Jan 26, 2009

Diamond Bank Bukuru Gives Prizes to Customers

Posted by Yiro Abari

The recapitalization policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria has not only strengthen Nigerian Banks but has encouraged hard work among the Banks and ensured the domination of Africa’s banking sector by Nigerian Banks. The successes of the Nigerian Banks did not however came on a platter of gold as the banks have constantly invented new ways of encouraging their customers.
The Diamond Bank of Nigeria, one of the first banks to recapitalize has a product referred to as the Diamond Savings Xtra. It is a nationwide program that started last year and is meant to reward loyal customers. Across Nigeria, the bank is today giving out prizes to those that emerged victorious in the January edition of the lottery. At the Bukuru branch of the Bank in Jos South Plateau State, Mr. Reuben Nonyelum Okeke and the Catholic Women’s Fellowship of St. Jalaths Catholic Church Bukuru received a Laptop computer and a Spilt Air Conditioner respectively.

Branch Manager of the Bank Mrs. Lilian Philips thanked the customers for Banking with Diamond Bank. She noted that it is real and somebody had received a Toyota Yaris car in one of the bank’s branches during a previous edition of the lottery. While the prize giving ceremony was going on at her own branch of the bank, the Lafiya branch is giving out a staggering N50 million to another customer there in Nassarawaa State. She said one needs a minimum of N10 000 to qualify for a ticket and that the more money you save the more tickets you will have that gives you multiple entries and improves your chances of winning. To qualify for the lottery, one must be an owner of a Disa Savings account.

Pix above: Branch Manager

Jan 24, 2009

Mrs. Jonah Wuyep Laid to Rest at Pilgani Langtang

Posted by Yiro Abari
The wife of the former Chief of Air Staff Mrs. Ladi Jonah Wuyep was laid to rest at Pilgani in Langtang North Local Government Area of Plateau State. The funeral was attended by the Present and former governors of Plateau State, retired and serving members of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Army and Air force Officers Wives Associations, Gindiri Old Students Association, market women, students and individuals whose lives the late Ladi affected positively in one way or the other. The Plateau State Governor, a former Air force Officer, in his tribute to late Ladi, said Plateau State has lost a great women whom he has known since her wedding to Jonah Wuyep. Air Vice Marshal Jonah Wuyep himself described his late wife as a fallen soldier whose ideals the family will continue to uphold. Mrs. Wuyep died in a ghastly auto accident along the Jos Abuja highway on January 19th this year.

Jan 22, 2009

Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly Impeached

Posted by Yiro Abari
The Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Honourable Emmanuel Go'ar was on January 22, 2009 impeached in a seventeen to seven vote cast by the twenty four members of the Plateau State House of Assembly. The action by the members of the House came as a big shock to the people of the state in view of the fact that the House showed no signs of misunderstanding or crisis previously. In his place Istifanus Caleb Mwansat representing the southern part of the same Local Government whose northern half Go'ar represents was elected as the new Speaker of the House. The spokesman of the House, Emmanuel Danboyi said Go'ar was impeached on grounds of incompetence and that the members were not swayed by any external factor.

Jan 15, 2009

Jang Inaugurates a Commission of Enquiry on Jos Crisis

Posted by Yiro Abari
Following the latest episode of civil unrest that engulf parts of Jos North Local Government Area on November 28 2008, the Plateau State Governor Da Jonah David Jang on January 15, 2009 inaugurated a six-man Commission of Enquiry to investigate the crisis। The commission which is headed by Bola Ajibola an attorney known throughout the world, is charged with the establishment of the immediate and remote causes of the crisis, identification of persons or groups of persons linked directly or indirectly with instigating the disturbance, quantifying the degree of damage in terms of the lives and property lost and recommending ways of averting a reoccurrence of such an upheaval.

Jang in his speech commended President Umar Musa Yar’adua for the leading role he played towards the restoration of peace in the affected area। According to the Governor, he and well meaning people of Plateau State are not opposed to the efforts of the Presidency and the National Assembly towards a lasting peace but that whatever is done by any organ of government should follow a constitutional bearing. Jang stated that prior to assumption of office he took and oath during which he pledged his allegiance to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He noted that it is the same constitution that gave him the powers to set up a commission of enquiry. Going to court to challenge the action of the Federal Government for setting up a parallel commission was to seek a proper interpretation of the law on the issue and is in no way a confrontation of the Presidency.

He dispelled fears that the commission may be bias in the discharge of its function by stressing that members have a global reputation they have built over the years and will never concede to the damage of this reputation as a result of the Jos crisis.

Jan 8, 2009

Hope in Government Technical College Bukuru

Government Science and Technical School, better known as Bukuru Technical College, BUTEC, was founded in 1953 to provide technical education to Nigerians in its immediate neighbourhood. Over the 55 years of its existence it has made a remarkable contribution to the industrial manpower needs of the nation. It achieved this through the training of its students in the areas of Agricultural Mechanization, Plumbing, Motor Vehicle Mechanic, Electrical Installation and Carpentry/Joinery. The other areas include Furniture Making, Mechanical Engineering Practice, Radio/Television, Refrigeration/Air Conditioning, Fabrication/Welding and Block Laying (Building). In addition to these areas, there is also the General Studies Department that handles English, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Economics.

After independence in 1960 Nigeria enjoyed good leadership and economic prosperity for a very long time before things started falling out of place. Education is one area in the Nigerian nation that suffered a remarkable neglect. BUTEC as an institution of learning was no exception. A developing nation like Nigeria can only grow rapidly and steadily only with a good industrial revolution. It was against this backdrop that BUTEC was founded. Mr. Emmanuel Gokir who passed out of the school in 1980 is now the fourteenth principal of the school. He is of the opinion that there is a drastic decline of nearly everything in the school when compared to what it was in 1980.

The Problems

According to the Principal the problems of his school are manifold. First the physical structures have neither been maintained nor expanded. It is a school that was designed to accommodate 300 students at most but now accommodates 1200. There is also the problem of machines used in the different workshops of the school. Not all of these machines are functional despite the fact that student population has quadrupled. Since the machines are now obsolete one cannot find the spare parts anywhere around the world. The solution to the problem is just to buy modern ones. There was the problem of feeding the 1200 mouths for an average of 45 weeks per annum.

Addressing the Problems

Some of these problems are within the ambits of the financial resources of the school especially with the PTA intervention. The school has successfully built a fence on the front side of the school. The back fence is at 50% level of completion. The PTA has also helped in drilling boreholes and the water problem of the school is now a bygone issue. Another problem was the problem of blocked toilets that compelled students to give themselves away to the menace of dangerous reptiles in the bush. The hostel floors also needed attention and hostel windows had to be covered with drapes of polythene bags. These problems, to a large extent have been taken care of through financial support of the PTA.

Gokir also touched on the issue of discipline as one cannot talk about youth training completely without addressing it. He says the problem of gun manufacturing by students of the school was a big problem when it came to the attention of the school authorities. It is a problem that supports crimes and crisis in the community. That is a problem that the authorities have successfully stamped out by becoming critically watchful. The school has also worked hard to regulate student movement in and out of the school by introducing the use of compound wears. As a matter of fact letters were sent to parents to ensure students don’t resume in January with anything other than their conventional uniforms, coveralls and the compound wears. When that happens there is no way a student can go out without been identified and it helps in minimizing or stamping out student involvement in unpleasant rackets in the immediate community.

The cheapest machine used in the school cost nothing les than N500, 000.00 and the most expensive run into millions of naira. This is above the financial strength of the school and the PTA. It will take the intervention of the State and perhaps the Federal Governments to replace these machines he says.

The Role of the State Government so Far

The problems of the school have dampened the hope of well meaning persons in the school and the state that respect the role the school had played since its creation. Gokir however commended the state government of Da Jonah Jang and Pauline Tallen for living up to the strong decision to transform the education portfolio of the state. The last time his school received an allocation for conducting the National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB) exams was in 1998. The present government has resumed this financial allocation last year after ten dry years. The government has also resumed the disbursement of meal subsidies to all public boarding schools across the state and this has buried the thorny issue of how to provide good meals to students in these schools. Gokir says he now has enough food in the store to feed the students for the next six weeks and in good quality and quantity. It wasn’t like that before. The steady payments of salaries has also helped as it has become the reason why teachers now concentrate on their primary duties of teaching without interruption as it was before the coming of the Jang Administration.

Following the visits of the Deputy Governor and Commissioner of Education Mrs. Pauline Tallen to BUTEC early last year, the government made promises regarding certain renovations. So far contractors have undertaken an evaluation of some of these areas yearning for attention. He is confident that work will soon commence following what he has seen of the administration so far.

Sometimes in the past the position of the Principal of the school became a piece of item, dedicated to rewarding political loyalists. The action of the government at the time tore the moral of the staff into pieces. Every teaching staff aspires to becoming a Principal one-day and when appointments to the school are made from within the staff get the assurances that their dreams stand a good chance of getting fulfilled one day. When authorities are appointed from within the school it also rules out chances of insubordination. Further more such appointments enhance administrative efficiency, as the appointed people are conversant with the problems of the institution. Following his appointment as the Principal of the School alongside the Vice Principals Administration and Academic and the Dean of Studies all from within the school, Gokir says he has perceived a general sense of satisfaction among his staff as he has not seen or heard of any expression of disaffection whatsoever. These things have raised his hope and those of his staff and as such he believes the government will live up to its promises on education. He is hence full of praises to the administrative duo of Jang and Tallen.

Obama and a Better World

An American entertainer by the name of Sweet Lips once described white America, as the doors black people must pass through to get to wherever they want to go. In other words blacks must get white backing in order to succeed in the United States of America. The culture of white support for Negros in the US is an established culture but it is felt that there are limits to the goals for which blacks could be supported to actualize. As a result the world was astonished when Obama won the American Presidential elections on November 4, 2008. What obama did served to demonstrate that greatness overcomes any form of limitation in the way of a man striving towards his goals, as the white House was considered the last place for any person of colour.

In the run up to the very elections that Obama won, a pro-McCain political analyst described Obama as a celebrity that tends towards the actors of Hollywood rather than a political leader. Obama however, is not the first black man to become a member of the American Senator. As a politician he was noted for his intelligence and strong dynamism. These qualities of his have been played up so much that people’s expectations of him have grown astronomically, not only at home but abroad as well. Thus he is expected to live behind a better world when he eventually leaves the oval office in many years to come.

The better world that Obama can bring could only be better in relative terms. This is because certain problems of man such that have made life less attractive such as poverty, ill health, disasters and death cannot be avoided but the avoidable woes have persisted due to man’s selfishness or emphasis on frivolities.

The problems that have plagued man on earth include poverty, disease and hunger, war and crime, injustice, terrorism and global warming. The ability of man to overcome his problems does not solely depend on one man. Rather it depends on our ability to unite behind that man for the purpose of the common good of the planet. It is feared that the huge differences that exist between the people of the world will make it impossible for Obama to change the world if that is the big goal he has set for himself.

There is a difference in ideology. An ideology is a belief. China more than ever before has reasons to hold on to its communist ideology. It believes that at the current momentum of its economic prosperity it will very soon become the economic powerhouse of the planet. It rode on the back of communism to achieve this. In the face of the Chinese economic prosperity the out-going American President, George W Bush, came out re-state America’s belief in Capitalism and its determination to continue the capitalist advocacy around world. At this point there is no prospect of the Chinese submitting to a capitalist nation for the sake of changing the world.

The protection of economic interest of nations is one reason why countries will find it difficult to cooperate for the sake of changing the world. George Bush Jr. is one who is willing to protect the economic interest of the US even if the action violates the principle of globalization, an idea of the developed nations. Bush is one who gives subsidies to American farmers and bans the importation of cheaper European steel into the US in violation of terms of globalization and with the sole aim of protecting the economy of the US. Bush by doing this was working towards protecting American economic prosperity and many nations would want to the same even in a situation where America under Obama is willing to make compromises. It is doubtful that Africans will buy the idea of a better world in which they cannot sell their farm produce

One big threat to a better world is the danger of global warming, a problem for which the US is largely responsible. Bush is also the one who refused to cooperate in the fight against global warming, as it will destroy the economy of the US. The ability of Obama to remake the world depends on whether he will make the compromises that Bush strongly resisted.

Religion an element of culture is also what people believe. The American secularism, and Christianity believes that a world of one man to one woman, a world in which men and women have equal opportunities to use their talents to achieve all that is possible, is a better world. On the other hand Islam, the other big religion of the world believes that in a better world, a man should be free to marry as much as four wives as long as he can care for them adequately. It also believes that men and women are not exactly equal. The ability of Obama to create a better world depends on whether he can convince these two religions and the others to close the gap that exists between them.

The world would have been much better than it is if terrorism never existed. One area of the world where terrorism is highly favoured as means of legitimate protest is the Middle East and the Islamic world to a large extent. In these parts of the world, terrorism has come to be used as a solution to the perceived injustice of the Western world to them. The “western” decision to back Jews into displacing them from a land and occupying it is one reason why this section of the world’s population will never forgive the west let alone supporting them to bring about a better world. It is will amount to the biggest miracle in mans history for the Palestinians to acknowledge the world is better while they remained outside of the land they consider to be rightfully theirs. As long as they remain outside of the occupied lands it is not likely that the terrorism will end, at least not in Obama’s time as the President of the United States of America. The Palestinian crisis started in 1968 and since them the west have never failed in its attempt to broker a lasting peace in the region.

Our ability to improve the world depends not only on our decision to support the American President for that purpose. It also depends on our ability to move together towards the attainment of this goal. The Millennium Development Goal is no doubt an attempt to improve the world. Yoweri Musoveni, the Ugandan President who delivered a lecture at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic studies in Nigeria on November 21, 2008 lamented the odds of working with a largely unskilled manpower. Musoveni queried how Africa would be able to achieve the millennium development goals. “Is it by magic” he concluded. If the world under Obama must improve substantially, than it has ever done, we must have to move at the same pace.

One of the major factors why Africa lags behind is the greed that often pushes African leaders into embezzlement of the resources of their respective countries. Kenya is one African country where economic growth has been slowed by the deep-rooted corruption of its leaders. When Obama visited Kenya, the birth country of his father, Barack Obama Sr. he openly condemned the leaders of that country for not just allowing corruption to thrive but for being directly responsible for the act. It is an indication of Obama’s resolve to change Kenya but the willingness of the leadership to cooperate determines the possibility of a corrupt-free and happier Kenya.

Obama Not the First Black President

Obama will not be the first African American to become the President of the United States of America. It is said that there have been six before him. In most of the six cases before him the point of racial convergence in the pedigree was so remote that physical signs were lost and it was difficult to perceive without systematic investigation or that one of the parents was so light skinned that it was easy for him to blend effectively with Caucasians. All of them chose to hide this African connection as they observed that it would work against them. In the case of Obama however, the African connection is as glaring as daylight and the people just chose to have him as the 44th man in the White House despite this. Thus he did not have any need to hide his African background. It probably would have made him unpopular and perhaps work against him.

Many would find it difficult to believe but the first man with an African connection to find his way into the White House was actually Thomas Jefferson who even owned slaves. It is said that his maternal grandparents were where of mixed African and Cherokee Indian blood. His political rivals who knew about it used it in an attempt to stain his political profile in 1796 prior to the presidential elections that eventually sent him into the White House.

The others included, surprisingly, Abraham Lincoln who was the 16th American President, Andrew Jackson who ruled between 1829 and 1837, Warren Harding (1921-1923) who was directly succeeded by another, Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929). The penultimate, Dwight Eisenhower came in 1953 and reigned until 1961.

In 1863 Lincoln was the American Leader who singed the Emancipation Declaration that freed African American slaves. It was seen by some who had suspected his African ancestry as an act of concern for his own people. His skin was said to be quite dark and his hair had a texture resembling that of Negroes. In a village in Ohio where Harding grew there were many who swore that his family was African-American. Harding also attended Iberia College in Ohio, which is an institution that was founded to provide education for Africa Americans. Furthermore Harding, it is said, never denied being African American.

Obama was supported and voted to become the 44th American President despite his immediate African lineage. It worked largely because he turned out to be extremely popular in the US. Seeing that has this popularity transcended the border of the US to all nooks and crannies of the globe, he might well turn out to be one of Americas most accepted leaders globally. The meek are truly headed towards inheriting the earth.

A Letter from a Mathematics Teacher to WAEC

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