" ITREALMS: June 2017

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Six don’ts of social media for business

With growing access to the internet, social media now represents an indispensable channel for businesses to promote their brand, connect with customers, cultivate sales leads and deepen their reach.  Considering the increasing utility of the smartphone and other mobile devices, research indicates that up to 80 percent of your target market are actively engaged and reachable on online channels, including social media.

The foregoing justifies the need for business owners to pay closer attention to social media, ensuring it is used optimally to achieve marketing objectives. The key to achieving this to avoid common social media mistakes that may erode goodwill and damage your company’s reputation online.

These tips from the Research/Development Unit of Yudala, Nigeria’s fastest growing composite e-commerce company, will help your business navigate social media better.

1.Don’t start without a content strategy: You must have a plan in place before you put your business on social media. Apart from identifying specific objectives and the resources required to make effective use of social media, you must have a diligently thought-out content strategy. This will cover a profiling of your target audience, the nature of content to be created, the tone of your communication with them and the mental positioning of your brand in the minds of the audience. The absence of a well thought-out content strategy often leads to a scatter-gun approach which does more harm than good to your business.

2.Don’t focus on selling: A lot of business owners make the mistake of using social media in this manner. Research shows that social media channels have a humanizing effect. In other words, your business takes on a human face by interacting on social media channels. Limiting your use of these channels to being all about selling, inadvertently makes the audience see your brand as only transanctional in nature, less humane. This will ultimately result in a mental block and poor conversion. As much as possible, you should sell less on social media and focus instead on other forms of engagements with your audience. Research show that brands with the best returns on social media marketing devote about 10 percent of the time to selling.

3.Don’t be a copycat: What works for a certain brand on social media may not work for your business. On social media, one size doesn’t fit all. The kind of content or posts an entertainment company, for instance, will get huge retweets or likes for may draw ridicule for your technology business. This justifies the essence of planning and developing a strategy before you put your business on social media. Same applies to trying to keep pace with others by putting your business on various social media platforms. You don’t necessarily have to be everywhere because Business A is. It is important, especially when starting out, to focus on one or two platforms such as Facebook and Twitter/Instagram. This decision should also be the outcome of a careful analysis of the best channels on which to reach your target audience. There is no point creating numerous accounts out of excitement and the urge to keep pace without being active on all of them.

4.Don’t pay for followers: As rightly identified by a number of enthusiasts/researchers, followers represent what can be termed the vanity metric of social media. It is sometimes shocking to see the length individuals go to get followers and fans on social media. While some toe the path of controversy, nudity or the bizarre, others go as far as paying for these adulations. Many businesses have followed suit by paying for followers as a means of boosting their standings or image in the eyes of the social media public. This is a major pitfall that may do your brand more harm than good. Rather than pay for fake followers to shore up your rankings, focus instead of building real connections through a well-defined content and engagement strategy with your audience. This approach delivers better returns on investment for your business than fake followers.

5.Don’t overlook feedback: According to Yudala, one of the benefits of social media is its humanizing effect. Most customers will see your brand from a more personal stand-point when interacting on social media. As a result, you must leverage on this and use social media channels as veritable platforms for more responsive customer service. These days, it doesn’t take much for a brand to get noticed for the right or wrong reasons on social media. Always seek feedback. And when it comes unsolicited, never make the mistake of ignoring or overlooking it. Treat it with all the urgency it deserves and turn it into an opportunity for the disgruntled customer to endorse your brand.

6.Don’t overdo #hashtags: Hashtags are very useful, but when over-used, they can become a distraction. When used effectively, the right hashtags can enrich your posts, create awareness or make them go viral, connecting you to newer audiences than you previously communicated with. However, this does not mean #that #because #you #can #you #should #turn #every #word #into #a #hashtag. You get the drift now?
Hashtags can connect you more effectively to the consumers, to investors and other target audiences. The major key is to ensure you do not abuse or overuse them.

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Buhari on life-support, Fayose alleges

The Governor of Ekiti State Mr. Ayodele Fayose has alleged that the ailing Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari has been on life-support since he left the country on second medical trip to the United Kingdom, some 54 days ago, reports ITRealms.

Reacting to the recent Sallah message purported released by Buhari via his aides at the presidency, Mr. Fayose alleged that based on the information available to him, President Buhari has been on life-support in the past 21 days, hence he needs every prayer, and urged presidency to tell Nigerians the truth always.

As said by him, yesterday, June 28, marks the 53 days since President Muhammadu Buhari left Nigeria to attend to his health challenges abroad, decrying that “No official information as to his whereabouts and his state of health.”

Fayose noted that like every other Nigerians, “I do not wish the president dead, I have therefore maintained dignified silence since we were told that the President embarked on his second medical trip abroad this year.”

He also condemned the recorded audio message which was released by the Presidency as the President’s Ramadan message to Nigerians “necessitated my setting the records straight today.”

He described the audio message in a press statement made available to ITRealms Wednesday, as a damage-control strategy aimed at further deceiving Nigerians, stressing he therefore elected in good conscience to state as follows:

“That the audio message does not represent the truth as our President does not only have voice impairment, he has been on life-support since June 6, 2017 at a West-End, London Hospital.

“Of a fact, our First Lady, Her Excellency, Mrs Aisha Buhari was not allowed to see her husband during her last visit to the United Kingdom if only she will be courageous enough to admit.

“Only three Nigerians who are of the President’s cabal are allowed access to the President. I will keep their identities for now.

“Anyone with contrary claim should produce the President to Nigerians within the next 48 hours.

“It is obvious that Nigeria is drifting like the last days of the Yar’Adua’s government.
“Nigerians will recall that I warned against electing President Buhari on the account of his age, health and mental capacity.

Nigerians will also recall that when they released pictures to the press claiming that President Buhari had an interview with Kemi Fadojutimi of “All Eyes on Africa” TV Show in London, on Monday, February 23, 2015, I proved to the whole world that the interview was conducted in suite 881 at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

Hate me or like me, again I am putting Nigerians on notice on the present state of health of our president.

“In closing, let me state that I am not unaware of the various attempts on my life; I am undaunted as I remain committed to truth and fearlessness because a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.

“Dear Nigerians, even though President Buhari needs our prayers and we should keep praying that God takes total control of his situation, it is equally imperative that our leaders must tell us the truth at all times.

“It is time that the President takes the interests of Nigerians above his own and resign from office so that our country can move forward. The fate of Nigeria and its people must not remain in the hands of the Presidency cabal, our country must be set free,” Fayose submitted.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Chinese involvement in Africa bigger than anticipated

A latest study on Africa-China economic partnership has thrown up a set of challenges of the general beliefs, reports ITRealms.

The new study released by McKinsey Africa finds that its involvement is bigger and more multifaceted than previous studies suggest.

ITRealms reports that though China is Africa’s largest economic partner, it has been a challenge to understand the full extent of the partnership due to a dearth of data.

According to the study conducted across eight countries, together made up about two-thirds of Sub-Saharan Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), stressing that there are already over 10,000 Chinese firms operating in Africa; four times the previous estimate.

“About 90 per cent of these are private firms, of all sizes and operating in diverse sectors, with about a third in manufacturing. These firms are bringing capital investment, 
management know-how and entrepreneurial energy to the continent, and in so doing, are helping to accelerate the progress of Africa’s economies,” part of the summary stated.

Ayo Midele/GEE
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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Landrush for .Africa domains enters last lap

The landrush phase for the newly launched .africa domain name has entered its 4th phase and final week from 26th June 2017, reports ITRealms.

Managing Director, Web4Africa, Mr. Oluniyi Ajao, told ITRealms that the Landrush Phase for .africa domain name system offers companies, organizations and individuals to apply for domain names containing keywords valuable enough to pay a premium for domain names with single words that attract heavy every day use are very typical during this phase.

Dot Africa, he said, is the top-level domain name system for the continent of Africa, which is open to all individuals and entities in Africa or ones that identify with Africa, globally.

He also said, .Africa domains are available in Landrush Phase from Web4Africa, an accredited .africa domain name registrar.

Ajao explained that this landrush phase is not exclusive to the .africa top-level domain but normal with all newly-launched domain name extensions. All things being equal, there is a much better chance that the domain can be obtained during this Phase.

He reiterated that certain names have got prior rights associated with them which would not go through unless the applicant has already specifically validated rights in the Mark Validation System (MVS) or Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) database.

“When processing a Landrush Application, Web4Africa will receive a Claims Notice if the string is registered in the MVS or TMCH,” he said.

At the end of the landrush phase, he emphasized that all uncontested domain applications will be delegated while all contested domain applications will proceed to an Auction Phase. Applicants will be notified by the .africa registry on the Auction process should this occur.

Domain auctions will last a minimum of 3 days. Any bids within the final 12 hours will extend any auction by an additional 24 hours.

Dot Africa has already demonstrated serious interests from global brands and entities within Africa who are trademark owners as about 1,000 domains were successfully secured during the Sunrise Phase, making it one of the top 10 largest number of domain name reservations during the sunrise phase of the new geographic Top Level Domain (gTLD) 's launch process.

According to him, the general availability phase would follow, from 4th July 2017, stressing that the domains would then be available on a first-come-first-served basis.

“We are in Africa, and Africa is in us. We believe in the future of Africa and that .africa would offer Africans a strong identity on the World Wide Web,” Mr. Ajao said.

ITRealms recalls that Web4Africa was established in 2002, and is an accredited domain name registrar of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) offering popular top-level domains like .com, .net, .xyz, .africa; and country-code domains like .ng, .za, .uk to clients worldwide.  

Web4Africa is based in Johannesburg, South Africa offering web hosting, virtual private servers, dedicated servers and related solutions from four data centres across Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.

Nonye Dom/GEE

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Japanese Smartphone set to enter Nigeria market

Renowned Japanese smart phone company is set to make a grand entry into the West African market with stand point in Nigeria, reports ITRealms.

Information reaching ITRealms news room, revealed that the Japan based company is reputed for ambitious smartphone brand, indicated that the firm has advanced plans to a bold roll-out plan that will see it extend offering to over 20 countries.

ITRealms gathered that interestingly, Nigeria has been identified as the hub of its expansion into Africa.

Sources close to the company, informed ITRealms that this is a development that is bound to serve as thrilling news for many Nigerians disillusioned by the increasing prevalence of grey and poor quality products, for which many have pointed the finger at the growing economic influence of China which has resulted in a flood of made-in-China products in the market and the unscrupulous actions of product counterfeiters, among others.

With an uncompromising eye for quality and a time-honoured tradition of reliability, ITRealms gathered that the Japanese brands are renowned the world over for their sheer ability to deliver great value for money. Mega brands such as Toyota, Datsun, Casio, Ajinomoto, Canon Inc., Bridgestone, ASICS, Fujifilm, Konami, General Airconditioners, Hitachi and Kenwood Corporation, among others, are quite familiar and popular among Nigerians, having not only expanded their spheres of operations to the country but constantly delivering great products and services over the years. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Made by Japan, has come to be seen as a by-word for world-class, genuine quality products.
Chuks Egbune/GEE
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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Online privacy guide for journalists debuts

Online privacy guide for journalists debuts: It is not an easy time for journalists all over the world, especially with the discoveries of surveillance on citizens, which includ...

Death, Joy Odama, Ibrahim Idris & acid test for Nigeria Police

There is no question that in Nigeria, the poor, the less privileged and the largely dispossessed majority who find themselves in that demeaning class of human categorization have been condemned to a life of perpetual oppression. Forget what is in the law books. Under this rightly described prevailing order of fascist democracy, it has been the lot of the masses to be tormented, denied, and subjugated, except something revolutionary happens. And indeed as this phenomenon seems to have been ingrained in the system, the only way out, at the risk of being labelled an anarchist, is a revolution.  

When you happen to live in this abnormal society and be so cursed as to be in that lower rung of the ladder – social, political or economic – without “connections,” just resign yourself to the reality that in the circumstance, unless in some strange way, you will never get justice if you ever turn up against an affluent and seemingly more powerful compatriot or a foreigner in our courts and/or at the offices of the law enforcement agencies. 

No, you will not get justice because your low, inconsequential status does not endorse you as a beneficiary of that globally acknowledged ennobling act of rectitude. And more importantly, because the rich and powerfully “connected” will deploy the wherewithal to effect a miscarriage of the justice that easily ought to have been served you in a fair and an uncorrupted system.  

Yet, the real tragedy in Nigeria is the bitter irony embedded in this subject. In most cases, those who have the mandate to facilitate the attainment of justice by ensuring public order and doing their work in accordance with the law regardless of who is involved, are themselves the real perpetrators of crime and abettors of criminals. Here, one has in mind the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy Nigerian Air Force, the police, other paramilitary forces and, in short, all the other coercive institutions existing under the Nigerian law.

They are all implicated in the despicable act of committing unforgivable crimes, working with criminals to achieve selfish ends and, wait for it, openly playing very strategic but shameful roles in impeding justice of which the poor and those who don’t have influential people in the society to “fight’ for them are mostly the victims. 

In fact, it can be safely argued that the frequency and intensity of crime in the Nigerian society is proportional to the level of co-operation between law enforcement agents and criminals. Of course crimes will be committed when perpetrators are aware that enforcement agents will co-operate. 

On this score, the police are the worst culprits. In a cheeky negation of their own popular catchphrase (The Police is your friend) affirming friendship with the public, the police will rather choose to befriend criminals than be “your friend.” There is a legion of stories over the years to validate this claim, and the one trending now is just as ugly, stomach-churning and damaging to the unflattering image of the police as its antecedents. It’s the alleged murder in Karmo, a surburb of Abuja, just a little over six months ago of Joy Odama, a 200 Level Mass Communication student of Cross River State University.  

The suspect, Alhaji Usman Adamu, is without doubt currently enjoying the full protection of the police who seem bent on ensuring that the Odama family, who obviously belong to the aforementioned class of the less privileged, does not get justice no matter how hard they try.
Sadly, in this tragic drama that evokes a mixture of anger and hopelessness, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who has a golden opportunity to prove for once that the police under his watch will not toe the rotten conspiratorial line of the past, has himself shown, from utterances and actions, to be the chief conductor in the sordid orchestra of injustice.   

From the beginning, the role of the police has been geared toward making sure Alhaji Adamu, who obviously counts the top hierarchy of the police as friends, does not answer to his crime. Suspecting foul play on sighting the lady’s corpse when Adamu sought to deposit it in the mortuary at the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja, the management had asked for a police report before the corpse could be kept in the mortuary. 

Adamu rushed out and returned with Raph Nkem, a Chief Superintendent of Police and Divisional Police Officer of Karmo Police Station who ordered the mortuary staff to embalm the body and admit it. According to one of the witness, the DPO had been a regular visitor to Adamu’s house where he was usually entertained with fried meat and wine.

Nkem it was who dished out a cocktail of lies to the Odama family in defence of his evil-minded friend, Adamu. He it was who started the harassment and intimidation of the family, while declaring to them with shameless bold face that Adamu was not culpable in Joy’s murder. Instead of arresting Adamu and working towards getting him to have his day in court, see how a police officer at that level has put everything on the line to cover up a suspected criminal. Who will now say Adamu and Nkem are not working together? 

That circle of despicable characters in the police has since widened to the Force Headquarters in Abuja where top officers have tried without success to force the Odamas to collect money from the suspect and permanently shut up. In response to public outcry over the failure to arrest the suspect, the police declared Adamu wanted. But it turned out the declaration had no sincerity behind it. It was the usual farce and mendacity to which the police are richly accustomed. The police never told the public that the man whom they declared wanted had been arrested at any point.

Meanwhile, the deceased’s family had obtained an autopsy report at the National Hospital Abuja which puts the cause of Joy’s death as “cardiogenic shock secondary to diffuse myocardial infection secondary to possible acute cocaine poisoning.”   

At a meeting between the police and the Odamas at the headquarters, Adamu, the suspect, suddenly showed up flanked by officers, pumping hands and back-slapping cheerfully with people who supposedly had declared him wanted as he took his seat in the room. The Odamas were shocked to the bones. Faced with that perplexing spectacle, who will now say the police and Adamu are not working together?

It was at the end of the so-called meeting that the police, realizing that Adamu had been nailed by the autopsy report, delivered yet another shocker to the grieving family and the public: Police boss, Idris, directed that a fresh autopsy be conducted.

Predictably, this is done for no other reason than to, by all means, create a window of escape for the suspect. At the moment, the police are working hard to come up with the claim that the probable cause of Joy’s death was generator fumes. Really?

And rightly so, members of the Odama family and their lawyer have responded point-blank with the charge that the police want to manipulate the result with the claim of generator fumes to contradict the first autopsy report. Thankfully, the Odamas have the lead pathologist at the National Hospital on their side. The pathologist insists he stands by his report that the lady died from a heavy dose of cocaine.

The world is watching how the police are scheming to pervert justice in this case. It is one case that will more than determine the professionalism of the current IGP in the history of policing in Nigeria. If Idris and his men eventually succeed in undercutting the Odamas by freeing the man who allegedly murdered their daughter, he will surely be listed on the negative side of history as far as police work is concerned in Nigeria.

Let it be told in this country and beyond that the Odamas, who are from Cross Rivers State, are crying for justice. To be poor does not make anyone less human. Whoever is responsible for their daughter’s needless death must be punished. It is gratifying that the Cross River State Government under the leadership of Ben Ayade and Senator Rose Oko, also from the State, have both shown more than casual interest in this case. They should keep an eye on it to its logical end. So should all well-meaning Nigerians. 

*Godwin Onyeacholem is a journalist. He can be reached on gonyeacholem@gmail.com       

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MTN, Lumos partnership attracts $80m Y’ello Box investment to Nigeria

In partnership with MTN Nigeria and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation of the United States (US) Government, Lumos said it has committed $80M to deployment electricity in Nigeria, otherwise known as Y’ello Box, reports ITRealms.

Half of the $80m, ITRealms gathered, has already been invested in a new solar electricity service culminating in the employment of some 450 people under Nigeria Lumos, including technicians, engineers and a large sales force.

Revealing these, Yuri Tsitrinbaum, the CEO of the Lumos Mobile Electricity Service, told ITRealms that there are ambitious plans to grow and provide power to 1m Nigerians by the end of 2017.

ITRealms reports that Y’ello Box is a solar electricity system that officially launched earlier this year and allows families and business owners to harness the power of the sun cheaply and efficiently, in a way we’ve never seen before.

According to Yuri, in homes, clinics, schools and businesses across Nigeria, people are running fans, charging phones, watching TVs and lighting rooms, all using affordable, reliable, clean electricity.

“The Y’ello Box is already powering the lives and businesses of more than one hundred thousand Nigerians,” the CEO said.

Designed and operated by Lumos Mobile Electricity Service, the Y’ello Box provides electricity to customers 24 hours a day, which people pay for using their MTN mobile phone.

“People don’t have access to the power they need. Fuel is very expensive and other services are unreliable. The Y’ello Box saves customers money all while providing better and more reliable electricity. As Nigeria modernizes, our demand for power increases. It’s time we did more to harness the power of the sun. That is why the Y’ello Box is changing so many lives. It is affordable, it is reliable and paying by mobile phone makes it easy,” Tsitrinbaum said.

Chuks Egbune/GEE
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Internet opportunities: Africa, the place to be

Despite dismal domain names currently on the continent of Africa, the chairman, Board of Directors, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Dr. Steve Crocker, has expressed optimism on Internet opportunities in Africa, reports ITRealms.

Speaking as a special guest at the outreach session organized by the Africa Regional At-Large Organisations (AFRALO) as part of the sideline events of ICANN59 public policy forum, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Though he noted that the Continent may be going through some challenges at the moment, Crocker was optimistic that Africa has the business opportunities, so “this is the place to be.”

He further told participants made up of At-Large Structures (ALSes) and students from University of Johannesburg, that new ideas are always welcome and encouraged the students to take active part in ICANN59 and At-Large in general.

“Don’t hesitate to ask questions,” he urged.

Nonye Dom/GEE

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Nigeria shines at ICANN59 as Sunday Folayan is returned AFRINIC chair

Nigeria is currently shining at the on-going public policy forum on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as Revd. Sunday Folayan was re-elected as the chairman of the African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC) for another term of one year, reports ITRealms.

Also on the board of AFRINIC as gathered by ITRealms is Seun Ojedeji, while other Nigerians equally playing actively in this industry include, Mr. Wale Adedokun who is the chairman of the Nomination Committee (NomCom) and Dewale Ajao as chairman, Policy Development Working Group at AFRINIC, whereas Omo Oaiya, is representing AFRINIC at the Advisory Committee, Address Supporting Organisation (ASO-AC) of ICANN.

The re-election of Folayan came at the AFRINIC pre-event session which comprised holding of its general election.

Equally, AFRINIC reconstituted its three board standing committees, namely Remuneration, Finance and Audit respectively.

The four-man Remuneration Committee consist of Lucky Masilela, Sunday Folayan, Serge Ilunga and Alan Barrett. While the Finance Committee is made up of Haitham El Nakhal, Subramanian Moonesamy, and Alan Barrett; just as the Audit Committee comprised Christian Bope, Abibu Ntahigiye and Seun Ojedeji.

ITRealms recalls that Folayan is also the president of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA).

In addition, AFRINIC is the regional Internet registry (RIR) for Africa with headquarters in Ebene City, Mauritius with Alan Barrett as the chief executive officer.

Chuks Egbune/GEE
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