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Lagos My Lagos By Barr. Ogunjimi

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I was at a colleague’s office in Finsbury’s Park, North London this week to train the staff on matters relating to anti money laundering’s ever evolving laws when the subject of Lagos and Nigeria came up.

 

I listened to every argument and happily enough, many of the contributors agreed that Lagos indeed is a city to watch and had nothing but praises for the masterminds of the current development of the modern city and with President Tinubu at the helms of affairs in Abuja, we can also expect some great transformation towards the country too.

 

Reno Omokri had these to say recently regarding the transformation of our country which has begun with Lagos about 25 years back: Isha Sessay is an American citizen who visits Nigeria often, and she praises our country to the high heavens because Nigeria’s healthcare saved her mother’s life. Time Out Magazine listed Lagos as better than Miami, Naples and Melbourne. (Some of) You have not been to these places, yet you are castigating Time Out as if you are better travelled than the 20,000 seasoned travellers they asked.

 

Are you aware that Lagos is now one of the world’s latest destinations for medical tourism? Please fact-check me. People from the United Kingdom and Europe, who have to contend with long waiting periods to see public healthcare professionals, are trooping to Lagos for inexpensive, IMMEDIATE treatment.

 

Let me add that our Stock Market is now the world’s most profitable bar none, and according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Nigeria is set to deliver a double-digit return on investment throughout 2024.

 

Governor Babajide Sanwoolu has just rolled out plans for an airline belonging to Lagos State to add to the incoming Lekki airport, the fourth mainland motorway, the rail systems covering not just the city but the whole state and beyond.

 

About 23 banks in the country are headquartered in Lagos and this tells you everything about those who watch over the city, those who labour day and night to make sure the city is free and secure to live and work. Those who selflessly plan for the progress of the city and her residents.

 

It is on this note I feel indignant listening to the provocative ranting of Senator Ali Ndume on the issue of moving some departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria to Lagos for easy administration.

 

How could Ndume come on national television to threaten fire and brimstone against the President so brazenly and with such impunity on a matter of mere administrative rather than political significance?

 

Who does he think he is to single out and address people from Lagos that work with the President in such a condescending manner? Look at the haughty manner in which he carried himself on national television insulting and attacking people he believes are less Nigerian than he and members of the self – conceited interest group he represents.

 

One of the first actions taken by OBJ after he assumed office in 1999 was to reverse the daft decision that moved the Hq of NPA from Marina to Abuja, which was taken by the Abacha administration. That was how SHIP HOUSE, Abuja was taken over by Ministry of Defence and the NPA Hq moved back to Lagos. Nigeria Railway Corporation also had its headquarters moved back to Railway Compound, Ebute Metta from Abuja by OBJ. When those decisions were taken the North cried foul but the world did not come to an end as OBJ stuck to his guns. I hope President Tinubu would stand his grounds on the decision that the Banking Supervision Department of the CBN and headquarters of FAAN be moved to Lagos. This is a test of wills and he must not back down.

 

We are copying the Presidential system of government from the US which literally allows the other components of the system to function along the central body or axis. In the US and the UK, strategic considerations determine where the headquarters of government agencies are located. When the need is compelling for some to be located outside the capital the headquarters is sited away from Washington or London. Abuja remains the capital but Lagos is strategically placed with all the amazing amenities being built by the government of the state to offer more opportunities to the nation.

 

Whichever way, Lagos continues to thrive and attract the best talents from all over the world and it will so greatly remain no matter the threat from her haters.

 

Unfortunately, no one can drag the lagoon or ocean from their God’s given abodes no matter how they try through their wicked devises and desires.

 

Lagos remains unshakable and will host many more departments thrown at it through the wisdom of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

Dr George Ogunjimi, the Bamofin of Ojo kingdom, Lagos writes from Goffs Oak. Hertfordshire, UK.

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Why First Lady Oluremi Tinubu Deserves To Be Celebrated At 63 – Lagos Assembly 

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– praises President Tinubu for achievements in 100 days

 

Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly have celebrated with the First Lady of the Federal Republic, Senator Oluremi Tinubu on her 63rd birthday.

The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, who directed the Clerk of the House to transmit a letter congratulating the First Lady on behalf of the Assembly, described Oluremi as a wonderful woman whose doors are always open to Nigerians in need.

“As a former First Lady of Lagos State, she continued and upgraded the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials, COWLSO, which is today appreciated far and wide.

“Her New Era Foundation lifted thousands of people, including widows, promoted and encouraged educational empowerment through the Spelling Bee competition that have produced many ‘One-Day Governors’ in the State.

“As Senator, she stood for Lagos in many capacities making the State proud of her.

“As the First Lady of Nigeria, she has continued with her strides for the well-being of others with unquantifiable compassion and zeal to help the less privileged, the challenged and those in need. She is doing this successfully through her Renewed Hope Initiative,” Dr. Obasa said adding that her philanthropic gestures have helped to build hope and motivated people.

He prayed for long life and health for the First Lady and her family.

Earlier, Hon. Omolara Olumegbon, who raised this on the floor of the House, appreciated Senator Oluremi for her achievements while she was First Lady of Lagos and in her capacity as the Grand Patron of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO).

Hon. Olumegbon also recalled how the First Lady touched lives while she served as Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

She described the First Lady as a mother, philanthropist, politician and patriotic Nigerian.

While Hon. Joseph Kehinde extolled her as a woman who loves widows and children, Hon. Olotu Emmanuel commended her for always helping people.

Hon. Mosunmola Sangodara described Senator Oluremi Tinubu as a woman of strength who is also God-fearing.

According to her, the First Lady is “a humble person who respects people irrespective of their ages. She is a woman to emulate for the support she has always given President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

Meanwhile, the House also commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his achievements in the last 100 days in office while urging for equitable distribution of palliatives in the form of social amenities across the country.

The lawmakers expressed satisfaction with the President’s effort to ensure the economy is stabilised despite the removal of subsidy.

“When people are appreciated, they tend to do more and in the case of Mr. President, there have been changes in all sectors of the country.

“The country is witnessing the achievements of President Tinubu. We also need to ensure that people who are in need of the palliative enjoy it the most in terms of more input in transportation, health, agriculture, and education,” Speaker Obasa said.

 

 

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Tinubu Definitely Graduated From Chicago State University – Farooq Kperogi

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I’m no fan of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Anyone who has followed my writing in the last few years will attest that I rank in the top three severest critics of his person, record, and politics.

But I’d be remiss in my self-imposed lifetime commitment to pursue the truth irrespective of where it leads me and expose falsehood irrespective of the consequences if I ignore the renewed, systematic dissemination of easily refutable lies about Tinubu not having graduated from Chicago State University (CSU).

Tinubu undeniably has many skeletons in his closet, but Chicago State University isn’t one of them. There is no question that the man who is known today as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu attended CSU for two years and graduated from it in 1979.

His study at CSU—a four-year, state-funded, historically Black university—was shortened because he transferred two years’ worth of college credit from Richard J. Daley College, a community college (equivalent to a diploma-awarding institution in Nigeria) in Chicago, which started life as William J. Bogan Junior College in 1960, got renamed Southwest College in 1970, and got renamed yet again as Richard J. Daley College in 1976.

That Tinubu graduated from CSU has never been in dispute. It was his claim to have attended or graduated from the elite, highly-ranked, privately owned University of Chicago that was a lie, but he later took back this claim and blamed it on an unintentional error by Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi.

In June 2022, when fresh, widely shared, and obviously politically inspired doubts were raised about the authenticity of Tinubu’s graduation from CSU, I took advantage of my being a professor here in the US and reached out to friends and colleagues at the school to help me verify this information.

A friend, who is a professor of English at the university, went to the registrar’s office and confirmed that Tinubu indeed attended and graduated from CSU. “Please be advised that Bola A Tinubu attended Chicago State University from August 1977 [to] June 1979. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with Honors on June 22, 1979. His major was accounting,” a statement from the office of the Registrar of the university read.

I shared this finding in a June 27, 2022, article titled “A Bola Tinubu Graduated From Chicago State University,” which several news outlets and blogs picked up. I wrote that “A Bola A. Tinubu” had graduated from CSU because I hadn’t conclusively authenticated the identity of the person and didn’t want to make any evidence-free association of the name with then presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

But as I pointed out in a later column titled “Lies and Truth About Obi, Atiku, and Tinubu,” I can now confidently establish that the Bola A. Tinubu who graduated from CSU in 1979 is the same Bola A. Tinubu who is president of Nigeria today. I know this because the yearbook photo of the 1979 CSU cohort features the headshot of an unmistakably younger Tinubu, even though his last name was misspelled as “THUBV.” I’ll come back to this point shortly.

In the past few days, a seemingly coordinated misinformation campaign has been relaunched to resuscitate the lie that Tinubu didn’t graduate from CSU. The rehabilitation of the lie is being constructed on a hexad of appealing but ultimately self-contradictory inaccuracies and innuendos.

The first is that a search of Bola A. Tinubu in the archive of US college graduation records yields zero matches. Well, that’s because Tinubu’s last name was misspelled as “THUBV” in his final graduation record. But a search of “Bola A. THUBV” (which one Engr. Stanley with the Twitter handle @Engr_Stanley_EC did) turns up the record of a male who graduated from CSU with a degree in Business Administration (and a concentration in accounting).

Non-Western names are always liable to be misspelled here. I know because I’ve suffered this multiple times. Apparently, Tinubu wrote his name in long hand, as was the practice then, and whoever was responsible for entering the final records couldn’t correctly make out Tinubu’s handwriting. It’s easy to see how handwritten “I” and “N” can be mistaken for “H” and how “U” can be mistaken for “V.”

Of course, it’s reasonable to assume that Tinubu complained, and a correction was later issued for his degree certificate, but it was too late for the information that was sent to the National Student Clearinghouse.

The second trigger for the rehabilitation of the lie is a putative July 8, 2011, FBI letter to the EFCC, which allegedly concluded that its search of Bola “Tinubo” in Chicago State University’ records showed that no such person ever enrolled at the school.

Well, duh (as Americans would say to signal that something is self-evidently obvious), no “Bola Tinubo” exists anywhere in the world. Had the FBI searched for “Bola A. Tinubu” at CSU’s registrar’s office, it would have found out that a person with that name graduated from the school in 1979.

The third lifeline for the revival of the falsehood is that a transcript oddly dated “0/76” from Southwest College belonged to a female. As I pointed out earlier, Richard J. Daley College used to be called Southwest College until late 1976. So, when Tinubu first enrolled at the school in 1975, it was called Southwest College, but by the time he graduated from it in 1977, it had been renamed Richard J. Daley College.

There are several red flags with the transcript, the boldest being the numbering scheme of the social security number shown in it. The nine-digit U.S. social security number is divided into a three-digit area number, a two-digit group number, and a four-digit serial number. It has always been that way.

But the social security number in the Southwest College transcript supposedly belonging to a female Bola A Tinubu is 231-060-595. That’s an impossible numbering scheme for a US social security number. Plus, the transcript isn’t properly dated and leaves the spaces for date of birth and record of high school blank. These are no trivial red flags of inauthenticity.

The fourth reason some people have infused a new life to the lie that Tinubu didn’t graduate from CSU is that the university locked its Twitter account in response to unremittingly vitriolic denunciations from some Nigerians. They say that indicates that the school is guilty of issuing a fake degree to Tinubu. That’s tortured logic. People and organizations routinely lock their Twitter accounts when they are subjected to an unceasing torrent of caustic online abuse.

In April, a TIME magazine reporter by the name of Astha Rajvanshi who wrote a profile on Tinubu after he made it to the magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world was forced to lock her Twitter account after political fanatics relentlessly cursed, defamed, and threatened her for doing her job.

CSU is obviously unaccustomed to the quantum of negative attention it’s receiving from a group of Nigerians who are still smarting from the outcome of the last presidential election. It obviously wants to stop it.

The fifth impetus for the revival of the lie that Tinubu couldn’t have graduated from CSU is that Tinubu withdrew claims that he attended primary and secondary schools in Nigeria, which means he didn’t possess qualifications to be admitted to a US higher education institution.

Well, it’s entirely possible to earn a degree in America without ever attending a secondary school. There’s something called the General Educational Development test (or GED) for people who didn’t earn a high diploma before the age of 18. A close American friend and colleague of mine by the name Dr. Matt Duffy didn’t have a high school diploma. He had a GED, but he ended up getting a Ph.D.

I am not saying that was what happened with Tinubu. I don’t have the facts to make that claim. But it’s reasonable to assume that since it’s widely speculated that Tinubu changed the identity he had at birth, he disclaimed all associations with the schools he attended in his actual hometown in Osun and took a GED test in Chicago. In any case, most community colleges (and non-flagship state schools) have open enrollment policies, which means just about anybody can get into them.

Finally, the fact that Tinubu doesn’t want CSU to release his academic record— and the fact that the university has spurned requests to release his records— is being held up as an indication that he had no academic record there and that Tinubu and CSU are acting in cahoots to cover up a crime.

Well, there’s something called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which forbids all universities and colleges in the United States from disclosing the academic records of a student to a third party. Every year, I (and all university employees who handle students’ grades here) have to undergo training on how not to disclose students’ records to third parties, including to parents, without students’ written permission.

Schools can only confirm directory information such as whether or not a student graduated from a school, which CSU has done repeatedly. And why would Tinubu accede in writing to his academic records being released to political opponents? Most people won’t, even if it’s just for the pleasure of seeing their opponents squirm in anger and frustration.

Farooq Kperogi is a renowned Nigerian newspaper columnist and United States-based Professor of Journalism.

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HOW THE FIRS IS BREAKING NEW GROUNDS IN REVENUE COLLECTION By JANTIKU IJANADA

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Just when we thought the peak in tax collection was attained, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) brought forward another harvest of revenue collection, peaking any collection in our nation’s history.

The tax agency recently announced a total tax revenue collection of N5.5 trillion for the half-year period of January to June 2023 signifying the highest tax revenue collection ever recorded by the Service in any first six months of a fiscal year.

Even though this did not come as a shocker, it is still fascinating to see how the FIRS has improved so much under it’s current leadership and by extension set the country’s course on the path of economic growth, development and sustainability.

Prior to this feat, the Service achieved a total collection of N4.95 trillion in 2020 (representing 98% of target met). This was amidst the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian economy as well as the business disruptions and lootings during the #EndSARS protests.

The tax agency collected in tax revenue the total sum of N6.405 trillion (representing 101% of target met) in 2021 and a total of N10.1 trillion in the year 2022.

The 2022 tax collection was the highest ever made by the FIRS in a single year, signifying over 96% of its collection target for the year, marking the highest tax collection ever recorded in its history and the first time that the FIRS will cross the N10 trillion mark in tax revenue collection.

That was a jinx breaker as it rewrote Nigeria’s tax collection history and set in motion the journey to future collections in double digits.

There is no doubt that the coming of Muhammad Nami as Executive Chairman of the FIRS , birthed a new era of reinvigoration and transformation of the agency.

His reforms and strategies have paved ways for the service to achieve much more than it had achieved in time past under previous leaderships.

The FIRS have been diligently building on the Executive Chairman’s 4-Cardinal Goals of: Making FIRS a Customer-Centric Institution; Making FIRS a data-centric Institution; Improving Stakeholder Collaboration; and Rebuilding the Institutional Framework of the Service.

These goals were carefully curated to give direction towards transforming the service for improved tax revenue collection.

The service at the same time identified more areas where it could improve in the delivery and efficiency of its collection. And this has no doubt yielded tremendous success as seen in it’s 2023-2024 tax revenue outlook presented to the National Economic Council.

During the presentation, Mr. Muhammad Nami noted that the service was able to collect N5.5 trillion in tax for the first half of the year as a result of “improved voluntary tax compliance by taxpayers, the continued improvement of automation of our tax administration processes, including the updated VAT filing processes; as well as our dogged engagement with stakeholders in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy.”

The FIRS boss also stated that the tax revenue collected from the oil sector from January to June 2023, stood at N1.73 trillion, as against a target of N2.3 trillion; while non-oil tax collection stood at N3.76 trillion, as against a target of N2.98 trillion.

With this, the agency has achieved over one hundred percent of its target for the first-half of the year when compared with a mid-year target of N5.3 trillion.

Further more, the Service collected a total of N1.65 trillion tax revenues in June 2023. This sum is the highest tax revenue collected by the Service in any single month.

With it’s continued hyper achievements, one question that keeps coming to mind is, what is this current management of the FIRS doing differently? What are they adding to the table that is yielding these progressive results?

Muhammed Nami while speaking on how the tax agency achieved its 2023 half-year collection on channels television Business Morning Show revealed the key reforms responsible for it’s continuous successes.

The reforms includes: Improvement in stakeholder engagements; ensuring that taxpayers are satisfied; issuance of circulars to guide and educate taxpayers on tax laws, legislations, how to file, filing returns, etc; enlightenment of taxpayers on their rights and obligations and redesigning the FIRS organizational structure to ensure optimum efficiency of staff.

Other reforms he stated include the constant training and retraining of FIRS staff to improve their capacity; the use of data and intelligence for tax collection and taxpayer profiling; building a comprehensive tax database; consistent stakeholder engagement in both the formal and informal sector; and deployment of the “TaxPro Max” as a tax administration solution as well as other technological tools automation of tax administration processes.

These reforms indeed are the contributors to the huge, unprecedented successes in revenue collection. Given its antecedent, one can confidently project better, prosperous days for the agency and the nation at large going forward.

Mr. Nami also attested to this when he said that: “We believe that the performance in the second half of the year would be better considering the continuing improvement to our tax administration processes and positive impact of current government’s policies on the economy.”

The FIRS have a bigger target of N7.5 trillion for the second half of the year. It is almost certain that this will not be one nut too hard to crack for the agency and who knows, it might just surprise us again by exceeding its target as seen in the first half of 2023.

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