Daily News

No going back on Kogi State runoff — INEC; Dele Momodu writes memo to Nigeria’s President Buhari; Buhari & world leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Govt in Malta; Protests in Kogi State over Abubakar Audu’s replacement; Investors worry as Nigerian President’s momentum slows down . . .

No going back on Kogi State runoff — INEC

INEC . Professor Mahmud Yakubu. PMB appoints him new INEC Chairman. 001

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said there is no going back on the planned Kogi State governorship supplementary election scheduled for December 5, 2015.

As a mark of its preparedness, the commission said it had prepared its supplementary budget for the Kogi State election.

The commission’s Deputy Director of Voters Education and Publicity, Mr. Nick Dazang, said the commission was not ready to either shift or postpone the scheduled election.

Dazang said, “We are prepared for the election and we are not thinking of either postponing it or cancelling it. In fact, we have prepared a supplementary budget for the election.

“The budget is for the conduct of the election and it will cover expenses such as accommodation, allowance and other logistics for the election.”

He said the budget was already submitted to the commission’s chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

On when the All Progressives Congress (APC) would submit the name of its governorship candidate, he said the commission had yet to give the party a deadline.

But he said the commission would not give the party a deadline for now.

“We are not talking about deadline for now, but we expect the party to submit the name of its candidate by December 1,” he added.

Dele Momodu writes memo to Nigeria’s President Buhari

A Nigerian Journalist/Publisher, Dele Momodu, has written a memo to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.

The memo below refers:

Dele Momodu

“Your Excellency, it’s been months since I wrote my desperate memo to you. I wish to thank you once more for reacting promptly and swiftly at that time and for giving me the honour and privilege of meeting you in your office. I remember presenting you a special compilation of my articles, especially the many admonitions to your immediate predecessor, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

After handing over the book to you, Sir, I promised to continue acting in my self-appointed capacity as Special Adviser because of the need to tell you what those very close to you might not be able to say. They might be afraid of you and your reaction. laide

The truth is you are a plain and simple man imbued with a mission and a passion to save this great country but you cannot do it on your own. You can only do it if people close to you, who should be advising you, tell you as it is so that you can do that which you were elected to do.

Sir, it is on the above basis that I’m back today for reasons some of which you probably know already from your own personal observations and readings. But before I go further, kindly permit me to set some records straight before some conspiracy specialists step forward to ascribe other people’s opinion to me. I shall clearly expose my personal views and state where I belong or stand for any avoidance of doubt. Everywhere I go people refer to me as Buhari’s man and ask “what’s your Baba doing ooo?”. I seriously have no problem with that. I’m proud that I joined so many other Nigerians as well as foreign friends in supporting a man of impeccable pedigree and solid integrity. No matter your view of President Muhammadu Buhari, one thing his bitterest enemies give to him is the fact that he is way above the level of most mortals in matters of uprightness.

This is why many of us volunteered to scream your name to high heavens and we were ready to follow you to Golgotha. Many of your opponents have not gotten over the thrashing you gave them and would forever seek everything and anything to smear you with. It is therefore not surprising that there has been so much noise about what you’ve done or left undone. Whether they are right or wrong in their assessment, I feel it is right and proper to let you know what people are saying about you including your most ardent fans and supporters. Sir, please, let’s not dismiss them as mere rabble-rousers. A groundswell of public opinion can easily metamorphose into an ocean of disenchantment and cataclysmic confusion. In short, I believe your enemies are skilfully setting you up for failure in order to be able to taunt your supporters later by saying we “we told you so!” In this regard it is pertinent to always bear in mind the Yoruba saying ‘ehin kunle l’ota wa, ile ni a se ni ngbe’! Loosely translated it means “the enemy lurk outside in the backyard but your foe resides inside your house.”

What is the matter this time? Many Nigerians are lamenting that the change you promised them is fast becoming a mirage. It is certainly not what they are seeing right now. They insist that your style and methodology appear too slow for a nation in dire straits and in need of urgent and miraculous deliverance. They are not happy that you are no longer the prudent man they used to know. They think you’ve already capitulated by frolicking with members of the bourgeois class and junketing around the world while Nigeria burns like Dante’s inferno. They are miffed that you are still keeping the Presidential fleet when you are supposed to have sold most of them off, if not all. They are worried that the mandate of four years they gave you is being unwittingly frittered away and before you know it all the goodwill you garnered would have evaporated and vamoosed. Time, they say, waits for no man!

The economy and the free fall of the Naira have become worrisome. There are all manner of rumours that may make matters worse, if true, about the current state and status of our banks. Though the Central Bank of Nigeria has come out forcefully to dispel the dangerous rumours, they want you to unleash your economic master-plan as soon as possible, so that what was once a baseless rumour does not somehow become harsh reality. They are expecting a blue-print that would guarantee a farewell to poverty. On this I agree with the opinion that something drastic has to be conjured up to arrest this drift to perdition. Nothing amplifies this monumental tragedy than the debit card fiasco which stipulates that Nigerians cannot live in a civilised world by walking into any international hotel or shop of their choice and paying with their cards. This is terribly depressing.

What this means in plain terms is that Nigerians must patronise the black market and run the risk of carrying cash recklessly whenever they travel abroad. It makes a mockery of the cashless society that the CBN has fought so hard to put in place and jeopardises your fight against corruption because government officials who travel abroad must of necessity carry large sums of cash if they are not to be embarrassed or even disgraced. Sir, the most important thing is that this is not healthy at all. The last thing your Government should be telling the world is that we are so broke that we are on our knees. The world laughs at us and treats us with derision because we have resources other than crude oil which should make us one of the richest in the world if we properly harness them. We must stop giving the impression that we are so impoverished when it is leadership, brigandage and a lack of focus that has failed us.

The other matter that continues to embarrass Nigerians is the issue of Boko Haram. The matter is made worse by the fact that you are a retired army General who should know and have what it takes to drastically reduce if not exterminate the cankerworm. But rather the menace has exacerbated. It has snowballed into a seemingly unquenchable conflagration. I had argued repeatedly that the military alone cannot achieve this result. Intelligence seems to be the key word here. Also identifying and locating some of the cells and prominent sympathisers is crucial. Those who arrogantly and naively say that no form of negotiation should take place are very far from the theatre of war. They have probably not heard of a group called IRA, the Irish Republican Army, that terrorised Great Britain for God knows how many years. I and my directors at Ovation International were lucky to escape a massive explosion that shattered the peace and tranquillity of London Docklands when a bomb went off inside the South Quay light rail station which was next to our office at Beaufort Court. The battle of wits and the war of attrition had to be fought using the carrot and the stick approach. It was the carrot approach that eventually succeeded and the United Kingdom has now been rid of that hitherto interminable scourge for many years!

The Boko Haram issue has defied every effort made so far and it is time to expand the options for the sake of our fellow citizens in the heart of this conundrum. When over 200 girls vanished into thin air, we were so sure they would return very soon but that has remained an illusion. This should tell us that this issue is not a joke and that we need to keep all windows open. Sir, Nigerians want to see government show a different approach and better compassion than what we had in the past. They are waiting to see how you will do this with minimum collateral damage.

Sir, you have a herculean task ahead but it is not a mission impossible. Other nations are experiencing almost similar challenges and they are forging ahead. The first indicator to exhibit our seriousness is when we stop the business as usual syndrome and tighten the belts of government officials and politicians. If the idea is to continue along the path of profligacy then Nigeria is contagiously jinxed. The Republic of Tanzania has already taken the lead. I will publish a report that has already gone viral below this letter as a veritable example of what is possible.

I wish you well as always Sir.”

– Dele Momodu

Buhari & world leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Govt in Malta

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and world leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in the Island of Malta.

President Buhari pictured with other Heads of Government at the opening of the Commonwaelth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta. The meeting is chaired by Queen Elizabeth II.

NND | PHOTO NEWS | Culled from: Nigerianeye

Protests in Kogi State over Abubakar Audu’s replacement

Kogi . Poster of the late Abubakar Audu's son, Mohammed, to replace his late dad.

KOGI POLITICS HEATS UP: Protests in Kogi over Audu’s replacement

Protests rocked Kogi State, yesterday, following a report that a candidate had been picked by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Saturday’s governorship supplementary election outside Kogi East, dominated by Igala people where the Prince Abubakar Audu, the late candidate of the party, hailed from.

The report had said, yesterday, that the APC leadership had picked Audu’s closest rival in the party’s primary ahead of the Kogi governorship election, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, to replace the deceased in the supplementary election.

Separately, the APC leadership denied that the party had given the governorship ticket to Bello.

Bello is Ebira, from Kogi Central, while the Igala people are rooting for one of their own and Audu’s son, Mohammed, to pick the APC ticket.

Protesting youths of Igala extraction, yesterday, blocked River Benue Bridge, to drive home their demand that Igala should get the APC ticket.

They threatened to destroy the bridge at a location called Itobe.

There were similar protests in Ochadamu in Dekina Local Government Area and Idah.

Meanwhile, youths of Kogi West, under the aegis of Okun Youths Forum, cautioned against throwing the state into crisis on the grounds of a non-Igala emerging as the APC candidate for the supplementary election.

At press time, police were said to be battling to disperse the protesters who took over River Benue Bridge as they grew in number.

The protest caused traffic gridlock on both sides of the bridge as motorists could not proceed.

Investors worry as Nigerian President’s momentum slows down

Buhari . PMB. Photo- Pius Utomi Ekpei:AFP via Getty Images

Buhari Bounce Becomes Bust as Nigeria Policies Irk Investors

Growth rate set to slow to 16-year low of 3.3% as oil falls.

Naira policy is biggest concern, Citigroup analyst Howell says.

When Muhammadu Buhari clinched victory in Nigeria’s presidential elections in March, stocks soared as investors looked to the former military ruler to reverse decades of economic mismanagement and policy inertia. Now hopes have fizzled in his ability to turn around Africa’s largest economy and oil producer.

Photo above: Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari. Photographer: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP via Getty Images

Money that flowed into stocks and bonds in the West African nation, which McKinsey & Co. says could become one of the world’s 20 biggest economies by 2030, is now fleeing as growth prospects diminish along with oil prices. While Buhari, 72, has prioritized stamping out the graft that has plagued Nigeria since independence from Britain in 1960, policy-making appears as uncertain and haphazard as ever.

“After the initial euphoria, people have become disillusioned,” Ayodele Salami, who oversees about $500 million of African equities as chief investment officer of London-based Duet Asset Management Ltd., said by phone. “He would probably say that he’s being deliberative and cautious. But we expected more.” Duet’s Africa fund has cut its investments in the country to about 24 percent of the total from 38 percent in the last year.

Buhari waited five months before naming his cabinet, hasn’t proposed a clear plan to revive growth and backed foreign-exchange controls aimed at defending the naira. His retention of gasoline subsidies, plans to raise spending in the face of declining revenue and silence about a $5.2 billion fine levied on mobile-phone operator MTN Group Ltd. have added to investor unease.

Nigeria’s benchmark stock index has plunged 22 percent since reaching a year-high on April 2, the day after Buhari was declared the winner of the presidential race against incumbent Goodluck Jonathan. That’s the third-worst performance globally in the period, after the bourses in Ukraine and Egypt. The index advanced 12.5 percent in the two days after Jonathan conceded.

Buhari . NSE . Nigerian stocks roll down. Bloomberg

To be sure, Buhari inherited depleted government coffers and a bureaucracy that multiple probes have blamed for looting billions of dollars of oil revenue. The president has said he delayed appointing ministers because he needed time to vet suitable candidates.

Garba Shehu, a spokesman for Buhari, didn’t immediately respond to written questions after requesting they be sent that way.

The hiatus has compounded the pain caused by the slide in the price of crude, which accounts for two-thirds of government revenue and 90 percent of export earnings. Growth, which averaged 6.3 percent annually over the past decade, is set to slow to a 16-year low of 3.3 percent this year, according to the median estimate of 15 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Many filling stations ran dry this month as the government withheld fuel subsidies to suppliers, preventing them from restocking. Lengthening lines forced Buhari to ask lawmakers for permission to pay 413 billion naira ($2 billion) in overdue payments, an amount that hadn’t been budgeted for.

While next year’s budget has yet to be finalized, Buhari wants to raise spending by 56 percent, according to a person who attended a briefing on the government’s plans and asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the government plans to spend its way out of a slowing economy and that an infrastructure fund will be created with public and private financing.

Buhari . Nigeria's economy slumps. Bloomberg

The penalty imposed on MTN’s Nigeria unit last month for failing to register about 5 million subscribers may be an attempt to plug the hole in government finances, according to Cobus de Hart, an economist at NKC Independent Economists.

“You cannot deny there might be a fiscal element to the massive fine,” he said by phone from Paarl, near Cape Town. “It will make investors a little bit more wary of investing in Nigeria.”

An even bigger concern for many investors is the authorities’ naira policy. The Central Bank of Nigeria, with Buhari’s backing, has burned through $4.3 billion of reserves this year and choked off supply of foreign exchange to banks and their customers to defend the naira, even as major oil exporters such as Russia and Colombia have let their currencies slide. The restrictions prompted JPMorgan Chase & Co. to remove Nigeria from its local-currency emerging-market bond indexes, tracked by more than $200 billion of funds, in September, triggering a selloff in the nations’ assets.

While the naira has been all but fixed at about 198 to 199 per dollar since March, forward prices suggest it will drop by almost one-fifth, to 243.5, in a year.

Buhari . Nigeria's stranglehold on the Naira. Bloomberg

“The number-one issue is the exchange rate,” Andrew Howell, a Citigroup Inc. frontier markets strategist, said from Lagos. ”Access to foreign exchange is becoming a widespread problem.”

Nigerian Breweries Plc, the nation’s biggest brewer that’s controlled by Heineken NV, said it takes two weeks to obtain dollars to pay for its imports, twice as long as it required a few months ago. Nestle SA’s Nigerian unit has had to wait six weeks for dollars, according to Renaissance Capital Ltd. analysts.

“We have had an underweight position in Nigeria since before the election,” Johan Steyn, a fund manager at Prescient Investment Management in Cape Town, said by phone. “Until we see the depreciation of the naira toward a more sustainable level, we are hesitant to add to that position.”

Buhari has won plaudits from leaders including President Barack Obama for his efforts to tackle graft. He replaced the management of the state oil company, which was accused of withholding billions of dollars from the government, and has stepped up the fight against an insurgency being waged by Islamist group Boko Haram.

“The degree of transparency we’re starting to get with the new administration is hugely positive,” Douglas Rowlings, an analyst at Moody’s Investors Service, said in an interview in Lagos. “It gives investors the perception that operating in Nigeria will now be done following proper procedures.”

Jan Dehn, head of research at Ashmore Group Plc, which oversees almost $60 billion of emerging market assets, remains unconvinced that Buhari is up to the job. The fund manager sold all its Nigerian government debt in the past year.

“So far the Buhari administration has done all the wrong things,” Dehn said by phone from London. “Not only has he been incredibly slow in taking any action, when he finally has taken action on the economic front it’s been diametrically opposed to sensible policy. That is a major disappointment given expectations prior to his election.”




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