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POLITICS

We will make Enyimba Economic City viable – Okey Igwe •P10

The

VOX POPULI SACRUM

BUSINESS

Nigeria, South Africa pulling down Africa

SPORTS

Banish teams outside zones – Chukwu

racle

•P19

WEDNESDAY February 20, 2019

•P45

www.oraclenews.ng

Today

ISSN: 2545-5869 VOL.4 No.6 N200

Nwodo: Igbo vote enough to make Atiku president •P5

•Make or mar election for Ndigbo in Nigeria•SE/SS votes, Atiku’s joker •SE/SS shrug off 2015, to vote en masse for Atiku•Buhari may secure mandatory 25 per cent in old East

‘How to deal with domestics violence’ •P38 •Nwodo Nnia

•Atiku Abubakar

•Peter Obi

Multiple taxes, others cripple governance in Anambra •Obiano has failed Anambra people –CLO •12, 500 applicant teachers left without jobs •Campaign promises largely unkept •Cultism, armed robberies take over cities •P5

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I’m not apostle of bloodshed –Buhari


The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

NEWS

Nwodo: Igbo vote enough to make Atiku president From CHUKS EZE, Enugu

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resident-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo has said that the numerical strength of Ndigbo in the South East and other parts of Nigeria is enough to elect Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday, February 16. Besides their homeland in South East Nigeria, Ndigbo form the second largest ethnic group in every other part of the country. Speaking on AIT political programme, ‘Democracy Today’, on Sunday, Nwodo said that in endorsing Abubakar, Ohanaeze merely reflected the mind and thinking of Ndigbo everywhere. Revealing that he was being mobbed everywhere by Ndigbo in appreciation of Ohanaeze’s decision, Nwodo said the decision to support Abubakar was unanimously ratified at the Ime Obi, the highest decision-making organ of the Igbo-sociocultural organisation. Nwodo’s statement fell in line with a recent poll that suggested that the South East and South South regions of Nigeria would overwhelmingly vote for Atiku. President Muhammadu Buhari will come a distant second while Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), a native son, will perform abysmally alongside Omoyele Sowore of African Action Congress (AAC). The votes from the South East and South South will put Atiku in power unless there is a repeat of the 2015 voter apathy in these zones. Former President Goodluck Jonathan lost to President Buhari in 2015 because of voter apathy in South East and South South zones. Buhari defeated Jonathan by 2,571,759 votes in 2015 presidential elections. A total of 3,378,698 did not vote in the two zones. Their votes, if cast for Jonathan were enough to re-elect him. Jonathan lost significant number of votes in the two regions and this cost him the election. The former President scored 4,985,246 in South East and 6,118,608 in South South regions in 2011 but secured only 2,464,906 in the South East and 4,714,725 in South South in 2015. Interestingly, the voters who did not vote for Jonathan stayed home rather than vote for Buhari, his major opponent. The bet, this time, is on Abubakar. Williams and Associates, an international opinion research and consulting company based in Massachusetts, United States, predicted that Abubakar will win with a wide margin. Abubakar has been predicted to beat Buhari by a 12 per cent margin. Specifically, Abubakar will score 45 per cent of the votes while Buhari will get 33 per cent of the votes cast. Muoghalu will secure nine per cent of the votes cast while Sowore will get eight per cent. Williams and Associates successfully predicted the 2015 presidential elections. It predicted that Buhari would win by eight per cent margin and secure 54 per cent of the votes

while Jonathan would secure 46 per cent of the votes. In the final result, Buhari got 54 per cent of the votes cast while Jonathan got 45 per cent of the total votes cast. The company has successfully predicted presidential elections in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Gabon, Niger, Guinea, Senegal, Ghana, Malawi, Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo. The company based its predictions on people’s perception of the current direction of the country, the economic situation, the president’s job performance, most important issues facing the country, and trustworthiness of the candidates. About 76 per cent of the voters in the South East and 70 per cent of the voters in South South said the country was moving in the wrong direction. Seventy-one per cent of the voters in the South East and 64 per cent of the voters in South South said Buhari does not deserve to be re-elected. 50 per cent of the voters in the South East and 42 per cent of the voters in South South said that they would vote

for Abubakar. Only 26 per cent of voters in South East and 35 per cent in the South South said they would vote for Buhari. The result of the polls showed that Buhari will lose in all regions except in the North West and South West. He will score 45 per cent of the votes cast, Abubakar will get 35 per cent of the total votes in North West Region. In South West, Buhari will get 43 per cent of the total votes while Abubakar will get 32 per cent of the votes cast. Williams and Associates predicted that more voters would participate in the current election than in 2015. This bodes well for Abubakar, especially in the South East where the threats of election boycott by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has been considerably muted. However, the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy firm, has declared Buhari as frontrunner in Saturday’s polls. The group considered Nigeria one of the 10 top risks in the world because of the 2019 elections.

“Nigeria faces its most fiercely contested elections since the transition to democracy in 1999” according to Eurasia group. The group considered Buhari and Abubakar major risks because of their age and character flaws. Said Eurasia: “Buhari is an elderly infirm leader who lacks the energy, creativity, or political savvy to move the needle on Nigeria’s most intractable problems. Abubakar another gerontocrat will focus on enriching himself and cronies, avoiding the difficult and politically unpopular tasks necessary for reform. Buhari is the frontrunner. A second term for him would mean the country at best muddles through the next four years with little progress on critical policy priorities like tax reform or a restructuring of the energy sector. Buhari would be a lame duck from day one, with power brokers in his own party quickly shifting their focus to the next electoral cycle in 2023. And if Buhari’s health problems continue or worsen, the situation will get worse. “The president’s continual med-

ical leaves abroad impaired governance in his first term. A repetition would again remove him from decision-making and public eye for months at a time, leaving investors to wonder who is calling the shots and whether they are qualified for the job. “Abubakar’s policy priorities are unclear and untested. He had previously promised to deregulate the oil and gas sector but recently pledged to reduce gasoline prices by 50 per cent from already below market levels. That would swell subsidy costs and endanger long-term debt sustainability. “The election would be close, and a challenged or inconclusive result is possible. That, in turn, could trigger a political crisis in which neither candidate has a legitimate claim to power. If the vote is close enough to trigger a runoff, Nigeria’s Constitution requires the second round of voting to occur within seven days of the first, a tough timeline to meet given the complexity of organizing national elections in the country. This could be a recipe for severe uncertainty in Africa’s most important market.”

Multiple taxes, weak institutions cripple governance in Anambra

•The glamorous wedding ceremony of Henrietta Ukamaka Aroh and Charles Okoye held at the Assumption Catholic Church Nimo in Njikoka LGA Anambra State . Photo: Oliver Udeogu

From PAMELA EBOH, Awka, and OLIVER UDEOGU, Onitsha

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ublic disenchantment may be rising in Anambra State following what many have described as “unmet” expectations of the people of the State from the Governor Willie Mmauaburochukwu Obiano Administration, especially since the governor’s re-election in 2017. Respondents who spoke with The Oracle Today in different parts of the State lamented that “democracy is suffering in Anambra State, what with sycophants and propagandists practically taking over the government, forcing their whims and caprices on the people without recourse to constituted authorities and, in some situations, the code of con-

duct expected of such offices. Many also have spoken of ‘fear of the unknown gripping those who should ordinarily speak up at a time like this and the masses are suffering.’ Despite criticisms against multiple taxes, for instance, the perpetrators still abound and act with impunity. It is developments such as these that CSOs have stridently criticised the Obiano Administration for. For instance, the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) South East led by Comrade Aloysius Attah; Human Rights, Liberty Access and Defenders Foundation (HURIJE) and Campaign for Democracy (CD) led by Dede Uzor A. Uzor have criticised “the governance ineptitude witnessed in

Anambra since the Obiano administration began.” Asked to speak on the progress of the Obiano Administration, Dede Uzor, Chairman Board of Trustees, HURIJE, said: “Everything about Obiano is opposite of what we were told. Let me use Onitsha as a case study. You know that the United Nations has declared Onitsha inhabitable, that it is easily the worst place to live in, in the world, given the high level of pollution, thuggery, intimidation and extortion, among others, going on there. That alone is a good enough reason for one to assert that Obiano has not brought about any meaningful development in Anambra,” Uzor said. Agonising that “traders are no longer coming to Onitsha known

as the commercial centre of West Africa because of intimidation, extortion, and harassment by government officials and or their agents,” Uzor said: “Cult activities have taken over Anambra; there is confusion everywhere and there is no government in Anambra State. Everything associated with evil is seen in Onitsha and environs, including Awka and other places. What has Obiano achieved in his second term even in the first?” Uzor who is also the National Publicity Secretary of CD categorically said the 2019 general elections would be difficult for anybody in APGA led by Obiano as BOT Chairman to win because “the lies have become glaringly clear to everyone.” He recalled that the APGA primary election, which pitched the party members against one another is a minus for the governor even as he wondered why APGA known as the Igbo party should be intimidating its members who are as well Igbo. He said people would shock APGA during the elections, adding that coupled with its failure to give governance a facelift, APGA is heading to extinction no matter how anyone pretends about it. He emphasized that Obiano has failed Anambra people as he has left governance to suffer in the name of propaganda and sycophancy in the name of “Willie is working.” Investigations have revealed that the state Civil Service Commission (CSC) has become a crippled agency of government since the assumption of Obiano’s administration, having allegedly relinquished its roles to political appointees who allegedly collect money and promote people at random. “These things are done with

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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

NEWS

Senator Enoh promises to address plight of displaced Bakassi natives From ANIEKAN ANIEKAN, Calabar

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enator John Owan Enoh, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) nin Cross River State, has pledged to address the plight of the displaced natives of Bakassi as governor of the state. Enoh made this known when he took his campaign tour to the area and stressed that the plight of the people will not be trivialized as is the case with the current PDP administration in the state. Enoh said: “With President Muhammadu Buhari at the federal level and myself as governor at the state level; backed up with other candidates of the party who are contesting to represent the people of Bakassi in both the National and State Assemblies, the concerns of Bakassi people will be better addressed. “The current State Governor has failed Bakassi people and the state. He does not love the state nor its people. His concerns are his gains and personal interest. President Buhari has no hand over the plights of the Bakassi people, but as a leader, he can address it if we have a governor of the state and other representatives in the legislative levels, working in the right direction for the presidency to take necessary takes for the Bakassi people. “The Bakassi issue may not have been properly addressed and it takes a governor that knows the right thing to do to address it. I am such, and I ask for your support and your vote to enable APC to serve the people of Bakassi and Cross River State as a whole”, Senator Enoh said. In his remarks, HRM Etinyin Etim Okon Edet the Paramount Ruler of Bakassi decried the situation which the rights of the aborigines of Bakassi have been subjugated in the Federal Republic of Nigeria since their ancestral land was ceded to Cameroon for no faults of theirs and without their consent. He said the people are pained by the actions of the federal government over the years and called on the President Buhari government to remember the people of Bakassi and made a proper statement on the issue. “Bakassi People are indifferent at times like this because of what they have been made to pass through over the years. “Bakassi People are pained, angry and endangered. We call on President Buhari to say and do something on the plights of Bakassi people. The federal government should remember Bakassi and make a proper statement”, the Monarch said. He stressed that the call for a response from the presidency of the nation is urgent, otherwise what his “people may do will shock the whole country. We can even apply for Bakassi to be expunged from the constitution of Nigeria”. However, he expressed confidence in the ability of APC candidates in the state and prayed for their success at the polls.

2019: Restructuring, basis of our support for Atiku says PANDEF From ANIEKAN ANIEKAN, Calabar

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he Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has justified its support for former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar ahead of this week’s general elections stressing that the support is informed by his capacity to unite the country and also restructure the country for the benefit of nationalities. The socio-political organization also disclosed that its support for Atiku is consistent with the position adopted by other organizations across other geopolitical zones in the country including the Afenifere, Ohaneze, the Middle Belt Forum as well as the Northern Elders Forum. Rising from a meeting in Calabar, prominent leaders of PANDEF in the state including Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Nella Andem Rabana, SAN, Col. Pam Ogar (Rtd.), Senator Ita Giwa said the decision to support the former Vice President is not just

in the interest of the region but the overall benefit of the Nation. Justifying the basis for endorsing Atiku, one of the leaders of the organization and former Chairman of NDDC, Senator Bassey Ewa said the region will cue behind the Atiku’s Presidency because of his promise for restructuring which is what the region needs. According to him, “The principal reason for our support is to further propagate the position of PANDEF that there is need to restructure so as to allow the states in the country to determine the steps they need to take to drive their development. “Nigerian Elders Forum comprising all the major nationalities met and decided that because Atiku is committed to restructuring, they decided that they will support him for the presidency and this is also the position of PANDEF”, he said. He said it is only the candidate that is committed to restructuring that

the group will support and because of Atiku’s commitment to restructuring, the region will cue behind him en block. He said that for many years, PANDEF has projected and defended and defended the interest of not just the Niger Delta People but the people of the South in general. On the travails of the suspended CJN, Walter Onnoghen, PANDEF called for due process his trial stressing that there is nowhere in the world where such can take place. Nella Andem Rabana, SAN, a former Attorney General of Cross River State called on people of the region not to keep quiet was the case with Bakassi but to rise up against such injustice meted out against an indigene of the region. She said: “They have done it with Bakassi and everybody kept quiet, now they have come to the CJN. The manner in which the CJN was ambushed has not happened anywhere

in the world. The only place they tried it was in Pakistan and the country almost can down. But in Nigeria where everything has been factionalised and even professionals don’t seem to know what they are doing. “We must ensure that we do not sell out votes and make sure that we do not vote this man as president again otherwise he will take us into slavery”, she said. Also speaking, Senator Ita Giwa said Nigerians made a grave mistake by electing the president and hoped that God will forgive them as they go about correcting the mistake made in 2015. On his part, Col. Pam Ogar, the former Military Governor of Kwara State and Chairman of All Cross River Nationals said the people of should seize the opportunity of the elections to vent their displeasure with the injustice meted out to the region.

Imo guber: There is no rationale for Owerri to produce gov in 2019 – Lady Anne Dozie By COLLINS UGHALAA

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• Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu acknowledge cheers from his supporters during his campaign stop-over at Isuochi in Umunneochi local government of Abia State.

SMEs, best option out of poverty Ikpeazu

From BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia

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bia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, says growing and developing Small and Medium Enterises (SSMEs) remain the best way to pull a state or country out of poverty. Ikpeazu made the assertion while declaring open the maiden edition and flag off of SME Development projects and a workshop on Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) for SMEs in Umuahia. “We also recognize that if you want to pull a people, a state or a nation out of poverty, the easiest and the best way to do that is through SMEs,” Ikpeazu told the hundreds of participants at the workshop. The governor, represented by his Deputy, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, explained that Abia was the first state to create a Ministry for SMEs because the state was naturally endowed with SMEs and has comparative and competitive advantage over other states. He noted that government realized that its assistance to SMEs was paying off and it decided to create a full-fledged ministry for it.

“We also said for Abians to appreciate the importance we attach to SMEs, the government went ahead to establish the Ministry of SME Development. “I can tell you that that is the first of its kind in the entire federation. The federal government has recognize Abia State as the capital of SMEs in the country,” he added. According to him, Abia was reaping bountifully from supporting SMEs as reports from the National Bureau of Statistics “indicate that Abia is the third state with the highest Direct Foreign Investment in the entire federation, outside Lagos and Abuja.” He urged the participants to be committed as the growth of the SMEs would boost the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of the state. “We have to be involved and in less than no time, God willing, the GDP of Abia will be the highest among states in the country as you deliberate on the way forward on how we can enhance and improve on the level of our SME in Abia,” Ikpeazu told the entrepreneurs. Delivering a keynote address, the Director of Development Finance

Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Mudashiru Olaitan, explained that CACS was established in 2009 to cushion the effects of the global financial squeeze resulting from the collapse of United States’ subprime mortgage market. The objective of the scheme, he said, was to fast track development of the agricultural sector by providing long-term credit facilities to commercial agricultural enterprises at a single digit interest rate; enhance food security by increasing food supply; reduce cost of credit in agricultural production, provide input for the industrial sector on a sustainable basis and to generate employment. He listed agricultural activities that could be funded under production to include cash crops, food crops, poultry, livestock and agriculture, as well as processing, storage, farm input supplies and marketing. Earlier, while welcoming his guests, the Commissioner for SMEs Development, said the workshop was organized in conjunction with the CBN to expose and enable the participants to benefit from opportunities offered by the CACS.

he Deputy Governorship candidate of Accord party for the forthcoming governorship election in Imo State, Lady Anne Dozie, has called on the people of Owerri Zone to support the second term bid of the immediate past governor of the state and the governorship candidate of Accord, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim. Lady Dozie who hails from Egbu in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State made the call on Sunday during a meeting of the former councilors in the state with Dr. Ikedi Ohakim at the country home of the former governor in Isiala Mbano, saying that Ohakim is the shortest route for Owerri Zone to produce the governor of the state. According to her, Owerri Zone played bad politics in 2011 when they supported Governor Okorocha from Orlu Zone to become the governor of the state in clear contravention of the charter of equity, noting that by that action the people of the zone lacked the morality to run for the governorship of the state when Okigwe Zone has not completed their tenure. She said that what Owerri Zone did in 2011 was like one shooting himself in the feet, stressing that there is no rationale for the zone to be governor in 2019. She added that there is need for all well meaning people of the state to rally round Ohakim to become governor again so at complete the tenure of Okigwe Zone, noting that if Okigwe Zone is not supported to become governor in 2019 the zone will lose its remaining four years in perpetuity. Lady Dozie who apologized to Ohakim on behalf of all those who played one role or the other in removing him from office also said that Ohakim was removed by high powered conspiracy. She noted that since the zoning formula and charter of equity began with Orlu Zone in 1999, it was proper for Okigwe Zone to be allowed to complete their tenure, adding that Owerri Zone played prominent roles in scuttling the charter of equity in 2011.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

NEWS

Ebonyi PDP to Resist all forms of Electoral malpractices From CHINEDU NWAFOR, Abakaliki

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HE Ebonyi state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged members of the party including supporters to resist any form of malpractice, rigging and sharp practices in the forthcoming general election. State Chairman of the party, Barr. Onyekachi Nwebonyi who made the call while briefing newsmen in in Abakaliki equally urged them to resist any form of unwarranted arrest from security operatives in the state. He said the people were determined to vote out the APC government which he said anchored on rhetoric, deception and falsehood. “All members and supporters of PDP should resist any form of malpractice, rigging and sharp practices during and after voting. I also urge the party faithful to resist any form of intimidation or unwarranted arrest by any group of people or security operatives before, during or after voting. Make sure your votes are protected and follow results up to collation centres. Your vote is your future. We must have to vote out the APC government which is anchored on rhetoric, deception and falsehood,” he said. Nwebonyi added: “The time is now to exercise our franchise. We have been held to ransom by a cabal operating under cover to advance ulterior agenda. Nigeria under the present administration has witnessed rancorous divisions along religious and ethnic lines more than any other time in the history of the country. Nigeria has suffered much economic hardship. A vote for the PDP will get Nigeria working again, while a vote on the contrary will get Nigeria to the next level of economic recession, herdsmen attacks, insurgency and disrespect for the rule of law. There is no gain saying the fact that Governor David Umahi has transformed Ebonyi state. Today, Ebonyi state boast of the best roads in Nigeria as Abakaliki is the most beautiful state capital in Nigeria and Ebonyi state is the most peaceful overall.”

Atiku’ll Coast To Victory Feb. 16 – Obuah

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he Rivers State chapter chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bro Felix Obuah is very optimistic of a landslide victory for the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the February 16, presidential election. Speaking at the PDP presidential mega rally today at Adokie Amasiemaka Stadium, Port Harcourt, Bro Obuah said Atiku Abubakar is a household name in Rivers State and needs no introduction to Rivers people because of his love for and interest in the people, having invested so much in the State. The State PDP chairman described Atiku’s campaign in the State as a mere home-coming and political requirement, stressing that the Rivers people had already reserved indisputably and irreversibly 100% of their votes for him and all the PDP candidates in the State. Buttressing his claim, Bro Obuah gleefully disclosed that 58 governorship candidates out of the 91 registered political parties in the State have already endorsed Gov Nyesom Wike for re-election and have also given their endorsement to Alh. Atiku Abubakar for the President. “All we are waiting for in the State is the pronouncement of your victory come Saturday, Feb. 16. Rivers State is PDP and PDP is Rivers State. There is nothing anybody can do about it. We therefore joyfully congratulate Your Excellency in advance for your landslide presidential victory in Rivers State and in Nigeria in general”, Bro Obuah declared.

General elections:CAN holds prayer rally in Delta From JONATHAN AWANYAI, Asaba

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s Nigerians prepare to go to the polls this Saturday, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has expressed confidence that with prayers, there will be hitch-free elections that will produce God-fearing leaders for the country. The governor spoke on Monday at Ughelli, Ughelli North local government area of the state during a prayer rally organised by Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). “I thank the church for the roles it is playing these four years and I want to publicly, appreciate CAN for their prayers which gave us peace in our state; what can we do without God? I am Governor

today because God has willed it to be so and I thank the church for the prayers,” the governor said, adding, “as we move into the elections, it is time for restoration, time to get deserved benefits as Nigerians, but, before the restoration, there is some work for the church to do, there is some work for our people to do - we must pray for our state and our nation because, no matter how powerful a man may be, there is always limitations but with God, there is no limit, there is nothing God cannot do.” He continued, “I am confident in the name of Jesus that what He says will be, will be and with prayers, God’s directions, we will have peaceful elections and our nation will be healed when we have

God-fearing people as our leaders.” “Nigeria deserves a healing, healing of the land but the power of the healing can only come from heaven and as Christians, we must come openly to God and ask God for the forgiveness of our sins and live righteous life; once we are properly connected to the Lord, Jesus there is nothing that will stop us; we must be ready to do what we ought to do and we must pray because, when we call on His name, He will come down mightily to deliver us,” Governor Okowa stated. He thanked CAN for organising the rally, assuring that in the next four years, he will continue to partner with CAN and all Deltans to deliver democratic dividends. Chairman, CAN, Delta State

• Prayer time... Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu (left), Barr. Okey Igwe, Abia House of Assembly candidate for Umunneochi state constituency (right) and a guest during Ikpeazu campaign rally at Umunneochi local government.

chapter, Apostle Sylvanus Okorote thanked Okowa for attending the ceremony despite his tight schedule, stating, “in Delta State, we don’t want violence, we don’t want war, we don’t want rigging of elections or anything that will undermine the peace in the state; the state is peaceful and this prayer rally is important because, it is only God that can give peace; if elections are manipulated, crisis is bound to occur; those seeking offices should play by the rules, in this elections, there shall be no thuggery; we say no to election violence, thuggery, killing.” Immediate past Chairman of CAN in the state, Rev. Gideon Oyibo in a sermon, stated that Holy Bible made it clear that, “ancient landmark is about equity and no one wants to be cheated; there is zoning of the governorship office between the three senatorial districts in Delta State and for the purpose of peaceful coexistence, unity, let Delta North complete two terms; this is the ancient landmark we have been working on, peaceful coexistence, justice, equity and fairness.” Bishop Kingsley Enakirerhi also, spoke on the topic, when the righteous are on the throne, the people rejoice and urged Deltans not be iintimidated, saying, “don’t allow anybody to intimidate you, we are here to endorse the candidature of Governor Okowa, he must return to Government House, Asaba because, righteousness exalts a nation and with Governor Okowa, we are happy, we are the righteous.” At the well attended rally, prayers were offered for peaceful, free, fair, transparent elections and peace in Delta State before, during and after the elections. Prayers were also, offered for Governor Okowa, Delta State and the country.

We’re prepared to die than allow electoral fraud in Ebonyi, says Ebonyi govt From CHINEDU NWAFOR, Abakaliki

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bonyi State government says the vast majority of Ebonyians, who are persuaded by the dramatic and positive transformation of the state under governor David Umahi will lay down their lives in ensuring that the democratic will of the people to freely and transparently exercise their franchise in the forthcoming elections is not jeopardized under any guise. The Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Senator Emmanuel Onwe, who doubles as the Director of Media and Publicity, Divine Mandate Campaign Organization, disclosed this while briefing journalists at Akanu Ibiam International Conference centre Abakaliki on Monday. Onwe said the rumour making the rounds that members of the main opposition party in the state, APC, were boasting they would write the results of the forthcoming elections was the highest joke of the century as such would not be possible in Ebonyi State. “On behalf of the vast majority of Ebonyians, the millions who are persuaded by the dramatic and positive transformation of this state, I pledge our lives to defend the democratic will of the people to freely and transparently exercise their democratic franchise during the forthcoming general elections. “Rumours have their place in the heat of electioneering. Innuendoes, allegations and counter-allegations, threats and counter-threats, boasts

and exaggerations, et cetera, et cetera. “These are usually benign and form the stuff of which political banters are made. Often, they are designed to stir up confusion or panic in the opposing camp. But should these negative tactics ever become malevolent or hostile, they will be resisted with commensurate counter-measures”, he said. He said the PDP was confident of winning the Governorship and other elections in the state. “The Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State is fully confident of winning the gubernatorial election in the first round and on landslide proportions. “Therefore, all members and supporters are urged to remain calm and go about their door-to-door canvassing without fear of molestation, or assault or intimidation. “The Governor of Ebonyi State is the Chief Security Officer – he is the man in charge and he has the full measure of the protection of ALL law-abiding citizens. He called on the people to resist any form of intimidation, unlawful arrest and attempt to manipulate the forthcoming elections in the state. “As we go about our political quests according to the laws of the land, we must also be fully prepared to wage a lawful resistance against any form of intimidation or manipulation by any institution or group of individuals who may choose the criminal path of attempting to thwart the democratic process or overriding the will of the people. “We will wage a lawful resistance

of any attempt to fraudulently declare an unearned result through the aid of any institution. We will be guided in our actions by the constitution and laws of this republic! “Governor Umahi’s commitment to the rapid structural and psychological transformation of this state is both historical and unquestionable. I will be the first to admit that there is no perfection in this world – infallibility is the exclusive preserve of God Almighty. However, to those who seek to only dwell on the imperfections, who prefer a different set of policy priorities, I happily invite them to debate their perspectives and alternative philosophy of governance; to place their preferred policies side by side the status quo and let the good people of Ebonyi State be the ultimate judge, as they are legitimately entitled to be through the constitution of the land. What cannot and will never be tolerated is the electoral heist being allegedly designed by some opposition elements in the state. “If they try to fraudulently highjack the mandate of the people, they will simply create rivers of blood in the land because Ebonyians are democrats and their wish is to be afforded a peaceful and conducive environment in which to exercise their legitimate franchise. “The political space in the state is open, free and accessible to all shades of political affiliations and opinions. And so it should be in a constitutional democracy. All contestants are free to exploit the freedom and liberty that abound in the political environment to mount

their arguments and vision for the advancement of Ebonyi State, and to persuade the reasonable population of the state as to the superiority of their arguments and then let the people decide. “Having said all of this, I am fundamentally persuaded that we are going to have a free, fair, transparent and credible general elections in Ebonyi State. We are prepared to give INEC and the security agencies the full benefit of the doubt. We will cooperate with them every step of the way and we expect civility, full respect for fundamental human rights and professionalism of the highest standards from them. And we are fully confident that they will rise to the occasion and make Nigerians proud, and put the prophets of doom to shame. “And of course it must be stated that those whose ineptitude is of such a degree that they cannot even successfully organise a simple campaign rally without exploding in intrafactional violence cannot be credited with the capacity to organise, coordinate and execute a process of electoral fraud that would effectively override and nullify the electoral will of 1.4 million registered Ebonyi voters. “In the event that an alternative universe would suddenly emerge where such a thing becomes possible in Ebonyi State, then late me categorically put it on record that I and those who join me in supporting Governor Umahi are prepared to not only vote for him but to ready and willing to die in defence of that democratic choice”, he said.


8

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

NEWS

We are battle ready for trouble makers during election- Anambra New CP From PAMELA EBOH, Awka

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he New Commissioner of Police in Anambra State Mustapha Dandaura has warned people nursing the idea to foment trouble during the forthcoming general elections to keep away from polling stations or be ready to face the music. Addressing journalists at the state command in Awka on Monday, the

CP maintained that he had no favourite candidate in the election saying that he would ensure a safe environment for the conduct of hitch-free elections in the state. He said: “I’m not in Anambra to support any candidate or political party. The Nigerian police in the state will remain neutral and focused. I want to assure the people of the state that we are going to oversee a free, fair and credible poll.

Those who want to disrupt the exercise will be decisively dealt with.” While saying that no political thug will be allowed access to the venue of the election, the new police boss reminded politicians that the election day is not meant for rally or campaign Dandaura assured politicians and political parties participating in the exercise of fair and equal treatment, insisting in the course of the elec-

tion.. On the issue of cultism and extortion which is currently ravaging the state, the CP stressed his readiness to fight the menace to a standstill. The new sheriff also warned officers involved in extortion or bribery to turn a new leaf or be ready to face the hammer of the law. He added: “By the briefing I received from my senior officers,

the level of cultism is gradually increasing and we’re going to face it squarely. Robbery and other heinous crimes have subsided. With the support of the state government, the police have achieved success in fighting crime and criminality. I also assure you that in my tenure, the state will be one of the safest states in the country.”

HIV/AIDS: C’River, FCT, 4 others to get free condoms

NATIONAL SPORTS FESTIVAL: Okowa doles out N403 million to medalists

From ANIEKAN ANIEKAN, Calabar

From JONATHAN AWANYAI, Asaba

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s part of its drive to minimize the scourge of HIV/AIDS in the country, about five states including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja are to benefit from the distribution of 600, 000 condoms courtesy of an NGO, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Country Programme Director for the Foundation, Dr. Echey Ijezie made this known in Calabar during a sensitization rally to market the idea of sex with use of condom. He disclosed that the use of condoms in the fight against HIV/AIDS is very imperative as consequence of having unsafe sex outweighed sex with condom. Ijezie said: “We are creating awareness for the use of condom because condom is still the cheapest and the safest method of preventing HIV, sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. “We are distributing 600,000 condoms during this period across the five states of our operation in Cross River, Anambra, Benue, Kogi, Nassarawa and FCT Abuja. These condoms are for free and we want persons to use them to protect themselves and stay healthy. “That is why we are marking International Condom Day. The day is usually marked every 13th of February but because of activities taking place around that time, we had to mark it today. “There is a wide range of activities AHF is involved in, including entrepreneurship training, community mobilization, support services for HIV testing and treatment. The essence of what we are doing is for safety and not promotion of promiscuity. People are sexually active. You can’t run away from that fact. We want them to ensure that they practice safe sex.” Ijezie said AHF has been in existence in Nigeria since 2011 and operates in five states and the Federal Capital Territory, is in 43 countries across the world and 13 of the countries are in Africa. “We are at the forefront of promoting abstinence and we also preach against discrimination and stigmatization”, he said.

• From left: Co-ordinator SouthEast Buhari Campaign Organisation, Amb. Fidel Ayogu, Enugu APC guber candidate, Sen. Ayogu Eze and his running mate, Prince Chukwunta during a road show for Pres. Buhari.

Isoko nation reaffirms support for Okowa’s 2nd term bid From JONATHAN AWANYAI, Asaba live comfortable life, we will continue to do, if we can do so much in s the count down to the 2019 three years, we will do more in the general elections continues, next four years because, we have the people of Isoko Nation a more peaceful environment and last weekend reaffirmed their sup- our people, Deltans are wonderful port for the second term bid of the partners in progress.” State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi “We are grateful to Deltans for Okowa. the cooperation you have given They once again made their posi- us as a government, the partnertion known when Governor Okowa ship has given us the enabling enarrived the area to commission vironment to perform; for every road projects executed by his ad- good project was started by the ministration in Isoko South and past administrations, it is our duty Isoko North local government ar- to complete them to the benefits eas of the state. of our people; we are working to Governor Okowa while commis- speedily, complete the dualisation sioning the projects, urged Deltans of the Ughelli/Asaba road project, to vote for all the candidates of the the contractors have been mobiPeoples Democratic Party (PDP), lised and they are working very noting that their joy with what his hard; come out on February 16 and administration has done within March 2 to to vote for the PDP canthree years, would lead to tremen- didates,” he asserted. dous development in the state in He thanked the Isoko people for the next four years. their peaceful dispositions which “I am excited that you are happy has enabled his administration to with our performance; we believe deliver on its electoral promises. that as a government we will conSome of the roads that were tinue to connect our communities commissioned at the separate ocby roads and I am happy that we casions witnessed by traditional rulhave achieved a lot in that area,” ers in Isoko land, President-General he said, adding, “seeing the excite- of Isoko Development Union (IDU), ment on the faces of the people, we Chief Iduh Amedhe and other notacan only think of how to do more; ble politicians include, Aviara/Araya/ working with the people within the Okpare/Okpawa road, Irri College/ next few months, more roads will Uzere road and Owhelogbo/Abbi road. be constructed across the state.” He continued, “use your permaPresident-General of Aviara Fednent voters cards wisely, vote for all eral Union, Mr Counsellor Umulor the candidates of the PDP because, in an address, said, “our dear Govas a government, as a party that lis- ernor, we are grateful to God Altens to the people, we will execute mighty for using you to attend to any project or programme that some of our needs, particularly, the will bring succour to our people, completion of this road project; the anything that will make the people completion of this road is a bless-

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ing to us as it confirms your commitment to your road construction throughout the state; truly, you are the Road Master and we are very appreciative of your benevolence toward us; we know that as you return to office as Governor of Delta State come 29th May, 2019 for your second term, you will give us more projects.” At Irri community, the Chairman of the community, Hon. Godday Igorigo on behalf of the community, stated, “Irri people have always believed in you and that explains why we voted for you in the 2015 general elections and come March 2, 2019, we shall replicate same gesture by voting for you again to complete the eight years of Delta North Senatorial District; we thank you (Governor Okowa) for your quick response to our needs by constructing these roads.” During the commissioning of road projects at Owheologbo, the President-General of the community, Engr, James Ighoyota said, “this singular road is very strategic and of so much economic and social value to the Isoko nation as the link to our neighbours of Anioma and Urhobo nations.” Chairmen of Isoko South and Isoko North local government Councils, Hon. Constantine Ikpokpo and Hon. Emmanuel Egbabor in their separate speeches, commended Governor Okowa’s administration for not restricting his development programmes to cities but, spreading projects across the nooks and crannies of the state

ELTA State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa rewarded excellence on Monday in a rare event by dolling out cash rewards worth more than N403 million to athletes who participated in the 19th edition of the National Sports Festival tagged, Abuja 2018. In a colourful event attended by the athletes, sports officials, members of their families, wife of the governor, Dame Edith and sports lovers at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba. Also rewarded are medallists at the 2018 edition of National Youth Games which took place at Illorin, Kwara State in 2018. It would be recalled that at the sports festival, Delta State won with 163 gold, 88 silver and 101 bronze totalling 352 medals to beat its closest rival, Rivers State which had 194 medals. “Great Delta athletes, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, today’s event is very special to me, because I have the privilege of being able to fulfill my promise to reward not only the medalists, but everyone who represented our dear State,” the governor said, adding, “I therefore wish to reassure our young people, especially those with talents that the State government will continue to encourage sportsmen and women.” He continued, “sports has become a vital tool of empowerment and accomplishment both at the national and international levels and I urge all of you (sports men and women) not to relent; aim at attaining higher standards and glories both for the State and our country.” “Facilities have been made available and they will be continually upgraded to meet the demands of modern training,” the governor who was beaming with smile throughout the event stated, asserting, “whatever the State government is offering you today, it is not necessarily payment or compensation for winning laurels for your State; rather, it is a token of appreciation for your commitment and patriotism while competing for your State.” The governor on the spot offered schorlaship to Miss Precious Okafor to the University levels as she competed and won medals at the National Youth Games despite losing her mother. National Sports Festival, gold medalists got N1 million, silver medalists - N500, 000 and bronze medalists N250, 000 while medalists at the National Youth Games got N100, 000 for gold medals, N75, 000 for silver medals and N50, 000 for bronze medals. The team leader, Mr Ifekachukwu Paul thanked Governor Okowa for keeping to his promise of rewarding the athletes with cash gifts, observing that the governor has provided first class sporting facilities in the state and encouraged the athletes to bring out their best. He assured the governor that the Team Delta will win more laurels in future sporting events.


9

POLITICS

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

I’m contesting under ADC to rescue my constituency – Ikeagwu

To the African Democratic Party (ADC) candidate vying for the membership of Federal House of Representatives in Oshodi-Isolo Constituency II, Chief, Barrister Leo Ikeagwu, those who have hitherto been in the position have failed the constituency. In this interview with Abolaji Adebayo, he disclosed that his mission is to go and redeem the failure of his predecessors. Excerpts: Looking at the number of aspirants running for the House of Representatives in various parties in Oshodi-Isolo Constituency II, how do you see your chance of winning the election in 2019? As an aspirant, I know that we are so many, especially the Igbos. But the most important thing is who is who. When you say who you are, you should be able to tell us what you have been doing for the community where you want to vie for election. In my own case, I have been a community leader; I have been a CDA chairman of Ajao Estate Central CDA for over ten years and I’m still there now. So, I’m a lawyer with bachelor’s degree in law; I’m a lawyer who is called to Bar – Barrister and Advocate. I’m a lawyer who is also a chartered member of the Institute of Human Resources because I know how to manage human beings. I’m a lawyer who is also the patron of Nigerian Peace Corps, Isolo Command or Lagos Command. I will want the others to tell us who they are, and those are the issues that should determine who actually people will choose. The people would want to choose the right person who has the pedigree. Apart from party and individual candidate’s pedigree and or antecedents, what is your take on the role of money in politics? It is unfortunate. But as I keep telling people, the Almighty God is the answer to many questions that are difficult to answer by human beings. You may have money, you may be a millionaire, you may also be willing most of the time, but if God says this is the person, it would be,i provided he had done his best. I will only cite David and Goliath in the Bible. Who ever knew that David would defeat Goliath? So, Leo Ikeagwu is the Leo Okeagwu street you see. Leo Ikeagwu may not have millions like others, but Leo Ikeagwu probably owns a street in his name and a few plots including where we are having this interview. As non-Yoruba willing to represent the interest of both non-Yorubas and the Yorubas in your constituency, how do you plan to win the Yorubas to vote for you? Luckily enough, I have lived in this constituency for over 35 years. Luckily enough, I grew up and while I was working in other companies, I associated with the Yorubas. Luckily enough, I went to school especially the university in Yoruba land. Luckily enough, even the Law School I attended in the Yoruba land and the Yorubas too were my mates. Luckily enough too, I served a Yoruba man – Late Chief Adeniyi Coker. When I was working in one of his companies, they called him the Bobagunwa of Lagos. I learnt a lot from him. Yes, I also speak Yoruba; I hear Yoruba that many of my people even call me Igbo-Yoruba but I’m still an Igbo man. I think one day Nigeria would actually be a truly united Country where tribe would no longer speak more than the nation. Ok sir, if finally elected to represent the

thing. Those are some of the things I have in mind and I am sure, you already see a piece of land I left, it is called Leo Ikeagwu Football Field. A lot of people have approached me that they want to use the place for business, but I said no, let the youths be playing football on it. So, what I will do for them is already there, that’s why I’m the only person they look at among other aspirants. Let’s look at how we can continually help the needy. Can you briefly tell us about your journey into politics so far? It is unfortunate. That question is something that I today never actually started thinking of becoming politician as such, instead I sponsor people into politics hoping that when they get there, they would help me so as to continue my humanitarian work. It is just unfortunate, the last time we helped the political adventure of some people in this constituency we were disappointed. It was at that stage that people came to me and said, ‘we want you to go’. It’s unfortunate that this issue took up to three months, people were persuading me; they want me to go, I was persuaded. They said because those we voted in the past, most of them don’t live in this constituency. You can imagine. There is no way you will knock at my door and I will not welcome you. My place is the centre of alternative dispute resolution, it is my place. All the people who have problem with their landlords, it is here. Police matter; it is here. My going into politics is to actually clear a few things about people who went there, to let people know that I can do better. •Chief, Barrister Leo Ikeagwu people of your constituency at the Federal House of Assembly, what are the plans you have drafted out for your constituents? Before now, I said I have been a community leader, a community worker. Few others and I in the community have tarred roads, look at Ogunbamiro. We have been building culverts and bridges for the people in the community. As I said, I’m the CDA chairman of Ajao Estate and placing me in such position, every complaint comes to me and I have always used my position to help the needy in terms of getting jobs for them. There are several people I have employed through the company in which I serve as their legal adviser. Some are working in oil companies and other companies. We will use the position when the government gives me the weapon by asking me to represent this constituency at the Federal House of Representatives. I am even telling you that you will see me. Even the committee I will be heading there because I don’t doubt what I can do because the qualifications and years of experience are there. So, I will help the needy. I have been helping the poor. As a lawyer, I have always stood behind those who don’t even have lawyer in the court. I’ve always done that, and I will continue doing more and more. I will set up a programme where people will key into

and grow in order to achieve whatever they want. Specifically, can you highlight some of the programme you have in mind to do when you get there especially for the youths, women and community people in your constituency aside your primary function as a member house of reps? As I speak to you now, even if you don’t name it, I have a programme already in place where the youths come in and are taken care of. If you go outside of my house, you will see people there waiting for me. This is a central place where people come to look for whatever they want. I am a knight of Mulumba. In the knighthood, we do what we call charity work meaning you use your time, your talents and your profession, treasure to help the needy. And at the end of every three months, you submit what we call a charity report. So, the youths and the women, I have always been doing my best for them and I will go further to set a platform where they will be getting some money to do businesses, that’s the most important thing. Those youths who are without the necessary qualifications and are looking for job, we will set up some programmes for them where they will get some money and probably start some-

Definitely, there are some loopholes you want to go and block, right? Yes! There is no constituency project. We have federal constituency projects. Even at Alimosho I see roads. When asked about the roads they would say it is their constituency representative who facilitated it, but that is not here. This is why I think people need someone who has pedigree, someone who can speak with action. They know me, that is why I extensively explained who Leo Ikeagwu is in that small handout. I will also ask people to confirm everything they’ve heard about me whether they are true or not. Why have you chosen to vie under ADC but not any other especially the ruling party or major opposition party? Everything is all about choice. I see a place where everybody has equal opportunity. I see a place where there is no emphasis on godfatherism. I also tell you that in ADC, the people there are more intelligent. Most of them understand what we are talking about. It’s not like that in other parties. People in ADC know the fact, they speak the fact, they tell the truth. It’s a young party but all party were young before they became firmly established. We are trying to groom and build this party. •Culled from echonews.ng


10

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

INTERVIEW

I will canvass for law to make Enyimba Economic City long term work plan –Igwe •Says real empowerment triggered by sustainable economy, not handouts Barr. Okey Philip Igwe, a US-trained lawyer, was, born and bred in Isuochi, Umunneochi local government area of Abia State where he lived in his formative stages in life, before jetting out to overseas. And so he understands the problems of the people like the back of his hands. In his bid to confront the challenges facing the people, he sought for election in 2016. He won and became the Executive Chairman Umunneochi till December 29, 2018. After a successful tour of duty crowned with landmark achievements, his people decided to send him to the Abia State House of Assembly by electing him the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Umunneochi State Constituency. In this interview with BONIFACE OKORO, Igwe reveals his plans for his constituents, vowing to ensure that a law would be enacted to make the Enyimba Economic City project a long-term economic plan for Abia to boost real empowerment of the people. Excerpts: As the executive chairman of Umunneochi local government area, what were your landmark achievements The landmark and crescendo was the restoration of electricity to Umunneochi. Of course, we did not have electricity growing up here, we didn’t have water. I don’t believe in making too many promises because there are too many challenges: roads, good water, electricity and other amenities. And so the electrical infrastructure that was put in place for about three decades have been ravaged, non-existent. When I went about campaigning for the position of chairman, restoration of electricity to Umunneochi was the fundamental thing I promised the people. I knew it was going to be tough because the resources are almost never enough. But I believed in fundamentally in bringing people together, that’s key; because I believe the number one and most important resource is human resource. So, what I did was to bring people together and rally them around that common cause and with support from my governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, and the good people, progressive minds in Umunneochi. We broke up the project in three phases. We were able to actualize phase one. Umunneochi is made up of three major clans – Isuochi, Nneato and Umuchieze. So, we finished Phase One, light is back in Isuochi and we were able to get that done in a little of over one year in office. Phase two (Nneato) is ongoing and then Phase Three (Umuchieze) would follow thereafter and I am carrying the same burden with me to the House of Assembly. Beyond electricity, we were able to do boreholes. There was no water in the council when I took over. Over the years, people had said that you can’t get water at that council but I brought the best engineers and we were able to do an industrial borehole that is not just serving the council but is also reticulated outside for general public use. We rehabilitated 14 bad roads. I am not talking about grading because I don’t actually believe in grading. Umunneochi is the quarry capital of Abia State. What I was able to do was to get the machines, we grade and compact the roads since we did not have the resource for outright asphalting and tarring of the roads, we covered them with quarry materials, they call it stone base. Under the bridge of

Leru, the road leading from Leru to Lomara; the road leading from Leru to Ndiawa; and then, there is an erosion control at Nkwoagua, opposite the Police Station, we were able to do it together with and in partnership with Eneco, the company that did the road in the first place, it was a major erosion site. There was another erosion site at Lomara Market Square on the road that leads to Nneato, the road was practically cut in half, we rehabilitated it, using direct labour. There is another erosion site at Umuogene-Mbala road which I was able to get the state governor to intervene because it is a major inter-state highway. That road had cut in half but if it had deteriorated further, it would have been a major disaster. Our people going to Enugu, Anambra, everybody ply that road. Another signature project is that I started work on the council headquarters’ permanent site where I was able to attract the state government to build a modern High Court Complex. I also galvanized our people, Isuochi Progressive Union (IPU) in the US, to come to that site and they are building a modern standard hospital. I have been able to allocate land to Department of State Security Services to build their office complex. What we did was turn the land gazetted for Umunneochi permanent site into a new free trade zone. The accumulation of all these things, with the expected coming of private investors; you will have a new lease of life on commerce and industry of Umunneochi. If we do it right, we will generate a lot of employment which is how a modern economy works. Having finished your term, what are your regrets Now, my regret is that obviously, I want to see Nneato and Umuchieze share in the same joy that we currently are experiencing in Isuochi which is why I have made now that the backbone of my House of Assembly promise that I am going to get it done through constituency intervention. As a legislator, I should be able to lobby and get things sited or allocated to my constituency. And then, of course, I am going to have a robust relationship with the executive at the state level, my state governor with whom I already have a fine, constructive functional relationship; I will leverage on that to make sure that Phase Two and Three are completed. Apart from your desire to complete the electricity project in the other two clans, what other factors prompted you to run for House of Assembly Essentially, I believe in public service and I think there is a lot of job to be done. I am a lawyer by trade and I know I have whole lot to contribute. From the standpoint of Abia State, I am not going there to cause disruptions. I believe the executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary in a democracy should have a constructive, functional relationship and if you do that, the general welfare will be preserved and enhanced. So, to that extent, I am going to obviously support our governor who I believe has earned enough to get re-elected for a second term. I am obviously not going to be a rubber stamp but I am going to lend a constructive hand of fellowship. For instance, I believe in bold, innovative visions. That is how development is unleashed;


11

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

INTERVIEW

People are responding to us, they are telling that my victory is a faith accompli. So, from the kind of reception you get from your people, are you convinced that they will cast their votes for you Oh! Certainly. I have gone to every nook and cranny of the local government, campaigning. I mean the outpouring of love and support and acceptance, you can’t ask for better than that as a politician. I really appreciate it. My pledge to them is that I am going to stay the course. They have seen me do it as their council chairman. Nobody believed me when I said we are going to restore light, but we did. They have seen me rehabilitate roads, they have seen me mourn with them when they are mourning because that is what you do as a local government chairman. Everything that happens to everyone touches you. And so, I have been there with them through thick and thin. They know what I am about and I can’t wait for Saturday and I expect them to come out and vote down the line: Atiku Abubaka for President, Mao Ohuabunwa for Senate, Jude Udeachara for House of Reps. And then, on March 2, 2019, I can’t wait for them to come and vote me and re-elect my governor. Four of you are contesting the Umunneochi State Constituency seat, what makes you think you have the edge over the others Well, because one, I am running under the platform of the PDP. Abia is PDP and PDP is Abia. From the ward to the local government and the state, the PDP controls them. And I believe we have done a fine job. On the balance of equity, we have four zones, I am from Zone II. The incumbent House of Assembly member has done two tenures of four years each and he is seeking re-election. Well, that is unfair to the other zones because we have tacit agreement to rotate our political offices and this is the turn of Zone II. After which it will shift to Zone IV. The incumbent is from Zone I, the APGA and the SDP candidates are both from Zone I. So, they are naturally swimming against the tide because they are trying to disrupt the balance of equity. But beyond equity, even people in Zone I know what I am about because they have seen me perform, they have seen the job I did as local government chairman and that is why we are getting overwhelming support. And that is why I am going to win, overwhelmingly.

Barr. Okey Philip Igwe

that’s how modern economies are nurtured, maintained and sustained. So, I believe that Dr Okezie Ikpeazu is engineering something and is laying a solid foundation for the future. A key example is the Enyimba Economic City project which he is setting in motion. I have watched the videos, I have seen the details. If this thing is done right, it is capable of generating 1-2 million jobs, not only in Abia State; it will also serve the surrounding states. It will be a watershed moment and a landmark, for not only Abia State, but indeed in Igbo land. And so, because of that, I am going to lend my support as a legislator. I strongly feel that we should enact into law, that Enyimba Economic City should become a 20-30 years economic plan because part of the problem we have in this part of the world is that you go from one administration to another, there is lack of continuity. So, I am really going to push hard to make sure that Enyimba Economic City is enacted into law as a long term economic plan. In your manifesto, you talk about youth and women empowerment, fresh ideas for posterity, ideas and possibilities and new paradigm in governance. Kindly expatiate on these Let me say that empowerment has become a much bastardised word in our modern politics, it is such a shame. When

I say empowerment, I mean the kind of description I just gave in your last question with Enyimba Economic City. Buying motorcycles or other items and giving them to the youth doesn’t solve anything. But if we can have a working, sustainable economy, then we would have empowered everybody. If Enyimba Economic City works, real estate is going to explode in Abia State. The multiplier effect is going to be awesome; the youth will get the chance to choose the jobs they want. If you give a youth a job that pays N200, 000 as opposed to the minimum wage of N27, 000 per month, that is empowerment. If a youth can go out and start a real estate industry because the real estate market is exploding, that is empowerment. And so, as described in the video I saw, Enyimba Economic City is going to be the modern Dubai. Dubai, in the 1980s, was a whole lot of desert, today, it is a modern marvel; they even have water running in the desert. So we can do these things, we have to have the will, right leadership and the right vision and that’s what our governor has shown and that’s why I will lend my support to him; that is what I mean by empowerment, not sharing rice, wrappa or money. Not that these things are inherently bad in themselves, we do it if it is necessary. But overall, this is what I mean by empower-

ment – providing the enabling environment that will support a modern economy- and when you do that, water will find its level, as our people say. Fresh ideas, that is exactly what I have just described. We have to shift from this mentality of politicians coming every four years, they buy the votes and then they abandon our society and you come back at the end of four years, the problem is still there. By fresh ideas, I mean possibilities. If you watch the video of Enyimba Economic City, you get the sense. When I talked about electricity in Umunnechi, people thought I was crazy. I mean, this has been an existential problem but I knew that if you can bring people together, no challenge is insurmountable when you galvanise people around a common idea. I feel strongly that we should galvanise Abia and Ndigbo around Enyimba Economic City, that is fresh idea, that’s a possibility. You have been going around to canvass for support of the people to vote for you in the March 2, 2019 House of Assembly election, what has been your experience so far Well, my experience is that I am enjoying the campaigns. People now know what I am about; they know I mean what I say and I say what I mean because they have seen me do it and so the reception we are getting is amazing.

What is your reaction to some political opinions which posit that you are not the popular candidate, that your brother, Prince Odinaka Igwe, is trying to foist you on the people My reaction is that obviously, my brother is a fine man, he is a respected member of this local government and indeed, in the state. He is a philanthropist, a man of goodwill who has done a lot to help his people; he has built roads, dug boreholes, built houses for widows, he has made millionaires in this community. He has been doing these things not for political expediency. And so, I am not going to allow anybody denigrate my brother or myself. Because he is my brother, I am not going to let them turn him into an albatross around my neck. I love him very much but I am also a man of my own who has done well for myself; I am lawyer by trade and a business man. So, in my own right, I am running. Even my brother will be the first to tell you that I am fiercely independent and independent-minded because I am guided by principles and I always stand for equity and what is right. Obviously, everybody is not going to like me or like my face. So, I have detractors, it is usual; it is normal in life. So you hear these kinds of story from my detractors but I am not daunted because people know what I am about and they know my brother. Let me tell you: my primary was the fairest and most credible in the history of Umunneochi. Everybody had the chance to cast their votes for the candidate of their choice and I won overwhelmingly. The man who is now running in SDP, he challenged me. I beat him hands down. And so, it was a clean, fair and credible contest and I came out untouched. More importantly, Umunneiochi people understand what I am about and I am going to deliver.


12

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

POLITICS

Multiple taxes, weak institutions cripple governance in Anambra Cont’d on page 5

impunity. If you want to be a Principal, just pay and the next thing you would be appointed a principal,” an aggrieved PPSSC employee said. The Oracle Today investigations further revealed that the sanitary condition of the Jerome Udorji Secretariat complex, for example, is appalling and an eyesore and in pongy state. Every nook and cranny as at the time of this report was filled with human faeces and urine. “Why would it be so when each office flat has a toilet facility? Reason is there no functional pipe-borne water to serve the secretariat built by the Peter Obi administration. The water system parked up three years ago but has not been resuscitated. Workers come to work with jerry cans of water either by public transport or private means,” an embarrassed civil servant lamented in a chat with The Oracle Today correspondent. The State Secretariat isn’t alone in this environmental mess as most of the other offices lack public conveniences and where they exist, they are under lock and key, forcing visitors to look for any available footpath to ease tension. NO PERMANENT SECRETARIES IN 10 MINISTRIES There is vacancy for elevation of Directors to Permanent Secretaries in the ministries and at the last count there are over 10 ministries due for Permanent Secretaries. The ministries include Ministries of Health, Environment, Local Government & Chieftaincy matters and Utilities, among others. Civil servants are miffed at the state of affairs, especially against the backdrop of over 1000 SAs, SSAs EAs taking huge wage bill yet the career civil servants can’t get their promotion as at when due. There are substantive directors who ought to be promoted to permanent secretaries but were neglected, with some of them wailing in retirement as they could not achieve their dreams of retiring as Permanent Secretaries. “Why would Directors not be elevated to Permanent Secretaries?” an aggrieved career civil servant asked. “Why would people on Grade level 12 serve as Acting Permanent Secretaries in a ministry in Anambra State? Why would there be an executive fiat against presenting Directors for elevation to Permanent secretaries? Is this the good governance being hyped in the media about Obiano Administration in Anambra State when civil servants are groaning in agony?”

No promotion Indeed, according to the The Oracle Today investigations, promoting a civil servant in Anambra is akin to the biblical camel passing through the eye of a needle. Some civil servants said they had their last promotion eight years back, some five years while several categories of workers are due for promotion but have not been promoted at all. Expectedly, teachers are the worst hit, as many of them who were promoted did not reap the benefits of their promotion more than two years later. Meanwhile, extortion has continued unabated like paying for books for Junior WAEC and FSLC among others without getting the books paid for even after exams. In fact our investigation revealed that education under this government is in near ruins. “Why would students in public schools pay their school fees but the government will not release the overhead budget for running of the schools to the principals?” a school teacher asked rhetorically. “Why would retired teachers be the ones teaching our children while youths roam the streets in search of jobs?” The Oracle Today investigations further revealed that shortly before the November 2017 governorship election, the State government organised an examination for the recruitment of 5000 teachers from the 12, 500 teachers who applied, but till date no single appointment letter has been issued to any teacher with respect to the recruitment examination conducted across the Six Educational Zones. “Is this not fraud and deceit? Another election is at the corner and Obiano and his team are going round deceiving the electorate with another round of promises. Obiano why?” one the applicants wailed. It was learnt that a lot of teachers have retired from teaching but rather than employ new ones to replace them, the retired teachers are still retained while youths rot away in unemployment. “When the Obiano administration was coming in, the slogan in the State was ‘continuity’ hence ‘C4’, which stands for ‘completion, commission, commencement and continuity’ but is that still the slogan today? So many projects abandoned and governance abused on altar of favouritism, clannishness,” an aggrieved indigene said in a chat with The Oracle Today. Already, there is a massive dearth of technical teachers and workshop attendants even when accreditation for about

four Government Technical Colleges (GTC’s) took a whopping some of N200m without any effect. “Pray, why would the few technical teachers available in GTC’s be on contract basis for six months which expired last year June or so; same applies to workshop attendants?” a concerned educationist queried. “And to make matters worse, these contract teachers were asked to continue despite that they are being owed six months in arrears but political office holders are paid and on time too. Who is deceiving who?” He queried further: “Again, why would retired teachers be given contracts to teach for two years to be renewed every two years in this 21st century while new and energetic graduates are left to wonder on the street and someone who has served the State for 35 years or 60 years of age be hired and rehired while the young dynamic chaps who graduated in the 21st century would be allowed to waste? “Why would Obiano’s Administration extend teachers retirement to 65 years of age as reported in national dailies when fresh graduates churned out in their thousands every year from the universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education who are Anambrarians? Is Obiano’s administration paying lip service and cosmetic service to the education of its youths? The gully in front of GTC Umueri would likely cut off the road into two.” A contract teacher said: “What am I even doing here? No letter of engagement for this contract job yet, no news on payment from July last year till date, no news on payment from now till whenever, no one knows the terms of service.” “How would APGA-led administration think of canvassing votes for its candidates in this 2019 general election as the people are already viewing the 21/21 they gave Obiano in last election as a scam that has hoodwinked them from the government. Scholarship In the era of Mr. Peter Obi, those who made first class were given N1m as a way of appreciating their labour. The Oracle Today recalls that Mr. Obi gave over 460 Anambrarians who made first class regardless of their disciplines N1m each to encourage them. There are indications that the Obiano Administration may have jettisoned the scholarship programme. Problems everywhere Many are worried that the State Ministry of Health exists

•WIllie Obiano

•Peter Obi

without a Permanent Secretary? There are concerns also that medical doctors at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Amaku are resigning while Resident Doctors had gone on one week warning industrial action. “Why would the X-ray unit operate with only one tube?” a concerned indigene asked, adding: “Why would a substantive Director not be Accountant General of the State as is the normal practice?” Situating what is happening in Anambra State within the context of current politics, CLO accused the Obiano Administration of abandoning governance to pursue what the human rights organisation described as “politics of vengeance.”

Comrade Aloysius Attah, Chairman, Civil Liberties Organisation, South East Zone, alleged that governance under Obiano has been on suspension since his second term began. But, rather address the many governance issues plaguing his administration, the governor, the CLO noted, has been busy playing what it called “destructive politics.” The statement of CLO stated: “That Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State was the first to oppose the Imeobi Ohanaeze decision endorsing the PDP ticket of Atiku and Mr Peter Obi is, to say the least, shameful and disgraceful. “Apart from portraying him as an ingrate and saboteur of

Cont’d on page 2


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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

POLITICS

•Victor Oye

•Bianca -Ojukwu

•Ifeanyi Ararume

Multiple taxes, weak institutions cripple governance in Anambra Continued from P12

the Igbo cause, it has exposed the Igbo saying that somebody whose house is on fire has decided to pursue rats instead of salvaging the ruins of the fire. “How else does one justify the above assertion than by the fact since his second term began, the state has been left prostrate while governance has gone on holiday and aggressive development put in abeyance since then? “In Anambra today, instead of Obiano taking up development strides so as to etch his name in the people’s memory with legacy projects after his exit, he has decided to embark on wild goose chase just to undo Mr Peter Obi as if there is a competition between the two of them. The unholy romance with the Muhammed Buhari-led APC administration where it was alleged that he (Obiano) gave financial support running into billions of naira for Buhari’s comeback will boomerang in his face sooner or later. The multiplier effect of the alleged hefty financial commitment to Buhari’s re-election campaign is the ugly situation we are witnessing presently in different parts of the state where all manners of revenue touts have been unleashed on the hapless citizens. Even though government has continued to disown the various revenue touts and agents and the multiple taxation going on in the state, even the blind can decipher that there is no smoke without fire. What is a known fact is that those people are working for government and are known to government too. If it is to be on the contrary, the same government would have flushed them away with immediate effect. “Today in Anambra, traders, keke riders, commercial bus drivers, truck owners and drivers, tipper drivers, artisans and other classes of individual are feel-

ing the heat of unbridled chase of revenue by government agents. “Visiting traders from other parts of the state are crying daily without help as they are extorted with brute force from their point of purchase, routes of delivery till they enter the motor park and return to their base. “Artisans are crying, keke drivers go home practically empty handed as their daily struggles end up in the hands of government revenue touts. The list of victims and casualties (including those left with broken heads on putting up slight resistance) are endless and there is no respite in sight. “While the government continues its wild goose chase, aggressive development projects in the state have become a thing of the past as abandoned projects litter every nook and cranny of the state. “All the earth-moving equipment, including hired and dilapidated ones deployed across various communities in Anambra State, have been recalled while nothing is happening in most of the project sites. “The story is the same from Awada to Ugwuagba, Onitsha to Nise, Urum to Anam among others. The roads flagged off behind Iba Pope Awada, which the governor promised completion in the sacred altar of the Catholic Church the day he visited has remained abandoned. Same with the one near St James Anglican Church also in Awada where there is an imminent danger of building collapse in the area as deep gullies caused by rain and flood from the abandoned road have eaten deep into nearby buildings. “It is the same story for other roads connecting Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Awada where he also declared that contracts for the rehabilitation of all the roads in the area have been awarded just awaiting the rains to subside for construction to start. He said this again on

the altar last year when he visited with his wife for the blessing of the chapel they built in the name of her daughter, Gechi, for the parish. Right now, the access road linking the parish with the tarred road along 2nd Gate Army barracks and Minaj Road known as Oba Avenue/ Solar Lawrence Road behind the Army Barracks is at the verge of cutting into two and teeming residents in the area are getting trapped. “Oduke layout where constant flooding has killed at least 12 people and destroyed properties worth over N500million has also seen promises that are not fulfilled. Since November 3rd last year, where the last two victims, a widow, Oluchi Nwafor and a man, Mr Okafor died in the flood, the governor has not deemed it fit to even pay a visit to the area or send a representative despite notifications by the landlords in the area. “Now, the non-conduct of local government elections by the Obiano administration and the crippling of local government administrative system have made it impossible for local councils to even do minimal road grading at intervals. “Despite the fact that the state receives an average of N2.5 billion as local government financial allocations monthly, there is nothing to show that anything is happening in the 21 local councils; instead, peanuts are given to the illegal endless transition council chairmen to run their offices monthly. “The charade called primary elections conducted by APGA under Obiano as BOT Chairman is the one that sounded the death knell for this administration. Apart from desecrating and denigrating the legacies of the late Igbo leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu and also humiliating his dear wife, Iyom Bianca Ojukwu, the heist called APGA primaries where hundreds were fleeced of their hard earned money and at the end of the day

denied party tickets in abracadabra way and brute force will continue to haunt the administration. “The conclusion now is that the larger bulk of the electorate in Anambra have decided to vote against APGA in all elective posts come February 16 and March 2. The protest vote is as result of the bastardised primaries, putting good governance in abeyance in Anambra presently, the harassment of the citizenry by government revenue thugs among others. “But far from these anomalies, the greater number of Anambra electorate just like the entire larger number of Igbo people are united in their decision that when it comes to the Presidential election, the real nkea bu nke anyi is the vote for ATIKU and OBI of the PDP. “They are of the view that 30 years after the Shagari and Ekwueme administration were sacked by the same Buhari who is now seeking re-election as a civilian president, no other opportunity presents a better platform for the Igbo to get to the mainstream politics in Nigeria than the Atiku/ Obi ticket. It will also amount to stating the obvious if I begin to mention also the sterling qualities Obi is bringing to the table or to go back to his positive scorecards when he was Governor. “For Obiano to work against this opportunity and tilt towards the Buhari presidency that has tacitly alienated the Igbo from being part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a deadly mission.” CLO concluded: “No matter whatever becomes the outcome of the 2019 presidential election, posterity will record the various roles each gladiator, stakeholder or persons played. Some will enter the Hall of Fame while others will eternally put their name into the Hall of Shame. Obiano belongs to this latter category.”


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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

INSURANCE & PENSION Expert charges insurance operators to shore up capital base

•For big ticket deals Stories by JEROME USHAKANG

A

N insurance expert has called on their colleagues in the business to increase capital base this year irrespective of the cancellation of the the Tier Based Minimum Solvency Capital (TBMSC) framework by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) late last year. This was the submission of the President, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Mr. Eddie Efekoha, who argued that most insurance companies will lose businesses they used to underwrite as policyholders seem poised to transfer their risks to underwriting companies with strong capital base. Efekoha, who is also the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc, stated that there is a particular transaction in Exxon Mobil for several years that never respected the N3 billion capitalizations, adding that operators within the extant capital base were ex-

cluded from the business. He stressed that with the cancellation of the Tier Based Minimum Solvency Capital (TBMSC) framework by the National Insurance Commission(NAICOM) late in 2018, the capital base of the industry remains the same. This means that Non-Life Insurance companies would continue to operate with a minimum of N3 billion capitalisation; Life Insurance Operators, N2billion; and Composite Insurers, N5billion minimum capital base, in 2019. If the recapitalisation exercise had gone through, market analysts, who spoke at a workshop in Lagos, said it would have increased the capitalisation of insurance industry by at least 300 per cent, which would have allowed insurers in the country to retain some of the huge insurance businesses being taken offshore. He noted that recently, he was told of a broker, who said his client had informed him not to place risks with any underwriting firm with less than N9 billion as proposed in

the cancelled TBMSC policy. Efekoha posited that with such developments, it is now immaterial whether the industry regulator withdraws the TBMSC policy, adding that the policy has opened the eyes of insurance consumers. He said: “What I heard from our office recently was that there is a broker that said that my client has already seen that N9 billion is what is required, so please go and shore up. It is immaterial whether the com-

mission has withdrawn from the TBMSC or not. Of course, we are all here in this market, there is a particular transaction in Exxon Mobil for several years that never respected the N3 billion capitalization and to that extent, some of us whose capital were not up to that minimum were excluded.” Rate-cutting is expected to continue in Insurance Industry in 2019 as insurers scramble for businesses, especially, in the formal sector base.

A development that is hurting insurance industry in terms of premium income, experts said, risk-cutting is a regrettable act that must be addressed to increase insurance contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to the Deputy Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Sunday Thomas, The Omnibus Bill on Business Facilitation seeks to amend provisions in at least 30 existing commercial laws.

NAICOM confirms Braie as CEO of Linkage Assurance

N

ATIONAL Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has confirmed the appointment of Daniel Braie as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Linkage Assurance Plc. The approval was communicated to the Chairman, Board of Directors via a letter dated, December 28, 2018.Braie was the Executive Director, Technical of the Company before he was elevated to the position of the Acting Managing Director earlier in 2018. A seasoned insurance professional, he has to his credit over 35years work experience including at senior management levels across different companies in the industry. He is expected to bring to bear his wealth of knowledge and experience to transform the operations of the company for greater growth. Meanwhile, the company, in line with its vision to enhance quality of operations has also announced the appointment of Okanlawon Adelagun, as Executive Director, Technical. Adelagun, whose appointment became effective 7th January 2019, is subject to the approval of NAICOM. He is expected to bring his wealth of experience to rejuvenate the technical operations of the company for efficiency and productivity. Braie, has four decades of professional experience in the insurance industry, garnered from UNIC Insurance Plc, Trust & Guarantee Insurance Company Limited, Crusader Nigeria Plc and Topflight Insurance Brokers Limited, where he held various managerial positions including: Deputy General Manager, General Manager, Company Secretary, Group Head and Chief Executive Officer. He is an alumnus of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) and the West African

Insurance Institute (WAII). He is also an Associate of both the Chartered Insurance Institute of London (CII) and the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN).

•L–R shows Mr. Adeyemi Cahdide-Johnson (SAN), Chairman, Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC); Mr. Bola Adeeko, Head, Shared Services Division, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and Mr. Kehinde Ogundimu, Managing Director/CEO, NMRC during a Closing Gong Ceremony in commemoration of the N11Billion 13.80% Series 2 Fixed Rate Bonds listed on The Exchange today in Lagos.

Prestige Assurance appoints two Non-Executive Directors

T

HE National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), has approved the appointments of two Non-Executive Directors into the Board of Prestige Assurance Plc. as recommended by the company. Prestige Assurance in a statement to inform The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), its stakeholders, and the general public, gave the names of the two new Non-Executive Directors who have been appointed to the Board as Dr. Adedoyin Rasaq Salami and Mrs. Funmi Oyetunji. According to Prestige Assurance, the appointments have also been

approved by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), its Primary Regulator. The company disclosed the profile Dr. Adedoyin Rasaq Salami thus: Dr. Adedoyin Rasaq Salami is a renowned Economist, Lecturer and Consultant. He is a 1989 Doctorate Graduate in Economics from Queen Mary College, University of London, Adedoyin Salami is co-founder and partner at Kainos Edge Consulting and a member of the adjunct faculty at the Lagos Business School (LBS), Pan —Atlantic University where he leads sessions in Economic Environment of Business.

Prior to joining the LBS, ‘Doyin was Managing Partner of Edward Kingston Associates, a firm of Economics Consultants, where he led a team to build a Macroeconomic Model of the Nigerian economy.He has handled consulting activities and assignments for the following: International Development (DFID), World Bank, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and International Finance Corporation (IFC). His involvement with Public Policy Making started in 2009 with his appointment by the late President

pany under this Tier, even as a sum of N6 billion capitalisation is needed to get a new Life insurance licence when the regulator lift embargo on issuance of new licence next year. Confirming this development, the Director, Supervision, NAICOM, Mr, Barineka Thompson, said the commission had refused to grant new licences before now, to allow investors buy into some of the existing underwriters and make the insurance industry stronger. According to him, “In the last 9 to 10 years, we have not issued any licences but we will open it up for any investor willing to play in Tier 1, as soon as the Risk Based categorisation commence next year.” The Deputy Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Sunday Thomas, had earlier said its 3 -tier based recapi-

talisation of the insurance industry is to ensure that risks and retained locally. He noted that most insurance businesses are taken abroad because most of the local underwriters have no capacity to absorb huge risks, especially, in aviation, marine and oil and gas sectors of the economy. The new development, he said, will strength the insurance sector and enhance its contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It was earlier reported that the Federal Government, through NAICOM, has introduced a three -tier based recapitalisation for the insurance industry. This is coming 10 years after the earlier recapitalisation, which took place in 2007 in insurance industry in the country.

NAICOM to Issue fresh insurance licences in 2019

T

HE National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) will grant new licences to serious investors willing to float Tier 1 underwriting companies in the country. The commission had, in the last 10 years, placed embargo on issuance of fresh licenses, advising, intending investors to buy into the existing ones. However, with its three -tier based recapitalisation of the insurance industry, expected to fully kickoff on 1st of January, 2019, NAICOM is now set to issue fresh licences to would-be big players in the nation’s insurance sector of the economy. Findings show that interested applicants for the Tier 1 license must have capitalised to the tune N15 billion to operate a composite insurance firm, with N9 billion capital base needed to float Non-Life com-

Yar-Adua who appointed him as a member of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Economic Management Team. In 2010, he was appointed to the membership of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria and retired from the MPC in 2017 after completing two terms. Outside Nigeria, he is a member of the International Monetary Fund’s Advisory Group for Sub-Saharan Africa (AGSA). In addition, he is a non-executive Director of companies which include ARM Investment Managers, Diamond Pension Fund Custodian (DPFC), First World Communities Ltd and Investment Securities Ltd. Similarly, the profile of the second new Board member was given as Mrs. Funmi Oyetunji: She is a 1977 Accounting Graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Accountants England (FCCA) and the Chartered Institute of Accountants — Nigeria (FCA). Mrs. Oyetunji She started her working career with Z.0 Ososanya & co. Ibadan and joined KPMG Marwick Mcclintock, London Office. She started her Banking career with Fountain Trust Merchant Bank as Assistant General Manager (Financial Services) moving to First Bank of Nigeria. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Regent Advisory Financial services & Abitos Financial Services Limited and serves on the Board of Ecobank Plc.


15

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

INSURANCE & PENSION

2019: Insurers to seek more relevance in national economy

T

HE Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria has said it will collaborate with other stakeholders in the sector to ensure more relevance in the national economy in 2019. In a statement, the President, CIIN, Mr. Eddie Efekoha, said this while delivering his New Year message to members. He said, “As you will recall, the theme of my presidency is focused on ‘advancing insurance education and professionalism’. We have joined hands with all the stakeholders in the insurance industry to explore all avenues to reposition our industry for greater relevance in the nation’s economy by advocating for ethical practice and constant professional development. “This is consistent with our mission to provide world-class manpower with the highest standard of professional and ethical training for operating effectively and efficiently in the Nigerian and international business environment.” While stating that the institute would be 60 years in 2019, he noted that it was a year of reflection on the institute’s journey through the years and its evolution as the premier professional body in Nigeria. “As a body, we are committed to the growth of the insurance industry and will not relent in our contribution to promoting the insurance industry agenda,” he said. Efekoha said that 2019 would likely throw up a lot of interesting challenges as it was an election

year. Nevertheless, he added, there would still be a lot of risk elements for insurance outfits to take advantage of. He stated, “My advice to you, our esteemed members, is to seize the initiative and explore as well as exploit all areas of business generation that the year will present in various forms. Creativity must come to the fore in offering products and services to your target audience. Most importantly, we must embrace professionalism and best practices and also uphold the institute’s ethics and values in the course of our business dealings in 2019. “It is my hope that as stakeholders, we will continue to lift the institute higher by actively participating to make the institute’s programmes and activities in 2019 more successful than the previous year.” The president thanked the members for their contributions and participation in the institute’s programmes during the past year with special reference to the professionals’ forum, education seminar, the graduation ceremonies of both the institute and the Centre for Insurance and Financial Management Studies, the fitness walk, the Ramadan Tafsir and the annual Christmas Carol. “The successes recorded in all these programmes were due to the support and cooperation of members of the Institute for which we are immensely grateful,” he said.

•Mr. Oscar Onyema, CEO of NSE, flanked by officials of SAHCO Plc during a recent Facts-Behind-the-Offer in Lagos.

Health insurance: Lagos targets over 2million residents in one year

L

AGOS State Government says it plans to enroll about 10 per cent of its population under its health insurance scheme in one year. The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, disclosed this while making a presentation on ‘Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme’, during the Lagos Chamber of Commerce

Imo, Osun, Enugu, Ekiti, Kaduna and Kano State Ministries of Education as well as the Federal Capital Territory. He added that similar presentations had equally been slated for other states in the federation. Agas, who represented the state governor, thanked the CIIN and the IICC for considering Delta State a worthy place to carry out insurance awareness activities. He also assured the delegation that the message would be taken back to the governor and that he was sure that the delegations’ requests would be given serious consideration.

and Industry’s forum in Lagos. He disclosed that about 2,346,520 residents were planned to be covered under the scheme. While giving a breakdown of the scheme, he said 406,000 were public servants and dependents, 1,260,072 were formal/informal sector, and 680,448 were indigent (equity fund). Idris explained that the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme was established by Law No. 4 on 25th May, 2015, as part of its health financing reforms. According to him, the LSHS is mandatory health insurance coverage for all residents of the state, including indigents, vulnerable, economically disadvantaged, all employees in the public and private sectors, the self-employed and the unemployed. He said the Lagos State Health Management Agency was responsible for overseeing the implementation of policies and procedures, and administering appropriate regulations and guidelines of the scheme. Lagos State Health Fund, he

An order signed by Justice Ekwo, which was obtained from the underwriting firm, stated that Guinea Insurance was the plantiff/ applicant, and the NAICOM was the defendant/ respondent. The court granted an order in a suit that was filed by Guinea Insurance with suit No: FHC/ABJ/ CS/151/2019 against NAICOM on February 6, 2019. It read, “An order restraining the defendant, whether by itself, or assigns, successors-in-title, personal representatives, agents or privies or any other person or body of persons (however described) acting for it or at its instance or behest, from enforcing or taking any steps whatsoever, including, without limitation, writing letters, issuing directives and/or instructions to the plantiff or any other person or entity or

taking out publications, or any other acts; with intent; (or, in respect of such acts having) the likelihood or potential to halt, stop, disrupt, frustrate or defeat; or in any other way whatever, undermine or negatively impact the operations and/or business of the plantiff; for any reasons whatsoever arising from, connected to, based upon or touching or concerning the compliance with the directives contained in the defendant’s letter of 28th January, 2019, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”The case was later adjourned to 18th February, 2019 for motion on notice. NAICOM had earlier barred Guinea Insurance Plc from underwriting new businesses. The regulator had asked it to appoint a substantive managing director and secure appropriate reinsurance treaties.

CIIN advises Delta Govt to support insurance promotion

T

HE Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria has urged the Delta State government to support the promotion of insurance and facilitate the inclusion of the topic as a subject in secondary schools. The President, CIIN, Mr Eddie Efekoha, solicited the state’s support, when he led a delegation of the institute and the Insurance Industry Consultative Council on a courtesy visit to the office of the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa. In a statement, the delegation was received by the Secretary to the State Government, Ovie Agas. Efekoha informed the state government that the insurance industry had a key role to play in contributing to the growth of the country. He also solicited for the creation of faculties of insurance in stateowned tertiary institutions. Efekoha assured the Secretary to the State Government that the CIIN

and the IICC would equally play an active role in executing the projects. The delegation also donated 500 textbooks entitled, “Insurance for Senior Secondary Schools” to the state government for distribution to secondary schools in the state. Efekoha stated that the donation of the books represented a major stride and served as a landmark in the institute’s quest to groom a new generation of industry leaders. He said that copies of the textbooks had earlier been presented by the institute to the Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Kwara, Edo, Ondo, Rivers,

Guinea gets court injunction to halts NAICOM’s suspension

A

Federal High Court in Abuja has given an order restraining the National Insurance Commission from suspending Guinea Insurance Plc from underwriting new insurance businesses.

Insurance sector has limitless growth potential – Allianz

A

LLIANZ Nigeria has set three unique qualities in its workplace to make it stand out among its peers. The company introduced the flexihour, allows workers to wear traditional attire every day and pays attractive remuneration. In a statement, it said “Allianz Nigeria is the first and the only company in Nigeria to have this as a work policy – or at least, it is the only one we know. Employees can choose to resume as early as 7am or as late as 10am provided they put in the re-

quired eight hours of work (plus a one-hour lunch break). So, if you resume by 7am, you can hit the close by 4pm and manage to beat the city traffic.It, however, noted that there could be concerns about the abuse of such a policy. The Executive Director, Allianz Nigeria, Owolabi Salami, said, “We trust our people to do the right thing even when no one is watching, and for the past two years, our people have made us absolutely proud of the decision to make flexible work hours a company policy.”

added, would serve as a basket of funds from several sources for the provision of health care services for the enrolled population. The sources of fund, he added, included one per cent of the consolidated revenue fund, premiums from the formal and informal sector, donations and grants-in-aid. Idris said the key objectives of the scheme include the protection from the financial hardship of huge medical bills, access to quality healthcare, affordable healthcare services and to ensure the poor and vulnerable have access to quality health care services. He noted that the state planned to improve and harness private sector participation, provide adequate distribution of health facilities within the state, provide equitable distribution of health care cost, improved efficiency, and ensure availability of alternate sources of funding for the health sector. “The Lagos State Health Plan is a basic, defined minimum benefit package of health care services for primary care as well as an “affordable” supplementary benefit package of health care services for secondary and tertiary care,” he stated. The commissioner identified some of the challenges of health insurance to include inadequate funding of health sector, population explosion, triple disease burden, huge informal sector and human resources challenge among others.

•Governor Ambode


The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

16


17

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

BU$IN£SS

•Energy •Finance

•Stock

•Insurance

•Aviation

•e-Platform

Nigeria, South Africa pulling down the continent By SOPURUCHI ONWUKA

A

FRICA’S economic development carries huge liabilities: Nigeria and South Africa, the two biggest countries and economies in the continent. The African Development Bank’s 2019 African Economic Outlook notes that Africa’s average economic growth is expected to be maintained at 4% in 2019, and 4.1% in 2020, with 40% of African countries projected to see even higher growth rates. According to Africa Economic Outlook (AEO) released by the African Development Bank (AfDB) weekend, the two biggest African countries may not fall in the list of nations in the continent that would record average economic growth rate of 5.0 percent in the year. AfDB called on African countries to dismantle all trade barriers and implement Trade Facilitation Agreements of the World Trade Organization to boost average gross domestic product to 4.5 percent or $134 billion a year. The bank which monitors economic progress of African nations and supports governments with policy and financial guide on steering economies out of the woods stated that about 40 percent of African countries are projected to see growth of at least 5 percent in 2019, while about 25 percent are projected to see growth of less than 3.0 percent. Without disclosing the growth projection for Nigeria, the bank pointed out that the country falls in the list of resource rich countries that would form economic liability on thriving resource deprived countries. President of AfDB, Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, stated a global peace summit that corruption has pushed some countries into a race against time to optimize their economic potentials in delivering goods that would lift their people out of poverty. It stressed that countries that have no resources have continued to record real gross domestic products (GDP) supported by higher agricultural production, increasing consumer demand and rising public investment. Ironically, Nigeria and other resource rich countries have lower productivity indices, leading to sluggish growth, low income distribution, higher poverty rates, and declining consumer demands. While noting that improved economic growth across Africa has been broad, with variation across econo-

•Senator Udo Udoma mies and regions, the bank noted that economic performance of countries sharply divided along resource wealth; with countries with little or no natural resources growing faster than those blessed with huge resources. According to the bank’s report on Africa’s Macroeconomic Performance and Prospects, fastest growing African countries include Senegal with 7.0 percent, Rwanda with 7.2 percent, and Cote d’Ivoire with 7.4 percent. “Major commodity-exporting countries saw a mild uptick or a decline (Angola, –0.7 percent), while Nigeria and South Africa, the two largest countries, are pulling down Africa’s average growth,” the bank stated in the report. The bank warns that despite her poor economic performance in 2018, outlook is still gloomy for Nigeria in 2019. The report pointed at downward risks from increasing vulnerability to debt distress, security and migration concerns, and uncertainties associated with elections and political transition. Stressing that the downward risk factors could weigh on growth and trigger accelerated spread of poverty. In addressing issues in countries like Nigeria which are laden with fiscal

CBN Exchange Rates JANUARY 31, 2019 Currency

Buying(NGN)

Central (NGN) Selling(NGN)

US DOLLAR 305.75 POUNDS STERLING 401.8778 EURO 351.4596 SWISS FRANC 307.8123 YEN 2.8151 CFA 0.5136 WAUA 426.4945 YUAN/RENMINBI 45.598 RIYAL 81.5203 S/A RAND 23.0247

306.25 402.535 352.0344 308.3157 2.8197 0.5236 427.1919 45.6731 81.6536 23.0624

306.75 403.1922 352.6091 308.8191 2.8243 0.5336 427.8894 45.7481 81.7869 23.1

deficits and growing debts, AfDB declared even pointers to mild growth remain “insufficient to address the structural challenges of persistent current and fiscal deficits and debt vulnerability.” One way to accelerate growth in the medium to long term and overcome the structural challenges, the bank stated, is to shift imports to intermediate and capital goods and away from nondurable consumption goods. “For African countries, a 10 percentage point increase in the share of capital goods in total imports could, five years later, reduce the share of primary goods by 4 percentage points, amplifying the effectiveness of diversification rooted in transferring technology and accumulating capital.” The report also has it that vigorous public finance policy interventions are needed in tax mobilization, tax reform, and expenditure consolidation to ensure debt sustainability. It advised policymakers to adopt countercyclical policy measures to stabilize inflation and reduce growth volatility, stressing that “macroprudential policies should be used to reduce vulnerability to capital flow reversal and shift inflows toward more-productive sectors.”

In providing a wider economic window on the continent, AfDB stated that Africa’s GDP growth is projected to accelerate to 4.0 percent in 2019 and 4.1 percent in 2020, adding that general economic performance continues to improve, with gross domestic product reaching an estimated 3.5 percent in 2018, about the same as in 2017 and up from 2.1 percent in 2016. The growth rates, it warned, are not fast enough to address persistent fiscal and current account deficits and unsustainable debt. “Indeed, countries have to move to a higher growth path and increase the efficiency of growth in generating decent jobs. The 2019 Outlook shows that macroeconomic and employment outcomes are better when industry leads growth.” The bank proposed regional integration for the delivery of regional public goods to boost Africa’s economic prosperity. It report stated that five trade policy actions including elimination of bilateral tariffs, workable rules of origin, removal of all nontariff barriers, implementation of World Trade Oragnization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, and dismantling of all trade barriers could bring Africa’s total gains to 4.5 percent of its GDP, or $134 billion a year. The bank stated that today’s applied bilateral tariffs in Africa must be eliminated, while rules of origin must be kept simple, flexible, and transparent. Third is removing all nontariff barriers on goods and services trade on a most-favored-nation basis while reduction of Trade Facilitation Agreement implementation would reduce the time it takes to cross borders and the transaction costs tied to nontariff measures. Last in the trade strategies is negotiating with other developing countries to reduce by half their tariffs and nontariff barriers on a most-favorednation basis. The 2019 outlook also poked at the gains possible from regional public goods, such as synchronizing financial governance frameworks, pooling power, opening skies to competition, and opening borders to free movements of people, goods, and services. At the World Peace Summit of Global Leaders, Mr Adesina stated that AfDB is working with African governments to improve transparency, governance, accountability and project delivery across the continent, saying that corruption kills the future.

•Tourism

Energy

Cluster producers to flare down with N22 bn gas plant P20 e-Platform

New Board of EMTS Nigeria visit NCC P22

Travel

Uganda flaunts curvy, sexy women for tourism P26

Insurance

Expert charge insurance operators to shore up capital base P28 Equity & Capital Market

SEC shuts down Dantata firm in Kano P30

Money Market

AfDB predicts 2.3% growth for Nigeria

P31

Stock Market Highlights As At 31TH JANUARY, 2019

Summary

ASI DEALS VOLUME VALUE EQUITY CAP BOND CAP ETF CAP

30,745.05 2,909.00 183,670,788.00 N1,040,487,806.68 N11,464,982,486,336.51 N10,251,379,067,860.60 N6,076,047,617.11

5 Top Gainers

Symbols Last Close NB N74 STANBIC N45.3 REDSTAREX N5 CUSTODIAN N6.5 DANGFLOUR N5.8

5 Top Losers

S/N Coy (By Volume) FIDELITYBK 36,621,738 TRANSCORP 34,271,875 DIAMONDBNK 29,467,617 ZENITHBANK 10,910,309 UBA 6,968,705

Value(N) N82,399,774.44 N43,682,808.38 N68,068,495.13 N249,785,744.80 N50,069,203.80

FO TOTAL NASCON UACN CHAMPION

N29.5 N223.3 N17.9 N9.2 N1.8

Current Change %Change N77.9 3.9 5.27% N46 0.7 1.55% N5.5 0.5 10.00% N6.8 0.3 4.62% N6 0.2 3.45% N27 N220.9 N17.65 N9 N1.62

-2.5 -2.4 -0.25 -0.2 -0.18

-8.47% -1.07% -1.40% -2.17% -10.00%


18

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

BUSINESS

LCCI faults freezing of bank account of alleged tax defaulters

•As FIRS set to sell defaulters properties Stories by KAYODE OGUNWALE

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OUNCIL of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has faulted freezing of companies accounts and subsequent debiting of such accounts by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on account of tax defaults. The body in a Communique signed by the Director General of Chamber, Mr. Muda Yusuf made available to our correspondent revealed their displeasure, described the tax authority decision as business disruption. The Council said the move was premised on the powers conferred on the FIRS by section 31 of the FIRS Act which gives FIRS the powers to appoint collection agents for the recovery of tax payable by the taxpayer. The Council affirmed that LCCI is a strong proponent of regulatory compliance by private sector players, saying, it is important to underscore the fact that tax administration should be in consonance with the basic tenets of the rule of law and the fundamental principles of a good tax system. “Tax administration should be consistent with the principles of equity, fairness, legality, accountability and due process. Taxpayers should be given ample opportunity to defend their positions on tax matters before a lien is placed on their bank accounts. There are instances where company accounts were fro-

zen in error because there was no proper engagement, documentation or communication with the tax payers.” According to LCCI, the disruptions to businesses resulting from a sudden freezing of bank accounts for reasons of alleged default in tax payment has caused irreparable reputational damage to many businesses. In the light of the foregoing, LCCI urges the FIRS and the banks to exercise utmost restraint in the adoption of this tax revenue recovery strategy because of the grave implications for investors, financial inclusion and the economy as a whole. The damage to the economy may be much more than the contemplated revenue, it stated. “Revenue generation is not an end in itself, it is a means to an end. The ultimate objective is to ensure equity, improve welfare of citizens, create jobs and promote the advancement of the economy. The activities of agencies of government should be in tandem with the Ease of Doing Business Agenda of government and the promotion of the ideals of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP)”, the LCCI Council said. Meanwhile, all is set for FIRS to dispose properties of 52 companies over tax defaults valued at about N3.4 billion. Though, FIRS’ Legal Department was said to have already begun the process of selling these properties. It was learnt that apart from the

•left to right: Zonal Head Securities and Exchange Commission Kano Zonal Office, Mr. Danladi Mohammed, Managing Director, Dantata Success and Profitable Company, Kano, Alhaji Lawan Sani and DSP Mukthar Hussaini Aliyu of the SEC Police Unit during the Enforcement action on Dantata Success and Profitable Company, Kano.

52 companies, 10 other companies are still under investigation for tax evasion while enforcement action is expected to be carried out on another 10 companies in Lagos with a total tax value of N727.42 million. Based on an investigation conducted by the FIRS, some private organisations that own properties in Nigeria had not been paying any

Ecobank launches EcobankPay Zone at Alaba Int. Market

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HE Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan, has launched EcobankPay zone at Alaba International Market, Lagos, and expressed the bank’s commitment to continue innovating more payment and financial solutions to best serve traders across the country. According to Akinwuntan, the bank has designated Alaba market as an EcobankPay zone, meaning that patrons of the market, Ecobank and non-Ecobank account holders, have more easy, secure and convenient ways to pay when they visit the market. He added that EcobankPay’s unique offering is that anyone from any bank in Nigeria can pay with MasterPass, mVISA and mCASH with any phone by scanning QR code or using USSD. Traders, he said, can now enjoy more possibilities to grow their business as they can also sell to customers with EcobankPay in 32 countries in Africa. He added that “EcobankPay is free to set up as the shop owner only needs his/her QR code and phone for notifications to start receiving quick and easy payments. EcobankPay, a special merchant QR Code product of the Pan African Bank, enables customers make seamless payment for goods and services across the three major payment platforms without the use of plastic cards. The uniqueness of the digital product according to the bank is that it has MasterPass, MVisa and Mcash embedded in the merchant identity QR Code. If the person that wishes to buy goods is coming from a bank that has MVisa and wishes to pay, the same QR Code would accept MVisa payment and vice versa. That creates interoperability and convenience for the merchants. The QR Code is much cheaper than having a point of sale

(PoS). For the merchants the beauty of the EcobankPay is in the cost of setting up, as the shop owner simply prints the QR Code on a paper and can stick it anywhere and do not run any risks. It is convenient and the mobile app is ubiquitous, it allows you 24/7 access, it is affordable and for every Nigerian.

As a merchant on EcobankPay, you automatically have a QR Code that accepts all the three payment platforms – MasterPass, MVisa and Mcash. Shoppers who used the EcobankPay QR Code are right now treated to special discount transactions at selected shops in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Aba.

form of taxes. Following this discovery, the agency took a review of all properties that were under corporate ownership. By law, where a company has not filed or paid any taxes, the tax authority used an estimated assessment based on the company’s turnover. In order to ascertain the level of turnover, the FIRS wrote to commercial banks asking for details of the turnover of some of the affected companies. The first letter to commercial banks from the FIRS was written in May last year. The letter requested a list of companies, partnerships and enterprises with a banking turnover of N10 billion and above. The move was aimed at ascertaining those companies that are compliant with the tax laws and those

that are not compliant. The second letter was written to all commercial banks in October 2018, and the responses from the banks are currently being reviewed by the FIRS. Meanwhile, in order to ensure tax compliance becomes effective among Nigerian populace, the FIRS revealed its plans to collaborate with the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and other stakeholders. Tunde Fowler, FIRS Executive Chairman, said the Service is going after no fewer than 85,000 millionaires in 2019 over tax default. According to Fowler, FIRS had already realised the sum of N23 billion based on a closer look at the books of 45,000 tax debtors. He said each of the 45,000 tax debtors had over N100 million as turnover in their accounts.

Nigeria begins clampdown on vessels over non-compliance with cabotage regime

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FTER several warnings, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has commenced clampdown on vessels that do not comply with the provisions of the Cabotage Compliance Strategy introduced last year to ease the implementation of the Cabotage Act 2003 in Nigeria. The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has said the Agency will no longer encourage the application of any form of waivers under the Cabotage Act, particularly from the oil firms operations as such does not help the growth of the Nigerian maritime sector and economy at large. “Our laws forbid foreign vessels operating in our territorial waters save for compliance with the Cabotage Act. There shall be no sacred cow when we commence clampdown on erring vessels. We want to increase the number of Nigerians who participate in the marine aspect of your business and we are working closely with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to have a joint categorization of vessels operating under the Cabotage Act in order to ensure the full implementation of

the Act”, he said A detention order for a Motor Tanker, MT Navigator Capricorn, which is a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Carrier, has been approved for contravening sections of the Cabotage Act. The vessel was first boarded in October 2018 and all infractions of Cabotage non-compliance were noted and communicated accordingly to the charterer/Owners representatives with a 90 days grace period to comply. The 90 days expired on the 31st January 2019. It is noteworthy that Owners made undertaking to remedy the notable infractions when the vessel was issued a detention warning in October 2018. While NIMASA is currently engaging the owners and charterers of the vessel on the need to comply with the laws of the land, MT NAVIGATOR CAPRICORN has been moved to Lagos Anchorage to allow space for other LPG vessels to discharge at the NOJ Jetty. It is noteworthy that the NIMASA DG had led members of his team to meet with the Oil Producers Trade Sector (OPTS) in Lagos where he urged industry players to draw up a five-year strategic plan for the cessation of application for Cabotage

waiver and also pursue the utilization of Nigerian-owned vessels for marine contracts. You will also recall that in August 2018, NIMASA introduced a new Compliance Strategy for Cabotage Implementation in Nigeria to ensure full implementation of the Cabotage Act, 2003 to secure jobs for qualified Nigerians in the maritime sector. The Agency via a Marine Notice suspended considerations for applications of grant of waiver on manning for prescribed categories of officers in vessels engaged in Cabotage trade. The Agency no longer consider application for grant of waiver on manning requirements for vessels engaged in coastal trade

•Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku-Peterside

with regards to 2nd officer, 2ndengineer, 2nd mate down to able seamen, ratings and stewards. Special applications for Captains, Chief Engineers, Chief Officers, First Mate in the absence of qualified Nigerians are considered on merit, but on the condition that such organization make plan to train a Nigerian and put in place a transition plan to ensure that the Nigerian takes over the job within one year. A statement issued by Isichei Osamgbi, spokesperson of NIMASA explained that the whole essence of this was to ensure that Nigerians are not deprived of the jobs due them on showing requisite qualifications for the job.


19

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

BUSINESS

PEBEC organizes forum for stakeholders

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HE Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has informed the Nigerian business community in Lagos, that it has achieved 140 reforms in the business climate in the last three years. This was part of the presentation of activities of the committee at a Lagos Stakeholders forum, which brought together key players in the business ecosystem. Going by the fact that Lagos is Nigeria’s economic capital and major commercial hub, it was another crucial engagement for the PEBEC team in communicating developments around the federal government’s business reforms. The Minister for Industries, Trade and Investments Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah in his remarks commended the private sector, for its partnership and support in driving the “Ease of Doing Business” reforms. Dr. Enelamah also lauded Lagos State for playing a pivotal role as one of the champions of the business reforms at the sub-national level, with commitments to scaling up the transformation of business processes across board. He assured the business and investment community that the Federal Ministry of Industries, Trade and Investments remains committed to making business easier to do in the country. Also giving her remarks at the event the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industries, Trade and Investments Dr Jumoke Oduwole also commended the private sector for a rewarding partnership in driving reforms. She said Nigeria is aiming to be amonsts the top 100 nations on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking by 2020. Dr. Oduwole observed that the

forum provided an opportunity to interact and communicate progress of the reforms so far while receiving feedback from stakeholders. The PEBEC team of Ayokunnu Ojeniyi and Ifeoluwa Ogunbufunmi gave highlights of the key reforms since 2017,that will shape the Nigerian business environment. From the policy side they listed the three National Action Plans and the Executive Order 001 that contain far-reaching initiatives to be implemented by MDAs to improve transparency and efficiency in public service delivery. To enhance its communication between PEBEC, MDAs and the Public, a new Portal was launched with an App designed to improve official processing of business documents. In the area of legislations amendments to the Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990 have been made in collaboration with the National Assembly, and have been passed by both houses awaiting the accent of the President. PEBEC noted that it is the largest business reform bill in the country in over 28 years and speaks to various matters affecting businesses. Another important legislative reform PEBEC is working on is the “Omnibus Bill”. The Omnibus bill aims to achieve the following; institutionalize business climate reforms already achieved by PEBEC/ EBES Codify new rules and directives for agencies Amend provisions of the present legislative framework that have been identified as bottlenecks for the business climate reforms and Introduce new business-friendly provisions that would accentuate business climate reforms.

•L-R: President, The Chartered Institute of Bakers of Nigeria, Dr Uche Olowu, Managing Director, Africa Prudential Plc Mr Obong Idiong and Acting Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms Mary Uduk during the Presidential Quarterly Business Forum in Abuja yesterday.

Why Bunmi Lawson resigned from Fortis Microfinance Bank

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RS. Bunmi Lawson, former Managing Director of multiple award-winning, ACCION Microfinance Bank had just resigned her appointment based on principles after being drafted to run Fortis MFB in a temporary capacity by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for about a year. Her resignation was, however, abrupt and raised heckles in the local media as Fortis MFB was still in a bad financial state. Lawson’s resignation was related to her putting in place the required templates

FG allocates land for Afreximbank’s medical center of excellence

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HE Federal Government has allocated a 5.12-hectare piece of land in Abuja to the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) for the development of a centre of excellence for medical services to serve Nigeria and the West African subregion. The centre of excellence, the first by Afreximbank in Nigeria, will be completed 24 months after a groundbreaking exercise expected to take place in December. It is being developed by Afreximbank in collaboration with Kings College Hospital (KCH), United Kingdom, which is serving as the strategic partner. Afreximbank said that allocation of the land, which took place on 29 January, would allow for project development activities to proceed in order to ensure the timely delivery of the project. The centre will provide specialist healthcare to improve the quality of health care for Africans and will promote intra-African medical tourism. It will also create employment and facilitate the conservation of the foreign exchange that would otherwise be utilized to seek medical treatment outside Africa. It will offer a full spectrum of medical services, including di-

agnostics, clinical management, post care and onsite ambulatory services, in treating oncology (cancers), haematology (blood diseases, including blood cancers, and sickle cell anaemia) and cardiology diseases. It will also provide prompt, lifesaving detection and management of chronic diseases to over 50,000 Africans annually. The centre is expected to create about 500 direct jobs and to be the basis for the emergence of a comprehensive medical park with facilities to be managed by

KCH. Nigeria was selected in February 2017 to host the centre following a competitive bidding process. Afreximbank is supporting the development of world-class health facilities in Africa in the context of its mandate to promote the diversification of continent’s exports by meeting the growing health care needs with a view to enhancing service exports, promoting employment and conserving scarce foreign exchange.

for ensuring the turnaround of the bank and her difficulty in getting certain interests to carry through the required reforms and governance architecture needed to pull the bank from the brink of liquidation. In recent weeks Lawson has been called out on her alleged poor handling of the aborted Fortis MFB rescue mission, but critics seem to have had a weak grasp of the issues that badgered and still haunt the now defunct micro lender. Recall that Bunmi Lawson was a recently retired award winning Managing Director/CEO of ACCION Microfinance Bank Limited; that the CBN startled by the persistent governance problems of Nigeria’s second NSE-listed microfinance bank (the other is NPF MFB) drafted Lawson in to assume the position of Chief Executive Officer of Fortis in March 2018 to stop the financial bloodletting and eliminate the operating carnage that went on under the bank’s immediate past management. Lawson’s job was, as far she was concerned, simple enough (or so she thought). It included but was not limited to: Reviewing the banks operations and confirm current operating position,Stopping financial leakage and institute best global gov-

Airtel Africa looking for $1.25bn in 2019

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IRTEL Africa, a UK-based company, is on track for an initial public share offer (IPO) on an international stock exchange in 2019 expected to raise $1.25 billion. Last November 2018 the board announced it had appointed 8 global banks JP Morgan, Citigroup, BofA Merrill Lynch, Absa Group Limited, Barclays Bank Plc, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs International and Standard Bank Group for the IPO. It aims to value the African business at some $8 billion. The company has denied a report on Bloomberg that the IPO could be delayed from March

2019 for 6 months due to emerging markets turmoil. By that date parent Bharti Airtel had raised $1.25 billion in pre-IPO placements to 6 global investors, according to a regulatory filing on the Bombay Stock Exchange (reported in Economic Times of India). The IPO is also expected to raise some $1.25 billion. After the IPO Bharti Aritel will only hold some 65 percent, down from around 92 percent-93 percent at present. The pre-IPO investors include Warburg Pincus, Temasek, Singtel and Softbank Group International, according to the report. The money will be

used to cut back debt and free up cash to combat rival Reliance Jio Infocomm in India. Airtel Africa is the holding company for Bharti Airtel’s operations in 14 countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana. It is Africa’s second largest telco with over 94 million customers, and ranked in the top 2 carriers in most of the countries where it operates, offering 2G, 3G and 4G services, plus mobile commerce through Airtel Money. In December, the tax authority in Niger had ordered the closure of Airtel Niger which has 4.4m customers, over a tax dispute.

ernance practices, Building stakeholder confidence Putting in place professional operating structures consistent with sustainable microfinance lending And repositioning the bank for future growth. By August 2018 (five months after her appointment) Lawson threw in the towel; from her perspective it was pretty clear that without major capital injection, creditor forbearance, sweeping management overhaul and perhaps a total makeover of the corporate brand, riding this banking horse to an expected finish line was as reasonable as expecting to find a virgin in a child labour ward. Consistent with Lawson’s proven history of diligent adherence to best global governance practices, the erstwhile bank boss, decided to end her relationship with Fortis Bank by summarily tendering her letter of resignation at the beginning of Q3, 2018, after she had put in place a framework that would assist any new management fashion a sustainable turnaround model and strategy. The resignation took effect from Friday, August 3, 2018 and was acknowledged by the bank’s spokesperson, Mr. Victor Emerson.

French-owned Orange said it had also been threatened with closure in Niger over a tax demand, according to this report. Airtel also announced a new board from the parent company and the investors: Sunil Bharti Mittal, Raghunath Mandava, Akhil Gupta, Vishal Mahadevia, Alok Sama, Arthur Lang, Shravin Bharti Mittal and Richard Gubbins. In a press release it said the board: “brings extensive experience across industry verticals including telecom & ICT, financial markets as well as in technology, software development and consultancy”. African revenues rose nearly 13 percent for the quarter to September, and net income compared to a loss a year earlier.


20

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

ENERGY

Cluster producers to flare down with N22 bn gas plant By SOPURUCHI ONWUKA

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HE group of indigenous oil producers operating marginal and brownfield assets onshore western Niger Delta now have opportunity for gas commercialization following the commissioning of the Egbeoma Gas Plant by PNG Gas Limited. The $60 million (N22 billion) Egbeoma Gas Processing Plant located in Ebedei Community, Ukwuani Local Government of Delta State, is operated by PNG Gas Limited which would now access rich associated and non associated gas output from the production facilities for processing and commercialization. According to the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, the gas plant which harnesses wet gas from proximate production sites on commercial basis would be central to government’s gas monetization and flare reduction agenda. The plant which is the country’s first third party operated gas processing plant also lays model for similar commercial investments in the nation’s gas industry, opening the last loop in full upstream industry asset commercialization. With the rich feedgas sourced directly from the production facilities in the vicinity, the plant which is also the first onshore third-party gas extraction and fractionation plant of its kind in Nigeria produces Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), propane, lean gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs). The Oracle Today reports that whereas PNG Gas Limited currently takes feedgas from nearby flow station operated by Platform/ Newcross joint venture. Managing Director, Mr. Charles Osezua, an eminent industry engineer, said the plant represented the success story of Nigerian engineering. “Our dream is to help realize the Federal Government’s drive of building a gas hub in this area by processing 150mmscfd of gas which will not only generate pow-

er but also support the growth of the nation’s economy,” Osezua stated. He called on NNPC to galvanizing investments that would bring together the nation’s gas producers with a view to creating a gas hub in the country. Commenting on the operations of the facility, Mr. Osezua noted that the plant has sustained 97% optimization of installed capacity with no loss time to injury (LTI) of about 1.5million man hours of operation. According to Dr. Baru, government would encourage investments in facilities like the PNG’s gas plant to access and commercialize all existing flare gas in on-

shore Nigeria and further develop reserves at the operated assets by 1.0 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in the area. Dr. Baru urged operators whose assets are close to the plant and the OB3 pipeline to collaborate with PNG Gas Limited to supply gas and maximize the plant’s capacity. He said NNPC is committed to application of the nation’s vast gas resources for economic growth. “NNPC is committed to the Federal Government’s aspirations as expressed in the gas policy, environmental policy and domestic gas utilization policy,” Dr. Baru stated. Some of the targets under the various government policies, Dr.

Baru pointed out, include the effective monetization of the nation’s vast gas resources for sustainable economic growth and a complete end to gas flaring. He said the government was pursuing aggressive growth in domestic gas supply capacity from the current 1.7 billion standard cubic feet per day (Bscfd) to 5 Bscfd in the medium term. “This expansion includes the Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) gas pipeline which is less than 5km to Egbeoma Gas Plant and can serve as a major evacuation artery of the dry gas produced from the plant to the market,” he added. He said the plant fitted into the government’s gas aspiration of

using gas as an enabler for energy independence, industrial development, commerce and environmental and social sustainability. The GMD urged operators whose assets are close to the plant and the OB3 pipeline to seize the opportunity by collaborating with PNG Gas Limited to supply gas to maximize the plant’s capacity, access and commercialize all existing flares and further develop the significant gas reserves of 1Tcf of gas in the area. “I see this initiative as the beginning of an end to the last mile of gas flaring in Nigeria. This plant is a hallmark of Nigerian engineering prowess and local content capacity,” he added.

United States Congress is working to pass a bill that would allow the government to sue OPEC for inflating oil prices. The bill made legislative progress at the new session of Congress weekend. The House Judiciary Committee, we learnt, advanced the bill for “No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act” weekend. The “NOPEC” bill which is being primed for vote by the House would empower the Department of Justice to take possible antitrust action against the exporters club. A similar bill targeting OPEC was also introduced in the Senate on same day. Before voting in favor of the legislation, House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerrold Nadler, said OPEC members “deliberately collude to limit crude oil production as a means of fixing prices, unfairly driving up the price of crude oil.” Although past United States presidents had never hidden their

indignation at OPEC’s role in the global petroleum exchanges, the incumbent President Donald Trump is seeking to break the oil producers’ alignment which gathered greater strength with the participation of 10 other key producers led by Russia. Former general counsel of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, Seth Bloom, stated that the bill would sail through the Congress given that no party in the legislature has sympathy for OPEC. “I’m not going to predict it will get passed and enacted into law, but I think its prospects are pretty good,” he said, adding that, “OPEC doesn’t have too many friends right now and the legislation may likely have a friend in the White House given Trump has written favorably about it in the past.” “If OPEC members conducted the same manipulation in the United States that they practice in

Vienna, they could be prosecuted,” said Robbie Diamond, who heads Securing America’s Future Energy. “Their actions have a profound impact on U.S. consumers, businesses and our military, and our government can no longer allow that.” While the NOPEC bill is sharpened in the Congress, American oil industry, including regulatory agencies and lease administrators are earning record revenues from the high oil prices supported by OPEC’s supply restrictions. US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced Sunday that it generated over a billion dollars from land lease administrations at shale mining sites in 2018. Vice President of American Petroleum Institute (API) in charge of Upstream and Industry Operations, Erik Milito, stated: “Expanded access for oil and natural gas production through increased lease sales

brings tangible benefits – like newly paved roads, upgraded school buildings, and better funded land and water conservation projects – to communities across the nation.” “The shale revolution continues to support the shared goals of leading the world not just in energy production but also in driving economic growth, increasing U.S. energy security and helping to advance climate goals through responsible, innovative production and practices. “Additionally, the administration’s five-year program for offshore access will hopefully open up new areas in the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf Outer Continental Shelf that will bring similar benefits to coastal communities.” The United States Geological Services (USGS) stated last year that the Permian Basin, still holds largest continuous oil and gas assessments of technically recoverable resources ever released.

US prepares legal battle with OPEC despite leading exports Stories by SOPURUCHI ONWUKA

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ESPITE reaping huge export revenue from the high oil prices supported by coalition of world’s major oil dependent countries, the United States government is seeking the approval of the legislature to allow it sue the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for deliberately manipulating market dynamics. The Oracle Today reports that the United States is currently the world’s biggest oil producer, and a key factor in oil and gas supply to the international markets. Thus, the country which is battling OPEC’s influence with robust output from technology driven shale oil industry is a major beneficiary of the high crude oil prices it works to water down. According to reports from secondary sources, the two-chamber


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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

ENERGY

Green advocates, oil industry spar over Total’s S/Africa gas find Stories by SOPURUCHI ONWUKA

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HE discovery of huge gas offshore South Africa by French major, Total, is sparking a new kind of disputes in the industry where advocates of environmental protection and energy companies are locked in mortal battle over the best way to guarantee human wellbeing. Whereas Total and partners, South African authorities and oil industry players and analysts celebrate the exploration success which opens up a new petroleum play in the continent as new source of energy for social and economic development; Greenpeace Africa is distraught, condemning the exploration campaign as mindless and insensitive to global concerns over climate change. Total had last week announced successful deepwater exploration drilling that paid off with a billion barrels of condensate reserves on the Brulpadda prospects, located on Block 11B/12B in the Outeniqua Basin, 175 kilometres off the southern coast of South Africa. Total has a 45 percent working interest in Block 11b/12B, Qatar Petroleum holds 25 percent, CNR International 20 percent and Main Street, a South African consortium, 10 percent. According to the company, the Brulpadda well encountered 57 metres of net gas condensate pay in Lower Cretaceous reservoirs. Following the success of the main objective, the well was deepened to a final depth of 3,633 meters and has also been successful in the Brulpadda-deep prospect. The Brulpadda well was drilled in approximately 1,400 metres of water by the Odfjell Deepsea Stavanger semi-submersible rig. The two primary objectives were in a deep marine fan sandstone system within combined stratigraphic/ structural closure and were deepened after successfully testing those objectives. Core samples were taken in the upper reservoir, and a comprehensive logging and sampling program

was performed over both reservoirs. TOTAL’s Senior Vice President in charge of Exploration, Kevin McLachlan, said the French major had “opened a new world-class gas and oil play” with this well, “and is well positioned to test several follow-on prospects on the same block.” Total’s partner in the block, Africa Energy, also stated that the success at both the Brulpadda primary and secondary targets significantly derisks four other similar prospects already identified on the existing 2D seismic. The Block 11B/12B partners plan to acquire 3D seismic this year, followed by up to four exploration wells. The wild cat well discovery attracted global attention to a new petroleum play in Africa, and comments and projections from industry analysts and advisory groups poured in. Several statements from different consultancy groups that offer advisory services to the industry chorused the inevitable step up of exploration activities in the terrain by competitors. The analysts predict that the area, where Exxon Mobil and Eni also hold stakes, would see more exploration activity, especially since South African government plans a new legislation to provide greater incentives for exploration. Vice President in charge of Global Exploration at industry consultancy group, Wood Mackenzie, Andrew Latham, stated that the exploration success by Total would transform petroleum play in the region and spur a gas strategy by South African government. Africa Energy Chamber (AEC) which provides investment guide in the industry stated in a release that the discovery could open billions of barrels of oil equivalent in a new hydrocarbons province in South Africa waters. The group stated that the gas discovery also gives an opportunity for a meaningful dialogue on attractive legislation and local content development. It said the discovery would certain-

•From L-R: Dr. Michael Mugerwa (General Manager, Uganda refinery Holding Company Limited); Mr. Muhammad Abali (MD, WRPC NNPC); Mr. Victor Okoronkwo (Senior Vice President, Aiteo Group); Mr. Deji West (CFO, Niger Delta Exploration & Production Plc); Mr. Tony Ogbuigwe (Gas and Energy Resources Consulting Ltd); Mr. Rabiu Suleiman (Senior Technical Adviser to HMSPR on Refineries & Downstream Infrastructure).

ly change the course of the country’s economy and help reduce dependency on imports for the country which still relies on imports of oil and gas despite the great reserves believed to be in its soil and waters. Executive Chairman of AEC, Mr. NJ Ayuk, said the discovery would be a catalyst and encouragement for all policy makers to work on an enabling business environment for exploration and drilling activities in South Africa. “We believe South Africa holds the potential for many more such discoveries, and the time has come to have a meaningful conversation on local content development so the development of the industry benefits all South African workers and contractors across the value-chain and creates jobs for the communities.” Total’s CEO, Patrick Pouyanne, said the discovery guarantees 1 billion barrels of recoverable condensate that would help South Africa cut its oil import bills, fire electricity gen-

Local Content leads focus in South Africa’s new petroleum province

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HE huge deepwater gas condensate discovery offshore South Africa must serve as enhanced opportunity for the country to align with the local content revolution which has gathered momentum in Nigeria and other African countries, the African Energy Chamber has charged. The group which offers investment guide and policy advocacy to the petroleum industry in the continent stated in presentation mailed to The Oracle Today the billion barrel condensate discovery has opened way for exploration activities that could open a new hydrocarbon province with billions of barrels of oil equivalent. French major, TOTAL, had declared a significant gas condensate discovery on the Brulpadda prospects, located on Block 11B/12B in the Outeniqua Basin, 175 kilometres off the southern coast of South Africa. “Gas discovery in the offshore Outeniqua Basin speaks to South Africa’s hidden oil & gas potential; gives an opportunity for a meaningful dialogue on attractive legislation and local content development,” Africa Energy Chamber responded.

It said the emerging deepwater petroleum province in South Africa could be a great first step to energy sufficiency for the country which it said still relies on imports of oil and gas despite the great reserves believed to be in its soil and waters. According to the presentation, the discovery will help open a new hydrocarbons province in South Africa, and undoubtedly change the course of the country’s economy and help reduce dependency on imports. Executive Chairman of African Energy Chambetr, NJ Ayuk, said the new oil play would be a catalyst and encouragement for all policy makers to work on an enabling business environment for exploration and drilling activities in South Africa.” “We believe South Africa holds the potential for many more such discoveries, and the time has come to have a meaningful conversation on local content development so the development of the industry benefits all South African workers and contractors across the valuechain and creates jobs for the communities.” The gas discovery is a timely one as the South African government is currently working on a new legisla-

tion separating oil and gas from traditional minerals, and has released last year a new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2018) which ambitions to install an additional 8,100MW of gasto-power capacity in South Africa by 2030. It further echoes increased engagement of the South African government with the African and global oil industry. Since being appointed Energy Minister in 2018, Jeff Radebe has been leading a strong South African outreach to oil markets in Africa like Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, South Sudan, many middle eastern producers and attending meetings of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna and seeking deals for state-owned South African companies such as the Central Energy Fund and PetroSA. “Oil companies want to see leadership and sound governance wherever they invest,” stated NJ Ayuk who added that “With South Africa demonstrating a commitment to reforms and the creation of an enabling environment for business, the oil industry is confident that the country can attract the investment needed.”

eration plants, cuts use of coal for industrial fuel and optimize domestic refining capacity. South African Minister for Minerals, Gwede Mantashe, said the find is a major boost for the economy, saying the country continues to seek more investments in exploration drilling. According to secondary reports, President Cyril Ramaphosa is seeking to lure $100 billion of investments by 2023 to revive a struggling economy. The country’s energy supply is largely based on coal, while state power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. also runs turbines on costly diesel fuel. A failed exploration campaign in shallow waters has meant a gas-to-liquids refinery at Mossel Bay runs well below capacity. CEO of industry lobby group, South African Oil & Gas Alliance, Niall Kramer, said the Total’s discovery is a “catalytic find” for the country, pointing at its large scale reserves. However, while the industry investors, operators and service providers celebrate opening of new petroleum play in South Africa, Greenpeace Africa laments that the globally acclaimed exploration feat is an outcome of irresponsible venture. The group contends that South Africa is blessed with some of the best renewable energy resources in the world, adding that it was time for the government to back renewable energy. Greenpeace Africa’s Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager, Melita Steele, said: “Greenpeace Africa strongly condemns Total’s reckless oil exploration off the coast of South Africa. Discovering yet more oil and gas is not something to celebrate when burning fossil fuels is driving potentially catastrophic climate change. This is essentially oil that we cannot afford to burn in the face of extreme weather conditions and recurrent droughts. “Deep sea drilling is far too risky. The possibility for an oil spill always exists, and the environmental impacts of deep sea drilling for oil and gas are too significant to be ignored, with very little benefit or job creation for South Africans. It is reckless of the South African government to allow oil and gas exploration to go ahead, and unfortunate that this was lauded as a victory at the State of the Nation Address last night.

“According to NASA, 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record, and it is clear that if we are serious about stopping the worst impacts of climate change, then some fossil fuels must remain in the ground. This country is blessed with some of the best renewable energy resources in the world; it’s time to back renewable energy, and stop the reckless and dangerous dash for fossil fuels.” The Oracle Today reports that global concerns for the environment is driving energy companies into conflict with advocacy groups and governments over the pace of global de-carbonization of the environment. And some energy companies are yielding to regulatory pressure to commit to carbon imprint reduction. Chevron Corporation vowed to cut greenhouse gas emissions in alignment with the Paris Accord on climate change, after it joined the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative and pledged to contribute some $100 million to the group’s investments in greenhouse-gas reduction technologies within the industry. The U.S. oil major pledged to reduce air pollution intensity by 25% to 30% by 2023, across the company’s global portfolio, including assets in which it owns stakes but is not lead operator as recommended in the Paris agreement that took effect in 2016. However, Chevron declines to commit to reduction targets on emissions created by consumers using its products. BP Plc earlier in the month took similar measures. Chevron had in September announced it was joining the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, with ExxonMobil Corporation and Occidental Petroleum Corporation. It will also contribute $100 million to the OGCI’s billion-dollar fund that invests in greenhouse-gas reduction technologies within the industry. The company vowed general support for using climate-related metrics and market-based policies to reduce carbon emissions as long as policies don’t punish specific companies. Even under the most aggressive climate scenarios, oil and natural gas will still underpin almost half of the world’s energy needs through 2040 and will require substantial new investment, Chevron said.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

e-Platform

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HE New Board and Management of Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Nigeria Ltd (EMTS), that’s 9Mobile paid a courtesy visit to the Nigerian Communications Commission. The visit was led by Prince Nasir Bayero, Chairman EMTS last week, at the Commissions Head Office, Abuja. The visit, the first of its kind was to introduce the new Board and Management of 9Mobile to the Commission about the progress they have made since the takeover of 9mobile in November 2018, following the joint intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Communications Commission. The Chairman of 9Mobile informed the Commission, that the new Board and Management of 9mobile are designing new strategies and ways to ensure that 9Mobile continues to provide excellent quality services while complying to the key performance indicators which the Telco has never failed to meet.

New Board of EMTS Nigeria visit NCC The Executive Vice Chairman NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta who welcomed the delegation commended them that despite the challenges they were able to increase their Subscribers Database as well as maintain High Quality of Service KPI delivery on their network. The NCC boss also advised the New management to redesign the structure of the Company for greater productivity and better services to the Nigerian citizens who have chosen to stay on their network all this long. Director Consumer Affairs Bureau Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, who gave the vote of thanks, assured the delegation that NCC will continue to support them and that they should continue to maintain the growth as well as Quality of Service on their network for the benefit of all Nigerians.

ATCON Hosts Post-Nigeria National Broadband Plan 2013 – 2018 Forum

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HE Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) hosts a POST-NIGERIA NATIONAL BROADBAND PLAN 2013-2018 on 7th February, 2019 The Executive Vice Chairman NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who delivered a keynote address said it is a great honour to deliver a keynote address at the special event with the theme: “The Nigeria National Broadband Plan 2013-2018: Success, Prospects and Challenges”. Prof. Umar Danbatta stated that Broadband is completely transforming the way essential services are delivered from e-health to e-education to e-commerce and to e-government etc. Broadband Networks deliver benefits across the whole of society in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in every sector. These Networks are incredibly cost-effective, especially looking at the savings across multiple sectors. Therefore, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) first step was to establish very clear strategies and milestones for its journey towards national availability of affordable, accessible and available broadband infrastructure and services – The Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NBP). The EVC said that the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NBP) is designed to be implemented over a span of five (5) years (2013 – 2018), targeting a five-fold increase of broadband penetration that is 6 % at 2013 to 30 % at 2018. The target areas of the The Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NBP) document are Policy and Regulation, Enabling Infrastructure, Costing and Pricing, Funding and Investment, Driving Demand, Building Fibre Infrastructure, Wireless Broadband Infrastructure, and Upgrade. Danbatta spoke about the major challenges of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) amongst others are: 1. Inadequate metro fibre infrastructure in several towns and cities that will effectively distribute the adequate bandwidth from international submarine cables at the landing points in Lagos of more than 9 terabits, 2. High Right of Way (RoW) charges, 3. Multiple Regulation & Taxation, and 4. Delays in obtaining site acquisition permits.

He added that by addressing the NBP challenges, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) deliberately developed a Strategic Vision Plan (SVP), which is in sync with the Commission’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP). Further to this, the SVP is centered on eight (8) pillars, so as to attain the broadband penetration target of 30% by 2018. The 8 pillars are: 1. Facilitate Broadband Penetration 2. Improve Quality of Service 3. Optimize Usage and Benefits of Spectrum 4. Promote ICT Innovation and Investment Opportunities 5. Facilitate Strategic Collaboration and Partnership 6. Protect and Empower Consumers 7. Promote Fair Competition and Inclusive Growth 8. Ensure Regulatory Excellence and Operational Efficiency The implementation of the Commission’s SVP roadmap has so far resulted in the attainment of 30.9% broadband penetration as at November 2018. What this connotes is that, a total of 58,965,478 were connected to the Broadband Networks out of 108,457,051 internet subscribers in the nation’s telecom networks. The figures rose in December to 60, 087,199 taking the penetration depth to 31.48%. Broadband successes includes auction of six slots of 2x5MHz in the 2.6 GHz Band, re-planning of the 800 MHz band for LTE, licensing of two slots of 10 MHz each in the 700 MHz band, opening up of the E-band spectrum 70/80 GHz band for both last mile and backhaul services, with other spectrum regulatory instruments such as spectrum trading introduced in the industry, and National Roaming and Active Infrastructure Sharing framework also at its final stage of conclusion. Danbatta further stated that the Commission is also recently, working with the NBC as mandated by the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC) to develop guidelines for the introduction of TV White Space (TVWS) deployment in the country. This will further deepen Broadband penetration. To add to the Broadband penetration, 6 infrastructure companies (InfraCos) have been licensed to drive the deployment of infrastructure across the nation’s geographical zones and Lagos.

•Chairman EMTS, Prince Nasir Bayero and Executive Vice Chairman NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta.

Making your family happy this valentine with LG Electronics

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ALENTINE’S Day in Nigeria is all about spending quality time with family, friends, and relatives. Many participate in different kinds of activities related to Valentine’s Day, such as cooking of special meals, viewing of a new blockbuster movie, sharing of gifts and other kinds of decorative items. Young and old come together to rejoice the magic of love. There is no gainsaying Nigerians are fun-loving people and every 14th of February (Valentine’s Day) presents them with another moment of excitement. With non-stop foot-tapping music and mouth-watering food, the night of the day is simply great. According to a study undertaken by Picodi, 83 percent of Nigerians tend to celebrate the day. The research also disclosed that women preferred more romantic approach while one third of Nigerian males offer their soul mates a romantic date in the restaurant. For LG Electronics, this year’s celebration will be better spent with family and friends with unique products that will make home dining and family bonding experience seamless; cleaning stress-free and screen time surreal. LG intends to bring family and friends together this Valentine’s by making indoor time more quality time. For those who spend most of their time inside, LG’s innovative technologies will help them reduce the need to concentrate on household chores and enjoy every moment on the screen which they can’t catch up with friends or loved ones outside-cinemas, LG is freeing consumers to use their precious time for what’s really important: strengthening bonds with loved ones. According to Mr. Hari Elluru, Head of Corporate Marketing, LG Electronics, West Africa Operations “LG delivers an all-in-one solution to make loved ones feel special, no matter what the occasion. For those who want to put in a little extra effort for Valentine, LG’s ergonomic designs and innovative technology will help our consumers enjoy their

Valentine’s Day at the fullest in their comfort zones” With more people enjoying being indoors, watching TV is one of the favourite pass time of couples who prefer quality time at home. LG‘s advancement in TV technology has made TV viewing a more memorable experience so you can buy LG TV for your home offer your loved ones LG Smart or OLED TV as a great Valentine gift which will not only improve the quality of “together time” with loved ones but also allow them enjoy of great features such as browsing, gaming amidst other things. House cleaning has always been a time-consuming and tedious task and that is why most people prefer to engage the services of someone else to carry out or complete the task. Luckily, LG has an innovative product that can perfectly take care of the house cleaning without stressing yourself out so if you are looking for a perfect Valentine gift for yourself as a home maker or for your spouse-wife or loved ones, LG CordZero Cordless Hand Stick Vacuum Cleaner will be the right option for you. LG vacuum cleaners make cleaning easier and save time, so you can spend more of it with your family, friends and loved ones. LG CordZero Cordless Hand Stick Vacuum Cleaner delivers impressive suction power, long- lasting

battery life and cordless portability for the quickest and most convenient cleaning experience. Its direct drive motor lift dust and dirt from the carpet with ease, thanks to the power deriving from durable Smart Inverter Motor. As house cleaning is one of stressful home task so also is taking care of our clothes (especially those received as gifts). Clothes gifting has become one of the top five gift categories and it is important to cherish and take good care of such gift as though it was purchased with our hard-earned money. With LG’s wide range of premium washing machines, your clothes are well taken care of without losing their vibrant colours. LG’s washing machines are so efficient that they free up time to spend with others especially during this Valentine so LG TWINWash is a good gift for Valentine’s Day. LG TWINWash saves even more time by handling two loads at once so there’s no need to delay a date or family outing- meaning you can’t get stuck in the house. The South Korean company is committed to delivering products that suit every season of customer lifestyle and will be unleashing more innovative product this year after a successful outing at the recently held at the annual trade show, Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 in Las Vegas.

africa_CordZero Handstick_2016_Feature_01_Freedom to Clean Anywhere_D


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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

e-Platform

DAT launches smart card, ticketing system for SOTRA’s 700 buses By SOPURUCHI ONWUKA

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IGITAL Afrique Telecom (DAT) announced the successful launch of a Smart Card and Ticketing system to enable Ivorian public transport users to board over 700 buses everyday through contactless cards. This smart ticketing service allows each passenger of SOTRA, the Abidjan local bus company, to buy and top up a smart card online using the platform powered by DAT. DAT makes the life of both bus company and users simple through a seamless and cashless system that speed up boarding and cash management. CEO of DAT, Simplice Anoh, stated, “The smart ticketing system is the living example of the digital revolution we are set to trigger at Digital Afrique Telecom. Ivorians and Africans deserve to benefit from the power of technology through innovative solutions that can improve their daily lives and the transport industry is now part of it” Smart cards can be top up using any mobile money services as well as bank e-wallets available in Côte d’Ivoire via a user friendly interface. The system is interoperable and offers USSD, App and Web access, with OTC options at SOTRA point of sales. DAT has also

installed NFC enabled validators for contactless purposes. The solution developed by DAT allows SOTRA to control the revenue generated by each of the 700 buses currently using the system. SOTRA plans to reach 1,000 buses using the solution by the end of 2019. DAT ticketing platform also includes an event feature to manage tickets for football games or concerts. Organisers now have a powerful tool to control their revenues and guarantee ROI. Simplice Anoh added “By going digital with electronic ticketing systems, transport companies and event organisers will boost their operating margins while keeping their customers happy. This is a great step towards the overall efforts to bring in the digital transformation to life in Africa”. Operating in over 20 countries in Africa, Digital Afrique Telecom is an industry leader specialising in the development, aggregation, hosting and sales of mobile solutions. Taking the lead in delivering change acceleration, Digital Afrique Telecom has 110 million mobile subscribers. In cooperation with major industry stakeholders, such as Airtel, MTN, Etisalat and Orange, DAT provides reliable and tailor-made technology solutions to various sectors such as health, education and financial services.

•A section of Youth participating at the Safer Internet Week in Makurdi.

Censors Board warns against hate on social media

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R Adedayo Thomas, the Executive Director of National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), on Monday, advised youths against sharing hate speeches, photos and inciting videos on social media platforms.

Coven Works partners Amazon to train 400 W/Africans

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N Information Communication Technology (ICT) company, Coven Works, says it is collaborating with Amazon to equip 400 youths in West Africa with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science skills for better jobs. The Programme Director of the company, Mr Dunsin Fatuase, is quoted in NAN report that Coven Works educates millennials living in marginalised communities with in-demand skills and connects them with high paying jobs. He said that the training, which would begin on Thursday, Feb. 14, would be through Amazon’s Web Service (AWS) Educate, a global initiative of the company to provide students and educators the resources needed to accelerate cloud-related learning. Fatuase explained that cloud computing, the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on internet to manage and process data and AI, were recently the most sort-for skills on Linkedln. He further said that Gartner, a world leading research and advisory company, had predicted that over 70 per cent of organisations globally would require AI to assist

employees’ productivity by 2021. He added that AI is the ability of a computer programme or a machine to think and learn and also a field of study which tries to make computers “smart”. The programme director said that the company had trained 700 junior data scientists and AI engineers in the previous year and was consolidating on that, hence the training of the 400 youths this year. He noted that “Coven Works is collaborating with the AWS Educate programme from Amazon Web Services Inc. to launch an AI and data science boot-camp for 400 West African students based in Nigeria and beyond. “This will enable us to bring the most in-demand skill sets to the next generation of African builders and developers. “We are building tomorrow’s workforce by empowering young people from developing countries with in-demand software engineering skills and matching them with high paying jobs.” According to Fatuase, the World Economic Forum (WEF) report on “Future of Work” ranks AI and data science high among skills needed

Google stops accepting 32-bit only apps

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OOGLE is cleaning house – starting on August 1 2019 it will no longer accept new apps or app updates that do not support 64-bit processors. You will still be able to download the old versions of those apps, however. Note that games built with Unity 5.6 or older will be exempt from this and can still be updated. There’s a way around this - 32bit only apps can be updated, but they won’t run phones with Pie (of

which there will be plenty after the MWC). This makes it less likely that developers will be willing to put in the work. Also, from August 1 2021 Google Play will stop serving apps without 64-bit support. That’s for new phones, old 32-bit only phones will still be able to download the apps, though we have to imagine they will be terribly obsolete by then (the 64-bit switch-over happened in 2015).

for tomorrow’s jobs. Fatuase said “these youths are from conflict regions in developing countries and are largely marginalised. “Working with the AWS Educate programme is a strategic move to improve the capacity of our AI engineers and add them to a global workforce”. He added that Coven Works students would branch out to learn more on AWS Educate after completing the six weeks pre-requisite in-class boot-camp. After the pre-requisite classes, Fatuase said, the trainees would select from 11 cloud career pathways, complete the AWS Educate curriculum, while Coven Works would work with them to set up job interviews. He stressed that the company would ensure continued focus in upskilling youths in disadvantaged regions, provide cutting edge learning in data science and AI for Africa’s working professionals, as well as build tomorrow’s workforce. According to him, the programme teaches resilience and global citizenship. Fatuase also quoted Mr Ken Eisner, the Senior Manager, AWS Educate, Amazon Web Services Inc., as saying “there is high demand to build skills around AI. “As we travel around the world, ministers of education and workforce development keep pointing to the growing demand for cloud skills and the grand opportunity that we face. “Through this collaboration with Coven Works, we are excited to provide the next generation of African builders and developers with the skills, hands-on learning, and pathways into the cloud and AI community.”

According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Mr Thomas gave the advice while delivering a speech at the “Safer Internet Month” workshop organised by the board for youths inBenue from Feb. 11 to Feb. 12 at the Benue State University, Makurdi. February is marked globally as Safer Internet Month with different nations and institutions organising campaigns during the month to sensitise citizens on safer use of the internet. The two-day event, with the theme “Together for a Better Internet for Peace and Economic Development” had in attendance students,youths, civil society groups and members of the academia. According to Thomas, there is urgent need to caution young Nigerians against the dangers of generating and sharing fake news and provocative motion pictures for the interest of national peace and unity. He noted that many crisis in some parts of the country were escalated as a result of fake news, hate speeches and videos spread on social media. He added that “it is no longer news that digital technology has taken over the world, therefore, we must urge our young people to shun materials that can threaten national peace and coexistence. “The conference is borne out of the need for NFVCB, both as an industry and a decision maker to build the capacity of youths who are mostly the users of the internet. “We want them to promote positive contents and avoid sharing hate speeches on whatsApp, Fabook, twitter and other social media platforms, especially during and after the 2019 general elections. “We all have a responsibility to ensure that the internet is not used to promote what divide us, because our nation cannot develop in the absence of tolerance

and unity.” The executive director noted that the trend of people receiving and forwarding hate speeches and harmful contents without verifying the authenticity was on the increase. He added that since the spread of news on social media could not be restricted, there was need for people to be educated on the implication of such news on society before spreading them. “It is said that the internet may forgive, but it does not forget, and that is why people should be careful about the messages, photos and videos they share. “Remember that you cannot control where these images may reach, and what you send to your friends may end up spreading all over the places.” Key industry players, as well as university lecturers were among the resource persons at the event, with a panel discussion on the topic: “Social Harm Caused by Film Content and Solution.” Prof. Saint Gbilekaa, a don in the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Abuja and resource person at the event, called for the promotion of good values on the internet. Gbilekaa, who spoke on “Film and Internet Usage: The Need for Conflict Resolution and Economic Development”, urged Nigerian filmmakers to produce films that address societal ills and shape positive ideas. Prof. John Illah of the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Jos, warned against spreading fake news and photo-shopped images. Illah, in his presentation “Role of Film and Conflict Resolution and Anger Management”, noted that fake news and images were politically motivated to smear “political opponents, especially as the general elections approaches. “Our youths should beware of spreading images and news they found on the internet, because many of them are political propaganda.”


The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

ISSN: 2545-5869

The

EDITORIAL

racle www.oraclenews.ng

Today

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VOX POPULI SACRUM

Election 2019: Getting it right (II)

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ost candidates for Saturday’s streets on election days. In more civilized their wishes not succeed. elections must have known, by This first set of elections – the presidential countries, they play little role. In Nigeria, now, whether they will win or however, they are needed to keep trouand federal legislative polls – will set the lose. Even those who will face blemakers at bay. They must restrict their tone for the second set. We must make the ballot on March 2 already know the activities to such role on Saturday. Noit as smooth as possible. No rigging. No likely outcomes at the end of the day. body should fire a shot except one directviolence. There must be no tales of balAll through the campaign period, each ed at a confirmed criminal. No security lot box snatching, underage voting, late candidate has gauged their popularity operative should allow himself to be used arrival of election materials or use of among actual voters. to perpetrate any criminal activity. firearms by those not authorized to do We recognize, however, that the averso. Above all, offenders must be arrested For their part, voters must not be scared age politician hardly faces reality. Up away by sights of AK 47-wielding soland punished this time round. until voting day, they keep hoping they Already, red flags have been raised ahead diers and police. But they must conduct would carry the day. In Nigeria’s case, themselves peaceably. We agree with of the polls. Last Saturday, it was reportwe all know that the most popular canProfessor Bolaji Akinyemi who has asked ed that fire from an unknown source didate does not always win, thanks to political leaders to “call on their supporthad razed the INEC office in Qua’an Pan electoral fraud in high and low places. ers to eschew violence and any undemolocal government area of Plateau State. Some resort to violence, if only to capcratic behaviour during these elections. INEC spokesman Osaretin Imahiyereobo ture power by force. We should avoid hate speech not just admitted that the incident was a setback We have no best wishes or good luck for now but in our political system.” Besides, for the commission: “The office is comany politician who intends to violate we urge the politicians to believe in the pletely burnt with all its contents: ballot the will of the electorate. For them and philosophy of former President Goodluck boxes, generator sets that have been their wicked collaborators in INEC and Jonathan who said, “My ambition is not serviced and filled with fuel, cubicles, the security agencies, we prescribe worth the blood of any Nigerian.” newly printed electronic and manual frustration or worse. May they fail to voter register, uncollected PVCs, materi- We Nigerians should remember that the actualize their evil machinations! May entire world is already here. Let us treat als for the preparations of RAC and other the people express their wishes in their election observers and monitors with rematerials yet to be identified.” Who did votes between this Saturday and March spect and prove those who think we are it? “A drunken security man was said to 2, and may those bent on reversing incapable of conducting elections wrong. have caused the fire outbreak,” said ImaEven where the polls are not transparhiyereobo, but he added that ent, those provoked should simply have it was too early to suspect any witnesses, document their evidence and sabotage. later seek redress in the tribunals and A week earlier, aggrieved peocourts. Violence is never an answer beple reportedly set ablaze the cause two wrongs don’t make a right. INEC office in Isiala Ngwa South LGA of Abia State. INEC said Vision 2979 PVCs were burnt in Abia. In Our TO BE among the top five newspapers in NigePlateau, 5987 were burnt. ria and, in due course, the Numero Uno; to be a It is reasonable to suspect such newspaper of records that effectively caters to incidents as acts of sabotage. the information needs of all segments and secAlthough INEC has promised to tions of the Nigerian society as well as all social replace the burnt PVCs before classes and cultures. Essentially, we want to be a election day, one should skeptiresponsible corporate citizen, a commercially viable, properly organised media business, which cal. Many have been unable to collect their PVCs even in places meets its obligations to society, government and the workforce. INEC offices have not been harmed. Mission Political parties that have been WE INTEND to contribute to the development threatening to throw fire and of an inclusive Nigerian society, with a view to brimstone on election saboteurs getting rid of the dark sides of our national life are right to frown on acts ca(slothfulness, greed, corruption, nepotism, totalpable of impeding free and fair itarianism, etc); to continually engender and suspolls on Saturday. Upon INEC’s tain national debates that would ultimately lead shoulders lie the burdens of to the enthronement of healthy national values200 million Nigerians. Chairman -hard-work, justice, equity and fairplay, transparency, good governance, resulting, in themselves, Yakubu Mahmood, resident electoral commissioners, and all the egalitarian Nigerian society of our dream. We will give voice to the voiceless and at all times, other staff, regular and ad-hoc, strive to be balanced, objective, honest, truthful of the electoral body must not and fair to all sides; so that through The Oracle only keep their hands clean but Today, our people, the Nigerian people can see must also be seen as clean. a bright light at the end of what has been a very Armed security agents are not dark tunnel. And we shall do all this in absolute supposed to be seen in the trust in God who blesses good intentions.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

OPINION By OLIVER UDEOGU

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ust as it is said that all fingers are not equal, so also are all men not born equal. This adage aptly describes the man Prince Odinaka Igwe, an astute businessman, consummate and metropolitan politician, and philanthropist of the highest degree. Popularly known as Chrisnak, Odinaka Igwe was born on February 16 1970 to the modest family of Elder and Mrs. Joseph Igwe of Umuahamanya Umuogele Amuda Isuochi in Umunnechi Local Government Area Abia State, Nigeria. He was born the fourth child of a family of five boys and two girls. His early education began at Isuochi Primary and Secondary Schools, after which he became attached as an apprentice trader to his uncle who was resident in Owerri, the Imo State capital. The young Odinaka became his own master after he was settled by his uncle and, being an individual that was determined to succeed in life, took the business world in an aggressive manner. Knowing that the money he was settled with was not enough for him to rent a shop, the young Odinaka opted for street hawking, using a bicycle and wheelbarrow at different times to drive the business. A man blessed with the MIDAS touch, he did well enough and soon enough saved enough money to move himself to the next level. With the money he had saved, he moved to Onitsha and rented a shop. From Onitsha, Odinaka migrated to

To Chrisnak @ 49: Cheers! Lagos and sooner than later, he founded the Chrisnak Ventures Limited (CVL), a freight conglomerate that ships goods from China to Nigeria and to other West African countries as well. Today, Chrisnak Ventures has grown really big with many offices across the country. Mainland Oil and Gas limited and the Agro Cashew Plantation in his hometown Isuochi, and many other businesses were all offshoots of the CVL, to say the least. In his quest for more formal education, Prince Igwe enrolled at the Federal Polytechnic Oko from where he graduated with a diploma certificate in Business Administration. He later capped it up with a certificate in Business and Entrepreneurship from the Lagos business School. On a particular occasion in Owerri, the amiable and large-hearted Prince Igwe met a group of hawkers on the streets and felt for them, knowing that that was how he started. Immediately, he asked his driver to stop and he then came down from his vehicle and gave about 20 of them huge sums of money that changed their lives, even as he encouraged them work harder still. He told the young people on that occasion that there should be dignity in labour, for any man or woman that wants to succeed in life. This has been his guiding philosophy

over the years. Prince Odinaka Igwe’s venture into politics was one welcomed by his people, who had been in desperate need for a kind-hearted fellow that would lead them to the Promised Land. It is on record that Odinaka Igwe’s philanthropy is one yet to be equalled by anyone, both living and dead in his native Isuochi town and Umunneochi Local Government Area as a whole. Till date, he is seen by his people as their political liberator in whom they are well pleased. The Igwe dynasty is, indeed, helping the teeming youths of Isuochi and Umunneochi and the elderly to make meanings out of their lives. Their philanthropy extends to both the haves and the have-not in an intense manner, such that people are beginning to see an emerging Ibru dynasty in the South East. Igwe’s personality is such that he has very few enemies, if at all there are, being the type people are quick to like when they come across him, owing to his humility. Even in the political arena, his political opponents are full of admiration for his style of politics without bitterness, even when he is offended. Igwe is married to his beautiful wife Peace, a woman of honour and dignity and pillar of her husband. The marriage is blessed with four children. Prince Igwe no doubt remains an enig-

•Odinaka Igwe

ma, being among the big masquerades of his generation. Happy birthday to an illustrious son of Igboland! •UDEOGU is on the staff of The Oracle Today

February 16 forecasts by ‘prophets’ and pollsters

By EHICHIOYA EZOMON

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t’s five days to the crucial presidential election, the first of a two-part balloting that begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday, February 16; and Nigerians are about to test the veracity of the “predictions” of “prophets” of God, and pollsters for the poll. The prognosticators have given their verdict: “The poll would go to President Muhammadu Buhari,” some said. “No, it would favour Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, others countered. Which camp would be vindicated, as the predictions look like the normal debate of “for” and “against” a topic at issue? Why should there be conflict or contradiction in a message God “directed” these prophets to deliver to Nigerians regarding the outcome of the contest by 73 presidential candidates? Similarly, how did the ordinary predictors arrive at their varying conclusions on who would win the contest? Did they work with empirical evidence or weighted partisan or other interests? As regards the prophets’ prophecies, we know that “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33); and His “Word is very explicit” (Exodus 20:13). As such, how could God give differing messages, on the same subject, to these prophets “chosen by God to say the things that God wants to tell people” concerning the election? Anyway, let’s take snippets of some of the decipherable prophecies, and see which side they swing between Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Primate Elijah Ayodele: Head of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Oke-Afa, Isolo, Lagos, predicted victory for Buhari because the PDP “refused to do the right thing from the beginning,” which’s to give the ticket to Senate President Bukola Saraki instead of Atiku. Prophet Ekong Ituen: Spiritual leader of Christ Deliverance Ministries in Lagos,

said: “Let me start by telling Nigerians that election results will spring surprises. But in my revelation, it has been established that President Muhammadu Buhari of All Progressives Congress (APC) will win the election.” Prophet Christopher Owolabi: General Overseer of Christ Apostolic Church, OriOke, Irapada, Omu-Aran, Kwara State, declared: “The present leadership in piloting the affairs of this great nation, as was revealed to me, will extend beyond 2019.” Dr. Emmanuel Omole: Founder of the Devine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry, said: “Atiku will show amazing efforts in the coming elections, but I see President Buhari ruling again.” Apostle Joshua Mone: General Overseer of the Voice of Liberty Intercessors Ministry in Delta State, said: “Nigerians must pray. I see a conspiracy to postpone election dates. I see the nation ‘Atikulated’ in 2019.” Apostle Johnson Suleiman: President of Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide, said: “Abubakar Atiku should focus on the North during campaign... I saw most Eastern states won by APC at the national level... 2019 Nigerian election - 100% rigged.” Rev. Fr Ejike Mbaka: Spiritual Director, Adoration Ministry, Enugu, declared: “Among all the presidential aspirants, Buhari stands in the best position in winning the presidential election.” Pastor Gabriel O. Adegboye: Senior Pastor of Worksword of God Church, said neither Buhari nor Atiku would win the 2019 poll, but “God has ordained a particular man of God, with supernatural wisdom, to be appointed to pilot the affairs of this great nation, to restore normalcy in the land.” Now, to the ordinary predictors. Both the APC and PDP, and the “minor” political parties, have awarded “landslide” or “Moon-slide” victories to their candidates. Such projections, though, are meant for the consumption of members, the so-called “undecided” voters or “dissatisfied” supporters of rival parties.

However, of the surveys under focus, two (or three) by “foreign” entities gave victory to Atiku and the PDP, while a local newspaper predicted triumph for Buhari and the APC. All the polls were published in early February 2019. The Economist magazine (like the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a company in The Economist group) envisioned that Atiku would win, stressing, “We retain our forecast for #Abubakar to win, but expected margin of victory is narrowing as the poll approaches,” a reference to a previous forecast favouring Atiku. The magazine, which boasts of a similar 2015 prediction of win for Buhari over the then-incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan, said while Atiku and PDP would win “despite numerous allegations of corrupt practices against the former Vice President,” Buhari was “the least awful choice,” which would be chosen “with a heavy heart.” The most astounding prediction comes from Williams and Associates, which gave Atiku “45 per cent of the total vote cast, 12 per cent higher than his closest opponent, incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, who got 33 per cent.” Also bragging of reportedly forecasting victory for Buhari over Jonathan in 2015, the company conducted its survey of “Public Attitude in Nigeria January 2019” interviewing 1,550 respondents between January 11 and 16. “Fifty-four (54) per cent of the respondents also say that regardless of who they support in the election, Atiku stands a better chance of winning the election compared to 38 per cent who believe that incumbent President Buhari will win.” Surprisingly, the company that claimed Atiku would win nationwide, including in Buhari’s strongholds of North-West, South-West and North-East, stated on its website, Williamspolls.com, that Atiku is its “client” from 2017 till date. Meaning that the poll was commissioned by and conducted on behalf of the PDP candidate, who the pollster sent, on February 1, 2019, an analysis of its findings

before posting the entire opinion poll on February 3, 2019. On the contrary, the Leadership newspaper has called the election for Buhari, estimating that “the president will win with about 60% of the votes, with an error margin of plus or minus 5%.” The tabloid did not base its findings on a scientific poll, but “the result of observations and wide-ranging interviews by our political editors and senior correspondents across the country,” which its “Board of Editors” analyzed to arrive at its conclusion. The poser: Which of these “spiritual” predictions and opinion surveys and observations do Nigerians believe are true or plausible, and will come to pass on February 16? Thus, the election is not only a referendum on the candidates and their parties, but also on the “prophets” and pollsters as predictors of future events.

THE GROUP Managing Editor/COO Felix Oguejiofor Abugu Deputy Managing Editor/COO Sopuruchi Onwuka Chairman Editorial Board Igwebike Mbanefo SE/SS Editor Odogwu Emeka Odogwu Acting BDM Kelechi Nze Head, Graphics & Designs Nnamdi Alex Chukwu Circulation Manager Felix Oti


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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

Travel & Hospitality

Uganda flaunts curvy, sexy women for tourism By SOPURUCHI ONWUKA

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HE Ugandan Tourism Ministry is flaunting the country’s sexiest curvy ladies to attract visitors for the country but concerns have risen about the motive of projecting women to tourists. Several news materials filtering from the country feature the country’s Minister for Tourism, Mr Godfrey Kiwanda, in photograph with decently dressed by fat curvy ladies after he launched a beauty pageant dubbed ‘Miss Curvy Uganda’ to select women whose looks are expected to lure visitors. The Miss Curvy Uganda is expected to produce finalists in June. The pageant is part of the broader exploration promotion by the minister in which curvy ladies in tight fitting gowns parade the poolside while judges feast their eyes. “We have naturally endowed nice looking women that are amazing to look at. Why don’t we use these people as a strategy to promote our tourism industry?” Mr Kiwanda posed, pointing at “a sample” of beautiful women. The desperate move to involve sexy ladies in boosting tourism is focused on revenue generation as reports have it that tourism is Uganda’s top foreign exchange earner with the country earning $1.4 billion last year, according to government statistics. Most tourists visit national parks for diverse wildlife species such as gorillas, birds and other animals. The source of Nile River is also a

prime attraction including crater lakes and mountains. In a bid to grow the sector’s revenues and attract more tourists, Uganda has added curvaceous women to its lists of tourism products it offers. Ms Ann Mungoma, the lead organiser for the beauty pageant, said she was optimistic that this will enhance the visibility and appreciation of Ugandan people. “Miss Curvy is an event that will bring out the endowment of the real African woman. It is an exceptional event that will see young ladies showcase their beautiful curves and intellect,” said Ms Mungoma. Only those aged 18 to 35 years are eligible to participate, organisers said. For a conservative society that Uganda is, with its Ethics ministry often banning festivals and jailing artistes for “promoting sex”, the new tourism initiative has attracted mixed reactions. While some have dismissed the latest initiative as senseless, women activists have reacted strongly creating hashtags like #WeAreNotSexObjects and accused the minister of objectifying women. “It is not the right approach. But then when you look at social media, people post their pictures and get followers and many likes; those followers could come to Uganda to tour,” Ms Leilah Nakabira, an actress said, adding that: “curvy women could post on social media and get followers. Though there should have had

•State Minister for Tourism Mr Godfrey Kiwanda with Ugandan models at the launch of ‘Miss Curvy Uganda’ at a Kampala hotel on February 5, 2019.

better things to look at.” A woman activist from Bernic Woman said: “It is not the right approach. That is idolising women as objects; like how you look at objects that’s how they will look at women.” Mr Kiwanda said Uganda had along appreciated women with slim bodies as a hallmark of beauty and the Miss Curvy pageant offers an alternative view.

Ms Mungoma added that the since most pageants celebrate slender and pretty faces, which are a more Western way of defining beauty, most African women are uniquely built which does not make them any less attractive. Under the campaign, which is thin on details of how it will actually promote tourism in the country, ministry officials would be required to tell stories of the

backgrounds of the Ugandan curvaceous beauties as well as the different cultures that would be displayed by the contestants. Mr Kiwanda has previously declared the Ugandan favourite roadside snack -- a thinly-rolled chapati stuffed with fried eggs, locally known as rolex (derived from roll on eggs)-- a tourist attraction that is now celebrated with an annual festival.

million international visitors by 2023. Managing Director, Aleph Hospitality, Bani Haddad, stated: “With President Weah announcing plans just last month to greatly simplify the visa entry system and look to develop a national tourism board to drive inbound visitor numbers, Liberia looks set to significantly grow its share of voice in the African tourism industry.”

“The increasing number of international guests will bring with them a strong demand for international quality accommodation and we greatly look forward to managing the operations of the hotel to world-class standards and making the Four Points by Sheraton Monrovia the destination of choice in the city,” he added. Expected to create over 100 new jobs when open, the hotel,

which is owned by Sea Suites Hotel LLC, will be operated by Aleph Hospitality under a thirdparty management model. This model, ubiquitous in the U.S. and European hotel industries but in its infancy in Africa, is proven to deliver superior value for the owner through a combination of the benefits afforded by an international brand married with a highly-focused and personalized management ap

leaders from international and local markets - driving investment into tourism projects, infrastructure, entertainment and hotel development across the region. “New and established markets across North and West Africa continue to present us with immense opportunities to further enhance and diversify our portfolio in the continent,” said a Chief Development Officer of a popular hotel brand involved in the deals. “The new deal signings further strengthen our robust development pipeline, which is a result of our long-established presence in Africa and the trust owners have in our brands and our compelling portfolio of diverse brands.”

The three new hotel deals announced during the Forum de l’Investissement Hôtelier Africain are The St. Regis Marrakech Resort, Residence Inn by Marriott Accra Kotoka Airport, and Four Points by Sheraton Monrovia. A luxury brand portfolio in Morocco is slated to further expand with the signing of The St. Regis Marrakech Resort. The St. Regis Marrakech Resort will be a part of the Assoufid Golf Resort and will include 80 luxuriously-appointed guestrooms and villas, all offering spectacular views of the Atlas Mountains. The Residence Inn by Marriott Accra Kotoka Airport will mark the debut of the extended-stay

brand in the country. Projected to open in 2023, the 12-story hotel will consist of 160 spacious suites with separate living, working and sleeping zones, all equipped with fully functional kitchens. Other facilities in the hotel will include three food and beverage outlets, including a rooftop bar, a health and leisure club and a boardroom. The hotel will be strategically located in the Airport Residential Area of Accra and less than 1.5 kilometres from the Kotoka International Airport. A franchised property, the hotel will be managed by Yamusah Hotels Management Company Limited, the owner and developer of the property.

Aleph in deal with Marriott on Liberia’s First Four Points by Sheraton •Targets 15 million visitors by 2023

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IONEERING hospitality management company, Aleph Hospitality has announced a franchise agreement with Marriott International for the first Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Liberia. Located in the capital city, Monrovia, the hotel is due to become the first internationally branded hotel in the country upon opening in 2020 and will be managed by Aleph Hospitality under the Four Points by Sheraton brand. The landmark property is ideally situated in the city’s central business district, adjacent to the United Nations mission and in close proximity to a number of government organizations and commercial offices. It will offer 111 stylishly appointed guest rooms to the capital’s expanding business traveler base, along with meeting facilities and a multitude of food and beverage outlets, including one all-day-dining venue, one speciality restaurant, a beach bar and grill and a rooftop bar. Guests will also be able to take advantage of a gym, spa, swimming pool and access to the

beach. The hotel will boast Four Points by Sheraton’s approachable design and excellent service and reflect the brand’s promise to provide what matters most to today’s independent travelers. The opening of the hotel will play a vital role in helping to realise the country’s tourism strategy, which aims to deliver 15

Forum pools investors’ interest in African hospitality industry

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T the Forum de l’Investissement Hôtelier Africain in Marrakech, partners in hotel business have announced three new deals across North and West Africa, reinforcing commitment to expanding its presence across the continent. The new deals bring together hotel brands pursuing growth in Morocco and Ghana, while marking debut in Liberia. Organised by Bench Events, Forum de l’Investissement Hôtelier Africain is a gathering that unites North and West African countries in a bid to develop their economies and support hospitality investment. The forum connects business


The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 13, 2019

Photo News

When Governor Okezie Ikpeazu visited Umunneochi for campaigns ... Photos: Chido Chidiebere


The Oracle Today Wednesday February 13, 2019

Photo News

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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

EQUITY & Capital Market

SEC shuts down Dantata firm in Kano Stories by JEROME USHAKANG

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HE Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC) has closed down the operations and Sealed off the premises of Dantata Success and Profitable Company, Kano for engaging in illegal capital market activities. The commission in a statement said that the company was shut down for carrying out investment operations that falls within fund management without registration with the SEC, the apex regulator of the capital market. “They do not have registration with the SEC and the Commission has powers according to Section 13 of ISA 2007, to shut down any company carrying out capital market activities without due registration. Nigerian laws provide that business activities in the country have to be regulated, in this case SEC is supposed to regulate them”. SEC emphasized. According to SEC, the strategy of the company is to solicit for funds from unsuspecting members of the public by enticing them with returns of monthly interest on investment of between 25 percent to 50 percent depending on the nature and investment

type. The Commission disclosed that following their illegal operation, the account of the company has been frozen and the promoters have been arrested by the Nigeria Police Force and are undergoing interrogation. Meantime, the Commission wishes to notify the investing public that the company is not licensed to carry out investments business of any type and as such its operations are illegal. The SEC therefore advises the public to exercise due diligence and caution in the course of making investment decisions adding that valid license of lawful operators could be obtained on the commission’s website by members of the public to confirm the licences of firms with which they intend to carry out investment activities. From its findings, the commission was able to established that the company sells its forms to prospective investors according to their investment plans ranging from N1,000 to N3,000. The minimum amount investable is N50,000 while the maximum is N5,000,000 They also indicated a registration period of February 5 to February 15 in one of their numer-

• L-R, Acting Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms Mary Uduk, Managing Director, Emerging Africa Group, Mrs Toyin Sanni and Director General DMO, Ms Patience Oniha during the Presidential Quarterly Business Forum in Abuja.

ous notices directing all prospective customers to make deposits into their bank accounts. The investment period of the scheme is pegged at a minimum of

Midland Ltd MD culpable in N40m fraud ---Court

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Federal High court sitting in Abuja has ruled that Midland Capital Market Limited and the Managing Director, Mr. Sam Bandi have a case to answer on allegations of falsely obtaining N40, 000,000 from a client. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a statement said the case is a boost to its drive to ensure investor protection in the capital market. Midland Capital market Limited and Bandi are being accused of

obtaining the sum of N40, 000,000 from Mr. Patrick Aibhalemen under false pretence that they are fund managers and going to invest the money on his behalf under a ‘Guaranteed Investment Product ‘. However, they did not invest the money and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act. They were then arraigned on two counts charge before Hon. Justice

A.R Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja. The Prosecution called three witnesses and tendered seven Exhibits. After the close of the case by the prosecution, the company and Bandi raised a No Case submission and the court ruled in favour of the prosecution and ordered that both the company and Bandi should enter their defence because they have a case to answer. The case was subsequently adjourned to February 19, 2019 for hearing.

imperative by providing comprehensive and up-to-date information on investing in the Nigerian markets via a roadmap and guide for foreign, domestic, institutional and individual investors alike. It also examines the challenges faced by the Nigerian economy across sectors. Including past and recent success stories and solutions to some of the nation’s economic and developmental challenges. She said the Book goes into details on the key sectors that drive the performance of the Nigerian economy and what investment opportunities are available for interested investors and motivated entrepreneurs. The SEC DG therefore commended the author, Mrs. Toyin F. Sanni, for putting at the disposal of the industry, the value of over one decade in the money market and another two decades in the capital market. “The book serves investor interests through this comprehensive and authoritative work on investment opportunities in the Nigerian economy.

“It is imperative therefore that we all as stakeholders continue to take positive steps to attract and retain both local and foreign investments to stimulate economic growth and develop critical infrastructure necessary for our country’s development” she added. Also speaking, Vice Chairman FAMFA Oil Limited, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija described the book as truly a most appropriate and timely information guide for all stakeholders in the investment sector in Africa’s most populous and resource rich country (Nigeria). In her remarks, the author of the book, Mrs. Sanni said the book is to help make Nigeria a sustainable preferred destination by providing detailed and concise information for investors. She said the book discusses Nigeria’s current economic challenges and proffers solution to some of them. “Riding the Eagle is a guide for local and international investors seeking to exploit the unique opportunities in the Nigerian Economy”. She added.

Uduk stresses need to attract, retain investors for economic growth

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HE Acting-Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk has called on stakeholders in the Capital Market to continue to take positive steps to attract and retain both local and foreign investments to stimulate economic growth and developed critical infrastructure necessary for the country’s development. This was her submission at the formal launch of the book ‘Riding the Eagle’ written by Mrs. Toyin Sanni, unveiled at The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Lagos in Lagos, recently. Uduk explained that during the decision-making process, investors want to be sure of the rational basis of their investment decisions before transferring resources, and this is why quality information is needed. She declared that providing information to investors will enhance transparency in the Nigerian markets and improve the country’s global reputation in the investment community. “Riding the Eagle meets this

30 working days to a maximum period of 12 months with offer of interest rates on short and medium term basis. The company also claims to be involved in trading, general merchandise supply, oil and gas, transportation, import, export and general contract. However, the commission had established that the company’s activities also con-

stituted an infraction of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA), 2007. The SEC Management said the closure was to end unlawful activities of the company against unsuspecting investors and therefore urged investors to ensure they only deal with fund managers that are registered with the Commission.

IOSCO moves for reliable commodities storage, market integrity

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HE International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has released a report that recommended sound practices to assist relevant storage infrastructures and their oversight bodies to identify and address issues that could influence the pricing of commodity derivatives and in turn affect market integrity and efficiency. The Organization in its final report, titled, “Commodity Storage and Delivery Infrastructures”: Good or Sound Practices, IOSCO identifies a number of issues that may apply to storage infrastructures and sets forth a range of possible actions to mitigate them. According to IOSCO, the practices are intended to benefit the activities of market participants regarding: physical commodities, which are the tangible or cash market goods which underlie derivative contracts that are subject to financial regulation; and commodity derivatives, which are financial instruments whose price is derived from the underlying physical or cash market commodities. The overarching objective of the good or sound practices is to create a framework that incentivizes the market to adopt best practices and self-correction, rather than one that prohibits certain behaviours. Based on this, IOSCO advocates the adoption of these good or sound practices by all relevant storage infrastructures, their oversight bodies, and financial regulators in IOSCO member jurisdictions, as appropriate to their role and activities. The International Organization (IOSCO) believes that the implementation of these practices will lead to a more transparent and robust environment for the physical storage and delivery of commodities, producing benefits for all commodity market participants. It noted the existence of global or

regional codes of conduct for certain commodities, as well as specific regulation in some jurisdictions for commodities such as gas and power. It does not intend the practices to conflict with or duplicate existing codes and encourages market participants to seek to identify and follow best practice where overlaps exist. Meanwhile, beside fundamental objectives earlier enumerated above, IOSCO aims through its permanent structures: To cooperate in developing, implementing and promoting adherence to internationally recognized and consistent standards of regulation, oversight and enforcement in order to protect investors, maintain fair, efficient and transparent markets, and seek to address systemic risks. Secondly, to enhance investor protection and promote investor confidence in the integrity of securities markets, through strengthened information exchange and cooperation in enforcement against misconduct and in supervision of markets and market intermediaries. And thirdly, to exchange information at both global and regional levels on their respective experiences in order to assist the development of markets, strengthen market infrastructure and implement appropriate regulation.IOSCO is the leading international policy forum for securities regulators and is recognized as the global standard setter for securities regulation. The organization’s membership regulates more than 95 percent of the world’s securities markets in more than 115 jurisdictions and it continues to expand. The IOSCO Board is the governing and standard-setting body and is made up of 34 securities regulators, with Mr. Ashley Alder, the Chief Executive Officer of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong, as the Chair of the IOSCO Board.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

MONEY Market

AfDB predicts 2.3% growth for Nigeria •Projects 4% African growth in 2019 Stories by KAYODE OGUNWALE

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HE African Development Bank Group (AfDB), has projected that the African continent would grow by a robust 4 percent this year on the back of recovery in commodity prices that would drive domestic demand and infrastructure investment, even as that of Nigeria, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of continental GDP and 75 percent of the West African economy, is projected to grow at 2.3 percent. Addressing diplomats at a lunch of the bank’s flagship publication, the African Economic Outlook 2019, in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, AfDB President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina declared that “the future of our continent is looking very promising indeed.” This recovery in commodity prices, he continued will further push the continent’s GDP to 4.1 percent next year, as economic opportunities in Africa keep generating considerable interest globally. According to the outlook, Nigeria’s economy recorded 1.9 percent growth in 2018 and is expected to rise by 2.4 percent in 2020, on the back of the Federal Government’s faithful implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). The bank however warned that “the slide in oil prices from late 2018, coupled with an output cut imposed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries poses a downside risk to the economic outlook.” It added that the National Assembly’s late passage of the government’s N8.83 trillion 2019 “budget of continuity” may also be delayed due to presidential elections scheduled for February 2019. There is need, the report continued, for a reorientation of the nation’s federal budget, currently dominated by recurrent spending,

toward more capital expenditure and accumulating savings to sustain social spending. It noted the federal government’s “strides with institutional and governance reforms, including implementation of the Integrated Financial Management and Information System and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System. “The enactment of the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Act 2017 has institutionalized and widened coverage of collateral to stimulate lending to small and medium enterprises,” it added. AfDB also hinged its projection “on the pace of implementing the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which anchors Nigeria’s industrialization by establishing industrial clusters and staple crop processing zones to give firms a competitive edge through access to raw materials, skilled labor, technology, and materials.” If effectively implemented, it believes the government’s Power Sector Reform Programme with a target of 10 gigawatts of operational capacity by 2020 could attract private investment. Although Nigeria has a relatively low debt-to-GDP ratio, the bank called for “fiscal prudence to avoid a debt trap, especially as global interest rates start to rise. Therefore, contraction of new external debt should balance spending needs with capacity to improve the economy’s competitiveness and stimulate growth.” the report lamented that its exports to the rest of Africa are estimated at a mere 12.7 percent, and only 3.7 percent of total trade is within the Economic Community of West African States. Nigeria has yet to ratify the Continental Free Trade Agreement, pending the outcome of broad consultations with captains of industry and

•Member, International Para-Powerlifting, Ahmad Alraisy; Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Barr. Solomon Dalong; Divisional Head, Corporate Communications, Heritage Bank, Fela Ibidapo and member, International ParaPowerlifting, Alajarmeh Ahmad, during the official opening of International Para-Powerlifting Competition, host by Nigeria, Sponsored by Heritage Bank.

other stakeholders. Still on the continent, the AfDB believes that the agreement in March 2018 establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will create the largest free trade area in the world, offering an unprecedented framework with the capacity to increase trade by at least 100 percent in Africa. “The African Development Bank is at the centre of the actions taken to ensure the success of the continental free-trade area. We have invested over one billion dollars to support the financing of trade in Africa,” Adesina said. The Bank, whose triple-A rating with stable outlook has been reconfirmed by the four major global rating agencies, has also invested $1

Afreximbank to leverage $1bn for fund for export development in Africa

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HE Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA), the equity investment fund created recently by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), will catalyse foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into Africa’s trade and export sectors, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of the Bank, said. Speaking in Tunis during the opening of the Financing Investment and Trade in Africa conference organized by the Tunisia-Africa Business Council, Prof. Oramah said that Afreximbank’s vision was to leverage $1 billion in support of FEDA’s mission and to catalyze four times that amount in FDI in five years. He explained that the kind of equity funding currently available in Africa was not appropriate for turning the continent into the trade hub which it needed to become in order to achieve desired growth, saying that FEDA would ensure that investors’ investments were protected under the immunities and privileges available to Afreximbank and that the investments enjoyed tax privileges and incentives. The President described development finance institutions as market failure institutions that existed to complement what markets were unable to offer or that begin to create

markets, explaining that, as a result, Afreximbank’s interventions were based on the philosophy of bringing additionality, rather than displacing commercial banks. Afreximbank was making it possible for financing to come into Africa, he said. The Bank had just expanded its guarantee offering to make it more accessible to companies coming into Africa, including through its Intra-African Investment Guarantee Facility. It had also introduced Mansa, a customer due diligence platform, which will help to address the challenge of many African countries not being able to access trade finance due to high compliance cost. On infrastructure, the President said that if the continent looked inward, it could find the funds to meet its infrastructure needs. According to him, with the about $700 billion under management by African pension funds and the reserves kept abroad by African central banks already adding up to about $1 trillion, the funds are already adequate to meet Africa’s need. However, because they are outside the continent, and those keeping them deem it too risky to invest in Africa, the funds are not being invested in Africa.

“These are things that need to be fixed,” he argued. President Oramah announced that Afreximbank was developing a platform that would make it possible for cross-border trade to occur in local currencies across Africa. The Bank was discussing with the Association of Africa Stock Exchanges to use the platform to bring liquidity to the member exchanges. He said that there was need for a change in mindset and for regulatory reform that would allow the creation of pan-African solutions in order for liquidity to come to some of the African exchanges to enable them can carry infrastructure funds. Touting Afreximbank’s support for Tunisia, the President recalled that the Bank had just announced a $500-million Tunisia-Africa Trade and Investment Promotion Programme, which will support Tunisian businesses trading with the rest of Africa and had approved $300 million for six Tunisian banks under its Afreximbank Trade Facilitation Programme. It was also was considering reopening its Tunis-based Regional Office for the Maghreb Region in order to revive trade flows between North Africa and the rest of the continent and to be nearer to Tunisian businesses.

billion in Afreximbank, including $650 million in credit lines for trade finance and $350 million in insurance. The free movement of people on the continent is another important driver of development, as part of the “need to break down all barriers that impede the free movement of people across the continent, especially that of workers, because this is vital for promoting investment,” Adesina said. In its report on intra-African investment, the bank emphasised the significant increase in cross-border investments, which jumped to $12 billion last year, from just $2 billion in 2010. According to a statement by the bank, under the G20 Compact with Africa, the AfDB has worked with the World Bank and the IMF to provide assistance to African countries, particularly to improve company regulations and the business environment. “Africa will not develop through aid, but through investment”, said Adesina, hence the need for the AfDB, with its partners, launched the highly successful Africa Investment Forum (AIF), held in Johannesburg, South Africa last November, which helped to secure investment interest in 49 deals across Africa worth over

$38 billion in just two days. The African Development Bank continues to invest in infrastructure to connect countries and improve their competitiveness. It has provided $16 million to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the preparation of feasibility studies for the LagosAbidjan corridor. It has also funded 1000 kilometres of road between Addis Ababa and Mombasa, which has increased trade fivefold between Ethiopia and Kenya. The Bank was the lead lender for the construction of the historic Senegambia bridge linking Gambia and Senegal, which opened on 21 January 2019, just as its investment portfolio in Côte d’Ivoire has tripled in the last three years, reaching $1.8 billion last year. The bank is taking a lead role in the “Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation” (TAAT) initiative, which seeks to accelerate the dissemination of agricultural technologies throughout the continent, not only to improve yields, but also to fight against the consequences of global warming and against pests, such as Fall Armyworm. “The crucial point for the economic development of Africa is that we have to radically transform our agriculture,” Adesina declared.

CBN pumps $279.13m, CNY46.92m into retail SMIS

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HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has made interventions in the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) of the Foreign Exchange market totaling $279.13 million and CNY 46.92. Figures of Friday’s sales, showed that $279,128,518.66 was injected to meet requests of customers in the agricultural, airlines, petroleum products and raw materials and machinery sectors. The bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okorafor also confirmed that the sum of CNY46,924,114.04 was for payment of Renminbi-denominated Letters of Credit for agriculture as well as raw materials.

Friday’s transaction was in addition to the $210 million injected into the Wholesale, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Invisibles segments of the market on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. While expressing the satisfaction of the Bank’s management at the stability in the different segments of the foreign exchange market, Okorafor attributed the level of stability to the Bank’s transparency in foreign exchange transactions. With the exchange rates closing at N358/$1 on Friday, February 8, 2019, Okorafor, expressed confidence that the Naira will continue to enjoy stability, given the periodic interventions of the Bank in the inter-bank segment.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

NEWS

IPOB on rampage in Imo over 2019 elections By AUSTIN ECHEFU

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he members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) took to the streets of Owerri on Monday, destroying every campaign billboards and posters on the way. The group which chanted proBiafra songs was seen in a cluster along Okigwe Road, warning the people not to vote during the election, insisting that they want Biafra. They mocked those they said would vote during the election, describing them as sellouts in the Biafra project, even as they said that those people sold out because of N500 from politicians. The IPOB had also in furtherance

to their campaign for election pasted posters in Owerri and its adjoining communities calling for sit-at home on election day. It could be recalled that the leader of the IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, had in a recent broadcast called on Igbo people to boycott the election, demanding a referendum on Biafran independence instead. The federal government had in September 2017 proscribed the IPOB through an order of the The Federal High Court in Abuja. The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, had approached the court to declare the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as “acts of terrorism and illegality.”

Founding Fathers warn against violence in Abia during polls

From BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia and national levels. “At the same time, as the elecs the 2019 general elections tions draw nearer and the general begin this Saturday, the atmosphere is progressively heatFounding Fathers of Abia ing up, it has become very necesState (FFAS) has charged Abians to sary for us as fathers to sound a be peaceful and eschew violence note of caution on good conduct to during the polls. all the stakeholders in the elections. FFAS says this could be achieved “Above all, borrowing from the if the people would of good con- words of former President Goodduct at the polls. luck Jonathan, the Founding FaIn a Goodwill Message the group thers of Abia State have to caution sent to all political parties and the all and sundry that ‘no political ampeople of the state on the national bition is worth the a drop of blood general elections, titled “Charting of any Abia citizen.’” a new political direction for the The elders explained that the good people of Abia State,” FFAS essence of politics “was all about warned that no blood should be serving the public good,” stressing that “there are no reasons why shed during the contest. The statement endorsed by FFAS political campaigns should become Director of Communications, Engr. warfare, where political opponents Prof. Anthony Nzeako, and Coordi- are considered as enemies that nator of FFAS, Bro Ezenwa Odimu- must be crushed at all cost.” ko (Enyi Abia), read in part: FFAS noted that “considering the “The Founding Fathers of Abia prevailing circumstances in Abia State send fraternal greetings and State,” it was “praying and hoping good wishes to all political parties for the emergence of a new politiand good people of Abia State en- cal class from the forthcoming elecgaged in the ongoing campaigns tions that will chart a new political for general elections into the vari- direction and fortune for the good ous political positions at both State people of Abia State.”

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New CP assumes duty in Abia From BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia

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ne Etim Okon, Monday, assumed office as the new Commissioner of Police in charge of Abia State Police Command. Okon, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) until his recent elevation, took over from his predecessor, Chris Ezike who was also newly promoted to the rank of Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 4. Speaking after during the brief handover ceremony at the Police Officers Mess on Factory Road, Umuahia, Okon described the Abia as a familiar terrain, having served in the State 19 months ago in the capacity of Deputy Commissioner of Police. “For those who know me and those who do not know me, I am still who I am , I will never change,” he assured . He charged Officers of the Command to see their duty in Policing the state as a collective responsibility. The new CP described AIG Ezike’s

tenure as Abia CP as impressive and result-oriented. “Everywhere he is, he makes his mark. Sir, if I cannot meet up with the challenge, please don’t be disappointed,” said Okon, in a lighter mood. Earlier before handing over the Command to CP Okon, AIG Ezike had described people of the state as highly articulate, intelligent and sensitive and highly commercialoriented. He urged the new commissioner of police to focus more on the fundamental interest of the people, saying “in whatever thing you do, the fundamental interest of the people must be protected, their rights should not be abused, there should be no road blocks so that there will be no extortion and all that.” He said the three months during which he served as Abia CP was characterized by low crime rate. “We have been able to establish some structures against criminal activities. In these three months, it has been low crime and we have been good for it,” AIG Ezike said.

• Alhaji Atiku Abubakar campaign rally at Godwin Adokiye Amasiamaka Statdium Port Harcourt on Monday.

Atiku: We won’t interfere with the legislature, judiciary From NATH OMAME, Jr, P/Harcourt

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ormer Vice President, Atiku Abubakar’s presidential campaign council swept into Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Monday, with a visit to Governor Nyesom Wike, at Government House. He was accompanied by the National Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Seconds; Director-General of the PDP Presidential Council, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Austin Opara, among others. The PDP Presidential candidate stated that a PDP government will not interfere with the legislature and the judiciary. “We will respect the separation of powers in the exercise of our executive functions. I will not interfere with the affairs of the National Assembly. We will not interfere with the affairs of the judiciary. That is our checks and balances.” He promised: “We must restructure Nigeria so that states like Rivers and the Niger Delta can develop. When we were in office (Obasanjo/ Atiku), we started work on the east/west road. That road has been abandoned because PDP was not allowed to continue in office. APC government has not done anything for the people of Rivers state or the Niger Delta region. When I become President, I will complete the east/ west highway.” Atiku promised PDP members, at the rally, held at the Adokie Amiesieamaka Stadium, Igwurrita, in Ikwerre Local Government Area, that he will ensure that both Port Harcourt and Onne ports, in Rivers State, will be kept active and busy to create businesses and jobs opportunities for the people and residents of Rivers State. “How can they crowd one area with port activities while seaports in other cities and states in the coun-

try are being deliberately starved of business activities. This is wrong and a PDP government will not allow that lopsidedness to continue. Other seaports in Nigeria must be allowed to participate and benefit from the maritime trade.” “I asked Nigerians in 2015 to choose between going forward and going backward. All the indices of development are not in existent in this government. We are not making any progress as a country under this government. That is why Nigerians must come out on Saturday and vote Atiku Abubakar as President and all the PDP candidates. “Atiku Abubakar will not discriminate against any section of Nigeria. He will not discriminate between a region that voted him on the ratio of 75% and that which gave him 5%”. On the recent body bag language by the Kaduna state governor, Nasiru E-Rufai, the national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus called on the international community to beam its searchlight on the governor. “That body bag, to me, is a language of a terrorist. That language was made by the Kaduna state governor because APC is afraid, confused and must go. Buhari has no choice but to go. Buhari is not aware that he has lost the election. Buhari is not aware that his campaign DG is corrupt. He does not know that the white paper published by the panel of inquiry in Port Harcourt indicted him of selling the states assets illegally.” Wike had on the eve of Atiku’s rally told PDP members at Degema Local Government Area, to vote for Atiku because he was the best man for the presidency, among other candidates. He stated: “Atiku has created jobs for Rivers people in Onne Port while 20 million jobs have been lost since Mohammadu Buhari became president. The All Progressives Congress (APC) has failed Nigerians. They have not been able to fulfill any of

the promises they made to Nigerians since 2015.” In underscoring its endorsement of the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku, for the February 16, presidential election, the Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum, PADEF, states that the inability of the APC-led federal government to implement the 16-point agenda three years after receiving the document means that the APC government does take the Niger Delta region, seriously. Secretary-General of PANDEF, Dr. Alfred Molade, during a sensation tour in Port Harcourt, said the federal government has failed to address the numerous problems facing the region. He stated that the group has decided to give his support to any of the candidates that genuinely supports the restructuring of the country. “We took the decision to support a candidate who supports restructuring on March 24, 2018, even before the emergence of presidential candidates. About 17 candidates came appeared before us, including Atiku Abubakar. We assessed them by interviewing them. Each candidate spent not less than three hours with us.” Speaking further, Deputy Secretary-General of PANDEF, Ken Robinson, urged the people of the Niger Delta to vote for a candidate that will effectively address the numerous issues facing the region. He emphasised: “We have to understand that the government of Atiku Abubakar will not operate by fiat. It has to work with National Assembly and the state Houses of Assembly. Therefore, everyone concerned should do the needful. The Houses of Assembly have to support restructuring by approving the bill that will eventually go back to the National Assembly with a 2/3 majority in their various state Assemblies.”


33

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

Love and Living

...With Ireto Temofeh

MODEL OF THE WEEK

LOVE NEWS

Funeral director, 64, is sacked after being caught having sex with female worker beside COFFINS

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funeral director has been sacked after he was spotted having sex with a female worker beside coffins at an undertakers. Christopher Grimes was ‘caught red-handed’ by shocked employees in Hamilton & Marshall Funeral Directors in Newport on the Isle of Wight. The 64-year old grandfather and the woman admitted to bosses that they had been taking part in the ‘inappropriate’ sex act. The couple were then sacked for ‘unprofessional conduct’ after romping in the room where the coffins are stored. A source told the Mirror: You expect a funeral home to be a professional and dignified place, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. ‘It’s the talk of the town. He’s no longer working there and they’ve

tried to hush the whole thing up.’ Grimes, who was in a long-term relationship with the woman, has not conducted any funerals since he was suspended. The woman was also told to leave after admitting to the sex act. The company Dignity, based in Birmingham, said: ‘Following an investigation [the pair] admitted an inappropriate sex act took place on our premises, and he was dismissed. ‘The female member of staff also no longer works for us.’ Mr Grimes declined to comment but his partner said she was ‘standing by him’, according to the Mirror. The undertakers boasts a ‘professional team of funeral directors’ on its website, offering more than 50 years experience with prices of £1,995 for a basic package.

Name: Emelda Mobile: +234 816 633 9597 • If you want to be our next ORACLE GIRL, e-mail or forward your photos/data to ireto007@yahoo.com. Call 07031028714.

ODD NEWS What it’s REALLY like to work at a proposal hot spot! From a Bristol hot air balloon ride to a London aquarium,

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funeral director has been sacked after he was spotted having sex with a female worker beside coffins at an undertakers. Christopher Grimes was ‘caught red-handed’ by shocked employees in Hamilton & Marshall Funeral Directors in Newport on the Isle of Wight. The 64-year old grandfather and the woman admitted to bosses that they had been taking part in the ‘inappropriate’ sex act. The couple were then sacked for ‘unprofessional conduct’ after romping in the room where the coffins are stored. A source told the Mirror: You expect a funeral home to be a professional and dignified place, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. ‘It’s the talk of the town. He’s no longer working there and they’ve tried to hush the whole thing up.’ Grimes, who was in a long-term relationship with the woman, has not conducted any funerals since he was suspended. The woman was also told to leave

after admitting to the sex act. The company Dignity, based in Birmingham, said: ‘Following an investigation [the pair] admitted an inappropriate sex act took place on our premises, and he was dismissed. ‘The female member of staff also no longer works for us.’

Mr Grimes declined to comment but his partner said she was ‘standing by him’, according to the Mirror. The undertakers boasts a ‘professional team of funeral directors’ on its website, offering more than 50 years experience with prices of £1,995 for a basic package.

ROMANTIC JOKE THE THREE FRIENDS

Three friends -- two straight guys and a gay guy -- and their significant others were on a cruise. A tidal wave came up and swamped the ship; they all drowned, and next thing you know, they’re standing before St. Peter. First came one of the straight guys and his wife. St. Peter shook his head sadly. “I can’t let you in. You loved money too much. You loved it so much, you even married a woman named Penny.” Then came the second straight guy. “Sorry, can’t let you in, either. You loved food too much. You loved to eat so much, you even married a woman named Candy!” The gay guy turned to his boyfriend and whispered nervously, “It doesn’t look good, Dick.”


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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

True Confession

‘I wedded her ex and I have no regrets’

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y name is Grace. Ten years ago, I was at the University of Ibadan. My best friend, Bunmi, asked me to go on a double date with her and I agreed. I agreed because she was always dating older men for money although she had a boyfriend on campus, and she had put me under so much pressure to do likewise. So before the outing, I took my time to prepare very well so that I would look as sweet and sexy as possible to any man who looked my way. I hated miniskirts because I felt they debased womanhood by exposing the thighs of a woman who ought to keep herself for her husband’s eyes alone. However, because I needed more cash than loving at the time, I knew I had to let go of my high moral standing. After all, they say that a woman stoops to conquer. So I had to morally stoop, as it were, in order to get what I want. You can describe my reasoning as twisted but the fact is that I was really desperate for money at that time and was willing to double date or to put it plainly, to even sell my body if only I

would get enough money to meet my needs, which indeed were many. We went out that night and it turned out to be a different night. The big man that my girlfriend was interested in was interested in me. So Bunmi had to go with another man that she wasn’t interested in. From the look in her eyes, I knew that she was jealous of me and I decided not to go out with her ever again. Later on when we had returned to school, her boyfriend Dave came to see her. He asked her where she had been the previous night and she lied to him. I didn’t know how to lie because I pitied Dave since I could see that he loved Bunmi so much. So I took him aside privately and confessed to him that we had gone to visit some old sugar daddies. Dave really liked my girlfriend Bunmi, but she was a gold digger and was just using him. She was always asking him for money and he was always hurt and upset about the way my best friend treated him. Finally, Bunmi broke up with Dave

and moved to Abuja. But occasionally, I would chat with Dave on phone and still maintained contact with him. In 2004 I realized I had a lot of feelings for Dave but I was in a relationship and he was in another relationship as well. I didn’t want to destroy his relationship because I thought he was happy. I also didn’t want to risk losing his friendship if I told him how I felt. I kept it all secret and made little jokes about how I felt to him, never letting him know how I really felt. I broke up with my boyfriend in 2005 and moved back to Ibadan to continue schooling. I told Dave I was back at Ibadan and he promised to visit me. At Ibadan, I refused to live in the same room off campus with any promiscuous female student because what they were doing was affecting my safety. She could go out and bring home men from the bar when her boyfriend was not around. I hated lying to anybody’s boyfriend because I was really against cheating. So I lived with a Christian sister. When Dave came to visit me, we had

fun for a week but one night changed everything. We went out to a club. Then we went dancing on the floor and I realized we were both alike. We both danced the same way and loved it. It is rare to find some one like that. My feelings welled up inside of me. I wanted to give Dave a simple kiss on the cheek and as I did that, he moved his head and we kissed. I confessed to him that night that I have always loved him. He was not surprised. We went to his hotel room that night with passion on our minds. We made love that night and almost everyday after that. Within one month he took me to see his parents and they approved of our getting married. Now we are happily married with three kids. Do you have a comment on this story? Call 07031028714. Do you have a story for us? Call 07031028714 or 08077821830.


35

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

Relationships and Love Advice

He wants to marry me, but he is not financially stable

Love Search Women seeking relationship/ marriage

Chiommy, very tall, fair, sexy, hippy, busty, needs a sugar daddy who will take good care of her and she will satisfy him very well. 09028379398. Chinyere, 35, dark, single mum, humble, works, seeks a hardworking man from 38 years and above for marriage. 09038028331. Viky, 52, widow, working, Igbo, chocolate, average height, wants to get connected to a man of 53-60 years (not a divorcee) from any tribe. 08036309809. Humble, 40, needs a sponsor in her theology school. 09026452405. Rose, in Lagos, just rented a shop, needs someone to support her in starting a business. 08107458039. Funke, 44, needs a man (widower or divorcée) of 50-55 years for a serious relationship. 08185083988. Lora, graduate, works, HIV Positive, based in Jos, wants a HIV positive man of 35-40 years for marriage. 08090925014. A single mother needs a responsible man for a relationship. 08140599563.

Dear Love Doctor,

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here is this guy that I dated for some time, after which we went our separate ways. Now, he has come back proposing marriage to me. I care about him but his business is not stabilized. He is still under somebody because he has problems with his business. I’m still a student and I have several needs that require money, and he complains

about not having cash if I demand for money. I’m just confused. I need a man who has money to spend on the woman he loves. Please what should I do? From Maryjane

Love Doctor’s Advice:

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your education. However, true love, not money, should be the foundation of marriage. Therefore, you need to first ask yourself if you actually love this guy, before thinking of his business. If you actually love him, there is nothing wrong in agreeing

Men seeking relationship/ marriage Uche, a graduate in Lagos, needs a kind woman or man to help him in his new business. Text 08131161840.

Dear Maryjane,

ince you say you are a student, I believe your parents are taking care of your education. So you should try your best to manage the little resources you have, and don’t see your man as a meal ticket or as somebody who should sponsor

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to marry him. But because his business isn’t stable at the moment, you can give him time to stabilize his business and organize his affairs before the marriage, so that everything would work well.

Do you have advice on this problem? Please share your thoughts. Call 07031028714 or 08131161840. Email: ireto007@yahoo.com Do you have a marriage/wedding, birthday, anniversary or club or town meeting announcement to make? Call 07031028714 now!

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36

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

It happened to me:

I Thought IVF Was Selfish, Until I Discovered I Couldn’t Get Pregnant Without It’ I began my first and only round of in vitro fertilization in the very house in Atlanta where my mother had died of cancer just a few months earlier. The bureau in the guest bedroom that was once covered with my mom’s cancer meds was now blanketed with the syringes, medicine vials, and alcohol wipes I would need for my fertility treatments. Starting IVF so soon after losing my mother probably wasn’t the sanest choice. But I’d learned around the same time I found out my mom was suffering from terminal cancer that I had the severest form of a disease called endometriosis. Surgery confirmed the only way I would be able to become pregnant was through in vitro fertilization. My mom was still alive when my husband Alex and I decided we would go ahead with IVF. Her doctors in California had originally told her she had about a year left to live, and when I moved my mother out to Atlanta, Mom and I both anticipated we would be able to share my pregnancy, and that she would meet her grandchild before she died. But the cancer had a mind of its own, and my mom died just six weeks after she moved to Atlanta. I didn’t have a lot of time to grieve before I had to make a tough decision. My reproductive endocrinologist made it clear that the scar tissue created by my endometriosis was growing so quickly, soon IVF would no longer be an option. And, if I’m completely honest with myself, I had another, more tenuous motive, in choosing to undergo IVF so soon after losing my mother. As irrational as it now seems, I was looking for a sign. That she wasn’t gone forever. That part of her still remained close by, watching over me, wanting to make my dreams come true. I went through the physically exhausting process of injecting hormones three times a day into my belly, getting blood drawn each morning at the doctor’s office along with regular ultrasounds, and afternoon phone calls from my nurse telling me about my hormone levels. At the end of the first two weeks, my doctor harvested enough follicles to be able to later transfer two embryos into my uterus, ironically on the two-month anniversary of my mom’s death. A week later, I took a pregnancy test (even though the clinic told me not to, false negatives and all that), and for the first time in my life, I saw two lines on the stick. I was pregnant. A phone call from my nurse a few days later confirmed the miracle. From that moment, the most complete form of bliss imaginable enveloped me. Every morning before he left for work, and at night when he returned home, Alex would talk to my belly (even though the creature growing inside me was only the size of a sesame seed) and kiss my stomach, and say “I love you” to what we thought would one day be our child. But my womb wasn’t built right, not for carrying babies at least, and the rosebush planted in the sand soon died. My nurse called me to say my pregnancy hormone levels were dropping, and I would miscarry within days. Whereas the past few weeks had been in euphoric soft focus, now suddenly everything was real and sharp and painful. My baby was gone, and my mother was gone. Forever. Mom wasn’t behind the scenes, orchestrating happy events for

the rest of my life. I lost the pregnancy, and with it all the hope I had in the world. Soon after my miscarriage, Alex and I moved back home to San Diego, the city where we had met and fell in love years earlier. Out of the crucible of pain Atlanta seemed to represent, we had more time to reflect. We didn’t want to try again to get pregnant. I was emotionally wasted. I didn’t think I could survive another loss. What might surprise you (because it sure surprises me) is how positive I feel about the whole medical wonder that is in vitro fertilization. I’d been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for two years when I underwent IVF, and the process allowed me to take back control of my fertility. With each injection, I was actively preparing my body for pregnancy. I finally felt I had some power and order in a world that, at the time, seemed so chaotic and random. Word gets around when you’ve had IVF, and I often get asked for advice from friends, and friends of friends, whether in vitro is really worth it – worth the steep price tag, the physical pain, the emotional roller coaster. Despite my less than ideal experience with IVF, I tell these women it is their opportunity to take control of their bodies and their desire for a family.

I cringe at the thought of how judgmental I used to be toward women who had their children through IVF. In my 20s, I viewed celebrities as terribly selfish to undergo expensive fertility treatments when (I believed) there were so many adoptable babies who needed homes. But there are no guarantees with adoption. A birth mother can change her mind. With international adoption (an avenue we pursued for a year) timetables change and foreign governments can alter the rules in the middle of the process. There’s also the completely natural desire to have a child that carries on your family’s traits. I often dreamed that my baby would have my mother’s warm, cat-shaped brown eyes, or my husband’s fierce intellect. Ultimately, Alex and I decided to change how we viewed what our family should look like. Now, ours is a family of two adults. My husband and I have a relationship of smudged boundaries, where one of us does not feel whole and complete unless the other is present. Our connection brings me enough comfort and peace to be content with what we have, instead of focusing on what’s missing. Recently Alex and I went to dinner on a Friday evening with our friends Susanna

and David, recent transplants to San Diego from the East Coast. Alex and David had grown up together in New Jersey. And in a case of synchronicity, Susanna is a fertility doctor. As we discussed our weekend plans, Susanna mentioned she had a birthday party to attend for a two-year-old. I asked if it was for the friend of one of her two young sons. “Actually, no,” she answered. “It’s for the child of one of my patients.” It took me a moment to realize what she was saying. “Your patients invite you to the birthday parties of the children you helped create?” She smiled with humility. “I don’t really think of it that way.” But the answer was yes. And there it was. IVF helps create families that once did not exist. Just because IVF didn’t work for me, that doesn’t mean it can’t make other women’s dreams come true. The word family can mean so many different things to different people. If medical advances can bring you the kind of bliss I once experienced, it’s a risk worth taking. Courtesy: Cosmo


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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

The Law and You

With Barr. Ken Akpom 08162016410

The constitutionality of death penalty in Nigeria

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fundamental legal question applicable here is whether the death penalty is a constitutionally permissible legal sanction in Nigeria. The answer is that capital punishment is constitutional. In fact, it is generally admitted that the constitutional guarantee of the right to life is subject to an express saving provision in favour of a death sentence ordered by a court as punishment following the conviction of criminal offence of which a person has been found guilty in Nigeria. It is the light of these that the constitutionality of death penalty has to be determined. Nigerian courts in a plethora of cases have held that death penalty is constitutional. For instance, the Court of Appeal in Adeniji v. State has held that “the death penalty as per Section 33(1), 233(2), 243 of the constitution is expressed recognized by the said constitution”. By the same token, the Supreme Court in Okoro v. State stated that the death penalty and its method of execution is lawful and valid as same is sanctioned by both Section 33(1) and 34(1)(a) of the 1999 constitution. In Kalu v. State, it was contended that the death penalty provision of Section 219(1) Criminal Code Law of Lagos State, as a penalty for murder, offends Section 30(1) of the 1979 constitution which guarantee right to life. The Supreme Court rejected this argument, saying that the right to life guarantee under the constitution is clearly qualified as opposed to an absolute right. Iguh, J.S.C, who read the lead judgment, had this to say. In my view it is plain that the 1979 constitution can by no stretch of the imagination be said to have proscribed or outlawed the death penalty. On the contrary, Section 30(1) of the constitution permits it in the clearest possible terms so long as it is inflicted pursuant to the sentence of a court of law in Nigeria in a criminal offence. The plain meaning of the section of the constitution cannot be derogated from in the absence of any ambiguity whatsoever. It simply guarantees and protects the right to life. But it also recognizes deprivation of life as long as it is pursuant to the execution of the sentence of a court in a criminal offence of which the accused has been found guilty in Nigeria. The overall rationale of Nigerian cases upholding the death penalty is the value of the punishment in deterrence. In Akinyemi v. State, it was held per Fabiyi J.C.A on the propriety justification of death sentence that “the sentence was well pronounced for the capital offence. It has the semblance of the Law of Moses – ‘an eye to an eye’, it is good law to serve as deterrence in a mundane society where heartless and dangerous citizens abound in plenty.” The fact that there is no consensus among the advocates of the death penalty and those against it shows that it is a very difficult issue to resolve. The government of Nigeria has consistently refused to ratify the 2nd optional protocol on ICCPR aimed at abolishing the death penalty. It is submitted that the death sentence is a paradox to the constitutionality of right to life. Indeed, there are various international and regional instruments aimed at abolishing the death penalty. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) categorically recognizes the right to life in unqualified term in Article 3. “Everybody has the right to life, liberty and security of the person.” The ICCPR allows the death penalty in those countries, which have not abolished it [Article 6(2)]; it however prohibits the imposition of the death penalty on juveniles and pregnant women and went ahead in Article 6(6) to recommend the abolition of the death penalty by encouraging state parties to the convention to take step towards abolishing it. The European Convention on Human Right (ECHR) recognized the imposition of the death penalty. It has however been abolished by the 6th protocol to the convention. Article 4(2) of the American convention on human Rights (AMCHR) allows countries that have not abolished the death penalty to impose it. There is now a protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to abolish the death penalty. ARGUMENT FOR THE DEATH PENALTY | CAPITAL PUNISHMENT 1. It is the ultimate warning (Deterrence Theory) Nevertheless, if would-be criminals know undoubtedly that they will be put to death should they murder with premeditation, very many of them are much less inclined to commit murder. Whether or not would-be criminals are wary of committing the worst crime is an important – and probably impossible – question to answer. Murder still happens very frequently. So some criminals disregard this warning for various reasons. But the fact does remain that many criminals who ride the fence on committing murder ultimately decide to spare the victim’s life. In a larger sense, capital punishment is the ultimate warning against all crime. If the criminal knows that the justice system will not stop at putting him

to death, then the system appears more draconian to him. Hence, he is less inclined to break and enter. He may have no intention of killing anyone in the process of robbing them, but is much more apprehensive about the possibility if he knows he will be executed. Thus, there is a better chance that he will not break and enter in the first place. 2. It provides closure for victims There are many victims of a single murder. The criminal gets caught, tried and convicted, and it is understood that the punishment will be severe. But the person he has killed no longer has a part to play in this. Unfortunately, the murderer has deprived his family and friends of a loved one. Their grief begins with the murder. It may not end with the murderer’s execution, but the execution does engender a feeling of relief at no longer having to think about the ordeal – a feeling which often fails to arise while the murderer still lives on. A system in place for the purpose of granting justice cannot do so for the surviving victims, unless the murderer himself is put to death. 3. It is all that would-be criminals fear If you read about Bundy’s life in prison, waiting nine years for his execution, you will see that the man exhausted every single legal point he and his lawyers could think of, all in an attempt to spare him execution. He “defended” himself in prison interviews by blaming pornography for causing his uncontrollable teenage libido, and for causing him to think of women as objects and not humans. He attempted to have his death sentence committed to life without parole by explaining that it was all pornography’s fault, and that had it never existed, he would have been a good person. When that didn’t work, he pretended to come clean and tell

police where the bodies of unfound victims were, so that their families could have closure. He never once admitted that he was a bad person, and just before his execution, he claimed that he hadn’t done anything wrong. It was obvious that he feared being put to death. He did his best to avert it. This means that he did not fear life in prison – at least not as much as he feared capital punishment. He had many opportunities to kill himself in his cell, but he did not. He might have done it a month before his execution, when all hope for clemency was gone – but he was afraid of death. How many would be murderer have turned away at the last second purely out of fear of the executioner’s needle? 4. It is the best answer to murder The justice system basically attempts to mete out punishment that fits the crime. Severe crimes result in imprisonment. “Petty larceny” is not treated with the severity that is meted to “grand theft auto” and the latter, consequently receives more time in prison. So if severe – but non-lethal – violence toward another is found deserving of life without parole, then why premeditated homicide should be given the very same punishment? This fact might induce a wouldbe criminal to go ahead and kill the victim he has already mugged and crippled. Why would it matter? After all, his sentence could not get any worse. If murder is the willful deprivation of a victim’s right to life, then the justice system’s willful deprivation of the criminal’s right to the same is – even if overly severe – a punishment which fits the most severe crime that can be committed. Without capital punishment, it could be argued that the justice system makes no provision in provision in response to the crime of murder, and thus provides no justice for the victim.

• Do you have questions or seek legal clarification on issues concerning your marriage, probate, property, etc? Send a text message to Barr. Ken via 08162016410 or 08075763840. Email: kenakpom@yahoo.com


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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

ENTERTAINMENT

With Douglas Omoyooma

How to deal with domestic violence

–Bose Alao, actress Actress and mother of four, Bose Alao Omotoyosi is a an actress cum moviemaker behind flicks like Opa Abo, Bomi Lasiri, Imoran Ika and Olasubomi. Among others she has featured in many Nollywood movies in the past 12 years. In this chat with Oracle Today, the actress bares her mind on domestic violence and opens up on her regrets among other interesting issues.

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omestic violence needs to be stopped!” Alao begins, “we actually have to put an end to it. Domestic violence in its self is deadly,” . “Who wants to cope with violence? And to think that today, it is not only women that are victims; men are also facing it. If you think divorce will work for you, so be it. If you think it’s separation like giving your selves space, so be it. All I know is that whatever works for one might not work for the other. “ As a youngster, Alao says interest and passion pushed her into acting. She had to take permission from her mum who initially objected. Recalling the experience she said: “She was like ‘you are very good with your academics, you would be distracted.’ But as God would have it, she later agreed and asked me to write an undertaking that I was going to be a good girl. That was how I joined a drama group at the National Theatre. I met with a man called Abra who took to join a group called Awadekerikeri and today, the rest is history. But seriously, I started acting as a child actor. I did a soap for NTA when I was in Primary SIx.” Today she is a successful actress and movie maker with over 10 film productions under her belt and she is also a happily married proud mother of four adorable girls, how is she coping? “Oh my God! It is a whole lot of work I must say. It is draining but at the same time fantastic! You know there are times when you want to have that peace of mind, you just want to be alone but you can’t be alone. It is fun though. God has been faithful! It has been a wonderful journey all the way. My children a‎re my best friends.” Any plans for more kids? “Well, I don’t plan to have more children but in case I get pregnant again, I’m sure I won’t abort it. As for my husband, I am sure he

doesn’t have any such plans either. But you know, in life, anything can happen. Seriously, I’m not particular about the sex of a children. Whatever God gives me is mine. Would she allow your children to go into acting? “If they like, why not? I’ve a drama queen in my house already. I’m watching her but I won’t dictate for any of my kids. Whatever would be would be. My mother wanted me to a doctor because of my performance in school when I was young. I used be a very brilliant ‎science student but as God will have it, passion spoke up for me. Though I still did a science course in the university, I never studied medicine. Actually I studied Biology at UNILAG but I wasn’t fulfilled.” Current project Are you a fan of her movies? The actress is poised to deliver on another blockbuster. She reveals: “My fans should watch out! Right now, the script is sealed with the script writer. We are working on The Skillet Woman.” Message to fans? Alao is grateful to fans for their support and she expresses her gratitude: “Thanks for the love and support. I have not even started. I appreciate your sincere love towards Bose Alao Omotoyosi. Watch out! I promise not to let you down.” Advice Having seen it all and done it all in a career spanning 12 years, she has an advice for wannabes. She says: “They should pray more, love their spouse unconditionally and have it in mind that whatever works for A might not work for B. Let your home be based on Christ Jesus.”

• Bose Alao


36

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

Entertainment Davido focuses firmer eyes on politics and future governorship role

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omeday in the future, maybe it is going to be sooner than expected, Davido might be the first offspring of the Adeleke family in contemporary times, to become a state governor after a failed bid by his uncle Senator Ademola Adeleke. The uncle is of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He was one of the candidates who vied for a governorship role in Osun State, at a poll conducted in September 2018. Unfortunately, he lost the contest to Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress(APC). In the past months, a consciousness about national leadership has been obvious in the pop star who has introduced an initiative #DefendYourVote, to educate potential balloters on how to get the best out of their votes. The interest encouraged a witty response to a Twitter profile who questioned heavy involvement in politics by his family members. Prior to the conversation, Davido shared in an interview with UK’s Channel 4 News his willingness to participate in making good decisions in government. He might not be entirely committed but “I will probably be around it,” he says while chatting with an interviewer. “And why your first uncle(of blessed memmories)is a senator, and your second uncle is a senetor too and still want to be governor can u explain that,” asks a curious Twitter profile @ ashman_babane who is told in a comeback, “When I become governor I’ll

Controversy as Tuface apologises to Annie Idibia

A • Davido explain.” With the presidential and federal parliamentary elections coming up in six days, Davido has an energy that is as strong as in the TV interview. But his enthusiasm has made his followers question his integrity. Raising false alarm? Often times when Davido discusses his interest in politics, the PDP is usually the party he commends as having the right capacity to lead the country. This public admittance has encouraged suspicion concerning the involvement of the pop star in partisanship. A Twitter profile observed while commenting on Davido’s tweet warning about mass arrests without providing proof. “They are planning to start arresting Youths as from next week for no reason be careful my people they know they are going to lose and they have a plan like always let’s stick together and

let’s all be careful on these streets!!,” Davido shared in the post that made his followers insist on seeing an evidence. The warning seemed an advise to young voters who are believed to be targeted in a bid to disenfranchise them. But the advocacy failed to impress Davido’s audience some of whom suspected that he was administering fear tactics. International observers are concerned about credible elections in Nigeria where there is a problem of fake news. The efforts of local media, especially the radio and online television, have helped to inform audience about the harm of false information. Prospective voters are advised to do a thorough verification before disseminating any information passed to them.

controversy is currently raging on social media after Tuface Idibia posted an apology on social media to his wife, Annie Idibia. In a move which has been described as shocking he said: “Most important lesson learnt the hard way. Be picky with who you invest your time in. Wasted time is worse than wasted money. Due to unfortunate circumstances I am awake. I’m sorry to say that I have fucked up so much. Have fucked up as a role model, as a father and as a husband. Annie, I’m sorry. I know you tried your best.” Instantly there had been a barge of reactions attracting over 3000 comments. Speaking 3arhayo said: “Why are you people thinking he cheated again! Might be new music coming through again. Someone just used a break up to promote his comedy show.” rosekenneth said: “Abraham has done it again.” While tumaranathan said: “But she posted a video of the two of them just yesterday.” For harmonify1: “Dear Tuface, let it not be that you have gotten another girl pregnant again? Let this just be a publicity stunt; it will be better than impregnating another woman. it will totally reduce the respect I have for you.” makishots added: “Baby number eight loading.” And laureate said: “Another baby mama on the way. Wish men can hit menopause too.”

Aftermath of High Court ruling: We will pay all outstanding royalties without delay – Okoroji

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ollowing the unfreezing of COSON accounts on Wednesday, January 6, there is jubilation and celebration in COSON and its chairman, Tony Okoroji, has declared that COSON will pay all outstanding royalties without delay. He said: “I’m happy with the judge’s understanding of the issues. I was touched by the calmness with which the members of COSON have endured the trauma they have been forced to

go through. I want to assure that every step necessary would be taken to ensure that all outstanding royalties are sent to their rightful owners without delay.” Delievring his ruling, Justice Mohammed Hassan had ordered the re-opening of all bank accounts of COSON at United Bank for Africa (UBA), Diamond Bank PLC and First Bank of Nigeria, which were frozen as a result of an interim order issued by him on

November 30, 2018. The judge also struck out Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1819/2018 brought by Premier Music Publishing Ltd, Pretty Okafor and one other saying that his court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit as there was a subsisting order of the Federal High Court on the matter. But for the interim order of November 30, royalties would have been paid since December of last year.

Teddy Don-Momoh returns with One 4 All

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opular OAP, Teddy Don-Momoh has dropped a spanking new single entitled One 4 All. This is coming on the heels of the success of his last single which he dropped late last year entitled Merry Christmas Y’all. “I’m out with a new single entitled One 4 ALl and I’m calling on my fans to watch out! What inspired this song is the life of Christ Jesus who came to die for all humanity. It was a case of one man dying for all humanity. Relating that to Africa , the message is that if we really want that change

we desire in our nation and continent, we should be ready to stand up for one person whom we know has the capacity to bring that desired change we want in our land and in return, that one person will deliver on our dreams and aspirations. “Also, it was inspired by the lives of great freedom fighters like Nelson Mandela and Rosa Park, the mother of the American Civil Rights struggle among others. They stood and suffered the consequences as individuals for the freedom of all. The message

is simple, Africa and the black race should truly unite. And we should emancipate our minds because the true meaning of freedom is living without fear.” He dropped a single, Merry Christmas Y’all late last year, how was the response? “The response has been awesome! I’m rejuvenating some of the dying Christmas folk songs we had back then. I’m really encouraged. The Christmas song has a video on YouTube.”

Why I dumped degree for music - Slim Brown

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fter years of study at the university, wave making Nigerian singer, Hillary Brown aka Slim Brown, an indigene of Abia State dumped his degree in Laboratory Medicine to pursue his passion for music. Sharing his journey, Slim Brown, who has been around for over a decade said that he took the decision because music gives him fulfilment and satis-

faction. He said: “I decided to stick to my music as a career and not practice what I studied as generally expected. It gives me joy and fulfilment. I have done collaborations with Ilbiliss, Durella, 2shots, Phyno, Olamide, KCee, Wizboy and other big names. “I’m also called The Egwu Master. I started my music career in Makurdi and later moved to the South East when I got admission to the University

of Nigeria (UNN) Nsuka, to study Laboratory Medicine. I was that school boy that used to rap until I graduated. I made a popular song entitled Egwu in Enugu in 2008. After Egwu, I released Akara Don Done and Infinity featuring Wizboy. After that I dropped Okpasa. I want to be remembered for contributing good deeds to the society. I want to leave a positive impacts with my music.”

• Tuface

Grammys: Seun Kuti loses

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igeria’s sole Grammys nominee, Seun Kuti lost World Music Award when the award held Sunday in Carlifornia. The son of late Afro beat legend lost to a South African band, the Soweto Gospel Choir. He was nominated for his latest album which was released last year entitled Black Times alongside Bombino from Niger and Mali’s Fatoumata Diawara among others.


40

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

NEWS

Yari worried over worsening Zamfara banditry

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ov. Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara says his administration is worried over increasing cases of kidnapping “that has become a lucrative business in the state’’. Yari made the statement at Maradun community in the Maradun Local Government Area of the state on Friday, when he visited the Emir of Maradun, Alhaji Garba Tambari in his palace. The governor visited the royal father in continuation of his governorship campaign. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Zamfara in Nigeria’s northwest has been contending with a deadly banditry and herdsmen attacks that have claimed hundreds of lives in recent years. “l cannot see the possibility of abduction cases coming to an end in Zamfara State because the perpetrators have now turned it into a business venture.

“House owners rent out their property to anyone who comes, especially the highest bidders. So, the criminals hatch their plans in the privacy of their rented homes before they lay siege on innocent people. “l wish to reiterate my earlier call on traditional rulers to be vigilant on strangers coming to settle in their domains and for landlords to also investigate their tenants to be and not to be lured by the money such persons offer them,” he said. The governor, however, lauded the efforts of security operatives, especially the civilian joint taskforce created by the state last November to fight crime in the state. Yari appealed to Zamfara residents to come out en-mass on election days to vote for their candidates of choice. In his response, Tambari, assured the governor that his subjects would come out in en mass on elections days to discharge their civic duties. (NAN).

IPOB not a political party – Hon Agha Mba By OLIVER UDEOGU

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he transitional Chairman of Onitsha North local government area Hon Agha Mba has said that 2023 is the most suitable time for an Igbo President stating that the period is the best for Ndigbo to actualize their age long ambition of ruling Nigeria. He said this during a chat with the Oracle Today newspapers at the weekend. The Council boss made it clear that the presidency will rotate to the southern part of Nigeria by 2013 when it will be turn of Ndigbo to produce the next president of the country.

He therefore urged Ndigbo to vote wisely in the fort coming Presidential elections of February 16 to be at a vantage position to take over the leadership of Nigeria by 2023. According to the out spoken Council boss, Ndigbo will be making a big political blunder if they fail to vote wisely in the forth coming presidential polls. He declined commenting on the IPOB sit at home order to its members saying as far as he was concerned the pro Biafra group was neither a political party nor a government institution that can issue such order and as such cannot comment on that.

CHANGE OF NAME & PUBLIC NOTICE

I formerly known as OKOYE EBERE now wish to be known as OKOYE FIDELIA EBERE. Former documents remain valid. Banks and General public take note.

• From left: APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomohole, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, President Muhammadu Buhari, Gov. Ibukunle Amosun and others during the APC presidential campaign rally at Abeokuta Ogun State.

Alex Otti Campaign Organisation commends INEC on plan to reprint burnt PVCs

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he Alex Otti Campaign Organisation has received with relief news of promise by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reprint copies of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) destroyed in last Sunday’s fire incident that gutted the INEC new office in Umu-Ikaa, Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area, Abia State. In a statement signed by Dr. Max Nduaguibe Director General Alex Otti Campaign Organisation Otti said: “We commend the INEC for promptly rising up to the occasion and not allowing agents of darkness and retrogression, whose only desire is to scuttle the wishes and aspirations of the good people of Abia State, by denying them the opportunity to exercise their right to vote for their preferred candidates, in the forth-coming elections. “While we laud INEC’s decision to reprint the burnt PVCs, we also urge the commission to ensure that owners of such PVCs are adequate-

ly sensitized and encouraged to come forth and collect their cards, in order to have the opportunity to contribute to the development of the democratic process in the country. “We also advise the electoral body to work closely with the security agencies to ensure that maximum protection is accorded the various INEC facilities across the Federation, Abia State in particular, to forestall a reoccurrence of the sort, as witnessed in Umu-Ikaa. “We wish to restate that the burning of the INEC office at UmuIkaa is part of a wider design by enemies of Abia State, in power, to intimidate the opposition parties, especially APGA, which they dread as the greatest threat to their continued hold on power, in the state. “We would like to state unequivocally that APGA as a party and the Alex Otti Campaign Organisation are resolute and cannot be intimidated by any group or party, including the incumbent PDP govern-

ment in Abia State. We may have left behind us the sad event of 2015, when the mandate freely given to us by the Abia people was stolen by the PDP, but like our principal, Dr. Alex Otti, has said repeatedly, whoever attempts to rig the 2019 election in Abia State, will not be alive to see the result of his or her action. “The INEC authority should resist every attempt by the PDP-led government in Abia State to force the relocation of the INEC office back to the premises of the Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area headquarters at Umuoba, as such would provide a veritable ground for the PDP to execute their sordid plan to rig the elections in that localty. “Finally, we call on the security agencies, especially the Police, to fish out those behind the razing of the Umu-Ikaa INEC office and prosecute them, in line with due process and if found guilty, pay for their indiscretion.”

Ebonyi North traditional rulers endorse Egwu, Ogbaga, Nwazunku

I formerly known as JOY FRANCIS now wish to be known as JOY KESTER. Former documents remain valid. Banks and General public take note. I formerly known as IHEGAZIE ONYINYECHI PRAISE now wish to be known as ACHUGBU ONYINYECHI. Former documents remain valid. General public take note

I formerly known as SIMON BLESSING ONYINYECHI now wish to be known as OBI ONYINYECHI BLESSING. former documents remain valid. Banks and General public take note

I formerly known as OKAFOR AMALA GLORIA now wish to be known as MBA AMALA GLORIA. Former documents remain valid. Banks and General public take note

I formerly known as OBIAGAZIE OLUCHUKWU now wish to be known as OBIAGAZIE JOSEPH OLUCHUKWU. All former documents remain valid. Banks and general public take note

raditional Rulers’ Council of Ebonyi North zone has endorsed the re-election of the Senator representing the zone in the National Assembly and first civilian governor of the state, Senator Sam Egwu. Also endorsed for reelection by the traditional rulers is the Member representing Abakaliki/Izzi Federal Constituency, Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga and his counterpart, Hon. Chukuma Nwazunku, representing Ebonyi/Ohaukwu federal constituency in the National Assembly. Ebonyi North comprises 4 LGAs of Abakaliki, Ebonyi,Izzi and Ohaukwu. The three Lawmakers were notified of their endorsement by the

I formerly known as EMMANUEL NELSON OBASI now wish to be known as EMMANUEL BENJAMIN NELSON. All former documents remain valid. Banks and general public take note

I formerly known as OKONYE CHINENYE now wish to be known as EMMANUEL ESTHER BENJAMIN. all former documents remain valid. Banks and general public take note

I formerly known as IFEOMA MARY ANN ADIKE now wish to be known as IFEOMA MARY ANN AYIKA. All former documents remain valid. Banks and general public take note

From CHINEDU NWAFOR, Abakaliki

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Traditional Rulers in a brief ceremony held at the instance of the entire Traditional Rulers from the zone on Friday. The event took place at the compound of the Chairman of Ebonyi Traditional Ruler Council, HRH Eze John Oketa. The Monarchs said their resolve to endorse the trio was informed by their excellent performances in office. They eulogized the Lawmakers over what they described as effective representation of the zone in the National Assembly. Those who spoke including the Chairmen of Traditional Rulers of Izzi, Ohaukwu, Ebonyi and Abakaliki, HRH Eze Ogbonnaya Ukwa, HRH Eze John Oge, HRH Eze Sunday Oketa and HRH Fidelis Nwonu

THIS SPACE IS FOR SALE

respectively, said the zone has witnessed tremendous development and empowerment of youths courtesy of the trio. Speaking in a separate interviews, Egwu, Ogbaga and Nwazunku thanked the Monarchs for the confidence reposed on them and assured they would not let them down if reelected in the February 16th National Assembly election in the country. Meanwhile, the Association of Town Union Presidents in Ebonyi North has thrown its weight behind the re-election of Egwu and the state governor, David Umahi. The group anounced their decision when they paid a courtesy call to Egwu in his Umebe country home in Ohaukwu LGA of the state. Among the town presidents who spoke including the President of Ameku-Okposhi autonomous community in Ohaukwu LGA,and Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ebonyi State Association of Town Union Presidents, Hon. Simon Ogo Onwe, noted that their support for Egwu was due to his styling performances in the National Assembly.


41

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

NEWS Extra Polls: I’m not an apostle of bloodshed – Buhari

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resident Muhammadu Buhari has warned politicians against resorting to violence ahead of Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly Elections, saying that he is not an apostle of bloodshed. President Muhammadu Buhari Buhari mourns death of APC supporters at Jigawa Presidentially rally describing those who sponsor election violence as unpatriotic, the president vowed sanctions for such perpetrators. The President gave the warning in Southern Kaduna, during the women conference of the First African Church Mission, held in Zuturung, Gada Biyu, Zango Kataf Local Govt Area, with the theme: “I will help you”. Represented by Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Congo, Deborah Iliya, the president called on the people of Southern Kaduna to support his re-election, saying; “I am not an apostle of bloodshed, no, I am not available for violence.” Buhari appreciated the leadership of the Church for their invitation and reiterated his commitment to creating a more conducive environment for the citizenry, saying, “we are one big family.” Speaking in her personal capacity, Mrs Iliya said; “I believe that your prayers will give your leaders the power towards their numerous efforts to improve the lives and well-being of all Nigerians irrespective of their religious beliefs or creed. “The President has told me to inform you that he sees human life as sacrosanct and will do everything to protect lives and properties. Try to live in peace and harmony with one another and avoid anything that could bring trouble. “The President is a man of peace and bridge builder. Though he has been greatly misunderstood by many because of his fight against corruption, but he means very well for Nigeria, he is a respecter of every religion and tribe”. Also, at an awareness rally/ launching of APC Campaign Support Vehicles in KPOP HAM Palace Ground, Kwai in Jaba, Southern Kaduna, Iliya said; “Those who sponsor and perpetrate violence in the 2019 elections, no matter how highly influential, will face the law. Let me also say that Nigeria is our country, we do not have any other place called Nigeria. This country will not be sacrificed on the altar of violence. “Our youths are the leaders of tomorrow and so, they must shun any invitation meant to use them for violence. As you all prepare for the general elections, please come out, cast your votes. Do not exchange your Permanent Voters Cards for money. Your PVC is your power, come out, exercise your franchise and ensure your vote counts.”

Feb 16 Presidential election: Kwankwaso, Kano game changer K ano, the hotbed of Northern politics was turned into play, on Sunday after the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar turned out for a mega rally in the ancient city. There is no doubt that Kano had always been in in support of Muhammadu Buhari, who had won the state with massive margins even defeating locals from the state. However, Sunday’s rally which was signposted by the defection of the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso from the APC to the PDP has now projected Kano as a state which could be hotly disputed. Though suggestions that someone could contest Kano with Buhari could be seen as a fairy tale, the reality after yesterday was that Buhari might face a heated challenge in the state. Reflective of the new power permutations on the ground, Atiku and his entourage including the national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus had arrived Kano donning the Kwankwasiya

cap that is signature for followers of the former governor. That was to show that Kano PDP belonged to Kwankwaso and to reap the votes; the PDP presidential candidate had toe the line of the philosophy as espoused by the former governor. Before Kwankwanso’s defection, the PDP which was in the hands of Ibrahim Shekarau seen as inactive. The party did not contest the local government election that took place in 2016. However, that began to change after Kwankwanso came to the party last year. An alignment with Shekarau did not work as the later did not consider it proper that Kwankwaso was gifted with 51 per cent of the structure. Shekarau was also in some sections, accused of joining the APC by some PDP members to save his neck from the EFCC on charges of alleged corruption while the APC used him as the candidate to contest for Sen. Kwankwaso’s Senate seat of the Kano Central. Corruption has also emerged as an issue in Kano following the video recording

of the governor allegedly accepting wads of dollar cash as bribes from some unnamed contractors with the state government, which he denied. After Kwankwaso defected to the PDP, many serving APC political office holders and associates of the former governor, including the then incumbent deputy governor of the state, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar moved with Kwankwaso to the PDP. Given the bad blood that had emerged between Kwankwaso and Ganduje, the coming battle has largely been constructed to be a personality battle between Kwankwaso and Ganduje. For some, the collateral benefits or damage could then impair or harm the two major presidential candidates, Buhari and Atiku. A major threat to Kwankwaso’s ascendancy in the PDP was the issue of the governorship candidate. The emergence of Abba Kabir Yusuf, a scion of Kwankwaso, as the anointed gubernatorial candidate of the PDP led to mutterings here and there in the state as some stakeholders, es-

pecially those who had positioned themselves prior to Kwankwaso’s emergence felt betrayed. Although the Kwankwasiyya lost some followers because of the emergence of the governorship candidate, the party has now been able to find a balance as was reflected by what party officials were noting as the success of yesterday’s rally. Senator Kwankwaso has used his political prowess to bring the PDP back to life in Kano and is also struggling to induce a generational change in the leadership of the state with his anointed candidate Yusuf, who is seen as closer to the youths. Ganduje had promised to deliver 5.4 million votes to Buhari, something that was at one time seen as unrealistic.

APC Ogun violence rally: PDP mocks Buhari • Says Nigerians can’t be bought with N10,000

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• Tanker fire at NIPCO Petrol station, along Eme Court Road, Nnewi

Osinbajo, an enemy of Yoruba – Afenifere

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he pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, today, flayed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo describing him as an enemy of Yoruba people by not championing the region’s interest in the All Progressive Congress led government. It also reaffirmed the resolution of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Middle Belt Forum and Northern Elders Forum who recently endorsed the candidacy of the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. This is as 39 political groups, under the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, in Ondo State endorsed Alhaji Abubakar for the February 16 presidential election. Afenifere leaders, rising from its general meeting held in Akure, the country home of its leader Pa Reuben Fasoranti, said that Osinbajo failed to speak out when the need arose on sensitive issues bothering on the region. In a communiqué, signed by its leaders, Pa Fasoranti, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Olu Falae and Senator Femi Okurounmi, Afenifere said: “Osinbajo is hanging on the Fulani to

work against Yoruba interest when our people are getting killed in their farms by Fulani herdsmen Osinbajo did not say anything. “When we are talking about restructuring, Osinbajo is arguing against restructuring and all the Yoruba want is restructuring, so when Osinbajo is working against restructuring, he is not for Yoruba people. “So we cannot support APC because of Osinbajo, who has turned himself to the enemy of Yoruba. “That a person is your son does not mean you support him when he is working against your interest. Osinbajo is working against the interest of Yoruba and our support for Atiku is not the question of Yoruba or Igbo or Hausa but about somebody that believes in what Awolowo believed in which is federalism. We advise all Yoruba to come out and vote for Atiku. “So we cannot support APC because of Osinbajo who has turned himself to the enemy of Yoruba. “That the Atiku endorsement is based on the following reasons; shared commitment to restructuring Nigeria to guaranty true federalism, need to promote the feelings of in-

clusiveness and sense of belonging amongst Nigerians and promote much desired national patriotism and unity. On the reported endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari by the Senator Ayo Fasanmi, the group said: “These pretenders are doubtlessly not Afenifere members but, as usual, only dubiously seeking to exploit the goodwill and reputation of Afenifere to market their bad political product. “Their desperation in this regard is exemplified in the fraudulent printing of campaign posters in the name and picturing Ambassador Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu as endorsing Buhari and Osinbajo, which she has since disclaimed.” Meanwhile, at a press conference in Akure, the CUPP chairman in the state, Dr Bode Iwaloye said: “The CUPP in Ondo State has all agreed to vote for Abubakar Atiku of the PDP for the presidential election. “We are directing all our members of all these parties to cast their votes for Atiku Abubakar of the PDP in the presidential election. There would be other areas of cooperation.”

he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Monday, reacted to the violence that broke out at the All Progressives Congress rally in Ogun State. In a veiled reference to the TraderMoni Scheme, the opposition party noted that Nigerians could not be bought with N10,000, hence the violence unleashed at the Abeokuta, Ogun State presidential rally on Monday. On its verified Twitter handle, the PDP said, the violence was a direct result of the four years of alleged misrule of President Muhammadu Buhari. The PDP said, “The public pelting and jeering at Buhari and his APC during his election campaign rally in Abeokuta, Ogun state, is a direct response by Nigerians to his four years misrule as depicted in the expansion of poverty, corruption, divisiveness and bloodletting in our nation. “It is instructive to note that Mr. President was pelted in Abeokuta barely 24 hours after his Zamfara state rally on Sunday, where he attempted to incite Nigerians to join the APC in their planned resort to violence to derail the 2019 general election”. PDP added that “The people of Ogun state, and indeed, the South West, have shown that they are in direct alignment with other states and geopolitical zones of our country in rejecting President Buhari and VP Osinbajo, whose administration has foisted so much pain and anguish to Nigerians. “Mr. President can now see that Nigerians cannot be bought with N10,000, as he was made to believe by the Vice President Osinbajo and members of the cabal in his Presidency. “The PDP, therefore, urges Buhari and the APC to read the handwriting on the wall and get ready to accept his inevitable defeat so that Nigerians can have a breath of fresh air under the leadership of Atiku , whose campaign has continued to receive rousing reception.”


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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

AVIATION

NAF’s 12 A-29s can’t face full force combat

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HE 12 Embraer planes being customized for the Nigerian Air Force would serve for training, counterinsurgency and support combat operations but would be unsuitable for full force aerial combat, the manufacturers stated in regulatory report. The Oracle Today reports that Embraer Defense & Security and its partner Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) were awarded a contract to deliver 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft to the Nigerian Air Force. The two companies explained in separate statements that the aircraft would be suitable for basic and advanced flight and combat training, close air support operations, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), counterinsurgency and irregular warfare scenarios. Senior Vice President of ISR, Aviation and Security (IAS) at SNC, Taco Gilbert, stated: “SNC is proud to work with our partner, Embraer Defense & Security, to build A-29s in support of the Nigerian Air Force in addressing their on-going training and security needs.” “The combat-proven A-29 is designed and built for the mission in Nigeria. It’s the most reliable and cost-effective solution for basic and advanced flight and combat training, close air support operations, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), counterinsurgency and irregular warfare scenarios,” he explained. President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security, Jack-

son Schneider, stated also that “The A-29 Super Tucano has become the global reference for light attack and advanced training with a proven track record in several combat zones around the world.” “The A-29 is conducting combat missions on a daily basis in theaters around the world. It has more than 46,000 combat hours and more than 360,000 total flight hours. With the Nigeria order, the A-29 is the choice of 14 air forces worldwide,” the company stated. In addition to its combat record, the A-29’s robust landing gear and enhanced clearance enable take-off and landing in even the most austere field conditions. The aircraft also offers exceptional dependability and accuracy in weapons delivery, making it highly effective in the light attack role. The contract for the Nigerian Air Force includes ground training devices, mission planning systems, mission debrief systems, spares, ground support equipment, alternate mission equipment, contiguous U.S. interim contractor support, outside of continental U.S. (OCONUS) contractor logistic support and field service representatives for OCONUS support. The aircraft will be produced in Jacksonville, Florida, and modified in Centennial, Colorado. The aircraft are expected to be delivered to Nigeria in line with the contract timelines, as part of a larger more comprehensive training and support package.

Airpeace rewards pioneer manager, motivates others

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EADING indigenous airline, Airpeace, has taken staff motivation a notch higher with celebration of its founding Flight Operations Manager, Mr. Olawale Amos Olajide, with a retirement party in Lagos. Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Allen Onyema, commended the outgoing retiree as a symbol of hard work, humility, honesty and integrity to save their organizations from going down. Chief Onyema said hard work and honesty are crucial to the survival of commercial airlines boss. He commended Mr Olajide on earning good reputation while in the service of the company. He described the retiree as dedicated, hardworking, honest and humble man of exceptional integrity and professionalism in the aviation industry. “Olajide would have retired two years ago. When he came to tell me, he did not say he was retiring to go and join another airline, because one thing is certain in this country, there is no airline better than Air Peace. I say this with every sense of humility and responsibility. When he told me he was retiring, I couldn’t take it. I told me ‘you

are not going anywhere. You have to continue until I say it is okay’. He honoured my request to stay for another two years. “Let me tell you something that you have to know tonight. If you have not got to the stage your employer will not allow you to leave, then you should begin to ask yourself questions. I want all of us here to make it impossible for your employer to let you go. “What I am saying here is to encourage you to be like Mr. Olajide. Mr. Olajide gave his all to Air Peace. He was employed on July 1, 2013. That was the hardest period of our lives. That was the period he joined. He contributed immensely to everything we are today. He doesn’t react to pressure. Whatever comes, Mr. Olajide remains the same calm Mr. Olajide. He uses his calmness and humility to disarm you. He has patience in abundance. He has tolerance in abundance. I wish we all will learn from him. He is a man of integrity and honesty,” he said. The industry captain praised the spouse and children of Mr Olajide’s for supporting his diligence, and advised them to sustain the family integrity.

•Nigerian Air Force Jet

US pushes bill for mandatory second cockpit door on all planes

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.S. lawmakers are pushing for stronger aviation security with a bipartisan bill that would require passenger airlines to install secondary security doors between cabins and the cockpit on current aircraft to prevent plane jacking and terrorist attacks. Hijackings remain a threat despite improvements in global aviation safety since Sept. 11, 2001, when hijacked planes flew into New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon, four U.S. representatives – Democrats Andre Carson and Josh Gottheimer and Republicans Brian Fitzpatrick and Peter King – said in a statement. Congress last year imposed a

requirement for secondary barriers, aimed at preventing would-be hijackers from rushing the cockpit when pilots take bathroom breaks or meals, for future, newly manufactured commercial airplanes. But that legislation did not address existing aircraft. The new bill, introduced last week, would extend the requirement to all passenger jets. Secondary barriers would allow a pilot to close the cockpit door before opening another door to the rest of the plane. Current measures to protect the flight deck include stationing a flight attendant or food cart in front of the cockpit. A study by the Federal Aviation

Valentine: Airlines fete Nigerians with gifts, fare cut

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ITH the Valentine season in the air, operators of hospitality vessels have joined their hotel partners and counterparts across the world in preparations to add happiness for all guests in their care when the world celebrates love and romance. Two notable airlines that hold sway in Nigerian airspace, Arik Air and Emirates are working in same direction, offering passengers different packages to make them happier on board during the season. On the international route, Nigerians flying the Emirates are to enjoy special treats at the airlines major lounges across the world from February 13 to 15. Nigeria bound travelers at the any of the Emirates’ network of 42 lounges worldwide between will be treated with chefs meals, including a range love themed creations. Travellers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates are to enjoy treatment in the First and Business Class lounges, the airline stated. Other lounges with special prep-

arations for passengers include Australia, the UK, Boston, LAX and JFK, Shanghai, and Cairo, Egypt. The airline promises a range of champaigns, valentine themed special cakes, creams smoothies and many special customized meal packages. However, some of the Valentine treats come with persuasion to purchase fun themed items and services like spa and shoe shine services while in the mood to be pampered. Emirates promises special selection of desserts on longer flights across its network on Valentine’s Day. In the domestic routes Arik Air offers Valentine Promo that slices half of the travel companions’ fares. This would amount to cumulative 25 percent discount on purchase of two love tickets. Chief Executive Officer, Captain Roy Ilegbodu stated that the promotional offer is Arik Air’s little way of showing our customers much care. “Our aim is to foster a memorable travel experience among people.”

Administration, which oversees aviation security, concluded that cockpits are vulnerable when pilots step out and cited secondary doors as the most efficient, costeffective form of protection, according to the news release issued on Wednesday. The lightweight, wire-mesh barriers would cost $5,000 to $12,000 per aircraft, the lawmakers said. Airlines for America – an industry trade group representing large commercial carriers like American Airlines Group Inc., Southwest Airlines Co. and United – said individual airlines should be the ones to decide whether to install such systems. Association spokesman Vaughn Jennings said the airline industry has worked closely with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to implement a multilayered security system following 9/11 and noted that some U.S. airlines have determined that secondary cockpit barriers are appropriate on some aircraft. The pilots’ union, The Air Line Pilots Association, said it supported the legislation and called on the FAA to immediately implement the language required by Congress last year on new passenger aircraft “to help ensure the security of our cockpits.” Following the 9/11 attacks, airlines reinforced cockpit doors and the TSA rolled out advanced airport screening equipment. The TSA also oversees the Federal Air Marshal Service, which deploys armed U.S. air marshals on flights across the world. But critics have questioned the effectiveness of passenger screening and the air marshal program. The new bill for secondary barriers is called the Saracini Enhanced Aviation Safety Act after pilot Victor Saracini, who was killed when his plane was hijacked during the 9/11 attacks. His widow, Ellen, has been an advocate of legislation for aviation safety.


The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

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45

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

SPORTS

Banish teams outside zones – Chukwu Stories by MADUABUCHI KALU

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OLLOWING the return of violence by fans of home teams at the various match venues since the beginning of the current 2018/19 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), former national team captain and coach, Christian Chukwu has advocated the banishment of teams outside their zones for the rest of the season to serve as a deterrent to others and by so doing, end once for all the ugly incidences of violence being perpetrated by home fans and supporters at the country’s league venues. According to him, despite the fact that the League Management Company (LMC) have been proactive as they do not waste time in wielding the big stick by finning the erring teams but that has not stopped those who are involved in act as it seems that the financial sanctions is not making the desired impact expected of it and as a result he felt that banishment of team teams outside their zone for the rest of the season will do the magic. Though he acknowledged the fact that financial sanction is good because most clubs are not finding it easy as most of them can’t even have money to execute some of their programmes and hitting their pocket will further jeopardise their financial predicament. As far as he is concerned, the N1millon fine that LMC had already sanctioned some the clubs has negative impact on those clubs involved no matter anybody looks at it but maintained that banishment out their respect zone for the rest

of the season will create more fear on those clubs. “I want to start by saying that the ugly incidence of crowd violence at different match venues since the commencement of the current season is most unfortunate,” the immediate past General Manager of Enugu Rangers began. “I believe we should start by clubs educating their fans and supporters that in every sporting event, there must be three results or outcomes that one must expect. “The first result is victory, which is the expectation of every team, player, fan or supporter but that is not the only result or outcome of any sporting event like in the game of football. “The second result that one should also expect is draw. It does not matter how you expect or wish to win a match, you must know that draw is part of the result of a football match. So, when your team draw a match particularly at home you should not go and start fomenting trouble because draw is a part of the results you should expect from a football match. “The last but not the least result one should always have at the back of one’s mind is defeat. So, if you lose at home or away, you should equally remember that there have been occasions when your team won away. Therefore, it will be absolutely wrong for home fans to bring the game to disreputable by attacking either the officiating officials or the visiting team,” Chukwu explained. Speaking further, the former Enugu Rangers captain said as far as he was concerned, the best way to eliminate or reduced to the barest

•Christian Chukwu

minimum; the issue of crowd violence in match venues was to banish clubs from their zone for the rest of the season for their home matches and by so doing, the clubs will sit up by educating their sup-

Taiwo Ogunjobi dies @ 66 T HE Nigerian Football fraternity was yesterday (Monday) hit with another death with the demise of renowned football administrator, a former international and former Secretary General of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi. The death of Chief Ogunjobi was who until his death in the early hours of Monday Chairman of Osun Football Association was confirmed by his Media aid, Mr Tunde Shamsudeen. Shamsudeen told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Osogbo, that Ogunjobi passed on in the early hours of Monday at the

University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan. The former national team players died at the age of 66 as he was born on August 17, 1956. According to his media aid the former NFF Secretary General was admitted at the hospital three days ago. The Media aid did not disclose the nature of the ailment that took Ogunjobi to the hospital, but said he would provide further details later. And at the time of filing in this report, Shamsudeen has yet to brief the press on the cause of Chief Ogunjobi’s ill-health that led to his

•Late Taiwo Ogunjobi, ex-Secretary General, NFF

death. It is recalled that Ogunjobi was among the people who contested the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Presidential election last September and scored a paltry two votes as Pinnick made history as the only president of the Federation to have returned after his first tenure.

•Shehu Dikko, LMC Chairman

porters and fans knowing full well that if they go on relegation because of crowd violence and struggle to return to the elite cadre; they will certainly know that fomenting troubles because a game did not go their way or that they perceived that officiating was against them is not in their best interest. “If they perceive any wrongdoing by the officiating officials, I don’t think that the right thing is go violence rather they should channel their grievances to the appropriate authorities instead of bring the beautiful game to disrepute,” Chukwu explained. “Like I said at the beginning, the LMC are trying to curb crowd violence at our match venues by hitting the pockets of the affected clubs but I still feel more still

needs to be done by them and banishment outside their zones for second offenders is likely going to make the various clubs educate their followers or supporter to be civil even when they feel that the officiating officials were bias against their side. “I believe that banishment of club from their zone will have more impact than the financial sanction currently being adopted by the LMC. Banishment of club from their zones will certainly have greater negative impact on them and if care is not taken; they may find themselves in the lower cadre of the Nigerian League and by the time they are able to return to the elite cadre, nobody will tell them to seriously educate their supporters,” Chukwu explained.

during his time in Spain’s La Liga with Real Madrid. Prosecutors said Mourinho, who has also coaches FC Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, failed to declare revenues from image rights in Spanish tax declarations from 2011 and 2012, when he was coach at Madrid. The sentence, which came after Mourinho was said to have evaded tax with the aim of obtaining illicit profits, capped a miserable 24 hours for ‘The Special One,’ who took a tumble at an ice hockey game in Russia. The claim was filed against Mourinho last year on two counts of tax fraud committed before the Portuguese left the Bernabeu in 2013 to return to Chelsea for a second spell as their manager. Spanish tax authorities claimed Mourinho owed £3m – he had already settled a previous claim relating to his Spanish taxes after a 2014 inquiry,

which resulted in a penalty of £1.1m. However, tax authorities later found that some of the information presented in that settlement was incorrect, the prosecutors said. The Mourinho settlement comes amid a lengthening list of tax fraud cases involving soccer stars in Spain.

Yes! Am guilty of tax fraud – Mourinho

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HERE is no gain saying that this is season of tax fraud revelations by Portuguese football super stars, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho as both of them recently pleaded guilty for tax fraud. While Ronaldo started by denying the allegation while still with Real Madrid even going to the extent of saying that the club did not come to his defence, and as a result that was one of the reasons he left the 12th time European Champions to lace boot for the Old Lady of Turin, Juventus. On his part not much was heard of Jose Mourinho’s tax fraud until last week when Spanish prosecutors sentenced Mourinho to 12 months in prison as part of a deal reached in a tax fraud case. The former Real Madrid Manager, Mourinho accepted a 12-month prison sentence and a fine of close to €2.2m after admitting to tax fraud


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The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

SPORTS

Rohr banks on Ighalo to deliver 4th AFCON trophy Stories by MADUABUCHI KALU

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T is no longer news that Super Eagles and former Watford Football Club of England goal poacher, Odion Jude Ighalo has no club but that has not diminished the confidence reposed in him by the national team Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr. This is because the Franco-German Football tactician has declared that his top scorer at the Africa Cup of Nations will score more goals at the tournament in Egypt, when the tournament gets underway in June/July. The former Burkina Faso gaffer is adamant that Ighalo’s lack of actions will not affect his capacity to deliver for the three time African champions at the AFCON. Ighalo Rohr dismissed fears that Ighalo might not live up expectations because he hasn’t played top flight football for most of the year, following his failure to leave his relegated Chinese club, Changchun Yatai for a top club in Europe. “Playing in China has nothing to do with performance. Ighalo practically qualified us for the Nation

Cup despite playing in Chinese Super League. My prayer is for him to remain in top form for the AFCON. “He is a key to us winning the AFCON in Egypt which is my target. He has courage and speed which is very important in any competition,” Rohr said while still monitoring the Flying Eagles at the U20 AFCON in Niger Republic. He disclosed that he was on the look-out for potentials that could fit into the Super Eagles for the AFCON tournament in Egypt. “I am still watching and observing for now, no decision on any players yet. Let’s see how it goes in the semifinals and finals.” It is recalled that just recently at the January transfer window, Ighalo was linked to different clubs both in England, Turkey and Spain including Barcelona but at the end of the window; the Eagles’ goal poacher could not secure a contract with any club. The Edo State born striker still has opportunity of going back to his relegated Chinese club, Changchun Yatai to enable him be competitively active by the time the Nations Cup will hold in the summer.

Onyekuru eager to extend Galatasaray stay

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UPER Eagles’ and Everton loanee striker, Henry Onyekuru, has confessed that he is already seriously thinking about extending his stay with the Turkish Super Lig club, which he joined on loan from Everton of England. Onyekuru’s move to Gala came after a stormy similar spell on loan at RSC Anderlecht of Belgium, but the Super Eagles rookie says he is having a comfortable time in Istanbul. With the settings Onyekuru has seen at Galatasaray and Anderlecht turning out to be drastically different, footballlive.ng gathered that the former KAS Eupen

of Belgium winger-cum-attacker is now thinking of remaining at his present base. In contrast with the spat that occasioned his unceremonious exit from Anderlecht, which he accused of blocking his hope of playing for Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Onyekuru has praises for the crew, players and fans of Galatasaray. Correlatively, the fleet-footed youngster admits he is seriously thinking of getting an extension to his loan deal in Turkey, admitting that he would welcome a long-term deal with Galatasary. Onyekuru admitted he would have loved to stick with Everton in the English Premier League, as he always dreamt about in England, with Arsenal his favourite club, he rued that work permit issues had put that hope on hold. Onyekuru stressed: “I am very happy here. I love Galatasaray. My dream is to play in the Premier League, but I am having some problems with the work permit. If they agree with Everton, I will stay at Galatasaray.”

•Odion Jude-Ighalo

Sacked Australia women’s football coach threatens to sue

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ACKED Australian women’s football coach Alen Stajcic threatened legal action against the game’s governing body Monday, saying his career was “in tatters” following his still unexplained dismissal. Alen Stajcic “My career is in tatters and my reputation has been ruined,” an emotional Stajcic told reporters in Sydney as he spoke for the first time since he was dumped last month. “I still do not know the reasons why my employment was terminated aside from (FFA chief David) Gallop told me that the Matildas had a poor culture and I, as head coach, was responsible,” he said. Football Federation Australia dismissed Stajcic in mid-January just months before the World Cup, citing concerns over “workplace” and “player welfare” issues surfaced following two confidential surveys about the team

environment and culture. Gallop has refused to give a detailed explanation about Stajcic’s termination, other than saying it was not just based on the surveys but also on a “range of reasons and a range of information”. Stajcic, 45, said the FFA also added that he was terminated “without cause” and that “no actions of misbehaviour or misconduct could be attributed to me”. “I’ve taken legal advice about these matters which includes potential action on defamation and breach of contractual obligations by the FFA,” he said. “I’m here today to clear my name… and I’m here to repair what I can of my reputation after having spent 20 years coaching the game.” There have been calls for an investigation into the dismissal, and Stajcic backed them, adding that there has been a lack of clarity, transparency and due process

Mikel reveals why he returned to English Football

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UPER Eagles captain, John Obi Mikel has revealed why he returned to English football because of family reasons and insists he enjoyed his time in China. Mikel joined Tianjin Teda back in 2016 after ending his twelve-

•Henry Onyekuru

Federer opens up on possible clay-court return

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OGER Federer still hopes to make a return to clay in the near future, but has ruled out playing Monte Carlo this year. The 20-time Grand Slam champion has skipped clay season in its entirety, including the French Open, in recent years as he believes it impacts on his prepara-

tions for grass. However, he has recently confirmed that is set to change in 2019, and now he’s added clues to what his schedule will likely be. “I do not want to play much more,” Federer admitted. “I’d rather train more and prepare well for the grass-court season, I do not definitely want to

overdo it. “What tournament should we look at? Monte Carlo is probably too early.” The Monte Carlo Masters is set to get underway on April 13, meaning we are probably more likely to see Federer back on the red dirt in Madrid (May 3) and/or Rome.

year tie with Chelsea but decided to return to England in January 2019 despite having a one-year left on his contract with Tianjin Teda. “I look at my time in China as an experience — it wasn’t bad,” Mikel told the Sun. “Everyone was so nice but sometimes you miss home and that’s what I did. I missed home and wanted to come back.” Meanwhile, officials of the English Championship club called off a flight that would have taken the squad for their next league fixture thereby ensuring that Mikel and his teammates do not suffer crash as the plane was grounded as a result of engine failure.

from the FFA. Several Matildas players took to social media after his removal, saying they were shocked, shattered and disappointed. Stajcic, who took over as head coach in 2014, guided the Matildas to as high as fourth in the FIFA world rankings in one of their most successful eras. The FFA are looking to appoint a new coach before the Cup of Nations tournament on home soil ahead of the World Cup. Gallop initially said a new coach would be named within two weeks, but there have been no announcements, and local media reported Monday that the FFA was now looking overseas for a replacement. The Cup of Nations will see the Matildas take on Argentina, South Korea and New Zealand in late February and early March. The women’s World Cup takes place in France in June and July.


47

The Oracle Today Wednesday February 20, 2019

SPORTS Stories by MADUABUCHI KALU

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ORMER Flying Eagles and Enugu Rangers coach, John Sam Obuh, has commended Coach Paul Aigbogun Flying Eagles for soaring past their last group opponents at the ongoing 2019 Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations championship holding in the West African country of Niger Republic. According to the Ohaofia Abia State-born football sweat merchant, he has no choice than to commend the Flying Eagles who defeated their opponents in the last group match which ensured that they secured not just a World Cup ticket but at the same time, got passage to the semifinals of the continental tournament where they have to keep a date with Mali today (Tuesday) to see who advance for the final of this year’s tournament. “I would want to commend the Paul Aigbogun-led Flying Eagles for making it to the semifinals of this year’s Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations Championship. It was a great encounter and the result shows that it was not an easy game for our boys because that goal that separated them came on the 70th minute,” Obuh began. “Yes, with the semifinal ticket and a World Cup ticket the team have done well so far but they still have a task in their hand. You remember we have won this tournament for a record seven times. So, they will do well by going all out to ensure they triumph over Mali today (Tuesday) in one of the semifinals of the tournament.” Continuing Coach Obuh explained that no one should be talking of the World Cup now rather the attention of every meaning Nigerian is give the

Obuh lauds F/Eagles on W/Cup ticket •Charges team to go for final

team the necessary support particularly as they go into the semifinal game to enable them scale the huddle end ensure they make to the final. “I think that there is no need to start talking about the World Cup now. It is true that Flying Eagles have already qualified for the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) U-20 World Cup, but that is not the priority at the moment rather the priority is still the ongoing Africa Under-20Cup of Nations. “The good thing is that they won their last group match which has given them a World Cup ticket and a semifinal match at tournament. Speaking further, the former Kara United gaffer explained that qualifying for the semifinal of the championship has afforded the team the opportunity of playing more games at the tournament. He said playing more game would help the team to improve in their subsequent matches. “This semifinal achievement has given them opportunity for extra match or matches at the tournament. And if they win their semifinal match against Mali today (Tuesday), they will be in the final against either Senegal or South Africa. That extra two games for qualifying from the group stage is very advantageous for them. “In a tournament like the one they are playing, teams keep improving with every game; that is why it is advantageous for them because it would help them in rec-

tifying their loopholes. “If they did not qualify for the semifinals, there is no way we would have known good players among them. “So, I think it’s better for us to give the team all the necessary support and encouragement they need via our prayers for them to continue to do well in the tournament,” Obuh explained.

Flying Eagles aim to confirm superiority over Mali

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ITH only two matches to the trophy, Flying Eagles Chief Coach, Paul Aigbogun is already thinking of ending his campaign at the on-going African U-20 Nations Cup as champions. The final will hold this weekend, but before then, Nigeria still has to sort out Mali in the semifinals on Wednesday. And Aigbogun believes the game is another step to becoming African champions. Aigbogun’s wards defeated Mali 1-0 in the semifinals of the West African Football Union (WAFU) U-20 Nations Cup in Lome, Togo and the coach believes that thunder would strike on the same spot in Niamey on Wednesday. Mali came second in Group B behind Senegal, while Nigeria topped Group A, which comprised South Africa, Niger Republic and Burundi. All the four teams in the semifinals have already qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup scheduled for Poland later this year. However, winning the competition in Niger Republic would give the victor the honour of going to Poland as African champions. Speaking after Friday’s defeat of hosts in the last group game, Aigbogun said his team was ready for any opposition they meet in the semifinals. And in Mali, the coach is relishing another epic battle with the fellow West Africans. “At this stage of the competition I do not think we have a particular preference for a team we want to

meet in the semifinals. We are in a competition where we take the opponents as they come,” he said. Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) First Vice-president, Seyi Akinwunmi has promised that the Flying Eagles will continue to receive adequate support from the soccer governing body. Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s game against Mali, Akinwunmi said the nation’s U-20 side would need more backing to step up their efforts and qualify for Sunday’s final game. Akinwunmi then charged the team to go all out to beat Mali, who

got to the last-four by pipping Ghana’s Black Satellites 1-0 and picked the last ticket to the FIFA U20 World Cup in Poland. He said: “I watched the Flying Eagles against the host team. That they were able to hold their own in such ambiance is a confirmation that they know what is at stake. “They have the mettle to face the strongest opposition. The Malians are strong, but so are all the four teams in the semifinals. “The NFF will continue to give all necessary support for the Flying Eagles to go all the way by winning the trophy.”

Speaking further, Obuh suggested that by the end of tournament, the handlers of the team should strive to bring in some few players to improve on the team to enable them give good account of themselves at the World Cup. “I am of the view that by the end of the tournament, the technical crew led by Coach Paul Aigbogun would sit back and decide

Aguero: Trophies far more important than records

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ANCHESTER City’s irrepressible record goalscorer was close to his blistering best on Sunday as he bagged a hat-trick in the champions’ scintillating 6-0 thrashing of Chelsea. The treble was his 11th in the Premier League, equalling the record of Alan Shearer, his second in three games and his 15th in City colours. It also saw him become City’s leading scorer in league football with 160 goals, extending his overall tally for the club to 222 in the process. Despite all the accolades, the Argentinian claims all that really

Parker reveals harder puncher between Joshua, Whyte

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ORMER World Boxing Organisation (WBO) heavyweight champion, Joseph Parker who succumbed to back-to-back defeats at the hands of British duo, Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte last year has revealed between the two who is a harder puncher. It was a forgettable 2018 for the Kiwi star as he lost against Joshua (losing the WBO title) in March, and endured the same fate four months later to Whyte as well. Joshua was taken the distance for the first time in his pro career by Parker while the New Zealander hit the floor twice against Whyte. With both fights ending by decision, Parker has shed light on an interesting fact between his two former rivals.

Speaking in an interview to talkSPORT Fight Night, Parker disclosed who among the two giants in the heavyweight division hits harder, having squared off with the pair previously. According to him Dillian Whyte is a harder puncher than Joshua have suqared up against the two British heavyweight champions. “Well obviously Dillian dropped me,” he told talkSPORT Fight Night, “So of course he hits really hard. “There was a lot of punches that he threw in the fight that got me stunned, but I just fought back. “Joshua didn’t land any heavy blows so I’ll be on Dillian’s side. He was the harder hitter.” The response may come as a shock to some given that Anthony Joshua

whether they will beef up the team for the World cup or go with what they have. “I think that they have the opportunity of scouting for more talented Nigerian players who have something to add to the team and bring such players in because at the world stage it is not going to be the continental tournament,” Obuh explained.

is the unified heavyweight champion and knocked Dillian Whyte out when they fought in 2015. They had been in talks for a 2018 rematch which could’ve settled this debate once and for all, however talks broke down and AJ will now seemingly face Jarrell Miller next instead. Whyte meanwhile will return on April 20, with Joseph Parker eyeing up a place on his undercard against Dereck Chisora. When asked about the state of his weight class, Parker said: “I think the heavyweight division at the moment is probably the most exciting it’s been for a while. “With all these different fighters and all these top fighters, there’s so many fights that you can make.

matters is winning trophies and this emphatic victory took quadruple-chasing City back to the top of the Premier League. Aguero said: “I am happy for the hat-trick and to break records in the Premier League and for the club. “I try to keep those good memories, and special thanks to my teammates for helping me, but what matters most is winning. “I always try to play my game and help the team as best I can. My mentality is always to try to focus on my work and if it is with goals all the better. “What matters to me is finishing the season in the best way and winning trophies.” City brushed aside a surprisingly poor Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium, doing most of the damage in a whirlwind opening 25 minutes that yielded four goals. Raheem Sterling opened the scoring after four minutes, Aguero added a quickfire double and Ilkay Gundogan also got on the scoresheet. Aguero completed his hattrick from the penalty spot after the break and Sterling finished the rout late on. Aguero’s afternoon could have been even more profitable as he missed a sitter in the early stages and later headed against the bar. City now switch their attention to knockout football with games against Newport in the FA Cup, Schalke in the Champions League and Chelsea again in the Carabao Cup final before they are next in league action.


WEDNESDAY February 20, 2019

The

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racle Today

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ISSN: 2545-5869

Time to seek healthy democracy

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igeria’s brand of democracy looks like a HIV/AIDS patient. Its health deteriorates with each round of elections. The incidence of violence before, during and after polls has risen steadily from 1999. Vote-buying is the new name for bribefor-vote democracy. Our democracy is not growing – it’s marching backwards instead. The ritual we perform every four years hasn’t yielded the “government of the people, by the people and for the people” envisaged by Abraham Lincoln. Or will this year’s general election, which begins this Saturday, throw up truly elected representatives of the people? The size of election petitions has increased. Several members of the bar and the bench have always looked forward to this time in order to make a killing. Inec’s partiality has manifested in brighter colours with every subsequent election. The electoral body has become an irritant that digs deep into public funds: this year, government funded it with N250billion, against N80—100billion in previous elections. Inec’s budget tells just a little part of the story. We now have over 90 parties – 73 of them fielded presidential candidates for this year’s election, but only two are likely to make any impression on the vote figures – and the candidates have been breaking the banks to run their campaigns. Spending limits once decreed by Inec are null and void and of no effect: everybody has violated the law but nobody has been caught. The actual amount wasted every election year – along with the collateral damage in terms of human lives and property – can never be quantified. It’s perhaps the actual reason for the perennial economic recessions in the country. Our economy, almost always on tenterhooks, can’t take the American model of democracy. Our forefathers didn’t waste lots of money in the course of selecting their leaders. Those who transplanted the presidential system to the Nigerian soil ought to be in jail! And I’m not referring to only former military leaders who midwifed the past three republics. Their civilian collaborators also lacked original thinking – they were always looking up to the west for ideas. Now it’s clear that Nigeria democracy is imperilled. We’re trapped in an unworkable political system, and our economic system can’t therefore stand. Why wouldn’t there be a recession where fewer than 1, 700 idle “leaders” consume a third of resources belonging to 200million people? We have multiplied offices in 774 local government areas and in 36 states and the FCT, yet only a few people engage in actual production of goods and services. Foreign debt, which the country exited in 2005, is back: it is estimated that 60% of annual budgets will be used to service loans from next year. Local debt has ballooned too: we hear that government has borrowed over N6trillion of N9tr pension funds. The unending “war” on terrorism is gulping funds the nation doesn’t have. Any money spent on the military appears wasted. Over the past two or three decades, many have suggested original plans for democracy in Nigeria. In 2002 a group called “The Patriots”, fearing the calamity politicians’ salaries and allowances were doing to the common purse, had approached President Olusegun Obasanjo with a plan to change the constitution – the fraudulent 1999 constitution written by a few people in their bedroom -- to make way for a limit of one

GUEST COLUMNIST Aniebo

Nwamu

term for political officeholders. Obasanjo told them “you can’t change the rule of the game in the middle of a match”. After he had been re-elected in 2003, he set up a constitutional conference which the Senate later threw out together with Obasanjo’s third-term ambition. This same 1999 constitution has been amended in bits since 2001, yet nothing substantial has been achieved. The National Assembly has gulped billions of scarce naira for constitution amendment since then. All other Nigerian presidents in this Fourth Republic have made attempts to achieve political reform: Umaru Musa Yar’Adua set up the Muhammed Uwais Committee shortly after his inauguration in 2007; sadly, sickness never allowed him to rule. Goodluck Jonathan forwarded a bill for a six-year single tenure for officeholders in 2011; he was shouted down. He later set up the 2014 National Conference, but he lost election a few months later and the confab’s recommendations went to the trash can. President Buhari set up his own political reform committee headed by former Senate president Ken Nnamani in October 2016; the panel and its prescriptions died prematurely. All these prescriptions have been ignored, yet the conferences and panels put together have cost billions of taxpayers’ naira. Nigeria is going nowhere without farreaching political reform, which would lead to administrative and then economic reform

also. I have talked about one cure-all solution several times. It needs repeating. The colour of democracy I propose for Nigeria is one in a lighter form: Spend little money to achieve great results. Take governance to the grass roots, so communities could take charge of their affairs – elections, security, tax collection, population census. Here is how it works: Every adult Nigerian (age 18+) gets their biometric data captured and stored in a national database. Rather than hold a national ID card, driver’s licence, tax information number, voter card, bank verification number, social security number/ card, and whatever may be invented later, the Nigerian needs just one identity card and number. With this card, he votes at elections, pays his tax, pays for his driver’s licence, gets his passport, opens a bank account, gets registered as a government employee, and pays whatever fees to the government. This card is compulsory for every adult. Payment of tax – even as little as N1, 000 per year – will also be compulsory for every adult. For every election, Inec recruits its adhoc staff only from federal and state civil servants – they need such additional work because they do virtually no work in offices – who must reside near their places of work. All politics is local: every election is therefore conducted from the ward level. Our plan here is an improvement on Option A4 first implemented by Professor Humphrey

Nwosu in 1992. It was a huge success, but Nigerian leaders detest innovation. The voter register isn’t difficult to compile. From the database alone, the computer prepares the register -- with each voter’s name, age, place of residence, and ID card number -- within a second! Those who aren’t up-to-date in their tax payment are excluded automatically. Election riggers have a hard time paying for ghosts and foreigners, even if they evaded the prying eyes of law agents and local chiefs. Inec officials have no room to manipulate polls; they know they will be traced easily, and the punishment is severe. With an authentic voter register, Inec conducts free and fair primaries for parties and the actual elections. On each voting day, you queue behind the poster of your preferred candidate; Inec counts, announces and records the total votes from each of 120, 000 polling stations. The results are fed into the computer at the nearest Inec office and… there you have winners and losers within an hour after close of polls. Leaders other than councillors emerge by an electoral college. Those who win at the ward level sit to select a local government chairman from among them. They also select lawmakers at the state and federal levels. And state lawmakers elect the premier or governor. The selected federal lawmakers elect the prime minister from among them. Commissioners and ministers are also selected from those who won elections at the ward level; whenever there is a need to change any commissioner or minister, an election is conducted at their ward. The model I propose is neither the presidential nor parliamentary system. It’s original – a model that would serve us Africans at little cost. The toxic baggage we already have will not let any government policy bear fruit. I have always said that we missed it during military rule. If the jackboots had really been benevolent, they would have turned Nigeria around for the better, for they had the chance to take shortcuts. Selfishness didn’t permit them: they created states and local government areas so their people could benefit from oil funds without working. But, as we’ve now found out, free oil money doesn’t solve problems. We must return to true fiscal federalism where regions would manage their own resources and contribute taxes to the central government. I won’t waste more time rehashing all the needed reforms. Many of us have harped on them for the past decade or two: a new constitution providing for a part-time unicameral legislature at state and federal levels, dissolution of the 36 states and return to a true federal structure (a sixregion structure), seizing of all assets whose sources their owners cannot explain, making politics and political offices unattractive. Nigeria will not move an inch forward until it listens to the voice of reason. Injustice runs deep in the land, and there cannot be peace if there is no justice. The judiciary is a mess. Had the leaders of Nigeria listened to agitators for a “sovereign national conference” in the last 25 years, perhaps Nigeria would have started working by now. Perhaps, the thousands of lives lost to political crises, poverty and now terrorism would have been saved. Perhaps the economy wouldn’t be looking as hopeless as it does now. • Nwamu, book editor and writer, is the CEO of Eyeway.ng. +234-8054100220 (SMS/WhatsApp only)

The Oracle Today is published by The Oracle Newspapers Limited. Head Office: 116 Awka Road, Onitsha. Lagos Office: 25 Remi Fani-Kayode Street, GRA Ikeja. Abuja Office: 1st Floor, Plateau House, Central Business District, Abuja, FCT. ISSN: 2545-5869 Email: oracletoday2016@yahoo.com, Twitter: @oraclenews.ng Facebook: oraclenews.ng@facebook.com Website: www.oraclenews.ng Advert hot lines: 09078310060, 09061836916. Editor: FELIX OGUEJIOFOR ABUGU.

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Nwodo:Igbo vote enough to make Atiku president

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Nwodo:Igbo vote enough to make Atiku president

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