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Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Revealed :How Buhari’s Chief Of Staff, Gambari Facilitated Removal Of TCN Boss

Revealed :How Buhari’s Chief Of Staff, Gambari Facilitated Removal Of TCN Boss

Fresh facts have emerged on the roles played by the new Chief of Staff (CoS), Prof. Ibrahim Gambari in the removal of former Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Usman Gur Mohammed. Mohammed, was sacked over the $2 billion (about N781bn) Siemens Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), Daily Trust gathered. The document approving the sack, which was obtained by our reporter was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari and his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari. Mohammed was removed last week and replaced by Engineer Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, as the acting MD of TCN.

The Minister of Power, Engineer Sale Mamman, who got approval for the shakeup, was also empowered by the presidency to immediately nominate members of the TCN board and management team.

Kindly subscribe here The removal has generated a lot of controversy with a group staging protest. TCN has been without a board since 2014. Former President Goodluck Jonathan approved a 17-member board under the chairmanship of late Engr. Haman Tukur in August 2013. Tukur and his team were inaugurated in September 2013, but he resigned as the board chairman in January 2014, in protest about the crisis that engulfed the power sector, particularly about the failure of the N3.85bn Manitoba Hydro International management contract for TCN. No letters from SGF to affected persons

But nearly one week after the minister of power removed Usman Mohammed as MD of TCN and installed Sule Abdulaziz, in acting capacity, none of them has been given a letter to that effect. Our reporters learnt that the SGF issued the respective letters, but sources close to the affected persons said no such letters had been issued to them to indicate the removal and subsequent appointment. Speaking to Daily Trust, the ousted TCN boss said, “I have not received any letter to that effect and even the minister has not even called me to convey the removal.” An official at TCN who confirmed this, said the MD’s office lock had been changed and that the former MD could not remove his belongings as he was forced out while the acting MD was escorted into the office by security agents to assume duty. How TCN scuffle began It all began when the Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman, on March 25, 2020, wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari, in a letter with reference no: FMP/TCN/2020/P/1, requesting the alignment of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) with the Presidential Power Initiative – Siemens Plan.

The letter, which was received on May 14, 2020, by the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President, recalled that on July 23, 2019, the federal government reached an agreement with Siemens AG, with the support of the German Government, regarding the modernisation of the Nigerian electricity infrastructure under the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI). The minister said TCN plays a critical role in the electricity supply value chain as it is the sole transporter and link between the Generation Companies (GenCos) and the Distribution Companies (DisCos). He indicted TCN’s infrastructure saying, “Today, TCN is marred by ineffective maintenance and poor system management, which contributes to partial and total system collapses, reflecting the inadequacy in infrastructure.

Furthermore, the privatisation exercise has further decoupled transmission from distribution and generation leading to severe infrastructural misalignment that is costing the country about N1 billion a day in system constraints.” It also said TCN is the most critical stakeholder in the success of the PPI, making its alignment with the PPI absolutely essential. Mamman said he had been frustrated for long in his TCN realignment strategy by the leadership under Usman Gur Mohammed (the ousted MD). The minister, in the letter, said the former MD had not shown support for the $2bn Siemens deal, and that he had failed to manage the situation with the DisCos on bulk energy dispatch constraints, while there were discordant tunes with the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC).

In conclusion, he recommended the removal of the MD, if Nigeria was to accelerate the Siemens deal to deliver on more power for Nigerians, especially as the COVID-19 ravages the country. “It is thus critical to replace Mr. Usman Mohammed, with an individual that is not only qualified, but fully aligned with the federal government’s strategy for the sector.”

One of the eight prayers of the minister was; “Consider replacing Mohammed with Engineer Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, whose resume is attached, being a capable replacement who possess the requisite technical knowledge and experience as well as aligned with PPI and other government initiatives within the sector.” But speaking on the allegations, the sacked TCN boss, Mohammed said, ‘‘I never opposed the deal but we had issues that we wanted resolved. At the end, I was the one who prepared the project for them to submit for the president’s approval.” Gambari’s role in the saga

The new Chief of Staff (CoS), Prof. Ibrahim Gambari assumed duty on May 13, 2020 and by May 14, 2020, the minister’s letter, which had been pending since March was acknowledged. By May 15, a memo was written and signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Abdul Mutallab Mukhtar, based on the letter received by the CoS from the minister.

 The letter addressed to President Buhari, which was sighted by Daily Trust, conveyed the key points of the minister’s prayers. It reminded the president about realigning TCN, highlighting that the ineffective systems maintenance by TCN was costing Nigeria “over N1 billion a day to pay for electricity generated but not consumed.” The CoS letter also reminded the president that the board of the TCN, had yet to be constituted and that the absence of the essential governance framework had contributed to the poor coordination in the sector.

He urged Buhari to approve the minister’s request for “the immediate removal of the current MD of the TCN” and “direct that the minister’s proposed replacement, Engineer Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, be installed as the acting MD, pending when the minister submits a substantive list for the board and executive management of TCN.”

Four days after, precisely on May 19, 2020, Buhari remarked and signed on the letter for the CoS action, saying, “I have prayer paragraph six, approved, directed.” The Special Assistant to the President (President Secretariat), Sabi’u Yusuf, the same day, wrote a letter referenced PRES/65-I/COS/3/750, addressed to the CoS, Prof. Gambari, conveying Buhari’s approval of his earlier memo. Gambari, on the same day responded to the minister of power, in a letter referenced SH/COS/03/A/2779, which he personally signed, conveying the president’s response. “Kindly be advised that the president has approved the immediate removal of the current managing director of TCN, Usman Gur Mohammed. Directed that Engineer Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz be installed as the acting Managing Director, pending your submission of a substantive list for the board and executive management of the TCN.”

A copy of this letter was also sent to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation for onward action. Previous actions by the minister on appointees Daily Trust reports that this is not the first time the minister has secured approval for the removal or suspension of an agency’s head. However, they were reversed through a letter by the SGF. At present, a circular has been issued by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, on the procedure for the removal of heads of public agencies.

It coincidentally dated May 19, 2020, the day the minister announced the removal of Mohammed as TCN head. In December 2019, the minister suspended the Managing Director of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company PLC (NBET), Dr. Marilyn Amobi, but the SGF in a letter conveyed her reinstatement and moved her to the finance ministry, away from the power minister’s reach. During the same period, Mamman removed the Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Damilola Ogunbiyi.

That was also overruled by Buhari, who commuted her sack to resignation as she was already with the United Nations. SGF kicks against arbitrary removal of CEOs The SGF, Boss Mustapha, has issued a circular on the procedure for the removal of heads of public agencies. The SGF, in the circular, emphasised that no minister could on his/her own remove CEOs of agencies, saying the president approved a disciplinary procedure for defaulting heads of agencies. The circular signed by Mustapha and referenced SGF/OP/1.S.3/T.163, was addressed to the CoS, the heads of the National Assembly, ministries, the judiciary among others.

 CSOs react The Convener, Good Governance Team (GGT), Mr. Tunde Salman, told Daily Trust that the development portrays lack of coordination in the present administration. According to him, most of the enabling laws setting up the agencies and parastatals make them quasi-autonomous, meaning that they are supposed to be somehow independent.

 “As part of the way forward, the enabling laws of these parastatals and agencies need to be re-visited. Though we may have some overbearing ministers, we must also have effective control so that the heads of the agencies would be accountable and not act arbitrarily, hiding under operating laws,” Salman said. The Co-convener, Say No Campaign (SNC-Nigeria), Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu, said some of the ministers want to act as if there is no rule and many of the heads of the agencies and parastatals want to act as if they are authorities unto themselves. “There should now be a very clear-cut rule on who should do what and how, as well as the powers and limits of the ministers and the head of the agencies and parastatals,” he said.

Source:Daily Trust
Lagos State Govt Working Out Modalities For The Resumption Of Schools

Lagos State Govt Working Out Modalities For The Resumption Of Schools

The Lagos State government  is working out modalities for the resumption of schools after the ongoing lockdown of some sectors in the state occasioned by the COVID-19(Coronavirus) pandemic.

It explained that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu “cannot not unilaterally” announce schools’ reopening  since the contagion did not affect Lagos alone.

The government  disclosed that  it had already started meeting with officials of the Federal Ministry of Education to design guidelines that would  be adopted before students could return to their classrooms.

Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, made this known while explaining    government’s  plans for education  at  an online show, Covinspiration show. The Online show was moderated by a United Nations (UN) Youth Ambassador, Dayo Isreal, to keep the public abreast of the administration’s activities in the last one year.

Adefisayo  said the government ,which also plans to recruit additional 2,000 teachers,  was watching the behaviour of COVID-19 to  determine the next step to take.

Her words: “This(school resumption} is not a decision that any state can unilaterally take on its own. If we are certain that the children are safe, we will reopen the schools for learning to resume.

“We   are already working with the Federal Ministry of Education and they are working with National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) on the guidelines that could be adopted when the need arises for the schools to reopen.
Read Also: Rainstorm destroys 30 houses in Lagos

“After the protocol is completed and health officials assure us that the coast is clear, we will give the schools some days to adjust their premises in accordance with the guidelines on commencement of academic activities.”

She added that government had concluded plans to employ at least 2,000 teachers in another few months to boost the standard of public primary school education in the state.

This, according to her,  is in addition to the 1,000 teachers earlier recruited by the government.

“Aside from recruitment, we have spent a lot on the training of current teachers to improve their teaching skills . And this COVID-19 period was the time when we were able to do a lot of things in the Education sector,”  she added.
Man Deploys Cobra Snake To Kill wife

Man Deploys Cobra Snake To Kill wife

A 27-year-old man identified only as “Sooraj” has been arrested for allegedly murdering his wife by letting loose a cobra in her room after first failing to kill her with a viper.

According to Dailymail. co.uk, Sooraj, who worked in a private bank, bought the snake to kill his wife, Uthra.

The police in the southern state of Kerala, India, said he had planned to take away her money, gold, and marry someone else.

It said phone records showed Sooraj had been in contact with serpent handlers and had also watched snake videos on the internet.

Uthra, 25, is reported to have been bitten by a viper on March 2 at her husband’s home and then again by a cobra within a week.

She was recuperating at her parents’ house earlier this month when Sooraj obtained a cobra from a snake handler.

According to reports, he threw the snake at his wife while she was asleep, sat in the bed, and watched the snake bite Uthra twice.

She was taken to the hospital the next morning, where she was declared dead from the bite.

But when he tried to secure ownership of his wife’s property days after her death, her parents called the police.

Police said the marriage had involved a huge dowry comprising nearly 100 gold coins, a new car and some 500,000 rupees (around $20,000) in cash.

“Sooraj feared that divorcing Uthra would mean giving back all the dowry. That’s when he decided to kill her,” the police statement said.

The snake provider was also arrested, it added.
Let’s Pray God To Re-engineer Our Country For The Better, Obi Urges Muslim Faithful At Sallah

Let’s Pray God To Re-engineer Our Country For The Better, Obi Urges Muslim Faithful At Sallah



The Vice-Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election, Mr. Peter Obi, has urged Muslims in the country to pray for God to re-engineer our country and position it for true greatness.

Obi said in a message he sent to the Muslim faithful in the country, as they end the 30-day Ramadan fasting and prayers, that Nigerians need to intensify their prayers for the survival of the nation.

He said in a statement from his media office that the Eid-Él-Fitr Festival, which comes after 30 days of supplication, equips the Faithful with the needed spiritual strength to approach God for His compassion on our nation.

“I urge you Muslims therefore to use this period to pray fervently to Allah to forgive us our trespasses and help rescue the country from the lack of direction inherent in her political leadership.

“Let us use this solemn time to ask God to end the endless blood-letting in our land and help re-direct our leadership at all levels so they can put the country first in all they do,” Obi said.

He noted that the challenge of the Coronavirus pandemic in the world has grossly dislocated the socio-political and economic foundations of the country pointing out that only focused leaders with the fear of God can take us in the right direction.

While wishing all Muslims a happy Sallah Festival, Obi reminded them that the sacrifice of fasting for 30 days will be meaningless if it is not translated into kindness and good deeds in their relationship with one another.
Africa Beyond Covid-19:Weah,Elumelu Others Converge At UBA Africa Day ,Urge Government, Private Sector Collaboration

Africa Beyond Covid-19:Weah,Elumelu Others Converge At UBA Africa Day ,Urge Government, Private Sector Collaboration


United Bank for Africa (UBA) celebrated Africa Day 2020, by bringing together global leaders at the 2nd UBA Africa Day Conversations, screened live across the continent.  UBA helps set the debate around African economic development through its series of “Africa Conversations”.  This year, the focus was on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Covid-19 pandemic.  Leaders emphasised the need for meaningful collaboration between governments and the private sector, as a requirement for the quick recovery of the economy of the African continent post Covid-19.


The panel included the President of Liberia, H.E George Weah; United States Senator Chris Coons; the President & Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export–Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK), Professor Benedict Okey Oramah; President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer; and was moderated by the Group Chairman, UBA Plc, Tony O. Elumelu.





Other leading voices contributing were the Founder, Africa CEO Forum, Amir Ben Yahmed; the Secretary-General of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), H.E George Chikoti; Administrator, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Achim Steiner and Donald Kaberuka, the former President of the African Union.



Elumelu spoke on the need to mobilise quickly and explained the necessity to identify a more fundamental solution to Africa’s challenges.  “This is the time for us to deal with the situation, this is not the time for finger pointing, but for collaborative efforts by governments and organisations, to fight the pandemic globally.  There is need to flatten the curve, we need global co-operation to stem global depression.  Africa requires a large stimulus package, and we need long-term solutions to prevent a cycle of debt.”



Liberian President, George Weah, demonstrated how collaboration has assisted his country to stem the sufferings brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.  “In Liberia we have taken measures to ease the financial burden on vulnerable business in the informal sector by providing small loan assistance to SMEs and traders.  In addition, we are working with commercial banks to manage the repayment of loans as well as to create stimulus packages for citizens," President Weah said.



US, Senator Chris Coons made valuable contributions to the discussions, saying "We must develop a vaccine that is free and affordable and freely distributed so that full economic activities can return.  This is no time to be looking backwards.  We recognise the power of collective collaboration on the continent.”



Prof. Benedict Okey Oramah called for the swift implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement and disclosed that Afrexim has made available $200million to supply fertilisers and grains amongst across Africa.   The Afrexim boss asserted “If Africa allows hunger takeover the people, it will see an increase in insecurity, which will take a long time to overcome.”



George Chikoti of ACP, said that the huge task of economic recovery on the continent, rests on both the government and the private sector. “African governments need to accept the support of the Private Sector in alleviating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.  We have so far been able to release $25m to all member states”, Chikoti added.



Achim Steiner of the UNDP focused on digital connectivity as an enabler of development.  “What we need to look at is to find a way for government as a regulator and also as an investor, to leverage private sector investment into these areas" Steiner said.



Peter Maurer, President, ICRC, said there is the need to look at pandemics as part of a broader health system which needs stabilisation.  "We must do more than life-saving.  This pandemic has illustrated the weakness of health, water, sanitation and social systems, and we have to heavily invest into the stabilisation of these systems," he said.



Amir Ben Yahmed said the crisis is going to be a super accelerator of already existing trends.  “We have to get away from the commodity driven model which has failed in creating prosperity.  “We need to use this crisis to take Africa to the next level.  We also need to attain self-reliance.  Self-reliance is an important goal," Yamed said.



The UBA Africa Conversations concluded with the need to act quickly and effectively, highlighting that Africa has lessons to teach the world in containment, but was economically vulnerable.



The United Bank for Africa is a leading pan-African financial institution offering banking services to more than twenty million customers globally. With footprint in 20 African countries and presence globally in the United Kingdom, the USA and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.
LIRS Further Extends Deadline For Filing Of Annual Returns To June 30

LIRS Further Extends Deadline For Filing Of Annual Returns To June 30


Lagos State Government, in her continuous effort to provide the much needed relief to taxpayers and mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic, has through the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) further extended the deadline for filing of Annual Tax Returns to June 30, 2020.

Annual returns for individuals (both employees and self-employed persons) that were initially due on May 31st, 2020 can now be filed any time on or before the 30th of June, 2020.

According to the Executive Chairman of LIRS, Mr. Ayodele Subair, “As the Lagos State Government keeps abreast of global best practices in containing the Covid-19 pandemic and eases the effects of an economic downturn on taxpayers and residents of the State, LIRS had initially extended the deadline for filing annual tax returns for two months, from the statutory March 31st of every fiscal year to May 31, 2020. We constantly debated what other measures could be taken as an organization to support individuals and businesses at this time, hence, the additional one-month extension from June 1, to June 30, 2020.” It is our sincere hope that taxpayers take advantage of this new extension to duly file their returns.

Taxpayers are therefore encouraged to access the LIRS eTax platforms for all tax administration matters, including filing of annual returns, generation of assessment and payment schedule and payment of the liabilities from the comfort of their homes and offices. All that they have to do is to simply log on to the    e-Tax platform via https://etax.lirs.net 

Updates on business operations and alternative payment platforms of the service can be obtained by visiting the LIRS website, www.lirs.gov.ng,  checking its various social media platforms or calling the  LIRS Customer Care Centre on 0700 CALL LIRS (0700-2255-5477).

LIRS appeals to residents of Lagos to support the efforts of the State Government and the Covid-19 Incident Commander for Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu by adhering strictly to the COVID-19 safety guidelines as issued by relevant health authorities.
Who Is Afraid Of Toni Kan?

Who Is Afraid Of Toni Kan?



Nigerian twitter is abuzz with news of the appointment of Toni Kan as Spokesperson to the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

Wailers are insisting that Toni Kan, award winning writer, Public relations expert and media entrepreneur is an enemy of the APC and the president.

But nothing could be farther from the truth. An ideas man and committed Nigerian Toni Kan has never been content to merely criticise. He is a firm believer in the fact that those who criricise must also show how the job can be done better.

When he got tired of seeing a lack of professionalism in the Nigerian online media space he launched sabinews.com (now 1stnews) to provide an ethical and professional example. That site became the first Nigerian news site to be acquired in Nigeria underlining its success and ethical bonafides.

Sensing a deep need for young Nigerian writers to be published and validated at home instead of abroad, Toni Kan launched thelagosreview.ng to provide a space for young Nigerian writers to be published.

As to charges that Toni Kan is anti-APC and Buhari, many do not realise that when First Lady, Aisha Buhari was being attacked and accused of shutting down the Aso rock chapel, it was Toni Kan who undertook an investigation and wrote a balanced report which summarily put paid to those attacks and they say he is anti Buhari.

Read the article here  where he writes: “Sitting on the chair he has offered me, I take a few more shots and as I rise to leave I wonder where the story about the chapel being turned into a spa came from and what I would do if I was the president and the chapel was sitting that close to my wife’s residence. Knowing myself, I would never allow the chapel or children’s church to sit so close to her bedroom and kitchen and this is a Christian speaking.”

Femi Adeshina once criticized Professor Gambari and today they are playing on the same team.

Garba Shehu used to work as media aide for Atiku Abubakar who is without question President Muhammadu Buhari’s biggest political opponent but today he is one of the president’s most trusted media aides.

How many people realise that Tolu Ogunlesi, one of the president’s media aides got his start in PR and Communications when Toni Kan hired him at Visafone.

The question to ask is this: is Toni Kan qualified to be media aide or not? The answer is a BIG yes.

M.A and B.A English literature from the universities of Lagos and Jos.

Best Graduating student both times.

Magazine Editor at 26

Fellow of the Civitella Ranieri, Heinrich Boll and Yaddo writing fellowships, some of the most prestigious in the world.

 Author of 12 books – novels, short story collections, biographies, poetry.

Multi sectoral experience consulting in Banking, Telecoms, oil and Gas, Energy etc.

NIPR and APCON certified.

Former Editor Nigeria Monthly magazine (his first federal government appointment.)

A federal appointment offers an opportunity to serve one’s country at the highest level. Many ministers were PDP stalwarts just three years ago but they are serving. Toni Kan is a man of ideas and action. A change agent he is never content to just criticize. By taking this job, he means to do good instead of sitting on the sidelines and playing arm chair critic. We all have a stake in Nigeria and whether president Buhari or another, the country comes first