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Tinubu, Oyegun Row Splits APC NWC Members

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The call for the removal of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, by the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has divided the APC’s National Working Committee.

Tinubu had, in a statement on Sunday, accused the national chairman of allegedly working against the ideals of the APC in the handling of its governorship primary in Ondo State.

He had alleged that the National Working Committee of the APC had voted in favour of a fresh primary in Ondo State but Odigie-Oyegun overruled the NWC and submitted the name of Rotimi Akeredolu to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the governorship candidate of the APC.

The statement added, “If Tinubu is to choose between John (Odigie-) Oyegun and progress toward a better Nigeria, the choice has already been made. For those who care about Nigeria and its chance for a better tomorrow, now is the time to stand against this brewing evil before it grows to encompass all we have built and all we hold dear.”

It was gathered in Abuja that members of the NWC, especially those from the South-West, were backing Tinubu, whom they argued was at the verge of being disgraced.

Tinubu is also said to be receiving support from some party chiefs, who were said to have felt they had been sidelined in the party under Odigie-Oyegun’s leadership.

A member of the party’s leadership, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue, said, “I was one of those who cautioned our chairman about the handling of this Ondo palaver.

“He (Odigie-Oyegun) was the one who said we should put the recommendations of the panel to vote, which we did. He asked us to pray but used the opportunity to leave the hall.

“I personally think he is dancing to the tune of some individuals around Mr. President. He should simply step down.”

Asked to comment on the division within the party’s NWC, he said, “Our last meeting made that very clear.

“Six out of the 11 of us present at the meeting voted in favour of a re-run of the Ondo primary; five voted against. Yet, the choice of five was upheld. Is that democracy? You tell me.”

Another member of the NWC said Odigie-Oyegun should not be crucified because he made “an honest mistake here and there. I think this situation is not yet beyond redemption.”

In an interview, another NWC member said, “Let’s be honest, the APC does not belong to any individual. It is a give and take thing. Tinubu asked for and got the VP slot; he has members of his political family in the cabinet and even heads of government agencies. What else does he want?”

A top source in the APC stated that an emergency National Executive Committee meeting might be summoned after the Edo State governorship election to iron out some of the contending issues.

The Deputy National Chairman (South) of the party, Mr. Seguin Oni, in response to enquiries on the issue, said, “Yes, we have issues within the party but we are resolving them.

“You must give us some credit. We are a relatively young party with members drawn from diverse backgrounds. There are bound to be issues but we have the internal capacity to deal with our issues and we are doing it; be patient.”

The acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Timi Frank, backed Tinubu’s call for Odigie-Oyegun’s resignation.

He said he saw this coming long before now, stressing that many did not take him seriously.

He said, “I said there was crisis within the party. At that time, I was alone; nobody saw what I saw coming. The crisis of this party came up when the issue of the National Assembly came up; the position of the party leadership against its own party members, Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, for the party to close its eyes to the travails of these two men.

“Today, God has vindicated me after the Ondo primary. A national leader of our party, a founding father of the party has agreed with my earlier call that Odigie-Oyegun should resign as National Chairman. I knew from day one that the person that we have as national chairman could not give what he does not have.

“It is now clear that (Odigie-) Oyegun cannot take this party to where it is going. Can we now deny that one of the founding fathers of this party has come out clear to say Oyegun should resign?’’

Meanwhile, Odigie-Oyegun has said he will not take  issue with Tinubu.

Odigie-Oyegun, who spoke on Monday in Benin, said Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor, was a respected leader in the party, adding that he would have to consult with other party leaders before making a statement.

He, however, said “most” of the allegations in the media report were “not true,” noting that the party would focus on the September 28 governorship election in Edo State, which he said was his “priority”.

He said, “Asiwaju is a well respected leader of our party; so, I cannot be seen speaking evil against him. I have to consult properly with other leaders of the party before we make any definite statement. Again, you know we have a crucial election here in Edo, which is my priority right now.

“We do not want to lose focus and I know Asiwaju also wants us to win because we all have worked hard for this. So, maybe, after the election, if there is need, I will speak. If (there is) no need, I will relax. But all I can say now is that most of the things said in the papers about me are not true.”

Odigie-Oyegun stated that he had always believed in internal democracy and the credibility of primaries, which must be taken seriously.

The former Edo State governor added, “I believe that if primaries of parties are not credible, it may derail any democracy.  So, I do not play with these things at all. Everybody knows me and I do not joke with my credibility and I have tried to maintain it.’’

“But maybe after Edo election, after we must have emerged victorious, we may speak on some of the issues raised. So, there is no problem at all.”

It was learnt that Odigie-Oyegun came under serious pressure on Monday not to respond to Tinubu’s call on him to resign as the APC national chairman.

The outburst of Tinubu was said to have confirmed the internal wrangling in the ruling party.

However, Odigie-Oyegun, who was said to have been seriously jolted by Tinubu’s accusation, was said to have been prevailed on by some ministers and governors from the APC not to respond to Tinubu’s attack.

A minister, who spoke on condition of anonymity said he, along with some of his colleagues, had called the party chairman not to speak.

He said while it was true that the former governor of Lagos State had every reason to be embittered, allowing the party chairman to respond would further portray the ruling party as uncoordinated.

The top party chief stated, “Though it is painful when you are accused of something and you feel you needed to reply, but we have told him to keep quiet because we don’t want the opposition and the media to feast on it.

“The matter is being looked into and I think the leaders of the party, especially President Muhammadu Buhari, must act fast, otherwise, the party will die under his Presidency.”

Reacting to the crisis in the APC, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, elder statesman and former aide to ex-President Shehu Shagari, called on Tinubu to condemn what he described as the current injustice in the party before it degenerated.

Claiming that he “foresaw” the current crisis, Yakasai also urged Tinubu to tackle Buhari, alleging that Tinubu’s political travails were well-thought-out and plotted in the Presidency.

Yakassai said, “From all indications, every right thinking person will figure out a sinister plot to bundle out Tinubu from the hierarchy of the APC; and I want to believe this is coming from the Presidency.

“The situation at the moment is that apart from the CPC (Congress for Progressive Change) members, everybody in the government is a mere onlooker.’’

Also, one of the Ondo State governorship aspirants of the APC, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, has asked Tinubu, to accept the result of the APC governorship primary in the state “instead of chasing a lost cause.”

Abayomi said on Monday while reacting to Tinubu’s statement, demanding the resignation of Odigie-Oyegun.

Abayomi urged Tinubu to behave like a true democrat and accept Akeredolu.

He said, “Asiwaju Tinubu is a respected leader of the party and is also a champion of democracy. “He needs to understand that in life, you cannot win every battle. You win some and you lose some. Now that he has lost, he should accept the outcome and act like a true leader by accepting the outcome of the primary.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

10 Million Additional Girls At Risk of Child Marriage Due To COVID-19- UNICEF

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With 25 million child marriages averted in the last decade, UNICEF issues warning on International Women’s Day that these gains are now under serious threat

Ten million additional child marriages may occur before the end of the decade, threatening years of progress in reducing the practice, according to a new analysis released by UNICEF today.

An analysis released by the UN agency titled: “COVID-19: A threat to progress against child marriage” was released on International Women’s Day – warns that school closures, economic stress, service disruptions, pregnancy, and parental deaths due to the pandemic are putting the most vulnerable girls at increased risk of child marriage.

The statement reads “even before the COVID-19 outbreak, 100 million girls were at risk of child marriage in the next decade, despite significant reductions in several countries in recent years. In the last ten years, the proportion of young women globally who were married as children had decreased by 15 percent, from nearly 1 in 4 to 1 in 5, the equivalent of some 25 million marriages averted, again that is now under threat.

“Girls who marry in childhood face immediate and lifelong consequences. They are more likely to experience domestic violence and less likely to remain in school. Child marriage increases the risk of early and unplanned pregnancy, in turn increasing the risk of maternal complications and mortality. The practice can also isolate girls from family and friends and exclude them from participating in their communities, taking a heavy toll on their mental health and well-being.

“COVID-19 is profoundly affecting the lives of girls. Pandemic-related travel restrictions and physical distancing make it difficult for girls to access the health care, social services and community support that protect them from child marriage, unwanted pregnancy and gender-based violence. As schools remain closed, girls are more likely to drop out of education and not return. Job losses and increased economic insecurity may also force families to marry their daughters to ease financial burdens.

“Worldwide, an estimated 650 million girls and women alive today were married in childhood, with about half of those occurring in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, India and Nigeria. To off-set the impacts of COVID-19 and end the practice by 2030 – the target set out in the Sustainable Development Goals – progress must be significantly accelerated”.

Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director said “COVID-19 has made an already difficult situation for millions of girls even worse. Shuttered schools, isolation from friends and support networks, and rising poverty have added fuel to a fire the world was already struggling to put out. But we can and we must extinguish child marriage.

“International Women’s Day is a key moment to remind ourselves of what these girls have to lose if we do not act urgently – their education, their health, and their futures.

“One year into the pandemic, immediate action is needed to mitigate the toll on girls and their families.

“By reopening schools, implementing effective laws and policies, ensuring access to health and social services – including sexual and reproductive health services – and providing comprehensive social protection measures for families, we can significantly reduce a girl’s risk of having her childhood stolen through child marriage”.

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Africa Needs USD 35-billion per Year  to Tackle Water Crisis

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USD 35-billion per year is needed to tackle Africa’s water crisis; South African firm Khato Civils announces African expansion and calls for AfCFTA to be the catalyst to build Africa’s water infrastructure.

The United Nations warns that the world could face a 40 per cent shortfall in water supply by 2030, with Africa – which already suffers from greater levels of water stress than other regions – likely to bear the brunt.

The economic impact of the shortfall in water infrastructure and supply is already severe. Sub-Saharan Africa currently loses an estimated 5 per cent of its annual gross domestic product (GDP) due to poor access to clean drinking water and sanitation, 5 to 25 per cent of its GDP to droughts and floods in affected countries, and 40 billion hours of otherwise productive time annually, collecting water.

Having delivered on sustainable water supply projects in the SADC region, South African-based construction and engineering firm, Khato Civils, has announced its intention to expand across the continent and play its part in tackling Africa’s infrastructure shortfall.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the world’s largest free trade area, came into effect in January 2021. It is expected to increase levels of intra-Africa trade by over 50 per cent by 2030 and offers the opportunity for increased Pan-African collaboration in major infrastructure projects.

In an interview with AfricaLive.net Khato Civils Chairman Simbi Phiri put forward an ambitious vision for African development facilitated by infrastructure development. “Problems like food shortages are not occasioned by a lack of food on the continent necessarily, it’s about our underdeveloped land and waterways. If we can step up infrastructure development, we will solve a lot of other problems as well,” says Mr Phiri.

“AfCFTA gives us a chance to have a business without borders.

We will now be able to go into places like Zimbabwe, Zambia and other countries to compete. It also gives us a chance to compete with multinationals from India and China in other African countries. The agreement will lay to rest some of the restrictions that were imposed by colonial legacies of the past.

The Data: Africa’s Water Crisis In Numbers

As the world becomes more populous, increased urbanisation, climate change and changes in food production are driving water demand at a rate that outpaces supply.

* Globally, 80 per cent of wastewater goes back into the ecosystem without adequate treatment, resulting in 1.8 billion people worldwide drinking contaminated water.

* Over 300 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to clean drinking water and over 700 million live without access to good sanitation.

* The world faces a severe water shortage by 2030, and Africa is likely to bear the brunt – as exacerbated by the impact of climate change.

* Africa’s water sector has an annual investment shortfall of USD 13 billion (urban areas) to USD 27 billion (rural areas).

* African countries lose between 5 and 25 per cent of GDP due to issues related to lack of water infrastructure.

The Opportunity: Every 1 USD spent brings between 3 and 24 USD of economic benefits

For every USD 1 invested in water and sanitation, there are direct and indirect economic returns to individuals and households, the health sector, and agricultural and industrial sectors, ranging from USD 3 to 34, according to the World Health Organisation.

If you look at big cities like Accra, their biggest issue is water and sanitation,” says Mr Phiri, “The same applies to other cities like Lagos and Kinshasa with power and roads coming a close second,”

Water and sanitation is without a doubt the main area that will boom in Africa in the short-term future.”

In order to unleash these economic benefits, Khato Civils Chief Executive Officer Mongezi Mnyani calls on governments to accelerate infrastructure development and foster public-private partnerships. “Political will is at the centre of it all,” says Mr Mnyani.

“Infrastructure initiatives must be government-driven because that’s where the agenda is set and major decisions are made. Governments must work collaboratively and also develop strategies that entice the private sector so that firms like ours have an easier time carrying out projects.”

The Water Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa Requires an Annual Investment of USD 35 Billion

While poor governance, mismanagement of resources, and a lack of environmental research have exacerbated water supply issues, insufficient long-term investment in water infrastructure needed to manage water resources and provide water services remains a key challenge.

The African Development Bank’s Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Wambui Gichuri, recently highlighted an annual investment requirement of USD 35 billion per year.

Ms Gichuri also stated that a UN assessment indicates finance gaps of between 39 per cent for urban water supply and 78 per cent for rural water supply.

Derisking Africa in the eyes of global capital is key to closing that funding gap. Mr Phiri believes indigenous African construction and engineering firms – previously often overlooked in favour of international firms – have a role to play in building investor confidence, saying “I believe it’s all about getting projects done on time, within budget, and with proper quality.

“People will trust you more if you have a track record of delivering what’s needed with allocated funds.

“Risk comes in when we have companies that do not do what’s required of them with borrowed funds. Once we develop professional and social proof based on the work done with borrowed funds, it will boost our credit rating and make it easier for us to access more capital.”

Khato Civils Impact On Infrastructure in Southern Africa

Khato Civils has been making a mark on water infrastructure across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region for decades, with Mr Phiri at the helm for about 11 years. “We took over the company in 2010 because we saw a niche area in South Africa,” he says. “Lots of South African companies were either being priced out of deals or running out of budget to complete certain projects. We also wanted to bring a special quality to the market in a way that exceeds what customers want and need.”

Also speaking in an interview with AfricaLive.net, CEO Mogezi Mnyani adds, “We may be based in Johannesburg, but we have offices in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Ghana and South Sudan. We are looking to set up offices in other regions as well because our vision is to diversify into other markets and offer our products to countries that need them the most across the continent.”

With Khato Civils’ ongoing expansion and 85 per cent of their staff based in local sites, the company is poised to expand Sub-Saharan Africa’s water infrastructure and supply, thus improving climate resilience and mitigating food security risks, pending greater investments in water infrastructure. “It’s not just about business for us, we work to ensure we leave a legacy by changing the lives of communities,” says Mr Mnyani.

Botswana’s 100km Pipeline Project

The government of Botswana is implementing the North-South Carrier Project to address water shortages in its growing capital, Gaborone.

The Khato Civils/South Zambezi/Evolution Engineering JV is designing and constructing a Transmission Water Pipeline of approximately 100km from Masama Well fields to Mmamashia Water Treatment Plant in Gaborone, to convey 64Ml/day of borehole water abstracted from both Masama East and West Wellfields. The project started in May 2020 and Khato Civils is rallying to complete what would normally require 2.5 years in half the time, as per the client’s wishes, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joint Venture with South Zambezi: Mmamashia Water Treatment Plant in Botswana

In connection with the above-mentioned North-South Carrier Project in Botswana, Khato Civils is working in a joint venture with South Zambezi to increase the capacity of the Mmamashia Water Treatment Plant to handle increased water pipeline flows. The project entails designing, building and equipping all protection for the water treatment plant to function effectively, critically examining the maximum water flows and associated pressures, design calculations and drawings, amongst other activities.The plant will treat a maximum of 110 megalitres of raw water per day.

Khato Civils and South Zambezi have a long-standing business relationship. This joint venture serves as a clear example of the type of collaboration African engineering firms can form to deliver infrastructure projects ahead of schedule.

Lake Malawi Water Supply Project

The Lake Malawi project was conceptualised as a long-term and sustainable intervention to water problems that have been affecting the ever-growing population of Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe, for over a decade. Khato Civils won the USD 500 million water transfer project tender issued by the government of Malawi, beating six reputable companies from China, Portugal, South Africa, Italy and the United Kingdom.

Khato Civils is in a joint venture partnership with South Zambezi to extract water from Lake Malawi, clean and transport it to the Lilongwe Water Station, 124km away, before piping it to the city’s population. Khato Civils’ designs have been approved by the Malawi Water Board and the national government.

Shaping Africa’s Future With A Commitment to Green Building

The Khato Civils leadership also emphasises a commitment to sustainable engineering, construction and infrastructure development. “Our designs always have an element of green building in terms of energy savings, alternative sources of energy and local materials. We also research and look to bring in green technologies so that we ensure sustainability even as we build,” says Mr Mnyani.

Mr Phiri adds, “I believe our future in this industry, in relation to sustainability, will largely depend on solar energy. We want to be recognised in this space and we are moving ahead with sealing important partnerships with Canadian firms to get the right competencies. We see this as an emerging sector.”

Another of Khato Civils’ key service offerings is advice on cost-effectively executing projects from the design stage. “The importance of preliminary work before the execution stage is very important,” says Mr Mnyani. “We are resourceful enough and open enough for the use of various energy forms along the course of work. We have incorporated hydropower and even solar power, in the design, to ensure continuity at all times. We also believe in preserving natural sites, indigenous trees, graves and other important landmarks of countries.”

A Call For Transformative Partnerships

Khato Civils is now looking to both inspire a new generation of African engineers while accelerating its own development by forming new strategic partnerships.

Another big plus of the AfCFTA agreement is that fellow Africans will see an African-owned company like us that is well organised and accomplished and our success will rub off on them. Overall, the trade agreement provides a platform where trailblazing African companies can set the marker for the rest to emulate,” says Mr Phiri.

We look for competent like-minded partners and have found some in Kenya, USA, Italy, and other countries. The companies we work with have done business in far-flung areas, including Asia, and understand how to operate in sometimes unfavourable conditions.”

We are open to partners that have a passion for changing the status quo, care about African development, and are not just interested in profitability.”

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Energy Sector Stands With Equatorial Guinea as Explosions Decimate in Residential Areas

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Equatorial Guinea saw the loss of at least 20 lives and over 600 wounded following a series of explosions at a military base in the city of Bata.

The Energy Sector wishes to extend its full support to the people of Equatorial Guinea and appeals to the international community and fellow Africans to come together, lend a hand and #PrayForEquatorialGuinea.

Equatorial Guinea saw the loss of at least 20 lives and over 600 wounded following a series of explosions at a military base in the city of Bata.

The explosion which occurred around 4 pm on Sunday caused severe damage to numerous houses and buildings in Bata. In an official statement, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo said the detonation was “caused by the negligence of the unit in charge of storing explosives, dynamite and ammunition at the Nkoa Ntoma military camp.” Furthermore, he explained that, “These caught fire due to stubble-burning by farmers in their fields which ultimately made these depots explode in succession.”

The head of state appealed to the international community for aid and acknowledged the vastness of the impact the explosions will have on the country’s economy – which has already suffered a major hit with the pandemic and drop in oil prices as an oil-reliant country.

“We are shocked by this tragedy and pain. We should not dwell on the past or get stuck in grief,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. “No one is more resilient than the citizens of Bata and the people of Equatorial Guinea and, I am confident they will beat this. As a business community, we need to focus on supporting the government in its building efforts. It has to be rebuilt not as it had been, but this is an opportunity to build Bata as it should be,” concluded Ayuk.

In the aftermath of this tragic event, we urge the oil and gas community to mobilize their expertise, capabilities, and community resources to assist with the relief and recovery efforts in coordination with the government.

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