" ITREALMS: July 2018

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Buhari emerges chairman, ECOWAS - ITREALMS

President Muhammadu Buhari has been named the new chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), reports ITRealms.

With this development, President Buhari on Tuesday replaced the Togolese president, Faire Gnassigbe. 

He was named the new chairman at the end of the commission's meeting in Togo, Tuesday..

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu confirmed the emergence in a telephone chat.

For him, "He did not ask for it, they just gave it to him.”

But ECOWAS observers said invariably its the turn of Nigeria to assume the office based on ECOWAS Charter.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE

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Official! Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Kwara Governor, Ahmed formally dump APC - ITREALMS

The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed have formally dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), reports ITRealms.

For industry observers, both moves by Saraki and Ahmed, to return to PDP was a return to home party as they jointly decamped in 2014 following a coalition that gave birth to APC.

Senate President in his resignation letter to Nigerians dated July 31, 2018 and made available to ITRealms, said this is coming after extensive consultations, “I have decided to take my leave of the All Progressives Congress (APC).”

According to him, this is not a light decision, stressing that “If anything at all, I have tarried for so long and did all that was humanly possible, even in the face of great provocation, ridicule and flagrant persecution, to give opportunity for peace, reconciliation and harmonious existence.”

Further, “Perhaps, more significantly, I am mindful of the fact that I carry on my shoulder a great responsibility for thousands of my supporters, political associates and friends, who have trusted in my leadership and have attached their political fortunes to mine. However, it is after an extensive consultation with all the important stakeholders that we have come to this difficult but inevitable decision to pitch our political tent elsewhere; where we could enjoy greater sense of belonging and where the interests of the greatest number of our Nigerians would be best served.

“While I take full responsibility for this decision, I will like to emphasise that it is a decision that has been inescapably imposed on me by certain elements and forces within the APC who have ensured that the minimum conditions for peace, cooperation, inclusion and a general sense of belonging did not exist.

“They have done everything to ensure that the basic rules of party administration, which should promote harmonious relations among the various elements within the party were blatantly disregarded.

“All governance principles which were required for a healthy functioning of the party and the government were deliberately violated or undermined. And all entreaties for justice, equity and fairness as basic precondition for peace and unity, not only within the party, but also the country at large, were simply ignored, or employed as additional pretext for further exclusion.

“The experience of my people and associates in the past three years is that they have suffered alienation and have been treated as outsiders in their own party. Thus, many have become disaffected and disenchanted. At the same time, opportunities to seek redress and correct these anomalies were deliberately blocked as a government-within-a-government had formed an impregnable wall and left in the cold, everyone else who was not recognized as “one of us”. This is why my people, like all self-respecting people would do, decided to seek accommodation elsewhere.

“I have had the privilege to lead the Nigerian legislature in the past three years as the President of the Senate and the Chairman of the National Assembly. The framers of our constitution envisage a degree of benign tension among the three arms of government if the principle of checks and balances must continue to serve as the building block of our democracy. In my role as the head of the legislature, and a leader of the party, I have ensured that this necessary tension did not escalate at any time in such a way that it could encumber Executive function or correspondingly, undermine the independence of the legislature. Over the years, I have made great efforts in the overall interest of the country, and in spite of my personal predicament, to manage situations that would otherwise have resulted in unsavoury consequences for the government and the administration. My colleagues in the Senate will bear testimony to this.

“However, what we have seen is a situation whereby every dissent from the legislature was framed as an affront on the executive or as part of an agenda to undermine the government itself. The populist notion of anti-corruption became a ready weapon for silencing any form of dissent and for framing even principled objection as “corruption fighting back”. Persistent onslaught against the legislature and open incitement of the people against their own representatives became a default argument in defence of any short-coming of the government in a manner that betrays all too easily, a certain contempt for the Constitution itself or even the democracy that it is meant to serve.

“Unfortunately, the self-serving gulf that has been created between the leadership of the two critical arms of government based on distrust and mutual suspicion has made any form of constructive engagement impossible. Therefore, anything short of a slavish surrender in a way that reduces the legislature to a mere rubber stamp would not have been sufficient in procuring the kind of rapprochement that was desired in the interest of all. But I have no doubt in my mind, that to surrender this way is to be complicit in the subversion of the institution that remains the very bastion of our democracy. I am a democrat. And I believe that anyone who lays even the most basic claim to being a democrat will not accept peace on those terms; which seeks to compromise the very basis of our existence as the parliament of the people.

“The recent weeks have witnessed a rather unusual attempts to engage with some of these most critical issues at stake. Unfortunately, the discord has been allowed to fester unaddressed for too long, with dire consequences for the ultimate objective of delivering the common good and achieving peace and unity in our country. Any hope of reconciliation at this point was therefore very slim indeed. Most of the horses had bolted from the stable.

“The emergence of a new national party executives a few weeks ago held out some hopes, however slender. The new party chairman has swung into action and did his best alongside some of the Governors of APC and His Excellency, the Vice President. I thank them for all their great efforts to save the day and achieve reconciliation. Even though I thought these efforts were coming late in the day, but seeing the genuine commitment of these gentlemen, I began to think that perhaps it was still possible to reconsider the situation.

However, as I have realized all along, there are some others in the party leadership hierarchy, who did not think dialogue was the way forward and therefore chose to play the fifth columnists. These individuals went to work and ensured that they scuttled the great efforts and the good intentions of these aforementioned leaders of the party. Perhaps, had these divisive forces not thrown the cogs in the wheel at the last minutes, and in a manner that made it impossible to sustain any trust in the process, the story today would have been different.

“For me, I leave all that behind me. Today, I start as I return to the party where I began my political journey, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“When we left the PDP to join the then nascent coalition of All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014, we left in a quest for justice, equity and inclusion; the fundamental principles on which the PDP was originally built but which it had deviated from. We were attracted to the APC by its promise of change. We fought hard along with others and defeated the PDP.

“In retrospect, it is now evident that the PDP has learnt more from its defeat than the APC has learnt from its victory. The PDP that we return to is now a party that has learnt its lessons the hard way and have realized that no member of the party should be taken for granted; a party that has realized that inclusion, justice and equity are basic precondition for peace; a party that has realized that never again can the people of Nigeria be taken for granted.

“I am excited by the new efforts, which seeks to build the reborn PDP on the core principles of promoting democratic values; internal democracy; accountability; inclusion and national competitiveness; genuine commitment to restructuring and devolution of powers; and an abiding belief in zoning of political and elective offices as an inevitable strategy for managing our rich diversity as a people of one great indivisible nation called Nigeria.

“What we have all agreed is that a deep commitment to these ideals were not only a demonstration of our patriotism but also a matter of enlightened self-interest, believing that our very survival as political elites of this country will depend on our ability to earn the trust of our people and in making them believe that, more than anything else, we are committed to serving the people.

“What the experience of the last three years have taught us is that the most important task that we face as a country is how to reunite our people. Never before had so many people in so many parts of our country felt so alienated from their Nigerianness. Therefore, we understand that the greatest task before us is to reunite the county and give everyone a sense of belonging regardless of region or religion.

“Every Nigerian must have an instinctive confidence that he or she will be treated with justice and equity in any part of the country regardless of the language they speak or how they worship God. This is the great task that trumps all. Unless we are able to achieve this, all other claim to progress no matter how defined, would remain unsustainable.

“This is the task that I am committing myself to and I believe that it is in this PDP, that I will have the opportunity to play my part.  It is my hope that the APC will respect the choice that I have made as my democratic right, and understand that even though we will now occupy a different political space, we do not necessarily become enemies unto one another.”

Chuks Egbune/GEe

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2019: Ayo Obe urges Nigerians to register and vote - ITREALMS

Former president, Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Ayo Obe has urged Nigerians to register in order to cast their vote in the forthcoming 2019 elections, reports ITRealms.

Obe made this call weekend reminding Nigerians that if you do not vote, you are very likely not to exercise your franchise.

The latest Enough-Is-Enough eNewsletter, made available to ITRealms at the weekend, Obe, who is a renowned legal practitioner, wondered what any Nigerian has to lose they refused to register and vote.

“Your vote will not count if you don’t register to cast it. Your vote will not count if, having registered, you don’t cast it. So what do you really have to lose if you register and vote?” she said.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Monday, July 30, 2018

CeBIH to leverage digital, expedite financial inclusion, gets new leadership - ITREALMS

Committee of E-Business Industry Heads (CeBIH) has resolved to promote digital solutions targeted at the bottom of the pyramid in a bid to expedite access to financial services across Nigeria, reports ITRealms.

Newly elected Chairman of CeBIH, Mr. Stanley Jacob gave this insight in his acceptance speech at the election of new executives held in Lagos at the Keystone Bank headquarters.

Stanley, who is also the Head of Consumer Distribution at Ecobank Nigeria said the new executive will pursue three broad agenda namely financial inclusion, digital security and strengthened collaboration amongst industry stakeholders.

He stressed that CeBIH, under his leadership, will work tirelessly with other stakeholders to reduce financial exclusion which currently is over 40 percent in Nigeria as well as bridge the wide digital divide in the country.

“As CeBIH we will actively collaborate with industry to provide the needed financial services at the right pricing to the bottom of the pyramid. We will also ensure adequate capacity building for all stakeholders to equip them in tackling the exclusion challenge” he said.

Jacom also pointed out that CeBlH will pull industry resources and work with the regulators to promote an industry approach for combating cyber-security and payment frauds, stressing that financial literacy campaigns and robust customer education will also be a key tool to achieving this.
“This new Executive Council will strengthen collaboration by promoting the Shared Agency Network Facility (SANEF) with a view to ensuring that the expected benefits are delivered to consumers; partnerships with other financial institutions (OFIs) and FinTechs to deliver improved financial services; Research and case studies to drive emerging payments”, he said.

Also elected along with Stanley are Kayode Olubiyi, Vice-Chairman; Yemi Atanda, Secretary-Industry Shared Services;  Bidemi Asunmo, Secretary-Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) & Fintech  Relations;  Mike Onwu, Secretary-Emerging Payments & Technologies; Celestina Appeal, Secretary- Product Pricing & Revenue Assurance; Mike Ogba, Secretary- Finance & Treasury; Gloria Eruemegbe, Secretary-Publicity & Advocacy; Nmutaka Chikwendu, Internal Auditor and Oluremi Tinuolu, Assistant Secretary - Finance & Treasury.

Immediate past Chairman, CeBIH, Dele Adeyinka charged the new executives to continue with the mission and vision of the group, which is using collaboration with drive financial inclusion and adoption of electronic payment, which are what CeBIH stands for today.

He noted that under the leadership of the outgoing executives, CeBIH reached out to various industry stakeholders and this initiative yielded results which became evident through better engagement of CeBIH in issues pertaining to policy formulation in the industry”

Chuks Egbune/ED, Ops

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ARCN bags FOI Hall of Shame - ITREALMS

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has named the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) as this week’s inductee into the “Freedom of Information (FOI) Hall of Shame” for consistently violating the provisions of the FOI Act over the past seven years, thereby denying Nigerians the right to information in the agricultural development sector, reports ITRealms.

The ARCN was established by the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria Act of 1999 with its functions including preparing annual budgets for agricultural research, training and extension programmes of the institutes under its aegis and receiving grants for allocation to agricultural institutes for the implementation of their annual programmes as well as to universities and other bodies for special research or training projects.

Announcing the induction of the ARCN into the FOI Hall of Shame in a statement in Lagos, MRA’s Programme Officer, Mr. Idowu Adewale, highlighted several failings of the public institution regarding the implementation of the FOI Act which led to its censure by MRA.

He noted that although the ARCN has an active website, it has not taken advantage of this to fulfill its proactive disclosure obligations by publishing on the website the categories of information listed for proactive disclosure under Section 2(3) of the FOI Act.

According to Mr. Adewale, there is no information on ARCN’s website regarding the fund allocations for agricultural research purposes; the receipt or expenditure of public or other funds of the institution; the names, salaries, titles, and dates of employment of employees and officers of the institution; the list of files containing applications for contracts, permits, grants, licenses or agreements, among several other categories of  information, records and documents listed in Section 2 (3) of the FOI Act that must be proactively published by every public institution.

He criticized the ARCN for its lack of responsiveness to requests for information from members of the public, citing in particular, its refusal to respond to an application for information dated August 2, 2016, submitted to it by Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), a non-governmental organization based in Abuja, for a list of the contracts awarded by the ARCN in 2015 and its procurement plan for 2016.

Nenye Dom/GEE

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Osun 2018: HDP’s Adedoyin promises quality education, names deputy, unveils social media - ITREALMS

The governorship candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the forthcoming September 22 governorship election in Osun State, Mr. Wole Adedoyin has promised to provide the public school students with access to quality education, reports ITRealms.

This is coming as HDP named Olawale Adewumi as deputy governorship candidate in the state, even as the party unveiled its website and social media handles including Facebook, in readiness for the election.

ITRealms reports that HDP in Osun State picked Mr. Olawale Adesoye Adewumi  as its deputy governorship candidate at the weekend, reiterating to provide facilities for the public schools  including all the basic facilities, as part of his commitment for winning the forthcoming governorship election in the state.

Adedoyin disclosed this weekend, saying the state of education in Osun state needs repositioning, while also committing to a list of citizen’s demands to ensure quality education in government schools.

He however commended the incumbent governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola for rebranding the face of education in the state.

Mr. Adedoyin promised to implement broad based learning so that students may possess the necessary knowledge and disciplinary tools while in school.

He further stated that it was her party’s priority to prioritise scientific education, for which they will train teachers and upgrade curriculum. Adedoyin’s manifesto focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Mr. Adedoyin also spoke about increasing the budget allocated for education while also high-lightening the need to strictly regulate and monitor private and public schools.

Finally, Adedoyin has promised to initiate and commit to a charter that will be based on the demands of parents, teachers and community members in Osun state. The charter will outline the need to upgrade schools from primary to tertiary institution while also highlighting the need for constructing science and computer labs.

The charter will make it mandated that more government schools be renovated and constructed at every level while also improving the quality of education. The charter included that libraries should also be established alongside science and computer labs, teachers will be trained in modern teaching practices and that healthy co-curricular activities be made more popular.

Meanwhile, as part of Hope Democratic Party (HDP) effort to take their campaign to the grassroots and nooks and crannies of the state as well as in a bid to connect and network with the grassroots people of Osun State, has unveiled social media handles including Facebook for campaigns and sanitization of voters on the party’s governorship candidate and the blueprints of the party for the citizens of the state.

According to HDP’s publicity secretary in the state, Mr. Dada Olusegun said the party and her governorship candidate have designed friendly blogs and Facebook accounts aim at showcasing the programmes and manifestoes of the party and her candidate for the forthcoming governorship election.

Also Twitter and Instagram are part of the social media platforms created alongside the blogs and the Facebook account to be used for his party’s campaign. 

Speaking further on the issue, Olusegun said this action is necessary as to win the hearts and vote of the peoples come September 22nd.

Ayo Midele/GEE

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Pix: Mr. Wole Adedoyin

Kwara State sacks Balogun Fulani-led APC - ITREALMS

The Kwara State chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has resolved to sacked the Balogun Fulani-led state executive committee for a fresh congress, reports ITRealms.

Arising from a meeting of the chapter in Oro, on Sunday, 29 July 2018, ITRealms gathered that they resolved among other things to sack Balogun Fulani-led Kwara APC executive committee with immediate effect and a fresh congress that will include all Kwara APC members and those who are just coming into the party be held at the various levels to constitute a new executive.

“That all those who got appointments by deceit, hiding under the facade of being party men and women, should immediately resign such appointments or be fired.

“That the recent gale of defections has now put the APC in a position of true majority in the National Assembly, as those who remain are the ones who are truly committed to the ideals of our great Party

“That all members and supporters of our great party restate their unflinching support for President Muhammadu Buhari and assure him of a harvest of votes from Kwara State in the 2019 General Elections,”

The communique from the meeting made available to ITRealms and endorsed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, urged “all members should remain calm because there is no cause for alarm.”

Ayo Midele/GEE

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Trending #AfricaThisWeek Volume 1, No. 1 - ITREALMS

  1. Political parties sign peace accord
  2. Court orders govt to compensate 16 Rwandese, Ugandan businessmen
  3. TAEF condemns Sudan over newspapers seizure
  4. La Nouvelle Tribune shuts down
  5. Enters deal with China, Court removes age limit on presidential election
  6. Over 50 legislators decamp to opposition parties
Follow on Twitter: @#AfricaThisWeek

Full edition: #AfricaThisWeek Volume 1, No. 2This edition is also available in French.

*Courtesy Remmy Nweke/ED, Ops

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God working with us, says Fr. Dzungwe - ITREALMS

One of the greatest scandals of our time is that while some people do not have enough to eat, some others are dying from obesity and diseases associated with over eating. There is so much wealth in our world. But it is concentrated in the hands of some, while others scramble for the leftovers.

Many of us well-meaning people are concerned about the poverty in our world. Many of us contribute regularly to various international charities that help the poor, such as Concern and Trocaire. But have you ever stopped to wonder why, despite the billions that have been spent on international Aid, poverty is still on the increase. As the saying goes, the rich get richer, and the poor become poorer.

To answer the question on why poverty is increasing in our world, let’s cast our minds back to the time of the famine in Ireland. We all know that the failure of potatoes was not the only reason why hundreds of thousands died from the famine. Yes, potatoes failed. But if there should be 100% failure of potatoes in Ireland today, you can bet that there will be no famine at all. People will still survive. People will still have enough to eat. Hundreds of thousands died from the Irish famine because of the nature of the externally influenced socio-economic structure of the then Irish society.

Something similar is happening in our world today. It is not because they are lazy that people are poor. It is the present structure of international trade, the present structure of international economics, and the present structure of international relations that make people poor, and keep them in poverty. So much so that the little the poor have, and the little you contribute to make their lives better, evaporate from their hands, and go back to make the rich richer, because of the way international economics is structured.

You might then ask, what shall we do? Do we stop giving to charities for international development? No. we should not stop. We should continue to give to international charities to help the poor. Their work provides temporary relief to people in need. But let us know that if we really want to end poverty in our world, we need to change the way we do business. We need to pull down all unjust economic structures that keep the poor in their poverty and enable the rich to become richer.

As individuals we might feel intimidated that there is nothing we can do. But that’s not true. There is a lot we can do to change our world and end poverty. We can begin by putting pressure on our political leaders to help bring the change. We can begin by changing the way we do business.

Our efforts may look small in our eyes. But as today’s gospel passage teaches us, they may be the only five loaves that Jesus is waiting to take and multiply and feed the whole world. Jesus wants to change our world and end poverty. But he can’t do it without our help. He cannot force us, for he respects our freewill. He wants to work with us to make our world a better place. Let us offer to Jesus the five loaves with which he will end poverty. If there is any doubt in your mind about what God can do with the little efforts we make, remember people like Martin Luther King Jnr, Oscar Romero, Mahatma Gandhi, and see how God increased and multiplied what they did, and created a beautiful change.

*Contributed by Rev.Father Simon Peter Dzungwe

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Friday, July 27, 2018

A requiem for Nigeria Air - ITREALMS Online

For those eager to celebrate the launch of a national carrier, let me warn that the stunt pulled off last week by the federal government through its transportation minister responsible for aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, at the Farnborough Airshow in England, was nothing more than a statement of intent. It was a cleverly choreographed political sound bite, complete with photoshopped images of an aircraft depicting Nigerian livery. It was targeted at fooling the public into believing that the administration was sticking to its campaign promise to establish a carrier flying the Nigerian flag.

What was sorely missing from that presentation was the business case for the so-called airline to be named Nigeria Air, investors that had indicated interest in taking a stake in the airline, a lease/procurement plan with aircraft manufacturers and lessors for the acquisition of aircraft, management and technical services agreements with a prospective operator for the airline, a realisable blueprint for the actualisation of an airline hub possibly in Lagos, targeting first the West African sub-region, and a plan for the establishment of a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility as an additional revenue stream for the proposed airline.

It must be mentioned that at the presentation at Farnborough, Sirika’s audience was made up solely of officials of his ministry and the regulatory agencies in the Nigerian aviation sector. Not a single prospective investor, aircraft leasing firm or manufacturer, or advisory firm was in sight. The sole foreigner at the Farnborough event was the cameraman hired by the transportation ministry.

At the very minimum, the so-called advisors led by Airline Management Group (AMG), which the federal government appointed a year ago at a princely fee of N1.5 million, should have been at the airshow to present their outline business cases for the airline, MRO, aerotropolis, and so on. AMG was named the lead in the advisory consortium after Lufthansa Consulting pulled out five months ago. Citing conflict of interest as one of the reasons for Lufthansa’s withdrawal, Sirika added last February that his ministry and the German firm were unable to agree on the contract terms for the advisory services, requiring an upfront payment of 75% of the contract fees that would have been payable in euros into an escrow account with a foreign bank. But I digress.

Sirika clearly went to the airshow unprepared. He also failed to address the challenging Nigerian aviation environment characterised by under-capitalised airlines, safety concerns, jet fuel shortages, an unattractive fiscal regime, the absence of world-class aviation infrastructure, and shoddy regulation. Even outside Nigeria, the minister was unmindful of the litany of unprofitable, struggling airlines on the African continent and beyond. Examples abound of defunct, bankrupt and unprofitable national and government-owned carriers ranging from Sabena, Swissair, Alitalia, Iberia, British Airways (pre-privatisation), Air Afrique, South African Airways, EgyptAir to Kenya Airways.

It would be futile using Ethiopian Airways and Emirates Airline as examples of state-owned airlines that have succeeded. They operate unique models that are difficult to replicate. Whereas Ethiopian Airways has a government-protected monopoly on its domestic routes, has benefitted from economic growth and stability averaging 10% over the past decade, provides a plethora of services including maintenance, catering and training to other airlines, boasts a young and modern fleet, purportedly pays zero landing fees at Ethiopian airports, and controls a large chunk of the air traffic in Africa; Emirates, supported by the government of Dubai’s investment arm, has been accused by its global competitors of benefitting from hidden state subsidies, maintaining a too cozy relationship with Dubai’s airport authority and its aviation regulator – both of which are state-owned entities – and benefitting from reduced borrowing costs by taking advantage of its government shareholder’s sovereign borrower status. But the allegations against Emirates have been debunked, with the airline pointing to the bailouts provided by the United States government to US-based airlines as a substantial form of state assistance.

What was more bemusing was Sirika’s declaration that Nigeria Air would fly on 162 routes! How was this predetermined without the input of investors? Shouldn’t that be the responsibility of the advisers and investors to determine the viability of routes? Rather than dissipate energy on the establishment of a new national carrier that will never see the light of day, Sirika should focus on the low hanging fruit right in front of him. For all intents and purposes, Arik Air, Aero Contractors and the remnants of the defunct Air Nigeria (successor of Virgin Nigeria) currently belong to the Nigerian government. With the still operational Arik and Aero Contractors under the control of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), the latter, with the assistance of reputable international consultants, should begin the process of underwriting the liabilities of both airlines, hiving off and disposing of their non-core assets, and merging the airlines into one entity. After the corporate restructuring process, which must include a share restructuring strategy that leaves the owners of the legacy airlines with some minority stake in the emerging entity, the new airline should be sold to a core strategic investor capable of injecting fresh capital into it and expanding its fleet and operations.

This avenue available to Sirika is a surer bet of getting an airline with a Nigerian identity off the ground. He needs to bury his ill-fated attempt to start an airline from scratch. The Nigerian government does not need a 5% stake in any airline, nor does it need to provide a take off grant of $300 million. Instead, more resources should be deployed in improving airport infrastructure and the concession of Nigeria’s viable airports to the private sector. As it stands, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has proven to be a basket case. Like the phantom Nigeria Air, it needs to be buried and confined to the dustbins of history.

*Ijeoma Nwogwugwu/GEE

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Gale of defections: Kwara still firm behind Buhari – Lai Mohammed - ITREALMS

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has reacted to the gale of defection of some federal law makers across the Senate and House of Representatives, saying Kwara State is still firm in support of President Mohammadu Buhari, reports ITRealms.

The minister in a press statement available to ITRealms on Thursday, said that against the backdrop of the recent events at the National Assembly, expressing appreciation to all members of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kwara State.

“I want to most sincerely thank all APC members and supporters in Kwara State for their unflinching commitment to ensuring that the party emerges stronger than ever in the state,” he said.

As said by him, that commitment has been reflected in the overwhelming support and solidarity that we have received, not just from our party members but also from other parties and stakeholders across the state, since the melodrama at the National Assembly on Tuesday.

“In particular, there has been an expression of overwhelming love and support for President Muhammadu Buhari from across Kwara, in the wake of the defections by federal legislators from Kwara,

“I call on all our members and supporters in Kwara to remain calm, because there is no cause for alarm.

“We are currently consulting with the national leadership of our great party, with a view to coming up with a programme of action that will take into consideration the recent developments.

“Our members and supporters should have no doubt whatsoever that whatever decisions we take after the consultations will be in their overall best interest,” he said.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Google Station debuts in Nigeria, provides free high speed Wifi - ITREALMS

The Google Station has made its debut with the launch in Lagos, to provide free high speed Wireless Fidelity (Wifi) to millions of Nigerians, reports ITRealms.

This came at the second Google for Nigeria event hosted at Landmark Event Centre, Lagos, which the firm used to unveil a number of big announcements aimed at helping more people in Nigeria, and across Africa, benefit from the opportunities the web has to offer.

In a bid to make the internet more easily accessible to people in Nigeria, Google is launching Google Station for Nigeria: a program to provide high quality, high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots in partnership with 21st Century, one of the largest fibre network providers in Nigeria.

“Google Station will be rolling out in 200 locations in five cities across Nigeria by the end of 2019, bringing Wi-Fi to millions of people,” says Google Nigeria Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor. “Sites include markets, transport hubs, shopping malls, universities, and more. Nigeria is the fifth country to get Google Station, after India, Indonesia, Thailand and Mexico.”

Google is also making search more powerful for ordinary Africans. Job search launched in March in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, and is now rolling out in 29 new countries. In Nigeria, Google is launching a search experience that allows users to explore health conditions based on symptoms, as well as recipe search for anyone who needs a little food inspiration.

StreetView’s Discover Nigeria gallery has been expanded to include more of Nigeria’s wonders including the National Museum in Lagos, Olumo Rock in Abeokuta, Millenium Park in Abuja, and Lekki Conservation Centre.

Additionally, Google announced the update of several products from its “Go” initiative, which were launched in the past year. The Go product suite aims to give people with low bandwidth connections and low-RAM devices the best possible Google experience. These new features include:
Google Go: will soon read web pages out loud and highlight each word so users can follow along.

YouTube Go: users will be able to browse downloaded YouTube Go videos, saved as .yt files, right from the gallery on their phones.

Google Maps Go: will now provide users with turn-by-turn directions, whether they’re travelling by car, by bus or on foot.

Android Go: Launched in Nigeria and 29 other African countries earlier this year, the Go OS gives people coming online for the first time a powerful and reliable smartphone experience. Across Africa, Transsion, Nokia, Huawei, and Mobicel have launched various devices, starting at just over 17,000 Naira.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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HIIT dangles N5m scholarship on children, strike ICT deal with PSIN - ITREALMS Online

The Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN) is collaborating with HIIT Plc to expand its ICT scope in line with global best standards of ICT  in the Public Service, just as HiiT dangles N5m worth of scholarship on children, reports ITRealms.
The collaboration is in acknowledgement of the pivotal role of Information Technology in driving the present day economy which is reflected in the introduction of process for Ease of Doing Business, e-Government, Cashless Economy and Paperless System Of Government.

PSIN is a Management Development Institute (MDI) with a mandate to provide competency-based and demand driven training to Public Servants, using information and cutting-edge technology services in order to enhance their professional, technical, managerial and leadership capabilities.

A press statement by the Head (Press and Public Relations Unit) in PSIN, Ekaete Umo, said the Administrator of the agency, Dr. Abdul-Ganiyu Obatoyinbo, would be establishing collaborative partnerships with relevant organisations to promote organisational excellence and long-life learning in the Public Service. 

According to her, HIIT PLC, an Information Technology Company that offers IT Training/Education, Solution Development and Services, Publishing, Outsourcing and e-Learning Solution Development and Implementation would be partnering with the PSIN to provide defined ICT services.

“As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, HIIT PLC is offering Free Tuition And Training in Digital Literacy Course worth N5 million to children and wards of PSIN staff. The scholarship covers 160 participants.

“By this gesture, HIIT is ‘catching them young’ and helping to build the capacity of participants in Information Technology to enable them have a solid base to launch them into the technology driven age.  With a foundation like this, the new generation will smoothly key into the e-government policy of the Federal Government”, Umoh stated.

She said that Obatoyinbo is currently repositioning the PSIN to key into the transformation process and play a leading role in the achievement of the Strategic Plan of the Head of Service.

The repositioning is line with the transformation process of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation as contained in the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan (FCSSIP).

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE

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NITDA lifts Katsina with ICT innovation hub - ITREALMS

In continuation of its drive to engender innovations, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Wednesday, lifted Katsina State on the scale of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) with an Innovation Hub, reports ITRealms.

The hub located at Katsina State Institute of Technology and Management (KSITM), ITRealms gathered, is one among the six (6) of its kind to be established by NITDA across the geo-political zones of the country.

Katsina State in the North Western region is one of the most populous states in Nigeria with a high number of productive youths, and the State also has given adequate attention to the ICT sector in the past through increasing commitment to exploit the latest trends in ICT for the development of the State.

The Executive Governor, Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, who was ably represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Mustapha Mohammed Inuwa, noted that Katsina State has long recognized the importance of ICT and in the pursuit of using ICT for national development, the State has established Kastina State Institute of Technology and Management (KSITM) to offer training in national diploma and degree certificates for Katsina State indigenes and Nigerians at large. KSITM, which hosts the ICT Incubation Hub has been given unrelenting attention to champion the buildup process towards ultimate e-Governance in the state through Research and Development to become a veritable platform for socio-economic upliftment of the teeming unemployed youths who will venture into competitive global entrepreneurship in ICT.

The Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, PhD, FBCS, FIIM, while delivering the keynote address stated that Katsina State has been providing enabling environment that encourages strategic partnerships on initiatives that attract investments in ICT and other sectors of the economy. Citing example with the establishment of KSITM to drive technological innovations in the State and environs; the MTN Livestock Tracking Solution; and the Mobile Electricity Service are some of the strategic partnership that will transform the State. All these informed the choice of Katsina State and KSITM to host the Hub.

The DG further stated that the country under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking to minimize her dependency on oil by diversifying the economy to evolve entirely new industries and enable the existing ones. The main driver of these industries is ICT. Therefore, we must encourage and empower our pool of young talented youths to take advantage of the digital era.

Innovation Hub is a social work space and research centre that provides the subject matter expertise on technology trends, knowledge and strategic innovation management. It is also an avenue to enhance learning and research through digital access to academic resources in educational institutions. The Hub is designed to increase digital penetration, provide youths with access to digital and online content through eLearning applications for effective learning and self-employment.

NITDA, ITRealms recalls, is responsible for developing and regulating the IT sector of the country backed by NITDA ACT, 2007, with mandate to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy and coordinate other general IT development and regulation in the country through the formation of standards, policies, frameworks, guidelines, developmental programmes and initiatives.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE

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Pix: Executive Governor, Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari.

Vodacom says digitization to create more sustainable Nigeria - ITREALMS Online

Vodacom Business Nigeria has declared that digitization could create more sustainable Nigeria, reports ITRealms.

According to a press statement made available to ITRealms, quoted the acting Executive Head of Operations, Vodacom Business Nigeria, Olumide Idowu as noting that the country is one of the fastest developing countries in the world and the most populous nation in the Sub-Sahara Africa continent.

Matching population growth with infrastructural development, he said, has become an issue of great concern across the country, stressing that finding solutions to this growing concern, was the focus of the discourse at the recently concluded Information Communications Technology and Telecommunications (ICTEL) Expo, 2018 organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

The event which recently took place at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Victoria Island brought together various stakeholders within the Information Communications Technology (ICT) industry to deliberate on ways to increase efficiency in the country through digitization. 

“Leaders around the world are committed to smart city building as they attempt to chart the course towards the development of their cities in order to meet social, economic, and environmental challenges,” he said. 

Idowu noted that Nigeria is at a pivotal moment in its technological revolution and the current lack of infrastructure provides a ready springboard for the utilization of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to create a smarter and a more efficient nation. By using IoT technology, which is commercially available today, a host of intelligently connected services such as efficient healthcare in rural communities become possible a reality.” 

In the last year, Vodacom Business Nigeria, in collaboration with some State Governments, made significant strides in the development of smart solutions for problems facing rural communities within the State. In the area of healthcare, a solution was deployed to help increase the availability of essential medication by monitoring drug stock levels, improving the delivery of healthcare for citizens who access public health services. In education, Vodacom has also launched a mobile school management solution which provides real-time visibility of all management activities at schools. 

The solution has been deployed to over 4000 public schools in Nigeria. While, in the area of agriculture, our connected farmer solution provides a platform for connecting various stakeholders within the agricultural ecosystem to create better accountability and efficiency within the industry. Other solutions such as payment solutions, backup solutions, energy, utility and security solutions are just a few examples of smart solutions available within the Nigerian context. Idowu stated: “The significance of digitization cannot be overstated in creating a smarter, more efficient and more sustainable economic environment in Nigeria. The sooner the shift to a digitalized system happens, the faster the nation can build a competitive advantage on the global stage and she can begin to reap the social, economic and environmental benefits that are sure to follow.”

Nenye Dom/GEE

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