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Joe Biden Set to announce Susan Rice and others for key administration posts

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Biden, Harris set to introduce Susan Rice, others for key administration posts

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 President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be introducing key members of their administration to the public on Friday, several of whom are veterans of the Obama White House.

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 He announced that the retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin will be the secretary of defense in Wilmington. In the afternoon from Wilmington, Delaware, they will also present Susan Rice as the White House domestic policy adviser; Denis McDonough as the nominee for secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs; Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, as the nominee for Housing and Urban Development; Tom Vilsack as the nominee for secretary of the Agriculture Department; and Katherine Tai as the nominee for U.S. trade representative.

In 40 days, the president-elect will be sworn into office. However, he has already announced his choice for the key  administration posts.

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Politics

Traditional ruler of Ewu, Ekiti state escapes death

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Traditional ruler of Ewu, Ekiti state escapes death
Adetutu Ajayi, the traditional ruler of Ewu Ekiti in Ilejemeje local government (LGA) of Ekiti state, have been shot by hoodlums.

According to NAN, he was shot on Friday night on his way to Ayetoro Ekiti, a neighboring community in Ido/Osi LGA.

The traditional ruler, however, escaped with injuries on his legs, arms and stomach, and he is currently receiving treatment in an undisclosed tertiary medical facility.

Sunday Abutu, the state police spokesman, confirmed the incident.

Abutu said the command is worried that such an attack could be launched in spite of unrelenting joint security patrol and raiding of black-spots to dislodge criminals.

He, however, said the police command in the state is committed to ridding the state of criminals and assured the residents that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.

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The spokesman said the command will continue to work with other security agencies to ensure that criminality is wiped out in Ekiti.

Reacting to the incident, Ekiti state council of Obas called on security agencies to apprehend the hoodlums and bring them to justice.

Adebanji Alabi, chairman of the council, expressed concern over the rise in banditry and other criminal activities in the country.

He asked the government and security agencies to raise their level of surveillance in the state with a view to reducing crime.

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Economy

AGIS: Restoring confidence among property owners and land allocation processes in FCT

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The Abuja Geographical Information systems (AGIS), deserves commendation under the current management for its efforts aimed at restoring property owners’ confidence in the department and ensuring corrupt free processes in land allocation in the FCT.

AGIS is the computerized land registry of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, established since 2003

The department provides a comprehensive, All-Inclusive, state-of-the-Art, computerislsed, geospatial data Infrastructure for the FCT.

AGIS is one of the major creations and legacy of Mallam Nasir El-rufai as Minister of the FCT under former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.

The establishment of AGIS has restored confidence and added value to landed properties in the city, significantly addressing several crisis related to land scam and racketeering in the FCT.

Before now land allottees had been raising concerns following series of accusations bothering on corruption among staff of AGIS.

Some of the allegations included double allocation, theft of allocation documents, fake allocations, as well as its employees demanding for bribe before performing their statutory duties.

It is, however, worth mentioning here that the narrative is gradually changing under the current management of AGIS.

The management is therefore, working tirelessly to purge out corrupt elements from the system, as demonstrated by its current reforms.

Let me also emphasize that as a trained labour activist, as well as public affairs analyst, you cannot find me praising a particular agency or manager easily, I prefer constructive criticism to bring out perceived shortcomings and for improvement.

I therefore find some of the criticisms against AGIS, judging it based on its past management as unfair, in fact illogical.

I am a witness to the credibility, integrity and sincerity of Alhaji Ibrahim jalo-led AGIS.

Jalo has indeed shown genuine commitment and sincerity in leadership by making indelible marks in his efforts aimed at eradicating corruption in the system.

My recent encounter with AGIS has no doubt erased the negative perception of a corrupt agency that I held because of its past.

I recently had the privilege of observing the organisation closely during a fact finding mission when property documents allocated to a good friend of mine mysteriously got missing.

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My friend had applied for a land in Abuja through the AGIS, like any other Nigerian.

He paid the statutory fee and passed through every normal process to the end; patiently awaiting approval and allocation.

The land was later approved and an allocation letter released to the wrong hand as my friend was to learn later, because he was not notified.

The documents are believed to have been stolen and sold to a high profile personality in this government.

My friend only got to know when some fraudsters attempted to use his details to log into the AGIS portal.

Luckily the officer in charge was smart to dictate an anomaly and so decided to verify by putting a call through to my friend from the contact number he sourced from the initial data capture on the system.

He was to learn later that the land was allocated to him about a year ago, but he never received the documents.

He eventually visited AGIS and laid his complaint through Alhaji Adamu Jibrin, the Director land, and Malam Umar Kuso, the Head of Administration.

Both men immediately swung into action by setting up a committee to unravel the mystery behind the missing land documents.

My friend was invited and appeared before the committee for his testimony.

It was discovered during the probe that a high profile personality bought the land through a middle man fronting for yet to be identified staff of AGIS.

Unfortunately the middle man died earlier this year in a car crash, making it difficult to unmask the suspected employee who stole the documents and gave to the deceased.

It was also revealed that the buyer paid millions of naira for the land documents.

The buyer was also invited by the committee and all issues surrounding the land were laid before him.

He accepted his fate that he was scammed and promised to surrender the documents in his possession to AGIS.

Due to AGIS’ past record and experiences shared by others, my friend was worried and started loosing hope of recovering the land due to the snail speed of the probe, in spite of the committee’s promise to do justice.

I believed them and continue to encourage him to do same” trusting that the management would be just and fair on their findings.

Was hopeful of a positive outcome because a friend who works in AGIS already whispered that the current leadership had zero tolerance for corruption and was doing everything possible to purge out corrupt staff from the system.

I put a call across to AGIS and was granted appointment to meet with the Director Lands, and the Head of Admin.

My meeting with them no doubt yielded fruitful result because we had a very positive discussion which further cleared my doubts that they would be just and fair in handling the matter.

They demonstrated sterling leadership qualities by showing concern and remarkable interest to find the missing documents and prevent future occurrence of such.

The management saw me as partner in progress, not as an enemy, as we continually shared information, leading to the resolution of the issue.

After the submission of the probe committee report last week, my friend was invited and his allocation letter was handed over to him as the genuine owner without paying a dime to anyone as bribe or inducement.

I Therefore wish to call on Nigerians to always verify the position of any information before casting the stone.

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Inspiration

John Magufuli’s Death: The lessons for Nigerian leaders

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JOHN Magufuli, president of Tanzania died a few weeks ago and it is taking the whole of Africa a long time to come to grips with his death.

It is like a bad dream; many of us are yet to come to terms that he died of natural causes.

Here was a man who was full of life, executing his duties with zeal and passion, taking on the super powers in all ramifications, suddenly going down with a strange illness that finally consumed him.


The establishment people among us will say that this is natural, but for a man that had his private physician at his beck and call, such sudden heart attacks are not normal, unless there were inherent or prevailing ailments which were not made known to the public.

In this day and age, when peopled can be killed without trace of the murder weapon, the death of Magufuli will remain a mystery. We have seen the elimination of progressive African leaders in the past and this one will rank as one of them.

Before now there were Sylvanus Olympio 1963, Thomas Sankara 1987, Patrice Lumumba of Congo, Amilcar Cabral of Guinea-Bissau and many others too numerous to mention here.


The purpose of this piece is to highlight the impact Magufuli was able to make within a few years in power.

It is my humble opinion that if African leaders can replicate his methodology, it will not be long before our long-expected economic liberation will be accomplished.

This was a man who went into government with clear-cut ideas about what to do. According to Professor P.L.O. Lumumba, “politics is the competition of ideas”.

In this case, ideas that can be put into practice to move society forward. Ideas are not static or permanent, they are subject to vagaries and dynamics of life; that is why the late President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania said: “When you make mistakes, you can correct them”; an idea that is no longer relevant to the growth of society, should not be encouraged by anyone in position of leadership.

When you are in position of leadership and you are not governed by relevant ideas, you tend to go round in circles and in the short run, your failure will be exposed to the world.

This is a man who came to power as President of Tanzania, barely a year after our own Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as Nigerian president.

But five years after, what can we say about our situation in Nigeria and what can we tell about Tanzania?

In this period, Magufuli was able to bring his country’s economy from the bottom to a middle income economy, while that of Nigeria went into recession several times and indeed, lost its position as the biggest economy in Africa.

Not only that, Nigeria was able to firmly establish itself as the country with the highest number of poor people in the world.


The difference is very clear, but some of us will always come out to defend this position with the fact that Nigeria is not Tanzania and begin to give excuses on why this is so.

A leadership that focuses on excuses will never get things done, because it loses direction and offers faults instead of solutions.

When you have a mandate deprived of excuses, you will come up with solutions, no matter the situation and the interesting thing about this is that, the solutions will be local.

Let us, for example, note how Magufuli moved his nation from economic doldrums just by applying home- grown solutions.


He came up with a policy that makes it compulsory for all minerals extracted in the land to be used as raw materials in local manufacturing. Raw materials can only be taken out of the country on the express permission of the Predidency.

And, to give bite to this law, raw materials billed for export were impounded at the port of Dar es Salaam and the whole world took notice.

If this law is enacted in Nigeria and faithfully applied, there is no way we would be importing petroleum products into this country because we have the raw materials and the capacity, but lack the political will to execute such policy.

If we want to run the NNPC mainly on the basis of merit, this position can be accomplished in less than two years; but do we have the will?


When you site the refineries at the point of drilling the oil, why would you have crude oil pipeline sabotage? Magufuli banned foreign trips for his government officials and used the proposed money to rehabilitate the health sector.

He abolished tax exemptions for ministers; but, here in Nigeria, how do our government appointees behave? With over bloated numbers of aides, fleet of cars in garages, all at government expenses, how do you expect government to be productive?

People say that President Buhari is not after wealth, that he has always lived frugally; but, as President of Nigeria since 2015, we have not seen such display of frugality in spending at the presidential level, and this had emboldened the National Assembly leadership to toe in his steps.

Imagine if government decides to cut drastically on its spending, what benefit that will bring to the country’s economy? Magufuli fined illegal miners to the tune of 193 million Tanzanian shillings for under-valuing Tanzania gold export and seized 250 containers at the port. The British- owned company was forced to give away 16 percent shares of the company to the government of Tanzania.


In Nigeria, everyone is depending on Niger Delta oil, while foreign elements and greedy Nigerians collaborate to export valuable raw materials out of the country, with government officials and security agencies looking the other way.

These raw materials are what Magufuli used to build the Tanzania economy.

In Nigeria, we allow foreigners and bandits to take control of the business; meanwhile, the states are unable to pay the minimum wage for workers.

We have raw materials in abundance: gold, tin, copper, bauxite, silver, steel and so many more, waiting to be tapped; but no one in government is interested, as long as the Abuja allocation is guaranteed.

In Nigeria, people are killing themselves, while security officials remain aloof.


Magufuli reduced his cabinet size from 30 to 19; in Nigeria the figure is increasing. He rejected a $10 billion loan from China because the conditions attached to it are inimical to the progress of his country.

In Nigeria we are insatiably going after the Chinese loans, no matter the conditions attached to them; we cannot build railways without Chinese loans.

Magufuli was able to build railways, hydro power stations, LNG plants, bridges, wind farm projects, gold refinery plant, expanded park projects, executed free education for public schools, and many more, without collecting any foreign loan.


He called the bluffs of super powers, Britain and China; all he did to move the country forward was to block the drain pipes and tapped on the potentials in the country.

He stood alone and fearless against the forces of darkness; he sacrificed self for Tanzania; he banned all illicit and explicit videos from Tanzania online space; and despite all of these, he made his Tanzania a middle income country.

Unfortunately, while he was doing these things, no African leader openly supported him; I guess for fear of losing on their loan deals and others.

I really wish that the African continent can have more Magufulis, so that in no distant time, we will be able to contest with the best in the world.

Our leadership must wake up. Professor Lumumba calls it the “magulification of Africa”; that is, to bring political hygiene into governance in Africa.

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