Adequate railways will solve our transportation problem – Ashafa

Sen. Gbenga Ashafa (APC Lagos East) has called for more focus on the rail sector as the quickest and most sustainable solution to the transportation deficit in Nigeria.

Ashafa who disclosed this in a statement signed by him said that the recent plan to close the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport for six weeks has shown the great lapse in the nation’s transport sector.

As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport, the Senator said that, the committee underwent a week long consultation to seek alternative routes while the Abuja Airport was shut.

He said that the deficit which was discovered by the committee further goes to buttress the importance of rail transport as the safest means of transportation.

“We need to quickly and speedily reinvigorate our Rail Transportation Sector, in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Railway Bill, 2016.

“Basically, the passed bill is a departure from the old order, which shut private investors out of the railway business.

“The new bill, among other things, seeks to open up the railway business to private investors, and to distinguish the regulator – which is the government – from the operator.

“I remain a strong believer in the primacy of the railway. It is my belief as well that the Railways remain a critical infrastructure that will extenuate Nigeria’s motley transportation problems.

“Hence, I am dedicated to leading the charge for the “revolutionalisation” of the system,” he said.

Recall that in 2016, Sen. Ashafa in an essay entitled ‘Time has come to open up our railway to private participation’, he emphasised the need to open up the sector.

The senator however further re-emphasised the importance of investment in rail as the billions spend on road transport was not yielding much desired results.

“Government after government has invested even more in road expansion projects.

“The result as can be observed in the case of Lagos and Abuja has been a gradual occupation of the expanded roads with more cars.

“This is attributable to rural-urban migration as well as population explosion across the nation,”.

“Mass transit remains a very pivotal aspect of the development of any city.

“It plays a critical role in enhancing productivity of the state by ensuring the movement of the largest number of people from point A to Point B within the shortest possible time.

“It also reflects the quality of life and the value placed on the unit citizen by any responsible government.

“You will agree with me that the most effective means of transporting large quantities of humans, goods and services within any country is via rail.

“This is why whenever the topic of mass transit is discussed; rail transportation must be given its pride of place.” he said.

Sen. Further added that the closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport had beamed a moved focus to rail transportation.

He said that the goal was not to have functional railways but to have trains that are as fast and effective as those we see outside Nigeria so that closure of an airport would not be so impactful.

“The imminent total closure of the second busiest airport in Nigeria has caused unrest for many Nigerians and foreigners going by their outcry. Imagine if we had an effective rail system whereby cities, states and communities are linked.

“A sturdy railway system or a faster train traversing the Abuja to Kaduna corridor, the consequences of the total closure of the Abuja Airport would be minimal and frequent travelers might not feel much pain or discomfort.

“The time for linking every Nigerian artery by rail is now.

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Sir Alex Ferguson: Wayne Rooney’s record may stand forever

Manchester United’s new all-time leading goal-scorer Wayne Rooney may never be bettered, according to Alex Ferguson.

Alex Ferguson does not expect Wayne Rooney to be surpassed as Manchester United’s leading scorer after the club captain moved clear of Bobby Charlton on Saturday to take sole possession of the record.

Rooney equalised with a spectacular late free-kick away to Stoke City in the Premier League, bringing up his 250th strike for the Red Devils, after previously drawing level with Charlton by netting in an FA Cup third-round win at home to Reading.

Speaking to MUTV, Ferguson – the man who brought Rooney to Old Trafford from Everton in 2004 – was asked if he can imagine another player one day topping the 31-year-old’s haul.

“I don’t think so,” the Scot said.

“I couldn’t say never – never say never – but if you look at modern-day football, Manchester United are one of the few clubs who can keep players for over 10 years.

“It is more difficult than ever but we were very lucky – if you look at my time, even in [former manager] Sir Matt Busby’s time, we had players who stayed for more than 10 years. Many, many players did that and Wayne is one of them.

“But, in the modern day, you see it happening less and less that players stay for that length of time. For instance, [current manager] Jose [Mourinho] mentioned young Marcus Rashford and he’s got to score more than 20 goals a season for the next 10 years or so and that is difficult in itself.

“You hope it lasts and he stays here more than 10 years but there are fewer players doing that now.”

The next opportunity for Rooney to add to his tally may come in the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final away to Hull City on Thursday, a tie United lead 2-0 on aggregate.

MAPOLY attacks Naij.com writer over destructive report

The authorities of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, has attacked Naij.com opinion writer identified as Soonest Nathaniel over a write up titled “6 Notorious Tertiary Institutions in Africa, your Nigerian child must never attend”.

In a communiqué by the institution Public Relations officer, Sulaimon Adebiyi, stated that the writer, Soonest believed to be a Pseudo name described the school as one with a reputation for unintelligence; qualifying our students as being unserious.

Mr Adebiyi said “The attention of the authorities of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, has been drawn to an on-line opinion of a writer by the name Soonest Nathaniel, titled “6 Notorious Tertiary Institutions in Africa, your Nigerian child must never attend” Soonest (believed to be a Pseudoname) described our Institution as one with a reputation for unintelligence; qualifying our students as being unserious.

“He claimed further that a “survey” revealed that “many of our female students get to leave school, and head back to trade their bodies in the neighbouring Lagos State”.

“Cultism, he said is on the rise at the institution, adding that “many fear that the development is getting out of hand”.

“While not trying to join issues with a nameless and faceless “opinionist”, this publication becomes imperative so as to set the records straight and disabuse the minds of few readers who may have considered the write-up.

“To describe students of a Tertiary Institution as “unintelligent” is tantamount to blasphemy. It is indeed laughable that “Mr. Soonest” could not provide the yardstick with which he concluded that our students are “Unintelligent”.

“In the same vein to describe the students as “Unserious” is equally shocking because even at National Diploma level, the students have shown brilliance and attained academic excellence on many fronts (ICAN and APCON are a few examples).

“Many patentable products, such as Solar Power Street Lamps, Fueless Generator, a Kerosene- Petrol Generator, Electronic Ballot Box to list but a few, produced by the students are testimonies to how well our students are engaged.

“Also of importance is the spurious manner in which “Soonest” described the female students. Such utterances are not only baseless but unbecoming of any responsible individual.

“Surprisingly, the write-up touched on cultism as getting out of hand, a claim which is now completely alien to the Institution. Academic activities on the campus have not been suspended or truncated in any way in several academic sessions attesting to the peaceful environment on our campus.

“The fact that the Polytechnic is in the process of transiting into a university lays credence to the standard of the Institution.

“The management of the Institution therefore wishes to advise “Mr. Soonest Nathaniel” and his likes to desist from attempting to damage the reputation of the Institution or be ready to face legal consequence”.

Here are 10 Nigerian Artistes That Should Retire From Music

Here are 10 musicians we wish will respectful retire from music for the sake of their legacies.

Because we don’t want them to spoil the good memories of them that we have, we therefore urge them to learn another trade and maintain their ‘legendary’ status.

Like they say, all good things must come to an end. For some of these artistes, the end has come for a few years.

Because we really like them and we don’t want the good memories we have of them to be tainted, we’ll like to respectfully recommend them for retirement. There’s no shame in that, is there? Check out the list below:

1. Sound Sultan

You’ve been a mentor and big brother to many artistes. Your songwriting ability has never been in doubt but the arrangement just no dey gel again. As you probably noticed with the cold reception of your seventh album, it’s time to free the music jare.

2. 2face Idibia

When artistes start changing names, you know there’s not much music to give again. And after all of 2baba‘s achievements, who can blame him? Now that his kids are growing up, maybe now is the time to spend more time with them.

3. 9ice

When 9ice decided to enter politics, he knew what he was doing. Being involved in politics is likely to pay him (pun unintended) more than music. 2019 is around the corner. Now is the time to start campaigning o!

4. Ice Prince

When was the last time Ice had a hit? It’s been a long while. He seems to not to be sure of what to do; rap or pop. But Chocolate City has given him his own label, Super Cool Cats. Time to learn how to recruit new stars.

5. Ruggedman

There was a time when Rugged had rhymes, wit and punchlines. But that was long ago. Daddy, take time off, go for vacations, tour the world, and focus more on the clothing business. This rap thing is not ‘werking’ again.

6. D’Prince

To be honest, if it wasn’t for this video Don Jazzy shared on Sunday morning about him going to church with DPrince, most people have completely forgotten about his younger brother.

7. Kayswitch

We are still trying to look for another job description for you sir; since the only biography you had went with Mo’Hits Records.

8. D’banj

At this juncture, it is clear to the Kokomaster that he needs to pay more attention to his agric ventures and forget about music. There’s nothing to prove anymore- he’s not very good at making hits anymore.

9. Banky W

Thank God he knows how to direct now; perhaps it’s time to join Kemi Adetiba, and possibly feature in more movies. If that was good enough for Will Smith who left his somewhat lukewarm music career for Hollywood, then it’s most definitely good for Mr Capable.

10. Ill Bliss

The self acclaimed ‘Oga Boss’ who is only a boss at Capital Hill. Phyno has gone. Chidinma has gone. Even Suspekt has moved on. On behalf of Nigeria new school youths, we award you the permission to retire. Those two Headies plaque were retirement gifts in disguise, just in case you didn’t know.

Imagine a world where you never have to download useless apps again … Google has you covered

It’s annoying when you have to download an app on a smartphone just to carry out one function. Well Google wants to fix this pain point and has begun testing one of its hotly-anticipated features announced last year called Android Instant Apps.

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The feature was previewed last year at the Google I/O developers’ conference. Instant Apps works by letting a user hit a link and then opening a small part of the app required to carry out the specific task, without actually downloading it. The aim is to be as fast as loading a web page so an Instant App can be runnable in a few seconds.

One example Google showed off last year was paying for parking. If a person holds their phone near a parking meter with a special built-in chip, the Instant App will open to let people pay for parking.

Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps at Google Inc., gestures as he speaks during the company’s Android One smartphone launch event in New Delhi, India, on Monday, Sept. 15, 2014.

On Monday, Google said in a blog that it had begun live testing of Instant Apps with a small number of developers including BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope and Viki, with the aim of collecting user feedback.

Google also said that the software development kit (SDK) needed for developers to make Instant Apps, will be available “in the coming months.”

Instant Apps gives the advantage of not having to download an app and store it on your phone which could take up a lot of memory space and even screen real estate. Sometimes and app is required just to do one specific task and then it needs to be deleted. But also, if you’re out without Wi-Fi and need to download an app, it can use up a lot of a person’s monthly data. Instant Apps could eliminate all of these issues.

Reps to probe Jonathan’s N9b stove project

The House of Representatives has given its committees on Anti-Corruption, Environment and Habitat six weeks to investigate former President Gooodluck Jonathan’s N0.3 billion “Clean Stove For Rural Women scheme”.

The resolution followed a motion by Rep. Abiodun Faleke (APC-Lagos), which was unanimously adopted by members through a voice vote to probe the contract of about N9.287 billion.

Faleke noted that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved a contract for the supply of 20 million units of clean stove and wonder bags under the clean stove scheme for rural women.

He added that the contract was at a unit cost of N464.00, amounting to about N9.287 billion.

The lawmaker said that following the approval of FEC, the Federal Ministry of Finance released the sum of N5 billion to the Federal Ministry of Environment for the execution of the project.

He further disclosed that Integra Energy Renewable Services Limited was awarded the contract for the supply of the 20 million units.

Faleke also said that the company was paid the sum of N1.3 billion out of the N5 billion released by the Ministry of Environment as mobilisation fee without due process.

The lawmaker expressed concern that less than 750,000 units were said to have been assembled and delivered at the velodrome of the National Stadium, Abuja, which was commissioned by former Vice President, Namadi Sambo.

He noted that there was no beneficiary present at the commissioning nor was anyone later given the stove to achieve its intended purpose.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the mandate of the committee saddled with the investigation will be to find out details of the contract, number of units supplied, their mode of distribution and names of beneficiaries on a State by State basis.

The committees would also determine the status of the balance of N952 million with the contractor, since 750,000 units of the clean stoves were supplied at a unit cost of N464 at the value of N348 million out of the N1.3 billion paid out.

The status of the balance of N3.7 billion which was outstanding from the initial payment to the Federal Ministry of Environment will also be confirmed by the committee.

The committees would also determine whether or not the clean stoves and wonder bags project had assisted in eradicating desertification in Nigeria for future consideration.

APC Kicks Out Former FCT Minister Of State

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State has expelled one of its members and former minister of state for the FCT, Senator John Akpanudoedehe for alleged anti-party offences.

But Udoedehe, as he is popularly called, has  promised to respond appropriately to the expulsion in due time, saying he was putting his arsenal together.

The letter of expulsion, signed by the state chairman of the party, Dr. Amadu Atai and 60 other party executives as well as elders yesterday, said the action was sequel to an earlier suspension and dismissal from the party effected on the former governorship candidate by his ward and Uyo chapter of the party.

Spokesman for the senator, Mr. Ata Etuk, said they are preparing appropriate response to the expulsion as many of the signatories to the letter were fake.

“When our response is ready, tomorrow, I will let you know and I will let you have it,” he said.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg denies he’s running for president

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., gestures as he speaks during a session at the Techonomy 2016 conference in Half Moon Bay, California, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016.

“No,” Zuckerberg wrote in response to a question about his intent to run. “I’m focused on building our community at Facebook and working on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative,” referring to the limited-liability corporation he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, founded in 2015 to advance human potential and promoting equality through major bets in education and science research. Zuckerberg did not immediately respond to follow-up questions about whether he’d explicitly ruled out a run.

Zuckerberg’s response comes after weeks of speculation from the tech press and beyond, set off by a series of events that indicated a run might be in the cards, including a pledge to visit the approximately 30 US states he hadn’t yet been to. “Will Mark Zuckerberg Be Our Next President?” Vanity Fair asked in January.

The clues were there. Zuckerberg, who had previously been described as an atheist, said over the holidays that he believes religion is important. He’s touring the US asking “folks” about how they live. He hired a former White House photographer to take his Facebook pics. He included a clause about potentially serving for office into Facebook’s stock restructuring deal, and he hired a former presidential campaign manager to help his quasi-charitable works. But as Zuckerberg indicated Tuesday, he’s more interested in wielding influence from Menlo Park than Washington, DC. A source close to Zuckerberg told BuzzFeed News the 32-year-old CEO has privately denied it as well.

“There’s absolutely no truth to the idea that Mark is running for office and I’ve heard it directly from him,” the source told BuzzFeed News. “Here’s the thing: For Mark, Facebook is global community that already plays this huge part in the lives of billions of people around the world and plays an incredibly important role in shaping the base on the issues that matter.”

Zuckerberg is preparing for a political battle, the source was careful to emphasize, but as a private citizen focused on the goals he has already outlined through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. “There is absolutely a possibility that Mark may choose to play a stronger role in the political system and political debates,” the source said. Zuckerberg has been “very transparent” in his advocacy for “greater equality and optimizing research that find cures for disease and solves the fundamental problems of our time, but I really don’t see him stepping away from Facebook.”

Last week, Zuckerberg announced that he had poached Uber executive David Plouffe, a former campaign manager for Barack Obama, as CZI’s president of policy and advocacy. He also tapped Ken Mehlman, George W. Bush’s former campaign manager, in an advisory role. “You can make change, but in order for it to be sustainable, you need to build a movement to support it,” Zuckerberg told The New York Times.

Calling for a movement, backed by bipartisan political operatives, sounds awfully presidential, but Zuckerberg used the same language when he first launched CZI in December, 2015.

The stock restructuring deal ties back to CZI as well. The changes were made after Zuckerberg and Chan donated 99 percent of their Facebook shares, then worth roughly $45 billion, to CZI. In order retain control while he gave away equity, Zuckerberg introduced a new class of stock and revised rules, including a concession that “serving in a government position or office,” for two years would not constitute a voluntary resignation.

Success in business doesn’t necessarily guarantee success at the polls. . “First thing is these people should not be running for office,” Bradley Tusk, an Uber advisor and investor, who also managed Michael Bloomberg’s 2009 mayoral campaign, told BuzzFeed Newsduring a conversation about the increasingly political role played by Silicon Valley leaders. “It worked for Mike [Bloomberg] because of 9/11. If you look at the history of rich people from business or tech running for office, they almost always lose. That personality type is very different from running a company. The reality is if you’re Mark, with your wealth and platform,” you’re better off as CEO of Facebook than President, he said.

Tusk also pointed out that direct political engagement has not been as successful for Zuckerberg in the past. “Look at Fwd.us. How much money did those guys get taken for? And they accomplished nothing,” he said, referring to Zuckerberg’s ill-conceived immigration advocacy group. “They are better off using their strengths and their skills,” than jumping directly into the political arena, Tusk said.