Friday, 28 June 2013

The New Face of Amechi - Jang Katakata

Governor Amechi
The recent happenings in the Governors forum (NGF) have kept the spirit of entertainment bubbling in the dearly beloved Nigerian politics.
The May 24, 2013 elections saw Governor Amechi emerge as the chair of the NGF. This was seen in good light by many and of course my humble self especially as it has been making rounds that he, Amechi has not been in good terms with the President over issues relating to the 2015 General Elections. This problem escalated to the point that the Governor’s jet was grounded by the government over several unfounded allegations if you ask me.
Governor Amechi, personally, has been known by me since my days in Port Harcourt when I was doing my Industrial Attachment at NIIT at Kaduna Street. Then in 2005, he was the Speaker of the House of Assembly. I met him at the Presidential Hotel in Port Harcourt in one of those NEITI organised conferences. He came with Governor Peter Odili then and I was impressed by his speech at the event. At that time in 2005, it was rumored that he’ll likely be the next governor of the state to replace the then Governor Peter Odili.
He eventually came to victory but the battle was not easy. He ousted Celestine Omehia on the 26th of October 2007 to become the governor of the state. He has been a mentor of a sort to me. He embarked on several controversial assignments like lowering the fences of all the buildings in some areas of GRA in Port Harcourt…which of course, offended so many people in the state.

Things have been lying low until the recent grounding of his private jet on April 27, 2013. This NAMA, the guys in charge of Nigerian Airspace claimed that it was due to the fact that the Governors pilot did not produce the manifest of all the passengers on the aircraft. This gossip eventually snowballed into the permanent grounding of the plane due to reasons best known to NAMA. This according to some is a way of the Presidency getting at him.

Governor Jonathan Jang
The other targeted way to ‘humiliate’ him was to strip him off the chairmanship of the Nigerian Governors Forum which he has chaired ever since Governor Bukola Saraki stepped down – can’t remember the year. According to what we heard eventually, it was agreed to elect and anonymous candidate - Governor Jonathan Jang of Plateau State.
Due process had its place and eventually saw Governor Amechi reelected as the Chairman after winning 19 to 16 against Governor Jang. Nigerians were thrilled eventually of how after a couple of days, Governor Jang started parading himself as the new Chairman of the Forum.
This has caused a lot of drama and laughter in the media lately. The recent of it all being the events at the Presidential Dinner organised by the President Goodluck Jonathan.

Thisday finished the whole story: LOL
The leadership crisis in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF)  Thursday prompted an alteration in the sitting arrangement at the National Economic Council (NEC), thus making the two claimants to the NGF chair, Rivers State Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi and his Plateau State counterpart, Chief Jonah Jang, to sit beside each other.
Membership of the council, presided over by the vice-president, comprises governors of the 36 states of the federation and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Instead of the old sitting arrangement whereby the NGF chairman sits next to the NEC  Chairman, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, protocol did not recognise anyone as NGF chairman and there was no seat with that inscription as it is usually done.
Rather, governors were made to sit in an alphabetical order based on the name of their states and with the new sitting arrangement, Jang and Amaechi found themselves beside each other, as there was no state whose name starts with letter Q that would have made that governor to sit between the two rivals.
Since the May NGF election in which Amaechi was re-elected by a vote of 19 to Jang’s 16, yesterday was the first time the duo would sit together on a round table.
Jang and his supporters had protested Amaechi’s victory and they broke a way to form a parallel organisation. The sitting arrangement added a touch of drama to yesterday’s session of NEC, where one of the key decisions taken was the reduction of the cost of police reform, which was slashed from N2.8trillion to N1.5 trillion, as the sitting arrangement was not lost on the governors who seized the occasion to banter with one another over the leadership tussle.
A day before the council meeting, Jang had said on the sideline of dinner to mark the mid-term session of President Goodluck Jonathan that he had no quarrel with Amaechi because he was old enough to be his (Amaechi) father.

Like the NEC meeting, there was a mild drama at the dinner as presidential security details fenced off the Rivers governor from paying his respects to Jonathan,  prompting the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to urge the president to institute a probe into the incident.
When Amaechi came into the council chambers to take his usual seat, he discovered that he had been relocated and his new destination was near Jang.
Noticing the sitting arrangement, one of Amaechi’s supporters and Niger State Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu,  told him: "So you are going to sit with Jang. This is very nice oh. Somebody is trying to be diplomatic here. Amaechi replied: "We are still together. So, I am going to sit with him. The real chairman and the... (laughter). When Jang walked in,  he exchanged greetings with all his colleagues, including Amaechi. He then sat near Amaechi who accepted his greetings, saying: "You are welcome, I am the authentic chairman." Keeping a straight face, Jang did not utter a word, but Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who is pro-Amaechi, continued the teasing, as he pointed to Amaechi, saying "that is my chairman". This drew laughter from his colleagues.
One of the key decisions taken at the council meeting was the slashing of the  cost of reforming the police from the N2.8trillion recommended by a presidential committee to N1.5 trillion. The meeting also approved the establishment of a 10-man committee on oil theft to be chaired by Delta State Governor, Dr.  Emmanuel Uduaghan.
A day before the NEC meeting, Jang had insisted that he remains the NGF chair. He told journalists on Wednesday night on the sideline of the dinner organised by Jonathan to celebrate his mid-term in office that he had no quarrel with Amaechi because he was too old for such squabbles and he is old enough to be  Amaechi’s father. “Amaechi is my younger brother; in fact, I can say son because if you look at Amaechi’s age, I’m old enough to be his father,”  a report by Channels Television quoted Jang as saying at the dinner.
Asked to respond to Amaechi’s statement that he polled 19 votes to defeat him at the NGF election, Jang said: “Well, that is his problem; but I know that I am the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.”
In a statement by the ACN  National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the president should ensure that whoever is behind such a condescending treatment of a governor is sanctioned to serve as a deterrent to others.

''We are making this call because we do not believe that in spite of the reported frosty relations between the two, President Jonathan  as the father of the nation  will lend the weight of his high office to such a demeaning action as exhibited by the presidential security personnel,'' it said.

/* Thanks to the following sources: Naij, Thisday, Youtube  - they were referenced at one point or the other. */


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Habib Koite - Kunfe Ta

Since Vista went RTM several years ago. I have never ceased to love Habib Koite's songs. His style is quite unique. He sings nice African songs with passion and his guitar which is usually high pitched.

For some days now, I have been playing one of his classics which he did 1995 - Kunfe Ta.
In as much as I do not understand the lyrics, the song suggests WAR to me. I'll update you guys once I get more info on the lyrics about this awesome African.

Nice enough, he did this same song in Seattle in 2006 with more strength and energy - see the video below.

You may need to know that Koité is known primarily for his unique approach to playing the guitar by tuning it on a pentatonic scale and playing on open strings as one would on a kamale n'goni. Other pieces of his music sound more like the blues or flamenco which are two styles he learned under Khalilou Traore. (Wikipedia)

Koité's vocal style is intimate and relaxed, emphasizing calm, moody singing rather than operatic technical prowess. Members of Bamada play talking drum, guitar, bass, drum set, harmonica, violin, calabash, and balafon. Koité composes and arranges all songs, singing in English, French, and Bambara.

You can see more of him on his website. Please note that it's in French, so you may need a sort of translator - Google or Bing...

Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies to Launch First Regional Center in West Africa

The Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (SEED) will open its first regional innovation center in West Africa, a geographic area that holds enormous potential for immediate economic impact.
The launch this July marks a major milestone in implementing SEED’s critical strategic elements: on-the-ground training and sustained management support in a region of 300 million people, where nearly 70% of the population live on less than $2.00 per day, and 48% live on less than $1.25 per day.
The purpose of the regional innovation center, located in Accra, Ghana, is to stimulate economic opportunities — including job creation — by scaling high-potential local and regional businesses. The in-country effort will include:
  • A sustained physical presence with a training and resource facility.
  • A program of continuous coaching by experienced business leaders who will provide hands-on support in preparation for growth and potential new financing.
  • Access to experts and investors through local, global, and Stanford networks.
  • Research that is rooted in practice and on-the-ground interactions with businesses to help overcome bottlenecks to scaling.
The personal, hands-on approach and continuous coaching will allow SEED to work closely with target businesses and become active participants in change.
SEED was founded in 2011 with an extraordinary gift from Stanford alumnus and venture capitalist Robert King, MBA ’60, and his wife Dorothy King, who envisioned an institute dedicated to the practical application of innovation and entrepreneurship to create jobs. In addition to the Kings, SEED’s advisory board comprises Nobel laureate and New York University economist A. Michael Spence, former World Bank president and emerging markets private equity investor James Wolfensohn, Acumen Fund CEO Jacqueline Novogratz, and Managing Partner of Omidyar Network Matt Bannick.
Starting July 14, SEED’s first cohort of approximately 30 West African businesses will begin a customized program designed to address local needs and management issues to help prepare their enterprises for expansion.
Participating companies, whose revenues range from $150,000 to more than $5 million, apply to the program and are selected by SEED for their potential to scale quickly and create jobs.
“It is our privilege to be able to leverage Stanford’s resources and culture of innovation and entrepreneurship through our first on-the-ground program, which will include companies from Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and other West African nations,” said SEED Executive Director Tralance Addy, who will be in Accra for the training and the launch event July 18.

Comprehensive Training

SEED faculty, including Stanford Graduate School of Business supply chain expert Hau Lee, the Thoma Professor of Information, Operations and Technology; Stanford entrepreneurial design pioneer James Patell, the Herbert Hoover Professor of Public and Private Management; Collins Dobbs, instructor and leadership coach at the Stanford Graduate School of Business; and Addy will lead a one-week immersion workshop with a custom curriculum that starts with Design Thinking, an approach to problem solving that promotes innovation, and continues with sessions addressing Supply Chain Improvements, Product Innovation, and Entrepreneurial Leadership.
Following the initial immersion week, participants will continue their training with two- or three- day workshops, lectures, networking events, and online offerings.

Sustained Coaching

In addition to training, an additional critical aspect of SEED’s strategy is to provide continuous business coaching by a team of accomplished volunteers who are based in Accra and work side by side with local and regional businesses.
The first cohort of volunteer SEED coaches includes:

Clinton Etheridge, MBA '74

The first African-American Peace Corps volunteer to serve in Gambia in the 1970s and a 1974 Stanford MBA graduate, Clinton was an entrepreneurial founding father of the California Economic Development Lending Initiative where, for 15 years, he coached, advised, and helped entrepreneurs finance, build, and grow small- to medium-sized businesses all over California to further the organization’s mission to “create jobs and promote economic development.” During his banking career, in addition to Fortune 500 lending with Security Pacific Bank and asset securitization with Citicorp, Clinton learned African import-export financing as an assistant treasurer with Chase Manhattan Bank's London-based Africa Trade Division.

D. Kweku Fleming, MS '88

Fleming is a design consultant who collaborates with companies and inventors to develop new products and innovations to existing products. Since 1992, he has served in the consumer goods, telecommunications, and construction industries, developing products that range from wireless telephones to designer luggage. Fleming earned an M.S. in mechanical engineering and product design from Stanford University. He has worked with companies such as Walt Disney Imagineering, Embarq, Jet Blue, Alcoa, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Ed Forman, Stanford MBA '79

Ed is an executive with over 30 years of experience leading entrepreneurial ventures in Silicon Valley. His strengths include ideation, strategy development, business modeling, and financial planning. Ed consults to early stage endeavors on strategy and business development. He also provides training and professional seminars in the United States, Chile, and South Africa. Ed has experience leading product development, marketing, business development in early stage business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies offering breakthrough technology-based solutions, including Apple Computer.

Bill Scull, Stanford MBA '81

Bill has more than 20 years of experience growing young technology companies. Bill has a track record of crafting strategy, understanding customer needs, defining product requirements, and developing distribution strategies. Scull served as an executive at ILOG where he and his team helped grow global company revenues from $30 to $80 million; at Sygate he and his team more than tripled sales in two years before an acquisition by Symantec; and at CloudShield he repositioned the firm and helped grow sales 50%. Scull mentored entrepreneurs for three years in the Global Social Benefits Incubator program at Santa Clara University.

Jan Swanberg, Stanford MBA '79

Jan is an expert in marketing strategy, customer analysis, and marketing communications. Her marketing experience ranges from consumer packaged goods to children’s learning products to business software. In all cases, she applies initiative, marketing savvy, team leadership, and judgment to solve marketing problems and deliver results. One of her favorite accomplishments includes developing and marketing the Hooked on Phonics brand that made the process of learning to read engaging for children and parents, and won an award from the San Francisco Ad Council.


SEED also supports research by Stanford faculty and PhD students who are working towards the mission of SEED. Current research projects span a wide range of topics and include projects to develop business models for cacao farmers, transition women into business in emerging markets, and boost innovation capacity through public policy changes.
Building on its training and coaching in West Africa, and informed by research, SEED aspires to replicate the West Africa regional center in other developing economies within five years.

For More Information

SEED Program

Rita Winkler
Associate Director, Communications

Media Inquiries

Barbara Buell
Communications Director
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Telephone: (650) 723-1771

Source: Click Here