Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s first debate in the US presidential election set a bad example for my children – let alone Nigerian democracy.
If nothing else, the debate, described as “a national humiliation” and “an hour and a half of insults” proved that we Naija do not have the monopoly on politicians squabbling like children when they should be engaging with the issues that matter most to the people they serve.
But the American presidential race this week provided Nigeria with a very important lesson – transparency builds trust.
The New York Times this week obtained Donald Trump’s tax returns, revealing that a President whose reputation is built on his image as a billionaire businessmen has debts totalling $421m.
Many of these debts are due within four years, making me chuckle at the incredible idea of bailiffs knocking on the door of the White House!
The papers also reveal that Trump has avoided paying tax in 10 of the last 15 years, faces a tax bill of at least $72.9m and even spent $70,000 on his hair!
This causes nothing but damage to his carefully crafted image. Damage which could have been avoided if he had willingly released this information in a carefully controlled way.
In contrast, his opponent Joe Biden has this week voluntarily released 22 years of his tax returns, stating “the American people deserve transparency from their leaders”.
It is far too early to say what impact this will have on the overall election, but a snap poll from CNN showed that 60% of those asked said Biden won the debate, compared to just 28% who said Trump.
Why? Because trust matters. And it is here that Nigerian politicians can learn from America. Nigerians expect, and deserve a similar level of transparency.
As Governor Nasir El-Rufai last week acknowledged, most Nigerians think that politicians are “thieves”. 72% of us believe “most politicians are corrupt”.
Nigerians think that politicians all have something to hide, which is why I am urging them to prove that they don’t by following Joe Biden’s lead and publishing their tax returns.
At the digital democracy campaign we have made it easy for them. We have created a free app called Rate Your Leader which allows them to make information like this available to their electors at the touch of the button.
This way the people who elect them can see for themselves that their bank accounts are not full of kickbacks, backhanders, bribes and slush funds.
They are not part of some elite, untouchable political class. They are their neighbours, driven only by pubic services and a passion for their community. Believe me, sunlight is always the best disinfectant
Rate Your Leader also puts electors in direct contact with the elected, allowing both politicians and voters to contact each other person-to-person, helping both parties understand each other better and build real relationships based on trust.
Biden is not the only role model for Nigerian politicians I’ve been thinking about this week. Closer to home, there’s also Super Eagles soccer player William Troost Ekong.
Troost Ekong this week moved to the English side Watford. As he did, he used his social media to talk about his connections to the club, having not only gone to school nearby but watched the team play as a fan alongside his father-in-law, a lifelong Hornets fan – including a game against Liverpool where Odion Ighalo, another Nigerian hero, scored.
His posts were also positively commented on by other Watford players who have played alongside him at other clubs.
After less than a day at the club Troost Ekong, a Nigerian with a Dutch mother who moved to Watford from Italy having previously played in Turkey and Norway made the fans feel like he was one of them. Some even composed him a chant – “Troost Ekong – he’s one of our own”, which in Britain means “part of the family”.
That is the power of social media when used correctly, a power our politicians need to make maximum use of to combat their negative image and show us not only that they are worthy of our affection and trust, but people whose opinion we value feel the same way too.
Transparency doesn’t just mean showing you have nothing to hide. It means showing what you have to offer.
Joel Popoola is a Nigerian tech entrepreneur, digital democracy campaigner and is creators of the free Rate Your Leader app.
Food for Living: The Principle of Giving and Receiving
By Henry Ukazu
Greetings Destiny Friends,
We are familiar with the saying; givers never lack, and the giver’s hand is always on top. Isn’t it true that you can’t spray fragrance on somebody without leaving a trace on your palm? Just like succeeding in life follows laid down principles, receiving in life also follows principles. In law, a Latin maxim, says, ‘you can’t give what you don’t have”. This is a fact of life, if you don’t have love, you can’t give love, if you don’t money, you’ll be limited in what you can give, if you don’t have empathy, you can’t feel the pain of someone, if you don’t have knowledge, understanding and wisdom, you can’t share, teach and create impact.
The same principle is literally applicable in receiving. There’s a direct relationship and correlation between giving and receiving. Before you receive you must have given in one way or the other. When you give, you are opening doors of blessing to come your way. However, you will have to understand the applicable principles and dynamics that are associated with giving, and how you can receive gladly. For instance, you can’t give with the intent of receiving, no, if you want to give, you must give with no expectation of receiving. You have to give because you know it is the right thing to do.
If you want to attract blessings from God, be kind to those who do not deserve your kindness, in fact, give to people who can’t pay you back. Be informed, if it is done without love, it makes no sense and gives no value, neither does it add value and as such doesn’t attract blessings. Anything that is of value only multiplies when it is freely given and received with gratitude.
You can scale up your giving habit by giving to even your enemies, this might sound foolish and difficult, but then, that’s how you attract uncommon blessings. When you do this, God will see that you are mature enough to receive wealth and power!
Every relationship takes the form of give and take because giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. The law of giving and receiving is simple: If you want love, learn to give love; if you want attention and appreciation, learn to give attention and appreciation; if you want material affluence, help others to become materially affluent. If you want to be blessed with all the good things in life, learn to silently bless everyone with all the good things in life. The more you give, the more you will receive. In your willingness to give that which you seek, you will keep the abundance of the universe circulating in your life.
Giving takes different shapes and forms. When you give your tithe cheerfully, you receive bountifully. When you work hard and smart, you’ll receive a consummate reward. While many people think giving entails only money, they fail to understand that you can give your time, words, actions, touch and services. Sometimes, people are not concerned about your money; at that moment, their greatest concern might be your time, this is because money can be limited. For instance, money can’t buy fulfillment, and money can’t buy happiness.
While some people may think money gives happiness, there has been testimony of great people who have money and not happy. For instance, a successful career lady who has strong family values and orientation might be happy because she can comfortably take care of her needs, but if asked if she’s fulfilled in life, she might say no, because she’s not yet married. There have been stories of my many great men and women who have money in life, but they are not happy. There are stories of couples who have money but are not happily married. If you take a cursory look of all these examples, one thing is lacking and that is fulfillment.
There was a story by Billionaire’ Femi Otedola in a telephone interview, was asked by the radio presenter, “Sir what can you remember made you a happy man in life?”
Femi said: “I have gone through four stages of happiness in life and finally I understood the meaning of true happiness. The first stage was to accumulate wealth and means. But at this stage, I did not get the happiness I wanted. Then came the second stage of collecting valuables and items. But I realized that the effect of this thing is also temporary and the luster of valuable things does not last long.
Then came the third stage of getting big projects. That was when I was holding 95% of diesel supply in Nigeria and Africa. I was also the largest vessel owner in Africa and Asia. But even here I did not get the happiness I had imagined. The fourth stage was the time a friend of mine asked me to buy a wheelchair for some disabled children. Just about 200 kids.
At the friend’s request, I immediately bought the wheelchairs. But the friend insisted that I go with him and hand over the wheelchairs to the children. I got ready and went with him.
There I gave these wheelchairs to these children with my own hands. I saw the strange glow of happiness on the faces of these children. I saw them all sitting on the wheelchairs, moving around, and having fun.
It was as if they had arrived at a picnic spot where they are sharing a jackpot winning.
I felt real joy inside me. When I decided to leave one of the kids grabbed my legs. I tried to free my legs gently, but the child stared at my face and held my legs tightly.
I bent down and asked the child: Do you need something else? The answer this child gave me not only made me happy but also changed my attitude to life completely.
The child said: “I want to remember your face so that when I meet you in heaven, I will be able to recognize you and thank you once again.
To get what you don’t have, you have to do what haven’t you done. The universal law of gravity teaches us the incontrovertible principle of life that whatever goes up must come down. To cause change and progress in your life, certain principles if applied well can catapult you to the next stage in life and one of them is the principle of giving.
Giving is a powerful catalyst for spiritual and financial advancement. It should be noted, the very act of giving tantamount to the very act of receiving. For instance, human beings breathe in oxygen and bring out carbon dioxide, while plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. So, when you give, you put smiles on somebody’s face, heart, and life while attracting multiplication of blessings from the universe which comes in ways and manners you can’t explain.
The reason why some of us don’t get the blessings of giving is that we don’t give with love; we don’t give with the right cause and mindset. For example, try giving to your parents, the less privileged, a “widow” without a helper, or someone in need, and see the boomerang effect it will have on you.
When you give, it doesn’t mean you have it all together, it simply means, you know what it is for one not to have, you have the heart of giving, and as the saying goes, it is not the person that has that gives, but it is good people that give. It is not what you give that matters, but the heart in giving. That’s why it’s not advisable to reject any “gift” someone gives cheerfully.
Today, I charge you to give with love and allow the universe to visit you at the appointed time with your corresponding blessings. If I may ask, what are you willing to give in 2021?
Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a mindset coach and transformational coach. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success and President of gloemi.com. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
Gunmen Kidnap former Bauchi Lawmaker Ningi
Some gunmen on Thursday night kidnapped a former member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Abdulmumuni Ningi.
The Bauchi State Police Command confirmed the kidnap of the former lawmaker, who represented Ningi Constituency in the last Assembly.
The Bauchi Police Public Relations Officer, Ahmed Wakil, told our correspondent on the telephone Friday morning that the victim was kidnapped within Bauchi metropolis.
Wakil said, “Yes, it is true. A former member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly who represented Ningi Constituency was kidnapped on Thursday at about 8pm within Bauchi metropolis.
“According to the information we received, he was trailed by his abductors who were four in number in a gold coloured car. They trailed him to his house around the BSADP (Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme) area at Isa Yuguda Guest House within the metropolis.”
He said that the gunmen seized their victim and drove away with him in the car they brought.
He said, “As of this morning (Friday), they have not called yet. Our intelligence men are working hard to get to the root of the situation and rescue him safely.”
The Command’s spokesman called on residents to be more security conscious, and take note of vehicles and motorcycles that may be trailing them.
FirstBank Begins Year with Innovative, Convenient Virtual Payment Card
First of Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider has launched the Virtual Payment card, a Naira denominated debit card and digital representation of the plastic debit card. The card is designed to be linked to either a customer’s operative account or wallet account.
The FirstBank Virtual Payment Card is a suitable alternative to the use of cash and cheques, with its wide-range features which include the ability of cardholders to protect his/her card using the block and unblock capabilities; PIN Reset; Change PIN as well as view statement at one’s convenience. It also enables diaspora customers to spend from his/her FirstBank account within the spend limit advised by the bank without the need for a physical card.
The FirstBank Virtual Payment Card is a safe, convenient, and easy way of making e-commerce payments amongst other functionalities.
The Virtual Payment Card can be created via the Bank’s leading digital channels; FirstMobile or Firstmonie Wallet applications. Customers can download the card, activate the card and consummate transactions all at once from the comfort of their homes/offices. No branch visit is required. Customers are advised to update their mobile application to the latest version, then select Card Services on the FirstMobile App and My Virtual Card application to create a Virtual Card at the cost of N215 (VAT Inclusive).
Speaking on the launch, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said ‘the launch of our Virtual Payment Card is yet another secure and seamless way we promote electronic banking, whilst enabling customers to carry-out their transactions on the web”
“The Virtual Payment Card is also designed to guard against the spread of the COVID-19 as it does not require physical interaction between the customer and FirstBank Branches. We enjoin our customers to download the application and stay ahead in modern banking,” he concluded.
Similarly, FirstBank recently launched the FAST Track ATM, the next generation ATM and first of its kind in Africa, designed to promote financial activities on the ATM without any form of physical interaction with the machine.
For more information on the Virtual Payment Card, kindly click here for the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).