The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, is a regular face at the monthly Holy Ghost Service of the Redeemed Christian Church of God at the Redemption Camp. Well, that was before the COVID-19 pandemic turned the in-person services virtual.
But last month, he became even more visible when he ministered at the National Young Adult and Youth Affairs Virtual Convention 2020. The theme was: “The Bright and Morning Star.” Although he didn’t have to mount the pulpit of the Arena, the new massive auditorium of the church, because the convention was virtual, many people around the world saw him preach from Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
A chartered accountant and former banker, he was on was a familiar turf to talk about Financial Intelligence. He promptly acknowledged that the choice of the theme: “The Bright and Morning Star,” and: “Financial Intelligence,” as a sub theme, was a proof that, like the children of Issachar, the organisers had an understanding of the times.
Quoting the Biblical passage: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again,” he said to remain the salt of earth and the light of the world in times like this, we need financial intelligence, emotional intelligence, and social intelligence. He noted that the Bible abounds with teachings in these three and cited examples:
Emotional intelligence Is Jesus hanging on the cross, and praying: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Social intelligence Is the Good Samaritan in the Bible – Stopping to give the injured man a helping hand.
Financial intelligence: Is found in the parable of the talents and the servants who invested wisely.
He then discussed financial intelligence in some more depth. He said the theoretical framework for the study of financial intelligence was set by organizational development academics like Dennis Dennison, Edward Laura, and Alfred Pheffaer. It has since gained momentum in academia as research and academic institutions have developed programmes on the subject.
“There are four broad areas of understanding financial intelligence,” he said. Understanding the foundation, understanding the art and science of accounting, understanding analysis, and understanding the big picture.”
He said these four principles of financial intelligence lead to excellence, informed decision making and proper evaluation of facts and realities.
Importance of financial intelligence:
He explained that financial intelligence is important because it helps one to secure a place in today’s business world and in life generally:
• The Bible says that: “Money answereth all things.” But we should read this along with the Scripture that says: “The love of money is the root of all evil.”
• We should not be motivated by the love of money, but by the thought of the good, we can use money to do in our society.
• Financial Intelligence constitutes the knowledge, the skills of understanding finance and accounting principles.
• It teaches you how money is applied profitably and diligently.
• It includes the techniques and approaches of expending assigned funds. For example, salaries, allowances, profit from businesses and entrepreneur endeavour or even gifts and inheritances.
• At the corporate level, financial intelligence emerged as best practice and core competence principle for improved financial results, as well as increased employee’s morale and reduced employee’s turnover.
In the sermon transcribed by the Discovery Media Team, he also outlined attitudes and traits that are common to the financially intelligent youth, the intelligent person, and intelligent adult no matter their status in life.
The Governor said, financially intelligent people:
• Are action oriented; they create what I call comprehensive and workable financial plans that they may implement and manage diligently.
• Have a saving mentality; they utilize their savings for investment purpose and compound their money for long-term gains. Joseph in the Bible was financially intelligent and through saving, he saved Egypt from famine.
• Shy away from liabilities; when they buy, they search for the best at lowest prices before making a final decision.
• Set short, medium and long-term goals. You can’t live a life purposefully without setting goals to motivate you.
• Regularly seek professional advice to multiply their wealth. How we mitigate our risk will determine who is more successful than the rest of us.
• Absorb, imbibe and adapt the characteristics, habits and rituals of those who had made successes of such practices.
• Never stop learning about money: when God wanted to give Solomon wisdom, God gave him wisdom and also gave him money.
On the factors that militate against financial intelligence, he referred to a text from the Songs of Solomon, which says: “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards.”
Likening the vine to business, he said the little foxes are the situations that take away from our business, from our finances and other resources. He identified some of the foxes that reduce financial intelligence as: instant gratification, which is the fox that keeps people perpetually in debt. Financially intelligent people will defer gratification, and be led to spend a fraction of profits and invest the rest for the joy of tomorrow.
Emmanuel said they also prefer to endure the Cross today because it is not safe to spend everything we earn. The second fox is living in denial. He explained that when we say: “I am not interested in money; or money is not everything.” We are living in self-denial.
The Bible says: “Money answereth all things” and we can’t claim to know more than the Bible. Although we are warned not to worship money, we need money for our well-being and that of others. We even need it to spread the Gospel.
The third fox, he said, is the blame game: blaming others and looking for excuses. He cited the example of Adam and Eve: Eve started it from the beginning; when God asked her why they had eaten the forbidden fruit, she said: “Ah, it is the serpent.” And Adam too gave his own excuse. He said: “It is the woman that You gave to me.”
Emmanuel noted that blaming others and finding excuses is human nature, but you must be conscious of this because blaming everyone for our inabilities and manufacturing excuses for our failures affect our financial intelligence. “You are the captain of your own ship,” he stressed! “We have to find a way of getting rid of the foxes that steal our financial intelligence.”
Skills for financial intelligence
The Governor continued with skills one needs to achieve financial intelligence:
Creative thinking, which is the ability to break out of established patterns, to look at things differently; and find a new way to be productive with your finances;
Negotiation skills: sometimes life gives you what you negotiate. For example, Jacob got the birthright from Esau by negotiations;
Communication skills to allow you to understand and be understood by others;
Marketing skills, which involves taking an idea or concept; and communicating the underlining message in a manner that elicits partnership, alliance and collaboration; and finally:
Analytic skills: the process of understanding context, business analytics; and assessment of assets and liabilities.
On determining financial intelligence level, he said the highest levels are possible to attain by anyone who has discipline and a passion to attain absolute financial freedom.
Citing an example from the DAKKADA Philosophy of his state, he said Akwa Ibomites will tell you: “Once your passion is right, nothing is impossible.”
Using what you have
The God-loving Governor then went back to Biblical teachings. “Remember that in Proverbs 22:1, the Bible says: ‘A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.’”
Emmanuel added: “Make money God’s way; and reject making it Satan’s way! Also the problem in today’s world is that; many people have sight but they don’t have vision at all. Have a vision, run with it; it is for an appointed time that is what the Bible says.
In Habakkuk 2:3, the Bible says: “For the Vision is yet for an Appointed Time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”
Emmanuel said: “You should know that all what you have is what you need to get to where Almighty God has destined for you! What you are looking for in Sokoto (a Northern State in Nigeria) is in your Sokoto (Yoruba word for trousers). Your treasures are within you! Look at Moses in the Bible; God did not allow him go searching for anything. God just asked him: ‘What is in your hand?’ So what you have is all that you need. That is what our philosophy in Akwa Ibom teaches us: ‘What you have is all that you need; you don’t need anything extra!’ Everything you need to succeed, God has given to you! However, two conditions apply: Trust God as if it all rests on Him; and work as if it all depends on you.”