Vanguard Newspaper 14 February 2018
16—VANGUARD, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2018 :Vanguard News :@vanguardnews :@vanguardnews NEWS HOTLINES: 08052867023, 08052867058 By Vincent Ujumadu AWKA—BARELY two months after the National Assembly transmitted 15 constitutional amendment bills, including that on ‘Not Too Young to Run for Elections,’ 21 state houses of assembly have passed the amendment. Vanguard gathered that Ondo State House of Assembly was the first to pass the age reduction bill, followed closely by the Adamawa, Kwara, Benue and Nasarawa Houses of Assembly. Borno, Delta, Enugu, Ekiti, Katsina, Yobe and Gombe assemblies passed the bill in December 2017, while Kogi and Kebbi Houses of Assembly passed it in January, 2018. State assemblies that passed it this month were Bauchi, Jigawa, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Ogun, Niger and Abia. Anambra State coordinator of ‘Not Too Young to Run’ movement, Mr. Nonso Orakwe told reporters in Awka, yesterday that the reluctance of the other 15 Houses of Assembly to pass the bill was worrisome, urging them to do the needful in the interest of democracy. Describing the group as Nigeria’s largest and most successful youth movement, Orakwe said members of the movement were driven by the compelling need to restructure the country’s political system to address the deeply entrenched system of political exclusion and institute inclusive politics, transformative leadership and electoral competitiveness in the electoral process. He said: “These states that have passed the amendment bill have been inaugurated into the ‘Not Too Young To Run Hall of Fame’ for voting in line with aspirations of the Nigerian people. By this singular act, the 21 youth friendly states have made history and written their names in gold. “The passage of the bill is a demonstration of their commitment to the tenets of representative democracy. We commend them for fulfilling their promise to their constituents and the Nigerian youths, who will always remember them for showing leadership in promoting youth inclusion in democratic politics in Nigeria. “The movement uses this opportunity to call on all state Houses of Assembly which are yet to pass the bill to emulate their colleagues by voting YES for the bill. An affirmative vote for the bill will be another historic step to secure the future of youths The Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Rv. Dr. Anthony Obinna (Middle), presenting the 2018 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Excellence in Education to Mr. Peter Obi (right) at the Assumpta Cathedral Field, Owerri, yesterday, while Dr. Paschal Dozie (Left) watches in excitement 2019: 21 states pass ‘Not Too Young to Run’ bill and indeed the next generation.” He also commended the House of Representatives for passing an amendment to Section 85 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) to the effect that political parties were compelled to ensure that the position of youth leaders must be occupied by persons between the age of 18 and 35 years. According to him, the amendment was in tandem with the philosophy of the movement and urged the National Assembly to expedite action on all electoral and constitutional amendments as the 2019 elections would come up in about 365 days. Taraba votes against bill Orakwe, however, expressed the disappointment of the movement with the Taraba State House of Assembly which, he said, voted against the age reduction bill, regretting that 11 members of the House voted against the bill, thereby making it impossible for the house to pass the bill. He said further: “It is unfortunate that majority of State Assembly members voted against the will of the people of Taraba despite assurances of its passage by the entire House. We appreciate the six members of the House of Assembly who voted for the bill. “As we prepare for the 2019 general elections, the imperative for youth inclusion, especially as candidates for all elective positions, is not a matter for debate, but a constitutional imperative." Under-age: OYC urges INEC to review voters registration By Anayo Okoli U MUAHIA— FOLLOWING the outcry over the trending images of under aged voters at the just concluded council elections in Kano State, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide has called for total review of voters registration in Nigeria conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, saying that the exercise lacked transparency. OYC leadership vehemently condemned the massive registration of under aged voters in parts of the North, particularly in Kano State and threatened to drag INEC to the National Assembly Committees on public petitions. The President General of OYC, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro in a statement said: “We have enough clips and evidence that over 65 per cent of the people who have participated in the ongoing voters registration in the North are mainly school pupils and students below the age of 16 years and Northern political leaders are boasting of five million votes to a presidential hopeful in Kano. “INEC has been hijacked and is fast losing credibility in the eyes of Nigerians. Ohanaeze Youths will drag the INEC chairman, to the Public Petition Committees in the Senate and House of Representatives for investigation. We urge the national assembly to save the country from avoidable political crisis in 2019. “We call on South East governors to aggressively mobilize all the town unions and community based organizations to ensure eligible voters are properly registered in the ongoing voter registration.” ...as S-East town unions mobilise Ndigbo for voter registration By Ugochukwu Alaribe ABA—THE Association of South East Town Unions, ASETU, said it has developed a programme aimed at mobilising Ndigbo for the ongoing voter registration across the five states of the zone. National President of ASETU, Chief Emeka Diwe, who disclosed this in Aba, said that the towns are committed to increasing the rate of electoral participation of the South East zone, stressing that the poor voting culture of Ndigbo has caused under development of the area. He stated that ASETU has developed a programme of action which involves the state and local government leadership of the association moving into communities to assist presidents-general of the town unions to coordinate and implement a voter registration blueprint known as South East Political Awareness and Electoral Participation Initiative, SEPAEPI. Oko Poly students protest strike •We won't call off strike— Lecturers By Bartholomew Madukwe AWKA—STUDENTS of Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra, have called on the institution’s management and Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, to come to agreement and end the ongoing strike, which started early January. President, Student Union Government, Comrade Akuche Izuchukwu, who spoke, during a peaceful protest on Monday, lamented that students of the polytechnic have been involved in crimes as a result of the strike. He said: “We have lost some to road accidents and others are so devastated that they don’t even know their fate as Oko Poly students any longer. Well, it will interest the students and the entire polytechnic community to know that the union has risen beyond all measures to make sure that this strike, which has lingered for over a month and few weeks now, comes to an end today. I do not sleep again as a result of this strike. Enough is enough! “The School Management and ASUP authorities Oko chapter must agree to end this strike today. The students’ union government over the time has engaged both parties in a dialogue for them to come into terms and end the strike but it all proved abortive." We won't call off strike—Lecturers The hopes of students that the strike embarked on by Academic Staff of the institution would be called off by Feb. 12, had been dashed. At the end of the meeting by the Academic Staff Union in the polytechnic, the congress insisted on continuation of the ongoing strike in spite of the fact that many of their demands had been met. The union had, among other things, demanded for payment of promotion arrears of its members, reinstatement of Mr Cyprain Nwammuo, whose appointment was terminated by the institution and the opening of the exit gate of the main gate. The entry gate had been serving as both entry and exit for some time now. However, it was observed that the exit gate had been re-opened by the management of the institution and is now in use as demanded by the union. The Federal Government had offset the promotion arrears as demanded by ASUP. Enugu farmers rally support for Ugwuanyi E N THOUSANDS U G U — of Enugu farmers under the auspices of the Amalgamated Enugu State Farmers Association, yesterday, converged on Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, with a firm and unanimous declaration to vote massively for Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi come 2019 general elections. The enthusiastic farmers described the governor as “the most farmer-friendly governor and pillar of development in Enugu State.” Chairman of the association, Mr. Romanus Eze, in his address on behalf of the farmers, commended Gov. Ugwuanyi for the tractors and other farming implements his administration presented to the farmers, stressing that the feat has gone a long way to increase food production in the state. The farmers added that the governor’s commitment to the sector and the existing cordial relationship between them, the state government and allied agencies have “blossomed to a great height” and reduced the prices of food items in the market, saying: “A bag of 50kg Adani Rice now sells at N14,000.00 as against N18,000.00 before”. The chairman disclosed that they were also impressed with the governor’s commitment to industrialisation and urbanisation through his administration’s rural development policy, provision of road networks, water and electricity, among other critical infrastructure.
EVERY time I watch international news channels, I can’t help but relate global events to the Nigerian situation. Almost instinctively, I wonder, “what would happen if this particular situation were to be set in Nigeria”. I’m left with more than a little sadness when I find that our country continuously falls short of global standards in regards to publicly acceptable norms and behaviour. Last week, I wrote an article about shame: no one is embarrassed in Nigeria to be accused of corruption, stealing or committing any crime. Quite the opposite, one is hailed like a hero when one is able to derail justice. In other climes, not only does reputation matter, dishonourable conduct, even as a mere allegation, is enough to trigger a vigorous investigation and if necessary to make powerful figures step down to allow the process continue unhindered. The Western world is experiencing a very interesting moment in its history: the voices of women, of the downtrodden, of the disenfranchised and abused, are being taken into account in ways never been seen before. The latest organisation to face a sex scandal is Oxfam, a famous British charity funded by taxpayers. Its leadership has been accused of covering up not just the scandal but the results of the investigation. Now, cast your mind back: are you able to count or remember how many corruption scandals in the past ten years in Nigeria have erupted only to slowly be forgotten? Corruption scandals “What is so disturbing about Oxfam is that when this was reported to them, they completely failed to do the right thing,” the UK Development secretary, Penny Mordaunt said to the BBC recently. “That’s what we need to focus on, and that’s what ultimately will stop predatory individuals from being able to take advantage of vulnerable people.” I was struck by those words: the idea of it being wrong for predatory individuals to take advantage of vulnerable people is alien to our society in its current configuration. So is the idea of “doing the right thing”. In fact, a show of power in Nigeria relies primarily on being able to oppress others by using fraudulently acquired or undeserved funds or status. Not a week goes by in Nigeria without allegations and counter allegations of fraud and duplicity. Our politics, to foreign observers, is nothing short of a farce: issue based conversations are few and far between. One only gains importance or notoriety through access to government (and government coffers) and allegations of financial impropriety are rarely met with universal condemnation. When will we do the right thing in Nigeria? One would rather ask if Innosson is being “harassed” because he is Igbo than try to find out, based on facts and the documents made public, what the case is about. The idea that investigations are “harassment” as opposed to the public’s right to find out the truth or, moreover, for justice to be served, are again linked to “bigmanism” which maintains that if a man or woman is “big enough”, why should anyone dare question them. In response to the scandal (and to the public backlash), Oxfam has detailed plans to better vet its employees and to create an internal whistleblowing mechanism as well as better coordination with other charities so that information about cases of misconduct can be shared and adequately dealt with. Let us again relate these measures to what obtains in Nigeria. How well do businesses and government agencies know their employees? Are they thoroughly vetted or do most people simply get jobs based on their connections? A few of the Presidential appointees recently forwarded to the National Assembly for Brexit THE chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, Lord Marland has urged the UK government to make Nigeria a major trade ally as part of its post-Brexit strategy. We will have to examine whatever is on offer very carefully. “If the UK wants to initiate something, there are one or two really encouraging, optimistic places on the horizon to start a block for a commonwealth trade zone. You’ve got the big populations such as Nigeria, which is going to be 320 million people – bigger than the United States – in under 10 years. They love British products…It’s a huge consumer market”, he said. When asked what products Nigerians are particularly interested in, he answered: “Everything.” This should send shivers down your spine or at least provoke some concern. Lord Marland is indirectly saying that because Nigeria produces next to no consumer goods, it is the perfect place to sell British products. Indeed, no matter how expensive, Nigerians will borrow if they have to in order to purchase foreign goods. These are the sorts of questions and events one would expect the National Vanguard, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2018 —17 confirmation passed away and benefit. In Nigeria, one is forced no one seemed to have noticed into the realm of moral this had happened before the relativism, meaning that so as list was made public. Or not to lose one’s mind, one must perhaps those who did were accept certain truths and find a ignored, it’s difficult to say. What way to live with them, therefore is clear is that attention to detail destroying the possibility of has hardly been our strong change or challenge to the point in Nigeria. In regards to system. corruption cases, if appointees “We will continue to address the underlying cultural issues that allowed this behaviour to happen,” Caroline Thompson, the chair of Oxfam’s board of trustees, said. “We also want to satisfy ourselves that we do now have a culture of openness and transparency and that we fully learn the lessons of events.” In Nigeria, we are yet to deal with the cultural issues that consistently allow, excuse or encourage not only corruption, but all forms of injustice and oppression more widely. We do not have a culture of openness and transparency nor do we learn lessons from past events. At some point we will have to choose between survival at all costs and doing the right thing because one day it won’t be possible to merely limp along by pretending everything is well. The truth is, we can blame Buhari all we want, most of us are not ready for change. •An internal inquiry into sexual exploitation found that seven Oxfam workers in Haiti had used prostitutes whilst stationed there in the aftermath of 2010 earthquake. Photo: Roger Lemoyne/ Redux Not a week goes by in Nigeria without allegations and counterallegations of fraud and duplicity were properly vetted, perhaps leaders would have a better idea of their antecedents. Or perhaps one must accept that many leaders do know of these antecedents but prefer to ignore them for their own immediate Assembly to discuss. Will we forever be a dumping ground for the productivity of others with little benefits to our own population? •Kemi Adeosun JAMB THE Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board said it suspended a worker who claimed N36 million was swallowed by a snake after a team of auditors discovered the money was missing from the JAMB’s office in Makurdi, Benue state. The worker reportedly later changed her story, claiming a house help “spiritually stole the money”. The EFCC should do more than just “spiritually” prosecute whoever is Pay your taxes NIGERIAN property owners in the UK apparently approached the Federal Ministry of Finance’s Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) in droves, the Ministry of Finance reports, following the UK’s new regulations on ‘Unexplained Wealth’. Both the banking and property sectors in the UK have allegedly greatly profited from the influx of illicit funds originating from China, Russia, Nigeria and other such countries were corruption and transparency in regards to public funds are found wanting. Public opinion in the UK is of the opinion it seems that the system should be less opaque therefore making it more difficult for “corrupt elements” to buy property or open accounts etc. When will the court of public opinion in Nigeria possess the maturity to make such demands of our own system? responsible. Kemi Adeosun revealed last year that JAMB was able to remit N5 billion to government compared to the paltry N3million remitted yearly for the past 40years. It’s a wonder Nigeria is still standing given the sums that have been “spiritually stolen”. Tabia Princewill is a strategic communications consultant and public policy analyst. She is also the co-host and executive producer of a talk show, WALK THE TALK which airs on Channels TV.