34 BUSINESS DAY C002D5556 Tuesday 10 April 2018 NEWS Why Buhari dares Obasanjo, IBB, others to... Continued from page 4 good for Nigerians and also good for APC. “With this declaration, political activities will commence immediately. As a leader of a coalition of political parties, we have now gotten emboldened and we will re-strategize. I will go ahead and call a meeting immediately with all the national chairman of political parties in our coalition so that we can assess and reassess President Buhari’s declaration and proffer solution on how to move ahead for 2019. It is good that the declaration happened on Monday and I can assure you that between now and Friday, a lot of alignment and realignments will commence. “Nigerians are the people to decide whether the type of government they have seen for over three years is what they want to continue with or they need a change,” he said. Obasanjo to respond Former President Olusegun Obasanjo will react to President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration to contest for the 2019 Presidential election, a close confidant of the former president confirmed. Opara told BusinessDay that Obasanjo, who is implacably opposed to the government of President Buhari, is not in the country now but will surely issue a statement when he returns to the country soon. Opara said that Obasanjo is catalyst for the mass movements that have swept across the federation in the form of Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), the Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM) which is in grand coalition with about 35 political parties, civil society organisations, faith- based organisations among others, allegedly aimed at removing the Buhari government and forming a Government of National Unity. “We are going to commence meeting with Obasanjo to reinforce our strategy for 2019. Obasanjo is not in the country now but as soon as he comes back he will issue a statement that Nigerians will follow and take it from there,” he said. Obasanjo has inspired the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), which he launched to allegedly unseat President Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Obasanjo is also mobilizing Nigerians against the return of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to power. The former president has said that the two main parties have led Nigerians astray and don’t deserve to be given any further chance. Recall that Obasanjo issued a letter to President Buhari in January in which he severely criticized the president for failing to better the Nigerian economy and failing to provide security to the people following the incessant attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen. Obasanjo has since received the support of former generals who also denounced Buhari over his shortcomings. Declaration anchored on failure -NCP chair Meanwhile the National Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Tanko Yunusa, said Buhari’s declaration gives the people little to hope for following the pervasive hardship in the country. The NCP chair told Business- Day on Monday that the declaration is not news. “For us we already have in mind that he was going to run. He has the right to run and he is welcome to the game. We will put up our own team to run against him. “But it is clear that the president and the government itself have not lived up to expectations of Nigerians and the cry has been huge. Look at the issue of corruption, people have seen that it has been selective and the issue of economy which has been woeful,” he said. Leader of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) Tanko Yakasai described the declaration as “no news” adding that “Nigerians had abandoned the All Progressive Congress (APC) long ago” The elder statesman who stated that the declaration did not take him by surprise, attributed his reaction to how the President’s supporters “had been behaving”. “His supporters did not seem to know that Nigerians have changed their mind about the APC” “My advice to Nigerians is that they should be more conscious about their future and the future of their children.” Former Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Yakubu, while also reacting, expressed happiness that the President is contesting the election. Yakubu, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in a telephone chat with BusinessDay in Abuja, said the party will be happy to square it up again with President Buhari. “We are happy because, it is going to be a rematch with President Buhari. It is the President that we want to defeat” adding that “we are happy that the APC is most likely to represent him for the 2019 Presidential election” Yakubu said ”Nigerians are fully aware of the misrule, fragmentation and neglects” the All Progressive Congress had visited on Nigeria since the inception of the current administration. “We are not afraid of the APC and the President because they have created more division and insecurity among Nigerians than they inherited.” He added that the PDP is however working to conduct the most transparent, free and fair primaries that will produce their own candidate. “You know the PDP is the biggest party in Nigeria, we are working to produce our candidate through free, fair and transparent primaries,” he said. Pally Iriase, member of National Executive Council (NEC) of APC commended the Buhari’s decision to seek second term in office as Nigeria’s President. Iriase who doubles as Deputy Majority Whip in the House of Representatives, in a chat with BusinessDay, described Buhari as a focussed leader in the areas of anti-corruption crusade and infrastructural development. “One thing that is very clear about this President is that no matter what anybody will have against him, he is much focused and very passionate about repositioning Nigeria and his single fight against corruption is what Nigerians must commend. “Secondly within the limited resources available, he has been able to show that Nigeria can develop and work because not many are aware about the huge infrastructural L-R: Yoichi Sagara, general manager, Africa division, Toyota Motor Corporation, Japan; Shola Olayemi, representative of First Bank Nigeria plc; Michael Ade. Ojo, chairman, Toyota Nigeria Limited, and Henry Ojuoko, head, dealer development/special projects, Toyota Nigeria Limited, during the presentation of the Evergreen Customer Award to First Bank Nigeria plc, at the Toyota Awards 2017 in Lagos. Pic by Pius Okeosisi development that is ongoing all over the country, roads are receiving attention, the rail system is receiving attention, the airports are receiving, and even the power problem is receiving consistent attention. “This shows the serious mindedness of a President that want to turn things around for the betterment of Nigeria, he came in at a time when things have gotten so bad and he has since jettisoned the easy escape route of blame game and he has settled down to work.” Rekindles hope? Speaking shortly after the NEC meeting held in Abuja, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State stressed that the decision by President Buhari to seek for re-election in 2019 has rekindled hope and reassured Nigerians that the restoration agenda, the war against corruption and enthronement of good governance for the country will sail safely to coast. The governor commended this decision shortly after President Buhari told the APC NEC of his intention to contest the presidential election next year in a statement signed by his Coordinator, Media and Publicity, Jide Orintunsin. The Governor noted that the President pronouncement has rekindled the hope of average Nigerians for a better tomorrow. “It was so heart-warming when the President today told members of the national executive committee (NEC) of our great party of his intention to seek for re-election. This is the brightest moment for our country. A moment that has rekindled the hope of our people, a moment that has reaffirmed that all the good works, the good initiatives of the President that saw us out of economic recession the country was plunged into by mismanagement of past administration will now be sustained to take us to the desired enviable position among the comity of nations. “By this pronouncement, President Muhammadu Buhari has exhibited high sense of a good leadership. He has shown that he listens to the yearnings of millions of Nigerians who called on him to continue the good work he started since 2015. “He would have dashed the hope of teeming Nigerians, especially the younger ones who are looking up to him, if he has turned down this call to serve. “The onus is now on all good and well-meaning Nigerians to rally round our President and ensure that the reactionary forces of the opposition and agents of doom are not allowed to dash the much cherish hope we all have in the new emerging Nigeria by doing the needful during the next general election. “We cannot afford to go back to the dark days of extravagance and impunity. President Muhammadu Buhari has changed the game, he has brought sanity to governance, the war against insurgency is nearing logical conclusion and our economy is improving. Posterity will not forgive us as a people if we allow this golden opportunity to slip off our hands, the President has declared, we have to do the needful as a people by supporting him,” Governor Sani Bello advised. What it means for markets Despite exiting Nigeria from its worst recession in decades and gradual stabilization of the naira, the decision by 75 years old former dictatorship ruler and current President Muhammad Buhari to run for second term still may not restore confidence in Nigeria’s economy as Africa largest economy continues to struggle to find its path to greatness. Four analysts surveyed by BusinessDay were not surprised by the president’s decision to contest for a second term however they differ on expectations for the market. “Everything pointed to the fact that he wanted it so there is nothing new; however his decision doesn’t affect the stock market and FX market in any form,” Bismarck Rewane, CEO of economics consulting firm Financial Derivatives Limited said. “What the market will be looking out for is what the other opponents are bringing to the table,” Rewane added. Ayodeji Ebo, managing director and CEO of Afrinvest Securities Limited was also not surprised however and said certainty is very pivotal in an investment decision, so the President’s decision to run will provide some form of confidence to investors giving the assurance there will be continuity of policies if he emerges the winner. “It is positive news for manufacturers and the real sector market in terms of FX stability and Increasingd the domestic production of goods and services,” Ebo said. “Generally, for the economy its positive news although a lot still has to be done in terms of infrastructure funding and FX stability.” Dolapo Ashiru, CEO at Lagosbased Mega capital financial services said the market has been expecting that President Buhari will come out and contest so the announcement was really not an issue. “In-fact the major reaction that we would have seen in the market is if the opposite had happens, because the market already expects a re-run from him as no Nigerian president has ever declared not to run for the second time,” Ashiru said by Phone. After becoming the first opposition candidate to win power in Nigeria at the ballot box, the Buhari led-government has been faced by several market uncertainties such as Boko Haram Islamist insurgency and inconsistent international crude oil price from which Nigeria generates a bulk of its revenue from. “Governance is likely going to be a casualty, though; the longsuffering 2018 budget and a recent $1 billion approval for the military, could become pawns in the political games to follow,” Rafiq Raji, Chief Economist at Macroafricaintel told BusinessDay. The Nigerian economy has been hammered by a lengthy collapse in oil prices that began in mid-2014, and snowballed into a two-decade low of $28 per barrel in January 2016. The pain inflicted by militant attacks in the Niger-delta, which sent production levels to near decadelows of 1.2 million barrels a day, dealt an even steeper blow on the oil-dependent economy. These factors, alongside the 75-year old Nigerian president attitude on holding the naira rate unchanged despite reduced dollar inflows y, tipped the economy into recession and triggered acute dollar shortages that stifled the non-oil sector, as the latter contracted 0.2 percent to record is worst performance since 1984. •Continues online at www.businessdayonline.com
Tuesdau 10 April 2018 Lagos plans engagement of media on policies, development JOSHUA BASSEY Lagos State says it is working out strategies for robust engagement with the media for better understanding and communication of programmes and policies aimed at further growing the economy and fast-tracking development across the state. Kehinde Bamigbetan, commissioner for information and strategy, stated this Monday, at a news conference to mark the third anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led government. Bamigbetan said this was necessary as the public sometimes misinterpreted government’s intention, especially with regard to new policies. It would be recalled that two major programmes of the state government in recent times - the Land Use Charge BoA, SunTrust sign pact to improve agribusiness in Nigeria HARRISON EDEH, Abuja As part of efforts at revitalising agriculture as alternative mainstay of the economy, the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and SunTrust Bank Monday in Abuja sealed an e-banking agreement described by the minister of agriculture, Audu Ogbe, as ‘landmark’ and instrumental to the development of agricultural sector in Nigeria. The agreement was signed at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Abuja in presence of operators in the agric sector. Managing director/CEO of SunTrust Bank Nigeria Limited, Muhammad Jibrin, and the chief executive of BoA, Kabiru Adamu, signed for their respective banks, Access Bank introduces USSD code *901*11# for payday loan product With intent to provide quicker and instant access to loans for customers, Access Bank has launched a special USSD code *901*11#, a strategic tool for the recently-launched Payday Loan product. Unveiled in partnership with Remita, Payday Loan requires no collateral or guarantor, enabling customers to obtain loans instantly without visiting the bank – thereby enabling customers to meet their urgent financial needs before receiving their salaries. In a statement released by the bank, Victor Etuokwu, executive director, personal banking, said, “Acquiring loans in Nigeria has always been known to be limiting - either due to access, collateral issues, including the dura- (LUC) and the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) generated furore with different segments of the public giving different interpretations to policies. According to Bamigbetan, the strategic engagements would involve the interface of relevant segments of the media and public with ministries, departments and agencies germane to the implementation of policies, such that government’s intentions are well communicated. He believed this would facilitate the implementation of such programmes and ultimately deepen development of Lagos. Bamigbetan said the government was also expanding its engagement with the public on social media platforms - including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. He added that the target was to secure at least 2 million followers on Facebook before end of 2018. which they said would aid agric processes as employment generating venture. The agreement will among other things allows SunTrust Bank to deploy its banking services and other complementary e-banking services to simplify BoA services to its farmer customers across its 140 branches in Nigeria. Jibrin said the deal would also allow it to deploy its banking platforms technology like ATM and other infrastructure for the over one million farmers in the kitty of BoA. “We will also provide training support to the BOA staff and at the end of the day, it will be a mutually benefitting agreement to all parties,” Jibrin said. In his remark, Adamu expressed optimism that the MoU would revolutionise agriculture in the country. tion of the approval process. With our obligations to our customers especially during difficult economic periods, we are emphasising Access Bank’s position in offering lifestyle products and services that meets their financial needs.” Access Bank’s Payday Loan product offers customers and non-customers easy access to a platform that gives them access to loans against their next salary payment, and enables customers to obtain a loan instantly by simply dialling a USSD code *901*11# on their mobile phones. The product is unique as recipients only have to be diligent salary earners who will now be able to obtain instant loans without stress or involving a guarantor. C002D5556 BUSINESS DAY 35 NEWS Adesola Adeduntan, MD/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited and Subsidiaries (front row m); Bashirat Odunewu, group executive, international banking group, FirstBank (front row, 2nd r); with Members of the executive team of FirstBank’s African Subsidiaries, at the FirstBank International Banking Group Retreat held in Lagos. Survey: INEC explains absence of registration officials in PH, counters claims on e-voting training in north IGNATIUS CHUKWU & INNOCENT IWARA Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has explained why many registration centres in Rivers State, especially Port Harcourt, do not have registration officials. Citizens had complained of absence of INEC officials in many designated centres but INEC said those were mobile centres, which should not be busy daily. According to INEC’s head of department, Voter Education and Publicity in Rivers State, Edwin Enabor, the unstable registration method is a novel exercise done by INEC’s “mobile units” and aimed at curbing crowd-associated challenges. Enabor, who spoke with BusinessDay on telephone, said each local government area in Rivers State was initial- Edo-EU N4bn water, sanitation projects on course The various water and sanitation projects being executed by the Edo State government in partnership with the European Union (EU), under the Niger Delta Support Programme, are on course, the European Union - Niger Delta Support Programme consultant, Soji Adeyemi, says. Adeyemi explained that the Edo State government had an “extensive water sector policy developed by the Godwin Obaseki-led administration while a water sector master plan is being developed by the government in partnership with the EU.” He disclosed that “two agencies of the state government will eventually take over the management of water supply across the state - Small Town, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, that will provide water on a sustainable basis to all small towns and rural communities; Edo Urban Water Corporation, which will deal with the supply of water to urban areas and the management of all dams in the state.” Special adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on media and communication strategy, Crusoe Osagie, explained, “To set the record straight, the Edo State government paid N389 million to attract N700 million from the EU for water drilling and reticulation in Ovia South West and Etsako West local government areas. “In Ovia South West, the projects are on course and are sighted at Iguatakpa, Omorodion, Okoro II, Agbontaen, Okponha, Oriakhi Water Side, Obobaifo, Ikoha, ly designed to have only one permanent registration centre, but when the commission discovered unprecedented turnout in some areas, eight extra permanent centres were created and shared among high-turnout centres. Investigations revealed that some persons who saw the INEC banners went there to find them empty. Archibong Monday, who was only 16 the last time the window for voter registration was opened, now looked forward to voting in 2019. His efforts to register have hit the rocks. Monday, who resides at Abuloma in Port Harcourt Local Government Area (PHALGA), said the problem was that INEC officials had not been stable and appeared to have no known registration centre close to him. “I was told INEC officials register potential voters at U.P.E School here in Abuloma, but when I got there, I was told INEC no longer has a centre there. I was later told they moved to Abuloma Town Hall. I went there several times without seeing them, that is why I have not registered yet,” Monday said. A quick check by our reporter shows that U.P.E. Model Primary School, which is shown on INEC’s website as a collation centre, used to service as registration centre. But a resident living just a stroke away from the school’s gate said “I have not seen them since this year.” Like Monday attested, the female resident redirected this reporter to Abuloma Community Town Hall, which, upon inspection, was found to be locked with no any INEC official in sight. “The last time I saw them here was January,” said a woman selling foodstuff just beside the Town Hall, about Oke-Abata, Oyunmwenyi, Iguobazuwa, Ojo Kassim, Udo, Obaretin, Ofumwengbe, Usen, and Obazumwen.” Osagie added: “In Etsako West, the ongoing projects are located in Elele, Omhemi, Egbogio I, Egbogio II & III, Amob, Joseph Camp, Afowa, Ayogwiri, Ibienafe, Iyerekhu, Ughiole and Auchi Headworks. “In Edo Central Senatorial District, the state government attracted N700 million from the EU with N300 million counterpart fund to reticulate water from the dam that was constructed by the Federal Government, to Uromi and its environs. “A meeting with the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning will hold in Abuja later this month on the commencement of the project.” 25 meters away. The same situation applies to INEC’s known registration centre at Elekahia, the Elekahia Community Town Hall. Our reporter was told that INEC had since relocated from Elekahia Town Hall to Nkpogu Community Town Hall. On reaching there, no INEC officials were in sight. Residents around Nkpogu said the last time INEC officials were seen at Nkpogu Hall was two months back, and that each time they came, they spent about four days registering prospective voters and then disappear for a month or two. It was gathered that rather than be at their known permanent registration centres, INEC officials utilise the services of town criers in consent with community leaders, notifying community members about INEC’s proposed visit and registration. The governor’s aide said further, “Two months ago, the state governor released N600 million to attract N1.4 billion for the water, sanitation and artisanal training projects in Orhionmwon, Uhunmwode and Owan West local government areas under the same Niger Delta Support Programme of the EU. “The N2 billion project covers water drilling, reticulation, sanitation facilities in markets, public schools as well as training for 250 artisans that will maintain the water projects, some of whom will be absorbed by the local councils. “The wisdom behind the training is to ensure that these water projects that are billed to come on stream soon, will not be abandoned over lack of capacity to maintain them.