Sunday October 26th, 2014
Sunday October 26th, 2014
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Kwankwaso and APC’s search for sure bait

  /   in Viewpoint 6:04 pm   /   Comments

The flagging off of political activities earlier this month by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has sparked a whirlwind of campaign activities and widened the horizon for consultation and formation of common fronts.

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Redrawing Cross River State political map: Design or accident?

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FOR me, the mantra of Change is not new. Some believe it passionately while others hate it. Some even hate me for just the thought of it. The truth is, like it or hate it, or even hate me, the idea that there is a likelihood of change in the Cross River State political environment is a given?

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Boko Haram’s deadly ceasefire

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WE woke up on Saturday October 18, 2014, to newspaper screaming headlines of a ceasefire with the Boko Haram, by the Chief of Defense Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Bade issuing a directive to the service chiefs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force, and the Inspector General of Police, to comply with the cease fire agreement on all areas of operations.
This meant that the cease fire agreement was so neatly packaged that both parties were to comply with the terms, details of which is yet to be published, except that the over 200 Chibok girls were expected to be released as part of the deal. This vacuum fuelk led speculations about the terms of the said agreement.
Some said the girls would be released on the October 21, others said the 2015 elections would be postponed as part of demand by the terrorists, and that war prisoners on both sides shall be released by each party to the deal, etc. The FG must have been very pleased with the cease fire, and I was quite expectant of the postponement of the 2015 elections, because that ought to be the most reasonable thing to do at this time, in the best interest of the country. It will almost border on rash insensitivity and unseriousness for a nation in war to find time for campaign razzmatazz and soap box theatricals, which will constitute a huge distraction to those who must plan and execute the war. The Chibok girls are yet to be released, while the nation continues to push on with frenzied campaign arrangements, making it necessary to question the real benefits of the cease fire.
The expected release of the Chibok girls at this time, when political campaigns are about to kick off, leads many to wonder what kind of politicians we have. Have they been playing politics with the girls? Was it a mere coincidence they are just about being released at this time?
The cease fire in itself appears a welcome development, as it will enable the poor people of the war-torn North East zone to breathe some fresh air once again, recollect themselves, find scattered relations and friends and gather what may look like a peaceful life, even though it can never be life as they had it before the war. Cease fire will also allow our fighting forces to re-arm, re-equip, re-organise and sort themselves out to be able to tackle the challenges of saboteurs in the war campaign so far.
However, there are some very bad sides and implications. First, is that it will give the terrorists time to re-organise, re-group and possibly select a new leader. The original Shekau who was the first leader of the terrorists was killed under General Ihejirika as the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, while the second or fake Shekau was killed under the incumbent COAS. It set them very confused and devastated leading to the heavy casualties that they sustained in the recent past. The ceasefire will therefore give them the time they desperately need to re-plan, and re-arm and restructure, to be able to re-launch attacks whenever they may feel ready and able to do so.
Boko Haram is accepting this
cease fire deal because of the heavy casualties they have suffered recently in the hands of the combined fighting forces of Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad Republics.
Second, is that politicians will soon be carried away with campaigns, while the common enemy, Boko Haram, re-organises, and strategises preparatory to their next bloody onslaught.
Third, is that the seeming peace which the cease fire will engender will coax Nigerians to relax the prevalent high vigilance, while their enemy, the jihadists, will seize the opportunity to move themselves deep into other safer areas of Nigeria, like the South West, South East and South-South. Fourth, the cease fire will help Boko Haram more than it will help Nigeria, because this war is not just about political power, it is a form of Jihad as far as the enemy is concerned. Their sole aim, ultimately, is to exterminate other religions from Nigeria, especially Christianity.Their methods, may be rough, wicked, inhuman, and even embarrassing to some of their sponsors, but the rate of growth of that group within the last two years shows that their sponsors are not really bothered. They kill, behead and commit all kinds of atrocities in the name of Islam encouraged by their sponsors and some saboteurs in the Nigerian system. It will therefore be naïve and even fool hardy, to expect the cease fire to be of any great value to Nigeria.
Terror sponsors will use the time of temporary truce to re-plan their support for the insurgents by creating new means of channelling funds to them. While the cease fire may seem good and attractive to some politicians, many of them have failed to realise how dangerous and risky it could be to trust jihadists because of the deep religious influence involved.
Jihadists attach little or no value at all to the life and property of non-Muslims and therefore will have no respect for any agreement with them in the first place. Boko Haram should therefore not be trusted by Nigerians for any reason whatsoever!
In a conventional war, usually the armies on both sides are trained and disciplined combatants, with ability to follow the cease fire process. But in this type of war, where you are dealing with half-baked volunteer and commandeered fighting personnel like they have in Boko Haram, anything can happen, moreso with the hindrances America and Europe seem to be posing to Nigeria. This was why the terrorists were busy killing people in villages around Borno State, while the cease fire was being announced. This could turn out to be a very deadly cease fire for Nigerians both within the war zone and elsewhere in the country !

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Delta: Who settles for the crumbs

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It would appear that the dust is gradually settling down over which of the three senatorial districts in Delta State will attract the coveted apex political office in the state.

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America-Nigeria troubled relations

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ON October 10, 2014, the Nigerian Media reported the visit of the American Ambassador in Nigeria to the American University in Yola, Adamawa State. It was not the meeting with the proprietor of the university, a former vice president and a presidential aspirant under the opposition All Progressives Congress during the visit that made the headlines and raised eyebrows but the denigrating comment of the envoy on that occasion. Ambassador James Entwistle, it was reported, had explained that the United States refusal to sell highly needed weaponry to Nigeria in her war against terror and insurgency in the North East of the country was because “the Nigerian Military is notoriously known for human rights abuses”.

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A BOI honour for INNOSON

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Luxury bus manufactured by Innosons Motors

NIGERIA’S march towards home grown industrialization was recently boosted when Bank of Industry inducted ten outstanding customers of the bank into their Hall of Fame. Most importantly was the recognition to the founder/chairman of INNOSON Vehicles Manufacturing Company, Nigeria’s first indigenous motor vehicles manufacturer.

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Transform constituent parts to achieve our dream Nigeria

  /   in Viewpoint 6:59 pm   /   Comments

IT was Professor Chinua Achebe who wrote over a quarter of a century ago in The Trouble With Nigeria that ‘it is basically leadership.’ Several years later, if there is one point on which there is unanimity of opinion among Nigerians, it is that leadership remains a problem in our nation.

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How Ebola disease got to Nigeria

  /   in Viewpoint 11:32 am   /   Comments

Now that we got the ‘all clear’ and we have been able to reasonably restrain the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria, we can take a more dispassionate look at the issue, its genesis and some ramifications.

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That Anioma Congress list

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The Anioma branding of a governor from Delta North has been severally criticized by commentators across Delta State. Now many people from Delta Central and South are beginning to see it as a quest to produce an Anioma governor for Delta State as opposed to a pan-Delta governor for Delta State, who happens to hail from Delta North.

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What is wrong with Igbo Politics in Nigeria?

  /   in Viewpoint 12:03 pm   /   Comments

Last week a powerful delegation of Igbo leaders made up of Secretary to the Federal Government, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha; Senator Hope Uzodinma; Minister of Labour & Productivity, Emeka Wogu; National Publicity Secretary PDP, Mr Olisa Metuh; Mr Ifeanyi Ubah and former Governor Peter Obi stormed Dover Hotel at Lekki Phase 1 Lagos to woo Ndigbo Lagos for President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 presidential bid. At Dover Hotel, they met eminent and prominent Igbo leaders, namely President General Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey; President Ndigbo Lagos, Professor Anya. O. Anya; President Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazurike; former Chairman Diamond Bank, Chief Pascal Dozie; former Governor of Lagos State, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu(rtd); former President of Nigerian Stock Exchange, Dr Raymond Obieri; Eze Ndigbo of Ikeja, Eze Uche Dimgba and President Ohaneze Ndigbo Lagos, Fabian Onwughalu and many other eminent Igbos in Lagos. Like I said their mission is to persuade Ndigbo in Lagos to join the train in the campaign to make President Jonathan to continue in office even after 2015. The meeting was well attended and this mission was clear: It is President Jonathan or nothing!

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Empower states to explore minerals deposits and diversify economy

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LACK of awareness about the locations of mineral resources in Nigeria makes the country almost exclusively dependent on oil today even though we established ourselves as an agricultural society many years ago.

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Exploring the resource control option, by Futureview

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FUTUREVIEW RESEARCH PRESENTS: EXPLORING THE RESOURCE CONTROL OPTION
Futureview Group, CEO, Mrs. Elizabeth Ebi announces a new Futureview Research initiative on Resource Control in Nigeria. Futureview will look to examine all 36 states in Nigeria and both tapped and untapped opportunities in their natural resource usage. Futureview is a leading investment bank in Nigeria.
On May 29, 2014, Nigeria celebrated 15 years of uninterrupted democratic rule. On October 1st, 2014, Nigeria also celebrated 54 years as an independent nation in West Africa. With this in hindsight, the issues that promote the sustainability of democracy and sustain the structures of national development need to be addressed.
In this article, we discuss one of the most sensitive issues that has impacted our fragile democracy in recent times, that is the resource control policy option and its place in national growth and development of our country.
The word “resource” can simply be interpreted to mean the wealth, supplies of goods, raw materials, minerals e.t.c, which a person or a country has or can use for development or production (Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English, 1962: 838). The control and determination of natural resources, i.e the way and manner state authorities allocate and distribute government revenue among the various tiers or levels of its administration, is the broad understanding of resource control in our context.
Resource control has remained a contentious issue in Nigeria because of the widely held belief that the exercise of autonomy by the component states of the federation (states and local governments) regarding the provision of social and economic services for their people are largely dependent on the portion of the “national cake” allocated to them. In other words, the greater the portion of the total revenue allocated to both state and local governments, the greater the degree of independent decision making of these governments in carrying out various socio-economic tasks of growth and development in order to advance the general welfare of their citizenry.
The failure of the federal government to find a political solution to this problem has led to a very plausible demand for resource and self determination within the federation (Ikelegbe 2001). Over the years, the federal government has tried to address the problems occasioned by cries for resource control through administrative agencies such as OMPADEC (Oil Mineral Producing Areas development Commission) and NDDC (Niger Delta Development Commission). As a result of corruption and lack of commitment on the part of the government and multinational companies these efforts amounted to nothing (Frynas, 200; Akpan, 2004). Several other attempts made at reaching acceptable revenue sharing formulae have yielded little or no result. In the light of the above scenario, it has become important to take a critical look at the natural endowment of some select states of the federation to ascertain the often held belief that greater focus and development of local resources would reduce and eliminate the incidence of state and local government in the states relying on the center for survival.
There are about thirty-four (34) minerals that have been identified in the country, of which only 13 are being actually mined, processed and marketed.  They are coal (which has an export potential of 15 million tonnes per annum valued at US$1billion) kaolin, baryte, limestone, dolomite, feldspar, glass sand, gemstones, gold, iron ore, lead-zinc, tin, other associated minerals and recently gypsum. The remaining twenty (21) minerals, though in demand are untapped.
The volumes of domestic trade deficit and foreign exchange losses resulting from this deficiency are colossal.
The availability of these minerals opens up opportunities in the following areas:
(a) Exports and use in domestic industries for generation of foreign exchange and internal revenue.
(b) Emergence of new industrial and downstream products. 
(c) Increased employment of Nigerians, particularly in the rural areas where the minerals are found.
(d) Technology transfer and development.
(e) Development of infrastructure, especially in the rural areas (roads, hospitals, rail, schools and housing)
The multiplier benefits to the citizenry are enormous. In fact, the solid minerals sector can very easily be the largest employment sector of the economy, since deposits abound in virtually every State of the Federation. Prior to the creation of the new ministry of Solid Minerals Development, enquiries and demands were made for Nigerian solid minerals, especially coal. Since inception, orders to the tune of 15 million tonnes of coal have been received.
Natural resources distribution data made available on the website of the federal government (www.nigeria.gov.ng) reveal that Nigeria is richly endowed with a variety of Natural resources ranging from precious metals various stones to industrial such as Barites, Gypsum, Kaolin and Marble. Most of these are yet to be exploited and statistically, the level of exploitation of active mineral sites is very low in relation to the extent of deposit found in the country.
Ogun State, for instance located in South-West Nigeria and bordering the popular Lagos State is endowed with immense industrial minerals including minerals including limestone, gypsum, kaolin, feldspar phosphate in Egbado North and South and Sagamu; mica, glass sand, clay granite in Abeokuta North and Abeokuta South and Ado-Odo/Ota; tar sand, kaolin, clay and phosphate in Ikenne, Ijebu-East, Ijebu; North, Ijebu-Ode, Obafemi- Owode and Ogun Waterside LGAs. Forest, agricultural and mineral resources in the state provide the much needed local sources of raw materials for industries.
Cement manufacturing plants at Ewekoro and Sagamu were based on the available limestone and other components in the state. Glass sand, feldspar and clay available in the state would supply the required raw materials for glass, ceramics and pottery industries, while Kaolin is an important raw material for making Chalk, paint, Kaolin poltice and plaster of Paris (POP).
Efforts to increase the state’s GDP through the mining and minerals sector, however, have been severely hampered by factors including inadequate technology, non-transparency and ineffective regulations guiding activities in the sector. Perhaps, most damaging to that mission to reform the sector is the activity of illegal miners, who are often described as informal or artisanal miners. The challenge posed by activities of illegal miners has remained intractable in spite of the administration’s efforts to streamline their ‘operations’ by encouraging the formation of co-operatives.
In similar manner in different locations in the country could be found these “illegal miners”  engaged in one form of mining activity or the other often in collaboration with ‘briefcase investors’ who act as middlemen between the ‘miners’ and the end buyers of the products. Poor regulation of activities by this category of miners – which number in hundreds of thousands- have effectively ensured that government’s stake in the exploitation of these natural resources is sidelined, and government revenue through taxation and royalties are denied.
It is about time government evolves an all embracing resource control and resource management policy that integrates the activities of these illegal miners in a consistent and well sustained effort to enhance government revenue and reap the benefits of the presence of these solid minerals in every state of the federation.

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Keshi, Eagles and excuses

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THE Nigerian will always be a Nigerian. When in other climes, people accept responsibility for their failure, the Nigerian will always find reasons and will be the last to accept his fault. It traverses every part of our being as a nation. Several applicants died as a result of the glaring incompetence of our Immigration

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Delta 2015: Omo-Agege, Urhobo and the hope of a new Delta State

  /   in Viewpoint 10:01 pm   /   Comments

SINCE the entrance of Obaisi Ovie Omo-Agege into the race to Government House in May this year, political calculations have been altered and a new energy brought into Urhobo quest to return to Dennis Osadebey House in 2015. Until he declared his intention to succeed Governor Uduaghan, very few gave Delta Central any chance in the race for the gubernatorial ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). But that has changed and it is looking very likely that Omo-Agege, whom the Urhobo have overlooked in the past in favour of another Urhobo son in the opposition, may well be the one who gets Urhobo out of its present political wilderness.

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NAFDAC, counterfeiting and public health

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SOMETIME in 2005, a friend took ill at workplace in one of the federal parastatals in Lagos and had to visit the staff clinic. An experienced doctor after thoroughly examining him put his finger on the cause of his sickness by correctly diagnosing malaria.

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Lessons from the Ebola epidemic

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AVAILABLE reports indicate that Nigeria has been successful in containing the Ebola virus disease following a serious threat from an infected Liberian-American that flew into Lagos airport from Liberia where the disease is rampant.

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This adversarial style of politics

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WHEN the All Progressives Congress, APC, was born in July 2013, it raised hopes that it would play the role of Nigeria’s major opposition party in the best tradition of a presidential democracy.

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Femi Fani-Kayode @ 54

  /   in Viewpoint 7:12 pm   /   Comments

*Fani

On October 16, 2014, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation and PDP chieftain, celebrated his 54th birthday, coincidentally, with the inauguration of the governor of Ekiti State, Chief Ayodele Peter Fayose. For the love a friend like Fani-Kayode has for Fayose, he preferred to be in Ado Ekiti to felicitate with the new governor and defied the usual merry making, thanksgiving and prayers with friends, political associates and family members at his Abuja residence.

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Boosting healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa

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NIGERIA recently overtook South Africa to become the continent’s biggest economy, hosting the World Economic Forum in May 2014 and showcasing the potential of the country.

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Lagos 2015: The cap fits Senator Solomon

  /   in Viewpoint 8:28 pm   /   Comments

The major contenders for the 2015 governorship race in Lagos State from the two prominent parties – APC and PDP – are known to the politically astute among us. However, my take today is to stir the interest of the Lagos residents and all progressives in taking more than a passing glance at the candidature of Senator Ganiyu Olarewaju Solomon (GOS) of the APC.

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Nigeria’s mercantile Christianity

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THIS is not a critique of the Church in Nigeria, because, I belong to the church. I belong to the church now, tomorrow and forever.

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Politics of spurious figures

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THE amount of falsehood based on either ignorance or outright mischief peddled in the Nigerian public space by highly placed persons is alarming and sickening.

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Once-in-a-life time opportunity for Orji

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THE entire concept of Salvation is nothing but the experience of being “saved” from danger, loss, or harm. To “salvage” from imminent damage or destruction.

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Politics of spurious figures

  /   in Viewpoint 7:48 pm   /   Comments

THE amount of falsehood based on either ignorance or outright mischief peddled in the Nigerian public space by highly placed persons is alarming and sickening. It is even worse when a top government functionary who is expected to know the facts goes public with information that is half-truth.

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TAN and opponents of Jonathan

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Barely five months to the 2015 general elections, and as most political parties and likely contestants are still ‘consulting’, a new unique phenomenon called the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, TAN, has taken over the polity.

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Tribute to an icon of our time

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DEATH no doubt is an inestimable end which must come when it will come. If it comes to a beloved one, the grief of all those affected as a result of the death can best be imagined, especially when it becomes very obvious that never again can such a fellow be seen or heard.

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Of new wine and old bottles

  /   in Viewpoint 4:16 pm   /   Comments

economy

These are strange times in Nigeria. Change is in the air and I do not just mean the transformation agenda of the present administration.

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Nigeria’s corruption challenges — what to do

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Corruption

We have succeeded in establishing the fact that the foundation for corruption in this country was in the beginning, through the falsification of records and distortions in geographical mapping, coupled with rigged census and elections.

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APC’s Ebola mischief

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THE All Progressives Congress, APC, is at it again. The party does not fail to live to its billing in raking up unnecessary controversy all in an effort to play what it understands as “opposition politics.”

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Lai Mohammed’s Ebola controversy

  /   in Viewpoint 3:46 pm   /   Comments

WOLE SOYINKA’S Madmen and Specialists is, at its heart, a satirical play featuring a perverted medical specialist whose lust for power during wartime leads him to imprison and torment his father, a well-regarded physician.

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Delta 2015: How Jonathan will determine PDP candidate

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When the delegates to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries gather in Asaba next month to elect the party’s flag bearer in next year’s Delta State gubernatorial election, the interest of President Goodluck Jonathan, whose name will not be on the ballot, more than anyone else, not even that of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and the aspirants, will determine who wins the party nomination.

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Of Akinkunmi, Presidential steward and national honours

  /   in Viewpoint   /   Comments

AS the Nigerian President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, handed out about 306 awards at the 2014 National Honours Award Ceremony in Abuja recently, critical newspaper editorials and other comments have trailed the process of selection of recipients who are mainly Nigerians. Yet this year’s national honours award was significant in many respects.

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