Wednesday, December 02, 2020
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Godwin Obaseki of People’s Democratic Party has been declared the winner of the Edo State governorship election held on Saturday.




“Godwin Obaseki of the PDP, having satisfied the requirement of the law and scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner,” Johnson Alalibo, the chief returning officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state, announced on Sunday afternoon.



Obaseki polled a total of 307, 955 votes to defeat All Progressives Congress’s Osagie Ize-Iyamu-Iyamu who got 223, 619 votes, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).




Despite the supports from godfathers,   Mr Oshiomhole the  former chairman of the APC and  then  governor of Edo State together with Jagaban  Bola Tinubu, APC leader,  former governor of Lagos;  the APC candidate  Ize-Iyamu was unable to win the APC former stronghold.




The PDP candidate won with a difference of 84,336 over APC’s Ize-Iyamu. Obaseki won 13 of 18 local governments in Edo State while Ize-Iyamu won in five local governments.



Below are the results by local government:

Igueben LG: APC 5199, PDP 7870

Oredo LG: APC 18,365, PDP 43,498

Esan North East LG: APC 6,556, PDP 13,579

Esan West LG: APC 7,189, PDP 17,434

Etsako West LG: APC 26,140, PDP 17,959

Esan Central LG: APC 6,719, PDP 10,694

Ikpoba Okha LG: APC 18,218, PDP 41,030

Egor LG: APC 10,202, PDP 27,621

Uhunmwonde LG: APC 5,972, PDP 10,022

 

credits- Guardian and Premium News

Ghanaian President Nana  Akufo-Addo  has issued a press  release on the death of  George Floyd in America.  In a  Twitter/Facebook post, President Akufo-Addo wrote, "It cannot be right that, in the 21st century, the United States, this great bastion of democracy, continues to grapple with the problem of systemic racism."

President Nana Addo continues,  “We stand with our kith and kin in America in these difficult and trying times, and we hope that the unfortunate, tragic death of George Floyd will inspire a lasting change in how America confronts head on the problems of hate and racism.”

 

See below

 

Third Force Forum (3FF)-The Coalition of Former Presidential Candidates and Aspirants in Nigeria -  have issued a below Press Release that asked  Southerners in Muhammadu Buhari’s Cabinet to Resign.

Adversity Introduces a Nation to Itself


It is with profound sadness that we the undersigned, former Presidential Candidates and Aspirants, under the auspices of the “Third Force Forum”, arose from an emergency meeting, in the week ending April 10, 2020, to address the below matters to all Nigerians:

Pursuant to the federal government’s lopsided distribution of COVID-19 palliative “Cash Transfers” across Nigeria, through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, with a distribution formula of 83% to Northern Nigeria (NE, NW, NC), and 17% to Southern Nigeria (SW, SE, SS), as reported by the “International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR)”, we hereby ask that cabinet members from the Southern states, serving in the current Cabinet resign honorably, or immediately disassociate themselves from the incumbent government; or on the contrary clearly admit complicity, with a policy that betrays massive inequity to Southern Nigeria.

We make this statement not because we are against our ordinary Northern brothers and sisters.  We are aware that the North has in the past also produced fair-minded patriots, including General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, and Umaru Musa Yar’Adua; rather, we make this statement with a sober, but bold assessment of the inclinations of this current Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN).



Equal Productivity Should Provide for Equal Benefits


It is note-worthy that today, over 80% of both resource and tax-based revenues in Nigeria, are generated from the South, while over 80% of all sensitive political appointments are held by people from the Northwest & Northeast, thereby depriving the entire South the necessary input into critical policy decisions.

This situation is exacerbated by the fact that the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial arms of government, as well as the entire security apparatus, from the military, to customs, to maritime, and to the management of the State oil company (NNPC), have all been engineered into one corner, and are controlled by only persons from the North, to the detriment of a broad, diverse and inclusive policy framework.

The recent COVID-19 palliative formula response is proof-positive, and it essentially shows that the government has brazenly portrayed, that even under this adversity, that one half of Nigeria essentially works for, or is totally subjugated to the other half of Nigeria, even in the midst of a severe public health adversity.



He Who Holds a Man Down Stays Down 

Many aspiring leaders of Nigeria, including many in this forum of recent presidential hopefuls, have given the current administration a fair-shake, and a benefit of the doubt, since 2015.  Some even supported President Buhari in his initial quest for the presidency.  However, what we will not do is to stay silent in the midst of profound and obvious governmental discrimination.

This current government under President Buhari cannot hold one region down, so that another region may arise, because “he who holds a man down stays down”. Therefore, the net effect of policies like these is that all of us will stay down, because one cannot rob Peter to pay Paul.

Show Us That an Elected President is In Charge
We will not excuse this matter on the grounds that perhaps, President Buhari is not aware of the formula for the distribution of the COVID-19 Cash Transfer scheme.  For some time now, Nigerians have shared innuendoes that the kitchen cabinet of Aso Rock comprises of 3, or 4, or 5 “Unelected Officials”; and these people decide what happens in the entire country.

Therefore, with all due respects to the current government, let the record reflect that the 3, or, 4, or 5 persons that Nigerians believe make and execute policy, were not elected by the Nigerian people.  President Muhammadu Buhari is the elected official that we hold accountable, and the buck stops with the President.
Again, we do not hold grudges against our brothers and sisters that reside in the northern part of this Republic, however, as the great Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King once opined, “it is not where people stand in moments of comfort that matter, rather it is where people stand in times of controversy and strife”.

Therefore, as future leaders of Nigeria, we have chosen to stand with all the people of Nigeria, including the North and the South, to ask that the “Cash Transfer” palliative for COVID-19, a Public Health adversity, be properly distributed to affected states across the entire country, including in the current epicenter of Lagos, and not just as a freebie across Northern Nigeria.  On the contrary, let the cabinet members from the South resign immediately, to show that they are not complicit in this misguided matter.

Transferring all the resources accruing from one region of the country, to another region, will not make the transferee wealthy; rather, it will only make the transferee more dependent.
In conclusion, we hereby call for Southern members of the cabinet to resign, as a protest to the prevailing inequity and injustice.
We wash our hands off any calamity that may befall Nigeria, due to a callous disregard for equity and injustice, in the distribution of the common-wealth of this country, from one region to another region.  The government should also seize this opportunity to address another looming injustice, in the form of the exclusion of Southeastern Nigeria from the proposed World Bank loan, which is being negotiated for parliamentary approval in Nigeria at this time.



Final Notable Points:

There is poverty in every corner of Nigeria, from Sokoto to Anambra; from Akwa Ibom to Bornu; from Lagos to Kano; and from Rivers to Bauchi.  Any pretension that poverty does not exist all across Nigeria is to pander to mischief.  The COVID-19 “Cash Transfer” must be distributed equitably to other regions.

Productivity breeds wealth, it is the responsibility of the 19 Northern Governors to pursue models of society empowerment, whether from Southern Nigeria or elsewhere.  This is not the time to transfer the productive resource of one region to another.  Effecting majority of this cash transfer to Northern Nigeria alone, at the expense of other states, will breed animosity that will be extremely difficult to overcome in the future. The private donors who contributed to the FG COVID-19 Fund did not mean for these funds to be distributed to the North alone, if they did, they would have stated it clearly during their donation.


Signed:
Hon. Okey Samuel Mbonu
Dr. O. Favour Ayodele
Hon. Clement Jimbo
Hon. Evelyn Okere
On behalf of the Third Force Forum       Contact: Charles Adeyinka Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former Finance Minister in Nigeria, World Bank personality and  acclaimed global financial guru has been appointed Head of Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) by the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa  

The Council comprises of local and international economic thought leaders bringing together prominent economists and technical experts drawn from academia, private sector, labour, community, think tanks and other constituencies.

 

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa

 

Nigeria’s Senate approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan to borrow $22.7 billion from external creditors to finance infrastructure projects.


Lawmakers gave their endorsement to the government during Thursday’s proceedings in the capital, Abuja, to seek the funding expected from the Islamic Development Bank, the African Development Bank, the World Bank and creditors in China, Japan and Germany. “The loans will have a positive influence on the GDP of this country,” Senate President Ahmed Lawan said.


The government will use the money to expand the railways, build a new hydro power dam and fund special intervention projects across the West African nation, according to a letter sent to the parliament in November.



While Nigeria’s outstanding loans amount to about about a quarter of its economic output, Africa’s largest oil producer spends more than half of its revenue servicing debts. The International Monetary Fund has warned that without major revenue reforms, the debts could rise to almost 36% of GDP by 2024, with interest payments taking as much as 75% of government revenue.


"Nigeria’s public debt stands at N26.2trn as Buhari govt moves to borrow N10.8trn"

 

Premium New stated : "About 70 per cent (that is, $17,065,496,773) of the new $22.7 billion loan bid will be coming from China’s EXIM Bank, Nigeria’s biggest bilateral lender in nearly two decades. Apart from China, the other lending agencies are the World Bank, $2,854,000,000; Afrivan Development Bank (ADB), $1,888,950,000; Islamic Development Bank (IDB), $110,000,000; Japan International Cooperation Agency (JlCA), $200,000,000; German Development Bank (KFW) – $200,000,000; China Exim Bank, $17.065.496.773; and the French Development Agency (AFD), $480,000,000. Already, since 2002, Nigeria had borrowed $6.5 billion from China to fund various infrastructural project."

 

 

Credit: Anthony Osae-Brown Bloomberg

Nigeria's Health Minister Osagie Ehanire  announced in an official  statement  that the coronavirus infection has been confirmed in the 20 million metropolitan city of  Lagos. The infected carrier was an Italian citizen who flew in from Milan, at the heart of Europe's largest outbreak, earlier this week. According  to the Health Minister, "The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms,"  and he was being treated at a Yaba Teaching hospital for infectious diseases in Lagos.



"The low number of cases so far across Africa, which has close economic ties with China, the epicentre of the deadly outbreak, has puzzled health specialists. Prior to the case in Nigeria, there had been just two cases on the continent -- in Egypt and Algeria. Nigeria, Africa's most populous country with some 190 million people, is viewed as highly vulnerable to viral spread given its weak health system and high population density."


Below is full statement by Health Minister of Nigeria, Dr. Osagie Ehanire :



FIRST CASE OF CORONA VIRUS DISEASE CONFIRMED IN LAGOS


The Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case in Lagos State, Nigeria. The case, which was confirmed on the 27th of February 2020, is the first case to be reported in Nigeria since the beginning of the outbreak in China in January 2020.


The case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria on the 25th of February 2020. He was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.



The Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Health has been strengthening measures to ensure an outbreak in Nigeria is controlled and contained quickly. The multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has immediately activated its national Emergency Operations Centre and will work closely with Lagos State Health authorities to respond to this case and implement firm control measures.



I wish to assure all Nigerians that have we have been beefing up our preparedness capabilities since the first confirmation of cases in China, and we will use all the resources made available by the government to respond to this case.


We have already started working to identify all the contacts of the patient, since he entered Nigeria. Please be reminded that most people who become infected may experience only mild illness and recover easily, but it can be more severe in others, particularly the elderly and persons with other underlying chronic illnesses. All Nigerians should take care of their health and maintain hand and respiratory hygiene to protect themselves and others, including their own families, following the precautions below:


1. Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.



2. Maintain at least 1 & half metres (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.



3. Persons with persistent cough or sneezing should stay home or keep a social distance, but not mix in crowd.



4. Make sure you and people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene, meaning cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or into your sleeve at the bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.



5. Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Please call NCDC toll free number which is available day and night, for guidance- 0800-970000-10. Do not engage in self-medication




6. Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 through official channels on TV and Radio, including the Lagos State Ministry of Health, NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health.



Citizens must not abuse social media and indulge in spreading misinformation that causes fear and panic. The Federal Ministry of Health, through Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, will continue to provide updates and will initiate all measures required to prevent the spread of any outbreak in Nigeria.


Dr Osagie Ehanire
Hon. Minister of Health



After long absence from Africa,  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo heads to 3 African Countries - Senegal, Angola and Ethiopia on diplomatic mission.  The journey to these African countries will be essentially a mission on combating terrorism, bridge building and trade.



With China, Russia and Europeans  encroaching strongly on  commercial and diplomatic landscape of Africa, it becomes imperative for America to revitalize its standing and dominance on trade with Africa.


"Pompeo is visiting Senegal, Angola and Ethiopia as the Trump administration tries to counter the growing interest of China, Russia and other global powers in Africa and its booming young population of more than 1.2 billion.  His visit comes as the U.S. military considers reducing its presence in West Africa's Sahel region while extremists linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group expand their reach, killings hundreds of civilians. Pompeo last year said the Sahel should be the next focus of the global coalition against IS outside the group's core region."


NOT VISITING NIGERIA



Nigeria is among six countries affected by the new visa restrictions placed by Trump administration  and  the others  including  Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Eritrea, Sudan and Tanzania. The new travel ban policy, which takes effect Feb. 21 has brought some pitfalls with  Washington diplomatic relation with the most populous and richest country in Africa - Nigeria.



Nigeria foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama  and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo  Nigeria's Onyema and US Pompeo in Washington DC



Meeting in Washington with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo , the Nigerian foreign minister Onyeama said, “We have identified all those requirements, we had actually started working on all of them. We hope to have that up and running very soon and no longer running through third parties. Hopefully once that has been achieved we look forward to being taken off this visa restriction list.”



Associate Press reported: "The U.S. travel restrictions come at a time of growing insecurity in Nigeria. The country's military is still battling a decade-long insurgency by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram in the northeast, and also now confronts a breakaway faction that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group."



"Also raising concerns is the Trump administration's announcement last month that it will no longer be issuing immigrant visas to citizens of Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation with an estimated 200 million people and a large, often high-achieving diaspora. New visa restrictions also were imposed on Eritrea, Tanzania and Sudan."



"The U.S. military this month holds its annual Flintlock exercises in Senegal and neighboring Mauritania to help train regional armies to counter extremism.  There are signs, though, that U.S. military interest could be waning. Late last year the U.S. switched to a strategy of merely trying to contain extremist groups in the Sahel instead of weakening them, according to a new report by the Pentagon inspector general.  Meanwhile the U.S. has begun replacing some combat troops in Africa with military trainers. Worried French officials have lobbied the U.S. not to reduce its presence in the Sahel, where France's largest overseas military operation leads the fight against extremists and is adding hundreds of troops."


Africa and US have been in cordial relationship since the inception of democratic rule  in most of the African countries. But since the rise of China with its massive investments in Africa, America appears to be taking back seat. But Washington is giving a signal that she is ready to come back to Africa especially on investment and trade. This is the right time for US to speed up  its presence in the continent . Britain after  decamping from European Union is showing much interest in Africa especially in  Nigeria, therefore it is necessary for  America to be leading from the front.  The time for America to regain its foothold in Africa with its cultural and commercial safety net is now.

AFRIPOL

The exodus of Nigerian immigrants to Canada is showing no signs of slowing down. For the fifth year in a row, more Nigerians emigrated to Canada than the year before as data published by the Canadian government shows the number of Nigerians issued permanent resident permits has tripled since 2015. It's a growth rate that outstrips some of Canada's biggest sources of immigrants over the last five years, including India, China and Philippines. The rise in Nigerian immigrants heading to Canada reflects  the North American country’s push to expand its labor force and lower the average age of its workers as its population advances in years. In 2019, Canada welcomed 341,000 immigrants in total (about 10,000 more it targeted) as part of its immigration policy to attract skilled workers.



For middle-class Nigerians increasingly looking to emigrate, Canada holds appeal for several reasons. Its ongoing drive to increase skill-based immigration offers a legal and long-term path not just to residency permits but also citizenship. It’s a prospect that’s alluring given Nigeria’s ongoing economic and insecurity travails, with the political class not appearing any closer to providing the kind of leadership required to turn around the country’s fortunes. In 2018, Nigeria overtook India as the country with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty. And, given precariously low human capital spending on education and healthcare, it’s a reality that will endure for, at least, a generation.

 

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World Bank in the study of poverty in Nigeria have produced a report which  documented  that Northern Nigeria accounts for  87 percent of all poor in the country and South 12 percent.  The detailed, researched and analyzed report was titled ‘Advancing social protection in a dynamic Nigeria’ was released in first quarter of 2020.



According to the report, "Nigeria experiences high inequality along geographic lines, with poverty mostly concentrated in the North and in rural areas. Poverty in the northern regions of the country has been increasing , especially in the North-West zone. Almost half of all poor lived in the North-West and the north accounts for 87 percent of all poor in the country in 2016. Poverty rates in the southern zones were around 12 percent with little variation across zones. The South-South zone saw the most significant drop in poverty from 2011-2016. Poverty was significantly higher in rural areas of the country in 2016. An estimated 64 percent of all poor lived in rural areas and 52  percent of the rural population lived below the poverty line in 2016. In contrast, the poverty rate in urban areas remained stable at 16 percent between 2011 and 2016."


The report in the detailed analysis drew a wide scope of poverty with its  causative tendencies and ramification grounded on "lack of basic infrastructure, poor social service delivery outcomes, weak resilience in the agriculture sector, stagnating productivity in the farm and non-farm sectors, mismatches between youth aspirations and employment opportunities available in the economy, poor education and health services utilization, weak governance, climate change, and conflict have contributed significantly to the poverty situation in the country. Both location and the demographic structure of the household also play a significant role in defining a person’s poverty status. The risk of being poor is higher in the north irrespective of individual or household characteristics, perhaps indicative of fewer economic opportunities. Individuals with higher education have significantly lower chances of being poor, which reflects higher household incomes."

 

Image result for Source: Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (2017)


It further illustrates  that "Persons living in households with more children and elderly persons are also more likely to be poor because the earnings of the few working-age adults are needed to support the many dependents. Recent literature also suggests that female headed households have a higher likelihood of being poor in Nigeria. Empirical evidence from the correlates of transient poverty shows that farming household head with secondary and tertiary education, access to credit, and larger farm size decreased transitory poverty. On the other hand, larger household size and dependency ratio, and exposure to flood and pest infestation increased transitory poverty. Analysis of the new NLSS (to be available in October 2019) will provide opportunities for more precise and contemporary assessment of determinants of poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria. "


"Nigeria suffers from very poor human capital outcomes, particularly among the poor. Data from the Human Capital Index (HCI), which measures the amount of human capital a child born today can expect to attain by the age of 18, shows that a child born in Nigeria today can expect to be only 34 percent as productive when she grows up compared to if she enjoyed complete education and full health. Nigeria’s HCI is lower than the average for its region and income group, and lower than what would be predicted for its income level. Nigeria’s poor human capital outcomes dim the prospects of sustained growth and poverty reduction in the country, with some studies suggesting that between 10 and 30 percent of per capita income differences between countries can be attributed to human capital."

Wednesday, 05 February 2020 21:06

BIAFRA: Documentary marking 50 years

Documentary marking 50 years since Nigerian-Biafran War launches in London

 

Dr Louisa Egbunike’s documentary weaves together an engaging narrative of reflections from authors touched by one of the most devastating conflicts of the 1960s, one that still casts its shadow on Nigerians around the world


On Saturday 25th January 2020, a sold-out Curzon Bloomsbury cinema played host to the launch of In The Shadow of Biafra, a documentary reflecting on 50 years since the end of the Nigerian-Biafran War.


Produced by Dr Louisa Egbunike from City, University of London’s Department of English, and directed by filmmaker and University of Sussex PhD student Nathan Richards, the film juxtaposes a variety of reflections by creative writers – both those who lived through the war, and those who have been touched by its impact on their families both before and since they were born......

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