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FirstBank supports educational institutions with First EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS WITH FIRSTEDU

ITREALMS:   Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has announced its educational solu...

Friday, September 20, 2019

FirstBank supports educational institutions with First EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS WITH FIRSTEDU

Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has announced its educational solution – FirstEdu - specifically designed to enhance the educational facilities in schools. The FirstEdu product includes FirstEdu loan and FirstEdu portal.

FirstEdu loan is targeted at private Nursery & Primary and Secondary schools to assist the schools in achieving their desired growth in the medium and long-term. The product provides funding to replace old furniture and equipment, pay staff salaries, purchase brand new or fairly-used buses as well as refurbish dilapidated buildings and classroom blocks. With this product, school owners/proprietors can stay ahead of competition at all times.

The product enables the schools to access facility with no tangible collateral, apart from domiciliation of school fees account with the Bank.

In addition, FirstEdu portal is a modular and robust web-based enterprise portal that enables Tertiary educational institutions manage academic, administrative, professional, logistics and payment challenges. The basis for its robustness is to take the stress of logistics, administrative and payment challenges off the institutions, as they focus on meeting their year-long, medium and long-term objectives.

The product features and benefits include; e-Learning, virtual library and facilitation of exchange programmes with foreign educational institutions; academic & student events/time-table/calendar management; school fees payment via the internet; online information and result checking; interactive community forum between students and teachers. It also affords applicants the opportunity of enrolling from the comfort of their homes or any location around the world; no licensing, installation and maintenance cost and plugs avenues for revenue leakages amongst others.

According to Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, “with FirstEdu, private schools across the various tiers of education in Nigeria; elementary, secondary and tertiary, have the right tool to boost their business to the level they desire. With over N5 billion loans already disbursed to schools this year alone, we are committed to supporting growth in this key sector of our economy.”’

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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6 Nigerians emerge fellows @African School of Internet Governance - ITREALMS

Six Nigerians emerged as fellows at the just concluded African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG), reports ITREALMS.

The African School on Internet Governance is a multistakeholder training initiative that gives Africans from diverse sectors and stakeholder groups the opportunity to gain knowledge and confidence to participate effectively in internet governance processes and debates nationally, regionally and globally. 

In addition, ITREALMS gathered that it contributes towards increasing the diversity, extent, quality and effectiveness of African participation in internet governance by creating a space that promotes multistakeholder learning and dialogue. The six Nigerians are; Amina Ramallan, Olamide Egbayelo, Gabreal Odunsi, Musab Muhammad Isah, Tomiwa Ilori and Morisola Alaba .

The Seventh African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG) which was held at N’Djamena, Chad, had 45 participants from 23 countries with a series of sessions, lectures and workshops on internet governance processes at the local, national, sub-regional, regional and global levels.

The school which is usually co-located with the annual African Internet Governance Forum came to a wrap on September 12, 2019.

In a press statement released by the alumni group in Nigeria, “The African school on internet governance represent the grooming place for future leaders on Internet governance on the continent and it is great that there are six Nigerians among the 45 fellows this year.”

Over the years, a number of young Nigerians from different stakeholder groups have been part of the AfriSIG building multidisciplinary cadre of expertise in internet governance on the continent through the participation of current and emerging leaders drawn from government, business, academia and civil society.

According to Adeboye Adegoke, Program Manager at Paradigm Initiative and member of the Nigerian alumni group, “Unlike the traditional governance process which is exclusive to the government, Internet Governance is a multistakeholder process and usually requires inputs from all actors.” 

“... Given that people are not used to this approach, the Afrisig represents a veritable platform to learn and understand how this works. Irrespective of your area of expertise, Afrisig gives you an opportunity to see the Internet from the perspective of others and this is helping the resilience of the Internet and promoting the principle of an open Internet on the continent” Adeboye concluded.

While commenting on the development, another member of the alumni group and coordinator of the Nigerian School on Internet Governance, NSIG, Caleb Ogundele, noted that “the school is part of the long term strategic plan to strategically drive additional capacity building initiatives to raise the Next
Generation of Internet Governance thought leaders that will shape policies across the Internet Governance space in Nigeria and beyond.”

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

ALTON reassures Minister of support, demands attention on telecom challenges - ITREALMS

The Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), has reassured the Minister of Communications, Dr. Ali Isa Patanmi, demanding that he gives attention to issues retard ease of doing business in Nigeria’s telecom sector, reports ITREALMS.

ALTON, is an industry body of all licensed telecommunications operators in Nigeria and is duly registered under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and recognized as an industry representative by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and other Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

According to ALTON, access to basic communications services have transformed personal and business productivity, enhanced governance and facilitated security services delivery in the country.

“There is no gainsaying that Information Communication Technology (ICT) also has a direct impact on the performance of Government at all levels.

“The ICT Sector accounts for approximately 10% of nominal GDP as against 2016 with a direct contribution of over N1.549trn to the economy. Our sector consistently accounted for over 30% of Nigerian Foreign Direct Investment since its deregulation in year 2001. It is pertinent to state that the ICT Sector has created over 20,000 direct and 1.5 million indirect jobs since its deregulation in 2001.

As said by ALTON, despite the above milestones, it is of great concern to stakeholders that the ICT sector is still operating below its potentials, as it is faced with fundamental challenges militating against network enhancement and development as well as inadequate infrastructure to support broadband roll out.

Specifically, ALTON in the letter endorsed by its chairman, Otunba Gbenga Adebayo, noted that the provision of first class telecoms service in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja has been hampered by the refusal of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to grant permits to our members to build infrastructure.

“Despite concerted engagement, FCDA has maintained that due to the need to maintain the Abuja Master Plan, it will not grant approval to our members to build new sites in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja,” the group said.

ALTON pointed out that without adequate infrastructure, the provision of qualitative telecommunications services cannot be guaranteed.

“We, therefore respectfully invite you to use your good office to liaise with the FCDA to identify suitable locations for new sites build by our members to ensure the provision of qualitative telecoms service in FCT and environs,” he said.

In addition, ALTON emphasized that more base stations are needed for more resilient infrastructure and other elements to support stable telecom operations. Lamenting that, however they were faced with a number of issues for which require intervention of government at the highest level.

Chuks Egbuna/Editor

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Wike lauds Gov Fayemi's leadership - ITREALMS

Rivers State Governor, Barr. Nyesome Wike has described his Ekiti State counterpart and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors' Forum ( NGF), Dr Kayode Fayemi, as a highly focused leader who does not discriminate against members of tbe opposition party, but sees them as partners in progress.

Governor Wike gave the commendation, Wednesday in Port Harcourt, during the commissioning of the ultra modern Rumuwoji Market as part of activities marking the first 100 days of his second term in office.

Wike said Governor Fayemi was given the honour of commissioning the market in recognition of his rare qualities as a leader who does not discriminate based on political party affiliation.

"My brother, the Chairman of NGF, Governor Fayemi is a great leader. He has never discriminated against opposition parties. He sees everybody as partners in progress.

"He is one of the few leaders who understand that a political party is a vehicle to get into government and that party affiliation should not bring animosity, especially when development is the focus.

Governor Wike recalled how Governor Fayemi's intervention helped to douse the tension that was brewing over the issue of mosque demolition in the state earlier in the month.

"He called me when he heard about the development. He came here and intervened in the matter, not minding our political party affiliation. That is leadership. And such a leader should be encouraged" He added.

Governor Fayemi, in a short remark before commissioning the market complex also has hailed his Rivers State counterpart, Barr. Wike for his developmental strides in the state.

He described Wike as a frontline member of the NGF, adding that he was impressed by the Rivers State Governor's penchant for people- oriented projects, which he said had earned him the nickname "Mr Project".

Dr Fayemi who was the special guest of honour at the event, said government is about affecting the lives of the people positively and ensuring that "we fulfill promises made during electioneering period.

He said his role as NGF Chairman is to support, protect and defend members of the Forum regardless of party affiliation.

The two governors later led other dignitaries and traders on an inspection of facilities in the ultra modern market.

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Emeka Ozumba elevated to DCPS - ITREALMS

The former Chief Media Officer to wife of Anambra State Governor, Mr Emeka Ozumba has vowed to redouble his efforts in serving the state, reports ITREALMS.

Ozumba made the vow during his swearing in as Deputy Chief Press Secretary while being sworn-into his new portfolio, during the State’s Executive Council Meeting at Exco Chambers, Government House, Awka.

Prior to his appointment into political office, Ozumba was Managing Consultant at Ozion Ltd., a government/public affairs and media advisory consultancy services based in Abuja.

Earlier, Gov. Obiano while performing the swearing-in had urged Ozumba to work harder in the discharge of his duties.

The Governor had explained that his latest appointment was because of his commitment and excellence in the performance of his media and communications duties.

Ozumba, who hails from Urunnebo Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State, has not less than 25 years experience in marketing communications and public affairs.

He was a 1987 Mass Communications Graduate of the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu.

Ozumba later obtained a Post Graduate Diploma from the Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Lagos and a degree from the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Cashless Policy: CBN commences nationwide charges on deposits, withdrawals above N500,000 - ITREALMS

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has commenced a nationwide implementation of the cashless policy with effect from March 2020, while implementation of charges on deposits and withdrawals takes immediate effect, from Wednesday, September 18, 2019, reports ITREALMS.

A circular to all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country, made available to 
ITREALMS, CBN said that implementation of the policy signals the imposition of charges on deposits in addition to already existing charges on withdrawals.

The circular, also noted that the charges, which take effect from Wednesday will attract three per cent processing fees for withdrawals and two per cent processing fees for lodgments of amounts above N500,000 for individual accounts.

On the corporate accounts, CBN in a circular signed by the Director, Payments System Management Department, Mr. Sam Okojere, said that DMBs would charge five per cent processing fees for withdrawals and three per cent processing fee for lodgments of amounts above N3,000,000.

The charge on deposits, CBN noted, would apply in Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, and Rivers States as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, while the full implementation of the cashless policy will effectively commence from March 31, 2020.

Further said this would promote the cashless policy and enhance the collection of applicable government revenues, just as it reviewed the process for merchant settlement.

“With effect from Tuesday, September 17, the CBN had given approval for banks to unbundle merchant settlement amounts and charge applicable taxes and duties on individual transactions as stipulated by regulations.

Okojere, insisted that a downward review of the Merchant Service Charge has been approved, from 0.75 per cent capped at N1, 200 to 0.50 per cent capped at N1, 000.

Chuks Egbuna/Editor

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HP: Task Systems maintains supplier of genuine products - ITREALMS

Foremost ICT solution company, Task Systems, has maintained its status as a certified supplier of genuine products and solutions from global Original Equipment Manufacturer, Hewlett-Packard (HP). The company recently scaled a rigorous audit by HP, further affirming Task’s quality assurance rating.

The audit comes as the company has promised its numerous clients across the ICT ecosystem of continuous supply of genuine ICT products.

In a letter to announce the successful audit, HP Vice President, Distribution and Supplies Sales in charge of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Tiago Drummond-Borges, commended Task Systems for its consistently high level of product and service delivery.

The letter reads: “Thank you for your cooperation in the recent Channel Partner Protection Audit (CPPA) of HP-branded and Samsung-branded supplies (“HP Supplies”) conducted in your company. Our auditor did not find any cartridges that are counterfeit, grey marketed or otherwise unauthorised for resale by you, in the premises on the date of the audit. Consequently, we are glad to confirm your status as an HP partner as per your HP Partner Agreement.”

Receiving the letter, Task Systems Managing Director, Olufunke Oduntan disclosed that the development has, once again, confirmed Task Systems as the undisputed choice when it comes to the supply of genuine ICT products.

“We are very elated that Task Systems again passed HP Channel Partner Protection Audit (CPPA). In these past years, we have worked hard to make Task Systems the preferred ICT solution provider in Africa and beyond.

“We again assure our numerous clients that we will continue to meet their demands by continually supplying genuine products aimed at innovating and improving their business performance,” Oduntan said.

Established 32 years ago, Task Systems is Nigeria’s leading ICT solution provider in cloud data, enterprise solution, network foundation solution, data security, among others.

The company, one of Nigeria’s most successful, structured and long-standing corporates, has grown from its early days of transitioning Nigeria to the technology landscape, to become one of the strongest, most reliable and most trusted ICT solution providers in West Africa.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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GOCOP President tasks journalists on peace promotion via social media - ITREALMS

The President of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), Mr. Dotun Oladipo, has tasked media practitioners to occupy the social media space in the bid to promote peace in the country, reports ITREALMS.

Oladipo, who is also the Managing Editor and CEO of Premium Eagle Media Limited, publishers of The Eagle Online, stated this on Monday in Lagos at a Forum convened by the Journalists for Democratic Rights on peace building and conflict prevention.

The Forum was designed for journalists to imbibe the principles of peace, democracy and stability in their reportage.

The GOCOP boss lamented the non-occupation of the social media and online publishing spaced by professional media practitioners, a development that has made a large portion of the space to be dominated by quacks and mischief makers.

Oladipo lamented that despite the huge number of journalists on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Instagram and WhatsApp among others, many of them do not go beyond “chatting” and making comments on development instead of correcting wrong information and providing accurate news.

He further enjoined media practitioners not to be in a hurry to publish stories online without cross checking their facts.
He said Google provides veritable tools to so do.

Oladipo also enjoined professional journalists to keep establishing online news websites and use their social media platforms to publish authenticated news and information, especially to counter wrong and divisive information.

He said with the number of Nigerians accessing information online using their mobile phones and in a country of about 200 million persons, the number of authoritative online news platforms were too few.

Speaking earlier, the Executive Director of JODER, Adewale Adeoye, said the body was founded in 1996 during the military era, adding that despite the fact that there is no military government in the country anymore, there are still some vestiges or “new curve” of violence, which includes suppressing the media, kidnappings and killings.

Adeoye said it is only the media that can rise up in ensuring that these are adequately reported and if possible put to a conclusive end.

Also, the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Lagos State chapter, Dr. Quasim Akinreti, enjoined journalists to always be conversant to the environment they work, mind their use of words during reporting as well as the image or pictures they employ in reporting the story.

He called for more registration among members, stressing that the body is poised to do biometrics for registered members and in due time the NUJ will clampdown on members that are not registered.

Akinreti also spoke about student registration, assuring that there are talks about the body engaging with media proprietors to pay staff as and when due.

He lamented that media practitioners could have done better in owning media firms instead of leaving proprietorship of media houses to businessmen.

Further, he said the NUJ is embarking on necessary media investments like establishing a 35 hectares of land for agriculture, a community radio for the NUJ and an E-library to assist reporters in writing their stories.
Other resource persons at the training included Kudu Abubakar, Vice President, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum; former News Editor, Vanguard Newspaper and training facilitator, Chris Okechukwu Nderibe; and Director of News, TVC, Babajide Otitoju.
The training was organised by JODER with the support of the Institute of International Education and the Ford Foundation, West African Regional Office.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Rugby World Cup 2019: Canon to implement ‘Free Viewpoint Video System, provide footage -

Canon Inc has disclosed that during seven matches of Rugby World Cup 2019, to be held from September 20 to November 2, the company will provide highlight footage created by the Free Viewpoint Video System to the International Games Broadcast Services (IGBS).

These video highlights feature viewpoints and angles not possible with conventional cameras, effectively conveying the thrill of such sports as rugby and delivering an experience that feels like being right on the field.

Canon will create Free Viewpoint Video content during all seven of the tournament matches to be held at the International Stadium Yokohama. Captured video footage will be curated into highlight reels that display the excitement and superb skill of each play from the ideal viewpoint and angle.

Generated video will be provided to IGBS, who will then distribute the content to rights holders for broadcast, streaming, news, sports commentary programs and other forms of content viewing. In addition, content will be made available on the Canon homepage approximately 24 hours after the conclusion of each match.

Canon has continued to refine such aspects of the Free Viewpoint Video System as camera positioning, method of image capture, image-processing algorithms and hardware to achieve higher image quality and faster content generation workflows.

The system is now capable of delivering high-quality, newsworthy content to broadcasters and content distributors. With the system, Canon is able to generate Free Viewpoint Video content and freely control its time and positioning. This technological evolution has been recognized by IGBS, thus laying the foundation for full-scale professional use by broadcasters.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

NiMES 6th edition promises better opportunities - ITREALMS

The organisers of the Nigeria Mobile Economy Summit and Expo (NiMES), have assured that the 6th edition of the event scheduled to hold on September 27 would provide better opportunities for participants, reports ITREALMS.

The event endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Technology, 
will be held at Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

With the theme of this year's event tagged "Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Nigeria", organisers said attention would be focused on issues relating to mobile technology and economy driven by digital transformation as they affect the society.

NiMES, which is an annual event by Centre for Cyber Awareness and Development (CECAD), is organised for key players and captains of industries in IT and other related firms to chart the course for the digital economy and what future it holds for the country.

Speaking on the event, Programme Coordinator, Moji Alabi, said opportunities would be opened to participants to meet senior executives from public and private organizations who will be discussing the future of digital Nigeria in a digital age and its prospects for the citizenry.

According to Alabi, the event provides a platform for business leaders, policymakers and technology innovators opportunity to discuss and partner on the re-invention of products, processes and technologies to achieve a connected digital society for Nigeria

"Access to technology changes people’s lives," Alabi said. "It improves business and drives economic growth with exponential rate while unleashing its potentials through the contribution of digital brands."

She said the event would foster "culture of innovation and management of digital disruption as a key process within your organisation, as a catalyst for career development and as a tool for personal improvement in the digital age."

Highlighting some of the benefits of the event, the programme coordinator said: "The participants will hear directly from government agencies, stakeholders and drivers of technology innovation in Nigeria on their strategic objectives and network with the decision-makers.

"They will meet and network with key business stakeholders from the top corporations, SMEs and start-ups and align their brands with Nigeria Mobile Economy Summit. Through this, they will be able to maintain sustainable growth with the use of new digital technologies, innovation and the creation of knowledge economies."

Furthermore, the summit has been expanded to include a key component of its scope, a special feature with a forum on the Future of Banking, Payments and Fintech. Key players within the banking, payment and fintech space in Nigeria will be part of the forum to explore opportunities of emerging trends, debate on disruptive technologies affecting the space and how the future of transactions in the country can be reinvented for growth.

Alabi assured that with the knowledge that will be acquired at the event, better ways of getting work done and business efficiency is guaranteed.

"Imagine new ways of getting work done by leveraging on the information you have where you can reimagine the past and use it to guide and fuel your transformation from ordinary to exceptional.

"No need to think further, all the trends and disruptive technologies will be showcased at the upcoming #NiMES2019, #1 mobile and digital economy event," she stated.

Recalling experiences recorded in the last edition, the programme coordinator said: "last edition, the conference brought together the brightest and most innovative minds that are shaping the mobile ecosystem in Nigeria. Delegates and VIPs flocked to the conference to learn about the latest developments, innovations and investment opportunities which will help them succeed in the industry.

"They were able to network. The showcase session, expo and the conference allowed our attendees to meet and engage with potential customers by building relationships which is the core of a brand, solution and business.

"The exhibition session allowed visitors to gain exclusive access to decision-makers in the industry and generate genuine business connections.

"It showcased the leading solutions to prospective customers and raise awareness of different businesses in the content, broadband, entertainment, payments, e-commerce & retail sectors," Alabi stressed.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Fayemi assures workers on clearing arrears, 2019 promotion - ITREALMS

Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has assured workers in the state that his administration will not renege on its promise of prompt payment of salaries and emoluments, reports ITREALMS.

Dr Fayemi who revealed that the arrears of salaries and gratuity of workers and pensioners since 2015 had amounted to N52 billion, said government was making concerted efforts to defray all not minding that they were owed by the previous administration.

The Governor spoke on Monday at an interactive session with the workers at the state secretariat, in Ado Ekiti. He said monthly allocation of about N5.2Billion accruable to both state and local government was not enough to defray all the debt in one swoop.

Fayemi, who was applauded by the workers, urged them to give him time to address some of their needs, assuring them that while some would be attended to immediately others would come much later.

He explained that his administration had ensured the sanctity of the civil service by insisting that all appointments from the least to the highest position of permanent secretaries were merit - based.

According to the Governor, “We have tried within the limited resources available to our state not to miss payment of salaries as and when due. We’ve tried to restore to the best of our own ability and commitment to the restoration of Ekiti values that meritocracy should define our Civil service and those who have been appointed either as permanent secretaries, General Managers and Executive Secretaries, there is none of them that can say I became this because I went to governor Fayemi’s office and he likes my face so I was promoted to become Permanent Secretary.

"They all went through a process starting with an examination and then rigorous interview and it is the best of the best that emerged and we are determined to continue that in our civil service transformation programme.

“I believe that there are things we can address in the immediate, I believe we can address the immediate promotion.
There are promotion that have been done that are notional, there are promotion that are due now, under the Fayemi administration, not the one due before. I want to deal with the one that are due under me now, and you will get the one that you are owed too but not immediately.

" The arrears of promotion you are owed in 2015 to 2017 amount to N4Billion and N488 million for the local government service. If you look at what we are owing you in 2019, which is about N705million, that is the one that I say I want to try and clear. The 2015 to 2017 notional promotion arrears would be defrayed installmentally.

“I have a responsibility to make sure that whatever we do, we must not hurt the collective in the attempt to satisfy a critical component of our population, and you are the critical component. So we are going to take a lot of what we are confronted with in phases because we don’t have the resources to clear everything that we are owing at a go.

“On salary arrears, you know I promised you when I was campaigning, that within one year we would clear the arrears. That promise still stands to a large extent and before coming here, I asked for a compilation again both at the level of the civil service where you are owed about three months and the local government, six months. We are still very committed to defraying this, it is a tough challenge but we would try and see what we can do about that.”

“On the leave bonus, leave bonus has not being paid since 2016 in the local government and in the civil service, since 2017, again, leave bonus alone comes to N6.4Billion.

There is no way we can defray all of what we have spoken about in one fell swoop. Collectively, we are owing you N57Billion, that is not just salary, there is also gratuity, leave bonus and promotion, so that gives you a picture of where the state stands and averagely on a monthly basis, about N3billion comes to the state and about 2.2 billion comes to the local government making N5.2billion every month. That gives you a picture of where Ekiti is.

Earlier, the Head of Service, Mr Ayodeji Ajayi, on behalf of Ekiti workers, appreciated the governor for turning around the dignity of the public service within one year by restoring its eroded values and culture that was bastardized during the immediate past administration.

The Head of Service commended governor Fayemi on his commitment to the welfare of Ekiti workers with improvement in the loan schemes and regular payment of salaries as and when due.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Soludo, Bismark join Buhari’s Economic Advisory Council – ITREALMS

… Buhari sacks EMT
President Muhammadu Buhari has sacked the Economic Management Team (EMT) constituted an eight-man Economic Advisory Council (EAC) with immediate effect, reports ITREALMS.

They include the former Central Bank governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, and stock market guru, Mr. Bismark Rewane as members while Prof. Doyin Salami would chair the Council.

Others are Dr. Mohammed Sagagi – Vice-Chairman, Prof. Ode Ojowu – Member, Dr. Shehu Yahaya – Member, Dr. Iyabo Masha – Member, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo – Member, and the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Development Policy, Dr. Mohammed Adaya Salisu as Secretary.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Femi Adesina told ITREALMS that this advisory council will replace the current Economic Management Team (EMT) and will be reporting directly to the President.

“The Economic Advisory Council (EAC) will advise the President on economic policy matters, including fiscal analysis, economic growth and a range of internal and global economic issues working with the relevant cabinet members and heads of monetary and fiscal agencies,” he said.

In addition, he said, the EAC will have monthly technical sessions as well as scheduled quarterly meetings with the President, stressing that the Chairman may, however, request for unscheduled meetings if the need arises.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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Monday, September 16, 2019

Internet Governance: AfIGF honours Guellouz, Makane & Moctar - ITREALMS

The 2019 African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) ended at the weekend in Ndjamena, Chad with an award ceremony by the African Union (AU), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the Government of Chad to recognize the some contributions in Internet development on the continent, reports ITREALMS.

A public statement available to 
ITREALMS listed three key awardees for this round of honour, including Tunisian Ridha Guellouz, former UNECA staff, Makane Faye and Moctar Yedaly of the African Union.ITREALMS gathered that Ridha Guellouz of Tunisia, was honoured for his foresightedness leading to his proposal he made in 1998 at the Indianapolis ITU Plenipotentiaries Conference for the convention of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

"Since then, he has been at the forefront of WSIS and IGF worldwide and in Africa and the Arab world," part of the stated read.

Makane Faye, 
ITREALMS gathered, is a retiree of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa whereas Moctar Yedaly is from the African Union.

"They have established the African Internet Governance Forum and have been running it successfully since inception despite all odds. Moreover they have strengthened existing partnerships and enlisted new partners and more African countries and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in the Internet governance process.

In their response, they declared "We are honored to receive the award and are grateful to the numerous colleagues and persons who provided their support to us and our activities."

Chuks Egbuna/Editor

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Nigeria: Restructure or rupture - ITREALMS

Nigeria is standing on the edge of a dangerous cliff. It is just a matter of time before it tips over. Rather than the current emotional and politically driven call for a “Revolution”, we all really need to calmly analyse and situate the cause(s) of our problems. In any case, a revolution without a vanguard is a recipe for anarchy. Besides, we are too fatally fractured as a people to achieve a broad-based revolution acceptable to all. The best we can achieve in such a situation will be strife, anarchy and uncontrolled fragmentation. With the perennial mutual mistrust and prevalent hatred spread on social media, the resultant crises will take forever to settle. Libya will be a child's play.

We can shout as much as we can. We can argue from here till eternity. We can blame; we can abuse and accuse. We can change leaders all we want, but the truth is that we cannot build something on nothing. Apart from its name, Nigeria has no foundation to stand on. There is no generally accepted totem to inspire unity. The words of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, are abiding to describe Nigeria. Nigeria is not a nation but a "mere geographical expression", an amalgamation of different and mutually antagonistic people forced to live together as a "nation."

Nigeria stands on a faulty structure and it is the structure that is holding it down. Address it and many other things will fall into place, gradually but progressively. The current federal structure that is defined by the concept of sharing does not only breed indolence but is also the major cause of our divisiveness. Most of the bitterness you see expressed comes from “them never share reach me.” Everybody wants a share of the free oil money euphemistically called nation cake without contributing to it. Nigeria belongs to all, but belongs to nobody. It is just there to be raped by any group of our parasitic elite that manages to manipulate itself into power.

We are deeply different people with different worldviews. We are not necessarily antagonistic. However, those benefitting from these differences for personal gains, have turned these differences to enmity by appealing to our emotions and playing the people against one another instead of instituting a system that will harness the strength and advantages of our differences.

Until Nigeria restructures and frees itself from the burden of the military imposed unitary system called federalism, it will never develop. We must recognise and acknowledge our differences and make provision for their expression for the nation to grow.

What the nation needs is a return to a true federal structure with minimum federal might. That's the only way to convert the fundamental differences which, over the years have been built into bitter rivalry between regions, states and ethnic groups into competition.

When this happens, we will realise soon enough, that we actually need each other more than we have thought. Hate will turn to strategic alliance in the competition for comparative advantage and bitterness converted into positive energy.

The South-east with the industriousness and ingenuity of its indigenes, for example, if allowed a degree of autonomy to develop its own system of self-governance under a loose federal system can transform into a Dubai in less than two decades. So are the other regions who will be challenged to look inwards for their area of comparative advantage. Some will survive on tourism, some in commerce, others in manufacturing and industry, oil, agriculture or a combination of a few. We have become too fused together to be able to survive without one another.

The Nigeria problem needs deeper strategic analysis than all the pro and against propaganda that we bandy about on social media as superior knowledge or understanding of the situation.

Nigeria needs a different type of revolution and not this idea of brats guiling rational men into “revolution”. The world has grown past these type of rabble rousing. It is disturbing that despite our education, we are still bent on using outdated methods to solve our problems.

Yes! We need a revolution but not a revolution for a mere change of government. Not to replace a set of leaders with another. Not even a generational change in leadership. The problem of Nigeria is not caused by the incompetence of our rulers. It is caused by the faulty structure of the nation. We must therefore begin now to channel our displeasure towards correcting this structure instead of spreading hatred and division between fellow suffering citizens.

When we occupy, therefore, let's occupy for the most fundamental of reasons: to force government to commence the process of restructuring. Let's begin to pressure and hold our representatives at the National and State Assemblies accountable for this. This is the type of revolution we need. But most importantly, we must eschew hate and bitterness in the struggle to free Nigeria.

No ethnic group or region has held Nigeria hostage, but a few greedy elite from all regions and ethnic groups who have played on our differences to perpetuate themselves in power. We need the masses of every ethnic group to drive this type of revolution. That is why education and talking with rather than talking down on any region is crucial to the revolution. The revolution to be meaningful cannot be exclusionary. The masses from every part of this nation are victims of the current structure.

To use the titles of Chido Onumah’s books as a metaphor, Nigeria is Negotiable and the Time to Reclaim Nigeria is now before it is too late.

Nigeria will descend into anarchy soon unless reason prevails. And the situation will be worse than whatever we have ever experienced. Let those baying for blood note this.

*Contributed by Austin Emaduku, a public affairs analyst, writes from Warri, Delta State. He can be reached through:

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Ekiti spends N4bn to boost school enrolment – ITREALMS

The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has disclosed that his administration had, in the last 10 months, spent about N4 billion to curb low school enrolment and boost access to free and qualitative basic education in the State, reports ITREALMS.

The Governor disclosed this on Monday, during the flag off of School Enrolment for the 2019/2020 session at Holy trinity Primary School, Ilawe- Ekiti. He said the sum was expended on the payment of outstanding counterpart funds to UBEC, provision of instructional materials to schools, provision of furniture and payment of running grants to all public schools in the state.

Dr. Fayemi, who blamed the low school enrolment figure of the state on the harsh education policy of the immediate past administration which imposed N1000 education tax on pupils in all schools across the state against UBEC law, said his administration has introduced a multi-pronged approach to tackling low school enrolment in the State.

He stated that his administration’s first step at tackling the problem was by outlawing the payment of fees and levies in all public primary and secondary schools in the State.

“Though our State is not one of the States of the federation with this noticeable problem but latest statistics however shows that our enrolment figures have dropped considerably in the last couple of years. The reason for this sharp decline is not far-fetched. The introduction of education tax and other anti-people’s policies as well as the neglect of the basic education sector and indeed the entire public service by the immediate past administration in the State has greatly eroded the gains made by our administration in the basic education sector during my first tenure”, he said.

While stating that government is not unaware of the appalling challenge of poor parental and communal attitude to education, Governor Fayemi said parents have no excuse not to send their children and ward to school now that primary and secondary education is free in the State.

Aside the introduction of school feeding programme in primary schools, the government, according to Dr Fayemi, has also concluded plans to introduce child friendly initiatives that would make pupils have all round skills in the forthcoming academic session.

The Governor said his administration would continue to constructively engage education stakeholders with a view to getting their support for the development of the sector.

Speaking on the ongoing recruitment of teachers, Fayemi assured applicants that the recruitment process would be transparent, fair to all and based on merit.

He urged teachers to put in more efforts to “complement plans to reform, restore and reposition the education sector of Ekiti State to an enviable one among the comity of states”.

In her welcome remarks, the Chairperson of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Prof. Francisca Aladejana, disclosed that government had procured 8,072 units of plastic pupils furniture, constructed 3375 units of metal legged pupils lockers and benches as well as 4150 units of teachers tables and chairs with the aim of making the learning environment conducive.

Aladejana said the 2019/2020 enrolment campaign was the first enrolment drive since 2015; adding that the action was a demonstration of Fayemi’s commitment to boosting school enrolment in the State.

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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