Nigerian banks and unemployment

Monday, 21 November 2016 00:00 Written by

Lukman Adedoyin explains why banks in Nigeria must retrench and government must halt the trend

The boiling Niger Delta cauldron

Monday, 21 November 2016 00:00 Written by

Some sixty years ago, a unique event of epic economic proportion happened in the bowels of what is toady referred to as the Niger Delta region: the discovery of crude oil.

Towards Higher Profits for Farmers

Monday, 18 April 2016 00:00 Written by

The Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria work together toward repositioning farmers for higher profits in Nigeria. Yakubu Geshere writes

Agriculture: Untapped Goldmine

Saturday, 03 October 2015 00:00 Written by

 

Adedoyin Lukmon wants Nigeria’s President Buhari to look beyond oil towards agriculture as a means of stimulating development the same way that other counties have done.

 

In our previous editions on job tips, we had been treating the rudiments of the subject but in this edition, we shall thoroughly delve into the technicalities and skills applicable to the subject matter. To this end we shall expose our dear readers to a variety of tricks to adopt as well as traps to avoid, in seeking for the job of their desire. These could eventually glue the applicant to his/her dream job.

First, the hopeful applicant needs to embark on a thorough feasibility study of the firm, ministry or organization in which he/she intends securing a job. As a vulnerable trap for applicants who are novice in the system, an interviewer may ask who the interviewee thinks is the organization's main rival and what modalities it should adopt to improve on its quality, productivity and administrative policies. Because a trap has been set for the applicant, he/she should try as a matter of fact, to be very smart here. Do not try pulling the wool; simply avoid multiple studies of various organizations – just restrict yourself to the organization that offers your dream job. That is it. You must be resolute and determined.

Secondly, you must be very explicit in justifying your reasons for choosing that very job of your desire. Ensure that you are adequately prepared and ready to wrestle with any other contender seeking for that same job. You must be ready to tell the interviewer what attracts you to the job or organization; what benefits the job stands to offer you that you find very indispensable to your life. Mind you, if any interviewer comes to understand that you do not really show interest in a job, he may out rightly or tactically turn down your request for it – in spite of your dexterous abilities.

Importantly, you must try to be exceptional amongst other applicants because there are always more candidates vying for job positions than the opportunities that avail. As a result, interviewers introduce deathtraps to screen as well as naturally edge the feeble ones out of the struggle. This is synonymous to the theory of biological evolution which states that, “In the struggle for survival, only those who are the fittest survive, while the unfit naturally give up in the struggle”. The trick here is for you to ask the following questions to yourself, and try providing accurate answers to them: “Why will he not employ me?” Is it because I do not possess this or that? Or is it because I am not the son/daughter of…? 

You should not forget attending the interview with well-prepared questions for the interviewer. You know, this would demonstrate your sagacity and knowledge of the firm as well as your level of preparedness for the interview. In most cases, interviewers ask if you have any questions and no matter what, you should have at least one and at most three. Do not ever admit you have no question for him. If you mistakenly do, it would definitely expose your incompetence for the job. One of the best questions for the interviewer could be "What kind of person would you most prefer to occupy this position?" You may think of other similar questions to this one.

Make sure you thoroughly rehearse your questions before attending any interview, and the most effective way of doing so is to engage three or more parties as if it is in a normal interview setting. Here, one person would act as the interviewer; another person should act as the observer while the remaining one would play the role of an interviewee. Do it for the first, second, third and even fourth time, then record it and listen to the playback. If errors occur, then correct them and try improving each time you engage until the interview date is reached. Surely, success would be your result.

Obviously, some empirical studies have shown that most interviewers make their final decisions about an applicant's chances of scaling through an interview in the first five or seven minutes and then reserve the remaining minutes in search for his justification for the decision made.  Therefore, you must attend the interview with vigor, optimism and hope. You should develop a positive impression about the organization and try voicing it out. For instance, you may say “I think the company is doing great work and I hope to be given the opportunity to contribute my own quota to it."

You have to understand that many other applicants will be seeking for the same position for which you vie, thus you must try to crave for an edge over them by exemplifying yourself. This is how to do it. You must first admit that there is a serious tussle between you – the interviewee and the interviewer. Next, you should understand that his main aim is just to mark your weak points and pin you down. Having borne this in mind, you now have to devise intelligent tricks to lure him into sympathizing with you. That is all! You may say to the interviewer, “I thank God – this interview has granted me the privilege of knowing more about your reputable organization”. Assertions like this one really thrill the interviewer; hence brightening your chances of excelling in an interview.

Another great issue is your level of courtesy, astuteness and assertiveness. In fact, they are key-factors to succeeding in any job interview. Do not forget that an interview is just like any other conversation. You must flow. If he pauses, you on your own part should not remain mute. Instead, try bombarding him with stories of your achievements, which you deem are relevant to the overall benefit of the organization. Take it as an advantageous opportunity to now sell yourself and your dexterities. Just make sure you do not over-fire because if he discovers you are lying, it may mar your chances of scaling through the battle line.

Besides, you must learn to be patient, humble and resilient. You must be prepared to come across thought-provoking as well as obnoxious questions that border on your socio-demography, such as your nationality, race, age, gender, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, among several others. No matter how irked you may feel, try to be patient. After all, there is an old adage that says “A patient dog eats the fattest bone”.

Finally, if the above-given paramount job tips are meticulously and conscientiously adhered to, your chances of securing your dream job would be vibrantly aced.

Never ever give up! Keep hunting for your dream job, as resplendent success awaits you somewhere…some day!

Chance for Agriculture to Rise

Sunday, 01 February 2015 00:00 Written by

Apart from the tales of the now extinct groundnut pyramids, or perhaps the now unpopular oil palm significance of Nigeria in the global production market, the sky scraper Cocoa House, which was built as far back as 1965 from the proceeds of cocoa, shows that Nigeria had her fair share of agricultural prosperity.

Dr. Victor Oladokun, a frontline media practitioner, in a video documentary on the state of agriculture in Nigeria showed a lorry his father bought. But more interesting was the monumental significance of the lorry when it was purchased. The lorry made Oladokun the first man to buy a lorry and paid for it in cash. This historical milestone was achieved from the proceeds from Oladokun's cocoa farm.

You may want to say 'those are the glory days'. Yes, things have taken a different turn since the discovery of oil. However, one must say that indeed oil was not the real cause of our present economic plight, but rather leadership decisions and administrative policies. These generally are the bane of African countries, not only Nigeria. 

When the nations were eventually freed, they were like a lost child in the middle of nowhere and had to return to those who enslaved them intellectually and human capacity-wise, for advice on how to advance their economy. Our case was like a person who chased a foe out of his compound and later ran to him to seek advice.

Presently, Nigeria is a template of a mono-economy, with 95% of her export earnings coming from crude oil and natural gas, which accounts for 70% of government's revenue. The non-oil sector (Agriculture, Information and communication technology, Tourism, Entertainment, Roads and transportation) do contribute the remaining revenue. Proper enhancement of the potentials of the non-oil sector can turn the hands of the clock to boost our economic potentials.

In an online report based on World Bank's 2013 and 2014 growth estimate, Mathew Boesler in 2012 projected 29 countries with highest growth over the next two years. 16 of these countries are in Africa and subsistence agriculture is a major part of five of these countries' economies. On the list, Nigeria is ranked 12th, and ahead of her are Mozambique, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Nigeria has been directing efforts towards diversification of the economy. Due to the consistent decline in the contribution of the oil sector to the country's nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with records of 17.52%, 15.89%, 14.40% and 10.45% in the years 2011 to 2014 respectively. The economic team constituted by the president under the leadership of the coordinating minister of the economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has thus been encouraging the non-oil sectors with significant financial aids and policies.

However, of the entire non-oil sector, agriculture holds a remarkable position in the quest to diversify Nigeria's economy. This is because it can contribute up to 50% to the nation's GDP. In 2012 agriculture contributed 30.9% to the GDP and was responsible for 70% of the country's labour force. Besides the tendency to augment the financial strength of the economy, agriculture can also significantly reduce the unemployment statistics of Nigeria.

The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina {who is over-seeing government's Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA)} has remarkably blocked the leakages in farmers' access to fertilizers, provided real-time information to farmers through mobile phones and improved farm input materials; according to a well known public analyst, Professor Pat Utomi.

Other things the present administration has done or is still doing worthy of mention include: collation of comprehensive data base of Nigeria farmers, with 14.5 million already registered under the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES), subsidy on fertilizer and cost of mechanization, introduction of Tap cards for easy collection of farm inputs as well as expansion projects to ensure increase in production capacity of crops like paddy rice, cassava, oil palm etc.

It is important to know that ATA is not the first project aimed at fortifying the strength and contribution of agriculture to the Nation's economy. The likes of Green Revolution, Operation Feed the Nation to mention but a few, have ended up in the history books. Sustenance of paper policies and adequate implementation of these policies will ensure consistency and sustenance of the projects.

The government should not be quick to privatize everything or introduce private sector all the time. The motive of diversification goes beyond monetary or financial gratification, but also includes wholesome overhauling of the standard of living of Nigerian commoners. If not, we will continue to export commodities that are not in sufficient supply locally. Government should invest in agriculture on an extremely large scale to ensure food security locally.

The drop in oil price to an all-time lowest may just be a justification not to put all our eggs in one basket any longer. With the optimization of our agricultural potentials there will be employment (not only to agricultural experts) and we can think of our economy to be more robust even on paper.

Slumping Oil, Ailing Economy

Sunday, 01 February 2015 00:00 Written by

Prince Etele writes that Nigeria's effort to cushion the effect of oil price slump on the economy may require some revisiting

An astute politician, Shuaibu Idris, popularly known as Mikati was twice an aspirant under the platform of PDP for the governorship of Kaduna State. A chartered accountant and banker with immense experience in corporate Nigeria, he was with the famous Dangote Group and rose to become Deputy Managing Director of Dangote Flour Mills Plc, before he resigned voluntarily to pursue a career in politics in December 2010. At an interactive chat  Shuaibu, a 'home grown person' as he likes people to see him, is a product of Bayero University Kano, University of Wales and Lagos Business School as well as Harvard University and  ‎Cambridge University alumnus, amongst many other schools. He shared his thoughts on the current economic challenges facing our country.