Its A Boy ! Bluetoolz Media Congratulates Ooni of Ife

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We at Bluetoolz Media extend our hearty congratulations!!! to His Royal Majesty, The Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and his wife, Olori Moronke Naomi Silekunola who both welcomed a son.

The excited father took to his official Instagram page to share the good news, also stating that both mother and child are doing well. He said,

To God be the glory great things he has done. Hearty congratulations to the entire House of Oduduwa and Olori Silekunola who today birthed a Prince to the Royal throne of Oduduwa. Mother and child are doing well to the glory of God Almighty.

Twitter Disrupts With New Feature! “Fleets” I See How To Use

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Twitter has joined other platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram on the ephemeral sharing train as it introduces “Fleet”.

They’re basically photos, videos and texts you can post on Twitter but they’re not actual tweets. Fleets live for 24 hours and disappear. Yeah, just like stories.

According to Twitter, it believes this will encourage more people especially new users who hardly tweet, to express their thoughts more freely.

Users might not want to tweet more “casual thoughts,” so maybe they’ll Fleet them:

Those new to Twitter found Fleets to be an easier way to share what’s on their mind. Because they disappear from view after a day, Fleets helped people feel more comfortable sharing personal and casual thoughts, opinions, and feelings. These are early findings from our tests and we’re excited to learn more about how Fleets are used by you.

How does it work? According to Fast Company

1. Tap the “Share” icon at the bottom on a tweet.

2. Select “Share in Fleet.”

3. Add whatever you want—text, photos, videos, emojis, etc.

4. If you choose to, customize your background and text.

Cashmore Empowers more Nigerians to earn Millions From Their Recharge

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This was made known during the launch of the multi-level networking and Value Added Services (VAS) earning platform. The Executive Director, CashMore, Caroline Omotosho expressed her excitement as she recounted the limitless possibilities CashMore holds for Nigerians. In her words: “CashMore represents a deeper significance to show Nigerians that each of their actions counts. The platform provides individuals with the opportunity to collectively build wealth and attain financial freedom at their own pace.” 

CashMore is a Virtual Top-up (VTU), data and utility payments (VAS) provider offering everyone the chance to earn passive income from recharge, transactions and referrals. On CashMore, users earn between 4% – 0.35% on every transaction and that of their referrals. 
Abegunde Adeogo, a Network Leader described CashMore.ng as easy and trusted. He stated that: “All the questions I had in mind coming to this launch have been answered, I love the intelligence that went into the CashMore platform and I commend the management. It is easy to use and for me, any platform that is easy as this can be trusted”. 

The Group Head, CashMore and VAS also iterated that: “In a country with over 100 million active sims and about 50% of the population are urban dwellers, Nigerians make daily unsuspecting transactions in millions, empowering the banks and telecoms companies. That is why CashMore is here to spread the wealth and give Nigerians a fighting chance towards their financial freedom.” CashMore is a product of CapitalSage, an integrated digital financial service group, providing people-driven empowerment and inclusive solutions for individuals and businesses for sustainable value and wealth creation in Africa.


Unlike any other platform, CashMore.ng is powered by robust technology and partners, allowing millions of Nigerians to earn daily while they make instant airtime and data top-up, Pay-TV subscription and utility bill payments. Visit www.cashmore.ng to start earning, also click here to download the CashMore App on Google Playstore.
Instagram: @Cashmore_Nigeria
Twitter: @Cashmore_NG 
Facebook: CashMore 

Alleged Hacking Of DSTV, GoTV: Good Use Of PR

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Some Nigerians on social media have been making claims that systems belonging to Multichoice PayTV platforms, DStv and GOtv, were hacked on Sunday October 18.

Many on Twitter claimed that some hackers who simply identified themselves as ‘Anonymous’ were behind it.

‘Anonymous’ became popular on Twitter recently, claiming responsibility for the hack of the social media accounts and websites of some government agencies as part of its support for the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria.

TheCable had earlier reported how the group had hacked the Twitter account of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as well as the website of the Nigeria Police Force..

Before now, the number of DStv and GOtv channels accessible to users is determined by the package one is subscribed to.

However, all channels available on the platforms were available to customers irrespective of their subscription status or bouquet.

As a followup to this DSTV trended massively on twitter with mixed reactions.

When contacted on Sunday, DStv told TheCable that the development is due to an “upgrade in its billing, payment and self-service platforms”.

“Dear customer, please be informed that we are currently carrying out an upgrade or our systems, hence our billing, payment and self-service platforms are all unavailable at the moment,” it said.

“Regular business operations would resume tomorrow, October 19, 2020. Thank you for choosing DStv.”

Checks on DStv’s website also revealed that there was a notification informing users that its systems would be subjected to an upgrade between 11pm on October 17 to 4pm on October 19.

Over and above, it was a win-win for DSTV as it was a subtle use of good public relations.

Ndigbo To The World: Okonjo-Iweala On Final Shortlist For WTO DG

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former minister of finance, says she is yet to be declared director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The final shortlist for the office of the WTO DG was released by the trade body on Thursday.

Okonjo-Iweala and Yoo Myung-hee, former South Korean minister of trade, are the two final candidates for the top position in WTO.

Whoever emerges between the duo will become the first female WTO DG since the organisation was set up 25 years ago.

Following the announcement of Okonjo-Iweala as a final contestant for the role, information has been spreading on several platforms across social media that she has been declared winner.

But in a statement, Paul Nwabuikwu, Okonjo-Iweala’s media adviser, said the ex-minister has not been declared winner.

Nwabuikwu said the race is ongoing, adding that a winner will be announced in two to three weeks.

“The race for the WTO director-general is still very much on. Contrary to inaccurate information released online by an unidentified source, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is yet to be declared winner,” The statement reads.

“As announced by WTO, the former managing director of the World Bank and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee are the final two contestants left in the race.

“The winner should be announced in two to three weeks. That remains the correct position.

“Dr Okonjo-Iweala is appreciative and energised by the enthusiastic support of Nigerians. And she is urging all to keep praying until the final whistle.”

OPINION: Why Laycon Won Big Brother

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Dorathy hugs Laycon after he is announced as the winner of Big Brother Naija Lockdown

A reality TV show aiming to name a king at the end is supposed to be suspenseful. But there was no suspense at the BBN 2020 Finale, only a theme: Laycon’s Coronation. Bring your tuxedos, wear your agbadas, tie your gele.

It was obvious for weeks—at least for anyone on Twitter. His name with some random suffix was on the list of trends weekly. People just liked to talk about the guy.

Sure, his record label appeared to have pumped some money into his campaign. But many many tweets were not the generic content you get when you pay a platoon of influencers. A lot of it was people praising his talent, taking his side in a fight, or admiring his composure.

But, of course, the motivation behind all of these was just under the surface: Laycon didn’t win because he was exceptionally gifted; he won because he was exceptional in being unexceptional. He was the ordinary guy in an ordinary country.

Of the housemates lodged in Big Brother’s house, he was the representative of Nigeria’s most frequently encountered demographic: male, averagely educated, neither ugly nor breathtaking, possibly under-employed, certainly under-paid, “sexually enthusiastic”, likes hiphop music, and falls for pretty girls. You know this man. In fact, every Nigerian man below 45 has at least two of those qualities, and every Nigerian man not born to Otedola or Dangote or someone within that tax bracket, looks in the mirror and sees or has seen Laycon give or take some musculature.

There are only two ways of preventing such a representative person from winning a reality show like BBN in a poor country: a contestant with crazy obvious level of talent/charisma, or an equally relatable female contestant.

In the conspicuous absence of the first, enter Erica.

***

For women in the spotlight, beauty can be a double-edged sword. It can propel ambition, but it can also spark envy in the hearts of the same people you need to thrive. Miss Nlewedim is one of the fortunate ones with the type of beauty that feels grounded. (“Girl next door” is a tired but apt phrase for the lady.) It is almost certainly why Laycon figured he had a chance with her rather than with, say, Nengi, a woman who, to the average guy, would seem of surreal dimensions and carved—or, ahem, surgically created—out of unattainable material.

Erica drew viewers in. They liked her. And, to my mind, if BBN votes were only for those who watched the show religiously, Erica would have won. As it happened, this year was one of those years where drama in the house forces non-watchers to get heavily involved. And in a year where football went on a break and entertainment options were few, everybody and their uncle had a fill of the major narratives in the BBN house. Suddenly, it was a battle between the regular David and the pretty girl Goliath.

This was an incredibly profitable thing for the organisers of Big Brother: not only would people vote and vote to ensure their favourite housemate stays, but they would do so just to have bragging rights over fans of a rival housemate. In reality TV’s business model, love might be good business but love + hate is way bigger business.

And by not revealing the voting pattern until the end of the week, the model ensures fans have a motivation to keep voting blind, hoping that that little extra can take their favourite contestant over and above her rival. We would never know now but Erica and Laycon’s votes were probably about even until the Gordon’s episode.

Erica’s gin-soaked rant had two consequences: it got her evicted and deepened the Goliath vs David narrative.

A beautiful woman with a growing career vs a very average guy hustling his way into Africa’s biggest self-advertising platform. Plus, the guy kept smiling throughout the tirade, pissing his adversary off but winning fans over.

The underdog kept his head, and when clips reached social media, the underdog story was fully written. Goliath will kill David in the material world, but here was a chance for viewers to help rewrite an underdog’s story. Men, many of whom have probably had a beautiful woman destroy their romantic dreams, rooted for their avatar Laycon in droves. Erica won no new fans because women were already watching the show and voting for her. And because she couldn’t keep her rage under control in a controlled environment, she got disqualified.

Following Erica’s disqualification, the road to victory was clear, because no other housemate had created an equal emotional deposit in the hearts of viewers like Laycon. As even Laycon fans must admit, there would have been no 60% landslide for Laycon with Erica in the house. Nobody else had inspired deep hate or intense love.

Sure, people liked Kiddwaya’s chill demeanour, but how many Nigerians see their own stories in a billionaire’s son? Sure, Ozo was articulate, but Nigerian men are not raised to show his kind of vulnerability to Nengi so publicly. Vee/Neo were sealed in their own hermetic chamber, barely visible to both audience and housemates; Neo didn’t even get nominated throughout. Dorathy was also loved but, pardon the pun, she wasn’t fierce: she was never really the centre of a sustained conflict.

So for someone whose win was inevitable, Laycon subverted conventional wisdom: The one-eyed man might be king of the blind but unless he’s incredibly favoured, one of the blind is almost certain to be the most relatable. In 2020’s Nigeria, that person is Laycon. Laycon was all of us. But because of all of us, he is no longer one of us.

And that is just fine. The question now is: what next? It’s your move, Laycon. You can be Ebuka or you can be Efe. Whatever the case, Icons and the rest of us will be watching.

Photo CreditAfricaMagic

Words by Oris Aigbokhaevbolo is an award-winning writer, media consultant and creative entrepreneur. He runs the writing academy Write with Style and the boutique editorial and media consultancy firm C&B, which helps young filmmakers/musicians/artists shape their brand and get noticed locally and internationally in a crowded media space. He’s on Twitter: @catchoris. And Instagram: @catchorisgram

FIREWORKS: Obaseki Tells Edo People To Reject Tinubu

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Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State

A media aide to Governor Godwin Obaseki, Crusoe Osagie, has said that the former Lagos state governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, cannot extend his political empire to Edo, adding that the people of the state are determined to end godfatherism in their domain. Osagie was reacting to a viral video of Tinubu asking the people of Edo state not to vote for Governor Obaseki.

In a statement issued in Benin city, the Edo state capital on Tuesday, September 15, Osagie said: “Tinubu, in his quest to extend his political dominance and empire to Edo State, decided to take over the role of Edo people to choose through the ballot who to govern them for the next four years.”

Osagie noted: “It has become obvious that the spirited fight which Edo people have put up against godfatherism has sent tremors beyond the shores of Edo to the likes of Tinubu, who has for years sustained a stranglehold on Lagos and other states in southwestern Nigeria. “Hence this desperate, last-ditch effort to rescue the unproductive political instrument, now popularly referred to as godfatherism, with which he has feathered his nest and built his political empire at the expense of the people.”

Stressing that Edo people are committed to ending godfatherism in the state, he said: “Tinubu knows clearly that come September 19, when godfatherism would have been dismantled in Edo state, the people of Lagos may just have found the recipe and formula for removing the chokehold placed on their collective destinies for decades by Tinubu, hence the inciting television broadcast.

“He should take note that Edo people do not yield their will, liberty and power of choice to oppressive figures because they are perceived to have economic and political means.

“We always chase noble causes and a little study of our history should show Tinubu the indomitable spirit of the Edo person. “We call on all Edo people, friends of Nigeria and all lovers of democracy to disregard all the comments by Tinubu, as the allegations about the Edo state House of Assembly and other claims in the broadcast are completely false.

“We urge the irrepressible people of Edo state to disregard the threats and come out en-masse on September 19 to vote for Governor Godwin Obaseki and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as their voice and vote are supreme in the governorship contest.”

Electricity tariff, food and petrol price hike – who will bankroll Nigerians?

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The Buhari administration has ruptured the ceiling of liberties it enjoys. Like King Solomon in his last uneventful years, the government has compounded the yoke of the people with the rocketing of the prices of essential commodities. It appears the administration has lost its sensory organ and has become insentient to the ‘’wailing’’ of citizens. And like the Israelites in the twilight of a failing Solomon rule, Nigerians are seeking another ‘’messiah’’.

Just five years ago, President Muhammadu Buhari made overtures of blunting the economic perils Nigerians endure. He seduced citizens with the promise of humbling the dollar and arresting the price of petrol. Buhari once famously said: “Who is subsidising who?’’ This was in reaction to the fuel subsidy controversy and the intransigent price of petrol.

Initially, the president was very unequivocal about detaining the price of petrol. On different occasions, he insisted that the price of the product will not be increased to attenuate citizens’ burden. Perhaps, he did not understand the economics of the oil industry or he was just making political statements. Also, it could be that his genuine intentions do not dovetail with the realities of the oil market – this rests solely on ignorance.

Nigerians took to the streets in January 2012 when the Jonathan administration announced a hiked petrol price. The mass action wore on for weeks. Some of the appointees of the Buhari government were the dramatis personae of that protest. The Buhari campaign seized the citizen angst and deployed it for political advantage in 2015. There were posters of Buhari promising to slice the price of petrol to N87 from N97. Today, the price of the product is about N160 per litre in the retail market.

Really, I submit to allowing market forces govern the price of commodities – in deference to the principles of a market economy. I also believe that the fuel subsidy regime deserved to be couped and banished. It was an egregiously corrupt system. However, my grudge against the current administration and I think that of many Nigerians as well is its insincerity. The government was never honest about its intentions; all its promises were just a gambit. And it has reversed itself in plethora of pledges and aborted its contract with citizens.

Also, these are perilous times for Nigerians. Citizens have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment rate is at its highest – 27.1 percent — and businesses are shutting down and furloughing workers. Who will bankroll Nigerians? It is a contradiction, that while the prices of commodities soar, there is no form of safety net for citizens. Yes, while we allow market forces to play, it is the duty of the government to protect citizens from the crushing effects of this free-for-all – as it is the case in other market economies.

But instead of frontally addressing the economic fallout of the pandemic, the government busied itself with programmes such as — feeding school children at the waning of the lockdown – in which over N500 million was wolfed down. Let us even assume that the children were fed, have their hunger pangs ceased? Were they given the bread of life? This is simply deodorising a problem instead of surgically attacking it. Lack of access to jobs, education, and growth opportunities foregrounds poverty and hunger.

And while the government was administering the “COVID-19 lottery”, its agencies were going after Nigerian businesses which ordinarily should be protected from the perils of the pandemic. NIPOST announced a new licensing regime for the post and delivery sector, mandating businesses to renew their licence with N20 million. The agency backed down after an outcry by citizens, but this does not obviate the general insensitivity of the government.

A thinking government will identify real businesses (especially SMEs) afflicted by the pandemic and intervene seminally; not this conjuring by the ministry of humanitarian affairs. It is even more complex when the government cannot aggregate the data of businesses needing a lifeline in the country. The economic interventions by other governments in countries in the throes of similar health crisis have been heavily on SMEs.

But instead of protecting businesses, the government is over-burdening them with taxes and tariffs in the heat of a meltdown effectuated by COVID-19. Nigerians need a stimulus not asphyxiation. What has the administration done for Nigerians and their businesses this period? This is the reason for the pushback and outrage over the electricity tariff and petrol price hike. To Nigerians, the government would rather tax than help them through a rough patch.

Really, it appears the response of the government to the concerns of citizens is tax and tariffs. Even if the price hikes are natural, the question still is, what is the government doing to protect Nigerians, especially the poor? I believe Nigerians will pay whatever tax or price there is to pay, if there is an enabling system for their business to thrive and opportunities for jobs and growth.

The concomitant effect of the petrol price hike is the ballooning of the price of foodstuff and other essentials. This is why Nigerians are wailing. If there was a means to afford an adjustment in their lifestyles or living conditions, they would not be railing against it. No job, no business and no medium of survival. How do you extract a toll from a broke man? He can only pay with his blood – and that is by a revolt.

The Buhari administration has failed to “bankroll’’ Nigerians where it matters. Instead of spreading prosperity, it is promoting and perpetuating poverty. The administration will remain an asymptote of hypocrisy and deception long after it is gone.

Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist

Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo

OPINION: Obaseki: It’s You

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L-R Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu Governorship Candidate Of the APC, The Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty (HRM), Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II and Governor of Edo State and Governorship Candidate of the PDP Godwin Obaseki


It’s you and your Deputy Governor the revered Benin Monarch pointedly got under your skins as pocket tyrants, a few days ago to “sheath your swords” as the aggressors as Edo match towards September 19th guber election in the interest of peace.


It’s you, who on your inauguration day in 2016 laurelled Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as your mentor and celebrated his government to high Heaven as the best thing that has happened to Edo State.

It’s you who is screaming blue murder over Oshiomhole’s refusal to adopt you in 2020 and proceeded to acquire Governor Nyesom Wike as your new godfather.


It’s you who shouted, “APC wants me to share the money” until your new godfather in Port Harcourt shouted “PDP National Working Committee (NWC) are “tax collector” by collecting N15b from you to purchase the party’s worthless ticket. 


It’s you who recently collected a $75m world bank loan after you earlier this year collected another facility through SIFTAS, another world bank loan that evaporated, even when Edo State is the second most indebted state in Nigeria, after Lagos. 


It’s you who debased and viciously asphyxiate education in Edo State by shutting down Colleges of Agriculture Iguoriakhi, Tayo Akpata University Ekiadolor, Pa Imoudu’s Institute of Sports Afuze, College of Education Abudu, Institute of Continued (ICE) Benin City, and the three schools of nursing in Benin City. 


It’s you who’s administration shut down College of Agriculture Iguoriakhi by terminating the academic career of the students in the institution, sending the workers in the college into the labor market, in spite of your pretense about job creation at the same time ignoring court judgment directing you to reinstate the workers and reopen the school. 


It’s you who avert your attention cruelly seeing that Edo state has lost 40% of its teaching workforce to retirement and death, yet your government refused to embark on the new recruitment exercise.


It’s you who ignored the recruitment of teachers and saw the appointments of over 1000 SSAs more important than the engagement of teachers, at the same time laying claims to the nonexistent EdoBEST fake educational policy.


It’s you who fantasizes about human capital development, yet 3-year down the road your government is reputed for mercilessly shutting down all major higher institutions in the state, aside Ambrose Ali University (AAU), Ekpoma.

 
It’s you in 2018 who got your EXCO to approved the sum of N700m as contribution to the modular refinery at Ologbo where records show that the cost of the refinery is $10m and N700m amount to 0.02%, yet you claim the ownership of the refinery for the state. 


It’s you who’s government claims to have bought into Edo Modular Refinery in Ologbo, to the tune of N700m, the refinery being built at an initial cost of $10m while equity stakes of Edo State government are less than 20%, yet you come short of clarifying to Edo people that the private majority owner of this modular refinery is not a proxy company belonging to you and your friends. 


It’s you who undertake the fraudulent refinery voyage without spelling out under which law of the state the project’s investment choreographed by your government will benefit the indigenous Edo people. 


It’s you who, after nearly 4 years in office your government has not been able to promulgate the laws of Edo State and has therefore resorted to the use of laws of Bendel State and in most cases, the laws of the Mid-West Region in the year 2020.


It’s you who has refused to buy official vehicles for serving Magistrates and Area Court Presidents; thereby subjecting judicial officers to undue influence, creating the avenues for manipulation and subversion of justice. 


It’s you who promised 192 health care centers; got EXCO to approve 22 mini stadia across the state, yet there are no mini stadia anywhere only a miserable 22 PHC amounting to 11.4%, suggesting woeful failure.


It’s you who the central promise of your 2016 election campaign was built around continuing the programmes and policy of the immediate past administration under which you served as Chief Economic Adviser, yet the last three and half years of your administration has been breach of your own campaign pledge to Edo people.


It’s you who promised to create 200,000 jobs in your campaign in 2016 without any specific target number of jobs to be created if reelected, baring the fact that your first four years is a complete swindle and depravity. 


It’s you who’s government has fanned out the running of the new complex of Edo State Specialist Hospital to a private venture without public knowledge of under the legal framework of the state the decision to fan out the new complex to private venture is premised. 


It’s you whose government has been dramatising about people-inclusive administration, yet the less-privileged in the state can’t be treated in that health facility today under the shrouded private management arrangement. 


It’s you who abandoned the state capital and other major cities in the state to be washed away by flood and erosion plague, yet the last three and half years of your administration has been used to prosecute political battles, thereby forgetting the crucial Benin Storm Water project.


It’s you who parrots the preeminence of education in civil society as one of the critical sectors of nation-building, yet your government hasn’t recruited a single teacher for public schools in the 3-plus-year since you became Governor.


It’s you whose administration has been criticized for building substandard roads, most of which are without drains and sidewalks and, without supervision whatsoever, coupled with the charge that one company owned by your personal friend, Mr. Dele Edokpayi, is responsible for these mushroom road construction activities. 


It’s you who all members of the State House of Assembly are from the same political party under whose ticket you became Governor, yet your glory in the exclusion of legislative democracy as against the overall benefit of good governance in Edo State.


It’s you who increased the security votes of your administration from N500m to N800m per month, yet the state continued to play host to criminal elements, with reports of kidnapping, murder, armed banditry everywhere, even when neighbouring states have initiated alternative approach to securing public safety and public order, using vigilante outfits across the local government areas, while your administration ignored admonition to explored workable option. 


It’s you who have been accused of importing non-indigenes as your handlers in government; namely, your PA is from Delta State, the manager of the Specialist Hospital is from Delta State, your personal photographer is from Ogun State, the contractors handling the secretariat complex renovation is Lebanese, the official cook for all official events are from Lagos, without any commitment or intention to build local capacity and content, yet your new mantra is Edo is not Lagos.


It’s you who made 25 trips to India, China, Belgium, and other countries in search of investors between 2017 and 2019 without attracting investors into the state, not even the much talked about Gelegele Sea Port or the industrial park for which Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was deceived to lay the groundbreaking ceremony. 


It’s you whose MOUs government promised the people of Edo State that you will build a brand new museum within 20 months, beginning from 2017, yet Edo people are still waiting for the status of the new museums.


It’s you, who in your campaigns recently labeled APC as a failed party without any achievement forgetting that you have been the governor under the APC in Edo State until June, 2020.


It’s you whose government the National Bureau of Statistics stated in their last week report that Edo State did not record fresh investments in the last few months, contrary to your claims that Edo State ranks best among the comity of state in the country as an investment hub.


It’s you whose claims of creating 200,000 jobs have not resulted in a jump in your PAYE Tax collection by the EIRS, yet you’re not telling Edo people whether the phony new jobs are tax exempted or not.


It’s you who promised to eliminate thuggery in the state, but under your watch thuggery and hooliganism witnessed a climatic upsurge and the crime rate is at his highest peak with your designated head hunters, roaming the city center, unchallenged.


It’s you and your Deputy Governor who mobilized thugs to vandalized the State House of Assembly in broad daylight and tipping stone at the entrance of the assembly complex, yet still striving up till to date to have the seven thugs caught with arms and ammunition in police custody released. 


It’s you whose messiness of Edo State’s democratic process wrecks of fraud, brazenness and banality.
Yes, It’s you, indeed!


By Erasmus Ikhide,  a journalist and communication expert writes from Lagos

Follow him on twitter @ErasmusIkhide1

NNPC: Setting The Records Straight By Erasmus Ikhide

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L-R GMD NNPC Mele Kolo Kyari in a handshake with President Muhammadu Buhari

LEGENDARY author Chinua Achebe once echoed the eternal phrase that “if you don’t like someone’s story, please write your own”. It doesn’t add up in climes like ours that every now and then we throw stones at maladministration and official graft, yet never make conscious efforts to effect a positive change when given opportunity to lead.

It is common place for many at the helm of affairs in MDAs and parastatals to reinforce failure, but there are some conspicuous ‘few’ such as Mele Kolo Kyari, the Group Managing Director, GMD, of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, who have vowed not to disappoint themselves and the nation as well.

They come prepared because success is when preparation meets opportunity. Christopher Columbus was not a fool when he warned that you can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

Without being economical with the truth, it is a fact that many are wont to raise their eyebrows just at the mention of NNPC because the corporation is widely regarded as a cesspool of corruption, a cash cow that feeds the insatiable greed of those who found themselves calling the shots there.

Yes! A cesspool of corruption in a nation where joblessness, poverty and insecurity remained unchecked. A nation where tens of thousands and millions of children of school age roam the streets freely, begging for bread and constituting public nuisance. A nation where billions of dollars allegedly disappeared from the NNPC, still unaccounted for.

In fact, the downtrodden on the streets of Nyanya, Abuja, will readily appraise anyone working at the NNPC as a millionaire because the rogues fleecing the nation of its resources are predominant there.

This may explain why President Muhammadu Buhari couldn’t trust any other Nigerian with the Ministry of Petroleum and decided to make himself the acting Minister of Petroleum. But with the benefit of evidence, one can state here that the coming of Mele Kyari promises to change that ugly narrative for the better as far as the NNPC is concerned.

For the first time in June 2020, he killed one medusa by publishing the 2018 Audited Financial Statement of the NNPC. The statement covered all the 20-plus subsidiaries in the NNPC group. It was the first time in 43 years NNPC accounts would be audited and published for scrutiny!

Before then unaudited monthly financial and operational reports were published, but Kyari is the first Group Managing Director, GMD, to subject the accounts to an independent audit. However, sarcastically, the audited accounts exposed the very reason why previous GMDs failed to embark on such a suicide mission. The NNPC reports were usually calamitous.

Again, Mele deserves an applause for taking the bull by the horn and exposing the drains through which our common patrimony was distributed among the few. Mahatma Ghandi posited that an eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind.

In the light of this, Mele Kyari scored another A1 by mediating and securing a truce between Almighty Shell/Belema oil, operators of OML 25 and the oil well’s host communities in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State. This happened just a few weeks of assuming office in July 2019.

Addressing conflicts with oil-producing communities in the oil-rich Niger Delta region is a sine qua non for stable oil production capacity which in the long run will translate into millions of dollars needed by the country to service its recurrent expenditures, capital infrastructures and huge debt burdens. Luckily enough, crude oil production under his watch has continued to sky rocket. The NNPC under his eagle-eye also executed the NPDC OML 65 project which should generate more revenue and create jobs in the areas of operation.

The NNPC under his proactive leadership has continued to canvass for a shift in the mono-cultural economy of the country; this is hinged on the impact of COVID-19 which has reduced the demand for oil and made oil prices to plummet. In a tweet on August 19, 2020, Mele asserted thus: “A year ago, #NPDC was producing around 136,000 bpd. Today, we are doing 260,000 bopd. This is a magnificent growth in any upstream company. Our target is to grow this to 500,000 bpd. This is possible within two   years as we have lined up projects to achieve that “. Impressive!

He posits again in the accompanying tweets that “#NPDC is a top grade company that’s producing oil at a cost cheaper than most of its competitors. This is part of our target of bringing down the cost of production to $10/barrel. We are using the #NPDC as a benchmark so that once it delivers, every other company must deliver”.

The Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, is a fully-owned subsidiary of the NNPC engaging in oil and gas exploration and production activities in the hydrocarbon-rich regions of coastal Nigeria, both onshore and offshore. Under Mele’s supervision, the NPDC has become the largest producer of gas in Nigeria.

Another milestone is that Mele’s NNPC is breaking new frontiers with its partnership with Akwa Ibom State government to establish a logistics base in Ibaka. This is part of the efforts to develop capacity and grow local content.

The project is sited on a 2000 acres of land contributed by Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State. Hear Governor Emmanuel on transparency at the NNPC: “Since I became a member of the National Economic Council, I have had cause to interact closely with the oil and gas industry.

I want to tell you that we are feeling the positive impact of the present NNPC board and management in terms of accountability and transparency (and especially) in financial reporting.

We hope that they keep this up”. What can be more sterling than this unreserved commendation to NNPC- led leadership. Simultaneously, the NNPC exported $378.42m worth of crude oil and gas in June 2020 and thus earned $4.60bn from crude oil sale in one year.

These figures were contained in the NNPC June 2020 monthly financial and operations report! The uninterrupted fuel supply in the country in recent times is a testament of Mele’s innovativeness. Prior to his appointment, hiccups in the supply of petroleum products were a common feature in the Nigerian economy.

The incessant disruptions in fuel supply affected Nigerians’ ability to plan effectively. They could not predict when the next fuel scarcity would hit the country and families were often on panic mode, spending days and nights in long fuel queues at filling stations.

But that is no longer the case, thanks to Mele’s managerial acumen. His midas touch can also be seen in the commissioning of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano, AKK, gas pipeline which had been a story for the gods since the 1980s.

To mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on the people, the NNPC under Mele introduced the launch of a Petroleum Industry Intervention Fund which garnered a pledge of N21billion and is being used to fund medical interventions across the country’s six geo-political zones.

These include ongoing construction of an infectious Disease Hospital in Maiduguri, Borno State and partnership with ThisDay Media Group, Sahara Energy, the CBN and others to build the 230-bed ThisDay COVID-19 isolation, recovery and treatment centre in Abuja.

Though the NNPC is not out of the woods yet, it is safe to applaud the guts of a GMD who aspires to clean the augean stable instead of being an impotent king at the NNPC Towers. Ikhide, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Lagos