Wizkid’s first babymama, has finally revealed why she called him out on social media over his constant neglect of their son, Boluwatife. In September 2018,...
Access Bank Plc Group Managing Director, GMD/CEO, Mr Herbert Wigwe in this interview at the just concluded 30th Annual General Meeting, AGM held in Lagos spoke on the concerns raised by shareholders regarding dividend payout, capital raising, green bond issuance, merger with Diamond Bank Plc, the banks’ financial performance among others. Excerpts:By Peter EgwuatuTHE shareholders have expressed their concern on low dividend payout for 2018 financial year and have requested for a higher dividend come next year, what is your view?We are assuring our shareholders of enhanced value creation in the years to come; however, the 50k dividend for the financial year 2018 was due to the bank’s decision to suspend raising of Tier 1 capital. The bank’s decision to depend on organic capital contributed to the 50k dividend during the period under review.The Bank needed to think towards the future and cautiously decided on the dividend based on the just concluded merger. The Bank’s dividend payout in 2017 was 40 kobo, with earnings per share of N2.11. Access Bank would remain committed to the optimisation of shareholders value as better rewards were ahead in terms of dividend to shareholders and stakeholders.What is your view on the increase in the unclaimed dividend as contained in your financial statement?The rising unclaimed dividend is worrisome. We will try to map out strategies to reduce the N14.6 billion shareholders’ unclaimed dividend as at the financial year ended December 31, 2018. We are also not happy as the figure keeps increasing, so we want shareholders to come over and pick their dividend. We will work with our registrar, company secretary to see how to get this figure down.Your debt recovery drive has been commended, what will happen to the debt owed to Diamond Bank now that you have merged with the bank?We recovered N2.2 billion bad debt in the year under review. Access Bank will intensify effort to ensure that it recovers the debt owed to Diamond Bank. We will go out for Diamond Bank’ debtors and if they are not ready to redeem their debt we will publish their names in the newspapers.You have heard the concern by stakeholders on their future, regarding sustenance of dividend payment given the successful merger with Diamond Bank; what is your take?We have assured shareholders of our determination to enhance their value while thanking them for the support and approval given to them to merge with Diamond Bank Plc. whilst acknowledging the merits of the merger with respect to revenue and profits. We will not lose sight of operating efficiency and return ratios. These measures will continue to be our priority, ensuring that shareholder value is maximized. Customer satisfaction will also remain a key focus, ensuring the new entity delivers superior benefits to its newly expanded customer base.The Bank began its five year strategy in 2018 with focus on retail banking growth. Capital and liquidity levels for the period remained adequate at 19.9 percent and 50.9 percent respectively, providing buffers as we continued to explore market opportunities.What is your assessment of the financial performance in the year 2018?The group recorded a profit before tax of N103.2 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2018 as against N78.2 billion achieved in 2017, an increase of 32 per cent. Profit after tax of N95 billion, growing by 58 per cent compared with N60.07 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2017.Our gross earnings rose by 15 per cent to N528.7 billion in contrast with N459.1 billion posted in the comparative period of 2017 with interest and non-interest income contributing 72 per cent and 26 per cent respectively. The asset base of the bank remained strong and diversified with a growth of 21 per cent in total assets to N4.95 trillion in December 2018 from N4.10 trillion in December 2017.Loans and Advances rose to N2.14 trillion during the period under review against N2.06 trillion in 2017. Total assets grew by 21 percent to N4.95 trillion from N4.1 trillion in 2017. Deposit also grew by 14 percent to N2.56 trillion in 2018 from N2.25 trillion in 2017. Our shareholders’ equity, however, fell by four percent to N491 billion in 2018 from N511 billion in 2017.Customer deposits increased by 14 per cent to 2.57 trillion in December 2018, from 2.25 trillion in December 2017. The Board and Management gratitude goes to our shareholders, customers and all who have stood by us through the years. With their support, we have built a world class sustainable institution underpinned by strong ethical and governance standards.Can your elaborate on some of the expected benefits to the bank following the successful merger with Diamond Bank?Following the successful completion of the merger with Diamond Bank in March 2019, we have now fully positioned ourselves in the retail market with a view to bringing the power of banking to the doorsteps of millions. We are providing a broader platform to facilitate payments services in Nigeria and across Africa, by harnessing our significantly enhanced digital technology capabilities.The merger brings together Access Bank’s strong wholesale banking capabilities and Diamond Bank’s unparalleled retail expertise. The bank would create an institution with over 27 million customers, 3,100 ATMs and 33,000 POS as well as over 10 million mobile customers. The bank, with over 600 branches represented in 10 countries and three countries would soon expand footprints to Asia. Access Bank is the only Nigerian bank to record profit in its London subsidiary.Most respected African BankWe remain committed to the achievement of our strategic imperatives going forward; as we continue to invest in our people, technology and most importantly, our product offerings to customers. Our focus is to become the world’s most respected African Bank by leveraging on the strength of our retail and wholesale business to provide unrivalled value to our customers.The bank floated and listed a green bond recently, what is your view on it?Like you witnessed during the meeting, the shareholders did commend on our initiative on the bond issuance. The green bond issuance highlights the bank’s commitment to sustainability and its status as a pioneer in green financing in both the domestic and international capital markets. The bond comes amidst a global drive for responsible and sustainable green financing and will allow the financing of new loans and refinancing of existing loans in accordance with the Bank’s green Bond Framework. It will support projects directed at flood defense, solar generation facilities and agriculture.At Access Bank we are a pioneer in both domestic and international capital markets, leading the way with our commitment to sustainable banking. We hope that this bond issuance inspires other African companies to support the long-term development of the green finance market whilst simultaneously realizing the growth potential of the fast-developing low carbon economy.Your first quarter, Q1 2019 results look good, do you see the Bank sustaining this in the remaining quarters of the year?The group delivered solid earnings underscoring the value potentials of the newly expanded business model. Gross earnings showed a 16 percent increase to N160.1billion from the prior year, comprising strong earnings on Interest income and non-interest income of 69 percent and 31 percent respectively, whilst Profit before Tax, PBT, grew by 66 percent to N45.1billion.Liquidity positionOur capital and liquidity position remained above regulatory levels, with CAR at 19.5 percent and liquidity ratio of 47.6 percent further demonstrating the capacity of the enlarged balance sheet to cope with possible negative shocks.We hope to sustain and surpass this performance in the remaining quarters of 2019. Following the successful completion of the merger with Diamond Bank in March 2019, we have now fully positioned ourselves in the retail market with a view to bringing the power of banking to the doorsteps of millions. We are providing a broader platform to facilitate payments services in Nigeria and across Africa, by harnessing our significantly enhanced digital technology capabilities.We have made solid progress throughout the first quarter of 2019 in line with our 2018-2022 five-year strategy, and we remain committed to the achievement of our strategic imperatives going forward; as we continue to invest in our people, technology and most importantly, our product offerings to customers. Our focus is to become the world’s most respected African Bank by leveraging on the strength of our retail and wholesale business to provide unrivalled value to our customers.
By Abubakar Mahmoud AhmedEarly this week, a younger colleague alerted me to a story that was making the rounds on social media. A mushroom “civil society group” called COALITION AGAINST CORRUPTION AND BAD GOVERNANCE, CACOBAG, with address at Abeokuta Expressway, Abule Egba, in Lagos State, issued a screaming press release, alleging “license racketeering rocking the National Broadcasting Commission”.How the mushroom group located in a ghetto of Abule Egba in Lagos State was able to discern “racketeering” allegation, that is “rocking the National Broadcasting Commission”, must be one of the wonders of contemporary life; but it seemed so obvious, that those behind this latest story about the NBC, were merely ratcheting up a figment of their own imagination, but one that was part of an orchestrated campaign, against Malam Modibbo Kawu, the Director General of the NBC.And it didn’t take too long in the press release, to see through the effort by the flotsam and jetsam of the Lagos “civil society” rabble. They gleefully announced their discovery, which must be like Einstein’s discovery of the grand Theory of Relativity. CACOBAG (like truly irresponsible windbags),announced that: “Information at our disposal indicate that the embattled (embattled? Who declared the war?) DIrector General of the NBC, Mallam Ishaq Modibbo Kawu recently (RECENTLY? The CACOBAG windbag ruffians couldn’t even get the exact dates?), allocated six slots of Radio license to his private company”.The disturbing discoveryThe group went further to allege the “disturbing discovery of how the DG NBC surreptitiously allocated six slots of radio license to his private company, Word, Sound and Vision (WSV) Ltd to himself (SIC) in the recent allocation of Radio and Television broadcast license to private operators in the country”. Not done, CACOBAG, headed by a certain Toyin Raheem, went further to state that “Mallam Modibbo Kawu who is currently being prosecuted along with others in court by the ICPC over a N2.5 billion fraud case gave himself through his private company six prime radio license slots in Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano and two in Ilorin Kwara State”. Having made the “earth-shattering” discovery, CACOBAG said it was “totally unacceptable”; it was “an abuse of office and a display of cheer (CHEER?) greed and racketeering”. So, “we (THE WINDBAGS) at CACOBAG are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to take immediate action”.And just in case Nigerians forget what I have stated in two previous articles, concerning Malam Modibbo Kawu, the windbags of “CACOBAG”, revealed again just what their sponsors have desperately longed for and which is tearing their hearts: “we wonder why Modibbo Kawu who is facing trial on charges of corruption and criminal conspiracy is still allowed as the DG of NBC”. CACOBAG and the Lagos-based political group that sponsors them, have been terribly sad, that the ICPC trial-by-media and subsequent arraignment in court, have not led to Malam Modibbo Kawu’s removal.They have not been able to put their man, a Lagos-based journalist who was a former Commissioner in Lagos in the position of DG NBC, true to their wish, and as part of the agenda to control as many strategic institutions as possible, by the Lagos-based greedy political machinery. Not surprisingly, this week, the CACOBAG press statement has been reported in THE NATION and THE PUNCH newspapers and some of the online outlets, that have been at the heart of the campaign of vilification against Malam Modibbo Kawu, the DG of the NBC.Painstaking investigations at the NBC HQI wanted to know the truth of the allegations as well as the really true position in respect of the licensing of Radio and television stations by the NBC. So early this week, I made very painstaking investigations at the NBC HQ in Abuja, in respect of these allegations. I swear to Allah, that I made the investigation with an open mind, and with the sole purpose of knowing the truth of the matter. My informants at the NBC gave me an opportunity to ask questions, and they also quoted to me the relevant papers on the same subject.These professionals expressed surprise about the development, saying that my inquiry was the first time they were being made aware of an alleged “license racketeering” issue at the NBC. I was informed that even the DG, Modibbo Kawu, only got to know about the press release by CACOBAG, when he got a call from a reporter from THE SUN newspaper. The reporter had informed him (Malam Modibbo Kawu), that his editor wanted to know Kawu’s view concerning the subject. It was later that day, that someone forwarded to him by WHATSAPP, the press statement by CACOBAG. At the NBC, I was informed, that the last set of 147 radio licenses were approved and issued by President Muhammadu Buhari on September 24th, 2018.That was eight months ago. How come that CACOBAG is just “discovering” the subject of their press release? So the statement by CACOBAG alleging “licensing racketeering rocking the National Broadcasting Commission”, was therefore a figment of the imaginations of the “CACOBAG busybodies. It was clear, that the story must have come from the desperate desire of those behind the ICPC case, to add fuel to fire, with the new allegation, and who must have been working with insiders in the NBC; those in the Commission, who have regularly, secretly, released documents of the Commission to external clients.I was further educated, that there are certain basic facts about licensing procedures that those behind the mischievous story were patently ignorant about. The DG of the NBC cannot and does not have the power to “allocate licenses” to himself or to anyone else. This is because all radio and television licenses are approved by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is the president’s prerogative to approve (or withhold) licenses, to properly registered Nigerian companies, not the NBC Director General. What the NBC does, is to compile the list of applicants; these are then submitted to the Presidency.From that point, the NBC or its Director General, has no power to influence which company is then issued the license by the President. That has always been the case. I was then shown the applications for licenses by the company Word, Sound & Vision Multimedia Limited. The applications dated to September 26, 2008, eleven years ago. Similarly, I discovered that the PDP Presidents of the period, late Umaru Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan refused to give Word, Sound & Vision Multimedia Limited licenses, despite the fact that it met all the NBC’s laid down criteria for licensing.I was later informed at the Word, Sound & Vision Multimedia Limited Office, just how intense was the effort they made to speak to the top people in the administrations concerned, and a former PDP Governor, who became highly influential during the Yar’adua administration spoke forthrightly: “Modibbo we in the PDP will never give you a license; not after all that you’ve written against us in your weekly columns”. I was informed that that Malam Modibbo Kawu and his team at Word, Sound & Vision Multimedia Limited stopped bothering about trying to get the radio licenses. At least under the PDP administrations. Modibbo Kawu was appointed Director General of the NBC in May, 2016; and one of the first steps he took, was to be completely excluded from the directorship of the company, Word, Sound & Vision Multimedia Limited.At the company’s office, they told me that he has not even visited the offices of the company in the past three years. But the people running the company re-raised the issue of their application, and these were shortlisted and submitted, along with 162 other applications for commercial radio licenses, not to mention the television, campus and community stations. In the exercise of his powers, President Muhammadu Buhari approved 147 licenses, including those for Word, Sound & Vision Multimedia Limited. There was no way that the NBC DG could have influenced the list that the president approved.The people at the NBC here in Kaduna, told me further to my inquiry, that getting the approval was one thing, and that is often only the first step. They become effective and can be called licenses in real terms, only when the license fees have been paid and the licensee is issued frequencies to operate as radio stations. I got to know that in the 2015 round of licensing done by President Goodluck Jonathan, there was a company that was issued 14 licenses; another one got six; there was another one that got 4 and yet another, owned by Mr Godfrey Ohuabunwa, that was given seven licenses. It turned out that most of these licenses were not paid for, and so are not on air today. As I stated earlier, I met the lawyer working as General Manager of Word, Sound & Vision Multimedia Limited; at their offices/ studios in Jabi, and he confirmed that they were issued the licenses; but since September 2018, they have not been able to pay, and consequently, they have not been issued frequencies to operate. The lawyer expressed surprise that the CACOBAG people were mischievously linking the licenses to a so-called racketeering issue at the NBC. He said that as a bonafide Nigerian company, Word, Sound & Vision Multimedia Limited was entitled to seek the licenses, and he added further, that Malam Modibbo Kawu was removed from everything related to the company, from the moment that he was appointed the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission. What I discovered further, was that licenses issued by the President are actually provisional and they translate to nothing, until they have been paid for, and the NBC’s Engineering Directorate issues the frequencies for transmission.So the question to ask is simple. Why have the windbags of CACOBAG gone to town with their allegation about “license racketeering” at the National Broadcasting Commission? The reason appears very clearly. The sponsors of the ICPC trial-by-media, against Malam Modibbo Kawu and Pinnacle Communications Limited, as well as the arraignment in court, have seen the way that their case is crumbling under cross examination.It is looking like the court route is not going to earn them the prize of removal of Malam Modibbo Kawu from his position as Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission. So they have chosen to go through a different route. There are so many “For Hire”, unemployed scum bags in the urban centers of Nigeria today, who call themselves “civil society activists”.Lagos political machineryThe Lagos political machinery that is desperately seeking the ouster of Malam Modibbo Kawu as DG of the NBC, so that they can implant one of their own, as part of the systematic takeover of all strategic Federal institutions, controls and funds many of these so-called “civil society” groups; the windbags of CACOBAG belong to the Lagos political rabble that believes it must destroy everyone that is in the way of their inordinate ambition to takeover every strategic institution in Nigeria.They work with other blindly ambitious individuals inside the NBC; these are the ones who release NBC documents, for the ridiculous purposes, such as has been done by the windbags of CACOBAG . But in this, their inordinate agenda, they will also fail. The Lagos political group does not own Nigeria.It cannot use blackmail and dirty politics to hound decent, hardworking Nigerians from genuine service to our country. They cannot be allowed to malign the characters of patriots genuinely serving Nigeria. Neither the windbags of CACOBAG nor their sponsors in the Lagos political machinery, will be allowed to destroy the character of Malam Modibbo Kawu, just because they want this former Commissioner to be forcibly implanted as DG of the NBC. There was nothing like a “license racketeering” at the NBC, as alleged by the hired guns of CACOBAG.It is a futile attempt at creating a cheap scandal that has no basis, but which is the manner the Lagos political machinery has always operated. Nigerians have now seen through their evil plans against an innocent patriot, Malam Modibbo Kawu. Their plot will not succeed. The Holy Qur’an in Suratul Al-Anfal (8:30) said: “…they plot and plan, and Allah too plans, and Allah is the Best of planners”.Abubakar Mahmoud Ahmed, retired Journalist; Public Affairs Consultant and Hadith Scholar, lives in Kurmi Mashi, Kaduna.
By Henry BoyoNIGERIA’s Currency profile has, notably failed to serve the needs of our people and our economy. Arguably, lower denominations of primary kobo coins and low value notes have been largely rejected because of their extremely negligible purchasing power. Overtime, the Naira Currency has lost significant value, as the highest existing compact denomination of N20 (the popular Muri) in 1977 was equivalent to over $20.Regrettably, the present highest denomination of N1000 note exchanged for over $8 initially in 2005, but now, disturbingly exchanges around $3. The N1000 note, also compares rather awkwardly, for example, with the new Ghana Cedi which was introduced between 2006-2007 with highest denomination of a 100 Cedi note, but exchanges in 2019 for about $20, after the Cedi steadily depreciated from GH?100=$110.Thus, in view of the present paltry value of $3 against the highest Naira denomination of N1000, a more robust currency profile that will truly reflect the cherished qualities of money (i.e. portability, stable value, durability, acceptability, etc.) has become necessary. The present choice is therefore between Naira redenomination and the issue of higher value denominations of N5,000 and N10,000 notes.The above title “The Inevitable Choice Between N10,000 Note And Redenomination” was first published on August 15, 2016. The issues raised therein, unfortunately, still remain very resonant today. Please read on.“Households across Nigeria have become severely traumatized by escalating prices of goods and services. The uneasy feeling that one’s pocket, has been picked has probably become common after every visit to the market, where the smallest available nylon sachet may be all that is needed to pack over N10,000 purchase(s).”“In retrospect, in 1977, the highest Naira denomination was N20 note, which exchanged for almost $30; regrettably, however, after the serial devaluations which followed the IMF inspired Structural Adjustment Program between 1985-90, the N1,000 note was issued as the Naira’s highest denomination and exchanged for just over $8 in 2005. Sadly, however, the same N1000 presently exchanges for about $3 after Naira devaluation in 2016.”“Invariably, coins have been widely rejected because of their worthless present value; consequently, the N5, N10, N20, N50, N100 erstwhile, secondary denomination notes, now perform roles normally reserved for hard wearing, longer lasting, metal currency to facilitate change and transactions.”“Nonetheless, if Naira’s freefall remains unchecked, and ultimately $1=N1000, the N1000 note will also assume the role of lower denomination coins, despite its inappropriate fragile paper fabric. In such event, even if N10,000 note is issued as the highest denomination, it will only exchange for $10. Similarly, new issues of N2,000 and N5,000 notes will exchange for $2 and $5 respectively. Clearly, unless the fundamental flaw in the pricing model that always produces a weaker Naira exchange rate is addressed, further Naira depreciation will result and ultimately N20,000 and N50,000 notes may become inevitable, just as Ghana’s currency profile in 2006 included ?50,000 notes which exchanged for just $5, before 4-point Cedi redecimalisation!”“Although, the adoption of N2,000, N3,000, N5,000 and N10,000 notes will facilitate cash transactions, it will also challenge the cashless project, on which government has invested tens of billions to implement. However, the relative success of the cashless project, notwithstanding, some critics may contend that, with respect to monetary policy, the cashless project, may be actually counterproductive, as the increased velocity in money circulation that it induces also worsens an already incendiary inflationary spiral!”“Invariably, higher denomination of Naira notes will facilitate portability, but the facilitation of large cash transactions also poses a security threat. Instructively, however, higher denominations will be inevitable, if the continuous slide in Naira exchange rate is not arrested. From a cost perspective, the issuance of higher notes may cost less, since the existing currency profile and design remain the same, while the addition of N2,000, N3,000, N5,000 and N10,000 notes will be popularly welcomed to replace the increasingly ‘worthless’ lower denominations below N1,000. Notably, however, so long as primary kobo coins remain worthless and rejected, retail pricing will again be in huge leaps of N500 and N1,000!”“Alternatively, the need to restore, value, portability and retail best practice with the embedded usage of primary coins, may advise a 3-point decimalization of the present Naira profile to support these objectives. Under this arrangement, the current N1,000 note will be replaced with a New N1 note, while N100 note will be replaced with a 10Kobo coin, so that the existing N50 note will become a New 5Kobo coin; similarly, the present N10 will become a new 1kobo coin.”“Thus, one US dollar, will exchange for N3.6, in consonance with the subsisting average exchange rate of about N360=$1; however, if the Naira further dips to say N500=$1 before redecimalization, the New N5 will exchange for $1 and so forth.”“Invariably, currency redenomination is a much more expensive undertaking than the alternative of higher Naira note issues, because a redenominated profile will incorporate the whole gamut from kobo coin (old N10) to the highest new N100= $36, with the inclusion of new designs for other standard denominations in between.”“A compact currency profile would notably, provide digital margins for competitive retail pricing as kobo coins and lower denomination secondary coins and notes become readily acceptable; the attrition caused by the shortage of change in transactions between petrol attendants, shop keepers and customers will become minimized. Furthermore, the re-introduction of coins with a greater purchasing value, will similarly facilitate trade with the use of slot machines, which are commonplace 24hour dumb service outlets for a wide range of consumables (See Articles titled “Redenomination: Why & Why Not?” (17/09/07) and “Redenomination of Ghana’s Currency” (15/01/07) at www.lesleba.com ).”“The danger however, is that if the current Naira profile is not redenominated while the slide in the Naira exchange rate continues, ultimately, N100,000 and N200,000 notes with minimal value will become inevitable, despite the related drawback of portability and accounting challenges.”“Advisedly, however, the heavy funding requirement for Redenomination and the complete overhaul of the Naira profile can be reduced, if the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company is appropriately upgraded to produce a substantial part, if not all the new cash requirements.”“Unfortunately, nonetheless, the underlying triggers of inflation, and Naira depreciation will not be neutralized by the mere issue of higher Naira denominations or the complete overhaul of the Naira profile with redenomination. Consequently, unrestrained double digit inflation rates and a Naira exchange rate perennially beleagued by, persistently surplus Naira liquidity in CBN auctions, will inevitably fuel a new cycle of currency rejection that will, ultimately, demand these same options of higher currency denominations or complete currency overhaul, to recreate a compact currency profile which will facilitate both transactions and the accounting process.”SAVE THE NAIRA! SAVE NIGERIANS!
There is a pretence of a debate over the practice and funding of local governments in the country. The Federal Government, putting up a facade of defending local governments, rolled out new guidelines on their expenditure, including a maximum daily N500,000 cash withdrawal.The Federal Government knows that local governments are serially raped by state governors who do not allow them to run as a different tier of government but looks the other way. This is partly because all political parties, whether ruling or in opposition, are involved in the racket. Since our return to civil rule – it is indeed a rule, not administration – the only time I recall the Federal Government intervened, was its seizure of the local government funds of Lagos State. That was under President Olusegun Obasanjo; it was a purely vindictive and punitive move.The Executive Governors who have practically killed the system are shamelessly quoting the constitutional provisions which in a cavalier manner, they constantly violate. This includes seizing, disbursing and spending the funds accruing to local governments. Governors rape the local government system crudely and shamelessly, like the police in Abuja who were accused of raping commercial sex workers openly at the police stations using discarded pure water sachets as condoms. They dissolve local government executives at will, reconstitute them when they feel like, impose ‘Caretaker Committees’; and when they remember they are supposed to be democrats, conduct mainly sham elections that only the ruling party in each state wins. Where in error a candidate from the opposition gets elected as a local government chairman as happened in Oyo State, he may not be sworn in.Just as they are violated, so do the local governments rape the citizenry. To most Nigerians, local governments are unaccountable tax collectors who terrorise market people, commercial drivers and street vendors. The local government chairmen, councillors and traditional rulers in their area of jurisdiction, share what is left of the monthly allocation passed down by state governors.Also read:Even when some primary schools bear the name Local Education Authority which presupposes that they are run by local governments, neither the pupils nor their parents associate that level of education with that tier of government. Even the teachers do not hold allegiance to the local governments which are nominally their employers. Partly to ensure absolute control, and the fact that in the past, local government authorities looted the salaries of teachers, it is the state governments that are seen to pay teachers’ salaries at that level.It is not uncommon to find thugs and street urchins hired by local governments and backed by the police and Civil Defence Corps members on the highway. This ragtag army carries planks with long nails with which they puncture tyres of motorists who fail to stop when flagged down and sticks with which they can break windscreens. They claim to be ‘task force’ collecting ‘advertisement fees.’ Sometimes, as I witnessed in Edo State last Tuesday, these thugs who are ready to become violent within seconds, are complemented by ‘mobile courts’ before which helpless and undefended motorists are dragged and sentenced for alleged violation of laws.The selected targets are usually travellers who need to move on quickly or delivery trucks that cannot afford to be impounded. So nobody sues, and the rape by the local governments simply go on. Involved in this brazen violation of the citizenry are the combined forces of the local governments desperate to milk the people for money, the states that use the judiciary to establish contraptions called ‘mobile courts’ and who also supply the magistrates, and the Federal Government that provides the enforcers called police and Civil Defence Corps.The local government system which, with the connivance of the state governments, local politicians and traditional rulers, rape the local people, is also an instrument used monthly to raid the federation accounts in the name of allocation; the loot is then unevenly shared. The sharing formula is such that Bayelsa State that produces the bulk of the resources gets eight portions, and Kano State that contributes very little gets 44 portions.There is no doubt that local administration is needed to cater to the needs of local communities, but the local government system is a fraudulent contraption by military regimes who created them without principles or known criteria. The military is hierarchical and if you had power or influence during the military regimes, you could allocate a local government to yourself or get one as your own share. Let us analyse our recent history. In the 1991 and 2006 census exercises, Lagos and Kano’s states were virtually at par, yet the former has 20 local governments and Kano, 44.Both census exercises gave Jigawa State a population less than half that of Lagos State, yet it has 27 local governments compared to the 20 in Lagos State. This means that old Kano State (now Jigawa and Kano states) which was created along with Lagos State based on parity of states, now has 71 local governments compared to Lagos with 20. So what equality or fairness can be achieved in using the number of local governments as a means of sharing the federal revenue?The local governments from conception to establishment, violate the preamble of the Constitution which states that its principles are built on: “Freedom, Equality and Justice, and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of our people.” Local governments were not created in freedom, are built on inequality and are, therefore, unjust. Rather than consolidating unity, the local government system as is presently constituted creates disharmony.Rather than engaging in sterile debates, the solution is to run the country on the basis of Section 2(2) which states unambiguously that: “Nigeria shall be a Federation consisting of States and a Federal Capital Territory.” If we accept this basic constitutional provision of what constitutes Nigeria, then it means that the current military-imposed local governments will go, and each state will be free to create any number of local governments it chooses provided they are purely internal matters and that it funds them.For instance, Lagos State has cried for over two decades now that the 20 local governments allocated to it are inadequate given the fact that it has a mega city of 18 million people. The same for oil-rich Bayelsa State which is allocated a miserly eight local governments over difficult watery terrain and oil-polluted lands. So in true freedom, the state can decide to double or triple its number of local governments. On the other hand, if Kano State chooses, it can maintain, increase or reduce its local governments to a number it can afford based on its revenue allocation and its Internally Generated Revenue.
By Hon. Victor Afam OgeneWhen the Imo state electorate chose the Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha as their next governor, at the last election, it was a bold statement anchored on informed judgement. Their action was a clear message that “leadership is a serious business that is sustained by trust and evaluated by its level of responsibility and responsiveness.”That apparently was the verdict that ensured that the people openly rejected Uche Nwosu, the son-in-law of the outgoing governor, Rochas Okorocha, who he had presented as his preferred candidate, on account of the perceived recklessness of the administration and its apparent disconnect from the people.The election presented the needed platform for self-examination in retrospect, for the people of the state, over the mandate they had given to the governor in the past. And in what could be likened to a referendum, they spoke in unison about the path they desire the state to travel, going forward, especially as they were obviously dissatisfied with how the affairs of the state were managed by Governor Okorocha, in the past eight years.A nod for a new orderAnd their collective resolve was a nod for a new order. New vision. A new direction, inspired by the belief that Imo state deserves better. And that with a more responsible leadership that would make the interest and wellbeing of the people the overriding priority of the government, Imo would, in no distant time, regain its pride of place in the nation.Urbane, savvy, articulate and astute, Ihedioha presents a fresh hope for this collective desire for fresh reinvention, reinvigoration and re-engineering of the creative energy of the state that would engender development, prosperity and progress in the state.The choice of Ihedioha, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), therefore, was a consensus endorsement for quality leadership, doggedness, loyalty, creativity, and perseverance. It was a vote for a man whose aspiration came with years of strategic networking and preparedness for leadership. And given his well-known antecedent as a trusted bearer, Ihedioha’s fidelity to genuinely be of service to Ndi Imo cannot be of any doubt.The nod is given to Ihedioha to pilot the affairs of the state, however, didn’t come on a platter. He worked hard and triumphed over 60 formidable opponents from other political parties and persuasions, which included a former governor, former ranking senators, boardroom titans, businessmen and even the clergy.Many commentators have, therefore, posited that all eyes would be on Ihedioha and Imo state, especially as the pre-election controversies that engulfed the state and the controversial public image of his predecessor have combined to turn Imo into a state of interest in national political discourse.Notedly, Ihedioha is not unaware of this unpleasant narrative. He understands, through his training and practice as a veteran journalist, frontline legislator and former Deputy Speaker, House of the Representatives, that this mandate comes with big responsibilities and very high expectations.In doing that he assured that his administration would consult widely and work as a team as he disclosed that in the course of the campaign, “we promised good governance while stimulating development in all sectors and across all the zones of our dear state.”And because of the urgency to turn around the fortunes of the state, the passion, apprehension and interest of many Imo indigenes to see that the pitfalls of the past were avoided, have become very palpable.I think I am in agreement with one of such Imo sons, Obi Nwakanma, who had proposed in an open letter to Ihedioha thus: “I think that irrespective of what your technical committee provides for you, you already have some distinguished templates from which to design your programs. I think you must borrow and hybridize five playbooks – Azikiwe’s “Eastern Nigerian Economic Development and Reconstruction plan, 1954-1964” which was fully implemented by Dr. Okpara, for its visionary impetus, the Ojukwu War Action plan authored by Dr. Pius Okigbo, which turned the East into a vast workshop, the Ukpabi Asika postwar Reconstruction program, with its bold economic and social initiatives, and the Imo state Economic Development plan of the Mbakwe administration. These plans, with a few contemporary tweaks, are still profoundly brilliant, far-reaching and relevant.”It is imperative to note that any meaningful future programmes and projections could benefit from the values and wisdom of history, as Nwakanma, has suggested. The late Dr Sam Mbakwe, for instance, remains a positive reference point in administrative acumen, leadership and development foresight, in the recent history of Imo state.In fact, it was documented that “At creation in 1976, Imo was completely bare and bereft of infrastructure, on account of the 1967 – 1970 Civil War, which affected most communities in the old Eastern Region. But with Mbakwe’s election in 1979, in a period of four years, the state had outpaced even the older counterparts, including those that did not witness the war in terms of development. That deployment of energy and exhibition of committed leadership in piloting the affairs of the state by Mbakwe is still celebrated by the people, years after his demise. That has also formed the benchmark for assessing successive administrations in the state.”Beyond fashioning a suitable economic template that takes Imo state out of the woods, this is the time, Your Excellency, to deploy your leadership skills and talent to unite, mobilize and galvanize the good people of Imo state for the good of the state.It is already a consensus among the people that Imo needs healing. There is an urgent need to rebuild trust among the people, for them to have faith in your leadership. This trust building must begin with consultations and listening to the people in order to appreciate their unique challenges, wishes and aspirations which will, in turn, guide the policy thrust of your government.Sense of belonging and working for their common goodBy carrying the people along, giving the sense of belonging and working for their common good, you will be strengthening their belief in democracy and its uplifting principles that make the people the bedrock of democratic practice.Let fairness, justice and equity shape your leadership ethos. But I don’t have any iota of doubt that you will make your people proud, as your time in the leadership of the House of Representatives have sufficiently prepared you for the task ahead, the same way it prepared your good friend, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, former Speaker of the House, in taking Sokoto state to a path of sustainable development.So, my dear brother, boss and former colleague, I urge you to roll up your sleeve, and get to work, because the task ahead, going forward, calls for total commitment, focus, courage and dynamism, that will have no room for distractions that may arise from avoidable bickering, rancour and other inanities of politics.Widely hailed as Igwe during his time as deputy speaker, Ihedioha is instructive, not associated with the traditional red cap which defines royalty; instead, he adorns the Green cap, which symbolises vegetation and regeneration.Therefore, as he mounts the saddle on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, as Governor – with his traditional green cap perched on his head – Imolites can rest assured that the urgent task of Rebuilding Imo has started in earnest!
By Emmanuel Elebeke & Mayoma BaiyegunhiABUJA—The Federal government has launched a channels satellite TV provider on the Nigerian Communications Satellite, NIGCOMSAT, limited Direct-To-Home, DTH platform called NextTv.The satellite TV service with 140 channels is a partnership between NIGCOMSAT and NextTV which is poised to be joint venture company.NextTV is a synergies of 3 media companies built to provide content over a Direct-To-Home platform as well as solutions for Telecommunication companies, OTT providers and PayTV operators and Mobile carriers.Under the partnership, Nigus will be the lead partner in the joint venture company and brings the total investments capital needed for this venture as well as management, administration, license, marketing and content. NIGCOMSAT on its part provides the transponders for the use of NextTv with a minimum of 4 transponders available to the JV. NIGCOMSAT will hold a 15% equity stake in NextTv.On the other side, GWIC provides the uplink equipment as well as access to back-up satellites to provide redundancies to NextTv and will hold a 10% equity stake in NextTv Minimal cost for premium quality DTH services to serve the continent of Africa.Unveiling the satellite TV, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who was represented by the Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu said the federal government is interested in the partnership between NIGCOMSAT and Next and is ready to offer all the needed support to make the partnership work.
By Dayo Johnson, Dapo Akinrefon & Ola AjayiIBADAN—BARELY a week after former President Olusegun Obasanjo accused the Federal Government of being lackadaisical about invasion and unprovoked attacks by herdsmen across the country, the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, has advised the Presidency to check the killing spree of the herders, especially in Yorubaland to prevent people from resorting to self-defence and anarchy.This came as Agbekoya Farmers Society said it will not fold its arms while killings, rape and kidnappings go on unabated by herdsmen.Also, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the South West has raised the alarm that the South West was under siege of herdsmen who perpetrate crime on a daily basis in the most unfettered manner.Check herdsmen to prevent anarchy — YCEThe Yoruba elders, who said unequivocally that it appears the herdsmen were untouchable, listed many instances when they kidnapped and killed innocent people without any justifiable reason.In a statement by its President, Col. S. Ade Agbede (retd), the elders’ council alluded to the abduction of a professor and lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile-Ife recently on Ibadan-Ife road as well as several killings of Yoruba sons and daughters on their farmlands by herdsmen to justify its worries, insisting that the trend be stopped.Making reference to a report that there were 1,123 cells built by herdsmen within the South West, YCE called on its people to be “on guard” and hold the issue of security so dearly to prevent further loss of lives and property.The statement read: “As Yoruba elders and leaders in our own rights, we owe it a duty to speak up. There are said to be 1,123 cells belonging to armed herdsmen located across Yoruba nation. The cells are said to be well organized and they are said to appear to network with each other as the cells may not be known except that there has been increase in their organisational skills.“Perhaps, the most challenging issue confronting the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is that of insecurity and it is not hidden, the various efforts being made. But, one is constrained to observe that the situation is degenerating and when such a situation arises, it needs drastic solution.“We are not oblivious of the great task of the military in nearly all parts of the north and some parts of the south against insurgents and bandits. This has made the military very stretched, thereby, needing the understanding and cooperation of Nigerians to render a helping effort in intelligence gathering to forestall what appears like a planned invasion of Yoruba nation.“This is part of the reasons we are now calling on our people to be on guard and forge a common front to ensure the security of lives and property in our region. A released victim from herdsmen captivity said unequivocally that Yoruba nation is under siege as he recounted how about 10 armed men dressed in army uniform (camouflage) kidnapped him.“We all have to wake up from our slumber and flush out all strange and potentially dangerous people hiding in our forests.“A situation which makes the herdsmen appear untouchable and have laxity to behave as they like is embarrassingly worrisome and poses grave danger to peaceful coexistence among the various ethnic groups in the country.“The Federal Government should resolve to rein in herdsmen and bandits so as not to pave way for a situation where everybody will resort to self-defence which will ultimately lead to anarchy and descend to Hobbesian state of nature where life is short, brutish and nasty.”While calling on the Federal Government to redouble its efforts at curbing the menace of kidnappers, YCE advised that security agencies increase their air surveillance activities across the country.“The moment the kidnappers know that they have no hiding place anywhere around the country, they would abandon the illicit venture”, YCE stated.We won’t fold our arms— AgbekoyaAlso expressing worry over the rate of insecurity, banditry and kidnapping in the South West, the Agbekoya Farmers Society said it will collaborate with the Nigeria Police to curb the kidnapping, rape and killing in South West.The National Executive of Agbekoya Farmers Society, who met, weekend, to address the menace in the region, warned herdsmen to desist from terrorizing Yorubaland.Its President General, Aare Okikiola Kamorudeen Aremu said: “The Agbekoya cannot continue to fold its arms while her sons and daughters are killed, raped and kidnapped on a daily basis by the Bororo Fulani. Agbekoya Farmers Society is ready to join hands with Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies in order to stop the killings, rape, abduction and kidnappings in the South West of the country.“While we commend the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force, we want all hands to be on deck to fight the kidnappers and the killers that have invaded Yorubaland.”While Aremu warned the herdsmen to stop terrorising the Yoruba, he asked them to stop invading the South West “for their own good.”“Agbekoya stands for peace and unity of the Yoruba and Nigeria. We are calling on the Bororo leaders to call their people to order and warn them to desist from killing, abducting, kidnapping and rape in our area.”We’re under siege of terrorists, S/W PDP raises alarmOn its part, the PDP in the South West, said: “It is absurd and inexcusable for us to be under siege in our own nation.”In a statement by the party’s Zonal Publicity Secretary in Akure, Mr. Ayo Fadaka lamented that Nigerians now live in “fear and trepidation as insecurity across the length and breadth of the nation continues to grow in alarming proportions.”Fadaka lamented that the insecurity has continued “with no sign that Mr. President is in any manner ready, equipped and prepared to bail the nation out of these orgies of violence, war, destruction and needless deaths.”The statement read: “It is unfortunate to state that the South West is today under the siege of Fulani terrorists or herdsmen, who perpetrate criminal actions daily, in the most unfettered manner.“In our region, kidnapping, assault and rape by these marauders remains unchecked, this lethargy has even emboldened them to attack a traditional ruler in his palace, without repercussions, thus egregiously making a bold statement that we the Yoruba have become their captives.“This we condemn out rightly as a direct assault, insult and desecration of our corporate heritage as Yoruba people.“We demand of President Buhari to immediately order the security agencies to flush these criminals out of the South West. If he does, we, the Yoruba, will heave a sigh of relief and discard our suspicion that ethnic cleansing is about to be prosecuted in our nation.”We will sincerely appreciate him for it.“However, taking due cognisance of the President’s lethargy and pussy footing, we may not expect this to happen soon, our conclusion in this direction is reinforced by the fact that he only recently gave a directive concerning the Apapa road debacle after years of crisis and suffering it has posed to the people and national economy.Flay S’West governors“We also condemn the governors of the South West, particularly those of Ekiti, Osun, Ondo and Oyo States for not doing enough to safeguard their people.“Roads across these States have become the theater of operation of these hoodlums and they seem to stand by helplessly and watch, thereby, making us to query what indeed they spend the humongous sum they take as security vote on.“It is in Ondo State that an Oba’s palace was violently invaded by herdsmen and all the governor did is an appeasement of the hoodlums, this is disappointing.“It is now becoming a common occurrence for these hoodlums to enter houses and pluck people like oranges.“The Governors must compulsorily know that we are essentially Yorubas firstly irrespective of partisan political affiliations, thus, must assiduously protect our people and land through the instrumentalities of their offices compulsorily, their failure so far, which we suspect is dictated by the ephemeral need to be seen as being loyal to Mr. President, and remain in his good books without briefing him adequately on the challenges of our region is absolutely sycophantic and condemnable.“We also call on Yoruba leaders to immediately shun partisanship and convoke a meeting where the issues of our security will be wholly addressed without delay.“These are trying times for us as a people, we have not suffered this type of invasion since the betrayal of Afonja and we must as a matter of urgency, develop an immediate answer, to this scourge before it is too late.“Our Obas owe us the responsibilities to eschew undue rivalry within their ranks, close gaps and design models of traditional response firstly in their various domains, and in our entire region.“We also call on the APC leaders in the South West to put the pursuance of opportunistic desires aside and speak with President Buhari on this score, as for us in the PDP, we restate our loyalty to our Party and nation, but take very seriously our principled commitment to the peace and security of our region, Yoruba land.”
- A Nigerian lady identified as Farida on Twitter has revealed that she is a third class graduate who employs people with first class- Farida added that she earns what people with first class cannot imagine earning- Farida is a software developerIn Nigeria, there is a stigma attached to people who graduated with a third class or a pass. Gaining reasonable employment becomes a task for them as employers seek people with better grades.However, a young software developer identified as Farida (@reedahkh) on Twitter has revealed that she graduated with a third class but she now employs first class graduates and pays them as well.The young lady added that she never used her certificate for her achievements and she earns more that the first class graduate can imagine. See her tweet below:PAY ATTENTION: Install our latest app for Android and read the best news about NigeriaExplaining further, Farida added that one's class of degree or certificate does not determine one's success in life and that people with third class can become very successful and vice versa.READ ALSO: Robert Smith: I want to change the world - Student speaks after billionaire paid his debt loanHowever, Farida admitted that she used to feel hopeless because of her result and she became motivated to do better. According to her, she graduated top of her class in software development but the certificate did not help her get a job.Finally, she added that she employs people based on their capacity as a developer and not their result from the university.Despite Farida's impressive story, a few Twitter users felt she gave a generalized opinion by saying she earns more that people can imagine. See some comments below:READ ALSO: Anambra schools reportedly dedicate a day to Igbo culture, students attend classes in traditional outfitHowever, there were others who agreed with Farida and felt motivated by her words. See some of their reactions below:READ ALSO: Inspiring story of male corps member who pushed wheelbarrow to put him through school (photos)In other news, Legit.ng reported that a hardworking man has graduated from the same school he used to be a gardener.The new graduate, Lukhanyo Mafu, was tending to UFH’s plants just 7 years before this proud moment. Lukhanyo can now proudly say that he has a Social Science degree under his belt.A Twitter user shared Lukhanyo’s proud graduation moment with the world, praising his “black excellence”.READ ALSO: Personal letter from the Editor-in-Chief of Legit.ng (formerly NAIJ.com)HELLO! NAIJ.com (naija.ng) upgrades to Legit.ng We keep evolving to serve our readers better.Meet hardworking mother and wife who works as a glass-technician in Abuja | Legit TV
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state on Sunday, May 26, inaugurated 36 new permanent secretaries in the state civil service.The governor had on Friday, May 24, appointed the new permanent secretaries.Ganduje while swearing-in the new permanent secretaries at the Government House, Kano, urged them to remain committed to the cause of the state.The governor, who said their elevation was based on merit, urged them to also assist him to realise his commitment to take the state to the next level.READ ALSO: N47bn Nigeria Air project still on course - MinisterHe called on the appointees to inculcate the spirit of accountability, discipline and responsible conduct in the conduct of their duties.”To whom much is given, much is expected and our expectation is very high on you. So, I hope you will serve your respective ministries as expected,” he said.The governor congratulated the new permanent secretaries and wished them well as they take up their new responsibilities.The swearing-in was performed by Ibrahim Muktar, the state attorney general and commissioner for justice.Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Ganduje had on Thursday, May 2, sacked all the serving permanent secretaries in the state civil service.READ ALSO: NAIJ.com upgrades to Legit.ng: a letter from our Editor-in-Chief Bayo OlupohundaThe public relations officer to the office Head of Service, Auwalu Muhammad Naiya, confirmed that Kano state had 33 permanent secretaries manning several ministries, agencies, and parastatals.Legit.ng gathered that a statement signed by Naiya, directed them to hand over to the most senior director in their respective ministries, agencies and parastatals.NAIJ.com (naija.ng) -> Legit.ng We have upgraded to serve you better.How workaholic Governor Ganduje is transforming Kano state | - on Legit TV