Presidency: PANDEF Advises North to Wait till 2031

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has advised politicians from the Northern part of the country seeking to contest for Nigeria’s presidency to wait till 2031, for the sake of national harmony and peace.

The forum in a statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Ken Robinson, while agreeing that everyone has the right to take part in the governance of the country, stressed that it was equally fundamental to uphold the indispensable principles of fairness, equity, and justice for overall peace and progress.

It was also of the view that the federal character principle, now allegedly being brazenly infringed upon by the Buhari’s administration, was introduced to address the challenge of disproportionate and ethnicity-based domination of the country, by ensuring that the composition of every government, all over the federation, reflects all its different parts.

PANDEF described those saying that zoning was unconstitutional as barefaced mischief-makers, insisting that the north would have completed the statutory eight years by 2023. Therefore, it stressed that it would only be reasonable that power should rotate to the south, as has been the case for 22 years of the third republic.

The group averred that it should therefore be unthinkable that the north should contemplate clutching onto the presidential seat, in 2023, at the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s two tenures of eight years.

The statement reads: “We consider declarations, by some individuals and groups, now, suddenly opposing the extant practice of rotational zoning of political offices, particularly that of the Presidency, as unpatriotic and self-serving.

“Given the multi-faceted heterogeneity of our country, Nigerians should be critically concerned, not only about the credibility and competence of those aspiring to occupy the highest office, but also, where they come.

“We must conscientiously ensure that zoning, especially for the office of president and governors is very well maintained. Besides, PANDEF firmly affirms that no zone of the country is in want of men and women of noble character, acumen, competence, and integrity, to lead Nigeria at this crucial time.

“To say, suddenly, only in 2021, that the presidency should be open to all zones in 2023, amounts to moving the goalpost, in the 87th of a 90-minute game, implying that somebody from Daura, Katsina State, can, again, become President of Nigeria in 2023, within the present mood of the country.

“PANDEF says a ‘big no’ to such an attempt to worsen the current bare threads of national cohesion, unity and all-around prosperity. Section 134 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides that: A candidate for an election to the office of president shall be deemed to have been duly elected where, there being more than two candidates for the election; (a) he has the highest number of votes cast at the election; and (b) he has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the states in the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“The framers of the constitution incorporated the cited and related provisions to check sectional preponderancy, and guarantee balanced spread, above all, a secure sense of inclusiveness, in the political governance of the country.

“The need for equitable sharing of political power in Nigeria, cannot be overstated. The basis for success in any viable democracy, especially in a diverse and complex country like Nigeria, is fair and even sharing of critical offices northerners who hunger to become president should wait till 2031.

“Political stakeholders need to demonstrate pristine, honourable, and patriotic etiquette of civility to whittle down the thick tensions, arising from the all-around dissensions and alleviate the pain, suffering and unpleasant conditions that the vast majority of citizens are facing.

“Reckless political machinations, to arrogate power to one part of the country will only worsen the ensuing debilitating state of affairs.”


Business News

Naira crashes to record low at official market

The value of the naira fell further by 1.68 per cent against the dollar at the official market on Thursday.

At the Investor & Exporter foreign exchange window, the local currency opened at 413.15/$1 on Thursday but closed at 422.07/$1.

The naira had depreciated by 0.19 per cent to 415.10/$1 on Wednesday after closing at 414.30/$1 on Tuesday.

At the parallel market, the dollar was bought at N565 and sold for N570, according to some operators in the black market.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, however, maintained N410.91/$1 as its official rate on its website.

In July, the CBN stopped forex sales to the Bureau de Change operators and assured that it would supply forex to legitimate users through the banks.



Ekiti Fountain Summit 2021: VP Osinbajo urges creativity by states on revenue generation

The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday charged the 36 states to think like sovereign states in the area of internally generated revenue to be able to survive.

Osinbajo appealed to the 36 state governors to start investing in areas where their states had comparative advantages to shore up their IGR with a view to stop their reliance on federal allocations.

He spoke in Ado Ekiti during the Fountain Summit 2021 (Economic Development and Investment Summit) with the theme, ‘Investment Attractiveness and Economic Development: Lessons for Sub-nationals,’ shortly after he inaugurated the Ekiti State Civic Center, Ado Ekiti, as part of activities for the three years anniversary of the Dr Kayode Fayemi administration.

The summit was attended by dignitaries, including governors Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Godwin Obaseki (Benin), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) represented by his deputy, Lucky Ayedatiwa; Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi; and the Chairman, Ekiti State Council of Obas, Oba Ayodele Adejuwon.

The vice president said, “There has to be a collective change of mindset. There is the need for the sub-national to think like a sovereign state.

“The question the policy makers should ask is what if we were a landlocked nation, how are we going to survive? There is a different mindset when you are sure of monthly allocation of cash at least enough to pay salaries. This is a challenge.”

He charged the governors to strive “to take responsibility for all of those who reside within your borders, pay all the salaries from only the IGR. Sometimes, a shock is what you need like what happened in Lagos.

Osinbajo pointed out that Lagos State was compelled to think like a sovereign state when former President Olusegun Obasanjo withheld its allocations, saying the state reengineered its tax office and Land Registry, with the result that “from IGR of N600m in 1999, 2000, Lagos today does about N45bn a month and is targeting N60bn.”

Fayemi said that the summit was targeted at putting the state on the path of sustainable economic growth.

While calling for review of the constitutional framework on security, the Nigerian Governor’s Forum chairman said, “We need multi-level police arrangement which includes state police. With that position, the governors are not proposing abrogation of central police.”

Suggesting how Ekiti could transform its IGR and break the challenge of sole reliance on federal allocation, Lagos State Governor, Sanwo-Olu, advised Ekiti to digitalise its revenue collection process and give staff in the state Internal Revenue Service incentives to do their jobs without perpetrating corruption.



Breaking: Ayu Emerges Consensus PDP Chairmanship Candidate

Former Senate President, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, has been picked as the consensus national chairmanship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party by the party’s stakeholders in the North.

It was learnt Thursday that two other contenders from the North, where the position has been zoned to – former governor of Katsina state, Ibrahim Shema, and the incumbent deputy national chairman (North), Senator Nazif Suleiman – stepped down for Ayu.

At a press briefing on Thursday in Abuja, the Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, confirmed that Ayu was unanimously picked as the candidate for the office of the National Chairman by the Northern Caucus of the party.

Ayu had earlier emerged the consensus national chairmanship candidate for the North Central zone after other contenders from the zone withdrew from the race early this week.

The office of the PDP national chairman, currently occupied by the South, has been zoned to the North ahead of the next general election.

The party’s national convention holds in Abuja October 31.

Details later…



Fayemi’s Transformation Strides in Water Sector Outstanding, Says Obaseki

The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has commended his Ekiti State counterpart, Governor Kayode Fayemi, for his transformation agenda in the state, saying Ekiti is lucky to have a resourceful and innovative chief executive that can turn things around with lean resources.

Obaseki said this in Ado Ekiti on Thursday while commissioning a multi-million naira Water Corporation Headquarters built by the state government in partnership with the World Bank.

Fayemi, at the occasion, said the World Bank-assisted project was part of the projects executed under the $50 million grant to Ekiti by the World Bank.

Having an holistic appraisal of the projects executed by Fayemi, the Edo Governor said he was stunned by the quantum of projects executed in the water and other sectors despite the Covid-19 challenge and the lean allocation accruing to Ekiti internally and from the federation accounts.

The Edo governor said: “Ekiti is lucky, you don’t know how lucky you are to have the kind of governor God has given you. Ekiti is not a big state. You are not even rich, but you have the greatest resource any nation can have, which is human resource.

“Governor Fayemi is not only leading Ekiti people well, he is leading all the governors well as the Chairman of the Nigeria’s Governors’ forum.

“In my state in Edo, we were reviewing Covid-19 issues recently and we realised that Ekiti has the highest number of vaccinated persons in Nigeria and this gave us an insight into what is happening in the health sector in Ekiti.

“Coming here to see what you (Fayemi) are doing in the water sector, I am happy. Water is social services, it is an economic good that somebody would have to pay for. We have no choice, water is life, we have to give our people water. It has to be in a sustainable and affordable way.

“Nobody will give this kind of money, I mean $50 million without transparency. I listened to the achievements reeled out by your commissioner in the water sector. The biggest achievement I see is that of the people you trained in the water sector. Those you sent to Zambia Water Corporation for training .

“I congratulate the governor and the good people of the state at this auspicious time.”

Speaking further on the priority placed on water supply to Ekiti households, Fayemi warned that the agency would cut off debtors from the water source if they do not pay all the requisite bills.

Fayemi said: “I enjoin those who are already enjoying the pipe borne water to pay their bills. You know that this water has a meter in every home and if you fail to pay your bills, your water source will be cut off. So, make sure you pay,” Fayemi warned.

The governor said the state was able to access the $50 million World Bank’s fund upon the payment of a sum of N1 billion counterpart funding to ensure the transformation of the sector.

The governor revealed that the state has rehabilitated Ero, Egbe and Ureje dams to supply water to all the 16 local government areas being part of the ways to reform the sector.

“We have executed 18 projects across the state in the water sector. This is one of the most significant projects of this administration that we hold high because it has to do with our people.

“I commend the World Bank, European Union and the Federal Ministry of Water Resources for their partnership,” he said.



Banks get deadline on dead customers’ BVN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed banks and other financial institutions to report Bank Verification Number (BVN) of a dead customers to Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) within 24 hours of confirmation.

The directive is contained in the revised BVN guideline issued by the apex bank and signed by its Director, Payment System Management, Musa Jimoh.

“Report the BVNs of confirmed deceased customers to NIBSS for designation as “Deceased” on the BVN database within 24hrs of confirmation,” the circular said.

The banks are also expected to use the watch-list report submitted by participants and duly endorsed by the Managing Director/CEO of the Institution, with clearance from the Director, Risk Management Department of CBN to delist the BVN from the watch-list.

Jimoh said the CBN’s move aligned with the powers conferred on the regulator, under the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 (CBN Act), and the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020.

The revised regulatory framework for BVN operations also stated that violators would be sanctioned.

The framework enhances effectiveness of customer due diligence and Know Your Customer processes as part of the strategy for promoting a safe and efficient banking and payment system.

In a circular entitled: “Issuance of revised regulatory framework for Bank Verification Number operations and watch-list for the Nigerian banking industry”, and addressed to  deposit money banks, mobile money operators, super agents and payment service providers.

The circular listed watch-list stakeholders to include the CBN, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), banks, other financial institutions and bank customers.

Part of the circular stated that misuse of the BVN watch-listing process for victimisation; improper linking of accounts/wallets (except Tier 1); and other infraction(s), as may be determined by the CBN will attract sanctions.



Anambra poll: Supreme Court affirms Soludo as APGA’s gov candidate

There was jubilation on Thursday when the Supreme Court in Abuja cleared a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo as the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance in the Anambra State governorship election scheduled for November 6.

The apex court also returned Chief Victor Oye as the National Chairman of APGA.

The apex court in a judgment of a five-man panel of justices dismissed the appeal filed by one Jude Okeke was dismissed on the ground of being an abuse of the court process.

Justice Mary Peter Odili, who delivered the lead judgment, awarded a sum of N1 million to be paid by Jude Okeke to APGA and Victor Oye.

She also upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal (Kano Division), which had earlier dismissed Okeke’s suit.

Details later…



Police Arrest Two Masquerades in Ondo for Stealing N370,000

Men of the Ondo State Police Command have arrested two masquerades, Sheriff Ojo and Muhammad Lukman for stealing N370,000.

The Spokesperson of the State Police Command, DSP. Funmilayo Odulami, alleged that “the masquerades attacked their victims, stole N370,000.00 and inflicted injury with cutlasses on one Adinoyi Mohammed the owner of the money at Ipele town, Owo Local Government Area of the state.”

Odulami said that “he two suspects paraded themselves as masquerades, inflicted injury with cutlasses on one Adinoyi and also stole a handset valued 32,000.00 and a shirt valued 2,500.00.

“They also inflicted injury on their victim’s father, Mr. Saliu Ajayi.

“Two cutlasses, charms and masquerade clothes were recovered from them. The two suspects had been arrested and will soon be charged to court while effort is ongoing to arrest the fleeing ones.”



Don’t Create Barrier for Girl Child Education, Ekiti First Lady Tells Nigerians

The Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi has called for the removal of barriers capable of limiting the education of the girl child and break away from stereotype traditions and customs.

This, she said became necessary for the emancipation of women, end the vicious circle of poverty and set women on the course of self fulfilment.

Fayemi stated this at a special colloquium marking the third anniversary of the Governor Kayode Fayemi’s administration in Ado Ekiti, tagged “Ekiti Women Let’s Talk about Gender Stereotyping: Challenging Women’s Roles at Home, at Work and in Our Society.”

Fayemi while charging women to continue to work in love and solidarity, assured that she would continue to support and advocate for continuous education of a girl child.

“Women need to be able to stand on their own whether they have husband or not, we must be able to take care of ourselves and our businesses.

“And that is why I am so passionate about the education of a girl child, keeping girls in school because the only way you can break the circle of generational poverty is to ensure that you educate girls.”

Keep them in school for as long as possible so that their lives can make ways for generation to come to reap the benefits.” the First Lady said.

Also, the Guest Speaker and Senior Pastor of Agape Ministry, Mrs. Funke Felix-Adejumo, spoke about issues that bothered on values, marriage ethics, financial independence, businesses and empowerment.

Felix-Adejumo charged women to embrace self-development, self-improvement and brace up for the challenges around and within their homes and communities.

She commended the Ekiti state government for not only providing leadership in the implementation of policies and programmes that tackle gender-based violence, but for also providing space that allows women to contribute their quota to the development of the state.

On his part, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Wale Fapohunda, said the Fayemi-led administration was committed to protecting the dignity and values of every women in the State, irrespective of ethnicity, political class or cultural background.

He added that the event further affirmed Fayemi’s administration’s commitment to sustain dialogues that guarantee women’s emancipation and participation in nation-building.


Business News

FIRS generates N3.3tr from non-oil export

The Federal Government has generated N4.2 trillion revenue so far this year.

A statement from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) issued yesterday said about N3.3 trillion, that is over 77 per cent of the total collection, came from the non-oil sector.

FIRS Chairman, Muhammad Nami, stated that “to address the issue of Nigeria not diversifying its economy, from a tax perspective, you will discover that we are actually diversifying the economy”.

He argued that the diversification, though a work in progress, was on course.

According to Nami, “the total collection we have up to 31 September, which we have not fully reconciled with the CBN and the Nigerian Customs is about N4.2 trillion, and from this amount, oil related taxes accounted for only 22 percent which is N950 Billion only, while the non-oil taxes we have generated within that period is N3.3 trillion”.

Nami noted that though the potential of the country’s non-oil revenue was being harnessed, it was, however, not adequate.

He lamented that the taxes being paid in Nigeria were inadequate. According to him, “to discuss about the taxes that are being paid in the country and to say whether they are adequate or not, I want to believe one, they are not adequate”.

”People are not willing to pay even when they are appointed as agents of collection; whatever they have collected on behalf of the government, they find it difficult to remit. When you compare Nigeria as an oil producing country to a small country like Saudi Arabia, we are still not there.

”We assume that we are a rich country, I don’t think that is correct. We only have the potential to be rich, because we have a very huge population of about 200 million.

”Saudi Arabia with a population of about 35 million has an oil firm, ARAMCO that raked in $49 billion in profit in 2020. At our official rate, that is roughly about N20 trillion in profit; more than the total budget sum for 2022 that was submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari.

”Despite the above statistics, Saudi Arabia still earns revenue from several other sources, including religious tourism and Value Added Tax, which is as high as 15 per cent, as against Nigeria’s 7.5 per cent.” Nami stated.

The FIRS chief emphasised that the best way to fund budgets globally was through payment of taxes by citizens, particularly personal income tax which is a direct tax as against indirect taxes; he further noted that personal income taxes in other countries account for over 50 per cent of the funds available to their respective governments for funding expenditure.

”Our total tax payers is in the region of about 41 million people and the total personal income tax paid last year was less than N1trillion by 40 million people.

”If you also compare that with our own brother South Africa where they have a total population of about 60 million, with just four million taxpayers, the total personal income tax paid in South Africa last year is about N13trillion. You can now see that these things are not adding up.

”The number of billionaires in Lagos alone are more than the number of billionaires in the whole of South Africa, yet what Lagos State generated as Personal Income Tax was just less than N400billion in 2020.

”So, if we don’t pay these taxes, there is no way the government will be able to provide the social amenities required, the critical infrastructure required for the wellbeing of the country,” Nami stated.