The Measure of Intelligence, Redeeming Nigeria from Moral Precipice and the place of Public Policy

Intelligence is often measured by way of standardized IQ tests which in a sense, is parochial. I bring up this argument in my recently published book, The Code: A Simple Story about Raising Great Women. And while I broach the subject of how we measure intelligence from a broader perspective; as a means truly understanding the strengths of our girl-children in order to harness it, my underlying premise aligns with the popular quote, often attributed to Albert Einstein which says:

‘Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’

How true! In my book, I devote a chapter to the eight original intelligences as described by Harvard professor, Howard Gardener in his book, Frames of Mind, adapting them to parenting; how moms and dads share the responsibility of understanding which of the eight their children have high quotients in, as means of helping these kids develop until they reach some sort of genius.

The eight intelligences, more popularly referred to as the Theory of Multiple Intelligence include;
· Linguistic intelligence (word smartness)

· Logical-mathematical intelligence (number/reasoning smartness)

· Spatial intelligence (picture smartness)

· Bodily-Kinaesthetic intelligence (body smartness)

· Musical intelligence (music smartness)

· Interpersonal intelligence (people smartness)

· Intrapersonal intelligence (self-smartness)

· Naturalist intelligence (nature smartness)

If you look very closely at the quick definitions I put in parenthesis beside the eight intelligences, you may agree with me as to the veracity of my argument. Simply put, people are smart differently and standardizing the measure of intelligence in for of IQ tests is nothing short of an anomaly. We just aren’t smart the same way. Some people are word smart and others are music smart. Even music maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti alluded in part to this phenomenon when he said;

‘Book sense different from belle sense’

That said, I have been studying a rare form of intelligence, called Moral Intelligence; a smartness of right from wrong. And while this article makes no judgement as to political views or religious leanings, a recent piece of legislation regarding granting amnesty to economic saboteurs in Nigeria perturbed me into writing this piece and raises the question as to whether there are morally intelligent people in the country’s political leadership.

As with all intelligences, I hypothesize that moral intelligence is both inborn and can be honed. And that in creating a society that is morally intelligent, the government, by way of its education and national orientation policies can emphasize moral instruction as a means of improving the overall moral intelligence average of the country.
Without doubt, some people are morally smarter, without the input of any religious or moral instruction while others aren’t. We have all come across the truthful hedonist or the degenerate religious leader who fails to practice what he preaches. The multi-dimenionslism of human beings speak to one thing: People can in character lead double live based on their moral smartness. And so policy makers, in public and private sectors, have the onus of looking for ways of measuring and funneling  the moral intelligent  into leadership…by way of robust human capital development policy.

The Ethics of Exposure


To Expose or Not To Expose

Exposure—the acquisition of new knowledge through study, emulation or experimentation—as it applies to an individual in any position whether as a ward or parent; employee or employer; citizen or leaders, carries within it the capacity for great good and great evil.

The dilemma of how much exposure a person should have before it becomes injurious to the family, company or society at large; or the influences to which one should expose oneself to, per time, in a bid to create or enhance value can create outcomes, often unintended.

The stakes can be very high for the owners of the process, the ‘exposers’—parents, employers and political leaders—in a sense that the ‘exposed’—wards, employees and followers, if exposed to a certain degree may eventually take action that counteracts the initial purpose for exposing them in the first place.

In the work place for instance, human resource managers affirm that while a certain proportion of employees who received poor training leave their position in the first year, a sizeable chunk also leave based on being trained well enough to angle for greener pastures; companies willing to pay more for the skills acquired based on the training investments of the companies where they currently work. An ethical dilemma therefore subsists as to whether to train staff adequately despite the possibility of high staff attrition or not, given the grave economic implications on either side of the divide.

The Good…

In Nollywood (Nigeria’s film industry), we have seen steady developments particularly in business structure with the attendant rise in collaborative effort and commercial value. The single largest factor for this has been the improvement of human capital arising out of exposure.

The recent success of romantic comedy drama, The Wedding Party raking in about N450 million (as at the time of this writing) from cinema showings attest to how the level of exposure has significantly impacted Nigerian film.

From the casting of A-list actors (some foreign trained) to a BAFTA award winning cinematographer, Yinka Edward as well as the eclectic business collaboration (of Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife TV, Moses Babatope’s FilmOne Distribution, Inkblot Productions and Koga Studios) to form the Elfike Film Collective, The Wedding Party mined more value while staving off threats from piracy than any other indigenous movie in Nigerian History.

All of this coupled with the fact that more Nigerian movies are getting screened at International Film Festivals; a record seven of them at the last Toronto Film Festival, it is undoubted that continuing exposure to how the film business is run in more advanced climes have played a good part in this progress.

The Bad and the Ugly

But the good aside, and from a purely cultural view, exposure has shown its evil and ugly faces too. Taking the administration of terror into cognizance, Boko Haram, now acclaimed to be the world’s deadliest terror group didn’t get there by accident. Funding for this organization has been linked to the use of cryptocurrencies and the darknet.

The technological skills demonstrated by the group in the use of digital virtual currencies dislocate our traditional view of them from merely being a ragtag band of Kalashnikov-flaunting men fighting western education to a well-structured organization, up to speed with threat finance and exposed to ways of increasing opaqueness, transactional velocity and its overall efficiency with respect to funding its activities. Overseas, the trend has necessitated improvements in the area of surveillance and scrutiny but to this day, financing of the group has remained shroud in secrecy.

The Nigerian response;

On 18 January 2017, the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation department, CBN, Mr. Kelvin Amugo announced the ban on usage of Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Onecoin, Monero, Ripples and similar products as legal tenders in Nigeria.

Whether this is a step effective enough remains dodgy given that there aren’t similar prohibitions in Chad, Cameroon and Niger where Boko Haram also operate.

5 Shades of Exposures

Reshaping Culture: Exposure helps to overcome cultural stereotypes in the areas of product development and market acceptance. The Iwakura Mission, a Japanese diplomatic voyage to the United Kingdom and United States made by leading technocrats and researchers in the early 1870s is the most known and probably the most impactful voyage as regards the modernization of Japan. The mission had three mandates: to seek recognition for their reinstated Emperor Meiji; to renegotiate lopsided treaties between the West and Japan; and to make a detailed study of modern industrial, political, military and educational systems and structures in the United States and Europe.

Of these goals, the mission’s aim of revision of the lopsided treaties was not achieved. The attempts to negotiate new treaties under better conditions with the foreign governments led to widespread criticism of the mission that members had overstepped their mandate from the Japanese government. Members of the mission were nonetheless inspired by industrial modernization seen in America and Europe and the experience of the delegation provided them a strong basis to lead similar modernization upon their return. The mission emphasized the backwardness of Japan, and its need to learn from the West through scholar exchange arrangements. And by 1874, Yokohama, a port town established in1959 has become a hub for foreign influence. The Iwakura Mission’s work also laid the basis for the establishment of the Imperial College of Engineering (which later became a part of the University of Tokyo) and rehabilitation of the samurai (who had been disbanded in 1871) allowing them to make a shift from their tradition militia heritage into engineering roles as the society changed at the time.

Capacity Building: Exposure equips for better output. And as competencies are developed as a result of it, exposure lowers the bar for investment to flow in. Today, if Nestle Nigeria required 10,000 metric tonnes of soya beans for instance, it would most likely import from somewhere in South America, even though that volume of soya beans could be sourced and aggregated locally. In East Africa and for a similar tonnage of commodities like coffee or tea, Nestle would simply enter into forward contracts and have its requirements met at an agreed date. How? Through Commodities Exchanges in Ethiopia and Rwanda. It is not a surprise that both countries have developed very sophisticated commodities exchanges. Eleni Gabre-Madin founder and former CEO of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange was a World Bank economist who saw a gap in how her country responded to fluctuations in the agricultural commodities market as well as the inefficiencies of small holder farming. She decided to pursue a PhD at Stanford specialised on commodity markets and this exposure paid off in what we know today as the most sophisticated commodities exchange in Africa. Following on Gabre-Madin’s heels was Rwanda’s East Africa Exchange run by Africa Exchange Holdings, a company co-founded by investors including the Nigerian Heirs Holdings and New York-based Berggruen Holdings, whose aim is to develop a network of commodity exchanges across Africa. Gabre-Madin too has such ambitions too. She plans to have set up 10 exchanges across Africa by 2020. And with her current achievements, her company, Eleni LLC has received seed capital of $5m from Morgan Stanley, the International Finance Corporation, and 8 Miles, Bob Geldof’s pan-African private equity fund.

 

Universal and Neutral Application: Exposure has a universality and neutrality of application whether for parents in raising children or in training business teams for a specific outcome. Though the 10,000 hour rule previously popularized by writer, Malcolm Gladwell has not proven to be completely correct, its import however is strengthened by how humans tend to copy or repeat what they learn from others or are exposed to, particularly when certain desirable outcome are sought.

Tiger Woods was exposed to playing golf at 18 months old; Serena Williams was introduced to tennis by her tennis-coach dad at only three; Bill Gates began programming at age 13, all of them raising the question as to how early should a child be exposed to the skills that could stand them out later in life when juxtaposed with Michael Jackson, who at 6 began his career but suffered many psychological problem into adulthood as a result of his rather early exposure to the music business.

In a 2002 interview with Gold Magazine, Jackson spoke of his problems alluding them to exposure. He said;

When I was little I grew up in an adult world. I grew up on stage. I grew up in night clubs. When I was seven, eight years old I was in nightclubs. I saw striptease girls take off all their clothes. I saw fights break out. I saw people throw up on each other. I saw adults act like pigs. That’s why to this day I hate clubs. I don’t like going to clubs – I did that already, I’ve been there. That’s why I compensate now for what I didn’t do then. So when you come to my house, you’ll see I have rides, I have a movie theatre, I have animals. I love animals – elephants and giraffes and lions and tigers and bears, all kinds of snakes. I get to do all those wonderful things that I didn’t get to do when I was little, because we didn’t have those things. We didn’t have Christmas. We didn’t have sleepovers. We didn’t have school, we had private school when we were touring. I didn’t go to a state school. We tried it for two weeks and it didn’t work. It was very difficult. It’s hard growing up a celebrity child. Very few make that transition from child star to adult star. It’s very difficult. I relate to Shirley Temple. I met her in San Francisco and I sat at her table and I cried so bad. She said, ‘What’s wrong Michael?’ I said, ‘I love you. I need to be around you more.’ She goes, ‘You’re one of us, aren’t you?’ and I said ‘Yes, I am.’ Somebody else said, ‘What do you mean?’ and she said, ‘Michael knows what I mean.’ And I know exactly what she meant – to have been there as a child star and to have graduated to have succeeded in making that transition to fame as an adult is very difficult. When you’re a child star people don’t want you to grow up. They want you to stay little forever. They don’t want you to work afterwards. It’s very hard.”

Michael’s story supports the notion that Exposure is neither good nor bad by itself. It suffices to say that because of its neutrality deciding what to expose a subject to, while being underpinned by the desire to reach a certain goal or set of goals, whether at home or at the office, the inherent costs must be taken into account.

 

Fosters Idea Cross Pollination: Exposure is the hotbed for a cross pollination of ideas and can provide the environment for collaboration. Again, looking at Michael Jackson and his relationship with Quincy Jones that brought them awards in their respective careers for hits like Billie Jean, Beat It, We Are the World, Man in the Mirror and Rock with Me as well as The Wedding Party collaboration that produced the most successful film in Nigeria to date last year, one can safely arrive at the conclusion that exposure leading to a cross pollination of ideas led to the successes of these collaborative efforts among other factors.

Urban planners use Exposure too to cross pollinate people of different income strata in order to combat the prevalence of neighbourhoods with concentrated poverty and residential segregation. Using mixed housing developments as a strategy for poverty alleviation, governments are able to influence the individual’s life outcomes through four mechanisms; social interaction between high income and low income residents, role-modelling by higher income residents, social control with high income residents acting as watchdogs as to how the neighbourhood is run and finally, the political clout of the neighbourhood as high income residents will be able to attract better social amenities to the neighbourhood than if the residents were just low income earners.

Improves Decision Making: Exposure improves the quality of decisions made. The underlying assumption is that with more information, we do better as human beings because our choices are expanded from which to make decisions. HR managers implementing a competency framework in a bid to improve the company’s performance by applying human resource more efficiently understand that incorporating learning and development through knowledge sharing, mentoring and paid training systems so that teams feel adequately equipped in decision making is vital.

But not all exposure enhances decision making which is why exposure must as a matter of relevance be underpinned to a goal or set of goals.

In my book, The Code: A Simple Story About Raising Great Women, I present Exposure in a light that parents can use to help their daughters grow up confident and achieve all they dream to become. Engaging our children using this principle must however be underpinned by what we identify as their strengths and not by what our vocational preferences for them are. It should not surprise you that though tennis great Andre Agassi won several titles during his career—largely due to his early exposure to the game by his father, Emmanuel—Agassi hated tennis even though the sport brought him prominence and wealth.

In the foregoing, Exposure is neither right nor wrong. But it certainly always leaves us with many open-ended questions; one of which is: Do I or do I not expose…?

 

 

The Four Ways To Allocate Money

In my book, The Code: A Simple Story About Raising Women, a fictional story embedded with ten principles for parenting girls, I write about the need for mothers to mirror the four ways of allocating money to their daughters so that it becomes ingrained to the point where their financial freedom, self-expression and influence is greatly enhanced. 

And because of the neutrality and universality of these principles, (which is why they are principles in the first place) anybody, business, government or nation can apply them for results. You can get The Code: A Simple Story About Raising Great Women free on Amazon Kindle. (today only)

So dive in with me:

1. Money is first for Investing. Every penny that comes to you must have a portion that you invest. Investing guarantees that you have money in the future to solve problems and live responsibly. One day, you may retire or want to afford yourself something ostentatious. You may want to leave a legacy for your children in form of an inheritance. Investing a portion of your income will help you with this. Have a wealth tax (a fixed percentage of your income) you apply on yourself so that, come what may, you ensure your ‘investment money’ is deducted first because of the future you want to have.

2. Money is next for saving. You save money for the rainy day. And while many may think that planning for emergencies is fine, rainy days could also mean days of opportunity. Have a portion of your money saved to cash in on financial opportunities.

3. Money is then for spending. After you have invested and saved portions of your money, and only then, should you spend on your needs. And this is the tricky part. People are hard wired to spend first because of the general orientation about money. But money should be spent third. 

4. Money is lastly for sharing. There is a stewardship part to how we use money. The  world’s richest man, Bill Gates says, 

‘Money has no utility to me beyond a certain point. It’s utility is in building an organization and the getting the resources out to the world’s poorest.’ 

Sharing with others shows that we understand our connectedness to them; that we are our brother’s keeper and the money we make is a kind of trust from God to help improve ourselves and the world around us.

If you don’t train yourself to handle money like this, financial freedom will be elusive except you get financial miracle. And even at that, you won’t be able to sustain it.

A word of note:

  • Investing creates money for the future
  • Saving creates money for emergencies and taking opportunities
  • Spending meets your needs
  • Sharing creates goodwill

Have a great week!

For Moms Only: My Last Book Giveaway

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Hi there,

My book, The Code: A Simple Story About Raising Great Women will be free for the last time  on Amazon Kindle today . Click here to get a copy.

If you know a mom, stay-at-home or working, who has a daughter,  simply reblog this  post or tell them.

Thanks a lot and have a great week

I have put an excerpt for you below:

“Actually, Kay, in the short time we have this morning, that’s where I want to begin. You and I are coming from completely opposite directions as regards mothering. If we’re going to take this walk together, we need agree on a few things. Parenting girls isn’t a solo effort, it’s a community one. It’s a potpourri of several things, none ready- made and none foolproof. That’s why finding balance is the essence of mothering. It has absolutely no bearing with quitting work. In fact, the success of your mothering will depend on keeping your job. You obviously enjoy what you do at the bank because it affords you some money and a sense of worth… and nothing builds the self-esteem of girls as the one their mum mirrors at them. Am I correct? ”

Kay wasn’t sure if she was or wasn’t, but she cleared her throat and said, “Yes…I think you are.”

Hypatia smiled. “Please don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mum. I think women who stay at home for their children are incredible, but should be happy doing so. It’s not a good thing for children to be mothered by a woman who is constantly feeling, frustrated, depressed and empty. So if working makes you feel fulfilled, by all means work, and mother your girls. And if staying at home fulfils you, by all means, stay at home. There are no wrong or right answers when it comes to being a working or stay-at-home mum. It all boils down to making the choice that brings you closest to fulfilling your hopes and aspirations as a person.”

Kay nodded.

“…All right. I’m going to share my Cryptic Code of Mothering for Working Women with you now.”

Hypatia bent forward slightly and softly spoke three words.

“Build their self-confidence.”

#Buy The Code: A Simple Story about Raising Great Women

If you are a mom with daughters, seeking how to really leave an impact on them, I think your search can end here

the-code-kdp-cover

The Code tells the story of an ambitious young lady named Kay who yearns to successfully balance the demands of her job with raising three beautiful daughters. Kay is a real self-starter, though sometimes it feels like as if the success she enjoys at work isn’t commensurate with her being a wife and a mother. And so one day, desperate to assuage her feelings of inadequacy, she seeks advice of the stratospheric Hypatia, a mother of six successful women and legendary life coach referred to by many of her mentees simply as the Chaperon.
Over the next two weeks, Hypatia introduces Kay to a series of outstandingly successful people, most of whom she had helped crack the code of winning at home and work.
Hypatia’s friends share with Kay the Ten Principles of Mothering Great Women and teach her what to do to become great herself.
Kay learns that changing her focus from quantity to quality—the time she spends with her girls—ultimately guarantees mothering success.
Filled with wit and candour, The Code is a heart-warming story about why mothers must take the centre-stage in the upbringing of their daughters.

Buy it on Amazon now for just $2.99