MATTERS ARISING: Vandals enforcing their ‘brand loyalty’
Another recent pipeline explosion in Arepo, Ogon State claimed lives, as vandals were once again on hand to carry out their professional activities. Illegal activities of vandals in Arepo contributed to the recent fuel scarcity and it appears the NNPC pipelines in the
area are still as vulnerable as ever.
On his visit to the scene of the explosion, Governor Ibikunle Amosun blamed NNPC for handling the security of such huge investment with levity, and therefore called for cognitive effort to put an end to such activities in the area. “This (explosion) is clearly due to failure of governance. NNPC by its inaction is aiding and abetting this and I want to believe it is part of pipeline vandalism. How can this local canoe, for example, be used by NNPC to protect a billion-dollar investment? Even if the place is combustive, can’t solar-powered boats be used? If NNPC supports us, we will get the whole place cleared and if we’re given between five and 10 swamp boogies, we’ll clear this place, erect platforms and install electronic devices. We will put up the CCTV and also have a control room that will monitor the place.”
Without making a case for any act of vandalism, the persistent economic situation in the country coupled with the get rich a- all-costs syndrome, will continue to trigger such activities wherever perpetrators see the opportunity; it is therefore pertinent that vandalism which is fast establishing itself as a brand, be treated as an emergency threat by the government.
Uzoma’s Retirement: Good or Bad?
After a petition was believed to have been sent to the President Jonathan, Rose Uzoma, Nigeria Immigration service Comptroller General was retired for favouring people from her region with jobs. Uzoma was immediately replaced by Mr. Rilwan Bala Musa, the most senior deputy Comptroller general of the Immigration, to act, pending the appointment of a substantive Comptroller General.
The state and regional breakdown of officials in the agency however showed that the highest employment beneficiaries in the agency is the North- central, followed by the North- west, South- west and South- east respectively.
If the retired Comptroller General is found to have been favouring the people of her region (South-East) in the recruitment process, the statistics provided does not nail her but if there is any other evidence that proved she was guilty as charged, the decision of compulsory retirement was right, but should the exercise be limited to the immigration alone? The leadership of many MDAs just might more guilty than Uzoma…or did she offend someone in the course of the last recruitment exercise…?
…On The Idea Of Phone Farming
Call it mobile phone farming, and you won’t be far away from the truth. The federal government recently revealed its plan to distribute mobile phones to 10 million farmers across Nigeria. While many have criticised the intention, farmers across the country have also raised their voices against the move, saying what they need most is access to funds, not mobile phones; which according them is quite cheap and affordable for farmers to buy.
According to Omotayo Omotayo, a farmer in Ogun State, the idea of giving phones to farmers is unnecessary since most farmers already own mobile phones and have been using them to connect with their market. “I don’t think buying mobile phones for farmers is important. There is hardly any serious farmer that does not have a phone or a means of communicating with his or her customers. The idea doesn’t hold water because, at least here in Ogun State, we have the Agricultural Development Programme. They usually go into the rural areas to educate farmers on new farming techniques. So, I don’t think farmers need to receive such information on mobile phones.”
Now that intended beneficiaries of phone farming are kicking against the move, attention should rather be shifted to effective distribution of fertilizers and provision of should be made for them to have access to loans. Come to think of it, do we really have up to 10 million farmers in Nigeria? It’s like somebody trying to play a fast one us again! Meanwhile, how much will this cost?
SENATE GETS ROLLING
As the upper chamber of the national assembly resumes its plenary session for the year, Senate President, David Mark, highlights the task before the senate. The assignment before the senate according to him is restore confidence in the ability of the government and work towards the upliftment of a beautiful nation under a constitutional democracy, while stating that this is achievable under the existing laws.
Mark also warned against the balkanization of the country and vowed that the senate would collaborate with the executive towards good governance. “What we should not countenance is any talk about the balkanization of our country. We have become a melting pot welded by a common history, a common destiny and a common heritage. The result is that the fault lines, if any, have become blurred. The senate will continue to collaborate with the executive, within the context of the principle of separation of power, to ensure that our nation emerges stronger and more dynamic.”
The Senate President appreciated the people’s faith in democracy and urged politicians to repay them with good governance. “It is gratifying to know that the people have continued to repose their faith in democracy. The faith can only be repaid through sustained good governance. This is why all of us, without exception, must resist the temptation to sacrifice good governance on the altar of politics as the 2015 election approaches”
Branding Nigeria’s Centenary
The journey to a memeorable celebration of brand Nigeria centenary has begun. The project which was formally inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan recently includes plans to construct a new city gate as well as a centenary city in Abuja. The proposed centenary city is a new ‘smart city’ to be built on more than 1,000 hectares of land along Airport Road in Abuja.
The project as explained by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, would tell its story and develop initiatives as well as projects that would enhance the development of the nation amidst celebrations. Anyim explained that the projects to be undertaken would be fully funded by the private sector, saying that “the Federal Government will not spend any kobo on it.”
On January 1, 1914, the Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria were formally amalgamated into one country, establishing modern day Nigeria. January 1, 2014, marks 100 years of our union as a nation.
ON THE MUCH ANTICIPATED MERGER…
Gen Muhammadu Buhari has stated that the new party coming out of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and Congress for Progressive Change CPC, merger will pursue the restructuring of the country while revealing that the new party should be ready for presentation by the middle of this year after signing the declaration.
Speaking at the inauguration of the CPC merger committee in Abuja, Buhari said that the flag and logo for the new party which is expected to emerge in June this year have already been prepared, adding that it should not take more
than six weeks for the parties to pursue the matter within their own constitutional context to ensure that the issue is legitimised through the proper procedure and process of its own organs.
On the prospect of the new party, Buhari said the party will root for proper federation as the basis of the union and for the governance of the country. “The new party should support the restructuring of the country. The 36 states structure of the country is simply not working and it must therefore be rationalized. The party should root for democracy and the rule of law and the entrenchment of democratic culture in the country; and the foundation of the new party should be anchored on recognition and acceptance that our cultural and religious differences are a blessing and a source of strength and should not be a cause for disunity.
The new party should as a matter of upmost priority began to tackle and plan for the creation of a new security architecture for the country and possibly for the entire sub region, a development that may involve the creation of local security networks and the restoration of traditional intelligence gathering technique to shore up a police force that has obviously failed.”
Etisalat hits 15 million subscribers
ETISALAT Nigeria, has announced that it has hit 15 million subscribers base at the start of 2013. This achievement, according to Etisalat, represents a market share of over 15 percent in just over four years of operation. By that standard, the telecom company considers itself one of the most successful late entrant telecom companies globally.
Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr Steven Evans said: “at the beginning of 2012, we were moving towards 11 million subscribers. Now, 12 months later we have added four million active subscribers to our base, this is a phenomenal achievement. “We have shown an innate ability to turn challenges into opportunities. With this mindset and our focus on quality, innovation and the customer, we have been able to listen, attract, reward, retain and expand our customer base over the last 12 months.”
OBJ’s Brand of Advice Over Boko Haram
If there is anybody President Jonathan could look up to for advice on how to tackle the menace of Boko Haram, it is former President Olusegun Obasanjo and now the incumbent president is getting the service on a platter of gold, as ‘Baba’, as he is fondly called has suggested the use of “carrot-and-stick” strategy to address the sect’s menace.
Obasanjo, in an interview with the CNN, said Jonathan administration had been applying less of dialogue and more of force in solving the Boko Haram issue, advising that just using the stick is like neglecting the other important aspect.
“To deal with a group like that, you need a carrot and stick. The carrot is finding out how to reach out to them. When you try to reach out to them and they are not amenable to being reached out to, you have to use the stick.”
The former president also reminisced his findings while trying to reach out to the group in 2011, which shows that the group was receiving support from other Nigerians who have resources overseas or “other organisations from abroad,” noting that, “If they had 25 per cent support a year and a half ago, today that support has doubled.”
The international rights group, Human Rights Watch, reported that the activities of the sect have claimed over 2,800 lives, and if the ‘the carrot and stick’ scenario is what would put an end to it, Nigerians won’t mind sponsoring the purchase of the ‘carrot and stick rather than putting jaw dropping budget figures for security that is not available.