CCT Frees Saraki of False Asset Declaration Charges
By Dipo Olowookere
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has cleared the Senate President, Mr Bukola Saraki, of the false asset declaration charges brought against him by the Federal Government.
In the wake of his election as the Senate President in 2015, the former Governor of Kwara State was accused of lying about his assets while he governed the state.
His trial at the CCT was then viewed by some observers as pure political witch-hunt because he was never the choice of his party for the number three position in the country.
And Mr Saraki also made several efforts to frustrate the trial until he could not any longer. At a point, he went to court to stop the CCT Chairman, Justice Danladi Umar, from hearing the matter.
But at the hearing on Wednesday morning, Justice Umar declared that the FG has failed to prove charges of false asset declaration levelled against the Senate President.
He made this known while ruling on the no-case submission filed by Mr Saraki’s counsel.
The CCT Chairman said the prosecution did not sufficiently prove its case against the Senate President and therefore, discharged him of the charges.
Nigeria Picks 95th Position in Global Happiness Ranking
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria has been ranked as the 95th country out of 137 with the happiest population based on six variables, including GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption.
The report, World Happiness Report 2023, showed that Nigeria scored 4.981 out of a possible 10.
The report was written by experts including John F. Helliwell, Richard Layard, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Lara B. Aknin, and Shun Wang.
In the piece, the experts noted that, “Once happiness is accepted as the goal of government, this has other profound effects on institutional practices. Health, especially mental health, assumes even more priority, as does the quality of work, family life, and community.”
Finland continues to occupy the top spot, for the sixth year in a row, with a score that is significantly ahead of all other countries.
Denmark remains in the 2nd spot, with a confidence region bounded by 2nd and 4th. Among the rest of the countries in the top twenty, the confidence regions for their ranks cover five to ten countries. Iceland is 3rd, and with its smaller sample size, it has a confidence region from 2nd to 7th. Israel is in 4th position, up five positions from last year, with a confidence range between 2nd and 8th.
The 5th through 8th positions were filled by the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland. The top ten were rounded out by Luxembourg and New Zealand.
Austria and Australia follow in 11th and 12th positions, as last year, both within the likely range of 8th to 16th. They were followed by Canada, up two places from last year’s lowest-ever ranking.
The next four positions were filled by Ireland, the United States, Germany, and Belgium, all with ranks securely in the top twenty, as shown by the rank range. The rest of the top 20 included Czechia, the United Kingdom, and Lithuania, 18th to 20th.
The same countries tend to appear in the top twenty year after year, with 19 of this year’s top 20 also being there last year. The exception is Lithuania, which has steadily risen over the past six years, from 52nd in 2017 to 20th this year.
Throughout the rankings, except at the very top and the very bottom, the three-year average scores are close enough to one another that significant differences are found only between country pairs that are sometimes many positions apart in the rankings.
War-torn Afghanistan (137) and Lebanon (136) remained the two unhappiest countries, according to the survey.
Others at the bottom of the list were Zambia 128, Tanzania 129, Comoros 130, Malawi 131, Botswana 132, Congo Democratic Republic 133, Zimbabwe 134, and Sierra Leone 135.
The researchers said people’s evaluation of happiness had remained “remarkably resilient’’ in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, with global averages from 2020 to 2022 just as high as those in the pre-pandemic years of 2017 to 2019.
SLB Opens New Regional Office in Lagos
By Adedapo Adesanya
Global technology company, SLB (formerly known as Schlumberger), has officially opened its new West Africa regional office in Lagos, which the firm says embodies its bold sustainability roadmap through daylight harvesting, interactive and collaborative hotspots for employees, disability access, and other exciting features that bring forward the company’s evolved identity and culture.
SLB stated that the new West Africa office reflects this new identity and will optimize employee experience and create a sustainable business environment for all stakeholders.
Speaking at the office’s opening in Lagos, which coincided with the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of SLB’s presence in Nigeria, Mr Sopiribo Ideriah, managing director for SLB in West African countries, said, “As a technology leader, our unmatched market breadth, differentiated performance, and unique portfolio of products and service, has always positioned us for growth and advancement in the energy industry.”
“All of this is owed to our people, who are the backbone of our organization. I would like to thank all SLB staff – past and present – for their commitment and passion in delivering high-quality services to our customers.
“For seven decades, SLB has worked in Nigeria as a local company. In 1952, SLB logged Nigeria’s first commercial oil well in Oloibiri, Bayelsa State, and has since logged several other historic wells in the country.
“Our ability to continuously drive technology innovation has led to the development of new oilfield technologies that enhance our customers’ operational performance while maintaining the highest standards in HSE, ultimately delivering value to all our stakeholders.
“Investing in local socio-economic projects and developing local talent through our borderless career culture, we have significantly contributed to the capacity development of Nigeria and are confident that we will continue to do business in ways that benefit our people, society, and the country,” Mr Ideriah added.
Also speaking at the event, Mr Wallace Pescarini, president of the Offshore Atlantic Basin at SLB, said “I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to our various stakeholders for their support over the years, including our clients, suppliers, contractors, and other business partners.
“We are thrilled to live our purpose of creating amazing technology to unlock access to energy for the benefit of all and could not have achieved this without your trust. As we look to the future and its evolving energy landscape, we remain committed to creating value for our customers and key stakeholders in Nigeria.”
Recall that in October 2022, the company launched a new identity focusing on energy innovation and decarbonization to address the world’s energy needs today and to forge the road ahead for the energy transition.
Sanwo-Olu Assures Lagos Residents Dividends of Democracy
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has promised to continue to deliver dividends of democracy to residents of the state after getting re-election.
On Monday morning, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Mr Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of Saturday’s governorship elections in Lagos after it was announced that he polled a total of 762,134 votes to defeat his closest rival, Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party, who scored 312,329 votes.
Professor Adenike Oladiji, Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology (FUTA) Akure, the Returning Officer, during the announcement, said the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Abdul-Azeez Adediran garnered 62,449 votes to come a distant third in the election.
She listed votes garnered by other political parties in the contest as A (800), AA (904), AAC(627), ADC (6,078), ADP(2833), APM (884), APP (259), BP (616), NNPP (1,583), NRM (340), SDP (1,746), YPP (461) and ZLP (1,635).
She put the total number of registered voters at 7,060,195; total accredited voters at 1,182620; total votes cast at 1,173,631, total valid votes at 1,155,678 and rejected votes at 17,953.
Prof. Oladiji said: “I declare that Sanwo-Olu Babajide Olusola of APC, having satisfied the requirements of the law by scoring 25 per cent in two-thirds of the local government areas in the state and also scoring the highest number of the vote cast, is hereby declared the winner and he is returned elected.”
The APC won in 19 Local Government Areas of the state; the LP won in one LGA, while the PDP did not win any.
In his remarks, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, noted that some of the allegations of manipulation levelled against him were a fallacy.
Mr Agbaje, however, said that such allegations were not strange in a clime like ours and decried the poor turnout of voters.
Assessing the process, Mr Olusegun Mobolaji, Lagos state Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), decried the pockets of violence experienced in some parts of the state as well as vote buying and apathy.
He urged the candidates to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship and accept the outcome of the elections in good faith.
Mr Mobolaji urged INEC to improve on the shortcomings in future elections.
Regardless of this, Business Post spoke to voters over the weekend who were disenfranchised on account of their ethnicity by elements that were believed to be working for the ruling party, with tribal slurs and stereotypes hurled at them.
On his part, the re-elected governor on Monday said his re-election for a second term has reaffirmed that Lagos has chosen competence and experience on the march to true greatness.
Mr Sanwo-Olu said this at the Lagos House Marina while giving the victory speech for his re-election, following the official announcement by INEC.
He said that elections were over now, and governance must continue, and the dividends of democracy must continue to be delivered, as there must be no break and no time off.
According to him, his government will keep all the promises made to the people of Lagos state.
“Lagosians, you did not just vote for Babajide Sanwo-Olu. You voted for a greater Lagos. I promise that together we shall achieve this. This is a promise that shall not be broken. A greater Lagos shall be ours.
“Let me boldly and proudly say that we are already well on the way to that greater Lagos, and we now have four more years to join hands to advance in ways that will pleasantly surprise even the most sceptical amongst us,” he said.
“Lagos is what it is today because of each and every one of you, regardless of ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, gender, or age.
“We are a vibrant and thriving hub of commerce, finance, entrepreneurship, innovation, and culture because of the diversity that has come to define us over the decades and the centuries. Thank you,” he said.
He said that during the course of the campaign, sadly, there was a lot of divisive rhetoric used, as some tried to make the elections about ethnicity and religion when in fact, they should only have been about capacity, competence, and experience.
“We saw hateful and hurtful ethnic profiling by fellow citizens – which is totally out of place for us as Lagosians, the proud residents of West Africa’s pre-eminent melting pot.
“I want to recognise and salute all of the multitudes of residents who refused to succumb to those who sought and still seek to divide us with their unguarded and inciting comments.
“Unfortunately, there are reports of skirmishes in some local government areas wherein some citizens were reported to have been injured. We strongly condemn these reprehensible incidents – that is definitely not who we are as a people.
“The relevant law enforcement and security agencies have been directed to investigate these breaches of the law and to ensure that those found culpable face the full wrath of the law.
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