by Bode Eluyera

It will be no exaggeration to say that Nigerian specialists or professionals are one of the best in the world. Nigerians have not only studied in all major or leading higher institutions in the world, but their academic performances are outstanding as well. Nigerians in diaspora have distinguished themselves practically in all spheres of human endeavours: academics, medicine, banking, finance, arts, music, law, business,

consulting, journalism, literature, engineering e.t.c Just name the field and you'll definitely find some Nigerians who rank among the best in the world. Nigerian specialists are considered among the best in the U.S. and, many have won not only national and international medals but command the respect of their colleagues and their host countries.

In spite of this, ironically, I'm perturbed by one question. Why do we allow half-backed British, American or other foreign nationals or workers come to Nigeria as 'international consultants' who are hired by the multinationals or in some cases by the Nigerian government, and automatically the status of 'expatriates' is bestowed on them? They live in mansions or choice houses, ride flashy cars and earn salaries or fees 100 times more than our local specialists; who in most cases are better qualified to do the same jobs for a much cheaper pay. And worst of all, most of these so called expatriates go Scott free for doing a shoddy job or rendering substandard services in Nigeria.

These self-proclaimed 'American experts or gurus' come to Nigeria to give seminars or consultations of practically little value at a sky rocketed fee. They get easy and free access to our ministers, senators, top managers of our strategic industries, senior government officials, policy makers e.t.c. For their services, they charge the country and government enormous amount that we could have made a better use of.

Why can't the federal government or our major industries use the professional services of Nigerians at home or in diaspora? Why don't we understand that practise makes perfect? Why is it difficult for us to understand that by patronising the services of Nigerian specialists, we are not only giving them the opportunity to earn money; which they will definitely spend in Nigeria , but we are giving them the opportunity to learn and grow simultaneously? Why can't we understand that it took time and

lots of practical experience even for the best western specialists to attain their professional levels? And if they were not patronised, they won't have the practical and rich experience today

I was disgusted to read on one of the Nigerian web sites that Roger Dawson will be visiting Nigeria from June 11 to June 24. In the announcement, Roger Dawson was referred to as the chief executive of the Power Negotiation Institute of America, and one of the world's renowned experts on negotiation. i-Skill Limited, a knowledge management company committed to empowering individuals and organisations with capacity building tools designed to significantly optimise their personal, professional, and corporate effectiveness has concluded arrangements to host him.

During his stay in Nigeria he will, among other engagements, be facilitating exclusive knowledge transfer sessions on business negotiation and persuasion for organisations and select groups.

Speaking on his itinerary while in Nigeria , Mr. Kayode Falowo, chairman of the Implementation Committee of the Roger Dawson in Nigeria Project and Managing Director/Chief Executive of Greenwich Limited, stated that Dawson would be hosting a select group of captains of industry, Chief Executives in the private and public sectors as well as professionals to a breakfast meeting in Lagos on June 13, where he will be sharing his experience and ideas on negotiating international and local partnerships, strategic alliances, concessions, mergers and acquisitions.

On June 20, 2006 at Abuja , he would be hosting a group made of Ministers, members of the National Assembly, political leaders and senior government officials to another breakfast meeting. The theme of the meeting would be: "Strategic Leadership and Negotiation." Dawson will also be in Port Harcourt on June 23.

I appreciate and commend the efforts of Mr Kayode  Falowo and the management of i-Skill Limited in their quest to improve the negotiation skills of Nigerian professionals and government officials. Undoubtedly, It is a worth while effort. Strong negotiation skills is one of the most important skills for managers, business-men bureaucrats and anybody engaged in any transactions. Unfortunately, you have invited the wrong person.

Believe it or not Mr Falowo, I have read more than 25 books on business negotiations; including Mr Dawson's book, and I have about 20 books on this topic in my personal library. I can tell you with full confidence that Roger Dawson is a mediocre and his book on negotiation is a trash compared to other books in negotiations that I've read or that I have in my personal library. Dawson and many other mediocre and self-proclaimed western experts are just using us to learn, experiment, boost their professional ego and resume, and making a hell lot of money out of us.

Roger's book is a big flop. Infact, the quality is so low that I can't even recommend it to anybody interested in business negotiations to read. I don't know the criteria that i-Skill uses in selecting or inviting western experts, but I can tell you that your audience  won't get much from Dawson compared to the enormous fee they've paid for Mr. Dawson's service. Believe me I can't even pay a kobo to attend Dawson 's seminar. It's really very unfortunate that you've paid so much to this mediocre specialist to have a free access to our ministers, CEOs, policy makers, bankers, senior government officials e.t.c.

For God's sake Mr Falowo, is Nigeria a banana republic that every Dick and Harry from America can come to and have access to any where and any body he wants, and he gets well paid for that too? I'm convinced that based on the number of books that I have read on negotiations coupled with my professional experience and my Nigerian background,  I can tell your audience much more on this topic than Mr. Dawson. Negotiation is got what we call national peculiarities.

The manners of negotiating in America , Europe, Asia, Latin America are totally different from that of Africa, and Nigeria in particular. What does Mr. Dawson know about Nigeria or the way business is conducted in Nigeria for him to be an effective consultant on this issue? But, I am not soliciting for your service mind you. Do not take it as a proposal.

We need to understand that Americans are very good in marketing themselves and every American consultant or trainer says that he's the best not just in America but in the world .It's not all that glitters that is gold. You need to learn to separate the wheat from the chaff. If it's not too late, I will advise Mr. Falowo and the management of i-Skill to find a good excuse to cancel Mr. Dawson's engagements or seminars to

avoid paying fine. If your organization is interested in inviting only western specialists, I can recommend some very good trainers in business negotiations.

I remember that not quiet long ago, you invited Covey too to Nigeria . I have read the most popular of Covey's books: '7 habits of highly effective people.' It is a nice book that every business man or professionally minded person should read. Infact, I presented the Russian translation of this book to some of my Russian friends and colleagues. However, I still maintain the view that if you compare the value these foreign experts give to what they charge for their services, it doesn't really worth it. I am contended reading Covey's book that cost relatively very little than attending his seminars. Moreover, I don't really think that he's going to say something completely new at the seminar that is not in the book. It is just the same idea but expressed in different form. It seems to me that i-Skill has a lot of money to throw around. I never knew that Nigeria is that rich.

My only fear is that in the long run, it is the end consumer or the common man on the street that foots the bill of these consultants. Haba, we should have conscience. On a serious note, if you are really patriotic, I want to advise you to give Nigerian specialists a chance. It's high time we had our own experts and

gurus that we can import to Nigeria and export to other countries too.

Moreover, the government should formulate policies that will help in promoting Nigerian specialists. An integral part of this policy should be the establishment of a department whose responsibility should be identifying and creating a data base of outstanding Nigerians who rank among the best in their chosen fields. The data base can be compiled with the help of Nigerian In Diaspora Organization (NIDO) and other professional associations.

This data base should be available to Nigerian companies for a certain fee. These Nigerians in the data base can always be contacted from time to time to carry out various assignments or consultation projects.

Every country has its uniqueness socially, politically, culturally, economically and in the way business is conducted. The Nigerian background and the knowledge of its  society give our specialists a big edge over their foreign counterparts. Another advantage Nigerian specialists have over their foreign counterpart is the commitment and the genuine desire to contribute their quota in the development of the country. In addition, in situations where a consultation projects or advisory service are not only of strategic importance involving classified information, undoubtedly, our specialists are the best choice. Giving foreign specialists free and uncontrolled access to our ministers, law makers, bankers, senior government officials, CEOs of our major co-operation could constitute a security threat to the economy. It is a known fact

that many westerners pose as business men, trainers, consultants when in actual fact they are agents of the secret services of their countries.

We live in the age of information technology. The ability to collect, analyse and disseminate information is of strategic importance today. And, many companies in the west are ready to pay substantially for it. At dinner parties where our government may easily loose their guard during conversation with foreign business men or consultants, information of vital importance concerning how to win contracts, tenders or how government key decisions and policies could be easily divulged unknowingly. Such information may cost the country or economy billions of dollars in lost revenues.

Western countries and consulting companies have mastered the system of siphoning money from many developing countries by rendering services that are either of very little value or in many cases, could even have negative consequences. One of the bases for this assertion is John Perkin's book titled: ÔÇśThe confession of an economic hit man.' Below is a full excerpt of the book from web site.

John Perkins started and stopped writing Confessions of an Economic Hit Man four times over 20 years. He says he was threatened and bribed in an effort to kill the project, but after 9/11 he finally decided to go through with this expose of his former professional life. Perkins, a former chief economist at Boston strategic-consulting firm Chas. T. Main, says he was an "economic hit man" for 10 years, helping U.S.

intelligence agencies and multinationals cajole and blackmail foreign leaders into serving U.S. foreign policy and awarding lucrative contracts to American business." Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars," Perkins writes. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is an extraordinary and gripping tale of intrigue and dark machinations.

Think John Le Carr├ę, except it's a true story.

Perkins writes that his economic projections cooked the books Enron-style to convince foreign governments to accept billions of dollars of loans from the World Bank and other institutions to build dams, airports, electric grids, and other infrastructure he knew they couldn't afford. The loans were given on condition that construction and engineering contracts went to U.S. companies. Often, the money would simply be transferred from one bank account in Washington , D.C. , to another one in New York or San Francisco . The deals were smoothed over with bribes for

foreign officials, but it was the taxpayers in the foreign countries who had to pay back the loans. When their governments couldn't do so, as was often the case, the U.S. or its henchmen at the World Bank or International Monetary Fund would step in and essentially place the country in trusteeship, dictating everything from its spending budget to security agreements and even its United Nations votes. It was, Perkins writes, a clever way for the U.S. to expand its "empire" at the expense of Third

World citizens. While at times he seems a little overly focused on conspiracies, perhaps that's not surprising considering the life he's led. --Alex Roslin --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Perkins spent the 1970s working as an economic planner for an international consulting firm, a job that took him to exotic locales like Indonesia and Panama , helping wealthy corporations exploit developing nations as, he claims, a not entirely unwitting front for the National Security Agency. He says he was trained early in his career by a glamorous older woman as one of many "economic hit men" advancing the cause of corporate hegemony. He also says he has wanted to tell his story for the last two decades, but his shadowy masters have either bought him off or threatened him until now.

The story as presented is implausible to say the least, offering so few details that Perkins often seems paranoid, and the simplistic political analysis doesn't enhance his credibility. Despite the claim that his work left him wracked with guilt, the artless prose is emotionally flat and generally comes across as a personal crisis of conscience blown up to monstrous proportions, casting Perkins as a victim not only of his own neuroses over class and money but of dark forces beyond his control. His claim to have assisted the House of Saud in strengthening its ties to American power brokers may be timely enough to attract some attention, but the yarn he spins is ultimately unconvincing, except perhaps to conspiracy buffs.

John Perkins's book is highly recommended for those who want to know more on this issue

It was reported in the news that the finance ministry employed the service of a foreign consulting firm to negotiate our debts, and paid $100,000 a month for more than 12 months. In my opinion, these consulting companies including the one used by the federal government are parts of the networks; mentioned in Perkin's book, set up by foreign companies  to exploit developing countries. Debt reduction negotiations is the prerogative of the finance ministry to carry out on its own.

The ministry should have searched for Nigerians well versed in this field to carry out the assignment. By so doing, these Nigerian specialists will not only be given the opportunity to upgrade or add to their professional experience but, sensitive information concerning the nation's economy will be protected, and most especially, negotiation tactics and  strategies to

achieve a desired result will be intact. I have no doubts that in my mind that if the finance ministry had taken its time to search well, she would definitely have found some Nigerians who are well qualified enough to carry out this job. And needless to say that, the job would have  been done at a much cheaper rate; and this would have saved enormous amount of the tax payers' money. 

 There is always the need to carry-out a cost/benefit analysis and security implication for the country before taking any decision. Senior government officials and top managers of our companies need to be trained on how to communicate with foreign companies and specialists in Nigeria or while on business trips abroad.

 Finally, there's the need to formulate and implement policies that will ensure that as many jobs as possible go to Nigerians. Multinationals should be prohibited from employing foreign nationals in Nigeria, unless it can be proved beyond any reasonable doubts that there are no Nigerians inside or outside the country that are capable of doing the job.

 We should learn to appreciate, value, promote and reward very well Nigerian specialists. Afterall, charity begins at home!

 Bode Eluyera writes from Moscow . He holds a Master's degree in telecommunications engineering, and his PhD thesis is in Finance. He can be contacted by mail:  



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Re: .Roger Dawson - American Negotiation expert is a fake
Exxcuzme posted on 06-12-2006, 14:41:45 PM
Why do we allow half-backed British, American or other foreign nationals or workers come to Nigeria as 'international consultants' who are hired by the multinationals or in some cases by the Nigerian government, and automatically the status of 'expatriates' is bestowed on them?

Dont you know they use the so called expert as a front to make money? This is another 419 scheme. It is thesame as the so called xtians used by bringing the likes of preacher Bonnke from Germany and Benn (though he got schemed out) from the US.

If Mr Falomo is using public money to fund his friends from America to dabaru us, we need to expose them.
Re: .Roger Dawson - American Negotiation expert is a fake
Okolo posted on 06-12-2006, 21:45:24 PM
Accusing Mr. Dawson of being a fake without any proof beyond your own personal opinion regarding the extent of his professional skill could be considered defamation. Although this forum is somewhat anonymous and various people offer opinions from all parts of the world, we should still be careful of the statements we make. Some ill considered statements could expose the maker to legal action.
Re: .Roger Dawson - American Negotiation expert is a fake
Lionking posted on 06-13-2006, 08:59:15 AM
Thanks Okolo,

I was about to point out the same myself but you beat me to it. The author has not made any allegation of fraud or criminality about Dawson; all he alleges is that in his subjective view, Dawson's work is sub-standard.

BigK and SLB, here's a classic case for moderator's discretion.
Re: .Roger Dawson - American Negotiation expert is a fake
Ada posted on 06-13-2006, 15:42:42 PM
RE: The manners of negotiating in America, Europe, Asia, Latin America are totally different from that of Africa, and Nigeria in particular. ......

i hope at some point, the nigerian government and nigerians in general will realise the fact that we need to understand ourselves and our peculiar ways of doing things and not just adopt the western standard as the ideal....meanhwile...the errors of spelling and diction in this article,..where they errors of omission or commission?
Re: .Roger Dawson - American Negotiation expert is a fake
Otito posted on 06-13-2006, 16:00:16 PM
Why do we allow half-backed British, American or other foreign nationals or workers come to Nigeria as 'international consultants' who are hired by the multinationals or in some cases by the Nigerian government, and automatically the status of 'expatriates' is bestowed on them?

Dont you know they use the so called expert as a front to make money? This is another 419 scheme. It is thesame as the so called xtians used by bringing the likes of preacher Bonnke from Germany and Benn (though he got schemed out) from the US.

If Mr Falomo is using public money to fund his friends from America to dabaru us, we need to expose them.

Can someone please enlighten me on the situation surrounding the fact that the manager in charge of Togo in their world cup match against Korea just sat down (Looking toothless); when his team had been reduced to 10 men and he still had 2 men upfront who were not retreating to help. Was he being impeded from doing his job or was it just another case of the fact that "money do enter pocket already"?
Re: .Roger Dawson - American Negotiation expert is a fake
Exxcuzme posted on 06-13-2006, 19:16:48 PM
Otito is bitter,

Because the colonial mind of the Togolese power that be cannot trust the African to do well at the world cup but will trust an Oyinbo without a job to do wonder for them.

I wish the Togo players had boycott the team when Keshi was fired. We still have inferiority complass in Africa which is why we cannot do well in world cup. No Africa nation has won any match so far. What a shame.
Re: .Roger Dawson - American Negotiation expert is a fake
Gam posted on 07-14-2006, 19:28:48 PM
"Half backed"? Don't you mean half-baked? In the same way that Nigerians don't enjoy being stereotyped as 419-ers, scam artists, corrupt and brutal (Odi, Odioma, Benue massacres all come to mind) is it fair (or is it racist) to suggest that all international consultants are "half backed"? News flash: there are half-baked (and competent) people of all nationalities and persuasions, may friend ...
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