Group To PDP: Stop Insulting The Sensibilities Of Nigerians

The Buhari Media Support Group (BMSG) has taken exception at the brazen way the PDP lays claims to what it never achieved in its 16 years in power noting that it is a confirmation that the party is still in the business of insulting the sensibilities of Nigerians.

 Reacting to the claims made by officials of the PDP at its non-elective convention last weekend in Abuja, the group blasted the party’s claim that it fought corruption within the 16 years that it was in power.

 In a statement signed by its Chairman, Hon Austin Braimoh and Secretary, Chief Cassidy Madueke, the group said recent recoveries by the EFCC showed that one person alone stole enough money that could build six airports, two long rail lines and implement huge agricultural projects that would have provided much-needed jobs for teeming Nigerian youths.

 “This is money stolen by just one person during the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. Only God knows what other PDP government officials did during the 16 years that that party held Nigerians to ransom’’, the statement said.

 The group reminded that it is on record that former CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi told the entire nation during the same Goodluck Jonathan administration that about $20 Billion was missing from the nation’s treasury, but instead of taking the matter up, the now Emir of Kano was sacked.

 “There was massive looting going by the recoveries made by EFCC and these monies have been traced to the accounts of past PDP government officials. Nigerians now know the truth about what happened to their commonwealth’’, the statement said.

 The group advised PDP to desist from insulting the intelligence of Nigerians, noting that the maladministration that happened under its watch resulted in the hardship and economic recession that the country and Nigerians are currently experiencing for which President Muhammadu Buhari is working hard to redress.

 The group wondered how corrupt regimes of the PDP claimed it fought corruption by just setting up the ICPC and EFCC when it knew that both agencies served as a source of deceit in the sense that they were toothless bulldogs that could only bark and not bite.

 “Both agencies were used by the PDP to hunt down, harass and embarrass political opponents in its bid to retain power by all means. It is now that both agencies have become alive to their responsibilities and the difference is clear’’, the statement said.

 The group reminded PDP that it deliberately failed to implement the use of the Treasury Single Account and the Bank Verification Number meant to track the movement of funds because it would have hooked the numerous crooks in the party who were into dubious transactions.

 BMSG also recalled that Nigeria lost so much revenue to illegalities at the nation’s ports where billions of dollars was lost to mid-stream discharge of cargo while corruption that held sway in the Nigeria Customs Service denied the nation of huge sums of revenue.

After claiming that it spent trillions of Naira to improve power supply across the country, it has become obvious that the PDP paid for Nigeria and Nigerians to remain in darkness.

The group said that it is shocking that the PDP whose import list included tooth picks and other luxury goods could pride its regimes as the best that ever happened to the country.

“It is important to remind the party that evidence of infrastructural decay which include poor road networks, drop in the standard of education are still available. Meanwhile, the highest deceit was the convening of a national conference that gulped billions of Naira when it was obvious that the regime of Goodluck Jonathan had made up its mind not to implement the recommendations of the conference”, the group said.

However, the group noted that under President Buhari, Nigeria has made significant economic gains among which include the implementation of TSA, increased revenue generation by the Nigeria Customs Service and Federal Inland Revenue Service and in-flow of Foreign Direct Investment. 

The nation has also recorded increase in foreign reserves, excess crude account, sovereign wealth fund and a boost in stock market, the statement said. 

 The group observed that the achievements of the Buhari administration in areas of agriculture, security and economy are so clear and already impacting on the well-being of Nigerians.

 BMSG advised the PDP to stop deluding itself in thinking that the party will win the 2019 general elections as Nigerians are yet to recover from the wounds the party inflicted on them.

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CAF Shortlist 30 For African Player Of The Year Award, Mikel, Four Other Nigerians Listed [Full List]

The Nigerian football trio of John Mikel Obi, Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho made the list of the 30 players shortlisted for the CAF African player of the year award for 2016.

Also, the duo of Mfon Udoh of Enyimba FC and Chisom Chikatara of Wydad FC of Morocco made the cut for the Africa-based Player of the Year award.

The list includes the 2015 African player of the year Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Andre Ayew of Ghana.

THE FULL LIST

African Player of the Year

1. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Leicester City)

2. El Arabi Hillel Soudani (Algeria & Dinamo Zagreb)

3. Islam Slimani (Algeria & Leicester City)

4. Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon & Antalyaspor)

5. Benjamin Mounkandjo (Cameroon & Lorient)

6. Serge Aurier (Cote d’Ivoire & PSG)

7. Eric Bailly (Cote d’Ivoire & Manchester United)

8. Yao Kouasi Gervais ‘Gervinho’ (Cote d’Ivoire & Hebei Fortune)

9.Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Roma)

10. Mohamed El Neny (Egypt & Arsenal)

11. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Dortmund)

12. Andre Ayew (Ghana & West Ham)

13. Victor Wanyama (Kenya & Tottenham)

14. William Jebor (Liberia & Wydad Athletic Club)

15. Mehdi Benatia (Morocco & Juventus)

16. Hakim Ziyech (Morocco & Ajax)

17. John Mikel Obi (Nigeria & Chelsea)

18. Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria & Manchester City)

19. Ahmed Musa (Nigeria & Leicester City)

20. Cedric Bakambu (DR Congo & Villareal)

21. Yannick Bolasie (DR Congo & Everton)

22. Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)

23. Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal & Napoli)

24. Keegan Dolly (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns)

25. Itumeleng Khune (South Africa & Kaizer Chiefs)

26. Mbwana Samatta (Tanzania & Genk)

27. Aymen Abdennour Tunisia & Valencia)

28. Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia & Sunderland)

29. Dennis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)

30. Khama Billiat (Zimbabwe & Mamelodi Sundowns)

African Player of the Year – Based in Africa

1. Dennis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)

2. Itumeleng Khune (South Africa & Kaizer Chiefs)

3. Aymen Mathlouthi (Tunisia & Etoile du Sahel)

4. Joel Kimwaki (DR Congo & TP Mazembe)

5. Joyce Lomalisa (DR Congo & AS Vita)

6. Salif Coulibaly (Mali & TP Mazembe)

7. Ali Gabr (Egypt & Zamalek)

8. Keegan Dolly (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns) 9. Jackson Mwanza (Zambia & Zesco United)

10. Rainford Kalaba (Zambia & TP Mazembe)

11. Elia Meschak (DR Congo & TP Mazembe)

12. Aymen Hefny (Egypt & Zamalek)

13. Morgan Betorangal (Chad & MO Bejaia)

14. Hlompho Kekana (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns)

15. Hamza Lahmar (Tunisia & Etoile du Sahel)

16. Jesse Were (Kenya & Zesco United)

17. Idris Mbombo (DR Congo & Zesco United)

18. Chisom Chikatara (Nigeria & Wydad Athletic Club)

19. William Jebor (Liberia & Wydad Athletic Club)

20. Reda Hajhouj (Morocco & Wydad Athletic Club)

21. Fabrice Nguessi Ondama (Congo & Wydad Athletic Club)

22. Mfon Udon (Nigeria & Enyimba)

23. Bassem Morsi (Egypt & Zamalek)

24. Khama Billiat (Zimbabwe & Mamelodi Sundowns)

25. Yannick Zakri (Cote d’Ivoire & Mamelodi Sundowns)

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Keep Faith In Buhari, Kogi Governor Urges Nigerians

Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has urged Nigerians to keep faith with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as the Nigerian leader has the capacity to navigate the ship of the nation out of the current recession occasioned by the years of locust and financial recklessness and malfeasance of past administrations.

Bello made this known through a press statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Petra Akinti Onyegbule. He said the nation must bond together and take tough decisions to ensure economic rediscovery.

The Governor said it is imperative for Nigerians “to seize the current economic situation to reinvent the glory of the nation and work with their leaders to fix the economic challenges”.

He said, “The benefit of having a credible leader at this critical moment is key to taking the nation off the tray of recession. President Muhammadu Buhari’s integrity is paramount to the drive to make the nation more dependent on agriculture. We must strengthen the capacity of agriculture to take centre-stage in our economy.

“Kogi State has shown a New Direction in economic development. Agriculture is our key to unlocking the limitless edaphic potentials of our state. More youth and women are now embracing agriculture, and in the next few years, Kogi State has the potential of becoming the food centre of the nation.

“Let me use this opportunity to urge the international business community to invest heavily in the agricultural sector of Nigeria. What the nation was spending on food importation is unacceptable, and today, we are paying the price for our inability to think outside the box that is oil.

“In all of these, Buhari remains the good news. His Economic Team possess the capacity to breathe life back into our economy. His fight against corruption and renewed efforts that have brought peace to North Eastern Nigeria have combined to rekindle the hope of the global community in what the nation is doing to be great again.”

Governor Bello said the economic recession would soon become a thing of the past, urging Nigerians to become change agents by ensuring the change we seek involves and begins with each and every one of us.

“More than ever, we need to be united and supportive of government. We need fiscal discipline and proper prioritizing of projects and programs of government. We must move forward with unity and a renewed determination to reclaim our nation from over-dependence on crude oil,” he said.

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Put Love For Country Above Personal Interest, Jonathan Urges Nigerians

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has advised Nigerians to put the love of the country above personal interests.

citing the example of Prophet Ibrahim who was willing to sacrifice his son, the former president said only sacrifice would make the “Nigeria of our dreams” possible.

He stated this in a series of tweets from his twitter account to felicitate with Muslim faithfuls on the celebration of sallah.

“Let us imbibe Ibrahim’s ideals and put Nigeria first in all we do. I salute the Muslim Ummah this Sallah. Happy Eid-El-Kabir,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Without self-sacrifice, we will never see the Nigeria of our dreams and will always think ‘what about me’ instead of ‘what about Nigeria’.

“On Eid-El-Kabir, we honour Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son. This must teach us that we must all sacrifice for Nigeria’s greatness.”

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How Godwin Emefiele Caused Millions of Nigerians To Lose Their Jobs By Peregrino Brimah

The direct policies of the central bank of Nigeria, CBN have been and continue to be at the helm of the current economic crisis and recession that is permanently and irreversibly destroying life and hope for the Nigerian masses. We have repeatedly pointed out these cabal-favorable, masses-exterminating policy decisions that have gotten Nigeria to this point. As support is lost, our teachers are resorting to stealing and the weak are taking their own lives. 4.6 million jobs have been lost according to the National Bureau of Statistics. This is catastrophic!

In January this year, in my article, “FOREX: Nigeria’s Economic Catastrophe From Godwin Emefiele’s Prison Economics,” I warned that due to unreasonable policies suddenly limiting Nigerians’ access to dollars, tens of thousands of businesses will fold up. I highlighted that business mogul, Leo-Stan Ekeh predicted the collapse of 99% of Nigerian businesses due to CBN forex policies. In April this year in an interview with the Tribune, I again raised the same concerns.

Cabal Favorable, Masses Exterminating Policies

The cabal are the smallest employers of labour in Nigeria. The government employs about 10% of labour. Big business employs a paltry 9% of labour while small businesses (Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs) are the largest employers, employing over 75% of labour. You kill small businesses, you kill the country. It’s as simple as that not just in Nigeria but across the world. Godwin Emefiele with the apparent blessing of President Muhammadu Buhari protected and promoted the cabal who continued to declare juicy quarterly profits while they killed SMEs.

Small businesses employ over 100 million Nigerians while the cabal industries collectively hire less than a million. Atiku Abubakar recently touted that he is Nigeria’s largest employer. “I employ 50,000 Nigerians” he bragged. This is how minuscule the numbers employed by the chronically government-favoured  big corp. are. Those Buhari in his AlJazeera interview promised will get exclusive access to CBN subsidized dollars employ less than 9% of labour. The cabal-protective policies as enforced by the CBN had one predictable outcome as Leo Stan had warned: death of small businesses and mass unemployment. Millions of us small-scale employers who were suffocated, packed up, and threw our employees onto the streets. 4.6 million without jobs and a means of survival in times of hiked fuel prices and inflation were the result.

Godwin Was Busy Dashing Dangote $100 Million According to Reuters

Reuters in a recent article by Ulf Laessing and Himanshu Ojha, revealed how Godwin dashed Dangote $100 million dollars within a year under Buhari’s new government. Dangote got one in nine dollars the central bank sold, at sometimes one in eight, the report stated. Similarly a handful more fellow cabal got the bulk of the rest of the half-price government-subsidized dollars that the masses were deprived of even for importing their petrol (thereby leading to an unbearable price hike). We are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars given to a few dozen Nigerians.

At this time small businesses/businessmen were not only limited in amount of dollar they could purchase with prison-like restrictions suddenly imposed by banks on order of the CBN and against the constitution, but they were never allowed the advantage the Dangotes were accorded to even occasionally purchase 197-rate dollars. SMEs were thrown to the blackmarket and even then, tightly limited in what they could transfer for purchasing their goods and raw materials. As former CBN governor Soludo criticized, sudden unreasonable import ban lists by the apex bank before local availability was established put more nails in the coffin. Whereas, promoting small scale local manufacture should have been done by subsidies and other encouragement methods to preserve businesses during a needed foreign-dependence transition.

In November last year, Soludo is quoted to have summarized,“For the better part of this year, the external shocks to the economy have been complicated or accentuated by a gamut of the “tried and failed” command and control policy regime: de facto fixed exchange rate, largely fixed CBN monetary policy rate, crude capital controls, veiled form of import bans through a long list of ‘ineligible for foreign exchange’, de facto scrapping of domiciliary account established by law, etc. At first, I thought this was the usual kneejerk response of policymakers to a ‘sudden’ shock. We tried a milder variant of this for a few months during the 2008/2009 unexpected/unprecedented global crisis (with global liquidity squeeze and massive capital flight) but even then, it was communicated as a ‘short-term crisis response’ and it was quickly dismantled. We now know what works and what doesn’t even at a time of crisis.

As has been chronic of Nigeria where big businesses get billions of dollars in waivers, they continued to get billions in subsidized dollars, while the largest employers of labour, SMEs continued to be further crippled by the Buhari government. They died.

In return, of course the masses got Dangote and co’s charities. Donations of trucks of food. This chronic government SME crippling, cabal favoritism is what US inteligencia calls the Dangote “beggar-thy-countrymen” model. The cabal then sponsor politicians and the deadly cycle continues cycle after cycle. It was he same in the US during the robber baron era before the labour union riots.

We could have suggested other alternatives that would have protected Nigeria. Rather than subsidize Dangote and co alone, if Buhari had kept his promise to encourage mushroom refineries in the Niger Delta for instance, these could have been built on a franchise template with each community given shares in a small-scale refinery. These community projects should have gotten the $100s of millions gifted to Dangote and the other cabal for their personal projects. This would have not only provided a stimulus for a wide-spread growth of real jobs across localities but it would also discourage terror in the Niger Delta while addressing the local manufacturing problem. Several similar citizen-friendly policy choices could have salvaged the largest employers of labour and the larger nation instead of saving only the cabal.

Again, for too long, Godwin Emefiele rejected our better advise to devalue the already devalued Naira. Keeping a duplicity in prices to enable the amassing of billions by his private sector billionaire friends at the expense of the masses. The rich got richer.

Today the CBN under Godwin Emefiele continues to manipulate the dollar (availability) figures to satisfy his cronies, akin to “inside trading.” Nigeria is in the hands of Jim’s boy, described by many as one of the worst crooks at the center of the Jonathan era of gravid corruption. Indeed the CBN governor is as implicated as Dasuki in the open astronomical looting of Nigeria’s treasury. It is immoral to continue with such at the helm. Nigeria’s fall into recession is the direct consequence of this violation  of the trust given to the new administration.

Ultimately the buck rightly stops at the president’s table. While we cannot deny the president’s role in the job killing policies of central bank under governor Godwin Emefiele, it is more useful to directly underline the failure of this highly autonomous department. Hence the article heading. President Buhari unlike his predecessor has disappointed Nigerians by not even portraying the slightest posture of a wish to sack the CBN governor or get him investigated and prosecuted. I would not encourage the accusations that the media exposed nepotism by the apex bank has something to do with Buhari’s acceptance of the man who opened Nigeria’s vaults for Jonathan and company to steal the nation dry.

Senator Ben Murray Bruce tweeted, “It is called the Central Bank of Nigeria not the Central Bank of Rich and Powerful Nigerians. This nepotism must be investigated & punished!” It wasn’t, but rather the central bank since continued favoring the rich and connected and overseeing the loses of millions of jobs for Nigeria’s dying masses.

Dr. Peregrino Brimah; @EveryNigerian

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Meet The Brilliant Nigerians Working With Mark Zuckerberg At Facebook

It’s no longer news that the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg is in Lagos, Nigeria.

His first stop was the Co-Creation Hub, in Yaba where he watched children learning to code and interacted with at least 50 local startup founders and developers.

More impressively, he trekked over 2km through the streets of Yaba to get to Andela, the talent accelerator he recently invested $24 million in.

But if there’s anything most exciting about Mark Zuckerberg’s surprise visit, it’s the fact that he chose Nigeria as his first destination in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is more than enough validation for the Nigerian technology ecosystem

Without a doubt, Mark Zuckerberg is beginning to take Nigeria seriously. But that didn’t happen suddenly. You’ll find proof  in the increasing number of Nigerians on his payroll.

Chukwuemeka Afigbo

chukwuemeka-afigbo

Chukwuemeka Afigbo joined Facebook from Google, where he served until 2015 before being replaced by Aniedi Udo-Obong.

Afigbo currently manages Strategic Product Partnerships for Facebook in Sub-Saharan Africa and has been instrumental in Mark Zuckerberg’s Nigeria tour.

Ime Archibong

Facebook-Ime-Archibong-Fire-Side-Chat-Free-Basic

Ime Archibong is the Director, Strategic Partnerships at Facebook, where he leads a team working to connect Facebook’s products and strategies with various business partners.

Archibong and his team have worked on everything related to Facebook including the Messenger app. Prior to joining Facebook, Ime was an Advanced Technology Business Development Professional at IBM.

Nmachi Jidenma

jidenma

Nmachi Jidenma manages Payments and Commerce Partnerships for Facebook Global, right from the heart of San Francisco Bay Area.

With previous experiences working at PayPal, Google and JP Morgan, she also happens to be the founder of CPAfrica.

Ebele Okobi

ebele-okobi

Ebele Okobi has headed Public Policy for Facebook in Africa for the past 2 years. She was the former Global Head & Senior Legal Director, Human Rights for Yahoo!

Laurence Aderemi

laurence-aderemi

Laurence Aderemi built Moni, a person-to-person money transfer app, which won the 2013 edition of Start with e-novation.

Apparently, his competence got the attention of Mark Zuckerberg, who hired him to head Payments and Commerce Partnerships for Facebook Global.

Morin Oluwole

morin-oluwole

Having been raised in Nigeria but lived in 3 continents, Morin Oluwole is a polyglot — she speaks about 5 languages. This is probably why she sealed a role as the Chief of Staff, VP Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook.

UPDATE 1: Morin Oluwole has since taken up a new position as the Luxury Vertical Lead for Facebook/Instagram.

Lauryn (Hale) Ogbechie

Lauryn Ogbechie (L)

Lauryn Ogbechie (L)

Lauryn Ogbechie leads a Strategic Partnership team within Facebook’s Global Platform Partnerships organisation in Menlo Park, CA. In this role she partners with mobile developers to help them build, grow and monetise their apps through the integration of Facebook platform products.

Prior to Facebook, Ogbechie worked as a digital organiser for President Obama’s re-election campaign.

Francis Ebong

francis-ebong

Francis Ebong joined Facebook in November 2015 where he has since acted in the capacity of Director, Online Operations. Francis is a graduate of The George Washington University.

Teniola Adedipe

Teniola Adedipe (L). Source: Bella Naija

Teniola Adedipe (L). Source: Bella Naija

Prior to joining Facebook, Teniola Adedipe served in two capacities within Konga, in the space of 14 months. She started out as the Head, Merchandise Planning in January 2014, she then went on to become Associate Director, Retail Operations.

Teniola Adedipe is now the Program Manager, Deal Desk & Global Agency at Facebook, New York City area.

Monica Ugwi

Monica Ugwi

Still relatively new at the company, Monica Ugwi works with the Product Operations division of Facebook. Prior to that, she was an Engagement Manager for McKinsey & Company and an Analyst at Goldman Sachs.

A graduate of Computer Science, Ugwi also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Ibrahim Shekoni

ibrahem

Ibrahim Sekoni is Facebook’s Product Specialist at San Francisco Bay Area. His previous experience no doubt played a huge role in blending him into Facebook.

Prior to joining Facebook, he was the Mobile Product Manager at optionXpress where he managed the top-rated mobile trading App across multiple Mobile platforms. He also worked as a Business Analyst at Phoenix bits LTD overseeing various operations. He joined Facebook in April 2015.

Olaoluwa Okelola

ola2

Olaoluwa Okelola is one of the few Nigerian-born software engineers at Facebook.

Having completed his secondary education at the International School Ibadan, Okelola proceeded to Avi-Cenna International School and Howard University, Washington DC, to complete his secondary and university education respectively. He then joined Microsoft as Explorer Intern in January 2005 and left in August the same year for Google where he worked as an Engineering intern from May 2006 until August 2006.

Okelola joined Facebook in 2007 and has been there ever since.

UPDATE 2: All post-publication updates are below. The total number of Nigerians on the list is now 18


Barbara Mbanefo

barbara-mbanefo

Barbara Mbanefo is another Nigerian-born software Engineer at Facebook, where she develops iOS applications that help businesses connect with their customers.

Mbanefo completed her primary and secondary education in Nigeria before proceeding to France to obtain her Masters degree in Software Engineering. She speaks French fluently. Prior to joining Facebook in May 2016, Mbanefo worked as a Software Engineer and a Mobile App User Experience Designer in France, Canada and Hollywood, California

Kunbi Adeyemo

kunbi-adeyemo

Kunbi Adeyemo has served in two capacities at Facebook. Between 2013 and 2014, she was on the Facebook North America Small and Medium Business Team as a Customer Insights Analyst.

In December 2014, Adeyemo moved up to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she has since served as Facebook’s Diversity Programs Manager – Women in Computer Science.

Isaac Nwokocha

isaac

After obtaining a First Class degree in Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2010, Isaac Nwokocha tried his hands out on entrepreneurship; he co-founded two startups, including real-time road traffic web app,TrafficDey.

Probably deciding he had had enough of entrepreneurship, Nwokocha proceeded to Stanford for a Master’s Degree in Management Science and Engineering. No sooner had he completed his Masters Degree than he secured a role as a Product Data Integrity, Community Operations/Project Manager at Facebook.

Michael Awotedu

michael-awotedu

Armed with an MBA in Finance (summa cum laude) from the University of Tampa John H. Sykes College of Business, Michael Awotedu works in Risk Program Management at Facebook where he helps to facilitate strategy, and execution for Risk Management on products like FB games, Oculus VR and Ads.

Prior to Facebook, Awotedu oversaw Risk Management for Walmart’s $30 billion check cashing portfolio.

PS: I happen to know Michael Awotedu personally, as he hails from my alma mater — Federal Government College, Odogbolu (I couldn’t resist the temptation to let you in on that).

Jane Okpala

jane-okpala

With almost 10 years of strategic, analytical, negotiating, presentation, and management expertise, Jane Okpala is the Product Specialist (Social Good and Goodwill), Community Operations, at Facebook.

A polyglot in her own right — she speaks at least 4 languages — Okpala worked previously as an Associate at McKinsey & Company where she served mainly technology and financial institution clients on a wide variety of analytical and strategic engagements

Dayo Olopade

dayo-olopade

Dayo Olopade started her career as a journalist Washington, covering the 2008 campaign and the Obama era for publications including The Atlantic, The Guardian and The Washington Post.

Nowadays, Olopade applies her wealth of journalistic experience on the Facebook Media Partnerships Team, where she helps publishers take advantage of Facebook, from a business and product perspective. She maintains a painstakingly detailed personal website.

Credit: TechPoint

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Is This The Change Nigerians Voted For? By Godwin Onyeacholem

In the light of almost two decades of horrendous governance under the PDP administration, the call for change by a large section of Nigerians was expectedly overwhelmingly loud. Thus, this piece is a response to Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, who indeed holds the copyright to the first leg of the title of this piece which I have slightly modified – as can be seen in his latest defence of President Muhammadu Buhari’s APC administration.

After 15 tortuous months in the life of the current administration, a period largely mediated by growing criticisms in the midst of persistent agony of diminished expectations, Shehu, a man you can never accuse of being inattentive, came to what was meant to be a rescue with a well-publicised apologia titled, “Is this the Change we voted for? Yes, It Is.” And in a spirited effort to convey his message, Shehu provided the question as well as the answer. Given his current station in the presidency, it is hard to fault his emphatic submission. But with due respect to him, however, I hold a different view: Although Nigerians believed in Buhari and indeed voted massively for change, I’m minded to point out that what has been served so far in real terms doesn’t seem like the change Nigerians voted for Buhari to deliver.

Yet, there are a couple of areas one would be inclined to agree with Shehu, especially concerning what this administration has done regarding security and corruption.

Sometime in November 2010, my friend and colleague from our Tell magazine days in the early 90s, Segun Adeleke, and I, had interviewed Buhari, then a presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, in one of the suites at Transcorp Hotel, Abuja. The interview titled, “Soon There Won’t Be Enough Money to Steal”, was a cover story for GIRAFFE (Vol. 1 No. 2 November 2010), a monthly magazine which we briefly published. Then, it was clear as now, that Buhari’s priority areas would be security, corruption and indiscipline.

Hear what he said when asked which direction he would be taking Nigeria if elected as president in 2011 elections: “There are two fronts. One is security. This country is terribly insecure. No serious investor can bring his money here to build factory, provide employment and goods and services when there is no power, when there are no roads, no water. Look at what the country has been earning for the past 10-11 years and look at the state of infrastructure in this country. Corruption is responsible for that. The whole world knows it. We have said it. We will still have zero tolerance for corruption and indiscipline.”

Although the country still faces security challenges in the widespread menace of herdsmen, kidnapping for ransom, rising ethnic agitations and renewed bombings down south, no honest assessor will deny that Buhari has diligently confronted this problem especially by limiting the threats hitherto posed by the Boko Haram insurgents operating from the north-east region. One grey area though remains the issue of the Chibok girls who have been in the custody of Boko Haram for more than two years. You would expect that by now, one way or the other, we ought to have arrived at a closure on this matter. But on the whole, this administration has done far better than its predecessors when it comes to security.

The same single-mindedness has been applied in tackling corruption, even if there are still reservations. All those who looted funds meant to buy weapons for the military are being identified and called to give account. In many cases, such funds are being returned while there are also court cases to bring culprits to justice.

However, in the life of his administration, you would expect that Buhari would make the famous byword of his inaugural broadcast (I belong to everybody, and I belong to nobody) really stick. But there have been occasions tempting enough for one to assume that our president is exclusively for a class of people.

In a government vigorously waving the banner of change, you would expect Buhari not to close his eyes, for instance, to the fact that his ministers have yet to follow the path he and the vice-president had taken by publicly declaring their assets. After all, strictly interpreted, change means that you want to do things differently from past administrations.

You would expect him to instantly address the first major embarrassment to his government when one of his foremost cabinet members stuck out his feet at a public function for one of his aides to polish his shoes in full glare of the public. It would not happen in countries where the leadership places premium on the dignity of the human person.

You would expect him to have halted the secret, largely nepotistic employments in some government institutions like the Central Bank of Nigeria and Federal Inland Revenue Service and demand a process that gives all Nigerians access to vacant positions in such places. In fact in a government of genuine change, all those responsible for those sham employments should themselves by now be out of jobs.

Also, there are reports in the public domain that some highly-placed officials of the presidency, under our president’s very nose, are neck-deep in shady deals running into billions of naira, acting as agents of some crooked business persons. By now, you expect Buhari to have used those reports to first suspend the officers so mentioned, and then launch an independent investigation into their activities. Any vindication of the media reports would mean automatic sack and possibly prosecution. No cover-up under any guise.

There are a legion other issues that are of serious concern to a great majority of Nigerians, and that should worry this administration. The pattern of appointments Buhari has made so far is one of them. And truly, a dispassionate assessment of these appointments would justify the questions Nigerians are posing. Take one for example: Why would a man who is already chief of staff to the president also be appointed a board member of a major government organization? Has the president by this appointment not shortchanged another person in a different section of the country who ought to have been appointed to this position?

Yes, Buhari comes across as credible with an admirably high integrity quotient; the only former Head of State who as at 2011 never owned a property outside Nigeria. But this virtue, against the backdrop of our multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society, has not been enriched enough by a healthy dose of balancing, fairness, compassion and common touch.

This government claims to be one of change, therefore, this president should be one who occasionally pays instantaneous visits to areas of crisis and disasters of alarming proportions wherever they occur in this country. Again an example: Rather than leave it to the vice-president’s wife, nothing stops Buhari from taking a trip to Kubwa to see the family of the slain woman preacher, and once again use the opportunity to re-affirm the freedom of religious practice as enshrined in the constitution and the hunting down by all means of perpetrators of such heinous crimes. Those are the periods strong messages are necessary. It is the kind of thing a President Obama would easily do.

By the way, the country is still waiting for the president on his promise before the election to reduce drastically the number of aircraft on the presidential fleet. He had said then that some of them would be sold off to cut cost. That has yet to happen, more than one year after he assumed office.

All of this, and much more that can’t be cited here, fuel a contrary standpoint to Shehu’s in the answer he gave to his question. To him I say, with all sense of modesty: No sir, this is substantially not the change we voted for.

Godwin Onyeacholem is a journalist. He can be reached on gonyeacholem@gmail.com

 

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Corruption Between Nigerians And The People Of Lot By Olusegun Hakeem-Adebumiti

Josephine Agwu is a cleaner who works at the Murtala Muhammed airport in Lagos. At sighting a cash of $12,000 within the airport, all that comes to her mind was, “this is not mine, I must return it to the authority.” She did exactly what her mind told her and what followed her action was absurd and appalling.

“Was she destined to be poor in life?”. “If she doesn’t need it, can’t she give it to a relative who is in need?”. “Eeyah! Had it been I was the one who saw the money, alele!”.

These are echoes from some Nigerians following Josephine’s decision to return such a huge amount of money. That was sometimes ago and things are not as hard as it is now in the country.

The economy is bitten harder day by day but that doesn’t stop another person who shares a similar thought with Josephine to take the path of honour. That person was Mohammed Ogbanago. Ogbanago works with a popular commercial bank in Lagos as a security guard attached to the bank’s entrance and recently the sum of $10,000 got lost from a customer in the bank but on sighting the money, he returned it to the authority. Again, there was a cacophony of condemnation from those who saw his action as continuous sanction of poverty by the man.

In a recent interview he granted a Nigerian newspaper which I read online, Ogbanago said he did the action to convince many Nigerians and the world over that not every Nigerian is “fantastically corrupt” as erroneously opined by former British PM, David Cameron.

Indeed Nigerians are specially made people who are hardworking and the most happiest people on earth. We are people who turns every situation to anything you can think of, be it joke or satire. In fact, the late music icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti captured it well when he described Nigerians as people who enjoys suffering and smiling.

Before now, Nigerians hardly take other person’s property because their own is ever enough for them to savour. The fear of God was there and people’s conscience were still intact and working perfectly. Then you can display your wares outside without having to stay there while buyers only take their needs and drop their moneys as well. There was a high level of trust. Everything was working in Nigeria including the “powerful” power sector.

Things later changed with corruption becoming the norm in the society. Kidnapping, cultism and ritual killings then followed while rape, adultery, fornication and lack of respect for the elderly coupled with a new generation of Nigerians who believe in cutting corners to reach the El Dorado.

The internet age further dealt a big blow to our morality with the emergence of “yahoo boys” and “e-dating” which has led to many becoming victim of rape and assault in the hands of their predators. It also cemented the activities of advanced free fraudsters also known as 419.

So in the Nigeria of today, for you to be morally upright and tries to preach it while also practicing it, then you must be ready to bear the brunt from every Tom, Dick and Harry. You will be chastised and call all sort of names. Hence being upright in Nigeria most especially if you want to come up with an anti corruption toga, your skin has to be thick.

The case of Nigeria is closely related to the people of Prophet Lot who was described in the Bible as well as the Quran as a pious leader. His people were so corrupt that they were obsessed with anyone who tries to preach morality and a corrupt free society. They were the foremost of mankind who practiced homosexuality. They even tried to rape the guests of the prophet hence indicating the height of their moral decadence.

The people of Lot were so obsessed with anything good that they vowed to drive away anyone who tries to uphold justice, equity and fairness among them. Their end was disastrous and the rest is history till today.

For Nigerians we have surpassed the feat achieved by the people of Lot as we are totally obsessed with every form of policy or reform that will bring about sanity into our ever decayed system. Or how do we explain the scenario whereby someone found a missing money or valuables and decided to return it since his or her conscience will prick him or her but our response to such person(s) will be to rain curses on them, saying they can never make it again in life.

We have lost our morality and it is even difficult to be just and fair or even speak the truth knowing fully well that doing such may lead to the end of the road. The girls have no shame again. The boys are ready made rogues while their parents have no moral justification to even tailor their lives to live a life full of dedication to humanity through handwork and above all the fear of God.

Most parents even buy certificates for their children and also steal public funds in their name –  even the unborn children have existing accounts dedicated to them. Corruption is now part of our life and that’s why it is now a burden to many Nigerians since the start of the Buhari government. The government have been blocking their illegal routes and also seizing their properties which were gotten from fraudulent means.

For the first time in Nigeria’s history, a sitting Governor’s account is frozen having been found liable to have gotten the money in the account from fraudulent means. The number three citizen in the country is also on trial while revelations are already unfolding about the number four citizen following allegations that he “padded” the country’s 2016 budget.

One thing that baffles me about some Nigerians on the ongoing battle against corruption is the fact that some of them are saying that the government should “bring back corruption” stating that the present state of the economy is as a result of the president’s fight against corruption. They had posited that when he did not start the anti graft war, the economy was better for it. And just like the people of Lot,  those Nigerians want the status quo to remain so that they can reap from where they have not sow.

In salvaging situations like these, the basis will have to come to the rescue. The basis here implies the home, educational and religious institutions. These three institutions have crucial roles to play in reshaping Nigeria. It is a nexus of solution that must be explored for us to return to the tabula rasa.

Hakeem-Adebumiti wrote this piece from Ondo State. Contact on Twitter via @hakeemadebumiti

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Thirty Nigerians Picked To Pitch Innovative Tech Ideas At Aso Villa Demo Day, AVDD

In fulfillment of its commitment to boost technology and encourage innovative ideas the Presidency through the platform of “Aso Villa Demo Day” has selected top 30 Nigerians among hundreds that pitched at three different events in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt in June.

(The events were held in Lagos – June 23rd, Abuja – June 25th and Port-Harcourt – June 29th.)

The 30 selected Nigerians will be hosted top level at the Presidency, Aso Rock on a date to be announced soon to pitch their winning ideas.

During the pitch events, participating Nigerians demonstrated a spirit of resilience coming up with ideas and solutions for Technology, Agriculture, Communications, Power, Fashion and Entertainment which revealed talents, skills and critical thinking.

In the selection process, each applicant was assessed by a minimum of four judges and some of the criteria used in assessing were:
Can this idea make money?
Has a revenue model been defined and is it realistic?
What is the value proposition to customers?
Is there a functional product?
Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience?
How resource intensive is the idea?

Is this idea scalable?

The first thirty were picked from the average total of the scores.

Some of the winners and their ideas include “One Medical” created by Oladimeji Sofowora, Wole Ralph and Laolu Ojeniyi. It is a connected health records platform with a patient and doctor database and Emmanuel Okena’s Tracology, a patent smart payment app for waste management. It is an application that will track and fine defaulters as bar codes will be scanned to confirm who has paid dues, levies and rates.

Also selected were:

Loui Auta of Ceders Seeds Foundation whose idea is to build solar panels in strategic locations by disabled people.

Abubakar Gabar and Ahmed Gobir’s data capturing technology which uses radio frequency to connect.

Ife Oladapo’s Grit Systems that produce generators that would reduce power consumption.

Tolu Adeyanju’s Red Bank idea which will help blood banks manage their records and connect them with donors and hospitals.

Desmond Okoye’s Doctor’s NG, a platform that has been designed in such a way that users will have free access to doctors and also book an appointment from the comfort of their homes.

Peter Agada’s C4ISR infrastructure that has been designed as a surveillance and communication device for our nation’s military.

Angela Adelaja’s Fresh Direct, a platform for Nigerian farmers where they take their products to the larger public and also be trained to use technology to sell their farm produce.

NEXT STEPS:
The thirty (30) finalists will receive phone calls and emails shortly from the AVDD team on further instructions, some of which will state the Tech hubs each finalist has been assigned to for incubation ahead of their presidential level reception in Aso Rock at a date to be announced soon.

Technology industry experts believe this is a revolution of significant proportions never witnessed in Nigeria.

The Buhari presidency believes that by investing in technology and innovative ideas Nigeria is investing in its future.

BELOW IS THE COMPLETE LIST OF THE 30 FINALISTS SELECTED FOR THE ASO VILLA DEMO DAY:

1.      Chika Uwaze – Talent Base

2.      Obidipe Oluwaseun – Mocapro

3.      Tele Ogundipe – Egusi Soupe

4.      Amaka Osita – Fuel Voucher.com.ng

5.      Tolu Adeyanju – Red Bank

6.      Ifedayo Oladapo – Grit Systems

7.      Nkem Okocha – Mama Moni Limited

8.      Ebuka Nwora – Etyres

9.      Dami Olokesusi – Shuttlers NG

10.   Amarachi Nwanamodo – Amagzy Global Ventures

11.   Oladimeji Sofowora, Wole Ralph, Laolu Ojeniyi – One Medical

12.   Mogbeyiteran Tosan – Blackswan

13.   Angela Adelaja – Fresh Direct

14.   Ahmed Sodiq – Micro Scale embedded

15.   Dimgba Kalu – Projaro

16.   Abubakar Garba & Abdul Samad Gorbin

17.   Emmanuel Okena – Tracology

18.   Lois Auta – Cedar’s seed

19.   Kamaludeen Sabiu – Seamless system’

20.   Peter Agada – Tiller Cyrus

21.   Desmond Okoye – Doctor’s office

22.   Uzuq Tim – Tembe.com.ng

23.   Alifa Nicholas – Ajaoku.com

24.   Roland Reagan & Edmond Adoku – Meditech

25.   Akinola Solomon – Africa on the rise tech community

26.   Alison Ukonu – Recycle points

27.   Uche Ariolu – Foodstantly

28.   Benson Godwin – Tuteria

29.   Mina Ogbanga – Ascent GP

30.   Odior Yole – GO CV

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#SaveMayowa: The generosity Of Nigerians And The Rot In The System By Adenike Lucas

Within three days, kind Nigerians had come together and donated 85 million Naira to a stage 4 cancer patient, Mayowa Ahmed.
I have never seen such benevolence before. This noble gesture exonerates Nigerians mostly portrayed negatively in the media abroad. It also shows that Nigerians both home and abroad, can set positive examples in all spheres of our society.
Unfortunately, most times, anything to do with huge amount of money ends up in a mess. I am not particularly going to express my opinion about the alleged scam involving the Ahmed family, but what concerns me is the rottenness exposed by this mess.
The campaign led by the “Alakada” actress Toyin Aimakhu with the trending hashtag #SaveMayowa exposed the level of decay in our country, which can be traced to poor governance in the past. Government of any country must ensure they put in place necessary infrastructures for its citizens; such as good hospitals, roads and transportation. The saga highlights the need for transparency not just for those in government but every citizen of our great nation. The APC led government is working tirelessly to achieve this.
Why are we unable to get definite answers from our doctors within the country and there is always the need to get second opinion abroad. In western countries like the United Kingdom, statistics shows that up to 5,000 doctors are Nigerians. These countries including the United States have many Nigerians occupying positions as  top doctors, matrons, lawyers, teachers, politicians and are leading in their various fields.
Fighting corruption certainly does not end with the government alone, but citizens ought to be honest in their dealings. I pray for Mayowa Ahmed. God certainly still is in the business of healing people and will heal Mayowa totally. I just hope the funds are used for its sole purpose.
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We’ll Focus On Solid Training For Young Nigerians – Osinbajo

Besides encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit among the Nigerian youth, focus should also be on ensuring that young Nigerians are well-trained in whatever discipline or professional calling they may chose, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

While noting the importance of entrepreneurship, Prof. Osinbajo said “we should emphasize training too, solid training. For whatever you are, you can be the best in it… Building the very best minds should be the focus.”

According to him, “if you are a graduate of history, you should be so well-trained to be the best historian,” the VP said during a research presentation to him by Course 24 Participants of the National Defence College.

“I think we should bear in mind also that even if you are not an entrepreneur, but you are competent in whatever your field of endeavour or whatever your discipline is, if you are well-trained in any type of profession, you are a major contributor to the GDP, you are a major contributor to the well being of the society,” the VP declared.

While commending the participants for their research titled “Youth Bulge in Nigeria: Implications for National Security,” Prof. Osinbajo added that government would “still continue to maintain focus on very good solid training so that whatever you are, you can contribute to the society.”

The presentation noted the significant youth population in the country could be turned into a positive engine for national growth through entrepreneurship. Captain O. A. Olodude, of the Nigerian Navy, who made the presentation on behalf of Course 24 participants stated that if the youth are not harnessed through schemes such as NYSC Entrepreneurial Scheme, training in agriculture, ICT and others, to tackle unemployment, they would affect the society negatively.

Earlier, the Commandant of the National Defence Collage and leader of the delegation, Rear Admiral Samuel Alade, said the Course 24 has 130 Participants 7 of which are from other countries including Niger, Republic of Benin, Ghana, Zambia and Sierra Leone.  He revealed that the next course will have participants from Germany, Turkey, Brazil and India.  He stated that in the 25 years of the Collage, this is the first research presentation of its kind. Vice President Osinbajo, who promised to send the recommendations of the research to relevant government agencies, has also been recognized with the Distinguished Personality Award of the National Defence Collage.

In another development, the Vice President received on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari a delegation from the government of Guinea Bissau led by Prime Minister Baciro Dja. The Prime Minister came as a Special Envoy of President Jose Mairo Vaz of Guinea Bissau to deliver a special message.

Vice President Osinbajo commended the government of Guinea Bissau for its constitutional and peaceful management of the country’s affairs noting that “at the end of the day the whole purpose of government is to help the people not to harm them in the process of political conflict.”

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‘We Are Sorry For Fueling “Toxic” Social Media Attacks’, PDP Apologies To Nigerians

Nigeria’s main opposition political party, the PDP, on Tuesday said the tone of conversation amongst Nigerians on social media had taken a disturbing dimension.

As a result, the party took responsibility for the role it played in fostering the “toxic” atmosphere, and promised to improve on the tone of its discussion going forward.

“We have noticed, with a growing sense of dismay, the level of toxicity that pervades the political space with respect to discussions on national issues,” the PDP said. “We accept responsibility and apologise for whatever role we have played in reaching this level of toxicity.”

“Henceforth, we commit to focusing only on the issues and proffering cogent & competent solutions to the issues facing the nation.”

The surprisingly conciliatory tone came in a series of tweets on its Twitter handle, @PdpNigeria between 9-10:00 a.m. Tuesday.

“This toxicity, some of which finds expression in discussions across social media platforms, has reached the level where bridges are being burnt, personal relationships are being strained and an unnecessary tension fills what should ordinarily be patriotic and enlightening conversations on how to move the nation forward,” the party said.

The Nigerian social media space had become a platform for dangerous political rhetoric, with a focus on re-tweets and likes often overshadowing constructive engagement.

Last month, the PDP said on Twitter that it had uncovered a plot to assassinate Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, a major opposition figure in the country.

“Governor Fayose may have to take extra security measures to prevent Aisha Buhari or the 1st family from assassinating him,” the June 21 tweet read.

In late March, the handle sparred with the Central Bank, suggesting that the bank was illegally handing out dollars to President Buhari’s inner circles amidst widespread scarcity of forex across the country.

“First Lady Aisha Buhari got $22m forex from CBN on the instructions of Emefiele and the company sold at N362 same day. #CorruptionAndBuhari.”

The PDP also tweeted that “In 12 days, President Buhari has spent £6m (Six Million Pounds) in London. Change is really here.”

The party said Nigerians would no longer see attacks from its handles in the future and urged its supporters to eschew abusive use of social media.

“We urge our supporters and the believers in the ability of our party to provide these solutions to henceforth show more restraint and maturity as we point out the many obvious flaws of this administration and proffer solutions & alternatives to their many failures,” the party said.

It ended by quoting Abraham Lincoln, a former president of the United States.

“We’re not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.”

The PDP dominated Nigerian government at the center since 1998 until it was voted out in 2015 general elections. A protracted leadership crisis has left the party rudderless for several months.

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