APC To Expand Tinubu Campaign Council, Postpones Inauguration

A file photo of Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima.

 

The Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is making moves to expand its 422-member list of powerbrokers tasked with ensuring victory for Bola Tinubu.

The inauguration of the council and the prayer walk was scheduled for Wednesday.

But the PCC Director-General, Simon Lalong, in a statement late Monday said the need for the expansion of the list is to “accommodate more stakeholders and interests within the APC family”.

READ ALSO: To Keep Nigeria One, Everyone Should Be Obi-Datti Compliant – Afenifere

“Recall that we had earlier earmarked a peace walk and prayers for Wednesday, September 28, 2022, to officially kick off our campaigns for the 2023 Presidential Elections. We had also announced that the members of the Campaign Council report to the Campaign Headquarters on that day to collect their letters of appointment.

“However, due to the expansion of the list to accommodate more stakeholders and interests within the APC family, we have decided to adjust the timetable of these activities in order to ensure everyone is on board before activities officially commence.

“Consequently, the activities earlier announced for the 28th of September will no longer hold,” the governor said, adding that a new date and timetable will be released soon.

READ ALSO[2023] Peter Obi Ahead Of Tinubu, Atiku With 51% — We2Geda Poll

In the list released on Friday, the ruling party had excluded some supposed rivals of Tinubu, a development that created subtle controversy over the weekend, especially because some of the excluded persons contested the presidential primary of the APC.

Others have been vocal against the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC.

Among the persons excluded are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and a former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba.

Go For Medical Test And Make Result Public, Utomi Dares Tinubu

Utomi claims Tinubu is unfit for the presidency.

 

Political economist Pat Utomi has dared Bola Tinubu to go for a medical checkup and make the result public, claiming the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate is unfit. 

He threw the challenge on Monday while fielding questions on Channels Television’s Politics Today,  maintaining that the signs are there to show Tinubu is unfit for the post.

“Physically, you can see he is ailing. Let’s not kid ourselves. Let’s be honest,” he said during the show.

Utomi refuted claims by the APC that Tinubu is fit, stating that “American presidents go through medicals.

“Let him (Tinubu) go through medicals with Nigerian doctors and make it (result) public.”

READ ALSO: Surprise As APC Includes PDP Senator In Tinubu’s Campaign Council

His stance, he argued, is because next year’s election and who leads the country is about “the lives of millions of people”.

According to him, the ruling party would have fielded another candidate in the person of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

“Our country has suffered so much from having ailing leaders. That was why I can say here, that was why the Vice President stepped up,” Utomi added, noting that Osinbajo “would have been a fit person”.

He also hailed the Yoruba socio-cultural group Afenifere for reechoing its support for the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate Peter Obi.

At a press conference in the Ikoyi area of Lagos, the group said the decision was based on the “principle of justice, equity, and inclusiveness”.

“Peter Obi is the person of Igbo extraction that Afenifere has decided to support and back, he is the man we trust to restructure the country back to federalism on the assumption of office,” Afenifere leader Ayo Adebanjo added.

And as far as Utomi is concerned, the group is on the right track as he dismissed insinuations that the Afenifere does not pull political weight.

Tinubu Invites Aregbesola, Others For Special Campaign Prayers

File photo: Rauf Aregbesola, Bisi Akande, and Bola Tinubu

 

All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council has directed its 422 members to report at the campaign headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday for special prayer sessions to officially commence the 2023 electioneering process.

“The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council wishes to inform all members nominated to serve in the various directorates to report at the campaign headquarters on Wednesday 28 September 2022 at 8 a.m.

“Nominated members are expected to participate in the special prayer sessions marking the commencement of the 2023 presidential election campaigns.

“There will be a Peace Walk immediately after the prayers. All nominees will be issued their letters of appointment same day,” the Council’s Director of Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, said in a statement on Friday.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had announced September 28 (Wednesday) as the official date for campaigns to kick off for next year’s elections.

The APC Campaign Council had on Friday night released a long list of persons tasked with the responsibility to ensure victory for APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu; and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, in next February polls.

Some of the members of the Council chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari include Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Gbemisola Saraki; former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; as well as other heavyweights including serving and former governors, ministers, senators, amongst others.

READ ALSO: Don’t Make The Mistake Of Voting Killers – Jonathan Charges Nigerians

The steel minister is sister to former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who contested the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential primary in May and lost to ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

However, the list excluded Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, and many other chieftains in the ruling party.

The spokesman for the campaign, Festus Keyamo, subsequently said the President directed that Osinbajo and Mustapha should not be included in the list for him to focus on demands of governance.

Tinubu had trounced Amaechi and Osinbajo at the primary with the former minister and VP coming second and third respectively.

Also, Aregbesola, one of Tinubu’s longtime allies, had caused a ruckus in the buildup to the Osun State Governorship Election when he accused Tinubu of betrayal.

The inclusion of the name of the former governor of Osun State as well as the name of a serving PDP senator, Chimaroke Nnamani, however, came as a surprise to many.

Why Private Sector Participation Is Crucial In Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, delivers the keynote address at the 60th Anniversary Dinner of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). 22nd September, 2022. Photos: Tolani Alli

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has said that more private sector participation in Nigeria’s transition to green energy is crucial as it would help the country achieve its objectives in the implementation of its Energy Transition Plan.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this on Thursday night in Lagos while delivering the keynote address at the 60th Anniversary Dinner of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

Speaking on the topic: “Nigeria: Transitioning to Green Energy”, the Vice President highlighted the Energy Transition Plan as “a comprehensive, data-driven and evidence-based plan, designed to deal with the twin crises of climate change and energy poverty.”

“We anchored the plan on key objectives, including lifting 100 million people out of poverty in a decade, driving economic growth, bringing modern energy services to the full population and managing the expected long-term job loss in the oil sector due to global decarbonization.

“The Private sector must up its participation in the transition to Green energy journey,” Prof. Osinbajo stated, adding that this includes “greater involvement in the crucial conversations about what an economically just transition to zero emissions should be,” he said.


READ ALSO: Why Nigeria Needs More Women In Leadership Roles Within Government – Osinbajo


Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, delivers the keynote address at the 60th Anniversary Dinner of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). 22nd September, 2022. Photos: Tolani Alli

 

Buttressing the need for more private sector participation in the Energy Transition Plan implementation, the VP pointed out that the off-grid Solar space in Nigeria “is becoming one of the most exciting in the world.”

According to the Vice President “we have programmes such as the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Solar Power Naija (under its Economic Sustainability Plan), the Nigerian Electrification Programme with the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank, and also the Rural Electrification Fund providing almost $1 billion in financing and subsidies to drive 10 million connections. We are also working on clear guidelines for on-grid Solar before COP-27 to initially provide the structure for the rollout of at least 1,000MW.”

Adding that the private sector should also get involved in climate finance, especially the voluntary carbon markets, among others, Prof. Osinbajo urged the OPTS “to take the lead in Solar to help drive improvements in our energy mix and also accelerate the transition to having “energy” companies, not just oil companies.”

“We are particularly pleased with the good work that All-On and Konexa have been doing all with funding from Shell (a key OPTS member). We also have NNPC partnering with the Rural Electrification Agency to rollout Solar Mini-grids and Solar Home Systems across the country,” he further said.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, delivers the keynote address at the 60th Anniversary Dinner of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). 22nd September, 2022. Photos: Tolani Alli

 

Aside from the need for more private sector participation in Nigeria’s energy transition plan, the impact of climate change on the African continent, need to support fossil fuel projects in developing countries, and debt-for-climate swap deals were major highlights of the Vice President’s speech at the event.

Speaking further on the topic, the VP noted that climate change may likely be the most consequential subject globally in the next few decades, even as the significance of reducing global emissions to zero come to the fore.

Noting the effects of global climate crisis such as floods, desertification, rising water levels and record high temperatures, Prof. Osinbajo stated that the developing countries are faced with two challenges; climate change and extreme poverty.

Restating the importance of using gas as a transition fuel for Nigeria and others developing countries, he highlighted six aspects in reducing global net emissions to zero, as it relates to the developing world.

He said, “Most countries, including Nigeria, agree that we must reduce global emissions to zero, in our case by 2060. We are major victims of the effects of climate change, but there are a few important issues that we have flagged to our wealthier brother-countries in the global north.

“The first is that we, in the developing world, are faced with two, not one crisis. One is climate change and the other is extreme poverty, the cause and consequence of which is energy poverty; or the fact that lack of access to electricity for millions is a cause of deepening poverty.

“The second is that African countries are the least emitters of carbon today – less than 1 percent of cumulative C02 emissions, and even if we triple electricity consumption in African countries (aside from South Africa) solely through the use of natural gas, this would add just 0.62% to global emissions. So, a lot of the flooding and adverse weather events that we are experiencing here are from emissions caused by the wealthier countries.

“The third is that the defunding of gas projects in order to force gas-rich countries like Nigeria to stop using gas and use renewables instead is faulty. These proposals to ban the funding of fossil fuel projects make no distinction between upstream oil and coal exploration; and gas power plants for grid balancing. Also, no economy in the world has been known to use renewables solely to industrialize. Solar power simply does not have the base load capacity yet for industry.

In addition, the Vice President emphasized that stopping the use of gas could lead to deforestation and increase in pollutants.

“Stopping the use of gas means that we cannot use LPG for clean cooking stoves to replace the use of kerosene, firewood and charcoal, which are dirtier fuels that are widely used for cooking and other domestic purposes particularly in the rural areas. The use of firewood means deforestation, cutting down trees and, of course, desertification and then the loss of our carbon sinks,” he noted.

Faulting the double standards that wealthier countries have adopted on this issue (defunding of gas projects in developing countries), the VP noted that “in the wake of the energy crisis, many European nations have made recent announcements to increase or extend their use of coal-fired power generation through 2023 and potentially beyond.

“This is in violation of their climate commitments, and all analysis suggests that this will raise power sector emissions of the EU by 4%- a significant amount, given the high base denominator of EU emissions.”

Speaking further, Prof. Osinbajo emphasised that “the sixth and perhaps most crucial point is that we must take quick and informed actions in our national interest. We must take the threat of no investments in fossil fuels, including gas, seriously.”

“For example, many European and other global North countries are setting aggressive targets for use of electric vehicles and the banning of combustion engine vehicles. Soon, there may be only a few countries using combustion engines.

“It is also evident that while the Russia invasion of Ukrainian has shown the double standards in not allowing public funding for fossil fuel projects, the wealthier nations are still of the view that this is the correct policy and that, even if public funding is to be allowed, financing should not go beyond 2035.”

Also restating his advocacy for Debt-For-Climate swaps and greater participation in global carbon market for African nations, the VP said, “Given the escalating debt situations of many developing countries, including Nigeria, especially in the aftermath of C0VID-19 and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, we should also bring Debt-For-Climate Swaps into the climate finance mix.”

The Vice President then commended the OPTS “for its outstanding role in the growth and development of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria, and for the numerous social development projects undertaken by your members through the years.”

The event, which was attended by notable personalities in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, as well as the public and private sectors, also featured remarks from top government officials, NNPC Ltd, the executives of the Oil Producers Trade Section of the LCCI, among others.

Why Nigeria Needs More Women In Leadership Roles Within Government – Osinbajo

A file photo of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has is of the opinion that like the example of the education of the girl-child, a more effective and balanced female representation and participation in politics and government will have major impact on the country’s socio-economic future and overall national development.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this today as the Special Guest of Honour at the 2022 Women Directors’ Conference.

Speaking in a pre-recorded message on the theme of the Conference: Facing Forward – The Evolving Nature of Boards in a Rapidly Changing World, the Vice President advocated for more female representation in leadership positions in government and across different sectors, “as an economic imperative and not a moral duty of men or mere concession by men.”

Said he, “a country that keeps down half of its productive demography is bound to perform sub-optimally. But the issue is not just board representation, it is about representation in politics and government this is where major decisions affecting our lives are made. But perhaps, most importantly, it is about education of girls.

“The high levels of female illiteracy is dangerous from all possible standpoints. If half your population is uneducated, it means that development and being competitive in a knowledge-driven world will not happen or will happen too slowly to be of much use.”


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Highlighting further the importance of girl-child education to national development, Prof. Osinbajo stated that “educated women means educated children, and this is the pipeline for women who will become CEOs, legislators, government officials and bureaucrats. Female representation must not be reduced to representation by a few elite women who have the good fortune of education.”

Urging for more efforts by governments at all levels in improving girl child education, the Vice President said, “there is a much larger fight for the future of a large majority of girls who are not even represented in primary schools. We must talk to State Governors. The States of the Federation control primary and secondary education; they must be engaged in the advocacy and persuasion efforts.”

While he noted the two-sided arguments on the levels of performance between men and women in the same positions, Prof. Osinbajo highlighted how a study on the Lagos judiciary showed the significance of female representation in driving positive societal change and reforms.

“I think a question that always seems to pop-up in conversations on the subject is: Do women do better than men in the same positions, or are men better performers on the job than women? The arguments will go on and on,” he added.

Recalling his experience as Attorney-General in Lagos State, the VP said, “when I was appointed Attorney-General in Lagos in 1999, one of the major problems with the judiciary was corruption. We conducted a study of 200 lawyers who practice in the in the High courts of Lagos State, 89% of them said that judges were notoriously corrupt.

“We started a reform which involved compensation and discipline. But also, a deliberate head-hunting of female lawyers, many of whom had no previous courtroom experience, but were outstanding as academics, corporate lawyers and solicitors.

“When we announced our list of new appointees of 52 judges, seventy five percent of them were females. In 2007, when the World Bank joined us in our survey of 200 lawyers, we asked the same question on perception of corruption in the judiciary as we asked in 1999; this time, zero (0) per cent said judges in the high court of Lagos were corrupt.”

The VP further stated that although many of the judges had not been in practice, “they have turned out to be easily amongst the most outstanding judges in the country.

“Now there are many variables here, and we cannot say categorically that women make better and more honest judges than men; but the Lagos judiciary has shown that there may be a point in thinking that way,” the VP added.

Prof. Osinbajo also highlighted global studies which showed the influence of women in improving society.

He noted particularly three studies from the Centre for Economic Policy and the World Economic Forum; research from Macquarie Business School by Dr Farida Akhtar, and Deloitte’s 2021 Women in the Boardroom Report.

The first study, an analysis on the handling of Coronavirus in 194 countries, showed that countries led by women had “systematically and significantly better outcomes than countries led by men.

“These leaders include Germany’s Angela Merkel, New Zealand’s Jacinda Arden, Denmark’s Mette Frederiksen, Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen and Finland’s Sanna Marin. The study confirmed that all the female-led countries locked down earlier and suffered only half as many deaths as countries led by men. The policy responses of the female leaders were more proactive and coordinated.”

The Vice President further noted that the Macquarie study, which did a peer reviewed research of listed companies on the S&P index from 2000 to 2015, showed that “companies with female CEOs perform better than companies with male CEOs and the same goes for companies with a substantial female representation on their boards.

“Also, other research shows that Fortune-500 companies with more female directors on their boards have been reported to show a 42% stronger return on sales and 53% higher return on equity than companies with lesser women on their boards,” he stated.

The Deloitte study, the VP said, showed that companies with female Board Chairs or CEOs are usually more diverse and more gender-balanced than companies with male Board Chairs and CEOs.

“Deloitte’s 2021 Women in the Boardroom Report shows that the worldwide average of Women on Boards is now 19.7%. Only 6.7% are Board Chairs, female CEOs are 4.4%,” he further observed.

While the VP pointed out that “Nigeria beats the world average by over 3%, which shows clearly positive movement in the male dominated boardrooms,” he noted that more needed to be done to increase the number of women’s representation in government positions.

“Only last year an attempt to pass legislation mandating women to fill 35% of appointed positions in government and 35% of elective positions failed in the National Assembly. After considerable local and international criticism, it appears the matter is being reconsidered by the legislature,” he noted.

Declaring open the Conference, the Vice President also commended the organisers, the Institute of Directors, the Women Directors Development Committee, for their work and the initiative.

Climate Change: VP Osinbajo Meets John Kerry At Presidential Villa

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, on Tuesday met the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Kerry who was Secretary of State under the Obama administration, is visiting Nigeria barely two weeks after VP Osinbajo’s returned from his work visit to the United States.

While details of their meeting remains unknown, it is believed to be a follow-up on the Vice President’s proposal for a Debt-For-Climate Swap deal.

During his last visit to the US, VP Osinbajo proposed a Debt-For-Climate Swap deal to achieve a just and equitable energy transition for Africa.

Explaining the DFC concept yesterday during a lecture on a just and equitable energy transition for Africa at the Center for Global Development in Washington D.C, Prof Osinbajo stated that “debt for climate swaps is a type of debt swap where bilateral or multilateral debt is forgiven by creditors in exchange for a commitment by the debtor to use the outstanding debt service payments for national climate action programs.


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“Typically, the creditor country or institution agrees to forgive part of a debt, if the debtor country would pay the avoided debt service payment in a local currency into an escrow or any other transparent fund and the funds must then be used for agreed climate projects in the debtor country.”

Justifying the rationale behind such a debt swap deal, the Vice President submitted that the commitment to it would “increase the fiscal space for climate-related investments and reduce the debt burden for participating developing countries.

“For the creditor the swap can be made to count as a component of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).”

He added that to make this efficient “there are of course significant policy actions necessary to make this acceptable and sustainable.”

The Vice President also proposed the greater participation of African countries in the Global Carbon Market while exploring financing options for energy transition.

According to him, there is a need to take a comprehensive approach in working jointly towards common goals, including the market and environmental opportunities presented by the financing of clean energy assets in growing energy markets.

His words: “in addition to conventional capital flows both from public and private sources, it is also essential that Africa can participate more fully in the global carbon finance market.

“Currently, direct carbon pricing systems through carbon taxes have largely been concentrated in high and middle-income countries. However, carbon markets can play a significant role in catalyzing sustainable energy deployment by directing private capital into climate action, improving global energy security, providing diversified incentive structures, especially in developing countries, and providing an impetus for clean energy markets when the price economics looks less compelling – as is the case today.”

He encouraged developed countries to support “Africa to develop into a global supplier of carbon credits, ranging from bio-diversity to energy-based credits,” which would be a leap forward in aligning carbon pricing and related policy around achieving a just transition.

While also addressing the concerns of the African continent and other developing countries regarding a just transition, Prof Osinbajo noted that “the central thinking for most developing countries is that we are confronted on this issue of a just transition with two, not one, existential crises; the climate crisis and extreme poverty.

“The clear implication of this reality is that our plans and commitments to carbon neutrality must include clear plans on energy access if we are to confront poverty. This includes access to energy for consumptive and productive use and spanning across electricity, heating, cooking, and other end-use sectors.”

According to him, “nearly 90 million people in Asia and Africa who had previously gained access to electricity can no longer afford to pay for their basic energy needs. The inflationary pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other macroeconomic trends have been further exacerbated by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Countries worldwide have been hit by record prices on all forms of energy. Power prices are breaking records across the globe, especially in countries or markets where natural gas plays a key role in the energy mix.”

Prof Osinbajo sounded a note of caution, saying that “in such a global reality, limiting financing of gas projects for domestic use would pose a severe challenge to the pace of economic development, delivery of electricity access and clean cooking solutions, and the scale-up and integration of renewable energy into the energy mix.”

Speaking on Nigeria’s initiative to combat the unfolding crisis, the VP revealed that the country’s Energy Transition Plan “was designed to tackle the dual crises of energy poverty and climate change and deliver SDG-7 by 2030 and net-zero by 2060 while centring on the provision of energy for development, industrialization, and economic growth.

“We anchored the plan on key objectives including lifting 100 million people out of poverty in a decade, driving economic growth, bringing modern energy services to the full population and managing the expected long-term job losses in the oil sector due to global decarbonization.”

He also emphasized the role that natural gas “must play” in the short-medium term to facilitate the establishment of baseload energy capacity and address the nation’s clean cooking deficit in the form of LPG.

New Nutrition Depts In Several Ministries, Likely To Feature In 2023 Budget – Osinbajo

A file photo of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, says nutrition specific budget estimates are likely to be included in the 2023 Appropriation Bill even as efforts by the Federal Government to tackle malnutrition and its attendant challenges are beginning to take shape.

Prof. Osinbajo was speaking Thursday at a virtual meeting of the National Council on Nutrition.

According to the Vice President “we are at a point where we can move the needle especially with the creation of nutrition departments in line ministries and ensuring that we get nutrition on the budget line and it is actually done properly.”

The Council with the approval of the President has now ensured that nutrition departments now exist in several Ministries, Departments and Agencies, including Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Humanitarian Affairs, Women Affairs, Information and Culture, Industry, Trade and Investment, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), among others.


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During the meeting, presentations by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and Nigerian Governors Forum were made on the implementation of the National Multi-Sectoral Plan of Action on Nutrition particularly on the funding of nutrition activities in the country.

“We intend to follow up on all of these especially in the coming days, working with the relevant Ministers and the Governors Forum. And an important point that was made in the presentation earlier was that we need to do a chart of account. It is really important,” the VP said.

The meeting chaired by the Vice President had in attendance, Minister of Science and Technology, Sen. Adeleke Mamora; Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq; the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mrs Olusola Idowu; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mr Aliyu Ahmed, and the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, among others.

Council members at the meeting included His Royal Highness and Board of Trustees Chairman, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and also CEO of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Ms Zouera Youssoufou; representatives of civil society and development partners, among others.

In another development, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the inauguration of a donor’s forum ahead of the 2023 Population Census restated the Federal Government’s commitment to investing in the development of the country’s human capital across different sectors, including health, education and nutrition, despite the growing population.

The Vice President whose remarks were delivered at the event by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, said “as a government, our most important objectives, both nationally and regionally, must be on the improvement of the quality of life, living standards and livelihoods of our people. In other words, we are committed to the happiness, security and general welfare of our populations.”

Underscoring the political will demonstrated by the Buhari Administration towards the country’s development and welfare of its people, Prof. Osinbajo noted that President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated personal commitment in several ways, “including the fact that we are holding the census in the very year that we are going to have an election, considering the huge budgetary implications of that.”

Buttressing the significance of a population census in an election year, the Vice President noted that “the data collected by Census helps a nation to make critical decisions regarding its future. This is why we must ensure we have the right data to plan adequately for our people and for the future of our children.”

Furthermore, the Vice President noted the goal of the Administration’s National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy, aimed at taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade.

According to the VP, this is one of the reasons why a state-of-the-art population census is very important.

“While we must adequately capture all the important indices of our great population, we will continue to make crucial investments in the development of our human capital, especially now when the population of the African continent is growing at an even faster rate when compared to the rest of the world.

“By 2050, Nigeria is projected to have 400 million people. And government must continue to provide quality basic education, nutrition and healthcare for them, improve on security and create more job opportunities for our young people, who currently make up more than half of our country’s population.”

Referencing the President’s speech from the recent National Stakeholders Summit organized by the Commission, the Vice President stated that “Population is a critical factor in a nation’s efforts toward achieving sustainable development. People are both the agents and beneficiaries of the development process. Therefore, the knowledge of the national population in terms of size, distribution and socio-economic characteristics is required for planning purposes.”

Commending the Commission and its partners for their hard work and dedication in preparations for the 2023 Population and Housing Census (PHC), the Vice President highlighted the Commission’s efforts in this regard.

A special documentary on Nigeria’s 2023 Census journey so far was also screened at the event, while the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, who was represented by the Special Adviser on Policy and Coordination to the President, Dr Habiba Lawal; Chairman of NPC, Hon. Nasiru Kwarra; and the UNFPA Resident Representative, Ms. Ulla Mueller, delivered special remarks.

The Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze, who represented the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning at the event, presented the budget for the 2023 Population Census.

Also present at the meeting were representatives of development partners; the diplomatic corps, including the ambassadors of France, Mexico, Botswana, Turkey; as well as representatives of the private sector, among others.

Osinbajo Advocates Debt- For -Climate Swaps In US Forum Lecture

A file photo of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

 

In a call that can at once significantly advance the course of global net-zero emissions targets, facilitate energy access and the development of African countries, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN is proposing a Debt-For-Climate (DFC) Swap deal.

According to a statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, the Vice President made the call on Thursday during a lecture on a just and equitable energy transition for Africa at the Center for Global Development in Washington D.C.

Explaining the DFC concept, Prof Osinbajo stated that “debt for climate swaps is a type of debt swap where bilateral or multilateral debt is forgiven by creditors in exchange for a commitment by the debtor to use the outstanding debt service payments for national climate action programs.

“Typically, the creditor country or institution agrees to forgive part of a debt, if the debtor country would pay the avoided debt service payment in a local currency into an escrow or any other transparent fund and the funds must then be used for agreed climate projects in the debtor country.”


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Justifying the rationale behind such a debt swap deal, the Vice President submitted that the commitment to it would “increase the fiscal space for climate-related investments and reduce the debt burden for participating developing countries.

“For the creditor the swap can be made to count as a component of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).”

He added that to make this efficient “there are of course significant policy actions necessary to make this acceptable and sustainable.”

Global Carbon Market

The Vice President also proposed the greater participation of African countries in the Global Carbon Market while exploring financing options for energy transition.

According to him, there is a need to take a comprehensive approach in working jointly towards common goals, including the market and environmental opportunities presented by the financing of clean energy assets in growing energy markets.

His words: “in addition to conventional capital flows both from public and private sources, it is also essential that Africa can participate more fully in the global carbon finance market.

“Currently, direct carbon pricing systems through carbon taxes have largely been concentrated in high and middle-income countries. However, carbon markets can play a significant role in catalyzing sustainable energy deployment by directing private capital into climate action, improving global energy security, providing diversified incentive structures, especially in developing countries, and providing an impetus for clean energy markets when the price economics looks less compelling – as is the case today.”

He encouraged developed countries to support “Africa to develop into a global supplier of carbon credits, ranging from bio-diversity to energy-based credits,” which would be a leap forward in aligning carbon pricing and related policy around achieving a just transition.

While also addressing the concerns of the African continent and other developing countries regarding a just transition, Prof Osinbajo noted that “the central thinking for most developing countries is that we are confronted on this issue of a just transition with two, not one, existential crises; the climate crisis and extreme poverty.

“The clear implication of this reality is that our plans and commitments to carbon neutrality must include clear plans on energy access if we are to confront poverty. This includes access to energy for consumptive and productive use and spanning across electricity, heating, cooking, and other end-use sectors.”

According to him, “nearly 90 million people in Asia and Africa who had previously gained access to electricity can no longer afford to pay for their basic energy needs. The inflationary pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other macroeconomic trends have been further exacerbated by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Countries worldwide have been hit by record prices on all forms of energy. Power prices are breaking records across the globe, especially in countries or markets where natural gas plays a key role in the energy mix.”

Prof Osinbajo sounded a note of caution, saying that “in such a global reality, limiting financing of gas projects for domestic use would pose a severe challenge to the pace of economic development, delivery of electricity access and clean cooking solutions, and the scale-up and integration of renewable energy into the energy mix.”

Speaking on Nigeria’s initiative to combat the unfolding crisis, the VP revealed that the country’s Energy Transition Plan “was designed to tackle the dual crises of energy poverty and climate change and deliver SDG-7 by 2030 and net-zero by 2060 while centering on the provision of energy for development, industrialization, and economic growth.

“We anchored the plan on key objectives including lifting 100 million people out of poverty in a decade, driving economic growth, bringing modern energy services to the full population and managing the expected long-term job losses in the oil sector due to global decarbonization.”

He also emphasized the role that natural gas “must play in the short-medium term to facilitate the establishment of baseload energy capacity and address the nation’s clean cooking deficit in the form of LPG.”

Furthermore, the Vice President identified some double standards evident in the response to the current energy crisis by many countries in the global North.

According to him, “today excluding South Africa, the remaining one billion people in Sub-Saharan Africa are serviced by an installed capacity of just 81 gigawatts. Sub-Saharan Africa has contributed, based on information that is already out there, less than one percent of cumulative CO.2 2 emissions.

“By comparison, the United States has an installed capacity of 1,200 gigawatts to power a population of 331 million people, while the United Kingdom has 76 gigawatts of installed capacity for its 67 million people. The per capita energy capacity in the United Kingdom is almost fifteen times than in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

He added that “many of these countries had barely a year ago seriously advocated or implemented policies on limiting public funding for fossil fuel projects in developing countries, making no distinction between upstream oil and coal exploration; and gas power plants for grid balancing.

“But today in the wake of the energy crisis, many European nations have made recent announcements to increase or extend their use of coal-fired power generation through 2023, and potentially beyond. This is in violation of their climate commitments and analysis suggests that this will raise power sector emissions of the EU by 4%, a significant amount given the high base denominator of EU emissions.”

Prof Osinbajo then observed that “Europe’s energy crisis has not been ignored, it continues to be met with support, and international resources. In stark contrast, the developing world is still being held to account for its emission reduction without adequate support and investment for its energy transitions.

Acknowledging the contrast to the wider responses to the climate crisis on the African continent, the Vice President said, “we are not seeing careful consideration and acknowledgement of Africa’s aspirations. For instance, despite the tremendous energy gaps, global policies are increasingly constraining Africa’s energy technology choices.”

Nevertheless, the VP confirmed that “with the Kigali communique and several other formal and informal consultations, African nations are now happily more intentional in taking joint ownership of our transition pathways and designing climate-sensitive strategies that address our growth objectives. This is what Nigeria has done with our Energy Transition Plan.

“Our Energy Transition Plan finds that an additional $10 billion over business as usual is required annually till 2060 to shift the entire economy to a net-zero pathway.”

On the subject of energy investments, he identified the mismatch in the volume of investments experienced in developed countries as opposed to developing countries.

According to him, “while representing just 15% of the world’s population, high-income countries received 40% of global energy investment in 2018. Conversely, developing countries with 40% of the world’s population received just 15% of global energy investment. This hasn’t improved much in recent years.”

Addressing what the ultimate goal of the global energy transition should be, Prof Osinbajo stated that it is in achieving “reliable net-zero carbon energy systems to power prosperous, inclusive economies.”

Speaking on the Nigerian context, he added that it means “building sustainability into our economic planning, which we had developed in an Economic Sustainability Plan in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes an ambitious plan over the near term to provide 5 million homes and SMEs with cleaner energy through its decentralized solar power program.”

After he delivered remarks at the American think-tank, the Vice President then took questions around the theme of a just energy transition and the recently launched Nigerian Energy Transition Plan.

Members of the Energy Transition Implementation Working Group (ETWG) present at the lecture included the Minister of Works & Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. (Mrs) Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi; Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Dr. Uzoma Emenike; Director-General and CEO of the National Council on Climate Change, Salisu Dahiru; Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), Ms Damilola Ogunbiyi; Managing Director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited, Chiedu Ugbo; and other senior government officials.

We Must Act Fast To End ASUU Strike, Osinbajo Tells APC Govs

 file photo, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) on Tuesday said quick action must be taken to end the six-month-long industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

The VP stated this when he received All Progressives Congress Governors in his office at the Presidential Villa.

The governors, according to a statement by the VP spokesman, Laolu Akande, were on a felicitation visit to the law professor following his knee surgery done last month.

The statement partly read, “The VP also commended the expertise of Nigerian doctors and the availability of cutting-edge medical facilities existing in the country. But he regretted that doctors are restrained by regulations to advertise and as a result, many people are unaware of the level of quality medical services available locally”

“During the brief interaction that followed at the meeting, important national issues were also raised especially regarding the economy and the ASUU strike.

“The Vice President and the Governors then agreed to engage these and other pressing issues further with a view to bringing urgent resolution for the benefit of the Nigerian people.”

The Vice President was also quoted as saying, “We all need to work together on these critical issues. We need to think through things, and we need to do it fast.”

Present at the meeting were Governors, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State; Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; Simon Lalong of Plateau State; Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State; Muhammad Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State; Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara; Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State; Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State; Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, and the deputy governor of Ebonyi State, Kelechi Igwe.

Channels Television reported that ASUU on Monday extended its six-month-old strike indefinitely until the Federal Government meets its demands. The lecturers of public universities embarked on the industrial action on February 14, 2022.

Last week, the Minister of Education Adamu Adamu said the Federal Government had addressed most of the union’s demands including the release of N50b for the payment of earned allowances for academic and non-academic and non-academic staff of universities but the striking lecturers said their demands were yet to be met.

10 Nigerian States Have GDPs Bigger Than That Of Some Nations – Osinbajo

osinbajo-havard-students-GDP
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, receives in audience current MBA Students of Harvard Business School at the Statehouse, Abuja. 26th August 2022. Photos: Tolani Alli

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the gross domestic capital (GDPs) of 10 Nigerian states are greater than that of some African nations.

Osinbajo made the comment on Sunday when some Harvard Business School students visited him at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, maintaining that Nigeria should not be economically compared with “smaller” African nations.

“For instance, Borno State is about the size of the whole of the United Kingdom plus Sweden or Denmark,” Osinbajo said, according to a statement from his media aide Laolu Akande.

“So, when it is reported that there is violence in Nigeria, it is probably an incident in one remote area of the country, and many people in Abuja and Lagos may hear about it on social media, such is the size of this country.

“When they talk about the economy, we are often compared with smaller African countries, but there are 10 states in Nigeria that have bigger GDPs than those countries, it is a huge target market.”

READ ALSO: [Strike] FG Should Sign Renegotiated Agreement With ASUU – Falana

VP Osinbajo also added that he values integrity, transparency, and social justice, noting that he assumed office with these.

He said, “for me, spirituality connotes values. I came into government with values about what I think is important, especially around transparency, social justice, and justice, among others. You are almost always a product of the values you believe in. Fortunately, a lot of these values cut across different faiths, they are not necessarily restricted to a religion or one faith.

“In societies that are more developed institutionally, you don’t need to be told that you shouldn’t do certain things because you could end up in jail if you do and there is a good likelihood that you could be detected and the process will go through and you will be punished.

“I speak about corruption and all that. But where the institutions are weak, some people have reasons for not doing the right thing.”

Why I Value Transparency And Social Justice, By Osinbajo

 

In a situation where societal or governmental institutions are not strong enough to compel individual behaviour in a way that advances the common good, spirituality and commitment to such values as social justice and transparency are important.

According to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, “just looking at these values, there is a great deal of unanimity about what is the right thing to do. The question is whether or not you will do those things, or whether you are motivated enough to do them, or whether you are compelled to do them.

“Spirituality helps in that sense to help you to decide what to do and what not to do. Especially where institutions are not strong enough to restrain people from behaving in a particular way or not.”

This was one of the highlights of the interaction between the Vice President and a group of Harvard Business School students who visited him on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.


READ ALSO: Strike: FG Should Sign Renegotiated Agreement With ASUU Immediately – Falana


Numbering about a dozen, the students who are currently on an African excursion asked questions about leadership, faith, spirituality, government policies in education, health, economy, and national image, among others.

In his responses, the VP articulated his personal commitment to the virtues of integrity, transparency and social justice which are also virtues exhorted in the different faiths and religions in the country.

He said, “for me, spirituality connotes values. I came into government with values about what I think is important especially around transparency, social justice and justice, among others. You are almost always a product of the values you believe in. Fortunately, a lot of these values cut across the different faiths, they are not necessarily restricted to a religion or one faith.

“In societies that are more developed institutionally, you don’t need to be told that you shouldn’t do certain things because you could end up in jail if you do and there is a good likelihood that you could be detected and the process will go through and you will be punished.

“I speak about corruption and all that. But where the institutions are weak, some people have reasons for not doing the right thing,” Prof. Osinbajo submitted.

Talking about Nigeria and its perception in the international community, Prof. Osinbajo explained to the postgraduate students some of whom are Nigerians, that it is in understanding the size of Nigeria that the international community can better appreciate the enormity and complexity of some of the country’s challenges.

According to the VP, “first, there is a need to appreciate the size of the country, which is crucial to understanding what the issues are.

“For instance, Borno State is about the size of the whole of the United Kingdom plus Sweden or Denmark. So, when it is reported that there is violence in Nigeria, it is probably an incident in one remote area of the country, and many people in Abuja and Lagos may hear about it on social media, such is the size of this country.

“When they talk about economy, we are often compared with smaller African countries, but there are 10 states in Nigeria that have bigger GDPs than those countries, it is a huge target market.”

Responding to the question about some inaccurate characterization of Nigeria in sections of the international community, the Vice President said “it is important to constantly engage the international community to show them how we feel about the stereotypes. It comes down to the work we do as government and people about the characterization.

“This is why some of the work around the Ease of Doing Business etc. are all initiatives that have behind them, the whole idea that this environment is one that is welcoming to business and people can come and do business.”

Talking about creativity in governance, the Vice President said “my view is that there needs to be more innovation in governance and policy. You get that kind of innovation in business. People are disrupting in business everyday but there is very little disruption going on in government. I think there is a need for much more thinking in government.”

He also spoke about education, educating people and wealth creation, providing resources so that more people can move up.

“A lot of that is tied to education, that is really something that interests me the most. Just using an example of something we did in the Northeast.”

The VP then went on to narrate how the Learning Centers in Maiduguri were started.

“I visited Maiduguri, Borno State in 2015, and I saw many children whose parents had been killed by the Boko Haram insurgents and in a place where they were, I saw about 49,500 of such children. I had a conversation with the governor and other officials and the idea of starting a school for them came up and we stepped in.

“The State Government gave us land in Maiduguri that could accommodate 1,300 children, and these were children that could only speak Kanuri. We built a school that exposed these children to technology and values, and after five years, the children were able to speak English and Hausa, they were doing robotics, writing programmes and other things they were not able to do before then.

“What this showed is that with skills, any child, anywhere can do everything, especially when you provide that child with education that is focused,” the VP added.

The Vice President also spoke about the economy, and the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme, politics, leadership, education, and energy transition, among others.

The students, while thanking the VP for the opportunity to visit him added according to their leader, Mr. Daniel Jaiyeoba, that they wanted to hear from the Vice President noting that “we understand your private sector experience and now you are in the public sector. That is why we put this visit together.”

The students were accompanied on the visit by the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, who had taught some of them as undergraduates.

The list of the Harvard students’ delegation also included Maan Aldaiel, Dusty Register, Tomas Tussie, Connor Popik, Ruben Anzures, Scott Kimberlee, Thomas Cowan, Laura Romine, Lanre Ojutalayo, Oluwatoyin Ogundele, Etim Imoh and Abdul-Rahman Buhari.

Osinbajo Launches FG’s Energy Transition Plan As Nigeria Seeks $10bn Initial Support Package

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) says Africa’s increasing energy gaps require collaboration to take ownership of the continent’s transition pathways and the action should be decisive and urgent. 

Prof. Osinbajo stated this in his remarks delivered at the global virtual launch of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, a roadmap to tackle the dual crises of energy poverty and climate change.

Speaking on the need to have a peculiar transition plan, the Vice President said “for Africa, the problem of energy poverty is as important as our climate ambitions. Energy use is crucial for almost every conceivable aspect of development. Wealth, health, nutrition, water, infrastructure, education, and life expectancy are significantly related to the consumption of energy per capita.”


READ ALSO: Osinbajo Attends FEC Meeting Physically For The First Time Since Surgery


The VP highlighted the significant scale of resources required to attain both development and climate ambitions. Nigeria would need to spend $410 billion above business-as-usual spending to deliver our Transition Plan by 2060, which translates to about $10 billion per year.

“The average $3billion per year investments in renewable energy recorded for the whole of Africa between 2000 and 2020 will certainly not suffice,” he added.

Additionally, the Vice President noted that “we have an inter-ministerial Energy Transition Implementation Working Group, which I chair. We are currently engaging with partners to secure an initial $10 billion support package ahead of COP27 along the lines of the South African Just Energy Transition Partnership announced at COP26 in Glasgow.”

At the virtual event, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, Nigeria Country Director for World Bank said the bank plans “to commit over USD 1.5 billion towards the Energy Transition Plan on renewable energy, on power sector reforms, on clean cooking, and wherever opportunities arise.”

In a similar vein, Mr. Adam Cortese, CEO, Sun Africa stated that “the launch of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan has further accelerated our efforts, proving Nigeria to be fertile grounds for investments in the sector. We are in the final stages of discussion with US EXIM Bank on a USD 1.5 billion financing package.”

Speaking on the effects of Climate Change in Africa, Prof Osinbajo explained that “climate change threatens crop productivity in regions that are already food insecure, and since agriculture provides the largest number of jobs, reduced crop productivity will worsen unemployment.

“It is certainly time for decisive action, and we just cannot afford to delay. African nations are rising to the challenge. All African countries have signed the Paris Agreement and some countries, South Africa, Sudan, Angola, and Nigeria have also announced net-zero targets.”

Giving more details on energy poverty in Africa, the VP noted that “the current lack of power hurts livelihoods and destroys the dreams of hundreds of millions of young people.

“And although Africa’s current unmet energy needs are huge, future demand will be even greater due to expanding populations, urbanization, and movement into the middle class.

“It is clear that the continent must address its energy constraints and would require external support and policy flexibility to deliver this. Unfortunately, in the wider responses to the climate crisis, we are not seeing careful consideration and acknowledgement of Africa’s aspirations.”

Underscoring the importance of collaboration, the Vice President then noted that “we developed our Energy Transition Plan to engage with the rest of the world in a serious, thorough and data-backed manner.”

Prof. Osinbajo explained that “there is a clear need for African nations to engage more critically and vocally in conversations on our global climate future.

“More importantly, we need to take ownership of our transition pathways and design climate-sensitive strategies that address our growth objectives. This is what Nigeria has done with our Energy Transition Plan.”

Making reference to the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan, the Vice President said “the plan was designed to tackle climate change and deliver SDG7 by 2030 and net-zero by 2060, while centering the provision of energy for development, industrialization and economic growth.”

According to him, “we anchored the plan on key objectives including lifting 100 million people out of poverty in a decade, driving economic growth, bringing modern energy services to the full population and managing the expected long-term job losses in the oil sector due to global decarbonization.

“Given those objectives, the plan recognizes the role natural gas must play in the short term to facilitate the establishment of baseload energy capacity and address the nation’s clean cooking deficit in the form of LPG.

“The plan envisions vibrant industries powered by low-carbon technologies; streets lined with electric vehicles and livelihoods enabled by sufficient and clean energy.”

On other aspirations of the roadmap, Prof. Osinbajo explained that “the plan has the potential to create about 340,000 jobs by 2030, and 840,000 by 2060. It also presents a unique opportunity to deliver a true low-carbon and rapid development model in Africa’s largest economy.”

“We are currently implementing power sector initiatives and reforms focused on expanding our grid, increasing generation capacity, and deploying renewable energy to rural and underserved populations.”

Aside from the transition plan, the Vice President announced the launch of the Universal Energy Facility “an innovative, results-based, finance programme that focuses specifically on scaling up electricity access for productive uses.”

He explained that “the Universal Energy Facility will provide grant payments to enable solar companies to expand their operations to small and medium-sized enterprises across Nigeria, while crowding-in additional private capital.”

“Projects supported by the Universal Energy Facility will help grow businesses and create jobs, making them key contributors to our Energy Transition Plan.

“I’d like to encourage solar companies in attendance today to engage with this innovative financing opportunity, which is being managed by Sustainable Energy for All,” he added.

Speakers at the event commended Nigeria’s leadership and pioneering role in the region, emphasizing the need for data-driven country-level energy transition plans that recognise the unique pathways each country would need to take in order to achieve a just, inclusive and equitable energy transition for all.

The launch also featured remarks from Nigerian Ministers and officials, including, Ministers of Environment, Mr. Mohammed Abdullahi; Power, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu; Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola; Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs, (Dr.) Zainab Ahmed; and Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency, Engr. Ahmad Salihijo.

Other speakers included the Minister of Petroleum and Energies from Senegal, Dr. Aissatou Sophie Gladima; Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy from Egypt, Prof. Dr. Mohamed Shaker El-Markabi as well as representatives of the United Nations, Sustainable Energy for All, The World Bank, African Development Bank, IRENA, The Rockefeller Foundation and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet.