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A Stitch In Time…

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Page 10 of The Tide newspaper of Monday, November 4, 2019, carried some vital news items of which two will form the focus of this article. “Presidency Lists Gains of Buhari’s Foreign Trips’’, and “Miyetti Allah Not Above The Law…” Those who know the style and strategies of news management would give the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu credit as being an astute PR guru and perhaps, a spin doctor.
That President Muhammadu Buhari departed Mecca for United Kingdom after successful performance of the lesser Hajj, makes a straight news, from a professional journalist. But the import of the fact, “Buhari would be in London for a private visit and will return to Nigeria on November 17”, was drowned in “Gains of Buhari’s Foreign Trips”. Rather than the financial and other implications of such private visit to the United Kingdom for a country spending over $1billion to service debts, the “take away from the President’s foreign trips” makes cheering news.
Issue about the purpose of the private visit, its costs to the Nigerian economy and the tax payers as well as the health status of the President, are not meant for public consumption. Rather, Nigerians should rejoice because the world’s largest oil operating company, ARAMCO and its chairman, Yassir Al-Rumayyan, asked Buhari, “what can we do for you?” Buhari’s response was to invite ARAMCO to visit Nigeria and carry out a diagnostic assessment of NNPC refineries, pipelines and other infrastructures.
Business prospects and gains are bound to arise when a President participates in the Future Investment Initiative (FII) and “Davos in the Desert, to talk about “What’s Next For Africa”. How will investment and trade transform the African continent into the next Great Economic Success Story? The answer lies in foreign trips and talks.
Any intelligent analyst looking at what transpired in in the Saudi Kingdom during President Buhari’s visit would conclude that Yassir Al-Rumayyan and his ARAMCO are making an in-road into Nigeria’s oil and gas market. Especially with the status of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill and interested parties waiting to invest, it would not be difficult to know why Al-Rumayyan asked: what can we do for you?”
What is of vital importance in Garba Shehu’s listing of the gains of President Buhari’s foreign trips, apart from the London private visit, is the possible coming of ARAMCO into Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. The strategy was to present this “take away “ or gain from the Saudi Kingdom, but divert attention away from the cost implications of the London private visit.
When an old class mate at the School of Oriental and African Studies called a few days ago and talked about my country “moving towards the Arab World”, the call carried more significant message than what was voiced. Apart from the ‘take away” that we expect from ARAMCO, Nigeria is a celebrated member of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). So, my country moving towards the Arab world and Islamic Brotherhood does not make an exciting news. We already have the Western World as old friends, which accounts for why our leaders often go to London on private visits.
The other news item about Miyetti Allah not being above the law also contained serious implications. The National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH), Alhaji Abdulahi Bodejo was said to have made utterances that were inciting and direct invitation to anarchy in the country. He was quoted as saying: “you are a governor and you want to enjoy peace in your state, you do not need any long meeting, just create a particular area for the Fulani and equip them with modern amenities”.
Alhaji Bodejo was referring to Governor Ortom of Benue State, with regards to the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law. Bodejo asked Governor Ortom to “apologise to Fulani in Nigeria for killing them, for destroying their businesses and damaging our names…” He went on to say that “we are in court because we can’t allow that law to work”.
With regards to the news items about “gains of Buhari’s foreign trips” and Miyetti Allah not being above the law, there is a need for the managers of the affairs of Nigeria to admit that there are issues of serious national concern. We must not wait until we get involved and engulfed in crises situations before realistic actions are taken.

 

Bright Amirize

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State Of The Nation: PDP Takes Protest To Foreign Embassies …Insists Buhari, APC Threat To Democracy

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For the second time in the past three weeks, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, took its protest to the embassies of the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and France, condemning among other things, what it termed, threat to democracy by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The protest, which took off from the party’s National Presidential Campaign Headquarters, Maitama, Abuja, attracted key members of the National Working Committee (NWC), led by National Secretary of the party, Senator Ibrahim Tsauri.
At the European Union Embassy, Tsauri, who stood in for the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, flayed the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government for allegedly constituting itself a clog in the wheel of the nation’s electoral progress since it first assumed office in 2015.
In a petition submitted by its leadership, yesterday, the party urged the international community to press on the government of President Buhari to preserve democratic institutions in the land at all cost even as they reminded them that most of their reports on election observations in the country recently showed in decline in the preservation of democratic ethos.
Addressing newsmen after the submission of the petition at the European Union, Deputy National Chairman (North) of the party, Senator Suleiman Nazif, expressed the party’s dissatisfaction at what he called the takeover of the Judiciary and the judicial arms of government by the APC-led government.
He said, “We are not happy, we are not satisfied with the way democracy is being run in Nigeria. We have come here to complain because we have realized that the National Assembly is being intimidated by the Executive.
“The Judiciary is being arm-twisted, the rule of law has become a mockery and we thought it wise to come and lay our complaint because they no longer listen to anybody and that is why the PDP decided to reach out to the international community to lay complaint with respect to the electoral act that has not been accented to up till now.
“You are aware of the systematic collapse in our electoral processes, the way elections are being conducted. In Kogi, we saw what transpired in the last election. Nigerians have seen for themselves what the opposition party is going through.
“We saw what happened in Bayelsa, we saw what happened in Imo with respect to the Supreme Court judgement and we are calling for a review of that judgement and we believe that with the amount of pressure from intentional organisations, I think the right thing would be done”.
On his part, Tsauri said, “Democracy is being derailed in this country. Democracy in Nigeria has been built on five pillars: the media, the electoral empire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security agents, the Judiciary, and the international community. These are the pillars that support democracy in Nigeria. If one of these pillars collapses, democracy will derail on that side.
“Out of the five, only two are left. The electoral umpire is compromised, you all know it. Security agents are part and parcel of APC government. Judiciary is being threatened and nobody has any confidence in the Judiciary again.
“The only one that is now left is the media and the international community. The international community, any where there is going to election, they go and monitor. They bring in their reports and most of these reports are negative.
“This is why we came to the international community to tell them that this is the expectations of Nigerians from them and we want them to do exactly what is expected of them to do.
“In Nigeria today, if you talk about security, it is zero. When Buhari came into government, he said that he was going to fight corruption, he was going to intensify effort on the economy and then security but none is working now. This government does not listen to any voice except the international community. That is why we are here”.
However, the officials of the three embassies failed to make statements after receiving the part’s petition.
Also, in the protest march were the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, National Woman Leader, Hajia Maryam Waziri and the National Youth Leader, Hon. Stanley Udeh-Okoye, amongst others.

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RSG Begins E-Registration Of Businesses …As Nsirim Heads C’ttee On Investment Promotion

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The Rivers State Ease of Doing Business Council headed by the State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has taken far reaching decisions to give impetus to the mandate given to the council by the State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, said that with effect from yesterday, an e-Registration Platform for all businesses in Rivers State has been put in place to ensure that all businesses in the state come under one database.
According to him, a help desk has also been established in the office of the deputy governor in line with the decision.
He further disclosed that the Ease of Doing Business Council also set up an Investment Promotion Committee headed by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim.
Other members of the committee include, the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Nwankpa, Chairman, House Committee on Commerce and Industry, Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Ezu Chibudhom, and President, Nigerian Entrepreneur and Investment Forum, Engr. Dozie Abajue.

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2021 AFCON: NFF Moves S’Eagles’ Games From Benin

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After several weeks of speculations, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), May have shelved the idea of playing Super Eagles first international match of the year at the refurbished Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin, Edo State.
The refurbished stadium with a sitting capacity of 19,500 stands as one of the best in the country today and is equipped with modern facilities.
The venue was due to be formally opened with the Super Eagles’ Day-four match of the ongoing AFCON 2021 qualifying round clash with Sierra Leone on the 22nd of March, 2020.
However, it has been confirmed from a top official of the Glass House in Abuja that the ancient city of Benin which last staged Super Eagles match in 2011 against Boswana which ended goalless with Late Stephen Okechukwu Keshi in charge of his first match as gaffer, may have to wait for another time.
“We have a strong bond with Edo State Government and this explained why we’ve had many events in Benin lately but due to some reasons, this important match against Sierra Leone will not hold in the new stadium,” the top official told our source in a telephone chat last night.
With Benin no longer in sight, the NFF is looking in the direction of either the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State or Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Both stadiums hosted Super Eagles’ matches in the past. Uyo Stadium in particular was were Eagles secured their qualification to the 2018 World Cup in Russia
The Asaba ground became new home to the Super Eagles lately following the massive support the team enjoy from Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa.
Delta bankrolled the sent forth match for the Super Eagles to the last AFCON tournament in Egypt where they claimed the bronze medal.
Although no clear reason was given for why NFF decided to move the Sierra Leone game from the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, our checks revealed that it may have something to do with the forth coming National Sports Festival (NSF) which the state will host next month to early April.
Physical infrastructure needed for the games are being completed at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium with base for the track being laid, as the football pitch is ready. Work at the tennis section is completed, while the swimming pools are being furnished.
Organisers of the festival have scheduled the football events at other designated venues leaving the edify to stage only track and field events, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.
With the Uyo and Asaba as options for Eagles, NFF has at least two weeks to communicate the new venue to CAF as well as the visiting team in accordance with the tournament rules and regulations

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