Friday, 29 April 2016

NIGERIA DELISTED FROM FASTEST GROWING ECONOMIES IN AFRICA



Nigeria for the first time in 15 years has dropped out of the league of fastest growing economies in Africa, according to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook for Africa in 2016.
The revised outlook released on Tuesday indicates that the country’s economy will grow by a modest 3.2 percent from an average of 7.0 percent it has grown in the last decade, making her drop to the league of slow growing economies.
In 2014 and early 2015, Nigeria was named the third fastest growing economy in the world by CNNMoney with China and Qatar ahead of Nigeria on 7.3 and 7.1 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth, respectively.
The country’s status as one of the world’s fastest growing economies came to fore majorly in the wake of its rebased GDP in 2014, which made it Africa’s largest economy and 26th in the world.
In the revised outlook, the IMF noted Cote d’Ivoire as the fastest growing economy in Africa for 2016 while Chad was named the slowest with expected negative growth.
Specifically, the IMF said Cote d’Ivoire dethroned Africa’s giant, Nigeria, and she is expected to experience an 8.5 percent rise in GDP. On the other hand, Nigeria’s neighbor, Chad, is expected to see a -0.4 percent growth.
Chad like Nigeria is one of the countries suffering from the Boko Harm insurgency and is heavily imperiled by systemic corruption and undemocratic tendencies.
The fastest growing economies in Africa by GDP growth rate, as projected by IMF for 2016 are: Cote D’Ivoire (8.5%), Tanzania (6.9%), Senegal (6.6%), Djibouti (6.5%), Rwanda (6.3%), Kenya (6.0%), Mozambique (6.0%), Central African Republic (5.7%), Sierra Leone (5.3%) and Uganda (5.3%).
Also, DR Congo expects a GDP growth of 4.9 percent; Cameroon, 4.9 percent; Ethiopia, 4.5 percent; Ghana, 4.5 percent, and Republic of Congo, 4.4 percent.
Madagascar, Zambia, and Chad are expected to see a growth of 4.1 percent, 3.4 percent, and 3.2 percent, respectively.
Major oil exporters, Angola, and Nigeria, hard hit by the slump in crude oil prices, are projected to see a growth 2.5 and 2.3 percent, respectively.
Notably, this would be the first time Nigeria’s GDP would slump to 2.3 percent growth since the return of democracy in 1999.
Analysts say the economic success story of the past 16 years is gradually turning gloom as the country’s economic fortunes are fast dropping.
Since the All Progressives Congress (APC) came into power on a change mantra, it has been beset with internal party wrangling and the hounding of the opposition on the guise of corruption.
It was gathered that the country has operated for 26 days without a budget and that no policy direction has been muted by the government let alone being concretised.
Inflation, according to the nation’s statistical agency, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has reached a four-year high of 12.8 percent while unemployment has spiraled out of control as well as infrastructure deficit increasingly becoming acute.
The country’s economic underperformance could also be traced to insecurity largely fuelled by Boko Haram insurgency in the North and falling crude oil prices in the international markets.
The country’s pathetic economic and security situation is topping the bill in issues to be discussed when the IMF, and the World Economic Forum (WEF), would meet in Africa later in May.
Nigeria’s fall was rapid and could be compounded if the government does not make concerted efforts to rein in inhibitive economic policies acting as hazards, the report says.
This dramatic fall amid opportunities and the high hopes expressed by the rest of the world when the new government came in has been blamed on lack of reform and government direction.
The new gem of Africa, it said, is Rwanda, which the report urged should be copied as it has transformed dramatically since the 1994 genocide. She is placed 5th in the fastest growing African economies.
The IMF and World Bank list Rwanda as one of the continent’s most competitive economies and a top reformer in improving the business environment.
“It is important to recognize the challenges that many African economies face – the commodities slump, currency devaluations and geo-security risks all threaten growth,” WEF explained.
Therefore, the May meeting of the Forum will highlight the need for diversification in order to ensure inclusive economic growth, tapping into the fourth industrial revolution’s potential to create new industries and help reduce inequality across the continent.
The World Economic Forum on Africa 2016 will take place in Kigali, Rwanda from May 11-13, highlighting the new influential status of the country.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

18 Rules of Living by the Dalai Lama



1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three Rs: 1. Respect for self 2. Respect for others 3. Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Spits Fire!!! Buhari And Obj More Interested In Oil Block Than The Change They Promised.










Obasanjo endorsed General Buhari as the man to deliver this nation. I was personally shocked when I heard the news. This is because, I was expecting Baba to stay at the touch line, and leave Nigerians to study his body language. But the masquerade could not control his dance in the public market. Hence, he mistakenly flogged his own mother who is also a trader in the market. Nigerians, I am left with no option than to tell us that, these ex-generals and their boys are up to something. The issue at hand is not all about the presidential seat. But rather, the national cake (oil blocks).
Less I forget, is it not the same Obasanjo who woke up and hand picked his puppet 2011, who eventually grew like Joseph the messiah of Egypt? Is it not the same Obj that told us 2011, that General Buhari is too old to rule this country? Is it not the same Obj that told us Buhari is a dictator? Somebody should have a rethink like me. We must understand the preacher’s language before decoding his message. If Obj can take a swift and prefer General Buhari to Jonathan, a puppet he dedicated his energy and resources to win 2011 election, then as an average Nigerian, we should have a rethink and ask our leaders what is so special in Aso Rock. If leadership is to serve the people, why is it that,the ex-generals finally gang up against their new recruit on account of change? If we’re to outline the sins of Mr.President, are the ex- generals not guilty of such sins? One may ask why is SPEAKER taking a swift? Everybody wants change. But I am astonished the way and manner these ex- general joined the train of change. Is it that, this is the first time they heard the word change? If NO, why did they not change this country when they were given opportunity? Why advocating for change now when the puppet body language shows he Will not renew their oil blocks licence? Why advocating for change now, when the puppet purchased equipment to monitor and reduce vandalism? Why advocating for change now, when the strong headed puppet wiped out their ghost names from the civil service payroll?
Why advocating for change now, when the puppet sacked your boys as corrupt ministers? Why advocating for change now, when the puppet refused to dump Sambo for another puppet? Why advocating for change when he refused to kill Nigerians indiscriminately. But rather he is exploiting all means of dialogue. Unlike your Odi brutal killings and destruction.
Why advocating for change now, when the puppet refused to twist governors hands with EFCC to pave his way like you did? Why advocating for change now, when at 72 years, you still tell your children of 50years they are the leaders of tomorrow? Why advocating for change now, when the puppet refused to give you the fertilizer deal? Why advocating for change now, when the puppet refused to jail your enemies? Why advocating for change now, when the puppet refused to rig the election for your daughter? Why advocating for change now, when in your time railways were not working? Why advocating for change, when in your time, our judiciary could not deliver a fair judgement in favour of oppositions? Baba, Nigerians are fed up of you sitting in Otta, deciding their future. We want to decide our destiny with the help of God. We want to practice true democracy by using our votes to decide our future. Let the good works or antecedents of our leaders speak volume for them. Just after the presidential chat with Mr.President, we discovered that you, your colleagues and errant boys, are spreading false information to pave your way to Aso rock. Lastly, I challenge you Baba, #Tinubu, #Atiku and others to tell Nigerians you don’t have oil blocks or you Generals are not fighting the last battle to protect your oil blocks. They won’t come out and speak my brothers and sisters. They want us to believe they are fighting for us. When they have their own local refineries at their backyards. R..I.P Fela: Animals wan dash me my human right.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Reuben Abati: The Senate needs to be rescued


The present Senate serving the Nigerian people runs the risk of being remembered as the worst since 1999. Public Relations Consultants and media officials of this particular Senate have done their part flooding both the print and the online media with details of how productive the Bukola Saraki-led Senate has been, and they have been quite aggressive in telling us about 30 important Bills which when passed, will change the face of Nigeria and deliver change. The Senate according to one report has considered over 125 bills, debated over 48 motions, and passed three bills. But nobody is apparently impressed. During the Jonathan administration, the Senate was the better regarded of the two legislative chambers. While members of the House of Representatives in the Seventh Assembly behaved as if they were a band of students’ unionists, the then Red Chamber projected an image of maturity and temperance, even if it was also self-serving! With the 8th Assembly, the House of Representatives, apart from the shameful resort to physical combat over the distribution of “juicy” committees in November 2015, has shown itself to be better organized than the present Senate. The critical difference is that of leadership. It is one of management. It is a matter of weight and politics. Many Nigerians would find it difficult to see how a Senate whose leader is on trial for corruption-related matters, and that has chosen to buy for its members, luxury SUV vehicles at inflated cost can claim to be helping Nigerians at a time when the economy is on a tragic downward spiral, and yet the same Senators had allegedly collected vehicle loans. This has brought the Senate condemnation from both the Nigeria Labour Congress and a coalition of about 400 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). What is clear is that the leadership recruitment and selection process in the legislative arm of government is as critical as it is in any other sphere of government. During the 7th Assembly, the politics of the emergence of the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, a PDP lawmaker who became an agent and later, chieftain of the opposition party, ensured that the House remained almost permanently in a frosty relationship with the Executive. Likewise, the manner of Bukola Saraki’s emergence as Senate President, marked again by alleged disloyalty to his own party and collusion with the opposition for personal gains, has laid the foundation for the supremacy of intrigues, cabals, and the politics of mischief in a Chamber that should be devoted strictly to the making of laws for the good governance of Nigeria. His colleague in the House of Representatives also emerged under controversial circumstances, but Yakubu Dogara’s politics seems to be better managed. Saraki’s politics is made more complex by the fact that he has strong roots in the two dominant parties in the National Assembly and has proven to be extremely influential across party lines, making him a dominant force in Nigeria’s current power equation, and most certainly, a threat to other power centres. Online, the Saraki-led Senate claims that it has done a lot, even if it has spent more time being on vacation in less than a year, and obsessed daily with the politics of contradictions. The Senate President once reportedly boasted that the Senate under his watch has helped to block corruption by helping Nigeria to save money. He talked about the Senate’s probe of the Treasury Single Account (TSA). But now, here is the contradiction: Many Nigerians would find it difficult to see how a Senate whose leader is on trial for corruption-related matters, and that has chosen to buy for its members, luxury SUV vehicles at inflated cost can claim to be helping Nigerians at a time when the economy is on a tragic downward spiral, and yet the same Senators had allegedly collected vehicle loans. This has brought the Senate condemnation from both the Nigeria Labour Congress and a coalition of about 400 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). But we know where the problem lies: politicians are always playing games, and the Senate under Bukola Saraki’s watch has acted more than once, as if it is against the people. This Senate has had to reverse itself thrice in the last one month following public outcry about its lack of moral rectitude. The painful reality is that the impression has now been created that the Senate as presently constituted is playing the politics of one man. It has reduced itself to a Saraki-must-stay-and-the-Executive-and-anti-Saraki-APC-leaders-must-bow-Red-Chamber. Most members of the House of Representatives have tactfully stayed away from this abuse of privilege and utter contempt for the original mandate of the National Assembly, but they need to be advised to also stay away from the kind of infectious madness that seems to be seizing hold of the Senate. It is a form of madness that encourages recourse to farce, burlesque and conspicuous acquisition. Senate President Bukola Saraki may not have read Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power, for he seems to have broken too many of those laws already; perhaps he has read The Art of War by Sun Tzu. He should have been told that to rush headlong into war without mastering the dynamics of power is costly. This is one bitter political lesson about the strategy of war that Senator Saraki is currently learning. But now that he has gone so deep into the battlefield, he may no longer be allowed to surrender or retreat, even as his troops are gradually fleeing Determined to show support for their embattled Senate President who is on trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), and whose name has also been mentioned in the Panama Papers scandal, many of the Senators abandoned the Senate Chambers and started following their boss to the Tribunal. On one occasion as many as close to 50 Senators abandoned their primary assignment and chose to go and play politics at the Tribunal. If this seeming relocation of the Senate to the Code of Conduct Tribunal was meant to intimidate the presiding judge, His Lordship has refused to be intimidated, either by the crowd or the convoy of buses or the retinue of 90 defence lawyers. He has now chosen to attend to the case on a daily basis. The number of Senators doing follow-follow has since reduced: it will of course, be absurd to shut down the entire Senate to embark on sycophantic frolic. Nonetheless, the Saraki case is taking its toll on the Senate. It has placed it on a collision course with a court of competent jurisdiction, with the Executive and also divided the ruling All Progressives Congress. It has also led to a situation whereby the lawmakers even attempted to change the Code of Conduct Bureau Act in an obvious attempt to frustrate the Saraki trial. In less than 48 hours, the amendment bill went through first and second readings. If there had been no public outcry, the lawmakers would have passed the bill in less than 72 hours. It would have been the fastest piece of legislation ever, and yet it was meant to be self-serving: making a law to sabotage due process, even when they know that a law cannot have retroactive effect. When that failed, our Senators came up with the ingenious idea that the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal must appear before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions. An indignant crowd of civil society agitators also shut that down. The Chairman of the CCT has also been a target of campaigns of calumny. Saraki’s supporters are throwing everything possible into this matter, where the legal process fails, the legislative process is deployed; when that also fails, an internet war, rallies, protests, all designed to win the public mind is launched. Saraki has stepped on the proverbial Banana peel; as he struggles for survival, our Senate, the people’s Senate, must not be allowed to fail as a public institution. Senator Saraki should step aside, for now, as Senate President. If he emerges victorious from his travails, his colleagues should do him the honour of reinstating him to that office of honour, without question. Senate President Bukola Saraki may not have read Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power, for he seems to have broken too many of those laws already; perhaps he has read The Art of War by Sun Tzu. He should have been told that to rush headlong into war without mastering the dynamics of power is costly. This is one bitter political lesson about the strategy of war that Senator Saraki is currently learning. But now that he has gone so deep into the battlefield, he may no longer be allowed to surrender or retreat, even as his troops are gradually fleeing. Saraki has stepped on the proverbial Banana peel; as he struggles for survival, our Senate, the people’s Senate, must not be allowed to fail as a public institution. Senator Saraki should step aside, for now, as Senate President. If he emerges victorious from his travails, his colleagues should do him the honour of reinstating him to that office of honour, without question. But if he loses, he should remember that war only offers two possibilities, and even when a warrior wins, there may still be dangers on the way back home. In all, the politics of Saraki’s trial should not consume the Senate, and indeed the 8th Assembly. “So far, so good”, Saka Olawale wrote assessing the present Senate. I don’t think so. If anything, this Senate needs to be rescued. Whatever explanations our present set of Senators offers would be difficult to believe given the manner in which they have exposed their own limitations. The Senate cannot even keep documents. Copies of the 2016 Budget vanished from its custody. The copies when eventually found mutated into versions unknown to the Executive arm that presented the same Budget at an open ceremony. For five months, the Senate is embroiled in a needless controversy over the content of the Budget. What is worse: In almost one year, no Senator can be quoted as having said anything engaging or profound. The only Senator who makes a serious effort to display some common sense is far more active on Twitter than on the floor of the Senate. The more prominent Senators are known for their rabid politicking or their wardrobe or exotic cars or the comedy that they provide. One of them even came up with a bill to gag free speech. It was in this same Senate that some male chauvinists declared that women cannot have any equal rights with men, and so a Gender Equality Bill is unacceptable. They failed to realize that in the United States, whose Constitutional democracy we are copying, a woman is only a short distance away from emerging as Presidential candidate of the Democratic Party and as 45th President of the United States. I imagine many of them struggling to be photographed with the same woman if they are so privileged. Was it also not in this same Senate that a member argued that Nigerian lawmakers should only patronise Made-in-Nigeria-women? This was meant to be a “brilliant” contribution to a debate on the need to promote Made-in-Nigeria goods. How dumb! And this kindergarten level statement actually generated some debate! Challenging as the democratic process may have been, Nigerians can still remember a few Senators of old who sat in that same Assembly and made impact with their interventions and insightful speeches. To now have a group of Senators who crack jokes, borrow their imageries from road side bars, embark on a frolic, or spend time on sycophantic exertions, and when called upon, prove annoyingly incapable of analyzing and interrogating policies and making solid contributions is sad. We expect this to change. *This article was originally titled: The Senate, CCT and the politics of Saraki’s trial

N2.5bn fraud: EFCC arrests Jonathan’s campaign director, Senator Nenadi Usman


THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested the Director of Finance of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Senator Nenadi Usman, for allegedly receiving N2.5bn from the Central Bank of Nigeria. A top official of the EFCC, who confided in The PUNCH, said the former minister was arrested on Thursday in Abuja. All funds that came from the Presidency during the campaign were believed to have come through Usman. Usman, who is also a former Minister of State for Finance, had been on the radar of the EFCC for several weeks but she travelled out of the country on March 13, 2016 thereby stalling investigations. According to impeccable sources at the anti-graft agency, N4bn was transferred from the account of the CBN into a mysterious account known as the Ministry of External Affairs Library. The mysterious account was believed to be a conduit put in place by the Office of the National Security Adviser on the instructions of the Presidency. From the mysterious account, N2.5bn was said to have been transferred to the company account of Usman while N140m cash was allegedly paid into her Zenith Bank account with number, 1000158311, domiciled in 7 Kachia Road, Kaduna. The said transfer was said to have taken place in January 2015, during the build-up to the last presidential election. The PUNCH had reported in March that Usman, on the instructions of a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, transferred different sums of money to several individuals and interest groups during the build-up to the last general elections. Usman allegedly transferred money to several persons through the bank account of a company, Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited. Through the said account, the Director of Publicity of the Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, received N840m. According to the documents sighted by our correspondent, the money was deposited into Fani-Kayode’s Zenith Bank account, Maitama branch with account number 1004735721 on February 19, 2015. EFCC sources said a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Chief Olu Falae, received N100m through a company, Marreco Limited, where he is chairman. The fund was credited into the company’s United Bank for Africa Plc account number 1000627022. About N320m was also paid into the bank account of the Goodluck Support Group, an association of over 100 pro-Jonathan groups headed by Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Political Affairs, Prof. Rufai Alkali. However, many of the recipients of the money said they did not know that the funds emanated from the CBN as they were told by Usman that they were sourced privately. A detective at the EFCC described Usman’s arrest as a breakthrough, adding that she would be able to shed more light on the controversy. He said, “A lot of people who received money during the campaign claimed to have received money from Nenadi Usman. Since she was in charge of funds, she will be able to list the names of those who collected money and if the money was approved by Jonathan. “There is no part of the constitution which gives the CBN the right to fund a political party. Usman must therefore tell us why the CBN gave her money.” It was gathered that the former Finance Minister was being interrogated at the EFCC headquarters as of the time of filing this report. Meanwhile, the EFCC has also traced N316m to the company account of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Clement Iloh. Our correspondent learnt that Iloh was currently in the EFCC custody as part of investigations into the fraud at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency under the leadership of the immediate past Director-General of the agency, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi. A reliable source in the anti-graft agency told our correspondent that the N316m was traced to Iloh’s company account domiciled in Zenith Bank in contravention of Civil Service Rules. The Civil Service Rules Part I, Fifth Schedule, Section 2 (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that, “A public officer shall not, except where he is not employed on a full-time basis, engage or participate in the management or running of any private business, profession or trade, but nothing shall prevent a public officer from engaging in farming.” The source, who did not want his name in print, said the permanent secretary was undergoing interrogation at the Lagos office of the EFCC as of Wednesday. The detective said N14.1m was traced to Iloh’s bank account from NIMASA. He said, “In the course of investigating the Technical Committee for Ratification of MLC of NIMASA, we traced about N14.1m from NIMASA’s account to a company account belonging to Clement, Bob and Associates domiciled in Zenith Bank. Upon investigations, we found out that the account belonged to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Clement Iloh, who is the sole signatory. He is being investigated because we traced N316m to a company belonging to him. “The name of the company is Clement, Bob and Associates. Investigations revealed that Iloh is a signatory to the account which is domiciled in Zenith Bank.” It was learnt that although NIMASA is not under the supervision of the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, the ministry is concerned with relations between workers and employers. Last year, Iloh as the permanent secretary headed the ministry for several months in the absence of a minister, overseeing labour matters at NIMASA. The source stated that the EFCC traced some money from what he called ‘maritime labour services’ into Iloh’s account.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Asiwaju: why contestation for supremacy among yoruba Obas will linger.


By MUYIWA ADEYEMI (Head South West Bureau) | 17 April 2016 | 2:24 am For Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Lagos, Anthony Asiwaju, contestation for supremacy among and between Yoruba Obas will continue to linger because of the politicisation of Yorubaland’s oral tradition. Asiwaju, who turns 77 on April 27, in this interview with The Guardian at his Imeko, Ogun State residence gave an historical and deep scholarly insight into the recent debate between the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo and the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona and advised the Yoruba Obas to be humble enough to read and learn more about their history, beyond what is traditionally transmitted in the local courts and palaces. MUYIWA ADEYEMI (Head South West Bureau) reports. Why has supremacy tussle among Yoruba Obas become a recurring decimal? A recurring decimal, indeed! The controversy was ignited early during European colonial rule. It all started when the British authorities tried using the Obaship institution to achieve in Yorubaland what their so-called Indirect Rule system was attaining for them in the Northern Emirates of Nigeria. The encounter with a bewildering number of traditional rulers in several parts of Yorubaland caused the colonial authorities to inquire after who is who among them. And since they had come to know that Ile-Ife is the commonly acclaimed ancestral home of most of the claimants, the Ooni of Ife became the point of reference. The British were also informed of the Old Oyo Empire, hence their use of the Alaafin to erect the artefact that has been aptly styled the ‘New Oyo Empire,’ which in the heydays of indirect rule in western Nigeria, comprised the combined areas of present-day Oyo and Osun States. The European enquiries of the colonial period, contained in the wide-ranging Intelligence Reports that eventually became useful source of materials for a more scientific historical research, introduced us to the reason for the controversy and its interminable nature. It is that the main source of the history on which the claims and counter-claims are rested is oral and when, as in the subject under discussion, the concern is about power and power relations, oral traditions become especially contentious and highly politicised. Can you elaborate on this? My thoughts on the subject were first polled together in a 1975 scholarly study, titled ‘Political Motivation and Oral Tradition in Africa: The Case of Yoruba Beaded Crowns,’ published in Africa (Quarterly Journal of International Africa Institute – IAI, London), 46, 2, 113 – 127. It touches on the contending issues of the number of what we may call foundation or pioneer ‘beaded crowns’ and their hierarchy. The publication elaborates on the inherent nature of the debate and the pragmatic character of state policy. Take first the issue of endless debate, relating to the number of foundation-beaded crowns. The current claim by the Alake, paramount ruler of Egbaland, sharply contradicted by the Awujale of Ijebuland, was about the so-called ‘big five:’ Ooni of Ife, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba of Benin, the Alake and the Awujale in that hierarchical order. The point in this claim and counter-claim is that both sides conveniently ignored a pre-existing popular list of the principal seven in Samuel Johnson’s admittedly Oyo-biased History of the Yorubas (CMS, 1921), namely: the Olowu of Owu, Alaketu of Ketu, the Onisabe of Sabe, the Orangun of Ila, the Oba of Benin, the Onipopo of Popo and the Alaafin of Oyo. You can see that this more widely circulated alternative list excludes not only the Alake and the Awujale, the two protagonists in the current debate; it also does not include the Ooni of Ife, whose visit to the Alake sparked off the debate. My 1975 publication had indicated other lists in accordance with the perspectives in other competing Yoruba Oral Traditions, e.g. the Ife and the Ekiti versions of 16, though of different details, and the 29 of the Ijesa. It may serve some purpose to recall here the well-known life-long contestation for supremacy between the immediate past Ooni of Ife, Oba Sijuade Olubuse and the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, based on the contrast between the different oral historical perspectives. In all of this, how do we locate the Alake of Egbaland and Awujale of Ijebuland? This question relates to the issue of categorisation, if not ranking, which is not less contentious in the sources. But there is a point in the Awujale’s comment regarding the probability of some of the ‘beaded crowns’ being primary and others of secondary derivation. Thus, for example, we know of a fact that the hallowed stool of today’s Alake of Egbaland was originally derived from Ketu, the ancient Yoruba Kingdom, now in the Republic of Benin. This view is based on the unanimity of the oral traditions, as recorded in Ketu and Ake itself (See E. Geoffrey Parrinder, The Story of Ketu, 1956, and Saburi Biobaku, The Egba and Their Neighbours, 1957). Of course, the Ketu connection in reference predated the Abeokuta phase of Egba history, where the stool was a resuscitation of 1854, thanks to the prodding and encouragement of the Christian missionaries and officials of the British Crown, who followed them there. By reason, therefore, of the common agreement of the Ketu and Ake oral tradition, the Alake dynasty is arguably a secondary derivation from the Alaketu, which may be reasonably viewed, as one of the originally few Yoruba Obas of direct descendant from the Yoruba ancestral home of Ile-Ife. The present Alaketu of Ketu, Oba Basil Adiro Alade-Ife rehashed this point during an elaborate reception organised for him by the Ogun State Government in Abeokuta on June 6, 2006. The statement came as a response to an assertion made at the same occasion by the Alake of Egbaland, to the effect that the visiting Alaketu is his ‘son’, whereas the boot was on the other foot of the enshrined genealogy of the Yoruba monarchical institution. On the other hand, the Awujale would appear to have held sway as the primary monarch of the ancient Ijebu Kingdom over the entire period that dates back to the arrival of the Oduduwa group led by Obanta or Olu Iwa, acclaimed founder of the dynasty, from Ile-Ife via an eastern route through the same Rain Forest, where the founders of Ondo and related kingdoms of Ile-Oluji and Idanre settled. What would you say about the Ijebu in this order? Bearing in mind the aforementioned observations, I should say the Awujale dynasty and the masses of the Ijebu are definitely a part of the larger Yoruba cultural complex, and the statement credited to the Awujale, in terms of origination of the dynasty from Wadai in present-day Republic of Sudan, west of Borno, does not contradict this obvious fact. After all, Samuel Johnson, Olumide Lucas (see his The Religion of the Yorubas… Especially in Relation to the Religion of Ancient Egypt, CMS 1948) and even Biobaku are known to have argued, though controversially, for an origination in the remotest period of history from ancient Egypt and even Saudi Arabia. There have been stories about the migratory route passing through Nubia, Wadai, Borno and Kwararafa, a routing that formed the basis of some belief in the historical connection between Yoruba-speaking peoples on the one hand and, on the other, such other peoples as the Nubians in Southern Sudan, the Kanuri (issues of the Gogobiri legend) and the Kwararafa, particularly the stool of the Aku of Wukari. There are similar legends connecting the Kisra migration stories and the foundation of traditional ruling elites of the Bariba of Borgu with the Odudua legendary migration from ‘the East’ to Ile Ife. Is there any established research work that supports Awujale’s Wadai claim of origination of the Ijebus? I have already made pertinent allusions to the Wadai claim of the origination, not of the Ijebu, but more specifically the Awujale dynasty. I have suggested that the Awujale’s claim to Wadai origination was probably in reference to the controversial school of thought, pioneered by Johnson and Lucas, regarding Eastern origination of the Yoruba culture. I have emphasised repeatedly that our focus in this interview is on the Yoruba ruling dynasties, not necessarily on the larger history of the people themselves. With regards to the people, in this case the Ijebu sub-group of the Yoruba-speaking cultural complex, reference has been made to the historical integration or fusion of the pre-Obanta or pre-Odudua Agemo stock with the in-coming Oduduwa elements, founders of the Awujale dynasty. It is in this connection that Oba Sikiru Adetona, the esteemed Awujale of Ijebuland, has made reference to the Ijebu as a distinct, if not a distinguished Yoruba sub-group and cited the book on The Ijebu of Yorubaland by Professor E.A. Ayandele, a highly renowned Nigerian historian. One other work of distinction on the Ijebu is Ijebu Under Colonial Rule by Tunde Oduwobi, Senior Lecturer at the University of Lagos. Are you saying the Awujale throne cannot be separated from the Oduduwa Stock? Yes. It is part and parcel of the Oduduwa hegemonic penetration that changed the historical dynamics of Yorubaland. Does that mean the Awujale’s crown is older than that of the Alake’s? Yes, if the reference is to the Alake in the Abeokuta phase of Egba history. Okukenu, the first Alake in Abeokuta, the great ancestor of Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, Okukeni IV, was enthroned only in 1854, 24 years after the foundation of the Egba metropolis, thanks to the encouragement of the Christian Missionaries and visiting agents of the British Crown. The Alake’s throne at the Ake homestead in the historic Egba Forest was technically abrogated, like virtually those of the other Yoruba Obas, following the turbulence of the infamous 19th Century Wars that led to the destruction of most of the pre-existing Yoruba ancestral cities and kingdoms, including Ile-Ife, Old Oyo, Owu, Ketu, Sabe and Ila among others and wide-spread ascendancy of the military class all over Yorubaland, including Ijebu Ode and wider area of the Ijebu Kingdom, where, for quite a while, military personages such as Balogun Kuku and Onafowokan eclipsed the Awujale and the Ijebu civil order. In light of this inherently interminable tussle among Yoruba Obas, which threatens the unity of the land and the people, what suggestions would you offer? My first suggestion is for Yoruba royal fathers to be sensitive to the vulnerability of historical sources on which their titles and positions are based and the need, therefore, for them to be more cautious in their public pronouncements. This is especially important, if the concern is the promotion of unity across the entire culture area in Nigeria and, why not even across the border in the Republic of Benin and beyond? In this important regard, I would urge that revered Yoruba Obas be humble enough to read and learn more about their constituents’ history, beyond what is traditionally transmitted in the local courts and palaces. Personally, I think it is significant that the latest outburst on the supremacy tussle, the Awujale’s understandable tirade against the Alake, was during the fund-raising for the Chair of Governance at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), in honour of Oba Sikiru Adetona, the Awujale and ‘Orisa Ijebu’. The event, including the statement by the Awujale, as well as the keynote by the venerable Professor Akin Mabogunje and the intervention of the Emir of Kano and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Alhaji Lamido Sanusi Lamido, all point to critical issues of governance in Nigeria. Professor Mabogunje’s keynote was focused on the deplorable state of Local Governments, which coincided with Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State’s announcement that his administration is resolved to increase the number of Local councils in the state from 20 to 57. The Emir of Kano’s intervention hammered on the budget implications of the over-sized Federal Government bureaucracy. The presence of the Awujale and other traditional rulers, including the Emir, at the occasion, aside the Awujale’s statement under discussion, clearly attested to yet another fundamental challenge to governance in Nigeria, namely: the contradiction in what I once referred to as ‘a republic of thousand kings’. All together, there is an underscoring of the pertinence and relevance of the Oba Sikiru Adetona Chair of Governance at the OOU.

Pension: EFCC arrests suspended DG, others for N2.5bn fraud


April 20, 2016 Suspended Director-General, of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Nelly Mayshak Eniola Akinkuotu and Ifeanyi Onuba The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested the suspended Director-General, of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Nelly Mayshak, and three others, Yoab Youssoufou, Patricia Iyogun, and Ruth Imonikhe for a N2.5bn fraud. PTAD is an independent pension agency established in August 2013 to oversee the management of pensions under the Defined Benefit Scheme for pensioners not transiting to the defined contributory scheme. It will be recalled that Mayshak was last month placed on an indefinite suspension and investigated after it was discovered that she allegedly received N50m monthly in salary and allowances. According to sources at the EFCC, investigations into the alleged fraud revealed that Mayshak allegedly misappropriated about N2bn that was left in the pensions’ account of the Head of the Civil Service, Nigeria Immigrations Service, Nigeria Customs Service, and Nigeria Prisons Service. She also allegedly embezzled about N500m meant as the take-off grant for PTAD. The alleged scam, which borders on procurement fraud, was committed during her three-year tenure. A detective at the anti-graft agency told our correspondent that Mayshak allegedly awarded several fictitious contracts to her cronies at PTAD, one of whom was her sister-in-law. A source at the EFCC said, “In one instance, Mayshak allegedly approved N25,410,000 for the supply of 121,000,000 litres of fuel in one day when in fact there was no corresponding storage capacity, as PTAD only has a storage capacity of about 11,000 litres, which lasts for about a month. “Mayshak is alleged to have awarded several phony contracts to cronies and members of staff of PTAD, through which she used to enrich herself as they only served as fronts for her. “Between December 8 and 30, 2014 she awarded multiple contracts to one company , Interactive Wide Nigeria Limited to the tune of N29,377,993.26. Contracts for the supply of office materials, air conditioners, and conference materials to the tune of N375, 704,287 were awarded to Belzacode, Hosley Nigeria Limited, and Pabak Nigeria Limited.” Investigations revealed that one of the suspects, Yousoufou, who is the Team Leader, ICT Department, owned Belzacode; while Imonihke, Team Leader, DG’s Office, owned Hosley Nigeria Limited. Iyogun, who is Team Leader, Customs, Immigration, Prisons, Pensions Department, and also a sister-in-law to Mayshak, owned Pabak Nigeria Limited. The anti-graft agency, however, said the three suspects were merely fronts for the prime suspect, Mayshak. The suspects will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded. The latest arrest of Mayshak is one of many pension scams in recent times. Last year the EFCC declared wanted Mr. Abdulrsheed Maina, a former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, for his role in the fraudulent biometric contracts through which he and a former Head of Service, Steve Oronsaye, and two others allegedly stole over N2bn of pension funds. The International Police Organisation has already issued a ‘Red Notice’ on Maina, who is believed to have fled to Dubai. Attempts to get comments from the spokesperson for PTAD, Mrs. Theodora Amechi ,were not successful as calls made to her mobile line did not connect. Similarly a text message sent to her phone had yet to be responded to as of 7.56pm on Tuesday night.

FG loses N1bn to 37,395 ghost workers—EFCC


ON APRIL 20, 20164:50 The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, said yesterday that the Federal Government had uncovered 37,395 ghost workers on the payroll of the Federal Civil Service, which led to a loss of about N1 billion. EFCC’s acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, made the disclosure during an anti-corruption sensitisation programme organised for staff of works and housing sectors. Magu said apart from the widespread procurement frauds in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, the issue of ghost workers was a source of serious concern to the commission. He said: “EFCC has uncovered 37,395 ghost workers in the Federal Civil Service and investigation is still going on. Our investigations have so far revealed that the Federal Government has lost close to N1 billion to these ghost workers. “The figure will definitely increase as we unravel more ghost workers buried deep in Federal Civil Service payrolls.” He also explained that the commission had established a Procurement Fraud Unit to handle the increasing number of petitions relating to violations of the Public Procurement Laws. He, therefore, advised civil servants to avoid any act that was in breach of public procurement procedures, warning that violators risked imprisonment and dismissal from service. Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary (Works and Housing), Abubakar Magaji, said as drivers of government policies, MDAs should be in the forefront of compliance with public service laws and regulations. He said the works and housing sectors had resolved to regularly organise interactive sessions to re-orientate officers on the importance of compliance with extant laws, regulations and guidelines. Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/04/fg-loses-n1bn-37395-ghost-workers-efcc/

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

HYSTERIA, EUPHORIA & AMNESIA: NIGERIA’S LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, BY MATTHEW KUKAH


Below is an excerpt of a lecture delivered by Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Bishop of Sokoto at the Platform, Covenant Centre, Lagos, on October 1, 2015. (FOT THE RECORDS) Read full text: For years and perhaps out of deep frustration, Nigerians have raised up messiahs, hoping and praying that they would take away their sins and sufferings and usher in a new dawn. But, in almost all instances, our joys have turned into ashes. For over fifty years, we have celebrated every military or civilian regime only to lose patience and fall into depression. Under the civilian administrations, we have often summoned the military to come to our rescue. Some years back, while I was in Oxford and working on my book, a friend of mine, a retired military officer paid me a visit. We got talking about our country. I told him I really wanted to know how military coups were planned because I had never really read anything about coup plotting. He laughed and offered me some insights. I asked him if I could have him on tape and he said yes. In summary, he said something like this: The idea of a coup could come from an individual who might then sell it to another very close friend. It is hard to know whom to trust so you have to know how to send out feelers. So, for example, you meet a friend and you ask, how are things? And he says, well, my brother, country hard. You could go on and say something like, how can things be so bad? Will we continue like this? It is really terrible. Then you watch and see or hear his reaction. If he is of the same feeling of frustration, then you know that he is a good material and you go from there. Just like that? I said. He continued: Well, you keep sharing the feelings and then from two of you, the circle could gradually increase until you become a small core group. You then get to work and this could take months to plan. But when you are done with planning, the challenge is how to gauge the mood of the country to be sure that the coup might be popular. At this point, we then reach out to our friends in the media. We get people to write articles, editorial opinions, saying how bad things are in the country. Gradually, the people themselves begin to feel that things are really bad. Even those who are doing well may begin to feel guilty and so on. By doing this, we set the tone for public approval. This is why you always see people on the streets, rejoicing and welcoming us as messiahs and redeemers. The rest, as they say is history. The hysteria and euphoria that greeted General Buhari’s election victory is reminiscent of these sentiments. You get a sense of de javu, we have been on this road before, it all looks so familiar. I have listened to Nigerians sing the praises of General Buhari as a morally ramrod Muslim, God fearing, a disciplined officer, a patriot, an incorruptible man who is now been adorned with a messianic regalia. We are told that he will take us to the promised land, Nigerians argue by ridding our nation of the devil of corruption. And, as they say, we shall live happy ever after. I do not disagree with these sentiments. Some like myself have known the man for the better part of twenty years and can even claim some level of friendship and greater familiarity than most of those who met General Buhari after worship at the Church of latter day saints. However, I believe that Nigerians are very much mistaken in associating fear of God and goodness Going forward, I want to do three things in this presentation. First, I will define the key words in this presentation. Secondly, I will then try to look back at how the so-called fight against corruption has been deployed by the successive military regimes as a means of seducing us into compliance. My concern is whether we shall continue to fall for the same all tricks given that after over fifty years, we are nowhere near achieving success in our fight against corruption. 1: Hysteria, Euphoria & Amnesia: Definitions and Conceptual clarifications: Against the backdrop of what I have said, I hope you can now understand why I chose the words, hysteria, euphoria and amnesia as a way of interrogating the situation we are in. So far, what I have tried to do is to draw attention to the fact that we have been on this road before. What lessons are there for us to learn? By way of conclusion, I wish to now turn my attention to examining why I believe that ours is a case of a long walk to freedom. My Apple computer dictionary defines hysteria as follows; exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement, especially among a group of people…. psychological disorder whose symptoms include conversion of psychological stress into physical symptoms, shown in volatile emotions, overdramatic or attention seeking behaviour. While Euphoria is defined as; a state of intense excitement and happiness, Amnesia defined and associated with, total or partial loss of memory. Amnesia is defined as; partial or total loss of memory. I believe that the outpouring of emotions welcoming the new administration was necessary and understandable, given the nature of the trepidation ahead of the elections. However, now that we have been able to catch our breathe, what should we make of this hysteria and euphoria? Personally, with some trepidation, the sense of de javu manifested in the blind hysterical and euphoric outpouring of emotions welcoming the return of President Buhari and the belief that he has come to take our sins away. The sense that somehow, we should simply fold our hands and wait because, like a scene out of Jim-will-fix-it in the British television programme, we should hand our future to one man who knows it all. We are becoming victims of what our favourite daughter, Chimamanda has referred to in a most powerful essay as the danger of the Single story. In her words, the single story is built on stereotypes and, the trouble with stereotypes is not that they are false, but that they are incomplete. Building on this, Nigerians have imbibed the notion of the single story that we are being defined as corrupt. Thus, the idea of a fight, a war against corruption has often taken a life of its own in our collective narrative of the problems of our country. We have moved a step further by saying that if we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill us. I consider most of this analysis a bit shallow, lacking in a serious understanding of how societies and human nature work in semi primitive society such as ours. My argument therefore is to say that, no, we should not be talking of fighting corruption, rather, we should see corruption as a symptom of something that is intrinsically wrong with our society, the loss of the moral centre of gravity of our society. If Corruption is so evil, how come we are so much at peace with it? If corruption is so rotten, how come we all seem to enjoy its company? What are the agencies for Corruption? What capacity do they have? Are they above the fray or are they also caught up in the same web of corruption? How much bribe does a President need to pay to get an Anti corruption Agency or bill passed in the Legislative assembly? Why has Corruption become so easy and pervasive and why is it that, like MTN would say, it is everywhere you go? What makes it so attractive? If we are so much against, it, how is it that we cannot generate a collective sense of moral revulsion? But, if we are a serious people with a sense of history, how many wars have we won in this country? Fifty years after the civil war, MASOOB says Biafra is still alive because those who govern us have refused to admit that in our dishonesty, we have left a few windows open. We did not win the war against indiscipline? Why did we not win the war against illiteracy? Why did we not win the war against hunger despite operation feed the nation? We did we not win the war against armed robbery? Why did not win the war against poverty? Why did we not win the war against insecurity? What makes us confident that we will win this war? Should it not be clear to us that there is more than meets the eye? President Buhari is not new on the block. He came and saw but we all know the story. In declaring a war against corruption, he lost his job. It is quite interesting that none of all of those who have suddenly become vocal now in the war against corruption went out on the streets to condemn the overthrow of their hero. If Nigerians were so convinced about the war against corruption, why did they all cross to the other side of the street where President Babangida was already offering them a decaffeinated form of war by stating that the overthrow of Buhari had become necessary because in his words on August 27th, 1985: Muhammad Buhari was too rigid and uncompromising in his attitude to issues of national significance? General Babangida justified his coup by claiming that General Buhari had been rather impervious to reason. In his words: Efforts to make him understand that a diverse polity like Nigeria requires recognition and appreciation of the difference in both cultural and individual perception only served to aggravate these attitudes…He arrogated to himself the absolute knowledge of problems and solutions and acted in accordance with what was convenient to him using the machinery of government as his tool. This was thirty years ago and both men are still alive. So, when I warn about the consequences of our hysteria, euphoria and amnesia, it is based on the feeling that in a more serious country, we should appreciate that we have been on this road before. The question we should be asking ourselves now is, how and why is it that every coup plotter in Nigeria hung nailed his colours on the mast of fighting corruption? How come that all successive governments have come in, accusing their predecessors of massive corruption only to turn around and do even worse or leave a similar legacy of rut? In my book, Witness to Justice, I titled one of the chapters, Do Not Forget to Remember. The idea was to call attention to a chronic lack of a sense of history that was unpardonable. I drew from a few of the speeches of coup plotters to illustrate this tragedy and argued that we are all culpable and that we are also sinners, not a bunch of innocent people who have been sinned against. Let me just very briefly trace this same trajectory so as to make the point. On January 15th, 1966, Major Nzeogwu told a stunned nation that they had intervened to establish a strong, united and prosperous nation, free from corruption and internal strife. The highpoint of his speech was when he said: Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places that seek bribes and demand 10%, those who keep the country permanently divided so that they can remain in office. He ended his speech by proclaiming that: We promise that you will no more be ashamed to say that you are Nigerians. As we know, he and his men went on to commit heinous crimes against this nation by killing innocent men and finally triggering off the ugly events that led to a civil war. When the war ended, Gowon was finally overthrown on July 29th, 1975. Brigadier General Mohammed stated that the military had intervened because: Despite our great human and material resources, the government has not been able to fulfill the legitimate expectations of our people. Nigeria has been left to drift. Even the charlatan, Lt. Col BS Dimka opened greeted Nigerians on February 13th in 1976, by saying: I bring you good tidings, and ended his speech by reminding Nigerians that: We are together. On December 31st, 1983, the nation woke up to the voice of one Brigadier Sani Abacha who conscripted Nigerians into the witness box by arguing that: You have been witnesses to the grave economic predicament and uncertainty which an inept and corrupt leadership has imposed on our beloved nation…Our economy has been mis-managed. We have become a debtor and beggar nation…In some states; workers are being owed salaries of 8-12 months. General Abacha concluded that he and his colleagues had intervened because it was their duty as; promoters and protectors of our national interest. The new Head of State was announced as Brigadier General Muhammadu Buhari who, in his opening address noted: The change became necessary in order to put an end to the serious economic predicament and the crisis of confidence afflicting our country….This government will not tolerate kickbacks, inflation of contracts and over invoicing of imports, nor will it condone forgery, fraud, embezzlement, misuse and abuse of office and illegal dealings in foreign exchange and smuggling…..Workers who have not received their salaries in the past eight or so months will receive such salaries today or tomorrow. It was interesting that the President acknowledged that even the criminals had a role to play in his vision for the nation. He said: We expect all Nigerians, including those who participated directly or indirectly in bringing the nation to this present predicament, to cooperate with us. When Brigadier General Dogon Yaro announced the overthrow of the Buhari administration on August 27th, 1985, he acknowledged that the government had been welcomed with what he called, unprecedented enthusiasm. He complained that Members of the Supreme Military Council had been sidelined and made redundant because only ….a select few members were charged with the day-to-day implementation of the SMC’s policies and decisions….the concept of collective leadership has been substituted by stubborn and ill advised unilateral actions, thereby destroying the principles upon which the military came to power. On the same day, General Abacha in his own speech, complained that: …the Buhari leadership lacked the capacity and the capability to lead this nation out of its social and economic predicament….It is most disheartening that most of the ills that plagued the nation during the civilian regime are still present in our society. President Ibrahim Babangida then stepped up and opened his speech by reminding a stunned nation that; Buhari had come to power with the most popular enthusiasm accorded any government in the history of this country. But sadly, he continued: Since January 1984, we have witnessed systematic denigration of hope. He continued: Muhammadu Buhari was too rigid and uncompromising in his attitudes to issues of national significance…He arrogated to himself the absolute knowledge of the problems and solutions and acted in accordance with what was convenient to him using the machinery of government as his tool. General Babangida made the usual noises about the state of the economy and the plans to end economic mismanagement and place the nation on the path of rectitude. Then General Abacha came back a third time, this time to oust Shonekan. This was a rather curious speech because it was like no other. General Abacha broke from the tradition of denigrating his predecessor as a way of justifying his coup. Instead, he commended Shonekan for, in his own words, showing the greater courage of knowing when to leave. He promised to lay a solid foundation for the growth of democracy. He ended his speech by again, lamenting Chief Shonekan who, again in his words, unfortunately, resigned yesterday, stated that the government was a child of necessity out to enthrone lasting democracy. I know I sound like a bearer of bad news, a cynic or one who does not support Buhari’s war as my enemies have concluded. Indeed, the opposite is actually the case. First, as the American Television series, Everybody loves Raymond will say, Everybody loves Buhari. But that is the first danger. It is not in President Buhari’s interest that everyone presents a face of love for him. The country is more than one man. President Buhari himself has said that much. What the President needs is an army of non partisan patriots committed to supporting him, but looking well beyond him and his Party and focusing on the nation and its future. Despite our claims of moral probity, the President’s men and women who will be Ministers will be taken from among us. They will serve in the same public service that has deteriorated into a conveyor belt of corruption and malfeasance. We do not know how long they will stay on the high horse of moral probity before we start hearing the usual cry of, na morality we go chop? These men are from among us, and they will be surrounded by the usual coterie of carpetbaggers. So, the President requires other men and women outside his formal choir of Party members who can help him think, men and women who are unencumbered by the vagaries of the sweet juices of political power and office, men and women who are not seduced by popular approval, men and women who live for tomorrow, men and women who have ideas about how nations are build, men and women who do not see public trust as a vehicle for vengeance, men and women who live by the law of live and let live, men and women who do not see the exigencies of the moment as our turn to eat. 2: Still a very Long Walk To Freedom: I always had great difficulties understanding how Nigerians tried to compare Nelson Mandela with General Olusegun Obasanjo. On the surface, local and international commentators kept saying that they expected Obasanjo to do a Mandela by which they meant that he should have served one term and moved on. The comparison to my mind was a useless distraction because both men had such totally different dispositions, spiritual and other wise. Mandela never spoke of religion while Obasanjo had had a road to Damascus spiritual experience in prison. Obasanjo had been a President, an experience Mandela never had. Mandela inherited a disciplined society which had come at great cost to the black people, but it had produced a nation of superb infrastructure, a business elite that was largely ensconced from direct politics. Obasanjo had been wheeled into power by a thoroughly corrupt and inefficient system with which he had to negotiate and keep happy at a great cost to the nation. Mandela had had years of training and preparation, negotiation and the search for common ground with the Afrikaners while Obasanjo did not have such an experience. Finally, Mandela inherited an almost 80 year political movement that had the discipline of a religious group, while Obasanjo inherited a rickety contraption quickly assembled merely to wheel him to power. So, while one moved on and the other opted to stay on and on. The title of Mandela’s biography, A Long Walk to Freedom more or less says it all. In his personal life, he had been disciplined in the purifying fires of suffering. He promised the traumatised and oppressed people of South Africa who had been rendered landless and homeless a million houses and salt. But, in the end, none of these really became available to the people of South Africa, majority of who are still in the sheebeens of poverty and squalor. For Mandela, there was a trade off. In exchange for a stable country ravaged by hatred and injustice, he opted to heal the wounds of his people by focusing on the dignity of forgiveness and reconciliation. The verdict is out there as to whether he succeeded, but no one can take away the fact that he left his country sufficiently stable. This singular achievement laid the foundation for a new South Africa. It can be argued therefore that for Mandela, securing peace and reconciliation were the primary objectives he wished to achieve. He had all the reasons to turn an angry and hungry populace against the white supremacists especially given that most of those who crafted the architecture of apartheid were still alive and relatively well enough to go to prison as the case may be. He left the task of creating a wealthy country to his successors, believing that first, there has to be a country before we can talk of prosperity and wealth. What lessons can we learn from this? It is important to note that Buhari is not a new kid on the block. I hear people talking about a new Sherriff in town, but this is absolute nonsense. This Sherriff was here and left us a record. As I have indicated earlier, he was overthrown when he embarked on his war against corruption and indiscipline. None of us went out on the streets to show solidarity with him. We embraced Babangida but we also ended up accusing him sowing the seeds of corruption. In the 8 years of his rule, we watered those seeds. Today, Buhari has to confront the children of the Babangida era who are still very much around, have become fathers, grand fathers and in some cases, great grand fathers. They have passed on the milk of this corruption to their descendants many of who have built empires and kingdoms. Having been President before, Buhari knows things we do not know. But, we already also know a thing a two about Buhari and what he represents. There has been too much focus on his being a good man, a patriot, a moral probity and so on. But really, all of these qualities might be good for the Chairman of the Pilgrims Agency, a Mosque or Church building Committee or Chairman of Parish Council and so on. But for a President to sort out a dysfunctional society like Nigeria, these qualities are necessary but not sufficient to guarantee success. Fixing Nigeria will require more than just a good man especially as we in Nigeria seem to equate goodness with prayer, building private churches and mosques which tend to become shelters and places of refuge criminals and thieves who should really be in prison. In the final analysis, I do not really care what faith our President professes, if he professes any at all. All we need is a man who can fix our problems with the precision of the Chinese who are atheistic, not praying but getting results. What we need is a leader who can learn and not be afraid to admit what he does not know, a leader who can ignore the whispers of the coterie of so called inner circles, separate friendship and camaradiere from the business of hearing the cry of the oppressed. Buhari fought his war without a Constitution. Buhari fought his war without a National Assembly. Buhari fought his war with a Judiciary. He fought his war with Tribunals. We can start an effort to lay a solid foundation for a change in the Nigerian psyche. However, for this to be more effective, the fight against corruption is not so much going to be won by how many investigations, probes we conduct. It will not be won by how many people go to jail. While we fight corruption, we must not see this as the business of one man, a President, no matter who capable he may be. Governance is about creating safe spaces where citizens can thrive and achieve their goals. This requires a clear vision about a world with limitless frontiers where individuals can thrive with government creating the necessary support structures. The President should learn some of the things that worked and the ones that did not. Nigerians genuinely want a change, sadly as things are, they want others to change so that they can have a good. They are not prepared as individuals to change. But, we can learn that change happens as the result of a sequence of actions and activities, dreams and visions that serve as a foundation on which generation after generation make their contributions and move on. As they said with Obama: Rosa Parks and her generation sat (on the bus) so we could walk. Martin Luther and his colleagues took the baton and walked so that the next generation, that of Obama might run. Now, the Obama generation has run so that the next generation can fly. We must build today with tomorrow in mind, hoping that those coming after us will do much better than us, that they will find a more peaceful nation than the one we are living in. The youth bulge should not be seen as a threat, rather an opportunity. If governments create the right climate, then, we can produce our own generation of the likes of the Mark Zuckerbergs. After, as we can see from our youth, people like young Davido has proved you can go to school and still make millions without breaking a bank. The energy of youth must be properly challenged and rather than looking for elders to imitate, every young man and woman must know that God has plans for us all. The challenge is to meet up and co-operate with the grace of God by staying on the right path. Building a nation as diverse as ours is, is a tough job and requires patience. If we have the patience and are ready for the sacrifice, then, the sky will be a footstone for us. Till then, we must learn from the likes of Mandela, that it is indeed, a long, long road to freedom. This is why I am pleased to eave you with the words of Jimmy Cliff who titled one of his songs, Hard Road to Travel. I will sing it for you just so you can know that if I had not become a priest, who knows, I could have ventured into music and made a living. Among other things, he said: I’ve got a hard road to travel and a rough rough way to go Said it’s a hard road to travel and a rough rough way to go But I can’t turn back, my heart is fixed My mind’s made up, I’ll never stop My faith will see, see me through

NJC Suspends Justices Gbaja-Biamila, Evuti With Immediate Effect Over Misconduct, Age Falsification


NJC Suspends Justices Gbaja-Biamila, Evuti With Immediate Effect Over Misconduct, Age Falsification April 19, 2016 Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter … Recommends Compulsory Retirement Of Judges SAN FRANCISCO, April 19, (THEWILL) – The National Judicial Council (NJC) under the Chairmanship of the Honourable, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed, GCON, has recommended the compulsory retirement of Justices O. Gbaja-Biamila of the Lagos State High Court and Idris M. J. Evuti of the Niger State High Court, with immediate effect. THEWILL can report that NJC’s decision was reached at its Meeting which was held on 13th and 14th April, 2016. Soji Oye, Esq., NJC’s Ag. Director, Information, in a statement Tuesday, said: “Hon. Justice O. Gbaja-Biamila was recommended for compulsory retirement from Office to the Governor of Lagos State, pursuant to the Findings by the Council on the allegations contained in the Petitions written against His Lordship by Mr. C. A. Candide Johnson, SAN. The allegations are: That the Hon. Judge delivered judgment in Suit No ID\1279\2007 P. K. Ojo Vs SDV & SCOA Nigeria Plc, twenty months (22), after written addresses were adopted by all the Counsel and Thirty-five (35) months after the close of evidence in the Suit, contrary to the Constitutional Provisions that judgments should be delivered within a period of 90 days; That His Lordship did not publish a copy of judgment he delivered on 24th December, 2013 until after 40 days, contrary to the provision of the Constitution which required that a copy of the Judgment of a Superior Court of Record be given to Parties in the case within 7 days of delivery. That the Hon. Judge continued to hear the Suit in his Court after he had been notified of the pendency of a Motion for a Stay Of Execution at the Court of Appeal and that an appeal had been entered. Prior to the issuance of the first writ of attachment, the Court Registrar under the direct administration of the Hon. Judge falsely misrepresented to the Deputy Sheriff in a memo dated 28th November, 2014, that there was no Appeal or Motion in the case file as at 28th November 2014. Meanwhile, there were two Notices of Appeal and two Summons to settle Records in the Court’s file. That the Hon. Judge gave an Order on 23rd February, 2015 upon an Ex-parte application substituting the name of SDV Nigeria Ltd with Bollore Logistics Nigeria Ltd without serving the Order of substitution on the affected party or its legal representatives. That the Hon. Judge failed to maintain Professional competence required to preserve the integrity of the Judiciary. The above allegations constitute misconduct contrary to Section 292 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended and Rules 1.3, 3.3, 3.4 and 3.7 of the 2016 Revised Code Of Conduct for Judicial Officers Of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In the interim, the National Judicial Council in exercise of its power under Paragraph 21 Sub-Paragraph (d) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, has suspended Hon. O. Gbaja-Biamila from Office with immediate effect. Council also considered a petition written by Mohammed Idris Eggun against Hon. Justices Idris M. J. Evuti and Tanko Yusuf Usman of the High Court of Niger State on falsification of their dates of birth. He alleged that Hon. Justice Idris M. J. Evuti falsified his age from 15th September, 1950 to 10th April, 1953 and Hon Justice Tanko Yusuf Usman falsified his age from 27th June, 1950 to 27th June, 1951. A Fact Finding Committee set-up by the Council found from the records made available to it that the Hon. Justice Evuti used three different dates of birth over the years as 15th September, 1950, 10th April, 1953 and 1st April, 1953 and therefore recommended his compulsory retirement with immediate effect. Apart from the recommendation for compulsory retirement of Hon. Justice Idris M. J. Evuti, Council recommended to the Government of Niger State to deduct all salaries received by him from September, 2015 till date from his gratuity and remit same to the National Judicial Council that pays salaries of all Judicial Officers in the Federation. With respect to the Hon. Justice Tanko Yusuf Usman, Council did not recommend his compulsory retirement because it had already accepted his retirement with effect from 1st March, 2016. However, Council decided to write to the Government of Niger State, to deduct from the gratuity the salaries received by him from June 2015 when His Lordship should have retired from the Bench. Council at the same Meeting exonerated Hon. Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court, Lagos of misconduct as it found unsubstantiated a Petition of alleged misconduct written against him by Securities and Exchange Commission. The Hon. Judge was alleged to have been biased in granting Ex-parte Orders of injunction against the Commission in Suit No FNC\L\CS\767\15: BGL Ltd and Ors V. Securities and Exchange Commission without due regard to the relevant factors and circumstances of the case. The Counsel to the Securities and Exchange Commission Oluwaseun Olusiyi was also reported to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for walking out on the Judge on the matter when she was told the matter was not ripe for hearing for disciplinary action. In the last two years, the National Judicial Council has been repositioned and some reforms which are ongoing have been introduced pursuant to the Provisions of Section 160 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, viz: Revised National Judicial Council Guidelines & Procedural Rules for Appointment of Judicial Officers of all Superior Courts of Record in Nigeria; Judicial Discipline Regulations; Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and National Judicial Policy Given the far reaching amendments effected in the aforementioned documents and the laudable policies introduced in the National Judicial Policy which will impact on the general administration of justice, Council decided that it is imperative for the Honourable, The Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of National Judicial Council to publicly launch them on a date to be announced.”

McDonald's experiments with all-you-can-eat fries option


You are driving along and your hand wanders for one last French fry in the oily paper sachet in the arm rest. Except it’s not the last. However many times you reach, the fries keep regenerating. So you just keep popping them in your mouth. A happy dream or a nightmare? McDonald's is preparing to experiment with an all-you-can eat French fries option, an idea that should appeal to customers with eyes bigger than stomachs but which surely would have sent Morgan Spurlock to the emergency room had it been available in time for his 2004 documentary film, ‘Super Size Me’, exploring the effects of gorging exclusively on all things Mickey D. This is not about to be introduced to the burger chain worldwide. Serious fans of Golden Arches fries who like the idea of eating as many as they can in one sitting for the same price - much like enjoying a bottomless mug of coffee - will have to make their way to Missouri. Nor should they buy their plane or train tickets just yet. The only franchise promising the fries landslide will be in St Joseph, a little way north of Kansas City, and it hasn’t been built yet. Still, the grand opening is planned for July, according to its owner, Chris Habiger. The fries option is only the half of it. Mr Habiger told the local news outlet, News-Press Now, that customers will for the first time be able to custom-build their burgers at touch-screen kiosks - perhaps a sneaky way to cut payroll costs just as the campaign for a higher minimum wage gets serious. “There really are hundreds of different choices to build the burger of your dreams,” owner Chris Habiger gushed to the News-Press Now, the building site behind him. “Once you’ve placed your order, you can find your seat because we’ll bring it out to you.”

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

PLUNGING NAIRA – BEFORE YOU BLAME EMEFIELE LOOK AT YOURSELF


This is a nice piece written by someone I do not know but definitely hit at us, Nigerians, with the plain truth. Its time to start to CHANGE please. PMB is only to act as our navigator. It is either I do not understand economics and how exchange rates work or a vast majority of us Nigerians still don’t get how we have wrecked our country with our own curious choices. Just this morning I was listening to the radio and the lady on air went on and on about how she thought CBN governor Godwin Emefiele was incompetent and should be sacked because the naira was now exchanging at 309 or so to the USD. That view pretty much echoes the sentiments expressed by many people I know and it amazes me that there are Nigerians who actually think there is some magic POLICY that can make the Naira strong in the near term. If my economics and my understanding of the way the world works are right, then that is as far from the truth as Jesus Christ is black. The simple fact of the matter is that apart from oil that accounts for over 90% of our revenues, we really don’t have much of an economy. We hardly produce anything, we import even toothpicks, so exactly what policy is going to be implemented that will turn Nigeria into a top exporting economy in the near term? Where are our Apples, IBMs, Disneys, GMs, General Electrics, Coca Colas, Empire State buildings, Statues of Liberties, Lockheeds, Citibanks, JP Morgans, ExxonMobils, NBAs, Super Bowls etc? Let me bring that closer home. There was a time long ago when Nigeria had a truly strong economy and the naira was one to the dollar – even exchanged for higher than the USD, but that Nigeria is not this Nigeria. Sadly that Nigeria was laid by the British, and this Nigeria (if you don’t believe in the nonsensical imperialist conspiracies like me) – fueled by the DAMAGING Indigenisation Decree, has been the creation of us Nigerians.Back then we had a booming economy. We were either the top, or among the top exporters, of timbre, cocoa, groundnuts, rubber, palm oil, etc, in the world. Nigerians not only holidayed at home in their villages, at Yankari Games Reserve, at Obudu Cattle Ranch, at Oguta Lake, at Ikogosi springs, at Gurara Falls, at Mambilla Platueau, etc, we attracted international tourists who brought in loads of foreign exchange. Even Nigerian schools were foreign exchange earners because they attracted foreign students. We had different car assembly plants – Peugeot, Volkswagen, Anamco etc. Nigerian government officials only bought vehicles assembled in Nigeria for official cars. We had a thriving sports industry. We were not Man United or Chelsea fans, we were Rangers or IICC fans. We had the Nduka Odizors, people made money from sports. We also had companies like Lennards and Bata producing school shoes in their thousands, we had the thriving Nigerian Airways and the Aviation School in the north that produced some of the best pilots in the world. In those days if you were brilliant you were respected much more than the crass money-miss-road contractors of today. Most of the Aje Butters I knew had fathers who were university dons. Back then it meant something to ‘know book’. Our textile industry was alive and well. Just recently I watched a news report on the textile industry in Nigeria on CCTV News. Though the main focus was on the comatose status of the industry, I was stunned by the gigantic Kaduna Textile Mill built in 1957. I could go on and on. Today however, no thanks to our parents (and we must call them out the way Wole Soyinka did his generation) and many of us (and we should be remembered for failing our children if we continue like this), we have destroyed everything. Today for instance Nigerian football (which comes easy to me obviously) doesn’t appeal to us, we have to fly across thousands of miles to watch ‘our’ clubs play. Every year we collectively burn billions of Naira being fans of clubs that give us nothing back, but some ‘entertainment value’ – simple pleasures for which we are ready to destroy the future of our children. Well people, payback time is here. Even with our ta-she-re money we all want to wear designer clothes and carry designer bags, Armani, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton etc. We all want to drive jeeps with American specs, our children must now school overseas and acquire the necessary accents to come back home and bamboozle their ‘bush and crass’ contemporaries that they left behind. Who holidays in Nigeria anymore, is there Disneyland here? No one buys made-in-Nigeria school bags for their children, after all no Superman or Incredible Hulk or Cinderella on them. We are no longer top exporters of anything and the demise of oil means we have zilch… zero. A country of 170m fashion-conscious people has no textile industry. We take delight in showing how our made-in-Switzerland Aso Ebi is different class to everyone else’s. When we help our musicians grow and pay them millions, they repay us by immediately shipping the monies overseas to produce their “i-don-dey-different-level”music videos. It makes no difference that distinctly Zulu dancers are dancing to a Nigerian highlife song. As stars concerned they also wed and holiday overseas to impress us all. All the musicians who acknowledge their Ajegunle roots now speak in a cocktail of strange accents to symbolise how much they have blown their monies overseas. Were we a more serious people, the highly popular Kingsway Stores of the past would probably have a thousand outlets pan Nigeria today supporting a massive agriculture industry among others, but today we have the likes of SPAR, Shoprite, dominating the retail industry while Kingsway is dead. And we Nigerians make it a special point to shop from the Oyinbos who have ‘cleaner shops’, ‘better this and better that’. For our personal pleasure we don’t mind them dominating us in our own backyard and shipping proceeds overseas. I could go on and on, but I don tire. Even as you are reading this, stop for a moment and look around you. What you see will probably explain why we are lucky it is not N1000 to the USD yet. And don’t think for a moment that it cannot get there. Just continue to wear your Armani gear and Swiss-made lace, continue to spend your money on Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Barca and encourage your children to do same. (My article tomorrow in my Saturday column in This Day is on the Nigerian champions Enyimba FC – Nigeria’s most successful club – not having a sponsor, yet Nigerian brands pay over N600m to Man United and Arsenal for sponsorship to impress us.) Ehhh, no problem, continue to tell me the NPFL is rubbish or the clubs should clean up their act if they want sponsorship, mo gbo . Don’t curtail your interest in choice wines ( we were the number one champagne consumers in the world in 2015), continue to love your American specs, cheer the education ministry for letting schools sink to pitiable levels, don’t fight them to improve our schools, don’t chide them for letting schools drop Nigerian history and embrace British, America and whatever else curricula. Carry on with your love of French wines and Chinese silk, don’t bother about Jamiu Alli when there is Roger Federer. Stock up on your Italian, American, British products which you cannot live without, including the ‘baby soft’ toilet rolls produced only in that small unique village in England – the days are long gone since you were a broke student who used wet newspapers to wipe your butt. Don’t even consider holidaying in Nigeria, it’s too dangerous – you have to fulfill your dream of being Nigeria’s Henry Ford. Don’t listen to people like me who have a wardrobe full of only cheap adire that is actually cheaper than just one of your Tom Ford blazers. Please keep dressing in fine silk made in some exotic place so you can be addressed accordingly. Finally keep letting corrupt leaders who have looted your commonwealth and shipped all the monies overseas get away because to attack them does not fit your political narrative. Let us continue with the fine life, let us all continue to work for Oyinbo. But don’t forget that there is payback time and Emefiele is not your problem. Time for us all to look in the mirror and take responsibility. Read more at http://www.theheraldng.com/see-why-the-naira-may-fall-to-…/…