Home Africa INEC’s Recognition of Kashamu’s Faction Throws Obasanjo’s Group into Dilemma

INEC’s Recognition of Kashamu’s Faction Throws Obasanjo’s Group into Dilemma

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071214F-Buruji-kashamuBy the time you are reading it, religious deviants in Pakistan had murdered almost 150 souls, mainly kids who were attending classes in a military run secondary school in Peshawar, in the North-western part of the country. This has been the story of 2014: story of deaths, destruction, pains and malady.

But as scary as the story sounds, our world has not been taken over by forces of darkness. There have been positives which have rekindled hopes in humanity and reinforces the concept of the indormitability of the human spirit. Yousafzai Malala, the 17 year-old Pakistani child rights activist who made history as the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Her incredible never-say-die spirit defied the forces of retrogression and defeated agents of negativism. Back home, a certain Babatunde Raji Fashola gave a new meaning to governance when Ebola threatened our very existence. Politically, David Mark once again proved that he is a master of the game while the First Lady, as usual, kept herself busy in the political arena.

brahim Shekau, the outlaw who won’t just die, will be ending the year the way he started it: threatening fire and brimstone. Femi Otedola, the mercurial businessman, braved the odds and returned to that envious club of billionaires. Barack Obama made history in 2014 as the first sitting president to lose two mid-term elections. Diezani Alison-Madueke recorded another first in a rather turbulent year and for business mogul, Aliko Dangote, as Samuel Ajayi finds out, his impact in our daily lives will continue into 2015
Yousafzai Malala:  The Triumph of Reason
Malala represents a strong moral voice against a depraved doctrine. But what has elevated this 17 year-old Afghan beyond the ordinariness of her besieged environment was that she was able to resist the power of negativity which finds its expression in the backward idea of seeing the education of the girl child as an anathema. Yousafzai started the year junketing around the world appealing to our morals; speaking truth to the throne and not on dining with presidents but also calling them to action to see the education of the girl child as not just a bureaucratic responsibility of the state, but a necessity that must be pursued to take our world back from a doctrine threatening to perpetually hold it backwards: religious fanaticism.

According to Wikipedia, Malala was born on 12 July 1997 in the Swat District of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, into a Sunni Muslim family of Pashtun ethnicity. She was given her first name Malala (meaning “grief-stricken”) after Malalai of Maiwand, a famous Pashtun poetess and warrior woman from southern Afghanistan. Her last name, Yousafzai, is that of a large Pashtun tribal confederation that is predominant in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, where she grew up. At her house in Mingora, she lived with her two younger brothers, her parents, Ziauddin and Tor Pekai, and two pet chickens. Her family runs a chain of schools in the region. In early 2009, when she was 11–12, Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban occupation, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls in the Swat Valley.

But Malala’s world came tumbling down when a lone gunman entered her school bus on 9th October, 2009 and after identifying her pumped live bullets into her head. Had she died, a dream and an idea would have
died with her. But a rigorous rehabilitation that took her to Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital in Birmingham, United Kingdom, brought her back to full recovery. And then the Malala brand was born fully. On July 12, last year, she spoke at the headquarters of the United Nations and after numerous awards, Malala, on October 14 this year, became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Barack Obama:  A President and His Mid-Term Electoral Blues
In 2008, he made history as the first black American president. It was no mean feat for a society that has suffered a lot of racial tensions and crisis. But has Obama is just two years away from completing his constitutionally allowed two terms in office, 2014 will see him going into the history book yet again. But this time around, he will be going there for reasons he himself will not like to fancy: he is the first sitting president to lose two mid-term elections.

It was a trouncing that was long seen coming. Many Democrats had feared that they could lose and were already preparing for the worse. The President’s party lost key races in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa which all states that first propelled Mr Obama to the White House in 2008. In particular rejection of the President and his Democratic Party, voters in his home state of Illinois cast out their Democrat governor and replaced him with a Republican, despite the president himself campaigning on his behalf. By the final count, Republicans have won about 54 out of the 100 seats in the Senate. It was not only in the Senate that Obama’s party was given a bloodied nose. In the House of Representatives too, his party was defeated which means that the Republicans will be ending 2014 at the party in control of the US Congress and Obama should expect a turbulent last two years in office.
David Mark: A Good Year for ‘Mr. Stabiliser’…
If feelers from the National Assembly are anything to go by, then the days of David Bonaventure Mark are numbered as the Senate President. But again, it will be like a clip taken from James Hadley Chase’s thriller, Believe This, You Believe Anything. If for anything, Mark will be ending the year as he started it: as the Senate President. And if there is one politician who taught us how to navigate the murky waters of politics and how to beat a troublesome opposition gladiators  into their own game.

The year started with Mark battling to save his party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, fighting for its life. A rampaging All Progressives Congress, APC, was threatening to relegate the PDP to the status of opposition party with a gale of defections. But in some moment of political naivety and procedural exuberance, the APC senators who wanted to decamp played into Mark’s hand: they went to court to compel the Senate not to declare their seats vacant before sending a letter to the leadership of the Senate intimating it of their readiness to decamp. Good move only that when they brought their letter, Mark reminded them of the case in court which they (the Senators) instituted themselves. As at the time of writing this, the case was still in court.

Beyond this is the way and manner he had handled the crisis that has been the second name of the National Assembly. He has shown an uncommon maturity by ensuring that the Senate does not record any major crisis in 2014. Even if he is ending the year facing some opposition to his leadership for the first time since 2007, the year has been a good one for ‘Mr. Stabiliser’.
Patience Jonathan:  When There is Always God…
The First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan, will not just lie low. And in 2014, she had a lot of issues. If she was not squaring it out with the cantankerous governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, then she was holding meeting with some women from Borno and Yobe State asking them how they would find the missing Chibok Girls. Unconfirmed reports suggest that she also spent considerable time in the course of the year trying to influence the process of selection of governorship candidates for the ruling PDP in various states of the federation. Some aspirants were said to have enlisted her support to realise their ambitions. It was not sure how many of them succeeded but Nyesom Wike, former minister of education, did succeed in Rivers State and last week, the First Lady announced that Wike is the next governor of Rivers State.
For the First Lady, 2014 has been a ‘busy’ year. And since her office does not have any constitutional role, she has made herself busy politically.

Aliko Dangote: When Quasi-Monopoly is Benevolent
No matter what, Alhaji Aliko Dangote will likely remain the largest employer of labour in the country after the government. For the past few years, the Kano State-born businessman has had his hands on so many pies: cement, manufacturing, sugar, salt, spaghetti, oil and gas and so on. Earlier this year, Dangote was accused of anti-competition antics when its new version of cement, the 42.5R version which was much stronger than the existing 35R version. The Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, had announced around same period cement specifications for certain construction requirements. Competition reckoned that Dangote must have been privy to the pending SON’s announcement hence its own introduction of the 42.5R version. Dangote countered it that its cement plants across the country have been producing this version of cement even before the SON announcement.

Beyond this, however, is the fact that the year is another year whereby the conglomerate lived up to its name as the number one in all its areas of operations. And 2015 promises to be another interesting year for the brand name and one should not also forget the small matter of the man himself, Aliko, being Africa’s richest man.

Babatunde Fashola: Leadership when One is Needed…
Like thief in the night, Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian diplomat sneaked in and murdered sleep in the nation’s health sector. He brought Ebola to us and the alarm button was rudely pressed in the nation’s health institutions. His first port of call was the First Foundation Hospital in Lagos island. And by the time this angel of death from the deepest depth of hell breathed his last, four staffers of that infirmatory had died and Ebola had come to reside with us. But a certain Babatunde Raji Fashola would have none of that. The Lagos State governor rose to the occasion and faced the scourge like a possessed soldier protecting a fortress under threat. He and health workers began a massive mobilization effort aimed at awakening a lethargic populace to the danger at hand. He postponed schools’ dates were changed and massive enlightenment was undertaken. For the first time, government responded to emergency they way it should and the man at the centre of it all was a certain Governor Fashola. He led the charge and provided the impetus and others had no choice than to key in.

And that is why, the story of those who restored our hope in public service in 2014will not be complete without an honourable mention of a certain Babatunde Raji Fashola.

Wale Tinubu: One Deal that Shook the Industry…
When the history of happenings within the nation’s business environment in 2014 is being written, the mega deal involving the acquisition of ConocoPhillips’s oil and gas assets in the upstream sector of the nation’s energy sector by Oando Energy Resources Incorporated must prominently feature. The deal took about two years to finalise when ConocoPhillips decided that it was pulling out of its upstream operations and dealings in Nigeria. The deal was worth a whooping $1.5 billion and with the conclusion of the  deal, Oando becomes the owner of ConocoPhillips’ 20 per cent non-operating interests in onshore assets, including oil blocks in oil mining leases (OMLs) 60, 61, 62, and 63. It did not end there.

The assets that Onado acquired included infrastructure and facilities in the Joint Venture in which Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited was holding 20 per cent and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation 60 per cent. Others were 40 discovered oil and gas fields, of which 24 are currently producing, 12 production stations, approximately 1,490 km of pipelines, three gas processing plants, the Brass River Oil Terminal, and the Kwale-Okpai 480 Mw combined cycle gas-fired independent power plant.

Also, ConocoPhillips’ 95 per cent operating interest in OML 131 and 20 per cent non-operating interest in oil prospecting licence (OPL) 214, converted to OML 145 last month were all fully  transferred to Oando.
Other companies in the Joint Venture asset (OML 145) include ExxonMobil (20 per cent and operator), Chevron (20 per cent), Svenska (20 per cent), Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (15 per cent) and Sasol (5 per cent).

Oando had announced then that through the transaction, would indirectly own all of the issued share capital of ConocoPhillips in Nigeria effective January 1, 2012, which translates to the date of the transaction.
The total reserves and associated resources in the deal,  including proved, plus probable reserves, amount to about of 211.6 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe). The company noted that Oando’s sales production from the onshore assets, averaged 36,494 barrels of oil equivalent per day (b/d) in 2013 and 39,266 boe/d in the first half of 2014.

Pade Durotoye, the chief executive of the company had this to say of the deal then:  “Upon completion of the transaction, OER will be positioned as one of the leading E&P players in the Nigerian oil & gas sector, as measured by end-2013 proved plus probable reserves of 230.6 MMboe. The transaction was financed with an approximate 50/50 debt-equity ratio and is immediately cash generative and will contribute significantly to the cash flows of the company. This transaction represents a transformational leap forward for our company and is in keeping with our overall strategy to grow our portfolio of Nigerian-based assets by focusing on those opportunities that deliver high quality growth in reserves and production.” He added that: “our management team is familiar with these assets and possess the managerial experience and technical expertise necessary to unlock their value for our shareholders.”

Olatunde Ayeni:  A Year of the Banking Big Player…
Not much is known about him but his actions in the banking sector surely stand him out. He is not a noise maker but a ruthlessly smooth business operator who has spent the greater part of the year trying (and succeeding) in launching Skye Bank Plc into the league of big players. And if feelers from the banking industry are anything to go by, then by 2015 the bank which he superintends as the chairman of the board might be among the five biggest banks in the country. But the foundation for that would have been firmly laid by 2014. And the reason is glaringly there.

This year, Ayeni led his Skye Bank into the acquisition of Mainstree Bank.  And the bank had said, upon the acquisition, that it would positively impact its business operations to help it achieve its strategic objectives and goals. The bank said the acquisition would help deepen its penetration of the South-east and South-south regions where it is currently less represented, explaining that out of Mainstreet Bank’s 201 branches and nine subsidiaries, 26 per cent or 54 branches are located in the two regions. The bank explained:

“These two regions also accounted for 28 per cent of Mainstreet Bank’s over 1.9 million customers, second only to Lagos with 37 per cent. This clearly shows that the integration of Mainstreet Bank will enable us make valuable in-roads into these two regions without the need to incur huge expenditure had we remained a single entity as Skye Bank.”

2015 will also see Ayeni making further forays into the capital intensive but highly lucrative oil and gas business as feelers from the grapevine have it that he has acquired some two ships for that purpose. In a year that saw many businesses suffering set-backs and hiccups, Ayeni was one of the few who kept our faith in the corporate world.

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