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African Politics_Crass Opportunism of ZANU-PF

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As a young man, I invested a lot of time, energy and my meagre resources to understand African political Renaissance, post-colonial era; and I believe I still understand the dynamics. So, my take on the crisis the major state that evolved from the Monomotapa Empire – Zimbabwe – is a bit deep.
 
That Robert Mugabe (now only de facto president of Zimbabwe) has overstayed his welcome as leader of this great people, is commonly accepted by all. Apart from being dictatorial (which many seem to focus on), he is also too old to understand the nuances of his nation and appears bereft of understanding what the real economic issues are anymore. On this last bit, Zimbabwe’s economy is comatose, primarily due to his inability to understand the major role free agricultural enterprise (read Zimbabwean white farmers) has with the overall well-being of the country!
 
But he alone cannot, and should not be allowed to carry the can, for this misrule of almost 4 decades! Main point of this piece.
 
And many are complicit, from his contemporary, Joshua Nkomo, who has since long gone; but under whose watch Zimbabwe slid into dictatorship, when he lamely consented to his ZAPU party to be swallowed by ZANU to form ZANU-PF (Unity Accord of 1987, pursuant to the GUKURANHUNDI – low level civil war between Mugabe’s government and the opposition). What if he had withstood the persecution but stood firm for the sake of Zimbabwe; after all evil thrives were good men keep quiet!
 
Also complicit is the so-called Zimbabwean National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA). From their waged ‘war’ against white farmers (who were truly also Rhodesians/Zimbabweans) which led to the death of a once thriving agricultural base for the economy, to their active persecution of real and perceived enemies of Robert Mugabe, leading to a state of fear. What if they had as priority Zimbabwe and not Robert of Zimbabwe?
 
Also complicit is Morgan Tsvangirai, who traded the electoral victory of his Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) in the 2008 parliamentary elections to become a frustrated Prime Minister, in a brokered deal, only to lose in an official landslide to the party (ZANU-PF) he defeated 4 years earlier! What if he had not consented to South Africa’s pressure to trade his victory and opportunity of becoming president for the title of PM? Mugabe would have been long gone!
 
Then comes the ZANU-PF party itself. Carved in the image of Robert Mugabe just after the war of independence, it became the machine through which the enterprise of state was conducted with its attendant systems of patronage; thereby weakening state institutions! If Zimbabwe failed, a bulk of the blame should lie at the feet of the ZANU-PF!
 
Zimbabwe’s economy lies comatose, not just from the misrule of Robert, but from the collaboration and connivance of most of the leaders and bodies mentioned above, causing to fall flat on their faces these once proud Shona and Ndebele peoples.
 
So, you see my disbelief that these set of fellow travelers in ‘Bob’s’ party now seek to throw just their president under the proverbial bus! If Mugabe is liable to be kicked out of office, so should they all be thrown out! Where were they before Grace Mugabe became Robert’s wife? Were they not the same lot who said Mugabe’s first wife and revolutionary partner, the Ghanaian, Sally Mugabe, was a foreigner, not fit for government role? Yet they watched as Grace schemed her way into politics and verged on presidential power that threatened their collective survival before they woke up?
 
They are complicit in what Zimbabwe has become today, all these leaders, and particularly this party. They have no moral ground to abandon Bob of Shona land!
 
© 20/11/2017. Adewale Adeniji

Our Nation_Protests, Or Not?

 

 

We have been inundated with opinions and counter-opinions on the planned protest against the Nigeria’s government on the economic woes facing Nigerians. As usual, discuss on this has taken a primordial twist, by proponents of either side; pulling as usual the ethnic and religious fault lines of Nigerians.

I have ignored the back and forth till now, because frankly, I am at a loss as to why this should be an issue in the first place.

For one, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees right to gather and associate for specific purposes. There are international charters guaranteeing the same, so what is the problem? So, as long as the necessary preparations are done in line with the law, there should be absolutely why the coming protests should not hold.

For avoidance of doubt, we cannot claim to be a democracy and stymie dissents, protests or even the right to lampoon our leaders. And it is the duty of the state to guaranty the safety of lives and property during the planned protest. So, it baffles me why people are quick to condemn protests and their organizers. This government will be doing itself a disservice if it places a bar on the proposed protest march or any other one for that matter!

So what if the target of the protest is our president, Muhammadu Buhari? As American politicians are wont to say, if you cannot take the heat, stay out of the kitchen! All public office holders must be held accountable for their actions and inactions – and it is not only at election times that we should do so.

Second, I find it hypocritical for some folk to criticize president Donald Trump of the USA and egg protesters against him on, while arguing to shield another president from the protest of citizens of the nation he governs! Pure, unadulterated hypocrisy! And, with respect, such folk should be ashamed of themselves.

I even hear that supporters of the president are planning a ‘MEGA’ march in his support to counter that being planned? That is also their constitutional right, and supporters of the first protest would also be hypocritical to condemn such moves!

Nigerians should loose, once and for all, this big man syndrome that our leaders are immune from criticism. It will not happen again, not with the shenanigans of leaders past! Grin and bear it if you are the butt of jokes and derision, while in power.

I often tell my politician friends who moan about the use of social media to pummel them this: THE BEST REVENGE TO CRITICISM IS TO OUT PERFORM YOURSELF IN OFFICE!

Do that and you’d be ‘venerated’! Simple! You cannot claim the privilege of public office (lucrative one at that!) and wish your citizens to ‘leave you in peace’!

Ko le se le o!

So, for all bent on exercising their rights to freely gather and voice their opinions, which ever side of the argument you belong, WELCOME TO YOUR OPEN SEASON!

Wisdom Nuggets 101_Digital Disruption.

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Business is no longer being done in the ways taught in business schools or passed down in organizations through training. Business models are becoming dated in the face of nimble and agile organizations; due mainly in part to what is described as Digital Disruptions.
 
Ask metered taxis, the effect that the UBER App has had on their business. The effect of digital disruption is that entrepreneurial start-ups reaching the $1billion evaluation milestone quicker than before; and the average lifespan of S & P 500 companies has shrunk by almost two-thirds in the last 50 years?
 
Implication for you and your business is simple … innovate, digitize or fizzle out. As Digital Disruption is happening across industries, are you really willing to take that risk?
 
© 14th November 2016. Adewale Adeniji/LexConsults Humanae International.

Our Nation_The Curse of Nollywood

Fellow Nigerians, I, like you, have been assailed in the last two days by 2 ‘burning’ issues in our polity (No, not the recently hot topic of the DSS/’Corrupt Judges’ saga). These are the twin issues of Aisha Buhari’s BBC Hausa interview, where she publicly gave counsel to the man she sleeps in the same house with; and Reuben Abati’s discourse on the ‘cursed’ Aso Villa, seat of Nigeria’s presidency, a sort of hammer house of horror tale.
In fact, yesterday evening, a dear friend and brother, (tagged in this post) called and urged me to start a discussion on Abati’s article published in a national daily. 
I have resisted that particular invite until this evening when my Babe casually mentioned something in a discussion on an unrelated issue.
What strikes me in the manner of our discuss these days is that it appears we have lost all propriety and balance. Vitriol (often transferred aggression more than any thing else) dominates almost all discussions. The implication is that we just jump on every issue without recourse to introspection, and just unload. 
I have quite a number of friends I follow on social media – and it always amuses me no end when having unloaded their preconceived views at the beginning of every new issue, they gradually climb back down when better reasoning surfaces! Maybe you have also noticed? 
So, how does this affect these twin issues I identified above? 

PMB was in Germany when ‘Aishagate’ (as a friend uncharitably called it) broke. And to town we all went, talking about ‘the other room’!; about the fact that PMB has been abandoned by his wife; and the like. You get my drift?
Can anyone recall why our president took the trip, or what he achieved in Germany, if at all? How would our tottering economy benefit from that trip? All many saw was Angela Merkel’s face when PMB uncharitably publicly replied his wife!
Then Reuben Abati’s tales by moonlight surfaced. And everyone, initiated and otherwise, began to see ‘sense’ in the fact that Babalawos and Mamaalawos have buried whatever at the seat of power. ‘No wonders!’. ‘I talk am!’ began to surface. 
No one paused to think – what the world reference of the purveyor of this mumbo jumbo is? And trust Fani-Kayode to pour petrol on a cindering issue! Is this not an attempt to explain away the obvious, and now admitted, incompetences of past leaders? How about Abdulsalam Abubakar? What evil(s) assailed him whilst he occupied Aso Rock? How do you explain that none was obvious during his tenure? I can go on and on. So, why do a hasty generalization, as Abati did? Maybe because many still live in fear and awe of what they cannot understand? Why not sit down and think deeply on this? What is the state of health of the average Nigerian, in or out of Aso Rock? Is one an indication of the other? Oh, that is a long thing? (Apologies to the Koko master!)
My conclusion? Nigeria has become (to our collective shame) a land of educated folk who choose not to think, but allow others (a few, calculating agenda setters) think for them. 
Welcome to Naija’s Nollywood generation. A world of make belief, awada kerikeri generation. More of salacious topics. Let’s go get them mentality. The sad thing? This happens not just in public discuss o; but in private interactions too. It pervades every area of our existence now! 
For the next couple of days, you will see murals, cartoons etc. on Aisha and Buhari’s OTHER ROOM. It will carve itself into our lingo just like Mama Patience’s ‘Diaris God o’ did, as did that artiste’s ‘Iyalaya anybody’!
Fellow compatriots, can we not think deep for a change? So that we can ask ourselves and our leaders hard, probing questions, devoid of primordial connotations, shorn of fears?
When would we begin to set ourselves and our leaders a long ‘to-do’ list for our selves and our nation?
Isn’t it time we left Osuofia, Lalude and Bala in Nollywood where they belong? Let us begin to live as we ought to. In tune with reality, captains of our own destinies. 
Reactions to this will determine if we are able to do this. 😜
{My sincere apologies for the length of this. Nah! Didn’t mean that!}
© 15th October 2016. Adewale Adeniji.

MY BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SEPTEMBER 2016.

Books_The Creative NationBooks_The Devil's AdvocateBooks_The Last CustodiansBooks_Power of Self-Control

 

You read to expand your mind (i.e. grow your brain) and position yourself to take advantage of opportunities.

 

When was the last time you read a book?

 

It may just save or preserve your future! If you love books, please pass on. Danke.

‪#‎IloveBooks‬!

#Books

 

Economy_Apple Has to Pay up to $14 Billion in Back Taxes Plus Interest (AAPL)

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The European Commission has ruled that Apple Inc. (AAPL) received unfair tax benefits from Ireland and will have to repay 13 billion euros or $14.5 billion in back taxes, plus interest.

After a three year investigation into the matter the European regulator has said that two tax rulings, one in 1991 and the other in 2007, issued to Apple by Ireland “substantially and artificially” lowered the tax the company had to pay since 1991. In a statement released this morning Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said, “Member States cannot give tax benefits to selected companies – this is illegal under EU state aid rules. The Commission’s investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years. In fact, this selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1 per cent on its European profits in 2003 down to 0.005 per cent in 2014.” The back tax which will have to be collected by Ireland from Apple is for the years 2003 to 2014. In 2015 Apple changed its company structure in Ireland. (See also, Apple CEO Tim Cook Sells $36 Million in Company Stock )

Apple was recording all sales in Europe in Ireland instead of individual nations, foregoing those nation’s own tax policies. The company was able to accomplish this by establishing two subsidiaries in Ireland, Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe, which held the rights to sell and manufacture Apple products. These subsidiaries then made payments of more than $2 billion a year to Apple Inc. in the U.S. and this amount was deducted from its recorded profits. Most importantly the two tax rulings in question allowed Apple Sales International to split its profits, allocating most to a “head office,” where it remained untaxed, and the rest to its Irish branch. In 2011, Apple Sales International recorded a profit of $22 billion but only 50 million Euros were taxed in Ireland.

Apple and Irish authorities are expected to appeal this ruling. Ireland’s Finance Minister Michael Noonan said, “The decision leaves me with no choice but to seek cabinet approval to appeal. This is necessary to defend the integrity of our tax system; to provide tax certainty to business; and to challenge the encroachment of EU state aid rules into the sovereign member state competence of taxation.”

Apple, the most cash-rich company in the U.S., was questioned by the U.S. Senate subcommittee about its offshore cash in 2013. Apple CEO Tim Cook has maintained that it’s simply too expensive for his company to bring money earned abroad back to the U.S. under the current tax laws.(See also, Apple CEO Tim Cook on Tax Repatriation ).

 

Our Nation, Our Selves_Change & Personal Responsibility.


The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) just marked its first year in office; and the verdict has come in. Even by the president’s own admission it has not been a rosy start. So, it can be accepted that performance has been below par, vis-a-vis people’s expectations – at all levels of governance. This writer can only hope that the sophomore year would be better; but that is not the focus of this piece.

The focus is you my reader, and I, the writer. It is clear that Nigerians yearn for real change, which has been slow in coming; so our evaluation of PMB and our Governors has been critical. Sometimes downright uncharitable. Fair enough. That is in the nature of democracies. If they can’t take the heat, they should get out of the kitchen, right? But it is true, is it not, that everyone wants change but most are loathe to change themselves?
Let us do a critic of ourselves – how many of us pay our taxes; and for those who do, how many make honest, exact declarations of their taxables? How well do we keep our environment clean; or how well do we degrade it by our actions or omissions? How do we evaluate and react to issues of common interest – based on reality or on primordial interests? We do it, do we not, I mean cut corners in commercial transactions, one with each other – with false weights and measures? How many arrange grades for their children and wards to secure admission into higher institutions? The list is endless, from the family unit to the community level..
Yet we are quick to criticize authority; yet we bemoan ‘our fate’ and that of our nation. We have declared an open season on our leaders (in most cases, for just cause); but who criticizes us? Do we even allow for it? Our collective attitude reminds me of that child who needs his mother’s attention all the time – whining when he doesn’t get it – but who refuses to do his part of sleeping after been cleaned and fed! Our expectation from our government system must be balanced with personal responsibility. 
Dear friends, a good and working nation begins with us. At the micro level of individual and family units. If we understand and internalize this, we would soon realize that the equation of governance tilts in favour of we the citizens of Nigeria, not in our leaders. Where our leaders realize we are able to do our bit, and would not pander to their primordial baits and tendencies, soon enough would they sit up and govern aright.
Personal responsibility leads to corporate security. Let us understand and resolve to do our bit from today. Change should begin from us; and not just by voting! By the choices we make in our personal lives; by choosing to do the right thing when no one is looking etc. Then we can dare hold out leaders accountable. Anything else would be sheer hypocrisy, wouldn’t it? 
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!