Lagos Assembly Seeks Suspension Of Oriade LCDA Sole Administrator Over Financial Misappropriation


The Lagos State House of Assembly has called on Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode to suspend Mr Habeeb Aileru, the Sole Administrator of Oriade Local Council Development Area (LCDA), over alleged financial misappropriation.

The House frowned at the Sole Administrator’s disobedience to extant financial laws and flagrant disregard of the governor’s directives.

This followed a complaint and motion by the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts (Local), Mr Bisi Yusuff, alleging that Aileru had been reckless with the council’s finances.

The motion for the suspension was seconded by Mr Richard Kasunmu, the Chairman, House Committee on Youths and Social Development.

Yusuff said that the recklessness was discovered in the state Auditor-General’s report the committee was currently working on.

“This House calls on the Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode to remove Mr Habeeb Aileru, the Sole Administrator of Oriade LCDA with immediate effect,” Yusuff said.

Raising the issue in the preceding plenary session on July 4, Yusuff had accused Aileru of not following the clear directive when he was sworn-in along with others not to embark on new projects. He had explained that the directive was to make the take-off of the incoming elected council administration seamless.

Yusuff said that Aileru, who was indicted by the Auditor-General report, went ahead to embark on new projects instead of settling outstanding debt.

The chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts alleged that within three months in office, Aileru increased the debt of the LCDA from N285 million to N406 million.

He also alleged that the sole administrator had appointed a contractor to collect revenue, ignoring a directive by the governor against such practice, resulting in a diversion of council funds.

According to him, his committee is recommending that Aileru be suspended immediately so that he does not incur more debt for the council.

The lawmakers took turns to condemn the attitude of Aileru and called for his immediate suspension.

Mrs Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, a member of the Public Account Committee (Local), condemned the height of misappropriation of funds and flagrant disregard of the directives of the state perpetrated by Aileru. “The money he misappropriated is too much to be overlooked and it is all in Auditor-General’s report,” Tejuosho said.

In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa said that such suspension would serve as deterrent to others and put all on their toes.

“I agree with your submissions if we look at the infractions performed by Aileru. Officials around him (Aileru) cannot be exonerated also. I adopt your position that Mr Habeeb Aileru should step aside to ensure discipline,” he said.

The speaker, while endorsing the suspension of Aileru directed the Clerk of the House, Mr Azeez Sanni to communicate same to Ambode.

Earlier, a group of youths from the Council, led by Mr Tajudeen Yusuf, staged a protest to the House, urging the Assembly to suspend Aileru over alleged embarrassment caused to the party.

Yusuf said that Aileru had plunged the council into debt and caused division in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the council area.

He said that only the removal of the council boss could redeem the fortune of the party in the forthcoming July 22 local government polls.

Involve Africa Holds An Evening With Youngest Local Govt Boss In Lagos, Gbenga Abiola

The Involve Africa Group hosted the youngest Local Government Area boss, Hon Gbenga Abiola, the current SOle Administrator of Agege LGA.

The event was held at the MRC Hall, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos on Tuesday, June 27th.

Sole Administrator of Agege LGA, Hon Gbenga Abiola with the Convener of Involve Africa, Ibrahim Owolabi during an interactive session

The event which was themed; Youth & Governance: Access, Capacity and Engagement had Hon Abiola share his experience so far in politics of the State and how he remained relevant till he was appointed by the State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.

The Founder and Executive Director of Involve Africa, Ibrahim Owolabi stated that the project is to encourage young active Africans get involved in the democratic governance process of Nigeria and Africa at large.
He stated that with the likes of Abiola in governance, it was certain that youth still have a place if they get engage properly in grassroots politics.

In his remarks, Hon Abiola urged the youth to get themselves rooted in the activities that make up a party. He shared his testimony of starting off as a party agent and rose in the Local Government hierachy before he was recommended by the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt

Hon Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa.

Hon Abiola disclosed that his loyalty to his party, the ruling All Progressives Conress rewarded him with the lofty position when the time of  appointment came forth.

Hon Abiola giving his acceptance speech after he was presented with recognition award by the Involve Africa Team.

He disclosed that despite being told to step down for an aspirant in the past did not stop him from participating in the party’s activities.

He encouraged the youth present at the programme to always remain focus in order to change the narrative in the playing of politics in Nigeria and also to always be ready to demand for accountability from their elected officials.

We Could not remove Udom because God chose him to be the Governor – Ita Enang

The Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on senate matters, Senator Ita Enang in a telephone interview on an Uyo-based radio station spoke glowingly on Governor Udom Emmanuel, the late signing of the 2017 budget among other things, below are excerpts from the interview:

The acting president has just signed the 2017 budget into law and many Nigerians seem quite to feel that 6 months into the year is rather too late for a budget to be assented?

I think those who say the budget was signed late (six months into the year) are not current with the position of the law. The current position of the law is that the 2016 budget, which was presented around 6th of May, 2016, and section 11 of that act provided that the budget was to run a course of 12 months from the date it was assented to. So the 2016 budget run and got spent on 6th May 2017. So there was a budget in operation whereas the 2017 budget was passed on or before 13th May, 2017 after the 2016 budget became spent, and was transmitted to the executive on 19th May, 2017.
Under the law, the president or a governor, when a budget is transmitted to him, will not pass it immediately. He will go through consultation within the period of 30 days. The 30 days is a period of consultation, coordination, examination, reading, scrutinizing, seeing the implementability or otherwise of the budget, looking at the total, looking at the extent to which the budget concurs with the view of the government, and looking at the extent to which there may have been any untold implementation inside the budget.

So the budget was signed within time because the 2016 appropriation did not expire or get spent on 31st December. Let’s get to know about the increase from the proposal of the executive, the president within the N7.29 trillion, the senators and the House of Representatives decided to increase it. Some also said that they are doing this for their own pockets, some said they are doing it to appease the executive. What would you say about this?

When a budget is dropped on the floor of the legislature, National Assembly or the state House of Assembly, it is treated as a proposal. It is what comes out of when passed that becomes the budget. But in a case of the federal government handling budget, almost everything that was done were done consultatively between the chairmen of the different committees and the ministers. Most of them like the Minister of Budget and Planning were in constant consultation with themselves. So it was not unnecessary increase. When we presented the budget, we presented the budget on a benchmark price of oil as proposed at $42.5 per barrel and 22.2 million per day, but when the National Assembly was asked to contribute and pass through the medium, they raised the parameter of the benchmark from $42 per barrel to $44.5 per barrel. That made more money available because we still had 22.3 million barrel per day. If you take 42 to 44.5 dollars, which means there is extra money budgeted. It is that extra money that reached the amount they approved from 7.17 to 7.4. And again, they did not even apply all the money alone. We discussed with them to apply part of the money, one for debt servicing and the other one to apply on some projects. Don’t forget that there were some projects awarded by the federal executive council after the budget was presented by Mr. President on 14th December. So, upon those projects being awarded, they may not have been sufficiently provided for in the budget or may not have been known whether they were going to be awarded or whether the process was completed within time, and so they did not provide sufficiently for them. Like the Calabar-Itu Road, it was awarded around 15th May which was the last project to be awarded before the 2016 appropriation lapsed.
It is things like this that make the National Assembly to increase the budget. It is not that the budget was increased, but the provision for most serious and sensitive projects like the Calabar – Lagos Rail, provision for Lagos – Ibadan and a few other projects were reduced. Reducing it that way may not allow for implementation, and most of these provisions were provisions at counterpart funding, and if you reduce it and not give confidence to China team or other foreign funding partners who were to loan us money to provide because on your own part, you have not even provided the counterpart funding. If they don’t see it in the budget provision, they not be able to bring their money because we are not ready for the counterpart funding.

You have been an advocate of unity and you spoke extensively when you were in the Senate about the unity of Akwa Ibom State, but you are said to be sponsoring programmes on radio for the constant abuse of the Governor of your state?

The people of Akwa Ibom State deserve to hear the truth about what the federal government is doing as well as the state government. I sponsored that programme on Planet radio because it is independent. There is another one on Atlantic FM and it is for the people of the state to hear about the alternative because the state medium is not giving the people the truth. His Excellency, Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, the Governor, is my friend. I respect him as much as I know he knows God. I personally went to his office during one of the occasions I represented the president and the presidency, and told him that if it had not been God, he wouldn’t be the Governor because we did whatever we could to remove him. I respect him because God chose him to be the Governor. I accord him that respect, but to the extent that there could be an abuse on people. I work very closely with Governor Udom Emmanuel, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, because here is the Nigerian project and after which it is the Akwa Ibom project.

Bola Tinubu sent me to prison for nothing – Bode George 

Bode George has accused Bola Tinubu as the man behind his incarceration during the Nigerian Ports Authority crisis.

Ex-Vice National Chairman, PDP SouthWest, Olabode George has said Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was behind his travails and incarceration while he headed the National Ports Authority.

“Tinubu and others were responsible for my travails during the Nigeria Ports Authority crisis when I was sent to prison for doing nothing. I can only wish Obanikoro the best of luck, ” George said.

In a recent interview, the former military governor of Ondo State denies being a sworn enemy to Tinubu as it is widely spread.

He said: ” Bola (Tinubu) and I are not sworn enemies. Bola and I met during the burial of Alao Arisekola in Ibadan. That was the first time I saw him physically after I left the military. I was seated in the front row at the stadium. As I was going out, I saw him but refused to greet him. Then Governor Abiola Ajimobi jumped up and said, “Egbon, you did not greet Bola Tinubu? I said, ‘why would I greet him? Did you know what he did against me where he got the court to convict me for an offence I never committed? ”

Continuing, he said: “But Oba Otudeko advised that we should use Arisekola’s death to settle the disagreement. I asked Ajimobi to go and call Bola (Tinubu). He (Tinubu) came to where I was and we shook hands. He said, “Egbon, e mabinu (Don’t be offended).” I am not God. So, since then, we settled our disagreement. The prison experience was a period of learning for me.”

George also pointed out that though he has forgiven Tinubu, he needs to tell the younger ones about what caused their rift.

“The fact that we resolved it does not mean I cannot refer to it for the younger generations to learn, in order to avoid such pitfalls in the future. The only person you can trust absolutely is God Almighty ,” he said.

I acted as a man to get work – until I was accused of rape

Pili Hussein wanted to make her fortune prospecting for a precious stone that’s said to be a thousand times rarer than diamonds, but since women weren’t allowed down the mines she dressed up as man and fooled her male colleagues for almost a decade.

Pili Hussein grew up in a large family in Tanzania. The daughter of a livestock keeper who had many large farms, Pili’s father had six wives and she was one of 38 children. Although she was well looked after, in many ways, she doesn’t look back on her upbringing fondly.

“My father treated me like a boy and I was given livestock to take care of – I didn’t like that life at all,” she says.

But her marriage was even more unhappy, and at the age of 31 Pili ran away from her abusive husband.

In search of work she found herself in the small Tanzanian town of Mererani, in the foothills of Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro – the only place in the world where mining for a rare, violet-blue gemstone called tanzanite takes place.

An outreached palm with tanzanite stones on it
Maasai herders first discovered tanzanite in 1967 – it’s now one of the world’s best-selling gems but is in limited supply

“I didn’t go to school, so I didn’t have many options,” Pili says.

“Women were not allowed in the mining area, so I entered bravely like a man, like a strong person. You take big trousers, you cut them into shorts and you appear like a man. That’s what I did.”

To complete the transformation, she also changed her name.

“I was called Uncle Hussein, I didn’t tell anyone my actual name was Pili. Even today if you come to the camp you ask for me by that name, Uncle Hussein.”

In the tight confines of the hot, dirty tunnels – some of which extend hundreds of metres below the ground – Pili would work 10-12 hours a day, digging and sieving, hoping to uncover gemstones in the veins in the graphite rock.

“I could go 600m under, into the mine. I would do this more bravely than many other men. I was very strong and I was able to deliver what men would expect another man could do.”

Pili says that nobody suspected that she was a woman.

Pili Hussein tells Outlook’s Matthew Bannister how she succeeded in becoming a miner

“I acted like a gorilla,” she says, “I could fight, my language was bad, I could carry a big knife like a Maasai [warrior]. Nobody knew I was a woman because everything I was doing I was doing like a man.”

And after about a year, she struck it rich, uncovering two massive clusters of tanzanite stones. With the money that she made she built new homes for her father, mother and twin sister, bought herself more tools, and began employing miners to work for her.

And her cover was so convincing that it took an extraordinary set of circumstances for her true identity to finally be revealed. A local woman had reported that she’d been raped by some of the miners and Pili was arrested as a suspect.

“When the police came, the men who did the rape said: ‘This is the man who did it,’ and I was taken to the police station,” Pili says.

Miners in the Mererani mine
The miners dig using chisels and fill bags with rubble which are hoisted up to the surface using a rope

She had no choice but to reveal her secret.

She asked the police to find a woman to physically examine her, to prove that she couldn’t be responsible, and was soon released. But even after that her fellow miners found it hard to believe they had been duped for so long.

“They didn’t even believe the police when they said that I was a woman,” she says, “it wasn’t easy for them to accept until 2001 when I got married and I started a family.”

Pili HusseinUN WOMEN/DEEPIKA NATH

Finding a husband when everyone is accustomed to regarding you as a man is not easy, Pili found, though eventually she succeeded.

“The question in his mind was always, ‘Is she really a woman?'” she recalls. “It took five years for him to come closer to me.”

Pili Hussein pictured with a piece of tanzaniteUN WOMEN/DEEPIKA NATH

Pili has built a successful career and today owns her own mining company with 70 employees. Three of her employees are women, but they work as cooks not as miners. Pili says that although there are more women in the mining industry than when she started out, even today very few actually work in the mines.

“Some [women] wash the stones, some are brokers, some are cooking,” she says, “but they’re not going down in to the mines, it’s not easy to get women to do what I did.”

Pili’s success has enabled her to pay for the education of more than 30 nieces, nephews and grandchildren. But despite this she says she wouldn’t encourage her own daughter to follow in her footsteps.

“I’m proud of what I did – it has made me rich, but it was hard for me,” she says.

“I want to make sure that my daughter goes to school, she gets an education and then she is able to run her life in a very different way, far away from what I experienced.”

BBC Special

Asiwaju, Ambode stops APC LG primaries  in Lagos impose candidates 

The much-expected primaries of All Progressives Congress, (APC), to elect candidates to run in the July 22 Local Government elections failed to hold yesterday.

Daily Trust on Sunday correspondent who visited the party secretariats in selected local government areas (LGAs) and local council development areas, (LCDAs) observed that no exercise was taking place.

For instance, at the APC secretariat at Orile-Agege LCDA, along Ipaja Road, Mulero, the entrance to the building was locked as was the situation at Ojokoro, Oke Odo and Ojodu LCDA as well as Agege, Ifako/Ijaiye and Mainland LGAs, among others.

A councillorship aspirant in Orile-Agege LCDA who will not want his name mentioned told Daily Trust on Sunday that the decision not to hold the primaries was taken at the last stakeholders meeting held at the state’s party secretariat at Acme road, Ogba.

“When the National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu addressed us at the stakeholders’ meeting, he insisted​ he has promised some people the post over the years and would love them to go unopposed without primaries.

When was contacted on phone, the state APC Publicity Secretary, Joe Igbokwe, said although he was currently in Abuja, he was not aware that the primaries would be taking place at the state secretariat but at APC LGA secretariats.

President Buhari’s Prolonged Absences Put Nigeria on Edge 

DAKAR, Senegal — Nigeria’s ailing president, Muhammadu Buhari, had been seen in public so rarely that some Nigerians were convinced he was dead. Some of his supporters have called on him to step down, at least until his health improves.

His wife recently defended him, posting on Twitter that the president’s condition was “not as bad as it’s being perceived.”

As the worries grew, Mr. Buhari desperately needed a victory to show that he was still in control, securely at the helm. Over the weekend he got one: Dozens of the nearly 300 schoolgirls kidnapped three years ago by Boko Haram were released, by far the biggest break in a case that shocked the nation and the world.

But Mr. Buhari, 74, barely reveled in the achievement. He met with the girls briefly Sunday, then flew back to London, where he has spent nearly two months this year on medical leave.

The nature of the president’s illness is still a mystery, constantly played down by advisers who have called him “hale and hearty.” But his prolonged public absences have prompted anxiety in a country that is trying to dig out of

recession while fighting a brutal war against Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group.

“I’d like to assure all Nigerians there is no cause for worry,” Mr. Buhari said Sunday on Twitter.

Among the well-wishing from those responding on Twitter were expressions of fears about a rudderless country.

“Just resign,” read one post.

The release last weekend of 82 of the schoolgirls kidnapped from the village of Chibok consumed and elated people around the world. But in Nigeria the news was quickly caught up in another drama: Who, exactly, is in charge of Africa’s biggest economy?

Officially, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has taken over while the president is in London. But some Nigerians are asking how Mr. Buhari can run the country when he has been too ill to attend his own cabinet meetings.

“There is today no clear leadership,” said Sylvester Odion Akhaine, an associate professor of political science at Lagos State University. “His absence harbors potential seeds of instability.”

Some critics even contend that the timing of the girls’ release was suspicious, intended to distract the nation from the president’s latest medical trip to London.

Ayodele Fayose, the governor of Ekiti State, issued a statement saying it had become commonplace for Mr. Buhari to “resort to flying dubious kites and selling cheap dummies to distract the people and obfuscate the issue at hand.”

The questions over the president’s fitness to rule come at a time when Nigeria is reeling from low oil prices and a humanitarian crisis caused by Boko Haram in the northeast, where some people are on the brink of famine .

The troubles do not end there: Angry residents of the oil-rich south, where many feel cheated out of their share in the nation’s oil wealth, are blowing up pipelines.

Given all the uncertainty, various groups have called on Mr. Buhari to resign or take a lengthy medical leave of absence until it is clear he is well enough to lead. Femi Adesina, a special adviser to Mr. Buhari, rejected those calls.

“Over 15 million people voted the president into office,” he said. “If between 15 and 20 people are asking for resignation, their will cannot override the will of millions of others. Millions of Nigerians are praying for, and wishing the president well.”

Nigerians fear a rerun of 2009, when the president, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, was ill for months, traveled to Saudi Arabia for treatment and never handed over power. Parliament eventually appointed his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan, to take over, and Mr. Yar’Adua died in the presidential villa.

Mr. Jonathan served out the term and was later elected to office, presiding over a corruption-plagued administration until he was ousted by Mr. Buhari in the last election.

Many Nigerians blame Mr. Jonathan for failing to try to rescue the girls abducted from Chibok immediately after militants stormed their boarding school during exam week in 2014. Even with the dozens released over the weekend, more than 100 of the girls remain unaccounted for, many of them believed to be still in Boko Haram’s clutches.

Mr. Buhari came into office in 2015 with two major promises: ending rampant corruption and defeating Boko Haram. He has made progress toward both goals.

His administration has uncovered suspicious stacks of cash — millions of dollars’ worth — in the home of a former national oil executive. It has charged a former national security adviser with stealing many more millions of dollars that were supposed to be used to buy weapons to fight Boko Haram.

Under Mr. Buhari, a former general, soldiers have made major gains against Boko Haram, storming forest hide-outs and scattering fighters into the countryside. The group no longer holds large swaths of territory in Nigeria but still stages regular suicide attacks and strikes on military convoys and outposts.

Mr. Buhari had also pledged to clean up the human rights violations of the military, but soldiers are still accused of killing civilians.

The release of the girls from Chibok resulted from months of negotiations by his administration with militants, beginning six months ago after a smaller group of 21 girls

was released . In the end, Mr. Buhari endorsed handing over as many as six Boko Haram suspects who Western diplomats have said were high-ranking commanders.

Some Nigerians are worried that Mr. Buhari has ceded leadership to what is often referred to as his “cabal,” a group of close advisers who they fear are making political appointments and important decisions for an incapacitated president.

Bisi Akande, a former national chairman of Mr. Buhari’s political party, said he worried that this inner circle already was “attempting to feast on the health of Mr. President in a dangerous manner.”

“In the end, it could drag the entire country into avoidable doom,” he said.

Last week, a prominent human rights lawyer called for the suspension of bank activity, Parliament and all official business until Mr. Buhari gave up power.

“I hereby call upon all the good people of Nigeria across the land to rise up to challenge the cabal that is holding Nigeria to ransom in the face of the apparent incapacity of the president to direct the affairs of Nigeria,” the lawyer, Ebun Adegboruwa, said in a statement.

Nigeria’s Constitution calls for a president to be fit and in charge, and lawmakers could have doctors examine Mr. Buhari. Some opponents have sought that, but it seems unlikely lawmakers will resort to such measures.

During both his medical trips to London, Mr. Buhari has officially ceded power to the vice president, Mr. Osinbajo. Mr. Osinbajo, a former partner at a law firm who belongs to Mr. Buhari’s party, has been praised during his stints as interim president.

Mr. Osinbajo traveled to the Niger Delta in the south of the country to meet with leaders upset about economic inequalities — a trip Mr. Buhari had scheduled last year but canceled after oil pipeline attacks. He has led cabinet meetings, helped shepherd legislation, and on Monday presided over a major business forum. He even weighed in on a national obsession: arguing over which country has the best jollof rice.

His performance has put to rest fears of turmoil in a nation that has suffered through coups, military rule and a bloody separatist movement in the south. But positioning is well underway for who would serve as Mr. Buhari’s replacement on the 2019 presidential ticket for his party, the All Progressives Congress.

The jockeying takes into account a principle that has been in place since the 1999 end of military rule: the informal agreement that the presidency rotate after every two terms between the overwhelmingly Muslim north and Christian south.

Mr. Buhari is from the north, and if he leaves office before his term is finished, Mr. Osinbajo, a southerner, would take over until the term ends in 2019. But some in their party might argue for a northerner on the ticket for the next election because the north’s stint would be cut short.

Mr. Buhari’s supporters are brushing off talk of his successor. They say the president is fully capable of doing his job.

Bola Tinubu, an All Progressives party leader and the former governor of Lagos State, released a statement this week calling for Nigerians to stop speculating about the health of their president and focus on his achievements.

“His policies have begun to bear fruit,” he said. “Given the complex menu of problems he has faced, President Buhari has done well in a tough situation.”

Dionne Searcey reported from Dakar, and Tony Iyare from Lagos, Nigeria.

CREDIT :nytimes

ENTREPRENUERIAL REVOLUTUION:    THE WAY FORWARD TO SAVING THE NIGERIAN ECONOMY

What is required is an entrepreneurial revolution devoted to providing goods and services that take advantage of the large domestic and regional markets and opportunities of a globalised economy. But this will not happen by wishful thinking. It requires a profound shift in individual mind-sets and a fundamental reorganization of government and individual policies and practices. It will not happen overnight, but it can happen.

  Pursuing such a revolution, practical, steps can be taken immediately to encourage the entrepreneurial vision, talents and efforts of Nigeria’s, and Africa‘s populations. The entrepreneurial revolution is key to poverty alleviation. Such a revolution holds out a realistic hope for the future of Nigeria.

In, reshaping Nigerian youths for the abolition of unemployment and the use of entrepreneural skills there would be need to transform them into self-sufficient, ambitious and skillful members of the society, who take advantage of relevant opportunities in the society. Entrepreneurship is the feasible way for a nation to meet those goals and to develop prosperity for the greatest number of people. In fact, government activities should focus on supporting entrepreneurship not just to meet these measurable targets, but to unlock people’s mind- set, to allow innovation to take place and to enable people to exercise their talents.

Change has to start in the mind, once the mind gets corrected, the rest becomes simple. This entrepreneurial mind-set must inform our actions whether we are in the private sector, government, or civil society. This mind-set must inspire our entrepreneurs to aim ever higher. It must compel our civil servants to reinvent government. It must encourage our civil society to work for the greater good. Ultimately, this mind-set holds the key to our prosperity, our development, and our future.
Nigeria like most developing nations of the world is faced with countless problems and callous realities which include scarcity, unemployment, kidnapping, conflicts, diseases,terrorism and corruption. These situations pose great challenges to the existence of youth in Nigeria and especially this period of economy recession we need creative mind for a amiable economy solution. This problem is said to be traceable to the level of corruption and other illegal activities carried out by those at the top.
A greater proportion of the nation’s population is made up of youths under 30 according to 2006 census. Therefore, it can be asserted that Nigeria has a youth economy.Since all cannot be gainfully employed by the government; they should be empowered and counseled by relevant government and private institutions to reduce the high rate of menace in the society. Governments and private bodies must thus encourage entrepreneurship, out of everyone, you find special and unique talent  and entrepreneurship is about harnessing those talents, and making sure that it takes people to another level in their personal development. So, it is important for government to develop the private sector and to create an environment that enables entrepreneurs to flourish that his focused on lowering the costs of electricity, providing access to finance, building roads, and training managers.
 Entrepreneur and government working together in public- private partnerships to pursue economic opportunities is the essence of the entrepreneurial revolution. The entrepreneur in his entrepreneurial activities can bring about increase in production and create employment, income and facilitate rapid growth of micro, small, medium, and large scale enterprises to reduce poverty and hunger among the people.

The World Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Nigeria out lines basic requirements for sustainable growth: -Improving governance, Maintaining non- oil growth, and promoting human development. The World Bank’s CPS and Nigeria’s NEEDS strategies serve as a summary of key initiative that government must focus on in order to drive a sustainable entrepreneurial revolution. These initiatives include:Creating a collective socio-economic atmosphere that encourages entrepreneurial development to its fullest and widest capability. This includes tackling infrastructure deficits (in roads, power, and communication) that elevate the cost of doing business .Addressing systemic imbalances in terms of policy design and implementation, together with effective measures against institutional corruption. Re-calibrating the education system to concentrate on business administration , vocational and practical skills development training. Tax relief and access to venture capital for small business operations by means of promoting lending through equity instead of debt, increasing co-operation among the government, private sector and donor agencies as a means of creating a mass base of viable enterprises.

 

According to the Chartered institute of Economics and Corporate governance “Entrepreneurship is the process of identifying and starting a new business venture, sourcing and organizing the required resources, while taking both the risks and rewards associated with the venture. Entrepreneurship may result in new organizations or revitalize mature organizations in response to a perceived business opportunity” –An entrepreneur is seen as one who organizes and manages a business undertaking, assumes the risk for the sake of profit, an entrepreneur sees an opportunity, makes a plan, starts the business and manages the business. He receives the profits. A new business started by an entrepreneur is referred to as a startup company. In recent years, the term has been extended to include social and political forms of entrepreneurial activities.

There are  ways of promoting entrepreneurship among Nigerian youths and this would help in tackling the series of problem being encountered by this vulnerable group in the society. These will require youth’s empowerment with creative problem solving skills. The training of graduates, literate and ill-educated, who can function effectively in the society for the betterment of themselves and the society at large.

Another way that entrepreneurship and creativity could be encouraged is by teaching or nurturing on entrepreneurial skill at an early age like what Kwara State University his implementing which others can replicate. By doing this, tertiary institutions offering entrepreneurial courses should be strengthened while programs can be organized to educate Nigerians both literate and illiterate about the relevance of entrepreneurship to the individual and the community.

Finally, with the spirit of oneness, inter faith and inter tribal existence and the desire for collective survival and the discarding of the idea of survival of the fittest, there will be a steady growth of development, mutual support and adequate networking among the Nigeria youths.

​​AGRICULTURE – THE HOPE FOR A BETTER NIGERIA-OLAWUNMI SALAM

To answer a lofty topic like this one, it’s imperative to first examine some crucial issues. For over five decades, our nation has witnessed decline in agricultural practice, and has been struggling to feed her populace, losing billions of dollars which would have been incomes generated through agriculture. Where did we get it all wrong? This, we must address first before aiming at the solutions. The crux of this article is solution to Nigerian economic problem from agricultural perspective, a commendable programme, but I must say that those at the helms of the nation’s affairs must realized that our national problems began from the very moment our attention drifted away from agriculture. To find a lasting solution to this problem we must go to its root. Since independence, successive Nigerian government has been doing the wrong things for the right reason. Worst still, there have always been misplaced priorities. The discovery of crude oil in 1958 marked the beginning of the end for agriculture in Nigeria, gradually agricultural produce reduces and large scale production of cash crops waned to the point where the masses became disillusioned with farming. All attention, expectations and planning shifted from agriculture to other sectors. The importance of agriculture was gravely undermined, both by the government and the people of Nigeria. 

Nigeria once started in the right tract shortly before independence. In the early 1950s following the 1946 constitution which led to the creation of the three regions, these regions diligently pursue agriculture with earnest intention of development. The masses were well fed; the regional governments were making huge income from which they developed their societies.  Each region used to be renowned for different cash crops: in Northern region groundnut, cotton, tobacco, and other crops were largely grown for exportation. In that region textile industries was established, the Arewa Textile Mill was notable ; tobacco company {British Tobacco later Nigerian Tobacco company and presently British-American Tobacco} ;the groundnut pyramid became the emblem of that region. The Eastern Region was the center of palm oil production: in fact the name oil producing region attributed to the Niger-Delta of today is a misconception. The actual oil referred to by the British was palm oil not crude oil. The Eastern region lived off proceeds from rubber and palm produce. The Western Region was the home of plantations ranging from cocoa, coffee, kola nut to rubber. The famous Cocoa House in Ibadan signified the peak that glorious era. Unlike the virtual institutions of today, theses regional government set up research institutes, such like cocoa Research Institutes, rubber research institutes, tobacco and fiber research institutes, to improve the production of cash crops, exporting boards oversee these affairs productively. Farm settlements were established in rural areas, the subsistent farmers were fully involved in the process and everyone benefited. During these glorious days when agriculture was highly upheld, the government of the regions where basically focused on social welfare and the people were the focused towards government, mass poverty was not a known concept; infrastructure was developing at a steady pace. Life was good for the Nigerian people till the advent of crude oil. 

And there was Crude oil   

1958 marked a sad turning point for agriculture in Nigeria. Like candy van on a street, government ran headlong towards it and soon abandoned agriculture. Slowly, cash crops began to disappear, the government’s focus shifted from people-centric to abstract visions the commoners could not associate with. Post independent governments pretended to include agriculture in their national plans when in reality it was the least they were prepared for. Wide-spread poverty became the resultant effect of such misplaced priorities. Government programmes such as the National Accelerated Food Production of the early seventies, Operation Feed the Nation of the late seventies, the Green Revolution of the eighties, etc. were all parody. These programmes where not deliberate effort to the betterment of the rural settlers. Instead of exporting food Nigeria began to import food, a  nation whose agriculture now depend on supplied rice and pastas from China, canned food from oversees. We have become a consumer-only nation. All the textile, rubber, tobacco companies are no more in existence; the research institutes are now hovels for unemployed erudites. Since the demise of agriculture in Nigeria we have continued to record wide spread poverty, corruption soars daily and the middle class is wiped out. In comparative analyses, the agrarian economy of the regions has a lot more to show than the oil-based economy of today. 

How the Nigerian government can abandon agriculture without realizing the repercussion? The social science stated clearly the significance of agriculture in societal development. Every society begins at the hunter-gatherer age, stone/fire age, metal age, and agrarian age, industrial age, computer age, jet age and now the virtual age. From the description it takes only common sense to understand the role of agriculture in societal growth. How could we have committed such economic blunder? Advance nations understood this fact of society that is why they still upheld agriculture even in time of technological advancement. The United States in all her glory is a nation with sophisticated agricultural programmes; he has enough grains to supply other nations. So is China. Technological advancement did nit deter or lure them away from farming; instead they soared in all types of farming.

Technology has done a lot to spur the agricultural sector in the past few years. The transition from subsistence farming to large scale production has been rather slow but steady for some farmers. However there are still a lot more of these farmers in the rural areas who still engage in small scale productions. A scenario were the reverse should be the case is necessary if we a s a country plant to regain the glory we enjoyed in the 1960s that saw agricultural sector as the major source of  foreign exchange earnings.

There is no doubt that the government has been doing a  lot in the area of agriculture in Nigeria but there is still a lot more to be done. It is high time we look at the possibility of putting a stop to the importation of tinned tomatoes, frozen food and poultry. These are products that we should actually be exporting if we play our cards right. This leads us to an examination of one major area in agriculture that could do with some turn-around.

Education of Farmers

Educating farmers would create a lot of impact on agriculture in Nigeria. Farmers need to be brought up to speed on recent technologies and innovations that will assist them with production. This will ensure increased income on the part of the farmers, increased productivity which in turn leads to expansion over time and subsequently to the employment of more labour. The government should ensure that agricultural education cuts across the formal, informal and non-formal means of education. 

Educating farmers means that they would be versed in the best preservation techniques of surplus foods. Waste is as issue that needs serious attention because if this area can be looked into, it would ensure the availability of seasonal foods all year round which would in turn ensure that the price of certain agricultural products remains stable no matter the time of the year.

Market linkage is another area that could be tackled by education. One of the major problems facing farmers in the rural areas is the inability to market the products being produced. Today, a lot is being said about ethanol which is a by-product of cassava. A lot of research has gone into the study of ethanol as a source of bio fuel. Cassava is one crop that yields a significantly large percentage of ethanol during process. Cassava is also one of the major crops being produced in Nigeria but ironically, most cassava farmers in the rural areas are not in communication with these research facilities that require their products.

Solution

Several governments and organizations over the past three decades have come up with various ideas and policies that sought to create a turn-around in the agricultural sector. The Oyakhilome administration I 1985, set up the school to land scheme in Rivers State with the mandate to; Promote self-employment amongst the youths in agriculture – Check the rising trend of rural-urban migration of school leavers – boosting increased food production for both local consumption and for export.

Over the course of its existence it has trained over four thousand people, which is quite commendable. During the civil war, General Yakubu Gowon initiated a similar project which was known as the National Food Production Programme. This programme was designed to feed Nigerians sufficiently. The question however is this: What has become of these programs and what impact have they made so far? How many of these people are gainfully employed in the agricultural sector? How many of them are actually utilizing the skills taught?

How many of them are agricultural entrepreneurs?  It is obvious that the issue in Nigeria is not only execution, but rather the will to see these projects function properly in a sustainable manner. These programmes should be given the full backing of the government from the federal level down to the local government levels. Theses in turn should be broken into community outreaches where various agricultural programmes should be initiated by each individual community depending on what agricultural product is peculiar to a specific region. The people should be part of their own success story. Cocoa, rubber, oil palm, tomato and cassava are just some of the few agricultural products that could reduce Nigeria’s sole reliance on oil as a foreign exchange earner while simultaneously reducing the rate of unemployment in the country. Suffice it to say that if all these are looked into, vision 2020 would certainly be achieved.