Impersonating Pastor Chris Okotie Brought Me Fame – AY

Popular Comedian, Ayo Makun, also known as AY, has disclosed that his impersonation of popular Nigerian pastor, Chris Okotie got him his fame.

Popular Pentecostal Preacher, Chris Okotie is well known for his passionate sermons which are usually filled with complex mix of English and Latin vocabularies to the amazement of his large church and television audiences.

Speaking on Channels Television Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise, AY said that his line of comedy focuses on stand-up, skit and impersonation as he is known to have also successfully made popular jokes by mimicking several Nigerian entertainers including D’Banj and Tuface Idibia.

He noted that while most Nigerian comedians are social commenters who know how to observe their environment and make jokes from everyday happenings, he had chosen a path that works best for him and which also helps him to maintain his originality.

He further attributed his fast rise in the business to the influence of the one popularly known in Nigeria as the ‘King of Comedy’, Ali Baba, stating that he was a mentor that helped him find his bearing in the art of comedy.

Speaking about moving forward, AY, who has consistently displayed an appreciable level of creativity with his production of TV shows, drama and comedy concerts, revealed that his next project would be working on a movie.

He revealed that the new movie would feature ageless Hollywood star, Vivica Fox.

Ekiti Elections: Police To Gather Intelligence On Aspirants

The Commissioner of Police in Ekiti State, Mr Sontonye Wakama, has disclosed that efforts are being made to gather intelligence on all aspirants from the different political parties running in the forthcoming governorship election, in a bid to ensure peace during the exercise.

Mr Wakama made this known on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise, while speaking on ways in which his command is preparing for the election.

According to him, research on previous elections revealed “evidence of volatility” despite the claim that Ekiti is “the most literate state in the country.” As part of his command’s preparations, information will be gathered on all aspirants from the different political parties and thereafter they would be categorised into two groups of those who want to win democratically and those who want to win at all costs.

He added that members of each group are determined by their nature and tone of their speeches during campaigns as well as the caliber of escorts they keep.

The Police will also check the likely flash points where clashes usually occur and then beef up security in such areas.

Also speaking on the programme, the Parish Priest of a Catholic Church in Ado Ekiti, Reverend Father Emmanuel Akingbade, addressed allegations that religion has done more harm than good in the Nigerian society, adding that such could have been so in the past. “We grow every day and today the story is different,” he said.

“When we meet our brothers on the other side, the Muslims, we say ‘Asalamualekum’ and they also greet us saying Praise The Lord.’

He added that there are many ways in which men are divided but “over time, I think we are getting to know that we are brethren of the same father.” Referring to the Pope’s World Day of Peace message themed Fraternity As Foundation and Pathway for Peace, he stressed that Muslims are brothers to Christians.

As the election draws near, “we are telling our people that whatever their political affiliations, they should still see themselves as brothers and sisters.”

Ekiti Election 2014: We Will Win Based On Performance – APC

Stakeholders in the politics of Ekiti State have expressed confidence that the 2014 Governorship Election in the state would not have any form of confusion witnessed in Anambra State, as the performance of the State Governor guarantees success.

The Interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ekiti State, Jide Awe, alongside a House of Representatives Member from Ekiti State, Bimbo Daramola, made the declaration on Channels Television’s weekend breakfast programme ‘Sunrise’ where they discussed the 2014 election in the state.

Also on the programme was a member of the editorial board of The Nation Newspapers, Bolade Omonijo, who was unsurprisingly neutral, expressed fears about the coming elections, not just in Ekiti State but in Nigeria.

Citing the words of his lecturer back in the university, who likened Nigerian politics to a situation of warfare, Omonijo regretted that since then till 2014 nothing had changed, and that can be blamed on the leaders who have made people to lose confidence in the process having cast many votes that did not count.

Making reference to the Anambra State election of 2013, he said he hoped that the leadership of Ekiti State would make the difference to ensure that the Anambra state election scenario does not occur.

Referring to an earlier ‘Sunrise’ interview with the State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, where the Governor spoke about his antecedents and the value he has placed on integrity, Omonijo believed that the people managing Ekiti have something to offer and with their antecedents and pedigree they would be more mindful of the points they want to make to the people rather than get desperate at the polls.

Daramola, also towing the line of depending on personal antecedents and integrity as the tool for political success, stated that what his party, the APC, has going for them in Ekiti is their verifiable performances in all sectors.

Asides commending the State Governor for his performance, he also reeled out his activities as a Member of the House of Representatives, with emphasis on his commitment to service and his fulfillment of pre-election promise to do his best for his people as the driving force behind his confidence. He said: “I know the mandate I carry does not belong to me”

Daramola, speaking about Nigerian politics, decried the gap between the leadership and the followership; he stated that as long as the political leaders remain far away from the people they govern “we are always going to have issues…so we need to close the gap.”

He blamed the gap between both parties as being the reason why money becomes a major feature during campaigns. He explained that when the electorates are aware that they would not matter to a politician when he gets to office, they begin to have the mindset of grabbing what they can before the election when they seem to matter.

This, he said, is why politicians become desperate and willing to do anything to manipulate the elections, as they are aware that they do not have the support of the people. He however assured that the APC in Ekiti State would have no reason to become desperate as they have earned the people’s support.

He vowed that he would stand down from the House of Representatives if any of the developmental achievements claimed by Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, were found to be untrue.

Daramola also blamed the purported failure of the 2013 elections in Anambra and Delta states on lack of transparency from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. He posited that the struggle for power always leads to attrition which also leads to friction, but power means many things to different people and thus the approaches would differ, if only INEC could be fair in its duty.

The Interim Chairman of the APC in Ekiti State, Jide Awe, also corroborated Daramola’s views about the election.

He said that the aims and objectives of any political party are to participate effectively in elections, which is like the examination to assess their performance, assuring that as far as the 2014 was concerned “we are well prepared for the election” adding “this is not our first election.”

He said that what the Governor has done in the state has made the job easier for the party, so “we only need to mobilize people at the grassroots to pay back the government for the good job they have done, there is no way the opposition can override us.”

He said that the 3years of APC leadership in Ekiti State has been far better than the 7 previous years of the opposition in the state, boasting that “we are sure the people will reward us”, adding that for the APC to maintain its strength in the state, it would only need to maintain its current leadership.

Awe also expressed reservation about the electoral commission, INEC, but said that the APC is making efforts under the aegis of Congress of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP in collaboration with other agencies to ensure safe and fair elections in the state.

While Omonijo also expressed concerns about security, Daramola warned that the next 6 months would be the most important for Ektiti state to move forward. He appealed to the Chairman of the INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, to be transparent.

The Party Chairman, Jide Awe called on INEC, Police and the people to be open. He emphasized that INEC should ensure that voter registration is done well and the list of voters are displayed on time as experience should come to bear in this coming election.

Daramola sounded again that the election would be won on the basis of performance and Governor Fayemi has delivered that.

2013 Economic Review: Analysts Advocate Support For Local Industry

Experts in Nigeria’s banking and commerce industries have emphasized the need for Nigeria to develop infrastructure if its dream of building local industry would be fulfilled in the year 2014.

A Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CIBN, Alex Ananeje, made this statement while appearing on the breakfast programme, Sunrise on Channels Television.

A Director of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Dele Alimi, who was also a guest on the programme, added that there is no way the Nigerian economy can grow if the government does not provide an enabling environment for local businesses to thrive.

On its final edition for the year 2013, the programme sought to do a review of Nigeria’s performance during the year, and according to Alimi, “If we solve the problem of power in Nigeria, you will be shocked at the level of growth that will follow.”

While making his case for the Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, Mr Alimi noted that statistics have shown that SMEs are responsible for over 30 million jobs in Nigeria. A figure he said means that they actually drive the economy. Therefore the country cannot afford to let the sector suffer.

Although, he agreed that the structure of many SMEs in Nigeria is not good enough, especially when the need to access funding is concerned, as only few lenders would want to release money to some of these small businesses considering the way they are run, but because the country needs that sector to thrive, then it must do all things to help business owners restructure their ventures; a role he said the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has been taking seriously.

Looking back at 2013, Mr Ananeje said that we (Nigeria) “could have done better as far as our economy is concerned”

Mr Alimi however added a different perspective to how much below par Nigeria’s economic performance had been during the year. He said that the cost of governance in Nigeria is too high, and there have been no real efforts to bring it down.

He alleged that the efforts made by the government, claiming to have reduced the salaries of government officials are deceptive, arguing that they only reduced their basic salaries while the large allowances are still being paid.

He asked for renewed policies to drive the economy, starting with developing programmes that will affect the people directly; from the farmers to the barbershop owners. He said that we need to build an economy where a barber can start his business without first bothering about acquiring a power generator.

Looking ahead, Alex Ananeje warned that the country is going to have some serious challenges in 2014, especially for the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN: “We are entering the election year and more money will be pumped into the system, there has to be a stronger monetary policy put in place”

 

Aviation: Major Changes To Take Effect In 2014 – Stella Oduah

The Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah has assured Nigerians that major changes would be seen in all airports and in the aviation sector come 2014. Top of the list of changes promised are a new era of ‘healthier airlines’ and better service delivery to the satisfaction of travellers.

“Some people would like you to believe it’s cosmetics. There’s nothing cosmetic about it. There’s nothing cosmetic about safety and security and so essentially what we did was to increase the current facilities we have by a 150 percent. For Lagos, we actually did 200 percent increase in the facility,” she said.

The minister who was a guest on Sunrise Saturday recounted some of the achievements made in the sector which critics have said are ‘cosmetic.’

The aviation sector in Nigeria has in the recent past been regarded as below standard and according to Oduah, “the death of Aviation sector started about 30 years ago. Airports which had been established for social value lacked the proper plan for sustainability hence they ‘died’ in no time.

“I believe Aviation came on board as a social platform and so everything social often is not sustained because the sustainability of the infrastructures which were not put in place,” she said.

“As much as aviation has a social content, aviation is about economics and commerce but evolved and enveloped around safety and security. Over the years we missed that point and when we missed it, the sustainability of those noble ideas, we lost it.”

Things have now changed as “the sector is now alive (literally); the sector has now come to life, because prior to this time what you had was a very dead sector, a sector where everything was obsolete (literally).”

Aviation Budget

The sector which now boasts of over 14.5 million passengers had been on the budget of the Federal Government and yet it decayed. Speaking on the programme, Oduah attributed this to the concentration on ‘welfare,’ “so the infrastructure maintenance upgrade were relegated to the background.”

She also talked about the “unprecedented” growth the sector has experienced recently and added that “no other country has that sort of growth.”

For the past two years we have been going on double digits, two years ago we were at 14.5 million, now we are approaching 20 million passengers.

“The growth can only be sustained and increased upon in commensurate increase and maintenance of those facilities, otherwise they would slip away. Facility capacity must be increased”

Furthermore, she disclosed that some of the works being done are yet to be visible as they are mostly in the back-end. Others are not ready and so may not be seen, for example wing E and D of the international airport in Lagos.

Increase In Efficiency

The Minister said that in due course, passengers should expect that “processing time (at the airport) is reduced to less than 15 minutes.

“You don’t have to stay on those long queues; you don’t have to be harassed as you go because the space has increased.

Service delivery will also be improved upon because “we went on massive training to ensure that improved infrastructure will be adequately manned by workers.”

As time goes on, you are going to see different facilities increased enough to be able to accommodate the increase in passengers that we are envisaging.

“We envisage in the next 12 months we should be able to do 40 million” as studies show that almost 65% of traveling adults and young adults in Nigeria use air transportation. “It’s the preferred mode of transportation.”

Expensive Airfares

Commenting on complaints that air transportation is costly in Nigeria compared to other parts of the world, Stella Oduah said “I don’t think so.” The reason being that “air transportation is the most regulated sector in the world and so it’s not policy permissible for an airline to unilaterally decide the cost”

“You need to have the regulators’ approval and the regulator has to work in conformity with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) global standards.

“We fought the British Airways because the prices they were charging domestically were far much in excess to what they were charging in Ghana and in neighbouring countries and so we fought them.”

“We are still in court with them,” she disclosed.

Wealthy Lifestyle

Responding to claims that people have been buying private jets as a means of escaping the poor services rendered at the airports, she said “private jet is a lifestyle. Several things lead to one deciding to have that sort of lifestyle. Time saving could be one of them but often times,  it’s not the main reason for that and that is why it’s a lifestyle.”

“For us it is business. It’s tagged as general aviation,” she said.

She went further to hint that the increase in the purchase of private jets is an indication of economic growth. “The growth of general aviation often is a reflection of economic growth in the nation. It means you have the emergence of wealthy men and women that have developed different lifestyles.”

On the lack of efficiency of the local airlines, she said a diagnostic report showed that “we have very high deficiency in terms of operations with the domestic airways, poor governance. We have majorly badly structured domestic airlines that work on the model of not having to pay.”

However, “a reformed, a refined and a very well-articulated, updated civil aviation policy which she said will be sent to the National Assembly in January for approval, will give the agency the leverage it needs to ensure that changes are made.

She outlined some other developments and changes which are in the pipes, including much ‘healthier’ airlines, which are much responsive and policy abiding, the introduction of Passengers Bill of Rights which gives the NCAA the authority to ensure that passenger’s rights are protected.

“The bill is at the advocacy stage which also sees that carriers understand the responsibility of their non-conformity to the bill of rights,” she said.

 

 

FG Not Doing Enough To Stop Corruption – U.S. Diplomat

The United States Assistant Secretary of State, African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield has berated the level of corruption in Nigeria with the view that the political class is not doing enough to stop it.

Speaking on the Saturday edition of Channels Television’s breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise’, Ms Greenfield said “This is something that embarrasses all Nigerians, I know.”

“Given the fact that corruption has been pervasive in Nigeria for so many years; I think additional political will is required to address the issue.”

Probed further by Anchor, Kayode Akintemi, she said whatever effort that is currently being made by the Nigerian government “is not cutting it, and it is not cutting it in many places in Africa, not just in Nigeria, and it is a deterrent to investments coming into this country.”

“I know that there are people who want to invest but they changed their minds because they get pushed in a different direction because of corruption.”

She went on to state examples of corrupt practises ongoing in Nigeria, that the US government is aware of, stating that it was a conversation that the US government has had with Nigeria for many years that Nigeria ought to be “the African tiger in terms of economic growth” but one thing that is holding it back is corruption.

She stressed that she knew Nigeria quite well, having been studying the country since her first visit in 1978, in addition to her experience in foreign service on the African continent, and corruption had always been an issue.

Ms Greenfield added that the issues of corruption are not for the American government to deal with on behalf of Nigeria, but the country would have to make its own efforts.

Golden Eaglets Knew They Would Win – Minister of Sports

The Minister for Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, has expressed joy over the Golden Eaglets 3-0 victory over Mexico, stating that the boys were dominating and confident that they will win.

The minister said that he had advised the Golden Eaglets to put in their best and make sure the Mexicans didn’t score first.

Speaking during a telephone interview, on Channels Television Saturday breakfast show, Sunrise, Mr. Abdullahi stated that the match was a tough one but the boys knew that it was the final and were ready for it.

He explained that the boys were assembled and screened two years ago through the coaching crew.

“Their first test was African Championship U-17, after which the coaching crew had to go back to the drawing board to make the team better,” the Minister stated.

The Mexicans Need To Be Applauded – Sports Analyst

A sports analyst, Mr. Kunle Solaja has said that the Mexicans need to be applauded for getting to the final stage of the tournament after their previous 6-1 defeat from Nigeria in the group games.

Mr. Solaja commended the team for building confidence after the defeat.

He pointed out that pressure was so much on the Mexicans and stated that their previous defeat, rather than demoralise them, made them do their best.

“Unfortunately, they lost to Nigeria again,” he said.

Speaking on Channels Television breakfast show, Sunrise, Mr. Solaja said that “this is the first time in many years of the FIFA competition, that three teams from the same group stage got to the last four”.

He emphasized that winning the competition was a good one but stressed the importance of sustenance, as the whole world would focus on Nigeria. “Some people may think that Nigeria cheated.

“Its now incumbent on us to show the world that we are a football emerging country,” he said.

 

New Voters Card has a life span of 10years – INEC

INEC spokesman Kayode Idowu has said that the old cards will be replaced with permanent cards which have an average life span of about 10years.

Speaking on Channels Television Saturday breakfast show, Mr. Idowu disclosed that the cards can be used in at least two general elections.

He said that the card is a contact lens card that has an embedded biometric chip which includes all the data’s of the voter and the picture.

He added that the card has a card reader that will be read before the election.

The Position of the President should be Respected – Doherty

The acting National Vice Chairman, Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) south/west, Adedeji Doherty has said that the main thing is not a political issue but respect, stating that the exalted position of the president should be respected.

Speaking on Channels Television Saturday breakfast show, Sunrise, Mr. Doherty described Chief Akande (APC) as a well-respected person, but would have used a lighter word while referring to the president, instead of referring to him as a  “kindergarten leader”

He added that seat of the president should be respected.

 

Withdrawal of JTF May Lead to More Causalities – Analyst

A public Affairs analyst Nduka Nwabueze has said that security in the northern part has gotten to a point where everyone has to fight to survive.

Speaking on Channels Television Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise, Mr. Nwabueze explained that life has come to a stand still for the people in the north.

Nwabueze said most of these terrorists have been trained and know how to operate and manipulate these gadgets.

He added that the police and the JFT can’t be everywhere and this might lead to more causality.

Electricity Can Be Used To Tackle Insecurity – Analyst

A security expert Abayomi Dawodu has said that one of the measures which can used in tackling security is electricity, stating that all the gadgets used in monitoring the activities of the sect is electricity which we lack in Nigeria.

Speaking on Channels Television Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise, Mr. Dawodu explained that the government might also have a hand in terrorism by providing a platform for such act to occur.

He said that one of Nigeria’s major challenges is electricity and if it’s settled, the aspect of security will be easier to handle.

He added that “when people are given what is due to them that we will get out of this”