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Inside Abuja

Gowon: How Abuja became capital of Nigeria

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Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), has disclosed that Abuja was made capital of Nigeria, because he refused to chose Jos, which was the first place he got attracted to when he commenced a search for the new capital during his days in office as the Military Head of State.

He said he would have made Jos, Plateau State, the Capital of Nigeria, when he was in power but refrained from doing so because he was afraid of been accused of “parochialism and favouritism”, given the fact that Jos was close to his place of birth. The elder statesman, disclosed this at the 26th anniversary of the movement of the seat of government from Lagos to Abuja, organized by the Federal Capital Territory Archives and History Bureau.

Gowon said he initiated the idea of relocating Nigeria’s seat of power from Lagos to a more centralised location in Nigeria for security reasons.

According to him, the first place he found that looked strategic, beautiful and suitable was Jos in Plateau State, North Central Nigeria. Gowon, recalled that the idea of developing a new capital was conceived by his government in 1974, and those who were passionate about the idea like the late General Murtala Muhammed continued with the project after he left government in 1975. ”

One of the places I saw that attracted me was somewhere in Plateau. Those of you who know the place, especially close to Jos forest, will agree that the area is beautiful and I thought that place was beautiful for the capital city. ”

But I did not make that choice because I would have been accused of parochialism, and favouritism, because it was very close to my original place where I come from. So, I said no, I must look at other places and the search for a new capital took me round the northwest, and in my state visits, I continued to look for other places.

When I came to Abuja, I was attracted to the place.” Gowon however, lamented that despite been the initiator of the idea that gave birth to the present Federal Capital Territory, successive governments marginalized him by not naming any street after him, until he officially complained to General Ibrahim Babangida(rtd)

He said that he suspected the reason for such treatment could be because some military brass, who were opportune to be close to government alleged that he had a hand in the death of Murtala Mohammed.

“I had to officially complain to General Ibrahim Babangida, when he was the Military President, that I have been excluded from getting a street named after me in Abuja, while all other members of the Military Council who nurtured the idea, had got streets named after them”, he said.

He stated that to make sure that the project of moving the Capital from Lagos to Abuja was not frustrated, he instructed Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who was his Minister of Finance to set aside funds from the excess funds for the purpose of pursuing the dream. He also said that the only regret he had was that he did not use his power as the head of state to appropriate land for his personal use.

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Mohammad Bello, who was represented at the occasion by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Christian Ohaa, said that the theme of the celebration:”From Dodan Barracks to Aso Rock” was apt and provides the platform for strategic evaluations of the giant steps taken to actualise the dream after 26 years of the relocation.

Bello noted that the developmental strides in Abuja did not come by chance, but by painstaking sacrifices of the successive administrations. According to him, the current system of funding infrastructure through statutory allocation was no longer sustainable and the Federal Government may have to consider other options in developing the city. “It is important that we note that the current system of funding infrastructure through statutory allocation is indeed not sustainable.

This is because the fund is no longer there. Government has done so much to drive development and brought the city to this point. The time has come for the private sector to drive the new process”, he said.

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Inside Abuja

VIDEO: Sunday Igboho steals show as Moshood Adeoti declares to succeed Aregbesola

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One of the leading aspirants in the race to Abere government house for the September 22nd governorship election in Osun state, Alhaji Moshood Olalekan Adeoti popularly addressed as “SHEU” by his admirers has officially declared his intention to contest for the post of the governor, to succeed his boss, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola under the platform of the All Progressives Congress APC.

He made his intention known when he visited the state secretariat of the party in Osogbo, accompanied by his teeming supporters, loyalists and well-wishers gathered from all local governments of the state, in his words at the occasion, “Mr. Chairman, I have come forward today as a disciplined and active party member of APC to declare my interest in contesting for the governor of Osun, I have gathered valuable experience over the years, starting from my humble political background as a councilor in Iwo to the state party chairman of Action Congress AC, Action Congress of Nigeria ACN, and now the secretary to the state government in the last eight years, i am most experienced and qualified among all the contestants from both the PDP and APC ” he said.

My interest primarily is to make success out of everywhere Governor Rauf Aregbesola has failed as we have many shortcomings as an administration but government is a continuum, our party APC made many promises which we cannot fulfill but I vow to fulfill all of them if elected as governor. I also want to align with the six integral action plan of Aregbesola and I am totally committed to fulfilling them all provided the APC will give me the platform to contest as its flag bearer, he stressed further.

Speaking at the short ceremony, one of the notable personality who accompanied Adeoti to the ceremony, Chief Sunday Igboho Adeyemo, a chieftain of PDP in Oyo State and a former ally of former Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola who affirmed his total readiness to work assiduously for the emergence and success of Adeoti at the polls categorically assured that all known and prominent thugs within and outside Osun will be mobilized to support the ambition of Adeoti. Igboho, a known confidant of Senator Rashidi Ladoja said he has gotten approval of Ladoja to support the APC aspirant.

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One of the party elders from Ejigbo who accompanied Adeoti to the event but prefers to stay anonymous expressed shock about the missed opportunity and lack of cohesion displayed by the grassroot politician of Adeoti caliber, this was an opportunity for Sheu to itemize his manifesto to the party and people, prove bookmakers wrong that he has the capacity needed to administer our state, he also failed to showcase to the public the achievements of the administration in which he served as SSG for eight years, instead was hammering on areas of weaknesses and failures of Aregbesola, the former AD councillor lamented.

“We have over 50 party leaders here, and Sunday Igboho who is not a resident, citizen or voter in Osun state was the one of the persons recognized by the SSG to address the gathering, Igboho that was in Osogbo 2months ago for the PDP state Congress where Adagunodo was elected chairman, this is an insult to our collective sensibility in Osun, the septuagenarian questioned.

When asked when he will resign his present appointment, he simply answered, there is no place in Nigeria or APC constitution where it was written that I have to resign because I want to contest for governor, I’m still the SSG, he boasted.

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Nigeria: Soaring investment inflow amid deficit, insecurity

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Nigeria’s investment profile is rising based on data from the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Ironically, infrastructure gap and insecurity are threatening the investment landscape. Abdulwahab Isa reports

 

Nigeria’s exit from economic recession has spurred investors’ appetite. They have, in recent months, upped their investment stakes while potential ones are at various stages of taking decisions.

Investment data from key agencies, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) attest to increase in this regard.

Latest chart by NIPC revealed that inflows totaled $17.88 billion in first quarter of 2018 while NBS put it’s own at $6.3 billion. The figure is higher than that of 2017.

 

Outlook

With a population of over 190 million, Nigeria is unarguably a darling for discerning investors.

For instance, NIPC’s investments record shared recently with the media revealed that of the $17.88 billion investments recorded in the first quarter of 2018, they were spread across 32 projects in eight states of the federation.

The figure surpasses the $6.38 billion investment flow in six projects across four states recorded in the first quarter of 2017.

Further scrutiny of NIPC data showed that most of the investments and sources of their finances came from the United Kingdom, accounting for $59.000 million, followed by Nigeria with $212.00 million, United States $2,357 million and China $1.200 million.
Others are Switzerland with $847,00 million, while $262,00 million came from other sources respectively.

In a similar data by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), first quarter 2018 saw a continuous growth in total capital importation into Nigeria.

The total value of capital imported in the quarter stood at $6.30 billion, which is a year-on-year increase of 594.03 per cent and a 17.11 per cent growth over the figure reported in the previous quarter.

This increase in capital inflow in Q1, 2018 was driven mainly by portfolio investment, which grew from $3.47 billion in the previous quarter to $4.56 billion, accounting for 72.42 per cent of the total capital importation during the quarter.

Further analysis of the report showed that foreign direct investment stood at $246.62 million, dropping by 34.83 per cent from the figure reported in the previous quarter, and growing by 16.67 per cent on a year-on-year basis.

“Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria was still weak when compared to Portfolio Investment and Other Investment, representing only 3.9 per cent of total capital imported,” NBS capital investment flow data revealed.

While presenting investment data to the media in Abuja, NIPC Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Yewande Sadiku, listed oil and gas sector, transport, construction, ICT, manufacturing and solar plants as areas mostly favoured.

Sadiku listed Lagos, Kano, Niger, Ogun as preferred destinations.

 

I Guide Nigeria

To consolidate the process, NIPC has come up with an investment guide, a sort of compendium on investments for investors.

I Guide Nigeria is meant to open Nigeria investment opportunities to foreign investors. It was launched by NIPC in collaboration with United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade Development (UNCTAD) to showcase country’s investment opportunities.

It houses all the vital investment information, which gives details of the business opportunities in Nigeria as well as steps for engagement from registration to land acquisition to would be investors.

Speaking at the occasion, Sadiku said the online platform showcasing Nigeria business environment would assume the position of the country’s investment voice, saying it was important to give Nigeria business environment a voice

“The I Guide online platform is such a simple investment tool, yet very useful. I Guide is an easy-to-use online platform providing investors with up-to-date and pertinent information on the processes, procedures and basic costs of doing business in Nigeria, to enable investors get access to the basic information they need to make better informed decisions on Nigeria as a preferred investment destination.

“The platform provides information on starting a business, labour, production factors, land, taxes, investor’s rights, growth sectors and opportunities. It is a marketing tool as information on Nigeria investment processes and procedures are on one platform for easy access,” she said.

Sadiku said the platform provides information on local data, which “contains information on labour costs, taxes, rent values, utility prices and transport cost as well as information on relevant laws and regulations as well as contact of ministries and agencies responsible for the issuance of licences/approvals.”

 

Bottlenecks

While investment horizon looks pretty good and decidedly certain for Nigeria, the country is contending with huge infrastructures gap and protracted insecurity challenge – the two are vital indices that influence investors’ decision.

Experts in infrastructure postulate that the country needs to spend $3 trillion on economic infrastructure over the next 30 years, if it must meet its ambitious development goals.

Nigeria’s major infrastructure challenges border on poor power supply, bad roads, and inefficient railways.

Relatedly, security is intractable challenge and a draw back to investment. Kidnapping, banditry, Boko Harram attacks and other crimes cast a spell on investments flow.

Whatever quantum of investments that came into Nigeria during the period under review, a higher figure of investments flow would be attained under a better atmosphere.

Interestingly, the Federal Government said its faith on investment flow was undaunted, notwithstanding security and infrastructure challenges.

Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelemah, said the Federal Government was aiming first to 100th position on the World Bank ranking on the ease of doing business with the launch of I Guide.

According to the minister, Nigeria appreciated 24 places in the recent ranking of the World Bank’s ease of doing business presented last year, moving from 169 places to 145 among 190 countries.

Enelemah expressed optimism that with the government’s efforts to improve ease of doing business, Nigeria would fair better in 2018 ranking.

 

Last line

While the country’s investment outlook is very attractive and irresistible to investors, the onus is on government to upgrade its various infrastructure facilities and curtail the current high level of insecurity.

A work on these two infrastructure will certainly put Nigeria in league of first top investment destinations.

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Inside Abuja

Coping with economic realities in Abuja

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Times are hard and the role of women in many families are changing. In Abuja, many women have dumped their traditional status as housewives. DEBORAH OCHENI reports

 

The economic hardship in Nigeria has unleashed a silent revolution in many homes in Abuja. The rate at which women financially support their families to make ends meet is now unimaginable.

Gone are the days when women were contented with keeping the home as housewives and their husbands were meant to carter for all the needs of the family. In some homes today, women have become the bread winners, particularly where the husband has lost his job due to the job cuts, down-sizing and lay- offs in various work places in and around the Federal Capital Territory. Nowadays, it’s very difficult to find a “stay at home mum” in Abuja.

But this is not only attributable to the hardship but also to the growing population of women who have acquired western education and have got the skills to seek paid employment or be self employed.

These educated women try to force their way into one organization or the other no matter how little the salary might be, while the semi-educated acquire vocational skills such as catering, tailoring, soap making and petty trading to assist their husbands in running the homes. Indeed, many women, who were once mere housewives are now in the business of selling provisions and food stuffs in Abuja.

Invariably, there is no point denying the fact that they are happy at their decision of refusing to be ‘stay at home mothers’, as they can attend to their vital needs and the needs of their family from their income without involving their husbands. Most of these women are no longer contented with the meagre resources they get from their husbands as housekeeping allowances.

They now hustle their way to ensure their contribution to the economic wellbeing of the family is greatly felt in their homes. Inside Abuja went on the streets to interact with some of the financially independent wives.

The interviews showed that they all have diverse reasons for their choice of pursuing additional livelihoods independent of their husbands. However, the underlying factor is the fact that most women are tired of always asking their husbands for money to cater for their needs no matter how little it may be.

Blessing Augustine, a mother of four children, said she decided to enrol in a skill acquisition training programme to enable her acquire the needed skills to do something meaningful for her family. “I only regret not taking this decision earlier.

The worst thing that can happen to any woman is to relax at home and watch her husband providing all her needs. It doesn’t matter if you have to suffer a lot before you can have small gain on whatever legal business you do. It is better you suffer and make your money because it will cause your husband to respect and appreciate you more.

Before now, it’s so difficult for me to feed my children if their father doesn’t provide money for feeding. But those days have passed. I can’t even remember the last time I asked my husband for feeding money but my children are feeding fine and I am happy. I can now do my daily contributions, feed my children conveniently and buy my cosmetics effortlessly,” she said. Ladi Sunday is a provision shop owner in Abuja. She said she was living comfortably but decided to earn a living on her own.

“I thank God I have a husband that cooperates well with me. He said I should stay at home and take care of our children. Although he meets every of our needs timely, he never complained but I was still not comfortable.

I discussed with him how I desire to have a personal source of income and he opened a shop for me. Since then, I feel so fulfilled because I do so many things now without involving my husband.” Sunday said. Joy Akhire, a seamstress, who makes a living from her fashion and designs shop, said it was a decision she had to make because of the realities of the times.

“My upbringing did not allow us to stay completely idle at home no matter how wealthy the husband is. Marriage almost made me a lazy woman but the present condition of the country made me to realize the need to seek for extra income for the family.

I have slight knowledge of tailoring but when the family load became too much on my husband, I decided to perfect the tailoring skill in me and the outcome has been awesome,” Akhire said. Mary Makoji, a mother of four children, narrated to Inside Abuja how she delved into multiple economic activities that made her financial contributions to the family almost equal to that of her husband.

“Initially, I was comfortable using whatever comes out of my husband’s pocket but when we had our second baby, I thought of the high rate of house rent and our children’s school fees and then realized that my husband’s salary cannot handle it.

I saw that if we continued that way, we might not feed well or attend to other things. “Severally, I sold the idea of opening a hair dressing saloon to my husband but he wouldn’t allow me based on what people may say. I started by bringing customers to the house for hair dressing at an affordable rate. Gradually , the level of patronage blossomed but my husband was not aware of all this as he goes to work early and returns late.

I could attend to three customers in a day and I get paid. “As time went on, I was not complaining much in terms of feeding again because whatever he drops for feeding I will add up money and prepare delicious meal while paying my daily contributions. When it’s time to renew our house rent, I suggested to my husband that we should add up what I have saved from the daily contribution to the rental fee to build a house since we already have a land and my husband was shocked to his marrow at the amount that I coughed out.

That was how we built our house. Although, I have not gotten a shop yet, I still do hair-dressing and tailoring in one of my rooms. I sell soft drinks and foodstuffs too. I am relieved of so many things now.

We no longer pay rent. Our four children go to the best school around us and we feed better. My husband loves and appreciates me more now,” she said. Similarly, Veronica Ochanya, mother of three, said she detested being called a ‘housewife’ and decided early in her marriage not to allow herself to be boxed into a corner. “I detest the slogan ‘housewife’ that relegates many women to the house.

We have a lot of potentials that can fetch us better money but men with their ‘I can take care of my wife’ mentality will waste our potentials in the name of marriage. “Thank God for the hype in cost of living in Abuja. It has made my husband to realize the need for me to go out and make extra money for family upkeep and he is enjoying everything now because it’s a great relieve for him,” said Ochanya.

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