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Monday, 29 August 2016

What Does It Take To Run A Pharmacy Business In Nigeria?

Photo Credit: Forum Biodiversity

Pharmacy or drug store business, whether we like or not, has become an integral part of the Nigerian economy today. In a nutshell, drugstores are described as retail establishments that market drugs, be it prescription-based, proprietary, or non-prescription medicine otherwise known as Over The Counter (OTC)

It is imperative to note that all drugs are called poison, because, depending on how it is handled, it can either heal or harm a patient.

However there are good news and bad ones opened to those who are interested in running a pharmacy or patent medicine store in Nigeria.


The GOOD NEWS...

A pharmacy is very essential to the health sector so much that a certain pharmacology professor once quipped that of what use are diagnoses and prescription when drugs are unavailable? To further underscore its relevance, it is generally believed that it is number three on the list of human needs after food and shelter. Albeit some often debate that clothing should occupy that spot, of what use is clothing when you are at the mercy of certain illness or disease? Absolutely baseless!

 You will concur with me that virtually on every major road you visit in big cities, one can spot at least one drug store. People will always need multivitamins, painkillers, blood tonic, antibiotics, paracetamol and suspension for teething babies. There is a growing awareness globally for people to take care of their health and directly or indirectly, pharmacies or patent medicine stores are the ones making the money. First aid treatments can also be gotten from the nearest drug store. The location/site of your store is equally of utmost importance to its survival.


The BAD NEWS...

When looking for a place to set up your drug store, it is advisable for you to pay attention to the zoning requirements of the area as stipulated by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN). It is also stipulated that your medicine shop must have a licensed pharmacist present at all times. 

If you are not a pharmacist, let alone licensed, you need to hire the services of one. On the average, a fresh pharmacy graduate that meets such requirement can be employed for a take-home pay of approximately N50 to N120K per month (based on negotiation). Secondly, pharmacy stores are expected to give a minimum gap of 200 metres from the nearest competitor.

It has however been discovered that most drug owners in Nigeria often enter into a contractual agreement with young pharmacists to use their positions to get them the licence at an agreed fee. This is one act both the PCN and the umbrella body of pharmacists (PSN) seriously frown upon. A number of pharmacists’ licenses have been withdrawn over the years as a result of this.

On the other hand, there are considerations for patent medicine dealers whom the pharmacists council strongly believe are complementing the efforts of the profession in rural areas and other areas not covered by pharmacists. The only clause here is that you must have practised the act of drugs dispensing long enough under a qualified chemist or local patent medicine dealers. Much as most Nigerian Pharmacists don’t like the idea, they have learned to tolerate them over the decades.

To further shore up the profit margin and cushion overheads and logistic, most pharmacies in Nigeria are noted to stock other household items such as toiletries, batteries, beverages, candy, contact lens, cosmetics, diet aids, disposable diapers, films and audio CDs, fragrances, greeting cards, hair care/skin care products, magazines/books, novelty items, oral hygiene products, pet food, small art and crafts items, snack foods, vitamins and many more.


QUESTIONS:

What are the major requirements needed to register you?

What manner of products do you need to stock that would not make you run foul of the law?

Where do you get your wholesale sale supply to sustain the retail mart you have in mind?

Above all, how much should be the minimum capital base to kick-start a drug store mart?


For answers to these questions and many more, get a copy of the eBook – Profitable Businesses To Run With N300,000 & Above”.


Call 07039091674 for enquiries

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

How Oil Magnate Femi Otedola Rose From Ashes of Failure Back to Fame


Oil mogul, Femi Otedola, needs no introduction in today’s global business. Aside being the son of late former Lagos State governor, Chief Michael Otedola, he was also the second Nigerian to make the FORBES billionaires list in 2009.

Despite the aura of invincibility wielded around him, Ote-dollar, as he is fondly christened, confessed that such perception was not his own making.

When asked for his reaction in an interview conducted by Shaka Momodu of THISDAY after his business plummeted some year ago, this was his explanation:

“To me, it is funny when people say I was down. It is not different from when a child is trying to walk. The child must fall down, but that doesn’t mean the child will never walk again. So if God has great plans for you, he has to teach you how to crawl before you learn how to walk.

“There is no successful businessman today who has not gone through ups and downs. That is what prepares you for a future of success. It helps you learn a lot of lessons about the business environment you are operating in. Well, I lost money but I was not really bothered because as far as I was concerned, I am a capitalist. You make money and you also lose money. When I make money, I am happy and I don’t allow losing money to disturb my happiness. But I must admit that there were some trying moments though.”


Not done yet, the interviewer prodded further on how he felt at such trying moment knowing that he just lost about N200 billion. Hear him again:


“Of course, after I had lost N200 billion, I had two options to either commit suicide or solve the problem. A week after the idea ran through my mind, I heard news that the richest man in Germany Adolf Merckle committed suicide having lost his wealth. Let me tell you in case you don’t know. At one time I was subsidising the entire country because I was the largest importer of diesel and added to that had to deal with a huge amount of losses incurred by the devaluation of the currency and the slump in oil prices.

“You see, at any point in time then, I had diesel worth over $400 million on the high seas. So then crude oil prices slumped from $147 to $36, then I didn’t have the structure to hedge against these losses. But whatever the case, I was determined to solve the problem. What I also found funny was that when some banks were wooing me with their money, before my losses they sent beautiful looking women to run after me for the accounts. But after I lost money and the same banks wanted to collect their money back, they sent stern-looking men (laughter). Some hungry looking people will come and knock on my door early in the morning demanding repayment. They didn’t care how much I lost or how I lost the money, all they wanted was that I pay back their money.”


On what such experience has taught him, Otedola shrugged off the question saying:


“It is to give on to Caesar what is Caesar’s. When you have a business model you must adhere strictly according to what you want to achieve. Also that being a good entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily make you a good manager of a business. I was offered a decision to restructure which I refused. Instead I decided that whatever assets I had to give up to pay my debts I will offer. I didn’t want a restructuring because the debt will still be hanging. I didn’t want that. So I learnt my lessons, dealt with my debts and moved on. And I tell you, my wife has been a pillar of support all the way.”


Now, that is a lesson for any strong-willed person to take home.

Need I say more?



Culled from “What To Do When You Lose Your Job” written by Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis

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Thursday, 28 July 2016

What Are Similarities And Difference Between Tabloid And National Dailies?


It has been my life-long dream to invest in newspaper publishing. However I will like you to enlighten me a bit on the similarities and differences between tabloid (weekly or monthly) and the national dailies.


Newspaper publishing is one of the oldest means of communication in the world. It does not matter what kind of publication you are aiming to print – be it tabloid or standard news print, a publisher is a publisher.

However it is imperative to shed more lights on their similarities and differences (just as you suggested) in order not to confuse one for the other.

A TABLOID is a newspaper with compact page size smaller than broadsheet, although there is no standard for the precise dimensions of the tabloid newspaper format.

Tabloid journalism, along with the use of large pictures, tends to emphasize topics such as sensational crime stories, astrology and celebrity gossip. This style of journalism compact stories into short, easy to read and often exaggerated forms.

The term ‘Tabloid’ got its name from the 'tabloid pills' marketed in the 1880s, which were the first highly compacted and easy to swallow pharmaceutical pills commonly available.

Although some respected newspapers in Nigeria such as The Sun and Authority are in tabloid format, the size is used by nearly all local newspapers.

The tabloid newspaper format is particularly popular in the United Kingdom, where its page dimensions are roughly 430 mm × 280 mm (16.9 in × 11.0 in).

BROAD or STANDARD SHEETS, on the other hand, are larger newspapers, traditionally associated with higher-quality journalism.

Basically, whichever way we look at it, the terms tabloid and broadsheet are, in non-technical usage, today more descriptive of a newspaper's market position than its physical size.

It is also worthy to note that 'tabloid' are sometimes printed on daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Many of them are essentially straightforward reports, well-published in simple format because commuters, traders, motorists and shop owners prefer to have a smaller-size publication due to lack of space. These newspapers are distinguished from major daily newspapers, in that they purport to offer an "alternative" viewpoint, either in the sense that the paper's editors are more locally oriented, or that the paper is editorially independent from major media conglomerates.

Other factors that separate tabloids from standard newspapers are their frequency, and that they are usually either free or sold to readers for a small fee, since the publishers rely more on revenue from adverts. Additionally, weekly tabloids tend to concentrate on local level issues, and on local entertainment in happening in event centres, bars, arts galleries, clubs and local theatres.

As I mentioned earlier, it does not matter what kind of publication you are aiming to print – be it tabloid or standard news print, a publisher is a publisher.

Interestingly, both publications have a huge followership in Nigeria.


Culled from "How To Publish NEWSPAPER/ MAGAZINE / TABLOID On A Small Budget" by Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis 




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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Can You Marry A Single Mum? (SEE SHOCKING REACTION OF NIGERIANS)


If there is anything 90 per cent of ladies dread most, it is the thought of living out life as a single mother. It is even more difficult in this part of Africa where people frown at such condition. The majority of the stigmatisation campaign comes from a religious perspective that describes a child born out of wedlock as an illegitimate child.

In truth, however, most single mums are directly or indirectly victims of circumstances. Virtually, every lady has a story to tell about how she found herself in such situation – from rape (whether on a first date or by crooked characters), messy divorce to being glib-tongued to bed with a phoney marriage proposal.

To some, the idea of becoming a single mum is a personal decision.

CityPulse Nigeria recently conducted an online survey on the possibility of Nigerian men settling down with a single mum. The result will shock you...


Hilary Anderson
God bless Nigeria! At least we are growing up. My point of contribution is that it depends on the circumstance that made her single again. Our ladies’ character nowadays is becoming unbearable. The only I can condone is if her partner died prematurely. But if she became a single mum as a result of immorality, I am sorry I cannot date her let alone marry her. Please let her carry her cross.

Francis Mankind
To be honest, being a single mother or single father is not a barrier or disease. It can happen to anybody. And if it does happen, what can you do as a single father or single mother?
I admit it is hard for single mothers and fathers today because many are still out there searching for another man or woman to accept them the way they are.

Don Abiodun Odedeyi
Yeah! His/her experience is second to none. His/her first 'mistake' will serve as a solid foundation to be a better man/woman.

Abdullahi Haruna
Yes I can! In fact, my attitude towards her will be like a husband and also act like a father to the child. Besides, it will help prepare me as a future father-to-be. However, this depends on her character too.

Sanni Olufemi
It depends though. That is because her age and number of children she has would come into play here. If the kids are more than one, I can't marry her. It is that simple!

Obe Tolulope Olufemi
Well, no harm in doing so. For me, if she wasn't a love rat but as a result of mistake or condition that she became one.

Novia Becky Betty
I am a single mother and wish to say guys that are saying yes are not too sure of what they are talking about. It is not that easy. I am a mother of one lovely son, so I am talking from experience. It is all lies! All they want is an opportunity to use her.

Pat Okwy Ucheagwu
Yes and No, depending on the circumstances surrounding the reason for being a single parent. Believe me some single mothers can be funny sometimes.

Clement Ogar
Well, as for me, I can't. From the outset, I don't like 'Tokunbo Product.' So the thought of her knowing she is already being explored whether it is by mistake or not, I can't bear it. If I need an experienced woman, let her come and get the experience from my home. And if I need to adopt a child, I will get it from the motherless home. Shikena!

Omolola Adeniyi Daniyan
Despite d fact that some ladies are the architect of their misfortune for being a single mother, there is what we call destiny/fate. What can you say about a young wife that lost her young and agile husband while still pregnant? What about another situation where the father died after the baby was born or the father travelled out of country and abandoned the mother and the baby to mention but few instances. You keep talking about single ladies, what about single fathers? Why is it a crime to be a single mother and an honour to be a single father?

Jeremiah Ademolu
As for me I CAN marry a single mother if she possesses the quality I desire in a woman.

Prince Adegbenga Adeboyejo
Why not! I can, especially if she is responsible, caring and submissive. These are good attributes that the child in question should portray.

Ogidi Laja
Yes, I can date a single mother. But it is important that I connect with her on many levels and with the kid(s) if she/he/they is/are old enough to interact with me.





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How Nigeria’s First Gold Medalist Was Executed During Biafran War (BLAST FROM THE PAST)


20-year-old Ifeajuna posed with the Commonwealth Gold Statue


The first time Emmanuel Ifeajuna appeared before a crowd of thousands, he did something no black African had ever done. He won a gold medal at an international sporting event. “Nigeria Creates World Sensation,” ran the headline in the West African Pilot after Ifeajuna’s record-breaking victory in the high jump at the 1954 Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver. He was the pride not just of Nigeria but of a whole continent. An editorial asked: “Who among our people did not weep for sheer joy when Nigeria came uppermost, beating all whites and blacks together?”

In the words of a former schoolmate, Ifeajuna had leaped “to the very pinnacle of Nigerian sporting achievement”. His nine track and field team-mates won another six silver and bronze medals, prompting a special correspondent to write “Rejoice with me, oh ye sports lovers of Nigeria, for the remarkable achievements of our boys”.

Olympic image of Ifeajuna on exercise books in public schools was a common feature

Ifeajuna, feted wherever he went, would soon see his picture on the front of school exercise books. He was a great national hero who would remain Nigeria’s only gold medallist, in Commonwealth or Olympic sport, until 1966.


INVOLVEMENT IN NIGERIA’S FIRST COUP

The next time Ifeajuna appeared before a crowd of thousands he was bare-chested and tied to a stake, facing execution before a seething mob. He had co-led a military coup in January 1966 in which, according to an official but disputed police report, he shot and killed Nigeria’s first prime minister. The coup failed but Ifeajuna escaped to safety in Ghana, dressed as a woman and was driven to freedom by a famous poet. Twenty months later, he was back, fighting for the persecuted Igbo people of eastern Nigeria in a brutal civil war that broke out as a consequence of the coup.

THE END: Close shot of a convict facing a firing squad


INCONCLUSIVE TRIAL & DEATH

Ifeajuna and three fellow officers were accused by their own leader, General Emeka Ojukwu, of plotting against him and the breakaway Republic of Biafra. They denied charges of treason: they were trying to save lives and their country, they said, by negotiating an early ceasefire with the federal government and reuniting Nigeria. They failed, they died and, in the next two and a half years, so did more than a million Igbos.

The day of the execution was 25 September, 1967, and the time 1.30pm. There was a very short gap between trial and execution, not least because federal troops were closing in on Enugu, the Biafran capital, giving rise to fears that the “guilty four” might be rescued.

As the execution approached, the four men – Emmanuel Ifeajuna, Victor Banjo, Phillip Alale (two former soldiers from federal troops who allied with Biafra) and Sam Agbam – were tied to stakes. Ifeajuna, with his head on his chest as though he was already dead, kept mumbling that his death would not stop what he had feared most, that federal troops would enter Enugu, and the only way to stop this was for those about to kill him to ask for a ceasefire.

A body of soldiers drew up with their automatic rifles at the ready. On the order of their officer, they levelled their guns at the bared chests of the four men. As a hysterical mass behind the firing squad shouted, “Shoot them! Shoot them!” a grim-looking officer gave the command: “Fire!” The deafening volley was followed by lolling heads. Ifeajuna slumped. Nigeria’s great sporting hero died a villain’s death. But he had been right. By 4.00pm two and a half hours after the executions, the gunners of the federal troops had started to hit their targets in Enugu with great accuracy. The Biafrans began to flee and the city fell a few days later.


NO MONUMENTS, NO HISTORY

Of all the many hundreds of gold medallists at the Empire and Commonwealth Games since 1930 none left such a mark on history, led such a remarkable life or suffered such a shocking death as Ifeajuna.

His co-plotter in the 1966 coup, Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, was buried with full military honours and had a statue erected in his memory in his home town. But for Ifeajuna, the hateful verdict of that seething mob carried weight down the years. His name was reviled, his sporting glory all but written out of Nigeria’s history. His name is absent from the website of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, appearing neither in the history of the Federation nor in any other section. There is no easy road to redemption for the gold medallist who inadvertently started a war and was shot for trying to stop it.

Ifeajuna posing with officials at the Commonwealth shortly after he was announced winner

Nigeria’s first foray into overseas sport was in 1948, when they sent athletes to London to compete in the Amateur Athletic Association Championships, and to watch the Olympic Games before a planned first entry in the next Olympiad. In 1950 there was cause to celebrate when the high jumper, Josiah Majekodunmi, won a silver medal at the Auckland Commonwealth Games. He also fared best of Nigeria’s Olympic pathfinders, the nine-man team who competed at Helsinki in 1952. Majekodunmi was ninth, with two of his team-mates also in the top 20. Nigerians clearly excelled at the high jump.

With three men having competed in that 1952 Olympic final, the Nigeria selectors had plenty of names to consider for the Commonwealth Games high jump in Vancouver two years later. Ifeajuna, aged 20, was not a contender until he surprised everybody at the national championships in late April, less than two months before the team were due to depart. His jump of 6ft 5.5in, the best of the season, took him straight in alongside Nafiu Osagie, one of the 1952 Olympians, and he was selected.

The high jump was on day one of competition in Vancouver and Ifeajuna wore only one shoe, on his left foot. One correspondent wrote: “The Nigerian made his cat-like approach from the left-hand side. In his take-off stride his leading leg was flexed to an angle quite beyond anything ever seen but he retrieved position with a fantastic spring and soared upwards as if plucked by some external agency.”

Ifeajuna brushed the bar at 6ft 7in but it stayed on; he then cleared 6ft 8in to set a Games and British Empire record, and to become the first man ever to jump 13.5in more than his own height. This first gold for black Africa was a world-class performance. His 6ft 8in – just over 2.03m – would have been good enough for a silver medal at the Helsinki Olympics two years earlier.

The team arrived back home on 8 September. That afternoon they were driven on an open-backed lorry through the streets of Lagos, with the police band on board, to a civic reception at the racecourse. The flags and bunting were out in abundance, as were the crowds in the middle and, for those who could afford tickets, the grandstand. There was a celebration dance at 9.00pm. Ifeajuna told reporters he had been so tired, having spent nearly four hours in competition, that: “At the time I attempted the record jump I did not think I had enough strength to achieve the success which was mine. I was very happy when I went over the bar on my second attempt.”

After a couple of weeks at home Ifeajuna was off to university on the other side of the country at Ibadan. His sporting career was already over, apart from rare appearances in inter-varsity matches. He met his future wife, Rose, in 1955. They married in 1959 and had two sons. After graduating in zoology, he taught for a while before joining the army in 1960 and was trained in England, at Aldershot. Ifeajuna had first shown an interest in the military in 1956 when, during a summer holiday in Abeokuta, he had visited the local barracks with a friend who later became one of the most important figures in the Commonwealth.

Former Commonwealth General secretary, Chief Emeka Anyaoku

RELATIONSHIP WITH ANYAOKU

Chief Emeka Anyaoku joined the Commonwealth Secretariat in 1966, the year of Ifeajuna’s coup attempt. While his good friend escaped, returned, fought in the war and died in front of the firing squad, Anyaoku moved to London, where he rose to the highest office in the Commonwealth, secretary-general, in 1990. For four years at university he lived in a room next door to Ifeajuna, who became a close friend.

Why did the record-breaking champion stop competing? “From October, 1954, when he enrolled at Ibadan, he never trained,” said Anyaoku, nearly 60 years later. “He never had a coach – only his games master at grammar school – and there were no facilities at the university. He simply stopped. He seemed content with celebrating his gold medal. I don’t think the Olympics ever tempted him. I used to tease him that he was the most natural hero in sport. He did no special training. He was so gifted, he just did it all himself. Jumping barefoot, or with one shoe, was not unusual where we came from.”


OBASANJO'S ASSESSMENT OF HIM

Another hugely influential voice from Nigerian history pointed out that Ifeajuna, in his days as a student, had “a fairly good record of rebellion”. Olusegun Obasanjo served as head of a military regime and as an elected president. He recalled Ifeajuna’s role in a protest that led to the closure of his grammar school in Onitsha for a term in 1951, when he was 16. Three years after winning gold, while at university, Ifeajuna made a rousing speech before leading several hundred students in protest against poor food and conditions.

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo as a military head of states

The former president also held a manuscript written by Ifeajuna in the aftermath of the coup but never published. It stated: “It was unity we wanted, not rebellion. We had watched our leaders rape our country. The country was so diseased that bold reforms were badly needed to settle social, moral, economic and political questions. We fully realised that to be caught planning, let alone acting, on our lines, was high treason. And the penalty for high treason is death.”

In 1964, the Lagos boxer Omo Oloja won a light-middleweight bronze in Tokyo, thereby becoming Nigeria’s first Olympic medallist. It was a rare moment of celebration in a grim year that featured a general strike and a rigged election. Another election the following year was, said the BBC and Reuters correspondent Frederick Forsyth, seriously rigged – “electoral officers disappeared, ballot papers vanished from police custody, candidates were detained, polling agents were murdered”. Two opposing sides both claimed victory, leading to a complete breakdown of law and order. “Rioting, murder, looting, arson and mayhem were rife,” said Forsyth. The prime minister, Tafawa Balewa, refused to declare a state of emergency. There was corruption in the army, too, with favouritism for northern recruits. A group of officers began to talk about a coup after they were told by their brigadier that they would be required to pledge allegiance to the prime minister, from the north, rather than the country’s first president, an Igbo. Ifeajuna’s group feared a jihad against the mainly Christian south, led by the north’s Muslim figurehead, the Sardauna of Sokoto.

First prime minister of Nigeria, Sir Tafawa Balewa

DID TAFAWA BALEWA DIE OF ASTHMA OR SHOT BY IFEAJUNA?

The coup, codenamed Leopard, was planned in secret meetings. Major Ifeajuna led a small group in Lagos, whose main targets were the prime minister, the army’s commander-in-chief, and a brigadier, who was Ifeajuna’s first victim. According to the official police report, part of which has never been made public, Ifeajuna and a few of his men broke into the prime minister’s home, kicked down his bedroom door and led out Balewa in his white robe. They allowed him to say his prayers and drove him away in Ifeajuna’s car. On the road to Abeokuta they stopped, Ifeajuna ordered the prime minister out of the car, shot him, and left his body in the bush. Others say the Prime Minister was not shot, nor was the intention ever to kill him: Balewa died of an asthma attack or a heart attack brought on by fear. There has never been conclusive evidence either way.

Ifeajuna drove on to Enugu, where it became apparent that the coup had failed, mainly because one of the key officers in Ifeajuna’s Lagos operation had “turned traitor” and had failed to arrive as planned with armoured cars. Major-General Ironsi, the main military target, was still at large and he soon took control of the military government. Ifeajuna was now a wanted man. He hid in a chemist’s shop, disguised himself as a woman, and was driven over the border by his friend Christopher Okigbo, a poet of great renown. Then he travelled on to Ghana, where he was welcomed.

Ifeajuna eventually agreed to return to Lagos, where he was held pending trial. Ojukwu, by now a senior officer, ensured his safety by having him transferred, in April, to a jail in the east. The Igbo people who lived in the north of Nigeria were attacked. In weeks of violent bloodshed, tens of thousands died. As the death toll increased, the outcome was a Civil War. In May 1967, Ojukwu, military governor of the south-east of Nigeria, declared that the region had now become the Republic of Biafra. By the time the fighting ended in early 1970, the number of deaths would be in the millions.

Arguably, if either of Ifeajuna’s plots had been a success, those lives would not have been lost. The verdicts on his role in Nigerian history are many and varied: his detractors have held sway. Chief among them was Bernard Odogwu, Biafra’s head of intelligence, who branded Ifeajuna a traitor and blamed him for “failure and atrocities” in the 1966 coup. Adewale Ademoyega, one of the 1966 plotters, held a different view of Ifeajuna. “He was a rather complicated character ... intensely political and revolutionary ... very influential among those close to him ... generous and willing to sacrifice anything for the revolution.”

The last time Anyaoku saw Ifeajuna was in 1963, in Lagos, before Anyaoku’s departure for a diplomatic role in New York. He later moved to London and was there in 1967. “I was devastated when I heard the news of the execution,” he said. As for Ifeajuna being all but written out of Nigeria’s sporting history, he noted that: “The history of the civil war still evokes a two-sided argument. He is a hero to many people, though they would more readily talk about his gold medal than his involvement in the war. There are people who think he was unjustifiably executed and others who believe the opposite.”

One commentator suggested recently that the new national stadium in Abuja, Nigerian capital, should have been named after Ifeajuna. But it will surely never happen.



Brian Oliver is a former sports editor of the Observer. This is an edited extract from his book, The Commonwealth Games: Extraordinary Stories Behind The Medals, published by Bloomsbury and priced £12.99

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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Aftermath of 100 Years Yoruba Civil War

 
Photo credit: Vanguard 

Lagos city shares similar history with two other major Yoruba cities, Ilorin and Ibadan, which were created or became transformed in the wake of the almost 100 years Yoruba Civil Wars of the 19th Century. 

Ilorin was the trigger of the Yoruba Wars. Ilorin was an outpost of the old Oyo Empire where the last Oyo ruler, Afonja, the Are Ona-Kakanfo, commander of the elite Calvary forces, was resident. Afonja, with the aid of Malam Alimi, a Fulani Islamic cleric, later revolted against his suzerain, the Alaafin. Soon, the followers of Alimi, tired of Afonja’s high-handedness, staged a bloody coup and had Afonja assassinated and put his regime to a sorry end.

All attempts by the Alaafin to regain Ilorin met with disaster until Oyo itself was destroyed and the people forced to evacuate under the leadership of Prince Atiba, an outstanding soldier-statesman, who led his people to build the present modern city of Oyo. Ilorin people had created an attractive ideology that was difficult to resist. All members of the Muslim laity, known as the Jamaa, were free men and they were all equal (at least in theory). Under this ideology, no Muslim could enslave another Muslim or put him in any form of bondage. These attracted young men, especially indenture slaves, to escape from their masters and take refuge in Ilorin. The conditions for acceptance were simple: accept the new faith, join the Ilorin army and grow a beard.

Photo Credit: waidigbenro.wordpress.com

Therefore, by the end of the Yoruba Wars in 1886, every Yoruba town has one person or the other in Ilorin. Though most of them settled in Ilorin permanently, many of them or their descendants also took advantage of the peace brought about by the British colonial regime to preach Islam in many parts of the Yoruba country. Therefore, Islam spread more rapidly among the Yoruba during peace time than when the Islamists of Ilorin were waging wars to expand their faith and defend their outpost.

Ibadan was to have a similar history. Ibadan was one of the numerous settlements in the Egba forest which suffered greatly after the collapse of Oyo Empire. A band of soldiers led by Lagelu, a general from Ile-Ife, was the first to impose his rule on the settlement, forcing the Egba owners to move south deeper into the forest. Lagelu’s successors were soldiers, mostly veterans of the Ilorin offensives. The new rulers, which included such men as Oluyole and Osunkunle, soon created an ideology that was similar to that of Ilorin. Ibadan became a bye-word for meritocracy where anyone from any part of Yoruba land could make a career.

Photo Credit: Osun Defender

Ibadan, like Ilorin, believed in merit. Each of the two towns developed a unique Yoruba dialect that is a variation of Oyo dialect but with its own distinction. Both towns are robust in their understanding of their unique position in the Yoruba milieu and there is no doubt they have continued to play good roles in Nigerian politics, economics and social development till this day.

We can say the same about Lagos. With the collapse of old Oyo, Eko, as Lagos was known, acquired new prominence as the most important port in the Yoruba country sharing distinction with Badagry and Port-Novo (Ajase). Its deep harbour attracted British seafarers who soon pitched their tent there and imposed their rule by force of arms. By the end of the Yoruba Wars in 1886, Lagos had acquired special importance for it was also in the city that many of the missionary groups had their headquarters. The returnees from the Slave Trade had also formed a substantial section of the Lagos society. Thus the Ekitiparapo Society of Lagos, led by Haastrup (from Ilesha) and Doherty (from Ijero-Ekiti), was based in Lagos. Haastrup was later to become Kabiyesi Ajimoko, the Owa-Obokun of Ijeshaland.

Since the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914, Eko has been transformed from the island and the few islets like Ikoyi that the British originally settled in. Like Ibadan and Ilorin, Lagos continues to attract hordes of immigrants seeking good fortunes and hoping to find gold on its dusty streets. It also served as the capital of Nigeria from 1914 until when the capital was moved to Abuja by General Ibrahim Babangida in 1991.

Such was the greatness of Lagos that everyone could call it home. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was elected from Lagos in 1951 to represent the Colony Province in the Western House of Assembly in Ibadan. When some people were confusing Lagos expansive multi-culturalism with something else in 1973, Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson, the first military governor of Lagos State declared: “Lagos is not a No-Man’s Land!”



Culled from Herdsmen of the City by Dare Babarinsa, co-founder of Tell Magazine and pioneering member of Newswatch


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Monday, 18 July 2016

Meet The Nigerian Entrepreneur Who Turned NairaBET Into An Overnight Success Story

Otunba Akin Alabi lounging at an event

Until five years ago, he has no inkling that he was going to become one of the owners of Nigeria’s biggest sports betting outfits. In fact, the name Akin Alabi was synonymous with publishing, book writing, public speaking, life coaching and anything that has to do with small online businesses. That was the old vintage Akin Alabi, one of the protégés of the great Sunny Ojeagbase, a small businesses and investment coach. For the record, Ojeagbase is also the publisher of Success Digest and Complete Sports.

 In 2003, Alabi launched his own seminar and training company which specialised in teaching and consulting for other young people who dream of starting small businesses. The enterprising young man also published a business opportunity newspaper with the masthead titled “Income” (now defunct) which was a sort of bible for young entrepreneurs. To add to his fledgling media empire, Alabi launched, World Soccer News, a coloured weekly sports newspaper. All those were in the past now.

A man of great ideas and vision, Alabi is always in tune with innovative business trends across the globe. He has since gone on to build a handful of other businesses from the scratch. One of such massive investments which have since turned into an overnight success is NairaBET, Nigeria's first online sports betting portal, with outlets across the country.  

A cross section of sports betting buffs in one of NairaBET centres

With its headquarters strategically located in Lagos, NairaBET was licensed by the Lagos State Lotteries Board as part of legal proceedings. As expected of every new venture, the idea of “Putting your money where your mouth is” was floated among soccer crazy Nigerians, especially among EPL, La Liga, Lique 1 and Serie A to test the water. The response was amazing! The turnover was so great that even Akin Alabi himself couldn’t believe it. In 2015, he entered into a business partnership with ColossusBETS, a company owned by Zeljko Ranogajec, to reinforce his capital base and further accommodate the growing demands of his followers.

Today, NairaBET has several sports betting outlets that cut across viewing centres and independent agents all over the country and Alabi has become one of the most sought-after business moguls. Virtually everybody wants to hear him talk about his success story. Seminar organisers, aspiring entrepreneurs armed with business plans and charitable organisations have turned his Cherub Mall office in Lekki into a Mecca of sort.

Hear him...

“Most of the time, I get asked questions all the time like: How did you conceive the idea of NairaBET? What made you start it? What were the challenges you faced? I think it is normal people are interested in knowing the story behind building Africa’s most visited sports betting website and one of the top 10 in the world. It is a pretty “normal” story but I am sure you will learn one or two things or at least get motivated.

The interior of NairaBET model centre

Before I give you the full details, let me digress a bit. Bear with me. My digression will make a lot of sense later. I never thought I would own a sports betting website until 6 months to owning one. And I can sell it any time if I get a great offer. I don’t have a preference for any kind of business. I am not addicted to any kind of business. I go to where there is money.

I know there are some people who will say all they know how to do is import cars to sell. If for a reason that becomes unprofitable (maybe due to government policies or bad exchange rate) they moan and give up and blame everyone but themselves for their woes. I am not like that. I am not emotionally attached to any kind of business. If I am selling cars today and it becomes unprofitable, I can become a chef tomorrow. If I hear and do my research that producing baby toys will make me serious money, tomorrow, you will see me in the toy business.

What’s my point?

One of the few mistakes people make is when they want to start a business, they think of the product they want to sell. For me, it is the other way round. I will rather research a market than a product. The late Gary Halbert will say ‘Be a student of markets. When you find a market where people are willing to spend money, getting a product or service is not hard to do.’

I used to do a lot of writing before I got very busy. I used to write ebooks for sale. I wrote ebooks on different topics from “How to register a business name with the CAC without a lawyer” to “How to design a mini website using Front page”. I was doing quite well with it.

Anyway, I was in the UK at a time and my brother told me about sports betting. I went to the nearest betting shop in Central Milton Keynes and asked the cashier there how to place bets. I found it interesting. I placed some bets and won. Placed more and lost. Won again. Lost again. And so on. I loved it. I said to myself that Nigerians were going to love it. I started researching how it could be done online. I looked for the sports betting websites that were accepting Nigerian residents and the ones with relatively easy payment methods.

So I wrote an ebook how it is done. I placed an ad in the papers in Nigeria and there was a mad rush for it. I made some money and I was happy. I didn’t know I had not done anything yet. After about a month, some of those who bought the ebook called me to ask me if I could help them transfer money to these foreign sports betting companies. I was like, boy, are you guys really taking this thing seriously?

Customers waiting patiently to collect their winnings

Then my “eyes opened!”

This is a market waiting to be tapped. We need an online sports betting portal for Nigerians. The market was waiting with money. I didn’t think of the product/business first. I saw the market first. Then I created the product. That is how every serious entrepreneur and those hoping to be successful in business should think!

Interesting analysis, isn’t it?

Meanwhile questions are sometimes raised as to how profitable sports betting business is in the country.

According to a recent report compiled by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), about 60 million Nigerians between 18 and 40 years of age spend up to N1.8 billion on sports betting daily. A survey revealed that they commit on the average N3,000 on sports betting daily. The research also shows that most unemployed youths have taken to online and other forms of sports betting to make a living. In the words of Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila, Chief Executive Officer of Lagos State Lottery Board, the industry is risky but also lucrative.

Gbajabiamila said that the board generated about N1 million in 2013 from 11 sports betting companies in the state. He added that more revenue could be generated with more investments.

“The state government has been making efforts to provide an enabling environment for the lottery industry but only 40 per cent of the industry had been tapped into. The major needs of the operators are improved electricity and internet provision to boost the business,” he said. He restated the commitment of the board to rid the state of illegal lottery operators.

NairaBET Ambassadors: Music duo, Skuki (standing 1st & 4th), Akin Alabi and Phyno

Now back to Akin Alabi story.

Before you rush into conclusion of any sort, it is noteworthy to point out here that NairaBET is not his only investment at the moment.

Akin Alabi is also the founder of Over The Top Entertainment, an entertainment company which manages the award winning Afro hip-hop duo of SKUKI. The outfit boasts of state of the art recording and rehearsal studio among others.

A philanthropist by nature, the NairaBET boss is the founder of Akin Alabi Foundation, a not for profit outfit, aimed at improving the well being of indigent students and the average Nigerian.

In recognition of his good work, he was honoured with the chieftancy title of Otunba Atunlushe of Igbole Ekiti by the Olugbole of Igbole Ekiti, HRM Oba Emmanuel.O. Ajayi Adetiloye II.

A staunch member of the People's Democratic Party (Nigeria) at the grassroots level, Alabi contested for a seat in the Federal House Of Representatives on 28 March 2015. He hoped to represent Egbeda/Ona Ara Federal Constituency in Oyo State but lost to his counterpart in the All Progressives Congress (APC).


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