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11 months ago

BusinessDay 14 Feb 2018

Wednesday

Wednesday 14 February 2018 South African ANC recalls Zuma, says he needs to go urgently CHRIS AKOR In a move that demonstrates party supremacy, the African National Congress, ANC, - Africa’s oldest political party - has recalled President Jacob Zuma asking him to resign from office “for the sake of the country.” In a Monday special National Executive Council meeting of the party, which ended in the early hours of Tuesday, the NEC confirmed that Zuma has been notified of its decision to recall him. Zuma, according to a party source, is expected to respond to the request on Wednesday even though no deadline was given him. According to Ace Magashule, the ANC’s secretary general though, the NEC has decided the removal should be “treated with urgency”. This is because the ANC needed to build on the “renewed hope” brought about by the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC leader. “When we recall our deployee, we expect our deployee to do as asked” the ANC secretary general said. Justifying the recall, he said. “It is obvious we want Com- rade Ramaphosa to come in as the president of South Africa,” Earlier talks between Zuma and Ramaphosa over the future of the president had been deadlocked making the intervention of the ANC NEC inevitable. While Ramaphosa, the ANC and South Africans generally wanted Zuma to leave immediately, Zuma, on the other hand, proposed to leave but with a notice of three to six months. Sources within the ANC said Zuma was concerned mainly about his future – the payment of his legal fees after leaving office and security for him and his family. “The primary concern of Mr Zuma is likely how to avoid going to jail, says Rafiq Raji, political economist and Chief Economist of Macroafricaintel Investment LLC. Many analysts have been surprised by Ramaphosa’s hesitancy in quickly getting Zuma out, considering how Zuma acted swiftly to recall former president, Thabo Mbeki, the moment he won the ANC presidency election in 2008. Some believe the delay was strategic, either aimed at “neutralising, encircling Zuma” or magnanimously allowing him to bow out honourably. Jacob Zuma has been in power since 2009 but is dogged by accusations of corruption, cronyism and scandals leading to negative image for the party and an electoral rebuke in 2016 municipal elections where the ANC lost some key strongholds, such as Johannesburg, the economic hub, Pretoria, the capital, and Port Elizabeth renamed Nelson Mandela Bay named after the ANC’s iconic leader and South Africa’s first post-apartheid president, to the opposition. Of late, he has been linked to the wealthy Gupta family in a case of state capture, where the family influences and determines government appointments and businesses. Both Zuma and the family have denied any wrongdoing. Zuma has repeatedly ignored calls to resign, and with the aid of his allies in the ANC and in parliament, have foiled all attempts to pass a vote of no confidence on him. In 2004, Zuma, as Vice President, was charged with corruption in connection with his financial advisor’s bribery case. While Shaik – his advisor – was promptly convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison, Zuma, with the aid of his lawyers, kept putting several obstacles on the way of successful prosecution of the case and succeeded in having the cases postponed. National prosecutor Mokotedi Mpshe in 2009 dropped the 783 charges against Zuma, paving the way for him to ascend to the presidency. However, the courts, in April 2016, ruled that the charges should be reinstated – and after unsuccessfully challenging the ruling in court, Mr Zuma became desperate to install his former wife and mother of his four children as his successor possibly to shield him from prosecution. That move failed with the election of Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president as the leader of the party and successor to Zuma, who has pledged to fight corruption. The markets have reacted positively to Ramaphosa’s election and investors and many South Africans are eager to see Mr Zuma leave early to allow for the promised reforms to begin. The party is also eager to project a fresh image and distance itself from Zuma in readiness for next year’s general elections. C002D5556 Tinubu says he’s got Buhari’s great support to reconcile APC members … says Obasanjo, Babangida should retire permanently ONYINYE NWACHUKWU, Abuja Bola Ahmed Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said on Tuesday that President Buhari had given him the free hand to reconcile all aggrieved members of the party. Tinubu was speaking after a meeting with the President at Presidential Villa, accompanied by the former interim chairman of the party, Bisi Akande. Buhari last week appointed Tinubu to lead consultation, reconciliation and peace building efforts within the party, a new assignment he said had started in earnest and “a strong political challenge.” He said, “Well, l feel greatly honoured with the mutual confidence that the president has reposed in me which is a very strong political challenge. We have started in earnest. He has given me free hand to put coercion, confidence and trust in the party. “Democracy is about conflict resolution process. You can’t do it without resolving conflicts. We can’t build it without understanding the conflicts and sources where we are coming from. But we want to leave the country with a legacy. It’s not about Mr. President. That is what he’s BUSINESS DAY A7 NEWS telling the country. “It’s about our country and no other choice to democratic tenets than through political party platforms. He’s one of those rare beings around the country, around Africa who had experienced both worlds: he fought a battle to save Nigeria and came to politics to save Nigeria. “Very rare people have such an opportunity in their life time and that’s what we talk about legacy, and where we have all the challenges, do what we should do. I’m enjoying the challenges so far.” On what are the chances of APC in 2019 elections, Tinubu said, “You are asking me an obvious question. I belong to this party. My commitment is to this party. We have a better chance and we are strongly determined to prosecute election in a most transparent and democratic manner and we will win.” Reacting to recent calls by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and ex-head of state, Ibrahim Babangida, on the President not seek reelection, Tinubu said, “I don’t address those shadows. We should let our former presidents join retirees’ club and take pensions, but they can participate in our politics if they are interested.

A8 NEWS BUSINESS DAY C002D5556 L-R: Adekunle Sonola, executive director, commercial banking, Union Bank; Rotimi Akeredolu, governor, Ondo State; Emeka Emuwa, chief executive officer, Union Bank, and Agboola Ajayi, deputy governor, Ondo State, during the bank’s courtesy visit to the Ondo State Government in Ondo State. Lassa fever, eight other diseases pose public health risk - WHO ANTHONIA OBOKOH The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified Lassa fever and eight other diseases that pose public health risk because of their epidemic potential and for which there are no, or insufficient, countermeasures. The agency on Tuesday published the 2018 annual review of the Blueprint list of priority diseases for the purpose of Research and Development (R&D). Experts consider that given their potential to cause a public health emergency and the absence of efficacious drugs and/or vaccines, there is an urgent need for accelerated R&D for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), Ebola virus disease and Marburg virus disease, Lassa fever, Middle East respiratory syndrome Edo merges colleges of agriculture, engages out-growers for 2,000 hectares Leventis farm Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has revealed plans by his administration to merge Colleges of Agriculture in Iguoriakhi and Agenebode into a single institution, with different schools offering courses in specialised fields to train high quality youth agriprenuers to drive the state’s agricultural programmes and policies. The governor disclosed this when he received executive members of the Usagbe Club of Nigeria, at the Government House in Benin City, Edo State on Tuesday. Obaseki said, “Given the role of agriculture in advancing economy in the country, and considering Edo State as an agrarian state, there is need to establish quality institutions to train youths coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Nipah and henipaviral diseases, Rift Valley fever (RVF), Zika and Disease X. “Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease, and so the R&D Blueprint explicitly seeks to enable crosscutting R&D preparedness that is also relevant for an unknown “Disease X” as far as possible,” experts say. The agency stated that the R&D Blueprint was a special tool for determining which diseases and pathogens to prioritise for R&D in public health emergency contexts. “This tool seeks to identify those diseases that pose a public health risk because of their epidemic on agriculture to leverage on the huge potential in the sector. “We decided to close down the Colleges of Agriculture in Iguoriakhi and Agenebode; as we intend to have one College of Agriculture with several schools which offer specialised courses on different aspects of agriculture.” Obaseki further said: “A team is currently working on a curriculum to ensure graduates of the new College of Agriculture will be prepared to become successful agriprenuers and take advantage of emerging opportunities in the agricultural space. The process for the restructuring of the College of Agriculture would be concluded in less than six months from now.” He explained that as part potential and for which there are no, or insufficient, countermeasures”. The diseases identified through this process are the focus of the work of R&D Blueprint,” they say. The experts say that for many of the diseases discussed, as well as many other diseases with the potential to cause a public health emergency, there is a need for better diagnostics. “Existing drugs and vaccines need further improvement for several of the diseases considered but not included in the priority list. Any type of pathogen could be prioritised under the Blueprint, not only viruses. “There is a need to assess the value, where possible, of developing countermeasures for multiple diseases or for families of pathogens,” the experts say. of his administration’s plans to drive economic growth through agriculture, “the state government is already in talks with Leventis Farm to access 2,000 hectares of land, which would be leased to out-growers this planting season.” He also assured executive members of the Usagbe Club of Nigeria that the construction of the Okpella-Agenebode Road would be completed, noting, “The people of the Weppa-Wanno Clan would begin to enjoy benefits of the ongoing reforms in the health and education sectors. President, Usagbe Club of Nigeria, Tony Akiotu, commended the leadership style of the governor, adding, “The decision to restructure the Colleges of Agriculture in the state for efficiency is highly commendable. According to the experts, the impact of environmental issues on diseases with the potential to cause public health emergencies was discussed. This may need to be considered as part of future reviews. “The importance of the diseases discussed was considered for special populations, such as refugees, internally displaced populations, and victims of disasters,” they say. The value of a One Health approach was stressed, including a parallel prioritisation processes for animal health. Such an effort would support research and development to prevent and control animal diseases, minimising spillover and enhancing food security. The possible utility of animal vaccines for preventing public health emergencies was also noted. Reps parley US envoy on repatriation of stolen funds KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja House of Representatives on Tuesday solicited for the support of United States of America towards repatriation of proceeds of crime for the development of Nigeria. Johnson Agbonayinma, chairman, House (Special) Committee on Nigerian- United States Relation/ Inter-Parliamentary, made this demand during an interactive session with Stuart Symington, US ambassador to Nigeria. “Our dear country abounds with Hunan and natural resources saddled with her own peculiar challenges. As Nigerians, majority of us have determined to see our country work and take its rightful place in the comity of nations. “We as a people seek the support of all our friends and nations to assist us get there. “We ask for your support Mr. Ambassador on the repatriation of our stolen wealth stashed in the United States by corrupt persons, these are proceeds of crime and they should be brought back for the development of our country. “Nigeria continually seeks the support of the United States and other friendly countries to overcome the vices that pulls our nation down. Majority of our citizenry yearn for one united country, devoid of sectionalism and nepotism, built on equity and justice,” the Edo lawmaker urged. Agbonayinma who underlined the close bilateral relationship ties between the two countries in the areas of economy, public health, peace Wednesday 14 February 2018 Premier League TV rights: Five of seven live packages sold for £4.464bn The number of live televised Premier League matches will rise from 168 to 200 from the 2019-2020 season. The rights to show Premier League games from 2019-2022 have been sold for £4.464bn - with two live packages still to be sold. Sky Sports have won the rights to four tranches of - 128 live matches - while BT Sport have one, comprising 32 games. The Premier League’s last deal, agreed in 2015 and running until 2019, was worth £5.14bn. “To have achieved this investment with two packages remaining to sell is testament to the excellent football competition delivered by the clubs,” executive chairman Richard Scudamore said. Sky will have first choice of every weekend match and will also show Saturday night fixtures (19:45) for the first time. BT will show Saturday lunchtime fixtures from Au- World Radio Day: Obaseki lauds inventors, urges speedy media convergence Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has extolled the inventors of radio, whose diligent scientific researches, he said “resulted in the small audio box that has transformed the lives of billions of people across the world.” Obaseki gave the commendation on Tuesday in commemoration of the United Nations World Radio Day, marked on February 13, each year. “The transformational power of the radio is awesome. It has contributed significantly to governance across the world, mobilising people in the grassroots to embrace the policies and programmes of government while providing the platform for the listener to contribute to governance and gust 2019. Last time out, Sky paid £4.176bn to show 126 matches, including the first Friday evening games and both Sunday packages, and BT paid £960m for 42 games. The Premier League’s bid process this time around comprised 200 live matches a season, an increase from the 168 for which broadcasters bid in 2015. Other changes for the 2019-2022 deal include eight individual games shown live in a ‘prime-time’ Saturday night slot, three complete rounds of 10 midweek matches all shown live, and one set of bank holiday games. The new UK deal, however, does not include revenue for selling rights overseas. That deal is not completed on one set day and is instead finalised region by region, with the revenue from that expected to rise from around the £3bn it delivered last time around. social debates. Its ability to convey messages to millions of heterogeneous audience members far flung from one another makes the mass medium of communication unique,” he said. The governor noted that in many instances, the radio was the first source of education for millions of people and has proven to be a reliable electronic companion that broadcasts entertainment materials and transmits cultures from one generation to the other. He explained that with the advancement in information and communication technology sector, “there is need for stakeholders in the sector to expedite work on media convergence to enable media owners harness the associated benefits. and security, democracy and rule of law, also applauded US contribution towards conflict management, civic and political engagement band improved electoral administration. “This visit is timely and will further strengthen the harmonious relationship that exist between the Embassy and the National Assembly. There are mutual areas of concern your visit will help to address, which are fundamental to our two great democracies. “The greatness of the United States is in its diversity and African-American has continued to be productive citizens of the US, Nigerian-American have successfully integrated into many areas of American Society and can be found as leaders in sports, media, medicine, law, academia and movies,” he noted.

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