Lagos State And Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum Should Partner To End Fuel Scarcity In Lagos

Lagos State can now be addressed as an oil producing state, following the beginning of oil exploitation activities by Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum Company Limited (YFP). Sadly, this development is coming at a time when the price of crude oil is no longer what it used to be. All the same, congratulations to Lagos State.

What the Lagos State Government should do now is to make sure that Lagos has a properly functioning refinery that can easily refine the oil produced. I am confident that they may already be thinking along these lines because the Bola Tinubu inspired governments of Lagos State are good at building capacity for the state.

I say this because I am deeply impressed at the proactiveness of the Lagos State government in buying and operating farmlands in other states.

That is the kind of proactiveness that is needed here. I foresee a time when the Lagos State Government will open filling stations all over the state in partnership with YFP to end fuel scarcity in the state once and for all.

That will be a wonderful day for the millions of inhabitants of the frontline state.

How To Use Solid Mineral Extraction To Boost Yoruba Or South West Economy

If the Ooni of Ife, one of the premier traditional rulers of the Yorubas had his way, the gold in Ilesha would be exploited in a bid to attract more employment-bringing investment to Yoruba Land.
The Ooni is not the only person desirous of seeing an immediate exploitation of solid minerals in Yoruba Land or South West Nigeria. A regional commission of Yoruba states, the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission at a recent roundtable, identified 10 solid minerals that can be exploited commercially in the Yoruba Land.
They include gold, tar sand, glass sand, construction sand, clay, oil and gas, limestone, granite, phosphate, gypsum, bitumen and silimanite, dimension stone, gemstone, marble, aquamarine, tantalic, feldspar, tourmaline, emerald, quartz, syenite and topaz.
What I see here is money, lots of money that don’t have to be at the beck and call of global crude oil prices. As far as recent experiences show, diversification away from crude oil is key; and it is not just agriculture or manufacturing that can play an effective role in a regional economy like that of Yoruba Land, but also the long overlooked mining sector.
In fact, mining can be a linchpin that would support other industries and give the economy great support. Let us look at what mining has done in the Australian state of New South Wales, for instance.
A Centre For International Economics (CIE) report in 2014 listed the following benefits of the mining sector to the New South Wales economy.
The mining industry of the state derived $12.5 billion in value added in 2012-13. The mining sector was estimated to purchase $9.6 billion of goods and services each year, and 60 per cent of these goods are sourced from within New South Wales, thus adding value to the states’ economy. And with another 22 per cent of goods and services being sourced from other Australian states, you can see the added value to other Australian states. This is something that can be replicated in Yoruba Land if the DAWN proposal is acted upon with enough political will by all Yoruba state governments and state ruling party leaderships.
About 70 percent of the minerals produced (in terms of value) in New South Wales are exported, bringing in foreign exchange – which is of course unencumbered by the ‘almighty’ global oil price – and boosting Internally Generated Revenue. Twenty one percent of the minerals are used by other industrial sectors in the state, boosting local content and industrialization; and making cost of production cheaper. Nine percent of the minerals go to be used in other Australian states.
The government of New South Wales also gets a lot of revenue in terms of taxation and fees frommining activities carried out in the state. These are all ways the South West Region or Yoruba Land can boost its Gross Regional Product, diversify its economy away from dependency on the Federation account, and oil. If the exploitation of the 10 commercially viable solid minerals is carried out with determination, it wouldn’t matter too much to the region if oil is at $25 dollars or at $85.
Professor Gbenga Okunola who facilitated the DAWN roundtable, presented a few obstacles to the exploitation of solid minerals in the region. These include: lack of funding, lack of clear-cut optimization model, misplacement and underutilization of capacity and lack of regional cooperation. Let us briefly analyze these obstacles and provide workable solutions to them.
• Lack Of Funding: With the recent fall of the crude oil price, this is of course a very serious obstacle. To make matters worse, it is no longer easy for state governments to borrow money from banks. At this junction the aim should be to seek out the mineral that is least expensive to extract and start exploiting it. Federal Minister of State for Petroleum has said that crude oil price may soon rise to $50. Let’s hope he is right, and then if that happens more mineral extraction projects can be launched at a faster rate. But before then, the best bet would be to copy the Japanese style or incremental improvements. For that to happen, the state governments and ruling parties have to be a bit more altruistic and apolitical. If the least expensive mineral to extract is in a PDP state, then APC governors and regional leadership should still support fully such a project, and vice versa. That is the only way it can work. If the extraction projects are done piecemeal rather than wholesale, it won’t be possible. State governments can commit to contributing no more than 5 percent of their revenue to this, and this percentage can be increased when immediate problems like outstanding arrears are sorted out. But the point is that those small contributions combined can be very effective.
For instance, remember the Barak Obama Campaign didn’t have access to major donors during Barak Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008. What they did was to create a platform for smaller donors who frequently gave little amounts like $5, $3, 7 dollars, etc. In the end they had garnered a $100 million which he used to win the elections.
• Lack Of Clear-Cut Optimization Model: The optimization model to use is the Japanese strategy of incremental improvement or continuous improvement, rather than the more common model of Breakthrough Improvement or ‘improvement all at once’.
Continuous Improvement has been defined by the Institute of Quality Assurance as, ‘A gradual never-ending change which is: ‘… focused on increasing the effectiveness and/or efficiency of an organisation to fulfill its policy and objectives. It is not limited to quality initiatives. Improvement in business strategy, business results, customer, employee and supplier relationships can be subject to continual improvement. Put simply, it means ‘getting better all the time’.’
That is the model that should be adopted until the the availability of more funds makes the Breakthrough Model practical in the bid to profitably extract the minerals. A Yoruba proverb says that until you can hold a knife on its blunt edge, you have to be careful holding it on its sharp edge.
Let me add that although Continuous Improvement Model could seem to be a ‘poor man’s choice’, nothing could be further from the truth.
Continuous Improvement is widely credited as one of the key strategies that has kept Toyota as one of the world’s most formidable car manufacturers for many years now. For instance in 2013, Toyota sold a total of 9.98 million vehicles, more than any other car manufacturer in the world that year, largely thanks to the strategy of Continuous Improvement. Yoruba Land should adopt this strategy to gain economic advantages in solid mineral mining.
• Misplacement And Underutilization Of Capacity: It is hoped that if Incremental Improvement as an investment strategy is seriously put into practice, underutilization of capacity will gradually become a thing of the past.
• Lack Of Regional Cooperation: The greatest obstacle to regional cooperation in Yoruba Land is the perception that because there are several parties controlling the states, political cooperation to achieve a common goal is impossible. But that perception is not true. In fact there is a way for the governments of the South West/Yoruba states to come together on this issue of extraction of solid minerals and other economic issues even in the midst of severe partisan competition. This is the way below:
A South West Economic Council Should be formed following the guidelines below.
The membership must compriseof the following categories of members
1. Observers: The Ooni of Ife and The Alaafin of Oyo and any 6 monarchs they both agree through consensus to invite to join them in any given year at the meetings. These invited monarchs should be chosen on the basis of one for each state.
2. Governors of all the 6 Yoruba states, regardless of party affiliation. Each state represented by their governor would hold the rotating chairmanship of the Economic Council. The rotation would be done in alphabetical order.
3. Regional Leader of any party that has a governor in a Yoruba state. In the present case it should be Bola Tinubu of APC, and the South West Zonal Chairman of PDP. These Regional Party Leaders would be there as ex-officio members and patrons of the Council.
• The Council should adopt and seriously follow the motto, ‘All For One And One For All’ in decisions of investment: Meaning, decisions on investment should not be made primarily based on partisan considerations but based on a holistic view of what will benefit the South West economically.
• This pooling together of investments would not mean that state governors cannot pursue independent economic policies and projects, but simply mean that each governor now has the license to tout the success of any Council economic venture in any other South Western state as his own to his own people, adding them to his accomplishments for the larger Yoruba socioeconomic community.
• The Economic Council should have a standing secretariat and an Admin Secretary.
• The Council should liaise regularly with other South West economic bodies like the Oodua Investment Limited and the DAWN Commission.
If all these are done, creating jobs and revenue would only be the starting point of the economic rise of the South West or Yoruba states of Nigeria.

Babatunde Fashola And Nigeria’s Coal Deposits

In 2006, when the then outgoing Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu anointed his then little known Chief of Staff, one Babatunde Raji Fashola as his chosen successor to the governor’s seat at Alausa, not a few feathers were ruffled.

Many of Tinubu’s disciples who had expected the Jagaban Borgu to name them as his successor had their hopes dashed, and many quickly decamped to other parties. As for the public, a lot of people were like; ‘Babatunde who’? So the then ruling ACN was left with a governorship candidate who didn’t have the support of a sizable section of the political elite in Lagos, and was almost totally unknown by the masses.

It looked as if the Jagaban had made a bad political move, but Tinubu, a politician known to follow his political convictions to the very end, irrespective of where the political pendulum seems to be swinging to, stuck to his guns, presented his candidate to Lagosians and managed to convince Lagosians to give Candidate Fashola a chance.

Today, millions of Lagosians are convinced that they and Tinubu took the right decision in giving Fashola a chance, as Fashola wrote his name in gold by many of his awe-inspiring actions as governor, and secured for himself a calling to Federal Service.

Clearing Oshodi

When Fashola came into office he immediately began to sanitize the unhealthy environment in many parts of the city. Take the strategic area of Oshodi for instance – it used to be an epicenter of traffic gridlock, and passing there was every motorist’s nightmare. It was more than that. Oshodi was a crime capital, a notorious place where pick pockets made fat profits plying their notorious trade virtually unchallenged, day in day out.

Oshodi was a place where muggers and molesters would operate boldly in broad daylight, not bothering to hide their faces. That was until hurricane Fashola assumed office. He fearlessly led a charge to sanitize the place, and today, the place, while still being far from perfect, has been transformed into a much safer, much more beautiful place than it used to be.

Where there was grime, there are now beautiful parks and strategically placed pedestrian bridges; and the police has now set up a permanent presence in several points in the formerly over-troubled zone. In this way did Lagosians feel the impact of Fashola’s administration.

The ex governor planted gardens in many areas of the state, and while the opposition sneeringly called him the Gardener Governor, they themselves cannot deny that their eyes have benefited from the lush green landscapes that wow by day and the street lights that wow by night which Fashola brought into being and which the current Governor Akinwumi Ambode has so creditably enhanced.

Many previously misguided youths that used to make that place a dangerous zone have been given training and gainful employment. All this is not to say that crime has completely evaporated from Oshodi, but that the level of crime there today was greatly reduced by Fashola.

Saving Nigeria From Ebola

Another place where Fashola wrote his name in the sands of time was during the Ebola epidemic of 2014. Someone who knew he had Ebola had flown into Africa’s largest country and began to spread the ‘incurable’ disease. By the time the man died he had spread Ebola to so many people, including some of the health officials that treated him.

Nigeria was thrown into an existential struggle and was in a state of panic, and even the violence in other parts of the country then couldn’t overshadow Ebola in the news. It was estimated that before the disease could be contained in West Africa, it would have killed thousands of people. But what was not added in the estimation was that the man Babatunde Raji Fashola was Governor of Lagos.

Fashola successfully coordinated the state’s response to the epidemic in conjunction with other organizations and the epidemic was put under control in a way that generated international praise for Nigeria, considering the currently incurable nature of Ebola. Without Fashola’s hands-on, insightful approach to the crisis, Ebola would have wrecked more havoc on Nigeria’s population.

Fashola’s fight against transport offences greatly reduced accidents on Lagos roads, where motorists often drove on the wrong side of the road, sending many people to unscheduled visits to the hospital, or even worse, to the mortuary. (Thankfully, Governor Akinwumi Ambode has introduced another dimension to this fight.)

Fashola’s achievements as governor, except in a few areas where his policies seemed genuinely anti-ordinary-people was stellar and exemplary. My NGO, the Prince And Princess Charles Offokaja Foundation even benefitted indirectly from Fashola’s good policies. Also, I remember once when I sent him an email over the need to build a pedestrian bridge in my area because of the high number of accidents affecting people crossing the road there – his response was immediate. So, once again I give him a Big Pass Mark on his performance as Governor of Lagos State.

Now That He Is Minister

But now that he is Minister for Power, Housing and Works, he cannot afford to rest on his laurels. Unfortunately that is just what he seems to have started doing.

His biggest policy to date as Minister of Power is to mastermind the increase in electricity tariffs as a way to solve Nigeria’s electricity problem. As far as solving Nigeria’s current Gigantic energy problem is concerned, that solution is an non-solution. In fact, the additional monies generated may just end up in the pockets of some very corrupt public officials if care is not taken, as has happened in the past.

The solution to Nigeria’s power problem starts with coal. The most fundamental problem in the power sector is the scarcity of gas supplies for our power stations. Nigeria depends on gas for 80% of its electricity, but there is just too much competition for gas for Nigeria to depend on it for most of its electricity. Besides there has been great reluctance to cooperate on the part the oil companies that provide the gas due to complaints that government is fond of owing them. These complaints have led to the collapse of several agreements between the companies and the government for the supply of gas for electricity.

While the Federal Government splits hairs trying to secure enough gas to give us a manageable power supply, massive coal deposits which would have given us stable power supply lie untouched in Enugu, Delta, Kogi and other parts of the country. There is no reasonable explanation for this.

One common explanation often mentioned whenever the issue of non-exploitation of  Nigeria’s coal deposits to solve our power problem comes up is that coal burning for electricity causes massive environmental pollution.

The people who say this often quote consultants from more industrialized nations who have propagated these views for commercial interest. What they fail to tell us is that in these consultants’ countries coal power is often the biggest source of energy they use to generate electricity.

For instance; coal accounts for: 93% of South Africa’s electricity; 79% of China’s electricity; 45% of the United States’ electricity; 40% of Germany’s electricity, 78% of Australia’s electricity – and it goes on and on.

So, if all these countries use coal power to generate electricity, what is stopping us in Nigeria from doing the same? I know an energy consultant that can set up coal fired plants all over Nigeria within 18 months at very affordable price when compared to our gas stations.

There is a reason President Buhari gave Fashola a super ministry to handle, combining Power, Works and Housing under one man. It is because President Buhari has great confidence in Fashola’s ability to make great impact in Nigeria to the credit of his administration. What better way is there to make such an impact than to diversify Nigeria’s source of electricity away from scarce gas and towards abundant coal?

AIT Owners Say Sorry To Tinubu Over ‘Lion Of Bourdilon’ Documentary 

The documentary angered Tinubu and made him go to court against them.

Now tempers have cooled down and Tinubu is ready to accept an apology.

Source: AIT Owners Say Sorry To Tinubu Over ‘Lion Of Bourdilon’ Documentary – CityPeople Magazine Nigeria | Nigerian Celerbrities | Entertainment | Stars