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NIGERIA: We are pushing the population to the brink – Donald Duke

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By Eromo Egbejule

Donald Duke, two-time governor of Cross River State and a part-time saxophone player at jazz festivals, wants to conduct a much larger orchestra next year: Nigeria’s 180 million people. In June, the 56-year-old politician declared his intention to run for president in the 2019 polls. He speaks to The Africa Report on President Muhammadu Buhari’s scorecard, the Niger Delta, insecurity, industrial policy, devolution of powers and a $500m flop from his time as governor.

TAR: First things first, why now? Why are you contesting now and not in 2007 when everybody felt that was the best chance to get into Aso Rock?

Donald Duke: In 2007, I felt the opportunity was good but on the back of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), it would not have happened because the system at the time was overwhelmingly dominated by President [Olusegun] Obasanjo. And he didn’t want it to happen. [The late Umaru Musa] Yar’adua and I had a discussion on this. He came to me in a very interesting manner. He said if I won the primaries, he would like to be my running mate; and if he won the primaries, he would like me to be his running mate. So, it was foolhardy running against him. The structure of the party gave literally everything to Obasanjo at the time, and he did what he did.
And now? There is an unwritten rule that a northerner has to be president in 2019.
See, it is political trickery. It is only a formula put together to accentuate someone’s chances. So, if the north wants to run for instance, they will say it is time to give it to the north. It is not in the constitution. And when you go to the north, they say, ‘Oh, give it to the north-west.’ The last time the north-east threw up a person was Tafawa Balewa from Bauchi. But you know that the north, they’ve had [Shehu] Shagari, Yar’adua, Buhari, all from the same state. When you talk about the north, you have to wonder about Kwara. And they say no, it has to go to the north. So it’s a fallacy. The north always contests elections. They have been contesting non-stop since 2003. More importantly, I don’t think we have the luxury of that right now. My perception of the country right now is it is in dire straits, and we are here right now because of our failure to put the best foot forward every time. I am not running as a southerner, I am running as a Nigerian.

Nigeria today has a plethora of problems. What will your campaign be pivoted on?

I don’t believe in the statistics that says unemployment in Nigeria is 15%. Of course not. Unemployment in Nigeria is probably between 70-80%. Even those that are employed are underemployed and underpaid. It puts a lot pressure on those who are employed because they have to support the unemployed. There are folks who will come to me believing that my sea can never dry – so I’m supposed to pay their house rent and all that. We run a goodwill economy whereby the majority of the folks live off the goodwill of the minority, and that ought not to be. In a nutshell, the focus will be to create as many jobs and include as many people into the economy as possible. That will douse a lot of things – corruption, security threats.
There is corruption of need and the corruption of greed. The corruption of greed is a corruption of the privileged, those who have money but they use influence to get more. But that of need, that policeman on the roadside who is asking you for a bribe is more of need. Imagine you have five or six children. You have school fees, you have rent to pay. You have medical bills, but you’re earning N25,000-N30,000 ($69-83). Our leadership is not in tune with the reality of this country. It’s a very docile population that has not exploded, but we are pushing it to the brink.

Are there any specifics in your first 100 days in office to tackle security? Like policing upgrades?

Policing is not generally having one central force that gathers and has guns. The most important part of police work is information gathering. We have only 300,000-400,000 policemen in Nigeria, and half are following big men. In a country of almost 200 million people, the police force ordinarily should be two million – that’s one policeman to 100 people. That’s broadly the international standard. But since it is a centralised force, it is very difficult for the federal government to engage two million people in the police force. So what do you do? Decentralise it. Not independent forces, but quasi-independent forces. For instance, in the states, you see the chief security officer, all he does is buy vehicles and provide support to the federal police, which is inadequate. Therefore, you have a reactionary police force service. What you require is a proactive police service. How do you do that? Get the states. Literally every single civil service is overstaffed by anywhere between 10-25%. Folks are not doing anything. Get them into police force to gather information. They live amongst the people, they know what each and every one is doing.

The planned Tinapa Resort racked up debt for Cross River state under you. As president, would you also build infrastructure with that kind of debt?

 

Why are you worried about debt? It is how you use the money. Why do you go to the bank to borrow? Because you want to grow. Tinapa was a function of continuity. We built a $500m business resort. We wanted to create traffic. Cross River is at the end of Nigeria. You don’t go there unless business takes you there. We needed to make it compelling for people. So the real essence of Tinapa was not infrastructure, it was an economic free-trade zone. [It is] the only one in Nigeria – the others are industrial trading hubs. The average Nigerian traveling out is going for shopping. We were trying to make all those things you find out there available at a cheaper rate. If you bring traffic, the hotels will explode and the entire hospitality chain too. Hotels sometimes work with farmers. If the hotels are prosperous, a lot of people are employed. That plan alone according to KPMG would have brought in three million people annually into Calabar. If on the average, each one spends N100,000 in hotel bills, shopping, taxi services and restaurants, that will bring N300bn into the economy. The multiplier effect will be at least $1.5trn.
It is money in circulation. The government now gets their money from taxing its people, and that is an anomaly in the Nigerian economy. It is based on government collecting rents from oil and not based on people generating income and the taxing from the income. Follow nature, you can’t go wrong. A tree survives from osmosis. It gets its nutrients from the soil and feeds up. If all you did was put up a tree on a concrete surface and water the leaves, it will die off.
We borrowed to build Tinapa; it wasn’t sustained. Government shouldn’t end on 29 May every four years. By now, Tinapa should have been thriving. The essence was to create an economy independent of the federation account. So we have 23,000 km² of land, and we are only three million people. So we can afford to give you 10,000ha of land to go farm. Oyo State can’t because there are so many people that you will be running over communities, but I can give you contiguous 20,000ha of land in Cross River. So we identified agriculture and tourism. We developed Tinapa as a world-class resort. Have you been to Obudu cattle ranch? That’s even better. For me, Obudu is the icing on our cake. We made commuting there easier – 45 minutes from Calabar and 30 minutes to the bottom of the mountains. We created traffic. In my time, Calabar became the fourth-busiest airport in Nigeria after Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. There was traffic. We had nine flights in and out per week. Today, we have only two.
So literally when you got out of office…
It went south because of a failure of continuity, which is not unique to Cross River. It is a national issue. Every government comes in and wants to jettison what everyone else has done and start anew. Governments don’t work that away. You take the assets and the liabilities.

Lagos is doing well. Central to that is better collection of taxes and its port. Did you also try to make the Calabar port work?

Yes. We wanted to create a niche in port services. If you take a flight out of Lagos, going eastwards towards Port Harcourt or Calabar and you are sitting on the right side of the aircraft and you look out, you will see a long line of ships. That is costing Nigeria a phenomenal amount of money because they are going to charge demurrage. But you have idle infrastructure that you can deploy. So I made a case to President Obasanjo that we use Calabar as a roll-on, roll-off port for cars and for commodities. We built, with the support of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, a parking yard to allow for trucks and cars, so when the cars come off the ships, they can be parked. That worked. We created a very informed industry. People were trained and all that. But [there was] no continuity, so it has gone back to an agro-port. Continuity is critical in every sector and country.

So you agree that leaders need to get the right people around them?

Absolutely.

Former finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in her new book said you advised her not to join the Jonathan administration.

She lied.

You didn’t call her?

Listen to my story. There are two sides. We were friends. I was in Washington. I called her up, which I normally do in Washington when she was there, and invite her for lunch. I go to see her and asked her if it is true she will take the job. She says she was thinking about it. I told her not to rush thinking about it because she was fired from her last job when she was the minister of finance.

I thought she resigned?

She was moved to foreign affairs, where she had no experience whatsoever, but she still wanted to head the economic team. The person said ‘No, you can’t,’ in other words, I am disengaging you from finance, which is your core competence. And she knows she couldn’t function in foreign affairs. So when the president said take it or leave it, she left.
Even beyond that, and this is why I think she was a bit disingenuous, if you read the book further, she talked of someone who would not allow her come into the [presidential] villa, right? In an instance that is even worse, where the International Monetary Fund chair was prevented from going into the villa, you don’t mention that [person]. I am very cautious of people who write books after their tenure.

Is that why you never wrote one?

When I write, I will not be talking about myself. I will write about the government, but I won’t write about myself. It is a bit egoistic. I think it was a laundry book. Why she chose to write it at this time, I don’t know but it is like Nasir El-Rufai’s book or Obasanjo’s book. You find that there are many things that may not have happened the way you perceive it happening.

But surely they are writing from their own perspective?

Yeah, but what is the thinking? Are you trying to clean up something? I responded to her. I told her that you made the economy poorer than you met it. But we are still friends.

A practical question – what will you do in the instance of both Ajaokuta steel company and the refineries?

Steel manufacturing is completely energy intensive. With the energy policy as it exists today, even if you produce steel, imported steel will still be cheaper so you can’t sell it. There is no way because I want to be patriotic, I’ll buy a ton of steel from you at say $1,500 because you are in Nigeria, when I can get it for $500 from China. So, you’ve got to make your industrial output affordable. Government is an enabler. You’ve got to enable people to prosper and become productive. Our gas assets are amazing. Nigeria is a gas country, not an oil country. We flare gas more than any other nation on earth. Rather than flare it, give it to the industries, they will become more productive. Your tax base will become higher and your goods will be affordable and you can export. If you made gas available to everybody, everybody will come and manufacture here. The Chinese and the Americans will manufacture here to export. Making Ajaokuta work was promised by Obasanjo. But why didn’t it work? Two things: poor management – people who never ran a steel mill before running it; two, the energy policy. You can’t compete with the Chinese or India, so you’ve got to take a critical factor that makes production costs lower. In Nigeria, poor infrastructure and poor energy supply are two critical factors because if I’m going to transport steel from Ajaokuta for instance, to Calabar, it will cost me a lot of money because the roads are bad. It shouldn’t be on road – it should be on rail, it would be cheaper.
Back to jobs…one could argue that they might not increase directly proportionally to our population.
You have to grow the non-oil economy at 15% annually for 10 years minimum to grow the economy from a $500bn economy to a $2.5trn economy. And how do you do that? You’ve got to make credit affordable, you’ve got to deal with the energy issue. And I have told you how to do – make the gas available for industries instead of flaring it. You’ve got to back a lot of import substitution. There are so many things that can stimulate growth. I can give you a concession for instance, to produce caustic soda to make soap cheaper. You can see the tariff thing going on in the United States, that is job creation. That has been America’s foreign policy since Alexander Hamilton. So, what Trump is doing is a playbook of the American fiscal policy since secretary of treasury Alexander Hamilton.

The Niger Delta question, soot in Port Harcourt, militants waiting in the wings, spillages….

All the folks are asking for is opportunities. You have all these institutions like the Niger Delta Development Commission and all that as interventions, but you need a long-lasting solution. There’s 5,460km of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta. Some of those pipelines have been there for 40 years, and they are leaking. But if you said this pipeline going through your community, I will pay you X amount for every kilometre or whatever. In exchange, you must report leakages and protect it, that will take care of the rest because they now have a stake. The problem in the Niger Delta is that the landowners don’t have a stake in what you are doing. Make them stakeholders. It is not a new idea. In Alaska, it is the same.

Beyond that, are you down for fiscal federalism and restructuring?

Absolutely. You restructure your life every day. As a society grows, it has to adjust the way it does things. The fear of restructuring is the money. A state like Kebbi will say if you restructure, they won’t be getting money from the federation again. In the 1963 constitution, 50% of the revenue went to the federal [government], 50% went to the states. It was in 1966 we started operating in a unified system. It is open for discussion […] First of all, the fact that we are even paying 13% [for resource control]. Now, maybe they are asking for 25%. It doesn’t matter, but let’s stop the dependency syndrome. Even if you have no minerals, look at what Kebbi is doing with rice. Audu Ogbeh, the minister of agriculture, told me a story relayed to him by governor Atiku Bagudu. He called a meeting for rice growers in Kebbi State on a particular day and they told him that they can’t come. ‘We are doing our harvest, postpone it for two weeks’. For a governor to call a meeting and folks say no they can’t come means that they are independent of government. That is a good sign. Kebbi rice growers will do more if there was affordable credit. The beauty of Nigeria as a country is our numbers, but when those number are not productive it becomes a curse. And those numbers are going to expand exponentially. If we cannot solve these problems people are having today, in 30 years we will be eating each other.

So what about President Buhari’s scorecard?

Buhari ran for office on two main issues – security and corruption. You can only judge him based on what he said. We are still as corrupt as ever. In fact, if we use the [Transparency International] integrity index, we are worse. I’m not a member of Transparency International, but we all read it and the government acknowledged it and tried to make excuses.
Incidences of kidnapping are still rampant, and the herdsmen problem has reared its head even more. Boko Haram, [Buhari’s] announced about three times that it is over, but it is still there.
He didn’t say much about the economy although he said he will make the naira stronger, but we all know it couldn’t happen. What people are looking at is not the value of the currency but the stability of the currency. If Nigeria wanted to make the dollar equal to 1 naira, it could, but it would only last for maybe one month because you will put your entire foreign exchange available right now and it will be 1 to 1.
If I am a foreign investor and I bring $100m to invest in Nigeria and my returns will start in 5-6 years, I want to know what the exchange rate will be in 5-10 years when I will be repatriating my money out. So those guys who established long-term investments here, when the thing moved to 360 naira to a dollar, they ran out of business. And because you are a monoeconomy, you need to engage the IMF. You need to have a buffer with them and create a confidence that come what may, we are giving you guarantee that we have reached a deal with Nigeria whereby the price of the naira will remain at 350 naira to a dollar for the next 10 years. With that announcement, people will rush here.
One of the biggest boohoos that Buhari did […] In the United States he was asked how he will deal with the Niger Delta, the south-east and all that. He said those who did not vote for him should not expect as much as those who voted for him. That’s not leadership. I will use my example. In 1999, I got only 19,000 votes from an entire senatorial district, Cross River North. If you took out the vote from that district, I still won the election. What did I do? I focused on them. I invested heavily. Obudu Cattle Ranch is there, it has been there forever, but we developed it to be the best resort in West Africa. I opened up a medical university there. I ensured that most of the north was put on the national grid. When I ran the second time, they told me not to bother to campaign. You are a leader of not just part of the country, you are a leader of the entire country. To me, that was a failure of leadership.
You know, the cry for Biafra is a cry of marginalisation. The people feel that you don’t care for them. Each time a section of the country doesn’t feel carried along, they are going to react. I may not like the way [Indigenous People of Biafra leader] Nnamdi Kanu went about it, but he’s sending a message that this man is marginalising us. For me, Biafra represents a statement of marginalisation anytime you hear that cry. In my state, there was a huge cry at a time for Ogoja State, but after my first term, it died off. Nobody heard of Ogoja State anymore because they were proudly Cross Riverian.

You’ve talked about the corruption of need and greed. Some of your former colleagues who are in government have some allegations levelled against them. Are you going to investigate them?

It is a system. It shouldn’t depend on the whims of who is president.

Yes, but it takes political willpower.

If the system works, of course they will be investigated. Just because the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigates you doesn’t make you a criminal. You have to be convicted – whatever the courts decide. But you’re asking me if I will shield them? No, I will not. I will not shield anybody.
There is a difference between shielding and actively prosecuting.
The EFCC has to do its job. Everybody has to do their job. And if they are doing their job, they will actively prosecute. The problem with Nigeria comes down to one word, consequences. The failure of consequences is what has brought us to where we are today.

What platform are you contesting on?

It is evolving, and I don’t want to preempt it. Right now, there is a conversation on the opposition parties coming together and all that. I am still a member of PDP, but I don’t want to preempt it. It may be the PDP, it may not be.

 

 

TAR

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Goodluck Jonathan to release autobiography on his final moments as president

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By Oludolapo Adelana

Former president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will release his autobiography, My Transition Hours, on November 20, 2018.
The book which will focus on Jonathan’s time as Nigeria’s president will be launched on his 61st birthday.
The official book launch which will hold at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, will have President Muhammadu Buhari as the Special Guest of Honour and former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as the Chairman of the Occasion.

Other persons expected at the event include John Mahama, former President of Ghana; former Nigerian Head of States; General Yakubu Gowon, General Ibrahim Babangida and General Abdulsalam Abubakar; former Nigerian Vice Presidents; Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Namadi Sambo.
The book will be reviewed by Justice Salihu Alfa-Belgore, former Chief Justice of Nigeria, former Chief of Defence Staff, General Theophilus Danjuma as the Chief Book Presenter and Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson as the Chief Host.
Other special guests include Alassane Ouattara, President of Cote D’Ivoire; Alpha Conde, President of Guinea; Macky Sall, President of Senegal; Faure Gnassingbe, President of Togo; Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya; Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe; Adama Barrow, President of Gambia; Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger; Ibrahim Keita, President of Mali. The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and the United Nations Secretary-General Representative for West Africa and the Shel, Ambassador Ibn Chambers are also expected to be in attendance.

Jonathan was Nigeria’s president from 2010 to 2015. He was defeated at the 2015 polls by Muhammadu Buhari.


Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.

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Winner’s Chapel church Dartford, London Denies ‘Gay Conversion Therapy’ After Report

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An ITV investigation claims the Winner’s Chapel in Dartford has offered gay conversion therapy

REVEALED: Pastor Gbenga Samuel (Photo credit: ITV)

A LONDON-based church has denied engaging in so-called gay conversion therapy after an undercover reporter claimed leaders said God could “fix” him.
The news was revealed in a report from ITV, where a journalist went undercover at Winner’s Chapel in Dartford.
The unnamed reporter who featured in a the television broadcast on Monday night, said: “I went through hours of counselling and prayer sessions, all directed at ridding me of my homosexuality.

“Sometimes the prayers in themselves seemed harmless, such as for God to direct me and guide me.
“I felt it changed from something that could have been comforting to something sinister and potentially traumatising.”
The journalist claims that Winner’s Chapel pastor Gbenga Samuel began praying ‘heavily’, shouting, and spinning him around on the floor within an hour or so of first meeting him.
The reporter, who attended the church for two months, was reportedly told he needed a “complete mind reorientation”.
Despite the damning footage, the church has said the church takes “inclusion and diversity very seriously,” and their activities are lawful and follow the “biblical teachings of love for everyone regardless of their belief, gender, background or sexual orientation”.
The church said it would carry out an internal investigation in to ITV’s findings, but denied engaging in any form of gay conversion therapy.

 

 

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RE: APGA A CATHOLIC PARTY OR A PARTY FOR THE CATHOLICS!-RESPONSE TO THE SPONSORED ARTICLE WITH THE CAPTION ABOVE MEANT TO DIVIDE ANAMBRA ALONG RELIGIOUS LINES.

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Anambra State the light of our Nation Nigeria is too complex and stable for a few extremists to toy with along religious lines. After reading the Sun Newspaper advert of October 20, 2018, we were convinced that some felons are out to tarnish the good work of democracy that has kept Anambra State ahead of other states in the country.

We read with disgust, the above titled advert which appeared in the Sun Newspaper of October 30, 2014. A thorough perusal of the advert shows that it is the continuation of the war against Anambra state now hiding under the cloak of religion.

In the said advert, they tried to portray Anambra state as an unstable state whose cabinet and other positions in the government were occupied by 80% Catholics.

The accusation is totally false and was calculated to diminish Anambra State and dredge us in religious crises.

We shall take the points they wickedly raised serially.

A. POLITICAL APPOINTMENT

It is not in doubt that the current Deputy Governor of Anambra state is a proud Anglican. We can take it further to still confirm that the Chief Protocol to His Excellency, Uzuegbunam Okagbue who also double as the Deputy Chief of Staff is a proud Anglican. So numerous to mention are Commissioners, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, SAs and other appointees in this government are proudly Anglican.

Going back memory lane, we have the capacity to open up the lies from the pit of hell of some disgruntled elements who do not wish Anambra state well.

Prof. Stella Chinyere Okunna, who tripled to the irritation of many, as the Chief of Staff to the former Governor; Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning; as well as the Chairman, Good Governance Group. Prof. Okunna is an Anglican.

Mrs. Vivian Nwandu was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Budget and Economic PlanningPlanning and also a member of the Good Governance Group and, in fact, the de facto Deputy Chief of Staff is an Anglican.

Kindly peruse through the list of former Anambra state appointees and the denomination they belonged to.

1. Mr. Oseloka Obaze, former Secretary to State Government Catholic
2. Stella Okunna, former Chief of Staff and Comm. for Economic Planning/Budget Anglican
3. Peter Afuba, former Comm. for Justice and Attorney General Catholic
4. Azuka Enemo, former Comm. for Local Government Anglican
5. Lawrence Ikeakor, former Comm. for Health, Anglican
6. Henrietta Agbata, former Comm for Women Affairs Anglican
7. Callistus Ilozumba, former Comm.for Works Catholic
8. Edozie Aroh, former Comm. for Youths and Sports, Anglican
9. Sebastian Okoye, former Comm. for Environment Catholic
10. Ohamobi Chike, former Comm for Transport, Catholic
11. Chibunna Okoli Akirika ,former Comm. for Lands Anglican
12. Engr. Patrick Obi, former Comm. for Housing, Catholic
13. Ngozi Okoye, former Comm. for Finance Anglican/Pent
14. Emeka Nwankwu, former Comm. for Utilities Catholic
15. Uju Okeke, former Comm. for Education, Catholic
16. Okoli Christopher, former Comm. for Science and Tech, Anglican
17. Ndubisi Menakaya , former Comm. for Agriculture, Anglican
18. Vivian Nwandu, former Special Adviser on MDG, Anglican
19. Godfrey Muotolu, former Special Adviser on Chieftaincy Matters, Catholic
20. Emenike, Obi, former Principal Secretary to the Governor Catholic
21. Oby Nwankwo, Perm. Sec. Govt. House, Anglican
22. Ferdinand Obi Permanent Secretary/closest aide Anglican

23 Mr George Asuegbu Ijezi (Secretary) Anglican
24. Barr Gabriel Onyeozili Anglican
25. Dr (Mrs) Kate Obioji Catholic
26. Mrs Pauline Ndibe Catholic
27. Mr. Shedrach Onuigbo Anglican

C. 1 JUDICIARY

Those that placed the advert also said that over 80% of Judges in Anambra State were Catholics, here are the statistics:

Chief Judges in Anambra state in the last dispensation.

1. Justice Chuka Okoli Anglican
2. Justice Nri Ezedi (appointed by Obi) Anglican
3. Justice Emeka Nzegwu (appointed by Obi) Anglican
4. Justice Paul Obidigwe (appointed by Obi) Anglican
5. Justice Peter Umeadi (appointed by Obi) Catholic
Anambra State Judiciary has 18 Judges. The under listed, 10 in number, belong to Anglican faith, while the rest belong to Catholic and other faiths:

1. Justice Ijeoma Onwuamaegbu Anglican
2. Justice O.M Anyachebelu Anglican
3. Justice J.I Nweze Anglican
4. Justice O.C. Amaechina Anglican
5. Justice P.C Obiora Anglican
6. Justice V. N Agbata Anglican
7. Justice G.C Anulude Anglican
8. Justice Ike Ogu Anglican
9. Justice C.C Okaa Anglican
10. Justice Otti Anglican

C.2 JUDICIARY

The Customary Court of Appeal became functional in Anambra State during the last dispensation. The two Presidents of the court appointed then were Anglican!

1. Justice Chinwe Amaechi Anglican.
2. Justice Samuel Okoye Anglican

C.3 JUDICIARY

The Magistrates Cadre has far more Anglicans than Catholics and other denominations put together..

D. PARTNERSHIP WITH THE CHURCH ON HEALTH

Anambra state supports Anglican hospitals that did not fall under the original hospitals slated for assistance, namely, Faith Hospital and Maternity owned by the Anglican Diocese of Awka. Another one is the Amichi Diocesan Hospital. Anambra state also assisted hospitals owned by the Pentecostal fellowship, an example being Jesus the Physician Hospital at Awka.

In Anambra state partnership with the Churches to build and rebuild institutions, the state built 10 maternities and four of them were for the Anglican Church and are located in:

1. Umueje, Anyamelum L.G.A
2. Awba-Ofenmili, Akwa North L.G.A
3. Ihiala, Ihiala L.G.A
4. Umunze, Orumba South L.G.A

E. RETURN OF SCHOOLS

On the return of schools, there was no way any particular denomination was favoured. Schools taken over by Government in 1970 were all gazetted and it was those schools that were returned. Anglican Church benefitted more from some local Authority schools that were also returned to them. In few places there were disputes, Government set up a Committee to look into the challenges and resolve it.

Following the heroic return of schools, Anambra State Government gave to Catholic and Anglican Churches over 2 Billion Naira each to rehabilitate those schools and still dolling out millions every year to the curchrs in their partnership for a better Anambra. Anambra currently continued to pay the salaries of both tutorial and non-tutorial staff. This is now being adopted as a model across the globe.

Today, schools in Anambra come first in all external examinations. This is what Anambrarians should be celebrating rather than condone people who vilify the government who was the architect of it all.

F. CONTINUED SUPPORT TO THE CHURCH.

In line with the development agenda of the government, churches in Anambra State still benefits from the government. Below are the some of the financial assistance to some Anglican diocese in Anambra state.

1. Anglican Diocese of Aguata 5 Million for faith-based micro credit scheme/vehicle
2. Anglican Diocese of Ihiala 3 Million for faith-based micro credit/vehicle
3. Anglican Diocese of Amichi 3 Million for faith-based micro credit/vehicle
4. Anglican Diocese of Niger West 3 Million for faith-based micro credit/vehicle
5. Anglican Diocese of Mbamili a bus for their newly established secondary school
6. Other Anglican/ Methodist Dioceses and some other religious ​ ​denominations in the state benefitted

G. THOSE SENT TO THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR POLICY AND STRATEGIC STUDIES.

Among the Five persons sent to the Nigerian Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) at Kuru, Plateau State by Anambra state government, only two were Catholic. They also insinuated that the state is paying catholic priests and bishops salaries. This is the worst blackmail any human can peddle again a peace living state as Anambra.

We know their plans which is to divide Anambra state along religious lines going into the general election. Their plans have failed because Anambra state in in the hand of the God Almighty. Support Anambra state. Support APGA, Support governances.

ALLIANCE FOR EQUITY AND JUSTICE.

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Governor Willie Obiano sends early Christmas Gift

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-Head of Service takes delivery of first Batch of Christmas Rice for Civil servants-

…distribution commence 19th November, 2018.

Anambra State Head of Service, *Barr. Harry Udu*, today at the State Secretariat Complex, received the first batch of Christmas Rice for onward distribution to Civil Servants across the state.

On ground to make the presentation was *Hon. Confidence Asodo,* The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Finance and Secretary (JAC) stated that this is one of the many ways His Excellency, *Governor Willie Obiano* is reaching out once again to the Civil Servants across the State.

Hon. Azodo who stated that the disbursement will commence on the 19th of November 2018, also disclosed that the Governor has further directed that the payment of leave allowances of Civil servants commence from the first week of December 2018 so as to ensure that all Civil servants receive all due packages before Christmas.

According to him, the state Government has procured over 100,000 bags of Anambra cultivated and processed rice for the civil servants.

*Barr. Harry Udu,* Thanked His Excellency for keeping to his promise of making the Christmas of the workers memorable despite the harsh economy and pledged the support and loyalty of the civil servants to the people’s Governor.

Addressing Journalists during the presentation, Anambra Billionaire businessman and Chairman CEO Anambra Rice Mills Limited /Stine Group, *Chief Akai Egwuonwu* (Ume-Ebube Agu Nigeria) emphasised that every grain of the rice to be presented were cultivated, harvested and processed here in Anambra State and appreciated the support the Willie Obiano administration has given to both the rice farmers and the processors. Promising to deliver the best quality as his company is known for.

“Governor Willie Obiano has always proven that the welfare of the workers comes first, hence his timely payment of Salaries and other welfare packages ”


-Ofoneme Daniel-Scott
Anambra State Secretariat Awka

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Obiano Commends Anambra Assembly for Overcoming Crisis

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The Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano has commended the members of the Anambra State House of Assembly for the mature and wise way they handled the minor misunderstanding that arose in the House on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.
Speaking from Paris where he is on official tour with President Buhari, Governor Obiano commended the Speaker of the House, Hon Mrs Rita Maduagwu, the principal officers and other members of the House for rising to the acid test of true democracy and peacefully resolving the mild misunderstanding that erupted among them saying that the matter would have degenerated to something unpleasant if handled by a less competent crop of leaders.
The Governor expressed confidence in the ability of Anambra lawmakers to always resolve their differences in the truest tradition of representative democracy and forge stronger ties that would accelerate the development of the state.
He also expressed contentment with the assurances by the Speaker and the Principal Officers of the House that whatever grey areas that might be still lingering in the House would be amicably resolved in the next few days.
Speaking further, Governor Obiano assured that Anambra remains Nigeria’s most peaceful and safe state and that his administration would continue to work assiduously to ensure that the state maintains that status.

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BREAKING NEWS : Ikem Uzoezie In Failed Attempt To Impeach Hon. Rita Maduagwu, The Current Speaker House of Assembly.

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The attempt by some members of the Anambra state House of Assembly led by Hon. Ikem Uzoezie and Hon. Harford Oseke, Victor Okoye, etc to unlawfully impeach the current speaker of the state Assembly, Rtn Hon. Rita Mmaduawu proved abortive.

It was gathered that some aggrieved members of the state Assembly today initiated an impeachment process against the speaker of the House which they intend to extend against the executive governor of Anambra state ,Chief (Dr) Willie Obiano but the process became frustrated owing to its failure to get the required 2/3 majority as required by law.

Unfortunately for the aggrieved members of the House who felt that they didn’t make it for 3rd and 4th tenure because they didn’t get the support of their constituents , and therefore had resorted for an illegal impeachment process, failed to achieve their selfish interest when the symbol of authority was not on ground to authenticate their act.

Interestingly, good atmosphere shall soon return to the state Assembly with the status-quo in maintenance. With this, the attempt by political despradors to return Anambra state her dark anarchy state has failed.

The people of the state are requested to disregard the rumour from disgruntled elements who believe that they have succeeded in impeaching the speaker as it is both unfounded and abortive mission.

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Anambra innovation centre: Brainchild of Gov Obiano

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By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
It was a very arresting sight to behold as Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State paced about under the sweltering afternoon sun. The all-action Governor could not be held back by the scorching sun as he took personal charge of going from stand to stand inspecting creative craft works being exhibited by the students of the Government Technical Colleges in Anambra State. On display were prototype vehicles running on water, hydro-powered generators, red bricks, blocks, assorted robots, modern cooking utensils, sports gadgets, diverse confectioneries, ultra-modern furniture, building accessories etc.

The splendid event was the 2018 Anambra State Technical and Creativity Day organised by the Anambra State Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy in alliance with the Ministry of Basic Education.
The day marked the grand finale following a series of competitions in the fields of Technovation, script writing, acting, music and dancing.
The visibly satisfied Governor Obiano announced his plan to establish the Anambra Innovation Centre to be domiciled in any of the universities in Anambra State. The proposed centre will provide the much-cherished opportunity for smart tech-heads with bright ideas to explore their innate potentials.
The inspiration for Governor Obiano to initiate the Anambra Innovation Centre came from his recent visit to the United States where he undertook a working tour of the Cambridge Innovation Centre in Boston, Massachusetts. A real estate wonder, the Cambridge Innovation Centre (CIC)
is popularly hailed as the “community of entrepreneurs.” Founded in 1999 by the esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the CIC houses such preeminent companies as Google, Maven Technologies that became a Yahoo subsidiary, Great Point Energy, HubSpot etc.
It is Governor Obiano’s plan that the Anambra Innovation Centre will replicate the feats of the CIC in this modern day that the service industries have overtaken the manufacturing sector.
The Anambra State government will, in the next fortnight, sponsor seven persons to the United States to embark on a study of the Cambridge Innovation Centre model. Among the seven persons designated for the study tour to America are the two youngest commissioners in the Anambra State cabinet, to wit, Mark Okoye, who is the 31-year-old Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget Development; and also, the Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, Bonaventure Enemali, who is equally aged 31. Government and non-government officials will make the trip to ensure a profound replication of the Cambridge Innovation Centre in Anambra State.
Governor Obiano had, from the very beginning, given pride of place to technical education in Anambra State by making it entirely tuition free. He added one technical school to the 11 he met when he came to power. He has ensured that all the courses of the 12 technical colleges were now accredited as opposed to the unaccredited status he met. The 7,500 technical students in Anambra State have been duly armed to conquer as was on display at the 2018 Technical and Creativity Day in Awka.
The youthful Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, Bonaventure Enemali, stressed on the occasion: “The integration of the creative economy in my Ministry has opened up a new dimension in government’s efforts to effectively address the challenges facing the youths.” He revealed that the ministry was “collaborating with NGOs to fully realise the mandate of discovering, developing and deploying talents in youths.”
For the resourceful Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof Kate Omenugha, the collaboration between her ministry and the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy “is in keeping with the state government’s vision of availing Anambra children education that is globally competitive.” She reiterated that through the governor’s intervention, 26 trade subjects have received full accreditation in the technical colleges in the State.
The creativity dimension of the day featured drama, dance and music. Governor Obiano made the crucial point that he was determined to put in place a creative economy not unlike California in the United States. It would entail marrying entertainment to technology, as in Hollywood matching up with Silicon Valley.
Unlike in the Caribbean where music is mostly seen merely entertainment sans management, Anambra State will embrace the Californian model by using astute management and technology to reap the many dividends inherent in the entertainment industry.
Governor Obiano presented cheques to the winners of the various categories of contests. Miss Christabelle Ezenekwe, aged 14, the winner in the Acting Category, received the sum of N500,000. She was full of thanks to Governor Obiano for the encouragement and support that will help her further her education and acting career.
The inauguration of the Anambra Young Innovators, a group of youths with ideas on how to provide solutions through technology, was a major highlight of the day. The Anambra Youths Art Group was equally unveiled.
Anambra State is, indeed, poised on a great drive toward leading the charge in technology and creativity with Governor Obiano on the driving seat.

Uzoatu wrote in from Lagos

 

 

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Nigeria Names Fifth Commander in Under 2 Years To Lead Fight Against Boko Haram

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Nigeria has named its fifth commander in less than 2 years to lead the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency, the army said on Saturday, a move military sources say was related to continued attacks by Islamists.

The attacks could hurt President Muhammadu Buhari’s chances of re-election in Feb. 2019. He campaigned in 2015 vowing to end the insurgency but the conflict is entering its 10th year with attacks by Boko Haram and a group that splintered from it, the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA).

Major General Abba Dikko, who in July took over command of Operation Lafiya Dole, has been replaced as the head of that operation by Major General Benson Akinroluyo, the army said in an emailed statement that outlined dozens of redeployments.

Dikko has been moved to the Department of Civil Military Affairs to fill the position of chief of civil military affairs.

“The Nigerian Army has redeployed some of its officers from Operation Lafiya Dole, Operation Delta Safe, as well as over stayed officers from the theatre as part of routine posting,” the army said in the statement.

Two military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he was redeployed because of attacks by Islamists since he took over.

Since July, when Dikko was appointed, dozens of Nigerian troops have been killed in battles with militants and ISWA killed two abducted aid workers.

Soldiers also staged a protest at an airport in September.

An army spokesman did not immediately respond to text messages and phone calls seeking further details on the decision to replace Dikko as the head of the fight against Islamists just months after he took the role.


Reuter

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Diezani Alison-Madueke to be extradited from UK—EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has confirmed that the process for the extraditing former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke from the United Kingdom has begun.
Acting Spokesman of the commission, Mr Tony Orilade, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
There have been calls from different quarters for the extradition of the former minister over several allegations of impropriety against her.
According to Orilade, EFCC’s Operations Department has made presentation to the Legal Department to commence the process, and that process has commenced.
He, however, said that the action had to be processed through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, explaining that it was not something the commission would commence and conclude on its own.
“It is ongoing. Within the next few weeks, the extent to which we have gone will be made known to the public.
“It is not a fresh case; it is not a fresh petition that is just being looked into; the whole process is a total package.
“This extradition is just an aspect of Diezani’s investigation and commencement of trial,” he said.
In 2017, a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the final forfeiture of N7.6 billion alleged loot recovered from the former minister to the Federal Government.
Justice Abdulazeez Anka granted an application by the EFCC seeking the final forfeiture of the money to the government.
Granting the application, the judge had said: “I have read the motion on notice seeking the final forfeiture of the sum of N7.6 billion reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.
“I have also gone through the affidavit in support of the application.
“In the circumstances, I am of the view that the application has merit and is hereby granted as prayed. Parties have a right of appeal.”
In October, 2017, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had said that Nigeria had no immediate plan to bring Alison -Madueke back home to face trial.
Alison -Madueke, who is being investigated in the UK, had urged the Federal Government to bring her back to the country to face corruption charges against her.
But, Malami said that bringing her back to the country would jeopardise the investigation being carried on her in the UK.
“Steps have been taken by the United Kingdom authorities on issues bothering on corrupt practices involving Nigerians.
“If Nigeria feels strongly that there is need to bring Mrs Diezani Alison -Madueke here to face charges of corruption, government will not hesitate to do that.
“As things stand now, there is no need for that since the UK Government is already investigating her,’’ he had said.
The EFCC spokesman could not, however, say the point at which it became necessary to seek extradition of the former minister.

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Nigerian Army redeploys 103 senior officers

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The Nigerian Army has redeployed 103 officers amongst who is Major General Abba Dikko, the Commander and Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole.
This was stated in a press release issued by the Army Headquarters, Abuja, through its Director of Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu.
According to the statement, the routine posting which affected 103 officers including Majors and Captains is aimed at injecting new hands to further actualize the vision of the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai which is: ‘To have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles’.
It will be recalled that before this redeployment, the Chief of Army Staff had earlier sent goodwill messages to the troops congratulating them for their bravery, alertness and doggedness in the ongoing fight against boko haram terrorists.
Also redeployed is Major General Jamil Sarham; who is to remain at the Headquarters, 6 Division as the General Officer Commanding/Land Component Commander, then, Major General Nuhu Angbazo who now moves to Headquarters 3 Division as the General Officer Commanding, while Major General Benson Akinroluyo redeployed from Headquarters 3 Division to Headquarters Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole as Commander.
Others are Major General Victor Ezugwu from Depot Nigerian Army to Nigerian Army Vehicle Manufacturing Company as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO), Major General Adeyemi Adetayo from Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) to Department of Army Standard and Evaluation as Director Procurement and Projects and Brigadier General Ifiok Obot redeployed from Headquarters Operation Delta Safe to Nigerian Army University Biu as Deputy Vice Chancellor (Military).
Others as contained in the statement are Brigadier General Olufemi Dada from Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) to Headquarters Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) as Director Combat Development, Brigadier General Solomon Udounwa redeployed to Defence Headquarters as Deputy Director Campaign planning, Brigadier General Adekunle Adesope from Department of Army Standard and Evaluation to the Office of the Chief of Army Staff as Acting Director in the Directorate of Audit and Financial Management.
Also, Brigadier General Caleb Dalhatu moves from Headquarters Infantry Corps Centre to Headquarters 81 Division Garrison as Commander, Brigadier General Abdu Hassan redeployed from Headquarters 2 Brigade to Headquarters Infantry Corps Centre as Chief of Staff (COS), Brigadier General Kabir Mukhtar from Headquarters 81 Division Garrison to Headquarters Department of Army Administration as Acting Director Manpower, Brigadier General Nasiru Jega redeployed to Headquarters 2 Brigade as Commander, Brigadier General Sani Mohammed moves from Department of Administration to Depot Nigerian Army as Acting Commandant.
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Kevin Aligbe is to remain in Headquarters 16 Brigade as Commander, while Colonel Adamu Nura from Headquarters 21 Special Armour Brigade is to move to Nigerian Army Armour School as Chief Instructor. Colonel Louis Lepdung is redeployed from Headquarters 25 Task Force Brigade to Headquarters Infantry Corps Centre as Deputy Director Research and Development.
Likewise, Colonel Kingsley Umoh from Administration Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) to Defence Headquarters as Assistant Director Defence Information and Colonel Kayode Ogunsanya moves from Headquarters 3 Division Army Public Relations to Defence Headquarters Garrison Army Public Relations as Deputy Director Army Public Relations.

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