Categories
Finance and Accounting

Creating a Savings Masterplan for 2021

I have discovered that most of the challenges people face stem from a lack of control of their finances. Apparently, many people have a distorted view of the place and the value of money. While some overestimate money, others underestimate money such that they do not give thought to how much comes in, how much goes out and where it goes to. This nonchalant attitude has run so many households into financial crises. 

In this article, I am going to share with you why savings is important as well as some strategies you can use to save a sizable amount by December 2021.  First, let’s look at some statistics that show that the lack of savings is a major problem in the world today. 

STATISTICS ON SAVINGS 

According to an article by fool.com,

1.     42% of the American workforce live from paycheck to paycheck (including 25% of those earning more than $100,000 per year). 

2.     29% of the American workforce have less than $1,000 in savings. Half have less than one month’s income saved. 

3.     The personal savings rate in 2014 was 4.4%. This means that out of every $1,000 earned, an average American spent all but $44. 

4.     Thanks to factors like high student loans and skyrocketing rent prices, millennials in America have a savings rate of negative 2%.

5.     Approximately 10 million households in America have no bank account whatsoever. 

6.     52% of Americans can’t cover a $400 unforeseen expense without borrowing or selling something. 

7.     Only 17% of the population have an emergency fund that can last three to five months.

8.     Finally, 36% of Americans are not saving at all for retirement.

Although the statistics apply to America, I believe the situation is not different in Nigeria and other developing countries. The statistics give you an idea of the poor level of savings in the world today. Unless we educate ourselves about the need to save and budget, nothing will change. This is why I write this article: To help you understand where you lost it, pick yourself up and get ready to take charge of your finances in 2021. 

WHY YOU LOST CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES IN 2020 

Before I divulge some strategies to take control of your finances in 2021 and beyond, let’s examine what went wrong in 2020 – why the New Year Resolutions you made on 1st January 2020 fell through after the first 2 months! We are taking stock of your financial life in the past year to ensure you don’t repeat the mistakes made anymore. 

Lack of financial discipline in the way you manage your money is the major reason your finances went haywire. It doesn’t matter that you intended to save a certain amount every month. What really matters is that you have the discipline to “work out your intention” by creating a plan and sticking to it. That said, here are the specific reasons you lost control of your finances in 2020.

1.     You Didn’t Have a Budget: 

In my next article, you will learn in-depth how not creating a “written budget” for your finances literally cost you a lot of money in 2020. To achieve financial discipline, a budget is necessary!

Perhaps, you have negative thoughts about budgeting. You see it as a self-imposed constraint and as such, you detest it. You are not alone; I was there too until I realized what harm I was causing myself! The truth is this: If things must change, you have to DUMP that mindset. You must understand the purpose of a budget. It is created not to prevent you from spending money, but to ensure you have money for what is most important to you. Without it, you will spend money on impulse. So, you need to be convinced to make a budget for yourself as we get into the new year. 

2.     You Failed to Stick to Your Budget: 

The decision to take control of your finances by having a budget is preliminary. Following up on it is where many people give up. Perhaps, you were disciplined enough to sit down and draft a budget for yourself. But, somewhere along the line, you ditched it for your old habit of financial uncertainty. Why so? Here are some reasons: 

·       You Didn’t Have A Concrete Financial Goal for Your Budget: Having a budget without a financial goal is like having a map without a destination in mind. 

·       You Got Distracted from Your Goal: You couldn’t contain the temporary pains of delayed gratification. 

·       You Didn’t Have an Accountability Partner: Many a time, all you need to stick to a new habit is to have someone you are accountable to like a spouse, reliable friend or coach. 

3.     You Spent a Lot on Liabilities: 

According to my Rich Dad mentor, a liability is anything that takes money out of your pocket. Most of the things you were happy and eager to buy actually took money from you. In the long haul, you discovered that you had very little money left for the things that are important to you and financial hardship set in. 

Save

WHAT IS SAVINGS? 

The Business Dictionary defines savings as “The portion of disposable income not spent on consumption of consumer goods but accumulated or invested directly in capital equipment or in paying off a home mortgage.”  

To me, savings is income not spent or deferred consumption. It is not necessarily the absence of spending, rather, it is the intentional act of setting money aside for a particular goal or purpose. Any money that is not used for immediate consumption but preserved in a deposit account for future use can be referred to as savings.

Accumulating money for future use and delaying impulse buying can help you to determine whether what you want to spend on is a need or a waste of money. If you do not save your money and your expenses exceed your income, you can be said to be “living from paycheck to paycheck”. 

WHERE DO YOU SAVE YOUR MONEY? 

There are various ways of saving money. Some people make use of a jar, piggy bank or envelope system when dealing with hard cash. This is okay for short-term saving. However, long-term savers need a safer method of keeping money, which is why it is wiser for them to use a depository institution like a bank or cooperative. 

In banks, there are different kinds of account in which you can save, e.g.: 

1.     Savings Account

2.     Current Account

3.     Certificate of Deposit 

4.     Money Market Deposit Account 

These accounts offer varying interest rates based on certain terms and conditions. You need to educate yourself on their pros and cons to make an informed choice. 

HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD YOU SAVE? 

How much you should save depends on your financial goals. To be considered “financially secure,” it is recommended that an individual or family should save at least 6 months’ worth of expenses. For example, if your household incurs a monthly expense of N50,000, you are expected to have a balance of at least N300,000 as savings to be considered “financially secure.” To reach this amount, it is recommended that you save between 10 – 20% of your net income until that amount is reached. 

WHY YOU SHOULD SAVE MONEY 

Your savings is money which you set aside for a specific purpose. It takes discipline and sacrifice to save. Now, it is tough to develop a saving habit without understanding why you should put in the effort in the first place. Here are some reasons to save instead of splurging:

1.     Save for Freedom:

If for no other reason, save money because it gives freedom – the state of knowing that you have cash reserves to use whenever and however rather than feeling stuck in financial problems because you await the next paycheck. 

2.     Save for Financial Security:

Financial Security is only possible when you have enough money saved to cover your emergencies and support your future financial goals. 

3.     Save for Annual Expenses:

There are certain (household) expenses that are far beyond your budget. They require that you save for them. 

4.     Save for Retirement:

For government workers, retirement money is automatically deducted from their gross income alongside taxes so that they never waste it. However, for entrepreneurs and workers in the private sector, they must put money aside every other month for their retirement. 

5.     Save for Emergencies:

We don’t pray for them, but unexpected circumstances happen every now and then, ranging from health issues to car and house repairs, etc. It is wise to save for rainy days. 

6.     Save for Education:

Some people save in order to further their education.

7.    Save for cars, homes, electronic appliances and gadgets.

8.    Save to get out of debt.

9.     Save for Investment:

For those who want to grow their wealth, this is the most pertinent reason for saving money.

Saving is important to the economic progress of any country as well as wealth creation for any individual. There is always an increase in productive wealth when people are willing to abstain from consuming their entire income. This is consummated when these savings are invested in productive ventures in order to earn more money.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY 

Usually, people save by subtracting their current expenditures from their income and keeping the remainder. The problem with this method is that many a time, after subtracting expenditures, very little or nothing is left for savings.  

Therefore, the RECOMMENDED method of saving is by Paying Yourself First. What this means is that you decide beforehand what percentage of your income will go into your savings account, deduct that percentage FIRST whenever you receive your paycheck, then live off the remainder. Although it takes greater financial discipline to tow this path, this method works, every time. 

HOW TO DEVELOP A CONSISTENT SAVING HABIT 

Once you have made the decision to save, the first challenge you will face is the struggle to keep the ball rolling. Without a clear goal and a concrete plan, it is easy to give up on your Savings Masterplan. When trying to save, it is important to take on the challenge as you would when trying to develop a new habit. This new, consistent saving habit is called Financial Discipline. To develop this habit, here are the steps to take: 

1.      Be Angry at Your Current Financial Situation:

Until you get mad and express dissatisfaction with where you are today, you will not have the willpower to do anything meaningful. You cannot solve a problem with the same mindset used to create it. Don’t just wish to save. Get your emotions involved by being so mad about your finances that you want to do something about it. 

2.      Increase Your Financial Intelligence: 

After you realize what a financial mess you are in, the next step is to invest in financial education and learn how money really works. Visit blogs, read articles and take courses on Personal Finance. Depending on your situation and schedule, you may employ the services of a financial coach to guide you. 

3.      Make a Budget:

A written budget is a plan that shows where your money comes from and where it goes to. It gives you a sense of direction and makes the habit of saving easier to adopt. Experts recommend that you allocate, at least, 20% of your income to savings in your budget. You may allocate a greater percentage if you want. However, if 20% seems like a hurdle, feel free to start with a smaller percentage and grow from there. Savings is a habit that can be cultivated by taking baby steps. 

4.      Pay Yourself First: 

You may automate your savings (using either a bank standing order or FinTech platform like PiggyVest). Hence, you will save without even thinking about it. Remember, your savings should be your first major expenditure after receiving your paycheck. 

5.      Be Mindful of Your Spending: 

Before you buy anything, ask yourself, “Do I need this? Is there a cheaper alternative? Can I do without it altogether? Am I just buying this to feel good?” 

6.      Reward Yourself Periodically: 

Find creative ways to celebrate when you cross certain milestones in your Savings Masterplan. It trains your brain to remember that good things come with hard work. 

Savings, like every other endeavour or resolution, needs a masterplan, a systematic approach, and focused commitment for it to work for you.

Given the information shared in this article, I believe that you are well-armed with all you need to take your finances seriously in 2021. If you need help creating a customized savings and budget masterplan for the next year, I advise you to enroll for my 2021 Savings and Budget Masterplan Accountability Program which lasts for 30 days. I will guide you through such that you will be confident enough to create a Savings Masterplan for next year. By the time you complete the program in early January, you will have a personal finance blueprint that can guide you throughout the year. Enroll now

If you cannot afford the program, there is a limited offer for a discount on my book, “How to Save Like A PRO: 30 Radical Money Saving Hacks That Can Help You Hit Your Financial Goals.” You can get it here

N/B: This article is an excerpt from a webinar which was first published on my Facebook community – Financial Intelligence Forum (FiFo). Join the community to access my past and future publications. 

AUTHOR

Obot Essiet Jr. is an Associate Solutions Architect at LEAD Resources, a Financial Intelligence (FINTEL) Coach and a Co-founder/COO of Naiyuan Mart, a Chinese-Nigerian procurement and manufacturing company. He runs a blog and a community on Financial Intelligence. He is passionate about helping people journey towards financial freedom through practical financial literacy solutions. Obot Essiet Jr. loves writing, gardening, watching adventurous movies, cycling and playing chess. 

Categories
Entrepreneurship

Invisible Economics and the Chain of Consequences

In his book, “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid,” C. K. Prahalad asserted: “Private Sector could have the greatest impact through creating profitable businesses serving the 5 billion people who represent the “invisible, unserved market.”

The worst thing that could happen to a people is not rejection or death; it is to be INVISIBLE, to be unnoticed. People aren’t just markets. They have dignity, choices, fears and needs that must be served. Sometimes, people are not really invisible; the onlookers are just blind. A society with few entrepreneurs is one with many blind citizens. Blind citizens cannot identify and explore resources, potentials and abundance hence, they perpetuate poverty.

Poverty is the testament that the dignity of a person has been threatened and his needs have been disregarded by self and others. It is the certificate of servitude issued by naïve societies and accepted by clueless citizens who have learned, accepted and endorsed self-helplessness. Poverty is the limit on alternatives. Abundance is the limit breaker. Abundance increases the quality of life; the quality of life improves with access; access is the inclusion of the excluded.

There are deep-seated motives that pass the test of reason and justify the need for entrepreneurship, enterprise, innovation and commerce. They, by far, outweigh the obvious need for survival and exchange. Citizens must organise, learn and self-educate to spot, earn and satisfy their dignity if ever they will disembark from the voyage of despondency. People of all races, cultures and tribes are beings of needs – needs craving attention. Entrepreneurs must be enabled to arise and arise to these cravings.

The Private Sector can institutionalize an enabling environment and push for equal opportunities thereby supplementing the deficiency of bad governance. The Private Sector can democratize access to ease, wealth and bliss. In an organised mode, the Private Sector can guarantee access to credit and uphold the currency of the Nation. This is required to engage the invisible economy and undo its chain of consequences.

LEAD Resources is an ecosystem enabler. We work to support the seamless catalysis of entrepreneurs and innovators. With fit-for-purpose capacity-building programmes such as our Business Enterprise Training and Digital Economy Emerging Managers’ programme, we contribute our quota to end poverty. To learn more about these programmes, contact us here.

AUTHOR

Elkanah Oluyori is a Digital Economy and Innovation Evangelist who is passionate about nation-building and community organizing. He has authored several relevant publications to this effect. Currently, Elkanah is an Associate Solutions Architect at Lead Resources, where he delivers Management and Development Consultancy to citizens, enterprises and the government. Owing to his vast experience in working with local and international development agencies, he leads Strategic Partnership at Reformers of Africa and coordinates West African Network on Peacebuilding (WANEP), FCT.

You may reach him via the following links:

Categories
Human Capital Development

Human Capital Development

The most valuable assets in both developing and developed countries are humans. Human Capital refers to a collection of traits – knowledge, talents, skills, abilities, experience, intelligence and training – possessed individually and collectively by a population and used to create economic value. It is a form of wealth which can be utilized to accomplish the goals of a Nation or an organization.

Human Capital Development deals with increasing the number of persons who have the skills, education and experience that are critical for economic growth and organizational development. In my Nation, major projects are often outsourced to foreign hands because the skill-set required to execute such projects is unavailable in the Nation. This is a fallout of the negligence of Human Capital Development. Apparently, Human Capital Development determines the development of any Nation.

Human Capital Development in an Organization is the process of improving employee performance, capabilities and resources. This is vital to the growth and development of any organization. In recent times, many organizations have incorporated the use of digitized services. This is because the Nation is swiftly migrating into a digital economy – an economy driven by technology. We are no longer in the age of stereotypical work. This means that employees must skill up and co-evolve to keep up with the demands of this new economy. Skills like transdisciplinarity, novel and adaptive thinking, virtual collaboration, social intelligence and design thinking go in tandem with this rapid evolution and deployment of innovative technologies. The skills, values and perspectives required must be instilled into employees through Human Capital Development.

Apart from Organizational Growth, Human Capital Development in an organization brings out the best in employees. Employees like to acquire new skills on the job. A sense of pride and loyalty develops when employees realize that their organization invests time and resources in training them and this generates maximum productivity in return.

I advocate for the empowerment of humans with the skills required in the digital economy. When we engage in Human Capital Development, innovative solutions for organizations and the Nation can be birthed speedily.

At LEAD Resources, we leverage Human Capital Development for Organizational and National Growth. Want to know how? Learn more here.

AUTHOR

Oluwatobiloba Dairo is an Associate Solutions Architect at LEAD Resources, where she is exploring a rapid Knowledge Acquisition path, building digitized competencies relevant for Career Development and stimulating solutions for Individuals, Organizations and the Government. She is a graduate of Mathematics and an advocate of Women in Leadership. She is interested in Financial and Data Analysis.

Categories
Child & Teen Development

Acquittal Principle versus Maquital Principle

A recent study was carried out across various schools and communities by Workman Teachers Volunteers on the effect of words on child development. Two psychological principles determined the academic performance of the children: The Acquittal Principle and Maquital Principle.

THE ACQUITTAL PRINCIPLE

The Acquittal Principle states that when the mind of a child is directed by high expectations, it leads to improved performance. Thus, when words like:

You are a good child;

You are brilliant;

You are not lazy;

You like to study;

You can improve;

You can do better;

You neither steal nor lie;

You are going to be great;

are constantly spoken to a child, the mind of that child doubles in intellectual reception and the performance of the child improves.

THE MAQUITAL PRINCIPLE

On the other hand, the Maquital Principle states that when a child is directed by low expectations, the performance of the child drops in accordance with psychological trauma. Thus, when words like:

You are a bad child;

You lack parental care;

You lack home training;

You are not a bookworm;

You are dull;

are constantly spoken to a child, it hinders his or her potential intellectual growth. Apparently, shouting on children to teach them lessons is counterintuitive and counterproductive.

The Acquittal principle and Maquital principle evince that the self-perception and self-esteem of a child are built by words. Parents, guardians and teachers are advised to help improve the academic performance of their wards and students by directing their minds with influential words. This way, children, parents, guardians, teachers, the nation, everybody wins!

For more insights and solutions on managing the talents, personalities and development of children, contact Lead Resources here.

Reference: Talk2aCounselor

AUTHOR

Oyebola Simeon is an Associate Solutions Architect at LEAD Resources, a computer scientist and a tech enthusiast. He is interested in Child and Teen Development, and he has a goal of addressing the challenges in this area of interest via technology.

Categories
Human Resource Management

Strategic Self-Management: A Panacea for Organizational Growth

In this article, we shall discuss how self-management correlates with organizational growth.

According to Head & Heart (TransformEd & ANet), Self-management, also known as “Self-control” or “Self-regulation,” is the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts and behaviours effectively in different situations. This includes setting and working toward personal and organizational goals, managing stress, delaying gratification, and motivating oneself.

It is important for organizations to pay keen attention to improving the self-management skills of their employees. This is because researches show that employees’ work input and effectiveness (which is in resonance with organizational growth) is often affected by their physical and mental wellness. 

Self-management skills allow you to improve your workplace performance, maximize your productivity and achieve your professional goals.  Hence, improving your self-management skills can help you increase your employability and manage your career path better. 

Examples of self-management skills include:

  • Organization 
  • Goal-setting 
  • Time-management 
  • Stress-management 
  • Accountability 
  • Self-motivation 

HOW TO IMPROVE SELF-MANAGEMENT SKILLS 

There is a need to focus on ways you can direct, evaluate and improve on your daily tasks. Here are a few ways to improve your self-management skills: 

  1. Assess Your Strengths: Determine what professional tasks you’re best at and focus on ways to maximize your abilities in these areas.  
  2. Prioritize Your Responsibilities: Clearly define which responsibilities are most important, focus on them and avoid distractions.
  3. Develop Organizational Systems: Find effective methods to help you streamline your daily activities and manage your time. Also, keep important items in easy-to-find places.  
  4. Create Strict Deadlines: Set deadlines for each stage of a project and maintain your schedule. Be accountable and sacrifice the hours needed to reach your self-designated checkpoints. 
  5. Perform One Task at a Time: Focus your time, energy and abilities on a single task at a given moment. Complete one task before moving on to another for efficiency. 
  6. Practise Patience: Maintain a sense of calm to help you think clearly and objectively. Be considerate of others, and try to empathize with their needs and experiences. 
  7. Take Care of Your Health and Wellness: Have a healthy diet, exercise regularly, maintain good personal hygiene and actively focus on lowering your stress levels.  
  8. Evaluate Your Progress: Objectively assess the progress you’ve made toward your goals by setting checkpoints along the way and tracking your accomplishments.  

With reference to the paragraphs above, the importance of strategic self-management as proportionate to organizational growth cannot be overemphasized. As individuals, we must strive towards personal development as it makes us better in our personal lives and at our workplaces. No doubt, stable employees make a stable organization. 

For more insights on strategic self-management, subscribe for Lead Resources’ Personal Talent Management course here.

Categories
Nation-Building and Active Citizenship

#EndSARS Protests: A Call for Nigeria Police Reform

THE BEGINNING OF SARS

SARS, Special Anti-Robbery Squad, was a sub-unit of Nigeria Police Force under the State Criminal and Anti-Robbery Squad. The purpose of this squad was to investigate, apprehend and detain criminals who bore illegal firearms, robbed the masses, and kidnapped children and adults in the nation. For a fluid operation, they were allowed to serve as undercover agents.

However, over the years, various individuals and groups accused SARS operatives of violation of human rights, illegal arrests and detentions, manhandling of Nigerian youths, sexual harassment and rape, and extra-judicial killings. So far, Amnesty International has documented 82 cases of police brutality between 2017 and 2020. Yet, the bad eggs within the squad seemed to be beyond control.

CITIZEN’S OUTCRY

In 2017, the government responded to the public as regards SARS by stating that the unit would be reformed however the killings continued. On 8th October 2020, Nigerian celebrities such as Falz and Runtown took to the streets to protest against police brutality in solidarity with victims of the same. Following this, organized protests began all over the nation for the disbandment of SARS. The protests were called #EndSARS (End Special Anti-Robbery Squad) protests; this name was culled from the online protests which began in 2017 on Twitter to end the squad.

According to Wikipedia, about 28 million #EndSARS tweets were made on Twitter. For about two weeks, Nigerian youths protested against police brutality with no pronounced leadership. They marched in every state in the nation chanting, “Enough is Enough! Sorosoke! (Speak out!)”

On 11th October 2020, SARS was dissolved! DCP Frank Mba, Force PRO, stated 5 things for the general public to know about the dissolution of SARS:

  1. The Inspector-General of Police has dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) across all the 36 state commands and the FCT with immediate effect.
  2. All officers and men serving in the unit will be redeployed to other police commands, formations and units.
  3. A new policing arrangement for tackling the offences of armed robbery and other violent crimes will be unveiled to the public soon.
  4. A Citizens’ and Strategic Shareholders’ Forum will be launched to provide an avenue for citizens to regularly interface and advise the Police Authority on issues touching on the general public.
  5. To deal with the report of crimes committed against citizens, an Investigative Team will be constituted which will include Civil Society Organisations and culprits will be punished.

In response to the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Youths made 5 demands – #5for5. They are as follows:

  1. Immediate release of all arrested protesters.
  2. Justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families.
  3. Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct (within 10 days).
  4. In line with the new Police Act, psychological evaluation and retraining (to be confirmed by an independent body) of all disbanded SARS officers before they can be redeployed.
  5. Increase police salary so that they are adequately compensated for protecting the lives and property of citizens.

On 13th October 2020, the Presidential Panel on Police Reforms met and okayed the 5 demands made by the Nigerian Youths. The protests did not stop as the Nigerian Youths determined not to give in until their demands were implemented.

Later, the protests were not just about #EndSARS or #EndPoliceBrutality; they were about something bigger – #EndBadGovernanceInNigeria.

LEKKI MASSACRE

I raised my hand, clenched my fist and started walking back shortly. They were shooting at me.

Aisha Yesufu
#EndSARS
Aisha Yesufu

Unfortunately, the #EndSARS protests degenerated into a bloodbath on October 20th 2020 at Lekki tollgate as the Nigeria Army allegedly shot at unarmed protesters. In an Instagram live video of the shooting by a Nigerian celebrity, DJ Switch, protesters sat on the floor and lifted their flags in a bid to call for peace. The protesters sang the Nigerian National Anthem in agony and solidarity. The picture of a man who was shot during the massacre went viral as he was being helped by DJ Switch. His wounded legs were wrapped with the Nigerian flag.

According to Amnesty International, before the massacre, cameras at the scene – Lekki tollgate – were removed and billboards were switched off. Till date, the one who gave the order to massacre the unarmed protesters has not been apprehended. However, human rights activists like Femi Falana have set up private investigative panels to look into the killings of the protesters.

GOVERNMENT REACTION

After several days, the Nigerian President delivered a 10-minute speech to the nation. However, the speech did not address the matter of the Lekki massacre, rather, it focused on youth empowerment and the termination of the #EndSARS protests. The speech was widely condemned due to its apparent lack of empathy.

Initially, the Lagos State Governor denied that casualties were recorded at the Lekki massacre while the Army denied their presence at Lekki toll gate on October 20th 2020 and stated that the live videos were “photoshopped”.

DJ Switch openly testified that the Nigeria Army arrived the scene of the massacre without any warning and shot at unarmed protesters. Thereafter, a CNN journalist held an interview with the Lagos State Governor where he exposed the Nigeria Army and admitted that casualties were recorded. This sparked an outcry for the exposure of the one who ordered the shooting. The Army reacted by saying that they were at the venue of the incident to ensure that the curfew placed by the Lagos State Governor a few hours earlier that day was obeyed.

INTERNATIONAL REACTION

Joe Biden (The US President-Elect), Hilary Clinton (The former US Secretary of State), Africa Union Commission, etc. all condemned the killings, called for an end to violence and urged the Nigeria Government to negotiate with the protesters. Many international celebrities voiced their displeasure about the turn of events.

Although the protests were halted abruptly and the hearts of Nigerians were broken, there is still hope for the nation. The #EndSARS protests can be seen as a stepping stone towards the liberation of the nation from bad governance. Now, people must be educated on becoming and choosing leaders that can effect positive changes in the nation. Lead Resources trains people with hearts and track records of leadership for a national takeover in a programme called Mainstream Successor Generation. At no other point in history has this solution been more useful to the nation. Those interested may simply contact Lead Resources here.

2023 is near. In a jiffy, your vote will either be a life-jacket or a bullet. Vote wisely!  

AUTHOR

Osatohanmwen Osadiaye Osabuohien is the Executive Director of Nerve Empowerment Foundation. He is a graduate of the University of Benin, Faculty of Arts, Department of Religion. He is a research analyst by profession and he has a strong interest in analyzing societal challenges.

Categories
Technology and Innovation

TAMS: EdTech Reimagined

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Over the years, the Nigerian Educational System has suffered much lag and retrogression in its processes and operations. Although some have tried to change the status quo, most of us have abandoned the system to rot. There are over 85,000 private basic schools in Nigeria with a pressing need to adopt technology to drive their educational processes and operations especially in the “new normal,” the post-COVID-19 Nigeria.

With an average of 500 schools being served by the 10 leading School Management Solution Providers in Nigeria, the market space is underserved by approximately 99.4%. Now, most leading Education Solution Providers consolidate their efforts and sell their solutions to states where there are competitive and comparative advantages while they lack presence in other states.

Ademola Adenubi
Ademola Adenubi (CEO, CrownBirth)

Ogun state, although a leading state in education with over 5,000 private basic schools and 10 tertiary institutions, is unserved by any major School Management Solution Provider. Therefore, there is a need for a school management solution which provides a user experience that changes stakeholders’ perception to technology adoption in schools, penetrates other markets and gains competitive and comparative advantages while offering the transformation the educational system needs. For this cause, Crownbirth Ltd. designed and developed TAMS.

WHAT IS TAMS?

TAMS (Technology-Assisted Academic Management System) is a multi-tenant, cloud-based school management system which provides a personalised platform and user-friendly interface for schools and stakeholders in education to interact, manage information and coordinate school processes and operations. It is uniquely developed on a well-researched framework and models the generic information, requirements and processes of the Nigerian Education System. Crownbirth Ltd. designed, developed and offers TAMS on https://edutams.net.

FEATURES OF TAMS

Some basic features of TAMS include self-service set-up, admissions management, registration management, attendance management, digital classes and live chat sessions, internal messaging channels, e-resources, e-assessment, hostel management, subscription management and bursary management.

BENEFITS OF TAMS

TAMS offers benefits to all stakeholders. For the government, TAMS provides a seamless education revenue report and supports the cashless policy. For school administrators, TAMS enables efficient monitoring of all activities within their school from student management to oversight of financial transactions. For teachers, TAMS eases the management of class schedules, students’ attendance, lesson notes, students’ results and communication with the guardians of their students. For parents, TAMS provides efficient updates on all school activities and academic performance of their wards. For students, TAMS keeps them abreast of all school activities and academic progress. For agents, TAMS provides an avenue for a recurrent commission per term for life on every school registered.

TAMS PRODUCT LAUNCH

The product launch of TAMS is scheduled for Wednesday, 25th November 2020 by 9 am (WAT) at Ball Room, Conference Hotel, Presidential Boulevard, 1 Golf Resort Drive, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta. Visit bit.ly/TamsLaunch to register for the launch.

The distinguished speakers for the product launch include Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu (Hon. Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Ogun State), Dr Adefunke Ekine (Deputy Director, Research and External Relations, Tai Solarin University), Mr Ajibade Laolu Adewale (Head of Partnership, Digital Solutions in Fintech, Wema Bank) and Mr Bosun Tijani (Founder and CEO of Co-Creation Hub). The special guest of honour is His Excellency, Otunba Gbenga Daniel (Former Governor, Ogun state).

Please note that seats are limited, registration is compulsory and physical attendance is strictly by invitation. However, the product launch can be watched via Livestream. When you register via the aforementioned link, you will be notified when the live stream begins. For more information on TAMS, visit www.edutams.net

REVIEWS OF TAMS

TAMS makes teaching and learning easy. The e-learning solution relieves teachers of the stress of teaching on-site. The students can learn at home and attempt class activities as well. In a nutshell, TAMS is a relevant tool for the educational sector.

Michael Sangotope
Transatlantic International school

TAMS has a robust approach to digitalizing all aspects of school management. I find the learning management system for lesson notes, schemes of work, quizzes and assignments second to none.

Akano Afeez
Portal Admin, Transatlantic international school

With TAMS, engaging my students has become more interesting especially in taking their attendance, sharing my lesson content, using the e-assessment tool to evaluate their performance, and applying the results processing module (the very best) to generate results. Kudos to Crownbirth!

Adewale Kayode Abayomi
Best Senior Secondary School Teacher, Ogun state 2020

TAMS provides solutions to the needs of all education stakeholders such as easy registration, attendance management, real-time learning and feedback, access of parents to students’ continuous performance, and effective communication amongst stakeholders. Also, all of the schools’ information is secure. As a private school teacher who is exposed to different academic solutions, I boldly state that TAMS is the most relevant Academic Management System for Basic Schools.

Adesanya Ademola Joseph
Mathematics Teacher, Christ The King Catholic College, Odolewu-Ijebu

TAMS has taken my school to A NEW LEVEL, A HIGHER ONE. It was loudly applauded during our PTA meeting by the parents. It has eased the management and administration of my school. Students now have access to learning materials online (videos, texts, etc.) Parents are now abreast of the school activities of their children/wards. There is also effective reporting for each student in terms of academic performance, behaviour and punctuality.

Pastor Okusanya O. A. (NCE, B.ED, FCPILHM)
Proprietor, Love Foundation group of schools
Categories
Human Capital Development

Freedom

People desire freedom.

Freedom is the ability to act based on your convictions without external restrictions or retribution, and represent yourself as you see yourself to be without having to disguise in order to pursue happiness, fulfillment and growth. It is the power of free self-expression.

Different cultures define freedom in different ways thus people of different societies enjoy it in ways that they consider to be appropriate. Being free does not imply that we should infringe on the rights of others and live by our feelings. It involves considering the rights and the feelings of the people around us while living freely.

On the other hand, a free person does not need to fear when expressing his opinion. Societies that encourage freedom of opinion, belief, expression, choice, etc. are the ones where creative minds flourish.

Freedom also involves appreciating the enchanting beauty of nature and our environments. A person who is worried and anxious is not truly free. Hence, being free is a function of the state of your mind. It implies that your mind is under no fear or compulsion of safety in life.

Social recognition and being safe do not mean freedom. The fulfilment of our aspirations and ambitions do not equate to being free. Education and religion do not make us free. Freedom is the absence of pressure from our social, political and religious environments. It is within the social customs and laws of the country.

No society can guarantee absolute freedom to all social creatures. This is because our societies will become chaotic when we all do what we want when we want. Hence, freedom is not an absolute right as it has some constraints. If it poses a threat to society and the nation, it is false. One cannot kill people, violate laws, smuggle drugs, etc. in the guise of being truly free.

We must respect the human rights of every member of our societies. It is only by doing this that we can truly be free.

AUTHOR

Folakemi Oyeyemi is an Associate Solutions Architect at Lead Resources, a strategic human capital development social enterprise that helps organizations become the best they can be using world-class tools and practices. She is a Mathematician and is also passionate about entrepreneurship.

Categories
Nation-Building and Active Citizenship

En Route the New Nigeria

But from the beginning, it was not so…

In the year 1960, all eyes were upon Nigeria – the most populous nation of Blacks in the world. Nigeria – which seemed to churn out high-flyers in education, business, leadership, etc. – just got her independence! In Africa, only Ghana rivalled Nigeria in leadership but after Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah was deposed in a coup, the gaze of the world shifted to Nigeria’s Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, etc. Considering the encompassing growth of Nigeria, it was unwise not to be her ally.

It is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary.

Richard Whately

Very quickly, Nigeria lost her glory due to  the succession of failed administrations, the military misadventure up to 1993, the annulment of the 1993 presidential elections, the structural adjustment programme that destroyed the local economy, endemic corruption in the nation, ceaseless looting of the national treasury, lack of public accountability, overdependence on oil revenue, religious and ethnic bigotry, insecurity, amongst others! Unfortunately, Nigeria, the giant of Africa, became the world’s poverty capital. Till date, the nation has not been able to recover.

Yeee! Birthpangs…

And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther 4:13-14

Over time, attempts have been made to solve the foundational issues of the nation. Yet, most have failed grossly. In October 2020, 60 years after Nigeria’s independence, the war for the soul of Nigeria intensified such that the “lazy Nigerian youths” who never bothered to vote for good leaders arose to fight police brutality on a grand scale. You need to google how organized and productive these protests – #EndSARS protests – were. The crazy thing is that these protests had no apparent leaders!

I didn’t go to OAU to be on the wrong side of history. It can’t happen.

Fatimah Oyelami

Fast forward…On Friday, 20th October 2020, while Nigerian youths gathered for the #EndSARS protests, many of them were massacred at Lekki toll gate, Lagos, by Nigerian soldiers on assignment. It is appalling that these youths were killed for the very cause that they were protesting against – police brutality! Although the massacre of these youths was streamed by certain courageous patriots and watched by millions of Nigerians, till date, no one has confessed to giving the order to kill the peaceful protesters. In fact, the Nigerian President has never mentioned this in public.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

A few days ago, an acquaintance gave me a historical account of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.  He explained that when baby Jesus was born, it was prophesied that Jesus of Nazareth would become the king of the Jews. When the king in power heard of it, he ordered the massacre of all male babies within the age range of the baby Jesus. However, the biological parents of the baby Jesus received intel about the plan of the king and escaped. My acquaintance believes that history repeated itself in Nigeria. In order to kill the saviour king, all who were in the age range of the saviour king were massacred. Selah.

Sorosoke to Japa

Well, the protests were hijacked by thugs. Curfews were declared all over the nation. Families wailed for the loss of their beloved. The President addressed the nation some days after the massacre, however, he did not expressly address the Lekki massacre. Like a wave, after the Presidential address, the generation which mustered themselves and chanted “Sorosoke” (Speak out loud) began to chant “Japa” (Disappear). Each man feared for his life, and jokes about traveling out of Nigeria to Canada began to trend.

We cannot afford to keep sinful silence when the youth of our nation are being oppressed by a Nigerian state that is supposed to protect them.

Tunde Bakare

Furthermore, a number of peaceful protesters were incarcerated during and after the #EndSARS protests. Also, the bank accounts of people who supposedly sponsored the protests were frozen. Recently, deliberations about the restrictions of the use of social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram have been ongoing. This stems from the supposed spread of false information by Nigerian youths about governance, police brutality and the Lekki massacre to other nations and continental unions in the world.

Engagement is the breeding ground for idea fermentation.

Kehinde Sogunle (Paraphrased)

Social media has proven to be the most potent tool for citizen engagement in the 21st century. With this tool, people of various cadres express themselves freely. Apparently, government officials cannot hide from the public comments of the common man. Although this tool has its flaws, no great nation is built without conversations – heated ones. In fact, the better place to find solutions is on the negotiation table not the streets.

Over the course of various interactions, I have outlined eight segments of our national life that I describe as constituting Nigeria’s political power blocs…namely: The council of state and the thirty-six state governors; retired generals; traditional institutions; political dynasties; the private sector (including the media); religious leaders; the Nigerian Labour Congress/Trade Union Congress; and foreign partners. My position has been that any individual or group that seeks to be reckoned with politically in Nigeria must not take any of these for granted. I would like to state, at this juncture, that there is a ninth power bloc that must not be taken for granted; it is the Nigerian youth with the power of social media.

Tunde Bakare

As opposed to the steps which the government are attempting to make towards infringing the basic human right to freedom of expression, measures could be taken to curtail its abuse, such as the provision of incentives for appropriate dissemination of information such that it discourages dishonourable use. Youths can also spearhead productive conversations on a grand scale – with local and international civil society organizations – and collaborate with social media platforms to flag dangerous content.

The youth of a nation are the trustees of posterity.

Benjamin Disraeli

Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its root may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant.

Job 14:7-9

Alas, our time has come, and nothing can stop a nation whose time has come.

Quickly and thoroughly, Nigeria must restructure her administrative systems. Our problems began with autocratic leadership, succession of failed governments and ill-suited administrative systems. The rot began from the head and spread to the entire body. Nigeria needs to create administrative systems where her fundamental values determine her laws. The local, state and federal administrative setups must be structured such that no man (including the president) is above the law.

Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

Ecclesiastes 8:11

Unfortunately, autonomy has not been given to our law enforcement agencies. Anyone who exposes the bitter truth suddenly disappears. If bad leaders can be exposed by the press, arraigned by the police and incarcerated promptly, excesses will be curbed. Scapegoats should be made of those who engage in corrupt acts in the pursuit of power.

Prospective leaders should be put forward on the basis of track-records and merit not popularity. The men with the best hearts and minds – not location – should be given the chance to lead. This rotational leadership thing is good but inefficient.

As deep-rooted as our problems are, our freedom will begin with conversations and negotiations among the best and brightest. This is why we must allow for freedom of expression. It is in the heat of engagements that golden ideas are fermented. This is how we find the best. Hence, the inability to air our views will only keep us in bondage.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Let’s focus on the people now. Yes, it is true that most of us sell our votes in the agony of poverty. However, like Esau, we sell our birthrights for a meal, and suffer for years…

Note that there will be an attempt through hidden wisdoms to bring banished ones back. Political figures who have been rejected will be attempted to be forced on the people again through subtle means. They will be reintroduced in a way that it would seem as though we have no choice but to accept them. If we accept them back, days of uncertainty are upon us.

Kuti Olusola

The people must be willing to vote and vote wisely! Voter education – especially for the unlearned – is one of the most strategic steps we can take towards the new Nigeria. We must be made to understand that when we do not vote, we are part of the problem, and when we choose one of two devils, we have collaborated with murderers.

New Nigeria
Vote Wisely

Now, if it is wisdom we seek, the youths must be careful not to despise the tutelage of the elders. Leadership is a continuum and wisdom is deep. Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. Ironically, our youths must be groomed by wise elders for sustainable development. We cannot make progress without the input of the aged.

The #EndSARS protests have proven that there is a time for aluta and another for negotiations at the table. The impact of men like Sam Adeyemi upon the forward-thinking youths of the nation evince the need for tutelage in the matters of Nigeria’s destiny. LEAD Resources runs a programme called Mainstream Successor Generation which provides mentorship and support for grassroot organizers, potential executive council leaders, potential legislators, policy makers, party functionaries, etc. Now that 2023 elections are loading, we must be intentional about training and creating our options. We must also be willing to use our bullets – our votes – to choose the best!

Nigeria and Nigerians will be known all over the world for corruption. Your name – Nigeria – will stink of corruption but after a while, a new phase will come – a phase of righteousness. People from the nations of the earth will hold a Nigerian and say, “We want to follow you to your nation to go and learn righteousness.”

Pa Elton, 1986

What is the New Nigeria? The New Nigeria is:

  1. A Nigeria where life is sacred.
  2. A Nigeria where the streets are safe.
  3. A Nigeria where no one is marginalized.
  4. A Nigeria where no one goes to bed hungry.
  5. A Nigeria where each man is his brothers’ keeper.
  6. A Nigeria where there is quality health care for all.
  7. A Nigeria where there is uninterrupted power supply.
  8. A Nigeria where every child can access quality education.
  9. A Nigeria where every youth is employed or self-employed.
  10. A Nigeria where innovative ideas are fermented and birthed.
  11. A Nigeria where our leaders are chosen wisely and votes count.
  12. A Nigeria that is exalted by righteousness according to God’s will.

The dreams of the new Nigeria are the realities of other nations made up of humans just like us. If we can keep hope alive and infiltrate the source of our rot – poor leadership – we will get there. Dubai did it. Ghana did it. We can do it. We must do it!

REFERENCES

The Youth of a Nation are the Trustees of Posterity by Dr. Tunde Bakare

Nigeria is Still Struggling at 60 but Hope is Still Alive by Prof. Sheff Folarin

The Only Way Forward for Nigeria by Dr. M. M. Wokili

AUTHOR

Tomiwa Babajide is an Associate Solutions Architect at LEAD Resources, a charismatic administrator, an SDGs advocate, a creative writer and a graduate of Microbiology. She is adept in transdisciplinarity, novel and adaptive thinking and virtual collaboration. She is zealous to provide real-time solutions to challenges in the polity. She loves to eat crackers and drink yoghurt, and she can pray and go on road-trips for Africa.

Categories
Technology and Innovation

The Importance of Video Marketing

Marketing evolves. It changes to make for easier communication, better conversion rates, deeper trust between producer and consumer, and a myriad of other reasons. Consumers and investors are like babies; new ways to attract and please them need to be devised from time-to-time in order to communicate with them effectively and sustain their attention. A modern means to achieve this is by video marketing.

Now, what is video marketing? As the name suggests, it is simply the use of videos to engage your audience and market solutions to them. Videos are used to promote your brand, keep your audience in the know of what’s going on in your organization, promote goods sold or services rendered, explain the application of goods sold or services rendered, etc. There are many types of videos that companies and brands use such as explainer videos, interviews and “talking head” videos. 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF VIDEO MARKETING?

Any organization that seeks to attain high Search Engine Optimization would do well to invest in video production as the two biggest search engines, Google and YouTube, are now linked; what this means is that a well-tagged video could increase an organization’s search engine ranking and conversion rates.

Research has shown that information retention can be as high as 80% in a case where information is seen and heard. This is very high compared to the 20% and 10% retention rates of information just seen and information just heard respectively.  

Videos help to build trust. It helps customers attach faces and/or voices to an organization and her services thereby creating human connection. Often, it positively impacts their decision on subscribing to a promoted service or product.

It is relatively easy to get your videos out there. In this era of smartphones and laptops, customers can access your videos anywhere and at any time. Currently, there are multiple online platforms that organizations use to share video content for promoting their brands such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. These platforms have millions of users, therefore, with an efficient marketing strategy, your products can gain the attention of many potential clients, partners and even investors. 

Now, a lot of brands and organizations are heavily into video marketing but many others are not utilizing videos for marketing purposes. In this digital age, if you want to maintain relevance, it is imperative to incorporate video marketing as a marketing strategy. Although quality video production can be tedious and expensive, it is always worth it.

For more marketing insights, contact Lead Resources’ Digital Marketing experts here. Let’s help take your business to the next level.

AUTHOR

Ugochukwu Nnamani is an Associate Solutions Architect at Lead Resources. He is a graduate of Political Science. He is a versatile guy with interests in videography, cinematography, social trends and politics. His hobbies include watching movies and anime, learning new things and meeting new people.