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OPINION: What Has Quality Got to Do With Soludo’s Made-in-Anambra Brands

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By Joe C. Anatune — Guest columnist & blogger

Well, everything! Obviously, brands have become veritable tools for economic dominance and diplomacy among nations. According to Cee Cee Soludo, Anambra will seek to be part of world trade beginning from Africa with brands fit for the world. He implies that with the formalisation of the state’s hugely informal sector, Anambra will move away from selling undifferentiated commodities or ‘me-too’ brands to marketing winning brands in different categories. Quality that excites and delights consumers is the anvil for this Economic Transformation agenda of the Governor-Elect

Without delving much into the arcane territory of brand building, brands can be briefly explained as products with good functional and emotional features which consumers buy and use over and over again. Repeat purchase is central in making a brand stick. In the marketplace, a good brand speaks with one voice by not attempting to be everything to everybody. So leading brands differentiate their value proposition and segment their markets. The soul, personality, and tone of voice peculiar to the Anambra brands based on their essence or DNA need to be well thought through and implemented from the beginning.

The functional features of a brand is the building block of successful brands. They do not just happen. They go through the intricate processes of quality formulations, standardisation, and assurance. While help can be gotten from federal regulators such as SON, NAFDAC, etc, the made- in – Anambra brands must take some higher steps to partake in the highly saturated global market with rapidly emerging global consumers whose tastes and preferences know no bounds.

Robust quality infrastructure and policy frameworks are key in making the Anambra brands stand out in the battle for the hearts of the global consumers whose tastes change in split seconds. The state government together with the private sector will, in view of the paucity of quality infrastructure, take actions to implement standardisation, accreditation and conformity assessment services; these include inspection, testing, metrology, laboratory, market surveillance, technical regulations, and product certification that support the aspiration of the state in having brands that will delight the global consumers.

The pursuit of the foregoing admittedly will not be a tea party, but with a resourceful private sector and a strong political backing by the Governor-Elect who will be the Chief Marketing Officer, Anambra will partake noticeably in the lucrative global market.

It is ennobling that the Transition Team is working out the finer details of implementation mechanism and that the world is waiting to happily invest more in Anambra. Isn’t it exiharating?

Be of good cheer!!

*Joe C Anatune, a public affairs analyst writes from Akwa

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Anthony Obi Ogbo

Contentious race for Harris County Judge—why voters must stand by incumbent Lina Hidalgo

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“Republican Party intentionally rendered Harris County a crime scene with bloody gun laws to corroborate their “tough-on-crime” campaign strategy.” ―Anthony Obi Ogbo

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It was not a surprise when the Houston Chronicle handed an endorsement to Alexandra del Moral Mealer, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s Republican Party challenger. Citing very flimsy justifications in its editorial piece, The Chronicle concluded, “we encourage Harris County voters to back Mealer in this race. We can only hope that once in office, she’d effectively address crime, tend to basic services, and restore civility on the court by governing as a strong local leader, not a partisan.”

And seriously, The Chronicle wants voters to believe that a Donald Trump student, a 2020 election denier who does not believe in democracy and rule of law could “restore civility on the court by governing as a strong local leader.”

Without a doubt, the race for Harris County Judge has taken a pugnacious turn for the worst.  From the corporate media to predatory Republican Party business gurus and cohorts, a do-or-die conspiracy venture to unseat this incumbent is costing her opposition a fortune. For instance, the latest campaign finance reports show that as of mid-October, Mealer raised nearly 5 million dollars—more than most state-wide candidates.

The opposition campaign funds are utilized to lampoon Hidalgo with a composition of junky advertorial slots littered all over the media. As a strategy to support their fictitious claim that Hidalgo was defunding the police, the Republican members of the Harris County Commissioners Court have consistently boycotted meetings, blocking the passage of the proposed county budget, then using that to generate campaign materials for the midterm.

There are obvious reasons why rapacious opposition cronies want Hidalgo’s pound of flesh. She is the first woman to be elected County Judge and only the second to be elected to the Commissioners Court. Additionally, her Democratic Party identity and all-inclusive progressive ideology make her the opposition’s nightmare. For instance, she expanded early childhood education, pursued criminal justice reform, and initiated stricter regulation of land development and pollution. To make her opposition witch hunters even more uncomfortable, she facilitated easier access to voting and passionately supported commonsense policies for undocumented immigrants.

Her aggressive response to the coronavirus pandemic further elevated her popularity among Harris County residents.

Yet Hidalgo remains a hard nut, who in 2018 at the age of 27, and as a first-time candidate surprised the political establishment by crushing a three-term Republican brand name incumbent, Ed Emmett. Her aggressive response to the coronavirus pandemic further elevated her popularity among Harris County residents.

The Republicans on the other hand floated a long list of policy meltdowns to back up their antagonizing disapproval of Hidalgo’s stewardship. According to The Houston Chronicle, which indeed provides overbearing media coverage for the anti-Hidalgo fraternity, “Our gravest concerns, though, involve Hidalgo’s failure to respond with urgency to Harris County’s crime wave.”

It is hypocritical when the opposition blames Hidalgo for the County’s high rise in crime without at least citing the root of the problem. The current uncontrollable crime rate was hatched when Gov. Greg Abbott and his Republican collaborators enacted the permitless carry bill into law in 2021. This deadly legislation, which took effect starting Sept. 1, made it legal to carry handguns without a license or training. Thus, the Republican Party intentionally rendered Harris County a crime scene with bloody gun laws to corroborate their “tough-on-crime” campaign strategy.

If any party should bring us matters of moral decency in government, it is definitely not the Republican Party

Hidalgo’s three staffers were indicted for allegedly steering an $11 million contract toward a Democratic operative, and the opposition has made this an anthem. I would agree with Hidalgo that the indictments are meritless and politically motivated. But wait a minute, if any party should bring us matters of moral decency in government, it is definitely not the Republican Party.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, is currently facing state securities fraud charges and reportedly is under FBI investigation for bribery, yet he is still on the ballot. It has been nearly seven years since the attorney general was indicted on felony securities fraud charges and he is still on the job. Additionally, Gov. Abbott recently appointed an officer indicted for misconduct during George Floyd protests to the police regulatory agency. Justin Berry was among 19 Austin police officers indicted earlier this year, accused of using excessive force against people protesting the murder of George Floyd. So, who really needs these lessons on moral decency?

The truth is that after a 2016 Harris County election “Blue Wave” when the Democrats swept up every single countywide seat, including the district attorney and sheriff’s offices, the Republican opposition has been alarmed about losing the state majority. Harris County, the third largest in the nation, has remained a Democratic Party enclave which might likely influence the state political dynamic.

The battle for Harris County Judge goes beyond the ongoing conspiracies orchestrated by a desperate Republican opposition. Their challenger, Mealer, is a good woman, but she is a stooge who is being planted by the anti-democratic Republican Party to represent their interests.

The call to retain the incumbent, Lina Hidalgo, in the office is not a partisan move.

I have always advised communities not to rely on corporate media endorsements to make their political choices because their interests are often profit-oriented, politically motivated, and thoughtlessly bigoted to appease some ulterior causes.  The call to retain the incumbent, Lina Hidalgo, in the office is not a partisan move. Ushering a Republican stooge into this office would tear this county apart. Also, Harris County voters must not be confused by sensational stories of the corporate media spewing amplifying headlines about this race being very tight.  According to Texas Trends Survey 2022: The Race for Harris County Judge, published by the Hobby School of Public Affairs of the University of Houston, “Among Harris County likely voters surveyed, the vote intention in the county judge race is 52% for Democrat Lina Hidalgo and 42% for Republican Alexandra del Moral Mealer, with 6% undecided.”

Now, if you care to know why the State Republican leaders are doing everything to block minority voters, here is why: In the same survey, Hidalgo holds a 71-percentage point advantage over del Moral Mealer among Black voters, 79% vs. 8%, and a 44-percentage point advantage among Latino voters, 69% vs. 25%.

Now you know why, come rain or sunshine, every minority must vote!

♦Publisher of the Guardian News, Journalism and RTF Professor, Anthony Obi Ogbo, Ph.D. is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News. He is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

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Anthony Obi Ogbo

Consolidating the South-East—Atiku’s ‘Dan Ulasi’ Move is a Smart Choice

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“Dan Ulasi understands Nigeria’s electoral maps and could read them with his eyes closed” ―Anthony Obi Ogbo

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Campaigns for the 2023 general election officially commenced on September 28, in line with the timetable and schedule of activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This date signaled the beginning of a process of shaping the electioneering landscape ahead of the general election. In the succeeding weeks, all the major political parties unleashed their supporters on the campaign trail to wave the flags of the electioneering crusade.

 

From the major streets of the core cities, as can be seen on social media, the Nigerian election campaign is trending. For instance, the Labor Party (LP), with Peter Obi as its flagbearer, touted highly attended October 1 rallies all over the country. The All Progressive Congress (APC), even with its flagbearer, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, out on an unexplained foreign visit, showcased highly attended rallies in the core cities of the North-West and South-West zones. The presidential candidate of the New Nigerian People Party (NNPP), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, upon commissioning his presidential campaign office in Kano, bragged that his party was the fastest-growing political party Nigeria had ever seen. There was massive attendance when the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) flagged off its campaign in Uyo with its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, leading the cause and urging Nigerians to vote for his party to ensure good governance.

However, what we must understand is that rally attendance or intimidating images of campaign gatherings do not determine the outcomes of elections. In my recent article, ‘The test of translating a movement into electoral victory votes,’ I outlined a pathway to victory and explained how strategic alignment can sustain a winning approach. I clarified the three most crucial winning structures: facilitating and sustaining an on-the-ground poll army, strategic coordination of electoral maps, and the ability to counter ballot mishandling and falsification of ballot figures. Strategy is key.

So, when Atiku Abubakar appointed Chief Dan Ulasi as the Technical Adviser on Contact and Mobilization for the South-East geopolitical zone, we can be sure that his party is strategically working the electoral maps. After all, the South-East is bitter with the Nigerian system over an unfavorable political arrangement that isolates it from core political leadership positions. This situation was made worse when another chance eluded them in the presidential nomination process of the PDP, a party they have passionately supported.

He has been working the electoral process since the Second Republic politics of the late 70s

The appointment of Chief Ulasi to walk this troubled cause might be a lucrative political gamble. He is a Nnewi-born ballot strategist and political technocrat; he has been working the electoral process since the Second Republic politics of the late 70s, was chairman of the National Republican Convention (NRC) in Anambra State in the aborted Third Republic, and also served as chairman of the PDP in 2003.

He understands Nigeria’s electoral maps and could read them with his eyes closed. During the 2015 contentious presidential race between former President Goodluck Jonathan and the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Ulasi also coordinated strategic structures and was the only PDP strategist to predict that his party was in trouble. His party at the time did not listen.

At the presidential level, the South East has been a PDP stronghold. Upholding that position requires strategists who understand the political landscape, and Atiku realizes that. Within his party’s framework, Chief Ulasi has strategically helped raise the South-East geopolitical ethnic group to the national political setting. In his recent media outing, he presented his insights on where the Igbos would be headed under each of the major political parties. He explained the danger of the Igbos voting for other major parties, especially the LP. “There is no way that those votes will lead us to victory. First, an election has happened in Osun and they failed woefully.” Chief Ulasi argued that voting for losing parties would isolate the Igbos once again from the central government. A situation they have been enduring since the current administration.

A lone candidate without considerable legislative support is limited in how they can help their base

The role of electoral maps is crucial in a democracy. A lone candidate without considerable legislative support is limited in how they can help their base. As I stated in my previous article, in Nigeria’s organizational structure, the executive branch does not make the laws; it carries them out. The judiciary evaluates the laws but often has the power to preside over crucial decisions. The National Assembly, which consists of a Senate with 109 members and a House of Representatives with 360 members, exerts significant power in making structural changes. In fact, should the President reject a bill, the Assembly could pass it by a two-thirds majority of both chambers and overrule the veto—in which case, the President’s consent is not required.

Under the current legislative structure, in the Senate (109 seats), the APC has 66 seats to the PDP’s 38 seats, while the other parties combined have two seats, with three vacant seats. In the House of Representatives (360 seats), the APC has 227 seats to the PDP’s 121 seats, while the other parties combined have 11 seats, with one vacant seat.

In conclusion, by transcending a quest for a new president, this election must involve strategies to mobilize for substantial control of the legislative chambers. Atiku’s invitation of Chief Ulasi to the PDP’s campaign strategy suite is specifically addressing this purpose. Without a doubt, he made a smart choice.

♦Publisher of the Guardian News, Journalism and RTF Professor, Anthony Obi Ogbo, Ph.D. is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News. He is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

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Workforce Management Values: Digitization and Changing Nature of Work

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The inception of Technology has resulted in advancement of existing protocols across all facets of life and work is an aspect that cannot be overemphasized. There have been a massive improvement in work outputs in different category of business, large or small-scale industry.

It is imperative not only we adopted this new norm but to ensure we’re in the know of understand  how it can be implemented in our existing working procedures.

The process of Digitalization highlight extensively  the transformation of analog to  digital informations. resulting to change in processes, how information is been disseminated, and go beyond more than just making existing data digital, it embraces the ability of digital technology in data collection, the establishment of new trends, and enhances better business decisions.

The changing nature of work is being influenced by two determinants: The growing adoption of artificial intelligence in the workplace, and the expansion of the workforce that entails both on- and off-balance-sheet talent, skills that are relatable to new working procedures influenced by the inception of digitization in the workplace.

Digitalization and globalization have sparked radical shifts in our attitudinal response to life and work.

The integration of automation enables workers to focus more on important tasks like problem solving, product designing, and data interpretation. In the future, employers will seek out candidates that can continuously learn and develop new skills that are related to digitization.

The integration of Automation into the workplace is not only changing the nature of work but also influencing existing working procedures.

The impact of digitalization and automation has resulted in a skill mismatch in employment, this is due to the advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and other relatable digital technologies. This have also impacted the future of vocational education and training especially in the areas of gig work or remote ICT-based work. Bringing artificial intelligence into our work ecosystem is a prime example of the power of digital transformation. AI-powered chatbots that respond to simple customer inquiries serve as a welcoming presence on your website, reducing the time customers spend while engaging an agent. It’s about technology, data processing, and organizational change in terms of the workforce which definitely will be a drastic change in the number of workers, and people who are skilled in the application of digitalization.

The impact of digitisation  on changing nature of  work  with regards to  productivity   can’t be overemphasied but it appears that some   business can still be deterred by two underlying factors in which the  working modalities digitisation tends to  improvised due to  financial incapacity of some businesses particularly those situated in  deep remote areas where internet connectivity is inaccessible.

These two underlying factors highlighted if not resolved will deter the application of Digitization in working procedures, because the cost implications coupled with maintenance costs. There’s always an opportunity for collaborating  in this digital era, small-scale businesses and startups should understand how it will create viability and visibility for their enterprise. On the part of the large-scale businesses and investors, adoption of digital tools in their workplace ecosystem might be easier because of the level of operation which is quite different from  other category of businesses which are affected by these two factors.

♦ Babatunde Adekanmbi is an experienced media communicator and Digital Creator with a demonstrated history of working in the civic and social organization industry. Contacts: Email babatundeadekanmbi@gmail.com; WhatsApp +2348096570499 , Call+2348096570499

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