‘How herdsmen attacked us in Ondo’, — Amotekun, Southwest Nigeria Security Outfit

Amotekun, a model of community policing started by South-West governors [PHOTO CREDIT: The Guardian Nigeria]
Amotekun [PHOTO CREDIT: The Guardian Nigeria]

The Ondo Amotekun operatives were called in to assess some of the farms in Osi community area of Akure LGA when the herdsmen attacked them.

by Josiah Oluwole December 9, 2020 / premiumtimesng.com

The Ondo State Security Network, Amotekun, has hinted at how they were attacked by herdsmen who were found grazing their cattle on the farms of residents.

The Amotekun Corps also arrested suspected cattle rustlers.

The Corps Commander, Adetunji Adeleye, told journalists on Wednesday in Akure that some farmers in Osi community, in Akure North local government area, made a distress call to the corps that herdsmen had destroyed their farms by grazing their cows on them.

“We sent our men there to assess the situation and they found out that the herds were actually on the farm and we invited the herdsmen,” he said.

“But unfortunately on getting there, they attacked our men with knives and other dangerous types of weapons.

“We were able to arrest one of the herders named Abdulkadir Mohammed.”

He said about 16 cows that destroyed the farmers’ crops at Osi community were seized, while unauthorised weapons were recovered in the process.

Mr Adeleye said two suspected cattle rustlers were arrested in a separate operation.

He also said that over 100 suspects had been arrested by men of the security agency in the state since it started operations.

Narrating how the cattle rustlers were arrested, the commander said the men were apprehended after an investigation was done following a complaint from one Fulani herdsman called Ilyasu.

He said the rustlers had escaped when Amotekun corps members stormed the place, leaving behind a Nissan Serena bus they had brought to convey the cows.

Mr Adeleye said the corps had recovered the bus with number LAGOS FJ 423 KRD.

“Alhaji Ilyasu a Fulani man came to us that some people came with a Serena Bus to steal their cattle. They came to us and we sent our men out,” he explained.

“We were able to recover the vehicle they wanted to used in stealing the cows, we also recovered the cows.

“We were able to trace some of the rustlers that ran away to somewhere in Ogun State. We have apprehended one Sudauna Gombe and one Ogunyale Sola, who was the driver of the abandoned Serena Bus

“We have handed them over to the Agro Department of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for detailed investigation.

“The cattle rustling case occured near Nirowi forest along Ore-Lagos Road before Step Down in Omotosho.

“We recovered two cows, which we have returned to the Fulani man that owns them, and we brought the vehicle to our office here because the rustlers ran away and abandoned the vehicle.ADVERTISEMENT

“But we were able to arrest those involved and they had confessed that they had been in the trade for some time.

The Corps Commander also said that one Lawal Abubakar along Ago Panu Forest near Owo on the way to Ose was while in possession of a gun without a license.

He said the suspect would be handed over to the police for further investigation and possible prosecution.

The Commander said the security agency had held series of meetings with the Myetti Allah leaders from Ondo, Ekiti and Osun States to educate them that Amotekun was for them all.

He appealed to the Myetti Allah leaders to caution their members to desist from destroying farmlands of residents where they are.

“I want to appeal to herders to do their business without destroying another person’s means of livelihood,” he said.

“Yes as Nigerians, they have the right to do their business anywhere but they do not have the right to destroy another person’s source of livelihood, which is farming.”

To Be A Better Leader, You Must Do This

By Lolly Daskal

In today’s fast-paced, frantic and frenzied world, there’s one thing above all else that leaders must do if they want to improve their attention, performance, relationships and—most of all—stress levels. Simply put, the secret to being a better leader is to have the discipline of pausing.

Pausing to gain focused attention. You can’t give your best when you’re doing more than one thing at a time. Many of my clients brag about how great they are at multitasking, but what they can’t brag about is being able to give the task at hand the attention it deserves . Just marking things off your to-do list doesn’t make you effective or productive. Great leaders have the discipline of pausing so they can focus their attention and concentration, and the result is excellent work .

Pausing to improve performance. Most people think in order to perform better you have to go faster and quicker to get there before your competition. But I’ve found that doing something quickly doesn’t mean you’re doing it well—in fact, the opposite is more often the case. The best way to improve your leadership, especially if you want stay ahead of your competition, is to discipline yourself to pause. Take the time to stop and think about what you are doing. The discipline of pausing will help you achieve the quality of work you want for yourself.

Pausing to connect more deeply. Making deep connections and developing purposeful relationships take time and discipline. Relationships are all about investing yourself in another person, and that’s not a process you can rush. Relationships need time to grow and develop. The best leaders don’t settle for superficial connections—they master the discipline of pausing so they can dive in deep for more meaningful connections.

Pausing to calm yourself. Business is stressful, leadership is demanding and many of us go through the day without a break. But no one is going to give you that break; you have to find the time to give it to yourself. To be the best leader you can be, you need to have the discipline of pausgin, because it is in those pauses that you can manage your stress and give your mind and body the boost in needs in this demanding world.

The discipline of pausing isn’t complicated, but it represents a profound concept that can enable you to gain more power and a better ability to deal with the things you can’t control. Master the strategic pause—once you’ve learned to do it well, it will have a significant impact on your ability to lead yourself and others.

Lead from within: The discipline of pausing is about the one absolute power we have as leaders. It is about becoming more without having to do more.

‘Never feel ashamed to pray in difficult times’, Pope Francis

Pope Francis at the weekly General Audience
Pope Francis

In his catechesis at the weekly General Audience, Pope Francis urges everyone to listen to the cry that wells up within us especially in moments of difficulty, which he says is the prayer of supplication.

By Devin Watkins

Pope Francis continued his catechesis on various aspects of Christian prayer, at the Wednesday General Audience, focusing on the prayer of supplication.

He began by noting how Jesus taught His disciples the Our Father to pray for both great and humble things.

In the Lord’s Prayer, we implore God for the highest gifts: “the sanctification of His name among men, the advent of His lordship, the realisation of His will for good in relation to the world.”

Yet with the same prayer we also ask for simple items, “our daily bread”, which the Pope said indicate “health, home, work; and also the Eucharist, necessary for life in Christ.”

Prayer a ray of light in darkness

Pope Francis said the prayer of supplication is “very human”.

He said at some point in everyone’s life the illusion of self-sufficiency crumbles. “The human being is an invocation, that at times becomes a cry, often withheld.”

We all experience loneliness or sadness, he said. The Bible does not shy away from showing humanity at its weakest, when sickness, injustice, or betrayal seem to win out.

“At times it seems that everything collapses, that the life lived so far has been in vain. In these seemingly hopeless situations, there is only one way out: the cry, the prayer ‘Lord, help me!’. Prayer can open up a sliver of light in the densest darkness.”

All Creation cries out

The Pope went on to say that all of Creation shares in the prayer of supplication.

“Every fragment of creation,” he said, “bears the desire for God” and yearns for fulfilment.

From the depths

Pope Francis urged Christians not to feel ashamed when we feel the need to pray in our moments of darkness, though we should also learn to pray in times of happiness as well.

“We must not suffocate the supplication that rises up in us spontaneously,” he said. “Prayer of petition goes in step with acceptance of our limit and our nature as creatures.”

Prayer, added the Pope, presents itself to everyone as a cry from the depths, even if we seek to suppress it.

Awaiting God’s response

Finally, Pope Francis assured everyone that God will respond, as the Bible makes abundantly clear.

“Even our stammering questions, even those that remain in the depths of our heart. The Father hears them and wishes to give us the Holy Spirit, which inspires every prayer and transforms everything.”

Our task, he concluded, is to wait patiently for God’s response to our prayer of supplication.

Develop & Hit Realistic Key Performance Indicators in Sales

Key Performance Indicators or “KPIs” are the basic barometers of commercial growth. They inform business strategy, highlight areas of operational improvement, and provide insights that help businesses make decisions that will allow them to achieve their desired outcomes.

To be successful, every business must first identify its goals and then take the steps needed to reach them. For instance, if your goal is to increase customer acquisition, collating data that outlines how successful your business is at turning prospects into buyers is essential.

But how do you measure this? It’s simple: analytics. Think of analytics as a scientific approach to growing your sales pipeline by focusing on data. Sales metrics and KPIs have similar purposes, but there are some meaningful differences between them.

Sales metrics are basically data points that measure different aspects of sales performance, telling you how well your business is performing in a quantifiable way.

KPIs are also data points used to measure sales performance, but their focus is on achieving a key business objective—honing sales resources to achieve a singular goal.

In short, sales metrics are more focused on measuring day-to-day success; key performance indicators measure the performance of the metrics that are most important to overall business goals. Here is a resource for learning more about the value of KPIs: KPIs | Key Performance Indicators for Business

How to Develop Realistic Key Performance Indicators for Sales

Important team meeting

There’s no question that if you want to scale your sales department, increase revenue, and make sure that your business is a more-attractive proposition to customers than your competitors, developing realistic key performance indicators for your sales department is a must.

So, how can you do this? It’s easy! Just follow the five steps below.

1. Define What Your Business is Trying to Achieve

To decide which KPIs you want to measure, you must first determine what you want to achieve. Do you want to increase conversions? Appeal to a broader range of customers? Target blue-chip businesses in Australia? You’ll need to define exactly what you want to achieve, and in what time frame. This is called setting a business objective. It must be specific and measurable and involve several steps to achievement.

Your basic goal could be to grow sales profitability over time. The objective you set could be to increase your annual revenue by 20% by the end of the year.

Once you have decided on your goals and objectives, the next step is to put accountability measures in place to monitor your ongoing progress. This is where KPIs come in.

2. Choose the Right Sales KPIs

Most businesses have gobs of data they can use to inform their decision-making these days. However, there’s a difference between helpful and unhelpful data.

If you measure everything, you’re going to be dedicating a lot of resources to collecting data that, in the end, might not be all that helpful or even relevant. Not only that, you’re likely to consume a whole lot of resources that could be better spent in other areas of the business, such as client management or marketing.

KPIs that are worth setting have three common objectives:

  • Relevant –KPIs must match your business objectives. Think about them carefully. Does “growing the sales department by the end of 2021” equate to more sales? Not necessarily. In contrast, “increasing sales revenue by 20% by the end of 2021” does match a business objective.
  • Measurable – once you set your KPI, you need to make sure that you can track your progress. Having online platforms that provide data insight is one way to do this; another is to employ or utilize the required manpower to help you understand all data insights.
  • Actionable – does the KPI provide you with the data you need to make incremental improvements to your service offerings that meet your business objectives? If not, the KPI is probably not all that useful.

How to Hit Realistic Sales KPIs

Collaborative team meeting

There are several ways that you can make sure to hit your KPIs. While lower-level KPIs can be managed by team leaders, meeting higher-level KPIs that focus on overall business performance may require the input of senior business leaders and decision-makers.

To achieve your KPIs, keep the following tips in mind:

Share Them with Teams and Stakeholders

A KPI that isn’t shared is useless. There’s no way that colleagues and teams will meet any business goals if they don’t know what they are. Perhaps what’s worse is that by not sharing KPIs, colleagues will feel undervalued—even alienated.

Communicating KPIs with teams is important, but how they’re communicated is even more important. Take the time to explain what you’re measuring and why. And listening to your colleagues is essential. Why? Those on the frontline are in a great position to tell you if a KPI is realistic or not.

Review Them on a Weekly or Monthly Basis

Once a KPI has been set, don’t just sit back and wait for the results to roll in. Monitor performance on a weekly or monthly basis. This allows businesses to understand how successful the KPI has been and whether you need to change it.

There are likely to be a lot of variables in terms of making KPIs work. While some KPIs may seem achievable on paper, the reality could be much different. Don’t be afraid to track progress and change your KPIs if they seem unrealistic when put into real-world practice.

Make Them Flexible

KPIs that aren’t easily updated to meet the evolving needs and objectives of the business can become obsolete very quickly. This is true of business KPIs in every sector. Let’s say that you’ve just launched a new product line overseas. If you don’t update your KPIs, your sales team might be left chasing targets that don’t reflect consumer behavior in that region once the products launch.

In this instance, predicting how consumers will respond to a new product line is akin to predicting the lottery. It’s best to set conservative KPIs. Of course, the product line might fly off the shelves, but equally, it could take some time for your branding or marketing to catch on.

By evolving KPIs to reflect real-time consumer behavior, you won’t put sales teams under enormous pressure, and you could discover more-efficient ways of reaching your business objectives.

The Value of Key Performance Indicators

When all is said and done, every business needs to have KPIs. They inform decision-making at nearly every level of the business. Without them, you’ll likely feel like you’re feeling your way around in the dark, searching and never obtaining the insight you need to drive your business forward.

5 Ways Leadership Can’t Be “Normal” Anymore

By Ron Edmondson December 9, 2020 / ronedmondson.com

Leadership is so much different today than when I first started leading almost 35 years ago. To lead today we must learn to think outside some things once considered normal in leadership. And then 2020 came. 

“Normal” leadership is no longer a thing. 

When I was first in leadership as a retail manager, I could set the schedule for people, tell them what to do and hold them accountable for routine tasks. I could set high expectations and then evaluate them by whether they did the job. This was called a job – and, if you wanted a paycheck you worked for it.

It doesn’t work quiet like that anymore. Frankly, it hasn’t for some time and 2020 has only exaggerated that reality. “Normal” leadership isn’t normal anymore. 

For example, the informal aspects of leadership are as important as the formal aspects of leadership. In addition to systems and structures, for a leader to be successful, leaders must engage a team on personal levels. 

We must build team spirit. Energize. Motivate. Engage. Even sympathize. Those have always been important, but these days they may trump some of our policies and procedures.

In informal leadership environments, the way a leader leads becomes more important than the management abilities of the leader. Again, they have always been important, but in today’s leadership it is critical.

5 ways successful leaders must lead in today:

Adapt leadership to followers’ individual needs and expectations.

Cookie-cutter leadership doesn’t work as well among today’s workforce. Leaders must be willing to individualize their leadership based on the current setting, culture and individualism of team members. It makes really getting to know the people you lead even more important. Leaders must ask lots of questions to understand personal values of others. It helps us lead according to a person’s individual strengths and abilities and helps them perform at their greatest effectiveness.

Raise up new leaders.

Those on the team with the propensity or desire to lead, must be given opportunity to help lead the organization. This is no longer an option. Not only is this good for the organization by creating future leaders, it is key to keeping the best people on the team. Those entering the field of leadership today – or desiring to – will want a seat at the table of decision. They want to make a difference. This can be a great thing for our churches and organizations if we will welcome it. 

Balance kindness or friendship with authority.

The axiom “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” has never been truer. People follow leaders they can trust. They follow leaders who believe in them and will invest in them. While leaders sometimes must make difficult and unpopular decisions, authoritarian or controlling leadership is not well received by today’s workforce. Following orders from the “boss” has been replaced with a desire for servant leaders.

Give others ownership in the vision.

Team members need to be stakeholders – knowing they are making a difference with their work. To do this means they must have ownership in the creation of vision. Allowing a team to help shape the agenda helps assure their heart buys into completing the mission. Letting people help write their job description gets people in places where they can bring their best contributions to a team.

Create what’s “next” for a community’s greater good.

Great leaders think beyond themselves – even beyond their own team or the vision, goals and objectives of the organization. Today’s leaders must understand they play one part in a more global sense. We are much more connected these days through social media and online instant connections. The world around us is watching – as are the people we have on our team. The way an organization treats its employees, supports the community and how it interacts with the people the organization encounters daily is important. We can’t sit back, make a profit or fulfill our individual goals (even as churches) and ignore the myriad of social needs all around us. If it’s not done well the world will know about it quickly.

Everything clearly spelled out for people to follow with a carefully created structure simply won’t work anymore. Team members need to help shape the course of action. It is critical to an organization’s success.

Leaders today must continually strive to find the balance between formal and informal structures.

How Can Words and Material Objects Give God’s Grace?

God is eternal: he is outside of time, he has no beginning and no end. As described in the very beginning of the Bible, he created the universe and everything in it by his word, by willing it all to be. But creation does not just exist as a neutral construct. Because it is conceived, created, and kept in existence by God, it is good in itself; the very existence of God’s creation glorifies him. This is seen in the cry of the Seraphim heard by the prophet Isaiah: “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts, all the earth is full of his glory!” (Isa. 6:3). Similarly, the young men in the book of the prophet Daniel sang a litany of all creation glorifying God: “Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever” (Dan. 3:57). St. Francis of Assisi’s well-known Canticle of the Sun is another prayer that praises God for the glory of his creation: “To You alone, Most High, do they belong, and no man is worthy to mention Your name. Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures.” Clearly, God is glorified by the material world he created.

In the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, God the Son—the same Word of God through whom the world was created (John 1:3)—became part of his own creation: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (John 1:14). The universe changed at this point: God’s material creation no longer simply showed his glory; rather, God himself became part of that creation. God the Son endowed matter with the ability to give his grace, his life. Jesus’ flesh—his words and his touch—healed physical ailments and raised the dead. Greatest of all, when he suffered and died on the cross, his flesh became the source of salvation for mankind: “‘And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.’ He said this to show by what death he was to die” (John 12:32-33).

If Jesus lived and died in Israel 2,000 years ago, how does his life, his grace, reach people throughout the world and throughout the centuries? By making that creation a channel of his grace. In order to extend this his grace throughout time and throughout the world, Jesus commissioned the ministers of his Church to administer the sacraments:

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’” (Matt. 28:18-19).

“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me’” (Luke 22:19).

“He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:22-23).

Sacraments are not magic tricks, but they do have power in themselves. They are said to have their effect ex opera operato, which may be translated by the work done. This means that when a sacrament is performed according to the ritual of the Church, its intended effect is not dependent on the person administering it; it is effective on its own. For example, when people go to confession, if they confess their sins honestly and sincerely ask forgiveness their sins are forgiven when the priest says the proper words from the Rite of Penance. The priest may be a great saint or a great sinner, but that does not affect the power of the sacrament. The sins are forgiven by the work done. All seven sacraments work in this way


Storming heaven

Dec 10, 2020 by Pat Marrin / ncronline.org

wedding invitation017.jpg

“The violent bear it away” (Matthew 11:13).

Isa 41:13-20; Matt 11:11-15

Readers of Southern writer Flannery O’Connor’s stories meet characters often described as “God haunted.”  Writing for an American culture she saw as blinded by secular materialism, O’Connor displays the intensity of people steeped in a biblical landscape where prophets preach salvation as a matter of life and death. Hazel Motes, Francis Marion Tarwater and O.E. Parker cannot escape the fire of God’s call and, by any normal standards, exhibit behaviors that shock readers with the mystery of grace that shatters modern sensibilities and forces the basic questions and decisions of faith to the surface.

O’Connor chose the phrase from today’s Gospel, “The violent bear it away” as the title of her second novel.  Jesus  praised John the Baptist as the greatest person who has ever lived, yet the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greaer than he. What God has hidden from the wise and learned and even from John, who preaches the perfection of the Law, was the mystery of divine Mercy, which defies all human measures of righteousness and merit and is given freely to the least, the marginalized and outcast, including sinners.

This reversal of first and last, greatest and least, righteous and sinner, enraged the scribes and Pharisees because Jesus was undermining the order and hierarchy of religion by yielding salvation to the “violent” who were so desperate for mercy they were “storming heaven” to take hold of God. Believers for whom salvation is a blessed assurance that they are good enough to go to heaven will never know the cost of it until life plunges them into the fiery embrace of love that burns away their virtues and confronts them with the shocking holiness of God. 

Jesus identifies John as the Prophet Elijah. An empty seat is reserved for him at every Passover as the unknown guest who will herald the advent of the Messiah.  Had Elijah appeared in Millidgeville, Georgia, he would have fit right in with the God-haunted figures in O’Connor’s stories. His confrontation with the prophets of Baal, his departure in a fiery chariot, dropping his cloak and a double portion of his spirit onto his servant Elisha, are part of the treasury of images that reappear again and again in great literature as glimpses of the transcendent power that stirs the imagination of God-seekers in every generation.

Jesus ends by challenging “everyone who has ears to hear.”  Advent invites us to sharpen our hearing and eyesight to apprehend the closeness of God in the shimmering light and hint of music in the wind passing though the chimes. What is always on the outskirts, at the margins and edges of our consciousness, summons us in this season of waiting. God lies hidden in the lowly, the last and the least, appearing when we least expect his fiery embrace.  Do not be afraid to open your heart.