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RE: NNPC In Procurement Fraud: Two Highest Bidders In Slop Oil Sale Are The Same People

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Nigeria refinery
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By Muhammad Sani, Abuja.

I read with dismay and growing alarm a news report of the above heading in the Premium Times of 11th September, 2021. Dismay because over the years the online medium has carved a niche for itself for serious and professional reportage, and alarmed because its treatment of this particular issue falls far short of expectations and requirements of investigative journalism. This does not bode well for its reputation and rating.

It particularly rankles that there is a complete disconnect between the headline and the main story. While the former promotes an alleged fraud or irregularity in two companies with same directors emerging as highest bidders in a slop oil sale, the story itself delves into and harps on local companies being muscled out of a bid to export a kind of petroleum product that should not have been sold abroad in the first place!

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Also, the story is punctuated by and riddled with sweeping statements, over generalizations, unsubstantiated claims and speculations dressed up as facts and scoop. Attributions were largely vague and sometimes dripping with mischief, leading one to an inevitable conclusion that the whole thing was a hatchet job.

For instance, the main meat of the story was that there were “behind-the-scene manoeuvres in which three bid-winning companies possibly took cues from NNPC insiders and decision makers,” in contravention of the Procurement Act. Surprisingly, there was no shred of evidence to support the allegation. Interestingly, the first and second bid winners, who seem to have two directors in common (Premium Times failed to state what law this violates even though that is what its headline is all about) ended up not paying for the allocation and lost the bid, notwithstanding that they are export companies which Premium Times laboured to suggest that they have enormous financial and technical capacities.

Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC,  Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari

Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari

Premium Times equally claimed that the sale of slop oil was “taboo transaction” and injurious to the economy, but did not so much as bother to find out who really authorized it and what benefits the country stands to gain from it.

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Must we always insist on seeing things only from the negative lenses? Is it professional for a news medium to base its argument and arrive at a conclusion purely and exclusively on antecedent (as if things must always remain the way they are) and self-serving, skewed opinions of unnamed “industry stakeholders,” “industry watchers” and such nebulous individuals?

On the whole, the Premium Times treatment of this issue is yet another pointer to how vested interests can use the media to fight their own war. But much more than that, Premium Times really ought to have done better!

Muhammad Sani, writes from Guzape, Abuja

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Opinion

The Cacophony of the Rabbit Media Team: Obaseki’s Administration, Shameful, Disastrous To Edo People – Group Lament  

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L-R: Edo State Governor, His Excellency Godwin Obaseki and Comrade Philip Shaibu, the Edo State Deputy Governor
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Isaiah Jesuobo, Benin.

I read through the boring, dishonest and disassociate response by one media team that calls itself THE BULLETS OF THE HARMLESS RABBIT MEDIA TEAM (BHR), it was out of sheered determination I was able gloss through the response.

This is before election media team that nobody longer reads as it’s content are not only far flung from our present political reality in Edo State, the writer suffers much of Disassociative Disorder, a disorders that involve experiencing a disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity.

People with dissociative disorders escape reality in ways that are involuntary and unhealthy and cause problems with functioning in everyday life.

Let Akemokue Lukman and his group who are having hangover from their dis-orientations and disassociation as members of OSM go to Oba Market in Benin and mention Obaseki to see the reaction of the common people who voted for him last year.

They should go to Akoko-Edo where there are no teachers in schools or Esan where security and all the ills of the society have been left unattended to.

L-R: Edo State Governor, His Excellency Godwin Obaseki and Comrade Philip Shaibu, the Edo State Deputy Governor

L-R: Edo State Governor, His Excellency Godwin Obaseki and Comrade Philip Shaibu, the Edo State Deputy Governor

Let me dismiss his fallacies contained in his response to my article. First, Lukman said PDP needs Obaseki more than Obaseki needs PDP.

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That’s a lie; Obaseki has become to PDP the type of liability he was to APC before he was thrown out.

He came and wanted the executive of the party dissolved with deceitful synonym of harmonization.

He was rebuked and sent to see what the constitution says about party elections since he is not used to being lawful.

Mai Mala Buni, the APC carebtaker chairman can poach him for all we care, he is no longer a factor to winning election for PDP as his failure has reached feverish point.

Lukman should point to what significant project (s) can be tired to Obaseki’s name in Etsako where him and Shuaibu are from.

Some PDP governors around who supported him are hugely disappointed in him.

“Call Governors like Okowa, Wike, Udom.., they will tell you they are disappointed in him”. They wish the way other governors go to each other states to commission projects, some will will be invited to do the same in Edo State. Lukman, there is no project to commission here! Open your eyes!

Secondly, PDP gave him ticket, that fact is not in doubt. Since Lukman is a political nitwit, there is no way he can understand what measure of favour the party did for these two who had shown ingratitude to the party.

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Thirdly, if Lukman is a political strategist as he claim he is with the irresponsible Rabbit Hole Media Team, he would have known that first, APC was not defeated based on Obaseki’s performance, but based hugely on sentiments that Oshiomhole cannot dictate who wins and who looses in Edo State, which became the greatest undoing of the electorates today.

There is no single Edo voter who is not regretting his decision of voting Obaseki except the Lukman’s dishonest likes.

Obaseki and Shuaibu couldn’t have won the election without a structure like PDP, which was a very viable option to APC that tossed him out.

Lukman should know what time it takes to build a political party structure from unit level to state.

Perhaps he should have advised them to take up tickets from APGA then to see if they could win, not now that they have won with PDP.

If Lukman says he is not aware that the Obaseki, and Shuaibu (who is now a relegated deputy) have become godfathers unto themselves, I wonder what kind of monster he is awaiting to emerge as a godfather.

He runs a one man show and Lukman calls it mere delay, for one year? He demolished houses of perceived opponents, he revokes lands of those who opposed him during elections, he has sole administrators at LGA levels, he want to enforce and forced vaccination without backing it by law, civil servants were locked outside because of this vaccination that is optional worldwide.

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This is the same governor that kept palliatives to rot in store rooms when people needed food the most during the lockdown. He should be ready for showdown with civil societies in the state as his tyrannical nature will come to an end with this illegal forced vaccination.

What other ways does Lukman want to understand what Godfatherism is all about?

Lukman is the individual that need to look for what he ought to be doing with his time instead of writing BULLETS OF RABBITS in praise worship of the governor that people are no longer reading.

Lukman should go to the governor’s Facebook page to see the amount of darts in their hundreds Edo State citizens pour at hi, they insult him whenever he posts anything. Obaseki has squandered the goodwill of the entire people of Edo State; Lukman does not need a seance to tell him this.

5 years down the line, nothing to show for his administration that is so visionless and without direction.

We can’t wait for him to go back to APC or whichever party he wish to; PDP was better off in the opposition than this.

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Opinion

Edo State Deputy Governor’s Political Socialization In PDP.

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L-R: Edo State Governor, His Excellency Godwin Obaseki and Comrade Philip Shaibu, the Edo State Deputy Governor
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By Elempe Dele, Edo.

Two days ago, the news of Comrade Philip Shaibu, the Edo State Deputy Governor, decamping from PDP to yet to be known party filtered in unexpectedly. I was quick to dismiss it as one of the handiworks of the opposition party even when it was retailed through Vanguard online news. Before we could be weaned off the numerous hearsay analysis concerning the news, the deputy governor granted an interview to Channels TV.

Comrade Philip Shaibu, the Edo State Deputy Governor

Comrade Philip Shaibu, the Edo State Deputy Governor

Speaking on Channels TV’s Politics Today, the Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu who was not heard during the interview denying plans to leave PDP, only dismissed the notion that he was having issues with the Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki. He said, “I am happy with my Governor, I don’t have any problem with my Governor, the issue of not being happy with my Governor is not there, I remain absolutely loyal to my Governor. But there are issues that we need to resolve over PDP.”

Immediately my mind cast back to the sophisticated but superstitious omen where the owl hoots at night on the rooftop of a house then a child dies the next day in the same house.

“I can vouch that the Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, won’t be decamping to any party soon – that much I know. He was courted before the 2020 gubernatorial election as one of the most loyal deputies around because he stuck to the governor during the period of implosion in the Edo State APC that eventually saw them move to PDP. And they were both offered the joint ticket without much disputes because of this uncommon reputation. However, I was taken aback by part of the Channels TV interview where he mentioned that there are issues he need to resolve with the governor over PDP.

Although this is ambiguous to some an extend, I think in my own opinion, it is too early for ‘issues’ to be resolved over PDP – just over a year they both left APC and were received into PDP with open arms and without pre-conditions. I say this to avert the likelihood, which is even being peddled by the opposition; “we nor tell una?”

Comrade Philip Shaibu is no doubt a very sophisticated political individual and we party members have a duty not to allow him to score an own goal just about a year into this unexpected political socialization with PDP. Going into a new party, one must expect to learn the processes of ideologies, conducts, attitudes of members of the new party. It is not always easy, it takes time to understudy. For the benefit of scholarship, Political Socialization can be seen as the process by which individuals learn and customarily incorporate a political lens defining their perceptions of how power is arranged and organized; those perceptions, in turn, shape and define individuals’ definitions of who they are and how they should behave in the political and economic institutions in which they live(in this instance after moving from one party to the other) It has to do with the ways in which people obtain values and opinions that shape their political stance and ideology: it is a study of the developmental processes by which people acquire political cognition, attitudes, and behaviours.

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It refers to a learning process by which norms and behaviours acceptable to a well running political system are transmitted. It is through the performance of this function that individuals are inducted into the political culture and their orientations towards political focus are formed.

It must be retailed without mincing words therefore that PDP has a self-oiled hydrolic internal mechanism in operation whereby issues are resolved without the glitz of the social media.

This is so because apart from excesses of the forewarned notification, the media cannot afford to settle internal disputes or issues, as the case may be. Rather, it will inflame them to unbelievable proportions. “But there are issues that we need to resolve over PDP,” is a hugely ambiguous statement.

At least, it will lead to suppositions, disinformation, misinformation, outright falsehood, lies, propaganda from section of the harmful public who are waiting on the sidewalks to help peddle anything at their disposals.

“I have raised objective logic on the issue no matter how fallacious some individuals might view it. PDP is not a living soul, if there are issues the Deputy Governor is having, they must be associated with individual (s) within the party, especially now that the state executive of the party has been emasculated, deprived of power, vitality and vigour.”

To continue to pursue the ‘where and what’ has gone wrong will be an academic journey into futility. However, we must not look away from the Deputy Governor’s unhappiness with the intention of facing the consequences. Politics is about numbers, it’s about building structures, and not destroying bridges. He is a very important part of the party and the ‘issues’ cannot be wished away with levity.

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The ‘issues’ must be addressed and a common ground must be agreed upon, and this burden basically rest on the shoulders of the Governor, who no doubt, is the closest person to Comrade Philip Shaibu in relative terms and the leader of the party in Edo State.

But the sacrosanct of the PDP brand must be kept. Election and electioneering are over, at least, for the time being, so also should be politicking. What should be uppermost in our minds should be governance, and I wish the Comrade to focus on this. He is the leader of the party in Edo North Senatorial District by the virtue of his position.

He should drive the proposed airport to the region and other trademark developments that can be seen, that would be sustainable, that would engineer growth and development of the region. The common people, like me, would rather want us to be doing appraisals by now about human capital development in Edo North Senatorial District a year after election than relapse back into the expected narratives concerning politicking.

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By now, we should be talking about the Deputy Governor using his position to weaponize scholarship through the educational sector that needs total overhaul in that area. The people will be more listening and enchanted if the discussion on Channels TV was centered around how government can assist in adding value(value chain) to their agricultural products as they are basically into agrarian economy rather than the habitual discussion of politics that have become monotonous to the ear.

Three years is left for the government to be able to meet with it’s promises to the people. And three years is enough to achieve so much but won’t be enough if the focus is not on the marching orders for performance rather than armchair glitz discussion on politics.

The actualization of the Gelegele Sea Port, with interface between the state government and NDDC, is possible to enhance our local economy and the economies of South South States.

This should be on the banner  as it is still achievable. The Edo State Government has made it its mission to make the state the industrial hub of the South-South through the development of industrial clusters and free trade zones. This can be achieved within the next three years.

L-R: Edo State Governor, His Excellency Godwin Obaseki and Comrade Philip Shaibu, the Edo State Deputy Governor

L-R: Edo State Governor, His Excellency Godwin Obaseki and Comrade Philip Shaibu, the Edo State Deputy Governor

The proposed Edo North airport by the State Governor would open up economic activities in that region.

The region is blessed with mineral resources, and agricultural potentials. All these and others that the people can basically point at before 2024 should be the redirected focus going forward.

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Opinion

VAT War: FIRS Patriotic Stance And National Development.

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Governors from Rivers and Lagos opposed FG VAT collection
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By Abubakar Yusuf.

Following the landmark judgement of the Appeal court, Abuja division for parties to return to status quo on the judgement of the Federal High Court Portharcourt Division instituted by Rivers State Government, that deals with the collection of VAT taxes, which ceased it’s collection from Federal Government to State Governments, and the request for stay of execution and Appeal on the part of FIRS, without prejudices, the stage is now set for a legal fireworks to resolve the contending issue.

The status quo has put to rest cynicism, threats and insinuations as well as campaign of calumny against Nigeria’s Revenue House by States and a halt to a law enacted by Rivers and Lagos State on the stoppage of VAT collections from Federal Government to various State Governments.

The weeks long altercations and exchange of hot words between the FIRS, the collector of Federal Government revenues, Rivers, Lagos state government along with other states warming up to take the agency to the cleaners for carrying out it’s statutory functions, under the guise of the judgment of the FHC in Portharcourt, is now subject to judicial interpretations.

With the readiness of the FIRS to approach the courts for further interpretation and adjudication and the pronouncement of status quo ante by the Appeal court, it behoves on all other federating States to suspend further actions, so as to put to test further, the judicial administration in Nigeria.

It is simple, logical and unambiguous the judicial pronouncement by the Appeal court, in spite of instigations from high legal personalty that may encourage or allow States into venturing to the collection of VAT for selfish reasons, as any counter action will be illegal, prejudicial and capable of overheating the polity among the federating States that may lead to needless crises.

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If the agitations from States is not inordinate and self centred, the clear judgement of the Appeal court and the general apathy from some states was enough impetus to lay the issue bare before our judicial system and administration.

FIRS is out to protect the overriding interest of the federating states, with an improvement in revenue collections including VAT shared among the three tiers of government without reservation.

The institutional framework and independence declared by the FIRS and zeal to improve revenue collections in Nigeria is enough to allow status quo, baring in mind the patriotic efforts of the management of the Revenue House, to mop all available revenues and outstanding to the benefits of all Nigerians.

The assertion and insistence of the FIRS as the only revenue collections agency of the Federal Government including VAT untill the final judgement by the Apex Court,the highest court of the land is justified of it’s confidence in the judicial system, as well as doing the needful to safeguard the economic, social and political system in the country, along with continuous infrastructural development.

Nothing can be more patriotic than the action taking by the leadership of FIRS to stem the tide of underdevelopment, financial crises, economic woes that could trigger multiple crises at this period of Covid-19 in it’s third wave.

With FAAC funding deteriorating on monthly basis, but for the intervention of FIRS collectible revenues which accounted for over 70% monthly allocations to States, it will be innocuous to cave into the non selfless stance of some States under the guise of fiscal federalism and anticipated restructuring without harnessing the available natural endowment, but with only eyes on collectible funds in revenues.

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The success story of historic 650B made by FIRS is enough evidence to allow status quo in the interest of Justice, Fair play and National interest, as the feat by the Revenue House is still fresh on our mind.

The triggered likely loss of over 3 trillion in revenue expectations by the country will be a colossal damage as well as stem recovery of over 5 trillion revenue evaded by tax payers declared by anti graft agency, the EFCC, the 800B tax liability on the part of multi choice among many others,as well aggressive payment/pursuance of all other outstanding tax claims scattered all round the private and public Institutions in Nigeria.

It behove on the Revenue House on both it’s managerial and Religious commitment to double revenue generation in 2022 to over 1 trillion and 2 trillion, a trend that will comfortably and single handedly put the agency in good stead to fund the monthly FAAC allocations in Nigeria and others.

All hands must be on deck by the federating States not to see FIRS as an arch enemy, but as partners in progress for the progress, Development and advancement of Nigeria.

With strong criticisms all over the world on perpetual borrowings by Nigeria government, and admonition from top stakeholders within and the global world, including the legislative arm of government of Nigeria, it is imminent that collaborative efforts with States and Local Governments will stem the tide of infrastructural decay, through annexing more funds for both capital and recurrent expenditures.

The assertions and agitations from State Governments will not only further strengthen our democratic practice and Institutions, but will stabilised the collaborative efforts to address persistent tax evasion in Nigeria.

FIRS has taking the lead to address the age long practices of shortchanging both the government and it’s citizens, what is needed now, will not be confrontations and agitations, but supports in actions and in some instances inactions, towards reverting Nigeria to the good old days of economic,social and political stability.

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Our leaders both at the States and Federal level should show remorse and display consensus and concessions not minding the political, tribal and ethnic divide, but for the singular efforts and drive towards a better Nigeria.

All hands must be on deck to join forces with the FIRS, so as to institutionalise and inculcate the art of paying revenues due to states as at when due, and as a basic obligations by citizens towards all round emancipation.

FIRS is a law abiding agency, and wil be ready to abide by the decision of the Apex court in the nearest future, not the insinuations of cut in it’s staffers salaries, commission’s and allowances, but will be applicable to all category of workers in view of any decisions to that effect, hence the avoidance of such unforseen circumstances by the FIRS and the government.

Governors from Rivers and Lagos opposed FG VAT collection

Governors from Rivers and Lagos opposed FG VAT collection

Having navigated both through natural and artificial phenomenon of global health challenges of Covid-19 with few moths lockdown, amidst many others,and the EndSARSrs that affected the revenue yield of Governments, it is germane to nip in the bud any unforeseen and politically motivated decisions that will not augur well for the country.

The efforts is already a Win-Win strides geared towards economic stability and viability rather than the divergent views of different stakeholders against the thriving Nigeria state.

The exemplary leadership and institutional framework of the FIRS under Mohammed Nami is worth replication not only in government revenue generating agencies,but other sectors of the economy.

Yusuf, A Public Affairs Analyst, Writes From Abuja yusufabubakar3@gmail.com.

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