Thursday

The United African Republic - Nigeria's proposed new name

CC™ Global News

By Nduka Orjinmo

What is someone from the United African Republic called? Uranium or Urea?

The answer is keeping many Nigerians awake as they chew over a proposal to change the name of the country.

For two weeks, federal lawmakers have been traversing the country collating citizens' views to amend the constitution.

The idea was to gather suggestions for amendments such as electoral reforms and the system of government.

But citizen Adeleye Jokotoye, a tax consultant, dropped something of a bombshell at the hearing in Lagos.

He wants the name of the country changed as it was an imposition by Nigeria's past colonial masters.

The name Nigeria was suggested in the late 19th Century by British journalist Flora Shaw, who would later marry the British colonial administrator Lord Frederick Lugard.

It is derived from the River Niger which enters the country from the north-west and flows down to the Niger Delta where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean through its many tributaries.

But Mr Jokotoye wants the name changed and his choice of United African Republic - to reflect the hundreds of ethnic groups that comprise the country - has blown a storm.


These Twitter users have a theory where the idea for United African Republic, or UAR, came from:

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There is already a new anthem, which isn't entirely new but a remix of the "old" Nigeria's:

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A new country needs a new currency, so:

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Which made musician Timi Dakolo, famous for his patriotic Great Nation song which is a staple at some official events, wonder what becomes of his music. Maybe a remix, Mr Dakolo?:

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And there was a reminder of the small matter of the loans Nigeria owes the World Bank, IMF and China. Some figured that a new name means a clean slate:

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But not everyone saw the joke in Mr Jokotoye's proposal and some were quick to set the country's priorities right:

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But what is someone from the UAR called? The idea of Uranium - which Nigeria does not have - seems to have come from this comedian:

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And others piled in:

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And the small matter of radiation connected to Uranium:

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As if he knew that some of his compatriots would not be impressed by his choice, Mr Jokotoye came armed with an alternative - the United Alkebulan Republic (meaning: United Mother of Mankind Republic), which quite frankly doesn't sound as pan-African as the first, but does have the same initials.

He also made other suggestions for the constitution, such as proposing amendments to the structure of governance, and taxation control - but for some reason these have not excited the popular imagination in the same way.

In the coming weeks as lawmakers sift through the bags of suggestions from Nigerians, no-one is sure what other ideas will bubble out.

But it is unlikely that we will see a United African Republic on these shores.

Which is a shame, as I quite like the idea of being addressed as a Uranium - it has a powerful ring to it.



BBC NEWS

Wednesday

From gas to solar, bringing meaningful change to Nigeria’s energy systems


CC™ Energy News

MIT Energy Initiative

Growing up, Awele Uwagwu’s view of energy was deeply influenced by the oil and gas industry. He was born and raised in Port Harcourt, a city on the southern coast of Nigeria, and his hometown shaped his initial interest in understanding the role of energy in our lives.

“I basically grew up in a city colored by oil and gas,” says Uwagwu. “Many of the jobs in that area are in the oil sector, and I saw a lot of large companies coming in and creating new buildings and infrastructure. That very much tailored my interest in the energy sector. I kept thinking: What is all of this stuff going on, and what are all these big machines that I see every day? The more sinister side of it was: Why is the water bad? Why is the air bad? And, what can I do about it?”

Uwagwu has shaped much of his educational and professional journey around answering that question: “What can I do about it?” He is now a senior at MIT, majoring in chemical engineering with a minor in energy studies.

After attending high school in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, Uwagwu decided to pursue a degree in chemical engineering and briefly attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016. Unfortunately, the impacts of a global crash in oil prices made the situation difficult back in Nigeria, so he returned home and found employment at an oil services company working on a water purification process.

It was during this time that he decided to apply to MIT. “I wanted to go to a really great place,” he says, “and I wanted to take my chances.” After only a few months of working at his new job, he was accepted to MIT.

“At this point in my life I had a much clearer picture of what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be in the energy sector and make some sort of impact. But I didn’t quite know how I was going to do that,” he says.

With this in mind, Uwagwu met with Rachel Shulman, the undergraduate academic coordinator at the MIT Energy Initiative, to learn about the different ways that MIT is engaged in energy. He eventually decided to become an energy studies minor and concentrate in energy engineering studies through the 10-ENG: Energy program in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Additionally, he participated in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) in the lab of William H. Green, the Hoyt C. Hottel Professor in Chemical Engineering, focusing on understanding the different reaction pathways for the production of soot from the combustion of carbon.

After this engaging experience, he reconnected with Shulman to get involved with another UROP, this time with a strong focus in renewable energy. She pointed him toward Ian Mathews — a postdoc in the Photovoltaic Research Laboratory and founder of Sensai Analytics — to discuss ways he could make a beneficial impact on the energy industry in Nigeria. This conversation led to a second UROP, under the supervision of Mathews. In that project, Uwagwu worked to figure out how cost-effective solar energy would be in Nigeria compared to petrol-powered generators, which are commonly used to supplement the unreliable national grid.

“The idea we had is that these generators are really, really bad for the environment, whereas solar is cheap and better for the environment,” Uwagwu says. “But we needed to know if solar is actually affordable.” After setting up a software model and connecting with Leke Oyefeso, a friend back home, to get data on generators, they concluded that solar was cost-comparable and often cheaper than the generators.

Armed with this information and another completed UROP, Uwagwu thought, “What happens next?” Quickly an idea started forming, so he and Oyefeso went to Venture Mentoring Services at MIT to figure out how to leverage this knowledge to start a company that could deliver a unique and much-needed product to the Nigerian market.

They ran through many different potential business plans and ideas, eventually deciding on creating software to design solar systems that are tailored to Nigeria’s specific needs and context. Having come up with the initial idea, they “chatted with people on the solar scene back home to see if this is even useful or if they even need this.”

Through these discussions and market research, it became increasingly clear to them what sort of novel and pivotal product they could offer to help accelerate Nigeria’s burgeoning solar sector, and their initial idea took on a new shape: solar design software coupled with an online marketplace that connects solar providers to funding sources and energy consumers. In recognition of his unique venture, Uwagwu received a prestigious Legatum Fellowship, a program that offers entrepreneurial MIT students strong mentoring and networking opportunities, educational experiences, and substantial financial support.

Since its founding in the summer of 2020, their startup, Idagba, has been hard at work getting its product ready for market. Starting a company in the midst of Covid-19 has created a set of unique challenges for Uwagwu and his team, especially as they operate on a whole other continent from their target market.

“We wanted to travel to Lagos last summer but were unable to do so,” he says. “We can’t make the software without talking to the people and businesses who are going to use it, so there are a lot of Zoom and phone calls going on.”

In spite of these challenges, Idagba is well on its path to commercialization. “Currently we are developing our minimum viable product,” comments Uwagwu. “The software is going to be very affordable, so there’s very little barrier for entry. We really want to help create this market for solar.”

In some ways, Idagba is drawing lessons from the success of Mo Ibrahim and his mobile phone company, Celtel. In the late 1990s, Celtel was able to quickly and drastically lower the overall price of cell phones across many countries in Africa, allowing for the widespread adoption of mobile communication at a much faster pace than had been anticipated. To Uwagwu, this same idea can be replicated for solar markets. “We want to reduce the financial and technical barriers to entry for solar like he did for telecom.”

This won’t be easy, but Uwagwu is up to the task. He sees his company taking off in three phases. The first is getting the design software online. After that has been accomplished — by mid-2021 — comes the hard part: getting customers and solar businesses connected and using the program. Once they have an existing user base and proven cash flow, the ultimate goal of the company is to create and facilitate an ecosystem of people wanting to push solar energy forward. This will make Idagba, as Uwagwu puts it, “the hub of solar energy in Nigeria.” Idagba has a long way to go before reaching that point, but Uwagwu is confident that the building blocks are in place to ensure its success.

After graduating in June, Uwagwu will be taking up a full-time position at the prestigious consulting firm Bain and Company, where he plans to gain even more experience and connections to help grow his company. This opportunity will provide him with the knowledge and expertise to come back to Idagba and, as he says, “commit my life to this.”

“This idea may seem ambitious and slightly nonsensical right now,” says Uwagwu, “but this venture has the potential to significantly push Nigeria away from unsustainable fossil fuel consumption to a much cleaner path.”

MIT News

Tuesday

Crypto will ‘come to life’ in Nigeria, central bank governor says


CC™ Financial News

By Helen Partz

Emefiele said the Nigerian government will do its best to prevent crypto from being used to finance illicit activities.

At a 279th meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee in Abuja, Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele expressed confidence that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) will be legal in the country, Business Insider reported late last week..

Emefiele did not directly mention a decision to reverse the CBN’s February ban of institutions from buying and selling crypto but noted that the bank has been investigating the industry:

“We are committed in the CBN, and I can assure everybody that digital currency will come to life even in Nigeria [...] Under cryptocurrency and Bitcoin, Nigeria comes 2nd, while on the global side of the economy, Nigeria comes 27th. We are still conducting our investigation, and we will make our data available.”

Emefiele also said the Nigerian government will do its best to prevent crypto from being used to finance illicit activities. “We found out that a substantial percentage of our people are getting involved in cryptocurrency, which is not the best. Don’t get me wrong, some may be legitimate, but most are illegitimate,” he said.

The banker also expressed concerns over the crypto market crash in mid-May, which has been largely attributed to Tesla’s decision to suspend Bitcoin payments for its cars and Elon Musk’s further criticism of BTC:

“We saw the market collapse. Initially, when Elon Musk tweeted around the time when we said our banking and payment facilities are no longer available for cryptocurrency transactions, and he tweeted that he will invest $1.5 billion, and the price went up. He now tweeted and raised a few concerns, and the thing plunged.”

The CBN did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

As previously reported, Nigeria has emerged as the biggest source of Bitcoin trading volume in Africa as of August 2020, also becoming one of the fastest-growing crypto markets in the world. According to data from Bitcoin P2P marketplace Paxful, Nigeria ranked second only to the United States in trading volume as of December 2020.

Amid the growing adoption of Bitcoin, Nigeria’s national currency, the naira, has been falling. “Bitcoin has made our currency almost useless or valueless,” Senator Sani Musa of the Niger East Senatorial District said in February. Following Emefiele’s latest remarks, the naira dropped 1.2% to near a three-and-half year low on the black market at the close of the week.

COINTELEGRAPH

Saturday

Inside Anfield: Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona | THE GREATEST EVER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE COMEBACK

CC™ VideoReel

Nigerian Army boasts about extra judicial killing of IPOB members while terrorist Fulani Herdsmen and Islamists run rampant across the land


CC™ World News

The Nigerian Army on Friday said a joint team of soldiers and police shot 11 members of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) dead as they attempted to attack Area Command and Police Station in Orlu LGA of Imo State.

Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, in a statement on Friday said a gang of IPOB/ESN terrorists mounted in vehicles on Thursday, 6 May 2021, stormed Orlu town with intention to attack the compound housing the Area Command and Police Station in Orlu LGA of Imo State.

He said the attackers were resisted by vigilant police personnel at the Area Command and were completely obliterated when a reinforcement team of the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Air Force arrived the scene.

“The assailants who have been on the radar of the Joint Technical Intelligence Team were said to have come from a Forest Camp in Ideato North LGA of Imo State from where they mobilized and planned the failed attack.

“Following the encounter, 11 IPOB/ESN terrorists were neutralized while four AK-47, one G3 and one Pump Action Rifles as well as a Berretta Pistol, charms and assorted ammunition were recovered.

“All the seven Operational Vehicles used for the attack were demobilized and as such the remaining terrorists escaped on foot with fatal injuries,” he said.

Yerima said there were no casualties on the side of the security forces.

He advised law abiding citizens in the area to look out for strange persons with gunshot injuries and report same to the nearest security agency for the safety of their communities.

Yerima said the Nigerian Army remained committed to a united Nigeria that is safe for all law abiding citizens and would continue to support the Police in maintaining internal security.

“The general public is once again enjoined to support the security forces with useful and timely information that will help eliminate the security threats in their communities,” he said.


AGENCY NEWS

Monday

Nepotism, Insecurity: We’re justified in our decision not to support Buhari - Afenifere


CC™ Nigeria News

The Pan Yoruba Socio-political group, Afenifere, said weekend that it has been justified for not supporting President Muhammad Buhari during the 2015 and 2019 elections.

Its leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, said this while speaking with newsmen after the group’s 70th-anniversary thanksgiving service held at Saint David Cathedral, Akure, the Ondo state capital.

According to him, the recent crisis of confidence among ethnic groups in the country, insecurity amongst others justified our stance in not supporting the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in his first and second term.

“The insecurity, corruption, and nepotism ravaging the government of President Buhari justified that the decisions taken in 2015 and 2019 elections by Afenifere were in the best interest of not only the Yoruba but Nigerians”.

Fasoranti lamented that “corruption and nepotism are the hallmarks of Buhari’s administration since he assumed office six years ago.

“We were justified in not supporting President Muhammadu Buhari. He has not been doing well, that is why we did not support him. There is insecurity in the land. There is corruption everywhere.

“All those who committed one crime or the other, he left them in office to continue their nefarious activities. Those who he supposed to sack, he left them in office. Thank God we did not support him in his elections.

“My daughter was killed in Ore on her way to Lagos for no reason, up till now, they have not concluded the trial. I know justice will be done.”

Speaking on the 70th anniversary of the group, Fasoranti said it has not been easy for the group especially during the military regimes when members were sent to prison or exile for championing democracy.

He said the struggle for democracy during the NADECO days tested the faith of members, who either renounced their membership or fled to exile.

Delivering his sermon, the Bishop of Akure Diocese, Anglican Communion, Simeon Borokini said 70 is significant in the life of individual or an organization.

Bishop Borokini said for Afenifere to have survived 70 years despite several challenges showed God’s hand in the affairs of the mainstream Yoruba organization.

The clergyman, however, lauded the activities of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in setting up the State Security outfit codenamed Amotekun.

He said the security outfit “has been doing a good job in securing the state from Fulani herders and bandits.

He said the Yoruba should be united on Amotekun project in order to prevent attacks by suspected killer herdsmen and bandits.

“Famine is imminent, a situation where you took loan to set up a farm and cows come to destroy it, this would lead to famine in the country.

He noted that “The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah are not as high as what is obtainable in Nigeria. If God does not destroy Nigeria, he should apologize to the Sodom and Gomorrah.”


AGENCY NEWS

Sunday

The US Dollar, Gold Price, Gold Stocks, Philanthropy, Inequality, Taxation And Growth

CC™ VideoScope

A Conversation Between Ross Beaty And Frank Giustra