The Nigerian Senate President, Sen. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, has applauded Governor Udom Emmanuel on his approach to governance and national development, describing him as the face of the new Nigerian politician. Senator Lawan gave the commendation while speaking at the 60th birthday anniversary celebration and thanksgiving service of Senator Akon Eyakenyi, representative of Akwa Ibom South senatorial district at Destiny International Mission, Uyo, on Sunday. He described Governor Emmanuel as a very decent person, a tolerant leader and a purpose driven administrator who would work across party lines to achieve development objectives. He said the governor is one of Nigeria’s leaders to look up to as he fits into the country’s desired new political dispensation. “I want to say something about his Excellency, the Governor [Udom Emmanuel]. As a politician, he is a decent man, very decent; as a practicing politician, he is a very tolerant leader. “Here is one elected leader who believes we should all work together to deliver service to Nigerians. Your Excellency I commend you”. Senator Lawan stated that politics of the new Nigeria, which the 9th Senate stands for, is defined to a large extent, by how to reach a desired destination in service delivery, devoid of partisanship and rancour. “Governor Emmanuel represents such a new dispensation”. He said, pointing out that the large turnout of senators at the event, irrespective of party affiliations, is a testimony to the sense of comradeship among the Akwa Ibom contingent in the Senate. He thanked the people of Akwa Ibom state for sustaining the qualitative leadership. In his remarks, Governor Emmanuel thanked the Senate President for leading distinguished senators to celebrate with their colleague, Senator Akon Eyakeyin. He acknowledged the wide acceptance of the Senate leadership, headed by Dr. Ahmad Lawan and described the 9th assembly as one of the most peaceful in the history of Nigeria’s democracy.
Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group, said this when he led the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, on a tour of the Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals and Fertiliser projects.
Dangote said a pre-testing of the fertiliser plant had already begun, adding that the project would be the largest fertiliser plant in the world with its three million tonnes per annum capacity.
He said it would make Nigeria the only Urea exporting country in Sub-Saharan Africa, adding that the fertiliser and petrochemicals plants were capable of generating $2.5 billion annually.
According to him, the amount is almost 10 per cent of what Nigeria is getting from home remittances, which is one of the highest in the world.
Dangote also disclosed that the refinery project, which was 48 per cent completed, would make Nigeria the largest exporter of petroleum products in Africa.
”One of the reasons the CBN is supporting us is that by the time we become operational, we will not only be creating jobs, but we will reduce the outflow of foreign exchange; not only in petroleum products, but in petrochemicals and fertilisers.
“We will be one of the highest foreign exchange generating companies going forward.
“I must really confess that without the government’s support, there is no way we could have done what we have done so far.
“I think we must thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his policies. I thank the CBN governor and management for bringing down interest rates to encourage more entrepreneurs to go into mega projects like this.
“We should not wait for foreign investors to come and develop our economy.
“It will never happen. So we have to do it ourselves and the only way to do it is to take advantage of the low interest rates, and the banks being forced to loan money out.”
Emefiele, commended the Dangote Group for its commitment toward bringing the project on stream as planned and expressed satisfaction with the facilities on site.
“The reason that I am here today is to see what is going on on site.
“This time that the economy is going through its own challenges, there is need for us to diversify the Nigerian economy from oil to other areas where we have abundant resources. ”
Emefiele said the fertiliser plant would stop importation of fertilisers, as about 25 per cent of its products would be used for domestic consumption to boost agriculture in the country.
According to him, the plant will also generate a minimum of $750 million through export annually.
“The 650,000BPD-capacity refinery, when operational, will not only satisfy local consumption but will also position Nigeria as a major exporter of petroleum products.
“Nigeria is so central, and this refinery will serve almost the whole of Africa, which will lead to cheap cost of freight.
“This project is so strategically positioned that it will even make the final price of petroleum within Nigeria and even outside Nigeria to be lower than those imported outside the African continent.
“We need to encourage other Nigerians and we will keep saying this, Nigerians must stand tall and be ready to come out and support their country,” the CBN governor said.
He disclosed that apart from the low interest rate regime, the government was also putting other policies in place to rejuvenate industries and create employment opportunities for the citizenry.
“This is the time for other Nigerians who have been making money in services to come out and join Dangote to help us grow the economy because government alone cannot grow the economy
“We will want to support any Nigerian or foreigner who finds Nigeria as a good investment destination. Whatever we need to do to help you, we will do it.
“That is why we are forcing the banks today that they must do what is right by lending to credible persons and act as catalyst to our economic development,” Emefiele said.
African footballers have long been attracted to careers abroad. This is easy to understand considering that many come from backgrounds of poverty and high unemployment rates in countries with repressive governments that mismanage resources.
Rural life also poses challenges to aspiring sports people, such as a lack of playing grounds and other facilities.
These factors tend to hinder football development on the continent.
The European football market offers footballers better conditions and socioeconomic benefits. Foreign leagues provide considerably better earnings than what players earn in their domestic leagues.
The evolution of the European football market picked up in the 1980s, providing a chance for many African players to achieve professional status. Football became a global business product, attracting huge broadcasting rights and corporate sponsorship.
The experience of playing and living abroad in this environment can lead to changes in players’ behaviour. Not only do they have far greater wealth than their peers, they may break old social ties and consider themselves “special”.
I set out to explore these changes to understand why achieving professional status abroad should suddenly affect players’ behaviour in their home communities.
I interviewed professional footballers from Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Cameroon and Egypt, aged between 18 and 52, who had played in the leagues of countries like England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France. They were asked to describe their football career path from their country of origin to moving abroad and beginning their professional activity. The study captured both current players and those who had left Africa in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
The study found that upward social mobility often led to extreme behavioural and attitude switches. Some of the notable traits from the players studied were arrogance and conspicuous consumption. Some even spoke ill of fellow professionals in lower or developing leagues.
This is important because their home communities expect them to maintain a relationship with the people who supported them during their formative periods. It leads to social disconnection when some are perceived as “ungrateful” and reluctant to give back to society.
All interviewees admitted that fame and wealth, if not properly managed, could have a negative effect on society. On the other hand, they could use their higher social status to change lives in their home countries.
In contrast to professional footballers who migrate, other kinds of migrant workers often maintain strong connections with people at home. Sometimes they send resources to support projects for the public benefit, such as building schools.
Many African players began their professional journey by playing in street football and inter-street competitions within their communities or nearby communities. Social practice of the sport supported individual players’ social integration and made them visible to football enthusiasts. All the players I interviewed said they had received a lot of support from their communities.
When they left their communities to play abroad, they gained social status and national recognition. Most moved to cities and adopted new attitudes. A player recalled that the “job of football has a way of changing you if you’re not careful without you knowing, unconsciously, you’ll turn out to be a different human being”.
An example is Abedi Pele, a former captain of Ghana and one of the most globally recognised footballers to emerge from Africa. Speaking at a G8 Summit he said:
“We were enjoying football and having fun but to see that such a thing can turn to the most lucrative business in the world is what amazes me, something I started like a joke became the most unique, powerful, influential business in the world that when you speak people listen, when you talk, you inspire millions of people… And you have to also learn to maintain the fame and not to abuse it”.
Apart from fame, my study found that there are other variables that can drive changes in players’ behaviour. Some do not recognise the changes personally. They include belief in one’s own abilities and the likelihood of one’s behaviour leading to a specific outcome. Other variables include self-control and learning from observation. The influence of these variables on behaviour is not unexpected when a person comes from a background of moderate education.
Players in the study said they had to guard against behaviour such as ignoring their former team colleagues, senior players, coaches, friends and the community that supported their professional activities abroad. They said the community saw such behaviour as undesirable since it did not represent their cultural norms and social values. These values include reciprocal behaviour and an attitude of humility, obedience, gratitude and submissiveness.
Abedi Pele noted that
“When you are rich, famous and influential, if you don’t take your time you will think that the world belongs to you or you control it”
A few players in the study identified fame and wealth as an opportunity to support a worthy cause in African communities. One was Stephen Appiah, a school dropout who grew up in Chorkor, a poor fishing community in Accra, Ghana. He built a health-care centre and library and created an annual sports day event for Chorkor. He no longer lives there but his social projects represent his presence there after his success.
Communities expect successful players to be guided by social norms that shaped their early lives – not just by wealth and fame achieved later. But sudden situational changes tend to influence people’s social networks. Many footballers no longer mix with their former friends.
The study suggests that if professional African players maintain their bond with their home communities, they can create opportunities to support local development. They can also serve as role models for young talent keen to have a career abroad.
Angolan state oil company Sonangol will begin in April to sell its stakes in several private firms, chair Sebastiao Gaspar Martins said, as part of a government bid to privatise key state assets including parts of Sonangol itself by 2022.
The eleven companies include local bank Banco BAI as well as Sonamet, Sonatip and Sonadit dedicated to metals, maritime services and the maintenance of offshore companies respectively.
Martins, quoted by state news agency Angop late on Thursday, said it was too early to put a value on the stakes.
Angola, Africa’s second biggest oil exporter, is struggling with declining oil output and economic doldrums which have galvanized authorities to streamline a bloated public sector and focus Sonangol, its largest company, on its core business.
Describing Sonangol as an “octopus”, the country’s minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum, Diamantino Azevedo, has said it would need to shed stakes in everything from hotels to aviation around the world before a 30% share sale in 2022.
An anti-corruption drive has gathered steam since 2017, when President Joao Lourenco ended former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ nearly 40-year grip on politics.
Angola has named billionaire former first daughter Isabel dos Santos as a suspect over alleged mismanagement and misappropriation of funds while she was chairwoman of Sonangol in 2016-2017. Dos Santos has denied any corruption.
The Angolan state will exit full or part ownership of 81 companies this year via public tender, six by auction and three in IPOs, with 12 set to be privatized in 2021 and four in 2022, according to Angop.
Among the last will be Sonangol, along with state-owned diamond giant Endiama.
Martins said Sonangol had slashed its debt at the end of 2019 by more than half to $1.25 billion year-on-year.
President Lourenco sacked Martins’ predecessor Carlos Saturnino as chair of the state energy firm last year amid heavy debt and domestic fuel shortages.