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Abdulwaheed Usamah

Aregbe engages 300 young entrepreneurs, entertainers, to chart Lagos developments strategy

By Maryam Haruna
As part of measure to ensure Lagos State continue to evolve in spheres, the Youth Organizing Secretary, the state chapter of All Progressive Congress (APC), Idris Aregebe, has concluded plans to build a youth platform that provides innovative ideas and prompt solutions to any challenges confronting the state.
Aregbe hinted that no fewer than 300 youth influencers, entertainment exponents and young entrepreneurs from each council in the state would be engaged on platform.
Through a statement issued on Friday by his office, the organizing secretary stated that the platform will commence with a two-day roundtable discussion themed ‘Entertainment As Tool For Nation Building,’ at the La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, Akodo, Ibeju–Lekki, Lagos.
Aregbe, who also doubled as convener of ‘ Our Lagos, Your Lagos initiative,’ stressed that the object of the platform was to build formidable youth platform where ideas and strategies could be adopted in pushing the boundaries of innovation, growth and development of Lagos.
“Entertainment has become a viable tool of communication to reach both the young and old, hence it will seem appropriate to explore the vast opportunities of this profession to engage the youths on the importance of nation building.”
According to him, some of Nigeria’s prominent and award-winning entertainers have expressed their committed interest in participating in this historic event.
Aside entertainment, Aregbe disclosed that the platform would further explore benefits of youth participation in politics, saying, the Nigerian youths are yet to look beyond the optics of the present times and heed clarion call of governance as the nation’s beacon of hope.
He emphasized that his office would not desist from exploring avenues to engage and increase youth participation in politics, even as assistance would often be given to youths with laudable initiatives, basically for individual growth and development in Lagos State.

Iya Kabiru and Other Stories

By Reuben Abati

“Iya Kabiru must be the luckiest woman in Nigeria today”

“Who is that? I don’t know anybody so-called”

“You don’t know Iya Kabiru? But you know Baba Kabiru?”

“Do they know me?”

“This is the problem with you. You only think about you, you, you. I am sure when I tell you now who Baba Kabiru is, you will jump up and say you know him”

“Look, just say what you want to say. I have too many things to worry about other than this your D.O. Fagunwa story about Iya Kabiru. Today is a busy day for me not a day for idle talk”

“Hey, don’t get worked up, chill, my friend. Iya Kabiru is the wife of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the comrade Governor of Osun State who is leaving office today after eight years in office. Kabiru is their first son. He got married last year. Many people who know the Governor call him Baba Kabiru.”

“So, what has that got to do with all the serious issues of survival that Nigerians are worried about. You know you should be more responsible. You can’t go about gossiping about other people’s lives.”

“I don’t gossip. I am trying to say something very serious. By the time I am done, even you will learn one or two things. Essentially, I am trying to review the eight years of Aregbesola as Governor in Osun State.”

“I tried to follow his stories. The man says he did not collect salary as Governor, even though he ate government food, used government cars…Good for him. But as for me.. I don’t like the role he played in the last Gubernatorial elections in Osun State. He practically imposed his own successor on the people of Osun State. We can’t have outgoing Governors behaving like dictators and insisting that they will hold the future of the state in their palms. And to think he is a Comrade like Adams Oshiomhole.”

“That is not what I am talking about. Osun state people are not protesting. I can’t come and be weeping more than the bereaved.”

“I know. But I thought you wanted an assessment of Baba Kabiru’s eight years in office. So, let us do it, since today is effectively his last day in office”

“Yes.”

“For example, he says he has no bank accounts anywhere. He has no money and he has only the house that he built before he became Governor. He is happy that he was able to transform the lives of the people of Osun State.”

“With Opon Imo. The tablet of knowledge. Ogbeni Till Daybreak. Let me help you. He also says he is leaving a state behind that has the lowest poverty incidence rate and the lowest unemployment rate in Nigeria.”

“He built roads and schools.”

“I know. I know. But what are the people of Osun themselves saying? What is the impression of the civil servants who were denied salaries for months? I will prefer to hear from the average man on the streets of Osun. But that is not what I want to talk about.”

“You want to talk about Iya Kabiru”

“Yes. I want to congratulate her. And I say, Iya Kabiru, e ku oriire o.”

“What of the Governor himself? You don’t want to congratulate him on his successful completion of two terms in office?”

“I will leave that to people like you. My big take-away from the exit of the Comrade Governor is the statement he made about his wife, Iya Kabiru. He told the people of Osun State that he has been an absentee husband for eight years. He was so busy as Governor, he had no time for his wife. He wants to go back to Iya Kabiru and “enjoy each other”. He doesn’t want to go to the Senate like others in his shoes, he just wants to go home and spend time with Iya Kabiru.”

“And how does that affect you?”

“You don’t get the point? This is the era of women empowerment. Our Governors should not get to office and become absentee husbands. That is an abuse of human rights and a violation of the integrity of the other room! If I had my way, I will recommend immunity for wives from the absenteeism of husbands. If there was more time, I would recommend that Mrs Aisha Buhari, the wife of the President, should lead a movement to defend the right of women who are married to politically exposed men in office, not to lose their rights of access and enjoyment with their husbands. Public service should not interfere with the rights of wives!”

“You always like to trivialize things.”

“No. When Comrade Aregbesola was asked what his regrets could possibly be, and I consider that an important question, his memorable response was that his being Governor did not allow him to enjoy his wife for eight years. He now wants to go and enjoy his wife. For me that was the most profound thing he said.”

“How profound! I thought you would raise serious questions. Will his successor become his stooge? Will Aregbesola continue to rule over the state of Osun and treat Gboyega Oyetola as his proxy? Is Aregbesola now a Godfather pulling the strings from the corner? Will the new Governor Oyetola be his own man? Is Osun going to revert to its constitutional name, that is Osun State, or will it still bear the strange name: The State of Osun?”

“Why should those things bother me? The one that I want to reflect upon is the absenteeism of Aregbesola as husband for eight years! And I identify with Iya Kabiru on this special occasion, marking the return of her beloved husband to full-time husband duties.”

“It is not your duty to intrude into other people’s privacy. What are you driving at? What the man says about his wife is not our business. He probably was talking more about truancy rather than absenteeism.”

“Na you sabi. I am saying congratulations to Iya Kabiru, all the same. As an advocate for women empowerment, I congratulate her on the many good things ahead: this special honeymoon that awaits her, in the loving hands of Baba Kabiru. And I say Iya Kabiru, e ku amojuba. E ku oriire, lopo lopo. In nine months, please invite us for a rice-and-soup-very-plenty-naming-ceremony. Triplets by the Grace of God!”

“You are very ridiculous. You are off limits”

“My friend, don’t be hypocritical. If our father, the Iku Baba Yeye himself, the Alaafin of Oyo, at 80 plus is still celebrating the arrival of babies, not just babies, multiple twins, Baba Kabiru must show proof of his own statement in nine months as a true son of Osun.”

“You are absolutely incorrigible. Who told you the only way a man can show affection to his wife is to put her in the family way. Is that what you call empowerment”

“I am just very happy for Iya Kabiru. I am overjoyed. Politics turned her husband into an absentee husband. Now, out of office, her husband says she will now be her project. Alihamdulilali!”

“I don’t see how Aregbesola can leave politics. Politics in Lagos and Osun. He will still be busy.”

“But with Iya Kabiru fully attended to. And by the way, Aregbesola should leave Lagos politics alone. He should stay in his own state of Osun.”

“You are crazy. Did you drink anything this morning? Can we change this subject?”

“On one condition”

“What condition?”

“You will congratulate Iya Kabiru”

“Okay, congratulations Ma. Thank you for standing by Governor Aregbesola through thick and thin. One yeye man in Lagos says you are the one we should congratulate”.

“Say it in Yoruba”

“Iya Kabiru e ku oriire o. E ku ti ipadabo Baba Kabiru o.”

“Only God knows how many women out there who have to deal with the challenge of having absentee husbands because their husbands are involved in the public arena. Such women are the true heroes of Nigerian democracy.”

“You know when you say that, what comes to my mind really, is the plight of the wives of the many soldiers who were killed recently by Boko Haram terrorists in Matele, Borno State. It is one thing to have a husband go to the battle-field, if he is absent, you at least know where he is and that he is busy, but to have him die on the battle-field, never to return, that is tragic. I feel for the widows of the fallen soldiers of Matele..”

“I am not satisfied with the way the Nigerian government has handled the matter. Obviously, Boko Haram has not been technically defeated. Has Alhaji Lai come up with anything yet?”

“Alhaji Lai? No, please. I watched a video of the attack that was in circulation over the weekend. I was horrified. The Boko Haram terrorists caught the Nigerian soldiers off-guard. They ambushed them and mowed them down. Sad. Very sad. I later saw a social media tweet by someone who said he saw his father in the video and the family has not yet heard from the Nigerian military. I also saw a post by a woman who cried out over the loss of her husband. Each time a soldier dies at the battle-front, many lives are affected.”

“118 of them. Just like that.”

“The government is obviously overwhelmed.”

“What really can government do? Terrorism is the new tragic reality of the age. It is the worst form of inhumanity known to man. It leaves governments in a bind; it drives society to the edge. It disrupts the order of values.

“There is a lot that the Nigerian government can do.”

“Please, this is not about politics. Don’t bring politics into this.”

“Who is talking about politics? I am saying our soldiers need to be better equipped and better protected. When a man signs up to be a soldier, he knows that he has signed up to die for his country if need be, but that does not mean he must be served up like barbecue to the enemy. Why are our military bases so porous, so poorly defended? Why is it so easy for anyone to get a military uniform? When our soldiers fall at the battlefront, what are the protocols for informing their families and managing the communication process? We need to professionalize the Nigerian military. If we must rely on technical assistance from other countries, let us do so. When our soldiers die, there must be special grants for their widows and survivors, to be paid for life if possible.”

“I will add another point. Any service chief that is not ready to focus on the job should be changed. Nigeria’s security chiefs should stop attending political rallies and meetings. We want soldiers in uniform, whoever wants to do politics should remove his uniform and wear agbada.”

“Anyway, the President has said that the loopholes that led to the fatalities will be blocked once and for all. I take that to heart.”

“Yeah, he spoke a whole week after the incident. I am surprised nobody is making an issue out of that.”

“You never know. May be the President was busy at the time. And a President doesn’t just talk. He has to consult and be briefed.”

“What is that? Busy doing what? Donald Trump talks every day. He is on twitter every morning, commenting on anything that catches his attention. He is involved.”

“This is Nigeria. This is not the United States. We have our own way of doing things here, from the Presidency to the man on the street. The President could have been busy for example, preparing for the 2019 Presidential debate.”

“Which debate? You think he will agree to participate in a debate?”

“Why not? I will like to see him in the debating hall, taking on issues with the likes of Omoyele Sowore, Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu, Tope Fasua, Donald Duke, Obadaiah Mailafia and of course Waziri Atiku Abubakar. Let him defend the “Next level” and let Ezekwesili and Sowore take him on.”

“I see you are not a nice man at all.”

“How? There are things the President can and should talk about. You have been lamenting over the killing of soldiers, for example, but look at what the Federal Government has just done for policemen.”

“And what is that?”

“Yesterday, the President approved more pay for Nigerian policemen. He approved the Rank Salary Structure Adjustment for policemen”

“No wonder”

“No wonder what?”

“There is this policeman that I know. I saw him and his wife yesterday evening. The two of them were laughing like jackass. I have never seen them look so happy. I thought something was wrong. So, it is the salary increase?”

“Let’s just say policemen deserve to be happy too. But it is not enough to increase their pay. Nigeria is heavily under-policed. We need more policemen. Like the military, the police should also be better equipped. They need better training. Clean uniforms. Decent barracks. An average policeman should be a university graduate, not a primary school drop-out.”

“Why are you saying policemen should be graduates, when most of your politicians don’t even have secondary school certificates? Sometimes, I don’t get you.”

“I know what I am saying. Every policeman should be a college graduate. You don’t understand. It is a next level thing. Nigeria can only move to the next level if we all begin to think out of the box.”

“Like your thoughts on Iya Kabiru eh”.

“Ha. Iya Kabiru! A hero. Someday, she should tell her story: the story of the big sacrifice her husband made as Osun State Governor!”

Breaking news: Sanwo-Olu adjusts campaign structure, appoints Ambode’s aide

By Olawale Abdulfatai

Less than a week to commencement of Gubernatorial campaign for 2019 election, All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has adjusted campaign structure, appointing Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s aide, Abdul-Hakeem Abdul-Lateef and Lagos House of Assembly, Deputy Speaker, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni as Directors.

The adjustment, the Guild gathered, was embarked upon to ensure that candidates of other political parties vying for the seat were kept on their toes till after the election.

Besides, the campaign team also adopted Independent Campaign Group (ICG) platform to run an inclusive campaign house that would accommodate aggrieved members and form a joint front ahead of 2019 election.

Under the new structure, 43 members of the party were appointed based on their expertise as directors and coordinators who were to serve across the three senatorial districts in the state.

After the adjustment, Tayo Ayinde was appointed as Director-General of Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu Independent Campaign Group (BOSICG), haven previously served in same position before the merger of Ambode and Sanwo-Olu campaign teams.

Aside him, Sanwo-Olu also appointed former APC Vice Chairman, Cardinal James Odunbaku as Deputy Director-General for the group.

At the inauguration yesterday, Ayinde announced the names of directors of the each created directorates, with various tasks tied to the entire positions.

On the list, Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) former chairman, Moshood Salvador, was announced as Assistant Director-General who would oversee the group’s affairs in West Senatorial district of the state; with responsibility of coordinating President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign in Lagos.

To handle other senatorial districts, the gubernatorial candidate appointed former lawmaker, Wahab Alawiye-King, also as Assistant Director-General for Lagos Central Senatorial district while former chairman, Agboyi-Ketu Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Yetunde Arobieke as Assistant Director-General for the East senatorial district.

Also on the director list were Eshinlokun-Sanni, who was appointed to oversea Research and Intelligence, Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Abdul-Lateef, was assigned for Conflict Resolution while Lagos State former Solicitor-General, Lawal Pedro, was made to handle the group’s legal affairs.

Also, former Commissioner for Agriculture, Enoch Ajiboso, was appointed as Director, Community Affairs and former Commissioner for Rural Development, Cornelius Ojelabi, as Assistant Director-General, Lagos West (Badagry axis).

As Sanwo-Olu announced his appointment, a source from APC secretariat, disclosed that the party had created nine directorates that would handle 2019 election campaign for the party in the state.

The source said that, though, the party was making efforts to compel Sanwo-Olu’s ICG to collapse 41 directorate structures to nine, but that may not be achievable since the independent campaign group’s aim was to harmonize all aggrieved party members after the recently conducted primary election.

He hinted that the party had invited Ayinde and Odunbaku on the aforementioned but met stiff resistance of directors who were earlier privy to APC plan.

According to him, the party may have no option than to stay away from the group’s structure and accept Sanwo-Olu’s campaign plan.

Meanwhile, as part of the strategy to reach rural dwellers, an arm of Sanwo-Olu’s ICG was also established to engage citizens at grassroots level across the state.

The arm, ICG Grassroots Engagement Committee, as part of its responsibility is saddled with the responsibility of coordinating street canvassers and artisans within the state.

As part of the group’s responsibility, they would mobilise Community Development Association and Community Development Committee and other grassroots based organizations, basically to ensure full participation during electioneering campaign.

Osinbanjo extends TraderMoni initiative, captures three more markets in Lagos

By NewsDesk, 

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has extended Federal Government’s TraderMoni initiative, which has been giving traders across the country access to N10,000 interest free loans, to three other markets in Lagos State, the development of which came weeks after the programs were flagged off in the state recently.

Osinbajo, who led other Federal and State Government officials to Ikotun, Igando and Ile Epo markets yesterday, urged the traders to make judicious use of the loans to secure more from Federal Government.

While interacting with the traders, Osinbajo said the objective of the scheme would be defeated if traders do not repay the loan to secure more from Federal Government.

“This is one initiative this administration has put in place to address the plights of those at the grassroots. To help you grow your businesses and make lives meaningful to you and your families. That’s why we ensure there is no collateral and when you repay the loans, you can secure more from government because it shows you are serious with what you are doing, ” he said.

Some of the traders who spoke to Daily Trust applauded the gesture but pleaded for more loans saying they would be willing to boost their trades and businesses with as much fund as possible made available to them.

Yemisi Babalola, a salt trader in Ikotun market expressed readiness to invest the money in her trade. She said although she would love the money to be increased, she is nonetheless going to make judicious use of the initial fund to qualify for more loans.

Similarly, Jide Akanni, a butcher at Old Epo market said he took the arrivals of TraderMoni officials in the market for him to be convinced that it was really. He said having been registered and his account credited, he now believes the scheme is real.

“When they say TraderMoni, I always thought it was one of these political gimmicks. But today, I am convinced it is real. If I can repay the initial loan given, I have been assured of prompt increased money,” Akanni said.

Aig-Imoukhuede and the initiative for public governance

By Reuben Abati

A week ago, I stumbled on an article titled “Africa and the burden of Leadership” (The Guardian, Nov. 7), written by Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, banker, investor and entrepreneur, former Managing Director of Access Bank Nigeria, our compatriot. The piece was actually excerpted from a speech he delivered at the graduation ceremony of government and public policy students at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, UK, in his capacity as founder of the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG). The AIG was founded by him in 2014.

The piece made me curious and I had to check out the Africa Initiative for Governance online. In this age of “google-it” or what others call the “white man’s oracle,” if you are in doubt about anything or you are looking for information, just consult the google-oracle. So I googled it to double-check some of the information already provided in the article before me.

Indeed in 2014, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede founded the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG) as a not-for-profit, private sector-led Foundation to promote good governance and public sector reform. Every year, since 2016, the AIG, in partnership with the Blavatnik School of Government has provided post-graduate scholarships for a Masters in Public Policy (MPP) programme at the University of Oxford. To date, persons selected from Nigeria and Ghana have benefitted from the programme. Five of them graduated in November 2018.

They are expected to return to their home country and become change agents in their country’s public sectors. Five other AIG scholars enrolled for the MPP in September 2018.

Every year, the Foundation also awards the AIG Fellowship to an outstanding public official in Nigeria or Ghana. To date, Professor Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the immediate past Chief Justice of Ghana, Justice Georgina Wood have benefitted from the Fellowship.

The AIG is involved in partnership with the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (OHCSF) to give teeth to a 2017-2020 Federal Civil Service Transformation Strategy and Implementation Plan to ensure the transformation of the Nigerian civil service, and general public sector reform. As recently as October 2018, the Africa Initiative for Governance(AIG) sponsored and facilitated a session: “The Unfinished Business of Reforms” at the 24thNigerian Economic Summit held at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, FCT. I further discovered that my friend and brother, Olusegun Adeniyi sits on the board of the AIG. I recall that he actually once wrote a piece on the initiative when it was first launched.

Aigboje Aig-Imokhuede is a member of the emergent generation of Nigerian wealthy men and women, the 80s generation that made its money in the last two decades, from banking, finance, securities, real estate, oil and gas and just about anything that could be turned into money as the decades progressed.

This rise of new money in Nigeria as different from “old money” (represented by the the Odutola brothers, Dantata, Ibru, Ojukwu, daRocha, Fernandez etc) also seems to have coincided with a rising consciousness about the need to give something back to society, that is philanthropy or social responsibility. There has been, in Nigeria, a re-definition of capitalism, in terms of a more benevolent construction, and the rich man as a responsible man of community and an agent for social good.

What has been seen, therefore, is the growth of institutions and initiatives devoted to the public good or ostensibly so, with too much money seeking to do much good. Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President of the Dangote Group, and one of the richest men in Africa, has the Dangote Foundation. Jim Ovia, owner of Zenith Bank, has a Jim Ovia Foundation, and is founder of the Jim Hope Schools. Tony Elumelu, Chairman of the Union Bank for Africa (UBA) runs the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) which has been supporting and grooming entrepreneurs in 44 African countries. Of all these efforts that I know, the least publicized in my view is the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG). Or to put it differently, in a country where a Foundation that distributes food to the poor, and another small one that gives out second hand clothes, are much better known, a Foundation like the AIG which focusses on reform, governance and policy deserves more aggressive publicity – not to promote ego, but to inspire a much broader debate about its goals and objectives.

The only significant thing I notice however is that the acronym of the Africa Initiative for Governance is AIG. The founder, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, is also more popularly known as Aig, a shortened form of his name. But greater publicity for the Foundation should expand access to the opportunities it offers. This is my point. How many persons in Nigeria or Ghana are aware of the scholarships and Fellowships on offer? Who knows that the Foundation exists? Aig-Imoukhuede may assume that the work of the Foundation will speak for it. These days, Foundations speak, and they should speak for themselves.

It remains for us to interrogate the foundations of the initiative, and some of the points raised in Aig-Imoukhuede’s article. The original assumption is that the civil service is the engine-room of a country and that for a country to function effectively, attain a competitive edge and for democracy to work, there must be in place a development-oriented civil service in place. Aig-Imoukhuede obviously believes as shown in his piece “Africa and the burden of leadership”, that the failure of African states is a function of the failure of the bureaucratic machinery in those countries, and that reform is required to reverse the trend, rediscover lost glory and reposition African countries for progress.

There is a touch of nostalgia in this. Many Nigerians growing up in the 60s, 70s, and early 80s in Nigeria will remember a country that once worked. Chinua Achebe referred to this when he titled one of his books, “There was once a country”. In that country referred to by Chinua Achebe, there may have been small corruption within the system, tongue and “tribe” may have differed, but Nigeria was a country that worked.

There was in place a state bureaucracy that provided opportunities and service for the average citizen. We had in the country some of the best schools in the sub-region, if not in the entire continent. Scholars from around the world came to teach at the country’s universities; there were foreign students in Nigeria as well. As a secondary school student, some of my teachers were from Pakistan, India and other parts of the Commonwealth. As an undergraduate, we had Faculty members from the United States, France, UK and Canada. Nigerian roads were fixed by a department called PWD, that is Public Works Department. In those days, teachers were special citizens because students and their parents celebrated them and appreciated their value.

A school principal or a primary school headmaster or headmistress was definitely a member of the local elite. There was a Sanitary and Hygiene Department at the Health Office. Today, Nigeria ranks second on the ignoble, global list of countries that are guilty of open defecation due to the absence of public latrines! There was regular power supply in those days. Nobody had any need for a generator. Today, every home is a power station. You have to generate your own water, your own electricity too. The situation is so bad that the Federal Government has had to declare a national emergency on water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

AIG believes that the narrative can be changed and that new thinking can produce a new Nigeria. Aig-Imoukhuede is convinced that public sector reforms focused on human capacity development and institutional capacity building can change our circumstances.

The truth is that there have been many public service reforms in Nigeria as has been convincingly argued and rigorously analysed by Tunji Olaopa, our former Perm. Sec at the State House who in a few days will be delivering an inaugural lecture as a Professor at the Lead City University in Ibadan. (see for example: Tunji Olaopa, Managing Complex Reforms, Ibadan: Bookcraft, 2011, 315 pp). Nonetheless, in spite of all of those reforms, Nigeria remains classified as a “hesitant reformer”. Countries like Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Mauritius, Botswana, and Kenya are ahead of Nigeria. Nigeria remains resistant to new thinking.

Aig-Imoukhuede through the AIG, wants to intervene from within, through private sector injection, into the policy making process. His entry route is education. He believes that if the private sector can invest over time, in human capital, create a pool of public policy experts who have been schooled in some of the best institutions in the world, when such individuals are injected into the system, they can make a difference. He even intends to set up a public policy university in Nigeria where such new thinkers can be produced.

I get the point about human capacity investment. Many countries in the developing world have learnt to recruit into their bureaucracy only the best and the brightest available. In India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, you must be really smart to be a civil servant. It is understood that what happens in terms of the management of the state determines everything else.

In Nigeria, our civil service system has been overtaken by nepotism, lack of merit, incompetence and complete disregard for critical thinking. The same Nigerian civil service that once produced Super Permanent Secretaries (including Philip Asiodu, the late Allison Ayida and late Hayford Alile), now produces ethnic champions, looters, “area boys”, and closet politicians. Aig-Imoukhuede believes that a carefully groomed and intellectually exposed new elite can create a revolution. He has taken the strategic step of involving beneficiaries from Ghana and other African countries.

I assure Aig-Imokhuede that he may end up having more success stories from Ghana and elsewhere in Africa. But that does not mean he must give up on his own country. He made his money here and he has an obligation to contribute to the re-making of the country of his birth. The path he has chosen is much better than donating money to politicians who do not understand policy or the developmental process that will produce a better society.

It is a much wiser way of spending his money than acquiring additional wives or side chicks, living large like an octopus, dressing like a coxcomb, or becoming an embarrassing face of capitalism. My worry is this: when the new bureaucratic elite that he is helping to create through first world education return to Nigeria or Ghana, how do they fit in, into the rot in Nigeria especially? How do they fit into the prevalent culture of anti-intellectualism?

A Masters in Public Policy (MPP) from Oxford is great but is Nigeria’s civil service today, ready for Oxonian intellect and competence? What is the guarantee that some of AIG’s products will not end up elsewhere in other countries where they may be better valued? Aig-Imoukhuede wants to create 21st century technocrats for a 19thcentury system in Nigeria. Will elite public policy education also prepare his beneficiaries for the primordial constraints of the Nigerian public sector?

Let me simplify that. In Oxford, and I believe in the elite school that Aig-Imoukhuede wants to build, they will teach things like planning, processes, innovation, creativity, efficiency and outcomes as parts of the bureaucratic engine. How will the AIG agents when they return to Nigeria respond to their other colleagues who in the first place are holding strategic positions because of Federal Character and whose secondary school certificates cannot be traced and who have never been to anywhere close to Oxford? How will they relate with the horde of civil servants who will leave the office before noon every Friday and will not return?

How will they deal with a system where records are not kept and nobody wants to keep any record because of an established “Guardian syndrome” – the this-is-how-we-have-always-done-it mentality that has always made new thinking impossible in the Nigerian civil service? The plan is to train AIG Fellows to think modern, post-modern even, but what should they do with that other colleague who during the weekend had been shown wearing a masquerade attire and prancing about with a primitive sword in his hands, and paraded as the chieftain of a 9thcentury society?

I am not knocking AIG’s emphasis on human capacity development and institution building. I am trying to problematize what they propose by saying that there is a whole lot more beyond the development of a new skills-set, and a new generation of thinkers. Nigeria failed first at the level of values, culture and ideals before its public service followed suit and failed. The entire country itself needs to be re-built before the input of private institutions like AIG can be better felt. We need a different kind of leadership: a leadership that values ideas and the capacity of human beings to make a difference, and a governance system that is driven by ideas and a competitive spirit.

Nigeria cannot afford to continue drifting. It is the reason many of our capitalists are beginning to jump into the fray to see what they can do from the private sector-end to reduce the spread of institutionally generated madness. It is probably in their enlightened self-interest to be seen to be actively creating new currents within the country, and an enabling environment for capital to thrive, but we should hold Aig and others at the higher end of the spectrum: their love for country.

The founders of AIG and similar others have proven one point: that leadership is a collective responsibility and more so, between the public and private sectors. In doing so, they all hold up a candle to future generations and offer hope that some day, this country will reach the turning point of progress. AIG doesn’t want Nigeria and the rest of Africa left on the tarmac. That’s fine. Nigeria needs to board a flight to a higher destination…

Three dead, five missing in Lagos boat mishap

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Lagos State Government yesterday confirmed three persons dead and five others missing after a passenger boat capsized mid-way to destination on the lagoon.

The 20-seater passenger boat including two operators, capsized when it collided with another wooden boat on Wednesday evening.

Eyewitness disclosed that after the mishap, 12 passengers were rescued by Lagos State Waterways Authority, LASWA officials and other emergency agencies.

Other agencies were Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Lagos State Ambulance Services, LASAMBUS, State Environmental Health Management Unit, SEHMU.

It was gathered that the accident would have been prevented if the boat operator had adhered to LASWA cautions against night operation in the state.

Confirming the mishap, General Manager of the Lagos State Waterways Authority, LASWA, Damilola Emmanuel, disclosed that the boat enroute Ojo from Coconut jetty, a suburb in Lagos, capzised mid-sea.

He hinted that investigation conducted revealed that the boats were a passenger boat, “God Bless” and a wooden water supply service boat.

According to him, unfortunately three persons were confirmed dead and their bodies have been deposited in the morgue, while 12 persons were rescued alive and five persons are missing.

He stressed that efforts of the rescue operators aided rescue of 12 passengers, assuring that recovery efforts will continue until those missing have been found.

.why we banned from night operation

The LASWA boss however expressed concern that boat operators were in the habit of flouting the order by the agency to desist from operating at night due to the dangers inherent.

Emmanuel also urged passengers to always ensure that they wear life jackets before embarking on any trip on the waterways and ensure they are worn properly to prevent loss of lives.

He said the State Government in conjunction with the Marine Police will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident, adding that the operator of the boat would also be held accountable.

Ambode postpones Town Hall meeting indefinitely

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has postponed its quarterly Town Hall meeting indefinitely, leaving hundreds of residents stranded, especially those craving to attend the event.

The town Hall meeting was structured to allow residents present their complains and needs in their community to the Governor  was earlier scheduled for Tuesday, November 6th, but was postponed; reasons for the action was not stated by the Governor nor any of his aide.

The Town Hall meeting which was the fourth in 2018 was before its cancellation scheduled to hold at the Federal Housing Authority, FHA playing ground, Festac town, Amuwo-Odofin Local Government.

At the town hall meeting, Ambode was earlier expected to seek citizens’ support for the 2019 election. But was dazed after the Governor Advisory Council (GAC) threw their weight behind former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Babajide Sanwo-Olu ahead of the gubernatorial primaries.

Sources said that the governor still felt disappointed at his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) for not giving him the second term ticket he was earlier assured.

It would be recalled that the governorship primaries conducted in the state was won by Sanwo-Olu, defeating the incumbent, Ambode; the first in Lagos history since its creation in 1967.

Following the outcome of the Primaries, the Town Hall meeting would be Ambode’s last official event with large turnout before handling over in May 29th, next year.

Confirming the postponement, an aide to the Governor, who doesn’t want his name mentioned, added that the manifest, which detailed the Governor’s activities, had also been adjusted basically to reflect the latest development.

Osinbajo, Ambode, Sanwo-Olu monitor Tradermoni disbursement in Lagos

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, monitored the Tradermoni scheme in the state, targeted at assisting traders to boost their businesses in the country.

It would be recalled that scope behind the scheme was to ensure that two million petty traders receive N10, 000 and on repayment of their loan, receive 15, 000 and on and on.

Osinbajo, who was also accompanied by All Progressives Congress, APC governorship candidate Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, visited Ketu, Bariga and Oshodi markets.

In an interview with newsmen after the inspection, Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media, Laolu Akande, stressed that the visit to the state was to see the impact of the scheme.

He added that the visit was also to assure the traders not captured among the two million beneficiaries that they would be captured in the next tranches.

“And the visit of the president to Lagos was to see the impact of the scheme and interact with the traders in markets. And he assured them that the fund will be increased to capture more people.

“Our plan is that between now and December, we would have captured the two million traders. Already, we have handed the fund to 800, 000. We have enumerated all the two million and we know who they are.

“That doesn’t mean that this is the end of the programme. Our plan is to achieve the two million before the end of the year and add more people to subsequent tranches,” he added.

The Vice President’s aide stated that the initiative launched under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, GEEP, in partnership with the Bank of Industry BOI, has assisted 1.1 million Nigerians.

According to him, over 1.1 million Nigerians – market women, traders, artisans, farmers – are currently beneficiaries of GEEP, which comprises FarmerMoni, MarketMoni and TraderMoni.

“There are over 809,000 beneficiaries under TraderMoni while the rest were beneficiaries of FarmerMoni loans and MarketMoni for farmers and Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs in the country.”

Earlier, Executive Director, Bank of Industry, Toyin Adeniji, urged beneficiaries to refund the loan within six months.

“It isn’t a national cake. The fund is targeted at empowering the traders. We expect that if they pay back, they are not only helping themselves but also the community.

The Chief Officer of GEEP, Uzoma Nwagba, said there were other products such as the ‘Farmers Moni’, which provides farmers the opportunity to access loans up to N300,000.

He urged beneficiaries to do their best to pay back the loans so that others can get the opportunity to benefit from the programme.

Atiku Support Groups Battle Tough Over Supremacy, Recognition

By NewsDesk, 

Task ahead for People Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate and Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, may not only be limited to election campaign and activity, but could also involve resolving of crisis brewing among support groups, who have continued engaging in supremacy battle, particularly between two factional groups’ members who were reported to have engaged in fight for recognition.

Of the troubled groups were Atiku Reloaded led by one Bello Osaretin God lpower and Atiku Die Hard which is under, Ibrahim Sufi’s control, whose members were said to had engaged in fight during a press conference on Monday in Abuja.

As gathered, fight over which group becomes what had continue creating confusion within Atiku’s campaign organization days after Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, was appointed as Director General of the campaign house.

The Guild learnt that various groups from over 2000 Atiku’s support groups had been laying claims on supremacy right while another set were pushing for those not to be recognized by the campaign organisation.

However, a source from the campaign office who confided in The Guild, confirmed that the two groups’  members engaged in fight over rating of one support group above other and that various organizations had been seen agitating against non recognition.

She disclosed that of 2000 Atiku support groups, the two groups members had supremacy battle over recognition by the campaign organisation and that the office needs to find common ground for entire supporters of Atiku before the 2019 election.

The source added that the groups headed by God lpower  and Sufi took to streets in Abuja during which they expressed their various dissatisfaction against supremacy.

She hinted that fight broke off after members of the Atiku Die Hard learnt of the reloaded group staging press conference to lay claim of its supreme above other group, the action of which the source claimed could pass wrong signal to other support grioups,

“It is a good development that support groups are struggling for space and recognition in the Atiku Campaign organisation but that should be done with decorum”.

Besides, a source from the Atiku Die hard, who later spoke to our correspondent through phone after the fight, alleged that the intention of the Atiku’s Reloaded Group was to stage a press conference and such move could send a wrong signal to the world that there were problems within Atiku support groups.

He stated that the action of his group’s members was to prevent the other group from holding the conference in a civil manner, before they were been attacked by the Atiku reloaded members who he claimed violently resisted the disruption of the press conference.

Also, a member of the Atiku Reloaded, who also spoke on the same issue, claimed that notable members of the group had warned the leader of organisation against consequence of the action and that the move could send wrong signal to members of the public.

He told The Guild that Atiku Reloaded’s motives of embarking on such a mission maybe attributed to wanting to send a wrong signal to the society and that the action of the group’s leader caused members abandoning the group.

“Because of the proposed plan to embark on street protest to press home their demand for recognition, members of the Atiku Reloaded are already exiting the group.

Bello God’s power is on his own. Because we are for Atiku and why should we be making unnecessary problems where there is none”.

Meanwhile, effort by The Guild to reach the Director of support groups in the Atiku campaign organisation on the issue proved abortive as they were no members of the directorate available to speak to our correspondent.

Accord Party, 44 others endorse Sanwo-Olu, form coalition ahead 2019 election

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Accord Party, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and 43 other parties have endorsed All Progressives Congress, APC gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for the 2019 election.

The endorsement came barely a month to the date set by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for the commencement of governorship election campaign in the country.

Other political parties that threw their weight behind the APC candidate ahead of the election next year were: Kowa Party (KP), Action Peoples Party (APP), Alliance of Social Democrats (ASD), Coalition for Change (C4C), Better Nigeria Progressives Party (BNPP), United Patriot (UP), Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, Young Democratic Party (YDP), Yes Electorate Solidarity, (YES), Youth Party (YP), Young Progressives Party (YPP), Peoples Redemption Party, (PRP), Peoples Progressives Party (PPP), Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Providence People’s Congress (PPC).

Also included were: Progressives People’s Alliance (PPA), Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), Nigeria People’s Congress (NPC), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Independent Democracts (ID), Justice Must Prevail Party (JMPP), Legacy Party of Nigeria (LPN), Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN) and others.

The parties made the endorsement on Saturday under the aegis of Coalition of Progressives Political Parties in Lagos State (CP3), assuring him of their unalloyed support before and during the election in the state.

Speaking on behalf of the 45 political parties, Chairman, CP3, Aderemi Fatukasi, stressed that the status of Lagos required that the State must in next 50 years create a framework for leaders that are not only visionary but also inspirational with passion for development.

Fatukasi noted that the need to achieve the framework formed their stance that Sanwo-Olu, considering his exposure would assist the 24 million residents of Lagos chart a better path for the future.

The chairman stated that the path would make Lagos become the pride for all especially on infrastructure and other programmes needed to boost its status.

“Based on the antecedent of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, right from his days in the private sector, in the three ministry’s he served in Lagos State, up to his last days in the LSDPC as the Managing Director, we strongly believe he will actualise the good work that is ongoing in the state of excellence.

“Without mincing words, we the 45 political parties, under the umbrella of Coalition of Progressives Political Parties in Lagos State (CP3), have hereby endorse the candidature of Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the next Governor of Lagos  State,” he added.

Accepting the endorsement, Sanwoolu-Olu, who commend the parties and their members over his endorsement, assured the coalition that he would carry along all parties and those yet to come with their supports.

The APC governorship candidate expressed his genuineness to served the state and ensure that no stone is left unturned, noting that he and his unofficially announced deputy, Dr Femi Hamzat, have wealth of experience to move Lagos forward should they get to office in May 2019.

He addressed members of the coalition that he would visit all gray areas, just as he tasked stakeholders of his party on task ahead of the 2019 election.