Tuesday, April 29, 2014

NNPC begins oil exploration in the North

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has concluded plans to increase the nation’s crude oil reserve and production to 40 billion and four million barrels per day respectively.

The Group Managing Director of the corporation, Engr. Andrew Yakubu who made this disclosure while delivering a keynote address at the combined graduation ceremony of Chief Officers Management Development programme of batches 069 to 072 in Abuja listed Chad, Anambra, Benue, Bida and Sokoto Dahomey as the focal places.

Engr. Yakubu said, “We are as well carrying out infield developments which have resulted in increased reserve and with the intensified approach, including the expedited action on new projects like Eginaetc the reserve and production targets is realizable.” According to him, over 1,000 square kilometres of seismic data have been acquired in the Chad Basin despite of the security situation in Borno State.

On gas consumption, he said, “NNPC’s footprint in the domestic gas market has attained unprecedented growth. With the commissioning of the NPDC’s 100 million standard cubic feet of gas per day Oredo gas processing facilities and the acquisition of the new assets, NPDC is now the biggest producer and supplier of gas into the domestic market, contributing over 400 million standard cubic feet of gas per day,” Yakubu added.

He said the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, is being repositioned to become a medium sized independent Exploration and Production Company with a production capacity of at least 250,000 barrels per day by the year 2015.

According to him, NPDC assets base has grown with the assignment of new oil mining leases stressing that the management under his watch is determined to further pursue new strategies to grow production to the target of 250,000 bpd by 2015 from the current level of 130,000bpd.

culled from peoples daily newspaper

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Governor Nyako and His Dangerous Memo

I read with great disappointment and sadness a memo written by Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, which was addressed to his fellow northern governors. In a memo that can only be described as an outright attempt to acquire fame and score political points, the governor accused the Presidency of being complacent and responsible for the attacks inflicted upon the region by Boko Haram. Not only was the sitting governor’s memo unbecoming, it also does more harm than good in the nation’s attempt to recover control of and return harmony to a region that has known no peace due to the aggressive onslaught of a terrorist organisation.

Knowing that Nigerians are very sensitive when it comes to the issues of religion and ethnicity, Nyako’s memo can only further expose and uncover hate and provoke the aversion that Nigerians hold against each other. Irrespective of our reservations against the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan (on the platform of the PDP), our number one priority should be ensuring that this nation is peaceful once more. For a man of Nyako’s position in society, he remains an important stakeholder in actualising that objective.

It is public knowledge that the relationship between Governor Murtala Nyako and the President has indeed soured over time, but for a man who once served as the Chief of Naval Staff, one would expect him to be more tolerant and less rash and impulsive with his thoughts and remarks.

How objective and rational is it for anyone to convince me that a governor like Nyako, whose administration in Adamawa has brought absolutely no progress or growth could have the interest of the region at heart? How is it possible that a man who enjoys little goodwill from his own people because of pitiful and substandard performance can have the vigour and sincerity to actively pursue the interest of his region?

What Nyako’s memo attempted to achieve was to create a ‘we’ against ‘them’ attitude in order to continue to control the mindsets of poor and gullible Nigerians. Our politicians have a penchant for being divisive and using the fact they happen to be smarter than most of the electorate to their political advantage.

It is important to note that Nyako’s conspiracy is flawed at all levels. His idea that there is a wicked and atrocious agenda being perpetrated against the North by the Federal Government raises a lot of questions; from the highest level of government all the way to the bottom are people who hail from the North. The Vice President hails from the North along with the Inspector General of Police, the Minister of Defence and the National Security Adviser. Some of these men, such as General Aliyu Gusau, have worked tirelessly to get to the peak of their careers and are globally renowned for the exemplary service that they have rendered and continue to render. If there is, indeed, a genocide that is being carried out against the whole Northern region of Nigeria, it therefore cannot be without the knowledge of these men, who hold essential and vital positions in our nation. If what Nyako is attempting to sell to the easily deceived and exploitable masses is that our northern brothers in government are culpable of the agenda, then I believe that this line of action and this attempt to further sow seeds of discord is highly reproachable and deserving of being condemned in the strongest possible terms.

I am absolutely angered that Nyako, who is a major stakeholder in the country’s main opposition party, is busy fuelling hatred with his remarks instead of focusing on creating solutions that will thrive in bringing back peace to a region that has more or less become a war zone. Furthermore, the fact that Nyako’s claims and irresponsible comments are seen by some as an attempt to actually fight for the interest of the north is absolutely unbelievable and calls for concern. The governor’s remarks are only capable of plunging our country into more complexity and chaos at a time that our nation is sharply divided along fault lines.

Nyako’s memo is not just disrespectful to our brave troops, many of whom have sacrificed their lives, but also insulting and demonstrates a total lack of gratitude for their service, and this writer is particularly unsure of what the Governor seeks to gain with such dangerous moves. As much as portraying our military and joint task forces as wicked and threatening will please some bigoted Nigerians, how it can please or captivate an individual of Nyako’s status and background remains extraordinarily perplexing.

In addition, it makes absolutely no sense to allege that President Jonathan is behind the barbaric attacks that have plagued the North because the crisis predates his coming to the seat of power. I can, however, accept that the Federal Government in its efforts to bring Boko Haram to its knees has failed and appears to always be two steps behind. What I cannot accept, however, is that the government is solely responsible for unleashing this magnitude of terror. We have been witnesses to how our national security has been compromised. I have spent a long time trying to analyse the logic behind this memo and the only thing that I see is efforts being made by the governor to even further compromise our security.

Our relevant security agencies need to wake up to their responsibilities and probe individuals who make such unguarded statements and we, as Nigerians, must demand that our leaders stop politicising our security challenges. Trying and difficult times like these call for all leaders, past and present, to explore all possible options and reasonable avenues that include effective methods that will yield positive results which will ultimately result in an end to this war against terror. In as much the responsibilities that our leaders owe to the country to work tirelessly to defeat the terrorists are enormous, we also owe ourselves this much; that in spite of all our challenges, we must not lose hope that the future of our country as a strong and powerful republic that will actualise the vision of our founding fathers is possible.

Mustapha Atiku Abubakar is a 19 year old Bachelors of Law (LLB) student at City University, London. He is a native of Jada in Adamawa state. He received his elementary education in his home state’s capital Yola, before completing his middle school in Egypt and subsequently graduation from the prestigious Leysin American School in Switzerland with an American high school diploma. He is fluent in Fulani, Hausa, English and Arabic. Mustapha has a passion for entrepreneurship. He currently sits as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Haynes-Worth International Limited. Aside his passion for entrepreneurship, he is an advocate of better youth participation in governance and politics in Nigeria.

Mustapha is on Twitter as @mustyblax

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jigawa of their Dream, Sule Lamido of Our Dream

An unprecedented development is taking place in all sectors in Jigawa State. Governor Sule Lamido is demonstrating the general belief that, a leadership that is well-read, competent; with the right leadership skills, exposure and behavior is a competitive advantage for any state, including the nation at large.

Governor Sule Lamido’s careful planning and execution of people-oriented projects and programmes, including the visibly enhanced economic growth and quality of governance in Jigawa State is a clear indication that, despite the general poverty of ideas among public office holders and the scarce resources in most northern states, there are leaders who are genuinely committed to development. Sule Lamido means what he says and he is doing exactly so. Indeed, Lamido’s development strategies should be a working document for states in Nigeria, especially the other 18 northern states who share similar geographical, cultural and economic terrain with Jigawa State. Lamido himself should be seen as a role model for public office holders and youths because he is exhibiting what is expected of elected leadership.

In Jigawa, Sule Lamido is using a reductionistic approach to development- attending to the big problems by solving the small ones. The approach encompasses new thinking, new strategy, and new concept maps. The approach completely shifts away from the traditional way of development in most states in Nigeria. Governor Lamido’s concept is a new strategy where development in agriculture, roads, education, electricity, healthcare, water supply, youth development and other sectors are tackled through segmentation of the various sectors into their smallest units, then a head-on tackling of each unit with the participation of the people. The involvement of the people ensures the people and their communities come first in all circumstances, including accountability.

In Jigawa State, development is as it ought to be. All spheres of the society is systematically and systemically being touched by the impact of development- massive roads construction, rehabilitation and expansion, construction of institutional structures, free girls and disabled education, free maternal and child health, the rural solar electricity project. Worthy of a special mention is the first of its kind successful youths and poverty alleviation programme.

For example, the population of Jigawa people is made up of mainly rural dwellers and peasant farmers. Governor Lamido has remodeled the typical Nigeria’s rural development strategies- where rural development is mainly targeted at only agricultural productivity. Rural development in Jigawa State has gone beyond agricultural productivity. In Jigawa today, rural development is also directed at the development of human and natural resources; rural road, energy, education, culture, social order, and political awareness. This re-direction has conformed rural development in Jigawa state with the global concept of rural development- “quantitative change or uplift in the standard of people in the rural areas, brought about through integrated approach, by both governmental and non-governmental agencies and the people themselves”.

Through Governor Lamido, the Jigawa people are realizing the Jigawa of their dream, while through his new approach to development in Jigawa; other Nigerians are beginning to see in Sule Lamido the leadership of their dream.

Zayyad I. Muhammad, writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State, zaymohd@yahoo.com, 08036070980. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Rating The 19 Northern Governors

 Murtala Nyako
 Very Poor
 Isa Yuguda
 Gabriel Suswan
 Kashim Shettima
  Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo
 Sule Lamido
 Mukhtar  Ramalan Yero
 Very  Poor
 Rabiu  Musa Kwankwaso
 Ibrahim Shema
 Saidu Dakingari
Very  Poor
 Captain Idriss Wada 
  Abdulfatah Ahmed
  Umar Tanko Al-Makura
Very Poor
 Babangida  Aliyu
 Very poor
 Jona  David Jang
 Aliyu Magatakarda Wamako
 Very Good
 Garba Umar
 Ibrahim Geidam
 Abdulazeez Yari

Excellent- 3
Very Good- 1
Very Poor-5

Zayyad I. Muhammad, zaymohd@yahoo.com, 08036070980

Monday, April 7, 2014

Will North Vote For Jonathan?

President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP have kick-started the ground-work to pave GEJ's way to a second term. Just like the 2011 presidential elections, Jonathan’s splitting headache in 2015 would be northern Nigeria. But this time around with a major difference- a strong opposition party- APC have emerged. Though the PDP’s presidential primaries will be a work over for Jonathan, but the general elections would not be. 

Jonathan has a painstaking task to change the belief by the northern Nigeria Talakwas that his Presidency is not different from that of northern political class who has failed the Talakwas.

With the political activities to herald the 2015 elections gaining momentum, President Jonathan’s worry would be how to gain the support of the Talakwas of the north. Before and after his election in 2011, President Jonathan has not applied strategies that can win the hearts of the people of northern Nigeria. With 2015 presidential election fast approaching, can Jonathan still be able to win over the hearts of northern Talakawas before the elections? Does the President have enough time to show the people of the north that his presidency is different?

There is no doubt President Jonathan still have a running political battle with a certain clique from the northern Nigeria political class. However, his attention appears more skewed to the ‘politics’ of the battle that he has forgotten himself and ways to win over the northern Talakawas-the poor who make up the majority of the northern populace and are the most important weapon for the battle. Jonathan could have taken advantage of the fact that the leadership of the north and the Talakawas are no more on the same page and thus, win the hearts of the people of the north. But Jonathan has so much relied on politics of the old order- winning the hearts of the Talakwas by proxy- traditional rulers, political elites, and religious leaders.

Jonathan has a herculean task to win the Talakawas of the north over; he has to take careful and intelligent development decisions to solve the enormous political problem he is facing in the region. Though some supporters of GEJ are of the view that he has taken some steps in that direction, but they are not enough. For example; the almajiri modern school programme is good, but the children in the north that go to the traditional almajiri schools do so because they don’t have a choice. The agricultural transformation programme is also a welcome development, however, more efforts are needed to reach real farmers as well as make them feel involved in the programme. 

President Jonathan still has more time to change northern Talakawas’ impression of his government. He has to design speedy but feasible policies that will completely eliminate the huge security challenges and break the poverty cycle in the north through economically empowering the poor. The manner with which President Jonathan showed personal interests in the Almajiri School Project should be extended to the security challenges, Lake Chad, Sokoto basin and Benue valley oil exploration project, as well as the Mambilla plateau hydro-electricity project. He should also launch special agricultural and poverty alleviation programmes - these are projects that would endear him to the northern Talakawas. This is because for nearly forty years of northern Nigeria political elite’s gripped on political power in Nigeria, they have failed to proffer feasible policies in those areas which could have positively impacted the livelihood of the ordinary people in the north..

As the politics of 2015 gains impetus, just like during the 2011 elections, gaining support from northern Nigeria is President Jonathan’s major dilemma. However, it could be achieved effortlessly if the right strategies are employed. After all, the case against the GEJ in the North is political as well as economical – thus it requires introducing sound economic policies that impact positively on the Talakawas, if it is to be cracked.

Zayyad I. Muhammad, zaymohd@yahoo.com, 08036070980

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Northern Govs Kick Against Emergency Rule Extension

In an apparent endorsement of the position of elders from Borno and Yobe States, the Governor of Adawama State, Murtala Nyako and his Borno State counterpart, Kashim Shattima, have advised the Federal Government to review its strategy on security.

Elders from Borno and Yobe states under the aegis of Borno, Yobe People’s Forum, had at a press conference, in Abuja, urged the Federal Government, not to extend the state of emergency in the North-East due to expire on April 19.

In a telephone interview with SUNDAY PUNCH on Thursday, the Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako, said extending the state of emergency would be counterproductive.

Nyako, who spoke through his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Mr. Ahmad Sajoh, said what was required was a change of strategy, not an extension of the state of emergency.

According to him, available records show that there were more deaths of innocent citizens of the state under emergency rule when compared to when it was not in place.

He explained that those perpetrating the acts of violence against the people hide under guise of emergency rule to carry out attacks, which had led to the loss of many lives and destruction of property worth billions of naira.

Sajoh said, “Our position is that we do not support the renewal of the state of emergency in the North-East in general and in Adamawa State in particular.

“It is under the state of emergency that more people were killed in our state when compared to the period when there was no state of emergency.

“It is under the guise of the state of emergency that those who have unleashed violence on our people have carried out the most daring attacks. ”

On his part, the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, who also spoke through his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Isa Gusau, said he had no desire of joining issues with the Federal Government.

He said “We believe that the Federal Government will continue to do its best to ensure the end of the insurgency and we on our part are prepared to partner with it. A review of strategy will not be out of place.”

Attempts to reach the Director of Press to the Yobe State governor, Mr. Abdullahi Bego, were unsuccessful as at the time of filing this report.

Calls to his mobile telephone did not go through neither was a text message sent to him responded to.

However, a source in the state government said extending the state of emergency not only in Yobe State but across the North-East was not desirable.

The source, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said, “While one cannot say the state of emergency has not achieved anything, it is advisable that government changes strategy.

“From what is on ground, it is obvious that the target of the insurgents is to destroy constitutional democracy.

“And when you have a state of emergency in place, elections, which are one of cardinal principles of democracy, are not likely to take place. And when this happens, it will serve as a psychological boost for them.”

The Northern Elders Forum has however said it would support an extension of the emergency rule, if it was the only way to end insurgency in the North-East.

Speaking to one of our correspondents on the telephone on Friday, the Deputy Chairman, NEF, Paul Unongo, said “I have not assessed the military operation, but I don’t know how it would have been without an emergency. I know that the Federal Government, during the emergency, has tackled Boko Haram head on and they have been reduced. I don’t know what could have happened without the emergency.”

Unongo, however, said the NEF would agree with people of the states, if they rejected an extension of the emergency. While he said it was the responsibility of the government to protect the lives and properties of its citizens, he warned against the call for end to the emergency.

The Secretary, Borno Elders Forum, Bulama Gubio, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Friday, he said, “We hold no position. If gunmen kill all of us here, I don’t care. We are not Nigerians, you Nigerians should decide for us. You Nigerians should decide what you want for us. We are not Nigerians; Nigerians should decide for us.”


Poverty in Nigeria

The World Bank Group has rated Nigeria among the world’s extremely poor countries, promising to assist in ending what it called ‘extreme poverty’ in the nations.
Other countries that were also rated as extremely poor are India, China, Bangladesh, DR Congo, Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya.

At the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington last week, in advance of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, World Bank President, Dr Jim Yong Kim, stated that the global bank would deal with the extreme poverty in Nigeria and its counterparts in the coming years.
Dr Kim stressed that the World Bank Group would focus on Nigeria and other nine countries, but emphasised that the plan would not make other countries in the world to be ignored.
He said: “The fact is that two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor are concentrated in just five countries: India, China, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. If you add another five countries, Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Kenya, the total grows to 80 per cent of the extreme poor.”


Thursday, April 3, 2014

APC's Possible Presidential Candidate

Buhari has massive and unchallengeable support in the north, but cannot gainer the required votes in other parts of the country. Atiku Abubakar has immense war-chest, but voters will see him as part of the problem-the old players. Nuhu Ribadu has manageable ‘stains’, but lacks the charisma and aura of a presidential material. Nasir El-Rufai is a good presidential material, but has a lot of ‘baggage’. Kwankwaso is doing very well as governor, but lacks appreciable national spread. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has all its takes to be President, but talks to much and dig unnecessary controversies- thus, he is unsaleable.

Zayyad I. Muhammad zaymohd@yahoo.com, 08036070980