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Buhari Fires FRC Boss Over Adeboye, Others’ Tenure

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  • Buhari Fires FRC Boss Over Adeboye, Others’ Tenure

Fresh facts emerged on Monday why President Muhammadu Buhari sacked the Executive Secretary of the Financial Regulatory Council of Nigeria, Mr. Jim Obazee, in connection with the implementation of the controversial corporate Governance Code 2016.

On Monday that Obazee was sacked for disobeying a directive of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechuckwu Enelamah, that the implementation of the regulation should be suspended.

Among others, the code stipulates 20-year tenure for heads of religious groups and civil rights organisations.

Buhari had, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Monday, approved the immediate removal and the replacement of Obazee.

According to the statement, the new Council, as approved by the President, has Mr. Adedotun Sulaiman as chairman.

The President has also approved the appointment of Mr. Daniel Asapokhai as the Executive Secretary of the council to replace Obazee

Sulaiman is a former Managing Partner/Director of Arthur Anderson and later, Accenture.

He is a chartered accountant and a product of the University of Lagos and Harvard Business School.

Asopokhai is a partner and a Financial Reporting Specialist at the PriceWaterHouseCoopers Nigeria.

He is a product of the University of Lagos and the University of Pretoria.

Shehu said Buhari had also instructed the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, to invite the 19 Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government and private sector organisations specified in the FRC Act to nominate members of the board of the council.

Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God had, on Saturday, stepped down as the overseer of the church in Nigeria in accordance with the governance code of the FRC.

Adeboye, who made the announcement during the church’s annual ministers thanksgiving service, at the Redemption Camp in the Mowe area of Ogun State, said the new regulation would affect clergymen, including Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church Worldwide International, aka Winners Chapel; Pastor W. F. Kumuyi of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry and Bishop Mike Okonkwo of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission.

On Monday, the minister had, on October 17, 2016, written the FRC boss, directing him to suspend the operation of the controversial regulation, which the Christian Association of Nigeria alleged was targeted at weakening the church.

According to the report, Obazee refused to suspend the regulation because there was no gazette backing the suspension of the regulation.

Enelamah’s recommendation nailed Obazee

Enelamah had earlier recommended to Buhari that the implementation of the regulation be suspended.

A top government official, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, said the President approved Enelamah’s recommendation and the minister thereafter conveyed the decision to Obazee.

The source said, “Since the minister had conveyed the President’s approval that the implementation should be suspended, it was taken for granted that it had been suspended.

“Surprisingly, the Presidency received a report that during the Christmas period, Obazee hosted chief executives of some quoted companies to a dinner.

“It was at that dinner that he reportedly told his guests that the law had taken effect and would be implemented.

“The report got to the government and the President was angry about it.”

The President of the National Council of The Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, was said to have led the chief executives of companies to the dinner.

Another source, who confirmed the development, said Buhari sacked Obazee and dissolved the board of the FRC on Monday based on the recommendation of Enelamah.

Ministers warn President on implication of code

A top source in the Presidency stated that Obazee was sacked because he defied the directive of the minister.

“The President was irked by the fact that the FRC disobeyed the directive of the minister that the regulation should be suspended,” the source stated.

Another source added that the Presidency found it curious that a regulation, which the Council could not implement during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, was being enforced under Buhari.

“Although the regulation dated back to Jonathan’s administration, why did he fail to implement it and ask the religious leaders to resign? Why did the council wait till the present administration before insisting on its implementation?” the source asked.

It was also gathered that some ministers told Buhari on Monday morning that the gale of resignation that would sweep across the Pentecostal churches in the South would affect his government.

One of the ministers, who spoke on condition of anonymity with one of our correspondents, said the ministers reminded the President that the regime could be tagged anti-Christian if action was not taken.

FG suspends code of corporate governance

Meanwhile, the Federal Government, on Monday, suspended the controversial Corporate Governance Code, which was issued on October 17 by the FRC.

The suspension was disclosed in a statement by Enelamah.

In the five-paragraph statement by the minister’s Strategic Communication Adviser, Constance Ikokwu, he said the code was suspended in order to carry out a detailed review of its application.

The review, according to the statement, would now involve extensive consultations with stakeholders upon the reconstitution of the board of the FRC.

The statement states, “The Corporate Governance Code issued by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria has been suspended, pending a detailed review, extensive consultation with stakeholders and reconstitution of the board of the FRC.

“Government remains committed to restoring and enhancing market confidence and improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.’’

The FRC is one of the parastatals under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and it is responsible for setting and promoting compliance with standards for accounting, financial reporting and auditing in Nigeria.

Shareholders rejoice as FG sacks FRC boss

Shareholders in the country’s capital market, on Monday, expressed joy over the sack of Obazee, saying it was a timely step in the right path.

They said the erstwhile FRC chief executive had overshot his bounds so many times before recent developments.

In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, the President, Renaissance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Olufemi Timothy, said at this particular time, the sack of Obazee was a good thing that had happened to the country as a whole, and not just the capital market.

He recalled that Obazee had earlier maintained that only chartered accountants could be admitted into the audit committee of companies, going against the practice where any elected shareholder could be elected into the position by fellow shareholders.

Timothy added, “He had gone beyond his mandate, and putting the country on a very hot seat. I think President Muhammadu Buhari is no longer comfortable with him. It is the best thing to happen to us to save the nation.”

Also, the President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Shehu Mikail, described Obazee’s sacking as “lovely”, saying the FRC boss had no business regulating bodies that were not under him.

Mikail stated, “This means the government has heard the cries of the people. I really support his sacking.

“People saddled with responsibilities should take into cognisance the interest of the people. The former FRC boss did not properly liaise with the regulators, but rather saw himself as superior.”

Also, the National Director, Legal and Public Affairs in CAN, Kwamkur Samuel, described Obazee’s sacking as a commendable development.

He said, “The Nigeria church and indeed many well meaning Nigerians will want to hear the total disbandment of the obnoxious, archaic and anti-Christian law by the Federal Government or the amendment in respect of the church.’’

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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FG Declares June 12 Public Holiday for Democracy Day Celebration

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The Federal Government has declared Wednesday, June 12, a public holiday in commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day celebration.

The announcement was made in a statement signed by Aishetu Ndayako, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Interior, on behalf of Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior.

The statement urged Nigerians to reflect on the struggles and sacrifices of the nation’s founding fathers and to ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secure, peaceful, and indivisible entity.

“As we mark another Democracy Day in the history of our dear country, let us all reflect on the efforts of our founding fathers and ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secured, peaceful, and indivisible entity,” the statement read.

A Historic Shift

The designation of June 12 as Democracy Day dates back to June 7, 2018, when former President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the day would henceforth be celebrated as Democracy Day.

Prior to this declaration, Democracy Day was observed on May 29, the date marking the inauguration of the Fourth Republic in 1999.

President Buhari’s decision was rooted in the historical significance of June 12, 1993, the day of what is widely regarded as Nigeria’s freest and fairest presidential election.

Despite the election’s annulment by the then-military government, Buhari emphasized that the democratic credentials of the process should be honored.

Honoring a Legacy

To further commemorate the significance of June 12, Buhari posthumously awarded Chief Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled 1993 election, with the nation’s highest honor, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).

The statement from the Ministry of Interior also highlighted President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to implementing positive reforms aimed at reviving Nigeria’s economy and enhancing national security.

A Call for Unity

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, called on all citizens and friends of Nigeria to appreciate the progress that has been made in the country’s democratic journey and to look forward to a brighter future.

“As we celebrate Democracy Day, we must appreciate the progress that has been made and remain hopeful for a better future for Nigeria’s democracy,” the minister said.

This year’s Democracy Day comes at a crucial time as Nigeria continues to navigate economic challenges and security concerns. The public holiday on June 12 provides an opportunity for Nigerians to reflect on the importance of democracy and the ongoing efforts to strengthen the nation’s democratic institutions.

As the nation prepares to observe the public holiday, there is a sense of anticipation and hope that the values of democracy will continue to guide Nigeria towards a prosperous and harmonious future.

The government’s declaration serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of June 12 and the importance of upholding democratic principles.

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Guilty on All 34 Counts: Trump Convicted in Hush Money Case

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In a historic and unprecedented legal decision, former President Donald Trump was found guilty on all 34 counts in his “hush money” trial, making him the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a crime.

The verdict was delivered by a jury of 12 New Yorkers on Wednesday, concluding a six-week trial in Manhattan.

The charges against Trump centered around falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.

The jury found Trump guilty on all counts, concluding that he authorized a scheme to falsify checks and related documents to keep the alleged affair from becoming public knowledge.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office presented evidence showing that the conspiracy to cover up the payment began during Trump’s 2016 campaign and continued into his first year in the White House.

They argued that Trump, along with his associates, created false records to mislead voters and conceal the payment.

Trump, who has consistently denied having any sexual encounter with Daniels, responded angrily to the verdict. Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, he called the trial “a disgrace” and accused the judge of bias.

“This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt,” Trump stated.

He vowed to continue fighting the verdict, saying, “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people, and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here. We’ll fight to the end.”

The conviction comes at a critical time for Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president in the 2024 election. Despite the conviction, there is no constitutional barrier preventing him from running for office again.

Legal experts note that the Constitution’s requirements for presidential candidates—being at least 35 years old, a natural-born citizen, and a U.S. resident for 14 years—do not include any disqualification for being a convicted felon.

Judge Juan Merchan has scheduled Trump’s sentencing for July 11. The defense has until June 13 to submit any motions, with the prosecution required to respond by June 27.

Trump’s legal team indicated they would prefer a sentencing date in mid to late July.

Trump’s conviction adds to the already intense political climate as the nation prepares for the 2024 elections. The trial has drawn significant media attention and public scrutiny, reflecting deep divisions within American society.

The trial highlighted broader issues regarding campaign finance and the use of hush money in politics. It also raises questions about the integrity of presidential candidates and the lengths to which they might go to protect their public image.

As the legal and political ramifications of this verdict unfold, Trump’s conviction on all 34 counts marks a significant chapter in U.S. history.

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President Tinubu to Inaugurate Newly Paved Roads to Apapa, Tin Can Ports

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President Bola Tinubu is set to inaugurate the newly constructed paved roads leading to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos on Saturday.

This development is anticipated to bring significant relief to port users and operators who have endured years of hardship due to the previously dilapidated roads and severe traffic congestion in the area.

The commissioning of these roads marks a major milestone in the government’s efforts to improve infrastructure and boost economic activities around the nation’s busiest ports.

The newly paved roads are expected to enhance the flow of goods and services, reduce operational costs for businesses, and alleviate the chronic traffic bottlenecks that have plagued the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas.

President Tinubu, who is scheduled to arrive in Lagos on Saturday morning, will perform the inauguration as his first assignment of the day.

The ceremony signifies a commitment to addressing the infrastructural challenges that have long hindered the efficiency of Nigeria’s maritime sector.

Mohammed Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), highlighted the importance of this project earlier this year.

He emphasized the NPA’s “zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to the free flow of traffic” and reiterated the agency’s dedication to improving port operations.

“Our zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to free flow of traffic is no fluke,” Koko said, noting that the rehabilitation efforts are aimed at consolidating gains achieved first in Apapa and now extending to Tin Can.

In January 2024, President Tinubu directed the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently and comprehensively repair the access roads to the Lagos Port Complex and Tin-Can Island Port Complex.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, echoed the urgency of this directive, pointing out that the poor condition of the port access roads had significantly increased internal logistics costs for importers and exporters.

“The dilapidated port access roads increase the cost of internal logistics for importers and exporters,” Oyetola noted.

The improved road infrastructure is expected to curb the exodus of businesses from the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas, which had been driven away by the severe logistical challenges.

The restoration of these critical routes is also anticipated to enhance Nigeria’s competitiveness in international trade by facilitating smoother and more efficient port operations.

Following the inauguration of the port access roads, President Tinubu is also scheduled to flag off the Lagos to Calabar coastal road project at Victoria Island in Lagos.

Also, he will virtually inaugurate the newly rehabilitated 3rd Mainland Bridge, further underscoring his administration’s commitment to revitalizing Nigeria’s infrastructure.

The series of inaugurations and project launches underscore a broader strategy to enhance connectivity, reduce operational bottlenecks, and stimulate economic growth through improved infrastructure.

The completion of the Apapa and Tin Can Island port roads is a pivotal step in this direction, promising a new era of efficiency and productivity for Nigeria’s maritime sector.

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