Barth Nnaji, Minister of Power, resigned last week following claims he had an interest in a company bidding for two state assets being sold off. A spokesperson for the former minister said he had faced “totally wrong accusations”, however, and some question whether Nnaji’s departure was forced from above. President Goodluck Jonathan thanked Nnaji for his services to the country and said he accepted the resignation to protect the privatisation process.
A scientific marine research cruise has been conducted by the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) alongside the Second Institute for Oceanography from China. The joint nine-day expedition exploring the Nigerian continental shelf undertook research to a depth of 4,500 metres, and Nigerian and Chinese scientists recorded extensive data on geological, geophysical, physical, chemical and biological oceanography.
Over 20 people were killed in violent attacks last week in Damaturu, capital of Yobe State. The attacks, which took place over the days following the Eid-el-fitr Sallah festival, are suspected to have been carried out by the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram. Yobe State governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, appealed for calm.
President Jonathan unveiled a statue of the late Biafran politician Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu in Onitsha last week and named the expanded expressway from Niger Bridgehead to Upper Iweka Road in his honour. Jonathan was also in Anambra State to commission the multi-billion naira SABMiller Brewery in Onitsha and inaugurate the Orient Refinery at Aguleri, officially admitting Anambra into the league of oil-producing states in Nigeria
Six Nigerian governors visited the External Economic Policy office in Germany’s Ministry of Economics and Technology last week to discuss governance issues. Director-General of the External Economic Policy Karl-Ernst Brauner said: "We buy a lot more energy from you but there is a lot more potentials in our relationship, I am sure that your visit would enable the two countries to see new avenues to lift the potentials that existed between both countries”.
The clamour by various Yoruba pressure groups for increased autonomy from the federal government has further highlighted the different expectations of Nigeria’s various ethnic groups. The Yoruba General Assembly last week called for regional autonomy for the southwest in a truly federalist system whilst dismissing the idea regional autonomy would undermine or subvert national unity. Instead, they stressed it would solidify national cohesion.
The idea behind increased autonomy must be addressed through the constitution and the Yoruba group have found like-minded partners in Igbo pressure groups also rallying behind the idea. Altering the make-up of the country from its current 36-state structure into just 6 zones has been discussed, but northern politicians oppose such a move. Northern politicians reject the idea of equal zoning with three zones in the north and three zones in the south, seeing it as a ploy to curtail their influence. Some pragmatists bemoan the monumental cost of running the country from centralised state to local government and see regional autonomy as the answer. A conference on the future make up of Nigeria is surely not far away.
The resignation of Minister of Power Barth Nnaji was received with shock and disappointment by the majority of political commentators in Nigeria. The power sector was undergoing rapid transformation and power generation was at its highest level since independence and there were reports of uninterrupted power supply throughout the country.
The true reasons behind Nnaji’s resignation are not entirely known. Some point to his interests in companies bidding for soon-to-be-privatised power utilities, whilst others believe it is an attempt to derail the privatisation process by those who see stable power supply in Nigeria as a threat to their enterprise of generator-importation and diesel supply. The presidency must move quickly to quell the fears of stakeholders in the power privatisation exercise and must replace one capable hand with another. If Nigeria harbours true hopes of modern development and growth, reform of the power sector alongside the petroleum industry must not be stalled, corrupted or derailed.
‘Ibori bribe money? Give it to Delta’ by Dan Onwukwe attempts to bring clarity to the ongoing conversation of who should get the $15 million James Ibori purportedly offered the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu. The article looks at the various reasons Delta State should have the money returned to its coffers rather than the federal government.
‘North's Vicious Circle Of Poverty’ by Ibrahim Waziri is an intriguing piece questioning the real reasons behind the current situation facing the northern region of Nigeria. The article weaves between history, politics, religion and family to create a picture of modern disillusionment with limited options. The political dimensions and ethnic power struggles are highlighted while Waziri attempts to find a remedy to help the north’s development.
The Nigerian Academy of Science was inaugurated in January 1977 by 45 distinguished scientists. The academy has since grown in membership and diversity into the highest scientific ‘honour society’ in Nigeria. Since inception, the academy has operated as a voluntary organisation, independent of government control, but collaborating with the government in the growth and development of science and technology in Nigeria.
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