Improper Budget Processes Responsible For Nigeria’s Backwardness – Pat Utomi

A renowned Professor of Economics, Pat Utomi, has blamed Nigeria’s backwardness on the lack of vision as well as absence of consultation of the masses in the budget processes which according to him, is made worse by leaders without capacity.

Professor Utomi who was a guest speaker at the maiden Budget Roundtable Seminar of the UNIzik Business School of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

Speaking on the theme: Budget Processes in Nigeria, Challenges and Implication in National Development, he trailed the problem of the country from the military era to over dependence on oil and to the cluelessness of some Nigerian leaders.

He stated that as a matter of urgency, a complete and total reform of government is what the country needs.

Furthermore, he advocated leadership brilliance and disciplined execution of budgets which would have peoples’ priorities reflected in order to save the economic situation in the country.

Other speakers also insisted that a budget must contain what the people want, while putting in perspective, future economic challenges and changes for easy and proper adaptation and adjustment.

Keynote speaker and House member representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo federal constituency, as well as the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Mr Chris Azubogu, noted that asides poor funding of budget, lopsided budgeting, deficit and high profile debt profile, citizen participation is a major factor affecting the actualization of the national budget.

He however gave an assurance of imminent budget reforms.

Partner With Innovative Industry To End Economic Challenges, Group Tells FG

universityThe apex professional body for education practitioners in Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to collaborate with academicians, educationalists and professionals in the innovative industry to proffer solution to the economic challenges facing the nation.

This charge was given at the 31st annual congress of the Nigerian Academy of Education held in Owerri, the capital of Imo State in south eastern Nigeria.

Addressing the gathering, Professor Ikenna Onyido, a one-time Vice Chancellor of the Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike and presently the Director Centre for Sustainable Development, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka said that “if truly the Federal Government is committed in getting the desired change that it professes for the Nation, educationalists and academicians are the true and inevitable agents that could partner with the government.

He is optimistic that the partnership would provide home-grown solutions to the problems of economic development, environmental degradation and social cohesion facing the country.

While speaking on the theme ‘Education for Sustainable Development in Nigeria’, the erudite professor said for Nigeria to attain maximum level for sustainable development “there is need to change the way we think and act which require quality education and learning for all levels.

“The change that Nigeria needs is the one that will be diligently pursued and effected in the classrooms and other learning contexts by academicians and educationalists who are grounded in the knowledge and innovation industry”.

Delivering the keynote address, Professor Ikenna Onyido urged the Federal Government to collaborate with scholars and academicians in the innovation industry if the government was serious in achieving the change it desires.

Present Economic Recession

He added that, as innovators and professionals in impacting knowledge, they remained the change agents who should be properly equipped, adequately remunerated and sufficiently motivated to really drive home the needed change the federal government proffers.

“What can we learn from this allegory about the development of Nigeria? We learn that the primitive mind cannot deliver good governance, which is responsible for many of the problems that constitute underdevelopment. This is where education comes in. Where you and I are involved and where the Nigerian Academy of Education has its functional relevance cut out for it, at the very foundation of development.

“In fact, the overall well-being of a nation is fully dependent on the quality of education on offer and the proportion of the population that has been exposed to it. Nehru, the great Indian statesman who laid the foundation for much of the economic development that India is making today, recognised this fact when he said that: ‘All is well with a nation if its universities (educational institutions) are in good shape and functional’,” he told the gathering.

Professor Onyido also said “the role of education in development, which been the starting point for the translation of countries from backwardness to economic development, from dependence to economic independence, appears to have been totally lost on our leaders, across the decades”.

On the economic recession facing the nation, Professor Onyido said: “We reasoned that lack of sustainability feeds into underdevelopment as well and noted Nigeria’s appalling and woeful record in sustainability.

“We also observed that societies that accorded the highest premium and priority to knowledge also happen to be the societies that fostered economic development.

“We also observed that backward nations that leapfrogged into economic development had the benefit of political leaderships that believed in knowledge as an inalienable resource for development and who led the charge by mobilising, motivating and challenging their nation’s innovation systems to produce applicable knowledge and innovation that were turned into goods and services.

“We made the additional point that underdeveloped societies had to dig deep into their endogenous resources of knowledge and innovation to find answers to their economic and social challenges,” Professor Onyido said.

Lack Of Implementation

In his remarks, the President of the Nigerian Academy of Education, Professor Udogie Ivowi, identified lack of implementation, insufficient financing, and lack of political will as some of the major problems facing Nigeria’s educational system.

He also urged teachers to key into the digital age of teaching and learning that gives room for ICT compliancy.

“Consequently, implementation has remained a serious problem in educational development in Nigeria.

“This is validated by the insufficient display of political will on the path of educational authorities including government and other proprietors of educational institution.

“Added to this is the new digital age of learners whose teachers belong to the analogue age, for relevance in the digital age and to sustain whatever innovation arises from efforts and curriculum functionality. Teachers need to do a lot in terms of ICT knowledge and application,” Professor Ivowi pointed out.

While delivering his speech, the Imo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha, who was represented by the State Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Getrude Oduka, called for the support and partnership of all in stakeholders in education to move the sector forward irrespective of the challenges facing the sector at the moment.

“I believe that it’s a challenge to all of us either as individual or as a group, the onus lies on us for us to know what to do to make sure that we get it right and there’s no other person to do it for us.

“There is something I normally say, I say for those who believe that they have gathered the knowledge, for those who believe that they are professors, doctors and educationalists, if you continue to run away from the assignment that God has designed you to do, the essence of gathering the knowledge is for you to impact it into another situation, if we continue to run away, the mediocre will continue to make the policies that we must surely execute,” Mrs Oduka said.

The Nigerian academy of education which is the highest professional body for practitioners in education facilitates interaction and communication among education stakeholders through its annual congress.

It also serves in advisory capacity to various governments of the federation and the promotion of high standards at all levels of educational system.

Hopefully, deliberations and recommendations put forward from the gathering of scholars would be useful for the government in this critical period in the nation’s history.

Nnamdi Azikiwe University Partners China On Education Development

Nnamdi Azikiwe University, China, UNIZIKThe Government of the People’s Republic of China has revealed plans to partner with the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka to develop the institution in the areas of scholarships, culture, training programmes and investments.

The Director of China’s Culture in Nigeria, Mr Yan Xiang Dong, disclosed this on Monday during the inauguration of the Chinese Cultural Research Centre of Nigeria at the university.

Speaking after a brief indoor meeting, Mr Dong expressed optimism on Nigeria’s Bilateral Relations with China in which four agreements were signed by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

He said the development would attract a lot of investments into Nigeria and that the responsibility of his office in the partnership includes awards of scholarships and student-teacher training in culture and technology.

Receiving the Chinese delegation, the Vice Chancellor of UNIZIK, Professor Joseph Ahaneku, also expressed delight on the positive impact of the initiative.

He said the Centre would quench the thirst of many students who desire to learn the Chinese language and culture.

Professor Ahaneku added that the partnership would open up new vistas into the medicinal and culinary art of the Asian country which he said would promote healthy living.

The Confucius Institute, which is a non-profit Public Educational Organisation affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education, has been existing in the university since 2008.

The event concluded with the presentation of Certificates of Merit to 400 Confucius students who excelled in the Chinese language proficiency tests.

Police Parade 75-Year-Old Certificate Forgery Suspect

Forgery Suspect, certificate forgeryThe Anambra State Police Command has paraded two elderly suspects who are specialists in certificate forgery.

Mr Onuzulike Ude, a 75-year-old retired teacher and Mrs Evelyn Nwoke, aged 52, were arrested between May 5 and 6, following information on their documents and certificate forgery business in Awka.

Parading the suspects alongside three other suspects arrested for robbery and production of fake currency, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Hassan Karma, decried the evil business of the two elderly suspects.

He said that they have forged several certificates and documents including degree certificates of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, National Youth Service Corps discharge certificates among others.

Other suspects paraded were a robbery suspect, a fake currency manufacturing specialist and a kidnapping suspect known as Jerry Gana, who claims to be an ex-soldier as well as a graduate of Biochemistry.

He was involved in kidnapping in Delta State and ran to Anambra State to hide but was caught by the Police in the state.

He had collected ransom running into millions of Naira from the victims he had kidnapped before his arrest.

The Police boss, Mr Karma, warned criminals to steer clear of Anambra State as the state would remain too hot for them.

He warned that the long arm of the law will catch up with them wherever they are hiding to perpetrate their nefarious activities.

Obiano To Sign Anambra Health Insurance Scheme

Willie Obiano-Anambra State-Health Insurance SchemeGovernor Willie Obiano has expressed readiness to sign the Anambra State’s Health Insurance Scheme.

The insurance scheme would ensure adequate health service delivery to the less privileged citizens and ensure that doctors received what was due to them in their life saving duties in the state.

The Governor gave a hint about the new scheme during the inauguration of the newly reconstituted 14-member board of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku Awka held at the Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia.

He maintained that the strategic approach of his administration towards re-positioning and transforming the state’s health sector, especially the primary healthcare services and the general hospitals were yielding positive fruit.

Governor Obiano commended the outgoing board members led by Dr. Dozie Ikedife, whose tenure helped secure the institution’s accreditation that saw to the graduation of its first medical doctors.

To ensure proper service delivery to the people and due remuneration for the doctors, he announced that the state government would soon assent the Health Insurance Scheme.

In his remark, the Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike, explained that the inauguration was to assist in charting more progressive cause for the teaching hospital.

The board has as its chairman, a Gynaecologist and traditional ruler of Ifitedunu, Igwe Emeka Ilouno, and as its Secretary, a Professor of Anastaciology with Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Professor Beatrice Umeh.

It has a four-year tenure which could be renewed if they are found to have performed creditably well. They have been charged by the Governor to transform Anambra State to a health tourism center and the number one health destination in Nigeria.

Igwe Ilouno, who assured the government and people of the state of their commitment to effective service, said that they would put in their best to achieve much more than the mandate given to them.

Oshiomhole Urges Nigerian Leaders To Encourage Unity

Oshiomhole Urges Nigerian Leaders To Encourage UnisonEdo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has called on leaders in Nigeria to strengthen the bridge of unity in the country.

Governor Oshiomhole made the appeal while delivering a speech which captured issues of unemployment and inequality at the fourth annual Zik’s Lecture Series of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka, the Anambra State capital.

He was of the opinion that Nigerian leaders should try not to create a feeling of inequality in the minds of the poor from birth.

Governor Oshiomhole urged them to create an environment that would enable every citizen to thrive, irrespective of their status, adding that poverty was a threat to prosperity everywhere.

A Ugandan motivational speaker, Ethan Musolini, also said that economic empowerment and demonstration of practical skills should be celebrated as they were the heart of sustainable entrepreneurship, stressing that it would open the vista for creation of more jobs and finding solutions to problems at a profit.

Speeches delivered by the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Joseph Ahaneku, the former Special Adviser on Political Matters to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Senator Ben Obi and the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, hinged on bridging the gap between the rich and the poor.

They also tasked the leaders on providing the structures that would encourage enterprise and thus, exterminate unemployment and inferiority complex among Nigerians.

The forum was organised to encourage quality interaction and conversation amongst leading scholars, students, and individuals towards the development of Nigeria and the African continent while keeping the memory of the ideals of Nigeria’s Pan African leader, late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe alive.

Factional ASUU Chairman Blames National Leadership For Local Chapter Crisis

The Chairman, ASUU Progressives, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU) chapter, Professor Maduabuchi Dukor has accused the central leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities of keeping mum concerning the division between his faction of the association and ASUU NAU, over the university’s participation in the on-going strike.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, he said that “since the inception of that ASUU NAU led executives, there has been crisis” and they have painted the picture that they want to oust the Vice Chancellor at all cost.

The recent bone of contention between the two factions lies in the nation-wide strike embarked upon ASUU which they seem not to agree if they should participate or not, owing to ongoing examinations.

Mr Dukor accused the ASUU NAU faction on insisting that the university join the strike despite the fact that there is a provision for institutions which are conducting examinations.

Practical examinations had commenced in the school “about a week before the declaration of ASUU strike” in June.

He said the ASUU progressive faction had opposed the cancellation of the exams after the declaration of strike but “this body of executives of ASUU NAU led by Professor Ike Odimegwu said no, that the university must join the strike”.

“We know that ASUU has a provision of making an arrangement for an ongoing exam”.

ASUU National remained silent on that. He said.

University of Ilorin, Imo state University, University of Nigeria (Nsukka), Kogi State University are institutions which have concluded their examinations in spite of the strike.

Mr Dukor also accused the NAU faction of trying to oust the Vice Chancellor by publishing libelous articles on the internet, accusing him of abuse of funds and administration and instigating crisis in the school.

“When they failed in that agenda, they moved over to the issue of the tenure of the vice chancellor.”

The Vice Chancellor was pressured to leave office after 4 years; however, he was in acting capacity for a year. Citing the case of President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Dukor said “acting capacity is not counted anywhere”.

He said the declaration of ASUU strike has given leeway for fresh attacks against the university management.

University Don Confirms Division In UNIZIK’s ASUU

The Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), UNIZIK chapter , Professor Ike Odimegwu on Friday confirmed that there’s division in the school’s union due to the ongoing ASUU strike.

He explained on Channels Television’s  breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily,  that there hasn’t been a committee like ASUU in the university since 2001 due to an internal agreement that was entered into.

He however revealed that the union was resurrected last year in the university.

He said Profesor Nwabueze, a member of the progressives who has never been a member of the committee contested for a position but thank God he lost.

“Prof Nwabueze has never registered to be part of our committee but he contested for the post of Vice chairman last year, and he lost”.

Reacting to the allegation that ASUU dragged the university to court, concerning this issue he said “the senate that runs the university is not properly constituted, non-administrative staff have now being allowed membership of the senate. The senate is the highest policy making body in a university, so they had to take the situation to court and a massive turnout of over 200 members agreed that proper measure has to be taken”.

Professor Odimegwu added that prior to the other group saying the students should finish exams before leaving the school premises, the union had met with the SUG leaders and leaders of all departments to explain the reason why examinations cannot continue and the result they hope to achieve with the strike.

Watch complete interview for more.

Ekweremadu Calls For Decentralisation Of Police

Senator Ike Ekweremmadu, representing Enugu West Senatorial District, has said that the way forward for the Nigeria Police, in line with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is decentralization.

While delivering a paper on “Policing and National Security in Nigeria” at the 2013 Annual Lecture of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, the senator declared his stand in support for the decentralization of the police.

Sen. Ekweremmadu further called on the National Assembly to provide the framework for the establishment, structure and powers of the state police.

Professor Onyeka Nwolisa of the University of Ibadan, in his speech disclosed that his major concern is the conception of national security which pertains to democracy.

Governor Peter Obi of Anambra state in turn decried the absence of true spirit of federalism.

Speaking at the event, the US consulate advised that utmost carefulness be employed in whatever decision the country reaches as it will affect the whole black race.

Gunmen kidnap former Nnamdi Azikiwe University VC

Gunmen on Sunday abducted the former Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University and a two-time Attorney General of the old Anambra State, Prof. Ilochi Okafor (SAN).

Okafor was also an aspirant in the 2011 Anambra State governorship election.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Enugu, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu confirmed that the incident occurred at about 8am on Sunday, at the victim’s residence on Pioneer Avenue in Independence Layout, Enugu State.

Amaraizu said Okafor was about leaving for church when he was whisked away by the suspected kidnappers.

He said, “He just opened the gate and was about driving out when he was picked.”

The PPRO said the police have been talking with some members of the Okafor family.

He said, “The police would soon uncover the reasons behind his (Okafor) kidnap and those responsible.

“We are already working on information given to us by members of his family and we would soon make our findings known to the press, but we would not divulge the sensitive ones so as not to sabotage our investigations.”

Meanwhile, a statement from Okafor’s family read, “With regret and great sadness, we wish to announce that Prof. Ilochi A. Okafor (SAN) has been kidnapped this morning at his residence in Enugu”.

The family of the kidnapped university don also solicited for prayers from the public to ensure his safe return “Prof. Okafor was a two-time Attorney General of the old Anambra State as well as a former Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka. Please join us in praying to Almighty God for his immediate and safe release from his captors. Thank you.”

Gunmen shoot Nigerian Compass MD

The Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of Nigerian Compass and Westerner Magazine, Sina Kawonise was on Monday shot by suspected armed robbers while on his way from Anambra State.

The Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of Nigerian Compass and Westerner Magazine, Sina Kawonise

Mr Kawonise, a former Commissioner for Information in Ogun State had gone to attend the 17th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Anthropological and Sociological Association which was held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka where he presented the keynote address.

The incident took place near Ikeji Arakeji in Osun State. The robbers shot at the vehicle in order to force it to stop. The robbers were however repelled by the two policemen who accompanied Mr Kawonise as they fired back at the robbers.

While the Nigerian Compass boss was hit in the leg, one of the policemen also suffered gunshot wounds.

Both men are reportedly being treated in a hospital in Osun State.

Five persons killed by collapsed building in Awka

Five construction workers were killed while several others were severely injured when a two storey building at Miracle Junction area, Ifite Awka,  Awka South Local Government Area Of Anambra state collapsed on Wednesday.

Eye witnesses said the collapsed building which was meant to be a hostel for students of Nnamdi Azikiwe Univerity, Awka fell at about three o’clock in the afternoon.

So far, only one of the dead victims has been recovered while the rest are still buried in the debris.

With the latest unpleasant development, students living around the area say they are scared as they are unsure of the quality of their residential buildings and called on government to be proactive on issues concerning building construction.

The injured workers are presently receiving treatment at Amaku Teaching Hospital, Awka.