Tag Archives: Government

ABOUT 2018 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

Conscious of this year’s theme for the celebration, #PressForProgress, we at PAND engaged women and the would-bes on how to be better women – who would engineer global prosperity – in Abeokuta.
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Our team of speakers, drawn from the private and public sectors (women and men) did justice to topics on Health, Business and Nation Building. Also, business funding opportunity was availed the participants, through a community microfinance bank.
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At the end of yesterday, we got tonnes of commendations for putting the event together.


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At #PAND, we have revolved to do more for the good of humanity and Nigeria. And we are on course – no section of humanity would be spared!
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#IWD2018 #internationalwomensday #pand #standwith9ja #humanity #genderequality #genderbalance #sdg5 #women #female #Abeokuta #Ogun #news #event

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Collapse of security system: A Call for Action

Disturbed by the security situation in the country and the recent outrage by Nigerians calling for the scrapping of Special Anti Robbery Squard (SARS), an arm of the Nigerian police, Punch Newspaper in it’s Editorial page writes:

AT a recent charged plenary session, senators roundly condemned the collapse of the country’s security system. The Senate said that many lives were being lost in the country to clashes and crimes without a major step taken by the government to stop the killings. Regrettably, the Muhammadu Buhari administration creates the impression of helplessness in dealing with the dangerous trend.

Horrible killings have escalated in Numan, Adamawa State. Reports state that about 100 villagers have been massacred following clashes between the locals and invading Fulani herdsmen, who have a history rich in atrocities. The official response has seen Nigerian Air Force planes strafe the villages where perpetrators are holed up. This is a knee-jerk reaction. Fulani herdsmen, on the pretext of cattle rearing, are a major cause of security breaches in Nigeria. They have rendered Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Ondo, Cross River, Enugu and Bayelsa states unsafe with their wanton killings and destruction of farmland.

Nigeria is also afflicted with armed robbery, kidnapping, gangland violence, ritual killings and rape. The Boko Haram insurgency is still claiming lives despite the military’s claim of degrading the terror sect. Kidnappers have entrenched their nefarious activities on the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway. In June, they abducted 46 travellers in broad daylight. In November, they murdered a Federal Road Safety Corps official, abducting his colleagues and co-travellers. The police high command made all the right noises, but it all came to nothing.

Citizens live in fear across the country. On December 8, a gang of robbers attacked a bullion van in Asaba, the Delta State capital, in broad daylight, carting away huge sums of money. On December 6, a former Minister of Sports, Damishi Sango, his son and four others were abducted on the Kaduna-Abuja Road. They were released a few days later. Schools in Lagos, including the Model College, Epe; Babington Macaulay, Ikorodu and the Nigerian-Turkish Academy, Isheri, Ogun State, have tasted the wrath of kidnappers. In Ogun State, pipeline vandals brazenly appropriate petroleum products and kidnap for ransom. Rivers State is as terrible. It is a risk to travel in the Emohua corridor of the oil-rich state, where armed militia hijack vehicles at will.

In Zamfara, Niger, Kogi and Kaduna states, cattle rustling is pervasive. In November, Niger Delta militants abducted missionaries belonging to a medical charity, New Foundations, which was founded in 2003. Two of them, David and Shirley Donovan, were released after ransom exchanged hands; but the third, Ian Squire, was shot dead moments after singing Amazing Grace to the group. No one has been held accountable for the security lapse.

But there is enough blame to go round. The lawmakers cannot be divorced from the security breaches. They are part of the elite, who are being protected by about 110,000 police officers, out of a force of 370,000, according to police figures. Apart from being poorly funded, the NPF is infested with armed thugs who are completely ignorant of the laws they are entrusted with to enforce. As presently constituted, the force is an instrument of state oppression and exploitation.

The Buhari administration should publicly set out a clear strategy, including police reform and funding capable of attending to the population’s safety and security. While corruption has to be tackled, recruitment should be conducted transparently to prevent criminals from enlisting in the force. The IG should put a system in place to weed out bad cops.

Effective crime control depends on competent intelligence gathering. But, the Nigerian police have a poor relationship with the public, which views them with suspicion and hostility because of their history of brutality. This ought to be corrected. A healthy relationship encourages the public to feed the police with vital tips on criminal activities. Also, the closed circuit television camera, a critical tool for intelligence gathering in various parts of the world, is almost non-existent in Nigeria. In 2010, the Federal Government signed a $470 million contract with a Chinese company, ZTE Communications, for the installation of CCTV in Abuja and Lagos. Seven years on, there is nothing to show for it.

In contrast, there were 4.9 million CCTV cameras in Britain or one for every 14 people, and 750,000 in sensitive locations such as schools, hospitals and care homes as of 2014, according to a British Security Industry Authority survey. A few days after a bomb attack on a music concert in the Manchester Arena in May, police released CCTV images of the suspect, Salman Abedi, 22, who was captured on security film at Manchester Airport, Market Street and Granby Row near Piccadilly Station. Police used the footage to call for more information on him. Without an effective CCTV system, body-worn videos, drones, number-plate recognition system and other high-end technological devices, the Nigerian police would be groping in the dark.

For now, Nigeria is under-policed. A single, centralised police force for a population estimated at 193.3 million by the National Bureau of Statistics cuts an underwhelming picture. New solutions recommend themselves to Buhari and Idris.

The President should work with the parliament to decentralise the policing system, and build up capacity with armoured personnel carriers, communications equipment, helicopters and surveillance systems. Efficiency requires community policing. It is an aberration that such is absent in the country. Apart from community police forces, schools, estates, highway patrol forces, state police and local council police, should be in place as soon as possible. Ultimately, the fight against crime is about involving the community.

Reinforcing Nigerian Economy Through Ifa (Oracle)

A REFLECTION

Concerned about improving the Nigerian economy, the Chief Press Secretary to Kogi State Governor, Mrs. Petra Akinti Onyegbule, noted that though Nigerians are “deeply religious”, but investing in Ifa (Oracle) as a source of tourism would go a long way in helping Nigeria grow her wealth. In her Facebook post on 7th of December, 2017, she wondered as follows;

“When will we allow Ifa to contribute significantly to the economy of Nigeria?

Do you know how many people believe in Olodumare through Ifa worship? Why can we not bring them to Nigeria on pilgrimage?

No, we do not need to believe in Ifa to support such venture for Jews do not believe in Jesus as Christians do. The place of Golgotha now has a magnificent mosque sitting pretty on the site.

Bethlehem, the birth town of Jesus, is under Palestinian authority. As a matter of fact, the Church of the Nativity is being reconstructed by the Palestinian Presidential Committee tasked to make the sides more beautiful. Even though the Church has three parts managed by three different denominations – Catholic, Armenian Apostolic and Greek Orthodox.

For the authorities here, it is all about the economy.

Pilgrimage services the hospitality sector in Israel. It can do same for Nigeria.

I do not see why it is not possible.”

Nigerians, what is your take?

NBTE’s VISIT TO IPOKIA: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Recall that when the current imbroglio that followed the pronounced conversion of our highly revered MAPOLY to a University started, I have not said anything publicly. Today, I feel constrained to place on record the most recent happening, on which destiny of thousands of students had been hung.

Also remember that NTBE had been billed to visit the site of the proposed take-off campus of the newly established Ogun State Polytechnic, yesterday, Monday, 4th December, 2017. That actually took place yesterday.

Expectedly, the Ogun State Government through its fifth columnists have started sing-praising its own ‘efforts’ over the ongoing construction works at the Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia. So much so that there are talks as if the 10-man NBTE team has ‘granted’ accreditation to the polytechnic.

It is however imperative to set the records straight. You deserve to know what played out yesterday.

Firstly, there is no accreditation for the Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia. Recall that the Ogun State Governor had sometimes in August been quoted to have said they had approval for ’42 courses’. This visit yesterday has confirmed, that was a BLATANT LIE.

Everyone and anyone with Polytechnic experience knows that for accreditation to occur, there shall be a team of resource persons (from various Institutions) for various programmes with NBTE staff as support staff for the various teams – this did not happen at Ipokia. Though, some widely experienced technocrats are also involved in institutional accreditation, the 10-man team to Ipokia is an ADVISORY TEAM who lacks powers to accredit an institution or its programmes. Therefore, the essence of the visit ab initio is for the government to attempt a ‘shortcut’ which in the end, amounted to a share waste of funds and resources.

Contrary to the widely circulated reports, the head of the team, Engr Nuru Yakub is NOT the current ES of the NBTE.

The team, while at Ipokia observed the virgin land at the permanent site and the ‘mad rush’ for the completion of the ‘temporary campus’ which it also observed does not have the necessary facilities upon which an accreditation can be granted.

It was credited that about 3 members of the NBTE team openly condemned some activities; including but not limited to the location of the hostel accommodation (which is just at the digging level), the time length it will take for the facilities to be completed, the very notable absence of crucial facilities (Library, Health Centre, Sports Complex, etc) that should have accompanied even the temporary campus. How do you teach Polytechnic students without STUDIOS, LABORATORIES and WORKSHOPS? None of these are yet available. You can be sure there is even no MASTER PLAN.

In all, there was no TIME, all through the exercise yesterday, that the team leader failed to indicate that their visit (which was forced upon them by the Ogun State Government who paid to NBTE for the visit) was ADVISORY and that useful advise will be given. Why then is the government trying to confuse our people?

A look at the hurriedly printed students’ handbook of the Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia will vindicate this write up wherein various degrees of errors could be observed. Ranging from 2 Directors of Environmental Studies, to a Town Planner heading the School of Business Administration, and some programmes listed as courses and others as programmes. Is this the best we can do for the ‘Gateway State’? I also wonder if, after the visit, the buses of MAPOLY re designated to OGUNPOLY buses for the purpose of the visit will be rechristened back to the original owners (MAPOLY). Can’t the state government afford to buy buses for the Institution they created? I wonder if same will be done when the NUC comes calling for the resource inspection of MAUSTECH!

I have spoken that ye may know, correct the wrong impression already being created that the institution has been granted accreditation. Unsuspecting students, parents and members of the public be WARNED!

One On One Session With Atiku Abubakar

PEDULUM By Dele Momodu
Email: dele.momodu@thisdaylive.com

Fellow Nigerians, I’ve always wondered what drives or propels the man, former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. For real, I have never seen a man so fastidious about his dream and so obstinate about achieving a lifelong ambition to be the number one Nigerian Citizen. I’ve followed his trajectory with keen interest since 1993 when he took on both Chief Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe, in an epic Presidential primary, that Chief Abiola ultimately won. His formidability we were told was a result of the influence of his godfather and political colossus, Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, now of blessed memory. Chief Abiola actually reached out to the General, as he was fondly called, to prevail on Atiku to pull out of the race and support him. A deal was subsequently struck, between Abiola and Yar’Adua, for Atiku to be Abiola’s running-mate. Everything looked good on paper until the powerful and influential Social Democratic Party (SDP) Governors threw spanners in the works, forcing Abiola to renege on his word. Whilst Abiola wanted Atiku, the Governors led by the irrepressible Olusegun Osoba, from Abiola’s home State of Ogun, insisted on Abiola picking Kingibe. They convinced Abiola that it was dangerous to pick Atiku who would have been more loyal and too submissive to his godfather.

I have no doubt that from that moment onwards, the June 12 Presidential election was already threatened and endangered. According to insiders, the General was so miffed and enraged that he swore Abiola would not be President for dumping his godson. Efforts were made by different personages to settle the matter, but it seemed the camaraderie was over between Abiola and Yar’Adua who, once upon a time, were successful business partners at African Ocean Lines.

Anyway, Atiku was kicked out of the race to fight another day. Abiola won the Presidential election eventually but was never allowed to assume power. The June 12 election fallout led to a cataclysmic eruption that consumed many of the big players, including Abiola, his wife, Alhaja Kudirat, Major-General Yar’Adua and General Sani Abacha. The boss of bosses, General Olusegun Obasanjo, escaped only by the whiskers. He was jailed but came back to be President. Ironically, the same Atiku who was not allowed to be the Vice-Presidential candidate in 1993 became the substantive Vice President in 1999, when he ran, and won, with Obasanjo. Whilst Obasanjo emerged, in a bid to assuage the betrayed and wounded Yoruba, Atiku’s choice appears to have been predicated on the sense of injustice that he had suffered as a result of being dumped by Abiola.

Everything initially ran smoothly between Obasanjo and Atiku in their first term in office, from 1999 to 2003. However, the relationship collapsed when Atiku started showing interest in the number one position. I will not bore you with the rest of that fiasco, including the anecdotal humbling of Obasanjo who allegedly had to beg his deputy, Atiku, to allow him a second term. My mission was to provide some background to Atiku’s uncommon trajectory. He has pursued his dream since 1993 and has never given up. That was 24 years ago. Indeed, Atiku has been in partisan politics for 28 years but only served in government for eight years. He has criss-crossed different political parties in search of that magic wand that could give him his heart’s desire. It has been a painful journey. He’s been dissed and lampooned as a serial “decampee” famed for wandering endlessly in the wilderness of Nigerian politics. That, for many people, is a major weakness which signals integrity issues. There are other minuses weighing on him like an albatross. How does he deal with these very serious issues of perception or misperception?

The opportunity came for me to engage him very critically, and very privately, yesterday afternoon in Lagos. A mutual friend had called to arrange the meeting at Atiku’s behest. I gladly accepted not only as I was anxious to bombard him with many nagging questions, but also because by some quirk of fate, the political gladiators for the number one hot seat in Nigeria seem to feel that a session with me is a sine qua non for their aspiration. I’m deeply humbled by that trust.

The meeting was arranged for Lagos. Atiku had arrived on Thursday. I arrived in Lagos yesterday afternoon from Abuja where I had been the Chief Presenter of Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi’s book, On a Platter of Gold, chronicling President Goodluck Jonathan’s twilight days as President. I checked into my hotel just before 12 noon and put a call through to his room. He told me to give him a short time to freshen up and invite me over. He’s obviously been doing a lot of consultations and was working well into the early mornings. I dozed off. Suddenly, I was awoken from my slumber by banging on my door. I stood up to look through the peephole and was pleasantly surprised to see the most-talked about politician of the moment at my door. I opened the door and Atiku immediately apologised for the intrusion. He came without any aide, so we were both comfortable to talk frankly.

I thanked him for the honour of actually coming to me and asked if he won’t mind me asking some tough questions. He said that was fine and I should feel free. My first shot was about his moving from Party to Party. Does this not make him look desperate and unserious? He must have answered this question a thousand times because he wasted no time in answering very calmly and confidently:

“There is nothing wrong with it. Ours is a fledgling democracy of barely two decades since the end of the last military regime. What it means is that the political parties are yet to mature and are going through constant transformations and changes. That is why even President Buhari has been able to move from party to party, including ANPP, CPC and now APC. And for those who read about world history and political books like I do, they will know that Abraham Lincoln, Sir Winston Churchill and others went through so much before achieving their dreams…”

He went further: “I’m not different. I know what I want for my country. I’ve served Nigeria in different capacities and I am one of the most experienced leaders around today. There is no part of Nigeria I’m not familiar with. I have friends everywhere. They know me and I know them. The benefit of being around for so long is that they have come to know me for certain principles and know that I have a rich knowledge of Nigeria and what it would take to move us to the height of greatness. They can also trust me that I’m not coming to government to steal their money. God has blessed me with business acumen. How can you run a nation if you cannot run your own business? I run my businesses to international standards. Let any of those who want to compete with me show what they have managed successfully. I’ve lifted over 45,000 families out of joblessness and poverty through my microfinance company in my State Adamawa and we’ve have empowered mostly women. The good news is these women have been very honest. Returns on our loans have been about 98 percent. They have not disappeared with the loans given then. We plan to replicate this nationwide…”

I asked if he was obsessed with being President at all costs. His answer was an emphatic, No! He asked rhetorically why he should not give back some of his experience and exposure to a country that has given him so much? Why should he allow incompetent people to run down the country when God has given him the talent and wherewithal to lift up Nigeria?

I told him the belief out there is that he is a corrupt man and that the stain won’t be easy to remove. His former boss, General Olusegun Obasanjo, has sold us that line, and would stop at nothing to regale the world that Atiku is a thief who nobody should vote for. Atiku’s response was very concise and assertive: “I have the highest regards for my boss. He gave me eight years to serve Nigeria under him. We had our differences but we both tried our best. But on the issue of corruption, I have challenged anyone, anywhere, who has any evidence of corruption against me to come forward. I’m sure they would have combed everywhere trying to find anything incriminating against me, but they have not found it, or they are still searching. Dele, I’m throwing that challenge again, let them bring out whatever they have on me…”

I followed with a bazooka and asked him “how come you are running away from the United States of America? What offence have you committed to warrant not being able to visit, since all this time?” Atiku fired back at me: “It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not. I’m not running away from America. I applied, but wasn’t issued a visa. However, they did not decline me categorically either. They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process. This is not peculiar to me. For about 15 years, Buhari could not enter America on account of religious considerations. The current Indian Prime Minister, Modi, suffered the same fate for years. Today, he is being treated to red carpet treatment in America.. I fly to different parts of the world, including Europe, if America wanted me, it would be so easy for them to reach out to their allies…”

We soon dovetailed to the nitty-gritty of politics. Why did he not wait to contest the primaries in APC first and see the outcome before running away? I felt this was defeatist! His response: “After Buhari won the election, he was no longer interested in the Party that made him President. Every activity stopped and not even the Party Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, could take any decision. I called Chief Oyegun a few times to tell him our Party was dying slowly but he told me he would not do anything unless he got clearance from the President. At a stage, I gathered about 18 prominent members and began to meet in the hope that we can re-energise Party activities, but some people lied to the President that I wanted to use the forum to launch my Presidential campaign. That forum became simply dead on arrival. No BOT, no NEC meetings, as stipulated in our Constitution. The Party became a one-man property. Everyone grumbles behind the President’s back but they are too timid to raise a voice against the illegalities being perpetuated. I should be bold enough to know what I want, and can do so at my age, so I decided to leave…”

So, where is he going from here? He says he hasn’t formally declared for any Party, but is sure PDP is waiting to welcome him back into the Party he co-founded with others at the end of military rule. I asked if he has any guarantee of getting the PDP ticket. He told me why he should get it: “Nothing is absolutely certain in this life, but PDP needs a candidate with the brightest chance and that can only come from someone who has major experience, exposure, knowledge about running an economy, who is a Nationalist and not a sectionalist and whose brand cannot be intimidated in anyway by that of the current President. If PDP picks a weak candidate, then the Party is doomed. Some of those whose names are being touted and bandied about have not grown beyond their immediate domains.”

If he gets the PDP ticket, is he confident he can beat a sitting President and Buhari for that matter? “I will definitely beat him this time. He has wasted a lot of his massive goodwill. A lot of people are disgruntled but keeping quiet and lying low. Our youths are suffering terribly and now they are being sold into slavery. Everyone knows my track record of inviting and attracting a good team and giving them the opportunity to work professionally. Nigerians are tired of leaders who cannot think big and work big. Dele, I will be ready from day one…”

Is he not afraid of Buhari? “No, definitely not. Buhari is free to contest and I’m free to contest. And Nigerians will make their choice.” I could see that glow in his eyes. He sounded determined and more prepared at this time, than at any other time.

Will Atiku play a joker as his last card in 2019? Time will tell.

CORPS MEMBER TASKS SCHOOLS ON NATIONAL DIGNITY, DONATES NIGERIAN FLAGS

A Corps member identified as Ajadi Samsideen has encouraged schools in the country to imbibe the good use of national identity.

He made the call during a sensitization programme he organized as part of his Community Development Service Project as a corps member serving in Kogi state. He also donated flags to some schools in the area.

The seminar, titled “National Symbols: Pride of Our Country”, held at Government Day Secondary School, Iruvucheba, Okene recently.
Mr. Ajadi observed that many schools in the community hung shabby flags while many did not have any to display.

According to him, “It sadden my heart to see our schools such tattered and rag-like flag hung”.

A former Chairman of Okene Local Government, Alhaji Al-Rasheed, while speaking during the event attributed the lack of attention given to the national identity to hunger and non payment of salaries in the state.
He noted that unhappy family and unpaid workers will never remember that a flag is dirty.

He advised chools to ensure they contribute positively to this disturbing situation of the country.

Another corps member who was present at the event, Oyeyipo Oluwasegun said that schools should do more to enlighten people and students on the significance of National symbols.

“Our national symbol is what we have to sell to the outside world. Our schools must do well to educate the people on what the Nigerian national symbols stand for And this can only be done when the those identifies are in good condition.” he added.

Students and staff members of schools in the area were present during the seminar while he schools representatives received the brand new flag on behalf of their schools.

MISUSE OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE IMPLICATIONS

By: Moshood Muhammed

Social media, facilitated by the internet technology and made popular at the turn of the millennium by the emergence of platforms such as Snapchat, WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook opened a vista of opportunities in every area of human endeavours. This has undoubtedly enhanced effective information dissemination and communication in a way that has never been experienced before, globally.

However, social media has not only opened doors of opportunities for business expansion through online marketing and sales of goods and services, it also fostered the practice of citizen journalism, enhanced interaction among people globally, at social, economic, political and other fronts.

To this end, the importance and relevance of social media globally cannot be over emphasized, especially in the area of information dissemination and social interaction.

However, while some people reasonably adopt the platforms in promoting their businesses, social causes, and interaction, others have at one time or the other, consistently used the different platforms in spreading lies, unfounded rumours and speculations about persons, organizations and their activities.

This development has the capacity to cause unrest and civil disturbance. Sometimes, outdated information and irrelevant messages are sent on social media without verification of their authenticity.

Moreso, some people use the platforms to show off, by virtually releasing all information about them and their families online, a practice that is steadily gaining ground.

Some kidnappers and robbers have often revealed during investigations that they get information about most of their victims from their social media activities and are able to trace them, based on the information made available on the cyberspace.

Nigerians should note that aside the security challenges, those who release virtually all their travel details, achievements or generally misuse the social media may unknowingly be sending wrong signals even to prospective employers. This is because recruiting organizations now search the social media, to gauge and understand the lifestyles of their recruits to determine if it aligns with their companies’ goals. This gives them an insight into what the prospective employee can offer their establishments.

Also, tertiary institutions also rely on social media for a background check on their prospects. This is unknown to many people who have in the process lost jobs and admission opportunities.

To correct these anomalies, it behooves on the relevant agencies including the National Orientation Agency in collaboration with Nigerian Communication Commission, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to continuously sensitize Nigerians on the proper use or way to operate these platforms and possibly facilitate reasonable legal framework to check abuse.

This move however, should not be an excuse by the government to gag the people.

Also, parents, guardians, religious leaders, social groups and the Nigerian media should sensitize the people on the need to make judicious use of the social media rather than use it to cause harm to themselves and the country.