Our Voice Is In Our Hands

9505967156_97f78bb06d_bThe internet and social media give youth an enormous opportunity to amplify their voices, writes Emmanuel Olutokun, 23, a Correspondent from Lagos in Nigeria, who looks at ways these remarkable tools have been used for positive change.

The youthful age offers so much opportunity, potential and prospects to build, learn, and explore. A period to create the future we desire and work towards accomplishing it. But as an adage ironically puts, ‘many use their youth age to make their old age miserable’.

There was a time in the history of mankind when we thought the only way to make our voices heard was through protesting, fighting and even shedding of blood. But with the disruptive intervention and explosion of the internet, this conception is fast eroding.

Our voice is gradually moving to our hands. With our internet enabled mobile phones, our voices can hardly be ignored. It is simple but effective. There are immense opportunities that we the youths have to hone and positively make use of.

Recently, there was a premature coup in Turkey, where some disgruntled individuals in the military decided to overthrow the present government. The coup would have been a success if major traditional means of communication – radio and television – had been taken over.  But another importance means of communication was underrated, and that was the voice of the people. People who had access to the internet in Turkey took to their social media platforms to hear from their president, express their displeasure and dissatisfaction with the ongoing coup, and re-affirm their support to their president. These raised the consciousness of the world to crisis in Turkey and in no time the attempted coup was crushed.

This essentially brings to fore how loud and how far our ‘hands’ can go if used positively and in the right manner. Social media creates a very suitable platform for youths to start an initiative, galvanize support and implement projects that are beneficial to the society.

One such tool is Twitter. This platform is 320 million people strong globally and has been seen as a community where matters of importance are being discussed by people whose voices might never have been heard if there was no internet.

Last week, a hashtag #SaveMayowa was trending on Twitter Nigeria, which was a call for financial support ror a Nigerian lady who was diagnosed with cancer and in need of immediate medical attention. The unity of Nigerians was reflected when people took empathising steps to ensure that the needs of the lady were met. A Gofundme account was set up for her whereby people could donate, and within three days, over 31 million naira was raised for her operation.

Change.org is another social tool whereby youths everywhere in the world can start campaigns, mobilise support from concerned fellows and also work with decision makers to drive solutions. Just starting a petition over an observed ill in your nation is now sure to be the first step to solving that ill. Amazingly, all these social platforms are free.

The truth is, there is never a better time to start than now. The change we desire to see in the world rests in our hands. Just start.

photo credit: Find your voice via photopin (license)

First Appeared on Your Commonwealth

 

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12 Inspiring Books You Need To Get Acquainted With #SpotOn

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The most powerful motivator isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute, and be recognized. – Frederick Herzberg

This Sunday on my way back from church I was drawn to purchase a book- There Was A Country by Chinua Achebe and every page has been really captivating and enlightening. I was attracted to this book because of three things.

First, The Content, Someone once said that those who are oblivious of history are likely to repeat the same mistakes, which if you study global patterns, you discover that this is very true. Secondly, The Author; you will agree with me that Chinua Achebe has left an indelible mark in our country’s sands of time but more importantly, a book is a reflection of the author and you better understand his outlook through his literary executions. Finally, you’re what you know (and apply), not what you want to know. There seems to be a dearth of readers in Africa and ultimately leaders or half-baked leaders in the country.

Which brings me to this edition of #SpotOn, one remarkable response I keep getting from previous #SpotOn guests when asked about their bests books is ”I read a lot which often times even make it difficult to even select three.’’ That I believe, should say something to aspiring leaders, you really cannot go far if you are not a reader.If you invest more in trivial things then you need to watch it. Like it has been rightly said that the leaders of {today} are those who can learn, unlearn and relearn.

I have been able to do a cursory review of the books #SpotOn guests have found very attractive and I believe you also get familiar with them not because you want to show that you’re a reader but it is what you know that pops-out in time of need.

12) HOW WILL YOU MEASURE YOUR LIFE BY CLAYTON CHRISTENSEN: Using lessons from some of the world’s greatest businesses, applying his theories about disruptive innovation, and drawing personal examples from his own life, Christensen puts forward questions which would ultimately help lead a successful and happy life.

The principles of resource allocation can help people attain happiness at home. If not managed masterfully, what emerges from a firm’s resource allocation process can be very different from the strategy management intended to follow. That’s true in life too: If you’re not guided by a clear sense of purpose, you’re likely to fritter away your time and energy on obtaining the most tangible, short-term signs of achievement, not what’s really important to you.

11) THE SECRET BY RHONDA BRYNE:

Fragments of a Great Secret have been found in the oral traditions, in literature, in religions and philosophies throughout the centuries. The Secret contains wisdom from modern-day teachers — men and women who have used it to achieve health, wealth, and happiness.

10)  THE MASTER KEY SYSTEM BY CHARLES HAANEL:

This book is rumoured to be what inspired Bill Gates to leave Harvard and start Microsoft. Haanel uses precise logic and a consistent, common-sense frame-work to present the way we can achieve what we most desire in life.

 

9) THE NEW IQ BY TRACY AND ROSS ALLOWAY:

What determines the strength of our working memory? How does it change over the course of our lives and is there anything we can do to improve its capability? These are fundamental questions Tracy and Ross answers in this book. \

8)  MASTERY BY ROBERT GREENE:

Mastery synthesizes the years of research Robert Greene conducted while writing the international bestsellers The 48 Laws of PowerThe 33 Strategies of War, and The Art of Seduction and demonstrates that the ultimate form of power is mastery itself. By analysing the lives of such past masters as Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Leonard da Vinci.

7) THINK AND GROW RICH BY NAPOLEON HILL:

Think and Grow Rich is a modern day classic filled with ideas which have the power to change your life and set you upon the path of learning and self-development. This book conveys the experience of more than 500 men of great wealth, who began at scratch, with nothing to give in return for riches except THOUGHTS, IDEAS and ORGANIZED PLANS.

6) SPREADABLE MEDIA BY HENRY JENKINS, SAM FORD, AND JOSHUA GREEN:

“If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead.” This catchy marketing slogan is, happily, only found on the book jacket of Spreadable Media. Following up on the hugely influential Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, this book challenges some of the prevailing metaphors and frameworks used to describe contemporary media, from biological metaphors like “memes” and “viral” to the concept of “Web 2.0” and the popular notion of “influencers.” Examining the nature of audience engagement, the environment of participation, the way appraisal creates value, and the transnational flows at the heart of these phenomena.

5) HOW TO BUILD A BILLION APP– GEORGE BERKOWSKI:

How to Build a Billion Dollar App takes a comprehensive look at how the world’s top apps reached billion-dollar valuations written by the founder of Hailo- a taxi hailing app. This book gives a chilling and fresh insight into the inside stories of Guys like Instagram, Whatsapp, Clash of Clans.

If you have that billion dollar app in your head then this is your book.

 

4) ZERO TO ONE BY PETER THIEL:

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

3)   PAID TO THINK BY DAVID GOLDSMITH:

In Paid to Think, international consultant David Goldsmith presents his ground-breaking approach to leadership and management based on research revealing the twelve specific activities that all leaders perform on a daily basis, and he provides you with each activity’s accompanying tools and instructions proven to boost your performance and that of your entire organization.

2) THE ALCHEMIST BY PAUL COELHO:

Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found.

The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories can, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, above all, following our dreams.

  1. THE BIBLE: A timeless and relevant book that constantly instructs, guides and sheds light into human gloominess.

 

What has been your most inspiring book, Thus far? Kindly share in the comment box.

My Motivators & The Etisalat Chronicles #SpotOn

Experience is a safe light to walk by, and he is not a rash man who expects to succeed in the future from the same means which have secured it in times past- Wendy Philips

 

A good student in the school of success will agree with me that success goes beyond flying solo but it is providing wings for others to fly.

In this edition of #SpotOn Mr. Idiare Atimomo who is currently the Co-Founder/COO of Up In The Sky Ng and a faculty member at Africa’s 1st practical school of Integrated Brand Experience-Orange Academy, puts down his thoughts on factors that has over time motivated him to stay afloat even in challenging times also passing across one of the most important advice to youths that I have personally come across in a long time- Passion Over Money!

At the mention of the name Idiare what tops the mind would be his remarkable feet while at Etisalat Nigeria. Fleshing and growing the brand from Nothing to Something in the Nigerian market, particularly in the Youth segment seemed to be a tough job owing to the already established competitors in the sector but some people did it and Idiare was one of them.

Enjoy the chat but more importantly apply these truths to your life.

  • What have been your key motivators in life over the years?

My parents are a key motivating force in my life. I lost my dad at an early age, I was 19 years. I tend to always want to make him proud, raise the value of the name and drive for excellence he bequeathed to my brother and me. My mum sacrificed a lot to get me to where I am today and this drives my motivation.

My wife and sons are also my strongest motivators, when I look at them I always tend to find some inner boost to keep pushing and innovating. I want them to have the best life possible.

I tend to also have a strong sense of purpose – like I am on earth to achieve some objectives – so I push myself to stay true to my purpose. I really desire to be excellent at what I do and this comes from this sense of purpose.

 

  • Can you describe your most challenging and equally most exciting project ever handled?

The most challenging and exciting project I can remember now was launching easy cliq at Etisalat in 2009. I had just moved from the agency side to a client side role in January and we had to launch the brand as soon as possible. First I had to try to understand telecoms a bit more than I did at the time so I could add value to the product development process. Also I had to understand how to work very quickly with 5 different commercial teams and help guide this new product to life.

I had previous experience with youth brands in telecoms having helped launch the first truly youth brand with MTN i.e. MTN XtraCool but this was a new kettle of fish. At DDB I received a brief on a finished product and had to guide creative development. At Etisalat I had input into the proposition development itself. What should we include in the product to make it appealing to youth? How should the SIM Pack be designed? What route to market would we adopt? What would be our pricing model?

I was 28 years old at the time and was working with some of the smartest people in the telecoms industry. We had all been recruited to build the best network in the land. These were very intelligent people and much more experienced than I was. I had to hold my own in their midst and win their trust. God on my side, I believe I succeeded. We were able to craft a unique launch proposition and launch easy cliq in a city stopping event in May 2009.

Growing Easy Cliq from zero to more than 7 million subscribers and billions in revenue with the Etisalat youth team (my world class boss Elvis Ogiemwanye and others along the way) was indeed my most exciting project. We started with a beach event after the brand was launched, moved on to a series of club storms before earning the trust of the business to build a very unique campus activation model. Unlike our competitors before us we didn’t focus on just musical events on campuses, we added a motivational seminar element, a 5 aside football element and then a raffle draw element that allowed us to give over 50 students all across Nigeria a brand new car.

I had a great run at Etisalat Nigeria for 7 years, what a time it was to be alive and active!

 

  • Your 3 (could be more than) most inspiring books would be?

 

  1. The Bible
  2. The Alchemist by Paul Coelho
  3. How Will You Measure Your life by Clayton Christensen
  4. Zero To One by Peter Thiel
  5. Mastery by Robert Greene

 

  • How do you handle pressure?

I tend to soak it all up and keep still inside. I have learnt that being calm when everyone else is going crazy is a source of mastery. So I work on being calm, almost stone cold so I can take everything in and not react emotionally. It can be frustrating for people who react emotionally to work with me in times of pressure because I will freeze you out and only focus on what is logical and rational at the moment. It has its downsides but majorly this approach allows me complete projects and tasks in the midst of great challenges.

 

5) What’s your candid advice to youths that are towing your path?

I would like to advise young people to put learning first over money, especially when you are young. When faced with 2 options and one offers more learning/stretch opportunities than money while the other offers more money than learning, they should embrace the former with both hands. One of the greatest things to conquer in yourself is greed and a desire to only work for money.

You need to learn how to work for the joy that work brings in itself. Eventually money follows you when this is how you train yourself professionally.

Watch Out for the next edition of #SpotOn!

5 Lessons I’ve Learnt Over A Decade #SpotOn

In the premier edition of #SpotOn, a peek is taking into the mind and life of a marketing pundit, one of the brains behind the Lumia Smartphone, Mayor Esiaba, Marketing Campaigns and Activations Lead, Microsoft West Africa.

Mayor has painstakingly revealed valuable tips and life lessons which cuts across his days in Gtbank, Guiness Nigeria, Nokia and then Microsoft West Africa that has spring board him over a decade and this I strongly believe would sure inspire and keep you thriving.

Experience is a safe light to walk by, and he is not a rash man who expects to succeed in the future from the same means which have secured it in times past- Wendy Philips

I bet you never knew this marketing guru took the road not taken, coming out of a family strongly rooted in the pharmaceutical industry as you would find out in this interview..

Sit back, relax, enjoy and more importantly apply these truths to your life.

5 LIFE LESSONS I’VE LEARNT IN A DECADE

1) What are the 5 Life lessons you’ve learnt over the course of your corporate life?

Well, the last 10 years have been a rollercoaster. I have been tremendously lucky in my career with things seeming to have worked out for the most part.

  • First and probably most importantly, you have to be passionate and truly believe in the transformative power of the work that you do. This is not something that you can fake and usually shines brightest during moments of doubt and pressure.
  • Secondly, build your spheres of influence and recognize that people will provide the sunlight you’ll need to get through the dark tunnels of your career.
  • Thirdly, it’s alright to ask for help.
  • Fourthly, get a hobby. I pretend to be a famous musician who’s married to Pop start, Beyonce Knowles.
  • Finally, breathe, relax, and make sure you don’t take life too seriously. Things always find a way to work out.

2) What prompted your cross from Pharmacy to MarComms?

Well, I wouldn’t say that there was a moment I ‘crossed’ really. I come from a close family of Pharmacists, and as such it will always be something I am passionate about. My Father says he’s sure his family has some sort of Guinness Book of World Records for the most number of pharmacists in one family. So getting a degree in Pharmacy was not really something that was debated or discussed. It just was; sort of like daylight. No matter what it was going to happen, there was no doubt in my mind I would go to Pharmacy School.

Post Pharmacy School however, I was now clear that what I wanted to do had to give me the freedom that allowed me wear a Dress Jacket and Jeans to work. In other words, a profession that allowed me flex creative muscles and the same time being laser focused on business outcomes. This was how I sauntered into Marketing & Business Management.
3) What can you say motivates you and keeps you going?

I have been tremendously lucky and really although looking back all of it seems to indeed now sort of make sense. Of course, there are moments of despair, but I can be hopeful with each little success we tick off.
4) Your top three most inspiring books would be?

Readers are Leaders; or at least can pretend to be Leaders. The World doesn’t have a shortage of talented writers. It would be a near travesty to simply select 3 books. I will however attempt to share 3 authors who have had a profound influence in the way I have grown up to see the World around me.

These 3 authors however, have a body of work which spans written and visual that truly inspires me.

  1. GRR Martin/JRR Tolkien: A Song of Ice & Fire and the Lord of the Ring series. Although JRR led me to GRR, I consider these two Men, masters of fictional storytelling. It’s not only their ability to weave complex narratives that defies our current understanding of the eternal battle of Good vs Evil, it’s also the ability of these stories to inspire other fans to even more insane origin stories and fan theories. This absolutely ensures that long after they are gone, their gifts of the word will be gifts that keep on giving.
  2. Doris Kearns Goodwin: is my favorite American Presidential Historian. She takes something that is boorishly cantankerous, and effortlessly manages to show us the human streak in these demi-gods we would never in a million years have seen.
  3. Jon Stewart: and my Father are easily my biggest influences in politics. Jon has an ability to parley his knowledge of America’s complex political landscape with humor that not only offer’s new insights and understanding, but ensures you’re laughing and learning. This Man is one of my biggest political heroes; moreso with the new generation of political satirists he has managed to put give even bigger platforms to help us hold our leaders accountable.

 

5) How do you handle pressure?

I have a terrible habit; I chew my nails, sometimes bothering on almost self-cannibalism. Being under pressure is a very normal part of being alive. Much more so, with the tandem of working in the corporate side of things in Nigeria. You can only do your best and hope that the passion you have for your vision is enough power through the difficult moments and light your way to success.
6) To be a ‘Mayor Esiaba’ what are the ‘Must haves’

I recently took the Narcissistic Personality Inventory test. I will not talk about my NPI test results, but would simply encourage you and your readers to take this test as well http://time.com/3136687/narcissist-quiz/ These 40 questions would truly force you to reconsider if indeed we aren’t all latent narcissists.

I will therefore not be able to provide any answer to this question that wouldn’t border on being narcissistic. I would rather encourage everyone to try to be the very best version of themselves. Although this is a very difficult task, it is one that ultimately brings the fulfilment and joy we all seek.

Watch Out for the next edition of #SpotOn!

THE ART OF MULTI-THINKING

During my sophomore year in the University of Lagos, one of my lecturers then took us a course which probably is the worst nightmare of any Art or English student. And the reason for migration of many.

Take a Guess!

You guessed right! Statistics

He came to class that morning and said he was going to prove to the class that people “don’t think”.

I thought to myself “How is he going to accomplish this?”

Then he went to the front, wrote a question on the board including the “how to get the answer’’, He asked the whole class what the answer was and to my surprise, nobody could answer it.

Everyone he pointed too missed the mark, until he said the answer and as if a veil was removed, sounds of “I wanted to say it” was heard in the background.

Many factors could have caused that but the take-out is this “Everyone can think, if you put your mind to it”

Over the weekend, I was privileged to chairman the annual state conference of NCCF which involved all the 18 zones in the state and guests from other states in the country. I had to co-ordinate over 15 committee and sub-committee throughout the duration of the project (pre and post). In as much as this wasn’t the first time I will be handling such projects but this was rather a terrain of mainly youth corpers filled with vigour, energy and passion.

Truth is every moment of the planning phase was fun and exciting and at some points felt like a woman in childbirth probably trying to deliver twins but I realized that through the process I was involved in a rather amazing art of multi-thinking, working with a very strong and selfless team. Getting updates from all the committees and ensuring that their needs were met, providing strategic advice and recommendations to those in need; ensuring we met set deadlines and objectives, connecting all the dots together and making sure all the team members (including those whose location were approx. 4hrs away) work together.

Am not quite sure about the popularity or existence of this concept but from my experience I would put it as an Art of engaging the mind in multiple connected endeavours at the same time and still remain a piece.

It involves tending, monitoring and producing ideas and solutions to related activities in a project.

This doesn’t imply that one has trust issues or finds it hard to delegate responsibilities but instead an assumption of role as the director or co-ordinator of the scheme.

I believe the human brain can do a whole lot more than we task it and it’s even possible we die without ever using up to 10% of our brain capacity.

MULTITASKING VS. MULTI-THINKING
A project manager or head of business is tasked with the responsibility of babysitting and providing direction and advice to multiple units involved in the project and if this is not properly managed can lead to frustration, stress and possibly untimely death.

Like a wife that mops the floor, does the laundry, baths and care for the child, goes to the grocery store and still remains in one piece to do the dinner; that’s exactly is how engaged the right brain is from pre-conception to birth.

I always like to believe that the world belongs to thinkers not dreamers. Best captured by an ironical quote I stumbled upon, “To achieve your dreams: Keep sleeping”.

Having to think through connected events and still remain a piece was definitely tremendous and eye-opening. Not to mention the positive post-conference feedbacks received.

Have you ever tried multi-thinking? Kindly Share your experience

Business: The Igbo Mindset Nigerians Must Adopt In 2016 (2)

It’s February and the present economic realities have succeeded in weathering the hype and fun that comes with the new year.

The Nigerian market is experiencing one of its worst economic crisis ever, the downward slide in oil price and other antagonizing market forces is really pushing the country to the edge but in all, the masses, those at the bottom of the food chain would always be the most hit.

Aliko Dangote in a CNN interview puts the quagmire this way. “The drop in oil prices will give us (Nigeria) an opportunity to diversify the economy. This could be a blessing; there will be pains, but good things do not come without pain”. Emphasis on blessings through pains! Are we really prepared to go through the storm?

Dangote points to the fact that Nigeria urgently needs to budge into other sectors of the economy. This would obviously not come easy, for it would cause a shake and disruption of status quo. But it seems like the best for a country as large as Nigeria.

Another valuable inference is the revival of entrepreneurial spirit and proper nurturing of entrepreneurs in the country.

I strongly believe that the entrepreneurs of today will be the game-changers of tomorrow. This spirit is predominant amongst the Igbos.

Taking a cue from my last post, below are some of the Igbo mindset we must inculcate this year, if Nigerians must thrive in this time.

3) Collaboration: Am sure that at one point or the other you would have come across labels like Amaechi and sons Ltd, Dave and John investment etc. doing one joint venture or the other. This might look funny to many but herein lies invaluable truths that keep businesses alive. They understand that no man is an island and as such come together to win the market.

There is a popular African saying that if you want to go fast go alone but if you want to go far, go together. Collaborate and co-create this year!

Just as Henry Ford puts it. “Working together is Success”

4) Start Small: Men like Jim Ovia, Cosmos Maduka and Tony Elumelu didn’t become rich overnight but went through the process and paid the price. The road to diversification and economic victory lies in the strengthening and empowering of SMEs. This explains the reason why more Igbo men and women are involved in entrepreneurial activities than white collar jobs.

Start Small! Think Big!

5) Negotiating: Ideas, services and efforts can be underpriced if not well sold, defended or negotiated.

From the seller, an Igbo man can really give an outrageous price for a commodity that if not careful, you might be forced to purchase simply because you failed to negotiate or question the price.

The buyer: Think like an Igbo and you might as well minimize cost.

6) Take risks: Every business endeavor possesses its own level of risk, take it any way. A failure is one who recedes from starting. Today’s revered and highly accomplished business moguls were those who took risks in very unfavorable conditions.

Take the risk! If it fails, take another! It won’t be long before it pays off.

Business: The Igbo Mindset Every Nigerian Must Adopt In 2016 (1)

LAGOS, NIGERIA (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Remember those Nollywood movies we watched were an Igbo man hits a jackpot via his spare parts business and then goes to village to pick and train a supposed brother? They had their impacts.

I was discussing recently with an elderly man about how a prominent Nigerian deprived the Igbo’s of their entitlements during the civil war which led to mass hunger and death.

His rather bewildering and startling response was that “hunger is a potent weapon during war”. The paradox and flipside was that this same hunger activated the innate survival mentality amongst the survivors.

In the words of Koffi (A Nigerian Comedian) Hunger begats Talent. Through the pains and punishment valuable skills and talents were found.

The casualties were much even when the Biafran currency lost its intrinsic value. Looking inwards the fittest discovered survival techniques and business ideas for subsistence. This survival techniques would till date be a positive hallmark.

At the mention of ‘business/business man’! “Importer! Exporter! Pure Water! I am sure the picture of a diligent (not dubious) Igbo man comes to mind. The overall impact of this ethnic group in terms of SMEs cannot be overemphasized. Sometimes I wonder why they still see themselves as minority.

Nigeria’s economy is daily experiencing a free fall and downward slide because of negligence to glaring facts. Ameliorating this situations points Nigeria to one way “Diversification into other sectors-Agriculture, Mining, and encouragement of locally produced goods.

As we look inwards in 2016, it is important we take the following lessons from this naturally gifted and business minded individuals who are self-starters. I like to believe that before the word ‘Entrepreneurship’ and “SME” found its way into the Nigerian lexicon, the Igbos had been well established in it.

1. Eye for Business Opportunities: An average Igbo man does not need a professional market survey to have a good understanding of his market and audience. Inherent, is an ability to spot business opportunities anywhere even in unfavorable conditions. An Igbo man would most likely find a business in the desert and still thrive.

Opportunities abound everywhere but it only takes a positive mind and a sharp eye to see and act on them. Nigerians should this year have an eye for that no matter how small it is. START SMALL!

2. The Art of Selling: I also like to believe that an Igbo man can sell you to you. Having a business is one thing knowing how to sell the business or attract customers is another.

If you cannot convincingly sell your idea or business to yourself don’t expect investors, consumer or even your associates to buy it. Master the art of persuasion! Persistent persuasion!  (You would understand this better if you have ever patronized any of them in Yaba/Ojuelegba)

To Be Continued!