MATTERS ARISING: MAUSOLEUM

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Sixteen years after his demise, Nnamdi Azikiwe’s mausoleum might finally be completed after all, as the Federal Executive Council has approved N1.5billion for the project scheduled for completion in 13 months time.
According to the Minister of Land, Housing and Urban Development, N 530 million has been earmarked for the mausoleum in the 2012 budget which will be used to kick-start the project, with completion fund of N1 billion to be included in the 2013 budget; to ensure that the national monument is completed before the nation’s centenary celebration in 2014.
“In this year’s budget we have N530million with which we are going to start off the project. We have also put N1billion in the budget for next year. If that is given to us, we should be able to complete it within the time stipulated. It is a national monument; it is something we will want to complete before we celebrate our centenary in 2014.”

It would be recalled that the project in memory of Nigeria’s first president has been abandoned and re -awarded severally under the presidency before it was transferred to the Ministry of Land and Housing Development in 2010.


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Trivial Issues On Constitution Amendment

As the National Assembly embarks on constitution amendment, diverse suggestions are bound to grace the floor of the house among which is one made by a People’s Democratic Party chieftain, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, who has called on the House to entrench rotational presidency in the constitution.
Iwuanyanwu, in his assessment believes the six geo-political zones have been tested and found acceptable to Nigerians, and rotational presidency among them would be in conformity with the federal character emphasised in our constitution and would ensure equity, peace, unity and stability.
As good as Iwuanyanwu’s view is, the better it would become if more emphasis is placed more on presidential performance. Nigerians in the real sense would not care which region or zone the president comes from if he delivers the goods!


NIN, Voter’s Card to be Accepted for Identification in Banks

With effect from January 8, 2013, the National Identification Number (NIN) will become the basis for KYC verification and compliance by all Deposit Money Banks and other financial institutions. This directive is contained a recent circular from the CBN to all financial institutions. The CBN has also directed that the Independent National Electoral Commission voter’s card be included as an acceptable means of identification for the purpose of transacting business in the banks, stating that the development was necessary in order to reduce the number of unbanked people.
“Accordingly, all banks and other financial institutions are hereby advised to accept voter’s registration card duly issued by INEC, bearing the holder’s particulars such as name, photograph, date of birth and address as a valid additional means of identification of natural persons for the purpose of conducting banking business in Nigeria.”
The apex bank also lamented the uniformity in account opening procedure and documentation for prospective customers which had continued to hinder the effectiveness of Know Your Customer requirements in banks and other financial institutions in Nigeria.


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It’s what PHCN Does Best!

On his recent visit to the PHCN Central Stores at Shogunle, Oshodi, Lagos, Minister of State for Power, Darius Ishaku, discovered more than 2000 transformers being hoarded by officials of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria. He thereafter ordered that these transformers and other power equipment be allocated to every part of the country that needed them within the next two weeks.
The hoarding of transformer is only but a part of misappropriation and fraud in the PHCN. Consumers over the years have been extorted in every aspect by the organisation’s activities. Talk of crazy bills, selling of transformers and cables that were meant to be given freely. It is also on good authority that the new prepaid metres are also being sold to customers in many parts of the country. Don’t be surprised Mr. Darius! If you later hear that those power equipment were not given to communities but sold to some private companies.


Flood Rage Foretold…

There were warnings preceding this year’s rainfall, yet no preparations were made. Now that the visitor has arrived having notified us before, we still didn’t prepare a space for its accommodation. Water as they say will always find its way, and if anybody had any contradiction to that fact, such must have reconsidered his stance having seen the rage of the flood on display in Ibadan and Lagos last year.
The plight of flood victims in affected areas somehow shows a missing link between the state government, local government and the citizens. When such disaster occurs, the nearest source of succor should be the local government, but alas, the local government itself needs help. This brings us to the security votes accrued to each state governor. Is this not one the purposes these monies are meant to serve? To what purpose have states deployed these monies when such issues are not there to deal with? The case of a governor who openly admitted to have diverted it for his party campaign comes to mind, while the contrasting scenario of the other who declared surplus education for his citizen will also strike the mind.
The fire brigade attention and care would soon be over and we can only hope that the victims will not be left alone in the struggle to wrestle their residence from reptiles and Hippopotamuses.


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Militants or Pirates?

Recent kidnapping of some oil workers in Bayelsa State has raised fears of the resurgence of a menace which seemed to have been curbed by the amnesty programme. Seven expatriates – six Russians and one Estonian, working aboard a vessel belonging to Bourbon International Oil Company, were taken away by gunmen described as pirates.
The attack which was carried out in the wee hours of the day occurred along the Pennington River when the attacked vessel was believed to be sailing from the Pennington Offshore Terminal situated 16 miles south-west of the entrance to the Fishtown River.
With the perpetrators are still relatively unknown, and the incident having occurred in the Niger Delta, the act is nothing short of sabotage; as billions have and are still being invested in the amnesty programme designed to eradicate such crime on our shores.


Reps, Otedola Endless Scores To Settle

It is fast becoming a year of increased fame for the oil magnate. First it was the Lawangate, later his involvement in the electricity privatization plan and now another debt clearance tussle with the House of Representatives.
It is being insinuated that the House may be trying to get back at Otedola through its new investigations. In what looks like a revenge mission, The House of Representatives recently set up an eight-man ad hoc committee to investigate the N141 billion debt deal struck between him and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON. Not a few were shocked when news filtered out that erstwhile debt-laden Otedola who led a pack of entrepreneurs, corporate organizations and state governments listed as chronic debtors and barred from receiving further credit from banks had paid off the sum of N141 billion as full and final payment.
According to a motion sponsored by a member of the House, Hon. Bimbo Daramola, the debt settlement did not follow laid down procedure. Daramola said: “It was shrouded in secrecy and established under a binding confidentiality agreement. And if the full extent and spectrum of transaction was not scrutinised, it might be a prelude to disaster worse than the near collapse witnessed in the stock market in which many Nigerians not only lost their investments but also died because of the emotional trauma occasioned by their losses.”
The committee headed by House Minority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, is therefore tasked to unravel the circumstances surrounding the final settlement of debts totalling N140,999,620,395.80 owed AMCON by Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited owned by Otedola.
As Nigerians await the outcome of the investigations we can only hope that there will be no video show of committee members collecting Dollar bribes this time around.


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Oshiomhole’s Riot Act

Indiscipline among public servants is a menace that has lived with us for a while and it has had its impact on the stunted growth and development of the nation. These workers are always quick to single out the government for blame, while they also shirk in their respective responsibilities. Most leaders never dared to tackle the scourge, as the log is also in their own eyes.
When Oshiomhole stormed the gates of three schools in Edo State, it must have been like the second coming of Christ to some of the teachers on duty. Some were found guilty of irregularities, while some where entirely absent from duty. The governor did not hesitate to reel out punishments accordingly, as 20 teachers lost their jobs and many others were penalised for abating negligence of duty.
41 Zonal Inspectors and Chief Inspectors of Education and Local Government Education Officers were also relieved of their appointments in the ongoing sanitisation of the state educational sector, on grounds of non-performance and negligence of duty.
Ride on governor! And the unexpected visitation should also be extended to your state and local government secretariats; there you will find more civil servants spending most of the working hours on their private businesses.


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Okorocha Carves A Niche Among Equals

Rochas Okorocha’s exploits in Imo State are not going unnoticed, especially in the education sector, in both state and personal capacity. Rochas Okorocha Foundation which started with a few students, recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with 6000 students. The five colleges located in Imo, Oyo, Plateau and Kano state are epitome of Okorocha’s vision to lay the foundation for the total eradication of ignorance, poverty and hopelessness in the life of many Nigerian children.
Speaking at the anniversary ceremony which also coincides with the governor’s birthday, the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Hon. Morgan Tsvangariai said that time has come for African leaders and government to borrow a leaf from the programmes of Rochas Foundation and change their attitude towards the less-privileged in the society.
According to him, Rochas Foundation is a demonstration of individual commitment and dedication to help the African child to overcome ignorance and poverty through the provision of free and qualitative education especially for the less privileged.
Also lauding the governor’s achievement was former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, who described Rochas Foundation College as an institution of unity and national integration, which has continued to erase lines of differences in religion, ethnicity and class in Nigeria.
He stressed that the establishment of Rochas Colleges in different parts of the country with free tuition, accommodation for students from diverse background is a great achievement that even politics has failed to achieve in the country.
The foundation has graduated students from secondary education an

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