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By: Hilary

Prince Tajudeen Oyedeji, a rights’ advocate, has urged the authority of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to conduct credible and generally acceptable governorship election slated for July 14th this year in Ekiti State,saying that conduct of credible election was the bedrock of good governance in any democratic society.

Prince Oyedeji also maintained that the electoral umpire and other players should conduct themselves in a manner that would not hinder
the progress of free,fair and transparent election in the State,maintaining that Ekiti and later Osun State guber elections would be the litmus test for the Yakubu Mahmood led-INEC for the 2019 general elections.

According to him,through a Press statement made available to newsmen on Thursday,he disclosed that the call became imperative as all eyes were on Nigeria democracy under the present leader and former Military junta,President Muhammadu Buhari,urging the opposition in the country to be constructive in their criticisms of the present administration.

Oyedeji who is Executive Director,Centre for Good Governance and Rights Advocacy (CENGGRA) called on the political actors in Ekiti State to abide by the rules of the election by playing the game according to the lay down laws and regulations as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(as amended) and Electoral act in order to have peaceful atmosphere before,during and after the guber election in the State.

His words: “The electoral process is one of the bulwarks of democracy with voters as major stakeholder in the process. This is because, if the people lose confidence in the process, democracy as a system of populace participation in government will become a sham.The aim of an electoral process should be free, fair and devoid of any form of intimidation where the the candidate with highest votes wins.

“However, the voters must know their rights and roles in making the electoral process credible. Knowing rights is not enough without a corresponding support from the governmental agencies that will ensure the preservation and protection of such rights especially during the electoral process.

“Voting is a vital mechanism of election and electoral process, and it is the fundamental civic right of citizens, and this right is granted through the principle of universal adult suffrage as contained in the Article 21 of the United Nations Charter on Human Rights which was also corroborated by the Nigerian constitution.

“It is on the basis of this, that our organization, Centre for Good Governance and Rights Advocacy (CENGGRA), having considered the electoral history in Nigeria and that of the 2014 gubernatorial election in Ekiti State in particular, call on the people of Ekiti State to participate actively in the governorship election in the
State, and also call on the participating political parties to play the game in accordance with the rules and tenents of democracy and respect the will of the people.

“We strongly warn the security apparatus to steer clear of any act that can jeopardize the smooth conduct of the process. The call for the militarization of the State as a revenge for the 2014 act of intimidation perpetrated by the then ruling partly is condemnable, capable of jeopardizing the process and miles backward to the attainment of civilized society.

“It is our candid belief that, a free, fair and credible election lays a foundation for good governance and good governance is achieved when rights of all are respected”.

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OGUN LCDAs ASSURED OF ADEQUATE FUNDING

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The Ogun State government has reiterated its commitment to always make adequate provision for the sustainability of the newly created 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) through prompt payment of both Local Government staff and Primary School teachers salaries, arrears among others.
The State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, through the Press Officer, Ministry Of Local Government And Chieftancy, Mrs. Oluwaseun Boye gave this reassurance while wrapping up the Treasury Board meeting on year 2019 budget, at the Obas’ complex conference hall in Abeokuta.
The Governor said apart from adequate welfare for local government staffers,  priority has also be given to the provision of basic infrastructure, which has helped in opening up the local communities to investors, noting that all on-going road projects would be completed before the end of this administration.
 He boasted that no state in the south west could match up with his administration in terms of infrastructural development, saying, ‘’gradually, we are getting there, I challenge any state that has done up to half of what we have done in Ogun state to come out”.
 Presenting his ministry’s 2019 budget proposal, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Jide Ojuko commended the government for prompt payment of Local government staff’s salaries as and when due, noting that, with the help of state government, all challenges encountered during the migration from 20 Local Governments to 57  Councils, were surmounted.
  On achievement, he noted that additional 40 monarchs and 2,706 village chiefs (Baales) were installed in the last three and half years, pointing out that the upgrading of Vigilante Service of Ogun State (VSO) to So-Safe Corps, had contributed to the peace and tranquillity been experienced in the State.
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Real Estate Reform Key to Propelling Economic Growth & Alleviating Poverty in Nigeria….Andrew Nevin

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As one of the keynote speakers at the 4th annual West Africa Property Investment Summit, Dr. Andrew Nevin, Partner and Chief Economist for PwC Nigeria shared high level insights ahead of the region’s leading property investment conference taking place on 15 & 16 November at the Eko Hotel, Lagos. Featuring more than 90 speakers and 500 delegates from over 200 companies, #WAPI2018 will set the agenda for West Africa’s real estate’s executives.

As a respected regional and global authority on Nigeria and West Africa, Dr. Nevin’s presentation is titled: THE GLOBAL VIEW ON GEOPOLITICS, OIL & MACRO-ECONOMICS: How are these impacting investment in West African Real Estate?

In an increasingly volatile world (Trump, China, Turkey and more), emerging markets have been significantly impacted. But the question which Dr. Nevin, will help Nigeria’s executives answer is how volatility, government policy and oil will impact investment and development in Nigeria?

Why is Real Estate fundamental to growing an economy?

Real estate makes up 60% of the world’s global assets and in developed countries, real estate buttresses the financial sector, enabling for the creation of asset backed loans and securities. Nigeria’s real estate system cannot work without a proper land registry; banks cannot lend against a property without evidence of ownership. The current land titling system is onerous and excludes many people from formal ownership. Based on these facts, real estate is one of the most critical sectors that if reformed will propel growth and alleviate poverty in Nigeria.

Global volatility and the local Real Estate Market?

Foreign exchange and inflation have stabilized in Nigeria amid emerging market pressures. However, crude reliance continues to leave Nigeria vulnerable to external shocks. This creates persistent uncertainty for investors in Nigeria, which is affecting all sectors in the economy, including real estate.

In urban areas, commercial real estate occupancy has declined as a result of low demand in an underperforming economy. Consequently, office rent has declined by 20% over the last 3 years in the high-end market [1], while co-working spaces are becoming more popular, consistent with the growing number of tech start-ups and entrepreneurs.

In the premium residential market, demand has shifted to less expensive semi-detached houses and apartments. There is also persistently huge demand for affordable housing in Nigeria. Nigeria’s population is set to exceed 250 million people by 2030 (roughly 50 million households), and by 2025, our housing deficit will be approximately 20 million [2]. We are not building enough houses for people to live in.

Global volatility has increased the oil price, which has benefitted the immediate public sector coffers, but is this a good thing? Some have argued that a lower oil price will drive economic reform, but won’t $70 – $80 oil keep reform at bay?

The economy is benefitting from rising oil prices. The reality is that Nigeria requires capital to invest in critical sectors and fund long-term structural changes. Over the last three years, we have seen government debt grow from 12% of GDP in 2015 to 20% in 2017. A further indication of the high demand for government revenue is the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), which was implemented to grow tax revenue.

Failure to diversify the economy is a result of bad policies and poor implementation of good policies. Oil prices have fluctuated since the first quarter of 2016 (over 2 years ago) and we still have not achieved a diversified economy. There is no reason to believe that persistently low prices in the future will make this happen.

How have macro-development factors impacted the real estate sector – has there been less transactions, or investment, and has Nigeria bucked the trend?

The real estate sector has not seen positive growth since the start of the recession in 2016. The sector continues to lag behind overall growth, recording a growth rate of -3.88% in the second quarter 2018. Nevertheless, this is an improvement from the -9.4% growth of the preceding quarter.

The tight monetary environment – high interest rates and currency restrictions – are huge contributors to the slow growth in the real estate sector. Heavy government borrowing has crowded out the private sector, making it difficult to investors to finance the capital-intensive projects of the real estate sector. This issue reinforces the need for the government to undertake structural reforms that will improve capital stock and business environment.

If we look further ahead to 2019 – what are the major concerns going to be?

The 2019 elections will revolve around the economy. There is growing frustration over slow growth, high unemployment, low liquidity and poor infrastructure. Foreign investors who

have low confidence in the economy are also keeping close watch. Thus, the election outcome will have some effect on Nigeria’s economic health in the short run.

Over the last year, the ease of doing business has risen 25 places to rank 145 out of 190 countries, however, the absence of major reforms in infrastructure, power and land ownership will ultimately stifle advancements in improving the business environment in the long run.

Where do you see the investment case for Nigeria and the region in the next 12-18 months, and do you think we are about to see a continued growth curve?

In the absence of sweeping structural reforms, Nigeria will continue to experience slow growth through 2022. The critical takeaway here is that income per capita will decline each year over the next five years as population growth exceeds GDP growth, if no action is taken. Investor confidence will be largely determined by the elections and the ongoing security situation in Nigeria.

To register for West Africa’s largest real estate event, visit www.WAPISummit.com/register as seats are limited.

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CNN names U.S. Government Exchange Alumna in Top 10 Heroes List

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Cable News  Network (CNN), has named a 2017 alumna of the United States government-sponsored International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), Ms. Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, as one of the  Top 10 CNN Heroes of the Year.

Ajayi-Akinfolarin’s organization, Pearls Africa Foundation, which she founded in 2012, assists girls from underserved communities in Nigeria gain relevant technological skills to transform their lives. The beneficiaries get training in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python  and Scratch and visit tech companies to reinforce their  learning and broaden their horizons.

Her GirlsCoding project has reached more than 400 beneficiaries, including girls from orphanages and correctional homes, in addition to young women fleeing the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram. The GirlsCoding project is being supported by the U.S. Consulate General Lagos.

In 2017,
Ajayi-Akinfolarin also founded Lady Labs Innovation Hub, a  female-focused tech centre which caters specifically to the technological needs  of female university students enrolled in the STEM fields of study and female entrepreneurs.

The graduate of  the University of Lagos participated in a three-week IVLP  exchange program focusing on “Education and Activism for Young Women.” The International Visitors Leadership Program is the U.S. State Department’s premier professional exchange  program.

CNN described
the 10 finalists as “remarkable trailblazers who have  truly changed the world.” Each Top 10 CNN Hero will be awarded $10,000 and the CNN Hero of the Year will receive an additional $100,000. The honorees will also receive free
capacity-building training from the Annenberg Foundation, a leading supporter of nonprofits worldwide.

To vote and select the CNN Hero of the Year, visit: CNNHeroes.com

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