Nollywood Film Director, Niyi Akinmolayan is back on set to shoot his latest film, ‘Room 315’.
The project which he describes as a give-back initiative, follows the success of his critically acclaimed, ‘The Arbitration’.
Speaking about his journey through the movie industry, he said he first started a filmmaking blog out of what he considered to be a simple desire to give back information to the internet.
For him, that was a means to reach out to young filmmakers who may not have had the opportunity to attend any film school.
Akinmolayan said he only wanted to give out basic information about film making, and in his words: “I felt that it was time to start telling people some of the things we do in Nollywood” and as time went on, the blog drew significant traffic.
“If we have to move forward, we have to share,” the filmmaker stated.
Explaining further, he said that as the blog grew bigger, he decided to engage everyone, by putting up a sum of money as a prize for whoever is able to come up with a unique script for a film.
This was how the idea for the film, Room 315 was birthed.
He explained that the aim behind the idea was fulfilled because “so many people jumped at it especially as there was money involved”.
He received over 300 entries, which was later narrowed down to “Room 315”.
The script, according to him, initially drew in a minor controversy as a Lagos-based radio personality said the title as well as the mental health theme, plagiarized her issues-based V-log, titled ‘Room 313’.
Akinmolayan, however, remained indifferent on the matter and went ahead with shooting the film.
He said that the huge support he has gotten so far on the project has helped to douse the financial strain he would have otherwise felt.
There seems to be no respite in sight for students of public polytechnics in the country as the lingering disagreement between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has now entered its third month. A member of the National Executive Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP), Gani Akinleye has blamed the current industrial action in Nigerian tertiary institutions on the insecurity of the government in keeping agreements.
ASUP embarked on an indefinite strike on April 29 to demand the implementation of the new salary structure and the release of the White Paper on the visitation to federal polytechnics more than a year after the exercise, among other demands. Presently, there are no negotiations or talks going on between the two parties as the last meeting held on June 14 ended in a deadlock.
This has led the union to accuse the federal government of indifference to the nationwide strike with a lack of political will to resolve the issues raised by the union.
Also, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had on Monday resumed the strike it suspended in January 2011 following the federal government’s failure to implement the agreement it reached with the lecturers.
Reacting to the incessant strike in Nigerian tertiary institution during a Channels Television Live programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Akinleye, displaying a purported agreement his union signed with the government, said though committees were set up to implement the content of the deal, not up to 50 percent of what was agreed have been done.
“Sincerely speaking, Nigerians should hold the government responsible for what has happened in the last few months, two and a half months to be precise, in the Polytechnics sector” he said.
The unionist said this dishonourable action of the government was what pushed both the academics and non-academics staff in the polytechnics nationwide to down tools because “that’s the only language they understand.
“We have spoken the language of compromise, the language of negotiation which the government has failed to realize.”
He said the government had met the Polytechnic teachers just once since the strike began two and a half months ago.
According to Mr Akinleye, the Minister of Education, Ruqayyatu Rufa’I had said she was not aware that ASUP and SSANIP were on strike and that “She doesn’t even know who SSANIP is.”
He described the Minister’s comment was unfortunate.
He said, “If you set up a committee and invited members of these unions to be part of that committee how come you now turn around to say you don’t know them?”
Mr Akinleye said apart from the implementation of the agreement, other issues raised by the union included the failure of government to commence a Needs Assessment of Polytechnics and refusal to establish a National Polytechnics Commission, the dismal condition of state-owned polytechnics and the refusal of some state governments to implement the statutory 65-year retirement age for academic staff in their polytechnics.
He described as discriminatory, the disparity between the career progression of polytechnic graduates and their counterparts from the Universities.
He said, “You are quite aware that there are some banks in this country that says if you are an HND graduate, don’t apply. In Nigeria today even at the federal ministries there is a level you can get to with your HND. That is enough.
“Look at even the admission criteria; when you are admitted to a university, people see it as yes, you are on top of the world, they’ll say aaaah you’re going to a polytechnics. It is because of the psychology the Nigerian government has inputted into the mind of the people.”
The President, Nigeria Society of Engineers, Otis Anyaeji has said that with the increasing activities of the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), the erratic power supply in the country will soon be a thing of the past.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Anyaeji said the government had already entered into an agreement that will ensure that gas, a major ingredient in power generation, is on constant supply to power plants.
He said the reason for his optimism over the reforms is the change in the behaviour of both the government and contractors handling power projects.
“There has been steadfastness in all the stakeholders including the government, that’s what gives me the confidence to say that not only will this NIPP be carried through but even beyond NIPP. I think the behaviour has changed now, even in the government level and the contractor level,” he said.
The most significant measures taken by the government to re-jig the nation’s ailing power sector came in August 2005 when the National Council of State (NCS) and the National Assembly approved an initial funding of US$2.5 billion for the NIPP from the “Excess Crude Oil Account.
The Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) was thereafter incorporated as a limited liability company to serve as the legal vehicle to hold the NIPP assets. The mandate of the NDPHC included construction and expansion of the country’s power infrastructure to boost electricity generation and supply across the country.
In 2008, the National Economic Council (NEC) voted US$5.375 billion from the excess crude account as Power Emergency Fund (PEF) to complete NIPP. NEC also inaugurated the NIPP Steering Council in January 2009, chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan, then the country’s vice president with six state governors and four ministers as members.
The NIPP Steering Council, which has transformed as the board of directors of NDPHC is headed by Vice President Namadi Sambo. In February 2009, the council approved phase I budget of US$2.213 billion from the PEF of US$5.375 billion to complete the first phase of the NIPP projects. It also approved US$423.639 million to PHCN as special intervention fund.
In June 2010, the council approved US$123.110 million to augment the phase 1 budget and N1.750 billion to buy NDPHC corporate headquarters in Abuja.
With these funds, the NDPHC built several gas turbine plants, distribution and transmission equipment and lines in the country.
Mr Anyaeji said he is hopeful that these investments and the commitment of other stakeholders will ensure that Nigerians will soon start enjoying uninterrupted power supply.
The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, James Olotu has said that there is a disparity between electricity power generated in Nigeria and that transmitted to the consumers. Mr Olotu, who was a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, said under normal circumstance, the power transmitted should be 100 percent of what was generated.
He attributed the disparities between power generated and that transmitted to lack of transmission infrastructure; a problem, he said is already being addressed.
He said, “Transmission should be 100 percent of power generated but we have a little bit less than what it should be.”
Mr Olotu said the absence of adequate transmission equipment results in ‘stranded generation power.”
He described stranded generation power as when electricity power is available “but because our infrastructural development have not reached that level where you have dotted those redundancy, you may not be able to fully 100 percent evacuate them.”
He said to curb this problem the government has started building transmission lines and substations in different parts of Nigeria.
Ambitious 14,000MW By 2013
President Goodluck Jonathan had last year presented a power reform roadmap where it was predicted that by December 2013 Nigeria will be generating 14,000MW of electricity.
This goal seems to be an overestimation because according to Mr Olotu, based on the current statistics, the total power generation by the end of this year will not exceed 9,000MW.
He said, “I think we will get close to 9, 000MW by December this year.”
He said four of the 10 power plants under construction including, Olorunsogo, Sapele, Geregu, and Ihovbor power plants are ready for commissioning and that they will together add about 2000MW to the existing power generation capacity.
The recent election of the leadership of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) is generating a lot of dust not unlike what has been. Any time the group, calling itself a peer review mechanism, ventured into a situation in the country there is almost always a level of dust rising. Now more than before, the NGF appears ruffled and divided over who is the right leader.
The Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi was last Friday re-elected as the Chairman of the NGF. Official results of the elections indicated Mr. Amaechi won the election by 19 to 16 votes to defeat his challenger, Jonah Jang of Plateau.
Shortly after the announcement of the result of the elections, the Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom addressed reporters rejecting the result, with the allegation that the election was rigged.
He claimed the ballot papers were not serialized and that Mr. Amaechi did not step down prior to the election.
Governor Jang further claimed he won the election in a press conference where he thanked his colleagues for the confidence reposed in him to serve them as the leader of NGF asking that every matter concerning the forum should henceforth be referred to him as the Chairman.
Debating the controversial election on Channels Television’s programme, Faceoff, the Rivers State PDP Chairman, Eric Appiah and his counterpart from Plateau, Haruna Dabin defended the roles their governors played in the NGF crisis.
The Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe, has identified inadequate budgetary provision and staff as some of the factors limiting its performance.
Ms Ochekpe stated this to journalists at the end of the weekly meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation (FEC) in Abuja.
The minister, who briefed the Council on the performance of her ministry in 2012, said with a N79.34 billion budget in 2012, the ministry got a warrant of N51.3 billion that was backed by N43.86 billion cash. Out of this, the sum of N46.66 billion was utilised, bringing an achievement of 99.95 per cent fund utilisation
She enumerated some of her achievements to include the completion of Makurdi regional water supply scheme, Mangu regional water supply scheme, provision of hand pumps in 16 states, completion of motorised boreholes in 35 communities, town water supply scheme in 3 states, and completion of 9 dams as well as irrigation projects in Jigawa, Kano, Sokoto and one other state.
The Minister said her ministry had increased the area of dry season cultivation by upgrading the river basins across the country adding that there had been a significant improvement in the cultivation of wheat in the Chad basin and Zamfara State.
She listed some of the challenges of her ministry as insufficient budgetary provisions, rain season, lack of synergy between federal and state governments, non-payment of pump water rate which also affected the ministry’s internally generated revenue (IGR) and lack of sustenance of projects funding.
Other challenges, according to the minister, include lack of adequate staff, effect of climate change on the ministry’s activities, obsolete equipment in the river basin development authorities, security challenges, lack of legislative framework to regulate activities of the sector, need for more hydrological facilities, and need for more processing and storage facilities.
Lawyer and public affairs analyst, Fred Agbaje has said that the imposition of state of emergency on some troubled northern states is comparable to a military coups d’état.
Mr Agbaje, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise daily, said President Goodluck Jonathan did the right thing by not suspending constitutionally elected officials while declaring the emergency rule.
He however said in principle when the President declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, “the existing legal order must give way to the new one because the two cannot operate pari passu or concomitantly.”
Mr Agbaje said President Jonathan should have suspended the executive and legislative arms of government in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states while the state of emergency lasted.
He said though the Nigerian constitution does not empower the President to sack democratically elected officials, it also did not say that the president cannot remove these officials from office during a state of emergency.
The ‘authors talk’ event is a platform for writers to present and discuss their works.
This episode of Channels Book Club features readings from three Nigerian authors: Lola Shoneyin (the secret lives of Baba Segi’s wives and her collection of poems titled, ‘so all the time I was sitting on an egg’) Sam Umukoro (Heart Strings) Victor Ehikhamenor (Excuse Me!).
The Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati on Wednesday said the president action of declaring a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states does not violate any part of the Nigerian constitution.
Mr Abati, who disclosed this in an interview with Channels Television, said thought the constitution gave President Jonathan the power to declare a state of emergency on any state where there is a breakdown of public order and public safety, it does not empower him to remove democratically elected officials.
President Jonathan had on Tuesday imposed a state of emergency on Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states as a step in curtailing the growing tide of insurgency in northern Nigeria.
In a nationwide broadcast, the President drew his power on section 305(3 (c) (d) (f) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, which states that the President shall have power to issue a state of emergency only when “there is actual breakdown of public order and public safety, there is a clear and present danger of an actual breakdown of public order and safety in the federation or any part to require extraordinary measure to restore peace and security or to avert such danger” and there is any other public danger which clearly constitutes a threat to the existence of the Federation.
Watch the video below for the full interview with Mr Abati.
An economist and the Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company, Bismarck Rewane has said that the imposition of emergency rule in some troubled northern states is a positive step in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Nigeria.
Mr Rewane, who was a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Business Morning said in a crisis ridden country, investors expect that the government do nothing, do the right things or do the wrong things.
The economist said Nigerians must abandon the notion that it will only take foreign investors to alter the economic destiny of the country.
He said, “Let us get away from this understanding that foreign investors are going to alter Nigerian’s economic destiny. If domestic investors do not invest in a country, no foreign investor will invest there.
A lawyer, Kenneth Odidika on Wednesday said that corruption is so widespread in Nigeria that the default mode of the citizens of this country is fraud.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Odidika said the declaration of emergency rule in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states following the incessant violent attacks in these areas is a good move by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The lawyer blamed corruption as responsible for the proliferation of illegal weapons especially those in the control of the rebel groups in Northern Nigeria.
He said, “Our default mode as Nigerians is fraud. These arms and ammunitions are not invincible; they don’t come to Nigeria and then materialize. They are brought in through our borders and I can assure you some of the borders are not even the ones we talk about in Yobe and Adamawa. I’m talking about through our ports and we have Customs people there.”
Speaking on the state of emergency declared on three troubled states in the North, Mr Odidika said this is a sign that President Jonathan is not weak and should serve as a warning to other state governments that have not been able to curtail violence in their domain.
He said, “By virtual of what he did yesterday (Tuesday), it is obvious now to those who thought he couldn’t act that this man could actually act and he could bite.
“If what has happened in Kano continuous, chances is that he will take the same action and even more drastic one.”