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Unlocking Nigeria’s Potential: The Commercial and Industrial Pathway

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Unlocking Nigeria's Potential: The Commercial and Industrial Pathway

Unlocking Nigeria’s Potential: The Commercial and Industrial Pathway

Nigeria, often hailed as the “Giant of Africa” holds a reservoir of untapped potential and a plethora of opportunities captivating the interest of investors and visionaries worldwide.
Amidst discussions about technology, mineral wealth and export potential, the power sector, an underestimated cornerstone of advancement, often remains in the shadows.
As someone who has navigated the realm of financing large-scale infrastructure projects, I find myself drawn to view Nigeria’s prospects through a financial lens. The inevitable question surfaces: What truly entices energy investments in our land of promise?
Unlocking Nigeria's Potential: The Commercial and Industrial Pathway
Beyond Population and Mineral Wealth: The Power Sector’s Pivotal Role.
While the appeal of technology, Nigeria’s demographic dividend, and its mineral wealth are evident, the significance of the power sector often fades into the background.  Yet, this sector forms the foundation of progress and deserves greater attention.
 Historically, advanced nations didn’t solely rely on technological advancements, skilled labour, or mineral resources for their development. Prioritising the consistent and reliable supply of power to industries was the true catalyst for their growth.
Navigating Complex Challenges: A Financial Perspective
Drawing from my experience of financing large infrastructure projects, embarking on grid-based power initiatives in Nigeria involves navigating a complex web of challenges, financial limitations, infrastructural gaps, bureaucratic intricacies, and technical hurdles that converge to create significant obstacles. For power investors seeking to secure support from financiers—banks or private equity firms— demonstrating a project’s “bankability” becomes crucial. This involves a detailed evaluation of factors consumer tariffs, collection currency, and the purchasing power of the end user.
Mitigating Risks: Sovereign Guarantees and Innovations
Prevailing wisdom dictates that bolstering Nigeria’s energy output through robust national grids will drive economic growth and pave the way for equitable development and industrialisation. However, the stark contrast between the nation’s energy demand – a staggering 600 terawatt-hours ( equivalent of power for 216,000,000 million homes) – and the reality of numerous signed Independent Power Projects (IPPs) that remain unrealised, highlights a critical issue. The conventional on-grid solutions, once hailed as the panacea for Nigeria’s energy challenges, appear to be faltering under the weight of a myriad of complex obstacles.
Investments into Nigeria are often in dollars, introducing the spectre of currency risk, purchasing power discrepancies, and political volatility. The fact remains most Nigerian retail consumers presently are unable to afford the cost of power and in turn Nigeria is often unable to meet debt obligations linked to on-grid power projects funded in foreign currency. Risk mitigation tools, including sovereign guarantees and Power Contract offtake Agreements (PCOAs) aim to alleviate these concerns.
However, a sovereign guarantee or a PCOA goes on the balance sheet of a nation, and at times can affect the credit rating of the country. Given the complications with bankability, a recent trend sees Nigeria and other developing nations cautiously managing their financial obligations to avoid unsustainable burdens.
A Paradigm Shift: Igniting the Commercial and Industrial Sector
Notably these challenges are not unforeseen. Industrialised nations didn’t achieve development by solely focusing on supplying retail power. Sustainable provision of power to industry drove industrialisation, generated employment, increased purchasing power, thereby bolstering affordability of power, paving the way for widespread electrification and development. The inability to ensure reliable power for industry, in particular, acts as a brake on economic growth.
The time is ripe for an innovative shift, one that ensures economic empowerment and fortifies the foundation for a resilient future – channelling efforts to fulfil the energy demands of the commercial and industrial (C&I) sector. This sector, characterised by its steady energy needs and robust purchasing power, emerges as a catalyst for transformative energy strategies. New power projects sprucing up in industrial clusters will fuel phenomenal growth. By delivering consistent power to these sectors, Nigeria can spur industrialisation, facilitate long-term job creation, and foster sustainable economic autonomy.
Short-term Impact, Long-term Vision
In a most recent trip to India, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR gained a commitment from a consortium of investors to put  $1.6 billion into power. Channelling that pledge towards C&I energy provisioning yields immediate benefits. An influx of economic vigour, encouragement for local industries, and an inviting atmosphere for both local and foreign investments set the stage for rapid growth. However, this strategic pivot carries implications beyond immediate wattage gains.
 A flourishing C&I sector paves the way for a resilient grid-based power system, stimulating infrastructure development. Meeting the ambitious demand for 708 terawatt-hours by 2030 isn’t just a goal; it’s a catalyst for job creation, economic vitality, and increased income.  As industries flourish and energy demands continue to grow, the impetus and capacity for further infrastructure development becomes undeniable. This strategic shift not only addresses the immediate need for energy to spur industrialisation but also sets the stage for robust economic growth.
A Bright Future Beckons: Pioneering Prosperity
The commercial and industrial pathway, marked by its innovation and strategic focus, offering  a promising route to unlock the nation’s true potential is where Nigeria’s energy resurgence resides.
Ploughing the route successfully necessitates collaboration. The private sector should leverage expertise and drive innovation. Government entities and appointees must be proactive following Mr President’s lead, streamline processes, provide clarity, efficiency and ease of procedure, thereby communicating that Nigeria is ready for business.
 Our collective will and innovative spirit fuel Nigeria’s potential. With the renewal of hope comes the awakening of the Giant of Africa – together, we forge a path of progress.
Olu Olufemi-White
Instagram: @oluwhite
Twitter: @oluwhite_

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Corruption: The Paradox of George Orwell’s Animal Farm in Nigeria

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Confusion as EFCC names ex-Kogi Gov in amended corruption allegations perpetrated before he became Governor

 

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”

 

 

A proclamation by the pigs that control the government in the novel Animal Farm, by George Orwell has reared its ugly head. The sentence is a comment on the hypocrisy of governments that proclaim the absolute equality of their citizens, but give power and privileges to a small elite. This nauseating development has come to fruition in one of the most discussed issues in our dear nation Nigeria where the Kano State High Court has ruled that the trial of the Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Abdullahi Ganduje, and others accused of bribery and misappropriation will continue even in their absence.

The Kano State Government, on Thursday, arraigned immediate-past governor Abdullahi Ganduje, his wife, Hafsat, son, Umar and six others for alleged $413,000 and N1.38bn bribery. The defendants, who were absent from court, were arraigned in absentia.

The Governor Abba Yusuf-led government had since April filed the charges against Ganduje and others, but efforts to serve them the charges had proved abortive. At the previous hearing on June 5, the prosecution obtained an order to serve the charges on them by substituted means, through newspaper publication.

The Kano State Government assembled 15 witnesses to testify against the defendants, immediate-past governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, his wife Hafsat Umar; Abubakar Bawuro; Umar Abdullahi Umar; Jibrilla Muhammad, Lamash Properties Limited, Safari Textiles Limited, and Lasage General Enterprises Limited to face eight counts of alleged bribery, diversion, and misappropriation of funds amounting to billions of naira. During the last hearing on April 29, 2024, the court was set to rule on a motion for substituted service, but the defendants had not yet been served.

The charges span a series of alleged corrupt activities. Ganduje was accused of receiving $200,000 from a contractor in exchange for government contracts between January 2016 and February 2017. The second charge claims he collected an additional $213,000 as a kickback from the Kantin Kwari textile market-remodelling project.

Ruling days back, Justice Amina Adamu-Aliyu dismissed the state government’s application for a bench warrant against the defendants.

“The trial of the defendants continues even in their absence,” she stated.

It is imperative to provide jurisprudential insights herein, as the court had previously, on June 5, granted an order to serve Ganduje and the other defendants through substituted service.

The prosecution counsel, Adeola Adedipe (SAN) informed the court that the defendants had been served, and an affidavit of service was filed on June 6.

He noted, “My lord, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th respondents are not in court nor represented, only the 6th respondent”.

Adedipe requested the court to enter a plea of not guilty on behalf of the absent defendants, citing section 278(1)(2) of the Kano State Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) 2019.

“The court should enter a plea of not guilty on behalf of the defendants who refused to answer the complaint in the charge,” Adedipe argued.

He also urged the court to issue a bench warrant of arrest pursuant to Section 388 of the Kano State ACJL, stressing, “The essence of an arrest warrant is for the sanctity and urgency of the court because an order has been made for the defendants to appear before it and they refused”.

However, counsel for the 6th respondent, Nureini Jimoh (SAN) contended that service had not been properly affected on his client.

“We filed a notice of preliminary objection on the competency of the entire charge. The court does not have constitutional power on any of the count charges,” Jimoh stated.

He also mentioned that an application for a stay of execution had been filed before the Court of Appeal, “restraining the prosecution from publishing any charges against the 6th respondent”.

Jimoh urged the court to dismiss the prosecution’s application for a warrant of arrest and to refrain from entering a plea of not guilty on behalf of the 6th respondent.

Justice Adamu-Aliyu has adjourned the case until October 23 and 24 for the hearing of the preliminary objection and the main charge.

This development portends grave danger in the scheme of affairs with questions begging for an answer that is the ruling party helmsman immune to scrutiny and forensic investigations by the anti-corruption body, EFCC? In hindsight, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf pontificated in public domain that his predecessor, Ganduje has a case to answer as his government will stop at nothing to bring him and his co-travellers to book over his eight-year’s tenure characterized by corruption.

It’s beyond beggar’s belief that such an infringement has been swept under the carpet, as a similar case that involves the immediate-past Kogi State governor; Yahaya Bello is hugging the headlines indefinitely. The confluence sub national entity stated earlier in public domain that GYB has no case to answer, but the EFCC states that reverse is the case.

The Governor in his reaction regretted that Ganduje who was supposed to cover his face in shame over cases of corruption and political violence hanging around his neck shamelessly spoke about non-existent failure in the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) led government in the state.

According to the statement, “Governor Yusuf insisted that Ganduje presided over two unproductive tenures characterised with, inability to cater for the needs of Kano’s population and nepotism.

“Our eight months in office has remarkably outweighed Ganduje’s eight wasted years of political caricature and maladministration by all standards,” Governor Yusuf stated.

He advised the acting National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) and the immediate-past Governor of the state, Abdullah Umar Ganduje to rather buckle up in defence of his battered image at the court, instead of further exposing his impunity on the media space.

Furthermore, to gain helicopter oversight on this thorny issue that’s a sore thumb that constitutes leprous fingers was highlighted by Muhuyi Magaji, chairman of the Kano state Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCCAC), where he stated inter alia that the agency has traced N51.3 billion allegedly diverted by Abdullahi Ganduje, former governor of the state.

Magaji spoke during an interview on Arise TV. He said the funds traced by the anti-corruption commission were half of the over N100 billion meant for LGs in the state.

“The monies were channeled to different local government accounts. They then met with local government staff to create false expenditure with a payment voucher and then diverted the money through a third party,” he said.

“We traced a lot of the diverted funds to various individual accounts at the single market and subsequently took the money in cash to the state government house with someone stationed with a counting machine.”

The trajectory where ignominious allegations that involve perceived associates of the ruling party and levers of power are overlooked, while entities in the bad books of the system are subjected to vice like grip treatment leaves a sour taste in the mouth that could be equated to dystopian locomotion in a democracy.

Ayoola Ajanaku is a Communications and Advocacy Specialist based in Lagos, Nigeria….

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OGUN ORDERS ILLEGAL OCCUPANTS OUT OF FOREST RESERVES

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OGUN ORDERS ILLEGAL OCCUPANTS OUT OF FOREST RESERVES

OGUN ORDERS ILLEGAL OCCUPANTS OUT OF FOREST RESERVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sahara Weekly Reports That Ogun state government has asked illegal occupants in its Forest Reserves at Area J3 in Ijebu-East Local Government Area, to vacate and desist from habit of selling government lands.

 

 

 

 

OGUN ORDERS ILLEGAL OCCUPANTS OUT OF FOREST RESERVES

 

 

 

 

Commissioner for Forestry, Engr. Taiwo Oludotun made this known during a fact-finding visit to the reserved, saying individual or group that has no legitimate business in the forest would not be allowed to stay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engr. Oludotun, who emphasised the need to protect all government forest reserves against criminality perpetrated by unscrupulous elements, noted that the present administration would continue to ensure safety and proper management of the reserves.

 

 

 

 

 

OGUN ORDERS ILLEGAL OCCUPANTS OUT OF FOREST RESERVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘’Ogun State government will not fold its arms and allow people who do not have business in this reserve to stay. Those harbouring criminals should desist as government is ready to take drastic action against any culprit’’, he warned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Commissioner, said identity cards and other means of identification would henceforth be made compulsory for legitimate occupants, directing Forestry officials to take data of people living in the area including gender, occupation, state origin, among others, and forward it to the headquarters, within a shortest possible time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier in his remarks, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Timothy Olatunji urged Baales in the area to protect the reserves by sustaining tree planting all through the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He said farmers in the reserve were permitted to plant cassava, maize and other food crops, noting that such agricultural practices should not be done at the detriment of trees that were planted, promising government’s assistance in seedlings provision to achieve the goal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Responding, representative of Baales in the area, Chief Adewale Aderinwale, appreciated the Commissioner and the management team for the visit, assuring them of their cooperation at all times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highpoint of the visit was symbolic tree planting exercise carried out by the Commissioner, Permanent Secretary and the management staff at Aba Ekiti in the area.

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Leadership of Students’ Unions Across University,Poly, Colleges Begin Protest July 29th

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Leadership of Students’ Unions Across University,Poly, Colleges Begin Protest July 29th

 

*MEMO TO ALL STUDENTS, STUDENTS’ UNIONS, STUDENT ASSOCIATIONS AND AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS COVERING NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES, POLYTECHNICS AND COLLEGES OF EDUCATION*
 The leadership of the National Association of University Students (NAUS), with the leadership of the National Association of Polytechnic Students(NAPS), and the National Association Nigerian of College of Education Students (NANCES), extends sincere greetings to Nigerian Students covering the aforementioned bodies, as well as, its affiliated associations across the country.
The purpose of this Memo is to prepare the minds of Nigerian students across tertiary institutions in the country, on the collective decision made by the leadership of the aforementioned associations, after due and painstaking consultations on the way forward for Nigerian Students.
The present economic quagmire occasioned by the rising cost of living, hike in cost of commodities , hike in petroleum price, hike in electricity tarriff, insecurity, poor funding of our institutions which presently affects more than 80% of the population in the country, is felt most by young Nigerians studying for various academic qualifications across tertiary institutions.
This development has led to poor socioeconomic welfare for students, a loss of interest in academic activities and a fall in grades, an increase in crimes and criminality, and an increase in violence on campuses and their environs.
Furthermore, the inability of federal, state and local governments to provide adequate immediate and long-term palliatives, especially for Nigerian Students, to cushion the effect of the high cost of living, is rather disappointing and also raises the alarm of the student movement in the country, of a seeming lack of initiatives and ideas on the most effective approach to sustainable economic recovery and growth.
Hence, the trio of NAUS, NAPS and NANCES, representing the voices of millions of Nigerian students emphatically condemns the lackadaisical attitude of the Government and declares a National Day Of Protest For Nigerian Students starting from Monday, July 29th, 2024 till further notice having communicated the government through various means including media but nothing has been done.
This protest is to serve a way of exercising our right and driving home our demands to the Federal and state governments, to influence innovation, conceptualization and implementation of plans for the alleviation of the hardship suffered by Nigerian students.
More directly, the trio of NAUS, NAPS AND NANCES frowns at the I don’t care attitude or the government towards reducing the current hardship been undergone by all of us especially the students which  contributes to the impoverishment of Nigerian Students.
The Leadership of NAUS, NAPS AND NANCES therefore urges all Nigerian students to prepare for the National Day of Protest coming up from the 29th of July, 2024.
With this notice, Student union officials are enjoined to be in touch with their respective associations for updates on the Protest, as security agencies will also been put on notice.
Leadership of Students' Unions Across University,Poly, Colleges Begin Protest July 29th
Aluta Continua, Justa Costa,  Victoria Ascerta.
Signed :
Comr. Obaji U. Marshal
National President, NAUS
Amb. Shuaib Ishaka Yahaya.
Senate President, NAUS
Comrade Ridwan Opeyemi Munirudeen,
National President, NAPS
Comrade Adeniji Boluwaji Temitope
 Senate President, NAPS
Amb. Comr. Eegunjobi Samuel Oluwaseun
National President, NANCES
SEN. KUR ISAAC USHAHEMBA
Senate President, NANCES

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