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Nigeria’s Problems Rooted In Ethno-Religious Intolerance -Fashola.

Ayo Balogun, Lagos

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State says the main problems confronting the Nigeria nation are rooted in ethno-religious intolerance and advocated unity of purpose among the citizens as a means to solve the nation’s problems.

Lagos state governor Babatunde Fashola

Lagos state governor Babatunde Fashola

In his New Year message to Lagosians, Fashola said the problems currently bedeviling the country were mainly man-made and that such would only take an agreement among the people to resolve to remove the things they find unacceptable in the society.

According to him, the nation’s problems, whether economic, social or political, were rooted in ethnic and religious intolerance, saying that the panacea lay in the belief by citizens in the Nigerian Project and the resolution to determine the kind of country of our collective dreams.

“Looking back at all that we went through in the past year, perhaps, the time has come for us all to take an introspective look at ourselves in an attempt to get to the root of our problems and challenges. The truth of the matter is that, whether it is the downturn in the economy or our worsening security situation, the challenges are traceable to ourselves”, the governor said.

Fashola recalled, with nostalgia, the situation in the country in the early sixties when the citizens saw themselves as just Nigerians irrespective of tribe, tongue or religion, and declared, “We have, as a result of myopic self and group interests, created an octopus that is threatening to devour our collective heritage. That Octopus is embedded in the twin evils of ethnic and religious intolerance.”

“Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Command Performance of “Kakadu, the Musical”, and it reminded me of the Nigeria of the early post-Independence era when it did not matter where you came from. It is a story that we all must imbibe in order to recreate that glorious era when we were all Nigerians, though tribe and tongue and religion may differ. It is set against the background of a newly Independent Nigeria brimming with hope, dreams and expectations. So we have a reference base,” he said.

He pleaded “that hope, dreams and expectations must not be lost, we must resolve this New Year to return to ourselves and give impetus to them. To do this successfully, we must begin to believe in Nigeria and the Nigerian Project once more. We must start by defining for ourselves the kind of future that we want. It is only when we agree on this that we can unite our efforts towards recreating the Nigeria of our collective dreams and make it come true.”

The governor expressed his delight that the situation in Lagos had been that of religious harmony even in the midst of the challenges and difficulties that had bedeviled the country in recent times, adding that almost every family in Lagos has members of different Faith living together in harmony.

“In spite of the growing population of Nigerians of all Faith and ethnicity in this city, Lagosians have been able to define themselves and each other not by how they worship but who they are, how godly they are, how humane they are, how warm and friendly they are. It is a harmony that we do not intend to keep to ourselves alone but to share the essence with other states,” he stated.

He thanked all Lagosians “for achieving this feat even in the midst of manifest intolerance and sometimes provocation”, urging them, however, not to rest on their oars. “We must work very hard not only to keep it that way but to improve on it continually. Our modest success in the past years in transforming our dear State into a model mega-city in Africa has had its foundation on this peaceful and harmonious co-existence.”

He promised that his administration would continue to make the people its focus by putting in place policies from which enormous advantages could be drawn for the people’s benefit adding, “The policies and programmes such as the massive infrastructural renewal, Greening and Beautification as well as our investment in security and street lighting which we embarked on in the last six years have created thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly, for our people.

“From these people-oriented programmes and many others, we have created new economies which were hardly there at the beginning. Night life and night economy, which had hitherto disappeared from our lives have been brought back”, the Governor said pledging that the administration would continue on this trend till the end of its lifespan.”

Wishing all Lagosians a prosperous New Year 2014, Fashola, however, advised, “I will only enjoin you to continue to play your parts as good and law- abiding citizens. Be vigilant and resist all attempts by detractors to distract us from our set goals. Our development plan encompasses the whole State and we will reach all parts    with the quality service which we believe that you deserve.

“In this brand New Year 2014, therefore, please let us continue to work together and pray for both our country and our dear State for peace, stability and let us continue to lead from the front in all that is right and worthy in this country and Continent.”

Source: African Examiner.


Major marketers back privatisation of refineries.



The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria has supported the move by the Federal Government to privatise the nation’s refineries, saying it is a step in the right direction.
The Secretary General, MOMAN, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, during a press briefing in Lagos on Tuesday, urged the Federal Government to ensure that the privatisation process was transparent and open to both local and international bidders with requisite technical knowhow and financial muscle to transform the ailing refineries.
He said, “I support the privatisation of the refineries and the reason is that it will bring in private sector efficiency. However, the privatisation should have some basic ingredients. Unlike the one that was done 24 hours before former President Olusegun Obasanjo left office, this one must be transparent, competitive and open to international bidders.
“It should attract not only the serious bidders that know about running refineries, but those that have the money. If you make it private, people can buy the refineries and start stripping the assets. But if you make it open, competitive and international, investors who will come will be people who are serious and have the financial muscle to turn around the refineries.”
The nation has four refineries with a combined capacity to process 445,000 barrels per day but they have been marred by sub-optimal performance over the years due to poor Turnaround Maintenance, among other factors.
The Federal Government has said it planned to privatise the refineries in the first quarter of this year.
The MOMAN secretary also condemned pipeline vandalism, saying it was a major hindrance to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s efforts at ensuring efficient supply of petroleum product in the country.
Olawore said, “If there is no vandalism, the NNPC can sufficiently meet the petrol demand of the country.  This is because the product that will fill up the pipelines alone is about 500,000 metric tonnes, which is about 500 million litres.
“Meanwhile, we need only about 40 million litres a day. If you divide 500 million litres by 40 million, you probably will get about 12 days’ stocks stored in the pipeline network.”
If not for vandalism, he said the country’s pipeline network could serve as strategic storage if functional.
He further said that a near fuel scarcity was recently averted following the payment of subsidy arrears by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Zoological republic of Nigeria at 100, Break-up won’t guarantee freedom –Atiku.


Former vice- president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has admonished Nigerians to guard the unity of the amalgam,

jealously. In his message on the centenary celebration of the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates which formed Nigeria, the former vice-president cautioned that agitation for balkanisation of a united federation would not automatically transform to freedom and economic prosperity, citing the experience of Southern Sudan.
“My message to fellow countrymen and women as we mark this landmark occasion is that we should not take our unity for granted or push our luck too far. We should learn from the recent experiences of other African countries. The current situation in South Sudan is a reminder to all African champions of division and pursuit of ethnic superiority that the secession of a group of people from a nation based on ethnic, racial or religious identities does not guarantee freedom from the struggle for life and only deepens the trivial divides which distract us from our common humanity. The gains of independence in South Sudan are now going up in smoke because of inter-ethnic rivalries and hostilities at the expense of unity. Nigeria and its people can no longer afford to weave a tangled web of fractious identities wrongfully defined by their opposition to one another.
Atiku further noted that Nigeria’s diversity was her strength and urged Nigerians to guard it jealously.
” As we mark the centenary celebration of the amalgamation of the Lagos colony with the Northern and Southern Protectorates by the British Colonial occupier forming one country, Nigerians need to pat each other on the back for we have truly come a long way. However, we must redouble our efforts towards building a stronger and more united Nigeria rather than concentrating energies on division or breakup.
The recent clamour by some of Nigeria’s leaders for a renegotiation of the continued being of Nigeria are dishonest and an unnecessary distraction from the future that we can build. Such leaders need to be concentrating their efforts on tackling the challenges ranging from lack of security to addressing poverty and unemployment through infrastructural investments. The victims of structural ineptitude are not distinguished on the basis of their ethnicity, tribe, religion or region. It is also a truism that both the perpetrators and their victims are Nigerians and secession will not fix these woes. Rather, if our leaders devoted more energy on dealing with these basic challenges facing ordinary Nigerians, ethnic and religious differences would have sunk to the background as people will be able to focus on the economic and social opportunities available to them. Once the citizens are contented through the availability of opportunities granted by good governance, these dividing lines will gradually become symbols of Nigeria’s unique composition, driving progress through a collaboration of perspectives and ideas.To me, it is regretful that more than 40 years after the unfortunate and devastating civil war the country went through, leaders could still be busy playing the ethnic and religious cards to gain power while poverty, unemployment, hunger and disease continue to ravage our people, leading many to venture into illicit and sometimes violent activities in order to provide for their families. True leaders must at all times shun the temptation of taking Nigerian’s perceived resilience for granted. Rather than being a source of weakness, diversity remains a major challenge to which all Nigerians must be sincerely committed.”


Source: Radio Biafra.

Oduah To Spend N800m On Vehicles – PM News, Nigeria.


By Simon Ateba

Nigeria’s embattled Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah, will spend at least N800 million on vehicles in 2014, after splashing N643 million on 54 vehicles in 2013, her budget proposal shows.

The budget proposal, obtained by P.M.NEWS, shows that Oduah will spend N250 million on eight operational vehicles for the Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, a small agency of the ministry with personnel cost estimated at N150 million yearly.

The budget provision shows each vehicle will cost N30.125million. Many of the SUV brands available in the Nigerian market sell between N5m and N15m.

The minister, who appears to be a car freak will also shell another N500 million to buy a truck for the agency.

And in her main ministry, She will spend another N50 million on staff buses.
The budget proposal shows that the Ministry of Aviation will spend over N137 million on foreign trips.

Oduah will also spend N100 million on her controversial Aerotropolis Consultants, the city-airports she claims Nigeria desperately needs.

She will then spend another N20 million on other types of consultancies and another N425 million on consultancy of institutional reforms, legal services and commercial.

General consulting and professional services for the Nigerian Meteorological Agency will gulp over N8 million.

On airport internal access roads, Oduah would spend N200 million and another N100 million on Bilateral Air Services Agreements. She will also spend N100 million on security gateways on express roads.

The budget proposal shows that Oduah will also spend N100 million on airport toll gates and another N100 million to paint and repair runways.

Oduah will also equally N820 million on the maintenance agreement for the TRACON support services.

The Ministry of Aviation will spend over N13 million on refreshment and meals and another N9 on publicity.

In all the ministry has earmarked N26 billion for capital expenditure, N18 billion out of which will go into her pet project of ‘remodelling the country’s airports’.

Outside of this, she also plans to spend N250 million to plant flowers in the country’s main airports in Port Harcourt, Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Enugu.

Her recurrent budget is estimated at N6 billion making the total budget of the ministry to be N32.3 billion.


APC And Its Web Of Deceit By Ogunjimi James Taiwo.

By Ogunjimi James Taiwo

I always tell people that when you define some terms, always know that for every term that exists, there’s a separate Nigerian definition. It’s in Nigeria that you fight inflation by producing 5000 notes. It’s in Nigeria that you want to reduce child mortality rate and you’re not building hospitals. It’s in Nigeria that you want to reduce crime on the streets and you’re taking people’s means of livelihood. It’s in Nigeria that you want your schools to be among top schools in the world and you’re not funding education.

In the same vein, when people talk about APC and its attempt to revamp Nigeria’s democracy, I can only laugh. APC? They want to evolve our democracy? The same people label themselves progressives yet they wine and dine with agents of backwardness. Do they even know what it means? Abegiiii…

You can only call APC progressive if progressive means bringing together strange bedfellows. APC can only be progressive if progressive means accepting every tom, dick and harry all in an attempt to build strength. I say APC can only be progressive if progressive means inviting enemies of the masses to join up and lead them.

If anybody thinks APC is taking us anywhere good, I say dream on. The only place APC will take Nigerians is to push more people down the poverty line. Using LASU as case-study, the only place APC is taking Nigerians is a place where only the rich can afford to send their children to school. Using Lagos state as example, the only place APC is taking Nigerians is a place where you will all be told to go back to your villages and live in the forest if you can’t meet up with their pace? Using 2011 Presidential election (where Tinubu betrayed Ribadu and sold South-west to Jonathan) as case study, the only place APC is taking Nigerians is a place where leaders betray their followers when juicy deals come their way. Using Senator Yerima (and the overwhelming support of the defunct CPC senators for child marriage) as case-study, the only place APC is taking us is a place where we marry off our daughters from the cradle. Using Alli Ndume as case-study, the only place APC is taking us is a place where sponsors of terrorist organisations are granted bail even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Other countries may have passed through this stage and now enjoy ‘democracy’ today, but Nigeria won’t. The mistake people who refer to this make is that they forget that those countries differed on policies; their disagreements weren’t about who could loot the most, their wranglings weren’t about taking in every enemy of the masses in the name of building strength. Their disagreements bordered on policies, their disagreements bordered on agenda and its workability. That is why they scaled through. The only thing Nigerians will be left with after ignorantly experimenting with APC is disappointment and a taste of defeat at having been used to achieve selfish aims.

A party that accepts everybody and brings in people who destroyed their own party, a party that brings in sworn enemies of the masses is a party that has nothing good to offer.

My only prayer for Nigerians is that we will awake on time and free ourselves from the web of deceit that APC has weaved before we mortgage our future and that of our children and before we sacrifice our survival on the altar of power play and greed.

The way forward? We begin to plan towards a people’s revolution. We begin to put platforms in place. We begin to educate the masses. We begin a vigorous campaign to rid the ignorant of their ignorance. We begin a reeducation drive aimed at changing the orientation of the masses. A recycling of politicians won’t take us anywhere; only a total overturn of the current system of governance can bring a lasting change to Nigeria, reclaim the nation from those who have made it their birthright and give Nigerians back their nation.

Down with failed politicians! Down with parties of deceit! Onward to a people’s revolution!

Ogunjimi James Taiwo
December 2013

Follow me on Twitter: @hullerj. Google +: James Ogunjimi


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Lagos Assembly Fails To Pass Fashola’s N489.7 Billion Budget, Blames 10 MDAs.

Ayo Balogun, Lagos

Against all expectations, the Lagos State House of Assembly has failed to pass the N489.7 billion presented to it by Governor Babatunde Fashola for the 2014 fiscal year.



The governor presented the budget proposal to the House in October, but the House on Monday failed to pass the budget before the New Year.

This is unlike in 2012 when the Assembly passed the budget before going on recess for the New Year.

The Assembly blamed 10 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for the delay in passing the budget as they refused to submit to the House the necessary documents to facilitate the passage of the appropriation bill.

The concerned MDAs are Eko Project, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABCA), Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASRRA), Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget and Ministry of Transportation.

Others are the Lagos Metropolitan Development and Governance Project, LMDGP, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and Lottery Board.

The House has therefore ordered those MDAs to forward the document by 2 January, 2014 to the Appropriation Committee of the House.

On the floor of the House on Monday, a lawmaker, representing Badagry 11 Constituency, Hon. Suru Avoseh called the attention of his colleagues to report forwarded to him as inconclusive.

Chairman, House Committee on Budget and Appropriation, Mudashiru Obasa lamented that 10 MDAs had not supplied the necessary documents that would lead   to further deliberation on the report.

The committee chairman said the affected MDAs appeared before the House and were asked to present the documents, but that up till the sitting period, the committee had not received any of the documents, saying that he had laid the report hoping that before the presentation, the documents would get to the House, adding that the committee had written to the affected government institutions, yet there had been no favourable response.

The Chief Whip, Abdulrazaq Balogun observed that the MDAs deliberately refused to supply the necessary report and that they deserved to be compelled in doing so while Ipoola Omisore, Ifako-Ijaiye II said “it is the desire of the House to pass the appropriation bill before the end of the year. It is not right for any MDA to hold us back.”

Speaker of the House, Adeyemi Ikuforiji said that the House would have proceeded on recess after passing the bill but added that this was no longer possible as member must wait for the bill to be passed before embarking on such recess.

Source: African Examiner.

Media Football Madness By Onwuchekwa Jemie.

Below is a reprint of an article by Onwuchekwa Jemie.

[The Guardian, Sunday 22 March 1987]

Holy of holies!  May the everlasting spirit of the Nigeria Guild of Editors (defunct) protect us!  What in the Nine Hundred and Ninety-nine Most Beautiful Names of God is going on?

A veritable plague has descended upon the Lagos news media.  Lagos journalists have gone bananas over . . .
football!  For the last two months or so these news-takers have turned themselves into news-makers, quite in violation of the letter, not to talk of the spirit, of their Code of Ethics and the stern strictures of their NUJ charter.  Every Saturday and Sunday morning, at the ungodly hour of 8 o’clock, these scrawny scrawlers, printer’s devils, radio rappers and teleguiders are to be seen swarming all over Unilag‘s Sports City huffing and puffing, trampling the peaceful grass, chasing a large white ball.

Even their women have abandoned all decorum and plunged into this shameful exhibition.  Some prance up and down the sidelines shouting themselves hoarse cheering their side; others (get this!) even jump in the pitch and fight for the ball with the men!  Have you ever seen such a thing in your life?  Meanwhile the famous Unilag go-slow, which the pallisades erected to narrow the approaches did nothing to improve, gets even slower as motorists stop and stare at this clown show.

These Media Meddlers have simply taken over Unilag’s Sports City. Guardian Angels are posted all around the stadium, and the only way any bonafide denizen of this campus can get within ten yards of the playing field before noon on any weekend is to assert, in as loud a voice as he can muster, that he is a reporter on some newspaper just about to be founded! This is the only password the Guardian Angels feel obliged to respect.

Now, if you really want to know, it’s all the fault (yes, I’ll put the blame right where it belongs!) of Sonala Olumhense of Ogunlana Drive and Nduka Irabor of Rutam House. Yes, Sonala got the ball rolling last October, with the happy idea that he could settle a private dispute with a public duel on the football pitch. I said to him: “My friend, if you publish ThisWeek, will you publish next week?  That is the question.” And he shot back:  “Each and every week!” So cocky!

You see, Sonala had this one and only Santana car bought at the price of three pre-SFEM ones, and he didn’t know what to do with it – I mean, how to split it between two hungry departments of his establishment without dismembering it. So he decided to have it out on the football pitch and let the losing side win. Now, that’s what I call going one worse (not better) on the judgment of Solomon, turning a national disaster into a domestic joke, if you see what I mean.

Anyway, they called in the famous photo trickster Sunmi Smart-Cole to referee the match, and Sunmi, who was reported in his own LagosLife as “more partial than FEDECO,” cunningly gave the game away to – the better side!
Now, don’t ask me who got the car.  I don’t care.  I’m only concerned about the grave consequences for the Nigerian media, nay, the entire nation, of this absolutely unprecedented act, this ill-considered, irresponsible, reprehensible, and, shall we say . . . I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep!

As if ThisWeek’s escapade wasn’t bad enough, Nduka Irabor, who has all the while been eavesdropping on Sunmi’s tie-line telephone, decided to push this novel idea one step further.  He decided to carry his Save-a-Soul Campaign for eye-cancer patient Louis Obiakor to (you know it!) the football pitch! A conspiracy, by Shango! And before you knew it, in the twinkling of an NTA camera eye, the whole mass media was aflutter with football fever!

A united media team emerged, prodded by the invisible hands of the two arch-conspirators, Nduka Irabor and Sonala Olumhense. They sought out sparring partners and found, first, the Olodi Bombers, a respectable motley of job seekers, Danfo drivers and petty traders, who promptly bombed them 4-1. Then a Referees XI, quite out of practice except with their whistles, whom they walloped 4-1  Then came D-Day, January 31, 1987, a day that history will never forget, the Charity Match of the Year, the climax of Nduka Irabor’s Save-a-Soul Campaign, when, in the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos, and before the 30 million viewers of Network News nationwide, Media XI and Nigerian Coaches XI faced each other in a magnificently hilarious confrontation of quixotic proportions, and Media XI went down kicking all the way to a hero’s defeat, 1-2.

Now, what happened next?  Worthy Ancestors, sustain me in this crooked narrative!  An avalanche had formed, was moving, was quite unstoppable.  Punch challenged Guardian to put its boots where its big mouth is. But before the matter could be decided, the NUJ had come up with the “Oba Akran Cup” for the media house football competitions. I have it on bad authority that at the recent “Communications Policy” shindig at Badagry, organised by the Institute of Journalism gang led by restless Tony Nnaemeka whose mind is always three miles ahead and out of step, George Izobo, the boss of us all, whispered in the ear of the king of that ancient city, and out dropped the Oba Akran Cup!

So far, seven matches have been won and lost in two successive weekends.  Each media house team is grimly determined – they go out to practise at 6 a.m., if you can believe that. In fact the quarter-finals began yesterday with Vanguard facing Punch and Daily Times tackling Guardian (“we’ll show them we’re not in the same league,” vaunted one booster whose media house shall be nameless).  If you hurry you can still catch, this very Sunday morning, Concord fighting it out with FRCN, and Newswatch and New Nigerian teaching each other a thing or two.

Rumour has it that up in Kaduna, Mohammed Haruna and Innocent Oparadike are putting together a “formidable team,” pet-named the Kaduna Kangaroos, to settle scores, once and for all, with the arrogant Lagos Media Mafia. It’s only rumour, but, typically, the Lagos media boys are already treating it as fact. They’ve redoubled their practice time. “Let them come,” said one burly fellow. “We’ll eat them alive!”

Meanwhile (as they say in the trade), Nduka categorically denies a conspiracy between him and Sonala to foist this physical fitness fit upon their normally sober and staid colleagues. With all undue immodesty, he prefers to share the blame with “a wider circle of friends” who had long been considering the possibilities of media football. As for Sonala, he could not be reached for comment.

Such, at any rate, dear reader, is as inauthentic a history as I’m able to cook up concerning this quite, quite dismal affair.  Now, quote me if you dare!

•    Professor Jemie, a scholar, poet, journalist, and teacher, was the pioneer Editorial Page Editor/Chairman, Editorial Board of The Guardian (Nigeria)


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

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