The Power Madness

The Power Madness

By Prof George Ayittey

The lust for or obsession with POWER has been the bane of Africa’s post colonial development. They will use every means – fair or foul – to secure it. And once they grab it, they will never let it go da. They will kill or maim to maintain their grip on power for 10, 20, 30 or 40 years. Not even bulldozers can dislodge them from power.

And what do they do with that power? To develop their countries? Noooo! Ask them to develop their countries and they will develop their pockets. Ask them to seek foreign investment and they will seek a foreign country to invest their loot. Only 3 things they know how to do very well: Loot the treasury, steal/rig elections to perpetuate themselves in office and squelch all opposition or dissent.

So lucrative has the presidency become that they have transformed it into their family property. Accordingly, they groom their wives, children, cats, dogs and even goats to succeed them. Power sweet them bad.

In many countries, we cannot change our rulers without destroying our countries, We would have been able to save so many African countries from implosions had their leaders been willing to relinquish or share political power: Liberia (1990), Somalia (1991), Rwanda (1994), Zaire (1996), Sierra Leone (1998), Ivory Coast (2011), Egypt (2011), Libya (2011), etc.

Even then, after removing that cockroach from power, the next rat comes to do the same thing: From Samuel Doe to Charles Taylor of Liberia; from Mengistu Haile Mariam to Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia; from Hosni Mubarak to Morsi of Egypt, etc.

Until we set up a mechanism for peaceful transfer of power, there will be more instability, implosions and failed states. This mechanism exists in only 13 of the 55 African states and in some, it is being debauched or corrupted.

Here are the candidates for implosion: Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe.

The wise learn from the mistakes of others while fools repeat them. Idiots, on the other hand, repeat their own stupid mistakes.

(Dr George Ayittey is a Ghanaian economist, author and president of the Free Africa Foundation in Washington DC. He is a professor at American University, and an associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. You can visit http://www.freeafrica.org for more of his publications and speeches and follow him on twutter @ayittey ).

Keywords: George Ayittey, Africa, Power,

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Policy Decisions in the US and China: Let Our Economists Take Note

In the past week, there were two seemingly unrelated events at two ends of the globe but for discerning economists, it will be foolhardy not to note the events and their implications for the rest of the world. The events happened almost simultaneously as though they were part of a script: China tightened its noose on credit and Bernanke’s Federal Reserve in the US announced that it could scale down on asset purchases later this year.

Let’s try and simplify this. The US and China are big trading partners to Nigeria. On a country-by-country basis, the US and China are the largest economies in the world (even though the European Union comes first when classified as a single economy). According to the CIA World Factbook, Rank Order GDP, the GDP figures for the US and China in 2012 were $13.86 trillion and $12.38 trillion, respectively. Therefore, whatever affects the Chinese and American economies is bound to affect other economies especially Nigeria.

By the way, the size of a country’s economy is measured by its Gross Domestic Product, GDP. The GDP measure is an aggregation of four key components, namely, personal consumption expenditure, business investment, government spending and net exports of goods and services.

Very importantly, China has been credited with being solely responsible for about 30% of global growth in 2012. Now, the three-month-old government of Premier Li Keqiang is pursuing the tightest squeeze on credit in at least a decade in what it describes as an attempt to balance the Chinese economy. The objective, they say, is to deliver a more sustainable and more even economic growth in the neighbourhood of 7%. This will be a marked departure from the over 9% the economy witnessed in recent years.

A slow-down of the Chinese economy of up to 2% will have significant global impact!

Chinese decision makers have a right to decide what’s best for their economy. If fact, the underlying principle behind this current decision is to achieve a more balanced growth in the longer term. To put it more succinctly, they are no longer merely impressed by economic growth for the sake of it. They also consider the quality of that growth very significant. (Now, this is a lesson for our own statisticians and economists who sought to mesmerize us just a few weeks ago as to how fast our economy was growing).

Back to our discourse. Within the same week Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, announced that the central bank may start to scale back its asset purchases later this year if the economy continues to strengthen, as the central bank expects. This proposed winding down of quantitative easing, he said, is dependent on two factors: continued improvement in the labour market and a rise in the inflation rate toward the Fed’s 2% goal.

Again, we cannot afford to forget so soon that the global financial meltdown had its origin in the US mortgage-backed securities market way back from 2006. The result of those sophisticated financial misadventures sent major stock market indices southwards. Even here in Nigeria, the reverberating effects of the global financial meltdown were felt. It took the Toxic Assets Relief Programme (TARP) and the stimulus package to get the economy up and working and achieve some stability and growth in stock market indices again.

Now, it seems Christmas is over. Already, the impact of both the Chinese and Feds decisions have been felt globally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced a 560-point tumble in two days following the Feds announcement. Asian stocks are headed for the biggest monthly loss in a year (http://proshareng.com/news/20262). The NSE All Share Index experienced a pull-back further reducing the year-to-date returns to 29.86%.

For us as an emerging nation, we must pay attention and take appropriate measures that would absorb the shocks of these economic policies. It may even seem like these matters do not affect us at the moment. Just give them between 6 to 12 months and they will hit our shores. Like someone said sometime last year, it’s time to have “economics with common sense.” Let the adjustments begin now.

Further Readings:
http://useconomy.about.com/od/grossdomesticproduct/p/largest_economy.htm
http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-21/china-poses-global-growth-risk-as-li-squeezes-credit-binge.html
http://www.marketwatch.com/m/story/f044057a-d9dd-11e2-91d1
http://m.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2013/06/the-bernanke-putt-will-he-really-remove-it.html

Keywords: Federal Reserve, China, US, Nigeria, Economic Growth, GDP, TARP, stimulus

Tablets and the Changing Approach to Education: The “Opon Imo” Novelty

For schools still advertising a few desktop computers located in one room as their unique selling proposition, it’s time to sit up. This is because the rest of the world has moved well beyond that in children’s education. In fact, a desktop computer would now look ugly in a classroom for elementary school pupilss in many parts of the world. The “in” thing now is the tablet.

Computer-aided approach to education has progressed very quickly through various devices. In quick succession we had desktops, laptops, notebooks and netbooks. Now we have tablets (or “capsule” in that Princess-Saka Etisalat advert).

A tablet computer, or simply tablet, is a one-piece mobile computer. These devices typically have a touchscreen, with finger or stylus gestures replacing the conventional computer mouse. It is often supplemented by physical buttons or input from sensors such as accelerometers. An on-screen, hideable virtual keyboard is usually used for typing.
Tablets differentiate themselves by being larger than smart phones or personal digital assistants. They are light, have greater battery life, switch on instantly and are intended to support teacher pedagogy. They come in various forms and include the iPad, Android and Windows 8 devices and other specialist slates for education of which the “Opon Imo” (tablet of knowledge) recently launched by the Osun State Government is one. They provide a variety of content – graphics, animation, streaming audio, and video – which can be optimized.

Tablets were said to have been conceptualised as far back as the mid 20th century. They were prototyped and developed in the last two decades of that century but only became affordable and popular in 2010. The tablet computer as we have it today and the associated special operating software is actually an example of pen computing technology their development is said to have deep historical roots.

A very significant trait of tablet computers not based on the traditional PC architecture is that most mobile apps including third party ones are supplied through online distribution, rather than more traditional methods of boxed software or direct sales from software vendors. These sources, known as “app stores”, provide centralized catalogues of software from the OS supplier or device manufacturer and from outside parties, and allow simple “one click” on-device software purchasing, installation, and updates. The app store is often shared with smartphones that use the same operating system.

A tablet, like a computer has hardware and software features. The typical hardware features are:
– High-definition display with anti-glare technology
 – Wireless internet connectivity (usually with Wi-Fi standard and optional mobile broadband)
– GPS satellite navigation
– Stills and video camera functions, photo and video viewing and editing
– Weigh less and have more battery life than a comparable laptop
– Bluetooth for connecting peripherals and communicating with local devices in place of a wired USB connection.
– Docking station: An optional docking station that has a full size qwerty keyboard and USB port.

On the other hand, its software features are as follows:
– A pre-installed mobile web browser
– E-book reading and the ability to subscribe to and read periodicals
– Downloadable apps such as games, education and utilities
 – Portable media player function including HD video playback (both streaming and locally stored)
 – E-mail and social media apps
– Potential cell phone functions (Messaging, speakerphone or headset cellphone uses)
– Video-teleconferencing (Skype, FaceTime, etc.)

In terms of acceptance and use, the tablet has received wide acclaim. According to one report, over 31% of U.S. internet users were said to have a tablet as of March 2012. They were used mainly for viewing published content such as video and news. Apple’s iPad, released on April 13, 2010, is said to have sold over 100 million units as at mid-October 2012. Several millions of android-based tablets have been sold across the world, thus indicating their wide acceptability.

Education and healthcare are two sectors touted to gain from an increase in tablet penetration. Already, there are several initiatives underway globally in the education space. For instance, Apple says more than 4.5million iPads have been sold to US educational institutions. Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj, a journalist based in India says that shipments for the Indian tablet PC market are estimated to have closed at three million units in 2012. The government of Thailand announced that it would issue 1.7 million tablets to local students and teachers in 2013, and another 7 million in 2014, as it continues efforts in the country’s “One Tablet Per Child” scheme. Clearly, the educational tablets revolution has caught on.

In an article titled “Lessons From Tablet Education in India”, Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj asserts that “. . . the tablet has already become the tech-aid mantra for new-age schools, government–run academic institutions, and other educational agencies in the country. At present there are over 90 models of Android tablets available in the (Indian) market today, priced in the USD $50 to USD $500 price range.” On the benefits of tablet education, she says that “the benefits of tablet education can also mitigate problems like shortage of teachers and lack of school infrastructure.”

Beyond their physical attributes, tablets are said to facilitate detailed understanding of concepts, revision, doubt clarification, and self assessment, and broaden the students’ understanding of real-world application of theory and concepts. And the truth is that we are in the digital age. Tablets are the way to go!

The question then is what Nigeria is doing about this. I am not aware of a tablet-for-education policy yet by the Federal Government and I think those in the Federal Ministry of Education as well as those in the Communications and Science and Technology should begin work immediately so the country and its teeming student-population is not left behind. I encourage decision-makers in these ministries to read this article by Michael Rice – Twelve Steps Towards Good Practice: Introducing Digitization Into schools and FET Colleges (http://michaelrice.weebly.com/tablets-in-education.html).

Thankfully, Osun state, a state in south-western Nigeria, has seized the initiative and put Nigeria on the global tablet-education map with its recent launch of “Opon Imo”, the tablet of knowledge.

According to a statement credited to the state government, “The State Government of Osun, under the leadership of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, in its resolve to champion inspiring innovations from Africa, has undertaken a groundbreaking step to utilize the ICTs to concisely tackle the learning problem through the Opon Imo Initiative. The State, through its Opon Imo Technology Enhanced Learning System, (OTELS) has developed a learning tool that could revolutionize learning in developing states around the world. This tool is called the Opon Imo, ‘Tablet of Knowledge’.”

The Opon Imo, “Tablet of Knowledge”, is said to be a Standalone e-learning tablet that provides the senior secondary students with the contents required to prepare for school leaving examinations. It provides 3 major content categories; Text Books, Tutorials and Practice Questions. Specifically, it is said to contain 54 e-textbooks covering 17 subjects; 54 tutorials covering 17 subjects; over 40,000 practice questions and answers; and 6 extra-curricular books. 150,000 of these tablets are to be distributed to all senior secondary students across state schools in a move that is expected to radically democratize ‘access’ to learning, regardless of means, location or status.

And yes, there will be a business or employment-generation side to this. Of the 150,000 tablets to be distributed to students, the state government says that 100,000 will be produced in a factory to be built in the State, in conjunction with Opon Imo foreign technical partners. “With this development, it is believed that, many industries and businesses will easily find the State of Osun adaptive for their projects and business.” This is one way to create employment in a nation with so many jobless youths. This is where it would make sense to learn from the Indian experience as India has several local tablet manufacturers located in different cities from New Delhi to Mumbai and includes such names as Micromax, Wishtel, Aakash Educational Services and HCL Learning. Among them, these companies are educating Indians and creating jobs.

A further look at Opon Imo indicates that it has internet facilities deactivated. The explanation for this is that it will “prevent the distraction this may cause to students at this level of education.” While this makes some sense, it also means it robs the student of the dynamism that internet-enabled learning offers because every day, new findings are made available. The brains behind the Opon Imo must therefore have a mechanism for periodic update in place.

Well, the first step has been taken and there may be no looking back. Soon, it is hoped that tablet-facilitated education will extent to those in junior secondary, basic and pre-schools just as is happening in other parts of the world.

Nigeria arise!

How to Succeed as a Business Person in Nigeria

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Today, I want to share something very interesting with you. I am writing on “How to Succeed as a Business Person in Nigeria”.

Aha! Now you are wondering whether that is not pretty obvious to any average Nigerian. You already think you know what it takes to succeed in Nigeria and I’m sure I can guess what’s going on in your mind. You think it’s “man know man”. Well, if that’s what you think, you are dead wrong. If that was all it took, many Nigerians who have the right connection would be successful today. Very shortly, I’ll show you why I think you are wrong.

There are many Nigerian success stories, business-wise. I’m not talking of that young man who manages to win a contract from an MNC, buys a 4-wheel drive, drinks Hennessy at bars becomes broke again and begins to look for the next contract. If you are here, I’m not rapping you; you just need to pay attention.

Many successful Nigerian businessmen (and women) agree on some key attributes needed to succeed. As I reel off these attributes which may be very familiar to you, I’m sure you will smile and nod. So, let’s go!

1.    They are Strong-willed

The most successful business people everywhere are strong-willed in spirit and those in Nigeria are not an exception. They are dogged, focused and are convinced that winning or succeeding is the only option. Some have interpreted this to mean that successful business people do not take “No” for an answer.  I, however, think that they know when a “No” is a “No” and find either an alternative way to make the deal or find an alternative deal.

2.   They understand their line of business

All successful entrepreneurs truly understand their businesses almost like the back of their hands. They have an uncannily detailed knowledge of the business they are involved in.

3.    They are excellent networkers

Successful people know how to maintain a good network of contacts. They find out what others in their networks are into and do business with them. They hardly ever lose a good business contact. In fact, as soon as they get a business card for a potential business contact, they punch the number on the cards into their phones immediately. Some even scan the cards and store electronically.

4.     They are dreamers and think BIG

The very successful business people are visionaries, ever dreaming and thinking Big. They just keep dreaming of the next big business idea even before the have finished executing one.  Case in point is Aliko Dangote. He is not yet done with being the largest cement manufacturer in Africa; he recently announced plans to build an $8bn refinery with a capacity to about 400,000 barrels per day.

5.    They are adaptable to change

Adaptability is one of the strengths of successful business people. They are continually scanning the environment to find out what has changed and what they can do to adapt to that change. Once the cheese has moved, a successful business man knows how not to moan the loss of a cheese station – he looks for a new cheese station.

6.   They surround themselves with quality advisers

You can call this sound management, if you will. These business people do not spare expenses in getting the right professional advice. Sometimes, they head-hunt the very best in their fields and make him an offer that is difficult to refuse. They do this, not because they want to throw money around, but because they want the best advice.

(More of these can be found at http://www.strategicbusinessteam.com/successful-entrepreneurs/the-richest-people-in-nigeria-and-secret-to-their-success/)

Well, you may say I am citing examples using Dangote and his likes and may be tempted to say those guys are way out of your league. You would rather deal with ordinary folks.

Like we say in that popular Nigerian parlance, no wahala. There is a story that is not so familiar to many Nigerians. It is the story of Ayodeji Mebope, the moin-moin seller. Her story is one that should inspire many Nigerians. We will now use it as a case study. Here’s her story.

 

 Ayodeji Mebope runs a catering outfit (called) No Left Over Nigeria plc which she started with an initial capital of N1,000 by selling moin-moin (bean cake).

 

She was trained as a confidential secretary, and worked in Corona Primary School for about nine years and on her resignation from Corona, she had the intention of starting a playgroup and not a catering outfit. To actualize this, she enrolled in a six-month Montessori programme. But at the end of the period, she lost interest in pursuing the ambition.

 

To get herself busy, she started cooking for her sister-in-law, who was an extremely busy career woman. One day, her sister-in-law visited her house and joined Ayodeji and her family as they were having moin-moin, as a meal. She enjoyed it so much that she insisted that moin-moin must be included in her menu in which Ayodeji charged N1,000 for. And from there, family members, friends and colleagues began to place orders.

 

In three months of selling to a few family and friends, her turnover was running into N30, 000 – N40, 000 and she decided to take the business more seriously and at that point, realised that the best way to achieve success in business is to have a high turnover. The first question that came to her mind was where can (sic) she go to make her product available in the wider market? She went to the school she previously worked to hawk moin-moin for sale and that opened her up to larger market.

 

Even with the income from the sales of moin moin at Corona, she could not really account for the sales, expenses and profit. She had no proper financial account(s) and believed she needed to build her capacity. Coincidentally, she came across an advert on the newspaper saying that a United (Nations) organisation was coming into Nigeria to invest in women entrepreneurs with little or no business. That was The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Program in collaboration with the Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan-African University. An essay was required from interested applicants about their businesses and growth potentials. Ayodeji participated in the essay and was shortlisted and awarded a scholarship. She simply wrote what she was doing – selling and hawking moin-moin in front of a school. The 5-months program opened her eyes to the fact that she needed to put her finances together, and properly structure her business to ensure her sales and expenditure are clearly spelt (out). Another aspect of the programme that really transformed her business was the customer service aspect; reason being that prior to the CEM Programme she was not sure of her business career. There, she also recognized her good communication skills.

 

After the program, she claimed that her story took a different turn.  She was like a bird ready to fly – she became unstoppable. She was determined to run the business truly like a business. She opened a bank account for the company and started setting up business structures. The company had moved from one single product company (Moin-Moin) to a full catering outfit, where catering for 1,000 people was no longer a big deal but she jealously guarded the humble SEED – Moin-Moin, which has now become Moin-Moin Department in her new outlet. The contribution from this department in one week was enough to pay all the staff’s monthly salary. In less than one year of being a Goldman Sachs scholar, she had saved enough money to buy her own delivery vehicle, giving her more control on service delivery. She moved her business from her “Home” to “Office” thus enabling her to take on multiple jobs.

 

She had staffing issues at the initial stage of growth but the HR module (people make it happen) she attended during the CEM program sorted her out. She set up a proper staff structure and started to delegate duties. But as she grew, she found out that as long as the business is tied around the owner, the business cannot grow. Trust, delegation and empowering people are required in growing and meeting targets. She started handling multiple chores at the same time and so the business exploded with higher capital.

 

The most important message she has is never to be afraid to start small and never to be afraid to start with any amount. Well, she admitted that the journey was not smooth all the way. The zeal to acquire so much set in at a point and this really set her back at a time. She will like to encourage the young entrepreneurs to have a good business plan because it helps with proper planning and projection. Also, she advised that the financial records must be properly kept.  In her words “That would help the business to know when to make the next move, when to expand and how to expand”.

 

Culled from http://nigeria.smetoolkit.org/nigeria/en/content/en/53793/Success-Story-The-Moin-moin-Maker

The lessons from the moin-moin seller’s story include some of the points already highlighted above.

However, I would like to share one more point before we wrap up. It is the fact that successful business people have mastered their hustle. Now, I can imagine you scratching your head on hearing the word “hustle”. You are almost like “what’s this guy talking about?”

I admit that due to its usage in certain contexts and circumstances, the word “hustle” does evoke some degree of negativity. Well, I won’t be drawn into giving examples here. In the standard context, there is plenty of positives. Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary defines “hustle” as “. . . to convey forcibly or hurriedly; . . . to urge forward precipitately; . . . to obtain by energetic activity; . . . to sell something to or obtain something from by energetic and especially underhanded activity;. . . to sell or promote energetically and aggressively.”

So, there you have it: channeling you energy and aggression towards something you believe in.

David Siteman Garland shares a few things about hustling and includes some recommendations on how to keep the energy level up. These include:

1. Your horn was built for tooting. It is one thing to be humble and another thing to be a jerk, but if you are afraid to promote you and your business, you are not hustling. This does not mean . . . telling everyone how awesome you are, but it does mean making a conscious effort to promote, tell people what you are up to, and also have confidence in your accomplishments. Successful entrepreneurs are great self-promoters and believe in both their business and themselves.  Just don’t blow out the horn.

 

2. Screw Rejection. I remember trying to ask out a girl in 6th grade. I had no idea what I was doing and asked her out in the middle of a class…DURING the class with lots of people watching. Horrible idea. It didn’t work and I was super embarrassed. It is not that dissimilar from starting a business. You are taking a risk and putting yourself out there. Negabots will attack with their haterade. Hustlers don’t get embarrassed or upset,  they answer all e-mails (even the negative ones), respond to critics, make sales pitches, and make it happen no matter what. If someone told me I shouldn’t start a TV show without going to broadcasting school and having twenty years experience, I just look them in the face and say, “Thank you for your opinion. I respect that and I’m doing things a bit differently.”

 

3. Don’t be afraid of saying “No”. If you are hustling, opportunities will come your way. If the opportunity isn’t right for you, say no. Don’t chase all the shiny red balls, just find the ones that work for you and your brand.

 

4. Knocking Down Doors. Often times the only way to knock down the door in the entrepreneurial hustling world is to blast it down. Cold-calling, asking friends for help, going to your family. Yes, it takes time but building a business takes hard, sweaty time.

 

5. Fuel With Small Victories. Building businesses takes patience and hustle. But, I know I have patience problems (Do you?). We all want results NOW which is the selling points of get-rich schemes, MLM’s, and other sketchy stuff. Fuel yourself with small victories: You were complimented on your business, a happy customer sends an e-mail,  you made one website sale. It is easy to bask in the light of BIG victories (million dollar deals, new clients, a gazillion web hits, whatever), but a series of small victories will give you the attitude burst to keep rolling.

 

In a nutshell, get out there, ignore the haters, build your business, and adjust your hustling thinking and your success will be limitless.( http://www.therisetothetop.com/davids-blog/what-is-hustle-and-why-successful-entrepreneurs-have-it-mastered/)

You are still thinking that I left out the “man know man” issue. Yes! Even if you get the right connection and do not have the right mindset or are not well-organised, what should ordinarily have given you an advantage may well become your albatross.

About three months ago, I was attending a meeting in one of the South-South states and needed quickly print out a document. I headed for the nearest cyber-café. This was about 11.00am local time. As I walked into the business centre, I observed that the environment was very tense. A particular young man was very agitated. He was threatening fire and brimstone against the business centre’s management for making it impossible for him to successfully bid for an oil company’s dollar-denominated contract.

I eventually found out he was someone I know and I joined in calming him down and restoring peace in that environment. This chap is one of the “community boys” that regularly gets shortlisted for contracts by virtue of the fact that he was from the community where the oil company carried out its operations. He had done some jobs previously and made some money. He about three cars and lived in a nice apartment. Yet, he need to go to a business centre to complete an online competitive bid that was timed.

To me, this guy was not prepared to do business. He didn’t have the business sense to invest some small money in a computer, a generator and internet connection. How much would that have cost to prepare for a $500,000 contract?

I rest my case for today. I wish you success in your hustle!

 

Follow me on twitter @ehissman.

The Dana Air Crash 2012: One YearAfter

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Today is June 3, 2013. This makes it one full year since June 3, 2012. June 3, 2012 was a Sunday. It was a day that started like every other day and held much promise for several Nigerians.

On that day, many went to church. Just as the afternoon set in, the nation was thrown into mourning: a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft making a scheduled commercial passenger flight from Abuja to Lagos, Nigeria, had crashed into a building that was said to have  housed a furniture works and printing press in the Iju-Ishaga. The aircraft belonged to Dana Air, one of the airlines registered to operate in Nigeria by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

By the time the dust and some settled, about 163 were said to have perished from the air mishap (153 on board and about 10 on the ground). It went into the record books as the second worst air disaster to happen on Nigerian soil ever, the deadliest being the Royal Jordanian Airlines flight 707 Kano crash of 1973 in which 171 Nigerian muslims returning from Mecca and five crewmen died. See http://247ureports.com/nigerias-air-crash-history/ .

The Dana flight 992 McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft was a twin-engined aircraft registered in Nigeria as 5N-RAM. The crash was originally speculated to have been caused by dual engine failure and a preliminary report subsequently released by the Accident Investigation Bureau confirmed this. The report further stated that “the airplane was on the fourth flight segment of the day, consisting of two round-trips between Lagos and Abuja. The accident occurred during the return leg of the second trip. DAN 992 was on final approach for runway 18R at LOS when the crew reported the total loss of power.”

That was a Black Sunday for many Nigerians, particularly for families directly affected by the crash. The list (see full list here: http://www.elombah.com/index.php/articles-mainmenu/11285-full-list-of-dana-air-crash-victims) of those that died cut across a cross section of Nigerians from the corporate world to the clergy. Even children were not spared.

Understandably, there was national outrage when this incident occurred and the airline’s operation was suspended perhaps in line with the mood of the nation at the time. However, the airline has since re-commenced operations and those bereaved are mourning their losses alone. As with everything Nigerian, the issue of compensation by Dana Air and its insurers, Prestige Assurance PLC and Lloyds of London has been poorly handled. In a report accredited to the Minister for Aviation, Mrs Stella Oduah, about 30% of insurance claims have for been paid to the families of the victims of the crash (http://tribune.com.ng/news2013/en/news/item/13171-dana-crash-nass-expresses-dissatisfaction-over-compensations.html). Even at that, both Dana Air and its insurers have continued to complain about the shoddy manner about the way insurance claims are being handled.

For the records,  Section 48 (3) of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act provides as follows: “In any case of aircraft accident resulting in death or injury of passengers, the carrier shall make advance payments of at least US $30,000 (Thirty Thousand United States Dollars) within 30 (thirty) days from the date of such accident, to the natural person or such natural persons who are entitled to claim compensation in order to meet the immediate economic needs of such persons and such advance payments shall not constitute recognition of liability and may be offset against any amounts subsequently paid as damages by the carrier.” The claims out there are that the provisions of this law have been observed in aberration.

The National Assembly through the Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Honourable Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, has also expressed its dissatisfaction with the compensation so far paid by Dana Air to family members of the victims of the June 3, 2012 crash.

Money cannot bring back the dead. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one knows that. That said, if there is a way that loss can be cushioned, then it should be done by all means. An quickly too. The more this drags, the greater the pain and the hardship occasioned by this crash.

Today, I join all Nigerians to mourn those that died in that ill-fated aircraft. I join in mourning Levi Ajunuoma, Ehi Aikhomu, Maimuna Anyene and her three chikdren, and several others. May your souls rest in peace.

Moving With The Times – COSO Updates The Internal Control Framework

In a bid to reflect changes that have occurred in the business environment in the last two decades, the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission, COSO, recently updated its internal control framework.

COSO is a joint initiative of five private organizations – the American Accounting Association (AAA), the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), the institute of Management Accountants (IMA) which prides itself as the association of accountants and finance professionals in business and Finance Executives International (FEI) – and is dedicated to providing thought leadership through the development of frameworks and guidance on enterprise risk management, internal control and fraud deterrence.

According to its press release made available on May 14, 2013, COSO explained that it had issued an “updated Internal Control–Integrated Framework (Framework) and related illustrative documents.”

 

The original Framework was published in 1992 and has been is recognized globally as the leading guidance for designing, implementing and conducting internal control and assessing its effectiveness.

 

The updated Framework “is expected to help organizations design and implement internal control in (the) light of many changes in business and operating environments since the issuance of the original Framework, broaden the application of internal control in addressing operations and reporting objectives, and clarify the requirements for determining what constitutes effective internal control.”

 

Since the Internal Control –Integrated Framework was issued in 1992, COSO has had two related publications, Internal Control over Financial Reporting – Guidance For Smaller Public Companies (2006) and Guidance on Monitoring Internal Control systems (2009). However, the project timetable that culminated in the just issued Updated Framework went through four phases commencing in 2010 with assessment and survey by stakeholders, progressing to design and build in 2011, public exposure, assessment and refinement in 2012 and finalization in 2013.    

 

The review resulted in two separate publications: one, Internal Control – Integrated Framework consisting of three parts – Executive Summary, Framework and Appendices and Illustrative Tools for Assessing Effectiveness of a System of Internal Control and two, Internal Control over External Financial Reporting: A Compendium of Approaches and Examples.

 

It is instructive to note that even with the update, there are some things that have not changed. These are:

 

  • Core definition of internal control
  • Three categories of objectives and five components of internal control
  • Each of the five components of internal control are required for effective internal control
  • Important role of judgment in designing, implementing and conducting internal control, and in assessing its effectiveness

 

However, in the update, changes in business and operating environments have been considered, operations and reporting objectives expanded, fundamental concepts underlying five components articulated as principles and additional approaches and examples relevant to operations, compliance, and non-financial reporting objectives added.

 

In all, the updated framework articulates 17 principles of effective internal control. In otherwords, embracing these principles let companies know that they are running an effective system of internal controls. Three of the principles contained in this framework deal with information and communication and reflect the growth of the Internet, cell phones and other changes in business.

 

With regards to transition arrangements, COSO believes that users should transition their applications and related documentation to the updated Framework as soon as is feasible under their particular circumstances. During the transition extending to December 15, 2014, the organization says it will continue to make the original Framework available after which time it will consider it as superseded by the 2013 Framework. During the transition period, organizations reporting externally are required by the COSO Board to clearly disclose whether the original Framework or the 2013 Framework was utilized.

 

According to the COSO press release, the publications are available for purchase at its website www.coso.org. The Framework, Illustrative Tools, and ICEFR Compendium are available for purchase in both hard copy and electronic formats. An Executive Summary can, however, be downloaded by the public free of charge from www.coso.org.

 

This is laudable and is bound to be appreciated by accountants, finance professionals, enterprise risk managers, internal auditors and internal control professionals worldwide.