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Governance: Nigeria Not Among African Countries That Has Improved Since 2010

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By Joel Popoola

60% of 10 Africans live in a country where governance has improved since 2010. Nigerians are not amongst them.

The very best thing we can say about Nigeria’s performance in a new international assessment of governance in Africa is that our government is not seen to be as corrupt as our private sector.

The Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) this week scored Nigeria an embarrassing 26/100 for corruption in state institutions and 25/100 for corruption in public procurement.

These awful results are at least better than those “achieved” for corruption in the private sector – 19/100.

It is pretty much the only positive the government can take from a report which ranks Nigeria 34th out of 54 for overall governance and highlights “increasing deterioration” in the governance of our nation – things are bad, and they are getting worse.

The report makes troubling reading for all of Africa, with governance across the continent declining for the first time on record, with deterioration detected in participation, rights, rule of law and security, and authors warning that “institutional checks and balances are on a concerning trajectory”.

Nonetheless, six out of 10 Africans live in a country where governance has improved since 2010. Nigerians are not amongst them – in fact we are one of only five countries to record a decline in rating in both rule of law and rights and inclusion.

There are plenty of what the report calls “warning signs” for Nigeria, including the following scores: 21/100 for a functioning criminal justice system (ranking in the lowest performing quarter of nations) 25/100 for political party financing 30/100 for disclosure of financial information 35/100 for law enforcement 32/100 for equal political power (ranking us 38th out of 54).

Across Africa this worsening performance is driven by “two transparency related indicators, accessibility of information and disclosure of financial and judicial information” where “little progress has been made in a decade”.

Perhaps this is why Nigeria performs noticeably poorly when it comes to the publically perceived Accountability of Officials”, scoring just 27/100, barely half the African average and dwarfed by the 74/100 scored by Tanzania.
This research shows Nigerians do not trust their public institutions, and that Nigerians are right not to trust their public institutions.

Vice President Osinbajo spoke perfectly this week, when he recognised the compelling need to rebuild the trust between the government and the governed in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests.

“There is a moral, social and ethical reconstruction to be undertaken…we must rebuild trust between the government and the governed; the vast majority of who are young persons, rebuild trust between law enforcement agents and the communities that they are meant to serve,” he said.

“We have also realised that order itself in a social context is sustained by the consent of the governed,” he added.

The IIAG figures lay bare the scare of the challenge. But fine and fancy words are not enough. We cannot just pay lip service to a fundamental – and apparently deserved – lack of trust in our democratic institutions.

Vice President Osinbajo placed his faith in the Judicial Panels of Inquiry established across Nigeria to investigate the causes of the protests. But the IIAG figures show Nigerian judicial independence to have declined since 2010, and with public perception of the integrity of elections in our nation is amongst the worst in Africa (ranked in the bottom third of countries) we cannot say with any confidence at all that the findings of these inquiries will be credible to the public.

At the digital democracy campaign I lead, we are dedicated to using digital technology to drive accountability and transparency in Nigerian public life.
We have created a free mobile app called Rate Your Leader to bring electors and elected closer together. Rate Your Leader allows voters to contact their local representatives person-to-person at the touch of button, opening dialogue, driving collaboration, sharing ideas and building trust.

We all know that personal relationships are the most rewarding, the most productive and the most trusted. That’s why we created a free gateway to make the political more personal.

With enough will from the heart of the government, backed up by the potential of household technology to drive accountability, accessibility and transparency we can start to fix the manifest failings outlined in yet another hugely depressing report.

Joel Popoola is a Nigerian tech entrepreneur and political commentator, digital democracy campaigner and the creator of the Rate Your Leader app.

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Food for Living: The Principle of Giving and Receiving

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By Henry Ukazu

Greetings Destiny Friends,

We are familiar with the saying; givers never lack, and the giver’s hand is always on top. Isn’t it true that you can’t spray fragrance on somebody without leaving a trace on your palm? Just like succeeding in life follows laid down principles, receiving in life also follows principles. In law, a Latin maxim, says, ‘you can’t give what you don’t have”. This is a fact of life, if you don’t have love, you can’t give love, if you don’t money, you’ll be limited in what you can give, if you don’t have empathy, you can’t feel the pain of someone, if you don’t have knowledge, understanding and wisdom, you can’t share, teach and create impact.

The same principle is literally applicable in receiving. There’s a direct relationship and correlation between giving and receiving. Before you receive you must have given in one way or the other. When you give, you are opening doors of blessing to come your way. However, you will have to understand the applicable principles and dynamics that are associated with giving, and how you can receive gladly. For instance, you can’t give with the intent of receiving, no, if you want to give, you must give with no expectation of receiving. You have to give because you know it is the right thing to do.

If you want to attract blessings from God, be kind to those who do not deserve your kindness, in fact, give to people who can’t pay you back.  Be informed, if it is done without love, it makes no sense and gives no value, neither does it add value and as such doesn’t attract blessings. Anything that is of value only multiplies when it is freely given and received with gratitude.

You can scale up your giving habit by giving to even your enemies, this might sound foolish and difficult, but then, that’s how you attract uncommon blessings. When you do this, God will see that you are mature enough to receive wealth and power!

Every relationship takes the form of give and take because giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. The law of giving and receiving is simple: If you want love, learn to give love; if you want attention and appreciation, learn to give attention and appreciation; if you want material affluence, help others to become materially affluent. If you want to be blessed with all the good things in life, learn to silently bless everyone with all the good things in life. The more you give, the more you will receive. In your willingness to give that which you seek, you will keep the abundance of the universe circulating in your life.

Giving takes different shapes and forms. When you give your tithe cheerfully, you receive bountifully. When you work hard and smart, you’ll receive a consummate reward. While many people think giving entails only money, they fail to understand that you can give your time, words, actions, touch and services. Sometimes, people are not concerned about your money; at that moment, their greatest concern might be your time, this is because money can be limited. For instance, money can’t buy fulfillment, and money can’t buy happiness.

While some people may think money gives happiness, there has been testimony of great people who have money and not happy. For instance, a successful career lady who has strong family values and orientation might be happy because she can comfortably take care of her needs, but if asked if she’s fulfilled in life, she might say no, because she’s not yet married. There have been stories of my many great men and women who have money in life, but they are not happy. There are stories of couples who have money but are not happily married. If you take a cursory look of all these examples, one thing is lacking and that is fulfillment.

There was a story by Billionaire’ Femi Otedola in a telephone interview, was asked by the radio presenter, “Sir what can you remember made you a happy man in life?”

Femi said: “I have gone through four stages of happiness in life and finally I understood the meaning of true happiness. The first stage was to accumulate wealth and means. But at this stage, I did not get the happiness I wanted. Then came the second stage of collecting valuables and items. But I realized that the effect of this thing is also temporary and the luster of valuable things does not last long.

Then came the third stage of getting big projects. That was when I was holding 95% of diesel supply in Nigeria and Africa. I was also the largest vessel owner in Africa and Asia. But even here I did not get the happiness I had imagined. The fourth stage was the time a friend of mine asked me to buy a wheelchair for some disabled children. Just about 200 kids.

At the friend’s request, I immediately bought the wheelchairs. But the friend insisted that I go with him and hand over the wheelchairs to the children. I got ready and went with him.

There I gave these wheelchairs to these children with my own hands. I saw the strange glow of happiness on the faces of these children. I saw them all sitting on the wheelchairs, moving around, and having fun.

It was as if they had arrived at a picnic spot where they are sharing a jackpot winning.

I felt real joy inside me. When I decided to leave one of the kids grabbed my legs. I tried to free my legs gently, but the child stared at my face and held my legs tightly.

I bent down and asked the child: Do you need something else? The answer this child gave me not only made me happy but also changed my attitude to life completely.

The child said: “I want to remember your face so that when I meet you in heaven, I will be able to recognize you and thank you once again.

To get what you don’t have, you have to do what haven’t you done. The universal law of gravity teaches us the incontrovertible principle of life that whatever goes up must come down. To cause change and progress in your life, certain principles if applied well can catapult you to the next stage in life and one of them is the principle of giving.

Giving is a powerful catalyst for spiritual and financial advancement. It should be noted, the very act of giving tantamount to the very act of receiving. For instance, human beings breathe in oxygen and bring out carbon dioxide, while plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. So, when you give, you put smiles on somebody’s face, heart, and life while attracting multiplication of blessings from the universe which comes in ways and manners you can’t explain.

The reason why some of us don’t get the blessings of giving is that we don’t give with love; we don’t give with the right cause and mindset. For example, try giving to your parents, the less privileged, a “widow” without a helper, or someone in need, and see the boomerang effect it will have on you.

When you give, it doesn’t mean you have it all together, it simply means, you know what it is for one not to have, you have the heart of giving, and as the saying goes, it is not the person that has that gives, but it is good people that give. It is not what you give that matters, but the heart in giving. That’s why it’s not advisable to reject any “gift” someone gives cheerfully.

Today, I charge you to give with love and allow the universe to visit you at the appointed time with your corresponding blessings. If I may ask, what are you willing to give in 2021?

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a mindset coach and transformational coach. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success and President of gloemi.com. He can be reached via info@gloemi.com

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Gunmen Kidnap former Bauchi Lawmaker Ningi

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Some gunmen on Thursday night kidnapped a former member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Abdulmumuni Ningi.

The Bauchi State Police Command confirmed the kidnap of the former lawmaker, who represented Ningi Constituency in the last Assembly.

The Bauchi Police Public Relations Officer, Ahmed Wakil, told our correspondent on the telephone Friday morning that the victim was kidnapped within Bauchi metropolis.

Wakil said, “Yes, it is true. A former member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly who represented Ningi Constituency was kidnapped on Thursday at about 8pm within Bauchi metropolis.

“According to the information we received, he was trailed by his abductors who were four in number in a gold coloured car. They trailed him to his house around the BSADP (Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme) area at Isa Yuguda Guest House within the metropolis.”

He said that the gunmen seized their victim and drove away with him in the car they brought.

He said, “As of this morning (Friday), they have not called yet. Our intelligence men are working hard to get to the root of the situation and rescue him safely.”

The Command’s spokesman called on residents to be more security conscious, and take note of vehicles and motorcycles that may be trailing them.

The Punch

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FirstBank Begins Year with Innovative, Convenient Virtual Payment Card

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First of Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider has launched the Virtual Payment card, a Naira denominated debit card and digital representation of the plastic debit card. The card is designed to be linked to either a customer’s operative account or wallet account.

The FirstBank Virtual Payment Card is a suitable alternative to the use of cash and cheques, with its wide-range features which  include the ability of cardholders to protect his/her card using the block and unblock capabilities; PIN Reset; Change PIN as well as view statement at one’s convenience. It also enables diaspora customers to spend from his/her FirstBank account within the spend limit advised by the bank without the need for a physical card.

The FirstBank Virtual Payment Card is a safe, convenient, and easy way of making e-commerce payments amongst other functionalities.

The Virtual Payment Card can be created via the Bank’s leading digital channels; FirstMobile or Firstmonie Wallet applications. Customers can download the card, activate the card and consummate transactions all at once from the comfort of their homes/offices. No branch visit is required. Customers are advised to update their mobile application to the latest version, then select Card Services on the FirstMobile App and My Virtual Card application to create a Virtual Card at the cost of N215 (VAT Inclusive).

Speaking on the launch, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said ‘the launch of our Virtual Payment Card is yet another secure and seamless way we promote electronic banking, whilst enabling customers to carry-out their transactions on the web”

“The Virtual Payment Card is also designed to guard against the spread of the COVID-19 as it does not require physical interaction between the customer and FirstBank Branches. We enjoin our customers to download the application and stay ahead in modern banking,” he concluded.

Similarly, FirstBank recently launched the FAST Track ATM, the next generation ATM and first of its kind in Africa, designed to promote financial activities on the ATM without any form of physical interaction with the machine.

For more information on the Virtual Payment Card, kindly click here for the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

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