Governance

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari resumes work after sick leave on Monday March 13, 2017.

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ICMS, Inc Reports
Tom Okure, Ph.D

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari resumes work today three days after returning home. Before settling down to work he had a pleasant meeting and briefing session with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. The two are alleged to have spoken privately for over an hour.

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo meets to brief Prsident Muhammadu Buhari

President Buhari looked frail in health when he came off the plane upon his return from medical treatment in London on Friday March 10, 2017. In a nine-minute welcome speech to the nation on Friday, Buhari stated that he came back in the weekend deliberately “so I will continue to rest”. He also observed that he will need further medical checkups.

In a press statement issued by the Presidents special adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, Buhari stated “I have resumed my functions as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with effect from Monday,” The President’s action is in compliance with Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

9JA President Buhari_Resumes Work_2The President has transmitted letters to the Senate and the House of Representatives formally as required by law, informing the National Assembly about his resumption of official duties after his vacation.

On January 19, 2017 it will be recalled, that the President transmitted a letter to the National Assembly indicating that he was taking a 10 days’ vacation in the United Kingdom (London). The president also formally handed the powers of his office to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). Even so, the President did not return from his vacation after the 10 days passed on February 6. In another letter transmitted to the National Assembly, the President extended his medical vacation and leave, stating that his doctors’ directives required him to remain abroad for a series of additional medical tests. No definite date of his return was provided for the Presidents return.

It was therefore a welcome relieve to the country and especially the president’s supporters when the President suddenly came back home on Friday after spending 51 days in London on medical leave. During the Presidents sick leave in London the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had been acting as on behalf of Mr Buhari.

British Airways Joins the list of foreign airlines refusing to utilize Kaduna Airport during the Abuja’s Nmandi Azikiwe International (NAIA), airport runway rehabilitation.

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Despite Nigerian government assurances, the number of foreign airlines rejecting the option of flying into Kaduna airport over the six weeks of runway repair at Abuja continues to grow.

ICMS, Inc Reports
By Tom Okure, Ph.D
February 17, 2017

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British Airways is joining the list of foreign airlines including South African airlines, Air France and Lufthansa in declining to operate from the Nigerian Kaduna airport after March 8, 2017 as recommended by the Nigerian federal aviation ministry. The Nigerian aviation ministry states that it needs six weeks March 8, 2017 to enable it to carry out runway repairs at Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

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British Airways

Earlier in the month, the German carrier Lufthansa, had also indicated that it would not fly to the Kaduna airport during the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport (NAIA), Abuja.

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Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja Nigeria

A British airways spokesperson said that during the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport, the airline would refund airfares to passengers who are billed to travel with the airline from Abuja.

Apart from providing passengers with a full refund, another option available to passengers include rebooking their flights to an alternative date to and from Abuja when the airport is open.

While some of these foreign airlines have opted in favor of completely suspending their service to Nigeria during the period of Abuja runway repairs, others have decided to continue serving Nigeria through Nigeria’s Lagos Muthala Muhammad International Airport increasing operational pressure on the airport which also has its own operating challenges including deteriorating runways.

Despite the assurances of the Nigerian federal authorities regarding the temporary closure of Abuja airport and the operational, security update and readiness of the Kaduna airport for the resurfacing repair work at Abuja, the number of foreign airlines rejecting the option of flying into Kaduna airport over the six weeks of runway repair at Abuja continues to grow.

Read more:

British airways to refund affected booked passengers doing closure of Nmandi Azikiwe International airport, Abuja

South African airways cancels flights in Abuja Nigeria during runway repair

The Importance of Sand Mining in the Economic Development of Ikot Ekpene and Annang Nation

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By Tom Okure, Ph.D
Date: August 20, 2016
Definition of Sand Mining
Sand mining is the process employed to extract sand primarily from an open pit. Sand mining is used to remove sand from beaches and inland dunes and dredged from ocean beds and river beds. The harvested sand is used in developing of an abrasive such as concrete.
Sand Mining Industry in Annang Land
In Annang nation which consist of Ikot Ekpene and Abak, sand is mined from specialized river beds and come in a variety of quality and coarseness from very fine sand to very sharp sand which is used for a variety of construction purposes including the manufacture of cement blocks used for house construction, plastering of walls and the construction of roads etc.
Annang Heritage Photo Contest Pics-28
Photo Credit: Mr. Enim Akwa. The mining of sand in Ilim Abama in Nto Edino, Obot Akara LGA in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria

Annang nation is blessed with many of these sand river beds and it provides a thriving business for the local economy where they are found. The mining of sand is historically and culturally significant for Annang people because it reflects the life blood of the native people prior to the rapid economic transformation of the Annang nation. Sand mining is historically significant for the Annangs since the colonial era. Today the industry employs hundreds to perhaps thousands of local indigenous people through a semi managed production and supply chain for sand.

There is no government regulation regulating the local sand industry and sand dredging activities in Akwa Ibom State. The only form of regulation within the local industry is carried out by private unions which sand mining operators are required to join with the payment of a membership fee. Even so, widespread illegal sand mining remains.
Infrastructural Development and the Increasing Demand for Sand
This business sustains those employed within the local industry and enables them to take care of their families. Filling up a sand canoe can take up to one hour and requires a lot of physical labor because of the lack of mechanical equipment to evacuate the sand from the canoes or load up sand transportation trucks.
Annang Heritage Photo Contest Pics-8
Photo Ctedit: Mr. Enim Akwa

The canoes filled with sand bring the sand to a predetermined open storage location near or far from the river for the business owner and the harvested sands are piled into dunes for sale to local customers. The increasing demand for sand has been putting more and more pressure on the harvesting of sand from major rivers like Mbiaso river in Ikot Ekpene . Typically customers are required to pay in advance for sand prior to loading a delivery sand truck for a customer. A truck load of mined sand is currently priced at between 10,000 Naira to 12,000 Naira depending on location purchased from or the nature of the sand type (shape or coarse sand) etc.

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Photo Credit: Mr. Enim Akwa
There is less pressure if the sand is first delivered to the customer and the money is collected afterwards, but this is usually not the case because of a lack of trust between the sand owners and the sand customers.
Policy Recommendation and Conclusion
The local sand industry is highly competitive and an increasing lucrative business for the local economy as a consequence of the boom in housing and road construction in Ikot Ekpene city and other cities in Akwa Ibom state as the whole state underwent significant structural transformation due to the oil boom between the years 2000 through 2015. Even after the drop in global world oil prices in 2015, the sand market remains very active with a moderate drop in demand because of the drop in road construction and a tightening state budget.
In Akwa Ibom State, the sand industry is ripe for some lever of oversight and regulation by both the local and state government. In a highly industrial cities in Nigeria like Lagos, around some popular mining spots such as the Makoko River, evidence of severe environmental degradation is very visible. In Lagos, the state’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has regulatory responsibility and oversight over sand dealings and dredging activities. Environmentalists caution that unrestricted and continuous mining of sand could result in significant and irreversible damage to the local environmental.

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All rights reserved by Inter-Continental Mgt. Systems, Inc (ICMS, Inc). The information included in this publication may not be used, reproduced, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written permission of ICMS, Inc. (Email us at icmsinc@aol.com).

HISTORIC IKOT EKPENE CONTROL-POST ABANDONED BY THE STATE GOVERNMENT

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WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MESS AT IKOT EKPENE CONTROL POST?

By Tom Okure, Ph.D
(Dr. Okure is an Ikot Ekpene Indigene based in the USA
and a Public Policy and Economic Development Consultant/Advisor)
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ubong F Essien

Dated August 2, 2016

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It would have been better to do nothing rather than turn this historic CONTROL POST location (Site) into the SORRY STATE depicted in the pictures within this article.

Ikot Ekpene Control Post Mess-Pic1
Historic Ikot Ekpene Control Post Road Project abandoned by Akwa Ibom State Government

Someone should tell/advice the AKS government that this is appalling and very unacceptable. Control Post is the very heart of Ikot Ekpene and a very historical spot where the British Colonial Government began the mapping of the town and administration of the province. This is the locus point of Ikot Ekpene village (Usug Ikot Ekpene) which the town and local government derives it’s name. This is also the central point of the author’s village and a very important junction point in Annang nation.

Policy Advice on Construction Projects in Akwa Ibom State

Construction projects should never be started without a special dedicated budget fund to accomplish the task over a period of years. Budgetary revenues would be released annually as planned project targets are accomplished until the planned infrastructure/project is completed. The dilemma that Akwa Ibom State is facing as we witness the abandonment of many planned projects that the administration of Akpabio undertook like the Tropicana Plaza in Uyo and dualiization of Uyo/Ikot-Ekpene Federal road is the lack of capital planning foresight and the failure to build into the government capital budget for projects a contingency budget to accommodate unforeseen circumstances (like the fall in oil revenues) as we are experiencing throughout the country. Moreover, in civilized countries in Europe and the United States infrastructure projects are funded from dedicated funding revenue streams which in New York State budgeting is referred to as Special Revenue Funds (SRF). Initial funding for specific infrastructural projects can begin by issuing specific capital bonds guaranteed by the Federal government as a debt to the state. When the specific bond funded project is completed, it could be utilized to generate specific revenues to repay the long term bonds associated with the project.

The Need to Establish Dedicated Special Revenue Funds (SRF) in AKSG Budgetary System.

Special Revenue Funds (SRF)  are dedicated revenues in government budgets to accommodate specific activities like road construction and maintenance, education, sanitation etc. SRFs are derived from sources outside the General Funds (GF) account of government budgets. In Akwa Ibom State, the government can institute a road tariff (or toll) and other user rates/fees (at the airport, parks, etc.) specifically aimed at generating dedicated budgetary Special Revenue Funds (SRF) to maintain and beautify the existing road networks in the state. The state is blessed with a good road network that are already in place which were built by the previous Akpabio Administration.

SRFs cannot be used for other than the purpose they are setup for. They can be established by the Executive governor or by the State Legislature to fund a specific project. Such funds are untouchable (outside politics) and cannot be used by the Legislature to pad the annual state budget. Over the years SRF can grow to enormous amounts and properly administered, can be employed to start, complete and fund magnificent projects. It is high time Akwa Ibom State should in earnest start generating significant internal revenues and reduce its dependence on federal allocations. In addition to creating industries in the state, focus should be placed on utilizing existing state assets to generate special revenues which should be utilized for specific purposes. The establishment of a State Lottery is a good example which can benefit the public and could generate a lot of funds for the state.  Dedicated lottery funds in a SRF budgetary account could be used to maintain our primary, secondary schools and Universities.  This is how proper state budgeting should work in a properly functioning state budgetary system.

Conclusion

Unless Akwa Ibom State policy makers start “thinking outside the box” and begin to explore setting up various SRF accounts to accommodate newly planned projects and the maintenance of existing projects like the abandoned dualization of Uyo Ikot Ekpene road, we will witness a slow and steady deterioration of the existing infrastructure which is already in place in the state, which is clearly exemplified by the mess we are seeing in Ikot Ekpene’s control post.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, is in Nigeria for talks with President Goodluck Jonathan and his leading challenger Muhammadu Buhari.

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Kerry in Nigeria for talks with  leading PDP and APC presidential candidates

Mr. John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State is visiting Nigeria to meet with the leading presidential candidates of PDP and APC in Nigeria’s elections. According to the State Department, he will hold separate talks with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and his leading challenger, former army Gen. Muhammad Buhari.

Kerry plans to persuade the presidential candidates and their supporters to avert violence after the result of the upcoming February 14, 2015 election is announced. One may recall that in 2011, President Jonathan’s disputed election victory was followed by riots in the northern region of Nigeria which resulted in over 800 people being killed.

Read more….http://nigeria.usembassy.gov/svisit_2015.html

Adeola Examines Nigeria’s 2015 Elections Three Main Candidates: Atiku Abubakar, Muhammadu Buhari, and President Goodluck Jonathan.

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Political Achievements of Atiku Abubakar, Muhammadu Buhari,and President Goodluck Jonathan
By Adeola

Source: Utube_SaharaTV Channel.

Nigerian States Rising: Featuring Videos of the Progress and Transformation of Akwa Ibom State.

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Nigerian States Rising: Featuring Videos of the Progress and Transformation of Akwa Ibom State. (AKS).

Posted: July 12, 2012

Related links:

  1. ….http://icmsinc.net/2012/09/14/celebrating-progress-while-reflecting-on-the-past-an-empirical-analysis-of-the-economic-transformation-of-akwa-ibom-state-of-nigeria/
  2. http://www.aksgonline.com/

Commentary

Map of Akwa Ibom State Showing 31 Local Government Areas
Map of Akwa Ibom State Showing 31 Local Government Areas

In Akwa Ibon State of Nigeria, Governor Godswill Akpabio policy of “Uncommon Transformation” of the State over the past seven years has meant the deliberate policy effort by the state government to build and put in place a sustainable infrastructure that can sustain the economic transformation of the state. The determination of AKSG to transform the state into a modern economy is reflected in the states consistent high appropriations to capital projects over the last seven years to overcome the infrastructure deficit of the state.

Economic development is defined as the persistent, resolute measures undertaken by state policymakers that foster a higher living standard and economic wellbeing of a particular area.  Rapid development involves the working of a complex series of interlocking systems, of which economic component is an essential part. Economic development also relates to the quantitative and qualitative changes in an economy associated with such factors as development of human capital, critical infrastructure, regional competitiveness, environmental sustainability, social inclusion, health, safety, literacy, and other initiatives.

Economic development should not be confused with economic growth. Whereas economic growth relates mainly to the productivity of markets and consequent increase in GDP; economic development lays emphasis on deliberate policy intervention by policy makers focused at elevating the economic and social well-being of a people.

If there is a lesson to be learnt from the past development efforts in AKS, it is that policy choices adopted by policy makers do matter and can functionally or dysfunctionally impact the attainment of economic development objectives. The empirical evidence in AKwa Ibom State appears to suggest that the hitherto underdevelopment of the state was perhaps due to the inadvertent neglect by previous administrations and their political shortsightedness regarding the ways and means of spurring the economic take off in the state.

Enjoy the videos and Judge for yourself
Tom Okure, Ph.D
July 12, 2014

Live Work Invest in Akwa Ibom State.

7 yrs impact of transformation

Project update on the 20th Anniversary Specialist Hospital

Building a modern hospital featuring a sophisticated system of care and medical tourism in mind

Ibom Tropicana reloaded May 2014