Category Archives: Editorial

Day two Southeast governors shouted at each other  


So much has been said about the alleged delay of Southeast governors to set up a regional security outfit to contain rising insecurity in the zone.

Critics say they created the vacuum that enabled the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to establish its security outfit called the Eastern Security Network (ESN), thus creating unnecessary tension and loss of lives.

They also claim governors were unable to do what their counterparts in the Southwest have done because of personal or political interests.

What such critics don’t know is that the delay may have been because of personal disagreements more than suspected external pressure on them. We learnt, for instance, that at one recent meeting in Enugu, two governors sharply disagreed over the type of security outfit that would be good for the zone.

Sources say one of them was so upset with the idea the other advanced that he confronted him personally as the two made to leave the venue of the meeting.

The other governor, also angry at his colleague’s expressed views, did not hide his feelings.

As our source puts it, “it was a bitter encounter. Their Excellences exchanged very hot words before they left. I cannot tell you what they said to each other, but it amounted to shouting at one another. It was all about their different views on the type of regional security outfit that would serve our area better. While one wanted something novel, the other said what he had in his state was working and should be adopted by all in the region.”

But now that General Obi Umahi (retd), leader of the Southeast Security Committee, has said all is set to flag-off the much-awaited regional security outfit, it remains to be seen if the governors have fully resolved their differences.

N-power: Sadiya Umar Farouq delivers a fitting exit strategy – Dapo Bruce

It was the English bard, William Shakespeare who wrote the enigmatic play “All’s Well that Ends Well”, which is regarded alongside “Measure for Measure” and “Troilus and Cressida” as Shakespeare’s problem plays on account of the heroes and heroines who are flawed in many ways.

A consideration of the trending news about N-power, one of the Federal Government’s flagship National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) will lead one to the same conclusion; all is well that ends well because despite some flaws in its original design, especially around the exit strategy, Sadiya Umar Farouq, in whose ministry the programme is now domiciled; and her team have found a fitting denouement.

The introduction of the N-power programme was greeted with joy and applause especially among Nigeria’s teeming and unemployed youthful population. As part of the NSIP, the N-power was critical to the realization of the Buhari’s administration’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over 10 years.

According to the NSIP website, the N-power programme “is designed to assist young Nigerians between the ages of 18 to 35 to acquire and develop life-long skills for becoming change makers in their communities and players in the domestic and global markets and given a stipend of N30,000 monthly.”

Ambitions and audacious were words employed by pundits to describe the vision but there was method to the FG’s seeming “madness”.

As at July 31st 2020 when N-power Batch A and B beneficiaries began their transition and exit from the programme having spent over 40 and 24 months respectively on the programme, there was much to applaud.

The dream of up skilling the beneficiaries to make them suitable for employability and entrepreneurship had been largely achieved. In fact, of the 500,000 beneficiaries in Batches A and B, about 109,829 beneficiaries had set up small scale businesses as at July 2020. This number, approximately 22%, according to the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, were running small but thriving businesses in their communities and some were eagerly on boarded as aggregators for the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, another component of the NSIP in a clear case of the NSIP providing a pipeline of skilled labour for the NSIP.

This is significant in a country like Nigeria where statistics from the CBN tell us that small and medium scale enterprises contribute 48% of national GDP and also make up 98% of businesses in the country which provide employment to 84% of Nigerians.

Aside the 109,829 entrepreneurs, many beneficiaries of the programme have also found employment in the organized private sector after passing entrance and psychometric tests of those companies.
The ministry highlighted these achievements via a series of mini-documentaries entitled “N-Power Success Stories” which ran on their social media pages.

These successes are not easily obvious if you monitor chatter on social media especially on twitter where N-power Batch A and B beneficiaries are very vocal. Their tone is often angry and the conversation usually around exit plans and unpaid stipends.

The complaints reached a crescendo in June 2020, when the ministry announced plans to begin enrolment for Batch C and the transitioning of Batch A and B. The beneficiaries of Batch A and B demanded clarification regarding the exit plans.

That clarification has now been made. A news report in Vanguard of January 21, 2021 announced – “FG offers former N-Power beneficiaries exit strategies” and according to the report Batch A and B beneficiaries now have three (3) exit options.

One; 200,000 beneficiaries will be on boarded on the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) scheme operated by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The SANEF scheme is, according to the Vanguard report, “a project powered by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Deposit Money Banks, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems, Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Licensed Mobile Money Operators, and Shared Agents with the primary objective of accelerating financial inclusion in Nigeria. Under the scheme, the beneficiaries will be trained in different areas including customer service, transaction settlement, liquidity management, anti-money laundering, among others, while government would facilitate the initial funding for the scheme for each beneficiary.”

Two; another 30,000 beneficiaries who served under the N-Agro have been employed under the “Mass Agric programme as geospatial experts and enumerators. The goal is to engage the beneficiaries in the geo-mapping of farmlands and the enumeration of farmers, across the country for the programme. The Mass Agric programme is a component of the Economic Sustainability Plan designed to, among other things, engage millions of farmers, cultivating thousands of hectares of land across the country.”

Finally Three; “N-power beneficiaries are offered the option of applying for a proposed GEEP loan to fund their small businesses. Joint collaboration is encouraged to form registered cooperatives in line with earlier established GEEP loan requirements.”
With these three exit options, N-power beneficiaries can put their new found skills to use as gainfully employed Nigerians or as entrepreneurs thus helping to realise the vision of the NSIP.

It has taken time and there have been hiccups along the way but what is important now is to acknowledge that a fitting exiting strategy has been arrived at and those coming in Batch C and subsequent batches would have a smoother transition.

All’s well that ends well, indeed.

*Dapo Bruce a public analyst writes from Lagos

APPRAISAL OF  A QUINTESSENTIAL MAN: HON EMEKA ONUNZE

Hon Emeka Onunze, (TATA) as he is fondly called, was born in the early 70s into the family of late (Chief) Patrick Ngwunwa Onunze and Lolo (Mrs) Queen Onunze of Umuokoh in Umuebor Umunevo Ogui Nike town, Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State.

Hon Onunze happens to be the third son of late Chief Patrick Onunze and last born of family of six.

However, Hon. Emeka Onunze got his first Primary School Leaving Certificate (PSLC) from Ekulu Primary school, Enugu and later proceeded to College of Immaculate Heart Conception (CIC) Enugu, where he obtained his Senior School Certificate and other diploma certificates.

Onunze, a man with vast knowledge in business management has invested in the business of exchange of goods and services and was conspicuously flourishing on that path, and later entered transport business with several employees operating under him within Enugu State and beyond.

The transport system under his watch, has thrived even till he occupied the enviable position of LGA chairman, following his requisite skills in management and adminstration purposes.

Onunze from his humble beginning has engaged in other business empires, but choose to adopt transportation business as his mainstream of economic empowerment through which many have been able to earn a living today in our society.

As a dogged, astute and worthy son of Ogui Nike, Hon. Emeka Onunze has attracted a chieftaincy titles to himself, following his magnanimous and philanthropic programs in the society. Among these are Ezeomoge nke mbu n’Nkanu and Efi Newero Odudu nke mbu n’Nkanu Land.

Certainly, this titles came as a result of his philanthropic contributions towards the growth and development of the society, especially in the aspects of human capital development.

Hon Emeka Onunze is an ideal modern philanthropist as many call him ‘Omeogo nke mbu N’nkanu’ has in many occasions meted out love and care to his kinsmen and others in Enugu State. He has been a pivot towards eliminating and solving complex issues in many lives that comes across his ways ranging from financial assistances, scholarships, payment of hospital bills.

The indomitable leader had also in many ways showed high-level of optimisation and patriotism in all ramifications.

It is also pertinent and worthy to note that, Hon. Emeka Onunze had attained several leadership positions in various capacities before he was elected council chairperson, Enugu North Local Government Area. First, he was one time Ward councilor, a position he used to touch many lives in Enugu North LGA, Umunevo Ogui Ward 2 precisely which his achievement was very substantive, as such still paving way for him for other recommendations since he left the office.

As a proactive leader, Hon. Onunze was elected as Provost, Umunevo Town Union, a position he held until he became the Council Chairman, Enugu North LGA during the 2020 Local Government polls in Enugu State.

The amazing, lovable and caring man Emeka Onunze equally have other talented gifts apart from leadership prowess. This talent has giving him the opportunity of featuring and playing for many football clubs in Enugu and Beyond such as Vasco Dagama. Also, as a social being, Hon. Onunze had traveled and lived in several locations across the world which includes Turkey etc.

Onunze is indeed a quintessential leader and a man of multiple and credible character.

Ifebuchi, Williams Chime writes from Enugu.