OCTOBER 1-15, 2013

October 1, 2013

What a bad way to start a new month, the month of independence for that matter, even a day of independence, October 1, ojo odun, Naija @ 53! While the ASUU strike still remained unsorted out, the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria decided to compound the many troubles of Nigerians and that of the Federal Government as it directed its members to embark on a nationwide strike. As always, they alleged failure of the Federal Government to respond to their demands which they presented with an ultimatum that expired on September 30, 2013. NARD claimed that the nonchalant attitude of the Federal Government to articulate a comprehensive guideline for residency training necessitated its action. Other reasons included the failure of the reintroduced overseas clinical attachments for resident doctors, refusal of government to redeem 10 per cent meant for health personnel, incessant industrial disharmony in many training centres, following unwarranted disengagements as well as withholding of entitlements and victimisation of residents. The list was endless and I was left wondering if the government could deliver on anything. Anyway, I think Nigerians should expect nothing so that they won’t be disappointed. All the same, I say happy independence o…


Cutting of Independence cake at the Presidential Villa in Abuja

October 2, 2013

The spokesman for the Northern Elders Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullah said the North, contrary to the views held in certain quarters, is not afraid of secession if Nigerians vote for it at the end of the proposed conference. This came as a reaction to the National Dialogue Advisory Committee set-up by President Jonathan. While justifying the need for a national dialogue, the one-time Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, cited multi-ethnic countries like India and Russia that splitted for good as he was quoted as saying “So why shouldn’t it happen in Nigeria if they believe it’s the way to go? We don’t mind any conference, no matter the outcome. I don’t think it should worry any Nigerian.” Ironically, it worries Nigerians, especially people from his side. Meanwhile, Abdullah noted that voluminous reports of previous conferences have not been implemented. Besides, I don’t think he should worry about that insofar he sincerely meant his words.

That moment when an event proves to be nothing less of an excuse, one will surely capitalise on it to get a getaway. Well, that was the opinion of Bamanga Tukur-led PDP as he slammed Abubakar Baraje and the seven “I no go gree governors”, while they asked for a postponement of the much-publicised October 7 peace talks between them and President Jonathan. This year’s pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia seemed convenient for the key members of the break-away faction of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as it differed with the proposed peace meeting. In their own view as contained in a statement made available to the leadership of Tukur-PDP, they would use the opportunity offered by the holy pilgrimage to pray for the restoration of peace and unity in the party, as well as for the country. E be like say na prayer sure pass. But, in a swift reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of Tukur’s PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh took strong exception to describing the members of the other faction as being childish and clownish as well as over dramatisation of the postponement. “If they are responsible enough, they would not make a public show of it by taking it to the pages of newspapers. It’s the height of irresponsibility for them to be discussing a matter they had with the President on the pages of newspapers. I am not sure that even some of the governors are aware of this”, Metuh don provoke…

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today told an Abuja High Court that the former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister, Nasir el-Rufai has a case to answer in court as contrary to the no-case applications brought by El-Rufai and two former top executive of the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS), to the anti graft agency. The accused officials were charged for illegal conversion of plots of land initially meant for public utilisation. Perhaps, the commission has proved to Nigerians that public officials, no matter how “holy”  are not unscathed when it comes to offensive charges as rightly noted by the Counsel to EFCC, Adebayo Adelodun, saying “All that we required at this stage is to link the accused persons with the charges, however tangible or remote”. Hmmnn, no sinner should go unpunished, they opined

The President of the National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB), Mr Jethro Akun has stated that the total loan portfolio of microfinance banks operating in the country stood at N97bn at 2012 year ending which had significantly contributed to the economic development. Whether true or false, I can’t tell. But while emphasising  his statement, he averred that from 2012 till present, 22,000 people had been employed in over 1,500 branches and cash centres of MFBs; and with over five million customers, the total deposit of the sector had grown to N125bn, while the assets stood at N222bn. However, Mr. Akun called for policy review for grassroots’ outreach of MFBs and exemption of MFBs from Value Added Tax and other charges as well as the establishment of a private sector microfinance stabilisation fund. Hmmnn…Hope this will add value to the life of a commoner…

 

October 3, 2013

Double wahala for dead body, yes, it was as a serious tragedy that struck as the dead wanted to die again, a second death, a serious case of work and legacy living after the dead. It wasn’t a joke at all; it was a monumental tragedy that led to loss of lives and it halted the Christian wake keep organised for the late former governor of Ondo State and Minister of Aviation, Olusegun Agagu. The chartered aircraft, Embraer 120 with registration SCD 361 belonging to Associated Aviation Limited, carrying the remains of Dr. Agagu, heading for Akure, Ondo State, where dignitaries, political associates, friends and family members, admirers as well as sympathisers of the Agagu family had gathered to honour him, crashed less than a minute after take-off from the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja. Meanwhile, the metal casket bearing his body was recovered intact, but 13 out of the 20 passengers on board were confirmed dead by the management of AAL. Among the dead were the Magbamowo Industrial Company (MIC) boss, Engr. Tunji Okunsanya, and his son, Olatunji Okunsanya, who were on duty to ensure Agagu had the best funeral. And so many woke that rainy day as even the skies mourned and shed tears thinking ‘surely if good deeds meant anything…, this were men who did not deserve to go thus. Surely ,not in this manner! But God understands all mysteries. Anyway, since plane no safe again, na trekking sure pass, even to UK. When we reach Red Sea, na to call Moses number. But if MTN network get yawa, call Elijah, him don port…

 

October 4, 2013

Despite all odds, the Agagu family decided to bury their beloveth, the former governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Agagu. They ignored the circumstances and the tension; finally they laid the remains of Agagu to rest. Though without fanfare as it befitted a man of his status, in a sombre atmosphere devoid of any form of pomp and ceremony. Though there was a reception at the Civic Centre in the village, most of the guest shunned the event. The entire village wore a mournful look with villagers discussing the tragic plane crash. Meanwhile, there was a large turnout of the locales and dignitaries, they ensured they paid their last respect, but the church service was solemn. Tears flowed freely from sympathisers, the crowd was unprecedented and the church hall was just too small to accommodate all that thronged the occasion in their numbers. Agagu was finally lowered to his grave at the church premises at about 3.30pm. At last Agagu could be said to sleep well…

 

October 5, 2013

The former Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Martin Luther Agwai gave his own opinion in an attempt to proffer solution to the unresolved security crises in the country. He said, “We have to come out with a strategy of carrot and stick. If you use the stick and believe that military might be able to crush insurgency, it is not possible. This is because it is an internal problem. They are our sisters and brothers. They will mingle into the society. We have to ask ourselves what is making them tick. Boko Haram is not a military problem because if you kill all the members of Boko Haram today, another set will come up because you have not solved the problem. So, we have to identify what the roots are and not just saying Boko Haram is attacking Christians, planting explosives and you just post soldiers there. Those are just the consequences of their actions. You are cutting the branches. In my studies of conflict resolutions, you must address the causes. If you don’t, no amount of intimidation, actions can solve the problem”. This started making sense and suddenly turned a senseless nonsense because Agwai spoke as if he knows them in and out with their next line of actions, if I were in charge, he should be visited.

Every father’s wish is to have a son who will succeed him. But fate won’t allow Deji Falae to succeed the former Secretary to the Federal Government, Chief Olu Falae, who lost a political successor in him, as he passed on to the great beyond, no thanks to the ill-fated Associated Airline on October 3rd. Deji, who was the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Ondo State, led the state government’s delegation to accompany the corpse of former Ondo State governor, Chief Olusegun Agagu from Lagos to Akure, for the state burial. The grieving Falae expressed that “I was looking forward to seeing Deji take over from me, because I have reached the peak of my being in politics. I will miss him so much”. We would all miss Deji…accept our sincere condolence, the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh…

 

October 6, 2013

If you think Nigeria is rich and blessed with natural resources, then you might be wrong. We are in grave debt! The Debt Management Office (DMO) released that Nigeria’s total public debt rose from N6.25tn ($40.1bn) in 2010 to N9.04tn ($58.04bn) by the end of December 2012. The total public debt stock includes both external and domestic debts owed by the federal and state governments as well as the Federal Capital Territory. Over a period of three years – 2010 to 2013 – the nation has had to part with N2.21tn ($14.17bn) in debt service payments. The breakdown of the total public debt showed that the Federal Government accounted for N6.5tn ($41.97bn) or 72.43 percent, while that of the states and the FCT stood at N1.47tn ($9.45bn) or 16.31 per cent. And yet we have massive embezzlement that might bleed us to death. Meanwhile, the Director-General of DMO, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, justified the need to garner resources to close huge infrastructure gap, adding that the country required about $35bn to fund development in the years ahead. But wait, could that forecast be correct? Either no or false, sebi dey don remove subsidy, the money should be diverted here.

There appeared to be a contest on who is more authoritative on deciding the performance of Nigeria’s economy. Well, I can tell you authoritatively that there was an intellectual battle between the CBN Deputy Governor for Financial System Stability, Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu and the Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. At a lecture Moghalu delivered at the golden jubilee ceremony of the pioneer graduates of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, he regretted that Nigeria’s economic performance does not reflect its endowments. With nothing to show for its resources, he stated that “The country has very significant reserves of solid minerals which remain underdeveloped. The country is richly endowed with about 34 different types of solid minerals in commercial quantities in about 450 locations across the country.” He noted that emerging economies like China, India, Malaysia and South Korea, who were behind or at the same economic pace with Nigeria in terms of growth in industrial production in the 1960s and 1970s, have transformed their economies. According to him, “These countries are not only far ahead of Nigeria but are major players in world economy today. Between 2005 and 2010, the average growth in industrial production for China, India and Brazil was 16.0, 8.0 and 3.6 per cent respectively while Nigeria only recorded only 2.1 per cent.” However, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, who spoke at the Independence Anniversary lecture organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has debunked claims that the economy is in comatose. The one-time Vice President, World Bank, Africa region said “The micro economy is stable, the economy is doing well. Nigeria is an asset rich country and its economy remains strong. If we are not doing well, people will not be coming to invest in the country.” In furtherance of her claim, she stated that “We are not an island. Some of the problems we are facing are not strange. We are progressing and developing. Some people are saying Nigeria’s economy is in comatose. If the economy is in comatose, where did Dangote see money to invest in refinery? If the economy is in comatose, the private sector would be carrying placards by now.” So Nigerians, she don show us the way o, to put sense in their egg heads we need to carry placards, mumu…


Stella Oduah


The G7 governors arriving Abuja for a meeting


Agagu’s coffin being rescued from the ill-fated crash


Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Mimiko and Chief Olanihun Ajayi, during a condolence visit to Mimiko in Akure

 


Olatunji and Tunji Okunsanya


Protest in Osun over school merger by Aregbesola


Rescue team at the ill-fated AAS plane crash scene in Lagos

 

October 7, 2013

Inevitable indeed and all air-bound passengers must prepare for death! What could be more insulting on God’s existence when the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah on Monday described the October 3rd Associated Airline plane crash as inevitable. Oduah made the submission while fielding questions from State House correspondents on investigations into the Lagos crash among other issues. While reacting to a comment that the crash had made nonsense of government’s much publicised reforms in the aviation sector, the minister remarked, “We do not pray for accidents but they are inevitable. But we will continue to do everything to ensure that we do not have accidents. But an accident is an act of God.” Ironically, ICAO confirmed that Nigeria was the 12th safest aviation globally and yet we do have airplane crashes intermittently. Meanwhile, Oduah disclosed that the preliminary report on the Associated Airline crash would be ready in a couple of weeks. She said the ministry is waiting for the experts from France before they could open up the engine of the plane to find out the cause of the accident. Why blame avoidable man made error on God? I think Stella needs tutorials…

Muslims in Esa-Oke, Osun State protested the state government’s merger of schools today during the early hours. The protesters gathered at the market square and prevented their children from going to school. They said they would not allow the government to merge Nawarudeen Primary School on Imesi Road with the United Missionary School at Erijiyan Street. The Chief Imam of the town, Alhaji Jimoh Gbadegeshin said the merger would take away the name of the school. Elsewhere, Christians in Iwo, mostly the Baptists said they would not allow the school to be merged with schools where pupils wear hijab, adding that the policy would take away the missionary’s ownership of the schools. Presiding Minister for the 35 Baptist churches in Iwo land, Rev. Dr. Bayo Ademuyiwa said: “Our forefathers and missionaries sacrificed their lives, resources and everything to establish reputable schools with morals and values. We are here to protect our schools.” Emphasising this undesirable development, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Osun State said; “CAN is not against any new educational policy by the government, but we vehemently kick against any educational programme that would obliterate mission schools and affect our faith”. Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) urged the protesters to be calm. In a statement by its Publicity Director, Kunle Oyatomi said: “We are aware of the people’s feelings and are doing everything possible to sustain peace across the state. The government means well for the people with the reclassification of schools.” Vox populi, vox dei…

 

October 8, 2013

Acting upon the directive from the President, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) reduced the costs of registering businesses in Nigeria by 50%, depending on capital variations and equity since October I, 2013. This was made known by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga in Abuja during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the ministry and its Brazilian counterpart led by Deputy Minister, Mr. Richardo Schaefer on the promotion of trade and investment. This initiative came in a bid to reposition Nigeria as the preferred destination for local and foreign investments, Aganga said. The Minister explained further that by this action, Nigerian companies would save over N2bn per annum which could be channelled to more employment generation and business expansion. Also, that the new regulation had been designed to ensure that the bulk of these savings went to smaller businesses, which needed the lower fees more. So Nigerians should activate their business sense…

A round peg in a round hole is what we need. This was the basis of a marathon meeting held between President Jonathan and some threesome pro-Jonathan PDP governors. They were Akwa Ibom’s Goodswill Akpabio, Cross River’s Liyel Imoke and Bayelsa’s Seriake Dickson. Also at the meeting was the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe. The meeting, which was held inside the President’s office bordered, among other issues, on how to fill the vacant ministerial positions occasioned by the recent sacking of nine ministers. But I no sure say dis people no get nominees.

In what seemed like a season of political factionalism here and there, merger proved to be the order of the day. While the Buhari faction of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) already dissolved into the new mega opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC), the Senator Rufa’i Hanga-led faction of CPC had formally merged with the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM). The reason for the merger was identified as their displeasure towards the impunity put up by the former Head of State, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd). Hanga argued that even though the faction was hopeful that it would get a favourable verdict in court in seeking to retrieve the mandate which he said was stolen by the Buhari group; they decided to merge with PDM in order to participate fully in the ongoing political process.

 

October 9, 2013

One by one, dey don dey go… Millions of Peoples Democratic Party family nationwide were in serious dilemma as they were not just in crisis but also losing prominent chieftains as another death struck with a big blow. The cold hand of death unannounced visited and took away their pioneer National Chairman and first civilian governor of Plateau State, Solomon Lar. Lar, 80, passed away following an undisclosed ailment in the United States. He was born in Pongaa in Langtang, Plateau State. He held various offices at the national level for more than 50 years. PDP, accept my sincere condolence o, but carry Lar well o, either by road or by air, just carry him well, prevention is better than cure,  you are advised…

 

October 10, 2013

Another yellow card was this day issued to Abubakar Baraje led faction of the new Peoples Democratic Party as the Independent National Electoral Commission turned down its request to recognise its National Working Committee as the authentic leadership of the party.  The faction had, in two separate letters, dated September 1 and 23, requested INEC to recognise its own NWC as the authentic leadership of the party but INEC said lai, ko joo, na Bamanga Tukur be our man o, just like the SDP jingle of Abiola’s “Hope 93”. In its response, the Commission said it would not withdraw recognition of the Tukur led NWC as the authentic leadership of the party because it monitored the convention that produced it. And the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh expected the tussle to stop at that, “Rejection of the demands of our aggrieved brothers has indeed laid to rest all contentions regarding the authentic leadership of our great party. We must use this window of opportunity to engender true reconciliation, and move ahead as one big united family that we are, we will ensure that our great party delivered on its mandate and promises as enshrined in the PDP manifesto, Metuh said. Metuh started with confidence, later with words that appeared like an advice, and he submitted with an assurance but I hope say no be dream o because…

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