Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ajebutter "Omo Pastor"

If you are an ardent follower of Nigerian music, you have probably heard the new song Ajebutter Omo Pastor. I’m not a huge follower of most Nigerian artistes and as a matter of fact have only heard the song once, but before it was played on the radio that day, the OAP gave a brief review of the song and in a nutshell, it talks about ‘Wayward daughters of pastors’.

I have heard lots of people call pastors’ daughters bad girls, accusing them of doing all the things that their fathers preach against – drinking, smoking, clubbing, provocative dressing and so on. I really don’t know if the accusations are true or if they have just become stereotyped, so let’s just say maybe they are adventurous.

Those who rise to the defense of the pastor’s or their daughters or even wives say that a true Christian should not be deterred because pastors or their family have fallen into temptation or have sinned. They usually say – “Make God your standard and not man”.

To them, the fact that your pastor was caught in adultery doesn’t mean you should judge him and leave the church. They say, look-up to God and not man. If a pastor is being extravagant, don’t judge him; if a pastor is proud, look-up to Jesus for humility; Jesus should be your role model and not any man. They advise that you do not speak ill of men of God, the anointed! Are they right or are they simply being fanatical?

I recently came across a Bible scripture which gives me the confidence to write this post. It is 1 Timothy 3: 1 -13, and here's what it says:

 1The saying is true and irrefutable: If any man [eagerly] seeks the office of bishop (superintendent, overseer), he desires an excellent task (work).

2 Now a bishop must give no grounds for accusation but must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, circumspect and temperate and self-controlled; [he must be] sensible and well behaved and dignified and lead a disciplined life; [he must be] hospitable [showing love for and being a friend to the believers, especially strangers or foreigners, and be] a capable and qualified teacher,

3 Not given to wine, not combative but gentle and considerate, not quarrelsome but forbearing and peaceable, and not a lover of money.

4 He must rule his own household well, keeping his children under control, with true dignity, commanding their respect in every way and keeping them respectful.

5 For if a man does not know how to rule his own household, how is he to take care of the church of God?

6 He must not be a new convert, or he may [develop a beclouded and stupid state of mind] as the result of pride [be blinded by conceit, and] fall into the condemnation that the devil [once] did.

7 Furthermore, he must have a good reputation and be well thought of by those outside [the church], lest he become involved in slander and incur reproach and fall into the devil’s trap.

8 In like manner the deacons [must be] worthy of respect, not shifty and double-talkers but sincere in what they say, not given to much wine, not greedy for base gain [craving wealth and resorting to ignoble and dishonest methods of getting it].

9 They must possess the mystic secret of the faith [Christian truth as hidden from ungodly men] with a clear conscience.

10 And let them also be tried and investigated and proved first; then, if they turn out to be above reproach, let them serve [as deacons].

11 The women likewise must be worthy of respect and serious, not gossipers, but temperate and self-controlled, [thoroughly] trustworthy in all things.

12 Let deacons be the husbands of but one wife, and let them manage [their] children and their own households well.

13 For those who perform well as deacons acquire a good standing for themselves and also gain much confidence and freedom and boldness in the faith which is [founded on and centers] in Christ Jesus.

You to decide where this scripture leaves us!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The many travails of the small business owner

This week, several countries including Nigeria celebrated Global Entrepreurship Week (GEW). The GEW initiative was launched in 2007 by Carl Schramm, President and CEO of Kauffman Foundation and Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of the UK. The reasoning behind the launch of the initiative was to create a global movement to inspire people everywhere to embrace entrepreneurship. Laudable idea but certainly a tall order for Nigerians when you consider the many travails of a start-up or small business.

Speaking of travails, what do you consider the biggest bottleneck in starting a small business in Nigeria?
  • Power

  • Startup capital
  •  People

  • The business idea

  • For a while now, my friends and family have encouraged me to start a small business as a plan B income and I haven’t been brave enough. Until very recently I believed my major deterrent was startup capital but after a close examination of the challenges small business owners around me face, I have come to a conclusion that their major bottleneck is PEOPLE!

    Think of it, if PHCN doesn’t give you power, you can generate yours by relying on a generator; for start-up capital you can get bank financing, or loans from a cooporative or famly, as for ideas, they say there’s nothing new under the sun. There are loads of global case studies to learn from. But it is difficult to get substitutes for good PEOPLE.

    Small businesses have the highest staff turnover. The average Nigerian worker is increasingly unreliable. Fresh graduates all want to work for blue-chip companies even when they don’t have any work experience. What’s more, a lot of them cannot generate a basic report of speak good English, yet they want to earn the same pay as those who started their careers 5 – 10 years before them.

    Attitude of semi-skilled workers is even worse. They don’t understand that customer is king. They don’t understand that without the customer they have no pay cheque. They are plain rude to the customers you work hard to get. They come crawling and begging for a job and 1, 2, 3 months on the job, they become truants. Just when you think they’re settling into the job and you are building a stable workforce, they bail out. You are then faced with costs of recruitment and training all over again.

    There is no dignity in labour. People don’t want to work but want to have all of life’s luxuries. A worrisome situation because we need entrepreneurs if this country is to develop. How can we over these challenges? Let’s talk about it.

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    Differentiate or Die: The Story of Omawumi Magbele

    Few weeks ago I was with my BFF as he lamented the poor performance of Nigerian Artistes at Basketmouth’s latest show held in London in August. He was particularly angry that he’d bought a ticket to watch Nigerian Artistes lip-sync at that event. For a Britico like him, it was big deal, for a Nigerian like me who’s seen this over and over again, it wasn’t. Although I shrugged it off, it doesn’t make it right. On the contrary, it is very sad that we have so many artistes who are acclaimed to have gone ‘international’, go on tours yet perform over a playback CD and get paid handsomely. It is simply criminal!

    I do take a moment to however recognise several other great talents like Omawumi Magbele, Asa, Dare Art Alade, Timi Dakolo and others who are true artistes and clearly belong to a different league because they learnt the ropes. Today’s post celebrates Omawumi Magbele, a true artiste who knows what it is to perform with the full complement of a band. A proudly Nigerian artiste whose concert tickets are their money’s worth.
    I have followed her right from her audition at West African Idol about five years ago, and as marketing people say, Omawumi was top-of-my-mind after the audition because she sang my favourite of Christiana Aguilera’s songs - Infatuation. Thereafter, she put up a great show and emerged second place at the Idols competition. After her launch to stardom, I had my first physical encounter with her at a Malta Guinness launch event. She had done a theme song for the brand and performed it at that event. Her voice was strong and she sounded even better than she did on TV. Her stage presence was also superb.

     As a young marketing executive several years ago, I read an article titled: Differentiate or die. The gist of the article was the need to clearly standout and carve a niche as a business. Omawumi has done just that with her music.

    From her first single ‘In the Music’ with a beat which had a South African tinge, Omawumi has continued to up the ante. But what has struck me most about her in recent times is her ability to make the ordinary the extraordinary, and her decision to sing in Pidgin English without any apologies. Call it her strategy; it is certainly paying-off. She’s entertaining but beneath it all, she communicates a distinct message.

    Talking about turning the ordinary to the extraordinary, “If you ask me…” is an ordinary phase but Omawumi has made a hit track of it; Bottom belle I’m told is a re-make of an old highlife song which connects with our parents, and Kpamurege which she used in that song is a word we played with in primary school…

     Like it or not, Pidgin is our unofficial lingua franca. Some people fane ignorance and will rather speak English with a British or American accent, but not Omawumi. She has a proudly Nigerian identity and she is not ashamed of it.

     I acknowledge that it is important to speak Queen’s English as it is our official lingua franca and Omawumi certainly does. English makes you a citizen of the world; but Pidgin, makes you a citizen of Nigeria.

    No female Nigerian artiste rocks the Ankara like Omawumi, she is proudly from Warri and I celebrate her for flying the proudly Nigerian flag. And guess what, it certainly pays-off to be; it is the best career accelerator in the Nigerian entertainment industry.  If you doubt it ask artistes like Iyanya, Djinee and others whose break didn’t come until they went Pidgin or local.

    To succeed in business in Nigeria, remember that it is a game of numbers, and the numbers are at the bottom of the pyramid - the Pidgin English speaking people. Marketers say “KYC” – Know Your Customer. Omawumi certainly knows them.