Should Government Stop Working Because Of Election? By Zainab Adewale-Cole

It’s something we have become accustomed to in Nigeria, months before any election, the government stops in its strides and all energy is channeled towards the election. For 16 years, when PDP ruled Nigeria, unwritten bank holidays were awarded to civil servants and in some cases, contractors.

Government projects almost always came to a halt as everyone looked in the direction of the cookie jar. Its that time in every four years when Nigerians get to enjoy the largesse that has eluded them in the last three and a half years. It is the national cake and here’s an opportunity to stake a claim, who dares pass up on that.

But in the last few months, the script has been rewritten, the narrative is changed and so is the body language. The people who have mastered making big money once every four years have to town with their propaganda machinery and the expectation of response appears to be pissing them off.

Away from the shenanigans, let’s x-ray the government of the day and their reaction to the 2019 election. Like every beer parlour politics, some Nigerians have hammered the government for two things. First, for refusing to campaign like they had expected. These people generally expected the ruling campaign to begin massive campaign rallies across Nigeria, once the campaign season opened on 18 November but they were taken off guard when President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo continued their obligations to the people.

The VP have made two campaign stops, one in Abuja and the other in Lagos, but it was no more than door-to-door campaign. It cost him, his principal and their party, no dime. Yes, I mean no dime at all. While Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have embarked on three campaign rallies, the ruling party is acting like its unaware of the season we are in, the question is why should it bother.

The government pretty much believes that the work it has done in the last three and half years will speak for it at the polls, this is not to say they will not campaign at all. But what is most staggering the chatter that the government should stop working.

How can a responsible government stop work because election is around the corner? For example, many people especially the opposition have labelled TraderMoni a vote buying scheme because the Vice President is still embarking on monitoring and on the-site assessment of the scheme but they don’t see the ongoing construction of rail and roads as vote buying, they don’t see the bridges that are constructed as vote buying.

The truth is that Nigerians can’t tell the difference between a government dedicated to achieving its goals and the government that plays politics with everything including our livelihood. PDP insinuating that President Buhari not campaigning means he wants to rig the election is a big joke. It only exposes how PDP has operated over the years and how they expect others to behave.

I think Nigerians should open their minds and understand that no reasonable and responsible government will halt activities for its selfish gains. The government owes it to us to keep working until it hands over to a new government and wins a re-election. In any case, Babatunde Fashola has continued to boost electricity in Nigeria, not minding the forthcoming election.

Let’s hope this is the start of greater things to come for Nigeria.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Saraki’s Greed And Imminent Abeyance, By Richard Tayo

Dear Senator Saraki,
I wrote a letter to you almost 2years ago titled “When does ambition go overboard?”
Whether you read that letter or not, I am determined to write you another letter. I am writing this letter as a citizen whose tax is used to pay you.
 I wrote in the letter and I quote “Remember that everything that has a beginning must surely have an end. Meaning a time will come when your highness will be dethroned. You will look back and you won’t find those urging you on now”. You should read the letter sir because that time seem near.
To say that you are gradually losing relevance is an understatement sir.  And this is a spoiler; You may not make it to the 9th Assembly by way of losing your bid just like you lost the PDP presidential primaries with your infamous 317 votes. Should you make it to the 9th Assembly your case may be worse than that of Senator David Mark who won himself the appellation “Chairman Senate Committee on Silence and sit down look”. The stunt you pulled to become the Senate President should be thrown into the trash bin because it won’t work again. Affliction won’t rise the second time.
To start with, does the recent bye election in Kwara State sound a warning note at all? I guess it doesn’t. You don’t give up easily do you? You are like the proverbial cat with seven lives. Your party the PDP lost the Ekiti, Irepodun/Isin/Okeero Federal Constituency in Kwara South Senatorial District to the candidate of the APC Raheem Olawuyi. Never forget that Prince Ayorinde Adedoyin the governorship candidate of the Accord Party is already making in roads too. Does Atunwa stand a chance? Time will tell.
However, either the bye election defines how 2019 general elections will go or not it sure gives APC and other parties a psychological boost. It also gives credence to the rumor making the rounds that Kwarans are tired of your Godfatherism, imposition and subjugation.
This is where I blame Abdulfatah Ahmed the incumbent Governor of Kwara state, he allowed loyalty to become slavery. He would have been one of the best governors Kwara has ever had with his level of intelligence but your overbearing influence on him has greatly taper off and abridged his popularity and performance that he allegedly has to give up his senatorial ambition because you said so.
Recently we heard you graciously approved the distribution of some tricycles , motorcycles, grinding machines and computer sets to various beneficiaries selected from across Kwara Central senatorial district. Another desperate move? Annie Macaulay Idibia just empowered 500 women in Ikorodu Lagos recently and she did not make a noise about it. She helped those indigent women without expecting votes or any form of gratification from them. You sir, couldn’t have done a thing like that except in exchange for votes.
It was reported that you Dr Bukola Saraki The de facto governor of Kwara State said you would start offsetting salary arrears owned certain categories of workers in Kwara state how thoughtful. Or another desperate move don’t you think? Are you familiar with the lyrics “No alert no sitting”?
The song was recently released by the national assembly workers in protest for their unpaid salaries and wages. You are obviously more concerned with the politics you intend to play with Kwara people’s salaries.
Pretending you are moral, saying you are moral is not the same as acting morally. More than half your day is spent not working on legislation. Instead they are essentially full of strategies on how to make Buhari government patronize you.
Yes! You read that correctly, we all listened to all you spew out during your meeting with your cronies. For 33minutes and 55seconds you spoke about patronage, appointments and sharing but not for once did you talk about infrastructure or development of Kwara State.The following are excerpt as transcribed;
 “I had already promised some of you here that you will be MD of federal agencies or incharge of road maintenance, Nigeria Ports Authority, SUBEB and so on”.
“I know if I put one amongst you from Kwara in the Federal agencies, at least you will be able to sign contracts of 1Million, 2million. For the first time that I have been in politics neither the Senate president nor Speaker can’t appoint a cleaner”.
“When David Mark was Senate President every confirmation, he made for the President came with something”.
“Now we have seen signs that if Atiku becomes President things will come to us”.
This means politics to you is about personal aggrandizement. The meeting is a pointer to your insatiable greed. To you, politics is not about service but patronage. Politics is about sharing, haba Mr Senate President. if Buhari’s government did nothing aside from making you and your cronies realize that it’s no longer business as usual, Nigerians will be satisfied.
I must close by saying everyone joins a party where his interest can be better served. People take a plunge into politics to make a difference, and therefore there is nothing like immorality.
So why should one continue to remain in a party that does not have one‘s interest at heart or make a difference in one‘s personal life? The answer to this question is what leads politicians to crossing the carpet. You may not know it, APC members may also not know it too but the best thing to have  happened to APC this year was your exit.
Your greed is calling for your political abeyance.
@richardtayo
[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Declined Electoral Bill: What Mike Ozhekome Want From President Buhari, By Tobi Matthew

The media space has been awash with rants of Opposition party voices and their associates about the declined Electoral amended bill 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In his words, the President said; “I am declining assent to the Bill principally because I am concerned that passing a new Electoral Act this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general election, which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act, could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process” Of the noticeable rants in the media space is criticism by Mike Ozekhome [SAN] who stated that President Buhari is afraid of imminent defeat at the polls, noting that all he is out to achieve by failing to put pen to paper is to provide a suitable environment to enhance electoral manipulation to pave way for his re-election.

One cannot but laugh at Ozekhome comment and you wonder how he rose to the position of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria. It’s well known that his legal expertise has always been to detriment of the nation’s progress as his cronies & associates have always be found wanting in various financial crimes which significantly stalled the progress of our nation. If a constituted lawyer and SAN like Ozekhome could support the “trap” bill, then what becomes of the hope in the men who are supposed to weigh and analyze critically serious national issues before making comment.

In the mind of Ozekhome, he wants Buhari to sign into law an amended bill that gives one person the right to cancel the entire election process in the nation; he wants Buhari to sign into law an electoral act that removed card readers from our elections.

He wants Buhari to sign into law; an electoral act that remove voting counting and replace it with vote announcing, a bill that says political parties can merge 21 days before elections. He wants Buhari to sign an electoral act that says INEC must transmit results electronically in a nation where Power supply is not in constant supply to the 774 local governments It’s suffice to say that the amended electoral bill 2018 was garnished as an overall appealing draft to the public with an underlying intended motive or how do one amend the rules of an electoral process that has already kick started?

It will definitely amounts to changing the rules in the middle of the game and this surely creates room for suspicions. Ozhekome should be aware that the Presidency cannot be cowed nor be incited against the public using amended electoral bill or perhaps he realized that the slightest opportunity of returning his cronies back to power has been declined.

Twitter

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

The Economic Case For The Trader Moni Scheme, By Nnamdi Chukwuemeka

The Federal Government launched the Trader Moni scheme as part of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) in July 2018. The TraderMoni scheme entails the provision of N10,000 in interest free credit to table top traders. Beneficiaries have up to six months to repay the loans and thereby qualify for higher sums of money.

Since the launch of the scheme, which has been received by great enthusiasm by the beneficiaries, there have been various reactions ranging from genuine interest in knowing how the scheme works to name calling by political opponents of the APC Government who have called the loans bribes and vote-buying. It is difficult to understand how money that will be paid back can be considered as bribes. This short paper outlines the economic case for the TraderMoni scheme and the benefits that it will entail for the country.

The starting point for understanding TraderMoni is to see it as part of the broad ranging financial inclusion strategy of the Federal Government. Financial inclusion entails making financial services available to households and businesses in an affordable way. Several studies have shown that access to financial services helps to reduce poverty by facilitating payments and savings for households and businesses as well as enabling households to smooth out expenses and access services like micro-credit, micro-insurance and pensions. It also helps to improve lives, spur economic activity, reduce the cost of financial transactions and improve the delivery of social services, especially government payments. Financial inclusion also helps micro-enterprises to access cheaper credit and invest in order to grow their businesses.

Financial exclusion is considered expensive for economies. This means that with up to 41% of Nigerians lacking access to formal financial services there is need for urgent action. Financial exclusion in Nigeria is quite high compared to countries like Ghana where the rate of financial inclusion increased from 29% in 2011 to 58% in 2017. In South Africa which still suffers from the legacy of apartheid, up to 75% of the population has bank accounts as compared to 46% in 2004. in Kenya there has been a drastic increase in financial inclusion with up to 75% of the population having bank accounts, which is a 50% increase over the past 10 years partly due to the impact of digital payments systems. The common denominator in the examples of South Africa, Ghana and Kenya is that their governments took innovative and urgent action to speed up the pace of financial inclusion.

Empirical evidence from random controlled trials shows that small businesses benefit from increased access to credit because it enable them to invest in assets to expand their businesses, diversify into new products and cope better with business risk. Indeed, the relatively longer tenor of TraderMoni loans means that small entrepreneurs can venture into expanding their inventory and/or production.

Given Nigeria’s relatively poor performance in financial inclusion, the Federal Government has taken a strategic and innovative approach to ramping up financial inclusion in Nigeria. It has done this by:
• Recognising the need for urgency
• Introducing innovative programmes • Using fintech
• Working with major stakeholders
In recognising the need for urgency, the Federal Government to an approach to financial inclusion that would bring a large number of people into the financial net in a very short space of time. Accordingly, its target for TraderMoni was to have 2m people engaged in the scheme by the end of 2018. In the same vein, the programme ensured geographical coverage so that each State would be entitled to at least 30,000 participants in the TraderMoni scheme in the first phase.

The innovative programmes introduced to boost financial inclusion are to be found in the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) which provides micro-credit to existing businesses, which means the focus in on empowerment. GEEP has several components such as TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni and involves giving interest free loans to existing businesses. The advantages of the GEEP programme are exemplified by Trader Moni whose features include:

• N10,000 loans
• The credit is interest free
• Participating traders have to be table top, bottom of the value chain micro enterprises
• These micro-enterprises have to be carefully enumerated and captured into a database
• The loans have to be repaid in six months which entitles the borrower to borrowing a higher
amount of N15,000

MarketMoni which grants loans from N50,000 to N300,000 requires participants to open or have bank accounts (immediate financial inclusion) also uses an innovative risk mitigation arrangement whereby participants have to be part of a cooperative in order to qualify for the credit.

Studies have shown that microcredit works well when the participant already has an existing business and when interest rates are not exorbitant. TraderMoni meets this requirement given that participants not only have existing businesses but they are actually part of established retail chains, albeit at the lowest end. The interest free credit is to be contrasted to interest paid on loans from microfinance banks which attract interest rates of up to 30% to 60%.
TraderMoni also supports financial inclusion because it is bringing two million people into the financial system.

Participants get paid by electronic cash transfers and are required to open bank accounts including KYC requirements and BVN at point of requesting additional loans. This innovative micro-credit scheme will also help to avoid dependence on unreliable, insufficient and expensive informal mechanisms which traders currently rely on.
As a micro-credit scheme, TraderMoni can be seen as a good starting point for wider economic inclusion as the enrolment and data generated will propel the movement towards micro-savings, micro-insurance, micro-pensions and micro-payments for services like health provision. It will also encourage a second generation of innovative business ideas such as micro-leasing for ‘okadas’ and solar power. This will be backstopped by the fintech arrangements being used to process TraderMoni loans such as Eyowo.

Working with the Committee of Bank Chief Executives, the TraderMoni scheme will also be giving telephone hand sets to participants who do not already have one. This will help reduce the resort to sharing handsets and also ensuring that electronic payments get to the intended beneficiaries. The banks are working speedily towards expanding their agent network across the country while also making greater use of technology to ensure interoperable systems. Ultimately, with an envisaged general saving account somewhat like the government saving account in India, financial inclusion will enable more people to access additional services like micro-insurance, micro- payments, etc. TraderMoni is similarly preparing the previously financially excluded to use the Payment Services Banks which are set to be licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The strategy of using micro-credit and technology contribute to higher degrees of financial inclusion which is positively and causally related to growth and employment. It is estimated for instance that the roll out of SANEF by the Bankers Committee will lead to an additional 500,000 jobs in the wider economy.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

The A-Z Of MarketMoni And TraderMoni, By Yinka Ogunnubi

In August 2018, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration launched the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) through the Bank of Industry (BOI). GEEP has two pillars – the first called Market Moni and the second, Trader Moni.

The Market Moni scheme is a soft loans to traders ranging from N10,000 – N100,000. Traders decide the amount needed to boost their trade as long as it remains within the stipulated range.

The repayment period is for six months and there is 5% administration fee. No interest is charged. There is also a two weeks grace period to pay back. At the end of each payment, beneficiary can apply for a higher value or the same value.

HOW TO APPLY FOR THE INTEREST FREE LOAN
1. You must belong to a registered and accredited market association or cooperative which must be registered with BOI
2. You must have BVN
3. Your market association or cooperative must nominate you for a loan and stand as your guarantor.
4. You must have a business location

So basically, to access Market Moni, you need to belong to a market association or a cooperative. This is because the money will be disbursed through your cooperative.

Now let’s talk about Trader Moni.

Trader Moni is a mobile phone driven initiative scheme. Unlike Market Moni, traders don’t need to be a member of a cooperative to access it. While Market Moni targets micro traders that are a bit structured, Trader Moni is targeted at the ultra-micro enterprises.

With Trader Moni, you can access N10,000 and pay back N10,250 to qualify for N15,000. Once you payback N15,375 you will qualify for N20,000 loan, when you pay back N21,000 you will get N50,000. The repayment period is six months with  zero interest.

REGISTRATION PROCESS

To get registered, you need a mobile phone. Once your details are captured by the enumerators (also called agents), and sent to BoI system for validation, you’ll within 48 hours get cash notification in your mobile wallet account. You can either transfer the collateral free loan to your bank account or cash it at mobile money agent around.

In a nutshell, while Market Moni gives out loans from N10,000 – N100,000, Trader Moni gives loans from between N10,000 – N50,000 without beneficiary belonging to any cooperative or association. The repayment period remains six months.

In 2013, Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), did a survey and they found out thatthe total number of MSMEs in Nigeria stood at 37,067,416 (Micro-36,994,578, Small- 68,168, and Medium-4,670). 68.35% of this number (i.e. 23.3m MSMEs) initial start-up capital was predominantly less than N50,000. This was the justification and it was based on data not politics.

You may ask, why not N1 million or N10m or N50m? This is because there are already other intervention funds like the Central Bank of Nigeria Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF), which gives from N500,000 to N50m to SMEs. To access this fund, you need a business plan, and be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), with a collateral.

How many market women, artisans and traders do you know who can prepare a business plan, register their business with CAC and have sufficient collateral to attract the CBN’s N220 Billion SME loan? Aside from this, the BOI also has a similar loan targeted at SMEs as well.

So what has been happening is that the big SME’s with the strength to do so have been able to access the other intervention funds targeted at SMEs, but those at the micro level have been unable to do so mainly because of structural reasons. This’s why they were targeted with GEEP.

So the idea that this is some vote buying scheme is ridiculous. Don’t go with the crowd. The government has been able to help these traders scale up by supporting their business with micro credit. As many that benefit from this scheme, they in turn add to the nation’s GDP.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

2019 Presidential Election: Buhari Coasting To A Landslide Victory, By Ayantunji Gbenro (PhD)

2019 election is barely two months away, the umpire has declared the campaigns open and the gladiators are already on the field across the country. There are currently over 20 candidates jostling for the highest job in the land. These candidates can be categorized into contenders, pretenders and “I also run”. The contest is seeing by majority as a direct fight between the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling APC and Alhaji Abubakar Atiku of the major opposition party, PDP. The pretenders are Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, Mr. Donald Duke and Prof. Kingsley Moghalu. Despite the effort by the pretenders, the fact that the candidates’ names are more popular than their platforms speak volume. The lack of financial resources and political structure across the country is a serious impediment to the genuine and laudable aspiration of these patriots to chat a different political course for the country. These candidates could have probably been better if they aspire to go to the National Assembly on the platform of any of the two major political parties and commence the gradual ideological change the country so much needs from inside. The other candidates are the “I also run”, in my opinion. It’s difficult to understand the motivation for most of these candidates to run for Presidents when their names hardly heard even in their wards.

I will try to justify the above prediction on the outcome of 2019 presidential election by considering the chances of the incumbent president with his major challenger, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. The prediction will be done by examining factors such as: the strength and cohesion of APC and PDP, the character and political reach of each candidate, the performance of the incumbent and the electoral value of the running mate to each candidate.

Both APC and PDP experienced crisis after the primary elections. The APC experienced mass exodus before the presidential primary when it was obvious that Buhari was propped to be the only candidate. However, the presidential primary itself didn’t lead to any issue and the affirmation of Buhari as APC’s candidate was a smooth sail. APC also experienced crisis during the legislative and governorship primaries in many states, with Imo, Ogun and Zamfara been the most affected States because the sitting governors couldn’t have their ways in installing their preferred candidates. These states have experienced mass exodus from APC by the supporters of the sitting governors.

One thing that is instructive however is that, even in States where aggrieved APC members moved out of the party, the decamping didn’t translate to either withdrawal of support for Buhari or support for Atiku by hitherto. They have largely remained committed to working for the success of Buhari in the presidential election. Contrary to APC’s experience, PDP’s Presidential primary was a battle royale. Among the contenders at the PDP presidential primaries, only Senator Bukola Saraki can today be said to be totally committed to Atiku’s campaign. Other contestants have gone under the radar. Even when some of them appear in the public once in a while, the body language cannot be said to be encouraging. Also, the commitment of the likes of governor Wike of Rivers State, whose State financial and electoral strength appears non-comital.

The fact that new decampees into PDP appear to be calling the shot is not sitting well with Majority that stayed to build the party after 2015 defeat. The SE PDP governors and legislators also appear to have developed cold feet on Atiku’s candidacy as a fall out of the choice of running mate. If the structures that Atiku’s campaign will rely on are non-comital to his candidacy two months to the election then there is cause for alarm. The PDP may want to garnish its outing at the recent NW (seven States) zonal campaign, which was the commencement of it campaign but when measured by the turnout of both supporters and party leaders, the outing was a monumental failure and probably a pointer to what to come. Judging from the perspective of party’s cohesion and commitment to candidacy, Buhari appears to be miles ahead of Atiku. PDP can still put its house in order but time is running out.

President Mohammadu Buhari is a man of impeccable character and integrity, even his fiercest detractors will agree with this summation in their closets. He has over the year proved his integrity and this has given him a cult like following among the masses, especially in the north. The person of Buhari alone guarantees, at least, 12 million votes without any campaign in a free and fair election. This cannot be said of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Either real or imaginary, he has been projected as a symbol of everything wrong with our society over the years. This has caused a lot of loathing for him among the masses especially from the north, even in his Adamawa State. Atiku as a candidate cannot withstand Buhari in any northern State even if PDP controls the States’ instruments of coercion talk less of a situation where the State apparatuses are out of their hands.

PDP has also done little or nothing to reduce Buhari’s political influence in the past three and half years it has been out of power. If anything, the age, religion and ethnicity that PDP employed over the past three and half years to de-market Buhari in some part of NC, SE and SS has further enhanced his standing in his traditional support base and alienated Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. The story of Jibrin from Sudan, which is obviously been promoted by PDP and Atiku’s camp has further dent their claim that Buhari has no strength to withstand the rigor of office while the inability of Atiku to visit USA despite recent desperate efforts further confirm the assertion made about his person by many but majorly amplified by his former boss, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. While PDP has not been able to make any significant inroad into Buhari’s support base, APC and Buhari have made significant inroad into SE and SS where they are hitherto considered an anathema.

On performance, though opinions may differ depending on the yardstick employed on whether Buhari has done excellently well or not, one thing that cannot be disputed is that he has done more when compared to PDP’s performance in 16yrs vis a vis the available resources. The various infrastructural developments across the nation will be a testimonial Buhari will flaunt to the electorates in seeking for re-election. I don’t know how PDP and Atiku will want to deny such verifiable evidences knowing fully well what was done by them in 16yrs. The security across the country has greatly improved under Buhari when compared to PDP’s era. Boko Haram have been pushed to the brinks of lake Chad compare to when it threatens to overrun the whole of Northern Nigeria and Abuja.

The herdsmen crisis and kidnapping which a section of the media tried to amplified beyond reasoning has been largely curtailed in recent time. The economy appears to be on the rise compare to the free fall state Buhari inherited. Pensioners owed over years are been paid. This and many more are things Buhari will point to and it will be compared with the 16yrs of PDP. The Buhari’s anticorruption crusade is yielding results when high profile convictions, forfeitures and fear to engage in corrupt practices under the current administration is compared with 16yrs of PDP when corruption became synonymous to Nigeria.

Another area the Buhari Administration will score big is its Social Intervention Programs. This has been thoughted as the most ambitious Social Intervention program, ever, in Africa. The over three hundred engaged in Npower with thirty thousand monthly stipends have relatives and PVC and will make a statement at the right time. I am sure that they will speak for Buhari at the poll comes 16th of February 2019. The three hundred thousand captured in the conditional cash transfer also posses PVC and relative. They will speak at the right time for Buhari. The over nine million children enjoying the school feeding and almost ninety thousand food vendors also have PVC and relatives. The two million that would have benefitted from Trader money also have PVCs and relatives. Market money, Anchor borrowers etc beneficiaries will also speak when it is time. These people are the neglected of the society by the successive government who are prioritized by Buhari’s administration. They will all make their opinion known at the poll.

The choice of running mate is usually to compliment the candidate in any election. The choice of Osibajo in 2014 was to balance the religious card and to bring the Southern voters on board. The choice worked perfectly well. The choice of Peter Obi is doing the opposite to Atiku’s candidacy. First, the choice has caused a lot of disaffection among the political elites in the SE. If SE, which is considered the major support base of PDP and Atiku singing a discordant tune, then, an obvious threat to his success is brewing. In addition to this, some actions of Obi as Anambra State governor which was viewed as anti-Muslim and anti-north is now been brought back to remembrance. This will further alienate Atiku from northern voters. Osibajo on the other hand has gone beyond just a compliment to Buhari, to what many analysts refer to as Political “Star Boy”.

His connection to the ordinary man on the street has extended the cult like followership of Buhari among the masses beyond the north to other regions of the country. His loyalty during Buhari’s sickness has proven his Christianity beyond rhetoric and endears him to people of other religion. His competency has been applauded by all and the synergy between him and his principal is what the nation has never witnessed at that level of governance. The more PDP try to throw mud at him the more they make him popular a leader without stain. When compare to each other, Buhari’s running mate is million of light years ahead of Atiku’s in terms of what he brings to the political table.

When the factors discussed in this article are married with other factors such as voting population by States and the standing of each candidate in each State vis a vis the standing of his party in the States, I will make bold prediction that Buhari will not only win the 2019 presidential election but he will do so with a margin that exceeds that winning margin of 2015 presidential election. Except something catastrophic happens, Buhari is coasting to a landslide victory in the 2019 presidential election.

 

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Rekindling The Past Glory In Nigerian Sports, By Maximus Umeh

 remember the good old days when I was a much younger lad. A time engaging in sports was a major focal point of the citizenry and the federal government. Such times were days of glory and honour for my country, Nigeria. A season where sports (not just football) were the adhesive factor that broke down walls of division amongst us and made us bound together. A time watching sports served as a panacea for all our pains and suffering giving us “a glimmer of hope” for the future – I mean our future!

Those were the days when Nigeria boasted and paraded some the best and most feared athletes in the world. Such great men and women in Track and Field,  like the Ezinwa brothers, Seun Ogunkoya, Francis Obikwelu, Mary Onyali, Chioma Ajunwa, and Falilat Ogunkoya; whose names made their counterparts like the legendary Carl Lewis, Morris Greene, Dwayne Chambers, and  Gwen Torrence tremble. That was how formidable they were!

What about the glory days of Nigerian Boxing or even Lawn Tennis when Nigeria’s Sule Ladipo made the country proud? Till date, Ladipo been the most (probably the only) renowned Nigerian Tennis player ever.

What about Football? Yes, there has been a steady resurgence of Nigerian Soccer on the world stage of late. However, the quality of the senior National Football team today is still nowhere near that of the class of ‘92 – ‘98; the era that fully announced Nigeria in Football as a sport. The list goes on.

But for over two decades, however, the state of sports in Nigeria has fallen so badly that the thought of the glory days seems like “a distant dream”.

Several factors have contributed to bringing about this decadence. Corruption, negligence, and complacency by the government and the sports community are factors clear to everyone.

My brother, who was formerly a professional sprinter, once told me about the treacherous manner in which athletes are treated by the coaching staff crew. Let’s say, for instance, there is a competition of some sort, a contingent of a school, a state, or even the national contingent for an international competition, would have a budget set out for them for the event by the school management or Federal government. This budget is meant to take care of their daily feeding allowance, training and performance kits, supplements etc. throughout the competition. Unfortunately, this money will be handed to their coaching team. Once it gets into their hands, they only use less than 20% for the athletes. As a result, many times, the athletes will perform literally on empty stomachs and poor quality kit. Yet people would expect them to give their best performance, regardless.

When these players sustain injuries or have issues with their health, they leave them to “deal with it” on their own; whereas the budget is also meant to cover that area. But the management would pocket the money and leave them hanging. The poor athletes would have no choice but to foot their medical bills out of their own pockets. Afterwards, they would be called up again and expected to give their best performance.

It is on account of this treacherous trend that many disgruntled athletes like Francis Obikwelu and Gloria Alozie (Formerly the world best in female 100m hurdles) find their way out to nationalize and compete for foreign countries. Francis Obikwelu (Formerly among the top five sprinters in the world) bailed to Portugal and became a Portuguese citizen. And for several years In a row was crowned Portuguese sportsman of the year. His lot changed for the better overnight once he changed nationality. Same happened with Gloria Alozie who took up Spanish citizenship and worked her wonders for them.

These are only two cases out of countless others. Every day, Nigeria loses her best talents and assets to foreign countries that appreciate their talent, and are more than happy to have them as their own. Most of the athletes who remain cannot put in their best because they are so discouraged. So the situation keeps getting worse.

Today, Nigeria, the once great dominant force in Track and Field in Africa and beyond can barely “scrape” a single medal in the Track and Field events in African championships, let alone global championships like the Olympics. Nowadays, Nigeria is the one eating the dust of the likes of Ghana, South Africa, and Cameroon in Track and Field events particularly, whereas the contrary was the case in the recent past.

The matter is made worse by an ignorant, negligent government that appears to be oblivious to the contribution of sports to the country’s economy and national image. Consider the infamous and thoroughly disgraceful debacle that occurred during the last Olympic Games. The entire Nigerian contingent was self-sponsored. The government did not set aside a budget for the Olympic Games. In fact, the government acted as if they didn’t know the Olympic Games were forthcoming. Members of the Nigerian contingent had to first pay their way to the games and then cater for themselves throughout the games.

It was a national shame knowing the Football team got stranded at the airport for days. Social media and the international community went berserk about this. So many words of ridicule were thrown at President Buhari and the Minister of Sports for being so brazenly and shamelessly callous. All President Buhari and the Sports Minister did was to give flimsy and embarrassing excuses that made one wonder if they thought they were dealing with children. Because their excuses were so outrageous and ridiculous that they were beyond childish. Meanwhile the Football team remained stranded at the airport, as days rolled by.

The Football team missed the opening ceremony and were on the verge of missing their first game when the captain, Mikel Obi, intervened. He paid the airfare for the entire team and paid for their hotel accommodation. The Nigerian team arrived just in time for their first match. Against tremendous odds, they came out victorious and won the bronze medal in the Men’s Football category. The international community lauded their achievement; saying that, under the circumstances, it was a “Miracle.”

If Mikel Obi had not intervened on time Nigeria would have not taken part at all in Men’s Football in the Olympic Games.

I could go on and on and on. The list is endless. The fact is that the appreciation and value for sports as a major sector of the economy has dropped to a deplorable level in recent times. The government is becoming ever more oblivious and ignorant of the economic value of sports; investing little in the sector. Young gifted athletes keep going to waste because of corruption and lack of support.

Countries like Jamaica, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya, Invest a lot in their sports sector. They have seen how much it contributes to their economies and boosts their national image. They take it seriously. And that’s why they have been consistent; maintaining their superiority over the decades. Why should it be any different for Nigeria?

The Federal government needs to not only pay attention to and investing adequately in the more popular sports within the sector again, but it should also help develop the less popular ones. Like Swimming, Gymnastics, Rowing, Diving, etc. This will really help to expand the sports sector to more wholesome proportions, and with greater dimensionality, making it even more dynamic.

It is only by this means that Nigeria can rekindle the glory of the past and get back to being the dominant force she once was in the world of sports.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maximus Rex Umeh is the true definition of “Jack Of all Trade.” He is an Actor, a Recording Artiste, a Model, a Motivational Speaker, a Voice over Artist, and an aspiring Filmmaker.  Max is also one of the in-house writers for StageRave publisher, which is an arm of StageRave entertainment – a dynamic success-driven organisation with a high sense of commitment and deep interest in developing talents, managing established artistes and harnessing opportunities for investors to reap a rewarding return for their investment.

Reach Max with this mail: info@stagerave.com.ng

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Identity Crisis: A Bane In The Nigeria Education, By Bukola Okunade

Are you unsure of your role in life? Do you feel like you don’t know the ‘real you’? If you answer yes to the previous questions, you may be experiencing identity crisis. Identity crisis can be defined as a period or episode of psychological distress, often occurring in adolescence but sometimes in adulthood, when a person seeks a clearer sense of self and an acceptable role in society.

Theorist Erik Erikson coined the term identity crisis and believed that it was one of the most important conflicts people face in development. According to Erikson, an identity crisis is a time of intensive analysis and exploration of different ways of looking at oneself. Erikson believed that the formation of identity was one of the most important parts of a person’s life. While developing a sense of identity is an important part of the teenage years, Erikson did not believe that the formation and growth of identity were just confined to adolescence. Instead, identity is something that shifts and grows throughout life as people confront new challenges and tackle different experiences.

In Nigeria, most parents see education as a tool to surviving than as a tool to equipping and developing oneself. As a child, developing a sense of identity is craved into your mind while growing up and you tend to want to become what your parent has said is good for you. Nigerian parents are of the impression that only venturing into a professional course would help you survive and that is why it is very difficult to wake up and tell your parent you want to become a dancer or a ballet teacher and they would not but think you need psychiatric evaluation. Some children are pushed into becoming what they do not have interest in, in the name of studying a professional course in school.

The Nigeria education is affected by teenagers and youths suffering from identity crisis because they do not know their purpose or the role they want to play in life. Many people live their parents’ dream and are lost finding themselves, thereby suffering from psychological distress. The failure rate in the education system can be traced to misplaced identity. Because a child is said to be smart, he is placed in the science class whereas his choice is to be in art class and study to become a great photographer. Identity crisis is a great factor in the limitations we have in Nigerian education. I believe we can engage more practical courses in our educational system to explore potentials of teenagers and youth so they can have a pool of opportunities to consider before creating an identity for themselves.

The best that parents can do for their children is to help them nurture that which is inherent in them. Fulfillment and greatness do not lie in specific courses but in whatever a person’s heart chooses to do and do well. Parents and teachers should pay attention to the gifts of their children and let this shape their future ambitions. Fulfillment lies in living a purposeful life and a purposeful life is the crux of a person’s identity.

Discover your identity and begin to live maximally!

© Adebukola Okunade

Learner Support and Advisory Unit, Distance Learning Centre, University of Ibadan

 

 

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Zainab Ahmed: The Quintessential Finance Minister, By Imam Maiyaki

Like her predecessor, Ahmed’s professional accounting background is believed to have put her in a good stead to effectively oversee the finance ministry. I see her as a round peg in a round hole considering her wealth of experience.

Following the resignation former Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun over allegations of a forged document exempting her from the compulsory National Youth Service Commission (NYSC), President Muhammadu Buhari named Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, the former state minister for Budget and National Planning to supervise the finance ministry. To me and many keen observers of Shamsuna Ahmed, the president made the perfect decision to name her the substantive minister of finance.

Like the best financial minister in the world according to world Government Summit; Sri Mulyani Indrawati of Indonesia, Hajiya Shamsuna shares some qualities and style of leadership with Indrawati. They are both fearless, decisive in taking decisions and all of them earned a reputation of toughness.

Upon resumption at the finance ministry, officials welcomed her with jubilation & solidarity songs and her message to them was simple and straight forward: her ministry, her rules. She was going to clean the house and if she had to, break some glassware in the process. Ahmed highlighted the acute problems facing the ministry and the need to ensure stability. Ahmed assumes office at a time when the economy is only just recovering from a crippling recession..

Like Kemi Adeosun before her, Ahmed studied Accounting. A first degree obtained from the Ahmadu Bello University. Ahmed’s work has largely been in the public sector.

Although there are concerns about her lack of private sector experience and about the quality of her engagement with the leading global financial institutions. But supporters who have welcomed her appointment point to her stint as Minister of State for Budget and National Planning as well as her five year tenure as the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative(NEITI). In both capacities, Ahmed gathered enough experience working with multilateral and development institutions.

Born 16, June 1960, to a prominent Kaduna state indigene Mallam Yahaya Hamza, a retired permanent secretary in the federal ministry of education and former Secretary to the Kaduna State government, Ahmed have stepped into her fathers shoes perfectly.

Ahmed attended Queen Amina College, Kaduna, graduating in 1977. She had her ‘A’ Level studies at the School of Basic Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1979 before obtaining a BSc Accounting degree in 1981 and  and also obtained an MBA from Ogun State University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State in August 2004.

She did her NYSC primary assignment at Egunjobi, Suleiman & Co. Kaduna, a Chartered Accountants firm in Kaduna and her working career started as a finance officer in the Kaduna state ministry of finance. After three years, Ahmed left the state ministry for the Nigeria External Telecommunications Limited which later transformed into NITEL. She spent eighteen years and held various positions in NITEL before reaching the rank of deputy general manager in charge of investments and treasury.

Speaking on the demise of NITEL at her Senate confirmation hearing, Ahmed observed solemnly, ‘’I am very sad at the state in which NITEL has become today. There was a lot of things that were not done by NITEL including several botched privatization processes, some management agreements that helped to bring the company down.’’

Ahmed moved her services to the Nigeria Mobile Telecommunications (MTEL) as General Manager Finance in September, 2005 and later became Chief Finance Officer of MTEL. From MTEL, Ahmed was appointed Managing Director of the Kaduna Investment Company in March, 2009 to help Kaduna State define, plan and implement an accelerated industrial development program.

She was active in this position when she was named to join the National Stakeholders Working Group on the Board of NEITI, the national wing of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI),

Set up to institutionalize accountability mechanisms and processes in the extractive sector. Ahmed transitioned into the inaugural Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and worked in this capacity up until she was appointed and posted to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.

As a young student Zainab’s career ambition was to become Accountant General of her state. Fate led her in different directions. Armed with a Masters degree in Business Administration, Ahmed led NEITI’s expansion from the oil and gas sector to include solid minerals.

Taking charge of NEITI was not without its challenges. NEITI was at the time, staring at a threat of possible suspension from the global EITI for failure to meet basic validation requirements. Ahmed and her team were able to correct course, addressing outstanding requirements and setting Nigeria on the path to NEITI compliant status. This was eventually achieved in March, 2011. Ahmed’s NEITI was able to produce a comprehensive strategy to reposition the agency to perform its national responsibilities more effectively.

The results began to show. NEITI was declared the best implementing country at the 6th Global Conference of EITI held in Sydney, Australia in 2013.

Audit reports once sporadic and irregular became more current and comprehensive as the agency deepened relationships with stakeholders. At her Senate confirmation hearing, Ahmed played up her experiences and achievements as NEITI boss and was able to successfully parry the admittedly softball questions that were put to her.

The Budget and National Planning ministry was dogged by scandal as allegations of padding trailed the budgeting process leading to acrimony between both executive and legislative branches. Ahmed and her principal stayed largely above the fray.

As Budget and National Planning minister, Shamsuna worked on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), a medium-term plan designed to move the economy from recession while facilitating growth.

Nigeria was able to move up by 24 points from 169th position in the 2017 ranking to 145th in the World Bank’s 2018 report, recording appreciable improvements areas like payment of taxes and registering property.

As Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Ahmed’s responsibilities included budget implementation, monitoring and evaluation, donor coordination as well as managing the National Social Investment Program (NSIP). The NSIP which consists of the Conditional Cash Transfer, National Home Grown School Feeding, Job Creation (N-power); and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programs has been the four-pronged cornerstone of the Buhari administration’s social welfare intervention for the less privileged. NSIP hasn’t been quite the success the government envisaged and the beneficiaries have spoken of the usefulness of these programs.

As the government lead on donor coordination, Ahmed is also Chair of the inter-ministerial task team, leading coordination of the humanitarian response of the North East Crises in Nigeria. The objective of this team is to provide assistance to Internally Displaced Person (IDPs).

In an interview with Daily Trust shortly before her redeployment, Ahmed gave an account of her work in this capacity. Hear her, ‘’this ministry started coordinating the Northeast Intervention Humanitarian Response Plan in 2016. In 2016 we did a humanitarian response plan, we did one in 2017 and we did another in 2018. So in 2017 humanitarian response plan was $1.05 billion and we were able to realize 70 per cent of that. In 2018 it was also $1 billion, the current one that is being implemented. So far as at June what has been realised is about $500 million, about 50 per cent.’’

As we are moving out of recession, she is expected not to reinvent the wheel, but to provide calm steady guidance in the interim. Ahmed has been quick to make the right choices in matters such as boosting national income sources, “We have very serious revenue challenges and it is up to us to make sure we shore up the revenue base of the country,’’ and protecting depositor confidence in the banking sector.

Just like Maria Fekter-the current Austrian Minister of Finance,Zainab Shamsuna has been aggressively working to accelerate economic recovery along with promoting new and young entrepreneurs. This is clearly visible with the recent flag up of Disbursement of the Kaduna State Women Empowerment Funds (KADSWEF LOANS) for women in the Kaduna state and other states to follow soon. Finance Minister, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed  has also led the local organizing committee of the conference of the National Council on Finance and Economic Development on a courtesy visit to The Governor of Kaduna State Nasir El-Rufai at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna.For the next three days, Accountants General and Finance Commissioners from the 36 states of the federation will be discussing national finance matters in Kaduna.

The choice of Kaduna as host city is because the State has become a stellar example of fiscal discipline. Shamsuna recognizes the importance of investment in friendly climate and building confidence of the country’s financial experts. Her finance ministry received approval from the Federal Government and has approved and paid the sum of N22.68bn for the payment of retirement benefits to former staff of the liquidated Nigerian Airways Ltd. This account for about 50% of the entitlements due to the pensioners about fifteen years after the airline collapsed. She is touted as a new age finance minister working according to the changing economic trends. She had achieved plenty and is still doing her best in the ministry which I cannot highlight all.

Hajiya Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed is quick-witted, a managerial guru, courageous and a woman of integrity. She has done more than enough to justify each of those adjectives. She has a simple and straight forward mantra; no task is too difficult to be accomplished. Her  rise to success simply teaches the world about the virtues of hard work and dedication. From the pace she`s moving, she will soon replace Sri Mulyani Indrawati of Indonesia as the best finance minister in the world.

 

By Engr. Imam Maiyaki

@MaiyakiImam

imammaiyaki@gmail.com

 

 

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat Relationship Beneficial To The Progress Of Lagos, By Kazeem Shuaib

After diverse opinion of people on the relationship between Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and his running mate Obafemi Hamzat over fears of trust and loyalty reason being that both were Gubernatorial Aspirants at a time, I have decided to discuss about these two wonderful men and why Lagosians should be happy to have them at a go rather than individually as Governor.

The emergence of Babajide Sanwo Olu as the flag bearer of the All progressive congress for the position of the next governor of Lagos state alongside his running mate Obafemi Hamzat is one that is certainly of great interest to the people of Lagos as these two have not only shown cordial relationship working together both in the past and present, their past experience and work ethics have shown how much transformation Lagos is about to witness.

The duo effectively shows the beauty in a concerted effort by proving to be the right pair effortlessly. BOS and KOH, who have served in various private and public sectors of the state have not only demonstrated sheer genius and passion to work but have also shown great team spirit and commitment to duty.

In the acceptance speech of Babajide Sanwo-Olu after his victory at the polls during the primaries of the ruling party, BOS reiterated his commitment towards an all-inclusive governance that will first, and ultimately, establish its manifesto on the needs and yearnings of the people. It might be perceived to be playing to the gallery but BOS has hitherto validated the capacity to stay true to his words – he is a private person and nonetheless, as commissioner, he was an excellent team player who took into cognizance the role of everyone under his watch.

Having spent 16 years in the public facet dutifully serving in various capacities and also 11 years in the private sector, the 54-year-old man has definitely garnered a lot of experience.

Serving as the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in 2007 under Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning as well as Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions under Babatunde Raji Fashola in 2011, he has been one of the portending numero uno to take on the mantle of leadership when and if it beckons.

Little wonder as to why the frequent chants of a true leader never seem to cease from the lips of the people whenever the name Babajide Sanwo Olu emanates.

His accomplishments and pedigree particularly with improving the state’s internally generated revenue which the state relies on mostly for its smooth running is regarded by many as a feat coupled with his numerous achievements with the Lagos State Security Trust Fund.

A brief look at the other half of this star-struck team reveals the ingenuity in this paragon.

Dr Kadri Obafemi Hamzat having also served in various private and public sectors within the state with reference as the Commissioner for Science and Technology under Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2005 and Babatunde Fashola in 2007.

His success in this field led to a lot of technological advancements within the state from Electronic Document management systems to e-health initiatives to upgrades and management of the State Network infrastructure to ICT laboratories and Forensic Laboratories that provide better evidence in the adjudication of criminal cases and unsolved murder cases to the Lagos State residents registration framework.

He took the world of science and technology in Lagos by a storm enacting and effecting a huge transformation across all sectors where he successfully improved data and record-keeping which had a ripple effect in eliminating ghost workers across the State.

In 2011, Obafemi Hamzat was appointed as Commissioner for Works. During his time at the ministry or works and infrastructure, he executed projects that positioned Lagos accurately in view with the megacity mantra of Governor Fashola.

The emergence of Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu (BOS) and Dr Kadri Obafemi Hamzat (KOH) as running mates for the upcoming Lagos State gubernatorial election has been referred to by many as the perfect dream team needed to steer Lagos into an era worthy of its slogan ‘Centre of Excellence’.

Lagos has never had it better – our assurances in an all-inclusive and responsive government we can all call our own is just a few months away.

Kazeem Shuaib Is A Media Strategist And Public Affairs Analyst. He tweets From @ibn_qazeem.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Placing Atiku Abubakar On Moral Scale, By Mukhtar Jarmajo

It is obvious that despite the very many political parties that will participate in the 2019 presidential election, the two political parties to watch are the All Progressives` Congress (APC) and the Peoples` Democratic Party (PDP).  They have the strongest contestants and have the widest coverage in Nigeria. Already, many political analysts have concluded that either the incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari (APC) or the former vice president Atiku Abubakar (PDP) will win the presidential election slated for early next year.
And as such, the two are being weighed against each other on the basis of their respective track records, competencies and work-plans to see who is likely to attract the attention of Nigerians as to beat the other comes 16th February, 2019. But Buhari is no equal to Atiku on all the grounds the two are being weighed. He has a track record of integrity, dedication to duty and an overwhelming competence.
Recall that Buhari was at several times a military governor, petroleum minister, head of state, executive chairman of the defunct PTF and now president. In all this, he has not any allegations bordering on morality. More so, Buhari discharged his duties effectively and efficiently. Today, he is taking Nigeria to the next level; a higher level where the nation will prosper having got its foundations underpinned in the last three years.
On the contrary meanwhile, Atiku has so many questions bordering on morality to answer. For instance, two notable Nigerians who have worked quite closely with him have in their several books labelled corruption allegations against Atiku. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Chairman of the EFCC Nuhu Ribadu have openly alleged that Atiku is lacking in morality.
And while moral capital is one of the most essential ingredients of quality leadership, Atiku Abubakar is yet to clear his name on all the allegations they have labelled against him. The only thing he did each time they released their books was to engage them in exchange of words. And that has never been a way to come clean on any allegations.
Hear Obasanjo on Atiku in his book, “My Watch”: “What I did not know which came out glaringly later,  was his parental background which was somewhat shadowy, his propensity to corruption, his tendency to disloyalty, his inability to say and stick to the truth all the time, a propensity for poor judgment, his belief and reliance on marabouts, his lack of transparency, his trust in money to buy his way out on all issues and his readiness to sacrifice morality, integrity, propriety, truth and national interest for self and selfish interest.”
And in pages 84 and 85 of his book “My Story,” Nuhu Ribadu – the pioneer EFCC Chairman – said the following on Atiku: “The EFCC worked hand in glove with the FBI in the case of Atiku Abubakar, then Nigeria’s Vice President. The American authorities’ requested the EFCC’s help in the investigation of William Jefferson, a congressman from Louisiana suspected of pocketing and paying kickbacks to facilitate juicy business deals in Africa. Jefferson – who had stashed $90,000 of suspected bribe money in a freezer at his Washington DC home – was suspected, among other things, of being involved in shady dealings with Abubakar to facilitate a telecom venture in Nigeria. In 2009 Jefferson was convicted of corruption in the United States.”
Ribadu continued: “The FBI request prompted the EFCC to look into the Vice President’s affairs. The Commission had received local complaints about alleged wrongdoing at the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF),  a parastatal tasked with training personnel and promoting technology for the oil industry. An investigation had already resulted in the arrest of the PTDF’s executive secretary – who eventually escaped abroad – and the recovery of about 200 million naira ($1.3 million) in cash. Following the US authorities’ request for assistance, the EFCC linked some of the money diverted from the PTDF to Abubakar. Although I left the EFCC before the Commission could arrest or charge him, a case against the former Vice President is still open in the United States.
According to a report from the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Abubakar and his wife laundered over $40 million into the United States between 2000 and 2008.”
So now that the former Vice President is asking us to give him the highest job in the land, it is important Nigerians seek legible explanations from Atiku on what his former boss Obasanjo and Nigeria’s former anti-graft czar Ribadu said of him.
Jarmajo can be reached through dattuwamanga@gmail.com
[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

PDP Rascality, Vanguard Unprofessionalism And 2019 Election, By Nathaniel Adoji

On 28 November 2018, something happened in Nigeria, although it did not receive wide publicity it offered a splinter of hope in Nigeria’s media. At least 15 Nigerian news organisations joined forces to fight misinformation ahead of February’s elections in a collaborative first as the country’s main political parties trade accusations of fabrication and exaggeration in what was dubbed CrossCheck Nigeria.
The CrossCheck Nigeria project aims to get normally competing newsrooms to work together to investigate and disprove erroneous claims but the hopes that this collaboration will stand the test of time quickly faded when the political editor of Vanguard Newspaper, Emmanuel Aziken, wrote a news story titled, ‘Osinbajo camp sets post Buhari-era targets’.
Not only was it a poorly written article, it was one that lacked all what CrossCheck Nigeria stood for. To say the story was a fabrication is me being modest, it is beyond exaggeration. Any seasoned editor wouldn’t allow the article pass his desk, but in the case of Aziken, he put his byline across it.
His act was not only unprofessional but the clearest case of unethical journalism. For a journalist to allow himself to be used by the Peoples Democratic Party in such disgraceful manner beats me, but it’s not the first from both the PDP and Aziken, therefore Nigerians should expect many more from this combination.
The report which was published on the website of Vanguard was concocted from start to finish with no elements of facts or truth, not only did the editor claim that the Vice President was already strategizing 2023 but he also claimed that the relationship with the aides of President Buhari was strained.
But one thing he failed to understand is that he has already buried PDP before it died. His nonsensical article means that the PDP has no chance in the 2019 election, in fact, it means they have already lost the election, a good news for the ruling All Progressives Congress, if you ask me.
Put simply, it is a cock and bull story, of the type that even an intern should not be found writing, talk less an editor. It’s a ploy by PDP that is peddled by Aziken who the Vanguard should not put in charge of a sensitive beat like the Political Desk.
But on a second thought, the chemistry between the Vice President and President is great and a fake news by the PDP and Aziken cannot break it. The question of loyalty between the two of them cannot be mooted at all, if anything, it has been strengthened over the years.
The combination of the two is the best we’ve had in Nigeria for a long time now, and we are not ready to allow some miscreants break it up. As for Aziken, he obviously needs to approach Dayo Aiyetan, the executive director of ICIR and coordinator of CrossCheck Nigeria for a refresher course.
[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]