Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Sunday, 11 February, 2018.

Sun, 11 Feb 2018
As gaining admission into tertiary institutions in the country becomes an arduous task, data obtained from some schools around the country by The Guardian, sharply contradicts claims by the Joint Admission and Matriculations that over 75 per cent of the total number of qualified candidates that applied for admission were admitted into institutions of their choice for the 2017/2018 academic session.

In fact, figures from only seven schools sampled by The Guardian, indicated that 46, 950 candidates (barely 20 per cent) were admitted from a pool of 244, 000, who were successful in the post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (POST-UTME).

The JAMB, which recently claimed that more than 90 per cent of institutions in the country complied with the deadline to end their 2017/2018 admissions by January 25, also said that the introduction of the Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS) by the board was to ensure a seamless admission processing.

A breakdown of data from the sampled institutions showed that of the 104, 000 candidates that qualified for admission to the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), only 11, 000 were eventually admitted. In the case of the University of Ibadan (UI), 27, 000 candidates scaled the hurdle, but only 3, 750 got placements. Of the 20, 000 candidates that the Lagos State University deemed qualified after the post-UTME, only 4, 000 were lucky. Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Edo State, squeezed in 8, 000 candidates from the 15, 000 that were qualified, and the University of Benin managed to absorb 10, 000 out of the 21, 000 that scaled through at the post-UTME stage. The University of Port Harcourt gave admission to only 6, 700 candidates out of the 37, 000 that recorded success in the post-UTME, and the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State created space for a paltry 3, 500 out of the 20, 000 successful candidates from its post-UTME.

JAMB’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Dr. Fabian Benjamin, in an interview with The Guardian maintained that the few schools that couldn’t adhere to the admission directive were those institutions with peculiar challenges.He said: “More than 90 per cent of the admissions have been completed by institutions as at the stipulated deadline. The few that couldn’t meet up were those institutions with peculiar challenges, some with accreditation status that are not clearly defined and need regulatory authorisation; and some who are just taking off and need what we call sourcing of candidates. This level of compliance is encouraging and by next exercise, we should be talking about total adherence.”

Asked what becomes of the thousands of candidates rolled over into 2018/2019 session, who have to start the fight anew in view of the one-year validity of the UTME results, the JAMB image maker said, “It was not within the powers of the board to determine what happens to a candidate not admitted into any institution. Besides, we don’t roll over candidates. It is the right of candidates to apply. However, what we have succeeded in doing is to monitor admission closely, a development that has led to more candidates being admitted this year.” 

On calls by parents and candidates for the extension of the validity of UTME result to three years as proposed by lawmakers, Benjamin said that; “The three-year validity is not at the root of any admission challenge. The inability of candidates to secure admissions are strictly the choices we make as candidates, parents and some of the regulatory policies. We are doing everything possible to address these challenges, as we recently secured the approval of one of the regulatory agencies to waive some subject combination for UTME. 

Sun, 11 Feb 2018
On Thursday February 15, it would be exactly one month since the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) shut down operations, due to the non-availability of crude oil.Besides the non-availability of crude, the facility, like others around the country has been functioning grossly under capacity since it has not undergone a Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) for a while now. The last was done in 2013.
It is these maintenance challenges that have equally been responsible for the refinery’s under capacity performance, just as experts in the sector are expressing deep concerns over the epileptic state of the facility.

The shutdown has effectively deprived Nigerians the four million litres of petrol, 2.5 million litres of automotive gas oil, and 1.6 million litres of kerosene, which the outfit was producing daily, in recent times.

With over $20b already spent on the TAM of the nation’s refineries since inception, Professor of Petroleum Economics and Policy Research, Omowumi Iledare, insists that corruption, tribalism and sundry mundane factors were responsible for the perennially poor state of the refinery.
Iledare, who is the President of the Nigerian Association for Energy Economics (NAEE) SAID, “I think the way the government spends money to maintain the refinery leaves a lot to be desired. As far as I am concerned, the government is not really particular about getting optimum value from the money it is investing in the refinery. That has been the hallmark from one government to the other.
“I don’t think this current government is doing any better as it does not have the opportunity cost mentality in the way it thinks about solving some of the problems. I don’t think we are incapable of effectively running the refinery, I just think we are not employing the resourses that we have for optimal value creation.  If we do, the refinery will be up and running. It is not any big deal to run a refinery,” Iledare said.
Insisting that the government needs to be strategic in policy formulation, he also added that all the policies are supposed to be formulated by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. Former President of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), Abiodun Adesanya, shares Illedare’s view that the perennial loses accruing to the country on account of the failing Kaduna Refinery, were not unconnected with poor management of scarce resources, and deliberate attempt by the managers to keep it underperforming for selfish reasons.   
According to him, “They usually abandon the refinery that way so that they can make more money from TAM, which usually happens once in about five years. That is where they are sure of making money.”He pointed out that current efforts of the country to source crude from nearby countries by building pipelines may remain unfruitful, especially when the sustainability factor is scrutinised.  
“If we invest in laying pipelines to the refinery, how much can we realistically make? What is the plan for the pipelines to be sustainably maintained? This is an international agreement, which is a third option, we need to explore the options within Nigeria, and it is only when we know that those things are not possible that we should talk about going outside the country because that could be very expensive. Just like we are supplying gas to some Africa countries today, Ghana has found gas and may not need us any more. What if we discover oil in the northern region? These are serious economic or business plans we really need to consider,” Adesanya said.
Also commenting on the issue, Head, Energy Research, Ecobank, Dolapo Oni said, the refinery’s dependence on crude delivered by pipeline from the Niger Delta, and other supplies from the Middle East and America are key disadvantages the country may have to battle with.
“That refinery will constantly have a problem because of it distance from any crude oil field. The refinery is also equipped with only one month storage capacity. The implication is that even if crude oil flow stops for only two weeks the refinery is out of supply. Those are the disadvantages we have to battle with,” Oni said.

Sun, 11 Feb 2018
With the recent launch of An Abundance of Scorpions in Abuja, a novel written by the wife of Kaduna State governor, Hadiza Isma El-Rufai, the literary space from northern Nigeria, especially by its women, often held in check by religious and cultural norm, keeps expanding. If anything, her high profile status is a further incentive for other women to rise to the challenge of expressing themselves through the diverse creative and cultural platforms available to them.
The launch, coordinated by Lagos-based publishing outfit, Ouidah Books, offered guests a comprehensive artistic bouquet derivable from the content of the novel. And so from film clip (performed by Daihlar Musa), cultural dance, live stage performance (also by Musa) to performance of musical recording by Jeremiah Gyang, An Abundance of Scorpions came alive for the audience that comprised of governors, deputy governors, wives of governors, diplomats, bankers and government functionaries from across the country.

But even more illuminating was the book chat that held between the newest writer-in-town, with Dr. Olaokun Soyinka moderating. It served as a means of getting a feel of the thoughts of Mrs. El-Rufai on her writing. First she confessed to having a busy husband, also an author himself (The Accidental Public Servant), which gives her time for her writing vocation.

“I’ve had the dream of being a published writer,” stated the trained architect with three masters degree. “I needed the validation of being a published writer. It’s very exciting to see my book in print. Many years ago, I had the dream of being a writer. I started writing, but I realised I needed to horn my craft and I registered for a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) programme in the U.K.”She said 2008 was a turbulent and trying year for the El-Rufais, as they were forced into exile. Perhaps, boredom soon crept in and she found herself writing.

Sex is one tabooed subject writing and writers from the northern part of Nigeria love to avoid. Although certain attitudes and myths are being demystified, especially with the release of Abubakar Adam Ibrahim’s Season of Crimson Blossom two years ago, Mrs. El-Rufai would seem to have lent a weighty voice to openness about sex with her novel. And why not? Sex is a staple fare in husband and wife relationship. Continuing to pretend about it as if it does not exist is futile effort, so suggests the bold voice of El-Rufai, in her attempt to explode the needless myth.

“On page four, there is a sex scene,” she said to the ugh! sigh from the audience. “I wanted to show intimacy between husband and wife. We are all adults here and we know it’s what we all do. I wanted to show there is stereotype of northern Nigerian family. I wanted to show that we are not so different from others. The lead character is a northern Nigerian woman and I guess that makes her similar to me.”

Apart from her newfound fascination for writing, which she promised to be devoted to, Mrs. El-Rufai is committed to running Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation in honour of a child she lost a few years back. Donations and pledges at the launch and a percentage of the book sales would be directed to running the affairs of the foundation that caters to creative writing for children and adult education for women.

Dignitaries like Deputy Secretary-General of United Nations, Mrs. Amia J. Mohammed, and foremost novelist from northern Nigeria, Prof. Zaynab Alkali, sent goodwill messages of encouragement and excitement at Hadiza’s foray into creative writing. Alkali commended El-Rufai for her exciting title and welcomed her to the ‘larger literary family.’ She also urged her to use her God-given creative writing talent ‘for change.’ Also, president, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Mallam Denja Abdullahi, commended El-Rufai for venturing into the turf of literary creativity.

Emir of Kano and former Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who was represented, challenged wives of other leaders not to be complacent in the comfort of their marriages, but to be proactive in affecting their respective communities through purposeful endeavours.

IN a keynote address, ‘The Significance of Northern Nigerian Women’s Voices to the Nigerian Literary Canon,’ Dr. Auwalu Anwar traced the evolution of women’s writing from Northern Nigeria, starting from Arabic writing (ajami) down to Hausa language.Anwar said in 1980, “Hafsat Ahmad Abdulwaheed became the first female published creative writer in Roman script, So Aljannar Duniya. 1980 through 1990, there was an explosion of women creative writers. In 1980, Yaya Hassana wrote Nuni Cikin Nishadi. In 1984, Talatu Wada Ahmad wrote Rabin Raina. In 1987, Balaraba Ramat Yakubu wrote Budurwar Zuciya. Other writers included Zuwaira Isa, Bilkisu Ahmad Funtuwa, Sa’adatu Baba Ahmad, Lubabatu Shehu, etc. This trend continues up to now.

“In 2014, Mace Mutum Writers Association, all women writers, in Kano produced a 266-page book, Hannu Da Yawa, on the themes of Talla (hawking), Fyade (rape), Aikatau (menial job), Rikice-rikice (trouble making), Almundahana (fraud), Yaki da Jahilci (adult education), Daba (hooliganism), Barace-barace (begging) and Yanar Gizo (internet).”

Sun, 11 Feb 2018
We need to appreciate the innovative and pragmatic approaches adopted by JAMB so far. The observed hitches are part of the learning process. However, the main problem has to do with the fact that most candidates would like to get admission into federal universities whose capacity to absorb the numerous applicants.... 

Sun, 11 Feb 2018
N37.2b Required Annually To Expand Carrying Capacity Of Varsities ' All 74 Private Universities Admit Under 14% Of Total Candidates Yearly ' Equity Demands That Private Universities Are Served By TETFund Yearly, hundreds of thousands of qualified candidates are denied university admission due largely to space constraints. Former Executive Secretary of the National Universities [] 

Sun, 11 Feb 2018
The on-going unrest in neighbouring Cameroon between militants and Government forces continues to spill into border communities in Nigeria. Last week some Cameroon security forces raided Danare in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State ostensibly in search of militants. 

Sun, 11 Feb 2018
The regeneration efforts began last year at the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding (CBCIU) in Osogbo, Osun State got a boost last weekend with the Centre's Distinguished Public Lecture featuring former Director-General, the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation .... 

Sun, 11 Feb 2018
The Provost of Federal College of Agriculture, Akure, Ondo State (FECA), Dr. Samson Adeola Odedina, has urged ex-militants to channel their zeal and doggedness to revolutionise agriculture in the country. 

Sun, 11 Feb 2018
Arsene Wenger conceded Arsenal's hopes of ending their Champions League exile are in severe danger after Harry Kane condemned them to a damaging 1-0 defeat against bitter rivals Tottenham. 

Sun, 11 Feb 2018
The leadership of Taraba State chapter of the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU), yesterday, put smiles on the faces of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at two major camps in Jalingo, the state capital. 

Sun, 11 Feb 2018
The Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP), Ibadan, has called on the Federal Government to take its economic growth plans seriously by implementing sound policies. 

Sun, 11 Feb 2018
Ahead of the 2019 polls, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has called on members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State to reconcile their differences. 

Sun, 11 Feb 2018
Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose has said having President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term would bring doom to the country, even as he claimed a cabal is already governing Buhari. 

Sun, 11 Feb 2018
The Federal Government has concluded plans to adopt phygital technology for farmers across the country.The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Bukar Hassan, speaking during the presentation of the phygital smallholder value chains technology..... 
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