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Small Talk

Stormy Storm-Sandy, A Factor



President Barack Obama and Republican Challenger Mitt Romney went back on the attack last after midweek, breaking a storm-induced campaign truce to hit the road and pound home their closing messages in the final stretch of the battle for the White House, reported Reuters’ Jeff Mason.

The Tide source gathered that on that drive, Obama resurrected his 2008 “Change” slogan and said he was the only candidate who had actually fought for it.

In 2008, the Senator, Barack Obama became the first African American ever to become President of the World’s most powerful free nation on earth, the United States of America.

On the ballot for that year’s presidential election were eventual Winner Barack Hussein Obama and Joseph R. Biden as Vice Presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket; Senator John S. McCain and Alaska governor Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket; Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez of the Independent Party and Bob Barr. And Wayne Allyn Root of the Libertarian Party.

In 2008, Obama’s campaign on change was easily enhanced by the economic misfortunes of the George W. Bush’s eight-year presidency, so Americans embraced the message of the Democrats.

In the end, Obama emerged President of the United States, the first of his race to achieve that feat. See results below.

The resurgence of the ‘Change,’ campaign as distinct from the ‘Forward,’ Obama has preached all through the campaign was to dilute challenger Mitt Romney’s ‘Change’ slogan believed to be gaining grounds among independents.

Romney had criticised Obama as a lover of big government who would expand the federal bureacracy.

Reuters’ National polls monitored by The Tide last Friday night had shown the presidential race deadlocked, and Obama and Romney determined to spend the final days in eight swing States that should decide who wins the required 270 electoral votes (See Box For Electoral Votes per State) needed to capture the White House.

Obama had made Wisconson the first stop on a four-State swing on same day that also took him to rallies in Nevada and Colorado and then spent the night in Ohio. On the other hand, Romney had a full day campaigning across Virginia.

“You may be frustrated at the pace of change, but you know what I believe. You know where I stand.” Obama told a crowd of 2,600 people on an airport tarmac in Winsconsin, a vital piece of his electoral strategy.

“I know what change looks like because I’ve fought for it,” Obama said, in veiled reference to his thrills and travails of the 2008 Presidential polls which he won.

Romney had earlier criticised Obama’s comment in an interview aired by MSNBC on Monday that he would like to consolidate government agencies that deal with business issues in a new department under a secretary of business.

“I don’t think adding a new chair to his cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Streets” Romney was quoted as saying:

Obama and Romney had put campaigning on hold for several days as the historic storm SANDY pounded the eastern seaboard, leaving a trail of destruction and forcing Obama to turn his attention to storm relief.

The pause produced some unexpected political benefits for Obama, who won warm praise from Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersy, a major Romney supporter, and he spent days directing federal relief efforts in a show of Presidential leadership that largely sidelined Romney.

Sandy: Blessing In Disguise

…As New York Mayor Endorses Obama

New York Mayor, Micheal Bloomberg – a Republican-turned-Independent who did not back a candidate in 2008, last Thursday endorsed President Barack Obama and cited Democrats record on climate change, in the aftermath of the storm Sandy.

Bloomberg said Obama had taken significant steps to reduce carbon consumption, while Romney had backtracked on earlier positions he took as governor of Massachusetts to battle climate change.

Obama in response said he was “honoured” by the backing of Bloomberg, who flirted with White House runs in the past.

Bloomberg, wrote in an opinion article for Bloomberg View, a section of Bloomberg News, “Our Climate is Changing.”

“And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be-given the devastation – should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”

With Obama locked in a neck and neck battle with Romney, the endorsement coming five days before tomorrow’s election was huge.

Bloomberg’s endorsement came after Obama had won similar praise from New Jersy Governor Chris Christie a Republican, and Romney’s biggest supporter, for Obama’s quick reaction to super storm Sandy.

Obama Enjoys Swing-State Advantage

The quest to garner the required 270 electoral votes to retain White House as President got brighter for Obama fuelled primarily by a small, but steady lead in the vital battleground of Ohio – a crucial piece of any winning scenario for either candidate.

Barring any surprises elsewhere, The Tide predicts that Obama will win a second term by capturing the Midwestern bastions of Ohio, Wisconson and Iowa, same reason the president’s scheduled tour was aimed at shoring up his safety net there.

Spurred by that drive, Obama visited Ohio on each of the last four days of his campaign in addition to two more trips to both Winsconsin and Iowa. He concludes his campaign tonight with Rock Singer Bruce Springsteen in Iowa, where a 2008 cancus win launched his run to the Presidency.

However, Obama made just one visit each in the final days to Florida and Virginia where most polls, up till last Friday gave Romney a slight lead.

On his part, Romney hit Winsconsin and Ohio last Friday, and New Hampshire, Iowa and Colorado on Saturday. He finishes up his campaign tonight in Hampshire, the State where he lunched his bid last year.

However, Romney’s campaign had aired ads in the past few-days in the Democratic-leaning States of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota, in hope to put them in play after polls showed the races tightening but with Obama still ahead.

The Campaign explained why Romney visited Pennsylvania yesterday, marking his first visit since the nominating convention because it was one of his new target States.

The Tide electoral maths shows that win in Pennsylvania would be a crippling blow to Obama, but most public polls still show Obama leading in that State.

However, Romney aides insisted at the weekend that the moves in those three new states were a sign of their growing momentum, although, Obama aides described them as a desperate ploy to fund new paths to 270 electoral votes.

A Reuters/Ipsos National online poll at the weekend (Friday) had showed the race remained effectively deadlocked; with Obama at 47 per cent to Romney’s 46 per cent, most national polls monitored by The Tide showed roughly same results.

Romney’s campaign stop in Pennsylvania Sunday was therefore, to take advantage of what aides saw as the possibility of an upset win over President Obama in the traditionally Democratic State, a step Democratic strategists view as a tall order.

However, Romney campaign aides decided the visit took place in the Southeastern portion of the State. Romney had held off on campaign visits to the State because it appeared Obama had the State locked up. But polls have tightened in recent weeks, although he (Romney) still trails behind Obama.

The visit he had calculated would give two potential goals. If Romney were to win Pennsylvania, it could provide a buffer for him should he lose Ohio, crusial battleground State where Obama had been holding a small but persistent lead in the polls.

No Republican candidate had won the Presidential race without winning Ohio.

Winning Pennsylvania, therefore, could expand Romney’s path for winning the required 270 electoral votes needed for victory.

Strangely, Romney had a narrow path that relies on hopes of winning a number of other battle ground States like Virginia, Florida and North Corolina where the race is too close to call.

The Obama campaign according to Reuters accounts, had been dismissive of Romney’s last minute efforts to increase his profile after the campaign announced it was running television ads there.

A senior Romney adviser had said Romney’s wife, Ann Romney had been campaigning in Pennsylvania on her  husband’s behalf and found an improving picture for him there.


Soye Wilson Jamabo with Agency Reports

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Small Talk

Women Entrepreneurs And Business Efforts 



Years back women derived pleasure in  being full time house wives, working from one side of their homes to the other all day long.
They laboured in house keeping, sweating to take care of their children, husbands, relatives, homes and other things that mattered to their husbands, without being seen as support or contributing to the upkeep of their homes.
This scenario rubbed off on womanhood as parents found in difficult to train their female children but rather exposed them to trade and contribute to the training of their male siblings, with the strong saying that, “Women’s Education Ends In Kitchen”.
However, things started changing as the likes of Lady Koti and others stood their ground to achieve success in education, business and even politics changing the saying to, “ What A Man Can Do, A Woman Can Do Better.
The latter challenges women to make moves to acquire education, skills and whatever would help them to compete favourably with their male counterparts.
There is now no field where you will not see women taking their places beside their male counterparts at the professional and non-professional levels.
This week’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) edition, looks at how women are meeting the challenges of combining their duties as house wives with the provision of financial support to their families.
Read on:

To Mrs Beauty Edafinkomi, who deals on Ok children clothing in Mile 1 Market, “it is disastrous for a woman to be full time house wife in this present age. A woman must work to support the family, no matter how small.
“When a wife is not doing anything to support her husband financially, it exposes a man to depression, especially in this harsh economic situation of the country.
“Without support, the man gets angry over little things and most times becomes aggressive when he thinks of house rents, school fees, upkeep, health and other financial pressures facing him without support”.
The children wears dealer reiterated that gone are the days when women sit at home doing only house chores.
Edafinkomi who has been in business for over 20 years now, said that, “majority of people selling in the market are women, adding that her business gives her joy, as well as make her independent.
“When I sit down, check and know that I have been able to survive without begging people for anything, it also helps me to take care of my family, while maintaining my intergrity as a christian”.
On how she has survived over these years, she said it has been the grace of God, hard work, commitment and consistency, adding that, “since President Muhammadu Buhari came into office, the prices of things have been unnecessarily very high due to border closure and other operational policies.
“Some women want to do business but have no capital, so government should help women especially widows by giving them soft loans. This will in turn impact the economy of the country”.

An entrepreneur in the medical industry, who owns Goodcare Medical store, Mrs Goodluck Uchemadu, a nurse by profession, said women are trying these days in business compared to those days when we had many full time house wives.
“Many women are even doing better than men in business. Maybe because of the hardship and challenges in the country.
“I have been in business for eight years now. To be an entrepreneur is good and it gives one confidence even before people who know you are contributing to the upkeep of the family.
“Even if your husband as a millionaire and tells you to sit at home and take care of the children, you can start doing online businesses and be solving some problems instead of asking him for every of your needs”, Uchemadu said.
According to the nurse, being active in business activities also helps one to stay healthy and keep fit, in addition to burning excess fats in the body system.
On the secret of business success, she said many women/men do not separate their business money from the one used for family upkeep, stressing, “there is need to keep records of business transactions. Keep records of your gains, losses, in and outflows of your capital.
She called on government to support business women/men with loans and grants, which she said would result to business expansion, creating more employment that would better the society.

A young mother/entrepreneur, Mrs. Gbenewa Pretty Godfirst, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pentagon Touch Fashion Home said, “there are so many reasons why some women stay at home. 
“After all, I work from home. Not everyone at home is idle. Gifted women need financial push. Being idle will lead to poverty. And I urge women to get up and work with their hands and relieve their spouse of some burden, so we will have less widows in the society.
“Apart from the challenge of the capital of a standard business, I will say women are putting in more effort in business than men. Most men prefer to die poor doing a white collar job than going into business. Especially those with certificates,”
The CEO, who said she started sewing at the age of seven with needles, noted that skills put food on people’s table, except the lazy ones who want to be begging to survive.
Skills have reduced unemployment “drastically. And I think the government should empower youths financially. 
Mrs. Godfirst, who designs and makes shoes, bags, hangers, caps and more with Ankara materials said, in five years time, “I see God establishing me with the exact picture. He had given me. My products will be in every home in Nigeria”.
She noted that the traditional marriage wears of herself and her husband, even her maids were made by her, adding that finance has been her major handicap from attending fashion festivals.

By: My Business with Lilian Peters

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Small Talk

Can Combining Business, Academics End Employment Menance?



Waiting for white collar jobs after education in Nigeria has driven many into frustration and depression. The  rate of unemployment in the country keeps increasing that it has become very necessary for students to plan ahead of time.
This and other harsh economic situations necessitated The Tide visit some higher institutions to feel the pulse of students on being self-employed and reliant. Excerpts.                

The Managing Director of Eddy World Skills, Mr Ihua Anebo Edwin, who is a master degree student from Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said ,”I went into business since 2016, because I came to realise that unemployment is becoming the problem of the day”.
To Edwin, who is studying Home Economics and Tourism Hospitality Management, the need to start early would help him to overcome the problem of the day in the area of being self-employed.
“Instead of waiting for employment after my education, l will employ others to work for me and expand more. My target is for my business to grow more”, he said. 
The MD, who is a fashion designer and also bakes,  however noted that doing business in addition to academic pursuit is never an easy task but takes determination, “when you consider what you want to achieve in the future.
“I will continue with the business even after my education. This is why I work tirelessly to move out from the alarming unemployment list which is affecting the economy of nation”.
He noted that the harsh economic situation, in addition to high cost of things in the market, affects the progress of the business, coupled with the academic pursuit.
 ”Managing the business is a very big issue, sometimes I need to close down the business for academic work so that l will perform well in my examination.
“God has been helping me to meet up my targets. To be an entrepreneur in the university is good and helpful. The big companies we see today started as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)”, he added.

To the Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Divinity Accessories, Divine Azubuike, who is an Electrical Engineering final year student of Federal Polytechnic Owerri, said doing business in the school gives him joy.
Azubuike said, “I started doing business since 2018, to make my own money and help myself in solving both my problems and other people’s problems”.
The CEO who salls wrist watches, belts,  necklace and other accessories noted that being an entrepreneur in the higher institution makes one to be self reliant, in addition to becoming an employer of labour in the future.
On the effect of the high cost of things in the society, he said the, “ the price of dollars is affecting the business due to the fact that we buy and sell.
“With the value of dollar going so high, our purchasing power is reduced and profit is also affected.
“it is stressful, managing the business and pursuing my academics. Meeting up  is some times difficult, 
“I will love to continue my business as a side hustle except if it becomes bigger and better. My target is to own a large  accessories shop that would employ many people”.
He reiterated that the rate of employment in the country called for students to take proactive measure in preventing depression after their education.
The CEO also advised students to try and do something for themselves, saying that complete dependence on parents makes a student to be lacking and backward.

Another entrepreneur, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pearl’s Collection, Miss Shalom Ngozi Enyiazu, who deals on fashion said “, My Entrepreneurship ambition started in April, 2020 propelled by the desire to be a bit independent during the lockdown.
Pearl’s Collection CEO, said, “business amongst students has been quite challenging, but good as well. The only problem is that buyers tend to negotiate prices of items well below the selling price and some times you will end up running at losses”.
She said satisfying her customers and facing her education have not been easy, especially with the economic situation in the country.
Enyiazu, who is a level 300 English student of Ambrose Ali University,Ekpoma, Edo State, sells “unisex wears, shoes, sneakers, classic beddings and duvets and also import wears, bags and shoes from turkey and China.
“My target is to have branches at different cities in the nation and I am on the verge of meeting my target” .
On whether she will continue as an entrepreneur after her education, she said she would continue with both her business and career to make ends meet, taking into consideration the poverty that is ravaging the nation.
The CEO also noted that being an entrepreneur removes a person completely from moving up and down looking for white collar jobs after graduation.

My Business with Lilian Peters

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Small Talk

SMEs And Loan Opportunities




Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are critical to the development of any economy as they possess great potentials for employment generation and diversification of development of indigenous entrepreneurship.
In Nigeria, there has been gross under performance of the SMEs sub-sector which has impacted negatively on economic growth and development. This low output among other factors can be largely attributed to poor business financing.
To solve this problem, federal and state governments mapped out loans and grants to help the sector which, if achieved, would go a long way in boosting the economy.
The Tide went to town to examine the accessibility of loans by SMEs.
The Managing Director of Franco Bookshop, Mrs Franca Kalu, said she has heard and even filled different forms at different times without any tangible results.
Franco Bookshop boss noted that, “after COVID-19 last year, the news of the mapped out loans was a relief to many of us. I filled the different forms from different groups, thinking that I will use it to revive my business and overcome the terrible effect of the pandemic.
“Can you believe that up till now nothing has been done. We even paid some money to collect and return some of the forms. It is by the grace of God that my business is surviving”.
Mrs Kalu noted that she needed the loan to grow/expand her business, saying that there is need for the loan to be given to those it is meant for, in order to achieve the purpose of the loan, which is to grow SMEs.
“I heard that some people have received the money and many others whom the loan are meant for, are yet to see it.
“The best thing for government to do is to use people’s Bank Verification Number(BVN) which contains detailed information about everyone, to push the loans into business hands to avoid diversion of this fund.
“My business needs money and I know that if I am given loan l will do better than l am doing. It will be wrong for those in charge of the loans to do man know man”, she added.
To the Managing Director KAIEUN Concept, Mr Kenneth I. Akoma, the said business loans to the lock up shops owners around Mile 1 only exist in camera.
Akoma noted that he had applied both for federal and state government loans from different angles and wondered why the loans were difficult to come by here, while those in other geopolitical zones access the same loans with ease.
The MD said, “if not for God’s grace and intervention, it would have been difficult for me to continue after the lockdown; because l spent 98 percent of my business money on feeding and payment of shop rents.
“Government knows where the SMEs are. They should send delegates to the people to sensitise them and ensure that the loans are given to the people it is meant for and not the other way round.
“Many business men and women don’t even know that such loans exist and so the need for sensitisation. Many business men and women operate from hand to mouth”, he said.
He reiterated the need for the loans to be given to SMEs, saying that “business capitals are the problem of many businesses. If government shows concern and ensures that the problem is solved, the money would not go back to the hands of politicians and others.
“There is also the need for mentorship in the sector to ensure proper management and utilisation of the loans, when it would comes.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NENOG Farms Nigeria Limited, Mr Nnadi Emmanuel Nwogu, said there was the need for SMEs to work with institutions to grow their businesses.
The CEO, who said the farm has the largest export demand for cassava produce, noted the need for government to support SMEs with business loans to enable enhanced performance in the sector.
This he said, would have multiple effect on Nigerian economy and also contribute meaningfully to the nation’s GDP.
“If Rivers State will take advantage of what the company has, it would drive away hunger from the state”, adding that SMEs are the life wire of every economy.
He also advised SMEs to leverage on the current available loans in the federal and state systems to help their businesses and also stressed the need to form co-operatives for easy access to business loans.
The CEO noted the need for business owners to partner with mega establishments for mentorship, which he said resulted to speedy development.

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