This Week: News
19 governors of northern states met recently to discuss the bombings that have spread across the region. The governors rose from a five hour meeting in the nation’s capital Abuja with an understanding to disband all militant groups in their respective states. Such groups had been tolerated in the past for political and security purposes. The self-proclaimed co-founder of Boko Haram, Aliyu Tishau recently claimed in an interview with Africa Independent Television that politicians were to blame for the emergence of groups such as his. The Governor of Niger State Aliyu Muazu Babangida who also chairs the Northern Governors Forum expressed to the press the resolve of his fellow Governors to tackle the violence.
The Central Bank of Nigeria intends to convert 10% of its $33 Billion foreign reserves into Chinese Renminbi as trade between the two countries increases. The move is a response to China’s bourgeoning growth and stature in the global market place. Tradeinvest, a South African financial news publication conducted an interview with Thabo Ncala, a portfolio manager at Stanlibs’s Africa fund, asking whether the growing support for the Yuan indicates waning confidence in the dollar. Ncala states that China was Nigeria’s largest source of imports (26% of total imports). Ncala further states that Nigeria imports the majority of its goods due to its inadequate capacity for industrial production, leading China to become the major source of foreign direct investment into the nation.
The coordinating minister of the economy and minister of finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was in Washington DC last week as part of Jonathan’s United Nations entourage. She disclosed that the Nigerian government was in the process of negotiating a $550 million loan from the Bretton Wood institutions (World Bank/IMF). Okonjo-Iweala further elaborated during an interactive session with members of the press corps that “We have an ambitious program to create Jobs and one of the several priorities is Agriculture. We have a detailed plan for the investment in the agricultural sector. One of the things we are doing in Washington was to start negations for extra financing from the World Bank”. The $550 million that Nigeria is requesting is to support the agricultural and environmental sectors. The speed of the loan's conclusion is tied in with the arrival of the new World Bank director for Nigeria.
The controversial appointment of Justice Dahiru Musdapher as the new Chief Justice of Nigeria has finally been ratified by the Senate on Thursday as he was screened and confirmed without any reported hitches. Musdapher became a Justice in the Supreme Court in 2003 and had about eight months left before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. While answering questions from senators during the screening, Musdapher would go on to make some bold pronouncements, claiming that “the judiciary needed cleansing”. He admitted that the public was not very satisfied with the manner in which things were being conducted in the judiciary. The new Chief Justice further promised senators that the restoration of public confidence would be a key objective, alongside challenging the infrastructural inadequacies and the control executive government currently wields over the judiciary.
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, has won the award for the Central Bank Governor of the Year for the sub-Saharan Africa region for the second year running. The presentation of the award was conducted by the international magazine-Emerging Markets. The Emerging Markets awards, an annual event alongside the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank annual meetings, was held on Saturday, 24th September, 2011 in Washington D.C. Sanusi was praised for the “vigour in which Nigeria’s Central Bank has tackled the crisis in the banking industry, which is a testament to the determination of the governor”. The organisation commended Sanusi’s tightening of the interest rates by 100 basis points to ease pressure on the Naira and tame inflation at 9%, despite calls from banks and businesses to keep them down.
Nigeria has restated its position toward the PLO by supporting the bid by Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations as a sovereign state. Olugbenga Ashiru, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated the nation’s stance during a dinner being hosted in honour of Nigerian journalists attending the 66th session of the UN general assembly in New York. Nigeria became the first African country to openly endorse the demand of the Palestinian authorities to be admitted as a member of the UN. Nigeria will assume the presidency of the Security Council that is currently occupied by Lebanon on October 1 2011. The Minister further explained that “Since 1984 Nigeria has recognized the state of Palestine and in fact, the ambassador of Palestine has been a resident in Nigeria since 1982 as far as I’m concerned our stand and policy is very clear.”
Due to the president's absence, to attend the United Nations general assembly in New York, the political terrain has been quiet. On the whole Nigeria was treated with a level of respect that seems to propagate the acceptance of the current administration on the global scene. The Wednesday Federal Executive Council was not held due to the president’s absence, yet they held an emergency meeting towards the tail end of last week so there really is no excuse for the ministers to go on holiday.
Are the CPC still active? What has been heard of them since the elections? Bear in mind they still have a governor in Nassarawa State which means they are not an entirely spent force. Maybe now they will be regretting not working hand in hand with the ACN in the elections. A boisterous opposition will only lead to the strengthening of our democracy. I wish them all the best.
The minimum wage imbroglio is still dragging on and the civil society seems to be confused as to which cause to wage war on. Whether it’s chasing the shadows of the privatisation fiasco or following up on the minimum wage issue their directions seem to be at a crossroads of sorts.
Writers of the Week
In western Nigeria’s first print newspaper, The Nigerian Tribune, Tayo Lewis writes an article titled “Boko Haram: Shehu Sani’s positive activism". Shehu Sani is a multi-talented author and social activist and is well known for his outspoken views going as far back as the nation’s military era. The writer displays his own views on the current problem of Boko Haram and relates it to those highly placed individuals and those with a cause and could make a real difference. The passion and truth of the writing allows the reader to understand the current conundrum from a different perspective.
Joe Igbokwe not only writes about current political issues of the day, but also doubles up as the publicity secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). In his article, “The fear of Bola Ahmed Tinubu”, Igbokwe, in his well-known and combative writing style, details the supposed conspiracy that his boss is currently embroiled it. The article is laced with the truths of an insider, which makes for an entertaining read, and provides clarity as to the impending trial of the leader of Nigeria’s largest opposition party.
News Outlet of the Week
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