Monday, July 19, 2010


Enjoy this conversation between a N1000 and a N10 note (as narrated to be by a colleaque).

A One Thousand Naira note and a Ten Naira note arrived at the Central Bank to be retired. As they moved along the conveyor belt to be burnt, they struck up a conversation. The One Thousand Naira note reminiscenced about his travels all over the county: "I've had a pretty good life,you know ", he proclaimed ;"Why? I've been to Lagos, Port Harcourt ,Abuja and all the major cities; attended five-star performances at Muson Centre and Tera Kulture; danced at the hottest nite clubs all over the country; and dined regularly at the Moorhouse, Transcorp Hilton,Kingsize, Sheraton,St. Elmos,you name it !"

"Wow" said the Ten Naira note: "You've really had an exciting life!"

"So tell me," said the One Thousand note: "where have you been in your lifetime?"

The Ten Naira note replied: "Oh, I've been to the Apostolic Church, Methodist Church, the Redeemed Christian Church, Deeper Life Bible Church, Baptist Church, Anglican Church, The Roman Catholic Church, Household of God....."

The One Thousand Naira note exclaimed, "Hey,what's a Church ? !"

My dear friends,please let's help the N1,000 note know what a Church is.Beginning from next Sunday, endeavour to add at least one N1000 note to your Church offering.May God enrich us with the spirit of giving,in Jesus' name.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


                                                  Modenine's Da Vinci Mode truly deserves the Da Vinci analogy

I was back at my favorite Ojuelegba 'shops' to update myself on what's hot on the music scene,and as usual I was not dissappointed at all.After the commercial embarassment that was Unstoppable,Tuface Idibia appears to have found favour again as his latest single Implication is being played all over and can be found in most of the pirated 'selection' CDs in the market.But there's much more going on right now.

Paul Play,recuperating from a rather serious medical problem has a CD out.It's titled Hero, and I couldn't resist falling for the rnb ditty Delicious. Lord of Ajasa prefers to be simply Ajasa on his new work,where he teams up with Pasuma to produce another street rocker in Bo Se Nlo (Igboro) and the really goovy Movin On.It is key to always remember that Ajasa's Lefenuso opened the doors for Yoruba rap as a mainstream genre in this country.

Soulful crooner Obiwon will also now like us to know that he is really Obiora. So, Obiora Obiwon then !Despite his dexterity as a dancer (he easily rates with P Square and Sound Sultan) his new CD, The Rebirth is loaded with ballads and mid-tempo rnb stuff. Obviously you've heard Obi Mu O by now, but what an infectious ballad it is ! And where on this planet did he discover that immaculate femme voice, Guchi Young ?

Now to the big one.The last time I blogged about Modenine, it wasn't such a sweet tale - I was really pissed off with the whole Ruggedman beef thing, but what a turnaround this is. Modenine's Da Vinci Mode is a masterpiece well worthy of the Da Vinci analogy (Leonardo Da Vinci remains one of the world's greatest Artists ever).

I've always questioned our hiphop artistes why they have to load their CDs with 10,13,sometimes even 15 tracks when only 1 or at most 3 of the tracks will attract any meaningful public attention. Well, Da Vinci Mode has all of 22 tracks, but believe me this is some one hour or so of pure excitement.Every track stands out;every track has a life of its own.The production quality is second to none,even by yankee standards (even Will.I.Am's voice is on it,you see !),while mode takes on a variety of issues you can easily identify with.

Of course the obligatory collab with Tuface is there - We Dey Vex. But for the first time, Mode can boast of authentic commercial songs:What U Want,We At It Again and Black Rap Messiah will thrill anybody any day.In Okokomaiko he takes us through his growing up years,while admonishing his fellow stars on the responsibilties of mentoring in Tears of Pain.In Top Eleven,it is about the Super Eagles and Mode's greatest players ever,while Ali Baba,Julius Agwu and other comedians are made to 'face the music' in Taking Comedy Money.

Loke is all about ambition,while Blaise puts on an impressive rap performance on Down. See,Modenine even remembers to confess his sins and seek God's forgiveness on the track Soul To Keep.Isn't that cute ?

When Naeto C brought out Kini Big Deal,I knew people were going to sit up. Frankly, I could have paid double the price to buy this CD. Mode; now we're friends,hope we remain so.


                       This fascinating picture of DaGrin (left) 'dining' with other artistes is courtesy of lindaikeji's blog

If America's Billboard magazine were to be in Nigeria,their statistics for this outgoing week would have been something like this:

      No.1 Album - C.E.O - DaGrin
      No.1 Single - Pon Pon Pon - DaGrin
      Hottest Songs On Radio - Pon Pon Pon, - DaGrin
                                            - My Pain ( Tribute To DaGrin) - Sheyman and All Stars
                                            - Kondo - DaGrin
                                            - Ghetto Dreams - DaGrin

When I wrote in October last year on about the impressive quality of DaGrin's CEO album ,I very frankly never imagined that the work was going to be anywhere as commeecially successful as it turned out to be:Reason of course being that rap was still struggling to break into the big money spinning category here.But following on the footsteps of Lord of Ajasa's Lefenuso,DaGrin's Kondo and Pon Pon Pon broke the commercial barriers very quickly to shoot the guy - making only his second album (like 9ice,his debut was quiet) - to the top of the hiphop scene.

His sad demise should be a wake up call to some of the fundamental ills of this society.We have a very stinking self-centerred attitude to most things that we do.Did the person that parked that vehicle on
the highway ever spare a thought about the possible implications of his action ? I have also been quite bemused about how very little has been said,even by Laitan's sympathisers about this aspect of the whole sad event.In Nigeria,we take the little but most important things for granted,of course because most of us would do the same thing if faced with the same situation.Very sad.

It is also a wake up call to our artistes to temper their fast-paced lifestyles with moderation.It should be a blessing that God has opened the doors to immense wealth for many of them.Their response should not be to live like tommorrow will never come.Go to VI's upscale clubs at night and see how these guys gulp hennessy like water.Many artistes have been victims of road accidents in the past.Just a few months ago, Ruggedman survived one only by the grace of God.Sorry I'm not condemning you guys, but always remember that you have a whole life to live - or better still,remember you now have millions of fans who have become your family and who derive joy only in seeing you alive.

DaGrin's father has been exceptionally strong and composed in mourning.He should be cosoled by the immense positive legacy his son has left behind.The only time I remember the Nigerian music scene being enveloped with such unifying emotional atmosphere was when Fela passed on in 1997.It is not how well a man lives that counts,but how many lives he touched positively in his lifetime.May God grant DaGrin's family the fortitude to bear this loss.


Sunday, April 11, 2010


The first quarter of this year witnessed interesting reverse shifts in the directions of the money and capital markets.In less than three months,interest rates crashed to unbelievable levels (as low as 1%p.a for deposits),while the capital market, which secondary arm lost over 70% in the last two years, recouped a massive 25% (and is still gaining).From a narrow perspective,investors in the stock market would be happy for this much needed reprieve,but the regulators cannot afford to merely watch with a passive sense of satisfaction.As a matter of fact the government itself must look very seriously into the current situation and capitalise on the veritable opportunity it presents for creating a more efficient resource allocation mechanism.

I've always maintaned that despite the pains,the last meltdown afforded our policy initiators a golden opportunity to identify the weaknesses in our economic and financial structures.I find a lot of interesting analogies between the market surge of late 2007/early 2008 with the experience of the last two months.

First,the financial system was awash with cash way beyond what the Banks could cope with in terms of secured lending.Of course this was money raised in a large part from investors in the Capital Market.What did the Banks do with the money ? Lend to oil and gas projects and speculate in the capital market.Small and medium scale enterprises and other indegenous real sector ventures received only an intangible fraction of the Banks' loans.Secondly,there was a huge inflow of foreign short-term investment in the stock market,as a result of the boom in the financial markets in Europe and the US. Meanwhile the CBN's monetary policies on their part succeeded in keeping interest rates low and relatively stable.The stock market was overstretched, and prices rose beyond the fundamentals.Whereas what the capital market needed was long term investments,what it was actually thriving on was short-term speculative money.

Fast forward to Feb/March 2010,the CBN was again a major factor.With stricter regulatory risk management requirements,Banks have found themselves at crossroads in terms of who to lend to.Without margin loans and the largely mismatched oil and gas outlets,the common phrase these days is 'Banks are not lending'. If 'Banks are not lending',it is only natural to be curious about what they are doing with their customers' deposits.Secondly,I recall that the Nigerian meltdown was preceded by the European/American meltdown months earlier.Our stock market resurgence in 2010 was interestingly also preceded by the recovery of the foreign markets.Simple logic suggests that foreign speculative money is finding its way back into our stock market.It is not a crime,and we may therefore be tempted to conclude that the Nigerian stock market is having its second chance at 'hot' money.But have we learnt any lessons from the unpalatable outcome of the last experience ? More importantly,is the economy now better structured to derive tangible and lasting benefits from this liquidity situation?

We can only truly say the capital market has recoverred when the primary market is revived and we start seeing fully subscribed Public Offers again.That will only happen if the recovery in the secondary market is maintained and kept stable.The major test, which the market failed woefully in 2007, was knowing when to apply the breaks.After over 30% leap in a little over three months,do we continue flying,running,walking or crawling ? For me,any of the four options is welcome,but what the market cannot afford in the next few years is another massive crash.

One point to note is that our capital market has its limits in terms of available instruments at any point in time.If every avalaible cash in the system is pushed into the stock market,there will be a problem.If too little,there will also be a problem. At the macro-economic level,there is clearly a resource allocation problem in the country.Key economic drivers in the manufacturing,agriculture and small-scale sectors are begging for funding,yet Banks and the secondary market are awash with 'excess' liquidity.This has been the pattern for years,so let's not trivialise it by ascribing it to 'Sanusi's policies'.

The CBN,SEC and NSE can only do so much if the fundamental economic structures are not put in place to enable an efficient and development-oriented resource allocation process in Nigeria.The initiative therefore has to come from the Government at the centre,and the current state of both the money and capital markets presents a veritable opportunity to start addressing this issue.

(Photo shows Finance Minister Olusegun Aganga)

Monday, April 5, 2010


Over the last one month I've been made to feel like a celebrity sort of, simply because I told television viewers in early January what I thought was very obvious - that the Nigerian Stock Market will rebound during the quarter.By end of March the NSE Index had notched up 25 % and didn't seem to be relaxing at all,and everybody suddenly thinks I'm the nostrademus. Am I flatterd ? Big time ! Am I impressed ? No !

Well,it's possible that I'm crying over spilt milk.In early march,when the gain hit 14%, I took the decision to sell down all my short-term portfolios irrespective of the fact that things were still looking up.That decision of course means I have missed out of the extra 10% that followed,but I have no regrets whatsoever.Any human being that makes the same mistake twice must have to search his soul thoroughly.

In 2008 the stock market crashed flat on our faces, and is only just reviving after two very painful years. What caused it ? Did we learn anything from that experience ? Well I'm afraid many of us do not seem to have learnt any lessons at all.In 2006/2007/early 2008 the market was awash with liquidity - ie hot cash - from the banks,institutionals and foreign speculators.That is precisely the same situation we have found ourselves in today.Interest rates have crashed miserably in the money market and in reaction,depositors are moving their funds massively from the banks to the stock market.

In early 2008 the market was so enveloped with the 'greed' factor that we simply did not know when to apply the breaks - until of course the vehicle crashed ! Regretably that is the same situation that we are pushing ourselves into today."The money is there, just buy for me - at any price !". In December most stocks were technically underpriced;today many are already over the roof,and still no signs of restraint ! It is so sweet to watch your investments grow,but always remember the pains that come when you lose - and always remember that in the stock market,what goes up will always come down (and vice versa).

Now to all my friends who have been asking me for another 'big prediction': The market is still good for investments,but at this point resist the urge to buy at significantly higher prices.The market urgently needs to cool off,even if for a few days or weeks - it's in our own interest.Let's keep things stable.


                                                                               That's Debo in the middle

About ten years ago when I was much younger and still very 'adventurous', the University of Lagos campus was like a second home ( for reasons I'm sure should be pretty obvious ! ) One positve fallout though of that phase of my life was my coming in contact with a certain young man named Adebowale Folorunsho,then a student of Architecture at the university.He was very passionate about his then fledging campus magazine, Drag On,and through him I met his other partners in progress ;Mila,Mayowa and much later the'oyinbo man' Michael Kotun who seemed even more passionate about the project than Debo himself.

For a while I enjoyed very close and mutually fulfilling comraderie with Debo and his crew,and I was privileged to witness the metamorhosis of the magazine from Drag On to The Applause,what has now become one of the biggest brands in campus journalism in Nigeria - "the international magazine of the Nigerian youth".It was also through the motivation I got from the Applause guys that I was able to finally actualise the publication of my own magazine Style Africa,a project that I had been planning for over five years !

Unfortunately, higher responsibilities at the Bank where I worked meant I had less and less time to spend with my friends,and eventually we completely lost contact.That notwithstanding, I've always bought every edition of the magazine whenever I see one, and a few weeks ago,while at Terra Kulture I saw the latest edition of the magazine and like you will expect,snapped it up immediately (and by the way, I received a much cherished autograph from Prof Wole Soyinka on the same day ! ) .It turned out that the edition was a special issue of the magazine.And you really didn't need to be told:The layout was splendid;the colours simply enticing.The lead story was on Tuface Idibia.The interview was done in the states ( I mean US,not Abia ! ),and on the cover was a remarkable photo of Tuface and Mary J Blige together.

Debo's message was very moving, and I'm very happy for him.Apparently he and Michael are now in-laws which makes the story even more exciting.It's also great to know that the respected journalist Femi Oke will also teem up with The Applause crew.Surely the sky must be the limit for these guys.Next time you meet a bald-headed twenty-something year old man,you better take him very serious.Debo is a genius.
(Photo courtesy TINU)


I've heard many of my friends comment on how beautiful Sola Salako is,and they always find it strange that I don't seem to be as excited as they are whenever the topic comes up.And I will say to them,'if you are so excited about Sola now,what would you have done if you had seen the Sola at our NYSC camp years ago,the indefatigable platoon commander (better believe it) with the curves so definitive even with the heavy khaki apparel !' .Indeed Sola must be the most beautiful Miss Nigeria Nigeria never had ! But physical beauty is only just one of the fascinating aspects of Sola's person.

Some years ago I was compelled to buy a particular newspaper every week just to read Sola's very courageous column on consumer protection.And I must say I was very dissappointed when that column was rested .That dissappointment was however  assuaged a few weeks ago when par coincidence I happened to find myself watching LTV at about midnight,and found Laolu Akins,Fatai Rollig Dollar and others provocking sweet nostalgia as they recollected the glorious musical pedigree of  Lagos.The sheer depth and graphic details of the events were the reasons I found myself unconsciously glued to my seat for about an hour,entirely forgetting that I was actually searching for another programme before being 'arrested'.Subsequent editions have been no less interesting.

I have become a big fan of the programme, Bimbo - Sola Connect ever since.I may not know much about Bimbo Manuel other than his acting,but I do appreciate his contributions.For those of us with Las Gidi passport,this programme is an essential.
(Photo courtesy sunnewsonline.)