Saturday, December 31, 2016

Six Questions with Dotun Longe

 A portrait of TheDean as a young man:
0.  A brief history
Oludotun Williams Longe attended secondary school at St. Gregory's College, Lagos, and recently graduated from Bells University of Technology (Electrical/Electronics Engineering) in Ogun State, where I was one of his teachers/lecturers/professors.
So he's twenty-ish.  
He was once an anime-geek, and he spent a lot of his time in uni either making beats or writing code.
Let me translate/expand that for the old people to understand hehehe - 
he liked these cartoons/animations in secondary school and basically clustered with fellow fans, 
he loves music and creates electronic music and sort of looks like Wizkid lol
and he makes software applications like videogames and stuff. 

1. What is the most perfect thing you've ever done?
 ...the only answer I have to this is school-related. I got fed with not living up to my potential one semester, so I took charge of my life, by removing so many distractions, I stayed away from the internet, from phones, from friends who weren’t helping much, I practically lived and breathed books. Morning to night, books. It paid off because I got a 4.98/5 that semester, only 'cause I got a B in a practical. Very proud of this.

2. Favourite book? Favourite song? Favourite film?

Book - The Dip, by Seth Godin: he taught me how to quit, when to quit and when to put all your energy into something, knowing fully well the difference between a dead end and a very high but climbable mountain.

Favorite Songs - Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper  // Con Te Partirò - Andrea Bocelli  //  The Longest Time - Billy Joel  // Viva la vida  - Coldplay 

Film - Citizen Kane.

3. Your top five tips for working with software: 

Always have some sort of plan for how you want the application to look and behave before doing anything.

If you are just starting to learn, then jump right in, even if you don’t know anything ( A data bundle + google will take you a long way. )

Always try to make a project, instead of just doing examples you see in textbooks or online. When you have a project in your head, preferably a small one, you learn so much more than a 1000 page textbook can teach you.

Once you get stuck, you google.

You will never make a good application in your first trial, I usually start with naming my application something like app1 and end up having a decent looking app, still with a lot of bugs, ..on app45 or something. (Not Exactly Good Practice, But gets the job done).
  +1  I use rails most of the time, so I find recreating the application far easier than debugging sometimes, especially when the debugging process is taking longer than a day or two. (Don’t Judge Me).

4. What do women want?

I don’t know o, Teach, What Do Women Want?
5. The best and worst things about school?
The best thing about school?
Freedom from life’s constraints, you don’t really have to worry about money unless you paying yourself through school. You have complete creative freedom, you get to experience a side of life that only lasts 4 -5 years, where you can focus yourself into anything and everything you want for the fun of it.

The Worst thing about School? 
The increasing rate of unemployment seems to defeat the purpose of school itself.  This might sound very simplistic and might have a little sprinkle of exaggeration, but in this country a so called good education, only seems to make your English better.  You Forget 90% of everything you learn, so I stand by this.

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Friday, December 23, 2016

The business of Information Technology services in Africa - Under-40 CEOS

I recently discovered this fantastic series of video interviews.

Here are two that you should watch (or have your kids watch) in order to develop the ability to become a technology-business leader par-excellence. 

FAB interviews Farida Bedwei of Logiciel.

...and Wole Faroun of Netplus.

Totally awesome.  Worth discussing. 

Enjoy the holidays, and come back for MORE.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ethical Capitalism for the person and the state

Decisions that buyers, workers, and entrepreneurs make can make work and business so much better.

Broad-minded and Large-hearted policies can make the economy work even better for everyone.

You may also like: What do the rich really want?
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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Affordable Housing - How To Succeed

1. Stop complaining about the price of cement.  Start Digging.   
Wise civilizations have always built homes with what they have, not with what they have to obtain with difficulty.  Today's Nigeria is not a wise civilization I suppose, or we would use laterite bricks more. 
What is laterite?  The answer may be beneath your feet at the construction site.

2. Build more units than you need
Sell or rent to others, and make some money.  Be an answer to the housing crunch...Nigerians need answers.  Do you want to become an expert in affordable and sustainable building technology?  Start here
Meet the experts, read their books and study their works, for example The Architecture of Renowned Master Demas Nwoko

3. Lower your running costs too
Fire NEPA/PHCN/xxDC , throw away the noisy generator (or give it to your enemy lol) and be your own solar power provider.  Also remember to build in time-tested natural ventilation and passive cooling systems from day 1, from the first drawing your architect makes.       
Thermal ventilation and Cross-ventilation

Get inspired: See more natural heating and cooling systems via snelhai's pinterest page
Ventilation Blocks
We can learn a lot about Passive Cooling from Cairo/Egypt, Yemen/Arabia, Iran/Iraq, and the Middle East in general.  Example: E.M. Okba (Cairo University) has notes on Building Design for Passive Cooling
Middle Eastern - style wind tower for ventilation
Traditional Badgir (wind-catcher) system
Apply wisdom.  Come back with a testimony. 

You may also like: ,  
Using electric power at home ,

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Monday, November 14, 2016

This is no time to be calm

Warren Buffett is 'always hopeful'

while Barack Obama has 'renewed confidence'

following the election of Donald Trump.
All I see is risk.  

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

So you want to be an agripreneur / agropreneur / farmer / food businessowner, Part Two

 This is a story of opportunity. 
Opportunity, thanks to the terrible economic leadership in Nigeria, or as I call it, the olodocracy. 
Opportunity that means "make here, produce here," because the exchange rate is like a gazillion naira to one dollar.
Opportunity that means buy low, sell high translates to make local, sell global.  

Let us learn from this conversation between Ndidi Nwuneli and Wale Adefarasin

Grab a pen and write these down:  Bring farmers together in co-operatives  .  Alternatively, do the farming yourself  .  Agriculture is not just crop farming  .  Deepen value-chains by providing agric inputs  .  There's also Finance, Logistics, Transport, Delivery, Training, IT/technology, Processing, Marketing  ...

Trust UpNaira // More on agric here

Agricultural produce, see more in UpNaira: farming

Some subsectors, see more in UpNaira: farming

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BONUS: Food and Agriculture University 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I'm black and I'm a member of the 1%

In the U.S. today, the average African-American household owns just 6
cents for every $1 of wealth held by the typical white household, and
blacks make up just 1.7% of the top 1% of wealthy Americans. But there
are black members of the 1% who are working to change that. 

In this short feature, CNN's Tanzina Vega
investigates the historical and contemporary racial barriers to wealth
creation in the U.S.

If you love this, spare the time to also watch Born Rich

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Honest Communication

EXPRESS YOURSELF, don't Repress Yourself.
- Madonna 1994 (in Human Nature)

Go for it, really do!
And that goes for me too.

Because I AM Kanye West.
I CAN get it off my chest.

Yeah, we talk in rhyme all the time.
Nighttime sublime dreamtime on a dime. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Visualizing Data: Wealth, Health, and Global History

From The Economist, an animated infographic showing the world's top three economies from 1AD to date.

The Joy Of Stats, narrated by Hans Rosling, shown on the BBC: How life expectancy has exploded worldwide over the last 200 years. 

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Critical Thinking Notes

 Survivorship Bias: Why you shouldn't trust successful people's advice

Advertisement: Read my books.###Three Sisters, novel #1 here###

Friday, September 16, 2016

Superlative Motivation

"We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day”

Do you remember the "era" of Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer? Would you recognize Cindy Crawford even today? Naomi Campbell?

What makes some models so "super" anyhow?
Be yourself. Be super. 



Which one most resembles you?  In what way(s)? 

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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

I accidentally discovered a snapshot that captures the topsy-turvy state of things in the Nigerian economy. Now let me tell you a story.

Bad news in Nigeria currency, prices, and fuel.   Image seen today at the bottom of the homepage on PremiumTimes.
Time for a story:
February 2014, CBN Governor Sanusi was sacked by then-President Goodluck Jonathan.
Four months later, incoming CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele delivered an inspiring address about the things the Central Bank would focus on.   

By June 2015, Muhammadu Buhari was the new president of Nigeria and gossip had it that his body language (as a no-nonsense anti-corruption crusader) was already dissipating Nigeria's crooked thieves
Most people may have forgotten, but during the campaign Buhari pledged to do great things within the first 100 days - these were real promises, each section beginning with "I pledge to."  
Reality gave Nigerians a sound knock on the head! 
It was not until near year-end that this new President appointed Ministers, including himself as Minister of Petroleum, and only a few of the new ministers bothered to quickly communicate concrete plans and accomplishments. 

Here are some observed results: 
The naira in meltdown mode already by February 2016. 
Here on UpNaira, I attempted to explain Buharinomics as the work of a confused muslim. 
Confused Central Bank leadership especially if you revisit the objectives the same Emefiele laid out on assumption of office. 
Confusion in managing importation of fuel and prices despite (or because of?) the great attention given to that sector where the country's president and commander-in-chief was also the minister.   

In May 2016 when President Buhari clocked one year in Office, the Nigerian press took the initiative to review his performance and  generally he received a D for disappointment and an F on the economy.  The people on the street really complained - Nigerians are so funny - because prices have been going up like mad

I know you are sad and possibly hungry/tired, but don't be. 
There is hope,
as the United Nations' MDGs give way to SDGs with globally-agreed metrics and monitoring towards sustainable economic growth; 
and as the AfDB strives to develop Africa with a focus on feeding, powering with electricity, investing in industrialization and transnational infrastructure, and of course in the people and their capabilities; 
and with the possibilities that forever UpNaira $weet '16 individuals like you embody,
we shall overcome. 

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Sunday, September 04, 2016

Redefining Leadership through Music & Entrepreneurship

I really like Audu Maikori and Chocolate City.  There are many interviews out there by well-known business-owners and leaders, but here is one that I choose to share because values matter

"Published on 29 Aug 2016 here
Audu Maikori is the Founder of Chocolate City Group and Music Week Africa.  Having built one of the most respected and successful urban record labels in Africa, he's using his passion to drive activism, youth development and enterprise. He sat with us at Google to discuss leadership through music and entrepreneurship.  Interview Moderated by Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor Google Country Manager Nigeria."

If you absolutely love the confluence of media/IP/law/IT , ABSOLUTELY head over to Coursera's Internet Giants: The Law and Economics of New Media Platforms.  It's an advanced law course, extremely exciting and very good, given by University of Chicago's Randal Picker. 
You may pay if you desire the certificate, otherwise, just delve in, watch the final week and introductory week for summaries, and prepare to learn learn learn exciting stuff about platforms and the world's biggest companies - Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple - and the legal stories around them. Spotify?  Netflix?  Do it. 

NEWSBUKA for all the burning topics in Nigerian politics and society.GeT FREE EmAiL UpDaTeS"

Friday, September 02, 2016


Previously on UpNaira
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Friday, August 26, 2016

What is the African dream?

How many of these places have you seen?
One more reason to get our economy and government right: when we do that, then everybody can travel the world AND BEYOND.  The first clip made me cry, by the way.  

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1. Oya Come Make We Go - 2Baba featuring Sauti Sol 
2. Travel The World - Cassper Nyovest 
West, East, and South Africa have spoken :) 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Leading Change in a VUCA World

Join me for an online webinar on ''Leading Change in a VUCA World'' in conjunction with the Lagos Business School on September 15, 2016 at 3pm

Friday, August 19, 2016

Confection Nation

Not my type of food, but I do love to share business inspiration. 
3 Sisters Cake & Pie Company - lovely photos , blog by RotimiCakeLady!3sisterscakeandpiecompany/cwvn

Ice Cream Factory - what happened when an accountant and a finance-kid got together
 Click on the photos and links to delve inside their food operations.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Inflation rate in Nigeria

...averaged 12.15 percent from 1996 until 2016
Here is a more detailed story from the last five years:

and over a longer range:

Public sentiment is more negative than the 20-year chart might suggest.  Tired of high prices, the tumbling exchange rate, unpaid salaries, and layoffs, the people are repenting from their fervent support of the 'change' candidate. #BuhaRegret

That said, considering the 5-year chart, one might say that the people have grown accustomed to single-digit inflation and have a right to expect a smoother ride than this, financially/economically.  Why can't we build on our success? 


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Friday, August 12, 2016

Using electric power at home

My monthly use is less than 50 units (1-2 kWh per day). I am very proud of this.

Check your power bill or meter to see how many units you're using monthly. 

More affluent homes in Nigeria easily use 5-10 times as much energy per person from PHCN, 500 units per person! - and on top of that still have a generator with the life-wasting issues that come with that (waste money, time, and fuel to generate noise, stress, and fumes).

Let us try to pity ourselves fa. :D

You too can cut down on your power use and even get off the grid with solar and storage.  See the future.  If you want to change, here are some tips for saving energy: 

Use energy-efficient lighting.  You want light, not heat, right?  Change your "globe" to CFL - compact fluorescent light - or better.  Not only do you use 5 times less power and waste less as heat, but these CFL lightbulbs also last much longer before they need to be replaced.
Approximate power (Watts) used by different globes to deliver the same light output as a 100W incandescent old-school lightbulb
Use energy-efficient appliances in general.  Many times the engineers determine this anyway, so your more modern appliances are already more energy efficient than the old designs. 

Turn it off if you're not using it.   24-hour cable television in the empty rooms?  Outdoor "security" light on at midday?  Leave a 60 Watt bulb on 24/7 to indicate when "NEPA has brought light"?  At least change it to an LED light, please. 

Rethink ventilation and cooling.  If you use an A/C, is the room/space closed or are you attempting to cool the entire city?  :)  If you live in the tropics like most of Africa, is your space so uncomfortably cold that you're shivering indoors or have to use special clothing and bedding to survive?  Businesses do this a lot, actually - very annoying - and so people have to wear thick Western clothing in this tropical heat!  Can you have windows, vents, and well-designed air-flow substitute for the air-conditioner? 

Pay attention to heating appliances - they use A LOT more power.  You may not need an electric cooker because it is usually wasteful.  You should not keep your electric bathroom/kitchen water heater on infinitely when not in use.  If necessary, ask a professional about timers, thermostats and automation to make your home run more efficiently.  

Turn it down if a low level is good enough.  If your fridge-freezer only has water and bread in it most of the time, you don't need it at freezing point, so adjust the thermostat.  If you don't keep a lot of food, you can use the freezer compartment for all your fridge needs instead of over-cooling the whole space.  Change your airconditioner's set temperature to a comfortable level. 

Don't waste water.  Especially hot water.  It took a lot of energy to get that water.  Don't leave the shower running, don't leave the pipes/faucets leaking, and don't leave the pumping machine overfilling the tank.  Call in the professional to help you sort these things out.  Ideally, the government would provide water services, but even government water should be respected and conserved.  

If you take hot showers, ... just kidding!  Take your hot shower if you need it.  Hey, it's not about not being able to live well, it's about being conscious of the fact that these are Valuable and Non-Renewable resources, and acting responsibly in accordance with our conscience and pocketbook.  Keep that hot shower brisk. 

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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

We need to talk about this.

She went through unnecessary pain and suffering.
But now, life is goooood.  

Watch even more dramatic stories from Uganda and Kenya here, and commit to being part of the solution NOT part of the problem.
Merck's More than a Mother corporate social responsibility initiative aims to raise awareness about prevention of infertility and build capacity to manage male and female fertility issues throughout Africa.

In particular, through its Empowering Berna campaign, it's opening a dialogue that will ultimately reduce the stigma and social suffering of infertile women in Africa.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Solar Impulse // Lovely Achievement

Some of the best pictures from the adventure:


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Monday, July 18, 2016

How far are you ready to go?

DJ Obi is in the news globally for a feat he made happen: having spent 10 days continuously up and on-the-job, he will now hold the Guinness World Record for Longest Marathon Club DJing.
Details: Guardian Life
The young man had lost his father four years ago in the horrific Dana Air crash and needed something to put him on a stronger professional footing in his chosen career as a DJ.  Winning a world record appealed to him and so he went for it, putting out music for 229 hours and 58 minutes.
If there's any justice in the world, henceforth it will be smooth sailing for the Lagos Global DJ.
Read his interviews and be inspired.
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Monday, July 11, 2016

Friday, July 08, 2016

We're in this together


"-- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.  (Applause.)
     If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable .. system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
     The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.  There are some things .. we don’t do on our own.  I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. "
- Guess who said this // Guess when/where at least

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Friday, July 01, 2016

World Bank Jobs

Minimum Requirements

The following are the minimum requirements to be eligible for the Young Professionals Program.
  • Citizenship of a member country of the World Bank
  • 32 years of age or younger (i.e. born on or after October 1, 1984)
  • A PhD or Master's degree and relevant work experience
  • Fluency in English
  • Full proficiency in one or more of the WBG's working languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish is desired but not required.
  • Specialization in a field relevant to the WBG Technical/Operations such as economics, finance, education, public health, social sciences, engineering, urban planning, agriculture, natural resources, and others.
  • At least 3 years of relevant professional experience related to development or continued academic study at the doctoral level.

Additional Qualifications

To be competitive for the limited number of positions, a combination of the following credentials is highly desirable:
  • Display a commitment and passion for international development
  • Possess outstanding academic credentials
  • Exhibit excellent client engagement and team leadership skills
  • Have international development country experience
  • Be motivated to relocate and undertake country assignments (operational stream)

By the way, isn't the current jobs situation just awful?  Will you help us improve things?   

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Work stories that you'll love

She makes footwear.  Lagos.  
+ DESIGN Each piece is carefully  designed, ensuring the physical elements of the Kene Rapu aesthetic is present in each design. We aim to produce designs featuring clean shapes and clean edges, which are very much fuss- free and always trendy. 
+ PROCESS All our footwear is produced in Nigeria,for the global community. Each slipper is carefully handcrafted by a local craftsman in Nigeria, using materials sourced from the local markets. KR Neons, our flip flop line, are also proudly made in Nigeria.
+ CULTURE There has been a resurgence in the love for afro-centric clothing and accessories. As we continually aim to promote our African heritage, we are always excited to partner with other emerging African brands with global appeal.   
 - Kene Rapu Enterprise, video via BellaNaija and Diamond TV


She makes apparel.  Accra.  

"On today's episode of Platinum standard, we have Aisha Ayensu, the founder and creative director of the Ghanaian fashion label Christie Brown. She tells us the stories and inspiration behind the Christie Brown label and where the journey has taken her so far."  More from NdaniTV.  More about Christie Brown. Shop the clothing.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Hard truths as prices continue to soar in Nigeria

This is inflation, as dramatized by Nigerian people, mostly traders.  We would do well to take human feedback into account in designing our government. 

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Earning and Ego in the African family

Long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away...
Not really :)
Men hunted, gathered, warred, and brought home an alien sliced and salted bit of pig meat called bacon.
Women cooked this thing, cleaned house meticulously, supported man unflinchingly, all the while dressed neatly and attractively in mellow yellow shirt and single-row of pearls.
Everyone lived happily ever after.
Nowadays, we have a new fable: 
Women march off to work and often win a delightful prize called bread, which many in these parts would rather have than bacon.
As before, men are free to hunt, gather, war, and bring home various cuts of meat, bearing in mind that physicians say fish and lean beef, as part of a low-fat, low sodium diet, are better for overall health.
winning great quantities of bread is a good thing UNLESS this winner is a married woman.  Marriage interacts with earning in such a way that everybody does not live happily ever after.
Homie, we still cool? . . .  No, we are definitely not cool.

But why?
And what can be done?
Read this:
Join the conversation at

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Nigeria News Buka: Editorials as President Buhari's administration clocks one year in office


The Guardian writes of Hope and Impediments , certain that while we see good intentions, we are disappointed with the actual outcomes. Please click to read more, especially pertaining to the positive accomplishments in one year. 

ThisDay remarks that Buhari shifts ground on key economic issues.  Should we mourn that it took one year or celebrate that it finally happened?  Should we remain at the mercy of the president's lagging comprehension of economic matters?

The Independent keeps it direct with: Economy in Bad Shape.  A negative GDP growth rate is a fantastic thing that one might have thought impossible just 1-2 years ago.  It was achieved through archaic ideas, unclear direction, and possibly a deep-seated dislike of wealth and a strong commitment to choking off enterprise.  As that paper put it: Investors Lose Hope, Withdraw N4 trillion In One Year.

Punch editors say Nigerians are Still Waiting for the Real Change.  They conclude with some recommendations:
On the whole, one year, certainly, does not make or break a four-year term. And Buhari cannot be expected to wipe the political slate clean at once. But for Buhari to leave a lasting imprint on history, he must take several steps to inject new ideas into his government. 
1. fully accept the reality of open-market economic strategy by restarting the stalled privatisation process as the command-and-control national economic management strategy he is so much enamoured of has become obsolete.   
2. reinforce his government by recruiting genuine reformers.
3. come down from his high horse and get more connected with the Nigerian people during these difficult times.
4. for his government to work out ingenious modality on how to restructure our weird federal system. 
5.  it would help if Buhari keeps partisanship in check in his government’s anti-graft war.

2 and 3 are simply political (what is a genuine reformer and how do you find one? ) but 1,4,5 are important.

The current status on 1-4-5, since the whole machinery has chosen to stay subject to one guy's body language, is that:
Just like the president was not interested in the white man's economic theory (but is now coming around to it, or being forced into it) to the detriment of the Nigerian pocket,  
For now, Buhari is not interested in the confab report and all this federalism wahala. 
And he does not see that anti-corruption without legitimate structure can be argued to be simple party-politics of hounding and defunding the opposition. 

NEWSBUKA for all the burning topics in Nigerian politics and society. GeT FREE EmAiL UpDaTeS"

Previously on UpNaira