Jim Ovia’s Spectrum Deal With MTN Hits The Rocks! •MTN Seeks Exit •Visafone Workers Protest •NCC Turns Down Ovia’s Request By THE NEW DIPLOMAT Economic Intelligence Desk
usinessman and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia’s sale of Visafone; a leading Code Division Multiple Access, CDMA operator to South Africa’s telecommunications Giant MTN has hit the rocks following the inability of Ovia to secure the approval of the Nigeria Telecommunications Commission (NCC) to transfer the digital spectrum 800 MGhz to MTN “because a spectrum is a prime national asset which cannot be
EXCLUSIVE! transferred.” Sources at NCC and the Presidency confided in The New Diplomat that both Ovia and MTN top guns may have packaged and sealed the deal out rightly selling Visafone without knowing and understanding its implications and intricacies. Worse hit in the deal is MTN which
NCC sources say “may have bought the carcass of Visafone without the engine to power the company “It’s like buying the carcass of an aircraft without the engine. The aircraft cannot fly because there is no engine to power it”. He added that a spectrum is a national asset and is not transferable from one entity to another. NCC reasons for turning down Mr. Ovia’s request is that if Ovia decides to pull out of the telecoms business today, the onus is on Mr. Ovia
CONTINUED ON PAGE 9
Ondo polls: Tinubu, Mimiko, Abuja Forces In Last Minute Battle 11
New Diplomat multimedia limited
DIPLOMAT NOVEMBER 21 - DECEMBER 4, 2016 Vol. 2 No 26 | ISSN 2560-8254
...Nigeria’s Global Voice!
AS FG/NIGER DELTA PEACE DEAL TOTTERS
Fresh Tension, Fears Mount In Niger Delta Militants Intensify Attacks... Bomb Oil/Gas Installations Oil Production Drops Drastically, Military Deploy More Troops Clark, Others Beg Federal Government/Militants For Cease Fire THE NEW DIPLOMAT’s Political to be disappearing by the day. Not only are new groups emerging to Intelligence Desk make new demands, there is infighting hatever hopes were among the different groups claiming raised by the peace to represent the interest of the region. parley between the Some of them accuse the PANDEF Presidency led by of not being representative of peoples President Muhammadu Buhari and of the region while the others accuse the stakeholders of the Niger Delta Clark of pursuing a selfish agenda. Region under the aegis of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, seem CONTINUED ON PAGE 3
INSIDE... N/Assembly Will Ruin Buhari’s Anti-Graft Crusade–Adeniran 13 Property
14 Again Dangote Makes Another Dramatic Move
Imparting The Girl Child With Skills
Keshi: Trump’s Presidency Implications For Nigeria
Oba Otudeko: The Unassuming Business Mogul
Gov Obaseki: His Agenda, Challenges, Others...
Recession: Fine And Country Hosts Real Estate Opportunities Round Table
Delayed Exco Appointment: Is Udom Careful
THE NEW DIPLOMAT
VOL. 2 NO 28 • NOVEMBER 21 – DECEMBER 4, 2016
EDITORIAL COMMENT Reps, N3.6bn Cars And The Case For A One-Chamber Parliament
ecent news reports of the House of Representatives taking delivery of the first batch of exotic cars for its 360 members notwithstanding the current economic downturn in the country has re-opened the critical imperative of placing massive curbs on the continuing tendency of members of the political class to live fat at the expense of the citizenry. Equally infuriating is the fact that the House had allocated an obscenely provocative N3.6 billion for the cars in the 2016 Budget at a unit price of N10 milliom per car. To mask the questionable nature of the deal, they are officially being described as ‘utility’ or ‘committee’
vehicles. Equally heart-rending is the fact that even when the House had ostensibly been compelled to appreciate that the expenditure is indeed a hard sell at a time like this, the best that they could reportedly concede was a deal to spread the payment of the N3.6bn across 24 months or “two years’ budget,” thereby postponing the evil day. Part of the challenge of the entire saga is the obtuse defensiveness of the House. When asked to justify the bogus expenditure, the reasons range from members not having official cars with which to do their work, and that ministers, and other officials in the executive have since been equipped with vehicles for their own official duties. All of these fall flat in the face
Editor’s Note Trump Or No Trump, Nigeria Will Survive
s our nations continues to grapple with a myriad of tribulations ---from a parlous economy to militancy, your darling paper has brought you on its Platform an interview subject of great stature. He’s a former ambassador with a global experience spanning decades in the foreign service. A man of many parts he is also quite experienced in the banking sector. He also speaks on the president-elect in the United States, Donald Trump and the possibilities that his reign portends for the whole world--and America itself. An activist also features in this edition with sizzling comments that may leave many gasping. But they are frank comments forged in the foundry of truth. He fingers the National Assembly members as a bunch that may sink the anti-graft ship of the Buhari regime and why. Political forces are already jostling in Plateau State. And former governor of the state, Jonah Jang, is in the thick of it. But is that why a fry should buck a shark? In case you don’t understand, read our piece. The affairs of the Niger Delta region is the focus of our lead story as we examine the ongoing peace efforts and factors threatening to prolong conflicts in the region. Yes, politics. The governorship polls in Ondo is only days away. And the drums od “war” are resounding as the gladiators flex old and new political muscles. Where will the pendulum of victory swing – and stay? The courts are in the thick of it---hopefully as arbiters and not participants. Our piece on the back page lets you into the economic plans of the Buhari regime in its efforts to deliver the country from the demons of recession. And as Edo gets a new helmsman, we examine the challenges before Governor Godwin Obaseki and his team. Will he smash the records of the immediate past comrade governor? That remains to be seen Trending Youth as usual present you inspiring stories about young fellows making positive waves as opposed to “yahoo plus”. Oba Otudeko, that quiet industrialist and multibillionaire also features in this edition while for the first time a woman sits pretty on our Periscope column. Of course there is sports, oil and gas and many more for your reading pleasure… Grab your copies. Yemi Ogunsola
of reality when it is considered that though the cars are, on paper, said to be the property of the National Assembly, previous sets of lawmakers have routinely taken them along with them on completion of their tenure. Indeed, this would also explain why 360 new cars are being bought for each lawmaker even when about a quarter are returning lawmakers who had benefitted from a similar exercise in the last assembly. It is also to be noted that besides the utility vehicles, members also get a repayable loan to buy personal cars. The cruel irony of this is not lost on anyone. At a time when the nation is faced with massive economic paralysis and where the cries of hunger and the groaning of suffering citizens can be heard all across
the land, our law-makers who should be hard-pressed to look for solutions to the crippling economic mess, take delivery of an obtuse convoy of cars, purchased at the astronomical sum of N3.6billion! How unfeeling these Neros can be! This scandalous development is one more reason why The New Diplomat is insisting on a total overhaul of the Nigeria lawmaking project in such a way as to provide only for one chamber that is peopled by elected lawmakers who only sit on part-time basis. If Nigeria is to survive and thrive, we must make the decision to turn away from the current penchant for opulence, squandermania and waste by our elected leaders at all levels. And one good place to begin would be at the legislature.
THE NEW DIPLOMAT Chairman/Editor-in-Chief: Oma Djebah Editor: Yemi Ogunsola Associate Editor: Olaoluwa Adeyemi Abuja Bureau Chief: Austin Osayande South-south Bureau Chief: John Oghojafor Editor, Business/Public Policy Desk: Okeowo Olamilekan Business Devt. Mgr: Nwosa Ifeanyi Hamilton Correspondent (South-south): Akanimore Kufre Layout/Graphics: Daniel Ekiye Production Officer: Titilayo Olusoga Creative Executive: Bimbo Odusanya Associate Director, Advertising: Emeka Opah Circulation Manager: Screen Agencies Company EDITORS-AT-LARGE Europe: Marvin Ithoken USA: Alex Kabba North America: Jamin Owhovoriole Contributing Photographers: Udoka Agbaji, Joshua Omonemu Contributing Editors: Emma Ado, Roland Ogbonnaya Chairman Editorial Board: Richard Mammah EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Dr. Ayo Teriba (Nigeria); Dr. Roland Stanbridge (Sweden); Mr. Kayode Idowu (Nigeria); Prof. Ehiedu Iweriebor (New York); Amb. Eloho Otobo (New York); Mr. Bode Oluwafemi (Nigeria) Prof. Onookome Okome (Canada); Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo (Texas) Prof. Duke Ophori (New Jersey); Mr. Eddy Odivwri (Nigeria); Dr. Nkiru Balonwu (California) Barr. Timothy Bonneth (Nigeria); Mr. Osaleke Obaze (Nigeria) Online Website Content Managed by: S2A Media Limited & Sharetray Data Networks Ltd. Parent Company: The New Diplomat Multi-media Ltd. Publication: The New Diplomat is published by The New Diplomat Multi-media Ltd. Design/Repro: AgborisoGrafix. Legal Adviser: Effy Solicitors THE NEW DIPLOMAT Head Office: Suite 89, Dolphin Plaza, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos. Abuja Office: Suite B12, First Floor, Abraham Plaza, Plot 6, Ekukaniam Str., by ABC Transport, Utako, Abuja - FCT. Tel: +234-(0) 09095965814, (0)8068928079, (0)7066221737 Emails: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.newdiplomat.ng
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THE NEW DIPLOMAT
VOL. 2 NO 28 • NOVEMBER 21 – DECEMBER 4, 2016
News BOOSTING US-NIGERIA TIES...
• US Secretary of State, John Kerry and President Muhammadu Buhari at a recent climate change meeting in Morocco CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The first signs of trouble emerged barely 24 hours after the Tuesday, November I, meeting in Abuja when militants who had hitherto ceased fire blew up the Trans Forcado Pipeline. This attack was however linked to the deployment of soldiers to the region shortly after the parley. However, military authorities quickly explained the deployment as routine. However while efforts were being made to mend whatever cracks were appearing over the peace deal, another attack was carried out on Tuesday, November 15 by the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA. It was exactly two weeks after the peace meeting in Abuja. The attacks brought down three trunklines in Nembe, Bayelsa State. The trunklines have the capacity to supply 300,000 barrels of crude per day. The NDA later issued a statement claiming the attack was in response to ongoing naval exercises in the region. According to the NDA’S spokesperson, Mudoch Aginibo: The attack “is in response to the so-called ‘Operation Sharkbite’ an act of terrorism inaugurated by the tyranny of the Nigerian Navy establishment and orchestrated by some elements of the ruling political class to continuously undermine any effort by the Nigerian state to addressing the legitimate demands of the Niger Delta and a conspiracy to bloat the accounts of some security contractors and conflict merchants within the party structure of the APC.”. Clark had the previous Friday condemned the renewed attacks on oil facilities, describing the avengers as “criminals and enemies of the region”.
FOR PEACE IN NIGER DELTA...
• Former Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta/MD of NDDC, Chief Timi Alaibe, Publisher/Chairman Thisday newspapers, Prince Nduka Obaigbena and Senator Florence Ita-Giwa... at a recent PANDEF meeting in Abuja.
Hope Dims On Niger Delta Peace deal
Rising from an emergency meeting of PANDEF at Clark’s Warri home on Saturday, November 12, 2016, the group affirmed that the recent spate of bombings had no justification whatsoever, adding that such an unprovoked anger against national assets could not receive the support of the group. According to PANDEF, blowing up the Trans Forcados crude oil pipeline less than 24 hours after the group’s meeting with the federal government was clearly an affront and a disregard for the dialogue process which was already on course. While acknowledging that most of the militants had embraced the path of dialogue and negotiation already put in place, they however regretted that there were still a handful of new militant groups who have chosen the path of hostility rather than joining the dialogue and peace process, noting that their activities were motivated by selfish interest. PANDEF therefore urged the new militant groups to key into the dialogue
process in the interest of peace and development of the Niger Delta region, adding that at the end of the day, it is the innocent Niger Delta citizens who will suffer the consequences of a possible reprisal by the military. “It should be placed on record that arising from the August 19, 2016 stakeholders’ meeting at Effurun, Delta State, all agitating youths promptly declared a 60-day unilateral ceasefire, in deference to the patriotic position of the monarchs, leaders and stakeholders of the region which has subsisted till today”, Chief Clark recalled at the meeting. Three different militant groups in the region however attacked the statesman over his comments. The groups, the Reformed Egbesu Boys of the Niger Delta, REBND, the Niger Delta Sea Dogs, NDSD and the Niger Delta Sea Commandos, NDSC, which hitherto subscribed to the peace move being spearheaded by PANDEF, renounced its support for PANDEF. They have consequently aligned themselves with the adamant, Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate, NDGJM, that had consistently referred to Chief Clark-led group as selfish and self-seeking individuals who do not have the interest of the region at heart. Meanwhile, the Niger Delta Peoples Congress, NDPC, has also forwarded its demands to the Federal Government for peace in the region. The group, led by King Alfred Diete Spiff, the Amanayabo of Twon Brass, Bayelsa State, met behind closed doors with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa. The group, among others, demanded the
release of all ethnic agitators in custody as well as the creation of 6,000 jobs from the major oil companies in the zone and full demilitarization of Niger Delta villages. According to the group, “This delegation is not only to re-affirm the plausible submissions made earlier but to also prioritize these concerns and place them in clearer perspectives. This is premised on our objective assessment of the anxieties, sentiments and myriads of reactions from the key drivers and players in the crises across and outside the region that immediately trailed the meetings…” True federalism with the different units annexing and controlling their resources and paying appropriate and agreed tax to the centre were among its demands. However, in a chat with The New Diplomat, Professor GG Darah, a member of the PANDEF gave words of hope amidst the growing anxiety: “For every prolonged conflict such as we have in the Niger Delta, it is always a long walk to final peace as Nelson Mandela admonished in his autobiography. The apartheid in South Africa took 19 years to negotiate in Norway. Darfur peace talks in Sudan lasted five years. The Irish Republican Army continued bombing and sabotage while they held peace accord with the UK government. PANDEF is optimistic about final peace deal. Let the media also appeal to the bombers.” Words of wisdom amidst the spectre of continued violence. The military’s response has however been tough to decipher: “Let the politicians do their talking, we will keep doing ours.”
Djebah, The New Diplomat Publisher, Others To Discuss Media, Human Rights At IPRA By Lekan Okeowo
he burning issue of the Niger-Delta will take centre stage at an international discussion when Mr. Oma Djebah, The publisher/Editor-in-chief of The New Diplomat Multi-Media Limited, Nigeria, will do justice to the topic, Niger Delta Crisis: The Role of the Media in Peace Building” at the 26th edition of the International Peace Research Association, (IPRA) General Conference. The event will take place from the 27th November, 2016 to the 1st of December, 2016, in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The chairman of the plenary session is Di Luo, of Northumbria University, UK with the topic, “Understanding human rights journalism in the context of China.” He will be joined by Senthan Selvarajah, Northumbria University, UK “Human
Rights and Violence Prevention: Exploring the links between R2P and HRJ”. Mr. Johan Mikaelsson will speak on, “When They Kill Journalists” while Julius Bosire, Technical University of Kenya, will speak on “Peace or War Journalism: Can objectivity be the panacea?” The event, hosted by the University of Sierra Leone in collaboration with the 10th Dealing With Disasters Conference Series Northumbria University, United Kingdom and Sakarya University, Turkey, will set Agenda for Peace and Development. The programme is to discuss ways of preventing conflict, post- conflict transformation and conflict, disaster risk and sustainable development. This year’s edition will be more memorable as The New Diplomat Editor-In-Chief, Djebah will
be joining similarly accomplished journalists from around the world to discuss “Media, Conflicts and Human Rights Commission Media and Human Rights.” The purpose of IPRA is to advance interdisciplinary research into the conditions of peace and the causes of war and other forms of violence. To this end, IPRA undertakes measures of worldwide cooperation designed to assist the advancement of peace research, and in particular to promote national and international studies and teaching relating to the pursuit of world peace, to facilitate contacts between scholars and educators throughout the world, to encourage international dissemination of results of research in the field and of information on significant development of peace research. On Diversity IPRA, as an organization, is fully committed to the principles of equity and diversity, based on geographical representations,
gender, races, classes, sexual preferences, ages, religions, cultures, political perspectives, and areas of expertise in research, education, and action/ advocacy. Such diversity are reflected in the IPRA Council, the Executive Committee, the officers of the organization, the Regional Associations and Councils, the IPRA Commissions, and such other organs of IPRA that may be established in the future. The event is co-ordinated by the duo of Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw of Northumbria University, UK and Dr Nesrin Kenar of Sakarya University, Turkey. Other members are Mrs Bernadette Cole – (University of Sierra Leone, SL), Mrs Memunatu Pratt—(University of Sierra Leone, SL), Professor Hans Gaunter Brauch—Free University of Berlin, Germany) and Professor Andrew Collins -(Northumbria University, UK).
Sports 2016 GLO CAF AWARDS:
Mahrez, Aubameyang, Ayew, Mikel, Musa: Who Wears The Crown?
ome January 5, 2017, at a Gala Night in Abuja, a new African Footballer of the year will emerge to succeed Borrusia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a Gabonese. The inclusion of Nigeria’s trio of Chelsea’s John Mikel Obi, Leicester’s Ahmed Musa and Manchester City youngster, Kelechi Iheanacho, is however generating a buzz with many Nigerian hoping that one of them emerges winner. Ex- international, Mr. Victor Ikpeba, popularly known as ‘Prince of Monaco’ believes that the nomination of the Nigerian players will inspire other Nigerian footballers across the world to
work harder and make Nigeria proud next season. “The nomination of Kelechi, Mikel and Musa is a good development and will encourage others.
Hopefully, we will have more Nigerians on the list next year,” Ikpeba, himself a former African Player of the Year said.
To do that, they however have to do battle with current champion, Aubameyang, Leicester Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez, West Ham’s and Ghana’s Andrew Ayew and Victor Wanyama of Kenya and Tottenham. Of the 30-man nominees, CAF is scheduled to release a shortlist of Top 10 players in the coming days. The Glo-CAF annual awards which is sponsored by Nigerian telecommunication giant, Globacom Limited is a melting pot for top football celebrities and government officials across Africa as they converge in Abuja for the annual award.
THE NEW DIPLOMAT
VOL. 2 NO 28 • NOVEMBER 21 – DECEMBER 4, 2016
Keshi: Implications Presidency For Nige
•Says Nigerians In US Need Not Fear •We Must Ma Ambassador Joe Keshi is a former Consul-General of the Nigerian Mission in the US; Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Coordinator; National Volunteer Service that pioneered the Nigeria Diaspora policy. After years of Diplomatic service, Keshi was drafted into the corporate world at the highest levels when the PanAfrican lender, United Bank for Africa appointed him as a Non-Executive Director in 2010, Vice-chairman 1st of January 2011 and later Chairman of its board at the close of 2013. Keshi was the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa Plc. till August 2014 and is currently a Director/Vice Chairman of the Bank. He is also the Chairman of Afrigrowth Foundation and Director-General of the BRACED Commission. As a career diplomat, Keshi served in a number of countries in his 35-year service in the Nigerian Civil service, including the United States of America where he worked for five years as Nigeria’s Consul-General in Atlanta. He is a regular commentator on international and domestic affairs in the print and electronic media. He is an alumnus of both the John Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and the Harvard Business School. Keshi holds a B.Sc. in Political Science from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria; M.A. in Administration and Development from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands and Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations and Diplomacy from Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos, Nigeria. He is a recipient of many national and international honours, including the Officer of the Order Of the Niger (OON). In a chat with THE NEW DIPLOMAT’s Associate Editor, LAOLU ADEYEMI, Keshi bares his mind on the implications of Trump’s victory on the Nigerian Economy; making the nation an investment haven, the dwindling forex, among other issues. Excerpts.
THE NEW DIPLOMAT
VOL. 2 NO 28 • NOVEMBER 21 – DECEMBER 4, 2016
Of Trump’s eria
ake Nigeria Investment-Friendly
ow would you describe the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential polls? Donald Trump’s victory was not totally unexpected. But the surprise remains that a man with so many negative characteristics could defy all odds, predictions and make it to the most powerful job in the world. So many things played in his favour and he capitalized on them. Many years ago, l read a book or an article with the title, “The Road To The White House is Through The Rural Areas” and that has proven to be the Truth. He tapped into the anger of working class white Americans who felt left behind by an economy that has impoverished them and left them uncertain of the future and that of their families. The same people were also not happy with how far American liberalism has gone, including electing a Black man to the White House and allowing so many immigrants into the United States many of whom are culturally and religiously different from Americans. They also hated the legalization of abortion and homosexuality. W hen you take into consideration the cries,” We need to take back our country” you will also appreciate that race was undeniably part of what contributed to his victory. With the benefit of hindsight, the Clinton campaign perhaps thought that the threat of the anger of white voters could be counter-balanced by securing the Obama coalition. The problem with that too was that many in that coalition did not feel they benefitted much from the Obama years irrespective of the fact that the economy is in a better shape than what he inherited and with Clinton’s weak campaign and uninspiring message, the die was cast. Three other factors in my view that collectively and significantly contributed to his victory included, the sad, unfortunate but deliberate intrusion of the Federal Bureau Of Investigation, FBI, director in the election which virtually stopped Hilary Clinton’s momentum and certainly reminded voters of her negatives. That singular action can be compared to a referee in a football match awarding a penalty with less than two minutes to the end of a match. There was also, as it is emerging that America is not ready yet for a women president. Finally and perhaps most interesting is the role played by the media. Trump consistently complained of media bias. But the truth is that he got more media exposure than his opponent and he manipulated the media effectively, especially in the last days of the campaign. From day one, every nasty or ugly thing said by Trump not only made the headlines but occupied the headlines for days and weeks and during the primaries, the media virtually gave him a free ride. If you do a comparison, you will find out that the poor lady was far more scrutinized by the media. Check out how she was treated over her emails, her speeches, especially to Goldman Sachs and the Clinton Foundation with how the media treated Trump over his taxes, his foundation, Trump university, his sexual behaviours and his businesses. You will see and appreciate the point l am making. Against this backdrop, it’s unfortunate that we have a man like Donald Trump occupy the presidency of the United States but that’s democracy in its imperfection. Frankly, with this election, the greatest democracy on the face of the earth has lost the moral authority to dictate to us on what should or should be during elections. Who will take any American envoy serious if they show up anywhere to lecture anybody on decent behaviour during elections, when they have just conducted the most hateful elections in American history. Today, the election of Donald Trump has left America a fractured nation, divided along ethnic and religious lines, of haves and have nots. A land of hope that in many ways has inspired generations is fast disappearing and perhaps, it is the beginning of the end for the empire. What may be the implications of Trump’s emergence for the global economy? I am not sure the global economy will change as such. I doubt also if America that has championed, promoted and benefitted immensely from globalization can stop or reverse the process; so we have to wait and see. One thing l am very confident of is that the majesty, the awesome nature and responsibility of the presidency will moderate President Trump. As he is briefed on a number of issues, the realities of American global leadership and responsibilities would also set in. We have to wait and see, especially as he campaigned on very limited agenda. Should Trump carry out his threat to deport about 3million migrants, what should be Nigeria’s reaction and what should Nigerians in the Diaspora do? If that happens, there is nothing we can do; but l do not think that will be his priority. His immediate efforts maybe to deport those Hispanics who are illegally in the US and who have criminal records. This is what Obama did throughout his presidency and almost close to 3million people were deported. On the other hand, rather than think of how to retaliate, we should focus on making Nigeria a better place for all its citizens. This will certainly reduce, if not stop, those wishing to migrate to other countries. The Nigerian Diaspora have nothing to fear, especially those who are gainfully employed. Should America turn her back to us, where do we go from there? Prepare ourselves to properly engage the new team in Washington. We should not go cap-in --hand begging for help. Rather, we but must focus on trade and investment which will be more beneficial to Nigeria. In any engagement, we should play down our negatives and highlight the attractiveness of this country in terms of investment, the industry, smartness and resilience of its people. This is why it is important that we try to change the narratives of our country. I have said in some other interviews that we cannot go abroad looking for investors and also talking about how corrupt this country is. Nigeria is not the most corrupt country in the world, so when we fight corruption, we should do the talking internally, and when we go abroad, we talk about things that would attract people to Nigeria not de-market the country. Our strengthen in any engagement with the world comes from projecting the opportunities and advantages we have and talking about the people who are smart, industrious and very proud of their cultural heritage not running ourselves down. Above all, we should make our country conducive for investment.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 6
THE NEW DIPLOMAT
VOL. 2 NO 28 • NOVEMBER 21 – DECEMBER 4, 2016
Trump Or No Trump, Nigeria Must Target Self-Sufficiency CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 How do we go about making Nigeria an investment-friendly haven? The best way to make Nigeria investmentfriendly is to ensure we put in place all what will attract investors to Nigeria. The regulatory environment should be right and flexible; infrastructure should also be put in place; we should have the human capital to manage businesses and the bureaucracy must be kind and friendly to investors. A situation where business operators and prospective investors encounter so many obstacles is certainly not an environment that would attract business. Part of ways to creating that environment is for government to find a way of partnering with the private sectors with a view to improving infrastructure. This is where I have always clamoured for government to open up the economy further and bring in private sector players in almost all the sectors of the Nigerian economy. If for instance we decide to concession all federal roads linking all the states of this federation; that would have saved Nigerian government a colossal amount of money that can now be reinvested into education and health. What this means is that we are going to have world-class roads in this country and we would completely forget the whole story of bad roads and road deficit within two to five years. If we can go further and complete the privatisation of the power sector, it will help the nation solve the problems in the sector. It is now clear that government cannot manage the enormous challenges in the sector. We just have to replicate what has been done in the financial sector, telecoms sectors there. We can let that go. Even in the oil sector, it has taken us almost a lifetime to get our PIB bill when it took Ghana less than three years to pass. We are yet to pass the bill till now. These are parts of bureaucratic delays that discourage investors from coming to this country. If we can remove all these things and let government concentrate on education, social welfare and health. The point is let us open up the nation’s economy for investors to come in, but we must have investment-friendly laws. Considering your years in the banking sector, what is your evaluation of the Nigerian
banking industry today? The banking sector in Nigeria is fairly strong. Look at how the government pulled down all the money in the banking sector through TIC/ TSA. And we can see how the recession and some of the policies have affected the aviation industry and some companies are collapsing. If our banks are not strong enough, it would have forced them to collapse when the government suddenly pulled out huge amounts of money from the banking sector. These are parts of what investors don’t like. Investors like certainty and dislike uncertainly. Government cannot continue to have policy reversals which send false signals to investors.
The consequence of this is what we are seeing in the country as many businesses have been folding up. I am not saying TSA is not good. But there could have been a better way of implementing it. It was done in a hurry. Whereas it should have been done gradually in such a way that will not affect the economy. Whether we like to admit it or not, the way the TSA was implemented, contributed to what is being felt in the recession. This also highlights the fact that investors like certainty and not uncertainty and we can see what is going on on the American situation. Why is the whole world panicking about the election of Donald Trump? The world is panicking because of so many negative things he said during the elections. He threatened to start a trade war with China, to reseal NAFTAT; saying he is not going to sign the TAC. All these uncertainty threatens business. The American stock exchange fell at some point and later rose but now is down again because of the way Trump is managing the transition. Foreign investors plan ahead before they invest. We also need to address the way we do things with a sense of urgency and introduction of efficiency into our system. This will help us a lot in addressing some issues relating to lackadaisical attitude of some bureaucracies. It is in almost all the sectors of our economy and that’s why it takes us a long time to get passport, licence, voting cards and so many other things. Whereas technology has changed the way things are done in some other climes. That enabled US citizens to register two weeks to the voting day and they were able to vote. People even registered on the same day they voted. But the case is different in Nigeria. It is difficult to get your voting card even after you have registered two years ahead. Distribution is another challenge because it didn’t get to so many people. Some of the voting cards are still there in INEC office. It is not encouraging, not
Dr Philip Asiodu was telling us the laid plan in 1975 and where they laid down the train work to diversify the economy. But it was jettisoned by the successive governments... We need to wake up because the world is not waiting for us.
efficient and not sustainable. Technology has changed so many things and we need to embrace the technology to make this nation work. The bottom line is that we need to make all our systems work properly before we can attract investors. Even when power, educational, health sectors work. When those things work properly nobody would want to leave the country. But when things are like this, many people would want to leave. What is happening to the nation’s forex? The shortest answer is that we are importing more than we are exporting. It is when we export that we earn forex and for us to increase forex, we must increase productivity in the country. Unfortunately, we are not doing enough in terms of productivity. Everybody wants forex but nobody is talking about productivity which is the other side of forex. If we create industry and our industries are able to satisfy the local demand and export. If our agricultural produce are getting into the international market, we would earn more forex. But in a case where we only have oil and the price has gone down which made us to get little; we have a problem with foreign exchange. There is no magic about it. If we want more forex, we‘ve got to increase productivity. But unfortunately we are not concentrating on productivity. How do we get out of the current recession? The way forward is to diversify the Nigerian economy which government is trying to do. We have been talking about how we want to diversify the economy for over 40 years and we have not done anything. The other day, Dr Philip Asiodu was telling us the laid plan in 1975 and where they laid down the train work to diversify the economy. But it was jettisoned by successive governments. We have had so many plans thereafter which were again jettisoned by the successive government because we are dependent on oil. Now there is no oil, we have to go back to the diversification plan and execute the good things about them. We need focus on agriculture, culture and tourism, and solid minerals which would in turn help us improve on our education, health and every other sector. Once food is surplus, we have good health system and a functional educational sector, people will be happy and there will be no plan to fly out of the country. •To read or download full interview visit our online platform: www.newdiplomat.ng.
Monu-Olanrewaju...Imparting The Girl Child With Skills Acquisition
fter a glittering political and business career spanning over two decades, Hon. (Mrs.) Chinwe MonuOlanrewaju is giving back to the society that has given her so much by dedicating her God-given wealth to training the girl child through her foundation, The Monu- Olanrewaju Foundation, MOF. She recently carried out training programmes on skills acquisition for the girl-child across the six geo-political zones in the country. According to Hon. Mrs Monu- Olarewaju, the foundation was set up with the sole aim of assisting the girl-child in education to bring out their potentials for development and to equally carry out campaigns against cultism. Chinwe Monu-Olarewaju is the third and last child of Mr. Felix Monu and Comfort Monu of the family of Obi Monu, the first Asagba of Asaba. She was born on October 19, 1960, and hails from Asaba, Oshimilli South Local Government Area of Delta State. She attended St. Mary’s Primary School Lagos, from 1971 to 1972, before moving on to Anglican Girls’ Grammar School (AGGS), Asaba, Delta State, from 1973 to 1978, where she obtained her West African School Certificate (W.A.S.C.) Her leadership skills came to the fore during her secondary school days as she started taking leadership positions as a prefect from forms three to five, and, in her final year, she became a house prefect.
PERISCOPE By 1979, she was admitted to Federal School of Arts and Science, Lagos, where she got her Higher School Certificate (H.S.C). In 1982, she proceeded to the University of Sokoto, Sokoto State, where she obtained a B.A Degree in History in 1985. Her quest for further knowledge took her to Buckingham University, Buckingham, England, where she earned the LLB Degree in 1990 and a Masters’ in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Hull, Hull England in 1999. She returned to Nigeria in July of that same year to take up the job of the Special Adviser to the Honourable Minister of Police Affairs, Major. Gen. David Jemibewon (rtd). Eventually, she returned to England as the Principal Legal Officer for Hexagon Housing Association, London. Mrs. Monu-Olarewaju also pursued further Business Studies at Harvard University, (John Kennedy School of Management Studies), Massachusetts, USA. In 2013, she crowned her efforts with an honorary Doctorate Degree of Art in Public Administration and Policy from the European American University of the Commonwealth of Dominican Republic. Between 2003 and 2007, she served as a legislator in the Delta Sate House of Assembly (DTHA) during which she sponsored the Child
Rights Bill, among many other remarkable activities. Later, she was appointed the Delta State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry. During her term, she facilitated the boot camp entrepreneurs capacity development workshop with the Bank of Industry (B.O.I.) Between 2010 and 2011, Mrs. MonuOlarewaju was National Treasurer for the Women for Change Initiative and Development (W4C), a Non-Governmental Organisation under the leadership of Her Excellency, Dame Patience Jonathan, with the sole aim of developing women in all spheres of life, before she became the Special Adviser and icon in the Directorate of Welfare for the Bamanga Tukur Campaign Organisation. Between January 2012 and 2013, she was the Personal Assistant to Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, then National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. However, this woman of many parts left in May to take up a job in June as Director of Women Affairs for Victory Democratic Konsult. Despite her busy schedule in respect of politics and family affairs, Mrs. MonuOlarewaju still makes out time to reach out to people who need her on account of which she has given scholarship awards to over 52 children from across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria through her foundation ‘The Olarewaju Foundation’. • Monu-Olanrewaju
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THE NEW DIPLOMAT
THE NEW DIPLOMAT
VOL. 2 NO 28 • NOVEMBER 21 – DECEMBER 4, 2016
THE NEW DIPLOMAT
VOL. 2 NO 28 • NOVEMBER 21 – DECEMBER 4, 2016
Plateau 2019: Jang, Lalong, Dariye Set For Showdown!
here was a mild drama recently when a young man publicly challenged the immediate past governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang, over his second term bid for the Senate. It was all at an Empowerment Programme held in Gwol Motel in Barkin Ladi. The programme was organised by Hon. Istafanus Gyang a member representing Barkin Ladi/Riyom Federal Constituency of Plateau State. Trouble started after the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, who was represented by Hon. Zafania Zifalo, called for the re – election of Gyang to the House of Representatives in the forthcoming election in 2019. Zifalo’s comment elicited an uproar from the over 300 beneficiaries of Gyang’s Empowerment Programme, who hailed him, calling him their next senator in the presence of Senator Jang. Then, when it was Senator Jang’s turn to deliver his goodwill message, one of the youths declared: “Baba, you are too old to go back to the Senate. Come back home and look after the children in the PDP.” Jang was apparently embarrassed by the young man’s statement as he comes from the same senatorial zone as Gyang who had invited him to grace the occasion. An angry Jang, while delivering his message fired back. “Young man, if you have the guts to talk
Ahead of the 2019 polls, gladiators in Plateau State appear to be flexing political muscles already as evidenced by an embarrassing encounter which involved the erstwhile governor of the state, Jonah Jang. ANAKOBE MOHAMMED reports from Jos.
rudely to an elder like me, it is possible that you can strip your biological father naked in an open market place.” It was the intervention of the elders at the occasion that calmed frayed nerves. However, reacting later to the incident, media aide to Gyang,
• Dariye Mr. Chuwang Dung, said his boss would not run for the Plateau North Senatorial seat to displace Jang contrary to speculations. Dung asserted that the whole thing was part of a ploy to foul up the relationship between Jang and Gyang “by those who are desperately
manoeuvring to make political gains.” Jang brought up Gyang politically by making him Permanent Secretary (Security) when he was governor of Plateau state. This development, according to insiders familiar with the political development in Plateau State is not unconnected with the battle for the 2019 governorship election in the state. Said an insider, “This is just an indication of what is going to happen in the 2019 elections. It is a plot to stop Jang. The state governor may also be involved in the whole deal. Don’t forget that Jang is also keeping his cards close to his chest. So people are also worried. That insult or rudeness exhibited by the young man is part of a larger political plot to check- mate Jang in 2019. One, to stop him from putting forward a candidate to tackle the sitting governor. Two, to also destabilize him. But don’t forget, Jang is also an old political war horse. He knows the game in the plateau and he perfectly understands how to neutralise theses political foes.’’ Certainly, the battle for 2019 in Plateau promises to be interesting.
Cover CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 to return the spectrum to NCC, NCC will then calculate the outstanding balance and remittances and refund same to Mr. Ovia. As it stands, the deal appears to be heading for the rocks because as things stand, NCC will not allow MTN to access the spectrum. But, there might still be a window for Mr. Ovia to operate the spectrum for Visafone if he meets the conditions, but, if he does not, he has no option but to return sales funds to MTN Top sources at the NCC and the South African Consulate in Lagos confided in The New Diplomat that NCC never at anytime gave outright approval to Mr. Ovia’s request for sale of Visafone to MTN. According to insiders, by December 31, 2015 when the MTN-Visafone deal was consummated and sealed, the thinking of Mr. Ovia and MTN was that MTN would acquire Visafone totally as an entity but this did not happen as there was no spectrum to boost MTN’s connectivity and operations Investigations reveal that by February 20th this year, MTN, eager to utilize the spectrum to which would make it the dominant player in the industry wrote to NCC seeking permission to allow them use the spectrum. Shockingly, NCC turned down the request citing reason including the fact that the spectrum cannot be transferred. An angry MTN was said to have reached Mr. Ovia over this sad and unpleasant development. Alarmed, in June, 2016, Mr. Ovia wrote to NCC asking the commission to transfer the spectrum to MTN, again, NCC declined Ovia’s request. Sources in NCC confided in The New Diplomat that NCC proceeded to further advice both Mr. Ovia and MTN that a spectrum is not transferable and that there was never a time NCC gave an approval for the transfer of the spectrum in the MTN-Visafone deal. The NCC maintained further that its previous
Ovia, Zenith Bank’s Boss, MTN Spectrum Deal...
position of transfer of 100% shares of Visafone to MTN is still in place as an ongoing concern. The New Diplomat gathered from diplomatic sources that when Mr. Ovia wrote NCC requesting for an approval to sell Visafone to MTN, he got NCC’s approval in principle. But, in packaging the deal, top sources at MTN disclosed that the impression they got was that the transfer of Visafone to MTN would come along with the spectrum 800 Mghz Diplomatic sources disclosed that MTN’s headquarters is currently seeking to exit the deal as the whole sale is of no benefit to it said an insider During Jonathan’s administration, anything was possible when Mr. Ovia’s man in Mr. Eugene Juwah was the executive vice chairman. Somebody got three spectrums, he hurriedly return it as soon as Buhari came into office that was N3bn .Now MTN’s interested in Visafone was neither the staff nor any of its business components but just the spectrum 800 Mghz which would have cancelled the Long Term Evolution (LTE) and boost its operations. Sources disclosed that currently, Visafone
• Danbatta workers are also seeking legal redress asking for about N10bn as compensation from both MTN and Mr. Ovia. Some of the workers who had put in about five years in service were only paid 3 months salaries in lieu of notice and forced to resign. It would be recalled that Mr. Ovia who was a close ally of former president Goodluck Jonathan had similarly quietly returned controversial digital dividend spectrum 900 Mhz which he acquired for Cyberspace from former President Jonathan to the NCC last year. Observers believe that the issuance of the spectrum was completely at variance and clear breach of industry practices and procedures. It was issued to Mr. Ovia at a paltry sum of N3bn. High level sources had confided in The New Diplomat that Mr. Ovia returned the spectrum back to NCC believing that the new administration of Buhari might probe the deal. It was gathered that this lead to the collapse of Cyberspace deal with a Chinese firm which packaged as a partnership. Cyberspace, a fully owned ISP based in Lagos belonging to Ovia covers only Lagos. So, when he
(Ovia) acquired spectrum 900Mhz, an action that generated so much public outrage and petitions in the industry, there were genuine concerns In high quarters. The idea was to bring the Chinese firm on board to provide technical capability backing to enable Cyberspace launch nationwide and globally. But, those were some of the grave ethical mistakes committed by President Jonathan. Experts and those who are knowledgeable in the industry believed that the 900Mhz which was handed over to Ovia’s company without public auction or public bidding at a meager sum of N3bn could rake in as much as N100 billion if it is thrown open to public bidding process or public auction” the official said Ovia had quietly returned the spectrum to the NCC as soon as President Buhari assumed office. The NCC, then under Eugene Juwal (a man believed to have been recommended to Jonathan by Ovia) had accepted the spectrum fearing that Buhari would not tolerate the clear breach of ethics. The digital dividend enables telecom companies and internet service providers to launch faster mobile broadband services The spectrum became available after the International Telecoms Union (ITU) directed the broadcast industry to migrate from analogue to digital by June last year. The migration consequently freed part of the electromagnetic spectrum previously used for analogue broadcasting and this spectrum is coveted by telecoms companies world-wide. Meanwhile, Ovia, Wednesday listed the lack of efficient broadband required for speedy telecommunications service as one of the reasons Visafone was sold to South African telecommunications firm, MTN. He did not however disclose how much the outfit was sold to MTN.
•To read or download full interview visit our online platform: www.newdiplomat.ng.
Arkwright: UK’s Envoy Fostering Better UK/Nigeria Relations
he British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, has disclosed that the United Kingdom will continue to live up to its responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Arkwright said his country’s engagement as a NATO member is steadfast and the contributions through membership of the G7 and G20 will remain constructive. He said UK’s links with the Commonwealth,
• Amb. Arkwright
of which Nigeria is a key and major member, are unique and dynamic. “The United Kingdom’s undertaking to spend 0.7% of gross national income on international development, and 2% of GDP on defence is enshrined in our law and means that the UK will remain an engaged international contributor, ” he said. Arkwright who recently analysed how Brexit will affect Nigeria; says the United Kingdom is naturally looking to grow its market share, to encourage more businesses to come to Nigeria. He said the decision made by the British on Brexit “was a momentous one. It will lead to change, and much detail about that change is still uncertain. Our Prime Minister, Theresa May, has made a very clear statement: ‘Brexit means Brexit, and we are going to make a success of it.’ She has also been clear that making a success of Brexit is the most important task of the new British Government.” There will be many elements to making a success of Brexit. According to him, Brexit would help Democracy, and enhance the process of carrying out the mandate of the British people; create a new relationship with Europe; and forge a
new role for Britain in the world. Speaking also at the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, Arkwright, commended the laudable contributions of Nigerians in the United Kingdom, saying they have continued to enrich Britain in all spheres – arts, culture, politics, and business, among others. Arkwright, who came into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), United Kingdom as Desk officer, rose through the ranks and emerged as FCO Director before his appointment as Ambassador to Nigeria in 2015. The FCO is the UK government department responsible for protecting and promoting British interests around the world, through the FCO in London and its network of 270 diplomatic posts in 160 countries. Arkwright’s appointment makes him the 21st British High Commissioner to the Federal Republic of Nigeria since the nation got her independence in 1960. Arkwright, who replaces Sir Andrew Pocock, is married to Patricia Anne Holland and the union is blessed with two Children --- one son and a daughter.
Until he was appointed as the British Ambassador to Nigeria, Arkwright has been the FCO Director, Multilateral Policy; FCO Head, Counter-Proliferation Department in 2006; FCO, Participant in Higher Command and Staff Course, Defence Academy Shrivenham, 2001 – 2005; UKDEL NATO, Political Counsellor.1998 – 2001; Paris, First Secretary, Political 1997 – 1998; Secondment to Quai d’Orsay, Paris, UN and International Organisations department 1993 – 1997; UKMis New York, First Secretary Political, 1991 – 1993; FCO, Head of Conventional Arms Section Non Proliferation & Defence Department.1988 – 1991; British Military Government Berlin (later British Embassy, Berlin Office), Second Secretary Political 1987 – 1988; FCO, Desk Officer, Hong Kong Department. Facts About United Kingdom Tourist sites: Stonehenge, Tower of London, The City of Bath, Windsor Castle, Historic Yorkshire, Cambridge University, Lake District National Park, Canterbury Cathedral among others. Population: 65,246,001(as at Thursday November 3, 2016) GDP per capita: 41,787.47 USD (2013).
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Oba Otudeko: The Unassuming Business Mogul
ith a Net Worth of $550 million according to Forbes (estimated to be worth $1billion by Ventures Africa) and a business empire spanning manufacturing, oil & gas, telecoms and hospitality industry, Obafoluke Ayoola Otudeko is an accomplished business mogul. The CEO of Honeywell Group, Airtel Nigeria, Fan Milk of Nigeria Plc, and Radisson Blu Hotel, to mention but a few, earlier this year was named Africa CEO of The Year 2016 by the Africa CEO Forum beating seven other finalists, including Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, to clinch the coveted prize in Ivory Coast. Otudeko and Dangote were the only Nigerians listed among the eight top contenders for the award. The forum rewards Africa’s best chief executive officers, companies, and investors whose strategies have contributed significantly to the economic growth of the continent. Set up in partnership with the African Development Bank, ADB, the Africa CEO Forum is an event organised jointly by Groupe Jeune Afrique, publisher of Jeune Afrique and The Africa Report, and Rainbow Unlimited, a Swiss company specialising in organising economic promotion events. Founder and President of the Africa CEO Forum, Amir Ben Yahmed, while presenting the award to Otudeko, noted that the CEO of the Year award was conferred on him based on his achievements in the fields of development, governance, strategy, leadership, and financial performance across the operations of his conglomerate. This notable achievement is a further
testament to the global recognition that this chartered banker, chartered corporate secretary, and chartered accountant commands in the business circle. Otudeko joined the business world at a very tender age. His Honeywell Group, founded in 1972, started operations as a trading concern, importing and marketing
baking yeast, stock fish, glass and steel rods, among others. The group of companies has, overtime, evolved into a diversified enterprise with businesses across major sectors of the Nigerian economy. Through additional portfolio investments, the group is also a significant provider of capital to other
sectors, including financial services, telecommunications, and security management. Today, Otudeko’s conglomerate encompasses the oil and gas industry, flour milling, real estate and marine transportation sectors Otudeko recently retired as the Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Plc after 12 years on its board. He has also served on the boards of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Guinness Nigeria Plc and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, ETI. Between September 2006 and August 2009, he was the 16th President and Chairman of Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE. He was formerly Chairman of the National Maritime Authority; Member, Constituent Assembly responsible for drafting a new Constitution, 1988 to 1989, and Council Member, Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria, MAN. He was the Chancellor of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State from 2001 to 2010 and has also served on the Africa Regional Advisory Board of the London Business School, where he is now a member of the Office of Distinguished Friends. Over the years, Otudeko attended management courses at several prestigious institutions, among which are the Harvard Business School, the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Arthur D. Little School of Management and the London Business School. He is currently rated 24th richest man in Africa by Forbes Magazine.
Christopher Gray, 24,
American: Helping Indigent Students Get Education Cofounder, Scholly
or seven months during high school in Alabama, F Christopher Gray spent close to 12 hours a week searching and applying (sometimes on his cell phone)
Eugene Mbugua, 25,
Kenyan: Profiling Young Entrepreneurs In Kenya Founder, Young Rich TV, Get in the Kitchen
Zuriel Elise Oduwole, 14: Nigerian-American: Rubbing Shoulders With The High And Mighty
riter, Girl-child education advocate, Film-maker She has been hogging W the limelight since she was a kid. At the age of ten, Zuriel’s advocacy work on girl-child education earned her the status of being the youngest
for college scholarships. By the time he set foot on Drexel University campus as a freshman, he had raked up enough money to cover his tuition and all conceivable undergraduate expenses and then some. “I was high achieving,” he says, “but I had to choose either finding the money for college or not going at all.” Fast forward a couple of years, and Gray was volunteering with low-income students just like him in Philadelphia public schools to help them find ways to pay for college. It didn’t take long to realize he couldn’t help everyone one-on -one. Teaming up with Nick Pirollo, 26 and Bryson Alef, 24, in early 2015, he built Scholly. Using an eight-parameter algorithm, the app and web platform connects pre-screened scholarships with eligible students. Since its launch, more than 600,000 users have joined and $20 million in scholarships have been given out. For now, Scholly only pairs students with privatelyfunded scholarships. Next up? Connecting students with public university scholarships.
he 25-year-old Kenyan is the founder of one of Kenya’s most successful television production companies. His company, Young Rich Television Limited, produces two of Kenya’s most popular TV programmes – ‘Young Rich’ – a weekly show that profiles young, successful Kenyan entrepreneurs, and ‘Get in the Kitchen’- an extremely popular cooking show. Both shows have aired for Nine (9) and Four (4) seasons respectively, command viewership in the millions, and have sponsorship from several blue-chip companies in Kenya. Mbugua also owns My Yearbook Limited, a company that produces yearbooks and publications for companies, schools and governments. A real-estate company he owns is also developing a 188-unit hostel project to provide housing for students of Kenya’s Egerton University.
person to be profiled by Forbes Magazine. At twelve, she became the world’s youngest filmmaker to have a selfproduced and self-edited work after her film showed in two movie chains, and then went on to screen in Ghana, England, South Africa, and Japan. At the last count, she has met with twenty-three world leaders in the line of her education advocacy work. In August 2016, Forbes Afrique which is distributed across all 23 Francophone African countries as well as France, Belgium and Switzerland, featured her in its annual Africa’s 100 Most Influential Women’s list, alongside the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ameenah Gurib, President of Mauritius. Others on the list include Africa’s only female CEO and owner of a Brewery, Kenya’s Tabitha Karanja; CNN’s Celebrated Anchor, Isha Sesay from Sierra Leone; South African actress, Charize Theron; music powerhouse, Angeique Kidjo from Benin Republic; Academy Award winner, Lupita Nyogo of Kenya and World Economic Forum African director, Tanzania’s Elsie Kanza. Representing Nigerian on the list are World Bank Vice President, Aruma Oteh; Billionaire Folorunsho Alakija; Telecom Executive, Funke Opeke; writer Chimamanda Adichie; Standard Chartered Bank CEO, Bola Adesola and Flying Doctor founder, Ola Orekunrin Zuriel is described in the opening monologue of the listing as the pearl and high point of the list, because of her storied accomplishments at such a young age.
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VOL. 2 NO 28 • NOVEMBER 21 – DECEMBER 4, 2016
Nigeria’s Premier University Awards Honorary Doctorate To Africa’s Richest Man
n Thursday November 17, 2016, Aliko Dangote, industrialist and business mogul added another honour to his already swarming bag of awards as he received the Honorary Doctorate of the University of Ibadan. The award which is in recognition of his massive investment in industries, job creation and his revolution in Africa’s economy is timely and fitting. Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka, Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan in setting the tone for the ceremony, told the gathering that Dangote is deserving of every honour anywhere for his industry and patriotism. According to the university administrator, University of Ibadan is celebrating Dangote “not just because he is rich, but because of his entrepreneurial spirit. He is building the biggest refinery in the world in Lagos State which is going to employ thousands of our country men and women. So we are going to showcase his as a very successful entrepreneur”. For over a decade now, Dangote’s success story has resonated across the African continent and beyond with excitement because of what he represents. Writing recently, Professor Ehiedu Iweriebor, former Chair, Department of Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies at Hunter College, the City University of New York in the United States, recalled his experience last year after witnessing the launch of Dangote’s cement plant in Ndola, Zambia. “That experience and my long-standing
ideological and intellectual interest in the Dangote phenomenon left me to reflect on the broader significance of Dangote. And I concluded that in fact he is contributing to Africa’s economic transformation and emancipation. This can be best understood against the background of Africa’s persistent economic underdevelopment”, he said. Among many Africans at home and in the Diaspora like Professor Iweriebor, the verdict is the same. His dynamic business style touches Africans and Nigerians in many ways. His investments around the African continent employ thousands of people directly and indirectly hence he is regarded
by many as the unquestionable apostle of Africa’s economic transformation. On his part, the industrialist who is known for few words always takes the love and appreciation in his stride. As he received the award, he used the opportunity to call on those in government to increase funding to schools as this will go a long way in improving the standard of education in Nigeria. “If there are two things that I am passionate about, they are education and entrepreneurship. I believe they go hand in hand. Some years ago as Chairman of the National Committee on Job Creation, my committee tried to fashion out strategies for integrating entrepreneurship into our national educational curriculum, in line with what obtains in the Western world. We believe Nigerian universities should produce selfemployable graduates able to fend for themselves and contribute meaningfully to national economic growth, rather than waiting endlessly for whitecollar jobs. “That is why we took the decision to set up our Dangote Academy in 2010 to train young graduates on technical and vocational skills, to enhance their competitiveness in the employment market. We have so far trained close to a thousand graduates and have absorbed more than 80 percent of them in our various subsidiaries, whilst we have given the rest the opportunity
to use the skills that they have acquired in our Academy, in other organizations. We believe that by so doing, we will be contributing to increasing the supply of skilled manpower for our industries and the country. Indeed it is our intention to upgrade the academy into a full pledged University of Technology “Over the next three years, we, at the Dangote Group, will be investing nearly $20billion in projects ranging from a petroleum refinery, petrochemicals, fertiliser, gas pipeline, to backward integration in sugar and rice production and dairy farming. These projects will create over 250,000 jobs, provide foreign exchange earnings and savings of $16billion for the country, thus helping to diversify our economy. By 2019, with the commissioning of these projects, Nigeria will become an exporter of Fertiliser, Petroleum Products, Polypropylene, Polyethylene and produce enough gas to generate 12,000 megawatts of power. “We are quietly using economic diplomacy to project Africa’s positive narrative, which is scarcely mentioned in mainstream Western media. We believe that it is through investments in the African continent, particularly in areas of manufacturing, construction, infrastructure, agriculture and food processing, amongst others, that we can sustain this momentum. This award will further encourage us to redouble our efforts as we work towards promoting Africa’s economicrenaissance. We are grateful to UI for recognizing our modest efforts to transform Africa”.
Ondo Polls: Tinubu, Mimiko, Abuja Forces In Last Minute Battle Ondo governorship polls holds in the next couples of days. Our correspondent David Babafemi reports the intrigues and inter-play of forces characterising the battle for votes.
s candidates square up for battle in the Ondo State governorship election in the next five days, there is still uncertainty as to whether the polls will hold or not. This development is premised on the recent calls for the postponement of the election which appear to be gaining ground following last Wednesday’s declaration by the Court of Appeal Panel in Abuja which reserved its ruling on the matter. Besides, the uncertainty is also predicated on the seeming inaction by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the conduct of recent elections which had been inconclusive. The appeal before the Appeal Court in Abuja was filed by the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), challenging his replacement with Jimoh Ibrahim who belongs to a rival faction of the same PDP. Acting on the orders made by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja on June 29 and October 14, 2016, the INEC had dropped Jegede who belongs to the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction and replaced him with Ibrahim as the party’s flag bearer of the party in the November 26 election in the state. Ibrahim belongs to another faction of the PDP led by Ali Modu Sheriff. Barely 10 days to the polls, The Justice Ibrahim Saulawa-led new appeal panel allowed Jegede’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), to adopt his client’s appellant’s brief, despite stiff opposition by the counsel for the first to nineth respondents in the case, Mr. Ben Nwofor (SAN). With few days to the polls, there is apprehension within the political circle in the state, especially the PDP, as to who is going to be the actual candidate in the election. Unlike in 2012 when the election was a threehorse race between then incumbent Segun Mimiko of the Labour Party, Olusola Oke of the PDP and Rotimi Akeredolu of the Action Congress, this time around, because of the pall of uncertainty in many of the parties, anything can just happen. However, political observers have identified four critical factors that may determine where the pendulum of victory will swing if the election eventually holds. These are the Mimiko factor, the Tinubu factor, the Afenifere factor, and the crisis within all the parties. However, the issues of finance, popularity of the candidate and zoning will also play significant roles. Mimiko Factor As the outgoing governor, he will use everything
in his power to ensure the emergence of his candidate – Jegede. Most of the governors usually handpick their successors. Mimiko, singlehanded, made sure that Jegede emerged the party’s candidate in a first-ditch effort to make him governor by next year. He has thus deployed all his resources, material, financial to back him. When the candidacy ran into a hitch with the INEC, Mimiko had rushed to President Muhammadu Buhari for it to be sorted out. It is apparently due to his effort that the Court of Appeal is hearing the appeal against Ibrahim after an initial hesitation. Authoritative sources said Mimiko had toyed with the idea of returning to the Labour Party when it appeared that the PDP road had been blocked by the Modu Sheriff faction. Mimiko was said to have promised some leaders in the state that by the time he would be stepping out, he would hand over to someone from Akure axis as that area is yet to present the governor of the state since its creation in 1976. Tinubu Factor The Tinubu factor is another critical factor in the race to the Alagbaka House. For Tinubu, this is payback time for Mimiko who used him to get to the government house through the Appeal Court only to dump him afterwards. Thus Tinubu had backed Olusegun Abrahams in the race but he himself was stabbed in the back in the APC primaries which led to the loss of his candidate. With the strong backing Tinubu enjoys in the South West states, he plays an important role in Saturday’s election especially with the support of the governors. While Abraham is in court battling Akeredolu over the ticket, the backing is said to have shifted to Olusola Oke who also lost in the APC primaries but quickly defected to the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Tinubu’s former party and snatched the party’s ticket. Afenifere Factor This is where the rancour between the Afenifere and Tinubu is playing itself out. Because of the cold shoulders that Tinubu is experiencing at the moment with some APC leaders, there are talks of mediation in order to resolve the crisis. If this pays off, then Oke might just be the beneficiary.
The crisis in the parties. At the moment, with the exception of the Social Democratic Party,SDP, all the other major parties are crisis-ridden which might just be the undoing of their candidates come Saturday. With this development, the outcome of the election and the court verdicts might just be anybody’s game. The major aspirants in their strengths and weaknesses. Ondo State has 18 local governments divided into the three senatorial zones ONDO CENTRAL Akure South, Akure North, Ondo East, Ondo West, Idanre, Ifedore. ONDO SOUTH Ileoluji/Okeigbo, Odigbo, Ilaje, Ese-Odo, Okitipupa, Irele. ONDO NORTH Akoko North East, Akoko South West, Akoko North West, Akoko South East, Ose, Owo. Eyitayo Jegede, PDP He is from Akure south, in the Central Senatorial District. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Jegede is the immediate past attorney general and commissioner for justice in Ondo State, a position he resigned to join the guber race. He belongs to the Ahmed Makarfi faction of the PDP. He is perhaps the most experienced politician of the lot. Being the anointed candidate of Governor Mimiko, it was not difficult for him to defeat his rival, Mr. Saka Lawal at the primary election held in August. His chances at the election are bright despite the fact that he hails from the same senatorial district with Mimiko. He is a product of agitation. Since the creation of Ondo State in 1976, Akure has not produced a civilian governor. Outgoing Mimiko has assured the people that he would assist them in realizing their dream. All the six councils in the senatorial zone make up what is called Akure division except ondo East and West. With this he is sure of garnering at least 95 percent of votes in the zone while Mimiko will secure Ondo East and West for him. He may not have an inroad in the Akoko and Ilaje areas of the
state. Rotimi Akeredolu, APC He will still have to contend with the barrage of protests which followed his emergence on September 3. Akeredolu, a SAN, will be contesting for the second time as a candidate. He was the candidate of ACN during 2012 governorship election in which he was placed third after Governor Mimiko and Olusola Oke, the then PDP candidate. APC is strong in the northern zone of the state, especially Akoko which has about 30 percent of total votes of the state. A quick resolution of the post-primary crisis will in no small way assist him to have a better outing than that of 2012. He is equally exploiting the south to pick his running mate as part of the strategy to garner votes from the area. The central which already has a candidate in the person of Jegede may not likely be prepared to trade off the mandate. Jimoh Ibrahim, PDP The emergence of Jimoh Ibrahim, the factional candidate of Ali Modu Sheriff, is meant to play a spoiler role against mimiko. He has been a thorn in the flesh of the administration since the outgoing governor decamped to the PDP in 2014 shortly before the presidential election. Ibrahim had participated in all governorship elections in the state with his first foray on the ticket of All Progressives Party, APP, in 2003 when he lost woefully. He is still battling for recognition of his candidacy since his election, which took place in Ibadan, was initially not recognised by INEC but was later compelled by a court order. The candidacy is still a subject of litigation few days to the polls. A businessman, he cannot be said to have any base in the three senatorial districts. Dr. Olu Agunloye, SDP He had attempted to clinch the governorship ticket twice in the ACN 2012, and later crossed to PDP. When it was clear to him that he was not in the reckoning in the PDP, he ran to the SDP. His only assurance is that if the crises in the PDP and APC remain unresolved till the election date, he may become the favoured choice of Ondo voters. This is because he has little influence, backing and support in the state on account of his lean financial muscle. Olusola Oke Following the defection of Olusola Oke to the Alliance For Democracy (AD) after failing to secure the nomination of the All Progressives Congress, there are indications that history might just be repeated. Recall that in 2007, Mr. Mimiko left the PDP for the then unpopular LP to contest against the incumbent, Olusegun Agagu, and emerged winner, even though he only assumed office more than a year later through the courts. This breaking of the bipolarization of the state’s politics by Mimiko with his Labour Party (LP) appears to be the source of optimism Mr. Oke’s supporters. Will history be repeating itself?
THE NEW DIPLOMAT
VOL. 2 NO 28 • NOVEMBER 21 – DECEMBER 4, 2016
Delayed Exco Appointment: Is Udom Careful Or Confused? Akanimo Kufre, Uyo
t is about two months since Governor Udom Emmanuel dissolved the Akwa Ibom State Executive Council. Many questions have piled up since. Most pertinent are questions like who will occupy which positions? And how effective will these individuals be in the industrialization crusade of Udom Emmanuel? However, considering Udom’s antecedent as a prudent manager in the banking sector, the delay may be carefulness in selecting from a long list of qualified Akwa Ibomites. But the overwhelming feelings of Akwa Ibom people is that Udom’s delay may have stemmed from confusion. A minor disagreement between officials of the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps and Tanker Drivers which caused petrol price ot jump from N145 to N200 and N250 in the state for over a week and Udom’s sack of 5,000 teachers employed by the last administration, among others, are seen by some as fallouts of lack of commissioners to advise him. “The permanent secretaries are there to work, but administratively if they do not work beyond three months, some economic and administrative setbacks may occur,” warned an expert. However, according to a veteran journalist, whether commissioners are there or not the work of the ministries would go on. “It might be a moneysaving device in the state.” But a CLO leader, Clifford Thomas, said, “It is not suitable to govern without state executive council. There is need to have Exco made up of commissioners and special advisers to encourage the government. But despite any pressure, I know
the governor is a very intelligent man, he knows who he wants and he knows those he doesn’t need. We’ll wish him the best. He needs to succeed in things like ground-breaking. People want to see factories everywhere. People want to see employment going on, people want to see people engage actively.” Another theory on the delayed appointment is pressure from lobbyists. Some community activists allege marginalization. It was even rumoured in some quarters that the former governor, Godswill Apkabio, is demanding slots for finance and works commissioners. This and the sacking of 5000 teachers employed under Akpabio are believed to have created a strain in Udom-Akpabio’s relations. However the Chief Press Secretary a nd Senior Special Assistant to Udom, Mr Ekerette Udo, dismissed such speculations as baseless. “Appointment of members of the State Exco is the sole prerogative of the governor and he has absolute powers to choose those he believes will help translate his vision. And also, when the governor is ready to do that he will do it and the world will know. So we don’t response to innuendos or rumours. Their relationship is exceedingly cordial! Am sure you follow what is done in some other states where you have cold wars between certain immediate past governors and the incumbent. We don’t have it in this state and people should not raise issues when none exists. Gov. Udom Emmanuel enjoys a cordial relation with former governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio.” Whether there is a froost in the relations or not, Udom certainly needs to prove his ability to convert Akwa Ibom’s commonwealth into investment and income -generating assets. Posterity will hold him
• Gov. Udom accountable and not his commissioners. For a Professor of Financial Economics, University of Uyo, Leo Ukpong, one to three months without commissioners is not a bad idea. “It could be that the process is not completely in place to appoint new commissioners. But in the long term, it is not good because strategic decisions are handled by the commissioners. Sometimes, the good part of using temporary heads like the Permanent Secretary is that decisions are made quickly. But besides that, it losses all advantage because the head of the unit should make decisions long-term and that is the job of the commissioner. Anything more than three months will affect
Obaseki: His Agenda, His Challenges By John Oghojafor, South South Bureau Chief
t exactly 12.20 pm on Saturday, November 12, 2016, Mr. Godwin Enogheghase Obaseki was sworn in as the Governor of Edo State in a colourful ceremony which took place at the main bowl of the Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City. The event which was described as a national celebration because of the calibre of dignitaries that graced the occasion, saw the immediate past governor of the State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole formally handing over the reins of power to Obaseki and his deputy, Mr. Philip Shaibu. The ceremony attracted the who-is-who in the country, including President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dogara, Former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon; the national chairman of the APC, Mr. John Odigie-Oyegun; several state governors, captains of industries among others. All formalities having been completed, Governor Obaseki performed his first task by declaring his agenda which constitutes his social contract with the people of Edo State. Although his vision and goals had been unveiled a couple of months ago during his campaign as his manifesto, restating them shortly after subscribing to the various oath of office, clearly showed that he is legally bound by his declaration. Obaseki vowed to carry the people along in his pursuit of what he referred to as the building
of a new and great Edo State, and this he had summarized in “LET’S GO FURTHER TOGETHER”. The governor has set a target for himself and his administration which he has anchored on the creation of 200,000 jobs in the first four years, focusing on agriculture with further job opportunities, industries including micro, small and medium scale, education, infrastructure, security, youth and women empowerment, civil service reform, among others. The New Diplomat has assessed these goals set by the governor, the possible challenges that lie ahead of him and the options open for him to achieve the set targets.
Funding Edo State has been rated as the second most indebted state in the country, next only to Lagos State. But some believe the State is the most indebted because the ratio of the percentage of its indebtedness to its internally generated revenue is nothing compared to that of Lagos State. However, Gov. Obaseki’s measure of success in achieving his dream for a newer and greater Edo State will be determined by his ability to source funds to drive his vision. Conspicuously present to celebrate his inauguration were the ‘who-iswho’ in the corporate world: the Dangotes, the Otedolas, the Jim Ovias and a host of others. Can he reach out to these corporate friends of his to attract cheaper funds to transform Edo State? He must hit the ground running to make a difference in the lives of Edo people, the same way his colleague, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode is currently doing in Lagos State.
Political will Going down memory lane, it is very easy to juxtapose the scenario that produced the immediate past governor of Edo State, Oshiomhole eight years ago with the present scenario that brought in Obaseki. Oshiomhole, The New Diplomat gathered, rode on the crest of the political strength of some notable political godfathers in Edo State to become governor. These include the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship candidate in the September 28, 2016, election, Pastor Ize Iyamu, Chief Tom Ikimi among others. But for him to achieve the dream of his administration, Oshiomhole had to take responsibility and breake away from the control of those godfathers. Indeed, he stepped on sensitive toes and became estranged by his effort to assert independence. Most people believe his level of success was determined by his ability to take responsibility for all his action. As Gov. Obaseki mounts the rostrum of leadership in Edo State, can he avoid undue influence from his “god fathers” and become independent-minded? The New Diplomat are of the opinion that Obaseki has learnt the political ropes in the last eight years he worked with Oshiomhole and had become wise enough to ensure that his success will depend on how independent-minded he acts a governor. Nature of Cabinet In constituting his cabinet, Gov. Obaseki is likely to face some challenges. The New
Wall Or Not: Trump Needs Mexican Oil...
wo of Donald Trump’s main pledges during the presidential race were building a wall along the border with Mexico, and making the U.S. energyindependent. Now that the election is over, these issues are coming to the fore. First, the president-elect said that the wall, which he mentioned on the campaign trail and in numerous debates, is still very much on the table, though what type of “wall” that may be is an unknown. Second, he said he planned to start deporting illegal aliens—those with criminal records—which could amount to as many as three million individuals. Despite “The Wall”, the deportation of Mexican citizens, and several grandiose comments about Mexico paying for said wall—not to mention Trump’s proclamation that he would raise import tariffs up to 35 percent on some Mexican products—Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto was among the
first of the world leaders to congratulate Trump on his victory. And if NAFTA is no more, tariffs will rise for all imports. What does all this mean for the future of oil imports to the U.S.? The United States imported over 670,000 bpd of crude and fuels from Mexico in August, according to the EIA. Another 773,000 bpd came from Venezuela. Together, the two countries ranked third in the U.S. oil and products import mix, after Canada and Saudi Arabia. While supplies from Canada are unlikely to be threatened, thanks to traditionally warm bilateral relations with the country, the situation is different for both Mexico and Venezuela because of the illegal immigration issue and the blatantly anti-U.S. Caracas regime. Whether Trump is successful in cutting back—or cutting entirely—imports from Saudi Arabia is yet another unknown.
And while it’s possible that Mexico and Venezuela could suffer a drop in exports to the U.S., if Trump stays true to his campaign promises, other forces are also influencing the matter. The situation in Venezuela remains highly volatile, but there is a ray of hope on the horizon as the government of President Nicolas Maduro and the leaders of the opposition party, MUD, grudgingly discusses the direction Venezuela should take. But no matter the outcome of these talks, the starving country will need markets for its crude oil, and the U.S. happens to be the largest one. So, it is very unlikely that anyone there would seek to antagonize Trump. Things are a bit different in Mexico, since many of the illegal immigrants Trump wants to deport come from the southern neighbour—a factor that may stress relations. •Culled: Oilprice.com
the effective management of the organisation. Major decisions are not made in time. So, it is a cost to the system. You don’t save cost unless the commissioners are over-priced. Not paying commissioners is insignificant to the budget of the ministry unless naturally they bloated their allowances. The benefit you get from a commissioner if doing what is expected is higher than the cost.” A reliable source said Akan Okon and Ephraim Inyang are among the likely returnees to Udom’s cabinet. Others speculated to likely make the list are Dr Glory Edet, Etido Inyang, Ekerette Ukpong, Dominic Ukpong, Okpolom Ette, Udo Sam Umoattan, Ekong Sampson and Enobong Uwah. The allocation of slots for political supporters is another delicate task that may be delaying the cabinet. A political expert warned: “If Udom is not careful in balancing that, it could backfire and the All Progressives Congress, APC, will take advantage of that. If he misses a powerful constituency and APC capitalises on that, it could affect his long-term ambition as a governor.” In the opinion of APC spokesman in Akwa Ibom, Hon Ita Awak, Udom has every right to pick his cabinet at his own time and believes there must be a genuine reason for the delay. He however advised the governor to consider as foremost the growth and development of Akwa Ibom, “We only hope that he (Udom) will find the courage to break free and be his own man and take decisions for the general good of Akwa Ibom people. Take decision, constitute a cabinet that will help him fashion those programmes that will heal the deep ethnic wounds that Akpabio left in Akwa Ibom State.
Diplomat gathered that there might be the possibility of confrontation with those political leaders whom he had pledged to be loyal to in the choice of who makes it to his cabinet. He has appointed the erstwhile director general of his campaign organization, Mr. Osarodion Ogie, as the Secretary to the State Government, a choice that naturally was his to make. As a technocrat himself would he be disposed to a cabinet dominated by technocrats or a fifty-fifty mixture of sort? How would Obaseki cope with the long list of corporate friends most of who are outside the state and the political class? Would he go for a bloated cabinet to satisfy the political class and others who assisted him to his exalted position or would he go for a manageable exco and ministries that would not put pressure on the dwindling state finances. Pending election petitions “If after the swearing-in ceremony, Obaseki goes to sleep thinking all is well, then he must be joking”, a respondent told The New Diplomat. In fact, on the day Gov. Obaseki was subscribing to the various oaths at the swearing-in ceremony, his adversary in the September 28 election, IzeIyamu was busy putting up structure which he called Mandate Recovery Forum somewhere in the state capital. Already, Ize-Iyamu has filed a petition at the Election Tribunal sitting in Benin. But it is obvious that Obaseki is not losing sight of it. The case of Prof. Osunbor whose governorship was truncated by the election petition and the emergence of Comrade Oshiomhole’s first tenure governorship will certainly be a reminder for Obaseki to pray hard and work hard to sustain the mandate given to him by the Edo people.
VOL. 2 NO 28 • NOVEMBER 21 – DECEMBER 4, 2016
THE NEW DIPLOMAT
N/Assembly Will Ruin Buhari’s Anti-Graft Crusade–Adeniran •N’A the albatross of anti-corruption war •Fulani herdsmen menace, indices of national crisis •Names Incompetent ministers in Buhari’s Cabinet...Says Fashola, Adeosun are underperforming Debo Adeniran is the Executive Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), a human rights, community-based, and civil society with focus on anti-corruption agenda across Nigeria. CACOL sets for itself the task of using any available means to cause relevant authorities to probe and bring to book all corrupt leaders both in public and private institutions. Prior to becoming the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Debo was the Pioneer Secretary-General, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR); First General secretary, Gani Fawehinmi Solidarity Association (GFSA) and Inaugural Assistant General Secretary, Campaign for Democracy (CD) and many others. In this interview with The New Diplomat’s Business and Public Policy Editor; OLAMILEKAN OKEOWO, Adenikan spoke on how the National Assembly will be the albatross of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, incompetent ministers, how Nigeria got into recession and sundry issues. EXCERPTS
couple of the president’s men have been fingered in one graft issue or the other, for an administration that is hell-bent on fighting corruption, what do you think this portends? The way the fight against corruption is going and the discovery that some of the president’s men have been fingered in some corruption mess is not strange to us. Some members of his cabinet like Rotimi Amaechi, Babatunde Fashola, Ogbonnaya Onu and the likes have been fingered in corruption mess. It is not that the president does not hear about the complaints on his men. He might not just want to start his anti-corruption war with them. One thing is clear, the president and his vice have not been indicted for any corruption and it does not seem that he will condone corruption as he has repeatedly said that he will not allow corrupt people to remain in his government. The Economics and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has also come out to say that all those fingered are under their searchlight. It then depends on the anticorruption agencies like the EFCC, ICPC to really dig deep and find evidence of corruption to nail them. Whether we like it or not, there is a little ideological difference between the PDP and the APC. In the fight against corruption and the way the present administration is going about it, I believe if he had done anything less, we would have been utterly disappointed, we would not be having the needed change that we clamored for. We must also understand that when you fight corruption, if fights back. While acknowledging President Muhammadu Buhari fight against corruption, he must also know that that is not what governance is all about. On nepotism, all those who are affected by every decisions taken by the leader will always accuse the leader of being nepotistic. We only want to urge the regime to be more focused, to do things faster than before and Nigerians will know that the pain and pang was only for a while if the regime is able to achieve the desirables What do you think of the competence of some of his cabinet members? Before the president inaugurated his cabinet, CACOL had fingered some of those he nominated to the National Assembly for ministerial post and that some of them had shown incompetence in their previous posts. Some of them actually performed more on the pages of the newspapers and we warned him about it. We specifically mentioned the former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola. Yes, some would argue that he performed well based on what they read in the media, but, we went into the field to verify the projects that he claimed to have done and we found out that most of them are not where he said they were. We published our findings in two volumes and warned the president that using somebody like that as a minister will spell doom for the administration; he will only speak more and do less. This is also someone who was alleged to have upgraded his personal website to the tune of N78.3million and when he was queried about it at the ministerial screening, he said he didn’t sign the cheque which is a clever way of repudiating one’s responsibility. We also identified the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and that what she did in Ogun State was nothing to write home about. She didn’t show adequate competence in the way she managed the economy of the state. There are areas where the economy of the state could have been made more buoyant. Areas like Sango Otta, which is basically an industrial area, which could have been developed thereby making the economy of the area more buoyant was neglected. Areas where revenue could have been generated were made unproductive and we said instead of double-taxing the people, you can ensure that production level is made more buoyant so that people can buy goods and thereby more industries can be sited in the area. But instead of looking at the productive sector, they were busy looking at the taxes they can get from individuals that are already over-taxed by the excruciating conditions under which they were living. And we warned that if such a person was taken
to the federal level, it was going to compound the trouble of Nigeria rather than alleviate it, and that is what we are experiencing. Instead of the economy of the country to improve it is rather plummeting. We ran into recession not because we do not have the wherewithal to ensure that our economy boomed but because we underrated the incompetence of those who are handling our economy.
who are engaged in corruption, incompetent will begin to resign because like the EFCC has said, they are being investigated and the long arm of the law will soon catch up with them.
What do you think is responsible for the recession the country is currently facing and how has it affected the country? The monetary and fiscal policies were awkward to the extent that there is no machineries put in place to manage and control the inflow and outflow of cash within the economy. There is inconsistency in the way the foreign exchange is managed. If you look at the policies today, they say don’t deposit foreign currency, but you cannot withdraw it; tomorrow it is another thing. The real sector cannot get foreign exchange at the official quarters and you go back and sell the same scarce foreign exchange to those who will not use it for anything productive. All of these inconsistencies are as a result of incompetence on the part of the handlers of the economy. No foreign investors will want to come into a country where their policies are somersaulting. We only hope that the economy will get back on its footing as the vice president has promised. All those incompetence threw the government off-balance and the administration could no longer focus on the business of governance. What do you have to say about insinuations in some quarters that there are moves to Islamize Nigeria --- especially due to some appointments that have been made which are believed to be favouring northern Muslims? I don’t share that sentiment. Constitutionally, Nigeria is a secular state which means we don’t have to consider religions when we are talking about national issues. It isn’t the same thing with the issue of federal character in the constitution. There is nowhere in the constitution where it is stated that there must be equality in the sharing of the religion in appointments. So, if anybody is accusing the president of trying to Islamize the country, they are just playing politics. On the issue of appointing northerners into key position, we should understand that there is the possibility of him working with those he knows so well and most of the people he had known most of his life were northerners, what should matter to us should be competence. He is the chief accounting officer of his regime, every failure is his failure. What we should look at is the quality of the minds of those he is working with and their commitment. Primordial sentiments ought not to be brought to the fore. Also remember that there is no provision in the constitution that says whoever is representing a state must be either Christian or Muslim. For example, in the National Assembly today, we have more Muslims than Christians, why is nobody carrying placards to protest against it. Do you have faith in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to successfully run the affairs of this country? Faith is a very strong word and I don’t predict the future. I just take issues the way they come. I have in the past expressed fear and despondency because it is only the president and his vice that stands out and maybe some very few who has not soiled their fingers in the puddle of corruption. People like the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu; Minister of Information, Lai Mohammadu. Yes, some might call him a liar but propaganda is part of politics and the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh though there is a perceived sense of incompetence with the way he is going about his job. I am not going to talk to you about faith. President Muhammadu Buhari will succeed only if the National Assembly gives him the needed support which I am not sure they would as they have a corruption baggage or the other dangling on their necks. So they might not want to uphold or support any good law that will expose them. In fact, what the National Assembly is doing cannot
• Adeniran help Buhari to achieve his aims of ridding the country of corruption. Instead of making the existing laws stronger to make it easy for the law enforcement agencies to apprehend, try and get deterrent convictions for corrupt elements, the lawmakers are weakening all the anti-corruption and regulatory agencies. Look at what they have done to the Code of Conduct Bureau, and the Code of ConductTribunal. They brought them under their own purview which is against the provision of the constitution. Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) are supposed to be under direct supervision of the executive arm of government. The National Assembly is supposed to make, amend law and play oversight functions, instead, they are taking over some functions that do not belong to them. What we are appealing to the president not to do is to assent to the bill, so they should go ahead and veto it and watch how Nigerians will react. They can veto the bill, but Nigerians are not likely to take it easy with them, because what they are doing is trying to emasculate the principle of Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances. If they succeed in doing this, they will take more powers from the executive, and you will find that we are teetering towards the unitary system of government that we are running away from which will eventually make us a “Banana Republic”. The National Assembly is the albatross of the anti-corruption war; they see themselves as being the targets because most of them are culprits or their friends are. If we take out the clog in the wheel of the anti-corruption war in the mould of the National Assembly, then we are going to have a smooth sail. If they give Buhari all the support that he needs, then he will succeed. Are you not surprised that some political appointees are rejecting their nominations? It is because they know that public offices are no longer profitable --- as they used to be. There won’t be opportunity for corruption any longer. For those who have enriched themselves from proceeds of corruption, they will want to conceal their ill-gotten wealth and some of the nominees are somehow related to some of those who are perceived to be corrupt, they won’t be able to shield their relatives who are corrupt. That is the reason why they are rejecting the positions. And in a way, this is good for us as it will allow innocent Nigerians who are unsung and unheard to make inroads into government and since they are not used to the larger-than-life image of the average Nigerian politician, they will be able to cope and comport themselves within the limit of the allowances that the job provides. We also hope that some of the president’s men
What do you make of the issue of conflicting court judgments? When court judgments have become merchandise that goes to the highest bidder, you can’t but get these conflicting judgments. The truth is that if the principles of law are applied there is no way that two judges of the same court of concurrent jurisdiction will give divergent judgments about the same case. But, it is no longer the principle of law that is being applied but the discretion of the judges that is determining the merit and demerit of the case based on the volume of inducements some of these judges have been exposed and succumbed to. So, basically, it is not justice that most courts are dispensing, it is just judgment. So the judgment might in a way have denied the weak justice. And that is why some section of the country is reverting to self-help. When you go to the executive, they are not executing what will benefit the citizenry, the legislature also refuses to do their oversight functions and call the executive to order. And if these two arms of government are not addressing the need of the people, you go to the judiciary who claims to have no locus-standi to force the government to enforce my request, so it becomes a big problem. It is a crime against humanity to monetize justice. Look at the erstwhile First Lady; she is justifying the ownership of $15million. That is unreasonable, for crying out loud. How much was her salary as a permanent secretary in Bayelsa State? The recent raid by the Department of State Security (DSS) on the premises of judges in the country is generating mixed reactions, where do you stand on this? Our interest is that the thieves should be caught. We have been doing things in a certain way in this country in the earlier regimes which has been unsatisfactory to us so we want a regime that will do things differently. If we are doing things the same way and expect a different result, it will be a demonstration of malady. The present administration has come out to say it wants to fight corruption, and he (Buhari) has not said he will do it the way the previous administrations had been doing it. We need elements of surprise when we are at war. Nigeria is in a state of war against corruption, there is no strategy that is wrong. So, I don’t think they have done anything wrong. We have said it a lot of times that we need a revolutionary as the president of Nigeria, someone who is going to do things differently in a unique way that will take the alleged criminals by surprise. Don’t forget that these are judges and justices who knew everything about the law. If they have been served more notice than they got, they could go and file a process in the night, they will get one of their colleagues to give them judgments in the night and will flash the injunctions they have gotten from the courts in the faces of the DSS thereby preventing them from carrying out their duty. The only way to get these knowledgeable alleged suspected criminals into the web of justice is to catch them by surprise using new strategies, if you use the old strategies; they have mastered the escape route. So we are in support of the modus operandi adopted. Fulani herdsmen menace, what is the way out? I don’t want to say Fulani herdsmen because I don’t have proof that all herdsmen are Fulani. Having said that, herdsmen in recent times have constituted fatal menace in several rural and even urban areas and it is an emblem of a weakened system in Nigeria that has made it possible for those who are supposed to be ordinary peasants acquire so much fire-power that could overwhelm even the official security agencies. It is one of the indices of a failed state and it is not something you can tackle easily because there is a huge proliferation of small and even sophisticated fire arms in Nigeria at present.
THE NEW DIPLOMAT
VOL. 2 NO 28 • NOVEMBER 21 – DECEMBER 4, 2016
GlobalProperty THE NEW DIPLOMAT IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PAUL OSAJI & CO., ESTATE SURVEYORS AND VALUERS
Professionals Warn: Building Collapse Avoidable
team of professionals in building and construction industry have declared that Building collapse is often man-made and can be
avoided. This position was stated at a special event organized at Alausa in Lagos, recently. The professionals, who congregated to discuss ‘Building Collapse Challenges and Way Forward’, said, “It is disheartening that our precious time is being donated again to cry over spilt milk. Another building has collapsed, greeted by frail nerves, rescue operation, lamentations, noise, promises; and then back to square one, business as usual. The aftermath of building collapse in this milieu is a regular case of ‘medicine after death’.” They added, “Experience has shown that while we are mourning the dead in a collapsed building, the premonition of another calamity waiting to happen preoccupies our minds in the grim reality of ongoing substandard construction works in several nooks and crannies of Nigeria, especially Lagos State. They advised that the “over 1,000 buildings that failed integrity tests on the Lagos Island and (were still) left unattended to for years should be demolished as soon as possible; a systematic approach at conducting extensive integrity tests on buildings across Lagos State should be adopted; The five-man committee set up to restructure and reorganized LASBCA and LSMTL is skewed as it does not represent the entirety of the 7-built environment professional bodies in Lagos State and the nation in general.” According to them, “What is worth doing at all is worth doing well. In 2008, when the then Lagos State Government set up a Technical Committee that developed the 2010 law on Physical Planning & Building Control, all the seven built environment professional bodies were represented in that committee. It is therefore ironical for, such a great work to be reviewed in any aspect by a deficient or lopsided 5-man committee.” They listed the 7-built environment
professional bodies as: The Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA); The Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB); The Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS); The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP); The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors & Valuers (NIESV); The Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS); and The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE). They noted that “the current 5-man committee has two town planners, an architect, an engineer and an administrator. It is important to note that the 2010 law was the outcome of a comprehensive work that entailed wide consultation of members of the afore-mentioned professional bodies, Obas, chiefs, academia, civil societies, artisans and the public generally. The processs lasted about two years. “The problem we identify here is not the law itself but its implementation. However, the regulations supposed to accompany the law have been subjected to intrigues and suspicion within the system. “Following the incessant collapse of buildings in Lagos, the government in May, 2013 inaugurated a Tribunal of Enquiry on Building Collapse. By
November, 2013, the Tribunal submitted its report. Though the tribunal was skewed as it showed poor representation of built environment professional bodies, its recommendations remain in the dark and are unimplemented till today. “In view of the foregoing, this recently constituted 5-man committee’s work might turn out to be a mere academic exercise and a waste of resources. “The essence of separating officials who would approve building plans at pre-construction stage from officials for site inspection at construction stage is to establish a mechanism for checks and balances, that emphasises the separation of powers and relationship between Planning Permit Authority and LASBCA as established in the 2010 Physical Planning law and Building Control. “However, the moment the officials of the two sectors become interchangeable, the objective is defeated. For instance, when town planners, whose primary responsibility is within the Planning Permit Authority, are now transferred to constitute over 50% of LASBCA staff, such a step is antithetical to the goal of physical planning and building control regulations.”
• Luxury Outlet
Recession: Fine and Country Host Real Estate Opportunities Round Table
nlocking Smart Real Estate Opportunities During a Recession’ is the topic of this year’s edition of Fine and Country International Realty of the Refined Investor Series (RIS). This unique platform will be chaired by Mrs. Bola Adesola, MD/CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, along with other leading stakeholders. The Refined Investor Series is a real estate thoughtleadership series targeted at high net-worth investors, economic influencers, real estate developers, property enthusiasts and aspiring investors. Coming on the heels of Fine and Country West Africa’s 8th anniversary in Nigeria, this year’s event is scheduled to hold on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, from 9am to 2pm at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos State. The theme for the event is - “Out of the Box”: Unlocking Smart Real Estate Opportunities during a Recession. The Reﬁned Investor Series will generate high-level conversations on smart real estate investment strategies and opportunities in the Nigerian, United Kingdom and global property market, during a period of recession and transition.
All For Obaseki...
ignitaries, friends and well-wishers gathered in Benin City, the Edo State Capital recently to witness the Thanksgiving Service/ Reception of the newly elected Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki. Here are some faces of the personalities present at the various occasions.
• Gov. Godwin Obaseki, his deputy, Philip Shaibu, flanked by their spouses, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki and Mrs. Mariam Shaibu assisted by close friends and family members
• Supreme Court Judge, Hon. Justice Samson Uwaifo, (Rtd.) presenting a copy of the Bible to Gov. Obaseki at St. Peters Anglican church...at the event
• Gov. Obaseki cutting the celebration cake
• Gov. Obaseki taking over from outgoing Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole
• Lagos State Gov. Akinwumi Ambode and Gov. Obaseki
• Aliko Dangote with Gov. Obaseki and his wife, Betsy
• Obaseki signing the oath of office register
• Gov. Obaseki, his deputy, Philip Shaibu and their spouses, at the thanksgiving service
VOL. 2 NO 28 • NOVEMBER 21 – DECEMBER 4, 2016
THE NEW DIPLOMAT 15
THE NEW DIPLOMAT
VOL. 2 NO 28 • NOVEMBER 21 – DECEMBER 4, 2016
GOVERNANCE By Senator Udoma Udo Udoma (CON)
Transforming Nigeria’s Economy: Our Strategy And Focus
would really like to express sincere appreciation to you all for this level of commitment and patriotism. 2.Before I delve into some of the substantive things that will engage us over the next two days, let me first of all clear the air on some matters. One or two commentators have said that the Federal Government does not have an economic programme. This is not true. The Administration laid out a clear economic vision and direction, over the short term, in the President’s 2016 Budget Speech, as well as in the Strategic Implementation Plan for the 2016 Budget of Change. 3. As you all know, the Strategic Implementation Plan (the SIP) is anchored on four policy fundamentals: (1) Investing in Critical Infrastructure; (2) Embracing the Private Sector; (3) Fostering Social Inclusion and Job Creation; and (4) Improving Security and Tackling Corruption. The execution and monitoring of these fundamental objectives are prioritized in six thematic areas, namely: (a) Policy, Security and Governance; (b) Diversification of the Economy; (c) Power, Rail and Roads; (d) Oil and Gas Reforms; (e) Ease of Doing Business; and (f) Social Investment. 4. The SIP is a fairly detailed plan and contains a total of 34 key actions selected for immediate implementation. Many of these are already yielding results. For example: Reforms in Agriculture have started yielding fruit as there has been noticeable growth in that sector. This welcome growth will help us to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves of self-sufficiency in rice by 2018 and wheat by 2019, and to become a net exporter of a number of other agricultural products over the medium term. We committed to adopt a roadmap to stimulate investment into the solid minerals sector, which has been done. Here again we are noticing growth in that sector. We said we would take action to improve Nigeria’s business environment; and now the President has set up a Presidential Council on Enabling Business Environment. This is designed to achieve the target set by the SIP of moving Nigeria at least twenty places up the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index within one year so as to attract more domestic and foreign investments. We committed to launching a Made in Nigeria campaign, and as you know that was the focus of the 2016 Nigeria Economic Summit held in early October. The Strategic Implementation Plan was intended for the short-term. In his Foreword to the SIP, President Buhari stressed two things. The first was that the 2016 Budget was the means by which the Federal Government intended to reflate and reposition the economy. Secondly, he said that a more comprehensive medium term plan involving extensive consultations would be delivered before the end of the year. This explains why we are gathered here. Some of the actions outlined in the SIP included the development of sector roadmaps. These have since been concluded and launched for Agriculture, Solid Minerals, Water Resources and Petroleum Resources, and will be incorporated in the medium term development plan. One good thing about the discussion about a blueprint is that it has created support for the planning process which cannot always be taken for granted. Nevertheless, it is helpful to note that the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan will play a signaling role, while also promoting coherence and coordination. In
other words, by putting government strategies, directions, policy priorities and intended initiatives in one place, other stakeholders are better able to take their own strategic economic decisions. In addition, economic actors in various sectors will be guided by commonly derived objectives in the plan which promote coordination and prevent duplication and needless dissipation of scarce resources. The planning process of course also provides an opportunity to review the trajectory of the economy, especially in the context of regional and global developments. In order to succeed in this exercise, it is important that we gain a clear appreciation of where we are, how we got there, where we want to go, what has been done and what needs to be done. We are all aware that the Nigerian economy is in recession, having contracted by -2.06% in the second quarter of this year, following similar negative growth of -0.36% in the first quarter. This situation was further compounded by a rise in inflation to 17.9% by end of September 2016. Our foreign reserves declined from about $37.3bn in the second quarter of 2014 to $24.74bn at the end of September 2016. It is important to understand the origins of our present predicament, not as part of a political blame game but rather to learn from past missteps and also to identify what needs to be done. Of course, the immediate cause is quite evident, which was mainly the collapse of oil prices from $114 per barrel in mid-2014 to as low as $28 per barrel by February this year. This sharp decline in oil prices was further compounded by the loss of up to 1.1m barrels per day in crude oil production due to sabotage. Such acts of vandalisation also affected gas supplies to power stations and thus electricity supply. In other words, for most of this year we have been grappling with a triple shock of prices, production and power. Quite unlike the situation in 2008 the economy has not been so easily able to shrugoff the triple shock. At that time Nigeria had significant fiscal and external buffers to withstand the exogenous shocks and internal haemorrhage as our foreign reserves, and savings in the excess crude account, amounted to over US$ 50 billion. This time around, our over-dependence on oil for foreign exchange and revenue earnings and an import dependent consumption model has been laid bare by the lack of fiscal buffers. The lessons we can draw from the recent past is that it is important to build up fiscal buffers, undertake an aggressive
investment driven model and diversify from our reliance on oil and gas for foreign exchange earnings and government revenue. Very broadly, this is what the Federal Government has sought to do in the context of the actions that it has taken this year. We have made our immediate priority to stimulate and revitalise the economy. We are constantly looking at ways to develop and build social safety nets to mitigate the effects of currency weakness and repricing of petroleum products. Hence our social investment programmes. We have also taken the decision to avoid laying people off and are focusing instead on increasing non-oil revenues and ensuring greater transparency and efficiency in the use of available resources. The desire to stimulate demand by putting money in peoples’ hands motivated our three interventions to assist States and Local Governments to pay staff salaries and wages. In addition to improving inclusion, our social intervention programmes will also help to serve the same purpose. At the same time, tools like the Treasury Single Account, an integrated payroll system and an efficiency unit have helped to promote transparency and institute expenditure controls. As you know the Ministry of Finance has already identified and eliminated over 45,000 unjustified entries from the payroll. In the same vein, we have reduced losses to the treasury arising from the fuel subsidy regime. It will be recalled that PMS was liberalized on the 12th of May 2016. Immediately this was announced, consumption dropped by 30%, resulting in a saving of US$4.5 million a day from the elimination of false subsidy claims. Furthermore, this reform has eliminated fuel queues. We are also, as promised in the SIP, promoting a more flexible, market related, foreign exchange regime. With regard to oil production, we have intensified the use of dialogue to reduce the disruptions to oil production in the Niger Delta. Indeed, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources has indicated that oil production has improved significantly in recent weeks. We are now producing over 2 million barrels per day. 12. These short term policy considerations were linked to other priorities in the SIP which place emphasis on diversification; power, roads, and rail; oil and gas reforms; ease of doing business; and social investments. It is now of course time to translate these short-term interventions into a longer term framework that will boost growth while at the same time restructuring the economy over the medium term.
13. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, this Ministry, and indeed, the whole of the Economic Management Team has been working very hard since we released the SIP. On the basis of the SIP we developed a Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP). This was completed in August and involved extensive consultations with top economists, the organised private sector, civil society, as well as the State Governors. We also developed Medium Term Sector Strategies (MTSS) for the large spending Ministries. These are all inputs to the 2017 Budget. In preparation for the 2017 Budget we also organised a Ministerial retreat which was chaired by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari. Our intention now is to bring all this work together as part of a comprehensive medium term plan. As His Excellency, President Buhari, had promised, this last stage will involve extensive consultations. And that is the purpose of this Retreat. It is one of a number of consultations we will have before we launch the Plan. We shall also hold consultations with the States, our Development Partners and the National Assembly. 14. At this Retreat, you will be presented with all the sectoral plans that we have developed, supported by relevant data. After preliminary consultations within the Economic Management Team and with partners from the private sector and academia, we are proposing that work in this Retreat should take place across five thematic areas, namely: macroeconomic policy; economic diversification and growth; competitiveness; jobs and social inclusion; and governance. Macroeconomic stability will be the foundation of our economic success. We want to have coordinated fiscal and monetary policies, and an economy with low inflation, stable exchange rates, and strong economic growth. Economic diversification, as I have said on several occasions, is crucial for Nigeria. If there is any lesson we take from this current recession, it is that Nigeria’s future should look beyond oil. Building competitiveness of our private sector is another priority of this Administration, and so we will continue to improve the Ease of Doing Business and also invest in our infrastructure, especially power, roads, rail and ports. It is important that the national narrative should be focused on competitiveness and growth. Above all, I wish to charge participants to be candid but also innovative in coming up with proposals and ideas to be included in the economic recovery and growth plan. The ideas that are contributed and adopted by thematic groups will be captured in a draft document which will be shared in consultation with various groups, including Federal and State governments, the private sector, and our development partners. We have invited you here to work with us in transforming the Nigerian economy. We want a final product that we can all be proud of and which will achieve the desired results and stand the test of time. The Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is an administration that is focused on results and we will deliver for Nigerians. • Being excerpts of the presentation by Senator Udoma Udo Udoma (CON), Nigeria’s Honourable Minister of Budget & National Planning at The National Economic Retreat at Reiz Continental Hotel, Abuja recently. To read or download the full document visit our online platform: www.newdiplomat.ng