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Amid Nigeria’s Democracy Day: Reclaim Naija mourns victims of insurgent killings
May 30, 2018 | 0 Comments
…Charges President Buhari to fish out killers
By Yinka Ajayi

A group identified as as Community Life Project Initiative has charged President Muhamadu Buhari to fish out the killers of innocent Nigerians across the nation under the guise of herdsmen / farmers clashes and the Bokoharam terrorists .

‎Speaking during a programme organised by the group tagged ‘May 28 National Mourning day for victims of killings across Nigeria’ Ngozi Iwere Executive Director of the group said: “Nigeria is at war but the war is a war of class, not of tribe, ethnic or religion. Its between criminals and non criminals. The Nation’s law makers are united yet they want to divide the common Nigerians. The ruling class discribed us as ordinary Nigerians while they elevate themselves as Distinguished Senators and Honorable . They said its the herdsmen that are killing Nigerians but we know it is not the herdsmen. President Buhari should fish out these criminals.”

“I pray that God grant us peace and justice. Nigerians should wake up because 2019 is around the corner. Since 1979, our conditions as a people is getting worse continuously and the ruling class is the source of Nigeria’s problem. As a people when you are faced with two evil, you prefer the lesser evil. The ruling class don’t want the idea of independent candidate because they know once such comes to play, they will be voted out. We should all endeavor to be the voice of peace, justice, love and harmony in our dear nation as we are too many to be silent” Iwere said

Meanwhile the Chief Imam of Ishaga Lagos, Alfa Ope , opined that most of these sponsors of killings across the nation are using religion to cover up their misdemeanor . According to him: “In Islam, whosoever kills a soul is liken to killer of whole nation. If the holy prophet during his era can order his followers to protect a Dog with her puppies from being killed by crowd, despite Islam’s view of seeing dogs as unclean animal, how much more will he not protect humans”. The Imam however prayed for the Almighty to forgive the sins and repose the soul of victims of insurgent killings in Alijana.

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Priscilla Mutembwa joins USAFCG as Vice President, Cybersecurity Policy and Development
May 30, 2018 | 0 Comments
Priscilla Mutembwa

Priscilla Mutembwa

Ambassador Omar Arouna, Managing Partner of US-Africa Cybersecurity Group, has appointed Priscilla Mutembwa as Vice President,   Cybersecurity Policy and Development.

Further to the appointment, Ambassador Arouna commented: “I’m delighted that Priscilla Mutembwa is joining the Group. Over the past years she has done an outstanding job in various capacity on the African continent. Her work as a member of the ITU Focus Group on Digital Financial Services for Financial Inclusion and her keen interest in the security issues surrounding mobile money in Africa will be essential to our growth.”

Priscilla Mutembwa holds a Master of Business Administration from University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg. She is currently enrolled in a Master in Cybersecurity, Management and Policy from University of Maryland University College. Before joining US-Africa Cybersecurity Group, she has held various management and financial roles at Unicef, British American Tobacco, Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group and Cargill. In 2006 she was appointed CEO at Cargill in Zimbabwe for seven years. Priscilla Mutembwa was named the 2011 CIMA Businesswoman of the Year.

In 2015 she joined the Corporate Council on Africa as Director ICT. She was responsible for the development and implementation of the ICT program of the association and was a member of the ITU Focus Group on Digital Financial Services for Financial Inclusion and developed interest in the security issues surrounding mobile money in Africa. She currently is a Commissioner on the Judicial Services Commission of Zimbabwe.

Her career has spanned 33 years, across 3 continents and now seeking to develop and implement cybersecurity policies and procedures in Africa.

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3 YEARS LATER… AND YOU DIDN’T FAIL TO DISAPPOINT
May 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Ephraim Adiele*

Happy Democracy Day, Mr. President

How are you, work and family?

President Buhari

President Buhari

Dear Sir, I have not been a fan of you as Nigeria’s president since you emerged as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014 because I have done proper ground research and realized you have nothing good to offer.  You were not an exemplary leader during your first stay as Head of State – You even overthrew a democratically elected government. You are not exactly a role model when it comes to being a businessman so I did not expect you to revolutionize the economy. So pardon my pessimism about your leadership skills (I was not wrong anyways)

My first draft of this open letter was quite lengthy and might have probably gotten me arrested because I was pretty pissed while I was writing and had a lot of things to say about how terrible your administration has been and the unimaginably horrible impact it has had on the Nigerian people as a whole. After writing for a while (about 1200 words) I stopped and realized I was ranting, then I realized I did not really need to analyze how bad your administration has been because Nigerians are feeling it and do not need an article reminding them of their very sorry condition. Asides that, I recall writing 3 different letters to your daughter, son and wife within the first year of your administration.

Then I remembered that fateful day – December 24, 2014 – when I was invited to Oriental Hotel, Lagos as part of a number of young leaders of thought to come and have audience with your then-Vice Presidential aspirant, Yemi Osinbajo. On that day, we were given the APC manifesto (which should be attached to this article) which I went through and laughed heartily because I realized that you and your party members really take Nigerians for fools (well, aren’t we?) by making promises that can never be fulfilled even in the next 20 years except a miraculous revolution occurs.

After I was handed the manifesto, I went through it and underlined several of those phantom promises which I knew will never be fulfilled. I will just list them here and probably just make a few additions later.

THE APC PROMISED THE FOLLOWING:

  • “Within the first year of your administration, employ 740,000 (20,000 per state + FCT) young graduates in immediate employment and empowerment scheme.” – This promise was never fulfilled and this is already the 3rd year and no signs of this EVER happening.
  • “After NYSC, we will pay graduates stipends for one year under a vocational scheme where they build entrepreneurial and work-readiness capacity.” – NYSC alumni… how market?
  • “Create an additional middle class of at least 4 million new homeowners” – Please when and where is the next landlord meeting holding. I have to attend.
  • “Provide free meals in school to drastically reduce the number of out of school children. Osun State provides free lunches and got its enrolment to 80%” – This was APC using Governor Rauf Aregbesola as an example! I’m stunned!
  • “Targeting up to 20% of our annual budget for education.” – By my last check, only 7% of the 2018 budget was allocated for education.
  • “Ban Medical Trips for government officials” –  Yes, you read right! This same Buhari promised to ban medical trips to the abroad for government officials.
  • “Tuition reimbursement for health workers willing to relocate to rural areas” – I know many of my friends in the medical field who would dive at this offer if ever it is made, but what do I know? “Buhari has fulfilled his campaign promises”
  • “In different phases over 4 years, APC will make monthly direct cash transfer of N5,000 to the 25 million poorest citizens, if they immunize their children and enroll them in school” – Dear Mr President, I strongly believe I am among the 25 million poorest Nigerians and my children are immunized and in school, where can I join the queue to collect my N5k?
  • “Generate, transmit and distribute electricity on a 24 hour basis … by 2019” – I will borrow the words of Mr President himself when he was talking about his friend, Olusegun Obasanjo, “Where is the power?”
  • “Will guarantee the independence of EFCC and ICPC” – The same EFCC whose chairman was spotted wearing a Buhari re-election badge during a recent interview with Channels TV? Issokay!!!

  In summary, a good look at the APC manifesto shows that the Presidency has failed woefully as regards fulfillment of its promises to Nigerians.

Asides the aforementioned, it is pertinent to note the following anomalies who have assumed order of the day since the President took oath of office.

Incessant killing of innocent villagers by herdsmen (Fulani or not), people are being killed and nothing is being done about it! Benue, Taraba, Plateau… name it!

Just before the election, I used to have discussions with my friends and they were all of the opinion that you were the savior Nigeria badly needed. I used to laugh and tell them you will do exactly what you have been doing and are still doing.

I would like to go on, but the point is clear, you proved no point to me, except that which I already knew before you won the 2015 election: You have no business being the President of Nigeria. I like you, but I don’t like you as the President of this country.

*Ephraim Adiele is a Media and Digital Marketing Specialist. Contact him on @baba_random on all social platforms

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Rwanda defends $39 million sponsorship deal with Arsenal
May 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

Kagame receiving an Arsenal jersey from Tony Adams (L) once Arsenal captain as Airtel MD, Teddy Bhullar, looks on

Kagame receiving an Arsenal jersey from Tony Adams (L) once Arsenal captain as Airtel MD, Teddy Bhullar, looks on

KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — Rwanda’s government on Tuesday defended its $39 million sponsorship deal with the Arsenal football club as some aid donors and rights activists raised an outcry.

“Visit Rwanda” will be emblazoned on the left sleeve of players in Arsenal’s first, under-23 and women’s teams.

President Paul Kagame is an Arsenal supporter. The deal was not approved by Rwandan lawmakers.

Deputy Foreign Minister Olivier Nduhungirehe told The Associated Press that the money for the sponsorship deal came from tourism, which is the small East African country’s top foreign exchange earner.

“Donors’ aid is specific and well accounted for in Rwanda,” Nduhungirehe said in response to criticism from British lawmakers in UK media.

 

Rwanda remains one of the poorest countries in the world and continues to recover from the 1994 genocide that killed more than 800,000 people. Over a third of its population lives in poverty.

Local political analyst Robert Mugabe called the Arsenal deal elitist, saying many Rwandans did not know how it will benefit them. “Many people in Rwanda are kept in the dark and don’t know the actual money invested. Rwandans are learning this through foreign media,” Mugabe said.

The country’s goal is to double tourism receipts from $404 million by 2024, the Rwanda Development Board said in a statement.

The board’s CEO said anyone who criticizes the Arsenal deal because Rwanda is an aid recipient either wishes the country to remain poor or doesn’t understand the key role marketing plays.

“The more Rwanda earns from tourism, the more we can invest in our people. That’s the connection,” the CEO, Claire Akamanzi, said on Twitter.

One Rwandan Arsenal fan, Olivier Muhizi, said people who criticize the deal don’t understand.

 

“Many Asian and Western countries do this routinely, marketing their brands to develop. Rwanda does not deserve criticism; it has done nothing wrong,” Muhizi said.

*AP

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Burundi ‘insulted’ by French gift of donkeys to village
May 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

Bujumbura officials quarantined the animals suspecting a subliminal message behind the gift.

Gabby Bugaga, spokesman for the Senate president, tweeted that the French were 'taking us for donkeys' [Getty]

Gabby Bugaga, spokesman for the Senate president, tweeted that the French were ‘taking us for donkeys’ [Getty]

Burundi has ordered the quarantine of 10 donkeys donated to a village in the East African country by France, sparking a debate if there was a subliminal message behind the gift.

The donkeys, bought in neighbouring Tanzania, were given to residents of a village in Gitega province as part of a project by a local NGO to help women and children transport agricultural products, water or wood.

However, a presidential adviser described the project as “an insult to the nation”.

Gabby Bugaga, spokesman for the Senate president, also wrote on Twitter the French were “taking us for donkeys”.

“Be honest, is the donkey a symbol of a quality or a flaw,” he wrote.

Donkeys are not indigenous to Burundi.

On Sunday, Agriculture Minister Deo Guide Rurema asked a local administrator to “facilitate the immediate withdrawal of all donkeys that have been distributed … without respecting the technical procedure of the distribution of exotic animals”.

Last Thursday, the day the project was inaugurated, French Ambassador Laurent Delahousse praised “the introduction of the Land Cruiser of the animal kingdom to Burundi”.

After the controversy, Delahousse said to his knowledge “all procedures were respected”.

A European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP news agency Burundi was hitting back at France over a statement it made criticising a referendumearlier this month. The vote reformed the constitution allowing President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek another two terms in office so he can potentially remain in power until 2034.

The diplomat said a similar project involving donkeys in Ruyigi province, financed by Belgium, had not been met with any problems.

Burundi was plunged into crisis in 2015 when Nkurunziza sought a third term in office, sparking protests and violence that killed at least 1,200 people and displaced 400,000 others.

The International Criminal Court has said it is investigating alleged state-sponsored crimes against humanity in the country.

In 2017, Burundi became the first nation to leave The Hague-based court.

 *Al Jazeera
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‘Spiderman’ of Paris: folk hero fresh off migrant trail
May 29, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Myriam LEMETAYER & Laurence BENHAMOU*
22-year old Mamoudou Gassama won global acclaim for rescuing a boy dangling from a balcony in France

22-year old Mamoudou Gassama won global acclaim for rescuing a boy dangling from a balcony in France

Paris (AFP) – Mamoudou Gassama, the young Malian hailed as a hero in France for scaling a multi-storey building to rescue a child hanging from a balcony, is no stranger to danger.

The 22-year-old “Spiderman”, who was honoured by President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace and offered French citizenship, braved the Sahara desert, Libyan gangs and the Mediterranean Sea during his long odyssey to Europe.

In 2013, the shy youth from the southwestern Malian town of Yaguine hit the migrant trail which claims thousands of lives each year.

“I had no means to live and no-one to help me”, Gassama, who followed an older brother to France, explained to Macron.

He travelled through Burkina Faso and Niger north to Libya, the main launching pad for clandestine crossings to Europe.

He spent a year working in Libya, where armed gangs prey on migrants, routinely kidnapping them for ransom and even sometimes enslaving them.

“I suffered a lot,” he said. “We were caught and beaten but I did not lose hope.”

A year later, he sailed to Italy in one of the packed migrant boats that regularly sink. “It was terrible. There were a lot of people,” he told France’s BFM news channel.

From there he continued on last year to France, where he joined relatives in the eastern Paris suburb of Montreuil, nicknamed “Little Bamako” after its large Malian population.

His home, which he shares with relatives, is a cramped 15-square-metre room in a migrant workers’ hostel, with a mattress on the floor for a bed.

Gassama, who did not seek asylum in France, making him an economic migrant at risk of deportation, has been doing odd jobs in construction.

But his life changed dramatically Saturday, when he came to the rescue of a four-year-old boy who was spotted dangling from a balcony on the fourth-floor of a building in northern Paris.

“I did not think twice,” Gassama, who happened to be walking by, told Macron, adding “I went straight up.”

– An example for millions –

The video of him pulling himself up from balcony to balcony with supreme ease has been viewed millions of times on social media, propelling him to stardom.

On Monday morning he was ferried to the Elysee Palace for an audience with the president, who listened smiling to his account of the rescue and presented him with a medal for his bravery.

“I’m pleased because it’s the first time I’ve received a trophy like that,” Gassama said afterwards.

“We proud of him,” his older brother Birama, 54, told AFP, describing his sibling, a keen footballer, as someone who “likes to help others”.

French President Emmanuel Macron meets 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama, the real life Spiderman.

French President Emmanuel Macron meets 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama, the real life Spiderman.

Not only will Gassama receive a French passport, Macron offered the plucky youth with preternatural agility a job with the fire service.

“You have become an example because millions of people have seen you. It is only right that the nation be grateful,” Macron told him.

In a statement the fire department said Gassama embodied the values of the service, adding: “We are ready to welcome him on board!”

*AFP

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DR Congo swipes at Macron after talks with African Union leader
May 29, 2018 | 0 Comments
Macron met Angolan President Joao Lourenco in Paris (AFP Photo/ludovic MARIN)

Macron met Angolan President Joao Lourenco in Paris (AFP Photo/ludovic MARIN)

Kinshasa (AFP) – The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reacted angrily on Monday after French President Emmanuel Macron met the head of the African Union (AU), apparently suspecting closed-door dealings on the crisis-riddled country’s future.

Government spokesman Lambert Mende blasted Macron for “dog-whistle remarks” that he made last Wednesday in Paris after meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who is also the AU’s current chair.

 The comments caused “discomfort, not to say anger” in Kinshasa, Mende told a press conference.

Macron had said, “France supports the initiative taken by the president of the African Union, in strict concertation with the president of Angola,” but did not elaborate. Angola President Joao Lourenco was visiting Paris on Monday.

The verbal broadside from the DRC comes in a context of mounting tensions ahead of presidential elections scheduled for December 23.

Countries in central Africa are casting a worried eye, amid fears that the sprawling, volatile state could spiral once more into war, possibly drawing them into it.

DRC President Joseph Kabila, 46, has been in power since 2001 and should have stepped down at the end of 2016 after he reached his two-term constitutional limit — a constitutional clause has allowed him to remain in office until his successor is elected.

Kabila’s presidency has been stained by a reputation for corruption, oppression of free speech and poor governance. The DRC’s armed forces are struggling to repress conflict in the vast, lawless east, which is under the sway of multiple rebel groups.

Mende said, “We do not accuse the French president of anything. The question is about knowing what may have been said between him — because he spoke about it — and the president of Rwanda concerning the DRC without us knowing about.”

“When the answer comes, if it is unsatisfactory, you can be sure that we will draw all the consequences,” Mende said.

“No-one has the right to envisage solutions to our problems without us,” he said, condemning “people who are nostalgic for the colonial order” and “closed-door meetings and open plotting against our country’s sovereignty.”

The representatives of France, Rwanda and Angola were called to the foreign ministry in Kinshasa on Saturday after Macron’s remarks.

Previous conflicts in the DRC — from 1996-97 and from 1998-2003 — sucked in countries around central Africa, including its neighbours, Angola and Rwanda.

Mende on Monday did not address speculation about whether Kabila would run again in the elections, which are at the legislative and local level as well as presidential.

But he made it clear Kabila planned to remain a key figure in national politics through his role as party chief.

Kabila “is head of the presidential majority,” Mende said, referring to the majority of pro-Kabila MPs in parliament.

“When we hold the elections, he will be the head of the presidential majority. And since we intend to win, Kabila will be the head of the presidential majority after the elections,” he said. “There’s nothing unconstitutional about this.”

*AFP

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A Focus on Trade As Washington Fetes AU At 55
May 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

 

Ambassador Sullivan representing the State Department joins African Ambassadors for a group picture .Pic credit Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica

Ambassador Sullivan representing the State Department joins African Ambassadors for a group picture .Pic credit Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica

The creation and the implementation of the continental free trade zone represents a significant milestone for Africa as the continent seeks more control over its economic fortunes, says Donald Kaberuka, former President of the African development Bank.

Speaking at the African day celebration in Washington, DC recently, Kaberuka said trade was one of the sure paths to economic transformation, and development across the continent. While acknowledging that there will be challenges in full implementation, Dr Kaberuka opined that with the collective security, political development, and the myriad of other benefits that it brings, the African Continental Free Trade Zone will be a game changer for Africa. Dr Kaberuka expressed the confidence that even skeptical countries who have not signed the agreement will eventually sign up to it.

Dr Kaberuka lauded the efforts of the African Union to fund itself, and the formation of the African volunteer corps as additional signs of things shaking up in the continent. That Africa was able to deploy its own Doctors and Nurses during the last Ebola outbreak speaks volumes, Dr Kaberuka went on in striking an optimistic note on the future of the continent.

The U.S has a history of bi-partisan support for Africa said Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department. Ambassador Sullivan lauded bonds of cooperation between the USA, and Africa in counter terrorism, trade, and investment. The U.S welcomes the Trade Agreements in Africa Sullivan said, while urging African countries to sustain investment in its youth and do more in the fight against corruption.

It remains the commitment of Mayor Bowser to make Washington, DC a home away from home to Africans said Mamadou Samba, the Director of the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs. In addition to sharing resources and opportunities with the African immigrant community, Samba cited the African heritage month, and the Mandela day to support the recognition that Washington has for the contribution of Africa to its growth.

With Ambassador Etoundi Essomba of Cameroon  and Central Africa’s Charge d’Affaires  Lydie Flore Magba as co –chairs, a number of African Embassies use the event their culture and investment opportunities through exhibition booths.   Animation was done by the Daansa troop from Burundi, the Monikan troop from Cameroon, and Comedian Anna Mwalago from Kenya.

Dr Donald Kaberuka second from left, believes with Trade Africa will get it right

Dr Donald Kaberuka second from left, believes with Trade Africa will get it right

Africa day 2018 marked the 55th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity which gave way to the African Union. The event was celebrated under the theme “Continental Free Trade Area: Creating One African Market”. Permanent Representative of the African Union to the USA Arikana Chihombori Quao delivered a message from the AU Chair Moussa Faki. Sponsors included Chevron, Noble Energy, Kosmos Energy, Ethiopian Airlines and Sahouri.

On Wednesday, March 21, 44 African countries signed the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) in Kigali, Rwanda, during the 10th extraordinary session of the African Union summit, concluding 3 years of continent-wide negotiations, bringing together 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $2 trillion.

While a number of countries including power house Nigeria have not signed the Agreement, most of the Ambassadors and Africans who attended the event believe that the CFTA could accelerate the integration and development process of the continent.

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Ecobank named Africa’s Best & Most Innovative Retail Bank
May 29, 2018 | 0 Comments
The ever improving feature set of the truly revolutionary Ecobank Mobile App, which has now been downloaded by more than 5 million people, took the prize for Innovation in Banking
 LOME, Togo, May 28, 2018/ — Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com) has won two major awards at the African Banker’s prestigious ceremony held at the Paradise Hotel in Busan, South Korea. The bank was named Best Retail Bank in Africa after impressing judges with the strides it has made to leverage digital financial services and an enhanced service model, to be the retail bank of choice.

The ever improving feature set of the truly revolutionary Ecobank Mobile App, which has now been downloaded by more than 5 million people, took the prize for Innovation in Banking, thanks to the way it has redefined borderless and inclusive banking, along with several other transformative innovations designed to deliver financial services to all.

Commenting on the double award win, Omar Ben Yedder, Publisher of African Banker said: “Ecobank has had a game changing year in so many ways and their approach to embracing technology and putting it at the centre of their growth strategy has obviously paid dividends.”

Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO of Ecobank said: “It gives all of us at Ecobank great pride to be recognised as not only the Best Retail Bank in Africa, but also the Most Innovative. This is further proof that we are on the right track in our quest to be the bank of choice for middle Africa. We will continue to ensure that we are at the forefront of harnessing state-of-the-art technology to provide our customers with accessible and affordable banking services.”

Ecobank is committed to providing the range of financial products and services that meet the day-to-day banking, transactional and investment needs of all Africans. Ecobank enjoyed a 40% increase in customer numbers during 2017 and the bank aims to serve 100 million customers by the end of 2020.

The Ecobank Mobile App aims to deliver real convenience to customers and with its removal of barriers to entry, at affordable price points, is an integral part of Ecobank’s strategy. It is the first unified banking application across 33 countries and enables customers to do their banking activities where and when they want, 24/7 and 365 days a year, conveniently on their mobile phones. It allows transactions in 18 different currencies and in four languages (English, French, Portuguese and Spanish).

The app includes the multi-featured digital payment solution, Ecobank Pay, which enables customers of any bank to pay for goods or services. It unifies all of Ecobank’s digital payment offerings for internet payments, paying bills and airtime top-ups by mobile.

Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive, Consumer Banking said: “Ecobank represents more possibilities for every African. Our Ecobank Mobile App, Xpress Account, Ecobank Pay, Xpress Points and Rapidtransfer are fast becoming top-of- mind consumer banking brands that represent convenience, affordability and instant fulfillment to our customers across Africa and in the diaspora.”

Incorporated in Lomé, Togo in 1988, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs 15,930 people in 40 different countries in over 940 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organisations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals. Additional information on Ecobank can be found at www.Ecobank.com.

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Brand Africa 100: DANGOTE and MTN are The Most Admired African Brands.
May 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

NIKE is The Most Admired Brand in Africa.   

Highlights – Most Admired Brands in Africa:

  • Over 15,500 brand mentions and 2,200 individual brands in the survey
  • Nike rises one spot to the #1 most admired brand in Africa.
  • African brands up one spot to take 17% (17/100) (+1) share of the Top 100 brands in Africa.
  • Europe leads the table with 40/100 (-2). North America with 24/100 (- 2) and Asia with 19/100 (+2)
  • Ralph Lauren (+48), Versace (+41) and Reebok (+43) made the most gains.
  • Ford (-39),), Etisalat (-31) and Sprite (-38) lost the most ground.
  • Zimbabwe’s Econet (#40) made most spectacular entry into the Top 100.
  • Technology and Electronic brands (29%), consumer (non-cyclical) (19%), apparel (15%), automobile (8%), food (7%) and sports & fitness (5%) categories are the top categories.
  • Non-African brands are #1 in 17/23 countries, led by Samsung (8/23), Nike (6/23), Coke (2/23) and Gucci (1/23).
  • African brands are #1 in 6/23 countries, led by MTN (2/23), Econet (1/23), Trade Kings (1/23) and Azam (1/23).
  • Highlights – Most Admired African Brands:
  • Dangote is the #1 most admired African brand recalled when consumers are prompted about the continent of origin.
  • MTN retains position as the #1 Most Admired African brand spontaneously recalled irrespective of country of origin.
  • West Africa (9) with Nigerian brands (4) leads the table, Southern Africa (7) leads with South African brands (5), East Africa (5) leads with Kenya (3) and North Africa (1) leads with Morocco (1) among brands recalled when prompted on continent of origin.
  • Southern Africa (9) leads with South Africa (5), West Africa (9) leads with Nigeria (4), and East Africa (5) leads with Kenya (3) and North Africa (1) with Morocco (1) among brands recalled when prompted on continent of origin.
    • West Africa (6) with Nigeria (6) leads the table, Southern Africa (6) leads with South Africa (4) and East Africa (5) leads with Kenya (3) among brands recalled spontaneously.
    JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, May 25th, 2018,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Brand Africa in association with the JSE, today announced the Top 100 best brands in Africa on their 6th annual Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands at the JSE in Johannesburg.
    Thebe Ikalafeng Founder and Chairman of Brand Africa with representatives of Dangote (Most Admired African Brand), Nike (most Admired Brand in Africa), MTN (most Admired African Brand)

    Thebe Ikalafeng Founder and Chairman of Brand Africa with representatives of Dangote (Most Admired African Brand), Nike (most Admired Brand in Africa), MTN (most Admired African Brand)

    The US sports and fitness brand, Nike, is the overall #1 brand in Africa spontaneously recalled by consumers. South African tele-communications brand MTN is the #1 African brand spontaneously recalled irrespective of continent of origin, while Nigerian industrial brand Dangote is the #1 African recalled when consumers are prompted about the continent (Africa) of origin.

    The Brand Africa 100 ranking is based on a survey among consumers 18 years and older, conducted in 23 countries across Africa. The countries, representing all African economic regions, collectively account for 75% of the population and the 74% of the GDP of Africa.
    African brands rose slightly to account for 17% of the Top 100 brands in Africa, non-African brands retained their firm position in Africa with 83% share of the Top 100 most admired brands in Africa. Europe leads the table with 40/100 (-2), North America at 24/100 (- 2) and Asia 19/100 (+2). West Africa (6) with only Nigerian brands (6) and Southern Africa (6) with South African brands (5) lead the table, East Africa (5) leads with Kenya (2) among brands recalled spontaneously.
    The Top 100 is dominated by technology and electronic brands (29%), consumer (non-cyclical) (19%), apparel (15%), automobile (8%), food (7%) and sports & fitness (5%) categories are the top categories.
    Overall, the 2017/18 Brand Africa 100 list, which started out with over 15,500 brand mentions covering over 2,200 admired brands, illustrates a very diversified portfolio of categories and brands in Africa. There is an incredible year-on-year consistency, with 60% of the Top 10 brands common among the Top 10 Most Admired African Brands and Most Admired Brands in Africa, led by Nigeria’s Dangote and Glo, South Africa’s MTN and Shoprite, Kenya’s Tusker and Ethiopia’s Anbessa. Out of the 16 African brands in Top 100 in 2016/17, 6 exited and 7 entered the Top 100 in 2017/18.
    The major change on the list is the status of the Safaricom/Mpesa brand. Because Vodacom/Vodafone recently became majority owner of the business, in the 2017/18 tables the Safaricom/Mpesa brand was consolidated into the Vodacom/Vodafone brand. Singled out, the Safaricom/Mpesa brand ranked 27, higher than the Vodacom/Vodafone brand, which is at #31. Collectively, the Vodacom/Vodafone/Safaricom brand is now at #17. But Safaricom/Mpesa remains a highly recalled ‘African’ brand among Financial Services and the Most Admired Brands in Africa. Zimbabwe’s Econet made the most spectacular first time entry into the Top 100 at #40. After a long stay on the list despite its innumerable challenges, BlackBerry finally fell off the list as the brand exited the consumer markets. On the other hand, Etisalat, which dropped 31 spots remains on the list of the Top 100 despite exiting Africa in 2017.
    The highest gains are dominated by apparel and lifestyle sport brands Ralph Lauren (+48), Versace (+41) and a resurgent Reebok (+43). The sports category, led by Nike (#1), remains a strong performer, due to streategic repositioning or expansion in their positioning towards lifestyle and high profile endorsements and partnerships which have freshened and broadened the brands’ appeal, particularly to youthful and young consumers.
    The biggest faller was Ford, dropping 78% from 50 to 89, possibly due to their much publicized safety issues and recall of the Kuga and Focus brands. Sprite also lost some fizz, dropping 38 spots and Etisalat dropped 31 positions.
    In a country-by-country analysis, non-African brands are #1 in 17/23 countries, led by Samsung (8/23), Nike (6/23), Coke (2/23), Gucci (1/23). African brands are #1 in 6/23 countries, led by MTN (2/23), Econet (1/23), Trade Kings (1/23) and Azam (1/23).
    Because of their transformational impact in Africa, Brand Africa also includes a focused prompted media and financial services sub-survey.
    In the media sub-survey, DStv (incorporating GoTV, Multichoice and Supersport) is the lone pan-African media brand within the Top 10 media list. The media list is led by BBC, which has an extensive history and coverage of Africa through its BBC Worldservice radio and specific African programming. The media list is dominated by America (40%), Europe (30%) and Asia (20%). A deeper analysis of the media category shows high levels of fragmentation, with many local and regional players – thus in general only global players with extensive African reach and resources dominate the top of the list.
    In the financial services sector, 60% of the Most Admired Brands are made in Africa. GTB retains its #1 position as the Most Admired Financial Services Brand, and Safaricom Mpesa retains its pole position among mobile money brands. Mobile money brands, Safaricom Mpesa (#9), Airtel Money (#21), PayPal (#24) and Orange Money (#25)’s presence underscore the impact of not only Mpesa as the catalyst, but mobile as a key enabler for financial access. Nigeria (6), South Africa (5) and Kenya (3) lead the finance brand tables in a continent that’s cash rather credit led.
    “African brands have an important role in helping to build the African brand,” says Thebe Ikalafeng, Founder and Chairman of Brand Africa and Brand Leadership. These rankings are an important metric of the progress Africa is making in creating home-grown world-class brands that are changing the narrative on African competiveness, image and reputation and contributing to its socio-economic transformation.”
    Brand Africa 100 was developed by pan-African branding and reputation advisory firm, Brand Leadership Group supported by GeoPoll, the leader in mobile-based market research throughout Africa, and strategic analysis and insights by Kantar TNS, the world’s largest information research firm and Brand Leadership, Africa’s premier brand and reputation consultancy.
    GeoPoll used their sophisticated mobile survey platform to identify the most admired brands in Africa among a representative sample of African consumers in 23 African countries. These countries collectively represent an estimated 75% of Africa’s population across all political and economic regions.
    “GeoPoll’s multi-modal survey platform and panel of respondents across Africa allowed us to quickly reach a large sample of respondents in multiple countries, providing brands with valuable data on their standing in the continent that they can utilize to track brand health over time” said Nick Becker, CEO, GeoPoll.
     “‘Success for brands is about establishing an emotional connection, creating intimacy and being more present in consumers everyday lives. This survey is a critical assessment of the various brands that play that vital role in Africa,” says Karin Du Chenne – CEO, Kantar.
    “The JSE is a platform of African and global companies alike to raise capital and grow their businesses and brands. It is our continuous aim that as an exchange we continue to provide a platform for growth with innovative products to meet the needs of our clients and grow the African continent from strength to strength,” says Zeona Jacobs, Director Marketing and Corporate Affairs at the JSE.
    The Brand Africa 100 results will be published in African Business on sale globally from 25 May 2017 and online to subscribers on www.africanbusinessmag.com and
    TOP 10 MOST-ADMIRED BRANDS IN AFRICA

BRAND AFRICA

Brand Africa is a non-profit intergenerational movement to inspire a great Africa through creating a positive image of Africa, celebrating its diversity and driving its competitiveness.

Brand Africa mobilises African and diaspora decision makers, thought leaders, influencers and future leaders to engage with, shape and drive an African agenda catalytic for creating an enabling environment for driving Africa’s growth, reputation, competitiveness and unity.

Brand Africa is an independent Non-Profit Organisation registered in the Republic of South Africa (NPC 2013/146300/08) and a signatory to the Independent Code of Governance for Non-Profit Organisations in Africa (www.governance.org.za).

BA 100 PARTNERS

Brand Leadership

Brand Leadership is a pan-African brand development, activation and measurement firm and a strategic partner for global and African decision-makers and brand builders interested in and/or invested in Africa. Established in 2002, Brand Leadership has over the years delivered brand-led solutions that respond to African conditions, needs and ambitions for over 100 African and non-African brands in Africa across diverse industries and markets in the private and public sectors. www.brandleadership.com

GeoPoll

GeoPoll is a leader in providing fast, high quality market research from areas that are difficult to access using traditional methods. Working with clients including global brands, media houses, and international development groups, GeoPoll facilitates projects that measure ROI of TV advertisements, demonstrate demand for new products, and assess food security around the world.

GeoPoll combines a robust mobile surveying platform that has the ability to conduct research via multiple modes with a database of over 240 million respondents in more than 60 countries. Strengths lie in GeoPoll’s ability to target extremely specific populations, deploy surveys in multiple countries, and provide expert guidance on how to collect accurate, reliable data through the mobile phone. www.geopoll.com

Kantar TNS

Kantar TNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long -established expertise and market -leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, Kantar TNS understands individual human behaviour and attitudes across all cultural, economic and political regions of the world. Kantar TNS is part of the Kantar group, one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy groups, with over 25 000 employees across 100 countries encompassing the spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at each and every point of the consumer cycle. www.kantar.com

African Business

African Business is the best-selling pan-African business magazine with an award-winning team widely respected for its editorial excellence. It provides the all-important tools enabling decision makers to maintain a critical edge in a continent that is changing the world. African Business special reports profile a wide range of sectors and industries including transport, energy, mining, construction, aviation and agriculture. www.africanbusinessmagazine.com

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Fairtrade moves the 5th agrofood & plastprintpack West Africa from Accra to Abidjan
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

-Côte d’Ivoire is becoming the bread basket of West Africa

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, May 23, 2018/ — Market update: Good business prospects for the agrofood, plastics and packaging industries in Côte d’Ivoire and West Africa

According to GTAI Germany Trade & Invest of 16 May 2018, Côte d’Ivoire is becoming the bread basket of West Africa . Agriculture and the food industry, especially in Abidjan, have been very dynamic for years, both in production and processing. Further investments will follow. Both sectors also enjoy a prominent regional position as they also supply the other francophone countries of the region, such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, Niger, Togo and Benin.

The increasing demand for food throughout the rather homogenous French-speaking West African market of 110 million inhabitants and the good general economic situation in Côte d’Ivoire continue to offer positive prospects for suppliers of agrofood and plastics, printing and packaging technology.

Reasons enough for fairtrade Messe (www.fairtrade-messe.de) to move the 5th agrofood  & plastprintpack  West Africa from Accra to Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast. The event is due on 20 to 22 November 2018 at the Radisson Blu Hotel Abidjan Airport.

Since 2013, the German trade show specialists fairtrade Messe organize agrofood & plastprintpack West Africa in Accra, Ghana. On the background of favourable economic conditions in Ivory Coast and at the request of exhibitors and associations, the 5th agrofood & plastprintpack West Africa will now for the first time be held in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast.

agrofood   is West Africa’s 5th International Trade Show on Agriculture, Food processing & packaging, Ingredients, Bakery & pastry and Food & Hospitality. plastprintpack   is West Africa’s 5th International Plastics, Printing and Packaging Trade Show.

“In the future, agrofood & plastprintpack West Africa could take place alternately, in the even years in Abidjan, in the odd years in Accra, Ghana”, says Martin März, founder & managing partner at fairtrade. “agrofood West Africa covers the entire value chain – from field to fork with the three dedicated events agro & AgroTech West Africa, food + bev tec West Africa and food + hospitality West Africa. The partner event plastprintpack West Africa covers all relevant industries in the plastics, printing and packaging sector.”

Strong international support

agrofood & plastprintpack 2018 enjoys the support of the following international institutions:

• France – adepta French agrofood association & French Embassy Côte d’Ivoire

• Germany – German Embassy Abidjan

• Italy – Italian Embassy Côte d’Ivoire • Netherlands – Agricultural Counselor for West Africa with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

• Turkey – Ministry of Economy

France, the Netherlands and Turkey have already decided to be present at agrofood & plastprintpack West Africa 2018 with official national pavilions.

agro & AgroTech West Africa 2018: New strategic partnership between fairtrade and DLG

DLG German Agricultural Society enters into strategic partnership with fairtrade   and brings in its agro and trade fair expertise by introducing its AgroTech brand to agro West Africa 2018 and onwards. The focus of the cooperation lies on agricultural technology, animal production, flori- and horticulture and hot-house technology.

Fact finding mission and symposium by VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery

Germany’s VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery   organizes a fact-finding mission to Abidjan in the area of packaging and recycling with 5-10 plastic and rubber machine manufacturers.  Within the framework of plastprintpack West Africa 2018, a symposium will then be held so that German machine manufacturers can present their companies and get an overview of the trade fair and the Ivorian market. In addition, there will also be company visits to local processors.

Market update Ivory Coast and West Africa: Good business prospects for the agrofood, plastics and packaging industries

The French-speaking West Africa is a rather homogenous market of about 110 million inhabitants, which is growing by more than 3 million people every year. With the exception of Guinea, all countries use the franc CFA franc, which is linked to the euro. The currency facilitates not only the overseas export of machinery from Europe and Asia to Abidjan, but also the export of food within the French-speaking countries of West Africa.

According to VDMA, the German Engineering Federation, West Africa imported 187.2 million euros of agricultural equipment .The main markets in West Africa, apart from Nigeria, are Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Benin, by order of importance.

In the same year, West Africa imported food processing and packaging technology at a value of EUR 557 million  , a plus of 10% compared to 2015. The Top 3 major West African markets and their share, apart from Nigeria, are Ghana (23%), Ivory Coast (21%) and Senegal (20%).

Also the plastprintpack  sector provides great chances for doing business as West Africa imported plastics technology at a value of EUR 143 million in 2016. The major West African market, apart from Nigeria, being Ivory Coast with 34%, followed by Ghana and Senegal.

And West African imports of printing and paper technology amounted to EUR 122 million in 2016. Ivory Coast, apart from Nigeria, ranks first with 33%, followed by Ghana and Guinea.  Last but not least West Africa imported packaging technology at a value of EUR 240 million in 2016. Here again its major market, apart from Nigeria, is Ivory Coast with 30%.

West African food imports increased by 6% to 14.43 billion USD  in 2015 according to WTO whereas West African food exports rose by 9% to 15.99 billion USD.

fairtrade (www.fairtrade-messe.de) was founded by Martin März in 1991. Since long, fairtrade ranks among the leading organisers of professional international trade fairs in emerging markets, especially in North and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Managed by its shareholder and his son Paul März and committed to the values of a family business and the team spirit, fairtrade maintains a powerful network of partnerships throughout the world. fairtrade organizes shows in the sectors Agrofood, Building, CIT Solutions, Energy, Environment, Industry and PlastPrintPack and strives for a high level of customer satisfaction. By means of innovative products and excellent service fairtrade organizes professional platforms for valuable business contacts between exhibitors and visitors. fairtrade is a member of UFI The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry and AAXO The Association of African Exhibition Organisers. Our management is ISO 9001:2015 certified.

 

2A CONSULTING (www.2AConsulting-CI.com) is a communication consulting agency specialized in events, approved by the Higher Advertising Council (CSP).  It is one of the best event agencies in Côte d’Ivoire, given the quality of its work and experience. 2A CONSULTING has expanded its activities by creating 2A Éditions, a structure specialized in publishing and advertising management, which produces ESPRIT, the first Ivorian Mind Style magazine. 2A Consulting is composed of about fifteen young and dynamic people with between 5 and 15 years of experience in communication and marketing in agencies or with advertisers.

 

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Guinea’s Conde reshuffles government as political tensions rise
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

President Alpha Conde replaces three out of 33 ministers as he faces strikes in the mining sector and civil unrest.

 
Guinea's President Alpha Conde may be seeking to modify the constitution ahead of a 2020 election [Julie Jacobson/AP]

Guinea’s President Alpha Conde may be seeking to modify the constitution ahead of a 2020 election [Julie Jacobson/AP]

Guinea’s President Alpha Conde launched a reshuffle of his government – appointing new finance, budget and security ministers – as the West African country’s leader faces civil unrest and strikes in the crucial mining sector.

No official reason was given for the sweeping changes announced by state TV on Sunday. The moves followed the appointment last week of a new Prime Minister, Ibrahima Kassory Fofana.

The changes came amid heightened political tensions and speculation Conde may be seeking to modify the constitution ahead of a 2020 election.

In the reshuffle, Conde replaced 13 out of 33 ministers in his government. Finance Minister Maladho Kaba was sacked and replaced by Mamady Camara, Guinea’s former ambassador to South Africa. Her deputy, Budget Minister Mohamed Lamine Doumbouya, was supplanted by former central bank official Ismael Dioubate.

Security Minister Abdoul Kabele Camara, in place since Conde’s election victory in 2010, was replaced by Alpha Ibrahima Keira, a loyalist from the regime of former ruler Lansana Conte, who died in 2008.

Civil unrest

Guinea is Africa’s top producer of bauxite, the ore of aluminium, and Conde’s government has faced repeated strikes by mine workers, as well as teachers, and has seen civil unrest over local elections.

It also suffered embarrassment over allegations by French authorities that billionaire tycoon Vincent Bollore’s conglomerate backed Conde’s election campaign in exchange for a port concession. Both Bollore and Conde deny any wrongdoing.

As well as bauxite, Guinea has some of the world’s largest deposits of iron ore, but decades of mining have failed to lift most Guineans out of poverty.

About 10 people were killed in February and March when riots erupted in the capital, Conakry, and other cities following local elections, which the opposition said were marred by fraud.

Conde’s opponents also fear he seeks to modify the constitution to stand for a third term in 2020, which is currently prohibited. Conde has not yet commented on his intentions, but the speculation has had a destabilising effect.

 *Al Jazeera
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Ethiopian Marks African Aviation History with 100th Aircraft in Active Service
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

Ethiopian Airlines, the largest Aviation Group in Africa and SKYTRAX certified Four Star Global Airline, is pleased to announce that it will take delivery on 5 June 2018 of its 100th aircraft, a Boeing 787-900, the 1st for an African airline to operate 100 aircraft fleet in the history of the continent, thus maintaining its pioneering aviation technology leadership role and ascertaining its leadership position in all aspects of Aviation Services in the continent.

On the planned delivery of the 100th aircraft, Ethiopian Group CEO, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam said: “It is an immense honor for all of us at Ethiopian to reach the milestone of 100 aircraft. This milestone is a continuation of our historical aviation leadership role in Africa and a testimony of the successful implementation of our fast, profitable and sustainable growth plan, Vision 2025.

Ethiopian was the first to avail jet service in the continent back in 1962, and operated the first African B767 in 1984, the first African B777-200LR in 2010, the first African B787-800 Dreamliner and B777-200 freighter in 2012 and the first African A350 in 2016 and the first African B787-9 aircraft in 2017.

Ethiopian now operates one of the youngest and most modern 100 aircraft, with an average age of less than 5 years. Fleet modernization and expansion is one of the four critical pillars of our Vision 2025 strategic roadmap, in support of our fast expanding network, which has now reached over 110 international destinations covering 5 continents.

Our new and cutting-edge fleet composed of B787s and A350s offer unparalleled on-board comfort to our customers and offer the best possible connections when traveling within Africa and between the continent and the rest of the world.

This 100 fleet milestone, which we have achieved ahead of our Vision 2025 targets, compels us to revise our plans with a view to phase in more aircraft and further expand our network so as to meet the growing travel needs of our continent and support its economic development and integration by facilitating the flow of investment, trade and tourism. We will continue to connect more and more Africans with their fellow citizens of the continent and with their brothers and sisters in the rest of the world to make life better every single day”

Ethiopian operates a mix of state-of-the-art aircraft with an average fleet age of five years. The Airline has 5 more Boeing 787-900 and 16 Airbus A350 airplanes on order, among others. Ethiopian was the first African Airline and second only to Japan to operate the B787 Dreamliner in 2012 and the first carrier in Africa to usher with  the Airbus A350 XWB in 2016.

About Ethiopian

Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) is the fastest growing Airline in Africa. In its seventy plus years of operation, Ethiopian has become one of the continent’s leading carriers, unrivaled in efficiency and operational success.

Ethiopian commands the lion’s share of the pan-African passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to more than 110 international passenger and cargo destinations across five continents. Ethiopian fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as Airbus A350, Boeing 787-8, Boeing 787-9, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200 Freighter, Bombardier Q-400 double cabin with an average fleet age of five years. In fact, Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to own and operate these aircraft.

Ethiopian is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 that will see it become the leading aviation group in Africa with seven business centers: Ethiopian International Services; Ethiopian Express Services; Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics center; Ethiopian MRO Services; Ethiopian Aviation Academy; ET In-flight Catering; Ethiopian Ground Services, Ethiopian Airports Services  and Ethiopian Skylight Hotel. Ethiopian is a multi-award winning airline registering an average growth of 25% in the past seven years.

 

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Anti-corruption group says Nigeria expanding use of opaque $670 million ‘slush fund’
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments
President Buhari

President Buhari

ABUJA (Reuters) – Anti-corruption group Transparency International said on Monday Nigeria’s government has in the run-up to elections expanded the use of opaque $670 million-a-year funds that fuel graft.

The funds, known as “security votes”, are a relic of military rule, mainly disbursed in hard cash and nominally released for dealing with unexpected security issues.

They come from both federal and state governments, although the vast majority is disbursed under the latter.

According to Transparency International’s report on Monday they have become “synonymous with official corruption and abuse of power”.

The watchdog’s report comes as President Muhammadu Buhari is gearing up to run for a second term in February 2019.

A Nigerian presidency spokesman did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment about the report.

Buhari has built his administration’s policy on the twin pillars of tackling Nigeria’s endemic corruption and restoring stability to the highly insecure country. Hundreds have died this year in communal unrest in the hinterlands and the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency in the northeast.

A number of former government officials have faced criminal charges related to alleged corruption since Buhari came to power. The opposition People’s Democratic Party, in power for 16 years prior to Buhari taking office in 2015, has accused the president of focusing on its members.

“The security vote is one of the most durable forms of corruption operating in Nigeria today,” said Katherine Dixon, Transparency International’s director for defense and security, in a statement.

“Yet instead of addressing its many urgent threats, the ever-increasing use of security votes is providing corrupt officials with an easy-to-use and entirely hidden slush fund.”

The group said the spending “is not subject to legislative oversight or independent audit because of its ostensibly sensitive nature”, adding that the funds are channeled into political activities such as election campaigns or embezzled outright.

It said federal-level total spending on items identified as security votes increased by 43 percent in 2018’s budget from 2017 and included payments to a university, a museum commission and a dental technology school.

Reuters checked some of the figures included in Transparency International’s report against a draft version of the 2018 budget, which has not yet been signed into law, and confirmed payments to those recipients were planned and identified as security votes.

Most of the estimated $670 million of security votes is disbursed by state governments, with federal spending making up only $51 million, Transparency International said. State government changes in disbursement varied, according to the report’s data.

Additionally, the largest security votes each year go to security agencies, and such spending under Buhari is less than under his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, the report acknowledged.

“Today, security votes are budgetary black boxes that are ripe for abuse by politicians seeking reelection or officials looking to run for political office,” Transparency International said.

*Source Reuters.(Reporting by Paul Carsten; Editing by Alison Williams)

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Rapper Falz’s ‘This is Nigeria’ video holds up a mirror for the country
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments
Rapper Falz released a Nigerian cover version of Childish Gambino's 'This is America,' using it as means to address societal ills.

Rapper Falz released a Nigerian cover version of Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America,’ using it as means to address societal ills.

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)One of Nigeria’s biggest music stars, Falz, released a video this weekend as a cover version of Childish Gambino’s viral video, ‘This is America.’

The new version is titled ‘This is Nigeria,’ and it has generated a storm online, including a reaction from hip-hop musician and entrepreneur Diddy, who shared it on his Instagram page, propelling the video to worldwide recognition.
Falz, (real name Folarin Falana) has gained plaudits for tackling social ills in a country where pop stars rarely get political. Musicians tend to avoid political commentary, partly due to an ingrained fear of persecution from the powerful political class.

Revolutionary spirit

Falz’s ‘This is Nigeria,’ embodies the revolutionary and rebel spirit of Fela Anikulapo Kuti before him. Fela Kuti, the pioneer of the Afrobeat genre, was famous for his political activism during the country’s era of military dictatorships.
From his records ‘International Thief Thief’ (ITT) to ‘Zombie,’ Kuti exhibited a bold defiance against the Nigerian government and other corrupt officials of his time. Fela was a raging supporter of human rights, and his records, – often filled with verbal attacks – were against Nigeria’s military government in the 70’s.
It came at a great personal cost to him; he was frequently imprisoned and his mother was thrown off a balcony by an unknown Nigerian soldier during a raid.
After the passing of Fela, his sons Femi and Seun Kuti have carried on some of his activism in their individual music careers, but Afrobeat, as a genre of music has largely become niche.
Falz is known globally for his comedy-flavored hip hop hits but could he take on the political music mantle and fill the gap left by Fela?
The singer has a law degree and is the son of prominent Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana, so this suggestion is not as far-fetched as it sounds.
It is also not the first time that the rapper has included social commentary in his music with previous hits ‘Confirm’ and ‘Child of the World,’ so it would appear that the apple does not fall far from the tree, as the saying goes.

Complacent slumber

While the concept for the ‘This is Nigeria,’ video isn’t original, what Falz did was internalize the message, pass it through his own artistic filter and bring it home to Nigeria to highlight the country’s numerous social ills.
Almost as if to awaken Nigerians from their complacent slumber of acceptance.
“The primary motivation was to trigger an awakening among the Nigerian people about the numerous political and social ills that we constantly face as a country. And more importantly to spark a reaction in the positive direction,” says Falz via email.
With the help of stuntmen and extras, Falz walks us step by step through Nigeria’s major problems, central to this is what many perceive to be inefficient leadership by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Many believe he has failed to deliver on its promises of improving Nigerian lives and fixing the economy. which slid into a recession two years ago and is slowly starting to emerge out of it.
Nigeria is awash with petrodollars but much of this money does not trickle down to the average man and woman on the street. According to the World Poverty Clock, 82 million of the 180 million population (42.4 percent), live in extreme poverty.
Other problems include the country’s opioid crisis, normalization of insecurity such as frequent Boko Haram bombings and kidnapping of schoolgirls such as the Chibok girls.

A national mirror

The first thing you notice when you watch Falz’s ‘This is Nigeria,’ video is the strongest message contained in the video; Nigeria is a lawless country, guided by a constitution that is treated like an honorary document.
That’s why the first man, dressed in traditional Fulani attire would switch from being a happy musician minding his business, to a murderer in an instant. He abandons his Goje (popularly known as the ‘Hausa Guitar) for a machete, and instantly moves towards another helpless citizen who he kills without mercy.
It is this type of imagery that makes the video so powerful.
This is the first time in the recent history of the local pop scene that an artist with the influence and credibility of Falz has released such material.
While many commentators in the local space have been quick to dismiss it on the basis of it being a cover version, it doesn’t take away from the core message; Nigeria is a flawed country, with multi-faceted problems.
Falz captures this using cinematic techniques and concludes, just like the source material, by failing to proffer a solution.
Perhaps that is the point he’s trying to make. It is a national mirror, created to make Nigeria stare at itself and its problems, one more time.
Falz’s ‘This is Nigeria’ video and its impact has generated conversations around the world, and acts as a reminder of the power behind music, and how it can be used more effectively to inspire change.
It shows that contrary to popular opinion among local talents, there is a demand for conscious music.

Capturing their pain

Many musicians should follow his lead, and create art to reflect the times and the pulse of the people. While there are valid opinions against chasing activism as the sole focus of African music, the ability to balance it out, and create conscious music, while also feeding the people’s desire to escape is a crucial skill.

Falz’s video suggests that, as Nigeria moves forward, its musicians have a huge responsibility on their shoulders to create art that amplifies the state of the nation, and ultimately improves the society that nurtured them.

Their music is created for communities that are massively affected by these problems.

Ultimately, it shouldn’t only provide leisurely relief. It should capture their pain too.
*Source CNN
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Egyptian lawyer files €1 billion lawsuit against Ramos over Salah challenge
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Dom Farrell
TOPSHOT - Liverpool's Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah (R) falls with Real Madrid's Spanish defender Sergio Ramos leading to Salah being injured during the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 26, 2018. Picture  credit GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images

TOPSHOT – Liverpool’s Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah (R) falls with Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Sergio Ramos leading to Salah being injured during the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 26, 2018. Picture credit GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images

The Liverpool forward’s injury saga has taken a bizarre twist, with a fellow countryman looking to sue the Real Madrid skipper who sidelined him

 An Egyptian lawyer has launched a €1 billion (£873m/$1.2bn) lawsuit against Sergio Ramos after Liverpool and Egypt star Mohamed Salah was injured in a challenge with the Real Madrid captain during Saturday’s Champions League final.
Salah landed heavily on his left shoulder after grappling with Ramos during the Kiev showpiece and ligament damage around the joint placed his World Cup participation in doubt.

The Premier League Golden Boot winner posted on Twitter on Sunday to say he was “confident” he would be able to represent Hector Cuper’s side at Russia 2018 , but that has done nothing to quell the apparent anger of lawyer Bassem Wahba.

In an appearance on Egyptian television channel Sada El-Balad , Wahba announced he had filed a complaint to FIFA and accused Ramos of a deliberate act and inflicting “physical and psychological harm” upon a nation and its most celebrated footballer.

“Ramos intentionally injured Mo Salah and should be punished about his actions,” he claimed. “I’ve filed a lawsuit and a complaint to FIFA.

“I’ll ask for compensation, which could exceed €1 billion, for the physical and psychological harm that Ramos gave Salah and the Egyptian people.”

In the seemingly unlikely event of winning any compensation, Wahba has pledged to donate to the state’s Long Live Egypt Fund.

On Monday, a petition on the Change.org website asking UEFA and FIFA to take action against Ramos for the challenge on Salah passed 300,000 signatories.

During the match, referee Milorad Mazic did not award a foul for the incident.

 

*Goal

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African parliaments must stand up to defend democracy — Nigeria’s parliamentary Speaker
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

…says performing budget panacea for sustainable democracy

By Olayinka Ajayi

Dogara

Dogara

Nigeria’s Speaker of the House of representatives, Yakubu Dogara has stated that parliaments are the hope of saving the people from dictatorship, even as he called on African countries to invest more in building democracy and it’s institutions.

Speaking during the parliamentary delegation tour from Liberia undertaking a study in Nigeria, Dogara said for democracy to be solid, the institutions must be strong, as  their failure would always be blamed on the parliaments who fail to rise up in their defence.

“Democracy as they say is not something that you gain from the ballot box, as a matter of fact, the ballot box sometimes has produced some enemies of democracy, those who have completely discarded the tenets of democracy”.

“So we have to invest more in building democracy  and democratic institutions. Where Institutions are strong; democracy itself will be made strong. And to be very candid, Parliament are the hope of saving the people from dictatorships. Where democracies fail; it is common place to blame it on Parliament, it becomes the fault of Members of Parliament who are not willing to stand up to principles and be defenders of those democratic Institutions”.

The speaker decried the delicate nature of democratic institutions all over the world ,  advocated for the establishment of a body that will be vested with the responsibility of defending democracy against dictatorship.

“Democracies all over the World are very fragile and that includes even democracies in advanced countries that we regard to have advanced democracies. Even in the United States we are beginning to see that there is the fight to keep the loyalty with the people rather than to any form of democratic malfunction. Even things that we thought were completely impossible to happen in advanced democracies, we are beginning to see them, like breaches. That therefore tells us that we even need to institute a body that may be known as the defenders of democracy, I don’t know how we can go about that, I’m just thinking loudly about some of these issues. But to be candid, even though it is not the best form of government, but this is the best that is known to man. Anybody who doubts this can try dictatorship. Those who have lived in a dictatorship will tell you how bad it is. Where the will of an individual is the Law, as a matter of fact you don’t even need the Parliament, in which case all of us will be jobless as it is just the will of an individual that is the Law. It is the will of the individual that is argued out in the courts.

The Speaker who said a performing budget is also needed to sustain democracy and achieve stability opined that  to win citizens’ confidence, government must deliver to the people’s yearnings and expectations, especially in terms of security and welfare.

” A performing budget is needed to sustain even the very idea of the democracy itself,  because it has to be a government that delivers to the people in terms of expectations, in terms of security and welfare. When you have few people mismanage the resources belonging to Government; the end result will be that the expectations of the people will be cut off: No quality service, welfare and that obviously will result in distress, and we have seen this distress manifest in so many African countries where the entire process of expenditure, transparency and accountability is a bit opaque”.

The Speaker took time to explain to the visiting MPs, the workings of Public Accounts Committee in the country.

” In Nigeria; Public Accounts is a Committee that is headed by a Member of the opposition, we do not give it to a member of the ruling party, obviously the reason is on account of transparency. It deals with the task of over-sighting expenditure, so we can’t have the same members in charge of over-sighting the way expenditures are made. If that were to be the case, you can’t run away from the incidence of conflict of interest. As it is one of the critical requirements and center pillar of our jurisprudence and justice must not only be done, but manifestly seen to be done. So when you have the people of the same political party investigating themselves, no matter how fair-minded they are, there is no way a reasonable person sitting outside there will say they have done justice in that manner. So that is the foundation upon which our Public Accounts Committee operates and in most cases they are in tandem with the Auditor-General of the Federation which we are set to empower and to insulate using the Constitution Amendment exercise which we are currently embarking on”.

Dogara further, highlighted some of the processes followed by the committee to achieve results in its mandate and assignment.

“It encompasses the operation of all agencies, including the National Assembly, and the reports are submitted to the Public Accounts Committee of the House. Once they receive the reports from the Auditor-General; they embark on thorough investigation of the figures, as I said before this is to ensure transparency. I know that it is so in fledgling democracies like ours and that will be the case in your democracy which is much younger than ours, we also need transparency, we need to ensure that we have entrusted resources and allocations with integrity. But where you see that resources are better managed and allocations are fairly done across board; you’ll see that there’ll be some elements of stability in those countries”.

” I once again want to welcome you and charge you that corruption itself is not something that can be totally exterminated. Experience has shown that in even better democracies of more advanced countries so to speak, it is difficult to totally eradicate corruption. But experience has also shown that we can tame it by taking deliberate actions like we are doing now on how to combat it. I believe that as you come across the operatives of the E.F.C.C in Nigeria and indeed the Auditor General and so many other experts who have been lined up to talk to you; you will learn a lot as to how we have attempted, I will say attempted as we are still in the process of dealing with the problem. But you’ll come across challenges and I hope that you will use our own experience to learn, you don’t have to wait to learn by your own experience. You can build on our own experience and examine the pitfalls so that you can build on the strengths and weaknesses of our own Laws, so that you can better build your own Laws that will better serve the interests of the people of Liberia and the wider ECOWAS community. So we are Members of the same community, you are always welcome to Nigeria, our doors as a Parliament are always open to provide assistance and to see that you are up to speed with some of these reforms that we are trying to advance even in Nigeria”.

Earlier, the leader of the delegation and Chairman of Liberian Parliament’s joint Committee on Public Accounts, Expenditure and Audit, Sen. Henry Yallah told the Speaker that they were in Nigeria on a study tour with the aim of building their capacity as a young democracy.

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Life In A War Zone : 30 Days in Ambazonia/Anglophone Cameroon (2)
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

-Far-Near War While Anticipating an Attack on the City

By Solomon Ngu*

If one takes seriously the popular narrative surrounding the marginalization and oppression of the Anglophones, the conclusion would be that those who have taken up arms against the government are fighting a war of decolonization – they want to send away the colonizer. This evokes memories of decolonial wars fought around Africa between the 1950s and 1970s. Just how brutal these wars were is a subject that one cannot deal with in detail here but what we all know is that a certain category of people were fighting for their freedom. This war of liberation – according to the Fighters – is no longer about a return to federalism that the country experienced between 1961 and 1972. They want an independent Ambazonia or Southern Cameroons. Government crack-down, particularly soldiers’ unchallenged killings of unarmed Anglophones within the past twenty months, is fuelling the determination of those Ambazonians who want to get their country back. At the center of all this is the Francophonization of everything in Cameroon.

Anyone familiar with Anglophone Cameroon would attest that people in this part of the country talk about loss of freedom all the time. But the reality is that Cameroon is a police state where human rights violation, usually encapsulated by police brutality, has been normalized. Armed resistance against the government by the Amba Fighters has seen authorities devising many methods to further curtail the freedom of citizens. We witness that the government, fearful of what the Fighter could do, imposes curfews, undertake mass arrests, kidnappings, detentions and killings. It does not take long for anyone familiar with daily life in the Anglophone major cities of Limbe, Buea, Bamenda and Kumba to realize a shift in attitude as well as visceral adjustments to the new realities of urban uncertainty. In Buea where I spent most of my time, all the people I met constantly speculated when the war may reach the city. But at the same time, they went about their daily routine, cautiously.

I quickly adjusted to the new realities partly due to my familiarity with bodily discipline. I have been visiting Cameroon yearly for more than a decade and can thus easily tell what a tensional atmosphere is. Going to the countryside, a practice deeply rooted in my visits to Cameroon, was completely out of the question.  All I could hear was that I would be endangering myself and the family if I dared ventured into the village. In a worst case scenario the fear was that it could become difficult for me to get out of the war zone in time to catch my flight back to USA. A point I made in my earlier post and to which I will return frequently is the ravaging war in the villages where the soldiers, out of desperation to eliminate the Amba Fighters, have resorted to burning down villages. These acts of vandalism also take an opportunistic trajectory as when they set up their command post in one or more of the deserted houses and then feed and feast on the food, cattle, chicken and pigs of the fleeing villagers. There have been reports of soldiers setting these occupied houses on flames when they relocate to another part of a village. Videos and photos of vandalized villages continue to circulate on social media.

Amba Fighters’ guerilla strategy whereby they attack the soldiers and then vanish into the bushes has left a frightened urban population. They fear what the soldiers could do to innocent civilians if the Fighters attack individuals and institutions they see as sustaining the Francophonization of this part of the country. Would they burn down entire neighborhoods and markets, destroy people’s livelihood and kill innocent civilians as they do in the villages? How the city dwellers survive in a war situation is the more troubling considering that unlike villagers who are relatively self-sustaining, these urbanites primarily depend on food imported from neighboring farming villages. It should be reiterated that the war has destabilized the vital rural-urban connection that has sustained sociocultural and economic ties between the city dwellers and their village of origin. Within the past hundred years, villages in Anglophone Cameroon have provided sanctuaries for urbanites who return to their land and ancestors when they encounter difficulties in the city.

As far as I could tell, no one took it lightly when it was rumored that the Amba Fighters were present in Buea. What I witnessed in Buea was that government administrators and the police people generally restrain from their well-known wanton lifestyle. Anyone familiar with urban life in Cameroon knows just well how members of the police force in uniform intimidate and bully ordinary citizens at non-office hours. But here is the thing I observed in Buea: police generally do not wear uniforms at non-office hours. In fact, they take off their uniforms before returning home from work. They do not go to the taverns and bars anymore in their uniforms. The words of one police officer I met in Buea summarize this transformed sartorial practice. Referring to a possibility of an attack by Amba Fighters in Buea, he said ‘who no di fear die (who isn’t afraid of death?)’. He took off his police paraphernalia as soon as he finished work so as to conceal his identity.

Police station in Molyko,Buea, partly surrounded by sandbags

Police station in Molyko,Buea, partly surrounded by sandbags

Police stations and checkpoints now have 1.6 meter tall wall of sandbags that are intended to defend the police in an event of an attack. The biggest surprise – when we see god-like figures responding to insecurity – has been that of the governor of the South West Region. Mr Bernard Okalia Bilai presently lives in the Francophone city of Douala from where he commutes daily to work in Buea flanked by security. Recall that this governor not too long ago said Anglophones are ‘dogs’ that would face the full force of the police if they dare protest on the streets. As it stands now, he has realized his own vulnerability and has come to terms with the fact that he no longer has the monopoly to subject citizens to discomfort.

As I began writing this piece about uncertainty in a war zone, I began to think of acts of profound love and pain that some women endured as the fled from the government forces in the villages. I think of this lady who walked for miles at twilight through the forest with her one and a half years old baby. She was seven months pregnant. There was also this lady who abandoned her ailing and helpless mother for hours when news of approaching government soldiers reached her village. Both these women found a way to flee to Buea but were now facing another possibility of fleeing again into the Francophone zone in case war erupted in Buea.

These feelings of impending war in the city point to the fact that there are diminished possibilities to live life as usual but most importantly, it has to do with the question of mortality. Diminished livelihood possibilities and death are catastrophes that have afflicted villagers ever since the military started invading the countryside in October 2017.  And there seem to be no end in sight. As I write, people are still uncovering  the corpses of unarmed civilians killed by a recent military onslaught in villages around Santa, Menka/Pinyin, Oshei, etc

*This is part of the series Life in a War Zone:30 Days in Ambazonia by  Solomon Ngu

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Prudent management of Africa’s resources will ensure dev’t – Bawumia
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah.

Samira Bawumia

Samira Bawumia

Ghana’s Second Lady, Samira Bawumia, has said Africa’s underdevelopment is largely attributable to lack of prudent management of the continent’s resources.

“We can only have a developed Africa if we manage our resources prudently and in the best interest of our people; “ Mrs Bawumia said, when she delivered a speech at the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry at an event to mark the 55th Anniversary of African Union (AU) Day celebration in Rome.

She asserted that African countries need to translate opportunities offered by globalization into inclusive growth, increased poverty reduction and sustainable development.

However, we need to take account of the fact that, integration into global markets have some risks; as countries may become more susceptible to global trends, including corrupt practices by multinational corporations and other vested external interests.

The theme of the 55th Anniversary of the AU: “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Development”, according to Mrs Bawumia “goes to the crux of our national priorities.

 

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Kwesi Botchwey is a real threat to Mahama – Pollster
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

Papisdaff Abdullah.

Mahama and Botchwey

Mahama and Botchwey

Ghana’s lead pollster Ben Ephson has stated that former Finance Minister Professor Kwesi Botchwey will be a serious threat to former President John Dramani Mahama’s ambition of a comeback if he [Prof. Botchwey] decides to contest the Flagbearership slot of the Ghana’s largest opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Information gathered indicates that the former NDC Secretary is expected to make a strong case for the 2020 presidential slot of the party. This follows pressure from Senior NDC cadres, including party Regional Chairmen and former MPs who support his bid, demanding that he steps forward.

They have confirmed reports that Professor Botchwey is warming up to contest as the flagbearer for the NDC citing his economic prowess and credentials, his cross-sectional appeal and unblemished track record as ‘great assets’ for the party.

Ghana’s second deputy Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin, the former Vice- Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, (UPSA) Joshua Alabi and former National Health Insurance Authority(NHIA) CEO Sylvester Mensah are some of the stalwarts in the NDC who have declared their intention to contest the flagbearership slot of the party.

Former President Mahama last week also stated his intention to lead the party ahead of the 2020 elections after reflecting on several calls on him to contest.

The Editor of the Dispatch newspaper, said Prof. Botchwey poses a real threat to candidature of Mr. Mahama.

“It will be interesting if Kwesi Botchwey contests for the NDC flag bearership…if he (Kwesi Botchwey) gets support from the Mills and Rawlings camp, he will be a strong contender for John Mahama.”

Mr. Ephson said the age of Prof. Botchwey won’t be a hindrance since President Akufo-Addo’s victory has broken that barrier.

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Kenli GVG: Police probes death threats against IMANI Boss
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah.

Franklin Cudjoe

Franklin Cudjoe

The Ghana Police Service has commenced investigations into the alleged death threats on the life of IMANI Africa President, Franklin Cudjoe.

It comes after Mr. Cudjoe lodged an official complaint to the Police on Monday.

The IMANI Africa President received a warning from someone he describes as “highly placed source” within the Interior Minister to be on guard due to his comments on the controversial $89.4million Kelni GVG deal.

The think-tank has constantly questioned the rationale behind the new contract with Kelni GVG, describing it as wasteful and aimed at milking the public purse.

“Indeed, there has been no such report of underperformance by the stakeholders that contracted Subah.

“The issue then is why did the Ministry of Communications go ahead and sign a new contract under the name of a common monitoring platform for a service that is already being rendered under an existing contract by a fellow government agency?” President of IMANI Africa Franklin Cujdoe noted, calling for the immediate cancellation of the contract.

After officially alerting the police to the threat on his life, Mr. Cudjoe said the assurance given him by the police is refreshing.

“This is top-notch right from the regional headquarters, the commander himself with the Chief Crime Officer taking our statement and our details,” he stated.

The police, he said urged him to immediately report to them when he hears or sees anything.

“So there’s a 24 hour open call which I think is useful, he stated, adding: “I think I can safely trust the police on this matter.

Kelni GVG, a Haitian originated company, was awarded a contract by the government for design, development and implementation of a common platform for traffic monitoring, revenue assurance, and mobile money monitoring and fraud management—a service already being rendered by Afriwave and Subah Info Solution.

Although the government insists the deal saves the country $1.1 million a month, Mr Cudjoe wonders why the state has been paying the firm $1.5 million per month since January for “no work done”.

To Mr Cudjoe and Imani, the deal is “needless” and a rip-off.

The Kelni GVG contract upon its signing stipulates that a payment of $1,491,225 be paid monthly for a 5-year period, amounting to a total of USD 89,473,500.

Per the terms of the contract, which was signed in December 2017, the monthly payments are supposed to begin no later than 30 days after the contract was signed.

This, by inference, means that the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Communications owes at least $5.96 million as of May this year even though the company is yet to officially begin work.

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Ghana:Procuring local fabrics to be made compulsory – Alan Kyeremanten
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah.

Kyeremanten

Kyeremanten

Government institutions will soon be compelled to procure fabrics from local textile firms, Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry Alan Kyeremanten has revealed.

The move, according to him, is part of measures rolled out by government to revive the ailing textile industry in Ghana.

“We believe that government will do what it has promised to do…introduce this policy,” he stated last week Thursday when he met players in the industry who have been protesting against the influx of fake textiles onto the Ghanaian market.

“By then we want it to be backed by legislative instrument. So we’ll ensure that we bring out the necessary legislative instrument,” he added.

The textile industry which used to employ about 27.000 workers in the 70’s now employs less 3,000 as a result of the collapse of textile firms.

To clamp down on the influx of the fake textiles on the market, the Ministry of Trade and Industry inaugurated a 12-member vetting committee to facilitate the work of the anti-textile piracy taskforce it constituted earlier this year.

The committee, according to the Deputy Trade Minister, Carlos Ahenkora is critical to the fight against pirated textiles smuggled onto the market.

Meanwhile, the Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Union (TGLEU) is accusing the Trade Minister of hatching a plot to divide the front of textile workers.

Their accusation followed his criticism of them for boycotting the Thursday meeting to announce plans to deal with the influx of pirated wax prints onto the market after protests by its members.

The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) which is the mother union for the staff of two textile companies participated in the said meeting and according to the Trade Minister, TGLEU’s boycott was regrettable despite its members being invited.

But General Secretary of TGLEU Abraham Koomson said the Trade Minister is being economical with the truth.

“TGLEU has been more concerned than any trade union in this country as far as the struggle against pirated textiles is concerned. The establishment of the task force was at the instance of TGLEU. For the Minister out of the blue to arrange that meeting without even informing us that it was not an ordinary meeting but a joint press conference we saw that we were going to be ambushed to be committed to a position which will not be good for the industry,” he said.

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Attorney General clears Mahama’s AMERI deal, cautions Energy Minister against termination.
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah.

Gloria Akuffo

Gloria Akuffo

Ghana’s Attorney General and Minister for Justice Gloria Akuffo has warned the Energy Ministry to dismiss plans of terminating the AMERI deal because it will end up in huge damages against the Government of Ghana.

The erstwhile Mahama administration signed a $510 million contract with AMERI to build power plants, own and operate it for five years before transferring it to the Government of Ghana during the energy crisis in 2015.

This was done on a sole-sourced basis after a meeting between the former President of the Republic of Ghana and the Crown Prince of Dubai.

The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) then in opposition described the agreement as a “stinking deal” which will be re-looked at when it assumes power. A 17-member committee established by the Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko advised the government to re-negotiate the $510m power deal with UAE-based AMERI energy after a report revealed it was over-priced by $150million.

In responding to two letters from the Energy Minister requesting for legal advice to suspend monthly payment to AMERI, the attorney general kicked against the move because “the deal is valid” and satisfies Ghana’s procurement processes.

In her response, Ms. Akuffo noted the Government of Ghana “entered into a very unfavourable agreement with AMERI”, adding the only way out is for the government to “renegotiate the deal with AMERI with a view to achieving a more favourable term.”

The letter sighted by panafricanvisions.com said in part that: “For the GoG to extricate itself from the highly unfavourable BOOT agreement without paying damages and or penalties to AMERI, there is a need to demonstrate that the agreement was procured by illegal means either through fraud or corruption or in breach of the PPA: however, for GoG to make such claims it is imperative to gather sufficient relevant evidence to establish whether or not the BOOT agreement is tainted by fraud or corruption.”

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Ghana Card issuance hits another snag, NIA silent
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

Papisdaff Abdullah.

Prof Ken Attafuah

Prof Ken Attafuah

Hundreds of officers who gathered at selected centers to get their National ID Card also known as the Ghana Card were left stranded and disappointed after officials of the National Identification Authority failed to turn up and get them registered.

The exercise was scheduled to kick off at 7:00am at some key state agencies and institutions including the Jubilee House, Parliament, Judicial Service and the various security installations.

Officers who had massed up had to disperse and return to their base as officials of NIA failed to show up for the much touted project to take off.

No official explanation has been given for the failure to kick start the project today but some NIA officials cited technical reasons for the delay.

The government of Ghana is contributing $531 million of the total $1.2 billion cost, while Identity Management System (IMS), which is partnering the NIA under a public/private partnership (PPP) agreement, will provide $678 million for the exercise.

The issuance of a National Identification ID card is among the few key projects the government promised to execute to formalize the country’s economy.

Many Ghanaians have already expressed regret over the seeming delays in the issuance of the cards after more than three previous deadlines set by the government to execute it, was not met.

Chief Executive Officer of the Authority, Prof. Kenneth Attafuah had stated that all the necessary documentation and legal framework for the registration and issuance of the Ghana Card had been set up to kick-start the process.

He stated that key individuals such as the country’s former Presidents Kufuor, Mahama and Rawlings, Members of the Ghana Journalists Association, among others, were supposed to be issued with the cards first before registration opens for the general public.

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ICT University graduates more than over 1000 in Uganda
May 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

By DICTA ASIIMWE

There was an ever present message of the changing times in academics and the global working order, as 1,421 students were awarded degrees, diplomas and certificates from ICT University in collaboration with Makerere University Business School (MUBS).

On May 25, students from across Africa were awarded different certificates, with some completing a doctor of philosophy. Other graduands were awarded masters, bachelors, diplomas and certificates at the MUBS main campus in Kampala Uganda.

 Uganda and in particular Makerere University and its colleges are attractive to many students from across the African continents. It is this understanding that saw the proprietors of ICT University sign a memorandum of understanding with MUBS. And this decision is paying off, as those graduating came from Nigeria, Uganda and other countries in between.

The day, however, wasn’t just about merrymaking and enjoying one’s academic achievements, as speaker after speaker focused little on the congratulatory messages, with most choosing instead, to talk about the realty of joining the job market in an age when humans are now competing with artificially intelligent machines.

Jointly organised by two universities that are generally businesses oriented, the merrymaking didn’t stop the speakers from delving into the serious conversation of becoming gainfully employed when you are an African youth. So even in the face of celebration, cultural dances and the promise of celebratory meals, the graduands, especially those that were receiving their first degree were reminded that this was the beginning. This was the time when the graduands could start the process of making a difference through a lot of discipline, sacrifice and hard work.

Patrick Mweheire the Stanbic Bank Chief Executive Officer who gave the commencement speech warned the graduands that even jobs like accounting which used to be considered prestigious and hard to get have since been automated.

It was a festive air at the graduation

It was a festive air at the graduation

Faced with this challenge, Mr Mweheire advised the graduands to compliment the hardcore knowledge acquired from university with soft skills.

“Hardcore skills contribute 15 per cent to success. Soft skills contribute 85 per cent. So you have to make a conscience effort to continuously develop soft skills,” he says.

He says that since soft skills are not learnt from school, require constant learning. Such skills include the ability to deal with people and motivate others. He also says that someone with the right kind of soft skills has to have the ability to solve problems under pressure.

The soft skills he says will come in handy for looking for employment, as that’s how people with the same education on paper are differentiated. For those who want to start businesses, he says convincing someone to believe in an idea that doesn’t exist yet, isn’t something that can be learnt in school.  The fact that millennials stay longer with company if, the business’ goals are aligned with personal ones means that even holding onto employees can be for an executive that lacks soft skills.

Dr Ezra Suruma the Makerere University Chancellor added that having graduated through an education system that largely examines the ability to cram and memorize facts and figures; the graduands had to reinvent themselves. The skill of cramming and reducing information is a skill that no longer has much value.

“The challenge that you face individually and collectively is that remembering Napoleon’s birthday is no longer of much value because you can get this information off the internet in an instant,” he says.

Dr Suruma advised the graduands to seek more knowledge, be persistently innovative and creative.

But the changing times wasn’t just reflected in the how to become gainfully employed messages. It was also in the fact that Makerere University’s Vice Chancellor was present for this particular graduation, suggesting an improvement in relations with MUBS. For the students Makerere University’s presence provides more authenticity for their academic documents.

“In the past the seat of the Vice Chancellor would have remained empty,” said the MUBS Principal Prof Waswa Balunywa.

MUBS is still a constituent college of Makerere University. The MUBS students that are not part of ICT University will graduate in January alongside those studying at the Makerere University. Years of fights of resources and independence had created a lot of enmity Makerere University and its constituent college MUBS.

 Since MUBS become a semi independent institution, the two institutions didn’t fight over graduation lists and finances.

MUBS has even been actively campaigning to become independent, but Makerere University insisted this would require a change of name. Since MUBS without its Makerere association loses some of its popularity, this had become a continuously contentious issue until the arrival of Professor Barnabas Nawangwe.

Prof Nawangwe who is the new Makerere University Vice Chancellor was so cordial, he even directed that more of MUBS practices are adopted by the other colleges at the main campus, as this provides opportunity for improved performance and discipline.

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African Development Bank delivers strong operational results
May 26, 2018 | 0 Comments
The Bank is scaling up its efforts to accelerate the pace of industrialization, supported by its presence in 38 countries and by timely and quality operations
Adesina

Adesina

BUSAN, Republic of Korea, May 24, 2018/ — The African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) is delivering on its goals and making good progress towards achieving its development and operational targets according to the 2018 Annual Development Effectiveness Review (ADER) , which was released at the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Busan, Republic of Korea.

Every year, ADER scrutinizes the Bank’s operational effectiveness and its organizational efficiency, using the Bank’s results measurement framework for 2016-2025. It brings together evidence of strengths and weaknesses to provide management with a clear understanding of what has worked well and what the Bank must do better to achieve its High 5 development goals.

“The report shows that the African Development Bank is delivering on its commitment to help Africa achieve the Bank’s High 5 priorities,” said Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President. “The Bank continues to strengthen its effectiveness as an organization, while scaling up its operations.”

This year’s ADER has a special focus on industrializing Africa. “There are good reasons to be optimistic that industrialization is achievable in the coming years. Africa is open for business, with stable economies and supportive business environments,” said Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina. “It has a young and growing workforce that is increasingly global in outlook. Urbanization and the rise of the African middle class are opening up new consumer markets, which act as a magnet for investors.”

In 2017, companies had improved access to transport, energy, and skills, which expanded their ability to do business across the continent. The Bank contributed to these improvements: it provided 14 million people with access to transport – well above its target – while building or rehabilitating 2,500 km of roads in 2017 and also helped 210,000 small and micro businesses access finance, which benefitted 2.6 million people.

“This level of performance is promising, but we must continue driving operational delivery and impact,” said Simon Mizrahi, Bank Director for Delivery, Performance Management and Results.

The Bank is scaling up its efforts to accelerate the pace of industrialization, supported by its presence in 38 countries and by timely and quality operations. This backbone and experience position the Bank well to mobilize more resources from institutional investors around the world for industrial development.

 

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NIGERIA SET FOR GLOBAL TOURISM MEETING
May 26, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Olayinka Ajayi
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (left), handing over an Invitation Letter to the 61st United Nations World Tourism Organisation Commission for Africa Meeting to Governor Godwin Obaseki (right) at the Edo State Government House in Benin on

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (left), handing over an Invitation Letter to the 61st United Nations World Tourism Organisation Commission for Africa Meeting to Governor Godwin Obaseki (right) at the Edo State Government House in Benin on

The stage is now set for the 61st edition of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Commission for Africa (CAF) Meeting, which Nigeria will host from 4-6 June 2018 in Abuja.

Speaking,  in courtesy visit to the Edo State Governor Mr. Godwin Obaseki, Nigeria’s  Minister of Information and Tourism Alhaji Lai Muhamed said:‎ “Your Excellency, with the support of many stakeholders, I can boldly say that we are ready to host a very successful meeting. The various committees and sub-committees that we have put together to prepare for the summit are doing a great job. We will not disappoint,” he said.

The Minister said Benin City, being a repository of a rich culture, cannot be ignored in the preparation for the global tourism meeting, hence the decision to visit the city as part of the ongoing nationwide advocacy tour for the meeting.

He said the meeting will afford Nigeria the unique opportunity to expose her rich culture to the rest of the world, in addition to exploring the theme, Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development, to generate the much-needed statistics for the development of the tourism sector in Nigeria.

Lai Mohammed further solicited for the support of the Edo State Government towards the successful hosting of the event, used the occasion to formally invite the Governor to the event.

From Pix 2: Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (third left); Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki (fourth from left) and other officials of the Federal and Edo State Governments during a courtesy/promotional visit by the Minister on the forthcoming 61st UN World Tourism Organisation Commission for Africa Meeting taking place in Abuja 4-6 June 2018

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (third left); Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki (fourth from left) and other officials of the Federal and Edo State Governments during a courtesy/promotional visit by the Minister on the forthcoming 61st UN World Tourism Organisation Commission for Africa Meeting taking place in Abuja 4-6 June 2018

Respondinding, Governor Obaseki said:‎ “We understand the benefits of tourism to any evolving and emerging economy. A country like Indonesia whose GDP was four times less than that of Nigeria in 1994 today has a GDP five times that of Nigeria. The economy of Indonesia is grown by two key contributors to their GDP: oil palm and tourism,”

“We appreciate the perspective and illumination you have continued to give federal government programmes and policies. Times are difficult especially with the difficult economic environment we find ourselves, and it takes a man of competence and knowledge like you to explain for the people to understand what this government is doing to alleviate the sufferings of the people,” he said.

 

 

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Society for AIDS in Africa witnesses renewal of governance
May 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Prof John Idoko

Prof John Idoko

 On 8th May 2018, the Fiesta Royale Hotel in  Accra, Ghana, witnessed the renewal of governance of the Society for AIDS in Africa in accordance with articles 10.1, 10.2 and 12 of the SAA Constitution.

 According to  Luc Armand Bodea, Permanent Secretariat of the Society for AIDS in Africa,   After the regional electronic voting system which facilitated the elections of the new Administrative council members, six of the newly elected council members came to SAA’s Headquarters in Ghana to democratically elect their new Executive Council for a tenure of  4 years (2018- 2021).

  The executive council elections were held at the SAA Permanent Secretariat, located at Adjiringanor, East Legon. The presiding election officer was Prof. Robert Soudre from Burkina Faso, member of SAA board of Trustees, seconded by Dr. Amissa Bongo, immediate past Vice President as electoral commission secretary.

The following Administrative Council Members were elected as Executive office Bearers:

President:                                                          Prof. John Idoko. (Nigeria)

Vice President:                                                 Hon. Dr. Pagwesese David Parirenyatwa (Zimbabwe)

Secretary-General:                                          Prof. Tandakha Ndiaye Dieye (Senegal)

Deputy Secretary-General:                            Mrs. Sahra Guleid (Somaliland)

Treasurer:                                                          Dr. Namwinga Chintu. (Zambia)

Deputy Treasurer:                                            Prof. Samuel Elias Kalluvya (Tanzania)

The SAA Permanent Secretariat coordinator, Mr. Luc Armand Bodea in his welcoming speech at Fiesta Royale Hotel stated that it is the 6th handing over ceremony of the Society. The First President was, Prof. Bensilman from Morocco, followed by Dr. Pierre Kelibou Mpele (Democratic Republic of Congo), and the third President, Prof. Femi Soyinka (Nigeria) who established the SAA Permanent secretariat in Accra in 2009, then the 4th President, Prof. Robert Soudre (Burkina Faso) followed by Dr. Ihab Ahmed A. (Egypt) the current out-going President. He further said the strength of the organization resided in the constitutional respect of the governing board and also the establishment of the SAA Permanent Secretariat. Civil society organizations such as NAP+ Ghana with members of the international Community, were in attendance with Mrs. Angela Trenton – Mbonde country Representative of UNAIDS, Amb.Dr. Mokowa Blay Adu Gyamfi, Director General of Ghana AIDS Commission and Mr. Hamidu Adakurugu, representative of the Minister of Health, Ghana.

The immediate past President of the 5th SAA governing Board officially handed over the leadership of the organization to the new SAA President Prof. John Idoko. In his speech, Dr. Ihab commended the outgoing fellow board members for their dedication and selflessness that permitted him to steer the affairs of SAA for the term of four years with good governance, integrity, and excellence. Dr. Ihab said and I quote: “Over the past years in office, we have demonstrated the need for a more innovative approach to prevent, control and mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa, this has been achieved through various initiatives mainly ICASA conferences. We tried as much as possible to give more visibility and transparency to SAA as an institution. This humble achievement could not have been possible without the support and commitment of our various stakeholders, civil society organizations, UNAIDS, WHO, Ghana AIDS Commission, Donors and others,”

In this direction, he expressed utmost gratitude particularly to Ghana AIDS Commission for its support to SAA Headquarters since the establishment of the Permanent Secretariat in Ghana. “I also thank WHO, UNAIDS, USAID, AU and all other UN agencies as well as all Donors working for the noble cause of preventing HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria in Africa. He, therefore, urged the incoming SAA President, Prof. John Idoko and his team to build on the past achievements that he believes now more than ever needs the absolute attention of this young generation of leaders to achieve the SDG’s and beyond while targeting the three 90.

The newly-elected SAA President, Prof. John Idoko, in delivering his official address commended Dr. Ihab and the past board members for their commitment and for organizing a transparent and democratic election which brought him into office. He emphasized the need to train younger research scientists to improve research towards achieving 90, 90, 90 and end AIDS. He further stressed that HIV/AIDS pandemic for past four decades taught us a lot and we need those experiences to efficiently tackle other emerging deceases like Ebola, Zika, Hepatitis, Cancer, Tuberculosis among others set in to destabilize our efforts, adding that there were areas that the organization would have to expand its scope to have better health for all.

The representative of the Minister of Health, the Director General of Ghana AIDS Commission and the Country representative of UNAIDS Ghana all acknowledged that since the inception of SAA with its ICASA platform the burden of HIV and related diseases in Africa has stabilized in the face of considerable progress in access to prevention, treatment, care, and support. They emphasized the relevance of the ICASA platform in helping to increase knowledge, experience sharing and development of strong networks and significant reduction of stigma in our society. They, therefore, commended the out-going President and newly elected President for their achievements and commitment in Africa’s effort to respond to HIV and AIDS, which has enhanced tremendously the image of SAA. Mr. Hamidu Adakurugu representing the Minister of Health concluded that, as Ghana is the host country of SAA Headquarters, Ghana has failed to secure several ICASA bids and it is the Governments’ wish for Ghana to Host ICASA.

The first board of the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) was established in Kinshasa in October 1990 during the 5th International Conference on AIDS and Associated Cancers in Africa, a precursor to the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA). ICASA is a biennial and bilingual (English & French) conference that convenes 7,000 to 10,000 plus delegates.

The formation of SAA with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) brought to an end, the practice of organizing the International Conference on AIDS in Africa, outside the African continent. At the same time, it empowered Africans to address and respond to the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS on the continent.

The Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA), the custodian of ICASA was founded in 1989 at the fourth International Symposium on AIDS and Associated Cancers in Africa (now ICASA) held in Marseille, France by a group of African scientists, activists and advocates in response to this epidemic. SAA envisions an African continent free of HIV, TB and malaria and their debilitating effects on communal and societal structures, where people are socially and economically empowered to live productive lives in dignity.

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Namibia owes its independence to the OAU-President Geingob
May 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

President Hage Geingob, founding President Sam Nujoma and former President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

President Hage Geingob, founding President Sam Nujoma and former President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

Windhoek – For Namibia, the work of the Organisation of Organisation Unity (OAU) Liberation Committee and the solidarity of the African people were instrumental in securing the Namibian independence, said President Hage Geingob.

“It is why our future progress will remain intimately tied to the success of the African continent and its people,” President Geingob said in his Africa Day message on Friday.

Africa Day, marking the founding of the OAU on 25 May 1963 is a key moment in the history of the African continent.

He said the formation of the continental body, that has since transformed into African Union, does not only shine light on Pan-Africanism as an ideology of liberation and decolonization, but crucially, it also aligns our independence to the unity of the African continent.

“Africa is free. We are now in the second phase of our struggle in which the noble ideal of shared economic prosperity for all is not secondary, but an indispensable condition for a sustainable African future.

“The work of the African Union through Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want remains important in ensuring that the majority of Africans have access to decent housing, health, education and economic opportunity.

“To fight poverty, inequality and marginalization, and to unlock opportunities for our shared prosperity, particularly for our young people and future generations, we should encourage deeper economic integration; increase people-to people exchanges and make more investments in infrastructure to facilitate trade”.

The President emphasized that peace, security and effective governance “are the conditions sine qua non for our shared prosperity in the New Africa. In line with Agenda 2063, we have to silence the guns by 2020, for an Africa of opportunity for the majority to become a reality.

“We cannot create opportunities for our youth if we do not create accountable and transparent institutions, and intensify efforts to fight corruption. The decision by the African Union to dedicate its theme for 2018 to the fight against corruption is a step in the right direction. Concerted efforts should follow.

“I have no doubt that with more determination and focused implementation of policy; our vision of a united and prosperous Africa will become a reality. We have a unique opportunity to create sustainable conditions for our collective success.

On this Africa Day, we should reaffirm our commitment to work for a better Africa, a New Africa, and a different narrative for our continent”.

Africa Day signify victory against formal colonialism on the continent. “The rise of Africans against the brutality of imperialism and colonialism – Africans, conscious that they had the right to determine their own destiny, pursued through different forms of resistance and armed struggle, the systematic dismembering and termination of colonialism,” he said.

Geingob stressed that Africans need to pause, reflect and remind themselves with courageous deeds by the Pan-Africanist movement from its base in the Diaspora, led by influential activists and academics, including W.E.B DuBois, Henry Sylvester Williams and Edward Blyden, to leading nationalists such as Nkwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Julius Nyerere, Modibo Keita and Ahmed Sékou Touré.

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Nigeria’s 2019 election: Background and setting
May 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Edwin Madunagu

President Buhari with one of his possible challengers former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

President Buhari with one of his possible challengers former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

I would like to preface this piece with the following four declarations: One: My dominant interest in Election 2019 is the strengthening of the Nigerian Left in the country’s electoral and non-electoral politics. That is the only real change that can take place and that Nigerian masses deserve. Two: By the Left I mean the aggregate of socialism and popular democracy. This historical-ideological-political tendency is both anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist in orientation and logic. Three: Nigerian Leftism in the present historical epoch goes beyond being a “weapon of criticism”. It is also a programme of liberation. Four: The effectiveness of Left political interventions depends, to a large extent, on Leftists’ understanding of what is actually happening. This is an elementary service the Left owes itself. None of these my declarations is new. They are only being pulled together for this piece.

To demystify, without under-rating the current wave of political re-alignments in Nigeria—and make bold but useable projections—Nigerian Leftists need to look back at the country’s recent political history and trace the trajectory from May 1999—the beginning of the present “dispensation” which contemporaries call the Fourth Republic. That quick appreciation should indicate what has been relatively stable, what has not been stable and what has been turbulent.

The most stable aspect of Nigeria’s experience since 1999 is—in spite of all that has happened—its territorial integrity. Apart from the dramatic—but ultimately unsuccessful—attempts made a couple of years ago by the insurgent group, Boko Haram, to seize and retain parts of Nigerian territory, the country’s territorial integrity has remained intact. The murderous “herdsmen”—whether Fulanis, Libyans or continental freelance mercenaries—have not challenged the country’s territorial integrity either in the embattled Middle Belt or elsewhere.

The self-determination group, the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), has not, by force of arms, contested any part of the Nigerian territory. And none of the various armed groups in the Niger Delta region has, since the days of Isaac Boro, raised the banner of secession. These four regions—the Northeast, the Middle Belt, the Southeast and the Niger Delta—have been the main areas of threats to the territorial integrity of Nigeria since May 1999. But the “status quo ante” has been maintained.

The official geopolitical map of Nigeria has also remained (almost) unaltered since the beginning of the Fourth Republic—in fact since October 1, 1996 when General Sani Abacha, as military ruler, increased the number of Nigeria’s constituent states from 30 to 36 and the number of local government areas to 774. I say “official” and “almost” because some states have, since then, “privately” created “development areas” or “autonomous communities” out of their local government areas. Finally, the country has remained unofficially divided into six geopolitical zones or regions created under Abacha’s still-born constitution of 1995.

To appreciate the country’s political party formations since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, we may, by means of the presidential elections of 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019 (anticipated), divide that period into five subperiods: (1999-2003), (2003-2007), (2007-2011), (2011-2015) and (2015-2019). In each of the five subperiods only two sets of political parties are of immediate relevance to this discussion: the dominant ruling class parties and the Leftist parties. Of no immediate interest are the small parties of the Right that aspire either to negotiate and share the “national cake” with the dominant parties or to appropriate whatever benefits may accrue to those who are visible!

Sam Mbonu Okey says he wants to offer Nigeria a new generation leadership

Sam Mbonu Okey says he wants to offer Nigeria a new generation leadership

It is from this premise that the dominant ruling class parties of (1999-2003) may be listed as People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alliance for Democracy (AD) and All Peoples Party (APP). The parties of (2003-2007) included People’s Democratic Party (PDP), All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), Alliance for Democracy (AD), Action Congress (AC) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). Those of (2007-2011) were PDP, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), ANPP, Congress of Progressive Change (CPC), APGA and the Labour Party (LP).

In the middle of the (2011-2015) period a major re-organisation took place in Nigeria’s political class with the emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the present ruling party at the centre. The new party effectively dissolved and absorbed the ACN, the CPC, the ANPP and a fraction of APGA. The result was that Nigeria entered the current period, (2015-2019), with APC, PDP and APGA as the dominant-ruling parties of the Right.

Former Central Bank Governor Kingsley Moghalu has throw his hat in the ring

Former Central Bank Governor Kingsley Moghalu has throw his hat in the ring

Listing the dominant ruling class parties since the birth of the Fourth Republic—as was done above—is the fundamental first step in the understanding we seek. But it did not either tell us how we moved from 1999 to 2018 or indicate how we may move beyond the present into the future. This we now attempt. The APP of the first period (1999-2003) was the party that transformed into ANPP of the succeeding periods. The AD of the first period gave birth to AC which then transformed to ACN of the succeeding periods. The CPC of the third and fourth periods grew out of ANPP. Finally, the APC of the fourth and fifth periods was a merger of ACN, CPC, ANPP and fractions of PDP and APGA.

Going through these sketches again, we may make to the following provisional conclusion: Political party mutations in Nigeria’s ruling classes—from 1999 to 2018—have essentially been quantitative movements of association and dissociation, combination and separation. In other words, Nigeria’s ruling classes have not been able to produce qualitative changes, that is, ideological ruptures or breakthroughs since the beginning of the Fourth Republic.

We are now less than nine months to the next presidential election. Formally and officially, the dominant parties of Nigeria’s ruling classes still remain the APC, the PDP and APGA. Although another round of major associations and dissociations, combinations and separations is under way, a decisive move, comparable to the emergence of APC in 2015, has not been made—and, perhaps, may never be made. General Olusegun Obasanjo, a former Civil War commander, military ruler, elected president and the leading “kingmaker” of the Fourth Republic, has indicated a line march: Rather than initiating a merger of leading “opposition parties”, as happened in 2013, giving birth to the all-conquering APC, the retired general has simply put down an empty political basket and asked members of the political class to leave their parties and enter the basket.

The basket has now adopted or appropriated an officially registered name: the African Democratic Congress (ADC). Politicians are moving into the basket—but not yet in a type of wave that would indicate that a major shift in the alignments within the ruling class is imminent.

Time for Nollywood to produce the next President?Actor Yul Edochie has declared his candidacy for the 2019 elections

Time for Nollywood to produce the next President?Actor Yul Edochie has declared his candidacy for the 2019 elections

Another tentative conclusion can be proposed at this stage: Although the dominant ruling class party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), is being vigorously shaken by internal and external forces, it has, so far, remained defiant. The presidency, the main faction in the party, remains as strong as ever—both in the party and in the Nigerian state. This second point is not trivial. In fact, it is very crucial and may become decisive in Election 2019.

We may explain. We recall that in (2013-2015), in the closing months of the Jonathan presidency, but before the presidential election, the presidency lost its hegemony both in the dominant ruling party, the PDP, and in the Nigerian state! Put differently: Before Jonathan, the received wisdom, called the “power of incumbency”, was that the Nigerian presidency was all-powerful in elections because it was in control of both the party of the president and the Nigerian state.

The 2015 presidential election may have now revised the “wisdom” to read: The Nigerian presidency is all-powerful and all-conquering if it is in control of the Nigerian state and the party of the president. “Because” has been replaced by “if”.

*Madunagu, mathematician and journalist, writes from Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.

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