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PMB’s Remark On ‘Restructuring’ And Matters Arising

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Terrorism

By Jerome-Mario Utomi

 

 

From observations, there is no doubt that our leaders are experts in listening without being attentive to the masses; an attribute that has, in turn, made their relationship with the people civil but cold. A situation occasioned by our handler’s inability to learn that ‘success is a lousy teacher which makes a winner feels that he cannot lose’.

Accordingly, these cold silences have become ‘a word made flesh and now dwell among us’ in the form of the Fulani herdsmen mindless and continual use of the innocent Nigerian’s blood to irrigate our arid political space.

This climate of opinion surrounding leadership in Nigeria has again made the recently well-chiseled speech of president  Muhammadu Buhari as delivered in a nationwide broadcast on Monday 1st, January 2018 unacceptable by the critical minds. A Particular reference to that speech that has received several knocks is the president’s hanging and the asymmetrical statement about the nation’s restructuring where he among other things stated that ‘no human law or edifice is perfect. Whatever structure we develop must periodically be perfected according to the changing circumstances and the country’s socio-economic developments’.

With appropriate humility, the above statement made by the president was correct and commendable but his silence on how this imperfect structure/edifice should be corrected is condemnable

In like manner, identifying that imperfection exist in the first instance in my views makes the call for the nation’s restructuring inevitable and eminently desirable.  Catalyzing the process of reforming this changing circumstance as muted by the president should be the preoccupation of the FG .and   also acts as the propeller to having our federal framework reworked.

The above is imperative as the current posturing has made the government at the centre become the dispenser of goodness by proxy while leaving the federating states idle and lazy which is against the spirit of the federal system of government and the expectation of the masses.

What the masses are saying and wanting in my understanding is that the padding of the second schedule of the exclusive legislative list, of our 1999 constitution with sixty-eight (68) items has made Abuja suffer ‘political obesity’ and need to shed some weight via power devolution

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What the people are saying is that the over blotted exclusive list has made our nation to currently stand in an inverted pyramid shape with more power concentrated at the top and the base not formidable enough making collapse inevitable if urgent and fundamental steps are not taken.

What the proponents of restructuring are saying is that majority of the items are too trivial for the Federal Government to handle and should serve the greater good of the people if left in the hands of both the state and the local government. This is the hub of the masses expectation.

Items such as; Police and some government security services, mines and minerals; including oil fields, oil mining geological surveys, control of parks, stamp duties, public holidays, taxation of incomes, profits and capital gains, and insurance among others  to my mind  should find their  ways back to the states and the local councils.

To illustrate the effectiveness of the above, If we had had state police in Nigeria, chances are that these gruesome killings that is ongoing in some sections of the country would have been better managed.

However, it will not be out of place if the states and local councils are allowed to handle all these and made to pay taxes when necessary to the federal government coffers. By so doing, the federal government will be freed from handling the tiny details which prevent them from looking at the bigger national issues. In the same vein, it will empower states/regions and local councils that have been technically rendered redundant.

This, in my views, is the synoptic baggage of what  Nigerians are asking for and achieving it is a simple assignment.

.To get started will require  Mr. President presenting an executive bill demanding for the nation’s restructuring before the National Assembly as waiting for the lawmakers to initiate such bill may translate to waiting till eternity.

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The president needs to do this as that may be the only major effort he needs to convince the masses that he can take the nation out of these political and socio-economic impasses.

But in making this call, I am well aware that there is nothing more ‘difficult to handle, more doubtful of success, and more dangerous to carry through than initiating such changes as the innovator will make more enemies of all those who prospered under old other’. But any leaders that do, come out powerful, secured, respected and happy. This is an opportunity that Mr. President must not miss.

Therefore, this is the time for my President to prime and position for this major national transformation. This time is auspicious for Mr. President to make his vision sharp and his goal clear to all. And this is the time in history for President Muhammadu Buhari to demonstrate that the credibility of his leadership is built not in words but action.

Another key point on the part of the masses is that for us to achieve this, we must rise above our divides by undressing ourselves of the garment of tribal loyalties which in many cases has proved to be stronger than a common sense of nationhood. Let us at this critical moment of our existence remember that we cannot solve our political and socio-economic challenges with the same thinking we used when we created it.

Let’s make no mistake about it, for us to build the Nigeria of our dreams, we most graduate our ‘thought system and loyalty to a level of being united rather than sectional. Our loyalty must transcend our race, our tribe, our class and we must develop a world perspective on the affairs of our nations’.

Jerome-Mario writes via jeromeutomi@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Opinion

Eze Commends APC for Reconciliation Moves

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Reconciliation

…Admonishes Party On Ways To Untie Rivers APC Knot

Moves for reconciliation in the Rivers All Progressives Congress (APC) may not be out of place but those making the moves must first find out the real mission and agenda of those perpetually hanging the Party in court with active support of those who boast of controlling the Judiciary. Those destroying the Party with litigation may actually be a secret group now in another political but using court cases as excuse to stay behind and ensure the total destruction of APC while their real Party is winning all elections, as a matter of strategy.

The erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New People’s Democratic Party (nPDP), and chieftain of the APC, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, who handed down the caution, however commended President Mohammadu Buhari and the leadership of the APC over moves to reconcile warring factions within the chapters of the party that are having divisive and internal conflicts. Eze has also urged the national leadership of the Party to take a closer look at the Rivers APC crisis because its own case is different and unique.

Recall that President Mohammadu Buhari had on 10th February, 2020, approved the reconstitution of the 12 -member Reconciliatory Committee, this time, to be headed by Chief Bisi Akande, while the 2019 governorship candidate of the APC in Cross Rivers State, Sen. John Owan Enoh, serves as secretary. The sole mandate is to address grievances of party members across the country and resolve existing conflicts in a bid to foster oneness, strengthen the party for better governance, and ensure unity of purpose within the ruling APC. Eze warned that while reconciliation may be in the minds of those quarrelling in other states, it may not be in the minds of those fighting the Party in Rivers State.

In a statement made available to media houses, Chief Eze urged the Reconciliation Committee to critically study the events in Rivers State before embarking upon on any reconciliatory move, as anything contrary to this will amount to an exercise in futility.

While expressing optimism over the capacity of the committee to deliver on its mandate, Eze expressed hope that the seeming unending crisis both in the Rivers APC and other chapters of the party will soon be consigned to history.

According to the party chief, “Dr Akande-led Reconciliation Committee should note that the case of Rivers State chapter of the party is a bit unique and different from that of other chapters and therefore, cannot be handled in a manner depicting a mere feud, owing to the fact that some extremes and agents of other political parties and external forces are interested and hell bent on destabilizing and weakening the party structure in the State in order to pave way for the operation of a one party system in the State.”

Chief Eze further posited that “in the eyes of the world we have two or three factions within the Rivers APC – Amaechi, Abe and to some extent Aguma’s 3rd Force. This is far from the truth.” Setting the record straight,  Eze said, “The truth is that Senator Magnus Abe insisted that if the party’s 2019 gubernatorial ticket is not given to him, then the party will not exist in the State. To achieve this, he hurriedly set up machineries to frustrate the party, and as a result, succeeded in installing the failed PDP Government which has left Rivers people in squalor and pauper.”

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Accordingly, Chief Eze expressed that “Abe’s protracted and divisive acts within the Rivers APC took a disturbing and calamitous trend during the 2019 electioneering processes when the party and its candidates were disallowed to participate in the 2019 electoral contest, paving way for the People’s Democratic Party to clinch victory at the polls at the detriment of Rivers electorate.” Eze said Senator Abe has made good his threat to punish the APC for not giving him the ticket, and thus wondered what anybody any reconciliation would fetch Senator Abe when he is expected to go and collect his reward for doing a good job for Governor Wike, PDP and his external forces.

Months after the general elections, one would have thought that Abe and his group would allow peace to prevail to enable the party put its structure in order and allow things to take shape within the party for sober reflection, stock-taking and proper planning for future engagements, but it is worrisome to learn that events have proved otherwise.

 The national leadership must understand that such a person would not want reconciliation at this moment so they can hide under party crisis to continue to work out things in their real party.

The none-existing Aguma’s third Force whose mission is to continue the decimation of the party from where Abe stopped shockingly came up immediately Abe’s case and attempt to frustrate the party from organising her Congresses duly approved by the National Working Committee of the party met its waterloo. Aguma went further to abuse and insult the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, including the Leader of the party in the State, Dr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.

The primary mission of Aguma and his cohorts is to weaken the party in order to pave way for the continuation of governance of the State by PDP come 2023 and sinisterly install another Ikwerre son after Amaechi and Wike come 2023, to the detriment of other tribes in the State. This mission seems more important to them than reconciliation which would not be in their interest. They know that if they decamp, their case in court against the APC would perish. So, it is in their interest to remain in the party and continue the agenda through court cases. Trying to bring them for genuine reconciliation could be difficult, Chief Eze observed.

Eze who laughed at the funny position of Aguma lashed at him over comments credited to him, calling on the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, to step aside as leader of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State.

Describing the comment as childish and untutored, Eze tasked the committee to put an eye on Aguma, stressing that the rationale behind his own grievance is ambiguous and vague. Such demand is not the action of someone who is going into reconciliation. He said it can only show that somebody is afraid of Amaechi and the APC and is ready to use anybody and do anything to stop the Leader in the name of crisis.

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It would be recalled that the subsisting Order of Court restraining the APC from conducting Congresses in Rivers State is to Aguma’s credit. Despite the condemnations he received for his ill-conceived action against the party, Igochukwu Aguma has continued to brag about the court order, although he is yet to come clean on his reasons behind the move. It is clear that this crisis is being hatched from outside the party and any attempt for reconciliation with the ones the eyes can see would be impossible because of those beating the drum from outside.

“It’s unfortunate that characters that lack leadership qualities are demanding that Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi resign or abdicate his role as the leader of APC Rivers State. One considers such assertion as criminal boldness because he who builds should dwell in it. It is a natural phenomenon. These crass conservatives will not seize to amuse me. These are men with zero electoral value yet they fail to understand that they have been left in a political bus stop long before now”.

Chief Eze said, the pertinent questions are; ”What were their political imprint when service beckoned on them? What are their records of achievements as commissioners or federal legislators?  How many lives did they positively impact on? How many projects did they attract to their constituencies? How many bills did they sponsor or co-sponsor in the National Assembly (NASS)? What was their political reach- out that accrued benefits to Rivers people?

“Their outburst is nothing but a selfish demand of unserious minds lacking in objective thinking.” Eze asserted.

Eze wondered how the Akande-led Committee intends to reconcile the party with such characters whose agenda are well known.

Chief Eze advised that the honourable men and women in the Reconciliation Committee must first understand the agenda of the trouble makers in the Rivers APC to know if reconciliation is even in their master plan.

In another development, while the likes of Aguma are doing their best to bring down Amaechi, Chief Eze said Nigerians all over the country are celebrating and bestowing on him one honour or the other, including chieftaincy titles. Today the peoples Minister and Minister of the decade is honoured with a Chieftaincy Title of DIKE DI OHA MMA 1 of Uturu, Isuikwuato, by the Traditional Ruler and Chiefs of Uturu in Isuikwuato of Abia State. By this title, he has become a member of the Traditional Rulers Council of Uturu and Abia State.

In conclusion, Eze congratulated the peoples Minster on the Foundation laying ceremony for a Transport Institute at Gregory University, Uturu, Isuikwuato LGA of Abia State in Eastern Nigeria as timely and in the right direction. He said by this,  Chief Amaechi has proved his love and commitment to the development of the South-East.

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Business

Jumia: Promoting Nigerian Economy through MSMEs Empowerment

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MSMEs Empowerment

 

The role of micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) in areas of promoting inclusive growth, increasing the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), creation of employment opportunities and wealth creation, the world over, can never be overemphasised. Their immense contributions to the growth of their micro and macroeconomics is the reason countries, developed and developing, highly regard their MSMEs sector.

 

According to the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), MSMEs make up over 90 percent of all firms and account for an average of 60 to 70 percent of total employment and 50 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of any economy. In Nigeria, however, according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the sector has over 37 million MSMEs and employs over 54 million skilled and unskilled labour while contributing about 54 percent to GDP of the country.

 

To underscore the importance of the role the sector plays towards the economic development of every country, almost all countries make special provisions to aid the growth of the sector. For example, while the Indian government created a separate ministry to cater to their needs, Nigeria established the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to specifically promote the development of the MSME sector in Nigeria. The efforts of Nigerian government in boosting the sector, notwithstanding, the sector needs more facilitators if it would catch up with its counterparts in other developed and developing countries.

 

One company that stands out in complementing the efforts of the government in facilitating the growth of the MSMEs in the country is Jumia Nigeria, the leading pan-African e-commerce platform. The company, which started in 2012 in Lagos and currently has a presence across more than 11 African countries, has woven its operations and products to suit the peculiar needs, and also serve the interests of the MSMEs.

 

Being the leading online marketplace in Africa for a wide range of products, the company offers all manufacturers, distributors, and sellers, most of whom are MSMEs, a platform to sell their goods and services to their consumers. The company also offers logistics service, which enables the shipment and delivery of packages from sellers to consumers, and payment service, which facilitates transactions among participants active on Jamia’s platform in selected markets.

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Jumia Nigeria alone has over 15,000 active sellers, about 80 percent of whom are MSMEs, offering a wide range of goods including smartphones, consumer electronics, fashion and apparel, home and living, consumer packaged goods, beauty, and perfumes, etc. It also provides consumers with easy access to a number of services, such as restaurant food delivery, airtime recharge, etc. The Jumia platform saves each of these MSMEs the cost of marketing, renting and operating physical stores, thereby increasing their profitability and boosting their growth.

 

Only last year, the company launched the Jumia Mall, an online platform where any interested brands could reach their target audiences through advertisement and display of their products and services. This platform, with its wide reach, offers these brands, irrespective of their sizes, a much wider reach at a much-reduced price thereby reducing their cost of marketing and advertising. Many MSMEs, and even some Fortune 500 companies are taking advantage of the platform to reach their current and prospective consumers.

 

On the logistics aspect of its business, Jumia, not only uses its own vehicles but also third-party logistics companies to deliver merchandise from the sellers to the consumers. Apart from satisfying its numerous customers, Jumia has facilitated the growth of the logistics business in Nigeria by offering ready businesses, through patronage, to these third-party logistics services providers, who are mostly MSMEs. The company has over 100 local logistics services providers on its integrated network. It recently incorporated Gokada, one of the motorcycle hailing companies whose operations were recently restricted in Lagos State, saving the company from imminent collapse as a result of the regulatory restriction.

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The company also has a payment service, JumiaPay, designed to offer a safe, fast and easy solution to online payments on its platform. The service which is available in six countries – Nigeria, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Morocco, and Kenya – has been expanded beyond the physical goods marketplace to also include the purchase of the company’s on-demand services such as restaurant food delivery, and airtime recharge.

 

JumiaPay offers convenience to all the parties for every transaction – customers, sellers, financial institutions etc. Prior to the launch of the service in 2016, Jumia users had to use other payment platforms to make payments for purchased items. This state of affairs was fraught with issues, especially when transactions are not completed. It, then, took days to weeks to get a refund when, for example, an item you ordered for wasn’t delivered or is damaged, or doesn’t match website description etc. Jumia works with banks to provide a more secure option of payments where you get reimbursed instantly if anything goes wrong with your order. It also ensures prompt payment to the sellers once the transaction is completed.

 

On job creation, few private companies have impacted on the Nigerian economy as Jumia. They have promoted entrepreneurship by reducing the hassles that come with marketing and logistics. By offering these at reduced prices, Jumia has emboldened many prospective entrepreneurs to take up the challenge of entrepreneurship thus, not only employing themselves but also employing many other people.

 

Jumia has shown that the nation’s economic growth could be facilitated by private corporate concerns through the building of ecosystems that could empower MSMEs in every aspect of their businesses. Jumia deliberately built its ecosystem this way and it is working out, not only for the company but for the country at large.

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Opinion

Hitlist N Cruzin To The Next Level A Priority In 2020–Mursty Adinoyi

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Mursty Adinoyi

Seasoned entrepreneur and producer, Mursty Adinoyi, is the brain behind one of Nigeria’s leading television shows, Hitlist N Cruzin. For over a decade, he has successfully changed the lives of young Nigerians across several states via the programme which takes people on a dream shopping spree. In this interview with Lukmon Akintola, he speaks on his 2020 development plans for the show, the need for youths to be more dedicated to the country and the impact of terrestrial television on the society.

2019 was a positive year for you and Hitlist N Cruzin, tell us about your 2020 plans.

Personally, I have a lot of plans for myself, long term plans that will culminate into awing developments. In addition to our flagship programme, Hitlist N Cruzin, we have AIT Music+, and both programmes have garnered positive followership.

Are there plans to take the programme to other parts of the country where it is not popular?

Most definitely. We are expanding the map to other states. We want to take it to places where we are not known, not just where people are already watching us. Talking about plans, I pray that all the ideas we have materialise. At Emrose Adinoyi Productions, we don’t make one-year plans, but long term plans. It’s our lifestyle and we’ll keep seeing what we can do to get better.

You are known to be passionate about Nigeria, do you have plans to start a programme that will dwell on Nigeria’s peculiar challenges?

Having a programme that focuses on Nigeria’s issues will not make any change. If you watch Kakaaki on AIT or Channels Television in the morning, you will see all of this stuff ongoing. If you watch Focus Nigeria on AIT as well, you will see all these discussions ongoing, but have there been changes? They say that democracy is the best for us, but we have to find a way to make sure that it works for us, because the way it is right now, I don’t think it’s working for us.

What are the peculiar challenges in your industry?

There are so many challenges. Don’t forget that to shoot Hitlist N Cruzin, we go out, looking for winners to take on a cruise. You hit the road, you see bad roads. You get a good car before you know it, it’s gone because the roads are bad. Some major roads are bad, how much more the roads in the hinterland? So, the challenges are enormous.

These challenges have seen a lot of people relocating out of the country, are you thinking of joining them?

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If your father’s house is not painted, instead of looking for an apartment to rent, look for money and paint it, that’s my belief. So many young people are leaving the country because they’re looking for greener pastures. You can’t blame anybody, but for those of us who believe in the Nigerian dream, we will contribute to the development of the country. I will rather do that than leave for Canada or anywhere in the world.

You have also been making political statements in recent times, are you thinking of going into politics?

This is our country and some of us are committed to its development. If things are not going well, we have to speak out. We should all know that life is in stages, we are in our forties right now, it’s just very unfortunate that the Nigerian system tells us that at forty we are young, we are actually not young. Very soon, leadership will fall into our hands. So we need to be consciously telling ourselves the truth so whoever amongst us has the opportunity to occupy an office can do the right thing. If we’re doing the right thing, people will not travel to other places, and even if they travel, it will be for fun, they won’t abandon Nigeria.

There have been calls for people to make their industry buoyant such that it can contribute to the country’s GDP, do you think the television industry can do this?

Content can be created from the training that an ex-military man has gotten. People will benefit from it, and then there will be much money for him and even the television station airing the programme and other participants. I am telling you there are so many things we can create, lots of things, even an ex-banker can create a programme. So, there is a lot of money to be made here, but first, we have to develop Nigeria first, using television.  Everything about us can be on television and we would make money from it. Okada, for instance, can be used for stunts. If independent producers can have good money with them and we are tax-free, we can gather Okada riders, create stunts, stage them, put them on television and make money out of it for development of the country. We see all these things on foreign channels and we think they are just for the foreign market, but they are also applicable here. There are lots of independent producers that can create good content for television consumption that will engage hundreds and thousands of people. That way, the unemployment rate will definitely drop.

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You have severally called for a tax-free media, can you justify this?

When I say tax-free television, I am not referring to cable television because there is a lot of money on pay television. There is a lot of money coming in because people subscribe to watch. I am speaking in relation to terrestrial television, some of these stations cannot even pay salaries. You need to realise that a local television station and independent producers are capable of employing more hands. But if you tax this sector too much, there will be no much money to even sustain what they have talkless of bringing in more hands. If we are actually looking at a better country, policies that we create should be those that would be for a better Nigeria, that will benefit Nigerian companies. When I say tax-free, I don’t mean for foreign companies. For instance, if VAT is 7.5% media-related companies can be made to pay 2.5%. The country is not growing because the policies we make are not developmental. If we have developmental policies, we’ll definitely move forward. We need to face reality. The government needs to see beyond immediate gain and make policies to help grow Nigerian companies and also make plans for our growing population.

There are people who will argue that if a company can’t pay its staff it should close shop, what do you say to that?

That would be wrong because when you talk of a direct impact on our society, it is terrestrial television that gets it done, not pay television

You have asked for all-round development in the country, where would you want the government to start from?

The scripture said let there be light and there was light. So, taking it from that angle, I would say the first thing we should be thinking of doing in terms of development should be stable light. Light is important because if we have it, other things will grow. But it’s not just about having light because other aspects also have to work. Transportation, the train needs to be connected to every state so that instead of everybody moving to Lagos State, you can even stay in Kogi State and do your business and if you have to come to Lagos State, you come by train. There are so many things that need to be done. There is a need for a change in government policies such that it will favour Nigerians.

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