C002D5556 Sunday 15 April 2018 20 Comment comment is free Send 800word comments to firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHER/CEO Frank Aigbogun EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Prof. Onwuchekwa Jemie EDITOR Zebulon Agomuo DEPUTY EDITOR John Osadolor, Abuja ASSISTANT EDITOR Chuks Oluigbo NEWS EDITOR Patrick Atuanya EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SALES AND MARKETING Kola Garuba EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OPERATIONS Fabian Akagha EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DIGITAL SERVICES Oghenevwoke Ighure ADVERT MANAGER Adeola Ajewole MANAGER, SYSTEMS & CONTROL Emeka Ifeanyi HEAD OF SALES, CONFERENCES Rerhe Idonije SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER Patrick Ijegbai CIRCULATION MANAGER John Okpaire GM, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (North) Bashir Ibrahim Hassan GM, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (South) Ignatius Chukwu HEAD, HUMAN RESOURCES Adeola Obisesan EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Dick Kramer - Chairman Imo Itsueli Mohammed Hayatudeen Albert Alos Funke Osibodu Afolabi Oladele Dayo Lawuyi Vincent Maduka Wole Obayomi Maneesh Garg Keith Richards Opeyemi Agbaje Amina Oyagbola Bolanle Onagoruwa Fola Laoye Chuka Mordi Sim Shagaya Mezuo Nwuneli Emeka Emuwa Charles Anudu Tunji Adegbesan Eyo Ekpo NEWS ROOM 08022238495 } Lagos 08034009034 08033160837 Abuja ADVERTISING 01-2799110 08116759801 08082496194 ENQUIRIES TAYO OGUNBIYI Ogunbiyi is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja The 11th edition of the Lagos state government Quarterly Town Hall Meetings berths in Apapa on Tuesday, April 17. Since its inauguration in May 2015, it has become traditional for the state government to periodically render account of its stewardship as well as interact with Lagos residents on diverse issues of governance. The Town Hall Meeting, which quarterly alternates across the State’s three Senatorial Districts, is in fulfillment of Governor Ambode’s resolve to run an all inclusive government in which “no one or segment of the society, irrespective of colour, race, faith, status, ability or disability is left behind”. The forum provides a steady platform for Lagos residents as well as other key stakeholders to be part of decision making process in the state. This, of course, is the whole essence of democracy. For any democratic system to be truly about the people, it is imperative that every democratically elected government constantly relates with the citizens on key issues of governance. Without a doubt, the people remain the bedrock of democracy and as such it is critical As Ambode go goes to Apapa that their views on government policies and programmes are carefully and systematically sought from time to time. This way, it will be easy to evolve strategic means to determine ways of improving the quality of the citizenry’s social life. Since inception of the Quarterly Town Hall Meetings, opinions of various stakeholders as well as resolutions reached have been quite helpful in assisting government to prioritize its developmental plans across various sectors of the state. For instance, at the maiden edition held at Abesan Mini Stadium in Ayobo-Ipaja, residents clamoured for a lasting solution to traffic grid along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway as well as rehabilitation of the Ayobo-Ipaja Road. In his response, Governor Ambode promised that a Flyover Bridge would be constructed at Abule-Egba to ease traffic along the axis while the Ayobo-Ipaja Road would be rehabilitated within three months. Both promises have since been fulfilled. Besides helping government to prioritize its activities, the Town Hall Meetings equally offers opportunity for the people to be briefed about various policies and activities of government on a quarterly basis. This is quite important because where access to official information is lacking, the citizenry are bound to take rumours, misconceptions, falsehoods and half-truths as the gospel truth, especially in this era of unbridled social media phenomenon. Therefore, at Apapa, Lagos residents will have the prospect of hearing directly from the Governor about several decisive issues that might be of immense concern to them. Similarly, Governor Ambode will equally have the opportunity of informing the people about the several strides of his administration since the first quarter of this year. The Akinwunmi Ambode administration is, no doubt, giving a boost to infrastructure development in the state. For instance, residents of Alimosho were recently given a rare Easther treat when 21 roads and three bridges connecting the state with Ogun State were recently commissioned. Also, a modern Bus Terminal was recently commissioned at Ikeja by President Muhammadu Buhari. Presently, work is also on-going on the Pen Cinema /Agunbiade Flyover which is aimed at reducing traffic grid lock within the corridor. Similarly, the redevelopment of the Lagos Airport Road into a 10 lane international standard highway is on course while work is equally progressing on the Oshodi Transport Interchange which when completed is bound to change the face of public transportation in the entire country. Other key capital projects in this year’s budget include the alternative routes through Oke-Ira in Eti-Osa to Epe-Lekki Expressway; the 8km Regional Road to serve as alternative route to connect Victoria Garden City (VGC) with Freedom Road in Lekki Phase I and the BRT Lane from Oshodi to Abule-Egba, to mention but a few. Taking this particular edition of the Town Hall Meeting to Apapa is quite significant. Apapa is very strategic to the economy of Nigeria, being a major gateway to the country’s sea ports. The major share of government’s revenue comes from both the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports. More than 75 per cent of the goods that are imported into the country come through the ports in Lagos and the major ports in the country are based in Apapa. Without a doubt, Apapa is undoubtedly vital to the prosperity of Nigeria. It is, therefore, expected that major stakeholders in the axis would use the opportunity of the forum to come up with creative ideas that could further help in optimizing the enormous economic potentials of Apapa. Harvey Firestone, foremost American Business man says: “Capital isn’t so important in business. Experience isn’t so important. What is important is idea. If you have ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn’t any limit to what you can do with your business and your life.” It is hoped that the Town Hall Meeting at Apapa will come up with several innovative ideas that will further enhance sustainable growth and development in the state. Ogunbiyi is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja SUBSCRIPTIONS 01-2799101 07032496069 07054563299 www.businessdayonline.com The Brook, 6 Point Road, GRA, Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria. 01-2799100 LEGAL ADVISERS The Law Union MISSION STATEMENT To be a diversified provider of superior business, financial and management intelligence across platforms accessible to our customers anywhere in the world. 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Sunday 15 April 2018 comment is free Send 800word comments to email@example.com C002D5556 21 Comment That Imo State is in dire of need of rescue is not in contention. Last week, this column established that the major setback to the development of the state since its creation in 1976, but especially since 1999, has been incompetent, visionless leadership and the domination of its politics by people of questionable character and competence, people with no track record of achievement, people without verifiable means of livelihood and whose daily survival now depends entirely on how close they are to the magnetic field of political power. As the 2019 elections draw close, the state, overdue for a turnaround, is in desperate search of a turnaround manager, someone with track record, competence and character who will set it on the path of sustainable, inclusive and diversified development. So far, over 30 aspirants have indicated interest to be governor of Imo State in 2019. As it often happens, the pretenders shall in time be separated from the serious contenders. But even now, a few of the aspirants are already showing a lot of promise. One such aspirant is Chidi Okoro, a University of Nigeria, Nsukka-trained pharmacist who holds MBA from University of Lagos and Executive One common and usual refrain among loyalists and supporters of Nigerian leaders in the past decade is that the particular leader in question ‘means well for the country’. The issue of meaning well is often brought in to counter accusations of non- performance against such leaders. Thus, when opponents of a sitting President demand for his ouster, usually in the next election as punishment for poor performance or under performance, among the points put forward by supporters of the non-performing leader is to say that he means well for the nation, and should therefore, be spared even when in the opinion of the opposition and other discerning citizens that the leader has not done well! One common and familiar scapegoat for the poor performance of the leader is his aides! The average Nigerian, good natured as always would blame the aides of the President or those around him and never the man himself as the reason for his poor outing. The question arises, ‘’who selected these aides?” In the event that the aides were selected for him, should the Leader or President not periodically review what his aides do and call them to order where they are found wanting? The case above is the same with President Muhammadu Buhari Masters Degree in Positive Leadership and Strategy from IE Business School, Madrid, Spain. Okoro, a successful private sector business manager, has had outstanding experience spanning various industry sectors such as consumer, pharmaceutical, healthcare and telecom. He has held senior management positions in Promasidor, MTN, Reckitt Benckiser and Emzor Pharmaceutical and has served as managing director/CEO, GlaxoSmithKline Nigeria, managing director of Africa Region for Suntory, and most recently, managing director/ CEO, UAC Foods Limited. He is the founder of Southern Business Academy, a not-for-profit platform through which he has contributed to social change in Nigeria. The first thing that strikes you about this man of excellence is his passion for a greater Imo. It is this passion that led him, alongside a group called Imo Arise Network, to embark on an extensive research on Imo State with the aim of ascertaining the crux of the developmental problems facing the state. That extensive research has yielded huge dividend as Okoro reels out statistics on Imo with military precision – in a country where dearth of data adversely affects development planning. Chidi Okoro and the promise of a greater Imo Does President Buhari really love Nigeria? MUSA MOHAMMED ZANGO Zango wrote from Bauchi. Panorama with CHUKS OLUIGBO firstname.lastname@example.org (08116759816) whose term will be up in May 2019, but whose ardent supporters are already losing sleep about his fate come February 2019 when the 2019 elections would take place. To say that a terrible fever has gripped the pro- Buhari camp and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party, is an understatement. In fact, it is right to say that the nation is under siege because of the ambition of this former military Head of State and retired and tired Major- General and his supporters who are so keen on his re- election whether or not he has performed in the past three and half years. Nigerians can go as far as the ridiculous in their support for politicians notably incumbent Heads of States in whose government they have interest. Recently, the Governor of Kaduna State, a state that has had a very bitter taste of the generalised insecurity and killings in the country which has defined the Buhari Presidency, led a high-powered delegation of APC governors to the Presidential Villa to express support for the second term ambition of President Muhammadu Buhari at a time that there should be national mourning on account of the massacre by Fulani herdsmen of hundreds of Men, women and children of Benue origin. The unfortunate people were killed in their sleep and their villages sacked by the marauding herdsmen who are now a security threat to the entire country. Second to add insult to injury, the lying and propaganda ruling party, the APC, has been working hard to prod “Unemployment/underemployment is at 34 percent. Youth unemployment is 58 percent. Every year we churn out about 50,000 people ready to work, only about 15,000 get jobs, so you have 35,000 overhang, meaning that in another 10 years you will probably have 500,000 people in the job market. At the moment we do have about 300,000 people seeking jobs in Imo State,” Okoro tells me in an interview in Lagos. “There are less than 1,000 doctors in Imo State. Doctor/patient ratio is about 1:6,000, whereas World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends one doctor to 600 patients. So, we already have a big problem. Imo has 100 registered pharmacy outlets and about 4,000 patent medicine outlets. So, the state is way underserved when you look at the population of 5.4 million,” he says. “Imo IGR today is about N6 billion per annum, so we make roughly N500 million every month. Imo is transforming from a civil service, agro state to a commercial state with many hotels; it can transform to become hospitality, entertainment and conferencing state to unlock value. The challenge Imo has is productivity, people have no jobs. Average salary across the hotels is way below N20,000 per head, so with that consumption is very low,” he adds. Okoro tells me Imo State has a landmass of about 5,000 sq. km, with 400 clusters and about 13 exits and entrances. He says Imo has five higher institutions, literacy rate in the state is 89 percent, the state has 97 percent school enrolment, which drops to about 93 percent as it progresses to secondary education, and every year its non-performing and lacklustre Buhari to go for a second term, thus giving the impression that the APC, after the exist of that nationalist and gentleman, Atiku Abubakar, is lacking in quality persons who can contest the Presidency on that platform. It should be noted that the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El- Rufai and the other selfish and poor performing governors of the APC, took this bizarre and unprecedented step even when President Buhari had not declared his interest in the race as he was trying to come to grips with the security and economic mess the country has become under his watch! It would seem that the governor who took this insensitive step, and those in his entourage live in the moon unlike majority of Nigerians who hold the view that the incumbent has done his best but that the country needs someone who can do better. In fairness to him, President Buhari is a tough disciplinarian and anti-corruption personality and gentleman who knows his limitations. He came not prepared for the exalted office of President but was favoured by providence, and the coalition of strange bed-fellows in the APC moulded into a political party by former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, with the assistance of other notable political leaders. Buhari was also helped to power by his now-estranged benefactor, former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Recently, his controversial benefactor parted ways with him on the grounds that he (Obasanjo) is opposed to President Buhari’s ambiabout 100,000 Imo children register for UTME, and 140,000 register for WAEC. So, this man clearly understands the state he wants to govern and what the key issues are. Armed with this information, he is also clear about what he wants to do in the areas of healthcare, education, security, agriculture, employment creation, provision of nonexistent public utilities, unfinished and abandoned projects littering the entire state, how he would settle the backlog of debts owed by the state, how to raise Internally Generated Revenue without inflicting more suffering on an already-impoverished Imo citizenry, how to engender rural development by making the local governments functional again, among others. He promises to drive healthcare access from about 24 percent now to about 50 percent over a period of 24 months. He says he will “deliver targeted free education where necessary, but more about affordable quality education will be the strategy”, adding, “Our desire is to achieve 100 percent education enrolment and get Imo back to number one position in WAEC pass rate within 36 months.” He mentions that Imo State’s current debt is roughly N80 billion, which, he believes, is not unsustainable and some of them can be restructured in such a way that the backlog can be paid. “If we do that, we motivate the staff to go back to work, contractors get back on site and start paying people, and the economy begins to thrive again,” he adds. When he formally declared his intention to vie for the governorship tion to seek another term in office. In fact, former President Obasanjo in a recent public letter to Buhari accused him of non-performance and nepotism as well as of poor health and marginal appreciation of the demands of governance in a plural society like ours. Obasanjo pointedly told Buhari not to seek re-election so as not to sentence Nigerians already reeling from his tribalistic and unimaginative government from another four years of misrule, mismanagement, poverty, hardship and wanton massacre of defenceless Nigerians across the country. There are many Nigerians both inside and outside the country who are of the view that the country needs new set of leaders and that the present administration has failed abysmally in the area of protection of lives and property. President Muhammadu Buhari has clearly presented himself as a weak Commander-in- Chief who cannot get the nation’s security forces, despite huge budgetary allocation available to them in the last three years, tosignificantly overcome a terrorist insurgency in the North east region of Nigeria,and a herdsmen killing spree in all parts of the country which is now threatening the entire country. It would seem also that the elderly man that he is, President Buhari knows that he would only declare interest in the 2019 polls against the wish of majority of Nigerians, at the nation’s peril. It was perhaps for this reason that his declaration last Monday that he would contest again We cherish readers’ reactions to stories and articles published in BusinessDay. All such reactions, which must not be more than 250 words, ticket of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) on April 3, the author of ‘Another Perspective: Challenging Dominant Logic’ said he is in the race “because of our pensioners, our civil servants who are owed several months of salaries, our traders whose shops have been demolished”. “Through my five years research, I identified Imo problems and solutions. A governor of Imo State has about a thousand positions to fill. I will use that opportunity to create 500,000 jobs in four years,” he said. Okoro never stops emphasising that he possesses a superior blueprint, “an alternative reality that is well-informed, fact-driven, factbased, something that will transform the lives of the people of Imo State”, “deliver dividends of democracy and deliver sustainable development in a better structured way”. While keeping faith in the ability of his party, APGA, to follow the path of equity, justice and fairness and pick “a superior candidate that can lead them to victory”, Okoro is not losing sight of the fact that in a democracy, true power lies with the people. And, importantly, he is clear about what distinguishes him from other aspirants. He mentions track record, competence, and character. He speaks about his experience, which goes beyond Imo State or Nigeria. He speaks about his ability to execute the plan, ability to prioritise and prioritise effectively, and he speaks about a firm blueprint “that will lift Imo State from where it is today and prepare it for a great future”. In the interest of a greater Imo, one can only wish him best of luck. has come to shock angry Nigerians. It must dawn on the President that the nation he often has claimed he loves, and which his ardent supporters say he means well for would be in mortal danger if he were to shun the dictates of wise counsel and plunge into the potentially boiling 2019 elections. As one prominent lawyer from Plateau State put it in a recent interview with a national newspaper, “if Buhari contests and wins the 2019 polls, there will be chaos, and if he loses; there will be trouble”. The erudite lawyer then advised the President, to thank God and go home after his term ends in 2019! However, the way things stand, President Muhammadu Buhari has elected to reject wise counsel. He seems to be enjoying the death sentence he has passed on Nigerians by the complex and unsuccessful economic policies of his administration in the last three years which has yielded more job losses, crimes and business closures than any government in our recent history. Thus, his declaration of interest to contest the 2019 polls at a meeting of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the 9th of April, 2018 in Abuja is a bad omen and a sign of more difficult days ahead for the people of Nigeria, if effort is not made by Nigerians to hand him a clear rejection through a resounding defeat. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and other opposition parties should sink their differences and come together under a detribalised Nigerian and visionary like Atiku and bring to an end, the Buhari dictatorship.