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Leveraging on Complimentary Partnerships

According to a study done in 2013, Africa’s population will be approximately 2.4 billion by the year 2050. This figure is 200% of the current population. The year 2050 is a little over thirty years from now this implies that most of the population in 2050 will be below thirty-five, within the age range in which people are expected to be actively working. I can deduce this because the 2.4 billion estimate is based on the number of babies being born now and the reduction in mortality rates in Africa.


In about thirty years most people who started working this year in regular jobs would be nearing retirement age however this will not significantly reduce the pressure on existing jobs. In addition, the rise of technology will significantly reduce the number of open positions as we know them today thus those who will be working will be doing slightly different kinds of jobs. I hope the picture is becoming clearer.


Now, everything I have written so far is more or less common knowledge which I have merely put I a different combination of words. Also common is the understanding that if we are to be ready for this future we are inevitably headed for, we must embrace entrepreneurship. However the question becomes: can EVERYONE be an entrepreneur? I think not. Some people cannot be entrepreneurs because they lack the required drive, enthusiasm or interest. Some people simply want to get along and they are happy with life. Others cannot be entrepreneurs because no matter how hard they try, they simply lack the capacity.


Capacity: Specific ability of an entity (person or organization) or resource, measured in quantity and level of quality, over an extended period. ( The dream in most people’s hearts is to be significant in life. We are all inspired by success stories. For most people in the world, that’s where it ends even after decades of attempting to ‘do something great’ : a dream. Is there a way to address this?



I think one way to deal with this is to do an honest estimation of our strengths and weaknesses. Maybe even a full SWOT analysis of ourselves before we venture. I love being an entrepreneur, I want to be an entrepreneur, I have a great business idea and so on. But can I, yes I, can I actually become successful at entrepreneurship? Will it require too much effort from me? Will it sap me of energy so much that the joy of finally arriving there would not be worth it? If YES, then I have to take another route: find a partner.


This blog post discusses ten super successful companies formed by co-founders. The value of a partnership is mostly found in cases where one person compliments the other. One person is an ardent programmer with little interest in money and the other is an aggressive businessman. One person is a deep-thinking introvert and the other is a great marketer, making friends and customers everywhere. One person is the son of a humble shop owner and the other is royalty who doesn’t know what to do with money. Complimentary partnerships. Approaching business this way can scale up the number of businesses that will be running by 2050 when we will really need them.


I have noticed however that trust issues, hedonism, lack of vision, the quest for titles, greed and many other mundane factor challenge the ability of African entrepreneurs to work together and form valuable complimentary partnerships. We have to find ways of addressing this if we are to move forward significantly. And it is worth mentioning here that such partnerships must be genuine. Genuine in the sense that all parties involved must realize that we succeed together or we fail together. There is no fair-weather complimentary partnership that makes any sense.


In summary, if you have an idea that for some reason you feel that you do not have capacity to execute, you do not need to feel stuck. Find someone you can work with and make things happen. All our children are counting on you.


Biafra: The Humble Thoughts of a Layman


The Man at the Centre Stage


Nnamdi Kanu is definitely a force to recon with. His consistency, resolve and the following he has amassed the world over among the Igbos is phenomenal. I admire him for these and more. Many people are however worried that his rhetoric is largely emotional, stirring up the emotions of the Igbos. These emotions are stirred for good reason though: the marginalisation of the Igbos and other eastern tribes of Nigeria since the end of the war some fifty years ago. This ‘marginalisation’ is a contentious and debatable concept but most people will agree that it was only a matter of course that ruling powers would attempt to keep the boisterous and powerful Igbos in check after such a showdown. This control makes even more sense in view of the fact that before the war, the Igbos were more or less the dominant tribe. Even now, while not dominant politically or in the Nigerian Army, they have strong influence in the nation as business owners.



Nnamdi Kanu appears to be an intelligent man with a lot of knowledge of history and culture but some may doubt his depth and understanding of governance and political power. His humility in refusing to be called ‘Eze Ndi Igbo’ is inspiring. His willingness to continue the struggle after being incarcerated is an even more powerful testament to his resolve. His persistent reference to God as the initiator of the idea of Biafra’s separation from Nigeria is something I keep contemplating. I listened to his wife too who appears to share his vision and passion. My personal thoughts are that the logic was largely lacking. Again, emotions.


Who is Following Nnamdi Kanu?


The large crowds at Onitsha, Owerri and other cities who cheer Mazi Kanu are largely, as some analysts put it, unemployed, disgruntled youth who did not even experience the Biafran War. Apparently Ohaneze Ndi Igbo do not back Kanu. The war veterans, I hear, do not back him. The other tribes who originally composed Biafra also do not back him. The elite Igbos of Nigeria appear silent: The Jim Ovias, Tony Elumelus, Oby Ezekwesilis and so on seem to be silent. I can understand when the politicians do not back him because they have vested interest in the nation called Nigeria and may even be part of the problem but I am wondering why he doesn’t have strong backing from the Igbo movers and shakers in Nigeria and beyond.


But then, it could also be an issue of vested interest or caution in the interest of ‘Business Continuity’. The Igbos are known to be more concerned they prosperity of their individual families than a common cause built on an ideology. Will a Jim Ovia move Zenith Bank to Enugu as international headquarters? Will Mr. Elumelu register UBA as a Biafran Bank? And fo goodness sakes where is Ralph Uwazuruike in all this?


Educated or not, elite or not, it seems the following this new Biafran leader has is so strong that the Nigeria government is scared stiff of a referendum.


How Will Biafra be Governed?


My thoughts in the previous section spill over to this section, introducing the question of strategy. Who will be president of Biafra? Who will be in the central government (I understand it will be a confederation)? Who will drive Biafra’s development? I guess we have to count out the existing political leaders of Igbo extraction who do not even want a nation called Biafra to arrive and ‘pour san-san in their garri’. If the Igbo technocrats of Nigeria are not backing Nnamdi Kanu, who will build Biafra? Will we end up being delayed again by power struggles among inexperienced folk trying to grow a baby nation?


The concept of building a new nation does sound exciting. The possibility of starting on a new slate, correcting the mistakes of Nigeria. Maybe the Biafran government will pay more attention to the likes of Innosen and Tinapa. Maybe we will finally get resource control for the Ijaws if they do agree to join in secession. Maybe government will be a bit more transparent. Just maybe.


Rounding Up My Contemplation


Most people may prefer to keep mute and see how things turn out before commenting on such sensitive issues as secession. It is probably safer to keep away and see how things turn out but I do think every middle aged person of Igbo descent along with our neighbours in Eastern Nigeria should be concerned about the unfolding events. Our children might just be living in a country different from where we grew up.

7 Things I Picked Up from Ironing 60 Chair Cloths

I recently had an occasion where I needed family to help out with preparations for an event. One of the tasks that came up was the need to iron sixty white chair covers we hired just one day before the event. I had asked a young lady to do this task for me on purpose and I found out almost ten things she gave away without knowing (she is going to blacklist my blog for writing this Ha Ha Ha). I think most of them can be applied to the attitude of some people in the workplace.


  1. She Lacked Negotiation Skills

Ironing sixty pieces of cloth is understandably a herculean task especially when it had to be done at the end of a long day which was expected to give birth to a new day of more work. She however did not bother to negotiate the terms of the task. Could she split them in two and share with someone else? Would I help? Were they all needed? Was it really necessary to have them ironed? She simply agreed to iron the sixty pieces of cloth even when, I suspect, she knew she was not going to finish the job. Negotiating correctly helps us avoid promising what we cannot deliver.


  1. She Lacked Strategy

We were thought in school that the difference between an engineer and a Technician (with all due respect) is that an Engineer works mostly with his head and a Technician mostly with his hands. Strategy differentiates us from the crowd. How can this task be done most effectively? What process can I employ? Who do I need? What do I need? Taking the time to think through the tasks on our table could save a lot of time and produce better results. Get mentally engaged at your shop.


  1. She Lacked Skill

My subject failed to device an effective method of approaching the task before her. She simply attempted to approach the task as a straight forward ironing task. He approach may have worked for one shirt and a pair of trousers but sixty cloths? This required more skill. Skill differentiates us in the workplace when the nature and volume of the task before us changes. Learn the skills that will make you stand out when push comes to shove.



  1. She Lacked Staying Power

How many of these cloths did she work on? Maybe ten. One could forgive a subordinate would come and say, “I have gone half way and I am very tired, can I continue tomorrow?” Staying power shows commitment to delivery. Staying power shows professional pride. We often fail to stand out because we leave the office too early. We stretch ourselves too little. We give up too early. On a daily basis, drive your body further with determination.


  1. She Lacked Responsibility

My subject was not able to finish the task but she simply handed it over to Mom and went to bed. She had passed the buck and forgotten about it. This is quite understandable but a little irresponsible when done in the context of a workplace. How many times have you abandoned a task to a colleague and not bothered to check whether the task was completed of completed correctly? Your reputation is at stake. Take ownership of the tasks n your table and maybe more.


  1. She Lacked Accountability

Granted, she handed over the job. Assuming I agreed to look this over it would be a little tricky because I did not actually know she handed over the job to someone else. Accountability for the task would have demanded that she report back to the owner of the task on her progress and her decision to delegate the task. Feedback to your boss means a lot. It shows you have respect for him and for the job on your table. Keep the reverse communication lines open with your boss, it pays.


  1. She lacked Environmental Awareness

You are absolutely right! There is no such expression, I just made it up. Environmental Awareness. This is how I choose to describe what my subject showed a lack of when she used the baby’s basket as the destination for the ironed cloths in view of the fact that that Baby Basket was likely going to be used the early following morning. Do not be so focused on your own tasks that you fail to see how it fits into the goals of the entire organization.


I will have to stop the bombardment here. Trust me, lady, I did not write this to spite you but I do believe there are lessons we can all learn from every encounter. Cheer up!

Fatherhood Series – 001 – How It All Started

I have been in IT for about 10 years and nothing ever takes me away from my duties except God. That day however, I had to shelve a trip to the office and have someone stand in for me when she said he seemed to be coming. (He finally came two days later). The following couple of days were full of drives back and forth to the hospital. Anticipation. Expectation. Anxiety? A little. We had packed everything in the travel bag as if it was a hotel we were going to. The nurses were definitely as nice as Room Service unexpectedly. Ghanaians are generally nicer when they are in customer service roles I guess!

The pain came at intervals. Hours on end. On the final evening it seemed as though she needed some help. It was deeply emotional, watching the inevitable process of birth. I got the the borderline, questioning the intelligence of this design. Why not an egg, external to the human body? Why not mitosis of some sort? Or even creation by words? Why so much pain? Did the pain arrive after the fall? What was the process before the fall. And I recorded all the intermittent outcries, and breathing and gibberish and calls to the midwife. The last two intense hours.

When it was time to go to the next level, I was close to tears. Why after all the hours? What are the possible things that could happen? I could not afford exposing my emotions in her face. That would be even scarier. I held back. It did not take long though I could not look inside. How did these doctors do it? Horrific sights of internal body parts and they acted normal. She just smiled. The pain had been temporarily suspended and she could not see what was really going on. The cry of the baby brought relief about twenty minutes later. It was done.

Veritas: Connection Requested by Invalid server

So here is the scenario:

I recently built a SQL 2016 Failover Cluster with multiple NICs and one NIC dedicated for Backup. I went through Symantec Netbackup documentation available here which indicated that I had to create a virtual name referencing my Backup LANs IP Address to get the backup configuration to work. (this is a paraphrase). I did all that, update the host files on the client, master and media servers but kept getting this error in the log files in the path C:\Program Files\Veritas\NetBackup\logs\bpcd

bpcd valid_server: mastersvr-01 is not a master server
bpcd valid_server: mastersvr-01 is not a media server either




process_requests: Server access denied


Checking a few solutions on indicated that the master server name as resolved by the client was not matching the name configured in Windows Registry. It turns out the order I had entered the master and media server names in the host file actually mattered. I switch from A to B to get it to work:


A.      mastersvr-01

yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy      mediasvr-01

B.   mastersvr-01

yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy     mediasvr-01


Important to note is the fact that this is the default order in the Netbackup Appliance in version 7.7:

IP Address , FQDN, Short Host Name.

Master DB Recovery Failure After Upgrading to SQL Server 10.50.6220

I recently tried to upgrade a SQL Server 2008 R2 instance to build 10.50.6220. In fact I worked on two servers simultaneously. Both succeeded but one instance failed to startup after the installation. The errors in Event Viewer were as follows:


Cannot recover the master database. SQL Server is unable to run. Restore master from a full backup, repair it, or rebuild it. For more information about how to rebuild the master database, see SQL Server Books Online.

Script level upgrade for database ‘master’ failed because upgrade step ‘sqlagent100_msdb_upgrade.sql’ encountered error 200, state 7, severity 25. This is a serious error condition which might interfere with regular operation and the database will be taken offline. If the error happened during upgrade of the ‘master’ database, it will prevent the entire SQL Server instance from starting. Examine the previous errorlog entries for errors, take the appropriate corrective actions and re-start the database so that the script upgrade steps run to completion.


This was scary and I began preparing to repair the instance. A repair using command line options might involve revert the instance to the RTM level. I had the option of a restore so I started up the instance in single-user mode and saw the actual error below:

2017-04-14 15:23:09.20 spid6s Dropping procedure [dbo].[sp_syscollector_enable_collector]…
2017-04-14 15:23:09.20 spid6s Creating procedure [dbo].[sp_syscollector_enable_collector]…
2017-04-14 15:23:09.21 spid6s Dropping procedure [dbo].[sp_syscollector_disable_collector]…
2017-04-14 15:23:09.21 spid6s Creating procedure [dbo].[sp_syscollector_disable_collector]…
2017-04-14 15:23:09.21 spid6s Dropping procedure [dbo].[sp_syscollector_get_trace_info]

2017-04-14 15:23:09.32 spid6s Uploading data collector package from disk: f:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Install\SqlTra
2017-04-14 15:23:09.33 spid6s Error: 4860, Severity: 16, State: 1.
2017-04-14 15:23:09.33 spid6s Cannot bulk load. The file “f:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Install\SqlTraceCollect.dtsx”
does not exist.
2017-04-14 15:23:09.33 spid6s Error: 912, Severity: 21, State: 2.



2017-04-14 15:23:09.33 spid6s Script level upgrade for database ‘master’ failed because upgrade step ‘sqlagent100_msdb_upgrade.sql’ encountered error 200,
state 7, severity 25. This is a serious error condition which might interfere with regular operation and the database will be taken offline. If the error happen
ed during upgrade of the ‘master’ database, it will prevent the entire SQL Server instance from starting. Examine the previous errorlog entries for errors, take
the appropriate corrective actions and re-start the database so that the script upgrade steps run to completion.
2017-04-14 15:23:09.33 spid6s Error: 3417, Severity: 21, State: 3.
2017-04-14 15:23:09.33 spid6s Cannot recover the master database. SQL Server is unable to run. Restore master from a full backup, repair it, or rebuild it.
For more information about how to rebuild the master database, see SQL Server Books Online.


I simply copied the contents of the path f:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Install\ from its equivalent on the working server and I was able to start the instance. I still am not sure where things went wrong. Comment if you can hazard a guess.


Made in Africa – Radical Thoughts on Cultures We Have Adopted

Kenneth Igiri

A few experiences over the past few months have made me think about how we live as Africans and what we can do as a people to better our macro economies. As you read this be aware that I am not some racist or separatist. We must co-exist with the rest of the world but I believe there must be a balance  in the practice of “giving and receiving”,  “buying and selling”. The way things are now, the flow of wealth and goods is grossly out of balance we as Africans living in Africa are at the receiving end of loans, the buying end in terms of trade and it keeps getting worse.

In addition, do not consider me some kind of absolute genius because I am writing this. What I am writing today is not new. It is practically common knowledge but like a lot of knowledge we possess, it remains in our heads. We do nothing with the knowledge. Because we are afraid? Uncertain, not confident? I do not know why but it is just the way things are: we fail to create much value with our knowledge. It remains in our heads and in our mouths.

Dr. Myles Monroe of blessed memory wore suits a lot. But he also taught me about Hellenization: the process the Greeks used to convert a large portion of the know world some two thousand five hundred years ago so strongly that even when the Roman Empire took over, Greek was still the dominant language in most parts of the world where natives of different lands had to communicate. The English did the same thing with countries we now call the Commonwealth Countries. (We actually pride ourselves in being identified with the Queen’s “common wealth” which is very distant from us, a matter for another day). Because of this process, we speak English.


Why Do We Wear Suits?

Suits evolved over thousands of years  in Europe but the basic concept of a suit, along with boots and hats and coveralls is this: Europe is in the upper hemisphere. It is cold and as much clothing as necessary is not out of place. So why do we  wear suits in Sub-Saharan African. We can pardon East Asia for adopting English culture in this manner because they are also in the upper hemisphere. Maybe we can even pardon South Africa. But Nigeria? Ghana? Cameroon? Togo? Why do we wear suits?

There are twenty five or so banks in Nigeria, maybe about thirty in Ghana. A 2009 report stated that about 60,000 members of the work force in Nigeria were bankers. Assuming a person had only one suit and typically changed it every three months, in one year 240,000 suits would have been imported. That is not very significant because we have left out the ties, shirts, air-conditioning, dry-cleaning, refrigerating, etc. What was your reason again for wearing suits? Prestige? Conformity? Custom?

Imagine what would happen if every bank in Sub-Saharan Africa chose two days in a week to “not wear suits”. Radical? Maybe positively radical. New jobs sewing smocks, Adire, Isi-Agu and the like. Less air-conditioning, better productivity etc. Soon, more modern, work-friendly designs of local fabrics will emerge, much like what happened to the original English Suit! Radical, did you say? How about no suits at all? Cringe.


Why Do We Eat Chinese Food?

Apologies to the Chinese but as much as I appreciate Chinese food I must ask: why it is much more expensive? Because it is imported? Possibly. Why do we take pride in and photos of ourselves visiting Chinese restaurants? Something has happened to our sense of identity. When a foreigner tastes Banku or Moi-moi, he or she typically does it because he wants to have a new experience as part of his or her tourist adventure. I can assure you that if you open up an African Restaurant in New York most of your customers would be fellow Africans. If your bring KFC or something from China I cannot read to Accra however, it becomes the in thing for all Africans. The rich and powerful show their power by visiting such places regularly. “I will do KFC today” “I did Chinese last night” sounds very prestigious to us. Amazing. I learnt some time last year that local Poultry farmers are unable to produce the amount of chicken required to sustain a certain eatery in Accra. I am not against any of these, I just think the imbalance is disheartening.


What Does Our Breakfast Look Like?

Cheese, bread, Kellog’s Cornflakes? Baked Beans? Sausages? Let’s think about it: How many tables in Holland have Akara, Corn meal, Moi-moi, Hausa Cocoa on a regular basis? This is not hate speech, I am just considering the issue of balance. What are we offering to the world? What is the world buying from us? Are we really “living large” or just drowning ourselves slowly?


I Challenge You

Let’s do an experiment. Can you choose one month this year in which to eat only Made-in-Africa breakfasts, wear Made-in-Africa clothes from head to toe (if your work allows), and seek out one useful gadget or piece of artwork made in Africa. I think we do have something to offer the world. I am hoping and praying that the generation coming after us will still believe that.

Five Things I learnt from the Road Side Food Vendor

Business is theoretical for most of us. We read about it, we discuss it, we go to school to earn degrees on it but we never actually do business. On the other hand some people do a lot of business without attending ‘ Business School’ or reading any books. Sure there is a balance between the two and I do believe there is something we can learn from both sides. I passed by a food vendor’s kiosk this morning and noticed a few things that can scale. I will call her Yayra for the purpose of this blog post and tell you what I learnt.


  1. Yayra Owns Real Estate

Yayra does not pay any rent. Maybe she pays a little money to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly for placing her kiosk where it was but in my opinion by owning her own kiosk she has cut off a certain recurrent cost. Once she covers the initial cost of procuring the cost, she is free. Cutting off unnecessary costs is a valuable business strategy. Her business model does not require an elaborate building (at least not at this stage) so she keeps it simple and owns something that is fit for purpose.


  1. Yayra’s Kiosk is Agile

Recent studies have begun to focus on how quickly businesses can adapt to changing environmental factors. I believe there is even a methodology along this line called Agile. Without studying this methodology Yayra is practicing an aspect of it. She can quite easily move her kiosk if need be. She is disaster ready and has a BCP plan, a simple one: too much rain, move the kiosk! Earthquake warning, move the kiosk! Government policy impact, move the kiosk! Simple. It reminds me of last year’s demolition of the market at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle (now Interchange) which put the affected shop owners through many meetings for compensation. Yayra would not need compensation in such a case, she would only need to move the kiosk!


  1. Yayra’s Services are Explicit

Yayra does not need much advertisement because all her wares are visible through the thin glass that makes up the upper part of her kiosk. Everyone who comes close can see clearly what the menu is: the steam emitting freshly cooked rice, the heap of eggs, the red stew turgid with assorted pieces of meat etc. No need for questions. No need for elaborate explanations because everything is clear. If a product needs to be explained too much then it is probably not in the correct market segment. I can imagine how utterly confused some of her customers would be if they stepped into Holiday Inn! I can imagine how difficult it is to explain to some people why a 70x50ft plot at Appolonia costs $19,000 (currently).


  1. Yayra’s Customers Are Monarchs

At Yayra’s shop, everyone determines what they want. Rice, three cedis, salad, one cedi, macaroni, one cedi. If you like, Rice, ten cedis, fish five cedis, etc. Very flexible payment plans. It is almost like the model that has become popular in the last decade or two: Pay As You Go! When customers can control their costs, they love the service provider.


  1. Yayra Operates a Lean Workforce

What is the optimal number of staff required to run Yayra’s Kitchen efficiently? One! One, yes one! The customers can wait in queues on both sides of the kiosks. She can attend to them personally one at a time. They are not irate, they are willing to wait. This means at this stage, Yayra does not need a queuing system or an ordering system. She does not need an online portal to process orders. She does not need a nice looking reception. She does not even need another waiter, no, not at this stage, maybe later. Yayra knows what she really needs in order to keep her costs down. Do you?



It is amazing the things you can learn when you observe. It can even be more amazing if we can apply to our lives every valuable thing we learn every day. Ownership, Agility, Product/Service Definition, Customer Focus and Cost/Staff Optimization are just a few things we have seen in a slightly different light by passing through Yayra’s Kitchen. I’ll keep my eyes open. I am sure I will see more lessons in the everyday grind of life and when it’s significant, I will share with you. Please share with others.

Path Error When Installing SQL Server 2016 on Command Line


The input setting “SQLUSERDBDIR” has invalid character ” ” “. Retry setup with valid value for “SQLUSERDBDIR”.



It was different one version earlier.

We Choose How We Are


Imagine stepping out of you house every day, walking across the street with a bucket of trash in your hand and just throw it all on the bare floor. You do it the first day, the second day, the third day and on and on. You are completely comfortable with yourself, no guilt, no second thoughts, no hesitation. You just give birth to a rubbish heap right in front of your home. No one stops you so you go right ahead and while everyone minds their business.

Soon everyone in your neighbourhood joins and you work together assiduously to build a mountain of trash front of you several feet wide. It smells everyday, keeps rising and is about to close up the major road that runs in from of your line of houses but no one, no one in the neighbourhood says STOP! There is an amazingly enthusiastic communal effort to turn the empty space in front of you street to a rubbish heap. Everyone comes together to work hard at it. Day after day everyone plays there role.

The worst part of what I just wrote is that it is not an imagination. It happened for real at Avenor, Accra over a period of a few months right before our eyes. It made me think that maybe those who say most people on earth have some degree of madness or the other may be right. It made me wonder whether Botha was right about Negros. I know about this developmental communal effort because I drive through this area almost every week day and pondered on how people felt living like this.

The bottom line is whatever we see happening in our community is something we have collectively created. Something we have chosen to live with. We choose to create traffic jams with double parking. We choose to create filthy public washrooms by standing on the toilet seat. We choose to create despots by saying nothing. We choose to live in darkness by importing generators. We choose to remain on the disadvantaged end of exchange rates by purchasing foreign products exclusively. We choose financial shipwreck by spending everything. Funny enough when the mountain we have been building for years suddenly starts growing out of proportion we cry out to the West for help!

What are you choosing today by a simple act of negligence, carelessness or foolishness. Know that when it becomes a mountain staring at you, you will have to live with it.