By Olowogboyega Oyebade
Are you aware that we have to join millions of other Yoruba people and Nigerians to condole with the Governor of this State over the peaceful passage of a rare icon of our State and race, Papa Ayo Fasanmi on Wednesday 29th July, 2020? Do you know that despite the fact that he was born in 1925 at Iye Ekiti and attended School of Pharmacy, Lagos, he lived, practiced as a pharmacist in Osogbo before this State donated him to Nigerian politics, first to the House of Representatives and later to the Senate under the banner of Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s political party, the Unity Party of Nigeria, and eventually died in Osogbo at a ripe age of 94? Do you know that till he breathed his last, he fought on the side of the people to bring democracy back to Nigeria, damned all treacherous ways without winking and never betrayed the creeds of Awolowo? As the fearless leader of Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-cultural and political organization, he held to a lofty height, the preachments of integrity in governance, fiscal federalism, regionalism and re-enactment of parliamentary system as roadmap to develop Nigeria? Do you know that this breed of men who can be counted in the bar of history of decent public service is in short supply? How? Come along. The statement of Governor Oyetola on the demise of Senator Fasanmi cuts in:
“Pa Fasanmi’s death, big loss to Nigeria.”
Are you aware that there is no deeper injury done to the heart than to be disappointed by those you trust? Do you know that President Buhari on Friday 31st July, 2020 reacted for the first time on the allegations of corruption levelled against the leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)? The voice of the President cuts in:
“There has been an abuse of trust by people trusted by the previous administration and this administration.”
Have you heard that President Buhari on Friday 31st July, 2020 took a swipe at the military over an attack on the convoy of the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, on Wednesday 29th July, 2020 by suspected Boko Haram gunmen in Baga, while on a trip to Monguno and Baga towns to distribute food to Internally Displaced Persons? Do you know that Governor Zulum expressed doubts on the integrity of the force stationed in the area, an action corroborated and seriously condemned by the Northern Governors Forum? Governor Zulum cuts in:
“You have been here for over one year now. There are 1,181 soldiers here. If you cannot take over Baga which is less than 5km from your base, then we should forget about Baga. I will inform the Chief of Army Staff to redeploy the men to other places that they can be useful. You people said there’s no Boko Haram here, then who attacked us?”
Have you ever thought that the indices listed in your Annual Performance Evaluation Report are to build integrity and excellence? Have you heard of Reputation Poll International, a firm that has released the 2020 list of 100 Most Reputable Africans rated in terms of Leadership, Entertainment, Advocacy, Education and Business? Do you know that the selection criteria are: Integrity, Visibility and Impact and affecting lives positively without controversy? Can you believe that eight Nigerians were listed among these 100 Most Reputable Africans, including Akinwunmi Adesina of African Development Bank and Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Ishaq Bello, businesswoman, Folorunso Alakija (the rare silent philanthropist who donated a Teaching Hospital for Osun State University, Osogbo), Chairman Forte Oil PLC, Femi Otedola, a Public Policy expert Tony Ojobo, Cardinal Francis Arinze of the Roman Catholic Church and Enenche Paul, Senior Pastor, Dunamis Int’l Gospel Centre? Do you know that a periscope into the lives of two of these personalities will convince you that they are integrity-laden? Come!
Are you aware that Nigeria is in a major win as some Nigerians in international bureaucracy are surviving puerile office politics as manifested in African Development Bank as it heads toward its election? Do you know that in January, 2020, a group of unnamed whistle-blowers levelled 16 claims against Adewumi Adesina, President of the Bank to the bank’s internal auditing body? In line with the instrument setting up the Bank, do you know that the bank’s Ethics Committee in March, 2020 investigated the allegations and reported that they were “frivolous and without merit”? Do you know that in May, 2020, Adesina was cleared of wrongdoing by the bank’s own internal review, a conclusion that did not suffice for some of the contenders who wanted Akinwumi Adesina out at all cost, including the United States which is the bank’s second-largest shareholder, following Nigeria?
Can you believe that in May, 2020, the United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent a letter to the Bank’s Board, questioning the integrity of the internal probe, calling for an independent investigation into the allegations? Can you believe that these calls for a new investigation were vehemently criticized by some current and previous Heads of State of African nations, who questioned the role that the U.S. should play in the bank’s governance? Do you know that while the bank’s Governors said they stood by the findings of AfDB’s initial review, a compromise was reached and an independent three-member independent review panel was set up by the Bureau of Governors of the bank, including Mary Robinson, Ireland’s former President; Justice Hassan Jallow, former Minister of Justice in Gambia and Leonard McCarthy, former Vice President of the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency?
Can you believe that the Independent Review Committee found that it agreed with the bank’s Ethics Committee that the allegations against Adesina were “properly considered and dismissed”? Do you know that the panel reviewed about 16 allegations in total and dismissed all of them agreeing with the Ethics Committee findings? Hurray! Have you heard the news that Akinwumi Adesina was not guilty and in the concluding remarks of the report, the committee admitted the innocence of Dr. Adesina? Do you know that it also clears the way for Adesina’s election to a second five-year term as the bank’s President at the end of this month of August, 2020, a position for which he is running unopposed? Can you see the weird way his integrity-test was conducted and can someone, apart from your family, vouch for your integrity? Can you now see that Reputation Poll International was right in its judgement? The remarks of the panel cuts in: “The Panel is mindful of the fact that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”.
Are you aware that the former Prime Minister of Britain claimed that Dr Okonjo-Iweala, from Nigeria, would make an “outstanding success” in running the World Trade Organisation and has a record of delivering results in “the toughest of jobs” despite the fact that United Kingdom of Great Britain has a candidate vying for the position coming up on 7th November, 2020? Do you know that the selection process has entered its third phase that would run between July and September 2020, the third phase of a three stage process that would prune the number of the candidates from eight to one? Do you know that a committee of three is already constituted and the candidates would be asked a single question: “what are your preferences”? Do you know that they will not be expected to put negative preferences? Then, we must ask ourselves: can somebody that is not from your town or Local Government or State or country vouch for your competence to deliver results in “the toughest of jobs”? Do you know that the results we deliver as community of practice in Public Service can make or mar the future of our State and country? Do you know that this is called Malabu Syndrome or Dan Etete Novel Virus, more morbid than Covid-19? You care to know? Come along.
Are you aware that on Wednesday 29th JULY 2020, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami said that Nigeria is awaiting the return of $200 million from the Netherlands and Switzerland as proceeds from Malabu Oil deal, involving Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 245 and that due to the anti-corruption crusade of the present administration, his Ministry had facilitated the recovery of $62 billion arrears from oil companies as part of Federal Government Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), a sum of $311 million from the U.S. and New Jersey, in the third phase of Abacha loot, another $6.3 million Abacha loot from the Republic of Northern Ireland, all paid into the Federal Government Treasury for utility development such as Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Kano-Abuja Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge in line with the agreement reached with the foreign partners, another N685 million recovered through the help of whistle-blowers within the last one year while N500 million was recovered from forfeited vessels, trucks, and barges? Do you know that these are symptoms of Malabu Syndrome or Dan Etete Novel Virus spreading from Nigeria to many other parts of the world sign-posting lack of integrity in governance? You care to know more? Come along.
Do you know that this administration has done much more to cure our country of Dan Etete Novel Virus, a manifestation of Malabu oil deal? Have you heard of Dan Etete a former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum who was appointed by General Sani Abacha? Do you know that while in office, he acquired illegally, Oil Processing Licence, “OPL 245” through his company called Malabu Oil and Gas Limited? Do you know that the deal was struck within only five days after the company was incorporated with three shareholders; Mohammed Sani Abacha, Kweku Amafagha (a fake name created by Etete) and Hassan Hindu (wife of a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK? Can you imagine that Etete illegally awarded to himself the oil block and paid only $2 million out of the $20 million legally required by law to pay to the country? Do you know that the oil block, which is said to have about 9 billion barrels of crude oil, the richest as at that time, was sold to Shell and ENI for $1.3 billion in 2011? Do you know that Shell and ENI did not want to deal directly with Etete, who had been convicted in France for his part in a separate money laundering scandal in 2007 and opted to send the money to an account belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria in JP Morgan bank, London, believing that Etete would wangle his way illegally to get the money back into his company account despite the fact that he was no longer in power? Do you know that in a country with Etete Novel Virus, there is no difference between the Bank accounts of the country and the private accounts of the functionaries of Government, both civil and political, an abuse of institutions?
As if that was not enough, can you believe that the Federal Government of Nigeria under Goodluck Jonathan and supported by the then Attorney- General of the Federation signed an agreement to transfer $801 million of the money into accounts controlled by Malabu and Etete in Nigeria under the signature and seal of the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Adoke? Do you know that the money was then allegedly shared to various public officials in Nigeria under the sharing formula of “ my stake must be higher than yours” as bribes while the government got only the sum of $210m USD as signature bonus on OPL 245? Do you know that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed a nine-count criminal charge against Adoke, SAN, and eight others over the oil block scam, a case that is still on-going? Do you know that the transactions got leaked when a Russian lawyer who claimed to have helped Malabu Oil to negotiate the deal with the Jonathan’s government sued in New York for a $66 million unpaid commission on the transaction, thus making the entire transaction an international embarrassment to Nigeria on one part and Shell and ENI, on another part? Do you know that as at September 2014, there were investigations about the deal in Britain, Italy and the Netherlands? Can you believe that despite international condemnations of the crime, still Shell and ENI denied wrongdoing (in spite of the fact that it fell short of international best practices adopted in international trade of civilized nations)? The voice of Andy Norman of Shell cuts in:
“Over time, it became clear to us that Etete was involved in Malabu and that the only way to resolve the impasse through a negotiated settlement was to engage with Etete and Malabu, whether we liked it or not.”
Can you believe that the amount allegedly shared out as bribes was greater than the entire 2018 and 2019 healthcare budgets of Nigeria, budgets where 90 million people in extreme poverty benefitted annually? Do you know that the study by Global Witness found that, in total, the terms agreed for future oil revenues from OPL 245 will end up depriving Nigeria of $6bn compared to standard Nigerian terms? According to a study by oil consultancy firm Resources for Development, and commissioned by Global Witness, revealed that the OPL 245 license was not a standard production sharing agreement, as Shell and ENI claimed, but instead was listed in the Nigerian Department of Petroleum Resources’ Annual Report as a ‘sole risk’-type contract? Do you know what is so called? You care to know? Come along.
Are you aware that in a regime of a typical production sharing agreement, a government contracts an oil company to lift the hydrocarbons out of the ground and that company is paid back its costs while the taxes and royalties are deducted and the proceeds from the subsequent production from the field are then shared? By contrast, do you know that a sole risk contract transfers massive economic benefits to the companies at the expense of the Nigerian people by giving away Nigeria’s right to its share of the oil produced? Do you know that these anomalies are proposed by the oil companies and our officials endorse the sharp practices to cheat Nigeria? The voice Barnaby Pace, an anti-corruption campaigner at Global Witness cuts in:
“A sole risk contract …is incredibly poor terms for Nigeria…. We know that the criminal and corrupt set up bolt-holes around the world in which to stash their dirty cash, with Dubai being a favoured spot for many.”
Are you aware that on 11th March, 2020, a civil society called Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) revealed more symptoms of Dan Etete Novel Virus that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) data put revenue losses from crude theft at $1.56 billion and refined product losses at $1.85 billion while companies operating in the sector puts the figure of crude oil losses at N38.54 billion for that Quarter? Curiously, do you know that the Management of NNPC told the House Ad-hoc Committee on Crude Oil theft in Nigeria at a public hearing recently that they had no records of crude oil theft as against the data supplied to the Committee by CISLAC? Can you recall that in August 2019, the National Economic Council (NEC) headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo alleged that 22.6 million barrels of oil estimated at $1.35 billion were stolen between January and July 2019? Do you know that the National Economic Council Committee on Pipeline Vandalism headed by Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, drew attention to Nigeria’s potential risk of losing $2.7 billion worth of oil in two years? Do you know that two profound studies by the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC) and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) put the country’s loss to oil theft at N4.57 trillion between 2015 and 2018 and $41.9 billion between 2009 and 2018 respectively, averaging $11.47million/day, $349million/month and $4.19 billion annually? Can Nigerians involved in these economic sabotage be listed among 100 Reputable Africans for 2020 by Reputation Poll International? Do you know that the spate of these abuses are generating new tension on the Derivation Formula for the country? Do you know that the tension is now very high? You care to know more about it? Come along, please.
Have you heard the news? Do you know that the House of Representatives is set to cause an upward review of the derivation fund on natural resources from 13 percent to 50 percent as it discussed the issue on Thursday 29th July, 2020 in a Bill Seeking to Alter Section 162(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 by Increasing the Percentage of Derivation Fund of the Revenue Accruing to the Federation Account Directly from Any Natural Resources to not Less than Fifty (50%) Percent; and for Related Matters’ co-sponsored by Awaji-Inombek D. Abiante (PDP, Rivers) and 13 others? Do you know that the bill was aimed at getting diverse funds for the nation and ensuring local participation in mining so that the commonwealth of the nation could get to duly licensed and registered miners? According to the sponsors, do you know that the pooling of our commonwealth at the centre and its administration is mired with corruption and misappropriation of funds meant for the development of Nigeria’s economy? According to them, do you know that they want Paragraph 2 of Section 162 (2) of the Constitution to be altered by deleting the words ‘not less than 13 percent’ in line 3 and inserting ‘not less than 50 percent’? Do you know that the struggle for this alteration has been on, protracted and crises-ridden because the provision and documentation of these agreements are in the foundational instrument of Nigeria, namely: the Independence Constitution of 1960 as well as the Republican Constitution of 1963?
Do you know that every State in Nigeria is endowed with mineral resources and this bill seeks to ensure that the States and regions where these minerals are extracted from also have their revenues allocated according to the 50 percent derivation fund? Do you know that Osun will soon be Dollar-denominated when active mining commences? Do you know that there has been discovery of one billion barrels of crude oil and gas in the North East part of the country along the Chad Basin in neighbouring Bauchi and Gombe States? Do you know that there are gold fields in Zamfara, Niger, Osun, Kwara, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Edo, and Bauchi States and the FCT; tin mining in Plateau and Nasarawa states; and gemstones mining (including sapphire, ruby, aquamarine, emerald, tourmaline, topaz, garnet, amethyst, zircon, and feldspar which are among the world’s best) in Plateau, Kaduna, and Bauchi states? Do you know that there are very huge deposits of bitumen, about 42 billion tonnes in Ogun, Lagos, Edo and Ondo States, Coal in Enugu, Benue, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Ondo, and Plateau states; Zinc in Akwa Ibom, Abia, Benue, Anambra, Kano and Taraba states; Kaolin in Delta, Adamawa, Bornu, Katsina, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kogi, Sokoto, Ogun and Plateau states and the FCT? Do you know that the call for this derivation formula is not new and to make Nigeria grom, this is the route to take? You care to know about it? Come along. The voice of Abiante cuts in:
“We are lending our voice under this regime of change to review quickly and amend the formula to not less than 50 % according to the Independence Constitution of 1960 and the Republican Constitution of 1963 in S134 (1) (a and b) and 140 (1) (a and b).”
Do you know that the Philipson Commission of 1946 to 1951 based on the revenue sharing formula on 3 factors the principle of derivation, even development and population? Do you know that there was also the Hicks-Phillipson Commission of 1952 to 1954 which also based its formula on derivation, need, population and national interest? Do you know that the Chicks Commission of 1953 gave full autonomy to the regions and formally established a federal structure for the country while the Raisman Commission of 1958 resolved that the personal income tax be made a regional tax which was the federating units then and now States) and had the centre coordinating the laws? Do you know that this Commission created a Distributable Pool Account (DPA) to facilitate collection and sharing of revenue, the equivalent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund as captured in Section 80 of the current Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended)? Do you know that the Independence Constitution of 1960 and the Republican Constitution of 1963 in Sections 134(1a & b) and 140(1a & b) respectively recognizes payment of 50% of proceeds of any royalty received by the Federation in respect of any minerals extracted mining rents derived in any region in the country? Do you know that Section 14 of the Independence Constitution of 1960 also recognized the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Board with the main aim of promoting physical development of the Niger Delta, hence the creation of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on 5th June 2000 was not new to the Constitution of Nigeria?
Are you aware that it was the military intervention that disrupted the people’s participation and keeping faith with agreements reached before independence and unilaterally shifted the bulk of Collectible Revenue to the Federal Government on the premise that it needed resources to prosecute the war and maintain Nigeria’s unity? And what did General Gowon, the then Head of State do? Do you know that the military put in place a decree that gave the Federal Government 100% right of off-shore rents and royalties? Do you know that Decree 13 of 1970 made it mandatory that 80% of all onshore mining rents should be transferred to the DPA, leaving 20% for the States to be shared on the basis of the principle of derivation?
Do you know that In 1978, the then military government of General Obasanjo passed an Act, which had since become known as the Exclusive Economic Zone Act? Do you know that the provisions of the Act in S. 2(1) states:
“Without prejudice to the Territorial Waters Act, the Petroleum Act or the Sea Fisheries Act, sovereign and exclusive rights with respect to the exploration and exploitation of the natural resources of the sea bed, subsoil and superjacent waters of the Exclusive Zone rest in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and such rights shall be exercisable by the Federal Government or by such minister or agency as the government may from time to time designate in that behalf either generally or in any special case”.
Do you know that this Act was not a product of representation, and incidentally, it found its way into S. 44 (3) of the 1999 constitution which states that “Notwithstanding the foregoing provision of this section, the entire property in and control of all minerals, mineral oils and natural gas in, under or upon any land in Nigeria or in, under or upon the territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone of Nigeria shall vest in the Government of the Federation and shall be managed in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly.”
Do you know the Federal Government has now presumably interpreted this provision to mean that revenue derivable from offshore production of oil cannot be credited to the States to which that offshore geographically belongs using the Offshore Revenue (Registration of Grants) Act, 1971 as a guide? Can you believe that on the basis of this interpretation, the Federal Government split oil revenue arbitrarily into 60 per cent: 40 per cent as on-shore/off-shore revenue and proceeded to base payment of the minimum 13 per cent derivation revenue from only the 60 per cent? Can you believe that by this ommision, the Federal Government has merely paid 7.8 per cent of oil revenue as derivation rather than the minimum of 13 per cent enshrined in the Constitution? Do you know that this is a grand malpractice? Can you remember the time the Federal Government argued that its Exclusive Economic Zone should extend to the shoreline of the nations coastal land by 100 metres in land, an argument that came up in Osborne case? Can you believe that the percentage of revenue due to producing States declined from the initial 50% share to 1% in the 1990’s, and subsequently was increased again to a currently 13% share which does not reflect full offshore derived revenues? Do you know that in 1992, the military government of Ibrahim Babangida made an attempt to redress the neglect through the establishment of OMPADEC, an organization that performed dismally, leaving only a legacy of abandoned projects and unpaid contracts all over the Niger Delta? Do you know that in 1993, the agitation of the Ogoni activists led by late Kenule Saro-Wiwa forced General Abacha to nurse the idea of a separate fund for the oil-producing communities? Do you know that at the 1995 Constitutional Conference, it was recommended that in sharing the Federation Account Revenue, 13 per cent should be set aside as derivation revenue to assist the development of oil-producing communities, an initiative to financially empower the oil-producing States of the Niger Delta to tackle the monumental neglect and degradation of the area given the lack of federal presence and ineffectiveness of federal spending in the area? Do you know that this provision of 13 per cent derivation principle was enshrined in the 1999 constitution? Do you know that Nigeria has to review upward this 13 percent Derivation Fund to 50 percent as we migrate to solid minerals explorations and mining? Do you know that we have to support the alteration of the Constitution in this respect? Section 162 (2) of the 1999 constitution provides:
“The President, upon the receipt of advice from the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, shall table before the National Assembly proposals for revenue allocation from the Federation Account, and in determining the formula, the National Assembly shall take into account, the allocation principles especially those of population, equality of States, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain as well as population density: Provided that the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than thirteen per cent of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any natural resources.”
Are you aware that integrity is everything as we relate with ourselves and the members of the public? Do you know that it will define us as a country as we join other African countries in African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)? Are you aware that on 5th December, 2019, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo declared that Nigeria is determined to fully implement the terms of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and uphold its commitments on trade and regional integration? Can you recall that the 12th Extraordinary summit of the African Union which was held in Niamey on the 7th of July 2019 saw the launching of the operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which was adopted and opened for signature on 21 March 2018 in Kigali and entered into force on 30 May 2019, an agreement that had been ratified by 27 as at 7th July 2019? Do you know that the AfCFTA secretariat is Ghana? Do you know that during the launch of the operational phase, the adoption of five key instruments was done which include: the Rules of Origin governing the conditions under which a product or service can be traded duty free across the region, the Tariff concessions of 90% tariff liberalisation and the deadline set for 1st July 2020, the online mechanism on monitoring, reporting and elimination of non-tariff barriers, (NTBs), the Pan-African payment and settlement system to facilitate payments on time and in full, by ensuring that payments are made in local currency and at the end of the year there will be net settlements in foreign exchange, the African Trade Observatory to serve as a trade information portal to address hindrances to trade in Africa due to lack of information about opportunities, trade statistics as well as information about exporters and importers in countries? Do you know that the AfCFTA will be the largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation, with the potential to unite 1.3 billion people, in a $2.5 trillion economic bloc, ushering in a new era of development?
Do you know that some of its expected benefits include: increasing trade among African countries which currently ranges between 15-18%, stimulate production through the development of regional value chains, strengthen the capacities of African companies to access and supply world markets and strengthen African’s economic and commercial diplomacy with take-off date to be 1st July 2020, despite COVID-19 pandemic? Do you know that the AfCFTA can facilitate economic growth and diversification through preferential access to Africa’s market for manufactured goods and services? Do you know that this can be done through upping the country’s production capacity, retooling and upscaling existing businesses and assisting sectors that will be negatively impacted to migrate to new areas; prioritizing the resolution of bottlenecks that hinder competitiveness in trade, including hard infrastructure such as power and logistics as well as policies and regulations; and enforcement of trade rules without compromising the country’s efforts on trade facilitation and ease of doing business?
Do you know that as we migrate to this market, we must shine our eyes so as not to allow rogue traders to manipulate the rules of origin and disguise goods from outside the continent as made in Africa so as to qualify for duty free passage”? Do you know that the National Action Committee to coordinate a wide range of actions at the domestic, regional and continental levels set up by government on the successful implementation of the AfCFTA should be peopled with men of impeccable character and integrity if we want to make a success of the agreement? Do you know that integrity is key in this game? Do you know that the Standard Organisation of Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria should be alive to its responsibility in making a huge success of this continental agreement?
Are you aware that the Central Bank of Nigeria is trying to arrest the slide in Nigeria economy by assisting the Federal Government to raise capital internally for infrastructure? Do you know what is called the Treasury Bills in Economics? Do you know that the Central Bank of Nigeria periodically sells treasury bills in efforts to raise capital for the Federal Government to meet its financial needs? Do you know that the issuance of treasury bills is also used as a mechanism to control the circulation of capital in the economy? Do you know that Treasury bills have a face value of a certain amount, which is what they are actually worth but they are sold for a little less? Do you know that if a bill is worth N5, 000, it can be sold for N4,500? Do you know that each bill has a specified maturity date which is when you receive money back? Do you know that at the time of maturity, the subscriber is paid the full price of the bill, an opportunity given to him to earn an additional income from his investment? Do you know that the amount earned as interest is called the discount rate and is set as a percentage? Do you know that Treasury bills are sourced from financial institutions and the Central Bank issues treasury bills regularly as a control measure to help banks mop up excess liquidity and control the money supply to avoid inflation? Do you know that Treasury bills are some of the many investment options available to the Nigeria’s investing public and retired officers or those aspiring to go can probably consider taking advantage of it, first by studying the CBN issue calendar?
Do you know that on Wednesday, 29th July, 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rolled over maturing Treasury Bills worth N33.8 billion at the Primary Market Auction (PMA) because the FGN bond market closed on a negative note on Tuesday 28th July, 2020 as a result of coronavirus pandemic affecting businesses and much pressure on foreign exchange? Do you know that certain items need to be banned to reduce pressure on the foreign exchange? Do you know that the market opened on Tuesday 28th July, 2020 with the dollar trading at N387.63k officially why the exchange rate at the black market saw the dollar trading at N445 as the “Dollar is becoming scarce”? Do you know that all these economic interactions affect our quality of life and opportunities available to Nigerians as we trudge on in this pandemic?
Are you aware that as at 31st July, 2020, the World Health Organisation declared that the coronavirus, which caused a global pandemic, has now infected over 17.6 million people and has killed more than 680,000? Do you know that WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced a record increase in global coronavirus cases, with the total rising by 292,527 on 31st July, 2020 and deaths rose by 6,812 in one day? The voice of WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday 31st July, 2020 cuts in: “The pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come,”
Do you know that countries cannot wait for decades for this pandemic to be curbed before balancing livelihood with life? Do you know that it is against this background that schools will re-open to terminal classes this week? Are you aware that on 28th July 28, 2020, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, disclosed that he is committed to ensuring that sporting activities resume in the country as soon as the figures of persons contracting the Covid-19 pandemic drop to a manageable level and that plans have been concluded for a meeting between officials of the Federal Ministry of Sports and the Presidential Task Force to discuss the possibilities of reopening the space for sports to return from lockdown since March? Do you know that he hinted that there is a possibility that the postponed Edo 2020 National Sports Festival could still take place this year and that there are plans to have 20 athletes resume training at the High Performance Centre in Port Harcourt to begin preparations for the Olympics moved to take place next year? Do you know that the Minister had inaugurated the 11-man committee to inspect all health facilities for the festival in Edo State so as to ascertain the readiness of the state in hosting the games? Do you know that the committee was satisfied with the level of preparation by Edo State, adding that everything needed to fight COVID-19 were on ground in the State before going ahead? Do you know that 25th October 2020 is tentatively given as commencement of the sports festival as well as the 4th November, 2020 for the closing ceremony of this 20th edition of the National Sports Festival also known as Edo 2020?
Since we have been told that the COVID-19 pandemic is not a race but a marathon, do you know that we need to continue to address the issues around quality of life of the people and the issue of mass poverty created by the pandemic? As we trudge on, do you know that we need to address the issues relating to land-use for agri-business, mis-use of money to acquire weapons for war to win victory over Boko Haram, the rampaging bandits and the violent kidnappers abducting people, raping them collecting ransom and still kill their victims? Do you know that this asymmetric warfare is difficult to win and negotiations may suffice, most of the time? Have you not heard the news of fifty eight medical doctors attempting to board planes to Britain without visas at a time that we are in dearth of qualified hands to assist in this rampaging pandemic? Do you know that this is the time to race to raise committed scientists, engineers, medical personnel and even good teachers to bring positive changes to our new normal life?
Do you know that we have to reverse the issue of lack of safe drinking water primarily stemming from mixing sewage and drinking water supplies, the widespread prevalence of AIDS and fatal infections such as SARS virus, malaria, tuberculosis, tapeworm and dysentery, diseases that often claim far more victims in our country? Do you know that we must sign-post the issue of poor infrastructure in transportation, power and security? Do you know that this administration cannot abandon the issues of Boko Haram and banditry for another administration to come and tackle without compromising collective peace and democracy in the country? Do you know that President Buhari remains the best hand to end these security breaches in Nigeria during his tenure? Do you know that all of us serving the public owe the public our integrity and a sincere commitment to their right to life as available in the tenets governing civilized nations? Do you know that these are the ideals that Papa Ayo Fasanmi lived and died for as our collective hero? Shall we abandon the ideals as we bid him farewell? Never! Heroes never die. As Senator Fasanmi waits for us in the morgue to give him a decent farewell worthy of a rare hero, with obedience to COVID-19 protocols, do you know that we must seize the occasion to prop up ourselves to better integrity and refrain from all Dan Etete Novel Virus, a virus that kills morbidly than COVID-19? May the labour of our heroes past never be in vain. Amen. Adieu! Papa Fasanmi! Greetings to Awo, Uncle Bola, Pa Rewane, Pa Abraham Adesanya and other worthy leaders that had transited. Greetings to all the heroes!