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Ikeja Electric says ‘We’re bridging metering gap’ - ITREALMS

ITREALMS : Nigeria’s leading electricity distribution company, Ikeja Electric (IE) Plc, has intensified the roll-out of prepaid meters ...

ICT4D Week 2018

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ikeja Electric says ‘We’re bridging metering gap’ - ITREALMS

Nigeria’s leading electricity distribution company, Ikeja Electric (IE) Plc, has intensified the roll-out of prepaid meters to further close the metering gap within its network, reports ITREALMS.
Disclosing this, Head, Corporate Communications, Ikeja Electric, Mr. Felix Ofulue, said this commitment is in line with the regulator’s guideline which states that all customers have a right to a properly installed and functional meter, and un-metered customer should be issued with electricity bills strictly based on NERC’s estimated billing methodology, the DisCo emphasized that it is also poised to reduce estimated billing with the deployment of prepaid meters.
He also told ITREALMS, the company recently commenced the roll-out of 85,000 meters to cover residential customers across its six Business Units, in its first batch of renewed metering drive.
Mr. Ofulue equally said, the company remains resolute in its commitment to meter all its customers and narrow the metering gap as quickly as possible.
“Ikeja Electric wants to reassure customers and state clearly its plans to progressively reduce estimated billing thereby building customers trust in our services. At the moment, prepaid meters are being installed in different communities across the network”.
“While in other localities, pre-installation activities are ongoing and between now and the end of the year we will have concluded the first batch of the deployment. We therefore urge our customers to be patient as our ultimate objective is to ensure that all our customers are eventually metered,” Ofulue noted.
Customers across the six business units – Ikeja, Abule-Egba, Akowonjo, Oshodi, Ikorodu and Shomolu have indicated their eagerness to be issued prepaid meters to prevent being billed through estimation.
With this move, the DisCO is adding its quota in narrowing the metering gap. The recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed an increase of 1.59 percent in the number of prepaid meter customers, which is an indication that the meter gap is gradually closing.

The Federal Government has consistently enjoined the DisCos to provide meters to customers in a bid to narrow the gap, reduce complaints of high consumption charges and estimated billing, in line with the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, 2005 to ensure an efficiently managed electricity supply industry that meets the yearnings of Nigerians for stable, adequate and safe electricity supply.
Nenye Dom/GEE
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Danko, 2 others to join ICANN board after Barcelona - ITREALMS

The ICANN 2018 Nominating Committee has named Danko Jevtovic as the newest member of the ICANN Board of Directors at the conclusion of ICANN63 in Barcelona, Spain, reports ITREALMS.

Danko will serve a three-year term and would be replacing Lousewies van der Laan for Europe.

There are two other new board members namely Rafael Ibarra for Latin America / Caribbean Islands, and Tripti Sinha for North America.

ITREALMS gathered that this is an update to the ICANN 2018 Nominating Committee’s 2 August announcement introducing selections for leadership positions within ICANN, after the Committee was informed by Lousewies van der Laan that, due to unforeseen family obligations, she is unable to extend her service to the Board after this current term.

ITREALMS recalled that the Nominating Committee is charged with recruiting and selecting a portion of ICANN’s leadership.

The Nominating Committee is mandated to ensure that ICANN’s overall leadership is diverse in geography, culture, skills, experience, and perspective. Selectees should meet the following basic criteria: Integrity, objectivity, and sound judgment, Support decision-making within groups, Ability to work effectively in English, Understanding of ICANN’s mission and operation, Commitment to ICANN’s success, Experience in world affairs, ability to contribute to cultural, professional, and geographic expertise, Willingness to work long and hard, generally as volunteers, for the global public trust.

ICANN prides itself with the mission to help ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique, so computers know where to find each other. 

ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Nnamani urges Nigeria to outline top 10 priorities on cyber security readiness for digital transformation - ITREALMS

The President of Medallion Communications Limited, Mr. Ike Nnamani has urged Nigeria to emulate Uganda on her top 10 priorities for 2018 on cyber security readiness for digital transformation, reports ITREALMS.

Nnamani, who spoke at the 2018 eWorld Forum on the subtheme "Nigeria's Readiness for Digital Transformation - Cyber Security Readiness" in Lagos, prescribing a top 10 agenda for the country, just like Uganda has outlined.

The top 10 prescription by Nnamani includes database security, introduction of Privileged User Management (PUM), Patch Management, Unstructured Data Management, Endpoint Security, Employee Security Awareness, Vendor/Third Party security, board changing role, security architecture cum engineer skill set and continues monitoring, based on the 2017 Cyber Security Report by Serianu.

As said by him, Nigeria needs to secure its vault by leveraging database security, lamenting that banking sector is still the most targeted industry in the country.

He also explained that PUM for instance, will define who has access to the crown jewels, whereas Patch Management will determine what to patch or not to patch, stressing that by unstructured data management, there is no one size fits all solution for any country, pointing out that via endpoint security, cybe security will have a front-line of actions expressed established.

In addition, Nnamani pointed out that employee security awareness cannot be over-emphasised because ignorance is not bliss in every business let alone when it comes to cyber security, advising that vendor and third party security must be encouraged to bring on their own vulnerability findings and solutions.

The board, he said, must be abreast of changing roles and centrality of cyber security in an organization and when changes begin to occur it should trickle down the ladder of leadership, even as the security architecture cum engineer skill set must be widen to keep employee alive to their responsibilities and upto date on skill sets, without necessarily forgetting the essence of continuous monitoring of the system.

He declared that ‘vigilance’ is the second name of cyber security.

The aforementioned, he said, if adhered to strictly, that Nigeria will emerge from being top victim on cyber security gaps to closing the gaps immensely.

Chuks Egbune/ED, Ops

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Pix: Nnamani

Osinbajo, Ambode headline Akinwunmi’s book launch - ITREALMS

The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, have been confirmed as special guests to the launch of Skin for Skin: The Prima Garnet Story, and authored by the chief executive of Prima Garnet Group, Lolu Akinwunmi, reports ITREALMS.

The launch slated for Thursday, September 27, ITREALMS gathered has been scheduled to coincide with his 60th birthday.

The book launch, ITREALMS also gathered would equally birth the Lolu Akinwunmi Family Foundation (LAFF), a platform created by the ace advertising practitioner’s family to give back to society.

ITREALMS reports that while Gov. Ambode is the guest of honour, the head of Facebook Africa, Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke, would be the guest speaker at the event holding at Harbour Point, Wilmot Road, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE with headline courtesy: Emeka Oparah

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Paradigm Initiative condemns Kenya over Internet tax - ITREALMS

The Kenyan government has concluded plans to tax internet access as the parliament on Thursday, September 20, approved a measure imposing excise duty on telephone and internet data services, thereby attracting condemnation from Paradigm Initiativereports ITREALMS.

The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta left Kenyans surprised by recently proposing an increase in Internet Tax through the alteration of the Finance Bill 2018. This Bill was earlier declared illegal by the High Court.

This tax increase comes at a time when subscribers are also paying increased fee on mobile money transfer services after the government raised excise duty from 10% to 20% in July 2018.

According to Wathagi Ndungu, Paradigm Initiative’s Google Policy Fellow for Eastern and Southern Africa, “this action comes after a public outcry for a reduction on the tax on petroleum products. The president intimated that revenue had to come from somewhere and the first to suffer are Internet data services.”

The proposal to parliament by the president read, ‘Telephone and internet data services shall be charged excise duty at a rate of fifteen percent of their excisable value.”

“Due to this approval, excise duty will increase on telephone, Internet data and mobile phone services. Business will be greatly affected especially small businesses that rely heavily on mobile and Internet money transfer. Other businesses that will suffer by this tax introduction include online businesses such as Vlogging, online writing, e-commerce stores, telemarketing and blogging,” Ndungu added.

What this means is that 100 Kenya shillings worth of  airtime that currently attracts 10 Kenyan shillings tax will now see the Treasury earn an extra 15 Kenyan shillings. This tax is estimated to affect over 44.1 million subscribers, going by the figure on mobile subscribers contained in Communications Authority of Kenya third quarter report  of to March 2018.

“The situation is disappointing since Kenyans are already among the most heavily taxed income earners in the world without any evidence as to how they benefit from these heavy taxes,” Ndungu submitted.  

Nenye Dom/GEE

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Pix: Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyetta

Monday, September 24, 2018

African Ministers for Kigali roundtable - ITREALMS

African Ministers of Education and Information Technology will be heading for Kigali next week, reports ITREALMS.

The Rwandan capital will host the annual Ministerial Round Table (MRT) meeting at eLearning Africa, the continent’s largest conference on technology assisted learning and training.

The theme of the MRT will be ‘Towards a Knowledge-based Economy’ and the ministers are expected to discuss the possible effects of a global ‘fourth industrial revolution’ on Africa. With machines increasingly likely to replace human workers in a number of key industries, the implications for African governments, businesses and citizens are potentially enormous.

However, a ‘fourth industrial revolution’ may offer African economies an opportunity to ‘leapfrog’ their competitors and the ministers will consider what African Governments and businesses need to do to make the most of a new era of rapid technological change.

Rebecca Stromeyer, the founder and organiser of eLearning Africa said “Many African economies are actually in quite a strong position. Unlike the so-called ‘advanced economies,’ they don’t have to waste huge resources trying to restructure tired, old industries. Many of them can start from scratch and they have a great deal to offer potential investors. They are resource rich and they have the world’s most youthful population, which is bound to attract investors and entrepreneurs.

“The key thing now is to focus on giving young people the modern skills they need and creating a climate which encourages innovation and creativity. If African Governments do that, Africa can lead the world.”

At the eLearning Africa Ministerial Round Table, Ministers will focus on discussing practical measures, which can be implemented quickly to give Africans a chance to take advantage of what is likely to be a new era of opportunity.

Ministers, deputy ministers and senior officials from the following countries have confirmed their attendance at the MRT:
Angola - Secretary of State for Higher Education and Secretary of State for Professional Technical Education
Benin – Minister of Secondary Education and Professional Technical Education
Congo – Minister of Professional Technical Education and Minister for Higher Education
Djibouti – Minister of National Education and Professional Education
Egypt - Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports
Equatorial Guinea - Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports and Minister of Transport, Post & Telecommunications
Gambia - Minister for Basic & Secondary Education and Deputy Permanent Secretary of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology
Ghana - Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports
Lesotho – Minister of Communications, Science and Technology
Liberia - Deputy Minister for Administration, Ministry of Youth and Sports
Mali – Minister of Youth
Senegal – Cabinet Director, Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation
Uganda - Minister of ICT

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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Digital Transformation: Nigerians must drive change with ICT - ITREALMS

The chairman of IPv6 Council Nigeria, Mr. Muhammed Rudman, has urged Nigerians desirous of change with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to drive it, reports ITREALMS.

Speaking at the 2018 eWorld Forum with the theme: Nigeria’s Readiness for Digital Transformation; Rudman noted, that as the wheel of change continues to turn, ICT stakeholders must embrace the change so as to drive it to requisite destination for the good of the society.

“Finally, as the wheel of change continues to turn, we must work together to thrive as a society, we need to embrace change so that we drive it, instead of being driven by it,” he declared.

Rudman who presided over the eWorld Forum 2018, pointed out that “Digital transformation if properly harnessed can solve most of the current socio-economic problems affecting our nation.”

Describing the theme as very important, he said, digital transformation is a globally reoccurring subject as it affects all of mankind, hence it is quite apt at this point in time.

Equally, he said, digital transformation is hitting the world in a big way, as no government or business can thrive without incorporating technology in its core strategy.

Every aspect of lives, he said, has been affected by this transformation, some deeply while others superficially, and consequently, governments all over the world are rapidly realizing the multiplier effect of digital transformation to all facets of economic and social developments, thus paving the way for embracing of digital transformation as people abandon analog operating models in favor of digital systems.

Rudman commended the chief executive of Ajomedia Limited, publishers of eWorld Magazine, Mr. Aaron Ukodie, said that in spite of the numerous challenges in the country, Nigerians have recorded huge success toward digital transformation.

“There has been unprecedented transformation in the banking industry brought about by digitalization, for example financial transactions involving the use and movement of physical cash are gradually declining. The use of POS and other several simple avenues of transaction have made life very easy to the consumers, the bank and government. 

"Individuals no longer had to embark on a trip to the bank to conduct banking business, the banks on the other hand have less ratio of customers to attend to, in essence reduction in the cost of banking services as well as reduction in high security and safety risks – Remember the days of abundant bullion vans on our roads, with frequent reports of armed robbery? Reducing the amount of cash being physically handled ensures that CBN has less old notes to destroy and to print replacements. Government can now have better data to understand the informal sector of the economy which would assist in tax and general development planning,” he said.

Rudman, who is the chief executive officer of Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), emphasized that there are many relative success stories in other key areas as well, such as education, commerce, health, housing, employment, security, transportation, fighting corruption etcetera, which are too numerous to elaborate here.

“We have achieved much in less than two decades, but the journey to digital transformation is perpetual, we can’t afford to slow down, especially with our ever-expanding population. We have to find innovative ways to educate our young population and equip them with the right skills to handle ever evolving job market,” Rudman submitted.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Pix: Rudman

e-Commerce delivery: Konga boasts K-Xpress with N2.9b - ITREALMS

To improve electronic commerce delivery in the country, Konga, the Nigeria's composite e-commerce giants, has concluded plans to invest N2.9bn in its logistics arm, Kxpress to build a world-class delivery solutions company that will resolve the logistics challenges in Nigeria, reports ITREALMS.

Chairman, Konga, Olusiji Ijogun, made this revelation at a media caught up at a party held at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja on Saturday, September 22nd 2018.

Ijogun, who was congratulated for the quick turnaround of Konga after its acquisition by the Zinox Group in January 2018 which has seen the company trending with new innovations, was also quizzed on how Konga has managed to cope with the problems of delivery which has stunted e-commerce in Nigeria.

Responding, Ijogun who admitted that logistics remains a  major challenge for e-commerce, however, noted that the new management of Konga has injected over 43 new vehicles and 100 brand new motorcycles into the system since it took over, noting that  that the company has already commenced work to create a lasting solution that will work not only for Konga but other third-party logistics companies in Nigeria.

“We have received approval from the board of Konga to invest about N2.9B in Kxpress to expand the fleet of vehicles available in the pool in order to reach the last-mile faster and more conveniently.

“The plan is to add 200 new vans and 1000 motorcycles to the system nationwide. One aspect of this investment is our intention to work with other credible, hardworking Nigerians as franchises to create jobs for more people while the second part is our determination to guarantee same day delivery anywhere in Nigeria. Customers in Abuja, for instance, may start enjoying same day delivery from first week of October and same will be extended gradually nationwide.

“We must understand, however, that solving this challenge goes beyond increasing the number of vehicles at our disposal. We are also investing heavily in setting up logistics centres nationwide,  boosting our technology and human capital,” he disclosed.

While urging customers who have had to bear some inconveniences to keep faith with the Konga brand, Ijogun who assumed the position of Chairman at Konga in April 2018, further noted that the management of the company is working hard behind the scenes to raise standards in the e-commerce industry, noting that the new initiatives will manifest in the first quarter of 2019.

“Nigeria will feel the power of Konga as a clear leader in the Nigerian e-commerce space from the first quarter of 2019.

“Our mission is to build a world class composite e-commerce company that appreciates the needs and aspirations of the people and creates tailor-made solutions to resolve them. We have filtered the system within the first few months since we took over to eliminate fake products and we have achieved about 97 percent of same day delivery of genuine products within our network but the ambition is to reach 100 percent,” he concluded.


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Saturday, September 22, 2018

2018 recruitment: FRSC summons applicants for exercise - ITREALMS

The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has summoned all applicants for recruitment into the different cadres to check their emails for updated information on the fitness exercise, slated for Monday 24, through Saturday, 29th September, 2018, reports ITREALMS.
The Corps Public Education Officer, Bisi Kazeem, told ITREALMS that applicants who do not receive any information through their emails before the date of the exercise are by this notice advised to report to the screening centres chosen in their application forms with the printed summary data page.

"In addition, all applicants, irrespective of Cadre applied for, are to come along with the following: originals of their credentials (for sighting), 2 sets of photocopies of credentials, medical certificate of fitness, and 2 passport sized photographs," he said.
Further, he said, applicants are to also note, for the avoidance of doubt, that they are to appear in white shorts, white round neck T-shirt, canvass and socks for the screening and physical fitness exercise.
Ayo Midele/GEE

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CBN gives insights on revocation of Skye bank license, Polaris Bank takes over - ITREALMS

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin I. Emefiele, has given some insights into the revoking of banking license given to Skye Bank plc, just as Polaris Bank makes a debut by automatic take-over of all customers, their accounts and records, reports ITREALMS.

Speaking in Lagos, Friday, Emefiele said in Lagos, revoked the license of the bank which has been on lifeline since 4th July 2016, and assured that the Nigerian banking industry remains safe as well as resilient, just as CBN will continue to live up to its responsibilities of promoting stability in the banking and financial system.

“Indeed, the bank’s performance has improved considerably compared to the pre-July 2016 era,” he declared, stressing that recent examinations and forensic audit of the bank has, revealed that Skye bank requires urgent recapitalization.

“… As it can no longer continue to live on borrowed times with indefinite liquidity support from the CBN. The shareholders of the bank have been unable to recapitalize it,” Emefiele said.

The CBN, he said, as a responsible and responsive regulator and in consultation with the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), have decided to establish a bridge bank, Polaris Bank, to assume the assets and liabilities of Skye bank.

“The strategy is for the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to capitalize the Bridge Bank and begin the process of sourcing investors to buy out AMCON. By this decision, the licence of the defunct Skye Bank is hereby revoked,” Emefiele declared.

Assuring all depositors that under this arrangement, their deposits shall remain safe and that normal banking services shall continue in the new bank on Monday, 24th September, 2018, to enable customers to transact their businesses seamlessly.

“Thus, all customers of Skye Bank shall be automatic customers of the new bank and their accounts and records duly purchased by Polaris Bank,” he asserted.

In addition, he informed ITREALMS that all employees of Skye Bank shall be absorbed by Polaris Bank under a new contract unless any employee decides to opt out.

Chuks Egbune/ED, Ops

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Friday, September 21, 2018

Osun 2018 Governorship election foretold - ITREALMS

Osun is topping the headlines as the governorship race hits the top gear. The ruling party is striving to retain power, while the opposition is struggling to regain it. The state has been electrified with political campaigns, unfulfillable electoral promises, freebies and rallies. The masses our politicians usually regard as unimportant has abruptly become the most important. The helmsmen and statesmen Osun people rarely see are now knocking on their doors daily to plead for votes. Davido is singing, but the terpsichorean Senator Adeleke is no longer dancing. Unpaid workers are suddenly being paid. Every candidate is acting cautiously in order to earn the highest votes on Saturday, 22 September, 2018.

Forty-eight political parties presented candidates, but the leading contenders, not listed in order of political strengths, are Fatai Akinbade for the Advanced Democratic Congress (ADC); Moshood Adeoti for the Action Democratic Party (ADP); Gboyega Oyetola for the All Progressives Congress (APC); Ademola Adeleke for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP); and Iyiola Omisore for the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Though many Nigerians think the PDP and APC candidates have an edge, the other three candidates are like the biblical David; underrating them is risky as they may spin a surprise.

This election is the most keenly contested governorship poll in Osun State. All the five major candidates are strong political figures with vast experience and a formidable support base. ADC’s Akinbade is a former state party chairman and ex-governorship aspirant under the PDP. He is also a former secretary to the Osun State government. ADP’s Adeoti is an ex-councilor, and former state party chairman of the defunct Action Congress (AC) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). He is also the immediate past secretary to the state government (SSG). APC’s Gboyega Oyetola is the immediate past chief-of-staff to the state government. PDP’s Adeleke is a serving senator representing the Osun-west senatorial district of the state. And SDP’s Omisore is an ex-senator and former deputy governor of the state.

Voter’s decision in the Osun election would be determined by a lot of factors. The ethnic politics being played at the federal level and other states of the federation is also reigning in Osun. ADP’s Adeoti has been playing the ethnic card. He is vigorously campaigning that the - unconstitutional but - conventional rule of rotating governorship position among the three senatorial zones of the state has been violated. Adeoti argues that since Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999, only the Osun-West senatorial district is yet to produce a governor out of the three districts in the state.

The Osun-Central senatorial district produced Bisi Akande (1999-2003) and Olagunsoye Oyinlola (2003-2010). Both cumulatively ruled the state for over eleven years. The incumbent governor Rauf Aregbesola (2010-2018) comes from the Osun-East Senatorial district. Adeoti - who was a key member of the APC before decamping to the ADP - is aggrieved that the APC picked Oyetola, from the Osun-Central senatorial district, as her governorship candidate. Adeoti argues that the party’s ticket should have been given to someone, preferably him, from the Osun-West senatorial district. Ethnic affiliation controls voter’s emotion in Nigerian elections. Adeoti’s anti-marginalization campaign strategy may have earned him substantial votes in his constituency, the Osun-West senatorial district, but PDP’s Adeleke and SDP’s Omisore are also from this constituency.

Omisore, has many supporters, loyalists and admirers in the Ife areas. Ife-Central and Ife-East has the highest number of registered voters after Osogbo, the state capital. Omisore will earn substantial votes in the Ife regions, but not as he did in 2014 when he lost to incumbent governor Aregbesola. The party he contested under in 2014, the PDP, has a better structure and membership than his current party, the SDP. Under the PDP, Omisore came second in the 2014 election with over 200,000 votes in less than seven local governments.

Omisore’s governorship ambition is plagued by negative public opinions. Majority of the Osun population believes he ordered the assault on late Senator Isiaka Adeleke when they were both competing for the PDP governorship ticket in 2014. Omisore also has also been unable to erase the public perception that he is complicit in the assassination of Bola Ige, Nigeria’s ex-Attorney General. Even though Omisore has been tried and acquitted, his political opponents still raise the dust on Ige’s assassination during election season. As a veteran contestant with political structures across the state’s 30 local governments, Omisore’s accrued votes will predictably rank him among the top three, but may not earn him a win.

The ADC candidate, Fatai Akinbade, is not less good for the job, but he has a slim chance. His major backbone are yesterday’s men – former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo. The duo’s power and capacity have diminished so much that their lead backing can’t earn Akinbade a win. Obasanjo and Oyinlola are still influential, but their endorsement is just that extra support every candidate needs, they are not a strong winning determinant. Moreover, Akinbade scored below 10,000 votes when he was the governorship candidate of the Labour Party in 2014. In this election, Akinbade’s sole aim may be to frustrate the winning chance of the PDP, the party he recently left when he couldn’t secure the governorship ticket.

PDP’s Ademola Adeleke has a bright chance in this election, but he needs to make last minute efforts to further convince the voters that he has the intellectual ability to govern Osun, despite being less educated. The opposition is making political gains from Adeleke’s insufficient education and such may affect his victory. Nevertheless, Nigerians currently place less priority on the educational qualification of electoral candidates. Adeleke’s inadequate education may not affect his chances considering that Nigerians sacked Dr Goodluck Jonathan and elected a less educated Muhammadu Buhari as president in 2015.

The police on 19 September, 2018 invited Adeleke for arraignment over allegations that he was involved in examination malpractice and criminal conspiracy during the NECO examination he registered for in 2016. The presidency has reportedly instructed the police to stay action till after the election. President Buhari’s action on Adeleke’s case is constructive and highly commendable. But then again, Adeleke’s tribulation is a lesson that one must always plan for the future and education is the master key. The predicament of Adeleke, Davido’s uncle, may have influenced the famous singer to enroll for the mandatory NYSC scheme after graduating.

Adeleke won the last major election in Osun state to become a senator, after the death of his brother. If Adeleke has maintained a good relationship with the population that gave him sympathy votes during his senatorial election, he would earn more votes than the other candidates in Osun-West senatorial district. Adeleke’s chance of winning would have fade off if he had not reconciled with Dr Akin Ogunbiyi, his main rival during the PDP governorship primary election. The outcome of the same primary saw Akinbade pulling out to pick ADC’s governorship ticket. For Adeleke to have a comfortable lead, he must convince some of the PDP defector’s supporters, in the camp of Akinbade and Omisore, to vote for the PDP.

APC’s Gboyega Oyetola have almost all it takes to win the election. He belongs to the ruling party in control of the other five states in the Southwest. He’s a brilliant administrator with vast knowledge of Osun politics, having run the state with governor Aregbesola for over seven years, as his chief-of-staff. Oyetola is a viable instrument of continuity and the electorates would thumb him, if they are satisfied with Aregbesola’s performance. Oyetola also have the federal might which can technically manage the election in his favor. In addition, Oyetola enjoys the backing of Bola Tinubu – the man whose raging political sagacity has installed governors and sacked then president Goodluck Jonathan. Despite all this election winning essentials, Oyetola may not win. His victory is being caged by controversies and intra-party conflict.

Oyetola’s emergence as governorship candidate nearly shattered the APC. The party chieftains had initially zoned the governorship ticket to Osun-West district, but later abandoned the arrangement to back Oyetola from the Osun-Central district that has governed the state for almost 12 years. Although Oyetola emerged through a direct primary process, other contenders believe his emergence was based on the overbearing influence of his cousin, Bola Tinubu. This triggered disaffections, protests and the exit of influential figures from the APC. The party lost Moshood Adeoti, the immediate past SSG and current candidate of the ADP.

APC also lost Senator Bayo Salami; eleven aggrieved members of the State Working Committee; the ex-Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon. Sunday Akere; and the ex-Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Dr Wale Bolorunduro. Chairman of the Osun State Local Government Service Commission, Dr Peter Babalola also decamped. Other notable defectors are members of the state house of assembly representing Ede North, Iwo and Ilesa-West, which is the incumbent governor’s constituency. Ex-governor Oyinlola also defected from the APC to ADC before the primary. Politics is an all-inclusive sport. The exit of these persons and their supporters would have a significant damaging effect on Oyetola’s votes.

Such happened recently in Ekiti State. The ruling Ekiti PDP lost its heavyweights after Governor Fayose’s deputy, Kolapo Olushola, became the governorship candidate. Notables such as Prince Dayo Adeyeye and Senator Fatimah Raji-Rasaki decamped from the PDP to the APC. The ruling party later lost the election. APC’s Kayode Fayemi defeated PDP’s Kolapo Olushola with about 20,000 votes. Fayemi wouldn’t have got the winning votes if the PDP bigwigs didn’t decamp to the APC.

Another count against Oyetola is the populace perception that he’s another Lagos importee and Tinubu’s stooge, like Aregbesola. Some of the voters see thumbing Oyetola as licensing Tinubu to rule the state by proxy. APC’s victory partly depends on Oyetola’s ability to shred this notion. Efforts to convince the electorates might end up being unfruitful based on the recent happenings in Lagos. Tinubu’s obsessiveness, dictatorial tendencies, and alleged resistance to Governor Ambode’s reelection bid might make Osun people reject Oyetola, who is Tinubu’s cousin. Tinubu has many electable brains, far-reaching networks and large followers, but his take-it-all syndrome and godfather politics is making him lose the admiration of many. Nobody in Nigeria today, not even President Buhari, has made godfather politics obvious like Tinubu.

Aregbesola’s effort in the provision of infrastructure is commendable, but his inability to pay workers salary may deny Oyetola victory. Osun is a downright civil servants state and the non-payment of salaries, pensions and arrears has immensely affected the living standards of not just the civil servants alone, but the entire residents of the state. The working population may decide to deny APC their votes and that of their friends, families and associates. A similar situation made PDP lose the recent governorship election in Ekiti.

Osun election is a crucial way of testing the credibility of the recently concluded Ekiti governorship election. A comparative study of pre-election periods in Ekiti and Osun state exposed that all the factors that made PDP lose in Ekiti are present in Osun. Both states have incumbent two-term governors who cannot seek reelection, but wish to install their choice successor. Both the ruling Ekiti PDP and the ruling Osun APC presented top serving government officials as gubernatorial candidates. Both the ruling Ekiti PDP and the ruling Osun APC lost influential members after they conducted primaries. Both the Ekiti PDP and Osun APC ruling governments were owing salaries, arrears and pensions. If you assess the pre-election period in Ekiti carefully, you’ll discover that almost all the factors that made PDP lose in Ekiti are present in Osun.

Based on this premise, a win for the APC in the Osun governorship election is a strong pointer that something was fundamentally wrong with the Ekiti election, maybe rigged. The difference between Ekiti and Osun is that between six and half-dozen. The states are in the same region and have people of similar orientation, culture and background. Their governorship elections also hold within the same period.

The pundit would have ticked APC’s Oyetola as the prospective governor-elect, but the recent happenings in nearby Ekiti, which is similar to what is currently happening in Osun, makes the pundit cast doubt on his emergence. The ADC, ADP and SDP flag-bearer are strong candidates, but their party structure is somewhat weak to win a governorship election, even though such has happened before. Olusegun Mimiko and Ibrahim Shekarau won governorship elections under the (seemingly weak) platform of the LP and ANPP in Ondo and Kano states. But things have changed terrifically. It is currently very unpromising that an individual would defect to a less popular party on the eve of a governorship election and win in Osun. Such defections apparently can’t earn the defectors a win, but can extremely damage the winning chances of the popular parties they defected from. All election winning indices considered, Ademola Adeleke’s (PDP) emergence as governor-elect is predicted.

Note: Foretelling an election outcome doesn’t mean the pundit have access to one sacred information or the election winning strategy of any candidate. Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of candidates to predict who’ll win is a common practice in developed nations. This doesn’t mean the pundits are compromising the electoral process or influencing the election results. Osun people have already decide who they’ll cast their votes for and nothing - not this piece - can easily change their minds. The pundit’s election prediction is made based on the expectation of a free, fair and credible election, not electoral fraud.

*Omoshola Deji is a political and public affairs analyst. He wrote in via moshdeji@yahoo.com

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Porbitas condemns military invasion of Dura Du in Plateau State - ITREALMS

Probitas, the Nigeria-based civil society group, has condemned the invasion of the Dura Du community in Jos South Local Government, North-Central Nigeria, by members of the Nigerian military, reports ITREALMS.

Communications Director, Probitas, Amaka Nwankwo in a press statement made available to ITREALMS, alleged that the soldiers who stormed the community three days ago, claim that they are searching for a missing retired General, Idris Alkali, who was reportedly last seen near a pond in the area. 

Probitas questions the legality of this action, which is capable of causing the loss of lives and property in an already volatile community.

The Nigerian Army must respect jurisdictional boundaries. The disappearance of a retired General is purely a criminal matter meant to be investigated by the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and not the Nigerian Army. The fact that Mr Alkali is a former Major-General, does not give the army the right to usurp the powers of the Nigerian Police.

This mission is being headed by Brigadier-General Umar Mohammed, the Chief of Staff of Operation Safe Haven. Brigadier-General Umar Mohammed's unilateral decision to drain a local pond, revered by community members, must be resisted by the government, civil society and environmental activists.

The right thing would be to hand this matter over to the police and to take into consideration the concerns of locals who fear that the army is planning a full-scale desecration of their community. The authorities must consider other alternatives to draining the community's pond such as using deep sea divers and underwater cameras. 

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Osodieme warns fraudsters using her name for APGA ticket - ITREALMS

The wife of the Governor of Anambra State, and founder of the NGO, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE), Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) has alerted members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), political aspirants and the public to beware of the activities of unscrupulous individuals and influence peddlers who are going around promising political aspirants tickets in her name for the forthcoming party primaries and warned such persons to desist forthwith, reports ITREALMS.

Her Chief Media Officer, Emeka Ozumba in a press statement made available to ITREALMS quoted Osodieme as saying that she does not decide who gets APGA ticket neither has she mandated anybody to enter into discussions nor negotiations with APGA aspirants, warning that those using her name for such schemes if caught will be handed over to the security agencies.

"As a loyal party member, I stand by the promise of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of APGA, His Excellency, Governor Willie Obiano which guarantees that APGA primaries will be free and fair. I have made no promises, endorsement or pact with any candidate. My candid advice to aspirants is to go out there with confidence and sell your programmes and plans for the people to the delegates. Trust in the Lord and do not give in to such fraudulent tales claiming that I have endorsed anybody," she said.

Furthermore, Osodieme charged all APGA aspirants: "Do not solicit or give anybody money on my behalf. Let your credentials speak for you, and remember that at the end there will only be one winner for every position. I wish you all the very best of luck.”

Ozo Nweke Ozo/GEE

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Scientists link dangerous fungal spores in lungs - ITREALMS

Scientists at The University of Manchester have discovered a genetic mutation in humans linked to a 17-fold increase in the amount of dangerous fungal spores in the lungs, reports ITREALMS.

The study, published in Nature Communications could allow doctors to screen patients at risk from Aspergillus, and could easily be developed into a test.

When breathed in, Aspergillus can be life threatening and also make asthma much worse, especially in people with compromised immune systems. It is found in soil, pillows and compost but is capable of living anywhere in a moist environment, so breathing it in is unavoidable .

Aspergillus is normally cleared from the lungs but 4% of people have this newly discovered mutation and in them, Aspergillus thrives in the airways.

“People with asthma, who have had transplant surgery, TB and many other illnesses that lower immunity could feasibly be screened for this genetic mutation. And early detection could save lives,” said Dr Paul Bowyer who led the study funded by the Fungal infection Trust and supported by the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre.

Dr Sara Gago discovered the increased risk by comparing normal human cells to cells which had been gene edited to contain the mutation. The gene - known as ZNF77 - is mainly responsible for the extracellular matrix of the lungs’ epithelial tissue- the membrane that protects them. These mutated cells had a weak response to Aspergillus showing how key epithelial cells are to normal defences against this airborne fungus.

Dr Bowyer said: “Until now we never really understood why some people have a much higher Aspergillus load than others. Now that we do, it’s quite a significant advance in understanding this disease. We don’t yet know how or why the mutation occurs but nevertheless this discovery provides the basis for a simple and inexpensive DNA test in those who people who are more at risk from Aspergillus.”

Dr Gago is a Research Fellow funded by the National Centre for the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animals in research. She added: “ZNF77 doesn’t actually occur in mice, so the only viable animal models besides humans are primates. Having developed a way to adapt human cell lines so that they can carry mutations associated with disease, we have avoided using primates or any animals entirely.”

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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