By Aduragbemi Omiyale
A group known as the Nigeria Diaspora Voting Council (NDVC) has kicked against the decision of the National Assembly not to allow Nigerians living abroad to have the right to vote for candidates seeking public office in the country.
At the recent constitutional amendment review, the lawmakers rejected the clause to allow for diaspora voting as 29 lawmakers at the Senate agreed as 62 against it, while at the House of Representatives, 58 voted Yes and 240 voted No, signifying that the country was not yet ripe for such.
This action did not go down well with NDVC, which described this as the disenfranchisement of Nigerians in the diaspora.
In a statement signed by its secretary, Mr Tolu Oluwatuyi, the group expressed regrets that the Diaspora Voting Bill was voted down by Nigeria’s upper and lower legislative houses on March 1, 2022.
“I am sorry to inform fellow Nigerians in the Diaspora that the Nigeria Diaspora Voting Bill was voted down by Nigeria’s upper and lower legislative houses on March 1st, 2022 at the Constitutional Amendment Review Session (third reading) that held at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, Nigeria.
“A Bill for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Provide for Diaspora Voting; and for Related Matters
“This is a setback given the quantum of work and resources expended to date by the Council and several Diaspora groups. A setback often moves us to a road that is even worse but leads to an even better destination. According to Winston Churchill, Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm,” a part of the statement read.
However, the council reassured Diasporans that NDVC was more determined to succeed than give up the advocacy for Diaspora Voting (DV) in Nigeria.
“NDVC will not relent in its efforts at spreading the gospel of its advocacy until the goal is achieved. Going forward, NDVC will release a timeline of activities in due course.
“Given the renewed determination, the board of NDVC has decided to double-up on its efforts, bring onboard more recognised and influential Diaspora groups that will add value to the advocacy including State Diaspora Focal point officers, widen and intensify the scope of diplomacy, review the provisions of the existing Diaspora Voting Bill with the assistance of NIDCOM, INEC and NASS and re-strategise going forward,” it added.
Meanwhile, the group commended the Chairman, House of Reps Committee on Diaspora, Mrs Tolulope Akande-Sadipe and her team for her patriotism, dedication and commitment to the DV advocacy.
“If there is anyone that deserves all the accolades, it is no other person than the National Assembly Sponsor of the Nigeria Diaspora Voting Bill, Mrs Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, House Committee Chairperson on Diaspora and Electoral Matters.
“Mrs Akande-Sadipe worked relentlessly with her ever untiring team led by Mrs Omoshalewa to ensure that the DV Bill saw the light of the day.
“NDVC cannot thank her enough for the many travels she embarked on during the zonal public hearings, risking her life, just in a bid to ensure that the Diaspora Voting Bill was a success,” the organisation said.
NDVC also appreciated various major stakeholders who have equally been in the constant advocacy for the materialisation of the DV Bill, including the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM); the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under the chairmanship of Prof Mahmood Yakubu, for the technical know-how support and willingness to help thus far; the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) and other Diaspora groups and persons for their unflinching support and commitment.
ICAN, BOI Partner to Drive Stakeholders Inclusion in Tech
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Bank of Industry (BOI) have strategically inaugurated an ICAN-BOI Tech Hub that will promote job creation, entrepreneurship and skill development in the technology space.
This was the central point of the tech hub inaugurated on Tuesday at the ICAN annexe office in Lagos which will ensure that members of the institute and the public can access the necessary skills and competencies required to become job creators and productive contributors in today’s tech-savvy world.
According to the Managing Director of BOI, Mr Olukayode Pitan, the project was necessary, given the increasing importance of technology to development and youth empowerment.
Mr Pitan said the dominant role of technology in many professions, including accountancy, had transformed the way businesses operated, resulting in improved efficiency, cost-saving, and simplified processes.
“The tech hub shall encourage development and testing of new ideas, products and business models as well as create an environment to prepare for start-ups and existing businesses for sustainability.
“It also aims at boosting business mentorship, market linkages and accelerated programmes to enable young entrepreneurs to scale up.
“Technology, innovation and entrepreneurship are key factors shaping global trends and there is a need to continually scale up on them for our national economic growth and development,” he said.
The BOI boss noted that young people were embracing an entrepreneurship mindset and technological skills, which had resulted in the provision of innovative solutions servicing millions of people in diverse sectors.
According to him, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector contributed 14.7 per cent to the gross domestic product in 2020 and increased to 15.21 per cent in 2021.
“We can see a perfect example of the value of tech hubs when we consider Silicon Valley, which is one of the earliest tech hubs in the world.
“It houses the headquarters of many of the world’s largest high tech operations as well as thousands of promising start-ups and we have started on that journey here in Nigeria.
“Nigerian Fintechs are fast gaining recognition globally. In 2021, Nigerian FinTech start-ups raised about $1.37 billion out of a total of $4 billion raised by African start-ups despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In Nigeria, we can boast of having technologically-driven products and services such as Flutterwave, Opay, Andela, Interswitch and Jumia.
“This shows the growing significance of ICT in driving the economy,” he added.
Mr Pitan also added that the BOI, through its corporate social responsibility programmes, would proactively continue to support the establishment of tech hubs across the country.
He said the ICAN-BOI tech hub collaboration brought the total tech hubs established by BOI to 10 in six states across the country.
“Structurally, the ICAN-BOI tech hub boasts of over 250 co-work desks, meeting rooms, private offices, a relaxation centre and a hybrid area for organising competitions and hackathons.
“In collaboration with ICAN, we have made provisions for all divider networks, IT equipment, power supply and all required to enable the hub function at optimal capacity.
“The bank is committed to making all its financing products and services available to bankable projects that emanate from users of the tech hub.
“We are confident that this hub will help users to innovate, incubate, collaborate and scale up as they become employers of labour and contributors to the economy of the nation,” he said.
The 57th ICAN President, Mrs Comfort Eyitayo, adding her input said the hub was positioned to empower users through different stages from idea generation to actualisation of products or services.
Mr Eyitayo expressed gratitude to the management of BOI for partnering with the institute to ensure members and youths were equipped with the necessary skills for economic growth and development.
On his part, the ICAN Registrar, Professor Ahmed Kumshe, commended Eyitayo, who through the ICAN Entrepreneurship Development Centre initiative brought about the partnership with BOI that resulted in the establishment of the tech hub.
He urged the institute to enlighten members and students to maximise the benefits of the hub since technology had taken over every aspect of life, especially in finance.
Lagos Guber: Group Alleges Plot to Disqualify Mustapha
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
There is a plot to disqualify a former permanent secretary in the Lagos civil service, Mr Olorunfemi Mustapha by the screening committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2023 governorship election in the state, a support group known as Mustapha4Lagos Agenda has alleged.
The body, which is working for the actualisation of the gubernatorial ambition of the gubernatorial aspirant, claimed that the reason for the plan to disqualify Mustapha is to give the incumbent Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, an easy ride to the government house next year.
Mr Sanwo-Olu wants to serve the state for another term of four years when his current tenure expires on May 20, 2023, but Mr Mustapha also wants the position. However, he must get the party’s ticket to unseat the Governor or go to another party to contest against him.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the head of Mustapha4Lagos Agenda, Bukola Ogundipe, claimed that the strategy is to screen out Mr Mustapha today as he is regarded as one of the biggest threats to Mr Sanwo-Olu.
The group revealed that the politician’s legal team is meeting with the national body of the party to quash the plot.
“We have uncovered a plot to disqualify our aspirant from the race; they know that the only way they can stop Mustapha from getting the party ticket is to make sure he doesn’t participate in the primary.
“Let us forget about the noise they are making, he is the man to beat. We are very certain that their plot will not see the light of the day because Mustapha is clean and meets all the criteria required by the constitution of our party and the guidelines for the elections,” Ogundipe said.
“As we speak, our lawyers have met with the leadership of our party in Abuja to make sure that this evil plot does not see the light of the day. The national body must step up and quash this evil plan.
“Sanwo-Olu has been throwing money around, spending billions to buy people but this is about the future of our state and the leadership of our party in Lagos knows that we can’t continue with the abysmal performance of the incumbent,” Ogundipe added.
80% of Buhari’s Ministers, Appointees Grossly Incompetent—CNPP
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has claimed that 80 per cent of the Ministers and appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari are grossly incompetent.
The group, which made this claim in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Mr Willy Ezugwu, on Tuesday, called for an overhaul of the cabinet and an injection of fresh hands.
“It is about time President Muhammadu Buhari overhauled his cabinet and injected fresh hands with new ideas into the federal cabinet to redeem his image within the remaining one year of his administration.
“By our several assessments, at least, 80 per cent of President Buhari’s ministers and appointees have proved to be grossly incompetent in the last seven years.
“Worse still, many of the appointees swim in unprecedented corruption that was unimaginable even in the years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governments.
“President Buhari as a former Head of State could not afford about N53 million presidential nomination forms seven years ago and the ease with which virtually all his ministers bought the exorbitant presidential and governorship forms of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) should be the clearest signal that most of the presidential appointees have been corruptly enriching themselves.
“For us, the recent corruption case involving the country’s Accountant-General is one of the least among the appointees. And if a financial gatekeeper like the Accountant-General of the Federation can be involved in such a monumental fraud, then President Buhari’s administration has a lot of image redemption activities to carry out before 2023.
“This can be best achieved by the immediate replacement of most of the current ministers and appointees who have obviously not delivered meaningful democratic dividend since their appointment,” the CNPP stated.
Meanwhile, the group has applauded the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, for withdrawing a suit he filed against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, over his alleged 2023 presidential ambition.
The central banker had approached the court to argue that the electoral body and the nation’s chief law officer do not have the right to stop him from becoming the president of Nigeria next year while still being in office as CBN governor.
After he could not submit his presidential forms procured for him from the APC, Mr Emefiele withdrew the suit from the court.
This action sweetened CNPP, which described it as “a step in the right direction,” commending the banker “for being a good listener and respecter of public opinion.”
In a statement signed by its Secretary General, Mr Willy Ezugwu, on Tuesday, the group also appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to sack “incompetent and corrupt Ministers” in his cabinet.
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