Lekan Paul

Nigerians In Diaspora Critical In Driving Marional Development – Osinbajo

Nigerians in the Diaspora can contribute more to the growth of the nation’s economy and other sectors through the sharing of ideas and investment opportunities with relevant agencies of government, according to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Speaking during a meeting on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, with a delegation from the Nigeria Diaspora Group for Good Governance led by Dr. James Fadel, Prof. Osinbajo further stated that harnessing the contributions of Nigerians in the Diaspora was a major reason why the Buhari administration established the Diaspora Commission.

According to him, the establishment of the Diaspora Commission is an important milestone for government where all the activities of Nigerians in the Diaspora could be well coordinated for national development.

The Vice President added that the Federal Government, through the Diaspora Commission, with the support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports alongside other relevant MDAs, will create platforms similar to Focus Labs, to further engage Diaspora investors and experts on very specific initiatives so as to take the ideas from the Diaspora to the next level.

The Focus Labs, organised by the Budget & National Planning Ministry, provided an avenue where investors and government agencies held detailed meetings over a few weeks to sort out issues mitigating effective investments.

According to the VP, such initiatives would help take some of the many ideas from the Diaspora community forward, noting that both the government and the people from the Diaspora have to move the ideas forward towards implementation.

He said, “I think one thing we have to do with the Diaspora Commission is to bring up these investors and the relevant agencies of government into the same room to share ideas. Some of these investors may be having difficulties in getting funds.

“What we need to do is to set up a structure to enable us meet with these investors so that we can take it step by step on how this (Diaspora) group can contribute more to the development of the country.”

Continuing, the Vice President said the Federal Government has achieved significant milestones through its Social Investment Programmes, including the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme where almost 10 million school children are being fed a free, nutritious meal daily, and the N-Power Job scheme which has engaged over 500,000 young Nigerians nationwide.

In the agriculture sector and agricultural value chain, Prof. Osinbajo highlighted the growth of local rice production, noting that the country needs to consolidate on its gains in the agriculture sector for further development.

Speaking on technical education, the VP said the N-Power programme of the federal government is embraced by every state of the federation and what is needed now is the coordination of the activities in the states.

In his remarks, the leader of the delegation, James Fadel, said, “The Vice President has captured the admiration of Nigerians at home and abroad and we have come here to support you with the best, according to our capabilities as Nigerians in the Diaspora.”

Fadel added that the Diaspora group aims to invest in areas such as infrastructure, primary healthcare, skill acquisition in various sectors, so as to contribute to improving the living standard of Nigerians.

Also at the meeting were the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, and Dr. Sule Yakubu Bassi, who represented the Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

Bassi expressed delight that Nigerians in the Diaspora are willing to make various contributions in the areas of education, primary healthcare, etc, adding that the Commission is linking up with other groups and aims to provide vocational training for Nigerians nationwide.

Also, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, highlighted the needs for skills training for Nigerian youths.

‘Laolu Akande

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity

Office of the Vice President.

6th December, 2019

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E- Nigeria: And The Evolving Role of ICT in a Digital Economy, By Ayo Akanji

Going digital is no longer an option, it is the default – Natarajan Chandrasekaran

Over the last decades, the great diffusion of information and communication technology (ICT) has caused a dramatic transformation of the world into an information society. Thanks to ICT infrastructure such as fixed-line telephones, mobile phones, Internet, and broadband, people, firms, and governments now have much better access to information, knowledge, and wisdom than before in terms of scale, scope, and speed.

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry in Nigeria is one that has not fully exploded, but has a tremendous potential to provide jobs for million of Nigerians and spur the economy.

However, the little gains it has recorded is evident. According to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stated that in Q2 of 2019, ICT contributed an impressive 13.85% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the 11.22% contribution it made in Q2 2018.

It is important to note that, the recent introduction of the Nigerian E-government Masterplan will further consolidate on the successes and increase interoperability among the different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) of government and with a mandate to develop and implement a harmonized and well-coordinated digital economy policy and strategy for Nigeria.

The Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, who understand the role of ICT in the economy opined that. “The economy is driven by Data and Information. Therefore to survive in this disruptive world, you need to provide developmental regulations” Excitingly this regulatory instrument is the Nigerian Data Protection Regulations (NDPR).

An urgent need for synergy between relevant stakeholders and the provision of a platform where ICT problems and solutions will be offered.

This is what eNigeria, an annual summit by (NITDA) offers. In collaboration with key players in the ICT industry, the platform provides the requisite awareness in ICT sector, creation and implementation of the necessary framework and goals that will boost the country’s position in the global information society.

Conversely, Mr President in his open remarks on the strategic importance of ICT, notated that “Globally, the Digital Economy is expanding at a very fast pace. In just a few years, this platform has transitioned from being a luxury to an absolute necessity”. President Buhari disclosed that FG had saved over N16.8 billion through the activation of key digital assets – which strengthens the fight against corruption.

The theme for this year summit was “Achieving National Digital Economy” and for Nigeria to fully benefit from the cybersphere we need to strengthen our digital laws and protect critical digital infrastructural assets. It is reported that financial services, government agencies operational in Nigeria lost about $800 million in 2018 to cyber crime in a report conducted by the foremost Africa CyberSecurity report.

The report indicated that the country lost $649m to cyber-attacks in 2017, representing a 23% increase in cost, Nigeria has one of the highest levels of cybercrime in Africa and in the world, this indeed is alarming.

Every year, the summit takes on, with the support strategic partners like Oracle, MainOne Services, CyberDome, to mention a few brands. Strategic issues with the general aim of bettering the overall cyber experience of the average Nigerian and digital assets should be the crux of the partnership.

CyberDome is a cyber security company in Abuja with branches in the US and Isreal. It offers cyber security services like analysis, critical infrastructures, defense mechanisms, and other cyber solutions, to their various clienteles which cuts across government agencies and the private sector. Clients are offered platforms to easily spot out and respond quickly and effectively to cyber-attacks and data breaches. It maintains a database of threat intelligence from all over the world and the real-time discovery of cyber-attacks, this brand is leader in this field.

Some of the services Cyberdom offers which are in line with NITDA’s mandate includes; penetration testing, network access control, anti-phishing, anti-ddos, risk assessments, governance risk and compliance, digital forensics, next generation firewalls, web application firewalls, vulnerability management, cloud security, endpoint security, user behavior analytics and the provision of capacity building services to clients on cyber related issues and customizes these trainings to the client’s needs.

It is constantly adding Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations to it’s working structure. It’s topnotch Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP), is the only facility in the country that offers a two-fold 247/365 security monitoring, advanced services on the prevention of data breaches, and a full service portfolio for all cyber security risks.

CyberDome emphasizes on the importance of collaboration in cybersecurity, as the best way of mitigating further attacks in line with NITDA directives and other industry eggheads. Collaborations thusly will be instrumental in lowering the levels of cybercrime in Nigeria. It will do a lot in reducing the number of unresolved cyber security incidences in the country.

Moreover, CyberDome is pushing for the emergence of a robust cyber policy laws for the Nigerian cyberspace. Awareness is an important part of cybersecurity, CyberDome’s Academy offers awareness trainings to workers at an organization to enable them come to full grasp with cyber policies and world best practices.

The Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami constantly emphasises on the importance of local contents in Nigeria’s cyberspace. CyberDome ticks that box effectively.

Furthermore, the clamour to diversify the country’s economy continues to hit new heights every day. ICT can provide a solid alternative to oil, making Nigeria a global player in the digital economy.

This can only happen when all stakeholders like NITDA, NCC, GalaxyBackbone, CSO’s and strategic partners like CyberDome collaborates.

Ayo Akanji is a businessman and cyber security enthusiast, he writes from Abuja.

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Dauda Lawal And The Philosophy of Service In Politics, By Ayo Akanji

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

It was on a Wednesday evening, I was reminiscing on the outcome of the political intrigues in Zamfara State, on how the All Progressives Congress (APC) lost the chance of forming the government at the state, the failure was hinged on the schemings among the APC aspirants in the gubernatorial elections which enabled the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) secure victory without firing a shot – through the court pronouncement. I wanted to have a chat with Dr Dauda, who incidentally like me, graduated from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU). I reached out to Femi, his responsive aide for a chance of having an appointment with him, wanted to use the opportunity to discuss politics in his state and other topical national issues in the country.

I was glad when the aide informed me of a time for the rendezvous with Dr Dauda, who I call the financial Mozart, walked into his office and met him waiting for me with a steamy cup of tea in his hand, the atmosphere around him could be aptly described as serene, and reassuring, alongside his radiant mien.

Most notably, Dr Lawal Dauda, is the former Executive Director, Public Sector, North of First Bank Plc. Born to a humble family in Gusau, Dauda obtained a degree in Political Science from Ahamdu Bello University, Zaria in 1987. He bagged an M.sc in 1992 from the same ivy league. He completed the academic cycle by obtaining an honorary PhD in Public Administration from Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.

Always daring for more, he transversed various continents, honing his business skills in some of the world’s prestigious learning centers like Havard Business School, Boston, London School of Economics, London Business School, Wharton Business School, Pennsylvania, Lagos Business School among others.

He is a fellow of a number of reputable professional bodies like Institute of Credit Administration of Nigeria and the Civilian Institute of Democratic Administration of Ghana, African Business Roundtable, to mention a few.

Starting out as a Political Education Officer with the defunct Mass Mobilization for Self Reliance Social Justice and Econimic Recovery MAMSER, a policy of political orientation in Nigeria implemented by the Babaginda regime in 1987. MAMSER was eventually renamed National Orientation Agency with a huge presence spanning across all 774 local governments in Nigeria.

Dauda moved on to Westex Nigeria Limited where he worked as the AGM. His career path took him to the Nigerian Embassy in Washington DC and he became part of the team which reorganized the consular unit for Nigerians to have confidence in sending their passport for visa processing, he rose to the position of chief protocol officer before retiring for a more daunting task.

Looking for something challenging he decided to return to Nigeria and had various offers; either to work with the Port authority or the banking sector, he choose the latter, a tough terrain but with sheer determination he understood the pathway of the banking sector with training here and there, growing from a manger to the exalted position of Executive Director.

When I asked him why he joined the Governorship race – he quipped “I got into politics trying to reform Zamfara state, I contested to try and change the economic fortunes of the state. It was my first time joining politics, I’m happy that even though I did not win, my campaign was able to raise the bar in the political history of the state”. He always wanted something challenging, in an opinion poll conducted online, he resonated more with the youth than other aspirants.

As valuable as it, Dauda is a man who has over years, maintained the relationship he has with his people in Zamfara. He is a philanthropist through and through, his continuous work of philanthropy has placed him above his peers, signifying his ability to help his people and the willingness to do more with a larger platform.

He built hostels at the School of Health Technology, Tsafe. He dualised a road at the Federal University Gusau and built classrooms for School of Nursing in Tsafe. He has instituted a number of schemes that benefited SME’s. His commitment to a better learning environment for students spurred him into donating lecture halls to his former department in ABU.

One thing about Dauda is his passion to serve the people made him contest the governorship post in Zamfara state. He did not scale the last hurdle but that has not stopped him from service to humanity. For Dauda, acts of philanthropy are not seasonal. To be human is to feel the pains of other humans. This sentience has guided him throughout his life.

Conversely, debating on national issues we delved into the border closure, code-named ‘Exercise Swift Response’, through which Nigeria Customs Service generates N8billion daily.

He seems to align with the border closure by the Federal Government, noting that Nigeria is a dominate player in the African economy and our population serves as a comparative advantage – he interjects that “Benin Republic accounts for 40% of cars coming into Nigeria”. On rice, he spoke of governments incentives for our local farmers through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Anchors Borrowers Programme, a formidable polices of government ensuring food security.

On revenue generation, he believes there are so many avenues to generate revenue, from traffic rules in big cities such as Abuja, Lagos, to vehicle registrations and simultaneously licenses given, can also be used to generate funds, and combat insecurity.

He’s of the opinion that the private sectors need to come in managing the roads and applauded the re-introduction of electronic toll gates in the country as extra form of generating revenue and maintaining our roads, stakeholders need to compliment governments efforts to build strong institutions for the benefit of the country.

Finally, passing the baton to the younger generation and those who look up to him as a role mode, he stated the three key habits towards success as; honesty, hard work and determination – in his words, “if you combine these you would make a career in anything you set out for”.

Ayobami Ismail Akanji is a public affairs analyst and writes from Abuja

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Is the Nigerian First Lady A Realist? By Farida Akanji

?Realism is described as a systematic mode of thought with distinctive principles clearly opposed to every form of subjectivism and idealism (John Wild: 1947). From the above assertion, a realist individual never believes in illusion or imagination as guiding principles. An individual who is a realist understands the source, the use and management of power. This knowledge of power guides his/her actions or reactions to issues.

?In another development, a realist is a truthful and objective individual who stands on a platform made of unshakable facts to act or react. Some of those unshakable facts are: no leadership lasts forever, no political party rules forever, no presidency lasts forever etcetera. A realist is therefore an individual who does things, having in mind the likely repercussion of actions or reactions. And those repercussions could either be positive or negative.

?The First Lady, Dr. Mrs. Aisha Buhari believes that support for the President should not be based on sentiment. Hence, she uses constructive means to express support for the President , Nevertheless such support is being misinterpreted in some quarters. However, she has remained determined and committedto the success of the present Administration. These are reflected in her efforts to continuously draw the attention of the stakeholders of this government to sensitive issues that need urgent attention in the interest of Nigerians in general.

It is also obvious that, the First Lady does not support the crusade tagged “My Husband must Rule”. She prefers leadership embedded in integrity. That is why she is always critical on issues of political leadership such as transparency, fairness, justice etcetera. No wonder she is always drawing the attention of the President to delicate issues.

Notable it is to mention that, she always expresses her mind with courage. Her honesty in promoting national interests to the best of her knowledge places her above those who clamour for regime interest only. For instance, in Africa and the world at large, most First Ladies grab the presidency as if it is a permanent position, whereas no condition is permanent.

Political ideology has not yet taken its rightful place in the Nigerian politics. The First Lady is one of the hardened advocates of political ideology in Nigeria which according to her, will enthrone discipline in promoting women in politics, party politics and national politics.

Mrs Buhari also demonstrates patience in the face of political challenges which is depicted in her formidable way of downplaying boiling issues, for example, she goes to the extent of apologising when the need arises.

It is important to reveal that the First Lady is mindful of the less privileged Nigerians and she is contributing her quota in addressing their challenges through her Future Assured project. Several less privileged Nigerians benefitted and are still benefitingfrom her empowerment programmes in all the geopolitical zones. Her capacity of discernment and her leadership posture point to her hope for the present Administration to have a soft landing at the end.  

This article is derived from a critical appraisal of her utterances, her cautious use of power, her commitment to fairness, justice and equity. Therefore, the First Lady Dr. Mrs. Aisha Buhari is a realist.

Farida Funmi Akanji.

Coordinator, Nigerian Youth Organisation for Good Governance

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Habeed Okunola Bags International Award For Business Leadership And Community Development

Managing Director of TILT Group of Company Mr Habeeb Okunola has trumped strong competition from the global community of business leaders to emerge winner of the ‘Excellence in Business Leadership and Community Development’ award at the Pan African Humanitarian Summit and Awards (PAHSA) held in Abu Dhabi.

The coveted accolade awarded by Pan African Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development Center (PALDEC) recognised Mr Okunola as a frontline business leader of international repute committed to fostering grassroots development in underserved communities in Africa. The award category is for the most daring and futuristic-inclined business leaders with measurable achievements in humanitarian interventions and socio-economic development.

Speaking through his associate – Tobi Onile-Ere at the PAHSA ceremony, Mr Okunola refused to take all the credit for his business and humanitarian accomplishments, saying the strides were not just his, but that of his team at TILT Group of companies.

“I am humbled to be receiving the 2019 Excellence in Business Leadership and Community Development award and will also like to recognise my colleagues at TILT Group of companies for their commitment towards ensuring the conglomerate remains a leader in the industries we serve; as well as empowering communities where we work to consolidate effort of the government in ensuring social justice. All my colleagues at TILT Group share the credit for this award; most especially the Chairman of the Group – Alhaji Musa Halilu-Ahmed for his invaluable contributions and direction” he said.

Some past recipients of the Pan African Humanitarian Summit and Awards are President of Tanzania – H.E Dr. John Magufuli, Former President of Ghana – H.E John Agyekum Kufuor, Managing Partner of Ethiopian Airline & Head of Transaction Advisory – Mr Zemedeneh Negatu, Executive Chairman IPP Media Group-Tanzania – Dr. Reginald Mengi, Director General National Broadcasting Commission, Nigeria – Mr Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, amongst others.

The summit and award dinner was attended by global changemakers, international players in the different sectors from across the globe, captains of industry, and members of the diplomatic community.

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Alwan Hassan: Why Buhari Is Nigeria’s Best President – Here’s A Look At His Achievements In Infrastructure

The greatness of the Muhammadu Buhari presidency is hinged on the sustainable impact of many of its policies, programs, and projects — many of which will be highlighted herein. Since coming to power in 2015, President Buhari has spearheaded several key policy interventions in every major sector of the Nigerian economy. This is why, with all these achievements, he has clearly secured his place as Nigeria’s best President so far.

The achievements that will define the legacy of Buhari are also the inconvenient truths that will unsettle those who place themselves above Nigeria’s interest. And this is why this compilation of facts is not an attempt at image laundering, but a verifiable record on his significant accomplishments in infrastructure, agriculture, economy, social welfare, industrialization and a legion of other interventions that combine to justify Buhari’s record as Nigeria’s best President.

Unarguably, one of the biggest achievements of the Buhari administration has been his administration’s unrivalled investment in infrastructure — a feat that has gained his government a competitive edge when compared with the previous democratic regimes that it has succeeded.

An x-ray of the infrastructural development facilitated by the Buhari-led Federal Government between 2015 and 2019 reveals the following:

INFRASTRUCTURE 

N2.7 trillion was spent on Infrastructure in 2016 and 2017 fiscal years, an unprecedented allocation in Nigeria’s recent history. Out of this figure, N1.219 trillion was released for capital expenditure in the 2016 budget, and N1.476 trillion so far in the 2017 budget — making for a total of N2.7 trillion (about US$9 billion) in two years. This investment has enabled the resumption of work on several stalled projects — road, rail and power projects — across the country.

ROADS

Through the N100 billion Sukuk Bond issued in 2017 by the Buhari Administration, 25 major road projects have been financed across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. It is also important to note that road projects are now going on across every state in the country. This is despite the fact that many of these projects had been abandoned by previous administrations because of the mounting debts owed by the Federal Government to contractors.

The Works Ministry, marshaled by Babatunde Fashola (SAN), since this administration came into office, has seen to the rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway; the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressway; and the Second Niger Bridge following the release of US$650 million from the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) launched in 2018 by the Buhari government.

Additionally, under Executive Order 7 signed by President Buhari on January 1, 2019, to develop critical road infrastructure in the country, six companies will construct 19 federal roads that have been prioritized in 11 states across each of the six geo-political zones. Again, this project covers an impressive 794.4km.

The companies which include, Dangote Industries Limited; Lafarge Africa Plc; Unilever Nigeria Plc; Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc; Nigeria LNG Limited; and China Road and Bridge Corporation Nigeria Limited will invest in the following road projects:

The Construction of Ashaka-Bajoga Highway in Gombe State; the reconstruction of Dikwa-GambaruNgala Road in Borno State; the Reconstruction of Bama-Banki Road in Borno State; the rehabilitation of Sharada Road in Kano State; Rehabilitation of Benin City – Asaba Road in Edo State; and the rehabilitation of Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway / Bypass, in Kaduna State.

Others are the reconstruction of Birnin Gwari Expressway – Road in Kaduna State; reconstruction of Birnin Gwari – Dansadau Road in Kaduna State; reconstruction of Makurdi-Yandev-Gboko Road in Benue State; reconstruction of Zone Roundabout-House of Assembly Road in Benue State; reconstruction of Obajana-Kabba Road in Kogi State; and the reconstruction of Ekuku-Idoma-Obehira Road in Kogi State.

Additionally, the companies will also construct the AdaviEba-Ikuehi-Obeiba-Obokore Road in Kogi State; rehabilitate the Lokoja-Ganaja Road in Kogi State; the Ofeme Community Road Network and Bridges in Abia State; the Obele-Ilaro-Papalanto-Shagamu Road in Ogun State; Bodo-Bonny Road & Bridges across Opobo Channel in Rivers State; and work on the reconstruction of Sokoto Road in Ogun State and the Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki-Ojota Road in Lagos State.

RAIL

The Buhari Administration, through the Ministry of Transport headed by Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi has completed some rail projects and started others. This includes the Abuja-Kaduna line, which has been completed. Meanwhile, the tracks and the signalling have been completed on the Abuja-Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail, while work has started on the Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan rail.

Similarly, the upgrade of Nigeria’s 3,500km network narrow-gauge railway network has commenced, with the signing, in April 2018, of the interim phase of a concession agreement between the Government of Nigeria and an International Consortium led by General Electric (GE). 

The target of this Interim Phase is that within the next 12 months, passengers will experience reduced travel time by rail between Lagos to Kano, and, for the first time in over a decade, contracted and scheduled freight rail services will be available.

Abuja’s Light Rail system is ongoing and will go into operation in 2020. The first line to be launched will connect the city center with the Airport, with a link to the Abuja-Kaduna Railway Line.

The Buhari government, according to the Transport Minister, Amaechi would create about 5,000 jobs upon completion of the railway Wagon Assembly Plant being built at Kajola in Ogun State. Nigeria would also, in the long run, be able to manufacture rolling stock for the country’s use as well as for other African countries.

POWER

According to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), one of the President’s 100 days in office milestones for his second and final term was a remarkable deal with Siemens to rejig Nigeria’s power supply, as well as the inauguration of Africa’s largest hybrid solar power plant. For the avoidance of doubt, the President, within the first few days of his second term, concluded plans for improved electricity supply by signing a six-year power deal with German energy giant Siemens, which will result in the production of at least 25,000 megawatts of electricity by the year 2025.

More than 2,000MW of additional power generation capacity by the end of 2018 — some of it via publicly owned plants (Afam Fast Power, 240MW); others through private sector investment supported by the Federal Government.

Launch of the Energizing Economic Programme which is bringing reliable and efficient power to economic clusters /markets around the country. Pilot projects are currently being implemented in Aba (Ariaria Market), Lagos (Shomolu Printing Community, (Sura Shopping Complex), Kano (Sabon Gari Market) and Akure (Isinkan Market). 

Furthermore, the Transmission Expansion and Rehabilitation Programme has resulted in a 50 percent expansion in Grid Capacity since 2015, from 5,000MW to 7,125MW as of December 2017. Beyond the Grid Programme, a Public-Private Partnership scheme championed by the Presidency and the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), successfully deployed 20,000 units of solar home systems to power rural households across 12 States, between July 2017 and April 2018. 

WATER

In Kaduna, the Federal Government spent N11.8bn to build Galma Dam to ensure the realization of the Zaria water project which was virtually abandoned by previous administrations. Now, residents of that ancient city who may not have seen water flow from public taps for about 30 years have a new lease on life with the 150 million liters per day water source as a result of the collaboration with the state government.

Additionally, the following Water Supply Projects and Dam/Irrigation Projects have been completed by the Buhari administration through the Ministry of Water Resources led by Engr. Suleiman Hussein Adamu: the Central Ogbia Regional Water Project, in Bayelsa; the Sabke/Dutsi/Mashi Water Supply Project, in Katsina; and the Northern Ishan Regional Water Supply Project, serving Ugboha and Uromi communities of Edo State.

Other noteworthy water projects being completed by the Buhari administration are the Kashimbila Dam, in Taraba State; the Ogwashi-Uku Dam, in Delta State; the Shagari Dam Irrigation Project, in Sokoto State; and the Rehabilitation of the Ojirami Dam Water Supply Project in Edo State.

Moreover, more than 70 Ecological Fund projects have been awarded and completed by the Buhari Administration, across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. These include flood control projects; erosion control projects; bridges and dams; channelization and desilting.

AVIATION

According to the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, one of the major achievements of President Buhari’s administration in the aviation sector is the sustenance of safety. This development, the Minister says, has further boosted and restored the confidence of the public in Nigeria’s aviation sector. The Minister cited the fact that ensuring the safety of fliers would not have been possible without the enforcement of regulatory rules by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

In the area of upgrading Nigerian airports to international standards, President Buhari’s administration has worked to complete the Kano Tower Automated Air Traffic Management and Meteorological Systems, installed the Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) Category II (CAT II), Doppler VORs (DVORs), Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) at four airports across the country: Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna completed, while that of Minna, Jos, Yola, Maiduguri, Benin, and Akure are nearly completed. Additionally, CAT III Instrument Landing Systems have been installed in Lagos and Abuja, which has helped to improve the operation of aircraft during inclement weather conditions. 

Similarly, this administration has also installed solar airfield lighting at 10 airports; Akure, Port Harcourt, Sokoto, Yola, Kaduna, Minna, Enugu, Maiduguri, Jos, and Ibadan, as well as installed Very High Frequency (VHF) radios for aerodrome and approach air-ground communication in 18 airports nationwide. The airports are Maiduguri, Enugu, Jos, Calabar, Yola, Ilorin, Sokoto, Lagos, Kano, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Zaria, Katsina, Owerri, Yola, Calabar and Kaduna to ensure passenger safety.

CONCLUSION

With this as a guide, it is clear that as President Buhari, aided by his Ministers work to fix Nigeria one project at a time, one sector at a time, with one new achievement every time — we need all hands on deck to ensure that the commenced projects are completed, and the completed projects are adequately utilized and managed for the sake of the Nigerians that this administration came into office to serve.

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Vice President Osinbajo Pride Of Nigeria – NSCIA

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has been described as the pride of Nigeria by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) on Friday.
Prof. Osinbajo who gave a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the General Assembly of NSCIA was praised for his commitment to the country.

Ishaq Oloyede, Secretary General of NSCIA said Prof. Osinbajo has successfully combined his religious commitments with public administration, something that is worth emulating.

“He is a model of a person combining religious commitment with public administration. He has done that creditably well. Mr. Vice President we want to thank you on behalf of the Muslim community of this country. You are a pride to this nation, we thank you and pray that God will continue to be with you,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, President-General of NSCIA and Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, applauded the Vice President for his leadership, which he said was given to him by God.

“We have the privilege of having the Vice President here who is a pastor, and I am pleased that he is here to listen to the comments we will make and to listen to him giving the keynote speech, which I believe he will say a lot having known him for some time.

“He has leadership given to him by the lord God Almighty, it is a trust and responsibility and he is here in his capacity as VP and we invited him to give the keynote speech as VP of Nigeria and he accepted to be here,” the Sultan of Sokoto said.

Prof Salisu Shehu, Deputy Secretary General of NSCIA praised the Vice President for gracing the event. “I believe as you have graciously accepted to be here to honour this event by coming personally, I believe that when resolutions are presented to you, we are sure that you’d give the necessary executive support to those resolutions.”

In his keynote address, Osinbajo commended the NSCIA for bridging the religious gap in Nigeria. “This Council is of particular importance to us as a nation because it not only promotes solidarity among Nigeria’s Muslims but also serves as an important intermediary between the government and the Muslim community and between Muslims and persons of other faiths.

“As the highest decision-making body of the Council, I offer to you this morning, both a commendation and a challenge.

“First, the commendation to you for the great leadership you have shown in galvanizing the Muslim community in Nigeria despite denominational differences. But also, for making the Council available for the promotion of interfaith peace, and religious tolerance in Nigeria.

“The challenge stems from the theme of this meeting which is “Islam and National Development.” Permit me to put the topic in context so that we do not miss the essence of the topic. So, I recast the theme to read as follows quote, “The Role of Islam in the Development of a Multi-religious and Multi-ethnic Nation.” This is the gravamen of the matter and I believe my brother, Isa Pantami (Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy who delivered the keynote address) did an excellent job.

“Decades ago in this same country, it would not have been a major topic. Leaders in the first republic did not consider religious intolerance as a major national issue, they were more concerned about the issues that touched everyone regardless of religion or ethnicity; they were concerned about providing food, shelter, education and decent livelihoods. But today, no true leader can ignore the threat that religious bigotry and intolerance poses for the development of our nation. That is just the way it is.

“But it is my respectful view that the burden of ensuring that faith promotes national development as opposed to impeding it is on leaders. This is the challenge I pose to you today.

“A few months ago, at an interfaith gathering, I told the story of an occurrence on the 20th of June 2018. Christians in their village Nshar Yelwa, Plateau State were attacked by a horde of persons who were said to be Muslims, who had attacked other villages and had killed several Berom farmers who were mainly Christians.

“As Imam Abdullahi was finishing mid-day prayers, he and his congregation heard gunshots and went outside to see members of the village’s Christian community running helter-skelter. Instinctively, the Imam ushered 262 Christians into the mosque and some into his home next to the mosque.

“The Imam then went outside to confront the gunmen. He refused to allow them to enter, pleading with them to spare the Christians inside the mosque and his home. When the assailants were adamant, he told them that they would have to kill him first if they were going to kill the Christians, he had given refuge. They eventually left without killing any of the Christians in the mosque or in his home. Imam Abdullahi’s selflessness and sacrifice saved the lives of hundreds of people of a faith different from his own.

“Imam Abdullahi not only refused to give up the Christians he had given refuge; he even offered his life in exchange for theirs. His moral courage is rooted in a profound recognition of our common humanity. His compassion, empathy and selflessness are an example to us as people of faith.”

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Facebook Hosts Its First ‘Facebook iD8 Nairobi’ Conference Aimed At Celebrating And Growing The Tech Ecosystem Across Africa

Facebook today brought together over 400 developers, startups and businesses from across Sub-Saharan Africa in a first of its kind conference dubbed “Facebook iD8 Nairobi”. As part of its effort to create opportunities for innovation, community building and education throughout the continent, “Facebook iD8 Nairobi” created a space for developers and startups to showcase and celebrate talent from across the continent, while sharing their developer journey.

In his keynote speech, Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Global Head of Developer Programmes highlighted Facebook’s plan in partnership with Andela to train and equip thousands of developers from its Developer Circles across 10 countries in Africa with technical and non-technical skills in 2020. This follows Facebook’s successful three-month training programme with Andela across Nigeria and Kenya in 2019.

The conference featured a career fair aimed at connecting this year’s top developers from Facebook’s and Andela’s three-month training programme in Nigeria and Kenya with employment opportunities through meet ups with potential employers.

It also had the 2019 Facebook SSA Developer Circle Leads Summit which bought together 60 Developer Circle leaders, who represented 45 circles in 17 countries across the continent in a two-day networking event

Facebook iD8 Nairobi also highlighted the latest insights from Facebook, with new technologies and products for attendees to build and experiment with, and programmes to help them at any stage of their journey. There were hands-on demonstrations and discussions with Facebook product experts who provided guidance and help to unlock challenges developers face in their development process. The conference also provided an opportunity for developers and startups to learn how technology such as AR/VR, Messaging and Open Source can offer tangible solutions for businesses in Africa.

Speaking at the conference Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Global Head of Developer Programs said, “We look forward to reconnecting with the ecosystem to share the latest technology , product and program updates. Facebook iD8 is a two-way dialogue where we also have a chance to hear from our developer and startup community’ about their experiences and roadblocks as well as provide an opportunity for members of our community to connect with others who share their challenges and aspirations.”

Fatma Ali a Developer Lead for a Facebook Developer Circle in Eldoret stated, “This opportunity has enabled me to connect and get mentorship to build my career while equipping me with leadership skills to work with the developer community. Through my Facebook Developer Circle I have gotten exposure and recognition in the Developer ecosystem. The experience has been enlightening and I am confident that I will have a successful career in technology.“

Sewagodimo Matlapeng a Developer Lead for a Facebook Developer Circle in Capetown concluded, “My experience leading a Developer Circle in Capetown has enabled me to advocate for the inclusion of women in the developer community in Capetown with my circle having the highest female members in Africa. Through Facebook iD8, I gained insights on how we as developers, male and female can seize opportunities and curb challenges in the developer community.”

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APC National Secretary: Powerful Blocs That Are Backing Bulama, By Segun Tomori

It is no longer news that the seat of the National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is vacant, what is news is that there is a proposed National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party on Friday, 22nd Nov, 2019 to fill the position and other vacant offices in the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).

The NEC is expected to ratify the nominees presented by zones in which the vacant offices were zoned. The National scribe position was zoned to the North-East, and micro-zoned to Borno and Yobe which gives Arc. Waziri Bulama, an indigene of Borno, an edge to clinch it.

Apart from being the Deputy Director-General (Coordination) of the 2019 APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Bulama was a frontrunner for the same position in the June 2018 National convention of the party before he was persuaded to step down at the last minute by party stakeholders for the out-gone scribe, now Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State.

Over the past few months, Bulama’s aspiration has garnered unprecedented momentum within the APC that has seen him bag the endorsement of powerful blocs within the party. Amongst the blocs that have endorsed him include:

  1. Forum of State Chairmen of the APC at its meeting in July endorsed Bulama citing his experience and impeccable credentials.
  2. Key chieftains of the APC in the North-East led by Gov. Zulum of Borno, his counterparts in other States, the 6 APC State chairmen in the zone, majority of members of the National Assembly have all thrown their weight behind Bulama.
  3. Majority of the National Working Committee (NWC) members are also rooting for Bulama. He is seen as a unifier and a detribalised administrator.
  4. The Buhari Support Organization (BSO) at a meeting of its State Coordinators sometime in July also unanimously adopted Arc. Waziri Bulama as its sole candidate for APC scribe.

The Chairman of the forum extolled his virtues stating he is the best man for the job.

  1. A pressure group under the auspices of Tinubu Transformation Agenda (TITAN) has also since backed Bulama.

Other groups that have joined the Bulama for National Secretary advocacy include, the Coalition of Buhari and Osinbajo Movement (COBOM), APC in Diaspora, Women for Buhari/Osinbajo amongst others.

It is obvious that majority of stakeholders within the APC are in support of the emergence of Bulama as the party’s scribe.

The long wait for the emergence of the new party scribe has reached feverish pitch. Party faithful across the country are now eagerly awaiting the announcement of the amiable Arc. Waziri Bulama as the substantive APC National Secretary at the party’s forthcoming NEC meeting.

Segun Tomori is the Chairman, Media & Publicity, Bulama Support Group (BSG), Dep. Chairman (South), Bulama Youth Coalition (BYC).

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GAC Motors To Visit Lagos For Feasibility Studies

Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC Motors) will be visiting Lagos State to study the viability of establishing a vehicle assembly plant.

The development followed Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s visit to the Chinese automobile firm’s headquarters in Guangzhou, where the Lagos helmsman held a business meeting with GAC’s management team.

The Governor, who is on a working visit to China, inspected the automobile manufacturing company’s factories, research and development centres as well as its training facilities. 

Moved by the huge jobs potential of a similar facility in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu advised the company to consider building an assembly plant in Lagos.

He said: “I am excited at what I have seen in the course of my tour of your facility and I can assure you that there is a huge market for auto brands in Lagos State. We have a population of over 22 million people, and Lagos is the most prosperous city in Africa, with our economy ranking as the 7th largest in Africa.

“On the government side, I think now is the right time for you to come to Lagos because we will support you. There is a free trade zone you can locate your factories and Lagos has a pool of highly talented and innovative people that can provide a steady workforce supply for your operations in our State.”

Sanwo-Olu said his administration’s commitment to business innovation and process review was acknowledged by the World Bank as major drivers of Nigeria’s 15 places upward movement in the Ease of Doing Business Index.

GAC Group chairman Mr. Zeng Qihong, at a meeting, said the Group was considering expanding its business in international markets.

He said: “With the Governor’s invitation, we are quite confident and encouraged that coming to Lagos would be exciting. We will look into the process of establishing an operation base in Lagos after our international business department has visited to carry out a visibility study of the market. We are optimistic about coming to Lagos because of the market size and the significance of the economy to Africa.”

At the meeting were top management members of GAC Motors, including the President of the company, Mr. Feng Xingya, General Director Zhang Yuesai, Director for International Business Mr. Yu Jun and Regional Sales Director for African Region Kamel Zheng.

It is anticipated that GAC Motors operations in Lagos will contribute to the development of the State’s economy and encourage technology transfer between China and Lagos.

GAC Group is ranked 189 on the list of Fortune 500 companies. The company’s total revenue for 2018 was $53bn and profit $10bn. In 2018, the GAC brand passenger car exports accounted for 70% of China’s passenger car exports to Nigeria. It has a national brand store and service centre in Nigeria, and recently completed its first SKD factory in the country.

#ForAGreaterLagos

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Re-Mamman Daura’s Flamboyant Birthday Celebration In UK, By Segun Tomori

Days ago, a quack online medium, Desert Herald – obviously acting the script of its sponsors, chose to cast aspersions on Elder Statesman, Mamman Daura through its ill-fated publication that alluded to a fictitious “Flamboyant birthday celebration” of the octogenarian in the United Kingdom.

Mallam Daura had clocked 80, a milestone worth celebrating by all standards, therefore it wasn’t unexpected that his children will pull out all the stops to make it memorable. However, they chose to do otherwise, opting instead for a modest birthday dinner in honour of the President’s nephew.

But Desert Herald would have none of that! They created a façade of a flamboyant party where there was none and even alleged that guests at the party which included his close family members and associates were all flown to London on a First Class ticket. Nothing could be further from the truth as guests footed their bills, while not all attendees flew in from Nigeria, as some of Mallam’s family are resident in the United Kingdom.

The bileful Editorial also attempted to vilify Daura for “making merry” whilst his countrymen supposedly suffers. It however forgot in its haste to crucify to acknowledge his rights as a private citizen who doesn’t occupy any public office. Comparing him with Sarduana or Tafawa Balewa who had held public office at the peak of their lives is outright irresponsible.

Finally, Mallam Daura is by no means a pauper having risen to the apex of his career as Managing Director of the New Nigerian newspapers, sat atop the board of blue-chip companies, was the Chairman of the defunct Nigerian Bank of Commerce and Industry, therefore it begs the question why a Birthday celebration in London will be such a big deal.

It is obvious even to the blind that the hatchet job of Desert Herald to cast Mamman Daura in a bad light has fallen like a pack of cards. Nigerians know better when they see a smokescreen!

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Water Transportation: Lagos Govt Assures Local Boats Manufacturers Of Patronage

Lagos state government has assured local builders of boats that the state government would scale up their businesses by regularly patronising them in line with the vision of making water transportation one of the best possible alternatives.

In doing this, the state government is confident that the effort would help to strengthen the economies of local boats builders, attract more interest in water transportation and bring daily traffic congestion on our roads to a barest minimum.

The Managing Director, Lagos State Ferry Services (LAGFERRY), Hon Abdoulbaq Ladi-Balogun gave the assurances during an inspection tour of two major boat factories, V-Craft and Sierra Craft, in Lagos on Monday.

He stated that the Governor, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo Olu is fully committed to efficient water transportation system and has instructed that LAGFERRY must identify and patronise local builders who have the capacity and adhere to international standard best practices.

“We want to build the Eco system and ensure everybody is carried along in achieving the multi modal transportation initiative of the present administration to decongest the roads, so any manufacturer that has the capacity, we will patronise. We want to encourage local investors particularly those that have interest in water transportation and purchase the boats that are not just made in Nigeria but made in Lagos” he stated

While informing that the state government intends to roll out commercial ferry services in couple of weeks to come, the Managing Director assured Lagosians of a new experience in water transportation driven by latest technology and built on safety, reliability, faster with efficient services, comfort and value for money.

In his response, The Managing Director, sierra Craft, Mr Olusegun Jaji expressed delight at the interest of the state government in developing local water transportation, especially, the assurances given to local builders that they would enjoy government patronage.He added that he was particularly delighted in this administration’s commitment to improving and increasing water transportation.

He assured that his company was capable of producing and delivering world class boats capable of meeting the international standard as required by the State government.
He explained that his company and others were ready to key in to the vision of the present administration of exploring water transportation to decongest the road traffic.

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