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Adopting ‘The 40-70 Rule’

   By Olowogboyega Oyebade Are you a public servant leading a team as a driver of a vision or a ‘motor-boy’ conducting an affairs, possibly making difficult decisions? According to Elia Kazan, do you know what is called a difficult decision is  because either way you go, there are penalties? Are you aware of ‘The…”
November 7, 2021 9:34 am

   By Olowogboyega Oyebade

Are you a public servant leading a team as a driver of a vision or a ‘motor-boy’ conducting an affairs, possibly making difficult decisions? According to Elia Kazan, do you know what is called a difficult decision is  because either way you go, there are penalties? Are you aware of ‘The 40-70 rule’? Are you that boss in the office, or that husband or wife? Do you know for tough decisions, you have to apply ‘The 40-70 rule’? Are you aware that Colin Powell (5th April, 1937 – 18th October, 2021) was the first African-American Secretary of State, the 16th United States National Security Advisor the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the 65th United States Secretary of State who faced countless tough decisions in the cause of service, some of which had grave consequences? As a Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff  from October 1989 to September 1993, do you know he supervised 28 crises, including the invasion of Panama in 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf War against Iraq in 1990–1991 during the reign of the dreaded Saddam Hussein of Iraq? Do you know as Chairman, he formulated the Powell Doctrine, which limits American military action unless it satisfies criteria regarding American national security interests, overwhelming force, and widespread public support? Do you know the Powell’s Doctrine is good enough for you in your career, marriage and life? You care for it? Enjoy a time-out! His thought cuts in: 

“Every time you face a tough decision you should have no less than forty percent and no more than seventy percent of the information you need to make the decision.  If you make a decision with less than forty percent of the information you need, you are shooting from the hip and you will make too many mistakes.  The second part of the decision making rule is what surprises many leaders.  They often think that they need more than seventy percent of the information before they can make a decision.  But, I explain to them, if you get more than seventy percent of the information you need to make the decision then the opportunity has usually passed and someone else has beaten you to the punch…Get enough information to make an informed decision and then trust your gut.  You’ll be glad you did.” 

Can you recall that the United States army was humiliated in Vietnam? Now based on his hindsight, do you know Powell believed that if the United States goes to war, it has to have a clear military objective, simply called Powell’s Doctrine? Which war are you going to? What are your objectives? His voice cuts in: “Down the road, that’s what I want to accomplish. I want to put the number of troops in that can take care of that problem, I want to have popular support, and I want to have an exit strategy. I want to go in, I want to accomplish it, and I want to get out.”

Do you know President George Bush bought into it to prosecute the 100-hour war to liberate Kuwait? Are you a worker out there? Do you know you have to apply Powell’s Doctrine in your service, marriage and life? And now the Powell’s Doctrine! Do you know the Powell Doctrine states that a list of questions all have to be answered affirmatively before military action is taken by the United States, namely: Is a vital national security interest threatened? Do we have a clear attainable objective? Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?

Do you know in his 2012 memoir, “It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership”, Powell listed 13 rules of leadership which include: 1.It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning. 2. Get mad, then get over it. 3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it. 4. It can be done! 5. Be careful what you choose. 6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision. 7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. 8. Check small things. 9. Share credit.  10. Remain calm. Be kind. 11. Have a vision. Be demanding. 12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or nay-sayers.  13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”

Do you know General Colin Powell expatiated more on leadership constructs in “A Leadership Primer”? His voice cuts in: “Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.  Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.,  The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.  They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care.  Either case is a failure of leadership.  Don’t be buffaloed by experts and elites.  Experts often possess more data than judgment.  Elites can become so inbred that they produce hemophiliacs who bleed to death as soon as they are nicked by the real world. Don’t be afraid to challenge the pros, even in their own backyard. Never neglect details.  When everyone’s mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant.  You don’t know what you can get away with until you try. Keep looking below surface appearances.  Don’t shrink from doing so (just) because you might not like what you find. Organization doesn’t really accomplish anything.  Plans don’t accomplish anything, either.  Theories of management don’t much matter.  Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved.  Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds. Organization charts and fancy titles count for next to nothing. Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it. Fit no stereotypes.  Don’t chase the latest management fads.  The situation dictates which approach best accomplishes the team’s mission.  Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier. Powell’s Rules for Picking People:  Look for intelligence and judgment, and most critically, a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners.  Also look for loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced ego, and the drive to get things done. Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand. Part I: Use the formula P=40 to 70, in which P stands for the probability of success and the numbers indicate the percentage of information acquired. Part II: Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut.  The commander in the field is always right and the rear echelon is wrong, unless proved otherwise.  Have fun in your command.  Don’t always run at a breakneck pace.  Take leave when you’ve earned it:  Spend time with your families. Corollary: surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard. Command is lonely.”

    Are you an environmentalist? Do you know 10th November is an important day  to remember Ken Saro-Wiwa (10 Oct.,1941 – 10 Nov.,1995)? As the President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), do you know Saro-Wiwa led a nonviolent campaign against environmental degradation of the land and waters of Ogoniland by the operations of the Royal Dutch Shell company and the acquiescence of the Nigerian State? Do you know he was arrested, tried by a special military tribunal for allegedly masterminding the gruesome murder of Ogoni chiefs at a pro-government meeting, and hanged on 10th November, 1995? Do you know he fell as a hero like Isaac Boro, to call the oil companies to order on reckless environmental degradation? His speech to the Tribunal cuts in: 

“My Lord, we all stand before history. I am a man of peace, of ideas, appalled by the denigrating poverty of my people who live on a richly endowed land, distressed by the political marginalisation and economic strangulation, angered by the devastation of their land, their ultimate heritage, anxious to preserve their right to life and to a decent living, and determined to usher to this country as a whole a fair and just democratic system which protects everyone and every ethnic group and gives us all a valid claim to human civilisation,

 I have devoted my intellectual and material resources, my very life, to a cause in which I have total belief and from which I cannot be blackmailed or intimidated. We all stand on trial, my lord, for by our actions we have denigrated our country and jeopardised the future of our children. As we subscribe to the sub-normal and accept double standards, as we lie and cheat openly, as we protect injustice and oppression, we empty our classrooms, denigrate our hospitals, fill our stomachs with hunger and elect to make ourselves the slaves of those who ascribe to higher standards, pursue the truth, and honour justice, freedom, and hard work. I predict that the scene here will be played and replayed by generations yet unborn. Some have already cast themselves in the role of villains, some are tragic victims, some still have a chance to redeem themselves. The choice is for each individual. I predict that the denouement of the riddle of the Niger Delta will soon come. The agenda is being set at this trial. Whether the peaceful ways I have favoured will prevail depends on what the oppressor decides, what signals it sends out to the waiting public. In my innocence of the false charges I face here, in my utter conviction, I call upon the Ogoni people, the peoples of the Niger Delta, and the oppressed ethnic minorities of Nigeria to stand up now and fight fearlessly and peacefully for their rights. History is on their side. God is on their side. For the Holy Quran says in Sura 42, verse 41: “All those that fight when oppressed incur no guilt, but Allah shall punish the oppressor.” Come the day.” 

Do you know we can do more to remember Ken Saro-Wiwa by caring more for the environment? Do you know the loss of trees and other vegetation can cause climate change, desertification, soil erosion, fewer crops, flooding, increased greenhouse gases and a host of problems? Do you know deforestation occurs for a number of reasons, including farming, cattle ranching, and logging? Are you aware of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland on 1st November, 2021 – COP26, to November 12 in Glasgow, just two days after the Memorials of Ken Saro-Wiwa? Are you aware that more than 100 world leaders representing over 85% of the planet’s forests committed on Tuesday 2nd November, 2021, to ending and reversing deforestation and land degradation by 2030? Are you aware that more than 40 countries  committed to shift away from coal, in pledges made at the COP26 climate summit? Do you know they have also agreed to phase out coal power in the 2030s for major economies, and the 2040s for poorer nations? Do you know major coal-using countries including Poland, Vietnam and Chile and they  are among those that made the commitment? Can you believe that some of the world’s biggest coal-dependent countries, including Australia, India, China and the US, did not sign up to the pledge? Do you know coal is the single biggest contributor to climate change? Do you know signatories to the agreement have committed to ending all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally? Do you know dozens of organisations also signed up to the pledge, with several major banks agreeing to stop financing the coal industry?  The voice of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, cuts in: “This is a “landmark agreement to protect and restore the earth’s forests. These great teeming ecosystems — these cathedrals of nature – are the lungs of our planet…, we will have a chance to end humanity’s long history as nature’s conqueror, and instead become its custodian.”

Do you know coal still produces around 37% of the world’s electricity in 2019? Can you notice that the United States and China did commit themselves?  Do you know that there was nothing on the phasing out of oil and gas and Nigeria did not remind the world since it does not have more viable alternatives? The voice of Kwasi Kwarteng, UK Business and Energy Secretary, cuts in: “The end of coal is in sight. The world is moving in the right direction, standing ready to seal coal’s fate and embrace the environmental and economic benefits of building a future that is powered by clean energy.”

Are you familiar with Financial literacy? Do you know this is the possession of the set of skills and knowledge that allows an individual to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources? Do you know understanding basic financial concepts allows people to know how to navigate in the financial system and make better financial decisions? Do you know the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) started an inter-governmental project in 2003 to improve financial education and literacy standards? Do you know in 2016, France introduced a national economic, budgetary and financial education to promote financial literacy in French society? Do you know the Swiss National Bank aims at improving financial literacy through its initiative iconomix that targets upper secondary school students in public schools? Do you know in 2006, Canadian securities regulators commissioned two national investor surveys to gauge people’s knowledge and experience with investments and fraud? Do you know the results from both studies demonstrated there was  a need better to educate and inform investors about capital markets and investment fraud? Do you know we need Financial Literacy to manage our economy while in service and retirement? Do you know with effective Financial Literacy, more Nigerians could not have been falling victims of Ponzi Schemes? 

Are you aware that on Thursday 28th October, 2021, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, Director, Corporate Communications, of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at  CBN FAIR programme with the theme: “Promoting Financial Stability and Economic Development said that the bank is sensitising Nigerians to become security conscious and be able to identify fraudsters and fraudulent schemes? Do you know he hinted that CBN is also collaborating with security agencies to arrest fraudsters who had defrauded Nigerians via ponzi schemes and other fraudulent actions in the country? Do you know if we have Financial Literacy in our curriculum, Ponzi Schemes would not had had a field-day? His voice cuts in: “We have done quite a number in this regard to ensure those who claimed to be what they are not are brought to book. Most of these people do not have licence, they just operate. You are the greatest security for yourselves because when you are sensitised, you will be able to identify them the moment you see it.”

Do you know some financial literacy researchers raised questions about the political character of financial literacy education, arguing that it justifies the shifting of greater financial risk to evaluate tuition fees , pensions, health care costs, subsidy costs, Capital  and Equity Market, Cost of Fund, Election Cost, Data Management Cost, cost of security, cost of Governance, cost of power, cost of industrial action, cost of corruption and cost of importing food, cost of importing raw materials, cost of exporting raw materials without adding value, cost of smuggling, cost of insecurity to mention but a few? 

Can you see that Financial Literacy is more critically oriented and broader in focus: an education that helps individuals better understand systemic injustice and social exclusion, rather than one which understands financial failure as an individual problem and the character of financial risk as apolitical? Do you know the greatest problem afflicting Nigerians is ignorance of Financial Literacy? Do you know we could have fixed most problems if only we were Financially literate? You care to know more about this? Come along! 

How did you feel when on 27th October, 2021, the Federal Government revealed that in September 2021, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spent N123.73 billion on petrol subsidies while giving its report to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for the October meeting? Do you know the Corporation stated that the amount with the additional N40 billion differed deduction would be deducted from its November contribution to FAAC due to the lack of a provision for petrol subsidy in the 2021 Budget? Do you know Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, announced that the Federal Government would continue to subsidize gasoline consumption until July 2022? Can you see we need Financial Literacy as we continue to pay subsidy not appropriated? 

Can you recall that on 17th May, 2021, a banner headline in the media credited to Director of Production, Defence Headquarters, Air Vice Marshall  M. A. Yakubu, during the public hearing on the Armed Forces Support Trust Fund Bill flickered: “Nigeria needs at least $2 billion dollars (about N826 billion) to tackle the worsening insecurity in the country? If we spend this amount per year as a poor country to tackle insecurity, how much shall we need to maintain peace amidst crushing poverty? Do we need Financial Literacy? His voice cuts in: “I have been a defence-attache with the United States from 2014 to 2017. I have been a Director of Procurement at the headquarters of the Nigerian Airforce for another two years. I have been a chief of logistics also at the headquarters Nigerian Airforce for another two years. So I am fully conversant with what it takes to run the affairs of a fighting Airforce. I also understand the limitations we have in Nigeria and what it should have been. I want you to understand how large is this problem we are trying to address before I make my point. Every year, how do we get our budget, capital budget specifically? An arbitrary envelope is simply thrown at us. This year for example, your budget cap should be N20 billion. It does not take into consideration what are the actually needs. What do you need to meet those needs. Now that is one, secondly, we are all aware of the exchange rate fluctuations. We have run into problems where even working with approved budget envelopes, we have gone ahead to sign contracts for procurement of equipment and suddenly the exchange rate collapses on us and we are unable to fund it. We have found ourselves every year running back to the Federal government for interventions. This is not sustainable. The next thing I want to talk about is the cost of equipment. Talking from the point of view of an Airforce officer, who has been involved in procurement of equipment. Let me give you an example. The procurement of the 12 Super Tucano Aircraft cost approximately $500 million. Now this is a package. The United States would not sell equipment to you and just give you the equipment there. There must be support package for a minimum of three years. There must be training and other things. That total package came to that amount. How many years would it take you to budget? The maximum we have received from 2017 to date we have received in capital allocation for the Airforce was about N44 billion per annum. Convert that at the current exchange rate. How many years do you need to gather 500 million dollars to buy just 12 aircrafts? Look at the expanse of land we are required to cover? Nigeria is over 920, 000 square km. Every inch of the land needs to be covered by either surveillance or capability to attack. Where can you get those equipment to cover this land. Even the northeast alone, how much does it take to maintain even existing aircrafts? Because of this, I sincerely believe that the sources we are considering for this Bill are grossly inadequate. Let us look at it. Last time about two weeks ago we had a brief discussion of what we intend to generate from this. We are estimating something in the range of N100 billion per annum. Convert that to dollars because virtually all the equipment are imported. This will go nowhere. And it would not address the problem we are seeking to address unless we expand the sources. Nigerians I know are tired of being asked to pay for something. The level of poverty everybody appreciates is severe. However nobody wants to sleep with only one eye closed. Everybody is scared of traveling on the road because of insecurity. Therefore I would urge that all stakeholders must educate citizens to understand the need to sacrifice because if we do not do that to address this problem sincerely speaking would continue to be a mirage. If we are not able to raise a minimum of $2 billion dollars per annum in the next three years for a start, subsequently maybe we can begin to taper down the percentages. But for a start we need a bulk sum because of many of these manufacturers of equipment require 100 percent down payment to even start production. So you cannot sign a contract example with the US manufacturers and pay 15 percent mobilization as required by the procurement act. Nobody would look at you. Their terms must be followed. Many times we are asked to pay 100 per cent. The example is the super Tucano. This one is on government to government. They insisted 100 payment within 30 days. No budgetary allocation would fund that.” 

With the problem elucidated above, are we on the track to national security as far as our economy is concerned? Have you heard the news? Do you know that on 6th November, 2021 the House of Representatives Committee on Army lamented that the sum of N28 billion appropriated for the Army as capital in the 2022 budget was inadequate? Do you know he hinted that it was the wish of the committee to also draw the attention of the President to the plight of the officers living in dilapidated structures across 138 barracks in the country? Where is Financial Literacy? 

Have you read a banner headline: “Customs revenue drive killing Nigeria’s economy” published on 3rd October, 2021 and credited to President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Eyis Amiwero? Do you know he declared that aggressive collection of revenue is a disservice to development of industries in the country  called for complete reform of the Nigeria Customs Service, a call sign-posting the necessity of Financial Literacy? His voice cuts in: “Customs is to promote trade and not to collect revenue. Customs must be reformed. If we do not reform it, we cannot reform the economy….The confusion in the ports is shaking the nation’s economy. We politicise everything at the expense of our economy. People in authority are just using the port to make money for themselves.” 

Can you recall a banner headline on 12th December, 2019 beaming “Reps investigate N600 billion monthly revenue loss at Apapa, Tin Can ports”?  Can you recall that a news item flickered later the congestion at the port in Lagos has become so bad that it can cost more than $4,000 to truck a container 20 km to the Nigerian mainland in Lagos which is almost as much as it costs to ship one cargo through 12,000 nautical miles from China? Do you know the average spot rate to ship a 20 ft container from Shanghai to Lagos is about $3,000, according to Shanghai Containerized Freight Index data provided by Dutch shipping consultancy Dynamar, the equivalent of about $3,750 to $4,000 for a 40ft container? Do you know the current spot rate continues to soar as cargo ships often wait more than a month off the coast before they can offload their goods in the port? Do you know our country is definitely behind the curve as we are engrossed in Financial Illiteracy? The voice of Jumoke Oduwole, Head of the agency tasked with improving Nigeria’s business environment, cuts in: “We all know that the congestion at the ports is bad for the economy.” 

Have you heard the news? Do you know on 5th October, 2021, it was announced that the Federal Government earmarks N100bn for 2023 elections, an amount that is less than the oil subsidy paid by the NNPC for the month of September, 2021? Do you know that  INEC has fired back to say  N100bn is too meagre for 2023 general election? Where is Financial Literacy?

Can you recall a news item on 7th June, 2012 that held that over 71,000 Nigerian students paid tuition fees in Ghana totaling about N160 billion? Can you recall that a report in 2010 recorded that Nigeria fueled the UK education sector to the tune of N246 billion; over 60 per cent of the 2012 education allocation? Do you know that foreign universities are profiting from Nigeria’s ill-equipped institutions, as Nigerian youths paid whopping sums as tuition to foreign universities? Do you know despite the huge cost of schooling abroad, more Nigerians are joining the quest to acquire foreign education? According to a report published in 2020, do you know international undergraduate students pay a yearly £13,394 for classroom taught courses, and £15,034 and £24,169 respectively for laboratory and clinical courses in the United Kingdom? Do you know postgraduate students pay £13,442, £15,638, and £20,956, respectively for the classroom, laboratory, and clinical-based courses and for MBA students, the tuition is £18,226 on the average? Do you know there are 11,000 Nigerian students in the UK pay the tuition fees? Using the CBN’s balance of payment statistics, can you believe that Nigerians have spent a hefty sum of $28.65 billion on foreign education in the past 10 years (2010 to 2020)? Where is Financial Literacy to call us to order? 

Have you heard the news? Can you recall that on 28th April, 2021, United States Government, disclosed  that about 14,000 Nigerians who pursued U.S. graduate and undergraduate degrees, brought an estimated $501 million (N190,129,500,000.00) to the country in 2020? Do you know US government revealed that Nigeria sends more students to American colleges and universities than any other country in Africa? The report cuts in: “With over 100,000 travelers to the United States each year, Nigerians boost American businesses, colleges, and universities. There are over 8,800 education and exchange program alumni from Nigeria and the United States. Nigeria sends more students to American colleges and universities than any other country in Africa and is the eleventh largest source worldwide of international students to the United States. In Academic Year 2019-2020, a record-breaking number of nearly 14,000 Nigerians pursued U.S. graduate and undergraduate degrees, bringing an estimated $501 million to communities across America. In 2020, advisor of EducationUSA services received scholarships worth $28 million.”

Can you recall a banner headline published on 18th May, 2018 that hinted: “Nigerians Pay N9.7bn for U.S. Visa in 2017”? Do you know this statistics excluded what was spent by those who obtained immigrant visas and those whose visa applications were rejected? Do you know in-depth knowledge of financial literacy is required to understand how much we spend on pilgrimage, how much we lose by patronizing foreign goods, how much we drive away foreign investment by insecurity, how much we lose by engaging in spending funds not appropriated, how much we lose by keeping the youth unemployed, how much we lose by scaring students from schools through kidnaping, cultism and drug-peddling, how much we lose by exporting local materials without adding value, how much we lose by demolishing industries to build churches, towers and cathedrals, how much we lose by rigging elections, how much we lose by denying women their quota, how much we lose by introducing discrimination as an object of worship, how much we lose by shunning federalism for a plural State that we are, how much we lose to by shunning community policing, how much we lose by shunning national conference and how much we lose to refuse to update a Constitution that continually failed to deliver on the mandate of a crying nation begging for salvage from the brink? Where are the angels of Financial Literacy? Shall we call on them to descend now to fill these gruesome hollows?

Are you a public officer? Do you know you need Financial Literacy for now and future? Do you know pensioners fumed as Governors backed plan to borrow N17tn from pension funds to extend it to States? Why? Do you know that this development was as a result of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum that endorsed two proposals to borrow a total of N17tn from two sources for infrastructural development? Do you know the governors took the decision after receiving a briefing from the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, who is the Chairman of the National Economic Council Ad Hoc Committee on Leveraging Portion of Accumulated Pension Funds for Investment in the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority? Do you know El-Rufai briefed the forum on a proposed National Infrastructure Investment Fund, saying a total sum of N2tn at nine per cent interest could be accessed through the NSIA? Do you know that the National Pension Commission, showed that the total funds under the scheme stood at N11.34tn as of the end of August, out of which N7.5tn had been invested in Federal Government securities? Do you know the Pension Reform Act, however, stipulates that the funds should not be released by the Pension Fund Custodians to the Pension Fund Administrators to be administered as loans or put in other investments, except it is in line with the investment guidelines of the National Pension Commission? 

Can you recall that in December, 2020, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) sent an open letter to President Buhari urging him to use his “good offices and leadership position to urgently instruct the Director-General and Board of the National Pension Commission [NPC] to use their statutory powers to stop the 36 State Governors from borrowing and/or withdrawing N17 trillion from the pension funds purportedly for ‘infrastructural development?     Can you believe that the Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, had a similar proposal to access N15tn for national infrastructure funding through InfraCredit at a lower interest rate of five per cent? Do you know the governors, therefore, agreed to endorse the two proposals that canvassed for infrastructure development by both the el-Rufai committee and the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, noting that both were not mutually exclusive and could be adopted simultaneously with one streaming into the other? Do you want to know fact? Come along! 

Though the opinions against the plan to borrow from the pension funds is not out of place, do you know the Federal Government of Nigeria, directly or indirectly, has been borrowing from pension funds? How? Do you know that when pension funds buy Federal Government-issued bonds, the pension funds, are by implications, lending money to the bond issuer, which happens to be the Federal Government of Nigeria? Have you asked yourself: What is a bond? Do you know a bond is a loan contract issued by the bond issuer (the borrower) to the bond purchaser (the lender) promising to return the money at the bond’s maturity and promising to pay interim interests on the borrowed money? Do you know there is acute shortage of investible financial instruments in Nigeria? Do you know there are regulatory requirements that compel Pension Funds Administrators  to invest the bulk of the funds in Federal Government-issued bonds and the balance in liquid and less risky financial instruments in Nigeria? Do you know by the nature of the investment climate in Nigeria, it is only the FGN bonds that carry the least risk and encouraging interest rates? Can you recall that the Nigerian Pension Fund asset was worth N10 trillion, according to the December 2019 edition of Pension Fund Asset Summary report released by the National Pension Commission, PenCom? Do you know that out of that N10 trillion, about N7 trillion was  invested in Federal Government-issued securities, comprising N5.3 trillion in FGN Bonds and N1.9 trillion in FGN Treasury Bills, meaning that Federal Government of Nigeria borrowed the value? Do you know that in 2019 alone, pension funds lent to the Federal Government, by way of investment in FGN issued financial instruments, amounted to about N1.6 trillion, with N1.04 trillion going to FGN bonds while N0.62 trillion went to Treasury Bills? Do you know there is hardly any government that does not engage in borrowing to finance its developmental initiatives? Do you know borrowing is not all that bad, especially domestic borrowing where the interest rate gets paid and channelled back to the economy with its multiplier effect? Do you know what is bad about borrowing is the judicious use of the borrowed money?

Do you know Nigeria is in need of infrastructure developments, roads, rail, electricity supply, tourism, development of agriculture, and improving security? And now the news that calls for Financial Literacy! Are you aware that on 1st November, 2021, Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed disclosed that the Nigeria government has borrowed a huge some of N8.29 trillion from Pension Fund Assets which stood at N12.9 trillion at the end of August 2021? Do you know as at the moment, it is only the Federal Government that is monopolizing the leverage the funds provides? Do you know the bulk of the funds was contributed by the States? For mutual inclusion, do you know by right, States should be allowed to benefit from the funds to build infrastructure? Do you know the Governors will do Nigeria a world of good if they can equally borrow from the Funds to settle all outstanding pensions owed all the retirees? Do you know this will jump-start the economy and save the retirees from the  present vulnerable conditions? Do you know this is a simple lesson in Financial Literacy and Social Inclusiveness? Do you know borrowing from the National Pension Fund to settle pensioners is part of the solutions to national insecurity? Do you know an hungry man is a angry and vicious man?

Are you aware that on Monday 1st November, 2021, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, while declaring open the maiden edition of the National Youth Conference at the MKO Abiola Stadium, asked the youths in the country and abroad not to in any way, succumb to hopelessness that we are currently immersed,  but that they should rather keep faith with new Nigeria? He cuts in: “Building a nation is an inter-generational endeavour, I think that this is a particularly important point. Government can be changed in the electoral cycle, but the destiny of a nation is shaped across generations. This country is ours, above and beyond partisan troubles, disagreements and everything else, the future will be what we make of it in these days when we seem to be assailed on all sides. It is natural to fear for the future and nurse anxiety, on what tomorrow holds. However, this is not the time to give up or to succumb to despair. This is the time to engage and to work more seriously to build the country of our dreams. It is my belief that young Nigerians organise, mobilise and participate fully in public affairs. Your contributions are invaluable to the debate on what sort of future we want.”

Are you aware that on Monday 1st October,  2021, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the opening of a two-day retreat for young legislators at the Federal and State levels said if young Nigerians fail to bid for elective offices at the 2023 general elections, they cannot win? Do you know he urged youths, who were ready to throw their hats into the ring in 2023, to join political parties or form new ones, adding that the essence of the “Not-Too -Young To Run” Bill would be defeated if the youth failed to run or  to ensure greater participation of youths in parliament and in government generally? His voice cuts in: “In preparation for 2023 general elections, we must realise that greater participation of our youths should not be mere rhetoric. Power is never handed over on a platter. If you don’t bid, you can’t win. We must also register to vote. The whole essence is to ensure that youths get involved in the process of democracy and also in parliamentary process.” 

Have you heard the news? Are you aware that bandits raped two ladies and attacked others in Kwara State last week, sign-posting our avowed violence against girl-child and womenfolk? Are you aware that 25th November, 2021 is a special day to celebrate violence against women and girls? Do you know violence against women the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women is defined as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life, encompassing: intimate partner violence (battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide); sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber- harassment); human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation); female genital mutilation; and child marriage? 

Can the bird of humanity fly with only one wing as we promote femicide by conduct and actions? Can you believe that the adverse psychological, sexual and reproductive health consequences of VAWG affect women at all stages of their life? Do you know some women and girls are particularly vulnerable to violence? Have you listened to the account of trauma experienced by young girls and older women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex? Have you heard of the horrendous account of the privations suffered by  migrants and refugees, indigenous women and ethnic minorities, or women and girls living with HIV and disabilities, and those living through humanitarian crises? Do you know violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as to the fulfillment of women and girls’ human rights and blocking the path to reach the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that prescribes: “to leave no one behind? Do you know 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner? Do you know only 52% of women married or in a union freely make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care? Do you know 71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls, and 3 out of 4 of these women and girls are sexually exploited? Have you checked the 2018 Demography and Health Survey (DHS) report in Nigeria? Do you know the report revealed considerable gaps in perception of violence against women in Nigeria? Do you know the report indicated that many women in Nigeria still experience different forms of violence? Do you know 31 percent of women between ages 15 and 49 have experienced physical violence,  9 percent have experienced sexual violence, and 6 percent of the women have experienced physical violence even during pregnancy? Do you know 36 percent of ever-married women have experienced intimate partner violence including physical, sexual, and emotional violence? Do you know 29 percent of ever-married women who have experienced intimate partner violence sustained injuries that varied from cuts and bruises to deep wounds and other serious injuries?  Do you know 86 percent of the circumcised women age 15 to 49 were circumcised before age 5, while 5 percent circumcised at age 15 or older? Do you know  the report showed that about one in five women agree that wife-beating is justified if she argues with him, goes out without permission, neglects the children, or refuses to have sexual intercourse? Do you know 15 percent of the women agreed that wife-beating is justified if she burns food? Do you know that 55 percent of women who have experienced physical or sexual violence have never sought help to stop the violence? 

Can you recall the case of Ronke Shonde, a banker and mother of two, who was beaten to death by her husband, Lekan Shonde, in Lagos? Can you recall how a manhunt for Mr. Shonde, who fled the murder scene, was launched? Do you know that before taking his wife’s life, Mr. Shonde used to “tie her, beat her and take her mobile phones away”? Do you know the most common acts of violence against women in Nigeria include sexual harassment, physical violence, harmful traditional practices, emotional and psychological violence, socio-economic violence and violence against non-combatant women in conflict situation? Do you know to reduce the cases of violence against women, Nigeria adopted in 2006 a Framework and Plan of Action for the National Gender Policy while the federal and state governments adopted several legislative and policy instruments, including The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act of 2015, which prohibits female genital mutilation, harmful widowhood practices, harmful traditional practices and all forms of violence against persons in both private and public life? Can you recall that in 2003, African governments adopted a protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in which they committed themselves to end discrimination and violence against women and the protocol came into force in November 2005 after ratification by 15 states? Do you know we must count the cost of violence against women now? 

Do you know we have to put on our thinking cap in Financial Literacy? Do you know that Nigeria was among the top destinations in Africa for foreign direct investments between 2011 and 2020 and Nigeria ranked second on the list with a net inflow of $45.1 billion only behind Egypt, which attracted $56.2 billion and one place ahead of South Africa with $41.3 billion? Are you aware that the National Bureau of Statistics said the total value of capital importation into Nigeria declined to $875.6 million in the second quarter of 2021 from $1.9 billion in the first quarter of 2021, a decrease of 54.06% and 32.38% decrease compared to the second quarter of 2020? Do you know the United Kingdom emerged as the top source of capital investment in Nigeria in Q2 2021 with $310.26m, an amount that accounted for 35.43 per cent of the total capital inflow in Q2 2021? Why are we having less? According to Financial Literacy, do you know we are bargaining for less in Nigeria as the economy is ravaged by a number of problems, ranging from macro-economic factors such as inflation, unemployment, ease of doing business to socio-economic factors such as banditry, kidnaping, and insurgency, violence against women and girl-children, political tension laced with ethnic chauvinism hence affecting the sentiments of foreign investors towards the economy?  The voice of Colin Powell cuts in again: Every time you face a tough decision you should have no less than forty percent and no more than seventy percent of the information you need to make the decision.  If you make a decision with less than forty percent of the information you need, you are shooting from the hip and you will make too many mistakes.” The time to adopt ‘The 40-70 rule’ to solve our national question is now. God bless Osun! God bless Nigeria!

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