Outside looking in

March 12, 2017

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything

President Muhammadu Buhari

By Denrele Animasaun

At the time of going to press, the president has arrived safely back home in Nigeria after months of absence on medical vacation. I, for one, wish the President continued good health and he is very welcome. PMB chose well to leave the reins of power with the capable, Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo as the acting President of Nigeria.

In his absence, Osinbajo who recently turned 60 has been open and very responsive. He travelled the length and breath of Nigeria to steady the nerves of the people. He listened to their concerns and he met with as many community leaders to take the message to where it matters the most; the people.

His steady hand assured investors and the economy that there was nothing to worry about. For those who are keen to spew their brand of divide and conquer, hate and exploit. Try as they may, Osinbajo has let it be known that he is loyal to Buhari and he did not entertain the mischief makers ulterior agenda. Here is a man of principle and good manners, money cannot buy that. It is often thought that the more you shout of your position and importance in social standing, then the more important you are. No, the good Prof shows that you do not have to shout, you let your work speak for itself. There is no substitute for good upbringing and as I have always said, fine cloth doth not make the man.  And sadly, it is a shame that such example is lost on many.

This is a masterclass in leadership and many could learn from the professor and the way he interacts with people and organisations. Osinbajo has made clear his loyalty lies with Buhari, a retired general who has struggled to define a clear strategy to deal with Nigeria’s slide into recession and stands accused by opponents of inaction.

President Muhammadu Buhari

This man led by example, sources at the government HQ  said that Osinbajo works up until 7 pm and one official described him as a workaholic. His hard work has paid off.  The food pricing has stabilised so has the currency. The Central Bank and “The reform agenda has always been there but is more visible now with the vice president,” he said.

He met with people from the Niger Delta, in particular, millitant attacks have reduced as a result of his  consultations to improve the region, encourage employment and commerce  and  he paid  visits to Lagos , one notable trip was to  Murtala Muhammed International Airport, where he went round with airport officials  to inspect the state of the air conditioning, luggage carousel and there is a picture of him inspecting the toilets, and saw for himself the state of disrepair. It was not surprising that the top honcho of the Nigerian civil aviation was given their marching orders.  The professor and acting President continues to check in and update the president regardless of what many have said to drive a wedge between the two men. This obviously is not going to work, those who wish it so do not want a better Nigeria, it does not suit their agenda for Nigeria to stabilise and thrive. The president’s political adviser, Babafemi Ojodu, said the two men, PMB and the Prof, that they speak daily; “There is nothing that has been done since the vice president started acting that is not something that started far back in the past”.

What I find disturbing is the fanning of hatred so pernicious and the trouble some people go to plant fake news surrounding the health of the president. We have to show some decorum, we are better than this, no matter if you do not agree with someone’s politics or personality but to wish someone ill is the height of bad manners and disgust.

It is a reflection on those that write this poisonous filth and the type of people that read and feed the rumour mill. I do not understand how grown people who should know better continue to think it is right to demean other people because they can hide behind the screen is beyond me. It is a disturbing development and people like this have nothing better to do nor are they contributing positively to Nigeria. They are really a waste of space and the progress will move with or without them.

One of the rumours was that governors were pressuring the vice president’s to resign due to the president’s undisclosed health condition. And his office was quick to douse the rumour, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, in the Vice President’s Office, Senator Femi Ojudu, promptly dismissed the resignation threat in a statement but there were more that came after and equally as incredulous as the last. There are some vile and crass Nigerians who are so odious that all they are good for is to peddle falsehoods and horror story. They have become their own tragedy. Nothing good comes from a bad mind. It is the law of Karma.

Professor Osinbajo is made of sterner and principle stuff. A Pastor of the Redeemed Church of God, RCCG and Professor of Law.  He seems to be very comfortable in his skin and around people, regardless of their social standing and age. He is no appendage and carries his own.  It is important to look back and appreciate the incredible work that vice president has done in the absence of the President. HIs level-headedness, calm composure, faith, intelligence, warm approach, responsiveness and hard work has helped to steer the country through the choppy seas. A big thank you!

International Women’s Day

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last Wednesday was International women’s day and in the spirit of celebrating the contribution and advancement of women.In a country, where women regardless of obstacles, are hardworking, resourceful and they build businesses with a single determination to make a livelihood in order to contribute to the fortunes of their family. We know that their contributions often go unrecognised.

Whenever I see women, in particular, doing well and showing innovation and selflessness, I am always excited on their behalf and I have to reach out and let them know. I was fascinated by the energy of Adegesin Zainab Ololade, the owner of Zainychop cocktail drinks and more. Her enthusiasm is contagious and that comes through her brand, she is a tour d’ force, her non-alcoholic fruity cocktails are as colourful and bright as the woman herself.

So what makes her stand out is her love for her product, she is very forward thinking and is driven to help others set up their business modelled on her products. They say, each one, teach one. This she does that so well. Nobody gets poor by giving and lifting others up, we inevitably lift ourselves. There is nothing better than this and I hope that others take note. This is how a Nigerian should be; working together for the betterment of all.

It is with my admiration and awe for this woman that I put her in the hot seat. Adegesin Zainab Ololade was born and raised in Lagos State, first of four children and attended the Mainland Preparatory Nursery and Primary School, then to Federal Government Girl’s College, New-Bussa Niger State and off to Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye where she studied Psychology B.sc.  A married woman and mother ,she tells me that she loves to travel, making friends and a passion for hospitality.

When you scratch the surface, she really loves hospitality and it inspired her to pursued her passion: “Have always had the passion for hospitality and entertainment since childhood and this dream only materialised from the passion. Have always wanted to make an impact in the food and beverage industry with healthy foods and drinks”.

She is one busy woman; “At the moment my typical day starts with daily morning routines as a mother and wife. On the flip side, I usually research on new and creative ideas in the food and beverage sector to give my label that distinction and improve my relevance in the sector. I leverage on social media to reach out to customers and my services hence usually busy on the social media platform as well.  I usually have a daily, weekly and monthly to-do- list on what I intend to achieve and set realistic targets for myself”

She has mastered the art of social networking and all her functions are beamed on to the social medium in real time and he has created such a following by those that use her services and for others wishing to be inspired. She does this in buckets: “There is a steady demand for the class services we render and it is evident as hardly a day  or week go by without activities like birthdays, social gathering and other events generally  as Nigerians, we live in an environment of fun loving people who have one or more reasons to celebrate. We also extend our services to hotels, resorts, offices and personalised home services. Hence, basically, we are busy all year round”

Like I said this lady is busy, busy and she is forward thinking, is refreshing as she tells me that she might have had a cloth line -”because I have a good taste of fashion or a chef because I love to cook”. I was fascinated by what drives her and how she has been able to deliver a high quality and relevant products, if she had to make any adjustment to her branding and products with the accessibility of raw materials: “I am always researching to improve my product, I attend a number of training relevant to my business. I am also very busy on the web in search of new and creative ideas all the time. There are a couple of instances we have had to make adjustments here and there based on new concepts and feedback from our valued clients. I also get ideas from good friends and their feedback has helped shaped my brand.  And of course, my biggest support and cheerleading comes from my husband and family.

In terms of investment and how her business started out, she tells me that;” you do not require so much capital, to be frank with as little as N50k with the current economic situation of the country, you are good to go on a small scale and grow gradually.  However, it’s important to undergo the relevant start-up training and to continually improve on what you know”.

Zainab’s enthusiasm is contagious; “Personally, I don’t see any disadvantages with the business. It just follows the normal daily life cycle of ups and downs. One only needs to stand firm to overcome obstacles. One needs, to be honest and transparent at all times, it stops you from making expensive mistakes. Cutting corners and compromising standards is very harmful to any business. We stand for integrity and value customer feedback “And if money was no object, she said she would continue to pursue her dreams and her passion. Zainab tells me that she is influenced and lives by her certain principles;” putting God first, treating customers with integrity and fairness, offering an open and friendly service to each and every customer. A repeat business happens when you give people a good experience and they come back or recommend us to their friends and family. We would always offer best in class services to suit everyone’s pocket at all the time. Every customer matter regardless of what they spend.

Zainab describes herself as a “ simple easy going person and I care a lot about people and I am aware of my shortcomings but I work hard to improve also build on my strengths “In future, she would like to extend her products to all parts of Nigeria; so that “wherever people say Zainy small chops and drinks and we are there. We are developing our website and mobile apps to drive this. I also hope that our cocktail will be sold at stores across Africa in the next few years, a big dream, I know but it is possible with enough capital and with Almighty Allah’s support”.

Her advice to up and coming entrepreneur or wanting to embark in business;” never give up, always strive for improvement and being transparent. I am sure that Zainab will continue to go from strength to strength.