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2023 Polls Worse Ever – Dele Momodu



Chief Dele Momodu is a renowned journalist, businessman and motivational speaker. He is the CEO and Publisher of Ovation International Magazine. He was also a presidential aspirant  under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2023.

In this interview with Sunday Sun, he talked about the state of the nation. Excerpts:

We just celebrated Democracy Day on Monday, June 12. Looking back, how have we fared  in the development of our democratic practice?

I believe democracy has become a nebulous concept in Africa’s biggest and most important country. Democracy is largely expected to be a much simpler and less complicated system of government, but unfortunately, Nigerian politicians have since turned it into a desperate, despicable and destructive concept. This is why our electoral process continues to get worse and worse. I’m not sure this was the democracy our founding fathers fought for or envisaged when they went all out in asking for independence from colonial rule. It is very sad and unfortunate that the democracy that was meant to make the lives of the people better has actually impoverished them beyond imagination and human compass. The colonial masters that we were quick to deride and describe in lurid pictures actually left behind better legacies than most of our own political rulers. A democracy where the people are forced to prepare for war instead of peaceful elections cannot be celebrated as successful.

Did we learn any lesson from June 12, considering the crisis of credibility that rocked the 2023 elections?

I’m not sure any longer, if we learnt much lessons from the June 12, 1993 crisis. Our collective amnesia stinks to high heavens. We generally behave like victims of mass hypnotism. We have become less humane in our attitudes to fellow citizens. On June 12, Nigerians voluntarily trooped out to vote for a preferred candidate of their own choices without rancour or brigandage. Ethnic considerations were less manifest. Thuggery was absent. Vote-buying wasn’t so ubiquitous. If you ask me, the two party system worked far better than the current conundrum of multi-party cacophony. What we have now with the proliferation of political parties can be likened to the popular phrase “Fuji House of Commotion!” Nigeria has been divided and balkanized along ethno-religious lines and absolutely devoid of principle, philosophy and ideology.

What are your fears for Nigeria?

My fears are real and  palpable. Nigeria may fall into the hands of hijackers and carpetbaggers. Nigeria may be dangerously tilting to a one party state. Nigeria may be speeding towards a monarchical government. But if that’s the wishes of the people, so be it. My fear is that it may conversely result ultimately in anarchy because of the plurality of nationalities and religions. Those who feel shortchanged may be prone to easy and ready manipulations by enemies of Nigeria. We may be heading for Golgotha if we stoically refuse to see the boobytraps and landmines ahead.

What is your take on the removal of subsidy on fuel by President Tinubu during his inauguration?

The phantom “oil subsidy” has become a debilitating and malignant cankerworm that must be urgently excised and excoriated. It must not be allowed to metastasize further. However , we must be acutely aware of the repercussions or side effects of  treatments of such scale and magnitude. It cannot, and must not, be rushed, in the spirit of political correctness or vain-glorification. What is needed is a well-thought out programme by the government of the day because the impact has devastating implications and consequences. I foresee the government fighting a two-pronged war if it is unable to find the correct register for its communications. One is to immediately attract the angst of current beneficiary of the subsidy regime. Second is to ignite the mass anger of citizens who already live below poverty lines, if commensurate palliatives are not considered and put in place.

The leadership of the 10th National Assembly was handpicked by the executive arm of government; what is the implication of that on the country’s democracy?

Democracy in saner climes operates on the principles of separation of powers, but like I mentioned earlier, it has become endangered in Nigeria, where the Executive arm wishes to control life and death and, unfortunately, finds willing tools ready to sell their birthright. The Executive now has humongous powers of controlling the Legislature and the Judiciary, if we do not find enough men and women of conscience and guts in the separate arms of government. The most recent National Assembly, and even the States Assembly and Local Government Administrations, have been aptly described as mere rubber stamp.

The suspension and arrest of the former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele was received with mixed reactions by a cross section of Nigerians. While some commended the move, others say it did not follow due process of law. What is your take on that?

I have since expressed my personal views on this development on social media and it is worth repeating it here. Only a poor student of political science would not have anticipated the tragedy that befell the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele. I believe he had overstretched his luck when he dabbled into politics. He must have been goaded into believing he was doing so well and could easily become the awaiting and anointed Messiah of Nigeria. Again, my take is that he should not be made a victim of political vendetta. His rights must be fully respected and no attempt should be made to humiliate him. Perhaps, he would have averted this tragic fall from grace to grass had he hearkened to my humble advice last year February, when I told him to resign honourably once he compromised his special office and position.

What is your assessment of the ongoing proceedings at the presidential election petition tribunal?

So far so good, I think the Presidential Election Tribunal is going very well. My personal view is that the election was the worst ever. What remains is if our judiciary would be able to take very difficult decisions or simply go for what is expedient and convenient.

Culled from Sunday Sun

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Adelabu Makes U-turn, Apologises to Nigerians over Deep Freezer Comment




The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has apologised over his comment criticising Nigerians who usually keep their freezers and air conditioners on when they are not at home.

Speaking in an interview with Channels Television on Thursday, Adelabu said the comment was not intended to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.

Last Thursday, the minister of power said Nigerians lacked the culture of power consumption management due to the affordability of electricity supply.

“A lot of people will come back from work, they want to have dinner, or they want to see their colleagues down the road, they switch on the AC for the room to be cooling before they come back,” Adelabu had said.

“Some people will be going to work in the morning, a freezer that you left on for days, they will still leave it on when all the items in the freezer are frozen and five, six, eight hours of their absence will not make it to defreeze, they will still leave it to be consuming power just because we are not paying enough.”

The comment did not go down well with many Nigerians who criticised the minister for his handling of the ministry of power.

Speaking on the comment, Adelabu said the statement was borne out of his passion for a change in the power sector.

He added that the remark was directed at customers in the Band A category, who are expected to enjoy 20 hours of electricity supply in a day.

“It was never intended to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians in any way. I never said people should switch off their freezers,” Adelabu said.

“It was actually innocent advice with regard to energy consumption management, which we believe will go a long way in reducing people’s energy bills.

“The example of the freezer, it might not have gone down well with the majority of Nigerians. I will say sorry about that. It was never my intention to insult anybody.

“It was out of my passion and eagerness to ensure that we make a change in the sector, which has suffered a lot of setbacks for some years.

“We said we need to cultivate the culture of energy consumption management. It was just a comical illustration.”

Recently, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) approved an increase in electricity tariff for customers under the Band A classification.

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Tinubu’s Govt Borrows $750m from World Bank to Boost Power Supply




The Federal government has secured a $750 million loan from the World Bank to provide subsidy to developers and operators of solar mini-grids in the country.

The Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, and World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, signed the loan agreement on March 31 and February 19 respectively.

The loan, according to a document made available to journalists on Thursday, is aimed at augmenting the supply of electricity to both households and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) through a surge in private sector-led distributed renewable energy initiatives.

It read: “The loan will be partly used to provide support to the development and operation of privately owned and operated solar hybrid mini grids in unserved and underserved areas through:

1.1. Minimum Subsidy Tender Carrying out of Minimum Subsidy Tender processes and provision of Minimum Capital Cost Subsidies to selected developers/operators of (a) Isolated mini- grids; (b) Interconnected mini-grids; or (c) Solar rooftop solutions in Participating States.”

Aside from providing the subsidy, the Federal government plans to also provide performance-based grants.

“There will be a provision of Performance-Based Grants to eligible mini-grid operators based on new customer connections for isolated mini-grids and percentage of capital expenditures for interconnected mini-grid projects.

“The grant will also cover Standalone Solar (SAS) Systems for Households, MSMEs, and Agribusinesses. This grant will provide “Support to the expansion of SAS systems for households, MSMEs, and agribusinesses in rural areas through:

2.1. Performance Based Grants for Standalone Solar Provision of Performance Based Grants (“PBGs”) to eligible companies to rapidly deploy SAS solutions in rural and underserved areas, through supply and demand side support and based on independently verified outputs, and to support deployment of solar productive use of electricity (PUE) equipment to MSMEs, agribusinesses and commercial customers.”

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Atiku Describes FG’s Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway As a Fraud




Former vice president Atiku Abubakar on Thursday described the N15.6 trillion attached to the 700km Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway as its tentative cost by the Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, as wasteful and a highway to fraud.

In a statement emanating from his media office, he criticized the minister for altering the initial plan of the project after Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech had been awarded the contract without any competitive bidding.

The statement observed that Umahi had, during his media rounds at select TV stations on Thursday, said the road project would cost N15.6 trillion ($13bn at an exchange rate of N1,200/$1), while the rail, which will pass through the road, will be costed separately.

Atiku stated: “Umahi had announced that the project would be fully funded by Hitech, and based on this, there was no competitive bidding. He (Umahi) then turned around to say that Hitech could only raise just 6% of the money for the pilot phase. This smacks of deceit.”

The statement pointed out that the minister had also said the project would not be undertaken under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), but the government would be providing 15%-30% counterpart financing.

Responding to this revelation, Atiku said the tentative cost was equivalent to the total budget of all 36 states of the federation combined.

He added: “The total budget of all 36 states of the federation for 2024 stands at about N14 trillion. If you add that of the FCT, the entire budget of all sub-nationals is N15.91 trillion. This is scandalous. Worse still, they have already awarded the contract but are still not sure of the level of the counterpart funding component of the federal government!

“Umahi had said in September 2023 that Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech had the money to construct the highway and that it would be PPP. Hitech was to build, operate, and transfer it back to the Nigerian government after years of tolling.

“It was reported by every media organization, including those owned by Tinubu. It was on the basis of this proposal that Hitech was picked. Why did Umahi then turn around to claim that it was not to be a PPP but that the government would pay 15%-30%?”

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election noted that in the 2024 budget, the project was captured as the Lagos-Port Harcourt coastal highway and was put at a cost of N500 million.

“Although the National Assembly approved N500m for the project this year, the Tinubu administration has released N1.06tn. That is more than 200 times what is in the Appropriation Act. This is what happens when the National Assembly fails in its duties,” he added.

Atiku said it was curious that the N15.91 trillion announced by Umahi did not include the cost of the railway component. He, therefore, wondered how much the project would cost if the railway component is included.

“If N15.6 trillion is for the road component alone, then the total cost could be far higher when the railway is included. We want to know the cost of the railway,” he said.

The Tribune

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