13 Fascinating Facts About Lions

Lions are known for their elegance, fierceness, strength and majestic gait which earned them the nickname “king of the jungle”. The male lions are exceptional amongst other feline family due to their thick and intimidating manes which surround their necks.

According to the National Geographic, the roar of a mature-adult lion which can be horrifying and frightening can be heard 8 kilometers away.

Lions are found in major natural parks in Eastern Africa and parts of Central Africa and India. The notable parks are the magnificent Serengeti National Park and Krugar National Park. Likewise, in Nigeria, the Kainji Lake National Park and Yankari Games Reserve are the two reserves with few of the remaining lions in West Africa.

Some of the several facts about Lions are listed below.

  1. Lions live in groups called prides, which comprise of related lionesses and their dependent offspring along with two or three unrelated males. As soon as the dependent young lion becomes independent, he may decide to form its own pride.
  2. A male lion weighs about 226 kilograms, which is about the weight of 4 adult humans.
  3. Lions live in grasslands and plains and not the jungle or rain forest as usually depicted.
  4. Lionesses are in charge of hunting while the male lions stay home and watch over the pride.
  5. A baby lion is called a cub or a lionet.
  6. If a lion misses its target on the first run, it usually abandons the chase.
  7. Lions can survive for long periods without water, getting much of what they need from the moisture content of their prey.
  1. Lionesses with their female cubs live together for life while the male cubs must venture out on their own once they reach maturity.
  2. Lions are the only member of the feline family with manes which makes them appear larger and more intimidating.
  3. Some countries make use of the lion symbol in their emblem. Countries like Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, England, Ethiopia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Singapore all regard the lion as their national symbol.
  4. Brands like Peugeot, Lions club, MGM Studios, Lonsdale, Premier League also make use of the Lion emblem.
  5. Lions are regarded as vulnerable in the conservation status of the International Union of Conservation of Nature.
  6. There are lists of lion movies as well. Movies like: Lion King, the Ghost and the Darkness, the last lions, prey and African cats.
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Low Voters Turnout in Anambra: the reasons and implications

The Anambra state gubernatorial elections have come and gone. However, the low turnout of voters remains a cause for concern.

As reported by the Independent Electoral Commission’s returning officer for Anambra, Zana Akpagu, “a total of 2,064,134 registered as eligible voters out of which only 448,771 actually cast their votes”. Statistically, only 22% of registered eligible voters ended up casting their votes.

One can only attribute this low turn out to the rising incidence of political and voter apathy which had characterized previous elections in Nigeria as well as the distrust of electorates against politicians.

Furthermore, the socioeconomic and education level can also be linked to an electorate’s propensity to vote. The issue of religious and ethnic bias, as well as perceived electoral violence, also has its role in the decision to vote. Other causes can also come from alleged intimidation from security agents, stress encountered from the malfunctioning of card readers, non-flexibility of the entire electoral system and security threats issued by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The grave consequences and impact of the aforementioned causes on our democracy cannot be overemphasized. It threatens democracy and weakens the foundations and core principles of electoral processes. Unfortunately, the docility of Nigerian electorates towards political participation is being capitalized on by politicians to manipulate elections to the detriment of the citizens who are so ignorant of the power of their votes.

In other to avert this growing trend of voter apathy, there is a need for an effective voter education to be fused into the existing academic curriculum. Also, Civil Society Organizations and religious institutions need to embark on a large-scale citizen enlightenment campaign before the 2019 General elections.

Flexibility in electoral processes will no doubt improve turn out of electorates. This must reflect on initiating technology and eliminating the common cases of card reader malfunction. Policies that improve flexibility in the area of registration timing, location and procedures should also be adjusted.

Conclusively, issues regarding loss of voter’s card and change of location should be addressed as electorates should be able to vote wherever they find themselves so long they have their profiles on INEC’s database.

The Role of Research in the Nigeria Agricultural Policy Process

Research is a critical enabler to economic growth and development with its relevance cutting across the policy process. Its role cannot be over emphasized especially as a developing nation with a rapidly increasing population where agriculture plays a vital role in the economy, not only because it employs about 70% of her total population but also due to its position as the bedrock of the economy, more importantly, is its resources needed for agro industries to run. Research simply assists in ascertaining and finding out varying inputs, adopted technologies tools, techniques in addition to newest ways to combating issues relating to pests and diseases as well as coming up with pest, disease and drought resistant crops in addition to new techniques in biotechnology derived from agricultural products. Thus to attain a state of sustainable agriculture is to utilize the role of research and its results as a source of information and regulation needed to formulate a policy.

The most current Agricultural policy is the Agriculture Promotion Policy (APA), a four-year plan (2016- 2020) which was initiated to close notable gaps that existed in the previous plan of Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) which was in place from 2011-2015. Significantly, most of the initiated policies and plans all placed research in its initiation, planning and implementation stage. However, gaps such as short policy lifespan, military coups leading to a lack of continuity, corruption from embezzlement, misappropriation of fund, low and unpredictable research budget, shortage of technical staffs, lack of continuity and undefined research objectives have often truncated past agricultural policies which in turn leads to the need for further research. Consequently, there are fifteen research institutes established to come up with induced policies which further corroborated the need and importance of research in the agriculture sector.

New policies usually stem up from the weakness and gap that exist from previous policies due to the fact that planning, initiation and execution are usually carried out without involving the stakeholders. For instance Anyanwu (1997) observed that most of the government policies on agricultural have failed to address the issues of land tenure system, provision of adequate agricultural facilities to farmers, access to agricultural micro credits, access to markets for the sale of agricultural provision of agricultural education to rural farmers on mechanized farming, among others. Eze et al (2010) also noted that access to credit is a problem for all farmers and is particularly acute for a poor farmer. This can vividly be attributed to poor research processes adopted as well as the inability to carry respective stakeholders along.

The first process in formulating an agricultural policy is to develop the required policy agenda that is unique to gaps identified in previous policies. The role of research here will entail identifying case study scenarios, ascertaining key stakeholders, field experiment planning, primary and secondary data source, survey methods, quantitative and qualitative methods to adopt, review of research and its cost benefit.

The second process will comprise identifying the specific policy objective. The role of research here involves identifying and classifying existing problems to formulate objectives that will guide in the process of coming up with a policy. This can only be achieved by carrying out intensive reconnaissance survey and field study which will involve all stakeholders within the agricultural value chain. Identified objectives are further evaluated to arrive at a specific scope of research. Afterwards, research on selecting key stakeholders, key informant and results from expert judgment will be used in making 2 recommendations to be forwarded to policy and law making bodies such as the country’s national assembly for possible passage of law.

After legislation and enactment of policy, it is sent to the executive arm for immediate implementation. At this stage, a policy is formulated to provide agricultural communities and other decision makers with needed recommendations and actions geared at resolving all agricultural problems.

The last process is monitoring, evaluating and carrying out an impact assessment on end users of the formulated policies. The role of research in this process is very critical as it involves establishing the true situation on the ground. This will only authenticate the viability and success of the policy being formulated. Here, feedbacks from farmers, agricultural institution and other stakeholders in the entire value chain will determine the impact assessment level of the agricultural policy.

Amongst all other things, the role of research in agricultural policy process involves multiple stakeholders from farmer groups, investors, processors, lenders, civil servants, academics amongst others. The framework enables identified stakeholders to provide detailed input, commentary, and support necessary in narrowing down gaps in previous policies.

It is worthy of note that problems usually trigger the need for research. Nigeria as a developing country has been faced with energy problem which has lingered over time. Fortunately, research in the agricultural sector has been able to provide a solution with the advent of biotechnology in the area of biogas and biofuel as an alternative energy source from agro biodegradable biomass in which my work fits into.

Since the current Agriculture Promotion Policy (2016-2020) is based on four go-forward federal priorities which are; food security, import substitution, job creation and economic diversification with a partnership with the various State Governments. Alternative source of energy owing to the non-utilization of agro wastes and over dependence on hydro-power and gas for power generation is expedient. Related research reveals that abundant animal wastes generated can be converted to useful products using anaerobic digestion which represents a strategically vital step away from reliance on fossil fuels whilst contributing to the development of a sustainable energy supply and enhanced energy security in the long-term which can be integrated in formulating policies aimed at encourages alternative energy source and economic diversification.

References

Anyanwu, J.C. et al (1997) The Structure of the Nigerian Economy (1960-1997). Onitsha: Joanee Educational Publishers Ltd.

Eze, C.C., Lemchi, J.I., Ugochukwu, A.I., Eze, V .C., Awulonu, C.A.O and A.X. Okon (2010), Agricultural Financing Policies And Rural Development In Nigeria. A Paper presented at the 84th Annual Conference of t he Agricultural Economics Society, Edinburgh 29th To 31st March

3 Ways Market Research Drives Revenue

By: Vikas Mittal

According to the 2017 AMA Gold Top 50 Report, the top 50 U.S.-based market research firms exceeded $11.5 billion in revenue in 2016. Market research activities cover customer surveys, social media monitoring, CRM, transaction monitoring, analytics and data visualization through dashboards. Each of these is a costly endeavor. Yet, executives wonder: Do market research and analytics really improve sales, margins and EBITDA? The answer is yes, in three different ways.

1. Market Research Directly Increases Sales

Market research often takes the form of customer satisfaction surveys, which indicate how satisfied customers are with a brand’s value proposition. But do they boost sales? Or, do they just annoy customers? The answer is both. Customers like satisfaction surveys but only if the surveys are conducted infrequently.

A 2017 study of 7,513 customers of a large North American automotive dealership examined the financial benefits of customer satisfaction surveys. Two findings stood out: First, customers who completed a satisfaction survey purchased more than those who did not, even after accounting for the satisfaction rating. On average, sales per visit were $12.18 greater among those who filled out the satisfaction survey. With an average of seven visits per customer, this amounts to roughly $85 per customer. Even if a relatively high average cost of $10 per customer is assumed for the survey, there is a 750% return on the survey investment. For B-to-B companies, the return should be even higher given the dollar volume of sales per customer.

Second, the purchase amount decreased as the frequency of surveys increased. Too many surveys cause survey fatigue and irritate customers. Transactional surveys that try to measure Net Promoter Score after every transaction backfire. Companies should measure cumulative satisfaction as part of a larger tracking study that is done no more than twice a year.

A customer satisfaction study signals and reminds customers that you care, motivating customers who complete a survey to purchase more. Over-surveying customers irritates them and decreases their purchase amount. Cumulative satisfaction, measured once or twice a year as part of a systematic tracking study should be a company’s gold standard. Especially in B-to-B contexts, companies should reduce the use of transactional and ad hoc customer surveys, instead focusing on benchmarked satisfaction surveys. The latter can increase sales directly and indirectly.

2. Investments in Analytics Increase ROI, Sales and Profitability

Marketing analytics use customer and market data along with statistical models to aid decision-making. Some argue that analytics slow down decision-making through analysis paralysis. Others cite the experience of companies such as Rhenania, a medium-sized German mail order company that expanded its customer base by 55% and quadrupled sales using marketing analytics.

A 2013 study of 212 executives from Fortune 1,000 firms addresses this issue. Executives rated analytics deployment in their company on a scale from one to seven, and the authors linked their ratings to return on assets using stock market data. A one-point improvement in analytics deployment was associated with an 8% increase in return on assets, or a $70 million increase in net income for the average Fortune 1,000 firm. This benefit of analytics deployment was stronger in companies where top management supported analytics deployment through hiring analytically skilled employees, investing in IT and creating a culture supportive of analytics.

Marketing analytics improve return on assets, net income and profitability. Executives must transform their traditional strategic planning processes to incorporate analytics through personnel and cultural changes. Housing analytics in the strategic planning function can provide the necessary boost to analytics deployment.

3. Market Research Increases Firm Value

Companies invest millions in strategic initiatives, even as they lack a systematic approach to quantifying the bottom-line benefits of the initiatives. It’s no wonder companies continue with failed initiatives when their negative effects on margins and EBITDA cannot be documented. On the other hand, a failure to quantify the positive impact of successful initiatives leads to their discontinuance. Both hurt the bottom line. Market research can eliminate guesswork and focus resources on successful initiatives.

Take the experience of a large bank (500-plus branches) that started a customer service initiative designed to reduce wait time at branch tellers. Was the initiative successful? Did it contribute to profitability? If yes, by how much? How much did the initiative add to the bank’s valuation?

To answer these questions, a marketing analytics group created a randomized field study with 200 branches implementing the initiative, and the remaining served as a control group. The idea was that reducing wait time should manifest as increased overall customer satisfaction. A statistical model that linked branch-level customer satisfaction to branch-level revenue metrics (deposits, loan volume) and margins was developed. The model showed that a one-unit improvement in customer satisfaction generated 1.2% improvement in EBITDA and increased net profit by $83 million after accounting for the cost of the initiative. Over time, the research-based model became an informational asset for the bank. Branch managers used the model to forecast their loan and deposit volume. Executives used the model to predict EBITDA and profitability based on customer satisfaction ratings. A financial simulator was developed to help with budgeting.

The research-based model became a key informational asset that was embedded in the strategic planning process. Over time, the bank grew at a 30% faster rate than its competitors. Executives attributed the growth to their ability to strategically use the research-based model to focus on successful initiatives while pulling the plug on unprofitable initiatives. This simultaneously increased revenues while decreasing expenses. The outcome: improved valuation for the bank’s stock.

By using research-based models, companies can create a rigorous and objective basis for identifying successful initiatives. The research-based model requires linking customer survey information to financial data in a statistically valid and rigorous manner to evaluate the return on a specific initiative. Over time, this can increase firm valuation as a direct result of information—market research.

Read more on https://www.ama.org

World Ozone Day

World Ozone Day

 

 

 

 

 

Today (16:09:2017) is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

As we celebrate the World Ozone Day today, it’s good to refresh our memories on the importance of the ozone layers in our atmosphere.

By definition, ozone is a gas composed of three atoms of oxygen (O3) which occur both in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and at ground level.

At the ground level, it is called the tropospheric ozone (bad Ozone) while at the earth’s upper atmosphere, it is called the stratospheric  ozone (good ozone)

The stratospheric ozone occurs naturally and protects the earth’s from excessive insolation from the sun. The tropospheric ozone occurs as a result of chemical constituents that forms from the burning of fossil fuels amongst other green house gases which helps to trap solar radiation which increases the average temperature of the earth.

As we celebrate and relish the commitments of nations present at the Montreal protocol of September 1987 with about 46 signatories, it is important to continually uphold the pact by always considering the fragile nature of our environment over economic gains as we develop.

As individuals and earth inhabitants, we can play our part by planting trees and imbibing the principles of sustainable development in all we engage in.

Remember, we have to manage our resources in a way that the chances of our generation yet unborn will not be jeopardised. Likewise, let nature’s dynamism stir your imagination.

Happy World Ozone Day celebrations.

#WorldOzoneDay #Sustainability #Environment

 

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