Published On: Tue, Sep 10th, 2013

Sad: THISDAY Publisher, Nduka Obaigbena Fires Editor on Instruction Okonjo-Iweala

Nduka Obaigbena

LAGOS SPETEMBER 10TH (URHOBOTODAY)-A furious Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Saturday called THISDAY publisher, Nduka Obaigbena, to demand the sack of the paper’s Saturday edition, Lawrence Ani.
Sources at the paper told SaharaReporters that Ms. Okonjo-Iweala, who is extremely close to the flamboyant, salary-owing publisher, complained about a report in the Saturday edition of the paper that portrayed the Nigerian economy as not improving. The report, which was filed by James Emejo, cited data that indicated a drop in Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product.

One source said Mr. Obaigbena apologized to the minister over the report and promised to sanction the editor for daring to publish a story that reflected poorly on the minister’s management of the economy. Mr. Obaigbena has a history of using his media outreach to prop up the federal and state governments, raking in significant financial benefits for himself.
After his telephone conversation with the Finance Minister, Mr. Obaigbena on Monday asked the Saturday editor to proceed on an indefinite suspension. The publisher also named the paper’s Abuja capital editor, Tokunbo Adedoja, as the new Saturday editor.
Mr. Adedoja met with the staff of the newspaper in Abuja on Monday and solicited their support as he moves to Lagos, according to a source who attended the meeting.
Recently, Mr. Obaigbena has faced extreme financial difficulties, which has made it impossible for him to pay his staff in Nigeria. Also, his international cable station “Arise TV” has faced similar financial hardship that led to a major blackout some weeks ago.
Below is a copy of the report that angered Ms. Okonjo-Iweala and cost Mr. Ani his job:
By James Emejo
Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell from 6.56 percent that it was in the first quarter of the year down to 6.18 per cent in the second quarter, so says the National Bureau of Statistics.
The NBS, in its quarterly GDP estimates released in Abuja yesterday, said nominal GDP dropped to about N9.1 trillion from about N9.4 trillion in the previous quarter. This was also lower than the about N9.8 trillion recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2012.
However, GDP growth within the period under review was helped by the non-oil sector which recorded a 7.36 per cent growth in real terms as against 7.89 per cent in the first quarter as well as 7.63 per cent in the corresponding quarter of 2012.
The relative decline in the non-oil output was blamed on lower electricity generation during the period which had ripple effects on manufacturing, telecommunications as well as wholesale and retail trade.
On the other hand, the oil sector contributed about 12.9 per cent to real GDP in the second quarter. However, this was lower than the 14.75 per cent recorded in the previous quarter as well as 13.86 per cent in the corresponding period of 2012.
According to the NBS, average daily production of crude oil in the second quarter fell to 2.11 million barrels per day from 2.29 million barrels per day in the first quarter, compared to 2.38 million barrels per day recorded in the second quarter of 2012.
It said: “Supply disruptions as a result of pipeline vandalization still remain a challenge to the Nigerian oil industry. Nevertheless, the sector benefited from the relative stability in international crude oil market price, as well as the naira exchange rate.”
Agriculture continued to drive the economy, contributing 40 per cent to the overall GDP while wholesale and retail trade accounted for 17.3 per cent for the quarter.
“It should be noted that 2012 was particularly a challenging year for agricultural production in Nigeria. During the year, security challenges had a dampening effect on value added output. This was compounded by the flood that occurred largely during the third quarter of 2012 impacting on at least 25 out the 36 states in Nigeria,” the report stated.

Source: Saharareporter

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