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Annual inflation in Nigeria slowed for the 11th month in a row in December, to 15.37 percent from 15.90 percent a month before, the head of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a tweet on Tuesday.

Yemi Kale also said on his personal Twitter account that a separate food price index showed inflation at 19.42 percent in December, down from 20.30 percent in November.

In October, Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said he expected inflation rates to fall at a faster pace and reach the high single-digits by the middle of 2018.

The bank has kept its main interest rate at 14 percent for over a year now as it battles inflation and seeks to attract foreign investors to support the naira currency.

The government wants to see rates come down to lower its borrowing costs and stimulate the economy.

The West African nation emerged from its first recession in 25 years in the second quarter of 2017 as oil revenues rose, although the slow pace of growth suggests the recovery remains fragile.

The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, has extended her most profound gratitude to the Ikwerre Youth Movement (IYM), the APC family in Etche, Rivers State and all lovers of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, CON, Honourable Minister for Transportation and former governor of Rivers State for the overwhelming show of love displayed for the former governor during the IYM grand reception held in his honour at Osiokpo and that of APC in Etche over the weekend.

For the first time, I witnessed all the participants in a recently held Delta state Local Council polls ( winners and losers)  alike, went  home cold in smiles after the results were announced on Sunday 7th January 2018 by the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission(DESIEC).  The reason for this odd reaction is simple.

While the losers bemoaned their fate in their sorrows and their hardships, the winners on the other hands, suddenly discovered that they won the ballot boxes and the polling units without winning the votes, consciences or enjoy the support of the majority of Deltans. A development that made a feeling of guilt to descend like a pillar of cloud; adding to their moral burden, dividing their peace, subtracting their inner joy while leaving their worries multiplied, making the orchestrated   ‘victory’ inorganic.

Though the LG election has come and gone, leaving the entire deltans as ‘causalities’, not of a civil war but a deformed democratic process occasioned by the will of man. An outcome that has, in turn, left the proponents of disorder praying in their inner selves for courage and stamina to face deltans they have wronged.

 Coincidentally, while deltans were mourning this political regression which has become a reality to worry about, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja released the electoral timetable for the 2019 general election. This development has since shifted our attention to the bigger frame of a challenge but not without the lessons learned from the Delta LG polls.

Markedly, If nothing is done to solve this problem we face, if we have no collective responsibility to finding a lasting solution to impunity and rigging of election, if nothing is done to the mentality of party preference against credible candidates by party loyalists which is fast becoming a native, before 2019 election,  then our journey to nationhood is bleak and  the nation’s restructuring we seek  becomes  a mere hallucination.

For a deeper understanding of this piece,  I am neither for PDP nor APC but to objectively bring to the fore yet another opportunity lost in getting credible people to run the affairs of our councils. It’s also targeted at instructing us that no matter how beautiful or strong an institution such as democracy tends to be, we have deconstructionists positioned to undermine it.

Exiting this state of a vicious political challenge will require on the part of the people, developing a clear expectation from our nation that will shape our demand structure.

 And in my opinion, Winston Churchill, a onetime Prime Minister of Britain seems to have provided an answer to what should be our preoccupation/expectation as we race toward 2019 general election. The answer according to his remark is victory; victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival’.

Truly, for us to survive as a nation and achieve the hoped victory come 2019, Nigerians must learn to seek true  Victory over aggression, a victory that respects the opposition’s basic humanity, rights/freedoms and renders further conflicts unnecessary’. This to my mind should be a very small beginning that will hopefully earn a big breakthrough.

For us to survive as a people, we must understand that democracy will never guaranty development until it is mixed with the needed proportion of discipline on the part of the people.  The discipline needed to vote and monitor the votes. A role that was conspicuously  missing in the Delta LG polls.

Important to realize also is that observing this local council poll availed me the unfortunate opportunity to learn that some of our youths are now self-declared enemies of democracy and the nation, refusing to change neither their minds nor their wrong political belief.

They labored to get voters confused, caused mayhem and openly advertised party preference as against merit/capability. They vigorously argued that since Delta is a PDP state, it will be out of order if another party should be allowed to win in the state. I helplessly watched the leaders of tomorrow educate me with quotes on ‘power’ such as; power being the ‘ability to protect your interest’.

Regrettably, they were medium in vision on some silent points. First, in postulating that Delta is a PDP state, they lost sight of the fact that APC on the other hands controls the government at the centre. Interpretatively, if APC should tow this line of argument come 2019 using the federal myth, the political survival we all seek will again elude us as a nation.

 I waited for these lads to educate me more on the major function of power, which in my view is to ‘effect political and socioeconomic changes’, all to no avails. 

To my mind, it is our blank ability as a nation to understand that we cannot achieve good result using a bad formula that is responsible for all these multifaceted challenges we face as a nation. Until we recognize that ‘the end can never be cut off from means’ arguments/ opinions such as these shall continue to litter our political space.

Having perceived the mind structure of our youth and our political adults, having faced the difficulty of the local council polls, it will be gratifying for all Nigerians to again sick real victory as we prepare for the 2019 general election

 Regardless of these temporal challenges we face as a nation, it is my conviction that ‘the destiny of the ship is not in the harbor but in sailing the high sea’’ and so shall our collective responsibility be, not to destroy this great nation but join hands to nurture and sustain it. If we are able to manage this situation come 2019 and other social menaces effectively and navigate out of dangers of disintegration, it will once again, announce the arrival of a brand new great nation where peace and love shall reign supreme.

The Kogi Government has appealed to striking medical doctors in the state to end their industrial action in the interest of patients and their relatives.

Mr Edward Onoja, the Chief of Staff (COS) to Gov. Yahaya Bello,
made the call when he led other top government officials to a meeting with the executive of the state branch of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA).

Dr Godwin Tijani, the State chairman of the association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lokoja that Onoja met with the NMA officials on Saturday Jan. 13.

NAN recalls that the association had directed its members to embark on the strike on Jan. 8.

Tijani said that the meeting, which took place at the Government House, Lokoja, lasted two hours with the Special Adviser to the governor on Health Matters, Dr Ahmed Attah, in attendance.

According to the chairman, he led an expanded NMA SEC comprising members of the SOC, SEC, NAGGMDP Chairman and Secretary, ARD KSSH President and Secretary, MDCAN and ARD FMC Lokoja Secretaries, a past state NMA chairman and ex-ARD state KSSH Presidents.

“In the meeting, we presented our demands as clearly stated in the communiqué issued after the last Executive Council Meeting (ECM) with the input from other members.

“The issues of alleged harassment of some of our members who made depositions on the floor of the last ECM as seen in the alleged video clip delivered to top government officials was also raised during the meeting.

“In his remarks, the CoS said the governor is not pleased with the ongoing strike especially at this time of the year, that the NMA could have achieved a lot through dialogue, advocacy and lobby instead of embarking on strike.

“The CoS noted that the payment of 60 per cent salaries and arrears is not peculiar to doctors alone, but to all civil servants in the state due to the dwindling allocation from the federation account,” Tijani said.

He added that the chief of staff said that a special case could be made for doctors for the balance of 40 per cent, but it has to be through top level advocacy and not strike action.

“The chief of staff said that all issues of underpayment for old and new doctors could be resolved easily if NMA could collate all those affected including the financial implications and lobby the governor.

“The CoS added that the NMA could achieve more from government by looking beyond salary; for instance, car loan and mortgages which could be facilitated through lobbying and advocacy.

“On the issues of harassment of some of our members who played critical roles in the last ECM, the government promised to call officials involved to order as their actions will only create more enemies for the government,” said the chairman.

According to Tijani, the CoS appealed to medical doctors to call-off the strike and promised to facilitate roundtable discussion with the government.

The chairman however told NAN that he promised the government to communicate the outcome of the meeting to the NMA Congress which has the final say on the matter.

Members of the state NMA are asking the government to meet their demands, including their full salaries and implementation of CONMESS as well as improved facilities. 

Manchester City have ended their interest in Alexis Sanchez as they feel the potential deal has become too expensive, according to Sky sources.

It is understood City would have had to commit to spending in excess of £60m to compete with offers already on the table for the Arsenal forward - something that Pep Guardiola and the club were unwilling to do.

All teachers being recruited in Kaduna State will get permanent and pensionable appointments. Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai said this today during a meeting with the chairmen of the 23 local government councils and their Education Secretaries.

The meeting received reports from all the 23 councilson the conditions in the schools in their areas. The State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) also gave an update on the recruitment process for new teachers.SUBEB officials confirmed that the marking of scripts for new recruits has been concluded, and they assured the governor that the first batch of newly recruited teachers should be ready for deployment by the middle of February 2018.

The council officials reported that most teachers in Kaduna State are reporting to work, and ignoring the NUT strike. The field reports indicated that NUT officials are persisting in their harassment of teachers that are reporting for duty. This illegal action is being aggravated by the seizure of school attendance registers by some of the union officials.

The meeting also heard that many teachers who did not apply anew, or were dissuaded by their union from taking the recruitment test are requesting a second chance. Responding to this plea from the Education Secretaries, Malam Nasir El-Rufai said that SUBEB has a programme of continuous recruitment, and as such will give every teacher that is willing a chance to apply and be considered for recruitment.

“We are not interested in pushing any one away,” the governor said. We are pushing bad people away so that good ones can come in. That is why we are recruiting 25,000 to take the place of 21,780.”

The governor said that the police and civil defence forces will provide protection for schools. He warned union officials to desist from impeding teachers that are reporting for work, or from seizing attendance registers. “The right to strike does not include the right to prevent others from working. Union officials are reminded that school registers are public property, and seizing them amounts to an illegal act.

The eulogy, praise and the recognition that has come the way of the Governor, State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola from home and abroad in recent times has been described as a welcome development.

The Osun state APC on Saturday submitted that what Aregbesola has achieved in the state of the living spring, will outlive his critics submitting that those who irrationally condemn the governor may actually be intellectually challenged.

Director, Publicity, Research and Strategy, Barr. Kunle Oyatomi in a statement made available to newsmen referred to the critics and members of the opposition as politicians acting in a politically irresponsible way, feigning ignorance and denying the facts and the available demonstrable and clear evidence.

‘And the pleasant surprise, or some may say irony, is that Aregbesola is being singled out for those things he has done which the PDP and the other critics had vehemently denied and claimed it did not exist at all, it is also strange that on the one hand, the position of the opposition is that

Aregbesola has done nothing whatsoever to improve the lives of the people and on the other hand, they shamelessly threaten to either stop, demolish or suspend every project which in their reckoning is too ‘sophisticated’ for the people of Osun state. They also claimed that the state has been the “worst” for it since the Aregbesola-led APC government came into power seven years ago. However, only last Thursday, the Yoruba Professionals, home and abroad, declared Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as the ‘Best’ performing governor for the year 2017.

This should make the PDP bury its head in shame because these set of people are not simpletons like most of the Aregbesola’s critics, but rather professionals with stable minds, depth of scholarship and a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to adjudge a governor the ‘best’ among his colleagues’ the party stated.

The party further said that it was not surprised that the state PDP has been unusual silent since the Award was made public, the opposition party according to the APC, possibly realized what further damage a negative comment would do to the party’s already rotten image as liars, falsifiers of data and the people in denial of what stares them in the face.

‘Anybody who has not read the reasons the Yoruba Professionals gave for bestowing the award on Governor Rauf Aregbesola will do himself or herself a lot of good getting that done and those who had already done that may also take a second look at it. It was not a sentimental exercise the group had a goal in mind to award excellence its due, after vigorous assessment of the empirical evidence on ground.

As professionals, they acted professionally. It will be interesting to read or hear (or both) from the PDP what demonstrable evidence they will advance against the judgement of the Yoruba Professionals. One thing is sure though; the submission made by the professionals among others, will certainly lead the debate in the run-up to the governorship election in September’ Oyatomi said.

The Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has concluded arrangement with the Edo State Command of the Nigeria Police, to curb vandalism, theft and encroachment on properties of schools under its jurisdiction across the state as the agency commences the roll out of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s reforms for the education sector.
 
This was disclosed by Acting Chairperson of SUBEB and Special Adviser to the Governor on Basic Education, Dr. Joan Osa Oviawe, after a meeting with the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo at the weekend in Benin City, the state capital.
 
Dr. Oviawe said SUBEB is taking necessary action to secure infrastructure as vandalism and theft of infrastructure in schools have become worrisome, noting that a symbiotic relationship with the Police will ensure school properties are better protected.
 
“The rate at which infrastructure are vandalised and facilities are stolen in public schools is disturbing to government. We are partnering with the police to assist us in tackling the ugly trend,” she said.
 
She added, “We want SUBEB to get to a point where we have unfettered access to the police for necessary assistance in times of need in our schools across the state.  There is a case of theft which is in court, where a window casing was stolen from one of the schools and sold to a pastor, who now uses it in his private school. We are committed to arresting these  cases as we roll out Governor Godwin Obaseki’s  education programmes.”
 
According to her, the partnership with the police include the provision of general safety and security in the schools and to check encroachment into school landed property.
 
 She expressed appreciation to the police boss for the assurance to work with SUBEB.
 
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Kokumo assured the SUBEB boss that the command will pass details of the partnership to the grassroots, where local police units have easy access to schools, urging, “Education secretaries in local government areas across the state should collaborate with other police hierarchies such as Divisional Police Stations and other police posts across the state for better synergy on how to tackle areas of concern in schools.”

Nigeria’s central bank said on Monday that it had injected $210 million into the interbank foreign exchange market as part of its attempt to boost liquidity and alleviate dollar shortages.

The bank said in a statement it had released $100 million earmarked for the wholesale market, $55 million for small businesses, and $55 million for certain dollar expenses such as school fees and medical bills.

The bank, in an emailed statement, said it would continue to intervene in the foreign exchange market to sustain liquidity.

Nigeria will punish all those behind an outbreak of deadly clashes between cattle herders and farmers, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday pushing back at accusations that he failed to take action against members of his own ethnic group.

At least 83 people have been killed since the start of the new year in violence between the mainly Christian farmers and the semi-nomadic herders, who are mostly Muslims from Buhari’s Fulani ethnic group.

The outbreak of violence, mostly in the central state of Benue, has become increasingly political ahead of elections in February 2019, with Buhari’s opponents accusing him of failing to take action against the herdsmen.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is home to 250 ethnic groups, about evenly divided between Christians who mainly live in the south and Muslims who mainly live in the north. Central states such as Benue have often seen violence over religious, ancestral and cultural differences.

Farmers caught up in the clashes say herdsmen, who roam West Africa in search of pasture and often travel in and out of Nigeria through porous borders, are armed with guns and cutlasses. Groups representing herdsmen have also accused farmers of violent attacks in the last few years.

“I assure you that the police, the Department of State Service and other security agencies had been directed to ensure that all those behind the mayhem get punished,” Buhari told the delegation, according to the statement.

Those who attended the meeting in the capital, Abuja, included the Benue state governor, members of parliament and traditional rulers. Buhari, a former military ruler who was elected in 2015 after vowing to improve security, has not yet said whether he will seek a new term next year.

Last week his spokesman said the suggestion that Buhari was not taking action regarding the herdsmen because of his ethnicity was “disturbing”, adding that such clashes predated Buhari’s administration.

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