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Opinion: Leading with Less While Building for Development – Tackling Nigeria’s Infrastructure Conundrum- Oyin  Adeyemi




By Oyin Adeyemi

The theme could not be more apt for the current times as throughout the world, following the war in Ukraine, the news is grim.

Here are some global headlines:

  • Forbes: Global Economy Headed into Recession
  • Reuters: Energy, inflation crises risk pushing big economies into recession, OECD says
  • Fortune: Economic growth could grind to a halt and spark global recession next year, OECD says
  • Risk of Global Recession in 2023 Rises Amid Simultaneous Rate Hikes – The World Bank.


In Nigeria,

  • The Vanguard Newspaper: Nigeria risks 3rd recession in 7yrs, NACCIMA warns FG
  • Sahara Reporters: Nigeria’s Domestic, Foreign Debts Rise to N41trillion Under Buhari, Equal N200,000 Per Nigerian
  • The Guardian: Nigeria broke, can’t fund 2023 capital projects, Ngige cries out
  • Nairametrics: Nigeria’s inflation rate surges to a 17-year high of 19.64% in July 2022

From these headlines, one thing is certain, the government has no choice but to “lead with less.” – Now, How?


As a business leader, political theorist and public commentator, I am always curious about how we can keep orienting and expanding our understanding of what quality/good leadership is all about.  Every society’s strength is largely determined by the calibre of its leadership. Throughout history, successful societies have been those whose leaders have been able to rise to the occasion and calm storms during crises while also advancing the course of prosperity during times of peace. Without leadership, a nation or organisation is like troops without a General, or a ship without a Captain. This is to emphasise the significance of leadership.

Simply put, we know that good leadership recognises that it cannot know everything that needs to be known and, as a result, will seek to expand knowledge as needed, as well as seek diverse perspectives to inform decision-making. Good leadership always demonstrates effective communication and listening skills; prioritises the interests of society over personal agenda; makes difficult decisions and develops long-term plans for the benefit of society as a whole.

Asue Ighodalo, Lami Adeyemi, Danladi Verheijen, Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Dr Derin Awosika & Dr Omotola Johnson

Poor leadership, on the other hand, focuses on individual agenda, is single-minded in decision-making, does not consider different ideas or perspectives, cannot take criticism, is uninformed, and does not plan beyond its tenure.   

 Irrespective of poor leadership, History teaches us that some industries have thrived in a recession, especially those in which the consumer demand is relatively stable. In this category, we have food, consumer staples, healthcare and basic transportation.

Similarly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw tech companies that specialise in online and remote services experience a boom.

So, the good news is that it is not all doom and gloom because with recessions also come the opportunity to think differently and innovatively.


Infrastructure as an Engine for Economic Growth

Investment in transportation, water, buildings, electricity, education and security creates jobs and serves as the backbone of a healthy economy.

Although the World  Bank warned of the risk of a global recession in 2023, as I earlier highlighted, it is an interesting thing to note that some World Bank reports have shown the links between investments in good security, education, electricity, internet, and road infrastructure and economic development using the Horn of Africa and Lake Chad regions as case studies.

Oniru of Iruland, HRM Oba Gbolahan Lawal, Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar & Mr Tunde Folawiyo

While the focus of that research was to show the transition from agriculture to manufacturing and services, I am not suggesting that Nigeria does not need to invest in agriculture.  However, I want to paint a picture of how a region dealing with drought and terrorism – very similar challenges to those in northern Nigeria – could become more prosperous due to infrastructural development.

The World Bank report states that:

  • access to paved roads led workers to move out of low-productivity agricultural endeavours primarily into manufacturing and services in Kenya and Ethiopia. This resulted in a 6% reduction in the workforce employed in agriculture in the Horn of Africa and a 3% reduction in Lake Chad.
  • bundling road investments with access to electricity leads to a much bigger impact. The share of employment in agriculture fell by as much as 20% in the Horn of Africa and 23% in Lake Chad. In this case, workers shift mostly into manufacturing in the Horn of Africa and into the services sector in Lake Chad.


What if we took some of these learnings and adapted them locally?


Tackling Nigeria’s Infrastructure Conundrum

I would like to recommend few ways (some of which are self-explanatory) ‘to lead with less while building for development – to tackle Nigeria’s infrastructure conundrum,

  1. Nigeria must see infrastructure development as a solution and not a cost.
  • Security- a viable system to ensure safety of the people
  • Education- invest in educating the people to understand
  1. Nigeria must learn to preserve and maintain
  2. Nigeria must do away with a recency bias
  3. Nigeria must learn to build a strong and lasting system (Infrastructure & credit system)


  1. Seeing infrastructural development as a solution and not a cost

No doubt infrastructure development is expensive and the government has scarce resources, nonetheless, the multiplier effect is enormous. Irrespective, it is pertinent for good leadership that a government seeks to guarantee that security of its people and empower its citizens with knowledge through an adequate education system for the general growth and development of the nation.  This also impacts diverse areas of the economy. For instance, where there is adequate security and education in the agricultural sector, the quality and quantity of agricultural produce shall increase. As such, with the impact of sufficient infrastructural developments such as good roads and rail networks, farmers will largely increase their access to bigger regional markets and lead to reduced losses from perishable goods. The increased supply will also lead to price reductions for goods. This is one way to tackle food inflation.

Infrastructure connects workers to their jobs. Good infrastructure means that employees can get to and from work quicker and safer. The less time people spend in traffic, the more productive they will be. In 2021, Expert Market UK released a list of The World’s Most Productive Countries in 2020 relying on information from the OECD and World Bank dat. This work outs which countries had the most effective financial return while spending the least amount of time in the office. The cities were ranked for infrastructure, stability, culture and environment, healthcare, and education.

Luxembourg, the smallest country on the list “with almost double the productivity score than second-placed Ireland, this tiny nation paved the way in 2020 in terms of productivity thanks to its 40-hour working week, booming financial sector, minimum of 5 weeks paid annual leave, and prohibited employment on Sundays,” said Expert Market. The other countries in the top ten were; Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Iceland and Sweden. In 2022, Luxembourg, Ireland, Norway and Switzerland still made the top 10 – with Luxembourg retaining the number one position according to the World Population Review.

Interestingly, some cities from these countries were also ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global Liveability Index 2022 among the 10 best cities to live in around the world.   Vienna, Austria (1st); Copenhagen, Denmark (2nd); Zürich, Switzerland (3rd); Geneva, Switzerland (6th); Frankfurt, Germany (7th); and Amsterdam, Netherlands (9th).

  1. Preserving and maintaining

Over the last two weeks, the funeral ceremony of the late Queen Elizabeth  II (the Second) dominated the news. Whether or not you are interested in the British monarchy, you were inundated with the news and for the United Kingdom, it was yet another opportunity to put on display one of the country’s most marketable assets, her history and culture. This was only possible because the United Kingdom has preserved its history through documentation and maintenance of historical sites and monuments.

St James’s Palace in London, where King Charles III (the Third) was officially proclaimed King, and which a commentator described as the less popular of the palaces could very well become a tourist attraction. A story published in a UK Metro report published on 18 September states: “According to the 2019-20 annual report, a record 3,285,000 people visited the official residences, generating approximately £49,859,000.”

  1. Doing away with a recency bias

Do you know a restaurant that was once the toast of the neighbourhood until another was opened on the opposite side of the street?

We love new things but in times when we need to “lead with less,” we must do away with the recency bias. Rather than demolishing a building and rebuilding it from scratch, how about upgrading it? According to a 2017, Business Insider article, one of the world’s richest men, Warren Buffet, lives in the same house he bought in 1958. Doing away with a recency bias will help us preserve and maintain

  1. Building to last

To be able to preserve and maintain, we must also build to last. It requires Nigeria, from the outset, to invest in infrastructure that will outlive generations. There are too many sore stories of collapsed buildings, old and new. Clearing the rubble and compensating the loved ones of those who die in collapsed buildings is costly. Refurbishing roads after the rainy season also translates to economic costs. In the long run, it will be cheaper to invest in quality infrastructure.

Also, we must build a strong and lasting credit system, which gives people the hope for growth and in turn development, as more people will be empowered by the credit system to make good and lasting investments.

And in closing,  I say: “Leading with Less While Building for Development” is inevitable in today’s increasingly challenging world that is affected by poverty, climate change, war and numerous factors beyond our control. It is a leadership imperative that is binding on all of us.

Oyin Adeyemi -Chairperson/ Group Managing Director, Still Earth Holdings delivered this paper at the Dr Lateef Adegbite Memorial Series on Leadership in Lagos

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Festus Keyamo, Others Condemn Bayo Onanuga for Toxic Anti-Igbo Slur




Spokesperson of the Bola Tinubu presidential campaign council, Festus Keyamo has knocked Bayo Onanuga for making vile remarks against Nigerians of Igbo descent.

Mr Keyamo dissociated himself from Mr Onanuga’s brash comments threatening Igbos against interfering in the politics of Lagos, while emphasizing that the commercial hub, which has long been home to people of various ethnicities, was “not No Man’s Land,” but rather “Yoruba Land.”

“No one should ever rile a whole tribe & this applies to all sides – North/South/East/West in Nigeria’s politics,” the lawyer tweeted to school Mr Onanuga to be respectful of other ethnic groups.

Popular political pundit Kayode Ogundamisi, in a similar manner, excoriated the president-elect’s aide for stooping low to make the toxic anti-Igbo comment that could further fan the embers of ethnic strife already bedevilling the nation and push it to the verge of a civil war.

“Egbon this tweet is beneath you o! Considering you may also likely be holding a position in the incoming government of BAT,” Mr Ogundamisi wrote on Twitter. “When the other side of your political divide are going low, you shouldn’t be going lower. O wrong o,” he said to correct Mr Onanuga.

On Saturday evening, Mr Onanuga tweeted: “Let 2023 be the last time of Igbo interference in Lagos politics. Let there be no repeat in 2027. Lagos is like Anambra, Imo, any Nigerian state. It is not No Man’s Land, not Federal Capital Territory. It is Yoruba land. Mind your business.”

Mr Onanuga’s bigoted tweet and the brazenness to pin it to his profile have renewed worries among Nigerians who believe the president-elect, an advocate of national coherence after his election victory last month,  should not be surrounded by persons who are intolerant of other ethnic groups.

Source: Peoples Gazette

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Guber Polls: INEC Declares Sanwo-Olu, Makinde, Abiodun, AbdulRazaq, Buni, Others Winners




The Independent National Electoral Commission on Sunday declared Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Muhammadu Yahaya (Gombe), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe) and AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara) the winners of Saturday’s governorship election.

Also, the Peoples Democratic Party candidate in Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno; Dr Dikko Radda of the Katsina State All Progressives Congress and his counterpart in Jigawa State, Namadi Dammodi, emerged as the governors-elect.

The APC candidate in the Sokoto State governorship election, Ahmad Sokoto, similarly emerged as the governor-elect in the state, while Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum was set for victory having won the 22 local government areas declared so far in the state on Sunday.

There were also strong indications that the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, would be re-elected as he emerged victorious in 14 out of the 19 LGAs results declared as of 10.21 pm on Sunday, while his closest rival, Sadique Abubakar of the APC won five local government areas.

Similarly, the APC candidate in Benue, Rev Fr. Hyacinth Alia, is currently leading his opponents in the results so far declared by the electoral commission.

Makinde of the PDP was declared the winner of the governorship poll in Oyo State after scoring 563,756 votes to beat his closest rival, Teslim Folarin of the All Progressive Congress scored 256,685 votes.

Adebayo Adelabu of the Accord Party scored 38,357 votes. Makinde, in an interview with newsmen, shortly after he won re-election said he was overwhelmed by the show of love showered on him by the people of the state.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, said the governor was joined by his wife, Tamunominimin and flanked by family members, friends and associates while celebrating the victory at his residence located in the Ikolaba area of Ibadan.

He thanked the good people of the state for the the confidence reposed in his administration and his ability to lead them.

Makinde speaks Makinde said, “The incoming administration which is tagged Omituntun 2.0, is a film that will be a lot better, sweeter and more effective when compared to Omituntun 1.0.

“Right now, I am just overwhelmed. I want to thank the good people of the state for the confidence they have reposed in this administration and my ability to lead them.’’

Governor Abiodun secured a second term in office after polling 276,298 votes to defeat his PDP opponent, Oladipupo Adebutu, who scored 262,383 votes and 12 other candidates.

The returning officer of the governorship election in Ogun State, Prof. Kayode Adebowale declared Abiodun at the collation centre of the commission in the state.

According to him, the total number of registered voters 2,688,305, while accredited voters were 666,406.

Adebowale said a total of 645,133 votes were valid while 18,835 votes were rejected out of the 663,968 total votes cast.

Sanwo-Olu was re-elected as he has polled the highest number of votes in the governorship election held on Saturday. The results were announced on Sunday at INEC’s collation centre in Yaba, Lagos.

The governor  was declared winner with 762,134 votes while his closest rival, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party, polled 312,329 votes. The candidate of the PDP, Olajide Adediran, came third with 62,449 votes.

The Punch

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Lagos Thugs Attack Abule-Ado Residents, Many Injured, Vehicles, Shops Destroyed




Pandemonium broke out, yesterday, at Omonile, Abule-Ado community in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State, after thugs launched an attack on residents of the area, leaving many of them injured.

Some shops were destroyed while windscreens of cars parked on the long stretch of the area were shattered.

Vanguard gathered that the invasion of thugs was a spillover of the violence that characterised the governorship and state House of Assembly elections in the state on Saturday.

A resident, who gave his name simply as Agwu, said: “During the election on Saturday, thugs invaded some polling units to snatch ballot boxes. They were chased by another group of thugs. Those who snatched the ballot boxes ran into some houses from where they escaped. The second group of thugs destroyed the houses where the ballot box snatchers ran into, in anger and frustration.

“This morning (yesterday), we heard gunshots from the Omonile end of Abule-Ado. Armed thugs numbering over 50, invaded the community. They shot on sight anything they saw and destroyed all the vehicles parked on the road.

“They accused us of being perpetrators of the previous day’s attack and for daring to chase them when they snatched the ballot boxes. We had no choice but to come out to face them. Some of us were shot in the process.”

A video which went viral on social media, showed the residents, both males and females, holding sticks and pestles to defend themselves.
Another audio of an unidentified man, alerting Nigerians on the invasion of the community was sent within and outside Lagos.

The audio voice which was in Igbo dialect frantically called on security agents to come to the aid of residents of the area.

According to the audio recording, “Please, we need help at Omonile, in Abule-Ado, behind Trade Fair. The Yoruba thugs are shooting Igbos here. Please reach out to Dr Patrick Ifeanyin, and call the Police, and Army. Those shot have been rushed to the hospital.”
Teams of policemen and military personnel were reportedly drafted to contain the situation.

A spokesman for Lagos State Police Command, Benjamin Hundenyi, said two persons have been arrested, adding that normalcy had been restored.

He explained, “Intra-community fight broke out in the area earlier this morning resulting in the destruction of property. Owing to the timely arrival of the police, no life was lost and no property was razed as widely claimed.

“Two persons have been arrested and an investigation has commenced into the matter. Meanwhile, police officers remain on the ground to prevent further breakdown of law and order.”


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