By Abimbola Johnson-Idemeto
When Ahmed Dangiwa, an architect, took over as Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria(FMBN) a year ago, his main focus was to ensure some of the objectives of the National Housing Fund(NHF) achieved within the shortest possible time. Some of these objectives are: to mobilize funds for the provision of affordable housing in Nigeria; supply loans for building, purchasing and improving residential housing; incentivize capital market investments in property development and provide long-term loans to mortgage institutions for on-lending to contributors to the Fund.
And on the anniversary of his one year in office, the House of Representatives gave him a huge present. The house asked the Federal Government to recapitalize the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to the tune of N500bn. It said this was necessary to make the bank more vibrant and responsive to its functions for effective housing delivery in the country.The bank currently has a capital base of N5billion.
This recommendation followed the work of the house committee on housing investigated the non-compliance with the National Housing Fund Act and the inability of the government to deliver housing to the citizenry.
The committee, which is chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Katsina State, Mr. Ahmed Baba-Kaita, had observed that a major shortcoming was the failure of contributors to the Fund, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, commercial banks and insurance firms, to perform their duties.
The committee recommended that such contributors should be compelled to provide funds for the NHF as provided in the Act. The committee also recommended that the FMBN be given necessary government support in areas like guarantee, recapitalization and allocations to empower the bank for maximum productivity.
There are several bills before the National Assembly seeking to reposition the FMBN and the mortgage industry in the country, which have been starved of necessary funding over the years. The house committee on housing organized a public hearing last year to get stakeholders’ input into the bills. The public hearing was well attended largely due to the sensitization and mobilization done by the management of FMBN.
During the hearing on a bill for an act to establish the Institute of Mortgage Brokers and lenders of Nigeria (IMBLN) and a bill for an act to repeal the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Act, Cap F16, 2004, stakeholders in the mortgage industry called for the repeal of the existing Act establishing FMBN to give room for its comprehensive re-establishment and strengthening of its board.
They made strident calls for the recapitalisation of the FMBN from the current N5 billion to at least N1 and the inclusion of the critical stakeholders who are contributing to the National Housing Fund as members of the board.
They also sought for the establishment of the regulation of the sector’s activities to instill professionalism. The stakeholders maintained that the establishment of regulatory institute in the mortgage industry will help to instill professionalism, eliminate fraudsters, remove speculators, provide regulatory framework, entrench sanity and decency, provide training programmes for practitioners in the sector, among others.
On the repeal of existing FMBN Act and the re-enactment of an Act re-establishing and strengthening the management and board of the bank, they stressed that it will embolden the bank to carry out its functions unimpeded.
They specifically called for the recapitalisation of the FMBN from the current N5 billion to at least N1 and the inclusion of the critical stakeholders who are contributing to the National Housing Fund as members of the board.
These have also been the position of Dangiwa when it comes to taking the mortgage sector to the next level. He was in the vanguard of those calling for the establishment of Institute of Mortgage Brokers and Lenders of Nigeria to provide standards and professionalize the estate business.
Apart from supporting the repeal of the FMBN Act , he also proposed that the share capital of the bank should be increased to N500 billion to improve its liquidity. Lack of liquidity had prevented the bank from performing its role as the apex mortgage bank in the country. Contributors to the NHF have complained of inability to access housing loans, and this is because deductions from the fund are not remitted as and when due by the relevant institutions.
But since coming on board, the Dangiwa led management had made several initiatives to grow the customer base of the bank to improve its liquidity.The objective is to expand its coverage to capture the potential 50 million-market sizes and contribute significantly to the target of creating one million new mortgages on an annual basis, while maintaining the single-digit interest rate.
It is also targeting the market below the lower medium income bracket; increase mortgage sector contribution to national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), meet the changing mortgage landscape and remain relevant in the face of other mortgage financing developments in the Nigerian Housing Sector.
It is the hope of the current management of the bank that FMBN would become wholly owned by the Federal Government instead of the current arrangement which makes the CBN and the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund shareholders of the bank. It is inexplicable how regulators in an industry could also be owners of an institution they’re supposed to regulate.
When the National Assembly eventually passes the Bill re-establishing FMBN, it will not only enhance its liquidity, but will remove unnecessary interventions from the Ministry of Finance and eliminate incident of having another agency carrying out the function of the FMBN or managing the National Housing Fund. This will no doubt eliminate the administrative bottlenecks that have hindered the efficiency of the fund.
It is a credit to the professionalism and commitment of the management of FMBN that it is able to rally stakeholders towards finding common solutions to the myriad of problems confronting the housing sector. It is almost unbelievable that stakeholders such the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Council of Registered Builders, Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Federal Government Staff Housing Board, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria, among others, would spearhead a common cause to salvage the housing sector.
Johnson-Idemeto wrote in from Abuja
Atiku’s US Trip: So much ado about nothing, By Tunde Ajose
For good watchers of the Nigerian politics, one thing has come to stay in our political experiment at getting it right in this country and that is the ability for smart politicians to easily sway the electorates with mundane issues.
The campaigns are no longer issue based but media sensationalism.
Latest of such was the sudden appearance of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the United States of America! Then one begins to wonder why the opposition would think such is the needed magic wand to win the election.
And the euphoria may not be unconnected with the report that Atiku was barred from entering the States because of his fraudulent nature but the question is, why would any serious opposition believes such action would immediately translate into winning the Aso Rock.
One would have wondered why Atiku has chosen to travel with the current senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki? Could it be that he actually traveled under the diplomatic immunity of Saraki’s official delegation?
Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity that ensures diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country’s laws, but they can still be expelled.
We need to be circumspect as we move forward as a nation and be more discerning. The current government of Nigeria is focused more than before in ensuring that Nigerians, regardless of the class or status has a befitting country they could fall back to and call a home.
It is quite obvious that while the opposition are playing to the gallery, the presidential campaign organisation of president Mohammad Buhari is busy rolling up its sleeves and getting down to fields where the real electorates are and connecting with them.
This past week especially has been full of activities for the president despite his age. Within a spate of two weeks, Buhari had sat down to two interviews in-between journeying from the length and breadth of the country in getting the message of hope down to the people.
The president does not rely on his privilege as an incumbent, but insisted on talking to his people and ensuring that Nigerians are united as they go to polls come February.
No one is in doubt that his message also resonates well with the citizens as they troop out en masse to welcome and listen to what he has to say. With the multitude of crowd recorded today as he presented the gubernatorial flagbearer of the party to the good people of Delta State and the ovation that greeted it, there is no doubt that Buhari is truly loved.
As we count down to the elections, Nigerians need to bear it in mind that the 2019 election is about building on a new foundation which the present government has been able to achieve in the first four years and giving the solid foundation out to the marauders to destroy along with the better forgotten 16years in power.
If Atiku is in the United States today, there is no way the intelligence agencies of the federal government of Nigeria would not know about it.
Tunde Ajose, a political commentator, writes from Lagos.
Red alert on Kogi 2019 elections, By Omahi Umar
2019 Kogi elections may end up being the bloodiest and the most rigged election in the history of Nigeria. This is not a question of being an alarmist. It is rather because the incumbent governor, having failed woefully in governance has principally resorted to the use of security agents to rig and manipulate the outcome of the elections in favour of the ruling government.
A taste of what to expect in the elections in Kogi has started manifesting. In the Kogi Central Senatorial District where the governor hails from, members of the opposition are now harassed, harangued, maimed, killed and kidnapped on regular basis. The latest victim is one Enesi who was recently killed by armed men while several others went missing in recent night raids and hunts for men of the opposition parties in the Kogi Central.
In the same central, it is an open secret that the houses of Commissioner for Water Resources, the Commissioner for Local Government and many of the local government administrators have now turned armouries where a huge number of sophisticated guns and ammunitions are off-loaded at nights purportedly by “men in uniform” unchallenged. It was being speculated that over 3000 assorted automatic weapons have been acquired by the governor and hidden in different locations across the state. The state local tabloids and social media have the news of the governor vowing that he was ready to kill anyone who stands on his way in the coming elections.
The Kogi East will definitely be a battleground of sorts too. It is the home of the all powerful Chief of Staff who has vowed to deliver his constituency to the governor at all costs. Recently in Idah, many vehicles belonging to Atai Idoko were destroyed by APC members while on campaign rallies. Pockets of violence from Kogi East are reported on daily basis and will be on the increase as we approach elections. The most troubling aspects of this violence is that they are often committed in the glaring eyes of security agents who choose to look the other way while these crimes are being perpetrated.
It has been rumoured that the Ogohi of Anyigba’s palace is the armoury for Eastern Kogi with brother, the administrator of Dekina Local Government, Alhaji Isiaka and Alhaji Ahmed, the Kogi East Zonal chairman of the APC as field commanders.
The Western Senatorial District appears calm as of today but we believe it is an uneasy and heavily pregnant calm. This Senatorial District is the home place of Dino. The governor is betting it everywhere with his life that he would rather die than allow free and fair elections that would produce Dino. Since Dino enjoys cult followership in these areas, the modus operandi here will be to scare away many people from voting units so as to allow for heavily falsified results against Dino and Atiku.
The number of militants in training in Kogi is becoming very scary, worrisome, alarming and really frightening. The men of the Vigilante Service are now being secretly trained on the use of sophisticated weapons. The first batch of about 1000 men and women have passed out. Currently at the Lokoja Stadium, there are over 700 vigilante men/women in camp undergoing military training for the elections. Police and military uniforms are smuggled into the state for use in the elections.
Apart from this number being trained in the state, reliable information is that over 1000 militants are currently undergoing training in Yobe State for Kogi elections. The whole stories are really very worrisome.
The intention is to kill and harass opposition members as much as possible. It is also intended that many strong opposition members would be kidnapped prior to the elections. Information is that many should be scared away from voting, especially in the opposition strongholds.
By and large, the elections in Kogi may witness tales of anguish and failures except urgent steps are taken to counter the devilish plans of the state governor. The goings on in Kogi State must be exposed to the whole world by all means possible. This is a situation where a stitch in time will save nine.
- Umar wrote in from Lokoja, Kogi State
Wait! Before you vote Atiku, By Musa Mohammed
While the clamour for change in government from president Mohammodu Buhari to Atiku Abubakar may have been something that has taken over the national discuss and rightly so as the elections draw near, it may be noteworthy to pause and reflect on the character of the prospected replacement.
The big question on our mind should be can we trust Atiku? What really is the new thing he is coming to offer bearing in mind he was once the number two citizen of this great nation for 8years? If we insist the position of a vice president is not as powerful as the president, haven’t the achievements of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo knocked out such narrative?
The Nigerian vice president has proven times without number that he is as useful as the president of Nigeria and records are there to show for it. Where are the achievements of Mr. Atiku?
If you ask Nigerians, most of what they would remember about his days in office would be the national assets he sold to his colleagues and the long running battle he had with his principal, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
Aside from the fact that there should be no vacancy in Aso Rock, Osinbajo is more presidential than Atiku. Don’t take my words for it, below were some of the things his then boss said and wrote about him chronologically.
2003 “I regret picking Atiku Abubakar as my vice”.
2004 “I can no longer work with Atiku, his integrity is in question “.
2005 “Atiku cannot be trusted “.
2006 “Atiku cannot escape justice over corruption cases ”
2007 “Do not vote Atiku he is corrupt”.
2008 “Atiku is a corrupt leader”.
2009 “Nigerians can never forgive Atiku”.
2010 “Atiku is not an option to leadership in Nigeria “.
2011 “I have never seen a leader as greedy as Atiku “.
2012 “Nigerians should pray for leaders imbued with integrity not Atiku “.
2013 “Atiku should apologize to Nigerians over his political sins”.
2014 No political party with the aspiration to assume leadership should think of Atiku”.
2015 “Nigeria has grown beyond a corrupt leader like Atiku”.
2016 “I will never reconcile with Atiku “.
2017 “I never knew Atiku was this corrupt ” “I can never be on the same page with Atiku. God forbid!”.
2018 January to August “God will not forgive me if I support Atiku “.
2018 August “Atiku has the capacity to save Nigeria’s economy from collapse”.
If such verdicts could come from Obasanjo who was his direct boss, what doubts should Nigerians have in rejecting such bad market and move on to the next level with the present administration bearing mind that Obasanjo once said, “As an engineer, I know a point I can use tractor to hit and a storey building would come down within few minutes, but it would take years to erect such.”
Nigeria is undergoing transformation. The administration of president Mohammodu Buhari has used his first term to lay a good foundation for him to start building on in 2019 and it only make sense to key in.
God bless Nigeria.