Saturday, 16 December 2017
Items filtered by date: June 2017

NEW YORK CITY, Tuesday

Kenya is striving to end human trafficking but government actions remain inadequate in several respects, the United States Department said today.

An assessment puts the country in, for the third consecutive year, the Tier 2 category in the US global ranking of compliance with Washington’s anti-trafficking standards.

Those in this category fall short of the standards but are making “significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards”.

Kenya last year launched a national referral mechanism and issued registration requirements and a code of conduct for private labour recruitment agencies, the report said, and added information on its anti-trafficking law to the basic police training curricula.

ATTACHÉS ASSIGNED

In addition, the Ministry of Labour has assigned labour attachés to Kenyan missions in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to protect citizens employed in those countries.

The government was also found to be falling short of minimal standards in several key areas. For instance, it did not allocate funding to a victim assistance fund last year after providing Sh7 million in 2015, the report said.

“Kenyan authorities continued to treat some victims as criminals, and the availability of protective services for adult victims remained negligible,” the US asserted.

Published in Politics
The spectacular success while it lasted, of Chukwudi Onuamadike, alias Evans, in his line of ‘kidnapping business’ necessarily elicits endless questions and speculations about the nature and the values that, made possible his exploits and on the other hand, the capacity of the state and its law enforcement apparatus to assure the most fundamental purpose of government which, to quote the extant constitution of the country is ‘the security and welfare of the people’. Nevertheless, the Nigerian Police must be commended for diligence and the arrest of Evans.

For nearly a decade since he started in 2008 but created his own gang in 2015, Evans roamed in what may be described as a derring-do manner, the length and breadth of the land taking on ‘jobs’ as he called kidnapping, from informants and collaborators. He made millions in local and foreign currencies, acquired foreign citizenship, owned luxurious houses complete with bullet-proof doors and Jacuzzi-equipped bathrooms within and outside the country, expensive cars and personal accessories, and generally lived it up like a genuinely successful businessman. He lived in a respectable, upscale neighbourhood too while his family lives abroad. Given the prevailing money-centered ethos of this society, Evans was, until caught, the kind of man who might be invited to sponsor or chair the wedding of a young honest couple, launch a book titled The evils of Kidnapping, give a lecture on the evils of criminality, or even donate to the fund-raising of a religious organisation. If Evans is not a traditional chief, with an honorary doctorate to boot, it is only because he has not sought to pay for it. Alas, this was a criminal of so sufficiently heinous type as to be punishable with death in some states of the federation!

The sordid details of Evans’ operational methods- information gathering mechanism, groups with sectional heads in different locations, weaponry, detention houses and camps, cooks, huge proceeds and more, are still being revealed. One thing is certain: More than other kidnappers who have been caught by law enforcement agents such as a certain Terwase ‘Ghana’ Akwaza in Benue State, Samaila Madu in Edo State and one ’Vampire’ in Imo State, Evans was a smart, calculating, sophisticated, cold-hearted criminal whose life purpose appeared to make big money irrespective of the darkness of the source. But only for a time and a season.

Many reasons can be offered for his staying power in his kidnapping enterprise. For one, and this cannot be denied him, Chukwudi Onuamadike treated kidnapping as a structured business and he invested in recruitment, arms, including the assault rifles AK 47, AK 49 and thousands of rounds of ammunition, multi-million naira high-end phones equipped with anti-tracking device so that his conversations with his operatives in the field could not be monitored. He kept his gangs ignorant of each other and only gave the most limited information necessary to execute assigned duty. And he made working for him worth the risk too, saying ‘I usually pay Uche N20 million for every operation’ and N2 million to others on every operation.’ It is no wonder that he was not caught through whistleblowing, of course, of the security officers.

Evans has been able to gather information on people through the Internet. Again, the cheap vain and senseless urge of some people to flaunt material achievements overexposes them to men of criminal intentions.

It is certain that the Nigerian legal and cultural system is yet to, as a rule, interrogate, the source of wealth of any man or woman who appears to live lavishly without an identifiable source of income. In some other societies, the first question asked of a man who flaunts wealth is ‘what does he do?’ And if he is said to be a businessman, intelligent people ask further what line of business. It is regrettable that here, any man who is rich by whatever means is admired, eagerly courted and revered by even those who should know better.

Again in other climes, a big house, a big car and other display of wealth attract, naturally, the attention of the tax man who would politely request to know how much the person earns vis-à-vis his/her tax returns. It is not difficult therefrom to detect a criminal. Again, not so here. With the right price, the inquisitive official, who may be poorly paid anyway, can be paid off with more money than he earns in a year.

In this same country, but in another age, by the dictate of social mores and norms, parents would frown at their children owning things that they could not explain how they were acquired. The times are different now and parents gladly benefit from the proceeds of crime by their children.

Modernity and urbanism has encouraged a lifestyle of individualism. Neighbours hardly know or interact with one another especially in the estates of well-to-do- families. Thus, a respectable judge may be living next door to a vicious but successful armed robber or an Evans. This may be good for privacy, but it can endanger collective safety. Unless of course, there is in place, a know-your-neighbour mechanism, as well as some neighbourhood security structure.

Nigerians must also consider the socio-economic conditions that make possible rampant kidnapping. Jobs are scarce because the funds to create openings have been stolen by the managers of national business. Those lucky to hold jobs are poorly paid, or are not paid as and when due. Opportunities for self –employment are constricted by an economic system skewed against the average citizen. It is easier to make money by crooked means and flaunt it. These of course, are no excuse but the sad reality.

The police have done a good job to track Evans and arrest him. It is evident that, given the right equipment, training, and incentives, the Force can do great things. But with only 300,000 personnel in 5,303 divisions, it is still numerically inadequate to maintain law and order among a Nigerian population of 178 million. Government must move very quickly to empower the police force because, it bears repeating that security is one of the two primary purposes of government’s existence.

The point must be made that with a stream of self-confessions and revelations, the Evans story is assuming a saga of a man with exploits of sorts. This is needless. The police can assemble sufficient information from confessional statements to open a case against Evans and his gang. Let the prosecution begin forthwith.

By The Guardian Editorial Board, NIGERIA
Published in Parliament

Claudio Bravo was Chile’s hero on Wednesday as they beat Portugal 3-0 in a penalty shoot-out in the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

The Manchester City goalkeeper saved all three penalties from Portugal’s Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani, while Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and Alexis Sanchez nailed their spot-kicks for the South Americans.

Chile progress to Sunday’s final in St Petersburg to face either Mexico or Germany, who meet Thursday in Sochi in the other semi-final.

Losers Portugal will contest Sunday’s third-place play-off in Moscow.

Chile almost settled Wednesday’s match in the dying stages of extra-time when both Vidal and substitute Martin Rodriguez hit the woodwork as Portugal hung on to take the game to a shoot-out.

The defeat in Kazan will be bitterly disappointing for Portugal’s superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Real Madrid star, who is facing doubts about his future in Spain as he prepares to answer allegations of tax evasion in a Madrid court next month, had won man-of-the-match awards in all three group matches.

Before kick-off in Kazan, Manchester City’s new signing Bernardo Silva shook off a foot injury he suffered in the 4-0 drubbing of New Zealand to make Portugal’s starting line-up.

With Pepe suspended, Jose Fonte partnered Bruno Alves at centre-back.

Up front, AC Milan’s 21-year-old striker Andre Silva partnered Ronaldo, but the pair endured a frustrating night at the hands of Chile’s defence.

Chile’s coach Juan Antonio Pizzi named the same team which drew 1-1 with world champions Germany last Thursday as centre-back Gary Medel and midfielder Aranguiz both shook off knocks.

The game got off to a frantic start which demanded early saves from both goalkeepers.

With just six minutes gone, Sanchez put a superb pass in behind the defence, which landed just in front of Eduardo Vargas, but Portugal’s goalkeeper Rui Patricio blocked the shot.

At the other end moments later, a low Ronaldo cross put Andre Silva in space, but Bravo smothered the effort at close range.

Aranguiz twice went close with efforts on the Portugal goal in the opening half and it was end-to-end stuff again after the break.

Chile’s Vargas forced Patricio into another reflex save, while Ronaldo fired at Bravo when Portugal counter-attacked immediately.

Then Vidal’s long-range effort went screaming just high and wide of the Portugal goal.

Ronaldo sent a free-kick just over and had a shot blocked as both sides attacked relentlessly, but the scores remained goalless and the game went to extra time.

There was no let up in the pace as Portugal’s Andre Gomes went close while Sanchez headed Mauricio Isla’s cross from the left just wide of the post.

Joao Moutinho came on for Adrien Silva, who had worked tirelessly in midfield for Portugal, in the first period of extra time.

With time almost up, Chile had a penalty appeal turned down when substitute Francisco Silva appeared to be fouled by Fonte in the area before Vidal, then Rodriguez rattled Portugal’s woodwork.

Published in Business and Economy
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s nominee for District Assemblies’ Common Fund (DACF) Administrator, Madam Irene Naa, has proposed borrowing from financial institutions to pre- finance the activities of district assemblies. 

This, according to her, would help ameliorate the challenges some districts go through due to delays in the released of the funds.

The former Member of Parliament (MP) for Tema West Constituency, made this known on Tuesday when she appeared before the appointment committee for vetting.

The District Assemblies’ Common Fund is a pool of resources created under Article 252 of the 1992 constitution of Ghana. The pool is provided with at least 5% of the national revenue, set aside to be shared among all District Assemblies in Ghana with a formula approved by Parliament.

Madam Addo told the Committee that she would use a combination of lobbying and borrowing from banks to ensure that Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) got what was due them for the development of their areas.

“I will be knocking on your doors; you have to help, if given the nod to make sure the money comes in and the right amount comes in. That is very important… If I’m given the nod, once we have the power to be able to invest some of the money to be able to accrue some interest, I’m looking at, with the permission of my minister, bringing certain proposals like this to Parliament to find out whether or not in certain circumstances, just to keep the timelines so that there is no disappointments so that they can plan and manage their areas…I’m thinking about innovative things like that, maybe being allowed at certain times to borrow money for them and pay when the fund comes in,” she said.

Madam Addo also informed the committee that the formula for the distribution of the Common Fund could be affected due to government’s one million dollar per constituency programme.

“It will not affect the formula but as time goes on, it could affect the formula. When you look at basic needs, the districts that have more schools and hospitals are given less, while those who have less are given more. So with the coming in of this money, if people build more schools, hospitals, among others, they get less of the DACF. But that is not to say that they should build more schools. It could affect it in the long-term”, she said.

When approved by Parliament, she will replace Kojo Fynn, the former administrator.

Published in News & Stories

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has charged stakeholders in the Cosmetics and Condiments distribution channel in the country, to ensure that only wholesome products were on sale.

This is as the agency donates over 100 pieces of chairs each to the five south-east state secretariats of NYSC.

The Acting Director General of NAFDAC, Mrs. Yetunde Oni gave the charge during one day sensitization workshop in partnership with Christable Consultants for members of the Association, Cosmetics and Condiments dealers held in Onitsha, Anambra state.

Represented by the southeast Zonal Coordinator of NAFDAC, Pharm. Fori Tatama, Oni said members of the cosmetics and condiments dealers were crucial to the actualization of sanity with various NAFDAC sensitization programmes were made to achieve in the fight against fake and substandard products in the country.

The workshop tagged “Health and Hazard implication of fake and substandard products” she said it could not have come at a better time than now as regard the importance of condiments in our daily living especially as it concerned the human body.

The Acting DG stressed that most listed but unregistered products normally found their ways to the shops and markets in the country and called for a stop to such illegalities.

In his remark, Anambra Coordinator of NAFDAc, Dr. Christiana Esenwa warned the participants of the consequences of dealing on counterfeit products, saying that the agency has reviewed its law with a view to making the penalties stiffer to ensure that the business of fake and substandard products came to an end in the country.

He said in the new draft bill, NAFDAC proposed life sentence, confiscation of assets of offenders and use of the proceeds to compensate victims, stressing that the only way to avoid it is by trading on genuine products.

In her speech, the Managing Director of Christable Consultants, Mrs. Christable Okoye commended NAFDAC on its consistent fight against unwholesome products and urged the participants to join the fight, stressing that the job of combating counterfeit should be for all while she enjoined them to report fake to the agency.

The chairman of the Cosmetics and Condiments Dealers Association, Onitsha branch, Mr. Nonso Ihejiagwu pledged to partner NAFDAC to ensure that the agency’s regulations are strictly observed.      

Meanwhile, the agency has disclosed that the donation of chairs state secretariat of National Youth Service Corps is part of its corporate social responsibility to the NYSC due to its strategic grass root mobilization.

 

Published in News & Stories

NIGERIA: About six months away to the governorship election in Anambra State scheduled for November 18, 2017. Ogbonna Onyekachukwu examines the preparation and the political horse-trading ahead of the d-day. 

In spite of the fact that the commencement of campaigns by political parties as stipulated by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), would begin on August 18, 2017, a clear one month after publishing of the notice of the election according to section 10(1) of Electoral Act 2010 which stipulates 90-day gap, politicians have been overtly and covertly campaigning to gain acceptance among the electorate.

In their frenzy to make their marks, four months before the collection of forms by political parties from INEC for issuance to their candidates, some political parties seem to have already chosen their candidates without primaries.

In the meantime, only six political parties are in the governorship race while others are still in there holes. The parties in contention are the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), the All Progressive Congress (APC), People’s Redemption Party (PRP), the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) and the United Progressive Party (UPP).

As the National Chairman of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie would put it; “the governorship election in Anambra State will be a direct encounter between two political parties of the same DNA.

“The impending defeat of APGA should be a surprise to any who is closely monitoring the progressive and revolutionary agenda of UPP which deeply rooted in Self Determination, Restructuring, Referendum, Fiscal Federalism, Devolution of Power etc. There is no other Political Party in Nigeria that parades such Social Contract. Like the great Zik would say, UPP will be magnanimous to APGA in victory while we expect the party to accept DEFEAT gallantly. After all it will be a family affair.”

But despite the fact that there are political heavy weights in Anambra state  in PDP as well as in APC, Chief Okorie declared that the two political parties are not in the race in Anambra State for all ‘intents and purposes’. 

The heightened schemes by various interest groups, including political parties and godfathers, are giving the impression that the election is a matter of days even as such calculations would continue through September 18, 2017, which is the final day for the submission of forms CF001 and CF002, for governors and deputy governorship candidates.

Going by the history of governorship elections and decisions as to who becomes the governor of Anambra State; it is usually taken to Abuja the seat of power, but with the new wind of change in the political landscape in the country, especially the continuing improvement in the electoral system, some political parties have begun to readjust to realities in a bid to make their platform competitive and compete favourably in the election.

The APC in its quest to wrestle power from APGA has assembled some political eggheads in the Southeast into a committee to deliver Anambra to the party on November 18. The Anambra State Gubernatorial Election Planning and Strategy Committee of the APC chaired by Senator Jim Nwobodo, the first civilian governor of old Anambra State, is charged with  monitoring the political environment and report to the party leadership, evaluate the aspirants in the party, raise funds and advise on zoning, a measure in ensuring the party’s victory at the polls.

Other members of the committee are the former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, vice chairman, Senator Emma Agboti, secretary,  Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, Senator Nkechi Wogu, Chief Madugba Cosmas and Chief Gbazueagu Nweke Gbazueagu.

Though there were reservations about the caliber of persons in the committee; mainly those who defected to APC as a way of testing their relevance to the party, some believe that the committee may recommend a candidate on the basis of the highest bidder.

Apart from APC’s scheme; the Chief Willie Obiano Support Group, led by Sir Jude Emecheta, has traversed every nook and cranny of the state selling the governor’s candidature.

Even as the PDP is not relenting in its bid to re-capture power, with former Governor Peter Obi the campaign machinery, PDP aspirants have been moving round the state to sell themselves to the people. The party lost power to APGA in 2006, but the crisis in the PDP has been a major blow to the aspirants and their followers. Indeed, the PDP is divided in Anambra State.

As a result, many PDP chieftains have either defected to the APC or the APGA, while Prince Ken Emeakayi, the chairman, is fighting hard to reposition it.

However as people are defecting to APC to contest Anambra governorship election on November; they should remember the event of 1979 mini-convention of National Party of Nigeria (NPN) at Igumu, National Arts Theater, where a motion was moved by Alhaji Dr. Umoru Dikko, that Chief Mko Abiola having not stayed in the NPN party for six (6) months cannot seek the presidential nomination under the NPN, and that the party ticket is not for sale.

“Let political defectors, and cross-carpeters know that you do not join a political party for contesting public office as a primary objective. This is the trouble with Nigerian ambitious politicians who do not want to build anything”, a political pundit said. 

Mr. Godwin Ezeemo is already a candidate of PPA without any primary; while Dr Stephen Obiorah Mbah is expected to emerge as the PRP candidate. The APC has eight aspirants. The PDP has four. APC aspirants are the National Auditor, Chief George Moghalu, Dr Obinna Uzor, Hon Tony Nwoye, Sir Paul Chukwuma, National Youth leader of the party. Others are Barth Nwibe, an engineer, Chief Johnbosco Onunkwo, Senator Andy Uba and Dr Chike Obidigbo.

In the (PDP), Chief Osita Chidoka has indicated interest; but it appears that he is yet to make up his mind on which political platform UPP or PDP to try his luck. Also in the race are Dr Alex Obiogbolu, Mr. Oseloka Obaze and Zeribe Ezeanuna. In APGA, the incumbent governor Chief Willie Obiano is expected to fly the flag, although other people like Elo Aforka is interested.

An activist, Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo is expected to fly the flag of United Progressive Party (UPP) in the governorship election. Although there are persons like Chudi Ofordile who is also eying the flag of the party.

Profiles and chances of all the candidates in the election

Willie Obiano (APGA) 

He became the governor through the instrumentality of Obi, his predecessor, through zoning arrangement which played to his advantage in 2014. The Aguleri borne shortly he became governor turned his back on his political mentor.

Though, since he came to power he has not really faced any opposition as the power brokers have rallied round his government.

However, trouble started when Obi defected to the PDP because of their disagreement over the purported 75 billion naira bond the former governor said he left in the state purse when his tenure expired.

Obiano’s sins, according to the people, are many. Although he has some good works to his credit, some people want to have a pound of flesh during the election.

Some opposition politicians believe he runs a government of deceit. But, he is not cunning. He is a honest politician.

His strength lies in his support base. The people of Anambra North are behind him. He has been accused of concentrating his projects and appointments in the area.

The governor is shielded by a cabal. Although he is a good administrator, he is surrounded by hawks.

Observers are of the opinion that if he is a politician, he would have win, but despites elders of the state are with him; they don’t vote in an election. Many progressive in Anambra who are adherent believer of APGA, they are not happy with him and it may work against his ambition.

Tony Nwoye (APC)

He is a former Chairman of the PDP in Anambra State. He was the party’s governorship candidate in 2014. Nwoye is a member of the House of Representatives representing Anambra East and West Constituency.

He hails from Nsugbe, Anambra East. He is from the same local government with Obiano.

His experience in National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) is an added advantage. As a dogged fighter, he is also a great mobiliser, the former student union leader is determined.

The only obstacle to Nwoye’s is that he hails from the same council area with the incumbent governor Willie Obiano. The recent rumors that he participated in the burning down the Anambra government house when Sen. Chris Ngige was governor.

His major strength is his age and contacts across the state as the former chairman of PDP. His ambition is backed by Prince Arthur Eze, an oil magnet.

Stephen Obiorah Mbah (PRP).

He is has said that his main objective is the reconstruction of Anambra State. Dr Stephen Obiorah, an Awka born industrialist, he is a greenhorn in the politics of Anambra. He may not make any head way during the election.

Besides, the PRP has no footing in the state even as he had told his traducers that the party has given him a platform to pursue his ambition. He was briefly in the APGA, but found the party too tough and dumped it last year; his reason is that APGA does not give people chance to lead. He also alleged that the party does not believe in the ability of any other person, except those around the government.

Osita Chidoka (PDP)

His ambition is sorry because he is from Anambra central that produced Peter Obi and Ngige; if zoning is anything to go by, his chances slim.

The former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and former Minister of Aviation is confused on which political platform to contest as currently, he is romancing with the leadership of UPP even while in PDP.

His only strength is the position he held and his romance with members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

He hails from Obosi in Idemili North local government area and stands a chance of defeating other contestants at the primary if he vies in PDP because it is believe that the Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu is backing him.

Those who knew him in FRSC described him as a good man, but the world in road safety is deferent from the world of politics. But, the primary of the party will tell.

George Moghalu (APC)

Moghalu is the National Auditor of the APC. He hails from Nnewi North council area.

Having contested the governorship position on the platform of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), in 2003; he went into political oblivion after his gruesome defeat in the election. He was the only face of the ANPP in Anambra.

What nobody can take from Moghalu is his simplicity and maturity, which had endeared him to the people, despite his lack of a deep purse.

Some APC members are saying that he should be given the ticket for his loyalty and steadiness. He is somebody that can call you by your name any where he sees unlike those who see themselves as demigods. 

Oseloka Obaze (PDP)

Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Selonnes Consult Ltd; a management and strategic policy advisory entity. 

He is the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) under the administration of Obi. Obaze is simple, intelligent and easy going. Despite his position, he was in the shadow of his younger brother, Dubem Obaze, who is the former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters. He is seen as Obi’s favourite in (PDP), but his greatest undoing is his selective and discriminatory attitude.

The Ogbaru born politician relies on Obi and his younger brother Dubem for relevance and victory.

Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo (UPP)

He hails from Nnobi in Idemili south local government area. He contested election in Anambra state for governorship 27years ago. In 2003 when he contested the governorship election with Obi, his name and party was conspicuously removed from ballot paper. The Supreme Court described Okonkwo is an intelligent man after he addressed the full panel of the Apex-Court in the land for 45 minutes. He is a layman but he knows the law more than the lawyers, judging by his references to the law at each turn. No wonder he defeats Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SANs) in court up to Supreme Court.

Okonkwo is an anticorruption crusader, right and environmental conservative activist. He is mentor of other leaders. He knows the problem of Nigeria political system; he is an adherent caller for total restructuring of Nigeria. He knows the problem of Ndigbo is lack of visionary and purposeful leaders. He is the man to look for if he emerges candidate of his party. Though, he may not have the kind of money other candidates’ parades, but none of them can match his intellectual hue in debate. His party banks on the backing of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other agitator.

Though, there are other aspirants in UPP; people like Obumneke E. O. and Chudi Ofordile but, Okonkwo are eloquent, more popular and accepted.

Godwin Ezeemo (PPA)

He wants to governor of Anambra state at all cost. In 2014 dumped the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) because of the disagreement he had with the party leader, Sen. Ngige, over governorship ticket.

Ezeemo who hails from Umuchu community joined the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) to pursue his ambition. He came fourth. Since then, he has not looked back in his bid to be governor. He has made PPA stronger in Anambra with his philanthropy.

The aspirant is perceived as a gentleman by all standards; he is ‘meek and humble of heart’. His major problem is that his party is a small party. It can hardly compete with the APC, the PDP, and the APGA in the state, but he has the wherewithal to prosecute his ambition. But, a major obstacle he is facing now is that he has another aspirant from the same Umuchu community in another party. He is loved by the people for his philanthropic guests. 

Barth Nwibe (APC)

Barth Nwibe is a strong contender in the APC. He has been in the political family from the days of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

He contested for House of Representatives under the (ACN) and lost. He is a close associate of Ngige. The Igboukwu-born politician is not only a party financier; he is also humble, intelligent and he is a good listener.

If the APC holds a free and fair primary, the Igboukwu-born politician may make a statement.

He is wealthy and his closeness with Sen. Ngige make people believe he is preferred candidate of APC. 

Elo Aforka (APGA)

Dr Elo Aforka may be a jester in the race. He cannot withstand the Obiano machinery. According to observers, it will be difficult for him to get the ticket at the primary where the governor is the strong contender.

He is one-time Special Assistant to Obiano on Political Matters. He is believed to be Chief Victor Umeh’s apogee. But, one thing is clear; he is in the race to spoil the fun for Obiano.

Andy Uba (APC)

The three-time senator from Anambra South was once elected governor of Anambra State in 2007 in error. He spent 17 days before the Supreme Court booted him out. The verdict was that Obi’s tenure had not expired.

Uba was in the PDP from where he defected to the APC. He said he left the PDP because of its protracted crises. He is a disciple of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Recently Uba has been battling to save his face from allegation certificate forgery.

The Uga born politician, he need to defeat the opposition in his family. His younger brother, Chief Chris Uba, regarded as the political godfather, is bitter that his brother deprived him of the opportunity to be a senator in 2015.

Across his constituency, he has not done enough in the Senate to warrant being a governor. Some have even agitated for his recall.

Uba may not get the APC ticket, having joined the party recently. 

He a wealthy man but his activities in office as governor of Anambra state is still fresh in the mind of many Anambran. Despite his closeness to Obasanjo, many said he would never be governor in Anambra state no matter his money.

John Bosco Onunkwo (APC)

 He is a rich politician. The young politician hails from Umuchu in Aguata local government area.

His father was Ngige’s teacher and that closeness with the family has made some people believe it is his turn.

Onunkwo’s philanthropy has endeared him to the people, especially the youths who believe that there is the need for a generational shift. He is a loyal party man, who has shown commitment from the days of the ACN. He has stronger contenders, including Moghalu and Nwibe, to contend with at the primary.

Paul Chukwuma (APC)

He hails from Umeri, a neigbouring community to Obiano’s village in the Anambra East Council Area.

Not much is known about the young man with tremendous wealth. He is the Southeast Youth leader of the APC.

Nobody knows where he draws his strength, but he is close to many APC big wigs.

Zeribe Ezeanuna (PDP)

 He is an unknown quantity. The only time his name was heard was some years back in a protest.

Zeribe Ezeanuna is not a serious contender.

Though from Aguata local government area, he is based in Onitsha. He does not possess that political clout like other contenders.

He is in the race for business. 

Alex Obiogbolu (PDP)

The people of Anambra believe that Dr Alex Obiogbolu will behave like Obi, if he becomes the governor.

He is a loyal party man who has been in the PDP swimming through thick and thin; unlike others who jump from pillar to post each time one appointment or the other elude them.

Obiogbolu is a former Chairman of Anambra State Local Government Civil Service Commission and also a former chairman of Anambra State Environmental Protection Agency (ANSEPA).

He is an orator and a gentleman.

He comes from Onitsha North Local Government Area in Anambra North. The zone has been protesting its marginalization from the scheme of things. The aspirant is close to Obi and Senator Stella Oduah. He is the man to beat in PDP primary if there are free and fair contest.

DR OBINNA UZOR (APC)

Dr Obinna Uzor is a man of many parts. He is a successful business man from Ihiala local government area.

He is not a pretender as his outspokenness, cut him many enemies. He describes Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju administration who hails from the same area with him as mess that needs to be cleared in 2003.

Uzor contested that governorship election on the platform of National Democratic Party (NDP) and lost.

He is a philanthropist, who has touched many lives, but he does not have the clout of a governor and it will be difficult for the APC to give him the ticket, despite his closeness to Ngige.

One thing is clear about Uzor; he is a good man with a good heart. But, he is perceived as a serial defector.

Chike Obidigbo (APC)

Dr. Chike Obidigbo is an industrialist. He joined APGA in 2013 for the purpose of contesting 2014 governorship. He gave Obiano and Obi a run for their money during the 2014 contest.

The disagreement and controversy that trailed the selection process made him to drag the party to court up to Supreme Court where he lost. After the court judgment, he decided to team up with the APC.

Obidigbo is from Umunya in Oyi local government area. He is not seen as a grassroots man. But, he has a deep purse.

Published in News & Stories

Ghana's Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has challenged the investor community to take advantage of Ghana’s competitive advantages, especially within the West Africa Sub-region, to make significant investments that would bring them appreciable returns. 

He said the Akufo-Addo-led Government was looking for “significant investments to do “big things” and was thus putting the necessary legislative and policy framework in place to ensure that the private sector thrived in a business-friendly environment. 

“The six-month old Akufo-Addo Government is committed to transforming Ghana’s economy, ensuring macro-economic stability and managing our resources efficiently,” he stated. 

“We need significant investments to do big things and any investor will find in us a partner committed to ensuring a win-win situation,” he said.

Dr Bawumia made these known when he called on the President of the China Exim Bank, Mr Liu Liange, in Beijing, China.

Dr Bawumia proposed a strategic partnership between the China and Ghana Exim banks to facilitate the acquisition of machinery for the ‘One district One factory’ initiative, as well as other infrastructure projects outlined by the Government.

Vice President Bawumia is on a five-day official visit to the People’s Republic of China, leading a delegation of Ministers of State and businessmen to the Asian country, in a quest to deepen diplomatic and economic ties.

It was also to create opportunities for Ghanaian businesses to form partnerships with their Chinese counterparts.

The visit is at the invitation of the Chinese Government and it is the first high-level official state visit to China since the New Patriotic Party Government took office in January this year. 

For his part, Mr Liu Liange said, the Chinese Exim Bank had confidence in the Ghanaian economy and that was reflected in the fact that Ghana was the African country that had received the largest amount of money from the Bank for projects, including those covering telecom and agriculture.

“The bank also stands ready to help Ghana in the areas of Railways infrastructure, the Aviation industry, Manufacturing and other priority areas,” he assured.

The Vice President would also hold bilateral talks with the Chinese Vice President, Li Yuanchao, at the Great Hall of the People, as part of the visit. 

Dr Bawumia would meet Chinese leaders including Mr Yu Zhengsheng, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese Political Consultative Conference.

He would also attend the China-Africa Industrial Capacity Cooperation-Ghana Promotion Conference. 

Some Ministers of State accompanying the Vice President are the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo; Trade Minister Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen; Mr Joseph Ghartey, Minister for Railways and Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, Minister of Transport.

The rest are Mr. Joseph Kofi Adda, Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources; Charles Adu Boahen, Deputy Minister for Finance; Mohammed Amin Adam, Deputy Minister of Energy; Mohammed Habib Tijani, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mrs Gifty Ohene Konadu, Coordinator of the ‘One District One Factory’ initiative and Reginald Yoofi Grant, the Chief Executive of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.

Dr Bawumia would meet with the Ghanaian Community in China and brief them on happenings in Ghana’s economic front. 

A number of Ministers are also expected to sign cooperation and project agreements with Chinese companies.

Culled from: Ghana.gov.gh

Published in Headliners

The executive order issued recently by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, may have yielded fruits as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has since cancelled multiple checks at the Murtala Muhammed International Airports in Lagos. The development would give relief to passengers travelling through the airports, who hitherto, were subjected to multiple checks and levies by different agencies of government.

Travelling through the Nigeria’s airports has often been a nightmare compared with airports in other climes, where passenger screening is performed largely at just one point. FAAN should therefore hasten to extend the cancellation to all other airports in the country to enhance smooth travel and give Nigeria a better image.

Managing Director of FAAN, Saleh Dunoma, disclosed in Lagos, after a meeting with all the security agencies, that FAAN had cancelled multiple checks of passengers and luggage at airports nationwide to improve free movement and passenger experience.

Consequently, the multiple checks by the various law enforcement agencies had been harmonised in line with the executive order.According to Dunoma, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos had been chosen to begin the implementation, being the busiest airport in the country. Henceforth, a single screening unit would be seen at the departure halls of the airport.

Dunoma stressed that all the agencies had come together to effectively and seamlessly implement the order without compromising security procedures. This is indeed very important as there should be no security lapses as a result of the new arrangement.Under the new regime agencies would check luggage of passengers at designated areas and not within the departure halls as was the case before.

Last month, Acting President Osinbajo endorsed and signed three Executive Orders expected to boost the ease of doing business in Nigeria. The development is expected to increase patronage for locally manufactured goods and remove all bureaucratic bottlenecks that stifle business growth in the country.

The three executive orders touched on the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment; timely submission of annual budgetary estimates by all statutory agencies, including companies owned by the Federal Government; and support for local contents in public procurement by the Federal Government.

Certainly, Osinbajo should be commended for the move to remove the bottlenecks that have so far hindered business dealings in Nigeria. It would be recalled that Nigeria ranked 169th position in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business index for 2017 out of the 190 countries surveyed.

The report indicated that Nigeria moved up by only one point from 170th position on the 2016 ranking. This, obviously, is not a favourable commentary on Nigeria, Africa’s giant. It is little wonder then that business activities in Nigeria are low and the economy is not as it should be.

The World Bank report, for instance, revealed that  Nigeria ranked 138th position in terms of  Starting a Business,  174th position in terms of  Getting  Construction Permit, 180th position in terms of  Getting Electricity, 182nd position in terms of Registering Property,  44th position in terms of Getting Credit, 32nd position in terms of Protecting minority investors, 182nd position in terms of Paying Taxes, 181st position in terms of Trading Across Borders, 139th position in terms of  Enforcing Contracts, and 140th position in terms of   Resolving Insolvency. It is only in the area of access to credit that the country moved up to 16th position.

The implication is that the country has a lot to do to redirect and quicken the tempo of doing business. Given the magnitude of the problem, what the FAAN is doing is just a little token but, certainly, a good starting point.

Carrying out passenger screening at one designated point would help decongest the airport departure halls apart from removing undue delays caused by multiple checks by different agencies of government.

The World Bank report has given an insight into how much improvement that is needed to make things work well. From starting a business to registering property and resolving insolvency, as the case may be, improvement is needed.

This demands a total overhaul of the business environment and a new business culture. The problem applies not only at the federal level but also in the states and local governments. FAAN should, however, diligently implement its reform at the airports to serve as a shining example to other areas of the political economy that suffer opaqueness.

Published in Parliament

LONDON -- Chelsea are closing in on the £35 million signing of Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, sources have confirmed to ESPN FC.

The Premier League champions identified Bakayoko, 22, as a priority target heading into this summer, and after weeks of negotiations both clubs now expect the deal to be completed once personal terms with the player are finalised.

Bakayoko's arrival at Stamford Bridge will pave the way for Nemanja Matic's departure, with Jose Mourinho keen to bring the Serb to Manchester United and confident of completing a deal that could be worth up to £40 million, before taking his squad to the United States for preseason on July 9. 

Chelsea hope that Bakayoko -- who was rewarded for his role in Monaco's run to the Ligue 1 title and Champions League semifinals with a debut cap for France in March -- will be the first of several high-profile signings as they aim to give coach Antonio Conte a squad capable of competing on multiple fronts.

The £35m fee agreed for Bakayoko will make him the most expensive midfielder in Chelsea's history, and the most lucrative signing since the club-record £50m acquisition of Fernando Torres from Liverpool in January 2011, though the Blues expect that figure to be surpassed by the end of this transfer window.

Juventus wing-back Alex Sandro is another name on Conte's wish, and he has reportedly made it clear that he would like to move to Stamford Bridge.

Talks are also ongoing with Everton over striker Romelu Lukaku, who is Chelsea's preferred choice to replace the unsettled Diego Costa.

Courtesy: espnfc.us

Published in Sports

When Josephine Kiiza first moved from Kampala to Masaka, in southern Uganda, to flee civil war raging in the 1980s, she had no money, land or food in her name.

"My in-laws gave us two piglets, which brought us manure to farm a plot of leased land, crops we could sell at the market, and ultimately enough money to buy our own piece of land," she told Reuters, keeping an eye on her constantly buzzing phone.

Today she owns a dozen acres of land, where she has trained hundreds of students and farmers — among others — on organic farming practices as a means of adapting to Uganda's increasingly erratic climate.

Although most farmers in Uganda own or rent a plot of land, however small, many lack the knowledge and skills to cope with increasingly extreme weather events like longer dry spells and erratic rainfall, agricultural experts in the area say.

"In times of extreme weather many carry on farming the same way they've always known, and see their yields decline as a result," explained Deziderius Irumba, a learning coordinator at charity Care International.

"If the rains don't come, for example, they just wait, and by the time the rains do come, many of their crops will have already failed due to pests," he said.

Efforts to change that are under way, however, by training farmers — but also entrepreneurs, students and journalists — on climate change and efforts to adapt to it, and encouraging them to share that knowledge among their networks.

Since 2015, the campaign has trained over 1,000 people in partnership with Uganda's Makerere University. The most promising have been elected "climate champions" by their peers, and are then responsible for training others.

The initiative, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, is called Uganda Education and Research to Improve Climate Change Adaptation Activity.

FILE - Women water seedlings at a small farm outside Lira, Uganda, March 2009.
FILE - Women water seedlings at a small farm outside Lira, Uganda, March 2009.

"The idea is to show people that climate change affects every one of us, but also to explain how they can do something about it, so they hopefully become inspired to take action and become a go-to person in their area," said Sarah Fortunate, a climate adaptation specialist who coordinates the project.

Smart farming

Kiiza, who became a climate champion in 2015 and whose five children are also champions, showcases a range of farming practices at her farm. Those include building underground water tanks to harvest rainwater while limiting evaporation, and planting herbs in jerrycans tied to wood boards to maximize farming space.

"I try to make the most of the resources I have, whether it's building a drip irrigator out of a plastic bottle or putting dirt in a used tire to grow vegetables," she said, bending to examine a patch of spinach.

Geoffrey Mabirizi, another farmer and champion from a nearby village, teaches his neighbors to do intercropping — growing two or more crops together so they have a crop to fall back on if one harvest fails.

He said it doesn't matter whether those he trains are farmers or others who can help spread the news about new ideas.

"Journalists or traders, for example can be just as influential as farmers by spreading the climate and farming advice they've received to their readers or clients," he said.

Although training sessions are open to people of all ages, the project has set up week-long "boot camps" for university students to help them learn about climate change and brainstorm ideas on how to adapt to it.

Fortunate said students at a recent boot camp decided to design teaching materials on climate change and smart farming for primary school students.

She hopes to get those educational aids approved by the government "so they are everywhere."

Show, don't tell

Key to the trainings, said Mabirizi, is teaching practice rather than theory.

"In my first training I talked about carbon dioxide, about adaptation, and I completely lost them," he admitted.

"They would ask questions like 'How do you know this is carbon dioxide'? Even I started to get confused!" he laughed. "So I decided to go back to basics — that is, demonstrating smart farming practices to trainees rather than just telling them what to do."

Even then, less than half go on to implement the techniques based just on the training, he said. "So if you can, the best thing is to go to their farm or home and show them what to do."

Efforts to work with farmers need to start with women, who are more financially vulnerable than men, Kiiza said.

"Many women I met throughout the country, especially widows whose husbands had died of AIDS, could only afford to eat one meal per day and were severely malnourished," she said.

But women can be excellent messengers for the new ideas, she said.

"When you talk to a woman, you effectively get access to her whole family, as women know everything that's going on," she said. "So if you're trying to reach farmers, women can be a powerful communication tool."

Scaling up

Although many champions stay in touch with each other after meeting at in-person trainings, there is no formal platform yet for them all to do so, Fortunate said.

"So we'd like to set up an online forum or a WhatsApp group where they can share experiences," she said.

Some champions are already doing this themselves. Mabirizi said he has "over 20 WhatsApp groups with farmers and trainees, where I try to take a few minutes every evening to answer questions."

The next step for the project, said Fortunate, is to help 40 university students secure three-month internships with farmers who are also climate champions in their area.

"That will grow our pool of trainers, but also make the students more employable," she said.

Published in News & Stories
Page 1 of 14

Newsletter