Saturday Sun Newspaper pg 33 featured

Check out Saturday Sun’s Double Page Interview on CFA

A little over a month ago, I was informed that I will be interviewed in the Sun Newspaper, Tony Ogaga was the gentle man penciled to anchor the interview. He did a good job asking some deep interesting questions that brought out the best for this interview.

By the way, I was wrongly addressed as Chinedu instead of Chukwuemeka which by the way is not entirely bad because Chinedu has a great meaning – God is leading CFA 🙂

Below is the full interview as published in The Sun precisely on Pages 33 & 34:

When passion and vision drive you, you’re like a moving train – Agbata, founder, ICT with CFA

In 2009, Chinedu Fred Agbata Jnr. (aka CFA), had everything going for him. The father of three had just resigned from one of Nigeria’s biggest telecoms companies and started his own business, an upstart dedicated to training IT professionals. His fledg­ling venture was gradually building momentum and money was coming in trick­les but Chinedu wanted more!

And then came tempta­tion he could not resist; an opportunity to make huge and quick turn-over in an Oil & Gas deal. In a chat with,TONY OGAGA ER­HARIEFE, Agbata says he swallowed the juicy bait hook, line and sinker and by the time the scales fell off his eyes a year and six months later, he had lost his entire savings running into millions of naira, his business was crippled and he was stark broke. He also spoke on how he got back on his feet and the lessons he learnt.

Excerpts…

“I started out in 2009 on the Inter­net after I lost a business and was extremely broke. Before then I was quite buoyant and people were able to rent houses and buy cars working for me.

“When I left the telecoms industry, I started a training company but six months later, I met a guy who introduced me to Oil & Gas so I lost focus and abandoned my vision. One year and six months lat­er, I lost everything I had worked for all my life; I lost every penny. My wife was pregnant with our first child and I was stark broke and all this was happening just a day before my birthday!”

Agbata says his biggest error was as­suming that because he was successful as a sales person in the telecoms industry, he would automatically succeed in his busi­ness.

“I beautified my office to world class standard without a world-class business idea. However, I was not really doing bad­ly until the day I met the guy who derailed me. The money was good and the figures were fantastic so I took the plunge. I did not think of the risk so I got burnt.”

Hope

“Then I had already seen some of my friends making waves on the internet so I said to myself, ‘Chinedu, you’re not go­ing to be in a hurry to get a job. You’re just 30, so you have a lot of time on your hands. You could fool around for another five years and if it doesn’t work, you’d go get a job.’ So, I started out learning.

Commenting on the need for brand­ing on the Internet, Agbata continued: “When I made the decision to start blog­ging, I wanted to have a brand because I realised that the internet was over­crowded, so I needed to brand myself by doing something that would distinguish me from every other person and then I started brain storming and that was how CFA was born. It means Conditions For Accomplishment which is my personal mantra derived from my initials.”

He says his first port of call were por­tals that dealt with how to make money on the Internet. He was on Google re­searching and developed his first blog himself from the scratch.

“Today, I have built over 100 websites and nobody taught me. Anyone can learn if you are serious. I have trained thou­sands and all this knowledge I acquired by researching, reading, and practicing. I did it over and over again till I got it right.

“That was when I discovered blog­ging and I started developing myself. The secret I discovered was that for you to be an authority in any field, you must invest in the right content and package it.

“So, I kept writing and blogging and I started getting speaking engagements. I was not just blogging, I was also market­ing. I would blog and share on social me­dia and blackberry. I shared on every so­cial media platform and just kept going. I was sharing and pumping content online and what was more, I was consistent.

“I was blogging about how I started my business with no money but with a passion to share. And mind you, I wasn’t a trained writer, so you don’t have to be a professional to blog. From there people started reaching out to me. I was consist­ent, so I got better. And now I have two books published. I have tons of content online. In fact, I am a moving library. I can churn out five books today if I want to and the reason is because I have amassed so much content.

“I have discovered modern tools that will help whoever wants to develop con­tent in a very easy way. So, you don’t have to look at content development as rocket science. The point is that if you want to be an authority in today’s world, you must have content that will sell you. What sells your products is your ability to communicate that in terms of the con­tent you generate and how you share it.”

Digital culture trainings

“I started with an Australia-based company as their Nigerian partner. We were training small businesses. My pas­sion has always been on SMEs because I understand that they are the drivers of any economy; if we want to drive the Ni­gerian economy, then we must focus on SMEs. “Over the years we have trained countless small businesses on our Digital Culture Trainings. We have discovered that people have gadgets, phones and de­vices but they have not developed a digi­tal culture. They just carry big devises around that they can’t manage.

“Consequently, our training is fo­cussed on entre­preneurs, business owners and managers who want to evolve a new way of using these gadgets and devises; that is the gap we are trying to fill.”

Five years down the road, how has the journey been?

It’s been challenging but when vision drives you, you’re like a moving train; nothing can stop you. At some point, when things were so rough, my close family members called me and said to me, ‘guy, get serious and stop fooling around, go get a job, what the hell are you doing with your life?’

“There were some days my family would go without food but I just knew that there was a vacuum I was feeling and all I needed was to be consistent and re­main focussed. It’s been tough and chal­lenging, but it’s been highly rewarding.

Next level

Five years later, has he broken even?

“You have to decide what you want. When I made the decision to build a personal brand, I told myself that mon­ey would come last so we are making enough money to sustain us as a small business. We are working on growing but we are sustainable as a small business.

“But now we are moving to the next level and that is why we want to monetise our platforms by looking for partners that will work with us to further educate Ni­gerians to keep this programme going; that is the level we are at now.”

What government can do:

“Government must strive to create protectionist policies. If a foreign business is coming into Nige­ria to invest in the technology space, it should be mandatory that Nigerians own a certain percentage of such busi­nesses because we are gradually enter­ing a second level of colonialism which I call technology colonialism. We must understand that he who pays the piper dictates the tune so if we allow them to control everything in technology, we wouldn’t be doing ourselves any good.”

To drive home his point, he adds em­phatically: “As a Nigerian, you can’t own a company in Ghana 100 per cent. And if you must, you must invest at least $300, 000 otherwise a Ghanaian must be on your board. The message to govern­ment is that it must deepen local content and that is what is lacking here. We want to see that happen so that Nigerian firms can compete. We are happy that a lot of technology entrepreneurs including my­self are not waiting for government; we are forging ahead because we know that the future is bright for Nigeria.”

Secret of success

Having come thus far, Agbata shares his success secrets: “Selfless service. I want everybody reading this to know that in order to succeed; you must develop a culture of adding value and selfless ser­vice. One of my secret is that if I want to break into a particular organisation, be­cause I know they already have consult­ants, what I do is offer pro bono service.

“What that does for me is that even though I may not get paid initially, I have their brand rubbing off on me and that adds value to my brand. I don’t put finan­cial gains first; I am a man driven by a bigger philosophy.”

Management philosophy

“My management philosophy is peo­ple. People tell me that partnerships don’t work but I beg to disagree. The success that of many big businesses like Google, Microsoft or Apple are products of part­nerships. So partnerships are critical.

“So, my first stop is people; I love working with people and investing in people. I love working with people who are smarter than I am. Outwardly you see CFA but behind CFA are people who can deliver value. Hence my greatest philos­ophy as a manager is to invest in people, trust in them and allow them to grow.

Dreams

“Basically, we are aspiring to be an ICT conglomerate with investments in five areas including agriculture, IT, enter­tainment, education and healthcare. Our focus will be how technology can drive these sectors.

“My dream in the next five years when I will be 40 is to be a positive role model for Nigerian youths. I won’t sell happi­ness to the youths based on hard drugs or illicit sex, but happiness based on finding out their potential, purpose and then in­spire them to work hard work to achieve their dreams.

Most importantly, I want to be influen­tial to the extent of hobnobbing with Af­rican presidents and having them as my personal friends that I could talk to at just a call. As simple as it sounds, I have set it as a goal and I will achieve it.”

Saturday Sun Newspaper pg 33

Saturday Sun Newspaper pg 34

CFA-Interview

Transcript of Channels TV Interview with CFA on Developments in ICT (part 3)

Harriet: Recently the stock exchange also, they became very very ICT conscious, they’ve changed their form of trading to the new one they have extreme-trading and then they now have x-alert you know so many things that so many Government parastatal are beginning to key into boosting their various arms with ICT where do you see that putting us in the next couple of years especially on the technology map.

  • CFA: Well, the fact remains that every sector in the society today need one form of technology or the other to function effectively so the more we adapt to it the more, I mean corruption can be stamped out maybe not very easily but very swiftly with ICT a lot of things that people say is just that if there’s no political will and there’s no lead if we keep at this pace and we do it genuinely then we’ll see a lot of change happening the issue of ghost worker, the issue of corruption the issue of these a lot of things. You know the beauty about ICT is that it leaves a trace so it means that if it’s one of the system and then somebody comes and manipulate the system all you need to do is bring the creator of the system or somebody with a higher skill to find out who at what time did what and it’s done leave all the stories. With ICT a lot can happen. Security I mean I Lagos for example, how can you secure 18 million people without technology? How would you want to do it? If you like put one Policeman in one street how many things can he do? So you need street cameras, a lot of things that you’ll begin to think about that is based on technology so if we keep at this pace, of course there is a brighter Nigeria. But a lot needs to happen in terms of investment, sensitization, I mean for the businesses out there you must understand something. If you are an expert in a particular trade and then you refuse to adapt to the internet. the internet is a no man’s world as it were so if the expert refuses to take his or her position, and a quack takes the position because it’s a make believe world, there’s a possibility that the quack will now be regarded as the expert as long as the quack can play the game but of course when it comes to delivery then the quack might mess up but then on the onset people will begin to go to the quack because why that’s who they can see He’s the one in their face so with the internet as a business owner you have to be in the face of your potential client that’s the fastest way for you to get clients today so we’ve not seen anything yet both in terms of the Government in fact we’ve not seen anything yet if not for the resistance to change a lot more will happen a lot more will still happen.

Harriet: Now you mentioned the social media at the start of this conversation Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest of it. How can a business already trying to promote itself we already have them online and all but how can they use social media to properly really put themselves in the face of consumers?

  • CFA: Well, first things first is that social media gives you an opportunity to position yourself and to sell yourself as an expert or as a business to be, meet or to deal with in that industry. So with social media what you need to think about is the kind of content you pass out that’s the first thing. We are all on social media today because of content. It’s more or less content, content of your friends, of your social circle, content of pictures, photos, that’s really what it’s all about. Of course what you need to do as a small business owner or as a business owner is about content if you look at the big people, the big players in the industry who are pushing out contents, content about their business, the value that they believe they will add to their clients. So for business owners the very first thing to do is contents. Find a way or do your best to generate as much positive content as you can and then push it online and you have to be consistent about it. Now because it’s a very rowdy world you just need to find a way to be unique about it.

Harriet: But then how can they in a bid to carve a niche for themselves in this very rowdy cyber space, how can they make sure that they don’t get side-tracked?

  • CFA: That’s why they need to start with a goal. What is their goal of being on social media, if their goal is to get clients then they stick to their goal, if their goal is to sell their brands then they stick to their goal. It depends on what their goal is, it depends on what their motives and expected outcome is. For some people, for example if a Government institution is on social media they are not there to sell as it were, they are there to increase their brand as an entity or as the overall brand of the Government. So it depends on what the goal is but it’s just a process and the process is that you need to communicate and interact with people. You need to watch out for and that’s what is called online brand reputation. You need to watch out for what is being said about your brand, and then how to tackle it quickly then you need to be very very conscious about what your team especially for multi-nationals and some very big companies. You need to be very careful about what your staff and your team members are saying about your business online because embarrassing things could be leaked out you’ll now start doing damage control and that’s one thing that we must all understand is that there will come a time when damage control will become necessary maybe not your fault, maybe your fault, something just happens that has to do with your brand or your business or your person then there’s need for damage control so you just have to be ready. Jesse Jackson had his account hacked and then nude images were posted, funny images were posted and he came out and issued a press release that it wasn’t him now the truth of the matter is that that is a damage control process the point is that Jesse Jackson’s facebook account released images that are not worthy of his person. So whatever followed is damage control. At every point in time a business must understand that a need for damage control might arise and must be ready

Harriet: What are the other major risks involved in IT applications to business, I know you’ve mentioned some of them already but could you just really let’s really talk about it as you said there’s an advantage and there’s also a disadvantage but sometimes I feel the disadvantages are more.

  • CFA: Well, I think there are disadvantages I’ll be the first to admit, disadvantages of security, disadvantages of a lot of things

Harriet: What of impersonation because you know you have people who hack this accounts so I could probably or not me so somebody could probably hack into your account and pose to be a very big brand name and promise that we can deliver this to you and all the rest for instance because am comfortable buying from that brand so I might not necessarily say let me see the product first before I pay for it I might just go right ahead and pay you know and at the end of the day it’s not the company that I usually do business with that I’ve done business with.

  • CFA: Well, you see the issues you’re raising are the issues you can’t rule out it happens every now and then even the big companies out there experience data breech I mean yahoo with all their security experts every now and then smart guys get to hack into their system and wreak havoc expose people’s passwords so it happens security is the number one challenge everybody has when it comes to the use of technology security. You know I mentioned something about the internet of things and honestly it’s going to affect businesses too it’s not just going to be individuals. Today you have smart offices, you have digital offices, you have offices that everything is controlled you have smart television sets.

Recently, a fridge was used to send spam messages not a laptop, a refrigerator was used to send spam messages because you see everything connected to the internet will have a unique IP and everybody can exploit that so the number one thing as a business to prevent issues is password. What kind of password do you use both on the enterprise or on the individual level you must as a matter of policy ensure that every single member of your team use very secure passwords. Do you know or would you believe that the most common password is the word password worldwide. In 2013 the most common used password is PASSWORD so any smart hacker can because you know

Harriet: It doesn’t take a smart hacker to know that one, it doesn’t I mean anybody can know that the person can probably use password or date of birth or the person’s first name.

  • CFA: And so what you just do is go to facebook, search for the person’s name, if you’re lucky you can get the person’s date of birth and you can just try it out some people use their place of birth. Now this are very simple and that’s why you must be smart when you do this are very simple ways I mean that’s why we talked about ethical hacking I mean ethical hacking is allowed as long as long as you follow the process and you report the steps that you followed.

Harriet: Ok so how can these risks be reduced? Is there any way? Because it seems as if it’s such a huge thing to be playing with and you wonder if the risk can be reduced in anyway.

  • CFA: Ok well, again there’s a foreign tool that I use it’s so sad that it’s a foreign tool it’s called lastpass.com it’s free, it’s both for the individual and the enterprise levels that can be used so it means that within your organization nobody is allowed to write out passwords or to save passwords on an excel sheet. Passwords can be shared encrypted electronically. Passwords really really is the first step when it comes to security, there are other things like the kind of coding those are more technical details. One of the things that make people scared of adapting technology or using the internet is that they heard the issue of oh my friend tried this and my friend’s account was hacked or my friend’s ATM was used so I don’t want to touch ATM but you see those things happened because of carelessness. You give people the lead way so the very first thing you must be conscious of your password and then you must also be conscious about the kind of websites you visit. A lot of website share malware so malware simply drops a malware on your system everything you type, your banking information everything comes to my system and that can happen replicated to about a thousand systems at the same time the same very second just write a code and just send and the code does the work for you so you must be careful about the website you visit because that’s where it starts from the website you visit so the website, it drops on a system, it’s very simple, you have a large network of computers and I am for example the hacker and am somewhere so I get access to one of the computers I just need to find a loophole and I just can have access to every single 1000 of the computers on the network

Harriet: So business is who should they be talking to, to make sure that this loopholes are plugged at least if not totally plugged three quarter of it should be plugged so that they don’t begin to lose their customers’ information and in the process lose your customers’ trust.

  • CFA: That is one big risk about social banking and all the ITT banking that we are all adapting that’s the truth you know. Just imagine what will happen if somebody is able to break in and just create it’s going to be huge. So what they should do is they should today you have, that’s why I told you about ethical hacking. The number of youths involved, getting trained in this is growing. I mean in 2012 Nigerian came 3rd in the worldwide hackers’ competition.

Harriet: There’s actually a competition for hackers?

  • CFA: Yes, there is. And again that’s why there need to be a carefully thought out process. For example, I’m not encouraging this, you get a young guy who is sending scam and then you send him to prison you are not doing the right thing, yes, I mean that’s what they do in the US. Keep this guy, find a way to fix him and find out what is wrong with him. Fix him and take this guy somewhere if it’s the SSS or wherever and let this guy invest because if you take and go and waste him away, you are wasting yourself because guess what, the hackers are even more smarter, they are more daring, they don’t sleep night and day and their goal is where is the next havoc that we can wreck. Power plants can be taken electronically, cars can be taken electronically, a lot can happen electronically so we just need to have a cyber-security mindset that is positive we must be ready for it, I mean today most of the cars are becoming more electronic so it means that I can actually find a way to find the code of a car and then do some stuff and then begin to control where the car is going to that’s a possibility you know, a lot can happen but again as a nation all we need to do is just sit up and then say a lot of our people are moving this way how can we ensure that this mass of people are protected that’s very critical otherwise it just takes a group of I mean there’s a group called the serian cyber-army. I mean they are wreaking havoc I mean twitter, facebook, they hack accounts any time they want just to get back at whoever they want to get back to we must understand that it is our onus as a people and as a Government to enjoy technology but understand the risk and find a way to ameliorate the risk cause the risk are there, we can’t rule that out.

Harriet: Well, thank you so much Fred for joining us on the program this morning it’s been an insightful and enlightening conversation thank you so much.

  • CFA: Thank you so much.

Harriet: Well I’ve been speaking with an ICT social media expert Fred Apata and we’ve been looking at leveraging on ICT to improve business development and as I said the conversation has been quite enlightening. I’ll like to thank Chinelo for sending in her tweet but we are unable to read it owing to time constraints but hopefully we’ll read the next one that she’s sending. Well. That’s the program for today, the last one for the week. Thank you so much for watching. I’m Harriet Agbeni.

Click to Read part 1 and part 2 of CFA’s Interview on Channels TV.

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CFA-Interview

Transcript of Channels TV Interview with CFA on Developments in ICT (part 2)

The transcript of CFA’s interview on Channels TV Business Morning show is in 3 parts. Click here to read the part 1 of the interview.

Harriet: Let’s quantify this in terms of how much this contributes to the economy. How much money do they make, can it be quantified to what a traditional business owner will make for instance?

  • CFA: Well, not all at the moment. I know that the e-commerce chops combined they’ve attracted an investment of close to $200 million, the e-commerce shop combined, the major ones, they’ve done that and I know that the guys called IROKO, I think the last one they raised is about $6 million. It’s growing, a lot of seed capital is growing. A South African company “88mp” just launched and they are giving seed capitals of between $10,000 – $100,000. We must understand that it has to happen in phases. The phase where we are now are the phase where ideas have to be incubated, some of the ideas have to be accelerated and made commercial, so we should not expect to begin to see the commercial gains immediately as a nation, that is the truth. If you look at the history of the way silicon-valley, that’s the same way it started, it started with a group of people fiddling with ideas, fiddling with ideas. I mean, I heard live from the man Steve Wozniak how for 10 years they were struggling, I mean they were struggling, they were struggling until the break came. He talked about the struggling period. The traditional businesses yes are still ahead but I can tell you the e-commerce shops are doing some wonders. They are doing some crazy figures, crazy figures that you will not even imagine. My friend who launched a small, very young e-commerce shop not like the big guys, what we know He’s making about a million monthly

Harriet: Dollars or Naira

  • CFA: Naira, But when I say small I mean small, I mean He just started it small no big name, I mean the other guys have foreign backers and partners but he’s strictly local 100% local and he’s making about a million so he’s not doing badly but again if he tells you what has gone into it, it’s quite huge. Take for example, a South African firm investing $10 million in a start-up firm. The first thing he wants to do is to get the right programmers. So what does he do, he’s willing to pay what the average guys here cannot pay. He goes there and he poaches the good programmers so what you are left with are guys who are growing. What do you do? They are given new access, the younger player need to start training your own programmer it’s going to cost money so everything is going to take a process. We need the right skill, we need to grow the skill, that’s why Government is key. They have to start from the schools. I went to a University in Nigeria unfortunately, I was trained to get a job that was the outlook cause there was nothing like training me to become an Entrepreneur so we need to change people’s mindset, job creation. Now the thing about ICT is that ICT in as much as it will create jobs it will cause some certain jobs to be redundant and become useless more or less. So, if somebody wants to be this kind of professional, you must look at 5 – 10years now, will this profession be relevant? Will it be something ICT will not make redundant? Many years ago there used to be this people they used to call people who write short-hand I remember those people those days they were very good people and very proud of their profession back in the day but today I mean who…. So, that’s one of the things about technology and many more will happen.

Harriet: Ok, So let me just ask Fred, most of these businesses who are online they need funds. You’ve mentioned that a couple of partners either foreign or domestic actually give funds for such companies to start and then the traditional business owner seems to always get more funds than the companies who go online

  • CFA: Well, again it’s a structure now let me say this actually at the moment now, You have more foreign venture capitalists than local. So, actually the people controlling and investing in this space is more foreign. So there’s a possibility of another round of colonialism online. Yes I mean if the big players are all foreign it’s good for the profit I mean the money when they make the profit it’s repatriated that’s the fact. So our business gurus and business owners should begin to think about how to invest in the tech space because the tech space they don’t believe in, the foreigners believe in it and they are pouring in money by the seconds

Harriet: That’s where people like you come in, people like you should begin to champion this cause to begin to make people understand that look your money is safe. This is a very good venture to come into, this is the profit at the end of the day, this is what you stand to gain and this is what you stand to lose.

  • CFA: You are very correct and it’s part of the things that we are doing. I for example I’ll be starting a hub very soon just like what the CChub guys are doing. Somewhere where young people can come also, sit down train and then we find a way to get money for them. Because you see again it has to do with the trust thing. How can this people trust that their money is safe with these young kids. So there has to be a structure. Just the way silicon-valley wasn’t wishful thinking, it was a carefully planned, thought-out and implemented process that took place over the years so that’s the same way it has to happen here. We must also give people the outsiders who are not techies or who are not in the technology space the confidence that when you invest here it is safe. But then like the venture capitalist the way it is it’s a game of chance actually there are more businesses that die around the silicon-valley area than the ones that succeed much more about 90% die so there are great ideas, you know why they don’t feel it, because at every point in time they have about 5,000 – 10,000 ideas in incubation. If Steve Wozniak can be telling us that he’s even marvelled, this guy was the brain behind everything engineering in apple and he was saying that he was marvelled at the level of what is happening in the technology space. So it simply tells you that we are at an amazing speed and there’s a new concept called the internet of things where everything is said to be connected to everything. There’s a researcher in Hong-Kong that is trying to work on ladies’ eye lashes that will be electronic, finger nails that’ll be electronic all sort and everything will be connected to the internet

Harriet: Fred I don’t think a lot of people, well maybe a lot of people will buy into that idea but let’s leave that one for a minute. Let’s talk about, a lot of banks this days in the financial circle you see a lot of them coming on the internet to try to promote their business sell products and a lot of it and a lot of people are keying into it or a lot of people keyed into it that’s another thing. So in terms of financial transactions online banking and other forms of financial transactions. How much of that has been successful in the last couple of years?

  • CFA: It’s been huge. The number of transactions that go on online these days is huge. I think I read over last week where NIBSS released a report I think almost 200 Billion for January and February or there about worth of transaction so it also tells us that it’s increasing it keeps growing and more people have access to ATM banks are beginning to adapt what is called social banking where with your Facebook account only you can start up a regular account. So it’s increasing the number of ATMs have grown banks now have what you call the e-channels, the e-banks or e-channel banks where it’s just strictly ATMs so it’s growing by the day and by the second but again it brings up an issue, that’s the issue of security. One of the things I always say and I’ll keep reiterating that Nigeria needs to begin to raise cyber-warriors that will defend us. Because the wars of the future will be fought through the cyber-war but let’s leave that aside. What am trying to say is that a friend of mine actually used a bank as a case study, the guy hacked into the banking system and added about 3,4,5,6 figures and about 2 Billion showed up in his account

Harriet: And nobody was able to detect that?

  • CFA: Nobody, until he now told them that this is what he did

Harriet: So that means we even have issues of cyber-space insecurity?

  • CFA: We don’t even have a strategy for that, I mean there’s no strategy to defend anything cyber. Yes, our cyber space is very very porous most of the data except for a few companies that just recently launched like computer warehouse that recently launched local data center most of our data are styled abroad and if you’re hearing about what’s happening with Switz so it means that the guy in NSCA can sit back in the US and he knows what’s going on here. There’s nothing, no National secret, it’s not there so cyber threat is a big issue a lot of banks have very porous sites, very porous infrastructure that people can actually hack into that again is part of the process. The way technology works is that when you come up with something, with an invention with a software overtime there will be need for patches and that’s why you see Microsoft and co they release patches every now and then because there are a group of people, you know there’s something called ethical hacking, Ethical hacking means you are licensed to hack but it is ethical so it means that you can hack and then report that you have hacked this is the process that you used to hack it

Harriet: Hacking in anyway, in any manner in any form or in any language you want to call it is still a criminal offence

  • CFA: No it’s not, there’s ethical hacking, its legal worldwide. There’s ethical hacking.

Click to Read part 1 and part 3 of CFA’s Interview on Channels TV.

CFA-Interview

Transcript of Channels TV Interview with CFA on Developments in ICT (part 1)

Harriet: Today we’ll be looking at the advantages and disadvantages of ICT in business and how you can measure the impact of ICT using business I’m being joined on the program by “Fred Agbata“, He’s an ICT and social media expert. Good morning Fred and thank you for joining us.

  • CFA: Good morning and thank you for having me.

Harriet: Ok, let’s just you know start with the basics. Can we describe developments in ICT as a revolution because things seem to be changing so rapidly?

  • CFA: Yes, I mean it’s remarkable what is going on in the ICT world today. A few days ago “Steve Wozniak” one of the men that pioneered modern computing was around in Nigeria and from his words, from his very mouth he said that “the speed at which ICT is going that even himself he’s marveled. So you can imagine somebody who is a guru in computing telling other people that he is marveled at what’s happening today and that we are getting to a stage where it’s possible for computers to begin to write their own programs. So the advantage is good, Nigeria is also catching up.

Harriet: Exactly, because I was also going to ask if Nigeria is ready to adapt to the changes that seems to be coming so fast.

  • CFA: Well, if you look at the way it happened from the Government’s point of view they weren’t ready for it, the way it has happened now everyone has no choice, everybody has joined the bandwagon. Today you have Government officials on social media sites, you have captains of industries on social media sites. Everybody is tweeting, everybody is doing facebook. Even though we weren’t prepared for it but right now there’s no going back. We have put our hands on the plough and we can’t look back. Nigeria is one of the fastest growing internet countries, I think we are about the 10th largest internet users population and it’s growing, it’s growing by the time more people have access to broadband it’s going to get better and we just can’t play the waiting game anymore.

Harriet: Ok, so now as it is, since we seem to be like the 10th largest country in terms of using internet and all the rest of it. How much of this has businesses keyed into?

  • CFA: Well, it is still low, it is still low but it’s growing.

Harriet: When you say low how? In terms of percentage?

  • CFA: Well, if you look at it, you know let me start with saying that one of the great challenge we have in Nigeria is data. So most of the data that we have even the one I mentioned now they didn’t come from Nigeria. They came from a foreign organization so we have issues with data. If you look at the fact that more Nigerians are SMEs compared to the big players. The big players are less than 5%, I mean the big multi-nationals and the big players, they are less than 5%. The core of businesses in Nigeria are more of SMEs and a lot of SMEs are even yet to adapt to the internet so it is still very low now but when it comes to individual usage that is high, that is about 50 million users when it comes to individual usage but again more SMEs are beginning to go online, more businesses are beginning to use technology to modernize and make their processes more effective so it’s growing but data wise it’s going to be difficult to give out data in Nigeria.

Harriet: Ok so before we, well since we know the issues already surrounding the data and all the rest of it, let’s talk about why is it that businesses can’t easily get their products and services online? Why does it seem as if they shy away from it? Cause sometimes we feel that way.

  • CFA: Yeah, because change is an enemy to most people. A lot of times we try to resist change so I think the first thing is change. As I was coming here I was listening on the radio and they were saying about a US company, a US chain of stores that wants to shut down its branches I think they have about 1000 plus branches in both US and Canada but they want to shut down some branches this year, shut down about 46 last year and also shutting down some more this year and the simple reason they cited was that more shoppers were going online. Yes businesses are not adapting but the way it happens the e-Commerce revolution that happened in Nigeria suddenly a lot of people are beginning to say we have to shift, so whilst yes the percentage of people online is still low, it is growing because more people are now beginning to see there is need to be online. I mean whether it’s an auto-part dealer or somebody who sells plumbing materials, I’ve seen businesses of that nature replicated on the internet. So it means that even those are still in the traditional way of doing business, they are beginning to see that these other guys are actually taking up the chunk of…

Harriet: You know sometimes, sorry to cut you there but you know sometimes like you said people are afraid of change but change is inevitable in this world that we live in. And so if we know that change is inevitable do we try to or do ICT experts like you try to make this traditional business owners think of the benefits they can get when they are online.

  • CFA: Yes, in as much as we will do our best I think it has to do with the Government to carry up a mass sensitization program.

Harriet: Why does it always have to be a Government mass sensitization why can’t individuals like you, you’re the private sector actually get up and do the sensitization?

  • CFA: Yes but there’s a limit to what we can do, I mean the opportunity came to be here and am here and am doing my bit but the Government can do bigger. I mean this was the same when Steven Wozniak was asked, He was asked in Nigeria just about Tuesday. He was asked that Steve, how do you think we can get more Nigerians to go online to adapt technology and he said the Government now he might be wrong but who will leave what he’s doing and go and start sensitizing people that way except this opportunities come and how many times can people come on this kind of program but the point is there has to be a conscious effort to get more Nigerians to adapt to Technology. Now we must understand that technology is destructive in nature especially this kind of technology, it’s highly destructive in nature so it means that, I don’t want to mention brand names so it means that a company A can be the super brand of smartphones 5 years ago today it’s pleading for clients so it’s destructive, same way a lot of people are going to lose their jobs on the virtue of technology the e-commerce shops, the major ones combined they have about a thousand plus employees but then they have actually disrupted some other organizations knowingly or unknowingly that have also let go of some staff so technology is destructive in nature so we must be ready for the balances now you mentioned about the positives and the negatives while it has its positives it also has its negatives that’s the truth but the truth of the matter is that from my own point of view I think the positives outweighs the negatives.

Harriet: You think?

  • CFA: Well from my point of view

Harriet: Well because you see a lot of times you take a chance when you want to buy an item online. You take a very big chance especially in Nigeria we are still trying to get used to buying things online.

  • CFA: Besides there’s no law backing it actually so it means that if you pay me online and I don’t deliver, there’s really nothing you can do.

Harriet: There you go, So why would I take such a chance as a traditional business owner knowing that if a customer buys something from me online and they don’t feel comfortable with it there’s a possibility of a law suit.

  • CFA: But you know I mentioned Government that’s why I said, I mean a cyber-security bill has been hanging there, that’s why you see it all falls back to the Government consciously doing what they have to do. If that bill comes out then it means that an authority for me to sue you even if you sue me as it is now. Let’s say you want me to deliver and I don’t deliver and you sue me now. Actually, there’s no law backing it right now e-transactions. A lawyer friend was telling that just about 2011 that’s when you can now submit email evidences that before now you can’t even submit camera evidences, you can’t submit email evidences they’ll ask you to go and bring the negatives. A lot of things that are there now in fact is way behind. In fact the Government is even worse. He told me about some laws that they are still using that the colonial masters passed unto us a lot of funny things that are going on. There are some things that what you are having on your laptop will not even suffice in the law court but again I like what the guys in this channel are doing what they are innovating. They came up with a strategy called pay on delivery so it means that you wait to see your goods then you pay. That’s an innovation, it can only happen in Nigeria, that’s a Nigerian spirit. Just the same way the base station thing happened at the advent of GSM so it takes a while, it takes a process because the guys that are supposed to be in business their game is to build trust and they are building the trust and I’m happy that the young guys the young people are the ones pioneering the industry.

Harriet: When you say young guys what demography are we looking at?

  • CFA: Well, when I say young guys I mean in their 30s, late 20s and 30s they are the guys pioneering. But again you have older guys backing them up in terms of experience venture capital so you still have those old guys in the play but at least the people in the fore front are the young guys building things. Back 5-10 years ago you can’t even imagine starting a business without needing an office structure today you go to CChub you have over close to 200 young entrepreneurs fiddling with ideas, fiddling with technology ideas looking at solutions and they work in co-hub spaces you don’t have to go and rent an office you can use there as your office and then it works for them and so I see great things coming out of Nigeria I see great things coming out of business with the use of technology in Nigeria.
CFA-interviews-Mazi-Sam-Ohuabunwa-OFR.-Part-3

CFA interviews Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR. Part 3

Continued from Part 2

CFA: Now, talking about failure, tell us about one of your businesses that failed and why it failed?

Sam: One business that failed was, which one comes to mind? Okay, let me think of one, an ICT business I set up in Ogba. I employed somebody to run the business. We had something like a computer school, where we were training people on how to use the computer, and a business centre where you could do photocopy, bind your books, you know, a business centre. It failed just because the guy I gave it out to, I was quite busy, he was a computer guy. He wasn’t keeping appropriate records. He was unfaithful, fidelity. He would take the money and use it for other things. And because I wasn’t regular, he took advantage of things. A few times I go to the place, he is not there. He is not always there. So, I believe that what caused the failure of that business is wrong management focus and inappropriate supervision. Now, if I am setting up small businesses, I tie ropes around everybody around me, including myself. So, if you are moving to that side I drag you, you are moving to that side, I drag you. You can’t divorce. So, I’m forced to see you, you’re forced to see me. Not that I travelled, so, Mazi is not there everybody starts doing what they like to do. I work out a system that makes it mandatory that I must get your report. I must see what you are doing.

CFA: Now, okay. Looking at that particular business, if you have to do it again, considering how busy you are, what are the things that you would do to see that it works?

Sam: First is that, that guy wouldn’t have been an employee. He would be a co-owner. I would have gotten him to invest. If he didn’t invest, he will invest his sweat, sweat equity. So, his future will be tied to that business. Since I took that guy, I was paying him salary. But, if he was an equity owner, he would ensure no untoward thing happens. Other things I do now, is not only equity, I decide, I mean, one of the models I employ today is, I don’t pay you any salary. We set up a business and I ask you, any money you make from this business, you have 40% of it and I have 60%, you have 40, even if you are not an investor. So, I don’t pay you, you pay yourself. So, if after six months, you can’t pay yourself, we know that you are not the guy we are looking for. So, those are the kinds of things I do to minimize supervision. The moment you have an interest in the business, that itself is self-motivating. It helps you to look up and go the extra mile.

CFA: Now, that brings me to another question. And the question has to do with partnership. What is your take on partnership?

Sam: Partnerships are good. Just as when I have a partnership with somebody, we are running this power energy saving device which we’ve launched recently. So, he was here this morning. I was in Abuja last week. This week, he is following up on my own trip last week to do other things. So, partnerships are good because it enables you to leverage and brings out your competence and mine and then we optimize it. But the problem with partnerships is that most partnerships are entered into without proper description. If you are entering into a partnership, you have to do an MOU. There’s a guy here, we are entering into a partnership and we must sign an MOU before we become partners. It will define your own role and define my own role. We will agree on my own contribution and your own contribution. What is the way to relate? Can you spend money without my approval? Can I spend money without your approval? How do we share the profit? How do we measure your contribution? How do we measure mine? All those things are defined to make it easy for the partnership to work. The major problem with partnerships I have experienced is unrealized expectations. You are expecting me to do something or behave in some way. I am expecting you to do something or behave in a way. I didn’t tell you my processes. You didn’t tell me your own. But each person is judging each other by this unwritten expectation. And then, I’m disappointed that you didn’t come here early or you went to see your wife, you didn’t tell me. Or you didn’t come to work some day, or whatever. And I feel I’m the one laboring and you’re the one taking the benefit. I start looking for how to cut or take more benefits than you and so on and so forth. So, partnerships require definition of roles for responsibilities, accountability and reward.

CFA: Now, so, do you encourage Nigerian SME’s, who are struggling and in the same industry to consider this option? 

Sam: So much so, and I preach it. I call it strategic alliance. I said we should consider strategic alliances. In Strategic alliances, you could co-operate, through co-option. You could merge. You could do franchise. You could do partnerships. You could do collaborations. Because, that is in fact the way for SME’s to succeed, i.e., by pulling resources together. I mean, you are doing your bit. This guy is doing his bit. Everybody, one thousand of us doing our little bits that comes to nothing. If we have a major competition, it will shake us all down. We will all be dead. If two, three, four, five come together, pull their resources financially, pull their resources intellectually, materially, save some costs. Instead of five head offices, you have only one. Instead of five operational vehicles, you have only two, and so on and so forth. Burning fuel, burning energy, you can save on costs and be more efficient. If we went into a place, just like four of us here, go to a company to make a presentation, the moment we arrive, the four of us, whoever is receiving us will see that a group of serious people have come. If it’s you alone, just you, there’s a way he’s going to treat you, but when he sees four guys, well dressed, arrive at their step, he will just go back first and say, “okay, gentlemen, welcome”. He moves you to a bigger room, greets you and rushes to tell his guys, “there are four of them o”. I mean, that is the psychology of leveraging, of binding, of building strength. And if it was physical strength, we have the four of us; we will certainly become a major strength. If we have one thousand Naira each, we have four thousand Naira. Four thousand Naira can do more than what One thousand Naira can do. So, I really, really recommend Partnerships. Most of the things I do, I always have Partners. I have Partners in virtually everything I invest in; I don’t do things all alone. One thing is that the Bible says that if two are together, and one falls, the other one can lift him up. And you never know when anybody can fall. You know, we are just human beings, so, there should always be somebody. My Accounts, I sign them with my wife. She is an alternate signatory, i.e., it is not A and B, it is A or B. So. If I am in Abuja and I need money, and I need money to do something, I just say sweetheart, go and collect money, she just signs her signature and money comes out. Assuming she wasn’t my wife, but somebody else, I can’t always have control. You can tell the Manager at the Bank that even though we are A and B, this A can sign One Million Naira, then this B that I don’t trust could also sign One hundred thousand Naira only. So, I limit my risk with you, but I also give you access to sign money, so that the company does not fold up suddenly because I didn’t come back from Abuja. So, it is always good to have somebody that can help cover for you, if for any reason you are unable to be present or perform or wake up one morning.

I hope you people enjoyed this interview. Read Part 1 and Part 2

Visit samohuabunwa.com

CFA interviews Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR. Part 2

CFA interviews Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR. Part 2

Continued from Part 1 – And I knew that kind of thing happened. People who didn’t like you for one reason or the other, wanted you not to get all your credit, so, because of that armor against hate and penchant to exceed expectations, I was able to overcome all obstacles. And luckily for me, I came from the side of business where your performance can be easily seen. I mean, you can be in a company and in some departments, people may not be able to relate your performance with your results, so, people can decide to do all kinds of things with you. But as a sales person, if you say my target is 10 million and I deliver 20 million, you can’t hide it. When I have delivered 50 million it’s called system-based, you can’t overlook me and promote another person, because, somebody is going to ask you, ‘why are you doing that.’ So, these are the things that work for me and they still work anywhere today, no matter where you find yourself. The moment you make, I teach people, I teach, I say look, if you run a career, if you are a career person, try and make yourself nearly indispensable. Of course, they say that nobody is indispensable, make yourself nearly, make yourself nearly indispensable, and you will be valued. If they are sending people away from the company, you will be one of the last to go. This is because anybody that runs a business wants a productive staff. No matter what else, they want people that can yield return on the investment they are making on you as an employee. So, that is the greatest thing anybody can do for himself. Once your leg is inside the door, proof yourself, that’s all. What you need is an opportunity for the door to be opened. And when the door is opened, you step inside and from that moment, even if people were wondering should you enter or not, but by the way you address yourself, the man will step back and say okay, come in, what did you say you are looking for. And by the time you finish, he will say, okay, follow me inside, you know, gradually, you get in.

CFA: In other words, one can start and make money right in Nigeria?

Sam: Oh boy, I haven’t made money anywhere else in my life. It’s all here. This is the place, and to be sincere to you, there are fewer places with the opportunities you have in Nigeria, sincerely, fewer places you can make money with greater ease than you can in Nigeria. Why? We are a large population, large market. Two, we have under-supply of many things. Many things in Nigeria are in short supply, name it, many things, so, that means that if you are creative to be able to understand some of those things that are needed, you can fulfill those needs or solve those problems if there areas of problems to be solved, create the value. There are so many things that are of low value that really need to be brought to a high level. So, between fulfilling needs, solving problems and creating values, you will be able to get every kind of work that you need to do.

CFA: Whao! So, that takes us to the next question. What is your take for small businesses in Nigeria at the moment?

Sam: Yes. Small businesses everywhere, are the bedrock of most economies. But unfortunately small businesses in Nigeria are not faring very well and that is because of the lack of understanding of the basic principles of enterprise development. We have some cultural handicap, where we have the tendency to mix so many things. We bring in familiarity; we bring in too much emotion. We make too many assumptions over things. And those things cause problems for us as business people. Business has basic principles to run businesses, and if you overlook or undermine any of those principles you have challenges. That is why we have a high mortality rate of small businesses. Small businesses don’t grow. Very few grow in Nigeria because they are faced with so many odds. And that is the second factor. The first factor is we are not running them with the appropriate principles. The second one is that there are many odds out there in the market place that are working against the survival of small businesses. The odds are many. So, it’s tough to run small businesses. Most successful businesses in the world once started small. So, even in that, some will still go through. Some will still overcome those challenges and become big businesses.

CFA interviews Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR. Part 2

CFA:  Now, what advice would you give them to help them in their struggles?

Sam: First is, understand the principles of running a business. Business is an endeavor that is built on principles. And if you understand the principles and obey those principles, you will succeed. So I am asking every young person or entrepreneur, everybody that wants to do business, to take a step back and ask himself, ‘do I know the principles of business?’ 70% of businessmen who operate today do not have no plan. They have no business plan. They didn’t make one. Today, they are making none. They are just hoping, beating here and there and just hoping that things would work out. Just let’s try. Let’s put effort. Let’s do this. You will see they do this, they try, you see they do that, they try. If I ask them, What is your budget for this month, what is your target?. They don’t have. In fact, what did you sell last month? They don’t know. No record. What about last year? What is your vision? Where do you want to take your business to in five years? Ko si (no idea). And yet, they want the business to succeed. What is the financial need of your business? “I need money.” How much and how do you plan to pay back? What is the Cash flow that is going to come from your business? Have you sat down to look at your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities in your market area, the threats that are inherent in your industry? Many don’t. Many. So, that’s why they are confronted with problems they don’t know how to deal with. Some say there is no money. Yes, there is no money, but many have gotten money and lost it. Many don’t even recover their cost. They just plunge into business. They buy something for one Naira and sell it for one twenty or one fifty and they think they are making margins. And they haven’t taken it because they have no records to show exactly how much it costs. They don’t remember their transportation. They don’t remember that they have to charge the rent of the building where they are, the electricity, the salary they pay to their staff and to themselves. You know, too many things go wrong with small businesses. That’s why in my Foundation, Sam Ohuabunwa Foundation For Economic Empowerment, We are looking at how to assist small businesses to do well because, I have also been involved in some small businesses. Some failed, some succeeded. I know why those that failed failed and those that succeeded, succeeded. So, I can help people. That is why I am also in Consultancy. There is Starting Consult, where we are looking at enterprise development. We are looking at governance and leadership and corporate management. Those things that…, you know, human beings make businesses succeed and they are also the ones that make businesses fail. So you need to see the inter-play between all the factors of business. Factors of production in classical Economics.

Part – 3 -Wait For It!

rainbow fm 94.1

Read or Listen to CFA’s Interview on ICT and the Internet on Rainbow FM 94.1

I have written several times on how important it is for you to maximize the opportunities on the Internet. Use the search button above to read some of my earlier posts on this and try to put into action some of the ideas I discussed. Below is a transcript of the radio interview that I had with the Nigeria speak’s team of Rainbow 94.1FM, we discussed a whole number of issues that you would certainly find helpful.

You can save to a drive or listen to it here / http://db.tt/xA0DmPTI via your mobile device or desktop (I hosted the interview on dropbox because it allows you to always have your stuff when you need it with @Dropbox. Sign up for free! http://db.tt/oJtHqAeY)

Zika: Forty years or so ICT was for big businesses, major universities and government and the few people thought that the time will come when ICT will be available to just about everyone now. Now the time has come. Over the years ICT gradually spread to smaller businesses and lesser academic institutions than home computers arrived and then laptops and then smaller mobile devices, these facts of ICT lends looks at the how our lives have been, you know, changed by this technology for better and for worse. By the impact of ICT that includes both positive effect and negative effect in this and how individuals, organizations and societies are affected. Now the costs in topic today is how ICT impacts individuals and organizations and the society as whole and to talk about this is (1:00) CFA, which means Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr. He is an internet and search engine optimization consultant, he is the CEO which for him means Chief Encouragement Officer of CFA Leverage, a company that helps people and businesses on the bridge the ICT gap. Welcome Chukwuemeka.

rainbow fm 94.1

CFA: Thank you, Good morning everyone.

Zika: Good morning and welcome once again.

CFA: Thank you so much.

Zika: Alright, great to have you in the show. So we’re looking at ICT. Let’s start, let’s break it down for those who don’t know what that is. What is ICT?

CFA: Well ICT simply means information and communication technology and its ruling the world, it’s determining what really happens today, you know. That’s the basic meaning of ICT.

Olu: You mean ICT determines everything?

CFA: Well basically almost everything, I mean I was just coming in here and in your security post. I saw the guys helping themselves out with a very small device and they’re watching a TV station there. (2:00) It just tells you that ICT is ruling virtually every aspect of human society today.

Zika: Okay, so let’s just say our world has become a global village we can talk to virtually anybody from across the world just by a little device, right?

CFA: Yeah, I think it’s even considered from a global village I mean it’s becoming a dot of sort, you know.

Zika: Okay.

CFA: I mean it’s becoming a dot of some sort.

Zika: Okay.

CFA: You know, it’s just gone beyond that. So anybody who is sitting in a global village is probably still living in the 1920s, you know.

Olu: Wow!

Zika: I heard people who say I’m not interested in technology, I really don’t like, I don’t see how that affects me. We also have celebrities in Hollywood and in home video who don’t, you know, get involved with things like ICT. What are the lows and the highs of having this technology in our lives?

CFA: Well first of all it would be unfortunate for anybody living in our day and time to say, I don’t like ICT. What everyone can do (3:00) is to regulate how you use these things. What you seeing you can’t do without them into this World. So for anybody out there what you need to do is enable more strategies but you need just regulate it. I also agree that ICT has for instance one of the errs that I find that I really coming to play is a fact that we always now human touch, you know. Husbands and wife I mean so many times my wife and I will be in the room and she would be on her BlackBerry, I would be on BlackBerry laughing independently. And she would be like, ‘why are you laughing? I would say, ‘why are you laughing?’ you know.

Zika: I would help you with that. I went out on a date and then there was this other couple on the other table and had food in front of them and they were both chatting on BlackBerry’s.

CFA: How sad!

Zika: I said to the person who was with me? I said okay, is this how this is going to turn out? Maybe in the next 20 years probably we in the same moment, you tell your wife, ‘honey I want to eat in now, oh I’m making rice, be with you as soon as possible. So these are the lows.

CFA: Yeah

Zika: What other lows we have with ICT? (4:00)

CFA: Well there are lots of lows, depression, loneliness, anti-restless. People are beginning to lose their ability to comprehend when they read, people are losing out on their retentive memories, these days’ people can’t even do simple basic mathematical calculation because they have all the tools available. So if you look at all the lows, ICT has its own lows’. I mean there is no two ways about it. I mean I tell people everywhere, you must regulate this things, otherwise they would turn around to hurt you, you know, I heard somebody who is in a science field told me that compared to our parents or our grandparents who used their brains for lot of things, we are much lazier in our brains. So it is possible that the brains of the younger generation would die the brain cells actually because according to him brain cells ought to used all the times for it function optimally. So there is lot of ills about ICT and that’s why we need to help people understand and educate them on the best way to use this thing. Otherwise it becomes detrimental.

Olu: Okay, CFA, you mentioned depression, how those using ICT? (5:00)

Zika: ICT.

Olu: How could it make me depressed, it’s supposed to make me happier, make life easier? How would it make anybody depressed?

CFA: Well you know that when you use the word ICT it is very complex. So let’s just now read down to two things somebody like for example somebody who sits in front of the video game all day long, all week long is certainly is going to- because one of the things that God has done for us humans is to give us your fellow human. If your fellow, your friend, your family they bring joy to your life, you know, so when you actually not maximizing that, you know, it has its own effect on you. So if you are certainly being depressed certainly imagine these days’ a lot of people addicted to Facebook, they can’t do without Facebook.

Zika: What about Twitter?

CFA: Twitter, you know, Twitter too as well, they can’t do and this thing, you see, also the way the brain functions when this things come to your brains they’re distractions, your brain, the brain is not super at multi-tasking all the time, you need to (6:00) give it time to focus and achieve.

Zika: Alright I would like to ask you now, what can these ICT’s do for businesses, how can we use these devices, these technologies to advance our businesses?

CFA: Now that’s the beautiful part, you know, you see just like everything you like but it has own disadvantages and its own advantage. One of the advantages that ICT that can do that they can transform the business overnight, it can transform that brand overnight.

Zika: How can that happen?

CFA: Well it has a lot of ways to happen but I mean the first things first that you need to get out there and that would probably mean to have a website. Now when you have a website, you website needs to have content, I mean content to show people what you’re, what you stand for and content does not have to be just text. It could be image, it could be videos, you know, content these days of course mobile devices have so content. So you have content, you need to become content generator a content that speaks more for what you do. Not junk content but high quality content, now when you have that you need to get out there on the social media site on other sites, on social bookmarking sites, to get traffic to your website. Now the mistake a lot of people make is that, they focus too much on (7:00) Facebook and Twitter and leaving out their own brands. So what happens if Facebook wakes up tomorrow morning and decides to lock their account for whatever reason, Twitter does it for whatever reason. Yes we say, you know, when you signed the user agreement, you agreed to the fact that they can lock up your account with or without reason.

Zika: Yes.

CFA: You know their own discretion. So we need to certainly draw a balance and the balance would mean that we need to also opt our game on our website and you know, whatever we do, you know.

Zika: Okay, so this is how it can help a business. We’re talking to CFA, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, he is an internet and search engine optimization consultant. Also the Chief Encouraging Officer (CEO) of Leverage, a company that helps people and businesses on leverage ICT. So call us on the numbers, you can do that. 0809949418 08080332991 08062914850 and 08078990755. Now I want (8:00) to come back to how this can help our society specially Nigeria. Where can you place Nigeria in terms of ICT advancement technologies and knowledge and technologies?

CFA: Well, certainly we are not maximizing our potential opportunity. I was in Ghana to speak at daily a West African IT conference and I can tell you that Ghana is in investing heavily in ICT. So whereas Nigeria has the population it’s not making, you know, there is no government back, there are no government they are granted, the current minister of information technology has a passion for it. But you see they still no it is still more, we are losing enough action, just two weeks ago Ghana launched a ambitious ten billion dollar project. You know, ICT complex, you know, and it wants to be the industry, the ICT powerhouse of Africa. Now mind you also Ghana is also building what it calls the ‘BPO’, that’s Business Persons Outsourcing what in there is doing today to the World, Ghana wants to be the (9:00) number one African BPO country and is also investing heavily in that. You know, I got interact with lot their government official. I just can say that Nigeria don’t maximize its potential; but mind you Nigeria still has one of the largest internet population. We are about the 10th largest internet population, we are about fifty million users’ almost sixty million users but most of the users access internet their mobile phone. We still just have the heavy population but we are not maximizing it as the people.

Zika: How would you expect us to maximize the potentials that we have?

CFA: Well first of all government needs to increase accessibility by driving down the cost, the cost of accessing the internet and then from our government officials tell everyone even educational institutions we need to get online. I mean, recently some guy, some top government official couldn’t even I say his website on the national television, he couldn’t mention.

Olu: His website.

CFA: He didn’t know the website of the organization he represent and happens to be a federal government represent or. (10:00)

Olu: The guy on TV

CFA: And he messed up, you know, I mean and then that’s it, ‘@.com he said that’s it, you know, so it just tells you that the people who are supposed to be ruling or guiding the citizens today don’t even understand these things and if you don’t understand how can you make policies that would help this things grow? Because I said recently that ‘America has about 14,000 universities a lot of those 14,000 universities over 50% of them are often online courses, you know what that means? That means I can sit in the comfort of my house in Nigeria and I’m doing an American course.

Zika: That, I want to ask a question. The online courses, how do we take examinations if you are going to do online? Can you cheat paper?

CFA: Well, you know, and also education too is advancing, you know, education is not when you have to cram your book and they come on right. No, that’s not what education is now you know, because you little understand and that’s why most of learn or what learn I mean I had went to school but I tell you that I have not used that everything I’m doing now I leant it on internet. (11:00) So it tells you that education is advancing. So online courses, yes you can hold your books but is it called cheating? Well the point is that the idea of the online course is that you are independent. So read at your pace, do the exam at your pace. So yes I mean, during your course that would be nothing I mean nothing stops you from opening your book but what they want you to do is for you to know what you are doing to learn.

Olu: You mentioned that how can our leaders appreciate ICT when they themselves are not aware.

CFA: Yeah.

OLU; How do you educate a politician who is busy going from one post to the other? Who is constantly a taking flight from one end of the country to the other. How do you make these people aware? I recall that during the last elections, one Politian had a very active Facebook account. I’m yet to know that if he was operating that account or maybe consultant doing that for him, tell us how we could educate these people? Because it starts with them.

CFA: Yeah certainly, I totally agree with you. You know the truth (12:00) of the matter is that I can bet the Politian wasn’t operating his account you know, certainly he wouldn’t have the time. But you see currently I have a number of very high placed Nigerians who are extremely busy that I’m helping to educate about these things. Now you don’t have to know everything about I but you know the basics, so it means that you can stay wherever you are and you can add your voice to what is happening. So the politian’s don’t have to know everything but they have to create time because if they don’t create time and interest then it won’t work. But they have to understand some very basic aspects, you know, searching a very top Nigerian how to blog, you know, and I help him setup how can he blog on his iPad and so he can be in one hotel and then something happened in the country, he can send out his voice if away he is. That’s the idea, he doesn’t have to wait your PA or for your IT specialist to do it, you can there just from that point just say something.

Zika: How about universities, how can we use ICT to better our universities as it is right now?

CFA: Wow! You know that’s just the funny one and it’s so sad, it’s so sad. (13:00)

Zika: For instance, I would like to give an example, you went to library to read and you don’t have data on the computers, you don’t have past information on the computers, what you have are just books. How can you, you know add ICT knowledge that we have to online raising universities and how can we use that to teach citizens as well in our universities n Nigeria?

CFA: You know, before I answer that question let me just tell you something that just happened recently. I went to join a prominent institute here in Nigeria and I sent them my email to tell them I wanted to join and then this institute replied me quite alright, give me the date and asked me to send someone to come to their office to pick up their prospectus. And I said to them, ‘why do I have to come to your office? Well they didn’t till date they did not replied that question. But guess what total institutes of marketig in UK are morally working on their examination. So what that simply means is that, that I don’t have to leave here, I will do everything from here, the exams everything from my system.

Zika: But doesn’t that make you lazy, doesn’t that make people lazy when you have you sit in the comfort of your rooms and homes you don’t have to go out, (14:00) you sit down and do everything right there without having to go to this places that actually see for yourself what the complexes look like?

CFA: Well, I don’t think it makes people lazy. You see everyone has what their time their time structure and how they treat their time structure. Now for me to leave what I do to go and pick up brochure, I think it’s a waste of time for me. The- what they should do I say institute is to get all the information because certainly the facilities they have on the internet. Now if they lie all I need to do is I eventually go there someday but not at the initial state, would be sometime. Now if a lie all I need to do is to go there and say the truth on the internet. So the internet puts everybody on the edge. We say what happened to the government sometime last year, it put everybody on the edge. So the before the institutes can do you must develop ways. Okay now another thing that where can I download the brochure on your website? Do I have to come and pick up brochure? No I think that doesn’t not maximize the technology. I guess I agree that technology can make you lazy, you need to draw a and that’s why I took the draw a balance

Zika: Balance, yes

CFA: You see what I’m trying to say that (15:00) that institution for now they have lost me for UK institution that actually is of even more international standard because UK institution actually has course on digital marketing which they don’t have here, you know, but I just want to say why our education is-they need to wake up, you see right now we have, I think over a million people sit for jam in every city and less than 20% of that is getting to university that’s about statistic. Now so what I mean is that the wise institutions are already coming in to tell people that all about I see it and there is no update on Facebook, I don’t see one institution advertising there, you can do a course from the comfort of your home. Now it is still expensive but overtime by the time the Indians I think the Indians are trying doing that to drive down the course and you see that it’s affordable. A lot of people can do that so you can do that while working. So I think it depends on the individual it actually can make you actually more hardworking depending on the individual.

Olu: Yeah you said you are working on some exams, with a university in the UK. What happens if you account is hacked and some student who needs this questions badly (16:00) has gained access?

CFA: Well now okay, hacking you just brought up something also that is very complex, you know, hacking is something that can to anybody I mean…

Zika: It happened to me once.

CFA: Yeah it can happen to anybody absolutely; I mean these guys are whisked. Well for me the answer I have to that because I tend to ad hey laugh. I said the first thing you need to do is that when you wake up just like you pray over life, you need to start praying your over internet accounts. Because you see your internet profile is as important as your passport today, you know, you have you have your passport you change it so much, you know, that’s how important if not more important your internet profile is because I mean, Colin Powell was hacked yesterday, his Facebook account, The guy pulled all sorts of disastrous things there.

Olu: Wow!

CFA: Colin Powell had to come out to plead that this is not me and all sorts, but you see that’s damage control. The point is that Colin Powell’s Facebook account is sending out negative information. So yes your account can be hacked but I mean that is also (17:00) for me, also not an issue why you should not try, it get hacked there funny way.

Zika: What about issues of security, how can one secure whatever account they have on the internet? Is there anyway you can secure your account?

CFA: Yeah there are number of ways, you know, like I’m telling that for most people, you know, there is no bridge that happens without a lead way from the personal question I can assure you of that. There must be a lead way. If either the person was able to guess your date of birth, the person was able to guess your child’s name, you know, all the security question the person was able to get one or the person the your password was too weak. So one of the things you can do is to use secure passwords, that’s very critical. You must use secure password, a secure password means, alpha numerical passwords, it should contain alphabets, numbers and symbols across all accounts, it doesn’t matter if you have one account. So what we do most of the times again because were lazy at because we are too busy is that we use one password across multiple accounts.

Olu: Okay.

CFA: And so that puts us at risk, so I can’t access to one account and then (18:00)gets into all your account. So we need to always use secured password irrespective of the number of the internet accounts that we have.

Zika: How can the ICT benefit those officials especially police and people who work with security and security agencies across Nigeria?

CFA: Well today you have very secret pens and some of them even have Bluetooth that you can connect online. So if our security agencies want to know about it, I mean, ICT is one way to really get them trained, government has started putting up some security cameras everywhere, that’s still benefit of ICT, because the video cameras are connected to the internet, so these are some of the ways ICT can help but again, how many of our police men can hold the gadget? If you need to now bring ICT fully and you go to them, they will probably tell you, wetine I go take this one do? You know, that’s what you’re going to hear. So you now need to bring a structure, in my opinion you need to overhaul the police force for them to be able to tap into ICT. The current force of police that we have now it will cost much more for them to be educated that’s the truth you know. (19:00)

Olu: So we have to incorporate this strategy from the onset, in their police colleges?

CFA: Exactly from the onset, they must have a basic ICT knowledge to be recruited. Because I mean how can you secure a place as Lagos as big as Lagos, we are now about 18 million people without ICT, how are you going to do it? How do you want to do it? So you need ICT to effectively police the modern state.

Zika: And you also agree with me that it is good to teach children by from whatever school, age they are come to use the computers and get them acknowledgeable about the computers as well, yes?

CFA: Yes, I agree but a lot of caution because these days you have children low as nine years, they understand what pornographic sites are, so they have to get precaution they have to be controlled but yes I agree that children should understand ICT from a very early age but that’s the future. I mean at no time in history have billionaires been made, you know, even though no Nigeria yet from the ICT that ever before, I mean ICT creates billionaires overnight.

Zika: People make money from blogging, a couple of bloggers around (20:00) who you know, tapping into the riches of the internet and the ICT and they are making so much money. A lot of people delving into blogging as well and website. So how do you market if you have a blog, how do you market the blog? If you have a website, how do you market the website to get traffic and to get adverts on your website?

CFA: Well I agree with that, Nigeria, it really picking up. I mean for me to be also be here a product of that, you know, it’s not as if I have some super skills but because over the time the Internet had helped to promote me. So I agree, now for what I do which is what anybody can do out there, same that every blogger does is that your content you just have to has to be hot content. So if you visit any of the blogging sites now that you know that are picking up they all have, you know, the trending topics, you know what’s happening. So for you as a blogger the first thing that you need to do is that you need to be a content machine. Everywhere you go. I mean I look around everywhere, I see a content from every single thing, I mean this radio show is a content for me.

Zika: Okay.

CFA: You know, I will simply get back (21:00) transcribe what was discussed here and put it on my blog. So it means that for the next 2 days I don’t have to think about content.

Zika: Does that mean that you have to be creative minded to own a blog?

CFA: You just have to be creative mind. I mean, I have a couple of things I use am using now in the studio; a pen or paper, iPad, so you just need to deliberately find content and what you can do is because of the way we are you can simply when you think of an idea, you don’t have to develop it there. So you can’t think of an idea, for example; how businesses can use the Internet. You just leave it there as a topic, you go back to later and develop it. So you can gradually build content simultaneously. I have written over a thousand article and I would still write more. It just tells you that, content is king on the Internet.

Zika: Alright we’re talking how ICT impact an individuals, organizations and the society and we been talking to CFA, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, that’s very creative.

CFA: Thank you.

Zika: We are out of time but you know, we really have been educated, we have been schooled about how these thing work and how can we benefit as individuals, as a business, as a country, as government, as security agencies, as a society how we can benefit from ICT. He is also an internet and search engine optimization consultant, chief encouragement officer of CFA Leverage, a company that helps people and businesses leverage the Internet. If you want to reach him numbers to reach him on are 07040555333 or 08053533156 or 0803624573. Thank you very much Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata.

CFA: Thank you for having me on the show.

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