barely literate people signing up; they are not psychologically assessed so it’s not uncommon for a psychopath to be given a gun and a uniform. And when it comes to giving out guns not all offices should be allowed one. It takes years to train a firearms officer so they know how and when to shoot: in Nigeria, they probably receive training for a few weeks(- or a few days!) and before you know it they’re out in public shooting anything that moves(bus drivers, yahoo-yahoo boys, market women and innocent bystanders) like they are Rambo! And when the Nigerian police kill anybody indiscriminately( – or extra-judicially!) they are not properly disciplined, no compensation is paid to the victims and the matter is quietly swept under the carpet. The whole world was appalled when white cops were killing black people in America leading to the formation of the BLM Movement and reforms within the police force: in Nigeria, Lai Mohammed will go on T.V and say the ‘well-trained Nigerian police officers only shoot ‘armed’ criminals(  – if they are not armed PR videos and pictures will show ‘planted’ guns – and its always the same gun – or guns – in all the pictures!)

So there you have it: to adequately police a 200-million-plus – a multi-religious-multi-tribal country like Nigeria a new direction needs to be sought to uphold law and order: the old ways and the NPF in its current inception can’t fight itself out of a paper bag let alone fight crime.

Toni tweets from: @Archangel641 or visit


Opinion: Lekki massacre: How did we get here? | By: Niran Adedokun

Once again, leadership failed Nigeria massively this past week. Someone said that if you do not know the purpose of a thing, abuse of that thing is inevitable. A lot of those in leadership positions in Nigeria do not know the purpose of their remit and as a result, they abuse it wantonly.  The abuse of the purpose of leadership, stemming from gross incompetence and lack of know-how about modern governance is why the otherwise peaceful #EndSARS protests initiated by concerned Nigerian youths, have been so badly mismanaged, becoming a disgraceful show where the state turned against her own people.

As of Wednesday morning, tens of people, mostly innocent, have lost their lives from violence, (partly state-sponsored, partly instigated by hoodlums) resulting from #EndSARS.

And as I write, almost 24 hours after military men turned their guns on peaceful protesters, (an unspecified number believed to have been killed and 25 being treated in various hospitals), Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), the man elected by these same youths as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has not said a word as to how regrettable the incident was. That is unpardonable. It’s an indictment of the President and an indication of his inability to comprehend the essence of his high office.

In 2014 or so, Buhari told Nigerians that he had become converted to the principles of democracy. Well, the President just faced the most difficult test of that self-proclaimed conversion and failed woefully! In fact, what Nigerians have witnessed in the past 48 hours brings back memories of the struggle for the restoration of the June 12 election during the Babangida and Abacha military regimes of the 1990s. It’s a shame that anyone who canvassed the votes of Nigerians would allow them go through their most recent experience. It didn’t have to get to this extent if the President had learnt anything from democracy and Nigeria’s recent history.

Democracy is built on the culture of engagement and negotiation. Agents of this regime have continued to regale us with their response to the five demands of the protesters. While one cannot take anything away from the regime’s gesture on these fronts and the steps that have been taken by some state governors, the fact that the protesters refused to be persuaded indicates that there is a justifiable distrust of government and that these seeming knee-jerk responses didn’t and understandably so, convince.

For instance, the decision of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to replace SARS with the Special Weapon and Tactics Team within 72 hours raised legitimate questions about how much rigour went into the formation of the new squad and how much of the ills of the defunct irritant structure might be retained in the new entity.

If your country’s young population refuses to be persuaded by this move, the President should have addressed the issues directly and not through proxies! This is more so because the protesters made it clear that the major disconnect results from a distrust of government. All the President needed to have done was to come off his high horse to calm frayed nerves by making measurable promises that should reassure the youths.   Such relational engagements have proved to be a very effective instrument in the hands of democratic leaders even here in Nigeria when we recall how the late President Umaru Yar’Adua persuaded youths of the Niger Delta to sheathe their swords just a little over a decade back. The failure or refusal of Buhari to seize this unique opportunity left this issue to fester until fifth columnist began to take advantage of it as is wont to happen.

Another instance of leadership failure one sees here is the meeting where the 36 governors could not agree on a single way to deal with SARS. While most governors of the states in the South with the possible exception of Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos and Nyesom Wike of Rivers were either equivocal or totally silent about whether SARS should continue or not, governors of the northern states outright rejected any attempt to scrap SARS. That is very unfortunate. It is unfortunate to the extent that it brought about a conflict in the messaging of the management of the situation. While the IGP had already proclaimed the disbanding of SARS, northern governors insisted on its importance and within long, some youths in the north started to toe the line of the governors and threatened #EndSARS protesters. This, to my mind was the beginning of the pockets of violence that have now engulfed the country.

Also Read: Opinion: NDDC: What manner of leaders are these? | By: Niran Adedokun

Now, without prejudice to the right of governors from any part of the country to decide what is good for them, leaders of the country have to make up their minds as to whether they want a united country with common destiny or not. If SARS had become an object of significant contention in any part of the country, true leaders from across the country should work together to see to the dismantling of the structure especially as the Federal Government already had plans for a succeeding unit. Nigerian leaders, even if they desire to split Nigeria, must realise that what affects one part currently affects the other. This demands a sense of universal responsibility.

The failure to understand that leadership and the privilege of power are service to the people is why Nigeria is where it is today. That’s why head of security agencies prioritise loyalty to the President over the country and her people. Of course, this mentality transcends generations of Nigerian leaders, but nothing exemplifies this abuse and misuse of the people’s mandate as Tuesday’s attack on innocent protesters at the Lekki toll gate and a number of other places in and outside Lagos.

While it is true that the #EndSARS protests were exploited by hoodlums to unleash terror on Nigerians, that the planners could have been a bit more circumspect  and that no responsible government would allow such destruction and loss of lives go without check, the deployment of military men who fired live bullets at defenceless Nigerians is evidence of overlord mentality as well as the lack of understanding of the spirit of leadership by those who rule Nigeria. This becomes even more obvious when you consider the fact that rather than head for well-known hotspots within the city to arrest hoodlums, the shooters directed their mindless attack on young men and women who had protested for 12 days without violence, had the presence of mind to hold the national flag and sing the anthem as a sign of their allegiance to the country. So, you leave the miscreants who make life difficult for others and fire live bullets at those who represent the best that future could hold for the country! What warped logic is that? In any case, which country puts the lives of those who constitute her future at such jeopardy when they bear no immediate harm?

And in fact, exhibiting such command and control mentality at this time in the history of the country is an indication of the country’s failure to learn from history. Close to two decades ago, the extrajudicial execution of a man known as Mohammed Yusuf was what ignited the Boko Haram sect that has tormented Nigeria for the better part of the last 15 years. For how long do Nigerian leaders want to put the country on the path of avoidable danger?

Having said all of these however, it should be pointed out that the whirlwind that Nigeria is battling with today is a direct consequence of the wind it has sown over the years. The good, the bad and the ugly that Nigeria has made of its youths have come back to demand recompense for the years of neglect and carelessness. Government should also note that no amount of force against the youth would suppress agitations for the very basic things that make life meaningful for them.

In “We kill militants but in vain,” published in this column in August 2016, I wrote: “And this is one of the points that Nigeria needs to urgently contemplate alongside, if not ahead of, military actions like the one under discussion.  According to a 2012 survey of the National Bureau of Statistics, youths in the 15 to 35 age brackets were nearly 70 million of the 166 million Nigerians then. Fifty-four per cent of this number of youths were unemployed as of August 2014. Hundreds of thousands of more youths would have joined the number in the past 24 months, what does a country expect when the majority of its most productive population have no jobs and practically nothing to hope for? There is also the issue of young school leavers who are unable to gain admission into higher institutions while the nation offers no alternative for them…”

Hope for a bright future is all these youths ask for and any attempt to quench this agitation will only postpone the evil day. Strength and the exuberant display of the same are two of the advantages of youth, and the President and other leaders, must employ the advantage of wisdom that is expected to attend age to positively engage the vigour of the youth for national development.  Otherwise, Nigeria will only be building a militarised population (especially from the army of the untrained), which would do the future of the country no good, that is if we allow any future at all.

Niran Adedokun is a Public Relations practitioner, lawyer and journalist.  He tweets @niranadedokun

Opinion: Developing entrepreneurship in a digital economy | By: Tonny Tugee

With a shift away from physical commerce, consumers are increasingly taking their daily activities online. This shift has resulted in new opportunities for emerging digital entrepreneurs to reap the dividends from digital and grow in the digital economy.

The digital economy as we know it refers to the economic activities enabled by digital technologies that connect people, businesses, and processes. It’s the hyper-connectiveness of this economy that allows the ecosystem to grow, and redefines how typical businesses are structured. But how exactly? Through the opportunities created by digital tech, including the Internet, the cloud, mobile technology, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

It’s these emerging technologies that are disrupting traditional business models, leading digital transformation, and redefining how businesses interact with customers and how customers receive and experience services and goods. Being able to thrive in a digital economy will be key to ensuring a competitive edge and business sustainability.

The role of connectivity and cloud solutions in the digital economy

There’s no denying that customer expectations are changing around the world, and we’ll be seeing this increasingly in Africa too. Whether your customers are businesses or consumers, they are becoming more reliant on Internet connectivity to make purchases, drive business outcomes, and stay connected with the world around them. At the core of the digital economy is connectivity, and reliable connectivity is a prerequisite for joining the digital economy.

Enabled by connectivity, cloud technologies allow businesses to streamline their processes in cost-effective, reliable ways, and they offer the flexibility required to scale operations and adjust to demand.

For aspiring digital entrepreneurs in particular, connectivity and cloud solutions are critical as they enable them to collaborate and access resources from any location with a secure network – meaning they can work effectively without having to invest in a physical office space. This reduces start-up costs, providing small businesses and start-ups alike the opportunity to compete with larger companies that have bigger budgets, ultimately leveling the playing field. Thus, improving access to connectivity is key to developing the digital economy.

Emerging digital trends and opportunities

The digital economy enables new business models, but it also gives more traditional companies the opportunity to increase productivity and enhance customer experience through various digital solutions. Social media, mobile computing, data analytics, the cloud, IoT, and cyber solutions can lead to new market opportunities, remote service provision, faster time-to-market, higher revenue streams, and streamlined processes.

We know that customers desire engagements with brands that are seamless, omnichannel, direct, contextual, and above all else, personalised. Something as simple as social media, for instance, can help entrepreneurs connect with their audience base on a personalised level, giving them unprecedented access to consumer feedback. When combined with data analytics tools that help companies predict consumer needs from online activity, this gives businesses a unique opportunity to offer consumers exactly what they want, when they want it.

Entrepreneurs can help change the way products and services are managed, optimised, and deployed, as well as how customers perceive their brands, fostering brand loyalty. If we are to develop digital entrepreneurship, it is critical to ensure that more aspiring entrepreneurs are exposed to emerging tools and trends.

Africa is full of examples of companies that are harnessing the digital economy. Front-runner M-Pesa has made remarkable achievements in the mobile communication industry. Its investment in inclusive infrastructure to help launch a microfinance product and lower consumer barriers to banking entry has been a true win for Kenya, and its people. More recently, Kobo360, a logistics start-up that serves as a marketplace for shippers and transporters, is giving companies access to a flexible fleet of over 17 000 drivers and trucks that operate in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Togo. In South Africa, RapidDeploy uses cloud-based software to help public safety officials to reduce emergency response times.

Thriving in the digital economy

There are various ways for entrepreneurs to join the digital economy, starting with moving past traditional business structures and re-aligning value creation. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean rethinking all aspects of your offering, but rather focusing on switching from physical to digital interactions and operations that will enable new business and service models.

What’s needed is an integration strategy that takes existing physical structures and processes into account and integrates them with digital systems. Omnichannel customer engagement, for example, allows entrepreneurs to visualise the actual lifecycle of its customers and helps identify gaps or weaknesses. It gives entrepreneurs a unique chance to identify opportunities, respond quickly, and thrive in this new economy.

It’s this level of agility that will help entrepreneurs create and deliver services and goods more in tune with their customers’ wants and needs, helping to grow the digital economy, and Kenya’s wider economy along with it.

In this new, highly competitive digital world, entrepreneurs need to assess whether the services they are offering are truly adding value in the most efficient way possible. As the digital economy grows, we will see more entrants using a myriad of digital tools to bring more services and goods to market faster. Staying competitive in this ecosystem requires a combination of connectivity, innovative thinking, and smart partnerships to help differentiate your business. But as international giants, such as Amazon and Alphabet, have shown, for those companies that do get it right, the digital economy offers unprecedented opportunities.

‘Bad Boy’ Nigeria @ 60 | By: Tony Ogunlowo

Independence Day! It’s Birthday Time as Nigeria turns 60.

The President will  light the candles on the nations cake and cut it (- probably imported from Harrods in London) and there will be a big bash at Aso Rock with past presidents, important dignitaries and foreign ambassadors invited. They will drink, make merry and pose for countless photo sessions.

But is there really anything to celebrate?


The country is in a worse state than it was 60 years ago when the Union Jack came down and Nigeria’s green and white flag went up: a Man doesn’t know where his next loaf of bread is going to come from or whether he’ll even live to see the next day; mass unemployment has created a generation of people who’ll never work for a living; the crime wave is spiraling out of control as is poverty and incessant killings; corruption has taken a front seat and with the current Covid-19 Pandemic nobody can see the fabled light at the end of the tunnel!.

If Nigeria were to be a person it would have nearly lived a full life by now having gone through childhood, puberty, adulthood, middle age and about to enter the blissful age of retirement. That is to say Nigeria should have got over its teething problems by puberty, settled into a steady growth rhythm by adulthood and now at retirement should be a nation everybody should be happy to live in.

But alas, ‘Bad Boy’ Nigeria (- and its inhabitants) has refused to grow up and revels in its alter-ego of a ‘Man-Child’ still acting irresponsibly with no clear sense of direction. Haba! Na only you waka come?

In an attempt to govern ourselves we’ve tried every form of governance known to Man – without success- from military dictatorships to the US- Presidential Style we currently practice. We haven’t tried Socialism or Communism yet because it’s not in our DNA to call one another ‘comrade’, dress and eat like peasants and live in unpalatable hovels. It won’t work unless we adopt the Animal Farm maxim of “ All Animals are Equal but Some are More equal Than Others!”.

Nigeria is probably the only nation in the World that doesn’t have a national airline: Ethiopia we belittle has the best airline in Africa, flying modern aeroplanes that don’t fall out of the sky! What does it take to buy of lease a few planes, slap the national emblem on it and run an airline? In Nigeria that’s a Mission Impossible and recent attempts to revive the national airline have flat lined. That’s probably because they’re still bickering about who’s going to run it: is it going to be Mallam Muslim from the North or Christian Chief from the South? Or how much money they can ‘chop’ from the venture even before it takes off.

We have the largest deposits of crude oil in Africa yet our ancient and crumbling refineries ( – are any of them still working?) can’t pump out cheap petrol and kerosene for the populace to consume: to make matters worse fuel subsidies have been removed and a litre of petrol now costs a fortune. We have to import refined petroleum products – even from countries like Niger who only started commercial oil production in 2011.

Boko Haram and other insurgents are still busy terrorising the land killing and kidnapping hundreds of people at random and sacking villages while the Nigerian Army is powerless to bring their reign of terror to an end. Is it because they are cowering in their barracks or they have no guns to fight?

Still after sixty years building and maintaining simple basic structures such as roads and bridges is alien to our culture. We build them (-if we do!) and forget about them or “Who build that garda?”, as a past military leader once asked. It is the year 2020 and driving from Lagos to Abuja is like a daytrip to Hell! If the pot-holed roads or non-existent roads, rickety bridges and other reckless motorists don’t kill you, you are bound to meet your Waterloo at the hands of marauding robbers, kidnappers – or the police! (SARS are the guilty ones here!).

The minority ruling elite are well-heeled (- and corrupt!); well educated (- well most of them!) ; live in palatable mansions; drive the latest cars (- and may have a private plane or two!); send their kids abroad to proper schools; order cooked pizza from London while the rest of the country wallows in poverty and uncertainty. “Let them eat cake”, they tell the rest of the country – and mean it!

With nothing else to do many are jumping on planes to go abroad – many vowing never to come back home again. Abroad the pastures are greener, the opportunities are unlimited, proper healthcare, police you don’t have to bribe and the chance to live at least a decent life – something you can’t do in Naija (- unless you are ‘connected’) A nation is losing its top brains to institutions and organisations abroad  and the government is doing nothing to stem the flow: there are no incentives to stay other than you’ll earn less than what a cleaner or nurse earns in the U.K (- that’s if you get paid at all!) and you’re not killed by ritualists or cultists or kidnapped by herdsmen! And those who don’t jump ship have to face the humiliating task of finding any kind of job. How many Ph.D. holders work for Dangote driving trucks?

Faced with hopelessness many are forgetting that “Get Rich quick or die trying” is meant to be lyrics in a rap song and not a mantra a great many Nigerians live and swear by: so kidnapping, armed robbery, embezzlement or sacrificing your granny or brother for a money ritual are not honest ways to make a fast buck.

So after 60 years of independence Nigeria has managed to wangle its way into the infamous club of failed nations, hardly something worth celebrating: it’ll be like a younger me coming home from school with ‘Fail’ on my report card and thinking my parents will throw a party to celebrate.

Grow up Nigeria@60!

Tony Ogunlowo is on Twitter: @Archangel641 or visit


Opinion: COVID-19 and HIV: so far it seems the outcome is not what was feared| By: Morgan Morris

Based on official figures – which may be somewhat under reported – COVID-19 has not been as devastating in South Africa as initially feared.
Back in March and April this year case numbers on the continent were still modest. But predictions and projections were sombre. There seemed to be consensus that African countries had weak public health systems and few testing facilities, and containment and social distancing were going to be problematic in poor communities.
More specifically, local and international organisations pointed to the fact that these areas typically have the highest incidence of immuno-compromised individuals. Experts feared that the tens of millions with HIV and tuberculosis would be disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
That did not bode well for South Africa, where well over seven million people are believed to have HIV. The immune systems of these individuals are notoriously weak, often unable to fight infections. Fears were that COVID-19 would be devastating to this community.
Those dire forecasts have, so far, not been realised. Around half of the COVID-19 cases on the continent were from South Africa. The country’s COVID-19 cases were around 653,400 as of mid-September. Some 15,705 people are estimated to have died from COVID-19; a tragic number, but not nearly as many as predicted by some. Early predictions were that symptomatic cases of COVID-19 in South Africa could surpass a million by July with 30,000 deaths by November 2020.
These comparatively “low” numbers have come as a surprise. Many possible explanations for this modest-by-comparison outbreak are being floated.
Some insights into previous outbreaks of human coronaviruses may be useful in this regard. My laboratory recently reviewed what is known at this stage – and what is still unknown – about co-infections of HIV and coronaviruses.
Human coronaviruses
There are currently seven known human coronaviruses.
Of these, the four most common and still circulating are reported to cause about 10%-30% of all common colds globally. Fortunately, research shows that they cause no more than mild to moderate cold symptoms. In rare cases, these human coronaviruses can cause more serious respiratory disease in children, the elderly, the immuno-compromised such as people with HIV and people with underlying illness. But, as far as we know, deaths as a result of infections from the “common” human coronaviruses are quite rare.
Then there are three more pathogenic or life-threatening coronaviruses. The first among these to appear among humans is the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV), which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which killed around 10% of the just-over 8,000 people who were infected.
The next was the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which causes the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) that killed an estimated 34% of about 2,494 people known to have been infected.
And now there’s the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus behind COVID-19.
We have learned that there are a number of factors linked to severe disease and death from SARS-CoV-2. These include advanced age; being a male; and the presence of other pre-existing medical conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and kidney disease. This doesn’t mean that the young and women are immune to the disease. They can catch the virus, and pass it on to others.
Of particular interest in South Africa is the risk of COVID-19 and HIV co-infections.
The HIV and CoV interactions
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a lack of published academic work on HIV and coronavirus co-infections. This is, in part, why the spectre of COVID-19 running amok in countries with large numbers of people living with HIV – like South Africa – raised anxiety levels. Particularly because, as early as the late 1980s, coronaviruses had been shown to be agents of opportunistic infections in immunocompromised hosts, and were linked to diarrhoeal disease among AIDS patients.
But otherwise, there were few known associations between HIV and coronaviruses. I know of only one reported case of an HIV-positive person infected with SARS during the 2003 outbreak. This person recovered fully from SARS.
During the same period, another study reported on a connection between HIV and SARS. In this case, 19 HIV-positive patients shared a hospital ward with 95 patients confirmed positive for SARS. Somehow, none of the HIV-positive patients became infected with the SARS-CoV. Six of the 28 medical personnel who worked in the ward were infected. At the time, researchers began speculating that antiretroviral treatment was offering patients with HIV some protection against the SARS-CoV. But, since SARS-CoV disappeared so quickly from the human population, this was not positively established.
The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the study of HIV-coronavirus co-infections.
My laboratory recently published an overview of studies that looked at COVID-19 infections among more than 11,000 HIV-positive individuals. The risk associated with coinfections is still a matter of debate. But the estimated COVID-19 prevalence reported in various studies does not suggest increased rates of hospitalisation or mortality in HIV-positive patient populations. Clinical characteristics and disease outcomes were comparable to those described for the general population with COVID-19.
The reasons for these infection and mortality rates are still unclear. But scientists have come up with several interesting hypotheses.
One is that antiretroviral treatments have anti-CoV properties and offer some level of protection against COVID-19 infection. Another is that the weakened immune system of people with HIV stops it from “overreacting” to the presence of the coronavirus. In this way it averts the elevated inflammation that is being associated with COVID-19. A related argument has been made that because the helper T-cells have been deactivated in HIV-positive patients, the response of the immune system is tempered, again limiting the risks of excessive inflammation.
A more intriguing hypothesis suggests that the original HIV infection changes the host cells so they no longer offer a favourable environment for other viruses. This phenomenon is called “viral interference”. And it’s been argued that some cold-causing viruses have stopped at least one flu pandemic in Europe in its tracks in 2009.
Moving forward
Concern over HIV-positive patients is understandable. But current data from the COVID-19 pandemic – and past experiences with SARS and MERS – suggest that they do not form an at-risk group. This raises the question of whether HIV serves as an immunological shield against more severe forms of the new disease.
What has been quite apparent from the start is that old age and co-morbidities such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes are more telling considerations in both general infections and HIV/SARS-CoV-2 co-infections.
Based on what we now know, should a second or even a third wave of COVID-19 be forthcoming, state and health officials should consider a more strategic and targeted approach to containment.

Morgan Morris, a freelance writer for the WHO, amongst others, and filmmaker based in Cape Town, contributed to this article.
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