The number of children involved in the al-majiri system has been rated at over ten million. Recent studies have revealed that kids metamorphose from this ugly phenomenon to members of street gangs. It is strongly suspected that many al-majiri children are now commanders in the dreaded Boko Haram insurgency.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) frowns at the poorly arranged educational system which resulted in the al-majiri syndrome. It is escapist, pernicious, retrogressive, counter-productive and inhuman.
Al-majiri as practiced in Northern Nigeria today is a bastardisation of the Islamic education system. Although the word is originally from ‘al-muhajirun’, i.e. migrants, a reference to the early Muslims who followed Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from Makkah to seek refuge in Madinah in 622 C.E., it is now used to refer to child beggars. These are children whose parents gave them out to teachers to learn the rudiments of Islam.
Unfortunately the system has bread poverty, homelessness and hopelessness. It has produced a fi sabilillahi mentality plus an army of vagabonds and a battalion of bowl-carrying kids always roaming the streets aimlessly. It ends up breeding hunger, squalor and the resultant disease.
For example, in places like Azare, Bauchi, al-majiris tie bowls to their clothes and beg for just anything, anything at all. In places like Maiduguri, Borno State, they offer to carry bags for strangers and they are ready to assist in doing house chores for a whole day once a meal is guaranteed. Older al-majiris in Maiduguri area sell sachet water while some do scavenging and sell whatever they find to recyclers.
In thunder, rain and flood, al-majiri children crowd up in open spaces to spend the night. The few who find shelter share single mosquito-infested rooms with scores of others. They are prone to all sorts of contagious diseases. Their personal safety cannot be guaranteed and many fall into the hands of bad gangs, e.g, the notorious Yandaba boys of Kano.
MURIC strongly condemns this obnoxious system. It cannot be called Islamic education in any sense as the focus of the children involved is fully on begging, searching for food and making a living. It makes mockery of the institution of parenthood as envisaged in Islam.
The Qur’an commands parents to take charge of the educational, social and economic responsibilities of their children from infancy till they reach the age of full maturity and capability. This age is forty years (Qur’an 2:233 and 46:15). It is therefore the height of abdication of parental responsibility to give out children to Islamic teachers without caring for the needs of such children and without paying the teachers for their services. No wonder the teachers end up exploiting the children for their personal needs.
MURIC exhorts Northern governors to come up with a master plan capable of resolving the al-majiri debacle once and for all. This plan should take cognizance of the need for a census of all those involved in the system, buildings to be used as hostels, modern structures to be used as schools, adequate remuneration for the Islamic teachers, free feeding and capacity building for the kids, etc.
While we commend the Jonathan administration for building al-Majiri schools in some parts of the North, Northern governors must be held responsible both for the misuse and disuse of those structures. Most of the al-majiri schools are lying fallow today while some have been converted to other uses. This is most unfortunate. The Buhari administration must also intervene by initiating a special project for the almajiranci.
In the final analysis, the blame rests squarely on Northern politicians dead and alive for failing to see the threat coming and for their inability to evolve a means of combating it and bringing it to a halt. It may have been callous and myopic, but the present crop of politicians must not repeat the mistakes of history. Al-majiris must be reined in if the North really wants Boko Haram and gangsterism to become history.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
The government of Lagos state seems to be currently in the eye of the storm over its introduction of a law, a property tax as it were, known as the Land Use Charge Act of 2018, which repeals a similar law of 2001, and consolidates ground rent, tenement rate, and neigbourhood development levy. The Land Use Charge is payable in respect of all real estate in the state. But it is probably the most controversial move that has been made by the Akinwunmi Ambode administration in Lagos state, an administration that has so far enjoyed tremendous goodwill on account of its huge investment in infrastructure and human capital development in the last three years.
Stakeholders have complained about the rate of increase (up to about 400%), lack of adequate consultation and communication, and the impropriety of increasing taxation at a time of unmitigated economic hardship, even in the presence of multiple taxes, including the taxation of boreholes and alcoholic drinks. Real estate valuers and surveyors as well as other stakeholders including landlords and tenants are asking the government to take another look at the law. Sooner or later, every government faces a baptism of fire. But where taxation is involved, the key issues are governance, trust, transparency and accountability, communication and more importantly, strategy. These are the key areas for consideration with respect to the current controversy over the review of Land Use Charge in Lagos.
Ordinarily, however, nobody likes to pay taxes, and there is a historical and cultural context to this. The taxman is not often a popular member of the community. Wars and revolutions have been fought on account of resistance to taxation. Many of the wars in the Southern part of Nigeria, particularly Yorubaland in the 18th and 19th centuries were fought as a result of objections to what was known as “isakole” (ground rent to the sovereign), or owo asingba (service to chiefs and kings as a form of tribute), which were symbols of dominance over political authority and/or economic activities, creating a slave/master relationship among dominant/dominated groups.
The famous Aba women’s riot of 1929, was a protest against the draconian warrant chiefs introduced by the colonial administration but it was even more significantly, a rebellion against the direct taxation of market women. In the late 1940s, the Abeokuta Women’s Union (AWU) led by Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti also objected to the taxation of women in the Egba Division. For six months, over 10, 000 Egba women challenged both the colonial authorities and the Alake of Egbaland, and insisted that they would not pay tax. In the end, the tax policy was suspended, the Alake had to abdicate the throne and the women got up to four positions in the decision-making Native Authority.
Nor is Lagos new to anti-tax agitations. When the colonial authorities introduced electricity in Lagos in 1897, there was an attempt to ensure that this was paid for through indirect taxation, which was stoutly opposed by the people. Later, in 1907, the colonialists also proposed to provide a pipe borne water system for Lagos; the plan was to place a tax on houses to cover the cost. The African members of the Legislative council of the Lagos colony and Southern Protectorate, the traditional rulers and chiefs of Lagos and the people in general kicked against this proposed tax. They insisted they would rather drink water from rainfall or wells, rather than pay any tax.
When in 1908, the colonial authorities introduced a House Assessment Ordinance, the people of Lagos shut down all markets and marched on Government House. Women in Central Lagos also organized protests against the water rate. The battle was soon taken over by the educated elite who formed a group called the Lagos People’s Union (1908), led by John K. Randle, an Edinburgh-trained medical doctor.
Taxation tends to bring out the best and the worst in both people and governments. Of J.K. Randle as he was known, the deputy Governor of the colony at the time wrote that he was an “agitator pure and simple…political disturbance was his main hobby in life.” The struggle over water rate in Lagos went on for more than 17 years and was responsible for the eventual collapse of the Lagos People’s Union and the deposition of Eleko Eshugbayi in 1925. Herbert Macaulay came on to the scene, and he championed the reinstatement of the king in 1931. The white cap chiefs of Lagos still insisted, all the same, that paying for water was against “the tradition of the people of Lagos.” The colonial authorities were unyielding. They cracked down on the people and soon introduced direct taxation, resulting in riots across the country.
In post-colonial Nigeria, the pattern of revulsion to taxation has not been different. Between 1968 and 1969, there was in the defunct Western region, a peasant farmers’ revolt, popularly known as the Agbekoya. This particular revolt, like all revolts may have been politically motivated, and it may have been a class revolt, but the trigger was the peasant farmers’ rejection of higher taxation. However, since independence in 1960, there have been attempts to review the taxation system in Nigeria beginning with the Raisman Commission, and the enactment of the Tax Management Act, 1961, and the Companies Income Tax Act No 22 of 1961.
During the Second Republic (1979 -1983), the Shagari administration established a Task Force on tax administration. In 1991, there was the Emmanuel Edozien study group on tax, in 1992, Sylvester Ugoh led another study group on indirect taxation, in 2002, yet another group was led by Professor Dotun Phillips, and in 2004 yet another one was led by Seyi Bickersteth of KPMG and in 2012, the Federal Government had another study group led by Mckinsey, an international consulting firm. In 2017, the Buhari administration introduced VAIDS, a Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration taxation programme, and a new National Tax Policy (NTP). Many Nigerians consider the VAIDS, a joke.
Indeed, the objection to the new Land Use Charge in Lagos thus fits into a natural response pattern. But it is important to go beyond sentiments and understand the issues. To enjoy development, the people must be prepared to pay tax, the leaders must also be transparent and accountable, provide value and inspire trust. To ensure voluntary compliance, the people must not be made to see taxation as a form of punishment. At face value, the justifications provided by the Lagos State Government, on paper and at a recent Town Hall Meeting with the Governor seem convincing enough. To keep up with the current pace of economic development, population growth and volatile oil revenue, state governments in Nigeria are under pressure to look for additional sources of revenue beyond Federal Government’s monthly allocation. This in itself is a good development.
Lagos, the 5th largest economy in Africa, with a population that would be far in excess of 35 million by 2030, faces special challenges. Infrastructure deficit in the state is currently estimated to be about $50 billion (N14.47 trillion). The state’s current revenue profile is therefore unsustainable. Oil revenue in general has proved unsustainable in Nigeria in real terms. The country’s tax ratio to GDP is also relatively one of the lowest in Africa. Tax compliance is similarly low, and the extant tax codes are at best outdated. The alternative in Lagos would be for the state to borrow, but with current interest rates, that would amount to mortgaging the financial future of the state. What the Ambode administration is proposing in essence is a far more efficient taxation system which brings more people into the tax net and which requires the people to make sacrifice in the overall interest of public good. I don’t have a problem with that.
But where the problem lies is in the twin areas of strategy and communication. Whereas many Lagos residents have not actually seen a copy of the proposed law, their objection is based largely on the report that the law expressly imposes a 400% increase on land use charge, and the worst hit may probably be the organized private sector and owners of commercial buildings. In 1999, the Bola Tinubu administration in Lagos state had sought to reform the tax process in the state through the introduction of electronic payments. Internally Generated Revenue in Lagos state subsequently increased from 600 million in 1999, to 22 billion in 2015, and N341 billion in 2017.
Communication is important in tax administration. While it is natural for people to oppose any form of taxation, a tax system must be seen to be fair, just and equitable. The current resistance to taxation in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria – FCT, Anambra, Benue, Edo, Cross River- in part raises governance issues. Widespread reports about corruption, the lavish lifestyle of public officials, the high-handedness of tax officials and the reality of multiple taxation make Nigerians even in the face of rational arguments about the need to generate non-oil revenue, suspicious of any form of tax. In Lagos, the State House of Assembly held public hearings, but the story out there is that government has sneaked the law, with increased charges on the public, without adequate notice or communication. But how much interest did Lagosians themselves show? Do they even know who their representatives are? Do the representatives brief the people on developments of this nature? Landlords are saying when the effect of this indirect taxation is considered in absolute terms, they would be turned into tenants living in their own homes.
Tenants are protesting that the new charge will be passed on to them by landlords, and with inflation already at 15%, and the country’s macroeconomics in a fix, greater pressure and hardship will be invariably imposed on people and businesses. As presented however, the Lagos state government seems to have anticipated these concerns and created opportunities for negotiation and voluntary compliance, but how many people are aware of this? In addition, the Land Use Charge is a progressive tax, not a flat tax, with in-built disaggregation to provide reliefs for aged owner-occupiers, pensioners, old buildings of 25 years and above, owners with proof of long occupation, non-profit organisations, places of religious worship/education, the physically challenged and registered educational institutions. Besides, more than 70% of the properties are valued under N10 million, equivalent to a land use charge of N5, 000 annually.
Nonetheless, there are persons and landlords associations in Lagos already threatening to either go to court or organize street protests. The more incensed stakeholders are threatening to use their voters’ cards to remind Governor Ambode that he would need the people in the coming 2019 elections. In other words, the Land Use Charge could become the main decider of whether he gets a second term or not. When it comes to taxation, the electorate can indeed be vicious. Margaret Thatcher lost her position as Prime Minister, within her own party in the UK, 1989-1990, partly due to the crisis over a Community Charge, better known as poll tax, which made the Conservatives unpopular.
Governor Ambode is on that score, quite a courageous man. He must be looking at the future of Lagos, and not the next election. But he needs not sacrifice his own political future. Whatever may have been done in Lagos since 1999, there is a lot more that can be done to improve the standard of living in the state. Nigerians like to protest but it is also important to realise that the days of dependence on oil revenue may soon be completely over. When the people pay tax, and they understand the justification for it, they are probably in a much better position to hold their leaders accountable.
I believe there are steps to be taken to improve the communication process on this issue and that may mean putting the implementation of the charge on hold for a while until various stakeholders have been conscientized to take ownership of the core messages about standardization, efficiency and the need to prevent the culture of whimsical assessments by state tax officials. Landlords have to be assured that the proposed percentages are not absolute.
Government should also consider the possibility of a downward review of the percentages, allow instalmental or graduated payment, and reconsider the threatened penalty of up to 200% for defaulters. Tenants of commercial buildings also need to be protected from Shylock landlords who may hide under the law, to increase rent. The objection to multiple taxation should also be addressed; if the Land Use Charge is a consolidation of three other taxes, perhaps there are other taxes in the state that should be similarly reviewed to reduce the burden on the citizenry. The relevant revenue institutions in Lagos must also be strengthened and opportunities provided for seeking redress against rogue tax administration officials. There must also be guarantees for transparency in the preparation of a necessary data-base for the ownership of properties in the state.
With all the best intentions, any form of politicisation of the tax administration process is bound to be counter-productive. This must be avoided by all means.
NIPOST Digital Platforms selected as finalist in WSIS Prizes 2018 recognizing world’s leading ‘ICT for Sustainable Development’ initiatives
Close to one million online votes cast for a record-breaking 492 nominated projects
The Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) is pleased to announce that it has been selected as a finalists of the seventh annual WSIS Prizes contest – a global initiative recognizing innovative projects using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to better the world. The finalists, known as WSIS Champions, represent the top 90 projects selected from a record-breaking 492 nominated projects.
Since 2012, the prestigious WSIS Prizes contest has been recognizing remarkable efforts made by entities and organizations from around the globe that focus on accelerating socio-economic progress of the whole world as a community.
The WSIS Champions represents all regions of the world, and all stakeholders, and are recognized as stellar models of using ICTS towards implementation of the WSIS Action Lines and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The NIPOST Address Verification System (NIPOST AVS) project recognized as a WSIS Champion seeks to create a centralised and up-to- date database of physical addresses and the details of their occupants to bridge gaps in our national financial inclusion strategy, empower the CBN’s KYC, and improve our national security infrastructure while creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in a commercially sustainable manner.
The WSIS Prizes 2018 Award Ceremony will be held on 20 March 2018 at the WSIS Forum 2018 in Geneva. This year marks the 15 th anniversary of the WSIS Forum in Geneva. Eighteen winners will be announced from the 90 finalists, and together all WSIS Prizes Winners and WSIS Prizes Champions will be honoured at the event – including NIPOST. Each winner is recognized as the best in each of the 18 prize categories, which are aligned with the 18 WSIS Action Lines outlined in the Geneva Plan of Action.
The WSIS Prizes submission phase ran from 11 September 2017 to 10 January 2018. It received a record number of 685 project submissions, out of which 492 exceptional projects were nominated. Close to one million online votes were cast, from 29 January to 18 February 2018, for the nominated projects.
Following a comprehensive review by the Expert Group, 90 extraordinary initiatives were selected as the finalists – the WSIS Prizes 2018 Champions.
This year, the multi-stakeholder representation was very strong, with more than 240 projects submitted by government agencies, 97 projects submitted by private sector companies, and 82 projects submitted by national civil society organizations. International organizations and others accounted for more than 100 submitted projects.
Regionally, this year’s submissions represented Africa (12.7%), the Americas (18.5%), the Arab region (16.1%), the Asia Pacific region (29.2%), the CIS region (10.4%), Europe (9.8%), and 14 international projects (12.1%).
The project descriptions of this year’s WSIS Prizes Champions will be published in the publication WSIS Stocktaking: Success Stories 2018, to be released during WSIS Forum 2018 along with WSIS Stocktaking 2018 Regional Reports.
Learn more about WSIS Prizes and see a full list of this year’s WSIS Prizes Champions here:
Learn more about NIPOST AVS: https://verify.nipost.gov.ng
Nigerian Judge, Chile Eboe-Osuji, has been elected president of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for a three-year term.
The judge, who was elected during a plenary on Sunday, takes over from Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi whose term has ended.
Africa’s premier fashion show, ARISE Fashion Week (AFW), is set to deliver one of its most exciting line-ups to date, when it returns to Lagos on March 30 to April 2 at the Lagos Continental Hotel (formerly Intercontinental Hotel).
The most prominent fashion show in Africa, famed for handpicked curation of exclusive style, fresh and renowned talent, as well as acclaimed international names in fashion, is once again attracting a host of original African or African-inspired brands.
Over the course of three days, the ARISE Fashion Week 2018 runway event in Lagos will feature 50 designers from 15 countries including South Africa, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Canada, Tanzania, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Morocco, Botswana, and many more.
To kick off the three-day event on the morning of Saturday, March 31, the fashion extravaganza will have the distinction of showcasing the first Supermodel Masterclass ever to be held in the country, an ARISE Fashion Mentoring and Bootcamp, United Nations Special event, representatives of the federal government meeting with key designers, and The Showcase that will be anchored by Banke Kuku.
Later in the day will feature some of the best internationally acclaimed designers: LaurenceAirlines from Cote d’Ivoire and Paris, known for establishing a new space for contemporary African fashion across the globe as well as young South African designer, Thebe Magugu, whose craftsmanship and attention to design have garnered worldwide recognition.
Day 1 will also feature styles from Canadian designer, Aurora James, the UK’s very own singer and performer, Nigerian-born Tinnie Tempah, celebrated Tanzanian designer, Mustafa Hassanali, Orapeleng Modutle and KLûK CGDT, both from South Africa. KLûK CGDT has participated in every ARISE show.
From Nigeria are Funke Adepoju, Clan, Vonne Couture, About That Curvy Life Collective, Andrea Iyamah, Style Temple, Okunoren Twins, Ituen Basi and Lanre Da Silva Ajayi.
Day 2 is to set to highlight designers offering luxurious and unique styles. From Germany, Sarah Duah will be featured on the catwalk, along with Koki Kamala from Botswana, Amine Bendriouich from Morocco, and South African-born designer and ARISE original, Gavin Rajah who regularly shows at the Paris Fashion Week will grace the runway with his glamorous, yet refined designs.
Again from Nigeria will be Grey, Abaya Lagos, Taryor Gabriel, Ilare, House of Divas, Lagos, Ziva, Lagos, Tzar, Kimono Kollection, Mai Atafo, Tsemaye Binitie, Jewel by Lisa and Tiffany Amber.
To round off the show, day 3 of AFW 2018 will boast leading designers from both the UK and U.S. Self-taught, successful designer, known for dressing Cardi B., Rihanna and Beyonce, Laquan Smith, will be making his way back to Lagos from the U.S., to showcase his custom made, bare-to-there fashion.
He will be joined by Ghanaian-British fashion designer, Ozwald Boateng, most known for the transformational impact he’s had on menswear fashion for almost three decades.
The day will also display designs from South African designers Maxhosa by Laduma, Rich Mnisi and Lakhanyo Midingi, while Nigerian icons will include Moofa, Dzyn, House of Nwocha, Maxivive, Sunny Rose, Tokyo James, Maki Oh, Gozel Green, Bridget Awosika, Ere Dappa, Odion Mimonet and Deola Sagoe.
As is the custom, the best of these will be selected to showcase their designs during the New York Fashion Week (NYFW) in September this year.
“We are excited to bring world-class fashion back to Lagos in the real sense of it. The bar will definitely be raised once more with strong collaborations, innovation, and creativity,” – Co-Producer, Ruth Osime
Eleven years ago, Africa’s fashion industry became truly global with the birth of ARISE, the synonym for “Africa Rising”.
AFW helped to put Nigeria firmly on the global fashion map, showcasing and promoting African designers on the runways of the world, from London’s famous Royal Albert Hall, to Washington DC’s powerful J.F. Kennedy Center, to the legendary triple appearance during the iconic NYFW, to vivacious Lagos and Abuja, to magnetic Johannesburg and Cape Town, and to fabulous Paris.
The AFW runway has seen global fashion icons and leading models such as Naomi Campbell, Alek Wek, Liya Kedebe, Oluchi Orlandi, and others showcase the best of Africa.
From March 30 to April 2 at the Lagos Continental Hotel, AFW 2018 will once again showcase the best and brightest fashion designers from around the world.
Still the most prominent fashion show in Africa, AFW continues to hold its prestige as the premier event where the global fashion elite will once again converge: the intersection of the international and the African; where a global audience of buyers, financiers, retailers, the fashionista and the media gather; where authenticity and originality meet innovation and style; where fashion truly matters.
Sadiq Khan: The tech revolution must be shaped for the benefit of everyone
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will use a major keynote speech to call on cities and governments around the world to do much more to harness the great opportunities of the current tech revolution as well as to mitigate against the growing and significant risks.
Sadiq will make the wide-ranging speech – covering social media, the shared economy and the consequences of increased automation – at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference in Texas on Monday 12 March.
He will say that politicians and governments have been too passive – ‘sitting on their hands’ – while the tech revolution has happened around them.
He will argue that more must be done not only to ensure we use new technology and innovation to the benefit of everyone in society, but how we prevent employment rights being by-passed, more people feeling left behind by the changing nature of our economies and more division within our communities.
Sadiq will say that some tech companies, including social media platforms and peer-to-peer companies, must take more responsibility for the way they are impacting the world and that no business or industry should ever consider itself above local rules, or laws.
The Mayor will also argue that ‘evolving economies must mean evolving regulation’ – and that it’s up to politicians to fix things when the regulation is clearly not working or out-of-date.
On criticising how politicians and governments have been passive while the tech revolution has happened around them, Sadiq is expected to say:
“The onus for change should not just be on tech companies and innovators. One of the biggest problems over the last few years is that politicians and governments have just been passive – sitting on their hands – while the tech revolution has happened around them.
“There’s been a failure to ensure that our economies and our regulatory structures are prepared and relevant. It must ultimately fall to government – working with tech businesses and leaders – to ensure that this revolution is not detrimental to our long-term progress.
“There’s been a dereliction of duty on the part of politicians and policymakers to ensure that the rapid growth in technology is utilised and steered in a direction that benefits us all.
On new platforms being used to deepen divisions within our communities and the need for social media companies to take more responsibility, Sadiq is expected to read out some of the racist, abusive and illegal Tweets that he has received since becoming Mayor and say:
“Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have brought huge benefits to society. They’ve made it easier for us to stay in touch with those we love, meet like-minded people and have easier access to information we want.
“But – understandably – there are growing concerns about the way some of the biggest companies on the planet are impacting our lives and the overall wellbeing of our societies. In some cases, these new platforms have been used to exacerbate, fuel and deepen the divisions within our communities.
“We’ve already seen:
· Evidence of elections and referendums being influenced.
· A rise in online abuse, misogyny and religious hatred.
· Fake news spreading misinformation.
· Algorithms blinkering us from different points of view and pushing people to extremes.
· And terrorists and far-right groups using social media to not only conspire, but to radicalise and brainwash others.
“All of this is dividing and polarising us, rather than uniting us. I know this all too well from personal experience.
“We simply must do more to protect people online. Social media platforms already have a legal obligation to remove content that breaks local laws. But this is not always happening, or happening quickly enough.
“Facebook, Twitter and other platforms are finally starting to react to the criticisms and are developing technology to make sure the reporting process becomes quicker and more effective. I welcome this. But – with the skills and resources these companies have at their disposal – I believe it’s possible to go further and faster.
“What we need to see is a stronger duty of care so that social media platforms can live up to their promise to be places that connect, unify and democratise the sharing of information – and be places where everyone feels welcome and valued.
“If this doesn’t happen, then more countries will start to follow or go further than what Germany has done. The German government have changed the law so that social media companies face hefty fines if they fail to quickly remove hate speech, fake news and illegal material.”
On the risks and opportunities of the sharing economy, Sadiq is expected to say:
“At its best, the sharing economy can make it easier for people to sell their skills, their time, and even their home, in a way that suits them, at a fair price. But at its worst, it can drive down pay, workers’ rights and safety standards.
“If the sharing economy is real, it should be as liberating for the worker or supplier as it is for the consumer. Yes – innovative new companies are providing fantastic services to people around the world, and have created tens of thousands of new jobs in the process.
“But without prudent regulation and oversight, this new way of doing business risks being used as cover to break-up decades of established and hard-fought rights. We can’t confuse matters by thinking that because a business is smart, disruptive, popular even – and has a really neat app – it somehow has a right to have a different regulatory status to its competitors.”
On the need for the evolution of regulation, Sadiq is expected to say:
“Ultimately – there must be greater responsibility taken by some tech companies for the impact they’re having on the world. And, crucially, no business or industry should ever consider itself above the local rules, or laws set by democratic processes.
“In London, we’ve been clear with Uber and other companies – that everyone – no matter how big or small – must play by the rules. No exceptions.
“Our economies have always needed new regulations in place to meet the needs of workers and consumers when the environment changes. Evolving economies must mean evolving regulation. And today is no different.
“Rather than blaming companies for innovating ahead of regulation, politicians must fix things when the regulation is out-of-date. The question now for governments – or traditional sectors – should not be how we slow down innovation in its tracks – because we can’t. And we shouldn’t. It should be how we mitigate against the potentially negative impacts of disruption. And – more than that – how we can harness the very same technologies to drive up standards and to create more just and equal societies.”
On how cities like London can lead the way in ensuring the tech revolution benefits everyone, Sadiq is expected to say:
“In this fast-paced change, city government can cope better with digital disruption, turning technological upheavals to our advantage. This is my ambition as the Mayor of London – and I encourage other Mayors and great cities to join me in this mission.
“In London, we’re harnessing the power of new technology to transform lives.
“We’re aiming to make London a global byword for smart cities – with data, connectivity and innovation supporting our infrastructure and services.
“We’re getting much more involved in using tech to provide public services to the citizens we represent.
“We’re utilising data to transform the way public services are delivered, making them more accessible, efficient and responsive.
“We’re looking at London’s strengths in AI and automation, finding the best ways to take advantage of the opportunities it could bring whilst also investing in education to ensure Londoners have the digital skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.
“We’ve set up an online hate crime hub – the first of its kind in Europe – to work with social media companies.
“And – crucially – we’re breaking down the barriers that still exist for girls and women to reach their potential – not only in the tech sector, but in every part of our society.”
On gender equality in the tech sector, Sadiq is expected to say:
“2018 is a pivotal year for London as we mark the centenary of women having the right to vote in the UK.
“And, as a proud feminist, I’ve launched a campaign called “Behind Every Great City”.
“And my message today to other cities – and to global tech leaders – is that, collectively, we must do more to champion greater inclusivity within in the tech community.
“It’s not only the right thing to do, evidence shows that it’s good for business too.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived Makurdi, Benue State, and he is meeting with the state Governor Samuel Ortom and others stakeholders.
This is President Buhari’s first visit to the state since the New Year killings which claimed the lives of over 70 people….
The March 2018 general election has revealed a few unknown possibilities about the people of Sierra Leone.
Money not a Guarantee for Votes
The March 2018 elections in Sierra Leone has proven that money alone will not determine the electorates choice as the result showed abysmal performance of a few parties that had overwhelming turnout at their rallies only to suffer devastating defeats at the polls.
Even the threats of benefactors in the diaspora to their wards in country did very little in influencing the pattern of voting in the elections.
People collected money and T-shirts from political parties and still did not vote for the party.
Emergence of Strong Opposition Parties
Unlike in the previous elections where there emerges only one fairly strong party apart from the main opposition party, this year’s elections has two fairly strong parties which will definitely make a runoff election very interesting and unpredictable because of the dynamics this will bring to the mix.
It is not just APC and SLPP + any other party, NGC and C4C have brought in a new dimension to Sierra Leone politics whether they will last longer in relevance than the PMDC of Charles Margai whose alliance in 2007 helped the Ernest Koroma led APC to beat the Solomon Berewa led SLPP.
The issue will not be as simple as just beating the APC party but the real issue will or could be who can one support now that can come back in 5 years’ time to compete with and have a fair chance of winning.
Unpredictable Runoff Requiring Serious Back-End Negotiations
If there happens to be a runoff in this year’s elections as has been widely projected from early results, the outcome cannot be easily or casually assumed.
Alignments might not be so easy to achieve and the voters also seem to be maturing and demonstrating some amount of independence in their decision making so it might not be enough to just reach out to the two new underdogs (Kandeh Kolleh Yumkellah of NGC and Sam Sumana of C4C) and expect the people in their strong holds to vote accordingly.
Sam Sumana – C4C –
Who will he go with? Will he accept apologies from his old comrades and will they be willing to apologize and meet his demands? Will the Kono people forgive and trust the APC after the incidences of abuse and executive (order from above) interferences in the socioeconomic life of the people?
Will Sam Sumana and the Kono people go with SLPP or in the rare possibility boycott voting during the runoff?
Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkellah – NGC –
Who will he go with? Will he welcome overtures from his old comrades who at some point (while still in their fold) were very rude and violent towards him refusing him the freedom and opportunity to contest for the party’s presidential ticket?
He has expressed at various times his lack of confidence in Rtd.General Maada Bio’s leadership abilities to lead a party talk less of a nation. Will he rather support Samura Kamara of APC whose party he has accused of Rankanomics (stinking economic policies?)
If he decides who to support will the NGC Kambia supporters follow him?
Will he boycott the elections and ask his supporters to do same?
The real issue will not be as simple as just beating the APC party or helping the SLPP party win the runoff.
But the real issue will or could be who can the electorates support now that can come back in 5 years’ time to compete with and have a fair chance of winning.
The NGC and C4C decision will certainly be their making or breaking…..
Interesting days still ahead…stay with BEN TV for unbiased analysis and reporting.
Hundreds of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Ogun State, have renounced their membership of the party and joined the rulling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
The decampees, from Yewa North and Imeko Afon Federal Constituency, who were loyal to the PDP faction of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, were received by Governor Ibikunle Amosun in Abeokuta, yesterday.
Leader of the decampees, Bashorun Sola Akinfenwa said “we have come to stay permanently in APC, having seen the transformational and developmental projects that the Governor Ibikunle Amosun led government has embarked on.
“We are greatly mobilising our people, because of your tremendous projects and your declaration to hand over power to an Ogun West indigene, come 2019”, Akinfenwa, supported by Hon. Muyibi Bankole and Mrs. Ramota Adegbesa, said.
He reiterated his administration’s commitment to work till its last day in office, restating that all the ongoing projects embarked upon by his government would be completed.
State Chairman of the APC, Alhaji Tajudeen Lemboye, Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Suraj Adekunbi and party leaders, were also present to welcome the decampees.