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Saturday, 31 January 2015

Shocking Photos; Hell's Gates Were Left Open!!!

No matter how much I see, some things will always shock me. No matter how much I hear, the reasons people do certain things they do will always baffle me... 

**WARNING** PHOTO SHOCK- Did someone leave open the gates from hell?

Much Ado About Instagram Likes!

What greater misfortune can befall someone in these days of the Generation Y? There are ten worst misfortunes I can I think of in life and among those 10 one of them has got to be posting a picture on Instagram and not getting enough or any likes. 

Discipline Or Destruction of Self-Esteem. What Do You Think? (plus Blog Reader Asks)

I'm sure we've all seen these viral  pictures of the little boy who was given the grown-up kids special haircut? I think it's a creative way to discipline a child, especially in a society that does not condone or accept physical discipline. The pictures are funny and the look on the child's face is darn priceless. But I can't help but wonder, in a society where there's so much bullying and egos and self-esteem is quite fragile, would doing this not result in more harm than good? Would you give your little one the grown-up kids special haircut?

This brings me to a question someone asked me to make a post. She said to ask the house, especially the parents among us, how one can best discipline children besides flogging them. Some kids are so difficult and the whole "go sit in a corner", "go stay in your room", just doesn't cut it with them. So especially for those who don't believe in using the rod, how best do you discipline (difficult) kids and get result?

Friday, 30 January 2015

P Square... Some People Are So Full Of It!

Some people are simply ridiculous. Eeishhhh! 

Meanwhile I thank God for journey mercies. Turbulence all the way but we landed safely. Back in Lagos and I'm already feeling nostalgic *sobs*. My head's been all over the place guys, so I've not had much time for some things, the blog has had to suffer too. I promise I'll get things sorted soon, please stick with me through the rough patches, things will be smoothened out soon. 

Good night. 

The Wedding Industry Conference 2015

The Wedding Industry Conference to hold at The Haven, Ikeja on Wednesday 4th of February 

On Wednesday 4th February 2014, wedding vendors, stakeholders, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts will gather for a day of networking, mentoring and discussions on pertinent issues about Nigeria’s every growing wedding industry. This is going to be the biggest gathering of participants in the wedding industry, an event anyone who does a business that caters for weddings and events must attend!

The Wedding Industry Conference & Exhibition (TWICE) is being organised by Akin Eso, the CEO of WED Expo and a committee of seasoned practitioners in the industry.

Do you run a business that caters for anything related to weddings? Are you a makeup artist, wedding planner, wedding blogger, photographer, designer, event decorator, DJ, MC or work in any organisation that caters to the wedding industry? Do you plan to have a business in the wedding industry? If yes, then join wedding industry professionals in an engaging, educative and informative session at TWICE.

TWICE brings together wedding professionals and stakeholders to get inspired by the different speakers as well as network and share ideas with one another. We have tailored the event to fit both newcomers to the industry, as well as some of the most experienced and savviest of wedding professionals. Participants stand to gain from the extremely talented and experienced speakers as well as panel sessions on different aspects of the industry. This is an event for everyone who desires to grow in his/her business and for discussions on how to move the industry forward.


Lanre Olushola, a motivational speaker and life coach is the keynote speaker of the event. Tunji Babatunde, a life coach and motivational speaker will also be inspiring the audience. Other seasoned players in the wedding industry will be speaking on various topics in their area of expertise. They include Funke Bucknor-Obruthe(Zapphaire Events), Mai Atafo (Mai Atafo Inspired), Banke Meshida-Lawal (BM Pro),Kelechi Amadi-Obi (Kelechi Amadi Obi Studios), Tosan Jemide (Cakes By Tosan),Ayiri Oladunmoye (Oaken Events), Tara Fela Durotoye (House Of Tara), Ibidun Ighodalo (Elizabeth R Events), Seyi Olusanya (Once Upon A Destination) and much more.


There will be several panel sessions where seasoned practitioners in the industry will share their tips with guests present. Sessions will be in these categories: Wedding Decor, Makeup, Wedding & Event Planning, Cake Artistry, Social Media, Wedding Fashion & Photography

Date: Wednesday 4th February, 2015

Time: 9am – 5pm
Venue: The Haven Event Centre, beside Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral (Police College Road), Ikeja GRA, Lagos
Theme: Growth of the Wedding Industry and it's Impact on the Nigerian Economy


Attendance and Registration is FREE and can be done at the venue from 8.30am. Pre-registration is however advised. CLICK HERE to register.

For more enquiries, please contact any of the Conference Committee Members:

Adefunke Kuyoro, TWC Events Services – 08098440865

Yvonne Akpomedaye, Ivy-Lil’ Beth Concepts – 08027367595

Mercy Ajuka, Kasamyrrh – 0816288753807012117450

Adenike Toikumo, Excellseum Events – 07025001448

Yemi Adewale, YDA Creations – 0909891435408057524783

Dada Gbenga, Artsmith Collections


Do We Really Need To Ask?

"We went to ask and they heard that they steal too much in their family". 

Would You Try This Wedding Cake?

A while back most of you were freaked out by the baby shower cake. Personally I was a tad indifferent, but this one, this one really freaks me out. Would you do this? 

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Wedding Night - Prose.

Some might have called it a bad omen, for the newly weds to find themselves in pitch black darkness on their wedding night. The power in the hotel tripped off several minutes ago and the air in the room was becoming very humid. Femi, flung away at the far end of the bed was dead to the world, his loud snores reverberated around the room. Kike however wasn't that fortunate, exhausted as she was her weak body wouldn't just give in to sleep. She held the lifeless intercom in her hand and wondered what she could do. 

Resigning herself to the darkness she soon began to drift off to sleep. Her dreams were already forming and she saw herself cut the white three-tier cake with Femi, she saw herself smile sweetly up at him and she saw him cut a piece of cake to feed her with. As she opened her mouth to eat the sweet spongy cake she heard it, and immediately Kike's eyes flew open as she was jolted wide awake. 

Kike wasn't quite sure if the scream had been a part of her dream or actual reality. As she tried to still her racing heart and convince herself that it was the latter, she heard it again. This time it was accompanied by very loud banging.

Kike sat up in bed, her heartbeat a staccato of drums. She couldn't see anything or make out any images. 

"Open this door. Open this door. NOW!" She heard a gravelly voice scream and the command was followed by a loud noise, unmistakably a gun shot. 

Kike felt a mercurial taste in her mouth which had become sandpaper dry. Panicked, she began to pound on Femi's back, forcing her new husband out of his slumber. 

"Wake up! Femi wake up! The hotel is being attacked Femmiiiiii" she screamed 

"Jumoke!" Femi muttered sleepily

"What did you just call me? Wake up Femi!" Kike screamed at a Femi who wasn't quite awake yet. 

"What?" An irritable Femi asked impatiently, shrugging her off

Kike looked at her husband of only a few hours and a sudden fear set in; who was Jumoke? Why had he used that harsh tone with her? Had marriage changed him so soon? Is this how their life as a married couple will be; him, impatient and short with her? As she began to wonder another gun shot rang in the air and jolted her back to the present, this time Femi was off the bed in a flash. 

"What is happening?" A panicked Femi asked "and why is it so dark?"

"Femi I don't know. It seems the hotel is..."

Another deafening gun shot rang through, followed by the frightening sound of strong arms banging on doors, threatening to break them down. This was followed by loud screams, it seemed the assailants had gained entrance into a nearby room and the lodger was obviously stricken with fear!

Kike and Femi shaken with panic and anxiety hurdled close together on the ground, unsure of what to do. The windows were all burglary proofed and the only way out of the room was through the door. At the other side of the door, the murderous attackers, armed robbers maybe, were obviously on the same corridor as them.

"Please don't shoot me", came a frightened voice from only a few feet away. "Please don't ...." And another gunshot followed. 

"Blood of Jesus, blood of Jesus, merciful saviour" Femi muttered with a catch in his voice. 

The voices were getting closer, the gunshots were getting louder, the attackers were obviously nearing their room. Femi thrashed around the kingsize bed for his phone and thankfully he soon found it and immediately placed a call. 

"Hello, hello! Brother Tayo, brother Tayo our lives are at risk, we are under attack, Brother Tayo please call the"

Then the loud banging came, this time it was on their own door. Kike felt her bladder go loose, she heard Femi break into tears, the first time she had heard him cry in the six years they had been together, they really were doomed. 

Kike knew it was over as one final kick did the door in. Femi held her tightly and together they lay flat on the floor with their foreheads to the ground, each sobbing tears of fear and despair. Lights were flashed in their direction and footsteps steadily approached them, stopping barely inches away from their heads. Kike whimpered like a frightened cat as she heard the person cock a gun, ready to pull the trigger. She squeezed her eyes shut, expecting the worst. 

"Femi", a voice called out, it was the soft voice of a very young woman. 

I eagerly flipped the page but just as I was about to proceed on the next page, the conductor announced that we had reached our destination. Irritated, I shut the book close and grabbed my bag, the lecture was starting in a few minutes. 

The End. 

Her Mother-In-Law Did The Unthinkable!

Guys last week I asked what you would do if you come home one day and your mother in law has given your little baby tribal marks. When I did I honestly never imagined that such a thing could happen. Well it turns out that it actually does and this mail on lailasblog just goes to show...

I Loved You But I Took To My Heels!

It probably wasn't but it was a lot like love at first sight. 

How could I tell? It was the chemistry, the electricity that's felt by two people at that first meeting. I wouldn't even bother talking about it; the intense attraction, some primal need to hold and be held by that one person, an immediate build up of affection. And that's how it was with *Chimdi and I. 

And the day we first spoke, I couldn't believe my good fortune. But on the first date Chimdi, feeling that (thing that felt like) love thought he could tell me ALL about him, and he did, I couldn't believe one man's misfortune. 

The things Chimdi told me scared the hell out of me, how cultists killed his girlfriend when they couldn't find him, how his family locked him up and made him swear an oath in a shrine when his aunt accused him of raping and impregnating her, how his businesses failed one after the other, how the buses he bought for a tranportation business all either got burnt or stolen one after the other, how while driving one of the buses one of his bus drivers died in the fire incident and the deceased's family came after him and had him locked up, how he himself had been in an auto accident and was lucky to still be alive. He told me so much and with each story I felt that thing that felt like love slowly ebb away. 

Still I wouldn't walk away just like that, I stayed a little longer. I thought to myself that all that misfortune must have been some phase in the past. Turns out I was wrong. Now not only were things just never smooth with him, he was never without an unhappy tale or a dour mood. Not long later I realized that somehow I wasn't as sunny as I used to be, somehow there was always a grey cloud hanging over my head and some heavy weight in my heart. It didn't take long for me to realize that the new addition to my life was, although very good hearted, loving and kind, was a very toxic person, without meaning to be...

For the sake of my happiness and peace of mind I slowly withdrew from him and broke things off. He never quite knew why and would often beg, saying he just needed to know, he just needed closure. How could I say "Chimdi I left you because it seems you have too much bad luck in, above and around you, and I felt like I was drowning in your flood of unhappiness and misfortune"? How could I say "Chimdi I left because your constant moodiness and unending sadness made my mouth bitter, made me depressed, and my sense of self-preservation kicked in and forced me to run for my life"? I couldn't say any of that so I lied; "I realized I'm still in love with my ex and you really deserve someone who loves you as much as you love them".  

A few years later I found myself bringing a friendship to an abrupt end. She always had one sad tale or the other, it seemed things just kept going wrong with her. She seemed to be a very unlucky person, nothing ever went well for her, everything she turned turned to ashes, and dear Lord I didn't want any of that. 
     I'm not saying I would walk out of the life of anyone who has got issues or challenges, all I'm saying is when your life is one issue,  challenge, misfortune and sorrow after the other, and when you walk around with your eyes vacant, your shoulders drooping, your face sullen and your heart dark, I'd worry for myself and create some distance. 

In my defence, it's already a struggle sometimes keeping my heart light and my fortune bright, I really don't want to have it dimmed any further. 

And it turns of Robert Greene agrees with me, it's the 10th Law of Power after all. 

But what say you, how do you cope with a person who's perpetually filled with misery and misfortune?

Dear Thelma

TTB readers is it right for a husband to force himself on his wife? I know that wives are to submit to their husbands but some days I am too tired or I am not in the mood but my husband does not care because according to him it is his right. Some times when he forces me like that he bruises me down there and one time he forced me to have anal sex. Thelma that day I tot will die, i don't know how people do it but I was in pain for days. Even as I was in pain he still demanded sex. I love my husband but I hate this part of him. Am I wrong to complain, when someone hears my problem they say thatI should be happy that my husband still finds me attractive and that it is a sign that he is faithful to me. But why can't he listen to me when I say no, or don't I have a right to say no sometimes? Pls what can I do?

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Responds To Charles Soludo's "Buhari vs Jonathan" Article.

A blog reader just sent me a message asking me to post this. He/she would love to hear and partake of the lively debate and opinions of blog readers. Uyi and Sasha bone were specifically mentioned. See Ngozi Okonjo Iweala's text below. 

1. For anyone who has not read Professor Charles Soludo’s article on January 25 2015, I would encourage them to do so. It is littered with abusive and unbecoming language. It shows how an embittered loser in the Nigerian political space can get so derailed that they commit intellectual harakiri by deliberately misquoting economic facts and maliciously turning statistics on their head to justify a hatchet job. We hope all the intellectuals in the international circles in which Professor Soludo has told us he flies around in will read what a Professor of Economics has chosen to do with his intellect.

2. In this one article Soludo has shamelessly pandered to so many past leaders that Nigerians are asking one more time – what position is Soludo gunning for now? He claims in his article that he has had his own share of public service, yet he has failed twice in his attempts to be Governor of Anambra State and Vice Presidential candidate of various parties. There is definitely an issue of character with Prof. Charles Soludo and his desperate search for power and relevance in Nigeria. Nigerians should therefore beware of so-called intellectuals without character and wisdom because this combination is fatal.

3. But let us turn to the main subject of Soludo’s discourse. So much of what is written is outright nonsense and self-seeking aggrandizement that need not be dignified with a response. It is totally remarkable that Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, the man who presided over the worst mismanagement of Nigeria’s banking sector as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria between May 2004 and May 2009, can write about the mismanagement of the economy.

4.  Nigerians must be reminded of his antecedents as CBN Governor, and even prior to that, as the Chief Economic Adviser to the President. The consolidation of the banking sector was a good policy idea of the Obasanjo Administration but Soludo went on to thoroughly mismanage its implementation leading to the worst financial crisis in Nigeria’s history. So what did Soludo do?

5.  After consolidation, the regulatory functions of the Soludo-led CBN were very poorly exercised. As Governor, he failed to adequately supervise and regulate the now larger banks – an anomaly in Financial Sector Supervision. In fact as every Nigerian knows, in his time there was very little separation between the regulators and the regulated which is a violation of a key requirement of Central Banking success. This led to infractions in corporate governance in many banks as loans and other credit instruments running to hundreds of billions of naira were extended to clients without following due process, and several of these loans could not be paid back. This massive accumulation of bad debts or non-performing loans as they are called in the banking sector meant that our banks were ill-positioned to deal with the global financial crisis when it hit.

6.  In fact, the banking sector was brought to its knees and required a massive bailout by Nigerian tax payers. This bailout was done by his successor (now Emir of Kano) who cleaned up all the bad debts and transferred them to the newly-established AMCON, from where they are managed today. So let it be noted for the record books that Soludo’s single-handed mismanagement of the banking sector led to an incredible accumulation of liabilities that will cost tax payers about N5.67 trillion (being the total face value of AMCON-issued bonds) to clean up. Let it be noted also that this amount, which is more than the entire Federal Government 2015 Budget, constitutes the bulk of Nigeria’s “contingent liabilities” mentioned in Soludo’s article. It is only in Nigeria where someone who perpetrated such a colossal economic atrocity would have the temerity to make assertions on public debt and the management of the economy.

7.     Let us now look at some of the points he makes. Luckily, Soludo has told us that he has been busy travelling internationally, hobnobbing with his global partners. It is obvious from this article that from the rarefied heights at which he is flying he is completely out of touch with what is happening with the management of this economy. Take his comments on the mismanagement of the economy and the imposition of the austerity measures. The present fall in oil prices, a global phenomenon over which Nigeria has no control, has given every charlatan the opportunity to attack the economy, and by extension the managers of the economy

8. It is true that the economy grew well during the second-term of former President Obasanjo as a result of the reforms supported by the President and implemented by the Economic Management Team. Please note that the Finance Minister under whose leadership that good performance took place, including massive unprecedented debt relief, is still Finance Minister today. But thorough examination of the facts on performance under the Jonathan Administration will also reveal that at a time when global economic performance was mediocre, with GDP growth averaging about 3 percent per annum, Nigeria’s GDP growth – averaging about 6 percent per annum – is indeed remarkable. Even more interesting is the fact that the oil sector did not drive this economic performance but the non-oil sector (Agriculture, Manufacturing, Telecommunications, the Creative Economy, and so on), which shows that the current Administration’s diversification objective under the Transformation Agenda is working. Transformation equals diversification

9.  This current government managed to control inflation, which he Soludo, was not able to do during his time at the helm of monetary policy in Nigeria. When he left the Central Bank in 2009, inflation – which hurts the poor and vulnerable in the society the most – was above 13 percent per annum.  Now, inflation is at single-digit, at 8 percent per annum. What about exchange rates? Well this administration again managed to stabilize the naira exchange rates, such that between May 2011 and the end of 2014, official exchange rates against the dollar rarely moved out of the N153 to N156 band. It is only with the recent dramatic fall in oil prices and the consequent impact on our foreign reserves that the exchange rate has become quite volatile. The drop in oil price has been heavy and rapid impacting all oil producing nations significantly. Nigeria is no exception and appropriate fiscal and monetary policy measures are being put in place to manage this situation.

10.  In fact, history will recall that careless remarks by Prof. Soludo (then Chief Economic Adviser to the President) hypothesizing a possible naira devaluation, condemned the naira to a free fall towards the end of 2003. Ray Echebiri, in his 2004 article in the Financial Standard, wrote that not even the assurances given by the then CBN Governor, Mr. Joseph Sanusi or President Obasanjo that any plans to devalue the naira existed only in the head of Professor Soludo could halt the fall of the naira from N128 to the dollar in the official market to about N140 between September and December 2003.

11. It is true that our foreign reserve accumulation is less than what it should be but the reason for this has been fully given, not as excuses but simply as fact: lower oil production and crude oil theft along with the refusal to save in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) are the reasons. Contrary to what Soludo said, oil production under President Obasanjo was higher than current levels. Quantities produced averaged 2.4 million bdp, 2.22 million bpd, and 2.21 million bpd in 2005, 2006, and 2007 respectively but has declined now to between 1.95 and 2.21 million bdp due to vandalism of the pipelines and the resulting “shut-ins” to fix the problem. It is true that had production been at the previous levels and had there been willingness to save we would have had more money in the ECA and also in the reserves. But the overriding setback to savings is that the State Governors felt it was their constitutional right to share the money. Please recall that even as we speak the States have taken the Federal Government to the Supreme Court on this issue

12. Soludo’s claim that 71 percent of Nigerians live below the poverty line is misleading and disingenuous. He uses 2011 statistics on poverty by the NBS to support his argument while ignoring more recent figures. But as stated in the Nigeria Economic Report 2014 by the World Bank, poverty rate in Nigeria has dropped from 35.2 percent of population in 2010/2011 to 33.1 percent in 2012/2013. By the way, the reason why our poverty numbers have been so wrong is that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), under Soludo’s supervision as CEA and Vice-Chair of the National Planning Commission, departed from the international standard method of poverty measurement. Is he now ignoring the right economic statistics to wilfully manipulate information?

13.   No doubt we have a problem with unemployment in this country and we must deal with it. Indeed this Administration is dealing with it and stands proud of what it has accomplished so far and is pushing hard to accomplish much more. As a first step, the Administration, through the office of the Chief Economic Adviser to the President and the NBS, worked hard to determine how many jobs we need to create in a year. What you don’t measure you cannot make progress on. Why didn’t Soludo do this when he was CEA?

14.   We need to create about 1.8 million jobs a year in this country to cater for the new entrants into the labour market, but we also need to deal with the backlog of the unemployed and the underemployed, e.g. those selling on the streets. Dealing with this global challenge of unemployment is not an easy task for any country, as can be seen from the experiences of developed countries particularly in the euro area. But the Jonathan Administration is making good progress, creating an average of about 1.4 million jobs per year by driving quality growth in key sectors like Agriculture, where the bulk of new jobs are being created, Housing, Manufacturing, Financial Services, and the Creative Industries like Nollywood.

15.  In addition we have special programs to promote job creation among the youth and these include:

16.                         On the issue of debt, Nigerians deserve to know the truth and we have said it before. The truth is that the government borrowed in 2010 to pay an unprecedented 53.7 percent wage increase to all categories of federal employees as demanded by labour unions.  The total wage bill rose from N857 billion in 2009 to about N1.4 trillion in 2010, and as a result, domestic borrowing increased from N200 billion in 2007 to about N1.1 trillion in 2010 to meet the wage payments. Where was Soludo at the time? Why did he not react to the borrowing then? Was it because he wanted to pander to labour in preparation for his political career?

17.   It is noteworthy that since 2011, the Administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has been prudent with the issue of debt and borrowing. The Economic Management Team not only looks at debt to GDP ratio, where Nigeria has one of the lowest numbers in the world at 12.51 percent but it looks at debt service to revenues. That is why in spite of the rebasing and a larger GDP, the administration has taken a prudent approach to borrowing. The prudent approach helped to drive down domestic borrowing from N1.1 trillion in 2010 to N642 billion in 2014. In fact for the first time in our nation’s borrowing history we even managed to retire N75 billion of domestic bonds outright in 2013.

18. Despite the present tough situation, we do not plan to go on a borrowing spree but to keep borrowing modest at a level sufficient to help us weather the present situation. We have already ramped up efforts to generate more non-oil revenues for the government while cutting costs of governance. Therefore, Soludo’s claim that this Administration is reckless with debt does not hold true.

19.  Since Soludo seems so ignorant to what has been achieved by the Jonathan Administration, let us present just a few examples of them here again. This information is easily verified.

·        We are improving infrastructure across the country. For example, 22 airport terminals are being refurbished, and five new international airport terminals under construction in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano, Abuja, and Enugu. Soludo’s kinsmen in the South East now have an international airport in Enugu, and for the first time in Nigeria’s history can fly direct from Enugu to anywhere in world for which they are very grateful to this Administration. But with Soludo being up in the air with his international travels, he has not touched ground in the Southeast to observe this development for himself.

·        Various road and bridge projects have either been completed or are under construction. Those completed include the Enugu – Abaliki road in Enugu/Ebonyi States, the Oturkpo – Oweto road in Benue State, the Benin – Ore – Shagamu highway, and the Abuja – Abaji – Lokoja dualization, and the Kano – Maiduguri dualization. The Lagos – Ibadan expressway and the Second Niger Bridge are under construction.

·         Rail from Lagos to Kano is now functional, as is parts of the rail link between Port Harcourt and Maiduguri. All these have brought transport costs down. We recognise that more needs to be done in the power sector, but bold steps (like the privatisation of the GENCOs and DISCOs) have been taken, and our gas infrastructure is being developed to power electricity generation

·        In Agriculture, over 6 million farmers now have access to inputs like fertilizers and seeds through an e-wallet system, which is more than the 403,222 that had access in 2011. Rice paddy production took off for the first time in our history, adding about 7 million MT to rice supply. An additional 1.3 million MT of Cassava has also been produced and as a result, the rate of food price increase has slowed considerably, according to the NBS.

·        In Housing, we have put in place a new wholesale mortgage provider – the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Corporation (NMRC) – to provide affordable mortgages to ordinary Nigerians, starting with those in the low-middle income bracket. This sector will help the economy grow as we tap it as an economic driver for the first time. Mortgage applications from 66,000 people are currently being processed and 23,000 have already received mortgage offers

·        Our Manufacturing sector is reviving with new automobile plants by Nissan, Toyota, etc. This is in addition to the backward integration policy in key sectors like petrochemical, sugar, textiles, agro processing and cement, which Nigeria is now producing 39,000 MT and exporting to the region.

·        The Creative sector is now a factor in our GDP, with Nollywood alone accounting for 1.4 percent, creating over 200,000 direct jobs and nearly 1 million indirect jobs. This is the first Administration to recognise its importance and support its further development with a grant program.

·        A new bank – the Development Bank of Nigeria – will soon be operational and this bank will help bridge the access to finance gap, which is a major constraint for the private sector especially SMEs. The bank will provide long-term (5 – 10 years) financing at affordable rates for the first time in our nation’s history.
20.   This is the path that the government has been on before this fall in oil prices. The response to the economic shock has been spelled out to the Nigerian public over and over again, and the Administration intends to focus on managing this crisis appropriately. This year will be difficult. To say anything less to Nigerians will be untruthful. It would have been better if there had been a bigger cushion of the Excess Crude Account to manage this situation but despite this the nation can rise to the challenge. More importantly, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the Economic Management Team are seeing this as an opportunity to diversify the revenue sources of an already diversifying economy. In fact let me at this juncture use this opportunity to comment on Soludo’s appalling statement that rebasing brings no policy value. Rebasing has enabled us to better grasp the new diversified nature of our economy. This provides the basis for our present drive to support different sectors with appropriate policy instruments to enhance their development. Rebasing has also enabled the Administration to create the platform from which to drive our work on increasing non-oil revenues. These are areas of critical policy value.

21.  Soludo mentioned the issue of the Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU, noting that this Administration has not been vocal or clear on its direction with this agreement. On the contrary, the Administration, particularly the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, has been clear on this issue but since Soludo has been in the air he probably has not been aware of this. Just recently, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment reiterated again to the corporate sector that Nigeria has not signed and does not propose to sign the EPA in its present form.

22. The point is that this government has been pursuing the right economic policies, and its efforts have been acknowledged nationally and internationally. Let me say that there are objective ways to measure performance. There are international institutions globally accepted to do this. They have acknowledged this Administration’s good economic management up to the recent crisis and even now.   

23.  We cannot go by someone’s subjective view, driven by bitterness and bile. We need to look to the truth and to professionalism. This is where Professor Soludo totally fails. For the other gratuitous, political, and personal attacks, we are sure that those mentioned will respond appropriately. It is a sad day for Nigeria and the economics profession that someone like Soludo, a former CBN governor should write such an article. If Soludo wants to regain respect, he should return to the path of professionalism. He certainly needs something to improve his image from that of someone whose sojourn into National Economic Management ended in disaster for the banking sector, his sojourn in politics, ended in overwhelming rejection by the electorate, and more recently, his sojourn abroad, has put him out of touch with the reality of the Nigerian economy.

Paul C Nwabuikwu
Special Adviser to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Idibia's Damage Control, Zahra Buhari's Faint Heart, Kris Jenner's Hot Legs et al!

So I just settled into my hotel room, devoured the wheat and onugbu soup I bought, powered my ipad and settled into bed to devour social news and here's what has happened between when I boarded the bus and now! 

It's not my job to bring you the gist, I'm a bit too lazy to do all of that but I'm sure you already heard about or saw the mysterious pictures of Tubaba smooching someone who's not Annie... Oh well, Tania Omotayo has gone and posted the above. Quite frankly I thought the picture of Tubaba and the other missus must have been a very old picture but this weak ass attempt at damage control has only served to convince me that there's a very stinky smelly fat dead rat rotting somewhere and the stench is killing me. #SilenceIsGold. 

Ok, this 59 year old momma makes the blood rush through my veins. I love love love Kris Jenner's attitude towards life. Not that I'd be glad to see my mum wearing that though...

Seriously now, what was Zahra Buhari thinking, that she would convince the masses and sway the crowd with those tweets? Didn't she know the kind of backlash her tweets would elicit? What was the youngen thinking? Actually I thought she must have known, she couldn't possibly be that naive, I just thought she had prepared her mind for whatever was to come... Apparently I thought wrong. 

Is this real? Is this true? Say it isn't so! And if it is real then I choose to believe that the Buhari Support Organization said "thanks, but no thanks". They wouldn't possibly accept the cash, there's no way they'd take the money from her. Or is there...?

What caught your attention in the blogosphere today guys? 

Just Before I Forget To Ask... (Plus One Little Giveaway)

Must Read! Buhari vs Jonathan, Beyond The Elections. - Charles Soludo

I need to preface this article with a few clarifications. I have taken a long sabbatical leave from partisan politics, and it is real fun watching the drama from the balcony.  Having had my own share of public service (I do not need a job from government), I now devote my time and energy in pursuit of other passions, especially abroad. A few days ago, I read an article in Thisday entitled “Where is Charles Soludo?”, and my answer is that I am still there, only that I have been too busy with extensive international travels to participate in or comment on our national politics and economy.

But I occasionally follow events at home. Since the survival and prosperity of Nigeria are at stake, the least some of us (albeit, non-partisan) must do is to engage in public debate. As the elections approach, I owe a duty to share some of my concerns.
In September 2010, I wrote a piece entitled “2011 Elections: Let the Real Debate Begin” and published by Thisday. I understand the Federal Executive Council discussed it, and the Minister of Information rained personal attacks on me during the press briefing. I noted more than six newspaper editorials in support of the issues we raised. Beside other issues we raised, our main thesis was that the macro economy was dangerously adrift, with little self-insurance mechanisms (and a prediction that if oil prices fell below $40, many state governments would not be able to pay salaries). I gave a subtle hint at easy money and exchange rate depreciations because I did not want to panic the market with a strong statement. Sadly, on the eve of the next elections, literally everything we hinted at has happened.  Part of my motivation for this article is that five years after, the real debate is still not happening.

The presidential election next month will be won by either Buhari or Jonathan. For either, it is likely to be a pyrrhic victory. None of them will be able to deliver on the fantastic promises being made on the economy, and if oil prices remain below $60, I see very difficult months ahead, with possible heady collisions with labour, civil society, and indeed the citizenry. To be sure, the presidential election will not be decided by the quality of ‘issues’ or promises canvassed by the candidates. The debates won’t also change much (except if there is a major gaffe by either candidate like Tofa did in the debate with Abiola). My take is that more than 95% of the likely voters have pretty much made up their minds based largely on other considerations. A few of us remain undecided. During my brief visit to Nigeria, I watched some of the campaign rallies on television. The tragedy of the current electioneering campaigns is that both parties are missing the golden opportunity to sensitize the citizenry about the enormous challenges ahead and hence mobilize them for the inevitable sacrifices they would be called upon to make soon. Each is promising an El-Dorado.

Let me admit that the two main parties talk around the major development challenges—corruption, insecurity, economy (unemployment/poverty, power, infrastructure, etc) health, education, etc. However, it is my considered view that none of them has any credible agenda to deal with the issues, especially within the context of the evolving global economy and Nigeria’s broken public finance. The UK Conservative Party’s manifesto for the last election proudly announced that all its programmes were fully costed and were therefore implementable. Neither APC nor PDP can make a similar claim.  A plan without the dollar or Naira signs to it is nothing but a wish-list. They are not telling us how much each of their promises will cost and where they will get the money. None talks about the broken or near bankrupt public finance and the strategy to fix it. 

In response to the question of where the money will come from, I heard one of the politicians say that the problem of Nigeria was not money but the management of resources. This is half-truth. The problem is both. No matter how efficient a father (with a monthly salary of N50,000) is at managing the family resources, I cannot see how he could deliver on a promise to buy a brand new Peugeot 406 for each of his three children in a year.  Even with all the loopholes and waste closed, with increased efficiency per dollar spent, there is still a binding budget constraint. To deliver an efficient national transport infrastructure alone will still cost tens of billions of dollars per annum even by corruption-free, cost-effective means.  Did I hear that APC promises a welfare system that will pay between N5,000 and N10,000 per month to the poorest 25 million Nigerians?  Just this programme alone will cost between N1.5 and N3 trillion per annum. Add to this the cost of free primary education plus free meal (to be funded by the federal budget or would it force non-APC state governments to implement the same?), plus some millions of public housing, etc.  

I have tried to cost some of the promises by both the APC and the PDP, given alternative scenarios for public finance and the numbers don’t add up.  Nigerians would be glad to know how both parties would fund their programmes.  Do they intend to accentuate the huge public debt, or raise taxes on the soon to-be-beleaguered private businesses, or massively devalue the naira to rake in baskets of naira from the dwindling oil revenue, or embark on huge fiscal retrenchment with the sack of labour and abandonment of projects, and which areas of waste do they intend to close and how much do they estimate to rake in from them, etc?  I remember that Chief Obafemi Awolowo was asked similar questions in 1978 and 1979 about his promises of free education and free medical services. Even as a teenager, I was impressed by how he reeled out  figures about the amounts he would save from various ‘waste’ including the tea/coffee served in government offices. The point is that at least he did his homework and had his numbers and I give credit to his team. Some 36 years later, the quality of political debate and discourse seems to border on the pedestrian. From the quality of its team, I did not expect much from the current government, but I must confess that I expected APC as a party aspiring to take over from PDP to come up with a knock-out punch. Evidently, from what we have read from the various versions of its manifesto as well as the depth of promises being made, it does not seem that it has a better offer.

Let me digress a bit to refresh our memory on where we are, and thus provide the context in which to evaluate the promises being made to us. Recall that the key word of the 2015 budget is ‘austerity’.  Austerity? This is just within a few months of the fall in oil prices. History repeats itself in a very cruel way, as this was exactly what happened under the Shehu Shagari administration. Under the Shagari government, oil price reached its highest in 1980/81. During the same period, Nigeria ratcheted up its consumption and all tiers of government were in competition as to which would out-borrow the other. Huge public debt was the consequence. When oil prices crashed in early 1982, the National Assembly then passed the Economic Stabilization (Austerity Measures) Act in one day--- going through the first, second, and third readings the same day.  The austerity measures included the rationing of ‘essential commodities’ and most states owed salary arrears. Corruption was said to be pervasive, and as Sani Abacha said in that famous coup speech, ‘unemployment has reached unacceptable proportions and our hospitals have become mere consulting clinics’.  General Muhammadu Buhari/Tunde Idiagbon regime made the fight against corruption and restoration of discipline the cardinal point of their administration which lasted for 20 months. I am not sure they had a credible plan to get the economy out of the doldrums (although it must be admitted that poverty incidence in Nigeria as of 1985 when they left office was a just46%--- according to the Federal Office of Statistics).

We have come full circle. If the experience under Shagari could be excused as an unexpected shock, what Nigeria is going through now is a consequence of our deliberate wrong choices.  We have always known that the unprecedented oil boom (in both price and quantity—despite oil theft) of the last six years is temporary but the government chose to treat it as a permanent shock. The parallels with the Shagari regime are troubling. First, at the time of oil boom, Nigeria again went on a consumption spree such that the budgets of the last five years can best be described as ‘consumption budgets’, with new borrowing by the federal government exceeding the actual expenditure on critical infrastructure. Second, not one penny was added to the stock of foreign reserves at a period Nigeria earned hundreds of billions from oil. For comparisons, President Obasanjo met about $5 billion in foreign reserves, and the average monthly oil price for the 72 months he was in office was $38, and yet he left $43 billion in foreign reserves after paying $12 billion to write-off Nigeria’s external debt. In the last five years, the average monthly oil price has been over $100, and the quantity also higher but our foreign reserves have been declining and exchange rate depreciating.

I note that when I assumed office as Governor of CBN, the stock of foreign reserves was $10 billion. The average monthly oil price during my 60 months in office was $59, but foreign reserve reached the all-time peak of $62 billion (and despite paying $12 billion for external debt, and losing over $15 billion during the unprecedented global financial and economic crisis) I left behind $45 billion.  Recall also that our exchange rate continuously appreciated during this period and was at N117 to the dollar before the global crisis and we deliberately allowed it to depreciate in order to preserve our reserves.  My calculation is that if the economy was better managed, our foreign reserves should have been between $102 --$118 billion and exchange rate around N112 before the fall in oil prices. As of now, the reserves should be around $90 billion and exchange rate no higher than N125 per dollar.  
Third, the rate of public debt accumulation at a time of unprecedented boom had no parallel in the world.  While the Obasanjo administration bought and enlarged the policy space for Nigeria, the current government has sold and constricted it.  What debt relief did for Nigeria was to liberate Nigerian policymakers from the intrusive conditionalities of the creditors and thereby truly allowing Nigeria independence in its public policy. How have we used the independence?  Through our own choices, we have yet again tied the hands of future policymakers. This time, the debt is not necessarily to foreign creditor institutions/governments which are organized under the Paris club but largely to private agents which is even more volatile. We call it domestic debt. But if one carefully unpacks the bond portfolio, what percentage of it is held by foreign private agents? And I understand the Government had removed the speed bumps we kept to slow the speed of capital flight, and someone is sweating to explain the gyrations in foreign reserves. I am just smiling! 

In sum, the mismanagement of our economy has brought us once more to the brink. Government officials rely on the artificial construct of debt to GDP ratio to tell us we can borrow as much as we want.  That is nonsense, especially for an economy with a mono but highly volatile source of revenue and forex earnings. The chicken will soon come home to roost.  Today, the combined domestic and external debt of the Federal Government is in excess of $40 billion. Add to this the fact that abandoned capital projects littered all over the country amount to over $50 billion.  No word yet on other huge contingent liabilities.  If oil prices continue to fall, I bet that Nigeria will soon have a heavy debt burden even with low debt to GDP ratio. Furthermore, given the current and capital account regime, it is evident that Nigeria does not have enough foreign reserves to adequately cover for imports plus short term liabilities.  In essence, we are approaching the classic of what the Shagari government faced, and no wonder the hasty introduction of ‘austerity measures’ again.

Fourth, poverty incidence and unemployment are also simultaneously at all-time high levels. According to the NBS, poverty incidence grew to 69%  in 2010 and projected to be 71% in 2011, with unemployment at 24%.  This is the worst record in Nigeria’s history, and the paradox is that this happened during the unprecedented oil boom.

One theme I picked up listening to the campaign rallies as well as to some of the propagandists is the confusion about measuring government “performance”. Most people seem to confuse ‘inputs’, or ‘processes’ with output. Earlier this month, I had a dinner with a group of friends (14 of us) and we were chit-chatting about Nigeria. One of us, an associate of President Jonathan veered off to repeat a propaganda mantra that Jonathan had outperformed his predecessors. He also reminded us that Jonathan re-based the GDP and that Nigeria is now the biggest economy in Africa; etc.  It was fun listening to the response by others. In sum, the group agreed that the President had ‘outperformed’ his predecessors except that it is in reverse order.  First, my friend was educated that re-basing the GDP is no achievement: it is a routine statistical exercise, and depending on the base year that you choose, you get a different GDP figure.  Re-basing the GDP has nothing to do with government policy. Besides, as naira-dollar exchange rate continues to depreciate, the GDP in current dollars will also shrink considerably soon. 

We were reminded of Jonathan’s agricultural ‘revolution’. But someone cut in and noted that for all the propaganda, the growth rate of the agricultural sector in the last five years still remains far below the performance under Obasanjo. One of us reminded him that no other president had presided over the slaughter of about 15,000 people by insurgents in a peacetime; no other president earned up to 50% of the amount of resources the current government earned from oil and yet with very little outcomes; no other president had the rate of borrowing; none had significant forex earnings and yet did not add one penny to foreign reserves but losing international reserves at a time of boom; no other president had a depreciating exchange rate at a time of export boom; at no time in Nigeria’s history has poverty reached 71% (even under Abacha, it was 67 -70%); and under no other president did unemployment reach 24%. Surely, these are unprecedented records and he surely ‘outperformed’ his predecessors!  What a satire! 

One of those present took the satire to some level by comparing Jonathan to the ‘performance’ of the former Governor of Anambra, Peter Obi.  He noted that while Obi gloated about ‘savings’, there is no signature project to remember his regime except that his regime took the first position among all states in Nigeria in the democratization of poverty---- mass impoverishment of the people of Anambra. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, poverty rose under his watch in Anambra from 20% in 2004 (lowest in Nigeria then) to 68% in 2010 (a 238% deterioration!).  Our friend likened it to a father who had no idea of what to do with his resources and was celebrating his fat bank account while his children were dying of kwashiorkor.  He pointed out that since it is the likes of Peter Obi who are the advisers to Jonathan on how to manage the economy (thereby confusing micromanagement which you do as a trader with macro governance) it is little wonder that poverty is fast becoming another name for Nigeria. It was a very hilarious evening. 
My advice to President Jonathan and his handlers is to stop wasting their time trying to campaign on his job record. Those who have decided to vote for him will not do so because he has taken Nigeria to the moon. His record on the economy is a clear ‘F’ grade. As one reviews the laundry list of micro interventions the government calls its achievements, one wonders whether such list is all that the government could deliver with an unprecedented oil boom and an unprecedented public debt accumulation. I can clearly see why reasonable people are worried.  Everywhere else in the world, government performance on the economy is measured by some outcome variables such as: income (GDP growth rate), stability of prices (inflation and exchange rate), unemployment rate, poverty rate, etc. On all these scores, this government has performed worse than its immediate predecessor--- Obasanjo regime. If we appropriately adjust for oil income and debt, then this government is the worst in our history on the economy. All statistics are from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Despite presiding over the biggest oil boom in our history, it has not added one percentage point to the growth rate of GDP compared to the Obasanjo regime especially the 2003- 07 period.  Obasanjo met GDP growth rate at 2% but averaged 7% within 2003- 07. The current government has been stuck at 6% despite an unprecedented oil boom.  Income (GDP) growth has actually performed worse, and poverty escalated. This is the only government in our history where rapidly increasing government expenditure was associated with increasing poverty. The director general of NBS stated in his written press conference address in 2011 that about 112 million Nigerians were living in poverty. Is this the record to defend?  Obama had a tough time in his re-election in 2012 because unemployment reached 8%. Here, unemployment is at a record 24% and poverty at an all-time 71% but people are prancing around, gloating about ‘performance’. As I write, the Naira exchange rate to the dollar is $210 at the parallel market. What a historic performance! Please save your breathe and save us the embarrassment. The President promised Nigeria nothing in the last election and we did not get value for money. He should this time around present us with his plan for the future, and focus on how he would redeem himself in the second term—if he wins!

Sadly the government’s economic team is very weak, dominated by self-interested and self-conflicted group of traders and businessmen, and so-called economic team meetings have been nothing but showbiz time. The very people government exists to regulate have seized the levers of government as policymakers and most government institutions have largely been “privatized” to them. Mention any major government department or agency and someone will tell you whom it has been ‘allocated’ to, and the person subsequently nominates his minion to occupy the seat.  What do you then expect? The economy seems to be on auto pilot, with confusion as to who is in charge, and government largely as a constraint. There are no big ideas, and it is difficult to see where economic policy is headed to. My thesis is that the Nigerian economy, if properly managed, should have been growing at an annual rate of about 12% given the oil boom, and poverty and unemployment should have fallen dramatically over the last five years. This is topic for another day.
So far, the Government’s response to the self-inflicted crisis is, at best, laughable. They blame external shocks as if we did not expect them and say nothing about the terrible policy choices they made. The National Assembly had described the 2015 budget as unrealistic. The fiscal adjustments proposed in the 2015 budget simply play to the gallery and just to pander to our emotions. For a $540 billion economy, the so-called luxury tax amounts to zero per cent of GDP.  If the current trend continues, private businesses will come under a heavy crunch soon. Having put economics on its head during the boom time, the Government now proposes to increase taxes during a prospective downturn and impose austerity measures. Unbelievable!

Fortuitously, just as he succeeded Shagari when Nigeria faced similar situations, Buhari is once more seeking to lead Nigeria. But times have changed, and Nigeria is largely different. First, this is a democracy and dealing with corruption must happen within the ambit of the rule of law and due process. Getting things done in a democracy requires complicated bargaining, especially where the legislature, labour, the media, and civil society have become strong and entrenched.   Second, the size, structure and institutions of the economy have fundamentally altered. The market economy, especially the capital market and foreign exchange market, impose binding constraints and discipline on any regime.   Third, dealing with most of the other issues--- insecurity, unemployment/poverty, infrastructure, health, education, etc, require increased, smarter, and more efficient spending. Increased spending when the economy is on the reverse gear? 

If oil prices remain between 40- 60 dollars over the next two years, the current policy regime guarantees that foreign reserves will continue the precipitous depletion with the attendant exchange rate depreciation, as well as a probable unsustainable escalation in debt accumulation, fiscal retrenchment or taxing the private sector with vengeance. The scenario does not look pretty. The poor choices made by the current government have mortgaged the future, and the next government would have little room to manoeuvre and would inevitably undertake drastic but painful structural adjustments. Nigerians loathe the term ‘structural adjustment’. With falling real wages and depreciating currency, I can see any belated attempt  by the government to deal with the bloated public sector pitching it against a feisty labour.  I worry about regime stability in the coming months, and I do not envy the next team. 

The seeming crisis is not destiny; it is self-imposed. However, we must see it as an opportunity to be seized to fundamentally restructure Nigeria’s political economy, including its fiscal federalism and mineral rights. The current system guarantees cycles of consumption loop and I cannot see sustainable long term prosperity without major systemic overhaul. The proposals at the national conference merely tinker at the margins. In totality, the outcome of the national conference is to do more of the same, with minor amendments on the system of sharing and consumption rather than a fundamental overhaul of the system for productivity and prosperity. President Jonathan promises to implement the report of the national conference if he wins. I commend him for at least offering ‘something’, albeit, marginal in my view. I have not heard anything from the APC or Buhari regarding the national conference report or what kind of federalism they envisage for Nigeria.
In Nigeria’s recent history, two examples under the military and civilian governments demonstrate that where the political will exists, Nigeria has the capacity to overcome severe challenges.  The first was under President Babangida. Not many Nigerians appreciate that given the near bankrupt state of Nigeria’s finances and requirements for debt resolution under the Paris Club, the country had little choice but to undertake the painful structural adjustment programme (SAP).  I want to state for the record that the foundation for the current market economy we operate in Nigeria was laid by that regime (liberalization of markets including market determined exchange rate, private sector-led economy including licensing of private banks and insurance, de-regulation, privatization of public enterprises under TCPC, etc). Just abolishing the import licensing regime was a fundamental policy revolution. Despite the criticisms, these policy thrusts have remained the pillars of our deepening market economy, and the economy recovered from almost negative growth rate to average 5.5% during the regime and poverty incidence at 42% in 1992.

Have You Heard D'Banj's Side Of The Story?


The video of D’Banj’s interview with Olisa Adibua on ‘The Truth’ is out and it is quite the eye-opener.

In the chat with Olisa Adibua he talks about why Mo Hits really broke up, the part Dr. Sid played in the breakup, his deal with Kanye West and much more.


Monday, 26 January 2015

What Would You do...?

If you're the mistress in this scenario and there's no one at home to save you?

Self-Love or Resignation? 40 year old Woman Marries Herself Because SheCouldn't Find a Husband.

Early into adulthood Yasmin promised herself that if she hadn’t found a mate by the time she was 40, she would marry herself, and she kept her promise.
Every little girl in America grows up fantasizing about the big day.. The day she will get married to her prince in shining armor.. The day she becomes a wife with a big ring on her finger.
For a teacher in the country’s 4th largest city with a black population totaling more than 1/4 of the city’s growing 2.1 million people, that day somehow never came.
Yasmin Eleby‘s wedding was everything she’d ever dreamed of.
Complete with singers, a band, a gorgeous candlelight ceremony and a white cake to match, Yasmine promised to love and honor… herself
What better way to start the year than with an act of self love?
After a moment of pause, you may be asking, how do you marry… yourself?
Along with 10 bridesmaids Yasmin’s big day went down without a hitch.
Wearing a royal purple gown a glowing Yasim, walked down the aisle and bestowed her mother with the honor of giving her away..
What type of Minister would participate in an act of self Marriage you may be wondering..
Yasmin’s own sister who just happens to be a minister officiated the entire wedding and helped her say her vows.
However it was only a spiritual ceremony – because you can’t legally marry yourself in America or anywhere else for that matter.
Plus contrary to some black women’s belief, Jesus ain’t going so you can not be married to him..
She says the best part of her special day was having her family there to “stand up” for her.
Her other three sisters were bridesmaids and her mom gave her away; or back to herself in this case.
...TTB readers can you be this supportive for your siblings? Would you stand up with, for and by them on that special day that they choose to marry themselves?

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