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APC issues 6 queries to INEC, denies calling for staggered elections

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By Omeiza Ajayi

The ruling All Progressives Congress APC has issued six queries to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC following the postponement of the general elections by the electoral umpire.

From left: Mr. Remi Ibirogba, Commissioner, Information and Strategy, Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos and Mr. Lateef Raji, Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, during the Governor’s Press briefing on Ebola Virus, at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. Photo: Bunmi Azeez

This was as the party denied allegations by the Peoples Democratic Party PDP that it was pressuring the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC into staggering the general elections.

The position of the party was disclosed during a news conference addressed by its Director of Election Planning and Monitoring, Babatunde Raji Fashola and that of Contact and Mobilization, Hadiza Bala-Usman Sunday evening in Abuja

Both directorates had met at the Buhari Campaign Council headquarters to fine-tune its strategies in the face of the postponement of the polls by INEC.

Addressing the media, Fashola threw several posers at the electoral umpire.

“As a result of the common pain shared by us all, we, the Directorate of Election Planning and Monitoring, and Contact and Mobilization on behalf of APC Campaign Council, demand greater openness and transparency in the Commission’s preparations ahead of Saturday 23rdFebruary 2019.

“We believe that members of the public should know what steps INEC have taken with CBN to assess, take inventory of materials and brief the public about what their condition is;

“The status of INEC’s plans to procure and provide materials for election and in particular let Nigerians know if all materials required are in country and if not what plans the commission has to ensure that they are.

“INEC’s plans to re-deploy and distribute materials ahead of Saturday 23rd 2019.

“The specific problems INEC encountered in the failed attempt of Saturday 16thFebruary 2019 and measures it has taken to overcome them?

“What transport logistics and further materials INEC require in terms of vehicles, boats, trucks, airplanes, helicopters, manpower and funding INEC requires to execute the elections of February 23rd and March 9th.

“Confirmation that the configuration of the card readers will be completed in readiness of Saturday 23rd 2019.

“In addition to all of these, we believe that INEC should brief Nigerians daily on an ongoing basis until this process is concluded. This is one way to elicit the buy-in of Nigerians that INEC is serious and this will replace disappointment with enthusiasm”, he stated.

Fashola added that APC’s “disappointment is doubled due to the fact that unlike some who were apparently privy to this postponement in advance, we found out alongside the public a few hours before the polls opened.

“To the stranded youth corpers we empathise with you. To the voters and volunteers who have travelled at great cost to cast their votes, we empathise with you. To party agents and our party faithful we empathise with you.

“Our sympathies go to all those people and we urge them not to despair. However, we Nigerians are a determined and resilient people and we will not let the shortcomings of INEC deter us from exercising our franchise”.

Tackles PDP

On allegations that the APC was coercing INEC to stagger the elections, Fashola said; “I think that is not a responsible and credible allegation to make. APC does not conduct elections. We go by the rules as set by the electoral umpire”.

On his part, Chief Press Secretary to the National Chairman of APC, Simon Egbebulem said the ruling party would wait to punish the PDP at the polls.

“That is the height of irresponsibility and desperation on the part of the PDP to make such stupid allegation. The entire world was at the venue where the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole expressed his disappointment very sincerely before the chairman of the INEC over the postponement of the election. President Muhammadu Buhari did the same.

But we will not dissipate energy in responding to the PDP allegation because we await them at the polls. We all were in this country when under the PDP government the then President ordered the Chairman of the INEC to postpone the election. But in this case we saw a situation where the INEC decided to postpone election on their own based on the excuses they enumerated.

APC can never be like the fraudulent PDP which is the root of the problems which the APC led administration is cleaning up”, he said.

 

 

 

 





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FG allocates land for Afreximbank’s medical centre

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Uche Usim, Abuja

In fulfillment of its earlier pledge, the Federal Government has allocated a 5.12-hectare piece of land in Abuja to the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) for the development of a centre of excellence for medical services to serve Nigeria and the west African sub-region.

The centre of excellence, the first by Afreximbank in Nigeria, will be completed 24 months after a groundbreaking exercise expected to take place in December. It is being developed by Afreximbank in collaboration with Kings College Hospital (KCH), United Kingdom, which is serving as the strategic partner.

Afreximbank said that allocation of the land, which took place on 29 January, would allow for project development activities to proceed in order to ensure the timely delivery of the project.

The centre will provide specialist healthcare to improve the quality of health care for Africans and at will promote intra-African medical tourism. It will also create employment and facilitate the conservation of the foreign exchange that would otherwise be utilized to seek medical treatment outside Africa.

READ ALSO: Oil firms engage PTDF welders to deepen local content

It will offer a full spectrum of medical services, including diagnostics, clinical management, post care and onsite ambulatory services, in treating oncology (cancers), haematology (blood diseases, including blood cancers, and sickle cell anaemia) and cardiology diseases.

It will also provide prompt, life-saving detection and management of chronic diseases to over 50,000 Africans annually.

The centre is expected to create about 500 direct jobs and to be the basis for the emergence of a comprehensive medical park with facilities to be managed by KCH.

Nigeria was selected in February 2017 to host the centre following a competitive bidding process.

Afreximbank is supporting the development of world-class health facilities in Africa in the context of its mandate to promote the diversification of continent’s exports by meeting the growing health care needs with a view to enhancing service exports, promoting employment and conserving scarce foreign exchange.



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Election shift: INEC Enugu retrieves materials

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The Enugu state Resident Electoral Commissioner,(REC) Dr. Emeka Ononamadu, has hinted  that all sensitive materials already distributed in the 17 council areas of the state would be retrieved.

According to him, after retrieving them, the materials would be  returned to the custody of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) branch in Enugu, the state capital.

The REC, disclosed  this to reporters  during a press conference held at the INEC headquarters in Enugu, adding that “we have been directed to return all the sensitive materials to the CBN, Enugu.

“And the process is already on as I am briefing you now under heavy armed security to ensure that integrity of the materials will be ensured.”

Read Also: Enugu: 1000 youths for recruitment in Clean Team Project

He said: “It will be in the protective custody of the CBN, under heavy security presence, until Wednesday when it will be escorted by the same security personnel back the council headquarters.

“While in the following day, beginning from Thursday, the sensitive materials will be moved to the Registration Area Centres (RAC) under heavy security as well.”

Ononamadu, assured residents of the State of the integrity of the electoral materials especially the sensitive materials – ballot papers, its accessories and result sheets.

He, however, regretted the postponement and inconveniences it might have caused  Nigerians and other major stakeholders, stressing that the decision was taken to protect Nigeria’s  democracy.

“It is a painful decision but one that must be taken to ensure integrity, a free and fair process,’’ he said.

The Enugu REC, noted that few lapses observed in the commission’s work in the state would be corrected before Saturday, revealing that over 1.7 million Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) had been collected so far among the 1.9 million registered voters in the state.

He added that “I will urge the residents of the state to keep faith with the commission as we are poised to organise a credible, fair and free elections come Feb. 23.’’



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Adepegba Oluwademilade: The passionate instrumentalist | The Guardian Nigeria News

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My name is Adepegba Oluwademilade. I am 10 years old and from Ogun State. I am a young and passionate instrumentalist.

My journey into it all started from the cradle. My parents told me that the sound of music was enough to pacify me and stop my cries as a baby. Such musical instruments as guitar, keyboard, drums and flute, among others, became my solace and favourite toys.

Hypersensitive to sounds and instruments, my ears and heart began gravitating towards music, its formation and expression, especially with my exceptionally dexterous fingers that first started running the scales of the keyboard before running that of Saxophone.

As a little boy, nothing fascinated me as music, the reason my mother would never leave home for choir rehearsal without taking me along. And to everyone’s amazement, I paid absolute attention with all my heart only to get back home singing the entire songs in my childish manner.

How did the idea for your business come about?
By the time I was four years old, I had become a master at playing the recorder. The amazing interest I had in music and growing keenness for it prompted my parents to get me a keyboard, and a tutor at age six. Within a few weeks, I was consumed with the mastery of playing the keyboard, sight-reading and had developed an extraordinary sense of tonation.

I started to live music. I would play in the morning before going to school, after school, and would often wake up in the middle of the night to rehearse musical inspirations. I could play all the cartoon soundtracks I have watched with no mistake.

So, I pleaded with my parents to get me a Saxophone, which I got as a birthday gift. To everyone’s astonishment, I began playing it with a proficient dexterity.

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest initial hurdle was striking the balance between my love for playing the saxophone and my schoolwork. But I was able to overcome it because my parent had to draw a line. A timetable was drawn and there are days I don’t play the saxophone at all. There are days I play it. It soon became part of me. It has all been so amazing and interesting, and in the end, I found out that music has helped me perform even better in my academics.

Are there books you are reading and which you’d recommend for other entrepreneurs?
I don’t really read other books apart from my schoolbooks. But I take out time to read about lives of music legends, especially saxophonists. I study how they play to improve my skills. So, I’d like to encourage those that love playing the saxophone to start studying the great ones. It will surely inspire and keep them going.

Did you ever deal with contention from family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it?
Not at all. All I get is love and support from my family, especially my parents who even go out of their way to pay tutors and get me expensive instruments as soon as I desire such.

Although some people feel I am learning too fast for my age, but as long as I have my parents’ backing, I’m good.

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
It is God. And my parents, who are sensitive enough to identify my passion for art, especially music at a very tender age and helped me develop it. I owe it all to God and my parents.

What have you learned that you wish you knew when you first started?
Nothing really, but I see every day as an opportunity to learn more and improve on my craft. And don’t forget that I’m still growing. I’m just a 10-year-old boy.

What advice would you give to local and international upcoming entrepreneurs?
When it comes to music, there is no shortcut. It’s rehearsals, rehearsals and more rehearsals. The more you practise, the better you become. Just follow your dreams, don’t get upset or discouraged. Also, be willing to learn at all times and nothing works like hard work. Finally, always trust God to bring out the best in you.

What other things do you do apart from music?
Aside playing the saxophone and keyboard, I also love watching football and wrestling.

Are you on social media?
Definitely. I can be tracked on my day-to-day activities on my instagram @demiladeadepegba Facebook Demilade adepegba and YouTube Demilade Adepegba.





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Peace Accord: Ensuring Peaceful Elections In Nigeria

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ACCORD: Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (left); President Muhammadu Buhari; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and Head of ECOWAS election monitoring group and former Liberian President, Helen Johnson Sirleaf during the final signing of the 2019 National Peace Accord by the presidential candidates in Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and 71 others came together in Abuja to sign a peace accord for the 2019 general elections.

The elections kick-started yesterday, February 16, 2019, in every pat of the country with the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

The signing of the peace accord, which was said to be at the prompting of former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, took place amid cheers by other election observers who was in attendance. It was held under the auspices of the National Peace Committee.

Johnson-Sirleaf is leading the ECOWAS Observer Mission to Nigeria. The event, held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, was also attended by other foreign and local monitors. The first accord was signed on December 11, 2018.

What Buhari Said At The Event

President Buhari, in his address after the signing ceremony, urged fellow contestants to commit to the final outcome of the polls.

He said: “We, the presidential candidates are here to sign and commit ourselves to do all that is possible to ensure the success of the elections but most importantly to accept the final outcome.

“I appeal to my fellow contestants to commit to these ideals so as to keep our country and people safe. INEC, our electoral umpire, has already assured us that they have done everything possible to ensure free and fair elections.”

The president, who noted the anxiety in the air, especially coming after one of the most peaceful elections in the history of the country, in which he emerged the winner, expressed optimism that the players are mature in their disposition towards electoral outcomes.

According to him, “Another election is upon us, and not unexpectedly, there is anxiety in the air. This is typical of any form of competition and contest, no matter how well prepared all contestants and regulators are. The forthcoming elections are very special and significant for the growth of our democracy.

“First, they come immediately after one of the most peaceful elections in the history of our country. I am not saying this because I was blessed to emerge as the winner.

“I am saying there have been a lot of fears and anxieties from within and outside Nigeria about the future of the country. We are hopeful that this is evidence that we are all maturing in our disposition towards electoral outcomes. We see this as an opportunity to grow our sense of political culture in Nigeria.”

“I call on all Nigerians to contribute to the building of a viable polity by more active participation well beyond the mere casting of votes. Elections by themselves do not constitute democracy. It is the spirit of citizenship engagement that utilises the energy of citizens towards the attainment of good governance.”

He said the electoral umpire had received all the resources it needed to perform its assignment, adding, “Our security agencies have been fully briefed and they know that their visible neutrality is key to the conduct, credibility and success of the elections.”

Atiku Added His Voice

Atiku, in his speech, appealed to every official and the leadership of INEC and the Nigeria Police to be fair arbiters while letting neutrality prevail.

He stated: “As we prepare to sign off on this peace accord, as representatives of our party and people, may I freely quote the words of former President Goodluck Jonathan, which remains a benchmark, for me, taking into account the deep feelings that prevail as February 16, 2019, approaches: ‘My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.’

“For emphasis and in the spirit of fair play, I also urge our security agencies, not to embark on indiscriminate arrests of members of the opposition, 24 to 48 hours before elections, as had been the case in previous elections.

“Hopefully, our democracy should emerge stronger from this process with the 2019 elections proving better managed than the 2015 process, which was adjudged free and fair with the then opposition’s victory unobstructed

“Consequently, I also appeal to President Buhari to use his good offices to ensure that every eligible person who casts vote is confident in the process and in the belief that the vote will count.

“Additionally, every candidate must remember that this election is about the future of Nigeria, therefore, we must abide by the will of the people as freely expressed through elections, under the terms of our constitution.

“Despite concerns expressed by my party leaders concerning likely electoral malpractices and the intimidation of voters and observers, I trust that our election officials and security services will do their duty in accordance with their oath and obligations.”

Abubakar Takes His Turn

Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Head of State, and Chairman of the National Peace Committee and said the panel organised the event to ensure a peaceful conduct of all elections in the country.

According to him, elections would not hold in the absence of peaceful atmosphere; even governance after election would not be peaceful without a peaceful environment.

“Don’t make anything to make a bad situation worse,” he said, noting that disharmony among political parties retards Nigeria’s development.

According to him, mere signing of the peace accord would not achieve the required objective “unless all other actors are forced to work with the same rules.”

Abdulsalami alleged spreading of misinformation in the nation’s mosques and churches. “This must be contained,” he said.

Gowon Makes Appeal

Gen Yakubu Gowon, another former Head of State, urged the candidates to prevail on their supporters to conduct themselves with decorum during the elections so that in the future, there may be no need for foreign observers because the right disposition would have been assured.

“May the winner be as dictated from above,” he said.

Commonwealth Chief Scribe Speaks

Patricia Scotland, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, said millions of people across the world were praying for Nigeria and its people hoping that the elections would hold peacefully.

She stressed that the presidential and National Assembly elections would be the sixth since 1999 when the country returned to democracy after military rule. She said all concerned should not fail by ensuring a credible and transparent election.

Situation Room Boss Comments

Clement Nwankwo, the Convener of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, said it should be an opportunity for the country to get it right. He also urged security agencies to be neutral, noting that elections are not the responsibility of state institutions like the army, police and other security agencies.

Those in attendance included former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, who heads the Commonwealth Observer Mission; Festus Moghai, former president of Botswana, who is heading the Democratic National Institute and Republic National Institute, and INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Mathew Kukah, as well as leaders of the political parties.

However, since the signing of the peace accord, several Nigerians are worried that it did not contain any punitive measure against those who might break the accord. Thus the question arose: What type of punishment could be meted out to politicians who fail to honour peace accord?

Peace Accord Should Be Backed With Free, Fair Elections – Lawyer

Patrick Ayiti  Momodu, a Benin-based lawyer, said: “Any politician who reneged on peace accord he or she gracefully signed before an election, should be given the opportunity to explain why he or she failed to honour such agreement.

“For instance, you can’t say because I signed any peace accord, therefore, I should not protest in the face of glaring irregularity against me by my opponents. Peace accord should be backed up with free and fair election.

“You cannot say because I signed peace accord my supporters should not stop my opponents from carrying out irregularities, if they have the opportunity to do so.

“In fact, I see this year’s elections as one where the ruling party is desperate to remain in power at all costs while the major opposition wants to return to power at all costs.

“My children have just drawn my attention to a social media report and photograph of some bags of already thumb-printed ballot papers by one of the political parties impounded by the police in Kano. You see what I mean.

“So, for a peace accord to have meaning, all stakeholders should play the game according to the rules because laws are made to prevent crime and injustice in the society and if such laws are respected and adhered to, peace will prevail in such society.”

Political Leaders, Must Lead By Example – PDP Chief

Hon. Oseloka Henry Obaze is a former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and chairman of PDP Presidential Council. According to him, beyond punishment, the rule of law and civility calls on every politician, regardless of his status to conduct himself in a peaceful manner and to ensure that his staff and adherents do the same.

Obaze said: “We, as political leaders, must lead by example. We must avoid hate speeches and utterances and engage in acts that are not acceptable to the public.”

Severe Punishment Should Be Prescribed – APC Stalwart

Hon. Igboeli Arinze, Zonal Publicity Secretary, Anambra Central of All Progressives Congress (APC), said “A severe punishment should be prescribed, both at local and international levels, to anyone who does violate the tenets of the peace accord as regards the forthcoming general elections.

“This should entail arrests, and prosecution, no matter what divide the person who perpetuates such an act  comes from.

“We must set a standard for electioneering in Nigeria and West Africa. By the time we set an example with some of these people, only then would they know that violence in an election does not pay.”

Culprits Should Be Prosecuted, Banned From Politics –YDP  Strong Man

Iwejuru Paul Egbujuo Obi, a chieftain of the Young Democratic Party (YDP), stated: “Politicians who fail to honour peace accord, which they entered into before elections, should be prosecuted and also banned from participating in the electoral process for life.

“Failure to honour peace accord exposes one as a terrorist and as a deviant who does not mean well for one’s fatherland.

“I do not think that there is straight jacket policy to avert violence at rallies. Human beings are difficult to manage and to control. Preventing violence is a matter of conscience.

“Remember that there are people who are ever ready to sacrifice their lives just for a pittance. Give them just N2,000 and they will act out your script especially now that there is hunger in the land.”

Nigeria Needs More Than Peace Accord –NCMP Candidate

Comrade Ademola Babatunde Abidemi,  Presidential candidate of the Nigeria Community Movement Party (NCMP), has said he did not participate in the signing of peace accord by presidential candidates in the country because “it is not a holistic approach to our problems”.

Abidemi added: “There was the need to tackle our problems from the root and not recycling of such exercise.”

He then urged the National Peace Committee, organisers of the accord, led by Nigeria’s former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), to focus more on ways to institutionalise free, fair and credible elections in the country.

According to him, “such approach will mitigate against electoral fraud which is a major recipe for violence during and after elections.”

The presidential candidate, however, commended members of the committee for their efforts to make Nigeria a better place for all and sundry, adding that ‘‘they are people who know the country like the back of their palms. And, we expect more from them.”





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Collosal: Economy could lose $10 billion, experts warn

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•Stock market gains threatened

By Babajide Komolafe, Peter Egwuatu, Godfrey Bivbere, Godwin Oritse,  Nkiru Nnorom and Naomi Uzor

By midday, yesterday, the colossal loss to the nation’s economy, arising from the postponement of the general elections, hours before the exercise was scheduled to begin, was obvious.

Nigeria Economy

Analysts said the nation could lose about $10 billion due to slow down in business activities caused by the one week postponement.

But in the estimation of the Director-General of  Lagos Chambre of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Muda Yusuf, the economy could have lost about $1.5 billion.

Sources at the ports put the losses in the sector alone at a minimum of  N600 million.

The ports across the nation had been shut down  on  Friday  ahead of the Saturday’s polls.

One of the major implications of the general  elections’ shift, according to experts, was an immediate threat to investors’ confidence which was speculatively building up in the financial markets in the past two weeks.

Apart from the maritime sector, other major  sector of the  economy worst hit by the election day that was not  to be include  aviation, banking, gas and oil, and  road transport.

According to some analysts, the postponement will heighten uncertainty in the economy, erode investors’ confidence in the Nigerian economy and possibly trigger rise in fixed income yields and increased pressure on the external reserves.

Commenting on the impact of the development on the economy, Managing Director/Chief Executive officer, Financial Derivatives Company, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, said: “The total cost, including opportunity cost, direct cost, consequential cost, disruption cost and what we call reputational cost, if you put it together, everything will give you about 2 to 2.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is about $9 billion to $10 billion dollars.”

Ayo Akinwunmi, Head of Research, FSDH Merchant Bank, on his part, noted that the postponement will lead to reduction in the nation’s GDP. He said: “It is going to slow down business activities because that is like two weekends paralysed. A lot of people have travelled, a lot of shops have closed today and they still remain closed because people who have travelled out of the country, people have made other plans.

“And many of companies did like half day yesterday, so lot of economic activities were reduced yesterday (Friday) because of election today (Saturday). So next week Friday and Saturday, we are going to see the same thing, people will sit at home. And whether we believe it or not, a lot of people wake up and live on daily earnings. And all these add up to what the economy and businesses report at the end of the day.

“When you have long period of uncertainty, people cannot take decision. It may actually slow down the GDP. And if you look at the GDP, it is accumulation of what happened every day, throughout the 365 days.

“So if we allow people to stay at home, businesses will not work. Their profit will reduce, taxes will reduce, government will not have enough money and government will have to borrow more”.

Senior Research Analyst with Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Kunle Ezun, also speaking on the development,   stated: “ The cost to the economy is going to be huge. Even though it is a weekend thing, the daily turnover today, people who would have gone out for business, all of that have been forfeited now.

Emerging stocks, FX rise on hope of progress in trade talks

“So in terms of losses to individuals and small enterprises, it will be quite huge.

“Even yesterday (Friday) most of the states declared public holiday; so you can begin to consider the impact on the GDP of those states.”

Speaking on how the postponement will affect investors’ confidence on Nigeria’s economy and the  financial markets, Rewane said: “The most important cost    is the reputational cost. Investors will now say the process of election has been compromised, and    this country has become more prone to conflict because of this. Investors’ confidence will be eroded.

“Democracy is about consensus. In 2015, we did not have a problem because the incumbent accepted defeat. Neither did he go to the tribunal or tell the people to riot on the streets. Today, because of so many things, including this postponement, it appears unlikely that anybody will agree to concede or walk away gracefully. As an investor, I will have to take that into consideration and the higher risk, the higher the expected returns. In other words,    if we are borrowing money or if we are raising money, people that are coming to invest will demand more.”

Akinwunmi added, “The postponement could affect confidence in the market, and if confidence is eroded, there could be over-reaction in the market, there could be sell-off.

“There is an apprehension, there is fear, which leads to improved risks which will make people to ask for more premium on fixed income securities, which could mean there could be sell-down. And sell-down will make yield to go up

“On the foreign exchange scene, when people have elevated risk, foreign investors may say, ‘men, we need to go out’, and when they go out there will be more demand for foreign exchange and, when that happens, currency value will depreciate. The CBN can say, `okay, guys we need to step up to ensure we meet this demand. And this means there would be a lot of pressure on the external reserve. So in a bit not to allow that depreciation to happen, the CBN will have to spend more money from the external reserves.”

Speaking on the losses to Sunday Vanguard, the LCCI DG, Yusuf, said: “The  cost to the economy of the postponement of the election is horrendous. The economy was on partial shutdown the day before and total shut down  on Saturday for the elections that did not hold.

“Cost to the economy is estimated at $1.5 billion . The postponement has implications for confidence in the electoral process.

“The trouble was that the notice of postponement came too late to allow economic players to make alternative use of their time.  It was a major disruption to economic activities in the country.

“Borders were shut, schools were closed, ports were shut, All these have implications for operating costs.

“In the maritime sector, importers will bear additional demuurage cost  because of the longer cargo dwell time at the ports.

“The cost to the nation’s treasury of the election rescheduling will be almost double   as a large part of processes will be repeated in a week’s time.”

Paying for extra day

Sunday Vanguard findings showed that the postponed elections may cost the nation over N600 million as charges, rents and levies  on ship owners, importers and exporters for one day in the maritime sector alone.

Sunday Vanguard gathered that the amount lost to the failed elections could be far more than that, especially since the sector was closed for two days.

A statement by the biggest container terminal in the country, APM Terminal, on Friday, showed that it handled a total of 1,257 boxes on the above date.

The statement read in part, “Over the last 24hrs,  549  trucks  were serviced  in the terminal with a total of  1257  transactions.”

Speaking on the cost implication of the elections’ shift, National President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, NCMDLCA, Lucky Amiwero, told Sunday Vanguard that Customs Brokers, commonly referred to as clearing agents, pay as much as N20,000 as storage fee per container to terminal operators on behalf of their principle.

Multiplication of of 1,257 handled containers by the storage fee of N20,000 gives a total sum of N25.14 million for APM Terminals alone.

Other terminals operating in Lagos are conservatively estimated to have handled 1,743 containers, bringing the estimated total volume of containers alone handed at the port in Lagos at 3,000.

Multiplication of 3,000 containers by N20,000 gives a total of N60 million.

Amiwero said that the elections has a huge economic cost for the nation. He explained that it is the importers and exporters that are meant to bear the brunt.

According to him, they are made to pay unwholesome charges, levies and rates by the shipping companies as well as terminal operators. He pointed out that the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, is not left out as the Authority collects it berthing charges.

He said Nigerian ports have one of the highest port charges in the world and that it is mostly unregulated.

National Publicity Secretary of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Joe Sanni, agreed with Amiwero but added that apart from the storage charges, terminal operators also collection “Container Deposit Fees,” CDFs of between N7,000 to N10,000 for 20 feet container and N15,000 to N20,000 for 40 feet containers which they hardly refund.

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Sanni also noted that truckers will lose funds that they would have gotten yesterday.

He said for the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, there will only be delay in the collection of government revenue.

President of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, SOAN, Greg Ogbeifun, said that the shipping sector does not really lose much as vessels at sea simply continue with their operations.

Ogbeifun however noted that vessels berthed at the port at the time of the elections will have to pay for extra day.

Similarly, former President of the  Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Thomas Kewerigha, said ship owners are made to pay extra day berthing charges because they are forced to stay back at the port even after they have finished discharging their cargo.

Kewerigha explained that with the elections, vessels at sea are not able to come into the country while those that completed their discharge are stock at the port resulting in additional cost for the shipping companies.

On his part, the Chairman of the Lagos Maritime Security Zone of the Forum,  Dr, Ignatius Uche, said that the cost of the postponement was unquantifiable, adding that monies have been spent by various terminal and port facility to secure the premises for the period that election.

“What becomes of these measures and security arrangements, who will bare the cost of a new arrangement?”, Uche asked rhetorically.

He explained that apart from the security implication that the postponement will have on the port industry, development also has a lot of cost implication.

“The   postponement of the election by INEC has political cost, it has environmental cost and it also has overhead cost of management of the facilities and off-course, it has a national cost.

“If you know how much the Ports would have generated today in terms of revenue and all that is wasted, do you know what it has cost many managements to put contingency plans in place with respect to human resources who will be on essential duty.

“Men have already been deployed, armed men have been deployed because their logistics and other arrangements have been taken care of and their duration too have been taken care of.

“So it has all round cost implication to both the Ports Authority, terminal operators, shipping companies and the National economy.

“For us as security professionals, we are always aversed   to this kind embarrassment because we will remain alert and be at our guard at all times.

“We have told our men to remain alert whether elections goes or not.

Speaking in similar vein, the Vice President of the Association Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, MR. Kayode Farinto said that he will sue INEC for the postponement that distorted and disturb his business for that day.

Farinto also said that over N100million of revenue accruals to the government and its agencies have been lost.

Uncertainty

Analysts pointed at immediate threat to investors confidence which was speculatively building up in the financial markets in the past two weeks after the elections’ postponment yesterday.

The bonds market has been bullish with foreign investors committing over $1.7 billion in the two weeks while Nigerian Stock Exchange rebounded closing positive in two consecutive weeks, all indicating confidence in the election.

But some stock market operators told  Sunday Vanguard yesterday that the confidence has been undermined by the postponement of the elections, a development they believe may affect stock prices as the market opens tomorrow.

According to capital market operators, who described the postponement as unfortunate and sad,   it would create uncertainty in the market and might result to reversal of the positive sentiment witnessed in the last two weeks as investors would be undecided in taking any investment decision.

Emeka Madubuike, Managing Director/CEO, Compass Securities, said:”On a general level,   what the postponement does is to bring in huge uncertainty and that is one of the things the market does not like . Once something like this happens, the market begins to wobble.

“As soon as there is uncertainty, it affects the market. People cannot make decision in an atmosphere of uncertainty and investment is about decision making . So,   if no decisions are made,   there will be no demand and it,   therefore means that if there is no demand,   the market is likely to go down.

“It is just unfortunate that we have all these uncertainties, it’s inexplicable. This is very unfortunate because nobody can plan in this kind of environment.”

He stated that the entire economy would be negatively affected as people would be forced to cancel businesses and other engagements on Saturday, February 23 when the election is tentatively scheduled to hold.   He lamented that billions of naira had been lost as a result of the postponement.

His words: “We are talking about the stock market, what about individuals who have plans for next Saturday, they will be forced to put it off. What about the daily paid workers: people who earn their living on a daily basis? The whole of today, all the petty traders will be out of business.   So, you can imagine what our economy would have lost today (yesterday). All sectors are on a stand still today and same thing is going to happen again next Saturday and that is if the election will hold on Saturday because listening to the INEC chairman,   he was not specific.

“So,   the dimension is not good for the market”.

Speaking in the same vein, Mr.   Jimmy Omoregie,   Managing Director/CEO, Fidelity Finance Company, said the postponement would slow the market down but the market will   find respite in the year end financial reports being expected.

He said: “It has created uncertainty: activities in the market will be slow for sometime,   but it will definitely go up because the release of 2018 financial results is getting closer for most companies and once the political terrain is clearer,   the market will move on because it’s just that uncertainty that needs to be removed within this one week .

“But as it is,   people will not really be willing to commit their money in the market.”

Patrick Ajudua, Chairman,   New Dimension Shareholders Association, NDSA said,   “The positive movement in equity price in the last few days is primarily due to investors taking position as a result of expected financial result of the companies. Therefore, postponement of election will have little or no effect on investors sentiment.

“However, investors would have been happier if the election is concluded on time as it will determine way forward for the economic direction & government   policies.”

Divergent views

However, other stakeholders in the capital market presented divergent views.

Chief Patrick Ezeagu, Chairman, Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria, said: “Let’s wait and see’. Investor attitude will pervade the market place in the coming week until INEC conducts a free, transparent and creditable election expectedly.”

Reacting also,  Mallam Garba Kurfi, CEO, APT Securities & Fund Limited, said: “I don’t think there will be much impact to the market because of the postponement of Elections. The market have already bounced back from the last month’s negative performance and February performance to date which reflected in both Volume and Value of our transaction are expected to continue because of most of our Stocks trade at a very low prices which attracts Foreign Investors, Institutional and High Net worth Index and couple with the expectations of Corporate action on Dividend and Bonus that also attracted Speculators Short term players.

“As we witness in less than two weeks Dangote Flour, TRANSCORP have gained more than 50% and more are expecting the same in respect of the postponement of the Election. But it has cost to Economy.”

In his own comment, Mr Moses Igbrude, spokesperson, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, ISAN said: “INEC postponement of the presidential elections five hours to the election is   unfortunate, unacceptable and should be condemned in its entirety.   This single unthoughtful action by INEC has created uncertainty and doubt on ability of the Chairman and his team to conducts a free and fair polls. Imagine the economic wastage to the electorates who has travelled to various locations where they are to   exercise their civil responsibility, wastage to   state governments and others private businesses that gave their workers days off.   Cost on Foreign and local elections observers, what of those who have moved   one engagement or the other from today or who fix something next Saturday?   This action will surely frustrate and discouraged the electorates from voting. Next week is full of uncertainty and will surely affect the market negatively. I  sincerely appeals to INEC and   president Buhari not to throw Nigeria into chaos or problems they should make sure that   they conducts elections that would be free and acceptable to every body. They should assured us on their trustworthiness and I am also appealing to the voters to be calm and   avoid conditions that will encourage INEC and those behind this the opportunity to perpetual their evil activities.”

 





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Poll Shift Painful But Nigerians Must Maintain Commitment — Tinubu — Leadership Newspaper

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National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Bola Tinubu, has urged Nigerians to remain committed and not allow the election postponement deter them from exercising their rights on Feb. 23.

Tinubu made the call in a statement made available to newsmen on Saturday in Lagos by his Media Officer, Mr Tunde Rahman.

Presidential and National Assembly elections slated for Feb. 16 were shifted till Feb. 23 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday, hours to the commencement of the polls.

Governorship, state houses of assembly and Federal Capital Territory Area Council polls, earlier fixed for March 2 were also moved to March 9 by INEC due to some challenges.

According to Tinubu, there were reports of eager voters rising early to leave their homes to cast their ballots on Saturday only to be told upon arriving at their appointed polling stations that the election had been postponed.

He said that this should not have happened for it could well discourage people from coming out when the election takes place.

Tinubu, however, urged people who came out and other Nigerians who intended to cast their votes to maintain their commitment and prepare to do so on Feb. 23.

“Do not allow this delay to deter you from the expression of your democratic rights.

“What you had set your mind to do on February 16, keep your mind and heart on for February 23, ” he said.

Tinubu expressed dissatisfaction over the late hour postponement of the presidential and national assembly elections by INEC.

” As the National Leader of the APC and simply as a Nigerian, I must express my profound concern and dissatisfaction with the unexpected, late hour postponement of the presidential and national assembly elections by INEC.

“While we appreciate the enormity of the logistical challenge that elections in a vast nation like ours poses to INEC, we are still pained that the Commission could not meet this challenge within the time allotted.

“We are also perplexed that INEC literally waited so late in the day to make known the obstacles preventing it from keeping faith to the election schedule.

” INEC could have and should have given the nation more ample and earlier warning. This could have perhaps lessened the pervasive disappointment that we all now feel. It also would have helped people better order their steps today, ” he said.

The APC National Leader urged political parties and Nigerians to support and encourage INEC to conduct a smooth election on February 23.

“We must take INEC’s statement at face value and hold to the belief that INEC understands even more than ever the sober and grave responsibility it has to our nation and our democracy.

“INEC can only properly discharge that responsibility by conducting free and fair elections.

“While we cannot go back to repair what did or did not happen to cause this postponement, we all must encourage INEC to do all that is necessary so voting can smoothly proceed on February 23.

“Whatever our political affiliation, we must encourage INEC to overcome the difficulties in order to rise to this most important occasion, ” he said.

Tinubu also urged INEC to commit itself more than ever before to perform to its utmost so that the elections would be remembered as a free and fair exercise consonant with the best of international standards.

“In the end, elections must be held in such a manner that every vote carries the same weight and no vote is minimised because elections took place much earlier or later in one place than in another.

“Thus, it is better to experience a slight delay to conduct the elections properly rather than to conduct the elections piecemeal and uneven fashion.

“No one will absolve INEC if such a fate befalls this all-important election. The electoral body must use the one-week extension mend its logistics gaps and lapses, ” he said.

Tinubu urged Nigerians to contain their anger, remain calm and not be tempted to breach the peace in the country because of the delay.

“This delay has clearly provoked significant anger and disappointment among the people. The voters were ready and INEC should have been equally as prepared and ready as the voters.

“In the greater scheme of things, a one-week delay is not overly burdensome when compared to the importance of conduct of free and just elections in the establishment of representative democracy and good governance in our land.

“Please, persevere just a bit longer to ensure that the elections on February 23 truly reflect the will of the people.

“Whatever obstacles may come, be they large or small, let us show the world the Nigerian people will not be deterred from realizing the democracy for which we have fought and sacrificed so long and so hard to achieve, ” Tinubu said.

 



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56,000 students participate in Cowbellpedia maths competition examination

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About 56,000 students jostled to cross the stage one hurdle as the qualifying examination of the 2019 Cowbellpedia Secondary School Mathematics TV Quiz Show, sponsored by Cowbell, the flagship brand of Promasidor Nigeria Limited, held across designated centres nationwide 9th February, 2019.

This year’s figure represents a 27.2 percent increase over the 44,000 participants recorded in 2018.

Out of this number, the best 108 will proceed to the next stage of the competition, which is the TV Quiz Show proper.

The two-hour long examination was hitch-free in all the centres as candidates with confirmation slips were tested in the written examination.

Officials of the respective state’s Ministry of Education and the National Examination Council (NECO) supervised the examination at various centres.

Some candidates at some of the centres expressed optimism about their ability to make it to the next stage of the competition.

An SS2 student of Iponri Grammar School, Lagos, Emmanuel Adeoti, said he hoped to advance to the TV Quiz Show proper, regardless of the hurdles ahead of him. ‘’The road to the Quiz Show may be quite difficult, but I’m sure I will be among the successful participants,”he enthused.

‘’I prepared very well for this exam and I look forward to being at the TV Quiz Show,” said Musiliu Adio of Community Junior Grammar School also in Lagos.

Assessing the conduct of the candidates at his designated centre, a NECO official, Charles Aneke, said although it was quite an arduous task getting the candidates to follow instructions, the exercise was a success.

An official of Lagos State Ministry of Education, Benedict Adegoke, also expressed satisfaction with the general conduct of the candidates. “They were all seated before exam began. It wasn’t a case of having to run after one student or the other,” Adegoke disclosed.

The teachers commended organisers of the Cowbellpedia TV Quiz, for sustaining the annual Mathematics competition which, they said, has continued to spur the desire for excellence in their students.

“Looking at the performance of my students today since the commencement of Cowbellpedia, it’s been a great leap from good to better. Each student wants to outperform the one before him or, at the very least, maintain the same good record,’’ said Abimbola Afolarin, a teacher at one of the centres.

The Managing Director of Promasidor Nigeria, Anders Einarson, had earlier explained during the flag-off of the competition that the ultimate prize for this year’s edition is N2 million and an all-expenses paid educational excursion outside the country. The first and second runners-up will go home with N1.5million and N1 million respectively.

While the teacher of the top prize winner will be awarded N500, 000, those of the first and second runners-up will get N400, 000 and N300, 000 respectively.



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Nigeria, Kuwait Shares Same Culture, Values – Envoy — Leadership Newspaper

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The Kuwaiti ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Abdulaziz Albisher has revealed that Nigeria and his country share several things in common, particularly,  culture and  social values.

The envoy who stated this while fielding questions from  LEADERSHIP Sunday. acknowledged the fact that, Nigeria is  endowed with enormous resources that has enabled it play a leading role in global affairs.

He stressed that, Nigeria is undoubtedly the giant of Africa,  as shown through its commitment to human and financial resources geared specifically towards maintaining global peace and stability in and beyond Africa.

The envoy said Nigeria,  in his opinion remains  the giant of Africa, with huge potential that places it at the peak in regional, continental and international scenes. “It has already assumed remarkable roles by maintaining peace and stability through financial and human sacrifices.”

Acknowledging that Nigerians are hospitable and accommodating, he said this well cherished characteristic is also visible with his people.

His words, “Nigerians are indeed hospitable and friendly. In fact, we share a lot in common, in terms of culture and cherished values.

“Nigeria is a very special country, endowed with numerous resources that will undoubtedly enable it to be one of the top world economies in the near future.”

Nigeria’s cultural heritage, Abdulazeez maintained, is exceptional, explaining that the roles played by successive governments and the current government in particular, in promoting the region and the continent was commendable.



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Stakeholders Identify Ignorance For Poor Third Party Insurance Claims By Vehicle Owners

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Third Party Insurance Policy is the cheapest of all vehicle insurance policies. Third Party Insurance is procured annually at just N5,000, but most vehicle owners are ignorant of the attendant benefits of this document. APATA OYENIRAN, CHRIS EBONG and OLUSEGUN KOIKI take a look at the benefits of this policy.

Third-party insurance is essentially a form of liability insurance purchased by an insured (first party) from an insurer (second party) for protection against the claims of another (third party).

The first party is responsible for their damages or losses, regardless of the cause of those damages.

There are two types of automobile third-party liability coverage.

First, bodily injury liability covers costs resulting from injuries to a person. These injuries’ costs could include expenses like hospital care, lost wages, and pain and suffering due to the accident.

Second, property damage liability covers costs resulting from damages to or loss of property. Examples of property damage include the payment to replace landscaping and mailboxes, as well as compensation for loss of use of a structure.

Many Nigerian vehicle owners are in the dark concerning the accrued benefit of third party motor insurance, a mandatory insurance policy for every motorist as directed by the Federal Government.

Vehicle owners still individually repair third-party vehicle/property damage caused by their vehicles even when they are holders of the third party motor insurance policy.

Research has shown that about 96 per cent of Nigerians who carry the Third Party Motor Insurance Policy are ignorant of what they stand to benefit by this policy hence, they lose this benefit year-in-year-out even when the need to make claims arises.

Invariably the insurance companies continue to enjoy almost 100 per cent of the entire premium made from Third Party Motor Insurance, thanks to the ignoramus that created this opportunity, but to his own loss.

Just like in the aviation industry, an aircraft can be termed “not airworthy” even with all the valid and workable equipment and papers, but without adequate insurance cover.

Reports claimed that the November 10, 2006, Sosoliso Airline crash in which about 100 onboard souls were lost, could not return to flight operations because as at the time of the ill-fated accident, the aircraft had invalid insurance cover.

The industry regulator, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had insisted that the airline would only be allowed to return to operations if the insurance claim were paid to the next-of-kin of the deceased, a condition the airline could not meet until it finally closed shop.

However, on vehicle insurance, of the entire compulsory insurances, ‘Third Party Motor Insurance Policy’ remains the most enforced and at the same time, the one less benefitted from by holders of this policy is considered an anomaly that should be redressed.

There are three basic motor insurance covers; Comprehensive Motor Policy, Third Party, Fire  Motor Policy made mandatory by the Federal Government through the Insurance Act of 2003.

Out of the three, the Third Party is the minimum insurance required by law for every vehicle owner. Legally, a vehicle driver is not expected to drive an automobile on the highways without valid insurance.

Third Party Motor Insurance in Nigeria has its legal backing in Section 68 of the Insurance Act of 2003. The Act states that: ‘No person shall use or cause or permit any other person to use a motor vehicle on a road unless a liability which he may thereby incur in respect of damage to the property of third parties is insured with an insurer.’

The Third Party Policy provides indemnity to third parties for death, bodily injury and property damage as a result of an accident involving the insured’s automobile.

However, often than not, motorists and drivers do not take this policy seriously let alone going for the benefits when involved in accidents or incidents.

Rather, they secure this policy for the purpose of what goes with the slogan ‘Police-Let-Me-Pass’ in the local parlance.

It is mandatory and cheap, hence people mostly go for it in order not to be disturbed or stopped by the law enforcement agents that operate on the roads like the officials of the Police, Federal Road Safety Corps, Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs) and others.

An enquiry by SUNDAY INDEPENDENT, and responses obtained from a good number of vehicle owners with a third party insurance policy had their vehicles damaged vehicles belonging to other road user demonstrated ignorance of the benefits.

They were of the view that third party basically enriches the insurers because it is mandatory with little or no claims in a whole year.

Most said they hardly had cause to seek claims and when they had, either they forgot and went ahead to handle the repairs personally or were sceptical of the delay or other complications from the insurance companies. Hence, the number of people benefitting from this policy remains minimal.

Engr. Emy Daniel, a private vehicle driver with over 20 years’ experience, said that he had not benefitted from the third party insurance policy before.

Daniel, however, refused to blame the insurance companies for his inability to benefit from the policy, rather, said he had not pressed for his right.

“I hardly remember I have that policy let alone remembering the benefits. I just renew it yearly along with other vehicle particulars to avoid embarrassment from the law enforcement agents on the roads.

“The few times my car hit someone else’s  cars along Agege Motor Road, I had to fix it myself; my mind didn’t even go to the Third Motor Policy I carry and I tell you it’s like that with most Nigerians.”

But, Mrs. Eniola Ajiboye, another motorist has a different experience to share on the compliance of insurance companies to the third party insurance.

According to her, the vehicle she was driving once hit someone else’s wall and she made attempts to get her claim as spelt out in the insurance cover but claimed that her insurance company (name withhold), employed delay tactics, which compelled her to repair the broken wall by herself.





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