Meristem Securities raises price target on Forte Oil to N77.41

By Nkiruka Nnorom

MERISTEM Securities Ltd has raised the price target for Forte Oil Plc to N77.41 from N64.09, implying a 68 percent increase from the last close. Forte Oil’s shares closed at N57.96 at the end of trading on Friday, July 21, 2017. The Lagos-based investment house also upgraded its recommendation on Forte Oil to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’.

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The credit ratings, according to Meristem, were accorded to Forte Oil Plc based on the company’s top-tier position in the Nigerian downstream sector underpinned by a strong and visible brand, significant assets across the energy value chain, and strong relationships with suppliers.

According the report made available to Financial Vanguard, Meristem Securities had, before now, advised investors in the equities market to hold shares of Forte Oil.

The report showed that investors who followed Meristem Securities’ recommendation would have received a 58 percent return in the past one year.

In the past three years and four months, Meristem Securities has rated Forte Oil’s shares ‘hold’ once, ‘buy’ once and ‘sell’ once. The shares fell 23 percent in the period rated ‘hold’, fell 11 percent in the period rated ‘buy’ and rose 146 percent in the period rated ‘sell’.

Analysts raised their consensus one-year target price for the stock by 4.8 percent in the past three months. Forecasts range from N61.44 to N202.87.

Foremost ratings and research agencies, Agusto & Co. and Global Credit Rating Co. (GCR), had recently affirmed Forte Oil Plc investment grade rating.

Both agencies stated that the long term outlook for the oil and gas company remained stable.

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Photography is big business – Segun Olotu

Segun Olotun is a UK-based international creative photographer. In this revealing interview, he speaks about his professional itinerary in photography, the lucrativeness, and the gaps between photography in Nigeria and the UK. Take a trip with him:

Segun Olotu

The beginning, the journey so far

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I’ve been shooting since 2010. I used to be a salesperson for  a camera company called Olympus in the UK. I sold a lot of cameras and so got a free one. When I got the camera, I went on the streets of London and started taking pictures. I had the privilege of working with Kola Abayomi, a very amazing photographer. I got inspired by taking pictures on the streets with him. At a point I felt I needed to change my camera, which I did. Thereafter I started taking pictures in church; the demand for shooting weddings started coming. I had a lot of friends who moved abroad and when it was time for them to get married, they gave me opportunity to shoot. I did a lot of free work. I went to America, shot a friend’s wedding for free. He had a photographer already that he paid about $7,000, I did a free job but at the end of the day he preferred my work to the one he paid for. That was what gave me more opportunities to start shooting weddings around the world. Since then I’ve been growing and I’m still growing….Somewhere along the way I travelled as far as Nicaragua to meet a guy name Mauricio, I attended his master-class in Romania and he encouraged me. In Romania I met some other amazing guys who encouraged and advised me. I learnt from Ben Chrisman, Mauricio’s boss, as well. I attended his master-class. I have travelled around to attend master-classes. By 2015 I had spent about $15,000 attending master-classes to change my style of photography and it has helped me to be who I am today. I’m still learning.

Source of inspiration

Bayo Omoboriowo inspires me a lot. Bayo has inspired and is still inspiring most of us. It has got to the point that if I need advice, the first person I call is Bayo. He has made impact in the lives of many photographers in Nigeria, and he has inspired me to do more. I also look up to George Oshodi, TY Bello, and a number of others.

Differences between photography in Nigeria and in the UK

The difference I see is that in the western world there is an association of photographers. They do collaborations. They have things like secret Facebook page where photographers come to critique one another. In Africa, particularly Nigeria, there is no association. A problem I’ve seen here is ego; everyone has an ego, no one wants to collaborate with the other. Collaboration for me is the main key of success, but in Africa we don’t like to collaborate, we like hiding ourselves. People seem to think, ‘I don’t want them to see my work; I don’t want people to comment about my work, my work is good.’ We just go about claiming, ‘I’m the best.’ So, I would say collaboration is what is missing in Nigeria and Africa. But as time goes, we will achieve that.

Quality of work

During the Now Collectives Photography conference, everyone was blown away with the work of some of the speakers. Everyone thought they used the best cameras. It is not about camera, it is all about understanding what equipment you have at the moment and creating what you can create. So, quality of work, I would say we are doing well, but we can be better. A lot of Nigerians have invested in good cameras thinking that would change the quality of work; it wouldn’t, it is about how we see things. We don’t see things the way the westerners see things, and that’s why we are in love with their work. If they come here and shoot what we shoot here, we would be in love with what they shoot. The eyes have to be trained. But we are getting there.

Lucrativeness of photography

Photography is big business. George Oshodi’s photo of an African king wearing a dress that has the print of Queen Elizabeth sold for over €20,000 in Europe. In 2014, Australian landscape photographer Peter Lik’s “Phantom”, which was captured at Arizona’s Antelope Canyon, was sold to a private collector for $6.5 million, making it the most expensive photo ever sold. The record was previously held by Andreas Gursky’s “Rhein II”, which sold for $4.3 million back in 2011. So, photography is a big thing. It has opened doors for a lot of people not to be sleeping on the streets. Photography has changed lives; it has created plenty of small businesses as well.

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7 companies plan N191bn rights issue this year ..

By Peter Egwuatu

.4 raised N7.2bn H1’17 … Market operators say banks, others likely to raise more funds in H2’17

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AGAINST the backdrop of  economic woes which significantly impacted the Nigerian capital market in 2016 recording zero capital raise, companies quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, have begun to take opportunities occasioned by increased investors’ confidence to raise fresh funds to meet operational and investment needs.

From left: Mr. Bola Adeeko, Head, Corporate Services Division, Nigerian Stock Exchange; Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, President Nigeria Football Federation, Oscar Onyema, CEO, NSE; Sunday Oliseh, Super Eagles coach and Mr. Ade Bajomo, ED, Market Operations and Technology, NSE, at the Closing Gong Ceremony at The Exchange yesterday  

Financial Vanguard learnt that about seven companies have got their shareholders’ nod to raise N191 billion before the end of the year, 2017, while four firms have successfully floated about N7.2 billion from January to June 2017.

Meanwhile, market operators have stated that in the second half, H2’17, there are indications that more companies are likely to approach the market, particularly the banks as part of their efforts to shore up their capital adequacy requirements to regulatory threshold.

Money raised by way of rights issue floated in the first half of 2017 include : UACN Property Development Company, UPDC Plc N5.2 billion, Portland Cement Plc N1.02 billion , Livestock Feeds N750 million, and Meyer Plc N218 million.

Furthermore, the seven companies that have gotten shareholders’ approval to raise about N191.3 billion this year include:   Guinness Nigeria Plc N39.7 billion, Forte Oil N20.0 billion, UACN Plc N15.4 billion, Union Bank Plc N50 billon, Unilever Nigeria Plc N63.0 billion, and May & Baker Nigeria Plc N3.0 billion.

Details of the money raised by the four companies are as follows:

UACN Property Development Company Plc

The company had offered 1,718,750,000 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N3.00 per share. The gross issue proceeds stood at N5.2 billion. The net proceeds of the issue, according to the company, would be applied towards further development /completion of ongoing projects and acquisition of land to execute new projects. The parent company of UPDC, UACN, under its Group Treasury Arrangement made advances to UPDC totalling N3.69billion solely for working capital purposes. The advances are payable on demand and attract an annual interest rate equivalent to the Monetary Policy Rate, MPR + 150 basis points. The outstanding loan would be partly repaid by applying UACN’s provisional allotment and any additional subscription thereof.

Portland Paints and Products Nigeria Plc

Portland Paints and Products Nigeria (PPPN) Plc had opened its N1.2 billion rights issue on  February 7, 2017 through a rights issue of 600 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N1.70 per share. The provisional allotment for the rights issue is on the basis of three new ordinary shares for one ordinary share. The application list closed on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.

Chairman of the company, Mr. Larry Ettah, stated that the new equity funds would be used to restructure the company’s balance sheet and support its business expansion programme. “We will apply the planned rights proceeds to minimise the debt exposure risks of our business as well as carry out targeted expansion in our operations. The business will focus on its growth brands as well as make the necessary investment in marketing to improve its brands’ awareness and visibility,” he stated.

Livestock Feeds Plc

Livestock Feeds Plc, has raised N750 million rights issue, involving 1,000,000,000 ordinary Shares of 50 kobo each at N0.75 per share on the basis of   one new ordinary share for every two ordinary shares held. The offer had opened on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 and closed Thursday,  May 25, 2017.

Meyer Plc

Paint manufacturer, Meyer Plc opened its rights issue of 291 million shares at 75 kobo per share. The offer opened on Monday 9th  of January 2017 and closed on Wednesday, February 15, 2017.

The shares of the company were allotted on the basis of one new share for every one share held. The proceeds of the offer were used for factory refurbishment and upgrade, working capital, and brand building and expansion. Meanwhile, details of the seven companies that had indicated interest to raise N191.1 billion this year are as follows: 

UACN Plc

The Management and Board of UACN Plc made proposal to help its subsidiaries to raise about N15.4 billion rights issue. According to a notice to the NSE, the Board said it needs an enhanced capital of N7 billion for Grand Cereals Limited; Livestock Feeds Plc (N0. 75 billion).

The Board explained that these subsidiaries need working capital support during the procurement season of November/December, which their banks would not provide timely, thus endangering the performance of the subsidiaries.

Guinness Nigeria Plc

Guinness Nigeria Plc   had on March 15, 2017,  through its stockbroker, Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers Limited, submitted an application to the NSE for approval and listing of a rights issue of 684,494,631 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at  N58.00 per share on the basis of five new ordinary shares for every 11 ordinary shares held.  The value totalled N39.7 billion.

The  qualification date for the rights issue was Wednesday 15 March 2017.    The company intends to use the funds to deleverage its balance sheet given its relatively high debt level; finance its  working capital needs; and expand its operations.

Unilever Nigeria

The company got shareholders’ nod at its AGM held Thursday, 11 May, 2017 to raise up to N63 billion by way of Rights Issue, subject to obtaining regulatory approval. It was gathered that if the rights issue is executed at the current market value of N33.25, the N63 billion proposed capital raise equates to new 1.89 billion ordinary shares that would be offered to existing shareholders (assuming all current shareholders take up their rights). 

Forte Oil Plc

Forte oil has unveiled plans to raise N20billion in equity from the stock market. While management of the company has not stated if it will issue new shares or take a rights issue, investigations by Financial Vanguard reveals that the firm may be more inclined to a rights issue.

Union Bank Nigeria Plc

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has commenced the process of rolling out N50 billion rights issue after getting shareholders’ nod to raise additional capital to finance its growth strategy. The shareholders at the 48th Annual General Meeting, AGM, held in Lagos charged the Board of Directors to ensure the price and timing of the rights issue are favourable to enable members partake in the exercise. 

May & Baker Nigeria Plc

May & Baker Nigeria Plc also received shareholders approval to raise N20 billion rights issue at its last AGM. The rights issue is aimed at shoring up working capital for the company. 

Stakeholders’ reactions

Reflecting on the imperatives of the sudden rush to capital raise by quoted companies, the Managing Director/CEO, High Cap Securities Limited, David Adonri , stated: “As the economy recovers from stagflation, confidence is gradually being restored in the capital market. Issuers’ confidence is also increasing hence, increase in primary market activities.

“If secondary market momentum is sustained, more activities should be expected in the primary market and we   will see more companies raising fund in the second half.

“The equity market is currently witnessing an uptick in activities. A combination of the change in asset allocation rules for Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) and opening of a window for investors and exporters has led to a sustained rise in the price of equities. The rising appetite for equities means an equity offer may witness a high level of subscription.”

In his own reaction, Managing Director/CEO, APT Securities & Funds Limited,   Mr. Kasimu Kurfi said “The  recent coming of rights issues after a long break of public issues in the NSE is not a surprise to us. If you observed most of the companies coming with the rights issues, they have core investor among its shareholders. Most of the multinational companies rush for same, such as Guinness, WAPCO, Unilever and many others on the way to come.

“The reason for rise in rights issues are as follows: The new listing rule by the NSE allow a core investor to hold up to   a maximum of 80 per cent instead of 70 per cent;   devaluation of Naira by 50 per cent encourages multinational to convert their USD loan into equity; the price of the stocks of the companies for rights issues are very low given opportunity to take more;   it is an opportunity to increase their holding in case others did not take their rights as most of the investor lack money to take their rights.

“Guinness used this opportunity to discontinue with her initial tender offer of N175.00 per share in 2016 only to come back and issue rights at N57.00. There is likely after all this rights, the stock will rise back to their high price. So, we will continue to see more rights in the market in the second half and so on.”

Also reflecting on the situation, Mr. Sewa Wusu, Research & Investment Advisory, SCM Capital Limited stated: “The positive mood we have seen so far in the stock market is an indication that companies may be warming up to approach the market, particularly the banks as part of their efforts to shore up their capital adequacy requirements to regulatory threshold or standard.

“I also think as the economy eventually come out of recession, the need to boost expansion may induce companies to approach the market. I  think it’s a good development to have seen about four companies raised funds by way of rights just in the first half of this year as against none in 2016.

“Raising funds to boost expansion depends on the economic outlook and the performance of the stock market coupled with appropriate timing of the offers, either rights issues or IPOs.  But a lot depends on how quickly the economy recovers to induce activities.”

Mr. Sola Oni, Stockbroker/CEO, SOFUNIX Investment Limited said, “Companies  float rights issue to raise capital for expansion. Rights issues can also be deployed to raise money for investment in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and introduce new products among others. It is attractive because it is sold at a discount to compensate the shareholders for their loyalty to the company. The Adoption of rights Issues is a trade off of other options for capital injection such as bank loans, corporate bonds and a host of other financing instruments. As economy continues to recover, we shall see more companies raising further funds either by way of rights or public offering.

“The emergence of rights issues through the NSE symbolizes investor confidence in the company and the capital market.   There is no doubt that the Nigeria’s economy is on the path of stability as evident in encouraging corporate earnings and instances of market rally. This is a signal that shareholders would pick their rights. It is expected that the trend shall continue in the second half of this year.”

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ICC: Martial Dazzles As Man United Edge Out Real Madrid

By James Agberebi:

Manchester United defeated Real Madrid 2-1 on penalties after 90 minutes ended 1-1 in the American leg of the International Champions Cup in California, United States of America on Sunday.

Real Madrid star forward, and former Manchester United player, Cristiano Ronaldo did not feature in the high profile friendly.

Jesse Lingard gave Manchester United the lead late in the first half before Brazilian midfielder Casemiro equalised for Real Madrid from the penalty spot.

United had the game’s first big chance in the seventh minute through Lingard but his shot from the edge of the box was pushed away by goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

With five minutes remaining in the first half, Gareth Bale sent in a dangerous cross which was cleared by Phil Jones.

Two minutes later Lingard drove a shot which narrowly missed the target.

In the 44th minute Luka Modric sent in a low delivery which Eric Bailly did enough to clear.

United eventually broke the deadlock one minute into first half added time as Lingard tapped into an empty net following a brilliant play by Anthony Martial.

France forward Martial brought the game to life when he cut through the Real defence, beating three defenders with quick feet before setting up Lingard for a tap-in.

In the final seconds of the first half, Karim Benzema thought he had equalised for Real Madrid but his effort was flagged off for offside.

At the start of the second half, the two teams made changes with the likes of Paul Pogba, David De Gea, Romelu Lukaku, Chris Smalling, Ander Herrera and Henrik Mkhitaryan coming on for United, while Casemiro, Mateo Kovacic and Oscar Rodriguez came on for Real Madrid.

With seventeen minutes gone in the second half, United almost doubled their lead but Maroune Fellaini headed over the bar from a corner.

Real Madrid were back on level terms as Casemiro converted a 69th minute penalty after Victor Lindelof fouled Theo Hernandez.

In the 72nd minute De Gea made a superb save to deny Luismi Quezada off a clever free-kick.

After failing to find the winner, the game went straight into penalty shootout with Manchester United emerging victorious, after there were more misses than goals in the farcical shootout.

The win is United’s fourth straight on their US tour after victories over LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake and Manchester City.

United and Real Madrid teams will face off in the UEFA Super Cup on August 8.

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Man Utd beat Real Madrid on penalties in Santa Clara after Victor Lindelof error

Jesse Lingard scores

Manchester United beat Real Madrid on penalties after their pre-season game finished 1-1 in Santa Clara.

Anthony Martial created Jesse Lingard’s first-half opener for United with a brilliant piece of skill on the left.

Casemiro levelled for Real from the penalty spot after United’s new £31m defender Victor Lindelof brought down Theo Hernandez with a rash challenge.

Seven out of 10 penalties were missed in the shootout, with Casemiro’s wild effort ensuring United edged it 2-1.

It was not a great night for Lindelof, who compounded his error during the game with a miss from the spot.

Another negative for United was Ander Herrera lasting only six minutes before going off with a hip injury.

They have now won all four of their matches in the United States and meet Barcelona in their final tour game in Washington on Wednesday.

Wales forward Gareth Bale started for Real in their first pre-season game.

They play Manchester City in Los Angeles on Wednesday before meeting Barcelona in Miami on Saturday.

Martial the mystery

Much of the noise around France forward Martial this summer has centred around him potentially being used as bait to lure Ivan Perisic to Manchester United from Inter Milan.

Considering Martial is 21 – seven years younger than Croatia winger Perisic – it would seem a strange move for United manager Jose Mourinho to agree to.

But Martial has had a largely inconsistent two years at Old Trafford and former United defender Gary Neville said in January the player needed to “realise his potential”.

Watching him weave past Luka Modric and Dani Carvajal, then roll a pass to Lingard for United’s opener as Raphael Varane closed in, it was easy to see why Mourinho’s predecessor, Louis van Gaal, sanctioned his £36m transfer two years ago.

Those are the sparks Martial must show more often.

The quiet number 10

It says a lot about midfielder Modric that, despite being one of the quiet men at Real Madrid, he has been given the number 10 shirt this season following the departure of James Rodriguez to Bayern Munich.

There is more than one way to make a noise though.

Modric does not pout or posture. He simply plays, simply.

He seems to see passes half a second before anyone else. And then he delivers them, accurately.

The former Tottenham player was only involved for 45 minutes at the Levi’s Stadium, but on three occasions he found team-mates with passes which, if they had been a bit sharper, they might have profited from.

Shambolic shootout

Ronald McDonald walked out with the teams prior to kick-off. It felt like he was taking part during a shambolic penalty shootout.

Martial set the tone by blazing the first kick way over. After two penalties each, the score was 0-0.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan finally scored for United, only for Lindelof to miss with their next kick.

Real were even worse. Only Quezada scored for them, meaning United won when Casemiro blasted against the bar after Daley Blind’s unconvincing effort had given the Premier League side the advantage.

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Adebayo Faleti: Pillar of culture takes a bow

The arts community mourns the passage of multitalented artist and culture promoter, Adebayo Faleti, AKEEM LASISI writes

From writing to broadcasting and acting, Adebayo Faleti straddled the art world like a colossus. He could also sing just as he was a great poet whose mastery of the Yoruba idiom was phenomenal. His death, on Sunday, has thus jolted many people, although he died at the age of 86.

In a tribute to the artist, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, notes that his impact was real both in the arts and culture sector and on broader national scene.


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Mohammed says in a telephone interview with our correspondent,  “We will really miss him. Pa Faleti, as he was fondly called, was not just a successful  Thespian and broadcaster, he was also a patriot. He provided an example to follow when it comes into investing one’s intellect and talent in the propagation of one’s heritage. As he was doing this in probably all areas of the arts and entertainment, he was also participating in programmes and projects that could directly or indirectly impact positiviely on national development. So, his legacies should console us. I believe we all need to come together to celebrate and immortalise him, and I will be ready to be in the forefront of doing that.”

Many youths would identify Faleti with the country’s contemporary film industry. He was one of the actors who provided the industry with the intellectual strength that helped to stabilise it. In this sense, many will remember his roles in major films such as Saworoide and Thunderbolt, produced by Tunde Kelani, where Faleti worked with the likes of Prof. Akinwumi Isola, the late Dr. Larinde Akinleye and Laide Adewale.

Faleti deployed his deep insight into the Yoruba world view, his experience as a broadcaster, producer and creative writer to his activities on stage and screen. But this is the kind of feat he was simply used to. Those who had been following his marks, especially as a poet in the Yoruba genre, will situate him among legends such as Lanrewaju Adepoju and the late Ogundare Fonyanmu, an ijala chanter. His collections of poems, including Ewi Adebayo Faleti, as well as his prose works that include Ogun Awitele, stood him out as an iconic disciple of the muse. When he thus passed away on Sunday, it was the proverbial passage of another human library.

Indeed, one of his acolytes, Tunde Kelani, believes the impact of the loss could be more penetrating than that. According to him, Faleti’s death is like setting a museum ablaze because he believes he represented the best of the people’s heritage.

“We thank God for his life,” Kelani says. “There is also the consolation that we can always revisit many of the creative works he left behind. But we must also be bold enough to observe that he was part of a breed that cannot be replaced. Or, in our present circumstance of cultural, educational and economic regression, can we still produce a true icon like Faleti? I am happy that I met people like him early enough – since the Western Nigerian Broadcasting Services days – and received the mentoring that I have continued to build upon.”

Kelani adds that his experience with the ‘three musketeers’ (as Ishola, Akinleye and Faleti were popularly called) was very impactful because they not only acted in his acclaimed movies, but also contributed to the script development and production.

Also, poet and essayist, Odia Ofeimun, describes Faleti’s death as painful. According to him, the deceased was a serious and colourful poet.

Ofeimun says, “I always thought his book would be translated into English while he was still alive. Nigeria is an unserious country. If we were a serious people, we would be translating works in indigenous languages into English so that people from other cultures and with different languages would be able to read them.”

Veteran actor and producer, Jide Kosoko, in an interview with our correspondent, notes that Faleti laid a good example for other professionals to follow. According to Kosoko, he was not just a delight as an entertainer and culture promoter, his character was also instructive.

“That was a good man; a good father to all of us. He was always very honest in his assessment of issues. If he had any fault, I think that was the fact that he was always too factual when speaking on issues. Baba Faleti would never call black ‘red’ even if that would displease his listener,” Kosoko explains.

Members of the Ibadan Film Circle have also mourned Faleti. The online group, comprising the likes of Tade Ogidan, Segun Arinze, Greg Odutayo, Remi Raji, Joke Muyiwa, Dele Odule, Ropo Ewenla, Ademola Aremu, Dele Morakinyo and Tunde Olaoye, note in a statement that the deceased was a shining light.

In a statement by the IFC’s initiator, Niji Akanni, they say Faleti represented the best in all areas he touched.

The film-makers aver, “We know it is a big loss, but we know death is inevitable. It is a drama in which everyone has a role, a role that must be played when it is one’s turn – or episode if you like. As a writer, Pa Adebayo Faleti penetrated all areas of life. As an actor, he was one of those that can be described as play-makers. Without indulging in any petty practice, he gave the audience and viewers the very best.”

Foremost playwright, Prof. Femi Osofisan, salutes Faleti as a pillar of Yoruba culture. He explains that if people mourn Faleti, it is not because he did not live long enough, but because the gap he is leaving behind is puzzling.

Osofisan says, “I am not sure there will be a replacement for him. Where will you get another person with such deep insight and rare power of transmission of the cultural heritage?”

In another tribute, scholar and dancer, Rasaki Ojo-Bakare, highlights Faleti’s many parts. He writes on Facebook, “Alagba Adebayo Faleti, poet, playwright, actor, producer, teacher and scholar. You  came for Yoruba language and culture to live. You taught us to respect how we were created and what we are made to be. You lived life to the fullest, loved humanity to the fullest, served us to the fullest and left us better than we met you. Good night, Baba. Rest well, Awo ire. The torch you passed unto us shall be kept aglow.”

Faleti was born on  December 26, 1930. Beyond his involvement in creative works and broadcasting, he was  a Yoruba translator, with one of his marks being the translation of the National Anthem into Yoruba.

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All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

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Utomi attacks Uduaghan, says ex-gov left sad legacy

Ovie Okpare, Warri

The feud between immediate past governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, and renowned political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, on Sunday worsened as the Lagos based economist, came hard on the former governor, saying Uduaghan left a sad legacy as governor of the state.

Utomi particularly accused the former governor and some ‘elements’ in previous governments where he also served as the Secretary of the State Government of sabotaging several efforts by him in the past to contribute to the development of the state.


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Uduaghan, while reacting to an earlier statement made by Utomi which was published in Sunday PUNCH told the economist to contest the post of councillor in his ward, instead of aiming to be the next governor.

But making further clarification to comments in a press statement sent to our correspondent on Sunday, Utomi challenged the former governor to render account of his stewardship including the abandoned Independent Power Project in Oghara that gulped over N20bn under his administration with nothing to show for it seven years after.

He said, “While I agree with the former governor that our conversations of today should focus more on the future than the past, we must recognise that the damage done to Delta State by the mismanagement of its finances and resources still plague the state as we speak. Uduaghan’s legacy is a sad reflection of this awful chapter of our history.

“My comment on optimal debt-to-revenue ratios is verifiable and those who have the ability to do the mathematics  are all over the place. It was a comment made to draw attention to and prevent the worsening of a problem that is still ongoing; because in spite of the bailout funds from the Federal Government, and the huge windfall from the Paris loan refunds which now stands at over N24bn, the Delta State House of Assembly has approved over N18bn as loan for the Okowa administration this year alone. In fact, a N13bn plus loan request was recently made to the Delta State House of Assembly.

“Deltans need to be aware and decry this type of heavy debt burden, especially as there are no commensurate development projects or programmes on the ground to justify it and to aid repayment in future. Governor Okowa was right to raise an alarm about the over N600bn debt that he claimed to have inherited. He has however proceeded to increase this debt burden by over N60bn of his own. This is only further mortgaging Delta State and the future of our children.”

He also debunked some allegations made by the former governor accusing him of abandoning and not contributing to committees he was appointed to chair during his administration and not using his international and national connections to attract development to the state.

Utomi said, “A good councillor would have done much better for the people than Uduaghan did as governor. There is extreme misuse of the opportunities available to Delta State. It will take a serious and truly capable government to vigorously tap its potential and create jobs for our teeming youths. This is one of the many reasons why I believe Delta State needs new political leadership in 2019. Deltans are not meant to suffer from the jeopardy of a clueless administration, especially at this critical phase of our existence.

“I would have imagined that Uduaghan will be very sober and saddened by his legacy of mismanagement and gross wastage that he left behind in Delta State. Trying to spin his poor record in the hope that Deltans would have forgotten so soon is a failed attempt to rewrite history. Undoubtedly, he knows that only few Deltans speak well of him and it is his pain to struggle with that reality.

“ As he grapples with history, what is more important to Deltans today is how we can rectify the wrong policies, decisions and actions of the past, so that we can create a government that would not only meet the needs of our people today but guarantee a better life for successive generations.

“This is the task that I have offered to commit myself to between now and 2023. We are looking forward to 2019 with hope and renewed zeal for the beginning of a ‘New Delta’ teeming with opportunities and alive with possibilities.”

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Source: Punch

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Pique: Neymar Is Staying At Barcelona

Barcelona star Neymar will not leave the club this summer, according to his teammate Gerard Pique.

Neymar has been the subject of intense speculation linking him with a move to Paris Saint-Germain for a mind-blowing €220m, with some outlets claiming he has even agreed a deal with the French club.

Barcelona President Josep Bartomeu has insisted that the Brazil forward is not for sale, but the reports of a move have persisted.
Now Spain centre-back Pique, one of the most influential figures at Camp Nou, has weighed in on the situation.

“Se queda,” Pique tweeted on Sunday night with a picture of himself posing with a smiling Neymar. Se queda is Spanish for “He stays”.

Neymar, 25, has been one of Barcelona’s best players since joining them in 2013, forming the potent ‘MSN’ forward line with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

The Brazilian shrugged off the speculation on Saturday night to score two stunning goals as Barcelona defeated Juventus 2-1 in a pre-season friendly in New Jersey, United States of America.

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Source: Complete Sports Nigeria

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Why Lagos LG Elections Results Have Not Been Announced – LASIEC

LASIECThe Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) said it is yet to conclude the collation of final results for Saturday’s local government elections held in the state.

The Chairman of LASIEC, Justice Ayotunde Phillips (rtd), disclosed this to Channels Television on Sunday evening in an interview on News At 10.

Give reasons for the delay in the announcement of results, Justice Philips said: “We are just waiting for the result from one local government”.

She, however, noted that the commission did its best in conducting a free and fair election and would learn from its mistakes going forward.

“You can never be 100% satisfied, I’ve heard complaints. The weather was not really in our favour and we had a bit of problem getting some of the materials to some of the areas but I think we did our best. There is still room for improvement and we are going to learn from our mistakes and we’ll improve as we go along,” the chairman stated.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Police Command said it has arrested about 110 suspects for various offences during the local government election which held on Saturday.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni, said: “As of the time I left the office (on Saturday evening), we should be having about 110 suspects that have been arrested for one thing or the other. There may still be more because we’ve not finished the whole process but as of now, we have close to about 110 suspects in custody.”

Mr Owoseni who said he also monitored the process in some areas of the state noted that the police responded promptly to the incidence of violence in some parts of the state.

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Source: Channelstv

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MMM, Hope Builders Foundation Give Tools To Entrepreneurs

In a society where getting a job is difficult, and for those who have the jobs, their take home pay is never enough to cater for their needs, acquiring skills to be an entrepreneur is important.

After acquiring the skills, having the tools to work and make a living from it is in most cases a major challenge to many.

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But some Nigerians now have reasons to be excited as business tools like sewing machine, hair dresser, clipper, cash and lots more were handed them following the completion of their training.

Hope Builders Skills Development and Acquisition Foundation (HBF) has been training Nigerians on skill acquisition and how to be an entrepreneur.

Over 20 youths and women graduated in July and were handed their certificates, cheques, and most importantly, tools to start their own business.

Director at HBF, Mrs Folake Adu said the foundation, which began in 2003, has trained over 2000 youths and women, who she said most of them are doing well as their own bosses. She thanked MMM Nigeria for sponsoring the initiative with #1,285,000 to carry out the event.

“Beneficiaries will be monitored to ensure they effectively make use of the tools given them so that they can be their own boss.”

MMM Charity coordinator Amaka Benson said they are glad to support the initiative which is one of the ways they give back to the society. She said MMM Nigeria is glad to participate in assisting the less privileged and putting smiles on their faces.

Keynote speaker at the tools presentation event Professor Martins Anatekhai, who is the Director of Entrepreneurial Studies at the Lagos State University, congratulated beneficiaries and advised them to make good use of their new skills.

Represented by Dr Saka Rahman, Anatekhai said “If you get trained and empowered, you are your own boss. I beg you beneficiaries, don’t sell these tools, use it to work, get busy to assist yourselves and families.”

“When I get back, I will tell the director that we need to collaborate with Hope Builders Foundation to help take more people out of the street and give them meaningful life.”

He advised them to be patient, committed, consistent, put more effort and be prayerful, adding that results will surely come.

One of the beneficiaries of sewing machine Joy Johnbul said she is glad to receive the tool as it will help her make something of life. She thanked Mrs Adu for putting the programme together and also appreciate MMM for contributing to buy the tools.

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Source: Vanguard News

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