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Ken Etete

Sharing my thoughts on change and leadership

IF YOU NO GET VALUE, HIDE YOUR FACE.

 

Last night was wonderful, I had a really good rest only to wake up and it seemed like I was under a rock for a few centuries. Don’t be alarmed, we can share my shock. Between when I went to bed at 11.30 Pm and the time I woke up: 5. Am, so much had happened that I would have been oblivious of but thanks to the Calvary of media ( news and random public opinion) that charged at me with little room in my mental stomach to contain them all. As a man proudly hungry for information, I dug in and was amazed by all that had happened in the world within six hours and so I began to narrow the events and reports to timelines and only then did I appreciate how much we underutilize time. During my period of scavenging for information, something struck me that almost took away the whole energy I woke up with. It was a simple comical expression: If you no get money, hide your face! I bet a good number of you are conversant with the expression. It made me understand in better terms why most of the things that happen in our world happen. It is simple, because we all want to show “our faces” even if it means we have to borrow or steal those faces. Faces and, characters we have heard about and seen as well as those that should only be imaginary and nothing more.

Hidden Face
A youth with face hidden with a mask.

In a bid to show our faces; we seek to totally crush our “enemies” (hide their faces) by “creating compelling spectacles through every means possible, especially through power”. Power empowers us like we can never really fathom and goes on to overpower most of us. Books and the media tell us so much about people that wielded power across the world ; a few of us are however not oblivious of the fact that they are susceptible to embellishment and over exaggeration , after all, popular opinion is another crucial power worth having, ask the Jews if you have any doubt. Since the attainment of independence, the country has gone through several phases that have created a culture of “lending and stealing faces” in a way that has correspondingly brought about experiences that had better be left in oblivion at least for the sake of our sanity.

Why is it so important to show our faces? If there is a reason, why is money the condition precedent? In our little corners, we all talk about being real only to partake in the trade of stealing and borrowing faces. Can we just plant the goal post somewhere central and stop shifting it? And please not on money. How about on value and values? How about on common sense and common wealth? The race to show our faces is the reason corruption is now a reoccurring topic in our socio-political lexicon. I guess there won’t be any need to define or describe it as it is a real character in our everyday story with a memorabilia present in almost every household.

Different wooden souvenirs at the local Mexican market
Souvenir of corruption in hidden faces

The fight against corruption seems to be an unending rat race as because our faces keep changing. A crusader against corruption today ends up becoming the “corrupt one” tomorrow and a “corrupt man today suddenly becomes an “anti-corruption crusader” tomorrow.  I think it is a simple case of lack of identity, self-worth and capacity to create wealth. I do not think this will change anytime soon because the antidote to this frustrating neighbor is one we are conscious of but deliberately refuse to administer. If we must show our faces, let it be for the value we create and exchange; value to ourselves, family, community and society at large.

We are optimistic that the current “fight against corruption” is yielding results because Nigeria’s recent Corruption Perception Index as captured by Transparency International improved after it exited the top ten (10) for the first time in years . This is a feat worth celebrating because as a citizen, one is daily confronted with simple grand variants of corruption. A bus driver in the name of free market arbitrarily hikes his fare at the disadvantage of commuters, how about the classic case of the electricity distribution company that sends exorbitant estimated monthly bills to customers with functional meters whom they didn’t supply power? I chose to focus on these minute details because the big cases of corruption that stares us in the face today started off as minute examples we overlooked through the years.

Today, the corruption tag is easily slapped on any and every one for any reason, no reason and even bad reason.  We are in a situation where greed and envy has cloaked our real identity. We no longer know the truth because it is strange to us. Truth of what corruption is; truth of why we are in those offices we are, truth of the price of value. This explains why a lazy man named Peter, cannot think for himself and work within the confines of the law to alleviate his economic situation but is hopeful that Paul is direct opposite will help his case and when he doesn’t, he screams “corruption”! Now if the reverse were the case that Paul is really corrupt but passes some of the cheese to Peter, he goes to the ends of the earth to justify the actions of Paul.  People only condemn corrupt practices when they are not direct beneficiaries of such acts-shifting the goal post you will say.

Chess game leadership and competition
Dare to be different

Truly the challenge before us as a people has never being a leadership problem as one cannot do beyond his or her capacity. The reality is that we have a follower-ship problem. The sour taste in our mouth is not a product of what our former, present and future leaders did, are doing or will do but a direct reflection of the quality and character of the follower-ship.  The reason is that we don’t even know who we are when no one is looking. When you read the papers and follow the conversation on the street, word is that “the government has failed us”, the rain is not falling over here”, “why do we have only sunshine”. The lawyers say he who comes to equity must come with clean hands”. How clean are our hands? What is our nature? The true measure of a man is what he will do when he thinks no man is watching. What are we really doing in our little crevices? How much sincerity can be mined from our actions and inaction? Are our choice of thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gains?

two road in forest
What is it going to be?

Look at the way technology is changing the world today, and how it has caused serious wealth redistribution in other parts of the world through the instrument of the law and processes. The wealth of IT giants like Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Apple lies squarely on intellectual property law. Now let’s come back home, the list of corrupt sabotage by the followership in every facet of the Nigerian and African Society is inexhaustible.

The solution does not lie in the institutions established and manned persons borrowing and stealing faces but on laid down procedures backed by law. Our affairs must be structured independent of any office but on processes for unity and prosperity. What is our procurement process? How are talents sourced and monitored? How are resources allocated? How is Justice Administered? What is the process? We cannot afford to continue paying the cost associated with borrowing and stealing faces for the “show”. We need to identify the things that will mitigate or/and eradicate corruption and then go on to engineer and adopt processes that will help us overcome corruption. The best processes must be adopted and implemented today because according to a great man that I do not know, the greatest freedom we can gain is being able to not worry about what happens tomorrow because we are happy with what we have done today. As it stands now, the future is very bleak; if the Nigerian story mustn’t transform into the jungle book it is imperative for us to adopt processes that promote learning, transformation, forgiveness and most importantly “showing our value”. There is no gain in creating an air of mystery or keeping our people dependent on transient wants and aspirations simply because they don’t want to hide their faces.

REACHING FOR THE MAXIMUM WAGE

 

Nigerians are a unique set of people. We defy the laws of nature on several fronts; most notably the law that “whatever goes up must come down”. People climb to the peak of power and refuse to come down. The price of goods and services are arguably one directional-“up”. Suffice it to say we are a “progressive people”. The trend of things not coming down has in recent times led to the increased tempo/heat on the issue of minimum wage. Almost everyone has something to say about it. Despite the deafening level of the conversation on this topic on the front burner of the Nigerian socio-economic challenge, two salient points continue to echo from the two sides of the spectrum. First is “we want more!” while the other is “we cannot afford any more in the light of the current realities”.  Before going any deep in this discussion, it is imperative for us to undertake some deep learning from the views and perspectives of some of our very own on twitter.

Clear vision through glasses

“Can’t settle for no minimum wage” @TrelleGotDamn (05:37 AM, 5/12/2017)

“States may not be able to pay new minimum wage” @Channelstv (6:12 PM, 04/12/2017)

“Attention is expensive to pay….and I can’t get off minimum wage…” @NanasiaMusic (3:02 PM, 02/12/2017)

“Don’t go into your job search with a minimum wage mindset”  @larosa_shelton (6:42 PM, 04/12/2017).

“Mr. President approved the appointment of a 30 member tripartite National Minimum wage Committee @APCNigeria (4:15 PM, 24/11/2017)

“Stupidity. Increase salary for people adding zero value and inflation neutralizes it. And only govt will pay minimum wage. And private sector workers will suffer the inflation. This our country ehn…O su mi…” @deaolaadebanjo (7:47 PM, 25/11/2017)

“Which one is the best option, stabilizing the naira and having  price control or increasing wages and allowing market forces to dictate” @TOUNGOS (8:31 PM, 24/11/2017)

“On minimum wage- Nigeria has a minimum wage of N18, 000 per month- or just under $2 a day. But just how low are Nigerian wages in comparison to the rest of the world?”@StearsBusiness (2:00PM, 02/12/2017)

“Minimum wage in Nigeria really needs to be addressed. Currently is N30, 000, isn’t it?  That is criminal. We need to adopt a per hourly rate” @kckane (5:39 PM, 29/11/2017.)

“I agree that our minimum wage is piss poor but our work ethics … ‘piss poorer’. We need to look into that to even deserve the comparison you are making”  @Temidayoaluko (10:40 PM, 29/11/2017.)

What a fantastic conversation. I literally got lost in that world of opinions and silence. So now let’s go just a little bit deep. For starters, what is minimum wage? What is the history? Why is it such a big issue? What is competing with it? What can solve this debacle?

Definition of the word Minimum wage in a dictionary

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, minimum wage is the lowest wage paid or permitted to be paid; specifically : a wage fixed by legal authority or by contract as the least that may be paid either to employed persons generally or to a particular category of employed persons. International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines it thus: “the minimum amount of remuneration that an employer is required to pay wage earners for the work performed during a given period, which cannot be reduced by collective agreement or an individual contract”. Mind you no one is talking about quality performance or productivity.

I really don’t know much about the origin of this boiling hot topic, but I sure know that history has some answers. The first minimum wage law was enacted in 1894 in New Zealand as an offshoot of the Industrial Conciliation Act which chartered District Conciliation Boards to adjudicate industrial labour feuds. Albeit, the main function of the boards was to expedite resolutions between employer associations and employee unions, the boards were also given the authority to revamp conditions of employment, including minimum wage standards if necessary and to stretch those conditions to other employees in the same industry who were not members of the association. New Zealand subsequently (in 1899 to be precise) set up a nationwide minimum wage which was fundamentally intended to prevent employers from enlisting children or apprentices with no remuneration. The United States joined the ship in 1938 and the rest is history. Almost every country in the world including Nigeria has adopted the payment model for its workforce.

Word is that there is a bill at the National Assembly which will increase the national minimum wage every five years. Will this really remove lots of Nigerians from poverty and place them in the middle class? There has been so much trending on numerous platforms on minimum wage in Nigeria and there was this particular one on ‘WhatsApp’ that caught my eye. It reads:

The minimum wage was the equitable means between the heartless march of capital for profits and the rights of powerless labor to earn enough to live a meaningful and comfortable life. This is the founding principle.

If the aim is to promote the rights of workers to live a meaningful and comfortable life, it therefore means that the minimum wage must by definition be based on an economic determination of what constitutes a comfortable life. In simple economic terms, the easiest matrix to use is the Retail Price Index (RPI)‎ after deciding on its constituent parts and determining what goods and services are absolutely essential to our localized definition of a ‘comfortable life’.

Does such a life include bread, tomatoes and meat? Does it have regional bias to say replace meat with fish? Or does the fact we live in a vibrant nation full of upward mobile possibilities warrant everyone to alternate between fish and meat? Does it include access to clean water and electricity? A school within 2 miles?

To reflect further, do we need regional minimum wages to set aside the bustling metropolises from docile regional cities?

Furthermore, do we need a Standard of Living (SOL) sub index to categorize standards and then examine regional variations which eventually could inform developmental policy? The questions are endless, but the circumference of what it can achieve as a policy tool is easy to define and legislate upon.

We could go on and on refining these thoughts. ‎But the bottom line is that:

The minimum wage is primarily a tool that will allow the government set a standard of quality of life. Without this objective and ‎financing to sustain it in the long term (perhaps through a ‘Minimum Wage Endowment Fund’), it’s a totally meaningless exercise to try to define it. It’s almost trying to measure how much to climb to harvest a fruit but never really planning to climb the tree. 

This was probably triggered by the appointment of a 30-member tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee for the negotiation of a new National Minimum Wage by Mr. President. The highlight of the inauguration speech was in the expression “….Accordingly, we should aim to go above the basic Social Protection Floor for all Nigerian workers based on the ability of each tier of Government to pay”. The propensity to create and redistribute wealth if there is any, is the only reason we should be having this conversation.

scales

There is no doubt that there are wage inequalities but would it be fair for it to be equal considering the inequality in productivity and performance? I am not just asking, it is crucial because the world has long gone past this style of “covering the field”. A recent article by Maggie McGrath titled ‘Unions Are Dead? Why Competition Is Paying Off for America’s Best Workers’ published by Forbes on its official website on the 12th of December, 2017 shares my sentiment. It partly reads: “…..If competition now delivers what unions once did, it has also replaced government policy, or filled in where it’s lacking. The federal minimum wage hasn’t been increased since 2009, and at its current $7.25 an hour, it offers a path to poverty, with few avenues for advancement”. The operative phrase is “best workers”. What are the indices for measuring that? Performance and productivity, nothing more! Will an increment of basic salary from N18, 000 to N56, 000 make Nigerians richer? Will it increase our GDP? Will it make Nigerians more productive or just a part of the vicious circle?

Truly the cost of living is very high, but the remedy does not lie in increasing minimum wage but in optimizing performance and productivity. An avenue through which every worker becomes the determinant of his or her own minimum wage; through conscious adherence to processes, international best practices and standards, collaboration, integrity and contribution to the national bottom line. When we adopt this as our work culture, we will be on track in defying nature because our standard of living will only go up and never come down despite the waves in the international economy.

The Power of the Inner Man

 

IMG-20180327-WA0005

I pray for you and truly many times I wonder how you came this far without any visible help. I am a man that has fought battles from my teenage years and now in my peak of life battles I still wish to have help. How I wish I could draw more help from my inner person, many times my most dependable source of help, my inner man is more than able but my physical senses are too anxious, paying too much attention to the noise around. My inner  man, super help provider, ever connected to my original source of life is inactive. I pray daily that my physical senses will Believe and rediscover my inner man. From the womb of my beloved Mother my heart started to beat, my heart is the center of my inner man, why do I listen more to the lifeless noise and not the power of my life providing heartbeat. As I practice the strength of my inner man, listen to the heartbeat and the flow of oxygen into my internal organs, I will  practice to know more and rely more on my inner helper and less on the noise outside of me.

Your help has always been here.

Problem Solving: A Hallmark for Business Success

“Problem solving is an accredited hallmark for business success; and the first step to successfully solve a problem is to develop a problem-solving mindset.”
Solving problems is part and parcel of all successful businesses. It is an essential skill in the workplace and personal situations.
Effective problem solving is all about using logic, creativity and imagination to make sense of your situation and come up with an intelligent solution. As it has been defined, problem solving consists of using generic or ad hoc methods; in an orderly manner; of finding solutions to problem.
What is a problem? The Oxford Dictionary defines a problem as “A doubtful or difficult matter requiring a solution; something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with.” The crux is that, problem solving is the process of working through details to reach solutions to difficult or complex issues.
Most businesses fail as a result of poor problem solving skills. As a business owner, you can benefit from having problem solving skills because in business you will encounter problems on a daily basis. In fact, you must understand that there are always going to be problems to encounter. Some of these problems may be more severe or complex than others but it will be a thing of joy to have the ability to solve the problems efficiently and without much difficulty in a timely manner. One of the measures of business successes, is not a matter of whether you have a tough problem to solve, but whether you have the ability to solve the problem.
Problem solving is a process. The main goal of a good problem solving process is to make us and our businesses conflict-friendly and conflict-competent. There are two important concepts to bear in mind about problems. First of all, when problems occur, it is an opportunity to improve the business system or process. Secondly, problems provide us with information that we can use to fix what needs fixing and ultimately increase performance. When you encounter problems in business, what you need to do is think the problem through with the view to getting a solution in the long run.
Effective Problem Solving Process
Effective problem solving takes time and attention, more of the former than the latter. The approach is generally designed for problem solving in a business, but can be easily adapted at an individual level and life generally. Here are some steps to take in solving a complex problem. It must be understood that working through this process may not always be a rigid approach because you may have to cycle back to an earlier step to help get a clearer picture that will enable a deliberate move towards the desired solution. The problem solving processes are;
1. Identify the Problem – The first and most important phase of solving any problem is to be clear about what the problem is about. When you encounter a problem, the questions you should always ask are, what is the problem, the nature of the problem and how can the problem be best defined? This is in the bid to get a clear idea about the problem. Make sure you dwell here, fairly enough, to really get the details of the problem. This is because you don’t want to fit a square peg in a round hole.
2. Talk to Other People about the Problem – The main reason for talking to people about the problem is to help you see things from a different perspective and to open up potential solutions, even solutions you never perceived. An old adage says, “A problem shared is a problem half solved.” Put down your differences for a while and listen to people’s opinion with the intention to understand, it can get you to the desired solution or at least half way through it.
3. List the Possible Solutions (Options) – Allow room for creativity, innovative imagination and do some brainstorming. Start thinking about possible solutions to the problem. Write down whatever solutions or options that comes to mind. You can develop a mind mapping board.
4. Evaluate the Options – Look at the possible solutions and carefully analyze them by evaluating them and making sure it is with the view of selecting the preferred or most suitable solution. Make sure you creatively gather enough options.
5. Select an Option or Options – Review the selected option and act on it immediately you have resolved to use the solution.
6. Document the Agreement(s) – Document the outcome and ensure you have lessons learnt included in your documentation. Every detail of opinions and implications collected in the process should also be properly documented for possible future reference.
7. Agree on Contingencies, Monitoring & Evaluation – This involves reviewing the outcomes of the problem solving process over a period of time because conditions may change. This step also helps keep a check on or measure the success of the process. Make contingency agreements about foreseeable future circumstances by monitoring compliance and follow through where necessary. This process is typical of Monitoring & Evaluating and it is for the purpose of gaining a constructive feedback from people affected by any changes that occurred, if at all.
Developing and maintaining a problem solving mindset or skill can make a huge difference in your business and life in general. It will always give you a huge advantage over your competitors. Business success is as a result of constantly solving problems even as they get bigger. The maxim will then be that “The bigger the problems you encounter and able to solve, the more successful you tend to become”.
Your business success will depend on your ability to solve problems quickly. If you can step up with appropriate solutions to just about any problem you come upon, you stand a good chance of succeeding in your business, career and life in general.

 

…Before It Is Too Late

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Youth unemployment has remained on steady increase in the Niger Delta and it is a dangerous trend that can cause increase in crimes in the territory and Nigeria as a whole. I believe that driving youth entrepreneurship will certainly tackle the problem; it will increase creativity and innovation amongst the youth, produce economic renewal, job creation and help fuel the desired growth pattern in the Nigeria. Supporting young entrepreneurs to grow their businesses is very key if we have to positively impact the Niger Delta and environs.
Crime rate recorded so far, is on the increase due to youth unemployment. The jobless youths and matured adults have resorted to look for any means at their disposal to keep engaged including, blindly following corrupt leaders for less than “peanuts”-(considerations), smoking, pick pocketing-petty thieving, snatching of bags, prostituting, gambling, armed robbery, terrorizing residents and more.
For instance, the recent happening in Uvie Local Government Area in Delta State, is one to really bother about; In broad day light, in Orumaro area at Effurun, a group of jobless youths armed with weapons went about terrorizing residents, causing unrest in the community; miss using opportunity in time and resources, to steal from shops, market places, passers-by, transporters and in the process killed innocent souls. Greed, complete disrespect for humanity and existence, no value for life, increased use of substances is really affecting the young stars of today. This is ultimately distracting the level headed youths and causing a stampede on the development; in all its’ ramification; of the local community. There is an urgent need for this to be curbed before it is too late.
Another crisis that led to the killing of a Soldier and the bombing down of a whole community by the military, killing innocent civilians, destroying their houses and property, cannot be forgotten because it has left indelible marks in the hearts of the people.
What is urgently required today is to equip or train youths in a variety of skill acquisitions programs, Entrepreneurship programs, basic/intermediate programs in production and marketing. To equip them with these skills is to enable them produce quality products that can compete with market demand. This can be done in collaboration with institutions, partners and stakeholders.
The Nigerian youths; men and women alike; should have practical entrepreneurial skills that will enable them exploit their innate abilities in starting and running a successful business enterprise. The skills will enable them produce unique goods with unique designs that can compete favorably with counterpart products in Nigeria and globally. A huge number of youths can gain enough skills in quality production and marketing that will enable them produce high quality products matching international market standards. This will create self-reliant people, manufacturers and Industrialists in Nigeria as a whole. The management of small and medium enterprises will become clearer to them, ensuring the sustainability of their businesses to enhance socio-economic development will be appreciated, jobs will most certainly be created and income generation, in itself, will be respected.
The need to help build Soft Skills in youths through training cannot be overemphasized. Soft skills are associated with the Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) of any person. A person’s Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) is a cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that characterize relationships with other people. Soft skills complement the hard skills. Hard Skills are the occupational requirements of a job and many other activities. Soft Skills are related to feelings, emotions, insights and an ‘inner knowing’ and all these provide an important complement to ‘hard skills’ and IQ. A person’s soft skill (EQ) is an integral part of their individual contribution to the success of an organization. Particularly those organizations dealing with customers (face-to-face). They are generally more successful, if they train their staff to use these skills. Screening or training for personal habits or traits such as dependability and conscientiousness can yield significant return on investment for an organization. For this reason, employers in addition to standard qualifications increasingly seek out soft skills. (Wikipedia definition).
Soft skills cannot be developed only by reading good books but also through very strong disciplined training and thorough regular practice of this trainings. Soft skills are purely of practical nature and they develop more and more with practice. Without these soft skills we cannot be disciplined in our personal and professional lives. The introduction and continuous training of soft skills will play a major role in building of a strong resourceful youth in Nigeria as a whole.

Leadership in Nation Building, Citizen and the Law

There is so much to be done at home, in the office and of course the nation, but we must first sit back and take stock before embarking on the task at hand.  Please Join me.

Ken Etete on TV

 

“Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum Taps Ken Etete’s Century Group on Aje Field”

Written by Chika Amanze-Nwachuku.

Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum (YFP) have engaged indigenous oil services group, Century Energy Services Limited-CESL, raising the bar on Nigerian Content development in the streaming of Aje field, an offshore oil concession which brings Lagos State into the league of oil producing states in the country.

Industry analysts see this as “a remarkable milestone capable of rekindling the hope of the Agencies such as DPR , NAPIMS and NCDMB who have the responsibility of growing Nigerian Content to an ambitious level of about 50per cent by 2020 and re-invigorating the Nigerian -Can- Do -It spirit in the nation’s oil and gas industry.”

Company officials say “in deploying cost effective operation and maintenance services to the first oil field outside the Niger Delta region , CESL has shown proven competence and capability in offering fit-for-purpose solutions in strategic and technology driven areas such as engineering, fabrication and construction; marine and subsea services; pipeline system, pipeline leak/clamping; operation and maintenance.”

They continue “Consequently, Its age-long strategic partnership with YFP operators of the Aje field facilitated the development of this asset from a mere concept, twenty years ago; to full commercialization in May 2016.
With this positive development Aje field is the first oilfield outside the Niger Delta to produce commercial volumes of hydrocarbons, which has helped in no small measure to prove the prospectivity of other frontier basins in Nigeria.”

It is equally on records that Aje field is also the first and only oilfield in Nigeria where exploration and appraisal activities have been undertaken solely by indigenous Nigerian companies without the direct involvement of an international oil company (IOC).

Speaking on this positive development that has raised the bar on Nigeria content development, a Director in CESL- Chief Femi Akinmade (a former Director in ENI) said that he is delighted and it is indeed a dream come true to see the achievements recorded by YFP/partners and CESL in the deployment and management of an FPSO. He further stated that it is a clear confirmation that the Local Content Laws are being adhered to and is working. Years back, there was no chance for Africa, let alone Nigeria, to deploy and maintain an FPSO. YFP has brought this to bare and done us very proud and this validates CESL’s competence and capabilities as a wholly indigenous Oil and gas servicing company in the deployment, operations and maintenance of an FPSO. He said CESL will continue to deliver cost-effective operation and maintenance services on the Aje FPSO, in addition to providing further field development support and production optimization input on the asset.

Whilst the CESL Corporate Affairs Manager-Ms. Data Jaja also commended the management of YFP for their unwavering belief in the Nigerians Can-Do-It spirit by giving CESL the opportunity to be part of its success story and thus leading the vanguard of accelerated Nigerian Content Development drive in the nation’s Oil and Gas industry.
Again, the synergy between CESL and Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum, has inadvertently rekindled the hope of Nigeria’s journey to global recognition as an oil producer and not a rent seeker going by the number of her marginal fields that is coming on stream.

Aje field previously located in oil prospecting licence (OPL) 309 and now in oil mining lease (OML) 113, is an offshore oil and gas asset located in the frontier Benin-Dahomey basin, in water depth of about 300 feet, and 20 kilometers offshore Lagos.

The Aje wells (both completed in upper and lower Cenomanian reservoirs) are subsea wells tied back to a 40,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd), 18 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d) of gas and Floating Production Storage and Offtake (FPSO) vessel – the Front Puffin FPSO.

CESL provides Operation and Maintenance (O&M) for the Front Puffin FPSO, providing production operations management, facility maintenance and marine support services for the Aje field, which is operated by FASL- Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum.

Located in OML 113 (20 kilometres offshore Lagos), Aje field is an offshore oil and gas asset in the frontier of Benin-Dahomey basin in water depth of 300ft and commercial reserves of about 20 billion barrels.
The field was discovered in 1996 through exploratory drilling, 3D seismic acquisition and follow-on appraisal drilling spanning nearly two decades.

Aje field reached first oil in May 2016, when it commenced production of commercial volumes of oil and gas from two wells.

Century Group is a Multi -operational company with interest and expertise in the full value chain of the oil and gas industry and non-energy sector in Nigeria . The group operates seven main subsidiaries- Century Exploration and Production Limited, Century Ports and Terminals Limited, Century Real Estate and Logistics, Elmina Petroleum Limited and Global Manning Resources Limited.

Today, CG contributes about 10% of the national daily production i.e. about 200,000boe/ bpd through provision of technical support services four ( 4) FPSO,
Five swamp Area Flow Stations, 1 MOPU + FSO and Ten (10) Oil fields.

IDEAS TO IMPACT

AN ADAPTATION OF A PAPER DELIVERED BY MR KEN ETETE AT MIT SLOAN AFRICA INNOVATE CONFERENCE APRIL 8TH 2017 IN BOSTON

When I received the invitation to speak on the theme “Ideas to Impact”conditions for success, what readily came to my mind to share, was a collection of all the stories of my, still, very humble beginnings as an entrepreneur-  no of ‘business man’  that sound more appealing. It is a very interesting topic to discuss and there is no better time or place considering the potential of Young Africans that have gone to acquire knowledge every nook and cranny of the World. The opportunity to be a part of the conversation “ideas to impact” is a priceless one which I do not take for granted. What ideas are there to impact? We will move from the known to the known with the aim of developing an imbued generation.

Small Fish With Ambitions Of A Big SharkThis discourse, in relation to the theme- “ideas to impact”, will draw inferences from the African stage. However, let me start by giving you an insight to an article written by a South African that I read recently In a nut shell, the article talks about Africa being “Africa” and no matter how much we try to imbibe or infuse a culture that may be workable, they will always remain alien to us because of the way we are wired and the writer called it ‘the African Character- doing things the African Way’. The truth being that the idea of rule of law or accountability is not part of who we are, the idea of clapping for a President who has violated the country’s constitution- is because Africans have no idea of constitutionalism, the idea of not expecting much from politicians, the idea of having and claiming power for ourselves, friends and family members and the public or masses have no say, the idea of changing laws to protect the African ruler and many more instances. The writer was so pessimistic; he sounded like nothing good could come out of Africa. He further said that Africans need to come back to reality as though positive things are not a part of who we are. He depicted the African anti-corruption crusaders as bizarre, a position I agree with, Africa is a place where tribalism drives politics- another correct observation, Africa is a place where its’ leaders don’t like the idea of an educated populace because they say clever people are difficult to govern-the UNICEF report gives credence to this and highlighted that, accountability, political morality are alien to Africans. Ordinarily, my job is done here; I mean what else is there to say? Let me do a quick cerebral check to see what I can find Okay, here we go. What are the ideas to impact an enabling  business environment? We must deliberately begin to think of ideas that will create an enabling environment to foster businesses else- If I tell you all the tricks in the book about business- we will continue to hit a brick wall. The determination to reach our goal and change the African society despite the hurdles is an idea to impact.

career and growth concept

Africa is still enslaved. This is the major challenge we face in Africa. Our greatest set back in Africa is not the lack of capacity or business ideas as it were but of complete non-existence of a state of Law and order, let alone respect for it or its’ application. Why is this so?Africa has the symptoms of lack of  credible public legal Administration to keep society sane and the diagnosis is spot on. The only thing that differentiates a human from animals is understanding and subjection to Law and Order. So the truth of the matter is that no idea will thrive in a society where there is no direction, where there are no laws; it is- simply impossible! I can actually sit here and recount the chronicles of my humble beginnings and possible Business ideas but without an enabling environment it won’t work! How can anything work well in a society where the fundamental guiding principles that should help shape the environment are not adhered to?Law and justice concept

Yes the conditions for success in business are numerous and have the chance variable but; one must be in an environment that will foster progress for more ideation or solutions. In Africa, there are beautiful policies that are not adhered to. Our leaders violate the laws of the land without any form of remorse or shame. For as long as the rule of law is a myth, you can almost say the law does not exist. It will be difficult for me or anyone to stand here and impact ideas about conditions for success and have the audience go back to the same stage that has existed for years.- for “the  brick wall”. This reality is depressing, energy sapping and eventually culminates in the life style of “following the beat”. There is no transparency. We need ideas that will transform the society. These are the ideas I want us to talk about. Ideas that will help track down everything real time. Look at the success model of Google and Uber. They have broken every monopoly of information and transport services. Information is available to all, transport services is available to all anytime, anywhere. You need it- you call for it. You seek any information- you use the Google search engine. You don’t have to wait for anybody before you get information- all at your fingertips with Google.

So what are the ideas to break the African ordeal? We need to introduce ‘disruptive’ solutions;- solutions that will transform governance in Africa, solutions that can track the processes of justice administrations real time, technology that will eliminate the level of corruption seen in Africa amongst its’ leaders today. We need to pull Africans out of poverty. What then are the ideas to impact? So what we need are ideas that make impact and positive change that will shape our society and make it better, restore the real deal and curb the brain drain situation. It is on record that many Africans in the Diaspora are doing very well. These Africans need to repatriate the same level of expertise and creativity home. What are we afraid of? What is the problem or the concern? The continent is dying gradually and more people are leaving to populate “greener pastures” I will rather call it “watered pastures”- The good news is that in this technology driven world of ours,- the old fashioned Africa must give way for the new Africa to take centre stage and embrace technology. Technology should be allowed to penetrate the system. That’s the idea to impact.

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We, as privileged young leaders, must come up with ideas that will allow the society to prosper and get every African out of poverty. Such that the government will jettison their old ways of doing things that has held the African Society back for so long and adapt to new behavioural systems.Ideas to impact- success have different meanings to different people. To me, success is that zone or ambiance we locate or occupy when we have broken the barrier that has stagnated Africa for such a long time. We need to open up ways that will eradicate completely every set back and open walls that will not deny the people their fundamental human rights, right to be productive, responsible and happy. We cannot continue to live in a chaotic world, we must introduce the calm and sanity. We are change agents- not to generate revenue for our selfish interests but to enable the leadership abandon archaic ways of thinking and doing things and embrace the new world order. No idea can survive in a pandemonium, in an environment where there is lack of fairness and equity. Shall we keep making the same mistakes- year in- year out? The wars and other issues that plague Africa can be avoided if we have a society that is fair to its people. Young African minds need to be driven by technological change and the laboratory must first be equipped. For as long as we have an environment that won’t synchronize with international best practices, these young brains that ought to help shape the society better will teleport to the grave without anything for posterity to be proud of. Let us seek ideas that will change governance, align with international best practices, respect for human rights, respect for life and property, credible elections. We need to be more transparent, more public interests-oriented. These are ideas to impact so that you and I can succeed in business and every other human endeavour; and not keep doing the same old things that have left us bankrupt in spirit and in revenue.

The Creative Brain

Ideas to impact- entails encouragement of meritocracy- The best brains and hands have to be projected and supported to run Public Administration for the good of all. We must aspire to revamp public institutions, address the causes of war and corruption and address maladministration of justice- A WHOLE VALUE CHANGE.The multi-ethnicity should be an advantage not a disadvantage. The idea to fight against every factor inimical to the growth and development of Africa is crucial; because the environment is very challenging. Unbelievable problems like – trying to incorporate a business entity takes forever, the educational system has lost its’ essence, the financial system is in disarray, transport system, human environment- absence of integrity a compromised, legal system, limited supply of basic amenities. Tell me- what keeps you awake at night? Look, when next we see down the hall way- please let me know what keeps you awake at night- because that may be the element that will drive the need to birth ideas about how to influence change and be a change catalyst.

 

FEDHA

It is amazing how little children respond to sounds, and the different emotions expressed through their eyes. In most cases where they can relate with it, it is a rhythmic movement of the body. We were all like that at one point in our lives. As we grew up, the sounds began to be less appealing and in some cases meaningless. The reason is not far- fetched, there is now so much noise and distraction in our lives as voices are lost in a sea of accents. The most recurring of these  sounds is the static buzz of MONEY.

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The place of money in our lives is and will always be confusing as it is most times difficult to identify its essence. Is it of any value or is it just a metric for measuring value? A popular question in our everyday life is “how much?” In truth, that question is incomplete. It ought to be: how much value do you attach to the product or service? All societies have throughout history sought to create a valid and acceptable means of exchange. Make no mistake about it; it is not a fact in issue that money is of peculiar interest to all irrespective of age, gender, race, religion or creed. Even the Church through Pope Francis bore its mind on the concept of money on the 20th of September, 2013 during the morning mass at the Vatican Casa Santa Marta. According to the Clergy, “money sickens our minds, poisons our thoughts…it drives to idle words and pointless discussions……” Believe me; this discourse doesn’t belong to that class.

I totally agree with the Pope on that point, but then again I like several of you have discovered by experience and accident that the true essence of money is to coordinate the activities between free men. Coordination is attained through simple and effective communication, which gives birth to agreement, understanding and ultimately trust. As a matter of fact, money in itself is nothing. The premium that men place on it has nothing to do with the object itself but the confidence of its acceptability. According to Prof. Charles Fried, a Former Solicitor General of the United States of America, money be it the dollar bill or gold have little intrinsic value. It is valuable because of what it stands for. It stands for all the promises people have made in order to get their hands on it. Money is a catalyst for progress. It is a vehicle for socioeconomic advancement as it represents exchange and serves as a store for trust. One undisputed reality about money is that there is never enough to go round, hence the existence of class and our daily sprint to our different hustle turfs. There is no gain saying that the value of a country’s currency affects the stability of the government. This is because the government uses money to keep society safe and drive production. It comes at a cost which could be high or low depending on a zillion factors. It costs jobs, quality of products and life, relationships, peace and even faith in a system. Why? It is simple. There is a nexus between money and happiness.

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Whatever the currency in your wallet or bank account, they are worthless pieces or representations that are cherished because we believe they are valuable. Money in Nigeria and several other countries in Africa and beyond is at risk of losing its ascribed power. The value of the Naira is dropping faster than I can say Hi! The reason for this sharp decline according to some experts is that there is poor future expectation on what the government will do. Prof. John Cochrane of the University of Chicago while talking about the value of money as a product of future expectations on what government will do said among other things that “what people think is going to happen in the future is what matters crucially to their decision about what they do today, how much to save, consume, invest, whether to start a business or not”. The ultimate solution is having a monetary policy founded on rules, laws, institutions and not discretion that enables and encourages productivity. The African case has seen so much discretion with great negative impact on the national economies. The poor are getting poorer and the middle class have gone into extinction. Yes the global economy is not doing so fine but then there are economies that are cashing out. With the plummeting price of oil, there seems to be no way out for the Nigerian economy other than through diversification; a song that now has uncountable covers.

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The way forward for Nigeria and indeed Africa in these trying times is to have utmost regard for the supply and demand for money through sustainable wealth creation and strengthening of the legal systems. The Federal Government of Nigeria like many other national governments has monopoly of money both as bills and reserves. It is therefore in her best interest to protect the value of her money so that the power of the state behind the bill doesn’t disappear. There is dire need for consistency in the legal system to endear trust. Trust for the truth, trust for equality, trust for the existence of tomorrow not determined by anybody but the rule of law. The US Dollar and British Pounds are valuable for two simple reasons; there are strong and formidable laws backing them through a genuine production chain. It is high time Africa started placing laws that guarantee posterity a seat at the table of the unknowns.  Initiating policies that will stimulate wealth for the common man is only a line item. When you narrow it down, it entails taking steps to instill confidence in the people through genuine and workable incentives for common wealth that will inversely increase the value of our money.  There are a lot of things she can do to create this much sorted wealth and it all starts with a simple policy that puts the fate of all Nigerians in their own hands. Let me use the current power challenge as a case in point to illustrate a lasting solution that doubles a source of wealth creation. The government could come up with a policy that says “every household that generates 5KVA of solar power is entitled to 1 Million Naira per month”. Imagine how many million Nigerians will take you up on that. If you look at this policy closely, the money is really of no value. The ultimate price is the power which millions of Nigerians will begin to generate. One might ask how the government is going to hold up her end of the bargain? It is simple, she gets off takers that will sell these generated power to those that didn’t generate at all and other neighbouring communities that need more power e.g. industrial parks. This simple “produce and get paid” policy can be replicated across several sectors of the economy (e.g. agriculture and automobile) to stimulate production which is the spirit behind money.  This is a positive future expectation that will instill confidence and get people to take action not for the interest of the state but for their person as long as it is properly coordinated and effectively communicated.

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 All stakeholders must realize that money/the Naira is not one of the items with which they can play politics and as such the appointment of the team of experts to maintain and promote the value of the Naira must also not be politicized. The Naira bill is the legal tender of the Nigerian state and not of any or all of the 170 million + Nigerians. Should Nigeria cease to exist, every Naira becomes valueless but the products and services retain their value. The Naira should be engineered to drive productivity to ensure that it continues to command value. A challenging but simple step to attaining this is to aggregate the entire production of the country. Statistics say that almost 70% of Nigerians are unemployed, meaning that only 30% are “productive”. So, if 50 million Nigerians can genuinely invest eight hours a day to harness our existing resources at a meager $2 per hour (if a Nigerian cannot produce $2 a day, then we are in serious trouble), what we get as ROI is $800 million per day which is far greater than the $100 million realized from the sale of 2 million Boe p/day at the luxurious price of $50 per barrel. Now imagine how this translates to elevate the value of the Naira as little or no external variable determines its worth.  Any policy that doesn’t pursue and promote productivity is an enemy of money (the Naira) and functions to demystify its value and power. Policies, programmes, solutions and institutions that encourage a genuinely verifiable and result oriented productivity driven society must be engraved in our socioeconomic and cultural tapestry through the legal system to ensure that every man gets what he is due based on the resources invested in any and every venture come rain or shine. Only then will the required trust on the relative certainty of the future reside in the hearts of the people and give value to whatever it is they call money.

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