Connect with us

Opinion

Social Media, Best Tool for Political Liberation – Yinka Rahman

Published

on

 

The advent of social media has in recent years redefined human communication and public engagements in different ways. Before its advent, in existence were the traditional media; Print, Radio and Television. These traditional media served as major tools for political mobilisation and engagement, such that without them, it was relatively difficult for citizens to access their Nation’s political affairs.

Delving into the import of political communication, one would realize that it is difficult for a Nation to grow if there is no medium of engagement between the Government and the governed due to the fact that communication between the duo has a robust role to play on carrying the citizens along about the political affairs of their country and especially, their political participation.

Consequent upon the above, it is important to note that participation of citizens in political matters will amount to productivity, transparency, accountability and checks and balances.

This was what prompted me to tweet that “to achieve a just and egalitarian society is to achieve a just and egalitarian political system.”

To achieve a just and egalitarian society cum political system, citizens must be allowed to play a participatory role in the governance of their country.
This participation can be achieved when the media is effective and given freewill to operate within the ambit of the law.
This is because, media bridge the gap of communication between the Government and the citizens.

However, as exceptional as the traditional media may seem, one of their limitations is that they can easily be compromised.
Unlike the New Media, the traditional media could be threatened by any incumbent administration so as not to criticise their policies or publish any negative story about it.

Social Media on the other hand has globally bridged the long gap between the Government and its citizens. Social media also promotes citizen journalism.

Even though every medium of communication has its own disadvantages, there are numerous advantages of Social Media in political liberation and participation.

Some of these importance are that; People can now demand for their rights by conducting protests online, they can project the candidate of their choice for others to follow, and of course, the fact that the achievements of Government, be it Local or National can easily be accessed and analysed through social media cannot be overlooked.

The Liberation of every political system lies with the relationship between the government and the citizens which can only be achieved through effective communication and mutual understanding.

Interestingly, Social Media is a right tool for effective communication and at that; it should be treated with utmost importance.

As noted earlier, Social Media has made virtually everybody a journalist. Citizens now have access to platforms to publish socio-political issues as they unfold and also express their pleasure and displeasures about a particular administration and/or its policies.

Alas, as robust as the advantages of social Media are, so are the disadvantages.
Hate speech and fake news are great limitations mitigating against the growth of social media. These two are capable of causing turmoil in a Nation as already experienced in some countries across the globe.
They have also proven to be instrumental to causing an abrupt end or suspension of social media.

Taking a trip down memory lane, virtually all wars that happened in history emanated from misinformation and hate speech. A good example was the civil war that occurred in Libya as a result of hate speech and fake news, the Rwanda Genocide of 1994 and most revently, the EndSars protest of 2020 that was staged across major Southern States of Nigeria and the FCT.

This is why social media users are enjoined to desist from spreading hate speech and the fake news. Instead, their energy should be channeled towards an effective usage of social media for correction of social vices and for the development of their Nation’s political system.

Business

FINTECH 5.0: EVALUATING HOW FIRSTBANK STRENGTHENS COLLABORATION

Published

on

By

 

 

…To drive financial inclusion

 

It was Sir Isaac Newton, in his letter to Robert Hooke in 1675, who wrote the now-famous quote: “If I have seen further (than others), it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”The shoulders of giants Sir Newton referred to has to do with leverage provided by the discoveries and experiences of people who have gone before or walked that same path earlier, that pave the way for and enable other people and a new generation to take things to a totally new dimension.

The truth is, giants whose shoulders provide such leverage to the next generation can be found in various fields and various nations. In Nigeria, for example, such giants exist in various fields and they are known and recognised.

Take the fintech (financial technology) space in Nigeria, where one bank is known to have stood as a giant with very broad shoulders, having capacities that have been built up and accumulated over 127 continuous years. Every year since 2016 (apart from 2017 when it was implementing ideas from 2016, including a Digital Innovation Lab), this well-recognised bank has provided a platform for the most robust engagement of the fintech industry in Nigeria. Tagged Fintech Summit, the annual engagement has continued to help in catalysing the fintech sector to ever-higher levels from year to year.

Held in Lagos the commercial capital of Nigeria and arguably the fintech capital of Africa, given Nigeria’s status as the leading nation in the fintech space in Africa, the annual FirstBank Fintech Summit has attracted an average of a thousand participants, who are mostly fintech owners, workers and enthusiasts, yearly. Last year’s Summit, Fintech Summit 4.0 with the theme

“How Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence will Disrupt Fintech in Nigeria”, however, drew an unprecedented number of participants – over 6,000 from across 52 different countries. It was the first virtual Summit due to the restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and it featured as keynote speaker Silicon Valley-based innovator of international repute, Chinedu Echeruo, who founded HopStop that was later sold to Apple for US$1 billion. Imagine the inspiration, dreams and aspirations young people soak up while listening to speakers with such a profile.

Far from being one-directional – with all the talk flowing from only the speaker to the audience – the yearly Summit is actually a platform for multidimensional engagement involving various stakeholders in the fintech industry – operators, regulators, investors, enthusiasts, fintech journalists and writers, bankers, et cetera.

It offers an unequalled opportunity for networking among fintech and other stakeholders, leading to opportunities for collaboration within the community. For small businesses and start-ups powered by FirstBank’s support, the annual Summit has been a veritable platform for showcasing them. The platform has also served for the announcement of policy initiatives coupled with pronouncements that provide clarifications to policy. This is due to invitations extended to regulators and the important role they are assigned in conversations facilitated during the Summit.

The Summit that preceded last year’s, i.e., the third edition of Fintech Summit 3.0 held in 2019, featured another heavyweight in Nigeria’s fintech industry, Victor Asemota, founder of Swifta Systems & Services, as keynote speaker. The theme “Banking + Tech = Solving Real Problems”, included panel sessions featuring experts with over two hundred combined years of experience in both the financial and technological industries.

They applied their knowledge, expertise and experience to address challenges in the technologically-driven business world, structured in terms of Solving Business Problems; Solving Regulatory, Security and Legal Problems; and Solving Lifestyle Problems. At the end of the Summit, participants must have felt that the Summit delivered on the confidence the Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, Adesola Adeduntan, had expressed when he remarked in his welcome address, “I am optimistic that every organisation represented here will be empowered to provide services with greater speed and solve real societal problems to the advantage of the Nigerian populace through the insights that will be gained from this event.“

Fintech Summit 3.0 had built on the success of the second edition, Fintech Summit 2.0 held in 2018, which had “The Future of Banking – The Role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data” as a theme. Adia Sowho, the Managing Director of Mines in Nigeria, had, as the first keynote speaker, stressed the importance of collaboration between legacy banks and fintechs in the overall good of their shared financial services space. The Deputy Managing Director of FirstBank, Gbenga Shobo, had, in his welcome address, said that FirstBank was committed to finding the right balance in its approach in supporting the budding fintech industry. It is gratifying that the bank has since found that right balance and pushed ahead enthusiastically with the continual annual engagement that is its yearly Fintech Summit.

For those who like to bring up the argument that deposit money banks (DMBs) and fintech are rivals competing in the same space for the same customers and wonder why FirstBank, a leading deposit money bank, would itself be involved in efforts to catalyse the fintech industry, they need to wake up and smell the coffee. FirstBank is continuously evolving and staying on the cutting edge of technology in order to better serve its customers, who are themselves evolving and adapting to newer and more efficient and convenient technologies as they become available.

And FirstBank is on a journey to a future where it is happy, in the spirit of the African tradition of Ubuntu, to take all fintech along with it. In the words of another famous quote, “The sky is too big for two [or many] big birds flying in it to collide.” FirstBank believes there is ample room for all players – deposit money banks, fintech, et cetera – to fulfil their unique roles. Therefore, collaboration, not competition, is FirstBank’s watchword. And FirstBank considers fintech partners in progress in its avowed commitment to driving financial inclusion.

FirstBank’s own evolution and the transition is causing some people to question its continuous classification by the Central Bank as a deposit money bank (with a preponderance of bricks-and-mortar banking operations) rather than a digital bank. And the reasons for their argument cannot be easily waved aside. In 2020, for example, over 85 per cent of the banking transactions that were required by customers of FirstBank were performed on the bank’s self-service channels.

That means customers of the bank only needed the attention of the bank’s staff or branches for just 15 per cent of all the banking transactions they required in 2020. There are now as many as over 16 million customers between FirstBank’s digital channels of online banking (called FirstOnline), mobile banking (christened FirstMobile) and USSD banking (called *894# quick banking).

Between FirstOnline and FirstMobile, a growth of 21 per cent in the user base was experienced in 2020. Customers on both platforms conducted approximately 256 million transactions worth N15.7 trillion in the same year. FirstOnline, as of June 2021, had an impressive 597,466 customers on the service, a 17 per cent growth on the previous year and 578,292 transactions per month, averaging a value of N388 billion per month.

For FirstMobile, besides the impressive gain in numbers, it gained recognition as “Best Mobile Banking App” at the Global Finance Best Digital Bank Awards, for providing excellent self-service through its user-friendly app. FirstMobile had, as of June 2021, 4,596,203 users on the platform, which is a nine per cent growth on the previous year and an average of 27,730,830 transactions every month. While these numbers point to the giant statue of the bank, none of it excites FirstBank as much as Firstmonie, because of its invaluable role in driving financial inclusion at the grassroots level, one of FirstBank’s overriding commitments.

Firstmonie, the agent banking network of FirstBank, currently has over 130,000 agents across the country, making it the largest bank-led agent network anywhere in Africa. As the foremost financial inclusion service in the country, it has achieved over 750 million transactions worth N15 trillion (about US$30 billion) processed from inception to date.

Over 295 million of those transactions with a total value of N6.65 trillion were processed in 2020 alone – the same year COVID-19 caused widespread disruptions across the globe. Firstmonie agency banking scheme has empowered agents across all Local Government Areas in the country, providing employment to thousands of people.

FirstBank through the Firstmonie platform further supports the fintech industry via partnership collaborations with local and international fintechs. All these are geared towards expanding financial inclusion and providing a variety of services to customers of the bank with giant shoulders that customers and fintechs can stand on to see further.

As for Sir Isaac Newton, the giant of a scientist whose famous quote began this piece, if he could read us from the grave, he would feel very proud today to see that celebrated line from his 1675 letter being aptly used to represent the relationship that exists between the broad, energetic and dynamic shoulders of Nigeria’s banking behemoth, FirstBank, and the rapidly emerging beautiful bride of Nigeria’s economic sectors, the fintech industry. This relationship climaxes every year in the annual Fintech Summit and the forthcoming Fintech Summit 5.0 promises to take the relationship to a whole new dimension.

Continue Reading

Opinion

The Yoruba Nation Global Directorate rebuttal to the Yoruba Appraisal Forum

Published

on

By

 

The Yoruba Nation Global Directorate, the Yoruba government in exile, has lambasted the group otherwise known as YAF being the Yoruba Appraisal Forum for visiting some prominent Yoruba Royal fathers to mislead them with their anti-people position in Yoruba struggle.

In a statement issued by the Directorate Director, Princess Adeola Atayero Olamijulo, YAF said like the proverbial ‘agbalagba to nsare l’orere, bi o le nkan, nkankan ni lati maa lee.’

She said Yoruba people needed to observe closely who are their sponsors?

They need to honestly tell the world who are the drummers of these Uromis dancing on Yoruba socio-political waterway?

It will be recalled that few days ago, the YAF paid some Yoruba Obas a courtesy call. The Royal fathers in their response advised against self-determination and asked the agitators to tow the path of peace with the federal government.

Prince Olamijulo said YAF, are like, the name they bear. They appeared to have appraised the Yoruba nation, it perceives as a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder.

She said: Let us examine the major points of their advocacy:

1. that the Yoruba should continue to endure the current Fulani-induced meta-crisis in Nigeria.

2. That advocacy for Yoruba self-determination may lead to war with the rest of Nigeria.

3 That the prevailing clamor for Yoruba self-determination efforts is fueled by selfish interests of some politicians.

4. That Nigeria was the architect of economic success of the South West.

5. They urge the Youths to seek the available gainful employment rather than agitate for autonomy.

6. That YAF needs to answer the question, whose actions are provocative and war laden?

7. Who is misappropriating the power entrusted to them: the government impostors implementing the Fulani national interests instead of the true Nigerian national interests?

8. Who is the aggressor who is the victim? Who is killing, maiming, raping, and scorched-earthing who?

Princess Atayero Olamijulo claimed that the Yoruba are on the receiving end of the atrocities. Yet, YAF is asking us to stay-put, till it is too late to be viable.

She positioned that normally, if faced with danger, humans have the options to fight, flee or succumb.

What is YAF asking the Yoruba nation to do?

Will the Yoruba remain and submit to Fulani supremacist control? or will they take flight and disperse to the sea or the desert, Or turn global waka-abouts and live in virtual nation state, located only in their collective epic memory; while the Fulani occupy and enjoy the land and the valuables therein that Yoruba and their ancestors built up for ages?

Is YAF asking the Yoruba to take the submission option to appease the Fulani and become their slaves or manure to fertilize their usurped land?

YAF apparently is exhibiting the pathological state indicative of the protracted abuse they suffered in Nigeria over time. They now identify with their chronic abuser, a function of Stockholm syndrome. YAF, seems apparently bribed by the preserver of the status quo, who obviously derive immense benefits from the present chaotic state in Nigeria.

Let us appeal to YAF sponsors to stay away from confusing our traditional rulers. They should desist from smearing our royal fathers with their pathological state of mindset.

We should let sanity prevail. Let us draw a lesson from history. The stalwarts in quest for Yoruba freedom should take a cue form history.

We cannot continue to appease the Fulani nationalism aimed at destroying other ‘Nigerians’. Rather, we should resist it. It will boomerang on the Yoruba Survival Thrust if we pursue an appeasement strategy.

Appeasement of the aggressor never succeeds in human history: The Chamberlain 1938 appeasement policy to Adolf Hitler, led to World War II, gory warfare.

Princess Olamijulo recalled that the Native Americans successive appeasement to the invading Europeans led to the demise of the Native American (NA) nations. NA yielded their treasured land to the European settlers, adopted their religion, spoke their language, and way of life to appease the Europeans, yet, to no avail. What did they get in return: annihilation! The Yoruba have no choice, but to fight for self-determination. Any other suggestion will doom our group survival.

We can also draw further lessons from recent history of the other struggles for self-determination in Zimbabwe and South Africa. In Rhodesia, Iain Smith, illegally enacted white minority regime via the ill-fated Unilateral Declaration of Independence- UDI, from Britain, 1965.

The Africans opposed and a series of negotiations with the intransigent racist regime failed.

The Africans, led by Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe, opposed Smith regime via the Patriotic Front insurgency.

When the opposition were gaining diplomatic and military success, to buy time, the illegal regime sought alliance with the traditional ruler, Chief Sikireta Chirau, the cleric pacifist, Bishop Abel Muzorewa and politician, Ndabaningi Sitole Smith renamed the country Zimbabwe Rhodesia, to reflect the alliance. The PF team were smart to refuse and the rest is history. The independent nation of Zimbabwe was born.
Identical situation happened in South Africa.

When the efforts of the African Congress alliance were about to yield fruitful result, the apartheid regime forged unholy alliance with the Zulu and other tribal chiefs, to slow down the apparent progress ANC was making diplomatically and to a lesser extent, militarily via insurgency. Chief Gatsha Buthelezi, lured by conservative Boers, introduced what he called, Ndaba initiative to dialogue between the Africans and the racist regime of South Africa. The ill-conceived ploy failed. The ANC triumphed and Apartheid disbanded.

Princess Olamijulo advised that the Yoruba freedom fighters should not relent their efforts. Victory is near and certain, because, Otito nii leke iro, Truth shall prevail. Lori otito la gbe ijangbara Yoruba le. Awa laa l eke, bi ojuoro ṣe n leke omi. Ase o

Continue Reading

Tech

Redefining Education in The Developing World by Nelson Tosin Ajulo PhD

Published

on

By

Education has been identified as the ultimate route to escape poverty. It is widely held that if you attend school, graduate, and get a lucrative job, your economic status will automatically be boosted or improved. This is still the case in today’s competitive world. However, it is hugely dependent on the nature or type of education you are receiving.

Sadly, the type of education delivered to African students and many other developing nations can not get them out of poverty. This is why we have millions of young graduates out there that are not employable.

The World Bank reports that youths account for more than 60% of all of Africa’s jobless population, and a large chunk of them are taking to crime, internet fraud and other anti-social activities to make ends meet.

According to the Accra-based African Center for Economic Transformation, a policy think tank, almost 50% of current university graduates in Africa do not get jobs.

For the African Development Bank (AfDB), it reports that of Africa’s nearly 420 million youth aged 15-35, one-third are unemployed and discouraged, another third are vulnerably employed, and only one in six is in wage employment.

The crucial challenge here is a disconnection between the education these graduates are getting and what the labour market needs. So what they need to get them out of extreme poverty and get them the much-needed job is quality education.

What is quality education? Quality education is the education you receive that would enable you to compete in the global marketplace. Any education outside of this is irrelevant.

Quality education is not necessarily about attending university for four years and afterward graduating. Even if you leave with a distinction, and your skills are not in demand, you will find it very difficult to get a job.

No apologies. Countless people are used to this type of education that is primarily theoretical. Unfortunately, governments and educational institutions across these developing countries are yet to understand or realise it. They keep pumping funds into this weak education system and expecting a different outcome. This is impossible. As long as there is a mismatch between the education received by students and what is in demand in the global marketplace, this problem will continue to linger. And if not addressed, youth crimes would persist in the fragile society.

Hence, governments and educational institutions must understand this and give youths quality education. Education that would empower them with skills that would get them well-paying jobs. These are digital skills, and they are currently in high demand. Skills like software development, cybersecurity, product design/development and UXUI designer, among others. Today, you do not need to attend a university where you would spend four years plus intermittent industrial actions to become a junior software engineer and earn money.

A platform like Zwart Academy, the edtech arm of the Zwart Talent Foundation, offers quality education to young people between the ages of 15 and 22 by equipping them with IT skills that will quickly get them out of poverty earn them their desired lifestyle.

Zwarttalent does this by training young people within the earlier age bracket in digital skills for six months. Upon completing the intensive and efficient training, they join Zwarttech for a one-year internship to work on projects and gather practical experience. After completion of the internship, they are connected with international IT jobs and start earning. The training comes at no cost. The students only need to commit their time and energy throughout the training and internship.

Importantly, you must have observed that the Zwarttalent approach is quicker, faster and well-planned. For example, it takes less than two years to become a software engineer, and there is no cost implication until the engineer starts working. This means that they can quickly get out of poverty, and the crime rate would significantly and drastically decline.

The developing world is faced with such myriads of challenges. It is also critical that sustainable solutions are deployed to tackle them. Therefore, it is only reasonable to learn the right kind of education to allow young people into poverty. With this, we can create a just, equitable and fair world. The governments and educational institutions must adjust to these realities and support or partner with an edtech like Zwart Academy to offer safety nets for young people.

Ajulo is the Chairman of the Zwart Talent Foundation

 

Continue Reading

Trending News