FEC Approves Abuja Airport Closure For Repairs

FEC Approves Abuja Airport Closure For RepairsThe Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport Abuja will be officially closed for six weeks to enable repair works on the runway which is said to be dysfunctional.

Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the council meeting.

He said that the federal government will also be spending over one billion Naira to complete the Kaduna airport terminal building, a project that had been abandoned for some time.

Also the Federal Executive Council approved over 4 billion Naira for the purchase of firefighting equipment to enable firemen in the country to perform their functions well.

Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau disclosed this to state house  correspondents after the council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

President Buhari Receives FIFA President, Infantino

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, Muhammadu BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will pay keen interest to accountability and transparency in order to fast-track football development in the country.

The President said this at a meeting with FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, and the Secretary-General, Fatma Samoura, at the State House.

For about an hour, both men rubbed minds on how to develop the game of football in the country.

Mr Infantino also met with the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and members of the National Assembly and also highlighted the need for football development on the continent.

The Senate President assured the FIFA delegation of the support of the National Assembly. He, however, appealed to the Nigerian Football Federation to put its house in order.

 

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, Muhammadu Buhari
L-R: President of Nigeria Football Federation Mr Amaju Pinnick, FIFA President Mr Gianni Infantino, Secretary General of FIFA Ms. Fatima Samoura and Minister of Sports and Youth development Solomon Dalung at the State House

Gianni Infantino was led to the Presidential Villa by the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr Amaju Pinnick as part of Infantino’s two-day official visit to Nigeria.

He was in company of FIFA Secretary-General, Fatma Samoura, the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung and executive board members of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

In a press conference afterwards, the FIFA President said that Nigeria should be a model for the rest of the world in football development.

He said that the football federation needs to work with relevant authorities in order to achieve its goals.

The FIFA President said that his visit to Nigeria has given him a chance to meet with 18 presidents of African football associations who converged on Abuja to meet with him on how to develop football in Africa.

The 40-year-old assured Nigerians of his support for the growth and development of the round leather game in Nigeria.

The NFF Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi, has described the visit of the FIFA President, which is also his first in Africa as an epoch event.

He says it also shows the hard work the NFF has put in place in developing football especially at grassroots level.

Football Administrators Should Learn To Accept Defeat – Saraki

Football administratorsPresident of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki on Monday admonished football administrators to learn to accept defeat in the interest of the immediate environment and larger society, and not engage in ‘pull-the-house-down’ syndrome when things do not go their way.

Nigeria’s number three man spoke at the Senate President’s Conference Room at the National Assembly when he received visiting FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and Secretary General, Ms Fatma Samoura, alongside NFF President Amaju Pinnick, FA presidents from other African countries and members of the NFF Executive Committee and Management.

“The kind of global recognition we have today, as a result of this historic visit, challenges us to learn to allow peace and stability in Nigeria football. If people lose election, they should learn to accept defeat.

“People used to blame politicians for do-or-die attitude; politicians have moved; it is now football administrators who have this attitude! When you lose an election, you should be prepared to wait for the next poll.

“I call on those who are fomenting trouble or trying to divide the house to stop their act. The National Assembly is united in moving to restore peace in Nigeria football, and creating an enabling environment for the game.”

Saraki, who owns a football club (ABS FC, in the Nigeria National League), acknowledged the passion and love of Nigerians for football as incredible. “Football is a big unifying factor in our country. As governor of a state, I set up a football academy because there are so many talents out there waiting to be nurtured.”

Earlier, the FIFA boss called Nigeria ‘a great country in a great continent,’ adding: “I was impressed coming from the airport on Sunday and seeing so many kids playing football on both sides of the road. That shows Nigerians not only love football, they live football.

“There is great passion and great tradition, but there is need for unity and stability. I was elected on pledges of reforms, transparency and to develop the game. I am happy that Ms Samoura accepted to be Secretary General and the Executive Council endorsed her, because her choice said something for inclusion, gender equality, diversity and the future that we promise.”

NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, reiterated that the visit, the first time that both the FIFA President and Secretary General would travel together on a non–football competition assignment, confirmed that Nigerian football commands respect globally.

He acknowledged the role of the National Assembly in re-defining Nigeria football development, saying that peace is key to true growth.

He also recalled that months ago, the first football match was played in Maiduguri after a long time, with a huge crowd at the stadium boldly proclaiming the power of football to enable ceasefire even in war situations.

In attendance were Senators Obinna Ogba, Philip Aduda, Shuaib Abdullahi, Barau Jibrin, Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai, Monsurat Sunmonu, David Umaru, Mao Ohuabunwa, Tijjani Kaura, Albert Bassey and Mohammed Hassan, and Honourables Goni Bukar Lawan and Danburam Abubakar.

Also on the visit were the FA presidents of Ghana, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Tanzania, Djibouti, Somalia, The Gambia, Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia and South Sudan.

NFF General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi; NFF vice presidents, Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko; NFF Board members: Ibrahim Gusau, Yusuf Ahmed Fresh, Babagana Kalli, Sunday Dele-Ajayi, Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, Sharif Inuwa and Chris Green.

Other are former NFF vice president, Amanze Uchegbulam, former NFF Board member Ahmadu Kawu and Deputy General Secretary Emmanuel Ikpeme.

Earlier in the day, the FIFA President and Secretary General inspected the new NFF headquarters (Sunday Dankaro House) located at the Package B of the National Stadium.

Infantino‎ To Support Nigeria On Football Development

FIFA President, Gianni InfantinoFIFA President, Gianni Infantino, has given the assurance that he will work with Nigeria to achieve football development.

In an exclusive interview with Channels Television, Infantino said that Nigeria already has a framework that can be worked upon for long term success.

The FIFA President affirmed that he will use his visit to establish a productive working relationship with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) that will be geared towards sustainable development.

Infantino also believes it is about time African football leaders get fully involved in international football politics.

Mr Gianni Infantino and the Secretary General, Ms Fatma Samba Samoura, arrived in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja on Sunday on a two–day working visit.

The FIFA officials were received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, members of the NFF Board and some football club owners in the country.

The objective of the visit is to renew FIFA’s commitment towards developing football in Africa and promote corporate support for the sport in Nigeria.

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino Arrives Nigeria

FIFA President, Gianni InfantinoPresident of football’s world governing body, FIFA, Mr Gianni Infantino and the Secretary General, Ms Fatma Samba Samoura, have arrived in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja on a two–day working visit.

The FIFA officials were received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, members of the NFF Board and some football club owners in the country.

The objective of the visit is to renew FIFA’s commitment towards developing football in Africa and promote corporate support for the sport in Nigeria.

About 20 football federation presidents from Africa are in Nigeria for this event and will be meeting with the FIFA President and Secretary General later on Sunday.

On Monday, Mr. Infantino and Ms Samoura, led by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barr. Solomon Dalung and NFF President Pinnick will pay a courtesy call on President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.

He will leave Nigeria on Monday after meeting with personalities of corporate Nigeria and potential sponsors of football.

Obiano, John Momoh, Dogara, Others Bag 2015 Zik Prize Award

obianoThe Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano; CEO of Channels Media Group, Mr John Momoh and others have bagged the 2015 Zik Prize award.

Governor Obiano bagged an award for Good Governance under the auspices of Public Policy Research and Analysis Center (PPRAC).

He said that the award would be an inspiration to him towards realizing the vision and mission of the state in being the first choice investment destination, and a hub for industrialization and commercial activities.

This, he said, would be achieved through the four pillars and 12 enablers of his administrative policy.

He gave the assurance that he would continue in the leadership ideals of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, both in decision making and in implementation.

The Chairman/CEO of Channels Media Group, Mr John Momoh, picked up the award in the Professional Leadership Category.

John-Momoh-Channels-TV-Chairman
Chairman and CEO of Channels Media Group, Mr John Momoh

He was represented by the Assistant General Manager, International Operations and other members of staff of Channels Television.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honorable Yakubu Dogara, also got the Public Service Prize.

 

The Zik Leadership Award was set up in 1994 in honour of Nigeria’s first civilian president, Nnamdi Azikwe. It honours those in positions of authority who display exemplary leadership in Africa.

The 2015 edition honoured seven eminent personalities in different categories, including Public Service, Political Leadership, Good Governance, Professional and Business Leadership.

The Chairman of the occasion, Retired General Ike Nwachukwu drew the attention of all and sundry to the leadership ideals of the founding fathers of Nigeria.

The award ceremony took place at the Civic Center, Victoria Island Lagos.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, and several other dignitaries graced the occasion.

Aviation Minister Commissions New Pilot’s Lounge In Abuja Airport

aviation ministerAhead of the May 29 inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari as the next President of Nigeria, a new Protocol and Pilot’s Lounge has been put in place by the Minister of Aviation, Mr Osita Chidoka.

Speaking in Abuja shortly after commissioning the lounge, Mr Chidoka said that the aim of completing the Protocol and Pilot’s Lounge is to decongest the existing ones at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport and provide better comfort for guests expected to fly in for the May 29 inauguration ceremony.

Also speaking at the occasion, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Saleh Dunoma, said that the comfort of the pilot is essential for the safety and comfort of all air travelers.

Post-Election Violence Victims Lament Government’s Neglect

Election ViolenceThe victims of the post-election violence in Kaduna State and some states in the northern part of Nigeria are lamenting what they called government’s neglect and failure to keep to its promise to disburse funds, in form of relief assistance, to people who suffered losses during the incident.

On April 24, 2013, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced the approval of 5.7 billion Naira relief assistance to nine out of the 14 affected states for disbursement.

But the Kaduna victims on Wednesday complained that three years after the crisis, they were yet to receive any assistance from the Federal Government despite the fact that the state was the worst hit.

They lamented that life had become unbearable since they lost their means of livelihood in the incident..

Among the properties destroyed was an eatery outlet located along the Nnamdi Azikiwe western bye-pass in Kaduna metropolis. It was among the buildings razed by hoodlums during the incident.

The owner of the property, Mr Godwin Idika, said he lost about 200 million Naira and had been out of business in the past three years. He asked the government to assist him and other victims to move on with life.

Fourteen states were affected during the violence, but the Federal Government allegedly released funds for only nine states. The victims in Kaduna State, who did not benefit from the largesse have accused the Federal Government of being discriminatory in the exercise.

States that benefited from the disbursed funds are; Bauchi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Niger, Jigawa, Katsina, Kano, Adamawa and Akwa-Ibom, while Kaduna, Borno, Yobe, Gombe, and Nasarawa States are yet to receive anything.

Though the election is two months away, many residents of the state are already planning to relocate their families. Their fear here is not to witness the ugly incident of 2011.

The spokesman to the Kaduna State Governor, Mr Ahmed Maiyaki, while reacting to the complain of the victims, said that the State Government was yet to receive any money from the Federal Government and stated that the State Government had so far disbursed over 500 million Naira to assist the victims.

Meanwhile, the expectation of the Kaduna victims and other states that are yet to benefit from the relief assistance is that the authorities concerned should, as a matter of fairness and justice, try and extend the assistance to them, and most importantly, provide adequate security for the citizens ahead of the 2015 elections in order to avoid a repeat of the ugly incident of 2011.

They also expressed hopes that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would ensure that politicians, no matter their status, abide by the Code of Conduct in any election and that Nigerians would feel free to belong to any political party of their choice and be free to elect their leaders.

Kaduna State has witnessed about four major ethno-religious crises since 2000 to date, but that of 2011 was more devastating due to the high number of casualties recorded. More than 4,000 people were reportedly killed and 50,000 displaced after supporters of a defeated candidate went on a rampage in the Northern part of Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Confab Hugely Considering Parliamentary Democracy

Bisi-Adegbuyi-National Confernce delegateDelegates at Nigeria’s National Conference are hugely considering the possibility of parliamentary democracy that will empower the units to develop in their own pace, a delegate has said.

Giving an update on Tuesday on the progress made so far by the conference, Mr Bisi Adegbuyi said that the delegates were reflecting on achievements recorded in the first republic, where the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa were at the helm of affairs, between 1963 and 1966, and had stressed the need for the decentralisation of power.

The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, at the inauguration of the conference told delegates to take a deep introspection to see where Nigeria mixed it and come up with recommendations that would create a better future.

The Golden Years

Mr Adegbuyi also stressed that some positions presented to the conference by some regions, had centred on the need to adopt true federalism, anchored on regional autonomy that will empower the units to develop in their own pace.

“Without sounding like a cracked record, I am nostalgic about the golden years of Obafemi Awolowo in western region and I also believe the northerners are also nostalgic about the years of Amadu Belo in the north, ditto Nnamdi Azikiwe and later Michael Okpara.

“If you had a template that worked for you, where universities were world class universities, where hospitals were not mere consultant clinics and where infrastructure was indiscriminately unleashed across Nigeria, I think we should revisit it.

“We must weaken the centre, which is unwieldy as it is presently constituted with overwhelming incompetency, and develop Nigeria from the fringes.

“Let us look at countries that share so many similarities with us. India is a perfect example and it is working. They have continued to work on their front lines,” he pointed out.

The conference delegate stated that delegates from the South-south, south-west and south-east had largely agreed on parliamentary democracy, the need to devolve power and state police.

Sovereignty Belongs To The People

He pointed out that the current system of government was failing, as it could not boast of protecting lives and property which is the primary responsibility of every government.

“The spate of insecurity in Nigeria is frightening and we must quickly do something,” he said.

Mr Adegbuyi, who is also a lawyer, insisted that the government was over centralised at the expense of the component units that were closer to the people, causing a setback to the development process, as they lack needed funds.

The conference had decided to request for memoranda from Nigerians, insisting that the people should express their sovereignty and desire for change, a strategy that is aimed at generating an autochthonous constitution.

“We do not want to take the people for granted. We will have to seek the legitimacy of the people. The conference members were nominated and it raises crisis of legitimacy. If you take your resolutions to the people and by majority, they say yes to that process, then nobody, no institution or power can tinker what the people have accepted,” Mr Adegbuyi said.

“I do not subscribe to the idea that people who are part of the problems should not be part of seeking solutions to the problems they created and that we must get new people to sort out Nigeria. It is a baggage of some sort.

“The only thing is for the new blood who are involved now to seize the moment and then don’t allow the old people that had brought us to our knees to seize the initiative,” the lawyer stressed.

The issue of how decision can be reached on issues before the conference divided the house during the first few days of the conference. It was later agreed that 70 per cent vote would be needed to adopt a decision. The conference may also need to try consensus decision before voting.

On how the conference can achieve the consensus on the system of government that the country should adopt, Mr Adegbuyi said that the consensus had been encouraged in the conference.

He said: “Seventy per cent benchmark on agreeing on anything is good, but consensus is the way to go. We will try consensus but if it fails it will be put to voting. You cannot but have a consensus”.

According to him, the best is for the decision to be presented to Nigerians to say yes or no to it.

“Once that is done, then it should be grafted into the constitution,” he stated.

There have been fears that the National Assembly may not create the right atmosphere for the people to take the final decision by way of a holding a referendum on the decisions of the conference.

But the National Assembly had on Wednesday discussed the possibility of giving power to the Nigerian president, by way of an executive bill, to initiate the introduction of a new constitution, which may come from the conference.

There have been criticisms that the conference’s decisions may not be implemented as several conferences held in the past had been left unimplemented.

To guard against the chances of the decision of the conference going the way of others, the delegates in the conference had asked President, Jonathan to ensure the implementation of the conference’s decision.

Mr Adegbuyi, expressed optimism that the conference would have a good result, but stressed that good governance was what Nigerians needed, insisting that good governance will lay to rest issues bordering on religion, ethnicity and federal character amongst others.