Monday, 25 November 2013

News Release: UAD Elects New Exco, Pays Condolence Visit To Late Iyayi’s family

Baba Aye; New UAD Helmsman

United Action for Democracy, UAD, Nigeria’s foremost coalition of Pro-democracy organizations, now has a new leadership headed by a renowned labour and human rights crusader, Comrade Baba Aye. The new leadership emerged on Saturday, November 23 through an election conducted during the 9th National Convention of the coalition held in Benin, the Edo state capital. Also elected to steer the ship of the coalition for the next 2 years with the new Convener, Baba Aye include Abdul Yusuf as the deputy National Convener, Zulu Ofoelue as the General Secretary Jide Afolabi as the National treasurer and Styvn Obodoekwe as the National publicity Secretary.

The new Exco was inaugurated after the election, same day and the immediate past leadership headed by Comrade Jaye Gaskia formerly handed over to the newly elected officers. The inauguration was facilitated by a former UAD Convener, Comrade Taiwo Otitilayo.

Congratulating the new team, Jaye Gaskia noted that since its formal inauguration at the 1st convention on May 17th 1997; the UAD has maintained a standard of having smooth transition from one leadership team to another without hitch.

This, according to him, is commendable as it shows that under the UAD, a movement has been built under the abiding principle of building collective leadership, such that the  coalition can continue to renew its leadership without threatening its existence and the militant activism it is noted for since inception.

He promised to give all necessary supports to the new leadership in the organisation’s consistent and principled struggle for system change adding that the members of the coalition have always been working for the growth and success of the coalition whether they hold leadership position or not.

On his own part, Taiwo Otitilayo who handed over to Jaye as Convener, expressed satisfaction  that UAD has remained a dominant voice and force clamouring for system change as a way of liberating the country from the suffocating grip of conscienceless ruling class. He charged the new team to always bear in mind that the oppressed masses of Nigeria are looking up to UAD to deliver the society from the hands of the oppressive ruling class. “I trust that Baba Aye and his team will remain faithful and committed to the tradition and standard established by the UAD in the consistent demand for system change”, submitted Otitilayo.

In his inaugural speech, Baba Aye, on behalf of the new exco, thanked the delegates at the Convention for counting him and his team worthy to coordinate the activities of the UAD in the next 2 years. He stated that although the leadership has been placed on his shoulders, every member of the coalition should see himself or herself as one of the UAD leaders as the success of the coalition rests on the members. He promised to ensure that those who reposed on him and his team, the confidence to steer the ship of the coalition would never be disappointed.  “The interests and tradition of the UAD as well as the interest of the Nigerian masses will remain our guiding principle and watchword; we will maintain the high standard established by our predecessors”, said Baba Aye.

Few hours after the inauguration of the new leadership, Baba Aye led the UAD to pay a condolence visit to the family of the late former ASUU leader, Prof Festus Iyayi, who was killed by the convoy of Kogi state governor, Idris Wada on his way to Kano for ASUU meeting. UAD was received at the late Iyayi’s Benin residence by some of his children on Sunday Morning during the visit. The UAD Convener, Baba Aye and a former Convener, Comrade Abiodun Aremu told the family that the coalition was at the residence of Prof Iyayi to pay tribute to him in recognition of his immeasurable contributions towards the struggle for a better society. They described the death of Iyayi as a big loss to the human rights community given his commitments and principled stance on the struggle for system change. They urged the family and the human rights community not to allow the death of the committed comrade to weigh them down, saying that the greatest honour to be done to Iyayi is to ensure that the light of the struggle he left behind is not allowed to quench. Condolence register was signed by the coalition.   


Obodoekwe Styvn
National Publicity Secretary

News Release: African Businesses Should Be Equipped To Compete In New Environment

Dr. Benedict Oramah, Afreximbank Executive Vice-President (middle) with other presenters at the opening of the factoring workshop.
The workshop participants in group photograph

African businesses must equip themselves in order to compete effectively in the new environment resulting from the adoption of open account systems in many markets across the world, Dr. Benedict Oramah, Executive Vice-President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in charge of Business Development and Corporate Banking, has said.

Since open account terms had become standard practice in many markets, concerted effort was needed to equip African businesses to compete under  such an environment, said Dr. Oramah in an address at a one-day workshop on “Factoring as an Alternative Trade Finance Instrument in a Competitive World,” organized by Afreximbank in Douala, Cameroon, on 22 November.

“As the use of letters of credit as a trade payment assurance instrument dwindles and as trade with new markets blossom, African businesses have to find ways of adapting to the new challenges and opportunities,” he said. Factoring offered the required solution because it provided businesses with access to credit without the requirement for collaterals or other security other than the receivables that were generated in the normal course of business.

According to Dr. Oramah, factoring is a very important tool for promoting non-commodity exports in a highly competitive world and has the capacity to place African businesses at near equal footing with others in global markets.

Driving home the importance of promoting factoring in Africa, Dr. Oramah said that in 2012, factors advanced 300 billion Euros to some 500,000 clients, but Africa accounted for only 1.2 per cent of world factoring transactions.

The workshop featured presentations on various aspects of factoring by Peter Brinsely, Director of PoinForward Consulting and Chairman of the Education Committee of the International Factors Group. Mr. O.S. Vinod, Director of Blend Financial Services Ltd., discussed the successful establishment of a factoring business by Jamii Bora Bank in Kenya while Frederic Mao of Afreximbank outlined the Bank’s support for the development of factoring in Africa.

About 50 participants, representing businesses engaged in factoring activities across Africa, took part in the workshop.

About Afreximbank:
The African Export Import Bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors to finance and promote intra- and extra-African trade. Its two basic constitutive documents are the Establishment Agreement, which gives it the status of an international organization, and the Charter, which governs its corporate structure and operations.  Since 1994, the Bank has approved more than $25 billion in credit facilities in support of African trade, including $3.71 billion in 2012. Afreximbank is headquartered in Cairo. For more information, visit:


Obi Emekekwue
Afreximbank External Communications

News Report: “My Appointment Is Call To Serve God”----Kayode Ajulo

Barr. Kayode Ajulo

The Chairman of the board of Ondo State Radiovision Corporation (OSRC), Bar. Kayode Ajulo has said that democratic system of government that fails to engender socio-economic development cannot survive.             

The Legal Practitioner who made the assertion while interacting with news reporters in Akure stated that the essence of democracy is the promotion of societal growth and development adding that anything short of this is an aberration.                          

Kayode Ajulo who bemoaned the slow pace of development of most African countries, charged politicians who are occupying leadership positions to shun selfishness and greed.             

He was of the opinion that the major problem hindering the developing countries in Africa from becoming developed countries is abuse of office through various forms of corrupt practices by majority of the leaders.          

According to him, those who were recently appointed in Ondo State by Governor Olusegun Mimiko should not regard such appointments as political patronage but a call to serve God and humanity.                                       

He said: "To me, whoever is appointed and fails to live up to expectation must be asked to resign to pave way for a more competent person. Thank God, Ondo State is blessed with remarkable human resources. Thousands are outside there that can do it better. So it's a rare privilege for anybody to be called to serve. What I want our people to know is that if they cannot perform in a small position they cannot be entrusted with a higher position. This is the reason why we must perform our responsibilities in the best of our abilities thereby demonstrating our readiness for higher leadership positions. No leader can bring a nonentity to government and entrust him or her with a leadership position. This is why we must justify the confidence reposed in us".       

When asked why despite being a known social critic he accepted the new appointment, Ajulo interjected thus "to be disinterested in the governance of your people is a worst form of living, to criticize the government is good but to take part in the government for the benefit of all is pretty better"

While reiterating the readiness of his board to reposition OSRC, Kayode who is an alumni of the prestigious Aquinas College, Akure and University of Jos, Jos assured that every identified lapses will be corrected to ensured that the objectives of setting up the media outfit are achieved.  

"Very soon, our people will see a new OSRC because we are going to put necessary measures in place to ensure that it becomes one of the best media organizations in the Nigeria”, the activist lawyer concluded.

Article: Nigeria’s Next 100 Years

By Jaye Gaskia

I return in this piece to the subject of the urgency of youth engagement, the historical urgency of the necessity for youth to engage with the polity and the political process.

Kwame Nkrumah it was who said in the fifties of the of the twentieth century, at the height of the struggle for independence from colonial rule in Africa that; 'Seek yee first the political kingdom, and every other thing shall be added unto you'! In paraphrasing the bible, Nkrumah was pointing out and emphasising the utmost importance of control of political power to the socio-economic transformation process.

That fact is even more true today, seven decades after, in the aftermath of a failed independence project, that has seen scores of countries attain flag independence, in a manner that left the actual power relations between the erstwhile colonisers and the erstwhile colonies only peripherally modified to accommodate the emergent ruling elite of the hitherto colonised entities as junior partners in a global pillage enterprise! But this is a story for another day.

Let us get back to the question of historic and urgent necessity for youth to engage. The struggle for independence from colonialism, even if that struggle was essentially eventually short circuited and truncated, with the co-optation, and coercion of the emergent post independence elite into and by the global architecture of dependence by the dominant centers of the global market economy; was essentially youth led! That struggle was led by the youth.

The Ahmadu Bellos, The Nnamdi Azikwes, the Obafemi Awolowos, The Mokwugo Okoyes the Tafawa Balewas, The Joseph Tarkas, and Aminu Kanos, all began their political careers in their youth; they founded the organisations which negotiated with the colonial regime while they were youths, and assumed leadership of this country while still in their forties!

What applied to our country applied with other countries. Agostino Neto, Amilcar Cabral, Patrice Emery Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah; the independence war and struggle leaders of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bisau, DRC, Ghana, were all in their youth when they founded the parties that led those independence struggles.

In Southern Africa, youth played decisive roles at historic turning points in the struggle against apartheid! In Apartheid South Africa, it was the youth, in their forties and under, who founded the ANC youth wing, and in 1944 essentially took over the ANC convention, and made it adopt its youth wing program as the Freedom Charter, in a Congress Of The People convened by the ANC! This became a historic turning point in the history of the anti-apartheid struggle, led to the promotion into ANC national leadership of the ANY Youth wing leaders, and set the stage for the eventual campaigns of defiance and the establishment of the armed wing; Nkomto We Sizwe - Spear of the Nation; and hence the launch of the armed struggle.

And in more recent times, in post independent Africa, in the struggle against Neo-colonialism, youth have also played strategically decisive leadership roles. Thomas Sankara, was not yet 40, when he and his colleagues led the Burkinabe Revolution and captured the imagination of that generation of African Youths. Likewise, on the other side of the globe, in Latin America; Fidel Castro and his colleagues in what became the July 26th Movement were all in their twenties when they launched the audacious attack on the Moncada baracks in 1956 in an heroic, but failed attempt to unseat the dictator Batista! That movement went on to launch an armed struggle in 1958, and overthrew the military dictatorship after defeating it militarily in Jan 1959! Of the leaders of the Revolution, Fidel was the oldest, and he was barely 32; the rest, Ernesto Che Guevara, the younger castro, Camilo Cienfuengos etc were all under 30! The late Hugo Chavez, leader of the Bolivarian revolution, was in his forties when the movement that birthed the revolution was founded, and when he first assumed office after electoral vicory.

In Europe and the America, we can find similar instances; Tony Blair and the Blairites were in their 30s when they took over leadership of the Labour Party in Britain, and in their early forties when they took over leadership of UK Government. Nearly two decades later, David Cameron of the Conservative party and Niel Klegg of the Liberal Democrats would repeat a similar scenario in assuming leadership of the UK government - in their forties! And both JFK and Obama assumed leadership of the US at decisive and critical historical moments while in their forties!

The point being made here is that Nigerian youths of this generation, have a decisive historical task to undertake; one that hinges around undertaking the transformation of our country, achieving our national liberation from the death grip of globalisation; and laying the foundation of the social self emancipation of our peoples! It is a task that youth is very well suited; given its energy, its flexibility, its ability to innovate, its capacity for creativity, and its tendency to accommodate change!

And this is even more so, even more urgent, in our own context, where 60 to 70% of the population is 40 years and under!

And even in post independence Nigeria, there are lots of quite significant historical precedents. It was youths; the Nigeria Youth and student movements who fought against the Anglo-Nigeria defence pact, and prevented the country's emergent political elites from turning our country into a huge base for the British Military!

It was Nigeria Students and youths who fought against the imposition of the Structural Adjustment Program [SAP] by the military dictatorship of IBB; it was Youth who constituted the foot soldiers and provided a significant proportion of the leadership of the Anti -military and pro-democracy movement! The first human rights, environmental rights, women's rights, and pro-democracy organisations and coalitions - CLO, ERA, CDHR, CD, UAD, JACON, WIN [Women In Nigeria]; etc were all led by Nigerians in their forties; and involved in their leaderships, a very significant proportion of Nigerians in their twenties and thirties - my generation!

The January Uprising, was also very significantly a youth and workers' uprising! In its leadership Nationally and across the country was a very significant proportion, and in a majority, Nigeria citizens in their thirties and forties!

Nigeria Youths of the present generation have a date with history; and as the ageing, greedy, gluttonous, light fingered, treasury looting, inept and incompetent ruling elite, continue to push our country increasingly towards the edge of the precipice; precisely at this momentous historical juncture, the nation, our country, our people, require the selfless, patriotic, committed and revolutionary service of the youth. If we fail, we may condemn our nation to bottom of the ladder of human civilisation!

And for those among us who still look up to so-called persons of [dubious] integrity among the thieving ruling class; septuagenarians and Octogenarians; let us point out to them that these elements assumed leadership of our country while in their thirties and forties, and have remained permanent fixtures of our political leadership landscape ever since they made their rude intrusion into our national life decades ago!

Assuming that a few of them are upright and capable; the very fact that none of our generation, or the generation after us can be considered by them and their admirers, as worthy successors, is the most significant indication of their historic failure, and historical incompetence! Of what historical significance is leadership that is unable to replicate itself, and incapable grooming successor generations?

It is our bounden historical duty to answer the call of history, take our destiny into our own hands, and Take Back Nigeria.

(Follow me on Twitter: @jayegaskia & @[DPSR]protesttopower;  Interact with me on FaceBook: Jaye Gaskia & Take Back Nigeria)

News Release: Thomas-Greenfield Is A Model Diplomat With Passion for Africa

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield

The Nigerian-American Leadership Council (NALC) has congratulated Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the new Assistant Secretary of State for Africa on her recent appointment.

The Council, while participating in a welcome forum organized at the US Library of Congress on November 20, 2013; by US Congressperson Karen Bass, Ranking Member of the House Africa Subcommittee, with Congressman Chris Smith, Chair of the Africa Subcommittee, Senator Chris Coons and Senator Jeff Flake; welcomed Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s appointment as a significant positive step for US Africa relations.

The Council notes that Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield had proved her mettle as a Career Foreign Service Officer, with previous postings as Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia; and service in other strategically important missions, including Nigeria, Pakistan, Kenya, and the US Mission to the U.N. in Switzerland.

In a media chat from the US Library of Congress, Kayode Tani-Olu, the Council’s Director for Intergovernmental Relations said “a new era of US Africa relations have begun-one that emphasizes a focus on the mutual imperative of dialogue and respect between the US and Africa.”

Also, in remarks at the US Library of Congress, Executive Director of the Nigerian-American Council, Sam Okey Mbonu noted, “Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield brings a passion for Africa, and excellence, as former Director General at the State Department, in addition to her previous high-level diplomatic role in Nigeria and other places; all these have prepared her to excel in her new role.  The Nigerian-American Leadership Council looks forward to a great working relationship with Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield and the State Department in the near future.”

U. Lisa Eric,
Media Relations, 
Nigerian-American Leadership Council
1701 Pennsylvania Ave, Suite 300, NW Washington, DC 20006 Web: Tel: 202 379-2848, Email: