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Why The Revised Condition of Service is Imperative for Workers of the National Assembly

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BY KEVIN OJI

In established and thriving democracies, experience and capacity in the legislature is not only cultivated and entrenched, it is harnessed to deliver on the core legislative mandate of Lawmaking, oversight and effective representation. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({});

This time honoured tradition in pursuit of excellence, efficiency and seamless running of the legislature as an independent arm of government is driven by the vision to attain noble and higher national objectives. It was therefore, in furtherance of this objective, that both Chambers of National Assembly deliberated and approved an upward adjustment in the years and age of retirement for staff of the National Assembly.

According to the review sponsored by the then majority leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives, Senator Ahmad Lawan and Rt .Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila in the 8th Senate, a worker in the service of the legislature will henceforth be due for retirement on reaching the age of 65 or after 40 years in service whichever comes first.

Both Senator Ahmad Lawan and Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila said that the reform was necessitated by the overriding need to entrench specialization, professionalism and quality service delivery that come with years of experience.

For the avoidance of doubt, the reform is in sync with international best practice as borne out by overwhelming evidence from other jurisdictions. In Britain, the retirement age for public officers which includes staff of the legislature is 66, Italy (67) for men, (62) for women, Germany (70) years, France (66) years and 90years in Canada from the day one enters into the public service; just to mention just a few.

As has become the bane of our convoluted politics and corporate governance, implacable opponents of this pragmatic and visionary reform have unleashed all manner of vile propaganda, some of them verging on blackmail to drive home their narrow selfish agenda.

The arrow head of this vast conspiracy to subvert the reform is a well funded shadowy group, the G-70 who are wedging a sustained media campaign of blatant falsehood. This group and their hirelings and paid hacks canvas the opinion that the reform runs contrary to existing laws and provisions which stipulate 35 years in service and 60 years in age as points of retirement for civil servants.

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Given the deluge of lies, half truths, all deliberate ploys to confuse the unsuspecting citizenry, critical posers that require urgent response are these:
Is the legislature an appendage of the executive? Is it bound to abide by the rules guiding that arm of government?

The answers to these posers will not only enrich our laws if there is a legal interpretation of the status of the legislature in presidential democracy, it will also expose and lay bare, the tantrums and perfidy of G-70 and its sponsors as borne out of mischief and vaunted ambition.

The existence of the Judicial Service Commission and the National Assembly Service Commission which are creations of the constitution invest in them certain powers to act as captured in the relevant sections of its Act. As an independent arm of government, the legislature just like the judiciary has the legal powers to fashion rules and regulations regarding the conditions of service of its workforce. The notion that the reform was sponsored by the management of the National Assembly and not by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila in close collaboration with the National Assembly Service Commission is not only a fallacy but a ghastly attempt to rewrite history.

For the avoidance of doubt, the reform in matter and for which political predators are having fits of melancholic rage did not breach any sections of the constitution. The revised condition of service is clearly within the framework of legislative independence and the limitations imposed on it by the constitution.

More so, the peculiarities of our legislature by this I mean its chequered history and its relatively young age demand that it is supported to succeed by its experienced officials with vast capacity. Successive military administrations did not allow the legislature to thrive let alone to flourish because each of these administrations suspended it upon mounting the saddle. When this latest nascent democratic order came on stream in 1999, the National Assembly workforce were drawn from workers on secondment from MDAs with little or no experience.

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Unfortunately, few officers that have garnered enough experience and capacity have been lost either through retirement or death thereby leaving a yawning gap. The revised Condition of Service represents a bold and pragmatic step to cure this capacity deficit and ensure that the legislature reinvents itself.

The personalization of this commendable effort is clearly unfortunate and not in the interest of the legislature. The visible and invisible forces propelling these contrived crises have thrown all semblances of reason, caution and decorum overboard accusing the National Assembly management without any shred of evidence, of sponsoring this progressive reform. The narrow and self serving prism upon which this campaign is predicated exposes a sustained vicious campaign by powerful vested interests to impugn the integrity and hard work of the present management led by Mohammed Sani-Omolori, the Clerk to the National Assembly.

That this obvious take down has collapsed in the face of empirical evidence and overwhelming facts is as clear as daylight. Barrack Obama, the former American President had admonished African leaders to lead a sustained effort to build strong institutions stressing that the era of strong men were gone for good. The revised condition of service seeks to strengthen the legislature by drawing from the vast experience and capacity of its finest officers. It has little to do with the present Clerk of the National Assembly who like other staff has a tenured mandate.

In fact, in recent times President Muhammadu Buhari since assumption of office in 2015 has had cause to extend the tenure of some Permanent Secretaries to bequeath some experience and knowledge to those succeeding them or to guide new Ministers taking over administration in such Ministries, Mr. President by this action acknowledges the importance of experience and knowledge in public service. Already, the Universities and the Judiciary in Nigeria have since adopted extended age for Professors and Judges, an admission of the critical need for institution memory transferable to younger ones in a planned succession plan. The legislature surely needs this increase if it must sustain its capacity growth and consolidation.

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This is the big picture which the parochial interests wedging this vicious media campaign against the reform have deliberately failed to see. As a discerning commentator on national issues, I believe that the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila acted in good faith and in the best interest of the Legislature when they sponsored this reform in the 8th session of the National Assembly.

Those who seek to cause the unraveling of this consequential effort through a relentless campaign are indeed the real enemies of the legislature and our democracy. They will occupy prominent positions in the hall of infamy when legislative historians chronicle events of this era.

(Kevin Oji is an author, veteran Journalist and a commentator on National Affairs. He contributed this piece from Abuja).

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Preventing Fire Outbreak in Solar Power System Installation – Engr Ohida

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As the prevalent erratic power supply condition in the country worsen, many organisations, corporate and even governmental, households, individuals are now turning to solar power system installation as alternative power supply solution.





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Apart from it noiseless nature which makes it more attractive, solar power system has also been proven to be cost-effective, convenient, and a clean source of energy.

However, just like any other technology, there are also risks associated with this technology, especially when not properly installed or maintained.

An Abuja based Electrical Engineer, Engineer Maiyaki Ohida said solar power installation cannot cause fire outbreak as a result of heat if properly installed, adding that fire outbreak can only result when it is not properly installed or if there is maintenance issue.

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Engineer Ohida revealed this, while responding to a question of whether Solar Power System Installation can cause fire outbreak when heated up; a question posed by a member of a social media platform.

Ohida said, “Solar panels can’t cause fire as a result of Sun heat, as they are produced to withstand high temperature.”

“What causes fire outbreak in solar system is wrong connections, short circuit, bad cable sizing for the installation, too high voltage to the charge controller, mixing of different types of panels together in series connection which will result in the cable and panels being heated up and catch fire after some time of use.”

He further revealed that using low quality panels can also result in fire outbreak when one panels in series failed resulting to voltage pressure on those panels behind the failed one. This can create enormous heat as Direct Current, (DC) heat is more serious compared to Alternating Current, (AC).

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He said, “when you use low quality panels, one of them in series can fail and then there will be voltage pressure on those panels behind the failed one, creating heat (remember DC heat is more serious) and then fire”.

Therefore, avoid wrong connections, short circuit, bad cabling and sizing, high voltage to the charge controller, mixing of different types of panels in series connection when you are putting together your Solar System. Also imbibe good maintenance culture after the installation.


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Abdulrahman Obaje

Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media, Information and Computer Technology Consultant. A quintessential Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist is based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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Latest Report Reveals Oppo Smartphone Democratising Access To Professional-Grade Photography

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By Abdulrahman Obaje

Improvements related to camera have been a major factor driving smartphone evolution over the past decade and the telephoto lens technology is among the important factors that determines how far the camera system can go, hence an indication of a larger trend in consumer behaviour, showing a preference for smartphones with enhanced photographic capabilities. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({}); January 2024 report of a market research firm, Counterpoint Research shows that the penetration rate has increased over the years to more than 19 per cent in H1 2023, nearly 3 per cent higher than it was in H1 2022.

So, what separates you from becoming a professional photographer this days is insignificant compare to the old ways of photography. It is just a thin line with the advent and rise in popularity of telephoto lenses in smartphones. This is because the growing trend in consumers’ desire for telephoto photography, something that can only be found exclusively in professional cameras; telephoto lenses integration in smartphones is now the main stay in the industry, a trend that industry player said is just the beginning of a larger trend.

Reports by Counterpoint had shed more light on the evolving landscape of smartphone photography. According to Counterpoint Research’s most recent report, more than 200 million telephoto lens-equipped smartphones were sold globally in 2022, with that figure expected to rise even further by 2024.

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The telephoto lens feature was initially available exclusively on exceptional smartphones. However, the study has also found that mass-market adoption of telephoto lens is increasing, particularly among sub-$400 segments. The increasing popularity of telephoto lenses in affordable smartphones mirrors consumers’ inclination for advanced features without the accompanying high cost. In acknowledgment of this demand, smartphone manufacturers have promptly responded by enhancing their mid-tier line-ups with telephoto capabilities, enabling a broader audience to partake in upgraded photography experiences that were traditionally exclusive to high-end models.

Users can capture images that stand out for their precision and elegance. Apart from its ability to be able to capture a distant landscape, telephoto lens also stands out in shooting portrait as it can compress the subject and background, creating dramatic bokeh effect. The 50mm or 85mm equivalent focal length provides a field of view similar to human eyes with minimal distortions.

The report also revealed that these lenses are becoming increasingly integrated into smartphones around the globe. The ability to zoom without sacrificing image quality, combined with the unique visual effects a telephoto lens can produce, has made it a popular choice among smartphone users. The proportion of smartphones equipped with a telephoto camera has increased both internationally and in China, reaching 19.3% and 24.4%, respectively, demonstrating the importance of telephoto lenses in today’s mobile photography environment.

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The report further revealed that the newly launched OPPO’s Reno11 series, positioned as “The Portrait Expert”, has been instrumental in bringing high-end telephoto lens features to more affordable smartphone models with the innovative “Telephoto Portrait” feature saying that OPPO has been instrumental in making high-quality mobile photography accessible to a greater majority of the masses.

“This strategic move by OPPO has not only democratized access to professional-grade photography features but also underscored the brand’s position as a leader in mobile photography innovation. ”, it said

The Reno11 series boasts features such as a 32MP 2x optical zoom camera powered by Sony IMX709 flagship sensor, enabling users to capture sharp, detailed images from a distance. The series also integrates advanced AI algorithms to enhance image quality, especially in portrait photography, providing users with the tools to capture life’s moments with unparalleled clarity and creativity.

The report thereby anticipates a positive outlook for telephoto lenses, affirming their pivotal contribution to the progression of mobile photography.

The integration of telephoto lenses is just the beginning of a larger trend. The future of mobile photography is expected to see upward progression, with telephoto lenses playing a significant role in how consumers capture and engage with the world around them. This trend is poised to redefine the standards of mobile photography, pushing the boundaries of what smartphones can achieve.

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Abdulrahman Obaje is a Journalist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media, Information and Computer Technology Consultant. A quintessential Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist is based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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Why We Must Not Lose Guard About The Potential Risks Of AI – Part 1

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By Abdulrahman Obaje

The most globally talked about scientific discipline at present is AI, short form of Artificial Intelligence, garnering attentions from main stream media organisations such as CNN, BBC, Forbes, New York Times, Daily Trust newspaper and the kinds of them. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Unfortunately this technology also poses the most threats to society and humanity at present.

AI is a scenario whereby a piece of an electronic device or software behaves as though it is digital human assistant. Some can make and take decisions that ordinarily may take time for human being to accomplish. AI-based device may be trained to even perform responsibilities that usually requires human intelligence to accomplish. Such tasks include solving complex mathematical problem, complex medical diagnosis, language translation, etc.

Example include Language translators, Facial recognition capabilities on mobile phones and other devices, Facebook’s language translation feature,  Google Assistant on Android, Siri on iPhones, friend suggestions on Facebook to mention but few. An AI-based system can actually act like a smart helpful digital friend.

AI serves as the foundation for transformative technologies like the much talked about ChatGPT with more than 18 million active users daily. Now, the GPTs store has been launched for business. Also, AI non-invasive device to read what a human is thinking in his mind, convert it to text and display the text on a screen. The research that has been conducted and pilot tested in the University of Sydney has a multifaceted benefit to the human. Anyone with speech impairment can use the device to communicate his or her thoughts and wants with people without talking.

As modern Artificial Intelligent-based systems are now being trained to learn from past experience; in the form of gathered information, making it able to adjust to new information that enable it to be independent in some areas to some extents, the voice of warning against the potential risks of AI is growing louder.

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The tech community has long debated the threats posed by artificial intelligence. Automation of jobs, the spread of fake news and a dangerous arms race of AI-powered weaponry have been mentioned as some of the biggest threats posed by AI.

There is also growing concerns that these things could get more intelligent than the humans and that they could one day decide to take over, and that there is why we need to worry about how we prevent that from happening.

A Computer Scientist, Geofrey Hinton also dubbed as the Godfather of Artificial Intelligence, a name he got from his foundational work on machine learning and neural network algorithm, in 2023 left his position at Google to talk about the risk of Artificial Intelligence, insinuating that a part of him even regrets his life’s work.

Hinton is not alone in this concerns. More than 20,000 tech leaders had in March 2023 persuaded in an open letter to put a pause on large AI experiments, citing that the technology can pose profound risk to society and humanity.

According to Wikipaedia, Pause Giant AI Experiments: An Open Letter is the title of a letter published by the Future of Life Institute in March 2023. The letter calls “all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4”, citing risks such as AI-generated propaganda, extreme automation of jobs, human obsolescence, and a society-wide loss of control. It received more than 20,000 signatures, including academic AI researchers and industry CEOs such as Yoshua Bengio, Stuart Russell, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak and Yuval Noah Harari.

One of the risks posed by AI system is the lack of AI transparency and explainability. This is as AI and deep learning models can be difficult to understand, even for those that are working directly with the technology. This leads to a lack of transparency for why and how Artificial Intelligence comes to its conclusions. This conclusion cannot be trusted one hundred percent of times because of lack of explanation for what data AI algorithms use, or why AI may make biased or unsafe decisions. These concerns explain the rise to the use of explainable AI, but there’s still a long way before transparent AI systems can become common practice.

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The second area of concern is job loss due to job automation. As AI-powered job automation is adopted in industries like marketing, manufacturing and healthcare. By 2030, tasks that account for up to 30 percent of hours currently being worked in the U.S. economy could be automated. According to McKinsey. Black and Hispanic employees especially is more vulnerable to the change while Goldman Sachs even states 300 million full-time jobs could be lost to AI automation.

“The reason we have a low unemployment rate, which doesn’t actually capture people that aren’t looking for work, is largely that lower-wage service sector jobs have been pretty robustly created by this economy,” futurist Martin Ford told Built In. With AI on the rise, though, “I don’t think that’s going to continue.”

As AI robots become smarter and more dexterous, the same tasks will require fewer humans. And while AI is estimated to create 97 million new jobs by 2025, many employees won’t have the skills needed for these technical roles and could get left behind if companies don’t upskill their workforces.

The third area of risks poses by AI is Social manipulation. This fear has become a reality as politicians rely on platforms to promote their viewpoints. For example Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., wielded a TikTok troll army to capture the votes of younger Filipinos during the Philippines’ 2022 election.

TikTok, which is one example of a social media platform that relies on AI algorithms, fills a user’s feed with content related to previous media they’ve viewed on the platform. Criticism of the app targets this process and the algorithm’s failure to filter out harmful and inaccurate content, raising concerns over TikTok’s ability to protect its users from misleading information.

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Online media and news have become even murkier in the wake of AI-generated content such as images and videos, AI voice changers as well as deepfakes infiltrating political and social spheres. These technologies make it easy to create realistic photos, videos, audio clips or replace the image of one figure with another in an existing picture or video. As a result, bad actors have another avenue for sharing misinformation and war propaganda, creating a nightmare scenario where it can be nearly impossible to distinguish between creditable and faulty news.

“No one knows what’s real and what’s not,” Ford said. “So it really leads to a situation where you literally cannot believe your own eyes and ears; you can’t rely on what, historically, we’ve considered to be the best possible evidence… That’s going to be a huge issue.”

Abdulrahman Obaje is a Journalist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria.

Author Profile

Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media, Information and Computer Technology Consultant. A quintessential Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist is based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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