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Manufacturers, labour tackle FG over 240% tariff hike, insist on subsidy

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Manufacturers, labour tackle FG over 240% tariff hike, insist on subsidy

Manufacturers and organised Labour have kicked against the Federal Government’s 240 per cent hike in the tariff payable by electricity users enjoying a 20-hour power supply.

They insisted on the electricity subsidy, warning that its removal would send manufacturers out of business and worsen inflation.

The subsidy on electricity has been withdrawn completely from the tariff payable by power consumers in the Band A category, who constitute about 15 per cent of the total number of power users across the country.

The government announced the hike in the electricity bill at a press briefing in Abuja by NERC on Wednesday, adding that those affected would now pay a tariff of N225 per kilowatt-hour, up from the previous rate of N68/kWh, representing about 240 per cent increase. The government declared that the decision took effect from Wednesday (yesterday).

But the organised private sector, Nigeria Labour Congress, as well as the Trade Union Congress, kicked against the hiked tariff for power users, whether it was for those on Band A or not.

They argued that the hike in tariff would send manufacturers out of business, worsen inflation, and stifle small and medium enterprises, adding that no place in Nigeria enjoyed up to 20 hours of power supply daily.

Band A power users are those who get up to 20 hours supply of electricity daily and paid about N68/kWh before the implementation of this latest order by the Federal Government through NERC.

The Vice Chairman of NERC, Musiliu Oseni, told journalists in Abuja that the government could not sustain subsidy on electricity and had to devise ways to cut down the about N2.9tn that would be spent on power subsidy this year.

He explained that customers on Band A represented 15 per cent of the over 12.82 million registered electricity consumers across the country, adding that the commission had also downgraded some customers on this band.

Discos feeders downgraded

Oseni said the downgrading of some Band A customers to Bands B and C was because of the non-fulfillment of the required hours of electricity provided to them by power distribution companies in their respective franchise areas.

He said NERC was able to discover this after deploying technology to ascertain the rate of power supply from the feeders of the Discos meant for Band A power users.

“And on that basis, the commission has decided that many of the feeders that the Discos brandish as Band A feeders are not meeting the Band A service, and as such the feeders have been downgraded immediately as a way of protecting consumers.

“We have over 3,000 Discos feeders. There are over 875 Band A feeders, but upon reviewing the feeders’ performance, the commission has reduced it to under 500 feeders now, which qualify as feeders that currently meet the 20-hour average service.

“So when you look at that concerning the over 3,000 feeders that we have, it shows that we have just 17 per cent of the total feeders of the distribution companies now qualified as Band A feeders.

“And when you look at where those 17 per cent feeders critically, it is estimated that just under 15 per cent of customers are benefiting from them, or are currently connected to those feeders, meaning that we have 17 per cent of the total distribution feeders or less than 15 per cent of customers currently benefiting from the service,” Oseni stated.

He stressed that based on this, “the commission has decided that only the 17 per cent feeders and less than 15 per cent customers will be affected by any rate increase that the commission will approve for the distribution companies.

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“Therefore the commission has issued an order, which is titled April 2024 Supplementary Order, which is supplementary to the order issued in December 2023 effective January 2024.

“So the April Supplementary Order takes effect from today and in that order, the commission has approved a rate review of N225/kWh for just under 15 per cent of the customer population in NESI. So that means that less than 15 per cent of the customers will be affected.”

He further noted that many customers previously classified as Band A power users would not be affected because they hardly get a daily average power supply of up to 20 hours.

Oseni said consumers affected by the latest tariff hike would henceforth pay their power bills completely by themselves, as the applicable subsidies on Bands B, C, D, and E would not be enjoyed by them.

He noted that these Band A customers had almost all the facilities required for the supply of electricity to their domains for 20 hours daily.

He, however, noted that about 20 per cent of these Band A customers were not metered, and explained that they would now receive a high concentration in terms of metering by the Discos.

“This, however, does not mean that customers in other bands have been neglected, no. Rather, the Discos will have to provide meters to this category of Band A customers fast, since their tariff is now N225/kWh,” the NERC vice chairman stated.

On the effect of subsidy in the sector, Oseni said it had been affecting the payments being made to power generation companies, adding that this “led to a situation whereby the Gencos were unable to make payments for gas.

“That also resulted in the reduction of gas supply for power generation because there is competitive demand for gas. You have so many other companies that require gas and can pay for it.

“So these issues have compounded the performance of the sector and that led to the dip in power generation that we experienced recently.”

He further noted that the recent increase in the price of gas for power generation from $2.28/mmbtu to $2.42/mmbu also warranted a hike in the cost of tariff, particularly for Band A customers.

However, the NLC described the decision of the Federal Government to hike the electricity tariff as insensitive and callous.

The NLC’s spokesman, Benson Upah, made this known in an interview with one of our correspondents.

He said, “The government’s decision is not only insensitive, it is callous. It further pauperises consumers, especially workers whose wages are fixed and insufficient.

“It similarly makes the operating environment more hostile for manufacturers with the potential for an astronomical rise in the cost of goods and services or the worst case scenario, more closures and loss of jobs.

“The only people who stand to gain from this mindless social violence against the people are the World Bank and IMF (International Monetary Fund).”

On their part, the Trade Union Congress said the Federal Government was only concerned about revenue generation to the detriment and survival of the citizens.

The TUC’s Deputy President, Tommy Etim, s said, “The government is being insensitive to the plights of citizens. I think they believe so much in revenue generation to the detriment of the survival of the citizens. Let me state that the hike in the electricity tariff from N66/kWh to N225/kWh for those who enjoy electricity supply for 20 hours per day is unacceptable and a recipe for individual unrest.

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“This shows clearly that Nigeria is not ready for 24-hour electricity supply. As we speak, you cannot point anywhere in Nigeria that people are enjoying 20 hours of electricity supply, not even at the airport where it is expected for economic reasons. I think that the government has goofed again, especially at this time of socioeconomic challenges where the cost of living is very exorbitant and the salary of the workers remained static.”

Also reacting to the development, members of the organised private sector said the hike would lead to job losses, higher cost of operations, and inflation, among other challenges.

The President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gabriel Idahosa, said companies would start laying off workers.

“Well, there would be losses for companies that can’t cope, but in terms of percentage, it is very early to make those projections. We are hoping that members would go back to the drawing board, look at their projected cost of operations, and look at the level of losses they can accommodate or the reduction of profit they can accommodate.

“And what then happens is that they would have to make some decisions about scaling down operations to cut their losses, which may involve firing people. They may also try to increase prices where their products have a very strong demand. But the bottom line is that we are going to see a lot of our members recording more losses or reduced profits. So that is the primary thing,” Idahosa said.

He added, “They may decide to fire people that are not critical to operations. They may start with the non-essential staff. A lot of companies are now going on to part-time, offsite, and temporary employment and outsourcing jobs instead of hiring full-time workers. So you are going to see the loss of full-time jobs, loss of part-time jobs, and even the halt in employment.’’

Idahosa said the move would rapidly increase the operational cost of LCCI members.

Also, the Head of Corporate Affairs, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, Moshood Lawal, said the hike in tariff would warrant a high rate in the running of businesses.

“It is already happening now. Small businesses are already experiencing a high rate of running businesses. So it will lead to more higher cost of running a business and prices of commodities are going to go up

“We are hopeful that our businesses will survive. We have over the years learned how to be resilient because what we normally teach them is that whatever it will cost to run your business, you build it into the final cost.’’

The President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Francis Meshioye, described the development as “unpleasant”, but said the body would issue a statement on it.

The National President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture, Dele Kelvin Oye, warned that the new electricity tariff hike would lead to higher costs of doing business.

In a statement, he said, “While the commission’s efforts to enhance metering and protect consumers from over-billing are commendable, the tariff hike, influenced by the rise in natural gas base prices, has implications for the cost of operations across businesses that already face a fragile economic recovery.

“We understand the necessity of aligning energy costs with market realities to foster sector investment and sustainability. Nevertheless, we stress the importance of considering the broader economic impact on industries and the timing of such adjustments.

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“NACCIMA continues to advocate for a transparent and gradual approach in policy implementation, emphasizing the need for broad stakeholder engagement to mitigate adverse effects on business competitiveness and consumer prices.’’

On its part, the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, in a statement signed by its Chief Executive Officer, Muda Yusuf, said that the power sector issue had become a major conundrum in the economy.

It added that while tariff review was an inevitability, a 300 per cent increase in one fell swoop is difficult to justify.

The organisation said, “There is a major funding and liquidity crisis which is posing a significant risk to investments in the electricity value chain.

“Costs across the chain have been rising as a result of the multiple macroeconomic headwinds. Meanwhile, the system is not generating the desired liquidity to match the escalating costs.”

The centre also argued that beyond tariff hikes, some fundamental issues need to be addressed in the electricity value chain.

These issues, it said, are issues of technical and commercial losses which are yet to be addressed.

“These are inefficiencies costs that consumers are compelled or expected to pay for as part of the cost recovery argument. And these costs are in billions of naira.

“There is also the exploitative practice of estimated billing. Millions of electricity consumers are yet to be metered,” it added.

Economists fault hike

Also, an economist and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Intellectual Edge Services Lagos, Segun Ogundare, said the move was ill-timed with a negative impact on the populace.

He said, “The truth is all over the world, energy costs are increasing. In the UK, and US, and with the present situation we find ourselves in, climate change and humidity, the consumption rate of electricity will be very high.

“However, I think the increment is ill-timed. You can see the socio-economic imbalance that we have found ourselves in the country, hunger in the land. This is putting an additional burden on the people.

“They may say it applies to only Band A, but there is no way it would not have a ripple effect on the final consumer. It still boils down to the fact that our government needs to find a way of ameliorating the economic hardship.”

Ogundare, who is also a lecturer at the Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo State, added, “All over the world, there is subsidy, for agricultural products, energy.

“If you are increasing the energy tariff now, what are you subsidising for the populace? True, the increment doesn’t affect everyone but those who are affected would shift the effect to other people. At this point for me, it is not acceptable.”

An economist with the School of Management and Social Sciences, Pan-Atlantic University, Prof. Bright Eregha, also expressed similar sentiments.

Another economist at Lotus Beta Analytics, Shadrach Israel, said the government should be ready to hear more lamentations from the already impoverished citizens.

“I heard the news of the electricity subsidy removal and I was shocked that the government would think of such a move at this time. No one is complaining yet and I still wonder why. I believe that when the new rate takes effect, we will begin to hear lamentations from the people.

“This move is too early and the government should have thought of an alternative to energy for production than just removing subsidy,” he said.

 

Source: PUNCH NEWS

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Tinubu appoints new MD, board chairman for NPA

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Tinubu appoints new MD, board chairman for NPA

President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of a new Managing Director and Board Chairman for the Nigerian Ports Authority.

This is contained in a statement issued on Friday by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, titled “President Tinubu appoints new Managing Director and Board Chairman for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).”

Tinubu appointed Dr. Abubakar Dantsoho as the Managing Director of the NPA while Senator Adedayo Adeyeye was appointed the Board Chairman.

“Dr. Dantsoho holds a Doctorate in Maritime Technology from Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom, and a Master’s degree in International Transport from Cardiff University of Wales, United Kingdom.

“Before his appointment, he had served in various roles in the Nigerian Ports Authority as assistant General Manager; Technical Assistant to the Managing Director; Port Manager, Onne Port; and Principal Manager, Tariff & Billing,” the statement partly read.

Adeyeye, a seasoned lawyer, journalist, and politician, was a former Minister of State for Works and former Senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District.

The statement added that “the President expects the new leadership of this pivotal agency to deploy excellence in the discharge of their duties to enable efficient port services and improved industry outcomes.”

 

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NBS: Nigerians paid N721bn as bribes to public officials in 2023

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NBS: Nigerians paid N721bn as bribes to public officials in 2023

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says more than N700 billion was paid in cash as bribes by citizens to public officials in 2023.

In its report, titled, ‘NBS Corruption in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends’, the bureau said 70 percent of Nigerians declined to pay bribes at least once in 2023.

Released in Abuja on Thursday, the report said about 76 percent of those who rejected bribes are in the north-west — the highest across the geo-political zones.

“The average cash bribe paid was 8,284 Nigerian Naira (NGN). While the nominal average cash bribe size increased since 2019 (from NGN 5,754), this does not account for inflation,” the report reads.

“The inflation-adjusted average cash bribe in 2023 was actually 29 percent smaller than in 2019 in terms of what could be bought with the money.

“Overall, it is estimated that a total of roughly NGN 721 billion (US$1.26 billion) was paid in cash bribes to public officials in Nigeria in 2023, corresponding to 0.35 per cent of the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria.”

The NBS report indicated that 52 percent of all bribes paid to public officials were demanded by them, adding that indirect bribes collected accounted for 23 percent.

“This was followed by facilitate procedure at nine per cent, sign of appreciation at eight per cent and third party request at five per cent,” the survey said.

The data bureau said over 95 percent of all bribes paid in 2023 were paid in form of cash or money transfer.

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On corruption, the report said it ranked fourth which is about 10.9 percent of the notable issues that affected the country in 2023.

“Corruption came after the cost of living at 22.6 per cent, insecurity and unemployment at 19 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively,” the report said.

“This suggests relatively stable and high levels of concerns about corruption over time and compared to other concerns such as education or housing.”

The NBS report said Nigerians’ confidence in the government’s anti-corruption efforts has been declining over time and across various regions.

According to the agency, the downward trend in the citizens’ confidence is observable across the entire country, “with all six zones recording reductions of more than 10 percentage points between 2019 and 2023”.

‘WOMEN LESS EXPOSED TO BRIBERY THAN MEN’

The NBS report said women in public offices are less likely to face bribery than men.

The report said 39 percent of men who engaged with public officials either paid bribe or asked to pay but declined.

“The figure for women was significantly lower, at 28 per cent,” the NBS said.

“This overall difference in bribery exposure between men and women is possibly driven by interactions with a few frequently contacted types of public official, in particular police officers, as well as some less frequently contacted types of officials such as members of the armed forces and embassy and consulate officers, to whom men were more likely than women to pay or be asked to pay a bribe.

“Women in Nigeria are less likely to engage in bribery than men irrespective of where they live, their age, educational background and employment status.

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“Men are 1.4 times more likely than women to pay or be asked to pay a bribe when interacting with public officials.”

The report said 8.6 percent of Nigerians who had to bribe reported the matter to the authorised institution for investigation.

“This represents a marked increase in the bribery reporting rate since 2019 when it stood at 3.6 per cent,” the report said.

“The increase is primarily driven by developments in the Northern zones, where the bribery reporting rate increased markedly from 4.7 per cent in 2019 to 13.4 per cent in 2023.

“In the Southern zones, the bribery reporting rate instead decreased moderately from 2.5 per cent in 2019 to 1.7 per cent in 2023.

“The largest increases between 2019 and 2023 in the share of citizens who reported bribery cases were recorded by the police, anti-corruption agencies, and the media.”

Increasingly, according to the NBS report, Nigerians are also turning to non-traditional reporting mechanisms, with 68 percent of those reporting bribery cases approaching both official authorities such as the police as well as non-official authorities such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or the media.

Source: The Cable

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EXPOSED! Zamfara Governor, Dauda Lawal loses private jet in Lagos fraud scandal

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Zamfara State Governor Dauda Lawal was the victim of an elaborate scheme that saw him lose ownership of a private jet worth $6.3 million

Zamfara State Governor Dauda Lawal was the victim of an elaborate scheme that saw him lose ownership of a private jet worth $6.3 million to a crafty pair of aviation business executives in Lagos.

According to People Gazette through documents and sources that Mr Lawal has been silent about the fraud because he feared raising it with Nigerian authorities would trigger suspicion about how he managed to heap over $6 million on a personal aircraft in the first place.

He was a banker at First Bank of Nigeria Plc when he bought the plane, which he secretly registered under the name of a couple running a jet-leasing venture at Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos. The Gazette learnt.

The Gazette heard that the husband, Ovi Osazele, changed ownership of the jet to his own name after parting ways with his wife, Gloria Osazele, and fleeing to the United States, leaving Mr Lawal in limbo.

The governor did not return The Gazette’s requests for comment. His press secretary committed twice to get a response for this story but ultimately declined. A legal representative for Ms Osazele did not return a request seeking comments. Mr Osazele could not be reached for comments, and The Gazette heard he was at large.

Mr Lawal’s ordeal began in 2014 when he moved to buy the plane by paying Jet Leasing Support Services Ltd, a firm run by the now-estrange couple that purportedly handled fleet management and aircraft acquisition and services for high-net-worth individuals.

Our sources said that Mr Lawal, elected governor in 2023, concealed the purchase under the couple’s name because he knew his legitimate earnings as a First Bank official were significantly below the multimillion-dollar deal. He paid Jet Leasing a $250,000 broker fee to hold the title of the jet and manage its use for him, The Gazette learnt.

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“The governor refused to report the matter because it would raise questions about how he got the money,” a source close to Mr Lawal said.

The arrangement, however, turned sour after Ms Osazele discovered in 2015 that her husband had changed the jet’s ownership to his name. She claimed she made several attempts to recover the jet for Mr Lawal, but a source familiar with the matter said Mr Lawal believed she was in on the same. The couple had a nasty fallout that ended in divorce in 2020.

Ms Osazele fled Nigeria to Canada shortly after the divorce and told authorities there that her ex-husband was trying to kill her because of their disagreement over Mr Lawal’s private jet.

She accused her husband of sending Black Axe cult members to make an attempt on her life, leading her to seek asylum in Canada. However, Canadian asylum officers rejected her application for asylum because it was replete with inconsistent and outright false submissions.

Notwithstanding, a judicial review of her application overturned the decision to deny her asylum and remanded the matter to another asylum officer for a fresh evaluation. This decision, which came in May, would allow Ms Osazele to linger in Canada for a few more years while her case is reprocessed.

Even though Ms Osazele told Canadian authorities the jet was later returned to Mr Lawal, sources close to the governor said it was not returned, and the governor was still trying to get hold of the couple.

“They both disappeared and no one could tell us their whereabouts,” a source close to the governor said. “She lied that she returned the jet.”

READ ALSO  EXPOSED! Zamfara Governor, Dauda Lawal loses private jet in Lagos fraud scandal

Mr Lawal was identified as one of Diezani Allison-Madueke’s top allies, particularly in the former petroleum minister’s multibillion-dollar money-laundering scandal that made headlines in Nigeria, the United States and the UK. He tried to retrieve $40 million from over $153 million forfeited by Ms Allison-Madueke to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2017.

Mr Lawal’s name was repeatedly mentioned in several charges stacked against Ms Alison-Madueke and was invited on several occasions by the anti-graft commission to clarify his role, or lack thereof, in the alleged fraud.

He denied all allegations of helping Ms Allison-Madueke hide stolen public funds and insisted their relationship was purely “professional.”

According to a statement in 2016, Mr Lawal said all Nigerian banks were eager to establish a rapport with Ms Alison-Madueke, who was petroleum minister between 2010 and 2015, implicitly suggesting that First Bank was no exception among businesses that sought favours from the infamous ex-minister.

Mr Lawal resigned from First Bank to successfully seek elected office in Zamfara’s 2023 governorship election under the Peoples Democratic Party, facing and denying accusations by political opponents that he was a money-launderer.

Source: The Gazette

 

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Ahmad Aliyu signs chieftaincy bill stopping Sultan from appointing village, district head

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Ahmad Aliyu signs chieftaincy bill stopping Sultan from appointing village, district head

Ahmed Aliyu, governor of Sokoto, has signed the bill stripping the Sultan of the power to appoint district and village heads in the state.

Speaking on Thursday after signing the bill and five others, Aliyu said the amendment was to ensure all inconsistencies with the country’s constitution were removed.

In recent weeks, the amended Sokoto local government and chieftaincy laws have generated controversies across the nation.

The governor said the state has amended the laws under previous administrations to ensure “peace and development”.

“It is well known that in every society, laws are enacted and amended to suit the needs of the time and the interests of the governed, in line with current circumstances,” NAN quoted Aliyu as saying.

“In Nigeria, we have witnessed a series of constitutional amendments to give the country laws that ensure peace, tranquility, and socio-political development.

“Some reactions were politically motivated, while others were made ignorantly without proper inquiry into the details and intentions of the amendments.

“I appreciate our Ulama for their concern, but remind them that they represent Allah’s Messenger. They should not allow lazy politicians to use them for political gains.”

He said the signing of the amended law shows that his administration is committed to following the rule of law and listening to the problems of the citizens.

“Whenever we encounter any law that does not serve the interests of our people, we will replace it with one that protects their interests,” the governor added.

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He expressed appreciation to members of the state house of assembly for their patriotism in dealing with the issue.

The governor added that his administration is willing to collaborate with the traditional rulers and the Sultanate council for the good of the state.

The other amended bills are the Arabic and Islamic Board, Rural Roads and Land Tenancy, the Zakkat and Endowment Agency, the Prohibition of Discrimination against Persons with Disability, and the Local Government Consolidated Law 2009.

Source: The Cable

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89 years after christening, Olakulehin mounts Olubadan throne today

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As a mark of honour for this historic christening, the Babaloja General of Oyo State, Alhaji Yekeen Abass, ordered markets in Ibadanland to be shut today, between 7 am and 2 pm, in honour of the new Olubadan of Ibadanland. To demonstrate that it was beyond the family compound christening, the Babaloja said the closure of the markets is to give honour to the first class Oba and allow free flow of traffic. It then asked all market traders and leaders to move en masse to Mapo Hall, the venue of the presentation of the instrument of office to the new monarch. Another honour for the new Olubadan of Ibadanland is that he would be the second Olubadan to rule from a befitting palace, after the famous Olubadan Yesufu Oloyede Asanike, who first lived in the old palace at Oja’ba. The ultramodern historic palace sitting magnificently on Oke-Aremo, inaugurated by Governor Seyi Makinde on Wednesday, is to be the new official residence and palace of subsequent Olubadans, starting with Oba Olakulehin. Hitherto, the personal residence of the succeeding Olubadan had always served as the palace, upon ascension to the throne. Oba Olakulehin’s coronation is a significant blessing to Ita-Baale Olugbode, his ancestral homestead within the ancient city of Ibadan. This momentous event revives a historic lineage, as the last ruler from Ita-Baale was Baale Ajayi Oyesile Olugbode, who reigned from 1851 to 1864. The name “Ita-Baale” literally means the courtyard of the ruler, derived after the title of Baale Olugbode. It is noteworthy that since the title “Olubadan” was officially created in 1930, the Ita-Baale Olugbode area had not produced an Olubadan until now. The community holds a special place in the history of Ibadan, not only for its ancestral significance as a conglomeration of families in Ibadan but also for its religious heritage. It is renowned for being where Olubadan Akinyele established his church, the Christ Apostolic Church Olugbode. This church remains a prominent landmark, reflecting the deep-rooted spiritual and cultural heritage of the community. With Oba Olakulehin ascending the throne, Ita-Baale Olugbode is poised to regain its historical prominence, celebrating a new chapter in its rich legacy and contributing to the enduring story of Ibadan’s traditional leadership. Oba Olakulehin is a royalty personified. Both parents are from the established Ibadan recognised chieftaincy families. His maternal lineage derives from the Kusidi Family whose ancestral farmland is in Kusidi Village in Egbeda Local Government Area. Their ancestral homestead is within the ancient metropolis of Ibadan at Ile Kusidi in Elekuro. Every Ibadan family is rooted in a dual heritage comprising both an ancestral farmland and an ancestral homestead. This tradition signifies that every Ibadan indigene has a village and a family compound within the city. For the members of the Olakulehin family, their ancestral village, where a Baale (village head) presides, is located at Okugbaja, within the Akanran area. Their ancestral homestead, however, is situated at Ita-Baale Olugbode, which holds profound significance as the place where Oba Olakulehin began his journey towards becoming the Olubadan, starting as Mogaji (family head) of the Ige Olakulehin family. In the societal structure of Ibadan, the position of Mogaji is held in high esteem and is considered senior to that of the Baale. The Baale is an appointee of the Mogaji, underscoring the authority and respect commanded by the family head. This hierarchical distinction highlights the Mogaji’s pivotal role in both the governance of the family and the broader community. For Oba Olakulehin, his ascent to the Olubadan throne is deeply intertwined with these familial and cultural traditions. His leadership journey commenced as Mogaji of the Ige Olakulehin Family of Ita-Baale Olugbode. A Mogaji will begin the journey to become the Olubadan the day he becomes Jagun Olubadan or Jagun Balogun, depending on where the vacancy exists. There are two lines to the Olubadan, the Otun line (civil) and the Balogun line (warrior). The Otun line has 22 steps to climb to become the Olubadan while the Balogun line has 23 rungs to the zenith. To emerge as Jagun on either line is a Herculean task and very competitive. It is a battle royale for all family heads contesting for a space. Related News Plans in top gear for Olubadan’s coronation Makinde sets up 14-man committe for Olubadan's coronation Makinde to crown Oba Olakunlehin July 12 For Olubadan Olakulehin, he became the Mogaji for the Ige Olakulehin Family of Ita-Baale Olugbode, in Ibadan North-East Local Government Area of Oyo State, in 1983. He was installed as the Jagun Balogun of Ibadan land by Oba Asanike in 1986. He then rose through the ladder and was elevated in 2006 to the Olubadan-In-Council, under Oba Yinusa Bankole Ogundipe, the 38th Olubadan of Ibadan. In 2016, Oba Olakulehin became the Balogun of Ibadanland, following the promotion of Oba Saliu Adetunji to the throne of the Olubadan. Olakulehin served as Balogun of Ibadanland for eight years. A member of the Olubadan-in-Council qualifies to serve as the head of the traditional council in various local government areas across Ibadan. Royalty begins as any chief of the Olubadan becomes the High Chief, following the emergence at the Ekaarun Olubadan or Ekaarun Balogun rungs of the ladders. The council comprises the Olubadan, Otun Olubadan, Balogun, Otun Balogun, Osi Olubadan, Osi Balogun, Ashipa Olubadan, Ashipa Balogun, Ekerin Olubadan, Ekerin Balogun, Ekarun Olubadan, Ekarun Balogun and the Iyalode. Aside from the Olubadan and the Iyalode, the other 11 members are to serve as heads of traditional councils in the 11 local government areas of Ibadanland. The Iyalode is the head of all women’s affairs in the land. For Oba Olakulehin, it was a journey of 38 years from Jagun Balogun – Ajia – Bada – Aare Onibon – Gbonnka – Aare Egbe Omo-Oota – Lagunna – Aare Ago – Ayingun – Asaju – Ikolaba – Aare Alasa – Agba Akin – Ekefa – Maye – Abese – Ekaarun Balogun – Ekeerin Balogun – Ashipa Balogun – Osi Balogun – Otun Balogun, Balogun and finally to the zenith of the ladder, the Olubadan of Ibadanland. He successfully stepped on each rung of the ladder until he got to the zenith. Today, Oba Olakulehin has a date with history as he tours the Oluwo Labosinde Compound at Oja’ba, Ibadan, where he will perform traditional rites and the Ose Meji Shrine, where he will be crowned as the new Olubadan of Ibadan land, before the presentation of staff of office and instrument of office to him by Makinde at the Mapo Hall. To Oba Olakulehin, today’s event affirms the question he asked when he became Mogaji in 1986. He spoke briefly with journalists on June 14, 2024, when he went on an inspection visit to the ultramodern Olubadan Palace, from where he will rule today. He said, “When we started the ladder (Mogaji), I asked, ‘Do we get to the climax?’ And they said yes. So, I knew that I would become Olubadan of Ibadanland. Now we are there.” From a small beginning, Olakulehin started his primary school education in the village at St James Primary School, Oke Akaran. He subsequently moved to Ibadan where he attended Islamic School, Odoiye. He later went to St Peter Primary School, Aremo, where he concluded his primary education. Shortly after graduating from primary school, Olakulehin taught as a primary school teacher at Wakajaiye in the Akobo area of Ibadan, before he gained admission to Yaba Technical Institute for his secondary school education with vocational study in printing and artwork. Upon graduation, he worked at the Ministry of Works, Western Region Government in Ibadan from 1959, starting as a third-class clerk. While working, he gained admission to the Yaba College of Technology to study and obtained his Ordinary National Diploma and Higher National Diploma in Building. Olakulehin was recruited in 1970 through the Direct Short Service Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant after he transferred his service to the Nigerian Army Corp of Engineers. He served the Army in Benin and Sapele under General Olusegun Obasanjo as his commanding officer. Oba Olakulehin later served in various positions and locations across the country. He rose through the ranks to the position of Major. As an officer, he held various positions. These included the Commanding Officer of the Army Maintenance Regiment in Jos, Kaduna and Lagos. He retired voluntarily from the Nigerian Army as a Major on October 1, 1979, after a remarkable 25-year career in military service. Upon disengagement from the military service, Olakulehin founded and incorporated FAKOL Nigeria Ltd, a building contracting company which undertook various contracts for private individuals, corporations and the government, including the Nigerian Army. He also engaged in various enterprising endeavours. These include the ownership and operation of a successful printing press (Olakulehin Press, later renamed Solid Prints); the establishment of FAKOL Bakery, which was very famous for the production, distribution and supply of Fakol Loaves, Pastries and other pioneering confectionaries within the city of Ibadan. He made a foray into politics. Olakulehin was a founding member of the Social Democratic Party in Oyo State during the Third Republic. He was elected as a member of the House of Representatives in 1992, the same period the Otun Olubadan of Ibadan, High Chief Rashidi Yekini, became Senator. Olakulehin represented Ibadan South East Constituency and served as Chairman of the House Committee of the Nigerian Army. Today, Oba Olakulehin opens a new vista in the traditional institution of Ibadanland. The journey, though predictable for each stage, was, however, not smooth. He emerged as the Olubadan-designate following the death of Oba Lekan Balogun on March 14, 2024. His emergence came with controversies over his health, due to old age. As a statesman, he made no statement condemning anyone or the government. He bore no grudges. He was focused, and determined. He made exceptional appearances when necessary to ward off rumours. The waiting periods are over. Here comes Oba Akinloye Owolabi Olakuleyin, the Ige Olakulehin 1. Long Live the King!

Today, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin officially ascends to the throne as the Olubadan of Ibadan land. In this piece, LAOLU AFOLABI highlights the monarch’s humble beginnings, his journey to the throne, the unique nature of the Ibadan non-ruling house chieftaincy, and the symbolic coronation ceremony that coincides with the new monarch’s christening date

On July 5, 1935, a charming boy was born in the serene Okugbaja Village, located near Akanran in what is now the Ona Ara Local Government Area of Oyo State, Nigeria. The joyous occasion was celebrated by his proud parents, Pa Ishola-Okin Owolabi and Madam Adunola Aweni Ope Ajilaran Omoyoade Owolabi. Following the rich and time-honoured Yoruba tradition, the family waited until the eighth day after his birth to officially bestow upon him his name. In a ceremony held within the family compound on July 12, he was given the name Akinloye Olalere Owolabi Olakulehin. The name, rich with cultural significance and family heritage, marked the beginning of his journey in life.

Today, another July 12 and the 89th anniversary of his christening, the boy once known as Baby Olakulehin is set to ascend to one of the highest traditional titles in Yoruba land. In a grand ceremony that will take place at the historic Mapo Hall, he will be enthroned as the Olubadan of Ibadanland. This significant event will see him don the prestigious beaded crown, symbolising his new status and authority. With this ascension, he will be officially titled His Imperial Majesty, marking a momentous occasion not only for him and his family but also for the entire community that holds the Olubadan title in high esteem.

The coronation will be witnessed by the crème-de-la-crème and the influential personalities in the country and beyond, as against the family compound naming ceremony held 89 years ago. Dignitaries led by President Bola Tinubu, governors, ministers, eminent traditional rulers, captains of industries, and academics, among others, will witness the coronation of the 43rd Olubadan in history, at the historic Mapo Hall, built in 1929, six years before the birth of the new Ibadan monarch. Today, on another christening anniversary, Olakulehin will lift the banner of his ancestors, being the first from his lineage to become the Olubadan. He has chosen to bear the name of the family, Olubadan Owolabi Olakulehin, Ige Olakulehin 1.

As a mark of honour for this historic christening, the Babaloja General of Oyo State, Alhaji Yekeen Abass, ordered markets in Ibadanland to be shut today, between 7 am and 2 pm, in honour of the new Olubadan of Ibadanland. To demonstrate that it was beyond the family compound christening, the Babaloja said the closure of the markets is to give honour to the first class Oba and allow free flow of traffic. It then asked all market traders and leaders to move en masse to Mapo Hall, the venue of the presentation of the instrument of office to the new monarch.

Another honour for the new Olubadan of Ibadanland is that he would be the second Olubadan to rule from a befitting palace, after the famous Olubadan Yesufu Oloyede Asanike, who first lived in the old palace at Oja’ba. The ultramodern historic palace sitting magnificently on Oke-Aremo, inaugurated by Governor Seyi Makinde on Wednesday, is to be the new official residence and palace of subsequent Olubadans, starting with Oba Olakulehin. Hitherto, the personal residence of the succeeding Olubadan had always served as the palace, upon ascension to the throne.

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Oba Olakulehin’s coronation is a significant blessing to Ita-Baale Olugbode, his ancestral homestead within the ancient city of Ibadan. This momentous event revives a historic lineage, as the last ruler from Ita-Baale was Baale Ajayi Oyesile Olugbode, who reigned from 1851 to 1864. The name “Ita-Baale” literally means the courtyard of the ruler, derived after the title of Baale Olugbode. It is noteworthy that since the title “Olubadan” was officially created in 1930, the Ita-Baale Olugbode area had not produced an Olubadan until now. The community holds a special place in the history of Ibadan, not only for its ancestral significance as a conglomeration of families in Ibadan but also for its religious heritage. It is renowned for being where Olubadan Akinyele established his church, the Christ Apostolic Church Olugbode. This church remains a prominent landmark, reflecting the deep-rooted spiritual and cultural heritage of the community. With Oba Olakulehin ascending the throne, Ita-Baale Olugbode is poised to regain its historical prominence, celebrating a new chapter in its rich legacy and contributing to the enduring story of Ibadan’s traditional leadership.

Oba Olakulehin is a royalty personified. Both parents are from the established Ibadan recognised chieftaincy families. His maternal lineage derives from the Kusidi Family whose ancestral farmland is in Kusidi Village in Egbeda Local Government Area. Their ancestral homestead is within the ancient metropolis of Ibadan at Ile Kusidi in Elekuro.

Every Ibadan family is rooted in a dual heritage comprising both an ancestral farmland and an ancestral homestead. This tradition signifies that every Ibadan indigene has a village and a family compound within the city. For the members of the Olakulehin family, their ancestral village, where a Baale (village head) presides, is located at Okugbaja, within the Akanran area. Their ancestral homestead, however, is situated at Ita-Baale Olugbode, which holds profound significance as the place where Oba Olakulehin began his journey towards becoming the Olubadan, starting as Mogaji (family head) of the Ige Olakulehin family.

In the societal structure of Ibadan, the position of Mogaji is held in high esteem and is considered senior to that of the Baale. The Baale is an appointee of the Mogaji, underscoring the authority and respect commanded by the family head. This hierarchical distinction highlights the Mogaji’s pivotal role in both the governance of the family and the broader community. For Oba Olakulehin, his ascent to the Olubadan throne is deeply intertwined with these familial and cultural traditions. His leadership journey commenced as Mogaji of the Ige Olakulehin Family of Ita-Baale Olugbode.

A Mogaji will begin the journey to become the Olubadan the day he becomes Jagun Olubadan or Jagun Balogun, depending on where the vacancy exists. There are two lines to the Olubadan, the Otun line (civil) and the Balogun line (warrior). The Otun line has 22 steps to climb to become the Olubadan while the Balogun line has 23 rungs to the zenith. To emerge as Jagun on either line is a Herculean task and very competitive. It is a battle royale for all family heads contesting for a space.

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For Olubadan Olakulehin, he became the Mogaji for the Ige Olakulehin Family of Ita-Baale Olugbode, in Ibadan North-East Local Government Area of Oyo State, in 1983. He was installed as the Jagun Balogun of Ibadan land by Oba Asanike in 1986. He then rose through the ladder and was elevated in 2006 to the Olubadan-In-Council, under Oba Yinusa Bankole Ogundipe, the 38th Olubadan of Ibadan. In 2016, Oba Olakulehin became the Balogun of Ibadanland, following the promotion of Oba Saliu Adetunji to the throne of the Olubadan. Olakulehin served as Balogun of Ibadanland for eight years.

A member of the Olubadan-in-Council qualifies to serve as the head of the traditional council in various local government areas across Ibadan. Royalty begins as any chief of the Olubadan becomes the High Chief, following the emergence at the Ekaarun Olubadan or Ekaarun Balogun rungs of the ladders. The council comprises the Olubadan, Otun Olubadan, Balogun, Otun Balogun, Osi Olubadan, Osi Balogun, Ashipa Olubadan, Ashipa Balogun, Ekerin Olubadan, Ekerin Balogun, Ekarun Olubadan, Ekarun Balogun and the Iyalode. Aside from the Olubadan and the Iyalode, the other 11 members are to serve as heads of traditional councils in the 11 local government areas of Ibadanland. The Iyalode is the head of all women’s affairs in the land.

For Oba Olakulehin, it was a journey of 38 years from Jagun Balogun – Ajia – Bada – Aare Onibon – Gbonnka – Aare Egbe Omo-Oota – Lagunna – Aare Ago – Ayingun – Asaju – Ikolaba – Aare Alasa – Agba Akin – Ekefa – Maye – Abese – Ekaarun Balogun – Ekeerin Balogun – Ashipa Balogun – Osi Balogun – Otun Balogun, Balogun and finally to the zenith of the ladder, the Olubadan of Ibadanland. He successfully stepped on each rung of the ladder until he got to the zenith.

Today, Oba Olakulehin has a date with history as he tours the Oluwo Labosinde Compound at Oja’ba, Ibadan, where he will perform traditional rites and the Ose Meji Shrine, where he will be crowned as the new Olubadan of Ibadan land, before the presentation of staff of office and instrument of office to him by Makinde at the Mapo Hall.

To Oba Olakulehin, today’s event affirms the question he asked when he became Mogaji in 1986. He spoke briefly with journalists on June 14, 2024, when he went on an inspection visit to the ultramodern Olubadan Palace, from where he will rule today. He said, “When we started the ladder (Mogaji), I asked, ‘Do we get to the climax?’ And they said yes. So, I knew that I would become Olubadan of Ibadanland. Now we are there.”

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From a small beginning, Olakulehin started his primary school education in the village at St James Primary School, Oke Akaran. He subsequently moved to Ibadan where he attended Islamic School, Odoiye. He later went to St Peter Primary School, Aremo, where he concluded his primary education. Shortly after graduating from primary school, Olakulehin taught as a primary school teacher at Wakajaiye in the Akobo area of Ibadan, before he gained admission to Yaba Technical Institute for his secondary school education with vocational study in printing and artwork. Upon graduation, he worked at the Ministry of Works, Western Region Government in Ibadan from 1959, starting as a third-class clerk. While working, he gained admission to the Yaba College of Technology to study and obtained his Ordinary National Diploma and Higher National Diploma in Building.

Olakulehin was recruited in 1970 through the Direct Short Service Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant after he transferred his service to the Nigerian Army Corp of Engineers. He served the Army in Benin and Sapele under General Olusegun Obasanjo as his commanding officer. Oba Olakulehin later served in various positions and locations across the country. He rose through the ranks to the position of Major. As an officer, he held various positions. These included the Commanding Officer of the Army Maintenance Regiment in Jos, Kaduna and Lagos. He retired voluntarily from the Nigerian Army as a Major on October 1, 1979, after a remarkable 25-year career in military service.

Upon disengagement from the military service, Olakulehin founded and incorporated FAKOL Nigeria Ltd, a building contracting company which undertook various contracts for private individuals, corporations and the government, including the Nigerian Army. He also engaged in various enterprising endeavours. These include the ownership and operation of a successful printing press (Olakulehin Press, later renamed Solid Prints); the establishment of FAKOL Bakery, which was very famous for the production, distribution and supply of Fakol Loaves, Pastries and other pioneering confectionaries within the city of Ibadan.

He made a foray into politics. Olakulehin was a founding member of the Social Democratic Party in Oyo State during the Third Republic. He was elected as a member of the House of Representatives in 1992, the same period the Otun Olubadan of Ibadan, High Chief Rashidi Yekini, became Senator. Olakulehin represented Ibadan South East Constituency and served as Chairman of the House Committee of the Nigerian Army.

Today, Oba Olakulehin opens a new vista in the traditional institution of Ibadanland. The journey, though predictable for each stage, was, however, not smooth. He emerged as the Olubadan-designate following the death of Oba Lekan Balogun on March 14, 2024. His emergence came with controversies over his health, due to old age. As a statesman, he made no statement condemning anyone or the government. He bore no grudges. He was focused, and determined. He made exceptional appearances when necessary to ward off rumours. The waiting periods are over. Here comes Oba Akinloye Owolabi Olakuleyin, the Ige Olakulehin 1. Long Live the King!

Source: The Punch

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I’m still committed to realistic Minimum Wage, says Tinubu

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I’m Still Committed To Realistic Minimum Wage, Says Tinubu

As a fallout from the consultative meeting between the president and labour leaders on Thursday, Tinubu has insisted that Nigerian workers de­serve improved welfare, better wages, as well as safe and enhanced working conditions as the driving force of the nation.

He gave the assurance during a meeting with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) led by Comrade Joe Ajaero and that of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) led by Comrade Festus Osifo.

The president said he is concerned about the welfare of Nigerian workers and that his administration is priori­tising their concerns.

“I pay attention to everything around me. A happy worker is a pro­ductive worker. And society depends on the productivity of the happy work­er,” the president said.

However, the president called for realistic expectations as regards the minimum wage question, stating: “You have to cut your coat according to available cloth. Before we can finalise on the minimum wage process, we have to look at the structure.

“Why must we adjust wages every five years? Why not two? Why not three years? What is a problem today, can be eased up tomorrow. There is much dynamism to this process if we are not myopic in our ap­proaches. We can take a sur­gical approach that is based on pragmatism and a deep understanding of all factors.”

In his remarks, the NLC President, Comrade Ajaero, emphasised the need for an upward adjustment to the minimum wage, noting: “Be­tween living wage and mini­mum wage, we need to find a balance. Things are difficult for the Nigerian worker.”

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He congratulated the president on the judgment of the Supreme Court affirming the constitution­al rights of local governments as regards financial autonomy and other salient principles.

“I have to congratulate you on the issue of local gov­ernment autonomy. We have been in the streets protesting for local government autono­my. Now that there is light at the end of the tunnel, it will amount to ungratefulness if we fail to commend you,” the NLC president said.

The TUC President, Com­rade Osifo, said inflation has adversely affected the value of the naira and that the measures initiated by the government to address the rising cost of food and transportation need to kick in to give citizens relief.

He said the roll out of Com­pressed Natural Gas-powered buses will help in checking the high cost of transportation, while the recent directive on the suspension of duty on cer­tain food imports will bring down the prices of food items, if properly implemented.

“We commend you on the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court. History will not forget what has happened today. With this judgment, we believe Nigeria will make progress,” the TUC president also said.

Further talks were ad­journed until next week to al­low for wider consultation with all stakeholders.

Source: Independent.ng

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