Jul 28, 2007

Umbrella Remix - Ebutte Meta

Time was COB on a Friday Evening. I was in my car driving to the island for a meet. Listening to my radio and tuned in to 96.9 Cool FM, Olisa was trying his best to keep me in the TGIF mood. After some nice Jams, he slipped in Rihanna's Umbrella. Now I must say I was already getting tired of that song, I had heard it so many times and I easily get tired of songs. Anyway, I decided to listen. When it was about to end and the soundtrack was fading out, Olisa started playing it again. I was like "What wrong with this guy?" and was about changing the station when I heard the rap ... "Nah, that's no Jay Z's rap! Maybe it's a remix", I thought, I listened further when suddenly, I started hearing familiar places ... "Abuja, Calabar, Anambra ... Niger, and finally Ebute Meta, meta, meta, eh, eh, eh" all sang by a male singer. Man, was I amused? Even though I had got to my destination, I waited in my car and listened until it ended. After that, I was all thoughts. That song sounded more interesting than the original version - maybe because I'm from Naija myself.

I did some investigation and I discovered Banky. Banky is a young Nigerian male vocalist who recently won the Grand Prize, R&B category of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest with his song "My Regret" (here). He and a group of guys were just having fun in the studios and decided to record a Naija version of Rihanna's Umbrella. Not a commercial thing, but it was good. I searched all over for that song and finally found it on youtube. I've posted it here. Listen and let me know your thoughts.

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Jul 16, 2007

Open Lecture to Leaders - The National Pledge

I pledge to Nigeria my country

Pledge [verb] - promise solemnly or agree to do or refrain from doing something
Thou shall keep this promise which thou makest, no matter the opposition, no matter how much money thou art offered, or how much power thou seeks to acquire.

To be faithful, loyal and honest
Faithful [adjective] - steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant:
Loyal [adjective] - faithful to one's sovereign, government, or state:
Thou shall not backstab, thou shal not witchhunt Atiku or Pedro, thou shall not betray Obasanjo or Tinubu, thou must all work together for thy nations good.
Honest [adjective] - honorable in principles, intentions, and actions; upright and fair:
Thou shall be honest in all thy dealings, thou shall allocate contracts honestly, thou shall disburse funds in an honest manner

To serve Nigeria with all my strength
Serve [verb] - to act as a servant
Thou shall first be a servant before thou shall be considered a leader. Thou shall lead by example.
Strength [noun] - physical energy or intensity
Thou shall use all within thy power to make thy country a better place for the rich, poor and the middle class (even though middle class is almost non-existent)

To defend her unity
Defend [verb] - to ward off attack from; guard against assault or injury
Thou should understand that the greatest attack comes from the within, the treasury looters, "chop and go" politicians, ... thou shalt defend thy country from them all

And uphold her honor and glory
Uphold [verb] - to support or defend, as against opposition or criticism:
Thou shall make this thy greatest task, for thy Country Nigeria has very little honor and glory. Thou shall use all avenues to increase her honor and glory, and thou shall uphold them.

So help me God
Thou shalt include thy God in thy decisions. Thou shall fear God for it was he who put thee in thy position.

Thou shall always remember these laws and put them into practice. Nigeria has a great future.

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Jul 3, 2007

Should I Invest In HYIPs?

This article is part of a Finance series (here) I started a while ago. Although it's not sequential with the rest, it has become necessary that I share some things about this subject. Within the past few months I've received dozens of phone calls, some from friends I haven't heard from in a long while and one from someone I have never even met asking for my advice and opinion. Lots of people seem to think I'm an authority in this regard. I'll not confirm that notion, but I'll not deny it either. Hope you gain some things as you read, and you'll invest wiser and safer.
Today, the average Nigerian has become investment savvy. He is no longer satisfied with keeping his money in the banks, and he has realized the futility of sticking to a monthly salary. A number have gone ahead to train themselves in operating such investment vehicles as Stocks, Mutual Funds, Real Estate and Foreign Exchange. Everybody wants to learn how to invest, and everybody wants to invest. So some professional money managers took advantage of the situation, and created several investment programs, collecting money from investors and paying them returns on their investment. Very soon, lots of these investment programs sprung up, both genuine and non-genuine, and as always, it is difficult to distinguish the genuine ones from the non-genuine. Some of these programs have been around for years, some are months old and some are still in the initiation process. They are commonly known as HYIPs (High Yield Investment Programs), and their history goes a long way.

Today, a typical HYIP will promise you high returns on your investments with them - much higher than you'll get if you save in a bank. They all claim to invest your money in a number of things ranging from Oil and Gas, Foreign Exchange, Gold, Precious Metals and Stocks. They have no publicly available "Balance Sheet" or "Earnings Report" and so no one knows exactly how true their claim is. The important thing to most people is that they deliver the returns promised, at least to a large extent, and so everyone is happy.

The HYIPs on ground presently can be categorised into three. Those who promise monthly returns on investment eg. Nospetco, WealthZone, UpHenry, etc; those who promise a one time payment after several operational weeks Eg, Treasure Line, Wealth Solution, etc; and those who promise increasing returns every operational week for a particular number of operational weeks. Eg Pennywise, Cash Seed, etc. Operational weeks vary from 10 working days to 20 and some might even last longer, and pay-off varies by percentage. I won't go into the nitty-gritty of the operations of these HYIPs. A few bloggers have already written extensive posts and you can easily get any information you need. If however you need more information, you can contact me directly and I'll point you in some right directions.

I was prompted to write this article by an event which happened some time ago. The EFCC had sent out a notice to all banks which are used by HYIPs to put a stop order on their accounts, while they carried out investigations into the operations of these HYIPs. Many people all over the country were nervous and hearts were in mouths for a few days. A friend of mine could not eat well because he had borrowed most of the money he invested into these HYIPs. My phone rang dozens of times with people asking, "How Far?, has EFCC cleared .... (and they would mention the name of one of the HYIPs)?". Fortunately, the accounts were reverted back to status quo within a few days and many people could breathe freely again. But the damage had been done. People began to doubt. A lot of my friends who were affected swore never again to invest in these HYIPs to save themselves the agony and anguish they had to go through. I have therefore put together "The Rules of HYIP Investment". If you must invest in HYIPs, follow these rules and your risk will be reduced to a minimum.
  1. Never invest more than you can afford to lose.
    Whatever you choose to invest, consider what will happen if you lose it. If losing it will make you catch hypertension or something similar, then reduce it to something you won't miss if you lose out. This is the most important rule.
  2. Get in (and out) early.
    For the HYIPs which promise the highest of returns, the longer the HYIP has been around, the greater the probability that they'll soon go down. Don't waste time making your decisions and waiting to see if people are actually receiving returns. If you're going in, go in early, collect your proceeds and get out quickly.
  3. Diversify.
    Spread your investments over various HYIPs. That way, if one goes down and one performs, the returns easily cover your losses. Don't put all your money into one HYIP no matter how attractive it seems. Think of what might happen if the HYIP suddenly goes down.
  4. Secure your returns.
    Don't reinvest your returns into the same HYIP. Transfer your returns immediately into more stable investments like Stocks, Mutual Funds and Real Estate. That way you're covered if something happens collectively to all the HYIPs.
Also note: The higher the returns, the higher the risk. The shorter the investment term, the higher the risk. So, if you're diversifying, balance your investment across both risky and less risky HYIPs. Don't diversify by spreading all your money across the very risky HYIPs.

I do not guarantee that you won't lose. Investing in HYIPs will always be risky. There is no way to fully eliminate the risk. No matter how stable a HYIP seems, there is still an element of risk. If you are averse to taking risks, then these HYIPs are not for you. Invest in safer and more secure investments which will allow you to sleep at night, and whatever happens don't let sentiments determine your investments. Better to be safe than sorry. However, if you're the risk taking type, with some money that you won't miss if you lose, then by all means you can go ahead and invest. You might be lucky, many have been.

Wishing you luck in your continued quest for Financial Freedom.

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