…You don’t love Nigerians more than govt –Emefiele
By Isaac Anumihe and James Ojo, Abuja
The Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr. Atedo Peterside, yesterday came hard against the rudderless economic policies of the Federal Government, saying they have failed to fix the economy.
Speaking at the 14th edition of the Daily Trust Dialogue titled, “Economic Recession: Towards a Resilient Economy”, Peterside said that the economy has lost direction and that it is only those in the government that can understand the development that has scared investors.
He listed some pitfalls in the policy like failure to reach a compromise on the Niger Delta debacle, inability to completely break away from past methods of running government and haphazard measures in the reforms of key sectors of the economy.
The Stanbic IBTC boss also faulted the Federal Government for keeping a bloated civil service riddled with corruption and demarketing the country’s potential through remarks that discourage investment.
While emphasising that his remarks were borne out of genuine interest for the nation to get out of economic recession, he challenged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to accept that its foreign exchange policies under Governor Godwin Emefiele have failed.
In his defence, Emefiele stated that the critics of the government policies do not love the country more than the government.
“Our priority today will be the Nigerian people. We are laying emphasis on those who want to produce what we cannot but what we need. Policies are not made in isolation; they are made to achieve some objectives,” he said. The CBN governor said that some of the points raised are not only contestable, but are out of point.
However, he said that government will look into some of the points raised, adding that the government was doing its best to take the economy out of the woods.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, at the forum reassured that with the sustenance of the financial discipline put in place by the Federal Government, the economy will witness positive changes.
Speaking at the annual dialogue of Daily Trust Newspaper, Mrs. Adeosun, expressed optimism that with the reform strategies to grow the non-oil sectors of the economy, the recession will soon be over.
“By the end of 2017, with most of the works done underground to reposition the economy, people will begin to see the impact,” the Minister said.
She, however, charged the National Assembly to repeal some obsolete laws, which are still in use in the public sector. For instance, she pointed out a 1957 public service law, which allowed the payment of salary to a dead worker until the production of death certificate as unnecessary.
“This 1957 Act is what is being used to manage the economy. When an ambassador dies in December, he still draws salaries up till May when the certificate of death is ready, because this is what the Act says,” she pointed out.
On what the Buhari government was doing to revamp the economy, the Minister stated that much had been recorded in areas of growing the non-oil sector, stating that much had been recorded in the fight against corruption in the public service the government was trying to lay the foundation for a long term.
“It is of note that government is spending in the right direction to grow the economy. We are also addressing weak fiscal discipline,” she said.
The Minister expressed happiness that some state governors are thinking outside the box to grow their internal revenue, while collaborating in the area of comparative advantage for economic advancement.
As part of strategic reforms, she said that government was looking to bringing the running of the CBN and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under the Fiscal Responsibly Act. (The Sun)
Ted Odogwu, Kano
The Emir of Kano, Mallam Muhammad Sanusi II, on Thursday called on wealthy individuals in the North to use the wealth Allah blessed them with, not only in building mosques but to also educate girls and discourage their early marriage.
The Emir made the call on Thursday in his keynote address at the 3rd international conference on Islamic Banking and Finance, organised by the International Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance, Bayero University, Kano.
“So, my appeal is that if you really want to help Kano, don’t come to me with a request to build a N300m mosque because I have enough mosques everywhere. And if I don’t have a mosque, I’ll build it myself. If you really want to help, go and educate a girl child in the village.”
According to him, over 50 per cent of girls between the age bracket of 18 and 20 were given out in marriage in this part of the country.
He added that the worrisome dimension of it was that 75 per cent of them could neither read nor write.
Calling for a review of laws to prevent early marriage and encourage girl-child education, he said, “It is not a mere coincidence that this is where you have the highest levels of illiteracy, early marriage, divorce and the highest levels of domestic violence…
“People need to understand that the law has to change. If you look at the medical data on maternal health, girls who get pregnant below the age of 15 are five times as likely to die as girls who get pregnant at the age of 20. Those who get pregnant under 18 are twice as likely to die as those who get pregnant at the age of 20. So, it is important that we look at this issue of early marriage.” (Punchng.com)
FIFA has appointed the Nigeria Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick to its Organising Committee for Competitions.
Pinnick, who is a member of the CAF Organising Committee for the Africa Cup of Nations, was a member of the Organising Committee for the FIFA U20 World Cup.
In a letter of appointment dated January 18 signed by FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura, the world body congratulated the NFF boss on his appointment.
The FIFA Organising Committee for Competitions is headed by the President of the Union of European Football Associations Aleksander Ceferin.
Pinnick, a former Delta State Football Association chairman and Delta State Sports Commission boss, is also a candidate for the CAF Executive Committee election in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 16. (Punchng.com)
The Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai, has pleaded with the Prelate of the Methodist Church, Dr. Samuel Uche, not to move the branch of the church destroyed in Kafanchan during the December 19, 2016 riot.
This was contained in a statement issued by the state government after the governor received the Methodist prelate in his office on Thursday.
The statement stated that the governor said this while responding to Uche’s request for a plot of land to relocate the destroyed church to another place.
El-Rufai said, “I visited your church in Kafanchan after the violence. We are willing to give you another plot of land in Kafanchan, but please consider using it to build an additional church. We request that you do not abandon or relocate the church from your present site. Let us not succumb to the agents of blackmail and division.
“Your neighbours in Kafanchan must accept the right of that church to remain there. The current church should be rebuilt and maintained as a symbol of the right to worship freely,” the governor said.
El-Rufai said his government was committed to securing the area and promoting a return to normalcy.
He disclosed that 10 mobile police squadrons were now deployed in the affected local governments, along with two battalions of soldiers.
The governor also requested that the religious leaders should discourage the tendency to allow criminals to hide behind religion.
“When individuals have problems or dispute, they should not be allowed to mobilise emotions by escalating their differences into an ethnic or religious conflict,” he said.
The Prelate had earlier urged el-Rufai not to relent in his quest to restore peace and security in Southern Kaduna.
Uche said the governor should take the blames flying around as the price of leadership.
“We note that you are being blamed over the violence in Southern Kaduna; please take that as the price of leadership. We know that the issue has been happening before your government. I remember the 1987 events vividly.
“We call on the people of Kaduna State to accept each other, to be tolerant, and to say no to violence. I have served in Kano. I do not see why we should fight each other. Nobody can Christianise or Islamise Nigeria, let us learn to live together in peace. Religion should preserve lives. Anybody who kills is a criminal. Those who sponsor killings should be arrested.”
The cleric, who was accompanied by the Methodist Bishops of Kaduna and Kano, said he came in solidarity with the people of Kaduna State.
He informed el-Rufai that the Methodist Church in Kafanchan was vandalised during the December 19, 2016 riot in Kafanchan. (Punchng.com)
When Donald Trump takes the presidential oath of office on Friday, thousands of protesters will be marching his way from an “Occupy the Inauguration” rally at Malcolm X Park. They’ll be joined by members and supporters of Democratic Socialists of America who will start their march near the White House. And 1,000 miles away, Democratic donors and strategists will be listening to a panel discussion on “the actions that Trump may take in his first 100 days in office” and the “moral responsibility” to resist.
Democrats and the broader left, recuperating from an election few of them thought they could lose, are organizing one of the broadest — and earliest — opposition campaigns ever to greet a new president. It began with protests in the hours after Trump’s victory, but it become bolder since, marked most dramatically by nearly 70 Democratic members of Congress boycotting the inauguration itself.
“To borrow the words of Joe Hill: Don’t mourn. Organize,” said New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, who’s embracing a vocal role in the Democrats’ anti-Trump resistance. “We should be humble about the fact that Trump found a way to address real concerns that people had, while never forgetting that he got 3 million votes less” than Hillary Clinton.
Part of the response, so far, has been a steady run of public protests, many of them endorsed by Democrats. It’s a marked change from 2001, when protests of the incoming administration of George W. Bush were dominated by the political fringe, and a contrast even with 2009, when Tea Party protests were egged on by conservative organizations but only slowly joined by elected Republicans. In his farewell speech, President Obama departed from the usual homilies and urged activists to find their causes.
“If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing,” said Obama. “If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.”
This year, in his enhanced role as a messenger for congressional Democrats, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) successfully encouraged 70-odd rallies on Jan. 14 in support of the Affordable Care Act, organized on the ground by Democrats and labor groups. Local branches of the Working Families Party, which endorsed Sanders (and De Blasio) in 2016, have organized “Resist Trump Tuesdays,” in which activists have protested inside the offices of Republican legislators or filled the galleries of state legislatures. According to WFP spokesman Joe Dinkin, 450 community planning meetings took place the week before the inauguration.
“We’re making the Trump nominations the first big fight of the new year,” said Dinkin. “Thousands of people are coming out to encourage Democrats not just to vote against them, but to use every procedural tool to slow them down.”
Those tools are more limited than the ones used by previous out-of-power parties, thanks to a Democratic-backed 2013 reform of the filibuster that Republicans opposed but have not undone. But Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) told the Washington Post last week that the reform was the right thing to do, and that Democrats who opposed nominees had to be ready to stand and debate them.
Across the left, activists have tried to anticipate and adapt to the tactics of the right. They’ve highlighted legislation in at least five states that would increase the penalties for public protest, including a North Dakota bill that would legally protect a driver “who negligently causes injury or death to an individual obstructing vehicular traffic.” Earlier this month, the progressive group American Family Voices identified and exposed a conservative video sting artist who was trying to offer cash for violent protests. This weekend’s “Democracy Matters” donor conference in Miami, organized by David Brock, will include several discussions on how to reverse-engineer the right, such as one on “how the Trump administration presents opportunities for impact litigation to hold the President accountable to the law.”
In December, a group of former congressional staffers released an easily-updated guide to effective protest and lobbying tactics, titled “Indivisible.” Over 26 pages, available for free online, they delineated what had gotten their attention in Congress, spelled out simple steps like subscribing to a member of Congress’s schedule, and recapped how the Tea Party had beaten Democrats in 2009 and 2010.
“We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and a supermajority in Congress,” they wrote in the guide’s introduction. “We saw them organize locally and convince their own [members of Congress] to reject President Obama’s agenda. Their ideas were wrong, cruel, and tinged with racism — and they won.”
Ezra Levin, one of the drafters of the guide, acknowledged that the protests had not stopped the entire Obama agenda. But they shifted the national conversation and turned lesser-known Democratic goals into controversies.
“They were extraordinarily effective at causing members of Congress who were with them to be even more with them, and causing members who supported the Obama administration to be less vocal in their support,” said Levin. “You can run down the progressive goals that those protests helped stop. Cap-and-trade. Card check. Immigration reform. Obamacare would have been very different; it was watered down as a result of that opposition.”
After winning power in 2010, Republicans took several steps to limit the effectiveness of the tactics that had beaten Democrats. They hold fewer public town halls, and more telephone or online forums that cannot easily get out of hand. In key states, they also drew maps that packed most reliable Democrats into safe, urban districts. Most of the Jan. 14 health care rallies took place in safe blue territority, far from the rural areas where Trump cracked the Electoral College.
But at home in New York, and at work in Washington, Trump will be in close proximity to hundreds of thousands of active Democrats. De Blasio, whose constituents will soon include the family of the 45th president, will address a rally at New York’s Trump hotel on Thursday night. Resistance, he said, started with Democratic confidence that their progressive politics had won the popular vote, and confidence that Republicans would not act on the pro-infrastructure, anti-elite economic policies Trump had used to win the election. Republicans had won on theory, and Democrats would confront them with reality.
“Of course we’re about to do to them what they did to us, with those ridiculous town hall meetings,” said De Blasio. “Yes, that was a classic progressive technique, and yes, shame on anybody who’s too thrown off by people screaming at a town hall meeting to begin with. But if that’s what it takes, let’s scream at the town hall meetings. Let’s put the people who could die right in front of them.”