Christopher Okoli is a Nigerian-American investment advisor with prolific writings on how African countries can prepare themselves for impending economic crisis. In this interview with Valour Digest, he talks about his work and economic predictions while giving us some insight into his private life.
Tell us a little about yourself, starting from background to present?
I came from a polygamous family that kind of made me an independent thinking individual at a very tender age. My father was a great achiever and my mother is also an accomplished woman; their accomplishments actually set the bar very high for me. I am grateful that God spared my life during the 1967-1970 Nigerian civil war and took me to America where I was able to discover who God made me to be. Today, I am an investment/financial advisor, author, blogger and civil rights activist.
What was growing up like? What fond memories do you hold dear?
Like I said earlier, growing up in an environment where Nigerian Army officers were exhibiting their military might on ill equipped and unarmed Biafrans was not an experience I would want other kids to go through in life.
In many of your articles, you have called attention to the imminent economic crisis for Nigeria and other African countries. How can the government and the citizens prepare for this challenge?
Nigeria and other African countries can navigate through the impending worst economic crisis by simply cutting costs of running their big governments and by financially engineering the private services through reduction of red tapes in transacting businesses in the continent. Some African governments that are currently building castles around their currencies can only compound their financial headaches. The probability of global recession by fourth quarter of 2016 is currently over 85%; can you imagine Nigeria and many other African countries who are technically broke heading into such a global recession era? My goodness, Naira might hit N500 against one American dollar by August 2016.
How do you create value as a financial advisor?
As a financial advisor or investment advisor, you are trained to act as a co-pilot to clients’ defined goals. Once a client has identified a financial goal, your job will be to probe deep into history, analyse the present, plug in the data together and come up with future predictions that would generate reasonable returns on investment towards meeting the client’s goal. I sincerely wish that the Nigerian capital market will eventually encourage such professional services, because they are helpful in generating financial products (financial engineering).
What’s the experience like practising in Nigeria and the United States of America?
It is just like comparing apples to grapes. Doing business in Nigeria is a very difficult task that government must address urgently. Can you imagine coming up with two years rent of your residential and office accommodation each for starting business in Nigeria? America has a functional system that encourages small business startups. Suffice to say that small businesses are the foundations of successful economies; therefore, Nigerian government needs to plug into the mindsets of small business empowerment programs.
How do you think the Nigerian government can tap into the wealth of experience and expertise of Nigerians in diaspora?
In some of my books, I already gave in-depth details on how Nigerian government can tap into the wealth of experience of her citizens in diaspora. Nigerian Promising Era is a treasure that every Nigerian must have a copy for future references. In the book, I predicted that unless overwhelming Nigerians support Muhammadu Buhari to salvage our beloved country, his administration might come to an end by 2017 and if Muhammadu Buhari goes the country might go also. The poor masses must endure the upcoming financial and economic tsunamis to save Nigeria, because Buhari’s efforts to fight chronic corruption in Nigeria will definitely unleash the devilish forces of corrupt political class against him. Please continue to pray for him for the survival of the country. President Buhari was one of the best choices the country has made in many years, and unless the masses quickly rally around him – because his administration already lost the first battle when he was not able to decouple himself from the same political class Nigerians were afraid off – the upcoming economic tsunami might consume him.
What do you consider the secret behind your academic, business and career success? What ethical values do you hold dear both in business and in everyday life?
I would not really consider myself a success story yet, because I have not really gotten to the point in my life where I can look back and I say “mission accomplished”. I think the secret to success in this life is putting God first in everything you do. Faith in God will definitely make you to pursue any goal with tenacity, resilience, patience, conviction and uncompromising belief in who you are.
What books have you read that shaped your thinking and changed your outlook on life?
The Bible and the autobiography of Abraham Lincoln really changed my life.
As an accomplished man in career/business and family life, what advice would you give to men struggling in such situation?
All struggling men should tenaciously hold on to their dreams. They should really not expect any human being to believe in their dreams, but, if they can only believe in their own dreams, such dreams must surely come to pass. Like Habakkuk says, the vision is for an appointed time. If it tarries, wait for it. Let this be the propelling force to fuel your patience.
How did you meet your wife? Was it love at first sight?
Through unconventional and outdated means, we are even going stronger after 27 years. I found a treasure, because the Bible says that “he who finds a good wife finds a treasure.” I think every man should know that success might be elusive without any woman in their lives.
How did you propose to her and how long did it take for her to say yes?
Because she is a package from God with my name on it, God planned everything for me. I know that your readers will be curiously waiting to find out more on this later.
What keeps you attracted to your wife?
When you see my wife, you will know why. Everything about her is perfect, except if she gets upset, and that is why I do everything humanly possible to make sure she will not get to the point of being upset. She is just a tremendous treasure directly from God.
What are your personal values, and how have they impacted on your marriage, career, and general way of doing things?
The love of God, and family values really configured my relationships with everything from humanity to ambitions. My father was among the first set of people to own a one-storeyed building in my village – Ojoto in Anambra state. To be honest with you, my father’s legacy helps to fuel my tenacious desire for a successful life.
African men have been accused of not being romantic, do you agree with this? If you do, how do you think men can spice up their marriage and be more romantic?
I honestly think that cultural beliefs and environmental conditions have great influences on our sexual lives. All I can say is that every women has a soft spot and their significant others must probe deeper to find such spots.
With the benefit of hindsight, what would you have done better if you were to start your life all over again?
This is really a difficult question, but I sure would have loved to devote more time studying the word of God and spending more time with my nuclear family. In any case, everything about my life happened exactly the way God packaged me. I can only be grateful to God for using me as a vessel in helping others to plan for their future needs. I have authored six books and all my books are filled with future predictions. The books are on Amazon.com. Just search for Christopher Okoli and read through them.
If you could change one thing about this nation, what would it be?
I would stand firmly behind President Muhammadu Buhari to decisively deal with chronic corruption and save our beloved country. Nigeria is at the verge of killing chronic corruption or being killed by chronic corruption. Make no mistake, if President Buhari goes, the country goes with him. The impending global recession by fourth quarter of 2016, will shake many African countries to the fabrics of their foundations, and some countries will disintegrate in the process.
How do you relax after a hard day’s work?
Whenever I am not doing any family or job related chores, I normally engage my brain with some reading. Oh, I consider myself as one of the most talented Checker/Draft players in the world!
What is your favourite holiday spot?
I am not really sure that I have one now, but there are many places that I would love to visit eventually – places like Calabar resort, Ogbunike cave, Disney World, Aso Rock Villa and White House.