Friday, 24 September 2021

NEWS AND STORIES

Items filtered by date: March 2021

  • Bitcoin fell as much as 9% on Monday as investors took profits following a weekend record.
  • The cryptocurrency climbed as high as $61,742.41 on Saturday and continued to flirt with $62,000 on Sunday.
  • The consolidation came amid reports that India is considering a partial ban on cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin fell as much as 9% on Monday after hitting a record high over the weekend as investors scrambled to take profits.

The cryptocurrency slipped to $54,733.53 at intrasession lows after surging to $61,742.41 on Saturday and continuing to flirt with the $62,000 level through Sunday.

Crypto investors are also weighing the implications of a Reuters report that India will propose a law banning cryptocurrencies that would fine anyone for trading or holding it. The coin dipped on the news before recovering some losses after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman walked back the report.

“Bitcoin quickly became an overheated market, triggering many crypto whales to lock in profits,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, told Insider. “The anticipation of a cryptocurrency ban in India was already telegraphed, but provided added fuel to the bitcoin pullback.”

Bitcoin’s latest leg down comes after the passing of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill helped trigger the weekend surge. The decline also dragged other cryptocurrencies lower, with ether down as much as 7%, to $1,736.57.

The coin was down 5.5%, at $56,966.42, as of 9:35 a.m. in New York.

Read more: A Norwegian billionaire who just set up a $59 million unit to invest in the bitcoin ecosystem breaks down his 3-fold strategy – and shares why he believes the digital currency is actually a solution to many of its perceived challenges


Screenshot 2021 03 15 at 12.27.30

Published in News & Stories

If you’ve been thinking about entering the world of cryptocurrency but don’t know much about it, you’ve come to the right place.

Below is a beginner’s guide on what it is, how it works, the cryptocurrencies that have the largest market capitalization (total value), how to invest and more worthwhile information.

Here’s everything you need to know about cryptocurrency.

What is cryptocurrency? How does it work?

Cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to be used over the internet, according to Coinbase. It’s decentralized, meaning it isn’t controlled by the government or any other central authority such as a bank.

You can use cryptocurrency to buy products from retailers who accept it as payment, such as Overstock, or sell it to make a profit.

All transactions are made secure and vetted by a technology called blockchain, which records digital assets in real time using code. Most cryptocurrencies have their own blockchain.

What are the different types of cryptocurrency? Which crypto should I buy in 2021?

There is currently over 8,000 different types of cryptocurrency, according to CoinMarketCap.

These are currently the 10 largest cryptocurrencies to trade by market capitalization, according to real-time data tracked by CoinMarketCap (Note: market capitalization is constantly changing).

  1. Bitcoin (BTC): $1 trillion
  2. Ethereum (ETH): $202.9 billion
  3. Binance Coin (BNB): $39.2 billion
  4. Tether (USDT): $38.5 billion
  5. Cardano (ADA): $35.8 billion
  6. Polkadot (DOT): $31.6 billion
  7. XRP (XRP): $19.8 billion
  8. Uniswap (UNI): $15.4 billion
  9. Litecoin (LTC): $13.2 billion
  10. Chainlink (LINK): $11.1 billion

What is Bitcoin? What is Dogecoin? Why is it so popular?

Bitcoin is currently the largest cryptocurrency and the first to be widely adopted, according to Coinbase. It was created in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonymous person or team.

To invest, you don’t have to buy one entire Bitcoin, you can buy just a fraction. One Bitcoin is currently worth over $56,000.

Tesla, the American electric vehicle and clean energy company, recently made headlines by investing $1.5 billion in Bitcoin, according to its recent SEC filing, and plans to accept it as a form of payment “in the near future.”

As for Dogecoin, another form of cryptocurrency, it’s nowhere near the same market capitalization as Bitcoin, but it’s still wildly popular. One Dogecoin is currently worth only $0.05, which makes it so desirable. It has a market capitalization of $7.2 billion.

Dogecoin was originally created as a parody cryptocurrency in 2013 by Adobe employee Jackson Palmer and software engineer Billy Markus, according to a report by CoinDesk. It’s a play on the popular internet meme of a Japanese Shiba Inu branded as “doge.” Its non-serious vibe caused it to become a hit and attract a huge following.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is also a fan of Dogecoin and frequently tweets about the crypto.

How do I invest in cryptocurrency? Where can I buy crypto?

For starters, you need to sign up for a platform that allows you to purchase and exchange cryptocurrency.

Here are some options to get you started:

How can I protect myself from hackers?

If you’re not comfortable storing cryptocurrency through an online wallet, the best way you can protect yourself from hackers is to purchase a hardware wallet, which is similar to a USB drive.

A hardware wallet stores private keys (passwords) through a thumb-drive device, which you only connect to your computer when you want to access your crypto, according to Coinbase. As for online wallets, private keys are stored in an app or other software.

Here are some hardware wallets you can purchase to protect your crypto from hackers:

When did Overstock start accepting Bitcoin as payment?

Overstock became the first major retailer to accept Bitcoin in 2014, according to a report by CoinDesk.

The online retailer partnered with Coinbase to enable Bitcoin as a form of payment. For more information, check out Overstock’s help page here.

Overstock also has a “Bitcoin Bestsellers” page, which is what their customers “love to buy with Bitcoin.”

The following categories are a part of Overstock’s “Bitcoin Bestsellers”:

For more information on how cryptocurrency works, check out the video below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NgVGnX4KOw?feature=oembed

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Nicolette Accardi can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow her on Twitter: @N_Accardi. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

Published in News & Stories

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Bitcoin is the world’s largest cryptocurrency and it surged to an all-time high of more than $60,000 Saturday evening, continuing its rally as major companies like Tesla and Mastercard put their support behind digital currency.

Bitcoin reached a record high of $61,068.88 Saturday evening as of 7:03 CST, according to Coinbase. The move puts the cryptocurrency up more than 980% over the last year. Its value has surpassed the $1 trillion mark for the second time in 2021.

Bitcoin’s rally is driven partly by increased adoption of large institutional investors and speculative demand, according to CNBC. In early February, Tesla purchased $1.5 billion in bitcoin and said it would soon start accepting the digital currency as payment for products in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Critics of Bitcoin argue it has no intrinsic value, according to Bloomberg. Popular investor Michael Burry said the digital currency is a “speculative bubble that poses more risk than opportunity” and “if you do not know how much leverage is involved in the run-up, you may not know enough to own it” in a now-deleted tweet, according to Fortune.

Bitcoin’s popularity is evident on Audible, “The Bitcoin Standard” ranks #16 amongst top trending audiobooks.

Published in News & Stories

Bitcoin price failed to stay above USD 60,000 and started a downside correction. BTC declined below many supports near USD 58,000 before it found support near USD 55,000. It is currently (12:30 UTC) recovering, but the bulls might struggle near USD 58,000.

Similarly, most major altcoins started a corrective decrease. ETH is down 5% and it even broke the USD 1,800 support zone. XRP/USD is trading well below USD 0.450 and it even tested the USD 0.422 support.

Total market capitalization

Source: www.tradingview.com

Bitcoin price

In the past two sessions, bitcoin price failed to extend gains above USD 61,000, resulting in a short-term bearish reaction. BTC broke the USD 58,500 and USD 58,000 support levels. It declined almost 8% and there was also a spike below the key USD 55,000 support zone.
However, the price bounced back above USD 55,000 and it is seemingly recovering. An immediate resistance is near the USD 57,200 level. The key hurdle could be USD 58,000 (the recent breakdown zone).

Ethereum price

Ethereum price also followed bitcoin and declined over 5%. ETH traded below the USD 1,850 and USD 1,800 support levels. It tested the USD 1,750 support zone and it is now consolidating losses. An immediate resistance is near USD 1,800, but the key hurdle is now forming near USD 1,850.
On the downside, the USD 1,750 level is a decent support. Any more losses could possibly open the doors for a move below the USD 1,700 level.

BNB, ADA, litecoin, and XRP price

Binance Coin (BNB) broke the USD 265 support and it even tested the USD 250 support. BNB is consolidating above USD 250 and it could correct higher. The previous support near USD 265 might act as a breakout zone. Conversely, a break below USD 250 could lead the price towards USD 220.
Cardano (ADA) is now trading well below USD 1.050 and it even tested the USD 1.000 support. It seems like the price might struggle to recover above USD 1.050 in the short term. As a result, there are chances of a downside break below the USD 1.000 support.
Litecoin (LTC) trimmed gains below the USD 220 and USD 212 levels. LTC even tested the USD 200 support zone and it is now consolidating losses. If there is a fresh increase, the USD 220 level might prevent gains. On the downside, the USD 200 level holds a lot of importance in the near term.
XRP price extended its decline below the USD 0.435 support level. It tested the USD 0.422 support and it is now correcting higher. To start a strong increase, the price must gain strength above USD 0.445 and USD 0.450.

Other altcoins market today

Many altcoins declined over 8%, including ZEN, NPXS, NEAR, DGB, BAT, ETC, BSV, BCH, AVAX, ZIL, DOGE, CRO, and MANA. Conversely, ONE, HOT, ENJO, and ALGO are up in double-digits.

To sum up, bitcoin price is correcting gains, but it stayed above the USD 55,000 support level. It seems like BTC could consolidate before it could attempt a fresh increase above USD 58,000.
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Find the best price to buy/sell cryptocurrency:

Bitcoin Finds Support Near USD 55K, Ethereum Consolidates Losses 102
Published in News & Stories

By Collins Nweze/ THE NATION

Naira’s depreciation has taken a toll on the capital base of the insurance industry. The capital has dropped to $1 billion from $2.2 billion.

This was contained in the Agusto & Co. 2021 Nigerian Insurance Industry Report: “Forging ahead despite headwinds”, released at the weekend.

The report by the pan-African credit rating agency, said that as at December 31, last year, the industry had an estimated capital base of $1 billion, significantly lower than $2.2 billion recorded as at 31 December 2007.

The naira was at the weekend exchanging at N485/$1 at the parallel market and N415/$1 at the Investors’ & Exporters’ (I&E) Forex window but remained stable at N379/$1 on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) official rate, a check at the apex bank’s website showed.

The local currency has lost over 30 per cent of its value in the last one year, despite regular dollar interventions by the CBN to stabilise the local currency.

According to the report, insurance industry is also burdened with other challenges, including the urgent need to raise new capital.

Although, some insurers have strengthened their capital base through earnings retention, the ability of most industry operators to solely underwrite large ticket transactions has dwindled, based on the lower value of the capital in dollar terms.

The report said the on-going insurance recapitalisation is expected to change the structure of the industry.

Industry regulator – the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) – has therefore, raised the minimum capital to N8 billion (from N2 billion), N10 billion (from N3 billion), N18 billion (from N5 billion) and N20 billion (from N10 billion) for life insurers, non-life insurers, composite insurers and reinsurance firms respectively.

The report said: “In addition to the benefits accruing from a larger capital base from a risk underwriting perspective, improved investment management practices will be upheld by a larger investment portfolio driven by a need to generate adequate returns. The recapitalisation has elicited mergers and acquisition transactions in the Industry.”

According to Agusto & Co., the recapitalisation has suffered some setbacks, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged global economy, including Nigeria’s.

Agusto & Co. hoped the industry’s recapitalisation could be a watershed despite the setbacks.

It said: “Consequently, NAICOM postponed the deadline for the recapitalisation exercise, which was later stratified into two phases; December 2020 and September 2021. In addition, litigation by some Industry operators and aggrieved shareholders resulted in the postponement of the December 2020 deadline for the first phase of the recapitalisation exercise.”

Also contained in the report is a review of the coronavirus pandemic on the insurance industry and the strategies adopted by insurers to minimise the associated disruptions while optimising the opportunities provided by the pandemic.

The firm anticipates an uptick in these transactions as the recapitalization deadline draws near.

It said: “The shareholding structure of most insurers is expected to change in the near term as some investors leverage the exercise to either gain or increase exposure to the Industry.

“With the gradual rebound of the global economy, more foreign investors are expected in the industry, given that the naira devaluation has reduced the value of insurance companies (in dollar terms), despite the undisputed opportunities in the Nigerian insurance industry.

Also, the entry of new players after the embargo that lasted over a decade was a key point in the Industry. In November 2020, six new operators were licenced in the life, non-life and reinsurance segments of the Industry. The firm anticipates the entry of more players, particularly from existing financial institutions seeking opportunities for diversification of income.”

Published in News & Stories

By Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) and Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna)/ GUARDIAN.NG

*Assembly gets 21-day ultimatum to kill bill

An attempt by the Enugu State House of Assembly to amend the law that provides life pensions for former governors and their deputies has elicited outrage.

This is as a known socio-political group, Save Enugu Group (SEG), yesterday, issued a 21-day ultimatum to the lawmakers to kill the bill in the interest of peace and good governance.

Also, the Enugu State Continuity and Equity Movement (ESCEM) described the move as “disappointing, misappropriation of priorities and legislative rascality”, wondering why such a bill should come up for deliberation at “ a time the state is facing numerous challenges that required urgent legislative input.”

In a statement by its Acting State Coordinator, Chukwuebuka Aneke and State Publicity Secretary, Onyendozi Onwe, the movement stated that it was a pointer that the lawmakers were not aware of the sufferings of the residents and challenged them to initiate a bill to criminalise non-payment of gratuity and pensions to retired civil servants as and when due.

The executive bill, which was presented for first reading during plenary last Thursday, seeks to provide gratuity as well as pension for life for governors and their deputies upon successful completion of tenures.

It also makes provision for medical allowance not exceeding N12 million yearly for one surviving spouse once married to the governor while in office.

Whereas the state government would provide adequate security for the ex-governors for their lifetime, proposed legislation, when passed, would also mandate government to provide three vehicles for the erstwhile chief executive replaceable every four years.

The bill reads: “A person who had held office as elected governor or deputy governor in Enugu State or any other state should be entitled to pension for life.

“When a former governor or former deputy governor dies, the state government should make adequate arrangements and bear the financial responsibility for his burial.

“The state government should pay a condolence allowance of a sum equivalent to the yearly basic salary of the incumbent to his next of kin, among others.”

Reacting to the development, National Coordinator of SEG, Chief Willy Ezeugwu, submitted: “It is shocking that while a state like Lagos, with high internally generated revenue (IGR) that runs into billions of naira monthly, has abolished pensions for former governors, the Enugu State House of Assembly allowed such a bill to pass first reading when such a law will deplete the state’s meagre revenue by over N2 billion yearly.”

He said the group was mobilising “conscious citizens, civil society groups and labour unions to shut down Enugu State House of Assembly for as long as it will take to kill this most insensitive bill.”

But justifying the move, Leader of the State House of Assembly, Ikechukwu Ezeugwu, told The Guardian that the bill had been in existence since 2007, stressing that the review was prompted by the fact that it was not all-embracing.

Published in Politics

Members of the community where I live did not start a vigilante group because the Nigerian minister of Defence asked us to protect ourselves. We decided to over the spate of robberies we were experiencing in our community in Benin City. The nature of these robberies resembles the kind perpetrated on residents by Boko Haram – they are directed at the vulnerable and women. Sometimes, they are regular and at other times irregular, depending on the time of day and depending on the level of vigilante observed by residents. When the criminals observe that residents may have gone to work, they break in, steal household items and make a break for it. At night, they lay ambush at victims at very isolated spots frequented by poor and struggling women, and take their phones, hard-earned cash and make a dash into the nearby bushes. The other day, a co-resident with her son, was attacked and robbed of all they had eked for the day; a policeman’s daughter was victim as well. There are many more.

This had otherwise been a relatively peaceful and quiet community, considered by some as very safe to live. Incidents in the past involving herdsmen leading their herds into cassava and corn fields and destroying same were resolved after a meeting with the cattle herders. Residents took it for granted that since the airport is close by with an air force post, a police post and a correctional facility nearby, they could at least sleep with two eyes closed and snore into the bargain. But after a sporadic shooting incident and robbery just adjacent to the nearby police post and residents were robbed without police response, the scales fell from the eyes of these residents: that this is a to-your-tent-o- Israel kind of community, with life short, brutish and security for sale to the highest bidder.

In our case though, residents decided to come together to hire local people to patrol. In spite of the fact that we have to pay for water, irregular power supply and contend with high cost of living, we taxed ourselves mercilessly to pay for the services of those patrolling our community by night. But lo and behold, our efforts paid off – in the arrest of a suspect in broad day light – and not by the vigilante we had contracted to patrol but by a bloody civilian policing his community himself. After the arrest of the suspect, and after untrained interrogation (our threat to chop off the suspect’s arm nevertheless) was not yielding any information that could lead to revealing the gang perpetrating these robberies, the community decided to do the needful and hand the suspect over to the local police post.

The police outpost told the residents to take the case elsewhere because the case was beyond them. They had no resources – vehicles, manpower and funds to investigate this matter. Among items found on the suspect included a blood-stained t-shirt. At the other police post, and in the hands of trained personnel, the suspect confessed to having a gang, armed with cutlasses and locally made guns with which they carry out their criminal enterprise. He revealed where his gang was hiding, and to investigate further, the police said they needed a vehicle and ‘mobilization’ to be able to conduct such an investigation. Because we were unable to raise the kind of money to hire a vehicle and ‘mobilize’ the police to conduct a thorough investigation, we were utterly dismayed to learn that the suspect was to be released into regular society.

From the beginning of year 2021, Edo state has experienced unprecedented criminality ranging from cultists fighting one another to kidnappings. Pundits refer to Edo as a den of robbers and kidnappers. The celebrated incident of the Nigerian-American who was kidnapped and killed after ransom was paid further sent shivers down all our spines.

But in all this, what has the Obaseki government been up to? In January, there were reports of a move to start a neighbourhood watch project. It was to look like the Know Your Customer, KYC programme that banks usually carry out for due diligence purposes. We all clapped and applauded at that announcement knowing the positive outcome it would have for security purposes. But as we speak, we are not sure what has come of that announcement. The Edo government also has a security outfit aka Wagbaizigan, Stop Crime (in Edo language). In a report by ThisDay 13th December 2020, Obaseki was quoted as saying that ‘we have trained and graduated 800 community police personnel and other 1,200 will soon be called up for training in the next few weeks. We are investing in the police training school in Ogida police barrack to make it a permanent and proper training facility’. But with Wagbaizigan and the ‘trained and graduated 800 community police personnel’ in Edo state, crime festers. If you live in Benin City, and you are still not home by 8pm at the earliest, your life is at great risk. Don’t try to be at Sakponba Road, the King’s Square (Ring road), 2nd Junction, New Benin, Agbor road by Guinness, the bypass and the road leading to Ogbemudia farms any time after dark.

In February 2019, and according to FAAC, Edo received a gross total allocation of N4, 439, 862, 053.25 ($USD11, 668,490). In the light of the intractable security uncertainties in this state, budgeting $USD2million out of the above amount looks like a sensible thing to do. But in our case as a small community, we wouldn’t be needing to fund and mobilize the police to conduct an investigation if the police get some reasonable fraction of the said monies allocated to fight crime, criminality and its allied appendages. Before we make our appeal to Gov. Obaseki, we call on the Federal Authorities to consider state police to check the recurrent and capital incidences of insecurity in Nigeria.

If the Federal government is unable to fund or reform the police, why is it pussyfooting with letting it go for the regions to organise their own security? That said, we appeal to Governor Obaseki to go beyond the rhetoric of training and graduating community police personnel, activate his neighbourhood watch project, rev the Wagbaizigan and increase funding for police beyond the N5million he is alleged to give the police in Edo state monthly. Edo, and Benin City especially, is fast becoming a den of robbers, kidnappers and life is being measured in coefficients of uncertainty and fear.

Etemiku, editor in chief of WADONOR, cultural voice of the Niger Delta is deputy executive director of CERLSI. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Parliament

By Gbenga Bada, Assistant Editor/ THE NATION

Music star Davido has reacted to the victories of his contemporaries at the 2021 edition of the Recording Academy Awards aka Grammys.

The 28-year-old singer reacted to Burna Boy and Wizkid wins hours after the 63rd edition of the awards ceremony hosted by Trevor Noah on Sunday, March 14, in the United States of America.

“Whichever way you look at it, this is a victory for Nigeria for the culture and for my people! Congrats to our winners! Tule Naija!” Davido tweeted.

Burna Boy broke the Nigerian music record at the 63rd Grammy Awards by winning a Grammy award for his album, ‘Twice As Tall.”

On the same night, Ayo ‘Wizkid’ Balogun won his first-ever Grammy Award after two nominations.

The win came through his duet with Beyonce on the song, ‘Brown Skin Girl’ off the 2019 album, ‘The Lion King.’

Sikiru Adepoju is the first Nigerian to win a Grammy for his performance in an album jointly produced.

Burna Boy remains the first Nigeria-based, solo artiste to win the Grammys.

Published in Arts & Culture

In fairness to the Muhammadu Buhari administration, it has taken some steps aimed at facilitating business transactions. These include the Executive Order 1 signed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in May 2016. Also, following the World Bank annual rating, which placed Nigeria 131st position among 190 economies rated, the government also took some steps towards further making its dream of bringing the rating up to 70 by 2023, in tandem with its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). It was in pursuance of this objective that the government also came up with a new Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) which was signed into law on August 7, last year, for the purpose of bringing in new perspectives in the handling of commercial transactions in the country.

Salutary as these initiatives are, and in spite of their inherent challenges which the government is contending with as expected with such new ideas, another area that requires urgent attention is the prohibitive transportation costs of goods from the ports to their respective destinations, even within the Lagos metropolis. If not quickly addressed, this is capable of undermining all the other efforts aimed at facilitating business transactions.

What obtains with regard to haulage of goods from the ports is simply incredible. How, for instance, do you justify a situation where an importer pays more than what he spent to import his goods in transporting same from the port to final destination?

A few examples will suffice. A Nigerian who decided to relocate after spending about 30 years abroad soon realised the folly in his decision to ship his belongings with a view to reducing the cost of settling down. But his wisdom was turned to foolishness, no thanks to the ubiquitous ‘Nigerian factor’ that has become the fall guy for everything untoward. The man was slammed about N1.3m to convey the 40 feet container to his residence in Ikeja. Many other people are caught in this quagmire.

According to this newspaper, quoting a Financial Times report titled “Nigeria’s port crisis: the $4,000 charge to carry goods across Lagos”, business entities pay more than $4,000 to truck a 40ft container 20km to the Nigerian mainland. Interestingly, this is almost as much as it costs to freight a container from China which is about 12,000 nautical miles away from Nigeria.

How can any business do well in a situation such as this? Even blue chip companies would feel the heat of such excessive haulage cost, not to talk of the many business enterprises that are struggling, having been bogged down by other encumbrances, among them epileptic power supply? Indeed, an entrepreneur answered the question on behalf of others in similar circumstance: “I practically had to beg the truck owner before he accepted to collect N950, 000 from Tin Can port to this place (Ogba). What is the total profit on the goods that I have to pay so much? I am not in business to make a loss, so, unfortunately, I will have to transfer this cost to the final consumers,” she said.

This is the issue. The extra cost will eventually be borne by the usual beast of burden in the business mix: the consumer. But the implication by no means stop there. Ultimately, demand for the goods will begin to shrink, leading to contraction of the economy, job losses and eventually social dislocations and rising crime wave.

The government must be ready to address the issues that gave birth to this ugly development. Perhaps not much has been achieved in nipping this development in the bud because, rather than seeing it as a product of corruption. The government is looking at it as an issue of demand and supply. But something gave birth to the demand and supply crisis, even if that is what we choose, for the sake of convenience, to adduce to be the cause. President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero, put the issue in context:

”Somehow, a driver that has spent two weeks on the queue has to make up for the lost days by charging more; he also has to make up for the bribes he has to pay,” he said.

Jonathan Nichol, Chairman, Nigerian Shippers Association (Lagos chapter), corroborated this aspect of corruption: “It has never been like this in times past. Official and unofficial compulsory payments are made on every cargo movement. Trucking has become a big challenge.”

The media has drawn attention to this development in several reports and editorial comments. Why the long arm of the law has been too short to apprehend a few persons as scapegoats on this sordid affair at the ports is puzzling. It is also a paradox since the access road to the Tin Can Island Port has been restored.

Although there is so much optimism about the Electronic Call-up system just introduced by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as panacea to the problem of high haulage cost, it would require a renewed vigour on the part of the government and the NPA to succeed. We say this because, as we are removing one clog in the way of inefficiency at the ports, another is rearing its ugly head.

We must be ready to do things differently at the ports to complement other measures aimed at facilitating business transactions in the country.

Published in Parliament

Too often, President Muhammadu Buhari has appeared – to citizens, commentators, and even his supporters – as too silent on burning national issues. The perception is not misplaced, going by his relative lack of reaction to multifarious incidents, including rabid insecurity plaguing the country, charges of ethnic cleansing and domination, as well as the recent #EndSARS protest. The president has tended to keep mute and relatively aloof of the occurrences, until very late, when too much damage has occurred.

Being the head of a representative democracy that requires regular engagement with the electorate, the leader is reasonably expected to talk to, talk with, and generally keep in touch with the people through the many channels available in this 21st century. In these times, Buhari’s silence is not at all golden.

Regular and clear communication between a leader and the led is a sine qua non for both effective administration and successful leadership. For if, as a leadership-training expert John Maxwell says, leadership is influence, the potent means of a leader to influence people is effective communication. It is the oil in the machinery to influence. Whereas there are two sides to the meaning of silence, a leader who aims to achieve great things for his people through them must communicate with them; he cannot, should not, remain silent too often, too long. The silence of a ruler gives room in the polity for rumours, speculations and possibly undesirable repercussion. And these happen quickly in the technologically-wired global village that the world has become.

Granted that there is a time, a season, and a place for everything, there is indeed a time to speak up and speak out; there is too, a time to remain silent. In the latter case, silence is, in popular parlance, said to be golden. Silence can be a form of thoughtful restraint from speaking for the reason that it is at that time, a better or wiser cause of action. Golden silence is an act of wisdom. On the one hand, the silence of a man, and even more potently, of a leader can be a strategic weapon. Wisely applied, it keeps the other side guessing and even confused, to the calculated advantage of the silent.

On the other hand, the silence of a leader can indicate contempt or disdain for the led; an I -can’t- be- bothered -what -they – think –say- or do attitude. This wooden silence is certainly not wisdom, for a ruler, or anyone else. Indeed, as an implicitly provocative act, it is also a risky strategy. Persistent, protracted silence of a leader tends to show him as clueless, as one who is overwhelmed by the job and who simply knows not what to think, say or do about the demands of his office. As his government muddles, wobbles, and fumbles, so will the fortune and fate of the people and of their country. This can be tragic not only for himself, but for the country he heads.

Hydra-headed criminality has virtually taken over this country. In recent times, there is not a day that precious human blood is not shed somewhere on the soil of Nigeria. North and south, east and west, citizens are kidnapped, raped, murdered; homes are burnt and farms are destroyed. With a regularity that is somewhat nauseating, Nigerian leaders elected to assure the security and welfare of the people content themselves with expressing their regret, commiserate with the victims, and promise firm action against the criminals. And then fall asleep, so to speak, in the comfort of their official homes and offices maintained at public expense. But that is when they speak up at all.

Banditry is lately, the buzzword for large groups of murderous herdsmen on the rampage with the confidence of who can stop us. They are well armed with AK-47 guns, grenade launchers, and vehicle-mounted guns and well supplied with ammunition. This is happening in a country where all arms are supposed to be licensed by the Police; where indeed, the authorities had long ago ordered that such arms be surrendered.

If leadership is a trust, if the primary purpose of government is to guarantee the security and welfare of the governed, if the very first virtuous purpose of leadership is service, then the failure of Nigerian leaders in these respects is too palpable. The evidence is all over: from the debt- burdened, under-productive economy, through the chicanery of unrepentantly parasitic politicians, to the dysfunctional state of the Nigerian society. Only those who still benefit from the current sorry situation (and there is quite a number spanning the various elite groups) will have the nerve to assert that all is well with the country. It is sufficient to say that Nigeria is not on course to the greatness it deserves. And the blame falls on its leadership.

At the highest level of constituted authority, the silence to the dangerous drift of Nigeria into anarchy is deafening, notwithstanding the sporadic statements of media aides speaking for the Presidency. Presidential spokespersons do have a role to play in the polity, but Nigerians did not elect media aides as political leaders. No. The electorate invested Mr. Muhammadu Buhari with full authority and powers to manage the country’s affairs in the best interest of all. They expect periodic report to the people on how well he is getting on with the job. No spokesperson can articulate this better than the man on the job. And, the means to do this include formal media chat, response to the pressmen questions at occasions, televised address on issues of national urgency such as herdsmen banditry, the state of the economy, and the roaring call for a truly federal system of government. The alignment – or mismatch between the verbal and nonverbal communications can speak volumes about the integrity of a leader.

Nigerians are not necessarily looking out for oratory eloquence; but they care for substance of what their president says. A leader who has nothing to hide about his performance will confidently defend his actions and omissions. Nigerians know that Buhari is human, not a saint. Elected into the presidency after three rejections, he is expected to speak to Nigerians with the conviction of a leader doing his honest-to-God best to serve the greatest good of the greatest number. Wooden silence has no room in genuine leadership. Middlemen as spokespersons and script technicians will also not replace the direct communication between the president and the citizenry.

A leader that does not communicate limits his leadership potential while one that communicates maximizes his leadership. At a time that tries the soul of Nigerians, silence is not a virtue in governance. If President Buhari desires to influence Nigerians in a meaningful, result-oriented way, he must communicate much more with them. There are no two ways about it.

Published in Parliament
Page 6 of 8

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