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Nigeria’s NECO Postpones Certificate Exams Indefinitely Over Crises

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An examination body in Nigeria has postponed a certificate exam indefinitely over the different crises in the West African nation.

Azeez Sani, the spokesman of the National Examinations Council (NECO), in a statement on Sunday, said the decision to postpone the ongoing Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (SSCE) indefinitely was reached by the governing board of the council last week after it reviewed the conduct of the on-going 2020 examination nationwide.

The statement read, “The Governing Board of the National Examinations Council at its Special Meeting held on Thursday, 22nd October, 2020 reviewed the on-going 2020 SSCE (internal) nationwide,” it read.

“The Council had in a press release, dated 21st October 2020, informed the general public of rescheduling some papers of the 202 0 on-going SSCE.

“Arising from that meeting, today (Sunday) the Governing Board resolved that the 2020 SSCE (Internal) be postponed indefinitely in view of the current security challenges, occasioned by the ENDSARS protests, which disrupted the smooth conduct of the examinations in some parts of the country.

“In making this decision, the Board noted that due to these security challenges, some state governments imposed curfew and closed schools in order to safeguard lives and property;

“In the circumstances, it has become difficult for the council to move examination materials across the country and students in the affected locations were unable to sit for the papers already scheduled in the examination timetable.

“The Governing Board further resolved, that when normalcy returns, the Council will continue with the conduct of the examinations in all States.

“While regretting any inconveniences this postponement may cause our esteemed stakeholders, the Council has however taken this decision in order to maintain the integrity and security of its examination procedures for seamless conduct of the Council’s examination.”

News Central reports that NECO had initially rescheduled its examinations scheduled for Oct. 22, 23 and 24 to November, owing to insecurity and curfew imposed by some states during the #EndSARS protests.

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NC Village Square | The Rising Insecurity in Nigeria

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Nigeria is in a security crisis and too many of these incidents have gone unchecked. Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists are killing with reckless abandon, and the Nigerian people want an end to the bloodshed.

Watch Sulaiman Aledeh as he discusses the rising insecurity in Nigeria with a Security expert from Abuja, Kabir Adamu and a preventive terrorism expert from the UK, Temitope Olodo.

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Brexit: African Youngsters Seeking Premier League Moves Will Have To Wait

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African footballers hoping to move to the Premier League will be affected as new Brexit rules are to be effected from the 1st of January, 2021.

In new rules that are to help protect homegrown players in Britain following exit from the European Union (EU), players younger than 18 cannot make moves to British clubs. Also, no Premier League club is allowed to sign more than three players under the age of 21 in any transfer window.

All foreign players are subjected to a point-based threshold to be able to play in the UK, meaning players that don’t meet the expected points won’t be able to secure a transfer. Premier League clubs will also have to wait a little longer to secure foreign young talents.

EU members will have to secure a work permit before moving to the Premier League, as practised with Africans before.

While the rule is not targeted at African talents, it means good, young players from the continent hoping to make a switch to Premier League teams will wait for a longer time.

Foreign players moving to the Premier League will also have to secure a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) before making a switch. The GBE will operate like a work permit and it was designed by Premier League clubs to be able to access overseas talents. The system has been approved by the Home Office.

Like in the work permit system, foreign players will be graded by their international appearances and the FIFA ranking of their countries.

A player from a top 10 ranking country in the world, who has represented his nation in 50% of games in the last two years will be eligible for a GBE. For countries who are ranked lowly, the players must have played virtually all the matches played by their countries in the last two years.

How clubs perform in competitions will also be key to the points given to their players. A player with 15 points will be eligible to earn a GBE.

There will be exceptions in situations the overseas player being targeted is of the ‘highest quality’ when he’s not able to garner enough points to earn the GBE. The assessment committee will sit in such situations and assess the application. Players who earn 14 GBE points naturally qualify for assessment by the Exceptions committee.

What Does This Mean To African Players?

With a swathe of agreements coming up between Africa-based academies, club sides and Premier League teams, this implies players under the age of 18 from Africa cannot move to Premier League or EFL clubs.

It also means the Premier League clubs may not be able to easily sign players from lowly African football nations. Recall that Tanzanian national team captain, Mbwanna Samatta moved to Aston Villa last January. Under the new arrangement, the move will be very difficult to achieve as he will be on exception and must be of the highest quality, which will be a subjective assessment. Tanzania is not ranked amongst the top 100 teams in the world.

In the past, Premier League clubs have also signed African teenage youngsters with an example like Kelechi Iheanacho’s move to Man City at the age of 19.

With just three U21 foreign players allowed in every transfer window, African youngsters hoping to play in the Premier League will either start looking to other parts of Europe or be of exceptional quality to make enough GBE points.

Britain is expected to exit the EU by the 31st of December.

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Interesting Facts & Figures As Ghana Holds Presidential Election

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On Monday, 7th of December, West Africa’s second-biggest economy, Ghana will elect its President.

The election, the 8th consecutive one since 1992, has 12 candidates contesting but has been limited to a 2-horse race between former President, John Dramani Mahama and incumbent, Nana Akufo-Addo.

Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was the President of Ghana between 2012 and 2016, before losing to current President, Akufo-Addo. Akufo-Addo is running under the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Seventeen million (17m) voters have registered for the election, up by 2million in 2016. There are now 33,000 polling stations across the country, up from 28,000 in the last election.

Ghana’s previous seven elections have produced five Presidents.

History of Leadership

Ghana has a rich political history, from its independence in 1957. After going through years of military dictatorship, following the coup that ejected Kwame Nkrumah in 1966, the country returned back to democracy in 1969.

Between 1969 and 1972, there were three Presidents including Edward Akufo-Addo, Nana Akufo-Addo’s father who was deposed in 1972 by the military.

Jerry John Rawlings took control of the government in 1979, after a coup that deposed Lt.Gen Fred Akuffo. He handed power to Hilla Limann in the same year before deposing him in 1981. Rawlings led the country between 1981 and 1992 as a military ruler before conducting an election that saw to his emergence as a democratic President in the same year.

He ruled Ghana for 8 years as a democratic President before being replaced by John Kuffour in the year 2000.

Kuffour ruled Ghana for eight years between 2000 and 2008. He was replaced by John Atta-Mills.

Between Akufo-Addo and Mahama

Akufo-Addo, 76, Christian, a lawyer and economist contested three times before becoming President. In 2008, when he vied against late former President, Atta-Mills, he won 49.1% of the votes, but it wasn’t enough to see him through. Atta-Mills won the run-off and became President before his demise in 2012. He was replaced by then Vice President, Mahama, 62, and a Communications strategist.

Akufo-Addo, in his second attempt at Presidency in 2012 faced Mahama and lost narrowly. He secured 47.7% of total votes while Mahama garnered 50.7% of the votes to become President.

Mahama embarked on a well-acknowledged infrastructural development but was hard done by flailing prices in the commodity market where Ghana has a large base, due to its huge gold and cocoa productions.

Akufo-Addo, son of a former President and a one-time critic of late former President, Rawlings, accused Mahama’s government of being corrupt and wasteful. In 2016, he contested against Mahama again and was third-time lucky in his Presidential bid. He won 53.8% of the votes against Mahama’s 44.4%.

Campaigns of Endless Promise

In 2016, Akufo-Addo ran with the campaign promise of abolishing fees in high schools; ensuring each district has a hospital; ensuring each district has a factory; cutting corporate taxes; establishing a special prosecutor against corruption and election for local government representatives.

Of all these promises made by Akufo-Addo, he’s been successful with the abolishment of fees in Ghanaian high schools. The number of students staying in the classroom after the 9th grade has increased. This has further heaped pressure on the system, with a double-track system now in place, meaning, students are in groups and go to classes in intervals of two months.

Read: Mahama, Akuffo-Ado Go Toe-to-Toe As Ghana’s Election Draws Nearer

He has built 28 new factories, revived 48 and at least 94 are said to be under construction. Ghanaians feel he hasn’t done much in that regard.

In the health sector, 88 of Ghana’s 216 districts have no hospital and he has been blamed for not keeping up to that promise too.

Akufo-Addo’s strong stance against corruption during his campaign in 2016 has been under the radar. He appointed a Prosecutor in 2018, two years after he won the election, but the prosecutor resigned in November 2020, citing political interference. He also described the President as the “Mother Serpent of Corruption”.

Akufo-Addo’s corruption rating has not been helped by their new point in the Corruption Index by Transparency International.

While he has reduced taxes on small and micro enterprises, there are many diplomatic problems with foreign business owners, with well documented issues with Nigerian business owners especially.

Akufo-Addo promised to give $1m every year to Ghana’s 275 constituencies but did not achieve the target.

Mahama, known as a lover of infrastructure, generally tagged second to Kwame Nkrumah in that aspect, has also made a host of campaign promises.

In the health sector, he has promised free primary health care, preventive care and health promotion and wellness. He has also promised to help reduce the maternal mortality rate in the country by 50%.

The former President says he will build new hospitals and universities, in addition to 20,000 low-income houses in an infrastructure drive. He also says he will abolish the Double-Track Educational system of Akufo-Addo’s government.

In a campaign tagged the ‘Big Push’, Mahama says he has a $10bn infrastructure plan to reposition Ghana’s economy.

Akufo-Addo, on his part, said he plans a $17bn post-pandemic recovery plan for Ghana’s economy.

The incumbent, still battling to convince Ghanaians that he’s the man of the people, after largely failing to keep up with campaign promises, has strong opposition in Mahama.

The former President, known as Mr. Dumsor (on & off) for the electricity shortage faced by Ghanaians when he was in power, hopes to latch on to his political popularity and the incumbent President’s failings.

His party, the NDC has produced 3 of Ghana’s last 5 Presidents.

Ghanaians will also elect the 275 members of Parliament in Monday’s election.

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