African envoys hit out at India over attacks on Nigerian students

African envoys in Delhi on Monday called the recent mob attacks on some Nigerian students near the national capital as “racial” and “xenophobic acts”.

In a statement, the heads of African missions slammed the Indian government for failing to adequately condemn the violent incident.

“No known, sufficient and visible deterring measures were taken” by the Indian government, they said.

“These reprehensible events, both outstanding and unresolved cases against Africans, were not sufficiently condemned by the Indian authorities,” the group said.

It has agreed to “call for an independent investigation by the Human Rights Council as well as other human rights bodies”.

The mob attack on the Nigerian students took place on March 27 and it coincided with a protest that was organised by online groups who blamed the unexplained death of a teenage student on the African community.

The protesters had alleged that the student, identified as Manish Khari, was supplied drugs by Africans who live in the area.

India has described the attack on Nigerian students as “deplorable” and said it was committed to ensuring the safety and security of all foreigners in this country.

“People from Africa, including students and youth, remain our valued partners,” the External Affairs Ministry has said.

The police had said that some seven people had been arrested in connection with the mob attack so far, adding that efforts are on to arrest the other suspects.

Attacks on Africans in and around Delhi is not uncommon.

In 2016, several Nigerians were beaten up in Delhi’s Chhatarpur area.


Source: Xinhua/NAN

Africa to be represented by 9 countries at the FIFA 2026 world cup

Africa will be allotted nine automatic slots at the 2026 World Cup, as part of FIFA’s proposed expansion of the tournament.

This would be an increase from the five slots that the continent is currently entitled to.

A tenth African country will take part in a six-nation playoff tournament to decide the last two spots.

“The Bureau of the FIFA Council, comprised of the FIFA President and the president of each of the six confederations, agreed on (the) proposed allocation,” the FIFA statement said.

Europe will get 16 direct slots while the Asian Football Federation will get eight direct slots.

Oceania Football Confederation will get one slot while CONCACAF and South America’s CONMEBOL are each allotted six direct slots.

Meanwhile, the host country would automatically qualify for the World Cup. Its slot would be taken from the quota of its confederation.

In the event of co-hosting, the number of host countries to qualify automatically would be decided by the FIFA council.

FIFA members voted in January to expand the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams, starting with the 2026 edition.

Below is the proposed allocation of slots for the 2026 World Cup.


8 direct slots – increased from 4.5 


9 direct slots – increased from 5

North and Central America:

6 direct slots – increased from 3.5

South America:

6 direct slots – increased from 4.5


1 direct slot – increased from 0.5


16 direct slots – increased from 13

Final two places in 2026 to be decided by six-team playoffs.

African students in India are living in fear – Amnesty International

Amnesty International has called on Uttar Pradesh authorities to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks against African students, saying the blacks in India are living in fear.

This was contained in a statement issued by the group on Wednesday.

On Monday, at least four Nigerians sustained injuries in the attacks, which began following the death of a 15-year-old who was alleged to have consumed drugs given to him by Nigerians.

Makepeace Sitlhou, campaigner at Amnesty International, India, decried the attacks which he referred to as hate crimes.

“The recent attacks in Uttar Pradesh show how black people in India – particularly African students – continue to face racist discrimination and violence,” Sitlhou said.

“Many of those injured were targeted merely because of the colour of their skin. These are hate crimes, and authorities need to ensure that those responsible are punished.

“Living in India must not become a life-threatening issue for black people. The police must not overlook the discriminatory elements of these attacks.

“Racism can end only if authorities first acknowledge and document its existence. The Uttar Pradesh government and other state governments must thoroughly investigate all reports of hate crimes, and protect the rights of black students.

Sitlhou said a Kenyan woman was also attacked on Wednesday.

“Several black African students have been attacked in a series of hate crimes in Greater Noida over the last three days. On Wednesday, a Kenyan woman was pulled out of a taxicab and beaten in Greater Noida,” Sitlhou said.

“Video footage posted online by the Association of African Students in India shows two other Nigerian students being beaten – including with metal chairs and dustbins – by a mob inside a mall in Greater Noida on 27 March.

“We kept crying for help, but no one came, not even the security marshals. I was running but they followed me and attacked me,” a student identified as Enduranca Amalawa, told journalists.

The police in Noida have registered a first information report against nine people on charges including attempt to murder in relation to the attack at the protest.

Sujata Singh, superintendent of police, Greater Noida, told Amnesty International India, “We have increased patrolling and we will be deploying 400 more police personnel to ensure the safety of students from the African community.”

However, black students in the area told Amnesty International India, that they continue to live in fear.

Samuel Jack, the president of association of African students in India, said, “We are all scared to leave our homes.

“We have issued an advisory telling all students from the African community to remain in their homes. We can’t attend our classes because we are scared that we will be beaten up.”


Source: The Cable

Blame African governments for continent’s dwindling economic fortunes – Mo Ibrahim

Business leaders at the ongoing Africa CEO Forum in Geneva, Switzerland believe that good governance, not economic models, would halt economic degeneration and engender growth in Africa.

The plenary session, comprising Mo Ibrahim of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Pierre Guislain (Africa Development Bank) and Abebe Aemro Selassie of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), yesterday blamed African governments for the continent’s dwindling economic fortunes.

The call by respected business and socio-economic leaders for effective decentralised political systems at the forum where more than 1,000 chief executives of leading organisations are seeking sustainable solutions to Africa’s economic woes would sure put pressure on weak governments and encourage prudent management of resources.

“It is essential to define what is truly called good governance,” a defensive PM Youla told the crowd of business leaders at the Intercontinental Hotel, Geneva. He added: “China did quite a lot of good with a political regime that is far from being democratic. We do need some democracy and rules but one needs to choose what to implement in Africa.”

Youla submitted that education, health and infrastructure were critical governance issues that must be addressed by African governments. “We are latecomers to the global economy,” said the representative of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

Agreeing that the continent should take advantage of global trends and platforms like this forum, he, however, cautioned that it must guard against the mistakes of other European countries. Explaining that the Ethiopian government built the biggest dam on the continent, he described power as “very important.”

Responding to the moderator’s question on what he represents in the African economic model, Mo Ibrahim had sought to modify the theme of the conference – “Re-inventing the Africa Business Model” – on grounds that transparency should be much more important to the continental administrations than any economic model.

“Africa is not a company. It is made up of 54 countries,” he noted, describing the situation as a “big elephant in the room.” The philanthropist argued that what the continent needs are “countries with no corruption. An Africa that is more transparent with open governance.”

Mo Ibrahim’s insistence on transparency, education and good governance as basic model for Africa’s development forced the moderator, Lerato Mbele of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), to tweak the topic for the plenary after putting the matter to audience vote.

Ibrahim was particularly upset that “African leaders are now critical” of civil societies receiving foreign aid whereas some years ago, “the presidents ran around Europe begging for funds.”

“For the past four years, over 120 African and international companies and investment funds and more than 30 CEOs, all emblematic of Africa’s economic vitality, have been nominated. Nineteen awards have been given, including four prestigious CEO of the Year awards,” a statement distributed by the Africa Media Agency said.

The CEO summit is the most prominent international conference on the continent’s private sector development.

Evolved in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB), it is an event organised by Groupe Jeune Afrique, publisher of Jeune Afrique as well as The Africa Report and Rainbow Unlimited, a Swiss company that specialises in organising and promoting events and facilitating businesses.


Source: The Guardian

Africa to get 4 additional slots in 48-team FIFA World Cup

FIFA president Gianni Infantino promised to come good on a promise to hike Africa’s World Cup finals berths to nine or ten during a visit to the impoverished West African state of Mauritania this week.

“We want everyone to have the right to dream and how better to do that that taking part in a major event such as a World Cup,” Infantino told a press conference.

During last year’s hotly contested FIFA elections Infantino promised African federation chiefs that if elected he would increase the continent’s meagre five World Cup berths in a new look competition featuring 48 nations rather that the current format of 32.

The expansion of the World Cup, passed by the FIFA Council in January, comes into effect for the 2026 tournament.

The Infantino proposal will feature 16 first-round groups from which winners and runners-up qualify for the knockout phase

Africa has abandoned her youths – TB Joshua cries out

In a rousing speech, Nigerian Prophet T.B. Joshua has decried the state of Africa’s future, admonishing African countries to fight against division and focus on building a better tomorrow for its young people.

In the wake of rising tensions within several African countries, the renowned cleric addressed congregants in The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) on Sunday 26th February 2017 in a sermon televised live on Emmanuel TV and subsequently posted to social media.

“No African country can succeed alone,” Joshua began. “Africans need each other to develop,” he continued, citing an example that West Africa needs Southern Africa for development and vice versa.

Joshua implored all Africans to contribute to the society they live in and not engage in illicit trade or unlawful activities. “Everyone has a contribution to make. Whether you are poor, rich, immigrant or refugee – you have a contribution to make.”

He added that citizens must work hand-in-hand with the police to report those who have travelled within Africa with criminal intentions.

“With regard to issues of illegal immigrants, drugs and other crimes, our duty is to work with the law enforcement agencies by giving them useful information. It is only when these agencies fail that we can lawfully protest.”

Joshua then stressed that Africans should be accommodating to citizens of the same continent, calling for unity to triumph over tribal or ethnic divisiveness. “Dear Africans, we should not let other fellow Africans feel unwelcome to our countries.”

The cleric spoke candidly on the state of Africa’s future, stating that the continent had “neglected her youths,” resulting in a situation that “looks gloomy, frustrating, hopeless and dark”.

“When I think about the future of Africa, I have sleepless nights,” he admitted. “Africa has abandoned the youths to themselves. Africa has failed to make provision for the youths, whereas tomorrow’s Africa is the youths.”

Rather than toeing the line of name-calling or blame-exchanging, the Nigerian called on Africans to take collective responsibility for their current status.

Much to the delight of the multi-national crowd, the cleric then announced his readiness to travel within Africa for gatherings organised for the purpose of addressing these issues and building a better future for African youth.

“What then is the way forward? The Lord has instructed me to make myself available and I know God, in His infinity, must have touched other Africans, so that we can come together to remedy this challenge”.

Joshua rarely travels abroad, his last trip within Africa being a reconciliatory visit to the East African nation of Tanzania to douse tensions in the wake of the 2015 elections. Tanzania’s President John Magufuli is a self-professed follower of Joshua, visiting his church in Nigeria prior to his ascension to office.

“Long live the future of Africa – the youth. Long live Africa. May God bless you,” Joshua concluded.

The message comes in the midst of renewed xenophobic attacks in South Africa and escalating tensions between Northern and Southern Cameroon.

Ihechukwu Njoku is a freelancer, currently residing in Lagos, Nigeria

Africa wants 10 slots at expanded FIFA World Cup

Africa will be looking to double the number of places it has at an expanded World Cup, the continent’s football association presidents have told soccer’s world governing body, FIFA.

Africa wants at least 10 spots in the 48-team World Cup that FIFA president Gianni Infantino has proposed from 2026 as the continent gave a ringing endorsement to the expansion plans.

“All associations back the idea to expand the World Cup and there is the hope that Africa can have 10 places in future,” South African FA chief, Danny Jordaan said yesterday.

Europe is seeking a minimum of 16 places, up from 13, and wants its sides to be separated in the 16 opening round groups of three teams, with the top two advancing to a 32-team knockout phase under plans approved by FIFA last month.

Asia are expected to get eight to nine places, compared to 4-1/2 now, and South America, which has 10 member countries, a total of six, also up from 4-1/2.

The CONCACAF region, made up of the Caribbean, Central and North American countries, would get 6-1/2 places, compared to 3-1/2, with Oceania, the small Pacific Islands confederation, having one automatic place at the finals instead of 1/2.

Inter-continental playoffs between countries with 1/2 a place would determine the additional spots at the finals. The final allocation of places must be passed by the FIFA Council.

Meanwhile, the subject of the expanded World Cup featured prominently at a three-day summit between Fifa chief Infantino and more than 50 presidents of the African FAs.

The talks were behind closed doors but FIFA officials told Reuters yesterday that Infantino had outlined plans for an expanded World Cup and new development assistance for member countries.

It is the first time a summit of this type has been held, giving Africa’s FA representatives informal contact with the Fifa leadership, including the world governing body’s recently appointed general secretary, Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura.

“It has been a very good idea and a chance for the associations to also speak directly to the Fifa leadership about their issues and concerns,” said Ahmad, the president of the Madagascar Football Federation.
Ahmad, who uses just one name, is running for the presidency of the Confederation of African Football against long-standing incumbent Issa Hayatou of Cameroon next month.

The summit comes three weeks before the CAF elections in Addis Ababa on March 16 and the Fifa event in Johannesburg has been dominated by intense lobbying, delegates said.

“Most of the business at this summit is actually outside of the conference room, in the corridors and the hotel lobby as different candidates try to persuade associations to vote for them,” said one African FA chief, who asked not to be named.


Source: SuperSport

“Don’t leave ICC”, UN envoy tells African countries.

The UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, has warned African countries that withdrawing from the International Criminal Court, ICC, could have grave implications for victims seeking redress for serious human rights violations.

Mr. Dieng, who stated this in a commentary, said the setting up of the tribunal was a “reckoning” for those who had long disregarded the lives and dignity of their people.

The UN envoy explained that the ideals and values that inspired the creation of ICC still hold true.

“The establishment of the Court signified a global commitment to protect victims, when national judicial mechanisms lacked the capacity, willingness or jurisdiction to prosecute those responsible for the most serious crimes,” he said.

Highlighting the significance of the Court, Mr. Dieng said that the fact that most of the cases in the continent were submitted by African States themselves, reaffirmed their belief that it would strengthen the rule of law and respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the African people.

He, however, added that in spite of the ICC’s achievements, it is increasingly coming under threat, with recent announcements by Burundi, South Africa and The Gambia to withdraw from the Rome Statute.

“Other States have threatened to do so, if certain conditions are not met,” he said, noting that key among the concerns raised by these countries included the “lack of fairness in the prosecution decisions of the Court, perceived by some to disproportionately”.

Drawing attention to the ongoing atrocities in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, South Sudan and in other parts of the world, he underlined that the time is not right to abandon the Court.

“Rather, States and non-State members should reaffirm their commitment to strengthen the Rome Statute and ensure accountability for these horrendous crimes,” Mr. Dieng said.

He appealed to African countries to work collectively to ensure that the Court could effectively administer international criminal justice without fear or favour, contribute to the fight against impunity, and promote respect for the rule of law and human rights.

“As someone who witnessed first-hand the horrors in Rwanda, the Former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone and elsewhere, and who has been closely involved in the delivery of international justice at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, I know too well the consequences when the international community undermines the efforts of international justice.

“We owe it to the victims of these horrendous crimes to strengthen rather than undermine the International Criminal Court, and to reaffirm our commitment to the Rome Statute to ‘put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus contribute to their prevention,” he said.

According to him, a candid dialogue by the African countries and ICC will enhance mutual trust and cooperation.

Since the adoption of the Rome Statute in 1998, more than half of the world’s States have joined the Court, 34 among them are African nations, the biggest regional block to date .

In July 2017, the Court’s founding Statue will mark the 15th anniversary of its entry into force.


Source: NAN

Lagos will become Africa’s third largest economy by 2020 – Ambode

By 2020, Lagos State aspires to be the third largest economy in Africa. Towards this, investments in infrastructure and all other social economic efforts are geared towards making it ready to accommodate the new status.

Speaking yesterday at the 14th yearly lecture of the Centre for Value and Leadership, with the theme: Living well together, tomorrow: The challenge of Africa’s future cities, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said that connectivity was a critical element for a mega city to work, which requires having mass transit systems to move people from one point to another.

He maintained that the state has all it takes to be the third largest economy on the continent, as it has not just a huge population and market, but but also technology and human and material resources to drive it.

He said the daily inflow of migrants challenges the government to be on its toes to provide the facilities and infrastructure to accommodate the new residents.

The keynote speaker, Prof. Paul Collier, said that between now and 2050, the population of cities on the continent would triple and for any mega city to work, issues of energy, connectivity, housing and land are critical, which means investment in infrastructure is necessary.

In another development, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, has cautioned against use of ‘hate-speeches’ by Nigerians.

Kazeem spoke yesterday at a Price Media Moot Court Competition organised by the University of Lagos (UNILAG), in collaboration with the University of Oxford.

According to him, hate-speeches have the propensity to cause public disorder.

United ECOWAS, AU can salvage Africa – UN chief Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says ECOWAS intervention in The Gambia shows that a united ECOWAS and AU can take firm decisions against undemocratic forces and promote the freedom of the people on the continent.

Guterres, who made the remarks at a press briefing at the UN Headquarters on Wednesday in New York, commended the region for its contributions to promoting peace and security.

“What the Gambia episode has demonstrated is that when the neighbours of a country are together, when the sub-regional African organisation is united and the African Union is united, then it is possible for it also to decide.

“It is possible for action to be taken and for democracy, human rights and the freedom of the people to be defended.

“When there is division in the region, it is much more difficult for the UN to be able to act accordingly.

“I think we made an enormous progress in creating the conditions for a much more effective cooperation with the different African entities and the UN in addressing some of the most complex crises that we face.”

Guterres explained that his participation at the just concluded AU Summit was successful, saying that the objective of the UN and the AU was achieved.

According to him, his objective was to establish a higher platform of cooperation between the two organisations in relation to the sustainable of the African continent.

He added that establishing a higher platform in relation to the AU and UN cooperation in peace and security in so many areas of concern on the African continent was also his other objective at the summit.

The UN chief noted the unfortunate South Sudan crisis, saying that something urgent must be done to halt it and reverse the country to the road to peace.

He regretted that as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, his first mission was to go to Uganda to celebrate World Refuge Day with South Sudanese refugees in that country years back.

According to him, the 500,000 South Sudanese refugees in Uganda then went back home when the country was created with a lot of hope inspired in them.

“You can imagine now how tragic it is in South Sudan.

“And so one of my objectives was to try to establish a strong mechanism of cooperation between sub-regional organisations – African Union, IGAD and the UN.

“This is in order to be able to do everything possible to avert the worst in South Sudan and to bring the South Sudanese situation into a better track for peace.”

According to him, he had a Summit meeting with AU and Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on South Sudan.

“The summit agreed to work together to ensure the national dialogue that would be launched in South Sudan is truly inclusive, including all the key elements of the position.

“Ex-President Conare of Chad, the African Union mediator was fully empowered to launch a mediation process with total support of the UN, in close relationship with IGAD to monitor the peace process to ensure the dialogue is truly inclusive.

“In meeting with Salva Kiir, it was agreed that there will be better cooperation both for the UN peacekeeping force to operate freely in South Sudan and for the regional protection force to be put in place,” he said.

Guterres also said that an agreement was reached with Kenya for the country and other key neighbours to work together with the same objective and voice on South Sudan.

“This is to try to create a condition to avoid what could be a dramatic situation on ground and to put on track a peace process aiming at giving future hope to the South Sudan,” he said.


Source: NAN

Italy sets up fund to help African countries stop migrants

Italy has set up a fund to help African countries better seal their borders to keep migrants from boarding flimsy and often deadly rubber boats bound for Europe, the foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano’s announcement of the 200 million Euro (216 million dollars) fund comes two days before European Union leaders meet in Malta to discuss their plan to stop African immigrants from arriving in Europe.

A record 181,000 migrants reached Italy over the Mediterranean in 2016, most of them leaving from Libya where smugglers operate with impunity.

More than 5,000 are believed to have died attempting crossing the Mediterranean in 2016, aid agencies estimate.

“The strategic objective is to help African countries control their external borders and to stop departures,” Alfano told reporters in Rome.

“African countries can request training and equipment to beef up border controls.

“At the moment, Libya, Tunisia and Niger are the three strategic partners for the fund,’’ Alfano said.

However, Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt and Ethiopia could be future partners.

Italy has repeatedly criticised the EU response to the migration crisis, in particular the failure to agree between EU states over how to share out those refugees and migrants, who make it into the bloc.

All 28 EU states agree, however, on the need to prevent them from coming in the first place and are increasingly offering money and other assistance to countries in the Middle East and North Africa to that end.

The bloc’s executive European Commission last week proposed mobilising a further 200 million Euros for projects such as training and equipping the Libyan coast guard and boosting voluntary returns.


Source: Reuters

1 in 5 African children ‘does not get vaccines’ – WHO

One in five children in Africa does not receive basic life-saving vaccines, resulting to the loss of many lives to vaccine-preventable diseases.

The World Health Organisation says while Africa has made gains in the last 15 years, toward increasing access to immunisation, progress has stagnated, and the continent is falling behind on meeting global immunisation targets.

The organisation therefore charged African leaders to commit to funding immunisation to save lives in the region.

Heeding the call, heads of state across Africa have pledged to ensure everyone in the region has access to immunisation.

They made the pledge at the 28th African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia.

The leaders adopted a declaration on universal access to immunisation in Africa and endorsed the Addis Declaration on Immunization.

The call is coming at a time when UNICEF announced an outbreak of measles in hard to access areas in Nigeria’s north-east region.

The north-east has witnessed a major crisis in the past seven years.

Measles alone accounts for approximately 61,000 preventable deaths in Africa, including Nigeria, and fewer than 15 African countries fund more than percent off their national immunisation programmes.

The Addis declaration on immunisation calls for countries to increase political and financial investments in their immunisation programmes.

It includes 10 commitments, including increasing vaccine-related funding, strengthening supply chains and delivery systems, and making universal access to vaccines a cornerstone of health and development efforts.

The Addis declaration was signed by ministers of health and other line ministers at the ministerial conference on immunization in Africa (MCIA) in February 2016.

“African leaders are showing outstanding leadership by endorsing this landmark commitment which will allow more African children to be reached with life-saving vaccines no matter where they live,” said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, chair of Gavi, the vaccine alliance board.

“We must now ensure that the commitments translate into sustainable financing for immunization. Gavi stands ready to support African countries in their efforts to implement equitable health approaches and maintain strong immunization coverage so we can create together a more prosperous future for communities across our continent.”


Source: The Cable

Doctors Without Borders: 97% rate of unsafe abortions ‘occur in Africa’.

Up to 97 percent of unsafe abortions occur in African countries, including Nigeria, according to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).


The organisation said it is important for women to have access to safe abortions because the complications associated with unsafe abortions – not carried out under medical supervisions – are dire and among the most common causes of maternal mortality in Africa.


In an interview published on MSF’s website, Catrin Schulte-Hillen, MSF adviser on sexual and reproductive health, said complications from abortions, including severe hemorrhaging, infections, and peritonitis cause injury, sterility, and even death.


“Abortions performed by untrained persons, and in poor sanitary conditions, can lead to fatal complications for women and girls,” Schulte-Hillen said.


“Complications due to unsafe abortions are among the leading causes of maternal mortality worldwide.”


She emphasised on the importance of respecting the reason women and young girls want to have abortion.


Schulte-Hillen spoke about the risks MSF faces in the line of carrying out safe abortions, including “conflicts and repercussion”.


“Safe abortions are an obvious medical need, yet still very neglected. MSF must not give up on dealing with this problem just because “it’s complicated,” she said.


“We have to be ready to accept and deal with conflicts and possible repercussions while striving to reduce the risks for women.


“Confidentiality is also of utmost importance, in order to protect women and young girls who have chosen to have an abortion.”


Schulte-Hillen said MSF is committed to communicating, clearly, about abortion, explaining its medical mission, arguments, and justifications for providing women with safe abortions.


Source: The Cable

African Union’s collective withdrawal plan from ICC suffer setback

The plan by members of African Union (AU) to collectively withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) may suffer a setback as Nigeria and some other countries objected the proposal.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Addis Ababa.

Onyeama explained that there was a strategy adopted by AU for collective withdrawal from the ICC which Nigeria did not subscribe to.

The minister said that when the issue came up during a meeting, several countries kicked against it.

He said Nigeria and others believed that the court had an important role to play in holding leaders accountable, hence Nigeria fully stood by it.

“Nigeria is not the only voice agitating against it, in fact Senegal is very strongly speaking against it, Cape Verde, and other countries are also against it.

“What they (AU) do was to set up a committee to elaborate a strategy for collective withdrawal.

“And after, Senegal took the floor, Nigeria took the floor, Cape Verde and some other countries made it clear that they were not going to subscribe to that decision,” he said.

According to him, a number of countries also took the floor to say that they needed time to study it before they acceded to that position.

He said that Zambia, Tanzania, Liberia, Botswana and host of others were not willing to withdraw from the court.

While faulting AU position on ICC, Onyeama stressed that each individual country willingly acceded to the 1998 Rome Statue on the setting up of the court.

“Each country free and willingly acceded to the Treaty, and not all of the members of the AU acceded, each country acceded individually exercising its own sovereign right.

“So each country, if they want to withdraw has the right to do that individually,

“The issue is that the AU which was not a party to the Rome Statues which established the court, should not be developing a strategy for a collective withdrawal for something that each country entered into individually.

“Those who feel they want to withdraw should do that individually.”

NAN reports that in what seems to be a continental domino effect, three African states in 2016 publicly declared their intention to withdraw from the court.

The countries include Brundi, South Africa and The Gambia, with the reports that Namibia, Kenya and Uganda were contemplating withdrawing from the ICC

The court has repeatedly been criticized by African states as an inefficient, neo-colonial institution of the Western powers to try African countries.

This argument is supported by the fact that nine of the ten situations under investigation, with three others under preliminary investigations, involve African countries.

However, as noted from a social shorthand by the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), “the rift is often caused by a neat difference in priorities.

“Where one gives more importance to peace processes, while the other gives more weight to obtaining [international] justice.”

African state parties to the Rome Statute make up the biggest regional membership, comprising 34 of the 124 members.

From 2009, African countries have called for collective withdrawal from the ICC but some countries have pushed back.

Never Again To The Bomb That Missed Our Backyard – By Azu Ishiekwene

In a week when Africa riveted on former President Yahya Jammeh’s tantrums, an event that could have shaken the continent to its core slipped below the radar.

Or maybe we didn’t think it was sufficiently important. It emerged early in the week that the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, had knowingly concealed information about a failed missile test when she appeared in Parliament to ask for 40 billion pounds to replace the Trident, the UK’s flagship missile defence system.

The Guardian UK, which published the story, mentioned “West Africa,” the test target, by accident in its more than 800-word copy.

Opposition parliamentarians were not necessarily mad that the prime minister had taken them for a ride, although that was part of the problem. They couldn’t understand how this secret had been concealed from them since June and why they had to find out through the backdoor that the missile, which was tested in Florida, US, backfired.

For Africa, the problem was different. If the UK had actually fired the missile at West Africa, it could have landed in Accra, Abuja or Abidjan.

It’s convenient to argue that the missile was unarmed, that it carried only a dummy. But if UK parliamentarians can be outraged by the concealment and the potentially “catastrophic consequences” of the test, I’m bereft that not a whimper of objection has come from Africa, the target.

It was not even reported or mentioned in passing online or offline.

Compare the deafening silence in Africa to the huffing and puffing in Washington and London following any real or rumoured attempt by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, to test his missiles, which are potentially far less deadly or dependable.

The unarmed UK missile that backfired in June has a range of 12,000km, which means it could land in any West African country from Florida where it was fired. And with a nuclear payload of 1900 kilotons, which is nearly 95 times the destructive capacity of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Trident missile could leave swathes of the region, including Nigeria, in ruins.

But the continent’s leaders were too preoccupied to notice. Jammeh was busy negotiating a safe passage for his men and asking for an oil block in Nigeria as condition for stepping down; President Muhammadu Buhari was away on a medical holiday abroad while the military authorities were hunting down journalists over spurious charges of criminal libel. And in South Africa, after surviving an internal rebellion, President Jacob Zuma was busy devising a system for ANC members to spy on one another.

Who is looking after the shop?

Of course, we can’t even complain that Africa is not being treated with respect when its leaders are absent.

And it’s not the first time in a decade. Did former President George Bush consult with Africa before setting up AFRICOM in 2007? Or did France discuss with the AU before deploying 3,000 troops to secure its interests in the region one year later?

The point is that contempt tends to feed on itself, breeding even more contempt. If the UK, which obviously still treats the continent as its footstool, sees nothing wrong in aiming a dummy missile at us, there should be at least one leader apart from Robert Mugabe with enough mojo left to ask Whitehall to point its payload elsewhere.

“What’s the point?” some would ask. Aren’t our leaders committing more devastation than the 12 nuclear warheads of the Trident combined?

See what the continent went through to get rid of Jammeh; consider the nonsense still going on in Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo’s Equatorial Guinea and Mugabe’s Zimbabwe; the fading hopes in South Africa; the rising crisis of expectation in Nigeria, and the millions of people across the continent broken and bruised by years of corruption and incompetent leadership.

Could the Trident do worse, really?

That is an unfair question. It paints the continent with the same brush of prejudice, completely ignoring the energy and innovative spirit of the vast populations of the young and the stories from bright spots like Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda.

Let’s be clear. We may have our problems – compounded by bad leaders and complicit followers – but nothing justifies turning the continent into a playground for nukes, with or without a payload.

The continent’s silence was shameful and a quiet approval to the world to do even worse.

We have endured toxic waste, blood diamonds, poaching and cheap substandard goods, not to mention apartheid, slavery and racism, from countries that claim to love the continent more than it loves itself.

To let the UK – or any other country – make the continent the new testing field for missiles is a luxury we cannot afford. It has to be said loud and clear: the backfired nuke test in Florida should be the last.


Ishiekwene is the MD/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Paris-based Global Editors Network.

UPDATE: Senegal troops move in on Gambia

Senegalese troops have been seen moving towards the Gambian border in a show of force to pressure President Yahya Jammeh to stand down, according to BBC.

Senegal gave Jammeh a midnight GMT deadline to quit and Nigeria has sent an air force contingent to Senegal in support of the possible intervention.

Wednesday was meant to be Jammeh’s last day in office but parliament extended his tenure by three months.

This stops the inauguration of President-elect Adama Barrow, who is currently in Senegal.

Thousands have fled Gambia because of the political crisis.

The African Union (AU) says it will cease to recognise Jammeh from Thursday, while ECOWAS has vowed to remove him from office.

On Tuesday, Nigeria’s newest warship, the NNS Unity, sailed towards Gambia, while fighter jets and troops also headed to Senegal ahead of possible military intervention.

The Gambia’s tiny army is no match for the regional powers. In recent years, Jammeh has been promoting his loyalists, including army chief Ousman Badjie, to ranks beyond their competence.

This has further downgraded its military capabilities.


Source: The Cable

Politics is the worst profession in Africa, says deputy senate leader.

Bala Na’Allah, deputy senate leader, says politics is the worst profession anyone can venture into in Africa, “particularly in Nigeria”.

In an interview with DAILY TRUST, Na’Allah who represents Kebbi south, said most public figures find it difficult to take care of their basic needs after leaving office.

“Politics is the worst profession anybody can venture into in Africa, particularly in Nigeria,” he said.

“Look around you to see how former ministers, former senators, former reps are finding it difficult to take care of their basic needs.

“The fact that when you come to the senate or house, banks give you loans to be deducted in four years from your salaries and allowances is not it. You live big only during that period, but go and find out how the politicians live, one year after leaving office.

“A lot of people don’t understand that apart from your salaries and allowances, except if you are a criminal or corrupt, you are not likely to leave the senate or house with anything. It will even be worse if at the end of your tenure you aspire to either maintain your position or for a bigger office.”

The legislator also spoke on his love for flying, saying pilots in Nigeria earn more than legislators in the national assembly.

“You could say I delved into flying when my son challenged me,” he said.

“When we brought the aircraft here and he told me that flying is difficult, I told him that nothing is difficult in my life. So I decided to go back to school. Luckily for me, I started flying solo at only 11 hours and everybody was surprised.

“As it is now, my entire family, excluding my wife, are in the Aviation Industry. My daughter is in flying school in Ilorin, Kwara state and my second son is already in the United States, also flying.

“I have five pilots who fly for me. Except for the last one we took, I’m sure that there is none of them who does not earn more than what I do in the national assembly.

“Nigeria is one of the countries where pilots take the highest pay, how and why it is so, I don’t know. What a captain receives in America, may probably be half of what a captain receives in Nigeria. And that is the truth.”

The Dangers of Exclusion: Lessons for Africa from Brexit and the US Elections – By Dapo Oyewole

…in the shadow of ‘Brexit’, the rise of Trump and based on lessons from its own history, Africa has a chance to avert the dangers that come with economic and political exclusion. It can do so by opening up more political space to marginalised groups and spreading the dividends of economic growth more evenly across the different genders, sectors and sections of its hugely diverse societies.

As we step into a new year and a new world order unfolds, Africa must learn urgent lessons from the UK and US who, last year, both experienced the most paradigm-shifting political earthquakes witnessed in recent political history.

The United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the recent U.S. presidential elections have shown, in the starkest terms, how political and economic exclusion can stoke social divisions and spark tensions that can lead to major political upheavals.

As both countries writhe from the political whiplash of the ‘blue-collar revolution’ and struggle to come to terms with its implications, the political ripples are already spreading across the world. The geo-political power balance has shifted and global politics, as we knew it, has been turned on its head. The future of global governance is now on a precarious path.

The political fallout will not be limited to domestic policy changes in London and Washington. It will also affect their continued global leadership roles, partnerships and alliances, the weight of their influence on the international stage and their moral authority, for example, in advocating for the adoption of western liberal democracy globally.

Already, some governments are beginning to lean towards being less liberal, more authoritarian and less tolerant of diversity, while others are questioning more vocally the efficacy and legitimacy of Western liberal democracy as the only internationally acceptable model of political governance. Now, if resentment built from decades of political and economic exclusion of the largely rural working class in the UK and the US led to some of their polarised voter choices, then nowhere can we hear the warning bells of the potential impact of the same issues ringing louder than in a ‘rising Africa’.

Africa is a continent where, after decades of colonisation and kleptocratic authoritarian self-rule, democracy has begun to flourish and economic growth is advancing. However, according to the World Bank’s ‘Poverty in a Rising Africa Report‘, the gap between rich and poor remains alarmingly wide with close to half of the continent still living in poverty, while the political and economic elite – less than five percent of the population – live in astounding opulence.

Africa’s leaders must urgently increase political will to design and implement effective regional and national policies, while strengthening institutional capacities to create a more enabling policy environment for political participation and economic inclusion across society.

Also, according to the UN, about 70 percent of Africa’s population is under the age of 25, and 60 percent of the continent’s population is comprised of women. However, it is no secret that the majority of the political and economic decision-makers are men over the age of 60. Minorities are often oppressed or disenfranchised; gender equality and tolerance of non-heterosexual orientation are deemed antithetical to cultural norms in many regions and people with disabilities live largely on the margins of mainstream society. Needless to say, inequality and inequity still abound on the continent and remain a highly inflammable powder keg.

Therefore, an urgent lesson that Africa’s current leadership must learn from the British and American experience is that the ‘marginalised’ in society will not always stay pliant, complacent or silent. It is only a matter of time before ‘Africa’s excluded’ push back and demand to be seen, heard and included in shaping their own destinies and in sharing in the wealth of their nations. With the current restlessness and frustration of large numbers of poor, unemployed and disempowered African youth, nothing tells us that an ‘African Spiral’ will not follow the ‘Arab Spring.’

Hopefully, this will be expressed through peaceful and democratic means. But if it is fuelled by the political toxicity we have just observed in Britain and the United States, it could well inflame social tensions and political violence that will be hard to contain. Although the continent has made remarkable progress in developing and deploying internal political conflict resolution mechanisms such as the African Standby Force and other means of back channel diplomacy, we must not forget the hard lessons from apartheid in South Africa and the genocide in Rwanda.

Therefore, in the shadow of ‘Brexit’, the rise of Trump and based on lessons from its own history, Africa has a chance to avert the dangers that come with economic and political exclusion. It can do so by opening up more political space to marginalised groups and spreading the dividends of economic growth more evenly across the different genders, sectors and sections of its hugely diverse societies.

Africa’s leaders must urgently increase political will to design and implement effective regional and national policies, while strengthening institutional capacities to create a more enabling policy environment for political participation and economic inclusion across society. Government policies and programmes must actively ensure that they cater not only to the interests of the rich and powerful, but also to those of the poor and disempowered.

In 2017, African governments that aim to increase economic growth, maintain stable policies, sustain peaceful societies and offer a dignified life for their citizens, will have to take inclusive governance and shared prosperity as a priority. Yes, ‘Africa is rising’ and that is a great thing. But as it does so, it must learn vital lessons about the dangers of political and economic exclusion from Britain and the United States. Africa’s leaders must learn that for Africa’s rise to be sustainable, peaceful and progressive, it cannot be a rise for some. It must be a rise for all.

‘Dapo Oyewole is a public policy and international development specialist who advises governments, corporations and international institutions on development policy and strategy. He is an Aspen New Voices Fellow, a Yale World Fellow and a doctoral researcher at the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex.

8 months after, Nigeria reclaims spot as Africa’s largest oil producer.

After eight months, Nigeria has reclaimed its spot as Africa’s largest oil producer, edging out Angola by a few thousand barrels per day.

In March 2016, Angola overtook Nigeria as Africa’s  largest producer, with a production level of 1.782  million barrels per day, as Nigeria produced on 1.677 million bpd that month.

According to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) monthly oil report for December 2016, Nigeria pumped 1.782 million barrels per day while Angola produced 1.688 million barrels per day.

Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, had initially said Nigeria had hit 1.9 million barrels of oil in December 2016.

Nigeria however exported less crude to the Unites States than Angola did in the month under review.

“US imports of Angolan and Nigerian crude increased to 307,000 b/d and 303,000 b/d, respectively, by mid-November,” the report read.

Quoting a Stanbic IBTC report, OPEC said Nigeria’s private sector purchasing managers index (PMI) — an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector — eased in November, 2016

“Following two consecutive quarters of contraction, the economy of Nigeria shrank by 2.3% y-o-y in 3Q16, according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics. The Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria PMI highlighted that contraction in the private sector eased somewhat in November on renewed growth of new orders received.”

With the recent OPEC oil output deal, which does not require a cut from Nigeria, shows that the country could ramp up production in 2017 to about 2 million barrels per day.

INTERVIEW: Africa has no future without unity – AU Chairmanship aspirant

At a time Africa is battling with tribal conflicts and communal strife, the African Union requires a strong leadership capable of mobilising the people at home and abroad to build a new continent, an aspirant has said.

prof-bathily-2A two-time minister and former member of the Senegalese Parliament, Abdoulaye Bathily, says he possesses the expertise and experience to take up the challenge as he aspires to be elected Chairman of the African Union Commission.

Mr. Bathily, who is also the Special envoy to the UN Secretary General and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa spoke with PREMIUM TIMES’ Bassey Udo in Abuja on his ambition.

PT: What is your inspiration to run?

BATHILY: It has been my life commitment to the cause of the African people as a pan-Africanist from my early days as a young student leader, trade unionist; and my adult life, as academic and critical leader in Senegal, member of Parliament and executive branch of government. Throughout, I have been involved in African activism, to liberate Africa and make African people autonomous and have a ‘’second liberation.’

The first liberation was about national anthem and the flag. But, the second liberation has to do with economic freedom and social emancipation.

I have already worked with the African Union as special envoy on migrations of rural pastoralists and other conflict issues in Madagascar, and different countries in Africa at different positions.

I participated in peace operations on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, as a member of the ECOWAS parliament.

In the United Nations, I represented the Secretary General in the peacekeeping operations in Mali. Until May this year, I was the special representative of the United Nations in the Central African region, representing the 11 countries of the region, from Chad to Angola, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Gabon, Cameroun to others.

So, for me it is a lifelong engagement and commitment to Africa. Throughout my career, I think I have the competence, and conviction to give my contribution at this stage to the AU and make the organisation relevant to the African people, to get all the stakeholders involved in the process of reinventing the Union.

PT:  On the issue of the second liberation, what has been of concern to most Africans has been how to change the narrative about Africa as perpetual producers of raw materials and dumping ground for products from the western world. How would your second liberation agenda change this if elected?

BATHILY: On the occasion of the 50thanniversary of Organisation of African Unity/AU, I published a material on Africa in the magazine of the Commission. The focus was for Africans to do away with the Berlin Syndrome.

Recall that in 1885-86, the European powers met in Berlin, Germany for a Conference, where they partitioned and shared the African continent among themselves. Africa became a territory of different colonists, fragmented and Balkanized for ‘raw materials’ for their factories.

Till today, these tendencies are still there. The colonial division of labour still exists. The time to break from the past is now.

PT: How would you do this?

BATHILY: Apart from the former colonial masters, we have new partners today. But, this syndrome is still there. Whether it is China or India or Japan, they are shipping raw materials back home to produce goods they will bring back to sell at higher cost to Africans.

I think it is important to go for full-scale industrialization of Africa. We cannot continue to have an economy that is externally driven.

Industrialization means to create the social basis for survival. We cannot industrialise on the basis of only foreign investments, which will only focus on areas of concern to them and their interests.

For us to create the conditions for sustainable development, we must have an industrialization and modernization of agriculture driven by African investors themselves.

It is important to create a class of real African entrepreneurs, who invest their money in productive sectors of the African economy and create the basis for sustainable industrial, agricultural and service development, not renters.

We must reproduce the productive forces and social basis from within Africa, not outside. Many people think the talk about regional integration is just about creating infrastructure.

Yes, we need roads, dams and energy. But, this is not enough. We have to create African engineers through our education system relevant to this.

We have to create a new corps of entrepreneurs who would invest in those areas, instead of foreign companies coming with engineers and other categories of workers to build roads and infrastructures.

Once these professionals are there, even for simple maintenance, one would not need to call the foreigners. This cannot create development. It must not be allowed to continue.

It is important to sensitise the people. With me as the Chair of the AU, we will call upon African entrepreneurs to come together and create pan-African corporations. So, we have one Dangote, Elumelu and hundreds of others from other countries coming together to form one group, to look for African engineers from within and outside Africa to handle our infrastructure development challenges.

PT: For long the issue of a common market for Africa keeps resonating. But, there are barriers making it difficult for this to happen. How would you make this to happen under your Chairmanship?

BATHILY: This is all about free movement of people and goods. We have been talking about it.

For instance, ECOWAS is regarded as pioneers in regional integration, in terms of free movement of people and goods. But, the region’s trade with other countries in the region is minimal, because of trade barriers.

The borders of the different countries feature several corruption activities affecting trade between the regions.

Till now, our trade is more with outside. We have to sensitise the government to accelerate the process of integration. This is one area the Commission should sensitize the governments to set up structures they could work with to give a new impetus to pan-African trade. I hope to make this a priority.

PT: A one-time AU Chairman and former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, has been spearheading the campaign against resource curse and illicit financial flows that has cost Africa dearly. Given the chance, how much attention would this receive from your leadership?

BATHILY: President Mbeki has done a wonderful job in this regard. The study his team made, going round to sensitise the people, not only the African governments, but also outsiders, particularly on the negative impact of issues like tax evasion by multinationals, unfair customs rules and tariffs as well as corruption activities, went a long way to open the eyes of the people. It is important to create conditions for government to be aware of this reality and push for new rules and regulations to cut off those links with outside.

I am not only commending his efforts, but, given the chance, I will ensure that his recommendations are implemented to the latter.

PT: Can you tell us in specific terms what your agenda are in this race?

BATHILY: My agenda is to try to revive the spirit of pan-Africanism. This is basically to make the young people aware that Africa has no future without unity. The Diaspora must play a role in mobilizing the people and injecting their knowledge and know-how for the future of Africa.

But, there are some burning issues that I want to bring to the fore. Talking about regional integration, this is not something we can avoid if we want Africa to really take off on a decisive and sustainable manner.

There is also the issue of democratisation and good governance. Most of the conflicts we have in Africa today stem from lack of good governance, in terms of democratic process, rule of law, safeguard of individual and collective freedoms, free, fair elections, the end of massacres of Africans by Africans. These are issues we have to tackle.

Some progress have been made over the past 20 years. When we look back from country to country, region to region, we can see the differences.

For instance, West Africa has gone further than other regions, like the Central Africa, where the situation is still behind.

We have to have a firm and stable democratic transition to government based on the consideration of diversity. We can rule our country without looking at how best we can manage diversity in our continent.

We have to take into account how to manage the ethnic, political and religious diversities and create a society of tolerance, in a spirit of progress and not parochialism.

On governance, we must address the issue of conflicts, because it is lack of good governance and management of resources that lead most societies to conflicts.

In my career, I have been involved in conflict management – in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and other countries in West, East and South Africa. This opportunity would be key, to fight from the front.

We have to have a very stable political and democratic transition in our countries. Unless we manage conflicts and rebuild countries free of conflicts, we cannot speak of development and stable society.

So, peace and security is one dimension we have to focus on very closely. And I have the expertise and the experience to handle those.

Besides, because of my academic background, I have taught and learned about the African society as an historian by profession.

I have been involved in current issues in the Council for Development of Economic and Social Issues in Africa, an academic forum for researchers all over Africa on current and past issues on Africa.

I have accumulated enough knowledge that would be at my disposal to illuminate my activities as the Chair of AU.

There are other important issues, like the problem of women and their roles in development.

Women are under stress on a daily basis. They are also victims of all sorts of discriminations, traditional and modern. We have to do something that would allow us share the best experiences on practices in women involvement in national and international activities.

There is also the issue of young people. Millions of our youth are educated, but job opportunities are not there for them, because the economic and political systems do not give them the opportunity. We will work hard to create the opportunity for our youth.

PT: From all these, what’s in your agenda for ECOWAS as a region, particularly on the issue of promoting regional trade and integration?

BATHILY: ECOWAS as a regional organisation has set the tone for many issues. When one looks at the African peace architecture, the experience comes from ECOWAS. Even the peace building mechanisms and the protocols for good governance, elections and human rights at AU level are based on the ECOWAS experience.

ECOWAS should be considered one of the leading lights in the continent. In fact, the AU cannot work without regional organisations like ECOWAS as the building blocks.

Consultations with the regional organizations will be my mark. As pillars in the process of regional integration and peace building, we have to consult regularly with the regional bodies.

It is important for AU to support what the regional organisations are doing, morally and politically. Working with them will be key in our quest to achieve peace in Africa.

Also, it will be important to put in place consultative mechanisms with all stakeholders on the continent, professional organisations, including media practitioners, private sector groups, women organisations, youth groups, to listen to them. The activities of the Commission will be inspired by their own feelings, proposals and fit into their activities, such that the AU will no longer be regarded as the organization of the government alone, who meet in Addis Ababa to take their decisions which are either not implemented or known by ordinary citizens. To make the AU relevant to all the stakeholders in Africa – at regional and professional levels. What should we do to redress the negative image of Africa? That’s another big question we must address. We must do something to change the negative image of Africa and the black people in general.

There is also something to be done about the general reform of the Commission itself. We have to have a Commission that is functional and responsive to the needs of the people.

We have to carry out the reform of its structures, which will require a lot of resources. Till now, more than 80 per cent of AU activities and functions are sponsored based on donors’ handouts. This cannot continue.

How can we talk about sovereignty and independence of Africa if we have to ask European Union, American or foreign partners for support to pay for all our programmes.

There are a number initiatives we will undertake. There were proposals for alternative funding of the AU, which have not been implemented in the past. There is a current proposal to fund the AU through taxing members about 2 per cent of the imports outside Africa.

If this is implemented, it will go a long way to enable AU to finance many of its activities and get rid of this dependency over partners.

These are things I believe, given the chance, they will be implemented to create hope for the African people and make the organisation relevant to the people.

Nigeria still cheapest country to buy cement in Africa – BUA

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu has said that in spite of over 40 per cent recent rise in the price of cement in Nigeria, the country still retains the most affordable pricing for the commodity in Africa. Cement Cement He stated while speaking fielding questions from newsmen in Abuja.
“In August this year, the price of cement per 50kg of cement bag rose by more than 40 per cent from N1,400 to N2,350 and has since hovered between N2,200 and N2,300,” he said. According to him, the price remains the most competitive when compared to other countries in Africa.
He also noted that he does not foresee any possibilities of price reduction in the near future. “If you look at the price of cement today, vis-a-vis the price cement is selling in other countries, even in Africa, in terms of dollars, you would see that the price of cement in Nigeria today is probably the cheapest.
The price we are selling today translates to less than $100 per tonne. I do not believe that you can see a $100 for cement anywhere in Africa today. So, the price is not expensive, it is very competitive compared to what other countries are selling but again you would not see it because it is priced in Naira.
“Also if you look at the price regime from five years ago to what we have today, you would see that the price of cement is more or less cheaper than what it was then. So I do not believe that it would be realistic to say that there will be any price reduction for now.
What we should be hoping for is to say that there is not going to be price increase. We are working very hard to ensure we maintain the price that we have. “Although we have to be realistic that there are lots of inputs that may necessitate price increase but it will not be much.
We are quite aware that Nigerians are suffering because the economy is not at its best, the challenges are there but again if you have an outfit you have to ensure that you survive,” he said.

ONGOING: Meeting to persuade Yahya Jammeh to leave office.

Four African heads of state landed in The Gambia on Tuesday with a mission to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to leave office after his defeat at the ballot box.

Mr Jammeh’s party has vowed to challenge the December 1 vote result in court, leading to an avalanche of international condemnation and multitude of calls for him to cede power to opponent Adama Barrow, who was officially declared the winner.

Mr Jammeh is in an ongoing meeting with Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Sierra Leone’s Ernest Bai Koroma and Ghana’s outgoing President John Mahama on Wednesday.

The heavyweight delegation of west Africa’s biggest hitters, who have significant ties to The Gambia, will be joined by United Nations West Africa envoy Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

The African leaders will then hold separate talks with Barrow, several sources told AFP.

Banjul-based diplomats say Buhari in particular has long been annoyed by Jammeh’s provocative behaviour and disdain for protocol.

Up until now the president of the tiny country of fewer than two million people may have exasperated his peers but has never threatened peace in the sub-region, a situation that has dramatically shifted since Jammeh’s move to void the election.

“It is unacceptable that there is an election and one person turns down the result,” Liberia’s information minister Eugene Nagbe told AFP on Tuesday. “The message of President Sirleaf and her delegation to Jammeh will be that he accepts the result and gives way to smooth transition.”


If Jammeh and the delegation did not reach an agreement, west African states would “contemplate more draconian decisions”, a top official with the regional ECOWAS bloc headed by Sirleaf told French radio station RFI late Monday.

Streets from the airport were quiet as Gambians awaited the leaders’ arrival, but some parents kept their children home from school as a precaution.

President-elect Barrow has told AFP he wants Jammeh to step down “now”, though the longtime leader has the legal right to stay in office until mid-January.

The African Union has also promised to dispatch its own delegation as soon as possible to aid the transfer of power, while a statement released Monday said it rejected “any attempt to circumvent or reverse the outcome of the presidential election.”

Mr Jammeh, who took office in a coup, has led The Gambia for 22 years. Meanwhile it was unclear whether Jammeh’s party would file a complaint with the Supreme Court on Tuesday, thought to be constitutionally the last day possible to contest the election result.

A group of the country’s most influential lawyers has said there is “no legitimate legal mechanism available in The Gambia to hear and determine the election petition”, as Jammeh would have to stuff the court with his own appointees.

The legal body has lain dormant since May 2015 as Jammeh himself sacked many of its judges.

A readjustment of the votes counted in the election was made on Monday last week, reducing the number of ballots for all three candidates but ultimately confirming Barrow’s victory. Overnight the US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, warned that The Gambia faced “a very dangerous moment”, citing reports that some military officers have sided with Jammeh in the standoff.

Jammeh has led The Gambia for 22 years since taking power in a coup.


Meanwhile, two journalists working for the Arabic-language service of international news organisation Al-Jazeera were held by security forces in The Gambia and deported, Gambian and Mauritanian sources told AFP on Tuesday.

The channel’s Mauritania bureau chief Zeinebou Mint Erebih and cameraman Mohamed Ould Beidar were taken away from their upmarket hotel by plainclothes officers and detained on Sunday night, sources close to the journalists said.

They were quickly released and transported to Banjul airport where they were deported to neighbouring Senegal, according to Mauritanian sources.

The pair are believed to have entered the country on Tuesday, five days after a contested presidential election was held. Al-Jazeera journalists were refused accreditation prior to the December 1 vote won by opposition leader.

Adama Barrow after 22 years of rule by President Yahya Jammeh, who is now challenging the result.

The network is well known in The Gambia for broadcasting several hard-hitting reports including of street protests in April that led to the jailing of dozens of opposition figures.

Separate sources close to the Gambian communications ministry said the journalists had recently requested an interview with minister Sheriff Bojang, but were told Al-Jazeera was “banned” in the country.

Erebih and Beidar succeeded in interviewing president-elect Barrow, however, with the meeting also published in English and posted online.

Africa and the Esau mentality by Ken Agala.

The news that the Nigerian customs intercepted a container of “READY TO EAT FOODS’’ like Egusi Soup, Jollof Rice, Ogbono, Yam Porridge imported from India,  should actually worry every African. What this simply means is that it was cheaper and easier to make egusi soup and package it in India than it is to make it Nigeria.

It’s not shameful enough that we produce crude oil and import petrol , we produce cocoa and import chocolate , diamonds are mined in Africa, but Switzerland is the diamond capital of the world, now we are importing cooked egusi, ogbono, jollof rice and yam porridge into Africa .

Proverbs 12:27 says “The lazy man roasteth not that which he took in hunting“.

Isn’t this part of the bible a little bit of an oxymoron ? I mean how can you say a man who went hunting is lazy ? Hunting is a very physical activity which entails running after animals and killing them. Why does the book of proverbs declare such person a lazy man?

This bring to mind the popular story of Esau and Jacob. We recall that Esau was a man of the field , a hunter and an apparently hard working man. And Jacob was described as a mild man. Yet, we recall that Esau came back home one day and had to depend on Jacob for food. And of course Jacob made him pay a high price for the food. His birth right.

In the second incident which is very significant, their father calls Esau to bring him food so that he can eat and bless him. While Esau heads to the forest to look for game, Jacob first of all employs the use of a consultant . Who is the person that has constantly produced food for their father for many years?

Her name Rebecca. The wife of their father Isaac. So while Esau is running to the forest, Jacob is consulting and strategizing. Then he finds the answer . He produced one of his animals . Not from the bush, but from the backyard where he has been cultivating them. Isaac was blind . He will never know the difference between animal gotten from the bush and animal raised at the backyard .

So while Esau was still in bush working hard , the strategist had produced the desired satisfaction for the clients effortlessly.

This is the difference between muscle work and brain work .

There are two types of nations on earth . There are the Esau nations and the Jacob nations . The Esau nations produce all the resources and passes to the Jacob nations who transforms and sells it back at a higher price to the Esau nations.

This is the reason why a country like Belgium, with 11 million people and 30,000 square kilometers , no mineral resources can have a GDP of 500 billion dollars and per capita income of 45,000 dollars , 21st in the global human development index.

On the other hand, a country like Democratic republic of Congo, with a total size of 2.4 million square kilometer has a population of 85 million.

Congo has 70% of the world’s coltan, a third of its cobalt, more than 30% of world diamond reserves, and a tenth of its copper. Congo is arguably the worlds richest country with an estimated minerals value of 24 trillion dollars. But, Congo pitiably has a GDP of 68 billion dollars and a per capita income of 816 dollars while sitting 176th on the global human development index rating .

History shows how the British, a tiny island colonized almost half of the population of the entire world. From the United States to India, South America and The Caribbean, almost 70 nations and 2 billion people fell under the colony of a tiny island of less than 30 million people as at 1900.

What did the British do that gave them edge over the world ? Time management . The British people actually triggered off the industrial revolution when they began to use machines to make clothes and steam engines to run the machine. Jacob mentality.

Up till today , many African women still believe that pounded yam, pounded by hand in the mortar is sweeter and better than machine grounded powdered yam. I’m told that Egusi broken by hand is still more expensive in Nigeria than the ones broken by machines. Esau mentality .

In Nigeria, we still attach value to things due to how difficult they are produced. That’s why we still move files from table to table in our ministries and processes that will take few minutes through the intranet and iCloud will drag on for days at the ministries. This still happens despite the fact that the civil servants themselves all have internet enabled phones which they use for only Facebook , Instagram and chatting .

It is this same mentality that made an elected President squander a whopping six months before he could form a cabinet while we are clearly seeing a Donald Trump appointing almost all his ministers and a 16 man economic advisory team almost two months to his inauguration.

Until we begin to put efforts towards producing with ease and speed ,reduce the bottlenecks and bureaucracy in government regulatory agencies, create an environment that will improve our ease of doing business and generally take the private sector more seriously, we’d continue to see manufacturing plants shut down in Nigeria, while they spring up abroad and manufacture our egusi soup which we’d gladly buy at a higher price.

African Muslims gather in Nigeria for prayers against Boko Haram, recession.

Over 1 million adherents of Tijjaniya from many African countries have converged on Yola, the Adamawa State capital, for three days to offer special prayers to free Nigeria from insurgency and recession .


During the three-day event, scholars within and outside the country including Dahiru Bauchi and the Deputy Chief Imam of Abuja Central Mosque, Ibrahim Makari, were led by a Moroccan scholar and the world leader of Tijjaniyya Islamic Movement, Muhammad Kabir, in prayers for peace in Nigeria.


Mr. Bauchi who spoke at the annual remembrance day of the founder of the Tijjaniyya movement, Ahmadu Tijjany, expressed optimism that the current insecurity situation would soon end.


“I am so optimistic that the attendance of these revered disciples and progeny of Maulana Sheikh Ahmadu Tijjani is a blessing to us and entire Nigeria.


“As they offer special prayers, almighty Allah will surely answer our prayers and bring to an end the insurgency as well as the economic hardship that plagued the country. ”


In his remark, Governor Muhammadu Jibrilla commended the scholars for their contribution to the maintenance of peace in the North East sub region and Nigeria in general.


He also appreciated the determination of the federal government in tackling security challenges in the area, calling for public support for the Buhari administration.


Hundreds of soldiers and police men were assisted by vigilantes and first aid groups to maintain security in Yola metropolis as mammoth crowd filled the town.

Lagos Emerges Best Security, Safety Conscious State In Africa

Lagos State Government has emerged  as the Best Security and Most Safety Conscious State in Africa.

At the award ceremony held in Johannesburg, South Africa and put together by the Security Watch Africa (SWA), the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of Lagos State Police Command also bagged the Best Anti-crime Police Squad in West Africa, while the RRS Commander, ACP Olatunji Disu took home the award of the Most Outstanding Police Operational Officer in West Africa.

The awards were presented to officials of the state government at the 2016 lecture series of SWA organized in partnership with Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa (SIGLA) and the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.

The lecture, which had the theme: “Tackling Security Challenges In Africa’s Land and Maritime Domains,” was well attended by security experts and officials from across Africa.

Lagos State and its officials, according to organizers of the awards, were honoured in recognition of the outstanding efforts and achievements in securing residents, especially the massive improvement on security architecture of the State.

While receiving the award for the State on behalf of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, thanked the organisers for recognising Lagos State, saying that it was gratifying to note that the efforts of government on security were appreciated.

He said ever since emerging as Governor of Lagos State, Mr Ambode has made safety and security one of the focal objectives of his administration as he believes that there cannot be any development in the absence of security.


UNICEF wants more technology start-ups in Nigeria.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has adopted a venture capital approach to source solutions through its innovation fund, urging more technology start-ups to utilize opportunities next year.


The UNICEF Communication Officer, Lagos, Blessing Ejiofor, in a statement made available to journalists in Akure yesterday, announced its first portfolio of investments in open source technology solutions.


Ejiofor added that the investment included tools that improve connectivity, real-time data collection, identity technology and learning.


According to her, the approach would proffer solutions for transportation, identity, wearable technology, finance, and personal data.


“The UNICEF Innovation Fund is a new way of doing business at the UN; combining the approach of Silicon Valley venture funds with the needs of UNICEF programme countries.

“Using UNICEF’s 190 offices and 12,000 staff, the Fund will help us source and support companies that might be overlooked by traditional investment vehicles. The Fund allows us to prototype technology solutions, as well as expand our networks of open source collaborators to improve children’s lives.”


Aside announcing the first investments by UNICEF, the Communication Officer disclosed further that it has also opened the next round of applications from technology start-ups.


She said the first portfolio of investments included the following five start-ups from Nicaragua, Bangladesh, South Africa, Pakistan Cambodia; with an eye to investing in 20-40 additional companies in 2017.


“UNICEF Innovation Fund is inviting technology start-ups to apply for investment and become part of this growing portfolio of open source solutions. The next round of applications for investment from the Fund is now open. “

Brexit, Trump: Africa and the Newly Re-Ordered World, By Majeed Dahiru

As the world begins to adjust to a newly re-ordered world, Africans cannot and should not continue to lament over the new realities confronting us. A re-ordered Pan-Africanism is nigh to effectively confront the enormous challenges that may predictably emerge from the current realities.

The world is set to undergo fundamental changes, first with Brexit and second, and most importantly, with a Donald Trump at the White House in quick succession. Throughout the Western world, populism and nationalism is on the rise, evident in these two historic but unexpected events. If the world was set on the edge by Trump’s candidacy, the world is shocked and in some cases devastated by his emergence as the president of the United States, the most powerful nation on planet earth. Between Brexit and Trump’s election is a common thread of nationalism, with the question of immigration at the core. The realities of a newly re-ordered world are soon to manifest. A new world in which the developed economies of the West Europe and the United States are going to compete squarely with the emerging economic miracles of south East Asia for global wealth, resources and markets, by pulling out of or re-negotiating several trade deals that are considered unfavourable. A new world in which less charity in the form of aids and grants will flow from the rich countries of the West to the least of the less developing countries on the African continent.


The re-ordered new world will be characterised by more of realist and less of moralist foreign policies by powerful and leading member nations of the international community. Under the current reality, every job matters in Western Europe and America, with their citizens willing to do them, leaving fewer opportunities for millions of economic refugees out of Africa and South America. National interests will be negotiated under the frame of bilateral arrangements, rather than through multilateral approaches, for maximum benefit.


The shock and disappointment expressed by the world over Trump’s election came about as a result of a complete detachment from the realities of the lives of the average American. Most people were subjective in their assessments of the two leading contenders of the latest US presidentioal polls from their comfort zones and viewed issues through the prism of racial, geographic and religious sentiments. They were unable look beyond what they were seeing and objectively assess the candidates and what they stood for, by putting themselves in the shoes of the average American citizen, particularly the majority White working class, which forms about eighty percent of the total population.

Nigeria, as the most populous Black nation on earth, is naturally positioned to champion a re-ordered pan-Africanism. The reasons for the existence of a modern state should be more economic than political… Nigeria should begin to move towards this progressive path because our choices are limited if we must survive in a newly re-ordered world.

As a person with zero public service experience, Donald Trump’s messages represented a deeper and larger truth which were often high on rhetoric but low on facts and figures. His opponents focused more on the method of his delivery but ignored his core message to their detriment. With a multi-billion dollar campaign fund, Hillary Clinton’s media strategist deliberately distorted Trump’s every message and statement by taking them out of their realistic context, while also widely propagating these through the leading local and international mass media, which contributed greatly in misleading the world in underestimating the GOP nominee and generally regarded him as unfit to lead America, and concluded that he was unelectable.


This strategy greatly obscured the realities on the ground in God’s own country. The deeper and larger truth about the American situation as espoused by Donald Trump was understood by the masses. Trump struck the right cord in the minds of his countrymen on the danger posed to the free world by radical Islam, an issue that Hillary Clinton treated with political correctness to the silent consternation of millions of her country folks. Trump was on point on the economy and the fact that America was losing ground to the other emerging economic powers of South East Asia. The massive trade deficit, put at over $350 billion in favour of China, massive job losses as a result of unfavourable trade deals and practices and a widening budget deficit of $587 billion because of excessive government spending on issues like Obamacare, has combined to make America an unprofitable enterprise.


On the world stage, America has lost its leading role in international relations and diplomacy to Russia, particularly in the Middle East and continental Europe. On immigration, the developed world is not willing anymore to bear the burden of the inadequacies of continental Africa and its deficient system which has earned it the notoriety as the largest producer of economic refugees in the world. The world was not alone in this shock. Hillary, her backers and supporters, were so bewildered that her concession speech was not only conditional, her supporters took to the streets in protests in a manner that fits her own description of Trump’s supporters – “deplorable”. It was like telling a lie and believing it. They were protesting a time tried, tested and trusted Electoral College system that produces an elected American president. Heads of government of leading democracies, like the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, India, and South Africa etc. are not elected by popular votes. They are elected primarily as members of parliament by their respective constituencies, subsequently elected to lead their political party in the parliament, and if in majority, head the government.

The new pan-African thinking should cease to be “how Europe underdeveloped Africa” but become “how Africans are under-developing Africa”. Africans should begin to transform their countries from mere assemblages of ethnic groups, whose existence are more for political convenience, into formidable nation states whose existence should be more for economic reasons, without which Africa may not live in the re-ordered world…

As the world begins to adjust to a newly re-ordered world, Africans cannot and should not continue to lament over the new realities confronting us. A re-ordered Pan-Africanism is nigh to effectively confront the enormous challenges that may predictably emerge from the current realities. The cardinal objectives of the newly ordered Pan-Africanism will be: Africans taking full responsibilities for their actions, leading to successes or failures, past and present. Africans must stop blaming everyone else but themselves for the darkness that envelopes the larger part of the continent. Africans should begin to accept shared responsibility for the trans-Atlantic slave trade because the enterprise was a partnership between European slave merchants and African slave raiders. Africans should admit and acknowledge the good sides of colonialism, particularly the introduction of the invaluable Western education and maximise the benefit to annul its negative consequences.


The continuous blame on colonialism for the plight of Africans after fifty years of independence in many countries has fostered a lethargic mentality which has led to a defeatist approach to life and continuous relish in self-pity as consolation. Every nation on earth was colonised at one point or the other in its developmental history. The problem with the colonial experience of sub-Saharan Africa was that it occurred very late and ended very early. The new pan-African thinking should cease to be “how Europe underdeveloped Africa” but become “how Africans are under-developing Africa”. Africans should begin to transform their countries from mere assemblages of ethnic groups, whose existence are more for political convenience, into formidable nation states whose existence should be more for economic reasons, without which Africa may not live in the re-ordered world but will merely exist on the fringes to be continuously exploited. Africans will never be truly respected anywhere in the world until the darkness that is the African continent is lit up and cured of destitution.

Nigeria, as the most populous Black nation on earth, is naturally positioned to champion a re-ordered pan-Africanism. The reasons for the existence of a modern state should be more economic than political. Modern states are supposed to be successful business entities, run profitably. The success and profitability of a nation state is determined by a combination of factors which includes but are not limited to; a freely elected government and entrenched rule of law with independent and functioning institutions of state, high quality human resources, a developmental immigration policy, and realistic and sometimes predatory foreign policy driven primarily by economic advantage. Nigeria should begin to move towards this progressive path because our choices are limited if we must survive in a newly re-ordered world.


Majeed Dahiru, a public affairs analyst, writes from Abuja and can be reached through

Nigeria to lead Africa to one billion mobile subscriptions by 2022.

With report showing that sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA), which refers to countries that are fully or partially located south of the Sahara, mobile penetration is currently at 85 per cent and projected to hit 105 per cent by 2022, amounting to over one billion mobile subscriptions, Nigeria is expected to fast track the growth.


Nigeria currently is the largest and fastest telecommunications market in Africa with about $38 billion investment and active mobile subscriptions of over 150 million as at September.


According to the Mobility Report, a research by Ericsson, which forecast a huge mobile penetration growth in SSA and claimed that the region has the highest growth rate in mobile subscriptions globally, there will be 550 million fifth generation wireless system (5G) subscriptions in 2022.


The report, which said North America will lead the way in uptake of 5G subscriptions, where a quarter of all mobile subscriptions are forecast to be for 5G in 2022, observed that Asia Pacific will be the second fastest growing region for 5G subscriptions, with 10 per cent of all subscriptions being 5G in 2022.


“This year, Ericsson has published 5 Regional Reports with the Global Mobility Report. The Sub-Saharan Africa Mobility Report reveals that while total mobile subscriptions penetration in the region is currently 85 percent, this number is expected to reach 105 percent by 2022 with over 1 billion mobile subscriptions. This makes Sub-Saharan Africa, the region with highest growth rate in mobile subscriptions globally.


“From 2016 to 2022, Sub-Saharan Africa will dramatically shift from a region with a majority of GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions, to around 83 per cent of all subscriptions on WCDMA/HSPA and LTE,” the reports stated.”


The Mobility Report informed that by the end of 2016, there will be 3.9 billion Smartphone subscriptions globally with almost 90 per cent of these subscriptions registered on WCDMA/HSPA and LTE networks.


By 2022, the number of Smartphone subscriptions is forecast to reach 6.8 billion, with more than 95 per cent of the subscriptions registered on WCDMA/HSPA, LTE and 5G networks.


According to Ericsson, in SSA, smart phones penetration will reach around 80 percent by 2022 while mobile subscriptions on smart phones will rise by 21 per cent yearly from 2016 to 2022.

The report also highlighted the role Internet of Things plays in providing new means to deliver efficient, innovative solutions that meet socio-economic challenges and transform business models to unlock growth in SSA.


Across SSA, the report projects cellular Internet of Things (IoT), which describes a network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity, connections growing from 11 million in 2016 to 75 million connections in 2022.


The latest Ericsson Mobility Report also forecasts that in 2022, there will be 8.9 billion mobile subscriptions, of which 90 percent will be for mobile broadband. At this point in time, there will be 6.1 billion unique subscribers.


As of Q3 2016, 84 million new mobile subscriptions were added during the quarter to reach a total of 7.5 billion, growing at around three per cent year-on-year. India grew the most in terms of net additions during the quarter (+15 million), followed by China (+14 million), Indonesia (+6 million), Myanmar (+4 million) and the Philippines (+4 million). Mobile broadband subscriptions are growing by around 25 per cent year-on-year, increasing by approximately 190 million in Q3 2016 alone. The total number of mobile broadband subscriptions is now around 4.1 billion.


According to the report, mobile data traffic continues to grow, driven both by increased Smartphone (an advanced system similar to a personal computer for mobile or handheld use),subscriptions and a continued increase in average data volume per subscription, fuelled primarily by more viewing of video content. In Q3 2016, data traffic grew around 10 percent quarter-on-quarter and 50 percent year-on-year.


A rise in access and viewing of video content is also a driver for mobile data traffic growth in SSA. Other drivers are wider network coverage, continued reduction in prices of both devices and services and a growing population with 57 per cent of the current population under 15 years old.


President of Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa, Jean-Claude Geha, said: “Data traffic is forecast to grow by around 55 per cent yearly between 2016 and 2022, that is a 13 times growth. This rapid growth is driving operators to explore methods of optimizing network capacity, one of which is complementing traffic via Wi-Fi networks – with traffic expected to rise 70 per cent yearly between 2016 and 2022.”

Africa to surpass 1bn mobile subscriptions – report.

Africa is expected to cross one billion mobile subscriptions in the fourth quarter of 2016, reaching 1.02 billion by year-end.

This is according to market research and advisory firm Ovum, which also forecasts the total number of mobile subscriptions on the continent will rise to 1.33 billion at the end of 2021.

However, the firm says growth in new mobile subscriptions is slowing, pointing out the average rate of mobile penetration in Africa was 79% at the end of June. Mobile voice revenue on the continent is set to decline over the five years to 2021.

According to Ovum, data connections, as well as data and digital service revenue, will drive the next phase of growth in Africa’s telecoms market. The take-up of mobile broadband will rise strongly, as operators continue to roll out 3G and 4G LTE networks, and as smartphones become increasingly affordable.

The firm believes there will be one billion mobile broadband connections in Africa in 2021, including 157.4 million 4G LTE connections.

Additionally, the number of smartphone connections on the continent will reach 929.9 million at the end of 2021, it notes, adding non-SMS mobile data revenue in Africa will rise from $6.40 billion in 2015 to $27.56 billion in 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 27.6%.

Ovum notes the number of fixed broadband connections in Africa is also expected to increase significantly over the coming years, albeit from a very low base. It will rise from 13.78 million at the end of 2016 to 19.97 million at the end of 2021.

The number of fibre and fixed LTE connections will increase sharply over the next five years, but DSL will remain the dominant fixed broadband technology on the continent, accounting for 70.7% of African fixed broadband connections in 2021.

Despite the progress being made in connecting Africa, the continent ranks second lowest among world regions in its broadband development, according to Ovum’s Broadband Development Index (BDI), which measures countries and world regions based on their adoption of high-speed broadband.

Africa had a BDI score of 232 out of 1 000 at the end of 2015, with Central and Southern Asia being the only region to record a lower score.

Mauritius is the highest ranked African country in the BDI, with a score of 279 out of 1 000 at the end of 2015. The next highest ranked African countries are SA, Tunisia, Algeria and Namibia, says Ovum.

“As Africa nears the landmark of one billion mobile subscriptions, it is clear the next phase of growth will be in broadband connections and in revenue from data access as well as from new ‘digital services’ such as digital media and mobile financial services,” says Matthew Reed, practice leader, Middle East and Africa, at Ovum.

“However, Africa remains less advanced than most other world regions in its broadband development, and there is both an opportunity and a need to further improve connectivity on the continent, and to take advantage of the benefits that connectivity can bring.”

With 63 million users, Nigeria leads in internet usage in Africa.

Nigeria has been ranked number one in Africa and ninth in the world when it comes to internet usage.

This information is contained in the second edition of digitalfacts, a publication produced by digitXplus.

China has the highest number of unique internet users with 632 million subscribers while the U.S. is second with 269 million users.

India, Japan, Brazil, and Russia round up the top six with 198 million, 110 million, 105 million and 87 million users respectively.

Indonesia and Germany have 83 million and 68 million users respectively while Nigeria has a total of 63 million users.

The statistics date back to 2015 and according to digitXplus, Nigeria has been on an upward climb since 2011.

It stated that from 35.7 million, the figure increased to 42.8 million; 51.8m; 57.7m and 63.2m internet users in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively.

“At digitXplus, we endeavor to bring information about the region to fore, we now present the second edition of Digital Facts Book with an objective to organize information on digital medium in West and Central Africa, thus making it easily accessible and useful to all”, said Patrick Gomes, chief executive officer, digitXplus.

Gomes also explained that most of the access to internet in the region is through mobile devices.

‘Don’t go!’ ICC officials appeal to African defectors.

“Don’t go!” That was the heartfelt appeal to African nations as the International Criminal Court opened its annual meeting Wednesday under the cloud of a wave of unprecedented defections.

Gambia on Monday formally notified the United Nations that it was withdrawing from the court, following in the wake of South Africa and Burundi.

“Don’t go,” pleaded Senegalese politician Sidiki Kaba, the president of the ICC’s Assembly of State Parties meeting in The Hague.

“In a world criss-crossed by violent extremism… it is urgent and necessary to defend the ideal of justice for all,” he said.

The tribunal opened in 2002 in The Hague as a court of last resort to try the world’s worst crimes. But in his passionate plea, Kaba admitted it was going through a “difficult moment”.

He acknowledged some had seen “injustice” in the investigations brought before the court so far, but he offered reassurances, saying: “You have been heard.”

The court had to redouble its efforts to convince countries to return, and to ensure that there was truly universal justice for all, Kaba said.

Amid accusations of bias against Africa, Kenya, Namibia and Uganda have also indicated they are considering pulling out of the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty.

– ‘Do not betray the victims’ –

“Though the powerful may seek to leave the court, the victims everywhere plead for its involvement,” UN human rights commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.

He insisted “there is no substitute for the ICC” and in the long term “these states will boomerang back as the court is accepted by more and more states”.

“By withdrawing from the Rome Statute, leaders may shield themselves, but it would be at the cost of depriving their people of a unique form of protection.”

He warned “a new trend of isolationism” sweeping the world would trigger more attacks on the court.

“Now is not the time to abandon the post, now is the time of resolve and strength,” Zeid said.

“Do not betray the victims, nor your own people… stand by the court… it is the best that we have.”

The defections will take a year to come into force.

Currently nine out of the 10 ICC investigations are in African countries. The other is in Georgia.

But on the eve of the meeting, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda revealed there was a “reasonable basis” to believe US troops as well as the Taliban and Afghan forces may have committed war crimes in Afghanistan.

In her annual report, she said she would decide “imminently” whether to ask to launch a full-blown investigation in Afghanistan.

If the investigation goes ahead, the tribunal would be taking on its most complex and politically controversial investigation to date.

BBC World Service expands with 11 new Asian and African languages.

BBC World Service will begin broadcasting in 11 additional Asian and African languages and will boost content aimed at its Russian audience in its biggest expansion since the 1940s, the BBC said on Wednesday.

The World Service started out in 1932 as a radio channel for English speakers in the British empire, but has morphed over the decades into a highly respected global provider of news and quality programmes in English and dozens of other languages.

The expansion is a result of a major funding injection announced by the government last year as part of a drive to boost Britain’s “soft power”.

“This is a historic day for the BBC, as we announce the biggest expansion of the World Service since the 1940s,” said BBC Director General Tony Hall. “The BBC World Service is a jewel in the crown – for the BBC and for Britain.”

The additional African languages will be Afaan Oromo, spoken in Ethiopia and other countries, Amharic, also a major Ethiopian language, Tigrinya, the main language of Eritrea, and Nigerian languages Igbo, Yoruba and Pidgin, which are also spoken in other West African countries.

The World Service will also add Indian languages Gujarati, Marathi and Telugu, as well as Punjabi which is widely spoken in Pakistan and parts of India, and Korean, spoken in both North and South Korea.

The BBC will also extend its news bulletins in Russian, with regionalised versions for surrounding countries, add regional programming in Arabic and short-wave and medium-wave radio programmes aimed at audiences in the Korean peninsula.

“Through war, revolution and global change, people around the world have relied on the World Service for independent, trusted, impartial news,” said Fran Unsworth, director of the World Service.

Hall has set a target for the BBC to reach 500 million people worldwide by its centenary in 2022.

DSTV Slashes Cost Of Subscription Across Africa, Plans Increase In Nigeria.

MultiChoice Limited, owners of DStv and GoTV, is set to reduce the monthly DStv subscription fees between 11 percent and 21 per cent from November 1, 2016 in several African countries, EXCLUDING Nigeria.

According to findings, DStv would also add several exciting channels to the lower-tiered bouquets in the black nations to boost the content offering for cheaper packages and add content value. The countries that would benefit from the offer are Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Botswana, neglecting Nigeria, its biggest market.

There are chances that the company may soon increase the subscription fee in Nigeria.

Some of the new channels the subscribers in these countries would view are a sister channel to the Telenovela, Eva+; pop-up M-Net channels, M-Net Movies, BlockParty and Harry Potter among others.

Some of the subscribers said in separate interviews, disclosed that they would stop their subscriptions if the company embarked on what they described as ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’. For instance, Engr. Toba Biobaku, one of the numerous subscribers of DStv, alleged the company is allergic to providing good services for Nigerians at affordable prices.

To the manager of one of the construction company in the country, the company has passion for fleecing Nigerians without value for their money. Despite the current economic recession, he stated that several Nigerians still renew their subscription and the reward they could get from Multichoice is to use their monies to reward subscribers in other African nations.

“When Multichoice bowed to pressures made by consumers and the Consumers Protection Council recently when it introduced a customer care toll free lines easily, I knew it that the company has hidden agenda. The most painful part of it is that most of us are being cheated without compensation as it failed to clear the E-16 code from our television sets for a week. When the error was erased later, my subscription was not extended,” he lamented.

Another subscriber that is perturbed about the plan of the operator of the pay TV service is the Managing Director of Jumobite Fashion. The premium subscriber of DStv threatened to lead a peaceful protest to the Tiamiyu Savage street, Victoria Island, Lagos headquarters of the company along with some of her friends, who are also premium subscribers.

For her, the tariff of the bouquet is too expensive compared to what other subscribers in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Botswana pay. According to her, asking Nigerians viewers to pay more for few channels and asking their counterparts in those countries to pay less for more is absurd and a way of saying Nigerians are gullible.

There are indications that hundreds of thousands of the subscribers of the pay TV firm might not renew their monthly subscription if the company embark on the fee slashed. Findings revealed that the company makes an average of about N8 billion from over 4 million patrons every month in Nigeria and about N80 billion as turnover per year.

A top source close to the management of Multichoice Nigeria, who claimed anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said that the company decided to slashed fees in the countries after it observed that about 40 per cent of its subscribers had refused to renew their subscriptions due to economic recession that bites harder their compared to Nigeria, which has been recently rated the biggest economy in the continent.

“The stiff DStv price hikes put subscribers under pressure in those countries and we have lost about 300,000 subscribers in the countries in one year as people could no longer afford the service or no longer saw it as valuable enough. When reviewing our packages and prices in each country, we take into account local dynamics such as inflation, content costs, foreign exchange rates, local taxes and overheads required for each business.

“To compensate our Nigerian viewers, we will introduce more amazing channels to the existing entertaining programmes. We have also embark on an aggressive marketing and follow up innovation to ensure most of our subscribers do not abandon their bouquets. We call subscribers a few days to the expiration of their subscriptions to remind them about the reasons they should not miss out of the global village,” she revealed.

But in a quick response, a business lawyer, Bar. Seun Adewole, stated that while most Nigerians suffered in silence, foreign companies like Multichoice ripped them off their hard earned money. Aside from the fact that he also believe it is wrong for an international company to set double standards for its patrons, he said that subscribers should fight for their rights using legal means by questioning the decisions of the firm, sending complaints to regulatory agencies like the Consumers’ Protection Council and the Federal Ministry of Communication and Technology.

“Sending complaints to the National Assembly had proven to be a waste of time and resources. Similar issues had been discussed on the floor of the assembly but none had yielded any desired result as it appears that gifts exchange hands after a lot of noise had been made by the lawmakers. For instance, the house of representative had debate on the pay as you view initiative for years and nothing has been done to it and I am not surprised that the company had excluded Nigerians from the beneficiaries of the price slash,” he stated.

The consequences of the U.S. war on terrorism in Africa.

On May 5, President Barack Obama hosted his Djiboutian counterpart, Ismail Omar Guelleh, at the White House. The two leaders signed a 20-year lease agreement for the Djibouti-based Camp Lemonnier, the biggest U.S. military base in Africa. Covering 500 acres, the installation is a crucial launching site for U.S. military operations against militant groups in the Horn of Africa and Yemen. The U.S. agreed to pay an annual fee of $70 million for the site, which now hosts more than 4,000 U.S. military personnel and civilians.

The base is a key part of Pentagon’s plans “to maximize the impact of a relatively small U.S. presence in Africa,” according to the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, a congressional panel that conducts assessments of U.S. defense strategy and priorities. All African countries except Eritrea receive some form of U.S. military assistance, according to data from the U.S. State Department. Most of this assistance is channeled through the department’s International Military Education and Training program, which facilitates professional relationships with African militaries. The Obama administration is looking to invest in “new, effective and efficient small footprint locations and developing innovative approaches to using host nation facilities or allied joint-basing” as part of its focus on security in Africa. A handful of African nations — including Ethiopia, South Sudan, Niger, Uganda, Kenya, Mauritania, Mali, the Seychelles and Burkina Faso — already host U.S. drone sites, shared bases and military surveillance facilities. Also, the U.S. maintains a secretive program training counterterrorism commandos in states that straddle the vast Sahara, whose ungoverned spaces provide a rear base for terrorist groups.

The Pentagon’s military footprint in Africa is indeed small compared with other parts of the world. For example, in 2012, U.S. military aid and arms sales to Africa accounted for a mere 4.25 percent of the global total. (The Near East received 67.7 percent.) These military outlays were just 5.5 percent of the $7.8 billion the U.S. allocated for foreign assistance in the African region, with health care ($5.6 billion) getting the lion’s share. Regardless of the size of the U.S. military footprint in Africa, its expansion of has serious implications for the continent’s security, the consolidation of democracy and the professionalization of its militaries as well as for respect for human rights across the region. Unfortunately, these concerns do not rank high on the Pentagon’s agenda.

U.S. Africa command

The U.S. geographic command responsible for Africa is overseen by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), based in Stuttgart, Germany. In 2009, two years after it was created, AFRICOM had an operating budget of about $400 million and more than 1,000 staffers. Unlike other similar U.S. operations, it is fully integrated with other U.S. agencies in Africa — including USAID and the State, Commerce and Treasury departments. This arrangement informs AFRICOM’s focus on a 3-D approach — defense, diplomacy and development — in the region.

At the core of the U.S. military engagement in Africa is the war against Al-Qaeda affiliates: Somalia’s Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), as well as armed groups such as Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and Nigeria’s Boko Haram. To help conduct AFRICOM’s counterterrorism operations in the region, the U.S. has recruited a motley crew of African allies, including those that face direct threats from these groups. Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia are key partners in the war against Al-Shabaab, and Niger and Burkina Faso have emerged as critical hosts of U.S. operations against AQIM. But Washington’s strategic calculations and the interests of African leaders who sign on to these arrangements do not always converge with the interests of the majority of African people.

In order to preserve ongoing cooperation arrangements, the U.S. has consistently looked the other way in the face of gross human rights violations and anti-democratic tendencies of its partner states. Djibouti’s Guelleh, now in power for 15 years, scrapped term limits to pave the way for a third term in 2010, leading to the opposition’s boycott of parliament. In Djibouti, not unlike in other allied countries, the 2013 U.S. State Department annual country reports revealed cases of torture, arbitrary arrest and restriction of freedom of association. Ethiopia and Uganda, the two leading U.S. allies in sub-Saharan Africa, are serial human rights offenders. Ethiopia is the second leading jailer of journalists in Africa (after only Eritrea). In a renewed crackdown on freedom of expression, authorities in Ethiopia jailed nine additional journalists and bloggers last month only days before Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Addis Ababa. The country has been in the news for the recent killings of unarmed student protesters in the Oromia region. Uganda gained international infamy earlier this year by pioneering a draconian anti-gay law. In both countries, opposition parties operate under severe restriction, with Ethiopia having only one opposition member in its 547-person legislature.

The challenge for AFRICOM and its African partners is to devise strategies that will ensure that security objectives are not pursued at the expense of democracy, military professionalization and respect for human rights.

The United States has been implicated in maintaining a secretive detention program in concert with the governments of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia. A 2008 Human Rights Watch report, “Horn of Africa Renditions,” detailed a little-known unlawful detention policy, akin to the Central Intelligence Agency’s extraordinary rendition program. According to journalist Jason Leopold, Mohammed al-Asad, a Yemeni citizen arrested in Tanzania in 2003, claims that U.S. forces tortured him at a black site in Djibouti. In Kenya the government has recently been accused of summarily executing radical Muslim clerics suspected of having links to Al-Shabaab. (The government denies the charge.) The war on terrorism has provided opportunities for some African leaders to enact sweeping anti-terrorism laws with the aim of silencing dissent. In Ethiopia alone, more than 35 journalists and opposition leaders have been convicted under that country’s anti-terrorism proclamation.

Militarized solutions

In addition to turning a blind eye to human rights abuses, the U.S.’s inherent bias toward military approaches to security threats in Africa limits the options available to African governments facing domestic security challenges. In many cases, negotiations with entities designated as terrorist groups contravene U.S. anti-terrorism laws that forbid any kind of exchange that might be beneficial to terrorist groups. After initial attempts to negotiate with the LRA, Uganda has recently embarked on a purely militaristic solution backed by U.S. military hardware and advisers. Further afield, the United States’ designation of Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist group and the promise of military assistance after the kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls may unreasonably limit Nigeria’s options for political and other kinds of negotiated settlements. Because of their exposure to terrorist attacks (as witnessed in Djibouti on May 25) and their economic consequences, African states allied with the U.S. must strive to maintain enough wriggle room to pursue localized solutions to their security challenges.

U.S. military operations and engagements with African militaries also risk compromising the professionalization of African militaries. Uganda offers an instructive case. Kampala has been a key U.S. military ally since the Iraq War and is the leading partner in the African Union mission in Somalia. Washington maintains an important facility at the Entebbe airport and is assisting in the hunt for the LRA leader Joseph Kony. But over the same period, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, in office since 1986, has personalized the military. Ugandan journalist Andrew Mwenda argues that Museveni has used a “strategy of fragmentation” to create factions within the military in an attempt to limit coherence in the institution. The president’s son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, is the commander of the special forces, a group whose duties include protecting the president and the country’s oil resources. More generally, unless carefully mitigated, Washington’s unchecked war on terrorism in the region will result in overgrown military units outside normal chains of command, creating problems for effective civilian control in the long run.

The challenge for both AFRICOM and its African partners is to devise strategies that will ensure that security objectives are not pursued at the expense of democracy, military professionalization and respect for human rights. Furthermore, in the spirit of its 3-D approach, AFRICOM must be open to domestic solutions to Africa’s security needs. Such domestic solutions have the advantage of localizing the specific conflicts that create insecurity in the first place. Ultimately, African leaders must be careful not to let their countries be turned into mere venues for an international conflict between the U.S. and transnational terrorist groups.

Ken Opalo is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Stanford University. His dissertation research is on institutional change, focusing on legislative development in Africa. 

Shadow War in the Sahara: A look at US/French Military Activities in Africa.

Africa remains a key territory on the global chessboard of the 21st century. Rich in oil and natural resources, the continent holds a strategic position.
Whoever controls Mali, controls West Africa, if not the whole of Africa.

Doulaye Konate, Association of African Historians,

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies. North Africa counts with vast oil and natural gas deposits, the Sahara holds the most strategic nuclear ore, and resources such as coltan, gold, and copper, among many others, are abundant in the continent.

But despite its position and resources, conflict and chaos have spread throughout the continent. At the heart of this turmoil is a strategic territory: the Sahel.

The region that straddles the Sahara to the north and the savannas in the south has become an important new front in the so-called war against terrorism.

But is the official narrative, the fight against terrorism, masking a larger battle? Have the resource wars of the 21st century already begun?

“What we are currently experiencing can be described as ‘a new scramble for Africa’,” says Jean Batou, Professor of History at Lausanne University.

‘Whoever controls Mali, controls West Africa’

At the centre of the troubled region of the Sahel is the nation of Mali, which is among the world’s poorest. Unemployment is rampant and most people survive hand to mouth.

Yet, back in the 13th century, the Mali empire extended over much of West Africa and was extraordinarily wealthy and powerful. Ivory and gold made it a major crossroads for global trade at the time. But inevitably, these resources lead to conquests.

“We are the transition between North Africa and Africa that reaches the ocean and the forests. This gives us an important strategic position: whoever controls Mali, controls West Africa – if not the whole of Africa … That’s why this region became so coveted,” says Doulaye Konate from the Association of African Historians.

The imperial European powers unveiled their plans to colonise Mali and the rest of Africa at the Berlin Conference in 1885. Britain, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Italy and France, each got their share.

“The arrival of colonisation tore us apart. It felt like a cut, almost like a surgical operation,” Konate says.

The French colonial empire extended over much of western and northern Africa, but in the late 1950s the winds of freedom started blowing across Africa, and France was to lose all its colonies.

However, the euphoria of independence was short. France retained troops, bases and political influence over its former colonies: the policy of “France-Afrique” was born.

“France was Africa’s watchdog, defending the West in the region,” says Antoine Glaser, author of France-Afrique.

Colonisation of Algeria: the French landing in Algeria in the coastal town of Sidi Ferruch in 1830. [Liebig series: L’origine de diverses colonies/The origin of various colonies, 1922, No 1). (Photo by Culture Club/Getty Images]

The US and the threat of ‘terrorism’

In the 1960s, the discovery of huge oil reserves in the Gulf of Guinea attracted a new player: the United States.

The US made military as well as economic investments on the African continent and Africa became a battleground in the Cold War.

In 1992, the US launched a so-called humanitarian intervention in the strategic Horn of Africa. The US sent 28,000 soldiers to Somalia to help to put an end to a civil war. The operation ended in disaster two years later after American soldiers were captured and killed, images of their mutilated bodies broadcast around the world. They decided to withdraw.

In 2001, the attack on the World Trade Center reconfigured the geopolitics of the world. The US launched a war in Afghanistan – a war that would soon spread far beyond.

A few months after September 11, the US military returned to the Horn of Africa with plans to stay. They established their first military base in Djibouti.

“The Sahel played a key role in looking at the movement of weapons, the movement of potential foreign fighters, and organised crime …,” says Rudolph Atallah, the former Director of Africa Counter-Terrorism, US Department of Defense.

American President George Bush visits US soldiers in Somalia [Larry Downing/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images]

The US Africa Command (AFRICOM)

The United States is the only country to have divided the world into separate military sectors to monitor and patrol, NORTHCOM, PACOM, SOUTHCOM, EUCOM, CENTCOM and now AFRICOM.

Under the stated goals of fighting terrorism and providing humanitarian assistance, AFRICOM implanted itself on the continent, conducting military exercises with a growing number of African countries.

The establishment of AFRICOM was key for the consolidation of US interests in Africa.

The Americans sought to establish the headquarters of AFRICOM as well as a headquarters for the CIA in Mali. The problem was that the Africans had a common position of refusing the establishment of new military bases.

This opposition forced the US to set up the command of AFRICOM thousands of miles away, in Stuttgart, Germany.

Muammar Gaddafi: The ‘mad dog of the Middle East’

Nelson Mandela’s view was almost identical to Gaddafi’s that there would be no African forces commanded by foreign military officials, and there would be no foreign militaries occupying any part of Africa or operating within Africa.

Maximilian Forte, author

African resistance to AFRICOM was spearheaded by Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader.

President Ronald Reagan had labelled him the “mad dog of the Middle East” and had tried to assassinate him in 1986 by bombing his palace.

The Libyan leader’s independence and influence flowed from the vast petroleum reserves, the largest in Africa, which he had nationalised when he took power.

Gaddafi wanted to demonstrate that Africa could develop without depending on the Western banking system or the International Monetary Fund.

“From the beginning of his political career as a leader, Muammar Gaddafi was opposed to a foreign military presence in Africa. One of the first things he did after coming to power in 1969 was to expel the British and US military bases in Libya itself,” Maximilian Forte, the author of Slouching Towards Sirte: Nato’s war on Libya and Africa, explains.

But in March 2011, as the Arab’s Spring spread through North Africa, France and the United States decided to act. This was AFRICOM’S first war and its commander-in-chief was the first African-­American president.

Corrupt judges are a disgrace to Africa – NGO

A non-government organisation has described the recent events unfolding around issues of alleged corruption of Nigeria judges as a huge embarrassment to the continent.

The Executive Director of African Renaissance Project (ARP), Dr. Kwame Kobina, stated this at Kotoka International Airport, Accra, Ghana on his way to the 4th International Conference on Democracy and the Rule of Law in Africa, scheduled for Banjul, Gambia by the weekend.

He decried the rate of decay and the spate of scandals among the judiciary in Africa as a bad sign for democracy.

According to him, Nigerian Judges are fast getting a bad reputation for themselves and the continent.

In 2013, senior Nigerian Judge who was then former Acting Chief Judge of Gambia, Justice Joseph Wowo was sacked after he was caught on tape soliciting bribes from a Dutch businessman in exchange for favourable judgment. He was planning to subvert justice in a land case pending in his court.

The accused judges, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta and Justice Inyang Okoro should be prosecuted and sanctioned without delay. There are many others.

Ricky Tarfa was once prosecuted for giving a senior judge before who he had a pending matter some ‘money for burial’. Many friends of Nigeria at times wonder about what we read in the media. How did that notorious former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili get a perpetual injunction preventing him from being prosecuted from corruption? Where else has this happened in the world?

He called on the National Judicial Council to desist from ridiculing the temple of Justice by seeking to protect corrupt Judges and defending what he described as ‘indefensible’ allegations.

Instead what observers all over the world are expecting from them is to join President Muhammadu Buhari in the fight against corruption. According to him even in Ghana, 22 judges were arrested, arraigned and dismissed from service.

In Italy recently 16 Judges were arrested by the police and I billion Euros recovered from them.

He commended the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA) for a firm position in support of the suspension of the judges.

Kobina further stated that Nigerian judges are not all bad eggs as many of them have excelled in other parts of the continent.

He mentioned exemplary Judges like Justice Udo Udoma who once served as Chief Judge of Uganda and Justice Akinola Aguda who was formerly Chief Judge of Botswana.

The International conference is a biennial continent-wide event that brings together civil society organisations to review issues relevant to democracy and rule of law in the continent.

Delayed response by Nigeria hinders economic recovery in Africa – IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed worry over what it described as the slow policy response of Nigeria and other oil exporting countries in sub-Saharan Africa to the economic crisis assailing the African region.

The Fund stated this in its October 2016 Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa entitled, ‘Multispeed Growth’ billed to be officially released today.

The Fund said the economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa in 2016 would slow to its lowest level in more than 20 years, adding that average growth in the region is projected to be just 1.4 per cent – “well below population growth, and in sharp contrast to the high growth rates of recent years.”

Director, IMF African Department, Abebe Aemro Selassie, attributed the slowdown to the slump in commodity prices, tight financing conditions coupled with the fact that the policy response in many of the countries most affected by the shocks, “has been delayed and inadequate, raising uncertainty, deterring private investment and stifling new sources of growth.”

The Fund stated: “Worryingly, in the face of strong financial and economic pressures, the policy response in many of the hardest hit countries has been slow and piecemeal, often accompanied by stopgap measures such as central bank financing and the accumulation of arrears, and leading to rapidly rising public debt.

“In oil-exporting countries with flexible regimes, exchange rates have been allowed to adjust only with reluctance, resulting in strong pressures on deposits and foreign exchange reserves.

“As a result, the delayed adjustment and ensuing policy uncertainty have been deterring investment and stifling new sources of growth – making a return to strong growth rates more difficult.”

Although the IMF said modest pick-up in economic activity in the region was likely, it said this would depend on strong policy action being taken to tackle the problems.

Calling for prompt policy action to secure a rebound in growth, the IMF said: “A sustained adjustment effort is needed, based on a comprehensive and internally consistent set of policies.

“This implies fully allowing the exchange rate to absorb external pressures for countries outside monetary unions, re-establishing macroeconomic stability – including by tightening monetary policy where needed to tackle sharp increases in inflation – and focusing as much as possible on growth-friendly elements of fiscal consolidation.

“With limited buffers, the scope to ease the adjustment path will depend critically on the availability of new financing, ideally on concessional terms.”

However, Selassie pointed out that not all countries were performing poorly, listing non–resource-intensive countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya and Senegal among those that continue to perform well.

According to him, these countries benefit from lower oil import prices, an improved business environment, and continuous strong infrastructure investment.

He predicted that growth would recover close to three per cent in 2017, stressing: “To make this happen, the hardest hit countries, especially oil exporters, need to act promptly.

“Further delays in addressing the elevated macroeconomic imbalances are certain to undermine growth prospects further and delay a robust and jobrich recovery.”

IMF Report: Nigeria’s economy is the biggest in Africa.

A new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected Nigeria as Africa’s biggest economy, in spite of its current challenges.

Nigeria is placed ahead of South Africa and Egypt which are second and third respectively.

In August, Nigeria was reported to have lost its position as Africa’s biggest economy to South Africa, following the recalculation of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

But the IMF’s World Economic Outlook for October, puts Nigeria’s GDP at 415.08 billion Dollars, from 493.83 billion Dollars in 2015, while South Africa’s GDP was put at 280.36 billion Dollars, from 314.73 billion Dollars in 2015.

According to the report, Egypt’s 2016 data is not available, but its 2015 size remained at 330.159 Dollars while that of Algeria, one of the largest economies on the continent, is put at 168.318 billion Dollars.

The United States, China and Japan maintain their spots as the largest economies in the world, ahead of Germany, United Kingdom and France.

According to a review in September, the current economic recession will outlast 2016, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contraction of 1.7 per cent.

The IMF had predicted that Nigeria’s economy would grow away from a recession in 2017.

The country last witnessed a recession, for less than a year, in 1991, and experienced a prolonged one that started in 1982 and lasted until 1984.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has so far disbursed over N700 billion in capital expenditure this year, part of a record N6.06 trillion (30 billion Dollars) budget for 2016.

World Bank Predicts 1.6% Fall For African Economies

An analysis conducted by the World Bank has advocated for better economic policies and deeper diversification for African countries.

The World Bank noted in the report that countries of Sub-Saharan Africa present a diversified landscape of economic growth.

The bi-annual analysis of the state of African economies named Africa’s Pulse pointed out that while economic growth across the continent is projected to fall to 1.6% this year, the lowest level in over two decades, the GDP growth is showing resilience in about a quarter of countries.

Some of the best performers—Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania—have continued to post annual average growth rates of over 6%, and Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal have recently climbed into the ranks of top performing countries.

The weak aggregate economic performance is mainly a reflection of deteriorating economic performance in the continent’s largest economies: Nigeria and South Africa, which together account for half the region’s output.

In Nigeria, GDP contracted during the first two quarters of the year due to low oil revenues and a fall in manufacturing, among other things.

In South Africa, the economy contracted slightly in the first quarter, before rebounding in the second quarter, thanks to an increase in mining and manufacturing output.

Generally, oil exporters in Sub-Saharan Africa continue to experience slippages in economic growth due to shocks from the collapse of commodity prices. This underlines once more the limited diversification of their economies.

“Adjustment to low commodities has been limited in several commodity exporters, even as vulnerabilities have mounted,” says Punam Chuhan-Pole, World Bank Lead Economist for Africa. “Adjustment efforts should include measures to strengthen domestic resource mobilization, so as to reduce overdependence on resource-based revenues.”

A deeper analysis of economic growth patterns in the region shows that countries’ economies have performed differently in the years before and after the global financial crisis of 2008.

Some countries, those categorized as “established”, have sustained strong performance in both periods. Several other countries are seeing strong performance in recent years, and are categorized as “improved”.

Overall, these resilient groups of countries show more diversified export structures and have made more progress on structural reforms, business regulation, rule of law, and government effectiveness. Outlook Against this backdrop, a modest rebound is forecast for Sub-Saharan Africa in 2017.

Economic activity is expected to rise to 2.9%. The uneven growth performance we currently see should continue, with the region’s largest economies and other commodity exporters experiencing modest growth, as commodity prices strengthen slowly, while other countries continue to expand at a robust pace, supported in part by infrastructure investments.

Looking ahead, increasing agricultural productivity on the continent is central to transforming Sub-Saharan Africa. Analysis shows that addressing the quality of spending and the efficiency of resource use is even more critical than addressing the level of agriculture spending.

Rebalancing the composition of public agricultural spending could reap massive payoffs. The Report’s Key MessagesAfter slowing to 3% in 2015, economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to fall to 1.6%in 2016, the lowest level in over two decades.

The sharp decline in aggregate growth reflects the challenging economic conditions in the region’s largest economies and commodity exporters as they continue to face headwinds from low commodity prices, tight financing conditions, and domestic policy uncertainties.

At the same time, in about a quarter of countries, economic growth is showing signs of resilience. Some countries—Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania—have continued to post annual average growth rates of over 6%, exceeding the top tercile of the regional distribution; and several other countries—including Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal—have moved into the top tercile of performers.

Risks to the outlook remain tilted to the downside. On the external front, old risks remain salient and include slower improvements in commodity prices, tighter global financial conditions, and security concerns.

Post-global financial crisis performance in the region as a whole has not been as stellar as it was pre-crisis.

However, there are some diverging growth experiences across countries.

Increasing agricultural productivity is central to transforming Sub-Saharan African economies. Addressing the quality of public spending and the efficiency of resource use is even more critical than addressing the level of spending.

Despite recession, Dangote vows to scale up investments in Nigeria, Africa

In recognition of his immense contribution to human capital development in Africa through the establishment of businesses across the African continent, a United States of America-based Organization, Africa-America Institute (AAI) has honoured the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, with the “2016 African Business Leader Award.”

The business guru was named and presented the award at a colourful ceremony held on the side-line of the United Nations Congress held in New York city, United States alongside other prominent Africans like Stephen Hayes, President and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), who won the AAI ‘2016 U.S. Business Leader Award’; and Sunil Benimadhu, Executive Director of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM), who won the AAI ‘2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award.’

Dangote said he was humbled by the award considering the pedigree of the award which celebrates African achievement at the global stage and promised that he would not be deterred by the current economic challenges in Nigeria but would intensify the expansion of his businesses across Africa.

At the award Gala themed “Education: The Key to Africa’s Economic Growth,”, Dangote expressed delight that the Institute brought education in Africa to the front burner., noting “I have always been passionate about education because I believe it is a weapon of liberation.

Drawing a reference from a Nelson Mandela quote that: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”, the Chairman of Dangote Cement, global, said he identified himself with laudable initiatives that seek to promote educational growth and development, particularly in Africa.

“As a matter of fact, I am a founding member of the Gordon Brown-led Global Business Coalition for Education. Education is also one of the cardinal areas that the Aliko Dangote Foundation focuses on.

“I believe quality and affordable education will address the immense social and economic inequalities that often breed discontent in many parts of Africa. I also believe education will strengthen the human capital that will drive Africa’s development in the 21st Century.

“I am happy to note that AAI has been contributing to Africa’s development, through training and education, since it was founded 63 years ago. This award is coming at a time the Dangote Group is rapidly expanding its footprints across Africa, and into new sectors.

“Last year alone, we commenced cement operations in Ethiopia, Zambia, Cameroon, South Africa, Senegal and Tanzania. By 2019, we will have operations in 18 countries with a total capacity of nearly 80MMTPA, thus making us the largest cement producer in Africa and the 6th largest in the world.

“Over the next few years, we will be investing nearly $20billion in projects ranging from a petroleum refinery, petrochemicals, fertiliser, gas pipeline, and backward integration in sugar and rice production.

“These projects will create over 250,000 jobs and provide foreign exchange earnings and savings of $16 billion for the country and help diversify our economy. Central to this developmental trajectory is the need for capacity building and ramping up of the quality of skills of a fast growing African workforce.

“Despite the current economic challenges, we will continue to scale up the value of our investments not only in Nigeria but also across the entire continent, because we believe in Nigeria’s and Africa’s potential. We believe that it is only by sustained massive investments in infrastructure across the continent, supported with access to education, that Africa can reach its full potential.

“This award will further encourage us to redouble our efforts as we work towards promoting Africa’s economic renaissance. We are grateful to the organisers for recognising our modest efforts to transform Africa”, he stated.

Founded in 1953, The Africa-America Institute (AAI) is a premier U.S.-based international organization dedicated to strengthening human capacity of Africans and promoting the continent’s development through higher education and skills training, convening activities, program implementation and management.

Its primary model is to identify capacity-building projects and coordinate the programmatic, financial administration and evaluation necessary to deliver high-impact results.

Female Genital Mutilation: Two Girls Die After Circumcision.

Freetown – A teenage girl died after undergoing a botched female circumcision in Sierra Leone, police said on Thursday, just days after the death of a 10-year-old girl in Guinea.


Female genital mutilation (FGM) is widespread in the neighbouring West African countries, with about 90% of women in both countries undergoing circumcision.


Teenager Fatmata Turay died after she was circumcised in an initiation ceremony in the village of Mabolleh in north Sierra Leone and three women involved, including the girl’s aunt, have been arrested, police said.


“There will be an investigation into the circumstances which led to the death of this girl,” said vice minister of social affairs Rugiatu Turay.


The death comes just days after a 10-year-old girl in Makpozou, a forested area in the south of Guinea, died in similar circumstances, according to the country’s social action ministry.


The child died in a circumcision camp for young girls, the ministry said.


Guinea’s government urged communities that practise FGM to “stop sacrificing the girls”, and said it was committed to the fight against the “vile practice”.


Female circumcision is common in West Africa, where it is considered a female rite of passage and where practitioners can earn up to $50 per girl.


Sierra Leone recently ratified a 2003 African Union protocol that seeks to ban FGM.

South Africa Overtakes Nigeria As Africa’s Biggest Economy

In dollar terms, South Africa is once again the biggest economy on the African continent, a position it reclaimed from Nigeria.

This was attributed to the appreciation of the rand, South Africa’s currency, and the devaluation of the Nigerian naira following the introduction of a flexible foreign exchange regime.

Using the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the end of 2015 published by the International Monetary Fund, Bloomberg reported that the size of South Africa’s economy was $301 billion at the rand’s current exchange rate, while Nigeria’s GDP was put at $296 billion.

Bloomberg noted that the rand has gained more than 16 per cent against the US currency since the start of 2016, while in contrast, Nigeria’s naira has lost more than a third of its value.

In afternoon trade wednesday, the rand firmed by more than a per cent against the dollar, to R13.29.

Despite the switch, Nigeria and South Africa both face the risk of recession, having contracted in the first quarter of the year, according to Bloomberg.

Nigeria’s economy shrank by 0.4 per cent, while South Africa’s GDP contracted by 0.2 per cent.
Nigeria has suffered amid low oil prices, while South Africa is sensitive to shifts in the commodity cycle.

“More than the growth outlook, in the short term the ranking of these economies is likely to be determined by exchange rate movements,” an economist at Exotix Partners LLP, Alan Cameron said.

He said although Nigeria was unlikely to be unseated as Africa’s largest economy in the long run, “the momentum that took it there in the first place is now long gone”.

Also, the Head of Research, SCM Capital Limited, Mr. Sewa Wusu, told THISDAY that the challenge of naira devaluation has caused a lot of economic challenges to the country, particularly with respect to the GDP.

“This should give policy makers the drive to rectify the forex challenges. Of course they have done their best by introducing a flexible exchange rate, but the issue is beyond that. The issue currently is about our forex earning potential.

“But I think the government is up to the challenge. I think we need a quick fix on the economy. That would help to support the naira and strengthen the currency,” Wusu added.

Read More: thisdaylive

VP Osinbajo Wants AU To Declare Corruption A Crime Against Humanity

Nigeria has formally requested the African Union (AU) to declare corruption a crime against humanity. The country blamed the impoverishment of African people on corrupt leaders. Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said on Wednesday at the inaugural JF Ade Ajayi Memorial Lecture held at the University of Lagos, that the request had been tabled. The late Ajayi was one of Nigeria’s foremost history scholars, and former vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos.


Thousands of lives


Prof Osinbajo said the problem of corruption must be escalated as the vice was clearly the most devastating affliction on the African people. Corruption, he noted, was the single leading cause of poverty on the continent. Drawing on the Nigeria situation, he said: “Corruption of a few has cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars, destinies lost and futures destroyed.’’


The wasteland


He also wondered how anyone could explain “the wasteland that is the Niger Delta today’’. Prof Osinbajo described the “needless elongation of the insurgency in the North East’’ and “continuing human and environmental tragedy in the Niger Delta’’ as two recent tragedies orchestrated by corruption. The vice-president recalled that some estimates showed that some Niger Delta state earned more than many African countries every year, but they had nothing to show for such fortunes.


Moral tradition


We must demonstrate that it is un-African for leaders to perpetrate the immorality of stealing the future of our children,” he stressed. The vice president hailed the virtues of the late Ade Ajayi as worthy of emulation.


The legacies of men and women like the great JF Ade Ajayi must be held aloft as the examples of the African moral tradition.’’

World Must Work Together To Ensure Africa’s Youths Devt- Bill Gates

Bill Gates has announced that Africa’s future is rested in the hands of its youth, therefore, every effort must be made to ensure they thrive.

Delivering the 2016 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, Gates said he was optimistic about the future of the continent “because of its young people.”

Pointing out that Africa was demographically the world’s youngest continent, in the next 35 years, it is estimated that two billion babies will be born in Africa and by 2050, 40 per cent of the world’s children will live in Africa, adding that he believes Africa’s youth “can be the source of a special dynamism.

“Economists talk about the demographic dividend. When you have more people of working age, and fewer dependents for them to take care of, you can generate phenomenal economic growth. Rapid economic growth in East Asia in the 1970s and 1980s was partly driven by the large number of young people moving into their work force

“But for me, the most important thing about young people is the way their minds work. Young people are better than old people at driving innovation, because they are not locked in by the limits of the past. The real returns will come if we can multiply this talent for innovation by the whole of Africa’s growing youth population,” he said.

Gates used the platform of the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture-the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s flagship programme to honour its founder, Nelson Mandela, and to raise topical issues affecting South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world-to lay out his vision of how to create a better world. The theme of his speech was ‘Living Together’.

The Microsoft founder said he had admired Mandela, whom he had met on many occasions. He said “One topic that Mandela came back to over and over again was the power of youth.

“He knew what he was talking about, because he started his career as a member of the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League when he was young. Later on, he understood that highlighting the oppression of young people was a powerful way to explain why things must change. There is a universal appeal to the conviction that youth deserve a chance. I agree with Mandela about young people, and that is one reason I am optimistic about the future of this continent.

“But to exploit Africa’s potential, its young people need to be given every opportunity to thrive.
“We are the human beings who must take action, and we have to decide now, because this unique moment won’t last forever. We must clear away the obstacles that are standing in young people’s way so they can seize all of their potential.”

Gates added: “If young people are sick and malnourished, their bodies and their brains will never fully develop. If they are not educated well, their minds will lie dormant. If they do not have access to economic opportunities, they will not be able to achieve their goals.

“But if we invest in the right things – if we make sure the basic needs of Africa’s young people are taken care of – then they will have the physical, cognitive, and emotional resources they need to change the future. Life on this continent will improve faster than it ever has. And the inequities that have kept people apart will be erased by broad-based progress that is the very meaning of the words: “living together.”

Credit: Thisday

Angola Overtakes Nigeria As Africa’s Top Oil Producer

Nigeria has again lost its Africa’s top oil producer status to Angola, as the country’s crude oil production fell by 67,000 barrels per day last month, latest data from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries have shown.

OPEC, in its Monthly Oil Market Report for April, which was released on Wednesday, put crude oil production from Nigeria at 1.677 million bpd in March based on direct communication, down from 1.744 million bpd in February.

Nigeria recorded the biggest drop in output in the month among its peers in OPEC, followed by Venezuela, based on direct communication.

Exports and production of Nigeria’s popular crude grade Forcados continued to be shut in due to a sabotage-related spill on the subsea Forcados pipeline.  The country has recently seen a rise in militant attacks in its main oil-producing region, the Niger Delta, denting oil production.

The country’s production figure for March was put at 1.722 million bpd by secondary sources, compared to 1.762 million bpd the previous month.

According to secondary sources, total OPEC crude oil production in March averaged

32.25 million bpd, a marginal increase of 15, 000 bpd over the previous month.

The 13-member oil cartel, said in the report, “Crude oil output increased mostly from Iran, Iraq and Angola, while production decreased in UAE, Libya and Nigeria.”

Angola saw its oil output rise to 1.782 million bpd last month from 1.767 million bpd in February, based on direct communication, according to the OPEC report.

The southern African country had in November 2015 overtaken Nigeria in output level as it produced 1.722 million bpd, compared to 1.607 million bpd produced by Nigeria, OPEC’s December report showed.

According to the latest monthly report, OPEC believes crude supply outside the producer group is set to fall more than expected, with weaker Chinese, Colombian, UK and US oil output eclipsing better outlooks for Canada, Norway, Oman and Russia.

The outlook for non-OPEC supply has been hit largely by lower expectations for crude oil production from China’s onshore mature fields.

OPEC also cited the postponement of major new projects due to reduced cash flow as the impact of lower prices takes its toll.

It now sees output falling by 730,000 bpd over the year, up from a previous estimate of 700,000 bpd, to average 56.39 million bpd in 2016.

OPEC also partly attributed the 20 per cent surge in oil futures in March to weaker non-OPEC supply in 2016, supply disruptions in Iraq and Nigeria, signs US shale is shrinking, along with expectations of a supply intervention plan by major crude exporters in Doha on April 17.

Poor Leadership Under Developing Africa – Dogara

The Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Tuesday, said poor leadership was one of the causes of underdevelopment in Africa.


He made this known when he received the Ambassador of Sudan, Mr Ibrahim Busha in Abuja.


He added that the reliance on aids from the western world had left Africans more impoverished than before.


Dogara said that unless African leaders begun to practice governance which put Africans first, the development the continent needed would take a little longer to be realised.


He added that “I sincerely believe that for us to make progress, leadership in Africa must be for the people. If we do that, there is no limit to the potential of an African.


“Unfortunately, we have been locked in a situation whereby leadership and governance as it is practised has only tied us to aids from the western world.

“Instead of looking inwards, we always look outwards to aids that come to Africa and most of these aids have some strings

“The aids tend to imprison and impoverish our people more than liberating them and putting them on the ladder of economic prosperity.”


The speaker said Africa needed to provide quality leadership to the people to eradicate poverty and for economic growth and prosperity.


“That is something we can do when we further our cooperation and deepen our relationship with countries that occupy leading positions in Africa,” he noted.


?Dogara said this was one of the ways through which the continent could achieve its goals of development, stressing that “going forward, there are many things we can do to provide quality leadership that Africa needs for its progress.”


He assured the ambassador that the House of Representatives would work on agreements and treaties between the two countries that would benefit Nigerians.


“I am aware of the diverse agreements ?that we have signed. From your own side of the divide, you have even gone further to establish a special implementation committee with regards to agreements signed with Nigeria.


“Unfortunately, it has not been done here but we are doing everything possible to ensure that we get it off the ground so that we can work hard toward implementing those agreements.”


Responding, Busha assured the Federal Government of the Sudanese government’s support.




Nigeria To Emerge Africa’s Economic Hub In 2026- Onu

Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has said the commitment of President Muhammadu Bu­hari towards diversifying the nation’s economy will make Nigeria an economic hub of the continent in the next 10 years.

Playing host to the Manag­ing Director of United Na­tions Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) Pro­gramme Development and Technical Cooperation Divi­sion, Philippe Scholtes, in Abu­ja at the weekend, the minister said the ministry was commit­ted to use science and technol­ogy to save the nation by grow­ing its economy.

Onu thanked UNIDO for its contributions globally and in Nigeria with the partnership to grow energy and agro-business.

He appealed to UNIDO to increase its efforts as well to­wards boosting agriculture to ensure food security in the country.

The minister specified that UNIDO’s involvement in food protection will not only lift farmers out of poverty but will tame rural-urban migration.

“We will be very happy if you could add food security because you will touch more persons and would be able to lift more persons out of pov­erty in Nigeria,” he said.

Earlier, Scholtes told the minister that UNIDO has ear­marked $2.6 billion for the development of Small Hydro Power (SHP) plants in Nige­ria in line with its mandate to promote, and accelerate inclu­sive and sustainable industrial development in developing countries.

“We obtained funding for $2.6 billion to help us dem­onstrate the small scale hydro power to powerhouse and fac­tories in places that have not been reached by electricity.

“This project funded by Global Environment Facility funds is meant to help coun­tries address environment is­sues that can benefit the global communities,” the UNIDO boss stated.

Credit: Sun

Democracy Has Come Of Age In Africa- Osinbajo

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said that with the conduct of peaceful elections and transitions from one government to the other on the continent, it was clear that democracy had come of age in Africa.

A news release issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, in Abuja on Tuesday said Osinbajo made the remark in Conakry, Guinea, at the inauguration of Prof. Alpha Conde’s second term in office.

“It shows that democracy has come of age in Africa. All over, you can see the demonstration of peaceful elections, peaceful transitions from one government to another”, the Vice President said.

According to the release, Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the ceremony attended by several African presidents and leaders, noted that peaceful elections were producing right leaders on the continent.

He explained that the conduct of peaceful elections in African countries “point to the fact that democratic elections in Africa could produce leadership in the right way,” stressing that “we are seeing that everywhere in Africa.”

While lauding the leadership of the Guinean President and congratulating the people, Prof. Osinbajo described President Conde as “a great leader, a person who has committed himself to developing his people; a leadership that focuses on development of infrastructure and human capital”.

Credit: Vanguard

Chinese Investment In Africa Not A threat – Spokesman

China’s increasing investment in Africa was not a threat to the continent rather a big boost to the region’s self-development.
Shen Danyang, Spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said this on Wednesday in Beijing, in response to doubts on China’s intention on its investment.
The reaction came on the heels of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to hold in Johannesburg, South Africa from Dec. 4 to Dec. 5.
“China has always been and will remain a trustworthy friend of Africa.
The accusations of ‘Chinese menace’ and ‘neocolonialism’ are completely unfounded and will not be believed,’’ he said.


Danyang said that China had been the biggest trade partner of Africa for six consecutive years.
He said that the country’s outbound direct investment to Africa had been increasing by 37 per cent on average in the last 15 years and the areas of cooperation had expanded to new fields such as finance, tourism, and telecom.
Shen said that the investment in Africa had been helping the continent reduce poverty, lift employment and increase tax revenues for local governments.



France To Give Africa 2bn Euros For Green Energy

France will give African countries two billion euros ($2.1 billion) over the next four years to develop renewable energy and replace climate-harming fossil fuels, President Francois Hollande said Tuesday.

“France will devote six billion euros between 2016 and 2020 for electricity provision on the continent” of Africa, he said on the sidelines of a UN climate conference in the outskirts of Paris.

Credit: Vanguard

Huge Crowds As Pope Celebrates First Mass In Africa

Pope Francis held his first open-air mass in Africa on Thursday with huge crowds hailing heavy rains as “God’s blessing” as they sung and danced in the Kenyan capital.

 Thousands of people queued through the night braving torrential downpours to take part in the historic mass, the first celebrated by Francis on African soil.

The 78-year-old pontiff received a tumultuous welcome as he arrived in an open-topped Popemobile, smiling and waving as worshippers cheered, ululated and raised their hands in the air.

At least 200,000 people crammed into the park at the University of Nairobi, Kenyan media said, in the pope’s first major public appearance on a six-day trip which will also take him to Uganda and Central African Republic (CAR).

“It is beautiful,” beamed a nun called Sister Rachel. “We all sat through the rain and were not worried.”

“This is a very important moment in my life because I’ve never had the chance of attending a papal mass,” said another pilgrim called Paul Ndivangu who arrived three hours before dawn after travelling 200 kilometres (120 miles) from the northern town of Nyeri.

Credit: AFP

Buhari, Dangote, Adesina Make Africa’s 100 Most Influential Africans

President Muhammadu Buhari, business mogul, Aliko Dangote, blogger Linda Ikeji and 17 other Nigerians have been named amongst the 100 most influential Africans of 2015.

The list complied by New African Magazine was dominated by Nigeria and South Africa, with 20 and 16 personalities respectively.

Kenya, Uganda and Cameroon also feature strongly with eight, six and six entries each respectively. Of the top 100 personalities, 65 are men and 32 are women, with the other three being groups of people. South Africa’s students, for example, were recognised this year for their role in South Africa’s #FeesMustFall and #Rhodesmustfall campaigns.

The list presents the continent’s definitive power list and profiles the continent’s top game changers in eight different fields: 22 from politics ; four from public office; 21 from arts and culture; 21 from business; 11 from civil society; nine from technology; seven from media, and five from sports.

Credit: Leadership

@Lanre_Olagunju: A Tweet Might Just Save a Newborn’s Life

From all indications the Social Media has definitely come to stay. New media as it is fondly called is not just changing the way we live daily, many of its advantages and success stories live with us today. Social Media is not just changing how we buy and sell, it is redefining the concept of market. Social Media is gradually influencing election processes, and more importantly how elections will be conducted in few years’ time.

In terms of a reaching the world with a message in the shortest time possible, the word “impossible” has totally lost its essence in this regard. Gone are the days when you would have to wait till daybreak or evening to get updates on National Newspapers. We now live in a new era that mocks the jet age and most of what it stood for.

But what we make of the tool – social media-  is practically at the height of our readiness, doggedness and knowledge of what it can provide. Many who prefer to focus on the negatives of social media can remain in the dark as long as they want. There is practically no tool in the world that can’t be used for either good or bad. Is it not the same water wey no get enemy that floods houses, states and communities? Come on! The same fire that purifies gold is what destroys live and property. A rifle or pistol in the hand of a robber or terrorist serves an entirely different purpose in the hand of a police or soldier. That’s how social media is. At the end, a tool is just as good as what you make of it.

The transformative power of social media as it concerns the health sector was well exercised by Nigerians when the people of Bagega in Zamfara State were hit with lead poisoning as a result of wrong mining practices. In January 2013, Nigerians with the hash tag #SaveBagega on Twitter showed that citizens could get the government to act as fast as it should at a particular point in time.

Doctors Without Borders were ready to treat about 1500 children who were affected by lead poisoning; but before the treatment, remediation had to be done so the treatment can be effective. With an intensive and persistent campaign on Twitter and Facebook, young people with the help of social media were able to get the Nigerian government to release funds for remediation, so treatment for 1500 kids in Zamfara could commence. Bagega had been waiting for remediation since 2010 after 400 kids died and thousands were poisoned. Help never came until January 2013 when Nigerians said “enough is enough” not with guns or bullets, just an hashtag. That’s how effective social media can be when we are determined to engage it wisely.

It is surprising to realize that many knowledgeable Nigerians aren’t even aware that Nigeria presently accounts for the second highest number of annual maternal mortality in the world after India. Maternal deaths in Nigeria alone accounts for 14% of maternal mortality globally. India accounts for 17%, though India’s population is more than seven times that of Nigeria.

If we don’t collectively see this as a threat to the wellbeing of women and newborns, then what else would ever bother us as a people? The most frightening part is that we rarely see the deaths of women who die daily as an issue that demands national attention. No, we don’t! We are not concerned enough.

This is probably because we see such deaths as mere statistics. If we were any bothered, maybe we would have forced our politicians to get the right policies and result since that seems to be the language they understand best. Maybe we would have asked them some tough questions that puts a demand on accountability in this regard.

It is easy to point out that during elections, we rarely hear politicians promise to improve on the health of women and children, essentially as it concerns maternal, newborn and child health issues. They would rather promise; to improve power, provide good roads, free WIFI and we watch them say little or absolutely nothing about the shameful reality that of all the women who die globally during pregnancy or childbirth, 14% of them are Nigerian women. We must demand accountability from President Buhari and his team, most especially when he announces the new Minister of Health, regardless of which part of Nigeria he is from.

The World Bank recently approved $500 million dollars to improve maternal and child health in Nigeria, we all have to keep an eye and keep asking questions to ensure accountability. This mustn’t be another case of corruption as usual as this is not the first time funds would be made available by international agencies or donors. Media attention is also crucial to holding policymakers accountable so as to equitably maximize resources allocated for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) cum Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) projects.

In every sense, we need to take issues that concerns Nigerian women seriously; not just the ones who live in cities who aren’t actually immune to avoidable and treatable pregnancy related complications, but also those helpless ones in villages. Those deaths aren’t even recorded, probably because no one cares. Even in a state like Lagos, I get to hear of cases of deaths that are avoidable, some due to lack of resources on the part of the mother, lack of blood in some hospitals, and the most painful part which is gradually becoming rampant… errors caused by medical experts.

Something has to give. No community, country or continent looks away at the agony of women and newborns yet expect to prosper.

It might be difficult to see how each Nigerian would practically solve this huge challenge; but I challenge all advocates across Africa to demand more from government. That was what saved Bagega. We can possibly save more women and children with the same approach. Many of the maternal mortality cases are preventable, yet these deaths comes with high costs in form of income and productivity loss and a whole lot of other social-economic pains attached to such loss. When a mother dies, the child’s health, education, growth and general wellbeing suffers. In fact, the pain gets to the entire community directly or otherwise.

We can also demand more from health agencies. It is very important that they carry Sexual & Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (MNCH) advocates, journalists and social media influencers along with the policies that must be properly addressed in other to shape public awareness and opinion.
A good strategy to motivate, create and sustain interest among journalists and media influencers is to provide them with data, trainings and seminars which would intelligently aid their reportage. National issues only receive attention when they affect a large number of people or when citizens realize that inactions will lead to nationwide setback.

Across the globe, about 1,500 women die on a daily basis as a result of pregnancy and childbirth related complications. 98% of these deaths occur in developing countries. The giant of Africa is responsible for 14%. Yearly, an average of 15 million women who survive pregnancy and childbirth complications develop physical and mental disabilities thereafter. Bloggers, social media experts and all other media experts have an active role to play in ensuring that we reduce the number of women who lose their lives while giving birth across the continent of Africa. Maternal health advocate should be encouraged to extend their advocacy to radio as this media tool remains a vital source to educate and sensitize women on sexual health related issues. Unfortunately, many advocates get discouraged with the exorbitant cost of airtime. Media houses should bear in mind that sometimes we make money, other times we save and preserve lives with money and available resources.

***Lanre Olagunju is an MNCH advocate, blogs for the African Union on the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality in Africa. He is @Lanre_Olagunju on Twitter.

Food Security & Poverty Eradication in Africa: Interplay By Olawale Rotimi

A hungry nation is an angry nation; the issue of food security has been a major challenge in Africa; a policy brief by Jason Bremner reveals that “nearly 240 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, or one person in every four, lack adequate food for a healthy and active life, and record food prices and drought are pushing more people into poverty and hunger. At the same time, the world’s population has now surpassed 7 billion, in this case Africa’s population has risen, 50 million will be added to sub-Saharan Africa population in the next 17 years, and by 2050, projection shows that Africa’s population double i.e. 2billion. The question that comes with this projection is, how does Africa plan to feed its escalating population?

Food insecurity is not alien to Africa, over the decades, millions of African children and women have died of hunger, the struggle to feed has given birth to increasing number of domestic robbery, reduction in economic productivity among others. A well fed nation is a healthy nation, and a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. The issue of food security cannot be disconnected from economic backgrounds, in agreement with Jason’s report, food security exists when all people at all times have both physical and economic access to sufficient food to meet their dietary needs for a productive and healthy life. Thus, achieving food security implies that sufficient quantities of appropriate foods are consistently available, individuals have adequate incomes or other resources to purchase or barter for food, food is properly processed and stored, individuals have sound knowledge of nutrition and child care that they put to good use, and have access to adequate health and sanitation services.

Assessing the above mentioned yardsticks that determine food security, statistics justify that Africa is lagging behind. First, economic access to nutritious food in Africa remains a goal yet to be attained. In spite of the fact that Africa is a farming continent, the prices of food items do not mirror the agricultural strength of the continent. The fact that Africa is an agrarian continent is enough reason to make enough food available for the populace, but interestingly Africa still imports some crops it produces because its production does not meet the demand of its people. Furthermore, nutritional knowledge is low in Africa, particularly in rural areas. Food security is at the top of the list of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the goal of eradicating poverty and hunger, even though efforts are been made to attain food security in the continent, achieving food security remains a herculean task in the continent.

Drought and other extreme weather events, pests, livestock diseases and other agricultural problems, climate change, military conflicts, lack of emergency plans, corruption and political instability, cash crops dependence, and rapid population growth have been highlighted as causes of food insecurity. In the case of Africa, corruption and political instability, cash crop dependence and rapid population growth are more prevalent factors aiding food insecurity in Africa. Agriculture is the only wealth a nation/continent can call its own. Africa needs to address the issues of corruption and instability in agricultural loans for small and large scale farming in order to cater for its growing population. Food security cannot be disconnected from poverty eradication, if Africa is unable to attain the former, the latter will equally remain unattainable. More investments have to be made in the agricultural sector to increase production and make food items more available to the populace. A hungry continent is an angry continent, food security will not only eradicate poverty but will reduce crime, reduce mortality rate and increase economic productivity.


Dear Obama: Corruption Isn’t Just Africa’s Problem By Howard W. French

r an American president celebrated by many of his listeners as a returning native son, Barack Obama’s recent speech in a Nairobi stadium was a strange way to promote what he called an Africa “on the move.”

Yes, there were plenty of feel-good moments in Nairobi, where a smiling Obama dined with family, dropped occasional phrases in Swahili, and danced with an easy grace to African rhythms before the cameras. It all thoroughly charmed an audience eager to embrace him.

But if one listened carefully, boiling down the message of the first Kenyan-American president (as he proudly called himself on this trip), what remained was an odd mixture of anachronistic and patronizing tropes plucked from the musty rucksack of American policy discourse toward the continent.

Sure, there were lots of references to fighting terrorism and to other relatively recent U.S. priorities, including the highly laudable goals of educating more girls and giving them equal opportunity, and defending the rights of lesbians and gays.

Yet the themes Obamahammered away at most insistently stemmed from timeless caricatures of Africa.

Yet the themes Obama hammered away at most insistently stemmed from timeless caricatures of Africa. He spoke of wanting to do business with the continent on the basis of “trade not aid,” falsely furthering the old impression that Africa is a sinkhole for American development assistance, when in fact far more goes to other parts of the world. And he repeated the almost insulting truism that things work out best when Africans strive to solve their own problems — as if Africans have not been striving to do so all along.

Aside from this, Obama’s speech presented two major problems. The first is that even his tentative efforts to praise the continent’s potential — he spoke, for example, of surging mobile phone usage rates — didn’t adequately convey the scale and pace of change that Africa has seen in the last decade or so. One would scarcely have gotten a sense of this from his words, or indeed from most American news coverage of Africa, but the last fifteen years has been a time of general reduction in conflict, of democratic consolidation in many places, and especially of economic growth. Far from waiting on the kindness of outsiders, who built few schools for them during decades of colonial rule, African countries are now, on average, investing impressive amounts (measured as a percentage of GDP) in education.

Second, and closely related to the president’s disappointingly traditional messaging, is the fact that the United States has remained relatively detached from and even irrelevant to many of these changes. A consistent question among Obama’s audiences in Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as among virtual ones across the continent, heard in journalists’ interviews, in fact, was, “Where oh where are the Americans?”

The continent has famously seen a huge boom in the presence of Chinese people and business interests — both trade and investment — in the last decade or so. Less well-publicized, but just as real, many African countries are drawing interest from a wide variety of other foreign governments and business people, including nontraditional partners like Turkey, Vietnam, Russia, Malaysia, and Brazil. During this same period, the American presence on the continent has flagged, and numbers measuring U.S. economic engagement have stagnated. Obama himself spent less than 24 hours in sub-Saharan Africa during his first term, and put off what will likely be regarded as his most important visit to the continent until late in his second term.

By contrast, China’s top leaders — either its president or prime minister — have been visiting Africa on a near-annual basis.

By contrast, China’s top leaders — either its president or prime minister — have been visiting Africa on a near-annual basis.

The relative newcomers to the African economic scene are drawn by a sense of great opportunity. For starters, economic growth in Africa as a region is roughly on parwith Asia’s, and perhaps even a tad faster. The continent’s population is booming in ways that suggest even greater strengthening of these trends ahead. Over the next few decades, for example, no other part of the world will have as many people of prime working age. Already, no other part of the world is urbanizing faster. Contrary to widespread perception, Africa’s recent economic growth is increasinglydriven by services and, to a lesser but still important degree, by manufacturing. This translates into less dependence on the traditional pillar of natural resources, which have a poor record of driving development and generating widely shared wealth.

By sticking so closely to an old-fashioned script, Obama squandered a unique chance to explain the changing realities of the continent to the American public.

By sticking so closely to an old-fashioned script, Obama squandered a unique chance to explain the changing realities of the continent to the American public. Over the short term this probably entails less American investment, which is, to be sure, a loss for Africa. It also means that fewer American business people will think of Africa as a place for trade and investment, which represents a continued loss of markets for the U.S. economy.

One of Obama’s messages stood out as particularly outmoded. This was the idea, to which he returned frequently, that Africa is glued in place, and unable to advance, because of corruption.

Speaking before the African Union, in Addis Ababa, Obama camedangerously close to framing the giving of bribes as “the African way,” claiming that “nothing will unlock Africa’s economic potential more than ending the cancer of corruption.” We can all readily agree that corruption is a scourge, but there is little factual basis to the idea that Africa is substantially more corrupt than many other parts of the world. Moreover, plenty of countries that are widely viewed as deeply corrupt have been historically strong economic performers, ranging from many of the so-called Asian tigers, such as South Korea and Japan, to more recent examples such as China, India, or Brazil. Indeed, America’s own history of corruption, which Obama alluded to glancingly, suggests the same.

Similarly, there is little to no evidence to support Obama’s claim that corruption is the biggest impediment to Africa’s development. What of the many corrupt features of the international economic system, supported by the United States and other wealthy countries, such as laws that allow their corporations to register in tax havens like the Bahamas, form multiple shell companies, and drastically understate the value of their operations in poor countries? What of the ways that big international banks thrive off of illicit income streams of African leaders and their foreign partners, and help them shield their fortunes?

A critique of African corruptionwould certainly have been much more credible if it had been seen as part of a far bigger picture.

A critique of African corruptionwould certainly have been much more credible if it had been seen as part of a far bigger picture.

To these ears, Obama’s rhetoric amounted, instead, to a distraction. He seemed almost to be suggesting that if Africans would only fix everything up and make their own countries tidy, more or less eliminating corruption in the process, that they would then be fortunate enough to attract American interest and investment. The logic behind this assumption is deeply flawed. Return on investment in Africa is already among the highest in the world, meaning that risk and hardship are handsomely rewarded.

Moreover, the Africa of tomorrow is being built today, in cities like Addis Ababa, where Obama spoke, and in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, where I listened to him. In places like these, and in many others around the continent, giant, modern communities are being forged, replete with extensive new telecommunications networks and transportation infrastructure, including new urban railway systems. Most of the corresponding investment is based on deals struck with others (not only the Chinese).

In other words, Africa’s future partnerships are being built right now, and so far the United States is almost totally absent.

In other words, Africa’s future partnerships are being built right now, and so far the United States is almost totally absent. Washington’s one significant initiative in this regard, the Obama administration’s Power Africa program, which was intended to have a major impact on electricity generation around the continent through private investment, has so far achieved little. It is uncertain what support it will enjoy in Washington after Obama leaves office.

The Obama message on politics was scarcely better. Here, he spoke of the need for greater democratization, including free and fair elections and respect for presidential term limits. Yet he ended up fatally muddling the message. In Ethiopia, he suggested that the government of his host country was “democratically elected,” even though the ruling party there had recently won 100 percent of the seats in parliament, as was once common in a bygone authoritarian era across Africa. Just a few hours before this speech, he had criticized another election, in Burundi, as “not credible” (though there the opposition won 23 percent of the vote).

This fooled no one in Africa, and conveyed an impression that Washington’s commitment to democracy and human rights on the continent is deeply unserious. American policy is heavily driven by security interests, most of which are linked to the struggle against radical Islam. Washington speaks up about democracy only in states where it judges its interests to be marginal, like Burundi or Zimbabwe, or in countries whose leaders it has other reasons to oppose, like Sudan. Meanwhile, a bevy of longtime security partners like Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda, all highly authoritarian, with a history of presidents who stay in office as long as they can, get a free pass. (While he later gave a speech criticizing leaders who stay in office too long, he did not deign to name names.) In other strongly authoritarian countries, like Angola or Equatorial Guinea, where there are important economic stakes tied to oil, Washington is also all but mute about democracy (or corruption, for that matter).

In short, America now confronts a familiar dilemma in its relations with Africa. It involves what I call the “yes, but” problem. Tell Americans the continent is becoming more democratic, as it has been gradually, if fitfully, for years, and they tell you “Yes, but there are dictators and conflicts here and there.” Tell them it is growing demographically, and they say, “Yes, but the people there are poor.” Tell them that it is growing economically, and they say “Yes, but it’s corrupt, and so hard to do business there.” Tell them that their closest partners are authoritarians or despots, and they say, “Yes, but their countries are at peace. Isn’t that enough?”

Changing the United States’ troubled and distant relationship will mean working hard to overcome a deep tradition of low expectations, and of systematic disregard for Africa’s potential. Even beyond his unique personal biography, the one thing the Obama visit showed is the eagerness of Africans to engage with the United States toward positive ends. The sad reality, given the scant time remaining in Obama’s term and the American political calendar, is that finding the will to respond will probably have to await whoever follows the first African-American president.


More On Obama’s Speech During AU Visit

Closing a historic visit to Africa, President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged the continent’s leaders to prioritize creating jobs and opportunity for the next generation of young people or risk sacrificing future economic potential to further instability and disorder.

He said the “urgent task” of generating jobs for a population that is expected to double to around 2 billion people in the coming decades will be “an enormous undertaking.” But he said it can be achieved with U.S. help.

“Africa will need to generate millions more jobs than it is doing now,” Obama said in a speech to the entire continent delivered from the headquarters of the African Union, a member organization of African nations. “And time is of the essence.”

“The choices made today will shape the trajectory of Africa — and therefore the world — for decades to come,” said Obama, who is seen by the people of Africa as one of their own. It was the first speech to the AU by a sitting American president.

The speech marked the end of Obama’s five-day visit to Africa that included an earlier stop in Kenya, homeland of his late father.

Obama also called on Africa’s leaders to make their countries more attractive to foreign investment by cleaning up corruption, upholding democratic freedoms, supporting human rights, and willingly and peacefully leaving office when their terms expire.

Obama, who is more than halfway through his second and final term, said “I just don’t understand” the phenomenon of leaders who refuse to step aside when their terms end. He referred to Burundi’s leader, who was just elected to a controversial third term although he is constitutionally limited to two. The announcement that President Pierre Nkurunziza was seeking a third term sparked days of unrest across the country.

“There’s still so much I want to get done to keep America moving forward. But the law is the law and no one is above it, not even presidents,” Obama said. “And, frankly, I’m looking forward to life after being president. It will mean more time with my family, new ways to serve, and more visits to Africa.”

He called on the AU to use its authority to help make sure African leaders stick to their term limits and follow their constitutions. “No one should be president for life,” said Obama, who leaves office in January 2017.

Africa’s progress will also depend on security and peace, since businesses and wealthy people won’t want to invest in unsafe places, the president said.

He pledged continued U.S. training assistance and other support in the fight against terrorism carried out across the continent by groups like al-Qaida, the Islamic State, al-Shabab and Boko Haram. He said the world must do more to help, too, and announced that he will host a summit at the United Nations in September to secure additional support for international peacekeeping, including in Africa.

Obama said Africa’s impending population boom could bring tremendous opportunities for the continent on the one hand.

“On the other hand,” he said, “we need only look to the Middle East and North Africa to see that large numbers of young people with no jobs and stifled voices can fuel instability and disorder.”

Before addressing the AU, Obama highlighted his administration’s efforts to combat hunger by touring a Faffa Foods factory that participates in the U.S. Feed the Future program. The initiative focuses on helping smaller farmers in 19 countries, including Ethiopia and 11 other African nations, expand their businesses.

Read More: AP

Dear Obama, Gay Right Is Not an African Priority, By Dinah Adams

To the President of the United States of America, while you tour through our shores burdened with global issues of security/ terrorism, economy, health care and national ties; kindly note that gay right is the least of our problems.

The Kenya you visited has been stricken by Al-Shabaab and is frankly strategising ways to eradicate the incursion these external insurgents. It is quite too serious an issue for the issue of accepting various sexual oriented clans to be chipped in. President Uhuru’s response to that request must have settled that, but for emphasis sake, this open letter intends to help you reason with those of us born and breed on African soil.

For generations, the African society and every society as well exist and continue to procreate, courtesy the only natural sexual orientation we are familiar with. This same sexual orientation is the only way through which a new human can be birth to naturally…, the sexual relationship between a MAN and a WOMAN.  Pardon me to say that a POTUS would not exist naturally without the sexual union of a MAN and a WOMAN.

With that by the side, the African community is still recovering from the ruthless blow of Ebola and is still overwhelmed by one nation’s achievement of marking a year without any record of polio. Gay right still doesn’t seem like an issue that would surface over here.

Be also reminded that there are African countries experiencing drought/ famine, killer diseases like malaria, cholera, HIV/ AIDS, etc. In essence, we are still trying to put out “shit” together. We have been classified as third world nations and probably have not reached that level of accommodating unnatural sexual orientations.

Dear Obama, by the time an African spaceship lands Mars, Jupiter or Pluto, your gay right proposal might have made a lot sense to us. Right now, we are struggling to put food on our tables, cloths on our backs and live above one dollar a day. Most importantly, we are trying hard to establish a system that provides employment to many young Africans and take most of them off the streets, especially those deceived by the sick doctrine of insurgents.

Look around Sir, campaigns on high tempo are trying to inform people in the rural areas to wash their hands with ash (not even soap) and water, while volunteer health workers are running out of free mosquito nets to distribute. These among many are problems the African society is dealing with.

More so, the kind of protests seen on our shores is of a different orientation with the ones on your shores. A quick example is the famous #BBOG, frankly of no connection with #LGBT. Workers are protesting for salary raise, Universities crying for better pay and infrastructure, maternal deaths and girl child education, among many are the issues we wake to every morning.

And finally, a natural cause has never demanded for right. Heterosexuals have never fought for the right to exist because it does not only result to a pleasurable experience, but also makes reproduction possible. Even the cats gay couple adopt exist because a MALE cat mated with a FEMALE cat.

In order not to over flog this issue, Africa has way too many issues on its priority list. For some African countries, Gay right is not even visible on the list of the least of their priorities.



#PAUSIBILITY: We Are Africans! by Adebayo Coker



My dear people, I must start by congratulating us for the consolidation of democracy. Two weeks ago we had both Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections. Even though there were pockets of skirmishes, I can submit that we are all determined to make this system work and with time the imbroglio will be dealt with, then our nation will be one of the exemplified democracies in the world.

I could not write my column last week because I was busy coordinating my son’s first birthday. As I moved around town during that period, a thought kept coming to mind: If posters could cry, we all would be flapping our arms and feet through the pool of tears that our nation space would be submerged in. Also if posters could laugh we all would be running with a finger in each ear in a bid to block out the maddening laughter that will greet us on every corner we turn to. To the winners and the losers, there is work to be done.

I must quickly add my voice to many others that have condemned the Xenophobic attacks going on in South Africa. It is the most barbaric act of fratricide witnessed on the soil of Africa in recent times. Nigeria may have its array of issues but never can it be said that we are hostile to other nationals. Never! We have a xenial spirit that will make us to pay exorbitantly for goods from abroad and trample on homemade wares of the same quality. We would choose all-Sinitic engineers to build our ‘gada’ even when we mouth local content policy.

But let us look at this issue closely.

Xenophobia arises out of harbouring hatred or fear for some people who are considered strangers, non-nationals by some people who consider themselves nationals. The vested hatred could be physically displayed as is presently being witnessed in South Africa. It could be interracial or intraracial. In order to forestall loss of lives of the seemingly non-nationals, the clearest solution is to evacuate them and get them resettled either back at home or wherever they may so choose, in as much as their governments will have an understanding of their plights and the wherewithal to meet their demands. But how many of them would want to come back home?

South Africa is one of the countries that appear to have a working economy in Africa. Please don’t let anyone pull wool over your eyes by telling you that Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa and the sixth largest in the world based on the statistics of the last basing and rebasing. There are economic throes and woes that were perfected by our soulless political leaders to continually keep us as their donkeys.

An economy is said to be working when the impact of the quoted statistics is felt by the people. A working economy is one in which there is adequate power for industries to survive and thrive positively in their chosen field. A working economy is one where the security of lives and properties are guaranteed in the face of any physical threat apart from force majeure. A working economy is so described when I know my government will protect me wherever I may be in the world.

I was once in the company of an American friend as we watched in some movies how some police officer, even an assailant, was quickly reminded “I am an American”. The underpin in that warning is that “my government will look out for me”. How much can a Nigerian, a citizen of the Giant of Africa, brag about his identity? Ceteris paribus, if the systems are functioning aright, the best place to be is HOME.

Whatever is happening in South Africa is a pointer to the fact that the continent of Africa needs to do away with our ready pathway of darkness that is hampering our souls from seeing the Light. The supposed nationals who are going about ‘pangaing’, clubbing, stoning and burning to death their much hated non-nationals, have little understanding that their own much-loved brothers and sisters are scattered all over the world. How would it feel if the whole world has the same killing instinct they have. I am sure there will be a cleansing of some kind. But the rest of us have matured better than that. With much respect to one of the eternalized human beings that ever lived, Nelson Mandela, some South Africans are still living in the ‘Darkest’ Ages. Opportunities abound everywhere.

Despite the economy heist of some South African companies operating in Nigeria, never did Nigerians see the need to wake up and wrest themselves from these exploitatory plagues, not to talk of harming them; rather our government would even plaque them for coming into ‘our’ own space to do what we couldn’t have done ordinarily. The slackers in SA should take a cue and learn from other nationals doing exploits on their soil and improve their own lives. Even if everyone leaves ‘their’ homeland for them, but they fail to learn what is to be learnt that wealth doesn’t come from tokenist living, neither does crapulence nor coquetry breed riches, they will always remain useless to themselves and the rest of the world.

We are Africans with nine lives. Let us show the rest of the world we are our brothers keepers.



Africa Rising – But At What Cost To The Nigerian Youth? (#AfricaNot4Sale)

Nigeria’s Stability Crucial For Regional Peace -ECOWAS

The Economic Community of West African States has urged Nigerians to ensure that the rescheduled 2015 general elections are held peacefully in the interest of regional peace.

President of the ECOWAS commission, Ambassador Kadre Desire Ouedraugo, said this when he paid a courtesy visit to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj.Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, in his Abuja office on Wednesday.

The diplomat said ECOWAS, like the rest of the international community, was interested in the peaceful conduct of the elections because of Nigeria’s strategic position in regional and international affairs.

Ouedraugo said, “We have decided to meet all stakeholders in the election to have your views of the electoral process. Peace and stability is essential for development and progress of Nigeria and the entire region. We would count on everyone to make sure that we have peaceful elections.

“As you are aware, the mandate of ECOWAS is to monitor and observe all general elections in our member states and for us elections in Nigeria are special.

“They are of great importance for peace and stability to our region and this is the reason why the chairman of the authority, together with all ECOWAS institutions, is following very closely the electoral process in Nigeria.

“On his behalf and on behalf of my delegation and my behalf we want to thank you and express our gratitude to you on the efforts made to have peaceful elections in Nigeria. We have decided to deploy an observer team of 250 persons to Nigeria and we have decided to deploy a long term observation mission. They were deployed on 20th January in the geopolitical zones of Nigeria.”

He expressed gratitude to the APC flag bearer for conducting himself peacefully like the statesman that he is since the elections were postponed.

Ouedraugo further revealed that former Ghanaian president, Mr. John Kuffour would soon be in the country on a fact-finding mission before the March 28 date.

Why We All Should Be Activists In 2015 By Joel Pereyi

Literary gem, J.P Clark, in his celebrated poem; The Casualties, wrote:“The casualties are not only those who are dead. They are well out of it, though they await burial by installment. The casualties are not only those who are escaping. The shattered shall become prisoners in a fortress of falling walls…The casualties are many, and a good member as well outside the scenes of ravage and wreck; they are the emissaries of rift.”

In the African context, the casualties aren’t only those who now sleep dreamlessly due to our grandly epic dysfunctional systems. They may be well out of it. They aren’t those who have been sentenced to an unending season of unimaginable grief and a seemingly eternal drought of joy. They aren’t exclusively the victims of the Abubakar Shekaus, Joseph Konys, and other less renown gentlemen whose favorite sport serves bartering peace for war. They aren’t only those who have lost friends, families, relatives, friend of friends and who we may someday lose too. They aren’t solely those who carry the scars of knives at the carnival of blood or mothers searching for coffins to bury their children; children of a seemingly cursed continent. They aren’t those who are earnestly seeking for a healing balm to soothe their preventable aches and demographic-inflicted emotional sapping(s), no. They aren’t the grief-stricken parents of our Chibok girls, neither are they the parents of boys whose throats were slit while having their well deserved nocturnal rest. Just like the rest of us, the only crime they were indicted of was that they chose to be knowledgeable. While we chose xyz locations, they enrolled at Federal Government College, Buni Yadi. For this sole cause, they were abruptly banished from the margins of consciousness, their spirits respectively and collectively amputated. No, they can’t be the thousands of children being orphaned by Ebola in sub-Saharan Africa. Neither are they solely children soldiers being exposed to the odium of polluted wind, unhealthy harvest of corpses, and young girls being used as sex slaves across the acreage of Africa. We are the emissaries of rift. Africans; this writer and his brothers and sisters who are sometimes adjudged black monkeys or Negros due to the melanin in our skins, are the casualties.

Hence, we, the casualties, the good members living outside the scenes of ravage and wreck, must deem peeking into our future and bluntly relaying how it looks; ugly or beautiful, as part of a necessary revolt. Our environs may be devoid of dawn to dusk curfews for the now, but we all would agree – overtly or covertly – that our security is the biggest lie being sold to us at the moment.

This beggars the posers: For how long will we keep indulging in the luxury of basking in half truths? Even if our government finds an avocation in failing us, for how long will we keep failing ourselves? For how long will we stand dumb, when we ought to raise our voices, regardless of how lacking in baritone it might be? For how long will the debilitating pain, the writer’s cramp or block tether our hands from writing, whether or not we are confused by commas, puzzled by parenthesis and perturbed by punctuation? What better do our words serve, if not our weaponry, and our thoughts our ammunitions? Is our silence not deafening and our complacency discomforting? The Freedom of Information bill, was it passed to put our future in smithereens or make it tinselly?

For too long a time we have been subjected to serial deceptions by our political class. We are repeatedly told that we are the leaders of tomorrow. Yet, our opinions can only be valid when we are well above 30 years. Back to that later. UNESCO stipulates that a minimum quota of 25% should be accrued to education in budgets, but which state in Nigeria has thus far lived up to the mark? No, not one. Article 6 of the United Nations Convention for Child’s Right guarantees the rights of a child to survive and live. But burrowing into the streets of major commercial cities in Africa, the confines of our reality confirms otherwise. Amid the hustle and bustle of these high octane cities, it is commonplace to find belabored young men and women whose dreams and future are being interrupted daily, loiter, hawk and lurch backwards, forwards and sideways in jams, like unanchored rowboats in a storm, trading – the surest means of survival they can cling to, in a continent where social security for both young and old is queer.

Small wonder it has been widely speculated that asides our ethnological inclination, as of now, if “being African” served a word in the thesaurus, it would appropriately spell out hopelessness, bleakness, a few uncomplimentary anecdotes beneath the earth, and a trickle unholy adjectives above the heavens. Understandably to the West, democracy is comparatively nascent in many African countries. But do one need to be reminded that no excuse is good enough for failure? Is learning from the experience of others not more palatable than committing needless mistakes and unnecessarily elongating our journey to Singapore?

Please be aware that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Jacob Zuma, Tedoro Oblang Nguema Mbasogo, Peter Mutharika, Alpha Conde, Jose Eduardo Santos, Abde Bourtefilka, Alasanne Ouattara and Yoweri Museveni, just to mention a few, are serving presidents of Liberia, South Africa, Equatorial Guinea, Malawi, Guinea, Angola, Algeria, Ivory Coast, and Uganda, and they are all septuagenarians in their own rights. Whilst President Paul Biya of Cameroun is an octogenarian. These men and women are competing in age with grannies, yet, in the renditions of primary and secondary school students across the land, probably one of the most hypocritical statements of all time; “you are the leaders of tomorrow” and other similar aphorisms are routine.

If we suppose we are safe in assuming that these are mere smoke screens. If we claim now is temporal; it is only a moment, yes. What should we make of our teeming army of un-indolent, but unemployed and underemployed youths? What do we make of the tons of jobless first and second class graduates in our third world economies? According to UNICEF, 2014 is the worst year for the African child. What do we make of that?

And if you think activism is being a rebel or radical who sees no good in any government, you’ve got to think again. If you think it is solely a political demonstration; converging at Unity Fountain or Gani Fawehinmi Park, with a placard stating your grievances raised above your head, then, you are only partially right. Activism is all about being a better citizen. It is all about concurring with the simple fact that if we do nothing, nothing will happen. It is all about using action to achieve results. Be it by holding elected or selected office holders accountable for every dime accrued to their ministries or parastatals via means within the bounds of the law, partaking in protest marches, sit–ins, sit–outs, peaceful demonstrations and strike actions, writing petitions, joining or volunteering for civil societies and resorting to litigation, if need be.

You should be an activist because anything that isn’t working around you is a consequence of your silence. The next time you see rivulets rage along a road or lake formed because of rainfall where there was hitherto a shallow depression, bear in mind it is as a result of your failing to wince or cry out loud enough. The next time you hear cacophonies and hums of generator sets or see the toxic fumes it burps blare into the heavens and pollute your environment, ask yourself: How long will it take me to admit that change will keep eluding us if we don’t get tired of our current situation and aren’t ready to pay the price for it? Regardless of how bizarre it sounds, our corruption, insecurity and myriad of miasmas are compounded residues of our collective silences.

Its high time we considered our options: Remain silent, play gloating onlookers, maintain the status quo and remain at the bottom of the barrel in areas that matters most or be change agents who will topple unpatriotic elements (in governance), unsettle leaders who don’t have us in their dreams and never back down until Nigeria takes its rightful position in the sun. Change wouldn’t be brought to bear by sentiments or complaints. Our actions are key and our voices are golden. Silence is not a song we should know all the words to. We are kindred souls. We share a common grief!
Joel Pereyi, a freelance copywriter, writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
Phone: 234 703 300 1376

The Hut

Jake Okechukwu Effoduh Represented Nigeria at the World Economic Forum Meeting at the Vatican. He shares his experience from his meeting with the Pope.

The Hut

by Jake Okechukwu Effoduh.

Insight from the World Economic Forum meeting at the Vatican

 There is a common Igbo[1] proverb that says, ‘A man who does not leave his hut will bring nothing in.’[2] This saying describes a person with self-interest who is only concerned about the business in his hut and does not see the need to go or look outside. The hut represents a mindset. It is a way of thinking, that restricts not only the individual, but also their family and community at large.

Reflecting on this proverb reveals the potential of an increasing value to an individual and the community at large when a person is willing to go outside and bring more people in. The notion of: ‘with more people in the hut, the food gets smaller for everyone’ is a deceitful concept because with more people let inside, there will be more food. There are more resources outside therefore, more people coming in, means more resources and capacities.

“Whoever looks into a mirror in order to improve himself hasn’t really changed”. The capitalist world has looked at businesses in the same mirror for many years and the image it creates is a widening gap between the rich and the poor. Perhaps it is time to look, maybe not at the mirror anymore, but the window – to see who is outside the hut and if possible open the doors to let them in.

This reason why the World Economic Forum called together 80 leaders from around the world was to explore ways of overcoming social and economic exclusion. The event was a result of the collaboration between the Holy See (Pontifical Council for the Laity) and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, and it took place on the 18th and 19th of November 2014 in Rome, Italy. The meeting was inspired by the teachings of Pope Francis contained in the book, Evangelii Gaudium[3] and his message to participants at the Annual Meeting 2014 in Davos-Klostiers[4]. His Holiness states that, ‘Business is – in fact – a vocation, and a noble vocation, provided that those engaged in it see themselves challenged by a greater meaning in life’[5].

Jake Okechukwu Effoduh Speaking With Chidiogo Akunyili, The Senior Manager Africa Of The Global Shapers Community As Well As, Mauro Ometto, A Global Shaper Of The Rome Hub.

Jake Effoduh Speaking With Chidiogo Akunyili, The Senior Manager Africa Of The Global Shapers Community As Well As, Mauro Ometto, A Global Shaper Of The Rome Hub.










Today, half of the largest 100 economies are companies[6]. The governments who are meant to be custodians of the ‘greater meaning’ are now losing economic power to the Fortune 500s. Businesses are more interested in profits than the ‘greater meaning in life’ and this has dragged the world to an extreme poverty trap. With a billion and a half of the world’s population living in slums, the current social inequality has resulted into a global economic dysfunction. Economic and social inequalities are the root causes of social evil. This is evidenced by Oxfam’s statistics revealing that more than half of the world’s population owns the same wealth as the richest 85 persons[7]. In other words, 85 individuals in a world of 7 billion are living in huts that can accommodate half of the world.

Participants at the Vatican meeting comprised of World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers, Young Global Leaders and Social Entrepreneurs communities. Also present were representatives from the Holy See, senior business leaders and global experts on inequality and social inclusion. We examined the drivers of inequality and explored novelties from the private and public sectors, and civil society that can help build more inclusive, entrepreneurial economies that are based on the principles of love and respect for all.

The outcome of the meeting was the creation of a new social contract for all human progress, which will provide essential resources for economic engagement, ensure well-functioning institutions, rights and responsibilities, and enable all global citizens to lead purposeful lives. The three areas to enable the realization of a new global mindset are: personal transformation, organizational transformation and cultural transformation.

Jake Effoduh Discussing With A Caucus Group As They Draft The "New Social Contract"

Jake Effoduh Discussing With The Caucus Group As They Draft The “New Social Contract”









On personal transformation: The Pope made it clear that people can make relevant contribution by placing their expertise at the service of those who are still in poverty; “The vocation of an entrepreneur is a noble work when it is led by a quest towards the broader meaning of life[8].” One hut can change the mindset of an entire community. One person can make the difference. Professor Klaus Schwab is one person. He founded the World Economic Forum in 1971[9] through inspiration from his own book, Moderne Unternehmensführung im Maschinenbau[10] – in which the stakeholder principle was first ever defined[11]. He is the same person who created the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship[12] in 1998, at a time when nobody knew what social entrepreneurship was! Two heads may be better than one, but one head is enough to inspire and commit others to improving the state of the world. Schwab’s ideology is that even if one hut (or stakeholder) may be too small, one must realize that there are those who do not have huts – and they constitute one and a half billion people.

The purport of organizational transformation is to create a new language in organizations. The language of using long term dynamism to meet short term goals; the language of leadership not rulership; the language of owning the responsibility for social transformation and human development. We have to evacuate ourselves from the circular economy of “take-make-waste” to “take-make-retake-remake-retake-remake.” Capitalism in its current model is unequivocally broken and it is going to get worse if we don’t incorporate ecological boundaries as well as the need to embrace equality in humanity. We need a world of plenty and not plenty for a few. Therefore there is need for organizations to transform their mindsets. It’s not about making profits but about making people.

Cultural transformations will only fruition with acceptance. We must work towards a system that embraces all people from all backgrounds, ensuring that each individual and group has the ability to contribute to a prosperous, purpose-driven world to their highest potential. They say what a man can do; a woman can do better. But why do women constitute 70% of the world’s poorest?[13] Anti-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation have an especially strong correlation with GDP per capita[14]. But do we need a business case before we advance equality? Living by the culture of your hut is like looking into the mirror to improve yourself. Stepping outside your hut will give you an opportunity to have a better perspective. Stereotypes must be unlearned.


The Podium









The new mindset is about recognizing the human dignity. It is about selflessness and sacrifice. It is ensuring that institutions exist for common good and stewardship. Businesses must be capable of feeling emotion, compassion and humanity. ‘How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?’[15]

The Qur’an instructs us to ‘give them [the poor] of the wealth of God, which He has given you’.[16] The bible says ‘whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed’[17]. Charity is a necessity in life because some of us are tested by being rich and some of us are tested by being poor, but charity is not enough. The new mindset goes beyond the thinking that the poor cannot help themselves, or that they have no capacity. Our role in helping the poor is not likened to filling up empty vessels but to ensure that the vessels are uncovered to all their potentials. There is no dignity in giving another man bread, if you are capable of teaching him how to make bread.

Social and economic exclusion is not our inescapable destiny. We can make what seems inevitable, intolerable. We need to change the mentality of “we can’t fix this world” to “we can’t have this world like this” Hence the reason why the pope calls us to action, with a sense of urgency: ‘to ensure that humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it’[18].


Cross Section of Participants

At The Plenary With Participants





Speaking With Experts On Inclusion


Jake Okechukwu Effoduh is one of the 4,401 Global Shapers: A Community of exceptional young individuals under the age of 30, initiated by the World Economic Forum with currently 359 independent hubs worldwide. Jake Okechukwu is the Deputy Curator of the Abuja Global Shapers Hub, one of the 5 existing hubs in Nigeria. He was invited to The Forum’s meeting at the Vatican where he worked with a selected caucus to draft the new social contract; a framework for meeting the challenge to overcoming social and economic exclusion in the world. It was submitted to, and accepted by His Holiness Pope Francis I. Email:


  • [1] A tribe from the South- Eastern region of Nigeria and one of the major spoken languages in Nigeria.
  • [2] Akporobaro F.B.O and Emovon J.A Nigerian Proverbs: Meaning and Relevance Today Nigeria Magazine, Lagos, (1994), p. 113.
  • [3] His Holiness, Pope Francis I ‘Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium of the Holy Father Francis to the Bishops, Cergy, Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World’ accessed 7th December 2014.
  • [4] The Vatican, ‘Message of Pope Francis to the Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum on the occasion of the Annual Meeting 2014 at Davos-Klosters’ (17 January 2014) Vatican.
  • [5] Ibid.
  • [6] Michael Posner, former U.S Under Secretary of State, Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, July 2012
  • [7] Oxfam International, “Number of billionaires doubles since financial crisis as inequality spirals out of control”, accessed 7 December 2014.
  • [8] Ibid. (n3).
  • [9] The history of the World Economic Forum, accessed 7 December 2014.
  • [10] Meaning “Modern Management in Mechanical Engineering”
  • [11] This concept states that the management of an enterprise is not only accountable to its shareholders but must also serve the interests of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers and, more broadly, government, civil society and any others who may be affected or concerned by its operations.
  • [12]
  • [13] Carly Fiona on ABC’s “This Week” January 12th 2014. accessed 7 December 2014.
  • [14] The Williams Institute, ‘The Relationship between LGBT Inclusion and Economic Development: An Analysis of Emerging Economies’ (2014) P.2.
  • [15] Ibid. (n3), P. 53.
  • [16] The Holy Quran, Verse 24:33.
  • [17] The Holy Bible; Proverbs 19:17.
  • [18] Ibid. (n4).

Father says Sons Beaten at School & Called ‘Ebola’

A group of students attacked two of their peers at I.S. 318 in the Bronx while yelling “Ebola” at the brothers who had recently returned from Senegal, the boys’ father told CNN Newsroom Tuesday.

The New York Department of Education confirms the incident occurred, saying the boys were pushed and shoved.

Ousmane Drame, the boys’ father, said the boys felt so upset by their experience that they want to go back to Africa.

“They were made fun of by the children (who) started yelling, ‘Ebola. Ebola. Ebola. Africa. Africa,” Drame said his sons told him.

Charles Cooper of the African Advisory Council, a local advocacy group, said that during lunch, one of the boys was jumped by the students who had been calling him “Ebola.” When his older brother intervened, the brother also was assaulted.

Drame said classmates refused to play with his sons in gym.

“We’re done playing with you. You have Ebola,” he said one of the bullies told his sons. “You sit down. … They don’t want to play with them. Nobody is close to them.”

“We will not tolerate intimidation or bullying of our students,” NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said in a statement, “especially in this moment when New Yorkers need to come together.”

Read More:

US using Ebola to Expand its Intervention in Africa: Azikiwe

The United States is using the guise of the Ebola virus outbreak to expand its intervention in Africa, a civil rights activist and journalist in Detroit says.

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Tuesday while commenting on the Pentagon’s decision to isolate and quarantine US soldiers returning from West Africa.

Two US states — New Jersey and New York — have already ordered a mandatory 21-day quarantine for medics who have treated Ebola patients in West Africa, where the epidemic has already killed about 5,000 people.

“I strongly believe that the United States should provide more assistance to the three countries that have been stricken by the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease,” Azikiwe said.

“Nonetheless, I believe there has been an overreaction inside the United States, largely fuelled by rightwing political forces to stigmatize and isolate and quarantine all those who have been assisting in the healthcare mechanisms for those who have been stricken by the Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia,” he added.

Azikiwe stated that the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) is “designed to extend the United States’ military intervention on the African continent.”

“They are utilizing AFRICOM to penetrate Africa under the guise of treating or responding to the Ebola virus outbreak,” he emphasized.

President Barack Obama has authorized the Pentagon to deploy troops to West Africa to fight the spread of the deadly disease. Under the president’s order, some 3,600 troops could be sent to West Africa. Hundreds of US soldiers have already been deployed to Liberia.

Azikiwe went on to say that “it is important for those soldiers, who have been stationed in Liberia, ostensibly in response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak, that they be protected.”

“The United States’ government does not have a history of protecting its own soldiers. We know that in Iraq they were exposed to depleted uranium weapons; we also know that US chemical weapons, that were utilized by the Iraqi government in the 1980s in their war against Iran, these weapons were in Iraq. They were discovered yet the discovery of these weapons, the information was concealed by the United States’ government and the corporate media,” the veteran journalist continued.

“So we are concerned that those who are in West Africa right now, in Libra particular, be protected, and their health and lives are given maximum priority,” he stressed.

There is currently no known cure for Ebola, which is a form of hemorrhagic fever with diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding as its symptoms.

The Ebola virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces or sweat. It can also be spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.

Recently, more experts have said that the Ebola virus is a genetically modified organism and was developed in US bio-warfare laboratories in West Africa.

In a recent interview, Dr. Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois said, “My opinion is that the origins of the current pandemic came out of the USA bio-warfare labs in West Africa.”

He added that the US has been “using West Africa as an offshore to circumvent the Convention on Biological Weapons and do bio-warfare work.”

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#SmartStart Skills: 3 Skills for developing Confidence in Public Speaking

Public speaking is feared by many at the same level as the fear of death. Often, this fear comes from not feeling confident in your appearance or with your skills. A life coach shares tips to boost self-confidence to improve public-speaking skills.


Sophie Skover, a coach and inspirational speaker from LSS Harmony Life Coaching, explains how to boost self-confidence so you can deliver that speech with style, not sweat. Skover says to start with the basics. Be prepared — know your overall message and practice your speech with a timer. You’ll be confident in your words and your timing. Then, you can focus on your delivery. Below are Sophie’s top-three confidence-boosting tips for public speaking.

  1. Be you, flaws and all

The fact is, no one is perfect. Let go of that expectation, and keep reminding yourself that you were picked to give this speech. True authenticity and confidence are attractive. Skover explains how to do this. She says, “Give yourself permission to be you, flaws and all. You are the only one in the world who is an expert at being you. Let your true heart shine through your words and know you are great the way you are. Sure, you may have some growth areas, but don’t let that rule your nerves or your approach. Know that everyone standing on stage has experienced the same feelings you are feeling, and you can do it. Say to yourself over and over, ‘Everything is OK. I am OK right now.’ Know it is OK, you are OK, and show your true strong and capable self.”

  1. Laughter is a strategy

Laughter breaks — internally and externally — the ice. You feel good about yourself when you laugh and when you make others laugh. And people look lovely when they smile and feel good about themselves! Skover suggests using a joke to start your speech because by opening with a joke, your smile will lighten your look and mood and set a great — and confident! — tone for the rest of your speech. If possible, try weaving anecdotes throughout your speech for the same reason. Your audience will remember the smiles you shared.

  1. Mind games

Ever since The Secret, everyone who has wanted to has used this truth: Everything is possible. Turn this into what you need to hear: You are wanted, and you are worthy. Skover says, “Now this is something that you can only give yourself. Come from that deep place in your gut where you know and believe that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Believe you will have a positive impact. Believe that one person out there needs to hear what you have to say and that you saying it is the only way they will hear it, and finally, believe that you are great!” Confidence has the greatest impact on your looks and on your success. Gift yourself the knowledge that you’ve got this, and you’ll look great doing it!

I am @StevenHaastrup.

After 30 weeks of writing straight from my heart, I will for the next 7 weeks be sharing relevant articles, properly referenced and credited; ones I trust will help you grow bigger and better.

Make sure you share it among your followers and mutual friends; it might be all they need to get up and stand tall.

Have a great week ahead.


BBC Launches WhatsApp Ebola Service

The BBC has launched an Ebola public health information service on WhatsApp, aimed at users of the service in West Africa.

The service will provide audio, text message alerts and images to help people get the latest public health information to combat the spread of Ebola in the region.

Content will be limited to three items a day, and the service will be in English and French.

To subscribe, send ‘JOIN‘ via WhatsApp to +44 7702 348 651

To unsubscribe, send ‘STOP‘ via WhatsApp to the same number.

As the biggest “chat app” in use in Africa, the platform is being used as a means of reaching people in the region directly through their mobile phones.

The response to Ebola is now the BBC World Service’s biggest health information drive since its reporting on HIV/Aids in the 1980s and 1990s. In addition to the WhatsApp service, the BBC is offering a range of content on radio, online and TV, including special Ebola bulletins in several languages.

Read More on:

“Lift up an economy in Africa…Start with the Women”- Melinda Gates

Women are key to boosting economic growth in Africa and the developing world, Melinda Gates said Tuesday as she stopped off in Paris to press crisis-hit France to keep funding projects for women and girls.

 Speaking to AFP, the philanthropist said empowering women is a key focus of the powerful Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in its struggle to help people in developing countries be more autonomous in health, family planning and crucially economic decisions.

“That has an impact on her children’s life… as well as the whole community,” said Gates ahead of a public event with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, aimed at drumming up support for women and girls in development.

She adds that, “If you want to lift up an economy in Africa, you basically start with the women.”

Maternal deaths have gone down a third in the last 30 years and childhood deaths have been cut in half, said Gates, who started the foundation with her billionaire husband Bill, America’s richest man.

#SmartStart Skills: The Seven Things You Must Know About Public Speaking

Toastmasters_1_610_300_s_c1_center_centerToday, I am going to share with you one of the best write ups I have seen on Public speaking by Richard Zeoli, author of The 7 Principles of Public Speaking, He is the founder and president of RZC Impact, a communications firm specializing in executive-level communication coaching and strategic messaging. He is also a visiting associate at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey.


We turn on the television and see people speaking before crowds or handling reporters with confidence and it all looks effortless. In the 15 years I have been training people to become more effective communicators, I have watched for common qualities among great speakers. Are they made, or are they born? Do they have a gift that most of us will never know or is there something more to it? I have seen major political candidates up close and personal, watched prominent chief executives interviewed on national television. I’ve worked with familiar TV personalities who experienced anxiety whenever they spoke in public.

I have learned from it all that even the people we think are the most natural public speakers often undergo significant training. Sure, a few may be born with a gift, but the overwhelming majority are effective speakers because they trained themselves to be so. Either they’ve pursued formal public speaking education or coaching or they’ve taken every opportunity to stand on their feet and deliver speeches.

I have found that being a successful public speaker boils down to following these seven essential principles:

1. Stop trying to be a great speaker.

To truly connect with an audience, first understand that people want to listen to someone who is relaxed and comfortable as well as interesting. In the routine conversations we have every day, we have no problem being relaxed. Yet too often when we stand up to give a speech something changes. We focus on the public at the expense of the speaking. To be an effective public speaker, you must do just the opposite. Focus on the speaking and let go of the public.

If you can carry on a relaxed conversation with one or two people, you can give a great speech. Whether your audience consists of two people or 2,000, and whether you’re talking about the latest medical breakthrough or what you did today at work, it’s never about turning into someone you’re not. It’s all about talking directly to people, being your authentic self and making a connection. That’s all.

2. Stop trying to be perfect. When you make a mistake, no one cares but you.

Even the most accomplished public speaker will make mistakes. Just remember that the only person who really cares about any one mistake is the person doing the speaking.

People’s attention constantly wanders. In fact, most people only really hear about 20% of a speaker’s message. The other 80% they internalize visually. This ratio is true in nearly everything: watching a football game or a television show, or even having a heart-to-heart conversation. When you make a mistake, the audience rarely even notices. The most important thing you can do is keep going. Don’t stop, and unless the mistake was truly major, don’t apologize. Unless your audience is reading along with your speech, they won’t know that you left out a word or said the wrong name.

Whether you’re the president of the United States or a speaking coach like me, you will make mistakes. It’s part of being human, and our humanity is what makes us great speakers, because it’s what enables us to connect with our audience. Audiences don’t want to hear perfection. They want to hear from someone who is real.

3. Visualize. If you can see it, you can speak it.

Great winners in all walks of life draw on the power of visualizing. Sales people envision themselves closing the deal; executives picture themselves developing new ventures; athletes close their eyes and imagine themselves making the basket or hitting the home run.

In public speaking, the best way to fight anxiety and become more comfortable is by practicing in the one place no one else can see you–your mind. If you visualize on a consistent basis, your mind will become used to the prospect of speaking in public, and pretty soon you’ll find that the idea no longer elicits those same feelings of anxiety and fear.

If you have a presentation to give, set aside 30 minutes a day to visualize yourself giving it. Do so in as much detail as possible. See yourself up at the podium. Feel yourself relaxed and comfortable. See yourself delivering the whole thing and connecting with your audience. If you do this every day, by the time the real presentation arrives your mind will be trained to accept the situation as familiar. You will feel much more relaxed and confident in front of the audience.

4. Be disciplined. Practice makes good.

Our goal is not to be a perfect public speaker, since there is no such thing, but to be an effective one. Like anything else in life, that takes practice. It’s easy to take communication for granted, since we spend our lives speaking to people. But when our prosperity is directly linked to how good we are in front a group, we need to give the task the same attention as any other serious job. Even world champion athletes practice their craft on a consistent basis.

When I work with clients, I always record their speeches so they can study their presentations. For most of us, however, the best way to practice is simply by giving a speech in the comfort of our home or office. The more you practice it, the more prepared you will be, and that leads to confidence. If you have a speech to give in a week, rehearse it on a daily basis. Deliver it out loud as soon as you get up in the morning, at least once in the middle of the day and twice before you go to bed. Do this every day, and when it’s time to deliver the presentation, you will be prepared. You’ll know the material inside and out. Along with visualization, this is the most effective way to overcome anxiety and build confidence about performing before an audience.

5. Describe. Make it personal.

Regardless of the topic, audiences respond best when speakers personalize their communication. Take every opportunity to put faces on the facts of your presentation. People like to hear about other people, about the triumphs, tragedies and everyday humorous incidents that make up their lives. Capitalize on this.

Whenever possible, include yourself personally in your public speaking. Not only will it help your listeners warm to you, but it will also do wonders at putting you at ease. After all, where is your expertise greater than on the subject of you?

6. Inspire. Speak to serve.

Yes, talk about yourself, but make the main focus not yourself but your audience. When you think about it, the proper purpose of a speech is not to benefit the speaker but to serve the audience, usually through teaching, motivation or entertainment. So in all of your preparation and presentation, constantly think of how you can help your audience members get what they want from you. When you do this, your role as speaker becomes a role of meeting the needs of the audience. It is sure to take much of the fear out of public speaking, too.

7. Build anticipation: Leave your audience wanting more.

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my years in communications is that when it comes to public speaking, less is usually more. Rarely if ever have I left a gathering and heard someone say, “I wish that speaker had talked longer.” On the other hand, I imagine you can’t count the times you’ve thought, “I’m glad that speech is over. It went on forever.”

Surprise your audience. Always make your presentation just a bit shorter than they expect. If you’ve followed the first six principles, you’ve already won their attention and interest, so it’s best to leave them wishing you had gone on for just a few minutes more, rather than squirming in their seats waiting for you to finally stop.

I am Haastrup Steven Adeshope, the E.D of StartUp Nigeria, Initiator of Lagos StartUp School (A startup resource bank) and the principal lead of StevenHaastrup.Org (A communication coaching and consulting firm).

Follow @StevenHaastrup


Don’t read and Quit alone, Share this among your followers and mutual friends, it might be all they need to get up and stand tall.

Have a great week ahead.

#DGtrends: The Gender Pre-Forum to the 2014 High Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa

The Gender Pre-Forum to the 2014 High Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa


“Silencing the Guns: Women in Democratization and Peace Building in Africa”

Kigali, 6 October 2014 – The inaugural Gender Pre-Forum to the Annual High Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa under the theme “Silencing the Guns: Women in Democratization and Peace Building in Africa” has opened in Kigali, Rwanda. The forum was officially opened by Hon. Oda Gasinzigwa, Minister for Gender and Family Promotion of the Republic of Rwanda on 6th October and will close on 7th October, 2014.

In her welcome remarks, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Dr. Aisha Laraba Abdullahi noted the imperative of a more sustainable and meaningful response to violence through improvement of inclusive democratic governance systems on the Continent.  She stated that the AU, through the Africa Governance Architecture is committed to working with the various AU organs, institutions, RECs and non state actors to strengthen platforms that allow women and young girls to play pivotal roles in strengthening democratic governance.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Governance Board, Prof. Shyaka Anastase in his own remarks stated that the partnership with the African Union Commission and other international development partners on the forum is intended to support various national, regional, continental and inter-continental efforts to empower women, such as Agenda 2063, African Common Position on Post 2015 Development Plan, Beijing Declaration, the Millennium Declaration, MDG three, and other UN resolutions.

The Special Guest of Honour, Hon. Oda Gasinzigwa, Minister for Gender and Family Promotion of the Republic of Rwanda while welcoming participants to Kigali argued that a continent at peace with itself requires more than absence of war but also a continent that embraces good governance values of respect for human rights, rule of law, transparency, effective, inclusive as well as accountable governance and citizen-centred development. She posited that with committed and visionary leadership as well as determined citizens, Rwanda has been able to rise from the ashes of the 1994 genocide to a beacon of reconciliation, hope and inclusive governance. She concluded that the issue of gender equality and women’s participation should be an integral part of our values as a continent and an obligation to empower men, women, girls and boys to a level they can play their rightful role in democratisation processes, peace building and development.

Participants at the Pre-Forum will be visiting Post Genocide Reconciliation Villages and the Gisozi Genocide Memorial as part of the experience sharing components of the pre-forum.

The gender pre-forum is convened under the auspices of the African Governance Architecture and Platform of the African Union. It is convened to provide a platform through which the vulnerabilities and challenges facing women in conflict situations can be examined and policy recommendations made on enhancing the roles of women in strengthening democratic governance and addressing violent conflicts in Africa.

The gender pre-forum is part of a series of participatory engagements with young people, women, civil society, Member States and indeed all stakeholders towards the Third High-Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance. The theme of this year’s High Level Dialogue is “Silencing the Guns: Strengthening Democratic Governance to Prevent, Manage and Resolve Conflicts in Africa. It is scheduled for 30 – 31 October, 2014 in Dakar, Senegal. The High Level Dialogue and pre-consultations are convened by the African Union in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and GIZ.

For more information, please contact George Mukundi Wachira: + 250 781293981; wachiraG@africa-union.orgor visit the website , and also follow live updates on @AUC_DPA and the hashtag #DGTrends

#SmartStart Teacher Tribute: “Bitter are the roots of Study, but how sweet their Fruits”


Today, I want to use my column in celebrating and helping you celebrate our TEACHERS. Firstly, I want to help you remember by asking you these simple questions.

Would you be able to read my write up at all if it hadn’t been your teacher who sweated it out that you knew your A to Z? Some of us, our friends and we ourselves believed we were dullards. But these teachers kept trying. Remember?

Ok? What is 6multiplied by 6 divided by 6? You sabi answer abi? (Don’t laugh) Do you know how long it took you to remember the multiplication table? 7 times, 8 times, 9 times… Chai! Me sef hated them.

Let me share with you this story before I go, my teacher in Primary 5 saw that the whole class was excellent with Dictations, so she said… Hey class! It’s time for dictations. Number 1, she said TAWEL (As she pronounced it though), the whole class spelt it as pronounced except me, I was quite smart though (Laughs). The whole class scored 9 over 10 except me; I went home with a brand new pencil. I can never forget how kingly I felt going home and how much I can’t forget that very day till this day. That teachers name is Mrs. Adewunmi.

Read through these 10 quotes, it helped me brew back those memories and it can help you appreciate them better.

  1. “Anyone who teaches me deserves my respect, honoring and attention.” Sonia Rumzi
  2. “Bitter are the roots of study, but how sweet their fruit.” Cato
  3. “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well” Alexander the Great
  4. “In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day’s work. It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years.” Jacques Barzun
  5. “Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.” Chinese proverb
  6. ”Often, when I am reading a good book, I stop and thank my teacher.” Anonymous
  7. “Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.” Anonymous
  8. “A good teacher is like a candle: it consumes itself to light the way for others.” Anonymous
  9. Teachers can change lives with just the right mix of chalk and challenges. Joyce Meyer
  10. Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives. Andy Rooney

 Our teachers deserve to be remembered and deserve to be proud. They aren’t perfect but they gave their all, especially the best ones. I celebrate all of whom made me so smart by foundation, made my accent prime by flogging out my wrong pronunciations and made my esteem so cool by appreciation.

Mind you, my primary 2 teacher was the first to tell me… “Adeshope, you are handsome, tell your mum I said that”. I heard it first from my teacher and not even my parents. I have not forgotten till today.

I celebrate my teachers!

And proudly, today I can say that I am a Management Consultant and Corporate Trainer.

I am reachable at


Share this as much as you can till you know you have put a smile on a teachers face. Happy Eid-El-Kabir. Happy Holiday!

Have a great week ahead.

#SmartStart #MentorshipSeries (3): Mentorship Lessons from my Trip on a Nigerian Road

Benin-Ore-Lagos-Road1Oya… Manchester United don enter Top Seven, two points behind shouting Arsenal and three points behind silent Manchester City. And to all of the Arsenal fans waiting for Welbeck to save them, you are on a long thing, Welbeck wasn’t what you needed and all of you knew it but it’s good if you cling on to the hope that he becomes an Henry. And for lying Mourinho using scope to beg Spain not to invite Costa, I sensed fear, because he knows the day that guy crashes, he would struggle to get fire, fear and goals upfront. Anyways, No football talk today *laughs*.

Good day, my name is Haastrup Steven Adeshope.

This last weekend was a very busy one for me, one that I had to travel over 12 hours on Nigerian roads, an exercise I haven’t done this year. For months now, friends and colleagues of mine have always complained of DELAYED FLIGHTS due to OPERATIONAL REASONS by airlines in Nigeria, and that is after them sending you a text that your flight has been postponed by 2 hours, they still most times further delay by another 2 to 5 hours depending on their madness for that day. A colleague of mine booked an AERO CONTRACTOR ticket from Enugu during August for 2pm and his other friends went by road and they got to Lagos and have forgotten they travelled before AERO CONTRACTOR boarded from Enugu by 8pm and landed Lagos 9pm.

These experiences made me cancel my ticket for Asaba and made me decide to go to ASABA by road which by average estimate from people who ply this road said may take 6 hours from Lagos. Going to Asaba by road was hell, it was rainy so heavy and the big gutters on the road were covered with water so the pot holes couldn’t be assessed before even an SUV dashes into it. If an SUV could suffer that way, I wonder what a car would have gone through on that road this fateful day.

I left Abeokuta for 2pm, got to Asaba for 10pm, thank God for the TRANSFORMATIONAL Benin–Ore Road that Pastor Reno has advertised tire on Twitter, it helped our speed though. Connecting Benin to Asaba was hell, as we were novice and they were no road signs to say this is the road to Asaba and Onitsha and sorts.

Leaving Asaba on Saturday had drowned me in thoughts, as our president (GEJ) was in Benin and some roads were blocked, we couldn’t afford to miss the way this time around and also the big gutters waiting for us was scary to think of. We joyfully didn’t miss our way till we got out of Benin and after Ore, the terrible road awaited us, the rain was falling so hard and so we expected the same situation as when we were going to Asaba and this is where I learnt my MENTORSHIP LESSON.

We saw a transporter 14 sitter CHISCO bus ahead of us, He was running and could avoid all the ditch on the road, He was so good but fast that others never wanted to follow him, they felt running in the rain would be dangerous especially with the road gutters awaiting you from Ore to Ijebu Ode which was a 3 hour journey on an average. We decided to follow though, if a bus could skip and run this way, an SUV should be able to do same. Then we followed this bus, the bus knew the road like a map, as he avoided every holes so we did. Where he ran, we ran, where he slowed, we slowed. It was a pleasurable journey returning, He saved us so much time that we were so excited about the trip. I got home in 5 hours.

3 things I learnt from that trailing mentorship:

  1. Mentorship brings Speed through leveraged experience.
  2. Mentorship builds in YOU confidence
  3. Mentorship makes you equally smart. 

It was simple, we needed a good trail; we identified an experienced bus which qualified it as the right mentor for the journey, we trailed all through the difficult roads until Ijebu Ode and we were not stupid to stay behind the Bus after Ijebu Ode.

Another Lesson,

  1. We knew when it was time to move on.

We were an SUV so we sped past this angelic Bus. Listen to this, because we were an SUV following a Bus didn’t make us less than an SUV; we knew when we had to trail and knew when we had to blaze.

We couldn’t say thank you to the driver though as we were both glassed up… But please show gratitude and know when it’s time to MOVE ON.

I hope you enjoyed my Asaba story. I did it in a rush.

I am your StartUp Management Consultant – Haastrup Steven Adeshope.

Got questions or comments? You can send me a mail via


If you missed the last series on Mentorship: (Robust Mentoring) Rules of Engagement; search it out on this platform and read it. It is an awesome building block to getting the best off this Mentorship Series. As for next week, I wouldn’t promise a topic but it would be our last episode on the MENTORSHIP SERIES.  Don’t miss this for anything, it might be another story. Make it a date next Monday here exclusively on

Tell your friends and partners, share it among your followers and mutual friends, it might be all they need to get up and stand tall.

Have a great week ahead.

#SmartStart #MentorshipSeries (2): Robust Mentoring: Rules of Engagement

The right mentor coaches to be the Best

The right mentor coaches to be the Best

No football talk today Oh. Man United lost shamefully, Welbeck scored for big mouthed Arsenal, Liverpool reviled & rejoiced as they got a defeated mate in Man United while Lampard turned so Frank with his former side (Chelsea). So, no football talk today, until maybe when Man United wins again *smiles*. I came across a very interesting tweet on Twitter weeks ago and I thought I should share this with you especially for this week where there is the World’s biggest ever Climate march in New York… “Everyone talks about leaving a better planet for our kids, can we also put the same effort in leaving better kids for our planet”

Good day, my name is Haastrup Steven Adeshope.

No story today because Man United didn’t win (joking though), so straight to the issue “How do I make Mentorship work for me?” the answer lies simply is in the response “How do I engage my Mentor?” Engagement means RELATING and it takes two to relate successfully. A mentor to protégé relationship isn’t a friend or peer kind of relationship, so it takes wisdom and patience to relate with a mentor. Today, I would be sharing 7 rules for engagement with your mentor or future mentor.

  1. Put their interest ahead of yours: It sounds stupid you may say but that’s how it works here, no mentor wants a parasite who always want his/her interest dominating their relationship. The truth is when you put their interest first, they respond with all support when yours pop up for help.
  1. Be a Person of Integrity: Your mentor would directly or indirectly or should I say consciously or unconsciously through a test for your integrity, if you can be trusted and the result of this would determine the quality of the relationship. So don’t compromise at all.
  1. Be sincere and ready to learn at whatever speed: Be sincere about what you know and what you don’t know, your mentor can’t teach you everything you might need to know so learn the skills essential to the need of your mentor so as to keep interest alive and growing
  1. Become a Person of Value: This for me is becoming indispensable. When you become a person of value, your mentor would find it so hard to think through a day without thinking about you and how much you can contribute to his success and remember that when you become a person of value, they respond with all support when yours pop up for help.
  1. Don’t ask for Money: I never asked for money until a very broke day that I genuinely asked because I was stuck and he gave me 10 times of what I would need and that was the only time I ever did. It made our relationship robust and made myself sincere about real mentorship.
  1. Always seek advice whenever you stuck: Even though their interest is put ahead of yours but no good mentor wants a slave so they want you to be informed about your pursuit and they want to be involved in advising and networking for you whenever you get stuck so learn to genuinely ask for advice. I have won so many mentors over because of the honesty they saw in my person to learn and always ask.
  1. Ask about their welfare: Your mentors would love to be cared about especially from someone they consider a protégé. It would be nice to ask for their welfare once in a while from them, ask about their family and kids when the opportunity arises and all these make for a robust engagement with your mentor.

The 7 tips that I mentioned to you today are practical for me and without a reference to any book, but note that the personality differences of our diverse mentors should make us wise in how we apply them.

The Holy Bible says in a verse and I quote… “The silence was deafening – they had been arguing with one another over who among them was GREATEST. He sat down and summoned the Twelve. “SO YOU WANT FIRST PLACE? THEN TAKE THE LAST PLACE. Be the servant of all.” (MSG Mark 9:34-35)

So it’s simple, pay the price of greatness today. Someone else will someday pay their price for greatness through you. Knowledge wouldn’t teach you in three years what the right mentorship can teach you one year.

I am your StartUp Management Consultant – Haastrup Steven Adeshope.

Got questions or comments? You can send me a mail via


If you missed the last series on Mentorship: The Guardian of Pursuit, search it out on this platform and read it. It is an awesome building block to getting the best off this Mentorship Series. Next week, I would be talking about “Mentorship Index: Assessing your Quality during Mentorship”. Don’t miss this for anything. Make it a date next Monday here exclusively on

Tell your friends and partners, share it among your followers and mutual friends, it might be all they need to get up and stand tall.

Have a great week ahead.

WHO Releases First Roadmap Situation Report on Ebola


WHO releases the first series of regular updates on the Ebola Response Roadmap. The update contains a
review of the epidemiological situation and response monitoring. The data contained in the report is based on the best information currently available.

Countries recorded with widespread and intense transmission include (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone); while those with an initial case or cases, or with localized transmission (Nigeria); and those sharing land borders with areas of active
transmission (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Senegal) and those with
international transportation hubs.

In brief summary, the report provides this detailed information:

“The total number of probable, confirmed and suspect cases in the current outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa is 3052, with 1546 deaths. Countries affected are Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. The figure below shows the number of cases by country that have been
reported between the beginning of January 2014 (epidemiological week 1) and 25 August 2014
(epidemiological week 34).”

Ebola map


Click below and view the roadmap situation report on Ebola

WHO: Ebola Response Roadmap Situation Report 1

Before You Abuse Our Police And Soldiers – JJ, Omojuwa

We miss the point a lot. We expect police officers whose salaries can barely feed our own pets to be up and doing at dilapidated rat holes called police stations. When they leave their workplaces for the barracks, they stay in some of the most demeaning housing projects you’d see anywhere in the world. We want them to serve and protect with integrity but right from the point they are hired, we take their dignity away from them. We can pretend all we like, but the mess we see in our system is the mess we invested in it.

Channels Television got knocks from those who ought to praise it for bringing the state of the Police College Ikeja under public scrutiny. They said it was done to discredit the President, the same way anyone who points out the way to make our country better is said to do it to discredit the President. How can a President who hardly has anything going for his government continue to assume citizens who want the best for him as President would want to take away the little credit he has going for him?

The flies which perch around the sugar offered by power often forget that this is about our country first and foremost before it is about whoever is running it. Power comes and goes, countries remain for longer. WhatChannels Television showed of the Police College, Ikeja was not an outlier, it is the normal reality of filth, lack, hunger and penury that have bedevilled the force. It is even getting worse now!

Many of us want our soldiers to help #BringBackOurGirls now and alive, in reference to the abducted #ChibokGirls. While we make that much needed call, let us also spare a thought for these men of the armed forces. Think about it; they read newspapers, they listen to the radio and at times watch the news. They know all about the trillions budgeted for security every year and they also know all about the poverty that comes with doing what they do. They know that cronies of our rulers are feeding off their allocations. They are privy to the fact that children of their bosses will feed them and their fellow soldiers for years with wealth accrued from denying their rights as the defenders of the Nigerian people. They defend our country with their lives, this while the country hardly pays attention to ensuring each soldier lives a respectable life. Politicians steal from us for decades, die and have streets named after them; our soldiers die in battlefields like the falling of the branch of a small tree in the forest, we hardly notice. No glory in life, no glory in death yet, we expect them to chase glory for our country. Or, as in the case of the Chibok schoolgirls, rescue them fast and now! Let us at least face it; this is one difficult country to do good!

It is easier to see those serving today and imagine how tough things are in a country where “corruption is not stealing and stealing is not corruption” as long as you steal enough to donate to powerful people for elections. If they were abandoned and forgotten while they are serving, imagine what happens when age calls and they must be retired? Retired officers are some of the poorest of our country’s 54 per cent extremely poor population. We sing, “The labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain,” and some of us actually think that line of the national anthem only refers to the dead ones who fought for our Independence. We should know better. Most of our heroes and heroines are still living and the bulk of them are living in poverty and squalour. Their labour has been in vain not only for the nation they fought for and defended with their lives, that labour has been in vain even for their personal lives.

We rightly or wrongly like to compare our officers with their United Kingdom or United States counterparts. A new police constable in the UK receives about N5.8 million/year. This eventually rises to about N10 million/year. Apart from this basic, the officers receive a London weighting and allowances amounting to about N1.7m. Added to these monetary benefits are annual leave reaching 30 days and not less than 22 days depending on one’s length of service. This is apart from public holidays and the average two rest days per week. Other benefits include maternity, paternity and adoption leave, special leave with pay, special leave without pay, parental leave and career breaks of up to five years (See When next you expect so much from our police officers, ask yourself, how much has our system given into their welfare and livelihood?

As the benefits of being a police officer in the UK are as far from that of being one in Nigeria, the same applies to other service units including the Army, Navy and Air Force.

In our country, a few men and women are feeding fat on the destinies and livelihoods of the majority yet our so-called leaders are always quick to spout tales of patriotism and dedication to service. Who wouldn’t be dedicated to service with the benefits listed above? Mind that those numbers apply to the most junior of officers.

It started from us. First, the military overthrew the irresponsible civilians, then the military took over power. Not willing to share the responsibilities of power with the police, the military crippled the police and treated them like scum. Today, the police are in a worse state than the scum left by the military. When civilians took over power in 1999, one of the first shots fired was at the military, some would argue rightly so, seeing as the military had got so used to having political power for so long. Out of fear of the military, successive civilian governments have found a way to allocate enough money to the top echelons of the military to get them fat and keep them fat while forgetting that the rank and file is the fulcrum of military might. By our own selves, we have hurt our pride and strength. A country that was once the saviour of Africa, an Army that was once the pride of West Africa, now needs the support of Ghana, to fight insurgents. We have come so far.

Ghana in 2013 allocated about N51.3bn to defence while Nigeria allocated about N348.9bn in the same year. Based on these numbers, Nigeria’s defence spending is about seven times that of Ghana. That in itself is to be expected, what is not to be expected is that we would be needing Ghana’s help to fight insurgents in our country. We have come so far.

A time comes in the history of a nation when it must look at itself and ask itself pertinent questions. At the moment, our country is like an old man with many grandchildren, many children poor and desolate yet this old man wakes every morning thinking all is well and he calls his rich and not so rich friends to come party with him. Our old man wants the world to see he is rich and great but those who live with the old man know that all his claims of transformation are lies fed to the most gullible of his offspring. You have to fear for this old man. God bless every soul serving this country, in the midst of plenty, yet, living on the crumbs from the table of Father Abraham, sorry Nigeria

Japheth J, Omojuwa tweets via @omojuwa. This article was first published in the Punch newspapers and is re-published here courtesy the author. Views expressed are solely the author’s. 

CHAN 2014: Who Can Make Eagles Call Up For Brazil 2014?


Eagles making their debut at the just concluded African Nations Championship in South Africa 201 since 2009, coming third in the competition despite doubts about Eagles performance before the competition, ODUKALE BOWALE takes a look at Eagles campaign in South Africa at the concluded African Nations Championship and possible players who can make Eagles’ list for World Cup Brazil 2014 in June.

The African Nations Championship is a relatively new event staged by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), having first been played in 2009; creation of the event was a response to the desire to strengthen national competitions regularly weakened by a mass exodus of top players who leave their home countries to play for foreign teams. It features only players who play their trade in the domestic leagues and features from all the six CAF zones on the continent.

Nigeria made her debut at the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) edition in South Africa securing a third-place finish at the African tourney reserved for professional players in their country’s domestic leagues when they failed to qualify for the first two tournament finals in Cote d’Ivoire and Sudan. They were eliminated by arch-rivals Ghana for the inaugural competition in Cote d’Ivoire in 2009 and next-door neighbors Niger shocked them out for the next tournament staged by Sudan.

Eagles had to scrape past Cote d’Ivoire 4-3 on aggregate to make it to South Africa 2014 when they won the first game in Kaduna 4-1 courtesy of a brace from Sunday Mba and further goals from Gambo Mohammed and Ifeanyi Ede only to lose the return match 2-0 in Abidjan. In preparation for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa, series of friendly matches was in place for the Eagles where big boss finally made the 23 man list for the tournament.

Eagles started their African Championship campaign against the Les Aigles of Mali and lost 2-1 in their opening game in Cape Town, where the Eagles struggled in defence and did not create many goal scoring chances as  substitute Gbolahan Salami pulled a goal back for Nigeria, but for poor finishing, Mali had chances to kill off this game as pegged their opponents mainly in their own half of the pitch.

Having in mind the slim chances in qualifying for the next stage of the tournament, Eagles put up a much improved performance to scrape past Mambas of Mozambique 4 goals to 2. Mambas went in front but Nigeria restored uniformity when Enyimba striker Ifeanyi Ede stabbed home from inside the box after a nod-on from a long throwing following Kano Pillars playmaker Rabiu Ali putting Nigeria ahead, Mambas ripped open the Nigeria defence and allowed the stocky Diogo to round up Agbim and coolly slot home his second goal of the tournament in the 20th minute. Rabiu Ali again put Nigeria in front in the 54th minute, when and substitute Barnabas Imenger made the game safe.

Costly errors saw hosts South Africa go down 3-1 to Nigeria in their last African Nations Championship match and crash out of the tournament in spectacular fashion as Nigeria’s goals came from pint-sized winger Christantus Ejike (2) and an Ifeanyi Ede penalty.

Astounding Nigeria came back from three goals down to beat Atlas Lions of Morocco 4-3 to qualify for the semi-final of CHAN where Nigeria three goals were scored during the second half of the play, while the winning goal was scored during the extra time. It was indeed a surprise victory for not only Eagles but as a country as whole, as Nigerians and different sports pundits applauded the team including President Goodluck Jonathan as the “god of soccer” is commonly referred to as a Nigerian.

 Keshi’s team reached the third playoff of the CHAN against all odds in spite of being seconds away from elimination in the hands of the impressive Moroccans before Ejike Uzoenyi’s cracking goal. After their sensational comeback against Morocco, it was a huge anti-climax that Nigeria will not be playing in CHAN final as Ghana made Nigeria pay through penalty, as they literally used their strength to muscle the Super Eagles out of the championship game. It was rather ironic that until recently Nigeria were known for their physical approach to the game and Ghana more for their flair as the local Black Stars were very defensive. Eagles killed off the game against South Africa and Mozambique with a display of ruthless finishing, but could not do same against their perennial rivals and resulted in a third playoff that they will now battle Zimbabwe, while Ghana had the bragging rights.

 Super Eagles never gave up hope of taking third place of CHAN as Keshi motivated his boys to finish the tournament in style when they face Zimbabwe in the play-off.

While it’s the first time Nigeria plays in the CHAN tournament and are happy to get as far as this stage on their first attempt, Nigeria claimed the bronze medal after a hard-fought 1-0 win over the 10-men of Zimbabwe in Cape Town where Chinonso Obiozor playing his first match of the competition, looked a constant threat with his pace and power and having come close on a number of occasions, finally got his reward on 85 minutes in the third-place playoff in the final five minutes as the Super Eagles labored past their stubborn opponents.

However, looking at the performance of Nigeria’s Super Eagles at the tournament, they showed that they were indeed slow starters; they have been responsible of turning out sleepy display in the opening minutes of their games against Mali and Mozambique in the group stage of the tournament as well as against Morocco in the quarter finals. The Eagles were not lucky in this regard against Malians which were Eagles first outing, but rallied back to beat the Mozambicans and the Moroccans 4-2 and 4-3 respectively.

Also, conceding early goals in the first few matches they played during the tournament for example against Mozambique, the Super Eagles conceded two goals in the space of 10 minutes; however, the game against Morocco was the height of a bad defending conceding three goals in the space of seven minutes before clawing back to win 4-3 in magnificent style to reach the semis.

In addition, poor communication at the defence, in three games against Mali, Mozambique and Morocco, Keshi’s team showed how not to defend. In the three games the defence was weak and allowed themselves to be overrun. Chigozie Agbim, who is also captain of the team, sure needs to take the lead in barking out instructions to the outfield players as that has been the trait of most top goalkeepers.

Nevertheless, there are positives for Nigeria to take from the jst concluded outing; coming third in her debut appearance was a thing of joy and also an avenue for the home based Eagles to prove themselves to make the list for World Cup in Brazil as big boss Keshi exposed that, about five players from the 2014 CHAN will be considered for places that excelled during the just concluded CHAN to the World Cup and has refused to mention name, but likely players includes Ejike Uzoenyi, Kunle Odunlami and Rabiu Ali, who were picked by CAF in the tournament XI.

CHAN Most Valuable Player Ejike Uzoenyi will be top of that list to make Eagles squad come June for the World Cup in Brazil. A tremendous display from the player after a return of three goals assists for his other team mates and three man of the match awards. Keshi singled out the Enugu Rangers left winger for special praise, Uzoenyi did well to be part of CHAN and it is believed that he has attracted some serious interests overseas as a result who will now be a viable option for the left side of the Eagles attack as Italy-based Nnamdi Oduamadi has struggled to convince lately in that position.

Also, Sunshine Stars FC central defender Odunlami Kunle who currently eyes World Cup played the whole six matches in CHAN displaying good marking skills, made the team of the tournament after a laudable display, touted to be Super Eagles Fabio Cannavaro in the making. He has shown he has the qualities to play at this level and seen by many to replace Godfrey Oboabona.

Kano Pillars midfielder Rabiu Ali, great passer, best player in Nigeria Premier league last season, brace against Mozambique, effective goal-scoring responsibilities, creativity and providing  inventive spark in the midfield stands  him out from the rest of the team can make him enough to contest with Sunday Mba for a place in the Eagles midfield.

Eagles Strikers Ifeanyi Ede and Gbolahan Salami made a considerable impact in the competition, Ede scored in the destruction of Mozambique and host country South Africa during the group stage matches  and formed of an enviable partnership with Uzoenyi while Salami blessed with blistering pace and good ball control, started his scoring campaign against Mali, though didn’t find the back of the net again as injury forced him out.

Defenders Benjamin Francis and Solomon Kwambe could also be considered as they have been part of the full international team even though they did not impress in South Africa. Francis had a disappointing tournament, still has a long way to go as a potential contender for Elderson Echiejile’s. Kwambe made a great impact, supported the attacking line-up with his overlapping runs and threatened opposing defenders. Kwambe recovery rate was thin as he failed to return to his primary role of position on time.

 Agbim let himself down by some questionable goalkeeping at CHAN his show during the competition raised eyebrows over his eligibility to be Nigeria’s no 1 not only that, but as third choice to Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide in the main Super Eagles’ team, he will now have to fight to be the third goalkeeper to the World Cup in June.

Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) must also look at the option of getting coaches from league clubs to handle the next team for the 2016 CHAN as most observers agreed that the best players in the Nigeria league were not in South Africa. These coaches, who will be answerable to the coach of the full international team, should be given part-time contracts and allowed to return to their clubs after national team duty. And preparations for CHAN 2016 in Rwanda must start in earnest.

White House Explains Purpose of Obama Trip by Ben Rhodes

PS: An excerpt from a White House briefing on President Barack Obama’s forthcoming visit to Africa.

We see Africa as one of the most important emerging regions in the world, and a place for the U.S. to significantly increase our engagement in the years to come. There are growing economic opportunities there for increased trade and investment and increased engagement by U.S. businesses.

Trade and Investment

We, frankly, have heard a high demand signal from the U.S. private sector for us to play an active role in deepening our trade and investment partnerships in Africa. And I think one of the things you’ll see on this trip is we’ll be incorporating events that bring in the private sector in each of the countries that we’re visiting. And we’ll also be bringing a number of members of the President’s economic team from our new U.S. Trade Representative USTR, Mike Froman, to representatives from OPIC, from the Export-Import Bank, and including Raj Shah, our AID Director, who also plays a role in these issues.

So trade and investment and the economic opportunities on the continent are going to be an important part of the agenda; also democracy and democratic institution-building.

Democracy and Institution Building

Each of the countries that we’re visiting are strong democracies, and the President has made it a priority to support the consolidation of democratic institutions in Africa so that Africans are focused not just on democratic elections, but institutions like parliaments, independent judiciaries, and strengthening of the rule of law — both as necessary elements of a democratic government, but also as necessary elements of development. Because when you have the assurance that comes with the rule of law, it is easier for companies to invest and for economies to take off.

Young People

I think you will also see a focus on young people. Africa has an extraordinarily large youth population, and it’s important for the United States to signal our commitment to investing in the future of African youth. And this, too, is a part of unleashing development on the continent because if you have young people who are able to access opportunity and able to shape the direction of their countries, that’s going to be in the interest of Africa and the United States as well.

Development Agenda

And you’ll also see the President speaking to the key pillars of our development agenda, which has focused on economic growth and also on issues such as food security and global health, where we’ve really shifted to a focus on capacity-building on the continent. So it’s not simply a model of assistance, it’s a model of capacity-building so that Africans are forging solutions to their own challenges.

All of this, I think, adds up to a U.S. engagement and leadership on the continent that is focused on unleashing African economic growth, democratic progress, and ultimately that will have a positive impact on a range of issues, including peace and security issues – because if we’re working and partnering with strong economies and strong democracies, we’re going to be better able to deal with the security challenges on the continent as well.

Ben Rhodes is Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speech-writing in the White House.


If Kenya were a person, it would look like her…

As you all know, I carry my camera with me everywhere I go. I usually don’t carry it with me to school because I’m scared of losing my baby. Besides, I travel via the same route everyday and nothing interesting happens, so it’s pretty pointless. I also have lots of books to carry.

Anyway, I decided to take my camera to school on Friday because I assumed everyone would be dressed up. Luckily for me, Comfort was also at school and she looked beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

You all remember Comfort, right? The beautiful Kenyan model with a great smile? Yeah I thought so. I went up to her and asked if we could do a quick photoshoot during lunch and she said yes.

We went to the back of the school building and I spent about 20 minutes with her. I’ve been trying to experiment with lighting, so I was glad when the sun came out for a bit. Working with Comfort was so much fun. She doesn’t know it, but she has been a great help to me, as she is an experienced model. Comfort was very comfortable in front of the camera.

Haha, see what I did there? No? Okay.

Anyway, I’ve learnt an awful lot from her, in terms of directing the model.

I am really pleased with the pictures I got and I hope you like the best images I’ve chosen for this post.

Did I tell you Comfort wants me to take pictures for her portfolio? She’s hiring me as her personal photographer, but don’t worry. I’ll still have a soft spot in my heart for anyone else.



I’ll be posting more pictures from the photoshoot next week. Stay in touch! 

Camden and I, Reunited

Hi everyone, I’m not sure if you remember the post I made when I first visited Camden. Well, I remember that day, especially because I got pretty awesome compliments. A lot of people seemed to love those pictures and I was glad because it was my first time in Camden and I initially didn’t feel as if I had done my best.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m always with my camera or I’m somewhere reading something about photography. I’ve been reading a book about street photography, as I wish to specialise in this area of photography. I got some useful tips and I couldn’t wait to try out them out, so I visited Camden again in the hope that I would end up with better results.

I used a 70-300mm lens for most of the pictures and I absolutely loved it. I started street photography with my 50mm lens and I personally think it’s important to start with a prime lens, as you learn so much more about composition and framing because you can decide what things are necessary in the shot and you can also eliminate unnecessary things. It teaches you to get close to your subject in order to get a great shot. I think I’m at the stage where I understand composition and framing fairly well and I hope to invest in a zoom lens in the near future.

I absolutely enjoyed visiting Camden again. I might go there regularly, as there’s always something going on and they have awesome Chinese food. I think the pictures I got this time are quite interesting and I hope you think so too. Enjoy!

My history-obsessed sister thinks he looks like Hitler, without the moustache.

What an amazing job, right?

I absolutely adore her. She came up to me later and asked if she could take a picture. Then she said “Don’t worry, I’m not going to run away with your camera.” I agreed and I asked her if I could get a picture of her as well and she ran away laughing.
If only she knew I already got a shot of her.

He noticed me with my camera and I guess he wanted to show off his skills.

I’ve always wanted to get a picture like this. Using a 70-300mm lens made it possible.

He was flirting with every girl around. When I walked past he winked and said, “Wagwan baby girl?” I laughed and asked him for a picture. I think he really enjoyed posing.

I’ll end this post with pictures of my friend, Comfort. She was born and raised in Kenya and she will be representing her homeland next month in the competition, Miss Nubian UK. She is absolutely beautiful and her smile is amazing. She has a great face and I hope to do a photoshoot with her soon.




Pirates have attacked a ship off the coast of Nigeria for the second time in as many days, but the attackers were thwarted in the latest incident by a quick-acting crew, an international maritime watchdog said Thursday.
The pirates opened fire Wednesday on a Nigerian-owned oil tanker about 80 nautical miles off Port Harcourt, said Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur.
Choong said the ship managed to escape after crew members enforced anti-piracy measures and increased vessel speed.
The attack came a day after Nigerian pirates robbed a cargo ship anchored at Port Harcourt and kidnapped at least two crew members.
“The trend is worrying. It shows that pirate attacks off Nigeria are continuing and getting more violent,” he said.
This brought to eight attacks this year off the coast of Nigeria alone, and there are believed to be many other cases that have gone unreported, Choong said.
Over the last year, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea — which follows Africa’s southward curve from Liberia to Gabon — has escalated from low-level armed robberies to hijackings and cargo thefts.
In August, London-based Lloyd’s Market Association, an umbrella group of insurers, listed Nigeria, neighboring Benin and nearby waters in the same risk category as Somalia in East Africa, where two decades of war and anarchy have allowed piracy to flourish.
Two weeks ago, the captain and chief engineer of another cargo ship off Nigeria were killed in a pirate attack. The United Nations has urged Gulf of Guinea countries to jointly develop an anti-piracy strategy.
Some West African states, particularly Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and Senegal, are taking steps to police their waters, but officials said most do not have sufficient maritime capability beyond 100 nautical miles off the coast.
Via The Associated Press.