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BN Hot Topic: How Much Pressure Are We Under To Succeed?



Kweku Adoboli

The trappings of success have become necessary accessories in our daily lives. Brand new cars, designer clothes, mansions in various countries, holidays in exotic locations and a fat bank balance. These are some of the things we break our backs trying to achieve from 9am-5pm on most days.

Everyone wants to be a success; and, why ever not? Being successful feels damn nice! But how often does the pressure to succeed and remain successful push us to make undesirable choices?

Barely 24 hours ago, the arrest of Kweku Adoboli, the 31-year-old, Ghanaian, UBS trader made its rounds on global media platforms. His arrest is in connection with alleged rogue trading which is suspected to have lost the Swiss bank, a record breaking £1.3bn.

Following his arrest, Mr Adoboli’s rise to the top has been well documented by the media. The son of a United Nations employee, he was born into a family of high pedigree and naturally has been exposed to his fair share of the trappings of success. Although Kweku attended some of the better schools in the world, many of his peers have commented on his excellent work ethic and astute computer skills. It is no wonder that at the age of 31, he was already earning a six figure salary with one of the world’s most popular banks. While we at BN do not wish to make excuses for Kweku’s actions, we cannot help but wonder why such an evidently smart individual could make such unsavory choices.

All around the world, and perhaps more so in Africa, there seems to be an unquestionable race to make something of ourselves. I remember, in secondary school, the only career option my parents ever discussed with me had to do with going to medical school. I had to come 1st always (a position I never attained!). I remember a friend of mine actually crying when she came 2nd because she said her mother would “flog the life out of her”. Even after graduation, the search for a ‘good paying job’ complete with official car and a fat end of year bonus have driven many of my friends completely insane. My advice to such friends and others has always been one that started and ended with the word ‘patience’. Success and its visible benefits are not things that are attained overnight, rather they are usually the products of hard work, perseverance, discipline and prayer. No one gets to be Bill Gates over night or without some setback and struggle.

Is it possible that this innate need to succeed and visibly so, could be one of the reasons behind Kweku’s alleged actions? Have you ever been in a situation where the need to succeed, via unscrupulous means, affected your moral stand point? Do you know of anyone who has been in a similar situation? Or is our speculation simply unfounded? Are such morally deficient decisions based more on greed? Or is our society, which seems to put an extreme premium on success regardless of the means, more to blame?

Let’s discuss!!!!

Glory is the host and executive producer of Inspire Series, the web talk show which uses the collective stories of everyday women to inspire others. She believes women are more than hand bags, hair, make-up and other externalities and is passionate about about pursuing purpose and living above societal conformities. She is also a day dreamer, and romantic at heart who loves TV, food and family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @inspiredbyglory and read more from her on


  1. vivienne

    September 16, 2011 at 4:42 pm


    • maya

      September 17, 2011 at 8:14 am

      RE: All the people asking why this should be featured now.
      If you have taken time out to read about the case you would know that
      1. Kweku confessed and actually alerted the bank to what had happened (I guess he was in over his head and knew things could only get worse)
      2. The evidence of his transactions is so damning that’s why people are so shocked that UBS did not spot it earlier and are calling for his bosses and the company’s security and compliance lead to be fired.

      No one said Kweku is guilty oooo..yet.
      Though everyone headline refers to him as “Rogue Trader”
      BN you guys even took it easy on the guy sef. Visit, Daily Mail, Telegraph and other sites for d gist.

      Anyway sha, this article is about pressure! Are we under pressure to succeed? YES

      As Kweku said in his last facebook message before his arrest, “I need a miracle”

    • Gold digger

      September 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm

      Innocent until proven guilty!!!

    • Lyds

      September 19, 2011 at 10:05 am

      If it was the other way round, Kweku would have been a Dubbed “HERO”, that apart,
      nice clothes, designer this and that. most people work so hard, save up their earnings just to purchase an accessory from Gucci, or Louis V. come to think about it, Hermes belt = an accessory, Louis V Bag = accessory, Gucci sunglasses = Accessory. Nobody really buys a full outfit from these designers. Hermes belt on river island Jeans.. Interesting stuff. Just saying

  2. damien

    September 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm


  3. sett

    September 16, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Glory, there is nothing to discuss as this news is just unfolding. He has only been arrested not convicted. This write-up is a little too soon. Obviously if you know something abotu the trading world, he was not operating alone else he wouldn’t have pulled this off. please get full info before you open him open for critique. Innocent until proven guilty…abi . The issue is still under investigation.

    • ME

      September 17, 2011 at 3:00 am

      Sett, I bet you are Ghanian… Posting and reposting and shouting “Let’s wait”. Though I agree that this write-up is too soon, but if this happened to a Nigerian you and your lot will race to online boards/forum laughing like hyenas, calling Nigerians names their parents did not give them. Now, you are yelling wait, wait , wait and others are quoting Bible. Anyhow, I do not see how he can get out of this unscathed unless he has absolutely nothing to do with the loss. Losing 1.7 billion pounds is no joke, especially in this economy.

    • ugo

      September 18, 2011 at 7:39 am

      does he have to be ghanaian to have the gift of sound logic? why not listen to the voice of reason before jumping on the wagon of segeregation which we nigerians are so good at, by the way. there is no light today, must be the abokis fault. there is no fish inside my soup, thanks to those useless yorubas. lack of social amenities, undoubtedly the fault of the igbos. and no soap for me to wash my clothes, the calabars are obviously responsible!!… when would we stop this tribalism and segregation?

      what has sett said here that anyone with an ounce of common sense couldn’t have? the story is just emerging. we are waiting for the full thing to unfold. when it does, we would all be more equipped to critique it. This article has simply assumed Kweku did all this because he was under pressure to succeed. was he really? how do we know? and to what extend. Yes, you see now? It all boils down to the fact that the story is still emerging, so we need to hold our horses before jumping to conclusion

    • majo

      September 17, 2011 at 3:34 am

      HERE HERE! perfect response! Dunno why people are so quick to condemn him. He was only arrested, we don’t know the full story yet. Either way, i’m glad he’s not naija sha!

  4. cathy

    September 16, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    this topic is deep mehn

  5. cathy

    September 16, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    human no matter our attainment in life still wants more and an extra daily. we are greedy beings that just don’t ever wants to stop, but when you come to the understanding of letting go and letting GOD and you add the kingdom principles in your dealings most of the other unnecessary things in life just become that ”unnecessary”.

  6. LL

    September 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Thanks Glory for bringing this out today. I was just reading about Adoboli’s story and I wondered the same thing. It’s very confusing really and atimes I have to remind myself to calm down when it seems I have not gotten to my desired point for my age. It doesn’t help matters that we are faced with images that seem perfect everywhere we go. I think the most important thing is to be clear of what success means to one as an individual and pursue it with the fear of God.It is also important that we try as much as possible to differentiate success, fame, the illusion of success, popularity, wealth and decide which one we want. Cheers..

    • Purpleicious Babe

      September 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      I agree with u 100% and the term illusion… it is all in the mind… I like this comment…. thank u.

  7. zainab

    September 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    *sigh*….I really don’t have 2kobo to add to the guy’s story,it’s just unfortunate for him.It really could happen to any upwardly mobile individual much as we all like to think it can not,greed resides in us all just to varying degrees .In fact I have my 2kobo jo..I don’t believe the bank is completely clueless about all this deals just like the Kerviel and Leeson case…that amount of dough?Pull the other leg!! U know that pressure u get at the back of ur neck,that panicky feeling when u stop and look around you at a certain age and it seems u have accomplished next to nothing?..especially in comparison to ur better off contemporaries? Maaaaaaaan there is nothing more knee weakening and demoralizing than that….ONLY GOD can help u get past it to focus on what’s important and not tip over that edge into endless wahala. May this never be our story…amen

  8. Naomi

    September 16, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    To be honest, everyone that has in any way tried to blame this guy is just a hypocrite. He is an innocent victiom of a very messed up banking system. It is obvious that the guys has been trading like this tey tey but he obviously has been bringing in big money for the bank so no one is complaining , common the guy went from a trainee to a director in 6 years, which kind baba nla fantastic jump be dat. The only reason the stupid UBS is crying wolf is because obviously it turned out to be losses this time around and someone gast be a scapegoat, if it were profits i am sure the guy would go from director to executive overnight…Africans make me sick honestly, if he were promoted all of you would be claiming the guy o..MSCHEWW!!

    • sett

      September 16, 2011 at 8:59 pm

      Thank you. Could he have acted alone? heck nah!

    • Lyds

      September 19, 2011 at 11:59 pm

      i am sure at half of a billion, his boss was saying ride on, right on, greed! i wish they will disclose the persons that made the money he lost. 2billion in the scheme of things erm not that much

    • Mimi

      September 16, 2011 at 10:07 pm

      True talk! He couldn’t have acted alone, and a few senior staff would have had to authorise his transactions. I believe he is being made a scapegoat.

    • ugo

      September 18, 2011 at 7:45 am

      i guess the fact that he managed to slip under the radar whilst bringing in big bucks for the bank makes his actions more excusable. yeah, kinda makes sense… not.

  9. Ronke

    September 16, 2011 at 5:18 pm


  10. sola odukale

    September 16, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    when i heard about this story the first thing that came to my mind was ‘Thank God its not a Nigerian’. if this guy was a Nigerian our image globally would have taken another blow. For the question that was asked I think that in every situation you find your self in let your good values direct you and not your need to live a life people will be jealous of. Africans like to show off that is why we are willing to risk everything to make a few dollars or in his case billions of Dollars. As in what drive a wealthy young man to steal if not for ojukokoro. If he truly did steal that money i am happy he got caught and i hope they use him as a scapegoat to other who think stealing other peoples money is ok. In a span of 42hrs you ruin your life and he will probably never get a job of that calibar again, plus please believe that they will get their money bacjk from him.

    • Bukunola

      September 17, 2011 at 6:18 am

      I second it, thank God he is not Nigerian!

  11. cool deter

    September 16, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    nice write up. but i beleive it is lack of self discipline that leads a guy to go extreme. Everyone wants to succeed but not scrupulously. once in our life time we are faced with the urge or the avenue to do srupulous things but our principle should speak first. the society do not help matter especially in Nigeria. We tend to glorify the men with ill gotten wealth. The society see them as heroes. I have a family friend who just bought a Camry (latest model). he has no office he works in, when asked what he does for a leaving he says “am a general contractor”. i won’t spill what he actually does for a leaving but its terrible. Women flock around him, his friends hail him as a big boy, his communinity recognises him as a God sent to them, the Police are his friends. I can’t help but baffle. i just pray he doesn’t get caught.

    • Lizzy

      September 17, 2011 at 2:06 am

      don’t you think that praying for someone whose ways are obviously not right won’t get caught is a way of indirectly supporting them. You’re speaking against them, but yet you’re praying that their evil deeds be protected?

    • cool deter

      September 17, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      i am not supporting him. he has the right to live the kind of life he is living. its non of my business. all i can do as a friend is to pray for him to repent cos if he gets caught i will be the one running around to get him released.

    • Purpleicious Babe

      September 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      @ Lizzy lol… I think we all know by now that there is nothing hidden that will not be exposed.

  12. cool deter

    September 16, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    nice write up. but i beleive it is lack of self discipline that leads a guy to go extreme. Everyone wants to succeed but not scrupulously. once in our life time we are faced with the urge or the avenue to do srupulous things but our principle should speak first. the society do not help matter especially in Nigeria. We tend to glorify the men with ill gotten wealth. The society see them as heroes. I have a family friend who just bought a Camry (latest model). he has no office he works in, when asked what he does for a leaving he says “am a general contractor”. i won’t spill what he actually does for a leaving but its terrible. Women flock around him, his friends hail him as a big boy, his communinity recognises him as a God sent to them, the Police are his friends. I can’t help but baffle. i just pray he doesn’t get caught.

  13. chibuki

    September 16, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I can only say,”the world has no time for a looser”! Truth be said, I don’t blame anybody for hustling too damn hard! Any where u put ur hand and u reap bountifuly, na ur luck! I personally havnt found myself in this type of mess sha where I have to get involved in illegal busines…….

  14. gina A

    September 16, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Most times these pressures start rite frm our homes by our luved ones.the moment a child comes of age or graduates frm d university,every one around expects dat person to start making the millions.

  15. Nneka

    September 16, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    This article is wayyyyyy toooooo premature.

    The basis of the topic, Kweku, remains a suspect untill proven guilty. I am not suggesting he has no fault, yes he made some really costly investment choices but there is no need to make untimely conclusions by expantiating on his background as though the investigation has been concluded. It just happened yesterday Glory!
    Investments are bets, RISKY GAMBLE. It could have gone either way for him. If he earned UBS a $2B gain, their CEO would be getting the bonus for that acheivment. He should have minimized his risk exposure but well… he took the jump that most investment bankers are under pressure to take. I am a finance professional so I can relate with the pressure to succeed in a competitive work environment.

    Let’s stick to the title of the topic. No need to bury Kweku in this article for discussion sake. Geez.

    • Nneka

      September 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      One more thing….there is no way he acted without any oversight. Someone else thought the bet was a possibly profitable one. Even if, no one directly discussed it with Kweku, he has enough experience in that group to fully understand both the directly and indirectly communicated expectations of his superiors. “Rogue trader” my behind. He was doing his DAY to DAY job abeg, this is just a very unfortunate situation. the same regulatory frameworks that bring the profits bring the losses. Kweku did not invent them!

    • sett

      September 16, 2011 at 9:02 pm

      Thank you. Could he have acted alone? heck nah!

      high five…it’s wayyyyy to soon to be making Kweku a discussion forum topic…go and read liars poker, etc and you will learn that aggressive trading is the order of the day on wallstreet until you are billions of dollars in too deep. Question UBS not Kweku abeg.

  16. Eva

    September 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with being driven to succeed. However, the knowledge to set boundaries for oneself is highly recommended. But in the case of Nigeria and Nigerians, it is HIGHLY DRIVEN BY GREED. I have termed the disease that is plaguing Nigeria as the BIG MAN SYNDROME. Everyone including the church rat desires to be SUCCESSFUL because within the Nigerian context, SUCCESS IS POWER. You command and DEMAND respect. We can see the Beat 99 Fm as a classic example. If Dewunmi were SUCCESSFULL =POWERFUL, he will not be submissive to the trappings of the so called “AUTHORITY” within the Nigerian context. Imagine Olisa doing that to say, Fashola or the son of Obasanjo or whoever, MAKING A YOUTUBE VIDEO will SURELY be the last option. Why? From what I gather, there are no video cameras in jails or graveyards.

    But then we also suffer from COMPARISON TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (my term). The CTSD has made each and every one of us insecure in ourselves and our belief systems. We consistently compare ourselves to others, and the end result is GREED. We have to out-do each other. So and so graduated from Columbia university with an undergraduate degree at 21 years, so my child must graduate from Harvard with a Masters in Engineering by 15. So so and so bought himself a bmw, so myself (even though I do not have a house to call my own) must buy a ferrari EVEN THOUGH I must rent it, to make others believe it.

    We pressure ourselves to attain material belongings without first seeking spiritual and mental growth. It is because of this, that I have DELETED MY FACEBOOK, I am not on Twitter, and absolutely not interested in VLOGGING. Once we put ourselves out there, we will indirectly PRESSURE ourselves to KEEP up with OURSELVES.

    Without mental growth, we incapable of being “moral”. Morality stems from the maturity to decide what is wrong and right and how it affects the peoples around you. However, if you are HIGHLY focused on getting the new car or whatever, you lose focus of your moral ground, because your mental capacity to be MORAL, has yet to be developed.

    My mom has forced me to succeed, but I have forced her to accept my own terminology of what success means to me, and not according to what success means within the NIGERIAN context.

    I am done writing.

    • Dimi

      September 17, 2011 at 3:03 am

      So right. Best advise I have received in ages. Social networks really do hold people back.

    • MissCJ

      September 17, 2011 at 9:29 am

      Well said! I believe this is a human issue. There’s greed everywhere. Everyday, there’s a fight between GREED and HUMILITY. I’m Ghanaian and I do not agree with what went on with Kweku one bit. We’re NORMALLY more humble than that, and if he is a 100% responsible, then its a slap on the face of his family and on our values as Ghanaians. If God wants me to be a millionaire, He will lead me the right way, but if He wants me to have ENOUGH, I will gladly take it! More money, more problems, and here is your example.

  17. GOB

    September 16, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Wanting to succeed isn’t the problem, using wisdom guided principles to do so is principal. The pressure to succeed is no reason not to be a person of integrity.

  18. iknowitall

    September 16, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Whilst I am a banker, I really don’t understand how these traders work but I think Kweku must have taken some large positions that ended up making huge losses. In a bud to cover his tracks and undo the damage, he probably ended up worsening it. So I don’t think Kweku did this because he was under enormous pressure to succeed. He did this to save his behind. Apparently, his facebook status last week was “I need a miracle”. As strange as it sounds, I truly feel sorry for him and his family because I don’t think Kweku expected this sort of end for his career. With big positions come huge responsibilities – he clearly wasn’t able to manage his.

  19. Justsaying

    September 16, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    its a combination of societal and parental expectations.

  20. Toyin

    September 16, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Ogaooo he looked like Ebuka big brother for a minute there

  21. mad woman

    September 16, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Well not sure the Kweku issue is an African problem, he is not the first, he won’t be the last, both Barings and Societe Generale can attest to that. One thing that has annoyed me though is the UK press (telegraph yesterday comments page) have gone on to incorrectly state he is Nigerian. Comments such as what do you expect when you give a Nigerian in excess of 2 billion are incorrect and entirely unnecessary.

  22. Teris

    September 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    IMO, two reasons why ppl take the crooked wide path, and the 2nd reason – which i believe applies in this dude’s instance is simply: too much cheese, man! with that kind of cash, he cud disappear and possibly still buy salvation/redemption.

    as per the 1st reason, well that’s really simple. who wants to be broke in old age? as a colleague asked me: wud i rather fly business class now or at 45? and believe me, business class is great!

  23. Gold digger

    September 16, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    una fast sha!!!

  24. Tess

    September 16, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    has he been convicted?

  25. Chizzy.N

    September 16, 2011 at 7:25 pm


  26. e-bukun

    September 16, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    This might seem off tangent but valid nonetheless: I find it interesting that Nigerians want to imitate the Western world because our ideas of the “obodo oyinbo” life are fed by extremely flashy celebrities. The really wealthy people typically don’t go around flaunting. I feel more pressure in Nigeria to look a certain way than in the States. I think our measurement of success in Nigeria is flawed; people should pursue their passions and make something out of them…that’s success.
    I’m going to stop here before I rant on heavily…”Do what you love and love what you do…that’s success”

  27. amina

    September 16, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    this is really sad, such a promising future gone down d drawn. I guess its just greed.

    • amina

      September 16, 2011 at 7:31 pm

      down d drain i mean

  28. Sola

    September 16, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Its really a difficult situation, people want to get rich overnite, forgetting that “the heights reached and kept by great men were not attained by sudden flight, they, while their companions were sleeping, they kept on toiling at nite” working smart and working hard, perseverance and prayer would surely get us to the very top.

  29. partyrider

    September 16, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    the question is:what is my(your)definition of success?
    is it accumulation of wealth,having a fleet of cars,trips around the world and/or fat bank accounts??
    “Success is…
    knowing your purpose in life,
    growing to reach your maximum potential, and
    sowing seeds that benefit others.” -John Maxwell
    i pondered of these words for a long time,and indeed i now see success in that same light.
    for my mum,success for her today is(was) the smiles she put on the faces of patients in her 25years of service as a nurse,and the joy& fulfillment she felt from the “thank you” and “God bless you” patients told her everyday..she will always say that no amount of money supersedes those two phrases..
    if by God’s grace i become the medical doctor i want to be,give back to my community and see that i have touched people’s life..that is all for me!! that is ‘MY SUCCESS ‘ !!!

    what is your definition of success?? this is a very important question,and might be deep if you ponder on it well.think about it today..

    • Purpleicious Babe

      September 17, 2011 at 3:47 pm

      Mehn partyrider u get understanding ohh…

      Deep stuff… I would not have put it better myself.. Thats how I see success.. The different u have made and still making….

  30. AJCiti

    September 16, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I don’t know much about the situation with Mr. Adoboli but I can say that being raised within a Nigerian community has instilled a pressure to succeed in me. I feel like most of my family expects me to have a cookie cutter successful life, graduate university at the top of my class, land a good job, get married, have kids, blah blah blah. Although these are things I do want for myself I feel that my family’s ideal of success is quite close minded.

    I believe that the pressure to succeed comes from love and good intentions, no one wants their child to be poor or struggling, the goal is always to be better than the last generation. I can mildly sympathize with Kweku’s actions because once you’re at the top, you still have to work hard to stay there and one of the hardest things in life is downgrading your lifestyle when you’re used to living in luxury.

    I believe everyone should strive for excellence and work to achieve their goals. Sometimes in your journey it’s necessary for you to mute the influence of your friends and family so you don’t feel the pressure to get yourself into things you didn’t intend to do just for the sake of “success”.

  31. Aibee

    September 16, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    What?! This was posted at 4.41pm and there are no comments yet at 8.17pm? BellaNaijarians (I coined the word hehehehe!) why now? I admit that I heard about Kweku Adoboli for the first time this evening. So I’m gonna google the guy up, do some research and be right back with my comments. Meanwhile, please read and comment oh, my kwantiri people (Bella Naijarians!)

    • sandra

      September 17, 2011 at 7:41 pm

      dude! I was just thinking of the word BellaNigerians last week. She should make shirts or something. We are unique bunch of opinionated time wasters aren’t we?….lol

  32. so true

    September 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    This is article is like God speaking to me. So I’m in Nigeria for holiday and Ive been living abroad for about five years. Ever since Ive been back Im feeling the pressure to push for more than a regular 9-5 job. I feel like a slacker. people are so driven to be successful here. I dont think there is anything wrong with that, however, one has to check their motives for why? I think in our Nigerian culture (I mean I am cautious in speaking for all people let alone other African cultures) but we have mentality that makes us seek wealth as a form of status boost. I do think that has contributed to the corruption and money laundering etc. Anywhoos, Im still trying to figure all this out. However, I have to say, I have a new drive to succeed financially since Ive been back to naija. Is it bad? I cant say. I will have to do some more soul searching.

  33. ifeoma n.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    truly the world is full of people who are ready to judge you when you dont succeed. recently in school i failed woefully, my cgpa came down to a 2.75 and when i got home my dad made my life miserable, he advised me to go into prostitution, said i shld go to tthe roadside and start a trade i swear i nearly committed suicide.I cant thank God enough for my mom. i get that i failed, i av made up my mind not to be a failurevso i think it should end there. If not for christianity i dont know how i coped during the last two weeks. But i think to an extent parents push their children to the wall. I know success is good but the fact that i failed once doesnt make me a failure forever.

    • keji

      September 16, 2011 at 8:53 pm


    • Kilonsparkles

      September 16, 2011 at 11:33 pm


    • Purpleicious Babe

      September 17, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      WOw ifeoma… thanks for sharing. Thank God for your mum. We all have our highs and lows and am glad this is ur testimony Now… May God continue to inspire through his son JESUS….

  34. Lulu

    September 16, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Pressure can be used in two ways; a motivaion to do well or a total drive to do bad things. its really up to the individual to make his/her own choice on how the pressure they are under, is used.

  35. nite

    September 16, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    the urge 2 succeed really takes over these days…why? one reason is dt u finish sch after ur sponsors av spent their hard earned money n r waiting 4 returns…ur friends r doing well n u? nothing! dis kind of pressure often turns pple frm all their gud morals…

  36. nina

    September 16, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Every individual wants to be successful in one aspect of their lives or another. The question is: what length would you go to to achieve success?
    Once in a while, we are tempted to overlook ethics – and this leads to a good life in the short run but in the long run, all the things people thought you were are forgotten and in their place, condemnation.
    In the case of Kweku, he had it all good from birth. people acknowledged his achievements, he was on top of the world, until greed set in. He had no excuse so he should face the consequences of his actions.
    It is fulfilling to be successful whether financially or otherwise but at the end, integrity is the bottom line(for me anyways).

  37. sett

    September 16, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Glory please edit Kweku out of this discussion. The investigation has not even started. UBS had him arrested and they know many more are going down with him..he is probably the lowest in the food chain. no he could not have acted alone so why is he being discusseD?

  38. ufedo

    September 16, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    honestly, i think using kweku as a pivot around which this topic is built is way off point. what he allegedly did and the drive/desire to be successful are not entirely the same. in reference to him, it is too soon to judge him, wait till the investigations is concluded as it is still unfolding. If you knw anything about the world of trade, you will realise that great losses and great profits do occur from time to time and the system in place in these investment banks are so technical, boycotting one will need the connivance of someone within the system. To make maximum profit in finance, you have to take maximum risk, some pay off, some dont. That is the daily job of a trader. sucesses has nothing whatsoever to do with these decisions.

  39. Obi L

    September 16, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Thoughtful writeup.

    However, the details of the alleged crime are yet to emerge. I personally believe if his trade was successful the bank would have heralded him nad given him peanuts in bonus. Listen this happens all the time in corporate world. When the trade bursted he was held instead of the supervisor. Am ehhh?? Not condoning his actions but UBS should own up instead of messing the kid up.

    Has anyone asked how much this kid made for UBS in the past 4 years?

    • Purpleicious Babe

      September 17, 2011 at 3:55 pm

      @OBi L… the last question u asked will not be answered. WHY: Pple do not remember ur goodworks it is the bad ones u they remember (which makes sense).

      Its like having a crate of eggs and one is smelling, look through and if cant find the right one with patience u chuck all of it away including the good ones.

      So my point, U have to maintain the good works so that people will see it and praise ur father in HEAVEN. However, it take grace oh.

  40. Kehinde

    September 16, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    I think this write up is really too soon. This story just broke, currently under investigation and I don’t think it’s fair to to start pointing fingers or apportioning blame as the case is still unfolding and nobody, not even the press here in the UK has precise information as to what went down. I think it’s better to get facts right before drawing conclusions.

  41. Namesabi

    September 16, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Well, well, well! The dark stuff has hit the fan. The guy only flunked the 11th commandment: Thou shall not be caught.
    I have always argued that one must determine the size of success that one can cope with and stop there. Or else the benefits of oversized success usually pale in value compared to the sacrifices and consequences involved.

    As for me, I say ”Blame UBS, Blame Mr. Adoboli. He was pressured, yes but it was his choice and decision to give in. I am happy that he has received fair consideration (at least for now) from the court of public opinion but a Nigerian would have been hanged at first hearing. A quick note to the condescending Ghanaians: Nigeria doesn’t own the monopoly of corruption afterall.

    PS: Ifeoma n. please be strong. You are not alone. God be with u.

  42. Obi

    September 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I think this article is a call for us to evaluate our priorities and principles in life. The
    Kweku “innocent until proven guilty” insert is a side bar. So focusing on him and avoiding the real question embedded in this article …

  43. observer

    September 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    i love this seth guy already………:)

  44. Tiki

    September 17, 2011 at 12:44 am

    This is very unfair. BN, when did you start judging people before they were convicted by a court of law? i mean, ‘While we at BN do not wish to make excuses for Kweku’s actions, we cannot help but wonder why such an evidently smart individual could make such unsavory choices.’, seriously? please give us proof of his unsavory choices if u know of them, so we too can make informed opinions. i am very disappointed in the slant this article took – the point could have been made without implying a guy who has not even been tried, is guilty.

  45. B

    September 17, 2011 at 1:14 am

    “He that is without sin cast the first stone” Dont come on here to judge him,if you work in the city you will know the kind of pressure you have to go through to perform and deliver ,i am not saying what he did is great,if you dig deep this dude Robbed peter to pay paul,he doesnt exactly have the said amount,between investigations are still on going,no city boy or girl can deny minor not so right dealings but not to a big magnitude. The pressure to Succeed is immensly high. If things dont happen,we wont learn,the Universe needs the good and bad to balance. End of

  46. kemi

    September 17, 2011 at 1:14 am

    It’s really true that there is pressure to succeed for the young at heart, at my parents age, they were doing big things and already raising kids…at our own time, it’s not the same way, having a bachelor degree today doesn’t mean anything and might not land a job, it’s so stressful for one this days to feel like you doing great. He’s a young guy to get to where he is in tough times…I hope he doesn’t go to jail or get deported…such a young guy’s career ending in SHAMBLES! Wow! truly disgracing.

  47. Chris

    September 17, 2011 at 2:24 am

    What right do you have to write anything on the guy? Have you any facts? Even UBS hasnt released any statements on what exactly happened, and BELLANAIJA is jumping to conclusions and allowing Glory Edozien to publish an article, this is so irresponsible of you. So from now on when one googles his name, this will come up, imagine if he is innocent.

  48. Lizzy

    September 17, 2011 at 3:15 am

    EVA, you killed it i must say!

    I believe that the main point of this write up is not to discuss Mr. Adoboli’s shortcomings but to step back, re-evaluate ourselves and values, and hopefully realize that our society has been plagued by the GREED DISEASE for too long.
    A family friend recently came to spend a 5 week vacation in the US from Nigeria and one of the things he said to have observed is “Americans save and/or invest their money, but Nigerians look for ways to spend the little we have “. for instance, I was looking at a 60yr birthday party and this lady used 7 different cakes with 7 different outfits all for JUST ONE occasion! Aba, my people that is SICK. I’m afraid if we continue like this, our future is in danger. We are only living in a fantasy, under the shadow of developed countries and fantasies don’t last! I was saddened the last time i visited home (Nigeria). My first perspective was how shallow people could be. Everyone is running after MONEY and “SUCCESS”. To a large extent, NIGERIA IS FULL OF GREED (GREEDY PEOPLE) AND NOT SUCCESS (SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE).
    Success has been reduced to the size of one’s pocket, the labels that we wear, the cars, the type of home that we have or the kinds of job that we do. I believe that success is much deeper than that. It has to do with purpose, vision, character, and integrity. People should ask themselves, why do i want to be an engineer, doctor, business guru, pharmacist, etc? If your answer is because of money, then it is the beginning of failure. How many wealthy (“successful”) people in Nigeria use their wealth to help others that are not related to them. Why must you have 10 cars when there are thousands of Nigerians who can’t even boast of owning a bicycle?! It’s not a crime to be wealthy but what is your PURPOSE? And please my people, it’s also not a crime to be poor so stop looking down on a fellow who cannot afford a BB (which is definitely not the most expensive phone out there but that’s for another discussion)!
    Success shouldn’t come with pressure, at least not pressure in a negative way. People are under pressure to “SUCCEED” because is all for the wrong reasons. The wrong perspective of what success should be is what drives people like Mr. Adoboli to the state in which he finds himself. Please let us learn to give people room to develop/grow in whatever good area they choose. Let’s stop capitalizing on material things. STOP BORROWING MONEY TO TRAVEL ABROAD OR THROW A PARTY, OR BUY A CAR!

    • Purpleicious Babe

      September 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm

      thank u Lizzy… u get the drift…..

    • onyx

      September 17, 2011 at 10:34 pm

      Dude (or babe, whatever)… while I agree that Nigeria is full of shallow people, I think it’s wrong to narrow that definitions to Nigerians only as opposed to westerners. What the heck do you think caused the credit crisis in the Western World that we’re all still labouring to fix?? Was it Nigerians or was it greedy western bankers???

      Greed is international, pls get it straight. The same way people borrow money to meet societal standards in Nigeria is the same way they do in the US and the UK and wherever else. There’s a reason I-Pads (as completely non-essential as they may be) are here to stay and coveted like nothing else matters. I don’t even want to rant but I live in the UK & most people here don’t own s**t, it’s all mortgaged or credit-financed to the hilt. Just live right by God’s standards, whatever your nationality is, das all I’m saying.

  49. KYLE

    September 17, 2011 at 6:15 am

    Wall street bankers are all rogues. Never trust a man in Armani suits.

    • KYLE

      September 17, 2011 at 6:15 am

      Armani suit.

  50. Papa

    September 17, 2011 at 6:54 am

    Errmm, why are most asking for this not to be discussed, innocent till proven guilty and crap like that? Even on Daily Mail, this is major news with gazillion of comments. And the writer or BN has not said Kwenu is guilty at this time though its my belief he and his bosses are guilty, simple. Anyways this is very typical rogue trading, he took a bullish position on the swiss francs and his position went bearish instead. To cover up initial losses, he aggravated it by taking such a position all over again. He earns 200k a year in salary, 400k in bonuses, got promoted to a senior role (after just 1yr of entry graduate position). Summarily, he lacked the competence to do what he does. And I see it everywhere, people thinking work is just guesswork – when it works fine, you’re the genius. Who remembers BP’s GOM oil spill? That’s a classic case of incompetence costing BP at least $30b in cash. It’s a pity with Kwenu and certainly, he will be slapped on the wrist with a light punishment and govt will bail out more UK banks with taxpayer’s money. Just another work day in this silly business.

    • Seyi

      September 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      It’s amazing. You almost sound factual; but you’re not. I’m sure you realise that not everyone is a thug just because they live in a ghetto. The case may have all the markings of what everyone is labelling it: rogue trader, but until a full investigation is carried out in the matter, it’ll all only amount to speculation. This is why th ewiser ones on here are choosing their words carefully, and imploring that we do not reach a non-existent conclusion (at least, for now).


  51. eloho

    September 17, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I think we are all missing the point of Gloria’s write up. It’s not to condemn Kweku. Now please give me a break about not analysing the story sef, if it was a Nigerian guy, no one would check if he was proven guilty, so please save us the moral talk. @Lizzy, the side of Nigeria you saw I bet is one-sided. what you don’t know is how much help rich people give to the ‘poor’. Nigerians love to succeed;yes. Why shouldn’t we? In the states, you have a system that can offer some sort of help there, here, you are on you own. About buying 7 cakes and all; why shouldn’t she? do you know what she has gone through to be there? so she shouldn’t celebrate just because some people can’t afford one cake? In the states, they save to the detriment of others; how many of them can dish out $2,000 or $5,000 to help another person?

  52. Bent JJ

    September 17, 2011 at 10:15 am

    First let’s focus on the main topic of discussion which is “how much pressure are we under to succeed” because its something we really need to define in our own lives. Because hOw you see and define success in your life is how people will define your success.


    September 17, 2011 at 10:28 am


  54. babs

    September 17, 2011 at 11:06 am

    To be candid, anyone who knows how investment banking works will know this is more of being a ‘rogue bank’ than a ‘rogue trader’! Kweku as a derivatives/delta one trader is paid to take discretionary positions on trades and unfortunately these positions in the market went south due to the swiss national bank devaluing the ‘swiss franc’ of recent. If he had made a huge profit from these trades he would obviously have gotten a massive bonus.
    These losses were allegedly incurred over a 3 year period, which brings up the pertinent question ‘is this saying his bosses, the risk and also the compliance department never knew about these trades’?!!!
    I’ll bet my bottom dollar UBS had no choice but to make him the scapegoat as they would have struggled to explain the losses to their investors otherwise.

  55. umo

    September 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

    hhmmmmmm….dats all i can say..

  56. Purpleicious Babe

    September 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    ok.. after reading some intense comments which quite enlightening.

    I want to say THANK TO BN and Gloria for writing this article.

    WHY: the whole point of living is to learn, share knowledge and fulfill purpose.

    I think people are misreading/misunderstanding the point behind this article. I do not think BN intends to crucify or condemn Kweku but to allow us to understand the News around the world. No one said he was guilty or suggesting it, FACT is he was arrested in connection with something that is unlawful. LET LEAVE IT THERE.

    To my point, I am glad I dont feel pressured, I am grateful am not material conscious but I can honestly it is not by my power but of God.

    I think the fact that HE was associated with such is what is so alarming. No am not judging him or condemning him. But there is grace. I am not going to lie, am SOO glad it was not a niaja person.

    I pray grace will continue to abide in our hearts. Please do not trade ur salvation for anything this world has to offer cos in the end you will reap ur rewards on this very earth. God help us to help ourselves….


  57. Seyi

    September 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I personally know Kweku, and though I do not have the full details of the actions carried, I can say that the motive for whatever he did certainly wasn’t greed. It was to keep his job. In the last conversation I had with him, he mentioned to me that a lot of the trading teams had been made redundant, and that his team (which I now presume to be the delta one team) was the only one kept behind because they were outstanding and made a lot of profits. Therefore, there was a lot of pressure to retain a job. Along with that is the need to earn the respect of one’s peers in an environment as driven as trading floors. So you can see how easy it becomes for anyone (and by that I mean anybody) to fall prey to the deep need to success in a place where you have no guarantee of merely being able to keep your job. But rather, you have to earn it everyday. No middle brackets, no average joes; you are either excelling or you’re out, eventually.

    For anyone who cares to listen, Kweku is a decent, level-headed, down-to-earth, painfully honest guy. We should wait till the case unfolds. Till then, let’s hold onto our stones (the ones it seems like we almost throwing right now).

    And for those of us who pray, let’s offer up a word or 2 on his behalf.


    • Seyi

      September 19, 2011 at 11:19 pm

      The correction to this post is below.


  58. Seyi

    September 17, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I personally know Kweku, and though I do not have the full details of the actions carried, I can say that the motive for whatever he is purportedly said to have done, certainly wasn’t greed. He is not that sort of individual. In the last conversation I had with him, he mentioned to me that a lot of the trading teams had been made redundant, and that his team (which I now presume to be the delta one team) was the only one kept behind because they were outstanding and made a lot of profits. There is likely a lot more to this case than we know about right now. This is why an investigation is ongoing. Let’s wait till it concludes and hold onto our stones (the ones it seems like we almost throwing right now).

    For anyone who cares to listen, Kweku is a decent, level-headed, down-to-earth, painfully honest guy.

    And for those of us who pray, let’s offer up a word or 2 on his behalf.


  59. daretospeak

    September 17, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Thank you Kyle, they all are rogues to be honest! Investment banking is about taking risks, most people at the very heart of it are not risk averse, they love to take lots of it, thats the one way they can make huge profits and stay afloat. and just like papa said – when it all works or clicks of course you become a genius and is headhunted sef. So all this story of him loosing the bank money, am sure they probably beeen loosing em a long time ago and this case perphaps will surely expose them and watever discrepancy there is in their security system.

  60. michael

    September 18, 2011 at 3:05 am

    My opinion….its all craze for vanity. “GTB” ICON died without taking a pin. i wonder why we strive so much …maybe because we read less of Ecclesiastes or attend less of funerals. Be successful by leaving a lasting legacy of what true success is. my definition ”finding your true purpose in life and fulfilling it”.

  61. chee!

    September 18, 2011 at 3:35 am

    i think people should enlighten themselves about investment banking and trade before coming to spew out nonsense! he did not steal money for his own personal gain! he just made some wrong trading choices in an already drowning uk banking sector! his bosses knew abt it, someone had to take the fall! i wouldnt be suprised if they even set up this whole fiasco with him in the know!

  62. madman

    September 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    This is not about success, this is about competition in the work place. As long as capitalism exists, competition will always be there. First off, everyone in investment banking does this, this is why he got away with it for soo long. The whole concept of investment banking is based on nothing, abstract theories of “what ifs.” Anyways, he’s is indeed innocent until proven guilty but if he did what he did and made a profit, he wouldn’t certainly NOT be labeled as a rogue. Once again, too bad , because he wasn’t able to make a profit to get himself out of the hole. Once if luck was on his side, he’d be getting a nobel prize or so.

  63. Mabel

    September 19, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Shyt!!! 1.3 billion pounds though? Plus, why does it have to be a black person in this record breaking figure? There goes Tunde’s chance of making it to the top now.

    High achievers have no ability to slow down. My doctor who is only 36 is already a leader in his field and travels extensively all over the world, yet I hardly ever see him and he has never physically examined me, always a resident, nurse or someone else. These high achievers have to almost always sacrifice some part of their humanity to make it to the top, to impress in a life that will one day fade into nothingness. I wish him and his family well though, the humiliation and mental anguish he must be going through is unimaginable to me. Hindsight is 20/20 and I know now he wish he could do it all over again and do it differently this time around.

  64. Nona

    September 20, 2011 at 11:24 am

    All I can say is that he has not been proven guilty,moreover how come the bank’s compliance did not notice the fraud afterall that is y they r paid ……well sha other people r going to go down with him that is for sure . May God help us and all this white collar jobs in blue chip companies.

  65. Fiona

    September 20, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    For all who are thanking God that he wasn’t Nigerian: I understand where you are coming from, but many people (especially in the western world)will only see that he is a black man of African descent, and if he is convicted it will be a blow to every African in this world.

  66. mbulela

    September 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Interesting topic and mostly valid points.
    It also needs pointing out that sites like this contribute to the problem.Everyday we see celebration of persons who have not been patient in the acquisition of their ‘success’, folks whose ‘success’ are even questionable and constant glorification of accessories.

  67. mbulela

    September 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    “Americans save and/or invest their money, but Nigerians look for ways to spend the little we have”.
    @Eva, your family firned who said the above quote is a rotten liar. There are no group of people on planet earth whose lives are as credit dependent as the Americans. Folks who pay for drink on a night out with credit cards and even buy bus tickets with credit cards.Compare that with Nigerians who pay for everything with cash.Nigerians have lots of issues but your family friend was either deluded or outrightly lying.

  68. mbulela

    September 20, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    that quote was from Lizzy not Eva.
    Eva, my sincere apologies.

  69. mbulela

    September 20, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    i am still trying to understand how Kweku got into this topic?
    completely unrelated,unless you know something that the cops ought to know.

  70. mbulela

    September 20, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    @na true,
    dude or gal,
    i feel you.The whole world is a rat race but we Nigerians seem to have a special lane all to ourselves.
    What you describe can best be analysed and researched by behavioural economists and psychologists.
    However, i think it is a societal pressure to conform that induces that desire to ‘succeed’.You are judged by the number of cars you have,the house you live in and how many bottles of Moet you are able to put on the table on friday nites.
    The broken state of infrastructures have only compounded the can’t do simple things in our country for fun.No museums,galleries or even proper packs.going to one of the 3 cinemas in lagos look like a major social function,no proper holiday destination within the country and all that.
    Every little form of recreation involves lots of money,is an act of displaying social status and they all revolve around a display of our accessories.
    Have you attended any of these music concerts at Eko hotel?or seen the pics?Folks buy new outfits for those jams.
    Compare it to similar shows in the west,then you begin to have an idea why the hustle in our country is extra ordinary.
    Accessories and display of possessions are all that we have going for us as a people.

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