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Leave Keystone Bank, 9mobile alone, share your manifesto with Nigerians

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Atiku/Buhari

By Gbenga Ogunleye

There have been interesting events in the political terrain in the past few weeks, but the one that has gained unnecessary attention was this allegation by Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, presidential flag-bearer of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) that the president, Mohammadu Buhari and his family owned shares in Etisalat and Keystone Bank. He also called for probe into the substantial shares in Etisalat now known as 9mobile which has an estimated $2b (about N727b at 360 per dollar) of its estimated $20b global net worth.

No doubt, all that have transpired in the political circles do not spring any surprise to many a political watcher, because we know it is all politics, going by the fact that 2019 elections are just few weeks away and this has elicited desperations from desperate politicians. However, the masses, nay the electorate will end up getting more confused as a direct product of spurious allegations like the aforementioned.

Luckily, a group of investors in Lagos have put things in the right perspectives, declaring that the sale of the two companies followed due processes with the involvements of industry regulators. They affirmed that neither President Muhammadu Buhari nor his family members owned shares in either Etisalat or Keystone Bank.

The above explanation should have put paid to further grumbling over who owns either 9mobile or Keystone Bank.

But it is so unfortunate that Nigerian politics have been reduced to this appalling dimension where an aspiring leader or leaders would leave issue-based discussions and campaigns to embark on mud-slinging and false claims. We as Nigerians expect our politicians to tell us what they have in stock for us when they claim the mantle of leadership, instead of beating about the bush just to hoodwink us.

In recent times, careless talks and spurious allegations have had telling effects on businesses, Nigerians and it is high time we exercised restraints to save the nation. Are our youths truly lazy? Succumbing to the carrots dangled by these politicians and helping them to spread their lies, peddling unfounded stories? Nigerian youths, this is a clarion call to put on your thinking caps ahead of the election.

In a saner clime, the miraculous transformation experienced by Keystone Bank which was almost a dying entity a few years ago, would have attracted kudos and commendations from both the general public and politicians alike. It would be recalled that after many years in the doldrum and following its most recent acquisition by Sigma Golf-Riverbank consortium, Keystone Bank, for the half-year ended June 30, 2018, recorded a Profit Before Tax of N5.9billion compared with a loss of N7.1billion over the same period in 2017 while deposits have grown from N209billion in August 2017 (when the new management came on board) to N358billion as at November 2018.

On the part of 9mobile, the Investor Group had said after about a year of back-and-forth process of selecting a preferred bidder for the sale of 9Mobile, formerly Etisalat, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) jointly, in their roles as regulators opted for an innovative approach to deal with a distressed company operated by Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Limited (EMTS) which its predecessor, Mubadala Group, Etisalat International brand pulled out of the country due to massive debt.

At this point in Nigerian history, politicians are expected to show maturity in their chase for political positions rather than heat up the polity in a way that would further damage an already dented economy.

Nigerians should be asking the candidates to present their manifesto/ plans to re-energize the economy rather than falling for their cheap tricks to distract us from the real issues.

Hopefully, 2019 will not be the usual tea party.

  – Gbenga Ogunleye, a political analyst wrote from Lagos, Nigeria.

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NEWS

I’ll recover my stolen mandate, says Atiku

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Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says he is confident in getting his “stolen mandate” from the court.

He spoke on Wednesday during a courtesy call on the southern and middle belt leaders at the Abuja residence of Edwin Clark, a leader of the group.

Atiku, who lost to President Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had rejected the result of the presidential poll and is currently challenging the validity of the election at the tribunal.

“This is a mandate that has been stolen from Nigerians. We believe justice would be done at the end of the day,” he said.

“As I had announced earlier, I have rejected the result of the election. As announced earlier, we have filed our petition before the tribunal or the courts because we believe this is a mandate that has been stolen from the Nigerian people. And I believe that the courts will do justice in this case.

“We still have confidence in our courts and we believe justice will be done. But the most important thing here is that between ourselves, we have been able to galvanize the people of this country to think alike and in unity.

“Of course, we have also come to realize and accept that the basis of our unity, our coexistence lies fundamentally on restructuring this country so that every part of this country can have a sense of belonging and also have opportunity to exploit their human and materiel resources for the development of the citizens while remaining in the same country.”

Thanking the leaders, Atiku said he believes this is a struggle that is achievable, and Nigeria has nothing to fear about restructuring.

In his remarks, Clark commended Atiku for heading to court, and assured him that the elders were behind him.

“We are happy that you are in court, you have already filed your papers, it’s not a question of saying am going to court. We are behind you. And by the grace of God, we will achieve what we are struggling for,” he said.

The group of elders comprising Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, and Middle Belt Forum (MBF) had adopted Atiku two weeks to the election.

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NNPC confident of meeting 2019 oil production target – Baru

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has expressed confidence that it would meet the target of 2.3 million barrels of oil per day (MBOPD) benchmark used in the 2019 Midterm Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

This was according to the Group managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, who stated this while appearing before the Senate committee on Finance on Tuesday.

Baru, who was represented by NNPC’s Group General Manager, Corporate Planning and Strategy, Mr Bala Wunti, disclosed that the corporation has installed oil production capacity of over 2.5 Mbopd to support the yardstick used in 2019 MTEF.

Baru identified the major obstacle to achieving the planned production volume as the security situation in the Niger Delta region, which according to him, has seen considerable improvement.

The NNPC GMD noted that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s strong focus on “collaboration and effective community engagement for sustainable partnership” has significantly helped to douse the security challenge in the region.

Baru said the improved security situation in the Niger Delta has led to a corresponding improvement in crude oil production under the current administration. The GMD expressed optimism that the security situation will only further improve, adding that the “NNPC remains confident that Nigeria can achieve the 2019 budget production target of 2.3 Mbopd.”

Responding to questions on the impact of OPEC quota on the country’s oil production level, the GMD invited the Committee to note that the National production of 2.3 Mbopd is the national liquid hydrocarbon production which is not only crude oil but also includes condensate. The OPEC quota is an allocation for only for crude oil and not condensate. He explained that Nigeria’s condensate production oscillates between 0.4Mbpd 0.6Mbld out of the 2.3 Mbopd.

The GMD further disclosed that the NNPC mandates on the 2019 MTEF are premised on the 3 thematic assumptions of Production volume, Crude oil price and Unit Cost of Crude Oil Production. “The Corporation is glad to report that NNPC in collaboration with other relevant agencies have emplaced measures to ensure the attainment of these assumptions used in developing the 2019 MTEF,” he said.

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Stop the rumour! Dangote not part of ‘Kano Elders Committee’ on election postponement

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The social media had been awashed with information purporting the creation of a “Committee of Elders of Kano” to address the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Kano elections, which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared as inconclusive

Investigations conducted by First-Weekly Magazine revealed that the news is fake as some of the alleged committee members such as Alhaji Aliko Dangote is currently out of the country on a business trip.

Moreover, we reliably gathered that Alhaji Aliko Dangote is apolitical and he has never been involved in politics in any form.

It was reported in the story that Alhaji Aliko Dangote was to be received by other eminent Kano elders on Tuesday, March 12, 2019  at the Kano International Airport and thereafter proceed to the Emir’s palace to discuss current political situation in Kano State.

Sources revealed that the Nigerian Industrialist, though an indigene of Kano State is primarily committed to developing African economies through his business footprints across 17 African countries and positively touching the lives of people across the continent and beyond.

“It is necessary to properly inform members of the public on this sensitive issue to counter the fake news and set the records straight.

“As a citizen of the country, Alhaji Aliko Dangote is interested in the development and progress of Nigeria and Kano State, but that does not mean that he would dabble into politics.

“He loves his fatherland and his homeland, but he is not the type that would dabble into a terrain that he is not familiar with as he is committed to establishing businesses and enterprises that would promote the economy of the country and provide employment for the teeming Nigerians, some of whom are gainfully employed in his companies and organizations,” said a source.

The source then urged members of the public to disregard the news and treat it as fake, saying that there was no way Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who is out of the country on a business trip, would be having meetings with some people in the country at the same time.

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