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Golden Jubilee: Before We Celebrate

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Nigeria will in the next couple of months celebrate her 50th anniversary (golden jubilee) as an independent nation. Already, the federal government has lined up activities to commemorate the historic event.

President Goodluck Jonathan had earlier in the week during a colourful ceremony attended by past Nigerian presidents and Heads of States unveiled the masthead heralding the commencement of programmes scheduled for the golden jubilee anniversary.

The ceremony which was attended by both military and civilian Nigerian leaders witnessed the unveiling of our heros, past and present, symbolising their vision and struggle in the nation’s socio-political and economic advancement.

Perhaps, the import of the event which took place at the Presidential Villa, Abuja was for all Nigerians to look back at ourselves with a view to ascertaining whether or not we have collectively realised the dreams of the founding fathers of the Nigerian state.

For some of us who read Dr  Jonathan’s lips during the ceremony, the question the president virtually asked all Nigerians was for us to critically examine ourselves as citizens of Nigeria and confirm if we have contributed towards realising the vision of the founding fathers of Nigeria.

Indeed, most Nigerians take pride in describing the country as the giant of Africa. But is it, in the true sense of the word?

Regrettably, Nigeria cannot continue to pride itself as African giant when over 70 per cent of her citizenry lack basic necessities of life: shelter, food, potable water, good health and qualitative education.

For a country to be reckoned with within the comity of nations (states), such country should, ab-initio, provide decent housing, qualitative education, decent food, potable water, good healthcare, efficient transport, regular light (electricity) and round-the-clock security for its citizens, whether high or low.

And the question is; does Nigeria belong to this category of nations with such facilities in place? Obviously, the answer is simply negative.

Statistics from the office of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) revealed a pathetic and horrible scenario which should disturb every well-meaning Nigerian, home and in diaspora.

According to the figures, over 65 million Nigerians live below one dollar per day. Eight million Nigerian children have no access to education and over half of the country’s population live in abject poverty.

These revelations as grim and astonishing as they sound, the reality is that most Nigerians are suffering in the midst of plenty.

For a country that has so much natural resources yet its citizens are poor, calls for so much concern by the leadership.

The rising incidence of destitution, prostitution, robbery, kidnapping and other social vices in our cities is evidence of the deplorable conditions of living in the country.

Nigeria’s image cannot be said to be better abroad when our people are distressed. How do we re-brand Nigeria when our stomach is empty? Questions, many questions but no answers.

Incidentally, what fuels the rate of poverty is corruption which permeates virtually every segment of our national life. The police, Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Customs, Immigrations, NNPC, bankers, politicians and infact our political leaders are corrupt.

Nigerians are inundated with stories of top public functionaries who convert, with impunity public funds into their private purse.

Few and privileged Nigerians live in ostentation in the midst of the majority who contend with hunger, strife and pervasive penury. The privileged few who do not give a damn do so with glee, thereby compounding the problems of the already traumatised poor.

The tiny wealthy minority controls the nation’s stupendous wealth. The irony and tragedy are that the leadership does not have the political will to address the abnormality of our collective predicament.

The systematic poverty has grown to a dangerous level that it is almost exterminating the middle class. It is either you belong to the few on top, or the majority below. No mid way again.

Nigerian leaders need to revisit the philosophy of the MDGs initiated in 2000 by the United Nations (UN) to eliminate poverty by 2015.

It is indeed ironic and shameful that less than five years to the target date, most Nigerians are still living in systematic poverty and are pauperised despite laudable programmes like the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP).

The country cannot afford to continue to drum up campaign for “Re-branding Nigeria” while its people suffer and die in penury. We need to act now or never.

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We Get Petrol At N200 Per Litre From Depots, IPMAN Cries Out

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has decried the ‘unsustainable’ price that the private depot owners sell the premium motor spirit, otherwise known as petrol in the country.
Speaking, yesterday, on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, the Deputy National President of IPMAN, Zarama Mustapha, revealed that the private depots get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from the sole importer of the commodity, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, however, sell it for as high as N195 to N210 to independent marketers, which is not sustainable.
“Though marketers get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from NNPC depots, the company does not have enough storage facilities to cater to the needs of marketers, hence, the latter resorts to private depot owners. It is more of the issue of private depots collecting the products at the approved price and not selling to the independent marketers at a price approved by the mainstream, downstream regulatory authority.
“You cannot get a product at N195 to N200 and expect to sell it at N175,” he noted.
The IPMAN official said depot owners give excuses such as the cost of transporting the product from the mother vessel to their depots and escalation of the dollar as reasons for the price hike.
Mustapha lamented that most Lagos depots are in a chaotic situation and marketers spend three days to load refined petrol that they are not supposed to spend more than three hours to lift.
He urged the NNPC to engage depot owners to sell the product to marketers at the recommended price, saying the common man is at the receiving end.
For weeks, vehicle owners have had a tough time getting petrol from filling stations, especially in Lagos and Abuja.
Whilst many outlets are closed, the few open ones sell the indispensable commodity for as high as N250 per litre from the uniform price of N169/litre.
The supply shortage has led to long, gruelling snake-like queues at the few open filling stations as motorists and business owners jostle to buy fuel while others resort to the black market.
The situation has also worsened traffic on major roads as vehicle owners block at least one lane to join queues to filling stations.

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Make Nigerian Youths Innovative, Buhari Tells Corporate Leaders

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President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked leaders of corporate organisations to build the capacity of Nigerian youths to be innovative and embrace technology to make positive contributions to their organisations and the nation.
The president, represented by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, said this at the Institute of Directors (IoD) 2022 Annual Director’s Conference (ADC), yesterday, in Lagos.
The ADC had as its theme: “Corporate Governance and Digital Transformation: Leading Purposefully for Growth and Sustainability.”
Buhari, noting that the challenges associated with corporate governance were multifaceted, stressed the need for heads of organisations to harness technology to achieve effective governance.
He reiterated the commitment of his administration to providing the necessary legal support and framework to support the entrenchment of good corporate governance practices across various sectors of the economy.
Buhari also pledged his commitment to supporting the IoD by giving the institute’s chartered bill the necessary consideration to enable it to achieve its mandate.
Deputy Secretary General, United Nations, Ms Amina Mohammed, said the world was hit by a series of global crises which have affected the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Mohammed said technology and digitalisation would set the era of digital transformation in areas of health, education, agriculture and finance.

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Nigeria Does Not Belong To North, Arewa Youths Tell Northern Elders

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The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has said that Nigeria does not belong to the North ahead of the 2023 general election.
Apparently reacting to the recent interview granted by a member of the Northern Elders Forum, Alh Sani Zango Daura, in which he called on the North to support a Northern candidate.
The AYCF, in a statement issued by its National President, Yerima Shettima, noted that supporting a southerner was clearly a demonstration of justice.
He noted that this was because Nigeria does not belong to the North alone, or Muslims and Christians of the North, insisting that “even on moral grounds, the most responsible political action by the North was the decision on powershift in 2023, because the Presidency cannot be hereditary and Nigeria is not a Banana Republic”.
Shettima further said, however, that the elder was expressing his personal opinion and not the stand of the North in general, saying that a “ little balancing was needed in position of our father Zangon Daura, more so when he admitted that the elders are mere escorts for the younger generation today”.
The AYCF noted that when 13 Northern governors led by Kaduna State Governor, Mal Nasirel-Rufai endorsed a Southern candidate for the 2023 presidency, they repeatedly cited political justice.
“Though we are not card-carrying members of the APC, we shared the view that the decision was in line with being fair to the South in 2023.
“We are aware, as well as our father ZangonDaura, that the North is respected for honouring its promises to the South and this one absolutely undeniable character of all Northerners.
“We are not known to break promises and that explains why our son, President MuhammaduBuhari never objected to the idea of a Southern presidential candidate in the ruling party. In the North, like our father ZangonDaura knows, promises are sacred and in fact a culture”.
It would be recalled that in a viral audio of AlhajiZangonDaura while addressing a group of youths, suggested that they should throw their weight behind a fellow Northerner for the presidency in 2023, citing historic and religious instances, something the AYCF said it believed was “overtaken by events, current realities, and the spirit of justice and fairness in the Nigerian project”.

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