Crown Achievers Micro Finance Bank Set To Empower Poor Nigerians

As Nigerians continue to search for solutions to the economic challenges confronting them,  a Principal Director with a New Micro Finance Institution, Crown Achievers Micro Finance Bank, Venerable Joseph Falade in this interview with Federationews2day,says the microfinance institution has a way out of the financial travails of Nigerians.  Excerpts :

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What is the Programme of Achievers Micro Finance Bank all about ?

The programme is about empowering poor Nigerians, who are having serious financial difficulties. As can be seen in most cities across Nigeria, poverty and hunger is the order of the day. The bank aims at reducing these twin economic problems.

The Social exchange Market, an international christian organization is behind the formation of the bank and it sources its funds from different parts of the world. The activities of the bank are under the supervision of the Development Bank of Nigeria, recently granted approval to operate by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The bank will finance, monitor and implement approved projects brought by individuals, who belong to cooperatives. And this programme which will run for 10 years, is interest free and has no guarantor and collateral requirements. It has been designed to assist the poor.

I call on Nigerians to join us to make a difference.

For further information  the Principal Director, Achievers Micro Finance bank , 11 Araromi street, Oke -Padre, Ibadan, Oyo state Nigeria, can be reached on 08119921146

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Management Should Treat Workers Equally- UI Non-Academic Staff

Non Academic Staff at the University of Ibadan have called on the management of the University to be liberal int its dealings with the different category of workers, when it involves meeting workers’ demands.

The workers, speaking incognito to Federationews2day,  lamented that the recently released funds for the payment of the arrears of earned allowances tilted in favour of the Academic staff of the institution.

”University management should treat us equally, when it comes to payment of arrears of allowances, a category of staff should not be given preference, it creates bad blood and acrimony”, they stated.

They also urged the university management to expedite action  on their other  demands, while stressing that workers were facing great difficulties meeting their financial obligations.

In a chat with this medium, the Chairman of the Non Academic staff  of Universities(NASU) in the institution, Comrade Oluwasegun Arojo appealed to the workers to be patient and place their trust in God.

”I must tell you that human beings are insatiable and human beings need something every now and then.  We need virtually everything, but the fact is that we can’t get all of it. But we are thankful to God, God has been faithful to us, many of our colleagues have passed on. For the fact that we are still alive, we must be grateful to God.”.

”We agitated for so many things, some came, some are yet to come. We are not really giving up, we believe the remaining demands will still come. So, I want our members to  put their trust in  God and believe God. I still want to assure them that whatever we are expecting, will surely come, they shoud be patient for our demands to be met”, Comrade Arojo concluded.

Will Russian Peace Efforts Pay Off in Syria?

USIP experts discuss Putin-Assad meeting and what to expect from Russia-Turkey-Iran summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Sochi on Tuesday to discuss efforts to end the Syrian civil war. The presidents of Iran and Turkey are scheduled to meet Putin on Wednesday as Russia promises to scale back its military presence in Syria and push for a diplomatic solution.

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Destroyed buildings near the frontline in east Raqqa, Syria. The New York Times/Ivor Prickett
USIP Senior Advisor for Syria, Middle East and North Africa Mona Yacoubian and USIP Director of Middle East Programs Sarhang Hamasaeed provide analysis of the current situation.

What is the significance of the Putin-Assad meeting?

YACOUBIAN: This meeting–their second since Russia’s 2015 military intervention in Syria turned the tide of the civil war in Assad’s favor–comes amid a flurry of Russian-initiated diplomacy. Putin appears to be exploiting the confluence of two key dynamics– the impending military defeat of ISIS in Syria and Assad’s deepening consolidation of power—to promote a political settlement to end the Syrian conflict that leaves Assad in place and heightens Russia’s role as a regional power broker .

With Russian elections approaching in March, Putin is also likely eager to present Russian involvement in Syria as a “win” by pivoting from large-scale military intervention to securing the peace in Syria. During his meeting with Assad, Putin noted that Russian military operations are “wrapping up” and the “most important thing…is to move on the political questions.”

Notably absent from these meetings is the United States. What does that say about American influence and involvement in the region?

HAMASAEED: It’s no secret that the U.S. role has gradually diminished as its primary mission is to counter ISIS. As military operations against the group wrap up, America’s role could diminish even further. At the same time, Russia has taken the initiative on the broader issues of Syria and seeks to play a larger role in the region.

During the Obama administration, leaders and people in the Middle East criticized the United States for reducing its role and not doing enough to confront Assad and Iran. Although the political rhetoric about confronting Iran and its influence in Syria has been on the rise in the past year, there’s been little action to match those statements.

It’s also worth mentioning that Iraqi Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi said during his visit to USIP earlier this month that the U.S. role in the region is crucial, but America’s decision-making process is complicated and slow. He said regional actors therefore get drawn to Russia because they think they act faster and more decisively.

You could see this at work this week with the speed at which the Putin-Assad meeting happened and the plans for the Russia-Turkey-Iran summit.

Speaking of the Russia-Turkey-Iran meeting, what can reasonably be expected to come out of that?

YACOUBIAN: Look for the Sochi summit to focus on finding a political settlement to the nearly seven-year Syrian conflict. It will build on the so-called “Astana Process” (named for the Kazakh capital where Russia launched diplomatic efforts in January 2017) that established “de-escalation zones” guaranteed by Russia, Iran, and Turkey. (The United States is an observer at Astana but does not participate directly).

The leaders will also likely seek to address several outstanding issues that have inhibited peace talks in the past. Recent developments suggest Moscow may have already made some headway on the thorniest issue – the fate of Assad—in preparation for the summit.  The long-standing demand by Syria’s fractious political opposition (and much of the international community) that Assad must go as precondition for a political settlement may be easing.  Riyad Hijab, head of the High Negotiation Committee (HNC), and other HNC members recently resigned in protest over moves to unify the political opposition under a more malleable platform that would allow Assad to stay.

Another sticking point is the role of the Kurds, as Turkey has repeatedly insisted that Syrian Kurds cannot participate in peace talks. Turkish President Erdogan has consistently underscored Turkey’s unwillingness to tolerate a contiguous Kurdish semi-autonomous region along its border.

Erdogan has demanded that Afrin in northwestern Syria be “cleansed of [Kurdish] terror organizations.”  Erdogan and Putin met last week to discuss these issues. The summit will offer some indication of whether this issue is moving toward resolution.

On the issue of Assad’s future, how could any future peace agreement be sustainable if he remains in power after Assad presided over the deaths of so many thousands of people?

YACOUBIAN: It’s very difficult to envision lasting peace while Assad remains.

Although many Syrians are fatigued by the conflict and would like to see an end to the hostilities, an agreement leaving Assad in power means fundamental grievances will remain unaddressed. Islamic extremist groups, including remnants of the Islamic State, will continue to fight as a well-armed insurgency.

Many in the international community, including the United States, have said they will not contribute to reconstruction efforts while Assad is in power.  Yet stabilization and reconstruction needs will be enormous as Syria struggles to revive its economy and rebuild. Barring progress on reconstruction, Syria’s millions of displaced will have a difficult time returning home. Under these circumstances, it is hard to see a lasting solution with Assad still in power.

The Urgent Need for The Peoples’ Votes To Count In Nigeria

In Nigeria today, Nigerians exercise their civic responsibilities at the polling booths, with hunger and poverty in the land intheir  minds.

This is to the advantage  of the contestants, who are extremely desperate to garner votes, to give them unhindered access to the Government treasury.

Sadly, at the Local  and State Government levels, the electorate are’blindfolded’ to vote for unknown candidates, who at the long run behave true to type, after winning elections. Since, they do not know those who voted for them, they immediatley disconnect with the electorate, once they occupy public office.

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Although sources of funds of contestants is of great importance, same  has not been given serious attention over the years.

However, in the time past, specifically 2007, the situation was quite different, when Princess Patience Ajudua won election into the Delta state House of Assembly on the Platform of the Accord Party, to represent Oshimili North state constituency.

The people of the  state constituency voted for whom they know very well and who also know them very well.

Princess Ajudua is from the Ajudua familyt of Ibusa, a family which has impacted poisitively, on the lives of the people.

The family, singlehandedly tarred the major link road from St. Augustine Primary school to the General hospital in Ibusa.

In addition the family rehabilitated and resuscitated the water reservoir in the community for the benefit of the people, while also ensuring that it constructed  an ultra moderm library inside St. Augustine Primary school. It also granted scholarships to imdigent students of the community.

Not done yet, the family established a community bank and named it after the founder of Ibusa, Umeje.

Indeed, personal resources had gone into the empowerment of the people , before Princess Ajudua became the peoples’ representative.

Such instances are rare in the present dispensation, considering the lies, deceit and unfulfilled promises of the elected representatives of the people.

The people have actually identified those who can deliver the dividends of Democracy, unfortunately, those identified do not belong to the two dominant  political parties in Nigeria. Although, Nigeria is not operating a two party system, the two political parties have up till date won  almost all elective positions in the country .

Of worry, is the  fact that most of the elected rperesntatives are rubber stamps to any decision taken by the Executive, even if  such decisions against the interests of the people they claim to represent.

Sadly, the cries of the people, that they are tired of cosmetic empowerment  programmes, have fell on deaf ears.

Curiously, the people insist that their votes did not count in the 2015 general  elections in a number of states of the federation, this they say resulted in the presence of strange faces as their representatives in public offices .

For the major purpose of economic growth and development, Government should do all within its capacity to ensure that the peoples’ votes count, and depend less on imposition and manipulation. Hopefully.

 

 

IIlegal Connection in Popoyemoja Affected the Borehole We Donated- Minister of Communication’s Aide

Residents of Oyo state have continouosly lamented the difficulties, they experience, in accessing potable water, most especially in the dry season. With the condition of the state  Water Corporation in the state shrouded in secrecy, the construction of boreholes in now the trend. This prompted the Honourable Minister of Communication, Barrister Adebayo Shittu to donate boreholes to a number of communities in Oyo state, including Popoyemoja in Ibadan. This the residents applaud but also express worries over the technical problems confronting the borehole. In this interview with Federationew2day, an aide to Barrister Shittu, Malik Aderogba gives an insight into what went wrong. Excerpts :

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Residents of Popoyemoja in Ibadan, have expressed their displeasure over the malfunction of the Borehole donated by the Honourable Minister of Communication to the community. What is wrong with it ?

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We thank God for everything, the particular Borehole is  located at Popoyemoja, we’ve  received series of complaints about it. Initially, before the construction of the Borehole, we had an agreement with the residents, that Barrister Abdulraheem Aebayo Shittu  will construct the Borehole, while they agreed to provide the source of power for the Borehole. But the residents of Popoyemoja went ahead to connect the Borehole to the National Grid, illegally. This damaged the pumping machine.  We had earlier directed the contractor to fix it, he has been there two or three times to fix the borehole, but  they wouldn’t listen, they still  connect to the National Gird, illegally. This has made the borehole not to function. Now, we’ve set up a committee to look into the situation and see how we can assuage the persisting problem.

South Africa: The ANC Is in an Untenable Political Crisis, Zuma Must Step Down – Stalwarts

ANC stalwarts and veterans have once again called for President Jacob Zuma to step down with immediate effect.

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This call forms one of many resolutions adopted at their national consultative conference which was held over the past three days in Braamfontein.

Former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe attended the event, along with several National Executive Committee members, in their personal capacity, including ANC presidential hopeful Lindiwe Sisulu, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Bheki Cele and Deputy National Assembly Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli.

The veterans, who were also joined by several civil society groups, the SACP, labour federation Cosatu and Sanco said they had come together “out of love and concern” for South Africa and the ANC.

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They discussed issues ranging from the state of the economy, leadership in the ANC, electoral reform, and challenges the country was experiencing in its attempt to build a non-racial society.

However, the recurring concern for delegates in the room remained Zuma’s protracted stay as head of the ANC and the country.

ANC supporters mostly focused their attention on the issue of leadership; even as the different commissions gave report backs and asked for input.

“There is no leadership crisis, we just elected the wrong leaders,” Deputy Minister of Energy Thembi Majola said from the floor, during the conference.

Another man in the audience dismissed concerns over ANC policies, claiming they were not the problem.

“Remove the pigs before you implement these beautiful policies,” he said.

‘Betrayal’

The ANC’s Billy Ramokgopa, who read out the declarations, said the elders of the liberation movement were deeply hurt by what they regarded as a “betrayal” of the people’s long-standing support and trust in the 105-year-old political party.

“We observe that the current elected leadership of the ANC is paralysed and unable to deal with ill-discipline, incompetence and corruption that point directly to the highest offices in the land,” read Ramokgopa.

The stalwarts gathering, which was also well attended by young members, was not endorsed by the ANC’s NEC, which refused to grant its former leaders a conference that was not linked to the policy conference.

The NEC insisted that two days at the ANC’s June policy conference was enough to discuss the moral degeneration within the party and decline in support.

Ramokgopa decried the state of education in the country, the levels of crime, the mismanagement of the economy and a leadership that “lacked honesty, integrity and a vision for the future”.

Focusing on those in charge of the ANC, he said they had seen the crisis in the party cause “immense” damage to South Africa, which Ramokgopa said was the result of systematic looting, the unparalleled capture of state institutions, assassinations, failure to implement transformative social and economic programmes as well as the diminishing stature and reputation of the country and the ANC in the eyes of South Africans, the continent and world.

“The ANC has relinquished its leadership of society and plunged itself into an untenable political crisis,” said Ramokgopa.

Self-introspection needed

The stalwarts, in an attempt to solve the crisis, proposed a range of suggestions which could be explored.

These included – working with its numerous partners who have a shared historic vision with the party, constant introspection, that a committee be established at the ANC’s national elective conference taking place in a few weeks’ time to design and develop a renewal document “for the sake of our future” and a plan of action, which must be monitored and thorough renewal of ANC structures including its branches.

Stalwarts also want the party’s integrity commission to be an independent constitutional structure within the party with the capacity to act independently “from and without” the influence of the ANC NEC.

The veterans also advocated for “one member, one vote” to be the approach adopted by the party when it comes to the election of members of the ANC’s executive, and for the president of the party to be voted for directly by the people during elections instead of the party, and that his powers be moderated.

The ANC belongs to the people

Former General of the ANC’s liberation army Umkhonto weSizwe and South African National Defence Force chief Siphiwe Nyanda decried those who told stalwarts that their conference was illegitimate.

“[They are] saying we had no right to use the [ANC] banners but this is our organisation. The ANC is ours,” he said to applause.

He said as elders they had been watching the ANC steer “this ship towards a huge iceberg” and that they were trying to prevent a crash from happening, but the ANC’s NEC wanted to distance itself away from them.

“We want to rescue this organisation,” he said in the conference’s closing remarks.

He also praised Mbeki who earlier said: “The ANC was captured by a dominant faction which was in fact not ANC”.

“He [Mbeki] was right,” Nyanda said.

“The ANC has been captured by a clique that is very un-ANC.”

Nyanda also said the current leaders had no right to claim the ANC, as it belongs to the people of the country and the continent.

Source :  News24wire

Zimbabwe: Chombo Found With Us$10 Million Cash – Claim

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Finance minister Ignatius Chombo was reportedly found with US$10m in cash at his Harare home after the property was raided by the military Wednesday morning.

The minister, said to be one of President Robert Mugabe’s most corrupt officials, was among the first ministers detained by the army as Generals deposed the 93-year-old Zanu PF leader from power.

The unverified claim that Chombo had bags of cash at plush home was made by independent Norton legislator Temba Mliswa.

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“Just for your own information, Minister Chombo’s house which was invaded as he got arrested had US$10 million,” Mliswa claimed in an interview with Al Jazeera.

Meanwhile, also reported to have been detained were higher education minister Jonathan Moyo and local government counterpart Saviour Kasukuwere.

The two were said to have sought refuge at Mugabe’s private Harare home where the veteran leader was being held hostage.

Source : New Zimbabwe

The Wages of Shielding Corrupt Persons

In 1996, when Jose Maria Aznar became the Prime Minister of Spain, the country was ranked among the poorest in Europe.

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Weighed down by the home grown separatists, deteriorating economy and penetrating poverty, Spain was not in the competition within Europe.

However, within a space of five years,  Aznar made the difference. He turned around the economy of Spain, and effectively curtailed the activities of terrorists in the Basque region. At a point in time, the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) of Spain was more than those of Canada and Russia.

Spain regained its frontline position in Europe, while its citizens had a refreshing  new lease of life,  for the period  it lasted.

With this as a background,  the present administration in Nigeria has since its inception on May 29th, 2015, focused on corrupt elements outside the corridors of power.

Curiously, happenings have indicated that no political office holder either former or serving, who belongs to the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) has come under the searchlight of the anti-graft agency-the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC). The EFCC has been ferocious, in its hunt for  those in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). Blackmail, intimidation and threats are now tools in the hands of those with the wherewithal, to whip dissenting voices to submission.

Of worry, is the visible signs of corruption that are present in every nook and cranny of most states of the Federation.

A dangerous method on parade presently, is the public indictment of targeted passt or serving politically exposed persons, in a bid to frighten them to part ways with their political ambitions. Also of note, is the existence of the ‘untouchables’, these are the individuals who bankrolled the present administration to power.

Out of self preservation, those indicted and the ‘untouchables’, support the ‘status quo’, while their ‘wrong doings’  are discreetly, swept under the carpet. Among the lot are ‘spoilers’ and thos co-opted to mislead the citizenry.

With this as the latest  template, the present administration, as could be observed from  happenings, has continuously exhibited its inability to be sincere in its fight against corruption in the land.

Sadly, Nigeria might not be able to follow the path of Spain, as long as identified corrupt persons remain in Government and are vigorously shielded from prosecution.