President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of some of his administration’s most key officials Thursday set off a firestorm of condemnation, with critics characterising the nominations as overwhelmingly lopsided, lacking in gender balance and regional equity.
Mr. Buhari named Babachir David Lawal, from Adamawa State, as Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Abba Kyari, from Borno, as his Chief of Staff.
He appointed Hameed Ali, a retired colonel, as the Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service, curiously finding no career customs official suitable for the post.
He also named Kure Martin Abeshi as the Comptroller-General of Nigerian Immigration Service.
Messrs. Ali and Abeshi are from Bauchi and Nasarawa states respectively.
- As teledensity rises to 107%
Telecoms operators in Nigeria are set to witness a decline in their over 150.7 million active subscriptions as they comply with the regulator’s directive on Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) deactivation, New Telegraph has learnt. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had, on August 4, directed the operators to deactivate unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards on their networks and reconnect such lines after they have been properly registered by the operators.
The move, according to the regulator, was being taken to prevent the telecoms industry from declining into an emergency situation, restore discipline and ensure the protection of life of the citizenry across the country while ensuring a credible database of phone users.
About 37.79 million telephone lines have been sent to the operators for revalidation through the process of re-registration of the effected subscribers, following the regulator’s discovery that over 45 per cent of subscriber data so far collected by the operators are invalid.
The rate at which Nigerians commit suicide is becoming alarming. The authorities should address the predisposing factors
Last week Tuesday, a 32-year-old man committed suicide in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, by drinking an insecticide, known as Sniper, reportedly upon learning that his wife was having an extra-marital affair. Same day in Igando, a Lagos suburb, a 27-old man hung himself inside the family bedroom, apparently because he could no longer fend for his family of four. Whether the authorities are taking note or not, the rate at which many Nigerians now take their own lives has become very alarming.
According to some recent statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO), no fewer than a million people die annually from suicide, which represents a global mortality rate of 16 people per 100,000 or one death every 40 seconds. Even more ominous is the fact that there are an estimated 10 to 20 million attempted suicides every year.
At the core of these exemplary feats recorded by African immigrant children is the fact that these young people come from households of parents with an average of a college first degree and the emphasis in these households is on achievement. Most of the times, African immigrants have to keep two or more jobs to re-enforce the mind-set that their offsprings have to be provided with the best opportunities to compete and excel. Other factors that play into the equation that is producing such prodigious results include the average immigrant survivalist mind-set that compels them to be doubly better than the competitor to survive. Some of the parents I also talked to were vicariously living out their dreams through their children.
Across the board, children and grandchildren of African immigrants who sought refuge in the United States during the turbulent 1970’s and 80’s era of military dictatorships in the continent are now clearly distinguishing themselves in various areas of human endeavour in mainstream America. These days, it is not uncommon to find high achieving students and professionals of all sorts with mellifluous African-sounding names whose accent and demeanour are as American as apple pie, who now occupy key positions in corporate America, public service or elite sports teams in the country. This is in fact the new generation of African Americans, someone recently opined.
Last weekend, a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, senator I’ve known for many years heard that I had a personal problem that was giving me sleepless nights; and he contacted me, invited me to his home and went out of his way to help me solve my problem.
I was deeply touched by his brotherly concern and practical assistance, especially since we had been on opposite sides during the recent elections.
I had vociferously campaigned for the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Muhammadu Buhari, while he had thrown his weight behind ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
Engr. Babachir David Lawal – Secretary to the Government of the Federation
Alhaji Abba Kyari – Chief of Staff to the President
Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd.) – Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service
Mr. Kure Martin Abeshi – Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service
Senator Ita S.J. Enang – SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate)
Hon. Suleiman A. Kawu – SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives)
The appointments are with effect from today, August 27, 2015.
Southern leaders under the auspices of the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly (SNP), yesterday, took on President Muhammadu Buhari over what they described as his lopsided appointments and selective fight against corruption.
Speaking at the meeting of the elders council held in Akure, the Ondo State capital of the SNP, led by a former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, though expressing support for Buhari’s fight against corruption, kicked against what he termed his bias in the anti-corruption crusade.
Members of the council who joined Clark at the meeting were Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on 2014 National Conference, Senator Femi Okorounmu; leader of the South-west delegation, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Gbonigi; former Vice-President, Alex Ekuweme; A third Republic Senator, Ngoji Denton-West; former Minister of Transport and Aviation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope; Prof Ikechukwu Madubuike, Kunle Olajide and former Military Administrator of Akwa Ibom State, Ndongesit Ekang.
Others were Senator Tony Adefuye, former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, Prof Olu Agbi, among others.
Speaking at the meeting, Clark, according to the News Agency of Nigerian (NAN) said: “The resolve of President Buhari’s administration to wage a decisive war against corruption which is essential to put Nigeria on the global map of business-friendly nations that will earn the country prosperity is a most welcome development.
Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye, a historian who served as Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States, has died in Washington, DC, SaharaReporters just learned.
Mr. Adefuye died at a yet to be disclosed hospital in the US, a source in the US told our correspondent.
Mr. Adefuye was recalled to Nigeria after President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as President. He was still waiting to hand over to a new ambassador when he suddenly died today.
A former professor of history, Mr. Adefuye was in 2010 appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan as Nigeria’s ambassador in the US. An outspoken person and fierce defender of Nigeria, the deceased diplomat tackled critics of Nigeria in the US. He vociferously lobbied against Nigeria’s classification as “a country of interest” in America’s terrorism watch list.
Cash is king, no, cash is god May history be damned! Monetise our legacy! Hand us cash bequeathals! This must be the silent chant of members of our National Assembly (NASS) in the last 16 years. If only they knew any better; if only they realised that the unit of measure of life’s worth lies in legacies and not currencies.
This is why history will have no golden chapter for Senator David Mark who was Senate president and head of NASS for eight years. The refrain of his supporters has been that he was instrumental to stabilising the Fourth Republic and Nigeria’s nascent democracy. But ‘stabilise’ to what end? Didn’t he merely hold down the cow for it to be milked to death?
As this column has always canvassed, the position of the Senate President is only second in importance to that of the President of the federal republic. Therefore, under the control of a noble and enlightened mind, the NASS is a veritable instrument for ringing far-reaching socio-political and constitutional changes. But as we have witnessed, none of the structural dysfunction plaguing the polity was righted; no landmark legislation such that could untangle the system and unleash the potentialities of the state was pushed.
After sitting for a total of 14 legislative days since their June 9th, 2015 inauguration, the Nigerian Senate and the House of Representatives have proceeded on a six-week recess. This is the fourth time the Federal Legislature is shifting its sittings in less than three months of being proclaimed by the president.
With the two Houses seemingly returning to normalcy after their repeated skirmishes, it was expected that the legislators would settle down to the business that brought them to Abuja. That expectation was, however, dashed with the decision of the two Houses to proceed on their annual recess.
The recess has been defended by the holidaying lawmakers as part of programmes in their calendar. Holidays are opportunities for any hardworking person to take a rest and to refresh for optimum productivity. However, given the few number of days that the legislators have sat, Nigerians are rather bemused over the kind of serious work that the lawmakers have done in 14 days to deserve a six-week rest.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is reported to have claimed recently that 110 million Nigerians have been impoverished by previous Nigerian governments. I am not surprised that his statement has not attracted the kind of furious debate such a statement would be expected to provoke, because I have made similar statements, in not quite the same words, for more than a decade to barely any response from those who should normally be interested. The point is that Nigeria’s elite – politicians, business persons, government, even media – scrupulously avoid discussions about how policy affects the poor, except on those occasions (such as regarding fuel subsidies or university fees!) when patently middle-class benefits are extracted from the state in the name of the poor!
In “Taking reforms to the social sector” published in BusinessDay on 17 October, 2005, I wrote of the Obasanjo regime: “Having to some extent created a basic structural framework for economic reform, I would argue that government must now increase its attention to the social sector – education, health, unemployment, rural infrastructure and urban squalor –otherwise the ultimate goal of poverty reduction will not be achieved. At the end of it all, the goal of all public policy (economic reform included) is the improvement in the quality of life at the level of the individual citizen; on a sustainable basis…ignoring the people may result in a massive backlash against economic reform.” That predicted backlash has of course occurred and Nigeria’s government has not impressed its people in spite of strong economic growth and macroeconomic reforms as the populace sniggers metaphorically, “What is in it for us?”
In that article, I urged policy interventions in those areas that affect the poor: “Government is better off taking the initiative with appropriate interventions in the education, health, social welfare, public transportation and rural infrastructure areas to improve the quality of life of the average Nigerian. Unfortunately, instead of the imperative of poverty reduction, there seems to be an emerging trend towards ‘crony capitalism’ where government appears to be misunderstanding the free enterprise economy to mean empowering a few millionaires and billionaires to become multi-billionaires, rather than strengthening and growing the middle class – a trend that may yet discredit the reform programme.”
Many of us who have lived or are still living in some of the world’s advanced democracies would probably understand better what it really means to live in an organised, civilised and secure society. The protection of lives and property of the citizens, irrespective of their social status, remains sacrosanct in the social contract the governments of such nations have with their people. Even, sometimes, illegal residents are accorded the same cover as the nationals of the host countries.
Interestingly though, while the police force is largely prompt and responsive in such developed societies, still the citizens consistently challenge their governments to spark new ideas in creating a safer society.
Hon. Timothy Golu represents Pankshin/ Kanam/Kanke federal constituency of Plateau State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives. In this interview with PHILIP NYAM, he speaks on the remuneration of lawmakers and how states assemblies are stifled by governors. Excerpts:
The issue of salaries and allowances of lawmakers has been a major source of concern to Nigerians. Would you subscribe to a downward review of your emoluments?
As it is now, we need an increase in the allowances and emoluments of National Assembly members; in fact even civil servants. I believe that wherever you work, there should be commensurate emoluments in view of the hardship in the country.
We have enormous responsibilities, so the call for a cut in our remuneration is not welcomed. Look at the way our democracy is structured; it is not a conventional democracy. The same people accusing us of collecting jumbo pay have not taken their time to talk to our constituents to expect only legislative results from us.
The Federal Ministry of Defence was stopped from taking part in arms procurement, Permanent Secretary Ismaila Aliyu said yesterday
According to him, the Services took over completely what should be part of the ministry’s responsibilities.
He believes the probe of arms purchases ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari will ensure cost effectiveness in future procurement.
Aliyu, addressing reporters at the State House after a meeting of top officials of the ministry with the President, said President Buhari had approved the inclusion of a representative of the Ministry on the panel.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State is the current poster child of erring governors; governors who have not been able to pay workers’ salaries for a long spell. In Aregbesola case, the man has not bothered to pay his State’s workers or retirees’ pension since sometime last year. The governor has received a lot of drubbing in the media for that singular crime so much so that he now wears a permanent, lop-sided smirk.
I’ve always wondered why the governor was singled out for such trenchant beating when a few other governors also owe State workers salary. Well, it turned out that those beating up on the Ogbeni know him well. It’s turned out that Aregbesola is an exemplar of what is generally wrong with the Blackman.
Some days ago, I saw a loud report, accompanied by a YouTube video and about one million colourful photographs of the commissioning of the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park in Osogbo, Osun State. You see, there was always a park in Osogbo. For some odd reason, it was called Osogbo Freedom Park. When the great man, Mandela passed on in December 2013, the park was renamed after him by the State governor. All of that was appropriate and even commendable.
What was not appropriate was when Aregbesola embarked on the second phase development of the park recently, poured a lot of money into its renovation and facelift and then commissioned the park on Thursday, 6 August 2015. This, while Osun State workers and pensioners are starving.
It is the height of insensitivity, and misplaced priority – the bane of Black leaders everywhere. At best, the governor earned himself a public relation disaster; at worst, it was another exhibition of frightful incompetence.
The story of Sir Oluremi Festus Omotoso MFR, KJW is both inspirational and exciting. Born 70 years at Ayedun Ekiti, Remi did not find a silver spoon in his mouth while being nurtured as a baby and had to waddle his way through not at any ivory league secondary school or resident at any palatial court but in a humble Secondary Modern School and a Teacher Training College. He self taught himself to obtain the much prized General Certificate in Education Advanced Levels to qualify him for Direct Entry to study Geography at the prestigious University of Ibadan where our paths crossed in 1966.
Upon graduation in 1969, he taught briefly before gaining employment with Lever Brothers Nigeria Plc in July 1971 as a Management Trainee.
Google seems to have an answer for every question. But its search engine could not supply the website of the National Arts Theatre on Wednesday.
Digital tools have become an essential part of tourism, with fun lovers visiting destinations even before they commence their journeys.
But the National Arts Theatre, which was a major Lagos tourist site in its heyday, does not seem to have a ‘home’ on the digital space even though it does not cost much to set up one.
I recall that while growing up, guys had some silly way of explaining away forceful sexual encounters with girls. Having been brought up to believe that women would naturally turn down advances even if they were interested, these guys pleaded that they did not consider forced intimacy with girls a crime. As far as they knew, the girl desired it as much as they did but since she was too timid to own up to it, they merely helped her to make up her mind. So they did not think they did anything criminal.
I do not remember that any of these cases went beyond some manner of amicable appeasement from the family of the aggressors to the families of the victims. Certainly, none of these neighbhourhood incidents got as far being reported to the police. In the estimation of families in those days, these were issues to lock up in the cupboard, skeletons never to be exposed to the outside world. They talked in hushed tones fearing that if anyone outside the two families got wind of the gist, there would be a lot of stigma surrounding the victim and her family such that the girl may never find a suitor.