MATTERS ARISING: Sanusi’s Ban Call
Central bank gornor, Sanusi Lamido has called on the federal government to ban the various ethno-religious groups in the country in other to curb insecurity in the country. The CBN governor who made the suggestion at an inter-faith dinner organized by the Northern reawakening forum recently held in Abuja, said all ethnic and religious groups in the country were actually political associations.
In his words, “I almost didn’t want to attend this occasion because I am opposed to regional, ethnic and religious groupings in this country. In fact, I would like the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI), Afenifere and all other groups to be banned.” He has since received tons verbal missiles for his ‘effrontery’ Sanusi is not new to controversy and the apex bank governor does not seem perturbed by the ‘controversy’ tag. He seems to enjoy the challenge that comes with it.
FG Suspends Importation of Private Jets
Pending the formulation of a new policy, the federal government has suspended the importation of private airplanes, helicopters and other lighter aircraft into the country. Confirming the development, the Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Aviation, Mr. Joe Obi, stressed that the suspension did not affect the importation of commercial and passenger jets being used by domestic airlines.
According to him, the current outdated policy must be renewed. “You will agree with me that the current policy on private jets is old, and there is a need to renew it. Pending that renewal, all applications for importation for now will have to hold on.”
Obi however did not give a timeframe for the lifting of the suspension. “There is no definite time for now. It depends on when the new policy is completed. Government is working on the policy. When it is completed, everybody will be informed.”
FG Targets 10,000mw of Electricity in 12months
The federal government is set to consolidate on the improvement witnessed in the power sector, with a target of 10,000 Megawatts of electricity generation by December, 2013.
Minister of State for Power, Mrs. Zainab Kuchi,
who disclosed this in a presentation to the Presidential Action Committee on Power in Abuja, said the generation capacity stood at 6,442MW by the end of 2012, while the quantity generated stood at 4,517.6MW. The minister also listed some achievements recorded in power transmission which include the inauguration of 239 kilometres of 330KV transmission line, completion of 21km of 132KV of transmission line, and the inauguration of 600MVA 330/132/33KV substation capacity. Adding that plans are afoot to ensure the diversification of the nation’s energy sources, scaling up of rural access to electricity and stimulating investment in the sector by fostering bilateral relations.
The ministry, according to Kuchi, would also focus on developing new policy initiatives to address post privatisation challenges.
Governors, Bane of LGs
In what has always looked like an underground battle, the governors’ forum seems to have finally showed their real intent. Rivers State Governor and Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, recently foreclosed any expectation for local government autonomy in the country, saying Nigerian governors would continue to oppose any call for it.
Governor Amechi stated that governments all over the world maintain two tiers of governance and therefore Governors Forum as a pressure group would continue to oppose calls for local government autonomy in the ongoing constitution amendment exercise.
“Governors are one of the most patriotic elements in this country. I say to you that there is no country in the world that there are three federating units; there are only two all over the world. Why should you say that there must be third federating units in Nigeria?”
The governor, however, did not oppose the existence of local governments, but stressed that such should be left to the powers of the states not the constitution.
“Of course, yes, we will continue to oppose autonomy of local government. Let a state governor or let the states create as many local governments as they want to create but don’t put it there as a constitutional issue.”
Since no governor has came out to oppose Amaechi’s statement, it can be safely said that the Chairman of the forum spoke their minds; little wonder you hardly see a local government council in most parts of the country embark on a developmental project on its own, not to talk of completion.
The PDP BoT Stalemate
By the time you are reading this, perhaps a new chairman of the Board of Trustees of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, would have emerged. But not without its high drama and intrigues. Prior to the possible emergence, that had been hours of closed door meeting, it was revealed the meeting did not come close to discussing the aspirants or endorsing any of them, as some members were already challenging the legality of some people to vote.
In a bid to make the election process democratic, a committee was set up to streamline membership of the board in preparation for the election of a new chairman, within three weeks. Developments within the party has always attracted notational interest and attention due to the numerical strength and spread of the party and, of course, the fact that it is the ruling party. The race to replace former President Olusegun Obasanjo who resigned from the position last year for personal reasons has been a major headline story in the news recently.
More intriguing is the list of candidates jostling to occupy the vacant seat, which led to question as to which has more power between the party
national chairman and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees! Dr Alex Ekwueme, Dr Ken Nnamani, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo. Others are Dr Amadu Ali, Chief Tony Aneni, Chief Emmanuel Iwuayanwu, Chief Don Etibet, Chief Harry Akande, amongst others, are all veteran politicians. This goes a long way to show that the power wheeled by the BoT chairman of PDP cannot be easily quantified. Why not, afterall PDP is not Africa’s largest party for nothing.
Three New Varsities
A clause in the Nigerian constitution states that all states of the federation must have a minister in the cabinet and the spirit seems to have found its way into the education sector, as the Federal Executive Council during its first meeting of the year approved three new federal universities in Kebbi, Yobe and Zamfara, to ensure all states of the federation can now boast of a federal university.
Making a case for the approval of these universities, the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, pointed out that access to education has been an annual problem that the
government is worried about, stating that the continued increase in number of JAMB applicants every year which range from 1.3 million to 1.5 million, is another cogent reason for the approval of these universities.
As plausible as the gesture may be, the basis of education which is to ensure a brighter future for the country would be truncated if the universities are established just for the sake of creating space for university applicants. We must also begin to work on the ‘quality side of education which has been eroded perhaps by so much focus on ‘quantity’ over the years.
Jonathan On the Mali Intervention…
President Goodluck Jonathan on his recent visit to Geneva defended the decision to send Nigerian troops to Mali, stating that it is based on the need to insulate Nigeria from the activities of Islamist insurgents and curtail the current wave of terror threatening to engulf the sub-Saharan region.
The president explained that Nigeria does not have any territorial ambition in the neighbouring Mali but to protect its citizens and ensure that terrorists being trained there and the weapons passing through the area never enter Nigeria.
“Nigeria has no territorial interest in Mali. Going to Mali does not mean that we are trying to extend our territorial control to the country. No. We believe that if we don’t go there the war going on there will affect us.” He concluded that Nigeria troops would be in Mali till the unrest is over.
The Local Content Brand: Counting the Dividends
As the Local Content Act approaches its 1000th days, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has revealed that the implementation of the local content policy in the petroleum industry has created 30,000 jobs for Nigerians.
The minister who stated this in recent statement in Abuja said the the policy in the last 30 months has generated jobs in the engineering, fabrication, marine transportation, logistics and exploration and production sub-sectors of the oil and gas industry, and expressing optimism that more would be created in 2013. “Just by insisting on using Nigerians in the industry, we have deepened the local supply chain. I have no doubt that more jobs will be created in 2013 and we shall achieve greater localisation of the industry services, manufacturing and fabrication in 2013,”
The minister also noted the consensus achieved in most aspects of Nigerian Content implementation due to the ability of the board toecarry thr industry along which has prevented dispute amongst stakeholders on interpretation of provisions of the Nigerian Content Law.