AP Share Price Manipulation: NSE, SEC, House of Reps side Dangote

“He should be in prison,” Otedola said.

Not a few investors in the shares of Africa Petroleum Plc and other mainstream investors were scandalised with the sanctions considered appropriate by the Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange in chastising the individuals and organisations that were involved in Nigeria’s most publicly denounced case of share price manipulations.

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Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, may be fighting a lost battle in the foreign exchange segment of the money market. Since November 2008 when the value of the Naira, the national currency commenced a tail spin in a downward spiral that has become unrelenting, the CBN Governor had continued to […]

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Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, may be fighting a lost battle in the foreign exchange segment of the money market. Since November 2008 when the value of the Naira, the national currency commenced a tail spin in a downward spiral that has become unrelenting, the CBN Governor had continued to role out measures aimed at managing the exchange rate of the Naira with other currencies within what is described as reasonable band.

2009 Forbes Profile of Billionaires: Femi Otedola joins Dangote on World’d Richest List

Femi Otedola(l), Aliko Dangote(r)

Femi Otedola(l), Aliko Dangote(r)

Nigeria may have the honour of having two of its citizens listed in the 2009 edition of the annual Forbes list of the world richest. Fortune&Class Weekly can report that Mr. Femi Otedola, Chairman of African Petroleum Plc and Zenon Oil and Gas would join Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the first Nigerian on the list […] Continue reading here.

Whistle Blowers Call SEC’s Attention To Eternal Oil Secret Moves To Acquire Afroil… Shares Manipulation Alleged

An under the table deal to acquire the shares of on suspension Afroil by Eternal Oil at the detriment of other shareholders in the company, has been exposed and reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC had in March 2008 announced the suspension in the trading of the shares of Afroil as a…

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NATW: How The Rumour Mill Created A Mythical Fashola

Recall those days in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when the elders turned tales by moonlight into a frantic search of seeking to define the images emblazoned on the moon. Long arguments would ensue after those intense looks at the moon. For all Action Group adherents, even though, the party was no longer in government during these times, they all, inexplicably agreed that image emblazoned on the moon couldn’t have belonged to anybody but Chief Obafemi Awolowo, founder of the Action Group and first Premier of the Western Region.

It was the extent of the veneration of Awolowo that followers of the party, even, outside government, sought to establish his patron saint status by persuading themselves that Awolowo, though alive at that time, only compared to extra terrestrials. If any body engaged thought otherwise, as there would always be, some whom logic would not depart even in the face of mind bending extrapolation of the political deeds of Awolowo to the spiritual realm.

This is what myths are made for. In political field it implies a special connect between individuals in government and the people they govern. Awolowo, long after his death, still engaged the political imagination of Nigerians and especially, the adherence of the people of the Yoruba South West Nigeria.

I was young in those days, quite young that I did not get to understand the querulous banters among the elders anytime the moon watching exercise started, but I knew they would invariably conclude on the spiritual prowess of Awolowo and how he used to beat and capture his enemies, chief of which, back then was Chief Ladoke Samuel Akintola. I am very sure that late Ahmadu Bello and Nnamdi Azikwe must have had such mythical yarns around them; I did not grow in their regions of influence, so I wouldn’t be too sure.

History has moved past those iconic gladiators of that particular era, anyway. It would seem that a new creation of the imagination of people, especially, those in Lagos State, is in the making. This may be the first time since Awolowo that people are virtually spinning yarns around a government official. Though, there was a bit of that in the short-lived administration of assassinated military head of state, Gen. Murtala Muhammed. The new image that we may possibly be watching out for in the near future may be that of Babatunde Raji Fashola, Governor of Lagos State and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

Suddenly, it would seem that Fashola held court with individual Lagosians, where he informed them of his next action and how he would implement it. So, it was that the word got out on the streets that the Lagos State Governor had directed that anybody found wearing rubber slippers on Lagos roads should be arrested. The directive, according to these “confidants” of the Governor, is because Fashola did not expend so much money building roads for slippers wearing Lagosians to come and deface the them.

A house-wife was said to have been sold on the Fashola directive that she had to run across from her home carrying her husband’s shoes when that one went out with his friends. She protested that no one would be there to salvage things for her when Fashola gets her husband arrested for wearing slippers.

There was this other one about Lagosians that would have cause to go out of the state to spend their holidays last December. The rumour mill was agog with story of how Fashola had instructed that tax officials would be waiting at the Lagos toll-gate end of the Lagos-Ibadan express road to check the tax certificates of returnees. Again, the wild rumour was so effective that some Lagosians started making discreet enquiries about tax payment.

Then, there were stories about the Governor’s nocturnal visits to hospitals and construction sites, how he used to alight from Keke Marwa to inspect the stage and pace of works at the site. The people in the Alimosho Local Government area are particularly fecund with such gist, it would sound as if the only place the Governor gets to supervise his construction was in the Alimosho local area.

The yarn of the Governor’s late evening unannounced visitation to Mercy Hospital nearly assumed the near truth status because it was actually published in a newspaper. The Governor was said to have entered the children’s hospital on the Lagos Island and had witnessed how medical personnel treated in the most ignoble manner patients and their mothers. A particular woman was said to have talked with the Governor about her travails in the hospital upon which he entered the Doctor’s room as just one common only to throw the hospital into a state of confusion when the Doctor identified him.

All these and many others made the rounds before the Governor descended on Oshodi. If you don’t know Oshodi it means you’re not a Lagosian. Oshodi had been a settled bedlam since I have long forgotten. The about one kilometre stretch on the Agege Motor Road had always been noted for a minimum two-hour traffic and a beehive of criminal activities layered on a robust tradition of street trading.

Different government since we started reading them in secondary school history and civil study books have made strenuous efforts to dislodge everything that gave Oshodi its character but none have been successful. Then this Fashola came along three weeks ago. In less than 24 hours the place reverted to civility. Outstandingly amazing!

Now, this has given new filip to the Fashola beyond human talk in the state, no mortal could possibly run through Oshodi and bring to it sanity in a day. New but more fundamental meanings are given to anything Fashola. You would notice immediate movement or removal anytime anybody announced Fashola was on his way to clear a certain area of the state.

The yarns still continues, but what it implies is that people now respect and trust government, it is the first requirement of democracy, it shows the connect between government and the governed. But I hope we would not be looking out for the image of Fashola in the sun that must be hurting.

Despite what some would say about creating markets before markets are bulldozed by the state government, I think this governor is performing and do not sympathise with a Lagosian that decided to make the road his or her means of sustenance.

McKinsey Global Survey Results: How companies make good decisions

Companies get a lot of advice about how to make good decisions. Which decision-making disciplines really make a difference?

Do strong decision-making processes lead to good decisions? This McKinsey survey highlights several process steps that are strongly associated with good financial and operational outcomes. In the survey, we asked executives from around the world about a specific capital or human-resources decision their companies made in the course of normal business. We learnt who was involved, what drove the decisions, how deep the analysis was, how unfettered the discussions, and how and where politics were involved. Respondents also described the financial and operational outcomes of the decisions.

The results highlight the hard business benefits such as increased profits and rapid implementation of several decision-making disciplines. These disciplines include ensuring that people with the right skills and experiences are included in decision making, making decisions based on transparent criteria and a robust fact base, and ensuring that the person who will be responsible for implementing a decision is involved in making that decision. Finally, although corporate politics sometimes seems to undermine strong decision-making, some types of consensus-building and alliances apparently can help create good outcomes.

Notes. The survey was in the field in November 2008 and received responses from 2,327 executives from the full range of industries, regions, and functions.

Describing the decisions. The survey covered the gamut of typical corporate decisions, from expanding into new products or services to maintaining infrastructure. More than three-quarters of investments were aimed at revenue growth, and among decisions related to human resources, the majority aimed to improve efficiency or productivity.

A majority of decisions were undertaken at the behest of the CEO or the executive committee, with only a minority (23 per cent) driven by some sort of immediate threat. More decisions were made outside an annual planning process than within one. And nearly two-thirds of respondents say they expected their decision to pay off within two years of implementation. Operations executives had significant influence on only about a third of the most financially unsuccessful decisions, reinforcing findings from other surveys that companies frequently overlook execution when making decisions.

Overall, outcomes for these decisions were good. Among decisions for which the outcome was known, about two-thirds met or exceeded executives’ expectations for revenue growth and cost savings.

Furthermore, strong majorities of respondents say the results of their initiatives met their expectations for speed, implementation cost, and gains in market share or efficiency.

Outcomes are not known for about 20 per cent of decisions aimed at revenue growth and 16 per cent of decisions aimed at cost savings.

What goes into a good decision. For starters, the survey emphasizes that good decision-making involves avoiding some basic mistakes. Decisions initiated and approved by the same person generate the worst financial results indicating the value of good discussion. And decisions made at companies without any strategic planning process are twice as likely to have generated extremely poor results as extremely good ones, more than a fifth of them generated revenue 75 per cent or more, below expectations. This may indicate an overall lack of rigour at these companies.

Furthermore, this survey highlights several elements of decision-making processes that are associated with good financial and operational outcomes, whether the goal is revenue growth or cost savings. One relatively straightforward finding is of strong relationships linking financial success, clarity about who is responsible for implementation, and the involvement of that individual in the decision-making process. Other important findings concern the types of analysis, discussion, and corporate politics that are associated with successful decision-making.

Analysis. We asked about 11 aspects of analysis. Four are associated with financial success, speed of project completion, cost of implementation, and improved efficiency or productivity:

Performing sensitivity analysis and creating financial-risk models

Including comparable situations from one’s own or the firm’s experience

Examining the risks of this project combined with the risks of other projects in the firm’s portfolio

Creating a detailed financial model of the decision.

The survey also indicates that including analogous situations from outside of the organization improves some outcomes, notably expected profitability and revenue growth.

Discussion. Respondents also describe the discussions surrounding their decisions. Of the eight potential discussion types we asked about, three are associated with financial success and with completion of the project in less time than expected:

Encouragement of participation on the basis of individuals’ skills or experiences

Reliance upon transparent approval criteria for the decision

Discussion of this decision as part of the firm’s whole portfolio of decisions.

Politics. Corporate politics has a bad name, but respondents suggest that the effect of politics depends on the nature of the tactics used. When executives involved in a decision were primarily concerned with its effect on their business unit rather than the overall organization, for example, financial results and all other measures of success were much likelier to fall far below expectations. Simply put, a silo mind-set hurts performance. In addition, slow project completion times are associated with selective information reporting.

However, the survey results suggest some types of informal alliance-building and horse-trading among executives, may help companies make good decisions. We asked about six ways that politics can affect decisions. Better-than-expected completion speed is associated with executives forming alliances to craft consensus for action across business units and with executives making exchanges across alliances to build support for different projects.

Finally, a word about CEO involvement: Respondents say CEOs tend to have a large role in instigating both the most and the least successful decisions. Perhaps this indicates CEOs are more likely than other executives to place or be able to secure approval of risky bets with big up-sides and down-sides. This result also suggests that thorough examination and devil’s advocacy will be particularly valuable when CEOs champion pet projects.

Looking ahead. Unlike the external risks that accompany most strategic initiatives, the analysis of a project, its discussion, and the management of the internal politics, lie entirely within the control of the top leadership team. Companies not using the best practices identified here should be able to improve their decisions simply by following these guidelines:

Pay particular attention to the risks of the project, examined through a detailed financial model, sensitivity analysis, and the relationship of those risks to the risks of other projects in the firm’s portfolio. Learning from past comparable situations also is beneficial.

Ensure that participants in the discussion about any decision are included on the basis of skills and experience, that decision criteria are transparent, and that the decision is discussed in relation to the organization’s other strategic decisions.

Put organizational goals ahead of business unit’s goals, and encourage efforts to build consensus across business units.

About the Contributors. Contributors to the development and analysis of this survey include Massimo Garbuio, a lecturer at the University of Sydney, Dan Lovallo, a professor at the university and a research fellow at the Institute of Management, Innovation and Organization at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as an adviser to McKinsey; and Patrick Viguerie, a director in McKinsey’s Atlanta office.

Notes Including intelligence about the likely reactions of current and of potential competitors, doing sensitivity analysis and financial models of risk, examining the risks of this projects combined with the risks of other company projects, studying multiple comparable cases to provide a reality check on financial analysis, creating a detailed financial model of the decision, analyzing the potential reaction of capital markets and analysis, studying comparable situations from both inside and outside the firm, including information that would contradict the investment hypothesis, and basing the decision largely on intuition.

Respondents were asked whether the discussion of this decision included the firm’s whole portfolio of decisions, the major uncertainties inherent in this decision, participants determined by their skills and experiences, transparent approval criteria, points of view contradictory to those of senior leaders, and a robust fact base. Also, they were asked whether the decision was made and implemented, at least, as quickly as it would have been by competitors.

The ‘I Before You’ Syndrome

A System can be defined as units or parts (sub-systems) that interact with each part or unit to function as a whole. The units or parts are designed in a manner that makes its operations optimal with less grid-lock and distractions or un-necessary overlapping that will create bottle necks or tardiness to function effectively so much so that all the units that make a whole will almost automatically fit into place to give one big system.

A well managed system institutionalized becomes so functional that every body will on entry into the system know what to do and how to do it without relying on brain wave or native intelligence or worst still rely on the ‘thoughts’ of the man on the spot to carry out official functions as was the case with our military detractors, extended by our ‘Mr. know all’ General OBJ even when we claim to be operating a democratic system of government.

Some of the features of a functional system lies in its ability to be self regulatory, detects deviations from set standards which it allows for setting with ease in the first place and setting of further standards, makes planning easy and effective and gives enough room for appraisal of operations and above all brings about efficiency and professionalism because of its effectiveness. A good functional system even allow for accurate projections to be made in all the areas of society’s needs with precision.

System is so central to human activities that no plan no matter how good it may look like can function in a dysfunctional system though a functional system is a result of good planning. So total is a system that it is easy to discern a functional society viding the system in place thus allowing things to done in a particular way with character as the common denominator.

Whether in governance or business or even in our private lives, its none application gives room for dislocations through faulty assumptions that sometimes are very costly and fatal resulting to instability and social vices. A good example is our inability to have a budget on time. Inter and intra governmental conflict in the country is also another sore point of the confused situation we are into.

For a very long while now you see and hear Nigerians lamenting either through write-ups in the newspapers or comments on TV station(s) the break down of system in Nigeria or lack of it claiming that that is why nothing functions here. Often comparison is drawn between Nigeria and Europe and United States of America, places where in their reckoning things work. They are absolutely right except that no one so far has posited why theirs is working and ours is not.

What we have not been able to do like others we often refer to is that we have allowed institutions that should be nurtured and grown into functional systems to be revolved around individuals who are holders of those offices at any point in time. Rather than allow institutions to make persons we allow persons to make the institutions, a direct opposite of what obtains in the places we see and refer to as better than ours.

Bastardization of institutions started with IBB regime when the civil service was dismantled all because one man wants to remain in power at all cost and the rules will not fast track it hence total demolition of all the structures built over time that has given a semblance of system to our governance. Ask Gen. Gowon the usefulness of the civil service and see what a good system it was before IBB and all the rapacious regimes that followed later including Obasanjos’.

Now we today are celebrating the judiciary as the last hope of the common man with some even suggesting rightly too as the only institution or arm of government functioning. The fact is that is about the only institution spared by all the military regimes that has ruled this country even though it is for selfish reasons. The judiciary managed to resist or escape the over-bearing tendencies of the military for reason known to them.

Painfully though is the fact that Nigerians in more than so many ways contributed immensely to the destruction of our institutions through direct collaboration and or complacency. The attitude we exhibited in enthroning ‘me’ instead of ‘we’ that has seen individuals more powerful or relevant than the institution they head is what we are all witnessing in the case of Nuhu Ribadu and the EFCC and the police as institution.

The role of the media on this saga, who was supposed to educate on issues of this nature, is to say the least, is appalling. There is the suggestion going by the write-ups in the media that Ribadu is being given some bad treatment thus insinuating he is bigger than EFCC or that without him there will be no EFCC. And it is a shame that the watch dog role the media is supposed to play in ensuring public office holders account for their stewardship which Nuhu Ribadu has failed to do so far is being questioned shamelessly. We did it during the regimes of IBB, Sani Abacha, even Obasanjo. But they all have left office and Nigeria remains. Some sanity please.

It is my opinion that Ribadu should go and answer to questions being raised over his stewardship at EFCC. He should also realize that he is a police man first before being Chairman of EFCC and most importantly him as a lawyer ought to know and he should know that the police are an institution with its rules and regulation. The police have its own system still functioning. If for any reason he finds it difficult to operate within that system he should honourably bow out. The people urging him on knows this and will deny him soon, very soon.

By the way where is DSP Ogugbuaja?