Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Woman Loses Triplets Over N4,000 Medication Fee

What A Loss! FOR Temitope Sanni, the birth of a set of triplets has become more of a curse than blessing: Shortly after they were born, the babies, all boys, died one after the other. Reason being that the parents could not raise the N4,000 required of them to buy drugs.

Apparently because of the family’s indigent condition, the woman was delivered of the babies in the
parlour of the Face-Me-I-Face-You bungalow she and her husband share with others, at Ilogbo, near Sango-Ota, Ogun State.
The home delivery was carried out by her niece. Seeing that the kids were too fragile, the mother and father were advised to take them to a clinic. At a nearby clinic, Damisile Medical Centre, the family was advised to rush the babies to a general hospital.

With N2,500 as all they could gather, the family rushed the babies to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), but were told that there were no beds to admit the babies and their mother.

The mother and father dashed out of LASUTH and went to the Federal Government-owned Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). By the time they arrived at LUTH, one of the babies had died. At LUTH, they were told to go buy some drugs for the remaining two boys. The total cost of the drugs was put at N4,000.

Having paid transport fare from their home, first to LASUTH and then to LUTH, the total money left on the mother, a petty trader, and her husband was N1,850.

In frustration, they left for home hoping to raise money. By the time they got home some 30 minutes after, another of the boys had died. Few hours after, the third also died.

The Minister of Health, Prof. C.O. Onyebuchi Chukwu had recently lamented lamented that at present, there is no mechanism for emergency care in the country.

He noted that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which is voluntary, covers people in the public service only. Plans to expand it to accommodate more people, especially in the informal sector are still being worked out.

The minister, at an interactive session with health writers in Lagos, also disclosed that there were plans to make the present voluntary NHIS mandatory for every Nigerian citizen so that through it, many poor Nigerians can get health care.

``I am proud that the NHIS is working and we hope to make it mandatory, either by tax system or contribution,’’ he said.

Responding to a question on how to address demands by hospitals that patients pay before attending to emergencies, he said, “No hospital under my charge insists on payment before attending to emergencies”, but for the private hospitals, we encourage them."

He disclosed that a policy that will address that is currently being formulated, but it will go through a lot of process including the Presidential Summit on Universal Health Coverage.

His words, “What I am proposing is that there has to be some kind of mechanisms for emergencies, which government can guarantee. That way, you and I can fall back on that because emergency could affect anyone.

"You may be enjoying a meal and accidentally, you have a bone stuck somewhere in your throat and your life is in danger when you never thought it could happen. You can have emergency at anytime and under emergency, no one prepares for it.”

Chukwu said under these circumstances, the only way is to rely on insurance, if the affected person is an insurance policy holder and secondly, we are trying to develop a special fund that can be guaranteed by government.

He however appealed to Nigerians to take up some form of insurance.

If people fail to take insurance, Chukwu said there will be a problem, because someone must provide the funds for emergency care, otherwise hospitals handling emergencies without payment will ultimately close down.

Culled from Nigerian Compass

Only Six Civilians Were Killed In Baga”, Nigerian Military Says

The Joint Task Force, JTF, in Borno has claimed that only six civilians were killed over the weekend during a gun battle it had with insurgents in Baga community of Borno State.

The JTF said residents’ claims that 185 people were killed during the attack were false.

The Commander of the Task Force, Brigadier General Austin Edokpaye, said in a three- paragraph statement he sent to journalists in Maiduguri, that Baga residents lied when they told the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, that over 2000 houses were burnt down after the attack. He insisted that only some few 30 thatch houses got burnt. Mr. Edokpaye said his troops killed 30 Boko Haram gunmen, while five (5) others were arrested.

He said a soldier died and five others sustained injuries. He said “contrary to media speculation that hundreds of houses were burnt, instead, it was the explosion from Boko Haram Terrorists’ Rocket Propelled Grenade Bombs, Anti Aircraft Guns and sophisticated IED materials that triggered fire to about 30 thatch houses in the predominantly fishing community.”
He said a cache of arms, including three Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers; two Rocket Propelled Grenades Bombs; four AK 47 Rifles; 435 assorted ammunitions; seven quantities of IED material; and three land cruiser vehicles.

Mr. Edokpaye’s statement not only contradicts that by the residents of Baga, the Red Cross and the Borno State Government, it also contradicts that by military authorities in Abuja. While residents of the town aid they buried 185 corpses, members of the community after the clash, the Red Cross later said the victims increased to 187.
The Borno State Government on Tuesday said ‘over 100 people’ were killed but said it could not ascertain the actual figure until its investigations are completed.

On Monday evening, the Defence Headquarters in Abuja declined to comment on the civilian casualty.
The spokesperson for the Headquarters, Brigadier General Chris Kolade, however, said 25 Boko Haram suspects were killed in clash contrary to Mr. Edokpaye’s claim of 30.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

All Suicide-Bombers Are Going To Hell - Gumi

By SaharaReporters, New York

Hell is the destination of all suicide bombers, fearless cleric Sheik Ahmad Mahmud Gumi warned today in a sermon SaharaReporters monitored in New York.

He pointed out that while young men commit suicide, they ought to reflect that those leaders who send them to their deaths do not commit suicide or send their children to die in the same way.

Gumi who has been critical of the Boko Haram sect, said in the sermon: “The prophet – Salawatullahi alaihi- is a mercy for mankind. He said the way to Paradise is easy for those that follow his path. He said: “everybody in my Ummah is going to enter the paradise except he who refuses. They said (the companions): oh messenger of Allah, who will refuse? He said: whoever obeys me enter the paradise and whoever disobeys me he has indeed re...fused” Al-Bukhari.”

In an important sermon that has implications for violent Islamic sects that use suicide bombing as a key tool, Gumi offered the message that those that agree to use themselves as bombs do more than die in vain.

“Despite this ease of entering Paradise, those that commit suicide for whatever reason have guaranteed for themselves the Hell Fire forever,” he said.

He called on the faithful to be aware that nobody should deceive them to take their own lives, saying that real Jihad is fought to either win or get martyrdom.

“The shahada is gotten when killed by enemy action,” he said. “Allah said: ‘Let those Fight In the cause of Allah who sell the life of This world for the Hereafter to Him who fighteth In the cause of Allah,- whether He is slain or gets victory - soon shall we give Him a reward of great (value). ” Q4/74.May Allah continue to guide us all to the straight path.”

Continuing, Sheik Gumi quoted Anas: “If not for my hearing the prophet – alaihis Salam- saying: Do not wish for death I would wish for it” Al-Bukhari. People are forbidden to wish for death talks less of committing suicide. Islam is a practicable religion. We are required to do what we can do and leave the rest to the Al-Mighty. “So fear Allah As much As ye can; listen and obey and spend In charity for the benefit of your own soul and those saved from the covetousness of their own souls,- They are the ones that achieve prosperity.” Q64/16.

“Whoever therefore will be taken by fanaticism or sickness or depression to kill himself, he has condemned himself to eternity in the Hell fire, May Allah Save us from it. Muslim narrated from Abu Huraira who said: the messenger of Allah said: “whoever will kill himself with an iron, then he would be tormented with his iron in his hand injuring his belly continuously in Hell Fire forever. And whoever will drink poison and then kill himself, he will continue sipping the poison in the Hell fire forever. And whoever fall from a rock then kills himself, He will continue falling in the Hell fire forever”.

He stressed that whoever will explode himself with explosives for whatever reason or disguise will also continue to be in his explosion in hellfire forever, stressing that this is what the hadith teaches. Suicides, he warned, are tormented by the same means they employ to kill themselves.

“Today we see young men killing themselves with explosives in the name of Jihad yet they never reflect that those ‘leaders‘ that send them to such adventure never commit suicide nor send their children to commit it.”


10 Compelling Laws of Science and Sociology

Scientific laws—as well as laws from the realm of the social sciences—study, describe, and explain certain phenomena. The term “law” in this case is often used analogously with “principle,” as the two are effectively identical. Laws differ from hypotheses and postulates, as they are better verified through experimentation and study. Certain laws are well-known—Newton’s laws of motion and Murphy’s law, to name two—but laws are being researched, created, and named all the time. Did you know about the law that suggests that the longer an online discussion goes, the greater the likelihood that someone will mention Hitler? What about the law that suggests a need for feminism BECAUSE of articles about feminism? Or the law that states the the lower the stakes of an argument, the more vicious the debate will get? For these and more, read on!
Law: Betteridge’s law of headlines
Betteridge’s law—sometimes referred to as Davis’s law, or the “journalistic principle” from Murphy’s law—states that “any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” The adage, named after British tech journalist Ian Betteridge (though he wasn’t the first to make note of it), displays a cynicism over headlines that attempt to lure readers into an often outlandish and unproven story. Headlines like “will the world end tomorrow?” and “have scientists cured cancer?” are pretty obviously answered in the negative.
The next time you run across a newspaper headline that asks a question (more specifically, a yes-or-no question), try to answer “no.” Most often, you’ll find that you’re right—Betteridge’s law makes note of the fact that this type of headline is a lazy, sometimes fear-mongering way of drawing a reader in.

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Law: Dollo’s law of evolutionary irreversibility
Dollo’s law, simply put, states that evolution moves only in one direction. In other words, traits that have been lost do not later reappear; animals do not regrow a limb, for instance, that was discarded by their ancestors, nor do they revert back to any previous form. The hypothesis was proposed in 1893 by Louis Dollo, a French paleontologist, who studied the seemingly irreversibly forward nature of evolution. Richard Dawkins, skeptical of the nature of law, sees it differently: the law is “really just a statement about the statistical improbability of following exactly the same evolutionary trajectory twice (or, indeed, any particular trajectory), in either direction.”
Scientists, unsurprisingly, have found a hole or two in the Dollo’s theory. Biologists from the University of Michigan have been studying the dust mite, which are tiny arachnids that live all over the place in our homes. The research has suggested something that appears to contradict Dollo’s law: it seems that dust mites were once parasites (only capable of living when attached to a host), and that prior to that they evolved from another free-living immediate ancestor. In short, the dust mite was free-living, then a parasite, then free-living again, which does appear on the surface to be “evolution in reverse.” A few other possible exceptions to the law include the wings of stick insects and some of the musculature in primates.
Law: Duverger’s law of 2-party domination
Duverger’s law is a principle from the field of political science that claims that two-party systems are the result of “plurality rule” elections. The law, proposed by French sociologist Maurice Duverger, states that in any electoral system where each voter gets one vote for one candidate and the candidate with the most votes wins (sometimes called the first-past-the-post system), a two-party system will likely develop and maintain itself. Third parties, as a result, are marginalized. The law is not, of course, absolute, as there are plurality voting systems where it hasn’t occurred, but for the most part it holds true to some degree.
Duverger proposed a few reasons for this effect. He argues that alliances between weaker third parties are unlikely to happen, and that those third parties will be driven out. Voters are also worried their votes will, in effect, “not count,” so the vote totals for third parties end up artificially low; voters try to pick the major candidate from the two dominant parties who most closely matches their candidate. A 2-party system is self-reinforcing, and as many have argued, can be harmful to the political health of a country.
Godwin’s Law
Adolf Hitler-1
Law: Godwin’s law of Nazi analogies
If you’ve ever used the internet—and given that you appear to be reading Listverse, there’s a decent chance you have—chances are you’ll have experienced at least one instance of Godwin’s Law in your lifetime. Back in 1990, American attorney and author Mike Godwin developed what he called “Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies,” which stated: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” In other words, the longer a comment thread, the more likely someone will invoke Hitler as a means of winning an argument.
While there may be a certain truth to the law, Godwin has claimed that he never intended his adage to be considered absolute law. Rather, he conducted an experiment in “memetics”—the study of memes—to see if he could produce what he termed a “counter-meme.” Godwin saw the ridiculous overuse of glib Nazi comparisons as an undesirable meme in usenet forums, so he created and pushed forward the adage to create an awareness of it, and potentially, to try to curtail it.
Identical Products
Law: Hotelling’s law of identical products
Have you ever wondered why restaurants and food manufacturers often produce foods that are virtually identical? Why you can get a burger a McDonald’s, or go across the street for an almost-indistinguishable one from Burger King? Why you can choose between Coke or Pepsi? Why the bakery on the corner made a new raspberry scone, and the one a block away decided to make their own version shortly thereafter? This is an economic phenomenon known as Hotelling’s Law—or, alternately, as the principle of minimum differentiation—and it suggests that in certain markets, it is sound business practice to make products are that are as similar as possible.
The law was identified and studied by economist Harold Hotelling in a 1929 article called “Stability in Competition.” Essentially, he suggests that in certain situations, competitors experience a natural tendency to gravitate towards a common middle ground. One vendor makes a small change, the other vendor matches it, and so on until two products are nearly indistinguishable. Hotelling’s law shows up in politics, where candidates (especially in two-party systems) tend to gravitate towards the middle and away from the extremes.
Law: Lewis’s law of online feminism
Lewis’s law is not so much a scientific or social law so much as an observation about the continuing need for gender equity, especially in the online and tech worlds. In 2012, British journalist Helen Lewis noted in a tweet that “the comments on any article about feminism justify feminism,” a sentiment she called “Lewis’s Law.” Essentially, Lewis argues that any online article that discusses feminism tends to see a proliferation of comments that, in effect, justify the very existence of—and need for—feminism. So automatically replete with hostile, sexist comments are these discussions that they suggest we are still far from a society that treats women as equal to men.
Fan Fans Crazy Diehard Hardcore
Law: Sayre’s law of low-stakes arguments & Parkinson’s law of triviality
Have you ever noticed that the lower the stakes of an argument, the more vociferous the fighting becomes? Academic Charles Philip Issawi explains it thusly: “In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake.” The law is named after Colombia University political scientist Wallace Stanley Sayre, who noted that political debate in the academic world is so vicious and cruel because none of it actually matters all that much.
This law is related to another political science adage, Parkinson’s law of triviality, which argues that organizations spend most of their time arguing about insignificant details, giving short shrift to more pertinent issues. Named after humorist C. Northcote Parkinson, the law is also called the “color of the bike shed” effect; this stems from an example he gave of a committee meeting spending little time on the issue of an atomic reactor, and a huge amount of time on the color of a bike shed. As Parkinson stated, “The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved.”
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Law: Fitts’s law of pointing
Fitts’s law seems obvious, unexciting, and perhaps trite at first glance. In short, it states that the time required to move a pointer to a target depends on how far the pointer is from that target, and how big that target is. The law applies to a physical finger—or other pointing mechanism—or the virtual act of touching a cursor on a computer to a target image.
Proposed by psychologist Paul Fitts in 1954, Fitts’s law has become one of the most famous laws of human motion. During his life, it had applications in the world of airplane safety (placement of buttons and controls in a cockpit), as well as investigating allegations of UFO sightings. Where Fitts’s law has had the greatest impact, however, is designing user interfaces (UI) on websites and computer programs. In short, the bigger a clickable object is, and the closer it is to the computer cursor, the easier it will be to click on. This has all sorts of implications for designing UI; programmers and web designers who have studied the law can use it to make all kinds of decisions about the information on a page, where it is, how big it is, and how to make it most optimally accessible. This seemingly obvious and simple law has vast, complex interpretations and applications and in many ways serves as the foundation for UI work.
Law: Sutton’s law of obviousness
Sutton’s law, closely related to Occam’s Razor, states that when one is attempting to diagnose a problem (especially in the medical field), one should consider the most obvious solution first. Procedurally, what this means is that doctors should always attempt to rule out the most obvious diagnosis before moving onto something more complicated. While the law may strike you as obvious, it is explicitly taught to medical students as a way of cautioning them to avoid overzealousness in their diagnoses.
Amusingly, the law is named not after a preeminent medical figure, but rather after a bank robber. The story goes that Willie Sutton, a career criminal who successfully robbed banks for years (to the tune of $2 million, by some estimates), was asked: “Willie, why do you keep robbing banks?” Sutton replied, “because that’s where the money is.” Though Sutton denies the quote, his name remains attached to a fundamental medical principle.
Traffic Fatalities
Law: Smeed’s law of traffic fatalities
R.J. Smeed, a British statistician who studied traffic patterns, proposed Smeed’s Law in 1949. The law attempts to connect traffic fatalities to congestion, suggesting that when the number of cars increases, so do the fatalities per capita; conversely, though, the fatalities per VEHICLE actually drop. While apparently true for the time period Smeed was studying, researchers have argued that as car designs get safer and safer, his law has become less and less applicable and relevant.
Smeed held a number of controversial ideas about transportation, including the notion that the average speed of traffic in central London would always be 9 miles per hour because people do not tolerate anything faster. His law is, at heart, a psychological one; Smeed postulated that, as friend Freeman Dyson put it, “people will drive recklessly until the number of deaths reaches the maximum they can tolerate.”

Buying A Tokunbo Car: Things To Watch Out For

The following are the very important things that must be rigourously observed when you presumably an average person without any form of technical automotive knowledge wants to buy an automobile.

1.Don't let the aesthetic,that's the shimmering or sexy look of the car fool you. Usually, vehicles prepared for sale are deliberately burnished to glimmer.

2.Be very observant, immediately you turn the key on(just simply by turning the key one stroke, no cranking sound yet and the engine isn't working yet), make sure that all the images on the dashboard are lighted up. Why? Some Smart Alec car sellers sometimes remove or tape over the bulbs, inside the dashboard, of the warning signs.

3. As soon as the engine is cranked within a few seconds, it must not be up to a minute, the entire dashboard signs' lights must go off.

4. If you notice the CHECK ENGINE light going off simultaneously with the ALTERNATOR light and/or the OIL PRESSURE,then something is wrong.
5.Once the engine has been cranked and is running at idle, the person/s in the vehicle must not feel any discernible vibration. If you feel any form of vibration, it's either bad engine mounts/s, or bad transmission mount or the engine is misfiring.
6. If the vehicle has an automatic transmission system,simply engage the gear with your foot firmly on the brake pedal, you must not feel any sudden shudder or jerking. It should be a smooth engagement with the vehicle simply trying to move in the direction("grin" forward and "R" backward) of the gear engaged.
7. If all the above observations have been satisfactorily met, while the vehicle's still running smoothly in idle, put on the AC(air conditioner). The needle on (or counter of) the RPM guage must still remain at the same position, allowing for maximum of fifty, over or below(not up to a movement between two stroke marks of the RPM guage). This is a good load test on the engine.
8.Before you make any payment for, or on, the vehicle: look through the lower region of the automobile's windscreen, literally in front of the steering wheel, or on the door frame of the driver's side, for the 17-digit VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)log on to, to get the vehicle history( service,ownership;incident-like accident/s etc).
If you are happy with the report and all observational and physical test explained above, satisfied, you can then pay for the car.

ssassination Attempt On Dino Melaye

Just got this tweet from Nasir El rufai twitter handle.

Just spoke to @dino_melaye who was shot at several times in his car by motorists driving a Golf. Luckily his car was bullet-proof. Thank God

Minister prepares bill to stop overseas medical treatments for officials

A Bill to stop public servants from travelling abroad at the expense of the Federal Government for treatment of ailments that can be satisfactorily tackled in Nigeria, is to be presented to the Federal Executive Council, FEC, this year.

President Goodluck Jonathan, is also billed to flag off a stroke awareness campaign in Abuja, as part of measures to tackle the rising burden of stroke, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases in the country.

Disclosing this, weekend, during the presentation of his score card to the press, Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said the Federal Ministry of Health was already compiling a list of health facilities that could handle specific ailments that Nigerians often go abroad to treat.

Chukwu, who observed that the Bill, which was being carefully composed, would become effective this year, asserted that compilation of the list began last year. He said even though the list is not exhaustive, it is being regularly updated.

His words: "It is correct to say the Federal government will not sponsor any case that can be satisfactorily handled in Nigeria. We are still at the level of the top management committee of the health ministry. It is a long process, we do not want to send a half-baked memo to the FEC, so it has to be well thought out and we have to carry people along.

"It is not enough for the Minister of Health to ask the President-in-Council that we should no longer sponsor public servants for cases that can be handled in Nigeria. We should know where these cases can be handled here

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Common Interview Questions And Answer Tips

Reflections on Graduate Unemployment in Nigeria (BusinessDay, November 12, 2012), two of the greatest hurdles Nigerian youths face are gaining admission into university and securing decent job after graduation. With the proliferation of university in every village today, the former is no longer a big problem as the latter. The latter challenge also comes in two folds – getting invite for job selection process and scaling the process. The scaling process in most cases also involves crossing two bridges – tests and interviews.

Personally, I prefer interview to test, despite the fact I am not the best of orator you can think of (not with my thick Kwara dialect reflecting in my spoken English. Lol). But truth is, interview is easier. It gives you more avenues to maneuver. Unlike test where you either get the answer correct or miss it, in interviews, you can give a good impression even when you don’t know the answer. I have flunked a couple of tests, but I can’t remember ever flunking any job interview.

In this essay, I have compiled top interview questions Nigerian job recruiters ask, especially for entry level and non-managerial experienced positions. The answer tips are based on my personal experience, experience of masters in the trade, and formal and informal accounts of job interviewers I am privileged to have interacted with. I hope it will be helpful to readers.
1, Tell us about yourself: In many interviews, one-on-one or panel, this is the first question you will be asked. It can also come in different forms like, Can we meet you?, Can we know you?, Who is Mr. Your Name? Can you introduce yourself to us? etc. They all mean the same thing. The answer is simple – briefly summarize your CV. I said, summarize, not download your CV. Don’t be too detailed that the interviewers will be the one to stop you. Be brief, just 5 to 7 liners should do. Just state your name, your educational qualifications (you may start from your secondary education), your achievements (if any). Something like:

“My name is Adesare Olugbagi, born some 30 years ago in Kwara state. I attended XYZ Grammar School in Kwara state, where I finished in the year 2000 as second best student. I later proceeded to Obafemi Awolowo University, where I finished with second class upper degree in economics. At the university, I was the president of Economics Students Association. I also won a number of scholarship awards, including the Chevron University scholarship award. I did my youth service in Sokoto state between 2007 and 2008. I like writing articles and some of my articles have been published in National dailies including Guardian, Tribune and Punch. During my leisure period, I play football and table tennis.”

The above is just a guide. Depending on other important things you have to say, you may add or take out some things. You may decide to start with your university education. You should also mention any relevant experience if you have any. You may leave out your state of origin. You may also not mention that you write articles, if you think the types of articles you write do not have any bearing with the job or can even count against you (e.g strong religious and political writings). For example, I put on my CV that I write articles, and even list some of them on the face of my CV, but not the one in which I abused Jonathan or Bukola Saraki (lol. But seriously, Suraj the 9-5 professional accountant is different from Suraj the weekend/night political commentator, but both converge in Jarus the blogger). So you have to be circumspect.

But in any case, make your delivery chronological. Try to emphasize your achievements as you progress, e.g, I finished as best student, I won scholarship etc, but don’t come across as arrogant. Be subtle while mentioning them. Having one helps, but no need to fabricate if you don’t have. You should be able to say that within 2 to 3 minutes. When it is getting too long, it can become boring.

2, What do you know about our company? : This is another question you cannot escape. It is usually the 2nd or 3rd, or, rarely, 1st, question. This should be the simplest, to me. I expect anyone going for interview with a company to have visited the company’s website, print some useful stuffs about the history, mission, products, management, etc of the company. You have to read them well, but don’t cram, else you may mix things up and make a fool of yourself in front of the interviewers, who, no doubt, know more about their company than you.

If you want to wow, go beyond the website information for latest news about the company. Imagine telling them what you read in the newspaper about that company that interview morning. Imagine pulling a masterstroke like this: “just this morning, I was reading in Guardian that your company is going to the capital market to raise additional funds. This is no doubt a welcome development and it falls in line with your company’s corporate goal of expanding to become the industry leader in the next three years…”. These are extra things you can use to dazzle your interviewers.

So, let’s use Oando as an example. Assuming, you are interviewing with Oando and you are being asked this question, having read their website, pieced together news about them and asking one or two questions from insiders in your research, I expect your answer to be like this:

“Oando is the leading integrated energy group in sub-saharan African, with operations across the entire value chain of energy sector – exploration, servicing, supply and trading, gas distribution, petroleum products marketing. It started with the acquisition by a group of then young Nigerian businessmen of the then government-owned Unipetrol in the year 2001, and later, acquiring the downstream business of Agip, to become the Oando of today. The company has undergone serious metamorphosis and now at the commanding height of the sector. It is no doubt a success story in indigenous participation in the sector. Just couple of weeks back, I read in BusinessDay that you acquired stake in a Canadian energy firm. Your recently conclude Rights Issue is also widely reported in the media as oversubscribed”

I doubt there will be any interviewer that will not be impressed with the 8-liner above which you can say within 3 to 4 minutes. Once again, you don’t need to cram anything. Just read enough and be familiar with facts about the company you are interviewing with. Lest I forget, while answering the question of what do you know about us, try to highlight the positive news about the company. God help you if you are interviewing with Zenon and you remind them of Otedola/Faruk Lawan saga.

Still on this question, you may need to do some cramming on things like core values of the company. All these are available for on any company’s website. You may inquire from insiders as well. I remember going for an interview with an oil company in the downstream sector and being asked the core value of that company. Thankfully, that was the last thing I checked on the company’s website via my BB few seconds before it got to my turn. I didn’t remember everything, but out of 5, I remembered 3 well and gave a faint recollection of the 4th one.

3, Why do you want to work for us? I remember being asked this question some 7 years ago by the then CEO of a top Nigerian financial institution, now member of President Jonathan’s Economic Management Team. Thankfully, I had asked someone that entered before me and he told me he was asked that question, so I quickly packaged three reasons. It was an investment banking outfit and my response was: 1, I had always wanted to become an investment banker and from close observation of this company as the industry leader in Nigeria, I believe it is the best platform to achieve my dream, while contributing to further success of the organization; 2, I had long watched this company, right from my secondary school days, and I believe in her dream, I believe in her future, and I want to be part of its success; 3, I have always valued integrity and from my knowledge of this organization, I know integrity is the watchword. This integrity-driven environment falls in line with my career goal, my ideal workplace.

I was asked same question in another interview, this time around with an oil marketing firm and my answer was: I have long watched this company from afar, and I am impressed with its giant strides. Here is a Nigerian company, managed by Nigerians, doing extremely well in a sector dominated by foreign operators. I will like to be part of this success story. So in essence, just look for the high points of the organization interviewing you and carve your answer around it.
4, Why should I hire you? : This is somehow related to the above. The answer to the above may also suffice, but in addition, you may add your strengths, your special skills. If I were to be on the hot seat, in addition to the above, I will add: I have been involved in a number of engagements in the past and I have never failed. From my primary school through university, through professional qualifying examinations, to the places I have worked in the past, I have been outstanding. I don’t believe your organization will be an exception. So if you hire me, I have no doubt that I will excel. Your organization cannot be an exception.

5, What are your strengths? This may not be the success decider because truth is, everybody, including your competitors for the job, will always have something good to say about himself. So common answers to this include: I am a fast learner; I am a team player; I have always exceled in all I do; etc. I don’t know of any stunner of a response other than these common answers. This question can also come as: what are your selling points? Also, depending on how you are able to maneuver, answer to question 4 above can also be modified as answer to ‘what are your selling points?’ too. It can also come as, what are your competencies?

6, What are your weaknesses? I remember an interview I did with an investment institution in late 2006, my first interview experience, just few weeks after finishing university. I had read a lot about interviews (that was basically what I spent the most of my final year doing) and known that you don’t say you don’t have any weakness. My response to that question was:

“Hmmnnn, a couple of people have told me I can be impatient while working with a team, especially with slow members. When two, three people say something, they may not wrong. So I think this is a weakness I am working on. In actual fact, the desire to achieve a team goal drives my impatience as I hate failure. But I have come to realize individual differences, especially in pace, and I’m beginning to adjust.”

Need I say, I saw the panel interviewers nodding their head sub-consciously. The basic principle in answering this kind of question is, don’t say you don’t have weakness, tell your weakness and make it known you are working on it. Also, ensure it’s a weakness that is tolerable. God help you if you say your weakness is sleeping on duty.

7, Why do you want to leave your current company? If you are moving from one organization to another, expect this question. Sometime early last year, I was interviewing with one company in the downstream sector. I was then working in another company, its biggest rival in the industry. I was asked this question: why do you want to leave ABC Plc for our company? The basic principle in answering this kind of question is knowing the strength of the one you’re interviewing with over the one you currently are. One was a Nigerian company, the other was a foreign multi-national. That was what drove my response:

“No doubt ABC Plc is a good organization with good management. I have been there for four years and I came of age there. However, I had always wanted to work in a multi-national organization, where I will have the opportunity to hone my skills at the global place. I believe your organization offers great platform to achieve that.” Note that I did not bad-mouth my then employer. That is in line with a golden principle of interview – never bad-mouth your employer.

Still on this question, if it was the other way round, i.e you currently work in a multi-national and you are interviewing with its Nigerian competitor, and same question is asked, just look at the strength of the Nigerian company. If I were in that seat, I would answer thus:

“I have watched your organization from distance, and from what I read in the media, your company has a good rating and is doing Nigeria proud in the sector dominated by foreign participants. I am a Nigerian, I believe in Nigeria. I believe in things Nigerian. I’m impressed in a Nigerian company doing this and I will like to deploy the experience I have gathered working in a multinational to the development of a Nigerian enterprise. I believe in the future of your organization, and as a Nigerian, I want to be counted as part of the success.”

Same is applicable if you are moving from Diamond bank to Zenith Bank for instance. Just look for the advantage of one over the other and package it as reason you want to join them. God help you if you go say pay is your motivation, although we all know that that is the motivation for 70% of career movements, especially for non-managerial positions.

8, What pay do you expect? Truth is, if you’re interviewing for entry level position, you have practically no say in the pay. Almost 100% of companies have their pay structure and know how much they will pay you already. If Zenith bank, for instance, pays entry level employees N3m per annum, you can’t get more than that, except you have relevant experience. So most times, at entry level positions, this question is inconsequential, but it may be your undoing. Imagine asking for N10m as entry level in GTB – it can annoy your interviewer and an otherwise inconsequential question can mar your chance.

Personally, I –and people I know that are top management staff in big organizations – always advise that you don’t say an amount. Respond with something like: “ABC Plc is a well-structured organization and I believe you will fairly place me where I fit within the structure (knowing full well that you’re entry level), with commensurate remuneration.”

But if pressed further, you can state a sum, preferably a range, which you must have researched. A good way to research is to ask people that work in the organization what entry level pay is or you put a thread in a forum like Nairaland, where you are guaranteed of good response. You may add 1 or 2m on top. For example, you know Ecobank pays N3m for entry level position, you may call 4m for them at the interview.

If however you have some special skills or qualifications, you can charge a premium for that. For example, you have CFA, very marketable qualification, you can be daring and request for pay that is more than what is ordinarily obtainable for that position. Or you are coming with Imperial or Harvard certificate. Experienced hires are also in good position to negotiate.

9, Do you have any question for us? This is another area you can dazzle. Don’t ask the general question every Ade and Ada is expected to ask. Research well. Have your question at the back of your mind, although you can change it for a better one if in the course of the interview something more interesting comes to your mind. Interviewing with upstream oil companies, you can ask question around how they have been able to cope in the face of security challenges that threatened the sector; interviewing with a GTB, you can ask them how they manage to emerge even stronger in the face of the crisis that hit the sector few years back; interviewing with an Oando, you can psyche them up, asking how they did the wonder of being the most successful of all privatized government enterprises. Everybody likes to be praised, explore this psychology.
10, Confidence is the rule of the game: To me – and this view is shared by many top executives I have discussed this subject with – confidence is the most important thing in an interview. It is not easy, you will shake in the first few minutes, but once you get your rhythm, you can dazzle. At entry level, they don’t expect you to know so much other than some basic things. So your composure is key.

A number of things fire you up – having good credentials give you some confidence as does preparing well. I have always mentioned being versatile, knowing one or two things beyond your discipline, as helpful in interviews. Mr. Niyi Yusuf, Accenture Nigeria CEO, confirms that in the interview he granted this blog.

However, the low point of interview is that it can also be subjective sometimes. I have a friend, a very brilliant dude, that stood his ground on a question in an interview. He was marked as being arrogant, I later got to know. Meanwhile, another set of interviewers can give that a positive, interpreting it as knowing one’s onions, the type of person they need, not some sheepish employee. Similarly, I have another friend that was asked what her core competencies are and she told them she didn’t know the meaning of core competencies. Yet, she came first in that interview (I came second).

On a final note, the above are just guides, which I have put together based on personal experience, experience of friends and colleagues, formal and informal interactions with experienced interviewers and executives. They are templates. One is not meant to be mechanical, but there is no harm in sitting down in front of your mirror and rehearsing how to go about responding to such questions, or simulating with a friend or brother in the room. Yes, I did that. And it was helpful.

MEND Threatens To Commence Attacks From Friday

The militant group is angered by the jailing of Henry Okah in South Africa.

There was palpable tension in many parts of the Niger Delta as speculations became rife on Wednesday that a militant group in the region, the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta, MEND, could resume attacks in the country on Friday.

Media reports quote MEND as saying in a statement signed by its spokesman, Gbomo Jomo, that it would commence a series of attacks in the country, code named “Hurricane Exodus”, at midnight on Friday.

The statement describes the planned attacks as “a direct repercussion of a forged threat letter contrived by the Nigerian and South African governments purporting to have originated from MEND”.

“The attacks will commence 00:00 Hrs, Friday 05, April 2013 and will be sustained until an unreserved apology is offered to MEND and the Nigerian government shows their willingness to dialogue,” Gbomo is reported to have said in the statement.

MEND said the fake threat letter was used as evidence against their leader, Henry Okah, who was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment by a South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Shortly after Justice Neels Claaseen of the South Guateng High Court in South Africa sentenced Henry Okah to 24 years in prison for his alleged role in the October 1, 2010 bombing incident in Abuja, the group had issued a statement rejecting the sentence.

In the statement signed by “Comrade Azizi,” MEND described the sentence as “the height of injustice to our region and people, which will be resisted by all means necessary.”

Mr. Okah, as leader of MEND, was found guilty of masterminding the October 1, 2010 bombing in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, and an earlier one in Delta State.

Akunyili Backs Death Penalty For Corruption

Former Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, has supported the call for capital punishment for corrupt practices in order to transform the country.

Akunyili, who was the guest lecturer at the 7th lecture of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences, Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State, on Wednesday, said the desired change in the country had been hampered by corruption, insecurity, poor leadership among others social vices.

She said, “In China, it is death penalty for corruption. I believe if we are really serious about fighting corruption, there is the need to insert harsher clauses to make corruption less attractive, just like they do in China.

“Once, one, two, three, four corrupt people are executed for corruption, some others who have such tendency will definitely fall in line.”

According to Akunyili, if the government fails to punish corrupt practices, it might as well be promoting it.

She added, “We just have to find a way to decisively fight corruption before it completely ruins this beautiful country.”

The former minister, who presented a paper entitled ‘National Transformation: the Challenge of our Time’, also suggested that the government must introduce a social security scheme for the unemployed youths as done in the United States and the United Kingdom.

She noted that government in those countries paid stipend to their unemployed so that the lives of the rich and middle class would be secured.

She added, “It is common sense that the rich will remain unsafe in the midst of a hungry and angry majority. Government in the Western world understands that the negative energy vibrating from such people is enough to create discomfort.”

Akunyili, who suggested that the government could start the scheme with the physically challenged and the aged, commended the Ekiti State Government for introducing a social security for the aged.

“To me, being a good leader means being a principled leader, and being principled simply means being a man or woman of your words, being guarded by the right moral compass, doing the right thing anytime, anywhere and even in the face of threats of any type. It is simply leadership by example,” she stated.

According to her, when a leader compromised his position by sharing filthy lucre with his or her subordinates, he or she has lost the right leadership authority and incapable of instilling any discipline in the work force.

She said, “When I was in NAFDAC, if I had allowed officers in the ports or the registration desks and other sensitive areas to make returns to me, we would not have been able to record any success in sanitising the food and drug sector.

Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof Isaac Adeyemi, said the institution invited Akunyili because of her pedigree and contributions to the nation’s development.