Michael, this wouldn't take you more than 10 minutes to do.
Michael, can you spare me one hour? I know you are very busy. Just tell me, any one hour; you can even choose time and place.
Just a sec, Michael. Help me with this.

The truth is it has never taken me 10 minutes to do that 10 minutes task. And that one hour, please, request often end up taking my whole day. Plus, the one sec request is just a way of making me look bad if I say no.

These days I understand how easy it can be to be extremely busy and not get things done. I mean things I planned to do. Everyday I have a pending list of tens of requests waiting for my attention. Most don't take more than a few minutes to do but the problem is that when I try to do them I end up spending hours on them all and become too exhausted to do the things I had plan to do that day or anything significantly productive. 

I have emails awaiting my replies, I have blog comments awaiting my replies, I have YouTube comments awaiting my replies, I have SMS messages awaiting my attention, I have Whatsapp messages awaiting my replies and, biggest of them all, I have many missed phone calls that are a sure pathway to more requests for me.

I am coping but not in a way most people like. I have grand plans for myself too. I want to complete the manual for our R and Python data analysis training class. I want to build up a lot of sample projects to train the participants. I want to finish my Python for Finance course. I want to complete reading my Algorithmic Trading with Python and R books, I want to build the mobile app versions of my Nigerian Market Data and need to complete my video lessons on Xamarin Forms to achieve that. I want to also have a little time for myself -- to read a novel or watch movies without feeling under pressure from tasks deadline.

I am struggling to have a life. Why? Because too many people think a lot of tasks are very easy for me. I like the attention, the genuine attraction, the humbling respect they show me and the privilege too. I am just not good at handling it all.

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Africa is projected to be the world’s second-fastest growing economy by 2020. With growth comes a need for leaders who can address and navigate challenges and opportunities. Stanford GSB is excited to contribute to the region’s human and economic development by educating leaders committed to making an impact on the continent.
The Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship Program pays for tuition and associated fees (approximately US $160,000) for citizens of African countries with financial need who wish to obtain an MBA at Stanford GSB. Stanford will award up to eight Stanford Africa MBA Fellowships annually.
Within two years of graduation from Stanford GSB, Stanford Africa MBA Fellows are required to return to Africa to work for at least two years in a professional role that contributes to the continent’s development.
Learn more about the application requirements, including the application process and eligibility, as well as frequently asked questions.

Important Dates

24 April - 7 June 2017Stanford Africa Fellowship Program application available online
7 June 2017
(5:00pm Pacific Time)
Stanford Africa Fellowship Program application submission deadline
30 June 2017Stanford Africa Fellowship Program finalists notified
Round 1 (19 Sept 2017) or Round 2 (10 Jan 2018)Stanford Africa Fellowship Program finalists prepare and submit Stanford MBA application
Round 1 (14 Dec 2017) or Round 2 (29 March 2018)Stanford releases admission decisions, including those for Stanford Africa Fellows
September 2018Stanford Africa Fellows matriculate in Stanford MBA Program

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We are looking for 20 high-growth digital startups seeking to raise between $250K and $1.5M in funding. We can help with access to funding, networks, mentoring and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs in the form of the following:
We will help your company access capital, expand market share, and refine its business model through tailored mentorship, coaching, and networking opportunities. Here’s what we offer:
  • Structured access to investors throughout the program and at a Venture Showcase Day in South Africa.
  • Mentoring from at least two successful entrepreneurs or investors (global and local) to develop accurate company valuations, financial forecasts, risk management and customer acquisition strategies. Access to other expertise is provided based on your specific needs. 
  • The opportunity to meet with investors, potential customers and partners as well as peers at an all-expenses paid residency in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Support in developing investment packages so you’re ready for investment following the program.
  • Knowledge through curated content designed to teach you everything you need to know about marketing, financing and market expansion.


  • Your startup is for profit and registered
  • Your team consists of at least 3 people
  • Your team is based in one of the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (see full list of eligible countries)
  • You have a very strong management team
  • You have a digital product or service available on the market right now, with demonstrated tangible traction and evidence of revenue
  • You have potential to achieve scale
  • You are seeking investment capital in the range of $250K – $1.5m
  • While there will be exceptions, mostly likely your startup has already received investment capital, structured as either debt or equity, or received grants from donor organizations.


To select the top 20 start-ups, we will consider:
Commercial Value of your Product/Service (25%)Your company addresses a real problem in the market. The digital solution is different to others in the industry. Your product or service is catalyzing social change.

Strategy for Growth (25%)

There is potential to expand into new markets or expand at home. We can see demonstrable progress, and your startup is scalable.

Management (25%)

The team have the qualifications needed to make the business successful.

Market Traction & Financials (25%)

We will evaluate your market traction and look at the potential market size. We’ll also look at your business model, revenue streams and unit economics, and if any outside funding has been raised before.


If you are accepted into the program, you will be asked to:
  • Engage regularly with mentors (4-6 hours a month) over five months. Remember it’s a two-way street – both mentors and mentees learn and commit to this relationship. In many cases, we expect these relationships to last long after the program has ended. 
  • Over 5 months, participate in four virtual webinar sessions run by global experts with inputs from leading African and US investors and successful entrepreneurs. 
  • Participate in the residential program in South Africa for two weeks in November 2017.
  • Engage with 19 other African enterprises, along with mentors, investors and strategic partners.
  • Come with an open mind and be willing to learn and collaborate. 
First, all the N800,000 wasn't to FIRS (the tax body). Here is a quick breakdown:

  1. Account Auditing (2014 to 2016) -- N280,000
  2. Tax Advisory (2014 to 2016)  -- N315,000
  3. A long list of other expenses + actual income tax -- N205,000

I still owe the tax advisory firm. There was no way I would have planned to spend more on the paper work than the actual tax due. And that's the reality I am getting used to in this entrepreneurship journey. Imagine doing a business plan and financial projection for a startup, and you create a line for auditing and tax advisory of multiples above the projected tax due. Investors will think you are trying to play a fast one.

Apart from the N800,000 I have been paying monthly VAT and that one in 2016 alone added up to N500,000. And there was 2015 and 2014. In fact, I was told it was the main reason the tax authorities didn't give us a hell of trouble. 

Now I am left with PAYE. I will have to start taking a monthly salary and deducting PAYE. I already have a Lagos state tax clearance certificate from my 2012 consultant role for Airtel's sister company, Comviva. Once I am done paying the outstanding fees to the tax advisory firm, I will begin work on the PAYE and salary structure. My other team members have a consultant role and are only liable to withholding tax deduction. 

The good side of this is all is that it is forcing me to be more business-like. No more Mr Nice Guy. I used to be quick to give in to people's pleas to help them solve their issues for little or no money, Nowadays, I focus on just standard services I can scale and bill for upfront. No more scopeless (ever expanding scope without payment review) projects. I even avoid individual projects and complicated company projects. I would rather be sleeping at home than running about like a headless chicken for peanuts that will get taxed away. I don't wanna be sweating for the tax man and the auditors. I am now more okay with people getting annoyed with me for not bending to their wish.

Things went amazingly smooth this time, no delay or glitch during the webinar. I was able to share with the participants six major new features in Excel 2016:
  1. Excel Add-Ins Right From MS Office Store 
  2. New Draw Menu For Better Annotation
  3. Now You Can Do Infographics In Excel
  4. Six New Functions To Lighten Your Work
  5. The Powerful PowerQuery Is Now Get & Transform
  6. New Forecast Tool Under Data Menu
  7. (BONUS) Integrate Your OneDrive and Sharepoint
The slides are uploaded on SlideShare and below is the image copy. Also you can view the recorded session on YouTube

After Excel 2003 there was Excel 2007, then Excel 2010, Excel 2013 and now Excel 2016. But from now on Excel is no longer updated in 3 - 4 years cycle. There is now Office 365 and with it Excel is updated almost monthly with both major and minor features.

There are many new features beyond the new formulas and chart types I have once talked about. In this month's webinar I will be taking you through the new features you should explore in the new Microsoft Excel. A few might be available in both Excel 2013 and non Office 365 Excel 2016. But for the webinar I will be using the most updated version of Office 365 Microsoft Excel.

You should join us at:
Venue: YouTube live, 
Time: 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Date: Today, Wednesday, 26 April 2017

You can also be join the webinar directory so you'll always be in loop of future webinar announcements.

I have been invited to talk on financial investment next week on LoveWorld Television. The show airs on Wednesdays 8:00am to 9:00am and my talk/interview session will be for a slice of some minutes in between that hour span.

It is in preparation for the One-Day Course On Understanding And Profiting From Stocks event to hold on May 11, 2017. I hope you've registered (if you find it useful).

What would I be saying about financial investment?

Well, I would essentially be saying "delay gratification". Form the habit of spending just what is necessary and invest the rest. Don't compete with your colleagues on stuffs that cost you money with just emotional returns: expensive vacations, expensive car, expensive clothes, expensive gadgets and so on. Don't spend on things you would eventually have cheaply in the future if they are not a necessity.

I have friends who worry that they've not gone for a proper vacation outside the country. So they spend a large chunk of their savings on a vacation to an expensive European or American city. They have this left-behind mentality they feel compelled to fix. And there are those who just must live large. They must appear executive, drive executive cars, take executive foreign courses and live in executive houses. In the end, it is their bank accounts that bear the brunt. They earn and spend, then console themselves that what they've spent on were invaluable experiences and strategic personal branding things that would lead to multiple fold returns. I shake my head.

As far as growing wealth in a structured and logically sound way is concerned, spending way less than you earn is the foundation. Then you invest the remaining. You can't eat your cake and have it. If you can discipline yourself to live cheap and delay gratification for some years you will be able to fund your exotic dreams from cash flow from your investments without even touching the principal (original investment amount).

As an example, I am planning to have my investment pay for my house and office rent. I am almost there. So with just a 12% annual return on my investment I can forget about where my house and office rent will come from. And since I am still actively working and earning, it frees up more money for me to invest from my regular income. So in just a few years I can fund all vacations I want without touching my original savings/investment. And that is the logic behind delayed gratification.

Once you have taken up that new mentality, then you should proceed to doing the following:
  1. Have an emergency fund: Put away 3 to 5 months monthly living expense in a special savings account. I use the Diamond HIDA (high interest deposit account) for mine. This is the money you will need to draw on for unplanned expenses -- emergencies. It is very important. Once you take out of it, you must replenish as soon as you can, with higher priority than your other accounts.
  2.  Have an investment account: This is different from your savings account. And shouldn't be a bank account. If you have low risk profile, go for money market investment mutual fund or bonds mutual fund. You can try Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Limited. If you are more adventurous like me, then go for equity mutual funds (ARM Discovery fund or Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund) or open your own brokerage account to trade stocks yourself (I use Meristem and ARM). 
  3. Keep your expenses low as you grow your income and increase the portion you put away into investment accounts. Never let your expenses balloon as your income grows. Between 2012 and 2016 I have seen my income grow almost 10 fold yet you wouldn't notice any change in my lifestyle. In fact, my living expenses reduced. That way I was able to save/invest in just one year (2016) more than I had saved/invested in the prior six years. It wasn't easy resisting the temptation to buy new this and that, and go for an out-of-country vacation. And I am thankful I didn't because this year started on a rocky note and I have needed to draw heavily on last year savings to fund unplanned expenses with the tax authorities and account auditing amongst other emergencies. The comforting part is that I saved well enough last year to sail through easily and have formed the valuable habit of living cheap. I practically have no ego. You will see me walking down the road more often than you will see me driving. And when you are booked everyday and months ahead, there is nobody to try to please with fancy dressing and posh car. Interestingly, decision makers like confident down-to-earth consultants who have impressive portfolio of jobs over model-looking glossy talker. So I have never lost a project bid because I dressed cheap. Ironically, they seek me out rather than me going after them.
  4. Watch your investments! I spend a huge amount of time analysing the stock market and following the news about the companies I invest in. You have to keep ensuring that your great investment last year is still great today.
And those will be the tips I will be sharing some of.

I finally got around creating a video tutorial on how to install and explore the different functions of my Nigerian Market Data Excel App. You can watch the 15 mins video here: 

I have been recently battling rising cost of maintaining this and my other applications. Which is a good problem. It is better to have something useful that people are interested in than to have something nobody wants. 

So I hope you've joined the train before we place a ticketing master at the entrance. You can easily install the app by following this text tutorial or visiting the app page.

I am almost done with my technical readings around Python and R. Very soon I will start building more real life projects I can delight you all with. The current material I am reading is as boring as my university lecturers' handouts, that it is almost a sleeping pill. Once I begin reading it, it is a silent fast count-down to sleep. This has greatly slowed me down. I am sure, though, that it would be worth the hard work.

Have a wonderful week ahead!

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The fellowship is open to citizens of Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, or South Africa. 
Applications will be accepted from applicants holding dual nationality which includes one of these countries.


It is required that the applicant holds a completed BA degree or equivalent, Masters degree with an international focus is preferred.


The fellowship is aimed at candidates at the mid-stage of their career and who come from academia, NGOs, business, government departments, civil society or the media. They should possess knowledge of, and an interest in, one of the policy-related challenges laid out in the research topics in ‘Research Topics.’
The recruitment round for 2017 is between 3 April and 31 May, applications made outside of this period will not be considered. Apply using our online application portal.
The fellow will receive a monthly stipend of £2,160.  Modest provision is made for the costs of relocation, fieldwork, and possible publication costs.
A fellow’s time will be split between three key areas: 
  • Completing a personal research project of the fellow's own design undertaken with the guidance of a Chatham House expert, (approximately 50%).
  • Contributing to the ongoing research activities of their host research team and other Chatham House teams as appropriate (approximately 20%).
  • Participation in the Academy’s Leadership Programme (approximately 30%). The Leadership Programme is a key part of the Academy fellowships. It provides fellows with the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills, network and self-awareness, which they can then draw upon in their future careers as effective leaders in their field. 

Leadership Programme

All Academy fellows participate in, and contribute to, the Academy’s Leadership Programme which encompasses the following components:
  • Intensive induction week
    Academy fellowships begin with an intensive five-day induction week at Chatham House to become familiarized with the elements of the fellowships and the Leadership Programme, meet their host research programme, and have their first personal development coaching session.
  • Weekly discussion seminars
    These sessions highlight the principal substantive and skills-based areas the Academy believes vital for informed and effective international leadership. Fellows are expected to contribute to and learn from one another’s experience.
  • Global Introductions off-site visits
    These half-day visits take place approximately every two months and allow fellows to meet with leaders and senior decision-makers from a variety of sectors. Previous visits have included the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development, Standard Chartered, and Thomson Reuters.
  • Leadership workshops
    Every two months fellows participate in half-day workshops focusing on specific aspects of leadership such as ‘Leadership in a new role’ and ‘Fostering innovation and entrepreneurship’
  • Project presentations
    Fellows present updates on their research projects which  help fellow develop presentation skills, provide a valuable forum for peer-review and to think about and analyse issues outside their own area of expertise.
  • Personal development coaching
    Fellows join the Academy seeking to grow their self-awareness through monthly one-on-one sessions with a dedicated coach, with whom they set personal development objectives which they work to meet during their fellowship and beyond.
  • Media training
    Fellows learn how to interview effectively on television and radio, culminating in a mock interview from which they receive feedback on their presentation style and any areas of improvement
  • ‘Leaders Who Lunch’
    Academy fellows will have priority in participating in the ‘Leaders Who Lunch’ series giving them the opportunity to discuss leadership experiences and lessons in an informal setting with acknowledged leaders from government, business, media and the non-profit sectors.
  • Career mentors
    Fellows have the option to have an external career mentor during their fellowship. Mentors are independent of the Academy and Chatham House and are picked individually for each fellow based on their career objectives.
The fellowship is for a 10-month term from mid-September 2017 to mid-July 2018.
The fellow will be based full-time at Chatham House, London.
Fellows are hosted by and based in research teams at Chatham House. During the fellowship, the fellow will conduct a research project of their own design which falls within the research topics below.
The parameters for the research topics have been designed in broad terms to allow applicants to devise a project that appeals to their own research interests.

Research topics with the Africa Programme

Iran’s role in sub-Saharan Africa
Ensuring a steady supply of uranium for its nuclear programme, the export of armaments and the use of Africa as a transit point for supplying its partners in Lebanon and Palestine have all been paramount to Iranian engagement on Africa.  Although Iran remains mired in a number of active and ideological conflicts closer to home, Africa is likely to become increasingly attractive to a newly empowered post-sanctions regime in Tehran. This research would build on the Africa Programme’s existing project on emerging powers’ engagements in Africa, and examine whether and how Iran’s engagement with African countries is changing.
Africa’s maritime security and development
Maritime security in Africa is threatened by complex and interlinked crime, including piracy and armed robbery at sea, the overexploitation of fisheries, oil theft and the smuggling of illicit goods. The African Union has identified the continent’s maritime domain as a key driver of economic growth and social development and created the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy to promote protection and sustainable exploitation of the African maritime domain for wealth creation. This research would explore how African governments can enact policies that favour the emergence of a blue economy, and make the sea a key driver of development in sub-Saharan Africa.
Decentralization and local governance structures in sub-Saharan Africa
In recent years, an increasing number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa have gone through decentralisation processes and held local elections. The prime objective of the decentralisation process is to improve the efficiency of governance; however, as some countries have demonstrated the process can be derailed, particularly if there is a lack of clarity over division of responsibilities. This research would track the strengths and weaknesses apparent in local governance arrangements in sub-Saharan Africa. It would support better understanding of how strong elected local governments can contribute towards improving efficiency of state delivery and democratic accountability, and how the international community can better engage with African local structures. 
For more information about the work of the Africa Programme and the context for this research topic, please click here.

Research topics with the International Security Department

Cyber security in Africa
The research will be aimed at informing policymakers of improved approaches to cyber security in Africa. This project is based on the need for a multi-faceted approach to combating cyber-crime, providing effective measures against criminal activities to reduce harms, whilst promoting enabled gains and dividends through an improved digital economy to encourage users to better manage their cyber hygiene.  This project will aim to build an evidence base of research on the extent, trends and causes and contributing factors to cyber vulnerabilities of the digital economy in Africa.
More information about the work of the International Security Department and the context for this research topic, please click here.

Research topics with the Energy, Environment and Resources Department

Access to sustainable energy – governance, incentives and capacities needed to achieve it
SDG 7 commits the world to achieving “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030.  International donors have enthusiastically embraced this agenda with high-profile schemes such as ‘Energy Africa’ and ‘Power Africa’. Yet although the focus is on growth and increased supply, sustainable energy access means not only installing greater capacity, but also creating the supply chains, market mechanisms and governance regimes to ensure that this supply delivers what is intended. Linked to our innovative work on improving energy for displaced people, EER is seeking research proposals (either at the national or regional level) that identify and help enable sustainable energy access goals – both in terms of business models, and the governance and policy changes that would be needed to support them.
For more information about the work of the Energy, Environment and Resources Department and the context for this research topic, please click here.

Research topics with the International Law Programme

African perspectives on international law
African governments may differ from those in the West and elsewhere in their perceptions and approaches to various aspects of international law. There is evidence of this, for example, in attitudes to international criminal institutions, to the jurisdictional reach of national courts, and to the institutional relationship between the African Union and the United Nations. Project proposals should focus not so much on the academic discourse stemming from ‘third world approaches to international law’ but on solutions which encourage the universality of international law. This project would complement the International Law Programme’s existing work on rising powers and international law.
For more information about the work of the International Law Programme and the context for this research topic, please click here.
Should you have any further queries please contact us at  

The Africa Fellowship is a joint initiative between Chatham House and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation

This Saturday is our Nigerian Excel Users Meetup date and, interestingly, I am part of the organizers.

All the slots have been taken and we had to say "No" to people who wanted to bring along friend(s) so we can accommodate those who directly registered.

The agenda for the day is set in a very unconventional way to encourage more informal interactions than formal presentations.

Start Time: 10:00am

1) Introduction and networking (20 mins) 

2) General Discussions pt 1(Your Excel Journey, career advantage, Excel pet peeves, ideas, the esoteric, 40 mins)

3) Presentation 1 (25 mins) + Q & A (10 mins) 

4) Presentation 2 (25 mins) +  Q & A (10 mins) 

5) Break (10 mins) 

6) Presentation 3 (25 mins) + Q & A (10 mins) 

7) Presentation 4 (25 mins) Q & A (10 mins) 

8) Break (10 mins) 

9) Presentation 5 (25 mins) Q & A (10 mins) 

10) General Discussions pt 2 (Your Excel Journey, career advantage, Excel pet peeves, ideas, the esoteric, 40 mins) 

11) Close (5 mins)

End Time: 3:00pm (There will be drinks and snacks.)

And the presentation topics are (fuller details available here):

  1. Lean Six Sigma with Excel by Mr. George Aremu
  2. Centograqs by Mr. Omisile Kehinde Olugbenga
  3. ModelOff International Excel Based Competition by Mr. Charles Otoghile
  4. Excel vs Power BI vs Python vs R by Michael Olafusi
  5. VBA Coding Best Practices - a 'copy and paste' test case by Mr. Adeniyi Adeyinka

To be part of our future activities, you can join the meetup group at 

After Excel 2003 there was Excel 2007, then Excel 2010, Excel 2013 and now Excel 2016. But from now on Excel is no longer updated in 3 - 4 years cycle. There is now Office 365 and with it Excel is updated almost monthly with both major and minor features.

There are many new features beyond the new formulas and chart types I have once talked about. In this month's webinar I will be taking you through the new features you should explore in the new Microsoft Excel. A few might be available in both Excel 2013 and non Office 365 Excel 2016. But for the webinar I will be using the most updated version of Office 365 Microsoft Excel.

You should join us at:
Venue: YouTube live, 
Time: 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Date: Wednesday, 26 April 2017

You can also be join the webinar directory so you'll always be in loop of future webinar announcements.

There are data analysis tools built to make working with most data analysis work easy and not 100% code writing. Some even pride themselves on being completely point and click. Unlike the vanilla R and Python, you can use them a lot more like you use Excel or any other graphic user interface (GUI) driven software.

The most popular among these tools are Orange, Knime, RapidMiner and Weka.

I have previously checked out Knime in 2015 but didn't attempt much with it. This time I will use them all on some live jobs I have got. I will be testing them intensely and going through their strengths and weaknesses.

I will also be sharing my findings with you all. If you want to follow along you can install them too or just wait for my posts to determine which would suite you best.