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Guardian Newspaper Today, Wednesday 21st November 2018

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Leaders extol Jonathan’s virtues at the book launch
Wed, 21 Nov 2018

Former President Goodluck Jonathan was the subject of a flurry of encomiums in Abuja yesterday. The event was the launch of his book, My Transition Hours.

The presence of serving and former leaders including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was chairman of the occasion, and former Heads of State like General Yakubu Gowon and General Abdulsalami Abubakar, added charm to the five-hour occasion.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, heaped prayers and praises on his predecessor, noting that his best days are yet ahead. He saluted Jonathan’s statesmanship and courage at conceding defeat even while collation was ongoing. “I thank you for being a true democrat,” he said.

Buhari said Jonathan’s action had made him a patriotic leader and earned him popularity before world and African leaders. According to him, “You (Jonathan) are a leader of the past, of now and of the future; you will rise again. I wish you the best you wish yourself.”

Jonathan, in a brief thank-you remark, said the book has words of advice on how best to fight corruption and vote buying. “The question of vote buying is becoming scandalous. We should be careful with inducement of voters,” he stated.

Obasanjo welcomed Jonathan to the camp of authors and congratulated the celebrant for enjoying a peaceful retirement. He charged Jonathan and other former leaders to discharge their “residual responsibility by continuing to serve the people.”

He said: “There is still no substitute to democracy when all is said and done because it unifies.” He warned: “But if democracy gets to the hands of hooligans in politics, it can be abused and misused.”

Before rounding off on his remarks, he tickled the audience by “acknowledging the presence of my former vice president.” Until their recent reconciliation, Obasanjo and the aforementioned, now presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, had been in a cold war.

In a surprise appearance, the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, showed up about an hour into the programme. He embraced and shook hands with the chairman of the opposition PDP, Uche Secondus, and took pictures together.

Former Vice President Namadi Sambo and former presidents of Ghana, Benin and Sierra Leone were also in attendance. Other notable persons at the event were Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, former Senate Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio, and former Senate President David Mark.

Abdulsalami Abubakar, while appreciating Jonathan’s conduct during the 2015 election, said Nigeria is not at war today because of the latter’s decision to concede defeat. “We cannot thank you enough for the peace we are having in the country today, for the peaceful transition we had when you freely and voluntarily conceded defeat. By your decision, you have shown that you love your country more than you love power.”

Former president of Ghana, John Mahama, who wrote the foreword of the book, said Jonathan was more of an academic who found himself in politics. “He is not your typical politician,” he said. Mahama added that Jonathan approached leadership relaxedly, the reason he succeeded.

Sambo described Jonathan as a lover of merit, noting: “He picked me from among many who struggled to occupy the seat of vice president. Another example is the appointment of Prof. Attahiru Jega as chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”

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We promised change but not in four years, says Fashola
Wed, 21 Nov 2018

The All Progressives Congress (APC) promised Nigerians would witness change but never said the agenda would be attained within any time frame, according to Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola.

Fashola made the clarification yesterday at the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 campaign in Ikeja, Lagos State.

“In 2014, we said we would change Nigeria but we did not say we will do it in four years. This election therefore is a choice between going forward to the next level or backward because the work has already begun,” Fashola said.

While explaining the reason Nigerians should vote for Buhari, the minister also denounced the previous Peoples Democratic Party-led government. “Since I became a minister, the president has never interfered in what I do. He has never lobbied me for contract and I can assure you that it is like that with other ministers,” he said, asking: “The oil revenue the former government took advantage of, what did they use it for?”

He continued: “We have watched what happened in 16 years of nothing to show. Some people are trying to rewrite history now. You don’t sack a good employee. If they are living in delusion and say it was good governance, why did they lose the job? In 2017, the budget on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was cut from N30 billion to N10 billion. You know who was presiding (then).

“Buhari has inaugurated an infrastructure development fund to ensure that Lagos-Ibadan, Second Niger Bridge and Abuja to Kano Road would never suffer funding problem again. Just yesterday, the two contractors on the Lagos Ibadan Expressway got a total of N15 billion to continue the work. The same thing is true of the Ikorodu-Sagamu Road. That road, for 16 years, was nothing to write about.”

Fashola urged APC members to shelve their grievances, following the party’s contentious primaries, and work together to win the general election. “I urge you to vote massively for this government because the former government must not come back,” he told supporters.

He also assured the people that the presidency would shift to the southwest, if Buhari wins the polls next year.

But a group, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), thinks Nigerian’s should take Fashola’s words with a pinch of salt. It cited a recent claim by the minister that the electricity sector in the last three years witnessed a major boost, concluding that nothing could be further from the truth.

“We could equally decipher the contradiction in Mr. Fashola’s claim of what was met on ground and successes recorded in his own analysis of general breakdown with the media. In the same report, he claimed that the generation his administration met on ground was 4,000 megawatts which was increased to 7,000 megawatts, while transmission was increased from 5, 000 megawatts to 7,000 megawatts within the same period under review. Now, the question we should ask is how could transmission be 5,000 megawatts when all that was generated was simply 4,000 megawatts? This underscores our belief that the honourable minister was only being clever by half by using fictitious figures to further confuse Nigerians as against the reality of their day to day life experience.”

According to a statement by CACOL’s coordinator of media and publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, on behalf of the organisation’s executive chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, “Whereas, some areas may be enjoying a flurry of power supply for reasons not completely far from prior arrangement or greasing of the palms of electricity distribution officials, the strategic and widespread research conducted clearly shows that greater emphasis has been put on power generation far more than on transmission and distribution, thus wasting much of what was generated.”

Meanwhile, a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association Olisa Agbakoba has dismissed claims that the Buhari administration would give Nigerians a better deal. At an ARISE TV morning show yesterday, he said the president’s campaign manual lacked policies to get the nation working.

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NDIC’s premium contribution pool exceeds N1tr
Wed, 21 Nov 2018

Premium contributions by insured financial institutions in the country, under the supervision of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) have risen to N1.07 trillion, according to the compilation of separate figures obtained by The Guardian.

Premium contribution forms a major component of the resources available to a deposit insurer (NDIC), which strengthens its capacity to meet obligations, particularly timely reimbursement of depositors, when adequate and well-maintained.

The nation’s deposit insurer maintains three of such insurance funds – the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) for the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs); the Special Insured Institutions Fund (SIIF) for Microfinance Banks (MFBs); and Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs); and the Non-Interest Deposit Insurance Fund (NIDIF) for Non-Interest Banks (NIBs).

Analysis of the figures showed that DIF pool rose to N959.55 billion as at December 31, 2017, against N849 billion in the same period of 2016, representing an increase of 13.02 per cent, but lower than the 14.10 per cent increase recorded between 2015 and 2016.

The SIIF also rose by 22.6 per cent, from N93.3 billion in 2016, to N114.39 billion in 2017, while the NIDIF grew by 61.8 per cent, from N428 million in 2016, to N693 million in 2017.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NDIC, Umar Ibrahim, said one of the key challenges was the delay in the passage of the proposed amendment to the NDIC Act 2006, which impaired the ability of the corporation to effectively perform some of its mandate.

He said the proposed amendments are in harmony with international best practices and provisions of the Revised IADI Core Principles for effective deposit insurance systems.

“Also, there was the challenge of wrongful execution of judgement against NDIC’s assets for liabilities of banks in-liquidation, as well as slow recovery of debts owed to failed insured institutions.

“The implementation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, which requires the NDIC to remit 80 per cent of its operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) Account, inhibits the growth of the General Reserve Fund and was equally a challenge in 2017,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Corporation’s operating income increased by 19.34 per cent, from N122.68 billion as at December 31, 2016, to N146.487 billion same period in 2017.

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