Obiano Charges Contractors To Be Committed To Projects

Willie ObianoAnambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, has told contractors that he will not sack any of them but is insisting on quality construction without which they will lose their contracts.

He said this in a meeting with all the contractors and consultants handling road and building projects in the state at the Conference Hall of the Government House, Awka.

They were summoned by the Governor to give account of how far they had gone executing the projects with a statement of when they would likely complete them.

The contractors took turns to make their presentations before the Governor, his deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke, the Secretary to the State Government, Oseloka Obaze, and the Commissioner for Works, Calistus Ilozumba.

Reacting to the submission of the contractors and consultants, the Governor expressed satisfaction over their presentations but reminded them that his administration would not tolerate incompetence of any sort.

He made it clear that he did not call the meeting to sack any of them but would do so if he detected non-commitment to delivering quality project to the state.

Mr. Obiano also announced to them the imminent set up of a supervisory team that would ensure their projects are as specified in the contract terms before any further payments would be made to them.

The State Commissioner for Works also urged the contractors to put up the best of performance to guarantee further business dealings, while maintaining that shoddy jobs would not be entertained.

The Governor, closing the meeting, informed the contractors that they would all still meet again to agree on a date of exact delivery on the projects each one of them was handling, as the state would not be kept in suspense for a project they have fully mobilized contractors for.

Nigerian Education Will Not Be Business As Usual – Nnatuanya

Sunrise NnatuanyaThe Co-Founder of Every Nigerian Child Project, Ifechukwu Nnatuanya has expressed confidence that all recommendations made at the just concluded Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) would be well implemented.

Speaking on Channels Television, having being a participant at the Summit which focused on developing the country’s education sector, Mr Nnatuanya said, “If anyone thinks it’s going to be business as usual, they’re going to be wrong.”

He spoke about some of the recommendations and the series of initiatives that were on-going and which he was also part of as he joined the Sunrise Daily team on a post-mortem of the summit.

On the general quality of Nigerian graduates as discussed at the just concluded summit, Nnatuanya noted that the submission that the quality was low was a blanket statement which is usually inevitable in a conference like the NES. He noted that the major challenge was that measuring such records is difficult in Nigeria as most statistics available are estimates.

He made reference to examples of students from public schools that have shown great intellectual capacity comparable to those found in private schools as proof that there are exceptions when drawing conclusions about the quality of graduates from Nigerian schools.

There are fears that the recommendations of the summit, when presented to the Federal Executive Council would be made to go through the usual set up of committees, thereby creating a possible set-back in their implementation.

He emphasized an initial statement that it would not be business as usual as many more people were involved in the education sector through the discussions at the summit and several issues had been brought to public knowledge, which mandates all Nigerians to follow up on the activities of the Government towards their implementation.

Nnatuanya spoke extensively about the Citizen-led assessment programme which his group has been working on. It is, according to him, a system that would ensure that more Nigerians get involved with improving the standard of education in Nigeria.

This is a project that started in Pakistan and has been successfully exported to other countries, including countries in Africa, which has given them the confidence that it would work in Nigeria.

The improvement of the Nigerian curriculum also came to the fore and Nnatuanya maintained that a major solution is for the universities to have 70% autonomy in developing their own curriculum. He explained that while some institutions would want to focus on Science and Technology, some would have great strength in the social sciences.

He stated that it would be easier for these schools to teach what they design rather than the current situation where the universities are told what to teach without a consideration of the strength of such schools.

Mr Nnatuanya, who is a product of the Federal Government College in Lagos, decried how much the standard had fallen in the unity schools since his time decades ago, but he stated, “Change takes time, change can be difficult but we are on the path to change in the education sector.”

Although Nnatuanya had mainly emphasized the involvement of Nigerian citizens, he was not going to ignore the role of the private sector, which he referred to as being “very huge”. He noted that all the reforms would be better driven with the full support of players in the business world, especially in ensuring accountability and helping universities in ensuring that the graduates truly have the skill set their qualifications demand.

IPU Conference: Nigeria Seeks Partnership To Fight Insurgency

David Mark in suitNigeria is asking neighboring African countries to collaborate to fight insurgents ravaging some parts of the nation.

Senate President, David Mark and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, are canvassing this position at the ongoing 130th Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

Renewing commitments to peace and democracy and ensuring a nuclear free world topped the agenda at the IPU Conference which comes at a time of continued conflict and war in different parts of the world and increasing terrorist activities in Nigeria.

The outgoing Secretary-General of the IPU, Anders Johnson, while explaining how lasting peace and security across the world can only be achieved through inclusive and participatory processes, revealed that, “The IPU sent trial observers who went on missions to talk to leaders in countries about how best to resolve situations involving different forms of violations of human rights.”

While IPU member countries expressed concerns about the growing cases of terrorism across the globe and warned that terrorism, if not addressed, poses serious threat to global peace and development, the IPU President, condemned terrorism in all its ramifications and asked parliamentarians to take a stand in addressing issues that promote conflicts.

The Director-General of the United Nations office in Geneva, Michael Moller, also asked parliamentarians to make a firm commitment to disarmament.

The Nigerian Senate President, David Mark, while speaking to Channels Television, expressed satisfaction by the positions taken by the different speakers at the conference. He said, “We believe that democracy will necessarily ensure that there is peace because everybody’s views will be taken into consideration.

“That’s why I have consistently insisted that those who have grievances must come out and let us know what the grievances are, because it could help us in the legislation that we do in the National Assembly”, he added.

Obiano Appoints Three Principal Officers

Willie ObianoIn his first official duty as the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, has appointed three principal officers to aid him in his new office.

Assisted by the Solicitor-General of the state, Peter Afuba, the Governor led the officers through the oath taking ritual at the swearing-in ceremony which took place at the Governor’s Office in Awka, the state capital.

In the spirit of continuity, Mr. Oseloka Obaze has been reappointed as the Secretary to the State Government, having served in former governor, Peter Obi’s administration in the same capacity.

Also appointed sworn-in was Professor Joseph Asike, who is to serve as Chief of Staff and Willie Nwokolo who would serve as Principal Secretary.

The Governor, in glowing terms, described the quality of the new officials and said that they would in no small measure help in the continued development of the state. He also expressed confidence that they would work according to expectation.

Reacting to the appointment on behalf of the other officers, the newly reappointed Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Oseloka Obaze, gave assurances of quality and sincere service.

As the Governor had said, other appointments would follow and the coming days would determine who stays and who leaves the cabinet as expectations remain high from those within and outside the government.

I Have Nothing To Prove To Chelsea – Drogba

Didier DrogbaDidier Drogba will have to fight hard to control his emotions when he returns to Stamford Bridge for Galatasaray’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Chelsea, the Ivorian said on the eve of Tuesday’s (March 18) match.

The 36-year-old striker ended a glittering eight-year career with the London club by scoring the winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League shootout victory over Bayern Munich in the final at the Allianz Arena.

After a hesitant start to Galatasaray’s pre-match news conference, Drogba had the reporters in stitches.

“I’ll ask myself the first question,” he said. ‘Didier, how do you feel about returning to Stamford Bridge?

“Well, I’m really happy to come back and to see some familiar faces for a big game in a big competition.

“It’s very difficult to play against Chelsea but it’s not going to be difficult for me to put myself in competition with them because now I belong to Galatasaray and I need to be professional,” said Drogba.

“Of course there will be emotion playing against my ex-team mates, like there was in the first leg,” he added in reference to the opening match in Istanbul that ended in a 1-1 draw.

The big, powerful centre forward was once voted the best player in Chelsea’s history and he said he did not know how he would react if he scored a goal on Tuesday.

Drogba said if he scores against the Blues he might not celebrate the goal, adding: “I have nothing to prove to this club everything I had to prove I proved it with Chelsea. Now I come here with another team and I just want to win the game, I just want to qualify, there is nothing personal against Chelsea, there will never be.”

Drogba also won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups at Chelsea, scoring 157 goals in 341 appearances between 2004 and 2012.

Fernando Torres gave Chelsea an early lead in Istanbul but Galatasaray equalised through Aurelien Chedjou to leave the tie delicately balanced in Chelsea’s favour.

Galatasaray Coach, Roberto Mancini used to be in charge at Manchester City and said he had good memories of his time in the English Premier league.

However, turning to the task at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, the Italian said: “We know it is really difficult because Chelsea is one of the best teams in Europe, but in football, never say never, anything can happen if you believe in yourself and we want to do a good job tomorrow.”

Unionist X-rays Challenges Of Labour Unions In Nigeria

Peter EseleFor 6 years, Peter Esele was the President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, the body set up to organise and unite all registered senior staff associations in Nigeria into a single entity.

Described as a fire brand unionist and a tough negotiator, Peter Esele finished his 2-term reign as the TUC President in June 2013 and has since gone back to his job in an oil firm.

Esele is our guest on this edition of ‘View From The Top’.

Money Laundering Charges: Judges’ Seminar Stalls Trial Of Lagos Speaker

Lagos Speaker IkuforijiThe trial of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, was on Monday stalled as the presiding judge had to rise to attend a judges’ seminar.

Ikuforiji, had been standing trial before the Federal High Court, Lagos, for allegedly laundering over 339million Naira, charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC alleged that Ikuforiji and one of his aides, one Oyebode Atoyebi, accepted various cash sums on behalf of the State House of Assembly without going through a financial institution.

The suit, which was fixed for continuation of trial, could not go on as earlier scheduled, due to a judges’ seminar organised by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

When the case was called, the Prosecutor, Godwin Obla, and the Defence Counsel, Wole Olanipekun, consented to an adjournment.

The defence counsel, however, urged the prosecutor to produce his remaining witnesses in court on the next date, to ensure speedy trial.

Justice Ibrahim Buba then adjourned the case till Tuesday, March 18, for continuation of trial before leaving for his seminar.

The EFCC had re-arraigned the accused persons on June 24, 2013, on an amended 54 count charge.

The offences are said to contravene the provisions of Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act 2011.

Both men had, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge, and were granted bail in the sum of 1 billion Naira each, with two sureties, each in the sum of N500 million.

Nigerian Embassies Abroad Are Doing Well At Protecting Nigerians – Amb. Adeyemi

Sunrise Amb. AdeyemiFormer Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Kunle Adeyemi, believes that many Nigerian embassies abroad are doing a good job of protecting Nigerians abroad to the extent that they are allowed by the laws of the host countries.

Sunrise on Channels Television hosted Amb. Adeyemi and presented him with statistics showing that as at December 2013, no fewer than 15,300 Nigerians were in various prisons abroad, with the largest number of about 750 in the UK alone.

On the reasons why Nigerians usually experience hostility in many countries, Adeyemi said that steps had been taken to fight such treatments making reference to the deportation of some South Africans as retaliation to an earlier treatment meted out to Nigerians.

He, however, noted that it has been discovered that many African countries were only jealous of Nigeria, citing events during the voting of Nigeria into the UN Security Council. He recounted how African countries adamantly voted against Nigeria and it took votes from outside the continent to give Nigeria victory.

He also cited the attitude of Nigerians in foreign lands as a major source of resentment against Nigerians. He condemned the domineering attitude of Nigerians in the business setting as one which locals in host countries would never be happy with, as he advised that “elbowing out” hosts is not a right attitude.

Ambassador Adeyemi admitted that indeed Nigeria has not been strong in forcing other countries as it was not in the culture of the country to engage in retaliatory actions against governments to drive its foreign policy. He attributed this to the “big brother” position of the country among other African countries.

He cited the instance of the presidential election in the Republic of Benin, and the role of the Nigerian Government in averting a planned annulment of the polls as an example of forms in which the country flexes its muscles positively.

He advised Nigerians planning to live abroad to start by getting proper information about their host countries right from the point where they pick up their visas at the embassy in Nigeria, as information was the best way to avoid being in trouble.

Consumer Rights Protection Day: Protecting Nigeria’s Telecom Subscribers

Sunrise Consumer Advocates
L-R: Deolu Ogunbanjo and Sola Salako

The Founder of the Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria, Sola Salako, said that Nigerian subscribers remain highly frustrated even after many years of the GSM technology in Nigeria.

Executive Secretary of the Consumer Rights Project, Onu Uche, blamed the situation on the general lackadaisical attitude of Nigerians and the lack of laws to protect Nigerian consumers. He commended the Lagos State Government for passing the Consumer Protection Law, which he said was a step in the right direction.

Sunrise Consumer Onu
Executive Secretary of the Consumer Rights Project, Onu Uche,

Both were guests of Sunrise on Channels Television in a special interview to mark the Global ‘Consumer Rights Protection Day’.

Salako admitted that the challenges faced by Nigerian telephone users were global but she believed that the gaps for exploitation were wider in Nigeria than it was in many other countries. She said that most of the laws were ancient as they cannot cater to the Information Technology world that has become an integral part of the country’s economy and the people’s lifestyle.

National President of the National Association of Telecom Subscribers, Deolu Ogunbanjo, who was also on the programme, said that the regulators were trying in the sense that they were beginning to introduce features that make the subscribers more comfortable. He cited the number portability introduced by the Nigeria Communication Commission which allows the user to choose as laudable.

He, however, noted that more still needed to be done, as the subscribers remain victims of many issues like bad service, hidden charges, irregular billings and many more.

The theme for the 2014 Consumer Rights Protection Day was “Fix Our Phones Right” and this explains why the discussion focused on the Nigerian telecom sector.

Educating Nigerian subscribers about their rights was also identified as one of the major factors to be sorted out. Salako believed that the idea that Nigerians do not know their rights was wrong as they knew how to complain. She said that the major challenge was that Nigerians grumble rather than channel their complaints through the right medium.

Ogunbanjo added that “when there is an issue you complain first to the operator through their customer care line and then they refer them to the website for further pursuant of their rights” but he asked, “how many Nigerians have access to the computer?”

He called for a new system whereby Nigerians are able to make their complaints via the SMS service and also asked for the enforcement of the right for telecom users to have access to their call records.

Mr Uche advised Government and telecom operators to come up with policies that would ensure that the subscribers’ welfare is protected. He noted that the subscriber is always on the receiving end of polices they make and therefore should be considered before they introduce any new ideas.

Ogunbanjo noted that Nigerian telecom subscribers have lost about 730billion Naira to poor quality of service, and for the sake of patronage it is not too much for the telecom providers to give back at least 5,000 Naira every year as “we are patronising them and keeping them in business.”

Salako was of the opinion that customer service must first be improved, as it is not right for anyone to be kept on the line while trying to lay complaints, as that is frustrating. She also said that it should be made a law that for every credit loaded there would be a percentage bonus added, in order to make up for all the instances of poor services suffered by the subscriber and this should be so until services improve in the country.

Nigeria Is Home Once Again – Jide Chord

Jide ChordUK based Nigerian Juju Musician, Jide Akinwunmi popularly known as Jide Chord has taken his music back to Nigeria.

He made this known while appearing as the ‘Guest of the Week’ on Channels Television’s Sunrise. He noted that he decided to take his trade to the United Kingdom because he felt the home turf was saturated and he had a better chance of making it abroad.

He admitted that the audience was smaller in the UK and he was aware of the risk in his decision but he was able to follow his heart because he had alternative skills like music production and entrepreneurial skills that would help him balance things out.

Jide noted that 40% of his audience were Nigerians and about 60% were other nationals. He revealed that the secret to his ability to capture a large non-Nigerian fan base could also be linked to his radio audience and his performances at Jazz events with predominantly non-Nigerian audiences.

Jide’s education and vast knowledge of the Nigerian and European cultures also contributed to his rise and ability to take his music to many countries of the world. He revealed that asides performances, he has also written and presented academic papers on African Music at tertiary institutions overseas.

He, however, revealed that his major challenge was not getting bookings but the staff that worked with him. He noted that the typical Nigerian attitude to time became a major issue as many Nigerians in UK has many career commitments and lacked the time managements skills to combine these jobs with their role as members of his band.

At what point did Jide decide to check out of Nigeria? The guitar maestro, who was trained as a journalist and also worked in banking, said that he left Nigeria to seek greener pastures in 1988.

Jide Chord, who once left home to live with renowned Nigerian Magician, the late Professor Pellar, also revealed that during his years of struggle he had once practiced Magic and shared fond memories of that part of his life.

Jide concluded by saying that he indeed found those greener pastures on his sojourn abroad but said that he was back in Nigeria because now the grass was greener in the country.

Benue Governor Says Attackers Not Just Herdsmen But Terrorists

Gov Gabriel SuswanThe Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, has said that the people responsible for the killing of five people in Uikpian, a community in Guma Local Government Area of the State, are not just herdsmen but terrorists.

Governor Gabriel Suswam was at the village to see the carnage, where he also met with some of the villagers.

Speaking later, he said that the manner of operation showed that the assailants were well trained.

The Governor, whose convoy was attacked by the gunmen when he arrived at the scene where the assailants were burning down another village, also said that by virtue of the attack on his convoy, they could not be ordinary herdsmen.

The Governor’s views appeared corroborated when some of the displaced persons also revealed that the attackers came in large numbers and were carrying different weapons.

Another threatening dimension to the crisis was the alleged use of chemical weapon by the herdsmen, as one of the survivors, who is also a Vigilante Chief, Emmanuel Ifam and the Commissioner of Police, Adams Audu, gave accounts of the suffocating effect of the alleged chemical weapon.

Accordingly, the Benue State Government has ordered an autopsy on the corpses recovered from villages that were invaded by the Fulani herdsmen for verification of the allegation.

Governor Suswam, speaking on the borderline security arrangement with Nasarawa State, complained that Nasarawa remains a transit route for the attackers, but his Nasarawa counterpart, Tanko Al-Makura insisted that both states have a common problem with the Fulani herdsmen who remain a challenge to the region.