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Nigerian Guild of Editors distances self from Foundation for Transparency - ITREALMS

ITREALMS : The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has distanced itself from any link or connection with a non-governmental organisation, ...

Zenith

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Sanwo-Olu, Hamzat get INEC certificates, reassures on good governance - ITREALMS

Following their victory in the recently held gubernatorial election in Lagos State, the Governor-elect, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and his running mate, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, received their Certificates of Return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in a ceremony held today at the commission’s office in Yaba, Lagos Mainland on Friday, reports ITREALMS.

Clad in Agbada with caps to match, the Governor-elect and his deputy were accompanied to the carnival-like event by their wives, associates, family members and All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders, including the party chairman in Lagos, Hon. Tunde Balogun, party leader, Prince Tajudeen Olusi, and former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, among others.

At exactly 11:30am, INEC National Commissioner in charge of Lagos, Ondo and Ogun states, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, presented the certificate to Sanwo-Olu, charging the governor-elect to be magnanimous in victory. Sanwo-Olu received the certificate in company of his wife, Dr. Ibijoke.

Ogunmola charged Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat to pursue reconciliation and close ranks with their opponents, reminding them that tolerance of opposition remains a key foundation of constitutional democracy. The INEC National Commissioner said the event marked the end of electioneering, pointing out that the electorates should be served with good governance.

The state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Sam Olumekun, described Sanwo-Olu’s victory as rancor-free, noting that international observers adjudged the Lagos governorship election to be free, fair and credible.

Pointing out that 45 political parties fielded governorship candidates in the election, Olumekun, however, lamented apathy among voters in some constituencies. He particularly made a reference to Eti-Osa Constituency 1, which recorded a four per cent voter turnout; a development he described as unprecedented.

Olumekun urged political parties, pressure groups, civil society organisations and religious leaders to partner with INEC in sensitising and mobilising voters for large turnout in future elections.

He said: “The Lagosians have spoken and they spoke loudly with their votes. The task to move the state forward rests squarely on you and I urge you not to look at what happened during the campaign period. It is time for governance. I pray God be your guardian in this task.”

In his six-minute acceptance speech, Sanwo-Olu promised to lead “an all-inclusive government”, while extending a hand of fellowship to his opponents in the governorship race. He expressed joy that his victory was not tainted by violence and bloodshed, stressing that the process was free and fair.

The governor-elect specially paid a tribute to President Muhammadu Buhari, and APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for displaying “responsible leadership”, which, he said, led to victory of APC in Lagos and the centre.

He said: “Our resolve to lead the state as governor and deputy governor is not about our personal welfare and that of our families, but a determination to build a state that all of us will be proud of. We will not disappoint Lagosians for the confidence reposed in us to lead on their behalf. We promise to lead a government that will be responsible and that will work for the greater majority of residents.

“Whatever happened during the campaign period belongs to the past. It’s time for reconciliation and the state must move forward. Therefore, we will not engage anyone or group based on their political affiliation, ethnic nationality or whether they voted for us or not, we are all Lagosians and we will run a government that will work for all.”

Sanwo-Olu also praised party leaders and members in the state for sacrificing their energy and time for the party’s victory.

The event ended with prayers for Sanwo-Olu and his deputy by representatives of Chief Imam of Lagos, Imam Shakir Gafar Mofesaiye, and chairman of the Lagos-chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Theophilus Ajose.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Pix: L-R: Wife of Lagos State Deputy Governor-elect, Mrs. Oluremi Hamzat; her husband, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; National Leader, All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Governor-elect, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; his wife Dr. Ibijoke and Senator Oluremi Tinubu, after the collection of Certificate of return to the Lagos State governor-elect and his deputy, in Lagos… Friday.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Plateau targets 5,000 startups by 2021 - ITREALMS

The government of Plateau State is working towards having some 5,000 startups, at the least by 2021, reports ITREALMS.

This was disclosed to 
ITREALMS in a chat by the Director-General of the Plateau State Information Technology Development Agency (PITDA) Mr. Daser David in Lagos on the sideline of the 2019 West Africa Convergence Conference (WACC) hosted by Knowhow Media International Limited and publishers of ITEdge.com.

He also said that impact of technology cannot be over-emphasised especially in the area of job creation and preparing the Plateau youths for global competitiveness.

David, who had extensive experience in hub management having led the foundation of N-Hub, said talents are abound in the state and PITDA under his watch will explore every means possible for more inroads by increasing the available workforce.

With the support of the state governor, Mr. Simon Lalong, PITDA, he said, will strike the relevant partnership both locally and internationally, although they are already working with the likes of Facebook and Google.

This partnership, he said, needs to be deepened to have the kind of effect the agency envisioned for the state.

PITDA target, he said is to have about 5,000 startups which will enable the injection of more funds and bolster the economy of the state, stressing that across the state 17 Local Government Areas, there exist, at least a hub.

According to David, with the support of the Local Government chairmen who are desirous of solving the problem of unemployment, this target is achievable.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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Tinubu: Next Level must base on progressive ideology - ITREALMS

ForTheRecords@ITREALMS:

I want to thank President Buhari for sharing this special day with me. The pressure of affairs facing the leader of a nation is such that you could have easily found reasons why you could not participate. Instead you chose to be here and to even give me the compound honor of accepting to be the Chairman of this occasion. Mr. President, you have gone far these past few years in laying a good foundation for the economic recovery of the country. We shall go farther still so that Nigeria truly reaches the next level with you leading the way.

Here I must also thank our dear First Lady Aisha Buhari for her zeal, support and commitment to the betterment of this nation. You are a true role model for women in Africa.

I commend the Vice President, my dear friend, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and his team for organizing another excellent Colloquium. VP Osinbajo and his team have done a fine job bringing us together again this day. You have enhanced our democratic and economic discourse at a moment when such public discussion is greatly needed.

I thank our party chairman and members of the national working committee and congratulate them once again for working as a dedicated team to re-elect our president and also ensure that we achieved a majority in the National Assembly. I thank all the governors and governors-elect present. I thank all National Assembly members and members-elect present. I thank the Ministers here present. I thank all the state assembly members, local government chairmen and other officials for being here.

I especially thank our traditional rulers and religious leaders. Your words of wisdom and calls for peaceful co-existence and tolerance have always been a source of inspiration and a soothing balm for our people.

I thank my darling wife, my family and all my friends who put aside their own personal business to join us today.

Looking unto this cordial and supportive gathering and feeling the enthusiasm that has animated this moment, I cannot help but feel that we are on the right track.

You see, Next Level is not just a trendy campaign phrase to be quickly discarded once victory has been achieved.

It has a much deeper and more profound meaning, perhaps even more than its authors contemplated. This is because we are a nation still in the process of defining itself politically and economically.

In this process, it is tempting and easy to borrow indiscriminately from those nations that seem to have mastered the art of democratic governance and to have achieved economic prosperity.
However, to achieve durable progress, we can’t afford to work hard but in mindless devotion to the ways of other nations.

This truth is particularly acute when these very nations now face fundamental political and economic questions that cast doubt on the social utility and viability of the economic model under which they have travelled for the past 50 years.

The global economy faces stiff headwinds. Factors not of our making now cast the world economy towards low growth.

Consumer spending is slipping. Aggregate private debt has attained historic levels. America and China are in a trade tug-of-war. Brexit looms imminent. Whatever form Brexit takes, economic dislocation will emerge from the political confusion now underway.

Even without Brexit, the EU itself has entered a rough patch. The Eurozone may already be in recession. Stock markets experience wild swings that speak to an underlying weakness and pessimism about the immediate future.

Forecasters are predicting a global recession within the next 12-18 months.

I render these observations not to frighten anyone but because they ring true. Wisdom requires that we accept reality instead of obscuring it under the cloak of wishful thinking. We must build policies that interact with the world as it is, and not with the world as it should be.

We must recognize these harsh economic tidings as advance warnings to the wise. Hence we must think deeper and work harder for our people in Nigeria.

I would be a most wicked friend if I knew a storm was approaching yet convinced you to ready your family for an outdoor picnic under the tallest tree. The truth is always a more valuable guardian than fantasy.

Mr. President, you have warned several times that the storm that approaches is not inevitable. It is born of a human folly and reckless greed. This means that it can be rectified by human wisdom and prudential action.

At this point we must recognize a fundamental truth of our time. The economic model upon which the world is built is unraveling. The coming downturn is just a symptom of this great upheaval.

The global economy faces either genuine reform or gathering ruin.

Because of this, the economic cohesion of Western nations is weakening. Income inequality has reached levels unseen in a century. The middle class in most countries is shrinking.

Wages stagnate while prices are on a ceaseless march upward.

In America, progressives champion a Green New Deal -- a massive government program to modernize that nation’s aging energy infrastructure and to create job programs to keep the middle class from becoming an endangered economic species.

In France, the yellow vests protest the austere policies of the Macron government. The vests have the sympathy of the people.

Brexit, no matter how misguided, was in large part a primal scream by people who feared the EU was responsible for their diminished economic conditions. The frustrated British would have been more accurate had they pointed the finger at a culprit closer to home – the austerity policies of two consecutive Tory governments.

People the world over are questioning the centre-right conservative model that has, with few exceptions, governed the world for the last half century. In one form or another, people are protesting the way things are, and progressive politicians are trying to help the people change things for the better.

The Next Level must be seen as part of this global and historic dynamic.

Our pursuit of the Next Level cannot be achieved by blindly following the economic path of other nations. That would be tantamount to racing to live in a building just as its long-term occupants were frantically rushing out, screaming that the edifice was mean and crumbling. If we are smart, we dare not enter.

Instead, we must construct our Next Level on a progressive ideology and vision that will take our people out of penury, diversify our economy more aggressively, and empower and retrain our youth.

To be the great nation we purport to be, we must reform and retool our economy according to our definition of what is best for our own people. We cannot assign that duty to anyone else.

Here, I must ask for a little liberty to amend the fine title of this colloquium: “Work for the people.” We must do more than simply work for the people.

Government must “work for the people in a way that enables them to better work for themselves.”

We must amend our basic ideas about the economy. We must divorce ourselves from our fixation with GDP rates and similar statistics. These things were initially intended to be indicators, suggestive measurements. However, we have misinterpreted these road maps by treating them as if they were the destination itself.

This has caused us to distort the organic relationship between the people and the economy.

This dominant train of thought has made the people servants to the dictates of abstract economic theories. In a more effective system, the economy would be fashioned to serve the concrete needs and legitimate aspirations of the people.

Our economy must be redefined to be an efficient yet moral social construct with the primary goal of optimizing the long-term welfare of the people through the sustained, productive and full employment of labour, land, capital and natural resources.

In the current global context, the best translation of laissez faire economics is “let’s stay poor” economics.

To believe that we are at our best when everyone focuses solely on maximizing their own position is to believe that one hundred hands can clutch at the same naira note but no one will get scratched.

To pull the nation from poverty, government must play a decisive role. It must at times direct and even develop markets and opportunities. This is nothing novel. I am only restating what the established economies did when they were young and assumed their trajectories toward growth.

Yet, how do we organize ourselves to meet this task?

Like no Nigerian government before, I believe the second administration of President Buhari shall dedicate itself to changing the very structure of our economy for the better.

The single most important sector for the government’s focus is infrastructure. The most important of our infrastructural demands is power. This has been the greatest discovery of humanity in the last thousand years.

1. POWER:

Affordable and reliable power will drive the industrialization that shall provide jobs in our cities and produce needed goods for all our people. In a more poetic rendering, it will take our people out of the dark ages and bring the nation into the light of a better day.

I believe the second Buhari administration will work to increase electricity generation, transmission and distribution by more than 50 percent within the next 4 years.

We require serious and bold reforms to achieve this. What is happening to our gas pipelines? Whatever we have to invest now for our future is a task that must be done boldly. The PDP administration shared out generation, distribution and transmission to their friends and cronies without very deep and thoughtful research and evaluation. It has now become pork chops. This privatisation must be revisited. Put experts together for a more constructive reform to improve generation, transmission and distribution by any means necessary. We cannot afford to be too legalistic about this.

Also, we should push to end the practice of billing people for electricity they never received. This practice is a vestige of the past that should not accompany us into the future. A person should be charged accurately and only for the power that they use.

2. Infrastructure:

Government should continue to aggressively implement its national infrastructure plan. We must commit ourselves to a national highway system linking our major cities and towns, our centres of commerce, with each other. This will save lives, spur commerce, cut costs and bring Nigerians closer together.

Water catchment and retention systems in strategic locations should also be introduced to end the destructive cycles of flood and drought affecting many areas.

In working to transform the face of our economy, government must also enact policies that encourage industrialization and modern agricultural practices. We must applaud President Buhari for the historic innovations made in the agricultural sector. We must further encourage him to do even more. Government funded social security for the aged and government backed affordable housing and mortgage facilities are things we must continue to explore in an aggressive manner.

In the end, our future is uncertain until we enter it and make of it what we will. We can either let the future happen to us or summon the courage to make the future belong to us as other nations have done.

I don’t think we really have a choice in the matter. We must take the people to the next level. It is a promise made and thus a promise that must be kept.

Our goal is nothing less than enabling people to enjoy lives free of penury and lack. We seek to constitute a nation where all have basic sustenance and sufficient food on their tables, a sturdy and sheltering roof over their heads and the fair chance and means to sustain and further enrich their lives as they see fit. Let it be that all may live in social contentment and tranquillity with his neighbour as well as with himself. This is what we mean by the Next Level.

Thank you for this wonderful birthday present you have given me. I have been enriched and energized by the intellectual exchange. I hope that you have too. Now, let’s move on to the Next Level.

*Asiwaju Bola Tinubu address to his colloquium in Abuja to mark the 67 years birthday.

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Shehu, Muoka top list to replace Nwokike - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
The management of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has commenced the send forth process for 12 amazing and wonderful management staff who will exit the Commission effective from April 1, 2019 when they will commence their terminal leave, reports ITREALMS.

This is coming as ITREALMS gathered from insider sources that Amina Shehu and Reuben Muoka, are both top on the list for replacement of Nnamdi Nwokike as Director, Public Affairs.

While Mrs Shehu is currently the 
Head/Zonal Director Legislative and Government Relations, Mr. Muoka who until recently was Head Public Relations at NCC but redeployed and is currently a deputy director at the commission based on his experience.

Speaking at the occasion, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of NCC noted at the special valedictory executive management session held this afternoon to herald another senior management meeting coming up tomorrow that the staff “will be leaving a vacuum difficult to fill”.

He advised the outgoing retirees that “whether in service or not, they should find ways to contribute to our communities”. Several Executive Management staff amplified EVC' voice and wished all the outgoing staff best wishes.

Director Public Affairs, Nnamdi Nwokike, who responded on behalf of his fellow retirees, said that: “we are leaving the work in capable hands who will do better than how we met and left it".

He expressed thanked the EVC, colleagues as well as all staff of the Commission for their best wishes.

Meanwhile, 
ITREALMS gathered that Okoh Aihe, Deputy Director, public relations has voluntarily retired under a "special package." It was further gathered that under this package the NCC top officers who retired before their due date are leaving in their new positions as directors.

The fourth DPA to emerge between Shehu and Muoka will be replacing Mr. Nnamdi Nwokike who took over from Tony Ojobo as the second DPA, after the pioneer office holder, Mr Dave Imoko, who held that position for several years. 


Nenye Dom/Editor

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Tinubu @67: You’re leading light of progressive politics says Fayemi - ITREALMS

The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has congratulated former Lagos State Governor and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his 67th birthday celebration, reports ITREALMS.

The Governor, in a personal tribute to Asiwaju Tinubu, described him as the leading light of progressive politics in the country, a fact which he said critics of the APC leader usually acknowledge.

Fayemi also in a press statement made available by Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Yinka Oyebode, recalled his working relationship with the former NADECO chieftain, said Asiwaju Tinubu remained a dependable, reliable and passionate leader, whose record of grooming successful disciples is unmatchable.

“I celebrate you today as always because you have been a reliable, dependable and passionate leader. The hallmark of a great leader is not measured in castles and materials, but in his ability to groom and lead successful disciples.

“Like a colossus in the jungle of life, your ability to identify, nurture and engage talents is unequalled.

“Your life has been a testimony of human capital development in an unrelenting struggle for a better life. Even your political detractors secretly admire your courage, vibrancy, intelligence, ebullience, kind-heartedness, warmth and sagacity.

“I will forever cherish the memory of our struggles for the enthronement and sustenance of democracy and good governance in Nigeria. Your infectious smile, as we have witnessed together on a number of occasions, is disarming. You have, over the years, succeeded in constantly reinventing yourself as a leading light of progressive politics.

“You mean different things to different people. To some, you are a patriotic politician, while to others, you are a political strategist who loves challenging the powers-that-be as a result of your passion and desire to see that your people are not deprived of their rights at any time.

“You might not be the darling of all, but you have carved a niche for yourself in the political history of Nigeria. May providence reward your labour of love with long life in good health, unspeakable joy and everlasting bliss.

“On behalf of the government and good people of Ekiti State, I wish you the best of what your new year can offer. Above all, I wish you many more useful and productive years,” he said.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Fayemi donates 22-seater bus to EKSU Medical College - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has presented a 22-seater bus to the College of Medicine, Ekiti State University as part of steps to ensure that the college gets full accreditation for its MBBS programme, reports ITREALMS.

Presenting the bus to the Acting Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Olubunmi Ajayi, at the Governor’s Office, Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday, Governor Fayemi said it was unfortunate that the college has not been able to graduate any student for the past 10 years of its existence as a result of accreditation.

He added that his administration will ensure that all logistics for the final accreditation of the College will be provided before the December MBBS final examination.

The Governor said donating the bus to the college is a duty that the government owes the college and the medical students who have been denied graduation for years; stressing that any responsible and responsive government would not see anything extraordinary about the gesture.

Fayemi said many parents had written to him to help salvage the situation and ensure their students graduate. He said his government would do everything within its power to ensure the students realise their ambition of graduating from the college and practising medicine.

Also read: Fayose incurred N155.79bn debt for Ekiti says Feyemi - ITREALMS


“This is not favour to the college; it is a duty that we owe it. I don’t want you to think there is anything particularly extraordinary. If government has not done it before now, it shows that government has not deemed it fit to carry out its own responsibilities to the university and the students and we don’t want to shirk that responsibility.

“Ekiti State University in its wisdom has set up a College of Medicine. The purpose of setting up the college is to graduate Medical Doctors and it is taking us 10 years”.

“It is unfortunate to have kept this brilliant set of young people here for 10 years. Our duty is to accelerate their graduation in the shortest possible time. It is already too late for at least the first two sets of the college to come out and be of service to the health sector. Be that as it may, whatever it will take to ensure that we enable the university do that, we will do, including the provision of what is needed for the accreditation of the college and the students”, he said.

Receiving the bus key and particulars from the Governor, the Acting Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Ajayi thanked the governor for the kind gesture. She said the governor’s efforts are testaments to the fact that he had the interest of the university at heart right from the inception of his administration.

The acting Vice chancellor said the varsity is already preparing for the accreditation which is scheduled for May ahead of the December final examination, adding that she was optimistic that the students will perform excellently.

Prof Ajayi said the governor’s step will help the College actualize her long-term dreams with the conclusion of the accreditation process.

Some of the medical students who had accompanied the University’s principal officers to receive the vehicle praised the Governor for working with the school management to ensure that the college get accredited.

They pledge to serve the society with the best of their professional ability upon graduation.

Present at the presentation event were the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr Biodun Omoleye; Acting Head of Service, Mrs Olapeju Babafemi, Director General Office of Transformation and Service Delivery (OTSD), Prof Bolaji Aluko and the Ekiti State University Registrar, Mr Akin Arogundade, among others.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Pix: Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, presenting vehicle documents to the Acting Vice Chancellor, Ekiti State University, Prof Olubunmi Ajayi. They are flanked by college officials and students of the College of Medicine, EKSU, during the official presentation of a 22-seater bus to the College in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday

Datacrest Technology unveils smart city cloud solutions - ITREALMS

Datacrest Technology Limited, an Information Technology and Software Developer organisation that partners globally recognised Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), has unveiled its Smart City solutions in Nigeria, reports ITREALMS.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Datacrest, Mr. Kehinde Olashore, disclosed this at the recently concluded Oracle Cloud Day 2019 held in Lagos, with a promise to assist governments, corporate organisations and individuals solve issues around traffic gridlocks, energy efficiency, and waste management.

Mr. Olashore also said that as a data-driven company, they are passionate about offering practical solutions with the aid of Data to meet the growing needs of corporations and governments.

Datacrest, he said, has a suite of products on offer including the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to Enterprise resource planning (ERP); business intelligence to artificial intelligence technologies.

“We are also focusing heavily on groundbreaking technologies like Blockchain. We have a number of use-cases, which we are currently deploying in Nigeria. We also deal with intelligent Chatbots, and we have a vast range of IT solutions for different aspects of industries” he declared.

Nenye Dom/Editor


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Thursday, March 28, 2019

AXIS: Nigeria beckons on AU countries for Connected Africa - ITREALMS


Nigeria and the African Union have canvassed for improved connected continent with the conclusion of the sub-regional Exchange Point evaluation for the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), reports ITREALMS.

Recall that IXPN had in 2016 responded to the Expression of Interest call by the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) Project, a scheme of the African Union Commission (AUC), and was awarded for the West African Exchange Point (WAXP) for the sub-region.

Speaking in Lagos at the end of technical evaluation, both the AXIS Project Manager, Mr. Moses Bayingana, and chief executive officer, IXPN, Mr. Muhammed Rudman foresee a one-connected Africa and beckoned on AU countries to join forces with the sub-regional exchange points to make it a reality.

For Mr. Bayingana, the establishment of subregional IXPs across the continent is in fulfilment of some of the objectives of the AUC and AXIS to ensure the deepening of internet penetration on the continent.

“Our drive at the Africa Union Commission is to promote digital content and entrepreneurship, unity and solidarity among African countries, coordinate and intensify cooperation for development, promote international cooperation among other things,” he said.

Bayingana stressed that the essence of AUC supports for subregional exchange point like IXPN is to have a robust infrastructure that will keep Africa’s internet traffic local, providing capacity building and technical assistance to facilitate the establishment of Internet Exchange Points across the continent and eventually a strong regional Internet Exchange Point in Africa.

On his part, Mr. Rudman of IXPN, said that with the new status as the West Africa subregional Internet Exchange Point, IXPN is poised for achieving a connected Africa, where the Internet will be exchanged locally.

This, he also said IXPN will allow networks to interconnect directly within the five sub-regions that make up the continent and for local traffics to remain local within the entire region.

Rudman noted that localising the Internet within the African continent will improve quality of service as traffics will no longer travel abroad as was the case, and enjoined African countries especially in the West Africa sub-region to embrace this concept of AXIS for a better and improved connectivity for the continent.

According to him, based on a grant Nigeria’s IXPN won from AXIS it is now positioned to champion a more subregional connectivity drive that will ultimately lead to a One-Connected Africa.

“We are excited with the current status of IXPN as a sub-regional IXP for the entire West Africa. This has made us a hub for the sub-region and will help not only to localize internet traffic within the sub-region, but increase latency at a reduced cost,” he said.

Also, he said in consonance with its new status, it has upgraded its infrastructure to ensure a more resilient operation in the function of connecting all other Internet Exchange Points in the sub-region and to accentuate its capacity to handle the requisite traffics.

ITREALMS recollects that AXIS followed adoption of the African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE) framework at the Second Ordinary Session of the African Union Conference of Ministers in-charge of Communication and Information Technologies (CITMC) which requested the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa to mobilize resources to accelerate the implementation of the selected ARAPKE flagship projects.

The African Union Executive Council Decision EX.CL/434 (XIII) further endorsed the eleven (11) flagship projects of the African Regional Action Plan on Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE); one of these projects is the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS).

AXIS aims to keep Africa’s internet traffic local by providing capacity building and technical assistance to facilitate the establishment of Internet Exchange Points and sub-regional Internet Exchange Points in Africa.

Although founded in 2006, the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) currently has Points-of-Presence (POP) in Lagos and four outside Lagos across five geo-political zones of Nigeria. IXPN currently has over 50 networks connected on its platform with all the GSM operators, Internet Service Providers, Content Providers (such as Google) and the National Research and Educational Networks (NREN) already exchanging huge traffics.

Chuks Egbune/DoP

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

U.S. applauds Edo State on integrated anti-human trafficking framework - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
The United States Chargé d' affaires, Mr. David Young has applauded the government of Edo State over its integrated anti-human trafficking framework, reports ITREALMS.

He made this known on Tuesday while visiting Edo State for a meeting with government leaders, traditional rulers and civil society representatives with a view to understanding the socio-economic factors that perpetuate trafficking in persons in the state and the multi-faceted efforts being used to eradicate it.

Speaking during a courtesy call on the Edo State Deputy Governor Philip Shuaibu at the Government House in Benin City, Chargé Young commended the state government’s anti-trafficking model and pledged the U.S. Mission’s commitment to expanding the scope of its collaboration with states such as Edo, which serve as a source or transit point for human trafficking.

“We are pleased with the important progress that has been made to combat trafficking in persons in Edo State, through the Three Ps: Prevention, Protection and Prosecution of those individuals involved in human trafficking. This is one of the issues the U.S. government is focused on, as it is a horrific crime and we recognize its long-term effects on people who are trafficked to other countries,” Chargé Young said.

At the palace of the Oba of Benin, where he had an audience with Oba Ewuare II, Chargé Young emphasized the pivotal role of traditional institutions in eliminating the scourge of human smuggling. He lauded the monarch’s leadership and direct involvement in the crusade to end trafficking in the state.

“We note that the Benin monarchy has taken the lead in statewide efforts to prevent young people from being trafficked. Survivors with whom we have interacted confirm that the King’s nullification last year of all oaths sworn by trafficking victims had a remarkable impact, by neutralizing the psychological hold of the trafficking syndicates and encouraging survivors to return home. This, in addition to the laudable efforts of the Oba Ewuare II Foundation, continues to bring freedom to many,” he noted.

Chargé d' affaires Young met trafficking survivors at Idia Renaissance Center, a non-government organization focused on ending human trafficking in Edo State. He also participated in a roundtable discussion on trafficking and illegal migration with representatives of the Edo State Task Force Against Human Trafficking.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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Pix: U.S. Chargé d' affaires David Young (right), with Edo State Deputy Governor Philip Shuaibu, during his visit to the Government House in Benin on Tuesday. Photo: U.S. Embassy.

Monfort to speak @webinar on User Centric approach in digital ecosystem - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
The Vice Chair of the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI) Special Committee USER, Jean-Yves Monfort, would be leading speakers at the forthcoming webinar on User Centric approach in the digital ecosystem, reports ITREALMS.

Other speakers, ITREALMS gathered will include a member of AFUTT (French association of telecommunications users) and Noemie Simoni, expert in the committee and Emeritus Professor for the webinar slated for Tuesday, April 16, 2019 by 4:30 pm CET / 10:30 am EDT / 2:30 UTC.

Two experts from the ETSI Special Committee USER, ITREALMS also gathered will present results of their work on future solutions for a new role of users and consequently providers.

ITREALMS also reports that this webinar would be based on the results of two surveys and the analysis of several use cases, introduces a generic model for this new approach. The webinar also introduces the concepts of composition of services and of “as a service”, including the definition of profiles. A special attention has been drawn on security, data protection, privacy and Quality of Experience.

Chuks Egbune/DoP

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UKAid to assist Cyclone Idai with matching funds - ITREALMS

The department of the United Kingdom (UKAids) in UK government will match the funds raised by Britons by 2 million Pounds for the Cyclone Idai victims, reports ITREALMS.

The sum of 8 million Pounds Sterling was realised in support of Idai victims and their immediate community.

Revealing this to ITREALMS, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of Great Britain said, Tuesday, this was achieved in just a day after the exercise was opened.


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of Great Britain, ITREALMS gathers, work on world affairs for the United Kingdom (UK) Government and leads on promoting as well as protecting British people, prosperity and influence globally.

With this development, the UK government said it will match the grand with 2million Pound Sterlings moving forward through the UKAid.

According to the UK government on its LinkedIn page, following the British public’s amazing generosity the Disasters Emergency Committee has raised £8 million for Cyclone Idai victims in just one day - £2 million of which has been match by hashtag#UKaid.

“Now hashtag#UKaid will match a further £2 million of donations, £ for £,” UK government official declared.

Remmy Nweke/DoP


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Young Writers pay tribute to Gabriel Okara' - ITREALMS

The National President of the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (SYNW), Mr. Wole Adedoyin has paid tribute to the father of modern Nigerian Poetry and shared the grief not only with the people of the Bayelsa state government but the entire pen community, late Pa Gabriel Okara, reports ITREALMS.

"With Gabriel Okara’s death we have lost one of the truly major voices in Nigerian, African and world Poetry. Okara’s renowned poems offered readers around the world a powerful up close view of historical events and issues in Nigeria," he said.

“We join the writer’s family and all of Nigeria in mourning the loss of this great and important literary figure. This is another loss to the literary community”, Adedoyin said.

Gabriel Imomotimi Okara (24 April 1921 – 25 March 2019) was a Nigerian poet and novelist who was born in Bumoundi in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Nigeria. The firstModernist poet of Anglophone Africa, he is best known for his early experimental novel,The Voice (1964), and his award-winning poetry, published in The Fisherman's Invocation(1978) and The Dreamer, His Vision (2005).

He attended the landmark African Writers Conference held on 1 June 1962 at Makerere University College in Kampala, Uganda, along with such writers as Chinua Achebe, Rajat Neogy, Bloke Modisane, Okot p'Bitek, Bernard Fonlon, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Segun Olusola, Grace Ogot, Jonathan Kariara, Rebecca Njau, Wole Soyinka, John Pepper Clark, Saunders Redding, Christopher Okigbo, Francis Ademola, Ezekiel Mphahlele, Arthur Maimane, and others.

In both his poems and his prose, Okara drew on African thought, religion, folklore and imagery, and he has been called "the Nigerian Negritudist".According to Brenda Marie Osbey, editor of his Collected Poems, "It is with publication of Gabriel Okara's first poem that Nigerian literature in English and modern African poetry in this language can be said truly to have begun."

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Omobola Johnson delivers Adedeji's annual lecture, asks 'Africa in Digital Era - Hype or reality? - ITREALMS

The former Nigerian Minister for Communications Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, delivered the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) annual Adebayo Adedeji at the ongoing Conference of Ministers in Marrakech, reports ITREALMS.

Held in memory of the Nigerian scholar Adebayo Adedeji – arguably one of Africa’s leading proponent of regional integration – the lecture focused around the question of digital transformation in Africa: Hype or Reality? “There is enough evidence that Africa can be digitally transformed. But what is holding us back? asked Dr Johnson when she delivered the lecture to ministers and a host of experts attending the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Conference of Ministers.

As the world-wide-web celebrates 30 years, its inventor Tim Berners-Lee told a Nigerian audience recently that the country represents both the present and future of the web, when you look at how it is impacting lives in Nigeria, but also across the continent.

Adedeji was the ECA’s 3rd and longest serving Executive Secretary (1975- 1991). He is renowned and admired for his relentless calls for Africa to move away from conventional ideas of international trade and economic development. He is also credited for championing calls that led to the creation of ECOWAS. It is also widely accepted that his ideas form part of the pillars on which the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is anchored.

Economic experts agree that, in the currently environment, the success of this continental trading bloc, will hugely depend on digital technology, tools and skills. Johnson cited a number of success stories across the continent and how they have used technology to provide services to the hitherto uncatered for or under served, but said that many challenges remained.

Also read: Nigeria, 43 African countries sign Free Trade Area agreement - ITREALMS


“Affordability is an issue: the internationally agreed target is for 1gb of data to cost no more than two percent of the average national monthly income. In Africa this currently stands at 8.76%, compared to 3.5% in Latin America or 1.54% in Asia. And the latest affordability reports show that this has increased over the past year.,” she said.

She also noted disturbing tax trends, both on digital infrastructure and utilization taxes, which although seductive, can often have unintended consequences, such as increasing the cost of digitisation and curbing its transformative impact.

She called for an urgent need to strengthen the infrastructure and fibre network.

Currently when connecting Cape to Khartoum, she said, the connection will take them via London, New York, San Jose and Tokyo to arrive in Khartoum 409 milliseconds later.

She also decried how most of Africa’s connections are via undersea cables connecting via Europe or elsewhere. “It is the private sector that can solve this issue,” she said, “…but they also need to be supported and incentivized.”

“When you recognize these challenges and accept that there is a lack of scale amongst our start-ups it could be argued therefore that this digital transformation we speak about might be hyped. But the increased ownership of mobile phones and those that have access to it is having a true impact.,” she stated

She added that many companies across different sectors using tech to transform their sectors from energy, to agriculture to healthcare. “But it’s work in progress,” She further urged governments to be more supportive and develop a long-term digital strategy. “We also need to be more innovative in our financing mechanisms to allow VC to borrow at low rates and help scale up innovators.”

She mentioned the urgent need to develop a pool of skilled talent that can turn the continent into the world’s digital talent pool in the same way that China became the world’s factory, through a large labour force and targeted government policy.
Nenye Dom/Editor
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Nigeria 2019 Governorship Election: Appraising the verdict - ITREALMS

Commentary@ITREALMS:
Election in Nigeria is a battle of fists rather than a game of wits. The nation has gotten almost nothing right since independence and still cannot conduct free, fair and credible elections. The insatiable thirst for power has made the leadership recruitment process a battle; turning properties to ashes and beings to corpse. Shame on the leaders and politicians. Shame on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies. Shame on Nigeria.

The 2019 general election is the worst in Nigeria’s history. It is the most protracted and onerous, despite being the most expensive. The polls scheduled to wind-up in three weeks has dragged on for six and still counting. Do the arithmetic. The presidential election initially slated for February 16 was postponed to 23 for ‘logistics reasons’ and the governorship election conducted on March 9 is yet to be concluded. The must-win approach of politicians and the incompetence of the security agencies and INEC rendered the governorship election inconclusive in Kano, Benue, Plateau, Bauchi, Sokoto, Adamawa and Rivers State. The electoral process in Kano, Benue, Plateau and Sokoto has been completed while that of Bauchi, Adamawa and Rivers are still on hold.

Nigeria is the den of negative politicking. The misconducts that rendered the governorship elections inconclusive also made the supplementary elections held on 23 March unfree and unfair and un-credible, especially in Kano State. Desperate candidates unleashed thugs to kill and destroy, while the police looked on. The prevailing either-me-or-nobody politics is endangering our hard-earned democracy and may return Nigeria into the hands of the men in uniform.

The 2019 general election has been an intriguing one. Politicians who were before now seen as undefeatable were defeated. The mighty fell and new ones emerged. Godfathers such as Bukola Saraki (Kwara State) Godswill Akpabio (Akwa-Ibom State), Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto State) and George Akume (Benue State) has been decimated. The death guzzling one’s mate is relaying a message that one’s turn is near. Bola Tinubu should start preparing. 2023 may be his turn.

Over 90 political parties participated in the governorship elections, but Nigerians mainly voted the ruling All Progressives Congress and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In a piece titled “Nigeria 2019 Governorship Election: Foretelling the Outcome”, the writer, hereafter titled Pundit, foretold who’ll triumph in the 29 (out of 36) states where elections were conducted. Governorship election in the remaining 7 states are off-cycle.

Independently foretelling the outcome of governorship elections in a vast and plural nation like Nigerian is a difficult, almost impossible task. It entails a rigorous research into the election winning determinants in each state. Such research is usually sponsored and carried out by a team of leading Political Scientists. Unaided, the Pundit singly foretold the outcomes and did not perform poorly. He made accurate predictions, achieved his target of scoring high, but some predictions failed. The next sections of this piece is an analysis of the election controversies, the landmarks, and what the future holds. The Pundit’s prediction accuracy and shortcomings in the six geopolitical regions is also appraised.

North West
The region comprises of seven states, including Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Jigawa, and Zamfara State. Elections were conducted in all.

Kano State: Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass, even though the Pundit never thought the election would be a keenly contested one. Ganduje garnered 1,033,695 votes to defeat PDP’s Abba Yusuf, who garnered 1,024,713 votes. Ganduje allegedly won via electoral fraud. The supplementary election was a farce and brazen murder of democracy. It was characterized by voter harassment, vote buying, underage voting and violence. Political thugs’ unleashed mayhem without being resisted by the police. The evidence of electoral infractions is so mammoth that it’ll be difficult for Ganduje to complete his tenure, if the result is challenged at the tribunal.

Observers of the ruling APC’s antecedent and political behavior knows the party would never allow PDP take control of Kano. The state has the highest number of registered voters and needs to be kept in the bag for 2023. APC also went all out to retain Kano in order to bury arguments that the presidential election was rigged in the state for President Muhammadu Buhari.

Also read: El-Rufai's body bags of double standard and diplomatic effects - ITREALMS


Katsina State: Aminu Masari of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He scored 1,178,868 votes to defeat PDP’s Yakubu Lado who scored 488,705 votes.

Kaduna State: Nasir El-Rufai of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He garnered 1,044,710 votes to defeat PDP’s Isah Asiru who garnered 814,168 votes. Balancing religion equation is an unconstitutional rule politicians obey, except El-Rufai. He took the risk of running with a fellow Muslim and won. That it works for him doesn’t mean it’ll work for others. Nigeria’s prevailing ethno-religious sensitivity will deny others who copy him a win.

Kebbi State: Abubakar Bagudu of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He defeated PDP’s Isa Galaudu with 571,092 votes.

Sokoto State: the pundit wrongly predicted a win for APC’s Ahmad Aliyu. He was ticked to win by a small margin, but that happened the other way round. Aminu Tambuwal of the PDP defeated him with 341 votes.

Jigawa State: Mohammad Badaru of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He garnered 810,933 votes to defeat PDP’s Aminu Ibrahim who polled 288,356 votes.

Zamfara State: the Pundit wrongly predicted a narrow win for PDP’s Bello Mutawalle. His selection of Mutawalle was based on the lingering intra-party crisis in Zamfara APC before the election. Mukhtar Shehu of the APC defeated PDP’s Mutawalle with 345,089 votes.

Overall, the Pundit made 4 right and 2 wrong predictions in the North West.

South South
The six states in the region are Edo, Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Cross River and Akwa Ibom State. Edo and Bayelsa State governorship election are off-cycle.

Delta State: Ifeanyi Okowa of the PDP’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He defeated APC’s Great Ogboru with 710,236 votes.

Rivers State: PDP’s Nyesom Wike was ticked to win, but the electoral process was suspended due to military interference and human rights abuses. The court restrained APC from appearing on the ballot. Wike’s main opponent, Biokpomabo Awara of the AAC rose to prominence after securing the backing of the APC bigwigs. The Pundit maintains that Wike will defeat Awara.

Cross River State: Ben Ayade’s win was foretold and it came to pass. The PDP candidate defeated APC’s John Owan-Enoh with 250,323 votes.

Akwa Ibom State: PDP’s Udom Emmanuel’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He scored 520,163 votes to defeat APC’s Nsima Nkere who scored 172,244 votes. APC overrated ex-Governor Godswill Akpabio’s political capacity when he joined the party. His senatorial reelection loss and inability to deliver Akwa Ibom for the party has sent him into political oblivion, but he is yet to realize that. The party will relegate him after those elected are sworn-in on May 29.

Overall, out of the four states were election held, the Pundit made 3 right predictions, while the result of Rivers State is being awaited.

North East
The region comprises of six states including Adamawa, Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Taraba and Gombe State. Elections were conducted in all.

Adamawa State: Ahmadu Fintiri of the PDP’s win was foretold, although the election remains inconclusive. The electoral process was suspended based on court order. The already declared results indicates that PDP’s Ahmadu Fintiri has 367,611 votes, while Governor Jibrilla Bindo of the APC has 334,995 votes. With a winning margin of 32,616 votes and the low number of voters in areas where the supplementary election will hold, PDP’s Fintiri will most likely defeat APC’s Bindo as initially predicted.

Yobe State: Mai Mala Buni of the APC was predicted to win by a landslide and it came to pass. He polled 444,013 votes to defeat PDP’s Umar Damagun who polled 95,803 votes.

Borno State: Babagana Zullum of APC’s wide margin win was foretold and it came to pass. He polled a staggering 1,175,445 votes to defeat PDP’s Mohammed Imam who garnered a paltry 66,117 votes. The large number of votes recorded in Borno state is surprising. The state has been ravaged by Boko Haram insurgents and many of the voting population are displaced. How elections across the state were so organized that many people voted, but residents of a peaceful state like Kano were attacked and prevented from voting during the supplementary poll is bewildering. APC’s interest is the switch that determines the operational effectiveness of the security agencies. They protect the votes in APC strongholds and let thugs destroy the ballot in PDP’s own.

Bauchi State: election is inconclusive. The court restrained INEC from proceeding with the collation of results, but the order has been vacated. Governor Mohammed Abubakar of the APC’s win was foretold, but that may not happen. PDP’s Bala Mohammed is leading in the main and supplementary election results. PDP has a total of 469,512 votes, while APC has 465,456 votes. Bauchi is amiss for the Pundit as victory is most certain for PDP’s Mohammed.

Taraba State: Darius Ishaku’s (PDP) win was foretold and it came to pass. He garnered 520,433 votes to defeat APC’s Sani Danladi who scored 362,735 votes.

Gombe State: Inuwa Yahaya’s (APC) win was foretold and it came to pass. He defeated PDP’s Usman Nafada with 141,311 votes.

Overall, out of the six states were election held, the Pundit made 4 right predictions, while the results of Adamawa and Bauchi State is being awaited.

South East
The five states in the region are Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo state. Anambra’s governorship election is off-cycle.

Abia State: Okezie Ikpeazu’s win was foretold and it came to pass. The PDP candidate defeated APC’s Uche Ogah with 161,553 votes.

Enugu State: Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s win was foretold and it came to pass. The PDP candidate garnered 449,935 votes to defeat APC’s Ayogu Eze, who garnered 10,423 votes.

Ebonyi State: David Umahi win was foretold and it came to pass. He defeated APC’s Sonni Ogbuoji with 257,146 votes.

Imo State: is a big plus for the Pundit. Many doubted him, but PDP’s Emeka Ihedioha won as foretold. He scored 273,404 votes to defeat Uche Nwosu of AA who scored 190,364 votes. Ifeanyi Ararume of APGA came third, while APC’s Hope Uzodinma came fourth. The former scored 114,676 votes, while the latter scored 96,458 votes.

Overall, PDP’s win was foretold in all the four states where elections held and it came to pass.

North Central
The region, also called the Middle Belt, comprises of six states, including Kogi, Benue, Kwara, Niger, Nassarawa and Plateau State. The governorship election in Kogi State is off-cycle.

Benue State: Samuel Ortom of the PDP’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He defeated APC’s Emmanuel Jime with 89,318 votes.

Kwara State: AbdulRahman Abdulrasaq of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He defeated PDP’s Rasak Atunwa with 216,236 votes.

Niger State: Abubakar Bello of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He garnered 526,351 votes to defeat PDP’s Umar Nasko who garnered 298,056 votes.

Nassarawa State: Abdullahi Sule of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He defeated PDP’s David Ombugadu with 142,970 votes.

Plateau State: the Pundit wrongly predicted a win for PDP’s Jeremiah Useni, but APC’s Simon Lalung defeated him with a meagre 2,672 votes.


Overall, out of the five states were election held, the Pundit made 4 right predictions and 1 wrong.

South West
The governorship election was conducted in only three (Oyo, Ogun, Lagos) out of the six states in the region. Ondo, Osun and Ekiti State governorship elections are off-cycle.

Oyo State: the Pundit wrongly predicted a narrow win for APC’s Bayo Adelabu. Seyi Makinde of the PDP however defeated him with 157,639 votes.

Ogun State: the pundit predicted a win for APM’s Adekunle Akinlade, but he lost. APC’s Dapo Abiodun defeated him with 19,517 votes. The pundit’s prediction was wrong in Oyo and Ogun state because of the intense last minute political horse-trading and alignments that occurred before the election. This made the pundit declare during prediction that “a lot of last minute endorsement and permutation is going on in the state and it’s quite different to state where the pendulum would swing”.

Lagos State: Babajide Sanwoolu of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He garnered 739,445 votes to defeat PDP’s Jimi Agbaje who garnered 206,141 votes.

Overall, the Pundit made 1 right and 2 wrong predictions in the South West region.

Also read: Is being Nigerian a misfortune? - ITREALMS


Accuracy Rate
Out of the 29 states where governorship elections were conducted, a winner is yet to be declared in Rivers, Bauchi and Adamawa State. Out of the 26 states where winners have been declared, the pundit made:

4 right and 2 wrong predictions in the North West;

3 right (out of 4) predictions in the South South, (Rivers is pending);

4 right (out of 6) predictions in the North East (Bauchi and Adamawa are pending);

4 right predictions in the South East, no wrong;

4 right and 1 wrong prediction in the North Central;

I right and 2 wrong predictions in the South West.

In total, the pundit made 20 right predictions and got it wrong in 6.

In the election outcome prediction piece, the Pundit stated that he hopes to get it right in over 20 states and he succeeded as his prediction is about to come to pass in two out of the three pending states. Even though it’s difficult and looks impossible, the Pundit aims to foretell the right outcome in all the states in 2023.

For the Records
Across the country, Babagana Zullum, the APC candidate in Borno State won the 2019 governorship election with the highest margin of 1,109,230 votes. PDP’s Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State won with the lowest margin of 341 votes. Mohammed Imam, the PDP governorship candidate in Borno State scored the lowest votes: 66,117. Aminu Masari, the APC governorship candidate in Katsina State (President Buahri’s home state) scored an overall highest vote of 1,178,868. APC did not win any state in the South East but PDP won in all the six regions of the country. Power changed hands in four states: Oyo and Imo that are currently being ruled by the APC were won by the PDP, while Gombe and Kwara State being ruled by the PDP were won by the APC.

End Note

The 2019 general election brought joy to the winners and pain to those who lose, especially those who spent their life savings or borrowed money to campaign. It is difficult for credible candidates to win election in our violence prone and money based political system. The monetization of politics is denying the best an opportunity to lead the rest. If this is not contained, Nigeria will in a few years be governed by fraudsters and drug barons. They’re the only ones who can afford to fund our expensive campaigns and politicking. None or only one in a billion men of honest earnings can. In no distant time, the intellectuals would be relegated or at best be political godsons to those who have acquired enormous wealth through dishonest means. Vice President Yemi Osibajo is a case in point.

Declaring elections inconclusive is a recipe for electoral fraud as the supplementary polls are often marred with voter harassment and violence. Politics should be made less rewarding to discourage politicians from making elections a do or die affair. President Buhari needs to liaise with the national assembly to re-pass the amended electoral law and assent it. As long as electoral offenders remain unpunished, people will not desist from perpetrating crime and fraud during elections. A strict penalty such as jail terms with no option of fine should be enacted.

Leadership is service. Politicians offering money for votes are thieves seeking the power to steal, not serve. Politics is the most profitable investment in Nigeria and politicians don’t play to lose. We must stop rewarding failure and incompetence with our votes, if we wish to live the Nigeria of our dreams. 2019 is gone and we have no choice than to endure the pains -- or enjoy the gains -- of our political choice till 2023. May God help us!

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

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MTN chat makes debut on WhatsApp - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
MTN South Africa has partnered with global customer engagement company, Clickatell, to launch MTN Chat, enabling its customers to engage with the telco over WhatsApp, reports ITREALMS.

MTN Chat will enable customers to initiate purchase of airtime and data bundles within their WhatsApp chat session. Over time customers will be able to also access customer support and self-service options, including performing upgrades, managing their accounts, and receiving low balance alerts. MTN Chat is part of the MTN vision to significantly enhance its digital business offering to boost its customer base through advanced services.

“Clickatell understands that mobile operators are under increasing pressure to deliver excellent customer service over the digital channels their customers prefer. By offering convenient services over a secure, convenient channel, MNOs can both increase their transactional volume and attract and retain customers – something that is paramount in an age of continuous digital transformation and growing competition,” explains Pieter de Villiers, Clickatell Founder & CEO.

Clickatell has already helped Absa Bank, GTBank, First Bank of Nigeria and United Bank of Africa successfully deploy chat banking capabilities on WhatsApp across Africa.

Clickatell is a WhatsApp Business solution provider. The WhatsApp Business API provides brands the ability to send out notifications and conduct two-way conversations with consumers within WhatsApp once they have opted in. Clickatell’s Touch Flow and Connect platforms gives MTN the capability to unify its communications channels, customise user workflows and connect to internal systems.

“It is imperative that companies focus on improving their self-service experiences in order to retain and grow customers. The Clickatell offerings provides an easy, secure and convenient way of giving users control over their accounts through WhatsApp, a platform they already have an affinity for,” comments says Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive for Corporate Affairs at MTN SA.

De Villiers says Clickatell’s low effort, high return offerings can propel mobile network operators onto a digital transformation road that differentiates them from their competitors.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Konga