Kennedy Uzoka is Nigeria’s coolest bank CEO

Kennedy Uzoka, UBA’s Group Managing Director, is the savviest bank CEO in Nigeria, as far as social media is concerned. Or so says an informal study by me.

He loves social media and practically hangs out there. While he won’t be allowed into the YMCA, he probably knows a thing or two about where and how to appeal to banking’s emerging core customers, Millennials. Based on the outcome of my, perhaps, dubious analysis, I decided to crown him a social media kingpin. He won’t be getting any plaque or prize money or anything. I don’t even know if he’s going to brag about it.

Recently, Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Bank was crowned the Twitter Lord by Business Day but as a tree doesn’t make a Zambisa forest, so also Twitter isn’t enough to rule the social media world. But then, that may be wrong, after all, Trump will rule America and the rest of the free world using nothing but Twitter.

So here’s how the CEOs stack up.

Chart from showing how CEOs rank in social media

Nigerian banks will forever jostle for the eyeballs and minds of Millennials. I mean, social media was hot, digital banking is even an inferno now. It doesn’t take a soothsayer to know why; Millennials are the next target market as baby boomers start to die off gradually. Millennials live in the social media world, so no better place to hang out with them, pander to their whims, and hopefully, find a way to make some money off them.

In five years, Millennials, also known as Gen Y or those born in the ’80s and ’90s, will form the majority of the workforce. That means salaries, bonuses, shopping, car loans, mortgages, credit cards, DSTV, Netflix, chills, etc.
Unfortunately for banks in general and Nigerian banks, in particular, it has been mostly misses and few hits. At first glance, you wonder why because worldwide, 11 Nigerian banks are in the top 100 banks using social media. But we all know that you can’t run faster than the boss (let someone shout Hallelujah to that!).

So I wanted to know if the bosses are running in tandem with Millennials. After all, wouldn’t it be a strategic failure not to understand the life and time of the age cohort of those who would be banks’ greatest customers in the next few years?

Do the CEOs lead their banks by example? Do they even, on a personal level, understand social media, the platform on which the next generation of banking wars would be fought? If they lose out on Millennials, how do they plan to run their retail banking game?

Having little to do over the holidays, the devil in me played with some data and ranked Nigeria banking CEOs. Luckily, I’m out of banking else I could have found my sorry backside out of a job.


  1. There are bajillion social media platforms out there and even the craziest of us all can’t keep up with the madness. So I look at the presence on just Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Having a profile on each gives a score of 5 or 0.
  2. Anyone can be on social media, being active is the real deal. So engagement is critical. Having an activity within the last 1 month gets 5 marks, the last 3 months gets 3 marks and nothing in 6 months gets 0
  3. Many CEOs got there in the last few years, but it doesn’t take minutes to update profiles. Having a current profile gets a score of 5 and none gets 0.

You can download the original data here.


This report isn’t a real scientific study but a random ranting from an armchair boffin. So take whatever you’ve read with a pinch of salt. Don’t ever ever ever use it as a reference for your school assignment. Be warned!

5 things you don’t know about Nigerian ATMs

Just a few years ago, we practically begged people to use ATMs instead of queuing up at the banking counters but at least that has changed. But then the change came with friends, family and other random people asking me random questions why they can’t brew a nice cup of coffee at the ATM.
Some of the oddities are explained here.
Why doesn’t the ATM retract cash?
If you forget to take your cash abroad (places where the snow falls in January) the ATM simply takes it back and then reverses the amount. Sounds convenient and nifty for forgetful souls like me.
Why doesn’t it do that in Nigeria?
Well it started that way until some dudes figured out that they could take out a bit of the cash and trick the ATM to withdraw everything back, crediting the full amount.
Warri no dey carry last!
Why doesn’t the ATM accept cash?
I remember walking into a NatWest Bank when I was in school and feeling funky with myself, deposited some scraggy notes into the ATM instead of bothering with the dour looking cashier. It went smoothly and I got my credit almost immediately.
Some random banks tried it in Nigeria but the experiment reminded me of Icarus. Icarus thought he could fly, strapped on some wings and jumped. It was his last jump.
Cash accepting ATMs have to count the cash, scan the notes and determine the currency by staring at it. Unfortunately the cash notes in Nigeria have been to more places than I could safely describe on the Internet without getting my HR to invite me for a serious conversation. NSFW!
The ATMs choked on the cash and the experiments went south. Simply put, we mangle our cash in Nigeria and no ATM made of man has been able to overcome that. A few banks are still struggling with these devices but I know as long as we still roll up our notes, write things on them like jotters or stuff them inside sostén then cash accepting ATMs will never work.
Why do I have to input my PIN for another transaction even when I haven’t removed my card?
There is something funny that happens in countries like Nigeria where you need lots of notes from the ATMs for even the simplest purchase. In the US, usually maximum withdrawal is $300 and nobody apart from Nigerians take that much cash.
Equivalent of that amount here is N84,000, that depends on who you ask though. Since ATM cannot just open its guts for you to point and select your cash, it can only push out at most 40 notes. So an average transaction in Nigeria needs multiple withdrawals.
What if you forget your card and it doesn’t require PIN for the next transactions? Actually that’s the way it was and suddenly forgetful people, who have taken their cash and gone, are separated from the rest of the money in their accounts by the next dude on the queue.
Their wailing and gnashing of teeth made banks to reconfigure the terminals. The wailing stopped but not the gnashing of teeth.
Why does the ATM have blue background and yellow text by default?
The engineers who configured the first set of ATMs in Nigeria have no taste. Next!
Fortunately some banks have since seen the light and have gone on to do graphical interface designs. Nothing impressive at this time though. One of these days when I have less to do, I may wander around comparing screens.
Who is the girl that talks on the ATM?
I don’t know her! I swear, she ain’t my cousin.
While she loves to say “Thank you for banking with us”, I know she’s saying exactly the same at other banks; she’s probably promiscuous and has no loyalty.
Nota Bene
You can ask me other random question on anything you want to know about ATMs and I will do my best to answer them. I’m not an expert so don’t scream blue murder if I try to pull the wool over your eyes.

The stone the builders rejected – RIP Mohammed Ali

As a kid, I used to have a t-shirt with Mohammed Ali on it and I loved it so much until my rotund stomach couldn’t fit in anymore.
Growing up, I was regaled with different stories of Ali by my grandmother who felt there wasn’t any greater boxer than he was. Even when Mike Tyson came on the scene, his erratic behaviors ensured that he never amounted to anything important with my grandmother. I’m happy he’s cleaned up though.
But Ali wasn’t always the greatest. He was hated by his country and his life made miserable just because he wouldn’t want to be drafted into a war that is ranked as one of the worst ever. He fought for his conviction much more than he fought in the rings.
The lessons from him are very simple:
Never give up on your conviction even when it’s not popular.
If you are good in what you do, the world will come around to appreciate it – Psalm 118:22.
Rest in peace Mohammed Ali – you will always be remembered and send my regards to grandma up there if you ever happen to bump into her.

Base64 in Microsoft SQL

Base64 encoding is a Swiss Army knife function for every programmer but somehow not readily available in Microsoft SQL Server. Or that’s what everyone thinks.
Apparently it has been hiding in MS SQL since 2005 release. So recently while searching for a working solution, I found a something workable at this blog post and then used that to create two SQL user defined functions.
Use freely but attribute.

CREATE function [dbo].[base64encode] (@input varchar(max) )
returns varchar(max)
declare @source varbinary(max)
set @source = convert(varbinary(max), @input)
return cast('' as xml).value('xs:base64Binary(sql:variable("@source"))', 'varchar(max)')

CREATE function [dbo].[base64decode] (@input varchar(max) )
returns varchar(max)
return cast('' as xml).value('xs:base64Binary(sql:variable("@input"))', 'varbinary(max)')

Para-addiction is the excuse for my love handles!

Addiction kills. Slower than a speeding bullet but not less painful.
I usually talk about tech, science and other random financial stuff but then I’m free to rant about anything I want, don’t i?
So here’s the gist for today – I’m looking for a very good excuse for not hitting the gym or scorching the jogging trail. I have tried to cajole myself, bought running gears, etc. But after few attempts, I simply discard my feeble efforts and move on. I have run out of excuses but trust Íjésá man like me, I need to pin this on someone or something. Whatever!
Am I undisciplined? Maybe not: I start my meetings like clockwork; stick to proper routines; some habit are even like rituals but still I still can’t break the exercise jinx.
The sad thing is I know that exercising is good for everyone and especially for me. Fitness is very important for good health; I’m constantly embarrassed how I puff like a Volkswagen diesel car every time I run up the stairs to do my daily ward round. My colleagues must be ashamed of me.
Fitness aside, exercising tones the body; nothing beats a flat tummy. Except maybe 6 packs but then that’s even asking for too much at this age of mine.
I guess quite a lot of us can identify with my personal demon but is this unique to exercising? Probably not. It seems almost every good thing we need to do always require so much stress and it’s never easy – getting to work on time, reading for exams, self-development, saying no to Coldstone ice cream, etc. We know they are good, even necessary to keep us alive but then we can’t just do them or keep at them.
This sounds familiar! Anyone who’s read or dealt with addiction knows how tough it’s to get off a bad case. In fact some addictions are so bad that they are physiological; if you stop using the drug you probably gonna fall down and die. Ok, not that dramatically but you are gonna die painfully.
By the way, we shouldn’t confuse addiction with OCD. You can read about the differences here, here and here.
So it got me thinking that maybe the portion of the brain that gets messed up (the reward system) when you get on an addiction train could also be responsible for you not doing what you need to do. It sounds stupid but then electrons and positrons are stupid too.
In fact, the following is a direct quote from Harvard help guide:

In the 1930s, when researchers first began to investigate what caused addictive behavior, they believed that people who developed addictions were somehow morally flawed or lacking in willpower. Overcoming addiction, they thought, involved punishing miscreants or, alternately, encouraging them to muster the will to break a habit.

Many of my friends and family have pushed me, threatened me (that doesn’t work) or enticed me to pick up one or two good habits but it just never works. I subsequently get labeled as difficult or proud. One of my sisters once called me a peacock even though I only wear white shirts and black ties all because I wouldn’t do what she “rightly” suggested.
This is something I have interest in and may read more scientific papers. Trust me, some mad hat scientist may have figured this out. But for the time being, let’s call the name para-addiction and I can at least satisfy the itch to write something today.