At Oxford University, Prof Osinbajo’s Impeccable Record Continues,? By Bernard Okri?

Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice President showed why he is renowned for oratory prowess and why he stands far ahead of his peers as he delivered his lecture off hand.

For those who have had the privilege of listening to him before or sitting across him at a table it was another pleasant opportunity to be dazzled again but for those who were listening to him for the first time, they were left spell bound.

Staring firmly at the former Lagos Attorney General of Lagos, they wondered where all the facts, figures and statements he reeled off were coming from. They were perplexed by his ability to narrate the Buhari’s administration successes without a prepared speech or even a piece of paper in hand.

Beyond that, he sold Africa, he sold Nigeria, and indeed he sold the black race before going on to inaugurate the Oxford Board of African Studies. It was a delight and a huge moment of pride for all Africans at the gathering.

Prof Osinbajo was one of their own and he was making them proud. Discussing Osinbajo, some said they’ve not seen a person so charming and gifted like him in Africa since Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan. He stood in a class of his own.

During the lecture, Prof. Osinbajo highlighted ongoing investments, efforts and plans of the Nigerian government and the progress it has made in improving the country’s Human Capital Development indices and investment climate, as well as the widespread impact of the National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP).

Despite the enormous challenges of Human Capital Development in Africa, the Vice President further called on African governments to unlock the “opportunities to significantly move the needle in the journey to vastly improved standards of existence for our people.”

Talking job creation and job sustainability, Prof Osinbajo explained that 349,000 new bank accounts have been open, while almost half a million small businesses in Nigeria have accessed the loan under the MarketMoni scheme – a short tenor interest-free credit of between N50,000 and N300,000 for small businesses under the auspices of their cooperative societies as a risk management device.

He also explained that by the end of 2018, two million petty traders nationwide would have benefitted from the TraderMoni, which provides them zero collateral and interest-free N10,000 loans.

Prof. Osinbajo also noted that out of the targeted one million, so far, almost 300,000 households have benefited from the N-SIP’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme, in which the poorest and most vulnerable households in the country are given N5,000 monthly.

He said the administration’s Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) was an important tool for financially empowering small businesses, artisans, market women, petty traders, and table top traders.

If the impact he made on the room was in doubt, the opportunity for photo ops pretty much sealed it. Like kids who were star struck, the audience flocked towards Prof Osinbajo to take pictures, it was a moment to savour then and in the future,and no one was willing to pass up on it.

Prof. Osinbajo who also inaugurated the International Advisory Board of Oxford University Area Studies Centre, under the School of Global and Area Studies, was received by Nigerian-born, first Black African Rhodes Professor at St Antony’s College, Oxford, Professor Wale Adebanwi.

The other members of the inaugurated board are eminent leaders from across the world, including several African countries like Nigeria and South Africa.

?Bernard Okri is a founding member of the Global Economic Policy Initiative?

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Re: Nigeria: Papering Over The Cracks – HSBC, By Ibrahim Olalekan

When President Buhari led the All Progressives Congress(APC) party into the 2015 general elections, his campaign focused on three major reforms namely re-positioning the economy, containing security threats and fighting corruption. This would indicate that he had made considerable effort to properly diagnose Nigeria’s socio-economic condition.

It should also be recalled that the APC administration inherited a cash-strapped mono product economy which was also extremely vulnerable. As was aptly put by HSBC “Nigeria’s painful recession” in 2016-2017 was in the offing owing also to the devaluation of the local currency the Naira by the previous administration from N155 to N199 to a dollar in 2014 in a bid to defend the Naira and reduce the depletion of foreign exchange reserves.

The writer’s allusion to Nigeria’s positive macroeconomic indicators only to opine that Nigeria has a disappointing macro outlook is very contradictory. To put this in perspective, it is important to reference some key macroeconomic indicators e.g current account surplus is 5% of GDP. Foreign exchange reserves at a historic high of $47bn. Headline inflation has decelerated from 18.4% at the start of 2017 to 11.23% in August 2018.

The total value of capital importation into Nigeria in Q2 2018 is $5.5bn. These strong fundamentals have supported the currency even in spite of monetary normalization in some advanced economies. The Naira has been relatively stable and performing satisfactorily compared with some of its peers and that of selected emerging economies.

The oil price shock in 2016 seriously affected government’s fiscal position and inadequate buffers for the rainy day led to the depletion of foreign reserves. Although unemployment stands at 19%, the expansionary fiscal policy of the Buhari administration reduced the impact of the 2016 economic headwinds on employment amid operations of factories.

The Social Investment Programme which includes N-power, Conditional Cash Transfer and Homegrown School Feeding programme were implemented to put the economy on the path of recovery. These programmes sustained the purchasing power of beneficiaries by maintaining the aggregate demand that kept factories in operation. This is akin to the stimulus packages the USA, China and the European Union unleashed during and after the 2008 financial crisis.

In fact, ultra low interest rates and fiscal expansion have just started to unwind in those countries.

Concerns about Nigeria’s legacy structural problems led to the rollout of some landmark initiative such as the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), National Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council, Made in Nigeria for Exports et cetera. These programmes are conceptualized for the diversification of Nigeria’s economy away from oil and improve the competitiveness of Made in Nigeria goods in the international market. These policies are intended to put an end to jobless growth by creating jobs that are good for development.

Ibrahim Olalekan, a Public Affairs Analyst wrote from Abuja, Nigeria.

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Nigeria’s Problem Is Not Religion But Systemic Corruption, Says Osinbajo

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), has said that the problem with Nigeria was neither ethnicity nor religion but systemic corruption.

Professor Osinbajo said this at the 30th National Biennial Conference of the Students Christian Movement (SCM) of Nigeria holding in Enugu.

He said that corruption had been so entrenched in the country that if you dare challenge it, you will be in the minority.

He, however, challenged the youths to change the narrative and make the difference by checking the impunity of those that had stolen the resources of the country.

“Our problem in this country is not ethnicity or religion; it is not about Christians or Muslims. Our problems are the same wherever you go in this country.

“The story of our country is about good and evil. It is about those that have left us in this condition by stealing our common resources.

“Do not let anyone deceive you.”

The acting president challenged members of SCM to ensure that the movement becomes one of the tools that will move the country forward.

“You should understand that our country can be delivered by people like you.”

According to him, young Christians have special and distinct roles to play in the transformation of the country which is superior to those of other sets of people.

“All of the great nations of the world were transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not a gospel that tickles people’s imaginations or dwells on prosperity.

“It is not a gospel that fits your fancy. It is a gospel that teaches that righteousness exalts a nation.”

Osibanjo appealed to Nigerians to stand against the plundering of the nation’s resources as well as support the anti-corruption initiative of the Nigerian Government, irrespective of party affiliations.

 

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Closed Door Meeting: What Osinbajo Discussed With Lawan

The Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, on Monday opened up on his discussion with Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN)during a closed door meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The meeting, which was held behind closed doors in Osinbajo’s office, also had in attendance, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang.

It was learnt that the meeting focused on issues relating to the election budget, and was convened to also prevail on the leadership of the National Assembly to reconvene, consider and pass the supplementary budget.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had had on July 17, 2018 written to the two chambers of the National Assembly, seeking approval of N242 billion for the 2019 general elections, while also seeking virement of some projects in the 2018 budget.

Lawan, while briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, said the government would be shot down, with dire consequences, if the leadership of the National Assembly failed to reconvene the parliament and facilitate quick passage of the budget.

He noted that preparation for the 2019 elections and other financial needs might be hampered by delay in considering the virement.

“You know this is our administration. I have come to brief him (Acting President) on the situation in the Senate. We also discussed the need for National Assembly to convene immediately for us to pass the virement on the supplementary budget sent by Mr. President.

“The budget for 2018, the capital aspect, will be largely funded by foreign facilities, loans. Now we need to approve that. We also need to approve other important and essential requests, especially that of INEC and other security agencies for our security to be improved.

“It is therefore very essential that we reconvene immediately to look into those issues because our government is almost stalled and I believe that if we are able to pass the supplementary budget and virement request, this administration will be able to provide the various infrastructure that we have planned to provide for Nigerians and all other projects for national development.”

When asked what the response of the acting president was, he said: “I briefed him on the situation in the Senate. There are conflicting information coming out from the caucuses. We said we are the majority, the APC caucus, because we are 53, and we have given the media the list of everyone.

“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus will tell you they are in the majority, I will take this opportunity for the third time to challenge the PDP caucus to publish the names of its members. They have never done that, they will only tell you that they are 55, they are 60, they are 65. Publish the names and let Nigerians see.

“If we don’t reconvene and pass the request, what that means is that we have turned against this country, we are stalling the administration and invariably, fighting the people because the people want us to do those things that will make them happy.”

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Osinbajo Visits Apapa Ports, Orders 72-Hour Joint Operation To Clear Traffic Gridlock

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday  directed security agencies and relevant bodies  to commence a 72-hour joint operation to restore order around Apapa and environs with a view to easing vehicular movement in that part of Lagos.

Osinbajo who made an unscheduled visit to the road  to personally assess the situation also asked  relevant government agencies  to speed up decongestion of the Apapa ports.

Professor Osinbajo was flown  in a  Navy chopper,first  to  Tin Can Island park.

He was accompanied by Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi and senior Naval and Police officers.

He walked close to the traffic to see the situation for himself and then proceeded to the Five Star Berth at the NPA where he met with relevant officials and security officers.

Involved in the 72 hour joint operation are the Police, Navy, Army, Air Force, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and  the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), LASEMA, Container truck drivers, National Association of Road Transport Owners, NUPENG, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria  are also joining in the operation.

 

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Ekiti 2018: Osinbajo, Tinubu, Others Urge Residents To Vote Fayemi

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has urged the people of Ekiti State to cast their votes for the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in the July 14 governorship election.

Osinbajo spoke on Tuesday at the governorship flag off rally held at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, to formally herald campaigns ahead of the July 14 poll.

According to him, Ekiti people stand to benefit a lot from the APC both at the federal and state levels if they elect Fayemi as their governor in the eagerly awaited poll.

He described Fayemi as a tested politician and administrator who has acquired enough experience to manage the resources of the state and provide quality leadership.

Osinbajo said: “God has chosen this lucky man (Fayemi) to bring good governance and purposeful leadership to the people of Ekiti State.

“On July 14, don’t look elsewhere but look forward to voting APC. APC is a party that means well for the people, APC is a party of progressive people.

“We have come here to give you a delicious soup in Ekiti; JKF (Fayemi) is that lucky man chosen to bring positive change to Ekiti.

“On July 14, vote JKF and Ekiti will witness progress, development and good governance.

“God has brought a blessed man, who is Dr Kayode  Fayemi. He will do Ekiti a lot of good if elected governor. He will bring development to your doorsteps.

“On July 14, don’t look back or side way, just look forward to a good future ahead of you by voting for Fayemi. APC is a party of progress.

“Let us vote for APC in this election. APC will help Ekiti to develop, because the PDP has outlived its usefulness.”

In similar development, the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, urged Ekiti people to elect Fayemi as their governor at the poll. He said Ekiti should not remain the lone ranger in the Southwest but should join the progressives fold.

Tinubu said: “This is the only place where change is necessary now, this is the broom revolution. Raising the broom is not enough, what is your value of coming here if you don’t have PVCs?

“If you really want progress, what is the essence of you staying here from morning till now without having PVCs.  Ekiti won’t go back to sadness and poverty.

“The PVCs represent your red card on the day of election. I want you to give PDP a red card on the day of election.

“We have been giving PDP yellow cards all this while but on the election day, we are giving them the red card.

“We took Fayemi to the federal level, he was Minister where Osinbajo is Vice President but Ekiti is now a lone ranger.

“This is your son, we have taught him, he is a friend of the President. We are going to do the election together

“He now understands the game. I want you to vote him 100 percent on July 14.”

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How Revenue Generating Agencies Shortchanged FG To The Tune Of N526 Billion, $21 Billion

An audit report by KPMG has revealed how revenue generating agencies under-remitted sum of N526 billion and $21 billion to the Federation account.

Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo disclosed this with pressmen in Abuja, on Thursday, at the end of the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa.

Dankwambo said the audit report covered 2010 to June 2015.

His words: “The audit was for the revenue generating agencies that have paid into the Federation account and those that paid for Federal Government agencies.

“We are talking about federation account because those that paid by law to Federal Government are the responsibility of the Federal Government. So all the entities in the budget that are supposed to pay revenues into government coffers were checked from 2010 to June 2015; that was the cadre.”

Some of the affected agencies are NNPC, NPDC, DPR, Customs, Federal Internal Revenue Services, NPA, Maritime Authorities.

Meanwhile, the Council has recommended the immediate refund of the amount underpaid.

Dankwambo noted that the Council adopted the presentations and reports of the KPMG and the recommendations of its Ad-hoc Committee, including a resolution to identify instances where there appears to have been criminal infringements and forward such to the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Legal Committee of the National Economic Council for further action.

“The most important decision that was taken is that a sub-committee will be set up which will be an arm of the legal committee of NEC that will go into details of these kinds of infringements and make sure that those issues that are criminal and require prosecution will be handled by office of the Attorney General of the Federation,” he added.

 

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FG Approves N11bn For Jare Dam In Katsina State

The Federal Executive Council has approved a revised cost of N11 billion for the completion of work on Jare Earth Dam in Bakori Local Government Area of Katsina State, North-West Nigeria.

Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu disclosed this to journalists while briefing them on what transpired at the weekly cabinet meeting, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

He said: “Today the Council approved the revised estimated total cost for the construction of Jare Earth dam in Katsina state, this is a project that was started in 2006, reached a completion level of about 40 percent, and has not been funded for the past six to seven years.

“The Jare Earth dam is one of the projects that has been identified by this administration as a priority so we felt the need to resuscitate it and get it going so after a re-negotiation with the contractor, we today presented it to Council with provisions going forward, to be complete it in the next three years.

“The cost has been augmented form over three billion naira to 11 billion becauseit’s been twelve years since it was awarded and a lot has happened, some of the work has deteriorated and exchange rate and the cost of materials have also increased.”

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Re Medical Tourism: I Was Quoted Out Of Context, Says VON DG

The Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu has explained that his comment at a healthcare seminar, where he stood in for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, was quoted out of context by Premium Times.

In a statement signed by Okechukwu, he stressed that views stated during the event were his own and was never attributed to Prof. Osinbajo.

His words: “While I stood in for the Vice President at the said event, I also did express my own views at the said seminar, including those regarding the Medical Tourism and the attendant concerns and challenges.

“These views as stated during the event are not to be attributed to Prof. Osinbajo.

“For  the avoidance of doubt, I spoke in the context that President Muhammadu Buhari’s health plan will drastically minimize Nigerians expenditure on medical tourism.

“I cited for instance the loans meant for the establishment of health system projects and standard medical facilities in the $29.9 billion soft loan basket pending at the National Assembly.”

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Babachir/Oke: Osinbajo Panel May Have Submitted Report – Presidency

The Presidency has hinted that the panel that investigated the allegations against the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke, may have submitted its report to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, dropped the hint this morning while featuring on the Sunrise Daily programme of Channels Television.

Babachir was investigated for alleged violations of law and due process in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North-East; and Oke, over the $43.4m hauled from a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The Presidency had last Wednesday assured that President Buhari would receive the report today.

But Adesina disclosed this morning that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who headed the three-man panel met with Buhari before the latter travelled to London for medical follow-up yesterday.

The presidential spokesman explained that the submission of the report might have “come up” during that meeting.

“The vice president met with the president yesterday before he travelled. It is not unlikely that that (the submission of the report) may have come up,” Adesina said.

He also stated that given the reputation of the members of the panel, Nigerians should expect “what is fair and just” from the report.

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