100 SMEs YOU SHOULD KNOW
E-BUSINESS IN NIGERIA: WHAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS?
E-BUSINESS & THE GROWTH OF YOUR ENTERPRISE TWO PERSPECTIVES THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR VIEW OF STARTUPS NIGERIA RECORDS N6.85 TRILLION ETRANSFERS IN NINE MONTHS
HOW ICT IS REVOLUTIONIZING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BE A PART OF IT
The success seen in some of the thriving online businesses in Nigeria today had its roots way back when cybercafés first began springing up on streets and corners in Nigeria. Electronic mail (email) became a popular means of communicating via long distances, due to the fact that messages could be sent and received in seconds, and the
Nigeria, mobile money became an alternative channel replicated in Nigeria - replicating successes in East Africa.
emergence of GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) technology in Nigeria created new opportunities. Over time, it became possible for mobile phone subscribers to check emails on their devices - provided that their cell phones had features that enabled internet access. Innovation and competition among manufacturers of mobile phones and computers ensured constant delivery of new and dynamic products in the marketplace. Though there were no companies in the business of phone or computer manufacture in Nigeria to partake in the competition that was brewing in the international IT market, telecommunication service providers in Nigeria had their own battle for the soul of the consumer with a series of campaigns designed to outdo one another. The battle continues. These ‘telcos’ extended their services to include internet data provision. The factors responsible for the present growth and penetration of e-businesses include the landing of more fibre optic cables, an increase in the number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), cheaper modems and data services, the cashless policy of the CBN, cheaper and better smartphones, and more debit cards in the hands of people.
with ideas to enable ease-of-use for many of the systems. Despite the evident potentials for e-business in Nigeria, industry watchers are of the opinion that present challenges in the system may hinder its actual growth capacity. Some of these challenges are borne from the infrastructural deficits in Nigeria, while others are sector-bound. Common infrastructural challenges include poor supply of electricity, low broadband internet penetration, unemployment, unsteady income, and a poor road network. Sector challenges include inadequate education on e-business operations, network security, network downtime, proximity to branch, etc.
Stakeholders in the e-payment industry are boosting security, opening more channels, creating partnerships, and experimenting
Despite these hurdles, there are others who are quite optimistic about the success of e-business based on its antecedents. Recently, the Director of Banking and the Payment System Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Dipo Fatokun, noted that mobile payment in Nigeria was gaining a lot of ground and that the policy is being taken beyond cash-in-cash-out remittances and top up. Fatokun hinted at plans to resolve some of the infrastructural challenges that have impeded the growth of the cashless economy and e-business operations:
Over the years, particularly within the last decade, many businesses built websites which basically served as brand promotional tools. In recent times, however, some companies have discovered that they can increase their customer base and raise revenue by integrating payment gateways into their websites, which has had the effect of increasing their bottom-line. As Nigerians embraced the internet, online business transactions blossomed.
“There is an ongoing agreement between the CBN and mobile network operators to ensure that there is sustainable and hitch-free transaction of mobile payments within the economy. We in Central Bank, on the issue of connectivity, are at the last stage of an MOU signing with Nigerian Communication Satellite (NICOMSAT) such that they would provide Wi-Fi technology at various locations in Nigeria so that connectivity would be made easier,” he explained.
Electronic business (or e-Business), which is the application of information and communication technologies in support of all the activities of business, involves e-commerce, mobile money, cashless transactions, payment gateways, Point of Sale (PoS), automated teller machine (ATM) transactions, and more.
Although there seems to be no specific plan to ensure an adequate supply of electricity for successful cashless transactions and e-business operations; the recent unbundling and transference of some Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) firms to private holders is anticipated to reduce and solve some of the power problems in the country.
These developments in the business environment made it easier to visit a website, select products, place orders, and pay online or on delivery. Transactions also became possible via POS machines and ATMs. Coupled with the growth of mobile phone subscription in
Editor-in-Chief Connect Nigeria firstname.lastname@example.org
On the wall behind the desk of my high school basketball coach and physical education teacher, Mr. Adewunmi, hung a quote by Martin Luther King which read: Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. The internet was in its infancy when Martin Luther King, Jr. made that statement. And quite possibly, not even MLK would’ve been able to envision how far man would go to satisfy that simple admonition made decades ago. That quote is, indeed, timeless - etched in my memory almost 20 years after I first encountered it. How does this little quote bear on this magazine? Well, in many ways. You see, it’s never easy producing a magazine. I hail those who do this weekly without missing a single edition. There is so much to contend with, especially if the problematic factors involved are non-human actors (or demons as some would love to think). Poor power supply, erratic internet access, and grueling hours spent in traffic commuting to and from work - or as one tries to satisfy customers - have rendered many businesses helpless. Bazinga!! The truth is that those same demons are controlled/managed by humans, so at least we have someone to blame at the end of the day. Here’s a ray of hope in spite of those demons we daily battle; Nigerians are, arguably, the most resilient people on the face of the earth. There’s something about us that is reminiscent of the proverbial silverback ape. And here’s a fitting description of the silverback ape: It does not wear
a crown or sit on a throne of gold, but those who have witnessed its power hail it nonetheless. Developed nations often marvel at the mental tenacity Nigerians possess, despite the enormous social and economic problems that have come to typify the motherland. Our spirits ought to be broken. Yet, despite it all, we forge on. While physical prowess has its place, it does not compare to mental dexterity. We live in an age of information – an age where a 13 year old boy with nothing but a few coins (I understand this has become an extinct object to be fossilized for future generations) can change the order of life merely with a machine smaller and, perhaps, lighter than the suitcases our fathers used some decades ago. The new age is not defined by university degrees or whether one is born a blue blood. Information is power; Information is light. It takes a curious mind, a knowing eye, and a resilient spirit to take advantage of this natural asset made free. Generations before us did not enjoy the luxury of Wikipedia or seamless video conferencing across different continents in real time. The Dangotes and Adenugas of this era relied on snail mail for much of their lives and achieved success before electronic mail was even conceptualized. In Exodus 4:2 of the Holy Bible, Jehovah asked his prophet, Moses, What do you have in your hand? Today, we have in our possession several tools that are capable of changing our story. The way we use them is what makes the difference. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. The tool is in your hands.
How ICT Is Revolutionizing the Business Environment & What You Need to Know
Nigerians are, arguably, the most resilient people on the face
SPECIAL REPORT to Be A Part of It
Nigerians are, arguably, the most resilient people on the face of the earth presently. There’s something about us that is reminiscent of the proverbial silverback ape.
FEATURE: E-BUSINESS IN NIGERIA: WHAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS? Nigerians are, arguably, the most resilient people on the face of the earth presently. There’s something about us that is reminiscent
NIGERIA RECORDS of the earth presently. There’s something about us that is reminiscent of the proverbial silverback ape.
FEATURE: TWO PERSPECTIVES THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR VIEW OF START-UPS Whether you already own a startup or plan to set up one soon, there’s a good chance you are aware that over seventy percent of businesses do not survive beyond the first two years.
INTERVIEW ICT HAS TRANSFORMED THE BEAUTIFICATION BUSINESS
LETTER FROM THE
I am pleased that you have this magazine in your hands. This edition of the magazine is dedicated to eBusiness and the growth of your enterprise- which was the theme of the first ever eBusiness fair in Nigeria, recently put together by Connectnigeria.com This publication is loaded with information relevant to the business industry, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, and what you need to know to be part of the eBusiness phenomenon. As you probably know, Connectnigeria.com was established to make information easy to find and easy to use in Nigeria. One very important aspect of what we do, other than making your business easy to find, is that we aim to encourage the growth and development of SMEs by showing them the endless possibilities that can come as a result of using technology to grow their enterprise. In this edition, youâ€™ll find reports and pictures from our recent e-business fair held in Lagos. You can relive the experience here in these pages and online at www. connectnigeria.com/bizfair. While youâ€™re there, be sure to sign up for the 2014 edition, which promises to be even much more exciting. Remember, one of our missions at Connectnigeria.com is to make your business information easy for people and corporate entities to find. There is a section on Connectnigeria.com where you can upload information about your business in order to leverage your marketing efforts. Please make use of this. Finally, I would like to thank the sponsors that helped make the first ever eBusiness fair in Nigeria possible including but not limited to; Stanbic IBTC Bank, First Bank, First Monie, Diamond Bank, Leatherworld, and Etranzact. A special thank you goes to the Central Bank of Nigeria and the wonderful team at Connect Nigeria. This is just the beginning.
Mr. Emeka Okafor Managing Director Connect Nigeria
EDITORIAL TEAM EDITORIAL ADVISER Mr. Emeka Okafor
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kunle Binuyo
EDITOR Joy Ehonwa
RESEARCHER David Stephen
INTERN Ada Arinze
ART DIRECTOR Rayz Ong
MARKETING EXECUTIVE Babajide Adegbite Igwedinma Ogechukwu Egeonu Oluchi Glory Aniezue Chioma Olajumoke Babalola
CONTRIBUTORS Mr. Ejike Nnamno, Emeka Okafor Michael Abimboye Ayo Dawodu Tito Philips, Jnr.
E-BUSINESS IN NIGERIA
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS? Most business owners and CEOs will agree that the role of the personal assistant (PA) or executive assistant (EA) is vital to any business. According to the organisers of the Personal and Executive Assistants Summit in Nigeria, studies have shown that PAs contribute as much as 40 percent to their bossâ€™s productivity and about 68 percent to overall executive effectiveness. This is hardly surprising, considering that these assistants are responsible for time and daily management, scheduling of meetings, correspondence, and also a variety of lifemanagement tasks which might include running errands, purchasing airline tickets, reserving hotel rooms and rental cars, as well as finance-related responsibilities such as buying/selling stocks and paying bills. Some PAs have even been known to undertake personal tasks for their employers, such as shopping, meal-planning, remembering/ purchasing gifts for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, and even helping to meet fitness goals via exercise monitoring and motivation. Now, imagine having access to such a service as a business owner or chief executive, without having to recruit a personal assistant or executive assistant. You do not even have to meet them face to face sine services can be delivered and payment made electronically. Meet the new e-business player: the Virtual Assistant. Virtual assistants are independent entrepreneurs who work remotely and rely on technology to deliver services to clients. The virtual assistant industry consists of individuals, as well as companies, who work remotely as independent professionals providing a wide range of products and services to businesses.
Common modes of communication and data delivery include internet-based instant messaging, e-mail, phone-call conferences, fax machines, and, more recently, Blackberry Messenger, Skype and Google Voice. The way businesses operate is changing. E-business has seen more businesses moving into an internet-based atmosphere and Nigeria may soon be ready to embrace the emergence of virtual assistants. Here are a few important things to note about the business of virtual assistants:
STARTING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS Building a website is absolutely essential for a viable VA business, but it does not guarantee that clients will come knocking on your door. Be aware that you need a good marketing strategy in addition to your website, phone, PC, and Internet connection.
Don’t be carried away by the fact that you are saving money which would have been spent on transport fare. Know your budgetary constraints – projected expenses, expected income and how long you can “float” until your business is running successfully.
There are many levels and types of work you could choose to target as a virtual assistant. Define your niche and outline exactly what type of services you want to offer. This includes a critical analysis of your professional background to ensure that you have the requisite skills and experience.
Be sure to register your business name or company properly, and conclude all legal and financial aspects of start-up before securing your first client.
Do a market analysis to determine the demand for the services your niche is based on and focus on how you’ll apply your findings to your business.
HIRING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT A virtual assitant who has several years of experience earned in the “real” (non-virtual) business world will add more value than one whose first job in this service industry is as a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants come from a variety of business backgrounds. Be sure that the virtual assistant service you choose has a VA who is knowledgeable in your own field. Business owners who do not have sufficient office space to seat employees usually benefit from employing staff who work remotely. Swapping a PA for a VA means one less cubicle/desk. Whereas a regular PAmust be paid at the end of the month regardless of whether there was much work to be done, or little, using a virtual assistant service provides the option of hiring part-time. Not many business owners
can afford to keep an assistant or staff round the clock. However, this requires careful budgeting and negotiation, as costs of a part-time service can end up exceeding the amount it would have cost to hire a fulltime employee. If you’re just venturing into business, you can pay per project whenever you need help. Hiring a virtual assistant will save you money on employee’s equipment, taxes, training, healthcare and insurance – things that virtual assistants pay for on their own. it is estimated that there are as few as 5,000 10,000 or as many as 25,000 virtual assistants worldwide. Since the start-up costs are minimal and the profit potential is good, business trends forecast an increase in service demands. The options are diverse and abundant. Will Nigerian entrepreneurs be part of this revolution?
2 PERSPECTIVES THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR VIEW OF START-UPS If you own a business start-up or plan to set up one soon, there is a good chance you have come across this statement: “Over 70 percent of businesses do not survive the first two years.” Start-ups are challenging, and if we are focusing on the wrong things or applying mundane strategies, we are just shooting ourselves in the leg, thus crippling the whole thing even before the first step at progress is ever made. So how do we focus on the right things? That question has so many valid answers and I have yet to discover them all. However, I have a few and would like to share one that will help you understand what to maniacally focus on in your start-up sojourn. Here is it: See your start-up operations as one of these two orientations majorly, transactionoriented or engagement-oriented.
TRANSACTION-ORIENTED Start-ups that would fall into this category would want to worry about quickly sealing deals as it were, because that’s what actually brings in the revenue. Money doesn’t come from customers spending time interacting on your platform, money comes from them actually paying, so you would want to speed up processes that lead to paying and forsake any technology that slows that, no matter how “engaging” it may be . A simple example of a transaction-oriented operation is a hotel booking service. This is highly transactional; no time to beat around. I simply need to get somewhere nice and comfy to lay my head and perhaps have a few meetings. But then, a typical idea of hotel business meeting technology, of which online hotel booking
is the most common, would miss this. This is because its executors would be more concerned about engaging the customers via their great looking website (wasting time) rather than getting them closer to the goal (booking and paying ) as fast as possible – which is what brings in the dough. You only win when the hotel wins. You do not win when online visitors look at the nice banner pictures of the rooms of different hotels, navigate around and read about this hotel and its facilities (so much of time wasting). Executing online hotel booking this way is a great way to ruin things from my standpoint – it depicts an entirely different business model and should not be fused with online Hotel Booking.
Remember what started it: Customers that need to spend some time away from home, and have a meeting or two. How have they done it before you built your shiny hotel booking website? They walked into a hotel of choice and at the reception, they book and pay, they don’t check the rooms or ask about the history of the hotel (we assume they may know or may not. It really doesn’t matter). They simply walk-in, Transaction completed.
Replicate that model online, convince the hotel of the benefit of having an extension of their business on the cyberspace, and have them pay you for carrying out more transactions for them - then you can maintain doing loads of that and have a business: a tech business. You’ll be getting paid for how many customers you bring in. Not how many of them clicked around. Another classic example is a taxi booking service. It follows the same model as I have explained, but I would like to give it a bit more context as I have, in the past, thought of developing a mobile solution around it.
Click-A-Cab Just like most techies today, light-bulb! What if people could get to book taxis online? Yeah! Great idea. Let’s do this! I built the thing half way and I thought how do I even push this, how do I make money? Now, this was a time when Red cabs, Metro cab, etc. were still all shiny and new as they had just started business. Eventually I discovered it was all a sham, since delivering value (getting customers to pay a cabbie) was going to be the toughest thing ever (my solution was mobile web, back then, but it was pretty good). Why was I going to fail hard if I had gotten crazy about it and continued with the development? I was slowing down the transaction process via my app. Most folks that need a cabbie would rather call or text one at best. Even the best apps – the ones that would pick your location via GPS and display a picture of the cab you have booked, along with GPS tracking - are not sustainable in my opinion. Online taxi booking service is not, at its core, an engagement based model but a transactional one, and it needs to be fast. A sustainable solution would be phone call and SMS which can deliver a good enough experience for less cost than a mobile app today. My point exactly: For transaction-oriented start-ups, identify what delivers value and get that done ASAP and repeatedly. Forsake “cutting-edge” technology and get it done the fastest way possible. Speed is the keyword in transactions.
ENGAGEMENT- ORIENTED Start-ups that fall in this category are the toughest to develop into self-sustaining businesses, but when a good model is discovered, they pay in returns on a massive scale. Here, stakeholders deal with users most times and not customers. This is pretty difficult because users don’t pay. Only customers do. So we find most start-ups trying to convert these users to customers, or trying to find another paying entity to sustain their business. Music services like Spinlet, Spotify, Jango radio, Deezer etc, all fall into this category. Stakeholders definitely want to worry about good interfaces for their applications and focus on things that would allow long lasting engagement with it. The aim is to maintain the interest of users and basically get them hooked. Unlike the transactional model, it is a much slower process towards capturing value so engagement is really important here. In IM services or social services, users simply want to interact with other users, communicate, share photos and videos and gifs, comment, like, plus, tweet, pin, keek, etc. The ability of these platforms to do these things are what keep the users there, and because value is only created when users get onboard, it does not sound right to make them pay. Without them the platform is dead. A social network cannot exist without people – this makes this approach a really tough one.
So how do these kinds of start-ups capture value that would be sustainable? Most of them turn to advertisement which makes advertisers their customers. Some offer extra services to users, in this case some of the users are converted to premium users (customers), and in other cases, some other turn to big data business. The point here is start-ups in this category have to keep doing what they are doing to maintain the engagement between users. If the engagement stops, their show is over. This is why I think Whatsapp may be having a pretty hard time monetizing their service. They have a good number of users they are trying to convert to customer status. I donâ€™t know how far they have gone with that and since they are bent on not turning to advertisements, it may be really tough to make Whatsapp selfsustaining. Paid advertisements, in some other cases, may be a sustaining model, since there is a good chance of making large impressions of the users. However it needs to be properly executed to yield returns, else it become intrusive and can ruin engagement. By the way, ads are coming to Instagram soon. It would be interesting to see if adding up the ads will come through.
Free games that have no in-app purchases also fall in this category and have potentials for making interesting money spinning models. Apart from in-app purchases or game currency, observe Rovio (Angry bird guys). Those folks developed a successful merchandise business from Angry birds, and I hear there is a movie in the making â€“ which just means more dollars their way. Some start ups fall in between the approaches. One might need to apply the right mix of the way things work in both worlds to execute them successfully. e.g E-commerce services. So the next time you think of start-ups, try placing them in one of these two categories and it will help you understand how you should go about the execution and measuring your potential for success.
N6.85 TRILLION ETRANSFERS IN NINE MONTHS
A report made available by the Nigeria InterBank Settlement System (NIBSS) has shown that the country registered a total of N6.849 trillion in electronic fund transfers between January and September 2013. The document went on to reveal that the NIBBS Instant Pay (NIP) tracked a monthly transaction value of N761 billion from an average volume of 1.13 million transactions within the period reported. “The NIBSS Instant Pay has grown steadily since inception. NIP recorded an average volume of 1.13 million and transaction value of N761 billion on a monthly basis during this period. This can be attributed to the reliability of the electronic funds transfer product, which has also increased product patronage,” the report stated. Also highlighted was the growth in volume of cheques processed in the second quarter (Q2) of 2013, with June (ending of Q2) recording a growth rate of 19 percent more than the month of May. The percentage increase, according to the document, was linked to the adoption of cheque truncation in the country. “There was also a noticeable increase in the value of cheque transactions during the same period,” it explained. The NIBSS document suggested that the cashless policy in Lagos, which continues to gain momentum, has been successful. During the first three quarters in 2013, it
was noted that Point of Sale (POS) terminals surged to the point where it was used in 591,000 transactions every month, on average, with the value of transactions increasing as consumers’ confidence in its reliability increased. “This trend would likely continue once Value Added Services are deployed on POS terminals and merchants earn incentives from accepting payments on the terminals,” it noted. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) kicked off the second phase of the cashless policy at the start of the third quarter (Q3) in the Federal Capital Territory, Abia, Rivers, Anambra, Kano and Ogun states, with full implementation taking effect on October 2nd, 2013. Mrs. Onajite Regha, Chief Executive Officer, Electronic Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (EPPA), noted that application is open to other states of the federation besides the six states that had just been activated. She pointed out that the CBN should have implemented the cashless policy across Nigeria within the next 12 months. Due to the increasing success of the cashless initiative, Regha also pointed out that EPPAN and stakeholders in the financial services and payment sector were considering options of recruiting more agents to promote the policy, in order to increase penetration nationwide.
NIGERIA GROWING Recently, the Director of Banking and Payment System Department, of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Dipo Fatokun, noted that mobile payment was gaining a lot of grounds in Nigeria, and that the policy is being taken beyond cash-in-cash-out remittances and top up.
“We in Central Bank, on the issue of connectivity, we are at the last stage of an MOU signing with Nigerian Communication Satellite (NICOMSAT) such that they would provide Wi-Fi technology at various locations in Nigeria so that connectivity would be made easier,” he added.
Fatokun, who made this disclosure at a conference in Lagos organised by Leeds Bryan International Limited and the Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, themed, Mobile Money and Financial Inclusion: “What’s the Next Big Thing?”, said: “There is an ongoing agreement between the CBN and mobile network operators to ensure that there is sustainable and hitch-free transaction of mobile payments within the economy, and Nigeria would soon move to 4G internet service, which is a broader network, from the current 3G.”
On security, he said that, “There is an already established guideline on electronic banking which is also applicable to mobile payment, explaining that there are specifications of systems through which to transact business. There are technical details on what to deploy, and phones that do not have the specified security features as specified by NCC would not work for mobile payment and transactions.”
ICT HAS TRANSFORMED THE BEAUTIFICATION BUSINESS Beautification and bridal make-up is on the rise as a professional business in Nigeria today. Though it is an old art, the business savvy ones have taken it a notch higher globally. In Nigeria, several brand names abound. Among the highly rated beauty companies, we bring to you Abeke Makeovers, a brand created by the delectable Funmilola Irantiola Olurinola. She delves into the history of her brand in this interview with Connect Nigeria. CN: Precisely, what are the services you provide at Abeke Makeovers? Funmi: It’s a beauty/bridal service outfit. We specialize in makeup, hair, lash extension services, pedicure and manicure, training and beauty consultation. We also recently started building our online selling platform where you get to buy all the popular and not so popular beauty products. CN: What is the inspiration behind your idea to launch an outfit that caters to the beauty of a woman?
Funmi: The inspiration behind my outfit; let’s just say it was my life at a point in time. When I was young, I had a lot of self-esteem issues. You know how when you’re growing you have acne and spots on your skin and for someone who never really considered herself to be pretty in the first place, I had it bad. I also had weight issues so I wasn’t very comfortable or confident in myself and as such, I was always looking for something to do to make me look better. In my quest for beauty I started spending a lot of time in salons indirectly picking up skills as time went by. So it wasn’t like I initially went for
a deliberate training, I just used to read up on stuff and experiment with it and before I knew it, people started gravitating towards me and asking me for tips on how to do beauty stuff. Then I had a light bulb moment and decided this is something I really wanted to do and I did it with God’s help. I started from my room in school. In time, people started suggesting that I get a shop; so I took their advice and opened one and that was how I started out. In that studio, I did hair, pedicure, manicure and nails. I wasn’t yet doing make-up at least for the first part of the time I was there. People started noticing
that I always had my hair and nails well done and I always looked well-groomed but then someone suggested that I should try to wear makeup for customers, so that spurred me to doing more research. I’d look through magazines at pictures and try to copy the looks that I liked. I became really good at it and people encouraged me. So I knew this was the path for me. I already knew I wasn’t cut out for a 9 to 5 kind of job so I gave it all I had. So by the time I graduated from the university, I had amassed quite a lot of experience and with that, I did a sixmonth stint with a makeup company before I started my own outfit. CN: Most beauty outfits in Nigeria seem to care about women. Is it unconventional for men to be concerned about their beauty? What is your opinion on beauty for men? Funmi: It is not unconventional for men to be concerned about their beauty. As a matter of fact, men that are into their looks are called metro sexual men. They care about the way they look. There are make-up lines geared towards men’s looks today. You’ll find tinted moisturizers for them instead of foundation, coloured lip balms and all. I think nowadays, because cameras have become more sophisticated and the resolutions are getting sharper, it makes every detail on a face visible. The megapixels in cameras are increasing and as such, they can capture even finer details than ever before. Because of that, men tend to consider what they can do to make their faces look nicer besides merely cutting their hair and shaving their beards. Everyone wants to look outstanding. So besides spending money on getting nice clothes and cool accessories, we want that little extra that makes us look well put together and this is especially for lightskinned guys or those whose faces break out easily. There are products specially made for men that when they use it, they don’t feel like they are using make-up because now, more men are in front of the cameras either on magazine pages or on TV. By the way, I think make-up was made for the cameras. You know, the way the naked eyes see blemishes is different from the way the cameras would. When the camera lights are on, a normal looking face begins to look oily. That is the reason why you find that actors have to wear make-up especially foundation and powder. It depends on what you want to achieve though. Nowadays, beauty is very key; beauty is what sells. If you are someone like Wizkid or Iyanya or D ‘banj whose image is sexy, you’ll discover you cannot do without make-up.
CN: do you have any particular job you consider most challenging? explain what makes it more challenging than the average, if any. funmi: “I take between 30/45 minutes to two hours to work…okay, let me not say 30/45 minutes because that is what it takes for regular makeup. But when I want to do what stands me out, which is what I call ‘surgery without needles’, I need like two hours so that when the person comes out, all you’ll see is a stunningly perfect looking face. I expect you to see a face that looks like it was created flawless. I don’t like you to be able to see the makeup sitting or standing (in some cases) on the person’s face as most people wear it. When I’m done, you can definitely see that there is a major transformation. But if you don’t have a ‘before picture’, I expect you to believe that my client was born perfect and that’s what I have in mind when I’m working. In fact, my unedited work looks like a perfectly airbrushed picture. The pressure is always there because each time I go in to do a job and people are waiting to see the ‘miracle’. It’s usually an intense two hours for me. Artists paint on canvass and they can take as long as they like. In my own case, the person is probably going to go out or is about to do a photo shoot; people need to see the result in less than 2 hours. When the person comes out, they have to look stunningly beautiful and if I don’t get that, I can’t leave. It’s my mandate. One of the reactions I got recently on a job - I have this client who was my bride and after getting married -, she still calls me for makeup for her functions. So on this particular day, I had done her makeup and she, I, and another friend of mine were standing in public. This Moslem woman, dressed complete with her veil passed by us, and then literally ran back, stared at my client and said to her ‘you are so beautiful, I couldn’t go without paying you that compliment.’ For a woman to pay another woman she doesn’t know a compliment, especially as she was a religious person and wasn’t wearing makeup, it’s a pretty big deal. That client then started to tell me how strangers will call her husband and start to pray for him for taking good care of her anytime I do her makeup and they go for functions. This reinforces to me that I’ve been successful at creating a look that resonates without people being able to tell that it’s makeup. It’s this kind of scenario that gives
me gratification. And, because I want those kinds of results, it is more challenging. People always wonder if I can ‘do it again’ whenever I’m on a new job, so that’s where the challenge comes for me. It’s taking ordinary faces and making them look extraordinary with the use of makeup, without making it obviously so.”. CN: how many years has your organisation been around and how did you really start? funmi: “It’s been around since 2005. I started in Olabisi Onabanjo University in 2005 but then I relaunched it in Lagos in November 2008. So I’ve been around for about eight years.” CN: Without a doubt, there must be some advantage from your academic background applied to what you currently do. how has your academic training been of advantage? funmi: “I studied Mass Communication in Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State and I’m a makeup artist, so you’ll be wondering where the correlation is. I think, basically, that my academic background has helped in terms of communicating effectively and selling my business to different clients from different backgrounds. Besides the degree I got in communication, I also got a scholarship from Goldman Sachs to undergo a CEM program in Lagos Business School. This, I’ll say, has had a direct impact on the growth of my business. Generally though, I think education really does help to put one ahead of the pack in one way or the other.” CN: What are the challenges you experience as a business owner? funmi: “I don’t think there’s any special challenge besides the fact that our business is seasonal since the bulk of work that brings in major revenue comes from weddings and there are specific periods in the year that people usually get married. There are some low periods during the year, like the rainy season when people do not really want to have their weddings, Lent period, etc. The busy period is around the Ember months. Besides the inconsistency in frequency of jobs, and the usual challenges we as business owners face in Nigeria, there’s really nothing to complain about.”
CN: the economic landscape is changing, particularly as it concerns business operations and payment for services. in what ways has ict shaped/impacted your business? funmi: “I’m one of those people that would say that what has helped me majorly is ICT, especially social media. When I first started, I got my friends to model my makeup and I’d upload pictures of my work on Facebook. Then, people would drop several comments beneath the pictures. Soon word got around and I had people calling me from outside Nigeria as a result of finding me online. This shows how much ICT has impacted my business. Also, we moved from our former office and, for now, I’m doing most of my business online. People don’t necessarily have to come and see me; all they have to do is send me an email. We finalise details on the phone or online and schedule a time to go over to their place and get the work done. ICT has played a huge role in this regard.” CN: Where do you see your organisation in the next ten years? funmi: [laughs] “Realistically, I can’t predict what would happen in the next ten years. I’m a bootstrapper, so when opportunity arrives, I jump on it. Whatever God brings my way is what I’ll take. Even if I knew where we would be in the next ten years, it’d be telling if I revealed it here.” CN: do you use e-payment systems for your business? if yes, in what ways do you use them and how has it been of impact on your operations? funmi: “I use POS and internet banking. Except for a few businesses where I go out and they pay cash, most of the time I get online transfers from clients.”
A PRIMER ON E-COMMERCE The Campaign To Reduce The Emissions Of Greenhouse Gases (Ghg) In The Environment Gained Momentum Some Decades Ago When “Going Green” Was First Coined, A Term That Referred To The Adoption Of Environmentally Friendly Habits. Likewise, The Invention Of The Computer And The Internet Were Just The Foundation For Many Ideas To Be Built Upon.
Great advances in the world of information and communication technology in the last two decades have opened the door to many previously inconceivable opportunities and possibilities. One such possibility that has sprung up as a result of these dynamic changes in ICT is e-commerce, which refers to the process of conducting business using electronic means. So, what exactly is e-commerce? E-commerce, or Electronic Commerce, is a term for any type of business or commercial transaction that involves exchanges across the World Wide Web. E-commerce consists of the exchange of data to facilitate the marketing, negotiating, and sale of goods and/or services to buyers, the payment for goods and/or services by the purchaser, the exchange of funds between companies, and the umbrella of financing opportunities out there for business ventures. E-commerce supports an array of businesses, including consumerbased retail sites, auction houses, and business
exchanges. Some applications on the internet that are mostly employed in e-commerce include e-mail, instant messaging, shopping carts, web services, UDDI, (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration), FTP (File Transfer Protocol), and EDI (Electronic Data Interchange). Types of e-commerce transactions, based on categories of participants in the transaction, include: BuSiNeSS to BuSiNeSS (B2B): B2B transactions refer to operations where both the transacting parties are businesses, e.g., manufacturers, traders, retailers, etc.
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FIVE MINUTES WITH OLAMIDE SMITH CN: What were your biggest challenges starting out? Olamide: “Well, I got discouraged by a couple of people who felt I was overqualified for kitchen works and had better prospects doing a white collar job, but thank God for my family and friends who believed in me; my sisters especially.” CN: What have been the high points of your journey so far? Olamide: “When I took up the Make Me Beauty Salon cake and we had to complete the structure in less than 48 hours, we spent all night and it wasn’t something we had done in the past. Thank God we were able to accomplish the task and that it was ready when needed.” CN: Do you have a favourite cake you have ever baked?
It is not easy running a business, or starting a new one for that matter. At Connect Nigeria, we love businesses, and we love to hear success stories. One of our main goals is to help businesses succeed; it is in our DNA. Our company was introduced to Olamide Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Sweet Indulgence by a member of our team. Let’s just say that the meeting was as sweet as her company’s name. Recently, we got to learn about her desire and passion for cakes- as she shared a few minutes of her time with Connect Nigeria. Here are the highlights: CN: Give us an insight into your background. Olamide: “I’m a graduate of Microbiology, with a Master’s in Business Administration. I am also a Certified Oracle Database Administrator. I attended a couple of culinary schools at home and abroad, starting with Mix and Bake, Cake and Candy, and then abroad at the Wilton School of Cake Decorating and Le Cordon Bleu (United Kingdom) where I learnt the art of French pastry.”
Olamide: “None in particular because it keeps changing (smiles). Though I like the ship cake, the structure we designed for Make Me Beauty Salon, as well as the two tier gateau cake, the newspaper on brief case cake, the Polo Ralph Lauren, and many more…” CN: How does baking make you feel? Olamide: “Wow! I am happy when I bake and happier when a customer loves it.” CN: What is your long-term vision for Sweet Indulgence? Olamide: “In the next couple of years, by God’s grace, I see Sweet Indulgence having a larger customer base and plan on taking creativity and taste to a whole new level.” CN: Who are your mentors? Olamide: “My dad is my mentor. I also have great regard for other cake makers like The Cake Boss, Cakes by Tosan, Cafe Concerto, Cake and Candy, Exotique Cakes, Absolute Elegance, Yellow Velvet Cakes and Licious Desserts.” CN: If you could go back to the beginning, what would you do differently?
CN: When did you start this business?
Olamide: “Nothing that I can think of really.”
Olamide: “I started part-time in 2003 and transitioned to full time 2010/2011.” CN: Why did you decide to do this?
CN: In your opinion, what qualities are a must for a successful entrepreneur?
Olamide: “I consider myself to be a creative and very imaginative person, and I also love good food. Baking combines the elements of creativity and taste.”
Olamide: “I believe the qualities of a successful entrepreneur are to be goaloriented, focused, determined, and always have a competitive advantage - not forgetting the God Factor.” CN: What is your philosophy of life?
Olamide: “With God, all things are possible.” CN: How do you relax, and spend your leisure time? Olamide: “I watch movies.” CN: What’s your advice to would-be entrepreneurs? Olamide: “I would advise them to stay focused and determined. Also start whatever business with the mindset that failure is not an option.” CN: How does the award you won recently make you feel? Olamide: “I’m excited! All glory to God and many thanks to the Wed Magazine team, Sweet Indulgence team, customers, and my friends and family.”
A CHEF‘S DREAM:
MAKING FORTUNES OUT OF COOKIES Growing up, Tolu was not the kind of guy that absented himself from the kitchen - he just never imagined that his source of livelihood would come from putting in long hours at an oven with mittens around his hands. He loves it. Tolu Erogbogbo graduated with a degree in International Business Management from the University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, and returned to Nigeria circa 2008 with dreams of setting up a real estate firm. This did not pan out has he hoped. In December 2011, he began experimenting with projects involving restaurant architecture and it wasn’t until the next Valentine’s Day in 2012, that he got his big break. He said, “I made a fortune during Valentine’s Day in the month of February 2012. Actually, I began making these cookies the month before that. I’d go to the market, buy ingredients, and get busy in the kitchen. My friends would come around and treat themselves to the dumplings from my oven. The next month, precisely February 14th, I made a fortune selling cookies! I think I made about half a million naira from cookie sales for that period alone. I received a lot of orders.” Tolu’s line of work had been foretold in a “series of dreams” he was having several months prior to his big break. In the dream, he explained, his sister would show up and whisper to him to begin making cookies, which was reminiscent of a fortune cookie bundled into his lap. His vision was realised and soon metamorphosed into one to reckon
with in metropolitan Lagos – a blessing considering he currently enjoys a monopoly as a cookie chef in the Victoria Island/Lekki axis. “Someone else tried to set up the same thing as our outfit and even took some of our ideas, but they closed shop in less than two months. This kind of job requires equal amounts of passion, dedication and skill,” he said, hinting at the guts required to succeed in his industry. “No one can imitate this overnight. It’s a special skill.” Logically, a brand name like ‘Fortune Cookies’ would have been apt, drawing from the inspiration on how he began; but he envisioned his enterprise eventually going global, which would conflict with an already established international brand with that same name. Considering himself
an embodiment of his cookies due to the energy and attention to detail he pours into bringing each cookie to life, Tolu selected the name iamcookiejar. He even personifies some of his cookies, noting that a recent one was christened ‘Dancing Cookies’. For now, Tolu has his sights set beyond catering to the Lagos market. For this reason, his company is modeled as an e-commerce business enabling customers to select cookies from the online store, make orders, and conclude the deal by making payments through his business’ website. Though he notes that there are managerial challenges in the business, like every other, his training in business management often comes in handy. Tolu added that he has been encouraged by the patronage his company has received so far and that he’s ready to bring dynamism into the Nigerian market with his talent.
How do you begin anew? A wise one would say to look back and see what was done right so as to make it better, while recognizing what was done wrong to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Our stories have so much to reveal when it comes to reviewing the past, enjoying the moment, and envisioning the future. There’s no better way to begin the New Year than with books. But before that, we need to take a retrospective look at the titles that resonated most in 2013. Below is a list of books written by Nigerian authors who attracted the most attention from readers throughout 2013. The compilation was created using metrics provided by JUMIA based on, among other parameters, demand from consumers. Some of the authors on this list are reputed for creating classics, namely Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, and Chimamanda Adiche whose book, Americanah, was recently announced as the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Best Book for 2013.
There was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra Genre: Non-Fiction Author: Chinua Achebe Number of pages: 256 Publisher/Publication Year: Penguin: Allen Lane/2012
Genre: Novel/Fiction Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Number of pages: 477 Publisher/Publication Year: Knopf Publishing group/2013 Short Description: The book begins with two teenagers, Ifemelu and Obinze, who met in secondary school and fell in love. Their Nigeria is under a dictatorship and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu left for America to study and went through several ordeals, difficult and sweet, in the process of finding and losing relationships. Obinze had hoped to join her but post 9/11 America did not let him in, so he plunges into a dangerous life in London. Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a democratic Nigeria while Ifemelu has achieved success as the writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. When Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, they reignite their shared passion for their country and for each other and must face the greatest decisions of their lives.
Genre: Autobiography Author: Nasir El- Rufai Number of pages: 627 Publisher/Publication Year: Safari Books/2013 Short Description: The overall theme of The Accidental Public Servant revolves around the intriguing journey of an individual from a rural part of Kastina, northern Nigeria, with very humble beginnings in an idyllic postindependence era, to occupying one of the highest public offices in 21st Century Nigeria. The reader is granted insight into how El-Rufai’s fiercely independent, resolute, and feisty cerebral personality was shaped by the tragedy of his father’s passing, the calculated attrition against Sunday, the primary school bully, the role-model influence of his brother in his early years, and how he became a self-made private sector millionaire by his mid-twenties.
Book Description: The defining experience of Chinua Achebe’s life was the Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War of 1967-1970. The war was infamous around the world for its savage impact on the Biafran people who were blockaded by the Nigerian government and starved to death. As a roving cultural ambassador for his government, Achebe absorbed the war’s full horror from this unique vantage point. Immediately after the war, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States. For over forty years, he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Now, after years in the making, at last comes a towering reckoning from Achebe with insight into one of modern Africa’s most fateful experiences.
The Accidental Public Servant
Of Africa Genre: Essay collection Author: Wole Soyinka Number of pages: 224 Publisher/Publication Year: Yale University Press/2012 Short Description: In this book, Soyinka offers a wide-ranging inquiry into Africa’s culture, religion, history, imagination and identity. He seeks to understand how the continent’s history is entwined with the histories of others, while exploring Africa’s truest assets: its humanity, the quality and valuation of its own existence, and modes of managing its environment – both physical and intangible (which includes the spiritual). Fully grasping the extent of Africa’s most challenging issues, Soyinka nevertheless refuses defeatism as he eloquently analyzes problems ranging from the meaning of the past to the threat of theocracy. He asks hard question about racial attitudes, inter-ethnic and religious violence, the viability of nations whose boundaries were laid out by outsiders, African identity on the continent and among displaced Africans, and so much more. Soyinka’s exploration of Africa relocates the continent in the reader’s imagination and maps a course towards an African future founded on peace and affirmation.
City of Memories Genre: Fiction Author: Richard Ali Number of pages: 296 Publisher/Publication Year: Black Palms/2012
Short Description: City of Memories follows four characters negotiating the effect of various traumas. Towering above them is the story of Ummi al-Qassim, a princess of Bolewa, and the feud that attended her love—first for a nobleman, then for a poet—a feud that bequeaths her with madness and death. All four are bracketed by the modern city of Jos in Central Nigeria, where political supremacy and perverse parental love become motives for an ethno-religious eruption calculated to destroy the Nigeria State.
Fine Boys Genre: Fiction Author: Eghosa Imasuen Number of pages: 380 Publisher/Publication Year: FarafinaKachifo/2012
Short Description: Warri, October 1992: Seething with idleness and nonchalance and sick of watching his parents fight, 16-year-old Ewaen is waiting for university to begin, waiting for something to happen. Months later, Ewaen and friends are finally enrolled as freshmen at the University of Benin. Their routine now consists of hanging out in a parking lot trading jibes, chasing girls and sex, and learning to manage despite staff strikes and crumbling infrastructure. But, as Ewaen discovers, Nigerian campuses in the 1990s can be dangerous places too. Aggressive confraternities stake territories and stalk for new recruits. An incident of petty crime snowballs into tragedy… Fine Boys is Eghosa Imasuen’s second novel. In the witty, colloquial style fast becoming his trademark, Imasuen presents everyday Nigerian life against the backdrop of the pro-democracy riots of the 1980s and 90s, the lost hopes of June 12th, and the terror of the Abacha years.
Under a Darking Sky Genre: Drama Author: Isaac Attah Ogezi Number of pages: 92 Publisher/Publication Year: Hybun Publication International/2012 Short Description: Under a Darkling Sky dramatizes the life and times of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the renowned environmental activist-cum-writer who placed his community far above his own individual life, eventually paying the supreme price by dying for his Ogoni people in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Tried and convicted by the Ogoni Civil Disturbances Tribunal, a kangaroo military tribunal, Ken Saro-Wiwa was sentenced to death by hanging along with eight other Ogonis on trumped-up charges of complicity and incitement of the deaths of four Ogoni elders in May, 1994.
The Lore of Karmalu Genre: Fiction Author: Azubuike Eyes Okoro Number of pages: 222 Publisher/Publication Year: CreateSpace/2012 Short Description: Drawing a thin line between fact and fiction; The Lore of Karmalu proves that reality can be more DRAMATIC than fiction as it presents a transcendental concept of retribution that cuts across the oriental, western, and eastern cultures of the world. Artistically portrayed here in popular culture and for POSTERITY, the Lore of Karmalu is a metaphysical gift from the Igbo people of West Africa to the world. Placing the individual against society; morality is put to test in the sociopolitical arena of the largest black nation. Accentuated by an abstraction of graphic illustrations, this story takes the imagination to uncanny dimensions as the author blends the three forms of writing: Poetry, Prose and Drama into a seamless story telling device; a style he rightfully calls his own.
A Bit of Difference Genre: Fiction Author: Sefi Atta Number of pages: 224 Publisher/Publication Year: InterLink Publishing/2012 Short Description: At thirty-nine, Deola Bello, a Nigerian expatriate in London, is dissatisfied with being single and working overseas. Deola works as a financial reviewer for an international charity, and when her job takes her back to Nigeria in time for her father’s five-year memorial service, she finds herself turning her scrutiny inward. In Nigeria, Deola encounters changes in her family and in the urban landscape of her home, along with new acquaintances who offer unexpected possibilities. Deola’s journey is as much about evading the expectations of others as it is about exposing the differences between foreign images of Africa and the realities of contemporary Nigerian life. Deola’s urgent, incisive voice captivates and guides the reader through the intricate layers and vivid scenes of a life lived across continents. With Sefi Atta’s characteristic boldness and vision, A Bit of Difference explores the complexities of our contemporary world and is a novel not to be missed.
The Ghost of Sani Abacha. Genre: Fiction (Short story) Author: Chuma Nwokolo Number of pages: 309 Publisher/Publication Year: County Books/2012 Short Description: The Ghost of Sani Abacha is a collection of 26 short stories set in Nigeria. Contrary to its title, the book is not about Sani Abacha, the late president of the country, but rather it’s a witty and satirical narrative of everyday human life occurrences, misshapen pasts, and the presents surrounding our societal ills. Through these stories, Nwokolo explores various issues pertinent to life related to love, betrayal, jealousy, greed, power and pride.
WANT TO LIVE LONG?
HERE ARE THINGS YOU CAN DO
They say “Health is wealth”. Absolutely! They also say “Ignorance is bliss”, but not with your health. Though it may be true in some cases that “What you don’t know won’t kill you”, this does not refer to matters of your health! “But as long as I’m not smoking or drinking too much, I’ll be ok.” Not so. People are destroyed daily for lack of knowledge and there’s a lot more to being healthy, my Friend! When it comes to our health and vitality, prevention is definitely far better than cure. Most of us are too disinterested or uninformed
bodies are ‘earth-suits’, given to us as excellent ‘accommodation’ and ‘transportation’ for our journey here. If you don’t maintain and service your ‘vehicle’, your engine will knock! If you don’t add proper lubricants and fluids, you will have overheating, a cracked engine block, and damaged brake discs! If you don’t warm your car and drive it around for too long, it will ‘seize up’ and develop strange problems that will make the mechanic’s workshop your major hangout. Likewise, if we fail to clean up, freshen, and maintain our living quarters, they become unsightly, give off that dirty-‘hand falling’- unhygienic-house odour, and go into disrepair. So why do we think it is okay to treat our bodies, our combined ‘housing and transportation’, that way? We wouldn’t be eager to be seen in a beat-up jalopy or ‘bolekaja’, or living in a smelly, run-down, messy house. But we’re quite comfortable ‘travelling’ around in an unsightly and rundown body. Once you recognize that you are a spirit, who has a soul and lives in a body, and that “You” and your body are not the same; you will begin to understand the need to treat your body, your ‘biological residence’, with the respect it deserves. What does it profit a man if he gain so much, and lose his own health? What shall a man give as a ransom for his health? We all need the tools to make sure we stay on top of our health and fitness game, and to keep doctors like Yours Truly away! When we have done all we are supposed to do though, and something still goes wrong, as can sometimes happen, then we better make a beeline for our favourite doctor, and hopefully not to the corner ‘Consulting Chemist! There are three vital things to pay attention to for the most effective control and ownership of our personal health. Most of us know about them, but they are worth repeating clearly:
OUR DIET PHYSICAL EXERCISE OUR PERSONAL/LIVING SPACE’S CLEANLINESS AND HYGIENE
about our earthly assets, our body and our health, to enjoy the wonderful benefits of good health and vigour. We’re so busy “trying to make a living” that we often find ourselves too unhealthy to actually enjoy the ‘living’. Few things are sadder than sickness brought upon ourselves by our own ignorance and foolish actions or omissions, and when such sickness leads to death, it is a real tragedy. Life is a precious gift that needs to be treasured and guarded; otherwise it can quickly become an unpleasant burden. Our
It’s not brain surgery. Once you have these areas covered, and make a habit of doing the right thing about them regularly and without even ‘thinking about it’, you will be well on the road to becoming Master of your own well-being! Join the interactive parley as we examine the tips, strategies, expert advice, and secrets for an energetic, enjoyable, and healthy life! Get info on effective prevention and easy-to-do dietary and lifestyle changes for the smart Earth Citizen determined to stay healthy and fit. Claim all of your ‘airtime credits’ and bonuses for your most fulfilling, productive and LONG life. Stay tuned to Stay Alive and Well!
FIRST THINGS FIRST
CAUSES OF KILLER DISEASES
To lay the foundation for information that empowers us to take personal control of our health and fitness level, it makes sense to start with the basics of wellness and physical fitness. If the foundation is wrong, no matter how expertly you lay the bricks and mortar going up, you’ll end up with a wobbly and dangerous structure unfit to live in. Knowledge is, after all, power. “If you don’t know where the rain began to beat you,” as Chinua Achebe reminds us from the wisdom of his ancestral Igbos, “you cannot say where you dried your body.” Announcing the top three killers that account for the major percentage of preventable human diseases:
BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER You were expecting to hear something else, eh? But there you have it; as clear and simple as it can be put. I hope I have your attention. See, our body is a biological machine designed to function efficiently with healthy buildingblock substrates, fuels, and nutrients. It is also designed to eliminate toxic waste through various mechanisms – liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, and sweat glands. We’ve all heard the maxims “you are what you eat” and “rubbish in, rubbish out!” It’s not rocket science, and there’s no magic formula for “cheating the system”. Like every other animal species on earth; our human machine is powered, nurtured and developed through growth from the nutrients we feed it. It’s as simple as that. There are good nutrients and, well, there are bad nutrients. Oh, and then, there are very bad nutrients, otherwise known as junk food. They don’t call it “junk” for nothing! You can’t plant saturated fatty acids and
expect to reap a trim, fit body with healthy, unclogged arteries. Nor can you gorge on high glycemic index heavy carbs and refined sugar and expect a healthy neuromuscular system, sharp brain, and Apollo’s physique. You simply cannot take in way more calories than you’re burning daily and still expect to stay in shape. The home truth is that you’ll become fat by indulging in such bad dietary habits. Yes, your genes may be contributing, but you are eating too much and that is the real problem. If you treat your body well, you will finally stop avoiding mirrors and begin walking with a bouncing swagger and energized stealth. So, let’s dive right into it by starting with what would constitute good and bad breakfasts for the determined, healthconscious Nigerian. Breakfast, also known as “the most important meal”, kick-starts our bio-engines by providing the energy and mental focus we need to tackle busy and stressful days. We need the right ‘fuel’ for our bodies after a night of ‘booting down’. The common habit of skipping breakfast because we’re “in a rush”, “not hungry”, or are “staying light”, arises from an unhealthy myth. The truth is that skipping breakfast leads to unstable blood sugar levels, diminished mental focus and energy, erratic emotions, and excessive weight gain in the long run.
SOME OF THESE CONSTITUTE BAD BREAKFAST Refined sugar, especially if more than 1 tablespoon. Pork products – sausages, bacon, etc- very bad meat, excess saturated fats, high salt content, artificial additives, preservativespromotes atherosclerosis, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, heart attacks, strokes, poor peripheral circulation, poor brain circulation and mental faculties, sluggish energy delivery, obesity, etc. Any processed meat, including chicken and beef sausages, corned beef, ‘spam’ or luncheon meat, etc. which contains artificial additives and preservatives, saturated fats, and high salt content. Heavy carbohydrates, especially empty calorie types like our staple white bread. Some boast of finishing a loaf of Agege bread at breakfast! Tut-tut… A single slice of toast is acceptable, preferably wheat bread.
Yam, eba, rice, especially if large portions (more than a ‘fist-size’) – high carbs and excess calories ‘bog you down’ when consumed early in the day. These food types are not reserved for lunch menus by accident.
Other high-fibre cereals like oats, Nigerian pap, and millet are good sources of healthy carbs. Agidi is also healthy. Avoid factoryloaded, high sugar cereals. You can learn this by reading the labels on food packages.
Cheese, margarine, and other high-saturated, fatty dairy products.
One boiled egg (and not more) a day is a good source of protein, in addition to it containing a decent amount of cholesterol.
Strong, addictive stimulants like caffeine in coffee, energy drinks, Coke, etc. – or drinks containing excessive quantities of refined sugars which promote over-stimulation of the heart and nervous system, elevated blood pressure, and poor mental accuracy. This also causes a dreaded ‘crash’ by late morning or early afternoon, making you unproductive, irritable, difficult, and annoying to be around. A bad way to start your day. Any kind of soft drink or soda – contains poisonous amounts of refined sugar, artificial colouring, etc.
GOOD BREAKFAST CHOICES: 1 – 2 glasses of water for adequate body hydration. Tea or cocoa contain healthy, gentle stimulants which can pep up your attention and zest. Not more than a teaspoon of refined sugar can be added, but this can be substituted with honey, which is a much healthier sweetener. Fruits/natural fruit juice – grapefruit, banana, oranges, watermelon, pineapple are good sources of fibre and low glycemic index carbs. Akara (fried in healthy, low-cholesterol vegetable oil) and moin-moin also contain high amounts of fibre.
Broiled or oven-baked fish or skinless, lean white meat such as chicken and turkey are also healthy and good sources of lean protein. So, there you have it! Some simple and clear options for you to lay down a good foundation for a healthy and efficient bio-residence, as well as a great start to any day. Feast on a healthy breakfast like a king and bounce out the door ready to take the world by storm, brimming with energy, good cheer, and a contagious creativity.
Easy and Faster Installation
BUSINESS FAIR 2013
TO CELEBRATE A
A DECADE OF
GOOD MUSIC WITH ALBUM LAUNCH IN
Oladapo Oyebanjo, arguably one of Nigeria’s finest artistes in the past decade, has revealed
2005, 6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13” chei! Am on top of the world, finally we are getting there”.
plans to celebrate ten years of producing ‘good music’ to his teeming fans across the globe. The artiste, popularly known by his stage name, D’Banj, began his career with Mo’ Hits Records before deciding to explore newer challenges by signing on to Kanye West’s GOOD Music record label in 2011. D’Banj disclosed that his milestone in the industry will be celebrated with an album launch in 2014.
Speaking on his recent activities, D’banj said it’s been a busy year so far, having released his DB Records compilation album, DKM, and preparations are in top gear for his annual Koko Concert in December.
Speaking with ConnectNigeria at the Hennessy artistry press parley, yesterday, 9th of October, D’Banj said, “I believe so. Something will come out later this year that will tell you what will happen in 2014. 2014 will be my tenth year of doing active music, because ‘Tongolo’ came out in 2004 and since then I have released hits every year,
“It’s been a movement, it’s been a journey, touring the whole of Africa, releasing the DKM album, the album launch with 2 Chainz, and releasing more videos from the album. ‘Finally’ video just came out, and as you can see am currently on a road tour with Hennessy. We have performed at different clubs in Lagos and we are set for the final later this month. Then am going on another African tour in Kenya and Zimbabwe then I will return home for the festive period. It’s a very busy time for me but I am happy and ready to be working”.
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