Times Columnists

Views and Opinions


8 responses to “Times Columnists

  1. Hi Sunny, good job…learnt you tried to get in touch..missed you when you came to N.Y…

  2. nigeria, is the only country i have ever seen criminals serving as governors or senator.
    there is one serving senator now GBENGA OGUNNIYA representing ondo central senetorial district who is a drug baron and he is not hiden it and the police authority had comfirm it that he has been dealing with drug and the electoral body still went ahead to cinfirm his candidature.
    it is sad enough.

  3. harrison ocholor

    oga sunni how u dey?sorry i lost touch with the assingment.you are doing great with the site.i read it every day.well done.

  4. uwabunkonye ashinze

    egbon sunny, kudos to you and family.
    continue the good work and God will surely take to hight where you will never lack.

  5. wish to use your enviable newspaper to shout out my opinion out the National Assembly and the Nigerian public.

    I have read in the dailies the current probe or speculations of the issues around the sale of the Delta Steel Company. It is good to sometimes look back at the activities of past government and put things right but in doing so, the priority must be placed on the betterment of the lives of the Nigerian public. The National assembly should probe the process and come up with reports of any wrong doing and recommend solutions to correct what can be corrected and to prevent what cannot be corrected from happening again in the future. Any attempt to revert sale of any company which has been turned around and has started making meaning to the economy will be detrimental to our drive to encourage foreign investment apart from throwing our youth out of employment. How can we be sure that the process if done again will be free and fair?

    I also use this medium to urge the NLC to show interest in these issues to ensure its members are protected.

    I appeal to the Federal government to provide some level of protection to these companies.

    Finally I challenge the National Assembly to come up with useful ideas of how to move the economy forward rather than dwelling in the past and making retrogressive policies i.e bakassi and the constant threat to GSM operators. Why can we not focus on the areas that are not doing well with a view to improving then rather creating bottle necks for areas which have been turned around. I am yet to find any useful policy/ideas capable of revolutionising the economy coming from the chambers. Its only been probe, warning, invitations and sanctions. ca anything good not come out of the chambers.

    Can we not change this trend?

  6. Again, I read with great concern the proposed de-registering of companies by CAC, but why am I concerned? I am concerned as a Nigerian who thinks that the CAC is underperforming.

    A quick review of the process for registering a business name or limited liability company in Nigeria is fairly straight forward but what is not clear is the other requirements attached to it. Most people register a businees to get a corporate identity and earn thrust from would be clients. Some of these business names are used while others ain’t eventually successful. Before I draw up a list of failures in the part of the CAC, let me mention the way it is done abroad which the CAC can copy.

    * In othercountries, registering is done by agencies for a very very small fee. The agency does the check for aavailability; they are able to do this because they have direct link to the companies database.
    * On payment, the agencies collects the required information and submit to companies house where it is either successful or declined.
    * If successful, the agency sends all the certificate and articles including the other requirments like tax to you.
    * Successful registeration triggers a letter from tax authorities to you asking you for all relevant information regarding tax. The system works the opposite of the criminal system i.e you are liable for paying corporation tax unless you prove otherwise.
    * The letter from the tax office explains what tax you are supposed to pay, how your company will be accessed and the information you must supply and these all have deadlines.
    * Where the registered business is not to go into trade immediately, the business should write back to the tax office stating that the business names be made dormant for the purpose of tax stating that as soon as the business begins to trade the tax office will be informed. This make it an offence to trade without informing the tax office should the company start trading.

    Now, in Nigeria, after registering your business you are not contacted by any tax office. Some people are not aware of what tax to pay and besides some businesses do not have account so how would they report that earnings to the tax office.

    As far as I am concern the tax office is just not doing its job. There is no system and my advice is for them to read through what I have written here or search the internet for corporation tax and see how others do it. There is nothing worng with copying a good thing.

    Lastly, the only excuse, most government agencies have is lack of funds for instance to write letters. My answer to that is make it mandatory for companies wishing toregister to have a working email address (free). This provides you the opportunity to contact them. If the tax office say they do not have access to the internet then, the head of the tax office should be sacked. You do no need Yar Adua to bring internet into the office, its initiative!

  7. If this so called integrity group guys are really and trully integrity group, what has Ette done that former governor and now Senator has not done worse? Yet, this former governor is the Chairman of the Senate Committee of Foreign Affairs while awaiting trial for money laundering just like other ex governors and EFCC or ICPC are having fun seeing this hapening whilst telling us they are fighting corruption.

  8. Ugo Harris Ukandu

    Ugo Harris Ukandu
    Nigeria Democracy and Justice Project
    Washington, DC

    INEC Report on the 2007 Election and Electoral Reform – INEC and Dr. IWU have facts and figures on ground.

    Analysis from the INEC official Report on the Nigerian 2007 General election held in Washingon, DC on 12/18/2007 at the National press Club and at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, DC

    Having listen to Dr. Maurice Iwu, the INEC Chairman at the World press conference and noted his points during the presentation of the official INEC report, I was suprised on how he was able to clarify and explain with good reason all his points to the audience. Nigerians, the press, candidates and members from different political parties in Nigeria, the oppositions and a lot of activists who came to the press presentation armed to the teeth to discredit him were all disarmed with his well thought out explanations, facts, figures and evidence. Infact all the press, the oppositions, members of political parties and activists in the press conference did not have their facts correct or any evidence to back up their claims – Almost all of them were quoting newspaper or internet reports and less then one percent were on ground in Nigeria during the election . Dr. Iwu and INEC officials on the other hand had all their facts and figures correct and had enough evidence to back them up. I was impressed indeed.

    Importantly, when one looks at the problems with the elections in general, a large part of the problems were within the party machineries and the general attitude of Nigerian people and leaders to develop acceptable political culture and to learn to respect the law and order. That is where most of the issues of lawlessness lies and needs redressing; the problem is not with INEC or Dr. Iwu. I am appealing to all the Monday morning quarterbacks and armchair critics; that they should try to get hold of the INEC report and read it carefully, then try to have access to INEC with your facts, figures and evidence confront INEC with it. You can not be making wild accusations of what should be and what should not be based on what you read from the internet and Nigerian newspapers.

    Further, INEC deserves praise so far on the April 2007 election work and the difficult situation it faced before, during and after the election in Nigeria, based on the official and professional manner it has trained and prepared its staff for the election of 2007. The official report on the 2007 General elections presented to the World press in London and Washington, DC ( At the National Press Club and at the Nigeria Embassy) proves that Nigerians have to look deeply at the prevailing Geo-political situation facing Nigeria both internally and externally; to appreciate the work of INEC. It has not been easy so far for Nigeria and INEC especially if one makes out time to read the official report like I have done. In the history of Nigeria, this is the only time an electoral body has a website for information, and have prepared a report on the outcomes of a general election.

    The pressure and agitations from different groups like some political parties,the press, some powerful individuals, Nigerian civil society groups, external forces like European Unions, United States and others Foreign NGOS should in no way derail Nigeria determination from moving forward. We must not allow our nation to be blackmailed or for Nigeria to be transformed into a Banana Republic where external forces will take a strangehold of our national pride and dictate to us.

    Though a lot of mistakes were made in the preparations and conduct of the election, but we must learn from it and try to do better next time. Right now Nigeria has no other option but to move forward and learn. We must keep our nation one and strong.

    The legal and political fight with the political parties and politicians should not in no way diminish the good work and professionalism exhibited by INEC leadership and its Chairman Dr. Maurice Iwu which is evident on the ground all over Nigeria for those who want to appreciate Nigeria’s positive effort.

    After the election and election tribunals have done their work and swearing in of elected winners is over, INEC should start to propose a new electoral and constitutional reform on how we should begin to elect our presidents in Nigeria for peace and stability in the future. Every tribe, religion or groups in Nigeria wants to be accommodated and feel safe and comfortable with the system in Nigeria, and that is why advanced democracies like the United States introduced and are using Affirmative action in employment and othe quota system like redistricting to give and empower minorities to be represented fairly and evenly in electoral districts.

    Further, examining the problems and conflicts we have been having in electing, selecting or picking our executive president since the beginning of Nigeria, has lead to so many setbacks and it has deprived us of our quest for a stable nation. I think in choosing our President we have to try a new system, because of our diversity and the need to make everyone, every zone and every ethic group feel comfortable and to remove fear of domination; which will lead to a more stable political system. It will also make it more difficult for coup makers to find supporters or reason to set the country back.

    No matter which zone that produces the next president in 2007 and beyond, we have to admit it Nigeria maybe in serious trouble looking at the situation of things right now. Infact breakup of Nigeria is seriously in the horizon and we do not have to let it happen, because it will be the bloodiest conflict Africans or the World can imagine. Lets reduce this tension now and move Nigeria forward by making meaningful changes in our constitution and electoral system.

    My suggestion is Executive Presidential council which has also been suggested by prominent Nigerians like Senator Melford Okilo and others, in this case each of the Zones( South-South, South East, South West, North West, Middle Belt and North East) will elect a person or two into this Executive Presidential council and within this Presidential Council of Six persons or more whom will be replaced from his or her zone incase of death , health reasons or removal/impeachment etc.

    This six or more members of the executive Presidential Council will pick a president and Vice- President among themselves, and the other remaining members will be working within this Council on different projects decided by the constitution like ministers positions in the powerful ministries like Defense, Petroleum, Finance, Agriculture, internal affairs etc on rotation basis, and still be members of the council till four or five year term limit or reelection; and the responsibility of Governing such an ethnic diverse country of 250 ethnic tribe can be manageable and every zone will feel represented at any given time. The president and the vice-president will have executive powers.

    This Council will have sole responsibility to govern Nigeria as the executive branch and we will still have our senate, House of Representatives, State House and the local governments. We can try this to make Nigeria stable and take away this fight over sole Presidency and by this Nigeria will move forward politically and economically; and each zone will have a chance at the Presidency by gentleman agreement and working together in the council.

    Democracy is good for our growth and diversity but we must not use only American or British System, we have to add some other dimension from Nigeria situation knowing fully well educationally, religiously , culturally and language we are so different from America or Britain. We need our own brand of democracy to fit and contain our explosive situation.

    The main Problem in Choosing a President in Nigeria is fear of domination from each of these zones, ethnicity and tribal fears of domination . By this we are removing fear of domination religiously , economically and educationally by having an executive Presidential Council fully empowered to lead Nigeria and I think all these tension in Nigeria will be reduced if this system can be adopted.

    We will still have our National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) in place. This Presidential council will have to be empowered fully and totally to govern Nigeria with all the executive power and constitutional responsibility to lead Nigeria. It will reduce the desire for toppling/Coup against the Government and all these tension by every zone claiming right for the presidency in 2007 and beyond will be reduced or removed.

    If this system is adopted then every zone and every culture is fully represented and all the talk of war, hell and confusion will be removed from our political system.

    Send this suggestion if you can to the Presidency, National Assemby,Governors,State House members, religious leaders, Nigerian Labour Congress, Nigerian Bar Association, Ohanaeze Leadership, Afanifere Leadership, Arewa Leadership, Ijaw Congress, Urhobo Union, Middle Belt union etc and the leadership of other tribes and groups I did not mention here.

    It may not be the best suggestion, but we need all the good ideas and suggestion to keep the most influencial black nation on earth together.

    This is my contribution to the new constitutional and electoral reform needed in Nigeria urgently.

    Ugo Harris Ukandu
    Nigeria Democracy and Justice Project
    Washington, DC

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