A Minority from the South in Terms of Attitudes – Business Post Nigeria

By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi
The recent contention by Erastus Ikhide in a piece dated July 8, 2022, and titled Atiku in Stormy Waters Over Choice of Running Mate, more than anything else brings to mind the time-honoured saying by Martin Lurther King Jr, American Baptist minister and civil activist, that just as there are three South geographically, there are several South in terms of attitudes. A minority in each of these states, he explained, would use almost any means, including physical violence, to preserve segregation.
Aside from qualifying as one of the above-referenced minorities that use almost any means, including but not limited to diatribe to preserve ‘segregation’, promote fierce political and ideological warfare that negates our rationality as human beings as well as manipulate mass opinion, Ikhide, in that report, alleged that all is not well with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s bid to contest next year’s presidential election on the ticket of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). He hastily and scantly concluded that the joint ticket of Atiku and Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has deflated the hope of Nigerians who were looking up to the party for redemption.
But nothing in the opinion of this piece could be further from the truth! And that is the apt response to the above tissue of lies.
Further characterizing his minority attitude as a contradiction and fantasy fast approaching hallucination is the new awareness that it came at a time when the vast majority of Nigerians with critical minds, for reasons that will be explained in subsequent paragraphs, view Atiku Abubakar and Okowa’s joint ticket in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election on the platform of the PDP as not only necessary and welcoming but eminently desirable.
Essentially, separate from their enormous experience in the public leadership sphere as the nation’s former Vice President and the Governor of Delta State respectively, the duo are aware that presently, Nigerians’ need for lengthy speeches, statements and eloquent words is far less important than their need for people who can build airports, ports, companies, factories and other growth-generating ventures.
Atiku and Okowa are aware that good management requires a capable manager and will end both the galloping unemployment and underemployment situation in the country which, going by the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), stands at a frightening 33%.
Their ‘combination’ will save and serve Nigeria as they are capped with the required managerial skills capable of mobilizing the resources needed to reach specific targets within a defined time frame.
One point is that Governor Okowa’s antecedents in the last seven years as a state governor indicate that in the areas of infrastructure development/deployment, education and healthcare delivery, the Governor currently has no rival in the country as he glaringly shares ideological characteristics/ideals with the late sage of the old Western in the person of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Take, as an illustration, I grew up in the then Mid-Western region. All the primary schools that I know were founded in 1955 by Awo. It is amazing to create this number of schools to make sure that free education was available to all was exemplary. You ask, what was the education budget of the Western region in 1955 to create this number of primary schools?
He was just looking for what to do for people.
In line with the above performance, Delta State under Governor Okowa’s first term in office witnessed over 5,000 classrooms renovated/reconstructed/constructed and in his second term had, to his credit, incubated, nurtured and brought into existence three healthy universities to cater for the academic yearnings of the people of the state.
Apart from three new universities Okowa recently incubated, nurtured and established in the state, evidence also abounds that as a result of the work of the Technical and Vocational Education Board in conjunction with the supervising Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education in the state, six technical colleges in Agbor, Sapele, Ofagbe, Utagba-Ogbe, Ogor and Issele-Uku have been fully rehabilitated, well equipped and fully functional.
Consequently, Delta is the first State in the country to have all of the courses offered by its technical colleges accredited by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).
In the same vein, The Delta State Library (a fully equipped e-resource centre) and the Office of the Head of Service were completed and are functioning to optimum capacity.
The administration’s quest for organizational synergy among Ministries, Departments and Agencies, cost-efficient bureaucracy and timely, excellent service delivery is in full flight with the completion of construction of the Central Secretariat Complex, an architectural edifice in its own right.
All the MDAs are currently in one location, which has enhanced functionality, discipline and reduced cost of managing government business because they have one source of power, internet services, among others. The new complex is also fitted with, among other facilities, banking halls and a crèche to boost productivity and enhance staff welfare.
In the areas of infrastructural development of the state, Okowa in his first term in office (between 2015 and 2019), through the Ministries of Works, Urban Renewal and the Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency, embarked on a total of 455 projects comprising 1,269.42 kilometres of roads and 517.34 kilometres of drainage channels.
As of April 30 2019, 263 of these roads, covering 638.23 kilometres of roads and 295.71 kilometres of associated drains have been completed. Such a record has since tripled. The Direct Labour Agency also made great strides in the development of road infrastructure during this period.
This effort has advanced rural-urban integration whilst ensuring that our urban centres remain livable cities with good road networks and recreation opportunities. Even much more significant is the awareness that such success in this sector not only saved thousands of jobs but also created several thousand others as well as opportunities for the informal business sector to grow.
For instance, it was noted that when this administration came on board, many of the major construction companies/Government contractors were on the verge of retrenching many of their workers as a result of the slump in the economy. However, we prevailed on them not to do so, assuring them of patronage. Today, these companies have expanded and employed more people as a result of our huge investment in road and physical infrastructure.
The Asaba Airport, for example, was downgraded just before the Governor assumed office. Today, the same airport is now a category 6 airport that receives international flights; the airport is now a major national carrier’s hub in the South-East and South-South geo-political zones. The same goes for the Osubi Airport in the Warri part of the state.
In the health sector, Delta State under Governor Okowa became the first in the country to commence Universal Health Coverage with the establishment of the Delta State Contributory Health Commission in February 2016. The commission commenced healthcare service access to enroll on the 1st of January 2017. As of May 15, 2019, the total number of enrollees stood at 530,664 broken down as follows:
Providing services under the scheme according to reports are 110 primary healthcare facilities, 65 secondary healthcare facilities and 52 private healthcare facilities spread across the 25 Local Government Areas in Delta State. Healthcare service access has also been provided to employees of the State at the Abuja and Lagos Liaison offices. With a robust and dynamic ICT Platform, the scheme has been able to initiate a seamless e-medical record registration process for all.
In the past seven years of his administration, he devoted substantial resources, time and energy to building a knowledge-based economy and a critical mass of skills for entrepreneurship and business competitiveness.
Over 20,000 persons benefited from the flagship Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP), Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) and similar programmes undertaken by the Ministries of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Commerce and Industry, Women Affairs as well as the Delta State Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency.
Looking at the above evidence, one question that will come to mind is where did Erastus Ikhide get his facts from?
Utomi Jerome-Mario is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy) of the Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA). He can be reached via jeromeutomi@yahoo.com or 08032725374
How Film Industry Can Help Reduce Unemployment in Nigeria

With the high level of unemployment in Nigeria currently at 35% and underemployment in Nigeria at 22.8%, choosing a career in the film and television industry will be one of the smartest decisions you will ever make.
Why do I say so, with an imaginable demand for visual content these days, video marketing is here to stay and the best thing you can do is to be part of the process.
Statistics by YouTube showed that roughly 300,000 individual videos are uploaded each day can you imagine the figure So, tell me what’s holding you from picking up a career in the film and tv industry.
They are a lot of Career opportunities in the film industry from film director, Director of photography to Film editor just to mention a few. Do you know that the Nigeria film industry is worth 660 million dollars and has contributed about 2.3% of the country’s GDP according to PWC.
That’s how large the film and tv industry in Nigeria is, you too can have a share in that money, so what are the ways can you partake in contributing your own quieter to the growing film and tv industry in Nigeria?
Film Director
The most popular of all filmmaker jobs and crucial to the completion of any film, directors are responsible for overseeing all aspects of the creative process and bringing them together.
This involves managing budgets, holding meetings with all departments at the planning, execution and post-production stages of filming, and concisely and effectively communicating your vision for the film.
Director Of Photography
Otherwise known as cinematographers, the director of photography will work with the film director to realise scenes in line with their visions. They manage the camera and lighting crews on a film set, make artistic and technical decisions and review footage in the post-production stage.
Film Producer
You’ll oversee the creative process of a film from conception to completion, working closely with the director to make artistic and technical decisions about the shooting, budgets and post-production.
Lighting Technician
In any film, good lighting is crucial to creating the right atmosphere. This is what a lighting technician brings to the production process technical knowledge, a good level of physical fitness for lifting heavy lighting equipment as well as creative flair.
Programme Researcher
As a programme researcher on a film, you’ll provide support to the producers, director and writers by carrying out factual and picture research to ensure what’s being shown in the film is accurate.
An animator is an artist who creates multiple images, known as frames, which give an illusion of movement called animation when displayed in rapid sequence.
A screenwriter writes content for visual mediums. They write screenplays for feature films, short films, television, commercials, and video games. They create the dialogue, the characters and the storyline of a script.
Video editor:
A video editor is a person who makes production and/or post-production changes to a film. The video editor works closely with the director to achieve the best final film outcome, with the goal of telling the story in the most effective and compelling way. Work heavily involves cutting and rearranging scenes.
In case you don’t know The global freelance market size was estimated at USD 2.4 billion (in 2018), while staying at home waiting for ASUU strike to end when you can invest that time in growing skills in film and digital art, while stay broke all the time when you can learn a skill like a video editing and make as much as $5000 and more via freelancing websites…
Don’t be crying all the time there is no job when you can take advantage of the power of the internet and become a success with skill in filmmaking or digital art.
End Remark
These are many ways you can make money from the film and digital art industry, with help of social media you can even build a huge fellowship and attract amazing opportunities for yourself as a filmmaker, opportunities like endorsement deals, sponsorships for your upcoming projects and amazing partnerships from big brands.
So, why not take rethink and pull yourself out of poverty and start building a career in the film and digital art industry?
To help you will this journey kennysoft film academy is happy to welcome you as one of our new students in our September batch to get started you can visit academy.kennysoftstudio.com or call our customer relationship manager on 08163876675 to learn more about our film and digital art courses.
The office will never be the same. Right now, your desk might be at the dining table and you might be wearing sweatpants and a smart blouse as you talk to colleagues over a Zoom call. 
With many companies having adopted a remote hybrid working model, it’s anyone’s guess whether we’ll ever return to office environments the way they once were. And, while working from home has its benefits – like less time and money spent on commuting – many remote workers are struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance. 
When there is no break from the culture of non-stop achievement, it can be exhausting. “If the pace never seems to let up, and you don’t have time for a calmer, happier you at home, it starts feeling as if you’re conducting life at breakneck speed,” says Aisha Pandor, CEO of the home cleaning services company SweepSouth. As a working mom of three, Aisha has practical advice for career women working from home on attaining a calmer work-life balance.
Be organised
In an office environment, there are trays and filing systems galore. At home, don’t allow your desk to become cluttered with bits of paper. Arrange paperwork in a three-tier system: an in-pile for current matters, a folder for ongoing projects and a large box file for longer-term, but important documents you may need to reference. 
Keep set working hours
Have you ever noticed how productive you are in the countdown days to a holiday? Having less time to do something can have the result of making you more efficient. Stick to strict ‘office’ hours and set yourself mini-deadlines throughout the day to make sure you stay on track. 
Get it out of your head, make notes
At the start of every day, write down what needs to be done so that you can clear your mind, knowing important matters have been listed. Cross off the things you’ve completed successfully but don’t punish yourself for tasks undone. The sky isn’t going to cave in because they haven’t all been ticked off.
Edit meetings and commitments
Constantly be on the lookout for which meetings can be cut from your schedule, advises Aisha. Similarly, in your home life, do an audit of all the commitments you’ve taken on, like heading up your book club as well as being on the school’s PTA. Identify which of these makes you feel really fulfilled, then do a commitment cull so that you can enjoy life without being too tired to do so. 
Something needs to give
“It’s easy to let all the responsibilities of the house become part of your workday. Suddenly the dishes, hanging out the washing and making lunch are added to your pile of work commitments. Take time to calmly look at everything on your To Do list and say, I can’t do it all,” says Aisha.
Prepare ahead as much as you can to avoid work commitments colliding with home responsibilities. For example, make children’s lunches over the weekend and freeze them, and delegate responsibilities to others. 
Resist the temptation to use every spare minute you have during the day to hang up washing, sweep the floors, or tidy the house. There is only so much time in the day, and you need some of that to rest, so now is the time to hire a domestic worker to help clean the house, even if it is just once a week. 
Change gears to a calmer pace
Make a conscious effort to change down a gear to a calmer pace a few times during a workday. If you are breaking for lunch, say the words, “I’m going to have a calm 30 minutes for lunch now.” The words we speak are powerful, and by speaking your intention out loud, you reinforce it. 
Get up from your workspace
Your concentration wanes if you work for long stretches of time, so take regular breaks throughout the day to boost your productivity. Set a timer to remind you to get up every two hours and take a short walk or do stretches, advises Dr Helen Okoye, medical expert and spokesperson for the World Thrombosis Day (WTD) campaign.
“When you spend too much time sitting, your blood flow slows down, which can lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), where clots form in the legs. If a part of the blood clot breaks off it can travel to the lungs, forming a pulmonary embolism (PE), which can be fatal,” she says. While many people are aware that blood clotting can result from prolonged sitting during flights, it may come as a surprise to learn that people who have sat for many hours working at a computer have also developed DVTs.
“Any prolonged inactivity can put you at risk of a dangerous blood clot,” says Dr Okoye. “Just getting up and moving around to get your circulation going again is a simple, effective way to reduce that risk.” In fact, incorporate as much movement into your daily routine as possible. Dance while you’re cooking, folding the washing, and brushing your teeth – every bit of activity helps. 
And finally, yes, the economy is tough, the world is an uncertain place and having kids at home all the time is driving you mad, but for a calmer, more balanced approach to it all, remember that the only thing you can control is yourself.
By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi
On June 25, 2009, President Umaru Yar’Adua (now late) granted presidential amnesty to Niger Delta militants who had directly or indirectly participated in the commission of offences associated with militant activities in the Niger Delta, and who were willing to surrender their weapons and renounce armed struggle within a 60-day ultimatum (August 6–October 4, 2009).
The government targeted up to 10,000 militants whose attacks in the six Niger Delta states have cost the country a third of its oil production.
The programme was meant to stand on a tripod.
The first leg of the tripod was targeted at the disarmament and demobilization process; the second phase was to capture rehabilitation which is the training process, while the third phase is the Strategic Implementations of Action Plan towards holistic development of the Niger Delta region.
Similarly, going by available information in the public domain, after the rehabilitation programme, they are to be reintegrated into their various communities through vocational skills training, formal education or entrepreneurship skills acquisition either in Nigeria or abroad, depending on ex-militants interests. The reintegration programme ranges from six months to five years of training.
Without any shadow of a doubt, the programme has in the last fourteen years of its existence restored what analysts describe as relative peace in the region.
However, in the last decade also, Nigerians with critical interest have asked questions about some grey and unclear aspects of the programme.
For instance, many have asked these questions for too long and too often and received responses that seem to be substantive but actually, they are not. And some of these citizens today feel as if they are being manipulated.
Some have expressed their opinion and feelings about the programme without receiving responses from the operator, and they are feeling ignored. To the rest, Nigeria’s communication environment provides little opportunity for one to express oneself about the programme and as a result, they are feeling discouraged. To this group, their frustration is further fed by the awareness that responses/feed they receive from the media grow/breed cynicism.
Synoptically, while the programme is still up and running with no end in sight and has within this period under review recorded a very high rate of turnover of coordinators making many wonders if the Act establishing the programme made no provision for the tenured period for coordinators, the question begging for answer(s) are; how long was the Presidential Amnesty Programme initially structured to last? How many Ex-Militant were originally enlisted for the programme? How many have been trained? How many are still undergoing training? What stage is the programme; the Disarmament and demobilization process, rehabilitation/ training processes, or the Strategic Implementations/Action Plan for the holistic development of Niger Delta as a region?
How many of the Ex-militants are still receiving training? How many are currently receiving an allowance? What is the amount? Is it the same amount approved right in 2008 or has it been reviewed? What is the fate of those that were youthful then, but today mature adults with families? Are they still dependent on the stipend as approved in 2008 or has the Amnesty Office reviewed such allowances upward to accommodate their new status?
Most importantly, with the advent of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) which provides 3% for the oil-bearing/host communities, it will again elicit the question as to; when is the Federal Government going to wrap up the Amnesty programme? Or was it planned to last forever? If yes, what is the plan in place to make the Office self-sustaining?
Providing answers to these questions and drawing experience from similar programmes as implemented abroad are the two objectives of this piece.
Talking about a similar programme on the global stage and its inherent benefits, a particular one that naturally comes to mind is Burundi’s demobilization programme, described as a social transfer programme combining cash and in-kind benefit which lasted between 2004 and 2010.
As documented by Olivia D’ Aoust, Olivier Sterok and Philip Verwimp, the 1993-2009 conflict in Burundi was driven by years of ethnic discrimination. In the year 2000, the Arsha Peace Agreement laid the foundation for a peace process and a new constitution based on power-sharing and de-ethnicized political competition.
The programme was coordinated by the World Bank, and organized in three phases; demobilization, reinsertion, and reintegration. The demobilization phase started with disarmament followed by the transfer of the combatants to the demobilization centre. Ex-combatants spent eight days in the centre, attending training on economic strategies and entrepreneurship opportunities as well as peace and reconciliation.
As part of the reinsertion phase, demobilized combatants received a cash allowance worth months’ salary, paid in four instalments over a period of eighteen months. Demobilized combatants received the first re-insertion payment when leaving the demobilization centre, called the transitional Subsistence Allowance (TSA) by the World Bank, the reinsertion money was dedicated to ‘enable an ex-combatant return to their community and to sustain themselves and their families for a period of time.
Comparatively, when one juxtaposes this account with our amnesty model, the missing link becomes evident. There is a long history of inabilities on the part of the nation’s successive amnesty handlers to come up with, and implement a well-foresighted plan as demonstrated in Burundi. These particular failures/failings have forced many Nigerians at different times and places to query the handler’s intelligence and in some cases concluded that most of the coordinators lack a distinct set of aptitudes a leader must demonstrate in three central contexts of work; the accomplishments of the task, working with and through other people, and judging oneself and adapting one’s behaviours accordingly.
While the key difference determining the success of the Burundi programme and the unending failures of Nigeria’s experiment lies in leadership, there are however other observations to make and truths that this piece needs to underline.
First, apart from stakeholders questioning the wisdom behind teaching a man to fish in an environment where there is no river to fish or training a man without a job creation plan, how will FG explain the fact that the amnesty initiative which was programmed to empower the youths of the region via employment has finally left the large army of professionally-trained ex-militants without a job. In fact, the region and of course the nation are in a dire state of strait because unemployment has diverse implications.
Under the present circumstance, what the Federal Government seems to have forgotten is that security-wise, a large unemployed youth population is a threat to the security of the few that are employed, and any transformation agenda that does not have job creation at the centre of its programme will take us nowhere’,
Presently, this threat has become more pronounced in the oil-rich region of the country with the chunk of the proponents spearheaded by the large army of professionally trained ex-militants currently without a job. Proper management of these teaming youth is the panacea.
Finally, analysts say that while the amnesty offer is a positive move, the government has not yet shown a willingness to tackle the underlying problems in the region. Instead of continuing with this endless amnesty, it is important that to solve the problem of the region, Federal Government needs to abandon Presidential Amnesty Programme and in its place, implement the recommendation by a government-appointed committee, which a few years ago,  stated that Niger delta states should receive 25% of the country’s oil revenue, as against the present  13%.
Utomi Jerome-Mario is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), a Lagos-Based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and can be reached via Jeromeutomi@yahoo.com/08032725374
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