Vanguard Newspaper 13 February 2018
C M Y K 18 — Vanguard, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2018 EVERYDAY there are scores of protests all over the country. Most of them are targeted at governments for failure to fulfill expectations or promises. Citizens stage them to draw public attention and sympathy to their plight. On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, distraught pensioners of the defunct Nigeria Airways, after a rally at the Skypower field at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, blocked adjoining highways in a protest to get the Federal Ministry of Finance to release the N45 billion approved by the Federal Executive Council to offset part of their N78 billion pension. Their activity precipitated traffic jams that took hours to clear. On the same day in Yenagoa and Kolokuma-Opokuma, Bayelsa State, protesters calling for the sack of the Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), retired Brigadier-General Paul Boroh, also Protesters, please stop blocking the highways blocked roads and grounded commercial activities, thus creating nightmares for travellers. Protesters have made an unsavoury habit of blocking public highways as a means of drawing public attention and support in all parts of the country. In so doing, they subject fellow citizens struggling to meet their daily needs to untold and unnecessary hardship. As many of these road blockages last for hours, they end up disrupting the plans of those travelling long distances for scheduled appointments. Road blockages are illegal, unnecessary and totally undesirable. When protesters block public thoroughfares, their activities become unlawful because in the pursuit of their legitimate rights to public assembly and association they disrupt other citizens’ right to free movement and freedom from harassment. It also amounts to the transfer of aggression to innocent people who have no hand in the subject matter that precipitated the protests. Once this happens, the law enforcement agents have a duty to crack down on the protesters, bring them to justice and reopen the highways. We acknowledge the need for protesters to make their grievances public because public opinion helps in forcing slumbering government officials to sit up and do their work. It can still be done without blocking the highways. Placard-carriers can line up on both sides of the roads and make even a bigger impact because their presence will not bring anyone discomfort or pain. We must be reminded that in pressing for our rights we must not at the same time trample on the rights of other people. Protesters should do their homework before hitting the roads. They should consult their lawyers and seek the technical advice of civil society groups on the most effective ways of conducting their protests without harming other members of the public. Above all, the Police must be notified to provide security and ensure orderliness for the good of the protesters and other innocent bystanders. Enough of these disruptions. ON December 12 1978, after winning the Presidential nomination of the NPN, Alhaji Shehu Shagari did not name his running mate. The rules of the party gave him the prerogative to name his running mate after consulting with the party leaders. As he locked himself up at Eko Hotel, speculations remained high on whom he would nominate as his running mate. Several names were mentioned. The name of Dr. Kinsley Ozumba Mbadiwe topped the list. Dr. Mbadiwe and Alhaji Shehu Shagari were colleagues as Ministers under the then Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa. While Alhaji Shagari served as Minister of Internal Affairs in April 1965, Dr. Mbadiwe served as Minister of Trade. In fact, Dr. Mbadiwe’s best friend, Dr. Kolawole Balogun, Nigeria’s former ambassador to Ghana, from Otan Aiyegbaju in the present Osun state told anyone who cared to listen that Dr. Mbadiwe was the choice. Another group wanted Dr. Josiah Onyebuchi Johnson Okezie from Umuahia-Ibeku in Imo state. Under General Yakubu Gowon, Dr. Okezie was Minister for health and later Minister for Agriculture and Natural Resources before becoming Chairman Board of Directors, African Continental Bank, ACB. In the constituent assembly, he represented Ikwuano/Umuahia/ Bende constituency. There was also the youthful, Dr. Dike Nworah, a historian and businessman from Awka in Anambra state, who later became the Owelle of Awka. Being the National Secretary of the party, Dr. Nwakama Okoro(SAN) was also mentioned as a possible choice. The profile of Dr. Okoro was intimidating. He was from Amuri, Arochukwu in Imo state. He had earlier served as the Secretary of the Enugu branch of the How Shagari picked Ekwueme as VP (2) Nigerian Bar Association. Between 1976 and 1978, he was the President of Nigerian Bar Association. In the Constituent Assembly of 1977-198 he represented Ohafia/Arochukwu constituency. Other names mentioned were my friend, Dr. Chuba Wilberforce Okadigbo,the Oyi of Oyi, Chief Christian Chukwuma Onoh, Dr. B.U. Nzeribe, Chief Hilary Njoku, Mr. M.N. Elechi and Mr. J.S. Asegua. Dr. Okadigbo represented Onitsha/ Anambra constituency in the constituent assembly while Chief C.C. Onoh represented Enugu constituency. Mr. Elechi represented Abakaliki/ Ikwo constituency. Dr. Mbadiwe represented Ideato/ Nkwerre/Isu constituency while Chief Hilary Njoku represented Owerri/Ikeduru constituency. In the constituent assembly, Chief Onoh was very vocal in championing the creation of WAWA state now Enugu state. He was a member of Federal House of Representatives representing Enugu Metropolitan council between 1958-1959. He was Chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of Enugu in 1969 and Chairman Market Authority (1971-1987) and later Chairman Nigeria Mining Corporation. He held the title of Okaa Omee of Ngwo. At that time, Dr. Azikiwe’s party, the NPP was the dominant party in East Central zone-thanks to Chief Jim Nwobodo and Chief Sam Mbakwe. The publicity Secretary of the party at that time, Chief Mo Obiekwe told me several times that the people of Imo and Anambra states would never vote NPN insisting that the scars of the war were still with them. On Tuesday December 15, Alhaji Shagari embarked on a National campaign tour that took him to Ibadan, Benin, Warri,Owerri, Port- Why Alhaji Shagari picked Dr. Ekwueme is still a mystery and only him can explain Harcourt,Calabar and later ended on December 30 in Enugu. In Calabar at Metropolitan hotel at a party hosted by the former Commissioner for transport in the old south eastern state, Dr. Joseph Wayas, I teased Alhaji Shagari to give me a Christmas present by disclosing to me exclusively his running mate. He smiled and directed me to Alhaji Umaru Dikko to tell me. For 42 days, Alhaji Shagari did not name his running mate. Finally on January 23, 1979, the NPN called for a press conference at the party headquarters at Jibowu street, Yaba, Lagos and I saw an unsmiling Dr. Okadigbo at the ground floor complaining to me “He’s not even in our party, can you believe that”. He then directed me to the first floor where Alhaji Shagari was holding a press conference in company of party leaders. It was at the conference that Alhaji Shagari first presented Dr. Alex Ifeanyi Ekwueme as his running mate. I saw a handsome gentle man who looked urbane and polished whom I have never heard of in National politics. It was the introduction and later the Presidential election that shot Chief Ekwueme to National limelight and made him a treasured National asset. Since that day, he never came down from being valued. Why Alhaji Shagari picked Dr. Ekwueme is still a mystery and only him can explain. His name was never speculated. Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu was 46 at the time. He was unknown in the political arena. Except for his business profile as an Architect and Town Planner and that he once worked for Esso West Africa, Lagos overseeing the construction and maintenance department of the company, little was known about him in politics. The media over troubled Alhaji Suleiman Takuma, the spokesman of the NPN at that time to give details about Dr. Ekwueme, he was not forthcoming only promising “later”. After the press conference, the media mocked Dr. Mbadiwe with a headline the following day SHAGARI PICKS EKWUEME BUT “KO IS NOT OK”. The selection of Dr. Ekwueme rattled a lot of politicians in the East Central zone and created party crisis within the NPN. A case in point was in Imo state where the leader of the party, Chief Nnana Kalu suspended Dr. Mbadiwe for alleged anti-party activities. Dr. Mbadiwe had to address the press later during which he asked “WHO IS NNANA KALU, FROM WHERE DID HE DERIVE HIS POLITICAL AUTHORITY, HAVE YOU EVER HEARD WHERE A MESSENGER WILL SUSPEND HIS BOSS, ENOUGH OF THIS POLITICAL RASCALITY”. The campaign was no doubt hectic especially for Dr. Ekwueme. For he could not mobilise enough people for his party in the East Central in spite of his gospel of reconciliation. He worked hard during the campaign. He spent a lot of money too but unfortunately for him in 1979, the east central zone was the empire of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and in spite of the civil war and fourteen years absence, the emperor was still in command of his empire. In the July 7 1979 Senate election, THE NPP won all the 10 seats in Imo and Anambra states. In the July 14 1979 election to the House of Representatives, THE NPN had one seat in Anambra as against THE NPP with 28 seats while in Imo states THE NPN had two seats against THE NPP with 28 seats. In the gubernatorial election that followed in Anambra state, Chief James Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo, (77) alias Jim Nwobodo defeated Chief Christian Chukwuma Onoh of the NPN. In Imo state, Chief Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe from Avutu of the NPP defeated Dr. Nwakamma Okoro of the NPN in the gubernatorial election In the Presidential election of August 11 1979, Shehu Shagari of the NPN scored 13.50% of the total votes in Anambra state as against 82.88% of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s NPP. In Imo state, Alhaji Shehu Shagari scored 8.80% as against Dr. Azikiwe’s 84.69% for the NPP.
How insecurity dissuades American investments in Nigeria — US Consul General By Naomi Uzor THE Consul General, United States of America, USA, embassy in Nigeria, Mr John F. Bray, has identified security challenge as one of the foremost issues that dissuade the influx of American investments to Nigeria. He said headline making insurgencies such as the herdsmen-farmers clashes, Boko Haram menace, infrastructure vandalism, kidnapping and hostagekeeping, among other security threats impact negatively on the choice of Nigeria for business destinations. Bray disclosed this at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Meets Business Dialogue session in Lagos, which witnessed the presentations of chief security CURRENCY BUYING SELLING US DOLLAR POUNDS EURO FRANC YEN CFA WAUA RENMINBI RIYAL SDR DANISH RAND $122.35 0.50 $1,999.00+21.00 $13.81 -0.14 $64.89 -0.62 64.17 1.38 304.85 305.4 305.85 422.8684 423.1622 423.855 373.8684 374.4815 375.0946 324.9147 325.4476 325.9804 2.806 2.8106 2.8152 0.5503 0.5603 0.5703 439.6392 440.3601 441.0811 48.1605 48.2399 48.3192 81.3002 81.4335 81.5668 440.4585 441.1808 441.9031 50.2124 50.2948 50.3771 25.4686 25..3104 25.5521 CBN Exchange rate as at 12/02/2018 operatives on how they are matching their functions with the promotion of safe business climate. He said the prominence of security attacks usually sent panic waves, not just to American companies, but also to other potential international investors. He, however, acknowledged that despite the challenges, many American firms still take the leap of faith and eventually manage to conduct profitable businesses. Bray said while some companies just walk away, others carefully access the reality of the situation and create a local security plan to mitigate the potential risks, an initiative he said, uncovers new opportunities for partnership in the country. Nigeria’s leasing industry grows to N1.3trn By Destiny Eseaga THE volume of leasing business in Nigeria crossed a trillion Naira mark. Equipment Leasing Association of Nigeria, ELAN disclosed this in a report, which showed that the ‘outstanding lease volume’ increased from N189.9 billion in 2006 to N1.26 trillion in 2016. It also showed that finance lease remained the predominant type of leases, accounting for 70 percent of the transactions while operating lease accounted for 30 percent. The ELAN report further revealed that the sector remained resilient in challenging times, financing assets worth over N6.9 trillion over the 10 year period. According to ELAN the positive spark witnessed in the sector was a result of impactful visibility of leasing, awareness, high cost of asset acquisition, capital formation in the economy and wealth creation. ELAN stated: “The industry continued to witness the banks as the lead players, particularly financing big ticket leases and providing funds to lessors for lease transactions. The non-bank lessors however accounted for about 80 percent of customer base, mainly from the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). Some capital market operators and other companies were attracted to the leasing industry to tap into the opportunities and as means of hedging against other nonperforming product offerings. Also, vendors and service providers (telecom and oil) increased their participation in leasing industry.” Corroborating the report, General Manager, Enterprise Asset Leasing Limited, Mr. Isaac Agenyi, said: “In the past, businesses traditionally spoke to the local bank manager and arranged for a business loan to purchase equipment. Vanguard, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2018 — 19 From left, Obeahon Ohiwerei, MD/CEO Keystone Bank Limited, His Excellency, Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki during a business meeting at the governor’s office in Benin, Edo State. “Restricted lending and restrictive lending practices in banks have made leasing the financing method preferred by all types of SMEs these days. “Purchasing assets for your business can be expensive, but if your business is to grow and succeed, such purchases are a necessity. Whether it’s purchasing new vehicles, trucks, new plant, office equipment, computers or even furniture, purchasing equipment for a business can have a major impact on cash-flow or credit lines.” Agenyi counselled that: “Leasing rather than outright purchase of equipment for your business offers many advantages. Leasing is a flexible, cost effective method of financing business equipment with the obvious advantage that the assets capital value is not required up front. If you have found that you require assets for your business but your bank simply will not lend you the money you need, then asset leasing could solve your problem.” Transactions on First Bank’s USSD channel hit N1tr By Babajide Komolafe FIRST Bank of Nigeria Limited said that over N1 trillion transactions have been processed on its 894 quick banking, USSD based channel. The bank disclosed this in statement yesterday adding that over N3 trillion worth of transactions is projected to be processed this year alone. According to the bank its USSD grew by about 250 percent in 2017 to now over 4.5 million customers with a target base of over 6.5million before the end of this year. It stated: “Over 60 percent of FirstBank’s customers currently use the bank’s digital platforms (FirstMobile, Firstonline and 894 Banking) to transact and this accounts for about 21 percent of transactions on the NIBSS Instant Payment platform.” Commenting on this development, FirstBank’s Group Head, e- business, Chuma Ezirim, said: “A major element of the bank’s strategy is to make payments and collections easier for businesses around the country. Digitizing payment and collections processes not only improves transparency and efficiency, but also helps a business to grow. “That’s why our 894 service is very useful for our Corporate and SME NSE approves delisting of 7-Up after buyout by majority shareholders By Peter Egwuatu THE Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, has approved the voluntary delisting of Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc (7-Up) after it received a takeover bid from its majority shareholder, Affelka, aimed at restructuring the soft drinks bottler. The Exchange’s approval which came into force last week, followed suspension of trading in the company’s shares last month following the planned delisting. In January, 7-Up’s minority shareholders backed a $70 million buyout bid by majority investor Affelka, the investment firm of the Lebanese El-Khalil family. The bottler received the takeover proposal last August after posting losses, in a deal aimed at restructuring the 7-Up, Pepsi and Mirinda product lines. Seven-Up Bottling Company last traded at N101.97 per share, valuing the company at N65.32 billion naira ($214 million). The Seven up Bottling Company held a court ordered meeting in January, where shareholders ratified the scheme of arrangement for the buy out. Under the scheme, shareholders are to be paid a cash consideration of N125 per share as modified at the court ordered meeting. According to the scheme “ Share certificates representing the interest of the holders of the shares shall cease to be valid and that the scheme shares previously held in demutualised form shall be expunged from the respective record of the company’s shareholders maintained by the Central Securities Clearing System, CSCS. Also upon the scheme becoming effective, the ordinary shares of the petitioner be delisted from the Daily Official List of the NSE ; or such incidental , consequential and /or supplementary orders as are necessary to ensure that the scheme be fully and effectively implemented.” The soft drinks bottling industry has been hit by slow demand arising from weak economic growth in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, which recently emerged from a recession and a currency crisis that stifled raw material imports. customers because every Nigerian can pay using 894 irrespective of the type of phone he/she uses, and without the barrier of internet access”, he enthused. Speaking on the impact of the Bank’s Financial Inclusion services on customers and the economy, Mr. Ezirim said: “In addition to providing FirstBank customers a more convenient and faster way to carry out basic banking transactions, the 894 banking service has led to the creation of over 500 new jobs for young Nigerians who assist customers to adopt digital platforms at the various branches of the bank nationwide.