Damilola Bamiro
Damilola Bamiro

Dami’s 2022 Perspective

TECHDIGEST – Happy New Year Everyone!!!! Yes. 2021 was a great year! It was a year we felt we were coming back to life (and in a way liberated from all our chains!). Though it was a shaky year and for some, downright terrible in terms of achievements and finances, the main take away from the year is this – there was enough time to reflect and know exactly where things stood in our lives. Through the latter part of the year, you would notice that personally you were more adamant on things you wanted and what you did not want. You were also more purposeful with your time and movement.

So, 2021 has come and gone and in my perspective, was a defining year for personal development. People got stronger amidst everything else getting weaker. Even though that also goes for people who were weak-minded who grew weaker.

I would like to bring to the fore the fact that while an ocean has been swimming through this country, we have refused to acknowledge it. It’s an ocean of “ambitious financial wealth and gain irrespective of consequences”. Where an ocean (not a river) flows through an area, it will continue to erode its banks. The forces that can stand in its way must be deep rooted. This is to say that for those not strong enough to go against the tide, they simply flow with the Ocean.

This has gone into the very way we think about everything now in Nigeria. Why must I be the one to suffer? Why must I be the one to stand up? Why must I be the one to speak up etc.. it goes on. It has crept into Government, Education, The Financial System, Religion, Health and virtually everything. Everyone is just going with the flow (even sometimes when they think it is their flow).

There have been a few notable strong ones, who have stood their ground. But as they stand, they also ask themselves if it is worth it. But there will always be the ones that change the course of history. And Nigeria is begging for a lot of them. They are currently few in number.

Let us talk politics first.

Politics

Like I said last year, 2021 is the year to lie low. And lie low, a lot of politicians did. Trying not to rock the boat. Some stood out and continued to make bold statements and attempt bold things, but surely not in the numbers. 2022, however, is the year before 2023. This is the year the cement is mixed and poured and shaped. Once set, it might not be possible to change it.

Sadly, and grimly said, this is the year the mistakes will be made. This is the year the alliances will make or break. And this year is centered around our future. And it lies in the decision 3 men make. These three men will determine how history will be written by either their good decisions or bad decisions. They are Joe Bidden, on the foreign scene, and Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar in the local scene. The decisions they make either to run or not to run, to accept or not to accept, to listen or not to listen and to stay alive politically or not to embark on a suicidal journey will shape a lot of things to come.

On the foreign scene, the US will be challenged in so many ways (and consequently, Bidden personally). The supremacy of the US (or quest to remain the superpower) or acceptance to step aside for others to emerge or personally, Bidden’s quest to continue to step away from the shadows of Trump (or accept that there were actually some good policies of the Trump administration and work with them) will determine the direction of world affairs which may affect Nigeria both directly or indirectly. We hardly care much about that locally in Nigeria, but it is important.

Locally, there will not be new names on the political scene as I am convinced now that Nigeria doesn’t take chances on new people. You just must be there long enough. So the decisions still lie within the ‘known’ names. And they will circulate all over again. Many will begin to declare (as it is time to declare) and those that have been nursing ambitions need to put their money where their mouth is. It’s a fact Buhari will leave. It’s a fact he can ensure a free and fair election. It’s also a fact that he doesn’t have to support any particular person from any particular party. That is, he may support someone even from another party. He feels he owes the country that much.

The decisions will be made. They will be made outside of the ballot box. This is not the issue. The issue is the acceptance of those decisions by these two men or should I say the acceptance of the situations they find themselves (which may be unbelievable to them) depending on how the political tides flow in their favour or against them.

Political giants and pillars like Godfathers, Governors, Obas and all other office holders and movers and shakers will simply fall by the side of these considerations. This is because 2023 is new territory for us. In 2015, there was the growing opposition to the sitting government paving way to an emotionally elected new Government. This is not the case in 2023. There will be NO candidate to be emotional about. Not for some time to come. So whoever will be the candidate to be elected (or selected) as I would say, will have to work hard or sell his soul for it. In selling his soul, he would have locked himself with the usual chains of the presidency and its structures of Godfatherism which we are not yet ready to change in the country. (Forgive me for not being gender sensitive in this regard as I feel we are not yet there as a country).

God is alive and well, is watching and loves this country. May His will be done.

Finances

This year, the fight for our finances will move from how we make money to what we spend money on. Our ability to keep and save our income will be the greatest war we will fight. Looking back, even through COVID19 and all its variants, Nigerians continued to spend. Luxury like I predicted will never go down in this country. Parties in whatever shape or form continued to happen. Opportunities to show wealth remain uncontrolled in this country. So what that means is that our ability to make money in this country lies in our hands. Win or lose, we are capable of executing and chasing opportunities. Where we have struggled so far without knowing, is our ability to re-channel our spending to meaningful and beneficial things. We tried through 2021 to question some expenses. It was a good start. But 2022 will bring about the assessment of what I call the necessities. Those things we considered necessary in 2021 will come under attack.

So a lot of people also noted their investment in foreign currencies, please note that money changed to dollars or pounds must not be money required for expenses in Nigeria. You will simply lose money by moving money up and down. Remember that money you change to dollars or pounds must be inaccessible. The fluctuation in the foreign currencies is not a form of investment. It won’t matter once that money is changed. Remain focused on growing your top line whilst reducing your bottom-line expenses.

I will say again and again, having only one source of income e.g. a salary is the most dangerous financial recklessness anyone can engage in living in this country. You must strive to continue to give yourself options which bring peace.

Corporates

It will also go into the corporate world. So, this will also put at risk anyone with a non-essential job position in any organization. Corporates will also see the collapse of many structures into single structures. The meaning of “Management” will mean something more like “the working few who now do everything through multitasking”. This will mean longer hours, less job satisfaction and of course less family and personal time. I would advise you – don’t fight it. Work with it and learn how to optimize to reduce your effective operating hours. Demonstrating your dissatisfaction with the current level of work required in any organization will be suicidal at least in the first half of the year. Many layoffs will happen as companies will lighten up their load towards the uncertainties of 2023.

Business Dealings

This is a new assessment I have as it crosses between personal and corporate. It exists and largely drives what we do in Nigeria. Deals crisscross between individuals and corporates in Nigeria. B-B (Business to Business) is not a standard in Nigeria. So, in a nutshell, business dealings will be in one direction in Nigeria in 2022. It will be called the “clean up” year. This is when the money is mopped up into political hands. And this extends to political corporates and strategy of business deals. Anything that will enhance the chances of success in 2023 will be the thrust of business deals in 2022. So don’t go selling the wrong product. There will be no interest. It’s not about the elections mind you, it’s all about the fact that power will change hands surely in 2023 (even if it is same party). And anything not solidified in 2022 will be out the window till August of 2023.

Family

This is the greatest war we all need to fight specifically in Nigeria in 2022. The trend was emerging prior to COVID19 pandemic but was slightly halted. Now the trend has started again. The fight for the hearts and minds of the teenagers and youth. The fight to protect them and to re-align them. The reality that the older ones are struggling so much, there is no more time for “tales by moonlight”. It also goes to the fact that, due to so many “unimaginable” world happenings, the older and aged ones have nothing to teach the emerging generation popularly called the “GenZ”. We are even struggling to teach them the basics when the basics are not even working for us older ones. And there seems to be an ocean (which I described earlier) between the two generations. So there is just the tendency for everyone to “Go with the flow”. Social media doesn’t even help at all. As it is all part of the elements of the Ocean just flowing through our very existence. “So long as it makes money” forms the basis of either encouragement of the youth or rebuke of them. Even in small communities where proceeds of crime are being displayed, they have started to give acceptance to the crimes e.g., kidnapping and theft of anything belonging to Nigeria. The fight for the soul of the family which extends to the soul of the nation must continue and must not be lost. Right now, it cannot be said we know where we are going or what our values are now.

Religion

Sadly, this fight for the soul of the family and the soul of the country was being fought by the religious institutions. COVID19 came and wiped away those gains. The war was lost on that front as the people could no longer be helped in their conclaves and crevices when the pandemic came. To some though, this was also a liberation. The religious institutions, struggling through 2021 for relevance will continue same in 2022. Some will have to innovate and think of new ways to get people back to the divinity-based position of their leadership which was lost during the pandemic. This may force some to turn to sensationalism to bring back the flock. To some others, the scales have permanently fallen from their eyes and will retain only the relationship between them and their God. In 2022, the wages of sin will become very apparent and quick in daily life. The effects felt even quicker. This is not only limited to the congregation but also the leadership. Even in daily life, mistakes and missteps will be less tolerated in the society going forward. A lot of religious institutions will just fall and disappear as many as rise with a new message. All still existing in this our “ocean”.

Technology

This is the only space I can see light shining now. The emergence of technologies across all our lives is a wonderful one. And we do not realize how far we are catching up with the rest of the world. Years ago, we would have remained in the dark ages in the presence of Zoom. Now we all know how simple ideas (and pandemics) can change our world. Even the concept of the working hours seems to have gone out of the window with Technology and Zoom. We must give kudos to the fact that when the pandemic happened and post pandemic, we stood up to be counted as part of the nations who were very much alive and communicating during the pandemic. There are many negatives of Zoom and virtual communications which chief amongst them was the entry of the workplace into the home. This, I doubt will ever go back to being “normal”. Which brings me to the direction of technology in the coming year – It is heading for your home. Every new innovation and invention will circle around or target Your home. Your lifestyle. Your personal space. This is where technology wants to be. Wants to dominate. And there doesn’t seem to be anything in its path stopping it.

Those that are in the technology business should shift their focus from delivering solutions to the Corporate sector but rather focus on anything that will deliver any kind of service either personally to an individual or to you in your home. This is the simple principle of 5G. May I also say that this is the bedrock of it all. We did not take the InternetofThings (IoT) very seriously, but now, 5G will be the basis of it all. A fully wireless home and lifestyle. Wireless (and internet enabled) fridges, freezers, air conditioners, TVs, Microwaves, Doors, Windows, Cars, Watches, Doorbells, Lights, and all basic and essential appliances. These through 5G, will be able to tell the manufacturers EVERYTHING they need to know. To me, controversially speaking, 5G was a brutal reality that Technology companies that invested heavily in Fiber to home concepts and hard-wired technologies will suddenly be out of business. Curious to me was the fact that 5G came when we all were at home due to the pandemic. What a wonderful way to test the technology.

These all pose wonderful new opportunities for those that can key into it as it will herald the new world order in technology and communication.

Economy

I am eager to see (if it finally happens), what the effect of a currency swap with China will look like and how it will reshape the currency and the economy. There are many pluses and minuses. But it will surely change things. Even the price of goods will be affected hopefully positively. On the negative side, our manufacturing or whatever is left of it might finally die. But have we cared about manufacturing? Somehow the truth of the nation tends towards consumption and imports (not manufacturing), so some may not even notice. It may just be important that there are cheaper prices of goods in the country than where they are made.

Barring that, the economy will experience the same as it has done during the pre-election years. Certain new hires of the president and new directions may show a glimmer of hope. But I am not expecting anything dramatic. Also, the exchange rate which remains a huge worry balances out with its demand. Those that have foreign exchange exposures are simply re-aligning. And like I mentioned earlier, the attack on what is critical and essential is a product of the worries

Personal Health

We grew up attending burials of the old and aged. We always expressed deep shock at the sudden death of the younger ones. I am not sure it’s because we are all older and in the age range, but I suspect that people are actually dropping dead who were otherwise healthy or slightly ill the day before. This is due to our lack of or inability to access health check systems. This year, bite the bullet, go for those health checks. Damn all consequences and hear what the Doctor has to say. At least know the basic in terms of blood pressure and other vitals of your body. This is not a plan to be executed only when you travel abroad. Please use the local systems here and at a minimum, get a feel for the basics. Also stay away from anything that aggravates you.

The greatest health watch today is your screen time. How much time is spent on the smart phone. It has replaced the real world for a lot of people. The life on social media and the satisfaction gained from successes in that world is eroding all elements of physical presence of the real world. Now it’s difficult to explain to the younger ones which one is the real world. Those that make money from social media are more at risk because they seem to be benefiting from that same alternate world. It is okay to approach that Social Media world from a business point of view. But where it begins to replace your happiness, your sanity, or your sense of fulfilment, this is the year to be very careful as there will be a lot in the news this year due to happenings in the country more than normal. So, you will be more sucked in. The addiction to social media as a therapy to while away time or kill that boredom has taken root in a lot of people’s lives today destroying the core elements of human touch, care and love.

General Outlook

As I would encourage all to recall that this piece is a perspective and not a prediction or prophesy, I would encourage us all to be guided and remain open to options in all situations. So as a typical guide, I would then propose the following as a best practice for this year

1. There are no financial booms in sight, stay away from easy short term turn around financial investments. Invest in only things that can be converted back to cash easily.
2. Always speak your mind, damning the consequences. It will give you mental peace. Bottling up issues with anyone or group translates easily to health problems nowadays more than ever.
3. Record all spending. By now, you should have at least 2- or 3-year records of your spending which should now form a pattern for you. Let that summary dictate to you which decision to make on your finances, going forward. If you have not started, start today. Use Excel. Very simple and easy.
4. Don’t make decisions on anything you hear on social media. Especially on health matters. In same fashion, political discussions and arguments don’t bring money. But study political happenings as it can save your life, health and security where it matters.
5. This year, make good sleep a target. The number of early morning frustrated people in the country is seriously increasing.
6. Reduce your screen time if you can. Even the mobile phone companies are calculating screen time now..
7. Changing jobs must not necessarily mean higher salary. Your expenses MUST come down if you are truly going for a better salary. Once you don’t achieve that, then it all comes down to the same thing which brings more frustration.
8. Focus on real knowledge. It will translate to money in the shortest possible time in Nigeria
9. In terms of feeding and personal expenses, try as much as possible to buy in bulk. It’s a measure of peace.
10. Lastly, I would encourage us all to remain strong in your faiths and your God as that would help you in every endeavour and the quest for protection from all evil this year that threatens our existence.

Damilola Bamiro
Bamiro is an international IT expert

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