Adenuga, Tinubu, Okoli Receive OTL Lifetime Achievement Awards

otl_awardOTL Africa has held a dinner and award night to conclude its Downstream Conference 2016 which kicked off three days ago.

The event incorporates awards of excellence and special recognition, with key players in the industry fully represented, expanding the networking range in a glamorous atmosphere.

Since it came into existence 10 years ago, it has become a constant on the diaries of the key players on the continent and beyond. It is the high point of the downstream industry calendar and the climax of the OTL Africa week.

The OTL Award celebrates some of their major sponsors and also celebrates excellence, innovation and achievement in downstream petroleum business, recognizing true value added efforts being made by organisations and persons in oil and gas business.

Awards were also given in the oil marketing categories like Best Consumer Service Retail, Best Marked Lubricant, Best Branded Lubricant and Oil Marketer of the Year.

The big one at the OTL Award is the Lifetime Achievement Awards. It went to three distinguished Nigerians; CEO, Oando Plc, Wale Tinubu; Chairman, WABECO Petroleum Ltd, Chief Silverius Okoli, and Chairman, Conoil Plc, Chief Mike Adenuga, who was ably represented.

The conference traditionally sets agenda for engagement by parties in business, policy, industry and operations.

Participants largely described the Downstream 10th anniversary annual social gathering as largely successful and with the success recorded this year, the players in oil trading and logistics say they look forward to another year to celebrate.

Kwara Proposed Bond: Government, Opposition In Disagreement

KwaraThe Kwara State government and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are in disagreement over a plan by the government to approach the capital market to obtain a 20 billion Naira bond. 

The opposition described the plan as an attempt to further impoverish the people of the state.

While the Governor of the State, Abdulfatah Ahmed, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress, believes the money will be used to further develop the state with various projects, the opposition wonders why the government has not been saving for the rainy day, querying what has been done with the previous bonds obtained.

The State Commissioner for Finance, Demola Baanu, had earlier explained that the government had decided to obtain the 20 billion Naira bond to complete ongoing projects, citing dwindling federal revenue for the decision.

The little above one billion Naira allocation from the federal Government being collected now could barely pay salaries, he said, seeking the understanding of the people.

Not Being Prudent

On behalf of the opposition PDP, the state chairman of the party, Iyiola Oyedepo, wondered how the government could continue borrowing to run the affairs of the state.

He told reporters that nearly 500 billion Naira had been collected from 1999 to date without tangible projects or positive impact on the people.

He accused the government of not being prudent when the economy was booming and wondered why government officials complain now when they were supposed to save for the rainy day.

While swearing in the last batch of the state’s commissioners, the Governor warned politicians against politicising the bond issue, as it would not affect the fortunes of the state.

He explained that the state had the capacity to repay through the Internally Generated Revenue,

Governor Ahmed also reiterated that the bond would enable the government complete the suspended projects and begin new ones that would have impact on the people.

The executive arm of the government is waiting for the decision of the State Assembly on the bond proposal before any further action.

Nigeria @55: Do Not Lose Hope In Your Leaders, Dogara Urges

Yakubu-Dogara-Speaker-of-house-of-RepsThe Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has felicitated with Nigerians on the 55th independence anniversary of the country.

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan, the Speaker said that although Nigeria is facing multifarious challenges, nonetheless the country has witnessed significant improvement in some areas.

Dogara said that Nigerians have every reason to celebrate the 55 years of independence and over 100 years of existence. “I will urge our people to use this period to give thanks to God for keeping the country one despite many upheavals and prophesies if doom,” he said.

The Speaker admitted that when compared with other developing countries, Nigeria is far left behind in many areas and is ranked among the lowest in the human development index, but expressed hope that “happy times will be here again.”

He said, rather than grieving over the problems and challenges facing the country, Nigerians must as a matter of necessity move away from lamentation and hopelessness to a new era of hope and positivity about the future of the country.

He noted that Nigerian leaders were not unaware of the task before them but they also require sacrifice by all Nigerians.

“We will plead with our people not to lose hope in their leaders as most nations have passed through similar challenges and emerged stronger. I have strong hope and conviction that Nigeria, will also overcome these challenges. This too, shall pass away and happy times be will here again.

“The new APC government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has not left anyone in doubt as to its readiness to restructure, and re-position the country on the path of socio-economic development.

“While it is the responsibility of government to provide the conducive atmosphere to all citizens to realise their potentials, we all, must work to make Nigeria work again because the era of waste and impunity has gone.

“The new leadership in the country under our great political party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, is determined to provide quality leadership and return Nigeria to its rightful place in the comity of nations.

“The 8th House of Representatives will continue to enact people-oriented legislation that would be targeted at solving the current socio-economic and security challenges in line with our legislative agenda.

“I commend efforts made by the military to recover large swath of territories from the Boko Haram terrorists in the North East region.

“I call on all citizens to support the fight against terrorism so that millions of our people who are internally displaced with some being refugees in other countries will return home and live in peace, freedom and happiness.

“This period calls for sober reflection and Nigerians should not relent in their prayers for the unity and indivisibility of the country.”

Dogara Inaugurates Committee On Legal Reforms

Yakubu-Dogara, Speaker of House of Representatives inaugurates committee on law reformsThe Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria has inaugurated a committee that will oversee legal reforms for various sectors of the Economy.

While briefing the 22-man committee on their duties, Honourable Yakubu Dogara said most of the laws in Nigeria were outdated and do not align with current realities.

“The major reason that informed the setting up of this committee is the urgent need to review the various laws in the statutes book, some which have become obsolete and outdated.

“Your committee is being inaugurated today (Thursday) to assist us in cleaning up our statutes book and bringing all our laws up to date in order to meet the social, political and developmental needs of our country,” Honourable Dogara said.

Committee-on-law-reforms
Some members of the committee being briefed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives

Besides reviewing the old laws, the Committee will suggest new laws and reforms that will help the anti-corruption campaign amongst other issues within 60 days.

The Speaker urged the committee members to engage their individual and undivided attention to the law reforms.

“Law reforms put laws in place that will aid the anti-corruption struggle, infrastructure renewal, efficient and optimal utilisation of our petroleum resources, solid minerals, education and social services, agriculture, diversification of our economy and massive employment of our teeming youthful population,” he said.

Nigerian Muslims Mark Eid-el-Fitr

muslimsNigerian Muslims are celebrating the Eid-el-Fitr, marking the end of the Ramadan fast and prayer period.

The Federal Government had declared Friday and Monday public holiday to enable Muslims celebrate the occasion.

In a message to Muslims and entire Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed the belief that the key lessons of self-denial and sacrifice would serve Nigeria well, as the nation strive to overcome its present challenges, undo the damage done by years of bad governance and accelerate the pace of national development.

Pray For Nigeria

President Buhari stressed that Nigeria, more than ever before, needed greater self-denial, sacrifice and patriotism from all of its citizens, if the nation was to quickly recover from its numerous problems and start moving in a positive direction.

“This current period of our life as a nation offers us a great opportunity to break from the vicious triangle of insecurity, corruption and under-development. We must collectively resolve to seize this opportunity and unite to confront our problems.

“I remain wholly committed to giving the required leadership towards undoing the wrongs of the past, ensuring that Nigeria truly begins to unlock its great potential and that the benefits of our immense national resources are shared and enjoyed by all, not just by successive cabals of corrupt leaders and their cronies,” he said.

Some political office holders have also issued messages of felicitation, to Muslims, as they mark the Eid-el-Fitr.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, urged Nigerians not to relent in prayers for the peace, unity and development.

He urged Nigerians, especially Muslims, to use the Sallah period to pray for Nigeria to overcome the multifaceted challenges facing the country.

Mr Dogara said that, more than ever before, the present crop of leaders were coming at a very difficult time, when the country’s economy was in bad shape, and worsened by dwindling revenues.

The Speaker maintained that recent happenings in Nigeria especially the renewed attacks by the Boko Haram in the North East were source of concern, nonetheless, he expressed hope that Nigeria would surely overcome.

He described the resurgence of bombings of Churches and Mosques by the insurgents as last kicks of a dying horse and that it will soon be a thing of the past.

The Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on Muslims and all Nigerians to use the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr celebration to imbibe the culture of peace, unity and love among one another.

Governor Okowa urged Muslims in Delta State to adhere strictly to the teachings of the great Prophet of Islam, Mohammad and to sustain the ideals of the month of Ramadan beyond the Ramadan period.

The Senate President Bukola Saraki, congratulated Nigerian Muslims and their counterparts across the world for the successful completion of this year’s Ramadan fasting and celebration of Eid-el-Fitr.

Senator Saraki called on Muslims to intensify prayers for unity, peace and progress in Nigeria.

A statement by his spokesman, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, read: “Muslims should continue to demonstrate the fact that the meaning of Islam is peace and therefore, we should learn to live in peace with people of other faith and tolerate each other”.

Senator Saraki further asked Nigerians to “remember our fellow citizens in the north eastern part of the country who are being assailed by the Boko Haram”.

He also urged all Nigerians to continue to pray for the armed forces who are engaged in the war against the insurgents so that by the period of the next Ramadan, peace would have been totally restored to the whole of the north-east and other parts of Nigeria.

Nigeria Will Be Exalted On Account Of Righteousness – Dogara

Yakubu-Dogara-Speake-of-House-of-RepsThe Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has called on Nigerians to persevere in prayers, stressing that the nation will only reel out of its challenges on account of righteousness.

While condemning the bomb attacks in Jos and Zaria which left scores dead, Dogara said recent happenings could not be solved through conventional human wisdom but divine intervention from the Almighty God.

A statement issued by his spokesman, Turaki Hassan, said the Speaker made the remarks on Tuesday at the commissioning of a church at Ubulu-Uku, built by Honourable and Evangelist J. Mrakpor, representing Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency of Delta State.

“I will urge that we continue with prayers for Nigeria. If Nigeria will be exalted, it will be on the account of righteousness.

“With prayers there is nothing that cannot be achieved as a nation, as it is the promise of God that He will listen to the prayers of His people and that the word of God is “eternal and immutable.

“We need prayers from all Nigerians. When you continue to pray for your leaders for righteousness to rein in the affairs of the nation, definitely, Nigeria will be exalted and it will reflect on our citizens.

“These very uncommon times. We live in the times that our hearts are beginning to fail us, as a result of the many sad events in our nation. These are very uncommon times and all we need to survive is prayers. And that is why altars like this are necessary,” the Speaker said.

He said he knew the value of altars because “the world we live in is dictated by words and there are godly and satanic altars”.

“When we sleep people are trying to reprogramme our world. We must also speak from our altars”.

Build A Better Future

Honourable Dogara said prayers and giving of alms “give us the power confront the forces of darkness because our strength is light”.

Earlier, Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, expressed hope that the political class would emulate Honourable Mrakpor, who is helping to impart on the lives of ordinary people especially children.

Okowa admonished parents not be too busy for God but to find time to teach their children the ways of God so as to build a better future for their families and Nigeria at large.

In his sermon, Arch Bishop Avwomakpa, who is also the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in south-south region, spoke on the need for Christians to build for the Lord.

While reading from the books of II Chronicles 15: 22 and Acts 10:1-7, Arch Bishop Avwomakpa, said one of the last assignments carried out by King David was to prepare materials for building of the temple in Jerusalem.

He urged the congregation to emulate the live of Cornelius, a devout man, who gave alms to the poor and feared God, saying; “giving can turn things around. God will reward his people”.

The Speaker was accompanied to the occasion by Leo Ogor, Jagaba Adams Jagaba, Beni Lar, Mohammed Garba Gololo, Ali Isa, Osai Osai, Victor Nwokolo, O. Ibinedion.

Security: Buhari Seeks Greater Support From France, Others

Muhammadu-Buhari-and-Francois-HollandeNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has expressed his commitment to ending the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east, saying his administration is ready to accept greater support from France and other friendly nations.

At a meeting with the President of France, Francois Hollande, on Monday in Elmau, Germany, the Nigerian leader was optimistic the insurgency would end in the shortest possible time.

The meeting was held after his participation in Monday’s G7 Outreach Programme.

“We are already taking concrete action to build a more efficient and effective coalition of Nigeria and neighbouring countries against Boko Haram,” President Buhari said, referring to his meeting last week with the leaders of neighbouring Niger Republic and Chad.

“Nigeria will appreciate more intelligence on the terrorist group’s links with ISIS, movements, training and sources of its arms and ammunition to facilitate the perfection of fresh tactics and strategies being evolved to overcome terrorism and insurgency in the country and its sub-region,” he said.

A spokesman for the President, Garba Shehu, said President Buhari reiterated at the talks with the French President that there was absolutely no link between religion and the atrocities of Boko Haram.

“There is clearly no religious basis for the actions of the group. Their atrocities show that members of the group either do not know God at all or they don’t believe in him,” President Buhari said.

Support Against Terrorism

President Hollande commended President Buhari’s concerted efforts to galvanise Nigeria’s armed forces, security agencies and neighouring countries for more decisive action to eradicate Boko Haram.

The French leader assured President Buhari that France would give Nigeria and its coalition partners’ greater support against terrorism and insecurity, including military and intelligence cooperation, to help them overcome the security challenge posed by Boko Haram and its global terrorist allies as quickly as possible.

He also called for greater bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and France in other areas, including trade, economic and cultural relations.

President Buhari also received similar pledges of enhanced support from Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada and Chancellor Angela Merkel who he also held talks with before departing from the venue of the G7 2015 Summit.

The President is due back in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, early on Tuesday.

I Will Seek Cost Of Governance Reduction If Elected Senate President – Lawan

Ahmed-LawanSenator Ahmed Lawan, vying for the leadership of the Senate, says if elected, he will pursue the merger of government agencies and other means of cutting cost of governance in Nigeria.

The member of the All Progressives Congress and one of the leading contestants for the position of the Senate President made the promise on Tuesday in an interview on Channels Television.

Outlining some of the issues he would focus on if elected, Senator Lawan, who is from Nigeria’s north-east, said his emergence would give the north-east region a sense of belonging after years on insurgency.

“I will work to ensure we improve the source of revenue, merge agencies of government to cut down cost of governance. We need to work on reducing the percentage of the recurrent expenditure in the budget,” the Senator stressed.

He highlighted that his 16 years of experience in the National Assembly had given him the needed knowledge about the workings of the assembly.

“I have learnt a lot in the National Assembly. This is my third election into the Senate. I have been in the National Assembly since 1999.

“I have been active either in plenary or in the committee. I have been the chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Education. I have watched presiding officers in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.

“I have what it takes and I have been in a position of leadership before I came to the National Assembly.

“We have paid our dues as a state and as a zone. Insecurity is what distinguishes the north-east from other parts of Nigeria and we have suffered so much ravage, destruction and have lost a lot to it.

“Giving us an opportunity to serve at this highest level of governance is like symbolically welcoming the north-east back to Nigeria,” he said.

Senator Lawan also expressed optimism that he would ensure a better synergy between the Senate and the House of Representatives, if elected.

Budget Implementation

“I am sure we need to change the way we carry out our oversight function. We can take out a week to carry out oversight function to keep in tune with the implementation of the budged to make sure that whatever was appropriated is what is given out to Nigerians. We need to make sure that monies meant for public good are not syphoned by individuals for their own good.

“The House of Representatives and the Senate must work more cordial to ensure that they perform their oversight function better,” Senator Lawan stated.

He also pointed out that he had not gotten any endorsement by any leader of the party, but that he had been endorsed by some states in the north.

NHRC Boss Tags Comment Of Oba Of Lagos ‘Toxic Nonsense’

Chidi Odinkalu on Oba of Lagos commentThe chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Nigeria, Professor Chidi Odinkalu, says the comment by the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, seen as a threat to Igbos living in Lagos State, is “a toxic nonsense”.

The Oba of Lagos had on Sunday advised the leaders of Igbo people in Lagos State to support the governorship candidate of his choice, Akinwunmi Ambode, or “perish in the water”.

The comment has triggered mixed reactions, with several condemnations. It has been described as a threat on the Igbos in Lagos.

Professor Odinkalu said he was disappointed by the Oba’s comment, stressing that the Oba should be more interested in binding the nation together and not dividing it.

“Sometimes it is good to allow people to expose themselves in their full and natural majesty.

“I cannot say I am not disappointed because that will not be honest.

“The current occupant of the stool of Lagos State is a former assistant Inspector General of Police, a very senior lawyer and a senior citizen.

“Election times are difficult times and we expect our traditional rulers to show good example.

“To explode this kind of toxic nonsense in the middle of a difficult election disappoints and he must take responsibility for what he has said,” Professor Odinkalu stressed.

He further pointed out that traditional leaders are not expected to be seen as surrogates to any political party.

The NHRC boss further stressed that the peace of Nigeria should a thing of concern to the Oba of Lagos and to all Nigerians.

After the comment by the Oba of Lagos went viral on social media, the royal palace tried to address the issue in a statement, explaining the context in which he made the statements.

The Oba of Lagos also restated his commitment to ensuring the peaceful coexistence of all Lagos residents irrespective of tribe, religion or political persuasion.

Blame The NJC, AGF For Salami’s Debacle — Lawyer

On our Saturday breakfast show Sunrise; taking a look at the judicial arm of government and issues surrounding it, the anchors Kayode Akintemi had a lawyer Tayo Olatunbosun and Debo Adeniran; a campaigner against corruption and corrupt leaders to look at the National Judicial Council which stands as an advisory board to the executive, on the Justice Salami saga.

However, the suspension of the president of the court of appeal; Justice Ayo Salami was what caught Kayode Akintemi’s fancy.

Justice Salami was suspended by the executive after a petition was written against him.

Reasons for that? Could it be Indiscipline or corruption? It was stated that he mishandled an election petition which amounted to misdemeanour. During his suspension, investigation was carried out and it was concluded that Salami had done nothing and this was after Salami was already suspended due to an earlier recommendation by the National Judicial Council. A new recommendation was reported to the Executive by a new set of panel made out of the NJC so as to rescind the suspension of justice Salami which is yet to be put aright by the executive.

Olatunbosun  analysed the whole issue from genesis with less blame alloted to the Executive arm as he berated the NJC and the AGF who couldn’t clearly define their roles.

He said the President was also ill-advised on the issue.

NJC, Executive And Justice Salami: The Impasse

On our Saturday breakfast show Sunrise; taking a look at the judicial arm of government and issues surrounding it, the anchors Kayode Akintemi had a lawyer Tayo Olatunbosun and Debo Adeniran; a campaigner against corruption and corrupt leaders to look at the National Judicial Council which stands as an advisory board to the executive, on the Justice Salami saga.

However, the suspension of the president of the court of appeal; Justice Ayo Salami was what caught Kayode Akintemi’s fancy.

Justice Salami was suspended by the executive after a petition was written against him.

Reasons for that? Could it be Indiscipline or corruption? It was stated that he mishandled an election petition which amounted to misdemeanour. During his suspension, investigation was carried out and it was concluded that Salami had done nothing and this was after Salami was already suspended due to an earlier recommendation by the National Judicial Council.

A new recommendation was reported to the Executive by a new set of panel made out of the NJC so as to rescind the suspension of justice Salami which is yet to be put aright by the executive.

Watch Complete Interview for more details.

Expect more foreign debts – Okonjo-Iweala

The Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweal on Sunday said that the Federal government plans to borrow more from international financing agencies to fund infrastructure development.

The Minister, who disclosed this while speaking at the annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in Tokyo, said the money borrowed, would be used for power, water, and health care among others.

She said the Federal Government will borrow from the World Bank with permission from the National Assembly and that to tackle infrastructure challenges effectively, the country needs about $10 billion yearly.

“We are trying to put our borrowing to really direct it to infrastructure, as you know we have gone to other sources; the Word Bank is helping us with power, so is the African Development Bank. Those are very concessional resources. The problem we have right now is that the meetings from the World Bank; they are indicating that if we do not pass through external borrowing plan, where we have $1.2 billion, that has been approved,” she said.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said the loan will involve a 40-year repayment plan, 10 years of moratorium and would be given at zero interest rate.

Growing excess crude account

The Finance Minister announced the Federal Government’s preparation to grow the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to $10 billion by early 2013.

She said: “I strongly feel and I have shared with the governors, with Mr President and vice-president who fully supports that the Excess Crude Account must be built up to $10 billion.

“We should strive to do that in the next few months and we keep that as buffer.”

The minister said that, considering the population of the country, there is every need to increase the country’s foreign reserves, which would serve as a buffer.

“Our reserves are not huge, we are just building backup; it’s not my place, it is the monetary policy that manages it, but I have discussed with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor that we need to build up our reserve to $50 billion, if we can.

“That will be the desires of the fiscal authorities, so I don’t consider us with the size of the economy and population we have.

“Look at Algeria, their reserve is nearly $200 billion, for a country much smaller than Nigeria,” she said.