Friday, September 26, 2008

Extreme Paranoia

I certainly hope that we all take a moment to reflect on how much the world has changed in just a short time. There is always the good side of change, the bad, the scary and the unsure. I will take you through a realistic scenario which would give you the opportunity to probably reflect some more.

At 35,000 ft above sea level, a glance through the windows of the pressurized cabin brings some memory to your sub conscious mind or at least makes you marvel at the experience. To keep the time ticking and keep your mind distracted from the pressures of life especially on long distance flights, lots of unique scenarios come to mind.

One of these is the constant call and choice of Cabernet, Merlot, straight up Johnny Walker or fruit juices as the case may be. Others choose flipping through tons of megabytes of stored movies; that is if you are lucky to be on one of those tech A340's or B777's.

What I find really unique is the "boardroom Meetings" at the AFT-rear of the plane where passengers decide to hang out after exercising their human rights in the toilets. Between 3-5 hours into a transatlantic flight is always the fun time and right time to hear all the economic gossips and other hilarious comments by passengers some of whom might be embarking on journeys to the unknown.

The Air hostesses sometimes join in on the gist session and are always on hand to lend a Cabernet or a micro bottle of Bailey's and some other condiment's. The interesting aspect of these gatherings is that brand new friends and business contacts are consummated.

Well folks, I am sorry to announce that all that fun has now become a federal offence especially on flights to and from the USA. I guess its just another example of extreme paranoia. The sad announcement came through the speakers on one of my recent flights. We were advised not to gather at the rear of the plane for any reason other than waiting to use the toilet(bathroom). Such are the times we live in.

We leave in a world full of fear. It feels like freedom has become an element of diction and not a human right. There are thousands of CCTV's everywhere you go. Wire taps, text taps, toothbrush taps and all other taps just makes you wonder what the world has turned into. Your comments will be appreciated.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What If

What if Eskimo's suddenly found themselves in the Sahara Dessert? if Lions found themselves in posh homes as pets? if electric power stayed on uninterrupted for 2 weeks in Victoria Island? if a drive along the Sagamu Benin expressway was devoid of a single pot hole?

What if motorists in Nigeria suddenly found themselves with a choice of bio diesel, Flex Fuels, mid and super grade of fuel at the gas pump? if the Naira to the dollar became 1:1 again?

The world we live in today is highly complex. As at 2005, real estate investors in the United States had no clue that trouble was brewing. As at 2006, the great American Dream was fulfilled by numerous tax payers. Working class citizens and their families were proud to be at home, in their own houses watching the NFL, NASCAR or NBA as a family unit.

It's 2008. Suddenly, the same home is boarded up. The breadwinner is out of job. The family unit crumbles. What if the real estate market remained the same as 2004? Great institutions have crumbled. Fannie Mae, Indymac and so many billion dollar companies; Insurance giants AIG??

Look guys, I do not know what they tell you but it a disastrous situation that surpasses the impact of Katrina, Ike, twin towers, the tour bus crash in Texas and the train crash in California. This is the Great Mortgage Meltdown.

What if the real estate guy's never showed you a house to buy? what if your apartment complex management dangled great incentives at you? what if the lenders never gave you those enticing ARMS or payment schemes or interest only payments?

What if the suitcase carrying mortgage brokers never invited the public to those weekend forums at posh hotels with free coffee and snacks which they used as avenues to enlighten dreamers about the gains of home ownership? what if they did not use examples of people who made 1000% profit in a few months?

Guess what? its possible for lions to live as pets, for Eskimo's to adapt to the Sahara and for electric power to stay on uninterrupted in Victoria Island Lagos for 2 weeks.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The power of sixteen wheels

A drive along the Lagos - Ibadan expressway, a major highway in Nigeria, in the early 90's would have been described as pleasurable, risk free and quick. Today, the same drive is characterised by multiple doses of consistent prayers, subconscious fright of the unknown and uncontrollable anxiety as you approach your destination. In summary; its a cosmic nightmare. A monumental disgrace to administrations both past and present and a constant reminder of the obvious ineptitude and neglect of the Masses who ply the road daily.

I have read and witnessed the impact of faith based organizations that have all turned the highway into some sort of pilgrimage destination. I have heard and read criticisms to that effect. I have been indirectly affected and can attest to massive loss of man hour time due to uncontrollable commotion at the entrances to these sites.

Non of these however comes close to the incidence that occurred in August which was perpetrated by drivers of sixteen wheelers. What occurred could best be described as an act of economic sabotage or even treason.

One of the past state administrator's with a foresight had instigated the construction of a multi million Naira park area for truckers. Apparently, the truckers had become a menace to society as they shunned the park and continued to create homes along some stretches of the road thereby forcing motorists to squeeze through a single lane filled with pollutants from the outdated truck engines. If that was not health degrading enough, the sight of filth at this location along one of the nations busiest highways is retrogressive.

Well, with all of these and after several notices and attempts to relocate the illegal park, the legislated Government officials decided to enforce the movement by the only measure best known to stubborn men; force. The officials towed some of the trucks and confined them till a time when the others were forced to move.

The next action that occurred was shocking and unbelievable. The truck drivers took offence at the Governments action and within a jiffy, they had sabotaged the economy of a great Nation by blocking the entire highway in protest. That was the only way they felt they could show the "power of sixteen wheels". The blockade was on for several hours based on reports from eye witnesses.

Who really is in charge here? what confidence does this sort of action give the public, what would investor's feel about stability? what efforts are being made to enlighten the disgruntled truckers? The pathetic aspect of the issues is that 85% of the trucks are not even road worthy by international standards. Try driving behind one of them struggling to ascend a hilly terrain of the highway. The carbon monoxide attack that follows is indescribable. Hello, it's 2008 and some issues like this should not occur.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

If you Believe

Someone once stated that believer's have no need to panic or worry over economic and financial downturns. How? well believers belong to a supernatural economy that knows no bubble or depression. It's a faith thing. Set your mind on worries on the ground and you'll probably not get too far. Believe that you belong to a higher economy, then see what happens next.

Twice I had to change the production date of my second issue of Trendy Africa Magazine. The contents had to be updated which required extensive research. There were too many worries down here. Just too many and too complicated. But one day, a faith based gentleman walked up to me. During our discussion he mentioned; "hey Tosan, do you know that your economy is not of this earth but of high above? believe and see things change".

I stood back and thought over this for a second. Apparently, the gentleman had come to my job to replace a tire on his vehicle. On inspection, I realized that he needed a set. I directed him to see a sales representative and after much consultation he opted for a set.

Today, my second issue is a reality. Reality with the right mind set. Those who know can attest to how much time I had to wait for $1 of support. Expectations, realizations, dreams and vision all seemed to fade with every passing hour but I always remembered the real economy I belonged too.

I also believe that those who believed that they had expectations to inspire me can still achieve it. There is still so much more to be done and guess what? the product would always be a physical reality of our input. All you have to do is just believe.