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TETFund joins ‘FOI Hall of Shame’ says MRA

ITREALMS : The   Media RightsAgenda (MRA) has inducted the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) into its Freedom of Information (F...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

TETFund joins ‘FOI Hall of Shame’ says MRA

The Media RightsAgenda (MRA) has inducted the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) into its Freedom of Information (FOI) Hall of Shame, reports ITRealms.
MRA also said the induction is for the institutional failure on the part of TETFund to comply with its duties and obligations under the FOI Act, 2011 and its repeated refusal to honour numerous applications for information made to it under the Act by several organizations over the last six years.
ITRealms gathered that TETFund selection into the FOI Hall of Shame, according to MRA’s Programme Officer, Mr. Idowu Adewale, was based on TETFund consistency on exhibition of an inexplicable disregard for the rights of citizens to seek and obtain information from public institutions while also demonstrating a near absolute contempt for the Law.
Adewale said, multiple requests made by various non-governmental organizations to TETFund were either completely ignored without even an acknowledgment, contrary to the provisions of the FOI Act, or where it responded at all, it refused to provide any of the requested information or, as it did on one occasion, provided only part of the information sought.
Describing its attitude as a complete breach of the institution’s obligations under the FOI Act, Mr. Adewale said: “In its short years of existence, TETFund has consistently exhibited an inexcusable intolerance for the rights of citizens and civic groups to hold public institutions accountable in accordance with the FOI Act while at the same time betraying an unmistakable disdain for the duties imposed on it by Law.”
TETFund was established by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Establishment, etc) Act of 2011 as an intervention agency charged with managing, disbursing and monitoring the education tax to public tertiary institutions in Nigeria. To enable TETFund achieve these objectives, the TETFund Act, 2011 imposed a two percent Education Tax on the assessable profit of all registered companies in Nigeria.
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is empowered by the TETFund Act to assess and collect the Education Tax while TETFund administers the tax and disburses various amounts to tertiary educational institutions at Federal and State levels. It also monitors the projects executed with the funds allocated to the beneficiary institutions.
The mandate of the Fund, as provided in Section 7(1)(a) to (e) of the TETFund Act, is to administer and disburse the amount in the Fund to Federal and State tertiary educational institutions and ensure that funds generated from education tax are utilized to improve the quality of education in Nigeria without direct contract awarding.
Adewale noted that “TETFund is uniquely positioned to have begun operations on the right footing, having been established the same year the FOI Act was passed. The institution, unlike many other public institutions, had the opportunity to kick off its operations by implementing the FOI Act which would have gone a long way to ensure transparency and accessibility to citizens as well as the proper keeping and management of its records. Instead, TETFund which ought to have submitted six annual reports to the Attorney-General of the Federation on its implementation of the Act since it was passed into law in 2011, has not submitted a single report.”
He said as a result of the failure of the body to submit its annual implementation reports over the last six years, vital statistical information which the reports are supposed to provide to the public, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the relevant committees of the National Assembly are not available, including information which would have shown how many requests for information the institution has received annually since 2011, how many of these it has processed and granted and how many of the requests it denied each year, among others.
Mr. Adewale said, however, that information obtained from various organizations that have submitted FOI requests to TETFund reveal its poor level of responsiveness to such requests.
For instance, BudgIT, a civic organization based in Lagos, wrote to TETFund in January 2017 pursuant to the FOI Act, seeking information on TETFund’s total cash inflow for 2014 and 2015  as well as a list of its 2014/2015 reconciled projects and the location of each of those projects, but received no response.
BudgIT sent TETFund a reminder to the request in February 2017 but the institution again not respond.  BudgIT sent another reminder to TETFund on September 25, 2017 and yet another on November 15, 2017 but still did not receive any response from the institution.
The findings of the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) in its 2017 FOI ranking of 166 public institutions based on an assessment of the levels of public access to procurement related records and information, such as information on procurement plans, procurement processes and capital expenditure, which was released on September 28, 2017, put TETFund amongst the worst performing set of institutions. TETFund did not respond to PPDC’s January 27, 2017 request for information and has not proactively published any of the procurement records and information that it is required by Law to publish proactively, despite having an active website.
Mr. Adewale pointed out that TETFund has not fulfilled its proactive disclosure obligations under Section 2 of the FOI Act as it has not published either on its website or anywhere else, the 16 categories of information that the FOI Act requires all public institutions to proactively publish and disseminate widely to members of the public through various means, including print, electronic and online sources.
According to information available from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), TETFund’s Accountant as well as two other individuals and two companies were charged before a Gombe State High Court in May, 2017, accused of various fraudulent and corrupt practices.
The trio of Auwal Ibrahim, principal accountant of TETFund in Abuja; Wali Muktar Usman, the Director of Works at the Federal College of Education in Gombe, as well as Architect Yunusa Yakubu and his companies, Lubell Nigeria Limited and Archfirst Nigeria limited, were arraigned before Justice Sa'ad Muhammad on a 17 count charge of conspiracy, contract scam, abuse of office and diversion of public funds. The accused persons were alleged to have abused their positions by awarding inflated TETFund contracts to companies in which they had interest or which belong to their cronies.  They were also accused of receiving gratification from contractors.
Mr. Adewale said it was not surprising that the institution’s staff was facing such charges, given the obvious lack of transparency in its operations, adding: “as an institution which collects, manages, monitors and disburses public funds, TETFund should understand the importance of accountability, transparency and fiscal responsibility. TETFund should therefore make the required effort to provide the public with information on its activities and operations, especially as it is obliged by law to do so, and in the face of the possibility of the involvement of its staff in such nefarious activities.”
According to Mr. Adewale, "TETFund ought to disclose information on the monies it receives from FIRS and other sources, its disbursements as well as its operations in line with its proactive disclosure obligations. It is unacceptable that the institution is refusing to disclose information, including part of other organization’s profits that it collects, manages and disburses, even when such information has been specifically requested, when the information ought to have been proactively published in the first instance without the need for anyone to make a formal request for it."
MRA endorsed BudgIT’s observation that TETFund “keeps allocating public funds to public tertiary institutions without publishing how the money was spent to the public” and echoed BudgIT question: “How transparent is TETFund when they don't publish reports of how money was spent since 2013?”
Another organization, the Human Rights Agenda Network (HRAN), which has also made an FOI request to TETFund, recently reported that the institution finally responded to it by a letter dated November 9, 2017 but which was served on the Network on Tuesday, November 15, 2017, after it had sent a reminder to TETFund in an effort to ensure that the institution was given ample opportunity to forestall legal action against it.
In response to HRAN’s request for information, TETFund disclosed its financial statements in respect of the Administration Fund Account and Project Fund Account for the years 2011 to 2014, but claimed that although its audited annual statements for 2015 and 2016 were ready, there was no existing Board of Trustees to sign and approve them.
This puts the institution’s responsiveness at best as partial. Although some of the information sought were provided, the response was far from satisfactory as TETFund failed to provide HRAN with a comprehensive list of beneficiaries of the Fund from 2011 till date, as requested by the network.
Mr. Adewale said: “This situation portrays a high level of sloppiness in the record keeping and management of TETFund and indeed a violation of Section 2(1) and (2) of the Act, which requires TETFund, as a public institution, to ensure that it records and keeps information about all its activities, operations and businesses and to similarly ensure the proper organization and maintenance of all information in its custody in a manner that facilitates public access to such information.”
MRA also accused TETFund of disregarding other aspects of the FOI Act including Section 2(3)(f), which mandates every public institution to publish the title and address of an appropriate officer to whom applications for information should be sent; and Section 13 of the Act which requires the institution to ensure the provision of appropriate training for its officials on the public’s right of access to information and for the effective implementation of the Act.
MRA stressed that TETFund’s persistent denial of requests for information was inconsistent with its role as a body which deals with public funds at such a high level. It therefore called on the institution to take necessary steps to change its negative culture and to comply with the provisions of the Act.
MRA launched the “FOI Hall of Shame” on July 3 to draw attention to public officials and institutions that are undermining the effectiveness of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 through their actions, inactions, utterances and decisions.

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Lagos to host Global Patriot anniversary lecture 2017

The centre of excellence is to host the Global Patriot anniversary lecture, on Thursday, November 23, 2017, reports ITRealms.

The Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of the online newspaper, Simon Ibe, told ITRealms that the event will hold at Four Points By Sheraton Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos from 10 am.
He also said the event will herald the x-ray by eminent personalities at the Second Anniversary Lecture cum Awards of Global Patriot Newspapers (GPN).

The programme, he said, is expected to bring to the front burner of national discourse, the connection between patriotism, which presently seems in short supply, and the need to tap the presently vastly untapped potentials of the country, including the human, solid minerals, agricultural, marine, ICT potentials, for the rapid development of the nation.

Past and present federal and state government functionaries, acclaimed pro-democracy and human rights activists, national and state assembly members, military and para-military chiefs, celebrated media personalities, clerics, among other distinguished personalities, would be present as issues surrounding the theme of the lecture, “Patriotism, Untapped Potentials and National Development,” would be thrashed out.

The event would also be used to honour some individuals and organizations, and would kick- start processes leading to the commencement of operations at the United States of America office of the organisation.

Ayo Midele/GEE 

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Democracy: Ekwueme helped Nigeria navigate critical points - Tinubu

The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has disclosed that the intellectual interventions of former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme helped Nigerian in navigating critical junctures, ITRealms.

He said this in a condolence message sent to the family of Dr. Ekwueme who died on Sunday in a London hospital at 85, through Tunde Rahman of Tinubu Media Office, made available to ITRealms in Lagos.

According to Asiwaju Tinubu, “I mourn the passing of Second Republic Vice President, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme (GCON), who died on Sunday in London at 85.

“Chief Ekwueme lived well. He also served his country well. He was a true patriot and statesman who made personal sacrifices for the unity and stability of Nigeria.

“His deep intellectual interventions often helped the country in navigating beyond critical junctures. 

“Chief Ekwueme was a team player. As Vice President, he worked well with his principal, President Shehu Shagari. He was loyal to his boss and faithful to his country.

“As he contributed to Nigeria’s stability through his interventions, he also made laudable contributions to Nigeria’s political lexicon.

“It was Chief Ekwueme who at the 1994-95 Constitutional Conference in Abuja suggested the six geo-political zones as a more realistic structure to create a more equitable system. This has stuck till date. The structure is also often cited in appointment-distribution and calculation.

“Dr. Ekwueme was a fine gentleman and a good family man.  I mourn with his family. I mourn with the government and people of Anambra State. I mourn with Nigeria, for we have all lost a patriot.

“I pray that our country be blessed with more of Dr. Ekwueme. I pray that God grant his family the strength to live with this loss and that He also grant the soul of Dr. Ekwueme eternal rest”.

Ayo midele/GEE
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16-year PDP mistake still better than APC’s 30 months of calamity - Lamido

The National Volunteers for Lamido (NVL) has declared that if 16 years of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is still far better than the All Progressive Congress (APC) 30 months of calamity under President Muhammadu Buhari, reports ITRealms.

NVL, a political support group in a press statement made available to ITRealms in Abuja, noted that whatever the PDP did, it left the scene over two years ago and that exit provided Nigerians the opportunity to gauge the standard of performance.

The National Coordinator of NVL, Umar Danjani Hadeja, insisted that “From the economy, foreign relations where an APC government has decided to make caricature of the country, its leadership and people, security, wage theft, misapplication of resources and the lack of vision at all levels. This is total disaster.”

The group also accused the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, of deliberately choosing to feed the public with falsehood and obvious inaccuracies, deliberate misinformation and even mischief bordering on denial and selective amnesia.

Reacting to Shehu’s attempted response to a recent interview granted by a former Governor of Jigawa state, Alhaji Sule Lamido, wherein he fielded questions on his presidential ambition and the state of his party, the PDP, as well as some snippets on reasoned insights on President Muhammadu Buhari's leadership style, the All Progressives Congress government and the future of Nigeria and the place of her youth.

The group particularly caricatures the Presidential Spokesperson for relishing in quackery whenever he ventures into the laborious attempts at rebuttals or rejoinders, more often with scant regard for the truth.

“Clearly, Garba's attempted response to the said Sule Lamido interview is yet  another classic example of the PR disaster and liability that he now represents for the Buhari administration. Surely, we would care less for this misfortune of an appointee of Mr. President who is fishing and scavenging desperately for ‘stuff’ that would make him look useful in a job he clearly does not know how to do. His brazen and intellectually lazy import-substitution mission for issues never raised in the interview in the effort to tar Alhaji Sule Lamido with a dirty brush is at best mischievous, unprofessional and a  damning verdict on Garba” NVL boss said.

While describing the attempt by Shehu “to tar Alhaji Sule Lamido with a dirty brush” as mischievous, unprofessional and a damning verdict on the presidential spokesman, the group also expressed concern over the feeble and failed attempt to address or “attack” the facts of the matter raised in the interview.

It took a swipe at the presidential spokesman for falsely accusing Lamido of impugning the integrity of the nation's judicial system and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission when, in actual fact “the government is itself destroying” these two institutions.

It said: “Where, for instance, did Garba see any reference to these institutions in the said interview? Did he at all read the interview or in the classic case of playing the 'Boss', lazily rely on some subordinates who supposedly drew his attention to a publication he never sighted? And as if this was not shameful enough, he brazenly proceeded to blindly issue a 'rejoinder' to a publication he apparently knew nothing about. This is a further injury to the image, integrity and ethics of the journalism profession.”

According to the group, Shehu has thrown up the poverty of the government's effort to water down any serious effort to address our national ills, adding: “His usual habit of ignoring facts was manifest in his attempt to defend his party rather than the government's confused approach to implementing the agenda it promised.”

The group said Lamido would not be deterred, distracted or cowed by the shenanigans of the likes of Shehu, stressing that as a statesman and nationalist whose sole driving impetus is improvement in the material condition of the ordinary Nigerian citizen as well as carving a place of high repute for Nigeria in the comity of nations, “Alhaji Sule Lamido is forging ahead with steely determination and singleness of purpose.

“Lamido will continue to speak truth to power and call out the APC government in all its numerous failings. No amount of name-calling, falsehood, character assassination or intimidation will do the trick. Not from Garba Shehu, not from anyone else. The APC government must shape up or ship out, or else expect the Sule Lamidos of this country and they are in the  majority now, to continue to call it out.”

Still comparing the PDP government with the current administration, the group further drew attention to what is called confusion and lies, cross messaging and open confrontation among various officials of government even while brazenly engaged in corrupt practices of various kinds as widely reported in the media.

It said: “This is worse than a calamity for a developing nation like ours. Garba should encourage the government he serves to investigate those cases instead of chasing shadows and silhouettes. If you check the markets, prices have skyrocketed. There is  unemployment, poverty and hunger, which bad effects have shot over the roofs, while some officials, including Garba, are smiling as they hide their loots from this government. These stories have become daily doses of media reportage. Time shall tell.”

Maintaining that the antecedents of everyone given opportunity of service speaks for him or her, the group contended that Lamido comes across as a deliverer of promise, challenging anyone in doubt to visit Jigawa State to understand the difference between the Lamido years and the present reality.

NVL said: “Every visible productive project of stature dotting the entire landscape was initiated and completed by him.

“The essential Alhaji Sule Lamido is a quintessential leader who is and still loved by the people, among whom he lives to date. He speaks his mind, no matter who is involved. In the process, he has encountered and also survived the vicissitudes of politics while serving his fatherland. This has, over the years, shaped his vision with courage of conviction and strength of character. You may confirm by the kind and nature of people around him and his associates. 

“Unlike Alhaji Sule Lamido, Garba is inconsequential inconsistent, foul mouthed and practicing quackery as public affairs management. Therefore, our final word and free consultancy for Garba is this: ‘Attend a refresher course on how not to be a Public Affairs assistant. We understand one such course is scheduled for some time in the year 2019, otherwise, you will remain an albatross on President Buhari's neck. Nigerians are watching.’”

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE
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Anambra State, Gov. Obiano mourn Alex Ekwueme

The people of Anambra State and the Governor, Chief Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano are mourning the demise of first elected Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, saying great iroko has fallen in the country, reports ITRealms.

Obiano in his reaction, described the passing onto glory of the former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme as a huge loss to Nigeria.

The news of the death came to him at his Aguleri country home where he had gone to mark his election victory in the last Saturday's election with his family, Governor Obiano said that he was yet to come to terms with the reality of Dr Ekwueme's death as it was hard to contemplate the void that his passage has created.

"A great iroko has fallen. Nigeria has lost a statesman. Ndigbo have lost an illustrious son. Anambra has lost a father. But I have lost both a father and a friend. I have lost a mentor. This is a big loss on all fronts," the Governor declared.

Narrating the direct influence the late statesman had had on him, Governor Obiano further said, "I was close to Dr Ekwueme. I sought his advice on so many things and he was always ready to help. He attended every major event we have held in the past three years in our efforts to make Anambra a better place. You always knew where you stood with him on any issue. His death is a big personal loss to me," Governor Obiano explained.

The governor further lamented that the elder statesman passed away at a trying period in the life of the nation when his bridge-building talent was most needed.

Describing him as the "architect" of a balanced Nigeria, Governor Obiano observed that only few Nigerians living or dead could match Dr Ekwueme's contributions to a fair and just federation in the nation's seemingly endless search for peace and equity.

He pointed out that even in his last days, Dr Ekwueme fought gallantly to ensure that equity prevailed in his home state of Anambra, speaking out fearlessly in favour of sustaining the geopolitical balance that has entrenched peace in the state.

"Dr Ekwueme's life is an open book that should inspire generations of Nigerians who need a beacon to guide them into evolving as true patriots who are willing to make sacrifices for the greatness of the country. He is an icon whose place is assured in our hearts in Anambra State," Governor Obiano further observed.

According to him, Dr Ekwueme's legacy would never die because whenever the story of modern Nigeria is told, Alex Ekwueme's name would be remembered.

"I wish to express my deepest condolences to the illustrious Ekwueme family and the people of Oko, his home town and to Ndi Anambra in general. Ndonu Ndi Anambra. I pray that God Almighty will give us the fortitude to bear this grave loss," Governor Obiano further said.

Ozo Nweke Ozo/GEE

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Shell emerges best in sustainability innovation in Africa

Shell Companies in Nigeria (SCiN) have emerged the 2017 Best Nigerian companies in Sustainability Innovation in Africa, beating two other finalists at the 11th edition of the Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility Awards (SERAs) for Corporate Social Responsibility held in Lagos, at the weekend, reports ITRealms.

Shell companies also defeated three other contestants to win as the Best Company in Affordable and Clean Energy, and got the second runner-up prize for the Most Socially Responsible Nigerian Company for the year.

“We’re delighted at the continued recognition of our modest support to Nigeria and Nigerians to make life better and to create opportunities to individuals and institutions, particularly in our host communities,” said the Managing Director, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and country Chair, SCiN, Mr. Osagie Okunbor.

“We are challenged by these laurels to do even more as CSR remains part of the DNA of the Shell business, and we are striving to improve our partnership with NGOs, government and communities to ensure our people participate more in the execution of programmes and own them for greater sustainability,” he added.

Leveraging its support for entrepreneurs for bright energy ideas through the globally acclaimed Shell LiveWIRE programme, SPDC showcased its numerous social intervention programmes including the training and empowerment of hundreds of youths particularly in its host communities to clinch the prize as the best company in affordable and clean energy.

The sustainability innovation award resulted from the renewable energy solution as an alternative for powering the Shell-supported Obio cottage hospital, Port Harcourt which led to significant cost savings in energy consumed and enabled the hospital to focus its resources on its core aspiration of providing quality healthcare for the people. Due to its success, the solution has been replicated in seven other Shell-supported health facilities in the Niger Delta.

The SERA–CSR Awards is an annual event to celebrate organisations investing resources in the improvement of lives of stakeholders and contributing to the development of Africa through their social performance and investment programmes.

A total of twenty-six awards were won by corporate organisations and individuals in recognition of their sustainable development and social investment efforts in Africa.

Apart from their three winning entries, Shell companies also got nominated in four other categories: Best Company in Poverty Eradication; Best Company in Provision of Clean Water and Sanitation; Best Company in Partnership for Development; and Best Company in Support of SMEs.

Shell Companies in Nigeria – SPDC, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), and Shell Nigeria Gas (SNG) work with government, communities and civil society to implement programmes that have a lasting impact on lives in the Niger Delta and Nigeria as whole. Social investment activities focus on community and enterprise development, education, health, access-to-energy and since 2016, road safety. This, however, excludes community-driven development programmes and initiatives delivered through the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) which focuses on various themes as determined by benefiting communities.

In 2016 alone, Shell Companies in Nigeria spent $29.8million on social investment projects and awarded 94 percent of their contracts valued at over $0.74billion to Nigeria companies while $1.4 billion was paid to the Nigerian government in royalties and corporate taxes, and another $106.8million contributions made to the NDDC as required by law.

Since 2003, SPDC and SNEPCo have trained over 6,550 Niger Delta youths in enterprise development and have awarded scholarship grants to over 7,652 secondary school students and 4,435 university students in the last six years.

Ayo Midele/GEE

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pic: L– R: Partnerships Coordinator, Social Performance and Social Investment ,The Shell Petroleum Development Company Company,  Anike Kakayor; Strategy and Value Assurance Manager, Godwin Ikuwe; and Clinical Health Adviser, Dr.Olayinka Mosuro, at the 2017 SERAs-CSR Awards in Lagos

CKN wins US-Nigeria Legislative & Executive Leadership Media Outstanding Award in USA

The publisher of CKN News, Mr. Chris Kehinde Nwandu, has won the United States-Nigeria Legislative and Executive Leadership Media Outstanding Award, reports ITRealms.

Affirming this to ITRealms, Nwandu popularly known as CKN, said in Washington DC, "The final crown came with this at an epoch event at America's seat of power ,Washington DC, when I was awarded the Most Outstanding Media Personality Award.

The award was presented at the US-Nigeria Legislative and Executive Leadership Forum for promoting social awareness in Nigeria through the media.

“I came out top of several media personalities,” he declared.

CKN, who also is the President, Guild of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria (GPBN) also delivered a lecture on “The Role of Media On The Social Economic Development of Nigeria” at the

According to the organizers "We believe that your contributions and leadership is unparalleled in creating awareness to enhance US-Nigeria relations".

In his response, CKN asserted on his Facebook timeline, “Oh my God, I've not slept all through the night. From the dungeon of Ikoyi Prison to the highest Point in World's largest democracy. It could only be God.”

He went on to dedicate the award to all his fans across the world, “You made it happen, and to my lovely family who believed in me even when I was considered down and out and to my creator, the maker of all things, the one that pulls us up even at our lowest ebb. God bless you all."

ITRealms also gathered that some dignitaries at the award and lecture include Lt. Governor (Deputy Governor) of the State of Maryland, Mr. Boyd Kevin Ruthford and many other from the United States of America and Nigeria.

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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First VP, Alex Ekwueme dies @85

The first-ever elected Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme is dead, aged 85, reports ITRealms.

He died on Sunday, November 19, 2017 by 10pm at The London Clinic.

Confirming this to ITRealms, his younger brother and Igwe of Oko in Anambra State, His Royal Highness, Prof. Laz Ekwueme, noted that the family regrets to announce the peaceful passing away of their patriarch, the former Vice President.

The sad event, he said occurred at The London Clinic on Sunday.

Part of the statement read “Ekwueme family regrets to announce the peaceful passing away of their patriarch, the former Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Dr Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme GCON.

“The sad event occurred at the London Clinic at 10:00 pm on Sunday 19th November 2017.”
ITRealms recalls that Ekwueme had fell in his Enugu residence, and was subsequently rushed to the Memfys Neurosurgery Hospital Enugu, where he eventually relapsed into coma.

But as soon as he was stabilised in the hospital he was flown to London in an air ambulance last week.

Born on 21 October 1932, late Dr. Ekwueme was the first elected Vice-President of Nigeria, in office from 1979 to 1983 under the Alhaji Shehu Shagari presidency.

Also known as the Ide of the Oko kingdom in Anambra State, where his younger brother Prof Lazarus Ekwueme, reigns as the traditional ruler. He was also honoured by the council of Traditional Rulers in the old Aguata as the Ide of Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State comprising forty-four (44) towns.

He started primary school at the St John's Anglican Central School, at Ekwulobia, then he proceeded to King's CollegeLagos. As an awardee of the Fulbright Scholarship in the United States of America; being one of the first Nigerians to gain the award.

Dr. Ekwueme attended the University of Washington where he earned bachelor's degree in Architecture and city planning, following his master's degree in urban planning.

Equally, Dr Ekwueme earned degrees in sociology, history, philosophy and law from the University of London, before proceeded to obtain a Ph.D. in Architecture from the University of Strathclyde, before gaining the BL (honours) degree from the Nigerian Law School.

Chuks Egbune/GEE
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Gov Akeredolu to deliver 2nd SAFFGLIA lecture

The Executive Governor, Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, has been confirmed to deliver the second annual leadership lecture of the Segun Adeleye Foundation For  Good Leadership In Africa (SAFFGLIA) reports ITRealms.

The lecture, ITRealms gathered is to hold at the Centre of Excellence Hall, University of Lagos on Thursday, December 7, 2017 by 10.30AM.

The theme of the lecture under the chairmanship of Professor Yemi  Ogunbiyi, Pro Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife is, ‘The Youth and the Challenge of Bridging Credible Leadership Gap in Africa’.

Discussants at the lecture which will attract top diplomats and chief executives of public and private organisations include Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP); Barrister Jide Ologun, former Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Lagos and Lead Convener of Great Leadership Attitude Development (GLAD); and Mr Omololu Ogunmade, a Public Speaker and author of ‘MindShift’, among others.

SAFFGLIA was founded by Mr Segun Adeleye, a journalist/media entrepreneur, author and operator of WorldStage Newsonline (www.worldstagegroup.com) to carry out activities and projects that will encourage/compel governments across Africa to embrace good leadership in order to uplift the standard of living of the people.

The foundation was officially inaugurated on March 10, 2016 with the inaugural lecture delivered by the Honourable Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

According to Adeleye, “Looking into history at the tragedy of Africa, it’s sensible to say that the exploits of leaders like Dr. Nelson Mandela and few others should be adequate to guide the current and future leaders on the path to progressive leadership, but reality still shows a trend of inadequate understanding of the essence of leadership in many African countries.

“Africa will be better off when people continue to speak out and remind those privileged to be at the helm of affairs that we cannot go far if our destiny is left to be decided by others.”

Nonye Dom/GEE
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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Obiano defeats Obi-led PDP, APC to sweep Anambra governor poll

The incumbent governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Maduaburuchukwu Obiano swept all the 21 Local Government Areas of the state, reports ITRealms.

According to the final results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) made available to ITRealms in Awka, capital of Anambra State on Sunday, Obiano floored the former governor of the state, Mr. Peter Obi led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of Oseleko Obaze candidacy, to third place.

Obiano also beat the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Mr. Tony Nwoye who got 98,752 to secure the second place in the November 18, governorship.

In addition, the total number of accredited voters were 457, 311, while total valid votes is 422,314, whereas total rejected votes is 6,457, just as the total votes cast was 448,771.

The full official results of the Anambra governorship election released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Ozo Nweke Ozo in Awka with additional report from ChannelTV/GEE

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Emerging issues in oversight functions of MDAs

The legislature is an institution which represents the common and collective interests of the citizens through the enactment of laws and the exercise of oversight functions on the activities of the executive arm of government.

Therefore, the major interest of a legislator is representation and presentation of the common interest of its citizens. These interests are domiciled in the various executive functions in the MDA’s. it will then be wise to say that; economic activities and growth of the nation are dependent on the relationship between the appropriation and implementation through oversight activities.

The power of oversight is conferred on the Nigerian legislature by the Constitution to enable the National Assembly to expose corruption, inefficiency, or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement and administration of funds appropriated by the Acts

Therefore, Legislative Oversight, one of the cornerstones of democracy, refers to the legislature’s review and evaluation of the selected activities of the executive arm of government. It is a means for holding the executive accountable for its actions and for ensuring that policies are implemented in an effective manner.

All these powers to legislate is vested in the National Assembly through the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

“4(1) The Legislative powers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be vested in a National Assembly for the Federation which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.”

The constitution further vested the power to control public funds to the Legislatures as contained in the Section 80 (3)
“No money shall be withdrawn from any public fund of the Federation, other than the Consolidated of the Federation unless the issue of that money has been authorized by an Act of the National Assembly”

Oversight functions serve a variety of purposes:
·         It creates investors’ confidence and attracts more private sector participation.
·         to keep the executive establishment responsible and accountable,
·         to promote rationality and efficiency in the formulation and administration of public policy,
·         to reap party advantage and to advance the causes of individual legislators’ interest groups and other stakeholders in the polity.

·         It involves the responsibility of legislative committees to review, study and evaluate on a continual basis

Through an effective exercise of oversight functions, the legislature can exercise adequate checks and balances, transparency and political legitimacy and better enforce financial regulations and policies and ensure wide participation, ownership and sustainable democracy. The legislature can create a responsible and accountable environment that facilitates the achievement of development goals

Power to Conduct Investigations
Section 88 of the constitution vests the National Assembly with the power to conduct investigations into any matter or thing with respect to which it has powers to make laws. It also has the power to conduct investigations into the conduct or affairs of any person, authority, ministry, or government department charged, or intended to be charged with the duty or responsibility of executing or administering laws enacted by it and the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated or to be appropriated by the legislature.

These powers are meant to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by the legislature.

Emerging issues and Barriers to Oversight Functions
 Inspite of the important role that oversight functions play in nation building, there are various factors that contribute to diminish the legislature’s capacity to engage in steady and resourceful oversight of the executive. They include;
i.              Conflict of Interest (COI)-this is a serious issue that pose a barrier to a legislative functions and oversights leading to corrupt decision making by members due to vested interest.
ii.            Lack of Democratic Culture The presence of amateur legislators in great number and the shortage of staff aides due to the lack of continuity in legislative membership accounts for the lapses of the legislature in the discharge of its functions. The vast majority of new democracies lack a democratic culture, dialogue, tolerance and respect for each other’s opinion. These are relatively new concepts. This constitutes a serious handicap for the development of parliamentary democracy which is founded on the virtues of robust debate and compromise on major issues of national interest.
iii.           Personal Ambition, Interest, and Agenda of Legislators. The leadership of the National Assembly or State Houses of Assembly often demonstrate propensity for confrontation with the executive without reflecting on the negative impact on the national or public interest.
iv.           Adverse Legislative Environment The large number of legislators tend to induce the members into compromising stands in order to be noticed or to get the projects for their constituency noticed by the executives.
v.            vi. Undermining Legislative Oversight Functions by the Executive.
vi.            Other barriers to effective exercise of oversight functions especially in Nigeria can be summarized as follows; the politically charged environment of conflicting interests, antagonism between the majority and opposition parties often resulting in a stalemate; antagonism between the legislature and the government with the latter often reluctant.

*Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, @Interactive session organised by the Senate Committee on Communication in Lagos.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Over 20 organisations for takeover by children

As the World Children’s Day (WCD) gets underway on Monday, 20 November, 2017, Nigerian children are not left out as there is advanced plans for them to take over in excess of 20 organisations in commemoration of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, reports ITRealms.

Confirming this to ITRealms, the Communication Specialist at the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in Nigeria, Mr. Geoffrey Njoku, said that to commemorate the anniversary this year, children across the world will ‘takeover’ high-profile moments in the media, politics, business, sports, music and entertainment to raise awareness on the most vulnerable and hardest to reach children. 

According to him, children would use the opportunity to raise their voices in solidarity with the world’s most disadvantaged children.

In addition, they would shine a spotlight on the most pressing challenges faced by their generation.
“More than anything else on this day, we seek your support to make this an advocacy moment for children’s right by children themselves,” he said.

Njoku further confirmed that over 22 organisations have been enlisted for takeover by some children, namely:
1.      Children takeover prominent roles at Hilton Hotel.

2.     Presentation by a Nigerian child at the Ted talk-like Regional African Dialogue in Accra Ghana.
3.     Children’s visit to Fifth Chukker Polo and Country Club and takeover of management and games at the Club.
4.     Children takeover broadcasts at Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria
5.     Children takeover broadcasts at Kaduna State Media Corporation
6.     Children takeover broadcasts at Ebonyi State Broadcasting Service
7.     Children takeover broadcasts at Broadcasting Corporation of Abia state
8.     Children takeover broadcasts at Imo state Broadcasting Corporation
9.     Children takeover broadcasts at Anambra Broadcasting Service
10.  Children takeover broadcasts at Cross River Broadcasting Corporation
11.  Children takeover broadcasts at Radio Bayelsa
12.  Children takeover broadcasts at Radio Rivers
13.  Children take over broadcasts at Rhythm FM
14.  Children takeover broadcasts at Inspiration FM (Radio)
15.  Children takeover broadcast at Lagos Television
16.  Children takeover broadcast at Radio Lagos, Eko FM
17.  Children takeover broadcasts at Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria
18.  Children takeover broadcasts at Nigerian Television Authority
19.  Children takeover broadcast at Breeze FM Akure
20.  Children takeover broadcasts at Positive FM Akure
21.  Children takeover broadcasts at Bauchi State Television

22.  Children takeover broadcasts and the Managing Director’s role at the Bauchi Radio Corporation

Uju. N. Dominic/ED, Ops

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ICT4D Week 2018