Nigeria's Entrepreneurship Development Program to target college graduates

Olusegun O. Aganga
CC Global Business Desk

Nigeria’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment recently inaugurated the University Entrepreneurship Development Program (UNEDEP) in the capital Abuja, to promote self-employment among youth, particularly college graduates.

According to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, the program is part of the government’s proactive strategies to tackle graduate unemployment.

UNEDEP will be implemented by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education.

The program was created to enhance and re-orientate the values of undergraduates while providing a mentoring platform for students, with a view to reducing poverty and youth unemployment in the country.

Speaking during the unveiling of the program, Mr. Aganga, said it would give students the opportunity for practical hands-on-experience to enable them start and successfully  manage their own businesses.

"UNEDEP’s mission is to catch them young", he said. The program focuses on entrepreneurship development of undergraduates and aims to create future entrepreneurs by encouraging self-employment. 

“We will achieve this by using the existing Network for African Student Entrepreneurs club structure and deriving a standard schedule of activities for all members across all universities. Part of our strategy is to assess existing scalable student businesses, to determine ways to enhance these, and then create a platform for student mentoring by successful entrepreneurs. Our goal is for students to receive the necessary capacity building as part of the activities of the entrepreneurship clubs”, he opined. 

Also present at the event was Nigeria’s Education Minister, Prof. Ruqayyah Ahmed Rufa'i. In her speech, she also stressed the need for the country to promote the culture of entrepreneurship among students, to reduce unemployment.

“All over the world, entrepreneurship has been identified as the major driver of economic growth and development… The success of many economies can be traced to entrepreneurs who started small and then grew to become multinationals”, she said.

Flashback and a must watch: Tiger Woods in-depth interview with Oprah after 1997 Master's victory (Part 3 & 4)

By The Editor-in-Chief

Interesting compilation of this rather historic as well as insightful interview Tiger and his late father had with Oprah Winfrey.

Part 3

Part 4

Flashback and a must watch: Tiger Woods in-depth interview with Oprah after 1997 Master's victory (Part 2)

By The Editor-in-Chief

Interesting compilation of this rather historic as well as insightful interview Tiger and his late father had with Oprah Winfrey.

Here is Part 2.

Flashback and a must watch: Tiger Woods in-depth interview with Oprah after 1997 Master's victory (Part 1)

By The Editor-in-Chief

Interesting compilation of this rather historic as well as insightful interview Tiger and his late father had with Oprah Winfrey.

It becomes easy to see the reasons for both his personal and professional trajectory over the last 18 years.

A must watch.

Of fried chicken and mountains out of mole hills

Tiger and his father late Earl Woods in the early years
By The Editor-in-Chief

Unless you've been caught up in a cave over the last 3 or so years, there is one individual that continues to be a lightning rod in the American sports and social landscape. That person of course is Tiger Woods, current world number one in golf. 

Recently, European golfer Sergio Garcia took his "rivalry" with Woods to a different level when asked about meeting with Woods at the U.S. Open, to which he (Garcia) responded, "We'll have him around every night. We will serve fried chicken."

There is no question as to what Garcia intended to do with such an ill-advised comment. Going into the annals of the shameful history of the United States where race is concerned, Garcia wanted to essentially "put Tiger in his place" as numerous others have tried to do (in so many ways) since Tiger announced his coming of age in 1997, with his dominating Masters' victory at Augusta

Most golf experts have always stressed the importance of Tiger to the game's bottom-line. 

The reality is that the golf fraternity never wanted Tiger to be part of the "family". In fact, they never invited him. Tiger essentially crashed the party and did so without any apologies or reservations in 1997.

The truth of the matter is they would prefer he just leave, but there is just one problem; his presence generates so much money for the game, hence the need to keep him around, even though they just can't stand the sight of him.

That is where comments from the likes of Garcia, Montgomerie and the European Tour CEO all come from.

No Colin, Garcia's unfortunate slur is not "a mountain out of a molehill" and it is shameful that you would see it that way. Perhaps, Colin Montgomerie would like us all to go back to the times when it was "kosher" (to quote Montgomerie) to be both callow and imbecilic at the same time, much like George O'Grady's philistine display.

As has always been the case, one would expect Tiger to ultimately accept Sergio Garcia's antiquated apology and move on to perpetually owning him and every other hypocrite on the PGA and European Tour, as he always has. 

It becomes rather easy to see what Tiger's enduring motivation is every time he steps on the golf course.


Nigeria Special Forces facing stiff resistance from Libyan Islamic insurgents roped in with Boko Haram

A Nigeria Special Forces Unit 

Nigeria's military has been involved in heavy fighting with Islamist insurgents armed with sophisticated weapons from Libya, as it steps up an offensive aimed at flushing out Boko Haram from its North-Eastern bases.

This again confirms the ongoing frustration (across much of West Africa) with the unstable situation in the North African country (Libya) since the U.S. and France joined forces with these same Islamic insurgents to remove former Libyan leader Muammar Ghaddafi.

According to a Defense Ministry source, the Islamic insurgents "have been putting up very fierce resistance and they are very, very well-armed with weapons from Libya", the official stated.

A senior military official, also on condition of anonymity, stressed that intelligence gathered thus far from the Nigerian military offensive, lends credence to the initial thought that these hardened Libyan insurgents are now scattered across the region's semi-desert borders.

Concerns grew particularly after Islamist militants associated with al Qaeda seized the north of Mali last year and were dislodged only after French-led military intervention.

A renewed military campaign, including aerial bombardments of Boko Haram training camps in three remote states which were put under emergency rule this month had led to the capture of over 200 militants and the death of dozens in a week, according to the military.

In a sign of increasing concerns about jihadist movements (from Libya and North Africa) jumping borders, Nigeria has also asked neighboring Niger Republic for military support, as it seeks to police endless miles of shared desert borders, underlining moves towards West African cooperation against jihadists seen as a cross-border threat.

Military sources said the hardened Islamist rebels entrenched in the North were using cross-border routes to smuggle in weapons, to aid the Boko Haram insurgency.

Nigeria and Niger Republic signed a bilateral defense pact late last year, that includes sharing intelligence on Islamist groups, as well as joint military exercises. The deal stipulates that a request for military aid by one nation cannot be refused by the other.

The two West African nations share a porous frontier of more than 1000 miles. The fighting in Nigeria has pushed more than a thousand refugees across the border into Niger in the past few weeks, according to United Nations estimates, that have not been independently verified.

Soldiers from Niger and neighboring Chad recently participated with Nigerian forces in a joint assault on Boko Haram fighters last month in Baga, a fishing settlement on the shores of Lake Chad.


White House seeks to ensure "soft landing" for Obama's June visit to Africa

U.S. President Barack Obama
By The Editor-in-Chief

Coming on the heels of the emerging scandals that have the Obama White House on the defensive, the latter announced this week that President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, would be visiting Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania from June 26th to July 3rd on the president's next visit to Africa.

This would be the president's second visit to Africa, his last and only visit being the trip to Ghana in 2009 when he only stayed for a day.

It would seem that the president's Africa itinerary has been careful selected to include rather small democracies such as Tanzania and Senegal, with South Africa being the only major African democracy on the list.

There have been several reports on how unpopular this president is on the African continent, mostly due to perceived attempts (on the part of this administration through the U.S. State Department) to impose values and policies seen as alien to the core fabric of African society.

It is therefore not much of a surprise that deeply conservative countries such as Nigeria (the most populous African country and the continent's second largest economy after South Africa) as well as Obama's own father's home country of Kenya, are conspicuously missing from the itinerary. 

The U.S. President is extremely unpopular in Kenya at the moment (evidenced by the victory of Uhuru Kenyatta over his preferred candidate - Raila Odinga). The same can also be said of his popularity in Nigeria, more-so as a result of the perceived indifference of this administration, to the Islamic insurgency that has claimed over 2000 lives in the northern part of Nigeria.

Furthermore, the statement by White House press secretary Jay Carney that "apart from strengthening democratic institutions and investing in the next generation of African leaders, this upcoming trip seeks to underscore the President’s commitment to broadening and deepening cooperation between the United States and the people of sub-Saharan Africa to advance regional and global peace and prosperity", flies in the face of reason, in light of how this administration has turned a disconcerting blind eye to the genocidal actions of Al Qaeda-backed Islamic militants in much of West Africa (following the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Ghaddafi).

Still along those lines, referring to the likes of Jacob Zuma and Jakaya Kikwete as "the next generation of African leaders" is at best laughable.

It remains to be seen if this president will for once seek to navigate an African foreign policy initiative grounded in mutual respect and a true understanding of Africa's complex political landscape.


Mexico and Peru: The African Grandma in the Closet

By Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

In Mexico and Peru Professor Gates explores the almost unknown history of the significant numbers of black people—the two countries together received far more slaves than did the United States —brought to these countries as early as the 16th and 17th centuries, and the worlds of culture that their descendants have created in Vera Cruz on the Gulf of Mexico, the Costa Chica region on the Pacific, and in and around Lima, Peru.


Amid frustrations with the White House and liberal watch dogs, Nigeria military increases offensive against Islamic militants

Defense Chief oversees troops deployment

As a follow-up to CC's earlier report  that the Nigerian military intended to increase rather than scale back its military offensive against the dreaded Boko Haram Islamic sect, the Nigerian military has carried out directed attacks on the training and related bases of the group in the northeastern region of the country.

CC has gathered through credible sources within the Nigerian government and the military establishment in particular, that there is frustration with the United States government (the Obama White House and the State Department to be precise) over perceived interference in the internal affairs of the country.

This comes on the heels of unfounded and highly prejudiced claims by renowned liberal so-called human rights groups, that the "excesses of the military offensive" were to blame for the increased insurgency from the Islamic militants.

Furthermore, highly placed Nigerian officials in Abuja are said to be dismayed that the White House and the State Department haven't learned from the Libya and other North African experiences where Islamic extremists have essentially over-run the countries in that region, leading to instability that has spread deeply into West Africa, namely Mali, Chad, Niger and now the behemoth of them all, Nigeria.

Earlier this week, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a State of Emergency in three key northern states in Nigeria - Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

On the heels of this, the Nigerian military has taken the initiative and amassed heavy equipment and artillery, including fighter jets and helicopter gun-ships, with a view to flushing out the insurgents and bring this harrowing tale in Nigeria's proud history to an end, once and for all.

The militants are said to essentially control at least 10 government areas in the state of Borno, where fighters overran the town of Bama last week, freeing more than 100 prisoners and killing at least 55 people. A few days before that, dozens of people reportedly died in the town of Baga, on Lake Chad. 

Nigerian troops, aided by troops from Niger and Chad burst into the town looking for the insurgents and in their usual manner of response, the latter set homes and buildings ablaze while killing innocent civilians, with the aim of blaming the atrocities on the Nigerian military.

Behind this renewed offensive is a Nigerian coalition in terms of leadership at the highest level (northern leaders included) who see the threat posed by Boko Haram as one that could potentially lead to a definitive break-up of the country and as such, the need to employ the full and devastating might of the Nigerian military to wipe out the cancer.

More to follow.


From Caddies to Sergio and even Marshals - Tiger as object of scorn on the PGA Tour of ingracy


In this clip (below) Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith react to the two course marshals saying that Tiger Woods' statement about the incident on Saturday at The Players Championship wasn't true.

Stephen A. Smith touches on a very salient point, the not-too-subtle references to Tiger's character since his divorce from his wife (who is $100 million richer by the way) and how the same players and other folks that have benefited immensely from his ascent in the game, seem hell-bent on taking him down at all cost.

Tiger is the only golfer I have ever known that has had golf courses designed just to keep him from winning. 

Even more interesting is the fact that you essentially have relative underlings within the game (caddies and marshals) either calling him out specifically or questioning his character.

Nigeria's military vows increased offensive in wake of another deadly Boko Haram attack that kills 60 including women, children and security forces

Joint Military Task Force (JTF)
Breaking News alert from the CC GLOBAL NEWS DESK

Sixty people including women, children and security personnel are said to have died as a result of the latest attack, a pre-dawn raid in Bama, Borno State, in the north.

As the attacks in Northern Nigeria have become more deadly by the group, the Nigerian military has scaled up its offensive against the group, despite misguided outcries from ill-informed, liberal so-called human rights groups based in Europe and the United States.

This latest attack, according to a Nigerian Army spokesman resulted in the murder of 25 police officers, 14 prison officers, 5 soldiers and 5 civilians. Our sources also assert that around 11 members of Boko Haram were killed by members of the Joint Task Force (JTF), who arrived on the scene as cover for the first responder forces.

Correspondents say although extremist attacks have increased in Northern Nigeria, the scale of bloodshed makes this particular raid stand out.

Tuesday's raid in the remote town went on for several hours, the military spokesman said as security forces returned lethal fire without reservations.
Bama's police station, military barracks and government buildings were burned to the ground by the Boko Haram operatives, according to reports and it is believed this has become their trademark, as they seek to shift the blame of excesses onto the security forces.
Reports also state that more sophisticated weapons were recovered from the Boko Haram operatives with an increasing link to the Al Qaeda lineage, with its roots in the Libyan insurgency that toppled late Libyan strongman, Muammar Ghaddafi.

More to follow.....


Again at the risk of its declining credibility, UN Commission seeks to downplay use of chemical weapons by U.S. supported Syrian rebels

UN Sec. General Ban Ki-Moon - More headaches?

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria has sought to distance itself from comments made (ironically) by one of its members that there was evidence of the nerve gas sarin being used by rebels.

This would not be unexpected as Western nations (led by the United States) scramble to undo the irreparable damage done to the 'credibility' of their support for the Syrian rebels.

Earlier, one of the members of the commission, Carla Del Ponte had asserted that testimony from victims and doctors had given rise to "strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof". 

One wonders why the need for incontrovertible proof" is never exhausted when the shoe is on the proverbial 'other foot'. 

But the commission stressed that it had not reached any "conclusive findings".
The U.S. State Department and the White House (as would be expected) said they had no information to suggest rebel fighters had used sarin.
In recent weeks, Western powers have said their own investigations have found evidence that government forces have used chemical weapons. It should however be noted that this assertion by the former has not been independently validated by any credible non-aligned source.
In an interview with Swiss-Italian TV on Sunday, Ms. Del Ponte, who serves on the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said: "Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals.
"According to their report of last week, which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated."
Sarin, a colorless and odorless gas which can cause respiratory arrest and death, is classed as a weapon of mass destruction and is banned under international law.
Ms. Del Ponte did not rule out the possibility that troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad might also have used chemical weapons, but said further investigation was needed.
On Monday, the Commission of Inquiry headed by Brazilian Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, issued a statement "to clarify that it has not reached conclusive findings as to the use of chemical weapons in Syria by any parties to the conflict".
"As a result, the commission is not in a position to further comment on the allegations at this time," it said, adding that it would present its findings to the Human Rights Council on 3 June.
It would appear the UN was taken by surprise at Ms. Del Ponte's comments but it is a welcome development within an organization that has increasingly become a laughing-stock among developing nations, who now view it as an all-too-willing accomplice, in the imposition of draconian international resolutions and policies by Western powers.