It is no longer news that the corruption-soaked Nigerian education sector has fallen deep into a state of disrepair, over the years. In a country where teachers are not being taken care of, not properly trained, and owed months and years of salaries, the direct implication is certainly what we have now in Nigeria – a scary one.
For a sector which has become the means through which foreign nations continue to determine the “progress”, or otherwise, of Africans, it is quite surprising that the situation is being taken with such reckless abandon. Students’ quests for foreign education has constituted a great deal of financial drain to the continent, especially because the diasporas tend not to transform the brain drain to brain gain.
As at 2015, Nigeria had about 125 universities and yet, majority of the students seeking admission to higher education could not have access, as less than half gained admission into the universities. As aptly captured by the Brookings Institute, Nigeria has one of the world’s lowest levels of social spending, resulting in poor school infrastructure, lack of school maintenance, inadequate learning materials, and ill-qualified teachers. According to the annual report of the Central Bank of Nigeria (2015), expenditure on education fell by 45.7 %.
Students’ brain drain, money drain and the implication for development
According to the 2016 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the number of African students seeking higher education abroad grew from 343,370 (in 2006) to 427,311 (in 2014) constituting about 24 % growth in students’ mobility abroad. From 2013 to 2014 alone, it rose by 9%. Of the all the countries sending students abroad, Nigeria occupies the topmost position with 71,351 students. Nigerian students constituted about a quarter of all the United States enrolled African students (IIE Open Doors 2016). The outbound students from Nigeria grew by 45% from 2010 to 2013, with the United Kingdom being the highest recipient of 17,973 constituting more than 25% of all Nigerian student migrants. Nigeria is one of the top ten countries sending students to the UK. The other top destinations that have received over 2,000 Nigerian students are Ghana (13,919 [19.5 %]), the United States of America (9,786 [13.7 %]), Malaysia (4,943 [6.9 %]), Ukraine (3,328 [4.7 %]), Canada (3,257 [4.6 %]), and South Africa (2,525 [3.5 %]).
For Nigeria and its economic challenges, this large number of students definitely causes a drain on the economy. This is more so that most of these students attend the UK universities considered to have the highest average student tuition fees in the industrialized world. This is apart from the living expenses and accommodation. On the average, international undergraduate students pay an annual £13,394 for classroom taught courses, £15,034 and £24,169 respectively for laboratory and clinical courses. Postgraduate students pay, on the average, £13,442, £15,638 and £20,956, respectively for classroom, laboratory and clinical based courses. Master of Business Administration (MBA) students pay £18,226 on the average. According to the UK’s National Union of Students (NUS), the average annual cost of living outside of London for students is £12,056. To study in London, students would have paid about £15,180 annually. For visa purposes, international students pay about £1,265 for each month of stay while those outside London pay about £1,015 per month in order to prove that they can cover cost of living in the UK.
It takes an average of about $33,000 per student to study in the USA. This is about ₦12,177,000 (calculated at ₦369 to a dollar) per student annually. For the more than 10,000 Nigerian students in the USA, the total cost is about more than ₦15 billion annually per student. This brings the total amount of money drained abroad to about 92% of the total budget for all educational levels in the Nigerian educational system in 2016.
One can imagine how much is drained out of the nation when the costs of all foreign students are calculated. And in a nation where the minimum wage is N19, 800, one would have thought that only those in the very high echelon of the Nigerian society are the ones who can afford to send their children abroad. But, this is not totally true! Students of not so wealthy parents also struggle to travel out for foreign education.
The need to prevent this huge economic Loss
Indeed, Nigeria’s public tertiary institutions remain in perpetual deteriorating condition in spite of the efforts at increasing capacity by building more universities. The institutions are severely overcrowded with sky-rocketing student to teacher ratios and chronic faculty shortages.
In saner societies, we have the best of minds being teachers, ensuring that the chain of knowledge is not polluted by some incapable hands. In Nigeria, teachers are the most indigent, most derided lot in the polity. The decline in the value of teachers is indeed a troubling one.
So, one wonders whether it is possible for the diasporas to come back to work in the state in which these universities are. This is more so that the fears of the diasporas cannot be allayed given the enormity of challenges they would face if they come home. Some of these challenges include, but are not limited to, corruption, political patronage, security risks, lack of access to productive inputs, lack of sufficient government stimulus, inconsistent government policies, high rate of unemployment, low wages and poor state or lack of infrastructure.
Overcrowding at institutions and inadequate funding resources are contributing factors to the decline in the quality of higher education. The system has far outgrown the resources available to it to continue offering high-level quality education. Other factors contributing to the decline in quality are the unstable environment due to frequent strikes by students or staff, the quality of students admitted to programs, and the quality of the academics recruited. These factors need to be taken into consideration in rethinking quality promotion.
As noted by a corruption scholar, “limited access to education has no doubt contributed to the use of bribes and personal connections to gain coveted places at universities, with some admissions officials reportedly working with agents to obtain bribes from students. In 2013, Transparency International reported that about 30 percent of Nigerians surveyed said they had paid a bribe in the education sector.
Extremely worrying is also that something as basic as electricity is still lacking in Nigeria! In 2018! This makes teaching and learning extremely uncomfortable and cumbersome. Foreign schools have the edge over Nigerian higher institutions, as they have constant electricity and a peaceful atmosphere, among other basic amenities which often suit the desire of an average Nigerian.
Until Nigeria fixes issues on corruption, electricity, budget planning, intelligent prioritization and channeling of resources, the hope that more and more youths, our financial and human manpower will not be sold to foreign lands, is indeed a pipe dream.
Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, Ayeni Adekunle, Tomiwa Aladekomo, Others to speak at the Phyllion Tech Conference
The event will provide opportunities for stakeholders in technology to showcase future-driven solutions.
Phyllion unveils its line-up of reputable speakers and tech leaders who will drive the conversation about the theme; Technology Transformation in Africa, What’s Next? The event is phased into three sessions; the general session, led by the Keynote speaker and female tech influencer as moderator; the Panel discussion, and will end with the start-up pitch session.
Leading this team of tech and communications thought leaders with the Keynote Address are Yomi Badejo-Okusanya (YBO) and Adrian Clews. YBO is a renowned Public Relations Veteran, Group Managing Director of CMC Connect (Perception Managers) and President, African Public Relations Association (APRA), with over 30 years of experience in the Marketing Communications industry, while Adrian Clews is Managing Director at Hinckley Associates Nigeria, leveraging on innovative solutions to help reduce business costs & improve security.
Other reputable speakers are Tosin Faniro-Dada, who leads the Lagos Innovates Team at the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF). She is responsible for developing and implementing programmes that provide an enabling environment for tech start-ups to thrive, and cultivating strategic partnerships to increase its reach in Lagos State.
Tomiwa Aladekomo, the Chief Executive Officer of Big Cabal Media, publisher of TechCabal and Zikoko, tech and youth publications. He is involved in building the next generation of African media brands and creating some of the most interesting original content from the continent.
Award-winning Media & Public Relations Consultant, Ayeni Adekunle, who is the Founder of the Black House Media Group (BHM), home to highly revered Public Relations Consultancy Company- BlackHouse Media, digital marketing and media company – ID Africa, and technology start-up – Plaqad.
In addition are Emmanuel Asika, Covid-19 survivor and Channel Manager for Hewlett Packard (HP), Central Africa ; Funmilola Eniolorunda, the Chief Operations Officer at fast-growing software company, Venture Garden Group ; and Segun Iffie the Global Service Delivery Manager (Nigeria) at HPE .
Noteworthy on the panel is Temi Ophylia Ibekwe, Founder, Phyllion & Partners, who is a Strategic Communications Professional with nine years hands-on experience in Public Relations and Marketing, working with consumer brands, government institutions as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Also the start-up pitch panel is packed with tech leaders such as, Managing Director, HP Central Africa, Ify Afe, CEO Edgebase Technologies, Joel Egbai, US-based Digital Business Transformation Strategist, Ogechi Chidebell and Mo Durosinmi-Etti, Program Manager at the Bulb Africa.
To host the event and moderate the sessions is a well-known female tech influencer, Tobi Ayeni, (Miss Techy).
Speaking on the conference, member of the panelist, Black House Media Group Founder, Ayeni Adekunle said, “I’ve always spoken about the importance of Nigerian companies embracing technology to transform not only their operations but the Nigerian landscape and I’m glad platforms like the Phyllion Tech PR Conference are championing the cause ensuring we set a lot of these theories in motion.”
The event will not only help determine the direction of businesses post-COVID, it would make prominent the impact of communication on tech businesses, and also reward tech-preneurs who have discovered innovative ways of solving problems in their milieu and society at large.
It is first of its kind within the sector and it provides opportunities for various stakeholders in technology to showcase future-driven solutions that will drive technology growth in the African continent.
The event is scheduled for Friday, July 17, 2020 between 12:00pm and 2:30pm. The Phyllion Tech Conference presents a platform for communication to enable technology transformation in Africa through impact-driven conversations and actions.
Sijibomi Ogundele (Sujimoto): Meet the Agege boy who built a $400million company
His look may be modest but his ambition belies his modesty.
Dressed in a simple Polo T-Shirt on a Friday Evening, Sijibomi Ogundele, Nigeria’s youngest Billionaire and Luxury Real Estate Czar, can be seen on the Lucrezia project site, in the prestigious Banana Island neighborhood, inspecting the work done and ensuring every ‘i’ is dotted and every ‘t’ is crossed. No one would have thought that this man, who is currently worth billions, was once a Souvenir hawker in France and also did alabaru for his trader Mum in Africa’s most populous market – Oke-Arin, where he was nurtured by enterprising Igbo traders, which ignited his passion for business.
Growing up in the slum of Agege, as a little 8-year-old, Sijibomi’s first introduction to Entrepreneurship was when he started a bike business popularly called ‘Okada’ business, from his little savings. Despite the usual African Parent’s disapproval, he drew inspiration from his mother’s entrepreneurial spirit and grew his Okada business from 1 to 6 motorcycles, a testament to his strong, resolute and resilient business mind.
A rose that grew from concrete, Mr. Ogundele who is only 39 has built his company, Sujimoto Group, in just 5 years, into a Luxury Construction behemoth, focused on building extraordinary edifices in premium neighborhoods of Ikoyi and Banana Island. With annual revenue of approximately $30 million and many other pending projects, Mr. Ogundele believes the Sujimoto group is worth over $400 Million. His look may be modest but his ambition belies his modesty. After an encounter with the King of Dubai who pushed his ambitious project – LorenzoBySujimoto, from 15 Storey building to a 30 storey building, reminding him that; “To be second is to be last! If people in their 30’s are building 5000 units annually in Asia, 75 units shouldn’t scare you.”According to Mr. Ogundele; “I believe in Nigeria. My passion comes from my patriotism. I believe that the Nigeria that produced the MKOs, the Dantatas, and the Ojukwus, also has something great in store for me.”
The Lawyer tuned Entrepreneur who is son to a John Holt Manager and a trader mother never had the opportunity to attend King’s College or other expensive private schools but attended public schools. With a dream to revolutionize the Nigerian Luxury real estate space and an ambition taller than the Burj Khalifa, one can only wonder how he has steered his company to survive the brutal economic recessions within the last 5 years, growing stronger, bigger and better, to the consternation of the pessimists.
Sujimoto’s Giuliano project which is 100% covered in travertine stone, fully automated, 1st project with each unit having its private elevator and an award-winning Zaha Hadid Bathroom for Porscelanosa, set the standard for a luxury terrace in Banana Island, attracting clients like MD of multinationals, billionaires and music entrepreneur – Davido.
A stone throws from the Giuliano; Sujimoto is building what has been dubbed the tallest residential building in Banana Island – the LucreziaBySujimoto. A revolutionary building, never before seen in Nigeria or Africa! The first building with Glass Reinforced Concrete (GRC) façade, Full Home Automation, private IMAX Cinema for the residents, standard crèche, Indoor Virtual Golf with over 2,500 courses worldwide to play on, swimming pool in the sky and other exciting features. Sitting on the 12th floor is the best penthouse in Africa. A project that sets an enviable standard for luxury residential apartments in Nigeria with a sales value worth $46 and a delivery deadline of December 2021.
Speaking on the Lucrezia, Mr. Ogundele made a startling revelation; “We are building the best condominium not only in Nigeria but also in Africa. The Lucrezia Penthouse comes with a private elevator, private cinema, private golf, private gym, and a private pool! The Lucrezia is very special to us because Sujimoto is divesting from Residential Projects with 80% of our real estate interest into Commercial Projects.
When asked about the company’s plan to accommodate smaller units, Mr. Ogundele was very quick to add that the company has a new project that is almost sold out! According to him; “Many people have approached us about building smaller and more affordable units with the Sujimoto standard and we have responded with a revolutionary project called the LeonardoBySujimoto. With LeonardoBySujimoto, you can own a Sujimoto Apartment without breaking the Bank. We have studied the best apartments and what we are creating, beats the best.
The Affordable Luxury Project – Leonardo, comes in 2, 3, and 4 Bedroom Units and it is a great investment offer as the 3 bedrooms which are currently selling for N250million will go for N450million once the project is launched later in the year. According to Mr. Ogundele, the present pricing still beats the best apartments in Bourdillon and Eko Atlantic. He also noted that the current price offer will expire by the end of the month.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Hotel Outlook for 2018-2022 has projected that the hospitality market in Nigeria will experience a compound annual increase in the next 5 years.
According to Ogundele, the same passion with which we redefined luxury living in Nigeria, is the same passion we are bringing into the Nigerian Hospitality and Commercial space. We have toured some of the best hotels in the world such as the Address Hotel, Downtown Dubai, the Baccarat Hotel in New York City, and the Dorchester Hotel in London. Sujimoto is building the S-Hotel, African hospitality with a Four Season services. We are building a hotel that is Customer addictive, where putting the customer 1st becomes our priority, from Janitor to General Managers.
Three fundamental qualities separate the S hotel from others: Design, Price, and Service. The plan is to get rid of mediocre experience in the hospitality industry, building one luxury hotel at a time. The focus, therefore, is to build one luxury hotel in the State capital city of every African country, starting from the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. The plan is before 2030, we would have built over 100 luxury hotels with 16,000 rooms, worth $1.9 billion in the portfolio, a move which will bring the company’s overall worth to over $5 billion in 10 years.
In addition to the company’s expansion plan, Mr. Ogundele made it known that Sujimoto is building a world-class Plaza, first of its kind, in Ikoyi and Abuja, with a 2021 and 2022 projection for completion. This 6-in-1 Plaza by Sujimoto is a contemporary one-stop-shop retail and hospitality center, featuring innovative state-of-the-art equipment, rooftop lounge, and bar, premium restaurants, world-class gym, retail shops other premium features. Upon completion, each project should be valued at approximately N47 Billion, with a combined rental income of about N11billion annually. According to Mr. Ogundele, ‘By 2030, we hope to have completed 61 different malls and plazas in Nigeria and across major African cities, a portfolio worth about $3billion.”
Despite the huge effect of the COVID-19 on businesses and economies, where banks have put a halt to every construction project, Sujimoto just raised N3.5 Billion for the Lucrezia which is sold out with just 2 units left! According to Mr. Ogundele Sujimoto;
“At Sujimoto, we do not see a recession, because for us crises are opportunities disguised as problems! We have developed a highly viable and profitable strategy and found an opportunity for savvy investors to invest N5 billion into Sujimoto and get N10 billion back in 3 years. This is debt and not equity, and it is guaranteed. Treasury bills and other money market instruments will give you a 5 – 10% ROI on your investment but this is 100% ROI and it is guaranteed! This investment is NOT for everyone, it is ONLY for the vital few, who can identify opportunities when they see one.
One of the reasons why Sujimoto can stand out and guarantee good price and quality is the strength of the company’s procurement capacity and global reach. Mr. Ogundele explained that “We don’t use 3rd parties when it comes to projects; we speak directly to the manufacturers because we want to guarantee two fundamental things – prudent spending and assurance of quality. With offices in Dubai, Gwanzo, and New York City and numerous ambitious projects, one wonders what Sujimoto Group will be worth in 10 years to come.
According to Mr. Ogundele; “Our biggest motivation is our critics because, without them, we couldn’t have come this far. There’s nothing we have today, that we got on a platter of gold. We worked two times harder, 3 times more, just to prove that without a rich Aunty or Uncle, you can get to your destiny”.
Speaking on some of the challenges he has had to contend with in business, Mr. Ogundele recalled the event of 2016 and 2017 where he had conceived and developed the biggest project in Nigeria, over 90 Million USD to build the tallest residential building in Sub-Saharan Africa – the LorenzoBySujimoto.
“After all the investment in time, money, and passion, the recession hit badly, and investors pulled out. The economy was so bad that I had to refund hundreds of millions to our off-takers. Amid the chaos, like the phoenix that rises from the ashes, the Giuliano project was born! A project of terrace houses in Africa’s richest neighborhood – Banana Island. And 20 months after, the record-breaking Giuliano has metamorphosed from a proof-of-concept to a proof-of-product! Fully sold-out 6-Months before completion.”
Many have opined that the young and dynamic Motomatician might be eyeing a political position, but according to Mr. Ogundele, “the business of politics is bigger than the politics of business. We are focused on business but we shall support the government. To us, the Government is like a beautiful woman, marry her only when she is an asset, not a liability.”
When asked if he was married, the single and eligible bachelor who insisted he was married without a wife, claimed that his wife is young and very jealous, she’s Sujimoto.
Whales move 100,000,000 USDT in less than 24 hours
Tether is ranked as the 3rd most valuable cryptocurrency by market cap.
Tether, the world’s most valuable stable coin by market capitalization, has been gaining a lot of traction lately. The latest development is that Tether whales moved about 100 million USDT to unknown wallets in less than a day, as seen on Whale Alert, an advanced blockchain tracker, and analytics system.
Data from Conimarketcap shows that Tether is ranked as the 3rd most valuable cryptocurrency by market cap of $9.165 billion, with a daily volume of about $20 billion as at the time this report was drafted.
Quick fact: Tether is designed as a blockchain-based cryptocurrency whose digital coins in circulation are backed by the same value of traditional fiat currencies like the U.S dollar, Japanese Yen, or the Euro. It trades under the ticker symbol USDT.
The “Tether Treasury’s” USDT wallet has grown in recent times in becoming the top holder of the stablecoin, meaning that some crypto traders, investors may have managed to successfully withdraw their stakes from circulation. The removal of about 29% of the total volume of Tether in circulation has recently coincided with a huge depletion in the amount of Tether held in 2 USDT wallets separately owned by Huobi and Binance.
Recall about a month ago, Nairametrics, outlined a report talking about the organic growth of Tether’s market capitalization as one of the major reasons for the gain Bitcoin (BTC) is presently having in the mid-term. “Interest in digital links to the dollar represents the need to handle and store value in the world’s reserve currency without an intermediary.”