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Saraki’s Son, Seni & Partners Seal Juicy Jersey Deal With Nike

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Seni, the son of Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki is gradually carving a niche for himself.

The 23 year old and his partners  have sealed a juicy collaboration with sports equipment giants, Nike.

Still basking in the euphoria of the success of the Nigerian National team jersey which enjoyed world-wide acclaim during the last World Cup, Nike has partnered with Seni Saraki through his youth-focused Magazine, The Native,  to produce a specially-designed jersey aptly tagged Nike by The Native.

Interestingly, the jersey which has been  officially launched  by Nike last month sold out within minutes of its release!

The special edition jersey which has a distinct tyre marks that take inspiration from the popular Yoruba tie and dye fabric, Adire.

The  tyre marks also depict the street style football fondly known as monkey post where disused car tyres are often used as goal posts-this will certainly resonate amongst football-loving Nigerians.

Thats not all, emblazoned on the back of the jersey is the word “Ile” which means home in his native Yoruba language.

According to Seni who designed the jersey which also features +234 on the sleeve,  referencing Nigeria’s international dialing code,  the design is  a tribute to the millions of Nigerians living in the diaspora who retain close ties to home.

He told CNN “For us to do a collaboration with Nike, the main thing was to make  the jersey representative of Nigeria, the people in Nigeria and the Nigerians in diaspora so they can all feel proud wearing it”

” We thought it would be cool to have an actual Nike jersey with a local Nigerian language on it. That’s unheard of , that’s never happened  before”.

He told The Boss “We wanted to create something that wouldn’t look out of place on the field and on the strets. In Nigeria, the football shirt has always been a vital piece in anyone’s wardrobe. Taking inspiration from Adire (traditional Nigerian clothing) and the street football culture with the tyre marks, we wanted to create a jersey that felt like home,” Seni stated

Saraki who along with The Native Co- founders Suleiman Shittu, Teniola “Teezee” Zaccheaus, Olusola Fagbemi and Ademide Edgar form the design team, is optimistic that this will be a worthy partnership.

Seni who runs a football academy in his native Kwara State is upbeat that this collaboration will lead to other positive partnerships between young Nigerians and global brands.

The special jersey with its official release and success will certainly mean the beginning of what may just be a long term symbiotic relationship.

Founded in 2016, Lagos-based The NATIVE is dedicated to telling stories predicated on the Naija attitude. Its origins are in music, explicitly in covering Afrobeats, but as the outlet has progressed it has absorbed everything that surrounds the scene — fashion, skating and, of course, football.

It began as a print publication but now has metamorphosed into an agency and annual musical festival.

 

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Strike: FG Hopeful As Meeting with with Labour Ends on Inclusive Note

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The meeting called by the Federal Government to resolve the grievances for which the organised labour had issued a threat of an indefinite strike, set to commence on October 3rd, 2023, ended on an inconclusive note, as the two labour centres are to consult with their National Executive Council over the new proposal thrown on the table by the government.

Meanwhile, the federal government has made a U-turn regarding its proposed N25,000 wage award to workers in the lower cadre to cushion the impact of the fuel subsidy removal, stating that the said amount would be applicable to all workers in the civil service.

The Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajiabiamila, backtracked on the earlier decision made by President Bola Ahmed during his Independence Day broadcast to the nation on Sunday.

Briefing journalists on part of the outcome of the meeting, the Chief of Staff said, “Let me, first of all, on behalf of the government and labour, thank you and commend you for the long hours you’ve been here.
“We’ve been at a closed-door meeting with labour and the government side since three o’clock. So, it’s been about a four-hour meeting.

“A lot of issues were addressed, issues that concern the Nigerian worker, the average Nigerian worker. I can’t begin to reel them out here. But I am happy to say that after four hours, we have reached certain agreements that are for the benefit of the Nigerian worker.

“Agreements on the wage bill, agreements on committees on salary increment, CNG buses, and several other things, I believe, both TUC, Labour and the government side?

“Hopefully, we expect that Labour will call a meeting of their various branches and executives tomorrow to present the agreements that have been reached, and we pray, believe, and hope that the strike will be called off on Tuesday.

“There was a lot of chatter on Twitter about the issue of low-income workers only falling into the category of the wage bill.

They spotted that, and we communicated that to Mr President, and he quickly said and agreed that all categories of workers would be given the wage bill.

“There’s nothing like low-income, mid-income, or high-income. I think that’s worthy of clarification tonight.”

NLC President Joe Ajaero, in his remarks after the meeting, said, “I don’t have much to say than the Chief of Staff has said.

We’ve been meeting, and we’ve looked at almost all the issues, all the promissory notes from the government, and we’ll look at how to translate them into reality and make them workable.

Then we’re going to take those promises to our organs. Of course, you know these people here cannot just wake up and review and call off action.”

Among some of the resolutions that all parties at the meeting agreed to was that the Federal Government has announced N25,000 only as a provisional wage increment for all Treasury-paid federal government workers for six months.

The closed-door meeting equally resolved that the Federal Government must show commitment to fast-tracking the provision of compressed natural gas (CNG) buses to ease public transportation difficulties associated with the removal of PMS subsidies while also committing to the provision of funds for micro- and small-scale enterprises.

They also agreed that VAT on diesel would be waived for the next six months. The Federal Government commences payments of N75,000 to 15 million households at N25,000 per month for a three-month period from October to December 2023.

Other highlights of the meeting were that the issues in dispute can only be resolved when workers are at work and not when they are on strike.

Furthermore, a statement by the presidency, signed by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, indicated that labour unions argued for a higher wage award, and the Federal Government Team promised to present Labor’s request to President Bola Tinubu for further consideration.

To this end, they resolved that a sub-committee should be constituted to work out the details of the implementation of all items for consideration regarding government interventions to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal.

“The lingering matter of the Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Lagos State needs to be addressed urgently, and Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who participated virtually, pledged to resolve the matter.

“NLC and TUC will consider the offers by the Federal Government with a view to suspending the planned strike to allow for further consultations on the implementation of the resolutions above,” all the stakeholders agreed.

Meanwhile, Governor Abdulrazak Abdulrahman of Kwara State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State participated virtually in the meeting, chaired by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila.

In attendance were the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, the Minister of State, Labour, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.

The labour delegation was led by NLC President Joe Ajaero, Deputy President, TUC, Dr Tommy Etim Okon, NLC General Secretary Emma Ugboaja, and TUC General Secretary Nuhu Toro, among others.

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Full Text of President Tinubu’s 63rd Independence Day Speech

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63RD INDEPENDENCE DAY ANNIVERSARY SPEECH BY PRESIDENT BOLA AHMED TINUBU

October 1, 2023

“Dear Compatriots,

“It is my unique honour to address you on this day, the 63rd anniversary of our nation’s independence, both as the President of our dear country and, simply, as a fellow Nigerian.

“On this solemn yet hopeful day, let us commend our founding fathers and mothers. Without them, there would be no modern Nigeria. From the fading embers of colonialism, their activism, dedication and leadership gave life to the belief in Nigeria as a sovereign and independent nation.

“Let us, at this very moment, affirm that, as Nigerians, we are all endowed with the sacred rights and individual gifts that God has bestowed on us as a nation and as human beings. No one is greater or lesser than the other. The triumphs that Nigeria has achieved shall define us.

The travails we have endured shall strengthen us. And no other nation or power on this earth shall keep us from our rightful place and destiny. This nation belongs to you, dear people. Love and cherish it as your very own.

“Nigeria is remarkable in its formation and essential character. We are a broad and dynamic blend of ethnic groups, religions, traditions and cultures. Yet, our bonds are intangible yet strong, invisible yet universal.

“We are joined by a common thirst for peace and progress, by the common dream of prosperity and harmony and by the unifying ideals of tolerance and justice.

“Forging a nation based on the fair application of these noble principles to a diverse population has been a task of significant blessing but also a serial challenge.

“Some people have said an independent Nigeria should never have come into existence. Some have said that our country would be torn apart. They are forever mistaken. Here, our nation stands, and here we shall remain.

“This year, we passed a significant milestone in our journey to a better Nigeria. By democratically electing a 7th consecutive civilian government, Nigeria has proven that commitment to democracy and the rule of law remains our guiding light.

“At my inauguration, I made important promises about how I would govern this great nation. Among those promises were pledges to reshape and modernize our economy and to secure the lives, liberty and property of the people.

“I said that bold reforms were necessary to place our nation on the path of prosperity and growth. On that occasion, I announced the end of the fuel subsidy. I am attuned to the hardships that have come. I have a heart that feels and eyes that see. I wish to explain to you why we must endure this trying moment.

“Those who sought to perpetuate the fuel subsidy and broken foreign exchange policies are people who would build their family mansion in the middle of a swamp.

“I am different. I am not a man to erect our national home on a foundation of mud. To endure, our home must be constructed on safe and pleasant ground.

“Reform may be painful, but it is what greatness and the future require. We now carry the costs of reaching a future in Nigeria where the abundance and fruits of the nation are fairly shared among all, not hoarded by a select and greedy few. A Nigeria where hunger, poverty and hardship are pushed into the shadows of an ever-fading past.

“There is no joy in seeing the people of this nation shoulder burdens that should have been shed years ago. I wish today’s difficulties did not exist. But we must endure if we are to reach the good side of our future.

“My government is doing all that it can to ease the load. I will now outline the path we are taking to relieve the stress on our families and households.

“We have embarked on several public sector reforms to stabilize the economy, direct fiscal and monetary policy to fight inflation, encourage production, ensure the security of lives and property and lend more support to the poor and the vulnerable.

“Based on our talks with labour, business and other stakeholders, we are introducing a provisional wage increment to enhance the federal minimum wage without causing undue inflation. For the next six months, the average low-grade worker shall receive an additional Twenty-Five Thousand naira per month.

“To ensure better grassroots development, we set up an Infrastructure Support Fund for states to invest in critical areas. States have already received funds to provide relief packages against the impact of rising food and other prices.

“Making the economy more robust by lowering transport costs will be key. In this regard, we have opened a new chapter in public transportation through the deployment of cheaper, safer Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses across the nation. These buses will operate at a fraction of current fuel prices, positively affecting transport fares.

“New CNG conversion kits will start coming in very soon as all hands are on deck to fast track the usually lengthy procurement process. We are also setting up training facilities and workshops across the nation to train and provide new opportunities for transport operators and entrepreneurs.

“This is a groundbreaking moment where, as a nation, we embrace more efficient means to power our economy. In making this change, we also make history.

“I pledged a thorough housecleaning of the den of malfeasance the CBN had become. That housecleaning is well underway. A new leadership for the Central Bank has been constituted. Also, my special investigator will soon present his findings on past lapses and how to prevent similar reoccurrences. Henceforth, monetary policy shall be for the benefit of all and not the exclusive province of the powerful and wealthy.
“Wise tax policy is essential to economic fairness and development. I have inaugurated a Committee on Tax Reforms to improve the efficiency of tax administration in the country and address fiscal policies that are unfair or hinder the business environment and slow our growth.

“To boost employment and urban incomes, we are providing investment funding for enterprises with great potential. Similarly, we are increasing investment in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

“Commencing this month, the social safety net is being extended through the expansion of cash transfer programs to an additional 15 million vulnerable households.

“My administration shall always accord the highest priority to the safety of the people. Inter-Service collaboration and intelligence sharing have been enhanced. Our Service Chiefs have been tasked with the vital responsibility of rebuilding the capacities of our security services.

“Here, I salute and commend our gallant security forces for keeping us safe and securing our territorial integrity. Many have paid the ultimate sacrifice. We remember them today and their families. We shall equip our forces with the ways and means needed to perform their urgent task on behalf of the people,

“We shall continue to make key appointments in line with the provisions of the Constitution and with fairness toward all. Women, Youth and the physically challenged shall continue to be given due regard in these appointments.

“May I take this opportunity to congratulate the National Assembly for its role in the quick take-off of this administration through the performance of its constitutional duties of confirmation and oversight.

“I similarly congratulate the judiciary as a pillar of democracy and fairness.

“I also thank members of our dynamic civil society organizations and labour unions for their dedication to Nigerian democracy. We may not always agree but I value your advice and recommendations. You are my brothers and sisters and you have my due respect.

“Fellow compatriots, the journey ahead will not be navigated by fear or hatred. We can only achieve a better Nigeria through courage, compassion and commitment as one indivisible unit.

“I promise that I shall remain committed and serve faithfully. I also invite all to join this enterprise to remake our beloved nation into its better self. We can do it. We must do it. We shall do it.!!!

“I wish you all a happy 63rd Independence Anniversary. Thank you for listening. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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Godwin Emefiele: The Endless Search for Justice

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By Eric Elezuo

After the long drawn brouhaha of arrest, detention and dragging to court, the suspended and later sacked Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, was on July 25, 2023, granted bail in the sum of N20 million with one surety in like sum by the Federal High Court in Lagos State.

He was granted bail after pleading not guilty to the two counts bordering on the alleged illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. It was believed that the search for justice was coming to an end, but that was not to be.

Emefiele was facing two counts of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition preferred against him by the Federal Ministry of Justice before the vacation judge, Justice Nicholas Oweibo.

The Ministry of Justice was prosecuting him on charges of possessing a single-barrelled shotgun (JOJEFF MAGNUM 8371) without a licence. He was also accused of illegally possessing 23 rounds of live ammunition (cartridges) without a licence, offences committed the offences on June 15, 2023, at No. 3b Iru Close, Ikoyi area of Lagos.

But rather than releasing the embattled former governor, the Department of State Services (DSS) physically fought the Correction Centre officials to retain him as their prisoner.

A few days latter, the Federal Government applied to withdraw the ‘illegal possession of firearms’ case it filed against Emefiele, at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar told Justice Nicholas Oweibo that the application followed the result of further investigations made by the government.

Justice Oweibo adjourned till Thursday, August 17, 2023 to rule on the application. The DPP told Nigerians after the proceedings that a fresh 20 counts has been filed at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court against the then suspended CBN governor.

He said one of the charges proffered against Emefiele is that of “conferring unlawful advantages” making Nigerians wonder if there are no underground currents to denied the embattled Emefiele of justice even as four months has come and gone since he was removed from office and incarcerated.

Matters took a different turn as since the adjournment of the case, it has not been heard. On August 17, the case was stalled, and moved to August 23. Again, it was stalled.

The matter was not listed on the cause list of a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja on the day with no reason given as lawyers to both parties were absent in court.

The embattled defendant, who appeared before the court on August 17, was supposed to be arraigned but the arraignment was stalled as a result of the absence of the second defendant who was said to have been indisposed.

Although Emefiele (the first defendant) was present in court, the second defendant, a female CBN employee, Sa’adatu Yaro, was not in court prompting the Presiding Judge, Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned the matter to August 23, 2023.

Frustrated by the back and forth attitude of the DSS towards his release, Emefiele had sued the secret Police at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja, challenging his detention.

In his originating motion on notice, Emefiele prayed for the court to enforce his right to liberty and freedom of movement, as there is no basis for his continuous detention.

However, the Attorney General of the Federation as well as the DSS have insisted that the detention of the suspended CBN Governor is lawful.

In a preliminary objection filed against the fundamental rights enforcement suit instituted by Emefiele, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the DSS told the Federal Capital Territory High Court that the detention was backed by the order of a magistrates’ court and prayed for the court to dismiss the motion with cost.

They noted that the arrest of the former CBN governor was an administrative decision of the DSS.

The AGF is also challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit, as the originating motion filed by Mr. Emefiele ought to have sought that the court set aside the order for his detention rather than seek enforcement of rights.

An appointee of former President Goodluck Jonathan after Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s tenure was cut short in 2015, Emefiele, was retained by Buhari, and began his second term in office in May 2019 after his reappointment, and confirmation by the Senate. He was thereafter sworn in by the Bank’s Secretary and Director, Corporate Secretariat Department, Mrs Alice Karau, according to a statement by the Director Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okoroafor.

On resumption of office for his second term, Emefiele expressed high hopes, dsiclosing that he will unfold a new roadmap for the Bank and the economy, in the days ahead, after consultations with critical stakeholder groups, and reiterated the bank’s focus to play an active role in supporting job and wealth creation in Nigeria.

In his words: “We must strengthen our efforts over the coming years to stimulate growth and job creation in critical sectors of the economy, which will help insulate our economy from shocks in the global economy.

“We must also work to build a healthy and stable financial system that will contribute to the growth of our economy while preserving price stability”.

Emefiele went ahead to unveil his economic blueprint for the country, promising to recapitalise banks within the next five years to make them contribute significantly to economic growth, promising that during his next five years, which will elapse in 2024, he would pursue an economic agenda that would make the economy grow by double digits through targeted programmes that would boost output, and work with Deposit Money Banks to boost credit to the real sector as well as the creative and education sector. In addition, he said the apex bank will increase its support to farmers in order to bring down the rate of inflation.

However, events began to take a dramatic turn as the matters of the naira showed the traces of a currency given inadequate attention with plummeting agenda against other currencies of the world, coupled with the advent of the electioneering season, which categorically sort of distracted the CBN governor with his overtly ambitions trend to become president, even without resigning his appointment as a public servant.

Earlier, the CBN governor was laced in a scandal following a leaked tape, where he and other senior bank officials were heard discussing discrepancies in the bank’s accounts, addressing a stolen money from the bank’s coffers. Though the tape was audible enough declaring the anxiety in the bank at the time, the authorities promptly denied the development, saying the tape was misquoted out of context, and distorted

Again, the Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okoroafor, was on hand to veil the authenticity of the allegation saying said that no money was missing or stolen from the bank’s coffers as reported in some section of the media. He said that the audio was distorted in a manner which creates a different impression of the matter being discussed, which was to proffer solutions to a misunderstanding that affected the Bank’s balance sheet.

He said: “As publicly known the CBN was approached in 2015 by the National Economic Management Team and the National Economic Council chaired by the Vice President, to assist State Governments with Conditional Budget Support. This happened in the aftermath of the significant nose-dive in global oil prices and associated FAAC allocations.
“In order to ensure that ordinary Nigerian workers  got their salaries, pensions and gratuities, and that the economy continued to recover from recession, the Bank provided about N650 billion in loans at 9 per cent with a two-year grace period to 35 States of the Federation.
“These monies were distributed to the states monthly with documented approval of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Presidency.
“In closing the Bank’s 2018 accounts, external auditors in their Draft  Account, erroneously classified about N150 billion of these loans as bad, which negatively affected the Bank’s Balance Sheet and shareholders fund.
“The selective  conversation being circulated was simply a discussion to ascertain why the auditors took that position and next steps to resolving it.
“Obviously, it soon became clear that a State Government loan cannot be classified as “bad” or “irrecoverable” when the State still exists and getting FAAC allocations.
“The Bank then reached out to the Federal Ministry of Finance and they jointly gave comfort  to the auditors who accepted in writing that these monies would be repaid.
“On this basis, the auditors reversed the negative entry and the certified that the CBN’s 2018 accounts were a true reflection of the State of Affairs.”
The statement ended with Okoroafor saying that Emefiele had “no account in Dubai or anywhere in the world and would never convert the funds of CBN for personal use. Not in the past, not now and not ever” while urging Nigerians to disregard the audio and continue to trust that the Bank is doing everything it could to represent their interests in the best possible way.” He stated that efforts to malign the CBN governor’s character and integrity will never stand.

Though the bank threatened to ‘pursue every legal means to bring the perpetrators to justice’, nothing was heard of the matter till date.

It was not long thereafter that the CBN’s governor’s foray into the murky waters of politics became public knowledge. While Nigerians were not averse to his contesting political positions, all the more than a few persons asked for was for the chief monetary officer to resign his position, and squarely politics, but he blatantly refused. And sought court ruling to enable him run while retaining his office.
Emefiele’s continous involvement in scandals went on unabated with making Nigerians believing he wouldn’t survive the administration of former President Buhari. He was enmeshed in one scandal after another since his infamous declaration to run for the office of the presidency as a sitting public servant, contrary to the dictates of the Nigerian Constitution. His recalcitrant attitude to the ambition, even as calls were made by prominent Nigerians, even the generality of the public, for him to jettison the plans, put him on the bad pavilion of public discourse. His inglorious handling of the economy that has seen the Naira continue a free fall did not help matters, and worse still the not-well-thought-out naira redesign process, leading to total withdrawal of cash in circulation, and driving Nigerians into untold suffering culminating into permanent disabilities for many and death for some.
However, the alleged crimes of Emefiele notwithstanding, he still deserves the application of the rule of law in his matter, but that has not been forthcoming as the DSS has held him incommunicado and disobeyed all court rulings on the issue.
A new development, which The Boss cannot immediately confirm alleged that the embattled Emefiele has been offered an opportunity of a plea bargain, demanding he submits N50 billion out of his supposed looted funds, and receive his release in exchange.
But observers believe that Emefiele’s endless search for justice will materialise, one day.

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