Nigeria

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.

9JA President Buhari_Resumes Work
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.

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Dangote Group is set to resume tomato processing in its Kadawa factory in Kano State of Nigeria.

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ICMS, Inc Reports
By Tom Okure, Ph.D.
February 4, 2017

aliko-dangote-picture
Alikote Dangote is founder and president of Dangote Group

African Manufacturing and Industrial Giant Dangote Group has announced it is set to resume tomato processing in its Kadawa factory in Kano State of Nigeria. In preparation to restart the Tomato Processing Factory Alhaji Abdulkarim Kaita, who is the Company Managing Director, disclosed recently in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kano that the company has begun a tomato farms surveys in six states which include Jigawa, Katsina, Kaduna, Kano, Gombe, Plateau and Sokoto. The surveys are supposed to ascertain the extent of the availability of tomatoes in the farms of these major producing states.

The company indicates it will need about 40 trailers of tomato daily to meet its processing needs in the factory when the farmers start harvesting their tomatoes. In preparation for the start of production at the factory, the company engaged more than 50 new employees who will focus on conveying the fresh tomato inside the factory for processing and about 30 Industrial Training (IT) students are alleged to have also been employed by the company as quality control inspectors to assess the quality of the tomatoes prior to processing.

tomatoes-for-dangote-processing_3It will be recalled that last year the company was forced to suspend its production of processed tomatoes because of insufficient raw materials input and an outbreak of a pest popularly known as “Tuta Absoluta’’ which destroyed tomato farms in Kano and five other tomato producing states in Nigeria. The massive requirement of tomatoes needed as raw material input at the factory also caused shortages of tomatoes throughout the country.

Commentary and Policy Recommendation

The announcement to resume the processing of tomatoes by the Dangote Group is a welcome development for Nigeria as it adds to the internal production capacity of this vital commodity that is widely used in food preparation by Nigerian families. Internal production of tomato paste etc., in Nigeria will help reduce the importation of this vital commodity by the federal government and save the country on badly needed foreign exchange at a time of recession by helping to reduce or end the importation of processed tomato paste into the country.

tomatoes-for-dangote-processing_2More than 40,000 individual farms are involved in the farming of tomatoes in the six identified states and would benefit from selling their tomatoes to the Dangote factory. Logistically local employment will be stimulated in various ways as local people will be involved in supplying things like baskets, fertilizer and other needs of the farmers.

Nevertheless, we believe that rather than buying the raw materials from the individual farmers as is planned, a better policy approach would be for the Dangote Company to retain the services of the tomato farmers as its agents organized into “tomato farm cooperatives” to grow, harvest and sale the tomatoes back to Dangote Company at an assured and guaranteed annual price. This approach would create both employment for the farmers and guarantee them some level of expected annual income for their tomatoes. The Nigerian Federal Government in partnership with the Dangote Group would fund the creation of cooperative farms from among the individual farmers, provide the cooperative farms with the technical assistance and know how needed to grow and harvest pest free high yield quality tomatoes on a year round basis for harvesting, sale to and processing at the company’s Kadawa factory in Kano State.

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Dangote tomato factory set to resume operation
Dangote tomato factory to resume production February 2017

Nigerian 2014 Centenary Celebration and 100 Fascinating Facts about Nigeria

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By Tom Okure, Ph.D
August 25, 2016

Back in 1984, a Nigerian did not require a Travel Visa to visit the United Kingdom (UK) and during the military regime headed by Babangida in 1985, the US dollar exchanged for or was equivalent to 90 Nigerian kobo. Today (August 25, 2016) one US dollar is exchanged for 340 Naira (Government exchange rate) to 402 Naira (Parallel or black market rate in Lagos, Nigeria).

Nigeria’s Centenary celebration in 2014 witnessed a flurry of activities and events to celebrate Nigeria’s existence as a nation from January 1914 to January 2014. The celebrations included the announcement of plans to develop a centenary city, military parades, special legislative sessions, grand ceremonies with music and fireworks, rallies in Nigerian State capitals and Abuja the federal capital, special prayers for Nigeria by both Christians and Muslims.

Centenary Celebrations_Pics-2

There were exhibitions and symposia which included youth and children programs; awards and honors ceremonies recognizing prominent Nigerians; a special centenary pageant and centenary scholarships and academic recognition event; there were also international trade and investment shows promoting Nigeria’s trade and economic potential to gobal investors etc.
Centenary Celebrations_Pics-3During the celebrations, Important books and news paper articles were published and facts complied highlighting interesting facts about Nigeria and its political, social and economy history. This celebration was considered necessary by Nigerian policy makers to highlight where Nigeria began as a nation and where it was heading in its quest to become one of the top twenty economies in the world.

Take for example, the grandiose plan to build a Centenary city. It was justified according to the then Secretary to the Federal Government, Senator Pius Anyim as essential “to serve as a political and economic tool for securing foreign investment.” Nigerian President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the time stated that “The idea is to get a better city than the present Abuja where people will not need to provide basic amenities by themselves.”

One of the benefits of the Centenary celebrations is the fact that it created an opportunity for Nigeria’s political leaders and scholars etc. to focus and carefully reflect on Nigeria’s accomplishments and historical facts.  According to a statement made by the Board appointed to develop the Centenary city:

“The Centenary City is expected to signpost the Nigeria of the future, leveraging world class urban development as a tool for securing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and signaling a new economic awakening across the entire country. By the end of its 10-year development Lifecycle, this revolutionary and expansive urbanization project is expected to create over 55,000 well-paying jobs, attract over half a million visitors daily and accommodate a residential population of about 150,000 people. The Centenary City is envisioned as a business, leisure and tourism destination, driven by the Private Sector. The structure of the City is inspired by other Model cities across the globe that are insulated from the vicissitudes of policies and broken infrastructure that characterize the poorly run cities around them.”

Centenary Celebrations_Pics-1

From all evidence, the Centenary City project appears to be progressing slowing towards its planned objective. Vital infrastructural construction is alleged to be progressing steadily in the Abuja Centenary City, Nigeria’s City of the future. Upon completion, this city is expected to generate over 350,000 jobs. In a recent briefing to President Buhari of Nigeria on the status of the project by the Board, the president

“thanked the Board and management for their project update visitation , and praised the Centenary City’s main development partners from the United Arab Emirates for having enough confidence in Nigeria to agree to invest about $18.5 billion in the project. He was optimistic that the skills, expertise and vast experience that would be brought into Nigeria to build the Centenary City on the Dubai model, would also be of immense benefit to Nigeria.”

An interesting article by Dr. Peregrino Brimah (published in Every Nigerian Do Something) revealed an interesting set of 100 facts about Nigeria which is fascinating to read.

Below are excerpts from Dr. Peregrino Brimah article entitled “100 Years and 100 Interesting Facts about Nigeria”

Did You Know That:

  • Nigeria has 5 of the 10 richest pastors in the entire world, with net worth’s according to Forbes, from $10-150 million. They are Pastors, David Oyedepo, E. A. Adeboye, Chris Oyakhilome, Mathew Ashimolowo and Temitope Joshua.

Did You also know also that …….

  • Nigeria has the highest paid legislators in the entire world.
  • Nigerians are 1/5th the total population of Black Africa.
  • Nigeria’s population was just 16 million in 1911. It is projected to hit 444 million by 2050, surpassing the US and becoming the 4th largest in the world.
  • According to current demographics, after Hausa-Fulani (29%), Yoruba (21%), Igbo (18%) and Ijaw (10%) comes Kanuri (4%) and then Ibibio (3.5%) and Tiv (2.5%).
  • Discovered in 1928, Nigeria’s North and North Central region hosts West Africa’s oldest civilization; the Nok, which flourished between 1000 BC and 300 BC. {Nok sculptures recently went on display disappointingly in Germany (not Africa).}
  • The Obasanjo military regime converted Nigeria from a Parliamentary system to a Presidential system of government.
  • Cameroon was an administrative part of Nigeria in 1945, hence the NCNC party (National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons). Towards independence the UN mandated British held former German territory, south Cameroon opted to join French Cameroon and not Nigeria.
  • The 2006 Census found Nigerians to be the highest educated ethnic or racial group in America.
  • Nigeria in 2013 was rated the worst country to be born based on welfare and prosperity projection.
  • Akwa Ibom: King Jaja of Opobo (1821–1891) founded Opobo city-state in 1867 and shipped palm oil to Britain independently of British middle men.
  • Cross River State: The Ejagham (Ekoi) people in the Southeast are believed to have originated the Nsibidi (Nsibiri) writing system which later spread to the Efik, Igbo, Ibibio, Efut, Banyang and Annag peoples.
  • There are several Nigerian officials in the government of English speaking The Gambia.
    Aliko Dangote funded Presidents Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and Jonathan’s 4th republic campaigns. Buhari rejected funding from Dangote.

For a full list of 100 Years and 100 Interesting Facts about Nigeria by Dr. Peregrino Brimah, click on the link below:

100 years and 100 interesting facts about nigeria

Note: Nigeria’s century compilation was created as a historical snapshot of peculiar events, for our benefit and that of Nigeria’s younger generations. It was compiled to the best of our ability and influenced by our learning, recollection and prejudices. We invite Nigerians to collect and share with us more important and unique events that define 100 years of Nigeria. Resources utilized here can be found on ENDS.ng.
To read and learn more about Nigeria’s Centenary celebrations and the events that took place click on the link below:

Nigeria Centenary Celebration
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All rights reserved by Dr. Tom Okure, CEO of 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. 

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.

Annang Heritage Photo Contest Pics-9
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).

Congratulations to Nigeria’s RIO Olympics men’s soccer team

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Nigeria’s Olympics men’s soccer team astonished everyone with a surprising win over Japan 5-4 in Manaus on Thursday shortly upon arriving in Brazil following a difficult and worrisome mix-up in their travel plans to the ROI Olympics. Watch video below:

Nigeria’s ROI Olympic men’s soccer team

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.

The Dark Side of Ikorok [The Traditional Annang Communication Drum]

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The Dark Side of Ikorok [The Traditional Annang Communication Drum]
By Tom Okure, Ph.D
Dated July 17, 2016

The manufacture of Ikorok [the drum] for many Annang clan heads (Chiefs) typically began by sending a selected individual to search the clan forests to find a big tree of hard wood. When such a tree was found, laborers were sent from surrounding villages to assist in the work of cutting the tree down and removing it to the place where the drum would be utilized. Each village would send a representative wood carver. They would carve on the drum, figures of all the animals they could remember they had ever seen and the figures of important village people on the drum. The carving work on the drum was very hard and was known to take up to three years in some cases.

Upon completion of the Ikorok drum, a great feast would be held in which all the villagers were invited to join. During the feast, a sacrifice would be made so that the drum should be set apart for its special work. In Ukana clan, two men were killed and their heads placed one at each end of the drum. So many other animals would also be sacrificed on that day for the Ikorok drum.

Ikorok - Annang Messaging Drum2
IKorok Drum – The Traditional Annang Communication Drum

During the feasting, the villagers would be told that they must run to the drum at once when they heard the sound or big voice of the mysterious and magical drum. The Ikorok drum is cut out of the tree in the form of a woman with head and legs.

During the yam harvest, after the seed-yams have been selected and stored, the Ikorok drum was beaten and there would be a lot of feasting. Thousands of yams would be placed in an enclosure and put together in rows of twenty upright and fifty rows horizontal. Two men were always killed and their bodies were hung at each end of the enclosure. No one was allowed to go near the place of the sacrifice until the flesh on the sacrificed individuals was gone from their bones. The historical significance of this sacrifice was to warn would be yam and farm thieves. During the next planting season, three men would be caught and sacrificed and the drum was beaten. Two of the men were sacrificed for Ikorok [the drum] and the third person was sacrificed for the seed-yams. The body of the sacrificed third person was cut into pieces and the blood sprinkled on the yams before they were planted.