Globally, there is a growing concern about the use of artificial sweeteners in foods and drinks produced in commercial quantities for human consumption across the globe. Of particular preference is the use of a substance called Aspartame, an artificial sweetener mostly used in carbonated drinks that cuts across ‘soft’ and alcoholic drinks.
Unfortunately, the Nigerian consumers are not immune to the array of these drinks. Suffice to note that some of the manufacturers lay claim to the use of these artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame as a means for reducing the intake of sugar. While the intent may be applauded, could consumers of these products be getting sweetened with a possible bitter pill in Aspartame?
Recently, giant manufacturers like Pepsi Cola and Coca cola have been under the searchlight on the use of some of these artificial sweeteners after a global outcry.
Interestingly in Nigeria, the food and beverage producers have also had their fair share on claims and concerns on the use of these artificial sweeteners in their products, particularly Aspartame. In fact, a recently launched bitters drink claimed to have used this substance in its production.
Researchers and Regulatory Perspectives
About 200 times sweeter than sugar, researchers have claimed Aspartame is responsible for headache, memory loss, mood changes, insomnia and depression. Over 75 percent of adverse reactions to food additives reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), USA concern Aspartame.
The election of Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Hon Yakubu Dogara as the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively has thrown up an intense debate about the limits or otherwise of party supremacy (or party discipline) in the context of legislative autonomy in a democracy. Granted that a political party and the legislature are two important institutions without which democracy cannot be so called. Despite all their imperfections, it is germane to note, for example, that political parties are key in the workings of modern representative democracy. Their functions cannot be annexed by any other entity.
However, it is somewhat futile to speak of either party supremacy or legislative autonomy as an absolute (and mutually exclusive). It is routine for members of parliament (MPs) to traverse party lines in taking decisions in a presidential democracy often associated with weak party discipline; unlike parliamentary democracy where there’s strong party discipline. In practical terms, there’s no legislature that would ever have complete autonomy from the other branches of government; including pressures from political parties and their leadership. Nonetheless, the relationship between legislators and their political parties must be properly contextualised to establish the degree of individual member’s loyalty to their respective political parties and the extent of legislative independence.
Victory is sweet; no one wants to be associated with defeat in a culture that makes people avoid defeat like a plague. Not wanting to be classified as “failures” after their “hero” last the presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari’s opponents or better still critics appear to be cruising off with an early lead. The most recent his critics have done is to label him “Baba Go Slow” referring to his seeming lack of activities. But is it all about an early lead?
Watching from a far, I have come to realise that Buhari’s critics can fall under any of the following categories: First, are the career Jonathanians or GEJites as they are now popularly known. Leading this pack is our dear Femi Aribisala. In fact one of these people had openly written that he will not accept Buhari as his President. These people were so sure that their boss or hero will win no matter the costs. They “prophesised” that Buhari will never “smell” Aso Rock. In fact, Aribisala once wrote under the title: HOW TO LOSE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION FOUR TIMES in one of his columns stating his reasons why Buhari would lose the fourth time. If wishes were horse, they say, men will ride. How time flies. Anyways, they are foremost among Buhari’s critics!
Not all Buhari’s critics are pro-Jonathan as many may think though it is very difficult to vouch for this distinction. We can have a second group as those having issues either personally with Buhari himself or his party the All Progressives Congress(APC). This group accommodates people like a former Governor of old Kaduna state AlhajiAbdulkadirBalarabe Musa and a renowned writer OkeyNdibe. One really cannot explain Balarabe Musa’s issues with Buhari considering the fact that they are from the same state, Katsina. He was noted to have criticised President Jonathan vociferously at some points and I am not aware he has rescinded on his opinion about Jonathan. His criticisms of President Buhari is what one finds hard to explain, other than the fact that he may probably know something about Buhari(both of whom come from the same state) that is not to public knowledge. On the other hand OkeyNdibe’s case can be because he had issues at some point with the way the APC was been run. I am not sure Ndibe will be your first choice of a Jonathanian or GEJite. Either way they constitute a pack of their own.
Something I have been reading in the past few days has left me thinking, wondering and worrying. I refer to something in our Yoruba homeland, something that only few of us know anything about – something from the early history of our Yoruba nation, some construction so big that one account describes it as “the biggest historical monument in the world”.
I refer to the Eredo, the Ijebu-Ode city wall that is believed by archaeologists to have been constructed between the 10th and 12th centuries AD, or about one-thousand years ago. It is commonly called Eredo Sungbo, because Ijebu-Ode traditions say that it was constructed in the reign of an Ijebu-Ode queen named Sungbo.Some of the 15th and 16th century Portuguese explorers and traders along the Yoruba
coast heard about the Eredo and mentioned it in their writings.
In modern times, many historians have mentioned it in their books. But it was little known to the outside world until 1999 when a British archaeologist, Professor Patrick Darling of Bournmouth University, surveyed the site and published his findings. Since then, the Eredo has been attracting worldwide attention.
Built by the people of early Ijebu-Ode around their town with considerable farmland around it, the Eredo is about 100 miles in circumference, and encompasses an amount of land measuring about 25 miles from north to south and 22 miles from east to west. It is a typical Yoruba town wall consisting of a trench and an embankment made of the earth that was dug from the trench. In some parts of its length, the top of the embankment is as high as 70 feet from the bottom of the trench. The sides of the trench are made remarkably smooth, testifying to the high skills of the diggers.
As a great structure constructed in early human history, the Eredo is now being compared with the Great Pyramid of Egypt. As more and more gets known about it, it is likely to come close to the Great Pyramid as one of the wonders of the African past, and one of the greatest archeological structures in the world – and, by far, the greatest in Black Africa.
Professor Darling estimates that the builders of the Eredo shifted about 3.5 million cubic feet of earth while constructing it – about one-million cubic feet more than the earth and rock shifted by the builders of the Great Pyramid.
The Eredo was probably the greatest of the town walls of Yorubaland in history, but it was by no means the only great one. Most of the Yoruba towns had impressive walls. Ile-Ife early built a great town wall which was expanded again and again at different times later in history. Ila Orangun’s wall was very famous for centuries – and the town was called Ila Yara (Ila of the Great Wall) because of it.
An Olowo of Owo, Oba Osogboye, expanded the Owo town wall spectacularly in the 18th century and made it one of the most famous town walls in Yorubaland. Ilesa, Owu, Oyo-Ile, Ado-Ekiti, and many other Yoruba towns had great town walls.
On July 05, 2015, Greece’s economic future will be determined through a referendum. The choice is simple, or so it seems: Yes or No to stay in the Euro. A ‘yes’ vote comes with the benefits of fresh debt restructure/aid/bail out albeit with huge austerity conditions. The economic consequences of a ‘no’ are not that straight forward. No identical precedent to rely on but what is certain is that Greece would default on most of its obligations and the indicators are not looking good. Either way, a decision has to be made by a people whose contribution to the current debt situation is as little as their knowledge of the consequences of the choices they are faced with.
How did we get here? We could give a long chronicle on Greece’s journey to this financial situation. But the simple summary is that due to sheer fiscal recklessness, debts accumulated over the years have not generated enough returns to effectively repay these loans. Ordinarily being a part of a block like the European Union should guarantee some level of support from financially stable members. However, gone are the 1953 days, when an empathetic ‘London Conference’ provided one of the best debt relief packages in history to effectively help Germany survive its post second world war debt problems. How ironic that Greece, which was one of Germany’s creditors then, is now at the mercy of Berlin and Angela Merkel is not showing any mercy.
Geography apart, how close is Nigeria to Greece?
As it was with Greece, public debt in Nigeria is on the increase. The Debt Management Office (DMO) puts Nigeria’s debt stock at $63.5billion as at March 31, 2015. More worrisome is that the DMO, which was established to coordinate the management of the country’s debt, does not have an up to date debt position of states in the country. The agency gives the most recent available figure of total states’ domestic debt at $10.8billion as at December, 2013! We cannot bet against the country’s actual current debt figures being in excess of $70billion.
On Saturday, America celebrated 239 years since its hard-won independence from Britain. Beyond the fireworks and parades and lofty tributes, I think there’s an important lesson for us in Nigeria: that our diversity and our differences should not/never stand in the way of our development.
Months after the 2015 elections ended, Nigerian youths are still hung up on those elections. Nowhere is this more obvious than on social media which our youths have turned to a battle ground divided into pro People Democratic Party (PDP) and pro All Progressives Congress (APC) youths. So ingrained is this animosity that each group targets elected officials and party chieftains of the opposing parties and go after them just on the basis of their party affiliation. Things reached a comical stage when a youth attacked me for a tweet on Twitter and hours later was praising a popular youth for his tweet. Unbeknownst to him was the fact that the youth had merely tweeted my exact words but had not credited me with the quote!
These shenanigans makes me concerned for our youth. Where they should be getting closer and breaking down barriers, they are holding a candle for politicians who in reality are not as divided as they lead these youths to believe.
The South-East governors say Radio Biafra does not have the endorsement of South-East governors.
The governors rose from a day forum held at Imo Government House, Owerri, on Sunday with a decision not to recognise the radio station.
Governor Rochas Okorocha, at the end of the forum, said “the radio does not have the endorsement south east governors.”
He said that he governors equally resolved to tackle the issue of insecurity and other social ills that had beset the people of the region.
He said the forum was concern especially over the issue of kidnapping, cultism and baby factory, among others.
Okorocha said the governors agreed on the need to adequately equip the security agencies in the region for efficient security delivery.
He said they also agreed to retain Enugu as the headquarters of the south east governors’ forum office and its economic hub.
The governors also deliberated on the agitations by the people of the zone against the Boko Haram prisoners transferred to Anambra prisons.
They appealed to the Federal Government to take a second look at the development and re-transfer the prisons to another place because of the agitations and the worries it had so far created in the zone.
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari is a man who has tremendous goodwill, perhaps more than any other Nigerian leader before him. That is highly understandable for two reasons. The first is the President’s personal attributes as a man of impeccable integrity, honesty, discipline and Spartan tastes. All these the President had demonstrated in his first coming as Head of State between December 1983 and August 1985 and in retirement.
Secondly, things had gone so bad under his immediate precedessor, former President Goodluck Jonathan, that Nigerians desired change so desperately. Apart from the worsening insecurity that had almost reduced the country into a jungle where life is “short and brutish,” the economy was (and still is) in a wobbly state owing to dwindling oil revenue and more by mismanagement and profligacy under the last administration.
A cursory survey of media reports on the downstream oil sector suggests that the prevailing popular belief is that a predatory cabal has a vice grip over the business of fuel importation. There is concern, therefore, that this, presumably, vicious class of businessmen would do everything to ensure that refineries will never work, and that the subsidy regime would subsist, while fuel supply will continue to be carefully manipulated to regularly induce artificial scarcity so that bountiful profits can be harvested from the attendant sufferings and economic dislocation deliberately caused by the oil cabal.
Nonetheless, it will be useful to examine the process of fuel importation more closely to actually identify the real beneficiaries in this business. Indeed, the major oil marketers, Total, Mobil, Oando, Conoil, NNPC inclusive, and a few others have not been fingered for collecting subsidy with fake import papers. However, it may be more difficult to vouch for the innocence of the motley subset of hundreds of indigenous independent marketers, as this class also accommodates the ubiquitous briefcase importer, who is clearly, a more footloose buccaneer.It would probably be more difficult to find a contrary view to the above popular perception, than it is to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. Besides, the widely reported ‘extreme’ annual subsidy values seem to also confirm that these fuel barons make a kill on the back of fellow Nigerians. Furthermore, despite several allegations that marketers collect billions of Naira as refund of subsidies on fuel supplies which were never delivered, no convictions have, surprisingly, so far resulted from EFCC’s tenuos efforts.
Following criticisms that trailed the appointments made so far by President Muhammadu Buhari which many argued were lopsided in favour of the north, the president, yesterday, dismissed insinuations that he was implementing a northern agenda in his appointments.
It will be recalled that President Buhari since taking over the reins of power on May 29 has, so far, made 11 appointments, out of which only one came from the South West.
Although some people considered the appointments to be “unserious positions”, many Nigerians condemned its alleged lopsidedness, saying they were signs of what to expect from the Buhari presidency.
Sunday Vanguard was reliably informed by Presidency sources, yesterday, that part of the reasons for the seeming prolonged process of resolving the crisis in the All Progressives Congress, APC, may be the slightly differing positions of President Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, regarded as a leader and financier of the party.
Specifically, the sources disclosed that the Friday NEC meeting of the party “brought to the open the seeming centrifugal positions of Mr. President and Asiwaju.”
One of the sources added: “At the meeting between the governors and the warring parties that followed the APC NEC parley, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, was mandated to chair a committee of three that would come up with possible resolutions to the crisis.
If anyone has a good chance of breaking the Boko Haram insurgency, it is President Muhammadu Buhari. He has the experience – having chased killer Maitatsine Muslim fundamentalists all the way into Chad in the 80s.
He has the knowledge of the terrain, having worked in several senior capacities in the North East. Although he would not be functioning as an officer on the battlefield, his background as a one-time army general should help him relate better with those charged with doing the fighting today.
His job has been made easier by the fruits of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s last throw of the dice. It wasn’t too long ago when at least 14 local government areas in three states in the North East were under Boko Haram control.
Though the immediate past Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala may have left office, controversy continues to trail her performance while in office. The recent one is the accusation by the governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole that the former Coordinating Minister of the Economy spent $2.1bn from the Excess Crude Account without the approval of National Economic Council (NEC).
However, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has responded to the allegation by describing it as political witch hunting. According to a statement by her spokesperson, Paul Nwabuiku, she described the allegation as an attempt by governors who are over whelmed by the current financial challenge to win sympathy.
“It is curious that in their desperation to use the esteemed National Economic Council for political and personal vendetta, the persons behind these allegations acted as if the constitutionally recognised FAAC, a potent expression of Nigeria’s fiscal federalism, does not exist. But Nigerians know that collective revenues, allocations and expenditures of the three tiers of government are the concern of the monthly FAAC meetings. It is important to acknowledge the efforts of governors who are working hard to overcome the current revenue challenges facing their states without resorting to character assassination and blame games,” she said.
This is not the first time Okonjo-Iweala is involved in a controversy over her performance in office. Last March, a civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability (SERAP) took the former Minister to court over the claim by former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi that the country lost about N30trillion due to corruption and mismanagement. The present accusation appears to have diminished Okonjo-Iweala’s achievement when she was the Minister of Finance during the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Also former governor of CBN Prof. Charles Soludo while responding to the accusation by Okonjo-Iweala that his tenure as CBN governor was the worst in the country accused her of grounding the country’s economy.
Nigeria’s Presidency has the second largest number of aircraft in its fleet in the world. In the first position is Russia, with about 40 aircraft, followed by Nigeria –15 aircraft.
Russia can be forgiven for such large number of airplanes designated for its political leaders because all the aircraft in the fleet are produced and maintained by the state-owned aircraft manufacturing company. In Nigeria, the 15 aircraft are imported, and maintained abroad.
It is virtually inconceivable to note that the Presidential air fleet (PAF) is also the second largest fleet in Nigeria, after Arik Air with 26 airplanes. The combined number of fixed wing airplanes, operated by the five schedule airlines in the country is less than the number of aircraft in the Presidency.
Any Gmail user, who regrets a message they just sent, has the option to undo the action, provided they are quick enough, a report said on Wednesday.
It added that the new “Undo Send’’ option allowed a message to be retrieved, so long as it is clicked upon within 30 seconds of the “Send’’ command being hit.
Dubbed “Undo Send,” the new functionality was born of an experimental feature that has been available in Gmail Labs for quite some time. As Google announced on its official App blog in the U.K., Undo Send is now available to all users.
Here’s how to enable Undo Send:
- On the Gmail website, click the gear icon in the top-right corner and select Settings.
- On the General Tab, you should now see Undo Send listed as the tenth option.
- To enable it, check the box next to Enable Undo Send.
- Now choose the length of time you’d like to have the ability to recall your sent emails from the drop-down menu. Options include 5, 10, 20 and 30 seconds.
A PROMINENT leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State, Chief Dayo Okondo, has faulted his appointment as a member of the Governing Council of the College of Education, Ikere Ekiti by Governor Ayo Fayose.
Okondo, a former PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) member, said he was shocked to have heard his name on the radio as he was not consulted before the appointment was made.
Addressing a press briefing on Friday in his Ikere country home, Okondo stressed that membership of the College of Education Governing Council won’t be beneficial to him as it falls short of his status in the party.
The former Chairman of the State Local Government Service Commission emphasised that his appointment as a governing council member belittles his status as a founding father of the PDP and as a party leader that brought Fayose into the party.
Gov. Adams Oshiomhole of Edo on Friday advised public officers and politicians to get rid of their private jets as President Muhammadu Buhari had begun blocking financial leakages in the country’s economy.
Oshiomhole made this known at a public lecture titled “Labour and the Nigerian Economy: What needs to be done”, held at the University of Port Harcourt.
He said that businessmen who connived with some officials of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to defraud the nation through subsidy claims would be probed.
“Few people (in Nigeria) are taking away so much wealth, while majority of the people are going home with almost nothing.
“A clear example is when you arrive at the private wing of the airport in Abuja; you will find more than 40 to 50 private jets parked there in one airport alone.