General and the home boys

By Dare Babarinsa |
03 October 2019 | THE GUARDIAN

No one who gets to Efon-Alaaye once would ever forget it. Its topography is enchanting and challenging.
The town clings to the precarious side of Ekiti Hill undulating from a distance like a slow river in constant motion. It is beautiful and captivating and you wondered what must have motivated the ancestors to pick that hilly side after their sojourn from Ile-Ife. There is abundance of water surrounding the settlement and you think of games, especially the wild buffalos that was beloved by old hunters who loved the challenge of tackling the beast noted for its bad temper and strong hide. Efon Alaaye is quiet most days of the week when the able bodied youths move to the farms and only mostly the pupils and old people are left to contend with okada riders and merchants of local wares.
This town was home to General James Oluleye, former Nigerian Minister of Finance who was also General Officer Commanding the 2nd Division of the Nigerian Army, Ibadan. He loved Efon, like most of the indigenes. After his worldwide adventures and honours, he built his country home in the town and called it Mesirinka (I am done with wandering) Lodge. For him, no place was like Efon Alaaye, despite its stony pathways and craggy streets, breathtaking scenery and precarious topography. Oluleye’s love for Efon was permanent.
Once Apostle Ayo Babalola beheld Efon and he could never escape the magic. Babalola was the first General Evangelist of the Christ Apostolic Church, CAC, who pitched his tent at Oke-Ooye in Ilesha. He landed on the missionary scene like a hurricane, sweeping everything in his path, bringing fervent Christianity to the Ijesha and Ekiti countries in the early days of colonial rule. He would begin his ministrations and prayers with the declaration, Ni orunko Olorun Alaaye (In the name of the living God)!

Soon Efon Alaaye indigenes who have attended Babalola’s evocative crusades in Ilesha brought the news to their king, the Alaaye of Efon.
“There is a man in Ilesha who is always talking about the God of Alaaye!”
The king invited the evangelist and almost the whole of Efon became converted to the CAC denomination of Christianity, overtaking the Anglican Church which had been planted earlier. The people persuaded Babalola to make Efon his home base. But he was of the restless spirit and one day, he went to the mountain in Erio, another community in the Ekiti country less than 15 kilometers from Efon, where he died suddenly on July 26, 1959. The Erio people regarded Babalola as a holy person and decided to bury him on their soil. The Alaaye however sent Efon youths to retrieve the body and he was re-buried in Efon Alaaye.
Efon is an irresistible place for its indigenes and those who have fallen under its spell like Apostle Babalola. One great Efon son who has travelled all over the world but has not really left home is Dr Kunle Olajide, the Aare of Efon Alaaye who works in Ibadan where he has a flourishing medical practice. Olajide, who celebrated his 75th birthday recently, is an eager community leader and an ebullient politician. In the old dispensation he tried to win the governorship ticket of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, but lost to Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua who eventually emerged the Governor of old Ondo State in 1992. Another attempt in 1998 failed narrowly when Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo emerged as the Governor of the new Ekiti State. Yet Olajide remains a constant predicate of Yoruba politics. He served, until lately, as the General Secretary of the Yoruba Council of Elders.
Olajide’s commitment to Efon reminds one of many other leaders who remain rooted in their native roots whatever the circumstance. Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the first Premier of the defunct Western Region, put Ikenne, his hometown in Ogun State, on the world map. One of Awolowo’s young followers in later years was Chief Segun Adegoke, now 78. Adegoke was the youngest commissioner in the cabinet of Chief Adekunle Ajasin of old Ondo State. He never left his root in Ondo town where he has maintain his law chambers for more than 40 years.
Love of home towns has led to many consequences, most of them positive. Legal icon, Aare Afe Babalola, put his university in his hometown of Ado-Ekiti. Ditto Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, the founder of Elizade University, Ilaramokin, Ondo State. Chief Gabriel Igbinedion brought his hometown of Okada into the national lexicon when he started the Okada Airline. Of course his pioneering Igbinedion University is in Okada. It is also Chief Ponle who put Ada, in Osun State, on the world map. The Ada Golf Course is built to world standard. During my first visit to Ada, Chief Ponle showed me the humble hut where he and his father use to sleep during his childhood years in Ada. The hut has been preserved in the centre of the Golf Course.
During our struggle against military dictatorship, Chief Anthony Enahoro was at the centre of our resistance. His bosom friend, Chief Alfred Rewane, had been assassinated on October 6, 1995 by suspected agents of the General Sani Abacha dictatorship and we knew that Enahoro, the grand patriarch of the opposition National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, would be the next target. A friendly Western High Commision helped us to hide him in Lagos while preparation was in top gear to smuggle him across the border through the famous NADECO route. Few days before he was moved across to Benin Republic by a team led by Dr Frederick Fasehun, the leader and founder of the Oodua peoples Congress, OPC, Chief Enahoro hibernated in the Ikeja home of Dr Amos Akingba, the great nationalist and fearless chieftain of NADECO. However, Chief Enahoro would not agree to be moved until he visited his home in Benin. A special arrangement had to be made for the visit.
The man who received Enahoro in exile was Lieutenant General Ipoola Alani Akinrinade, retired Chief of Defence Staff and leader of NADECO. General Akinrinade is a cat with more than nine lives. During the Nigerian Civil War, he served with the famous Third Marine Commandoes Division commanded by the tempestuous Colonel Benjamin (Black Scorpion) Adekunle. One night he was dancing with a lady at his field headquarters, which was really a hut with thatched roof. Suddenly, his dancing partner became numbed and collapsed. She had been hit by bullet which was actually meant for Akinrinade, then a bearded commando officer.
Few months later, Akinrinade disagreed with Adekunle and angrily left the war front. His meeting with the red-cap chiefs at the Defence Headquarters in Lagos was heated. In the end, he won the argument. Adekunle was removed and the methodical Colonel Olusegun Obasanjo replaced him. Akinrinade concluded the war with Obasanjo. He later led the posse of military officers who foiled the bloody coup of February 13, 1976 during which General Murtala Muhammed was killed. He was one of those officers who insisted that Obasanjo, who had served as Muhammed’s deputy, must become the new military ruler. In 1982 at 42, he retired from the army as President Shehu Shagari’s Chief of Defence Staff.
But he did not retire from trouble as his subsequent involvement with NADECO and Chief Moshood Abiola was to prove. Abacha’s agents sought to kill him and when they missed their quarry, they set fire to Akinrinade’s Lagos home. He became one of the major leaders of NADECO in exile along with the likes of Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Enahoro, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chief Cornelius Adebayo. When I met him in his Maryland, United State residence in 1998, he was nostalgic about home. With the restoration of democracy, Akinrinade returned to Nigeria and headed home to Yakoyo, the village where he was born October 3, 1939.
Akinrinade is now a big time farmer in Yakoyo which is the centre of his universe. He has resisted all temptations to drag him into partisan politics but remain outspoken about national affairs. He remains decidedly partisan and outspoken on the side of the truth and the people. A man who has cheated death many times cannot be persuaded to keep his mouth shut. It is a great thing that he is celebrating his 80th birthday in Ibadan today, the city where he once acted as the military Governor of the Western State.
Maybe we need to follow the examples of General Akinrinade and these home boys and develop our country from its smallest units.

Copyright © 2019 Guardian Newspapers.

Little Baby who had stuff in his Stomach

Fashola lists his takeaways from Pres. Buhari’s foreign trips

Power Minister Fashola Writes About Buhari’s Foreign Trips:

April 18, 2016

By Babatunde Fashola

In making this public intervention, I seek to highlight the benefit of global relationships and cooperation in a world that is changing daily as a result of globalisation and transborder economics, social and even criminal activities where no one is safe, except all are safe, and to leave the dispassionate observer his opinion after deep reflection on the value, or lack of it, of President Muhammadu Buhari’s foreign trips.

This way I hope every Nigerian who cares about our country will have some information about what their president is doing about the things that concern them.

First I will start with context.

Barely two decades ago (between 1994 and 1998), we would not have quarrelled with the description that we were a pariah nation. We were ostracised from global events because of bad governance.

We had lost the respect accorded nations like ours were they well-led and well-run. I recall that not a few Nigerians complained that the green passport was becoming, if it had not already become, a burden. That was at the height of the dictatorial government that broke the rules of international relations.

It was from there that we started to heal. Investors entered our country. Many brands that we sought after abroad started coming to set up shop in our country.

The tourist footfalls in our country increased slowly but surely, but again we began to slide. That was when Buhari declared at a meeting in Lagos during his campaign in 2015, that if elected, he would make us proud about our country again. Proud to be Nigerian again.

That is the context in which I view his foreign trips and the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Foreign Relations which promised to: 

Make the Nigerian national interest the overriding factor in its foreign policy and international relations.

Work to reform global governance in multilateral institutions and agencies.

Work to strengthen the African Union (AU) to become a more effective organisation on global affairs.

Engage the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) on the basis of equality.

Play a leadership role to develop a MINT (Mexico, India, Nigeria, and Turkey) as a counterforce to BRICS.

I will limit my takeaways to four trips that I attended with the president namely: the G7 Summit in Germany, the Oil and Gas Summit in Iran, the Renewable Energy Conference in Abu Dhabi and the state visit and Business Forum in China; and two trips that I did not attend, but whose deliberations I followed, namely: Paris for the COP 21 and USA for the Nuclear Energy Summit.

G7 in Germany

This is a club of eight of the most industrialised, economic and technologically advanced nations. For the benefit of those who do not follow international politics, it was originally the G8 comprising the USA, Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Japan, Italy, and Russia, who were later suspended and had sanctions imposed on them to make it G7 as a result. It was formed in 1975 as a club of six before Canada and Russia were admitted. They look after each other, and the rest of the world to put it simply. They have gone to war together if you remember Iraq and Libya in recent memory and they are all largely collaborating to fight terror. (Most recently the FBI was rendering assistance to Belgium in the aftermath of the terror attacks in that country).

Why G7 one might then ask?

Answer: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as host, invited President Buhari on his inauguration to be their guest along with some three or four other African countries. Their agenda was global security, global economy and global health in the aftermath of Ebola, which was still raging in some African countries.

Apart from the personal aides of the president, Governor Shettima of Borno, General Abdulrahman Dambazau and myself were the only ones who accompanied the president.

I recall that upon our arrival in Germany, they expressed surprise that our delegation was small and asked if others were still coming.

In the pre-departure briefing, in addition to highlighting how the security and economic agenda of the G7 coincided with two of his campaign promises, security, (corruption) economy, President Buhari stated the reasons three of us were invited.

Governor Shettima was in the front line of terrorists and criminal activities in the North-east; General Dambazau was a former Chief of Army Staff, and also a faculty associate of Harvard University Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs; I had run the single biggest economy of a state within Nigeria for eight years and was in the frontline of Ebola. Without ministers, one week after taking office, he felt we were the ones best suited to assist, if he needed it, on the issues of security, economy and health on the G7 agenda. In the event, he did not need us. He held his ground admirably. He was the first person called upon to speak at a Summit in which Nigeria was not a member. I was proud to be a Nigerian.

At global summits, we usually got to speak when others had spoken and the hall has emptied. President Barack Obama was the first G7 member to speak after President Buhari and he said that Nigeria has elected a president that brings a reputation of scrupulous integrity to the table. I was proud to be a Nigerian.

The opening session was robust and welcoming, we saw some of the world’s most powerful men and women take off their jackets, call each other by their first names in a club-like setting while addressing the world’s most serious problems. Problems that affect you and I daily. I was proud that my president was in a room where decisions concerning my planet were being deliberated upon.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor Merkel and others also spoke in similar vein about our president’s reputation and our nation’s strategic position in Africa and the world. They pledged support for Nigeria on terror and the economy.

Importantly, I learned that their scientists were worried about increasing resistance of strains of infections to antibiotics; and that they were committing enormous resources into finding out why and what to do. They highlighted the difficulty of time and resources that it will take to develop new antibiotics and the risk to global health.

If we all appreciate how vulnerable we can be without effective antibiotics, especially our children, and if we remember how low life expectancy was and how poor global health was before the discovery of Penicillin after the World War, we will appreciate the seriousness of the platform to which Nigeria was invited. I was proud that our president was there. If the seven most powerful nations stand with you, who can stand against you? I need not say more except that I can attest that President Buhari has been following up on these matters, and the progress on security is visible, while results on the economic front will manifest soon enough.

Iran Oil and Gas Summit

For those who are not aware, one of the reasons why oil prices went up, and from which we benefited in the past, was that Iran, the world’s 7th largest producer of oil, was facing global sanctions from which she was due to emerge in 2016. Because Iran was soon to be selling oil, the likelihood of a further crash of oil prices that had drastically fallen was a threat to Nigeria’s economy if oil prices crashed further. (Our 2016 budget proposals had just been formulated on a $38 per barrel assumption).

I was witness to President Buhari’s persuasion to Iran to come to the market slowly instead of pushing out large volumes which will raise supply and crash prices, even though Iran also needed the cash. You can’t do that type of diplomacy by letter or by phone, in my view, not when the major players were all there in person. I witnessed the meeting with the Venezuelan prime minister, who was leading the South American producers to sell more and get cash even if the prices were lower.

President Buhari’s logic was different. Hold your volumes, steady the price, and don’t let us hurt one another. Recorders of history will recall that the Venezuelan government suffered a major political defeat in Parliament, while President Buhari’s logic has at least steadied oil prices. It might interest you to know that all European nations sent their oil ministers, except Russia, where Vladimir Putin came in person, because having been suspended from the G8 and facing sanctions, this was the meeting where his country’s interests were best served.

For the record, Russia pledged a $5 billion state support to Iran, and if the purpose of this is lost on anyone, I interpret it to mean, “Take cash, don’t pump out your oil. It will hurt me.”

This is the reality of international politics.

Finally on Iran, President Buhari told us, how when he flew to Iran in his days as Petroleum Minister, he noticed how much gas they were flaring and now he returned as president, all the flares were gone. We found out that all the gas had been harvested and piped to every home for heating, cooking etc.

His mandate: “If they can do it, we must do it.” I am proud to be led by a president who sees good things outside and seeks to bring them to his people.

Abu Dhabi Renewable Energy

This is reputed to be the richest of the Emirates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Apart from seeking cooperation to recover Nigeria’s stolen wealth stored in the UAE (his anti-corruption commitment pursued in person), President Buhari addressed a renewable energy summit where we learned about initiatives to bring solar power price down to five US cents per kilowatt hour, (approximately N10) as against the price of 17 US cents (N34) per KW/h tariff in Nigeria fixed at privatisation by the last government.

President Buhari’s mandate was for us to explore collaboration for the manufacture of solar panels in Nigeria to bring down the price and deploy it to the sunlit areas of Nigeria, especially the North that is most prolific for irradiation. We are currently working on the Energy Mix for Nigeria which is the implementation process of the energy policy that will take us there. Hopefully, we will soon be signing the first set of solar deployment agreements for Nigeria.

In this way, more solar and hydro will be used in the North, more coal and hydro in the Middle Belt, and more gas in the South; so that we take power generation closest to the most prolific source of fuel to bring down the cost and make it more affordable. On the trip to China (which I will comment on) we met a few Chinese solar manufacturers (who recognised us from Abu Dhabi) who want to set up business of manufacturing solar panels in Nigeria.

China Investment Forum and State Visit

This is the visit that provoked this write up, because I had bottled what I knew. But it was time, I believe, to share some of it. China is the second largest economy in the world with a per capita income of $8,000 which they are planning to raise to $12,000 by 2020. By her own assessment, according to President Xi Jinping, they are still a developing nation seeking to achieve what he described as “initial prosperity” by 2020.

If you look at the back of your phone, your TV, your watch, your I-Pad, your mobile charger, many other accessories that you use, you are likely to find these three words “Made in China” printed somewhere. For such a nation, (with trillions of dollars in reserves, that plans to spend $2 trillion on imports in the next five years and earn $100 billion annually) who still sees itself as a developing nation, such modesty in the face of success, assiduous hard work and productivity is a destination to seek cooperation in the pursuit of economic development.

This is where President Buhari led an array of Nigerian investors including Erisco Foods, (who now makes our tomato paste at home and employs people locally including farmers who supply the tomatoes), power operators (DisCos and GenCos), and the Dangote Group, to meet with and address their Chinese partners.

During the meeting with the Chinese President, six collaboration agreements were signed including for agriculture and food production improvement techniques, rail and power infrastructure development, for funding the Dangote Group to continue to expand and create jobs at home and keeping some of our reserves in the currency of the richest nation in the world. This last mentioned agreement was a legitimate coup by President Buhari because the intelligence was that some West African countries were going to sign before us. President Buhari seized the moment.

Of course he had to apologise for our previous failures on our agreement made to part-fund four airport projects in Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt and Abuja-Kaduna rail project.

The Chinese had provided their agreed part of 85 per cent but the remaining 15 per cent Nigeria did not honour during the last administration.

Some of the recent revelations about financial scandals estimated at $2.1 billion in the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) alone during the last administration suggest how impactful such funds would have been in delivering these critical infrastructure; but we all know what happened.

This is why President Buhari is travelling. To repair our reputation severely damaged by the last government, and to assure our partners that Nigeria has CHANGED. And from there to re-negotiate an existing funding agreement to complete critical transport infrastructure. Because of his reputation, President Xi Jinping believed him, and to quote him, he said: “It is better late than never.”

Through him China literally opened the door to Nigeria in areas of infrastructure (power, railways and roads), agriculture, education and manufacturing especially in our Free Trade Zones. To paraphrase the Chinese President, “ask us for whatever support or partnership and we will be happy to respond.”

“We wish to see you take your rightful place and we are happy that you are the first African president visiting China, after my visit to Africa last year to pledge a $60 billion support for the development of the continent.”

If this was not initiative I doubt what is?

As for the trips to Paris, COP 21 and the USA, Nuclear Security Summit, I will only say this:

a) The threat of climate change, global warming, desertification in the north of Nigeria and coastal erosion in the Atlantic (Bar beach in Lagos) and in the south, affecting Rivers, Bayelsa and other coastal states, the clear scientific evidence lays the blame at the door of the world’s most industrialised nation for their pollution.

b) Since the Kyoto protocol they have paid lip service to remedying the situation, which unfortunately affects developing nations more adversely.

c) COP 21 was the first serious commitment that these leaders made to ensure that global temperatures do not rise above 2°C and indeed are reduced to 1.5°C. I am proud that Nigeria was not missing at this historic moment. When the planet is saved, the next and future generations of Nigerians will recall that President Buhari was present, when all of the world leaders were present to save the planet.

d) In the aftermath of COP 21, the commitment of these nations is to increase production and technology for renewable energy and to reduce the use of carbon fuels. One way they plan to achieve this is increased deployment of nuclear energy.

e) These nations are at the cusp of sharing safe nuclear technology for peaceful uses with developing nations for power generation. This for me was reason enough and a good one at that for President Buhari to be in the USA because Nigeria has been pursuing a nuclear power programme for about 17 years, not as an alternative to gas or Hydro, but as additions to them.

The world leaders must trust you for you to partake. At that summit, in the group photograph, President Buhari stood on the second row along side Britain and Turkey. In the past, we used to be on the last row. This is CHANGE. As he meets with world leaders outside Africa, he has not forgotten the home front. He is regularly visiting and receiving his sister and brother presidents on the African continent.

President Buhari has earned their trust for all of us and I am proud to carry my green passport. Yes, some results are not yet manifest, and may take a little while to do so, but a solid foundation for a sustainable, respectable and prosperous future is being laid, block by block. This is how to build a solid “home” from whence we can project respect abroad with confidence. How many of us will do business with total strangers without a reference or a good reputation in this age of due diligence?

President Buhari is building affiliations everywhere that if well-managed in future, will develop into a global network of friendships, trust and respect for Nigeria and Nigerians. I once heard that the role of a leader, like that of the head of a family, is that of an aggregator, opening doors and opportunities, breaking down barriers and forging alliances. I agree.

This is my Takeaway on these trips.

Mr. Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, writes from Abuja

Ogbomosho Ancient Tortoise Dies at 344, After ‘A Brief Illness’

A 344 year old tortoise popularly known as ALAGBA in the palace of the Soun of Ogbomoso has passed on.

The scared tortoise which was the oldest in Africa, was sick for a few days before her demise on Thursday.

The tortoise became a popular breed upon ascension of the throne of the current Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi.

The monarch, provided good shelter and health support for the tortoise during its sojourn on earth.

Confirming the ugly incident, Private Secretary to Oba Oyewumi, Toyin Ajamu, stressed that the tortoise, which attracted people from all walks of life from Nigeria and abroad, will be greatly missed not only by the palace household but everyone who came in contact with ALAGBA during her lifetime.
He said, ” Alagba had lived in the palace for centuries.

”The tortoise played host to many monarchs in Ogbomoso in the past.
”Alagba became popular because Oba Oladunni Oyewumi, Soun of ogbomosoland, used his personal resources to cater for her well being.

“The tortoise had two staff members of the palace, dedicated to her.
”They provide food, health support and other logistics, so as to make sure she gets the best treatment.

”Often times, Kabiyesi shares great moments with Alagba.

”On a daily basis, Alagba, had tourists visiting her from different part of the world.

”The palace household, Ogbomoso community and stakeholders in the tourism sector are mourning Alagba’s passage”.

The palace secretary explained that plans are underway to preserve Alagba’s body for historical records.

We rehearsed for six months to perform at 1960 Independence Day – Chris Ajilo

*We rehearsed for six months to perform at 1960 Independence Day – Chris Ajilo

Veteran highlife singer, Pa Chris Ajilo, shares the story of his life with OLUSHOLA RICKETTS

*When were you born?*

I was born on December 26, 1929, at Okepopo on Lagos Island. Growing up in Lagos was difficult and fun at the same time. Despite all the challenges, I give glory to God. I lost my father when I was nine but my mother did a good job in training us. I am the only musician in the family and I have three brothers and two sisters.

*How did you develop interest in music?*

I attended CMS Grammar School, Lagos, and for three years, music was compulsory. We were only allowed to drop music as subject in Form 4. When I went to Europe, England precisely, I started an engineering course at the Birmingham Technical College and I also joined a youth club. While watching bands playing, I felt the desire to pursue a career in music. I told my mother about it and she did not understand why I wanted to abandon engineering for music. I went ahead to enrol in the School of Music in London. I finally made up my mind to go into music fully in August, 1955.

*Tell us more about your days at CMS.*

My days at CMS were fulfilling and exciting. I graduated in 1948. We didn’t play with our studies, but we played pranks among ourselves. Inasmuch as we loved to play, we were very careful because once you were caught, it was a big trouble. Though I am not certain about how things are being run nowadays, during my days, it was compulsory to study music in my secondary school. I was well exposed to music then at the school.
Our principal loved playing football with us, but he didn’t withdraw discipline. He was the only one who had the freedom to punish us; teachers never flogged us. Whenever the principal wanted to whip us, he made it a big deal. He would do it in front of the entire pupils and there was no pupil who wanted such experience.

*Did your parents support your decision to study music?*

My mother didn’t support my decision to study music and like I said, my father died when I was young. In Yorubaland, at a time, a musician was called ‘alagbe’ (beggar). My mother didn’t want me to return to Nigeria after studying in England to become a beggar. But due to my exposure, I knew that musicians were having a good life in England.

Since my mother was far away from me, she didn’t know what I was doing. I went ahead and made the best of the opportunities I had. I had to go through a lot because I wanted to prove to everyone in Nigeria that I would never be a beggar. When I returned to Nigeria, they were all happy for me.

In my book, launched in 2013, Reminiscences of a Nigerian Musicologist, everything about me is there. The book is for people to know about me and learn from my experience. The book is my gift to the future. It took me two years to complete it and I am proud to say I wrote it.

*Was it true that you changed your name to Johnny Foster while travelling to England?*

I didn’t call myself a Jonny Foster because I wanted to do illegal things. I only did that to help myself. I was determined to travel out of the country; so, whatever I needed to do, I was not afraid to do it. I had my identification card as well as a birth certificate. When it got to the point I needed to tell my real name, there was no difficulty.

*When last did you release an album?*

I released my last album when I was 83. I am not just a recording artiste; I do other things in entertainment.

At a time, I was a producer at Polygram Records and I was grooming artistes. When we started the Performing and Mechanical Rights Society of Nigeria, I was the first general manager, a position I held for 14 years. I retired in 2007. It is now known as the Copyrights Society of Nigeria. Composers and performers now understand that they can make money from their works but it was never like this. I made musicians know what they deserved and the need to claim it.

*How did you feel performing on Independence Day on October 1, 1960?*

The Independence Day’s celebration was held at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos. I led the national band, comprising musicians from various parts of Nigeria, including the late Chukwuwetalu Arinze and Victor Olaiya. Then, I was the president of the Nigerian Union of Musicians, which is now called the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria.

It was not easy to perform on Independence Day as the celebration committee members wanted to bring in bands from Europe. The union refused and insisted that we didn’t need a foreign band to perform on our Independence Day. We said we could form a national band and we rehearsed for almost six months before the celebration.

*Did the government reward musicians who performed on that day?*
We didn’t do it for the money. All we got from the celebration committee was uniforms – white and green – for all performers. It was actually all we asked for. It is our beloved country and we represented the musicians of Nigeria through our union. Since it was our contribution, we didn’t collect any money. We showed the world that we could host them. It was a grand ceremony. The Queen of England was represented and other top personalities around the world were in Nigeria.

Miracle galore as Divine power brokers gather in Osodi for OSODI FIRE CRUSADE 2018

WHY NIGERIA’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY IS SLOWING DOWN

The Sheer Scale and Audacity of Dangote’s Refinery Complex In Lekki, Lagos

Read About The Sheer Scale and Audacity of Dangote’s Refinery Complex In Lekki, Lagos
By Victor Okeh – July 16, 2018

The world’s richest black man, and serial industrialist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has embarked on probably one of the most audacious industrial projects ever to be undertaken by a private individual anywhere in the world – The Dangote Petro-Chemical Refinery Complex, located at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos, Nigeria.

We bring you 20 amazing facts about the project, so you can judge for
yourself, the profundity of the vision and courage driving this incredible
undertaking, and how it will change the face of the Nigerian Oil & Gas sector forever. Plus, what he plans to do when he’s done building his refinery:

#1. It is the largest industrial complex in Africa

#2. It is the largest single train grass roots refinery in the world, with a processing capacity of 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day

#3. It is located in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria

#4. The project site is larger than Victoria Island in Lagos. It is sitting on 2,135 hectares of Land in Epe, Lagos, near the Lekki Free Trade Zone

#5. Work proceeds on the site, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

#6. Over $4 billion worth of equipment currently sits on the site. And because there’s not enough gas in the whole country to weld everything together, he’s building his own industrial gas plant

#7. During the construction phase, the project will employ over 25,000 Nigerians

#8. Dangote Group’s refinery projects will provide 235,000 direct and indirect jobs on completion, including those to be generated by a joint venture with the Chinese to produce trucks locally for the distribution of the refinery’s products

#9. The project is slated to cost $14 billion (2.8 trillion) of which Dangote is
contributing half ($7 billion) in equity

#10. World Record 2.72 million accident-free hours so far recorded on site, without a single lost time to injuries

#11. Dangote Group brought in the world’s #1, #2 and #5 sand dredgers to sand fill the site. 60% of the land was originally swampy. So far these dredgers have reclaimed 13 million cubic metres out of the 30 million cubic metres available

#12. When this project comes on line, Nigeria will save a minimum of $10 billion a year on the importation of finished petroleum products

#13. The Ammonia component of the plant will produce 2.8 million tones of Urea annually

#14. The Dangote Group is producing its own electricity to power the plant and by so doing is saving 75% cost. The refinery will require about 480MW daily, about a tenth of what the whole country currently produces. (And by the way, Dangote produces electricity at a rate that is significantly cheaper than that of the Federal Government. Dangote’s cost is $400,000/MW, while the Federal Government’s is $2,000,000/MW).

#15. All the civil engineering works are being done by Nigerian companies

#16. The plant has an export value of $6 billion per annum, meaning Dangote’s

efforts will increase the amount of foreign exchange inflow to Nigeria’s

foreign reserves by at least 40% of current value, on a yearly basis

#17. Dangote said that when this project comes on line, his friend, Femi Otedola, will save at least N26 per litre on the millions of litres of diesel and petrol which his companies import annually. This savings will be passed on to the consumers.

#18. Billions of Naira was paid to acquire the land and to settle the surrounding communities. More money was allocated and spent to relocate the existing communities.

#19. This project will restore the dignity of Nigeria, a crude oil producing country

that has for years looked overseas to meet its demand for refined products.

#20. Refined products to be produced at the plant include, but are not limited to:

Propane, Petrol, Jet Fuel, Diesel, Kerosene, Carbon Black, Polypropylene,

The Sheer Scale and Audacity of Dangote’s Refinery Complex In Lekki, Lagos

Read About The Sheer Scale and Audacity of Dangote’s Refinery Complex In Lekki, Lagos
By Victor Okeh – July 16, 2018

The world’s richest black man, and serial industrialist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has embarked on probably one of the most audacious industrial projects ever to be undertaken by a private individual anywhere in the world – The Dangote Petro-Chemical Refinery Complex, located at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos, Nigeria.

We bring you 20 amazing facts about the project, so you can judge for
yourself, the profundity of the vision and courage driving this incredible
undertaking, and how it will change the face of the Nigerian Oil & Gas sector forever. Plus, what he plans to do when he’s done building his refinery:

#1. It is the largest industrial complex in Africa

#2. It is the largest single train grass roots refinery in the world, with a processing capacity of 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day

#3. It is located in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria

#4. The project site is larger than Victoria Island in Lagos. It is sitting on 2,135 hectares of Land in Epe, Lagos, near the Lekki Free Trade Zone

#5. Work proceeds on the site, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

#6. Over $4 billion worth of equipment currently sits on the site. And because there’s not enough gas in the whole country to weld everything together, he’s building his own industrial gas plant

#7. During the construction phase, the project will employ over 25,000 Nigerians

#8. Dangote Group’s refinery projects will provide 235,000 direct and indirect jobs on completion, including those to be generated by a joint venture with the Chinese to produce trucks locally for the distribution of the refinery’s products

#9. The project is slated to cost $14 billion (2.8 trillion) of which Dangote is
contributing half ($7 billion) in equity

#10. World Record 2.72 million accident-free hours so far recorded on site, without a single lost time to injuries

#11. Dangote Group brought in the world’s #1, #2 and #5 sand dredgers to sand fill the site. 60% of the land was originally swampy. So far these dredgers have reclaimed 13 million cubic metres out of the 30 million cubic metres available

#12. When this project comes on line, Nigeria will save a minimum of $10 billion a year on the importation of finished petroleum products

#13. The Ammonia component of the plant will produce 2.8 million tones of Urea annually

#14. The Dangote Group is producing its own electricity to power the plant and by so doing is saving 75% cost. The refinery will require about 480MW daily, about a tenth of what the whole country currently produces. (And by the way, Dangote produces electricity at a rate that is significantly cheaper than that of the Federal Government. Dangote’s cost is $400,000/MW, while the Federal Government’s is $2,000,000/MW).

#15. All the civil engineering works are being done by Nigerian companies

#16. The plant has an export value of $6 billion per annum, meaning Dangote’s

efforts will increase the amount of foreign exchange inflow to Nigeria’s

foreign reserves by at least 40% of current value, on a yearly basis

#17. Dangote said that when this project comes on line, his friend, Femi Otedola, will save at least N26 per litre on the millions of litres of diesel and petrol which his companies import annually. This savings will be passed on to the consumers.

#18. Billions of Naira was paid to acquire the land and to settle the surrounding communities. More money was allocated and spent to relocate the existing communities.

#19. This project will restore the dignity of Nigeria, a crude oil producing country

that has for years looked overseas to meet its demand for refined products.

#20. Refined products to be produced at the plant include, but are not limited to:

Propane, Petrol, Jet Fuel, Diesel, Kerosene, Carbon Black, Polypropylene,

WhatsApp has announced the launch of a new feature

WhatsApp Introduces New Feature To Curb Fake News

WhatsApp has announced the launch of a new feature globally that will highlight when a message has been forwarded and not composed by the sender.

The messaging application made the move public on Tuesday through its official blog following calls from various parts of the world, including India, to tackle the spread of fake news.

In the statement, the platform, owned by Facebook, said, “Starting today, WhatsApp will indicate which messages you receive, have been forwarded to you.

“This extra context will help make one-on-one and group chats easier to follow,” WhatsApp said in a blog.

“It also helps you determine if your friend or relative wrote the message they sent or if it originally came from someone else.

“To see this new forwarded label, you need to have the latest supported version of WhatsApp on your phone,” WhatsApp added.

Recently, while replying a notice by the Indian government to take immediate measures to prevent misuse of its platform, WhatsApp had said that it was testing a new label that highlights when a message has been forwarded.

“This could serve as an important signal for recipients to think twice before forwarding messages.

“Because it lets a user know if content they received was written by the person they know or a potential rumour from someone else,” it had said.

In its blog, the instant messaging application added, “WhatsApp cares deeply about your safety.

“We encourage you to think before sharing messages that were forwarded. As a reminder, you can report spam or block a contact in one tap and can always reach out to WhatsApp directly for help.”

The company had last month also announced “unrestricted monetary awards” for research on spread of misinformation on its platform to address the problem.

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