18 — Vanguard, TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 2018 THE abduction of the 110 students of Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi Yobe State, has brought out the question as to whether the Chibok girls who earlier on regained freedom from Boko Haram captivity were rescued or actually ransomed or “bought back”. Hitherto, the security forces, especially the army, had conveyed the impression that the girls were rescued – a feat that connotes gallantry on the part of our men in uniform. But, Senators Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North) and Joshua Lidani (Gombe South) have made allegations which, if true, portend a great danger not only in the efforts to rescue the hordes of school girls abducted by Boko Haram Islamist insurgents but also puts to question the manner in which the war on terror is being conducted by the Federal Government. Rescued or ransomed? Shortly after the abduction of the Dapchi school girls, Senator Lawan, while contributing to the debate on the issue in the Senate, declared: “What happened is a lesson for us, that Boko Haram sees girls or women as value targets. What they did in Chibok earned them some funds, because negotiations were held somehow and they got a lot of money.” Senator Lidani also observed that whenever Boko Haram suffers major setbacks it resorts to abducting school girls as a way of getting the Federal Government to negotiate with it and pay huge ransoms with which it rearms and reinforces its depleted fighters. The terrorists we claim we have defeated make dramatic comebacks. The Israeli Defence Ministry has always maintained that the country’s policy of refusing to negotiate with terrorists when they abduct people is because “every time you negotiate with terrorists you become an accomplice”. When the Chibok girls were abducted on April 14, 2014, the emotional tide which it triggered worldwide forced the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to enter into negotiations with Boko Haram because the abduction immediately became an albatross on its neck in a pre-election year. That Nigerian voters shifted their preference to retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari owed to his promise, as a perceived no-nonsense military officer, to rescue the girls and defeat Boko Haram. If indeed the Buhari administration is merely giving away huge sums of money to terrorists in exchange for the school girls, the implications are obvious. We are not only constantly rearming the enemy and recharging its power to continue to attack and kill innocent Nigerians, we are also encouraging them to keep abducting more school girls. We are inadvertently helping them in their avowed determination to destroy education in the North East. Most grievously, we are enriching both the terrorists and their accomplices within government who obviously profit from the evil. This was obviously why the terrorists went for the Dapchi girls. This is unacceptable. THERE have been claims and counter claims on how Kogi state was created. In the book titled, A Noble Path, an authorised biography of Jonathan Tunde Ogbeha, by Mr. Innocent Nzeke Waniko,revealed how Kogi state was created. He declared “The movement for the creation of Kogi State commenced as far back as 1981, when many Elders of the old Kabba province such as Professor Albert Ozigi, Joseph Abu Ogbeha, Liman Umar, Walter Bako and Timothy Elukpo, amongst others, had mobilised themselves and set up a committee, headed by Senator Ahmadu Ali, to lobby various successive governments. The group had submitted a memorandum to the National Assembly, in the Second Republic, Shagari administration, for the creation of Kogi State separately from Kwara and Benue States. That effort died with Shagari’s government that was eventually ousted from power a few years later. The agitation was resurrected when the Buhari military administration came into office. But it gained real and serious momentum when General Ibrahim Babangida assumed office. On the 27th August 1991, General Ibrahim Babangida announced the creation of Kogi state alongside Edo and others. The creation of Kogi State was a significant development for its indigenes. It was a reunion of many individuals on a new platform who had shared historical roots and coexisted peacefully within the former Kabba Province, in the defunct Northern Region that spanned over eighty years. The state which is structured into twenty-one Local Government Areas comprise three major ethnic groups i.e. Igala, Ebira and Okun (associated with Yoruba). How Ogbeha and wife begged Babangida to create Kogi State Other groups include; Bassa Komo, Bassa Nge, Kakanda, Nupe, Oworo and Ebira Koto. The announcement made by General Ibrahim Babangida on 27th August, 1991 was straight forward. But as with the initiation of any state, the intrigues, intense lobby and negotiations that characterised the activities that went behind the scenes were not as effortless as the announcement seemed. Though, often quick to down play the commendable roles he played in the creation of Kogi State, Brigadier General Tunde Ogbeha’s effort from a cursory assessment went a long way in serving as the clincher that actualised the dream. After creating Akwa-Ibom and Kastina States in 1987, the government had warned that it ‘would no longer entertain request for state creation from self-seeking politicians and champions of ethnic groups. Brigadier General Tunde Ogbeha, who was hoping for a miracle had approached Babangida and in a veiled conversation presented the agenda of the creation of Kogi State. General Babangida gave him the same response; “no more states creation”. Some elders from old Kabba-Province, who were led by Timothy Walter Bako, paid a solidarity visit to Brigadier General Tunde Ogbeha at Jajai in mid-1980s as part of the ‘lobby’ to actualise Kogi State. The solidarity team got the same message from Brigadier General Tunde Ogbeha. He had encouraged his townsmen to make do with what was available in Kwara State and take advantage of the opportunities it presented. He also Many of the elders and indigenes of Kogi State, who were privy to his underground effort hold him in high esteem in helping to actualise the dream and aspirations of hundreds of thousands told them there was nothing to suggest their aspirations were going to be actualised as at that time. But in politics, they say even 24 hours is a very long time. For Brigadier General Tunde Ogbeha, who was in the corridors of power, he shortly was privy to information that General Babangida was having a change of heart. Brigadier General Ogbeha therefore decided to present the request of the elders who had visited him to General Babangida. Brigadier General Ogbeha revived his request in early 1990, while stationed at Jaji in Kaduna State. Again he went to Abuja to consult with the Head of State, General Babangida, having earlier scheduled a visit. This time, a more resolute Brigadier General Tunde Ogbeha modified his strategy by going with his late wife, Jacinta to serve as good measure. Babangida had received the Ogbehas warmly. With pleasantries and initial welcome banters over, Brigadier General Ogbeha went into his real but carefully concealed reason for the visit to the Head of State. It started as a subtle suggestion, but turned into a direct request. In clear terms, Brigadier General Ogbeha requested that the administration of Babangida should consider the creation of Kogi State and Lokoja as its state capital. Some of its indigenes had earlier wanted Ajaokuta, to be the capital of the proposed Kogi State, but those in favour of Lokoja argued that it had been the headquarters of Kabba Province and should be maintained as such. General Babangida, after listening to Brigadier General Ogbeha made lot of enquiries from Ogbeha, on the feasibility, cultural setting and landscape of what was then proposed as Kogi State. Satisfied with the responses from his protege, Babangida had promised to create Kogi State. A happy Brigadier General Ogbeha had driven back to Jaji with his wife, and arrived at about 2.am. Not done however, Ogbeha also subsequently solicited the support of the late Mrs. Maryam Babangida for good measure. Just a few days after the visit to General Babangida, Ogbeha travelled out of Nigeria for a few weeks on vacation, as has been his practice over the years. In the months that followed the critical decision making, Babangida himself came under intense pressure from various interest groups and top military officers on similar requests. With Brigadier General Ogbeha out of Nigeria and no physical presence to sustain his own request for the creation of Kogi State, the initial promise made to him by General Babangida appeared threatened. He (from his base abroad) reached out to his friend and brother, General David Mark and General Abdulsalam Abubakar to keep the pressure on General Babangida and sustain the lobby. Both men were members of the Armed Forces Ruling Council. At personal sacrifices amongst which were huge telephone bills and other discomforts, he continued the lobby to key members of the Babangida administration to keep the consideration of the creation of Kogi State afloat. He made it a particular strategy to call David Mark and Abdusalam Abubakar when the Armed Forces Council meetings were about to begin to remind them and when it ended to monitor its outcome. True to his word, Babangida created Kogi State. In spite of his sacrifices, Brigadier General Ogbeha summarised his efforts as thus: “I only acted as a go-between.” However, many of the elders and indigenes of Kogi State, who were privy to his underground effort hold him in high esteem in helping to actualise the dream and aspirations of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of individuals who belong to different ethnicities. Continues Online@ www. vanguardngr.com
Nigeria’s foreign trade recovers with N4tr surplus in 2017 — NBS By Elizabeth Adegbesan DRIVEN by upsurge in exports of agricultural goods and solid minerals, Nigeria’s foreign trade recovered in 2017 with a N4 trillion trade surplus, up from a deficit of N290.1 billion in 2016. National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, disclosed this in its Foreign Trade Statistics report for the fourth quarter of 2017 (Q4’17). The report showed that Nigeria exported N13.5 trillion worth of goods in 2017, up by 59.47 percent from N8.523 trillion in 2016, while it imported N9.56 trillion worth of goods in 2017, up by 8.5 percent from N8.82 trillion in 2016. The sharp increase in export was driven by triple digit increases in export of agricultural goods, solid minerals and raw materials. According to the report, export of agricultural goods rose 180.7 percent, while exports of solid minerals rose by 565 percent. The NBS stated: “Total trade recorded for Q4’17 was N6.022 trillion which represented a decline of 0.7 percent over the Q3’17, and an increase of 13.9 percent in Q4’16. For full year 2017, total trade was N23.2 trillion which is 33.5 percent higher when compared to the 2016 value of N17.3 trillion. “Trade balance, accordingly, stood at a surplus of N1.8 trillion in Q4’17 compared to the surplus of N1.1trillion recorded in the preceding quarter and the surplus of N671.30 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2016. For full year 2017, trade balance stood at CURRENCY BUYING SELLING US DOLLAR POUNDS EURO FRANC YEN CFA WAUA RENMINBI RIYAL SDR DANISH RAND $118.15 -2.20 $2,320.000.00 $13.40 -0.02 $64.33 -0.04 61.42 +0.17 304.85 305.35 305.85 420.4796 421.1693 421.8589 375.2094 375.8248 376.4402 325.9034 326.4379 326.9724 2.8918 2.8965 2.9013 0.5466 0.5566 0.5666 439.362 440.0826 440.8032 48.0021 48.1013 48.1805 81.2868 81.4202 81.5535 440.0815 440.8033 441.5251 50.3684 50.4511 50.5337 25.6258 25.6679 25.7099 CBN Exchange rate as at 5/03/2018 From left, Senior Private Sector Development Adviser, British Deputy High Commission, Richard Sandall; Group Head, Agric Finance, Heritage Bank Plc, Olugbenga Awe; Divisional Stakeholder Engagement, Kano, Sanusi Bature; Deputy Governor of Kano State, Prof. Hafizu Abubakar; Chief Executive Officer, FROS Capital, Francis Osuyah; Dean, Dangote Business School, Bayero University, Kano, Prof. Murtala Sabo Sagagi and Deputy Country Director, Sasakawa Africa Association, Sani Sagagi, at the Lagos-Kano Economic and Investment Summit in Epe, Lagos. Vanguard, TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 2018 — 19 N4.04 trillion compared to a negative trade balance of -N290.1 billion in 2016.” On exports the report stated: “Total value of export at N3.9 trillion in Q4’17 grew by 9.35 percent over Q3’17 and by 31.27 percent over Q4’16. For full year 2017, total exports of N13.6 trillion was 59.47 percent higher than N8.5 trillion recorded in 2016. “Agricultural goods exports grew in value by 54.9 percent in Q4’17 (N44.7 billion) in comparison to Q3 2017 (N28.8 billion), up170.9 percent in comparison to Q4’16 (N16.5 billion). For full year 2017, agriculture exports grew 180.7 percent (N170.4 billion) above the value in 2016 (N60.7 billion).” •As Success Edge boss advises on success in export business AT the backdrop of rising export value in Nigeria’s foreign trade statistics a leading expert export consultancy, Mr Godwin Oyefeso, has advised Nigerian entrepreneurs who want to go into export to have documentation first, to legitimise the transactions. He stated: “Anybody going into export must be fully registered, they must have export license, they must have a domiciliary account in the name of their company, and they should be able to have an effective email and an internet connection. “Secondly, they should know the kind of product they want to do; they must get a ‘Nigeria needs leaders that manage economy as quasi business’ — Saiyen THE economic development of Nigeria requires leadership that manages the affairs of the country as quasibusiness going forward. Eileen Saiyen, Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, H. Pierson Associates Limited, made this call in Lagos, stressing that buyer for the product, know the specification, the market is wide and a lot of people are looking for the products. So, basically you have to know what you need to do, and once you know what to do getting buyers will not be difficult.” Oyefeso who is the Chief Executive of Success Edge International, organises training to support exporters regularly, harped on mitigation of risks associated with export business. According to him “fear of loss of money comes when you don’t do the right thing, when you do the right thing at the right time you don’t need to fear. We have a lot of government policies that backs the issue of export, there is what we call Cargo Defence Council, if you have a business leadership in Nigeria must be based on competence. She noted that the only way out of the under development that has beset the most populous country in Sub-Saharan Africa for decades is for Nigerians to rise above the pedestrian mode of choosing leaders based on sentiments. “Talking about competence, a leader has to be nominated based on the footprints of what he has done. Our economy, states are just too large to be used and they don’t pay you they just go to Cargo Defence Council, once you have your documentation anywhere in the world they will sort it out for you.” On the role consultants in enhancing Nigeria’s exports, Oyefeso stated: “We advice people when you are going into export business, don’t do it alone, have a mentor and a consultant that is important, so when there are issues, they will guide you on step-by-step on what to do, don’t just rush into the sector, though there are a lot of money in the business. “Nigeria has a lot of products that are exportable. Nigeria is regarded as the 38 biggest exporter in the world with a lot of commodities, over 117 items, to 95 countries all over the world. as experiments. At all levels of leadership, we need a paradigm shift on how we see leadership. “They must be leaders who have a global view and global standard. That requires deliverables and transformation. l think we need to have a fundamental shift on how we define good leadership and we need to also act very quickly”, Saiyen said. Speaking on efforts of government to diversify the economy of Nigeria, Saiyen commended the policy trust of Heritage Bank campaigns for Commodity Exchange in Lagos-Kano MoU HERITAGE Bank Plc has advised that the bilateral agreement between Lagos and Kano States on agribusiness should provide for a Commodity Exchange. The two states signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last week at the Lagos - Kano Economic and Investment Summit which had the goal of ensuring a collaboration between the two states to boost commerce and agribusiness and consequently increase revenue generation by the states. Speaking at the event during the plenary session, Olugbenga Awe, Group Head, Agric Financing, Heritage Bank, said there was an urgent need for the establishment of a Commodity Exchange, stating that it would provide the platform necessary for the success of the MoU signed by the states. Awe said if the Exchange was established, it would make future contracts between traders and speculators in both states and others more possible and thereby enhance agribusiness in the country. He stated that the establishment of a Commodity Exchange would help to put the activities of grain farmers at the Dawanau market, Kano as well as other commodities’ dealers in spotlight. According to him, the volume of agribusiness and commerce going on daily in the market, which is the hub of grains and seeds trading across the world, needs to be complemented by appropriate policies. Based on this, Awe advised the two states to ensure that the MoU they signed captures the establishment of a Commodity Exchange. Doing that, he stated, would make traceability possible for every produce traded on the floor of the exchange unlike now when grains sourced in Kano or Lagos could be sold and consumed in other part of the country without knowing its source. the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. She called on government to be committed to the execution of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which she said was well articulated and focused. “You will agree with me that it is very well focused, well articulated. But what we need is execution. In strategy, everything is about execution. As we go through to 2019, what we need is consistency in governance, and timeline for execution.