$4.5 billion oil refinery deal signed with US-based Vulcan Petroleum
A preliminary deal to build six oil refineries has been signed between the Nigerian government and the US-based company Vulcan Petroleum. The deal, worth $4.5 billion is set to boost Nigeria's refining capabilities by 180,000 barrels a day. Nigeria's Trade and Investment Minister Olusegun Aganga said that the deal signalled "the beginning of changing our old paradigm of exporting just raw materials and exporting jobs to Western countries".
EU and Nigeria sign N43 billion pact for project support
A N43 billion ($260 million) agreement was signed last Wednesday between the Nigerian government and European Union (EU) to support five key projects in the country. The areas to be addressed include the justice sector; water supply and sanitation; electoral cycle; the fight against drugs and related organised crimes; and the government's reform programme.
Renaissance Capital to expand Nigeria real estate operations
Renaissance Capital is expanding its operations in Nigeria with an additional $1 billion to finance real estate development in the Lekki area of Lagos State. The project is set to create the first eco-friendly, mixed-use residential and commercial zone in the country. The proposed estate investment follows similar large-scale urban developments by Renaissance in Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia. Yvonne Ike, West Africa CEO of Renaissance Capital, said of the project: "It is going to complement what the Lagos State government is already doing by creating employment and re-shifting economic activity".
Joint ACN-CPC candidate for Edo governorship election
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) look set to present a joint candidate for the July 14 governorship elections in Edo State. Adams Oshiomhole, the incumbent and ACN-CPC candidate, looks set to run against the candidate of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) Charles Airhiavbere, and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) candidate, Solomon Edevbie.
Anger at youth corps deployment Kano, Sokoto, Borno and others
Outrage has greeted the deployment of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members to troubled spots around the country including Yobe, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Borno and Bauchi states. The deployment letters for Batch B of the NYSC service year left many stunned due to the spate of bombings and insecurity in the areas they had been allocated. Many have asked to be redeployed due to safety concerns, while the NYSC is reportedly collaborating with affected states on how to ensure the security of corps members posted to their states.
Rain causes chaos in southwest
The rainy season has wrought havoc in the southwest of Nigeria in states such as Lagos, Ogun and Oyo. Hundreds of houses were flooded, the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway broke into two, and hundreds narrowly escaped death when their Lagos-bound train skidded off its track and rammed into a truck at Odo-Eran Sabo area of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
This Week: Politics
As preparations for the 2015 elections begin in earnest, an alliance between the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) seems to be taking shape. The first real test of this proposed pairing will be the July 14 election is Edo state.
And there are signs the People's Democratic Party (PDP) have also taken to the election trail with aplomb. Last weekend's election rally in Edo state showcased a number of party big wigs, including President Jonathan. He visited the Oba of Benin and held consultations with Edo state PDP executives on the need for unity, as they hope to reclaim the state from the grasps of the ACN.
But the PDP have some way to go until they regain the trust of the people of Edo State. Former PDP governor Lucky Igbinedion was widely accused of using the state treasury as his personal piggy bank. And the current governor, Adams Oshiomhole of the ACN, has a large support base after several of his projects have been viewed as people-oriented. The stage is set for yet another electoral battle - one that must be fully supported by the INEC, the police and the political parties in order to maintain peace.
With the rainy season in full swing, inevitable sites of destruction have been felt throughout the south west of the country. More than 100 have died and figures of those displaced have grown dramatically. Millions of naira worth of damage has been recorded and business, social and education activities have been halted in various parts of Oyo, Ogun and Lagos states.
The already limited resources of the emergency services have been stretched beyond its capabilities. A reportedly slow response from state government has further compounded the woes of affected. The rain season should not come as a surprise; however foresight in protecting lives and properties remains consistently absent. Lagos state has advised those residing in low-lying areas, particularly near lagoons, drainage channels, river courses and wetlands of the state to relocate to safer territory within the next two weeks. The lack of drainage infrastructure is the main reason for the flooding and even though states are attempting to correct this issue, awareness campaigns are simply not successful. Urban planning methods are outdated and unless this is corrected, flooding will continue to wreak havoc in the country.
Writers of the week:
'Nigeria Jaga Jaga: Of Culture, Citizens And Leadership' by Ola Onikoyi Jnr. addresses some sad truths about modern day Nigeria as the writer tries to find a remedy for a better tomorrow. Corruption, education and politics are touched upon, and the descriptive and emotive manner in which the article is written allows the reader to empathise with the author whilst allowing the inquisitive mind to wonder about a possible way forward for the nation.
'North, Presidency and the National Question' by Dan Amor takes an interesting and insightful view into the north-south rotation of the presidency from a historical perspective. Amor's opinion piece adds his voice to what is perceived to be an ethnic and regional struggle for supremacy in the Nigerian political arena. A brief analysis of the 1995 national constitutional conference sponsored by the late dictator Sani Abacha is undertaken alongside an attempt to answer vital questions on the make-up of the Nigerian state.
Website of the week:
The Nigeria Higher Education Foundation (NHEF) was created in 2004 by a group of US-based Nigerian professionals with the objective of assisting and enhancing the capacity of higher education institutions in Nigeria. NHEF aims to promote excellence in higher education whilst raising awareness about the role of Nigerian universities in the social, economic and political development of the nation. Other programmes created by NHEF include fostering dialogue and collaboration on training, research, programme development, and fundraising. The NHEF currently supports five universities: Ahmadu Bello University, Bayero University, University of Ibadan, Univeristy of Port Harcourt and the University of Nigeria Nsukka.
Lagun Akinloye, a British Nigerian, studied Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds. He is particularly interested in the history and politics of West Africa, specifically Nigeria.Email: lagun.akinloye AT thinkafricapress.com. Follow him on twitter:@L_Akinloye