Nigeria practising ‘nonsense democracy’, says Buhari –Page 4
ACN, CPC merger will end PDP era in 2015 –El-Rufai Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper
Vol.06, No. 2156
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
JUNE 17, 2012
$620,000 bribe:Lawan, Police disagree over bail terms You’re a sinking man, House blasts Otedola –Page 2
L-R: PDP Governorship Candidate, Maj. -Gen. Charles Airhiavbere; Edo State PDP Chieftain, Chief Tony Anenih, Gov. Adams Oshiomhole and Vice President Namadi Sambo on his arrival at Benin-City Airport for the PDP Governorship campaign, yesterday. Photo: NAN
“As part of the bail bond, we insisted on a written undertaking that he will provide the bribe sum and give it to the police. He is due to report at the Force Headquarters on Monday. We expect him to either produce the bribe sum on Monday or anytime next week.” – Police
“To the best of my knowledge, he did not say he will produce the bribe sum. Even in the undertaking, he did not give any time frame when he will link up with Jagaba.” – Lawan's lawyer
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
$620,000 bribe: Lawan, Police disagree over bail terms E
MBATTLED Representative Farouk Lawan returned home from police custody yesterday but under one condition: he must produce the alleged $620,000 bribe not later than this week, according to a police source. He had been in detention for 72 hours. His lawyer however dismissed any such suggestion. Mr. Israel Olorundare (SAN) said his client signed no such undertaking.
Car bombs kill 26 in Iraq
WO car bombs in Iraq's capital killed at least 26 people yesterday on the last day of a Shiite pilgrimage already hit by multiple bombings. The blasts, one in a heavily guarded area close to a revered shrine, raised the week's death toll to more than 100 and cast further doubt on the divided government's ability to secure the country after the American withdrawal. Black plumes of smoke filled the sky over Baghdad's northern Kadimiyah neighborhood, where the shrine to eighth-century saint Imam Moussa alKadhim draws hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year. One of the bombs tore into throngs of people who packed the streets nearby, carrying aloft symbolic coffins and beating their chests in mourning to mark his martyrdom. Three days before, nearly two dozen coordinated bombs around the country killed 72 people. Al-Qaida's Iraqi affiliate on Saturday claimed responsibility for that attack, which marked one of the deadliest days in Iraq since the last U.S. troops left in December. The sheer number of blasts during the alKadhim pilgrimage shows the ability of al-Qaida to retain and perhaps rebuild its bombings networks despite heavy blows struck to the organization by U.S. forces and allied Sunni militias prior to the American withdrawal. The bombers' ability to penetrate so close to the shrine indicates the challenges faced by Iraq's security forces in securing huge religious gatherings.
From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation
Lawan who was suspended by his colleagues as Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management, at an emergency session on Friday, has hired four Senior Advocates of Nigeria including Olorundare to handle his case. The others are: Mr. Rickey Tarfa , Mr. Sam Ologunorisa , and Chief Mike Ozekhome . The Commissioner of Police in charge of the Special Task Force (STF), Mr. Ali Amodu granted Lawan bail at about 4pm yesterday in the presence of one of the counsels, Tarfa. The bail was contingent on, according to a police source, a written undertaking by Lawan to produce the alleged bribe sum of $620,000. His international passport which was seized by the police during a search on his residence in Abuja on Friday has not been released. It was gathered that the police decided to grant him bail to avoid running afoul of the law which prohibits detention without trial be-
yond 24 hours. It was also learnt that the police got intelligence report that Lawan’s counsel were planning a N500million suit for detaining the lawmaker beyond the provision of the law. Another source said since the case will now be handled by the Independent
Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, it might start suo moto ,thus making Lawan’s bail inevitable. A police source said: “We have granted Lawan bail but his movement is still restricted to Nigeria. We still have his international and diplomatic passports with
“The good thing is that the House will resume sitting on Tuesday, he has cause to be in the country. “As part of the bail bond, we insisted on a written undertaking that he will provide the bribe sum and give it to the police. He is due to report at the Force Head-
• Minister of State, Foreign Affairs , Prof. Viola Onwuliri , during a requiem service for her late husband, Prof. Celestine Onwuliri at the Catholic Church in Abuja, yesterday. He died in the Dana Air crash in Lagos on June 3 Photo: ABAYOMI FAYESE
quarters on Monday. “So, we expect him to either produce the bribe sum on Monday or anytime next week. We know he has hidden the bribe sum, he will now go to where he kept it for retrieval.” On why the Police granted Lawan bail, the source added: “If you are in charge of enforcing law, you must also respect the law. “We did not want to keep him in custody beyond the days allowed by the law. Or else, the case will assume a new dimension of violation of human rights.” One of Lawan’s counsels , Olorundare, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “Yes, Lawan has been granted bail with an undertaking. We are battle ready for any legal action.” But contacted last night, Olorundare disputed the police claim that Farouk wrote an undertaking to bring the $620,000. He said: “Based on what Lawan told me, he said he wrote an undertaking to facilitate how to get to the chairman of the House committee on Narcotics, Drugs and Financial Crimes, Adams Jagaba whom they want to ask questions about the whereabouts of the bribe sum. “To the best of my knowledge, he did not say he will produce the bribe sum. Even in the undertaking, he did not give any timeframe when he will link up with Jagaba but it might be before the end of next week.”
You’re a sinking man, House blasts Otedola
HE House of Representatives is not yet done with the oil baron, Mr. Femi Otedola, the central figure in the $620,000 alleged bribe which has led to the suspension of Mallam Farouk Lawan as Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Ad hoc Committee on fuel Subsidy Management. The House described Otedola as “a sinking man” after the oil baron dismissed the decision of the Reps to restore Zenon Oil and Gas Limited and Synopsis Enterprises Limited, believed to be owned by him, in the list of oil importers indicted by the ad hoc committee as corruptly receiving oil subsidy. He had called the decision as laughable and a celebration of corruption. He also said he suspected that Lawan could not have acted alone in allegedly extorting bribe from him. Chairman of the House Committee on Media, Zakari Mohammed, responding to Otedola’s allegation, challenged him to name Lawan’s conspirators. The House, he declared, acted within the rule of law by its decision and did not celebrate corruption as being alleged by Otedola.
From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation
He said: “As an institution, we won’t join words with Mr. Femi Otedola. His case is that of a sinking man. As far as we are concerned in this country, for every personality that claims to be straightforward, we know his or her background, antecedents, way of life and means of doing business. “On his allegation that Mr. Farouk Lawan could not have acted alone, the House of Representatives is asking Otedola to name others. He who alleges must prove beyond reasonable doubt. We have made ourselves available as open as possible with what we did on Friday.” He continued: “To say that we are celebrating corruption is mischievous and unfair. I think any patriotic and conscientious Nigerian should appreciate that what we did was a show of transparency and allowing the rule of law. “We support anti-corruption campaign; we will not waiver in our commitment to this. We cannot be the investigator, the prosecutor and the judge at the same time. We decided to
allow the law to take its course.” He denied suggestion that the Reps were witchhunting Otedola. “Since the removal of Zenon Oil and Gas from the list of those having issues to answer became questionable, we felt there is need for a thorough investigation into the matter. “The Ad Hoc Committee is re-examining allegations against those 17 companies who allegedly obtained foreign exchange without importing products. Otedola should go back to the committee instead of rushing to the press. “Certainly, there is no question of witch-hunt at all. As an institution, we are above partisanship.” On the mix-up of figures by the House on the actual amount credited to Zenon, Mohammed added: “Whatever complaint he has about figures, he should channel it to that committee rather than hastily running to the press.” The House spokesman assured Nigerians that it would be more courageous in conducting its affairs to earn more dividends of democracy for the populace. He said: “We will con-
tinue to be focused, we will avoid distraction. We have resolved to be more courageous on the Nigerian Project targeted at delivering more dividends to Nigerians who are our employers.” Otedola had, in his reaction to the position of the House on him, said: “I have stated the facts in my interview with ThisDay newspaper and nothing but the facts. That Farouk Lawan demanded $3 million from me and because I refused to oblige him he included the name of Zenon amongst those who bought forex without importing petroleum products. He did this without even asking Zenon to produce a single document of the forex transaction. He clearly wanted to extort money for an offence I did not commit. That is why I went to report to the security agencies. If I had anything to hide I wouldn’t have gone to the agencies. There is an old adage that says “people who live in glass houses should not throw stones”. “Moreover it is not possible to purchase $232, 975,385.13 from CBN without importing the product. The total figure is not even
$232, 975,385.13 million as alleged but $372, 207, 990. They should go and amend the report to read $372, 207, 990 which is the correct figure. It is not possible to purchase this volume of forex from the CBN with first class banks such as Access bank, FCMB, GTB, UBA and an international bank BNP Paribas which is one of the biggest and most respected banks in the world. “If people at my level who have worked hard to build their businesses can be blackmailed this way all in a bid to extort money from them, I pity people that are just starting out in business in this country. In all my business dealings I have always been above board and the records are there to prove. As far as I know Lawan could not have been working alone in this extortionist plot. A tree does not make a forest. Let me also state for the records that we are not in any way affiliated to the other company Synopsis enterprises Ltd also included in the report. Actions of today by the House is laughable, a mere celebration of corruption and a further indictment on their honourable member.”
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
A burnt-out case? (Moral leprosy among Nigeria’s political class)
ITHOUT any doubt, horror movies must now be included on the daily menu of Nigerians. The nation itself has suddenly become an absorbing horror movie with outlandish twists and turns. Some of the finer details as they are churned out daily will make the civilised stomach to vomit in squeamish terror. The dark and demonic plot with its disturbed and derailed characters will make Eugene Ionesco and his Theatre of Absurdist Chaos tremble with fright. Reality seems to have trumped actual nightmares. There is no need for any imaginative embellishment of day to day occurrence. Just lay it on as it is, and come and see America wonder. It is Black humour extravaganza. In the Theatre of the Absurd, there is no paddy for jungle and everybody is on their own. Fiction is often time an inferior copy of actuality A Burnt-Out Case is the title of a classic novel by Graham Greene, the great British writer of fetching prose and imaginative fecundity. But it is also a grim medical condition. Greene already had the outlines of the novel in his head. But it was after he visited the old Belgian Congo in 1959 just before the exit of its Belgian overlords that actual reality concentrated his imagination. In the colonial debris of Belgian rapacity and plunder, and the historic cruelties visited on a helpless and hapless people, a universal moral crisis crystallised for the English author. According to the medical hypothesis of Dr Colin in the novel, “some lepers develop severe psychological numbness as a result of their disease. Even after they are cured and cease to feel the pains of their condition, these “burnt-out cases “ fail to re-enter society. They become permanent antisocial outcasts” Readers who studied Geography for their A-level at the end of the sixties must remember a classic Geography textbook by a certain Professor Monkhouse. In the book, the great geographer spoke to a certain soil condition which he named as “pedological leprosy”, a situation in which the soil has become so degraded, denuded and benumbed that it is no longer capable of growing anything. As it is with geography, so it is with geo-political space; as it is with novels, so it is with nations. In a feat of imaginative transposition , Greene was to transfer a national neurosis to an individual character named Querry, just as he had earlier done with Scobie, the washed-up frustrated police officer, in The Heart of the Matter, a novel set in colonial West Africa. Nevertheless, A Burnt-Out Case remains a classic enquiry into a troubled metropolitan conscience within the context of colonial atrocities. This is the best context to situate the current macabre drama unfurling in Nigeria. Cannibal capitalism underwrites politics so desperate and dysfunctional that it ceases to be politic. This is what happens when a political class is overtaken by moral leprosy. Nigeria has become a classic burnt-out case with a political class so denuded of sensitivity and numbed of human feeling that nothing they do make any sense any more. . Gold from Latin America became the ruin and nemesis of Imperial Spain, centuries later, an oil doom is about to overtake Nigeria. This is why it is important to keep the eyes fixed on the ball in this play of perfidy. The origin of the current crisis and what has become the Farouk Lawan conundrum is a phantom oil subsidy removal which was so insensitive and unfeeling that they call to question the psychological health of our rulers.
nooping around With
The House of Representatives responded historically and heroically to this affront by conveying an extraordinary session on a Sunday. There were reports of official attempts to coerce and corral them into criminal conformity. They stood their ground and overwhelmingly voted against the removal of the fake subsidy, The executive dismissed this historic resolution as “mere advice” to be routinely ignored. Thereafter, it went ahead to unilaterally remove the so called subsidy and all hell broke loose. It was in the aftermath of the fuel subsidy protests and as a direct consequence of the unprecedented country wide revolt that the House set up a committee to determine whether there was petroleum subsidy in the first instance and to ascertain how much the government was paying to subsidize fuel consumption in the country. In the event, the probe opened
HINGS simply do not add up any more in this postcolonial wonderland. At a time when the Finance Minister, Ngozi OkonjoIweala, is shouting from the rooftop about a looming recession— a euphemism for an imminent fiscal implosion— , the Federal authorities are sending out almost a hundred ambassadors on diplomatic posting abroad. When will this government learn the habits of fiscal prudence and restraint? Except for the demon of political patronage which must demand its payback no matter the parlous state of the economy, there is nothing urgent or pressing about some of these postings. The list itself is a mixed bag of the professionally accomplished and the politically extinguished with the calculus
T was from Kano that the cries of “changi!.changi!” rent the air towards the tail end of the Second Republic. Now it is from Kano again that the same cry but with a different inflection is emanating at this critical juncture of the First republic. There is always something about Kano and Ibadan which cannot be ig-
up a Pandora Box of sleaze and outlandish corruption in the oil sector; a pan-Nigerian racket teeming with middlemen, fronts and rent-seekers. It turned out that as many Nigerians had suspected, what was being subsidised was not fuel consumption but unimaginable greed and graft. Enter, then, Mallam Farouk Lawan, the slight but feisty fourth term representative from Kano. As the chairman of the committee, Lawan had played the patriotic script and had emerged from it all as something of a national hero. Those who have watched the pint-sized petrel from Kano at close quarters know that this was not the first time he would be playing the hero’s script. He had done the same thing in the Etteh saga when his group spearheaded the removal from office of the speaker. Even then, murmurs of unsavoury deal-cutting dogged the whole affair, but the tiny tempest emerged unsullied.
Snooper has for long been fascinated by the diminutive but lionhearted Farouk. It has been a class act brimming with daring and devilry. Lawan Farouk combines deep reserves of political wiles and feral cunning with the poker-faced abrasion of the classic political opportunist. But there was always the feeling that he was bound to trip up at some point. There was always something that didn’t add up. The picture was too good to be true. Character is fate and opportunism has its limits and limitations, particularly in a political jungle of fivehundred pound ferocious cats. Elementary common sense ought to have told him that other cats whose path he had crossed and whose territory he had annexed would be waiting patiently, ready to pounce on him and cut him to size. You cannot play the hero for long if you are not a real hero. This is the fate that seems to have overtaken the poor fellow. Who would have imagined that while astutely guiding this delicate and sensitive national assignment, the Kanoborn politician was also making hay? The fate of some predecessors on earlier equally sensitive house assignments who compromised their honour and endangered the collective integrity of the assembly did not seem to deter or dissuade Lawan Farouk. Having compromised the moral health of the nation at this critical moment, the legislator deserves the suspension order that has been slammed on him by his colleagues and much more. This column agrees with those who insist that we should not throw away the baby with the bath water. In its substantial form, the oil subsidy report establishes the existence of a major mafia of oil subsidy crooks who have been fleecing the country
while the government is bent on passing the wages of corrupt selfenrichment to the ordinary citizens. But having said that, we cannot agree that the integrity of the report has not been impugned and imperilled by Lawan’s dishonourable conduct. If that is the case, why was Otedola’s name removed from the original list after money appeared to have changed hands? Having argued on this same page that in a transparent democracy, process and procedure are as important as the final outcome, we are not about to change our mind. What the house should now do is to ask another committee to take a holistic dissection of the report. We must not only do what is right, we must be seen to do what is right even if it takes ages. That is the way of functioning democracies which has no room for short cut and mob justice. Adding Otedola’s name to the list by popular affirmation and without the opportunity for thorough investigation smacks of legislative lynching which is at variance with the fundamental tenets of democracy. As the house enters a critical and delicate period of self-interrogation, the presidency must refrain from shielding culprits or offering official protection to its friends and allies. In this matter, a bribe giver is as liable as the bribe taker. The nation is entering uncharted waters and the Jonathan presidency must rein in its tendency to act in a manner that is at variance with the overall national interest. If it does not, the turbulence in the house may trigger off a chain of reactions which may snowball into impeachment proceedings against the presidency in which the house is fractured along regional, ethnic and religious lines. When and if that happens, it is the swansong of the Fourth Republic.
Diplomatic carpet-bagging heavily weighted in favour of political jobbers and permanent placemen as opposed to career diplomats. A few of these perpetual power prostitutes are some of the most execrable and despicable men ever thrown up by the post-colonial irrational. They represent no one but their stomach. But fair is fair. Snooper has been cautioned by his consultant on the Jonathan presidency that he may be reading the wrong script all over again. According to the old bloke, President Goodluck Jonathan actually has a deep sense of boyish humour and this may very well be his own way of exporting Nigeria’s toxic waste in order to shore up our already scandalously depleted foreign exchange coffers.
If that is the case, snooper has a few survival tips for their blessed Excellencies in case things go awry. It is taken from the Manual of an Abandoned Diplomat put together by a famed Zairean diplomat of the unlamented Mobutu oligarchy. Shortly before the end of the most famous kleptocracy in the history of modern Africa, it was discovered that the Zairean ambassador to Poland , having been abandoned by the home government, was actually living in a toilet in central Warsaw. In the last two years of the accursed Mobutu, nothing was heard from the home government, not to talk of remittances. Consequently, the courtly ambassador was thrown out of his grand residency. But never underestimate a hardy
African when it comes to survival instincts, no matter the diplomatic sheen. The Zairean ambassador to the court of the Poles simply polevaulted into a toilet. From his new abode, his Excellency would make out every morning, spic and span and elegantly put together, for the various embassy events foraging for food and drinks like an urban rodent. This went on for quite some time until the ambassador was mugged in the toilet by a more desperate destitute. Shocked to discover his true identity, the Warsaw police handed him over to the Red Cross as a humanitarian cargo. As V.S Naipaul would say, that was not the final bend in the river.
Bura de Changi
shot a Bureau de Change malam in the buttocks as he tried to run?” snooper offered sleepily. “Ah dat one bura don kaput be dat. But no be dem small mala. Dat one he dey with them three people. Dem police dey fit dem tire for dem Black Maria for dat one”, Okon snorted. On that note snooper threw out the loony boy. .
nored by readers of the Horoscope of Disasters. Ever since the Otedola versus Farouk imbroglio broke, Okon has been huffing and puffing about starting his own Bureau de Change. Early on Friday morning, the impudent boy barged into snooper’s room without invitation, panting
and heaving with excitement. “Oga, I wan reach Kano quick, quick. Dem say dem small mala for house come flood dem market with dem Otedollar and dem naira come crash like dem Dangote trailer”, the crazy boy shouted. “Okon, you are a fool. Didn’t you hear that armed robbers
10% of Nigerian visa applicants wrongly allowed to settle in UK
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
S many as 10 per cent of Nigerians applying for visas to settle in Britain are wrongly being allowed to stay indefinitely in the country, a watchdog has found. The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration uncovered “serious errors” in the handling of cases, with vital checks being ignored and bad decisions being made. In one case a woman was allowed to move to Britain even though she had previously overstayed and had a baby on the NHS without paying. The watchdog, John Vine, warned the “disturbing” mistakes made by UK Border Agency staff in Africa meant that people were wrongly gaining access to Britain’s welfare system. But unless fraud can be proved, previous court cases suggest such immigrants are usually allowed to remain in the country. He wrote: “It is therefore all the more imperative that the Agency takes steps to ensure such basic mistakes with long-term impacts on the United Kingdom are not made in the future.” The inspector, best known for uncovering problems in the passport controls at Britain’s airports, looked at visa offices in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, as well as those in Pretoria, Nairobi and one in Croydon that handles applications from Algiers. He said it was “frustrating” that little progress had been made in implementing recommendations he had made several years earlier, and was “disappointed” to find so much room for improvement. In many cases applicants were “unfairly” not told of all the documentation they needed to provide, yet were still refused visas to come to Britain. Elsewhere audit trails were poor. Some of the worst problems were encountered in Nigeria, where fraud is endemic. The Abuja office handled 498 settlement applications in 2010-11, out of a total of 101,209 visa applications, and the inspectors looked at a sample of them. In all 37 where settlement had been granted, there were mistakes in the decision-making process. In five cases, border officials had wrongly stamped visas with “indefinite leave to remain” rather than limited leave of 27 months. The report said that “given the gravity of this error”, the inspectors looked 135 similar cases and “disturbingly” found another nine where indefinite leave had been granted. “Overall this meant applicant in 14 out of 135 cases (10 per cent) had been incorrectly granted ILE to the UK.” The Agency “accepted it was a serious error”. Courtesy London Telegraph
Nigeria practising ‘nonsense democracy’, says Buhari • ACN, CPC merger will end PDP era in 2015 –El-Rufai
ORMER military ruler, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday branded the current mode of democracy in the country as nonsense. For him, the country cannot be said to be practising true democracy when elections are neither free nor fair, votes are wantonly stolen and people are killed with
From: Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja
impunity. General Buhari, presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in last year’s election said his party has now decided to mobilise its members nationwide to “make it very unattractive
for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials or other law enforcement agencies to cooperate with whoever wants to rig election.” He asked CPC members to rise up to this challenge for the sake of their children and grandchildren. He spoke at the first CPC Renewal Committee
Stakeholders forum in Abuja. He decried the level of insecurity in the country and blamed the federal authorities for shirking its responsibility on security. He said: “I said I believe in this system. In 1991 nobody lectured me to become a democrat but when the Soviet Union collapsed then
•Some physically challenged children arriving for the 2012 African child day in Lagos
Jonathan committed to rule of law, says Maku • How to prevent manipulation of FOI Act — ex-Information Commissioner
NFORMATION Minister Labaran Maku said yesterday that President Goodluck Jonathan is fully committed to the rule of law, good governance and due process. Speaking at the opening of a workshop on the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act in Abuja, Maku maintained that the president would not have signed the bill into law if he did not want his administration to be open and transparent. He described the law as one of the most important in the country and urged journalists to take advantage of it. But he warned them against taking for granted the freedom guaranteed by the Act. He said: “The most important law that has been signed in this country is the Freedom of Information Act. On the eve of his inauguration, President Jonathan signed the Freedom of Information bill into law. It is only a President that is committed to rule of law, good governance, and due process and committed to openness and transparency that would have signed that bill into law. “Under military rule, journalists were hounded into jail and there was no
From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja
freedom. Journalism was very tough and risky. But today, we take these things for granted. We should not take them for granted now. “Freedom is good but it can be very corrosive. FOI Act now gives you opportunity to practise journalism without fear. But you need to study the law properly for you to understand how to apply it.” On the need for regulation in the profession, he said: “If we do not allow our profession to be regulated like other professions, things cannot go on well. I will soon meet with the stakeholders on this.” He also ruled out legislation on journalists’ welfare packages, saying: “The government cannot legislate on the salaries and allowances of journalists. For instance, it is not easy to run a newspaper firm. Some of them are struggling to survive. Stakeholders only need discussions on this issue and not legislation.” A former Commissioner of Information in Delta State, Mr. Oma Djebah, who presented a paper at the workshop, described the FOI act as a milestone in Nigeria. But he listed five key fac-
tors to be embraced to ensure its success and maximal benefit in Nigeria. The factors, he said, would assist in preventing the manipulation of the Act by politicians. These include training and retraining of media workers to make them al-
ways alive to their responsibilities. Every journalist, according to him, should always put the national interest first in his write ups so that the national interest is not undermined in the process of applying the FOI Act.
I came to the conclusion that democratic system is the best. “Elections must be free and fair otherwise it is nonsense. So we are doing nonsense in Nigeria. Nigeria is practising nonsense democracy. I do not know when it will stop. If CPC is the only threat to PDP, of course, PDP will do anything to destroy CPC. So it is up to CPC to maintain political integrity. “Votes are stolen; people are beaten up and houses burnt and some of them killed. Where ever you go one day you will come back home which is Nigeria. So we must join hands to stabilize the country for sustainable development. “Movement in Nigeria now is so dangerous. In fact, I wonder if the insurance companies are still agreeing to insure lives, because if the Federal Government cannot pay some departments and so on and if the pension funds are not available, I think people should be very careful.” Buhari stressed the need for unity of purpose by party members ahead of the 2015 elections with a view to defeating the ruling PDP. Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and chairman of the CPC Renewal Committee, Mallam Nasiru el-Rufai said the planned merger between the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and CPC would end PDP rule in 2015. El-Rufai encouraged Buhari to continue with the merger negotiation and advised members of the party not to relent in the renewal process. He said: “It is Buhari’s commitment and example that is driving all of us to work harder to renew CPC which is the only hope that Nigeria has for 2015. Our hope is to merge with other likeminded political parties to ensure that we see the end of the PDP in the 2015 election. I do not want to say much about that because it is ongoing. General Buhari is in charge of the merger this time around and by God’s grace it is going to happen. We should think about how we can secure our party for the future.”
Never! No road block again, vows IGP • Aregbesola challenges police on restructuring THE Inspector General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Abubakar, declared yesterday that mounting of road blocks by policemen belongs to history. The proscription of road blocks at his assumption of office, he said, was part of the strategy to make the police corruption free, efficient and effective. The IG spoke through Deputy Inspector General Abdulraman Akano at the foundation laying of a police training institute named after him (Abubakar) at Ayekale, Iragbiji, Osun State. He pledged to raise the performance level of the force to an admirable level and said monitoring teams would soon be inaugurated to go round all police formations and units to ensure compliance with the new order.
Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo
He said following persistent complaints by the public about the police, he decided to effect a big change to meet the expectation of the people. The police boss urged Nigerians to take the advantage of the new order in the police and cooperate with his men by volunteering information. Governor Rauf Aregbesola expressed concern over the security situation in the country and challenged the police authorities to concentrate efforts on restructuring the force to achieve the desired efficiency. He made a case for the eradication of the present unitary system of operations of the police, stressing that over concentration of police
power at the centre is an impediment to efficiency. The governor pledged a first instalment of donation of N200million by the State government for the take off of the MD Abubakar Institute for Training and Indoctrination. He acknowledged the “noble role” of Deputy Inspector General Akano, who hails from Iragbiji, in facilitating the siting of the institute in Iragbiji. The Aragbaji of Iragbiji, Oba Abdulrasheed Ayotunde Olabomi, expressed gratitude to Governor Aregbesola for supporting his community and the police training institute. He conferred the honorary chieftaincy title of Jagun Asoludero of Iragbiji on the IGP in appreciation of his efforts to curb crimes in the country.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
L-R: Director General/CEO, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngeri Benebo; Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Minister of Environment, Mrs. Hadiza Mailafia; and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Urban Development, Dr. (Mrs.) Bolanle Fakunle, during the Commissioning of NESREA Demonstration Waste Control Project, at Ilokun Wast Control Plant, Ado-Ekiti... on Monday.
THE Katsina State Government has warned those conniving with farmers in selling off tractors and fertilizer supplied to them by the government to desist from such acts, as it will not spare anyone caught. The state governor, Ibrahim Shehu Shema, issued the warning on Friday, while launching this year’s 2012 fertilizer sales at Danja in Danja Local Government Area. He said over 340 new tractors were recently supplied and sold to farmers at 50 percent subsidy to be
Commander, Special Task Force (STF), Maj.-Gen. Henry Ayoola (r) shaking hands with a victim of the Christ Chosen Church of God bomb blast when he visited them at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) yesterday. Photo:NAN
Katsina government warns against illegal sale of tractors, fertilizer By Isah Idris, Katsina
paid back in ten installments over five years. But it seems no tractor can be found in any part of the state any longer. The governor, therefore, warned those he called saboteurs to desist from such activities, as they are not only sabotaging the farmers but also the state
government’s agricultural policies meant to boost food production and food security in the state. Shema said the 40,000 bags of fertilizer supplied to the area would be sold at N1, 780 per bag to farmers and that fertilizer should be made available to every local government, wards and household. While warning the com-
mittee on sale of fertilizer to display honesty, Shema asked farmers to intercept any vehicle found conveying fertilizer out of Katsina State. The state commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Musa Adamu Funtua, advised the farmers to make effective use of the products to improve their farm yields and not to sell to mer-
ANPP will lead fight for passage of disability bill, says Onu T
HE National leadership of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has vowed to champion in the National Assembly the speedy passage of the disability bill. Expressing disappointment over what he called government’s lukewarm attitude to the passage of the bill, ANPP National Chairman, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu said members of the party in the National Assembly will give all it takes
From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja
to ensure that the bill becomes law soon. Speaking in Abuja when the Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD) led by the National President, Danlami Basharu visited him, Onu said the country will find it difficult to
achieve greatness if the citizenry including the physically challenged are excluded from governance. He said the passage of the bill would reduce the suffering of persons with disability in Nigeria. “ANPP will lead the fight. For the problems of the disabled ones to be solved we need to have an enabling law. It is the law
Abia Assembly passes 13 bills in one year
HIRTEEN bills have been passed into laws by the 5th Abia House of Assembly in its first year. The Speaker, Ude Okochukwu, told newsmen yesterday that the Assembly received 24 bills, 13 bills of which have been passed into law. He disclosed that the outstanding 11 are at various stages of legislative considerations. Oko-chukwu, who said the House also entertained and passed 8 motions and 61 resolutions on topical issues affecting the lives of the residents, attributed the success recorded by the legislative arm to the support, diligence and transparent deliberations adopted by his colleagues. The Speaker explained: “The peaceful way we have
From Ugochukwu Eke, Umuahia
been conducting our affairs have made some people in the state to think that we have not been working, simply because they have not been hearing or seeing us quarrel and no scandal to arouse their political interest. “The maturity, liberal outlook, consistency, tenacity, consensus building skills and collective cooperative encouragement of members no doubt constituted the bench mark for nurturing the House and strengthening it to discharge its constitutional responsibilities as a legislative arm of government”. He added that the Assembly has embarked on construction of a new 34room storey building office complex to ease the chal-
lenge of office accommodation facing members. The Speaker said that the House has started the re-roofing of the Assembly complex, which houses the chambers, offices of the speaker, his deputy and the clerk, stressing that the building will have a new look and reduce constant renovations.
that help to guide any person in office no matter the level of governance to ensure that all those with disability are looked after properly,” Onu said. He asked members of the National Assembly to expedite action on the bill to “help integrate all persons with disability into the society.” Basharu said it is disheartening that more than 50 years after independence, Nigeria does not have a law on the right of persons with disabilities that would give recognitions to disability issues. He said that in the last 12 years, two significant attempts were made to have such a bill assented to but each time the National Assembly did its work, “the president scuttled the efforts of the Nigerian disability community by refusing to assent to the bill. One wonders why the president has chosen to treat affairs of persons with disabilities with such levity and nonchalance.”
chants. The transition committee chairman of Danja, Hon. Tijani Lawal Danja, thanked the state governor for his love for farmers but appealed to the state government for construction of some roads in the area that would enable farmers convey their farm yields home.
ACN chieftain sues for peace By Adeola Ogunlade
HE South-South Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Lagos State, Isaac Emiyede, has called on Nigerians to live in peace and harmony for actualisation of desired socio-economic development. He spoke during the conferment of a chieftaincy title and merit award for credibility and exemplary leadership by Oba Rafiu Salami on him recently. Eyemide decried the rising spate of insecurity, theft, kidnapping and terrorist attacks in the nation. These developments, he warned, will further alienate rather than unite Nigerians against the common enemies of corruption and bad governance in the public space.
Lagos council commission seeks prompt release of grant By Miriam Ndikanwu
HE Lagos State Local Government Service Commission has appealed to the State House of Assembly to prevail on local government chairmen for the prompt release of monthly grants. Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Moshood Ojukutu, made the appeal when he received members of the State House of Assembly Committee on Local Government Service Commission and Chieftaincy Affairs in his office. Ojukutu, who highlighted funding as one on the major challenges of the commission, said it has been difficult collecting the statutory N300, 000 grants from each local government for its running expenses. He also lamented the working environment of most local councils, saying this often degenerated to frictions between the political leadership and civil servants. The House Committee Chairman, Mr. Lanre Osun, said there was urgent need for the commission to begin to address attitudes of council workers. Osun, who questioned the competence of most of the workers, said they must justify whatever they are paid. He informed that the Assembly is considering repealing the Local Government Law, which he said had outlived its usefulness.
Ex-minister seeks media freedom
SECOND Republic Minister, Alhaji Idris Koko, has described freedom of information as a pre-requisite for peace and sustainable democracy anywhere in the world. He said suppressing information always breeds violence, thereby jeopardising implementation of governmental policies and pro-
From: Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto
grammes. Koko spoke yesterday in Sokoto during the press week of the Sokoto State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ). He said:” The media is the eyes, ears and hope of the society which we live. It influences the understand-
ing and opinion of people on issues in relation to policies, programmes, rights and privileges.” Governor Aliyu Wamakko said no country can afford to jettison roles of the media in efforts to build a virile and prosperous nation. “Nigeria cannot afford to keep the noble profession
and practitioners’ at bay in view of the relevance of the profession to the unity and stability of the country. Wammako, who was represented by the Commissioner for Information, Mallam Danladi Bako, advised media practitioners to distance themselves from partisanship for objective reportage.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
Why Christians are not united, by Adefarasin By Adeola Ogunlade
HE National Secretary of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Pastor Wale Adefarasin, has indentified pride, insecurity, suspicion and fear as factors hindering Christian unity in Nigeria. He spoke at an Interdenominational day of prayer organised by the PFN in Lagos last week. According to him, there can only be unity in Nigeria when the body of Christ is united in love, doctrine and integrity. He lamented the church is presently divided and disunited along doctrinal teachings, tribes, ethnicity and languages, saying such development further has polarized the nation. The cleric said: “we must build relationships devoid of suspicion that would stand the test of time, doctrine, dogma founded upon the cornerstone which is Christ Jesus”. The Senior Pastor of Fountain of Truth Assembly (FOTA) Lagos, Pastor Yomi Kasali, challenged church leaders to embrace repentance for national rebirth. He said the nation will experience healing when church leaders turn to God in total repentance.
Anenih, Igbinedion, Ogbemudia unite against Oshiomhole E
Mamora, Fayemi advocate executivelegislature synergy
HE trio of former Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih; Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion and twotime governor of the defunct Bendel State, Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia, have closed ranks ahead of the July 14th governorship election in Edo State to ensure victory for the PDP. They were present at a campaign rally of the party in Edo South Senatorial district
From Osagie Otabor, Benin
yesterday. It was the first time in three years they would be attending a rally of the PDP together. Anenih said, “With the presence of Igbinedion and Ogbemudia at this rally, the circle is complete.” He said the PDP is firm in the state, warning that political parties are not run on the pages of newspapers. Ogbemudia said people of the state will acquaint themselves creditably on July
14th. Chairman of the PDP National Committee for Edo Governorship elections, Vice President Namadi Sambo, said the policy of President Jonathan’s transformation agenda was for a free and fair election. The VP expressed optimism that Edo State will be restored to the PDP like other South-South PDPcontrolled states. He assured that the election will be based on one-
man-one-vote and enjoined all youths across the state against being pushed into violent activities. National Chairman of the party, Dr Bamanga Tukur, said the party will bring Edo into the mainstream of SouthSouth politics controlled by the PDP. Chief of Staff to President Jonathan, Chief Mike Ogiadomhe, in his speech, assured that no weapons will be brought into the state for the elections.
Rep kicks against hike in electricity tariff From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti
ON. Robinson Ajiboye (Ekiti North 11 Federal Constituency) has warned against the proposed hike in electricity tariff. Ajiboye spoke with newsmen at the weekend. He wondered how “Nigerians already overburdened by a decadent infrastructure would be subjected yet to a hiked electricity tariff when power generation has apparently worsened to an all time low.” The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) lawmaker noted that the move to increase the tariff before improving on quality and quantity of electricity supply “is not just putting cart before horse, but regrettably smacks of unimaginable leadership irresponsibility.” He observed that so many companies had relocated because of power deficiency. On how to make the proposed hike work, Ajiboye said ‘’government should improve the supply of electricity and improve same for other energy sources like domestic gas and kerosene which are also currently not available.’’
Body calls for review of flight operations
HE National Airline Passengers Association (NAPA) has commiserated with President Goodluck Jonathan and Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, on the June 3 Dana plane crash, which killed over 153 on board. NAPA, in a condolence message signed by its President, Architect Donald Nwandu and Secretary, Chief (Mrs.) Uju Ozoka, called for a comprehensive review of all flight operations in the nation. It also called on the probe panel established by government to do a thorough job to forestall future crashes.
KITI State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and former Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, have described executive-legislature relationship as non-negotiable for good governance. Such partnership, they said, will enable Nigerians enjoy dividends of democracy faster than expected. Speaking at the first Ekiti State Executive-Legislative parley with the theme “Towards a collaboration that works and is sustainable” held at Iloko Ijesa, Osun State, Fayemi said such synergy should be driven by a mutual desire to pursue the best for the masses at the shortest time possible. The governor reiterated his administration���s commitment to actualisation of the 8-point agenda which he described as his pact with Ekiti people, stating he considers the legislature as an “incomparable partner-inprogress, not a resolute competitor for influence”. Mamora, a former twotime senator, said the executive and legislative arms of government are not totally independent of each other but expected to exercise “a degree of functional overlap” for collaboration on good governance. The ex-legislator, who stressed that lawmakers are not primarily elected to make laws but basically to represent the people who elected them, said the legislature must work as partners, not competitors with the executive.
World Bank rates Anambra FADAMA high •Senate President, David Mark, at the traditional wedding of his daughter, Pamela, in Oturkpo, Benue State ... yesterday
Orji to councils: Embrace biometric payment or…
HE 17 Transition Committee Chairmen in Abia State and their managements must implement the biometric system of paying salaries or face the music, Governor Theodore Orji has warned. He was react to the refusal of some council workers to surrender to the biometric system in protest against the old method of payment, which he said encouraged the existence of ghost workers. The Nation observed several workers inciting others to reject the biometric payment method. Orji specifically accused NULGE officials of inciting the workers against adoption of the biometric method and warned council leaders of the dire consequences of not using the system. The governor, who was visibly angry while addressing the 17 transition committee chairmen and their treasurers as well as heads of service and heads of personnel management in Umuahia, declared that the era of business as usual was gone at the council level. Orji said: “Some local government councils are refusing and inciting others
From Ugochukwu Eke, Umuahia
to refuse biometrics system. I don’t want a situation where a negligible few elements will hold the state to ransom. ‘’I called some of you last time and we discussed the issue of biometric. The first month we recovered over N88 million from pensions alone. N88 million can build some structures for the state”.
He went on: “In the councils, dead people were being paid; ghost people were paid, some workers take salary in up to 10 local governments. We decided to introduce biometric which is in use everywhere. Some people are refusing it, not only refusing it but inciting others to refuse it. ‘’And as government, we cannot fold our hands and watch you. Why I have called you is to tell you that
biometric system must work. Any local government that does not embrace biometric will not be paid. ‘’Any person resisting or harassing you over this, get me the name. We are paying you as and when due so nobody can pull us back. The money is the people’s money and should not be fraudulently stolen by a few unpatriotic elements”.
Niger votes N2.4 bn for construction of worship centres
IGER State government is to spend over N2.4bn on construction of a state mosque and Christian place of worship to enhance religious tolerance. The worship centres are to be situated at the 3 Arms Zone where the government is planning to relocate the three arms of government. Disclosing this at the weekend to newsmen in Minna, Commissioner for Religious Affairs, Alhaji Shehu Haruna, said that construction works on the two sites will
From Jide Orintunsin, Minna
commence before the end of the year. Haruna said each of the worship centres will cost N1.2 billion, adding they will be handed over to Christian and Muslim leaders after completion for management. He further disclosed that a hotel of international standard will also be constructed at the three arms zone under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. The state government is also committing N36.4
million to the completion of Paiko Community Jumat mosque in memory of the late Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Alhaji Aminu Yusuf. The late Yussuf was the Chairman of the Mosque construction committee. It will be recalled that the Niger State government had earlier taken over the completion of the Tunga Jumat Mosque and the First ECWA Church Minna. Both projects abandoned for over 20 years cost the government about N90m.
From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi
ORLD Bank Team Leader, Dr. Abimbola Adubi, yesterday rated the implementation of the FADAMA three projects in Anambra State high. He spoke to newsmen shortly after the opening ceremony of the Sixth Joint World Bank and Federal Government of Nigeria Supervision Mission of the Third National FADAMA Development project to the South-East in Awka. Adubi attributed the remarkable achievements recorded in the scheme to the commitment of Governor Peter Obi’s administration. Obi, he noted, has remained steadfast in serving the people. He pointed out that World Bank is interested in working with the governor as his attention to FADAMA is an indication of his readiness to partner in alleviating poverty in the country. The team leader also announced that Anambra has been selected as one of the two states in the nation for piloting a new programme of the bank. Governor Peter Obi, who distributed cheques totaling about N60 millions to FADAMA Community Associations, reinstated the commitment of his administration to revolutionise agriculture for greater productivity. He explained proper repositioning of the sector would enhance effective harnessing of agricultural potentials and eradicate poverty as well as hunger.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17 , 2012
Lawmaker’s free ICT training graduates 150 By Oziegbe Okoeki
HE importance of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in today’s world has been re-emphasized by the Deputy Whip of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Rotimi Abiru. The lawmaker said this on Friday in Shomolu at the graduation ceremony of 150 computer graduates trained by Wise-Ken Computer Training College. Abiru, who is the proprietor of the computer college, explained that the world is turning into a global village where information technology has become the order of the day, adding that the free computer training was in fulfillment of part of the electioneering campaign and promises he made to the people of his constituents. According to him, “after electioneering, governance comes into action and governance is not about those that voted for us alone, but for all the people that we are representing as legislators. My responsibility as a legislator is to make laws that will better the lives of my constituents. “But I have decided to make this a yearly event so as to empower my constituents in computer knowledge. The admission process was very rigorous because over 300 students wrote the entrance examination, but at the end of the day, 150 students qualified to participate and they are the ones graduating today,” Abiru stated. Abiru urged the graduating students to go out and make proper use of the knowledge they have acquired from the computer school, saying, “if you put the knowledge you have acquired into appropriate use, definitely, it will be of great help to you.”
Community calls for more infrastructure By Oziegbe Okoeki
ESIDENTS of Aboru in Agbado-Okeodo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) have called on their representative at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Bisi Yusuf (Alimosho 1 Constituency), to prevail on the state government to attend to their roads and provide infrastructure in the area. Spokesman of the landlord association, Sunday Adelaja, explained that the community made the appeal through the Aboru Landlord Association at a meeting the 30 Community Development Associations (CDA) in the area held with Hon. Yusuf in his constituency office at Ipaja, yesterday. Yusuf, who said he usually interacts with his constituents every Saturday, Friday and Wednesday, assured the Aboru community that he was going to take up their case with the executive. He, however, advised them to write to the governor and copy him and the commissioner, promising that he would take up the matter from there.
Increasing road carnage worries FRSC T
HE Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has expressed worry over the increasing carnage on the nation’s roads, saying Nigeria ranks next to Eritrea, which tops the list of coun-
From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta
tries with “unsafe roads” in the world. FRSC blamed the spate of road accidents on the highways and the attendant deaths and maiming on driv-
ers whom he said violate traffic regulations as they refuse to see other road users as coowners of the roads. The Zonal Commanding Officer, Zone RS2 of the FRSC, Adekunle Lawal, said research conducted has shown
•Residents scooping Kerosine afte a tanker fell at Ikeja, Lagos, yesterday.
N a daring move to resolve the intra-party squabbles currently threatening All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), governorship candidates of the party in the 2011 elections met in Abuja over the weekend to review the 2011 elections, the crisis rocking the party and to chart a course for the future of the party. Former governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia, emerged the Chairman of the group. Speaking shortly after the meeting, Ochiagha Reagan Ufomba, who emerged spokesperson of the group, said they “re-
that no fewer than 1.5 million persons died annually through road accidents across the world with highest concentration of road crashes occurring in Sub-Saharan West Africa. Lawal, an Assistant
Corps Marshal in charge of Lagos and Ogun states, said as part of the commission’s determination to reduce road accidents by 50 per cent in line with the United Nations’ declaration, FRSC is soliciting the support of the nation’s traditional rulers to help check the carnage on the highways. The FRSC boss who spoke when he paid a courtesy visit to the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, in his palace in Ijebu - Ode, Ogun State, during a tour of the Commands within his jurisdiction, said the worrisome rate of road accidents in Nigeria has made it imperative for the FRSC to solicit the support of traditional authorities. In his response, the Awujale appealed to government at all levels to ensure the provision of good roads, saying that the deplorable state of roads across the country is responsible for the increasing rate of road accidents in Nigeria. The paramount ruler also advised that the authorities that issues license to drivers in the country should be overhauled to make them more efficient, adding that government should ensure that the licensing authorities issue the document only to drivers who have been duly tested and certified competent enough to hold it.
APGA crisis: Governorship candidates move to save party By Sam Egburonu solved to work together as body of governorship candidates produced by the party so as to maintain the tenets, ideals, and sanctity of the party.” According to him, the group is determined “to keep the party indivisible, united and strong.” This they intend to achieve by “mending all intra-party crisis and broken fences while asserting their leadership positions, roles
and influences in their various states where they emerged flag-bearers and by implication, leaders of the party.” On the 2011 general elections, the group scored the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the judiciary low, and described as “undefined and unproductive,” the adoption of President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 presidential election.
Ufomba confirmed that various cases of anti-party activities, as well as what he described as “reported cases of commercial activities” were also reviewed at the meeting. The group, at the end of the meeting, condemned the comment credited to Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State, alleging that APGA does not exist, warning that “such unguarded utterances has the potential of inflicting
pains on the psyche of APGA members, Ndigbo and Nigerians.” The meeting was attended by all the governorship candidates of the party from the South-East and South-South, including Omehia, who emerged Chairman, Amb. Frank Ogbuewu, former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Barr Obinna Obiegue, Enugu, Ufomba, Abia and a host of other candidates.
FG committed to agricultural transformation
HE Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, has said that the federal government is committed to the transformation of the nation’s agriculture sector for sustainable socio-eco-
From: Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto nomic development. She said “President Goodluck Jonathan is committed to the development of irrigation farming as an im-
portant aspect that sustains all year agricultural activities.” Speaking on Friday while inspecting the N3.8 billion Goronyo Dam Falalia, Phase II project, awarded to Gilmor, Mrs. Ochekpe said govern-
ment was concerned about the maintenance of the dam through the provision of adequate infrastructure. According to Ochekpe, government was concerned about the early completion and commissioning of the
achieving growth, and encourage sustainable development.” According to the minister, the theme for the 2012 WED is Green Economy: Does It Include You? She said the aim of the campaign is to achieve a low carbon, resource efficient and socially- inclusive society. In recognition of the importance of green economy in environmental management, she revealed that the Federal Government (FG) has approved the creation of the Department of Renewable En-
ergy and Climate Change in the Ministry. The minister noted that a larger percent of the nation’s population depend on its natural resources for their livelihood but added that the environmental effects have denied them of their survival. As a result, Malaifa said the FG has also established a Presidential Initiative on Afforestation among other programmes. According to her, the programme has produced about 40million seedlings in the 36 states of the federation.
Minister rallies support for green economy
S Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate the World Environment Day (WED), the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Hadiza Mailafia, has called on the public and relevant stakeholders to support the campaign towards achieving a green economy. The minister made the call at the weekend during an interactive forum with journalists in Abuja. After observing a minute silence for victims of the Dana plane crash, she disclosed that the 2012 WED
From: Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja celebration will help to raise awareness on environmental effects. Malaifa said: “In the determination to achieve a green economy and effectively ensure sustainability, the role of major groups in the society cannot be emphasised “Through engaging governments, NGOs, private sector and individuals in action and your spreading the word on the importance of a green economy, this collective effort will preserve nature, while
stage 1 project with a view to creating awareness which would in turn yield public appreciation of its efforts in the realisation of its food security agenda for the nation. The Phase II project comprise of five sectors: Takakume, Mai Iyali, Gidan Salihu, Tsitse and Tuluski irrigation sectors respectively. Gilmor Project Manager, Mr Dubi Hatz, said the dam embankment and the Takakume irrigation works had reached 98 percent completion stage, adding that “on completion of the works, about 20,000 farming families will benefit” He further explained that Stage 1 part of the project, which comprised Rima Main Headworks, concrete conduit(0.70km), Rima Main Canal(7.00km), Rima Branch Canal(1.85km) and Sector 1Takakume(700ha net), had been completed.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
• Kenyan President, Mwai Kibaki
Nigerian economy may overtake South Africa’s • Okonjo-Iweala and SA Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan recently Photo AFP
Key indicators have shown that other African countries are making greater strides than South Africa, writes Lynley Donnelly.
OUTH Africa remains the dominant economic powerhouse in Africa, but other countries, most notably Nigeria, are fast catching up and could overtake us. The fierce competition between South Africa and Nigeria is well documented. But other countries without the economic heft of the West African giant are outperforming South Africa in most indicators, such as measures of human development, reducing inequality gaps and producing better-educated and better-skilled citizens. Razia Khan, regional head of research for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank, said they could prove a greater setback for South Africa’s long-term competitiveness and economic dominance than the competition posed by Nigeria. She was speaking to the Mail & Guardian at the annual meeting of the African Development Bank in Arusha, Tanzania, recently. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who was also at the meeting, acknowledged the many challenges facing South Africa, but said the growth experienced in other African economies was off a very low base.
Important partners South Africa was hurt by the recession, he said, and as
a result the private sector was more risk-averse. The crisis in Europe serves to “extend this paralysis” and, as a result, the government has to play a major role in investment. Gordhan welcomed the competition that the Nigerian growth presented. “It’s good to have competition and Nigeria and South Africa see themselves as important partners in the global forums that we operate in.” South Africa’s support for Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s recent bid for the position of president of the World Bank was one such example, he said. In recent years, many African countries have enjoyed dramatically increased economic growth rates. Policy reforms, better financial governance and improved political stability have all fuelled the growing interest of international investors in the continent. Niger, Ghana, Liberia and Ethiopia are among the top performers. Their projected growth rates for 2012-2013 are 8.6%, 8%, 8% and 7.6%, respectively, according to the bank. Libya leads the pack with 14.8%, but this is on the back of the sharp downturn because of the civil war. Nigeria and Kenya are projected to grow at 6.9% and 5.3% in 2012, respectively. Khan said it was important to note that this rapid growth was coming off a very low base.
The Nigerian power plan Nigeria would overtake South Africa in terms of sheer economic size, thanks to its 160-milllion strong population and gross domestic product (GDP) figures that, like South Africa’s, were dominated by domestic consumption, Khan said. In the next five years it will add another 23million people to its economy, although it has a lower per capita income than South Africa. Based on current growth rate forecasts of 7% a year and inflation of 10%, compared with South Africa’s growth rate of 3% a year and an average inflation of 6%, Standard Chartered estimated that Nigeria could overtake South Africa by 2018. But, if South Africa could grow at the rates seen before the financial crisis, it would not happen until 2038, Khan said. The one “big game-changer”, according to Khan, was Nigeria’s plan to rebase its GDP numbers. Media reports earlier this month said that the rebasing, to 2008, could increase the economy’s size by 40%. But Khan challenged the accuracy of these figures. Given the role that consumption played in both the Nigerian and South African GDP, she said, an analysis of consumption figures in both countries did not support the idea that Nigeria was nipping at
South Africa’s heels. But other countries without the demographic clout of Nigeria were outperforming South Africa in what might be more important ways, she said. “Kenya has done things that South Africa can learn from.”
Developmental progress Despite positives such as large and liquid financial markets, South Africa has not made the same developmental progress that countries such as Kenya have. For example, Kenya has increased its levels of financial inclusion dramatically, bringing many more people into the formal financial system. Kenya’s civil unrest in 2007 and 2008 did set the country back, but prior to this its economy had seen an “absolute transformation” said Khan. There are signs that the economy is improving and credit extension has returned to rates of between 20% and 30% in a short time. The middle class in the country is growing, backed by a robust private sector that is not as hampered by the governance issues in other regions. African Development Bank president Donald Kaberuka echoed Khan’s views at the launch of the “African Economic Outlook for 2012” report. East Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, had been a star performer for the past 10 years, he said. Kenya, in particular, without
• Minister for Power, Barth Nnaji
oil reserves or vast mineral wealth, remained the fourthlargest economy in sub-Saharan Africa at $2-billion, he said.
Future growth prospects Recent oil finds in Kenya and neighbouring Uganda, and gas discoveries off the coast of Tanzania, can substantially improve these nations’ future growth prospects. Khan said that the improved education and skills development seen elsewhere on the continent was not as apparent in South Africa. “If you don’t have the skills, you won’t get the employment growth and this should be a wake-up call for South Africa.” The emergence of Nigeria and the economic potential of East Africa had to be seen as a positive development, the bank’s chief economist, Mthuli Ncube, said. Nigeria complimented South Africa’s work in championing the continent. Despite the good news coming out of Africa, Kaberuka warned against “hubris and excessive exuberance”. Courtesy: Mail & Guardian
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
House bribery saga rumbles on a Twelve killed in black Sunday bomb, gun attacks
IVE worshippers lay dead at the Christ Chosen Church of God (CCCG), Jos, last Sunday after a suicide bomber rammed his car into the church while service was on. Another five were feared dead in a reprisal by sympathisers who descended on innocent people while two others died in a separate gun attack on Ekkilizia Yanuwa A Nigeria (EYN) Church in Biu, Borno State. The Jos suicide bomber’s original target appeared to be the ECWA Church located about 50 meters away but because of the security check point there, the suicide bomber moved to the CCCG, where the explosives brought the roof crashing on the heads of the worshippers.
Eagles star Obodo rescued from kidnappers
HE Delta State Police Command on Sunday night rescued exSuper Eagles and Udinese of Italy midfielder, Christian Ogbodo from a gang that had abducted him 24 hours earlier in Warri. Policemen, acting on a tip-off Stormed the kidnappers’ den in Emevor, Isoko South Local Government area and set him free. Ogbodo was seized by a four man gang on Saturday as he was parking his car, Bentley Continental ,at Zio Prayer Ministry in Effurun, Warri.
South East leaders set up committee on Constitution review
HE South East is set for the proposed constitution review with the setting up of a 30-man committee to harmonise the views of the people of the zone for the review. The committee is headed by Senator Uche Chukwumerije. The meeting was attended by all the South East governors save Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State who heads a distinct group-Committee 21 (C21)- whose objective is redefining the place of Igbo in the country. The group held its inaugural meeting in Owerri and had Senator Annie Okonkwo, Chief Victor Umeh, Mr. Ziggy Azike and the Reverend Uma Ukpai, among others in attendance.
Nigeria seeks ICAO assistance in aircraft audit HE Federal Government has invited the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) to assist in auditing aircraft operation in the nation’s airspace, Aviation Minister Stella Oduah said on Monday. Inaugurating the John Obakpolor-led Technical/Administrative panel investigating the Dana plane crash, the minister said ICAO and PricewaterHouseCooper (PWC) would join the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in conducting the audit. She spoke of President Goodluck Jonathan’s commitment to the “total revitalisation of the domestic airline operations,” and the introduction of palliative measures including review of Customs duty on importation of aircraft and spare parts to reduce the financial burden on domestic airlines.”
BACK TO SQUARE ONE Protesters return to Tahrir Square after Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that Hosni Mubarak’s last Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafiq, can run for president and declared parliament illegal. The country goes to the polls to elect its first postMubarak president this weekend. PHOTO: Daniel Berehula.
Gunmen kill 27 in Zamfara GANG of gunmen invaded Dangulbi and the neighbouring villages of Biya, Guru and Sabuwar Kasuwa in Dansadau Emirate of Zamfara State on Monday and killed 27 residents, one of them a policeman.18 people were killed in Dansadau alone. The invasion, according to survivors, might be a reprisal for an earlier ambush on the criminals’ enclaves in the emirate by security operatives and vigilance groups.
Police detain Farouk Lawan over $620,000 bribe
INETY-THREE career and non-career ambassadors were, on Tuesday, handed their letters of credence by President Goodluck Jonathan. Top on the list are former Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Ojo Maduekwe who is assuming duties in Canada as High Commissioner, Dr.Sarki Tafida who is retained as High Commissioner in London and Professor Ade Adefuye who remains as Ambassador to the USA and Mrs. Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu (Spain).
China launches first female astronaut
AROUK Lawan, chairman of the House Ad-hoc Committee which probed the fuel subsidy scandal, was detained Thursday night. The Police Special Task Force is holding the lawmaker for the alleged $620,000 bribe, which businessman Femi Otedola said he gave him. Lawan said he collected the cash to prove that the Zenon Oil chief put him under pressure. Also detained is the Clerk of the Ad-hoc Committee, Boniface Emenalo, who is believed to have collected $120,000, part of the bribe. Lawan, after a five-hour grilling, had his fate sealed at 9.00pm when the Task Force told his counsel, Mr. Israel Olorundare(SAN) and Mr. Sam Ologunorisa (SAN), that he could not be granted bail.
Jonathan assigns Maduekwe, Tafida, Ojukwu’s wife, 90 other envoys
Supreme Court sacks parliament
GYPT is now in the centre of a fresh political and constitutional crisis as the nation’s top court during the week cleared Ahmed Shafiq, last premier to ousted strongman, Hosni Mubarak, to run for president and ruled the Islamist-led parliament that sought to bar him illegal, just two days before the presidential run-off election. The decision handed legislative power back to the generals who took power when Mubarak was overthrown in a popular uprising early last year, a military source said. “The Supreme Constitutional Court has ruled that the political isolation law is unconstitutional,” the state MENA news agency said.
HINA has launched its latest manned space mission - whose crew includes its first female astronaut, Liu Yang. The Shenzhou-9 capsule rode to orbit atop a Long March rocket from the Jiuquan spaceport on the edge of the Gobi desert. Ms Liu and her two male colleagues are heading to the Tiangong space lab. They will spend over a week living and working on the 335km-high vessel, testing new systems and conducting a number of scientific experiments. Before leaving, the crew were presented to Communist Party officials, VIPs and the media. Wearing their flight suits and sitting behind glass, they waved and smiled.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
n and SEC changes June 12 alive, 19 years after
EADING politicians and human rights activists gathered in different parts of the country on Tuesday to commemorate the June 12,1993 presidential election won by the late Chief Moshood Abiola but annulled by the Babangida military administration. Speaker after speaker at the various rallies to mark the day eulogised Chief Abiola for defending democracy to the very end. They called for his proper immortalisation by the Federal authorities.ACN national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Second Republic Governor of the old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos called for the sustenance of the ideals of democracy for which Abiola died. Tinubu specifically asked that now that “the President has known the result of the annulled election, Abiola should be recognised posthumously as the nation’s second democratically elected president and declare either his birthday or June 12 as a national holiday as it was done for Martin Luther King in the United States.”
Oteh, SEC DG, sent on compulsory leave
HE embattled Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),Ms. Aruma Oteh, was on Tuesday sent on compulsory leave pending an independent investigation of the Project 50 programme executed last year by the commission. The investigation was at the instance of the Audit and Finance Committee of the SEC board having expressed curiosity at the sources and uses of funds for the event, a brainchild of Oteh. The SEC DG was barred from her office and the organisation’s Executive Commissioner, Operations, Ms.Daisy Ekineh was asked to act as DG.
North East leaders beg Boko Haram to dialogue OLITICAL leaders of North East origin including former Finance Minister, Malam Adamu Ciroma, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Bayero Nafada and Alhaji Mohammed Bello Kirfi, have pleaded with the Islamist group, Boko Haram, to give peace a chance. Activities of the group, the leaders say, have compounded the economic backwardness of the geopolitical zone. The convener of the meeting, Alhaji Kirfi said the situation in the region is much more complex that HE continued delay in the release of the bodies of some of the victims the civil war saying: of the June 3 Dana plane crash in Lagos sparked a fight on Tuesday “Whereas in the civil war between two families. The two sides were laying claim to a body they the battle line was drawn presumed to be theirs among the victims deposited at the Lagos State as the enemy was known. University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) morgue, Ikeja. Relatives of Jones In this very one the enemy Ifekanwa were told that another family had also identified the body as is known but remains theirs. Following the development, the State Chief Medical Examiner, hidden and thus the Professor John Obafunwa prevented both families from taking the body battles fought in all nooks away and advised them to wait for the result of the DNA now in progress. and crannies of the six The two families soon resorted to a verbal war which almost degenerated states of the region.” into fisticuffs but for the intervention of security men.
THE WEEK IN QUOTES
“Let me say it: I will never decamp (sic) to any party even if I am the only member remaining in ANPP.” —Senator Ahmed Sani , former governor of Zamfara State on his political future.
“If I am not God-fearing, I know I would have long been in jail with the kind of money I saw in the banking industry. What I saw when I was in the Federal Ministry of Transport?...I never soiled my hand.” —Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State on why he is serving his people.
“When you merge a bank that is almost dead with a dead bank that must have used a new nomenclature to paint its balance sheet, you end up having all of them dead. If you are not careful, they will all die in the nearest future.” —Chief Anthony Ani, former Finance Minister, on efforts by the Central Bank to save the rescued banks.
Two families fight over plane crash victim’s corpse
Saudi Crown Prince Nayef dies
UN suspends Syria Aun San Suu Kyi finally accepts prize peace mission
AUDI Ara bia’s Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud has died “outside the kingdom, state media said. Prince Nayef, who was also deputy prime minister and interior minister, had left the country for a holiday and medical tests late last month. On 3 June, the deputy interior minister said the prince, who was 77 or 78, was in good health and would return “soon”. He was named crown prince in October 2011 after the death of the previous crown prince, Sultan bin Abdul Aziz. The succession in Saudi Arabia still passes among the sons of former King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, who established the modern kingdom during his reign from 1932 to 1953.
HE head of the UN Stabilisation Mis sion in Syria (UNSMIS) says the mis sion has been suspended because of escalating violence. Norwegian Gen Robert Mood said the observers would cease patrols and stay in their current locations. But he said the mission remained committed to ending the violence. The announcement came a day after Gen Mood warned that the escalation in violence was limiting the observers’ ability to do their work. Earlier, activists said troops had been shelling parts of Homs and Damascus. At least seven people were killed overnight in Douma, an eastern suburb of the capital, while at least 18 others died in violence elsewhere, the UKbased Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
YANMAR opposition leader and international democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi, finally accepted her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Saturday after spending a total of 15 years under house arrest. In her speech, Suu Kyi said full political freedom in her country was still a long way off, and talked about the isolation she felt during the years under house arrest. She said the prize had “made me real once again … it had drawn attention to the struggle for democracy in Burma,” according to Germany’s Deutsche Welle. Suu Kyi, the Oxford University-educated daughter of General Aung San, Myanmar’s assassinated independence hero, also advocated caution about transformation in Myanmar, whose quasi-civilian government continues to hold political prisoners.
FG names new SEC DG
HE Federal Government has appointed a new Director-General for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The new DG is Bolaji-Ibrahim Bello, who was before now the Director, Finance and Administration. Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi OkonjoIweala, also assured the media on Thursday in Abuja, that the board of the commission would definitely depart on schedule. “We look forward to constituting a new board and look forward to the result of the investigative panel (on Oteh). We have given a timeline for the probe to be completed,” she said. It will be recalled that the board of SEC resolved to send the embattled Director-General of the commission on compulsory leave after considering the report of the Audit and Finance Committee set up to investigate the sources and uses of funds for the Project 50 event.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
COMMENT and ANALYSIS
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
A tragedy in many ways Festus Eriye
The bribery scandal involving House ad-hoc committee chairman, Farouk Lawan, is at once a personal and institutional tragedy
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T is hard to imagine Farouk Lawan – a man whose diminutive size belied his charisma and personable nature in the role of a villain. I first met him in 1999 when he sought the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives – competing against the likes of Ibrahim Salisu Buhari. Although he lost out in that contest he always struck me as a politician who would achieve great things. He would go on to become an influential player in the politics of the House – a recurring factor in the game of musical chairs that saw a succession of speakers being toppled from their exalted perch by a steady stream of scandals. Before his name attained household familiarity on account of his leadership of the House ad-hoc committee probing dodgy fuel subsidy payments, he had managed to carve an image of a stand-up guy. He was the face of the so-called Integrity Group which engineered the overthrow of the short-lived regime of Patricia Etteh and installed Dimeji Bankole. Interestingly, Bankole’s tenure would expire amidst another dust-up over ethical issues. Although he was a respected voice in the House, it was obvious he couldn’t go on forever as a federal legislator. He has not hidden his desire to step up from that position to assume governorship of his home state, Kano. In the light of his current troubles that ambition looks like it’s dissolving in a puff of smoke. More than just being a personal tragedy for Lawan, the unfolding drama is tragic at the institutional and national level. For many who are looking for role models in public life, the shattering of his carefully cultivated persona as Mr. Integrity is devastating because you are at a loss who to trust in public office. For the House of Representatives it is especially tragic. Ever since the saga broke members have been at pains to argue that the House should not be tarred on account of the actions of one individual. That may be so, but let’s not forget that from the very start the House has made headlines less for its legislative exploits than for an unending stream of tawdry scandals. From an inauspicious beginning scuffling over furniture allowances, the chamber would be stunned by the forged certificate controversy involving its first speaker. Several other speakers would become fodder for headline writers on account of sleaze. This latest episode does the institution no favours; it only reinforces perceptions rightly or wrongly held. No court has convicted him as yet, and we must presume the man innocent until proven guilty. It is just necessary to say that there is only one truth – not two versions of what actually happened. Lawan and Otedola cannot both be telling the truth. As it concerns motivation, initiation of the bribe process and the actual exchange of funds – one party is telling the truth and the other simply clutching at straws to save his neck. Not surprisingly the muddy waters of the scandal are providing further evidence of the level of distrust existing between principal officers of the legislative and executive branches. Without the overt tension of the Olusegun Obasanjo days, the reality is that our government is still divided with the leadership of the National Assembly perpetually peeking over their shoulder to monitor per-
ceived threats to their positions from Aso Rock. It doesn’t matter what evidence is presented, many would still swear that what is going on is merely a presidential feint – with the ultimate goal being the removal from office of Speaker Aminu Tambuwal by forces working at the behest of the Presidency. Such thinking forced a statement seeking to distance President Goodluck Jonathan from the mess. It was not enough to calm jittery nerves at the National Assembly. To shore up the speaker’s position, the House went out of its way to pass a vote of confidence on him Friday when he was not the one on trial. But then Abuja works in mysterious ways. At the onset I, like most people, naively believed we were dealing with a straight forward sting operation. But where huge sums of money and power are involved, you must be prepared to be assailed by the most outrageous of conspiracy theories. Of the lot, that propounded by Second Republic presidential adviser, Tanko Yakassai, takes the price. He believes the controversy is a bid by some faceless ‘powerful people’ to bring Lawan into disrepute. Hear him: “I know a man like (Lawan) is not in the good book of a lot of people from the South-West, especially the roles he played in ousting Mrs. Patricia Etteh from the House as Speaker and the emergence of Aminu Tambuwal in the current dispensation against the aspiration of the SouthWest.
“I hope this is not a conspiracy to destroy that report, because at the moment the evidence appears scanty. If the credibility of the investigative panel is questioned, it would no doubt affect the report from such commission.” True, Lawan would have made powerful enemies in the course of his political manouvres in the House over the last 13 years. But it would be stretching things a bit to ascribe his current travails to some malefactors somewhere in the South-West. Everything that has been revealed so far shows that what transpired was largely a business transaction in which US dollars was the language. Money was neither given in the name of the South-West nor accepted on behalf of the North-West. So, Yakassai, give it a break. At this point we may not all agree on what is going on, but where there is national consensus is that the malfeasance surrounding the fuel subsidy payments is mind-boggling. Most reasonable people agree that the bribe scandal notwithstanding, the House ad-hoc committee has unearthed enough material to keep the EFCC and the police busy for a couple of years. It is therefore heartening that all sides – including the Presidency – have committed themselves to following through on the report delivered by Lawan’s team. That said, it would be naïve to think that considerable harm has not been done to the report by the steady stream of innuendoes after the scandal broke. Some have even suggested that we’ve not had the last about payoffs related to the fuel subsidy probe. A cloud of questions will now hang over the report. It would be difficult to argue with the cynic who wonders how much of the report was influenced by inducement. This scandal alone is enough to impeach the integrity of the report before the courts. Just as it would be naïve to think that the report will still be smelling of roses after this, it would be equally childish to assume there was no conspiracy against by those it has exposed. It may not be practical to ask the House to start all over. But it may just be necessary to do that because the possible human failings of Lawan and some other legislators do not remove the fact that in the matter of fuel subsidy payments, grievous economic crimes have been committed against this country – for which those concerned must be made to account.
“More than just being a personal tragedy for Lawan, the unfolding drama is tragic at the institutional and national level. For many who are looking for role models in public life, the shattering of his carefully cultivated persona as Mr. Integrity is devastating because you are at a loss who to trust in public office”
ITH a first and second degree from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), I am very proud to be a graduate of the prestigious institution. I am one of the ‘great of the greatest Akokite’ produced by the University which is preferred first choice in the country by admission seekers as confirmed by the Nigeria University Commission (NUC). At 50, UNILAG has proved to be a citadel of academic excellence with pace-setting strides in university education not only in the country but in the continent. Like for many alumnus of the institution and other Nigerians, the recent decision of President Goodluck Jonathan to rename the great institution after the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief M.K.O. Abiola was a surprise. President Jonathan for obvious political reasons chose to disrupt the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the institution and the mourning of the death of former Vice Chancellor Prof. Akin Sofoluwe with the decision which expectedly has generated wide controversy. Instead of complying with the law for changing the name of an established institution like a university, if he really has to, President Jonathan, a supposedly democratically elected president ignored the due process by announcing the change like Military Heads of States do, even without the courtesy of informing the authorities of the institution. President Jonathan also ignored the obvious identity crises which a change name could cause an old institution like the University of Lagos and chose to ambush us all with a Democracy Day “greek gift”, apologies to Professor Wole Soyinka, which he knew quite well will divide supporters of the late politician and philanthropist. In seeking to grant the long overdue call to honour Chief Abiola, President Jonathan should have opted for a well deserved but not controversial option like UNILAG. Though, he may not publicly admit it, the protests and condemnation that have greeted his decision should have taught the President a hard lesson on why he should have consulted widely on a sensitive issue like this. There are obviously many reasons why UNILAG may not have been the best option especially with a Polytechnic and Stadium named after him in Ogun State which is just less than 100 kilometers away from Lagos, but one argument which I do not agree with is that UNILAG is too prestigious to be named after Abiola as some people have claimed. UNILAG is not the first institution to be renamed after renowned Nigerians and it is not likely to be the last. For a man who put his life on a line to save this country for what could have become one of the worst dictatorships in our continent, renaming any institution after him cannot be too much. Chief Abiola was not a saint but no one can deny the fact that he will remain one of the leading heroes of democracy in the annals of our country. Now that President Jonathan has sent the bill for the approval of the renaming of UNILAG and that of two others which have already been bearing their names to the national assembly, it is up to the assembly members to consider the arguments and take the right decision. Unfortunately, this is not a matter on which the legislators can expect any gratification to lobby them like on other bills. The ball is in their court to resolve the controversy and take the best decision in this instance. I will be glad to have the name UNILAG retained but if not, I would not lose any sleep over having the institution renamed after a great man like Chief M.K.O. Abiola. Abiola is indeed a global brand which should not be hard to sell over time considering his contributions not only to the political evolution of this country, but in education, economic and social growth of our country.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
Comment & Analysis
Before we forget Dana crash victims Ogochukwu Ikeje firstname.lastname@example.org 08084235961 (SMS only)
HE Nigerian has a lot on his plate but not for his nourishment. It is often to his embarassment and the ruin of the nation. Damaging scandals occur in high places at something near the speed of light. One drops this moment with a deafening thud, only for another to come falling the next. We are almost always distracted by crisis, humiliated by scandals and hopelessly tormented by inability to resolve them. One nasty result of this is a terribly shorthened national attention span. We quickly forget everything about one disaster or scandal as another happens. Take the $620,000 bribery allegation hovering over Rep Farouk Lawan and businessman Femi Otedola. But why should we forget the Dana crash of June 3, which still feels like a thousand needles in the skin? How or when will relatives of that family of six ever come to terms with their loss? Yes, a man and his wife died in that Sunday plane crash, alongside their four kids. When will management and staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) push the Dana Air tragedy of June 3, 2012 off their memory? Nearly 160 people perished in Iju, Agege area of Lagos as an incoming plane crashed into a building. It is a tragedy on the home front, horror in the ivory tower, disaster in the corporate world, and a nasty nightmare for the Nigerian nation.
We should learn from the tragedy? Yet, the Nigerian tragedy does not simply lie in that crash. It lies in one simple, rhetorical question: when will Nigerians stop dying needlessly? When will we begin to prioritise the basic things of life? The answer is far-fetched and that is the nation's worst problem. It lies in the very heart of the country, in the engine room that should have propelled it. You find it in virtually every sector. Today, Nigerians are weeping for the dead, and whipping Dana for its role in the tragedy. The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), airline's regulatory body, has suspended Dana's operations. The Director-General of the NCAA, Mr Harold Demuren himself has been asked to step aside in the mean time. Talk of sweeping probe is heard here, there and beyond. Many have accused the airline of negligence, if not barefaced criminal mercantilism. Fearing the worst, one Indian manager of the airline is said to have fled the country. Everyone is breathing fire. Traditionally, grief greets disaster everywhere in the world, but in Nigeria, after
tons of preliminary tears and initial verbal thunders, things quieten down and life generally continues as though nothing serious ever happened, until another disaster strikes. What becomes of the probes, which I fear will be mounted from sundry directions at taxpayers expense? Indeed, what became of such probes in the past? Panels have been set up and well funded to investigate tragic incidents like that of Dana Air but their reports have not seen the light of day. Before Dana, there was Sosoliso and there was Bellview. Every year we remember scores of people that perished in a Lagos canal while fleeing from exploding munitions at a military facility but no word on who caused that needless tragedy. Nor on the culprit's penalty. Reputable men and women have been inaugurated to probe communal and sectarian crisis in the country, Plateau violence being an example, but the public is yet to know what became of those investigations. It speaks volumes of the character and integrity of a nation, of its leadership and people. It goes beyond just one administra-
â€œTraditionally, grief greets tragedy everywhere in the world but in Nigeria, after tons of preliminary tears and initial verbal thunders, things quieten down and life generally continues as though nothing serious ever happened, until another disaster strikes
tion and tells the story of a people who fall into the same pit again and again. Indeed, what do we hold dear in this country? Is it life? Is it institutions? If we valued life, we would not be a country that takes the sort of chances we are known for. We would not gamble with life. Facing the aviation sector, do we ensure that no one compromises safety standards? Do we indeed have such standards? One early report has blamed the Dana crash on poor fuel. If that was the case, should't someone have checked before it was piped into the aircraft's tank? It has been said that foreigners of dodgy backgrounds set up shop in the country because they know how to circumvent the Nigerian system. What they may not contemplate on home soil, they thrive on in our land. What is the maximum age of an aircraft in Nigeria and how are the rules on maintenace and certification enforced? The average mentality in these parts is to keep going until something happens. Leaving aviation, what is the health profile of our motor-vehicles on Nigerian roads? Are cars meant for the scrap-heap overseas not imported into this country? How many deaths have resulted from such defective cars? What serious efforts have been made to fix the death-traps called Nigerian roads? Is it not because the roads are so unsafe that many people take to the air? If our aviation sector is rotten, as some have inferred after the Dana disaster, how healthy is the education department? Or of power and energy into which trillions of naira has been sunk? The Dana crash hurts beyond words, and it is hoped that those found culpable will be sanctioned so that others will be careful and professional. But where is the hope that we will ever learn to take basic precautions in every sector of the Nigerian life? To me, that is the country's worst tragedy.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
Comment & Analysis
Remember Marie Antoinette! Government may be stretching its luck too far with the planned increase in price of bread
IVEN the already high and debilitating level of poverty in the country, it is most disturbing news that the price of bread, a staple food of Nigerians, will most likely increase next month. The expected increase in the price of this popular commodity, is due to the planned imposition, from July 1, of a new levy of 15 percent on wheat import; a measure which will raise the duty to 20 percent. Data from the Finance Derivative Company (FDC), a Lagos-based economic and financial advisory firm, indicate that the price of flour, a key component in the baking of bread, will most likely rise from N5,700 to N6,555 per 50kg bag as a result of the proposed levy. The firm reports that in anticipation of the new cost regime, millers are already stockpiling the commodity and the consequent additional carrying and storage costs borne by them will most likely be transferred to consumers. It is, therefore, projected that the price of bread will rise by 15 percent from N200 to N230 per loaf, on the average. Such an increase in the price of a staple food, coming just after recent hikes in fuel price and electricity tariffs will worsen the hardship of Nigerians and further increase the number of those living below the poverty line. It is obvious that the new levy on wheat imports is in pursuit of the Jonathan administration’s policy of promoting the consumption by Nigerians of bread made from cassava flour, rather than the current popular preference for wheat bread. Indeed, President Goodluck Jonathan has clearly demonstrated that the mass consumption of cassava bread by Nigerians is one aspect of his administration’s transformation agenda that he is very passionate about. He has not only eaten the bread at meetings
T transformed from the Electric Corporation of Nigeria (E.C.N) to National Electric Power Authority (N.E.P.A) and now to Power Holding Company of Nigeria (P.H.C.N), and nothing has changed in power supply to consumers. A Yoruba adage states that the dog’s name tag does not change its character. The E.C.N was doing fine up to the First Republic perhaps because of the low population then. Only few large communities were then electrified, which made consumption of electricity very minimal. At a point in time, Nigerians decried the lack of engagement of technocrats. Today, we have a super technocrat, Professor Barth Nnaji at the helms of affairs in power ministry. This made everybody to heave a sigh of relief. But alas, the story is the same! Promises of increase in power generation have become a mirage day-inday-out. For days, weeks and months, power supply has become epileptic. As a vice-chairman of P.H.CN neighbourhood consumers’ committee in Kwara State, I had done enough coverups for the company that I was almost lynched by some consumers during one of our meetings. I was doing this, thinking perhaps, P.H.C.N would change gear in its effort at serving the public effectively. The minister in charge Prof Nnaji, has again assured Nigerians that power outage will become a thing of the past in
of the Executive Council of the Federation, he publicly pledged to continue to consume cassava bread until he vacates office. When the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, presented bread baked from 40 percent cassava and 60 percent wheat contents to the council last year, President Jonathan admonished Nigerians to “tame our exotic taste” since “some of the things we bring from outside are not as good as what we have within our country.” We agree that the policy of promoting the consumption of cassava bread to reduce the dependency on wheat is a patriotic and laudable one. If successful, it will stimulate local agricultural productivity as well as create jobs for our farmers and help to conserve foreign exchange. Currently, Nigeria spends N635 billion per annum on wheat importation. Indeed, the country is the largest importer of wheat from the United States, from which she imported 123 million bushels of the commodity in 2010. The persistence of this situation means creating jobs and wealth for foreign producers of wheat. Decrying this situation, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, says quite
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
•Editor Festus Eriye •Deputy Editor Olayinka Oyegbile •Associate Editors Taiwo Ogundipe Sam Egburonu
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rightly that “It’s about our economy. When we spend all our money importing food, the value of the Naira crashes and the price of everything goes up. We have millions of hectares of land, of which we are not using more than 40 percent. Nigeria should be a power-house producing food, exporting food, processing food and that is what we are doing.” Nobody will dispute the minister’s sentiments and logic. But are we going about the implementation of the policy the right way? The huge import of wheat is a function of the high consumer demand for wheat bread. Consumer taste cannot be decreed or changed by fiat. As far back as the General Ibrahim Babangida regime, there had been the attempt to substitute local wheat for imported wheat. Many state governments collected funds from the Federal Government to implement local wheat schemes. Like President Jonathan, Babangida ate bread purportedly baked from local wheat on television but the whole thing turned out to be a huge scam. During the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo, there was also so much talk about investing massively in the production of cassava and the promotion of cassava bread, with little to show for it. We are afraid that right now, we are putting the cart before the horse. Have we invested enough in the production of cassava and the requisite technology to bake bread from cassava flour? We do not think so. With the high prices of other staple foods like yam and garri, will we not be confounding the nation’s security challenges if we deliberately provoke bread price increase at this time? If high bread prices fuel social unrest, will we, like Marie Antoinette, ask the people to eat cake since bread is unaffordable? The government should re-think the policy.
The canker-worm called PHCN July this year. We have been deceived into believing this since the Obasanjo days and nothing has worked. The most painful of it all is that immunity covers P.H.C.N on damages no matter how much damage they cause on the socio-economic status of consumers. Such immunity should be removed in the forthcoming amendment of our statute by the National Assembly.
INCE March 2011 when the people of Syria joined their brothers from other Arab world to stage their own Arab Spring, that would see the end of their sit-tight leader, President Bashir al Saad, much blood has been spilled to the consternation of the world. The world thought the government of President Al saad would go the way of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, but the situation in that country has gone beyond imagination of the waiting world to see the end of a president who has stubbornly refused to negotiate for power to be made more democratic in his country. When the United Nations’ efforts to ensure that another government is installed in that country failed to
Consumers will be glad to pay for their consumption, if there is adequate supply of power. In a more civilised nation of the world as Professor Nnaji knows, the power outage, even for only five minutes would have been announced weeks before. This does not happen in Nigeria where courtesy has been thrown to the dogs. This shows that we are still living
in the woods. Should there be uninterrupted power supply, no Nigerian artisan, pure water seller, industralist; computer operator etc. will have cause to complain. Even, water cannot be pumped without power supply. If all the aforementioned count their losses on consumption of petrol or diesel, it will be unpalatable. On the other hand, one is tempted to ask, how many
houses can afford generating sets? Many Nigerians have died prematurely as a result of global warmth. We can generate adequate power locally as naturally endowed as Nigeria is. It is an irony that Nigeria satisfies other African nations with power supply while the son of a blacksmith cries over lack of a knife. Our rulers need to search their conscience. The minister in charge
must make it a point of duty that his July date is not a mirage. As earlier mentioned, all natural endowment like gas, windfall, solar etc. should be utilised to produce sufficient megawatts for use as energy. I was at Ugheli and saw gas flaring in the night. Why can’t we utilise rather than flare this gas? Above all, the economy is at the brink of collapse if something tangible is not done to revamp the power sector. If truly Nigeria wants to join the 20 top economies of the world, the power sector must be virile. By Silas Ajagun, Ilorin, Kwara State
Saving Syria from civil war materialise, they wanted to pass resolution ensuring that President Al Saad bowed to public pressure to step down for the bloodshed to stop, Russia and China which are allies of Syria blocked every move to bring the regime down. This necessitated setting up of various diplomatic measures to ensure the regime came to terms with the reality on the ground to make political reform, but all in vain. The coming of former UN Secretary General Kofi Anan who is widely respected, failed to convince the government of President
Al Saad to stop the frequent bloodletting of innocent Syrians who are protesting for the good of their country. The recent killing at Houla of 96 people including children, call for urgent step to avoid civil war in that country. The key to peaceful resolution of the conflict in Syria lies with both Russia and China which should use their links with Syria government to bring an end to the senseless killings in that country. Also the move by some European countries to withdraw their envoys in that country should be seen as step to save the people of Syria from
the dictatorship of President Al Saad who believed wrongly that he only has the ultimate power to rule Syria like his father did when he held sway when he was alive. What one hears and sees every day was a gory scene of massacre of innocent soul of defenceless civilians who are been ruled by a senseless leader. This should not continue with the world just looking helplessly. We hope countries all over the world will recall their various envoys in that country to teach the recalcitrant Syrian leader to respect human rights of his people
by allowing them choose what is good for them. One is at a loss over the hypocrisy of this western world by not taking military action like they did with late Muaamar Gaddafi when NATO went into that country to save human lives. Are they afraid of the Syria army determination to bring them to shame? Every measure must be taken to stop the carnage going on in Syria and the country should not be allowed to be plunged into civil war. By Bala Nayashi, No 1 Yashi Area, Lokoja
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Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni @thenationonlineng.net
NE event in Nigeria that has not been forgotten readily and may be unforgettable is the election of June 12, 1993. A few days ago, the 19th anniversary of June 12 was celebrated with fanfare in Lagos and other states in the Southwest. Many of this year’s speakers about June 12 have expectedly drawn attention to outstanding bills that need to be settled. The atmosphere of freedom in 2012 is without doubt markedly different from what obtained in the days of Abacha’s seizure of the country and incarceration of the winner of the 1993 presidential elections. In 2012, those governing the country cannot openly govern as dictators, as it was the case until 1999. The existence of some measure of election serves as an indirect restraint, even if governmental institutions are incapable of discouraging the executive and legislature from ruling as military dictators. But there are still major concerns generated by the June 12 struggle that have been pushed to the back burner by those lucky enough to capture federal power since 1999. One NADECO goal that is not
Femi Orebe femi.orebe @thenationonlineng.net 08056504626 (sms only)
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
Comment & Analysis
HY will an apparently successful billionaire business man suddenly turn sissy, and succumb to a so-called blackmail in a situation where his company did not commit the offence for which he was being blackmailed? Why would Femi Otedola, whose company, according to him, did not import a litre of petrol, and not any of the acclaimed petrol ‘importers,’ be the arrowhead of this alleged bribery? Why the elaborate security involvement: marked currencies, video coverage, SSS etc? Without a doubt, this is an elaborate scheme to mess up the Ad Hoc Committee Report as a way of protecting most of the fat cats that funded the needlessly expensive Jonathan presidential campaign of 2011. We should not forget so easily that left to the Attorney General, the report would just have been filed up. Nigerians had to literally force the government to send the report to the EFCC. I am not here saying that I can put anything beyond our legislators who have shown, time and again, that they are in those hallowed chambers to minister only to their own needs, even if illegally. But when you remember how the Power probe was killed, how Oputa Panel Report went kaput on a single lawsuit, it becomes obvious that these people are up to some game. Why did Otedola go to the SSS, and not the police or is this not the same SSS that recently gave the spurious, much pooh-poohed report on Osun State? How come former President Obasanjo came into this matter and under what excuse? If this is not a PDP agenda why did former president Obasanjo come to have a copy
Another June 12 festival Another June 12 anniversary is a good opportunity to remind citizens being given the attention it deserves by trustees of federal power in the executive and the legislature is the demand for true federalism. All organizations involved in the pro-democracy struggle of 1993-1999 spoke and wrote unequivocally about three demands: restoration of Abiola’s mandate, convocation of a sovereign national conference, and restoration of true federalism and regional autonomy. National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), National Liberation Council of Nigeria (NALICON), World Congress of Free Nigerians (WCFN), Oodua Youth Movement, and Oodua People’s Congress, to name a few, had a consensus on the importance of a sovereign national conference (SNC) to restructure the structure of relations between the centre and the states or regions. Citizens now talk effusively about the difference between the elections of June 12, 1993 and the others conducted between 1999 and even 2011, and indication that we are still far from free and fair election. How many people would have joined organizations here at home or abroad to resist
the annulment of any of the elections in the country since 1999, should there have been anyone crazy enough to annul any of such elections? Even lay political thinkers in the country now know that what we have is a civil rule that can be described as extended transition to democracy. This year’s June 12 anniversary gives another notice to prodemocracy activists to pay more attention to the fundamental problems of the Nigerian polity. In June 2012, Nigeria is still as unitary as it was in the days of Sani Abacha. Under the 1999 Constitution, Nigeria is federal in name and unitary in practice. For example, a dysfunctional centralized security system is considered unchangeable by those in charge of federal power. While citizens live in mortal fear of Boko Haram terrorists, the central executive and legislature prefer to err on the side of nominal unity than on the side of finding pragmatic solutions to the country’s governance architecture that includes security models. The constitution currently in force, which is considered sac-
rosanct by the executive, was crafted under the supervision of Abacha and later imposed on the country by Abdusalaam Abubakar and sustained by their civilian successors since 1999. It has not been possible since the return to civil rule to have a federal government that is sensitive to demands from various sections of the country for a sovereign national conference or a constitutional conference to create a people’s constitution. It has not been possible to get the men and women in legislative positions to accept that their role does not include preventing the people from having an opportunity to create a constitution for the country. Legislators prefer to quibble over legalism and hide under an interminable attempt to amend a constitution imposed on the polity. Another June 12 anniversary is a good opportunity to remind citizens committed to sustainable federalism and democracy that the cause of most of Nigeria’s political, economic, and religious problems have not been addressed and may not be successfully addressed without
a constitutional conference. Acknowledging Abiola’s contribution to democracy is larger than naming a university in his section of the country after him. It is even larger than naming the road from Lagos to Sokoto after Abiola. His memory will be better served not by just naming monuments after him, but by acknowledging that the architecture of governance enshrined in the 1999 Constitution and made possible by the midwives of the constitution does not advance Abiola’s struggle for citizens’ freedom of choice, particularly Abiola’s commitment to democracy, which starts from allowing citizens to create their constitution. Admirers of Abiola’s heroic contribution to restoration of democracy after decades of military rule need to change their approach. Mounting rostrums to call for true federalism on June 12 every year and writing essays on this at other times may not be sufficient to convince wielders of federal power about the imperative of re-designing the architecture of governance in the country away from unitary model and towards federal models that work in other federations of the world. Military rule is not over in the country until the constitution fashioned by military dictators is replaced by a people’s constitution. Long live the memory of M.K.O. Abiola.
Lawan-Otedolagate is a presidential 2015 proxy war Both Lawan and Otedola should be arrested and prosecuted of the video and, perhaps, the SSS report? On whose instruction was this done and was it also sent to Gowon, Buhari and Abubakar? What exactly is Obasanjo’s role in this? And if he has it, you can be sure ‘Mr Fix it’ must also have been so privileged. The question to now ask is when the SSS become a PDP party organ? As I write this, Lawan has already presented documents that point in the direction of Otedola being the initiator of the bribe. According to ireportsng.com, the documents confirmed that the controversial $600,000 bribe was offered to Lawan and the secretary to his committee, Boniface Emenalor by Otedola on April 24, that is, six days after the panel submitted its report to the whole House on April 18, 2012. The documents also confirmed that the probe panel chairman reported and handed over the slush fund to the Chairman of the House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Jagaba Adams Jagaba same day, with handwritten covering notes explaining all that transpired between them and Otedola. Other documents, the report claimed, also revealed that based on an alert raised by Lawan in an interview granted Abuja-based Leadership newspaper, the police had begun a discreet investigation into the bribery allegation raised by Lawan. A hand-written memo allegedly given to Jagaba with the April 24 date and timed 3.47am says: “You may please recall that I intimated you of the persistence of Mr. Femi Otedola, Chairman Forte Oil, Zenon Oil and AP Petroleum to
offer monetary inducement to influence the outcome and Consolidation of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy. “Attached is the sum of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) only offered to me with another promise of two million, five hundred thousand dollar ($2.5m). I had considered bringing this issue as a matter of privilege on the floor of the House later today when the House sits, but I am concerned the controversy it will generate will dwarf the content of the report which needs public attention so that the necessary reforms in the sector could be affected. “I however believe that given the desperation of Mr. Otedola, handling this matter in a furious but diplomatic manner is necessary as he has also made some veiled threats which put me and members of my Committee in a delicate situation.” Threats are one of their potent weapons and nobody will forget in a hurry how a former senator recently threatened to stop a governor’s convoy, search it and with the aid of the ever readily available federal security agents, arrest whoever is on the governor’s encourage he wants arrested. There are too many instances to make you take their threats seriously. We have every need to take into consideration the believability of these two individuals. While I cannot remember instances in which the character of the legislator has been called to question, we cannot forget in a hurry that it took Otedola a rig-
orous rebuttal to counter the allegations of share price manipulation by Chevron Nig Plc, where he is a super minority share holder just as there was the tango with Access Bank over alleged unpaid credit facilities prompting the Vanguard newspapers in an article by Lucky Fiakpa on July 25, 2009 to write: ‘Femi Otedola: One Battle Too Many.’ Whatever is the truth of this matter, it must not be used to scuttle the scintillating Ad Hoc Committee Report because that report did not come from the blues. Nigerians watched spellbound as all the lies about humongous tons of petrol imported into the country were blown to smithereens. We saw how the huge jump in oil subsidy payments coincided with donations to the PDP presidential campaign of that year. Any attempt to mess up the report using this Otedola allegation as cover will easily be seen by Nigerians as working to the answer. I personally do not have the slightest doubt that this is a serpentine attempt to do just that because it is clearly in- explainable why a man who did not import petrol will be the one to bribe with so much money so as not to have his company listed on that ignominious list. Or if we may ask, what is Otedola afraid of? What other crimes against the country does he want covered up? Why would he not just report Lawan to the police on a case of attempted blackmail and without paying a farthin, he would have gotten the legislator and his committee secretary off his back. Nigerians must pressure Otedola into
confessing his sins against the country as you do not pay this level of bribe for nothing. Without a doubt, the man’s conscience is likely tormenting him, which is why we must help put him out of his misery. In my view, and with all due respect to Otedola, I believe he is being used by the presidency in a 2015 proxy war. Since the Oil probe report has the distinct possibility of messing up the cabal that funded President Jonathan’s 2011 campaign at a time when the president dared not walk away from them. Everything, they must have reckoned, must be done to guillotine the report. The rumored interest of a South- South governor, who is very loaded , in contesting, and at a time when all Northern governors have bonded together to support only a Northern candidate, meaning no campaign funds from that sector, must have added a new crescendo to the need to mess up the Ad-hoc report since Jonathan will now need tons of money, much more than the one that funded the outlandish 2011 campaigns. Doubtless, the report is the target in all these and in rounding up my thesis, I would like to repeat the million, not 600,000 dollar question, as to why a man whose company did not import a single litre of petrol is the one offering bribe in an enquiry limited strictly to petrol subsidy. Also, what is Otedola so eager to cover up to agree to be blackmailed and at such a humongous cost? For now both individuals should be arrested and prosecuted so we can get to the bottom of it all without the Oil Subsidy Report suffering a collateral dmage.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
Adegboyega firstname.lastname@example.org 08054503906 (sms only)
F South Africa once had the notoriety of a country where one rape was being committed by the minute, I want to believe that every passing second, one fraud or the other is being perpetrated in Nigeria, going by the way frauds are being reported in the media. Not even people nearing their graves or the dead are spared from the activities of the fraudsters. Apart from the billions stolen in respective pensions’ offices, there were reported stories of thousands of ghost workers in at least three states of the federation last week alone. The scandal this time around involves Lawan Farouk, chairman of the house committee on fuel subsidy probe that Mr. Femi Otedola, Chairman, Zenon Oil and Gas alleged to have collected a bribe of $620,000 from him so that he (Farouk) could remove Zenon from the list of companies that swindled the country of fuel subsidy funds. Actually, the agreed sum was $3 million for the bribe; $620.000 collected being only initial payment. The balance was yet to be paid when Mr. Otedola blew the lid over the alleged bribe saga. While Otedola has claimed that what he did was a sting operation, Farouk too said he played along to prove that Otedola was the one who induced him. However, given what is in the public domain, the representative at the centre of it all, Farouk, has a lot of convincing to prove his innocence.
Comment & Analysis
A fight back foretold? Bribe saga appears part of the plan to rubbish fuel subsidy probe report For now, not even all the hyssop leaves in the world can wash him clean; just as it would be of no use for all the angels in heaven swearing that he was innocent. Indeed, as things stand, he would need more than the ‘Miracle at the Red Sea’ to wriggle out of the mess into which he has put himself. But then, it is visible even to the blind that we were ripped off in subsidy payments last year. When a witch cried yesterday, and a child dies today, there is every reason to link the child’s death to yesterday’s cry of the witch. When this country suddenly had to pay three or four times the subsidy it had been paying per year in an election year, we need no one to tell us that a substantial part of our missing billions must have gone into that year’s election. The implication is that the government might not completely smell like roses in the matter. Indeed, what is playing itself out in the bribe saga could be exploited by some oil importers who pocketed various sums of money for fuel they never imported or that they imported and diverted to make more profit, and a government that is feared to have benefitted from the stolen billions
to prosecute last year’s election. Neither would have been at ease when the fuel subsidy probe was going on; so, both would have a point of convergence, and that is to compromise the subsidy probe report where possible; and where that is difficult, it is in their common interest to look for ways to discredit whatever the outcome of that probe panel is. It is heart-warming however that President Goodluck Jonathan has said he knows nextto-nothing about the saga, even if Mr. Otedola is a close friend, not only of the government but also of the president. But we have to watch out to see that the president’s deeds agree with his words because this is a serious matter. However, keen observers of the committee’s activities would have noticed that the Presidency did not show interest in it. Even after the committee had completed its work, it took public pressure for the government to forward the report to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for prosecution. That was the stage we were in when suddenly Mr. Otedola released his bombshell. In effect, there seems but one
“Indeed, what is playing itself out in the bribe saga could be exploited by some oil importers who pocketed various sums of money for fuel they never imported or that they imported and diverted to make more profit, and a government that is feared to have benefitted from the stolen billions to prosecute last year’s election”
thing in the minds of the subsidy thieves and probably the government – rubbish the report of the subsidy committee so that the Jonathan government can then hold on to that to inflict the pains it had wanted to inflict on hapless Nigerians through removal of the phantom fuel subsidy. Even if Zenon, and by extension, Mr. Otedola was not involved, it would be difficult to say that the bribe saga was not premeditated, with Farouk simply playing into the hands of those behind the plot. It is however gratifying that Nigerians have seen through the shenanigans and have told the government in clear terms not to attempt to throw away the probe committee’s report based on this unfolding development, sad as it may be. And the president has promised he would not. But, knowing the Jonathan government for what it has been, it is likely to continue working to its preconceived agenda because it is a government of ‘no going back‘. Already, adverts are being sponsored towards disregarding the report of the committee. Already, campaigns are on asking Nigerians to support fuel subsidy removal. So, the government is fixated on removing the phantom subsidy, thereby ready to please the few persons that constitute the fuel cabal, to the displeasure and pain of the millions who the president acknowledged gave him his pan-Nigeria mandate last year. Justice Isa Ayo Salami’s case is enough to prove that the Jonathan government will always do whatever it has made up its mind to do, irrespective of public opinion. Long before we got to this Jonathanmade debacle on Justice Salami, many people had predicted that what the government is now doing was what it would do. Even though the president has said he is not Phar-
aoh or Herod, he has been behaving like the outsider who weeps louder than the bereaved in the Salami matter. I guess it is the same thing he would eventually do on fuel subsidy; it is a matter that has been signed and sealed by his government; it is only waiting to be delivered. For Nigerians, however, there is still hope. If those behind the plot to discredit the report see that their ‘Plan A’ has failed, they would probably resort to ‘Plan B’ in which I foresee fuel scarcity sometime soon, to justify their claim that the country actually spent what they claimed from the government as subsidy last year. They forget that they are not dealing entirely with fools. If we consumed more fuel last year to justify the trillions we paid as subsidy, they should tell us what economic activities informed that kind of consumption. They have to tell us whether people in an economy that is shrinking can have the wherewithal to buy more petrol, either for their cars or generators. Clearly, this country is at a crossroads, and it is left to Nigerians to make a big issue of the fuel subsidy removal when it comes, as it sure would. Every attempt should be made to resist whatever propaganda anyone makes to rubbish the subsidy probe report, no matter their antics or whoever they decide to use. We may throw away the bath water, but not the baby. We may have to deal with Farouk if found guilty, that should not in any way affect the committee’s report. But I want to warn this government that if it does not crumble under the weight of corruption, then no government in this country will, again. We must insist on getting our money from those who stole it, whatever it takes. Not even in the Shagari era was corruption this democratised.
Superman and the government’s indiscipline Postscript, Unlimited! By
Oyinkan Medubi 08187172799 (SMS only) email@example.com
HE title reads like I am about to tell you a story, right? I am, but you have to fill in some of the gaps yourself because, as you know, no Nigerian story is ever as straightforward as it looks. In the fictions, the story of superman is pretty simple enough and I just plain love it but I know that this earth cannot possibly support the existence of such a good alien figure that falls in among us to fight our crimes, clean our streets of evil and generally restore us to all goodness. That beautiful one has not yet been born, in any planet for that matter. I know all this. Yet, I still believe that Superman embodies for me the greatest truth of all: that the men on this terrestrial plain are actually born stupid; and, try as he would, Superman cannot succeed in curing that before he, err, would need to ‘go back home’. Yet, while he is no earthly figure, Superman has managed to show how we earthlings can use a few of his attributes to get a few things done around here. First, he has shown us how to listen. No matter where he is, even on his own planet, Superman has always managed to hear whenever anyone, particularly his girl-
Using governmental positions to oppress the people begets nothing but grumbling friend, is in trouble. Perhaps he has acute hearing abilities, perhaps his ears are forever peeled to trouble or perhaps he is just plain idle and is ever on the ready, I don’t know but I sincerely wish our own government would just develop this ability to hear when the people are saying something, and stop this very irritating habit of listening only to itself brag. Then he has shown us how to care. There are very few Nigerians not affected by road travel in this country. Most of us, therefore, including beggars, are affected by the conditions on the nation’s so-called express roads that are anything but express these days; particularly, the Lagos-Ibadan one. The problem is not so much that the road is littered with potholes. We Nigerians are used to dodging potholes all our lives – going to and coming from our various homes or work places require pothole-dodging expertise. We even have to dodge the potholes in our wives, our husbands, our children, our government, etc. Imagine waking up in the morning and the first thing the Madam of the house tells you is ‘Pot is empty; we need money’, all you can think of is how to answer that unasked question ‘What are you going to do about it?’ Best thing is to dodge that pothole by running. So, you see, we are used to dodging potholes. One big pothole that keeps tripping us all up is the government. If the government would simply restrict itself to providing the template for governance, we would all hardly notice it is there and we would be at peace with it. But it must put its nose where it has no business doing so and order every single thing and soil every single one with its dirty oily
hands and put all of our noses out of joint. Why on earth should tankers be allowed to park on the EXPRESS roads in such brazen arrogance with the government’s nod and wink? I tell you, it’s a conspiracy against you and me. One of the destructive notions flying around in this country is that when a Nigerian is an ordinary citizen, he is allowed to be reasonable and see the government as the enemy. Once however he is selected/ elected into a government position as high as the presidency or as low as the local government, he is allowed to become automatically an unreasonable human being who sees the people as the enemy. In short, he becomes superhuman and is entitled to, among other things, large measures of indiscipline. As a superhuman being, he can own and unown, he can do and undo, and he can say and unsay. He can even interpret the law any which way he pleases, as the government is even right now interpreting and misinterpreting the law concerning the Appeal Court Judge’s removal or reinstatement. Why, he can probe and unprobe, as the ongoing fuel subsidy ‘probes’ are showing us. I tell you, our superhuman government functionary is a funny study in how to move crabwise along the continuum of discipline in ALL matters. It is only in Nigeria that it is possible for roads to be closed because some highnesses’ convoys of twenty or more cars are passing by and you, poor thing, have to go late to work. After all, you don’t count; you are just the ordinary poor citizen. Then, please don’t talk about government or police drivers. I
once watched as a police van filled with police constables tried to insist on going against the traffic on a busy one-way street, attempting to force the long traffic that had built up to reverse into the main road. I am glad to report that, on that day, Nigerians made me proud. Everyone simply stayed in his/her car and refused to budge until, in shame, the police vehicle retreated. This behaviour portrays nothing but colonial primitiveness and imprisonment; it also shows that the higher we go, the lower we actually sink. The worst part is that your previously ordinary citizen now finds that, as a government functionary, he can own road tankers that bring in eye-popping revenues. It is therefore not for them to ask how the business is done, or to concern themselves with such mundane things as where the drivers park their vehicles when they want to go on recess. These are silly things that ordinary Nigerians who utilise the highways, but do not move from home to office in helicopters, do not have houses and wives and children abroad, and spend only a tiny fraction of their time in Nigeria, concern themselves with. The ordinary ones are those who find that they have to constantly travel on the nation’s highways to do their businesses, keep the economy moving and occasionally lose their lives as happened recently on the Lagos-Ibadan express road. They are the ones who have found the express roads littered with tankers that leave only narrow gorges for other vehicles to squeeze through in trickles, long queues and hold-ups that quadruple one’s jour-
neying time and they can do nothing about it. Someday, we will write about how the pleasures have been taken out of road travel for us Nigerians. Anyway, I need Superman now for three things. First, I need him to tell these government functionaries that they may think they are superhuman, but they can never be Superman because they cannot swallow his ideology. Superman’s ideology is the good of one for the good of all. Secondly, Superman could take a male and female government functionary with him in the air next time he flies, and while they are up, a number of things will happen. I bet that the top government functionary would suddenly find his/ her humility and mortality by shrieking and shouting. That should remove some of their stuffiness, at least enough to make them stop talking to the rest of us as if we are all dopes, rather than just some of us. Thirdly, I need Superman to show our government how to have the political will to do what is right by its citizens. They can show this will by clearing the roads of these tankers, whether they own them or not, getting appropriate parking lots for them, and making them use those lots so that they stop endangering the lives of other more disciplined road users. The business of governance is the business of listening; listening begets caring and caring begets cooperative citizens. Using governmental positions to oppress the people begets nothing but grumbling, and the government had better know now that there is a great deal of grumbling going on.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
HIS past week, the Obama administration disseminated its purportedly new policy for sub-Saharan Africa, based on a directive signed by President Obama. The policy’s public announcement coincides with the 11th annual US-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum. Given by Secretary of State Clinton, this announcement was accompanied by significant diplomatic fanfare and media attention. While this exercise in public diplomacy attracted attention, a more muscular aspect of American policy toward Africa is being implemented far beyond the glare of the media lights. The American military has been actively establishing bases in a handful of African nations, including in West Africa. From these bases, planes are launched over the continent’s airspace, ostensibly to monitor terrorists, particularly in the Horn and in the Sahel. Although this story is one that the American government hopes not to be told, the evolution of this burgeoning American military presence in Africa will shape the fate of Africa more than will the Administration’s unguinous policy statement. The purportedly new policy states that America believes Africa has reached a crossroads. Given its untapped economic potential, the time for Africa is now, Administration officials gush. They assert Africa and its nations must resolve their own internal contradictions. However, America is ready to help those nations willing to help themselves. America is ready to support those nations moving toward democratic government and economic best practices, characterized by a respect for human rights and the rule of law. The pillars of this purportedly new policy are: 1. Democracy, 2. Economic Growth, 3. Security, and 4. Trade. The policy announcement most surely sent bureaucrats and diplomats scurrying to place their hands on copies of the document and to parse the instrument word by word. Theirs will be a futile exercise. America officials and pliant Africans will characterize this as a watershed event, signaling a new relationship between Africa and American. It promises to be nothing of the kind. Anyone who mouths talk of a breakthrough suffers from chronic amnesia, naiveté or is an inveterate dissembler. The policy is the same sterile puffery Washington and other Western capitals have fed Africa the past twenty years. Looking through the annals of former administrations, one would find this new policy is indistinguishable from the old one. What Secretary Clinton said was the same thing President Clinton said and that was the same thing the Presidents Bush said before and after him. Each preceding administration said that Africa stood at a critical juncture between progress and retrogression. Each administration asserted America would help those African nations willing to hew the path of democracy. However, Africa must solve its own problems. The Obama policy offers nothing new. It is a rehash of trite words and worn ideas, the pouring of old wine in new bottles. Just as those prior administrations did precious little, this policy restatement will do nothing for Africa save raise its hopes. The only observation to drawn from the proclamations of these successive administrations is that western governments have concluded that Africa is a confused loiterer waiting at the intersection of destiny for almost an entire generation because it forgot the way home. While thinking Africa is
One Africa, Two American Policies Beware of the friend who brings a gift to your home but always leaves carrying two
By Brian Browne nonplussed, Washington is pursuing another, more clandestine policy with singular purpose. The American military presence in Africa is more widespread at this hour than at any moment since the end of the Cold War. The American military apparatus has designated another global war — the war on terror — to cite as a rationale for the deployment of American military machinery to forward bases across the world. Although more amorphous than the Cold War and largely comprised of chasing the shadows of imaginary foes, this war will suffice. What the war lacks in actual threats will be compensated by the hyperbole used by the American military and its pliant civilian leaders to describe this alleged global conflagration. For Africa, this foreign military presence is not progress. Every sane human opposes terrorism. Consequently, endorsing the American presence is emotionally attractive, until one remembers that the definition of a terrorist is in the eye of the beholder. More to the point, it rests with the holder of superior power. Thus, the greater the foreign military presence, the more that foreigner will shape Africa’s definition of terrorism. Currently, American and African definitions may converge. Because both sides have divergent interests, this harmony will prove transient. By then, African nations might have ceded so much that they can no longer define the game being played on their own soil. Already, the military doctrine that should have been the cornerstone of African security policy has been torn to shreds. Major African nations should have agreed to a policy barring the permanent deployment of a superior foreign military presence on African soil. This would have been tantamount to the African equivalent of the Monroe Doctrine the United States postulated in the early 19th century to protect the two American continents from undue European encroachment. Apparently, many African nations do not see the example of the Monroe Doctrine as applicable.
Instead, they apparently believe the growth of western military muscle in Africa is tantamount to an informal extension of NATO. Subconsciously, some African nations believe they are gaining the security blanket enjoyed by western European nations in NATO. That these nations err is patent. The only thing uncertain is the quanta of damage this strategic miscalculation will cause. NATO was a treaty formed by nations of unequal military prowess but with histories of relations as diplomatic equals going back centuries. Moreover, the organization was formed against a formidable, common external foe. These elements do not exist in America’s growing military relationship with Africa. First, America has never dealt with Africa nations as equals. Africa has always been a dangling appendage. This new reliance on an unequal military relationship will only exacerbate the disparity. Second, the alleged enemy is not a traditional nation state. Thus, the definition of the enemy is more subjective and less precise. Unless care is taken, the definition of this enemy may not only include obvious terrorists but be expanded to include what otherwise will be legitimate political movements and actors. Manned and drone reconnaissance planes now use several bases in West Africa and East Africa to track Al Qaeda. This “innocent” monitoring is how things began in Pakistan and Yemen. Now, both nations are sites of frequent drone bombings, claiming the lives of the guilty and innocent alike by the score. The current American administration has instituted a secret Star Chamber process where senior officials regularly meet to determine the “kill list” of terrorists. This list is not subjected to judicial review. America believes it has the right to execute any person on that list. The person does not need to be engaged in any wrongful act at the time of his demise. Worse, anyone within the proximity of the targeted person is, as defined by this process, also deemed a terrorist. The reasoning is that one must be a
terrorist to be within the proximity of one. America contrived this doctrine of guilt by proximity in order to minimize the amount of admitted collateral damage, thus facilitating the assassination of suspects by making bombing easier. In other words, tragic collateral damage is eliminated if you automatically define, as terrorists, anyone within a bomb’s kill zone. Thus, the elderly, women, children and the unfortunate passer-by on the wrong road at the wrong time can be killed without remorse due to the empty lethal casuistry. Although innocent and perhaps ignorant of identity of the hunted suspect, these people will be counted among the terrorists killed. Throughout history, dominant empires have employed similar indiscriminant tactics to kill people and suppress movements. Usually, the fatal dragnets do not work. They tend to rouse people’s sense of justice more than they frighten people. In Yemen, the intense drone bombing program and resultant deaths of innocents has brought Al Qaeda more sympathy among the traditional clans than the group previously enjoyed. No population enjoys being bombed. To the people on the ground, the falling ordnance tends to confirm the evil of the people in the air. Already, Somalia is an active drone target. With time, the bombing will increase across the continent. Instead of eliminating terrorists, it may radicalize populations, ironically making the war on terrorism a self-fulfilling prophecy. In a way, one may feel sorry for President Obama. This oddly martial policy toward Africa bears his name but it may not be of his choice. It is hard to imagine a child of Africa wants to set loose such potential destruction against the continent. Obama may be prisoner to an unfortunate psychological dynamic. His Kenyan heritage is notorious in sub-sets of American society and government. Nowhere is he more disliked than within the institution he most fears: the Pentagon, i.e., the American military. To prove he does not hold any emotional attachment to Africa, the president has likely
given the military full rein to do as it wants on his father’s continent. In this manner, he hopes to befriend this institution and prove his patriotism beyond the iota of a doubt. Consequently, he does not have the capacity to resist insinuations that he is allowing America’s interests in Africa to suffer because he is too partial to Africa. On this issue, he may be the pliant civilian rubberstamp of military designs intended to do neither Africa nor his legacy any good. It is doubly sad many African leaders apparently have been taken by Obama’s heritage when that heritage is being used within his own government to extort him. These African leaders have not paid sufficient attention to their nations’ long-term interests. Obama has become a racial Trojan horse, beguiling African leaders to walk a destructive path they would not follow if suggested by white president. However, Obama’s White House lease will expire, this year or four years hence. The American military will remain, however. After Obama, the next president will likely be a Republican. At that moment, African leaders will see the folly of allowing their dalliance with Obama to cloud their minds about the propriety of a growing American military presence on their turf. Clearly, some leaders think the military presence will buttress their governments, providing insurance against internal opposition. They are mistaken. Reliance on external power does not strengthen a regime. It gives the outside power leverage over the regime. Moreover, if America can turn its back on the loyal Egyptian despot, Mubarak, there is no African leader it will not jettison at the opportune moment. In the end, the driving mission of the American military does not harmonize well with Africa’s longterm interests. The American military’s true mission is not fighting terror. The military’s objectives are its own perpetual expansion geographically and as the key determinant of American foreign policy. It also wants to secure the vital raw materials needed to fuel the American economy so that economy can continue to be the productive foundation upon which the military is built. This military has little interest in ending African conflicts or in seeing Africa finally make the correct decision after tarrying at the crossroads. For example, several dozen special operations forces have been sent to Uganda to find Lord’s Resistance Army leader, Joseph Kony. Spy planes have also been enlisted in this effort. Yet, this leader of a rag-tag bunch of untrained fighters has evaded detection. If one did not know better, one would conclude that he is a spirit or is like the wind. He is neither. He is more like the African equivalent of Osama bin Laden, with a unique twist. America wanted to apprehend Osama. However, it is in no hurry to trap Kony. His continuing menace serves a purpose. It provides the rationale for the American military to continue to escalate its deployment in the region. In the end, the new Africa policy is a cynical feint. There is nothing new in the policy the Administration has publicized. Worse, what is new — the expanding military presence – is not good nor has it been well publicized or debated. The presence of a far superior military pursuing its own interests undermines African sovereignty and interests. If Africa does not watch out, it will become the next testing ground for drone bombing and the resultant damage they bring will cause Africans much more harm than good. The crossroads will be turned to rubble and this will make it even harder for Africa to map its way home.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
Fresh crisis rocks Adedibu T family Four years after the death of Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, the strongman of Ibadan politics, crisis over his assets has deepened, Dare Odufowokan reports
HE family of the late strongman of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Ariyibi Adedibu, is currently engulfed in fresh crisis over the estate of the late politician. There are also allegations of neglect of some of the children and unlawful lease and sale of some of the property and businesses left behind by the late politician. In recent past, the family had contended with the various disagreements between several factions within the nuclear family of the deceased Ibadan high chief over issues that included claims and counter-claims on the authenticity of the will read by the administrators of his estate and the appointment of the administrators themselves. Family sources told The Nation that series of meetings have been held recently to resolve some of the lingering issues and foster unity within the family. This became necessary when it became obvious that the inability of the administrators to execute the will of the late politician was beginning to have adverse effects on the living conditions of some of the children he left behind. We gathered, for example, that
some of the politician’s children are finding it difficult to continue with their education due to the non execution of their late father’s will. “Some of the children may have dropped out of school due to paucity of funds. The will has not been executed and the older children, who are currently at loggerheads with the wives over the estate, have refused to assist their younger siblings,” a source said. An embittered associate of the late politician, who would not want his name in print, said it is a sad thing to note that some of Adedibu’s children and relatives, who depended on him for survival, are now finding it difficult to cope following the confusion over his estate. He however said he and a few other associates and relatives of the deceased are making earnest efforts to address the unwholesome development in the family and stop the indiscriminate leasing and selling of some of the disputed property. The renewed fighting within the family came as a surprise to many observers following the ceasefire announced last year by all parties in the brawl. The crisis, which has culminated in series of legal battles between the parties, was believed to have been rested during a parley championed by leading associates of the late chief. At the end of the sitting, all parties promised to work together in the interest of the family. The widow of the late politician, Alhaja Bose Adedibu, and the sons, including Senator Kamoru Adedibu, Abbass Adedibu and others, embraced and promised to withdraw all pending court cases to pave way for amicable settlement of all issues after which the estate would be shared. However, the fresh crisis came to fore when the family recently held two separate fidau prayer sessions to mark the remembrance of the late Ibadan high chief, who died four years ago. Since Adedibu died on June 11, 2008, few days to his 82nd birthday, following complications in his h e a l t h shortly after he returned
to Ibadan from a Lagos medical trip, there had been an annual fidau in his memory. The annual rite however started losing colour since last year when his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), lost the 2011 elections in the state. The renewed bickering within his family further made this year’s edition unbefitting for a man of Adedibu’s political pedigree. On Monday, a fidau session, which took place inside the sitting room of the late politician, saw his son, Abass, a Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Education leading members of the Adedibu family and was joined by his widow, Bose and Akeem Ige, a former chairman of Ibadan SouthEast Local Government. While speaking with journalists, Abass said he was at the fidau to represent all his siblings and attributed the absence of others to a mix up in the date slated for the annual prayer session. According to him, many people thought the burial date should be chosen for the annual remembrance as against the date of his death. But on Tuesday, another of the late politician’s children, Senator Kamoru Adedibu, led another prayer session that had a number of the deceased’s political associates in attendance. A few of Adedibu’s children were also sighted while Abass was absent. Senator Adedibu was joined at the Tuesday fidau by the former Chairman of Egbeda Local Government, Mr. Hakeem Oke; Mr. Luqman Agboluaje and Alhaji Lukman Busari, who delivered the sermon at the solemn occasion. Family sources said renewed infighting amongst family members led to the separate sessions. It would be recalled that in 2010, an Oyo State High Court judge, Justice A. L. Akintola, set the ball rolling for reconciliation in the family when he counselled members to evolve an out of court settlement. Justice Akintola told the disputants, “instead of being at daggersdrawn at all times, why not look for ways to settle this matter amicably out of court. History has shown that every war fought ended on a round-table. It is unfortunate that Baba is no longer alive. But I still believe that the matter can be settled amicably in order not to leave scars that will be permanent.” In the course of the case before Justice Akintola, Adedibu’s sons had sworn a counter affidavit that their late father did not appoint Chief Azeez Arisekola-Alao as the chief executor of his will. Some of the sons had also rejected the will in question, maintaining that their father never had a will. This contradicted the position of another set of family members led by the widow, Bose, which attested to the fact that the late politician not only had a substantive will at the time of his death but also appointed Arisekola to execute it. According to family sources, it is these same set of disagreements, perceived to have been laid to rest, that are now fuelling the fresh wave of crisis rocking the embattled family. “Unless something is done fast, this crisis may snowball into something very serious,” an ally of the late politician lamented.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
Dr. Christopher Otabo is the Special Assistant to the Senior Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). He spoke with selected Journalists on the achievements of the MDGs office, the possibilities to kick out Polio before 2015, plans to meet with the 2015 deadline and how partnership with National Orientation Agency (NOA) will work out to alleviate poverty in Nigeria. Correspondent Gbenga Omokhunu was there.
OW does the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) office work? The office is working effectively on 8 goals, internationally agreed goals that came into existence in the year 2000, at the United Nations General Assembly. 189 countries appended their signatories to meet these eight goals and there are physically developmental goals. We had 15 (fifteen) years to hit the target from 2000 which means that by 2015 these goals should have been made. They range from issues of poverty, so that we will help the people below the poverty line, universal basic education, gender equality and women empowerment, that is goal 3, child health (improving child health) and re-
NASS constituency projects executed by MDGs office ducing under 5 mortality, reduction in maternal mortality, that is maternal health. There are figures attached to these that should be met, those are the target. There is also the task of reducing the incident and impact of HIV, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other related diseases, issues of environmental sustainability, water and sanitation, as well as global partnership for international development. These are the (8) eight Millennium Development Goals. And in 2005, Nigeria was able to secure the debt relief and part of the condition for that debt relief was that Nigeria is going to commit the money that was meant to service that debt into these developmental projects towards achieving the Millennium Developmental Goals and to that extent, the then President Olusegun Obasanjo set up the Of-
fice of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals and since then the office has been involved in activities geared towards the achievement of MDGs and the activities in the MDG include issues of governance and development project. On the National Assembly constituency projects, people say legislators have been awarding contracts personally. But you said it is a job that comes from your office. Can you explain how the constituency projects work? The National Assembly’s members do not execute constituency projects directly. But they decide the location. They decide which ministry, department or agencies that would execute the projects for them. They do not collect money directly. The moment
they appropriate the money for their projects, they identify a capable ministry or agency in which the money would be domiciled. They don’t have anything to do with contractors or execution of the projects, but over the last two years, because of the efficiency of the MDGs office, they found that MDGs have the capacity to deliver projects within a short time, so they graciously channel the funds through the MDGs office. So the MDG’s office does the appropriation as well as the execution. You did mention that part of the condition for the debt relief in 2005 was for the funds to be channelled into the MDGs projects. So far, which projects have you executed with the funds? Since the past six or seven years, that’s the funds we’ve been using to executive projects.
Nobody is fighting over anything LTHOUGH the Will is due for sharing soon, all the children left by the late politician are not after the property because they are all doing well in their chosen careers.” That was how one of Chief Lamidi Adedibu’s daughters, Teju Adedibu-Babalola, summarised the controversy that has dogged the execution of the late politician’s Will. Teju, married to Senator Gbenga Babalola, who was the immediate past Senator that represented Oyo North Senatorial district in the sixth assembly, disclosed to The Nation that virtually every child of the politician has good stories to tell before and even after Adedibu’s demise, since they have been bequeathed with one legacy or the other for them to be self dependent. She added, “As daughters, we have little or no stake in it than to accept whatever share of it we are given because we have been given out in marriage. Anything that our brothers give to us, we will accept it in good faith. For now, it is Baba Arisekola (Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Arisekola-Alao) that is in charge
-Adedibu’s daughter From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan
of it. “Hopefully, very soon, may be before the year runs out, we should be able to get over everything. We are very cordial and we are contented with what Baba was able to do for us before his departure. Nobody is fighting over anything, nobody is fighting anybody. Everybody has his or her own thing to do,” she said. The late strongman of Ibadan politics, Chief Lamidi Ariyibi Adedibu, bestrode the political
landscape of Oyo State politics like a colossus w h i l e alive. It is still debata b l e whether the city of Ibadan could produce such an influential man dotted with controversy again. His •Adedibu fierce but c r u d e method of politics w a s matched only by his equally zestful desire to play it to the fullest with enormous power which he wielded against anyone who dared chal-
lenge his authority. While the political associates left behind by the controversial politician allegedly ditched the family shortly after his demise, his only surviving wife, Yeye Bose Adedibu, supported by other family members, had since his exit, been organising annual remembrance lecture and prayers to keep the memories of the late politician alive. Last Monday, June 11, 2012 was a day the family members came together to offer prayers for the soul of the late People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart , unfortunately the place was deserted by top shots in the state PDP. It was solely a family gathering. Veteran of many battles in the ancient city of Ibadan, Adedibu crossed sword with leading politicians and non politicians alike in the city and defeated them with the speed of light. He once boasted that he would bring down elected government of Senator Rashidi Ladoja in 2006, and within few months, he brought down Ladoja and his government in a controversial impeachment that jolted many .
So, what you have been using to run the MDGs have been the funds that came from that debt? Yes. The funds that were meant for servicing of the debts have been domiciled with the MDGs office and that is what the MDGs have been using to execute developmental projects. What are you expecting from the National Orientation Agency? We are expecting that the National Orientation Agency, with its wide spread across the federal, state and local governments, should be able to take the message of the MDGs to the grassroots. You once said people should hold your office accountable for failing to execute their projects. How many communities have you reached? The office has been involved. We have been going round most of the states inspecting projects. Has there been any complaint from the people themselves; from the local and rural communities? Not really. Instead, what we are seeing are projects standing alone and the communities not actively using the projects. There are situations where borehole projects stop working after some months of commissioning, what could be responsible and how have you been tackling the trend? That is why NOA is coming into the picture. There are many reasons why a borehole will not function after a few months. It could just be maintenance because the office has the responsibility to sink the borehole but it doesn’t have the responsibility to maintain it. That is where the local government comes in. That is where the community comes in. They can also form cooperatives or associations that will see to the maintenance of those projects. That is what we are talking about and that must be emphasised. One of the reasons governments supported MDGs was that by 2015 the poverty level in most developing nations should have been reduced by half. In the last 10 years Nigerians have faced serious hardship. What have you done to ameliorate it? Well, just recently, we had expert groups meeting on the post 2015 developmental agenda and some issues were raised, like the issue of poverty eradication. The population of Nigeria as at 2000 when MDGs was set up compared to now have grown significantly and measures that are put in place are not catching up with the population. Also Nigeria economy has grown but it doesn’t transmit into enriching many people. It is when people are gainfully employed, when people are engaged in agriculture; that is when they move out of poverty. But this has not been the case. So, we are making an advocacy. MDGs office advises government on things to do to reduce the rate of poverty. The Senior Special Assistant to the President, Dr. Gbemeror, has emphasised on the use of conditional cash transfer to reduce poverty in the country. Conditional cash transfer is a programme in which you can identify vulnerable people and you enroll them, looking at various criteria, into the programmes. You give them monthly allowance. In which state has this started? It has started in Kaduna State, at a low scale, but soon it will be launched at a larger scale because of the money given to the local government track. About a large chunk of that money is meant for this conditional cash transfer. We have already engaged technical assistants who will help midwife the programme and ensure that the right people are selected for this.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
ripples Whither Farouk Lawan’s governorship ambition?
LOSE associates and sup porters of Honourable Farouk Lawan are presently worried that the $3million bribery scandal currently dangling on his •Lawan neck may have nailed his well nurtured ambition to govern Kano State in 2015. Some of his henchmen and admirers, who spoke with Ripples during the week, said operators of his political machinery are still pondering how their man would extricate himself from what may turn out as the curtain on his promising political career. Currently serving his 4th term in the House of Representatives, Lawan was said to be gearing up to join the governorship race with the incumbent governor, Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso, who served as governor between 1999 and 2003. Kwakwanso, according to some analysts, is still eligible to contest in 2015 since he did not serve for two consecutive terms. Aside Kwakwanso and Lawan, who are members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), speculations are rife that Senator Kabiru Gaya of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), who was governor between 1991 and 1993, and General Jafaru Isa are also interested in the highly coveted seat. The big question today is if the fuel subsidy probe scandal has succeeded in eliminating Lawan from the list?
Edo 2012: Beyond empty promises T HE much anticipated gubernatorial election for Edo State, scheduled for July 14th, is less than 30 days, and so some candidates have been making unrealistic and empty promises dressed in fine sophistries. We have no business listening to them again as we suffered for ten years before Adams Oshiomhole. As is their usual style, they are here with us today. We see them at campaign rallies and television programmes. They hire trailers, buses and bike riders. They pay willing youths peanuts to do the dirty parts of the job and you may never have the slightest opportunity to meet their children during the campaigns. For a political party depending on Abuja to announce the result of the yet to be conducted elections, they hire youths to campaign, risk their lives day and night in exchange for N500 per day or whenever they put up a showing. And whenever the candidate returns from campaigns, he locks himself with the leaders inside their air-conditioned apartments to eat good foods with a doctor on hand to attend to their health concerns while the hired crowd waits in the dark to be insulted with peanuts. They sure employ body guards. Today, we see them appealling to our sentiments and speaking in flowery tunes, asking for votes from one village to the other hamlet. Sometimes, across the rivers but thereafter, they become our tormentors. Now they are with us but shortly after the votes, we shall see them no more. Presently, they are making empty promises. Yes, you see bike riders driving menacingly on high ways and bus drivers with overloaded suffering electorates dancing to drum beats and armed with placards. Some of these women are most often than not, divorcees. The
Alao-Akala gunning for Senate in 2015 ONTHS after he exited the Agodi Govern ment House following his trouncing at the polls by Senator Abiola Ajimobi, ex-governor of Oyo State, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, who thought he would retain the position until 2015, has finally resolved to change plans over his political ambition. Ripples learnt it took him a long time to overcome the shock of that defeat. And guess what; it is being alleged that the politician may not have forgiven Aare Arisekola Alao and the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, who, he and his associates still blame for allegedly playing major roles in his defeat at the polls. But typical of Nigerian politicians who will never give up on remaining in the corridors of power, Akala, currently facing trial over allegations of misappropriating over N5billion during his tenure, is already planning for his political future. Ripples can authoritatively reveal that the Ogbomoso-born ex-policeman is now busy oiling his political machinery preparatory to launching his campaign for a senate seat come 2015. Though based in Ibadan where he owns a palatial mansion, Akala has been travelling regularly to his home base to keep touch with his supporters as part of the preparation for the senatorial contest. Undaunted by the popularity of the incumbent senator representing his zone, Ayo Adeseun, who is likely to contest for a second term, and the influence of Oba Adeyemi, the former governor has been telling his supporters that politics is a game he understands.
By Dada Akpeji
youths are school drop outs and undergraduates who have no means of livelihood. Others are unemployed but employable graduates who have become hangers-on to do the biddings of these politicians. Often, they employ the services of cult groups and equip them. It is a shame what such politicians and socalled leaders are turning this country, this state into. Why do we desire or want to stick out our necks for them when we have an Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole providing our needs? A cursory look at other candidates’ antecedents: He is a despot now in civilian garb. Visit him after the election; that is if you ever set your eyes on him. Naturally, you are confronted with a dark shaded giant at the entrance of his door, if you survive the hordes of policemen at the gate to tell you ‘Oga is sleeping.’ Generally, there is one thing that is constant about such politicians, their phones are never reachable. It is either on voice mail or diverted or al-
ways busy. It is so programmed that we will see them no more. But the Oshiomhole we see today on the streets, even as a governor; is better for us. Oshiomhole’s natural bonding with the people he governs is far from make-belief. It is real. Whenever you see him on the streets, schools suddenly close abruptly, markets are abandoned and there is shout of joy in the air as the people; old and young, genuinely appreciate the performance of their governor. They flock around him with ecstatic shouts of ‘Oshio Baba’ renting the air. Oshiomhole cuddles the aged, pampers children and babies feel securely ensconced in his fatherly arms. He has no inhibitions to mixing freely with the people in spite of the genuine concern and sometimes, overzealousness of his security details for his safety. He has no problem mixing with ordinary rural women, dancing with them and yet, he is the governor of the state. But Oshiomhole’s opponents: You will see them in convoys of cars- hefty, exotic ones, not without splendour or opulence. They would tint their glasses and disobey the police and traffic light. They would block Sapele Road near Adesuwa to commuters and threaten us. They tell us they are in-charge of the country and that they would win without campaigning. This is a proof that they would shield themselves from the people after an open roof campaign on their SUVs. But, who do you blame for the terminal damages such people inflict on us? Their undeserved victories must simply be blamed on us all; the masses. So, we must resist them again and support Oshiomhole to take us to the next level. •Akpeji, a public commentator and political analyst, wrote in from Benin City, Edo State.
with Bolade Omonijo firstname.lastname@example.org
Lawangate: The voice of Jacob
HE heart of the scandal involving the House of Representatives, Hon. Farouk Lawan and the ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management is the unseen hand behind the incident. The hands may be invisible, but like the hands of Esau, they could be felt. The heavy involvement of the Department of State Security belies the claim that the executive arm of government is a mere bystander. It is all falling in place now. The Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Adoke Bello, gave the first hint that the presidency and the entire executive branch would not take the inquest by the National Assembly lying low. He told a bewildered nation that the report would be properly scrutinized before further action could be taken. On the surface, he was right. But, anyone who understands the way the state in an underdeveloped society works, would read between the lines. It was, and is, obvious that the government was in no mood to sacrifice close allies of the President serving in government and friends and partners who financed his expensive and grandiose campaign. The targets are very obvious. Speaker Aminu Tambuwal is the only one in this dispensation to have successfully defied the President. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan is said to take exception to the Speaker’s neutrality in the performance of his duties. He has been accused many times of hobnobbing with the opposition, and the hawks in the ruling party appear to believe that enough is enough. Now, if Lawan, a principal supporter of the Speaker, is dumped, it would be easy to close in on Tambuwal. Second, the committee report is too revealing to be allowed to see the light of the day. Presidential strategists are said to be aghast that the report is already unorthodoxly in the public domain. This is a masterstroke by proponents of probity and transparency. The Nuhu Ribadu Committee is also at work, just as the Kalu Idika Kalu Panel. The presidency had nudged the Petroleum Minister, a soul mate of the President, to throw those baits at the critics and general public as a way of buying time, while working out other ways of diverting attention from the main issues. Now, they are succeeding. The Lawan committee report is destined for the same destination as the Elumelu Power Probe and Herman Hembe investigation, if the people look away. In each of the cases, the hunter turned to be the hunted. It is a sad commentary on the state of our country. It shows that our dealers in high places, in the executive, legislative or judicial branches of government, are too blinded by greed to smell danger however obvious or close. They launch at inducement as Pavlov’s starved dog. At the end, they fall cheap to blackmail and rubbish the institution into which they had forced themselves and set back the society. It is good that, despite Lawan’s standing in the House as one of the longest serving and his contribution to the election of the Speaker, he has been told to step aside. He is no longer driving the process of subsidy management probe and, in addition, in recognition of public anger, Lawan has also been stripped of his leadership of the Education Committee. It could be easily recalled that the honourable member from Kano State was at the head of the Integrity Group that spearheaded the removal of Madam Patricia Etteh as Speaker in 2008. Apparently, it was merely a consequence of disagreement by two contending groups. Lawan who had served as head of the Appropriation Committee in the previous session of the House was moved to the less fancied Education Committee. He struck to exact his pound of flesh. Etteh must be rejoicing now. By the development, whither Nigeria? The presidency is at its game, sparing no thought or feeling for the people. There are so many wheelers and dealers in the legislature. They are predators, ever willing to prey on public funds. Can we rely on the judiciary to defend the people? There is little to cheer here. The record of the third branch of government, what with the contradictory judgments, show that the motivation factors are at variance with the demand of justice for all. Whoever came up with the image of the blindfolded chap as symbol of the judiciary had no intention how things work in Nigeria. The height of it was the Katsina-Alu versus Salami case that has refused to go away. The Appeal Court, Supreme Court, Office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Office of the President Court of Appeal were exposed to ridicule in the process. The details are too messy to be recounted here. So, who can rise to the support of common Nigerians? Unfortunately, no one or institution. Our collective destiny is in our hands. We have to defend our rights. We have to insist on justice. We must prevail on the powers that be that the due process must be followed in all things and at all times. Nothing must be swept under the carpet and culprits should be brought to book. It is only in such ways that we can sanitise the system and set the country on the path of development. In ages past, it was said that the tree of liberty is watered by the blood of patriots. In this age, it must take the heads of tyrants. It took the Cromwelian revolt to enthrone the people in the Britain; Louis the XIV learnt the hard way in France. Those who take the public for granted and feast on the commonwealth must be taught that never again would the people allow themselves to be trampled upon by predators.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
PoliticsWeek ...This week’s issues, events and persons
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Between C21 and Ohanaeze Ndigbo •Ikedife
Committee of 21, a new socio-political group, launched last weekend in Owerri, Imo State, has identified Igbo unity as the major task before it. Taking a look at efforts to achieve the same task over the years by Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other groups, Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu, asks if C21 has the magic wand.
EFORE last weekend’s inauguration of Committee of 21 (C21), Igbo unity has been generally identified as a task that must be achieved for the race to take its rightful place in Nigerian socioeconomic and political development. Many had therefore looked up to Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, to take the leading position in the campaign for the achievement of that task. But the progress made over the years has been a major source of concern to stakeholders and observers alike. Even Ohanaeze chieftains had at one time or the other expressed concern and cried out for more concerted efforts to achieve a more sustainable unity of Ndigbo, pointing out that achievement of genuine unity remains the most tangible ticket for total liberation of Ndigbo, for the development of their communities and for the fulfillment of the political ambition of the people. In February 2008, the then Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Joe Achuzia, called for unity among the Igbo in the country, lamenting that many of them have “completely lost focus owing to pockets of crisis within the fold.” The Biafran war general, who made the call in Warri during the investiture of Sir Peter Chukwu as the Eze Udo Ndi-Igbo, Akanachimba 1 in the Central and South Senatorial Districts chapters of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Delta State, condemned what he described as “the pull him down attitude of some Igbo leaders” and enjoined Ndigbo in Diaspora to bury the hatchet and chart a new course that would better the lots of the people now and in the future. This was also the concern of some Igbo leaders just last month, when they gathered in Enugu to discuss strategies that would help realise the dream of Igbo presidency in 2015. They had met under the aegis of Igbo Unity Forum in an event entitled: “Ndigbo in the Geo-Politics of Nigeria, the way forward”. The Chairman of the occasion, Amb Godwin Onyegbula, had explained that Ndigbo “need to work hard in the Nigerian political parties to establish relevance.’’ A chieftain of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and former governor of Anambra State, Chief
Chukwuemeka Ezeife, was also very particular when he said, “We have said that Igbo Nigerian president is important to us and we must pray to God to get it. “Igbos should play a game of cooperation not competition. We are super qualified for the presidency but we will be organised to achieve it. This time around, we are going to cooperate, all Igbos must go for campaign in all the tribes in the country to tell them what we want,’’ Ezeife said. Given this kind of sentiment and the belief that the Igbo, as a political bloc, has since after the civil war, continually lost out in the politics of the nation, most observers said the identified task of the new group is both germane and timely, even as the preparations for 2015 general elections kick off. Political or Igbo pressure group? With Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Senator Annie Okonkwo and Chief Victor Umeh as leading lights in the newly formed C21, some political analysts are of the view that what is unfolding is more of a new political family for 2015 than a pan Igbo group out to seek the achievement of Igbo unity and development. In fact, some analysts have linked the emergence of the group to the yet-to-be resolved crisis in All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). But the group, at its inaugural outing in Imo Conference Centre, Owerri, while not denying its political interest, said its focus would be Igbo unity. Also, according to Rev. Uma Ukpai, who led the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) leadership in the Southeast to the meeting, the coming of C21 represents “the hour for Igbo to rise and shine.” The president of the group, Senator Annie Okonkwo, also said, “Because this unity project is so important, we resolved that we must seek the face of God first, to help us achieve the oneness we need in achieving our best developmentally and politically.” Governor Okorocha, who is the group’s Director of Mobilisation, acknowledged the political agenda of the group when he said “the Igbo must redefine their position,” adding, “It is a tragic irony that the nation of hope for Nigeria
from her cradle - the Igbo, has become a region largely tolerated but hardly negotiated with in Nigeria’s power contest. This reversible situation should start with an honest inquest amongst ourselves to change our ways where it hurts our dreams, because we are a nation naturally decorated with laurels of generals.” He therefore pleaded with Ndigbo to unite. “Please let us at this opportune moment remove our veil of shame and pride, and humble ourselves before God, because Nigeria is obviously waiting for the Igboman to lead her to true greatness,” he said. Dr. Dozie Ikedife, a former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, commenting on the emergence of the group and the likely implication of the development on Igbo unity and Ohanaeze, told The Nation that it will depend on the attitude and general objective of the members of the new group. “I believe anything that is targeted at Igbo unity is good, but whether this new group will succeed in this respect depends largely on how the members perceive the existing groups. If they work with the other members with the aim of achieving Igbo unity, it will be in the overall interest of the race, but if they see them as rivals, who must be edged out, it will not serve any good purpose.” He also explained that the success of the new group depends on whether it has institutional setting or whether it is just an ad hoc political grouping set up to achieve objectives other than genuine Igbo unity. “When we talk of Igbo unity, we must first ask ourselves who is uniting or working with who? We all know there are some issues now in APGA. Umeh and Okorocha are in APGA, but I cannot say right now that the aim of the group you talk about is only political. I do not also know how established the group is. I know of other well institutionalised groups that are in the offing. For example, I know of Igbo Elders Council, which is already in all the states. Such an organization will play a very crucial role. So, if C21 is well institutionalized and if the promoters have good intention and are ready to work with existing organisations with the aim of achieving Igbo unity, it will succeed,” he said.
• As security operatives investigate the chilling revelations coming from the recent fuel subsidy probe, especially the $500,000 bribe allegedly given to Hon. Lawan Farouk, the chairman of the probe panel, by oil magnet and multibillionaire, Femi Otedola, the current and past activities of members of the House of Representatives in particular and that of the National Assembly in general will dominate political interest this week. Late last week, the House was forced to organise an emergency session on the bribery scandal, at a time the security operatives were still threatening to arrest Lawan. • Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin Kingdom, whose suspension from the Palace of the Oba of Benin, Omo Noba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa was lifted late last week, will likely be on the political podium this week. This is because, since his suspension, the influence of the Igbinedion political and financial empire appears to have been largely affected. The question would be the likely effect of the present development on the fortunes of the Igbinedions and the politics of Edo State. It would be recalled that the Esama of Benin, a very influential high chief in the Benin Kingdom and patron of Okada Empire, was suspended by the Benin Monarchy in 2008 because of what the palace described as his “relentless efforts at desecrating our revered traditional institution.”
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
FAROUK LAWAN ‘Fall’ of a kingmaker •Farouk Lawan
INCE 1999, no lawmaker has bestridden the House of Representatives like the proverbial colossus than Hon. Farouk Lawan. What he seems to lack in physical height, appears to have been compensated for with his highly regarded mental acumen, meticulous understanding of law-making and ability to manage intrigues without being scathed. Despite his smallish stature, Lawan had, arguably, been the conscience of the House in the last 13 years such that his motions were laws and his submissions sacrosanct. Once a motion is tabled and the ‘high-ranking’ Lawan says the final word, it is carried by the House. He was the only lawmaker who had survived many crises which had rocked the house including the Salisu Buhari Certificate scam, Umar Ghali-Na’aaba face-off with exPresident Olusegun Obasanjo, Masari Certificate debacle, Patricia Etteh contract scam and Dimeji Bankole’s loan dilemma. Although he was visible with his sharp contributions to all these crises, he had been like a cat with many lives, as he used to emerge as a star from any political rubble. He was a “kingmaker” with the whip to flog any recalcitrant king in line. The fear of Lawan used to be the beginning of wisdom for every successive Speaker except Patricia Etteh who dared the Tiger’s tail. The plot against Etteh led to the formation of Integrity Group in 2007 which, like hurricane, shored up the image of Farouk beyond the shores of the nation. Ever robed in stainless white kaftan, Farouk came to symbolize the emergence of a new generation of Nigerians opposed to corruption. He is usually all-white and his public mien and attitude pointed to his seemingly ‘clean’ lifestyle. However, his robust lawmaking career has suffered a jolt with the latest $3million
On Friday, the House of Representatives took the bitter pill by suspending one of its most vocal and seemingly diligent members, Hon. Farouk Lawan. In this piece, our MANAGING EDITOR, NORTHERN OPERATION, YUSUF ALLI reviews the fall of a larger-than-life lawmaker and the hitherto conscience of the House. cash-for-clearance bribery allegation leveled by the businessman, Mr. Femi Otedola, who is widely regarded as a close ally of President Goodluck Jonathan. Otedola, another ‘addict’ of white dress, had admitted giving $620,000 out of the bribe sum to Lawan and the Clerk of the House Ad-Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management, Mr. Boniface Emenalo. The journey to Golgotha When the House decided on January 8, 2012 to probe the over-bloated N2.1trillion spent on fuel subsidy in 2011, the lot fell on the no-nonsense Farouk Lawan to head the Ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Regime because of his antecedents. Lawal had headed the Finance and Appropriation Committee during the Na’aba years as Speaker. He is believed to be familiar with figures like a calculus. And when the committee submitted its report on April 18, 2012, Lawan and his teammates appeared to bend no rules. The committee reprimanded a former Chairman of the PPPRA, Senator Ahmadu Ali, and the board members (2009-2011) for their “decision which opened the floodgate for the Bazaar” in the agency. The committee recommended sanctions for some staff of the PPPRA and sanctioned 121 oil marketers as follows: 17 marketers that did not obtain FOREX but claimed to have imported petroleum products; 15 marketers who obtained FOREX but did not import petroleum products; 71 others to face probe
and refund N230.1billion; 18 found guilty of committing other infractions. The report stepped on many toes, raised much dust from stakeholders in the oil business and put the government on the edge, culminating in President Goodluck Jonathan sending it to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for “further investigation” of the issues referred to antigraft agencies. Unknown to Lawan and the Ad Hoc Committee, the affected stakeholders were believed to have perfected plans from the onset to fight back in a clinical manner. Right from the first day when it was apparent that the Ad Hoc panel would not compromise, those indicted were believed to have designed a plot to fight back. Quite a number of observers are suggesting that Otedola, who is closer to the powers that be, had been selected and prompted to be a major tool in this plot. How Farouk Lawan met Otedola and the choice of the business man to nail Lawan The relationship between Otedola and Farouk has been traced to the last 10 years by a close confidant to the two actors. The confidant said it was the billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote(a mutual friend of the lawmaker) that introduced Lawan to Otedola. And Otedola- Lawan romance had blossomed in such a manner that it will be extremely difficult for the Representative to
suspect any ploy to make him a subject of a sting operation by the business mogul. The confidant said: “They had shared many good times together; they had become closeknitted and we had erroneously assumed that each could die for another. If there is any house Lawan could enter anytime, it was Otedola’s. “In fact, when there was a crisis of confidence between Otedola and Dangote, the embattled lawmaker played a crucial role in reconciling the two friends. He never took sides notwithstanding his childhood relationship with Dangote who is a fellow Kano indigene.” Those who plotted the bribery saga might have co-opted Otedola having discovered that they are ‘bosom’ friends. Being a friend of the President, the alleged hostility of the Ad-Hoc Committee to his company must have made Otedola to make himself a willing tool for a sting assignment. The untold story of how Otedola entrapped Farouk Lawan since January Unknown to many Nigerians, the plot to get Farouk had started barely a few days after the inauguration of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management. It was gathered that shortly after the inauguration of the Ad Hoc Committee on January 8, Otedola allegedly placed a call to Lawan to offer some advice. A reliable source quoted the businessman as telling Lawan: “You know this is a sensitive assignment, do not soil your image. Do not take money from any of those being investigated. If you need anything, I will always be there for you and feel free to ask me.” It was learnt that Lawan expressed gratitude to Otedola and adopted the advice as a Code of Conduct and followed it to the letter. Apart from the “unsolicited advice”,
•Continued on Page 26
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
The Sunday Interview
‘We made up our minds we will not sell rice on the side. All we will do is create communication’
We made a lot of mistakes but God saw us through. In our sixth month, we almost closed down.
Like former President Olusegun Obasanjo said at the Economic Summit, people talk about the risk of doing business in Nigeria but nobody wants to talk about the returns.
T what point did you decide on advertising? My dad wanted me to be a lawyer and I wanted to study political science. But I did not get admission when I wanted. One day, I was going through a magazine in the University of Calabar library when I saw an illustration … one guy in a nice jacket and a colourful shirt, Rayban sunshade. Incidentally I was wearing almost the same thing. It was my secondary school and I saw the caption ‘a trendy ad director’ under the man’s name. I later realised that ‘ad directors’ work in advertising agencies and they are creative. I used to draw very well in school so I decided I can go and study, be an ad director and look like that man I saw in the magazine. That was an ambition for me. I went to school, became ad director that I dreamt of. I became a creative director and now I am the managing director of an advertising group. Starting SO &U When my other colleagues and I left Insight Communications, and were like ‘who do we approach’ that will give us credibility. Someone said I have someone who can invest in your business and that is Victor Osibodu. He later told us that he was involved in a bank that was about to start off. He said he would introduce us to the team, maybe they could give us the ad job to handle. I had never met Fola Adeola in my life, but over the years we became very close in the course of the work. We were a bunch of young people - I was the oldest of our team, so he said we will invite you to come and pitch. At that time the most innovative agency was LTC, they were the talk of the town. The pitch itself was very interesting. Since the bank wanted to be unique we went into research, got copies of investors’ magazines, TIME magazine and the Economist to study foreign banks which had done what GT Bank was trying to do at that time. When we were doing our presentation, we were in trouble; everyone that was asked to comment said we had done nothing. There was one of the copies that we wrote that choosing a shoe is as important as buying a shoe and we drew a pair of shoes. One of them said ‘we are talking about bank, you are talking about shoe, do you want to embarrass us?’ At a point I was telling my guys, let us pack up and go. But I remember clearly that Bode Agusto who became a director at the budget office of the Presidency who is a friend of the house was passing by, and he was first person that spoke and made the difference. ‘You guys said you want a bank with a difference and that is what they have just done for you.’ Before we knew it, we were able to win some people. At last Fola, who was the Managing Director, said this is the ad campaign for the
bank, if it works we all share the glory and if it fails he takes the blame. In this work there are so many ad campaigns that are good and nobody gets to see. All our best campaigns are in the dustbin. It takes two to tango; sometimes the client is not seeing what you are seeing. And that is where the media comes in, those times we pick your paper and read about what advertising is doing, it makes the client to empower the agency. And when you also write to criticise we tell them we told you. Day a client embarrassed me We made a lot of mistakes but God saw us through. In our sixth month, we almost closed down. We had a friend who lured us into making a financial commitment… a supplier who said ‘this job you want to do, don’t worry bring everything you have, we would do the job for you.’ We kept borrowing money and by the time we knew it, we had committed about N250, 000 for a N300, 000 job. Two days to the client’s event, the supplier refused to release the job. The client was embarrassed, we were fired and we did not get any money. We couldn’t start any other business because we lost the money. There I was… month end was due and I didn’t have a clue where salary would come from. I would lie down and look at the ceiling; madam will take sleeping pill and pop. We were going crazy. Then finally, I was able to get some relief. One day, I slept and had a dream that the man who messed us up came to my office to apologise. Secrets of Success When we started we made up our minds on what to do. I called my friends that I have observed in Nigeria that most advertising agencies digressed. Our vision was to have the most creative and professional agency in West Africa. Being professional, once you earned the respect of your consumer market, they will come to you no matter who you are. At the end of the day, it is your work that speaks for you. The next one is passion; we kept working and remained undaunted. We made up our minds we will not sell rice by the side or computers. All we will do was create communication and it is either we do it well to survive or we don’t. We set out the vision and our aim was to achieve them no matter the obstacles. Some of our colleagues thought we were foolish. How can you put all your eggs in one basket? Some of them do other things along the line and we feel these are distractions. At some point, we didn’t have money. I still recall one of my friends saying ‘bring N10, 000, you don’t have… na so so SO& U. Every kobo that we made we ploughed back into the business, we were also training ourselves. Today I am the President of the Lagos •Continued on Page 25
Mr. Udeme Ufot, is Chief Executive Officer of SO& U Saatchi & Saatchi – one of Nigeria’s leading advertising agencies. He and two other young colleagues started SO&U out of nothing in the early 90s. In this interview with Adetutu Audu, he recounts his journey to the top, challenges and prospects of his profession, and how he still finds time to socialise.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNR 17, 2012
inexperienced. Poor appreciation of the marketing mix affects their understanding of the role agencies play in their marketing activities. A strategic partner that should be treated with professional respect is treated as a vendor of marginal value. We also have poor quality of brief. ( Low skill and inadequate experience impact on the quality of briefs agencies get, thus making the process of cracking the brief a most painful and sometimes futile exercise. It is sometimes akin to playing “blind man’s buff.” This is reflected in levels of agency remuneration, and delayed settlement of bills. Sometimes, client companies adopt unfair trade practices that are most inimical to the survival of their agencies. For example, many clients refuse to prepay for service while demanding up to 45 days credit that invariably becomes 180 days. Sometimes, clients just disappear leaving the agency struggling to explain to media houses and other suppliers. Prospects If you are good, when the environment is challenging and you can overcome, you do well. Like former President Olusegun Obasanjo said at the Economic Summit, people talk about the risk of doing business in Nigeria but nobody wants to talk about the returns. Nigeria is one of the best of countries to do business in. Those who come here to make money don’t want those who are outside to know, so that they can keep making money. The industry itself has not even blossomed. Marketing communication will thrive well in a highly commercialised and sustained economy. As our economy grows, become, more sophisticated, highly commercialised, more industries come on, they want to engage with consumers, they want to sell, and marketing communication will become more relevant, highly required and more agencies will
You can’t sleep with everybody that comes your way. Sometimes I say to women on my team, you think you have problem because men will chase you, but women also chase men. But you have got to manage it.
•Continued from Page 24 Business School Alumni Association. When I went for LBS, the fee was N250, 000, now it is almost N3million. But to pay that N250,000 then was a difficult task. I had to split and pay in about three or four installments. One thing was clear then, I went to LBS to sharpen my managerial skills and to also network. The key about succeeding in business is that you must be clear on what you want to do, how you want to do it and who will help you. Challenges of Marketing Communication in Nigeria Small market. There are only few clients that can deliver the kind of budgets that you will need to do the work. The challenge of resources…people are not there. Most of our employees come in as trainees, as you trained some of them you lose to other competitors or to the client side. So you struggle and the challenge of infrastructure is also there. There is no electricity supply. You have to run the agency on power generating set which is expensive. You staff are also scattered because they live in far-flung places under difficult conditions. In the creative business how do they think? They come to work stressed and they go back home stressed. The environment is a challenging one for them. For us again, we have the issue of support industry. We don’t really have professional models as they do in other parts of the world. We don’t have data to work with. Almost everything you need you have to create by yourself - most of the time all the things you needed, and it makes it tougher. Most clients today have huge problems with regard to quality marketing staff. The staff are poorly trained, low skilled, and
The Sunday Interview
emerge. Ufot as a family man I am married with two children. My kids are grown–up and they are schooling abroad. They only come home on holidays and when they do, we go out together for dinner. My wife is a lawyer, SAN, and we go out often - most times to see friends, dinner and functions; we also sit down to discuss things of common interest. Fame and money attracts opposite sex. How are you coping? It is God’s grace. But I think the most important thing is that you have someone in your life whom you love and appreciate and she loves, appreciates and respects you in return. You don’t want to upset her. You have to choose. Money and fame attract, what do you want? You can’t sleep with everybody that comes your way. Sometimes I say to women on my team, you think you have problem because men will chase you, but women also chase men. But you have got to manage it. You must be focused and very important, it is your brand equity. It pays you as a professional that when your name comes up, the right image also does. Sometimes I tell people, ‘I can’t chase you, where will I take you to?’ I am too well known. People who know me are more than those I know. Memorable childhood I grew up in Lagos. We used to hang-out and go as far as Badagry for picnic. I loved to party as a young man. Do you still party? I still party. My wife loves partying, so she is the one dragging me out and because of the nature of my business”. Partying has been great fun.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
•Continued from Page 23 Lawan was said to have text messages of a long list of questions sent to him by Otedola when the Ad-Hoc Committee was sitting. Another top source said: “To demonstrate his love for Lawan’s assignment, Otedola gave him a position paper to guide the committee on allegations against the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency(PPPRA). “At a point when the committee was in session, Otedola was in China watching the activities live. As each oil marketer or PPPRA officials appeared before the Ad-Hoc Committee, Otedola would send questions to Lawan who would instantly put these to his prey as if he is an oil expert.” Findings revealed that the mindset of a well-oiled assistance had informed the ill-fated meeting between Lawan and Otedola on April 24, 2012 about six days after the submission of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee. A reliable source added: “On the day the bribe was offered, Lawan left a meeting at about 2.30am but he saw over 50 missed calls from Otedola and became curious on why the oil baron wanted him. He insisted that Lawan must come to his house and they met at about 3.47am. “Nigerians will hear what they have never heard before on this matter. Let them go to court so that there won’t be any cover up. Let them also play the tape provided they have not edited it. Nigerians will be able to know the true story.” In a handwritten memo to the Chairman of the House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Adams Jagaba, which was dated April 24 and timed 3.47am, Lawan gave graphic details of what transpired in a widely reported memo that he had since released for public attentuion. The memo said: “You may please recall that I intimated you of the persistence of Mr. Femi Otedola, Chairman Forte Oil, Zenon Oil and AP Petroleum to offer monetary inducement to influence the outcome and consolidation of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy…. The memo went on to list the various sums of money involved in the scam and also talked about why Farouk did not promptly report the matter to security agencies. He said he had considered bringing theissue as a matter of privilege on the floor of the House later on the day the ‘Illicit’ transaction took place. Lawan said he concerned that “the controversy it will generate will dwarf the content of the report which needs public attention so that the necessary reforms in the sector could be effected. Lawan wrote further in his memo: “I, however, believe that given the desperation of Mr. Otedola, handling this matter in a furious but diplomatic manner is necessary as he has also made some vested threats which put me and members of my Committee in a delicate situation. “While reporting this matter to you and hoping that appropriate action will be taken, we shall continue to monitor him and if further offers are made, we shall duly handover to your committee.” The Secretary to the Ad Hoc Committee, Mr. B. C. Emenalo, also reportedly wrote a memo to Lawan on April 24, explaining his own encounter with Otedola. The memo, titled “Consistent Pressure to Compromise by Managing Director and Chairman, Zenon Oil and Gas, AP and Forte,” reads: “My earlier report/discussion with you on the above subject matter and your directives refers. The memo reads in part: “I wish to inform you that I was on his invitation, at the residence of their(Zenon Oil and Gas, AP, Forte) Chairman, Mr. Femi Otedola in Maitama, (Aso Drive) this morning and he offered me the sum of One Hundred Thousand US Dollars in two bundles of $50,000 each. The money is hereby forwarded as evidence. Please find attached the exhibit for onward transmission to the relevant Committee and Leadership.” How Otedola’s version changed public mood When the oil magnate opened up last Monday on how it became compelling for him to offer the bribe through a sting operation, Nigerians took more than a passing interest in the allegation. Speaking with THISDAY newspaper, Otedola opened a Pandora box and his testimony had instant spiral effect on the image of the House of Representatives. Otedola said, among other things: “For the avoidance of doubt Zenon never participated or benefited from the subsidy scheme or Petroleum Support Fund (PSF). Zenon couldn’t participate in it because we don’t have a network of PMS retail outlets which was one of the key criteria beneficiaries
•Hon Aminu Tambuwal
Scar of Faroukgate must meet and as such we are not qualified to participate to draw from subsidy payments on PMS. So we never collected as records will show.” But he expressed surprise as to why Lawan approached him and demanded money a few days before the report was to be tabled on April 18, 2012 before the House of Representatives, to omit Zenon Oil and Gas from the list of those sanctioned. He stated: “When this happened, I was very angry and reminded him that Zenon has never participated in the subsidy scheme and that it would be criminal to rope in the company for something it did not do. “But,” according to Otedola, “Lawan responded, stating that several other marketers were playing ball and had offered the members of the committee large sums of money to ensure that their companies’ names were not published in the report. Then a day before the report was to be submitted, Lawan called again, informing me that Zenon’s name had been included in the report. I, of course, was very angry and asked him to desist from his course of action, but Lawan insisted that I must pay up as other oil marketers had done before me.” When Otedola refused to play ball, Zenon Oil and Gas was put under the category of companies that bought foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) without importing petrol. The company was accused of collecting $232,975,385.13. Otedola went on divulge in the interview how he eventually teamed up with security agencies to trap Lawan in the sting operation that has now turned out to be controversial. He said: “As a law-abiding citizen, I decided to involve the security agencies and they advised me to play along, which prompted me to offer to pay part of the money with the promise that I would pay the balance when my company’s name had been removed from the report.” The missing gaps in Otedola-Lawan
Stories/Unanswered questions Many observers are wondering why it took Otedola and Lawan more than 50 days to disclose the bribery deal between them if they are really patriotic. It was also unclear how much was actually the negotiated bribe sum as figures like $10m, $5m and $3m had been bandied. The macabre dance over the bribery controversy has also led a good number of observers to speculate that some forces were at play pulling the strings to achieve two extreme ends. So far, none of the two feuding gladiators has volunteered this ‘jealously guarded secret’ of who the forces are. The pace-setting manner in which Otedola voluntarily went to the Special Task Force(STF) of the Nigeria Police Force to provide information was also generally considered unusual of the bigwigs in the Nigerian society. When the same businessman was involved in a row over the sale of the African Petroleum, there was much of more media blackout than meet the eye. A number of posers are also directed to Lawan: Why did he refuse to disclose that he met Otedola twice to collect the each tranche of $250,000? Why is it that it was only on April 24, 2012 that he had the intuition that he was being set up and decided to write the Chairman of the House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Adams Jagaba at the wee hours of the night? How will he address Jagaba’s immediate disowning of his purported alert in a letter to him? What will become of his reliance on Jagaba as a key witness to prove that he actually blew the whistle? Why could Lawan not call a meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee members to raise the bribe alarm? And why did he allow his colleagues to dissuade him from laying the bribe sum at the plenary of the House? A source said: “Lawan had wanted to raise the alarm on the floor of the House but he was prevailed upon by some members not to do
so. Actually, there was a division on whether to bring it up immediately or not. But Lawan notified the Representatives and principal members of the House. They asked him to stay action. “When he could no longer withstand it, Lawan decided to grant an interview to Leadership newspaper to alert the nation.” Was the presidency really involved in the set-up to destabilize the house? Going by the war-like mood at the Emergency session of the House of Representatives on Friday and the overwhelming vote of confidence on Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, members had implicitly implicated the government in the whole drama. They have apparently found it difficult to separate the security agency that was involved in a sting operation with Otedola from the Executive arm of government. More often than not, it is believed, security agencies are at the beck and call of the Executive arm. Some members also alleged that Lawan received some strange calls from some top shots in the Executive arm during the sittings of the Ad Hoc Committee. All these remain in the realm of conjectures. But the fact that a trusted friend of the President gave the bribe has created a moral dilemma for the presidency that is already enjoying a smooth relationship with the Legislature. There were rumours that Otedola had allegedly rushed to the presidency with the video tape of the bribery saga before reporting to the police. But the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Dr. Reuben Abati, said: “The Presidency has denounced the lame and diversionary attempt by some newspapers to drag the person and Office of the President into the very unsavory bribe scandal involving the Chairman of the House of Representatives Fuel Subsidy Probe AdHoc Committee and a well-known petroleum products marketer.” Notwithstanding the denial of the presidency, the police attitude towards the giver and taker of the bribe suggested a different body language. Although Otedola voluntarily went to the police, Farouk Lawan personally surrendered too. But while Otedola got a royal treatment, Lawan has to cool off for five days in police custody. A police officer even had the gut to tell Lawan’s lawyers that their client’s detention was “based on orders from above.” The skeptics see this as the case of ‘The hand is Esau’s and the voice Jacob’s.’ What becomes of executive-legislature tie Whatever is the pretence, the bribery saga has created a wedge between the House and the Executive arm. The coming weeks will determine whether the two sides will bury the hatchets or not. The manner in which the House unanimously asked the anti-graft agencies to investigate Otedola’s Zenon Oil and Gas company over the fuel subsidy indicated some anger and readiness for a titfor-tat policy. The scar of Faroukgate will forever haunt the 7th House of Representatives and it will be extremely difficult for the lawmakers to just forgive and forget. And with pen camera now the vogue in the security wing of the Executive arm, a hyena relationship is probably ahead. In coming court battle and moral burden on farouk The in-coming court battle is the only saving grace for Farouk Lawan to save his image. The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke(SAN) has asked the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission to take over Lawan’s case. The onus is on the prosecution to prove its case. But the greater moral burden lies with Lawan, a hitherto man of the people who has to prove all over that he can cast the first stone. Already, the lawmaker has engaged some counsels, Mr. Israel Olorundare(SAN) , Mr. Sam Ologunorisa(SAN) and Chief Mike Ozekhome to fight his cause. After securing bail, the Representative is at liberty to make any evidence at his disposal available to the court in what may look like Mother-of-All trial. If he cannot prove his innocence, his political career is doomed, including his 2015 governorship ambition in Kano State. For now, the Kingmaker has temporarily lost his voice but he may not lose his vote in the long run if he comes out unscathed. What lessons for the nation? The manner in which the cash-for-clearance scandal was exposed has shown that with technology, the war against corruption can be won if the nation is serious. It is a challenge to all to either live above board or be exposed. The security agencies will also need to embrace more hi-tech equipment not only to catch big thieves but to address the armed robbery menace, kidnapping, and terrorism ruining the lives of innocent Nigerians daily.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
It’s very normal to have tattoos –Veezee Baybeh –PAGES 34-39
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
Kehinde Falode Tel: 08023689894 (sms)
•Hot Black Hairstyles •Caroline Bwomono
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
Stripes for all seasons; get the look
TRIPES have always been a fashion trend and still are. Different celebrities have been spotted with the look and you can rock it too. Not only do they look nice, they trim down your physique so it is not only meant for the slim but even better on the plus-sized people. It is a unisex look which looks good on anyone. A gown, top, trousers, skirt or even jacket, you should acquire at least one for your wardrobe. It can also be in your accessories, either bags or shoes; it is something you’ve got to have. The most common ones being used now are the maxi gown and jacket and trousers on the guys.
Metalicus stripes ahoy tank dress
By Omowumi Oguntuase
F you are going with the gown, either long or short, you should use plain accessories and can even pair with a jacket and a scarf for a vintage look. Flat sling backs look nice with the long gown while you can wear ballet flats or heels with the short. Pair the jacket with bright coloured tops or tee shirts and wear with plain trousers or skirts, you can also tuck the inner wear in. For the trousers, pair with bright coloured and matching tops or tee shirts or even corporate shirts and you can tuck it in. This also applies to the guys. Tops, bags or shoes will go well on plain coloured wears. Do not wear more than one striped outfit at a time.
•Carl Thomas •Model
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
It’s all about
healthy diet and an active lifestyle are very essential factors that influence a person’s skin complexion. Eating vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds will ensure that your body receives all the vitamins and minerals it requires in order to function smoothly. Original olive oil is very helpful in attaining healthy skin. You can apply olive oil on your body as well as include it in your diet or for cooking food. Avoid foods rich in saturated fats as this will help in the process of attaining a flawless skin complexion. Alternately, you can eat foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, as they contain unsaturated fatty acids that are beneficial in maintaining skin and hair texture. Fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids. You will also need to take good care of your skin externally, as your diet will only ensure that your skin gets all the required nutrients, in order for it to stay healthy. •Dezray Naidoo Protect your skin from the sun by applying a sun screen lotion. Additionally, always wash your skin after coming indoors. This will help your skin stay clean of the dirt that sticks to its pores. You can apply aloe vera juice on your skin before going to bed. Aloe vera is a natural skin moisturiser and will help keep your skin soft and glowing. You can also use olive oil in order to achieve similar results. Exfoliating your skin twice a week will help you lighten your skin tone effectively. Take two tomatoes and blend them into a pulp. Add 250 grams of unflavoured yoghurt to the tomato pulp. A pinch of turmeric (Atale pupa) and 2 teaspoons of honey mixed with the tomatoes and yoghurt will complete your paste. Apply this paste on your entire body, keeping it on for 15 minutes. After the stipulated time, scrub the paste off using a local sponge (kainkain) and wash your skin with water after that. Tomato is a natural bleaching agent; yoghurt will help keep your skin moisturized. Turmeric has natural skin healing properties that will help cleanse your skin and provide it with a gentle glow. Honey has anti-bacterial properties that will help get rid of bacteria from the surface of the skin. This will help your skin look lighter than before.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
The AMAA event was a night filled with music, celebration and awesome fashion. Some of our favourite celebrities showed off their unique styles on the red carpet for one of the biggest nights in movie world. Kehinde Falode brings you the fashion hits and misses. Absolute nonsense!!! We completely detest the nude plunging neckline look. Triple Oops to YVONNE OKORO Trust RITA DOMINIC to steal the limelight from under everyone else's red carpet. She dazzles in a shaped pink, perfectly punctuated with the most elegant black bow at the waist. Kudos! UCHE JUMBO looks sweet and sophisticated in this yellow and gold number! She glitters so beautifully and looked totally gorgeous. Kudos! Wearing a stunning couture gown, FAITHIA BALOGUN looks elegant and ladylike in the floor-sweeping frock. Kudos! While the floor-length dress isn’t the biggest fashion statement, the beautifully sculpted bodice and silver-embellished, flatters JULIET IBRAHIM'S lean figure perfectly. Kudos! NSE IKPE ETIM’Ss black floor-length gown could have looked so good if only it had come with some sort of lining on the torso. Oops!
•Nse Ikpe Etim
•Rita Dominic •Yvonne Okoro
•Fathia Balogun •Juliet Ibrahim
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
Ejiro Amos Tafari is one of the fastest growing brands in the Nigerian fashion world having stormed the fashion industry after emerging the best student from the Arts and Garment Technology Department of Yaba College of Technology in 2009. A close encounter with the young designer throws a glimpse into her brilliance and passion to make a mark in the dynamic Nigerian fashion industry. In this interview with Kehinde Falode, she speaks about her career and foray into the fashion world
‘Cultures fascinate me’ together? I think about it and try to see it in my mind's eye. If it works, then fantastic, I will proceed. If it doesn't, I will change it around and try again. When you create something, what goes on in your mind? A lot of things race through my mind and a lot of factors contribute. For example, is it aesthetically pleasing, balanced, where it will be worn to, what purpose will it serve, how will the wearer feel, etc? You serve a wide range of colours and designs; when a woman is looking for something suitable to wear, how would she choose the outfit most suitable for her? First of all, the person's style or persona is considered - so the person feels comfortable and not like fish out of water; the body shape and size, then the occasion, so that whatever is chosen is appropriate. How do you intend a woman to feel when wearing an ejiroamostafiri-labelled clothing? Stylish, yet comfortable, sophisticated and chic. What do you have to say to the next generation, particularly to those hoping to follow in your footsteps? Believe in yourself and your dreams and be prepared to work hard to achieve them. Most importantly, trust and rely on God - He never fails. Who would you like to see wearing ejiroamostafiri clothing now? Every upwardly mobile woman! What do you h o p e t o achieve with the label?
•Ejiro Amos Tafiri
FTER the FADAN award, have you been busier than usual? Yes definitely. The brand has grown bigger and stronger, we have done a couple of international fashion shows Arise Magazine fashion week, Origin Africa in Mauritius increased our reach to clientele. When did you decide that you wanted to be a designer? I like to think it was predestined because even though I was a bright science student in secondary school, I went on an excursion that changed my career path. My Clothing and Textile class went on an excursion to Yabatech School of Arts and Fashion section. A chord was struck in me that day, I knew from that day that I wanted to be a fashion designer What did your classmates think when they saw your designs and original creations? Oh! They loved them, and often commented on how creative and talented I was. They spurred me on in my quest and solidified the belief I had in myself, because at that time, my decision to study fashion wasn't well received on the home front. My classmates used to look forward to the handmade things I gave them as birthday presents - they thought they were cool. How do you put your chosen colours
For the brand to grow to a world-class brand, being sold in every major city of the world; For the business to be able to affect lives positively by providing gainful employment for a multitude of people, while solving the clothing and lifestyle needs of millions of people. Are people still spending money on designer labels in this recession? Oh definitely, clothing is a basic need of man - so people will still buy. Although a lot of designer labels also have diffusion lines, which are cheaper, cheerful and give consumer a wider range of choices. How do you get inspiration for your labels? God is the major source. Although I'm usually influenced by cultures that fascinate me. What's exciting right now in fashion? The whole world is looking to Africa for inspiration, so, by default it is a great time to be an African designer and to be part of the revolution! What is style to you? It is the way you put yourself together clothes, accessories, makeup, etc, and the grace and finesse with which you carry yourself. Descirbe your style. Simple, fun and chic. What determines what you wear? Usually my mood and itinerary for the day.
•Model •Model •Model
With VICTOR AKANDE
DJ Zeez may unveil clothing line soon
S •Blessing Egbe
Two Brides and a Baby out in DVD
CTRESS, Blessing Egbe's movie, Two Brides and a Baby, has been released into DVD. Two Brides and a Baby features a mix of very established and up-andcoming acts including the amiable Stella Damasus, Kalu Ikeagwu, Blessing Egbe, Chelsea Eze, O.C Ukeje, Keira Hewatch, Okey Uzoeshi and a host of others in this romantic drama. The movie tells the story of Keche and Bankole, who had a chance to showcase what they thought was a perfect union. They planned for a very beautiful wedding and hoped for a blissful life thereafter, until the unexpected happened. Now they must together fight for what they believe in or forever lose their hope of a happy life together.
•Skuki with Davido
Davido’s song linked with copyright hitch
ARELY two hours after Davido's new single, No Visa, which features Shina Rambo, got leaked online last Tuesday, music sensation, Skuki, officially released his most anticipated single, Move it. Both songs possess a semblance of same beat, too close to be different. Thus, reactions have begun to trail both singers, hinging on whose beat is it originally. We couldn't immediately get Davido and Skuki's reactions to know the original owner of the beat as at the time of filing this report but in what could be said
to be a quick response, Davido's twitter handle reads: "Leaking my song will only make me stronger. As for now, I have removed No Visa and Enter the Centre from My album. U Happy Abi". Fillers have it that Skuki may be the original owner of the beat. A source says, "they co-produced the beat with their childhood friend, Theorysound, before Davido showed interest in it and the latter played it for him." The source said, "Davido's team was present when Theorysound played the yet-to-be-released Skuki's song and Davido said he wanted the same beat for his
song." The former was said to be surprised to discover that Davido has gone ahead of them to use the beat in his documentary premiered during his Canada tour held last month. "They called Davido's management who promised them the beat wasn't going to be used for Davido's song only for them to see him using it in his leaked song, No Visa. I am very sure they called him and he apologised and promised not to include it in his debut album, which was the reasons he twitted," the source said.
ENSATIONAL singer, DJ Zeez, is set to join the list of celebrity clothiers on the entertainment scene. Though, the singer has kept this plan secret, we can authoritatively say that that is what he's up to at the moment and he's working vigorously to make sure that he unveils his new feat later in this year. Whilst DJ Zeez has refused to speak on his plan, a source very close to the singer said he may unveil his clothing line before the last quarter of the year. He said the decision by the singer to go into clothing line is not farfetched. “DJ Zeez ranks among Nigerian musicians with the finest looks. And not only that, he's known for his good sense of fashion which he has now decided to share with his fans and all who share his fashion sense,” the source disclosed.
I didn’t beat my wife—K Solo
• K Solo with hi s wife,
• K Solo
OLOMON Oyeniyi, popularly called K Solo, has refuted the allegation of battery him. The story had started when the singer's wife, Kikelomo, was said to have granted an interview to a newspaper, claiming that her husband had turned her into a punching bag for refusing to comply to his material demands, after she had spent about 3.5 million naira on their wedding. K Solo had followed suit with a press statement issued on
Thursday, June 7, 2012. It reads in part: “Over the past three days, I have been inundated with phone calls, text messages and emails from fans, friends, family members and well-wishers from all over Nigeria and abroad over allegations of wife battery, assault and thievery by my wife, Mrs. Kikelomo Oyeniyi, as contained in an interview she granted City People Magazine. “I make bold to say that as much as no union is without its own trials and tribulations, I have never laid hands on my wife and will never because I have got sisters and a mother. I am a hardworking young man that
has been in the music industry for over a decade and do not need any woman's wealth to live. This is our own trying time and we would surmount it one way or the other.” He said further: “Mistakes have been made and they would be redressed, God willing. Let no man be the judge of another man's deeds or misdeeds, let God and law take their courses. I hereby implore everybody to please appreciate and understand that this is a very difficult moment for me and my immediate family, and I would not wish to comment on this issue any further. God help us all.”
She got into the hearts of entertainment lovers with her performance in Skales' Mukulu video, earning her the title of the number one video vixen, but Venita Akpofure, aka Veezee Baybeh, says she has a lot more to offer the industry. OVWE MEDEME caught up with her on the set of a sitcom where she talks about life in front of the camera, her mission in the movie industry and other issues.
OU are making an entry into the movie scene. How is that working out for you? I am just trying to do something outside the whole modeling stuff I am known for. Acting is something models do as part of their job. We have to convey different emotions and different moods. It is natural what I do, but at the same time, I have zero training and experience. I have a friend in the industry who was in Uche Jombo's Damage. His name is Moses, but I call him Sneeze. He asked me to try my hands on acting. I hadn't really done anything before, but everyone kept saying I would make a good actress. I tried it and I am here today. I don't regret it. I love it. Before acting, what were you doing? I am a video model but besides that, I model for other stuff. I do advertising, magazine covers and fashion shows. Generally speaking, I am an all round model. I do novelty runway as well. It wasn't just about the videos; though I was best known for them because that is what most of the people get to see. Not everybody will buy a magazine and not everybody will go to a lounge in Eko Hotel to see a fashion show. There was a much bigger picture before that. As your first time on a movie set, what memories are you holding on to? I don't know where to begin. I don't think that I would ever come across any crew that is remotely similar, any set that is as strong or a group of people that are as talented and as crazy as these ones. As my first experience, this impression is very profound. I now know what to expect in other situations. Every person on this set is somebody that is honest and has a good heart. We try to be straight forward. We have our moments, we have our egos but we love each other. There is no way we would have allowed the negativity to come between us. You have been regular on the runway, but did you experience any form of stage fright on your first set? I actually didn't feel pressured in any form. I was scared at my audition, but I was not scared of being here. I just put in my best because I want to come out number one. I just knew that whatever it was, though I haven't done it before, I knew I would get there.
It’s very normal to have tattoos
—Veezee Baybeh the likes of Ice Prince and Skales? It was normal experience. Although I am Nigerian, I only spent about five years of my life here. So, I don't really fully grasp the gravitational effect some of these artistes have had in the industry. On set, I try to handle people one-onone. Working with them is fine. Ice Prince is my homeboy so it wasn't a big deal working with him. We chilled, we had fun. It was just like my normal day of chilling. Skales is a sweetheart. He is much younger then I am. I am a very old mama. He is shy and more quiet. That was a lot more going. I had fun and it was okay. Are you saying the money is not important to you? You have to start somewhere. Sometimes I am not very humble, at other times, I could be humble. I can honestly tell you that it would not make sense to me if people said she is bad actress and I get paid a whole bunch after which I don't get any more job. It makes more sense for me to get paid a small amount and people see that I have crazy talent. I would definitely choose that option. Where did you grow up? I went to Primary School in Benin City, but I was born and raised in the UK. I love my childhood. It was perfect. Between the ages of four and ten, I was in Benin and Warri. Every other time, I was in the UK until I came back to explore my options in my country.
What did you study? I studied fashion and marketing. Does it have anything with why you chose to trot the runway? Not necessarily. obviously I like fashion but when you study it as a course, you get to understand everything and you will have a much deeper appreciation of something that appears just as a fabric or a T-shirt. That is what I studied, that is what I am into and that is what I would like to probably go into as a personal business venture. Do you have any tattoos on you? I have them on me. The ones on my arm are some of my initials. A lot of people find tattoos weird. Why do you carry it? I don't find it weird at all. I am sorry if it offends anybody. Actually, I am not really that sorry. Like I said, I was born and raised in London where things like that are very normal. It is very normal to have tattoos; it is very normal to have piercings. My parents are Nigerians though my father is mixed, so they have their own traditional views on tattoos even though it is much more compliant, much more relaxed. I got my first tattoo at 21. It wasn't something that I rushed into. How many of them do you have? I have three for now. Do you also have piercings? I used to have a lot of them. I have less now. I sacrificed the piercings for my work.
He cut his teeth as the host of the now-rested Nokia First Chance, and ever since he has never looked back. Born Olowu Bardia Adebola, IllRymz is regarded as one of Nigeria's most versatile TV personalities as he has gone on to successfully carve a niche for himself as a TV personality. The mulatto entertainer opens up on his several passions and his rare collaboration with Femi Kuti in this interview with AHMED BOULOR.
Anyone whose primary objective is just to gain attention is bound to have their career short-lived
As far as acting is concerned, after this set, what is next? I have been receiving proposals. I will be maintaining my career as a model, but I will definitely take my time in choosing my next screen project. We shall see about that but definitely, there are things on-going. Right now, you are doing a sitcom. How far do you intend to take it? To be honest, I just want to be recognised for being good at what I do and for being successful as opposed to all of the attention. Obviously, it comes with the package but that is not my primary objective. Anyone whose primary objective is just to gain attention is bound to have their career short-lived. I love what I do and I would like to receive respect and commendatio n for it. What was the experience working with
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
How much of your parent's influence is reflected on your career? My parents don't just sit there and tell me I must do this or do that. What they do is advice me and guide me in any venture that I choose especially whenever they see that I was straying off. They have done their best. Sometimes, they have really had to push against me to get me back on track. I owe them everything in this world. Anything I can give back to them wouldn't even be enough. My mother and father have done more than enough for me and I think it is due time I started paying them back. Are you currently seeing someone? Yes, I am in a relationship. Is he comfortable with your being in the arts? He is comfortable to a degree. We were friends first. There was no side indication on the horizon that we would ever be more than friends so he has had to deal with me as a person and as a friend. He is very okay with what I do. Obviously, with the transition now, he has small concerns but he trusts me to let me do what I want to do. How do you handle those concerns? I call him every day when I have free time in-between scenes. When somebody is on your mind, it shows. He knows he is on my mind quite often. Whenever those concerns come up, we just talk about them. He has been my homie before anything What if those small concerns become big? I will deal with that when we get there. He also works, not in entertainment, but around entertainment. He does other things as well. I probably have more to worry about than he does. How much of your culture is still in you? My parents did a fantastic job considering the fact that they have very crazy children who thought they were English for a long time. I still have brothers and sisters who think they are English. I have a Red Passport of course but nothing is sweeter than home. There are some foods I don't like to eat but that is normal with everybody. I swallow, I speak pidgin. What is your favourite swallow? I enjoy egusi soup with pounded yam. I also love Ogbono soup. Believe it or not, I actually know how to make these things. I might not make Ogbono very well but I know how to make egusi soup off the top. I can prepare pepper soup, jollof rice and other African dishes. You are from Delta State Yes, I am from Delta State and I am proud. How familiar are you with the traditional delta dishes? I don't like starch but I can make banga soup. My mother loves owo soup but I don't really like it. I like banga soup but it is not my first soup on the list. It would be like number five. How do you unwind? The work is fun enough for me. I unwind with people that I care about in very private sessions. However way we decide to chill is the way we chill but whatever it is, it stays personal.
LEASE do tell us a bit about yourself… My name is Ill, aka Illie, aka your Big Hommie. I'm just some guy who just pops up on your TV and radio and has fun and does cool TV and radio shows. I was christened Olowu Bardia Adebola at birth; a whole lot of people are somewhat surprised when they discover I have such names because of my looks. What explains your style and personality? I am an easy going person, and my hairstyle which most people see as my identity is totally random. When I was younger, my hair was straight and curly because I am a mixed breed; I had to comb it all the time and there was a point I said to myself that I couldn't do it anymore. So my hair just naturally turned into locks a few months later and that was it. I started getting positive compliments from people and that was how my dreadlocks came to stay. Could you recall your time as a young boy growing up? Growing up was really exciting and when I was less busy, I was always playing video games and sharing special moments with my family. I also grew up listening to all kinds of music and I have been singing and rapping for a long time. What was the reception like from your parents when they discovered you had a penchant for music and entertainment in general? It all started like child's play because I used to model when I was a lot younger. Then, I was in high school and my parents thought I would outgrow the love I had for entertainment. While still modeling, I later started writing scripts for advertising agencies who handled pitching for commercials. My folks later told me that they wanted me to go to school abroad, but I didn't really like the idea because I wanted to be here. I wanted to establish myself here; so I came to a compromise with my parents. I always want to be here; I later attended the University of Lagos and I was also working too. How were you able to strike a balance with working, schooling and developing your passion for entertainment before you became a graduate? I am just a stubborn guy I must say (laughs); I think it is all about being level headed and doing what you want to do. Going to school was all about being certified, but I was also learning every day. I was learning through life, through my jobs, through starting
I almost lost the bid to co-host Nigerian Idol—IllR Idol —IllRymz
an on-line magazine in Nigeria and going into television. I didn't let it go into my head that I was already appearing on Soundcity and before that on Nigezie. I was always a regular student; I always attended classes and did my exams like a regular student. It was by the grace that I got that kind of balance. It was hard to strike the balance, but I have always loved what I do and I try to put my all into whatever activity that I indulge in. You have anchored major shows such as Nokia First Chance, Soundcity, Nigezie, Global Countdown Show, Sprite Triple Slam, G-Bam and many more; what in your estimation gave you the edge to be selected for such shows? I think it is just hard work; I put in a hundred and fifty per cent in whatever I do. Even if you are paying me N50 or I am doing a free show. I guess it is the good works that they have seen that has given me the seeming edge. I am about doing my best and allowing my works to speak for me; it is not by my power because I don't do too many jobs but luckily for me, the few ones I have done have gotten me to where I am today. How did you feel when you were selected to be the co-host of Nigerian Idol reality TV show? It was cool. I think I was always meant to host Nigerian Idol (general laughter). But initially we had issues because I just finished the G-Bam show and people thought I was contracted to Globacom. I almost didn't host the show but we sorted out things later. I think I need to say this; brands need to understand that I am into service business and I am an entertainer. I am not signed onto any brand; I welcome business from anybody because I am in a service business. What is the weirdest thing a female fan has done to you? (Laughs and takes a deep breath) I don't want to go there; no comments… How does a guy as good looking as you contain his female fans? I love all my female fans; they are all so nice to me. I try to relate with them whenever the opportunity presents itself and they are my source of inspiration. Is there any lucky girl you are in love with at the moment?
I am an easy going person, and my hairstyle which most people see as my identity is totally random. When I was younger, my hair was straight and curly
My bros that one na JAMB question oh! All I can say is that I am a nice guy and my relationship is personal. Is it true that going into TV for you was accidental? That's true! At a point, I used to work for a VS company and we specialized in selling mobile content. It was at that same company that I started one of the first online magazine. I heard about the show called Nokia First Chance at the time and I decided to get in touch with the organisers. I set out to buy mobile rights for the contestants and sell them on a mobile platform like their songs and pictures because no one was doing that at the time. I would like to say a big thank you to Segun Giwa the producer of the show because he was largely responsible for making me go into TV presentation. He and the other crew members convinced me to eventually be the host of Nokia First Chance. I later got home and told my friends about the offer and they said I should grab it with both hands because before then, I was always complaining about the quality of programmes on Nigerian TV and they felt that was an opportunity for me to set my own kind of standard. The next day, I went to conclude my meeting with Segun and he told me that they want me to host the show because they were having issues with the initial presenter that was contracted to anchor the show. I finally agreed to host the show and since then, I have not looked back. Before the show ended, I got offers from Nigezie and some other stations but I worked for Nigezie for a while before moving on to Soundcity. How did you come about the name IllRymz? I have been into rapping and singing for a long time and my friends in school used to comment on my rap songs saying my 'rhymes are ill'. So I decided to coin a stage name off such comments and that was how I came about the stage name IllRymz. How are plans taking shape for your debut album? That album has been in the works for close to ten years; I have been recording music since when we had very few music studios. It's amazing sometimes when I look back and I remember when I recorded my first demo and I am happy that I can put out my music at a time when most Nigerian's are ready for it. My first music video will be out later on this month and I am so nervous about it. How did you hook up with Femi Kuti to collaborate on your current single? It was hard to get him but hard work pays off; I was producing a television show for Soundcity then called Express Music and I said to myself that no one has actually shot a video at the Afrika Shrine at the time. So I said to myself that I needed to talk to Femi about shooting at the Shrine. I met with Yeni first and she was really instrumental in making me eventually have the collaboration with Femi. She first convinced Femi to allow me shoot at the Shrine and I also got the chance to collaborate with him on my recent single entitled 'Teacher'.
Sport&Style SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
SIZZLING SHAYK RONALDO’S GAL
shows off her hot curves
menike xhales ‘I LOVE RUSSIAN BABES’
E BY TAIWO ALIMI
MMANUEL Emenike, Spartak Moscow’s Nigerian striker, said he’s coping well with life in Moscow despite the allure of the famed gorgeous Russian Babes. Russian ladies are known around the globe for their magnificence, which never fails to draw men and it is said that it’s the dream of most men ‘to date scorching Russian women!’ Emenike was indeed bullish when pressed about his relationship with the beautiful Russian girls: “Russian girls are tantalizing, beautiful, they love black guys and life is good with them because they admire good football. “But I can tell you that I am coping well with them and also know that I have to be careful with them. When they come for my autograph, I sign it and have a look at them. Why won’t I look? There is no crime in looking and loving them but I’m very careful. “The ball is in my court and I am always careful how I play it. However my business here is to play football and make Contd. on pg 38
CUTE COUPLE Man U star whisks TV diva to Dubai CATHERINE
‘I fell for my hubby at the stadium’
SPORT&STYLE SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
T'S the time of year when most WAGs find themselves being taken away on luxurious holidays just before pre-season training starts. And despite only dating Tom Cleverley for a short time TOWIE star Georgina Dorsett is certainly enjoying the perks of being footballer. The 27-year-old Essex beauty found herself whisked away on a romantic break to Dubai thanks to her Manchester United player beau. And from the looks of things as they soaked up the sunshine by the pool things are certainly hotting up between the couple.Georgina showed off her curves in a mis-matched bikini and it's clear that Tom is smitten. He couldn't take his eyes of his girlfriend who displayed her enviable figure in a bright pink top and printed bikini bottoms. The pair were seen holding hands as they made their way to sunloungers looking for a good spot to enjoy the beautiful day. As they lay down to catch some rays the reality star couldn't keep her hands off her hunky man and was seen playing with his hair.The couple were also seen taking a dip in the pool in the luxury resort. Last month it emerged that the pair were dating and were said to have been on a string of dates. But after enjoying a romantic holiday together there is little doubt things have quickly become much more serious. The gorgeous reality TV star – who has always insisted she has no interest in dating any of her co-stars – has been cheering up the injured Manchester United midfielder, whose season was cut short with a foot and ankle injury. The couple enjoyed a flirty dinner near Georgina’s home in Chigwell, Essex and she has even introduced her new love to her closest friends. Toyboy Tom, 22 is five years younger than Georgina and while his footballer mates have been teasing him about dating a TOWIE castmember, they
SHAYK S ’ O D L RONA ows h s L A G r e h f f o s e v r u hot c
he's one of the hottest women in the world. And if it wasn't proven before, Irina Shayk has now set about showing off just how sizzling she can be.
The Russian model has posed for one of her most sultry photo shoots yet to grace the cover and inside pages of Germany's GQ magazine. In one picture Cristiano Ronaldo's girlfriend is seen wearing nothing but a small pair of black briefs with heels and a gaping open red jacket. She suggestively hitches her long right leg up while she smoulders at the camera with her wet-look hair and cleavage on show. Shayk can be seen in the same outfit on the cover of the July Issue of German GQ. Irina took to a roof top pool in New York to pose for the impressive pictures for the exclusive shoot. In another image she strips to just a bikini and climbs up the pool steps as she flicks her dark locks back. And in one of the most revealing pictures, Irina struts along in a
floorlength black dress which is split all the way up to reveal her right bottom cheek, while her left breast is also suggestively revealed. Irina wears a chunky gold bracelet to complete the look and match her gold shoes. She also showed her credentials in a lingerie and swimwear shoot for the magazine which emphasised her long legs and svelte frame. In a special behind the scenes video, Irina can be seen doing what she does best as she professionally poses for the camera man for the GQ shoot. The catwalk star has posted the clip on her Twitter page, alongside the words: 'Check out some behind the scenes video from my GQ Magazine Germany shoot, shot by Yu Tsai.'
Wozniacki to debut underwear line
Georgina Dorsett whisked away to Dubai by Man U star
Lewis frolics with Nicole Scherzinger in Italy
uring her time with the Pussycat Dolls, Nicole Scherzinger sang about men who wanted their girlfriend to be 'hot like me'. So F1 racing driver can certainly be forgiven for looking entirely smitten with his gorgeous partner as the pair holidayed on the Italian Riviera. The 33-year-old singer showed off her incredible figure in a tiny bandeau two-piece as the two reclined on sunloungers poolside at their hotel. And Lewis couldn't keep his eyes off his gorgeous girl, pulling her in for plenty of kisses in between enjoying cocktail. The 27-year-old sportsman, dressed casually in a white top and striped swimming shorts, gazed adoringly at Nicole as she soaked up the sunshine, following her boyfriend's performance in the Monaco Grand Prix over the weekend.
& S E S KIS ES L D D U C
As well as enjoying the warm weather by the pool, the pair were later seen enjoying a romantic stroll around the grounds of their hotel. Nicole, who had put on a white vest dress over her bikini, kept her arm around Lewis as the pair walked along. And at one point Lewis appeared to decide the location would make a perfect holiday snap, getting Nicole to pose up with a flower as he took a picture on his phone. Later on the break, Nicole and Lewis decided to head out for a romantic evening meal. Nicole changed into a cute floral dress, while Lewis wore a T-shirt and jeans, before popping along to a local restaurant.And the pair's romance didn't stop then. In between courses at the eatery, Nicole and Lewis couldn't resist pulling each other in for even more kisses and cuddles. After Lewis pushed Nicole's hair away from her face, the singer beamed delightedly at him before the couple enjoyed a romantic clinch. Nicole and Lewis' relationship appears to be going from strength to strength after their split last year. The pair were spotted together again in February this year, after splitting last October.
HE has spoken about how she likes to experiment with her style and it appears that Cheryl Cole felt like showing off her spots in Paris. The 28-year-old singer was spied leaving her hotel in a short LBD which boasted leopard print panels and zip detail. The frock also had powder blue and asparagus green sections as well as zip detail down the front and up the back. While Cheryl has said she has been enjoying clashing styles lately she matched her £320 Ksubi dress with a towering pair of Charlotte Olympia heels. The Polly calf hair and leather pumps cost £740 and boast a six inch heel with a one and a half inch platform at the front.
! t c e f rr r
r u PCheryl showriss he a P n i spots
o Caroline Wozniacki is turning to the world of undergarments for her next challenge. The not-so-creatively-titled Caroline Wozniacki Collection will debut in September, with the tagline, "This is me." Wozniacki will pose in bras and bottoms for the line's marketing, from Danish underwear maker JBS. From her agent, John Tobias: "The whole premise of the shoot is her in her most intimate moments, alone in her bedroom or in the
Few days ago, Cheryl was seen heading to the Crazy Horse in the French capital and wore a bright tangerine dress with extremely high lime wedges. The Geordie singer recently spoke about her personal style and said she has got much braver since her solo career has evolved. Speaking to Vogue TV she said: 'I have got braver on this album because I've gone for complete pattern clashes which goes against all the rules. Crazy colour and pattern and clashing which is something I have never done before, but I was ready for this album.' While Cheryl has been busy in Paris her former Girls Aloud co-star Sarah Harding was seen heading into the studio in London. In a recent interview with Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles, Sarah's bandmate Cheryl Cole said: 'It's coming up to our tenth anniversary in November and we all want to do something to celebrate it, so watch out!' But while Cheryl plans to take to the stage with Sarah, Nadine, Kimberley Walsh and Nicola Roberts she has just announced her own UK solo tour. The Million Lights arena tour kicks off in October just a month before the girls anniversary the following month. Cheryl recently found herself in hot water after trying to charge fans £350 for the chance to meet her backstage during the tour.
bathroom after competition." Added none other than Billie Jean King, to Sports Business Journal: "I don't think there is any difference for the men or the women. The guys have been endorsing underwear for years and if Michael Jordan and Tim Tebow can secure a deal, why can't Caroline?" Wozniacki hasn't won a tournament since August 2011 and has fallen from No. 1 at the start of 2012 to No. 9 in the rankings. However, she's now priming herself for a title run in the negligee department.
Sport&Style SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
Emenike with team mate
Kate edum with Super Eagles coach Keshi
‘I LOVE RUSSIAN
play it. However my business here is to play football and make fans happy.” Outside the football pitch, Emenike hinted that he has settled in well in the massive city and his arrival was a good omen for the club which culminated in winning their first trophy since 2003.Excerpts.... How do you relax off the pitch? I love listening to music and mingle out with my friends and also going to motherless babies to play with children and pay my dues. Of course you must be in a relationship. Can you reveal your love one for us? How do you know that I am in a relationship? Well, I’m single but not searching. Is she a Nigerian or foreigner? I don’t know I am still a young player who has a lot to give in this game and it is too early to be in revelation of my girl. When the time comes, I will make it public. So when are you working down the aisle? Marriage? Not now at all. It is not even in three year from now. But I can consider in four to five years from now. I am not ready for marriage right now. It is too early for me. How do you cope with Russian girls? Russian girls are tantalizing, beautiful, they love black guys and life is good with them because they admire good football. But I can tell you that I am coping well with them and also know that I have to be careful with them.
Contd. from pg 35
‘I fell for my hubby at the stadium’ BY MORAKINYO ABODUNRIN
ADAM Catherine Paul Edum, Nigeria’s first female supporters’ club leader has sensationally revealed how she met her husband on the soccer pitch, adding:’ what sport has joined together let no man put apart!’ “We actually met here,” 55-year-old Edum who is the first woman to be appointed as a state chapter’s chair of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC), said in an interview conducted within the confines of the U.J Esuene Sports Stadium in Calabar. “I was playing volleyball for the state and he was playing for Calabar Rovers then, it is a long story but we are happily married with grown up children now.” Edum said he’s still holding it close to her chest what actually attracted him to Mr. Paul Edum, the erstwhile captain of defunct Calabar Rovers since ‘some things are better kept.’ Meanwhile, Edum is first among her peers since she started the Cross River State’s chapter of the NFSC from the scratch in the face of daunting challenges. It is the measure of her efforts that the NFSC is waxing strong with over 60 strong members and still counting. She is always at the forefront of all football-related activities in the state, saying that Calabar would remain the cradle of Nigerian football in words and deeds. “Of course, there are other challenges I faced while setting up the state’s chapter of the Nigeria Football supporters Club in view of the fact that our society is dominated by men,” added Mrs Edum in an exclusive interview. Significantly, this interview was conducted hours after Lydia Nsereka, the president of the Burundi Football Association, broke the barrier to become the first woman ever to sit on the executive committee of soccer's ruling body, FIFA, fuelling Edum’s enthusiasm that the future of football is indeed feminine. She enthused that football would remain the ‘beautiful game’ if more and more women are encouraged to break into the fraternity that had long been an exclusive preserve of the men folk. Like Nsereka who is currently the only female president of a national soccer association anywhere in the world, Edum relishes in the joy that she is presently the only female chairman of the NFSC: “To the glory of God, I’m the first woman to be chairman of a state chapter of the NFSC and I’m of the opinion that many women should be encouraged to take active role in football.” Apart from her active role in NFSC, Edum said she is very much at home with some of the attributes that accentuate the women folk: dutiful house wife, hardworking teacher as well as being a member of the Cross River Football Association’s Youth and Female Football Committee. “I still cherish my role as a house wife and luckily for me, my children are grown
up now,” she said matter-of-factly. “I’m not nursing a baby since my last born is 23 years old and he is already an adult. So I have time to do things outside the home.” Excerpts... STARTING NFSC “In April 2009, I applied to the headquarters of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club in Lagos about the need for Cross River State is granted the permit to have a state chapter because I felt it wasn’t fair because of what Calabar stood for in Nigerian football. Calabar is the home of football in Nigeria and this was actually where the first ball was kicked in the country yet, we have no chapter of the NFSC. I thought that wasn’t fair at all because the NFSC has been in existence since the 1960s. Don’t forget that our people are so passionate about football and without any exaggeration; we have the best soccer fans here and I felt there was the need to organise ourselves properly. CHALLENGES “Luckily, we have a super supporter in Senator Liyel Imoke, the Executive Governor of Cross River State who is so passionate about sports and he has helped us a great deal in having an effective supporters club on ground. Last year, he assisted us immensely in the official inauguration and launching of the state chapter of the NFSC. We can’t be lucky than that because the Governor is our benefactor. Of course, there are other challenges in view of the fact that our society is dominated by men but to the glory of God, I’m the first woman to be chairman of a state chapter of the NFSC. BACKGROUND IN SPORT “I was an athlete in my younger years and I represented Cross River State at the first National Sports Festival in 1973, in Lagos. I equally represented the state at the second and third national Sports Festival before I finally retired after the All Teachers Training College Games held in Ondo in 1980. I actually participated in volleyball and shot put and I’m happy with my modest background in sports. It might interest you to know that I’m married to a former star footballer, Mr. Paul Edum who once captained Calabar Rovers Football Club. He also coached Calabar Rovers and at present, the technical director of The Nigeria Soccer Academy based here in Calabar. MANAGING MY TIME “I have been lucky working with so many wonderful people and this has given me the chance to be able to divide my time without one aspect suffering for another. I’m actually a teacher and I have put in about 34 years in the service but if there is an important football assignment for instance, I’m usually excused from work.”
When they come for my autograph, I sign it and have a look at them. Why won’t I look? There is no crime in looking and loving them but I’m very careful. The ball is in my court and I am always careful how I play it. However my business here is to play football and make fans happy. You won the first major trophy in your career with Spark Moscow in a matter of six month, how do you feel about this? I’m glad to be part of Spartak’s history because that was the first major trophy for the club for quite some time and making an impact in the team’s success is a great one for me. You were awarded the Player of the month and Spartak’s third best player of the season, how do you feel about these? I am flattered. I never believe it will come so soon. But I have not reached my main stage. God has really helped me and the fans have been fantastic too. I just pray to keep it going like this. How true is the rumour that big clubs in England like Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham are trying to bring you to Premiership? I have not heard anything like that from my club and I don’t think I am ready to leave this club now. I understand the fact that when you are at your peak and you are helping your club to move ahead and when your name is all over the news due to one thing or the other, there will be news and speculations, even some people will use your name to make money but no matter what I thank God for everything but I am not ready to leave Spartak. Don’t you think playing in the English Premiership would make you a better player? I have put everything about my career before God and when it is time for me to play in England, God will do it. I don’t like listening to rumour about my career. I do watch some games in England and UEFA Champions League and playing at the highest stage is my priority for now. But I don’t fancy English football; I will rather choose Spain, probably Real Madrid. Why do you like Spanish League? Because of my style of play but that does not mean I cannot play in any other league but I love Spanish football but I love visiting London for shopping and holidays. But playing for Real Madrid must be a tall dream, Isn’t it? I don’t doubt my ability and there nothing any striker can do that Emenike cannot do... it’s just a matter of time in my career. I know where I am going and I believe with the grace of God, I will be there.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
The Indian Film and Television Directors Association (IFTDA) has taken the lead in planning the centenary celebrations of Indian cinema in 2013, as record has it that the first Indian film 'Raja Harishchandra' by Dadasaheb Phalke was released in 1913. As a precursor to the centenary year celebrations, the executive committee of IFTDA is said to be planning events, shows, retrospectives and other activities showcasing the 100 years of Indian cinema that would pan across the whole of 2012. Below is an attempt at a review of the Indian film industry
A centenary of
i Incinema d an
EW Delhi - It's been a hundred years, and yet the fascination for movies has not faded for a nation of one billion Indians. The first Indian motion picture Raja Harischandra was produced and released in India in 1913, barely a year after the world's first motion picture was made in 1912. The Times of India, India's major newspaper then, hailed it as "the marvel of the century". As writer and essayist Mukul Kesavan wrote, "The art of the cinema was fashioned in India at the same time as it was developed in the West". It's no mean feat that India produces more films across all its regions than Hollywood. Despite rising production costs, India continues to lead in terms of quantity. Nearly 130 films were released out of Bollywood in the year ending 2011, and the numbers from Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi, Bhojpuri, Assamese, Gujarati, Oddisa, and other north-eastern states take the toll over 1,000. Indian cinema has prided itself on being a sole distraction and leisure industry for nearly a century, in a country where allied entertainment forms like music or the fashion industry are subservient to the glamour that cinema and its stars bring. From rock chic to glamour, to dress and design, creating indelible images and daily references, business, politics and sports, travel destinations and colloquialisms, violence and sexuality, hero-worshipping and icon-making, Indian cinema had and continues to provide templates and set trends. The Mumbai-based Hindi film industry, nicknamed Bollywood, sets the pace for style, fads, and fashion for the young and restless Indian audience between 13 and 30. G Venket Ram, fashion and film professional, says: "The marriage between films and fashion and social trends is never as close as in India". Romantic melodrama - or, in India cinemaesque-speak, masala entertainment - remains the staple of Indian cinema across the 15 or more regional language movie industries across the country. However, in the 21st century, things have changed. Bollywood,
India's most widely watched Hindi moviedom, is changing its plot. As Shoojit Sircar, the filmmaker of the Hindi sleeper-hit Vicky Doner put it, "Indian cinema is welcoming real and new rolecasts for its stereotyped characters". Indian cinema in all languages delved into Indian mythologies and Hindu religious texts for themes and storylines when it began. Following the nation's independence, the 1930s and 40s were marked by socialist themes and the fight against poverty and society for the marginalised. The 1960s brought global winds of colour and hippie couture. The themes, however, continued to follow the rich and evil versus the poor and virtuous, the rural good guy and the city bad guy formula. The 1970s and 1980s saw the advent of the megastar syndrome. Actors like Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan from Bollywood, MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, Rajnikanth, NT Rama Rao, Raj Kumar from south India, Uttam Kumar, Prosenjit Chatterjee from Bengal became icons, deified and glorified according to the regional culture and sensibilities. Fans set themselves ablaze or shed blood to show their affection for their superstars. Outsiders' charge N the 21st century, Indian cinema is both revisiting and breaking new grounds. New Bollywood is now led by "outsiders". These are actors and filmmakers who do not belong to any fil m families or yesteryear studio honcho heirs, which are a very tight-knit lobby. Vishal Bhardwaj, Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Sujoy Ghosh, Tigmanshu Dhulia, and Vikramaditya Motwane are filmmakers who make small budget movies, with some released internationally at Cannes and Toronto, and are making movies that are edgy,
gritty, noiresque and true to real life. They are a far cry from the ostentatious, over-the-top entertainers set in European and American locations imitating Hollywood teen rom-coms. Female filmmakers like Reema Kagti, Zoya Akhtar in Hindi and Aparna Sen in Bengali, Revathi in Tamil are making sure female voices and perspectives are being highlighted in Indian cinema. As national award winning filmmaker K V Anand says, "As Indian audiences embrace globalisation its cinema too had adapted to the growing need for different plots, newer characters and contemporary storylines. Bollywood was called pan-Indian and was characterised by a north Indian sensibility and for a conventional Indian audience residing abroad". The cash-rich Telugu cinema is reinventing mythological and fantasy tales like the smash hit Maghadheera and with Hollywood-inspired special effects and tie-ups with Walt Disney Pictures in Anaganaga Oka Dheerudu. Tamil cinema is making realistic gritty rustic dramas located in the rural hinterland and fantasy films harking to the origins of the Tamil kings of pre historic times. The Bengali movie industry from the east, which battled financial crunches, has now made a comeback, with a slew of contemporary
tales with slick filmmaking techniques and chamber dramas, retelling classic novellas and stories. "The Indians showed immediate enthusiasm for this exciting novelty."Yves Thoraval, French cinephile Thus the famous Bollywood template from the 1980s to 2000 was large, broad and flat. People were rich or poor as per the country's economic status, beauty was commodified as per the latest rock chick regalia in the West and Indian sensibilities that included family values, traditional and orthodox views of female sexuality prevailed, and good and evil were always in black or white. Heroes were valorous, heroines gamine, and villains leering and evil. It is now edgier, experimental, has now brought from regional cinema from south and east and infused colour. From the silent pictures to the talkies, from black and white to Technicolor, from cinemascope to hand-held devices, Indian cinema has kept pace with global cinema in its longevity and its ability to make a sub-continent dream a little larger. French cinephile Yves Thoraval, author of The Cinemas of India, recalls at the advent of the first Indian movie, "The Indians showed immediate enthusiasm for this exciting novelty". A century later, the excitement, enthusiasm and madness for movies have only got madder â€”Source: Al Jazeera
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
Tiwa Savage, Omawunmi, Waje in tour with the stars
ENIN City, Saturday, June 9 experienced the buzz and excitement of Star Trek in a night of music and fun. In concert was none other than D'Banj, one of Nigeria's biggest music superstars who coincidentally marked his birthday the same day. The 'Koko Master' thus used the opportunity to celebrate his 32nd birthday on the Star Trek stage and connecting with his fans at the Sandfield, off Etete Road venue of the concert. He was joined on stage by hip hop artiste, Ikechukwu, who was originally not part of the Star Trek artiste line-up. K Switch, his brother and former Mo Hits artiste, was also present to add spice to D'Banj's performance. Quite unlike the usual performance of miming on stage, D'Banj played with a live band. Prior to D'Banj's performance, Mavin Records First Lady and talented songstress, Tiwa Savage entertained the crowd. Tiwa Savage, who was on Star Trek for the first time, kicked off her performance with O Ma Ga O, from the Solar Plexus MixTape, released under Mavin Records. The
songstress also remembered the victims of the Dana Air crash by dedicating a classic, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, to the memory of the lost souls. Crystals kicked off performances and The B.E.A.T, also joined in the Star Trek fray, as they also performed songs from their yet-to-be-released album. Next on stage was Waje. For the Sapele leg of the concert held the next day, Sunday, June 10, Sound Sultan, Ice Prince, Flavour and MI, who was the headlining act, thrilled revelers. The highlight of the Star Trek Sapele leg was the joint performance by MI and Flavour of Africa Rapper No. 1, MI's hit track from his MI2 album. In the usual Star Trek tradition, local talents were given the opportunity of performing; and some of the local talents that wowed the crowd were BMG, T Wine, Great Doctor, Bolo Yeung and Breezy, among others.
•Kamsee with Sony Music
OUNG Nigerian entertainer, Kamsee, has been signed by top music label, Sony Music Entertainment Africa. He joins other world class musicians who are on the label of the world biggest recording company The management of Sony music arrived Lagos last month to finalize the deal which will fetch the young musician several millions of naira. Upon their arrival in Nigeria, the management staff met up with Kamsee's father, Colonel Peter Ekpenyong, and his lawyer. Accordin g to Jandre Louw, a staff of the
Nigeria’s Kamsee joins top acts on Sony Music music label, the company is planning to establish Kmasee both within and outside Nigeria. He added that they intend to use their platform to promote Kamsee in the US and Europe. As stipulated in the contract paper, each contract period will run for one year and 12 months after the Nigerian and South African release of the first album in the first contract period in respect of each subsequent contract period. Also, the company will take over both the recording, promotion and marketing of the artiste for the duration of this contract. Kamsee said he is extremely
happy about the whole development. “I am extremely happy that this is happening to me. This is an opportunity for me to further showcase my talent.” Artistes on the Sony label include Ciara, Jennifer Lopez, Franz Ferdinand, Michael Jackson, Sade, Sean Kingston, Adele, Aerosmith, Alexis Jordin, Aerosmith, Barbra Streisand, Beyonce, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Celine Dion, Destinys Child, J Cole, Jackie Evancho, John Legend, Mary Mary, Maxwell, Neil Diamond, Tony Bennett, Wyclef Jean, Toya Delazy, Zakwe, Judith Sephuma and a host of others.
Nollywood Beach reopens amidst pomp
Catholic artistes set to premiere movies
•Pope Benedict XVI
ITH a mission to evangelise through the arts and entertainment medium, Catholic Artistes and Entertainers Association of Nigeria is set for the premiere of two movies: The Prodigal Flock and Back from the Wild. Scheduled for Friday, June 22, the event is expected to be graced by professionals from different works of life and celebrities in the industry. Also expected at the premiere are Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi , governor of Rivers State, Owele Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, Obong Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Comrade Adams Oshiomol e of Edo State, Sir Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State and two deputy governors, Professor Amos Utuama of Delta State and Chief Steven Lawani of Benue State, amongst other top dignitaries. Producer of the movies, Christopher Obioma Nze, said that the films is meant to educate people on the need to remain faithful to God rather than run to other men in search of miracles. Nze noted that due to desperation and and anxiety, people are exploited. This is the second movie the association will produce after the first, titled Power over Faith which was produced in 2008.
NDAUNTED by the ocean surge which swept off its former location, the management of Nollywood Beach, on Saturday, June 9, threw its doors open to revelers as it launched its VIP Branch. Situated at Km 20 Lekki Epe Expressway, the opening of the Waterfront Nollywood Beach, as the place is known, was to say a special thank you, in an entertaining way, to its customers for their great contribution to Nollywood, says the outfit's management. According to Precious Oliver, the Managing Director of the outfit, asides serving as a celebrity
relaxation spot as well as a tourist centre, the Waterfront has been used to shoot scenes in Nollywood movies and has hosted a number of celebrities. “We decided to move our activities to a new location as a result of the encounter we had with the ocean surge at the Alpha Beach where we had the Nollywood Beach Bar. The former Bar was uprooted by the ocean flood,” he added. Present at the event were entertainers and lovers of the entertainment industry including Ruggedy Baba, Nigga Raw in a night of comedy, bonfire, music and dance. Comedy was presented by Kingsley the Comedian.
•Precious Oliver, Rugged Man and guests at the opening of the Waterfront
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
CINEMA GUIDE LAGOS
PICTURE Supported by: SILVERBIRD CINEMAS
Vain search for eternity
team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race. The new sci-fi movie Prometheus is a prequel of sorts to the classic 1979 alien/horror film entitled Alien. The movie is filled with thoughtful dialogue on the birth of man, and the mythology of this
universe that was set up in those prior 'Alien' films. The film is set only about 80 years in the future from now, but the technology is far ahead of where we are today. The spacecraft 'Prometheus' is flying across the galaxies to a planet that might be able to sustain life, but also could offer clues into how life began on earth. Much like the original 'Alien', the astronauts are attacked by the small critters on the planet, with humans becoming host bodies for the
gestation period, which eventually leads to spawning the first alien hybrid. With an amazing computer graphics, the film looked incredible on the big screen, and in particular, the 3D format. Perhaps the most stunning and exhilarating scene of the movie features Dr. Shaw removing an alien from within her body. It is an awesome and frenetic scene, perfectly shot, and will be the visual talked about after people see this film.
Married but Living Single:
A tale of battery and corporate slavery
ATRICK'S (Kalejaiye Adeboye Paul) obsession with Lola (Yemi Remi) heightens. He batters her at the slightest suspicion. Her face gets swollen, and she has to lie to everyone that she hit her face on a pole as a cover up. Lola recalls her courtship days with Patrick; he had actually been violent right from when they were courting but, Lola says, she thinks he will change. Mike character gets worse instead, and Lola loses her life in the process. As usual, they had a disagreement one night and their child witnessed when it started. The next day, Lola is found dead on the bed, and their child testifies about her father's violence the night before. Unlike Patrick who had problem trusting his wife who tried to be a home-keeper and also a career woman, Mike has to deal with his wife's nonchalant attitude to family values. Mike (Joseph Benjamin) an entrepreneur is married to Kate (Funke Akindele), a creative director of an advertising
agency; she is so much engrossed with her career and winning the biggest brands for her company. Mike is diagnosed of cancer of the lungs, resulting from his smoking habit back in school days, he needs to travel to India for surgery and the Doctor advised that his wife should take a leave and travel with him to hasten the recuperating process. Kate agrees to go with her husband, but as they are about to travel, the biggest telecoms company in the Middle East has just been licensed to operate in Nigeria, Kate's company stands the chance to win the bid for the advertisement, and they will not be able to do the bidding without the creative director. She opted to save her company's interest instead. Mike goes to Indian and meets another woman (Kiki Omeili). A relationship starts and Kate
Titanic Featured Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Billy Zane Genre: Drama Running Time194 min Trespass Featured Actors: Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman and Cam Gigandet Genre: Comedy Running Time: 91 min Dr Seuss'- The Lorax 3D Featured Actors: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and Danny DeVito Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time86 min 21 Jump Street Featured Actors: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Ice Cube Genre: Comedy and Sequel Running Time109 Mins Machine Gun Preacher Featured Actors: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan and Michael Shannon Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time129 min Phone Swap Featured Actors: Wale Ojo, Nse Etim Ikpe, and Ghanaian Superstar, Lydia Forson Genre: Comedy Running Time Wrath of the Titans Featured Actors: Sam
Worthington, Liam Neeson and Rosamund Pike Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 99 min Best Exortic Marigold Hotel Genre: Action/Adventure Contraband Genre: Action/Adventure John Carter Featured Actors: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins and Willem Dafoe Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time132 min Man on a Ledge Featured Actors: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks and Jamie Bell Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time102 min
ABUJA Genre: Action/Adventure Dr Seuss' the Lorax Featured Actors: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and Danny DeVito Genre: Drama Running Time: 86 min Wrath of the Titans Featured Actors: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Rosamund Pike Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 99 min The Scores Featured Actors: Aremu Afolayan, saheed balogun ,Eniola olaniyan , Olumide Trespass Bakare,sunkanmi omobolanle Featured Actors: Nicolas Cage, Genre: Drama Nicole Kidman and Cam Phone Swap Gigandet Featured Actors: Wale Ojo, Genre: Drama Nse Etim Ikpe, and Ghanaian Running Time: 91 min Superstar, Lydia Forson True Citizens Genre: Comedy Featured Actors: Uti Man on a Ledge Nwachukwu, Alex Usifo, Featured Actors: Sam Brian Okwara, Clareth Worthington, Elizabeth Banks Onukogu, Keneth Okolie, and Jamie Bell Clara Iweh, and Melvin Odua. Genre: Action/Adventure
almost loses Mike. To compound her ordeal, her boss (Joke Silva) sacks her for leaking company secret to their competitor which Kate did not do. She runs to her pastor (Tina Mba) who tells her to pray. Mike later comes back to his senses and leaves the other woman. And both live happily ever after.
The Ides of March Featured Actors: Paul Giamatti, George Clooney and Philip Seymour Hoffman Genre: Drama Running Time: 101 Mins True Citizen Genre: Drama Running Time: 97 Mins 21 Jump Street Featured Actors: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Ice Cube Genre: Comedy and Sequel Running Time: 109 Mins Dr. Seuss' The Lorax Featured Actors: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and Danny DeVito Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 86 Mins Trespass Featured Actors: Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman and Cam Gigandet Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 91 Mins Wrath of the Titans Featured Actors: Sam
Worthington, Liam Neeson and Rosamund Pike Genre: Action/Adventure Phone Swap Genre: Drama Running Time: 70 Mins Machine Gun Preacher Featured Actors: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan and Michael Shannon Genre: Action/Adventure
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
Youâ€™ve nothing without personalityâ€“Ex Miss Nigeria, Ireland Emmanuella Salako is a dancer/choreographer. She runs a dance group called Crystal Ice, which has been running for six years, teaching people how to dance in Ireland. She is also into television, music video's, commercials, concerts & live stage productions. She has performed alongside JLS, Taio Cruz, Lloyd Daniels and many more. The former Miss Nigeria, Ireland, spoke with ADETUTU AUDU
ackground: My name is Olufunmilola Emmanuella Salako. I run a dance school in Dublin, Ireland. I am also an on-airpersonality. I studied Business Administration and Public Relations. I graduated in 2010. I love acting. I am hoping to get into Nollywood. I watch lots of Nigerian movies. I appreciate Genevieve and Omotola. It is all about your personality and character, once you have and if you don't have it, too bad. I have it the talent and the personality and I think that will go a long way. I have done a lot of acting in Dublin and also stage productions, which I think is more tasking. It is about one's talent and image. Life as beauty queen Being Miss Nigeria -Ireland 2009, I learnt so much from the experience. I used to be shy before now. But during my reign, I had the opportunity to meet the Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland, Dr.Kema Chikwe and we sat down to discuss at a forum. This has helped me to build my confidence, even in the area of dressing and the way I carry myself. Being a lady moves and shapes you. I was also at the Miss Nigeria show, organized by former beauty queen, Nike Oshinowo, I represented Oyo State. From the 35 girls that started out, I was lucky to be among the top five, though I did not win. Pet Project I worked with the youths, especially in the area of drugs and alcohol, peer pressure, teenage pregnancy and engaged them in talks. I also did another one on diabetes. I worked in conjunction with Diabetes Federation of Ireland. Basically, I got my dancers and some singers that I know we raised thousands of Euros and donated to the cause. Though some people queried why I did not do for cancer, the reason I chose diabetes was my mom. She was diagnosed of diabetes five years ago, and my uncle also died of the ailment. So it is something that is close to my heart. That's my project personally, but with Miss Nigeria organization, it is all about the youths. I am still in touch with the Diabetes Federation of Ireland; they keep me updated on their activities through newsletters. I am planning another show very soon in November and I am going to give a certain percentage of the proceeds to them. With the youths, I still work with the Miss Nigeria organization, but I am very busy with my own work lately. My mom a politician It is just who I am. I have discussed with my mom and dad, and they were like your siblings studied Architecture,
psychology and law. And I am like I want to be on radio, I want to be on stage. It is just me, I love having fun. I don't see myself as an office person, I see myself doing something fun, something I enjoy. My parents and most Nigerian parents were like that's not a job, go out there and make some real money. But I feel I can make money with what I am doing, because I have got what it takes. Challenges When I came for the Miss Nigeria show in Abuja, I found out that there was a big challenge. Because you have to win and create your own TV show and present it. The producer of the show chose someone else despite the fact that I gave it my best. I felt bad, but he called me back and said the only thing was that it is going be an African talk show, and that I did not sound African. And knowing that I grew up abroad, it really worked against me. But I am not really bothered. Nigeria is my country and I want to be here. The only thing that bothers me in Nigeria is the traffic. I wish the Nigerian government could create underground train to ease traffic problem. Coping with male attention When I was crowned, I got over 1000 friend requests on Face book. Right, now I can add anybody on Face book. Role model Oprah Winfrey, she is amazing. She has done so much in her life, and she knows where she is going. Hobbies Dancing, going to cinema, hanging out with friends and sharing talents. Marriage Although I don't want to end up being alone, I want to use the next two years to focus on my career. I have done quite a lot for myself. I have my own dance school. No man at the moment Sure, there is always a man for every woman. But not for me now. Ideal man My man must be ambitious and with great personality. Strong is the most appropriate for me. Someone who knows where he is going and is interested in what
I am doing. Style sense I love dresses a lot- skinny jeans and T-shirts. I love wearing highheels. To be a beauty queen Good personality. You have got nothing, if you don't have personality. If you are beautiful and have no personality, then you have got a problem. You also need to humble yourself. Even with the crown you should be able to mix with people.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
ADETUTU AUDU (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 08023849036)
Irebosa Igbinedion and Mantu’s son in hot romance
Sarah Ofili expects first child
ARAH Ofili, London-based beautician, and Nigerian rapper, Ikechukwu Onanaku (aka Ikechukwu Killz)'s fiancée, is said to be expecting her first child. Ikechukwu, who is the CEO of world famous Academy Record label, proposed to Sarah over dinner last year October in London during the latter's birthday. They have been dating for a few years and while Ikechukwu is based in Nigeria, he regularly visits London where his fiancee, Sarah, is based. Sarah is a model and entrepreneur and currently designs her range of shoes under the brand name 'Katona.'
F information available is anything to go by, Irebosa,daughter of the former governor of Edo State,Chief Lucky Igbinedion, has been romantically linked with the son of the former Deputy Senate President,Ibrahim Mantu. Though the affair is still shrouded in secrecy, the younger Mantu, we gathered, has been spoiling the Igbinedion's girl silly with cash and gifts. Busybodies swear that last year the younger Mantu threw an exclusive birthday bash for Irebosa and it had in attendance all silver spoon kids of their kind.
Why Tambuwal has not stopped weeping
Secret pain Emeka Etiaba endures
HESE are definitely not the best of times for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal. Apart from the fact that the ill-fated Dana air crash of some weeks ago was a national tragedy, sources say the Sokoto State-born Speaker has not stopped weeping over the loss of lives in Abuja enroute Lagos flight. The reasons, we gathered, is that the principal head of his law chamber, Onyeka Anyene and his family perished in the air mishap. Sources close to the number three citizen say he was at a media seminar in Kaduna State when the news about the air crash broke and he has not recovered from the shock that the Anyenes have all died.
F there was one burden that lawyer-turned-politician Emeka Etiaba had, it was becoming the governor of Anambra State. Twice he made spirited attempts to shake the political establishments of Anambra State and occupy the Awkabased Government House; and twice he was defeated. The son of the Anambra State ex-deputy governor, Vir•Etiaba ginia Etiaba, SC gathered, still eyes the Anambra State Government House and he is not resting on his oars to make his dream come true.
Jennifer Atiku dumps friends
Aisha Babangida-Shinkafi’s new vocation
OR many who have been wondering what has been happening to the former First Lady of Zamfara State, Hajia Aisha BabangidaShinkafi,we can tell you for free that apart from overseeing her late mother's school,El-Amin International, the first daughter of the retired gaptoothed general is also fully involved in a non-governmental organization, White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, a global group with specific interest in women all over the world. Recently, White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood was represented in 158 countries across the world and it is proposing to partner with the National Assembly for safe motherhood for all women. Sources say she is also planning to re-invent her late mother's Better Life Programme. No doubt, beautiful Aisha has stepped into her mom’s shoes as she gives largely to charity through her Foundation.
ENNIFER Atiku, wife of the former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, is not a happy woman at the moment. She has been in a bitter mood for some time now. The reason is not unconnected with the fact that her trusted friends have been spreading malicious information about her. Informed sources say Jennifer has decided to sever her ties with most of her friends. Meanwhile, the Anambra State-born former journalist has been out of circulation since the exit of her husband from politics. While some sources say she shuttles between United Emirate and Nigeria, others say she co-runs ABTI, now American University of Nigeria, with her husband. Jennifer had been in the news for the wrong reasons over alleged money laundering cases in the United States before she was out of circulation.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
Glamour 45 Obaro and Hirut Ibru waxes stronger in love
ONTRARY to the rumour making the rounds that things are beginning to fall apart between fun-loving Obaro Ibru and his Ethiopian wife, Hirut, we can reveal that the couple is still like 5&6. Informed sources squealed that the mother of three shuttles between her home country and Nigeria, a reason she is not visibly seen like her hubby. And this is not unconnected with why the one-time St. Moritz man of style refused to quit clubbing despite being married. Obaro, former director at the defunct Oceanic Bank and now Managing Director at Aero Contractors, was more prominent on the social scene than in the corporate world then. But for obvious reasons, he has chosen a quieter lifestyle and has even cut down the number of his friends.
•Obaro and Ibru
JayJay Okocha eyes sportswear line
FTER his sterling performance in the round l e at h e r g a me a nd his success in the night club business, the former Super Eagles Captain is about to float his own sports wear line called Jay Jay. The sports wear line we gathered will consist of soccer boots, jerseys, sports bags and other sports accessories. The mercurial midfielder, who hanged his boots following Bolton's refusal to extend his contract, will officially launch the sports wear line very soon.
Kema Chikwe’s daughter, Somachi, settles in US
OMACHI, daughter of the former Minister of Aviation and Nigeria Ambassador to Ireland, Kema Chikwe, who dumped her Abuja big boy hubby, Dumebi Kachiku, last year, may have put the past behind her as SC gathered that she is settling down to a new life with her four kids in Maryland, US. Five years ago, both Dumebi and Somachi were the envy of their friends as they drew people from all walks of life to a society wedding in Abuja. The news of their separation hit town last year when it was widely reported that Somachi could no longer endure the way her husband turned her into a 'punching bag' after every little provocation. While some are saying Somachi, who also is the elder sister of hip-hop sensation, Naeto C, is a spoilt child who did not take her domestic commitment seriously, others are of the view that the man was not patient enough with her. All that has been a thing of the past as Dumebi has since remarried and Somachi has also moved on with her life. The estranged couple we gathered still remain friends for the sake of their four children.
Gloria Ibru notches higher
LORIA Ibru, the chubby daughter of Oloorogun Micheal Ibru, is not resting on her oars. After 25 years of performing on stage with her band, G-notes, she is set to release her first music album. The album will be a mixed grill of everything she does on stage; high life, jazz and gospel. Music enthusiasts should expect the album before the end of the year. The mother of one is a constant figure on the Lagos social scene. Few years ago, she took over the defunct Club Towers on Victoria Island, Lagos from Prince Nasir Ado Ibrahim. And later, she changed the name to Legato and turned around the fortunes of the social spot. Legato instantly became one of the hottest spots in Lagos as the patronage soared, but a lot of infighting with other partners and stiffer competition from newer clubs saw Legato losing patrons faster than it takes to blink.
Kojo Annan adopts new lifestyle
INCE his contemporary silver spoon friends are quitting the social scene and settling down, Kojo Annan,the fun-loving only son of the Mr. Kofi Atta Annan, the Ghanaian Diplomat who went on to become the 7th Secretary General of the United Nations, has also retreated. Kojo is the last man standing amongst a list of young, well-todo guys, who are all married now or just about to. The likes of Laolu Saraki, Obaro Ibru, Abi Kuku, Obi Asika and Ladi Balogun have all taken the plunge and are married. Sources say Kojo now lives a life different from what we used to know about him. He no longer frequents hangouts and has stopped partying. The celebrated bachelor, dubbed playboy, informed sources squealed, is planning to quit bachelorhood. Kojo's elder sister, Ama, had her wedding with the son of the Ogun State based Prof. Bayo Adedeji, head of the Economic Commission of Africa in Ghana late last year. •Annan
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL (08033572821) email@example.com
Senator Tinubu opens constituency office
L-R: Mr Yemi Oshilaja and Mrs Abimbola Fashola
T was a parade of the lending lights of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), high-profile government officials and society icons as the wife of the former Lagos State governor, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, opened her constituency office at the Lagos Central Senatorial District, Yaba, Lagos. Present were the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu; the Chirman, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Bisi Akande; ExGovernor Bola Ahmed Tinubu; the Deputy Governor, Lagos State, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire; the wife of the Lagos State governor, Mrs Abimbola Fashola; Alhaja Abba Folawiyo, among others. Photos: MUYIWA HASSAN
L-R: Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire and the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Oluranti Adebule
L-R: Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chairman Action Congress of Nigeria, Lagos State, Otunba Henry Ajomale, and Alhaji Mutiu Are, during the commissioning of the Lagos Central Senatorial District Office of Sentor Oluremi Tinubu in Lagos.
L-R: Hon. Lola Akande, wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs Abimbola Fashola, and Mrs Olanlekan Mamora
L-R: Former Lagos State Head of Service, Alhaji Abiodun Balogun, Onimole of Lagos, Chief Kayode Adeshina, and Bajulaiye of Lagos Chief Ayo Oyekan
L-R: Alhaji Abba Folawiyo and Hajia Bintu- Fatima Tinubu
Chairman Action Congress of Nigeria,Chief Bisi Akande
L-R: former Chairman Agboyi Ketu L.C D, Otunba Yetunde Arobieke, Hajia Bintu Fatima Tinubu, and former commisssioner for chieftaincy titles , Prince Rotimi Agunsoye
Ikire descendants honour Bola Oyebamiji By OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL
ENULTIMATE Saturday, June 2nd, 2012, all roads led to the palace of Akire of Ikireland as indigenes of Ikire in Osun State celebrated one of their own, Alhaji Bola Oyebamiji, who was appointed by the Governor of Osun State as the Managing Director of the state's Investment Company L-R: Former Dean of Faculty of Science, Lead City and Guest Speaker, Prof. Oyebamiji Fafioye; Chairman of the Limited. A former banker Occasion and Asiwaju of Ikireland, Chief Remi Makinde; L-R:Ayobami Oyebamiji, Managing Director, Roger Blue Petroleum, Mr. and former Speaker, House of Representatives, Mrs. Niyi Ogunlola; his wife, Shade; and Managing Director, Lobisky Oil & Akire of Ikireland, Oba with Spring Bank, now Patricia Etteh. Gas, Otunba Sola Olabisi. Enterprise Bank, he is a member of various professional, religious and academic bodies. The reception drew crĂ¨me de la crĂ¨me of the state as well as friends from all walks of life, which cut across the royal, legislature, executive and business L-R: Prof. Siyan Owoade of Osun State University L-R: Special Assistant to the Osun State Governor on Foremost Industrialist, Chief Jimoh Inaolaji and and Chief of Staff to Osun State Governor, Alhaji Lands, Dr. S.O Owoade; and Assistant Chief of Staff communities. wife, Ronke
to Osun State Governor, Barrister Jare Adebisi
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
VOL 1 NO. 037
When airline brands fly too low (2)
T was like we started writing on this topic last week out of premonition. The Dana air crash of Sunday, June 3, 2012, took the breath away from every normal person. The enormity of loss of human life is huge; too sad Dana airline and the nation suffered the crash of last week Sunday. May the souls of the departed (those victims who suffered the ultimate consequence for disregard for o human life, obstruction of established system, blatant disregard for calculable mechanics and obvious system corruption (by those that should otherwise have been responsible!) rest in Perfect Peace. Last week we focused on pointing out those issues concerning air travel brands management that are impacting negatively on operators in our local market. Well, may we state here that never stretched our imagination, in the negative, to the point of near-mishap, not to mention an outright air plane crash, when we set out to peep into brands management in relation to air travel brands. As with every brand, our focus was (and still is) to challenge brand owners and managers in the industry into higher standard professional practice and service delivery in the management of their brands, by articulating those evident short-falls and point the way to system over-all, for the good of all. In all intent and purpose, MC&A Digest is concerned with guiding top standard professional brands management by bringing to fore, the grand rules in brands management, advertising and marketing communications practice and service delivery, in the prevalence of professional compromises, short-cuts in the name of technological advancement, etc. Customer-centric or consumer-focused brands management theories are gone from the modern day practice handbook. Brands are now designed to be selfcentered, uncaring, rude, aggressive and wild. Brands are now ruthless in the drive to satisfy self. We once said brands share in human character - emotionally sensitive – and the whole talk about consumer experience is giving expression to that fact. A consumer's reaction towards a brand after the initial experience or encounter, can be said to be equal and opposite to the impression the brand leaves with the consumer at the first encounter. This is true and fundamentally so for every brand – even in a monopoly. So, in worst case situation where the consumer has no choice but to live with the careless irresponsible brand, such consumer becomes a despondent consumer. In a perfect market situation, on the other hand, such brands die. One of the peculiarities of our local market is very high level of consumer-ignorance and carelessness. But again, one can only be careful to so blame the consumer because the situation is nurtured by the authorities who have refused to guide and protect their citizens and people. So on the one hand, about 70% of the market are falling short of being discerning because their ignorance and illiteracy. On the other hand the regulatory authorities and custodians of consumer protection, aid those who are bent on perpetrating evil for selfish and quick gains, to humiliate and even kill the innocent consumer (at a price borne by the consumer). It is sad, indeed. Reactions on the Dana crash have been quite emotional, and at times like this, logical reasoning tends to give way. However, one thing has been clearly established: this monumental loss of lives would most likely to have been averted if someone did his/her job properly. The Black Box is yet to tell its story, but revelations have been coming through to the effect that the particular aircraft involved in the last Sunday crash has been showing signs of failure since before now, and that it should have been grounded long ago. Going by that story, therefore, Dana brand owners would have discounted the risk to pursue immediate gains, by insisting that aircraft do the rounds. Here we are today, counting and mourning our loss of human lives. Put in another way, but for the loss of lives, that aircraft would have still been doing the rounds. I was on a flight from
Abuja to Lagos mid-May, 2012, and mid way we experienced water rushing from the hand luggage compartment, pouring profusely on the passengers two rows ahead of me. Well, in response, some of the cabin crew members came rushing with tissue paper to mop up the water from the passengers' clothes. I was embarrassed on behalf of the airline. But what surprised me more was the reaction of the crew members; the incident was not coming strange to them! What has happened is that the airline has not bothered to take care of that roof water leakage, so far as the aircraft in question could still fly. Now, that is what we consider blatant disrespect for the consumer, a criminal compromise, lack of concern for consumer
satisfaction. The value essence of air transport is speed and luxury comfort. Otherwise other travel options are railway, water transport and road transport. Any of these can go to cover distance. The unique offer of air transport as stated above, constitute the key selling point of competitive advantage, for air transport. Now, if any of the parts that make up this unique offer is taken out, what then becomes the benefit of air travel to the traveler? It is even worse when a failure to deliver on such promises is due to negligence, carelessness and utter disregard for the consumer's person. A consumer satisfaction-driven brand will ensure it delivers on its promise at all times, at all cost – because it knows and respects the fact that the consumer's satisfaction is the whole essence of its being. So talking of character traits, a brand must be emotional to the point of caring for its consumer's well being, as a way of life. But again, this is Nigeria, and as is often said, anything goes. If it were to in India that crashed aircraft would not have been permitted to leave the ground. But in Nigeria, somebody somewhere can choose to look elsewhere. Same reason those running fake and adulterated drugs will go all the way to India, Indonesia and even Korea only to ask for very poor quality semblance of known brand names (some of them even have the effrontery to name their own brands) to be produced for them, for sale in Nigerian market – where anything goes. That is why we at MC&A Digest will also hold the authorities responsible for the rot in our market(s). In every market, worldwide, quality of goods and services are closely screened to meet acceptable standards, in protection of the people against abuse at the market place. So, while KIA Auto is reported to be the fastest growing auto brand in the US, it clearly the cheapest new car in Nigeria. That tells the entire story, if we know the strict adherence to top-most quality auto standards of the Americans. Nobody in America will go near the Nigerian spec or variant of KIA
Automobile – the same KIA they rush for in America. Can you imagine that? While one will not like to play racial discrimination here, we like to state that the Indian is most likely to push for more till the goose that lays the golden egg dies. But let's leave system failure aside, what will it profit a brand to gain all the profits in a short time and loose its soul? As of a fact, every brand that sins at the market place shall die, with time. Think of generational transfer of consumer loyalty; how can a brand with negative image at the market place live for long in the mind of its target users? It will all come to nothing at the end. As we once listed in one of our articles on this page, permitting all such compromises poses some threat to the brand itself, the owners and the consumer. So, we are all affected at the end of the day. We are sure that plenty negative reaction would have trailed any attempt by us to mention that compromises in brands management could result in death or loss of human life, before the recent Dana air crash. But here we are; 153 passengers plus crew members and some ground-level casualties have passed on as a result of poor brands management practice! The accident of last Sunday amounts to national tragedy. This nation has lost men and women of immense value by any standard and promising children this country would have gained from, in the future. As mere mortals, we commit the accident and the incidence to God, as we believe in His Almighty. Last week, we ended the consideration of those key and definitive characters of a good brand at RELIABILITY, from where we are continuing this week. As a character trait, reliability is loaded in definition of behavioral pattern. Reliability is in itself a combination of TRUST and DEPENDABILITY. So to the extent that a brand is considered reliable, it must be trust-worthy and dependable. You will agree with me that these are all very precious character traits difficult to earn and very important and necessary of all our protection. Which of the brands in Nigerian market today can be said to be RELIABLE? It is not enough for a brand to deliver on its core promise to be reliable. To earn consumer respect a brand must invest in respecting its consumers, demonstrating respect goes beyond the ordinary surface value relationship. A local airline in Nigeria must know and appreciate the fact that average Nigerian will consider having to pay for light refreshment at about 35,000 feet above sea level an affront on his/her person (after struggling so hard to pay the exorbitant sum for the flight ticket. How do you appease a man hurrying for a scheduled meeting only to suffer undue delay at the airport leading up to his missing the appointment – yet the airline shows no regret; and continues in that pattern as a business practice?! How would such brand expect to be considered reliable? That air travelers still patronize such a brand is only due to constraints, especially lack of better alternative – which time will take care of. We are constrained to cut back on the extent of this analysis of healthy brand character traits, because of the immediate fall-out of the Dana air crash. With the increased federal Government's interest at overhauling the aviation sector, we can only hope the industry will be sanitized for better and more responsive service delivery. However, operators within our market must know they are brands in a competitive market; a growing market with all the trappings of a free market. They must begin to expose themselves to learning the theories and practice of brands management and they must begin to consider engaging brands management experts for over-all better brand personality. A badly managed brand is doomed to fail with time, no matter the size of its initial investment. So, for their own good, they need to properly position as brands, in line with global best practice.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
Women should not be pressured into marriage
I have experienced first-hand gender discrimination. I have been on a job where a gentle man who resumed after me with the same qualifications was offered a higher salary. I have also been at an interview where I was informed in a very factual manner, after beating the other contenders hands down for the job of a production pharmacist, that they were wondering whether I could climb the first floor to inspect the mixing tank
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
Relationships Deola Ojo 08027454533 (text) Pastordeegfc@yahoo.com
Your questions answered
t a â€Ś e g a i r Mar what age? By Rita Ohai
To be continued next week
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
Arts & Life
By Olubanwo Fagbemi
firstname.lastname@example.org 08060343214 (SMS only)
A modern dictionary
CHEEK BY JOWL
A saucy serving of contemporary connotations capping last week’s installment. Anonymous n.: The world’s most popular author. Archaeologist n.: A man whose career lies in ruins. Argument n.: A discussion that occurs when you’re right, but the other just hasn’t realised yet. Baby n.: A loud voice at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other. Bacteria n.: The rear entrance to a cafeteria. Beauty n.: The power with which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband. Cat n.: Unique mammal that keeps humans as slaves. Celebrity n.: One who is known by many people he is glad he didn’t know. Conclusion n.: What you reach when you’re tired of thinking. Courage n.: The fear of being thought a coward or the judgment that something is more important than fear. Credit Card n.: A device allowing you to buy things you cannot afford so that the economy can thrive on lacking money. Destiny n.: A tyrant’s authority for crime and a fool’s excuse for failure. Economist n.: A person who professes to know more about money than the people who have it, as in the President’s economic team. Fiction n.: The story told by a completed income tax form. Floppy n.: The state of your wallet after purchasing a personal computer. Foreign Aid n.: Money transferred from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries. Future n.: That period of time in which everything works out just fine. Government n.: Well-documented branch of the mafia, found in every country. Happiness n.: An agreeable sensation in one person directly related to another’s misery. Hardware n.: Tools, such as lawnmowers, rakes and other heavy equipment bound to get rusty once you own a personal computer with internet facility. Luck n.: Probability translated into great fortune, for example, ‘shoeless boy’ into president. Outpatient n.: Person who fainted after seeing a doctor’s bill. Ratify v.: Making use of a spell and turn a person into a rodent. Selfish adj: What the owner of a seafood store decides to do. Show-off n.: A child who is more talented than yours. Spoiled rotten adj: What the kids become after as little as 15 minutes with grandma. Self-control n.: The ability to eat only one cooked or roasted groundnut from the bunch. Stock n.: A magical piece of paper that was worth N25.75 before you bought with the promise that it would be worth N100 very soon. After purchase, it was worth N3.50 or less. Sounds familiar? Sweater n.: Garment worn by child when its mother feels cold. Sin n.: See temptation. Toothache n.: The pain that drives you to extraction. Top bunk n.: Where you should never put a child wearing Spiderman pajamas. Tomorrow n.: One of the greatest pledge-fulfilling devices of today. Time n.: What keeps everything from happening at once; considered the best teacher, it unfortunately kills all its students. Temptation n.: See sin. User n.: The neighbour who keeps borrowing things. Violence n.: The last resort of the incompetent. Wrinkles n.: Something other people have. (You have character lines). Witness n.: An individual who swears to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth according to the lawyer’s instruction. Worry n.: Interest paid on trouble before it is due. X n.: Something that mathematics teachers can’t readily tell, but students are required to know. Y n.: Another thing mathematics teachers cannot tell, but students are supposed to know. Youth n.: The best time to get rich, and the best time to be poor. Yawn n.: An honest opinion openly expressed. Zoo n.: A place for display of animals in segregation. Also a place or situation marked by human condition or disorder.
QUOTE Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, a touch that never hurts. —Charles Dickens
The Tourists and the Clock
THERE are four tourists from India visiting London. They go to see the famous Big Ben clock. All four climb the tower and decide to throw their wrist watches from the top, then hurry down the stairs and try to catch them before they hit the ground. The first tourist threw his watch but heard it crash before he had taken four steps. The second threw his watch and had hardly taken three before he heard his watch shatter on the ground. The third threw his watch and by the time he had taken two steps, the watch hit the ground. The fourth threw his watch off the tower, went down the stairs, bought a cup of coffee from a shop down the street and walked slowly back to Big Ben in time to catch the watch. “How on earth did you do that?” asked his friends. “Simple”, he said, “My watch is slow by 30 minutes.”
A MAN joins a monastery and takes a vow of silence: he’s allowed to say two words every seven years. After the first seven years, the elders bring him in and ask for his two words.
“Cold floors,” he says. They nod and send him away. Seven more years pass. They bring him back in and ask for his two words. He clears his throats and says, “Bad food”. They nod and send him away. Seven more years pass. They bring him in for his two words. “I quit,” he says. “That’s not surprising,” the elders say. “You’ve done nothing but complain since you got here.”
Grandma’s Gag IT WAS Timmy’s fifth birthday and he was joyfully opening all the presents he received. He saved the biggest for last, so it took a while until he got to opening Grandma’s present. Timmy exclaimed in delight, upon seeing the mini drum set that his Grandmother got for him. “Wow,” he said. ���Thanks Grandma, this is just what I wanted.” It was after Timmy went to bed that Timmy’s mother approached her mother. “Ma, I’m surprised at you. Don’t you remember how it used to drive you crazy when we used to play the drums in the house while growing up?” Grandma smiled mischievously and said, “I remember, of course I remember.” •Culled from the Internet
HEN to Writer ’s Fountain turn short Is your short story simply not ready to end? story into novel: However you have to There are only a few rules that bind writers. act intelligently. Just because you want to write a novel and not a short story, doesn’t mean For short story writers the most important one that you’ll go on elongating your tale even is length. Once the length crosses at 10,000 words, though you got your point across in the first it can no longer be called a short story. If there is no way in which you can shorten it further, it few pages itself. Is your story trying to cover a long time can mean only one thing – you have a novel on your hands. frame? Are you being unable to stop writing it? A short story’s time line is generally not It happens many a time that the writer gets too long. Short stories generally comprise of a few days or afternoons of one’s life. However so caught up in his own story that he keeps if you are dealing with descriptions of years of weaving his tale. He cannot stop writing at any your character’s life, be sure that your story cost. This story can be nothing but a novel. However, your writing should be inspired and can be in no other format then a novel. not forced. Eye of the matter: Finding an editor: •Sharks have upper and lower eyelids, but Professional writers edit their own work, share they do not blink. •Dolphins can swim and sleep at the same it with trusted friends, and then submit it to a publishing house. There, another editor is time as they sleep with one eye open. •Chameleons can move their eyes selected to read the work closely, looking for independently. One eye can be looking areas that need improvement or a special polish. forward and one eye backward at the same In fact, more than one editor will check every book. Professional editors know all the writing time. tips presented here and many more. •An owl has three eyelids. •The majority of cats do not have any Furthermore, they recognise strengths and weaknesses in writing. eyelashes.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
DANA AIR CRASH
PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN
•The ill-fated aircraft
ITH the confirmation that all the 153 passengers who were on board the Dana Air flight 992 on June 3 died in the crash, the airline insurers would have to pay over N2.3 billion in compensation fees to the relatives of the victims. According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which regulates air travel in the world, Dana Air through its insurers would $100,000 (about N15million) for each dead passenger. The monies, The Nation learnt, can only be paid to blood relatives of the victims who come to identify their loved ones, including foreigners who perished in the ill-fated plane. In the past, airlines whose planes suffered similar fate were known to delay and sometimes refuse out rightly to pay compensation, claiming that investigation was ongoing and family members were yet to come forward, but with the discovery of the black box last Tuesday and the prompt identification of victims by their relatives, the process of paying compensation may not take long. Perhaps, preparatory to redeeming the claims, the National Insurance Commission has asked the seven insurance companies in the consortium that insured the crashed Dana Airline plane to ensure prompt payment of claims to the relatives of the victims of the disaster. NAICOM’s order is coming on the heels of mounting concerns by members of the public on the need to ensure that succour gets to those left behind by the victims.
How much for human life ? Two weeks after the ill-fated Dana Air crashed in Lagos, grieving families must now turn attention to compensation. Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf examines the issues In a statement on Tuesday, NAICOM said seven local underwriters insured the plane, stressing that the aircraft was properly insured locally and reinsured abroad. It said, “The National Insurance Commission wishes to express its profound condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the ill-fated Dana flight. “While the commission believes that no amount of money is sufficient to compensate for the loss of dear ones, it will all the same ensure that compensation, as stated in the insurance contract between the airline and the underwriter, was adequately paid to all beneficiaries of victims of the crash.” Scant regard for insurance In the view of Managing Director, Anchor Insurance Company Limited,
Mr. Ademayowa Adeduro, although there is low level of claims profile in the aviation insurance business in the country, and Africa in general, compared with the advanced countries, he was however optimistic that all issues involving claims would be dispensed with in record time. He said: “One thing that I can assure the public is the fact that the insurance companies that are involved in it would be alive to their responsibilities. Definitely, we are very confident of the fact, that they would do what they ought to do. “I do not think there would be issues in terms of response. The consortium that is involved is already making arrangement to see how quickly they would address the issue and at least soothe the pains of the families that are affected. There is no going to be any
delay in the settlement of the claims. Everybody is concerned, including the insurers, nobody knows the mishap was going to happen, and as it has happened and the aircraft was insured, the necessary arrangement of claims has to be done promptly.” He said the investigations by the government would not affect the claims settlement of the passengers and the residents, adding that only the claims of the aircraft may be affected if the company is found to be guilty of any negligence. “We cannot pre-empt what the outcome of the investigation is going to look like. So, it depends on what the outcome is. That is to an extent to which the insurance of the aircraft would be determined. If there is something that ought to be done that is not done is another kettle of fish, but an accident has
happened, the investigation has nothing to do with the settlement of claims to the victims. The third party liability which covers the residents of the crash spot would also be paid.” President, Lagos Area Committee of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) Tunde Oguntade, said the insurance industry has capacity to pay the claims, especially for the third party liability. He said liability is made of vicarious liability and third party. “Insurance is an international business, after the local underwriting, the risks are still reinsured. All of the money for the claims is not coming from the local market. Premium is a function of liability, so there is no problem. “The properties destroyed are part of third party liability; the risks of the property owners are different from vicarious liability. They have to get compensation. There is always cover for such risks, but sometimes, it would require litigation, unless if the parties are willing to settle out of court. “Results from the investigation, would not affect the claims settlement of the victims. If the Airline is found wanting from the investigation it would affect the claims payment for the aircraft. If there is a breach the airline would be penalised, but if there is no breach they would be indemnified.” Commissioner for Insurance Fola Daniel said the claims would be paid promptly, adding that though no amount of money is sufficient to compensate for loss of dear ones, NAICOM ensures that compensation as stated in •Continued on Page 52
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
DANA AIR CRASH •Continued from Page 51
the insurance contract between the airline and the underwriter is adequately paid to all beneficiaries of victims of the crash. Speaking on the aftermath of the Dana Air crash, Hans Ephraimson, a public affairs commentator said, “Dana Flight 996 was a domestic flight and the surviving families of only those passengers carrying international tickets would be able to claim damages under the Montreal Convention of 1999 in the jurisdiction of the victims domicile. The 113,000 SDR (Special Depositary Receipts) (equivalent to $133,000) is the limit for provable recoverable damages under which the carrier admits liability without defence. He added: “This means that the rightful claimants for damages have the right to file claims for provable damages incurred, like loss of income and/or financial support, loss of care and guidance by a parent for children up to the age of maturity (in many countries 18 years). “Since the damages resolution process takes some time (generally one year or more) – the Montreal Convention of 1999 – and some States within their domestic laws also require the carriers/insurers to make limited advance payments that would be deducted from the final settlement or adjudication. Some States have also extended small one time “ex gratia” gestures (payments). Under the Montreal Convention of 1999 Punitive Damages are excluded. Non pecuniary damages (pain and suffering) are only available under the laws of the country where the claims are adjudicated. The law of the land determines the range of the “rightful” claimants, close family members and provable financially dependents. Carriers/insurers are also liable for damages caused on the ground. Since
ELVIN Ifekawa looked distraught last Tuesday standing outside the mortuary at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, in company of other family members. He was agitated and in pain because of the stress he had gone through in the process of trying to claim the remains of his brother, Jones Ifekawa, 27, a passenger on-board the illfated Dana plane which crashed in Iju-Ishaga on June 3. In frustration he asked no one in particular, “What is going on?” According to Kelvin, his brother’s body did not burn and was easily identifiable, “My brother’s body has been identified. He had his ID card with him.” Since time immemorial, humans have had a sentimental attachment to their dead. Among Africans, a widely held belief is that it is better for a loved one to be dead than be lost. But in all, the remains of the deceased are most times a pre-requisite. Hence, a lyingin-state has become a norm whereby people pay their last respects, filing in front of a deceased’s remains. Without a body however, some people can live in denial, waiting for physical proof that their loved one is actually dead. As it is now, the Lagos State government is doing all it could to help relatives of victims of the crash to identify the remains of their loved ones and be able to give a decent burial. Identifying the remains Since the remains of victims were deposited at the
Battle for compensation begins
post crash damages resolution is complicated and involves a lengthy process, victims should receive competent, preferably “pro bono” expert advice. Foreign, especially United States Courts seldom accept jurisdiction for international air crashes involving non-domiciled victims. Lawyers to the rescue For families of victims who may be wary of sticking out their necks for a fight with the owners of Dana Air for fear that they may be cowed into submission, a law firm has decided to take such families under its wings. Tokunbo Fatai, a lawyer in the firm of Olisa Agbakoba and Associates, in an interview with The Nation declared that his team are working out modalities to carry out a class action suit on behalf of families of the Dana Air crash. “We have been consulted by some victims to represent them in enforcement of their rights and claims emanating from the crash of DANA Air
plane on June 3, 2012. A data base of all persons affected in whatsoever manner by the air accident is being compiled to present a comprehensive claim. This is a complementary public interest litigation and advocacy initiative by the firm to support those who have suffered varying degree of losses. The suit will be commenced soon”, he said. But beyond the IATA’s $100, 000 benchmark, what is the position of the Nigerian constitution on settlement of claims for accident and air crash victims? Fatai offered a plausible explanation. “By virtue of Article 17 of the Montreal Convention it allows compensation in case of death or bodily injury on board of the aircraft. Section 12 of the Nigeria 1999 Constitution makes Article 17 applicable in Nigeria”, he said. It is also instructive to note that most airlines usually have liability clauses attached to the air tickets. Without prejudice to what is stated on the sheet, can victims’ family press for charges
where they find that the compensation package is inadequate? The lawyer answered in the affirmative, “If the compensation is inadequate, the answer is yes if they prove negligence on the part of the air carrier.” Timeline for compensation Under the law, there is no specific time for compensation, according to the Montreal Convention victims should be attended to as urgently as possible. However, if the body established for the compensation of victims fails to carry out their responsibilities, the victims or the family of the victims can collectively or individually institute action, another lawyer said. No case submission There are instances where those listed on the manifest were not those who boarded the airlines eventually. In such a case where someone else pur-
chases air tickets, from touts or just swapped with another person who ordinarily should have travelled but decided against such, what is tenable under the law is that such a victim may not get any recompense. Corroborating this, Fatai said: “If your name is not on the manifest, you cannot lay claim to compensation- Privity of Contract. And in cases where a victim concerned was a breadwinner with an enlarged family of say two-three wives, who among these would be eligible for compensation under the Marriage Act receives compensation. If the victim married more than one wife which is not applicable under act, the respective applicable laws apply- Customary and Sharia laws.” Unresolved cases of claims Indications show that some airlines involved with past crashes still have unresolved is-
Struggling to be buried
why Mrs. Ifeoma DimejiSopeju, older sister of Ikechukwu Ochonogor, who also died in the crash thinks her brother is not dead. However, yet to retrieve Ikechukwu’s body, the family is determined to go on, with plans to conduct a Service of Songs in his memory. To quell this stress, Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola last Sunday ordered that all identified bodies be released to the families. But, what’s really is in a corpse? That question might be ringing as relatives waited patiently, and even exploded to have remains of their loved ones for proper burial. With the violence which attended the crash, only few bodies remained intact. And many of the remains at the LASUTH morgue are mutilated body parts and bloated corpses. Also, the air around the mortuary at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja stinks. As pathologists go about the morbid work of sorting the remains, the putrefying stench of decomposing bodies is overwhelming. With such smell, complaints like “They are not taking care of the body here” uttered by Kelvin smacks of a truth. As at Tuesday, a mild scuffle occurred as another family claimed a body which had earlier been identified by the Ifekawas. According to Kelvin, this might be the reason for not releasing the body to them. “My brother has a scar on his leg and his private parts. The other lady that they said is fight-
Many families are having a traumatic time trying to retrieve the remains of their loved ones who died in the Dana plane crash two weeks ago in Lagos. Joe Agbro Jr., writes
•Dana plane crash victims LASUTH morgue, the venue has been besieged daily by relatives of the victims. But for many, the wait for the remains of their loved ones is proving nightmarish. While the families have jointly ruled out a mass-burial, the reality on ground is that some family members may never be able to reclaim bodies or body parts of their loved ones.
But, what really informed their aversion to mass burial? According to a clinical psychologist, when denial has been got over, guilt becomes an integral part of the grieving process. “Relatives have a way of blaming themselves, thinking if only they have done something.” He also said guilt might also inform the importance
relatives attach to giving the deceased a “befitting burial.” In explaining it the psychologist said, some of the family members may be living in denial, adding “They could think maybe their relative somehow was not involved even when they know the person is dead but (seen) the body drives home the fact.” This may perhaps explain
sues with many families. To forestall such incidence of unending litigation and ensure speedy resolution of the case, some of the families, The Nation learnt, have set machinery in motion to forge a common front. A highly placed source at the NCAA, who would not be named, said there were still unresolved issues over claims to families of past crashes. The source who revealed that the management of Sosoliso Airline have since paid up all the claims to families of dead victims long ago, however said that Bellview Airline was yet to pay up completely due to irreconcilable differences among families’ of the victims. “I can tell you authoritatively that Sosoliso Airline have cleared all outstanding claims to all the parties. Bellview would have also cleared theirs as well but for unresolved issues involving families of the victims who were not able to present a common front. So, it is no fault of the airline. I know for sure that it has cleared over 90 per cent of the claims. The remaining 10 per cent is as a result of family squabbles”, the source said. Speaking further, he recalled that the ADC Airline were unable to pay up their claims to the affected families because of unresolved issues with their insurer, prompting a litigation by both parties. While emphasising that the NCAA Act of 2006 is definite about payment of claims, our source said any airline that seeks to default in payment is criminal. As families of the dead mourn their loved ones and grapple with their loss the economic toll is there too. ing for the body said her father has a scar on his palm. Check all those things. Something is fishy.” But to Kelvin; “All that I want is for them to release my brother’s body so that I can bury him in peace.” As at Tuesday, of the 29 identified bodies at the LASUTH morgue, only 11 have been collected by family members. While families of some deceased like Tosin Anibaba have buried their loved ones, that luxury might be denied others. Njoku Obed who is related to the Anyene family described the identification process as harrowing. Having identified the remains of Mrs. Anyene earlier, he was there on Tuesday with other family members. “We have come to confirm our identification. But, from my own understanding, everything boils down to DNA because the bodies we saw did not look like the one we identified before. We might not recognise any again. We might be in doubt.” “The day I identified, they (mortuary attendants) put the name tag. As I came for reidentification, I had to bring my sister to come again and confirm. By the time she came out, she got so confused about what she saw.” The knotty issue of DNA testing is holding back the burial of loved ones while at the same time making sure families don’t bury other people’s dead!
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
My Angel lives on: Tribute to my Ngozi —PAGE 56
At the mercy of land grabbers For the people living in Abule Tisa and Abule Ajambata, in Ogun State, the fear of land speculators [aka Ajagungbale] is the beginning of wisdom. Taiwo Abiodun who recently visited the two communities reports
• Ajambata Village
• Oluwa ni sola village Abule Tisa
BULE Tisa and Abule Ajambata are two villages of a kind. They are both deserted. The residents of the two villages in Ogun State are living in fear of being attacked by hoodlums and land speculators with the connivance of some armed policemen. When The Nation visited the villages, residents wore gloomy looks, crying that their land had been confiscated while others were crying that they would soon lose their farmland to land speculators. The few that were left in the villages were afraid to step out of their houses. They bemoaned that land grabbers were unleashing terror on the land they inherited from their forefathers and had been living on for long. They lamented that their cash and food crops had been demolished by land speculators to facilitate the take over of the land from them. They also wept over what they called "unnecessary police protection" for their enemies by the Nigerian Police. "This is not the first or second time this is happening to us, the land speculators are always here to harass, and kill us and this is a trying period for us", the Baale of Abule Tisa, Folorunsho Soetan,67, in a voice laden with fear. In tears, he continued: "They have almost killed everybody here, while others were sent packing we have refused to leave this place , it belongs to our forefathers. But because this is a virgin land, and we are rich in cash crops these land grabbers have eyes on our land and are disturbing us.'' A colony of gangsters
• Pa Albert Olawale Omoniyi
•Baale Abule Tisa, Folorunsho Soetan
According to the villagers, trouble started in the early hours of April 12 when about 40 hoodlums accompanied by fully armed mobile policemen invaded the villages and sent the villagers packing. Properties and farm produce worth thousands of naira were destroyed. Not only this, the only church in the village, St John's Anglican Church, had its big decorated glass reduced to smithereens while the plastic chairs in the church were also destroyed. Some of the mud houses had their wooden doors pulled down. Apart from this, many of the villagers were
wounded, and as a result of this, many fled for their dear lives by running into the bush for cover. The two villages have about 42 houses made up of mud bricks. While Abule Ajambata has 18 mud houses excluding the only church, the St John's Anglican Church, Abule Tisa has about 24 mud houses. These villages have been under constant attacks for some time. A resident, Mrs Cecilia Adeyemi, 60, a native of Ajambata and a peasant farmer, while narrating the incessant attacks on the villagers, said, "It was like
a movie. It was around 4am on April 12 when armed mobile policemen and the hoodlums struck. They beat the hell out of the old people who had no energy to run and the young ones that were caught unaware.'' According to her, she has suffered untold hardship in the hands of the hoodlums who had seized their farmlands. "I don't know the type of government we have, we are not safe. Some of the land grabbers come almost all the time asking us to leave our villages and relocate. We asked them why they want us to leave our villages but they cannot provide an answer. They always come here to humiliate us with armed military men. Recently, they invaded this village and destroyed our properties. The only church we have here has its chairs destroyed. They went into our house one after the other, pulled down the wooden doors, beat some of the old people here while others fled into the bush for safety.'' Akanji Ayeleso, 62, who said he had been farming and living in the village since he was young said the hoodlums came to the village three years ago, asking the residents to leave because they (hoodlums) want to use the farmland. They said they are land grabbers, (ajagungbale) and needed the village. According to him, "Sometime ago, about 30 to 40 armed police men among them mobile police officers covered their faces with shield and invaded the village around 4am. They beat both the old and the young to a coma. Some sustained injuries, others fled and those who could not run were beaten. The policemen said they were from SARS and were mobilised to evacuate us from the farmland. Another night, they came and took the generating plant we were using in the village to pump water from the bore hole. They even threatened to come back anytime again as they said since the place is in the bush nobody could do anything to them." The villagers believe they were being terrorised by the hoodlums because they know that the villages are too far from where they would attract any government attention or assistance. Fire for fire However, the villagers are now determined to defend themselves. Kayode Falola , told The Nation "Now it will be blood for blood. We are now after the policemen and the land grabbers. I swear many will go mad if they dare come to disturb us and since we
PHOTOS: TAIWO ABIODUN
don't enjoy any security from the government, our destiny is in our hands. We have been fair enough not to kill anyone of them but they keep on using police to harass us for nothing. The cheating is too much. We have used trees to block the entrance to the village. We are ready to deal with them .'' Felicia Odunayo, another resident, said the hoodlums were always invading the villages. "About three years ago, the invaders came with caterpillars and started bulldozing the place and they confessed that it is not their land but wanted to act as if it was theirs. They said they would like to conquer the place and take it as conquest. They said they are backed by the police and would sack us when they are ready''. She accused the hoodlums of killing her husband in the course of the fight to take over their lands. "They (hoodlums) smashed my husband's head when he was sleeping. They removed four of his teeth in the year 2009, that was how he was sent into his early grave. Now, this people have come again and boasted that no newspaper will report the story. Three weeks ago, they were here again and they expended their bullets on us and destroyed many things.'' Mrs. Omoseeni Azeez , in tears, narrated how she saw her 70 -year old mother hacked to death in her sleep by the same hoodlums in 2009. She said, "I came here with my newly born baby for my mother to assist me to nurse, but in that early morning some hoodlums who called themselves land grabbers led by one Mutairu Owoeye came in and used cutlass to hew my mother while sleeping. She bled to death. She was buried amidst tears. I cannot leave this place for I was born and bred here and I married here too. Where am I going? I don't know what the government is doing to rescue us from these people .We are not safe here.'' For Madam Dorcas Omotunde, 70, [aka Aya Oluwo] she is fed up with the harassment and intimidation by the police and the land grabbers. "I have been living here for long , I am 70 years of age. I don't know that it is this way we are going to be living. Recently, I was preparing my fufu for sale when the hoodlums came to unleash terror on us around 4am. I could not run but the little energy in me was used. I could have been dead by now but God saved me." It's all a story of blood, tears and •Continue on Page 55
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
• BRT Bus at TBS Race Course, Lagos
BRT: A dream deferred? Tunde Busari recently took a ride in the Bus Rapid Transport scheme and reports.
PHOTOS: MUYIWA HASSAN
• LAG Buses on the Queue at CMS, Lagos waiting for passengers.
HE traffic gridlock stretching from Iyana-Ipaja to Cement Bus Stop on that Thursday morning caused a lot of pain to commuters. They spontaneously poured venom on the government for its perceived failure to find a lasting solution to the incessant traffic problem on the road. However, when they got to Cement Bus stop and discovered it was an abandoned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) that broke down in the middle of the road thereby reducing the road to a narrow path, it further provoked the commuters they called for the head of the management of BRT for poor maintenance culture. End of a well conceived dream? A similar incident had earlier occurred somewhere at Abule-Egba when one of the BRT buses caught fire in motion. The bus was completely razed because it had no fire extinguisher, a basic fire preventive measure! These separate occurrences are the true reflection of what has become of the services of the BRT buses which are becoming a public em-
barrassment. The scheme which began in 2007 as a way to assist in alleviating transportation difficulty faced by Lagosians on daily basis is gradually falling apart. Operating on dedicated right of way, the transport system initially offered hope for the commuters as they received it with excitement and expected it was going to pose a threat to the continued patronage of the popular Molue, the ubiquitous Lagos mass transit vehicles. In fact, the system soon after rolling out turned into a model which other states embraced. However, the fleet of the hitherto sleek buses are now dilapidated, many with dented exteriors, broken bumpers, defaced registration number plates, broken light and generally ill-maintained thereby causing discomfort to passengers who have to contend with dusty and dirty interior. Sunday Amoran, a graphic artist resident at Ijaye conveniently ranks among the reliable passengers of the BRT buses since its inception. As someone who had lived in Eu-
rope for years, he was addicted to plying public buses due to the comfort they offer passengers as well as their style of operation involving an orderly queue as against the struggle characterizing boarding the commercial buses. Amoran now prefers to patronize neat commercial buses because of the disappointment which BRT buses have become considering their deplorable state. “I have lost interest in the buses because they are not in a true sense better than the yellow colour buses. I don’t know why they are not being managed well by the authorities in charge of them. The day I was the one cleaning dust from the seat was the first time I started noticing deterioration in the buses whereas they have some ladies employed to ensure the buses are in good shape. “Looking at some of them from outside and their dented body shows that soon they will fade away like those before them. It is just unfortunate because I love orderliness which the buses provided when they started operation,” he lamented.
Unruly drivers In addition to this is the conduct of some of the drivers of the buses in transit, the conduct which has lately attracted not only the attention of other road users but also their jeers. It was learnt that the drivers, apparently hiding under the cover of their employers (the state government), engage in reckless driving which partly accounted for some of the dents adorning the body of the buses. They exceed speed limit and their traffic infractions are often overlooked by the police and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA). “As far as I am concerned I am disappointed in those drivers with what they have become these days. Their uniform is the only thing that differentiates them from the commercial drivers who are known for the recklessness and disobedience to the right of other road users. This speaks volume of the kind of drivers the management recruited. They are more or less like thugs the politicians used during campaign,” Amoran said.
But Dele Ayinde, one of the drivers cautioned the public against a blanket condemnation of all the drivers in the employment of BRT. Ayinde who also confirmed the misconduct of some of his colleagues exonerated himself, maintaining that he has never misbehaved neither has he received a query from his employer since 2008 when he was employed some months after he completed his Ordinary National Diploma. Although he had operated a commercial bus in Lagos before going to school, he claimed his return to driving was a stopgap of sort against unemployment and as such he was always mindful of the implication of going against the traffic rule. “The right of other road users is always at the back of my mind whenever I am behind the wheel. Because of this, I always drive with care to the satisfaction of my passengers. But this is not saying that we don’t have some of our people who are not supposed to be in this type of job •Continued on Page 55
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012 •Continued from Page 53
gnashing of teeth. Rotimi Akinde said he would never forget in a hurry how his younger brother, Idowu, was killed by the hoodlums. He said, "I have been looking for ways to leave the village but as a farmer, how would I leave my farming job at this age? I don't know what the government is doing at all. These people always bring policemen from Sango Police station and at times from the SARS, to oppress and drive us from our land." Pa Albert Olawale Omoniyi, 97, said he is fed up living in Abule Tisa . "I am weak and tired and I am already old. I retired from the Custom s Service as senior clerical officer in 1977, and I have since then retired to my village, farming. Now, we are asked to vacate this village." However, the villagers alleged that one Chief Mutairu Owoeye is behind the trouble. They accused him of bringing the thugs to unleash terror on them. Pa Omoniyi said, "This is horrible. Owoeye asked us to relocate and go to another place saying that he needed the land. It is a pity the man has connection all over Lagos and has never been arrested with all the crimes he had committed and this is unfair to this village.'' However, the septuagenarian counselled Owoeye to learn from the late Ejigbadero who in the 70s was a notorious land grabber, saying the man eventually ended in the gallows. "This is exactly what Ejigbadero was doing until nemesis caught up with him. I wish Owoeye stop all his evil deeds before it is too late, and the federal government too should probe the activities of these policemen who are being used by these land speculators,'' Omoniyi stated. In search of help The Baale of Ajambata, Pa Oluremi Odunayo, said his people are being disturbed from carrying out their legitimate activities, "Now I just learnt that some of my people were taken away again to the police station. We are being terrorised always. I am 84 years and I am not happy at all. I am appealing to the state government to step into the matter, it is very urgent." Investigation reveals that the thugs live between the two villages. When The Nation visited the area where the hoodlums live, the reporter was threatened and advised not step into the vicinity as they were wielding all manners of arms from pen knife, axes to guns. Owoeye is very well known in Ogun and Lagos States. In MushinOginjo Community of Ikorodu and Shagamu Local government, he was alleged to have once attacked the community members with armed policemen while trying to take over their •Continued from Page 54
in the first place. But my take is that government job is public job which is for all comers. But my employers are trying to retrain us in line with the standard with which they want us to operate,” he said. Press and Public Relations Officer of the LAGBUS Asset Management Limited, Durojaye Olanrewaju also confirmed that the management does organize periodic training for its drivers against the backdrop of public complaints about their excessive attitude on the roads. Dealing with the defiant According to him, integrity and responsiveness are the two elements that drive the company’s interaction with its passengers in order to provide high level customer service. In achieving this standard, he said, the company has already trained about 500 drivers while it has also wielded the big stick on the errant ones to discourage bad behaviour. Sanction comes in form of query, salary deduction and outright dismissal. “This measure is our own way of showing the drivers that we would not compromise the standard we have set to be a model to com-
Who owns the land?
• Some residents of Ajambata village
land. A developer /surveyor Teriba Adetunji of Kaatson Associates said Owoeye, was once a carpenter by profession before he joined Almoroof Estate and Company. He later established his own company and had since developed penchant for seizing other people's lands. Owoeye is notorious for using the police to achieve his aim of taking over people's lands. Other places where he had operated are Igbo Olomu in Ikorodu, Oke Igbodo, Oko Omi in Ota, Ijere, Oniyanrin etc. Letters had been written on behalf of the community to police authorities complaining about the illegal use of policemen by Owoeye. One of such was written by the Law firm of Falana & Falana's Chambers to the Police Headquarters, Abuja. The letter dated August 25, 2009 complained about the illegal activities of Mutairu Owoeye and his gang. Others mentioned in the letter are Kamoru Lamina, Adebola Kajubo, Nurudeen Sanni, Rasheed
Kaaji, and Akeem Alabi. They were accused of terrorising the Mushin -Oginjo Community of Ikorodu and Shagamu Local Government Areas. Another letter was written to the Police Headquarters by His Royal Highness, Oba Olatunji A.Oriyomi, the Alatan of Atan, informing the headquarters on how Owoeye and his people are terrorizing them over their land. Law abiding citizen However, when Owoeye was confronted with the allegation of both villages, he denied it, saying he is a complete gentleman who does not believe in disobeying court orders. He said, "I am a law- abiding citizen. I don't kill. I defend the weak and the defenceless. The fact is that truth will always prevail. I help those oppressed over their land to fight injustice. When a man obtains a judgment over his land I will help him safeguard the land, that is what I do and I have been in this business for over 22 years. If there is a court judgment my company will as-
sist the winner to protect and sell. But, you see, when the loser comes to me asking me to give them portion I will refuse , that is why they keep on mentioning my name.'' On the issues concerning his being known all over Ogun and Lagos States as a thug and land grabber, he replied, "I am not surprised, it is the nature of my work. I hate cheating and that is why I am always on the side of the cheated ones and I assist them. If a client has no document to support the ownership of a land I will not go there. I will not defend a cheat or an illegally acquired land. I will not do dirty business, but if my client has all the necessary documents I will work for him. The lands of Ajambata and Tisa did not belong to those who are there. Those occupying these places are illegal occupants and they have been advised to leave but they refused. They killed one David Ogbolu and that provoked me. It is the villagers who have thugs and guns. I don't have guns, I have told them to vacate the places for they are not the
BRT: A dream deferred? mercial buses. It amounts to a shame if the passengers are comparing our drivers with commercial drivers we are supposed to teach civilized way of operating buses on roads. “As regards the state of our buses, we have a maintenance department and workshop where buses are serviced and rehabilitated. But you will agree with me that machine used over time as a matter of fact deteriorates. That is what the public complain about,” he said. To the Chief Operating Officer of the NURTW/Cooperative, Korede Adeyemi, his company is not unaware of the declining state of the buses in its fleet. Like Olanrewaju, he attributes this to the uninterrupted operation since inception which makes the buses giving in to the natural law of diminishing return. He, however, promised a total overhaul of the buses. Showing our correspondent the two buses just repaired by the company at his Ketu depot, Adeyemi stressed that auto spare parts to fix others will soon arrive the country
in a few weeks to meet the target of completing the rehabilitation by October. “We are working seriously towards achieving this because that is the only way to move the company forward and I am assuring you that we are going to achieve it. As you can see the two buses we have already repaired. “That is the state we want to return the buses to so that we will be able to serve our passengers better. It is not good to have dented buses on the road. They make mockery of us. The welfare of our passengers is important to me because without them we cannot be in business. So, the buses will be fixed soon,” he said. Adeyemi, however, does not lose sight of why it took the company so long to fix the problem. According to him, the intra-union crisis that rocked the Lagos State branch of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), the major stakeholder of the company since November 2011 has taken a toll on the operation of the company where the
loyalists of the warring factions in the employment of the company flex muscle to the detriment of effective operation. This development has turned the drivers to an unmanageable specie taking law into their hands at will. “It is unfortunate this is happening but it is the reality one needs to cope with. But by the time we are through with this, there is no doubt that we are going to be a good example on transportation investment not only in Lagos but in the entire country,” Adeyemi said. Former Minister for Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope is of the view that government must encourage mass transit because of the strategic role transport play in the economy. Babatope said when he was minister he encouraged the formation of cooperative societies which were given loan with subsidized interest. “This encouraged investment in transport business and eased the movement of goods, which is the vehicle that drives the economy. I can
rightful owners of the land." Owoeye admitted that he has clients all over Ogun State, "I have clients in Agbara, Aja, Atan, Mowe and many other places .I am not a thug. I am doing a legitimate business and I have never been arrested for murder as these land grabbers or false owners are saying.'' However, when The Nation got to the Land and Survey Bureau , Abeokuta, some of the officials testified that land grabbers are in the state terrorising the villagers . "It is unfortunate that police operatives are being used to terrorise innocent citizens while the state and federal governments could not say a word,'' an official who does not want his name in print said. He, however, directed the reporter to the Special Adviser on Land Matters to the Governor. When the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, was contacted, he denied ever hearing of such a case. He advised the villagers to get the names of the policemen who were being used by Owoeye so as to assist the authorities to deal with them.
only encourage the management of the BRT to fix the problem to attract passengers and improve the economy,” he said. However, the fear that the BRT dream may be dying out was extinguished on May 29 when the management of LAGBUS Asset Management rolled out another set of new buses, totalling 200 to complement the number in its fleet. At the official launch of the buses, Governor Raji Fashola, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the parastatal, Babatunde Disu said acquisition of the new buses was an effort to extend the service to the Yaba-Oyingbo axis with more assurance of taking over transport system in the metropolis. According to Disu, “As the Commissioner for Transport, Kayode Opeifa has said, we would paint Lagos red with the eye-catching colour of our high capacity buses before the end of the year. That is our target as we are hoping to take delivery of more before the year runs out.” The megacity wait in baited breath to see the realisation of this dream and put an end to the transport nighmare.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
My Angel lives on: Tribute to my Ngozi Ngozi Agbo, erstwhile co-ordinator of the Campus Life supplement in The Nation died in the process of delivering her first child last month. Her husband, Agbo Agbo, pours his heart out in this tribute
•Ngozi’s baby nine days after his birth
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" Phillipians 4:7” S a Christian, I have read this passage times without number, but it took a firm hold on me when I met a certain lady that later became my wife for a very brief, but highly impactful period. My meeting with the then Miss Ngozi Nwozor, I would say was divinely ordained. I've had my fair share of failed relationships for some time and decided to allow God do His choosing for me
By Agbo Agbo
after consuming volumes of marriage related literatures on 'how to find a life partner' and remain married. As a dedicated Christian I did all the right things the word of God says, yet things remained unchanged until November 2010. One of my core responsibilities as a Public Relations consultant is to have a robust relationship with the media
which I already had after spending more than 10 years in the media. In the course of working for one of our clients, Coca-Cola Nigeria, I had the opportunity to send a story about a student from Imo State University, Owerri who won a Mitsubishi Outlander four- wheel drive in the "Naija @ 50" campaign to Ngozi. Since I had never met her in person then, I sent a text message to the phone number on her page requesting for her other number to introduce myself and the purpose of my calling. This she did promptly and assured me that the story would be used. A meeting that changed lives About twenty minutes later she sent another text message that she would be hosting an event being sponsored by Coca-Cola Nigeria and Nigerian Bottling Company, and if I'm interested, she can send in my name for an invite. I told her I'd love to attend the event. Attending that event changed my life for good. Meeting Ngozi for the first time blew my mind away; was it her height, her elegance, composure and comportment, beauty or the almost single handed and multiple role she played at the event that caught my attention, I couldn't say, but in the final analysis, I said in my mind that this lady is simply unique. After sending a text message commending her for a well-organised event, I called her two days later inquiring if we could meet for lunch. She said it was okay if only I could tell her why I would want her to meet me for lunch, I told her it's just to discuss about "business." We finally met early December 2010 and it took us just three meetings after that to realise we were meant for each other. Ngozi was 34 years when we met, and the first question that came to my mind was 'what kept you this long from getting married considering your impeccable "credentials." She threw the same question back at me because I just clocked 40 and with all the right "credentials" for marriage. In March of 2011, I took Ngozi to the beach and with the waves cascading
to the shores within seconds' interval, I proposed to her drawing her to the amazing ways God works just like He has done with the waves. She accepted my proposition and I started calling her by the pet name "My Angel" almost immediately because she looked every inch like an angel to me. In June of the same year, we did our traditional wedding at Amawbia, Anambra State and our church wedding in Lagos on July 30, 2011. One month after our wedding, she became pregnant. On May 28, 2012, Ngozi gave birth to a bouncing handsome baby boy, but lost her life about an hour later. I lost my unique Angel I was devastated, utterly confused, inconsolable and dazed until my friend and business partner, Desmond Ekeh came to the hospital to make arrangement to convey the corpse to the funeral home. We had earlier jubilated with the arrival of our son with Pastor Iphy Okonkwo, my wife's pastor and mentor for years; she came around to give her prayer backings and encouragement before the tragedy struck. She is now the one taking care of our son, Emmanuel Chima Agbo, just like Ngozi would want. Later that evening, after getting myself together, I called Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, the Editor of The Nation and my wife's boss to break the sad news to him and I heard him shout on the phone, I had to switch the phone off because I could not bear his agony. Tributes have continued to flow since her death. Why would tributes not flow? Ngozi impacted thousands of people positively; this was one individual I never heard side talk about prior to and after our wedding. While pondering all these I had a flashback; what made Ngozi unique? Ngozi is unique for one fundamental fact: she touched thousands of lives, both personally and through her pet project, The Nation's CampusLife that she conceived to help undergraduates in Nigerian universities find their bearing in the labyrinth of life. Through her brief period on earth, she ensured that her students uphold the highest standards
of values, character and morality which she lived, wrote and preached all her life. Prior to meeting Ngozi, I had little patience with people who seem not to do things right or get their bearings correct, I shunned such people with a ten foot pole until she drew my attention to what I already knew but most times struggle to bring myself to doing; it was my responsibility as a Christian to give people direction in life. She pointed out that the fact that I am intelligent and gifted does not mean everyone is and that I have to use my intellect and gifts to help others and put those that have derailed back on track. That was when we threw our home open to undergraduates so that they can see that it is possible to be married and happy in spite of the economic challenges and moral crises confronting the country today. Just like me, Ngozi understood that life transcends the acquisition of material possessions that was why she gave her all to ensure that her students are inculcated with the fear of God, right values and morals because with these they can confront challenges that life would throw at them. These were the qualities that attracted readers to her weekly column "Pushing Out" which was a must read for most readers. The birth of an idea Shortly after we met she gave me the history of how she "stumbled" into doing what she was doing until death came knocking. Ngozi started her journalism career with the now rested New Age newspaper where she covered politics. While praying in church one Sunday, she said the Lord put it in her heart to come up with a platform to show the youths that there are better and acceptable ways of doing things totally different from the moral decadence embedded in Nigerian politics which she had a firsthand experience covering. She intimated some of her colleagues of her ideas for the youths of Nigeria before she left for Fate Foundation. She eventually left Fate Foundation, packaged her ideas and approached a couple of Editors of newspapers so that she could use their platforms. But she met a brick wall as most of them believed then that the idea "cannot fly." One day she got a call from Mr. Ade Ojeikere, a former colleague at New Age and now the Group Sports Editor of The Nation who told her that Mr. Omotoso may be interested in her idea. That was how the segment that would later touch thousands of undergraduates was born. She eventually got sponsorship from Coca-Cola Nigeria and Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) which bankrolls her annual workshops and Award ceremonies. At a time too, Fidelity Bank was sponsoring a segment targeted at youth finance matters. Her vision for the project is "To channel the mass of Nigerian undergraduates towards a renaissance of the present decadent moral and political culture to enable them impact their institutions and country positively." That is vintage Ngozi, my angel and visionary who had a passion for the youths of this great nation. You lived for just 36 years, but you touched thousands. The son you left behind and I are consoled that you lived well; we also know that you are resting in the bosom of our Lord. You can count on me to continue with the vision where you stopped. Painful as your abrupt exit is I take consolation that you did not live a frivolous life, some live for 80 years and above but nobody remembers them when they are gone, but your death reverberated around the world! Adieu my Angel. Agbo is Managing Partner at Synthesis Communication Limited, a PR consultancy out fit based in Lagos
‘Committed workforce makes successful company and vice versa’
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
IGERIA may not have what it takes to be among the Fortune 500 Companies, such companies known to have achieved tremendous growth in all fundamentals, socio-economic indices, among other considerations but there are a number of corporate bodies out there that have done well for themselves. If the outcome of a recent survey is anything to go by, it may be correct to say that there a few companies out there that have since attained the lofty heights of being best workplaces in the country. In the survey carried out by an independent body, among the roll-call of companies which made the list include: Guinness, First Bank and Guaranty Trust Assurance, which emerged as the top three companies in Nigeria in the great places to work in Nigeria rankings. In the survey of 250 companies, 20 companies emerged as the great places to work in Nigeria and will be entered into an international database that list the companies where employees are the most satisfied. Other firms that made it to the list are Accenture, Fidelity Bank Plc, Lagos Business School, Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC), Total Nigeria Plc, Access Bank Plc and Glaxosmith Beecham Plc. Ten companies were voted best for creating conducive environments that stimulate workers’ efficiency. These include: Accion Microfinance Bank Limited, Adic Insurance, Red Star Express, Oando Plc, Skye Bank Plc, Microsoft and Skye Bank Plc. While shedding light on the outcome of the survey, the Managing Director of Great Place To Work in Nigeria, Kunle Malomo said the methodology used to determine the rankings among others include Trust Index and Culture Audit were the two parameters used in selecting the best twenty companies. He said, “We have learned that trust is the key differentiator. Trust defined as a combination of Credibility, Fairness and Respect. This applies to all organisations regardless of regional culture, industry, size or age. By raising the level of trust in the workplace, companies everywhere can improve their business results since cooperation and innovation depend on trust.” Great Place To Work in Nigeria is an affiliate of Great Place to Work, San Francisco, in the US, specializes in analysing, understanding, selecting and publishing Best Workplace lists in the country. Speaking with The Nation recently, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, one-time president of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) said a number of companies today have come to appreciate the fact that it pays to adopt global best practices because of the good corporate im-
Top companies to work for in Nigeria
-- Page 59
Customs, firm at loggerheads over Like other advanced economies where a number of companies missing containers
have come to be classified among the Fortune 500 Companies by virtue of their fantastic turnover and superstructure, some companies in Nigeria, are gradually playing in the big league what with their rising profile out there according to a survey by an independent body, report Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf and Gbenga Oyebanji
•Some of the most sought-after companies in Nigeria
age such culture engenders. According to him: “Many companies out there understand the fact that the only way to play in the big league is to be seeing to be among the few that places high premium on quality, core social values like respect for employees, adopting the right work ethics, corporate governance procedures, among other global best practices.” Citing the case of Neimeth Pharmaceutical Company, where he was the Managing Director/Chief Executive until recently, Ohuabunwa said the company in keeping with the Global Compact of the United Nations, which places emphasis on human capital as a priceless asset in every organisation, has also come to adopt the same standard and best practice.
Echoing similar sentiment, Sir Steve Omojafor, Chairman, Zenith Bank Plc, while speaking at a public forum in Lagos, last Thursday, said major brands that have endured over the years are known to have been committed to the ideals of honesty, transparency, fairness and justice as well as employee motivation. In the view of an economist, Mr. Samson Akinlotan, who attempted a review of a World Bank report on Doing Business in Economies for 2012, he said a lot of factors contribute to the poor performance of most companies in this part of the world. According to him, “The 21 century economy is driven by policy consistency and a secure environment that values life and property.” Raising a poser, he said:
“What makes an economy distress for business? Perennial neglect of government expenditure on capital project or insufficient attention to human development is a causative factor.” Citing the World Bank , he said, “Out of 183 economies, Nigeria was ranked 133 in the overall metrics aggregated,10 metrics were used, such as, starting a business 116,dealing with construction permits 84,getting electricity 176,registering property 180,getting credit 78,protecting investors 65,paying taxes 138,trading across borders 149,enforcing contracts 97,resolving insolvency 99,each out of 183 per metric.” “With all these statistics, any serious thinking government should know a conducive environment is a destination for FDI (foreign direct investment).The foundations of business growth is a fine tune fiscal policy, a discretionary monetary policy and dynamic public institution.” Infrastructural development, Akinlotan emphasised, “is the engine of a robust economy, the deficit we suffer in this aspect had really hindered business growth, also strong human capital lubricates the frictions in any economy, our public institutions are marred with database deficit, which had really dragged on business growth. “The private sector can never actualize its true potentials without a dynamic public sector. The government needs to get its act right through policy activism; we cannot afford to play to the gallery. The neglect of the past is what we are reaping today. Let’s run into the future with genuine policies that allows business to grow. Collectively we can achieve this challenging task. The job of government is to create an enabling environment for entrepreneurs to innovate and create jobs; a hostile environment locks their potentials. The 21st century global economy is about business warfare, all nations interest is driven towards this goal, we should not be an exception.”
HE Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and a firm, Sanshek Nigeria limited are at loggerheads over the whereabouts of two 40 feet containers. Already the lawyers to Sanshek Mike Igbokwe (SAN) has petitioned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) over what it called the “wrongful interception and detention of two 40 feet containers” at Tin Can Island port Lagos. The petition to the SGF by the law firm of Mike Igbokwe (SAN) was circulated to journalists in Abuja. Dated 24th April, 2012, the petition appealed to the SGF to take necessary action in the “case of wrongful interception and detention of two 40 feet containers with numbers CMAU 521O405 and TRLU 543140 of 714 cartons (19992) of motorcycle helmets owned and imported by SanShak which were wrongly sized by the Nigerian customs Service and the Standards Organization of Nigeria since 2009.” The petition stated that all necessary port duties and charges had been paid before the containers were sized by both government agencies. The SGF was petitioned because it had become necessary since both the Nigerian Customs service and the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) have remained silent over the whereabouts of the containers thus prompting the fear by the firm that the containers may have been auctioned. It was also revealed that on the 3rd of June, 2010, SanShak wrote to the Comptroller General of Customs intimating him of a plot by the Customs to “examine and mark the containers for auction.” In the letter to the Comptroller General of Customs in 2010, the firm appealed to the Customs boss to use his “good office to stop the sale of the consignments and release same to us since it has been cleared by the customs and the necessary payments made.” However, officials of the company told journalists that since the June 2010 letter to the Comptroller General of Customs, no reply has been sent to the company over the matter. Speaking on the issue, the chairman of SanShek Senator, Collins Ndu has threatened to take both the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to court if he does not get a response from them concerning the fate of his two containers. He disclosed that SON denied his agents exit from the port with the containers of motorcycle helmets in 2009 because the helmets were not branded, he however insisted that the helmets were the JX model with sun visors and were duly and boldly branded. When contacted, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Wale Adeniyi told The Nation that he was not aware of the petition to the SGF and as a result could make any categorical statement on the fate of the containers. Wale Adeniyi, however, maintained that the NCS would not seize any container arbitrarily without recourse to the laws but he promised to look into the matter as soon he sees the petition.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
•From left: Governor Kayode Fayemi, Guest Speaker, Dr. Ausbeth Ajagu, President, Governing Council, Academy for Entreprenuerial Studies (AES) Excellence Club and Dr. (Mrs) Nike Akande, Chairman AES, during the monthly Business Luncheon organised by the Academy in Lagos, recently
Fayemi markets Ekiti to prospective investors
ETERMINED to make Ekiti State the destination of choice for old and prospective investors, the state government has put measures in place aimed at encouraging businesses across all sectors, the state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has said. The governor dropped this hint in Lagos, as one of the guest speakers at the monthly Business Luncheon organised by the Academy for Entrepreneurial Studies Excellence Club. Fayemi, in his presentation entitled: “Ekiti State: Investment Opportunities and Challenges”, said investment opportunities abound in the state largely described as the “Intellectual capital of the nation” on account the devotion and commitment to scholarly endeavours by the indigenes of the state. According to Fayemi, “Although Ekiti is one of the smallest states in the country but it is bigger than 13 African countries like Gabon, Namibia to mention just a few. As a largely agrarian economy, we have a lot to offer the rest of the country and even beyond.” While recounting that his government mooted the idea of going to raise the sum of
Stories by Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf
N25billion from the capital market in order to get additional fund for development projects, he said the effort has paid off judging by the different ongoing projects that dots the landscape. Citing a World Bank report which ranked Ekiti as 24th in terms of competitiveness and conducive business environment, an elated Fayemi said: “Today, this is the only state where you can obtain a Certificate of Occupancy in less than 30 days. But there is a caveat: you must explore the land within the next 12 months.” Expatiating, he said: “It might interest you to note that Ekiti is today one huge construction site with projects strewn all over parts of the state. We are expanding investment in education, we are also focusing on agriculture with emphasis on commercial farming, oil palm produce, cassava, rice, cocoa, mineral resources as well as focusing on our tourism potentials”, he stressed. While admitting that, “The challenges are enormous”, he was, however, quick to add that “the opportunities are great for those who are ready to take calculated risk.”
He urged the AES members to lend the necessary support towards helping the state to achieve its objectives, especially prospective investors, who he assured, were guaranteed quick returns on investment. Speaking earlier, Sir Steve Omojafor, Chairman, Zenith Bank Plc and STB-MCCANN, who presented a paper entitled: “Corporate Branding As a tool for Effective Positioning in the Market Place”, harped on the importance of corporate branding to any organisation. He urged organisations whether at the public or private sector not to starve their corporate branding in the interest of others. In her remarks, Chief Nike Akande, Chairman, AES Excellence Club, who recalled that the AES came on stream barely two years ago, said it was heartening to note that it has achieved modest success thus far. Echoing similar sentiments, Dr. Ausbeth Ajagu, President, Governing Council, AES Excellence Club, said the club currently boasts of men and women in top positions of responsibilities, an indication that the club is being reckoned with by all well-meaning Nigerians.
Foundation, others seek investment at forum
T •From left: West African Union of Tax Institutes (WAUTI) President, Prince Rasaq 'Kunle Quadri presenting a plaque to the Acting Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Alhaji Kabir Muhammed Mashi during a courtesy visit to the Service in Abuja recently
HE need for business organisations to be more proactive in carrying out their social responsibilities in their operating communities has once again been lauded at this year’s UTurn Africa Forum. The forum was a gathering of indigenous philanthropy organisations which include the TY Danjuma Foundation, Tony Elumelu Foundation and the MTN Foundation; leaders in the oil and gas, banking and telecommunication sectors. The forum discussed extensively the concept of impact investment in Nigeria and Africa. According to Mrs. Doyin
Olutona, the Co-Founder and CEO U-Turn Africa, the forum could not have come at a better time. “We want to turn things around in Africa. We want to turn around how people do their businesses in Africa. We want African countries to become first world nations and no longer third world or perpetually developing nations. We really want African countries to be developed through the right way and with the right impact,” Olutona said. In the key note address, Mr. Christian Wessels, Partner, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, challenged businesses to take the bull by the
horn by not just showing interest in doing their businesses but investing in all spheres contributing to growth. Other members of the panel include: Ms. Thelma Ekiyor, Pioneering Executive Director, TY Danjuma Foundation, Dr. Wiebe Boer, CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Doug Barnett, Lead Social Business Development Officer, African Development Bank and Mrs. Bunmi Lawson, Executive Director Accion Nigeria, also stressed the need for making the most of investments coming into Africa in the interest of the continent.
60 firms compete for CSR awards
O •From left: Dr. Wiebe Boer, CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Thelma Ekiyor, Pioneer Executive Director/CEO, TY Danjuma Foundation and Douglas Barnett, Lead Social Business Development Officer, Africa Development Bank at the U-Turn Africa Forum 2012 Seizing Momentum, Driving Change held at The Wheatbaker, Lagos, recently
HE reception area of your front office determines the first impression your business makes on clients, vendors and visitors. Carefully craft this area to be functional, professional and stylish. Various design elements such as color, materials, layout and branding can make a statement about the values of your company. Ensure that your reception area sends the right message by taking the time to thoroughly plan each detail of this important aspect of your office space. With the concept that the first impression is the most important, the front desk reception area for an office or hotel requires very close attention. The level of the attention to the overall plan may equate to a rise in sales or a loss of repeat business. There is also a certain amount of attention which must be paid to the minutest detail of the reception area to achieve a significant positive impact. Thus, the design for the reception area is crucial. When in doubt, an eclectic design theme is the best approach. Does this Spark an idea? Marble and Granite!!! Every front desk area needs several tables, high bars or a combination of both to accom-
VER 60 organisations have submitted their entries for the forthcoming corporate social responsibility awards, the flagship awards organised by TruContact Limited, a PR firm with a bias in monitoring and evaluating CSR
programmes across the public and organised private sectors. In a release made available to The Nation, the organisers said the roll-call of companies contesting for the various categories of award includes: MTN, Shell, Fidelity
Bank, Total, Promasidor, GT Bank and others. Tagged: “Creating Shared Value in a New Economy: Pushing Back The Frontiers”, the awards will take place on September 22, 2012 at the Shell Hall, MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos.
MARBLE AND GRANITE Office Reception Area - How to make a grand entrance modate clients who need to write checks, sit down for a drink, rearrange a bag and the like. Various types of tables work better together than others for an eclectic design theme. Search for tables which have legs of similar shapes, but different heights and unusual marble and granite surface shapes. Situate a table or two next to the various seating pools. Order high bar Marble or Granite counters custom made with bases that resemble the lines of the table legs. Cover all table surfaces with custom-cut marble or granite to avoid the added expense of repair and refinishing. With your office being a place where you spend time every day, it needs to be comfortable, practical and stylish. Because your office is also a reflection of who you are and how you work, you need to set a good impression for
your guests and employees by choosing the right office furniture. The number of choices available at chain stores and specialty office supply stores might seem overwhelming, but there are a number of tips and tricks you can use to ensure you are furnishing your office properly to meet your current and future needs. Put out some plants. Greenery is a simple and inexpensive way to brighten up any room. The best place to keep small plants is on a Marble side table where they can be out of the way and will not get knocked over. If you have a large floor plant, you can tuck it in the corner, out of the way. Choose a neutral paint for the walls. While it may seem boring, you can always For more information on Marble/Granite Care, Sales and pump up the style with other Delivery contact: Mike Anazodo – Email: items in the room. Neutral colors can complement anything. email@example.com, Tel: 01-8934967 . Maldini Paint is also easy to clean. Marble and Granite Company
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
‘Committed workforce makes successful company and vice versa’ Mrs. Titilola Bakare, who assumed the role of the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Vono Products in August 2010, has recorded a lot of giant strides more than she is willing to admit since she took over the management of the once fledging foam company, which fell on evil days due to biting economic crunch. In this interview with Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf, she shares her thought on human resource management, among other issues
OU began your career at Vitafoam Nigeria Plc where you rose to the position of the human resource manager. Would you say your experience may have prepared you for your present position? Well, I didn’t actually begin my career with Vitafoam Plc. I actually started off in the public service. With my first degree in Bachelor of Arts in Education with specialisation in Guidance and Counselling from the University of Lagos, my primary constituency was in the classroom, where my job entailed teaching and training mainly. I did that up till the point I joined Vitafoam in 1997 and rose to the position of the Head of Human Resources in 2010 when I was asked to assume as the Managing Director of Vono Plc. You may recall that Vitafoam bought over Vono. I think based on a lot of consideration the lot fell on me as someone experienced in managing people to come and manage this place. At the risk of sounding immodest, we assumed office at a time when a lot had gone awry. For instance, motivation was at the lowest ebb and this affected productivity adversely. So when we came in, we decided that the only way to help turn around the fortunes of this once successful and viable company was to first of all make the people and employees of the company, the centre and focus of our management. And it has worked for us, I must say. Looking around now, you will notice some marked improvement compared to where we where before. So, to answer your question directly, yes, in a sense, my background as an educationist and experience as a human resource manager has helped me significantly in my present position. Although it is expressively agreed that proper human resource management is a prerequisite for the success or otherwise of any organisation, the irony however is that the importance of human resource management doesn’t seem to be appreciated enough out there. What do you think is responsible for this? Yes I may want to agree with you that human capital development in the last 10 years has been taking for granted. Before now human resource management was almost an all-comers job. I recalled that when I put in for my Masters degree in Human Resource Development at the University of Manchester, London, many people thought I was not serious at all because at that time it was not the in-thing to do. I can say without any fear of contradiction that not many people saw human resource management as a career of sort. But all that is changing now. The appreciation of human resource management has changed. In the entire component of human resource you have new rules of engagement, you have performance man-
agement. Human resource management has become a profession that nearly any company worth its salt, wants to get into because they have come to realise that people is the greatest asset of any organisation. Today, the scope has moved just engaging anybody with a first class or distinction. There is a new body of knowledge which is work-learning performance, which is concerned with how do you relate the training you have to your job to enhance productivity ultimately. This is the new thinking out there. There is this saying I always refer to: “Show me a successful company and I will show you a successful and committed workforce. Show me a bad company that is going downhill, and I will show you a workforce that is equally bad and not committed to their job.” In other words, any company that is desirous of achieving success ultimately has to ensure that it makes workers its centre focus. That’s the only way I think such a company can achieve its utmost objective of increasing its bottom-line as well its overall growth. Beyond your training in human resource development, did you get additional skills set in personnel management? For anybody who desires to grow along his or her career path, you cannot rule out continuous training and retraining. Well, I can say that I have benefited immensely from training and refresher courses from different bodies both locally and internationally, where I attended several management courses. In Nigeria for instance, there are human resource trainers and there are human resource trainers. Among the top five bodies involved in human resource development, Tom Associates, to my mind, stands out as one of the foremost and respected human resource management
•Bakare. PHOTO: ABIODUN WILLIAMS
INTERVIEW training institutes in the country today. You have to give it to Tom Associates. They have been at it for the past 20 years. It only shows that there is commitment and clear focus on what they want as an organisation that has chosen human resource development as its core value. I can only wish the organisation more successes in the years ahead. Why do you think Nigeria companies are yet to get to the level of the acclaimed Fortune 500 Companies? And do you think Vono Plc has the potential to be among these top companies? Yes, I admit that Nigeria companies are yet to attain the level where they will be classified as Fortune 500 Companies and this is due to many reasons I will outline shortly, chief among which is the fact that we still have issues with how our organisations are structured. I’m aware that to become among such highly rated companies some of the criteria are to adopt international best practices like good corporate governance, transparency and accountability and even staff welfare and motivation, conducive working environment, to mention just a few. To answer the second leg of your question, yes, we are optimistic that Vono Plc has and do have the potential to become a company in the mould of the Fortune 500 Companies. Interestingly, as one of the en-
“Show me a successful company and I will show you a successful and committed workforce. Show me a bad company that is going downhill, and I will show you a workforce that is equally bad and not committed to their job. In other words, any company that is desirous of achieving success ultimately has to ensure that it makes workers its centre focus. That’s the only way I think such a company can achieve its utmost objective of increasing its bottom-line as well its overall growth”
during brands in the Nigerian foam and furniture market, we have made a lot of inroads through in technology and innovation. As a company that makes people the centre of our operation, I’m optimistic that we are on the right path to become not just a successful and viable company but we will be able satisfy all our stakeholders out there. As a busy executive how do you unwind? I try to create time to cool off. I eat right, do some exercises to keep fit and value my family life. I also party once in a while. I don’t just attend any party but anyone I attend I try to enjoy myself to the fullest because all work and no play as they say, makes Jack a dull boy! It is widely acknowledged that men attain the corporate social ladder easily compared to their female counterparts. What price did you have to pay to get to the top? Yes, I have paid a price. Although I was lucky not to have been sexually harassed, but I’ve been harassed all the same! My superiors harassed me with work and more work! And that is what I tell people, especially my female colleagues: always strive to be the best in whatever you do. No company worth its salt would like to lose its best hands. As a woman in the workplace don’t leave room for making excuses. Rather than making room for excuses and giving anybody the opportunity to harass you, remain focus on doing the job and doing it well. Don’t say because I’m a woman I should be given preferential treatment, no. it doesn’t help at the long run. To get to the top of your career, you have to be ready to pay attention to the finer details at all time. I once read from one these inspirational speakers that to get a job done, you have to be ready to do it yourself, and you don’t leave it in the hands of others. Around here, my people know me. Once I get to the factory and see a piece of work, I’m able to determine first hand if a job is well done or poorly done. Through constantly challenging myself to go the extra mile, I have been able to instill in our workforce a ‘can do’ spirit that sees quality as hallmark of progress and development.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2011
Reward for dignity of labour BUSINESS PROFILE By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf and agency report
OR his total devotion to the time-tested philosophy of dignity of labour and belief in the supremacy of hard work on the continent of Africa, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, has received the United States Treasury Inaugural Development Impact Honours Award bestowed on the MaliSenegal Road project, one of the Bank Group’s regional multinational projects. An elated Kaberuka, at the award ceremony held in Washington D.C., chaired by treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, and attended by members of the U.S. Congress and other prominent personalities, in his acceptance speech, said: ���I am truly honored and humbled to receive on behalf of the African Development Bank the Treasury’s Inaugural Development Impact Honors.” “We do appreciate recognition from our friends for the
modest progress we are making, however we still have a long way to go and we must keep the hard work,” Mr. Kaberuka said. The U.S. Treasury launched the Development Impact Honours Award competition for multilateral development Banks last year in the following categories: education, environment/climate, food security, health, infrastructure, private sector, women and girls. The Road Improvement and Transport Facilitation on the Bamako-Dakar Corridor Project, which won the award, was approved by the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional arm of the AfDB Group, on 21 December 2005 with a loan of USD 83 million (UA 58.16 million) and a grant of USD 11.251 million (UA 7.9 million). The project was designed to help strengthen economic integration and sub-regional
cooperation in West Africa; to open up the hinterland countries of the sub-region and to establish a permanent highway link through the south between Mali and Senegal; and to remove constraints on movement so as to reduce overall transport costs and foster economic exchanges between the two countries. The project included improvements on the roads between Kati and Kita and between Kita and Faleme in Mali; two bridges of in Mali; another bridge the Faleme at the border between the two countries; road improvements between Faleme and Saraya in Senegal, and also between Saraya and Kedougou, and between Tambacounda and Birkilane. “As rightly pointed out in your invitation letter, we are indeed proud of this project which is part of the Transsahélienne highway that links Dakar (Senegal) to Port Soudan (Soudan) through Bamako (Mali), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Niamey (Niger), Kano (Nigeria) and N’Djamena (Chad). The project adds to the highway a section called “route communautaire” by UEMOA Members. This missing link of this African Highway and is also part of the short term Action Plan of NEPAD,” President Kaberuka said. He explained to the audience that closing the infrastructure deficit is vital for economic prosperity and sustainable development in Africa. This is more so, considering Africa’s challenging economic geography that requires huge infrastructure for the continent to realize its growth po-
•From left: Ms. Nonny Ugboma, Executive Secretary, MTNF, Mrs. Oghenerume Rotimi, General Manager, Commercial Legal, MTN presenting some gift items to Mrs. Adedotun Akannde, Founder/Proprietress of Patrick Speech and Languages Centre, as part of activities of 21 Days of Y’ello Care,supported by Mr. Reginald Ofor, Snr. Manager, Logistics, S&D and Ms.Oyeronke Oyetunde, Snr. Manager, Legal Affairs, both of MTN, in Lagos, on Thursday
tential and equitably share the benefits of an increasingly connected global economy. The President cited the mandate given to the bank to operationalise, in partnership with the African Union, the Infrastructure part of New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) programme and other continental collaborative efforts and programmes in which the Bank is involved to help provide needed infrastructure across the continent. He called for greater partnership and assured that U.S support and efforts were fully aligned with Africa’s priorities and making difference. “As I accept this award on behalf of the African Development Bank, I would like to remind all our partners that what we are doing today is planting a seed for the future. You can rest assured that this award is a sign that we are on the right path and that with concerted effort, we will do better,” President Kaberuka emphasised, amidst a huge applause from the audience. Kaberuka, born 5 October 1951, is a Rwandan economist and the current president of the African Development Bank. He was educated at universities in Tanzania and the United Kingdom and received a PhD degree in economics from the University of Glasgow. He worked in banking and international trade for over a decade. In October 1997 he was appointed minister of finance and economic planning in Rwanda. Kaberuka served in that position for eight years, and is credited with helping to stabilize the Rwandan economy from the effects of the 1994 genocide. In July 2005, Kaberuka was elected president of the African Development Bank (AfDB). He took office in September 2005. Kaberuka leads an institution whose financial standing has been restored from the near collapse of 1995, but whose operational credibility remains a work-in-progress. A working group convened by the Centre for Global Development, an independent Washington think tank, released a report in September 2006 that offered six recommendations for Kaberuka and the Bank’s board of directors on broad principles to guide the Bank’s renewal. The report contains six recommendations for management and shareholders as they address the urgent task of reforming Africa’s development bank. Prominent among the recommendations is a strong focus on infrastructure.
Beyond Talent By Adetayo Okusanya Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Seven reasons why you did not get promoted (3) Continued from last week
5. Your nickname is “Tornado Tom” You get the job done, no matter what. You have developed a reputation for setting aggressive deadlines and completing projects ahead of schedule. You are great at keeping emotions out of business issues and you drive yourself and others hard. The return on investment (ROI) on your projects is thrice that of your peers. Your ability to milk revenue from clients and slash project costs is the stuff that legends are made of. Indeed, you have become a legend in your organization. Here is the challenge. No one wants to work with you. You are a legend for all the wrong reasons. Your customers feel cheated, your vendors feel bullied, your team members feel assaulted and your manager is overwhelmed with complaints about your work style. You get the job done but you leave a trail of disgruntled and angry stakeholders in your wake. You are frequently reassigned to new accounts to appease clients who threaten to take their business elsewhere and your colleagues have been known to resign to avoid working with you. Congratulations! You have mastered the fine art of being infamous! 6. You have lost your boss’ vote of confidence You believe your boss is inept and you wonder how he was able to advance his career. He defies every notion you have about who, what and how a manager should be. His communication, management, decision making and fashion styles leave a lot to be desired. In your opinion, he is not fit to lead you or anyone else, and you could probably do a better job with one hand tied behind you. You constantly gripe about how your success is being impeded by his incompetence, and you consistently criticize, challenge and defy him in public. Here is the challenge. Your father neither owns nor holds majority shares in the company that you work for, and your boss, who is the key decision maker in matters related to your development and advancement, has come to dislike and distrust you. In his view, you are a disloyal subordinate and a threat to his success. Consequently, he has determined in his mind to ensure that you do not achieve the success that you desire on his watch. Instead of investing your time and energy in building a strong, positive strategic alliance with your boss and demonstrating loyalty, support and cooperation, you have created a hostile work relationship between you and the one person that decides what you do, the value that is placed on what you do and the rewards that accrue to you. Congratulations! You have mastered the fine art of career suicide. 7. You may not be as good as you think you are You equate the length of time in your current position with the ability to deliver quality results. You are a major proponent of maintaining customs and traditions and you wonder why others get frustrated by your insistence to do things the way they have always been done. Your relationship with your boss is perfect, and his open door policy gives you the opportunity to stop by his office regularly to discuss problems that you are facing. A recurring topic of discussion with your boss is your frustration with the various change initiatives that the company seems to be constantly implementing. As far as you are concerned, such changes are unnecessary and increase the scope and complexity of your work. In your opinion, “if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it”. Here is the challenge. Your environment is constantly changing but you have stayed the same. Your organization is doing its best to react agilely and adapt to changing economic, political and global climates. There is now a new normal and a higher baseline for performance standards, but you are still clinging to old customs and practices that no longer serve the company or its stakeholders. Your boss, to no avail, has asked you several times to be more proactive and autonomous in problem solving and proffering solutions, rather than simply identifying problems. You have stopped adding value to your role and no longer demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning and improvement. Congratulations! You have mastered the fine art of becoming antediluvian. Being passed over for promotion can be a major disappointment, but it is not the worst thing in the world. It is a temporary setback that creates an opportunity for self reflection and course correction. Maybe you are yet to miss a promotion; this article affords you the opportunity to proactively maintain your track record. It is my belief, similar to the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule), that most of your success in advancing your career will be determined by how YOU choose to proact and react in your team, department and organization.
• Okusanya is CEO of ReadinessEdge
WORLD NEWS THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
S Syria gradually slips into a civil war and the rest of the world seemingly helpless to stop the massacre amidst escalation of fighting between government soldiers and opposition forces in different parts of the country, the need for an urgent outside military intervention to end the bloodletting is becoming inevitable. But there appears to be little appetite for any outside military action against the Syrian regime in Western capitals, especially among NATO member nations who combined in different ways last year to bring down the Moamer Ghadafi regime in Libya. With Syrian forces laying siege on several opposition strongholds across the country, the UN Under-Secretary General for Peace Keeping Operations Herve Ladson says the Arab country is effectively in a state of civil war. His comments came in the wake of attacks by government supporters on the UN mission on its way to the western town of Haffa. This, analysts believe could strengthen calls for the Security Council to act decisively against the Syrian regime. For all the unease about direct outside military intervention, will there come a moment when humanitarian concerns and the fear of a wider regional crisis shift the balance, making action inevitable?For the moment, that does not seem to be the case. Indeed, since the outset of the Syria crisis in March 2011, there has been little appetite for outside military intervention. This has been based on two assessments. Firstly, that this would be no simple military option: the situation on the ground in Syria is in many ways very different from that in, for example, Libya - the opposition is much more divided, the government’s security forces are much stronger, and Syria’s air defences are more effective. Secondly, there has been a view that the implications of toppling President Bashar alAssad could prompt a much wider wave of instability in the region. Unlike Libya, Syria both politically and geographically - is a central player in the Arab world, and sectarianism and instability there could threaten both Lebanon and Iraq. Then, of course, there is the fundamental legal problem. Constrained by Russian and Chinese vetoes at the UN Security Council, there is no possibility of getting a resolution to authorise force. That has not always mattered in the past. Nato troops went into Kosovo, after all, to halt systematic abuses by Serbian forces. But the absence of legal authorisation certainly precludes action when there is little enthusiasm for it in the first place. So what are we to make of calls from senior Republican politicians in the US, like Senator John McCain, urging air strikes against Syrian security forces? Joshua Landis, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says: “Despite the
Saudi Crown Prince Nayef is dead
•A protestor holds a sign during a women’s demonstration against the Bashar al-Assad regime crackdown on pro-democracy protests, outside the Syrian embassy in central London, yesterday. The United Nations suspended their mission in the country yesterday. AFP PHOTO
Syria crisis: Time for military intervention? By Waheed Odusile, with Agency reports.
growing chorus of politicians calling for US leadership in Syria, the Obama administration is adamant that Washington should not take the lead, but follow regional partners, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.” Mr Landis argues the simple fact is that the Obama administration sees no strong reason to intervene. “US officials are unanimous in arguing that the Assad regime is doomed and can only hang on for a limited time, with or without increased US support for the Syrian opposition. I think they are right in this analysis. “This means that the US has no compelling national security interest in jumping into the Syrian civil war that is emerging. The regime’s days are numbered.” Much of the debate on outside intervention is vague. It confuses and makes false distinctions between the different options and to a large extent glosses over many of the fundamental problems facing them all. Assistance and relief The main thrust of any external action would be essentially humanitarian in nature, a response to the growing plight of civilians in Syrian towns and cities who are under bombardment by government forces. Efforts could also be made to bring assistance to displaced refugees who have moved towards Syria’s frontiers with Turkey and Lebanon. Three
related measures are being discussed. Humanitarian corridors Suggested first by the then French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe last year, the idea would be to establish short corridors into Syrian territory through which humanitarian supplies could be delivered. Safe zones The establishment of safe areas within Syrian territory is an idea that has been broached by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu. Such havens would be in border areas, acting as a place of safety where refugees could gather, be fed and sheltered, and so on. No-fly zones Often discussed in relation to both of the above, the suggestion is that Western air power could help ensure the safety of the zones or corridors. In itself, air power would not halt the fighting. It is not the Syrian air force that is primarily involved in offensives on opposition strongholds - although activists say jets and helicopters have been used to carry out reconnaissance and occasionally air strikes - but the government’s ground forces. But a discussion of air power underscores that unless the Syrian authorities agree to allow humanitarian access, any safe zones or corridors would first have to be established by force and then defended by force. The horror of Srebrenica in the Balkans showed what can happen if there is no will to defend a safe zone once created. The key point here is that even the options directed
primarily at humanitarian relief require significant military elements too. They involve seizing and holding bits of Syrian territory and a willingness to take on Syrian forces if necessary. Air power would be crucial - though Western warplanes would have to contend with Syria’s reasonably sophisticated air defences. Boots would almost certainly be needed on the ground too. These are not “military lite” options. Changing the balance of power These options seek to accelerate the processes already at work in Syria both by strengthening the opposition forces and thus seeking to increase the pressure on the Syrian authorities. Again, a range of strategies is available. Logistical support for armed rebel groups This has probably been under way for some time. The idea is to provide medical supplies and non-lethal equipment such as radios to make the opposition more effective. For some, this is seen as the thin end of the wedge, leading to the arming of rebel forces. This is certainly what happened in Libya. Maritime interdiction The aim here would be to limit weaponry and munitions going to the Syrian government. In the absence of UN Security Council action, this would rest on shaky legal ground. It might also mean being willing to halt Russian
shipping, since it is Moscow that remains the Assad regime’s principle armourer. Arming the rebels Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have voiced their support for arming the opposition forces in Syria. There are strong indications that over recent weeks, the quality and quantity of weaponry going to the Syrian opposition has improved, as has their effectiveness. Pressuring the Syrian military Simon Henderson, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, wonders if arming the opposition “is necessarily the best tactic”, and getting the Syrian army to flip might be a better way of getting rid of President Assad. “Pressure needs to be put on different division commanders,” he argues. “The US can no doubt identify the commanders and possibly communicate with them - it did this sort of thing during the invasion of Iraq.” Indeed, there have been persistent reports of the US flying drones over the country to gather evidence of humanitarian abuses. “Of course,” he notes, the risk is that “this might only bring about a new military-led regime”. Punitive air attacks Any attack against Syria would have to be on a much larger scale compared with that seen in Libya When the offensive against Homs was at its height, the US very publicly released satellite Continued on page 62
ROWN Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz, the hard-line interior minister who spearheaded Saudi Arabia’s fierce crackdown crushing alQaida’s branch in the country after the 9/11 attacks and then rose to become next in line to the throne, has died. He was in his late 70s. Nayef’s death unexpectedly reopens the question of succession in this crucial U.S. ally and oil powerhouse for the second time in less than a year. The 88-year-old King Abdullah has now outlived two designated successors, despite ailments of his own. Saudi-funded pan-Arab TV station Al-Arabiya later confirmed he died in Geneva. He travelled abroad frequently in recent years for tests but authorities never reported what ailments he may have been suffering from. Nayef was born in 1933, the 23rd son of Abdul-Aziz, the family patriarch who founded the kingdom in 1932 and had dozens of sons by various wives. Nayef has 10 children from several wives.
China puts its first woman astronaut into orbit
HINA put its first woman into orbit yesterday, one of three astronauts to attempt a critical space docking in the latest challenge for the country’s ambitious space programme. A Long March rocket blasted off in the early evening from the remote Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the northwestern Gobi Desert, carrying with it the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft and the three astronauts, including 33-year-old female fighter pilot Liu Yang.This is China’s fourth manned space mission since 2003 when astronaut Yang Liwei became the country’s first person in orbit, and comes as the United States has curtailed manned launches over budget concerns and changing priorities. The launch was carried live on state television, and until moments before blastoff, a camera showed the three astronauts in the cabin occasionally waving. A red placard with the Chinese symbol for good fortune hung behind them. Chinese scientists have talked of the possibility of sending a man to the moon after 2020, the final step in a three-stage moon plan, which includes the deployment of a moon rover in 2013 and the retrieval of lunar soil and stone samples around 2017.
Two soldiers killed in Somali suicide bombing
suicide bombing yesterday at a military base housing African Union and Somali troops killed two Somali soldiers, a security official told AFP. The target was the Afgoye military camp about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the capital Mogadishu. “The suicide bomber was trying to drive a minibus full of explosives past the guards but they ordered to stop before opening fire on him. He suddenly detonated and two soldiers were killed and three civilians injured,” Mohamed Liban said. “The attack was actually foiled as the bomber did not manage to enter the base,” he said. Muhidin Adan, an Afgoye resident, said: “It was a very strong explosion and smoke was rising up from the camp... The area was sealed off by the army.” The African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia is set to number about 15,000 with the integration of Kenyan troops sent by Nairobi separately to counter Shebab rebels linked to AlQaeda. No AU soldier was wounded in the bombing, a source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Somalia’s disparate leaders are struggling to form a government to replace the weak and corrupt Westernbacked transitional body in Mogadishu, which is preparing to hand over power by an August 20 deadline. Since the 1991 ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre, Somalia has been variously governed by ruthless warlords and militia groups, each controlling their own limited fiefdoms.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012 Egyptians choose new president amid political chaos
Suu Kyi: Nobel Peace Prize shattered my isolation E M
Y A N M A R opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi declared yesterday that the Nobel Peace Prize she won while under house arrest 21 years ago helped to shatter her sense of isolation and ensured that the world would demand democracy in her militarycontrolled homeland. Suu Kyi received two standing ovations inside Oslo’s city hall as she gave her longdelayed acceptance speech to the Norwegian Nobel Committee in front of Norway’s King Harald, Queen
Sonja and about 600 dignitaries. The 66-year-old champion of political freedom praised the power of her 1991 Nobel honor both for saving her from the depths of personal despair and shining an enduring spotlight on injustices in distant Myanmar. “Often during my days of house arrest, it felt as though I were no longer a part of the real world,” she said to a silent chamber, which was lined with rainbows of freshly cut chrysanthemums and towers of orchids for the occasion. “There was the house which
was my world. There was the world of others who also were not free but who were together in prison as a community. And there was the world of the free. Each one was a different planet pursuing its own separate course in an indifferent universe. “What the Nobel Peace Prize did was to draw me once again into the world of other human beings, outside the isolated area in which I lived, to restore a sense of reality to me. ... And what was more important, the Nobel Prize had drawn the attention of the
•Nobel peace prize laureate, Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (L) is greeted by Thorbjoern Jagland chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo City Hall in Oslo, yesterday. AFP PHOTO
world to the struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma. We were not going to be forgotten,” she said during her 40-minute oration. Suu Kyi, who since winning freedom in 2010 has led her National League for Democracy party into opposition in Myanmar’s parliament, offered cautious support for the first tentative steps toward democratic reform in her country. But she said progress depended on continued foreign pressure on the army-backed government. “If I advocate cautious optimism, it is not because I do not have faith in the future, but because I do not want to encourage blind faith. Without faith in the future, without the conviction that democratic values and fundamental human rights are not only necessary but possible for our society, our movement could not have been sustained throughout the destroying years,” she said, referring to the past two decades since Myanmar’s military leaders rejected her party’s overwhelming triumph in 1990 elections, one year after Suu Kyi’s own imprisonment. Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, introduced Suu Kyi as a leader of “awe-inspiring tenacity, sacrifice and firmness of principle.” “In your isolation, you have become a moral leader for the whole world,” he said from the podium, turning to the seated Suu Kyi.
GYPTIANS were voting yesterday in a run-off presidential election pitting an Islamist against Hosni Mubarak’s last premier amid political chaos highlighted by uncertainty over the future role of the army. Small queues continued to form outside polling stations late into the afternoon, as police and army troops deployed nationwide for the highly divisive election. Voting was extended by an hour to 1900 GMT. Former air force chief Ahmed Shafiq, who served as ex-president Mubarak’s prime minister in the last days of the Arab Spring-inspired uprising that toppled him, is vying for the top job against Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi. “I’m voting for Mursi because I don’t want Shafiq to win. I’m scared of Mursi but I’m more scared of Shafiq,” said Nagwan Gamal, 26, a teaching assistant. Samir Abdel Fattah voted for the Islamist movement in the parliamentary elections, but the 50-year-old says this time he will vote for Shafiq. “I was shocked by their performance in parliament. Now I’m voting for Shafiq because he’s civilised, he’s a good man.” “If Mursi wins, he will only serve the brotherhood, not the country,” said the factory owner, standing by his wife who wears a full face veil. The race has polarised the nation, dividing those who fear a return to the old regime under Shafiq from others who want to keep religion out of politics and fear the Brotherhood would stifle personal freedoms. The official results of the presidential election are expected on June 21.
Syria crisis: Time for military intervention? Continued from page 61
photos showing Syrian artillery batteries and rocket launchers attacking the city. There were two messages here - one was that the world was watching and documenting what was happening; the second was perhaps a potential threat what can be seen from the air can be hit from the air. But as yet there is simply no appetite in Washington to engage in another military conflict in the Middle East. Any attack against Syria would have to be on a much larger scale compared to the military operations launched against Libya. Indeed, initial US military assessments suggest that a protracted campaign against Syria’s integrated air defences, due to their location, could lead to serious civilian loss of life. For now, such an operation is simply not on President Barack Obama’s agenda. Debate An active discussion about the merits or pitfalls of intervention is nonetheless being waged in both Arab and Western capitals. The crisis in Syria is so serious and the stakes are so high that nobody wants to rule out any option. Much, of course, depends upon how things develop. There are fears further militarisation of the conflict could lead to prolonged civil
war should Mr Assad go A central concern in the debate relates to weapons supplies and their impact, not so much on the struggle between the Assad regime and the opposition, but on the Syria that eventually emerges from this crisis. “There are many divisions among the Syrian opposition, but all the militant groups want to bring down the regime,” Joshua Landis says. “The divisions will not minimise the impact of outside weapons supplies, but they will inhibit any stable government from replacing the present Syrian Army.” So could a further militarisation of the conflict lead to prolonged civil war should the Assad regime collapse? “Yes,” Mr Landis answers. “The sectarian and ethnic divisions in Syria are a recipe for prolonged struggle as is the case in Iraq, Palestine-Israel, and Lebanon. “Decapitating the Syrian regime, through outside intervention,” he believes, will provide no guarantee of ending the killing. “On the contrary, it could well accelerate the killing if there is no unified leadership which can assume control of Syria and no militia that can impose some order in the place of the Syrian national army. If the sort of civil war that Iraq experienced breaks out, the killing could well spike.”
Steven Heydemann of the United States Institute of Peace shares these concerns, but comes to a rather different conclusion. “The further militarisation of the crisis is inevitable,” he says. “As the regime escalates its use of force against civilians, the armed opposition will expand, and will come to play an even more central role in the uprising than it has to date. “Arms are flowing into Syria across all of its borders to varying degrees - and the unwillingness of the West or Turkey to endorse the arming of the opposition will not affect this trend,” he adds. “The single biggest danger of militarisation”, he warns, “is that it empowers and gives legitimacy to the armed opposition and contributes to the marginalisation of the political opposition, which is perceived as ineffective in providing protection to civilians who bear the brunt of regime violence. “Increasingly, it is the men with guns who wield power in areas outside of government control, with very troubling implications for Syria’s future.” Evolving policy Policy, though, inevitably changes over time. The drivers will be events on the ground inside Syria and the reaction to these events from outside the country. Soner Cagaptay, a Turkey specialist also at the
Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says that the evolution of Ankara’s approach is a case in point. “Initially, Turkey sought to build UN-led action against President Assad. When that failed, Turkey turned to the Arab League and Friends of Syria group to build internationally sanctioned policy against Damascus,” he says. “At the same time, Ankara started to host and coach the Syrian opposition. Now, Ankara’s policy is entering a third phase, namely calling for humanitarian access for the civilians. This suggests getting relief to the civilians. “But”, he adds, “if that policy, too, fails to end the crackdown, the next step will likely be a move into phase four, namely actively arming the opposition in an effort to create a more robust resistance and protection for civilians against Assad’s crackdown. “The final step in Ankara’s Syria policy, if this measure too fails to deliver a concrete victory, against Assad would be calling for a no-fly zone inside Syria to protect civilians.” That, as discussed above, could be a prelude to some broader outside military intervention. But there is a growing pessimism about what external actors can do. So far, diplomatic efforts have delivered little.
The so-called Friends of Syria - perhaps as accurately dubbed “the enemies of President Assad” - have had only modest success in encouraging the Syrian opposition to become more united. The plan by Syria special envoy Kofi Annan appears dead in the water. And proposals for a new diplomatic initiative involving Russia again seem to offer only limited hope of progress. Perhaps more encouraging for President Assad’s opponents is the impact of economic sanctions. Joshua Landis says sanctions are devastating the Syrian economy and have led to sharp falls in the value of the Syrian pound. “They are encouraging some people to leave the country and others to take up arms. It will not be long before hunger and deprivation begin playing an important role in the disturbances.” Furthermore, Mr Landis says, the sanctions “are weakening the government’s ability to reassure businessmen that the regime can provide for them”. Over time, this will serve to detach key groups from their support for the regime. But economic sanctions require considerable time to take effect and are a blunt tool; harming the country’s economy inevitably hurts the ordinary man or woman in the
street. No easy options So with no immediate answers on either the economic or diplomatic fronts, each new massacre revives the calls for some kind of military action. On one side of the argument, there is the fear that without a clear political framework for Syria’s future, the toppling of President Assad could simply precipitate the country’s fall into bloody chaos. Thousands more lives could be lost. Outside intervention might sweep away the regime, leaving a situation like postwar Iraq, where sectarian violence dominated and Western troops were drawn into a quagmire. Others argue the seeds of this catastrophic future can already be seen. As the violence in Syria increases, so does the risk of the crisis spreading to neighbouring Lebanon and perhaps from there turning into a regional conflagration, maybe drawing in Israel or even Turkey. Better, according to this argument, to act soon to dismantle the Syrian regime before the contagion spreads. Unpalatable intervention may be, but it is even worse, in this view, to stand by and watch the slaughter of innocents. What is clear is that there are no easy options. Additional report by BBC
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
Grey areas in Grey Area Grey Area is a thematic play dwelling on the problem of single motherhood in Nigeria. Written by Michael Asuelime and staged at the Muson Centre, Lagos, last weekend, it brought to the fore the endless question of a lost lover in a situation where the mother is abandoned midway. Edozie Udeze reports
REY Area, a new play written by Michael Asuelime is on stage at the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos. The theme issue of the play based on love and patience is what Nigerians need now to tolerate one another and build a new nation – state for all and sundry. It is the story of a single mother who is actually looking for her lost lover. On one hand, she tells a lie to her son; on the other, she is distraught, impatient and intolerant of other people. At the age of 8, the son was beginning to be restless, inquisitive and aggressive. He could not stomach all the lies and inconsistent stories told him by his mother. Then the woman went to talk to a priest in a confessional. “Yes, you know in a confessional, you don’t see each other,” Asuelime said in an interview. “In the play, you could see that she did not only go to make confession, but to also receive words of advice from the priest. To her, the counselling would help her to sort her situation out and steady her feelings”. In the processes of the conversation, the woman was made to understand that it was not proper to take hasty decisions. It was not good too to feed kids with lies. As soon as a kid begins to hear lies around him, he would begin to develop many wrong perceptions about life. “This was what
that encounter was able to do to Stella, the main character and the single mother in the play,” Asuelime clarified. “Eventually, it ended up that the priest is the lost lover,” the •Asuelime playwright said further. “They were lovers many years before he went to the seminary to become a priest. The priest was not aware of it until they met again after the confessional and then recognized each other. But the ability to counsel Stella even when he didn’t know who she was at the confessional is what most single mothers in Nigeria today need to set themselves on the path of truth and self assessment,” Asuelime said further. According to the playwright, “what this story tells us is simple – that what is, is usually not what is. Sometimes you think life is black or white, when it is not. That is the Grey Area where things are not usually too clear; too distinctive. This is what this story tries to portray on stage; that whatever happens, let truth and patience be our hallmark. We need truth to make progress.” The play hinges on the fact that whenever we take hasty de-
cisions or live the life of pretences, we may end up shooting ourselves in the foot. “Just like the Yoruba would say,” Asuelime said, “if you throw a stone in the market place, it might actually hit your mother. If you look deeper, you will truly discover that things are not really what they appear to be. This is why we are using this Grey Area to preach to people to look deeper for what is apparent, to be patient and controlled in times of anger, frustration and disappointment.” Asuelime, who studied Biochemistry but later took courses in Theatre Arts, disclosed that the incident that made him write the play happened to him in 2003. “In 2003 I was made to believe a lie. This was based on what was made available to me then as evidence. Even then I almost believed the lie but when I realized that it wasn’t to be, I became patient, and looked beyond the ordinary. In the process, I was able
to rediscover the truth and that was what propelled me to write the play.” Many single mothers have the same story to tell. They live apart from their lovers and their kids daily bombard them with questions concerning their fathers. The kid character in the play named Joseph depicts that scene very well. He gave his mother sleepless moments as soon as his mates began to taunt him to go look for his father. Asuelime observes: “But at every point, let us preach love as you could see from the priest who said that you must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no condition attached to it and God did not seek our opinion or input before He made that dec-
Poems for conflict resolution
EMIDAYO Ogan is a committed author who has chosen to use her talent to address and tackle societal issues and themes. Apart from her latest prose fiction entitled Soursop in which she chronicles the myriad of Nigerian socio-political, economic and ethnic problems, she has equally embarked on the collection of poems, an exercise she says will mirror the society and educate the people on how to use dialogue to make the nation work. In an encounter with this reporter, Ogan who doubles both as a Minister of God and founder of Temidayo Ogan Child, Safety and Support Foundation (TOCSS), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), said, “I am working on a collection of poems which will be ready in a few months time. Above every other issue, the poems will harp on such themes as conflict resolutions, dialogues and leadership issues both in Nigeria and Africa.” She added, “I will use the themes to tackle African leadership problems. But then Nigeria will remain my focal point.” A graduate of English and Literary Studies from the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Ogan believes that
PHOTOS: Edozie Udeze
•A scene in the play
By Edozie Udeze
authors have a duty to write to correct the ills of the society. She said that she wrote her first book, Soursop, purposely to draw the attention of students and the youths to the many contentious issues that trouble Nigeria today. Ogan who also has a degree in Mass Communication said, “The book dwells on the reality of life in Nigeria as a democratic nation. What we really need do is to let the government know what they should do to make this democracy work. The children too have to be told and lectured on how Nigeria has fared since independence and whether this democracy is better than the ones before it.” Ogan has claimed that she discovered that books encourage the youths to refocus attention on those things that help to shape their lives early enough. This is why she has equally chosen to make her books more of moral instruction and character-building resource materials. “In fact, Soursop, she said, is intended to promote dialogue. In search of national peace and cohesion. For me as a person and a writer, violence can never be an option like we have presently in Nigeria. We all
laration. Love is supposed to be unconditional and with it we can overcome hatred, acrimony and avarice,” Asuelime stated. The playwright who has written over six plays considers this one his main contribution towards a better Nigerian society. “Some of my plays include The Mystery, Going Back to my Root, Aiye, among others. The play was considerably embellished with dialogue to register its total impact on stage,” he said. However, Grey Area still needs to be reworked and a clearer background build into it to give thespians total insight into the story itself. On stage, this information is hazy and inconsistent. The audience, truly need to know.
should indeed know that it is time to resort to dialogue; this is the time to come together as a people to fashion out the way forward. We need to come to a round table to discuss how to remain one,” she stated. Ogan, whose project was registered in 2007 to develop and encourage children to be who they are, has so far succeeded in forming and helping lots of them to be able to move ahead in life. She explained thus: “Even though being a servant of God informed me first, I have so far been able to develop a lot of children who have been able also to know the values of life and humanity. Majority of the people I mentor are youths and that is what is making it possible for me to reach out to the society. This zeal pushes me to do more and then creates more impact and mould more characters. This is partly why Soursop is an x-ray of what this society ought to be and the role of the young ones to make it work,” she said. While Ogan’s personal philosophy is to use dialogue both in her writings and public appearances to preach peace, she also wishes to extend her hand of fellowship to other authors to dwell on topics that will make for a progressive environment. “Books are powerful tools of reconciliation, conflict resolution and all. So let us utilize the tool well to help us more on together,” she said.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
Aviation: Jonathan’s inheritance
Modern English usage M
ULTIFARIOUS advertorial and e d i t o r i a l blunders characterized the June 13 edition of The PUNCH: “The Pan African Bank” (Full-page Advert by Ecobank) Correct pay-off line: The Pan-African Bank “ C a r e e r opportunities in a world class company” (Fullpage Advert by Nigerian Breweries Plc) ‘Worldclass’ here is adjectival— qualifying ‘company’. So, a world-class company…. And this correction; Nigerian Breweries PLC (which functions as a proper noun in this context). But as a descriptive phrase: one of the public limited companies in this country—in which case the ‘p’ should appropriately be in lower case. Otherwise we would awkwardly have, if not abbreviated, ‘Nigerian Breweries public limited company’ (NB plc)! Most organizations are thoughtlessly guilty of this institutional infraction (while, for instance, Fidelity and Sterling banks got it wrong, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC knows full well what is right). Let us keep moving forward. “The Executive Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency, Senator Abiola Ajumobi (another comma) wish (wishes) to express our….” This is contradictory (only the governor…our)! Still on the 2012 Oyo State Education Summit: “We sincerely thank the chairman of the occassion….” Spellcheck: occasion. “…the Yoruba both at Home & Diaspora (at home and the Diaspora) as an integral part of Nigerian nation.” Appreciation: the Nigerian nation. The foregoing copious goofs from Ibadan are not pacesetting at all! “Happy birthday to a royalty per (par) excellence.” (Full-page Advert by Kwara State Government in honour of Otunba Adekunle Ojora) And from Senate President David A. B. Mark comes the same slip: “General Abdulsalami Abubakar, GCFR: A Statesman per Excellence @ 70” “As you turn 50 years today, we (a comma) your siblings (another comma) congratulate you for (on/upon) attaining the Golden Age of 50.”
Don’t forget we are still ‘Punching’: “Hanson said that (otiose!) there was no excuse for any delay in renew vehicle document….” Get it right: delay in the renewal of vehicle documents. “He urged motorist (motorists) to make it a priority to renew their documents once they became expired….” What of simply ‘once they expire’? “The Board, Management and Staff of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) wishes (wish) to commiserate….” “Six arrested over death of two cattle rearers.” Six arrested for (not over). “According to the source, Shagari openly endorsed Buhari and enjoined Babangida and his supporters to do same (the same).” “…the mass exodus of members to other parties should be a source of worry to the leadership of the party.” I am sure ‘exodus’ involves massive movement. So, ‘exodus’ here indicates illiteracy. “You better get down on your knees and do what I am doing right now.” The end of illusions: you had better get down.… “Every detail of our daily life furnish (furnishes) compelling reasons for pessimism.” “…as if it were some occupation force from outer space about to mete out extra-terrestrial justice on (to) an erring Iraq.” “NNPP paths way with NDP” This way: parts (not paths) company… “In fact when it is not a victim of communal clashes, it suffers fallouts of....” ‘Fall-out’ is uncountable. ‘There is the erroneous tendency to blame all the shortcomings in the electoral process at the doorstep of the Electoral Commission”. Get it right: blame on (not at). “Though recent amendments to the Electoral Act have changed some deadlines with regards to the submission of the lists of candidates….” Either as regards or with regard to…. “Four years ago, when the former governor proclaimed his presidential aspirations with palpable bravado and fanfare under (on) the platform of the PDP” “Olisa Agbakoba’s
grouse with Dana Air is not.…” This way: grouse about (not with) Dana Air…. “As the governor observed during his tour of the troubled spots....” Get it right: trouble spots. “Banks restructure, sack staff from acquired financial institutions” “Arab leaders appeared not to have put their acts together to join....” Iraq: get their act (not acts) together. “Health Minister, at Belgium, canvasses global war against fake drugs” The man was in (not at) Belgium. “I remember once when he came to Port Harcourt we worked on a case till 5 a.m. in the morning.” No! Yank off ‘in the morning’! “In the meantime, there has been series (a series) of system checks....” “…a disagreement ensued resulting into shooting to death of one of the ‘okada’ members by the police.” This Life: resulting in. “It was sometimes (sometime) in 1993 while I was still in Abuja….” “For a NAFDAC that has in almost two years been performing creditably towards ensuring that food and drugs need of Nigerians are (is) given standard manufacturing preparation....” “….his predecessors who were on (in) seat for years without actually doing the work for which they were paid.” “It is also on record that the same government shot itself at the foot by dismissing the audit report as junks.” This way: audit report as junk. The last word in the extract is non-count. “Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-cultural group in the South West, has ….” Would it have been elsewhere, gentlemen? “Police warns against protests over Unilag” No news: Police warn (plural verb). “Other guests expected at (on) the occasion include.…” “What about the students you don’t see who in (on) numerous Nigerian campuses swap novels or even recall the stories they read late into the night before bedtime?” “In fact, he was one of the respected brains in the heydays of Action Group....” Exit this environment: ‘heyday’ is non-count.
ONTINUITY” is one of the most common clichés in political campaigns when an elected person or party wants to retain his or its status. In appealing to the electorate, the usual argument is that I have, or as the case may be, the party has achieved this and that, and if re-elected, will build further on the achievements. Arguments about continuity centre on continuity in policy, infrastructure developments, services and vision. Where the argument is advanced by a party in power, it is usually held that whoever is elected on the platform of the party, would not matter, as the party would have made achievements that would be passed on as inheritance for the newly elected officials on the platform of the party to build upon. Inheritance of the past is, in effect, the core of the continuity argument. Judging performance of elected or appointed officials and various administrations has sometimes been narrowed down, unfortunately, to the single yardstick of what the elected official or the administration inherited and how much the official or party has been able to build upon it and how much value has been added to it. This phenomenon is the centerpiece of much of the analyses of Goodluck Jonathan’s one year in office. As in some other sectors, it has stirred a raging controversy in the aviation sector which has enveloped not only notable industry analysts like Capt. Dele Ore of the Aviation Round Table (ART), Mohammed Tukur of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) and acquitted senior journalists like Pini Jason and writers of currency like Segun Adeniyi. Some analysts have criticized the ongoing upgradation of 11 airports; others have applauded it but raised issues about the pains of no proper interim alternatives. There are also many sides on high airfares, BASA, as well as the issue of new National (Flag) Carrier. Most recently, the most scathing criticism came from an outstanding professional, Capt. Dele Ore – Pilot, Lawyer and an aviation manpower trainer. He, as it were, summed up the views of the critics of Jonathan and his Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, when he said, in his press briefing on one year of President Jonathan, that Jonathan’s administration has done virtually nothing in the aviation sector, pointing out that the Minister had rather put the industry on the reverse. He thumbed-down the ongoing upgradation of airports, berated the idea of a new National (Flag) Carrier. He concluded finally that whatever the Aviation Minister was doing that is positive, though he did not mention them, are all what she inherited from past Ministers. Also joined in the controversy are Okewu, National President of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Shalangwa, an aviation unionist and staff of FAAN who loudly insist that the Aviation Minister is not only just effective, but outstanding. Leading this pack is Senator James Manager representing Delta South, who on the floor of the Senate in his contribution said, “I have never praised any Minister or member of the Executive. I have not met the Aviation Minister in person except
•Oduah during her screening. But this is one Minister that is working. Everywhere I go, I see tremendous work going on at the airports”. Wittingly or unwittingly, Capt. Dele Ore brought to the fore the question of what the Jonathan’s administration inherited in the aviation sector and, particularly, what his Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah met on ground when she assumed her ministerial role about eleven months ago. Our third democratic dispensation is thirteen years old and during the period, nine Ministers manned the Aviation Ministry. They include from rear – Agagu, Chikwe, Yuguda, Borishade, Fani-Kayode, Hyatt, Omotoba, Njeze and currently Oduah. Each of these Ministers left legacies that feature positives and negatives. Some, of nothingness and passivity as a brief peep into their periods will reveal. Agagu came in 1999 when aviation was belly-aching from the period of military neglect. The USA flight ban on Nigeria was subsisting, airport infrastructure was withering, the national carrier, Nigeria Airways was heading downwards, domestic private airlines were suffering one affliction or the other while the country airspace had been declared as one of the most unsafe globally by the International Federation of Airline Pilots Association (IFALPA) and aviation regulation was at its nadir, thanks to the Eduokian legacy of 1995. Under Agagu, the US lifted its ban on the Nigerian route, Nigeria Airways entered into its best ever airline commercial relationship with British Airways with a monthly yield of N100m. Under Agagu, International Finance Corporation (IFC) commenced the process of privatization of Nigeria Airways. Agagu’s less than two years tenure featured the sacking of CEOs and their replacement, in some industry parastatals, with deficient Chief Executives. This legacy he handed over to Kema Chikwe. Chikwe, whose mental and physical energy was consummate, can be credited with the dualisation of the link road between the Domestic and International terminals, the construction of the existing GAT, the return of Nigeria Airways to the New York route in a commercial relationship with South African Airways and later on its own. Chikwe also has the credit of initiating the Agreement on TRACON with Thales. However, Chikwe’s legacy includes the vexatious Open Skies Agreement with the US, dual designation of the Nigeria-UK route,
the termination of Nigeria Airway privatization by the IFC and the eventual liquidation of the National Carrier at a time when its assets were four times its liabilities. Chikwe’s era saw two failed attempts to float replacement airlines (Air Nigeria and Nigeria Global) to the liquidated Nigeria Airways. At her exit in May 2003, Chikwe had dissolved the pool of professional aviation manpower following the liquidation of Nigeria Airways, in addition to over 3000 professionals thrown out of employment in the sector, and left an inheritance of a void in international operations which is the origin of foreign airline dominance today. Nevertheless, Chikwe handed over a cleaner airport environment and a fairly disciplined domestic operation. These were the inheritance of Isa Yuguda who came in, in Obasanjo’s second term. A search in the industry reveals no landmarks of Yuguda’s tenure. What can be remembered is his unsuccessful attempt to float “Nigerian Eagle Airline”, with South African Airways as technical partner and core investor in replacement of liquidated Nigeria Airways. While Yuguda and Financial Derivatives, his financial advisers on the project, battled to get Nigerian Eagle Airline off the paper, the then President, Obasanjo, pulled the rug off their feet, when he singlehandedly brought in Richard Branson with his ill-fated Virgin Nigeria. And so, Yuguda came, saw and passed by without any known legacy. This was Borishade’s inheritance. When Borishade took over from Yuguda, he came face to face with the matured decadence of a poorly provided for and poorly managed airspace and regulatory system. The industry had gone awry; aircraft operated by Domestic airlines were falling off our skies as Nigeria recorded its worst fatalities in the nation’s aviation history. This became Borishade’s challenge. By the time his tenure ended, Borishade handed over to the industry, a respectable regulatory body, the NCAA, which Nigeria prides itself of today. Borishade tried to replace the TRACON programme with a controversial Safe Tower Project. But this was not to be when he left. Nevertheless, the credit of vibrant NCAA which he midwifed is monumental. Fani Kayode who took over from Borishade, made so much noise and was highly vis•Continued on page 67
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 17, 2012
66 CHANGE OF NAME
CHANGE OF NAME
CHANGE OF NAME
CHANGE OF NAME
CHANGE OF NAME
CHANGE OF NAME
CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, OGBOKA, SEARCHLIGHT NWOBUEZE and OGBOKA, NWOBUEZE are one and same person, Now wish to be known and addressed as OGBOKA, SEARCHLIGHT NWOBUEZE . All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Ikuologbon Ayodele Richard Ilesanmi, now wish to be known and addressed as Raphael Ayodele Richard Ilesanmi. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Ogunyemi Emmanuel Glory Ayoola, now wish to be known and addressed as Emmanuel Glory Ayoola Emmanuel All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Saidu Sherifat Remilekun, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Rabiu Sherifat Remilekun. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss John Mosunmola Titilope, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Quadri Mosunmola Kareema. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
AKINTUJOYE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Akintujoye Oluwabukola, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Alonge Oluwabukola. All former documents remain valid. Ondo State (TESCOM) and general public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Ajayi Olubukola Abosede, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Akande Olubukola Abosede. All former documents remain valid. Mobilexcetera Limited and general public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Ikuologbon Doris Wuraola Tanwa, now wish to be known and addressed as Raphael Doris Wuraola Tanwa. All former documents remain valid. Land Mark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara State and general public should take note.
OKODIYA I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Okodiya Jennifer Ejiro, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Okon Jennifer Ejiro. All former documents remain valid. Federal Polytechnic, Kaura Namoda and general public should take note.
OLAWANLE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Olawanle Opeoluwa Sharon, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Adeniji Opeoluwa Sharon. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
ALADEBUMOYE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Aladebumoye Foluke Mary, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olaleye Foluke Mary. All former documents remain valid. Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria and general public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Omole Philip Bobby, now wish to be known and addressed as Omobamiro Philip Badmus. All former documents remain valid. WAEC, NECO, NIS and general public should take note.
ODOMA I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Odoma Ochonia Amanda, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ediale Ochonia Amanda. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
JINADU I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Taiwo Adenike Jinadu, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Taiwo Adenike Ayo-Olaiya. All former documents remain valid. Lagos State government and general public should take note.
OBIAKO I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Obiako Mercy Onyinyechi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Okafor Mercy Onyinyechi. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Akunna Jane Ngozi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Nwamaioha Jane Ngozi. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
OGUNYEMI I, formerly known and addressed as Ogunyemi Victor Oluwagbemiga Adeola, now wish to be known and addressed as Emmanuel Victor Oluwagbemiga Adeola Delight. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
OGUNYEMI I, formerly known and addressed as Ogunyemi Rebecca Iseoluwa, now wish to be known and addressed as Emmanuel Rebecca Iseoluwa Elizabeth All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
AKINDIOSE I formerly known and addressed as MR AKINDIOSE BANJI AMBROSE, now wish to be known and addressed as MR A K I N M O L U W A Y A N OLABAMIJI AMBROSE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.
OGUNYEMI I, formerly known and addressed as Ogunyemi Mercy Abimbola Iyanu, now wish to be known and addressed as Emmanuel Mercy Abimbola Peace Iyanu. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
EJEJE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Gladys Oden Ejeje, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Gladys Felix Eyo. All former documents remain valid. School of Health Information and Managemant (ABUTH) Zaria and general public should take note.
FASOLA I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Fasola Kehinde Tolulope, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Oke Kehinde Tolulope. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
ONYE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Charity Ebere Onye, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Charity Ebere Orah. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public should take note.
AKELE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Akele Osarenoma Rose, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Reuben Osarenoma Rose. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public should take note.
BALOGUN I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Balogun Adeola Fatimo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Falola Adeola Fatimo. All former documents remain valid. General Hospital Ijesa-Isu Ekiti and general public should take note.
FAPOHUNDA I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Fapohunda Victoria Busayo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Odeyinka Victoria Busayo. All former documents remain valid. Ekiti State Teaching Service Commission and general public should take note.
OMOTOSO I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Omotoso Oluwatosin Mary, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Akinkunmi Oluwatosin Mary. All former documents remain valid. Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board and general public should take note.
AMOO I, formerly known and addressed as Amoo Asimi Akinade, now wish to be known and addressed as Amoo Usman Asimi Akinade. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Olotu Ajibola Yetunde, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Kayode Ajibola Yetunde. All former documents remain valid. Ondo State Civil Service Commission and general public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Chika Uchenna Ezewudo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Chika Uchenna Obi. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
AKINSOLA I, formerly known and addressed as Nafisat Ladi Momoh and Mrs. Nafisat Ladi Namo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Nafisat Ladi Akinsola. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
EDEH I, formerly known and addressed as Edeh Blessing Ifeoma, now wish to be known and addressed as Anyaele Blessing Ifeoma. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
I formerly known and addressed as MRS AKINDIOSE OLASEGE MERCY AMBROSE, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS AKINMOLUWAYAN OLASEGE MERCY AMBROSE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Iriaevho Ebun Elizabeth, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Oshiomhole A. Nana Fatimah Ebun. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Ajayi Taiwo Mary, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Aduroja Taiwo Mary. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Adeola Oluga Oluwakemi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Adeola Oluwakemi Alabi. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Adedoyin Adekemi Olayemi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olanipekun Adekemi Olayemi. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
FATAI I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Nimota Alake Fatai, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Nimota Alake Orisadare. All former documents remain valid. Diamond Bank Plc and general public should take note.
IGBINEWEKA-THOMAS I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Igbineweka-Thomas Joy Evelyn, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ogunremi Joy Evelyn. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Adagbada Emmanuel Dudos Oluwaseun, now wish to be known and addressed as Oluwayemisi Emmanuel Dudos Oluwaseun. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Abosede Ogunbona, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Abosede Akinremi. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
EZIKE I, formerly known and addressed as Mrs. Ezike Ese Anthonia, now wish to be known and addressed as Ms. Eburagbemi Ese Anthonia. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Abdul, Sukurat Abolore, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Cole, Sukurat Abolore Afolasade. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Alabi Olubunmi Oludare Olufemi, now wish to be known and addressed as Alabi Micheal Oludare. All former documents remain valid. WAEC and general public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Adediran Nike, now wish to be known and addressed as Oyelekan Alice Olunike. All former documents remain valid. Civili Service Commission, Orolu Local government and general public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Mrs. Raji Grace Enitan, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Rufai Aisha Enitan. All former documents remain valid. Lagos State government and general public should take note.
UCHENDU I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Nkiru Ogochukwu Uchendu, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Nkiru Akpan. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
FAGBEMI I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Fagbemi Abimbola Aina, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ologunsua Abimbola Precious. All former documents remain valid. Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko and general public should take note.
ADELOYE I, formerly known and addressed as Mr. Adeloye Adesoji , now wish to be known and addressed as Mr. Oladimeji Abdulrasheed Adesoji. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Adegbesan Adenike Selimat, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ibraheem Adenike Selimat. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
AGUNBIADE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Agunbiade Kehinde Funke, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Daramola Kehinde Funke. All former documents remain valid. UNN, Ekiti State Teaching Service Commission and general public should take note.
OMOLAYO I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Omolayo Aanuoluwapo Rebecca, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Dele-Ajewole Aanuoluwapo Rebecca. All former documents remain valid. Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital AdoEkiti and general public should take note.
ADEDEJI I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Adedeji Funmilayo Iyabo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ogunmolade Funmilayo Iyabo. All former documents remain valid. Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital AdoEkiti and general public should take note.
OGUNGBAYI I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Ogungbayi Olayinka Ibiyemi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Babatunde Olayinka Ibiyemi. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Eze Sally Ebere, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ubesie Sally Ebere. All former documents remain valid. UNIPORT and general public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Okorowu, Chinyere Augustina, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Anyanwu Chinyere Augustina. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
ALIFA I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Angela Ojochide Alifa, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Angela Ojochide Omakogwu. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
MOHAMMED I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Shafa Ladi Mohammed, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Shafa Ewaoche. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
OKOSUN I, formerly known and addressed as Okosun Evans, now wish to be known and addressed as Ehichioya Evans. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
ADEDIRAN I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Adediran Funke Mary, now wish to be known and addressed as Oyaleke Funke Mary. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
OLORUNNUSI I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Olorunnusi Yemisi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Oyawale Yemisi. All former documents remain valid. Unity Bank Plc. and general public should take note.
ONIGBOGI I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Onigbogi Abimbola Adenike Victoria, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Adetiloye Abimbola Adenike Victoria. All former documents remain valid. Nigeria Immigration Service and general public should take note.
IKUSEEDUN I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Ikuseedun Ibukun Ruth, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Adewale Ibukun Ruth. All former documents remain valid. Nigeria Immigration Service and general public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Oyekunbi Tolulope Ogundipe, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Oyekunbi Tolulope Adekunle. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Ojo Oluwabusayo Folashade, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ogunlade Lydia Oluwabusayo. All former documents remain valid. Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, NYSC and general public should take note.
AWOSEMO I, formerly known and addressed as Dr. (Miss) Awosemo Olaronke Damilola, now wish to be known and addressed as Dr. (Mrs.) Olamiju Olaronke Damilola. All former documents remain valid. MDCN and general public should take note.
ALIU I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Aliu Mariam, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Hameed-Inanigie Mariam. All former documents remain valid. Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) and general public should take note.
AKANBI I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Akanbi Kemi Bosede, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olagundoye Kemi Bosede. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
OGU I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Jovita Nkechinyere Ogu, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Jovita Nkechinyere Ekeanyanwu. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
EZE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Anthonia Ekwutosi Eze, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Tonia AmiIkhine. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.
TAEKOR I,formerly known and addressed as MISS. TAEKOR BARIDANU HOPE, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. MBUBE BARIDANU HOPE . All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.
NJOKU I, formerly known and addressed as MISS. NJOKU MAUREEN ESTHER, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. OSSAI MAUREEN ESTHER . All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.
EZE I, formerly known and addressed as MISS. EZE LILIAN OGECHI , now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. OFFOR LILIAN OGECHI. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.
GEORGE I, formerly known and addressed as MISS. IJEOMA GODâ€™SWILL GEORGE , now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. IJEOMA ELIZABETH MINANYO. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.
ORJI I, formerly known and addressed as MISS. ORJI CHIKA IFEOMA , now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. EZUMBA CHIKA IFEOMA . All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.
OMUNAKWE I, formerly known and addressed as MISS. QUEEN OMUNAKWE , now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. QUEEN EBERE . All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public please take note.
IGWE I, formerly known and addressed as MISS. IGWE IFEOMA AUGUSTINA, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. FRANCIS KINIKANWO IFEOMA . All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, OMOHOWHO EWOMAZINO ISRAEL and ALUTA EWOMAZINO ISRAEL are one and same person, Now wish to be known and addressed as OMOHOWHO EWOMAZINO ISRAEL . All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
UZOR I,formerly known, called and address as Miss Uzor Marian Obichie now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Uzor Marian Emeka-Okonkwo. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, JOSHUA CHIMZI OWHOR and SINGLE ODU OWHOR are one and same person, Now wish to be known and addressed as JOSHUA CHIMZI OWHOR. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.
OLAYEMI I,formerly known, called and address as MISS OLAYEMI KEHINDE OMOWUMI, Nowwish to be called and address as MRS OLAJUBU KEHINDE OMOWUMI.All former documents remain valid. Ekiti East Local Government and General Public Should please take note.
UCHENDU I,formerly known, called and address as Uchendu Jerry-Maya Onyekachi now wish to be known and addressed as Uchendu Emmanuel Ugochi. and birthday date to be 27/3/1979. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.
KOMOLAFE I,formerly known, called and address as Mrs Mojisola Adebusola Komolafe now wish to be known and addressed as Miss Mojisola Adebusola Anne Odunsi. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.
SANNI I,formerly known, called and address as Sanni Azeem Abiodun now wish to be known and addressed as Dauda Azeem Abiodun. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.
HASSAN I,formerly known, called and address as Miss Hassan Nimotallahi Olajumoke, now wish to be known and addressed as Onalaja Nimotallahi Olajumoke. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public take note.
KUTA I,formerly known, called and address as Kuta Mautin Samson now wish to be known and addressed as Kumayon Mautin Samson Sojinu. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.
I,formerly known called and address as Sunday Micheal Olaseeji now wish to be known and addressed as Sunday Micheal Olaoseeji. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.
ONUOGA I,formerly known, called and address as Onuoga Adidi Maryah now wish to be known and addressed as Onuoha Adichi Maryann. All former documents remain valid. NYSC, WAEC and general public take note.
OKE I,formerly known, called and address as Oke Olayinka Joseph now wish to be known and addressed as Oke Olayinka Samuel. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.
ODIJIE I,formerly known, called and address as Miss Odijie Judit Aituaje now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Oguns Judit Aituaje. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.
SIRAH I,formerly known, called and address as Miss Kirinee Mercy Sirah, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Oyeyemi Mercy Sirah. All former documents remain valid. Federal Polytechnic and Ado-Ekiti and general public take note.
ARUNGWA I,formerly known, called and address as Miss Arungwa Josephine Ukachi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Olanipekun Josephine. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. ADVERT: Simply produce your marriage certificate or sworn affidavit for a change of name publication, with just (N4,500. NEW RATE effective from 20th March) The payment can be made through FIRST BANK of Nigeria Plc. Account number 2017220392 Account Name VINTAGE PRESS LIMITED Scan the details of your advert and teller to -email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org For enquiry please contact: Gbenga on 08052720421, 08161675390, Email- gbengaodejide @yahoo.com or our offices nationwide. Note this! Change of name is now published every Sundays, all materials should reach us two days before publication.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNR 17, 2012
Group commends Anambra police
PRESSURE group, the Ndigbo Unity Forum (NUF), has commended the Anambra State Police Command for the recent peace and tranquility that had returned to the state, stating that the newly posted Commissioner of Police, Balla Nasarawa, has displayed great commitment in the fight against crime. The group noted that the rate of kidnapping and other violent crimes in the state, especially in the commercial cities of Onitsha and Nnewi, has dropped drastically as a result of effective and proactive policing under the command of the new police lead-
From Okodili Ndidi, Onitsha ership. Addressing newsmen in Onitsha during a stakeholders’ security forum, the Campaign and Publicity Secretary of the group, Uzor A Uzor, said the state was under siege by armed robbers and kidnappers who scared away both investors and residents. Also speaking, another member of the group, Chief Vincent Egwuatu, enjoined the Commissioner of Police to employ measures to check corruption and other irregularities that could compromise the efforts of the command.
‘FG won’t relent on war against touting’ N
ATIONAL Chairman of Committee Against Touting, Chief Ike Anikwendu, yesterday said the federal government is not relenting in fighting the excesses of touts in the country. Inaugurating the Anambra State branch of the organisation over the w e e k e n d , C h i e f Anikwendu said, “we are operating the Federal Government Anti Tout-
From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi ing Programme throughout the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. “We are opening offices in the whole states. Here in Awka, we opened our office at Sankos Plaza, Awka, while the South East Zonal Office is at Nkpor.” According to him, “induction course has been given to about 3,600 to
4,000 youths who will work with us. The Federal Government is waging war against touting, one chance, terrorist activities, kidnapping and other criminals that normally cluster around the public places. “We are going to sanitize the whole public places in Anambra State and beyond.” The commander hinted that over 53,000
youths would be trained as proactive officers of the Federal Government War Against Touting and other criminal activities. “We are not relenting because we have gotten the full blessing of the president. The governors are cooperating, we have discussed with Governor Peter Obi and he is making every effort to ensure the success of the programme,” he stated.
Christians advised to write wills
HE synod of Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Diocese of Amichi, has ended with the church educating its members on the importance of writing and executing wills to minimize the numerous litigation and bickering that follow death. Bishop of Amichi Diocese, Right Reverend Ephraim Ikeakor, who championed the
From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi teachings during the first session of the second synod of the diocese at St Andrews Anglican Church Ebenator, appealed to families not to neglect the importance of preparing for death as death must come. Bishop Ikeakor lamented that issues about a man’s prop-
erty has continued to divide families. ‘’Whenever somebody dies, the next stage is war over who owns his or her property as the case may be. Even the rich men do not take the issues of writing and execution their wills very seriously until they die and leave behind anarchy,” he said, advising all to see the importance of preparing for death.
AAU honours Babalakin, Okpere
HE Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma in Edo State yesterday honoured the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Board, University of Maiduguri, Dr. Wale Babalakin and Prof. Eugene Okpere. Also honoured was the Executive Director, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Prof. Yakubu Mahmooh. They were honoured with honourary doctorate degrees during the institution’s 18th convocation ceremony. The ceremony also
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ible in the industry. Under him, there was an unwritten policy that all efforts in the airport subsector should be concentrated on Lagos and Abuja. Thus, Port Harcourt which had been shut down under Borishade for safety reasons and Kano began to deteriorate severely while other airports remained abandoned literally. Even Owerri airport which became alternative to the closed Port Harcourt airport was uncatered for. His attempt to rebuild a section of the Hajj terminal in Lagos into a modern cargo shed did not get off the ground in spite of initial mobilization. And so FaniKayode came, was seen and passed by, leaving no inheritance for his successor. On ascendancy, the late President Yar’Adua brought in Hyatt as Aviation Minister in the Ministry of Transport where Diezani held sway as the Transport Minister. After shrugging of Diezani’s overflowing capacity, Hyatt who appeared to be overwhelmed by the complexity of his portfolio, contented himself with looking at the passage of time. And so he came,
From Osagie Otabor, Benin witnessed the formal inauguration of Governor Adams Oshiomhole, as Visitor to the school, the Isekhure of Benin Kingdom, Chief Nosakhare Isekhure, as ProChancellor and Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, as Chancellor of the institution. Out of the 22, 892 students that graduated from the institution, 16 graduated with first class degrees, 1, 733 others were in the second class upper division, 14, 724 passed out with second class lower division and
5,617 had third class and 802 graduated with pass degrees. Another 162 graduates were awarded diploma certificates at the convocation. In her address, ViceChancellor of the institution, Prof. Cordelia Agbebaku, said the university would continue to uphold academic standards, adding that Oshiomhole has contributed to the growth and development of the institution. Governor Oshiomhole in his speech told the new graduates not to relent in the face of what he said could be difficult times, pointing out that there was hope in the country.
Aviation: Jonathan’s inheritance was unseen and would have been completely forgotten but for the fact that even if aviation has no account of him, it would still list him on records of aviation ministers as a fact of history. And so, Omotoba who came in on the exit of Hyatt had as it were, nothing to inherit or to build upon. But he met our nation’s airports in virtual state of disrepair. Omotoba added value in the efforts to ensure the implementation of TRACON. He had a vision on how to reposition our airports. He quickly set up a Committee on concessioning of five Nigerian airports headed by Capt. Dele Ore with ICAO playing advisory role. For months, the Committee traversed the country, moving from one airport to another in a pre-feasibility assessment. But there was no public information on what was going on. It was a closed affair. Omotoba had also tried to act on the UK/Nigeria slot issue at Heathrow based on a complaint he received. However, at his exit, none of his efforts came to fruition. And so Omotoba left, unfortunately without any
legacy for inheritance. Thus, he came, he saw but could not conquer. Njeze took over as a Minister on the exit of Omotoba. Not having anything to inherit, except infrastructure decadence and a beleaguered sector on the ground, she smartly declared to her staff that Kema Chikwe was her yardstick for performance. Good enough. But throughout her stay as the Minister, there was no element of Kema in her appreciation of the complexity of her assignment, neither was there any element of Chikwe in her actions. The quick-graps intellect and the flaming force of character as well as high visibility which Kema Chikwe symbolized were nowhere around Njeze. To her credit, however, are sixteen toilets she refurbished and launched, all of which fell into states of disrepair no sooner than she left in May 2011. There was nothing inheritable from her tenure. President Jonathan began his full four years in office May 29, 2011 and by July appointed Princess Stella Oduah to the aviation portfolio. Oduah assumed
duty without any programme of action handed over. But the TRACON project was at the completion stage and one could say our airspace had become safe and globally comparative. But she was faced with alarming dilapidation in the airport subsector. None of the airports could be called an airport by any standard. They are, collectively, a national shame. Yet, apart from the unfulfilled romance of Omotoba with concessioning, nothing, absolutely nothing, was on paper for reversing the ugly situation. Jonathan inherited an airline subsector dominated by foreign airlines that account for over US$1billion in capital flight annually, an airline subsector that ripped Nigerians off with its tariff even while subjecting them to all forms of abuse. The administration came face to face with years of BASA mismanagement and not-too-patriotic ceding of the nations commercial rights to foreign airlines to the detriment of our economy. To aviation watchers and discerning Nigerian public, the aviation
sector Jonathan and his Minister, Stella Oduah inherited, was one in dire need of not only sector-specific reform, but a clear well-focused plan of action to put the sector back on track. It is therefore factually inexact for anybody to claim that Jonathan inherited so much and that what Stella Oduah is doing now is derived from what past ministers planned or left on ground. There is no doubt that in the ongoing flurry of activities to revive and realign the industry, some mistakes may have been made, may be due to the haste, understandably nevertheless, with which events are being turned on. But the truth still remains that all our airports are overdue for upgrading or for new terminals, especially, Lagos (International and Domestic), Abuja (Domestic), Kano (International and Domestic), same with Port Harcourt and Enugu. If efforts were made on these in the least twelve years, it would not have been necessary for the ongoing simultaneous upgrading work on eleven airport terminals. To draw the country level, the government report-
edly has signed agreement with China for the construction of five new modern airports. This is a far-reaching step. Again, the issues of BASA, unfavourable tariff, and the need for competition by Nigerian Flag Carriers which the Minister has engaged with, have all been there, begging to be addressed, but every past Minister seemed to have shied away. When, on the 16th of April, 2012, the Aviation Minister presented her “Road Map”, stakeholders who expressed views could not but acknowledge that it was the first ever attempt in the history of the industry. Whether the Minister succeeds or not with her roadmap, the credit will go to her and the administration of Jonathan. The indubitable fact is that there is so much work going on in the industry, not without its pains though. It is however believed that some very solid foundation is being again laid for the beleaguered sector. Whether this will become reality or empty, only “time”, according to Jimmy Cliff, “will tell”.
WORSHIP THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
How to beat unemployment, by Odukoya
HE Senior Pastor of Fountain of Life Church Lagos, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, has advocated acquisition of vocational skills to earn extra incomes and wade off biting unemployment in the country. He noted recent developments have confirmed university degrees are not enough to earn a living and get paid jobs. Odukoya reasoned educated people with vocational skills have an edge in becoming labour employers and securing their future. The cleric spoke last Wednesday during the graduation ceremony of the 7th session of Grace Springs Vocational Centre (GSVC) run by the church in Lagos. According to him, ‘’A time there was when all one needed to succeed in life was paper qualification. Things have changed today. ‘’Those who have university degrees have had to go back to school to get another degree and then another degree. ‘’Unfortunately, more degrees do not necessarily guarantee one a job in the marketplace because the jobs are not readily there’.’ Continuing, he said: ‘’There is a growing need for people to explore other sources of income and one good way is to acquire some vocational skills.’’ The preacher advised the graduating students not to rest on their oars. He urged them to keep improving their skills with a view to becoming the best in their chosen fields. No fewer than 100 students graduated from the centre, which currently runs courses in catering, bead craft, jewellery and accessories, soft furnishing, event planning, plumbing and tailoring and styling. The training took place in four months. The principal, Mrs. Yetunde Holloway, praised the graduating students for their perseverance. She called for diligence to sustain acquired skills. According to her: ‘’If you know how to fish but you do not go to the river with your fishing gear and to the sea with your canoe and net you will continue to live in poverty and lack.” She said the centre hopes to receive ground-breaking news from the graduating students in the nearest future. The ceremony ended with an exhibition of products manufactured by the graduating students.
Legal instruments can’t fight corruption, says cleric Stories by Sunday Oguntola
HE nation’s battle against corruption can be won through emphasis on systemic character development and reformation as against legal instruments, The Presiding Bishop of God’s Heritage Global Mission, Calabar, Bishop Josef Bassey, has stated. Bassey, who holds packed citywide miracle crusades in Calabar, explained that corruption has more to do with character deficiencies than legalities. He spoke last Sunday with our correspondent in Lagos. The cleric said there had been failed attempts to rid the nation of corruption because it has been seen as a legal and not a moral battle. According to him: ‘’ we need to realise that corrup-
tion is more an issue of character and belief system than it is of legality. ‘’An attempt to rid the nation of corruption must give strong attention to putting in place structures and institutions for systematic character development and reformation.’’ The President of Cross River Christian Leaders forum also called for engagement of inter-faith organisations in the battle to ensure inclusion of godly values that will deter Nigerians from corrupt living. Nigeria, he explained, is not irredeemable. Bassey said: ‘’ You don’t fail an exam because the exam was impossible but because you failed to supply the right answers. ‘’Our challenges do not mean that our situation is impossible, rather it is a call for right and effective answers. And believe me, there is great light at the end of the tunnel. ‘’What we going are through now is nothing but birth pain. They are all part of the processes in the making of the nation of our dream.’’ He stated the church must intensify efforts to change the nation. According to him, ‘’we cannot afford to be a part of the team playing the blame game but must rise up and fulfill our purpose.’’
T’S been 40 years since you started preaching. How did it all start? It is just a divine operation. I was born again in Kaduna in 1969 and my salvation was of the Lord. It was genuine conversion. I was baptised in the Holy Spirit. I was on my way to secondary school when my father died in 1970. So, I had to relocate to Lagos to fend for myself and siblings. I was lucky I got a good job. I was working in Mint then. I discovered that what we were enjoying in Kaduna was not available in Lagos. So, I was hungry for the word of God. I then located a few people from my area in Lagos and formed a small church. But there was a problem and the church shattered in 1972. Then about 18 of us started the ministry. I was then made the leader and that was how we started. I was so young then. Where did the church start? We started in the then Maroko. I was working with Mint and that was the only village around. So, I was living there and the church started in that village then. But in 1983 when Jakande was constructing the expressway to Epe, the church was pulled down because of the ocean surge. We then secured the Ikoyi branch, which became our main church when Maroko was finally demolished. So, I had been in Ikoyi since 1983 before we moved the headquarters to Lekki phase one. Not many ministries have survived the first 40 years. To what will you attribute the survival of your church? Thank you for that question. One, you must be genuinely converted. When that happens and you are hungry for God, God will fill you. From then till now, I remain the same in the Lord. Then I study a lot. I remember when we started. There were only few Pentecostal churches. There was no Deeper Life, for example. When Deeper Life started, I joined from Brother Kumuyi’s Bible study in his living room in 1975. Many people thought I will join the church but I said I was only going for studies. I told my members to feel free to go there if they teach more than me. So, we have been very consistent in teaching and living the word of God. I decided to fear God publicly and privately and that kept me going dayby-day. I think prayer also helped me. I was committed and dedicated to God. I don’t want to blow any trumpet. But I can say I did the three Ps that I teach young ministers today: preach the word of God, pray the word of God and practise the word of God. You may not be popular or flamboyant but God will keep you. You may not be anything in the world but God will keep you. When you started, there were only few churches
‘How to last in God’s hands’ The General Overseer of New Creation Assembly, Pastor Ibrahim Alfa, started preaching in April 1972. He spoke with Sunday Oguntola on his ministerial journey and how to avoid slipping away from faith. Excerpts:
around. But those who came several years after are more popular. Does that bother you? I am a man of encounters. I love so many things but I am under the control of the Holy Spirit. Before I make any mistake, God will show it to me. I would have been popular like many other preachers but God warned me in 1996 to stop preaching junk. If you get to heaven, some of the sermons around now are called junk. In 1997, I wrote Yongi Cho in Korea that I wanted to understudy his church for growth. I loved church expansion but take it from me today that what we call popularity on earth is not the same in heaven. A church may be big on earth running ten shifts but God may not reckon with it. I saw Yongi Cho within a week in June 1997. He prayed with me and we had a sweet fellowship. I was praying for 21 days on his prayer mountain when God showed himself to me. I was almost overtaken by the mega church when I got to Korea. His church had 35,000
members. The office was a 10storey building and I started condemning myself. But God showed up and what he told me I am not permitted to tell anybody. Since then, I dropped my craze for crowd and popularity. I am not moved or disturbed. I don’t believe I am second to anybody. I just seek to please God and nothing more. By the grace of God, no minister in this country looks down on me. And even if you don’t recognise me, I am not disturbed. How would you summarise your lessons all these years? One vital lesson I have learnt is consistency. I am still pressing forward. I love Him still. I know the goings on in Christendom but I am consistent. Genuine Christians are becoming fewer everyday. Most church members and leaders are not transformed but holiness is the name of the game. I have even increased my emphasis on holiness. It is making me less and less popular but I am not touched. Some people call me names. They think I will be poor for preaching holiness but am I? I lack nothing by God’s grace. People are still wondering how I got our cathe-
“we are Americanising the gospel. We are importing American values to the church, thinking God is impressed with all the razzmatazz. American values have destroyed us today but we cannot change God. God told me recently he does not respect any man. If He discarded Moses and several others that misbehaved, He will dispense with anybody who doesn’t respect His values”
dral. Many of our branches are on their own lands. So, God has been good. People think when you preach holiness, you won’t be rich. But we lack nothing and owe no man. Did you know you will come this far? I didn’t know to be honest with you. It all started like child’s play. We never knew this ministry will sustain us any day. For 20 years and 3 months, I did not earn a kobo from the ministry. We were only investing our money and time and see where we are today by the grace of God. How has the experience been? It’s been tough and challenging. To start a church is no mean thing. When you are starting, you experience a lot of things. We have seen many break-away and heartaches. If you know what we have been through, you will wonder how I don’t have hypertension. Many people have come and gone but the ministry is not bothered. What is there again to achieve? Like Paul said, I am still pressing for the race. I want to finish strong. I want to meet God agile and still loving Him. I have not reached where I am going. I am still pressing for the mark of my calling. I had a revelation recently that I am called to spearhead holiness and evangelism. I want to reach more souls and plant more churches. As an old Christian general, how would you assess the church? I am not impressed at all, I must tell you. In our time, there was nothing like ministers divorcing or stealing. But now, we are Americanising the gospel. We are importing American values to the church, thinking God is impressed with all the razzmatazz. American values have destroyed us today but we cannot change God. God told me recently he does not respect any man. If He discarded Moses and several others that misbehaved, He will dispense with anybody who doesn’t respect His values.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
With Sunday Oguntola (08034309265) Email: email@example.com
Love Fever (contd.) Pastor Taiwo Odubiyi CHRISTIAN ROMANCE SERIES
HE light flickered on again and Lola came near Tosin’s chair. “Let me see if we can still retrieve the work.” As she started to click some icons, hovering over Tosin’s shoulder, Tosin could smell her perfume. She asked, “What kind of perfume are you wearing?” “THE WOMAN.” Lola replied, not taking her eyes off the screen. Suddenly Tosin saw her work appear on the screen. “Hey, that is it! Thanks.” She said happily. Holding the mouse, she scrolled down. “Oh … er … the last few lines are not showing. It seems they are lost.” “Let me see.” Lola took the mouse again and started clicking. “Is it this one?” “Yes.” Lola straightened up and said, “You’d better get your UPS back.” “Definitely. Again, thanks. How’s your family?” “They’re fine. And yours?” “Fine, thank you.” Tosin answered. Her eyes went to Lola’s tummy. “Wow! Your tummy is big! Are you expecting twins?” “Twins?” Lola shook her head. “No way! It’s only one. Actually, the doctor considered the possibility of twins and asked me to go for SCAN. Well -” She suddenly stopped. Then frowning, she hissed. “I’ve been feeling odd since morning. Maybe it’s the baby -” Tosin shot her hand up immediately. “Don’t deliver in my office, Lola. If you’re feeling odd, why haven’t you gone to hospital? What are you doing around?” “I want to try and clear my table before I proceed on leave.” Lola said, smiling a little, but suddenly held her tummy, a
frown replacing the smile. “What?” Tosin stood up and came to her. “I think I’ve just had the first contraction.” Lola said, confirming Tosin’s fear. “Oh my God! What do you want to do now? Go to hospital?” Lola smiled as she nodded. “I’d better be going.” “Should I arrange a driver for you?” Lola squeezed her face again with a hand on her tummy. “Another one?” Tosin asked. Lola nodded. Tosin gave her a gentle push toward the door. “Go and pick your purse while I get a driver.” “Call my husband and tell him, please.” Lola said. “What’s his number?” Lola dictated it as they left Tosin’s office. Later in the afternoon, Tosin had a call from her sister, Bimbo, a nurse who worked in a hospital where the bank had retainership for her staff. “I’ve got a babysitter for you.” Tosin’s face cheered up. “A babysitter?” “Yes … or have you changed your mind?” “No, no.” Tosin said immediately. “I’m just wondering. I was hoping to get a live-in maid. What will the arrangement with the babysitter be?” “She will resume in the morning, about the time you leave for office, and will wait until you return in the evening before she leaves. She’ll take your daughter, Tireni to school and pick her at closing. She will also do every other work you want her to do around the house.” “How much is she asking for?” “I didn’t ask her. You can negotiate that with her.” “How soon can she start, do you know?” “She’s ready to start immediately, if you like.” Tosin was silent for awhile. “How can I see her for discussion?” “She lives close to my house. If you can come this evening, I’ll ask her to come and meet you.” “Okay. What I’ll do is … I’ll close early and come to your place.” “Fine. I’ll expect you.” Bimbo said.
“How are your kids?” “They’re fine.” “And their Dad?” “Fine. I’ll expect you.” Tosin left her office at six in the evening, taking her handbag and two magazines. As she hurried off, running down the stairs absorbed in her thoughts, she didn’t see the man who was ascending the steps, until she bumped into him, cascading the magazines in her hand on the floor in the process. Embarrassed, she looked up into the man’s face, ready to apologise, and then recognised him to be Mr. Joe Olayemi, the new Relationship Manager in the bank. Realising it was the new Manager embarrassed her further but before she could find her voice, the man spoke. “I’m very sorry, Madam. It’s Mrs. Bayonle, isn’t it?” Joe said, bending down at the same time she did, to pick the fallen magazines. “Don’t mind me. I guess it was my fault. I wasn’t really looking at my front. I’m sorry.” She said. Straightening up, Joe smiled as he handed the magazines over to her. “How was work today? I hope those guys in your department haven’t been overworking you?” He asked, fastening his eyes on her. “No. I’m coping very well, thank you.” She replied and would have moved to go but he was still standing in front of her, and seemed to want to chat some more. “It seems you almost can’t wait to get home to your hubby.” He looked at her intently. Tosin didn’t understand as she looked at him, puzzled. The man was of an average height and dark in complexion. He wasn’t particularly handsome but he had a face that was easy to like. He wore a white shirt under his black suit. He would be in his thirties, Tosin thought. “My what?” “Your husband, of course.” He still had the smile on his face as he looked straight into her eyes. To be continued. For this novel and other books by the same author, Contact: 08023000773, 08058040949 www.pastortaiwoodubiyi.org.uk
Discerning the moment Bishop Abraham Olaleye
HE Bible tells us about the people of Isaachar, one of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. This tribe is said to be gifted with the divine ability to know what God’s people should be doing at every point in time (See 1Chr 12:32). God has set an agenda for His divine plans in the earth and these plans are revealed to His people, especially the prophets. Amos confirms this when he said that God would not do anything when he has not first revealed it to His servants the prophets. God has raised Isaachars these end-times with the deep understanding of what God is doing or about to do and the spiritual ability to interpret the signs of the time we are living in. One unfortunate thing that has happened in the church today is that the prophets have either ignored what the Spirit is saying or, like Eli, the priest, our vision has become blurred. One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to the church in the New Testament is the discerning of spirits (1 Corinthians 12: 10). Many have limited the operation of this gift to simply detecting wrong spiritual manifestations in the local church and dealing with them in the same way Apostle Paul dealt with the damsel that followed them in Acts 16 v18. The Lord has placed upon the Prophets the responsibility of waiting and hearing to know from Him what he wants to do in the land. Using the fig tree, Jesus taught his disciples, ‘When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that sum-
mer is near’ (Matthew 24: 32). If the prophets really stand in the watchman’s place where the Lord has called them, they would be able to discern the times we are living in and the church will be educated and the world warned. Revival and the endtime prophets What has become a great concern to revival watchers is the attitude of the prophets who have not been standing in their spiritual position. This situation really calls for concern and the church should pray that God would do something about this. Why will God’s genuine prophets not rise like Elijah and confront the ills that have damaged the integrity of the church? Could it be that like Balaam they have become guilty of greed and filthy lucre and are no longer in position to challenge the evils in the land or is it simply because the prophets are unwilling to stand as God’s voices to avoid being controversial? Balaam was covetous and greedy. It was this spiritual situation that blinded the prophet from seeing the angel that blocked his way when he was going to curse the people the Lord had blessed. The donkey of this ancient prophet saw what the prophet could not see. (see Numbers 22: 23- 34) This must be a warning to the end- time prophets to shun the pursuit of excessive wealth that is capable of derailing the ministry that the Lord has given us. The New Testament mentions Balaam in three passages. Peter likens false teachers to Balaam “who left the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam” (2 Peter 2: 15). Jude, in his letter, described backsliders as those who “have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit” (Jude 11). We were told later in scripture that Balaam, despite his great spiritual prophetic gift, ended his life abruptly through greed. He died with the Moabites for putting a stumbling block in the path of the Israelites (see Numbers 31:8 ) The spirit of Elijah
Now is the time for the church to arise and let righteousness begin to rain down on the earth. It is time for the prophets to begin to declare not the partial, but the total counsel of God. The Spirit of the Lord is calling out loud for revival. It is time for the church to mount up with wings as the eagles and reclaim the strength that the Lord gave her. It is with this strength that the church would begin to confront the evils committed in the land. Elijah told Ahab, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17: 1). The spirit of Elijah is the spirit that confronts the evils committed in the land. We cannot ask God to come down and confront evils for us; rather, it is the church that will speak against the evils in the land. If the church refuses to speak, she stands the possibility of being sanctioned by God. Hear what the Spirit is saying at this time and hour, “I have raised and equipped my people to declare righteousness in the land. I have waited and still waiting to hear them declare my counsel in the nations.” God told Isaiah to lift up his voice like a trumpet and make the iniquities of his people known to them (Isaiah 58:1). This means that the Lord’s message is so urgent that it requires amplification. God does not want the prophets to speak with low voices therefore He told them to amplify this important message, “Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins “(Isaiah 58: 1). By this, God is telling the prophets to longer be quiet about societal ills but lift their voices like the trumpet. Every time the Lord sends an urgent message, “the trumpet” or “alarms” are two words commonly used in communicating it. Speaking through Prophet Joel, the Lord said, “Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain!”
HE Rector of Methodist Theological Institute Sagamu Ogun State, The Very Rev. Olukayode Adeogun, has tasked gospel ministers in the nation to be fearless and courageous in discharging the Word to save the nation from degradation. He said the contemporary church needs bold ministers who can proclaim freedom without fear or favour. Adeogun spoke last week during the graduation ceremony of the institute. The foremost Methodist seminary graduated 48 students. 5 of them obtained certificates in theology, 29 Diploma in theology and 14 in Bachelor of theology. According to the theologian, ‘’The overriding need of the contemporary church is
‘Why ministers must be bold, fearless’ By Sunday Oguntola
to have authoritative, spiritual and sacrificial ministers to heal the society of the malaise that has gripped it.’’ Harping on the challenges of the modern world, he said, ‘’you are going to the world to teach and preach at a time when decency is branded ‘old fashion’, lies and liars are celebrated with pomp and ceremony, truth and honesty are thrown to the dogs and hanged on gallows.” Adeogun said modern church leaders must be transparent and above board to make spiritual impact. He tasked the government
to equip citadels of learning with resources for updated impartation of knowledge. He appealed to wellmeaning individuals and organisations to assist the institution in equipping its library with relevant, modern resources on subjects of interest to theology. This, according to him, will enable the priests become 21st century preachers. The guest preacher, The Rt. Rev. Amos Akindeko, urged the graduating priests to be accountable and responsible. He said character will sustain the grace of God upon their lives, while dis-
• A cross section of the graduating priests
suading them from engaging in acts that can tarnish their image and the name of God.
The Bishop of Kwara Diocese also tasked the priests to be worthy ambas-
sadors of Christ and diligent in discharging their duties.
QUOTABLE "If people at my level who have worked hard to build their businesses can be blackmailed this way all in a bid to extort money from them, I pity people that are just starting out in business in this country”.
SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL. 6, NO. 2156
— Femi Otedola speaking on the $3 million bribe saga
T is tempting to judge, even before investigations are concluded into the bribery scandal involving Hon Farouk Lawan and business mogul Femi Otedola, that the legislator told more untruths than the businessman. As patriots, something that neither President Goodluck Jonathan nor the police are, we must not encumber the law enforcement agents with our hunches and theories of who bribed whom in the moneyfor-clearance scandal that has rocked the House of Representatives to its foundations. We may also not be accustomed to seeing the police flex so much moral and diligent muscle in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities, but in spite of ourselves, we must acknowledge that in this unfortunate instance the job of exposing suspects is much more important than the job of examining motives. So, whether out of altruism or out of malice, the police should be allowed to get to the bottom of the story, if they can. The case is nearly a cut and dry one. For about two months, Hon Lawan kept the $620,000 he and his colleague on the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on fuel subsidy probe, Boniface Emenalo, collected from Otedola. The businessman said he was pressured to part with the bribe, but not before he alerted the security agencies who both provided the marked money for the deal and organised the sting operation. For now, we are not sure of the motives for going public with the story. Was it a disagreement over the unpaid balance of the $3 million allegedly demanded by Lawan and Co.? Or was it simply one of deliberate timing by Otedola, the security agencies and the silhouetted puppeteer in the presidency who are all engaged in a feverish effort to tar the radical and uncompromising lower chamber of the National Assembly with the brush of corruption? Whatever the motives are, I think the geese of Lawan and whoever else is involved in the scandal are cooked. If Lawan and Co. are dead meat, it is hard to see their accuser, Otedola, emerging as a hero in the sordid affair. He doubtless has the upper hand at the moment and has even sounded sanctimonious, chafing as impulsively as is characteristic of him against the Reps for reinstating his name in the probe report. But in the long run, his immoderation in business and friendships, and his unhealthily close relationship with the president will work against his long term interest. It is okay to support a party, and it is even right to exercise one’s constitutional right to adore a president, but it is always sensible to exercise such rights moderately and wisely. If this is not idealism, it is important businessmen always recognise that there is a purpose to their wealth. If by their idiosyncratic weaknesses a purpose does not occur to them naturally, they are under obligation to find one artificially, and they must appreciate that great
Between Lawan, Otedola and democracy
and lofty goals for humanity and for one’s country are midwifed by riches. Once wealth becomes an end in itself, a businessman is likely to pursue it without scruples, devoid of a soul, and with not a care for moral integrity and obviously, too, not a care for the society’s wellbeing. I do not get the impression that Otedola set out to do the country the salutary job of exposing charlatans in the Reps. Instead, I get the uncomfortable impression that the businessman and his backer(s) exploited the greed and indiscretion of some legislators to advance motives that are not exactly beneficial to the country. One of those motives involves weakening the fiercely independent and increasingly radical House of Representatives. President Jonathan wishes to dissociate himself from the bribery scandal, his aides say. It is hard to see him succeeding. As president, he has been indiscrete in flaunting his closeness and friendship with Otedola, even as he has appeared beholden to a number of people in and out of his cabinet. His attachment to Otedola probably provoked the suggestion that the businessman could not have received such highpowered cooperation from the secret service in nailing Lawan had he not been a regular feature in Aso Villa. Nor, it is also said, could the
unrestrained enthusiasm of the police in pursuing the offending Reps have been triggered had the law enforcement officers not known a thing or two about friendships in the corridors of power. Consider, too, that while Lawan was clamped into detention, and Attorney General Mohammed Adoke has found his voice in asking the ICPC, the anti-graft agency, to prosecute the legislator and others involved in the bribe scandal, Otedola was treated deferentially. It must be remembered that Adoke took an awful long time before he acknowledged receipt of the subsidy probe report from the Reps, and in forwarding it to the EFCC he mystifyingly indicated that only the criminal element of the report would be acted upon. In the presidency itself, the report was derisively and dismissively described as the “so-called probe report.” It is widely known that there is no love lost between the president and the House of Representatives. The animosity dates back to the election of Hon Aminu Tambuwal as Speaker. Jonathan’s candidate had been well and truly trounced by a coalition of parties eager to preserve the independence of the lower chamber. But the president, citing the need to zone offices, a zoning philosophy he himself
What if Lawan came clean and stepped aside?
AST week, Hon Farouk Lawan fought desperately to discredit Mr Femi Otedola’s account of what really transpired between the two over the fuel subsidy probe bribe scandal. As things stand, he is not likely to succeed. But it is really stupefying how blatantly he told lies in his anxiety to deflect public opprobrium. Until it is established, perhaps in the courts, we may not legitimately regard him as guilty of Otedola’s allegations. But how does he hope to inspire confidence in his stories when in the space of one week his stories changed as dramatically as the weather? On Monday, the media quoted him in his Sunday press briefing as saying the video image of the bribe transaction was a fraudulent caricature of himself. Let us quote him in full in order to appreciate the enormity of his tall stories. “I categorically deny that I or any member of the committee demanded and received any bribe from anybody in connection with the fuel subsidy probe…The present mudslinging is not unexpected in view of the calibre of people whose actions and inactions were found wanting in the report…I am aware that in their
desperation to discredit the report and divert attention of the probe from the real issues of large scale fraud in high places established in the report, a video footage displaying a caricature of my person allegedly having a dealing with a marketer…is already in circulation…I did not go to Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport or any other place to collect money from anybody. The allegation is diversionary” A day after, which facts were contained in Tuesday newspapers, Lawan admitted he actually collected the bribe money, only that he did not solicit for it, but that it was given to him anyway by Otedola. The embattled legislator said he kept it as evidence that Otedola offered him bribe. Thereupon the controversy became one of who bribed whom, and who was telling the truth or stretching it. Lawan needn’t admit guilt if he did no wrong, but would it not have been more honourable for him on the Sunday he briefed the press to admit he collected the money? Would it also not have been more honourable to tell the public he actually went to Otedola, and not the other way round, to collect the money? Lawan said he was concerned
attention would be diverted from the probe report. If he really cared, he ought to have come clean and step aside rather than wait to be suspended by his colleagues. He did none of these, preferring instead to imitate Nigerian presidents and other public officials under suspicion who, since 1999, have told egregious lies and colourful stories to cover their indiscretions. Obasanjo said did not seek third term in spite of trying to shift the earth from its orbit for that outrageous purpose; the late Umaru Yar’Adua said his election, concocted by the Obasanjo presidency, was only a little flawed, though the courts fulsomely said otherwise; and Jonathan tipped the scales against truth by saying there was no zoning agreement in the PDP, again parroting Obasanjo who has perfected the art of shifting from reality to fiction with supernatural and sublime calmness. I do not defame these gentlemen by saying they lied through their teeth; I am only saying that Lawan, who declaimed so expertly and eloquently on honesty and integrity in the legislature, belongs to an illustrious company of fib makers and fabricators.
repudiated to facilitate his emergence as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2011, tried unsuccessfully to compel support for Hon Mulikat Akande-Adeola. Other than the African factor, where leaders see themselves as superhuman, there was no need for the president to think his job would be hamstrung by the emergence of an independent person as Speaker. Jonathan, sadly and unfortunately, never reconciled himself with Tambuwal’s election, and has repeatedly sought to undermine both the Speaker and the House. It is safe to say a cold war is in progress between the president and the Reps. In spite of that, had Jonathan and his aides been receptive to wise counsel, they would have found a way to elicit the cooperation of the lower chamber. The unfriendliness of the Reps is not so implacable or so intractable that a meeting point could not be found between the two arms of government. Like anything else, such as the fuel subsidy protests, PDP chairmanship election during the party’s convention, and the renaming of the University of Lagos, Jonathan sees dissent as enmity, and opposition as war. In matters demanding tact, conciliation and moderation, Jonathan has always been capable of giving only high-handedness, burning and malignant malice, and pretexts for open declaration of war. These are not the attributes of a democrat. It takes a democrat to intellectually engage the lower chamber of the National Assembly instead of trying to dominate it. Any democrat or dictator could work with the woollier and somnolent Nigerian Senate, for that upper chamber has abjured its enormous powers, and is incapable of understanding the patriotic spirit required to remake a crumbling country or of having the stomach to challenge the executive branch. But to work with the Reps and achieve legislative and executive milestones, a president would need to be smart, intelligent, deep, largehearted, visionary, a true democrat, not somebody given to complex, and must be someone extraordinarily modern, cosmopolitan and rich in either theoretical or practical experience. Every time I go through the works of the framers of the American constitution and that country’s early presidents, I have always admired the incandescent intelligence they brought into giving birth to a new system of government and the discipline they summoned into operating it. More than two millennia later, Nigeria has an acquired constitution, one still in use in the United States, and we have not found one brilliant president to inspire its productive application. Instead, every president elected under its provisions has sought to weaken, undermine or pervert the document, particularly as it relates to the legislature. They have sought to graft the monarchical abuses of their uncultured past into a presidential system of government that confers few privileges but imposes huge responsibilities. The Lawan/Otedola scandal must be understood in the light of the elements stated above. A few weeks ago, Tambuwal accused the president of failing to sign or veto bills passed to him. The accusation stirred a firestorm. On Thursday, the Speaker again raised his defiant voice, with widespread approbation from legislators, against the subterranean designs of the Jonathan presidency to compromise the independence of the legislature. It was apparent the president and his aides hoped the bribe scandal would engulf the leadership of the Reps reminiscent of the petty manner the Olusegun Obasanjo presidency fought Speakers Umar Ghali Na’Abba and Aminu Masari. But where the ageing, more devious and cantankerous Obasanjo failed, it is remarkable the younger, impulsive and less tactical Jonathan hoped to succeed. Nigerians are unlikely to defend Lawan and any other legislator involved in the bribery scandal. Indeed we are distressed that those we hoped would be genuine heroes of integrity and democracy appear to have feet of clay. But we are smart enough to draw a line between individuals and institutions. We are in the process of writing off the Senate, which has kept sepulchral silence in the face of massive and intolerable provocations and assault on democracy, but we will defend the House of Representatives, as imperfect as it is, for it is the only semblance of democratic institution left after the judiciary was penetrated and disembowelled by the ravenous Jonathan presidency.
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