IF you had asked me about Senator Musiliu Obanikoro a year or two ago, I would have dismissed him as one of the bad eggs of Nigerian politics, an uneducated and violent man who has no clue about the real essence of leadership and governance. Until sometime in July this year, I had never met Senator Obanikoro but interestingly, my opinion of his personality was based largely on what I heard or read about him.Read More →
China, the second largest economy in the world, now has the most accredited laboratories in the world, an economic enabler many have not noticed. But the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, under the leadership of Dr Joseph Odumodu has taken a leap in this direction with the acquisition of two food accredited laboratories, creating a pathway for the future China in Nigeria.Read More →
President Goodluck Jonathan has meddled in Nigerian football matters before. Then, as at now, it ended in a fiasco. That first time, June 2010, after Nigeria crashed and burned at the World Cup due in large part to the incompetence of one Lars Lagerback and a small helping hand from Sani Kaita, Jonathan imposed a two-year international ban on the Super Eagles.Read More →
Since I ventured into public commentaries – thanks to the encouragement of our own Uncle Sam and the Vanguard editors, I have refrained from issues concerning individual politicians.Read More →
LAW Mefor’s recently published piece, “2015 AND ECHOES OF ANARCHY” is quite revealing. The piece captures the unguarded pronouncements of leading members of the major opposition political party in Nigeria, the All Progressives Congress, APC, as preparations for the 2015 general elections gather momentum.Read More →
President Goodluck Jonathan’s recent declaration to, once again, vie for the Presidency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has deepened the discourse on his achievements thus far.Read More →
THE story of David and Goliath remains a popular and fascinating tale. A young shepherd slays a seasoned and —by some accounts— gigantic soldier. This story plays into the narrative of the underdog emerging triumphant despite overwhelming odds. And everybody loves a victorious underdog.Read More →
Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, President, Evangelist Solomon Omamoezi Ogba is one fellow I feel has been unfairly under-celebrated in Nigeria. A consummate politician and sports administrator par excellence, Ogba, who has bagged a variety of academic qualifications, is currently pursuing a Doctorate Degree in Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy, Damphine, Alabama, United States of America.Read More →
preach hateful politics, he removed whatever credibility that may be attached to his said message. I would have taken the same position if he had used the pulpit to promote APC and demonise PDP. And his premise for labelling APC an Islamic party was so puerile, disingenuous and downright illogical.Read More →
I like the Niger Delta militants. Or are they ex militants now?
They dropped their arms or so, we were told, and collected tons of cash in exchange. Perhaps, it was a virtual exchange. So they are not supposed to have weapons or, at least, should not flaunt their capacity to inflict violence. That is a reasonable expectation. So much for reasonableness.Read More →
It was to be a routine meeting for manpower deployment in the new Government of James Ibori in Delta State. Present in this meeting were the Chief Officer of State himself, James Ibori, the Secretary to State Government Engineer Erhuero, the Commissioner for Finance David Edevbie and some other members of the State Cabinet.Read More →
Some people have remarked in writing and in other forms of communication that President Goodluck Jonathan has given more attention to the entertainment industry to the detriment of other industries.Read More →
With the February 2015 election on the horizon, political imperatives loom increasingly large in Nigeria. There is perhaps no more pertinent example than the fevered politicisation of the brutal Boko Haram insurgency.Read More →
SENATOR Oserheimen Osunbor’s declaration, carried in many national newspapers including Vanguard on November 11, that he will be contesting the 2016 governorship election in Edo State came like a bolt out of the blue. And it sure has set a ricocheting buzz in Edo and beyond. As regular as the declaration may seem, it portends serious implications for the political calculations in the state come 2016.Read More →
Over the past few weeks, the online media platform and a section of the print media have been awash with so much noise about the probable implosion of the PDP in Kwara ahead of the 2015 elections.
The argument for this prediction has been in two fold. One, they made so much noise about the ‘many governorship aspirants’ in the party with the fear that many of those aspirants might quit the party in the event that they fail to get the party’s ticket.Read More →
Leopards can never change their spots, so goes the old saying. And the truth of this adage is plain from the antics of one man who has continued to constitute himself a political distraction in Abia State. On Wednesday, November 19, a horrendous news item was planted in some dailies, including that owned by the former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, just to deceive and cause commotion in the polity.Read More →
In a reckless display of partisanship the Police ensured that the Deputy Speaker of the House, Honourable Ihediora and a few other legislators were not subjected to any form of harassment.
Meanwhile, the Presidency and the Police have turned round to blame the Speaker and his colleagues for assaulting security operatives who were discharging their “lawful duties” at the National Assembly complex. According to the Police, Tambuwal and a motley crowd of his supporters “broke the cordon, assaulted the Police and evaded due process…”
For there to be peace and order in the society, the collective do subsume their individual freedom under one body that will provide for the overall interest. It started centuries ago through customs, traditions and enthronement of divine kingship. Overtime it has taken several modes and forms, the latest of which is democratic ruler ship. This is a process where who gets to rule is determined by the absolute majority of the people. It is tritely referred to as ‘the government of the people, for the people and by the people.’Read More →
The greatest predicament that this country faces from time to time is the inability of government to listen to itself. A greater percentage of our problems should have been deciphered by now if only government has listened to itself. Let’s take two issues, the recent National Conference and the sustenance of the oil subsidy which is the greatest conspiracy against Nigeria and the Nigerian people.Read More →
It would be in the best interest of Northern political elites to support President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid in 2015 to ensure that the affirmative zoning by the PDP in 2019 is without equivocation. This is to ensure stability in Nigeria by strengthening a tradition of peaceful transition and democratic consolidation.Read More →
For about a decade or two, the raging controversy over the issue of marriage as it affects the Nigerian Constitution has been a topic of debate among members of the legislative arm of government as well as the Nigerian masses.Read More →
WHEN Ziakede Akpobolokemi was appointed the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Maritime Administration And Safety Agency, NIMASA, many operators in the sector welcomed him with clenched hands. This was understandable. Coming from the academia, it was expected that many would see him as a fringe player in the industry. But hardly had he settled down, than he proved the pessimists wrong.Read More →
A drama of the absurd is playing out in our country. At the centre of it is a supposed case of “two half-filled cans of Sprite.” The dramatis personae in this bizarre drama would want Nigerians to believe that two-half-filled cans of Sprite are responsible for the millions of Naira so far spent on press conferences, media coverage and the hiring of prosecution lawyers. Yet, all of this is happening in a country in which its leaders spend resources going all over the world, calling for investments, calling on corporations to site their factories and manufacturing plants in Nigeria. It would indeed have been laughable, if it were not so tragic!
Before we proceed further, a quick snapshot of the drama: Last February, the Director-General of the Consumer Protection Council, CPC, called a press conference in Lagos in which she announced that a consumer had reported a case of “two half-filled cans of Sprite.” She did not say that a laboratory test had confirmed that the remainder in the cans had become dangerous or poisonous for that reason. She did not adduce any reason why and how two half-filled cans of Sprite constitute a challenge to the quality of products. Rather she proceeded to venomously attack the manufacturing companies, Nigerian Bottling Company and Coca Cola, warning that “Nigeria would not be a dumping ground for sub-standard products.” She proceeded to list out several orders, including asking the manufacturing companies to subject their manufacturing processes to CPC oversight.
A few days ago, the country woke up to hear that apparently on the instigation of the CPC, the Attorney General of the Federation had taken both Coca Cola Nigeria and its bottlers, Nigerian Bottling Company to court. Upon taking both companies to court, the CPC quickly issued a press statement to that effect, even before the court had served notice to the companies. Later in the week, it again issued another press statement stating that November 4 had been fixed for hearing of the suit by the Federal Government against the two companies.
Antics of bureaucracy
Investors who are familiar with the antics of the bureaucracy in corruption-ridden Third World countries know and understand the script very well: They are likely to laugh and shake their heads in derision at how far some so-called developing countries can go in order to self destruct.
But the real danger is for those investors in the developed countries who do not understand how things work in poorly organised and corrupt third world countries. Given the sacredness that should be attached to the process of a country supposedly suing a corporation, such investors may indeed be worried about what is going on in Nigeria. It is important that we do not allow a few government officials driven by ego and their selfish interests to pull the wool over the eyes of such investors and create a negative image for Nigeria.
The major regulators of operatives in the soft drinks industry are the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON. NAFDAC has well-equipped laboratories and trained staff and conducts quality control tests at all phases of the production process. SON plays a complementary role as well in this regard, all to ensure that production is in line with global best practice, for the good of Nigeria. Does the CPC have the facilities, the staff and the wherewithal to oversee the production process of a manufacturer of soft drinks? Does it have a laboratory to assess quality or standards? Does a half-filled can of Sprite mean that the contents of the can of Sprite have become dangerous or harmful?
The whole world is, today, witness to the news that Toyota is recalling well over a million cars to its factories worldwide. Thankfully, Toyota’s factories are sited in developed countries of the world. Had the company made the mistake of siting such a factory in Nigeria, perhaps by now, regulators in the ilk of the CPC would have gone to town, maligning the multinational corporation. They may even have taken the company to court and threatened the MD with possible “several years in prison if found guilty.”
As knowledgeable people around the world – whether developed or developing- know, manufacturing is not an error-free process anywhere in the world. A company churning out millions of cars to the market monthly, can record an error or two in one or two cars. A manufacturing plant churning out a thousand cans of soft drink by the minute can certainly record one can or thereabout being short-filled or even over full. There is no perfect manufacturing process in the world. What every industry strives to achieve is near-zero defect production.
What the government and its agencies should be helping the industry to achieve is near zero defect production. The current resort to name-calling and abuse of multinational companies is a sad and unfortunate commentary on the quality of officers in some of our government agencies.
There are reports that indicate that both multinational companies have since gone to court to seek an injunction to challenge the court case by the Federal Government. This is a good way to go. It is most unfortunate, however, that in the eyes of the unknowing investor out there in the developed world, these developments have taken an unnecessary toll on Nigeria’s image and as well as the credibility of the CPC as a regulator that should be taken seriously.
The National Assembly needs to re-look the whole issue of multiple regulation in what is turning to be a rather chaotic operating environment in Nigeria’s private sector. Specialised regulation should remain the forte of organisations that have the expertise to regulate specialised sectors. The CPC has been known to shut down base stations and offices of telecom companies in the past, forcing the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, to warn in a recent advert, on the dangers of such impunity. If indeed, we are as serious about industrialisation as we proclaim at every opportunity, then we need to imbibe the professionalism of the developed world in managing and overseeing multinational industrial organisations which choose to set up shop in Nigeria.
“Arise, O Compatriots” is the national anthem of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Adopted in 1978, the National Anthem comprises patriotic words and phrases of five compatriots, namely John A. Ilechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, B. A. Ogunnaike, Sotu Omoigui and P.O. Aderibighe.Read More →
OUTRIGHT opposition to and radical criticism of government policies and actions no doubt helps a nation to grow if accorded a nationalistic outlook. Little wonder that a nation fares better, faster, most genuinely and more impressively when critics acknowledges progressive and landmark achievements as well as proffers alternative solutions where and when necessary. It is within this context that critics could be patriotic or selfish, disgruntled/unpatriotic by assessment.Read More →
THERE is broad agreement that Nigeria with over 160 million people, an entrepreneurial spirit, natural resources, and an economic policy framework that looks increasingly market – driven has a promising future. In the last few years as Nigeria has come into the global development picture with GDP growth averaging 6-7.5 per cent a year, it has become fashionable to look at the unlocking of Africa’s biggest economy. Only in April, a rebasing of the country’s economy captured economic sectors like entertainment and fashion and pushed the country’s GDP to the fore on the continent.Read More →
As 2015 draws nearer, the political temperature seems to be heading for the boiling point. Many sublime and heated activities are coinciding and politicians are angling at accomplishing their dreams and aspirations. One thing that seems to be missing in all these is the patriotic zeal for our country, Nigeria.Read More →
Since the inception of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, 41 years ago, a lot has happened to make people argue for and against its relevance and benefits to the Nigerian youth. The history of the NYSC is indeed replete with momentous events.Read More →
THE war against insurgency in Nigeria has sadly been reduced to President Goodluck Jonathan’s war. Those who could command public opinion to weigh in against the spread of the Boko Haram sect and terrorism in Northern Nigeria have ostensibly kept mute or talking in a manner deriding President Jonathan and his government; some are even out-rightly making encouraging remarks to create inertia of social forces that have continued to reinforce the insurgency in the parts of the country.Read More →
Having said that, Nigerians need to understand that the number one way we can protect ourselves and others from BH and their IED attacks is to be alert to our immediate surroundings. It is an effective tool if individuals are alert for, and to report, anything that is out of the ordinary in their daily routine.Read More →
I HAVE always believed that for us to move forward, we must reduce our challenges to simple terminology; the simpler the analysis, the easier to carry the masses along. Unfortunately, our experts are all grounded in the Bretton Wood ideology: the more we try to understand, the more complex the solutions. For example, why can’t we bring the naira at par with the United States dollar? Some might say it is not possible given the present day circumstances, but if we remember correctly in 1978, the dollar was even less than the naira at 65 kobo to one dollar.Read More →
WHEN Senator Iyabo Obasanjo, daughter of the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, wrote a vitriolic letter to her father some time ago reminding him that he does not own Nigeria, many of us thought she was a bit too harsh on the old man. Iyabo had, in very strong words, dismissed the former president as a megalomaniac and a hypocrite. It is not that Iyabo said anything new that the public does not know about her father. Even then, some of us thought that coming from a daughter – estranged or beloved – that was way too harsh. But in recent times, Obasanjo himself is beginning to justify his daughter’s public expression of her opinion of her father.Read More →