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Sunday, 16 April 2017

Ikoyi Recovery: Governor Wike is a Confused Child – Rotimi Amaechi



Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi

Minister of Transportation and former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi has responded to the incumbent governor of the state Nyesom Wike’s claim that the money ($43.4m, £27,800, and N23.2m) found in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) belongs to the state government.
Wike had said that Amaechi, during his tenure, syphoned the money which was proceeds from the sale of gas turbines in the state.
Wike, while speaking to journalists on Friday, gave the federal government 7 days to release the money to his state.
Reacting to the development, Amaechi’s media office, in a statement said:

Wike’s reckless, irresponsible and fictitious tirade against the President Buhari administration at his media briefing on Friday is a declaration of war against the federal government.
This has been his regular pastime in recent times, making false allegations against the federal government and threatening the President Buhari administration with fire and brimstone.
Rivers State is perpetually in crisis, the state in a mess as Wike has made a total mess of governance in the state.
That child who sits there as governor is confused, he doesn’t know what to do. Wike’s only solution is to attack Amaechi.
Since he became governor, Wike sleeps and wakes up everyday, with a sole, one-point agenda to attack and denigrate Rotimi Amaechi, no matter how ridiculous and silly he sounds. Everyday in Rivers state, there is one frivolous, false story of what Amaechi did or didn’t do.
Same pattern, the same blatant lies with no proof, same old concocted stories of corruption allegations against Amaechi told with different flavours. At this rate, if Wike is unable to perform his spousal duties, he will blame it on Amaechi. Yes, that’s how despicably low he can go in his consuming fixation to throw mud at Amaechi.
This latest outburst by Wike is typical of him. We are aware that Wike first tried to float the fake news of Amaechi’s ownership of the recovered $43million and the Ikoyi house in the social media using his minions and lackeys, spending huge sums of Rivers money on the failed project.
His minions and lackeys were calling journalists, bloggers and media organisations to run the fake story with promises of almost irresistible mouth-watering compensation for using the fake story.
When that failed and the story didn’t gain traction that was when Wike decided to hurriedly hold the press conference Friday night, to rant and spew his outright lies, yet again without providing any proof of Amaechi’s ownership of both the property and the money.
For clarity and emphasis, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is not the owner of the $43million and the Ikoyi apartment in which the money was recovered from. Amaechi has no business, link or connection to the money or property. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi does not know who owns the money or Ikoyi apartment.

There is need to Examine Governor Wike’s State of Mind – Dakuku Peterside



NIMASA DG, Dakuku Peterside

An All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart in Rivers, Dr. Dakuku Peterside has questioned the mental health of Governor Nyesom Wike after the latter claimed that the $43.45million found in a Lagos apartment belongs to Rivers Government.
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) recovered the money and another 27,800 pounds and N23.2m at a residence in Ikoyi, Lagos State.
Wike claimed that the money was the proceeds from the sale of gas turbines by Rotimi Amaechi, who was his predecessor.
Peterside, who is Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and who also served in the Amaechi administration as a commissioner for works and later a member of the House of Representatives, slammed Wike’s claim as deceptive.
He accused the  governor of turning governance into a circus show and lacking the sense of dignity by constantly being in the news for all the wrong reasons.
“Not too long ago, Wike apparently suffering from overdose of self delusion said he awarded road projects in far away Benue State and had mobilised contractors to site.
The same Wike has also accused the Inspector General of Police of plotting to assassinate him through the new CP in Rivers State.
We thought these were jokes taken too far. But the clownish governor has surprised himself with another tale by moonlight in trying to link his former boss and benefactor to the unclaimed money,” he said.
According to Peterside, there is need to examine Wike’s state of mind because his utterances and actions are embarrassing Rivers people.
“Time and time again, Wike is bringing ridicule to the office he occupies and embarrassing the people of Rivers State who are known to be intelligent, responsible and decent in upbringing,” he said.
The APC chieftain said Amaechi, Minister of Transportation had since denied owning the said house in Lagos and challenged the Rivers Government to provide evidence to the contrary.
Peterside explained that the money realised from the sale of gas turbines was paid into the account of Rivers state and used for projects.
“While Wike can never come near the record of Amaechi, he is doing everything to reverse the unmatchable records of his predecessor. As at today, no one has seen copies of 2016 and 2017 budgets of Rivers State. Schools and health centres are shutting down with thousands of school age children out of school.
It is people like Wike who have made Nigerians to call to question the issue of immunity in the Constitution. He is taking immunity as shield to abuse the dignity of the office of Governor.
The governor can still retrace his steps and follow the path of dignity, decorum and respect the office he occupies for he holds it in trust on behalf of Rivers people,” he said.
Peterside also said he had been a victim of the lies being told by the Wike Clan, as he was accused by the PDP chairman in the state, of using $6m to influence judicial officers.

Accept Decision of Tribunal – Oba Ewuare II of Benin tells Osagie Ize-Iyamu



Oba Ewuare II of Benin

The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, on Saturday advised Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate to accept the verdict of the state Election Petitions Tribunal. The Oba declared ‘no victor no vanquished’ in the election, said the monarch’s Chief Press Secretary, Desmond Agbama.
A three-man Election Petition tribunal had on Friday dismissed Ize-Iyamu’s case and upheld the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
Ize-Iyamu and his party, the PDP, had challenged the declaration by Independent National Electoral Commission of Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the September 28 gubernatorial election. Oba Ewuare said;
In an election, there is no victor and no vanquished. Consequently, Osagie Ize-Iyamu should accept the decision of the tribunal in good faith and forge ahead in the task of providing democracy dividends for the people.
He congratulated Obaseki on his victory and urged him to focus on sanitising the society, providing critical infrastructure and creating job opportunities for the teeming unemployment youths in the state.
Oba Ewuare II also urged all stakeholders to support the administration in the task of moving Edo to higher heights.
In Benin, the Oba’s statement is obeyed like the law. It remains to be seen, whether Ize-Iyamu, a son of the ancient kingdom will heed the advice.
Justice Ahmed Badamasi who chaired the three-member election tribunal dismissed the petitions filed by Ize-Iyamu and the PDP as lacking in merit. Badamasi held that the petitioners failed on all fronts to prove the allegations as pleaded in their petitions. Justice Badamasi said;
The petitioners have failed to prove their case with credible evidence and is therefore dismissed. The much talked about ticking and over voting by the petitioners have not been specifically proven beyond reasonable doubt.
The tribunal held that while the petitioners abandoned some of their pleadings, “witnesses evidences were controverted under cross examination.
Ize-Iyamu said the verdict was unacceptable. Ize-Iyamu told party leaders and supporters at a forum attended by the state chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, that the judgment would be appealed at a higher court.
“From the snippets I heard, the tribunal’s judgment cannot stand in the higher courts. This case must be pursued up to the Supreme Court, ” he said.
Source: NAN

Personal Attacks and Insults aimed at Silencing me will not Work – Emir Sanusi



 
Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II

Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II has said that following his statement that the North-East and North-West regions are the poorest parts of Nigeria, he has faced “a barrage of personal attacks and insults” aimed at silencing him.
According to PUNCH, he made this known at the Inaugural Annual Chibok Girls Lecture to commemorate the third anniversary of the abduction of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok Government Secondary School by Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State.
Sanusi, who was represented by his daughter Shahida said:
Our colleagues and compatriots among the elite do not like statistics. Numbers are disturbing. I recently gave a speech in which I said the North-East and North-West of Nigeria are the poorest parts of the country. This simple statement of fact has generated so much heat, the noise has yet to die down.
The response to this speech has been a barrage of personal attacks and insults aimed at silencing any voice that dare shine the light on the society to which we are saying Bring Back our Girls.
There are those who believe these attacks are aimed at discrediting me personally but even if that is the objective, it will not work. I can only be discredited by what I have done and not by insults and lies on the social media. And in any event, personal criticism has no impact on the issues.
Shahida, while delivering the speech on behalf of her father, said that the monarch is not afraid to give up his throne if it stands in the way of speaking the truth.
“My father is not afraid of giving up his throne if it stands in the way of speaking the truth. Those who think that my father would keep quiet because he wants to hold on to his throne, I think they don’t know my father,” she said.
I know that he has always wanted to be the emir of Kano but to him, if it comes between what is right, what his conscience tells him and choosing the throne, he would happily give up the throne.
My father has always been a part of one controversy or the other and it’s normal for us. We are not scared anymore.
And honestly, he has been a source of inspiration and pride. He never fails to fight. He fights for progress, liberty, justice and equality. Those who think they know my father should know that he will never be silenced by blackmail and intimidation. He lost his position once as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and I remember his quote that you can suspend a man but you can never suspend the truth. I know he does not mind being the most unpopular emir so long he speaks the truth,” Shahida was quoted as saying.
Sanusi who is known to be very vocal about his views, had recently criticised Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara for saying the recent meningitis outbreak in Nigeria was as a result of fornication.
He slammed Northern leaders for being stuck in the 13th Century while other Muslim countries are advancing.
The Emir, in a video message at the event yesterday, also said that those who think he is a problem, have not seen anything yet, as his children are far more “radical”, “progressive”, and “fearless”.

Dele Momodu: The Curious Case Of A Country With Unknown Tenants



Chief Dele Momodu

“I love my country I know go lie
Na inside am I go live and die
I know my country I no go lie
Na im and me go yap till I die…”

Fellow Nigerians, let me borrow that incredible song I believe was composed by Tunji Oyelana and produced in the Shehu Shagari era, around 1981. The National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was comfortably in charge and the ruling party had gone on spending spree. The situation got so bad, or so we thought, and Wole Soyinka and his irrepressible “conspirators” regaled us with satires. Stage plays were still popular in those days and the place to be, as a student at the University of Ife, was Oduduwa Hall, next to the Hezekiah Oluwasanmi Library. I will never forget “Opera Wonyosi.” Even now “The Beggar’s Anthem” still reverberates in my head. We thought we had seen the worst of our country then but the profligacy of that time pales into insignificance compared to today’s madness.

Late last year, the Federal Government announced that it would be pursuing a whistleblowing policy to encourage Nigerian citizens to inform, snitch or tell tales (depending on what side of the divide you are) on their fellow citizens who have been engaged in corrupt practices and secretly salted away money and property. The incentive for the whistleblower was that they would receive between 2.5% to 5 % of whatever the value of money or property recovered as a result of the information. On another day, I will deal with the politics, morality and efficacy of whistleblowing as a tool in the fight against corruption. On my own part, my major concern is the lack of protection other than financial reward offered to the whistleblower!

The serious season of the Whistle Blower started in February 2017 when EFCC operatives raided a building said to belong to Andrew Yakubu, former group managing director of the NNPC. They recovered almost US$10 million dollars and £100,000 from a safe ensconced in a building deep in the outback of Kaduna. The Man subsequently walked into the offices of the EFCC and demanded for the money back contending it was a gift. As the matter is now in Court and thus sub judice, I will not enter the debate as to who, how or why?

The season continued in March 2017 with another discovery of money in Kaduna. The closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and its relocation to Kaduna led to this expose. Upon information received, security agents had intercepted a package at the baggage screening point at the newly refurbished and revamped airport. Originally it was claimed that the money, which was found in five unmarked and unaccompanied bags, was in crisp new N200 and N50 notes. Investigations swung into full gear but till today we have not heard anything further about the investigations. The only information, if any, was that the money had been recovered as a result of the activities of a whistleblower. We certainly are none the wiser about the owners or the purpose of the money.

The season of anomie moved Southwards into Lagos, the commercial capital of the country, in April, when money was recovered in various locations there.

On April 7 a whistleblower tipped off the EFCC Lagos Zone that a large sum of money was stashed in an office building at the LEGICO Shopping Plaza in the Nigeria Air Force Complex in Victoria Island. When Operatives raided the office, they found almost N500 million in N1000 and N500 denominations in several “Ghana Must Go” bags. On enquiry it was discovered that the offices concerned were abandoned Bureau De Change (BDC) offices. The offices had apparently not been used for two years. As far as we know, efforts to locate the owner of the BDC has proved abortive and nobody has turned up to claim the money.

The next major heralded whistleblowing event occurred on April 10 when the equivalent of almost N250 Million in Naira and various foreign currencies was recovered in a Bureau De Change (BDC) in the popular Balogun Market area of Lagos. Although two people were apprehended, they claimed the money belonged to their unidentified boss from the Northern part of Nigeria. The real owner of the money and the BDC involved remain un-named.

However, the mother of all discoveries was apparently yet to be made. On 12 April 2017 Nigerians woke up to the revelation that more than US$43 Million, £27 Million and N23 Million was found in a flat in Osborne Road, Ikoyi. The discovery in Ikoyi has apparently opened a can of worms and it is not known who will be exposed and consumed by the debacle. Unlike the other unknown and un-named owners affected by the previous whistleblowing escapades, a few people have been touted as potential owners of the property and the money.

The first of the alleged owners was a former Managing Director who was recently fired from NNPC, Mrs Esther Nnamdi-Okagbue. She promptly dissociated herself from the money or the property and threatened that if she continued to be intimidated she would break her silence and cause cataclysm in the country. Next up was a former national Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mu’Azu who allegedly owns the property although it was claimed that a prominent Nigerian bank has foreclosed on it. The embattled former national Chairman immediately and stoutly denied any link with the flat in which the money had been found or the money itself.

The rumour mill then shifted attention to one of the foremost and frontline Ministers in President Buhari’s Government and a vociferous champion of the anti-corruption campaign, Rotimi Amaechi the Minister of Transport. Linked by satanic rumours with the vivacious Television presenter and media entrepreneur, Mo Abudu it is alleged that Amaechi owns the property and the money found in them. It is claimed that this is so because he bought two properties and gave one to his friend Mo Abudu. Mo Abudu has also issued a Press release in which she vehemently refutes the allegation that she is involved in a relationship with Amaechi or that she owns the flat in which the money was found.

Given my close relationship with Amaechi, I called him to ask about the story particularly as the Governor of Rivers State has claimed that the money belongs to his State. The State Government claims that the money was diverted funds from the sale of the State’s Gas Turbines to Sahara Energy for the price of US$319 Million. Amaechi’s reaction was one of incredulity. As he told me, “Bob Dee, you know that I have always told you I am not rich. How would I have access to that kind of money and look you in the face and say that!” In short, Amaechi denied anything to do with the money and told me that he knew the game his detractors were playing and that he would leave them to their conscience. I thought that he felt resigned to the fact that as one of the Poster Boys of this administration and his unflinching support for the President from the electioneering era till now, he was bound to be subjected to this kind of buffeting and earth-shattering allegations. Amaechi would never be forgiven by the PDP who believe that he sacked them from power because of the initial position he took at the Governor’s Forum which led to the fatal schism in the PDP.

To compound the matter and deepen the mystery, social media went agog with the news that the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) had claimed that the money was part of its operational funds which it had kept in the flat that it was using as a safe house in Lagos and that everything went through due process. It is unclear as yet whether this report is true or not but certainly, the plot thickens.

May the soul of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti continue to rest in peace. He had a song for everything, on different occasions. One of my favourite was “Unknown Soldier.” The song practically portrayed the inability of our government to unravel any major act of crime and the penchant for blaming it on unknown people, as if Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) descended regularly on our shores to wreak havoc. Fela’s song was so poignant and unforgettable. As I received the news of the huge sums of dollars being busted in some people’s homes and offices in Nigeria, my mind flashed back to Fela and how he would have composed a song titled UNKNOWN LANDLORDS.
Believe me, our country is super unique. Where else can anyone keep about $50 Million US Dollars in raw cash? The mere sight of that would have made regular people to faint, collapse and probably die instantly but not here. When God created us, he installed a certain shock-absorber in us that makes it impossible for us to shake or panic in the face of horrendous encounters.

It is curious that the EFCC claims that in all of these matters it has been tipped off by whistleblowers yet those people have seemingly not been able to provide the identity of the owners of the money or even the property in which the money was found. Wouldn’t any rookie investigator first ask those questions before hotfooting to the scene of the alleged crime? Would you not stake out the place to find out who comes and goes as well as to be sure that you are not walking into a trap? Except it is a deliberate strategy to keep the names for now but why mention some publicly and hide others?
It appears that these mysterious landlords and owners of money are cloaked with some kind of aura or “aferi” (rarefier) that makes them invisible to the eyes of the EFCC but otherwise apparent to everyone else. Many are wondering what is happening at EFCC. The conspiracy theory out there is that the Acting Chairman of the EFCC is simply raging around like a bull in a china shop seeking to find prized heads he can hoist on his stick or at worst pull down with him if he finally has to fall on his sword? The sing-song is that Magu wants his job substantively by all cost and any means. Why not? He has every right but he needs to straighten up his prosecution desks and ensure that the cases are well handled in the law courts and less of the theatrics that we see daily as if that is what this anti-corruption fight is all about when it should be much more. If care is not taken, this extraordinary battle may fizzle out and end miserably like all others before it.
It seems like the circus has come to town and the unknown landlords like the masquerades of yore will never be unmasked. To do so might forebode bad tidings for an already beleaguered government. It is now obvious that corruption is not easy to fight in a country where it has become so endemic and malignant. We wait with bated breath for developments in the saga of the unknown landlords!

Dele Momodu is a Nigerian journalist, publisher, and former presidential aspirant. He tweets from @delemomodu. This article is culled from ThisDay.

“I have never had an attraction for an actor… Most of them are like my brothers” – Bimbo Akintola



Bimbo Akintola

Veteran Nollywood Actress Bimbo Akintola, in an interview with PUNCH‘s Tunde Ajaja talked about her family, growing up, her career, and love life.
The actress, who was the lead character in 93 Days, a movie about the 2014 ebola outbreak, said that there is no actor or individual in the movie industry she is interested in dating, adding that she sees them as her brothers and colleagues.
She also dispelled rumours that she smokes, adding that the habit is not good for one’s health.
When asked about rumours that she’s in a relationship, she said she likes to keep certain things private.
Read excerpts below:

How did your acting career begin?
My mum told me I had always been dramatic, since I was very young. So maybe it began from that time. She said one way or the other, I was always involved in acting. When I was in secondary school, I was also into dancing and at a point, I joined the choir, even though I didn’t stay long. I don’t think any profession would have appealed to me apart from acting. Even the other things I do, like singing, writing poems, etc., are hobbies. Acting is one thing I’m extremely passionate about. When I chose Theatre Arts as the course I wanted to study in University of Ibadan, my dad didn’t understand it for a while. He just felt you can’t make money from doing stuffs like that. He felt why not go and study something else so I could have a degree I could fall back on. I was a stubborn child, so I said no, I must study Theatre Arts and I did. He finally agreed with me.

What fond memories of growing up do you still have?
Growing up was fun. My mum got married at about 17, and at 18 she had her first child. As a young mother, she was a disciplinarian but loving. My dad was a Customs officer and he was posted to different places, so he only came home on weekends or fortnightly. Then, in the evening, we would sit outside in the balcony and my mum would tell us stories and teach us songs. And anytime she was cooking, everybody; male or female, would have to be in the kitchen with her. While cooking she would be singing and we had to join her as well. I was a tomboy and I liked to climb trees and jump fences. As a result, I always had bruises on my chin. My mum just couldn’t understand it so I was chastised every day. Over time, she couldn’t stop me from climbing trees, because I was a real tomboy. After a while, she got used to it.

Talking about living healthy; some people say you smoke. Are you considering dropping the habit, if truly you do?
If you are asking if I smoke, I don’t. It would interest you that people who say I smoke have never seen me smoking before, yet they say it with assurance. I don’t mind people talking about whether someone is smoking or not, but they must have evidence. You must have evidence to say certain things about people. If you ask me if I drink, I barely drink now. Smoking and some other habits people engage in are not good for the health. And I’m of the view that people who smoke should quit.

Some reports online even rank you as one of the top actresses who can’t do without smoking. Does it bother you sometimes?
I’m not bothered. Anybody can write whatever they like. And this has been happening for the last 20 years. I have read many stories about myself online that I don’t even know the person they are talking about. I’m not bothered because I know who I am; my parents know who I am; my family and friends know who I am and when people who don’t know me meet me and have a conversation with me, they change their mind. So, I’m okay with that. There was a time I was outside the country and some persons wrote that I was in Ogba doing something funny. I laughed deeply. And that was about 15 years ago. The truth of the matter is that people want to read weird, funny stories and unfortunately, there is a huge base for stories like that everywhere in the world. So, that is why stories like that would never end. So, I’m not bothered.

A lot has been said about your love life and some have said you should be married by now. Would you say the society is mounting pressure on you as regards marriage?
I guess these questions arise because of the country we live in and the kind of people we are. It’s also something I think we need to look at critically, because it seems we are creating more trouble for people, as marriages are now crashing within six months or even less. This is partly because the society puts a lot of pressure on people to get married. Shouldn’t we take a step backward and ask ourselves what we are doing wrong. It’s not about how soon, but how well? I think it’s time we realised that marriage is such a serious thing. Shouldn’t we allow people make their choices by themselves, without pressure? Parents should stop putting pressure on their children. Many women are divorced now and in some cases, there is serious fight and both of them would be fighting over the custody of the child. We need to start changing the way we look at marriage. It’s important we get married but marry at your own time.

You once said you love kids, and with the way people are embracing the option of child out of wedlock, popularly called baby mama, is it something you could do?
Of course, I can. Definitely I can do it because I don’t see anything wrong with it. Things are changing in the world at large. If you look around, you would find a lot of women are having babies and taking care of themselves. It’s everywhere. There are women who are not actors but are single mothers, and for a lot of people I think it’s about their biological clock. Instead of waiting for manna from heaven and you know there is no manna, and you feel the need to have children, then do it.

But the Yoruba culture makes it look like a woman is incomplete without a man. Does that not bother you?
We have to change our thinking, due to the time. You can’t be rooted in the past when the present and future are a totally different place. If you look at what is going on now, there are women looking for husband but can’t find. So would you now say because of that they shouldn’t have children? That’s unnecessary and it’s like making them suffer twice. I think for anybody that wants to have children, as long as you know you are capable of taking care of them financially and emotionally, why not.

Can you date an actor?
I’ve been in the entertainment industry for over 20 years, so there is nobody I want to date in the industry, except such persons have not come into the industry yet. I know everybody and there is nobody I’m interested in dating. That is the truth. Most of them are like my brothers, and maybe it’s because of the work, because when I’m working, those things don’t even occur to me, so by the time work is over, I already see you as a brother or colleague. For me, I have never been interested in any actor. Never!

If you work closely with someone for a length of time, are you saying you have never had feelings for any actor in the line of duty?
Never! It has never happened to me, personally. I don’t look at anyone except from the angle of the character the person is representing. I could talk with the person before or after, but at that point, you are probably entering the brother or friend zone. I’ve worked with the finest men in the industry and I have not felt anything like that before. I worked with RMD, and that was even when I had just started acting. I worked with Ramsey Nouah, Desmond Elliot, Emeka Ike, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Fred Amata, etc. they are all like my friends and brothers. Even the directors, like Jimi Odumosu, Lancelot Imasuen are like my brothers. So, for me, I have never had an attraction for an actor.

Some reports say you are in a relationship. Is it true?
I’m an actor and because of that people are curious about my life, but I like to keep certain things to myself.

The Nigerian Association of Christian Journalists has nominated you as one of the recipients of its Integrity Award. How did you receive the news?
It was a huge surprise; I wasn’t expecting it at all. For a lot of us who are in arts, we do what we do, hoping that we are touching lives. So, being given an award like that is just like people saying they see what you are doing and you are doing a great job. And once in a while, you need that, like a pat on the back, saying well done.

Read the full interview HERE.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

PDP Crisis: Sheriff Is A ‘Thug, Gangster’ For Walking Out On Goodluck Jonathan – Fani-Kayode.


Image result for femi fani kayode
Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has said the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ali Modu Sheriff exhibited the attitude of a “thug and a gangster” by walking out of the peace reconciliation meeting convened by former President, Goodluck Jonathan.
Recall that the former Borno State Governor had on Thursday stormed out of a peace meeting convened by Jonathan in Abuja to resolve the party’s lingering crisis.
Addressing newsmen, Sheriff, explained that he stormed out of the meeting because he was denied the opportunity to preside over the meeting.
However, Fani-Kayode, in his reaction, stressed that the action of the party’s Chairman was an indication that he needs help because he is sick.
In a post on his Facebook wall yesterday, the former spokesperson of the PDP Presidential campaign, wrote: “What happened at the PDP meeting yesterday did not surprise me at all. I was there and witnessed the whole thing. Ali Modu Sheriff lived up to his reputation of being a disrespectful bullly and thug.
“Walking out on your leader and a gentleman like President Goodluck Jonathan despite all his appeals for restraint, calm and peace is not the way forward.
“And openly threatening and insulting the Governors, members of the PDP Board of Trustees, the PDP National Assembly caucus, the PDP former Ministers Forum, the PDP former Governors forum, the PDP Womens Caucus, the PDP Youth Caucus and 95 per per cent of the party leadership is not the way to prove your credentials as a leader.
“Only barbarians behave in this way. To make matters worse after you walk out of the meeting you tell the world that you are now the leader of the party and that you will have nothing to do with Jonathan’s peace initiatives anymore.
“Clearly the man is governed and ruled by his ego and not by his brain. He had a great opportunity to settle this issue once and for all yesterday and he blew it simply because he insisted on being addressed as National Chairman by all and sundry at the meeting which no-one was prepared to do.
“Sheriff is a sick man. He needs help. He is uneducated and he is primitive. He is closer to beast than man. Worse still he is working for the APC.
“I said this from day one last year when they first went to the hole that he comes from in Chad and brought him to lead our party.
“Nothing good can ever come from him. Nothing clean or wholesome can come from a gangster who is prepared to sell his soul to the devil and destroy his own political party in return for a few crumbs. May God judge him for his greed, cowardice and wickedness.”

Expected $6.4bn Inflow Raises Optimism about Naira’s Appreciation


It made reference to the CBN Financial Stability Report for December 2016, published recently, that showed that medium and large banks collectively could withstand a 100 per cent increase in non-performing loans (NPLs) but small banks (assets less than N500 billion) would struggle to withstand even modest NPL deterioration.

“In our own assessment of the banks we rate, which are mostly large (assets more than N1 trillion), capacity to absorb losses through capital varies considerably. Zenith Bank Plc is stronger than the rest, while capital weaknesses at First Bank and Diamond Bank have a significant influence on their ratings.

The scores we assign, based on capitalisation and leverage metrics across the sector, are low, but vary considerably,” Fitch added.“All Nigerian bank ratings are in the highly speculative ‘B’ range, but even so, capitalisation is an important differentiator. 

The CBN stress tests assessed the ability of banks’ capital adequacy ratios to withstand a number of credit shocks. These include a general rise in NPLs, specific deterioration among banks’ five largest obligors and defaults in the oil and gas loan portfolios.

“As a group, small banks were particularly badly hit in the stress tests. They already had very weak starting capital positions, with an average capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of just 3.14 per cent at end-2016, following sharp falls in 2016 due to rises in NPLs.

“Medium and large banks had stronger starting positions, with CARs of 12.75 per cent and 15.47 per cent, respectively, at end-2016,” it added.

CBN figures showed that NPLs represented 14 per cent of total sector loans at end-2016, a very sharp increase on 5.3 per cent at end-2015.”

It noted that unreserved NPLs represented a high 38.4 per cent of total end-2016 regulatory capital (end-2015: 5.9%), signalling considerable weakening in the overall capital position of Nigeria’s banking sector. “Reported NPL ratios do not tell the whole asset quality story. 

Restructuring, particularly of loans extended to the troubled upstream oil sector, is fairly common practice in Nigeria, and restructured loans at some rated banks account for as much as 20 per cent of total loans.

“Not all restructured loans will go bad, but in our opinion the portfolios are higher risk, suggesting that capital buffers at banks may be weaker than reported ratios suggest.

“The oil and gas sector accounts for 30 per cent of total banking sector credit in Nigeria. Not all news relating to capital at Nigerian banks is negative. 

The banks remain profitable, with results boosted by wide margins and currency revaluation gains, large in In a related development, the Naira fell to N405 to the dollar yesterday, weaker than the N397 to the dollar it closed yesterday. This was largely attributed to the supply gap in the market, just as the central bank continues to battle forex speculators.

EFCC uncovers about N.5bn cash in Lagos Plaza


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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has uncovered the sum of N448, 850, 000 (Four hundred and forty eight million, eight hundred and fifty thousand naira), in a shop at the LEGICO Shopping Plaza, in Victoria Island, Lagos.
A statement by the EFCC on Friday evening said “operatives of the Commission, acting on a tip-off by a concerned whistle-blower, swooped on the shopping complex and sought the identity of the owners of two shops, LS 64 and LS 67, which were under lock and key.
“The shops had signages of a Bureau de Change. Inquiries about the owner of shop 64 indicated that he had not been seen for a long time, as neighbours claimed the shop had not been opened for business for close to two years.
“Several calls were put to the owner of shop 67, but there was no response.
“The attention of the plaza’s chairman and some traders were drawn in order to force the shops open.
“There was no money found in shop 67, but in shop 64, heaps of Ghana-Must-Go bags were found loaded on the floor of the shop. When the bags were unzipped they were found to contain bundles of naira notes totalling N448, 850, 000.
“Traders interviewed at the premises claimed they were not aware that such money was housed inside the shop, as the place hardly opens for business.’’
The statement said the money was stashed in several Ghana-Must-Go bags, in N500 and N1000 denominations, hidden in the shop, awaiting conversion into foreign currency.
It added that the commission was investigating the matter in order to unravel the ownership and source of the funds. (NAN)

THERE IS LIFE OUTSIDE POWER




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PENDULUM BY DELE MOMODU

Fellow Africans, I have often wondered about what is the matter with most African leaders and rulers that they love to cling to power, by fire by force, as if their very lives depended on it. An average African leader will never quit power voluntarily, and enjoy a standing ovation, as well as everlasting adulation, no matter the situation.

He would rather subject his country to sorrow, tears and blood, just for him to remain in power. One of the earliest spiritual teachings I learnt as a kid was the Biblical aphorism: “The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh!” Whatever has a beginning must have an end. No matter how long you spend in power, you must quit one day, voluntarily, or involuntarily, when your time is up. And your time is up when the Law say it is, not when age or extraneous forces, like coups dictate truncate your heinous rule. Why then, you may ask, can’t mere mortals understand and appreciate this dictum and spare their people the agony of many years of misrule and sit-tight syndrome?

Let me emphasise that it is not how long you govern that matters but how well. Every leader must decide how he wishes to be remembered. It is pertinent for every leader to consider this and decide on what he can do very quickly to attract eternal grace and praise. Anyone who has studied the history of power would readily know how time flies indeed. Since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo has come and left. President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has come and departed. President Goodluck Ebele Goodluck has done his bit and retired. President Muhammadu Buhari has nearly spent half of his first term, just like that. This confirms my thesis about how quickly time evaporates.

But I’m happy to meet a man who has demonstrated that you come, you serve, you go. It has been a privilege for me to know and work closely with His Excellency, former President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, before he quit office and now that he has. He is an eloquent example of how a responsible leader should behave in power and afterwards. I met him shortly before he became the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana. Though a Member of Parliament and Minister at the time, he was reluctant to accept the position. I was invited to his home by our mutual friend, Mr Victor Smith, later the High Commissioner of Ghana to the United Kingdom. Mahama and I became friends instantly. I discovered a personable gentleman who did not see power as a big deal other than as a call to service.

As fate would have it, a man who reluctantly became Vice President would later be catapulted to the seat of President and Commander-in-Chief, without lifting a finger, after the unfortunate death of his boss and mentor, President John Evans Atta-Mills, of blessed memory. In a jiffy, and without much ado, he settled down quickly to serious work, and continued from where his boss stopped. He not only mapped out his priorities but he produced a road map to achieve them. He understood what Ghana needed to join the comity of other nations in the march towards superlative development and pursued his mission rigorously and vigorously.

He made infrastructure development the cardinal principle of his government and stayed glued to it stubbornly no matter how much others preferred stomach infrastructure. He told his people the bitter truth at every point. He spoke what no politician would have said and what the citizens would not like to hear. Mahama was a man in a hurry to build a new Ghana. His dream was to surpass the commendable work of his predecessors, especially that of the father of modern Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah. Like all mortals, Mahama was not a perfect human being. He had his foibles but was rigidly committed to his developmental projects. He was accused of overlooking the excesses of some of his close disciples who were accused of corruption. Many expected him to spend time pursuing corrupt people, making heads roll and if necessary make blood flow. However, Mahama chose to concentrate on his goal of societal development through revamping the economy, infrastructure creation and firming up of institutional structures. He was content to leave the established enforcement institutions to tackle all the corruption once he strengthened the system. He said he knew it was not the job of the executive arm to prosecute and convict and so would not be distracted, or bogged down by a job that largely belongs to other arms, especially the independent and impartial Police and judiciary.

Mahama worked as if he had a premonition of the electoral hurricane that would eventually blow him away, unmindful of his stellar achievements. He modernised the Kotoka International Airport monumentally. Built new regional hospitals. Added about 800 megawatts of electricity to the national grid. He pursued rural electrification with uncommon gusto. Regraded many roads and established new ones. Upgraded many educational institutions and paid more attention to technical schools in order to train and graduate world-class engineers and artisans. He provided an enabling environment for agriculture to thrive. Access to data services became widespread in rural areas.

On the foreign scene, he opened Ghana to all Africans who are now able to obtain visa on arrival without stress. He stabilised the Ghanaian currency, Cedis, and investors made Ghana a preferred choice because of its stability and tranquillity. He welcomed non-Ghanaians with open arms. He doused the perennial tension between Ghanaians and Nigerians. He encouraged Nigerian businesses to blossom. As a gesture of genuine goodwill, he awarded the highest civilian honour in Ghana to the spirit of Africa, Dr Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Isola Adenuga, a business prodigy, who has quietly affected Africa with his closely guarded treasure.

As audacious as Mahama was in the area of infrastructure development, he was not able to balance this with putting cash in people’s pockets. The unemployed youths kicked, shouting that they preferred jobs. His explanation that infrastructure would lead to jobs fell on deaf ears. More hospitals, he enjoined, will employ more doctors, nurses, pharmacists, health technicians, administrators, paramedics and so on; more schools would absorb teachers and students alike as well as the requisite support staff; construction would attract engineers of various disciplines, artisans and others. For him, it was only a matter of time before the jobs sought by the restive youths would come. The long and short of it was that he achieved his dream of modernising Ghana but lost his plum job. His humongous work will never be forgotten and he would always be remembered as Nkrumah II, as he is now fondly called. History has only repeated itself because Nkrumah the Great suffered a similar fate when he was similarly chased out of power. But Nkrumah became apotheosised only thereafter. Everything he did was criticised but the landmarks are there till this day.

Mahama has become a global citizen after leaving power. Since he handed over on January 7, 2017, he has moved from being a Ghanaian leader to being a much sought after international statesman. I’ve been greatly inspired by his meteoric rise on the world stage. I’ve travelled extensively with him in the last two and half months. The usual Nigeriaphobia has never affected our relationship. Mahama is a rare species and a true Christian who practices the tenets of love. I’m proud to stand with him all the way. His speeches flow from his heart. He speaks extempore and has the facts and figures in his head. We have spent the last one week crisscrossing the best of American institutions. He spoke and lectured, as the situation demanded, at Harvard, MIT, Boston University, University of Chicago, Chicago State University, The Institute of Politics, The Africa International House, and Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

Former Obama strategist, David Axelrod, summed up the story of Mahama, when he climbed the stage to commend his speech at the Institute of Politics, Chicago, delivered to a packed audience of American scholars and influential leaders: “I don’t know what happened in Ghana but if a vote were conducted here, majority would vote for you.” Mahama’s speech was simply awesome. He captured and wowed his audience. The Question and Answer session was gripping. Mahama was honest and candid. He autographed his autobiography, MY FIRST COUP D’ETAT. It was such a glorious and victorious trip.

As someone said, Mahama has glamorised life outside power so much that no African leader should be scared of losing election and fearing what the future holds. If you have done well, the world will be your oyster! Mahama’s own reaction continues to resonate: Your duty as a leader is to come, serve and go…” I concur.

A TOAST TO ALIKO DANGOTE AT 60

I have the honour of paying tribute to one of Africa’s biggest brands, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who turns 60 in the next few days. I came across Dangote’s name from the most unlikely quarter, Sir Shina Peters, in those days of Afro Juju rave, at the beginning of 1990. At the time, I used to wonder at what drove this commodity merchant who was synonymous with rice and sugar. His single-handed monopoly of the commodity market was a stuff of science fiction, both true and untrue. He was in effect The Don that nobody could question. He has never looked back from those days of foundation building. As he built his business empire on that solid foundation, he continued to build bridges that would link the poor and the rich and lift nations.

His foray into the noodles market helped to bring competition into that market and sparked a new beginning for that segment of the food industry.

Today, he is better known as the King of Cement. And very soon, his foray into the energy industry, straddling petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, refineries, power and power generation, might give him a new nomenclature to add to all the others. The bold serial investor is on rampage across Africa spreading his wings like the eagle. He has flown me to a few of his incredible projects in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia and it would be an understatement to say I was much impressed. His cement factories, now dotted across Africa, have become a veritable and choice alternative to foreign brands. He has made cement, and therefore housing capacity, available and affordable for both the poor and the rich because of the quality that is the hallmark of his endeavour and the pricing that he is able to achieve notwithstanding his quest for such quality. He is a pride of the black race.

I would like to thank him for his support over the years for Ovation International. I must not fail to mention how he called from South Africa when I celebrated my 50th birthday and flew straight to Lagos to attend my party. I’m not the type that forgets favours, big or small. It takes grace to recognise greatness in others. Alhaji has worked very hard and God has blessed him richly. I mention this because it is a testament to this indefatigable business icon that he remembers those little things and makes time out for his friends. He is a simple man, a loyal person who continues to hang out with those friends that he grew up with before he became a man of substance and means. Indeed, he cherishes and nurtures them. It is not a coincidence that a few of these friends, like Femi Otedola, Sayyu Dantata and Sam Iwuajoku, have also grown exponentially with him as he has supported them in their own businesses

I know him to be a loyal reader of my Pendulum column. On several occasions, he has called and marvelled at how I managed to write regularly and weave my words together. He respects my political views and appreciates objectivity in my writings.

I salute Alhaji Aliko Dangote and wish him many happy returns, in good health and more prosperity.

Buhari Demands Details of Monetary, Asset Recoveries from EFCC, Others




President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Abubakar Malami, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele to provide a detailed submission on amount of monies recovered so far by the anti-graft agencies, in its anti-corruption war, since the inception of this administration in June, 2015.

Also directed to do same are the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mr. Lawal Daura, the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Mr. Ekpo Nta and the National Security Adviser (NSA), General Babagana Monguno.

The agencies were also directed to submit a detailed inventory of assets seized, including vehicles, jewelry’s and other valuables, latest by yesterday, Friday April 7, 2017. 

They were ordered to submit the details of recovered monies and assets in their possession also by yesterday. THISDAY checks revealed that most of the agencies except the EFCC have since complied with the deadline given by the president. 

As at the time of filing in this report yesterday night, it was not certain if the EFCC Chairman, had complied with the directive which lapsed yesterday.

THISDAY gathered that the directive by the President was issued to the agencies two weeks ago. 

The source said that the directive was informed by the need to “place a value on the total recoveries made by the government, whose anti-graft prosecutors have been accused of being unable to secure convictions, but have been quick to announce their seizures, even temporary ones to the public.”

It added that the President needed the inventory to ensure transparency and accountability as rumours of untoward practices continued to swell round the recoveries. 

There have been allegations that some of the seized valuables like land documents, cars and vehicles had been stolen by some officials of the agencies that seized them.

The source said: “In fact, in several yards across the country, vehicles seized by EFCC like Range Rovers, Jaguars, Prado jeeps, and expensive cars are decaying. The cars are allowed to rot, leading to massive waste.”

“Also remember that certificates of occupancy seized from the home of an ex-governor were found in the market, where some EFCC officials were allegedly trying to sell them. The case is now with the police. Also at the Senate hearing for his confirmation, Magu was unable to put a figure or an estimate to the amount of monies, local and foreign currency, he has recovered so far, or provide a value to properties, cars and jewelries that have been seized,” the source added. 

When THISDAY contacted Senior Adviser to the President on Communication, Mr. Femi Adesina on details of directive, he stated that he was unaware of it but that the president had been receiving series of briefings since he returned to the country and that the said directive would be nothing out of the ordinary.


Dino Melaye In ABU To Collect His Certificate (Photos)


Distinguished Senator Dino Melaye was at his Alma Mater -Ahmadu Bello University ABU, Zaria to collect his certificate following the allegations made by SaharaReporters that he never graduated from the institution. 

A civil engineer at the school, Engr. Yasir Arafat‏, shared the photos via his twitter account yesterday (7 Apr 2017). See below
















Social media addiction causes depression—NOUN VC



Prof. Abdalla Adamu, NOUN, Vice-Chancellor

Professor Abdalla Adamu, the Vice-Chancellor, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has attributed high-level depression to addiction to social media platforms.

Adamu expressed this view in remark at the celebration of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Day 2017 on Friday in Abuja.

The theme of event organised by NOUN’s Faculty of Health Sciences in collaboration with the Nigerian Psychological Association is ‘’let’s talk Depression.’’

According to the vice-chancellor, lack of money is a major cause of low-level depression as such depression is cured once poor people get some money.

“I am not a psychiatrist neither I am a psychologist but I know that money can cure depression at the lower level; when people do not have money, they are depressed.

“At the higher level, they have all the money but they do not communicate.

“Go to a rich home and you will see that they are not talking to one another; everybody is on Snap chat, Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook among others.

“Experts should develop a way of teaching people how to effectively use the social media to avoid alienation and its attendant depression,’’ he said.

He listed some of the causes of depression as poverty, unemployment, alcohol abuse, emotional problems and loss of a loved one.

Adamu said that theme of the event was in tandem with the economic situation in Nigeria which had pushed a lot of people into depression and suicide.

The vice-chancellor regretted that Nigerians, previously reported as among the happiest people in the world were getting depression.

In her address, Dr Jane-Frances Agbu, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences (NOUN) said that WHO Day, marked on April 7 every year, provided institutions the opportunity to mobilise action on topical issues.

She said that the theme was chosen because of the increasing rate of depression in Nigeria.

According to her over 300 million people are living with depression globally.

Agbu said the event aimed at informing the public about depression, its causes and how to take care of it.

In his presentation, Dr Akorede Wahab, Consultant Psychiatrist /Controller of Prison (retired) said that environmental issues were not mostly the causes of depression.

He said that indigenous depression which was internal was the severe type of depression which could lead to suicide.

The consultant said that it was always easy to diagnose depression but there was need for such person to be taken to a hospital.

“Some symptoms of severe depression are illness, low mood-serious happiness that could last for more than two weeks.

“There are emotional symptoms such as reactiveness of mood to external issues, always feeling guilty, irritability, hearing of voices-the voice could be telling you to jump into a river to save the world.

“Others are variation of mood especially at wake in the morning and waking up and being very sad.

“There are also biological symptoms such as retarded monotonous speeches, lack of sexual urge among others,’’ he said.

Wahab urged people to consult a specialist or counselor while depressed instead abusing or misusing drugs.

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