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NCC bars mobile operators from VASA, unveils framework

ITREALMS : The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given ‘I am ready’ sound to license the Value Added Service Aggregator (VA...

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

NCC bars mobile operators from VASA, unveils framework

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given ‘I am ready’ sound to license the Value Added Service Aggregator (VASA) in the country, but barred Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), among others, from the exercise, reports ITRealms.

Also barred from participation in the forthcoming license regime include the Value Added Service (VAS) Content providers, (using Short Code), and VAS Special Numbering Service Licensees.

These, NCC declared, “are NOT eligible to apply for the VAS Aggregator license.”

This is coming as the Commission has unveiled its VASA license framework.
Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Tony Ojobo, confirmed to ITRealms that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has developed a Value Added Service (VAS) Aggregator License Framework.

NCC also beckons on interested members of the public and corporate organizations to accordingly send their applications to the Commission's Headquarters in Abuja.

According to him, applicants should note that “Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Value Added Service (VAS) Content (using Short Code) and VAS (Special Numbering Service) Licensees “are NOT eligible to apply for the VAS Aggregator license.”

In addition, he said, content developers are to register with the Commission to enable integration into the Value Added Service (VAS) value chain made up of: Content Developer ⇒ Content Service Provider ⇒ VAS Aggregator ⇒ Mobile Network Operator.

Further, he said, applicants must download the Individual License Application Form from the Commission website, fill and return in triplicate.

Upon submission you are required to pay ₦1,000.00 for the form and 5 per cent of the licence fee of ₦10,000,000.00 being ₦500,000.00 as a non-refundable administrative charges.

Ojobo urged applicants to reach out to NCC website for the VAS Aggregator License Framework for guidance.

NCC emphasized that submission of application by prospective VAS Aggregator Licensees must be within two (2) weeks from the date of this publication, dated December 4, 2017, stressing that all applications submitted after the deadline will not be entertained.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Mining infraction: Dangote to pay N2.7bn

A Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja, Kogi State Capital has ordered Dangote Group, Dangote Cement Plc, Obajana Cement Plc, Dangote Industries and their subsidiaries in a judgement against them, to pay the sum of N2,697,125,000 billion in a mining dispute brought against Dangote by a mining firm, Quest Two Enterprises Ltd, reports ITRealms.

In his judgment, the trial judge Justice Ayua of the Federal High Court, Lokoja averred that the Dangote General Manager, Mr. Victor Mohan, who was also the sole witness admitted under cross-examination that his employers, Dangote Group, effectively shut down operations of the company by dismantling power lines belonging to the company and disrupting their operations. Despite agreeing to pay compensation for these acts to the plaintiffs, the judge also noted that the defendants failed to live up to the terms of the agreement to pay any compensation to the plaintiffs.

The court also dismissed Dangote’s counter-claims that the actions of the plaintiff amounted to trespassing on their mining lease area. He consequently declared that Dangote should pay the sum N2.7billion as damages and issued a Garnishee order Nisi against 21 banks to satisfy the judgment debt.

This new development comes as Dangote is fiercely battling another mining dispute with cement giant, BUA Cement, in which the Chairman of BUA recently wrote an open letter to the President claiming that Dangote in collaboration with the Ministry of Mines & steel illegally entered its Mining areas with a view to disrupting and sabotaging operations at BUA’s Okpella cement plant despite a court order restraining Dangote and the Ministry from claiming and or moving to the site. The cases comes up for hearing shortly at the Federal High Court in Benin.

Ayo Midele/ED, Ops

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Pix: Alhaji Aluko Dangote, Chairman, Dangote group

How not to import poverty by Okeremi

The Managing Director of the Precise Financial Systems (PFS), Dr. Yele Okeremi has described the kind of partnership between the Federal Government and PFS as a way on how not to import poverty into the country, reports ITRealms.

PFS, ITRealms recalls is the software house behind the National Automated Clearing System (NACS), which facilitates all the Deposit Money Banks in the country to clear cheques within hours and has test-ran the infrastructure for 11 weeks and a total of N5 trillion  worth of cheques from 10 million transactions.

Speaking on the heels of the recent official launch of NACS in Lagos, Okeremi said that whenever Nigerian government request foreigners to do what local companies could have done for the country, “we export prosperity and import poverty.”

He also highlighted the national and sovereign security issues involved in such foreign preference over jobs locals could do.

Okeremi pointed out that no developed country would allow foreigners to have access to certain critical infrastructure in their countries.

“So why do we keep exposing our country to such sovereign risks. I think the fact that NIBSS has led the way in this direction, I expect other organizations to follow suit” he decried.

PFS boss maintained that the Nigerian economy would benefit immensely from the new solution because it is “conceived and developed by Nigerians thereby saving some capital flight for the country”.

He posited that what PFS has given the country is an infrastructure.

“It is a switch. It can switch anything. I look forward to when that infrastructure can be used for other transactions. When a country talks about independent, sovereignty, these are some of the things that matter. How much of your services are internal to you? Are you breathing through the nose of other countries and you claim you are independent? These are some of the things that make one happy and we can say that Nigeria’s problems are being gradually solved. There is a big road ahead,” Okeremi emphasized.

Also speaking, the Head, Domestic Payments and Collections, Union Bank, Mr. Kolawole Aminu, described the new platform as user-friendly.

“Over N5trn that has been processed on the new platform just within 11 weeks; We’re talking of over 10m in terms of the volume of cheques. That tells you how much we do with this mode of payment,” he said.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Enjoy Showmax till January on DStv

The DStv Premium customers in the country, now have access to Showmax at no extra cost until January, 2018, courtesy, MultiChoice Nigeria, reports ITRealms.

Showmax, ITRealms gathered is an internet-based subscription video on demand service (SVOD) with an extensive catalogue of top notch blockbuster movies and TV shows, whereas this special offer commenced since 29 November, 2017 and would end on 7 January, 2018.

Reassuring on business commitment to technological innovation, the General Manger Marketing and Sales, MultiChoice Nigeria, Martin Mabutho said, the value added service is the one-stop shop that aggregates the best content from around the world.

“Our mission has always been to be at the forefront of digital and technological innovation and stay in line with global trends by providing our customers with the latest technologies. Showmax provides customers access to the latest movies and series at their fingertips’’ Mabutho said.

In addition, he explained that customers could sign up by logging on to the self-service platform.

Showmax subscription, he said, allows customers to watch on two devices simultaneously on up to five registered devices.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Cerebral Harmattan of African state

If you live and work in my side of Africa, as in the wild wild West, you know what time of day it is. The Harmattan has arrived, as in very fine particles of dust blown by an easterly/north-easterly wind from the Sahel. It will hover in a gritty daze, for weeks (usually between December and February but with global warming and climate change ....) over everything.

Extreme weather - wintry storms, freezing fog patches and a blitz of amber weather warnings - in former colonial Britain, the advent of the Christmas season and cheap airfares. Means the cousins, nieces, nephews and their friends from the Diaspora, those who have papers and can travel without imminent fear of Mr. Trump's dawn immigration tweets or a sudden turn in the Brexit negotiations, will soon invade Ghana. Adding further to the traffic, the noise and the stress.

The top ten performing currencies on this continent at some point in 2017, were: the Egyptian Pound; the Eritrean Nakffa; South Africa's Rand; Botswana's Pula; the Moroccan Dirham; Zambia's Kwacha, the Sudanese Pound, Ghana's Cedi (you know?!!), Tunisia's Dinar and the Libyan Dinar. In Accra, for the duration of the dizzy season, the exchange rate for pounds, dollars, euro, anything of value, except of course African currencies, many of which you can't give away even as a joke, will fluctuate.

Fortunately, the Diasporans have no staying power, they will depart by the second week of January 2018, weighed down by the double effects of our national diet of complex carbohydrates - kenkey, banku, brodi, apem, banku, akple, tuozaafi - and the pyramid of debt that comes from the onslaught of cousin/auntie/uncle coming to 'greet. Cynical Ahasporans like me will apply shea butter to our parched skins and lips, with a wry smile. This harmattan too shall pass.


I also have a soft spot for older men. They do have to be gentlemen, in possession of bifocal glasses, their own teeth, able to move freely, arthritis can be managed. Said older man must be non violent. Physically as well as in publicly expressed thought. Lest my position hardens.

An older man worthy of a second look, is the Speaker of the 7th Parliament of Ghana's Fourth Republic, Professor Aaron Mike Ocquaye. We are co equals, only, in terms of our abbreviated physical height. Whilst I am probably taller, the Right Honourable Ocquaye's resume is much more impressive.

A former Member (twice) of Parliament for Dome-Kwabenya - a constituency in Accra - , he was elected the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament (2009 - 2013), served as Ghana's former High Commissioner to India (2001 - 2004) and was Minister of Energy, briefly, then Minister of Communications (2006-2009). Mr. Speaker is also a lawyer and an author who has published severally on matters politics and human rights. I am unreliably informed, that he has recently added ordained clergy to his towering list of accomplishments.

When our cerebral Right Honourable Speaker took the Oath of Office on January 7th 2017, he stated publicly "I need to remind the new MPs that the highly procedural nature of Parliament calls for an equally high level of commitment to the rules and procedures of the institution. Serious learning will therefore have to be undertaken to sharpen your competencies in order to function optimally." Polite speak for 'grow up, get a grip and get on with it'.

I could commend and comment on how happily I received the speed with which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs publicly clapped back and shut down the Right Honourable Ocquaye for granting a recent interview during which he apparently unilaterally, welcomed the singular decision of US President Donald Trump, recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I will not.

As I offered, I have a spot, it is hardening, quickly though, for a certain type of older man. Especially when he needs serious learning to sharpen his competencies in not projecting his personal opinion in a way that is not optimal and can publicly undermine the functioning official government position. Our Embassy will stay in Tel Aviv, as will the Embassies of the European Union. And Russia.

Democracy is Tiring and Required

Another older man who warrants a 'no you did not' is Tanzania's President John Pombe Joseph Magafuli, note he has two biblical names. A former Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, a former Minister of Lands and Human Settlement, he too was a Member of Parliament. Character is like pregnancy, it will always out.

As President, Magafuli has made a maverick name for himself by defying the odds. This is the man who banned luxe public celebrations of national holidays including his inauguration, this is the man who walked into a government hospital, found victim citizens prostrate on the floor and apparently issued firing letters to the absent senior management. Magafuli has also recently pardoned a number of prisoners, including a father and son convicted of raping 10 school girls. In June 2017, Magafuli also spoke publicly in support of a ban on pregnant girls from attending school.

I will not say something about this older bespectacled African leader as well. What I will do is present comments attributed to the Director of an Arusha based civil society organisation, Community for Children's Rights. Ms Kate McAlpine has been quoted as saying President Magafuli's pardon of the 2 pedophiles, demonstrates his "lack of understanding of violence against children." She is also quoted in the same report as stating "he has a blind spot when it comes to recognising children as victims."

Welcome to the Harmattan, the impending invasion of the Diasporans and a word to men of a certain vintage in paid public office. Older and acting up in public is undignified, unwelcome, unjust and can be dangerous. Careful, Grandpa. Dinosaurs are extinct for a reason. They failed to read the tea leaves and the weather. You could end up in Serbia.
Courtesy: Nana Yaa Ofori Atta who contributed this from Accra, Ghana. NanaYOforiAtta@gmail.com

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Why MTN is supporting NCC Tennis League - Okigbo

Leading mobile operator in the country, the MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, has opened up on why its solidly supporting the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Tennis League, reports ITRealms.

Disclosing this on Sunday at the grand finale of the 2017 NCC Tennis League at Onikan-Lagos, the Corporate Service Executive, Mr. Tobechukwu Okigbo, said that it makes a lot of sense.

In a chat with newsmen at the venue of the event, soon after presenting the star prize to Team Civil Defence, Okigbo said that the mobile operator envelopment in the league aligns with the company corporate goal, which centres on adding value and youth’s talent development programme of MTN in the country.

“We like supporting value addition projects. In this case (NCC Tennis Cup League). We saw what NCC is doing and it makes a lot of sense to be part of it,” he declared.
MTN, he further said, saw the Tennis league as an occasion to support striving young Nigerians, especially in developing their skills and talents.
Chuks Egbune/GEE
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NIBSS, PFS join forces on innovation, unveil NACS

The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) and Precise Financial Systems (PFS) have joined forces to unveil a new National Automated Clearing System (NACS), which allows all the Deposit Money Banks in the country to clear cheques within hours, reports ITRealms.

The banks, ITRealms gathered, have been test-running the infrastructure for 11 weeks and a total of N5 trillion  worth of cheques from 10 million transactions has been processed through the new platform.

At the post go-live session in Lagos with representatives of the banks, Managing Director of NIBSS, Mr. Ade Shonubi, explained that the institution had been on the project for over 18 months. He added that the infrastructure would allow all the banks to achieve several payment and non-payment transactions.

NIBSS’ boss said that as at today there are four clearing sessions. According to him, the advantage of having multiple clearing sessions was that the net amount against each bank is smaller so that risks are managed.

“With the new system, a cheque can be cleared within six hours, four hour or at whatever duration we agree”, he said.

The Managing Director of PFS, the software firm behind NACS, Dr. Yele Okeremi at the session said the process of clearing cheques in all Nigerian banks has been simplified with the launch of NACS and that the successful completion of the project has the door for more Nigerian firms to take on more national challenges.

Okeremi commended the collaborative effort that exists between NIBSS and PFS, saying that the partnership has given birth to the new system that “allows bank customers to experience the benefits of shorter cheque clearing cycles, as it reduces operational cost of the banks because the clearing departments of the bank can work smarter and close earlier”.

Expatiating on the reasons for the innovation, he said NIBSS needed a future proof system that would help the institution to realize its vision of a faster and more efficient clearing system that would be less resource intensive and accommodate various new requirements and practices in the clearing system.

“NIBSS wanted a system that can be incorporated with the Bank Verification Number [BVN]. They also wanted a situation where they would have a session-less system that would always be online such that banks could transmit their transactions as soon as they happen rather than a batch system that opens up at specific times and closes after stipulated time frames”, he said.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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2019 ticket: Asiwaju insists, APC should not mimic PDP

The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has reiterated his earlier call that the party should not mimic the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in nomination and choice of presidential flagbearer come 2019, reports ITRealms.

Making this clarification on the reported misrepresentation attributed to him by Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, Asiwaju said he never underrated the importance of governors in the party’s nomination process and explained that what he said in that encounter with journalists in Akure “and still canvasses is that the APC should not mimic the PDP’s penchant for short-circuiting internal democracy by promoting the idea of an automatic ticket.”

Governor Okorocha had said that all the APC Governors had endorsed President Buhari for re-election, thus implying the governors had given the president an automatic ticket for 2019.

Responding to the issue after a meeting with Afenifere Leader, Pa Fasoranti in Akure, Asiwaju Tinubu said such was strange to the party and that President Buhari is a man who believes in due process.

The Imo State Governor, however, interpreted that to mean a slight on the party’s governors. Speaking with journalists in the same Akure after he received an honourary doctorate degree at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State on Saturday, he said his own statement referred to the party’s governors and that Asiwaju was crying more than the bereaved.

Clarifying Asiwaju’s statement in a press statement last night in Lagos, his Media Adviser, Mr. Tunde Rahman, said: “We note Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha’s statement. It is important that the record of what Asiwaju Tinubu said when approached by journalists during his last visit to Akure is accurate. Thus, I make this statement in the hope of clarifying a misinterpretation that seems to have taken hold in some quarters.

“I was at the interview session.  Asiwaju never said anything that could be interpreted as meaning or even implying the governors are irrelevant or insignificant to the party’s nomination process. As a former governor and a leading statesman within the party, such words would never come from him.

Moreover, Asiwaju is a democrat who believes that the open and democratic processes of the APC, which led to the nomination of President Buhari in the first instance, have served the party well and has helped distinguish APC from PDP and other parties where fairness and internal democracy are rare commodities.

“Every individual has a right to endorse or support a candidate of his choosing. What Asiwaju said at that encounter and still canvasses is that the APCshould not mimic the PDP’s penchant for short-circuiting internal democracy by promoting the idea of an automatic ticket. The exercise of internal democracy and honoring the letter and spirit of party rules can only strengthen the party and enthuse its members. 

“APC’s all-inclusive philosophy was not devised today. It had been with the party since its creation.

It was this spirit, which we believe, attracted fellow progressives and those who genuinely believe in democracy in all of its aspects to the party. Asiwaju includes Governor Okorocha in this group.

“The APC Governors are essential and important voices in the party. Asiwaju values and respects each one of them and gives their individual and collective opinions much weight. Yet, in the exercise of our opinions and support for candidates, we all must be guided and never lose clear sight to the democratic ideals that separate the APC from the other parties. We must maintain the integrity of the processes no matter how clear-cut a decision or an outcome may seem to be. With regard to democracy, the process is of equal import as the outcome itself.

“This is the essence of what Asiwaju said that day in Akure. He merely asked APC members to adhere to the democratic path that thus far has served the party so well. There can be no true dispute with such a sentiment”.

Ayo Midele/GEE

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Monday, December 11, 2017

MainOne, Tizeti partner Facebook to give access to 13 Lagos Mainland suburbs

The leading connectivity and data center solutions provider, MainOne and Tizeti have concluded collaboration with Facebook to enable the expansion of internet services in some 13 Lagos Mainland suburbs, reports ITRealms.

This, ITRealms gathered would make Internet service accessible across Lagos Mainland including Ajao Estate, Surulere, Ikeja, Omole, Magodo, Gbagada, Oworonshoki, Bariga, Anthony Village, Ogudu, Ojota, Ketu and Alapere.

Also, the partnership will leverage MainOne’s fiber connectivity, Tizeti’s twenty brand-new solar-powered towers, and Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi; resulting in internet services will be more accessible across aforementioned parts of Lagos Mainland.

Chief Executive Officer, Tizeti, Kendall Ananyi, said, “Access to fast and reliable unlimited Wi-Fi connectivity has been a problem for most Nigerian residential customers and small businesses for too long. This partnership aims to demonstrate a sustainable and cost-effective solution to the under-served areas of Lagos State through our solar-powered, always-on Wi-Fi towers, and robust internet bandwidth from MainOne.”

Tizeti has built and will operate the solar-powered Wi-Fi Towers across Lagos while MainOne will provide multiple Gbps internet bandwidth to the outdoor towers via a mix of fiber-optic and microwave backhaul connections. This internet service will be delivered to end users via Wi-Fi, including via Express Wi-Fi hotspots deployed by Tizeti in Lagos. This partnership supports the three partners’ shared goal of connecting more people to high quality internet services in the most cost-effective way.

MainOne’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Funke Opeke, lauded Tizeti and Facebook’s commitment to improving the quality and lowering costs of Internet services in Lagos. 

“This project leverages our Internet capacity, investment in terrestrial fiber-optic infrastructure and points of presence for service delivery across Lagos State. We’re committed to improving the quality of access and accelerating the digital transformation of small businesses,” Opeke said.

Equally speaking, Ibrahima Ba, Facebook Connectivity Programs, said, "We are committed to working with partners across Africa and elsewhere to support connectivity initiatives and develop better internet infrastructure in communities that lack reliable and affordable access."

Nonye Dom/GEE

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'I foresee youths, as key to corruption-free Nigeria'

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has rallied Nigerian youths to be in the vanguard of the fight against corruption, saying unbridled corruption is robbing the youths of their future, reports ITRealms.

Speaking at the launch of the Creative Youth Initiative Against Corruption (CYIAC) in Lagos on Saturday, the Minister was quoted by the Special Assistant (SA) Segun Adeyemi, as saying, there is no better way to tackle the menace of corruption than to involve the youth, who are the leaders of tomorrow.

He said the fight against corruption would be more effective if the youths are involved, especially because they constitute the largest chunk of the country's population, ''which means that they represent a critical mass that can be effectively leveraged to fight corruption''.

''If we can enlist the support of the Nigerian youth in the fight against corruption, our dream of a corruption-free Nigeria can become a reality. If the youth can be adequately sensitized to the dangers posed to their future by corruption, they will need little or no prodding to take on the corrupt in our society,'' Alhaji Mohammed said.

The Minister said no group of Nigerians suffer more from the consequences of corruption than the youth.

''The resources that would have been invested to develop our youths have been stolen over the years. Thousands of youths who graduate from the University and other institutions of higher learning are roaming the streets due to lack of jobs that would have been created, had the resources not been stolen. The infrastructure needed by youths to give vent to their creativity, either in the creative industry or in other areas of human endeavour, are not there, because funds allocated to build such infrastructure have been stolen by fat cats,'' he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said the Buhari Administration is vigorously fighting corruption and it is winning, giving as instances the 25 billion Naira being saved monthly by cutting unnecessary allowances of officials, the stoppage in the payment of phantom subsidy of between 800 billion and 1.3 trillion Naira annually, the recovery at least 43 million dollars and 56 houses from just one former government official, the recovery of 2.9 billion dollars from looters so far, the recovery of 151 million dollars and N8 billion in looted funds from just three sources through the Whistle-Blower policy and the elimination of thousands of ghost workers, we has saved 120 billion Naira.

He lauded the Creative Youth Initiative Against Corruption and pledged to support its corruption-busting campaign through adequate publicity.

The event was attended by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who gave the keynote address, and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, among other dignitaries.

Uj. N. Dom/GEE

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NCC Tennis League 2017: Team Civil Defence emerges overall winner, goes home with N7m prize

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) team, otherwise known as Team Civil Defence on Sunday emerged the overall winner of the NigerianCommunications Commission (NCC) Tennis Cup 2017 league, after smashing Team Muller, reports ITRealms.
The Team Civil Defence also went home with the star prize of N7million, after defeating Team Muller 4-0, at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan-Lagos, forcing the last year winners, Team Offikwu, to the third place which attracts N3m prize, whereas Team Ndoma-Egba made it to fourth place and went home with N2m.
In his address to the grand finale with special tribute to late first vice president of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, expressed delight as the host of the distinguished Tennis league, stressing that the impact the tournament has made in the Nigerian tennis circuit excites the commission, mostly in youth engagement and sports development.
“We are proud to have used this opportunity to engage a number of Nigerian youth in very fruitful and engaging enterprise with a bright future outlook. We are even prouder to have taken quality tennis to different locations in the country and to see the players improving by the day due to the regular competitions the league offers” he said.
Represented at the occasion by the Director, Research and Development Department at NCC, Mrs. Abigail Sholanke, the EVC noted that some young Nigerians who were part of the tennis league had gotten scholarships and sponsorships to tennis academics abroad where they will further their studies and their professional tennis careers.
“I am glad that the cream of the best and promising Nigerian female and male players are all participating in the league and that a good number of them are now ranked on the ATP Tour. These are some of our expectations and we hope that the players will take full advantage of this NCC Tennis League Cup to excel” Danbatta said.

ITRealms gathered that dignitaries at the grand finale include the newly appointed Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr Kweku Tandoh; Chairman, Ikoyi Club 1938, Mr. Tunde Akinleye; President, Nigeria Aquatics Federation, Mr. Babatunde Fatayi-Williams, Team Manager, Team VGC Lions, Mrs. Temi Nziri,  Corporate Services Executive at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Tobe Okigbo, Head, Public Relations at NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, to name but a few.

Bayo Banji/GEE

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2019: There’s plan to replicate New Jersey model campaign in Nigeria – Chief Charles Eke

Leading light of the four Nigerians of Igbo extraction recently appointed into the transition team by the New Jersey-elected governor, Mr. Phil Murphy, is Honourable Chief CharlesUgochukwu Eke, who is a Computer Engineer by profession, having graduated from both the Clarion University of Pennsylvania and New Jersey City University. Eke who is the founder/Chief Executive Officer, Infotech Systems, and founder of Ngor-Okpala Progressive Organization (NOPO) for the Tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), told award-winning Editor, ITRealms Online, REMMY NWEKE, of plans to replicate New Jersey model campaign in 2019 general elections in Nigeria.
ITRealms: Give us your background for the benefit of our readers?

CUE: I am a high Chief Ochiri and Ogbuhuru Uzo and member of Knight of Columbus. I am an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) practitioner and politician, resident in United States. I started my career at EDS and later IBM. With the many years in the industry, I began my own firm, as the founder and Chief Executive Officer, Infotech Systems, which was founded in the city of Plainfield in 1995; we began providing communications, networking, and hardware, and software solutions to businesses.

As a result of the success, I was named delegate of the Commonwealth Business Forum in Abuja Nigeria and was inducted by the Who's who in Information Technology, New York, New York, since 1997. I was also an elected member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), as a Business Professional which also earned me much recognition in 1998, climaxing in the most prominent award which was the United States Congressional Order of Merit.

I have been a leading member in many organizations and for the outstanding community service to the public, I founded the International Students Association (ISA), located in New Jersey City University as an undergraduate; founded the Ngor-Okpala Progressive Organization (NOPO) for the Tri-state area.

I was named into the Board of Trustees of Zik Foundational Society USA (in honor of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Founding Father of Independent Nigeria) and have contributed as member and citizen of Plainfield, in various offices through the City of Plainfield, including the Plainfield Municipal Utility Authority, Councilman-at-Large, Committee Member Heritage/Cultural Commission, City Planning Board of Commissioners, African Caribbean Commission, Obama Organizing Fellow/Deputy Field Organizer in 2008.

ITRealms: Congratulations on your recent appointment by Governor-elect of New Jersey, Mr. Phil Murphy. Can you share some insights with us on that development?

I became a member of Team Murphy for Governor campaign through Rev Derrick Green who hired me and with Phil Murphy who supported my vision to start Africans for Phil Murphy which today played a great roll in mobilizing Africans and Caribbean that contributed greatly in victory of the governor elect.

I gave my best to the campaign for 18-month none pay crisscrossing New Jersey, organizing and campaigning for the candidate Murphy. I became a family member welcomed by him and that ushered in the four appointments and more to come.

ITRealms: I understand there were some other Nigerians also appointed by Gov. Murphy alongside your humble self. Who are those and what's your relationship with them?

CU Eke: Dr. Obilor Iwuozo is a medical doctor and was with me and contributed greatly. Always there whenever I need him; Dr. Francis Owoh is environmental engineer who answered my call for help when the candidate was not popular last year and he stayed with me till this day.

For, Chief Sir Polly Ubah, when I approached him, he provided his daycare business for a policy study and public outreach. He and his wife went to all rallies and canvassed with us. He brings education to early childhood to the public.

So in all, there are “Chief Sir Polly Ubah to serve in Education, Access and Opportunity; Chief Charles Ugo Eke in Government, Technology and Innovation; Chief Dr. Francis Owoh to serve in Environment and Energy; and Chief Dr. Iwuozo Obilor to serve in Health.”

ITRealms: How do you describe your relationship with residence of New Jersey in the United States to merit such appointment?

CU Eke: There are other African countries that made up Africans for Phil Murphy group and all hard works are appreciated and will be rewarded. Today in New Jersey we have made known to the citizens of New Jersey that if given chance and opportunities we can deliver victory. I rose to senior coordinator in the campaign and have helped bring victory to couple other elections in New Jersey. The zeal and exposures are very high in New Jersey.

ITRealms: With your experience, what would you say led to such inroad by Africans and particularly by Nigerians in the city politics in the US?

CU Eke: Persistent, patient, total loyalty and honest. I started in USA politics in 1995, contested first level in 1998 and won in my city, then served my term and in 2002 became commissioner two terms then in 2012 became citywide councilman at large completing a term, 2015 became county committee member and 2016 joined Murphy for Governor campaign.

ITRealms: Now that you have been appointed into Gov. Murphy administration, what can you share as your agenda to support the administration, moving forward?

CU Eke: We are currently in transition and I know we will do our best going forward.

ITRealms: The Trump administration is still struggling with the anti-migration policies. Do you think that has any impact on US relationship with Africa or Africans?

CU Eke: I don't think so and it should not remember state can have bilateral relationships between countries.

ITRealms: And by the way, which party is Gov. Murphy Or is he an independent candidate?

CU Eke: Murphy is a Democrat.

ITRealms: Where do you see Africans in the next decade in US politics, especially in New Jersey?

CU Eke: Mayors, Senators and leading politically and scientifically.

ITRealms: Do you foresee Africans contesting for Governorship in New Jersey?

CU Eke: Absolutely yes, before 10 years.

ITRealms: What impact do you think the appointments of Africans cum Nigerians by Gov. Murphy sends to other states in the United States and invariably to Africans too?

CU Eke: It's a great wake up call to other states and Africans in general and thanks to Rev. Derrick Green for his vision in bringing me into the campaign that started all these effects. I know other states are in a process of utilizing Africans brains to achieve victory.

ITRealms: Are you concerned about what is happening in Nigeria and her politics?

CU Eke: I am very concerned that people’s voices are not heard. I have been approached to bring this type of campaign to run election in 2019. Still thinking about it.

ITRealms: Are you considering playing in the Nigerian politics, at least to bring your experience to bear?

CU Eke:  At a right time, yes! I am not interested in running for any office, but to manage.

ITRealms: What message do you have for Africans and Nigerians precisely residing in United States?

CU Eke: Nigeria is my country as well as United States. I graciously thank United States of America for harnessing my potential and opportunities afforded me. Nigeria must trust the brain lost and find a way to regain it. Malaysia and India was able to develop because they used their citizens abroad with honest; why can't Nigeria?

ITRealms: Any concluding comment or message from you, sir?

CU Eke: I want to thank all that called text and sent in uncountable congratulatory messages and especially my director Rev Derrick Green and entire team Murphy and Africans for Phil Murphy. My wife who supported me throughout the hardest campaigns I have ever involved in. Thanks Odiuko namba.

ITRealms: Thanks for your time, Chief and congratulations again.

CU Eke: Thanks for having me!

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Ojobo bags NIPR Presidential award

The spokesman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Tony Ojobo, has been selected as receipient of the 2017 Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) Presidential Award, reports ITRealms.

Affirming the conferment of this prestigious award, NIPR President and Chairman of Council, Dr. Rotimi Oladele said the award is given “in recognition of your sterling leadership qualities, outstanding contributions towards the development of the Public Relations practice and support for industry advancement.”

ITRealms gathered that the award ceremony will climax the yearly Presidential Dinner billed for Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, on Thursday.

Describing Ojobo as the iconic Director, Public Affairs at the NCC, who has brought finesse and vitality to professionalism in his day to day handling of issues in Nigeria’s fastest growing sector, “telecommunication and information technology commenting and communicating in everyday language in the public as matters arise.”

ITRealms recalls that a few weeks ago, Ojobo was honoured by his alma mater the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), with an award of Excellence at a ceremony tagged Alumni Home coming and 32nd Anniversary celebration of the Faculty of Management of the University.

The Faculty Board in its notification to Ojobo said they “proudly took the decision to bestow the award on you in cognizance of your remarkable achievements in life, especially in your chosen career as a renowned technocrat and public servant, hence the award of excellence”.

Doris Minimah/GEE

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