Saturday, 30 December 2017


The reason many people can’t seem to find peace is because they’ve mistaken the cross they should carry as a problem they should solve.
Some of our worries are problems which require solutions, while some are crosses which we must carry and follow our maker. But right now, many of us are still running around looking for solutions to perceived problems when actually, all we require is wisdom and strength to carry the cross.
As we round up and enter a new year, I want to encourage everyone to start making efforts at identifying what issues of his/her life require seeking solutions and which ones require handling with courage in 2018. Even when the problems are well identified, we shouldn’t complicate things and seek solutions in the wrong places.
We have equal rights to God, so let no “spiritualist” feed on your gullibility. Some of them give you visions and prophesies, you dedicate your resources to the recommended solutions, then they blame you for lack of faith when their ideas don’t come to pass, and then you start cursing your luck, especially when you see others receiving miracles and victories for similar challenges!
Perhaps, for that man/woman who got his miracle, it was a problem, while for you it is a cross. Perhaps it is even also a problem for you, but the appointed time for solution had not come or your own solution is not “spirituality” but common sense strategies. Think deep for the New Year, identify your solutions, find yourself some peace of mind and let new ideas be birthed in you.
Accepting to carry your cross is not the same as accepting defeat; neither should we give up without a fight. However, God has not promised us life without troubles and we should remember his thoughts for us are of peace and not of evil to give us an ‘expected’ end (Jeremiah 29: 11).
Many of us pray for “light at the end of the tunnel”, just like in the case of Joseph, Job, Sarah, Hannah in the bible. We covet fulfillment of great promises like in Abraham, David, Solomon, etc. But we hardly feel sorry for Judas Iscariot for having such a destiny of betraying our savior Jesus Christ. We should sometimes wonder too why Moses never saw the Promised Land? “His enemies prevailed on him”?
If Judas had the chance to change his destiny, I’m sure he would choose to be remembered as a saint. He dined with Jesus, had access to salvation, but Jesus Christ did not save him from such a shameful ending. Did you say it was written? Yes it was, just as some of our challenges in life were written too and we must seek the courage to handle them.
It is either we manage our challenges or we let them define our existence and how we end our lives. Bad times don’t last forever, even if they do, there will always be some few times when every human will find mercy in midst of storms. Let those periodic victories ignite sincere gratitude and praise to the almighty. Find yourself some peace in the word of God in John 16: 33 “…In the world ye shall have tribulations; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”.
Have a fruitful 2018. Amani juu yenu!
@Tywo Akintoye

Thursday, 23 November 2017

CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP Part 1: The Concept of Relationship Marketing

Customer Relationship is a common practice around the world, but we will try to discuss the concept of “Relationship Marketing” though similar, but not as popularly used. In this piece, you will come across some case studies of companies which cut across countries like India, Japan, France and USA. As I did during my MBA in Marketing Management, perhaps more people can, from this post, learn how to market their products through relationship building.
The term ‘relationship marketing’ entered the business lexicon during the 1980s. The concept is relatively new and still in the process of evolution Though the idea of building a relationship with customers is not entirely new, the way it is being extended to cover other relationships (with the suppliers, middlemen and influence groups) as also researched extensively, especially in the West, it is poised to revolutionize the overall pattern of marketing just as the theory of marketing concept did in the 1960s.
The idea is not new because the neighborhood grocery-store owner has always known the value of this approach. Likewise, all industrial-marketing firms know the 80/20 rule - 20 per cent of customers accounting for 80 per cent of revenue - and they try to keep these 20 per cent customers happy so as to retain them longer. Perhaps only the big companies practicing mass-marketing methods for decades have forgotten such basics.

An early definition by Berry (1983) says, ‘Relationship marketing is the attraction, maintaining and enhancing of customer relationships.’ Attracting new customers is merely the first step in the process of relationship marketing According to Payne (1995), relationship marketing has three contemporary perspectives
1.) The way companies look at their customers is changing. The emphasis is moving from a transaction-based marketing to a relationship-centred marketing, meaning that companies are now striving harder to retain their customers for long.
2.) A broader view is emerging of the internal and external markets with which the company interacts. In addition to their relationships with customers, firms are also getting concerned about the development and enhancement of more enduring relationships with other external markets such as suppliers, middlemen, stakeholders and influence groups. The internal marketing focus emphasizes that every employee and every department in the organization is both an internal customer and a supplier. The optimal operation of the organization is ensured when every individual and department provide and receive excellent service.
3.) The relationship-marketing orientation focuses on bringing the three elements, namely quality, customer service and marketing activities, together so that the synergetic impact is felt by the customer.
Till recently most business firms in India had been concentrating only on individual transactions, hence the short-durational interaction ended with the ringing of the cash register announcing the close of a sale. The leather shoe market in India had been dominated by Bata India Limited for decades. But Bata failed to exploit its strength of contact with millions of customers. The company had not even made a provision for evaluating customer feedback from its own retail outlets. It is not that Bata was not aware of the basic principles of marketing, but neither the management nor the marketing people ever thought of building a relationship with customers. The result is obvious; Bata lost its number one position to new entrants in the market.
Bata is not the only example of missed opportunities. In the late 1980s, Eureka Forbes pioneered the concept of direct marketing in consumer durables in the country. With the help of its highly trained and motivated salesmen, the company was soon in a position to contact millions of households and turn many of them into buyers of vacuum cleaners. However, despite its apparent success, the company missed an opportunity to leverage its database and its personalized relation with customers to multiply its business through similar products and services. Even for its existing products, the company could have profiled at least the usage pattern in different places and then motivated buyers to use the product more frequently. This could have generated some additional business, at least for the accessories and spares.
In transactional marketing, customer service and commitment to quality are often ignored, whereas in relationship marketing, the focus is on retaining the customer and getting the repeat business. Hence, the quality of products, service and direct contact with customers receive a high priority. Retaining the customer is considered to be the responsibility of the entire organization and not of the marketing department alone. A sales deal is viewed as a beginning rather than an end of a company’s interaction with the customer.
The scope of building relationships is not restricted to only customers. In a competitive market it is equally important to establish enduring relationships with the vendors, intermediaries and influence groups. The relationship between an organization and its suppliers has undergone dramatic changes during the last 10 years or so mainly due to the influence of Japanese management practices. At AT&T they call it ‘Vendorship partnership’ and at Philips in Europe they term it as ‘Co-makership’. Whatever the term, the aim is to promote close cooperation between the firm and its suppliers from a very early stage and mutual concentration on quality, customer service and long-term relationships.
In the automobile industry, it is now largely believed that establishing long-term relationships with vendors can lead to substantial reduction in inventory holding and control costs. Toyota has persuaded all its suppliers to set up exclusive warehousing facilities close to its production plants. Instead of buying from a large number of indifferent suppliers, firms now prefer to buy from a few committed and quality-conscious vendors who have the capacity to supply the desired quality and quantity at short notice. Firms are also helping vendors in upgradation of technologies and quality. In Japan, it is not uncommon for firms to go in for equity participation in a couple of ancillary units.
Back in India, Marutti Udyog has followed the same policy. They have reduced the number of suppliers drastically and developed a strong and dependable network of about 400 vendors, capable of supplying the desired quality and quantity any time. Maruti Udyog has equity partnership in about 12 supplier firms.
Developing close relationship with channel members is very essential to strengthen the distribution network. Every small and big firm in the business of consumer goods is now trying to reinforce its relationship with dealers and distributors to maintain its grip on the market.
Influence groups such as public representatives, policy makers, press, trade unions, consumer organizations, opinion leaders and financing institutions are gaining more and more importance due to the rise in awareness as well as competition in the market. Firms are more conscious of the fact today that to grow and prosper it is necessary to have good relations with the various influence groups.
The scope of relationship marketing is therefore not restricted only to the customers of the firm. The web of relationship is expanding to include all those who are directly or indirectly related to the firm or matter to its business.
The third aspect is to bring quality, customer service and marketing activities together A US-based research and consultancy firm Bain & Co. studied in 1989 the correlation between customer retention and company profitability. They found that even a 1 per cent improvement in the retention rate of customers in the credit card business in the USA can yield a 15 per cent rise in the volume of business. Keeping customers is therefore a key strategic issue for all business firms.
In order to retain customers firms are required to keep them interested through better (perceived) quality of products, satisfactory service and innovative marketing programmes. For example, in France, people take off in their cars for a long vacation in the summer. But if a family is travelling with a baby still in diapers, it could get uncomfortable for the baby as well as the parents to travel long distances. Nestle, therefore, came out with a way to dramatically improve the life of both the baby and the parents on the road.
Nestle now provides rest-stop structures along the highway where parents can feed and change their babies in eight locations along the main travel route. A sparkling clean ’Le Relais Bebe’ awaits and welcomes the family. Each summer, 64 hostesses at these rest stops welcome about 120,000 baby visits and dispense 600,000 samples of baby food. There are free disposable diapers, a changing table and high chairs for the babies to sit in while dining. Nestle, through its hostesses, keeps itself in direct contact with the mothers. Moving into the lives and activities of prospects and customers Nestle has successfully built a strong bond of emotional relationship with them. A market research survey of 1,000 mothers in 1992 showed a 94 percent approval rating for Le Relais Bebe.
Relationship marketing does not stop at merely meeting the present needs of the customer, but extends to also anticipating and servicing the future requirements. In subsequent posts, we shall be looking at the benefits of Relationship Marketing to firms, then we will look at it benefits to customers before we go into the basic steps required to set up an effective Relationship Marketing system.

Reference: National Institute of Business Management – Marketing Management

Thursday, 18 May 2017


Sequel to my previous article titled Nigerian Music:My 21 Years and Its Many Generations” I present my chart as promised. My consideration for selecting videos on this list is nothing to do with hit tracks or multiplatinum status of any artiste, I consider basically the impact I saw these videos make on the Nigerian audience both locally and internationally going by their uniqueness and how revolutionary or even controversial they were in their time.
Well, you will not find a bad song on this list, but it’s also fair to note that not all the songs were big hits, so it’s more of how impactful or memorable those videos are and how well I thought they stayed ahead of competition in their time than how big the songs or artistes are. The videos are listed in no particular order.
1. Aye o le – Infinity
This video directed by Gbenga Salu came with the tag “one of the best Nigeria has ever done”. Coming fresh from the already well loved debut video “Olori Oko”, the group Infinity knew they needed a good follow-up and that’s exactly what “Aye O le” was for them. Besides dominating many awards especially for best special effects, they thrilled Nigerians so much that “the making” of the video itself became an item on Nigerian entertainment TV shows, especially the then very popular “Music Africa”.
2. No be God – Gino
I wonder where Gino is right now, but that is a guy who gave rap music a kind of video that erupted comments like “Naija don go far o”. Shot within Festac, Amuwo Odofin or Satelite town in Lagos, we saw a picture with 3D effects which were good enough to make you think it was shot by some Hollywood crew, flown into a suburb of Jamaica. We never had a Nigerian rap artistes come up with a musical video that good and we sure loved it and still remember it.
3. Never far Away – Lagbaja
Lagbaja never had a bad video since the “We, Me, Abami” album, at least not one I can remember. Well known as a very skilled and multitalented musician, but it was never so portrayed in a musical video until he showed us a full orchestra of classical music accompaniment for his R&B tune “never far away” with the masked man himself playing the role of the music conductor. Managing to give us a very sensible love storyline in an already eventful video is outstanding. Location and costuming were terrific too. It’s a classic any day and a good export for Nigerian and indeed African music.
4. Temptation – P-Square ft. Alaye
The only standard to rate a P-square video has always been against there own videos, I’m sorry if you think otherwise but that is the only Nigerian music artiste/group that has never had a bad video. Temptation was to me Nigeria’s first R&B video with a non-indigenous but real foreign traditional concept well put together and I’m sure it contributed to why some of their fans across the world couldn’t believe they were Nigerians. Kudos to Jude Okoye, this was the first one to make us feel like we were watching an R-Kelly video.
5. Love me jeje – Sheyi Shodimu
This video was a bully in my opinion. In 1998 when most “hip-hop artistes” in Nigeria couldn’t boast of ever seeing the airport came a handsome Yoruba man with “akata” chicks singing and rapping on a video shot in America. No doubt, it was an interesting song and it was a unique and exciting video for the 90s but you can trust the Nigerian media to give him all the attention deserving of an “international artiste”. I also remember rumors of him being married to then little known Shaffy Bello, who sang the chorus in the video which launched her into Nigerian entertainment industry before she later became a Nollywood big timer herself.
6.  Ada Ada – Flavour
Due to many reasons, Sunny Neji’s “Oruka” still reigns as Nigeria’s number one wedding song, but I doubt if we’ve seen a wedding video this good. Flavour knew his Igbo people have a rich wedding tradition and he portrayed it like never done before by anyone in a musical video. Even Nollywood has never managed to give us a wedding scene that beautiful in any movie. Clarence Peters represents the new school and he did a good job here, for me, it is one of his best works.
7 Jagbajantis – Sound Sultan
Now, this is way back memory lane, the year 2000 if I’m right and ever since then, all my attempts to get my brother Lanre Fasasi to explain how he got such a “team” of talented, humorous and believable kid actors to cast in this video has not yielded a satisfactory result. This video for me is by far the most exciting musical video of that generation and I would celebrate a remake of it with the same cast all now grown up. It won most of the awards in the video category for that year.
8. Ijo ya – Weird MC
We’ve been having animations in musical videos which were equally very fantastic, considering the level of technology and skill available those days, but with due respect to the likes of Obiwon, “Ijo ya” gave us something totally different. Firstly, it was a daring move making an animation for a dance song/club banger like “Ijo ya” but it was so well done, we all loved it, we even took away a dance routine from the cartoon characters and everyone, young or old wanted to shake their bum to the sound of the talking drum. It’s so far Nigeria’s favorite animation video.
9. Cry – Mode-9 ft. Nneka
Where is the Ghecko team? I wonder. But these guys shot one of the most memorable musical videos for a rap artiste in Nigerian entertainment history. It was one of the best seasons of Modenine’s career as he won multiple awards and became a household name. Besides being a fantastic rapper and legendary artistes himself, that video, similar to Infinity’s “Aye o le” in terms of special effects did justice to his already wonderful music and they together took the industry by storm. Interestingly, the video was a low budget project.
10. Beng Beng Beng – Femi Kuti
The 1998 album titled “shoki shoki” was a typical example of a prophet having no value in its own home. While the song was already banned on all Nigerian radio/TV stations, Femi Kuti was riding on its global popularity to cement his place as an international artiste and the real heir to the Fela Afrobeat dynasty. The news of Femi’s sojourn abroad got Nigerians curious in an era when internet penetration was so poor we couldn’t even watch it online, but Alaba market came to our rescue as the video was dubbed off South-Africa’s Channel-O and made available in bootleg compilations, subsequently becoming one of the most popular videos in our streets and homes.
11Senorita – P-Square
Very few artistes will come up twice on a list like this and I think P-Square is one of the few who deserve it. Hip-hop choreographies were never as beautiful in Nigerian musical videos until this one from the twins. Of course P-square has gone on to later produce better dance videos with better choreographies than this, but I chose this one because it was shot before their millions came and they still did it well with little resources, in fact, I think starting off with the quality of senorita video raised the bar for subsequent P-square videos.
12. Be my man – Asa
Did you even notice that Asa is the only female in that video shot on one single set? Well, that’s not the reason I find it on my list of most memorable Nigerian videos in the last 21 years. The beauty of the video is in the performance of the cast and the colorful concept. Not a vintage philosophical music Asa is known for but surely a unique video from a Nigerian female pop/soul artiste. “Fire on the mountain” is another outstanding video from Asa, but I chose this one as my favorite, after all the chart is based on my personal opinion, right? Thanks.
13. Dyna – Daddy Showkey
The Ghetto soldier ruled the 90s alongside his peers like former band mates Daddy Fresh, Cashman Davies and Sexy Pretty, with others like Baba Fryo, Felix Duke, Alariwo, and so on. The 1999 video was phenomenal in the sense that the song was released in the “Ghetto Soldier” album almost a year before the video for Dyna was shot and released, then suddenly an album which looked ordinary became a bestseller. Those days, it wasn’t about special effects or pictures, it was basically about the storyline, its delivery and how well the audience could connect with it.
14. Mother Mi – Twinax (now Twin-X)
Before you say ojoro, there is nothing partisan here. When we set out to shoot a video for our debut in 2000, we wanted something unique and never seen before and that was exactly what we did. Besides being the first documentary music video, it also was the first musical video to bring Nigerian movie stars together in a non-acting role. With Eniola Badmus (Yeah, same “gbogbo bigz girlz”) and Big-Bamo behind the camera crew, we had Vivian Metchie, Steph Nora, Uche Jombo, Eyiyemi Prat and so on whom were all big stars of the pre-Nollywood era alongside other entertainment stars like Kwame, Keke Ogungbe, Tony Tetuila, Fada U-turn (OBM), Maintain etc. Mathematics by Sound Sultan however beat us to all the awards we were nominated together. Lol.
15. Voice of God – Alabai
Great talent Alabai, my memory of people like him makes me smile when new school artiste and their publicists claim kingship of Nigerian rap music. Due respect to the new guys but I think some were just unlucky to have come earlier when the industry wasn’t paying big bucks. Thanks to Alabai for giving us this great concept in his video for his 2007 single, you’re free to strike it off my list if you can show me five (5) better video concepts depicting God without being gospel or religious.
16. Eni duro – Olamide
Both “e ni duro” and “durosoke” have similar concepts. I could have chosen “durosoke” for few reasons. One, it was shot indoor which meant more technicalities, then casting wise, Olamide was more focused on, except for the few models, yet he gave us a one-man show which kept it exciting till the end. But “E ni duro” stood out in its time for a budding artiste, the confidence he showed and the characters he presented in that “street” video gave him the attention he enjoys till today. More so, kudos to DJ-Tee, it was a product of little resources, compared to Eni duro.
17. Nfana Ibaga remix (No problem) Tu-face ft. Bennie Man & Reggie Rockstone
Unlike now when artistes can afford to get on a track with any foreign star, it took the coming of Jamaican star Bennie Man for a concert co-organized by Z-Mirage and La-face Entertainment in 2004 for Kennis Music to arrange this collabo with Tu-face, made easy by the star man’s personal interest in Tu Baba’s hit track “Nfana Ibaga” which he requested a remix from the original producer OJB Jezreel (OBM). But trust doubtful Nigerians to see this as a mere ”media hype” until when the video of the song which also features Reggie Rockstone was shot in Ghana and released later that year. I don’t know if the work had much commercial impact on Tu-baba’s career, but it was our first time seeing one of us in such high profile collaboration.
18. Nibo lawa gbe lo – Maintain
Remember Big-Bamo? The then artiste manager and XL-House label CEO earned a lot of respect for the video concept; A Volkswagen story, a very funny and dramatic video which expresses the many economic challenges of an average Nigerian. After its release, most Nigerians perceived the group Maintain as comic artistes and their stage performance was incomplete without reproducing some of the acts they put up in the video. I still remember their performance at The Movie Awards (THEMA) 2000 (now rested) where a giant caricature Volkswagen car made of cardboards was brought on stage to wow the guests.
19. Strong thing – Banky W
Now, this is my typical example of thinking outside the box, I read some comments about this video online and I saw how emotional Nigerians could be in supporting their own. In an industry where a Love music or R&B video is commonly complete with bum-shaking vixens, white girls, clubs, fast cars etc., I doff my heart to Banky for this outstanding work which takes us through the 1930s of American gangsterism. Apart from using a black girl as a lead character, the concept is not in any way African but I agree that it is the kind of video we need to shoot more often in order to aim for the Grammys.
20. My Car – Tony Tetuilla
This one is about “Tinubu u don hit my car”. Sincerely some people thought the then governor of Lagos state Asiwaju Bola Tinubu could do Tony Tetuilla the unlikely honour of featuring in the video of a song in which he mentioned his name repeatedly, but no one saw the idea of having a little boy play Tinubu’s role coming and it really worked. It was meant to be a diss song to then rival Eedris Abdulkareem but the little boy concept took all the shine, great and exciting video. 
21. Onye – Waje ft. Tiwa Savage
Besides being one of my favorite female voices in Nigeria, Waje nailed it here with her choice of whom to feature on this nice song (“I Wish” is my favorite of her music though). We don’t often see Nigerian female singers of leading talents come together on collaborations this good and it was good to see two beautiful women you’d expect to be rivals showing so much synergy in this “comedy show”. Can you beat that point when Waje “macho-walked” across the road ready to have a fight with whoever “camped” her lover-boy? Most hilarious! It is an entertaining video with fantastic acting.
Now this is my opinion, you may or may not agree with me on some of the videos mentioned; especially some readers who may be too young to remember or even value some of these videos. I’ll like to get your feedbacks. You may reach out to me: 


The past 21 years have redefined what should be recognized as the typical Nigerian music. Before then, genres like fuji, juju, highlife, reggae were most popular with great artistes like Kollington Ayinla, Ayinde Barrister, Sir Shina Peters, Ras Kimono, Majek Fashek, Oliver de Coque, Bright Chimezie holding sway.

Afrobeat was a genre which had Fela Anikulapo-kuti as its main life line and it wasn’t until Abami Eda passed away that we started seeing the likes of Dede Mabiaku who was already an established and fantastic concert performer coming on TV alongside many other one-off artistes that sprang up in the late 90s, majority of whom tried to sound like Fela, but it didn’t work out for most of them simply because “ko le werk”.

Even Femi Kuti despite being Fela’s son was able to earn a unique identity which stood him out internationally and that was at the period when Nigeria was experiencing some kind of metamorphosis in our music industry.

Looking from 1995, while the likes of Femi Kuti and some few others were gradually getting noticed in Europe for staying glued to their African identity with the infusion of Pop/Hip-hop tones and sounds, Nigeria was struggling with our pop culture back home and we couldn’t even define properly what our hip-hop music should sound like.

Although we have had the likes of Junior and Pretty, Mike Okri, Blacky, Esse Agesse, Alex O, Alex Zitto etc. who bridged the gap between Highlife, Pop and Hip-hop, we still wanted more, thinking we should actually rap like Busta Rhymes. Then came my generation, the mid/late 90s generation, the generation of “say what, say what”! “Hey yo, DJ, track 2”! We claim to have introduced “real” hip-hop to Nigerian music and in all fairness and with due respect to those great guys whom we rocked some stages together then, especially around 1998 to 2001, they paved the way for today’s industry.

There’s a nostalgic feeling I get whenever I remember the likes of Ruff, Rugged & Raw, Def O’Clan from which Azadus emerged, the North based SWAT Root where we had great rappers like 6-foot-plus, X-Appeal made up of Jazzman and Lexy-Doo, then of course the Trybesmen and my brothers, Maintain to mention a few. Those days, nobody knew Nigerians could sound so good on R&B until we heard Plantashun Boiz “Knock me off” and “Don’t U Know”. Remedies made Yoruba language sweet to the ears with great hits like “Shakomo” and “Judile” and they were the first group to make it big in that era. They remained big even after the breakout of Tony Tetuila who went on to make his own equally big hits.

One problem however remained with us for a long time and this was the inability of most of our hip-hop artistes of that time to compose 100% original tunes of their own. Ghanaian music was getting recognized for identifying their own style which they called Hip-life but we just wanted a bit of everything, sometimes contradicting ourselves on if there should be anything called Afro hip-hop.

Most Nigerian artistes then rather depended on placing their songs on foreign beats especially popular American hits; they also thrived on writing indigenous lyrics using the tunes of these popular foreign superstars. It seemed the faster route to public acceptability or commercial success so almost everyone was guilty, except myself and my twinbrother (then known as Twinax) and few others. The group Maintain seemed the most criticized of all, perhaps because they failed to embrace originality even till mid 2000s when others were already doing outstanding productions out of self-belief and pressure from the media and of course as demanded by a more aware music audience who were quick to compare our standards with that of Ghana and South-Africa.  Thanks partly to the efforts of great music producers and record labels of that time, like the late OJB, Nelson Brown, Paul Dairo, Cobhams and so on, we gradually started to sound original.

One thing remained obvious though, our new found hip-hop industry had great potential and everyone could see that the future of Nigerian music depended on it, but the lack of originality in our music bred bigger challenges for our industry then, which included non-exportability; even the Nigerian media played more of American Hip-hop than Naija Hip-hop or Afro hip-hop for that matter.

Our videos were worse because, as much as we tried to match the foreign standard and pretended like we were “getting it” in our audio productions, there was no hiding place for visuals and we just couldn’t manage to get it right in terms of technical quality due to the level of skills and resources available those days. Compare Nigerian with South African and Ghanaian videos and we were way behind, but some things stood us out, we had the better talents, we were more flamboyant and we always had the biggest market.

So, even the South-African music station Channel-O had no choice but to find their way into our market by playing our musical videos, though they claimed to be very selective with our works which is partially true.

Fast forward to 2015/2016, and then look back again to 1995, you’ll realize those 21 years represent a period of total transformation of our music industry from the American wannabes to the leading light of the African industry. Thanks to the coming of media organizations that raised the standards especially MTV Base, not forgetting SoundCity, the first local music TV channels to refuse airing sub-standard music videos.

One tangible way of seeing how far we have come is through the quality of our musical videos which today rank among the best in Africa, so much that we now dominate continental music video awards. But within those 21 years, Nigerian artistes and video directors or producers have gone through thick and thin giving us some moments of excitement which I think deserve to be remembered for the impact they had in their various era.

The big bucks is here now, indigenous records labels now rent offices in Victoria Island and our artistes can afford to fly to any country in the world for suitable locations and casts. Almost everyone can rent a chopper or yacht and hire professional models for his music video, but are those props the main attraction for our videos?

In the era when we couldn’t afford all these luxuries, how did we keep Nigerians entertained through our videos? We shot on VHS, DV Cameras with just a few skilled personnel available, but we depended solely on CREATIVITY in order to compete.

Having experienced it all through the years, I decided to come up with a chart to pick out my top 21 videos of 1995-2016, putting into consideration that there existed many eras within those 21 years in view.

As a recording artiste who has competed in the same industry, some may want to doubt my objectivity or question my right to such an opinion which publicly criticizes the works of “my colleagues”, but that’s if you are not aware or ignore the fact that I’ve been privileged to experience the Nigerian entertainment industry both as a major player and as an observer who has spent the last 6-7 years of my career doing other businesses outside being a musician.

I may have been a stakeholder, we may have rubbed shoulders with the best in the business, but these recent years of focusing on my modest career in management consulting and living a quiet life as a family man have given me the opportunity to see things from the fans perspective and not as a competitor. The truth remains that I still qualify as a great fan of Nigerian music, I enjoy good music and I’ve got massive love for everyone and utmost respect especially for those artistes who have remained active and consistent all through those years.

While some have come and gone, it’s great achievement for the likes of Sound Sultan and Tu-face Idibia, who continue to wax stronger since the 90s, holding their own in a very competitive industry. The likes of P-Square, D’banj and the evergreen Don-Jazzy came afterwards and they’ve remained consistent as well. KC-Presh I remember won the maiden edition of Star Quest in 2002 and I think KC especially deserves some kudos for staying strong in the business.

Of course not without challenges of their own, these artistes are good examples of perseverance and persistence.

And the new school? I think the likes of Ruggedman, Mode-9, Eedris Abdulkareem should be proud of the next generation of rap artistes they were able to inspire, with MI, Ice-Prince and others currently leading the way. I hope Lord of Ajasa is also proud of Olamide, Lil-kesh and co. May Da-grin’s soul continue to rest in peace. I don’t speak Igbo but I imagine how Nigga Raw feels listening to Phyno, nothing but love I believe. Wizkid and Davido’s followership reminds me of the brief rivalry that existed between the fans of Faze and Tu-face shortly after the breakup of P-Boiz.

Interesting industry no doubt! Very fascinating and I’ve got fond memories too numerous to write about, but please go check out my chart in an article titled My Top 21 Most Outstanding Naija Music Videos in 21 Years” (1995-2016).

I hope y’all will like it and agree with some, if not all of the views shared in it. 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

A people, more than a gender. #BeBoldForChange #IWD2017

The write-up below was tiled "A people, not a gender", I published it on LinkedIn after the 2016 international Women's Day. Today 8th of March 2017 happens to be another celebration of women around the world and I'm posting the article once again to promote my views on some aspects of gender equality.  The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2017, focuses on “ Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030 ”. Its also a campaign to encourage women to #BeBoldForChange. So I celebrate all the hardworking women in the world today and I hope my country Nigeria someday becomes a better place for all, irrespective of 
"A few of weeks ago, I read an article from an unidentified author which focused on his or her perceived disparities between the manner in which a girl child and a boy child are raised, suggesting that daughters enjoy better attention and training which contributes to why many of them attain financial independence quicker and consequently turn out to be breadwinners over their husbands. The article was written in preparation for the international women’s day and I quote a portion of it where the writer says;
"In too many homes, the wives are the bread winners. Too many women are paying the rent and picking bills that make a man the man. We do not need figures from the Office of Statistics because I know every woman in this country knows at least one family where the man is not truly the head. He is just a figure head... A son attends Babcock University in Nigeria or Imperial College in United Kingdom with a daughter but the daughter is trained to cook, pamper a man, be nice to in-laws and bring up children, all while she’s getting a degree. The son learns how to play basketball and wash a car. The daughter learns how to bake and how to make hair and do make-up. Girls with Masters Degrees see nothing wrong in going to learn dress making. Boys dust their CVs and write glowing stuff about themselves and send out thousands of job applications. After two or three years of fruitless search for non-existent jobs, don’t our boys start ‘processing visas’ to travel to even the most ridiculous places, countries with no pastures, least of all green ones? Meanwhile, the girls set up make-up studios, start ‘mixing cream’ making hats and dresses and everything that makes money. The boys wait for the big time to arrive in one day. It doesn’t, rarely does. So the girls begin to grow in age and in bank balance. Ripe for marriage but no man is plucking because they are still waiting. See why girls are marrying late? They acquire degrees and cars, some even properties while waiting for Mr. Right to come along. By the time he eventually comes along, the girl is already doing well in business, entrepreneurial skills honed. For a while, love covers the gap but men are not wired to be anything but the head".
Well said from a woman's perspective, but these are my thoughts. Raising our sons to earn soft skills has gone beyond the responsibility of the parents in this present day, while daughters who acquire such skills don't do so as a result of any special attention from the mother or father. The survival instinct of every individual determines how he or she reacts to his lacks and wants. By giving credit to the women folk for a perceived faster pace to financial security, I think the writer of that article has failed to pay attention to the other side of the coin. Firstly, from time immemorial, petty trading has been a thing of the women while handwork had been more synonymous to men, but when you find women or girls taking to handwork, you see majority of them going for those with the petty trading traits like bead making, make-up artistry, cake baking etc. (Though they're all big industries now). But talking about the boys; do I really think they all want to wear ties and tout CVs around? NO. Has the writer checked the rate at which the number of young boys increases in fields like web designing, graphic artistry, video production, photography etc.? They simply do their own thing the masculine way and that's why they learn and offer skills that do not limit them to the patronage of individuals only but also the patronage of organizations, trying to “package” themselves for corporate acceptability.
Media and Entertainment for example is a major industry across the world and our boys are not left behind. 70% of Nigerian young men born after 1974 is involved as a singer, rapper, actor, model, DJ, musical instrumentalist or so, if he's neither of those, then he's probably equipped with audiovisual skills either in studio engineering/production or movies/music video production. Go to Alaba market and you'll be marveled at the number of graduates you find there selling CDs and DVDs. Go to Jibowu or Mokola, the two major printing hubs in Lagos and Ibadan, 90% of people working there are boys in their 20s, 30s and 40s, they help us fix our complementary cards, invitation cards, school books etc. The question to our government, CEOs and uncles at the top is... How conducive is our environment for these young entrepreneurs? Boyz are hustling but are d uncles patronizing them? Is the government supporting SMEs? If the female child was the one getting more attention or training from the mother, how come we have thousands of our girls getting introduced to “aristo” every day? How come we have more cases of girls traveling abroad for prostitution every day? How come we have more female house helps than the male ones? For every yahoo boy, there's a yahoo girl partner!
The increase in number of homes where the woman is the breadwinner for me is a pointer to the fact that women are now stepping up their game, working hard to earn something unlike the days when girl education was seen by parents as a waste of money, thus producing loads of illiterate full housewives who end up as their husband's property and responsibility with no right to decision making except those of what to cook and when to get pregnant. Women now need to be successful just as a man should; after all it is not written in any book that a woman's career or financial destiny should be tied to her husband's. Domestic crisis emanating as a result of the woman being richer are more of personality issues from both couple. An abusive man rich or poor will remain abusive while a saucy woman employed or jobless will equally remain rude.
My submission is this; the youths in Nigeria have the same problems, irrespective of their gender. Girls getting financially established faster than the boys, then turning out to be bread winners over their husbands is totally not an indication of how untrained the boys are or how better trained the girls are in alternative skills. We cannot say absolutely that while our girls in the absence of white collar jobs quickly embrace alternative means of income, the boys don't have various other trades or skills they learn to make ends meet too. The boys have no catching up to do with the girls, but rather our country need to catch up with other great nations. I just heard this morning that power supply is worse in Bangladesh than in Nigeria! So, how come there are many "made in Bangladesh" products in our market? It shows that some countries in worse situations than Nigeria even manage to be productive while we depend forever on crude oil! Looking at the International Women’s Day 2016 campaign theme #PledgeForParity we need to rise above gender disparity, tribal and religious differences and think about how we can have a Nigeria which is better managed in terms of economy and infrastructural development. Then we may begin to witness the consequences of a better Nigeria in all our micro-economic lives.
Trust me, for every Lynda Cakes, there is Musa Graphics, for every Omolola Makeovers, there is Emeka photos, for every Fatima the bead maker, I'm sure you'll find DJ Frankie the beat maker. But, if truly the girls "make it" faster than the boys, then we all should ask ourselves why it is so?"
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                 2016   @TywoAkintoye 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Project Management: Certification or Education?

When I decided to venture into project management some years ago, the first step I took was to register for a training program and it turned out to be one of the best career decisions I ever made. This training opened my eyes to a profession which by the virtue of its importance should be as prominent as economics and Information Technology in the development of any nation.
But how was the knowledge of project management being sold to Nigerians? I observed that, beyond the very common 35-hour PMP trainings offered by many consulting firms across the country, no training service offers real Project Management education where the students are taught the skills of a project manager through workshops, case studies and so on, except a program by the Project Management College UK., a three month course called Advanced Diploma in Project Management delivered then at their Lekki-Lagos study center.
The Advance Diploma by PM College UK which cost about four hundred thousand naira (N400,000) in 2010, I thought was VERY expensive by Nigerian standards, but I later realized, after getting exposed to the world of project management training internationally how fair the pricing was, especially after attending further trainings in the USA myself. The truth is, Project management education is not cheap, except you’re satisfied with attending fast track PMP or PRINCE-2 certification exam preparation trainings which offer nothing except “exam prep” without any guarantee of exam success.
I got curious, how do we bring affordable Project Management education to Nigerians? PM education focuses on proficiency, it offers you the skills required to manage projects successfully, it takes time, you can’t rush it like the exam prep, you need facilities, templates and course materials to learn with, not just by studying the PMBoK or cramming the PRINCE-2 manual, you need practicing project managers as facilitators to help create the scenario expected in a project management office (PMO) for the students to gain richly. Then my brainstorm began.
Why is Project management skill still so important to me? I had a critical look at my environment. Unemployment has been a major problem in Nigeria; in fact, statistics from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) showed that an average of 1.8million youths has been graduated into the Nigerian labour market as at the year 2011. According to the chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Employment Programme (Sure-P) under the previous administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, not fewer than 40 million people were unemployed in Nigeria as at 2013. These were very alarming figures!
The National Bureau of Statistics shows that unemployment rate in Nigeria had increased to 23.90% in 2011 from 14.60% in 2006, with figures forecasted to have risen to 24.30% by December 2012 and above that by December 2013. Despite a notable change in the political system after the 2015 general elections which promised economic transformation, youth unemployment rate has continued to rise with statistics showing a 24% rise as at July 2016.
The Honorary International Investors Council (HIIC) linked the growing unemployment rate to the rising number of poor skilled workforce in the country, so, it is somehow right to believe that the employment problem in Nigeria is not entirely because there are no job opportunities, but lack of skills to fill the available positions. Then, why don’t we as a nation pay more attention to empowering our youths with skills rather than the exaggerated degree certificates from our tertiary institutions where we consistently produce poorly skilled and unemployable graduates?
I observed as well, that the entrepreneurial attitude of an average Nigerian graduate is very poor; most only consider it an alternative means of living after failing to secure regular paid employment. This is quite unfortunate in a world where many countries like China depend on the growth of SMEs for the development of their nation’s economy; with obvious results there for us all to see.
The reasonable solution would be for the government to improve on its synergy with the various industries in order to build basic education geared towards enhancing the capacity of our workforce for the industrialisation of our economy. We need to develop more job creators than job seekers, more entrepreneurs than employees. There are jobs in Nigeria, available for those who can create them, but they need to be educated on how to identify opportunities and above all how to acquire skills to start-up and manage their ventures.
Professional certifications are good too, but how many certified project management professionals are actually skilled without practical experience? I’ve seen people study vary hard to pass professional examinations mainly for the purpose of seeking new opportunities either in form of new jobs or promotion in their current jobs, but most of the time they lack requisite competence to back up their application. It turns out that these certifications are fast becoming as exaggerated as some of our university degrees and we need to start looking in the direction of proficiency.
Here in Nigeria, we run a capitalist economy, where all means of production like land, labour and capital is freely owned by individuals or organizations and they are at the liberty of using it whichever way they chose to. There also exists economic freedom where individuals or organizations are free to produce what they want and consumers are also free to consume as they want, a system which directly affects demand and supply and also allows people to do whatever kind of job they prefer or invest in any business they so wish. Fortunately for us, our huge population favours local consumption which consequently encourages the profit motive which exists in a capitalist economy like ours. This means entrepreneurs have a big chance of avoiding major loss provided we can manage the dynamics of our business terrain and the competition which is common in this system.
Like Business Development, Economics and Information Technology, Project Management is one of such vital skills which I have always believed can be very valuable to entrepreneurs, but the first hurdle is to address its own challenge which is to bring affordable Project Management education to Nigerians”. Life itself is a project and we need to begin to see all our endeavors as individual projects which require skills to manage properly. However, in the context of economic development and youth empowerment, we should consider a kind of project management education which stimulates entrepreneurship in the hearts of our youths, thus, making them more of job creators than job seekers.