" ITREALMS: November 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Why NCC bowed to Senate, suspends directive on data segment price floor

Some reasons have been adduced as to why the telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has to bow to the concerns raised by the Senate of the Federal Republic to suspend directive on data segment price floor, reports ITRealms.

The Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, explained to ITRealms why the reversal became necessary, insisting that the regulator never aligned with the Mobile Network Operators against the telecom consumers in the country.

This, he said, follows the concerns that visited the directive to introduce price floor for data segment of the telecommunications sector beginning from December 1, 2016, NCC has suspended any further action in that direction.

According to him, the decision to suspend this directive was taken after due consultation with industry stakeholders and the general complaints by consumers nationwide, which included at the floor of the Red Chambers of the National Assembly today, Wednesday, November 30, 2016.

The Commission, Ojobo said, has considered all of this and consequently asked all operators to maintain the status quo until the conclusion of study to determine retail prices for broadband and data services in Nigeria.

ITRealms recalls that the Commission had written the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) on November 1, 2016 on the determination of an interim price floor for data services after the stakeholder’s consultative meeting of October 19, 2016.

Ojobo also said that the decision to have a price floor was primarily to promote a level playing field for all operators in the industry, encourage small operators and new entrants, which are contrary to speculations making a round since Tuesday.

Further, NCC explained that the price floor in 2014 was N3.11k/MB but was removed in 2015. The price floor that was supposed to flag off on December 1, 2016 was N0.90k/MB.

“In taking that decision, the smaller operators were exempted from the new price regime, by virtue of their small market share. The decision on the price floor was taken in order to protect the consumers who are at the receiving end and save the smaller operators from predatory services that are likely to suffocate them and push them into extinction,” he pointed out.

The price floor, Ojobo said, is not an increase in price but a regulatory safeguard put in place by the telecommunications regulator to check anti-competitive practices by dominant operators.

Ojobo noted that this statement clarifies the insinuation in some quarters that the regulator has fixed prices for data services, stressing that this is not true because the NCC does not fix prices, but provides regulatory guidelines to protect the consumers, deepen investments and safeguard the industry from imminent collapse.

Before the new suspended price floor of N0.90k/MB, the industry average for dominant operators including MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, EMTS Limited (Etisalat) and Airtel Nigeria Limited was N0.53k/MB.

Etisalat offered (N0.94k/MB), Airtel (N0.52k/MB), MTN (N0.45k/MB) and Globacom (N0.21k/MB).

The smaller operators cum new entrants, Ojobo explained, charged as follows: Smile Communications N0.84k/MB, Spectranet N0.58k/MB and NATCOMS (NTEL) N0.72k/MB.

He insisted that NCC as a responsive agency of government takes into consideration the feelings of the consumers and so decided to suspend the new price floor.

Meanwhile in the Senate today when the matter came up, the Senators condemned the attempt and directed NCC to immediately stop the proposed data tariff increase until due process is followed and stakeholders carried along.

Chuks Egbune/GEE
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Data tariff increase: A retreat to pre-2001 era – NATCOMS

… berates NCC over lack of due diligence

The National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) has described the latest data tariff increase by some telecom operators as a retreat to pre-2001 era, reports ITRealms.

NATCOMS also accused the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) of lack of due-diligence prior to the purported approval to operators to hike the data tariffs, which was not also specific on the percentage of increment expected to take effect from December 1, 2016.

As at the press time, ITRealms gathered that MTN and Etisalat have already sent out millions of text messages to their subscribers informing them of the NCC data increase directive.

National President and Secretary General of NATCOMS, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo and Prince Bayo Omotubora, noted in a press statement made available to ITRealms that the increment in data tariff is coming when the 9 per cent Communication Service Tax (CST) bill is still before the National Assembly.

They alleged that this increase is to test the waters by way of knowing the reactions of Nigerian telecom subscribers, prelude to the main thing, which is the suspected 10 per cent.

“NCC did not do due-diligence and did not carry out any consultation whatsoever, through any of their Consumer Engagement Platforms, like  the NCC Telecoms Consumer Parliament – for Urban Centres;  the NCC Consumer Outreach Programme – for Sub-Urban Centres;  and the NCC Consumer Town Hall Meeting – for Rural Areas, before this insensitive anti-consumer move,” NATCOMS laments.

The group further said that the directive is ill-advised, illegal and parades all features of economic adversity and should be withdrawn forthwith.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Ambode wins transparency, good governance merit award

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has emerged winner of the Transparency & Good Governance Merit Award (TGMA) 2016 of the Citizen Anti Corruption Volunteer Corps (CACVC), reports ITRealms.

CACVC, ITRealms gathered is a coalition of NGOs fighting corruption in Nigeria.

A press statement made available on Wednesday in Lagos and endorsed by CACVC National Chairman, Comrade Eze Harris Chuma, said: “Governor Ambode was chosen for the honour based on his proven track record of providing transparent and exemplary leadership which has continued to propel Lagos State forward at a time when the rest of the country is reeling under the weight of a crushing economic recession.”

He also said that Governor Ambode would be conferred with the award during a ceremony to be held at LTV Compound, Agidingbi Ikeja, on December 18, 2016, revealing that the speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru A. Obasa, would also be presented with the Anti-Corruption Ambassadorial Certificate during the event.

CACVC said that the Award Keynote Lecture would be delivered by the DG, Change Ambassadors of Nigeria, Prof. Chris Nwaokobia Jnr., who would speak on the theme, “The Quest for Good Governance, The Lagos Experience”.

The group said that there would be other speeches by the likes of Barr.Monday Onyekachi Ubani, Second Vice President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), who would speak on “Anti-Corruption: Role of Judiciary In Nigeria”, while All Progressives Congress (APC) Lagos State Publicity Secretary, Engr. Joe Igbokwe, would speak on “The Raging War Against Corruption As Reinvigorated By APC Government”.

Further, the group said that Dr. Jude Akagbusum, President, The Institute of Good Governance of Nigeria, would equally present a paper on “The Menace of Corruption, Consequences and its Eradication in Nigeria.”

Congratulating Governor Ambode and Speaker Obasa, the group urged other elected public officers across the country to emulate their good examples so as to fast-forward the Nigeria’s ext from the present stifling economic recession.

Oyi Midele/GEE
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Omolara Olaosebikan joins Adnom Communications as director, BizDev

The management of Adnom Communications Limited, a foremost media and marketing communications company has proclaimed the appointment of Omolara Olaosebikan as the new Director, Business Development and Client Services, reports ITRealms.

A press statement made available to ITRealms, the management said, Omolara is responsible for the day-to-day running of the company’s communications and marketing activities across all the subsidiaries within and outside Nigeria.

Olaosebikan has considerable expertise in marketing and corporate communications, professional in the field of strategic communications management; government liaison, stakeholder cum personality management, project management, marketing strategies and brand management across a range of brands and organisations.

She lays claim to over nine years quality and best practices experience working on major multinational brands such as Intel, IBM, Microsoft, Google, GE, TE Energy, CNN, Etisalat, GSK, Unilever, Guinness Diageo, Skye Bank and other telecommunications brands across Nigeria and West Africa

The Managing Director and chief executive officer, Adnom Communications, Mr. Adeniji Omirin expressed delight over having Omolaraeni being part of his team at this critical time.

“We crave for a complete overhaul of our business particularly as we re-strategize on embracing global practices and alignments. We believe that with her over a decade valuable experience working on multinational brands will serve us well in her new role as business director” Omirin said.

He also said that Adnom’s business offerings “ as part of our strength , we have a world class art digital production and post production studio with a great capacity to handle top notch and high profile productions ranging from TV/Radio commercial productions, documentaries, spotlights, TV shows/contents, news contents, event management and coverage, media brokerage, advert placement and media monitoring”.

ITRealms recalls that Olaosebikan is a Communication and Language Arts graduate of the premier university, University of Ibadan and an alumnus of the prestigious Metropolitan School of Business and Management, United Kingdom (with specialisation in Strategic Marketing). She belongs to a number of professional bodies within and outside Nigeria such as Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), Certified Marketing Communications Institute of Nigeria (CMCIN), Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), UK, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE
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TalkStuff.com enters Nigeria

A new platform on social media, TalkStuff.com has concluded plans to enter into the Nigerian social network scene, reports ITRealms.

This is coming as an official launch date has been slated for December 8 at the federal capital territory, Abuja.

A press statement made available to ITRealms showed that the Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, members of ICT and Communications Committees in the two chambers of the National Assembly and other major stakeholders in the ICT sector are expected to grace the launch.

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Rachel Ogbonna, said that TalkStuff would bring Nigerian social media users closer to their friends, families, and communities. It will also ensure that businesses reach their target audience without any frills and at an acceptable cost to the Nigerian business men or women. 

TalkStuff, according to the promoters, will be a better choice that will be more appealing for the Nigerian business owners and provide value for regular users. 

The TalkStuff market share, she stressed will comprise of personal users, business users, groups, and communities who want all the features of several networks in one powerful and versatile social platform.

“TalkStuff will be combining all the amazing features of several social networks into one. We are not looking to replace Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social media network. We are simply going to grab our market share,” she declared.

Ms. Ogbonna who was optimistic that TalkStuff is going to be a success, assured that despite the steady slide into an economic depression, the need for the average Nigerian to communicate and interact on social platforms has not dissipated, rather, she said the majority of Nigerians now find solace in the online communities they are connected to and look forward to the few moments of escape offered by these platforms.

The promoters of the platform, she further stressed were excited to float the social network in Nigeria because of the interest of the present administration in the development of local content as a way of diversifying the economy and drive foreign investments into the country.

“With the current high foreign exchange rate, it has become vital that all products and services being provided to Nigerian users and businesses, be mostly home-grown solutions. 

“TalkStuff will be a platform where people of all ages, social status, and interests will meetup to discuss issues that interest them. The content will be mostly user-generated and will serve as the main form of engagement for current and prospective users,” she said.

She said the platform will be affordable to all strata of the Nigerian society and users will have access to information that they need in a simplified setting, and businesses will have access to their target audience easily at more affordable rates.

“A robust website, iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry apps will be used to achieve our mission. The vision of these web applications is … to get Africa talking,” she concluded.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Coalition flays cancellation of Lagos clean-up exe...

Naija AgroNet: Coalition flays cancellation of Lagos clean-up exe...: NaijaAgroNet: The Advocacy and Campaigns Coalition (ACC) has flayed the recent cancellation of the monthly environmental sanitation exerc...

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Glo subscribers urge extension of 4G LTE to hinterland

Reports reaching our newsroom indicate that the Glo 4G LTE network has continued to generate more interest from impressed subscribers nationwide as the clamour for more coverage areas in the hinterlands by telecom subscribers is becoming unprecedented, reports ITRealms.

This is coming as the Christmas season draw nearer, even as ITRealms gathered that already, Globacom has rolled out the service in close to one hundred locations nationwide.
Some of these locations include Lagos (Lekki, Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Ajah and Akoka), Port Harcourt (Aba Road, Trans Amadi, Diobu, Old GRA and UNIPort, Warri, Eket and Benin), Abuja (Maitama, Wuse, Asokoro, Garki/Central Business District and Airport Road), and Jos in North Central), Yola – ABTI (North East) and Zaria- ABU in North West.

A number of the Glo 4G LTE subscribers, who having experienced the speed of the service, described it as second to none in the country in terms of quality and coverage, and urged Globacom to rapidly spread the network to suburbs and villages.

One of the respondents, Titilayo Lawal, a fashion designer based in Adeniran Ogunsanya area of Surulere Lagos, praised the Glo 4G LTE service. Lawal who had ported to Glo from another network for reasons relating to poor data service said her experience so far on Glo network is remarkable and impressive. “It is good.  It is very fast no matter the amount of attachment you are sending.  I love the service.” She urged Globacom to extend the 4G LTE service to some other locations especially where she spends most of her time.

Stephen Obembe, who resides in Wuse 2, Abuja who also ported to Glo could not hide his excitement at the 4G LTE service. “It’s been great. Glo 4G has been good, very good. I use a lot of data for my business and I am really satisfied with the service. I am very happy I ported to the Glo network”, he said.

For Maniru Saminu, a Bureau De Change operator based in Zone 4, Wuse, Abuja, the Glo 4G LTE service is a new dawn in data and internet network in Nigeria. He enthused that Glo has become the network of choice for him.

“I really appreciate Glo 4G service. It is very fast. I am enjoying the internet service, I do not experience delays doing streaming and downloads. I also do my internet banking transactions with ease,” Saminu said. He explained that the clear difference he experienced spurred him to encourage his friends in the BDC business to subscribe to Glo 4G.

“I even gave my old Samsung S7 Edge phone to one of my friends to use and he has subscribed. The second person will soon subscribe. I want to urge Globacom to bring the service to Kano, my home state so we can enjoy it over there also,” he said.

Globacom in a statement encouraged Nigerians to switch to its 4G LTE network and begin to enjoy superior quality. “Glo LTE network is one of the very best you will find anywhere in the world. Apart from an expansive, nationwide state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure which our 4G LTE  network is predicated on, it is also riding on the much sought-after spectrum band 28. This gives it a strong edge,” Globacom explained.

Nenye Dom/GEE 
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Samsung ‘Open Your Mind’ campaign kicks off with Nigerian celebrities

The Samsung’s commitment to producing innovative, life-changing products and services will be on display in its new campaign tagged, “Open Your Mind” reports ITRealms.
According to a press statement endorsed by Director and Business Leader, Information Mobile and Technology, Samsung Electronics West Africa, Mr. Emmanouil Revmatas, the campaign would demonstrate Samsung’s commitment to innovation, quality and service to its consumers.
He also said, the campaign would serve as a reminder to consumers of Samsung’s unflinching support in the provision of world class devices that would help them in realizing their dreams and potentials.
Revmatas, equally said that as the market leader in smart devices and solutions, “Samsung will continue to bridge consumer expectations of what a premium mobile experience should feel like with a readiness to delivering the best-in-class solutions that combine the strengths of Samsung’s mobile innovations.”

He explained that “Open Your Mind” campaign would feature celebrities such as popular Nollywood actresses, Joke Silva and Funke Akindele; celebrated radio personality, Tolu Oniru Demuren popularly known as Toolz; comedian, Ali Baba and a host of others.
The campaign, he said, would avail Nigerians the opportunity to know and understand the inspiration, dreams and the place of innovation in the accomplishments of the respective careers of the celebrities.
“These celebrities inspire people every day and innovation is at the heart of what they do to remain engaging and inspirational to their teeming fans. This is similar to the nexus that exists between Samsung and its consumers,” he said.
As said by him, Samsung’s culture of innovation transcends high-quality product offering; it includes services, which are geared towards making a difference in the lives of consumers. “Samsung will continue to provide cutting edge technology enabling consumers realize their potentials through innovation and technology. We hope to inspire progress and spur dreams to success through this campaign,” Revmatas said.
ITRealms recalls that the 2016 “Open Your Mind” campaign is a follow-up to the 2015 Samsung Electronics West Africa brand theme, “Dream Your Dream” which seeks to nurture the aspiration of young Nigerians who have great dreams with the potential to impact the country positively.

Remmy Nweke/ED, Ops

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Nigerian youth advised to embrace datapreneurship

Nigerians youths have been advised to embrace data preneurship, according to a C-Level Executive with MTN Nigeria, BayoAdekanmbi, reports ITRealms.

Speaking at the inaugural workshop in Lagos at the weekend, Adekanmbi who doubles as the convener and moderator of the event, told participants that the initiative, a professional-led approach is designed to train and mentor young Nigerians through face-to-face, virtual online classes, project-based support and holiday boot camps.

The ultimate intent, he said, is to raise a special breed of entrepreneurs who will set up data science based businesses and attract foreign exchange to the nation.

Mr. Adekanmbi who disclosed that the initiative is a give-back project premised on what he has learnt across the world especially during his recent one-year PhD research sabbatical in the UK,  India and America, said, “India is already tapping into the Data Science space and I believe Nigeria can become Africa’s data science outsourcing destination with our brilliant undergraduates, graduates and young analysts with degrees in Engineering/Sciences and other numerate subjects”. 

Data and data science, he said, will become the oil of the 21st century and Nigeria must join the league of countries that will be positioned for comparative advantage in data sciences.

The workshop, ITRealms reports, assembled leading lights in data science to mentor participants as panelists, including Ngozi Dozie of OneFi Nigeria, Dr. Femi Oyenuga of Oracle, Seun Onigbinde of BudgIT and Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Founder, Andela while a US-based Nigerian leading data scientist and IBM Distinguished Engineer/Chief Data Scientist,   Dr. Uyi Stewart inspired and motivated the audience with his presentation titled “Leveraging Data Science to enable Nigeria Leapfrog”

The panel analyzing the growing importance of data science submits that countries, organizations and individuals need to make smart and sharper decisions, to do these “they need data and data scientists”.  

According to them, data science is the potpourri of information and insights intelligently brought together to add value to human life. This can be done by studying pattern over time in a bid to build intelligence.

However, to become proficient in data science, both soft and technical skills are needed. These include natural curiousity, communication, romance with data and attention to details. Attention to details is critical, emphasized the Aboyeji (Andela) unfortunately, not many Nigerians are good at this, he said, “the world is still a secret, you make money by identifying those secrets and proffering solutions to solve the challenges”.  

Delivering his keynote, Dr. Uyi who currently holds 10 patents in the US, said, “Nigeria is at the tipping point with two choices open to her: investing in infrastructure or invest in data which is technology that will bring about transformational change through killer applications”.

“Investing in infrastructure will only bring about incremental change, this is where most of us are right now” said Dr. Uyi “If we decided to invest in infrastructure we choose to compete with the Chinese, we have to maintain the structure unfortunately, we do not have maintenance culture. We can achieve progress through data not infrastructure”, he submitted.

The IBM Chief Scientist, further said, “Data is the new basis of comparative advantage”, stressing that globally the world is surrounded by a sea of data with 2.5 Gigabytes of data generated every day.

Considering the scenarios,“Nigeria’s immediate and strategic opportunity is to leapfrog to the next wave of IT by leveraging technology and cognitive system”, Dr. Uyi advised, adding that there should be a sense of urgency for data and data science. To make progress, he said participants must innovate on how they collect data, curate data, run analysis and the customability of the insights generated.

Nigeria, he said, has a high potential for disruption through business model and technological innovation, citing models where data have been used as bedrock to bring about breakthrough developments in Agriculture (Kenya), Health –Ebola (Sierra Leone) and education. Other uses of data include e-government, smart city planning, security, tourism, to mention but a few.

Chuks Egbune/GEE
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Pix:---Chijioke Dozie, Director, OneFi, Bayo Adekanmbi, C-Level Executive, MTN Nigeria and Convener, Data Science Nigeria; Anthony Obi, GM, Business Intelligence, MTN; Dr. Uyi Stewart, Chief Scientist, IBM (USA), Guest Speaker and Ngozi Dozie, Founder, OneFi Nigeria at the innaugural workshop and unveiling of Data Science Nigeria at the Oriental Hotel on Saturday. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Pantami, Danbatta to lead 24 others @ dialogue on cyber security

The Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami, would be leading the chief executive officers of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited (NigComSat) and 24 other speakers to the dialogue tagged Cyber Security: A Shared Responsibility, reports ITRealms.

According to the Executive Director of Centre for Cyber Awareness Development (CECAD), a non-profit ICT coalition agency, Dr Bayero Agabi, the dialogue would seek to collaborate with NCC, NITDA, NigComSat and other stakeholders to midwife a multi-stakeholders awareness campaign across, “government, corporate institutions and private citizens through the principles of the Public Private Partnership (PPP).” 

The event, which would hold in Lagos on December 8, 2016, would place Nigeria on a good stead to seek to adopt October of every year as the annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), adding that Nigeria would be aligning with some countries that have earlier adopted October every year as awareness campaign month., which includes the USA, UK, Brazil and others. 

He also said that initial efforts by some stakeholders such as the Nigerian Internet Registration Agency (NIRA) are a precursor to the goal of declaring every October of the year as “cyber security awareness campaign month in line with global trend”.

This collaboration, Agabi said, would yield multiplier effect across public and private sector, as the growing threats of cyber security, “is more real than imagined. Nigeria can no longer afford to allow discrete access to its vital assets and the privacy of its citizens be compromised because of the low awareness index on cyber security among its citizens and corporate establishments”.  

He further said that NCC, NITDA and NigComSat are key players in the cyber security environment with laudable existing structures and vision to help Nigeria achieve a stable and secured cyber space usage and experience.

The DGs of NCC, NITDA and NigComSat would deliver keynotes that would stir robust discussions by a team of cyber security architects and lawyers, new media management experts and top security agencies among others.

Already, NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, has expressed its organisation’s readiness “to help the current administration to succeed in its drive to ensure a safe cyber space in the country”.

Nenye Dom/GEE
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Hyundai is latest member of ITU

The Hyundai Motor Company is the latest member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU's) standardization arm (ITU-T), underscoring the importance of increased collaboration between the automotive and information and communication technology (ICT) industries in an era of rapid convergence, reports ITRealms.

Hyundai's participation in ITU, ITRealms gathered, will support the company in building its "hyper-connected intelligent cars" platform, which includes smart remote-maintenance services, autonomous driving, smart traffic flow, and a connected "mobility hub" to provide security and data management for connected cars.

Director, Hyundai, Eon Youl Shin, said "Hyundai Motors is looking forward to participating in ITU and will bring important momentum from the automotive industry to advance the future of connected car technology.”

Shin also noted that Hyundai's membership comes as ITU ramps up efforts to provide a unique, global platform for automotive-ICT collaboration – which has already sparked the development of a range of ITU standards tailored to the automotive industry.

In furtherance to accelerating ITU standardization work in this arena has led to fresh interest from other major carmakers as they, too, see the strong business case to join ITU to influence the development of connected-car standards.

Chuks Egbune/GEE
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Ogun election victory: Odebiyi toasts Akeredolu

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Ogun State, Chief Tolu Odebiyi, has toasted Barrister Rotimi Akeredolu on his emergence as the Governor-Elect of Ondo State at the weekend, reports ITRealms.

Press statement from his media office on Monday, Odebiyi said Akeredolu’s emergence was a reflection of the abiding faith of Nigerians in the APC as the party capable of rescuing the country from the rot into which the Peoples Democratic Party has thrown it.

Odebiyi equally said it was also a show of belief in the capacity of Akeredolu to take Ondo State to the Promised Land after several years in the hands of the opposition.

“This is a plus also for the leadership shown by President Muhammadu Buhari in piloting the affairs of the country. It indeed is a reflection of the belief of Nigerians in the capacity of the President and the APC to take the country out of the doldrums despite the attempts by the opposition to rubbish the good works being done to redeem the country,” he said.

Also, Odebiyi applauded the leadership of the APC at the national level to sell the programmes of the party to Nigerians.

“It is equally pertinent to congratulate the governors elected on the platform of the APC in the South West, especially the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, because their dedication to service and delivery of democratic dividends as seen by the people must have spurred the need for change as demanded for by the people of Ondo State with the election of Chief Akeredolu” he said.

Oye Midele/GEE
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PIDA wants Africa to provide opportunities for youth, accelerate job creation

The Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) ended its 2016 Week in Abidjan with a call for accelerated job creation through infrastructure development for Africa’s transformation, reports ITRealms.

Africa, PIDA said, has to provide employment opportunities for its youth if it is to harness their potential and contribute to the desired economic growth outlined in the vision of Agenda 2063.

The call was made by officials from the African Union (AU), the NEPAD Agency and the African Development Bank (AfDB) at the opening of the second annual Programme for Infrastructure Development (PIDA) Week which ended weekend in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

This year’s gathering organized under the theme, “Creating Jobs through Regional Infrastructure Development,” had over 250 participants and stakeholders representing Member States, private sector, development partners and project owners.

PIDA, a multi-sectoral programme covers transport, energy, transboundary water and ICT, is dedicated to facilitate continental integration in Africa through improved regional infrastructure.

PIDA week 2016 will showcase and validate the relevance of regional infrastructure (PIDA) projects and the impact thereof on the socio-economic development of Africa and particularly on job creation for the youth.

H.E. Dr. Elham M.A. Ibrahim, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, said, “PIDA should play an important role in narrowing the gap between job creation and unemployment. To that end, public decision-makers and private sector management are urged to actively undertake training and skills acquisition in infrastructure development, particularly in building roads, rail systems, power generation and power transmission systems in order to enable young Africans to be well prepared for the implementation of complex programmes such as PIDA.”

The week’s events intend to build on the achievement of the inaugural event held in 2015 to increase the visibility of PIDA projects, reach out to the global infrastructure investor community, development finance institutions, export credit agencies, project sponsors (public and private) and governments.

NEPAD Agency CEO, Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki underscored that if Africa is to be successful in increasing the number of regional and domestic infrastructure projects and their impact, changes are needed in mind-set, policy pronouncements and programme implementation. He indicated that there is a need to continue with the positive streamlining of trans-boundary infrastructure projects as highlighted in PIDA and complementary initiatives.

“Africa stands to benefit from its critical human resources, the young people, who must be nurtured to enable their meaningful participation in national development efforts and I believe that infrastructure development is central to this,” said Dr Mayaki.

In his address, AfDB acting Vice President Stephan Nalletamby, outlined, “PIDA’s continued importance for Africa’s transformation and insisted that the programme was “solid, sustainable and attainable objectives for 2030.”

“We have selected our destination and we are going to get there, as long as we can be assured of excellence in our infrastructure and total reliability in its implementation and operation on the ground. The PIDA programme is at the front of our thinking. We consider it to be critical for Africa’s integration agenda,” Nalletamby told participants. “PIDA has the unique feature of being the first African infrastructure development agenda, designed by Africans and fully owned and endorsed at the highest level by African Heads of State and Government. So it has to succeed,” he concluded.

PIDA Week 2016 will also focus on reporting key achievements. The PIDA Progress Report 2016, shared after the opening ceremony, highlighted the need to de-risk infrastructure and PIDA projects to solicit interest from private sector investors as well as domestic and international investors. The Continental Business Network, CBN, has provided the platform to engage private sectors stakeholders. The 2016 report also give an overview of progress made with the 16 priority PIDA projects agreed upon at the 2014 Dakar Financing Summit.

In addition to progress and successes, the report presents a candid review of the challenges and lessons learnt to ensure continued accelerated implementation of PIDA projects.

Chuks Egbune with agency report/GEE
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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Lai Mohammed bags Old boys award, insists discipline is success bedrock

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has bagged the Old Boys Association of the Government College, Keffi award, insisting that Nigerians should imbibe the culture of discipline, as the bedrock of success, reports ITRealms.
Speaking in Abuja on Saturday at an Award Night organised by the Old Boys Association of the Government College, Keffi, his alma mater, Mohammed said the great emphasis placed on discipline by the College played a significant role in shaping the lives of the students who passed through the institution, including himself.

Special Assistant to Minister of Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi, quoted the Lai Mohammed as saying, "Keffi taught me one thing, which is that with discipline, there is nothing you cannot achieve. Those who came out to be good citizens in Keffi were not necessarily the most brilliant, but they were the most disciplined.

"What Nigeria needs to do is to rebuild the minds of its citizens. It is because Keffi inculcated discipline and other high moral values that we turned out to be what we are today. This is what this government has embarked upon through its 'Change Begins With Me' campaign. The campaign is nothing but a return to the old values of honesty, integrity, punctuality and industry, which were very cardinal in Keffi. So what we are asking Nigerians to do is to go back and emulate what Keffi stood for," he said.

Alhaji Mohammed recounted the good old days in Keffi, when the son of a Prime Minister and those of peasants cohabited in the same class without any bias or preferential treatment, even though the children of the rich paid higher tuition fees than those of the poor.

"We took the same lecture, were served the same food and we were subjected to the same discipline. We sat for the same exams and by the time we spent a few months together, we forgot who was the son of a Prime Minister and the son of a peasant," he recalled.

ITRealms gathered that Alhaji Mohammed received the "Cheetah Award" of the Keffi Old Boys Association (KOBA) along with the Minister of Sports Solomon Dalung, a former Comptroller General of Nigerian Immigration Service, as well as Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa State Suleiman Azores, and former Federal Permanent Secretary Ibrahim Talba, among other distinguished personalities.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE 
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