Friday, 19 January 2018

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

News & Stories

News & Stories (1619)

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State says the cattle colony concept of the Federal Government is wrongly being perceived by segments of the society, noting that it would benefit farmers, herdsmen and the citizenry.

He reiterated his administration’s commitment to the proposal due to what he described as its immense benefits to the citizens.In a statement yesterday in Lokoja by his Chief Press Secretary, Petra Akinti Onyegbule, the governor said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was taking the measure to urgently curb the incessant bloody clashes between farmers and herdsmen across the federation.

“This move will also enhance the security of lives and property of the people of Kogi State,” he added.Bello allayed the fears of residents on communal ownership of land, saying the policy is not an indirect attempt by the Federal Government to hand over their hereditary to herdsmen.

He continued: “To ensure that everyone is carried along, Kogi State through the Ministry of Agriculture will soon be embarking on a series of stakeholders’ engagements to sensitise the people, farmers, cattle breeders and other stakeholders on the implementation of the new policy.

“Traditional rulers, leaders of various communities, opinion leaders, religious leaders and the entire citizens will be carried along in the course of the engagement, so that we can collectively study the merits and demerits of the policy.

“The insinuations and speculations from various quarters nationwide that the Federal Government is conspiring to take over communal land and give it to herdsmen are far from truth.

“The planned cattle colonies are for the interest of our people.”Bello pledged to ensure the safety of lives and property of the citizens through implementation of viable policies and programmes.

Posted On Thursday, 18 January 2018 04:14 Written by

A chief magistrate court in Abuja has remanded the publisher of Daily Times Newspaper, Fidelis Anosike, in prison custody.

Also remanded in prison is the managing director of the company Noel Anosike.

Both men were arrested on Monday by the police following a complaint of forgery and impersonation as legal owners of Daily Times Nigeria PLC, and were charged before the court on Tuesday.

According to the first information report filed by the police, the Anosike brothers are said to have presented themselves as the current directors of Daily Times of Nigeria PLC to open and operate accounts in the name of the company and received several billions of naira in the process.

The two suspects were also accused of fraudulently collecting monies from members of the public on behalf of Daily Times of Nigeria for anniversary celebration and heroes award.

The Anosike brothers are also said to have defrauded senator Ikechukwu Obiora of the sum of one hundred million naira for a non-existent printing factory in the FCT.

They both pleaded not guilty to the charge against them, and applied orally for bail.

But chief magistrate Azubuike Ukagu declined the request for bail on grounds that the offences carry a maximum term of fourteen years on conviction.

He ordered the prosecution to prepare to present its witnesses on the adjourned date of February 14, 2018.

The suspects were ordered to be remanded in prison custody pending trial.

 
 
Posted On Thursday, 18 January 2018 04:03 Written by

Arsene Wenger confirmed he expects Alexis Sanchez’s future to be resolved imminently after the Arsenal forward was left out of his side’s 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth.

Sanchez, who becomes free agent at the end of this season, is a target for Manchester United and Manchester City who came close to signing the Chile international on the final day of the last transfer window.

United have emerged as strong contenders because of their willingness to meet Arsenal’s £35 million ($48 million, 39 million euros) asking price, with the possibility of Henrikh Mkhitaryan being included as part of any deal.

Wenger insists all options remain open but felt unable to select the player for the visit to the Vitality Stadium although he insisted Sanchez was willing to play.

“Alexis would have played,” said the Arsenal manager. “But it’s a difficult period for him. He’s always been committed until now but he could have moved yesterday, today or not.

“It will be decided in the next 48 hours. It was a bit difficult for him because he was on stand-by, a little bit. That’s why I decided not to do it. He did not refuse to play.”

Asked if a deal was imminent, Wenger said: “I don’t master the rhythm of that but it could happen today, tomorrow or not at all. That’s why I didn’t take a decision (to select him)…I didn’t want to travel with him and suddenly he goes somewhere.”

Wenger, who criticised his side’s lack of cutting edge as they squandered a number of chances before allowing Bournemouth to recover from falling behind to Hector Bellerin’s opening goal to win through strikes from Callum Wilson and Jordon Ibe, insisted he would recruit a new forward to replace Sanchez if the forward left.

“Look, if Sanchez goes we need to replace him,” he said. “I say when you look at today, we missed many players in our squad. And you say that they have a weight in the team.

“If players like Sanchez go, we have of course to respond to it. Will he go or not, I don’t know, but at the moment, it’s transfer period and in this kind of periods, you try to use the players who are completely focused on being at the club.”

– ‘Nothing concrete’ on Malcom –
Arsenal have been linked with a £35 million move for Bordeaux forward Malcom but Wenger refused to confirm his interest in the Brazilian.

“No. There is nothing concrete there,” said the manager. And when pressed on whether the 20-year-old is a target, he added: “It’s better I don’t come out on any specific name.”

Bournemouth moved up to 13th place, four points clear of the bottom three on the back of the win, and manager Eddie How praised the contribution of match-winner Ibe who scored his first league goal for the club, 18 months after arriving from Liverpool.

“I’m really pleased for him,” said Howe. “He’s been knocking on the door recently, hit the woodwork, his numbers are very good for him this year and I’m really pleased that’s out of the way for him now and hopefully it can be the first of many.

“I just think it is another thing he can take confidence from. I genuinely believe he can have a major impact at this level. I think he has with his general performances recently but of course you need that feeling that only scoring can give you.

“It’s a unique feeling and I’m so pleased he’s got that today and that he’s won an important two points for us. You can underestimate the importance of this game and that goal how important it is.”

Posted On Tuesday, 16 January 2018 02:22 Written by

When the situation in any home, clan or country becomes extremely precarious or serious or tragic, we need men and women who have the innate or acquired capacity to make us laugh. Sometimes we laugh at ourselves or the situation or the object of scorn. In drama it is called ‘comic relief’. The atmosphere in our dear country right now is grave, very grave and uncertain. Loss of jobs, vanishing millions of naira and dollars, horrible pictures of slavery from Libya, carpet crossings, total number of voters exceeding the registered voters, eating of one’s words without shame, sudden deaths, suicides by jumping into the lagoon from the Third Mainland Bridge, ritual killings, fatal motor accidents, kidnappings, the cults boys significantly named Badoo of Ikorodu, and armed robberies all combine to create an atmosphere of sorrow in the land. It is a situation which Fela Anikulapo-Kuti once described as ‘Suffering and Smiling.’

People walk along the streets and mutter to themselves. Some hold conversations with imaginary friends. In the midst of these, we need to laugh and laugh real hard. Laughter is good medicine. It is cheap to get; cheap to give. It makes us happy and removes stress from our lives. Sometimes the cause for laughter comes from a man or woman who occupies a serious position in life. You see, when a clown occupies a serious position, his actions could provoke laughter, sometimes at the expense of real progress. I have always loved Mr. Bean just the way we used to look forward to watching Charles Spenser in Some Mothers Do Have Them. Donald trump makes us laugh in the tradition of Dino Melaye, Barkin Zuwo, Sam Mbakwe, Robert Mugabe, Idi Amin Dada and the inimitable President George Bush of Bushisms Memory! In the pantheon of past leaders therefore, both local and international, we have so many distinguished clowns of different calibers.

Somewhere in the heartland of Igbo country, south east Nigeria, there is an officially tragic clown of great proportions whose actions and inactions have generated ripples of intense scorn and laughter across the country. Some of his antics have also been felt in post-apartheid South Africa where compatriots of that once-beautiful country have handed over their President to Clown IMO for safe keeping. This elected clown occupies Government House Owerri and claims to be a representative of the hopes and aspirations of the suffering people of the state. Indeed, with him in Government House, standup comedians have been out of job. But the tragedy is that he was not elected to entertain the people with filthily nauseous jokes conceived and executed with state funds. How and why did the people of that state deserve such a monstrous figure in Government House?

The ribald and the profane all come together in the arsenal of Clown IMO. First was his decision to build the statue of President Jacob Zuma in the state capital. This was at a time when President Zuma was insanely unpopular among his people. When he invited Zuma to visit, critics who were willing to give credit to vestige elements of sanity in Clown IMO thought he wanted to strike a deal with the President. As we know, there are thousands of Igbo business men (legal and illegal) doing things in South Africa. Quite a number had been caught in the past doing drugs or Yahoo Yahoo. Some innocent Igbo men and women have been victims of xenophobia. Some lost their lives in waves of vicious attacks in the last one year. A roundtable in Imo State with the visiting President would have meant helping to secure the lives of the innocent business men of Igbo extraction in Johannesburg or Cape Town. But alas what transpired was a gaudy display of small-mindedness through statues in open scorn of the hunger that ravages the state.

While we were reeling from the smell of the infamy that was the erected statue, then came an announcement that Clown IMO had appointed his sister as Commissioner for Happiness and Couples Fulfillment! Is this real? And this man wants to be President of Nigeria! Now I imagine that the clowning from Number One is not enough for the family. He has to appoint his sibling to be part of the merry party. Does the State have a House of Assembly who stands for the people? What are they doing? A man who has not paid salaries to workers for months uses state funds to build statues and appoints Commissioners whom he does not need. There is silence in the state. Is there a spell of voodoo that has dazed the people into stupor? For added measure he has nominated and gotten the House of Assembly to back his son-in-law as the next Governor of the State! Donald Trump has set the bar! 

I think back to the Second Republic and remember the Governor who was a jester par excellence. When found with a humongous amount of cash, he answered that the money was ‘Government money and it was found inside Government House. Chikena! When asked if his state had any mineral resources to help develop the finances of the state, he was reported to have acknowledged the abundance of Coke and Fanta in many shops in the towns and cities. To the question of running mate in the election, he answered that his opponent had been chasing him all over the place! ‘Don’t mind that boy Abubakar Rimi. He has been running after me since this election started.’ There was a military administrator who used to mix Yoruba and English: Who build this ‘gada, for example?

There was yet another Governor who loved crying. He was called the ‘Weeping Sam’. His face wore the expression of permanent sorrow, adding to the fun of watching him cry. But he was serious-minded. I also remember a politician who used to hit the campaign floor with such meaningless expressions as ‘When the come comes to become the come then the come will become the come’, or ‘we in NPN are men of timber and caterpillar, iroko and obeche’ or there is ‘accord concordia between our party and NPP’. But the clowning of the politicians of the Second Republic is nothing compared to Clown Imo’s.

Governance is serious business. Even when we clown in Government House the core responsibility of government must remain in focus. The future and lives of millions of youths are at stake in whatever government says or does. It is therefore not funny that somebody is making a joke out of governance. To complete the joke, Clown Imo has appointed his younger sister Commissioner for Happiness and Couples’ Fulfillment. In defending the appointment, Clown Imo referenced UAE where a Minister of Happiness was appointed. I do not know the background to such an appointment. Suffice it to say that the UAE is sufficiently endowed with resources to make her people happy.

There are enough facilities to make the people happy, even if out of the conservative culture of the Arab country they become reticent about deploying western tools to create happiness. Happiness Ministry is certainly not one of the needs of Imo State. Job creation, guaranteed security, employment opportunities, investment opportunities, regular payment of salaries and creating an atmosphere where business will thrive should occupy the mind of anybody who sits inside the sweet comfort of Government House Owerri as governor!

 
Posted On Sunday, 31 December 2017 18:40 Written by

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday felicitated with Nigerians, particularly the Christian community, on the occasion of this year’s Christmas celebration and reassured that “better days lie ahead for us as a nation.’’

The President, who stated this in a Christmas message released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in Abuja, said his administration had redouble efforts to surmount the challenges facing the country.

He said: “I am deeply convinced that better days lie ahead for us as a nation as we make progress on all the major fronts where we have set our energies to surmount the challenges.’’

According to him, the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ is an important opportunity for all citizens to show love to one another and encourage unity by spending quality time with friends, families and the less-privileged.

He also enjoined the citizens to draw inspiration from the exemplary lifestyle and teachings of Jesus Christ, who constantly stood for what is right, true and honest.

“The Holy Book describes Christmas as a festival of peace, joy, healing, hope and fulfillment. It kindles great expectations in the heart, irrespective of the challenges of the moment.

“As we celebrate this yuletide season, let us devote some time to pray and appreciate the sacrifices of members of our armed services to keep our nation safe and secure.

“By the same token, and keeping with the spirit of the season, our gallant troops serving in the frontlines in the fight against insurgency; those wounded, lying in the hospital, as well as civilians who have suffered the brunt of evil and wicked elements these past years, deserve our fervent goodwill and sustained prayers.”

Buhari maintained that the personal fortitude of these individuals would continue to inspire the nation to victory “as we turn the tide against the enemy and annihilate those who work against the unity of our nation.

“In this season of hope, let us remember to provide refuge to those who cannot enjoy Christmas at home with their families, or have been driven from their homes by insurgency or violence, particularly the Internally Displaced Persons.’’

On illegal migration, the President frowned at the activities of trans-border syndicates who had been luring youths to modern slavery.

NAN

Posted On Sunday, 24 December 2017 01:26 Written by

Today, 23rd December, it is 16 years that the late Chief ’Bola Ige, SAN, a former Governor of Old Oyo State and sitting Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was assassinated in his Bodija Estate, Ibadan home that Sunday, 23rd December, 2001.

I was press secretary to the late Chief Ige, when he was governor of Oyo State and also the chairman of the Protocol and Publicity Sub-Committee of his Burial Planning Committee.

Below is my 2002 tribute of the above title to the late Chief Ige, popularly called “Uncle ’Bola. May his valiant and creative soul continue to rest in peace:

“I am writing this elegy, if poetic license permits me to describe it so, exactly on the 19th anniversary of the prized invitation to me from “His Excellency, the Governor of Oyo State, Chief ‘Bola Ige, to an End-of-Year-Dinner at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan on Tuesday, January 4, 1983.

“My attendance (in company of my wife) and my homely comments at that party were not unconnected with my secondment, a month after, from the former Television Service of Oyo State, TSOS (now BCOS-TV) to Chief ’Bola Ige, then governor of old Oyo State, as a Press Secretary.

“I, with Femi Mapaderun (also seconded from Radio O-Y-O) joined the governor’s incumbent Press Secretary, Dapo Aderinola, our colleague and friend, to form a Media/PR triumvirate under the leadership of Mr Yemi Farounbi (as he then was). We were saddled with burnishing His Excellency’s image that crucial (1983) General Election year-what with the defections of Uncle ‘Bola’s erstwhile political associates the year before.

“Had nature not decided otherwise, I have strong reasons to believe that Uncle ‘Bola was to have been either my biological uncle or school teacher or both. Nevertheless, nature ‘corrected’ herself by spanning the uncle/teacher chasm with my appointment as press secretary to the “Cicero of Esa-Oke.”

“From  the very day I assumed duties as a Press Secretary, till his assassination on Sunday, December 23, last year, Uncle ’Bola groomed and encouraged a ‘cousin’ from the world before this in my humble self and I remain forever the loyal and grateful protégé.

“I recollect that my first contact with Uncle ’Bola was in 1979. I had joined the then NTV, Ibadan the year before from the Daily Sketch. I was a print journalist in a rush to glow in Africa’s first television station. I had been assigned to cover the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Oyo State Executive Committee’s press briefing at the Rex Cinema at J. Allen/Dugbe area of Ibadan. Pardon my immodesty to say that the intellectual interactions between a typical NTV Ibadan reporter and a gubernatorial candidate on that day were in symphony. A scout for talent and wit that he was, Uncle ‘Bola, then Oyo State chairman and gubernatorial candidate of the UPN, made it plain that I was welcome at his Oke-Ado, Ibadan residence, both officially and unofficially (privately) I embraced the uncommon invitation.

“A few weeks after the Rex Cinema meeting, I, with my friend and colleague, Biodun Oduwole, were at Uncle ‘Bola’s Oke-Ado residence to conduct interviews for our separate programmes for our station, NTV, Ibadan. We met him at table having a lunch of boiled rice. We did not turn down his kind invitation to join him at table, although we (Biodun and I) ate our share of his lunch with stew.

“Funsho, Uncle ‘Bola‘s daughter and eldest child, then a 19-year old lady, (now Mrs Adegbola), was at table with her doting father. His oft-repeated calls of “Funsh, Funsh” showed the tremendous degree of doting between father and daughter.

“Our after-lunch banters that day heightened Uncle ’Bola’s interest in my professional career and private life so much so that he stood as my ‘guarantor’, as it were, when Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Rimi, then governor of Kano State, sometime in 1982 declined to grant me an exclusive interview on learning that I was an NTA reporter, during the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) Governors’ meeting in Abeokuta, Ogun State. After much persuasion by me and Uncle ‘Bola’s “Abubakar, oblige him. I know him well”, I secured the 30-minute interview with Governor Rimi for my very popular personality interview programme, “Speak Out”.

“A professional handling and transmission of the volatile interview with Governor Rimi earned me a letter of commendation from the then General Manager of NTA, Ibadan, Prince Bayo Sanda and an open sesame to the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan with Uncle ‘Bola as the host, guest (on my programme), teacher and fair critic as occasions dictated. As stated earlier, I joined Uncle ‘Bola’s media team in February 1983 and it was an admission to the ‘Awolowo School of Life ’under Uncle ‘Bola’s principalship. He taught us a lot-politics, etiquette, poetry, music, culinary, diplomacy and values among other subjects of life.

“In a published birthday tribute in 1992 to Uncle ’Bola, I wrote inter alia “…As you now sit quietly at the bay watching the political waves romp, those who await the ark know themselves…” And when in 1999, he returned to politics and was in the thick of action and no longer the apostle of ‘siddon look’, I again wished him a happy 69th birthday in another article titled “To Uncle Bola Again”. May I quote from that article?:

“If modesty does not permit me to rate my prophecy of the ark, there was an Awo-type accuracy in Uncle ’Bola’s own prediction in his last live radio/television broadcast to the citizens of old Oyo State as the governor on September 30, 1983. I quote relevant portions of the broadcast:

“Today, Oyo State has been pushed to the gate of temporary change and the masses, the great majority of the wonderful people of Oyo State, are now awaiting the beckoning of destiny. May God guide us through. I have already left the Government House this morning and by mid-night today, my four-year term will end. I go back to Oke-Ado, Ibadan and Esa-Oke. One thing is certain; through the grace and power of the marvelous God, the support of you, our people and the solidarity of the patriotic forces in the country, the Unity Party of Nigeria, I will return.”

“Even though Uncle ’Bola did not return to Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, I, on his behalf, returned, four months after that broadcast, to serve three of his military successors for five years as Press Secretary. Please, remember that Uncle ’Bola first took me to Government House Ibadan as a Press Secretary in 1983.

“Each time I stepped into the Government House Ibadan, after his ouster, Uncle ’Bola’s “We shall return” continued to echo in my ears. Today, as you celebrate your birthday, Uncle ’Bola, whether in Abuja, Ibadan or Esa-Oke, you may please wish to ponder on your 1983 prophecy. If the return meant by you is where you are now, as a Federal Minister or still ahead, it has not been without its cross.

“Whereas clerics/malims hold the preserve to sermonize about the travails of prophets, we, their congregations, can be excused to enumerate the travails of our leaders before they sang their songs of victory.

“First, Nnamdi Azikiwe. From the pangs of hunger as a student in the United States of America, that led to his suicide bid on a railway track, the flight to Ghana, to the African Continental Bank/Eastern Nigeria Government financial enquiries and the 1979 tax tar.

“Next, Obafemi Awolowo. From the pains of semi-orphanage, (the loss of his father) at an early age to his peasantry in Ijeun, Abeokuta, his maternal grandmother’s hometown, the liquidation of his cocoa/transport business in Ibadan, the Action Group crisis which blew open at the 1962 Jos Convention, the Coker Commission of Enquiry to the Treasonable Felony Trial and the 10-year jail term.

“And third, Ahmadu Bello–His brushes with the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar and the Northern Region Colonial Administration Financial Enquiry, every great man/woman must dance to the ‘No cross, no crown beat”.

“Dear Uncle ’Bola, as wine glasses are probably being clinked, may I propose the toast by recalling your shoeless feet, until your affectionate sponsor and older brother, Uncle George, bought you pairs on gaining admission to Ibadan Grammar School, the 1962-1963 restriction, the UPN night of long knives, our lucky escape at Tonkere-Modakeke, the symbolic “Eyin Iya mi ati Baba mi” 1983 political broadcasts, the FEDECO assault, the Election Petition, the military century jails terms, the Epe House Arrest, the Abacha gulag and Ahmed Usman ‘prisoners of war’ nonsense.

“I have quoted extensively from my 1999 birthday tribute to my boss and mentor. Today, he is no more with us, as he had joined the triumphant band in heaven. But, in paying tribute to Uncle ‘Bola, one may ask: has any lesson been learnt by us, the living, between 1963, 1979, 1983, 1993 and how?

“Let us all pray to God to forgive us our sins and replenish our motherland with tolerance, justice, joy and progress. Uncle ‘Bola, my beloved soul uncle and mentor, good bye. God shall grant you eternal rest.”

Alabi, the Agba Akin Olubadan of Ibadanland, was the Press Secretary to the late Chief Bola Ige when he was the governor of the Old Oyo State (1979-1983).

Posted On Saturday, 23 December 2017 16:21 Written by

It is impossible not to be offended by the tragedy of Nigeria’s democracy and warped federal system which governance at the state level has become over the years.

With wanton constitutional breaches as the order of the day, the states are largely an embarrassment to the idea of democracy as impunity or the rule of man trumps the rule of law.

This travesty needs to be checked by the people who must rise in unison to demand better conduct from their governors and elected representatives in the state assemblies.

In most, the governors manage the affairs of government like mafia potentates, while elected legislators, political appointees and private citizens are mere toys in the hands of imperious masters. Most governors have virtually pocketed the State Houses of Assembly.

The truth therefore is that at the state level, democracy is imperiled and economic development truncated as a result of impunity.

The 1999 Constitution guarantees the separation of the powers of the three arms of government as the roles and functions of the Executive, the Legislative and Judicial arms are clearly spelt out. This is meant to safeguard the spirit and practice of democracy.

As a check on the Executive Arm of government, both the Legislature and the Judiciary ought to be independent. But such is the disgrace that governance at the state level has become that lawmakers answer to the governors by hook or crook.

This has not only been fertile ground for corruption, it has rendered the legislature impotent when dealing with the executive arm.

The result is that even when governors commit terrible, impeachable offences against the people who elected them into offices, their respective legislatures, so compromised and so subservient, are unable to provide any check. Indeed, most houses of assembly are no more than extensions of the governors’ offices.

One of the problems is the manner in which elected officials are produced from the different constituencies: many owe their election into the legislature to the governors and therefore become beholden to him, that all-powerful godfather.

The judicial arm is often not protected from the overbearing superintendence of the state chief executives as it gets subventions from the state governors and sometimes becomes equally subservient. Even capital projects in the form of building and maintaining courtrooms depend on the whims and caprices of the governors.

As this newspaper once noted, the mess in most of the states is a complete ridicule of the idea of responsible governance. Hardly is there due process or accountability. In the award of contracts, political considerations often outweigh other factors.

Construction works are done only to please local titans or party stalwarts with a view to strengthening them politically and not necessarily to deliver such projects to the people.

As a result, when the contracts are poorly executed, the executive arm is unable to take any serious actions against them and the result is that too many abandoned projects abound in many states.

Close friends and members of the family of state chief executives are known to enjoy undue patronage while governors’ wives run pet projects which serve more often than not as conduit for waste or outright pilfering of public funds.

It has been correctly observed that some states have not witnessed any major physical development since 1999 as huge sums of money which could have been used for development in the states are in the pockets of the leaders, past and present.

The result of this is that development is arrested. Roads are in a bad shape. Health facilities are not in good shape. Schools suffer from very terrible infrastructure deficit. And teachers, where they are available, are not paid.

Nigeria’s warped federal system in which state governments go to Abuja monthly to collect allocations from the Federation Account has encouraged indolence and corruption. The drive for internal sources of fund generation is weak in most states. Most cannot meet their financial obligations to their employees even as the same poor governance has created a bloated civil service with extremely low productivity.

In the hands of the state governors, the third tier, the local government has been castrated and fares much worse in service delivery to the people. With too many employees who have no work to do, they have become a castrated tier with little responsibility, bloated workforce and no productivity.

Teachers, in both primary and secondary schools do not feel motivated to carry out their functions anymore and the future of the country is technically in jeopardy.

Nigerians, of course, should begin a conscious process of holding their governors accountable and making them know that corrupt and inept governance will not be condoned.

The people should take their voting rights more seriously henceforth so they can send poor performers out of offices at the earliest possible time. The power of recall should also be taken seriously and routinely exercised over erring legislators. All citizens must, indeed, be watchdogs of democracy.

Certainly, some states are better governed than others but it is only when all the states are properly governed on the principles of fairness, equity and justice, that the anguish in Nigeria would be minimized and democracy would have a greater meaning to the people.

The situation now is such that governance in many of the 36 states is in a state of ridicule and the leaders in those states are nothing more than a dent on the armour of democracy.

Posted On Saturday, 23 December 2017 15:49 Written by

The Gambia has become the latest country to deny that it is selling a Siberian businessman land for his plan to revive the Russian monarchy.

The Gambia "has not signed any memorandum of understanding with the Romanov Empire represented by Arch Chancellor Prince Anton Bakov," the Gambian president's website says

Mr Bakov told reporters back home that The Gambia had agreed to let him build artificial islands on its Bijol islets as a base for his Romanov Empire micro-state, in return for $60m (£44.8m) and use of the proposed hi-tech "smart city" of Saint Nicholas, the Argumenty i Fakty website reports.

But the Gambian government says it did not agree to Mr Bakov's proposal during his visit last month.

Government lawyers rejected the plans on the grounds that the Romanov Empire is "not a real state... and does not have the authority to enter into an international treaty," the president's website says.

Planned Romanov Empire islands in GambiaImage copyrightROMANOV EMPIRE WEBSITE
Saint Nicholas, Africa's proposed first 'smart city'

They also raised concerns about the environmental and financial implications of the artificial islands project.

Mr Bakov, a former MP, created the Romanov Empire micro-nation in 2011 for "people unhappy with President Vladimir Putin's regime". It is nominally led by "Nicholas III", a German aristocrat with a Romanov grandmother, but has little support among Russia's traditional monarchists.

Mr Bakov has tried and failed to persuade a series of other countries - most recently Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean - to let him use their islands as a territorial base for his Empire.

But this latest rebuff seems unlikely to dampen his enthusiasm for restoring Russia's imperial glory in exile. "I never put all my eggs in one basket," he told reporters in his home city of Yekaterinburg.

Russian businessman and claimant to the Russian throne Prince Karl Emich of LeiningenImage copyrightANTON BAKOV/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Mr Bakov (left) discusses imperial projects with "Emperor Nicholas III" (right)
Posted On Wednesday, 13 December 2017 04:20 Written by

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has described the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as the enemy of Nigeria, saying it would take a united and coherent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to sack the APC government in 2019.

Atiku stated this in a congratulatory message to the newly elected national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus and other officials elected at the just concluded national convention of the party.

The statement, released by his media office on Sunday said the immediate challenge before the newly elected national officers of the PDP was to run an all-inclusive administration where the various interests within the party can find accommodation.

He added that Nigerians are looking up to the PDP for unity in the party, “because it takes a united and coherent PDP to sack the APC government in 2019″.

The statement said, “Our great party, the PDP, is, again, at the threshold of an historical moment. Just as we mobilised to put an end to prolonged military rule in 1999, the people of Nigeria at this moment look up to us to rescue the country from the mis-government of the APC.

“Arising from our elective congress, there should be no victor and no vanquished. Our paramount attention should be focused at sacking a government that deceived the people of Nigeria into power by promising our youths three million jobs annually, only to deliver three million job losses annually; a government that is repeatedly living in denial of its commitment to restructuring. We must be united to take power back to where it belongs: the Nigerian people.

“As members of the PDP, we must take pride in being able to hold a national convention and in so doing live up to the bill of being a truly democratic political party. Our major opponent has not been able to achieve this feat and I join millions of our party members to congratulate the Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee.

“I understand that there are complaints and grievances from many of the co-contestants in the congress. I am aware that the PDP has a mechanism for addressing such complaints and it is important that such avenues of redress are made available for members to explore without let or hindrance. Meantime, I call on all our leaders and members to rally the new executive for the sake of our party, Nigeria and the good of our people”.

Posted On Sunday, 10 December 2017 17:48 Written by

Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP ) chieftain and senator representing Ogun East senatorial zone at the National Assembly, Buruji Kashamu has been suspended by the National Caretaker Committee of the party.

The decision which was taken at 3am Saturday morning  is said to be for a month.

The National convention of the party is expected to start Saturday morning , with the election of a new National chairman and other officers as the major highlight.

Posted On Saturday, 09 December 2017 18:18 Written by
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