We are now right in the middle of an intense political season. There are many women and young people who want to enter into the political arena but find it difficult to make much progress. They find things confusing and don’t know who or what to believe.
They also come across a lot of new terms and jargon which takes them time to understand. Many times, they have to provide answers when they didn’t even fully grasp the question. There are also quite a number of veteran politicians who need to keep up with the times. I hope this mostly Nigeria-specific glossary (it is not in alphabetical order) will help, and that you can relate to it regardless of where your political farm is.
The Godfather is real, he is not a myth. You will find people who will tell you a Godfather is not necessary for you to succeed in politics. If you agree, you have failed already, you don’t have to take my word for it. A Godfather doesn’t have to be rich (most of them are), old (a lot of them are) or very loud (the louder the less effective). A Godfather is someone who gives the word and it gets passed down the value chain. You need to get on his radar, or on the radar of someone who knows someone who knows him. The most important currency you need when you are relating with a Godfather is Loyalty. Forget about how brilliant or competent you are – all those can be found elsewhere.
This one might sound strange, but she exists. The curriculum vitae of the Godmother might even be longer than that of the Godfather. She was a young girl who served tea at meetings with Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe. She was Welfare officer of her Ward when Chief Obafemi Awolowo started Unity Party of Nigeria after rebranding from the Action Group. She was one of the young girls who ironed the prison uniforms of Hajia Gambo Sawaba. You can afford to piss off the Godfather, the Godmother can intercede on your behalf. The problem this presents is that whatever you do, you never cross the Godmother. If you do, you are on your own.
3. ‘BARBED WIRE’
In politics, if you run into a problem that seems intractable, it means you have run into ‘barbed wire’. If you are not careful, as you try to extricate yourself from the wire, a wrong move could plunge you deeper into the mess of wires. There are many barbed wire situations in politics. You cannot always avoid getting into trouble, but at least don’t be foolhardy and look before you leap. Examples of ‘barbed wire’ situations are refusing to follow instructions of party leaders, dating the lady the Party Leader is interested in, forgetting to supply diesel to the Party Chairman or sending a goat to the Market Women Leader instead of a cow.
4. ‘ON GROUND’
In 2019, I was trying to support one of the female candidates in Ekiti for the State House of Assembly. She was a strong candidate, from a prominent family, well educated and a committed party member. She ticked all the right boxes. I had put in a good word for her and assumed that all would be well and the process would take care of itself. I travelled out of the country for two weeks. When I got back, my plan was to stay in Lagos for another week to attend to some things. I spoke to my husband when I got home from the airport and when I asked how things were going in Ekiti he said, ‘I understand your candidate is not ‘on ground’. I was stunned, I had no idea what that meant. Everyone knew who she was! I abandoned my plans to stay in Lagos and went straight back to Ekiti. After a week of face to face meetings (which included kneeling) appeals, and the necessary motivations, my candidate was firmly ‘on ground’. Being ‘on ground’ is metaphorical as well as literal.
This one is straightforward. The leaders invite you to a meeting. They appeal to you to accept their proposals. They offer you incentives or make promises. You listen and agree to play your part, whatever that part is. If you dislike your part, you are free to join another party.
Yes, ‘Stingy’ is a political term, hence it deserves a place in this glossary. Facilitating a school for your community, providing a primary healthcare clinic, digging a borehole or providing solar light are commendable things. You are still ‘Stingy’. You bought ‘empowerment materials’ and gave out Okadas, sewing machines, hairdryers, grinding machines. You are still ‘Stingy’. You gave Christmas/Ramadan gifts to the Chairman, Youth Leader, Woman Leader, Labour, Artisans, Okada riders and so on, you are still ‘Stingy’. Do you want to know how not to be ‘Stingy’? Forget the Bible verse about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Next time you do anything in your community, forget about being modest. Modesty is the downfall of the ambitious politician. Grab a microphone or megaphone and let the whole world know who was given what, where, when and how. Until then, you are ‘Stingy’.
7. ‘YOU ARE THE FIRST’
As a politician who doesn’t have a lot of experience, everywhere you go, you will hear, ‘You are the first to do this…….’. You will visit ten places and they will say this to you ten times. It is a lie. They have said the same thing to every person who went to campaign there.
As a politician, you will seek endorsements from many important stakeholders. Royal fathers will listen to you and pray for your success. They will tell you what their communities need. Religious leaders will lay their hands on you. Market women will list their demands and dance for you. Young people will demand for jobs and more attention. Women will demand for 35% inclusion. You will say yes to all demands and they will say yes, you have our support. Everyone asks for endorsement. Everyone gets it. You will not know for sure till election day.
In political circles, you will hear this a lot, ‘I have not been carried along’, or ‘We the leaders have not been carried along’. You will stand there scratching your head in disbelief. You invite people to meetings to discuss issues and take a position and they still turn around to say ‘We were not carried along’. If you do not make time to visit a leader and have a private session with him and believe he will be happy with a town hall meeting that involves many other people, you have not ‘carried him along’ because you have not made him feel special. If you invite people to a meeting and do not provide adequate transport fare, you have not carried them along. If you only gave your party leader N50,000 when his daughter was getting married, you have not carried him along. If you only sent two chickens to the wife of the leader for Christmas, you have not carried her along. If you did not sponsor anyone to Mecca or Jerusalem from your constituency, you have not carried people along. Hope you understand the term better now.
10. ‘SOCIAL MEDIA WARDS AND UNITS’
The citizens in these units are very passionate and engaged. Their opinions and insights are interesting and can be profound, all reflections of the patriotism that drives many of them. Though there are those who give cause for concern about the state of their mental health, these political units serve as a rallying point for a lot of young and middle-aged voters. The problem is the number of opinions and solutions in these units does not match the number of voters’ cards needed to make a difference. There are no physical polling units here and while these units have many returning officers, they are all illegal. Many political fortunes have been led astray in these units. If you are a politician who is serious about winning elections, maximise your engagement with the people who can actually vote and are keen to do so in real polling units and wards.
There is a lot more to share, but let me stop here for now. Good luck with all your political adventures. I am available for political consulting. I do not come cheap, but I guarantee you value for money. You can contact me after your party primaries.
•Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She is the First Lady of Ekiti State, and she can be reached at [email protected]
BUSINESS ON SUNDAY
Poor SMEs policies fueling insecurity
— Kuteyi, Spectra boss
MANAGING Director of Spectra Industries Limited, Mr. Durodola Kuteyi, in an interview with Gabriel Olawale, urged the Federal Government to implement realistic and sustainable policy to boost small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), which is the quickest way to provide employment to teeming youths, who due to joblessness have turned to sundry crimes like kidnapping, cybercrimes banditry and others. Excerpts:
Rising crime rate is sti
fling business activities, especially SMEs; suggest the way out?
In actual fact, insecurity has reached the level we are now because there are many idle hands, who if gainfully engaged would not have gone into kidnapping, cybercrimes, banditry, robbery and even ritual killings. I will therefore, call on the Federal Government to come up with a realistic and sustainable policy that will help SMEs to overcome financing challenges because small and medium scale enterprises the quickest and easiest way to engage the teeming youths in legitimate ventures.
Would you say the Nigeria’s business environment suit operations of SMEs?
Emphatically no! It has not been a rosy experience considering the situation where SME operators are actually over-burdened by government and also exposed to unfair competition from multinationals, frustrated by harsh financing terms by banks as well as multiple layers of tax and other sundry charges by various levels of governments.
Tell us about your partnership with FG and state governments during COVID-19?
I am glad to announce that both the Federal and the various state governments have not only endorsed our products, they have found in them unrivaled quality such that during the COVID-19 lock down, we partnered with the Federal government by processing 10 trailers of sorghum and converting them to our branded Hyfiba. These were delivered to Abuja and other states such as Katsina, Niger, Ekiti, Lagos, Plateau and Bauchi. We also donated our products to Lagos, Ogun and Ekiti States for the states to include in the palliatives given to vulnerable groups. Our commitment to processing and manufacturing of food is made imperative by the need for Nigerians to eat healthy so as to live a healthy life.
There were reports of you preaching healthy foods….
In Nigeria, we cannot boast of good medical facilities like we have in developed countries and once your body system breaks down, you are on your own. So, the best thing expected of you is to eat healthy food. That is why in Spectra Industries Ltd., our slogan is, ‘Home of Functional Foods’ and we are consistently researching into how to provide Nigerians with quality and healthy food brands that are up to global standard and yet affordable.
It does not cost a fortune to eat healthy. For instance, when you embrace daily consumption of Cocoa products, there are a lot of medical benefits that go with the consumption of cocoa for its healing power. Cocoa bean has been found to be rich in antioxidants, minerals and nutrients providing innumerable health benefits as scientists consider cocoa powder as an active agent that helps prevent the growth of infectious bacteria in the body.
How can Nigeria tackle post-harvest losses?
As active practitioner in food processing, we are aware that a lot of our harvested food experience post – harvest loss. We also recognize that Nigeria is a massive country and we may not have the capacity to reach the nooks and crannies of Nigeria. Our consultancy outfit has therefore over the years embarked on training other SMEs in food processing so that those we have trained can reach other areas we cannot reach to address the problem of post- harvest losses and so that these seasonal crops can be available all the year round. We are therefore calling on the various levels of government to come and partner with Betamark as we plan to take this training of SMES in Food Processing to the next level.
What is your book ‘One Way Ticket: My Uninterrupted Life Journey from Pot to Factory’ is about?
It gives a lot of insight on how to navigate through the labyrinth of the challenges of SMEs in Nigeria and the funds realized from the book launch will be channeled into building an SME Industrial Centre. This I believe will revolutionize the food industry in Nigeria. We are also appealing to willing Nigerians to partner with us in that regard. By partnering with us, you can be rest assured that you have contributed in resolving one of the major problems of Nigeria, which is unemployment as well as resolve the issue of food security.
Evaluate the trajectory of Spectra Industries Limited
It has indeed been a journey of a mixed grill of the good, the bad, and the ugly from the time I started frying plantain chips with a pot and burner to this present day where we now boost of international factories that produce varieties of products such as Suco Cocoa Powder, Spectra (Pure Natural) Cocoa, Hyfiba, Fast O Meal, and Sobake, some of which are being exported. The journey so far is what I have tried to summarize in my book, “From Pot To factory”. To the glory of God, from this mixed grill, we have been able to create a success story that has altered the competitive landscape of food processing and manufacturing in Nigeria.
NB Plc partners Konexa on renewable energy
By Tunde Oso
NIGERIA’S largest brew
er, Nigerian Breweries Plc yesterday signed a historic power purchase agreement with Konexa an integrated energy development and investment platform to deliver 100% renewable energy that will fully cover the electricity needs of its two breweries in Kaduna state.
Under the terms of the ten-year agreement, Nigerian Breweries Plc has outsourced the power supply for its critical loads for its breweries, converting from fossil fuels into a full-service renewable energy solution, using hydro-power sources. This project is co-funded by Climate Fund Managers and Konexa.
Speaking during the official contract signing ceremony held at the company’s head office in Iganmu, Lagos, on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, the Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc., Mr. Hans Essaadi, described the agreement as another significant milestone for NB Plc, saying – “By 2030, we want to become a standard reference point in Nigeria when it comes to sustainability and efficient use of resources. Under our Brew a Better World agenda, we are taking several bold steps to become a carbon-neutral company. This agreement represents another significant step in our journey, and we are excited to partner with Konexa to reduce our energy costs and cost of production,” Hans said.
In his remarks during the signing ceremony, the Commercial Director at Konexa, Joel Abrams, explained that the agreement is part of Konexa’s commitment to supporting industry, national governments, and utilities to achieve clean and reliable 24/7 power in Nigeria and beyond. He added that the partnership anchors Konexa’s confidence in the Nigerian power sector and will bring long-term investment and world-class operations to support the sector’s sustainability by improving reliability, quality of service, and job creation.
“We are very pleased to be part of the energy transition that Nigerian Breweries Plc. is leading. This agreement is particularly significant in the current context of increasing energy costs from traditional fossil fuels. This type of solution can apply to many businesses across Nigeria, allowing them to obtain cost-effective power from a reliable partner while focusing on their core business,” he added.
The Chief Investment Officer, Climate Fund Managers Tarun Brahma, said: “We are proud to support Konexa and look forward to actively supporting Nigerian Breweries Plc as they demonstrate leadership in driving the decarbonization of their operations in Nigeria”.
It would be recalled that in 2021, Nigerian Breweries Plc commissioned its 663.6 KWP solar power plant at its Ibadan brewery, which supplies 1GWh yearly to the brewery while reducing its carbon emissions by 10,000 tonnes over a 15-year lifespan of the plant.
‘RevolutionPlus Property’ celebrates 8 years of global impact
A journey of a thousand
miles they say begins with a step. RevolutionPlus has proven to be a reputable and reliable real estate company that did not just stop at providing housing for the masses globally but also giving back to the society through Chris Bamidele Onalaja Foundation.
The 8 years of impacting positively was celebrated at Remarkable Foods Complex on 10th May, 2022 in a grand style as the grand ambassadors, Mr Adekola Odunlade, Mrs Toyin Abraham and brother Shaggi, graced the occasion.
The MD/CEO of RevolutionPlus Property, Mr Bamidele Onalaja, said: “The vision of this company started in 2014 after I quit banking. My wife and I developed this vision which today has become a reality.
“My wife, Tolulope, is the Group Executive Director (GED) of the company. Nothing good comes easy. We were faced with challenges along the way, but with God on our side, 8 years down the line, we are on course”.
Some of the customers/beneficiaries were shocked to know that RevolutionPlus is just 8 years and has achieved 43 Estate nationwide, 8 Mega housing projects, over 9,500 Landlords, Rich CSR projects nationwide, 10 Subsidiaries, 6 branches in Nigeria with international office in Dallas and many more.
The GED of the company, Mrs Onalaja, has devoted her life in making sure that an average Nigerians both home and in the diaspora can be proud to own a property at affordable rate.
Mrs Onalaja, explained why there was a delay in allocation, according to her: “There was no allocation in 2020 due to the pandemic which rendered all businesses handicapped. Then after the Covid-19, customers were shared into batches and allocation was made batch by batch. Second, allocation was made to the customers who completed their payment for allocation. RevolutionPlus is built on integrity and sincerity”.
The MD/CEO , said “Over the last eight years, this business has undergone massive challenges but our organisation has become stronger and efficient than ever before. I am blessed to have such a team of dedicated and loyal employees and fantastic friends who work night and day to ensure the company move forward.”