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Federal Govt to borrow N251b

Oshiomhole, Adoke clash over slain aide NEWS Page 11

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•FEC to get proposal today

•War of words at Council of State

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VOL. 8, NO. 2427 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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Alamieyeseigha, Yar’Adua, Diya, Adisa get state pardon Jonathan tables request before Council of State President reads out long list of beneficiaries

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ANY high profile ex-convicts got a suprise gift from the Federal Government yesterday. They were pardoned. Among the beneficiaries of the Council of State’s reprieve is a former Governor of Bayelsa State, DSP Alamieyeseigha, a former Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, the late Maj-Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and some military officers implicated in the 1995 and 1997 coups against the late Military Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha. Also on the pardon list are a former Chief of General Staff, Lt.-

•Alamieyeseigha From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

Gen. Oladipo Diya, a former Minister of Communications, Maj.-Gen. Tajudeen Olanrewaju, a former Minister of Works, the late Gen. Abdulkareem Adisa, a former Managing Director of the defunct Bank of the North, Alhaji Shettima Bulama and Dr. Chiichii Ashwe. But the Federal Government did not release the list of beneficiaries last night - apparently because of the backlash, which the pardon of some of the beneficiaries may cause for the administration of President Jonathan, a source said.

•Gen. Diya

•Gen. Olanrewaju

Dr. Jonathan made the recommendation for pardon the first item on the agenda at the Council of State meeting, it was learnt. But he did not drop any hint on whether or not he had consulted the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy (PACPM). According to the source, Jonathan told the meeting that he had decided to exercise the powers conferred on him by Section 175 of the 1999 Constitution. The source said: “The President said he had decided to consult with the Council of State to back his desire to pardon some of these recipi-

•The late Gen. Adisa

ents. He then reeled off the names of the beneficiaries of the state pardon, beginning from Alamieyeseigha. “The meeting was also treated to a long list of armed robbery suspects and awaiting prisoners in some states, who should also be pardoned. “From the countenance of the President, we suspected that the meeting was called purposely because of Alamieyeseigha, but they included others to give it national representation.” Another source said: “We learnt that Alamieyeseigha had formally applied for pardon from the Federal

•The late Gen. Yar’Adua

Government. It is this application that the President chose to act upon. “Some top sources said Alamieyeseigha indicated in the request for pardon that he opted for a plea bargain in the case of fraud against him, following the assurance that he would be granted state pardon. In fact, it was said that Jonathan prevailed on Alamieyeseigha to accept plea bargain.” The source went on: “I think the government wanted to live up to its agreement with AlamieyesContinued on page 2

ACN attacks PDP, No pope at INEC over APC first ballot •‘Electoral agency insincere’ •‘INEC has only intent letter’

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HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday took on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) amid the battle to register the All Progressives Congress (APC). The AC N accused INEC of “engaging in bare-faced lies and manipulation of fact by claiming that the platform African Peoples Congress has applied to the commission for registration”. The electoral agency confirmed the existence of a proposal for reg-

•SEE PAGE 4&5

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

istration from the African Peoples Congress (APC). The ACN said yesterday in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that it had it “on good authority that a top official of INEC has boasted that the emergence of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) will be frustrated at all costs”. “Also, while the PDP has been quick to say it is not bothered by the coming together of the progressive forces, it has been having Continued on page 2

•Nigerian Cardinal John Onaiyekan prays during a grand mass in St Peter’s Basilica ahead of a papal election conclave in St Peter’s basilica at the Vatican...yesterday. PHOTO: AFP

•CITYBEATS P6 •SPORTS P23 •MONEY P30 •INVESTORS P32 •POLITICS P43

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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

NEWS Federal Govt to borrow N251b

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•From left: President Goodluck Jonathan, Minister of Justice Mohammed Bello Adoke, Senate President David Mark; House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon and former President Shehu Shagari during the Council of State meeting at the State House, Abuja yesterday. PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN

Alamieyeseigha, Yar’Adua, Diya, Adisa get state pardon Continued from page 1

eigha. Some of us got to know that as a matter of fact, were it not for the death of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, he would have been the one to pardon Alamieyeseigha. “But no one was able to produce any agreement with Alamieyeseigha to us. It was obvious the President wanted it. “Some of those pardoned had been recommended to the Council of State since 2009. For instance in June 2009, a former Chief of General Staff, Lt.-General Oladipo Diya, and 44 other military officers convicted in the General Sani Abacha coups of 1995 and 1997 were recommended for pardon.” In a memo dated June 23, 2009, others recommended for amnesty to the Council of State were Major Generals Abdulkareem Adisa (deceased) Tajudeen Olarewaju, Col. Lawan Gwadabe, 41 Other officers, four other ranks, Senator Chris Anyanwu, the late Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti and a journalist,

the late Bagauda Kalto, former special adviser to the Chief of General Staff, Professor Femi Odekunle, an activist, Comrade Shehu Sani and two State Security Service operatives, namely, Anthony Awoloyi and Julius Badejo. Others on the list were a former Managing Director of the Bank of the North (BoN), Alhaji Shettima Mohammed Bulama and Dr. Chiichii Ashwe, who were convicted for contravening financial laws but crave for the removal of the stigma attached to their names for purposes of re-integration into the society. “So, it was not surprising that these names were on the list put to the Council of State by the President,” the source said, adding: “Surprisingly, none of the governors raised issues on Alamieyeseigha at the session. Instead, some of them stood up one by one to condemn the circumstances under which the former governor was convicted. “The governors, however, focused more on armed robbers on death row and some sus-

pects who have spent long time in prison awaiting trial. “In fact, Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, challenged the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke(SAN), for writing a letter stopping the execution of a condemned person. But Adoke told the Council that he stopped the execution because the condemned person has a pending appeal before the Supreme Court.” A governor said: “The President harped on the need to forgive, reconcile and re-integrate. He based his decision on Section 175 of the Constitution. “Some of us looked at the relevant section and accepted his recommendations. Even though we know the decision might have to do with 2015 poll, we felt we should leave the ultimate decision to the public and posterity.” Section 175 says: (1) “The President may (a) grant any person concerned with or convicted of any offence created by an Act of the National assembly a pardon, either free or

subject to lawful conditions; (b) grant to any person a respite, either for an indefinite or for a specified period, of the execution of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence; ( c) substitute a less severe form of punishment for any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence; or (d) remit the whole or any part of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence or of any penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to the State on account of such an offence. (2)”The powers of the President under subsection (1) of this section shall be exercised by him after consultation with the Council of State. (3) “The President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State, may exercise his powers under subsection(1) of this section in relation to persons concerned with offences against the Army, Naval or Air Force law or convicted or sentenced by a courtmartial.”

ACN attacks PDP, INEC over APC Continued from page 1

sleepless nights and working round the clock to devise measures to sabotage the merger. “The plan to set up the phantom African Peoples Con-

gress to create an acronym war is just a tip of the iceberg. In the days ahead, Nigerians should watch out for more devilish plans by the PDP. But we are comforted by the fact that the forces of darkness have never prevailed over the forces of light”. An official of the Political Party Monitoring and Lianson Office, who is believed to be eyeing INEC secretary, is said to be working for the PDP in a “desperate bid” to scuttle APC’s registration. Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, also yesterday, urged INEC to register APC or have its image rubbished. Oshiomhole, who was elected on the platform of the AC N, one of the three major parties that merged to form the APC – the others being the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) – told reporters at the State House in Abuja that it is the right of political parties to merge. He said: “We have merged to form the All Progressives Congress; so, if people chose to trivialise it, it is up to them. “I know that INEC will regis-

ter the APC because if they don’t, they will leave themselves open to accusation. Everybody knows this has been on the national discourse war at a period; it is not a new issue. “If people want to play these cheap games, first it shows that they are panicky and I don’t see any reason why people should be panic. “In a genuine democracy, it is in our interest, those in power and those out of power, to create viable alternative platform for people to make an informed choice. No party is too good to rule forever, nor is any party too bad to be out of power forever. “We have seen what is happening around the African continent. Nigeria must live by example in many respects. And if for some people, these are things to trivialise, it is not about me; it is not about you. A political party is not indigeneship; it is a platform of ideas. It is about Nigeria”, He said. The ACN said the INEC claim, as articulated by Mr. Kayode Idowu, the spokesman for INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega, is not supported by the relevant sections of the Electoral Act regulating the registration of a political party. It said no party today with the acronym APC has applied to INEC to be registered, adding that even “the phantom African Peoples Congress - which is being sponsored by the PDP to lay

INISTERS will decide today whether the Federal government should borrow N251.6 billion to finance Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit. The money will be sourced from the issuance of $1 billion Eurobond, $100 million diaspora bond and N80 billion FGN bonds through syndicated global depository notes. The weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting will get the request for approval for these finances from the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, in a memorandum which she will present to the council. The minister said last week that the government planned “ to prioritise infrastructure investments and also to leverage additional external financing for infrastructure investments in the country”. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala explained that the government planned “to augment our domestic resources with a proposed $1 billion EuroBond as well as a Nigeria Diaspora Bond, which will harness savings from Nigerians abroad.” These additional financial resources she said “will be invested in various infrastructure projects such as building the country’s gas to power infrastructure”.

From Nduka Chiejina, Abuja

The government, she added, plans “to use Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) aggressively, working with the Sovereign Wealth Fund which will attract co-investors from home and abroad, such as pension funds, institutional investors and so on” to finance infrastructure. The government’s confidence is buoyed by the fact that “Nigeria’s domestic bonds have gained international prominence, and were recently included in the JP Morgan and Barclays Emerging Market indices”. Budget 2013 has some important infrastructure projects in the transportation sector, such as the second Niger Bridge, which may also be financed with these funds. Ratification of the President’s anticipatory approval for the selection of concessionaire/ developer for the reclamation and infrastructural development of FESTAC Phase II, Lagos (memorandum EC(2013)21 by minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development). Other matters to be discussed at today’s FEC meeting are the “ review of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) scheme, which memorandum will be presented by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga.

Proxy APC: INEC has only letter of intent, says official

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HE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not bound to register the emergency African Peoples Congress to spite the opposition parties from merging as All Progressives Congress (APC), it was learnt yesterday. Besides, said a source, INEC has so far received only a letter of intent from the emergency group. The letter of intent was reportedly submitted at the INEC office without any interaction with the commission’s officials. According to a source, the African Peoples Congress rushed to INEC last week with a letter of intent to be registered as a party. The source added: “The African Peoples Congress submitted only a mere letter of intent last week without requisite information. Legally, we are expected to look into the application within 30 days and, administratively, we ought to determine the fate of the group within 90 days. “So far, we have got the letter of intent without requisite

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

information, like the list of representatives of the party, its board of trustees, the address of its headquarters in Abuja and the list of its offices in the 36 states of the Federation. “As I am talking to you, no one in INEC knows the promoters of the African Peoples Congress. They have not supplied any tangible information to show that they are serious. “We hope that the group will make these information available as soon as possible. Or else, the electoral commission might see the group as playing to the gallery.” Asked how the application was received, the source added: “A lawyer just walked in and submitted the letter of intent. “As a commission, we cannot shut our doors to any group seeking to register as a political party.” The source clarified that by virtue of Section 222 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 78 of the Electoral Act, INEC is not bound to regisContinued on page 62

PDP celebrates ambush

T claim to the acronym - has only written a letter of intent, which has not even been discussed by INEC, let alone the commission taking any decision on it. ‘’The statement credited to Mr. Idowu is therefore reckless and provocative and clearly betrays INEC as truly having merged with the PDP to frustrate the merger of the progressives under the banner of the

All Progressives Congress (APC). One wonders who the spokesman is speaking for and what interest he represents. He should therefore be called to order before he sets the country ablaze,’’ the ACN said. The party said in order to debunk INEC’s claim that the phantom African Peoples Congress has applied for registraContinued on page 62

HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday was excited over the “ambush” of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the registration desk of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) — an action the promoters of the party have vowed to fight. A group, last week, approached INEC for registration with an acronym similar to that of the APC, a request INEC appears to be considering. The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a statement yesterday, accused APC promoters of not planning well. “The reality on the ground

From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

has shown that the leaders of the APC were all the while grandstanding; writing footnotes and glossary even when the first chapter of their history was yet to be successfully written”, Metuh said.

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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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NEWS THE SEARCH FOR NEW POPE

How the Pope will emerge

Who votes? Only cardinals under age 80 are eligible; in this case 115 men fit the bill and will vote. Two cardinals have excused themselves from the conclave.

A pope for the •House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal (right), his deputy, Emeka Ihedioha (second left), Chairperson, Commomwealth Parliamentary Association (Africa Region), Lindiwe Maseko and Sierra Leone Parliament Speaker Justice Abel Stronge (left), during a visit of the Executive Committe of the Commonwealth Parliamentary to the National Assembly , Abuja... yesterday. PHOTO ABAYOMI FAYESE

John Cornwell, a fellow of Jesus College at the University of Cambridge, is best known for his books on the papacy, most notably Hitler’s Pope. His most recent book is Newman’s Unquiet Grave. In this piece for Globe and Mail, he explores the race for the papacy, which began yesterday.

•Cardinals attending a mass at the St Peter's Basilica before the start of the conclave… yesterday. PHOTOS: AFP

W • Minister of Foreign Affairs Olugbenga Ashiru (right)addressing House Committee on Foreign Affairs on attacks of Nigerian Embassy in Senegal at the National Assembly, Abuja... yesterday. With him are Nigeria’s Ambassador to Senegal Mrs. Katyen Jackden (left), Permanent Secretary and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Martin Ihoeghian Ihomoibhi. PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE

• CEO, BestMan Games Limited Mrs Nimi Akinkugbe (left), wife of the British High Commissioner to Nigeria Mrs Julie Pocock and Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms Arunma Oteh during Securities and Exchange Commission International Women's Day Seminar in Abuja. PHOTO: SOLOMON ADEOLA

• Chairperson, Forum of Entrepreneur Organisation (EO), Mrs. Funmi Babington-Ashaye; President, Mr. Abdulrasaq Shittu and President-elect and Communications Chairman, Mr. Dele Agekameh, at the EO's board meeting in Lagos... last weekend. PHOTO: DAVID ADEJO

HAT on earth is a pope for? And why should it matter to the world who he is or what his talents are, so long as he is a good man and preaches the gospel? On Tuesday, the cardinals entered the papal conclave to discuss the problems of the Roman Catholic Church in the world and the kind of man best suited to tackle them. Their debates will be shaped by the times. On the brink of the Second World War, they chose a diplomat pope, hoping in vain that he would bring a negotiated peace before conflict began. After Paul VI, an anxious reformer who had struggled with the sexual and other social upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s, they wanted a cheerful, uncomplicated, pastoral pope who would stress the need for prayer. Unfortunately, John Paul I, the “smiling Pope,” lasted barely five weeks – the cardinals realized too late that they had chosen a man in fragile health. They next chose the young, physically robust cardinal who would become the papal superstar John Paul II. Sometimes, during a long papacy, the problems alter drastically. In the 1980s and 1990s, John Paul II had a hand in bringing down communism and ending the Cold War, which benefited East and West, Catholics and non-Catholics. He said, “The tree was already rotten. I just gave it a good shake.” After the fall of communism, however, John Paul was fearful of the dark side of unrestrained capitalism and the growth of secularism and materialism, especially in his native Poland. He was an example of the strong moral voice a pope can bring to global affairs, speaking truth to power even when governments choose to ignore his teachings. In 1991, I followed John Paul on a trip to Sicily, where he fearlessly denounced the corruption of the Mafia on their own territory. He was popular throughout the world, even among many not bound by Catholic beliefs. Catholicism is nothing if not social, committed to the principles of the Sermon on the Mount, antagonistic to the status quo. Catholicism is radical, communitarian, open to all cultures and ethnicities – hence “catholic,” universal. Yet, the great difficulty of every pope is that he is the final protector of traditional belief. The Catholic Church is evidently a conservative institution. It does not pander to the

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latest fads and fashions; it is vigilant over its traditions of belief and practice. It does not fall into the trap of believing that, unaided by grace, human nature is perfectible. How can a pope – who, in combination with his bishops, is regarded as infallible in faith and morals – change course once he has proclaimed the dogma? And yet how can he not engage with the real world, the changes in society and politics, as well as scientific knowledge? Hans Küng, the Swiss dissident Catholic theologian and former friend of Benedict XVI, has written of the papacy: “A change, indeed a radical revolution, has to come, given the present accumulation of problems.”

Threats to the Church

A pope must try to protect the Church against threats of every kind, at the highest level. There are many external threats to the Church today. In China, the regime has created a government-sponsored hierarchy of bishops in competition with those appointed by the Vatican. In parts of Africa, Catholic churches and their congregations are being targeted in Christian-Muslim conflicts. In the United States and Britain, many parts of the Church find themselves at odds with the papacy over equal-rights policies. Yet, more than in any era since the Protestant Reformation, the pope who resigned last month has been deeply engrossed with internal rather than external threats to the Church. High on the agenda is the clerical sexual-abuse scandal, still rocking the Church. The cardinals must choose someone who has had no executive or pastoral responsibilities for pedophile priests. But there is a danger that the clerical-abuse problem is obscuring deep internal structural problems that need urgent attention. There are two major questions, on which a host of other issues depend: first, the scope and limits of the power of the pope and the Curia (the Vatican bureaucracy); and next, what does it mean to be an authentic Catholic today? At the Second Vatican Council 50 years ago, it was decided that the pope should be less of a chief executive and more a judge of final appeal. Local bishops should have greater authority and discretion. It was called the principle of collegiality, or collective authority.

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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NEWS THE SEARCH FOR NEW POPE The first day The conclave's first day begins with the "Pro eligendo Romano Pontificie", which means Mass for the election of a pope.

How they vote? Each cardi- After the Pope is elected nal writes his choice on a paper inscribed with the words "Eligo in summen pontificem," or "I elect as Supreme Pontiff."

White smoke pours out of the Sistine Chapel chimney and bells of St. Peters toll. The cardinals swear their obedience to the new Pope.

Innovation For the first time in papal history, the new Pope will first pray at the Pauline Chapel before he is presented to the world as the new leader of the Catholics.

The announcer French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran will announce "We have a pope" and then introduce him to the world in Latin before he delivers his first public words as pope.

Church or a pope for the world?

•Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah attending a mass at the St Peter’s Basilica… yesterday.

No pope at first ballot

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ARDINALS yesterday at the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City had the first ballot of the conclave to select a new pope-- but the ballot did not produce a pope. The so-called Princes of the Church assembled in the ornate chapel to decide on a new pontiff. There first ballot , which led to the emission of black smoke indicating there was no decision yet on the next pope, was around 7pm (GMT). The day began with a Latin Mass in St Peter’s for the cardinals and public and which is •Black smoke from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel meaning traditionally held before the conclave starts and that cardinals failed to elect a new pope in the first ballot of their secret is known as “pro eligendo Romano Pontifice”. conclave…yesterday. It follows ex-pope Benedict XVI stepping down •Philiplast month after eight years in office. pines In all, 115 cardinal electors, those below the age Cardinal of 80, are involved in the process. Luis The secret ballot will involve the cardinals Antonio writing the name of their preferred candidate on Taggle and a slip of paper - trying to disguise their Ghanaian handwriting if possible - which they will then Cardinal place on a tray with the ballot then sliding into Peter an urn. Kodwo Once all the votes are counted by the scrutineers Appiah they are pierced with a needle through the Latin Turkson word “Eligendo” (I elect) and a thread is fed (right) at through them. the mass… The voting papers are put into a 74-year-old yesterday stove, which has been specially installed in the Sistine Chapel, and burnt. Chemicals are added to produce white smoke to show a winner has emerged, and black if there is still no decision. The first test of collegiality after Vatican II involved the Church’s teaching on contraception, not long after the pill became available. The bishops wanted a relaxation of the rules. But Paul VI decided on his own conscience and sense of infallibility to confirm the ban on condoms and the pill. For three decades, John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger – first as cardinal enforcer, then as pope – have stuck rigidly to the papal doctrine on birth control. At the same time, they have consistently clawed back powers from the bishops to the papal centre, weakening the autonomy of the local churches. John Paul and Benedict, moreover, strenuously enforced a prerogative appropriated by the popes as recently in the Church’s long history as 1917: It insists

that only the pope can nominate new bishops. Local hierarchies, clergy and laypeople have no say in the matter. This has ensured the appointment of generations of papal yes-men, who tend to be weak and often disappoint the faithful. (Under John Paul and Benedict, no priest could hope to be elected who had questioned papal teaching on sexual issues.) It has also meant long delays in replacing bishops. The centralization of papal and Vatican power and downgrading of bishops was a major reason for the failure to grapple with the pedophilepriest scandal. Decisions on defrocking were referred back to Rome. Both John Paul and Benedict believed that the scandal was cooked

up by journalists and lawyers. When they could disregard it no longer, both cited Satan as the principal culprit. Abusing priests were allowed to reoffend and escape justice for years. Second, there is the problem of true Catholic identity. According to the past two popes, it means strict adherence to Catholic doctrine, which forbids sex before marriage, using condoms or the pill, divorcing and remarrying without an annulment, living in a gay sexual relationship etc. – all of which, unrepented, condemn a person to hell. Figures vary across the world, but, by papal standards, there are a great many Catholics “living in sin.” And people are not going to confession

as they once did: In the U.S., statistics show that only 2 per cent of the faithful go to confession nowadays. Yet, contrary to doctrine, most still receive the Eucharist at Mass. This means that there has been a deep and growing split between papal teaching and popular practice for decades. John Paul appeared to ignore the dysfunction. Benedict, by contrast, knew what should be done: In interviews and writings, he declared that Catholics who were not prepared to follow the rules should leave the Church. As recently as last summer, he preached a sermon stating that those who dissented from Church teaching yet stayed within the Church were acting like Judas – the gravest sin that could be imagined. He was not referring just to sex, but to priests and nuns who called for a married priesthood, or for a female priesthood. Likening the truly faithful Church to the Christians in the catacombs, “a faithful remnant,” or the hot centre of a dying star, with the flotsam and jetsam of dissent in orbit around it, he expounded his preference for a smaller, totally loyal Church. Papal teaching on “life” and sexual matters has had a profound effect not only on Catholics but on non-Catholic perceptions of the Church. The failure of the Roman centre to deal with the sexual-abuse scandals has eroded the Church’s moral authority throughout the world. At the same time, the Church often appears out of touch on medical and scientific questions such as in vitro fertilization, HIV/AIDS prevention and embryonic stem-cell research. I once interviewed an extraordinary cardinal archbishop in Milan, the late Maria Martini, who was one of the favourites at the last conclave. Rev. Martini said that, on the question of contraception, for example, the right use of language and theology should make it possible to maintain the Church’s teaching against the “contraceptive mentality,” while being more lenient on a couple’s specific situation. He reminded me that, for 400 years, usury (lending at interest) had been considered a mortal sin, but the Church had been able to change its doctrine gradually without losing the spirit of the original principle – condemning wrongful exploitation.

Papal isolation

There is no doubt that popes in the past have believed and acted as if the unity of the entire Church depends on them alone in a very real sense. Loyalty to the Holy Father is the one issue that unites Catholics, whatever they may think of him. To criticize him is to offend the most crucial taboo; love him or loathe him, every Catholic knows that he remains their best and only option for future unity. Overwhelmed by the solitude of this papal role, Paul VI confided a private note to himself that might have been written by any of the popes in recent history: “My solitariness becomes complete and awesome. Hence the dizziness, the vertigo. Like a statue on a plinth – that is how I live now.” He went on to comment that he has to “decide, assume every responsibility for guiding others, even when it seems illogical and perhaps absurd.” There are great dangers in this isolation, which the great 19th-century theologian Cardinal John Henry Newman recognized. He wrote of elderly popes who have been too long in office: “It is anomaly and

bears no good fruit; he becomes a god, has no one to contradict him, does not know facts, and does cruel things without meaning it.” Pius IX became so hated among the people of Rome that, in 1881, a gang tried to throw his body into the River Tiber as it was being drawn to its resting place. Many popes become addicted to their power. Pius XII, the wartime pope, was so keen to protract his reign that he took rejuvenation injections provided by a doctor in Switzerland, Paul Niehans, who was similarly treating Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia. This is what makes the resignation of Benedict so unusual. It is an enormous departure from the past. It means that the next pope will have an emeritus pope in the background who is aware of the isolated and isolating problems of the papacy. There may come a day when popes will have a limited period in office, and there could be several retired popes, just as there are several retired presidents of the United States. They may no longer wield power, but they can offer advice and sympathy. Much depends on the next pope, not just for the Church but for the wider world. If the Catholic Church falters and fragments, a crucial alternative moral voice in the world is lost.

Herculean task

Uppermost in the cardinals’ minds this week will be the crisis in the Church over centralization of power versus distribution of power. A conservative pope is unlikely to embark on a reform of papal and Vatican power, which has weakened the Church at its periphery. Yet, a liberal pope could find himself residing over fragmentation and disunity. Worse, an ultra-conservative pope would probably move to exclude those many millions of Catholics who refuse to abide by the Church’s teachings. And a recklessly progressive pope could prompt the voluntary self-exclusion of many groups of traditionalists, which happened with the so-called Society of Pius X, the splinter Catholic group that found fault with the reforms of Vatican II. So the Church is on the horns of a dilemma. One North American bishop, John Quinn, a former president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has usefully drawn a parallel between the need for decentralization in the Church and the precedent of internal organizations such as the International Red Cross: Central control becomes counterproductive and propels the institution toward entropy and disintegration, as opposed to empowering every level to take responsibility for what they can contribute to a common direction. The new pope has a herculean task before him. He must try to redeem the Church from the huge damage to its reputation because of clerical sexual abuse, while addressing, as far as possible, the harm done to their victims. He must try to heal the divisions between liberal and conservative Catholics, which have reached a peak of vitriol in recent years. And he must try to devolve a measure of authority to the bishops of the world, while ensuring reasonable central control over limited essentials. As the cardinals pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I guess they will be praying with more than special fervour this time.

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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CITYBEATS ‘My baby was killed by medical negligence’

CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

•Govt: we're investigating the matter

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BOUT 13 months ago, Mr Olusoji Daomi threw a party to mark the birth of his baby boy, Oluwasegunfunmi. Sadly, a month after another party to mark the boy’s first birthday, the child died. Little Oluwasegunfunmi died on February 25, after futile efforts to save his life at the General Hospital, Ikorodu, on the outskirts of Lagos. Daomi has since remained devastated. Reason: His baby, he alleged, was killed by the “negligence” of medical personnel at the hospital. Since then, he has not ceased grieving, pledging not to relent in his efforts to ensure those that are behind his son’s death are brought to book. In a March 5 petition, he recounted his loss to the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris. He copied Governor Babatunde Fashola. “Sir… I write with heavy heart to report grave negligence of duty leading to the death of my son on February 25, 2013 by the doctors/ nurses at General Hospital, Ikorodu, Paediatrics/Emergency Department,” the petition reads. He recalled the late Oluwasegunfunmi’s journey to

Dada Aladelokun, Assistant Editor

the hospital on February 22. He said he brought his son in, vomiting. Frightened, Daomi said he rushed him to a near-by clinic where the boy was stabilised. On that same day, he said, at 6pm, the boy was taken to the General Hospital, Ikorodu, where he was received at the Paediatrics/Emergency Department. He claimed: “We were not attended to until about 9.30pm. This was not without the intervention of one Dr. Idowu…My son was given an injection and some drugs were bought for him. We were advised to come from home. We came the following day, February 23, for his injection. We were harshly and impatiently attended to by the doctor even when we complained of his rising temperature and continuous defaecation. “He was again given injection into his already dehydrated body with high temperature. His condition became worse gradually every hour. He became gravely weak and pale. He was again refused admission. When he was brought for his final injection on February 24, in the morning, we

Suspects nabbed with fuel, vehicles THE Oyo State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has arrested eight suspected pipeline vandals in Ibadan, the state capital, with 86 drums of petrol. Other items recovered from them, according to a statement made available to The Nation, yesterday, included two trucks, two buses, a car and five motorcycles. A statement by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the command, Mr Oluwole Olusegun, said that the arrest was made in joint efforts with the state's Joint Task Force code-named "Operation Burst" and members of the Community Development

Oluwasegunfunmi

fully that because my son was defaecating, he must have lost so much water, energy and strength.

“I will love to know whether the doctors/nurses at hospital’s Paediatrics/Emergency Department are un-

Renovation of Ikeja Police College begins

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

Association (CDA) in Alaka, Elebu area of the city on Monday. The statement added men of the command laid ambush for the hoodlums at the early hours of the day, following a tip-off. The statement gave the names of the suspects as Rasak Yusuf, Taye Kasali, Saheed Audu, Fashola Adebayo, Segun Adeyemi, Rafiu Raheem, Alaba Lawal and Sherif Oloyede. The suspects will soon be taken to court after investigation, the statement added. The commandant thanked CDA members that arrested two of the suspects and enjoined other communities to emulate them.

Rail MD, Secretary charged with contempt JUSTICE Doris Okwuobi of the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, will on April 22, begin the hearing of the contempt proceedings against the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Managing Director, Mr Edeseyi Sijuade and Secretary, Mrs P.I. Onyeabo. Sijuade and Mrs Onyeabo were alleged to have disobeyed an order of the Appeal Court in Lagos, asking the corporation to deliver 7,676.4 tons of category "A" scraps to LIDO International Limited, the claimant, in a suit against the corporation. Counsel to the claimant, Mr Iheoma Osimiri, said on December 16, 2003, the claimant’s representatives with the court's bailiffs, entered NRC’s premises in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, to execute the judgment of the appellate court, but were stopped by the corporation’s agents. Osimiri told the court that the High Court granted the applicant's relief to execute a consent judgment, ceding the "7,676.4 tons of category "A" scraps" and the respondents (the NRC), being dissatisfied with the orders, appealed to the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, against the verdict. Osimiri said: "Notwithstanding

complained again of his deteriorating health condition but the doctor/nurses turned blind eyes to his plight.” The baby’s condition, he said, worsened about 3.30am on February 25, prompting his father to rush him back to the hospital. “There, we met a friendlier doctor who patiently attended to him, but it was too late. She tried all her best on my son, placed him on oxygen with a life-support machine, and administered a drip on him, but my son died soon after at about 5am,” he added. He said: “I will love •The late to know why the doctors that attended to him on February 22, 23 and 24 refused to administer drips on him, knowing

By Adebisi Onanuga

the service of the enrolled order of the court, Forms 48 and 49 on Engr. Edeseyi Sijuade and Mrs P.I. Onyeabo, the defendants in this suit, they both have persisted in disobeying the orders of this court by refusing to deliver to the claimant the judgment quantity of 7,676.4 tons of category "A" scraps and even refused bluntly to appear before the court in response to the summons served on them," counsel to LIDO told Justice Okuwobi. The judgment debtor (the NRC), in its preliminary objection, filed through acounsel, Opeyemi Igbayiloye, challenged the claimant’s competence to sue them, adding that at the hearing of the suit it shall also challenge the jurisdiction to hear the matter. Igbayiloye said the claimant in suit No. ID/1395/1992 did not attach the court’s order that NRC should obey, noting that the issue for determination is whether on the face of Forms 48 and 49 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act, Cap 56 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria filed and served by the claimant with a different suit number, can confer jurisdiction on the court.

•Officers in training for counter-terrorism

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massive renovation of the dilapidated Police College in Ikeja, Lagos, has begun, weeks after a television documentary exposed the rots at the institution. The move followed the promise of President Goodluck Jonathan to rehabilitate the premier police training institution in the country. Jonathan’s visit, which followed the documentary, sparked criticisms, especially from the opposition. Then president had described as a poultry, and promised that it would be given a face-lift. He consequently directed army engineers to renovate the college. On a visit to the college yesterday, The Nation saw that work had far gone. A worker said the renovation began two weeks after Jonathan’s visit. It was also gathered that workers had been working day and night to meet the deadline to complete the project. A source said that it would

•One of the new structures... yesterday. Inset: One of the decrepit buildings By Jude Isiguzo

cost N1.2 billion to renovate the police colleges in the country, adding: “I am just the contractor handling this project here in Lagos. Another contractor is handling it Oji-River, Kano, Enugu, Gwoza in Borno State among others. In fact, all the Police training schools would be

renovated with the amount.” “The windows were wooden before, but now, we are changing it to aluminum glass, the roof also would be aluminum, and the doors would be changed to high-quality imported and secured ones. The floor would be tiled before painting. It is a complete work; that is why it is expensive,” the source added.

Ikuforiji calls for understanding

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PEAKER, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji yesterday stressed the need for mutual respect between the executive and legislature. This, he said, would go a long way in ensuring the smooth running of government. Ikuforiji spoke at the plenary when Commissioners for Physical Planning, Environment and the Permanent Secretary, Lands Bureau, appeared before the House over the demolition in Epe-Odoragunshi , which was carried out in defiance of the House’s resolution.

By Oziegbe Okoeki

The Commissioner for the Environment, Tunji Bello; his counterpart from Physical Planning and Urban Development, Olutoyin Ayinde and Permanent Secretary, Lands Bureau, Hakeem Muri-Okunola , were summoned over the overlapping of their responsibilities and for not respecting the resolution. The Speaker told members of the executive to endeavour to advise Governor Babatunde Fashola anytime they have a resolution from the House on any important issue.

He said: "The resolution of the House should be treated seriously so that mutual respect would always be seen to be maintained. This House is for the Governor and all members of the state. I believe you should help him to build bridges and not to demolish them. There are still issues that need to be looked into. These are things we don't want to start talking about in the chamber because this is our government," he said. Earlier, Ayinde, while describing his job as unenviable, said when people failed to follow due process in building, the state is left with no option than to remove such “illegal structures”.

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

‘My son is gone, but I want his death to be an end to needless infant deaths at the hospital. I strongly appreciate the enormous energy and resources that the Lagos government had expended in the health sector to ensure qualitative health service delivery’ der-qualified and thus, didn’t know what best treatment my late son should have been given to avoid his

• Daomi

death.” Daomi is also seeking to know if the medical personnel are “over-stretched and over-saturated because of their harsh tendency towards patients.” “I pray that you use your good offices to unravel what went wrong that led to the death of this promising young lad…Many of these cases happen everyday. What happened to those ones you

never heard of? What happened to other victims of this official negligence that don’t know how to seek redress? I am available to testify at any committee you may set up to probe the nonchalant attitude of some of the doctors/ nurses in the hospitals. “My son is gone, but I want his death to be an end to needless infant death recorded at the hospital. I strongly appreciate the enormous energy and resources that the Lagos State government had expended in the health sector to improve and ensure qualitative health service delivery. The hospitals should be purged of bad eggs to make way for the success in the ministry.” Contacted yesterday, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Femi Olugbile, acknowledged receipt of Daomi’s petition. He told The Nation: “We got the petition of the man (Daomi) and we have promptly begun investigations on it. In fact, I wasted no time in responding by firing a mail to him, which he too acknowledged. “Ours is a responsible and responsive administration that is founded on fairness to all. It is people-centred. We are already looking into the matter and at the conclusion of our investigations, appropriate actions will be taken.”

Expelled corps member cries out for Justice •She voluntarily left camp, says NYSC

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ings at the college

Already, the roofs have been replaced with red aluminum roofing sheets. Chinese security doors have been fixed, while the windows have been replaced with aluminum sliding glasses. Also, the police have begun training a special squad on combat readiness across the country. A top police source told The Nation yesterday that trainers of the men drawn from different departments of the Force are Israelis. It was gathered that the training had been on for some time now; the first 80 participants had passed out; another 100 will graduate next Monday. A source said the training borders solely on counter terrorism, combat readiness, weapon-handling and manipulation during crises. It was learnt that the training was organised by the Police high command in Abuja and coordinated by the office of the Deputy InspectorGeneral of Police (DIG) in charge of operation in Abuja. “At the state level, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of operation has been designated to handle the training. In Lagos, DCP Tunde Subulo is in charge of the training,” said the source.

N aggrieved National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, Miss Tolu Ekundayo, has called on the authorities to ensure that justice is done over her alleged unlawful disengagement from the compulsory three-week orientation exercise. The graduate of the University of Lagos, allegedly accused the State Coordinator, Barrister Theresa Anosike, and the Camp Director, Franca Ifon of the NYSC camp, Shagamu, Ogun State, of facilitating her expulsion on March 8, at an “unholy hour” for wearing a skirt instead of her NYSC trousers. In a release, yesterday in Lagos, the General Overseer of the Faith Revival Apostolic Church, Idimu, Lagos, where Tolu worships, Paul Adenuga, said the action is an infringement on her fundamental right. He added: "Persons saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the camp threw away the milk of kindness and compassion in the way and manner the lady was decamped without considering her safety. She could have fallen into the hands of hoodlums, ritual killers, rapists, serial killers, and armed robbers in the night. "To me, this is an act of gross irresponsibility on the part of the handlers. Are they not aware of the dangers and the risk their action could have caused the lady when she was driven out of the camp? When has driving one out at midnight constituted a disciplinary measure at the NYSC camp? It is surprising to see those in whose hands we commit the lives of our children during this laudable programme exhibit such sense of irresponsibly," he said. Adenuga said that dressing in a man's attire is forbidden in her Christian faith and should be respected as the contrary will

By Innocent Amomoh

C ITYBEATS Cleric advises colleagues THE General Overseer of Christ Evangelical Powerful Church of God and founder of Soromidayo Prayer Mountain, Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State, Prophet Michael Oladipupo Ogundipe, has called on religious leaders to be honest, truthful and promote values that would help in rebuilding the nation. He made the call during an interview with The Nation ahead of the 10th anniversary of the church holding on March 13-15 at Ori Oke Soromidayo, Odasapo-Toloye Topon/ Aparaki Road, Secretariat bus stop, Ijebu Igbo. According to him, for religious leaders to uphold good moral values in our country is very germane to

By Abiodun Alade

the realisation of national growth and development. The cleric regretted that religious homes had become commercial centres where individuals raise money to achieve their personal desires against the task of evangelism and discipleship. Ogunmdipe highlighted activities marking the event as including prophetic declaration, apostolic impartation, drama and song ministration from other ministers like Reverend Ezekiel Abatan, Prophet Ayodele Akoworo, Lady Evangelist Busayo Taiwo, Evangelist Taiwo and Kehinde Adewoye Twins.

NGO uncovers plot against NIS A non-governmental organisation, Alliance for Good Governance (AGG), yesterday said it had uncovered plans by a faceless group of people to launch a campaign of calumny against the Nigeria Immigration Service. The group, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Comrade Shadrack Nwokolo, and Secretary, Olujimi Sanwo, said the arrow-head of the group is one-time top official of NIS who had promised not to relent in her plans to ensure that NIS is portray in a bad light. . The group further revealed that this faceless group had enlisted the service of a newspaper editor (not The Nation) to assist the group in reaching out to other media outfits to carry out unwholesome falsehood about the activities of NIS with a view to

By Jude Isiguzo

discredit and malign the Ministry of Interior. In addition, the circulation in the social media and several questionable websites and blogs of false and doctored documents of alleged financial transactions and colossal corruption in NIS The group noted that huge sums of money had been voted for this campaign of calumny, adding that the passport department of NIS is being targeted for the first baptism of fire from this faceless group of people The group, however, urged the Media not to only disregard the orchestrated plans by this faceless group, but appeal to journalists to stand by the truth which is the hall mark of the journalism profession.

Odukoya warns public on fake Facebook account SENIOR Pastor of the Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju, Lagos, Taiwo Odukoya, has warned the public against being defrauded by fraudsters who created a Facebook account in his name, soliciting “financial support’. He said the fraudsters created the page with the name: Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, with a bank account number and asked the public to sow

amount to a breach of her right to freedom of worship. "Even in the military and paramilitary organisations, women are given options of dressing in skirts. Also in the airline operations, ladies are permitted to dress in skirts and so on," he explained. When The Nation contacted the NYSC camp in Shagamu, the state coordinator, Barrister Anosike said they acted in accordance with the guidelines of the scheme, but quickly added that the said corps member swore to keep by these guidelines by appending her signature before the commencement of the orientation camp. "The fact of the matter is that we have been directed that any body deployed for the scheme must use the kits provided by the NYSC. Part of the •Mrs Ekundayo at the orientation camp objectives of the scheme is to instill discipline and She also voluntarily wrote a letone of the ways to do that is by ter signed by her on her stand ensuring that they abide by the before she left the camp," she said. On the claim that she was guidelines which they voluntarthrown out of camp at an unholy ily signed to. "When Miss Tolu Ekundayo hour, Anosike said Tolu was also was asked to change her skirt and persuaded to wait till the next day she bluntly refused, claiming it’s before leaving, but that the plea against her faith, we made efforts fell on deaf ears as she claimed to make her see why she must that her father was sending somecomply with the guidelines she body to fetch her. "How could we have allowed swore to and signed, to no avail.

By Joseph Jibueze

seeds, while assuring them of prayers in return. “It is false and fraudulent. I, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, would not ask for money from anyone for any ‘project or prayer’. This individual is a fraudster and needs to be apprehended,” the pastor said in a statement.

her to leave the camp alone at that time of the night? She told us that the father was sending somebody to fetch her. And when one Apostle A.B Otaru came for her, we made him sign an undertaking which she also attested to, and they left at about 10.27pm. She said that for Tolu to be readmitted, she would need to reapply through the NYSC Headquarters.

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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NEWS Drivers clash in Ikere-Ekiti From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

MEMBERS of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Akure, the Ondo State capital, on Monday, clashed with drivers at Ikere-Ekiti. The drivers were protesting the death of their colleague, Sunday Ajisafe, who died in Ikere at the weekend, while fighting with Ikere NURTW members over union dues. Sources said the late Ajisafe, who plied the Akure-Ikere route, disagreed with the NURTW officials over the payment of a specific union due and was prevented from continuing his journey. Eyewitnesses said a fight ensued and Ajisafe slumped. They said he died a on his way to the Specialist Hospital in Ikere-Ekiti. On Monday, the late Ajisafe’s colleagues from Akure stormed Ikere with various weapons to avenge his death. They went to the mortuary and insisted on taking his body away. When the hospital management refused, they were said to have assaulted some health workers. They allegedly raided some shops, especially those selling handsets. The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Ikere Specialist Hospital, Mrs. Mary Olaosebikan, said the drivers unleashed terror on her workers. Ekiti NURTW Chairman Chief Julius Jegede said the leadership of the union in both states have met and resolved the issue. Jegede said: “It is unfortunate that we lost one of our drivers in a minor in-house disagreement, but peace has been restored. There are no more road blocks in Ikere as I speak with you.” Police spokesman Victor Olu-Babayemi confirmed the incident, saying: “We have since moved our officers there to contain the situation.” He said no arrest was made.

ACN decries mass sack in Ondo councils From Damisi Ojo, Akure

THE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State yesterday decried the sack of over 6,000 local government workers. In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Agbede, ACN said: “This latest act is in furtherance of the onslaught on the workforce by the Governor Olusegun Mimiko administration, which started after the October 20, last year, governorship election. “It is unfortunate that the Labour Party (LP) administration, which owes much of its purported victory at the poll to workers, could unleash a reign of terror on them barely three months after the election. “The LP administration has once again manifested its insensitivity to the plight of the people. It is ironic that a government that refused to employ people is sacking workers without considering the effect on their families.” The party’s state executive is on a tour of councils in the South Senatorial District. The tour is aimed at repositioning the party for future challenges.

Akeredolu objects to judges’ record

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HERE was a mild drama yesterday at the Ondo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal when the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), raised an objection to the recording by the judges. Akeredolu is challenging the declaration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko as the winner of the October 20, last year, poll. During the cross-examination of Mimiko’s witnesses, Akeredolu challenged the tribunal for recording what one of the witnesses did not say. When the tribunal Chairman, Justice Andovar Kaka’n, read out his record of the witness’ statement, there were side comments from the bar. The judge noticed this and said he and other

From Damisi Ojo and Leke Akeredolu, Akure

members of the panel recorded the same thing. Akeredolu stood up and objected to the judge’s record. He said the witness did not say what was recorded and urged the judges to record the exact words of the witness in the interest of justice. Justice Kaka’n said Akeredolu is free to petition the authorities, if he doubts the credibility of the judges. Akeredolu said he would not hesitate to do so, if the need arises. He said judges should perform their duties effectively and efficiently. Earlier, the tribunal rejected an application by the ACN’s counsel, Mr. Lasun Sanusi, to allow ACN and the candidate of the Peo-

ples Democratic Party, Chief Olusola Oke, to cross-examine Mimiko’s witnesses simultaneously. One of the witnesses, Mr. Akinkuolie Gafaru from Ondo West Local Government, said he was accredited and voted at his polling unit. During cross-examination by Sanusi, the witness confirmed that the voters register given to him to examine in the witness box contained numbers 13, 26 and 577, which were ticked to have voted but were not thumb printed. Form EC8A was also shown to him, in which 285 voters were accredited but 375 were recorded to have voted. Mr. Akinmoyo Clement said he voted at Ward Three, Unit Two in Idanre Local Government and was there throughout the elec-

tion. He said PDP and ACN agents were at the unit and they voluntarily signed the result sheet. Sanusi showed him the voters’ register of his unit, where numbers 93, 97, 147 and 197 were ticked to have voted without thumbprinting. Mr. Adewusi Olayinka, a farmer from Idanre, said he voted at Ward 2, Unit 1 and was duly accredited. Olayinka contradicted himself when he could not establish his earlier claims on the ticking of the names of accredited voters. During the cross-examination of Mr. Obasuyi Ayorinde, it was shown that numbers 63, 107, 116, 144, 150, 158 and 168 were ticked to have voted without thumbprinting. Ayorinde, who said he voted at Unit Six, Ward

•Akeredolu

Seven in Akure South Local Government, identified number 909 in the voters’ register, where only the nose and mouth of a voter was shown without his face, with the name ieeEWQRttyyy. Speaking with reporters shortly after the tribunal went on break, Akeredolu expressed confidence in the judiciary, adding that he only drew attention to the fact that the witness did not say what was recorded.

Ajimobi inaugurates 131 traffic managers

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YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi yesterday inaugurated 131 cadets of the State Traffic Management Agency (OYTMA). He urged them to shun corruption and ensure sanity on roads. The cadets were trained by military and paramilitary organisations. Ajimobi said OYTMA was created to ease traffic and ensure safety on roads. He said: “With this, we can safely say that Oyo State is changing for the better. We are proud of you all. We expect that you will live up to expectation and we will provide you with the facilities needed to make you effective. “This administration will continue to focus on job creation in ways that will improve the lot of the people. We will continue to employ those that are employable.” The governor urged the agency to continue to recruit people that are fit for the job and work closely with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and other law enforcement agencies. He said: “For effectiveness,

•Ajimobi (wearing eyeglasses) inspecting the cadets...yesterday. From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

you must work with the police and the FRSC to enjoy the authority you deserve. Traffic management is a major problem today.”

Ajimobi warned the cadets against taking bribe, adding that anyone caught doing so would be sacked and prosecuted. OYRTMA Chairman Col. Tayo Ishola (rtd.) said 131 ca-

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From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

the secretariat. About 12 persons, including the State Secretary, Alhaji Semiu Sodipo, were beaten up by armed thugs early this year when the Kashamu group attempted to occupy the secretariat. Yesterday, Kashamu said the IGP has directed the Commissioner of Police to provide security for the party’s authentic executive. He spoke in Ijebu-Igbo while distributing 250 cars and 500 motorcycles to party members and supporters through his foundation, the Omo-Ilu Foundation. Bayo said he had secured a court order restraining anybody, including the police, from harassing or ar-

07 and 39 on Grade Level 08. Col. Ishola urged the governor to approve the recruitment of additional 120 cadets to enable the outfit extend its services to some local governments.

Osun lecturers to continue strike

Ogun PDP exco gets national hqtrs’, IGP’s backing HE National Executive of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Mr. Adedayo Bayo-led party exco in Ogun State to move into the PDP’s state secretariat in Abeokuta, the state capital, to enable it perform its constitutional functions effectively. In a letter to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar, the national body urged him to provide security for the party’s executive at the Ogun secretariat. In the last six months, the Bayo-led executive, which is loyal to Prince Buruji Kashamu, and the Senator Dipo Odunjirin faction, loyal to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, have been fighting for control of

dets of the State Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES-O) were recruited by the agency. They comprise 96 men and 35 women, with 68 on Grade Level 06, 24 on Grade Level

•Abubakar

resting him when he takes charge at the secretariat. He praised Kashamu for his commitment to the unity and progress of the party. Bayo said the executive would resume at the secretariat today.

TRIKING lecturers in the four state-owned tertiary institutions in Osun State have vowed to remain at home until the government yields to their demands. The institutions are: The State Polytechnic, Ire; Osun College of Technology, EsaOke and the Colleges of Education in Ilesa and Ila-Orangun. The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Council of Academic Staff Union of Tertiary Institutions in Osun State, Mr. Dotun Omisore, said the lecturers went on a warning strike before the latest development. The strike has grounded academic activities and students were forced to vacate the campuses. The lecturers are demanding, among other things, the elongation of the retirement age of academic staff from 60 to 65 years. They are also demanding payment of the contributory

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

pension. They claimed 7.5 per cent of it has not been paid by the state government. Governor Rauf Aregebsola urged the House of Assembly to plead with the lecturers to reason with the government. At a retreat organised for the lawmakers at MicCOM Golf Resort in Ada, Aregbesola urged the Assembly to intervene in the matter. He insisted that reason must be allowed to prevail, adding that some of the issues raised by the lecturers need to be reexamined. Aregbesola said: “Stakeholders of any affected interest must not contravene the dictates of the constitution because of their personal interest. A demand for shift in the retirement age of civil servants has been addressed by the law and cannot be changed without constitutional amendment.”

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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

NEWS

Ladoja: Alao-Akala has apologised to me

Retrenchment at Ondo Varsity not political, says VC

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•Ex-governor advocates e-voting in 2015

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ORMER Oyo State Governor Rashidi Ladoja has said his deputy and successor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, has apologised to him for his “misdeeds”. He spoke during an exclusive interview with The Nation. Alao-Akala, who was his deputy from 2003 to 2007, succeeded him in 2006 after Ladoja was illegally impeached. AlaoAkala was elected governor in 2007. The impeachment pitched the two politicians against each other. They contested the 2011 governorship election on different platforms and lost. Ladoja told The Nation that Alao-Akala apologised to him and he has forgiven him. He said: “My relationship with Alao-Akala is very good.

From Bisi Oladele and Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

He is my younger brother. My life in politics does not have anything to do with my personal relationship with other people. I can be your friend and we will not be in the same party. “I have forgotten about what Alao-Akala did to me because that is gone for good. He has asked for forgiveness and I have forgiven him. If I do not forgive easily, would I have allowed former President Olusegun Obasanjo to come to my house? “It is unfortunate that Baba Lamidi Adedibu did not ask for my forgiveness before he died. All the same, everybody that participated in my impeachment, including my brother, Bolaji Ayorinde, has

been forgiven. Ayorinde was in my house some days ago. He has been forgiven.” Ladoja said though he is no longer a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he enjoys a cordial relationship with Alao-Akala and members of other parties. He said a true leader forgives easily because one’s worst enemy today may become one’s best friend tomorrow. The Accord leader denied having any disagreement with Ibadan elders, saying: “I have no problem with the elders. I have a good relationship with them.” At a political summit in Ibadan yesterday, Ladoja advocated one-day e-voting for the 2015 general elections. He hailed the Prof. Attahiru

•Ladoja

Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the “good organisation” of the 2011 poll and stressed that Nigeria is ripe for e-voting. Ladoja suggested that all the elections should be conducted in one day via e-voting, noting that since INEC can conduct election for two positions in one day, it would not be difficult to conduct it for five positions. He said it would be costeffective and ensure easy collation of election results. Ladoja said colours should be used to differentiate the elective positions and advocated the enlightenment of the electorate.

HE Vice-Chancellor of the Adekunle Ajasin University (AAU), Akungba-Akoko in Ondo State, Prof. Femi Mimiko, yesterday said the recent sack of some lecturers and non-academic workers in the institution was not political. He said there was need to reorganise the university to meet the required standard, adding that the institution is not a social service centre. The VC said the reorganisation would be a continuous exercise to meet the standard set by the founding fathers. He spoke with reporters in Akure, the state capital, on the institution’s fourth convocation, slated for March 22. The VC said: “We do not want our university to fail. We are doing everything possible to turn AAU into the university of first choice

Police probe assault on Ondo NURTW official

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HE leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Ondo State has been summoned by the police following the attack on the union’s Deputy Chairman, Mr. Omobomi Ajisafe. Ajisafe was assaulted last weekend by hoodlums suspected to be sponsored by a

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

top official of the union. Police spokesman Wole Ogodo said the invitation became imperative to get to the root of the matter. He said the command would not tolerate any act of lawlessness. Ogodo said: “We have invited different factions in the

union to the command to guard against a repeat of such attack on members of the union.” The embattled NURTW Chairman, Mr. Oladutele Obayoriade, said the union is not factionalised as is being speculated. Obayoriade said the union remains an indivisible enti-

ty made up of law-abiding individuals. He said he had nothing to do with the attack on his deputy. However, Ajisafe insisted that Obayoriade was responsible for the attack. He alleged that Obayoriade instructed “his boys” to beat him up at a beer par-

lour beside the union’s state secretariat. Ajisafe said: “The chairman was just trying to be mischievous by denying what he personally supervised. He cooked up a story that I came to the secretariat with members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) but it is a lie.”

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

in the country.” Indigenes and groups have condemned the sack of the institution’s workers. Many hinged the development on political factor and the protracted strike by the workers over the non-payment of their entitlements. Activist lawyer Morakinyo Ogele threatened to sue the university’s management, if it failed to recall the workers. The convocation ceremony is for the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 sets. Mimiko said of the 4,874 graduating students, 10 made First Class; 843, Second Class (Upper Division); 3,294, Second Class (Lower Division); 693, Third Class and 34, Pass. Three eminent Nigerians - the retired Anglican Bishop of Akure Diocese, Rev. Bolanle Gbonigi; a Professor of History at the University of Texas, Austin,US, Toyin Falola and Maj.Gen.Olufemi Olutoye (rtd.) are to be conferred with honorary doctorate degrees. Other highlights of the occasion are sporting events; a play titled: Aikin mata; Parents’ Forum; the inauguration of five infrastructural projects and a convocation lecture to be delivered in Yoruba Language by Prof. Akinwumi Isola.

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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

NEWS Dangote, Adenuga, Ibeto for dinner with Jonathan

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RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan will tomorrow in Abuja host a special dinner for chief executive officers (CEOs) of major companies in the country. Also expected to attend the strictly-by-invitation dinner are governors, members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and members of the Diplomatic Corps. The event tagged: “A Centenary Dinner with Top Nigerian CEOs” is part of the year-long ceremonies marking Nigeria’s Centenary, the grand finale of which is slated for January 1, next year. The Centenary and all its activities is completely private sector-driven. Among the notable Nigerian CEOs expected to attend the dinner are Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Dr. Mike Adenuga, Chief Cletus Ibeto, Mr. Hakeem Bello-Osagie, Mrs. Stella Okoli, Mrs. Sola David-Borha and Ms. Evelyn Oputu. The celebrations are designed around the key concepts of unity, indivisibility, virility, progress and promise of the Nigerian Federation. It is intended to present an opportunity for Nigerians to count their blessings, celebrate their dexterity and resilience as a people. It is hinged on the fact that the story of Nigeria is one of admirable and remarkable progress. Nigeria’s 100th birthday therefore provide a wonderful opportunity for all Nigerians to proudly celebrate and share in the nation’s story of freedom, achievements and aspirations.

Senate opposes immunity for legislators

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HE Senate yesterday opposed the plan by the House of Representatives to create immunity for parliamentarians. Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said the plan would not sail through the upper chambers. The House of Representatives is considering a Bill which seeks immunity for Senators and members of the House. The Bill specifically seeks to make the provision in the Legislative Powers and Privileges Act, which grants immunity to legislators on the floor of the Senate or the House, a constitutional provision. But Abaribe said at a news conference in Abuja that the Senate believed that seeking immunity for legislators outside the two chambers was ask-

•Backs sack of NCAA DG From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

ing for too much. He wondered why any legislator would ask to be granted immunity outside the National Assembly precinct. He said: “I think that the Legislative Powers and Privileges Act already gave every legislator immunity of whatever he says on the floor of the chamber. “That is already a settled law and fact. The Bill has not been brought to the floor of the Senate. “I guess when it comes to us, then, we will see the different positions. “I will be very surprised if somebody is asking for immu-

nity outside the two chambers of the National Assembly. “Why would anybody ask for such? We do not want to grant anybody such immunity. “I don’t think that will pass through any floor of the National Assembly.” On the removal of the Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, Abaribe said nobody is indispensable in the country. He noted that the Senate took a stand on the aviation sector part of which was the resolution that NCAA DG should be removed. Insisting that professionals could be found in every aspect of the country’s national life, the senator said that in an effort to make things to work better, nec-

essary changes were bound to be made. Abaribe said: “When we make our resolutions and we pass it to the Executive Arm of Government, most of the time, there is expectation that there will be immediate effect syndrome. “That has to do with the way we were brought up under the military. “But I have also cleared the air here to say that when we pass things to the Executive, we have to give them time to be able to work through their own processes and necessarily, those processes may take a little while. “There is no doubt that the Senate has taken a stand on the aviation sector and there were sets of resolutions that were taken. “This (removal of Demuren) was part of it and if the Executive finds at this time there is

need to look into those things, it is in the best interest of the country. “Nobody in this country is indispensable. “We can find professionals in every aspect of our national life and therefore, in making things to get better, necessary changes would be made and that is what we were elected to do. On the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Abaribe said that contrary to insinuations, it did not divide the Senate. Rather than divide the Senate, he noted that the Bill brought out all the different provisions and aspects of the Bill Nigerians were concerned about. He said that the debate also showed Senators as patriotic Nigerians. He noted that Senators also agreed to the need for an overhaul and restructure of the petroleum sector.

Jazz Festival debuts in Calabar By Victor Akande, Entertainment Editor

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OTED for its enthusiasm for entertainment and tourism, the Cross River State government is adding another event to its annual leisure calendar. The new treat; Calabar International Jazz Festival, is expected to promote that genre of music that is quietly loved by many. Mr. Nzan Ogbe, Special Adviser, Governor’s Office, told reporters in Lagos, yesterday, that the decision to make the Calabar Jazz Festival a standalone event is a direct result of the success of the jazz concerts held during the annual Calabar Christmas Carnival. The event, which is scheduled for the the Easter holidays, is a three-day activity, expected to feature foreign and local artistes, including: D’Angelo, Eric Benet, Asa, Darey Art Alade, Bez, Jonathan Butler and Burna Boy. The state is partnering popular music channel, MTV base and Mo Abudu’s Ebony Studio to stage the show which they say will showcase Cababar’s tourism potential to the world. “Visitors to Calabar also get to have an experience that will literally take their breath away. The ancient city of Calabar with its undiluting landscape, historically significant as the first capital city of Nigeria, is the cleanest, greenest, safest capital in Nigeria,” Ogbe said. He said that, in addition to the concerts, there will be fun day-time activities and tours for all the family, fabulous VIP after-parties, and opportunity to sample some of the local delicacies which have led to Calabar being acclaimed the best kitchen in the country.

Mr Adeleke (middle), Alhaji Alli (second right), Business Development Manager, The Nation, Mariam Ogbe(right), Account officer, Mary Atuluku and Assistant Advert Manager, Victor Adeniyi at the presentation ... yesterday PHOTO ABAYOMI FAYESE

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Farmer smiles home with The Nation promo car

POULTRY farmer - Mr. Ganiyu Adeleke, yesterday smiled home with a brand new car in Abuja. Adeleke was the star prize winner of a sales promo organised for patrons in Abuja and the North by the The Nation and Sporting Life, a daily menu for sports enthusiasts. The lucky winner, a former employee of United Bank for Africa (UBA), now poultry farmer, described himself as an ardent reader of the brand, even without believing the promo was real. The promo was held at the corporate office of Vintage Press Limited, publishers of The Nation and Sporting Life, in Zone 3, Abuja. Adeleke, who is based in Jos, said the prize came at a time he was desperately in need of a new car. He said: “I felt great, I mean it was wonderful. When I saw it initially, I thought it was an arrange type we are used to. I am an ardent reader of The Nation. I have

•Says: ‘I feel great’ From: Jane Maha, Abuja

copies of the last two years in my office. So, when I saw the promo, I really didn’t give it any intention. “It was around the middle of November that something prompted me to participate in the promo. The spirit asked me ‘why don’t you do this thing, you have this papers in your house, why can’t you do this’ and I sat down and called my daughter to give me a scissors and I started cutting until when it was 92 pieces. So, I decided to e-mail it and I put it into prayer too.” When asked how he felt winning a car, Adeleke, who could not hide his appreciation, said: “I felt great; I mean it was wonderful.” Adeleke said he had a rickety car and that his children were planning to present him a brand new car on

his forthcoming 60th birthday. He said it was the Lord’s doing for him to have won the car. His words: “I am a retired banker from UBA. I worked for 23 years and since 1997 I have been doing poultry business among other things. I have a car presently though, I do face some problems but I believe God for a new car. “My children are planning to buy a new one for me on my 60th birthday as a surprise gift and this one came. Really, it’s God’s gift.” He thanked Vintage Press Limited and prayed for God’s continuous blessing on the company and its workers. Presenting the keys to the Tata car to Adeleke, the Managing Editor, Northern Operation of The Nation, Alhaji Yusuf Alli, said: “We will sustain the excellence which has earned The Nation the confidence of avid and analytical readers in the country.

Lagos transport initiative excites World Bank

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HE World Bank is excited over the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) initiative of the Lagos State government. It described it as “a faster, efficient, effective and affordable means of responding to the people’s needs for mass transportation. The BRT is one of the initiatives introduced by Governor Babatunde Fashola under the Lagos Urban Transport Project (LUTP) in resolving the ever rising needs of providing a more comfortable and conve-

By Yinka Aderibigbe

nient needs for the over 10 million commuters. World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, who spoke in Washington, the United States at the 10th yearly transforming transformation conference hosted by the World Bank and EMBARQ, said the implementation of the LUTP intiaitive by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), has been of immense benefit to commuters. Kim, who singled out the

Mile 12 to CMS BRT services which was LAMATA’s flagship transportation scheme, said commuters now enjoy among other benefits; reduced transport fares, reduced waiting time at bus stations on the BRT corridor, improved lifestyle and new job opportunities. He said the initiative, which is first of its kind in the subSaharan Africa, has become a template of the ‘ready-to-go solutions’ that can be implemented quickly by cities with serious transport challenges. “In Nigeria, we have what is

called the Lagos Urban Transport Project. It is a bus-based rapid transport system. And believe it or not, it was the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa. As of 2011, some 200,000 commuters in Lagos are using it. The fares have decreased by 30 per cent on the average, despite 100 per cent increase in fuel cost. Commuters have reduced their transport time by 40 per cent. The amazing thing is that it works very well but the more amazing thing is that it is the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa,” Kim said.

Police warn vehicle owners THE Lagos State Police Command has warned owners of abandoned and accidented vehicles parked at Ipaja and Shasha Division to come and remove them or lose them to members of the public through auction after 21 days of this publication. The vehicles are one Nissan Quest marked SA07KRD, Peugeot 504 AP560JJJ, Toyota Starlet 468KJA, Fragon Bus XQ627KSF and Mercedez Benz ER122KRD.

THE NATION WEDNESDAY MARCH 13, 2013

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NEWS

Oshiomhole, Adoke exchange hot words over Olaitan’s murder T HERE was tension yesterday at the State House, Abuja, prior to the beginning of the National Council of State (NCS) meeting. Two Council members – Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke and Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole were locked in verbal war. It was on the investigation and prosecution of those held in connection with the murder of Oshiomhole’s Principal Private Secretary, Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde. Oshiomhole got angry when Adoke asked questions on the matter. It took the intervention of his colleagues to calm him down before President Goodluck Jonathan arrived at the Executive Council Chamber for the meeting. Fielding questions from reporters shortly after the meeting on what informed his reaction, Oshiomhole said that it was an issue that he would not want to talk about. But he accused the Attorney-General of trivialising the murder case of his former aide and insisted that Adoke ought to know where to direct his questions, particularly to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in Edo State, who, he said, referred the case that ought to be handled in the state to Abuja. He said: “I don’t think it is an issue I want to talk about. This issue is that he was saying my Attorney General should have known what to do, that he has nothing to do with the matter and I simply asked him who referred the matter to him. Was it my Attorney General?” “The matter was referred to him by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police and I asked him who should

From:Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

know better? If the Deputy Inspector-General of Police referred a matter that he ought to have referred to the state, to the Federal Attorney-General, who is the one dragging him into the matter, who is the one politicising the matter.” He said the Deputy InspectorGeneral (DIG) who knew that the murder was committed in Edo State should also have known that the issue ought to be handled by the State Attorney-General for prosecution. The Governor stressed that even if someone does not like his person, his office should be respected as an elected governor of Edo State. He went on: “Should we assume that the DIG did not know that murder is a state offence? And if he knows it’s a state offence, why did he refer it to the federal AttorneyGeneral, so, if there are complains, he should be to the DIG who referred the case to him. The rest you witness. “The point is that, I am an elected governor, he has to respect my office even if he doesn’t respect my person. In any event, we are dealing with factual issues. If a case was wrongfully referred to the federal Attorney General by the Police, who is to blame? We also complained that this matter ought to have been referred to the Edo State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) not the federal’s, because it is a state offence committed in Edo state. “It is like the case of a he goat. When the family is happy, its members sacrifice the he goat to celebrate, when the child is sick, the native doc-

tor says sacrifice the he goat so that the child will be well; so head or tail, the he goat is in trouble.” Oshiomhole said he was disturbed that a senior official was trivialising the murder of his private secretary when the essence of governance should be to protect peoples’ lives and properties. He said: “My private secretary was killed and nobody seems to bother, I am doing my best to raise the issue because that is the least I owe to someone who gave his life; and someone else who does not think life is important, it is a matter to trivalise and joke about. “When it comes to life and death, I don’t joke. You don’t joke with life and death. The essence of governance is to protect life and property. That is fundamental. Even in poverty, people need to feel safe and secured. Nobody has a right under our constitution to take the life of another, except if it has been confirmed by a court of competent jurisdiction. “I was surprised that for the Attorney-General, it is something he can afford to joke with, telling me that my Attorney-General didn’t know what to do. On the way forward, he said: “I always tell the people that all of us are in power today, none of us will be in power tomorrow. If we leave Nigeria worse off, we will wallow in a hopeless situation. If you build it and make it safe, we will walk in freedom. But let us all know that all

of us today, your next position is ex this and ex that. “I am always conscious of that. And therefore, let that guide our conscience and actions. Left for me, the issue of the death of any Nigerian and in particular, someone who has worked with me is not something I can compromise. Those who think they can compromise it, we leave them in the hands of God.” But when confronted yesterday, Adoke said: “I will not disregard his office, he is my personal friend: I have the highest respect for him, he is a governor of a state in this country but I will not join issues with him. “I did not trivialise his office and I have no reason to trivialise his office. He is at liberty as a governor to say whatever he wants to say but I will accord his office the highest respect and I will not join issues with him.” The NCS comprise the President, all former Heads of State, all former Chief Justices , President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, all governors and the Attorney-General of the federation. The body advises the President on the prerogative of mercy, awards of national honours, appointment of members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Judicial Council (NJC), the National Population Commission (NPC) and the National Population Census (NPC) issues.

•Adoke

Although the issues discussed at yesterday’s meeting were not disclosed, they must have ranged from state security, Police and the killing of the seven foreigners held hostage by Islamic fundamentalist groupAnsaru,, Boko Haram , among others. In attendance were Governors Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Peter Obi (Anambra); Emmanuel Uduaghan(Delta); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe); Comrade Adams Oshimhole(Edo); Liyel Imoke (Cross River) and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers). Former Heads of States including Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Chief Ernest Shonekan also attended. Senate President David Mark and House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal were also at the meeting.

Reps condemn attack on Nigerian Embassy in Senegal HE Nnena ElenduUkeje headed House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the attack on the Nigerian Embassy in Senegal. It urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to liaise with the Senegalese authorities to bring the culprits to book. After listening to the briefing of the Nigerian Ambassador to Senegal, Mrs. Katyen Jackden on the March 5 attack, the committee members were shocked that the attack was carried out by Nigerians, adding that the destruction of property on the premises especially the pulling down and defacing of the Nigerian flag, were

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From: Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

acts of treason and should not go unpunished. The committee also advised the Federal Government to make up its mind on if or not it was going to effectively fund the Nigerian Missions abroad or close down some in order to adequately fund the remaining ones. In her presentation; the envoy told committee members that on the fateful day, she was preparing to receive the Liberian Ambassador “when at about 11.10 am, persons, who later turned out to be Nigerians attacked the Embassy, causing the

destruction of Mission’s vehicles including the Representational car, as well as vandalising the Chancery building. Mrs Jackden said: “Although, nobody died, some embassy staff sustained injuries and they are currently receiving medical attention. “The attack itself, as I eventually gathered, was occasioned by the alleged disappearance from the mortuary of the corpse of a Nigerian, Mr. Inogbulam Kingsley Inogbulam. She however lamented the security implication of the current location of the Chancery, saying it was a contributing factor to the ease with which the incident occurred.

There was no surpluses to pay, NNPC replies Reps

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HE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday explained that the corporation should not be expected to sweep funds into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, when there is no surplus to remit. Its Group Managing Director Andrew Yakubu, represented by Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Ibrahim Farouk, made the clarification to reporters in Abuja. He was responding to the claim by the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, Abdulmumin Jibrin, that the NNPC owes the Federal Government N142.7billion in unremitted internally generated fund meant to be paid into the Federal Consolidated Account. He, however, noted that the law makes it clear

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

that it is surpluses that should be paid. The NNPC chief said since the corporation is still working on its account books, it would not churn out any figure to the public in a hurry. Yakubu said: “Before that however, we should like to emphasise that the NNPC cannot be expected to sweep funds into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, since the law specifically says it is surplus that should be so paid. In a situation where due to no fault of ours, we operate at a loss, there would not be any surplus to pay. “Of course we are all living witnesses to the causes of our operational losses. These include having to buy crude at international rate but sell at regulated prices. Equally important is our role as product supplier of last resort. This particular role has taken a huge toll on our finances.”

Imo House to serve Agbaso through media

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HE Imo State House of Assembly, yesterday adopted alternative means of serving the Deputy Governor, Jude Agbaso, with an impeachment notice after he had evaded service. The House unanimously adopted the motion to serve the deputy governor

From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

through newspaper publications. The motion was moved by Mike Ndubuaku of Orlu Constituency and seconded by Acho Ihim of Okigwe Constituency. The motion became necessary after the Clerk of the House, Chris Duru, told the

House that all his efforts to serve Agbaso with the impeachment notice were abortive. The Speaker, Benjamin Uwajumogu, warned that after the measure, the House would commence the impeachment, if the deputy governor refuses to appear before it.

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COMMENTARY FROM OTHER LANDS

EDITORIALS

Still in the mire • Fuel scarcity and allied crises will loom in the polity so long as this spurious subsidy regime remains

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E have only scorched the snake, we have not killed it. This seems the most succinct way to frame the unending crisis in Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sector, especially as it concerns the so-called Federal Government subsidy regime. Just last week, some marketers had cried out that government which disburses the subsidy refund largesse owed them about N100 billion. According to them, this consists of outstanding claims from last quarter of 2012 up to the beginning of March, 2013. Last December, the National Assembly had approved a Subsidy Sup plementary Budget of N161 billion, but marketers claim that it was not enough to clear the backlog of claims arising from various committee reports on last year’s subsidy crisis. What seemed like a subsidy bazaar was uncovered early last year after Nigerians embarked on a nationwide protest, following the January 2012 fuel price hike. The protests forced government to review its subsidy management process which revealed unbridled corruption and fraudulent practices. Many oil marketing companies and individuals found to have been fleecing the country of billions of naira through spurious subsidy claims and outright forgeries are currently being prosecuted. Even the current regime of subsidy payout has been redolent with malfeasance as claims and counter claims of underhand payments have been filtering out. The situation is still terribly unsavoury if we consider that we are dealing with an issue

that touches the very economic nerve of the country. We are indeed talking about a very huge slice of Nigeria’s economy: the 2013 subsidy budget is N971 billion. Going by last year’s record, this is sure to get bloated far beyond a trillion naira. This amounts to over one quarter of the total federal budget. What economic principle allows a country to spend this quantum of her total budget to import refined fuel, especially when such a country is a major exporter of crude oil? While it is bad enough that such huge resource is devoted to imported fuel oils, we are worried sick that there is no order to the ‘madness’ of fuel subsidy disbursements. In other words, we are spending over a trillion naira and there is no known structure, no template, no clear guidelines and no transparent process that can be subjected to public scrutiny, and it is difficult to know who is being paid what. Recall that some members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) were recently accused of receiving subsidy payments. This is what happens when a process is not transparent. The entire subsidy regime simply put, is still in the mire. There could not be a worse spell than this and we concur that rich oil wealth is indeed, the poverty of Nigeria. Since the abrupt hiking of the petrol pump price in January, 2012 from N72.00 to N141.00 (later reversed to N97.00) and the attendant mass protests, not much has changed. All the promises of palliatives for the populace have seemingly dissolved in fresh controversies. The Sub-

sidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE - P) and all the various committees arising from the crisis, including the reassurance of expedited action on four Greenfield refineries have remained mere rhetoric. It is indeed otiose for us to state that this state of affairs in Nigeria’s oil sector is unsustainable and in fact, could lead the country to perdition. For the umpteenth time, we urge government to take a holistic look at the oil industry and effect a total revamp; a move which will include initiating modern refineries, petrochemical complexes and setting a deadline for abolishing the importation of refined petroleum products. This is the way to go.

‘It is indeed otiose for us to state that this state of affairs in Nigeria’s oil sector is unsustainable and in fact, could lead the country to perdition. For the umpteenth time, we urge government to take a holistic look at the oil industry and effect a total revamp; a move which will include initiating modern refineries, petrochemical complexes and setting a deadline for abolishing the importation of refined petroleum products. This is the way to go’

Wardens’ woes • The plight of these workers demands our sympathy and change of policy

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NEWSPAPER investigative report has exposed the pitiable plight of traffic wardens across the country. These officials in orange-and-black uniforms who are responsible for intracity traffic control labour under conditions that are as bewildering as they are sad. The Traffic Warden Service (TWS) belongs to the Motor Traffic Department (MTD) of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), but its officials are contemptuously regarded as lesser beings by the general duty policemen. To start with, according to the report, they hardly have proper offices, and in many cases have to change into their uniforms at beer parlours where they also keep their belongings for a fee. On the job, their careers stagnate for years, causing low morale, anguish and even life-

‘Although the terminal rank was extended to Deputy Superintendent of Traffic following complaints by the Vanguard for the Actualisation of Traffic Wardens’ Autonomy (VANCTRAWACT), there has been little or no improvement in the career progression and welfare of the wardens. Many of them have been on the same rank in the last 10 years or more. The few who have been promoted are still awaiting confirmation of their promotion, seven to 10 years later’

threatening consequences. One of the victims of this absurdity laments, “I will be retiring next year after putting in 35 years in service to this country. Yet I am still a sergeant and will retire as a sergeant, while police officers who met me in this job have risen to Superintendent of Police (SP) or Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP). If I was promoted normally, I should be a Deputy Superintendent of Traffic (DST) or Superintendent of Traffic (ST), but I am retiring as a sergeant.” This narrative has predictable adverse implications for the financial position and living condition of traffic wardens. Consequently, they live below the poverty line and are denizens of the slums. “The best our children can attain is the junior WAEC, after which they are forced to face the hard life,” says the sergeant who feels like “a useless father.” The hurdle in their path is Decree 21 of 1975 which established the traffic section and limits their rise to the rank of Senior Traffic Warden. Although the terminal rank was extended to Deputy Superintendent of Traffic following complaints by the Vanguard for the Actualisation of Traffic Wardens’ Autonomy (VANCTRAWACT), there has been little or no improvement in the career progression and welfare of the wardens. Many of them have been on the same rank in the last 10 years or more. The few who have been promoted are still awaiting confirmation of their promotion, seven to 10 years later. This state of affairs is baffling, considering the fact that the police affairs minister, under a presidential directive, set

up an eight-member ad-hoc committee headed by Daniel Tifato to address the issue, and its report was submitted in November 2010. It is interesting that, as a result of its findings, the committee recommended a review of Decree 21 of 1975 and Section 59 of the Police Act, which were identified as impediments to the wardens’ cause. Furthermore, the committee proposed three options to resolve the lingering crisis. Firstly, that the TWS be granted autonomy as declared in the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Kaduna, on May 18, 2000; TWS requires a clear-cut career structure to enable them rise to their peak; they should be given the opportunity to rise through regular promotion like their police colleagues; and they should be allowed to attend training and promotion courses alongside their NPF counterparts. Other options are that the cadre of traffic wardens should be abolished, renamed traffic police and merged with the MTD of the NPF; and lastly, that the TWS should be merged with the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) or Vehicle Inspectorate Office (VIO) of various states. We agree with these recommendations, and wonder at governmental inaction. As a matter of urgency, the authorities should weigh the options and settle for the one that will be in the best interest of the wardens. Any further delay in responding to the recommendations will not only unjustly prolong the wardens’ woes; it will also compound the callousness of the powers-that-be.

Restore the ability to unlock cellphones

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ED UP with your mobile phone service? Think you’ll change wireless providers at some point? If you bought your phone after January, it’s criminal for you to “unlock” it, so that it’ll work on a different network, without your current provider’s permission. Not just illegal — criminal. If you think that isn’t right, the White House has announced that it agrees with you — but, as the National Journal reports, only to a point. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, passed by Congress in 1998, prohibited consumers from circumventing technological restrictions on what they can do with the music, DVDs, software and, as it turned out, even the cellphones that they buy. The idea was to prevent illegal copying and dissemination of copyrighted works. But lawmakers recognized that Congress could not anticipate all of the potentially negative consequences of that broad rule. So they empowered the Library of Congress to grant specific and temporary exceptions to the law every three years. In 2006 and 2010, the library decided that cellphone users should be allowed to unlock their own phones if their carriers wouldn’t. But following a recent pitch from the wireless industry, the library determined in its most recent review that consumers no longer need the exception. Carriers say they unlock users’ phones under many conditions, and customers can find phones that are unlocked from the start. The wireless industry, meanwhile, insists that preventing users from unlocking their phones is an important protection of its business model, under which wireless providers subsidize the purchase of phones when customers sign up for a lengthy service contract. But why should the government guarantee the viability of that business model — especially at the threat of criminal penalty? And why should copyright law be misused to do it? The industry has other tools available, beginning with hefty penalties for breaking a contract, to make the costs and benefits of these arrangements explicit to consumers. If the business model is indeed viable, companies should flourish under those conditions, as they did during the years in which mobile customers had the Library of Congress’s permission to unlock their phones. In response to an online petition, R. David Edelman, President Obama’s senior adviser for Internet, innovation and privacy, announced that the White House would support “narrow legislative fixes” to change the phone-unlocking policy permanently. “Neither criminal law nor technological locks,” he wrote, “should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service agreement or other obligation.” What, though, about those who want to pay an early-termination fee to break their service agreements? Or those who want to use their phones on different networks while abroad without asking for permission? We can’t think of a good reason why they should be subject to the threat of criminal sanction for unlocking their devices. Neither, we trust, will Congress as it examines the issue. - Washington Post

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh • Editor Gbenga Omotoso •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Kunle Fagbemi •Editor, Online Lekan Otufodunrin •Managing Editor Northern Operation Yusuf Alli •Managing Editor Waheed Odusile •Deputy Editor Lawal Ogienagbon •Deputy Editor (News) Adeniyi Adesina •Deputy Editor (Nation’s Capital) Yomi Odunuga •Group Political Editor Emmanuel Oladesu •Group Business Editor Ayodele Aminu •Sport Editor Ade Ojeikere •Editorial Page Editor Sanya Oni

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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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CARTOON & LETTERS

S

IR: Since his appointment as the acting Vice Chancellor, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, Prof. (Prince) Adeniyi Suleiman Gbadegesin has proved that the confidence reposed in him by the government of Oyo State is not misplaced. From the feelers from the institution, he has succeeded in clearing the Augean stable and restored the institution back on the path of fiscal discipline and sanity, which years of inept leadership has denied her. He has equally facilitated uninterrupted academic calendar through zero tolerance for workers’ strike, student unrest, which his administrative policies have checkmated. Among other things Gbadegesin has made efforts to introduce moral discipline on the campus by introducing dress code for the students of the institution. It is equally hearth warming that the crisis over the ownership of the institution has been nipped in the bud during his. tenure. All the above pointed to the fact that Prof. Gbadegesin is out to restore the lost glory of LAUTECH. In pursuit of this object however, the V.C is advised to direct his searchlight to the academic activities in some faculties as regards poor performances of some students which were actually caused by negligence and wickedness on the part of some staff of the institution. Of particular interest is the Department of Earth Sciences. Some of the allegation, which some students of this department leveled against the authority of the Department which the Vice Chancellor should investigate include delay in releasing the examination results of students, missing of students answer scripts, extortions through payment for field works, which the students many never go, unilateral withdrawal of students by the department, and sexual harassment. Some student also alleged that dearth of professors in this department

EDITOR’S MAIL BAG SEND TYPEWRITTEN, DOUBLE SPACED AND SIGNED CONTRIBUTIONS, LETTERS AND REJOINDERS OF NOT MORE THAN 800 WORDS TO THE EDITOR, THE NATION, 27B, FATAI ATERE ROAD, MATORI, LAGOS. E-mail: views@thenationonlineng.net

Attention, LAUTECH Vice -Chancellor has turned the only PHD holder and a long time HOD to a tin god and a dictator whose words are laws that cannot be challenged by the Senate of the university. The students allege that through his authority, many students have been expelled based on poor academic performances that are orchestrated with the connivance of some subjective

academic staff of the department. The allegations may not necessarily be true in their entirety; this is because many students are not trust worthy, unserious, undisciplined and lazy. At times they look for excuses to justify their failures. Nevertheless, the allegations are worth investigating because there are many students in the department who

have spent up to 10 years and whose fates hang in the balance unless the VC gives the matter urgent attention it required. The news emanating from the departments is not helping the image of LAUTECH. The earlier the department is sanitized the better. •Adewuyi Adegbite Apake, Ogbomoso.

Nigeria needs to turn a new page

S

IR: Nigeria became independent about 53 years ago. Since then till now, certain selfish persons keep arresting her growth. Those who killed Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa and company arrested Nigeria’s growth. The civil war and the circumstances that led to it arrested Nigeria’s growth. The long years of military rule, and the military leaders, such as General Yakubu Gowon and General Ibrahim Babangida (IBB), who prolonged it unnecessarily, arrested Nigeria’s growth. The civilian rule of President Shehu Shagari that perpetrated unbridled corruption arrested Nigeria’s growth. The annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election by IBB was a catastrophe whose negative effects are still fresh in the memory of many Nigerians. What is at par with that annulment of a free and fair presidential election was the truncation of rotational presidency that was instituted to redress past political summersaults. Yes, it is a

big slur on General Olusegun Obasanjo who supported Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s opportunism. The saddest aspect is that many elites forgot where Nigeria was coming from (political destabilizations) and supported Jonathan because South-south had never produced a President, and rotational presidency is not in Nigeria’s Constitution. If we give rotational presidency among the six geopolitical zones a chance, that would have given Nigeria a new outlook of an orderly society. The most stupid argument against it is that some zones lack presidential materials, whereas the protagonists are yet to mention the zones that have no presidential materials or the super zones with impeccable presidential materials. Rotational presidency was a well thought-out measure in view of Nigeria’s ethnic peculiarities, borne of the fact that every society must establish an order that suits its peculiar circumstances. Saying rotational

presidency is un-democratic betrays a shallow knowledge of what democracy connotes, namely, whatever a people accepts as good for its society. The All Progressive Congress (APC) planners should go by rotational presidency. Jonathan and some Igbo allies are only trying to scoop hot soup impatiently, without regard for Nigeria’s stability. The fact of perceived past injustices does not mean Nigeria must never open an orderly page. The northerners have never ruled Nigeria in isolation, but always with the collaboration of their southern accomplices. So, it is not totally true that the north has been exclusively dominant. More urgently, Nigeria requires a political order that is just to all the segments and can stabilize the country, i.e. rotational presidency. Nigeria requires turning a new page in 2015. • Pius Oyeniran Abioje, Ph. D, University of Ilorin.

Police PRO misinformed on traffic wardens

S

IR: I read the comment of Police Public Relations Oficcer (PPRO) Frank Mba on the status of Traffic Waredens in The Nation newspaper on Saturday March 2. I want to use this medium to ask Frank Mba to provide documents that transfered traffic wardens from Federal Ministry of Works to the Police. I need to know, Nigerians are interested as well. They need to know! Mba should know that Nigerian Police do not give letter of employment; they recruit and train. The moment you pass out from the police college, your appointment is confirmed. I challenge him to show if he has any employment letter other than the service record in his file. He said traffic wardens are not part and parcel of the Police but the Police use the same measures to discipline the traffic wardens e.g. detention, orderly room trial just to mention a few. Traffic wardens are not part and parcel of the police but the last batches that were promoted in February 2006 attended their promotion course at Police College Ikeja, Lagos where they were lectured both on traffic and police duties. In January 2007, these traffic wardens wrote their confirmation exams along side with regular Police Inspectors. Only one question was asked on traffic duties; the remaining four questions papers were on police duties. Police have tailors, drivers, technicians working with them as specialists; they enjoy all amenities residing in Police Barracks. While policemen are promoted regularly, the reverse is the case with the traffic wardens. It is a shame that the P.P.R.O does not know the information or data concerning the office he is representing. Mba should go and read Decree 21 that established Traffic Warden Service in 1975 and the Police Act Cap 359 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990. • Michael Akpanke Ipaja, Lagos State

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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

COMMENTS

Who owns Nigeria: North or South?- The key amalgamation question?

A Tony Marinho

RE Rivers Niger and Benue sinking down the waist of Nigeria towards the Bight of Benin/Atlantic Ocean? Soon there will be no South. The map of Nigeria on NTA

demonstrates ‘Sinking or Moving River Disease’. This is a political disease of criminally-minded officials bent on distorting the truth. If it is NTA policy it is punishable as mental terrorism for ‘altering the geographical internal borders of Nigeria’. I checked ‘Nigeria Map’ on Google. You should too! The Rivers Niger and Benue are not quite half way up Nigeria. It seems our lekedi or belt is falsely falling. Nigerians require our own ethnic cartographers to check maps, text and exercise books and almanacs for distortion. It was not so long ago that Europeans could not bear the thought that Africa was bigger than Europe and adjusted the world map to make Africa smaller. The Americans revealed all from the moon in JF Kennedy’s era. Check your map against Google map or Niga SAT2 and complain politically to prevent the South shrinking further or North being made falsely bigger. In 2013, a year from 2014, some say ‘Amalgamation Memorial Day’ not ‘Centenary Day ‘, we cheat each other as if cheating is OK? Who owns Nigeria in 2014: North or South or Nigerians? This is ‘The Key Amalgamation Question’. From the manipulated census figures, federal character, true federalism, fiscal federalism, distorted LGA numbers between Lagos, 20, and Kano+ Jigawa States, 77, resource control, oil windfall, choice appointments, the South continues to be screwed under national unity’. ‘National unity’ does not mean ‘Sectional idiocy’ or unilateral emasculation. It should mean mutual respect, equity, justice and transparency. How are Nigerians supposed to react to Boko Haram claiming poverty as motivation for mass murder and seek-

ing amnesty and also to react to the fact that the North operated initially nearly 100% of Niger Delta oil blocks down to 82% which translates into multi-billion dollars/annum not used for development? The Forbes billionaires list does not include those with stupendous undeserved civil service and military wealth. They have no right to begrudge the Niger Delta citizens of just 10%. ZZZZZZZZZZZOOOOOOOWWAABIA is Nigeria and ZZZOOOOOOOOOOO are the undisputed kings with the controlling share, the leadership position, the master manipulator but failing the true leadership progressive role so desperately needed–a cumulative disappointment for Nigeria. Ask anyone in a marginalised tribe not ZZZZZZZZZZZOOOOOOWABIA. It is true feeling of oppression. As pointed out by Ita Enang all oil well licences could be cancelled and renegotiated with Federal character- a suggestion not popular with those making billions daily merely for possession of an oil block. Commonwealth ownership is only good if it affects someone else’s property. ‘What is yours is mine and what is mine is mine also’ is the secret code which does not bode well for the survival of any country seeking nationhood. We may well stay together but is it a union of the heart and mind or a union of fear and ‘by force’? The fact is that those, Northerners and Southerners, who have with little or no respect for others, have held Nigeria to political and financial ransom, kidnapped, for 50 years must have a change of their own heart. We are not the enemy, slaves won at a high stakes game of power and oil roulette. We must first be set free within the borders of Nigeria and then be allowed to feel fully Nigerian, not slaves. How are we set free? Easy. Constitutional review, true federalism, devolution of more powers to the states, derivation formula, review and reduction of the ‘Federal Excusive List‘. Nigeria has remained almost in the stone age in transport and education. Hurry! Nigerians have suffered a lifetime of suffering in this country so rich in billionaires with God’s gifts of arable land and underground black gold which paradoxically makes billionaires of some and poisons millions in abject poverty. These are the prize and the

price of false federalism which has failed to move Nigeria forward. We are where we are today because of those military rulers and their cohorts from all ethnic groups. They were ‘The Occupying Power’ of a conquered Nigeria. What is the role of the CBN past and present in the naira and federal Nigeria? And then came Obasanjo with Odi and Expressway failure and dismantling of some political power bases nationwide. I really weep over the Jos crisis having spent a peaceful newly-married NYSC in Jos, Bukuru, Lafia General Hospital Lafia as my very busy base. That so-called ‘peace’ came from those who decided not to, or could not react to provocation and warped policy initiation due to fear or bribery or saw their citizens cheated at Supreme Military Council and Federal Executive Council Meetings. Nigeria has been at war for years before the Civil War and the war continues, with ‘mis-allocation’ of the spoils of war, read ‘sp-oil’, only abating slightly when Obasanjo became President. ‘All Is Not Quiet on Any Front in Nigeria’. Time for ‘An Amalgamation National Conference’? Those who owned power –electric, generator and political-, the oil blocks, the customs, the NPA, the armed forces, Abuja for years and the unseen faces behind the cell phone and internet companies should not shy away from their responsibility in the failure of Nigeria. It is time Nigerians, all Nigerians owned Nigeria. This is not a monarchy or a slave state, though it appears to be so.

‘Those who owned power –electric, generator and political-, the oil blocks, the customs, the NPA, the armed forces, Abuja for years and the unseen faces behind the cell phone and internet companies should not shy away from their responsibility in the failure of Nigeria’

This amnesty gambit

N

IGERIA is indeed a troubled country. That is why the talk about amnesty has always taken centre stage in our public discourse over the years. The first time it came up, though in a different garb, was in 1970. Remember, the then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon’s three Rs – Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Reconstruction – after 30 months of a grueling civil war – May 1967 to January 12, 1970. The word came up again 37 years after. This time, it was not masked in any form of rhetoric. On assumption of office in 2007, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, in his wisdom, knew that the festering Niger Delta problem needed a solution. He came up with the amnesty programme. This brought some semblance of relief to the region. Today, the Yar’Adua amnesty programme remains a sort of magic wand that doused the tension and acrimony in the Niger Delta region, even though the neglect of the region is still there and the situation is far from normal. At least, successive governments can build on that foundation. The ‘instant success’ recorded by the Yar’Adua amnesty in the Niger Delta must have encouraged the highly revered Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammed Abubakar III, to come out with such a proposal to end the senseless killings in some parts of the country. With his military background and his preeminent status, I am sure the Sultan actually knew what he was talking about. But since last week when he gave the ‘advise’, it has generated

heated debates all over the country. Though this was not the first time such a proposal was being championed by influential people in the North, particularly in Borno State, the intensity of the debate has far removed from the issue at stake- finding a lasting peace in the North. Without mincing words, there is obvious lack of sincerity in the approach to find peace to the brigandage that is going on in certain parts of the North. In my honest and candid view, we are all guilty: the federal government, the northern elders and the rest of us. It would appear that President Goodluck Jonathan’s recent showing in Maiduguri was the first time he had spoken as “President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. He pointedly told his audience that his government cannot declare “amnesty for ghosts”. This is an obvious reference to the Boko Haram sect which has donned a toga of secrecy while killing and maiming innocent people all over the place. Our sensibilities have continued to be assaulted with such ridiculous stories that the insurgents are unknown. Yet, several times, the security agencies have stumbled on so many leads which could have been explored to unmask those behind this façade of a jihad, without anything coming out of them. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes are on the internet every now and then, but what we hear all the time is that they are faceless.

‘I am sure that the relentlessness of the Northern leaders and elders on their calls for dialogue and or amnesty for the Boko Haram insurgents is a deliberate attempt to hoodwink the government of the day to achieve what violence has not been able to achieve’

The other day, a group of masked men came out to address a press conference but they are still classified as unknown people. Some of them also came out to hold meetings with the Monsignor Hassan Kukah-led panel at the Government House in Maiduguri, yet they are still passed on as faceless. This is why I say that the whole episode bears some tinge of insincerity. Assuming that the security agencies do not know those behind this wanton destruction of lives and property, what about those at the receiving end? I mean the elders and leaders of the affected areas. Is there anything wrong if these people could be patriotic enough to provide useful information that could assist the security agencies to unmask these evil people in their midst? As for the security agencies, their big bosses in air-conditioned offices in Abuja and elsewhere may be complacent because it is ‘the boys’ who are facing the heat at the trouble-zone. Who knows what is actually happening to the allowances meant for the boys? We all know what happened to the stipends of the boys who went for peacekeeping in some West African countries in the recent past. They were shortchanged. And when they ventured to show their resentment through protest, they were summarily carted to jail. What I am saying here is that I don’t want to believe the story that the security agencies have not been able to unmask the brains behind this Boko Haram insurgency. The President actually admitted sometimes ago that the sect members had infiltrated the security agencies and even his government. Are we to believe that non-Boko Haram security agents or top government officials do not know their colleagues who have sympathy for the satanic sect? Are we saying that the Army cannot unmask those who gave away the movement of troops who

were recently attacked in Kogi State on their way to Mali? A former governor of Borno State who presided over the state when Boko Haram notoriety hit newspaper headlines in 2009 has been carrying on as if he does not have any idea whatsoever about the leaders of this murderous group. Is that former governor still denying the fact that he does not have any idea of who the sponsors of Boko Haram are? What about the lawmaker whose call logs contained calls made to known Boko Haram agents? And what about the man in whose house one of the wanted commanders of the sect was allegedly apprehended? Are we all still claiming that the people are ghosts? Since three years ago, when the activities of the sect peaked to a frightening proportion in Maiduguri and environs, some leaders and elders of Borno State have not changed their tunes. All they have been saying is: dialogue with the people; withdraw the soldiers; and now, amnesty. I am sure that the relentlessness of the Northern leaders and elders on their calls for dialogue and or amnesty for the Boko Haram insurgents is a deliberate attempt to hoodwink the government of the day to achieve what violence has not been able to achieve. Why are they so particular about dialogue and amnesty? Would it be out of place, if they equally encourage these ‘ghosts’ to show up, renounce violence and then ask for amnesty for their members? Boko Haram or whichever name the splinter groups now go about is an offshoot of the Maitasine sect that shook some parts of the north during the second republic. The late Muhammed Marwa, who founded the Maitasine sect at that time, had a stronghold in Maiduguri, precisely at Bulumkutu Quarters. They were later dislodged, only for them to regroup in Kano. It was in Kano that they confronted the government of

Dele Agekameh former President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari in the early 80s. Shagari took the bull by the horns and quickly called in the Army. Within a few days, the soldiers succeeded in neutralising the sect and their leaders. It was a combined military offensive involving the army, navy and air force. I am quite sure that if Mr. President had not listened to those who initially encouraged him to be soft on the sect members three years ago when their nonsense escalated, by now, we would have been spared the orgy of violence that has crippled a substantial section of the country. The leaders and elders of the North will do us some good if they can truly unmask those among them who are the source of oxygen for the insurgents. It is not enough to tell us that it is the duty of the government to bring perpetrators of evil to book. That is true. But no government or security agency can go it alone if those who should know and show the way are not ready to do so. They are guilty of a conspiracy of silence. That is why the talk of amnesty cannot hold water, at least, for now. Period! Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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COMMENTS ‘I just read your column “Kalu can try again”, and the first question I asked aloud was ‘I thought he was addressed as Dr Orji Kalu’ back then? If I remember rightly, you first earn a first degree, followed by a Master’s degree before you are awarded a Doctorate. So, how can a man without a first degree be awarded a Doctorate? This country and her institutions are tired, clownish and completely irresponsible. It boils down to having ordinary men, men without substance as heads of these institutions’

• Clinton

For Olatunji Dare The issue of racism had been put to rest by Obama. America would be surprised to see another black man emerge as their next president. I urge all black Americans to resist any attempt by the whites to discriminate against them. From Hamza Ozi Momoh, Dockyard Apapa Lagos The piece is kinetic. We have experienced Rosa Parks in Clinton. The other day he came to Nigeria, he wept for the people who languish in penury in the midst of wasteful spending of public money by the rulers. Clinton belongs to the bourgeois class but took sides with the poor in Nigeria. Rosa Parks is alive and dwells in our midst. What makes America think that a house built on hypocrisy will not fall someday? Thanks! From Amos Ejimonye, Kaduna Sir, what further evidence do we need to show that Clarence Thomas and his co-travellers in the Republican Party are intensely intolerant of African Americans and Latinos? It is very doubtful if the Republicans will ever surrender to the spirit of tolerance. The consolation, however, is that any political quisling who wants to become great by betraying his own people, will eventually end up a nuisance. In Nigeria, the infamous Association for Better Nigeria and the names of their hated leaders are often mentioned with derision. From Adegoke O. O., Ikhin, Edo State It is an exciting write-up, people must emulate Rosa Parks’ life style. Your pen will never dry in Jesus name. From Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, Abia State

For Segun Gbadegesin God has heard your heart-felt cries and the Messiah will soon come. Anonymous I have always loved to read your column, and this one on institutionalised assault on human dignity calls for celebration of the column. However, your view on the clerics now preaching the gospel of wealth needs a review. Will the clerics preach the gospel of poverty while the state emphasises wealth creation? I think the church has done well over the years to encourage members to be creative, innovative and hard working; this has helped members\church. From Bolarinwa M. K. Ibadan Most Nigerians have lost their humanity. Their behaviours can be likened to that of a pack of hyenas, wild dogs and jackals going after an abandoned carcass. Anonymous All of us, the leaders and the led, must join hands to make life more meaningful. Anonymous My response is on your last paragraph “Who will save us from our home-grown inhumanity? No one except God Almighty. Anonymous I have just read your article on the ‘’THE NATION’’. Well, responding to the last paragraph, which ends with two questions: ‘who will save?’ And ‘who will offer the desperately needed change?’ Sir, without being religious in answering your questions, I strongly believe the one who will save us and also offer us our desperately needed change is Jesus, through Nigerians, because

He is the governor among the nations. Believe me because change is coming sooner than we expected and all hope is not lost. From Caleb, Calabar As a nation we do not have a reading culture. The leaders may not even read your piece. Acculturation/alienation took place easily because we really did not have a culture. No documentation of any, even if they existed. From Omokhomion Ugofure, Ujemen Ekpoma, Esan West LGA, Edo State. Your piece on assault on human dignity indeed raises more questions than answers. By 2014, it would be 100 years that the colonial political blacksmith, Lord Lugard, created Nigeria. But since after that political marriage, the tales of woe have been increasing in tempo. Perhaps you wisely omitted mentioning the Ezu River corpses that our security agents unconvincingly swore are not the corpses of arrested MASSOB members. You can do even better by asking about the whereabouts of those MASSOB suspects...if ever you will get an answer! From Barr Paul Duru, Okwudor, Imo State Re: An institutionalised assault on human dignity. The change we desperately need will come from ‘the people’ at the least expected elections that will produce a leader/leaders that will banish poverty, provide jobs, maintain justice and equity, ban corruption among others. Then, the Institutionalised assault on human dignity will stop. All we need are leaders who will be disciplined, determined for good and focused. From Lanre Oseni The piece is interesting. Who will offer the change that we desperately need? Let us reframe to suit a class society: Who will offer the change the oppressed desperately need? The oppressed because the oppressors are comfortable with the social system. Thanks! From Amos Ejimonye, Kaduna To say Nigeria is on the brink of collapse is an understatement in view of the leadership style of the ruling party-PDP. In the last 14 years, the party has refused to live up to its responsibilities which has resulted in our home-grown inhumanity and devastating assault on human dignity. Therefore, the only alternative to survive as Nigerians is in the strength of prayers for APC to win the 2015 general elections. From Deacon J. O. Olabisi, Agege, Lagos An institutionalised assault on human dignity is the level of our tolerance for absurdities. As to who will save us, we are the ones to save ourselves, through the kind of parliament we choose. Given that a president is poor, a progressive parliament would push him beyond limit. But, what kind of parliament do we have - an anything goes type of national assembly. Alhaji ADEYCorsim, Oshodi, Lagos We see and hear terrible things in our society yet we remain silent. It is high time we started protesting, not only on fuel price, but also evil acts pervading the nation. God bless you sir. From Mike

For Gbenga Omotoso The President’s delay approach to Borno and Yobe states visit is logical and strategic because Boko Haram is a protest strike force against Mr. President by key Northerners just as the unfortunate death of Governor Yakowa ended Boko Haram protest operations in Kaduna State. From J. A. Solomon, Kaduna Dr. Doyin Okupe would have done the PDP and the presidency a great honour by keeping quiet over the matter of APC governors’s visit to Borno State. From Okunlola Kayode Since everyone was indoors, who did the president visit? Is it the state executive or the Council of Emirs? Those people affected by the insurgence of the Boko Haram were

indoors. From Benard “Who will stop the gunman?” Sir, the joke is illogical, the army having burnt everything in the forest left nothing for the police to recover. But, on a serious note, how have we become so heartless? Are we really now destined for extinction? From Emma Mbah, Ore Ondo State Everyday, strange things happen in this country; happenings which are untraceable. A commissioner of police was shot in his home town and the killers disappeared. Let us wait and see if the IG will find his boy’s killers. If there is political undertone in his killing, I doubt if he would find the killers because there are pending political killings that have not been traced. Who else cannot be killed if the commissioner of police could be killed? On the presidential trip to Borno, why has it taken him so long to visit the state? His aide said his plan was stolen, what plan had he? Okupe said Kano needed more attention that was why he visited Kano first, what a presidential jokes. How many policemen followed him to Kano and Kaduna states? Visiting Borno and Yobe states alone, 3,000 policemen were deployed and he said Borno State does not need too much attention. Does he want the state to become Somalia before he acts? Nigerians are tired of the president who cannot act, who cannot take decisions on his own. Let him know that whatever he does now will either speak in his favour or against him. From Hamza Ozi Momoh, Dockyard Apapa, Lagos. Thanks, Gbenga, I think with write-ups like this, President Jonathan and sycophants like Okupe will soon realise that power is gradually changing hands. From Austen The relevance of office is doing something to show your relevance. Anonymous Watching that man called Okupe abusing others on behalf of his boss makes me sad that there are very few intelligent people around Aso Rock. Shame! Anonymous Re: Who will stop the gunman? I read your article several times. If the police can do their work well, the riddle of unsolved killings and assassinations will be resolved. But if they continue to work as they are currently doing, we may never know who killed Bola Ige, let alone others who were killed like him and are still being killed. We may never know. From Iniobong Umana In your next analysis, do not forget to mention the involvement of Femi Otedola in the Farouq Lawan saga because it takes two to tango in a bribery scandal; there is always a giver and a taker. Anonymous Johnathan went to Borno, Yobe. It is a funny thing for our dear president to travel to two states with a whole battalion of soldiers and one million policemen to provide security for him where ordinary citizens are being killed daily. Congratulations my dear Dr. Okupe Doyin. History will not forget you. My dear amiable President, you made history. All the citizens that voted for our President were indoors for security reasons! Thanks. (Yoruba Ronu). THINK NIGERIA. Politicians always think of next election while statesmen think of the next generation. Anonymous True talk, but can we call that one a visitation or he went to create another panic? From Decorum, Ilesa Re: Who will stop the gunman? The insecurity situation in Nigeria is magnifying and multiplying daily and this makes us all to be living in borrowed robes! Whatever God had decreed would come to pass. Asadu was destined to die, that way. But when and how long would we be defenceless? May Asadu’s gentle soul rest, Amen! Quite unfortunate! From Lanre Oseni It is disheartening that President Goodluck

• Orji Kalu Jonathan of all people is gradually metamorphosing to a dictator. We can read the handwriting of dictatorship if the EFCC or the ICPC goes after governors Rotimi Amaechi and Babangida Aliyu. If that happens, everyone would be convinced that he is not a democrat, and the Messiah Nigeria needs. Anonymous

For Tunji Adegboyega Re: “Kalu can try again”: whatever we say about the process of quashing Orji Kalu’s ABSU certificate; it was a good lesson that a 20-year-old good not acquired properly could be found! There is no shame in decency; let Kalu repeat the classes, apologise to Papa Igbinedion. From Maiduguri to Abia is not a long distance, not to talk of now that he can do it within Aba in four years! When Kalu contested for governorship, would he have been happy if the mandate and success was stolen or made to have a ‘K-leg’ like this cancelled certificate? I commend ABSU Council for its courage. From Lanre Oseni. Why is it now that the process used for admitting Kalu into ABSU is faulty? Since 2002? Are they telling us that his degree certificate is a scam or what? Let’s not believe that the action was politically motivated to spoil the reputation of Orji Uzor Kalu in Nigeria’s politics rather than the school authority doing what is right to him. I am not holding brief for Kalu but things have to be done well in a way that history can vindicate us. The blame goes to ABSU for its negligence in the admission process. From Gordon Chika Nnorom. I just read your column “Kalu can try again”, and the first question I asked aloud was ‘I thought he was addressed as Dr Orji Kalu’ back then? If I remember rightly, you first earn a first degree, followed by a Master’s degree before you are awarded a Doctorate. So, how can a man without a first degree be awarded a Doctorate? This country and her institutions are tired, clownish and completely irresponsible. It boils down to having ordinary men, men without substance as heads of these institutions. Dr Orji Kalu, Dr Mrs Patience Jonathan …. Parading themselves as governor and permanent secretary… Nigeria is bleeding because the wrong people lead us. It is well. From John Adoke Onimisi, Ibadan. Let me not believe that the withdrawal of the degree of Orji Uzor Kalu was not a politically motivated agenda to spoil his reputation in the eyes of others. From Chika Gordon. In the larger picture, Kalu stands side-byside with … And, pictures, they say, do not lie. What confronts us is the sad reflection of a people who relegate character in the choice of their leaders. From Kuteyi R.R.,Ondo. When Gowon was sacked as head of state, he returned to school and today, he is better known as Dr Gowon than Gen Gowon. Anonymous. The piece is thought-provoking. They say Kalu’s enemies are behind the withdrawal of his degree. Are we to believe that the university is in the throes of ‘dilettantism’? No. The problem is the social system which edifies self-interest. From Amos Ejimonye, Kaduna.

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OP Russian football portal championat.com has shortlisted Nigeria international Ahmed Musa for the best player in the Russian Premier League for the 20th round of matches. To win the award, the CSKA Moscow striker will compete with Ari, Salvatore Bocchetti and Yura Movsisyan from Spartak Moscow,

Balazs Dzsudzsak and Alexander Kokorin of Dynamo Moscow, Roman Eremenko and Sergey Ryzhikov of Rubin Kazan, Araz Ozbiliz of Kuban, Stipe Pletikosa of FC Rostov and teammate Vagner Love. Readers of championat.com will choose Russia's Player of the Week for the last round of games. Points

will be awarded to the best two players nominated by readers in the overall voting. Musa, 20, netted his ninth goal of the season in CSKA Moscow's 2-0 win over Krylya Sovetov last weekend. By the way, that strike is one of five goals nominated for Goal of the Week in the championship.

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

Life

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Text only: 08023058761

•Prof Soyinka

Lamentations of Kongi • LBHF faces sponsorship challenge – SEE STORY ON PAGE 28 •SAVED ON MAC 62 & Mac 27 - LIFE Feb 13 FOLDER

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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Twelve days to its opening, the Lagos Black Heritage Festival (LBHF) is still battling sponsorship challenges. The festival’s co-ordinator, Prof Wole Soyinka, and organisers are disturbed by poor responses from corporate bodies approached for sponsorship, reports Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME.

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HE Lagos Black Heritage Festival (LBHF) Consultant, Prof Wole Soyinka is disturbed by the seeming lack of sponsors for the yearly event. He said the festival organisers are not getting

sponsorship from corporate bodies despite efforts at wooing many of them. Soyinka said apart from the Lagos State government (initiator of the festival), only Diamond Bank Plc, which he described as the ‘festival’s best friend’ has adopted one of the events (Vision of the CHILD painting competition) for sponsorship. The Nobel laureate called on corporate bodies and individuals, especially those residing and doing business in Lagos to come to the festival’s aid. “If they can give us just a fraction of what they gave the Super Eagles after the African Nations Cup victory in South Africa in February, we will be glad. We need the sponsors this year, especially when we are bringing the Brazilians to Lagos,” he said. According to him, the festival is designed to track the colonial experiences and mutual interactions between Nigeria and the Mediterranean. Next year’s edition, he said, would focus on Spain. “It is also to expose African culture through the Mediterranean to Europe,” he said. Last December, Soyinka noted that the delay in inaugurating the mentoring programme of the festival was as a result of lack of sponsors. He observed that most corporate bodies are never interested in sponsoring festival but only on items that will promote their goods and services. “Many people are nibbling at certain events in the festival, but the problem with corporate bodies is that they don’t fund festival; they look at the items which can promote their own stuff. And if somebody else has grabbed it, then the response you get is ‘it is okay, too late and too bad.’ Some items are more the favourites than others,” he said. He, however, assured that the absence of private sponsors would not kill the dream of the festival. Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism and Inter-Governmental Relations, Mr Disun Holloway, who also spoke at the briefing, said despite the low responses, the festival organisers would continue to seek sponsorship of the festival from corporate bodies in Lagos. “We are aware there are several carnivals in the country, but we will continue to seek sponsors from corporate bodies in Lagos State. The October event is an extension of the Easter festival. Cultural event such as this festival has its usefulness to the society both in terms of economic and social values,” Holloway said. This year’s Lagos Black Heritage Festival, which will feature over 300 artistes in drama, dance, painting, music, symposium, boat regatta, beauty pageant and carnival, has as theme, Bring Back Brazil. It is homage to the late Afro-Brazilian playwright, painter and Senator Abdias do Nascimento, who died two years ago. His widow, Elisa Larkin do Nascimento will flag off this year’s lecture series with a lecture on Abdias’ life, art and struggle. The festival, which is a two-part celebration, will hold

•L-R: Holloway, Prof. Soyinka, Jawando and Dosumu

Lamentations of Kongi FESTIVAL at the Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos, Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Onikan Stadium, Lagos and Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos from March 25 till April 1. The second part will run from October 1 to 10. Water Regatta event Chairman, Segun Jawando, said this year’s edition would attract new events and would be larger in content. He said there is search and rescue team that would be on ground to ensure safety of participants in other water sports. “We will continue the swimming events, hold trials before the main event. Already, there are about 200 participants out of which 50 will

Nigerian women tasked to be agents of peace N

IGERIAN women have been urged to be agents of peace both in the running of the affairs of their home and issues that affect the society. The charge was given at an event put together by Women of Essence in commemoration of International Women Day in Lagos. The event was attended by various women leaders including the former President of the National Council for Women Societies, (NCWS) Mrs. Hilda Adefarasin, Justice Ifeyinwa Nzeako, Pastor Debola Atoyebi, Pastor Ruth Essien among others. Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs Adejoke OrelopeAdefulire said the government is very passionate about issues that affect the well being of women in the state. The deputy governor, who was represented by Assistant Director in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Ronke Oshikoya, said the state has prosecuted several cases of domestic violence against women. She charged them to stand up for what is right, and report any cases of violence against women to the authority, as there is a state law for the prosecution of such offenders. “Our world today is in dire need of peace and stability and every effort must be geared towards this end. I must, therefore, praise the organisers for such an insightful theme which shows we are in touch with the mood of the time.

By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

She explained that women have immense power to broker peace in turbulent times and season. “In Nigeria, we want peace and that quest for peace should be started in our homes, spread across our communities and societies, reflected in our states so it can infect the nation. The event convener, Mrs Omokorede Fasoro while launching the Women of Essence Foundation, said the objective of helping women discover who they truly are by helping them unleash their hidden potentials and by empowering them with the right resources that will transform them into who God has ordained them to be. She stressed the need for the woman to be celebrated, saying that when people fail to understand the true purpose of the woman, they see them as mere object and commodity that has no place of relevance in the home and society. Pastor Atoyebi said the power to attract change lies in the hand of women, urging them on virtues that would help bring change in the society. Mrs Ronke Oshikoya said the event was put together to inspire and celebrate the achievement of women in the state. She said the programme provide the unique opportunity to harmonise different ideas in different aspects of life which promote peace.

feature at the finals. Also, there will be traditional boat regatta featuring 30 communities,” he said. The Chairman of the beauty pageant event, Mr. Tunde Fashina, said the event is an essential part of the carnival and that nomination for this year’s edition is limited to the Fanti group with 26 participants. He noted that 10 of the participants have been chosen for the finals and are undergoing training that will last till few days to the final holding at Eko Hotels and Suites on Victoria Island, Lagos on March 30 by 7pm. Also at the briefing were the festival Ambassador, Erelu Dosumu and Badagry Local Government Area chairman, Mr Moses Dosu.

BRIEF

Artmosphere in Ibadan hosts prominent writers

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RTMOSPHERE, a platform for the promotion of creative expressions in literature, music and the arts in Nigeria organised by Write House Collective, a creative enterprise, culture and arts firm with the support of Ibridge Hub, a collaborative space for people with great ideas to meet, learn and work and a growing league of literary and culture enthusiasts across Southwest Nigeria will hold on Saturday, March 16, at NuStreams Conference and Culture Centre, KM110 Abeokuta road, off Alalubosa G.R.A, Ibadan, by 3pm to 6pm. Conversations will play host a crème of writers, Victor Ehikamenor, visual artist, creative communicator and author of Excuse Me, Emmanuel Iduma, literary and technology radical and author of Farad, Emmanuel Uweru Okoh, author of celebrated debut poetry collection, Gardens and Caves, and Kayode Taiwo Olla, author of debut novel, Sprouting Again. What does fiction,fictiveness and literature hope to achieve the social, political and cultural landscape of a nation? This will be the crux of our discourse in this edition. There will also be Poetry, Spoken Word and Music presentations from a long list of emerging voices.

BOOK •A new book, Democracy and Prebendalism in Nigeria, edited by Wale Adebanwi and Ebenezer Obadare has been published by the Palgrave Macmillan.

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Visual focus on Niger Delta

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EXT to the old Benin Empire and, the present-day Benin Kingdom which the world has been aware of for more than five centuries, the old and genuine Niger Delta is the second best known (for centuries as well) territory of what has now become the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Benin Kingdom became worldfamous for its great art of bronze casting as well as ivory and wood carvings. The ‘geographic’ Niger Delta was prominent for its Atlantic commerce; the infamous Slave Trade, then the Palm Oil Trade and, now for its highquality crude oil and natural gas. The Niger Delta is also now being recognised and respected for its arts, traditional and contemporary culture. Its spectacular water masquerades like the Odum from Okrika and Ogwein from Ogu have become worldfamous for their breathtaking aquatic displays. It has produced internationally-acclaimed poets, writers, dramatists, popular and classical musicians in Gabriel Okara, Elechi Amadi, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Rex Lawson and Adam Fiberesima; and in the plastic arts, sculptor Sokari Douglas-Camp among others. Recent research by Anderson, Aronson and Alagoa have pointed to the fact that the Niger Delta; Bonny to be specific, might well be the birthplace of indigenous photography in Nigeria. Jonathan Adagogo Green of Bonny has been identified as the pioneer Nigerian photographer. There was, naturally, the ripple effect of other trained photographers, as from the turn of the 20th century, emerging from Bonny and moving to other parts of the Niger Delta and the Ibo hinterland to establish the profession of photography; in tandem with the spread from Calabar into Ibibio land and beyond. As from the seventies, eighties and nineties the photographers from the core/geographical Niger Delta working professionally in Lagos were myself Don Barber and James Agori and they became foundation members of the Photographers’Association of Nigeria-PAN. Since then a wider/political Niger Delta has been created which roughly corresponds to a quirky Nigerian-invented geographic zone called the South-South. Many of the outstanding Nigerian photographers who come from this political Niger Delta now include George Esiri, George Osodi and a younger generation of creative professionals that include the female Bonny-bred Eremina Jumbo. But currently the exhibiting photographers in Circus Of Encounter belong to a new group called f/stop which is a collective of photographers based in the Niger Delta; “creating images to promote the Niger Delta,” as they claim! They are Perez Tigida. Ebiwari Okiy, Israel Ophori, Tuoyo Omagba and Timipre Willis Amah. They are technically from the ‘new ‘Niger Delta per se. Their laudable mission is, “to nurture and promote” their talents as artists working in the Niger Delta; while their primary motivation is, “to exhibit photographic works by way of advocating the diverse cultures, life style and scenery within the Niger Delta.” Their vision, they claim, is “to promote, inspire, innovate, exhibit and collaborate with any organisation, group and individual that is interested in advocating of the Niger Delta.” These photographers and f/stop have come a long way to recognise past efforts and, to now acknowledge the need to continue the much-important visual artistic advocacy to vigorously counter the erroneous and ‘ímposed’ image of the Niger Delta as (its great oil and gas wealth apart) solely a place of violence, kidnapping and murder and, the wrong political perception that the people of the Niger Delta are all violence-mongering militants only concerned about economically upsetting the Niger Delta; the golden goose of Nigeria’s economy! In 2006, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the creation of Bayelsa State, Emeritus Prof. E. J. Alagoa’s Onyoma Research with my humble self collaborated with Dr. G. Igali (Secretary to the State Government) and Governor Goodluck E. Jonathan of Bayelsa State to organise and mount a multi-genre (including photography) Art exhibition Bayelsa @10 in Yenagoa and Abuja. The main thrust of the exhibition was to promote the fact that Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta abound with beauty and a vibrant and rich culture. A new strategy in employing the arts as a political tool to establish a new image for the Niger Delta and to reposition the area as a major creative hub of contemporary arts in Nigeria was thus established. It was a huge success! The Yenagoa exhibition in 2006 was opened by Governor Jonathan. The Abuja exhibition in 2007 was opened by then Science and Technology Minister Professor Turner Isoun and closed by the American Ambassador Mr Campbell. The Bayelsa State Government acquired the art works which were then distributed and mounted in the Governor’s, Deputy-Governor’s, SSG’s offices in

•One of the photographs on exhibition By Tam Fiofori

VISUAL ART Yenagoa as well as the Bayelsa State Liaison’s Office and Vice-President’s Office in Abuja. The presence of these artworks in such important spaces of state and national political office holders continues to make a statement about the Niger Delta’s immense contribution to artistic and cultural development in Nigeria. The birth of f/stop, their first group exhibition CIRCUS OF ENCOUNTER and, their aims and objectives are therefore very welcome. They confirm that a younger generation of very talented and progressive photographers from the Niger Delta have seized the initiative to explore the visual opportunities available in their environment and, are also magnanimous enough to share their visual narratives with the rest of the world. These are very enriching visual narratives bristling with captivating images both symbolic and historic. The mood, colours and environmental textures of the Niger Delta are also conceptually and creatively captured. Ebiwari Okiy is an established photographer. He is also a pioneer digital-studio photographer in Benin City whose body of art and documentary photographs have been exhibited in DakArt Senegal, group exhibitions as well as his own prominent and groundbreaking solo exhibitions-A Day in Time: The People, The Comrade [with an accompanying book] and Colture In Motion in Benin City. A Day in Time is part of one-half of Okiy’s visual study of traditional and modern political institutions in Nigeria; particularly in Benin City. It is an exhilarating documentation of the “wild jubilations and madness of the huge crowds on the streets of Benin City on November 11, 2008 when a court verdict declared Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the new Governor of Edo State. Okiy’s portrait of Oba Erediauwa of the Benin Kingdom in this exhibition; showing the Oba in his splendid all-red royal regalia is part of his extensive work on the Oba in court and during important annual traditional cultural festivals like the Igue Festival. It is very instructive to note that the Obas of Benin have become the most consistently photographed royalty and celebrity in the history of indigenous photography in Nigeria. Back in 1897 Jonathan Adagogo Green photographed Oba Ovonramwen in Bonny on his way to exile in Calabar. These photographs were published in prestigious European newspapers and magazines like The London Illustrated. Ovonramwen’s grandson Oba Akenzua I1 was as from his coronation in 1932 extensively photographed by Alonge (the court photographer) including Queen Elizabeth 11’s visit in the 1950s to Benin City to meet Oba Akenzua. I (A Benin Coronation: Oba Erediauwa) and many others photographed the coronation ceremonies of Akenzua’s son Oba Erediauwa in 1979 and, since then the photographic pilgrimage has continued by streams of Nigerian photographers who

‘It is very instructive to note that the Obas of Benin have become the most consistently photographed royalty and celebrity in the history of indigenous photography in Nigeria. Back in 1897 Jonathan Adagogo Green photographed Oba Ovonramwen in Bonny on his way to exile in Calabar. These photographs were published in prestigious European newspapers and magazines like The London Illustrated’

yearly go to Benin City to photograph the Oba and his activities. Okiy’s second solo Colture In Motion, “a visual probe that brought into prominence the close relationship and interdependence between colours and culture in Nigeria,” also featured photographs of Oba Erediauwa. Participants in this exhibition, Israel Ophori and Tuoyo Omagba have also done photographic studies on Oba Erediauwa’s cultural activities. Timipre Willis Amah has exhibited at DakArt in Senegal and ARESUVA at Abuja Nigeria. He has also been a pioneer in championing the need for photography exhibitions in Bayelsa. His most outstanding body of work; the subject of his first solo exhibition in Yenagoa is the documentation of waterscapes/landscapes in Bayelsa. In my review of the exhibition Beautiful Bayelsa In Colour ‘I made observations that are still very valid. “Timipre Amah is an astonishing artist photographer who has shown admirable signs of his mastery of the interplay of light, space and form, in creating colour waterscapes. Amah’s body of waterscapes/landscapes confirm the sensitivity and confident touch required to translate how natural light, at sunrise and sunset, illuminate the inherent colours, hues and resultant contrasts that give specific locations spectacular visual vibrancy.” Works from this body of work are in this exhibition. Recently, Amah undertook an extensive study of the ravages of the floods that affected many parts of Nigeria, including Bayelsa and the Niger Delta. These intimate photographs of people and places in distress encapsulate his prowess as a sensitive photojournalist with an eye for factual and heart rendering situations within an environmental disaster. Perez tigida is a Port Harcourt-based photographer whose work in this exhibition explores the conceptual symbolisms associated with certain riverine myths or superstitions. According to him, “people in a city like Port Harcourt believe that very pretty girls and women are mami-waters.” The concept of mami-waters or mermaids is a deep-rooted long-held belief in the Niger Delta and riverine communities in southern Nigeria. Israel ophori is a veteran of many group shoots with fellow photographers of his generation. Some of these shoots include the Calabar and Abuja carnivals, the Benin City Igue Festival, the Voodo Festival in the Republic of Benin as well as his own documentary photography. Based in Ughelli, Ophori’s works in this exhibition are from his Carnival/Festival studies. Tuoyo omagba is a photographer based in the SapeleWarri axis of the Niger Delta. He is quite conversant with daily riverine activities and their human angle implications as well as the myths that surround them. His photograph of school children in uniform; backpack and all, collectively paddling their canoe on their way to school speaks volumes on their confident familiarity with their environment yet raises questions of their safety. Overcoming natural odds is a daily way of life in the Niger Delta! The good, the bad, the odd, the beautiful, the reflective, the challenging and even the disturbing are the images in this exhibition that present the viewer with options of interpretations to unravel the essence of the mysterious space known as the Niger Delta of Nigeria and the world! f/stop we hope will continue to show us the ‘limitless’ faces of one of the world’s most intriguing deltas. In many ways indigenous photography in Nigeria; particularly in the Niger Delta will soon come full circle when my suggestion to Vice Chancellor Professor Ajienka; to establish a Jonathan Adagogo School of Photography at the University of Port Harcourt yields fruit! •Tam Fiofori is a Lagos-base photo jonurnlist

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‘I still find it difficult to use my new hand’ Between 2008 and 2013, the right hand of Peter Kola-Ibitowa, a journalist, was paralysed in an accident. Last year, he got help to travel abroad for treatment.He relives his experience to JOKE KUJENYA.

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E went out on a sunny day in March 2008 to visit a friend in Ahmadiyya Ojokoro, in Agege on the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway. Unknown to him, it was a vist Peter KolaIbitowa aka Pet-K would forever remember. He was injured in an accident on his was back to home. Few minutes after bidding his friend bye Pet-K was trapped between a long-haul trailer and the road median on the Lagos Abeokuta Expressway. The brake of the vehicle had failed, and the driver in a bid to control the vehicle, hit the concrete median. For the next two hours, Pet-K was in pains under the weight of the trailer and the split brick median. Unfortunately, his shout for help was doused by the stream of vehicles which blared their horns oblivious of what was going on. The concerted efforts of kind-hearted Nigerians saved him from being crushed to death. He recalled that sympathisers hired a monkey jack truck with which they eventually pulled him out from under the vehicle. By that time, his right hand was gone. “I had lost so much blood to the point that many hospitals refused to admit me for further care,”Pet-K said. In the next four years, Pet-Kola went from mild to excruciating pains to outright deadness of the affected hand. He went from one hospital to another seeking medical help to get his hand restored. “But the surgery in Nigeria keeps failing,” he told The Nation. This created a hollow in the fractured point of my shoulder in the area called humerus. This prevented my arm from getting properly healed. So, by the time it got to this stage, I forgot about getting my hand restored. The reason is that I no longer had money either to eat, feed my family or in the least, continue seeking medical attention. Then a colleague, who is a close friend of mine, kept pestering me that I should not leave my hand like that. I believe he must have gone ahead to present the situation to State of Osun Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, probably during one of the times he went to see him. But as he told me, he said the governor kept telling him that he, Ogbeni, felt that the hand had been healed. My colleague said that was when he told the governor that the hand was rather getting bad. “At that point, he said the governor asked him what the cost would be and where I could possibly be properly treated. And because I had earlier told my friend how I had contacted one Forerunner Healthcare Consultants P, Nagpur in Central India; he told Ogbeni Rauf that he could remember I once told him that the overall treatment would cost about N3million. He said he informed the governor that it was in India that I would get corrective surgery. So, promptly, the governor gave approval for the money to be released almost immediately. And that was how I embarked on the journey for my operation. “With everything in place, I then left Nigeria on December 14,, 2012 for the hospital in Central India. And for that, I am eternally grateful to Governor Rauf Aregbesola. “I got to India on December 15 about 8.00pm. I waited for the first two days, that is, 16 to 17 to finalise all appointments. Then on the third day, December 18, my appointment sailed through and I went to the hospital where a group of medical bone surgeons attended to me led by Drs. Laddha, Dheeraj Bojwani, the Chief Executive Officer and Dr. Choubey. “In fact, all of them as a team operated on me. Along the line, I also had a female physiotherapist, Dr. Neha Kamble, who massaged me. She was told to apply physiotherapy on me consistently to straighten my hand ahead of the surgery. She was also the one who took me on tutorials about the use of the new hand that would be given to me. So, they commenced their investigations, carried out tests and then arrived at the conclusion that due to the stage my hand was, the best option was to amputate it. They also said they could cut half of the hand and make the other half, an artificial limb. “But they gave me four days to go and think and decide about it. Yet, I felt so devastated at the same time. I then began to make consultations with my family, friends and associates and with many of those who had stayed with me when the ordeal was intense. My family and many of those I consulted urged me to go for amputation as they consider that the best option. On the fourth day, I met with the doctors and told them my choice. Swiftly, I was taken in for the sugry that eventu-

•Pet-K with the new hand

INTERVIEW ally lasted three hours. “After the initial preparations, they sedated me. That was all I could remember. By the time I regained consciousness after three hours; the ’dead’ arm had been severed from my body. And when I got fully awakened, I realised that I felt no pains but rather, I felt odd due to the fact that I now had a hand that was non-functional in anyway. It was as if the doctors were reading my thoughts when they started explaining to me that there was something called “phatom sensation”. Its job, as the doctors explained, was that anytime the artificial arm has contact with a particular vein in my shoulders; I would feel some phatom sensation. They said that was why I was still feeling odd as if the old hand was still on me. They then said that it would take about six months before I would finally overcome that feeling. “A week after, they invited representatives of the artificial arm builders from Otthobock Healthcare, Germany, who came to measure the length of my arm. It took them another 15 days for the artificial arm called prothesis to be imported from Germany to India. Shortly after, they began to assemble the hand under the supervision of the Indian doctors. That took them three days. And when the doctors felt satisfied, I was then invited back to the hospital... “Fixing of the prothesis was done on Friday, January4, 2013 at the Arjun Bojwani Hospital Lodge. It was the hospital hotel where they made me stay. I was fully awake during the fixing of the artificial arm. I sat on a chair as the elastic straps were positioned to ‘sit’ on my shoulder and connected to the ‘sensor’. They said once this touched the artificial arm, it would be activated and functional. “Later, I was taken through another two to three hours’ set of weekly tutorials on the use of the hand. On the

‘But the most surprising shocker is always from my four year-old son who, anytime I remove the hand to power it would retort: “Daddy, where is your own hand?”. He looks scared when I remove it and he sees that there is no hand. And then, when I wear it in the morning, he will move back. He’s only just beginning to adjust and move closer to me.’

•Pet-K with the old hand.

PHOTOS: RAHMAN SANUSI

long run, everything lasted about five hours because they wanted to make sure that the positioning and adjustments were accurate. “In fact, I became quite relieved that my years of pains were over. However, I am yet to get used to the prothesis and, secondly, because no matter how, it can never feel like the real hand. Even the doctors admitted that the prothesis is only near perfect but only better than if they had tried to repair the old ‘dead’ hand. And despite the fact that it’s been three months after I got it, it still feels strange on my body. Another challenge I now face daily is that operating the artificial arm has been a continuous snag for me. Every night, I must remove it to power its battery for at least four hours if it must last me a whole day. It has a life span of about three to four years. Then, when it is fully charged; I still have the challenge of knowing how to shake people’s hands, write, among others. After the accident happened, I learned how to do everything including writing with my left hand. So, changing to the new seems so weird. That is why I have not been using it as much as I ought to. I just believed that with much practice, I will get use to it. After the fixing, I went to the hospital for about three weeks for the physiotherapy and later returned to Nigeria on Monday, January 29. “Above other challenges is how I am just learning to cope with my family. On getting home, my wife and children, who all along had been eager to see me and what the new hand looks like because I had intimated them about it while in India, now treat me as if I am the baby of the house. “But the most surprising shocker is always from my four year-old son who, anytime I remove the hand to power it would retort: “Daddy, where is your own hand?”. He looks scared when I remove it and he sees that there is no hand. And then, when I wear it in the morning, he will move back. He’s only just beginning to adjust and move closer to me.”

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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BUSINESS THE NATION

E-mail:- bussiness@thenationonlineng.net

Forecasts Niger Insurance Gross Premium - N2.73b Profit after tax - N212.95m Mutual Benefits Gross Premium - N2b Profit - N885.633m Regency Alliance Gross Premium – N812.596m Profit after tax – N256.437m Learn Africa Turnover - N1.06b Profit after tax - N58.336m Total Nigeria Turnover - N46.676 b Profit after tax - N942.1m MRS Oil Nigeria Turnover - N51.20b Profit after tax - N712 m Eterna Turnover - N27.64b Profit after tax - N563.834m Okomu Oil Palm Turnover - N2.667b Profit after tax - N1.044b Stanbic/IBTC Bank Net operating income N16.805b Profit after tax - N2.737b ASL Turnover - N1.084b Profit after tax - N101.355m GT Assurance Gross Premium - N3.892b Profit after tax - N710.62m Cornerstone Insurance Gross Premium - N1.223b Profit after tax - N80.01m Oasis Insurance Gross Premium N562.500m Profit after tax - N79.868m African Alliance INS Gross Premium - N1.215b Profit after tax - N107.213m Berger Paints Turnover - N976.303m Profit after tax - N88.258m SCOA Nigeria Turnover - N835.0m Profit after tax - N18.200m Dangote Sugar Refinery Turnover - N38.251b Profit after tax - N3.49b Studio Press Nig. Turnover - N3.375b Profit after tax - N20.422m Julius Berger Nig. Turnover - N80.125b Profit after tax - N2.55b Intercontinental Wapic Ins Gross Premium - N1.41b Profit after tax - N250.450m Equity Assurance Gross Premium - N2.45b Profit after tax - N287.283m Standard Alliance Insurance Gross Premium - N2.142b Profit after tax - N475.964m Continental Reinsurance Gross Premium - N6.917b Profit after tax - N805m PRESCO Turnover - N2.60b Profit after tax - N800.9m RT Briscoe Turnover - N4.553b

NLNG is one of the biggest success stories in our country. From what I am told, the company has invested $13 billion so far since inception, and has become a pacesetter in terms of revenue generation for the government. -Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga

Weak transmission, gas may hinder D power supply ESPITE the improvement achieved in power generation, there is concern that if the Federal Government does not do something urgently to strengthen the transmission network, the aspiration to attain significant improvement in power may be a mirage. Vice President Namadi Sambo had directed the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) to ensure that contractors handling projects in the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), which would add at least 4100 megawatts (MW), to complete them by end of the year. With generation from the assets of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and independent power producers (IPPs), generation may hover around 10,000MW but

By Emeka Ugwuanyi

there are fears that the transmission network will not be able to wheel between 4,500MW and 5,000MW. The distribution segment of the power value chain might not be a difficult area following the progress made so far on the government’s privatisation of the successor companies of the PHCN. FBN Capital in email, said the Presidential Task Force on Power (PTFP), noted that Nigeria’s power generation reached a peak of 4,517MW in December, last year (up from around 3,500MW in 2011). The PTFP set a target of 7,175MW for end-2013 three months ago. The goal is ambitious, but assuming it is achieved, transmission presents an inconvenient bottleneck in the near to medium-term.

Gas supply has been an obstacle to operation of some of the thermal plants including those of NIPPs and PHCN but the FBN Capital said the improvement in power supply last year was driven by steady improvements in gas supplies and the completion of some gas supply projects such as the Escravos Lagos Pipeline, ELPOlorunsogo permanent gas pipeline. It said the boost to gas supplies led to the coming on stream of some power plants under the NIPP, which were previously gas constrained, adding that NIPP projects accounted for the bulk of the increase in power generation recorded last year. FBN Capital noted: “The NIPP plants are important as far the government’s target for 2013 is concerned. In fact, it is not until 2014 and 2015

that we see Independent Power Plants’ (IPP) contribution becoming meaningful.” However, regardless of the additional improvements that may be recorded in fuelto-power and generation over the next 12-24 months, transmission remains the weak link in the chain. Presently, the transmission grid is capable of evacuating just over 5,000MW, the research firm said. Canada’s Manitoba Hydro has been awarded the contract to manage and optimise the transmission infrastructure. However, significant funding is still required to boost the grid’s evacuation capacity, which ranges be-

tween $3 billion and $4 billion per year, it said. “At the end of the spectrum, distribution companies (discos) also have some infrastructure issues to contend with. However, the more experienced companies among those that were successful in bidding for PHCN assets can already see some low hanging fruits on loss reduction and collection. “Despite obvious challenges ahead, we believe that the realisation that the impact of the power reform programme on Nigeria’s economy has the potential to be far-reaching, even more than that of the telecoms sector, will keep the reform agenda alive,” FBN Capital added.

•From left:Grand Prize Winner, Sterling Bank Savers’ Promo, Homa Amadi-Nna; Chief Finance Officer, Sterling Bank Plc, Mr Abubakar Suleiman; Regional Business Executive, Sterling Bank, Southsouth 2, Mr Emmanuel Ekpenisi and Regional Service Coordinator, Mrs. Mena Sidahome, at at the inauguration of Sterling Bank’s Retail Branch at Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island in Lagos.

AMCON acquires second biggest equity in FTN Cocoa Processors

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SSET Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has

emerged the second largest shareholder of FTN Cocoa Processors Plc following indirect acquisition of equity stakes in the agro-allied company. The Nation gathered that the acquisition indicated that the corporation became the second largest shareholder of the company after it acquired provisionally bad loans related to the shares of the company. According to the latest shareholding analysis of the company, AMCON has 13.96 per cent equity stake, the second largest stake after 25 per cent equity stake held by the Managing Director and founder of the company, Mr

MfBs’ licence validation begins

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By Taofik Salako

Abiola Aderonmu. An executive director, Mr Akin Laoye, holds the third largest stake of 7.5 per cent. With the acquisition, AMCON owns about 307.23 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each of FTN Cocoa Processors, which places the bad loans management special purpose vehicle within the few shareholders that control the direction of the company. Some 0.41 per cent of the 5,676 shareholders of FTN Cocoa Processors control 70.53 per cent of the equities of the company. Besides AMCON, other strategic shareholders included Mr Aderonmu, who holds 551.9 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each and Mr Laoye,

who has 165 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each. Altogether, the three main shareholders hold 1.02 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each, about 46.4 per cent of the total outstanding shares of 2.2 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each. AMCON is reported to be the second largest holder of quoted equities after the pension industry but the specific shareholdings and extent of control are not known. The corporation had invested some N3 trillion in the purchase of non-performing loans and recapitalisation of banks. Consequently, AMCON now has assets spread across the country including real estate properties and shares

that were used as collaterals for loans. The corporation also has shares in nearly all banks in the country and several quoted companies. FTN Cocoa Processors, a pioneer-status agro allied company involved in processing of cocoa beans and palm kernel into cocoa cake, liquor, butter, powder, palm kernel oil and palm kernel cake, has struggled with lower sales and declining bottom-line. It posted a loss of N220.2 million in 2011 just as it sales dropped by 30 per cent from N1.2 billion to N836.9 million. This slightly impinged on its shareholders’ funds, which fell from N2.26 billion to N1.94 billion. Meanwhile, the company has started arrangements to

explore the possibility of raising new funds to enhance its capital base. The board of directors of the company has sought and secured shareholders’ approval to raise new funds to meet the business operations of the company, kick-starting the pre-issuance process. According to the approval, directors of the company could raise new funds through equity issue or longterm debts including debenture, bond, rights issue, public offer and any combination of debts or equities. The board has also secured approval to enter into technical and management alliances with any foreign or Nigerian organisation with a view to enhancing its operations.

How to facilitate passage of FSS 2020 bills, by CBN

Govt to concession railway

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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

MONEY

MfBs’ licence validation begins T

HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has begun its routine licence validation and capital verification for the year in microfinance banks (MfBs), The Nation has learnt. This is part of the processes to be completed before the release of the National Microfinance Development Strategy before the end of June. The document is expected to outline modalities for developing the subsector and rules that operators will follow

Stories by Collins Nweze

to achieve improved performance and ensure the sector’s stability. The exercise is in line with the need for more disclosures, transparency and improved corporate governance expected from operators in the subsector. CBN’s yearly report for 2011 indicated that 800 MfBs were examined during the year. An analysis of the examination showed that 774 MfBs met the prescribed capi-

tal adequacy ratio of 10 per cent, with 52 per cent having capital funds in excess of the minimum regulatory capital. Also, 84 per cent of the institutions met the prescribed minimum liquidity ratio of 20 per cent, translating to an average liquidity ratio of 88 per cent for the sub-sector. This reflected the pervasive under-trading and placement of funds with DMBs. The average portfolio-at-risk (PAR) or non-performing loan-to

-total, on the other hand, was 46.0 per cent, reflecting a high level of non-performing loans. A total of 29 MFBs, however, had PAR ratios below the prudential maximum of 2.5 per cent. Each MFB with a regulatory/ supervisory issue of concern was served an appropriate supervisory letter with prescribed timelines for compliance. Holding actions were imposed in 54 cases entail-

RenCap predicts 35% RoI for equities

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• From left: Group Managing Director, Courteville Business Solutions, Mr Bola Akindele and Mayor of Kingston, Jamaica, Angela Browne Burke, during the ‘Courteville Meets the Caribbean Trade Mission’ in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

IFRS: CBN sets 2014 deadline for SMEs’ compliance T

HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has set up a roadmap on International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) stipulating compliance by all Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) by January 31, 2014. The roadmap, The Nation learnt, requires that the entire business community in the country would implement and converge in phases, while the phases are submerged within a general implementation framework. The general plan would therefore ensure that appropriate changes and restructuring are made to processes, systems and the personel in terms of training and capacity building. The IFRS is a globally-accepted set of accounting standards, framework and interpretations, adopted by the International Accounting Standard Board (IASB and its interpretative body, the International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee (IFRIC). The IFRS was issued by the IASB. It was issued to serve as the global accounting language for the purpose of meeting the information needs of global business investors, shareholders and financial services providers. The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) had earlier announced its decision to converge to IFRS in the last quarter of 2010, but the commencement date was later shifted to January 1, 2012 to ensure legal and capacity building in the project. There has been mixed reactions to the IFRS, especially among the organisations in the first phase. The banking and discount houses subsectors had the greatest momentum, while most other corporations

waited on their external auditors to drive implementation and compliance. Risk Expert and Chairman, IFRS Interpretations Committee, at the IASB, Bob Garnett, had explained that harmonising the IFRS and Basel Accords will give Nigerian companies’ financials better credibility. He explained also that the global knowledge and expertise reduces the risks of getting things wrong, adding that the adoption of the model will further enhance transparency and facilitate the restoration of investors’ confidence in the on-going efforts to sanitise and rebuild the financial services sector. He said businesses would, therefore, be required to identify and understand the similarities and differences between the Nigeria General Accepted Accounting Practice (Nigeria GAAP), including changes that would occur within the transition period up to its full adoption and implementation. He explained that for a truly global economy, where companies and accounts issuers interrelate around the globe, to be efficient, it is appropriate to have a common standard in business and financial reporting. IFRS therefore, became the set of high quality, transparent and globally renowned accounting standards and framework that provide for international comparison. At the global level, such standards, he said are regarded as a major component of a good financial system that reduces cost of capital, allowing for transparency and dis-

closure, as well as facilitating increase in capital formation. The world-wide adoption of IFRS is expected to facilitate presentation of financial information in a manner that allows and helps evaluators and users to determine the financial status and liquidity position of a company. According to CBN, the number of countries that have either moved, or are in the process of moving, to IFRS increased to 117 involving more than 12,000 companies at end of December 2011 from 100 at endDecember 2009. At end-December 2012, nearly 20 African countries, including Nigeria, had either adopted, converged to or made a commitment to implement IFRS. It explained that in Nigeria, the bodies responsible for the regulation of accounting information are statutory agencies such as the FRC, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the CBN. The NASB, established in September 1982, under the sponsorship of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), is a government agency statutorily responsible for issuing Statements of Accounting Standards (SAS) in Nigeria on various accounting matters, after taking into account all peculiarities of the business environment, customs, laws and level of development. The banking watchdog explained that convergence to IFRS would promote uniformity in operations and auditing of companies. This is expected to have a significant impact on firms’ financial performance and ultimately on their financial position.

ing the cessation of the grant of fresh loans and further acquisition of fixed assets. Besides, the CBN is considering the establishment of a Microfinance Development Fund (MDF) as a further step to deepen the financial market. The MDF when established would assist in addressing teething challenges of underfunding for the financial sub-sector.

APITAL market investors may get 35 per cent Return on Investment (RoI) within the year, an investment and research firm, Renaissance Capital (RenCap) has said. In an emailed report obtained by The Nation, the firm said Nigerian banks have cheaper valuations than most lenders in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) which face more net interest margin (NIM) pressure from falling rates. It explained that the 35 per cent base-case total return expectation for the Nigerian equity market over the next years, is the culmination of a seven per cent forward price earnings (PE) re-rating, an eight per cent forward dividend yield (DY) and 20 per cent expected earnings growth. It said the Nigerian equity market looks superior to other markets in the sub-Sahara Africa on valuation, profitability and earnings metrics. “Although the Nigerian earnings yield gap (EYG) is still favouring debt over equities at the moment, the recent sharp decline in Nigerian bond yields is becoming increasingly positive for equities. Local support for the Nigerian equity market should also be forthcoming in 2013 from the elimination of Value Added Tax and stamp duties and from Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF),” it said. The research firm said there are both pull and push factors for global capital that make investment in Africa’s financial markets attractive

from a risk-reward perspective. It listed the fundamental reasons for investing in Africa’s equity and debt markets as the continent’s positive structural demographic dividend; rapid urbanisation; improving political stability; commodity wealth; the broadening of its economies beyond commodities; improving regional integration; positive macroeconomic settings and the deepening of its financial markets. The diversification benefits of Africa’s relatively low (and often negative) correlation with developed and emerging markets (EM), the attractive relative valuations of African equities and debt, and the relatively poor implied risk-return opportunities in developed markets (DM) are also additional rationals for investing in Africa’s financial markets. However, it said the lack of liquidity on SSA stock exchanges is a major challenge for investors. In order to overcome the illiquidity issue of investing in Africa directly, many investors look to use South African (SA) or global multi-national companies that have exposure to African economies as investment conduits to gain exposure. But RenCap said this strategy has some drawbacks, arguing that direct Africa equity investment is the superior approach. “The combination of a limited investment pool and rapidly increasing global fund flows into African equity funds provides a strong positive underpin for shareprice performance in Africa’s equity markets, in our view.

WAUTI advocates tax practice harmonisation

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HE West African Union of Tax Institutes (WAUTI) is working on harmonising tax practice in West Africa, its Chairman, Publicity & Publications, Chukwuemeka Eze, has said. In a statement announcing this year’s edition of the yearly international tax conference with the theme: “Role of taxation in good governance and will feature presentations from speakers within and outside the West Africa sub-region,” he reiterated the role of taxation in the economic transformation and growth of the West African sub-region. This year’s conference will hold at the Sheraton Hotel Lagos from March 27 to 28, 2013. Eze said the conference became exigent following the success of the Union’s maiden international tax conference held from February 28 to 29, 2012 in Lagos. He said deliberations at the conference assisted stakeholders and tax practioners in formulating policies and creating more awareness on tax issues within the sub-region. The lead paper of the conference will be delivered by Mr Jiri Nekovar, President of the Confederation Fiscale Europeenne (CFE), a body of tax advisers in Europe. Other speakers at the conference will include the Acting Director of Customs of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr Salifou Tiemtore, and a foremost tax practitioner in Dakar, Senegal, Mr Aziz Dieye of Cabinet Aziz Diey.

The contents of the papers are such that practitioners, academicians, administrators and researchers will find it immensely useful. “WAUTI, which has as its vision the harmonisation of taxation practice in West Africa, considers the conference an avenue to bring together tax professionals from many West African countries including Nigeria,” he said. He added that confirmation has been received from delegates from Ghana, Liberia, Cote d’lvoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Togo, and Benin. He said that participation at the conference is open to tax professionals, accountants, policy makers, academicians, government officials, and members of the public. A course fee of N45,000 ($300) is payable per participant as conference fees. Participants will be entitled to conference materials, tea break and lunch in the course of the conference. He said the conference will be declared open by Desire Ouedraogo, President of the ECOWAS, who will also chair the first paper presentation session. Goodwill addresses will also be delivered by important stakeholders who share in our vision of a region where taxes feature prominently in economic policies and contribute substantially in entrenching good governance. He said this year’s conference will provide a platform for professionals across West Africa to network and share ideas on ways towards improving the tax systems across the jurisdictions for the benefit of all.

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MONEY

How to facilitate passage of FSS 2020 bills, by CBN

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HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) have given the National Assembly tips on how to facilitate the passage of the Financial Services Strategy (FSS) 2020 bills. These Bills include the Nigerian Financial Sector Bill; Nigerian Financial Ombudsman Bill; Alternative Dispute Resolution Bill, among others. FSS, an initiative of the Financial Regulatory Service Committee Commission (FRSCC), was introduced in 2004 to launch Nigeria into the world’s financial services hub. CBN in conjunction with the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), among other regulatory bodies, presented bills to the National Assembly to actualise the dreams of Vision 2020. Speaking during a national television programme entitled: Legal implications of FSS 2020 Initiative: Legal and regulatory issues, Director of Legal Services, CBN, Mr Simon Onekutu, said the apex bank would take with engage rel-

Stories by Akinola Ajibade

evant committees in the National Assembly to quicken the bills passage and further achieve the objectives of FSS 2020. He said: “In the past, we have made efforts to engage the National Assembly in relation to the passage of Bills on FSS 2020. This is the legislative assembly that has the bills, and we have to make them realise the importance of passing the bills. Retreats have been organised on the issue. We would consolidate on that to ensure that the bills are passed soon,” Onekutu said Executive Bills are not driven by the National Assembly as some people are made to believe, adding that such bills can only be driven by their presenters (owners). “What is of interest to us is to make the National Assembly appreciates what these bills are to us. That is the strategy, we believe it is going to work. We are working through the relevant committees on FSS 2020, and we would intensify efforts on that. We cannot go to the Senate President and say that we want the bills to be

passed like that,” he added. Onekutu said the bills are short, simple and straight forward, adding that the expectation is that the National Assembly would speedily pass the bills. Mr Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN) said the CBN must get the National Assembly to fast-track the process of passing bills and help in actualising the goals of Vision 2020. Owonikoko said the bills must go through certain processes in the two houses before they can be passed. He advised the CBN to help in this direction. “The first phase of the bills was terminated in 2012 and nothing concrete has been done. The second phase has just started, yet nothing has been done. If there are proper engagements with the National Assembly, these bills would not have been at this level now,” he added. Owonikoko argues that strong commitment on the part of the banking regulatory body and the National Assembly is required for the bills to be passed, stressing that FSS objectives are far from being realised.

Accounting firms seal partnership deal KRESTON International Global Network of Accounting Firms has entered into a partnership agreement with Peak Professional Service. The United States-based company said the pact would help to strengthen the businesses of the both firms. Speaking during the signing in Lagos, the Chief Executive officer, Kreston International Global Network of Accounting Firms, Mr Jon Lisby, said a mutually benefitted relationship would evolve between the two organisations. He said the development would enable Peak Professional Services to become one of the certified members of Kreston International. According to him, members of Kreston are not only recognised across the world, but also enjoy certain degree of acceptability when its comes to professional accounting practice. He urged practitioners to be professional in the discharge of their duties, stressing that this is the only to encourage growth.

Bank trains eight states IN line with its support for accountability in Nigeria, the World Bank is sensitising stakeholders in eight states namely, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Rivers, Kogi, Ondo, Kaduna and Bauchi on the challenges of implementing Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (SIFMIS) reforms at the state level. In a statement, the bank said the exercise will accelerate the pace of reform projects by exposing them to international best practices and through lessons and experiences of their peers in other Nigerian states that have recently implemented similar solution. “Improving public financial management is a key element of improving Governance in Nigeria, which will ultimately lead to improved services for citizens,” said Ms. Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly. The exercise is targeted at the units within the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) the implementation agencies and all concerned agencies implementing public finance reforms the country.

BoA to support Biotechnology THE Managing Director, Bank of Agriculture (BoA), Mr Muhammadu Satunraki, has said the institution would promote agricultural biotechnology. He said the development would help in increasing food production. The bank, in a statement, quoted Satunraki as saying that biotechnology is a new field that must be supported to foster growth of the country. He said: “Biotechnology is an emerging field in Nigeria and this is an area that has attracted our attention. In fact, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Biotechnology Institute and we are working with them to see how we can promote biotechnology.” He added: “It also depends on how you look at biotechnology because people come to me to say they want to borrow money to grow crops for fuel. That is good but that is not the mandate we are supporting right now.” He said the challenge for Africa now is food, adding that most countries in the West are growing crops for fuel. “But for us in Africa, it should be for food,” he said, adding that Africa would continue to have problems, until it can feed itself sufficiently. According to him, biotechnology is an area that most countries are focusing on to bring about the desired growth, advising Nigeria to key into it.

Customers hail bank From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

• Left to right: Chief Executive Officer, Kreston International Global Network of Accounting Firms, Jon Lisby; Principal Partner, Peak Professional Services (Chartered Accountants), Andrew Uviase and Technical Consultant, Ignatius Adegunle, at the signing of partnership pact in Lagos.

NeFF: Mobile payment guidelines’ll strenghten sector money to customers affected most HE on-going review of the operators in the beginning. He said

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mobile payment guidelines will strengthen electronic financial transactions, the Chairman of Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF), Mr Emmanuel Obaigbona, has said. Speaking with The Nation, Obaigbona said when the review is completed, the e-payment system would be better, stronger and well standardised. He said no date has been given for the completion of the review, which contains many phases. Obaigbona said: “The approval processes prepared for the guidelines are many. The fact that several areas of the guidelines have to be approved makes the completion of the review an open-thing. But we know that everything about the epayment system would come out better when the revised guidelines are out. He said it would be difficult to preempt the committees saddled with reviewing the guidelines, stressing that they know what they are looking for. “Until the review of the guidelines

is completed, it would be difficult to say what and what would be given enough considerations, or the extent it is going to address the pitfalls inherent in the e-payment frameworks provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria,“ he added. He said the committee has gone far on the issue, adding that Neff would present the amended guidelines to the Bankers’ Committee for approval and implementation soon. Operators have faulted the implementation of laws relating to the activities of the 16 mobile payment companies granted approval in 2011. A Business Development Manager, Fortis Mobile Money, Mr Kunle Ogunmola, said infrastructure was a major problem inhibiting the operations of mobile money firms. Ogunmola said the cost of operations of mobile payment firm is high relative to the prevailing economic situation. He said the issue of transaction processes vis-à-vis the time of payment

many are ignorant of the activities of the mobile money firms, despite the pilot studies carried out on mobile activities by CBN. “When people do not know the functions of mobile money firms, how would the companies expand their market base? That is the major reason behind the partnership between Fortis and the microfinance banks. We want to leverage on the huge market of the banks for growth,” he said. Also, the Managing Director, One Network, Mr Sola Bickersteth, said the problem of agent location is one of hurdles the firms must cross to survive. He said the mobile money industry requires an estimated 250,000 or one agent per 3,000, adding that the agents will operate like a financial and citizen service supermarket for their neighbourhood of 3,000 or more. He said the industry is yet to get half of such agents, adding that the issue is having negative impact on the firms.

CUSTOMERS of Diamond Bank Plc have lauded the bank for assisting businesses. At a Customers Forum for the Western Zone and Kwara State in Ibadan, they said the bank has supported their businesses and offered the necessary life-line needed by their. The customers, who are largely managing directors and chief executive officers also lauded the bank’s staff for courtesy and efficiency. The Regional Director (West), Mr Olusola Ajayi, explained that the forum was one of the bank’s ways of appreciating its customers as well as open up channels of feedback. “One purpose of this forum is to let customers know that our services are unmatched and to listen to you so we can know where and how to improve,” he said. He urged them to feel free to express their opinions and concerns on the services being rendered by the bank. Presentations on some of the bank’s products were made by some managers after which customers made their responses.The Head, Customer Experience, Mrs Shirley Uyakonwu and the Head, Propositions and Liabilities, Mr Olumide Akindele, were among those who made presentations.

Wema deploys MoneyGram payment platform WEMA Bank has demonstrated its commitment to providing faster, efficient, innovative services to clients with its recent implementation of MoneyGram’s latest platform, AgentWorks. The bank made this known in a statement, asserting that with this outing, the leader becomes the first organisation in the country and the second in West Africa to fully implement MoneyGram’s latest solution across all its service locations. AgentWorks is the latest upgrade to the MoneyGram money transfer platform that provides security of funds and transactions, quicker authentication and a more efficient service delivery on the MoneyGram network. Speaking on this partnership during the meeting with MoneyGram representatives, Akinlolu Ayileka, Divisional Head, Retail Banking at Wema Bank reiterated the bank’s commitment to providing the best-in-class retail banking experience for its numerous clients. He also stated that it was the bank’s desire to be at the fore-front of the innovative use of technology to deliver exceptional banking services as was also recently demonstrated in being the first sub-Saharan Bank to deploy Finacle 10.2 Core-Banking Application which has also aided the integration of other value-adding services. MoneyGram Regional Director for Africa, Francois Peyret, said the partnership is a step in the right direction, adding that the lender has ability to deploy the solution properly and provide top-notch service to MoneyGram recipients in the country.

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THE NATION INVESTORS

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SEC hands off demutualisation of NSE

HE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under a new board and reconstituted management would not exert any influence on the demutualisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). It will leave the crucial decision on the future management of the Exchange in the hands of stockbrokers and members. Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Dr Suleyman Ndanusa, said the Commission would not play any role in the demutualisation or otherwise of the Exchange beyond its statutory roles of setting guidelines and operating rules for capital market activities. In what represented a major shift in approach to the vexed issue, Ndanusa said members of the NSE would be the ones to decide on the necessity or otherwise of demutualisation and the modality and timeline for such decision.

Stories by Taofik Salako

He said SEC’s main role would be to set the guidelines, which the Commission is ready to do at anytime. Demutualisation is the process by which a member-owned entity is converted into a joint stock company or public limited liability company. It will allow the shares of the NSE to be quoted on its floor and widely available to all interested investors. The Exchange is currently a limited by Guarantee Company owned by its members including capital market operators and entrepreneurs. Stockbrokers, who are members and owners of the NSE, had sustained a dogged struggle against what they described as undue influence of SEC management in the initial momentum to demutualise the NSE. SEC had on September 22, 2011 inaugurated a Demutualisation

Committee to jump-start the dragging process of demutualisation of the NSE. 2The committee was expected to review the process of the demutualisation, the timeline and approach for the demutualisation and necessary changes preceding the conversion among other recommendations that would lead to successful conversion of the Exchange. Stockbrokers and other stakeholders had decried what they described as attempt by SEC to railroad the NSE into demutualisation without due process and involvement of its members and owners. At the public hearing of the House of Representatives’ad hoc committee on capital market and institutions, stakeholders had called for a review of the demutualisation process being pushed by SEC, alleging that it had ulterior motives other than the

development of the stock market. In one of the position papers made available to The Nation, Managing Director, Maximum Investments and Securities Plc, Mazi Okechukwu Unegbu, said members of the NSE should be the one to decide the propriety and pace of demutualisation of the Exchange. SEC, he said, should concern itself with providing level-playing regulations. According to him, the approach to the demutualisation of the NSE raised suspicion and all stakeholders should be wary of consequences of a rushed process. “One is of the view that the centre of this issue is the control of the heart of the NSE.This is because prior to 2008, the NSE was seen as a money making venture. That is why those who only had rumours of the operations of the capital market became overnight experts,”

Unegbu said. He pointed out that the process of demutualisation should pass through a process duly initiated and ran by members of the NSE since broker dealers with seats on the Exchange are also its owners, with all the voting rights conferred by ownership. According to him, the crux of the issue is that the process of demutualisation should be initiated and concluded by members of the exchange and the role of the regulator will be to set the rules rather than pushing for the process. “It is, in fact, theoretical and practically sound for the regulator not to jump into the arena. It is not a member of the exchange and should not through proxy own or seen to teleguide the operations of the exchange,” Unegbu, a former president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), said.

Stakeholders fault new bill on market practitioners

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•From right: Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; former Presidential Aide to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr Akin Osuntokun and Chairman, Vigeo Power, Mr Gbolade Osibodu, during a business dinner organised for the Governor by Igbimo Ure Ekiti in Lagos.

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OME capital market stakeholders have faulted a new bill that is seeking to replace

the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) with the Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI). The bill is being sponsored by former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Capital Market, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, and it is intended to replace the law that set up CIS and will bring other capital market operators under the supervision of CISI. The Association of Asset Custodians of Nigeria (AACN in a memorandum to the committee said the bill violates the constitutional freedom of association for all practitioners in the market. They noted that to be forced to belong to an institute that is being sponsored by stockbrokers when they do not have anything in common violates principles of fairness. “No major stakeholder was consulted by the CIS in lobbying for this bill that has significant implications for our survival and well

being of the market. It violates the principle of fairness and fair play for a subset of the market to go behind everyone else and lobby for a bill that would force everybody in the market to come under its own umbrella without any discussion or consultation with those it seeks to appropriate,” the group stated. According to them, stockbrokers do not understand the market intricacies and challenges faced by the other trade groups who are specialists in their various fields and as such, CIS could therefore not bring any value to these other bodies. AACN argued that it does not know of any country in the world where a chartered institute is the same as institute that licenses stockbrokers, trustees, investment bankers, fund managers, custodians, registrars, among others, noting that if it must be pioneered in Nigeria, it must be by consensus. Earlier, the CFA Society Nigeria (CSN) had expressed concerns on the bill, requesting the Senate Committee on Capital Market to reject it.

‘Innovations, service delivery ‘ll drive Vitafoam’s growth’

NNOVATION and excellent service delivery would be the key drivers of Vitafoam Nigeria Plc in the years ahead as the foam-manufacturing company seeks to optimise the potential of its recent investments and expansions. Chairman, Vitafoam Nigeria Plc, Chief Samuel Bolarinde, said the company would focus on products innovation and excellent service delivery to sustain customers’ loyalty and continuously grow its market share irrespective of the uncertainties in the operating environment. He noted that though the prevailing uncertainties in the global economy and national economic outlook might impact on business operations, the company would continue to leverage on its brand capital and group synergy to ensure that it remains resilient in the years ahead. Bolarinde, in his final address to shareholders as Chairman of the company, assured shareholders on the prospects of the company citing various investments and expansion initiatives in Nigeria and beyond that would consolidate performance in the years ahead. According to him, the company’s strategic investment in Vono Products Plc looks promising as Vono has truned the corner in its restructuring exercise and now poised for

better performance. He outlined that the company’s subsidiary in Ghana and a foam factory in Sierra Leone billed to start operations in the second quarter would gradually open up the West African market to the company. He further noted that various Nigerian subsidiaries of the company have also made encouraging progresses that should consolidate into better performance for the group in the years ahead. “As we begin to consolidate the gains of our various investments, I remain hopeful that the company will attain greater heights in the future,” Bolarinde said. He said several pace-setting initiatives are being implemented to maintain the company’s market leadership including the fine-tuning of the company’s comfort centre model to meet international standards and online virtual sale shop and anti-fake automated confirmation system. He, however, lamented the negative impact of the spate of insecurity in the country on business operations pointing out that the volatile operating environment adversely affected free movement of goods and services, thus resulting in significant decline in commercial activities. He decried the prevalence of

corruption, which had denied Nigerians and businesses opportunities to have fair shares of national economic development. Audited report and accounts of Vitafoam Nigeria for the year ended September 30, 2012 showed that the company struggled with sluggish sales and fast-paced finance costs. While it mitigated weak sales by reducing related costs of sales, margins and returns were depressed by the stifling midline, directly related to huge increase in finance costs. Gross profit margin had improved from 30 per cent to 35.5 per cent. However, pre-tax profit margin slipped from 5.7 per cent to 5.6 per cent. Return on total assets de-

clined from N8.9 per cent to 7.8 per cent while return on equity dropped from 20.2 per cent to 18.1 per cent. Total sales stood at N14.48 billion in 2012, a slight decrease from N14.52 billion recorded in 2011. Cost of sales meanwhile dropped by 8.2 per cent from N10.17 billion to N9.34 billion, lifting up gross profit by 18 per cent from N4.35 billion to N5.14 billion. Total operating expenses increased by 16 per cent from N3.35 billion to N3.91 billion. Administrative expenses had risen from N2.51 billion to N2.96 billion while distributive costs increased from N840.1 million to N945.2 million.

With 51.7 per cent in interest expenses from N357 million in 2011 to N542 million in 2012 and substantial decline in non-core business incomes, profit before tax dipped slightly by 1.2 per cent from N824 million to N813 million. After taxes, profit distributable to shareholders also slipped by 1.8 per cent from N567 million to N557 million. Earnings per share took cue from net profit after tax at 67.9 kobo in 2012 as against 69.1 kobo in 2011. Net assets per share meanwhile improved from N3.42 to N3.76, an increase of about 10 per cent. The company retained its cash dividend per share of 30 kobo for the third consecutive year, earmarking N246 million for distribution to shareholders.

CIPM hosts corporate performance forum

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HE Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM) would use its Fifth Special Human Resource Forum billed for April in Lagos to focus on organisational development and corporate performance. Speaking on the forthcoming yearly forum, President, CIPM, Mr Abiola Popoola, said the forum would brainstorm on how to organise major driver for effective corporate performance.

He noted that the theme: Organizational development: Driver for effective corporate performance, was carefully chosen to further optimise corporate performance in the country, especially by harnessing the skills, experience and knowledge of human resources. Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr Seni Adetun and Senior Manager, People and Change, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Botswana, Ethel Kuuya have been

confirmed as Chairman and Guest Speaker at the forum. The Special Human Resource Forum is a one-day event that is targeted at senior people in the human resource practice and it’s aimed at aimed at enhancing the practice of the human resource profession in the country. “We have lined up renowned professionals in the industry who will do justice to the theme at this year’s forum. You know you are sure of getting the best value out of that forum,” Popoola said.

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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THE NATION INVESTORS

Nestle Nigeria, Skye Bank, Eterna target N17.4b T Q2 profit HE trio of Nestle Nigeria, Eterna Plc and Skye Bank Plc could make a total profit before tax of about N17.4 billion in the next three months, according to latest forecasts released by directors of the companies. In separate forecasts on operations of the companies, their directors indicated positive outlooks for the second quarter ending June 30, 2013. The board of Nestle Nigeria, which recently announced full cash dividend of N15.85 billion for the 2012 business year, said the food and beverage company would make an average profit margin of 18.8 per cent on every unit of sales. According to the forecasts, Nestle Nigeria’s turnover is ex-

By Taofik Salako

pected to be N31.75 billion while profit before tax would be N5.97 billion during the three-month period. After provision for taxes, net profit distributable to shareholders is estimated to be about N5.04 billion. The Board of Skye Bank estimated that average pre-tax profit margin would be 14.1 per cent in the second quarter with profit before tax expected to be about N10.6 billion. The bank’s top-line is projected

at N75.23 billion while profit after tax could be N8.48 billion. Similarly, Eterna predicted a profit margin of about 6.5 per cent, indicating that it would only make profit of N6.50 kobo on each N100 unit of sales. According to the projections, profit before tax is expected at N825.0 million with total sales put at N12.78 billion. Profit after tax is estimated at N594 million for the three months. Nestle Nigeria had recently announced that it would be distributing N14.66 billion as final cash

dividends for the 2012 business year, bringing total cash payouts for the year to N15.85 billion. The food and beverage giant had earlier declared interim dividend of N1.19 billion. The Board of Nestle Nigeria indicated it would be recommending a final dividend per share of N18.50 in addition to interim dividend of N1.50 paid in December 2012, bringing total dividend per share to N20. Key extracts of the audited report and accounts showed a general improvement in the profitability of the company. On the average, Nestle Nigeria made N21.46 in pre-tax profit on every N100 unit of sales in 2012 as against N18.58 recorded in previ-

ous year. Gross profit margin had also improved from 41.44 per cent in 2011 to 42.99 per cent in 2012. While total sales rose by 19.1 per cent, improved cost management magnified the impact of sales growth on the bottom-line, pushing pre and post tax profits up by 37.64 per cent and 28.12 per cent. Total sales stood at N116.71 billion in 2012 as against N97.96 billion in 2011. Gross profit rose from N40.59 billion to N50.17 billion. Profit before tax increased to N25.05 billion in 2012 compared with N18.20 billion in 2011. Profit after tax rose from N16.50 billion to N21.14 billion. With these, earnings per share improved from N20.81 in 2011 to N26.67

There have been huge cries over the fight against terrorism and insecurity in the country. This formed a major focus at a round-table organised by Mekahog Limited, a private security and defence company, for top military and government officials. KAMARUDEEN OGUNDELE was there.

Fighting insecurity:The private sector initiative

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S the challenges posed by insecurity, terrorism and ethno-religious conflicts in the country assume a more dangerous dimension, collaboration between government agencies and the private sector cannot be wished away. Even the security and defence sector, hitherto believed in some circles, to be an exclusive preserve of the government, has been identified as areas that expertise must be harnessed to get the country out of the woods. This formed a substantial part of discussions at a recent workshop and exhibition on state-of-the art security and defence equipment mounted by an Abuja-based security and defence services firm, Mekahog Limited. At the four-day exhibition, a wide range of latest state-of-the art security equipment and defence vehicles were show-cased. Among them were Springbuck VI and FOX Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), riot control water cannons, city surveillance products, drug and dangerous chemicals detection products. Others were fire fighting and cyber crime prevention products and dog training equipment and accessories. The exhibition, which lasted from February 25 to 28, this year, attracted top military and police officers, government officials at both the federal and state levels, as well as members of the diplomatic corp. Among them were Brig-General O. Adeosun, Group Captain B. A. Sani, Commodore F. O. Oyedele and Lt. Col. E. J. Cleopas, all from the Defense Headquarters, Abuja. The Nigeria Police was represented by Mr Godwin Okezie, a Superintendent of Police. From the Federal Government, came the Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro, who commended the organisers of the exhibition, for proactively moving a step ahead to familiarise the country with new technologies that could put her in a better stead to tackle the lingering security problems. To fight terrorism, the Minister said the Federal Government was ready to partner private organisations. According to him, he came to the exhibition to demonstrate that the Federal Government was not un-

mindful of the fact that there is a lot the private sector could do to support it in the fight against criminality. He said the equipment displaced at the exhibition were proof that the facilitating firms were conversant with the global trend on security and defense equipment and services, assuring that some of the parastatals under his ministry will look for ways of collaborating with Mekahog Limited and its partners to enhance their efficiency and effectiveness “I am impressed by what I have seen. I have had to travel out of the country on matters concerning security equipment and I must say that what I have seen is similar to what I have been seeing in outside countries”, he said. Moro said some of the parastatals under his ministry, notably the Nigerian Civil Defence and Security Corps (NCDSC), the Immigration Services and Federal Fire Services, would explore ways of acquiring the Defence products to maintain internal peace and order. Mr Okezie, who represented the Inspector-General of Police, pointed out that the introduction of the new range of security vehicles, especially Springbuck VI and FOX APCs into the Nigerian Market will help minimise the level of casualties on both sides of the offensive during combats. Okezie, who is the head of APC Maintenance and Deployment in the Nigeria Police, using Springbuck VI and FOX APCs would both shield security operatives from criminals or aggressors, as well as make it unnecessary for security operatives to use live ammunitions on criminals. He said the introduction of such carriers in good numbers will be a remarkable improvement over the current practice of using ordinary, unprotected Hilux vans to ferry security personnel, a practice which, he says, exposes its occupants to lot of danger. Already, Mekahog Limited has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with DCD (Pty) Limited in South Africa to set up heavy fabrication engineering company that will assemble APCs, crowd control vehicles and troop carriers in Nigeria. The facility will also provide an ultra modern training centre for fabrication and welding activities.

•Moro (right), receiving a model of security fighting vehicle from an official of Mekahog and DCD (Pty) at the exhibition.

The proposed company will provide technical training for police personnel and skill acquisition for youths in the West African sub region. When fully established, the manufacturing plant, which will cost about $220,000 in the first phase, will handle complicated fabrication, welding and rolling for oil companies. The venture is expected to create over 2,000 jobs, as well as lead to foreign exchange saving. Mekahog Limited has also entered into an agreement with the Ministry of Police Affairs for equipment and maintenance capacity survey, in line with the current maintenance strategy of the Nigeria Police targeted at saving the Police huge sums of money. This will involve re-fabricating abandoned APCs and troop carrier. The military is not left out. Mekahog has also concluded plans to take over the Defense Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), in order to reposition the company for the 21st century challenges. It was learnt that the major thrust of the strategy will be to retool the organisation, especially in the area of research and training. Although it will remain a partnership between the private sector and government, DICON, according to an official of Mekahog, will be strategically positioned to be profit-

able and offer more employment opportunities to Nigerians. The Executive Director of the company, Mr Obinna Ohakim, said Mekahog is ready to partner with the relevant authorities in the West African sub region, to “calibrate appropriate response to the array of defense challenges.” Beyond the imperative of collaboration, observes believe that the involvement of the private sector in the fight against violent crime and insecurity should be deliberately pursued. It was agreed that given the cumbersome nature of the operatives of the Nigeria Police, private security arrangements should be handy to make up where the police fall short, while not compromising the overall security strategy of the nation. Many private security services outfits are constrained by the required resources and logistics for good training for their personnel. But although there appears what seems to be a proliferation of private security companies, going by the multiplicity of uniformed personnel in every nook and cranny, observers say the challenge persists Former Imo State Governor and Chairman of the group, Ikedi Ohakim, said the war against Boko Haram and other terrorists groups in the country can be won

with less casualties, adding that the government must deploy psychological warfare by using modern and safe equipment to fight terrorism. He lamented that the country will continue to waste the lives of her citizens by using obsolete equipment, saying that the company has the capability of producing modern military hardware that would surpass those in possession of terrorist groups. “Now, we have capability that is better than theirs, two times. We have equipment that will go under water, we have equipment that can capture their movement and you as a General, you will be in your office and be seeing those criminals carrying out their nefarious activities. “Those equipment are available. Smaller countries are purchasing them. The critical thing is that it affects our economy, people don’t want to come and invest because of terrorists. The company also explained that it has the capacity to turn the outdated defense equipment into money-making ventures for the government. To overcome the threats of terrorists, the former governor said: “The government must buy the right equipment at the right time because terrorists are always updating their warfare.”

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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

MARITIME Truck owners seek parking right

Govt set to concession railway T T

HE Federal Government has concluded arrangement to concession the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to ensure efficiency. Executive Secretary of the Shippers’Council,Mr Hassan Bello, told members of the Port Consultative Council (PCC) led by its Chairman, Otunba Kunle Folarin, who visited him in his office that there was need for the council to be appointed a moderator in the exercise to avoid the problems in the port reform. He said the concessioning of the rail to private operators would ensure that more cargoes are moved conveniently through the rail.

Stories by Oluwakemi Dauda Maritime Correspondent

“Very soon the operations of the Nigerian railway will be concessioned to bring in enlarged participation in the transportation sector, the moment Nigeria hands it over, then you need a moderator that will supervise the interface between the various modes of transportation.You need an agency that will not condone arbitrariness and this is why the relevance of Nigerian Shippers’Council is growing beyond what it was before. “We believe the private capital will be in a better place to move into the transport sector for more efficiency, just like what happened to the ports,

there will be increased participation of private sector in railway and indeed the road sector,” he said. Bello said the government has revitalised the rail to carry passengers and cargoes, adding that the council is pushing for the amendment of its laws. Folarin implored the council to focus on reviewing the established organs of trade facilitation, which are no longer functioning in the council. He listed some of them to include port charges, management committee and the shippers’ associations. “Unless the council showcases its capability and

move into the public domain, educating the government, stakeholders, agencies in and outside the maritime sector, you will not be able to get the full support you deserve,” he said. He said some of the problems of the seaports included port charges, port congestion, Cabotage implementation, scarcity of manpower and corruption. Folarin stressed the need for the amendment of the Council’s law, saying the regulation is one of the many areas where the Council needs to be empowered. “Stakeholders expectations are huge but with support and collaboration we will get there,” he said.

HE Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) has appealed to the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola to give them approval to construct a modern truck terminal at Ilu Eri, Ijora. The National Chairman of the group, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, told The Nation that the proposed truck terminal would ease the perennial gridlock on the Lagos ports access roads. Ogungbemi said the association has done all within its powers to get a modern truck terminal, adding that it is awaiting the government’s approval to achieve its objective. “The project is in tandem with the Mega City Project of the Lagos State Government. We are, therefore, appealing to Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola to grant us the approval so that AMATO could play its rightful role in actualising the Lagos Mega City Project. “The proposed truck terminal will be an ultra-modern complex and, of course, very

environmentally-friendly, because it will surely key into the Lagos State Government’s beautification efforts. “Governor Fashola should, please, save our souls and grant the approval for AMATO to construct the terminal, which will surely resolve the problem of traffic congestion on the Lagos ports access roads. It is not enough for officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to persistently hound and impound trucks waiting on the roads to enter into the ports. “Many truckers have been rendered bankrupt, owing to the incessant seizure of their trucks and imposition of fines by LASTMA. Many truckers have become serious hospital cases, quite a number of them sent to their early graves. “The humane and right choice is for the Lagos State Government to grant us approval for the truck terminal, which will serve as a marshalling yard, keeping the trucks from using the roads as their parking lots,” he appealed.

NSE, NIMAREX collaborate

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• From right: Chairman, Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Chief Isaac Jolapamo; Executive Director, Business Development, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Haruna Jalo-Waziri; Chairman, Planning Committee, NIMAREX, Mrs Magaret Onyema-Orakwusi; Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Oscar Onyema; Executive Director, Market Operations & Technology, Adeolu Bajomo; Chief of Staff to the Chief Executive Officer/Head, Corporate Division of NSE, Bola Adeeko; President, Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, Jean Chiazor-Anishere and Executive Secretary, ISAN, Capt Niyi Labinjo, when members of NIMAREX Planning Committee visited NSE in Lagos. PHOTO: OLUWAKEMI DAUDA

HE Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) and the promoters of the Nigeria Maritime Expo (NIMAREX) are collaborating to promote the nation’s maritime industry. The Chairman, NIMAREX Planning Committee, Mrs Margaret Onyema- Orakwusi, spoke when she led her team to NSE in Lagos at the weekend. Calling on the NSE to join hands with the group, she lamented that it was unacceptable for the nation’s crude to continue to be lifted on Freight on Board (FOB), a system she said, allows the foreign buyers to “dictate the carriage, insurance, terms and all in the 21st century.” She said the visit to NSE became necessary after considering the vital roles it plays in the economy. She said it was disheartening that in spite of the vast opportunities provided by the maritime sector, Nigerians were still getting the short end of the

stick in terms of benefits. Mrs Onyema-Orakwusi said the Chairman of the Indigenous Ship-owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Chief Isaac Jolapamo, was at the meeting to assist in the partnership to boost maritime development. According to her, NIMAREX has as its main objective, the need to showcase what she described as the “enormous potential of the Nigerian maritime industry to the outside world.” In his speech, the Executive Director of NSE, Mr Adeolu Bajomo, said the need to promote local investments through the stock exchange arena was in tandem with the objectives of NIMAREX. According to him, there was the need for the two organisations to collaborate in ensuring that companies, including those in the maritime sector were promoted to the world, taking advantage of the country’s natural resources.

HE Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Author ity (NPA), Mallam Habib Abdullahi, has constituted a seven-man task force on traffic decongestion at Lagos ports to ensure 24-hour free flow of traffic. The NPA boss said the task force’s terms of reference include: identifying the causes of the congestion, proffer solutions to eliminate the congestion, make appropriate recommendation to eliminate future congestion and make any other

recommendation that the committee may deem necessary. The General Manager Special Duties, Mr Inyeinengi-Etomi Sotonye, is the Chairman of the group and he has been urged to work with Nigeria Customs Service and other agencies to achieve its goal. Other members of the committee were drawn from Security, Audit, Procurement, Traffic, Legal and Personnel departments. It has two weeks to submit its report.

Trawler owners: Niger Delta still NPA constitutes task force ‘no-go’ area T T

HE Nigerian Trawler Owners Association (NITOA) has praised the security agencies for making Lagos waters safe for business. The group also raised the alarm over the Niger Delta region, saying it remains a no-go area for their members. According to the group, the most volatile regions within the country’s maritime domain are Fish Town, Brass, Bartholomew and Barbara waters; all located in the Niger Delta region of Bayelsa and Rivers states. The Secretary-General of NITOA, Mr Dayo

Adesanya, told The Nation that pirates now attack vessels with sophisticated arms, kidnap crew members and demand high ransoms from the shipping companies. This, Adesanya said, was a departure from earlier practices when the pirates killed their victims andcarted away valuables belonging to crew members on board vessels. The NITOA scribe said the Lagos waters remain the safest, adding that the presence

of security agencies makes the waters safe for their business. He said Badagry, Lagos and Lekki axis are free from pirate attacks, but added that once in a while, smaller vessels, such as trawlers and tankers are attacked by sea robbers. He also said the level of pirates’ attack in Awoye, Aiyetoro and Benin waters located at Ondo and Edo states is higher when compared with Lagos. According to him, the

Escravos, Ramos, Dodo and Forcadoes waters in Delta State is an unsecured territory where incessant attacks have been recorded by trawler owners, some leading to death or kidnap of their members. “But Brass, Bartholomew, Barbara and Fish Town are no-go areas because that is where you find sea robbers and pirates with the most sophisticated ammunition you can think of,” he said. In 2012, he said, NITOA lost four crew during pirates attacks on 144 trawlers belonging to their members.

ANLCA rebuffs CRFFN’s peace moves

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HE Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has rebuffed moves by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to resolve their differences. Sources told The Nation that the Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of CRTTN, Mike Jukwe, had invited ANCLA to a meeting in Lagos to resolve their crisis. But

ANLCA, it was learnt, refused to show up. Jukwe invited ANLCA to a meeting on March 8 at 11am in Lagos, to discuss issues of mutual interest. In a terse reply, ANLCA National President, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, said his association would not attend the meeting in compliance with its resolution based on outstanding issues with Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related

Offences Commission (ICPC). Shittu’s reply, sources said, was copied the ANLCA Board of Trustees Chairman, Chief Henry Njoku, Vice President, Mr. Emenike Nwokeoji; and National Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Ogu Oparah. ANLCA, sources said, boycotted the meeting based on the petition sent by Jukwe to ICPC, accusing the ANLCA leadership and

the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) of mismanagement of the association’s funds. Based on the petition, Shittu, NAGAFF Founder Dr. Boniface Aniebonam; and the National President NAGAFF Mr Eugene Nweke visited the ICPC Headquarters, Abuja. Shittu, sources said, was at ICPC last week.

Police chief warns men, others

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HE Ports Commissioner of Police, Mrs Sherifat Disu Olajoku, has vowed to deal with any police officer found wanting. Speaking during her familiarisation tour of the Apapa port, she also warned thieves, wharf rats and other criminals to keep off. She urged officers to carry out their duties professionally, saying: “No act of indiscipline or corruption will be tolerated. Officers must abide by the code of conduct recently launched by the Inspector-General of Police.” For the criminals, she said she would do everything within her power to get rid of them

and their nefarious activities “because I am not a friend to criminals or lawless people; for the members of the Police Force, I warn them to conduct their duties professionally.” She, however, promised to work with stakeholders in the sector, acknowledging that the Police alone cannot guarantee safety at the ports. “There is need for synergy among the agencies at the ports and I shall do everything to encourage this. To the other stakeholders, I shall do everything within my power to ensure that there is no threat to security within the port,” she assured.

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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AVIATION British Airways’ Airbus A380 makes debut in Oct.

•Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) George Uriesi (right); Chief Operating Officer, Things Remembered, Benedict Njoawuani, and Director of Human Resources and Administration, FAAN, Hajia Salamatu Eluwa, at the inauguration of an eatery at the General Aviation Terminal One of Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.

NAMA to protect low-flying planes in Niger Delta N IGERIA Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) plans to deploy automated data surveillance broadcast (ADSB), a state-of-the-art technology in airspace navigation, to boost safety of aircraft flying at lower altitude in the Niger Delta region. Its Managing Director Nnamdi Udoh said such a deployment became necessary because of the increase in the number of aircraft flying into and out of the Nigeria. The agency, according to the NAMA boss, “is striving to sustain an environment that promotes air safety, particularly in surveillance for pilots to fly with less communication - where pilots can fly more directly to their airports of destination. This, in the aviation parlance is called direct air navigation.” He said the agency was doing a lot in manpower development, because the “sophisticated equipment deployed by the agency would be manned by Nigerians. The NAMA boss said contrary to the notion that there is no surveillance in the Niger Delta, the agency’s radar captures flights in that region and would soon deploy (ADS-B) to capture low flying aircraft, such as helicopters to enhance safety and revenue. NAMA, he said, handles at least

By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor Aviation Correspondent

500 aircraft and 300 helicopters that fly around the country’s airspace daily. The 500 aircraft, Udoh explained, is aside the numerous foreign aircraft that flies in the nation’s airspace en route other countries. He said the increasing number of aircraft that use the nation’s airspace will continue to challenge the infrastructure, including radio communication between the pilots and air traffic controllers. The NAMA boss explained that because of the increasing traffic in the airspace, the agency has taken steps to improve air navigation infrastructure and the total radio coverage of the country. He said the agency has been approached by many private airstrip and aerodrome operators to provide air traffic services, which is evidence of improved infrastructure and recurrent training of its personnel. This year alone, NAMA, he explained, has trained about 300 air traffic controllers both in United States, South Africa and Egypt in many areas of air traffic management. Udoh said the agency would continue to invest in the training of its personnel, which is key to ensuring that Nigeria meets the minimum acceptable standards in air

traffic services. He explained that it is wrong for anybody to insinuate that the airspace is unsafe, stressing that it will be unprofessional for any air traffic controller to suggest so. He affirmed that no pilot will embark on any flight without receiving air traffic instructions from the control tower. He wondered why more foreign airlines will like to fly into the Nigerian airspace if it is not safe, explaining that without radio communication, which could have problems of congestion, pilots can still land their aircraft. NAMA is also planning to migrate from ground-based air navigation to satellite-based navigation among critical air safety personnel, investigations reveal. Migration to satellite based navigation, according to experts, is expected to reduce the work load of some air navigation personnel, including air traffic controllers. This is because an aircraft fit with the latest technology is supposed to fly without any guidance by air traffic controllers until it gets near the aerodrome of arrival. When the new air navigation system comes on stream, NAMA would require fewer air traffic controllers en route to carrying out advisory air traffic services to aircraft in flight.

Concerns over appointments in agencies

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FORMER general manager Administration, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr Bitrus Ogba, has spoken in support of Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah’s appointments into some agencies. He said contrary to insinuations, she was not engaged in ethnic cleansing. He said it was unfair for professionals to allege that people of certain ethnic groups were marginalised in recent appointments, adding that the minister has been more considerate in upholding the principles of fairness and geo-political spread as opposed to appointments done by some of her predecessors in office. Ogba spoke against the background of last week’s public hearing organised by the National Assembly to investigate allegations of lopsidedness in appointments into

aviation agencies without recourse to the principle of federal character. Ogba said: “When the people of the southwest allege that they were marginalised by the appointment of the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, I get amused. And when I hear that the appointments she made were dominated by people from the southeast, I get bewildered. “If you check it, you will discover that Oduah’s appointments were the most balanced in the industry since 1999 because it gave full representation to every part of the country. But I know why the southwest is surprisingly crying marginalisation. In the past they used to dominate every appointment made in the industry. And even now, if you get the list of all the workers in all the aviation parastatals, you will find out that they have the highest number of appointments.

The President of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Comrade Benjamin Okewu, said last week the unions would continue to insist that appointments to aviation agencies should refelect the principles of federal character to checkmate lopsidedness. Last year, the National Uinon of Air Transport Employees(NUATE), through, Comrade Adbulkareem Motajo, kicked over the appointment of some general managers into the FAAN, saying their appointment fell short of the stipulated requirements into public service. But, the Media Assistant to Oduah, Mr Joe Obi, said the minister approved appointments to enable government to have the right persons to actualise the government’s transformation agenda.

BRITISH Airways’ first Airbus 380 will fly on the “Red Carpet Route” from London to Los Angeles, with tickets on sale since last week for Nigerian passengers travelling to Los Angeles through London. The home of Hollywood, according to a statement, will be the inaugural destination for the first A380 to be operated by a UK airline. The double-decker superjumbo is due to be delivered to British Airways in July and seats are on sale for flights from October 15, this year. In celebration, the airline is launching with an offer from London to Los Angeles. Fares start at £499 return in World Traveller (economy) with a special £380 upgrade available for customers wanting to move up to World Traveller Plus. Club World return fares start from £3,800 for two people (£1,900 each). London-based actress Gemma Arterton said: “Working in film means that I spend a lot of time travelling around the world, often to Hollywood. It’s essential to arrive feeling fresh and ready for the day ahead, as I often hit the ground running, and I prefer to travel in style with British Airways. “It’s very exciting that the A380 will be flying to Los Angeles. I think the red carpet route will be very popular.” The second A380 route will be to Hong Kong, and customers can book flights now for travel fromNovember 15, 2013. Prices start from £559 return in economy or, for an additional £380, customers can upgrade to World Traveller Plus. Club World tickets again start from £3,800 for two people (£1,900 each). A380 enthusiasts eager to be on the very first commercial services should note that dates for these will be announced once plans for training flights are completed.

‘Western-built jets recorded lowest accident rate in 2012’ THE 2012 global accident rate for Western-built jets was the lowest in aviation history, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed. According to IATA Director-General, Mr Tony Tyler, about 100,000 flights arrived daily at their destinations. He said the industry’s record safety performance in 2012 was the best in history. The increasing safety rate for commercial jets was attributed to team work by many stakeholders in the global aviation sector. He said: “Airlines, airports, air navigation service providers, manufacturers and safety regulators must work together to ensure every flight is as safe as possible. Their dedication and cooperation has made air travel remarkably safe. Nevertheless, there is still work to do. Every accident is one too many and each fatality is a human tragedy. “Africa is a continent divided on performance. Airlines on the IOSA registry are performing at or above industry average rates. But the continent’s overall performance is far from satisfactory. It should be as safe to travel by air in Africa as it is in any other part of the world,” said Tyler. In May last year, IATA, with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and other organisations agreed to be committed to an Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan aimed at addressing safety deficiencies and strengthening regulatory oversight in the region by 2015. The plan was endorsed as part of the ‘Abuja Declaration’ by the Ministerial meeting on Aviation Safety and Security of the African Union in July and endorsed at the Assembly of the African Union in January this year.

Arik Air to rebuild hangar CHAIRMAN of Arik Air, Sir Arumemi Ikhide, has said the airline plans to rebuild its an aircraft maintenance hangar in Lagos in partnership with Lufthansa Technik, the Boeing Company and Bombardier, the Canafian aircraft manufacturer. Ikhide explained that this month, Arik Air will sign an agreement with Lufthansa on the deal. He explained that when completed, the hangar will not only carry out major repairs of Arik Air aircraft, but other new generation aircraft in the fleet of other domestic airlines in the country. Speaking in an interview, after receiving the President/Chief Executive Officer of Canadian aircraft manufacturer, Bombardier, Mr Pierre Beaudoin, who visited the airline in a facility tour, Ikhide explained that the relation between Arik Air and the company could best be described as the greatest assistance from multiple lateral organisations. He explained further that at inception, Arik Air got the first set of Bombardier Aircraft the CRJ from the company, which is the best regional aircraft that Nigerian passengers are excited over. He spoke of plans to consolidate the relationship between the airline and Bombardier to involve other areas of airline operations, not limited to aircraft acquisition. He said very soon, when the number of aircraft type manufactured by Bombardier increases In the fleet of the airline, discussions on maintenance facility could be explored . Ikhide called on the Federal Government consider as priority acquiring the Bombardier aircraft type for domestic operators, in the window of purchase it is facilitating, as the aircraft type of better for the Nigerian environment in terms of cost, and other factors. The Arik Air boss expressed gratitude to the Bombardier President for his support to the airline, affirming that the robust engagement with the airline has accelerated its growth and development despite the inherent challenges of the Nigerian environment.

Overland connects Akure OVERLAND Airways last week started scheduled domestic flight services from the Akure Airport to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. According to the Chief Executive Officer of Overland Airways, Capt. Edward Boyo, “the resumption of flight services on the Akure-Abuja route is part of Overland Airways’objective of improving interconnectivity and facilitating social and economic ties across Nigeria. With this new route, Overland Airways has covered the whole of the Southwest zone”.

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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

SMALL BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENUERSHIP

Living off custard production S

EVERAL years ago, nobody ever thought of selling custard in polythene packs. Madukaego Obele, Managing Director, Blisstream Resources International Limited, certainly never. But he ventured into it and today, he is reaping the dividend. Nigerians love to eat. With the middle class growing, food businesses is thriving. Obele graduated in 2006 from Nnamdi Azikwe University, Akwa,Anambra State. He studied Pure and Industrial Chemistry. It was hard to get a job. When he found one, he was not satisfied with his pay. He explored the

Stories by Daniel Essiet

idea of starting a food manufacturing business. But starting it was not easy. So, he left his job and embarked on a journey to create a healthy, high carbohydrate product. Obele started his business with N8,000. Today, the business is worth N800, 000. The patronage of custard powder is fast growing because it is a convenient breakfast for busy urban housewives, spinsters and bachelors. Obele combines corn flour with flavours, essences, starch and food colours. He has graduated

to using plastic containers. Initially, when he started, he was using polythene bags. He has acquired dryers, millers/ grinders and mixers. His income has increased even though he works from home. But as the volume of business soared, he restructured his operation. He set up an office in Ikorodu and runs a tight shop—one employee in his office. He keeps the books and handles quality control. Looking ahead, he has trained his sights on raising its sales to millions. He plans to do this by continuing adding products. However, starting it is not all a

piece of cake. As with any business venture, there is always a risk of losing whatever capital you’ve invested due to the changing tastes of customers. He noted that there are some big and established names in the local food world that threaten to take customers away. But Obele has found his feet. His company produces and markets healthy custard food product under his brand name. The products serve various retail shops in Lagos. The demand for custard is growing daily, and the restaurants and hotels have shown great interest in his products. He is planning to increase the scale of production.

•Custard product

He said he develops products, often at customers’ requests.

Firm reiterates online policing to sustain credibility

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O ensure that its market image remains unchallenged and only authentic products are sold, Success Attitude Development Centre (SADC) Chairman , Dr Sunny Ojeagbase said his organisation has increased monitoring of its online marketing portal. Ojeagbase said during the launching of SuccessDigest Marketplace in Lagos, that products and those that contain offensive representation or violate any copyright are not allowed. The event attracted some of the nation’s top information marketers. SuccessDigest Marketplace occupies a prominent place in the online marketplace. Ojeagbase said the company is concerned that the sense of genuineness that the buyers have entrusted in the publication shouldn’t be compromised by a few, wrongful sellers. As promised by the management, he said the ban on the advertisement of information products has been lifted in SuccessDigest and the re-opening of Marketplace (classified advert page) have taken place. Among the info marketing celebrities who attended the occasion were Ayo Arowolo, Fisayo Akinlolu, Toye Oyeleke, Iyabo Oyawale, Ifeanyi Uche, Olakitan Wellington, Lateef Olajide, Janet

Anwo, and Samson Olatunde. SuccessDigest Marketplace, the largest information product marketplace in Africa was shut about two years ago in the wake of the infestation of scammers on the advertisement platform. Certain individuals of dubious character invaded the marketplace and made away with money of readers of the paper who bought the products they advertised without delivering them or refunding the money paid. Some delivered sub-standard products that didn’t match what they advertised, and refused to send back payments to customers who demanded their money. This unwholesome activity prompted the management of the paper to immediately close the Marketplace and banned the advertisement of information products in SuccessDigest to safeguard readers from being taken to the cleaners by dubious marketers. Having succeeded in weeding out scammers from the nation’s number one income opportunity newspaper, the info marketing community heaved a sigh of relief a few weeks ago when the news of the Marketplace and info product advertising returned to SuccessDigest on March 4. The reason for the huge excitement is not farfetched.

Expert seeks govt's support for local fabricators

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N Industrial Engineer, Mr Olusola Kayode, has urged the Federal Government to assist in the training of local fabricators to enable them to acquire engineering design skills, to boost their manufacturing capability. Kayode, who made the call in Abuja, said most of the local fabricators found it difficult to reproduce their fabricated equipment due to deficiency in engineering skills. He said adequate skills in engineering design would assist them to reproduce their manufactured equipment and also improve on them. “These Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs (SMEs) that have taken these bold steps can be assisted to acquire skills in engineering design and they can produce drawing, so that they can reproduce what they have made. “Most of the equipment are prototypes, but if you ask the same fabricator to reproduce it, he cannot because he doesn’t have the design. He said: “That is where the government interventions to train them in engineering design come in, so that when you have drawing, you can give it to people and you can now reproduce it in large numbers. “This should be an area where government intervention through TETFUND and other agencies that have fund; we might even ask for donor support from all these external agencies, UN agencies that are assisting in other countries.

“Once we can imbibe those skills in our local fabricators, they will get somewhere.’’ He also called for collaboration between the government and private sector, to support capacity building of local fabricators. He said: “To assist with more research and fund, the government through TETFUND can partner universities and private sector, to bring some of these indigenously developed technologies to incubators centres where they can be further developed.’’ Kayode, however, called for the patronage of local technologies, saying that though some of them were yet to be perfected, patronage would assist in perfecting them.

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•From left: Mrs Onuk presenting the award to Mr Ekoigbe at the event. Watching them is the Programme Officer, Esther Eshiet.

Foundation seeks mentors for entrepreneurs

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ANY Nigerians have ideas and they are also ambitious. They are, however, constrained in realising their ambition by lack of access to business skills, technology, network, and finance. To address these, The Bridge Leadership Foundation (TBLF),Calabar,the Cross River State capital has pioneered a new way of supporting entrepreneurs through mentoring where a mentee will work with his mentor to help take his business, confidence, and skill to the next level. The foundation sought for male and female entrepreneurs and professionals from a range of fields to support these entrepreneurs by becoming mentors. Speaking at the Mentoring Dinner, Acting Director, Mrs. Ini Onuk, said local emerging entrepreneurs have a chance to be mentored by seasoned personalities in the field, thanks to the formation of a com-

prehensive programme that seeks to turn around their fortunes. According to her, the foundation’s mission is to provide comprehensive support services, including mentorship, incubation centre workspace and business training to entrepreneurs. With these support services, she said the foundation would transform entrepreneurs’ business ideas into profitable and thriving business entities that will employ others and contribute to the local and national economies. ”Tonight, we celebrate our wonderful mentees who have shown commitment, handwork and dedication to the mentoring programme; we are also grateful to our mentors who had decided to share their lives with these young people; thereby investing in their future.”. The dinner, which was aimed at celebrating the foundation’s first set of mentees and mentors, saw the graduation of mentees who enrolled

FCT NDE trains 655

HE Federal Capital Territory( FCT) National Directorate of Employment (NDE) trained 655 unemployed youths in various vocational skills last year. Its Coordinator, Mr Muhammad Shuaibu, said the participants were also exposed to basic business training that would enable them to manage any new businesses they intended to go into. Shuaibu said the NDE intended to increase its capacity in training in the FCT in programmes, particularly with the vulnerable groups. “In Small Scale Enterprises

(SMEs), we trained 45 people in ecommerce while 50 youths were trained in Special Public Works Training. “The training was done in collaboration with a German company and the FCT NDE,” he said. He said 60 people benefited from the Graduates Attachment Programme of the NDE while 30 were trained in Environmental Beautification. He said 300 youths were trained in vocational skills development. Shuaibu said the training was still ongoing. “Fifty persons with special needs training, such as the vulnerable

groups, also benefited in the training,’’ he said. He said the agency would improve the in-house capacity of its staff, particularly in ICT for optimum performance. Shuaibu advised the unemployed youth not to wait for the government for jobs, but rather should go for training in various vocational skills in the NDE centre in Abuja. “Government alone cannot provide jobs for all the unemployed in the country. So, I am appealing to the teeming youth to take advantage of our vocational training centres so that they can improve on themselves,’’ he said.

in the Foundation’s six-month long mentoring programme. The event was also used to kick off the second batch of the mentoring programme, which saw 19 mentees and mentors begin their mentoring relationship. Parts of the accomplishments of the TBLF Mentoring Programme included a well-attended mentees training workshop; a mentor’s breakfast meeting attended by chief executive officers of companies. The workshops focused on communication skills development, understanding mentoring, leveraging the mentorship relationship, and leadership skills with Senator Liyel Imoke, Governor of Cross River State, and finally, the mentoring programme. Highlights of the event were the launch of the Mentoring Year Book, a compendium of the experiences of the mentors and mentees who participated in the mentoring programme; and the conferment of the awards of Mentee and Mentor of the Year presented to Mr Anthony Ekolgbe as Mentee of the Year and Mr Ignatius Atsu as Mentor of the Year.

Start up quote “You could have a million ideas, but they're all worthless if you don't get them done” Lauren Amarante.

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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The Midweek Magazine E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

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OING to South Africa for the first time, I had a lots of emotions, ranging from excitement, eagerness of visiting a new country, enthusiasm and a bit of fear, having heard so much about how violent the streets of South Africa can be and how sometimes, one can be knifed or shot by a mugger for something as little as a mobile phone or the fancy jacket on your back. Despite all the conflicting emotions, I must confess that the feeling was more of excitement than fear. So, looking forward to visiting the home town of the great Madiba of Africa, Nelson Mandela, I packed my bags and joined other delegates to Rhodes University, Grahamstown, for the 16th edition of the Highway Africa Conference and the 3rd Global Forum for Media Development. The edition, which promised to be even more enlightening and refreshing, was co-sponsored by Telkom and MTN. It lived up to its bill. Tucked away in the small but beautiful and serene areas of the Makana Eastern Cape Province, Grahamstown is a picturesque settlement straight out of an architecture magazine. It is characterised by a lot of hills and valleys, making it difficult for first timers to adapt easily to its topography. Aside from the native settlers, the bulk of the population is either students or visitors to the town. The school, which got its name from the founders of the town, is famous for its robust bouquet of courses especially in journalism and media studies; and it is also one of the most famous public research institutions in South Africa. Rhodes University was established in 1904 and was one of the oldest universities in the Eastern Cape Colony in South Africa. It was named after Cecil Rhodes, an English-born white South African who was a mining magnate and founder of one of the first diamond mining companies in South Africa and a politician. The University is famous for its academic standing in all fields, especially in Journalism and Media studies. RU, as it is popularly called, has a student population of about 7,000 students with 3,000 of those students living in residences on campus and others coming from home or living off-campus in places called digs. These residences are well managed to meet the needs of the students and are named after notable South Africans and Africans in Diaspora who have made their marks in the history of African struggles. There are names like Ellen Kate Kuzwayo, Rosa Parks, Amina Cachalia, Desmond Tutu, just to name a few. It has been said that if you are looking for serious education and not fun, RU is the place to be and for 108 years of its existence, it has constantly proved its motto: Where learners learn. The Highway Africa conference is one of the biggest attractions to visitors from all over Africa to Grahamstown. the event, which has been hosted by the institution for the past 16 years, was conceptualised and implemented by RU’s School of Journalism and Media studies in partnership with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). Recently, it has seen the gathering of not only African but foreign journalists and resource persons from the Caribbean, the United States of America, China, Indonesia, Britain, Czech Republic, Scotland, Wales and much more. Aside from being located in an old town, RU’s history cannot be told without the town and vice versa. Also known as the City of Saints, Grahamstown is certainly an ideal place to live if one seeks the serenity and beauty of nature and most certainly an ideal location for a ‘serious’ minded higher institution of learning. On a two-hour bus ride from Port Elizabeth, which is the closest airport to the town, one is immediately hit by the breath-taking beauty of the scenery. The Eastern Cape Province has the most beautiful nature parks in the whole of South Africa and so it is not surprising that enroute Grahamstown from the airport, wild animals like zebras, elephants and even antelopes can be seen running alongside the express road and living free in their natural habitat. There are strict laws protecting them from poachers and related dangers. This is especially so of the Green Rhinos. Another peculiar sight in the town is the number of churches that can be found in the small town. It is said that there are over 100 churches in Grahamtown, which gave rise to its name, The City of Saints. Most of the churches date back to the 1800s and have plaques in them which further tell the history of the town. These cathedrals are pure art in themselves with beautiful sculpting and designs inside and outside. As a first time visitor to Grahamstown, one is taken in by the sheer beauty of some of these churches. Of particular attraction was the Easter Cape Grahamstown Cathedral, formerly known as the Cathedral of St Michael and St George. Located in the middle of the intersection of High and Hill Streets, its peak is noticeable right from within the university, opposite the Senate building. Another attraction of the town is the 1820 Settlers Monument, a beautiful piece of architecture located right on top of a hill, at the edge of the town. The building was opened in 1974 to honour English settlers who arrived in the continent several centuries ago before settling in the Eastern Cape Colony. In 1994, it was destroyed by fire and was later rebuilt with lots of similarities to the original building.

•The Grahamstown Cathederal

Grahamstown: Allure of a quiet varsity town From Mimi Ucheagwu

TRAVELOGUE Of note is that some of the walls destroyed by fire were left as they were to remind people of the 1994 disaster after the monument was rebuilt. Over the years, the monument has become a meeting place for Africans of various social groups and it also played host to delegates of the conference who were feted in the famous building. Night life in Grahamstown may not be comparable to what is found in the bigger cities such as Johannesburg or Cape Town but fun-seekers still brave the freezing weather, which can go as low as minus two degrees sometimes, to get their groove on in pubs, clubs and some fancy local restaurants. The town is dotted with shops such as Mr Price, Jets, Woolsworth, Chechers and other nice places for shopping and having fun. There are also pizza parlours, such as Debonair and wine bars where visitors can relax and share small talk. Commenting on the entertainment the town has to offer, a resident and student of RU, Sheila and her friend, Nadine Thomas, said Grahamstown is peaceful and a place for relaxation especially in the evenings, despite the cold. They usually visit pubs or the small clubs that

are in town and try to shake off the cold with as much dancing as they can. “When I first gained admission into RU, I thought I was going to die of boredom because I am a party animal and like to have fun. I felt they were too much into books and had no fun at all; and being a small town, I didn’t think anything much could happen. But as time went on, I discovered the beauty of the town, learnt about its history and actually discovered places where I could go to relax. It’s a small town but it’s got soul,” Thomas said. Though the stay in Grahamstown was short, it was actually worth the chills and runny nose. Aside from the extreme weather, which we learnt is very erratic and change from one extreme to another, the town is a tourist’s delight and the serenity beats living in a hornblaring, noisy city. As we made our way back to Port Elizabeth to catch a flight to Johannesburg, I mused within myself wondering if I would like to return to the nice and cozy town regardless of its freezing weather. For someone who likes nature and a serene environment, I think my answer would be a resounding “Yes!” •Ucheagwu, a journalist, Communications, Lagos

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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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The Midweek Magazine

E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

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VER since I encountered the unique poetry of the Lebanese poet, philosopher and artist, Kahlil Gibran, I have found myself going back again and again to drink from this great thinker’s inexhaustible spring of wisdom and remarkable insights into both the strengths and weaknesses of human nature. Unfortunately, I have not come across his epic poem, ‘The Prophet’, which is acclaimed as his most successful work and has reportedly sold more than six million copies since its publication in 1923. However, I have found the collection of his writings and meditations I have, namely, ‘The Eye of The Prophet’, no less enlightening, ennobling and uplifting. There is a mystical quality about the writings of Kahlil Gibran that never ceases to amaze. Born in Lebanon in 1883, Gibran lived in the Middle East till 1921 when he moved to the United States where he lived until his death. There is no doubt that his varied cultural experiences and literary influences gave Gibran a broad and expansive world view and an eclectic religious/ philosophical outlook that blended the best in diverse spiritual experiences of mankind. The blurb to ‘The Eye of the Prophet’ aptly describes the book as “a startling new collection of Gibran’s writings translated from Arabic into French and now to English. Here Gibran is the poetic, philosophical moralist, grounded in Islam, Bhuddism and Christianity, questing for the best in humanity, refusing to separate man from the natural world”. ‘The Eye of The Prophet’ is a collection of 74 poetic meditations that dwell on diverse themes and issues. Some of these are the most common and ordinary experiences of humanity such as love, youth, marriage, children, money, cities, work, woman, pain, joy, sorrow and work. But Gibran also deals with more sublime and elevated subjects such as Life, liberty, truth, understanding, reason, the mind, art, beauty, courage, wisdom, faith, good and evil as well as religion and God. When he writes about the seemingly most ordinary of human experiences, the beauty of Gibran’s poetry endues them with an aura of the divine and sublime. And when he ruminates on more abstract, philosophical issues, the clarity of his thought demystifies them and makes his meaning accessible to the most unso-

Segun Ayobolu sms to 07032777778 segunayobolu2@yahoo.com

Encountering the poetry of Kahlil Gibran phisticated reader. Even Gibran’s prose has, most times, the surreal, mystical quality of poetry. Yet, his writing is by no means simplistic. Some of his poems are like jigsaw puzzles that must take some deep thinking to unravel his meaning. For instance, his poem titled ‘Eating and Drinking’ simply states: “Some of you, when you sit down to table, eat quickly, and when you walk, move forward slowly./It would be preferable for you to eat with your feet and walk with your hands”. And in another poem on ‘Money’, Gibran writes “Money is like a stringed instrument. He who does not know how to use it skilfully will hear only discordant notes./ Money is like love: it kills slowly and painfully the man who keeps it and gladdens the man who shares it./ Yet love is the source of faith; as for money, it is the source of love without faith”. One of my favourite poems in the collec-

tion is titled ‘The New Age”. Many aspects of this long poem seem to speak to our present condition in Nigeria. For instance, Gibran writes in this poem of the politician: “Are you the politician who says to himself: “I shall exploit my country for the sole benefit of myself?” If yes, you are a mere parasite, living on the flesh of others./ Or are you that fervent patriot whispering into the ear of his own intimate being: “I am devoting myself to my country as a faithful servant”? If yes, you are an oasis in the desert, ready to quench the thirst of the traveller”. And to the man of commerce, Gibran writes: “Are you that merchant who, abusing the needs of the people, monopolises the market in order to sell for a dinar what he bought for a piaster? If yes, you are a criminal whether you live in a palace or a prison”. The poet equally has caustic words for the fraudulent religious leader thus: “Are you

But for me, Gibran’s greatest relevance for today lies in his poetic advocacy of religious tolerance and harmony in a world in which all too much blood is being spilt purportedly in the name of God. The on-going Boko Haram insurgency here in Nigeria leaps to mind here. Perhaps some of Gibran’s poems should be on our school reading lists to help inculcate in our youth the virtue of religious tolerance and accommodation early in life.

Okpara’s Emissarie ... stir debate on religion

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ROM a Lagos- based photographer, Adolphus Okpara, has come a unique and visually compelling photographic portrayal of the custodians of indigenous religious belief. What message is the photographer passing on to viewers? Is it a plus or a minus for the African religion? His on-going solo exhibition, provides the answer. In a solo photography exhibition, Emissaries of an Iconic Religion, which opened last Saturday at the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Lagos, Okpara creatively pushes the boundaries of contemporary portraiture, while highlighting some of the existing tensions between the cultures of animist belief and organised religion. The exhibition, which featured fifteen images from the twenty strong Emissaries series made between 2009 and 2011 is expected to be accompanied by a discussion session as well as video documentary of the artist’s experiences. The Imo State-born photographer’s primary interest is to tell the story of ‘our roots and the need to know it and preserve it. If we don’t document it, it will soon face extinction.’ From this stand point, Emissaries of iconic religion is not only timely, but it is also historic as it flaunts the humanity, identity and dignity of the believers in African traditional religion. The exhibition, which is supported by the British Council, London, is curated by Jude Anogwih and organised by CCA, Lagos. Unlike his past shows, such as Rugbol (2009/10) series or his ongoing projects Shrinking Shores and Cocoa, Emissaries of an Iconic Religion goes beyond the reportage and documentary style characteristic of Okpara’s work. It is a departure from his past exhibitions especially in contextual assertions and stylistic composition. The images and composition of the photographs are good replica of what the Victorian plantation owners and money bags of slave trade era exhibited in the colonial days. In fact, the photographs exude confidence, pride and honour for African religion unlike in most presentations by the West who presents Africans in the way they want to see Africans. Every image in the collection is frontal and bold facing the camera. Each work ‘engages the sensitive debate surrounding the demonisation and denigration of traditional religion instigated by colonial

•Some of the photographs on display at CCA, Lagos. By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)

VISUAL ART and missionary rhetoric, and more recently by the most dominant and visible forms of the religious belief systems in Nigeria and across the continent: Islam and Evangelical Christianity.’ Yet, Okpara attempts to reassert the importance, the centrality and the vitality of local belief systems despite the incursion of external pressures. Okpara has exhibited widely locally and internationally and his recent exhibitions include Contested Terrains, 2011, Tate Modern, London; African Lace, 2010, Museum fur Vulkerkunde, Vienna, Austria; African Photography Encounters, 2011, Bamako, Mali; The Tie That Binds Us, 2012, Tiwani Contemporary, London among others. He has undertaken assignments for notable organisations and his works have been published in magazines, books and websites including the BBC, World Press Photo ENTER, New African Magazine and Nigerians Behind the Lens, the first Fine Art Photobook showcasing contemporary photography from Nigeria.

•Okpara

that religious leader who weaves for his body a purple toga from the innocence of his followers and fashions a crown for his head from the simplicity of their hearts, and who, while pouring out his hatred for Satan, makes use of his riches? If yes, you are a miscreant, an atheist, even if you fast all day and pray all night long”. And what does Gibran have to say of the conscienceless journalist: “Are you that journalist who sells his ideas and principles in the slave market and grows fat on lies, misfortunes and crimes, like a greedy vulture feasting on carrion? If yes you are an open sore and an ulcer”. But for me, Gibran’s greatest relevance for today lies in his poetic advocacy of religious tolerance and harmony in a world in which all too much blood is being spilt purportedly in the name of God. The on-going Boko Haram insurgency here in Nigeria leaps to mind here. Perhaps some of Gibran’s poems should be on our school reading lists to help inculcate in our youth the virtue of religious tolerance and accommodation early in life. In his poem titled ‘Religion”, Gibran proclaims: “I love you my brother, whoever you are. I love you as you pray in your mosque, as you practice your devotions in church, or worship in your temple. For you and I are the children of one single religion: faith. And the varying pathways of religion represent the different fingers of the single loving hand of the Supreme Being. And this hand is stretched out towards us with ardour and offers us all the fulfilment of the Spirit”. And in a very interesting poem titled ‘Jesus of Nazareth’, Gibran writes poignantly and concisely about the true essence of religion: “O Jesus, to your honour and glory they built those churches and those cathedrals, adorned them with silk and melted down the golden calf over their cupolas. They filled the sky with the smoke of candles and incense, while leaving your faithful worshippers without bread. They intoned hymns of praise, while remaining deaf to the cries and tears of widows and orphans. O Living Jesus, if only you could return to chase the merchants of Faith out of your sacred temple! For, they made it into a dark cavern where the vipers of hypocrisy and trickery crawl in their thousands”. Dear reader, why not seek out this great writer’s work to read, enjoy and be enlightened.

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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

The Midweek Magazine Staying at the U S A L V I top

E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

T R A

I

CONSIDER my participation at this event a rare privilege to the effect that I have grace to comment on a compilation of the model examples of excellence of great Nigerians in leadership who have left a bequest by way of their character, attitude and approach while at the top in their respective calling. The golden and evergreen legacies left for us by our respectable elders, some of whom are seated here today, remind me of an African proverb: you can run quicker than an old man, but for his wisdom and his words you are far behind. Another proverb says: Wisdom and experience cant be bought because a child may have more clothes than an adult, but he cannot have as many rags as an adult. I accepted, without any hesitation, the invitation to perform the ritual of a review of this wonderful volume for two main reasons. First, the book is about the enviable examples offered to humanity by celebrated Nigerians in leadership. Second, I am convinced that the book will be of tremendous blessing to me and others who are budding leaders that are privileged to be at the ‘corridor of the top’ in our professions. I have had a rare privilege of reading through this book, which is a major contribution to the development of leadership models in Nigeria. It affords me a great pleasure therefore to present my observations on a prima facie evaluation of the book. Contents The book opens with 28 preliminary pages comprising dedication and acknowledgement by the author, foreword which was provided by Gbade Ibrahim Esq, and an introduction which was provided by the author. Here, the author sets the tone of the book explaining what it means to be at the top, the benefits of staying at the top, the loneliness and devastation suffered by leaders and organisations that fall from the top. The author warned that the book is not a motivational presentation for those who are merely aspiring to get to the top. It is for those who are now at the top and who want to remain there – in the professions, in business, politics, religious leadership, government offices and any other position where top leadership is important. The book was written so that princes while in service may not become slaves out of service. It is expected to contribute towards the reduction of the poor-rich fellows, and those who ended up being strangers in their own houses. Each chapter is made complete by the contributions of some eminent role models in relation to the topic. The models are highlyplaced persons in different aspects of the society, who have been at the top for a period of not less than thirty years and who, at the time of writing are not less than seventy years of age. With 16 chapters, this book opened with a rider that commitment to a goal will influence remaining at the top; it will determine success or failure in the doing and having portions of life so far as personal ambition and its achievement is concerned. In the second chapter, it was stressed that integrity which includes one’s policies, strategies and the whole aspects of one’s behaviour is critical to cultivating a habit of success. Among the areas of life for which policies should be established are healthcare, relationships with one’s spouse, oneself, family members, the Creator, friends, investments in the development of children, and the extended family which are considered

BOOK REVIEW Title:

Stay at the top: Do not fall or be a plateau

Author:

Omoniyi Komolafe

Publishers:

Omokomolafe consulting

Reviewer:

Prof. Sola Fajana

Pagination:

249

critical in our African context. Chapter three is about getting jobs and delivering on assignments. It was stressed that leaders are judged by the performance of their assignments. As it is often said that a man is as good as what he thinks, the author demonstrates ably that what comes out of the individual is a reflection of his or her personality. In chapter four, the issue of forming and norming of the team was amply and competently considered. Every work group is influenced by external conditions imposed from outside it; the work group itself has a distinct set of resources determined by its membership. It also has an internal structure that defines membership roles and norms. This chapter is particularly significant in recognising that some leaders have to work with a team they did not put together in the first place. The importance of trust among team members was underscored in chapter five. All members of the team are not necessarily equal to one another, but they all play complementary roles to the success of the team. Thus, no member, irrespective of his placement in the hierarchy of the organisation must be relegated or written off as incapable of innovativeness or resourcefulness. Chapter six opens with a unique admonition. A Nigerian proverb says: ‘No matter how good you are at your job, you can’t stay there forever because even the best dancer on the stage must retire sometimes. So quit your work team with utmost grace, but maintain conformity to the norm. The author maintains and demonstrates that anyone who sees beyond the high position of temporary leadership must start to see the expiration of his tenure from the day that he starts to be in that leadership position. If you quit the team alive, it is a thing of joy to see that the norm established is maintained by the time you are in retirement. In chapter seven, the place of financial independence was graphically stressed. Financial independence means the capacity for generating money without begging for contract, appealing for financial assistance or bending policy in order to obtain favour. It

also suggests that children should not be forced to make contributions to the upkeep of aged parents. At any rate, with the generational gaps now subsisting globally, it is doubtful if children of the millennial generation will consent to mandatory contributions to maintain their parents in old age. Chapter eight allocates a consulting role to the family, among other roles. The author advises leaders to be at the top with their family members who must be proudly encouraged to remain with the leader while at the top. Children are proud of their parents and the parents must be proud of the children, and tap into their youthful but rich resourcefulness. Chapter nine is devoted to the need for physical and mental stability. A healthy mind in a healthy body requires that adequate attention must be paid to nourishment and grooming of the body through appropriate diet, regular and healthy exercise. Children must be raised as early as possible because late children make early orphans as revealed by a Swahili proverb. Chapter 10 recognises the significance of a healthy relationship with friends. We all need each other to succeed because the prosperity of the trees brings the well-being of the birds as a Yoruba proverb prescribes. The old saying that old friends are better than new ones comes to the fore. This of course is subject to the conditionality that reasonable opportunities exist for a review or update of that friend because over time, people change. In the 11th chapter, the author admonishes an excellent relationship with the Creator, by whatever name He is called by various religions. A conscious effort must be made to find out why people relate with God through individualist choice of medium. Religion must not be practised to the detriment of other people. The relationship with oneself is the subject matter of chapter 12. Many of the occurrences in our lives are caused by us because of decisions we take or fail to take. They are caused because we wrote the script wrongly or we allowed ourselves to act a script written by someone else without full understanding of it. In chapter 13, the advice to create and maintain a legacy was succinctly rendered. Legacies may be physical or intangible. Real legacies comprise of one’s character, integrity and goodwill. If we remember the son of whom we are, then legacies would pass on from generation to generation. Chapter 14 is devoted to the author’s impression and lessons derived from the personal contact through the interviews he had with the eminent persons that constituted the role models advanced in the book. For Sir John Balogun, Olorogun Felix Ibru, Prof. Samuel Olowe, Mr Gamaliel Onosode, Chief Ernest Shonekan and Mr Akintola Williams, the themes of humility, organisational competence, contentment, prayers, team-working, and taking care of family especially children, were consistently recurrent. It is notable that all the models subscribe to this African proverb concerning time management: Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today because tomorrow is pregnant and no one knows what it will give birth to. In chapter 15, the author delves into the spiritual and intellectual part of the inner being which is actually the person. This real person has the capability to take decisions, and therefore, people would be judged according to the choice they make or fail to make. The only two things one does not have choice about are the options of living and dying. Between these two points, the author asserts, whatever you do ‘as you live before you die’ is a matter of choice. You need self belief as

you aspire to achieve your goals, because when a man says yes, his chi (persona god) says yes also (Igbo proverb). A colleague once advised people to write their obituaries while they were still alive. This could be scary. However, what is meant is that by choice, you will write what you want people to report about you after you have died. Coming from your own hand, it would be easier for you to work towards the full realisation of the goals you have set for yourself. Besides, you will be alive to relish and celebrate your achievements. Chapter 16 presents the background of the role models: Kofi Annan, Emeka Anyaoku, Justice Muhammed Bello, Dr Wahab Folawiyo, Nelson Mandela, Prof. Samuel Olowe, Mr Onosode, Chief Shonekan and Mr Akintola Williams. They were all found not conforming to the sit tight leadership syndrome which is the undoing of several African leaders. Aside from minor printer devils, this book is positively unique on account of the following: •The prose is easy to follow and understand, simplicity is a virtue; • The typeface and font-size is readerfriendly, only a few people would require reading glasses to use the book; • The book is amply illustrated with artwork for each chapter as well as photographs of the role models; • Ample documentary evidence is volunteered; • The book is a departure from theory, as most of the analysis were practical and easy to follow even for those who are uninitiated in management theory; and • The presented backgrounds of role models comply with historical finesse of providing objective evidence, leaving the evaluations to be made by readers. • Against the backdrop of disappearing societal values, this book is a corrective with great potential for reversing the trend by reawakening or rediscovering those lost values which worked perfectly for the orderly development of society in the years past. The lessons derived from the profile of the role models show that the rediscovery of our lost values is a possibility. Consequent upon the foregoing, I wish to congratulate the author and with utmost respect appreciate the contributions of the role models for having a rich history written for a social reawakening of Nigerians towards better leadership manifestations and practices. Unlike the author who declared that the book is meant for those who are already at the top, I would recommend the book for general readership. This is because the recklessness and irresponsible behaviour manifested by some lower, middle and senior level participants in contemporary organisations arise from wrong values, unmitigated copying of discreditable models and the general decay of society. To me, the values manifested by the published role models will encourage decency, and mitigate anomie which is currently devastating contemporary leadership and followership. I recommend this volume to Nigerian managers because the issue of getting into leadership is one thing, excelling and staying at the top is another. I recommend this volume to politicians who must learn that leadership is not about creating needless crisis but excelling in the midst of contextual crisis, The latter has been demonstrated by the selected role models in this volume. Once again, I say congratulations to the author, and a big thank you to our great men who agreed to be interviewed and are otherwise included in this work. It has blessed me, and I am persuaded it would bless at lot more people, young and old, serving and retired.

3,000 widows pray for peace in Nigeria

N

O fewer than 3,000 widows from 45 communities in Aguata Anglican Diocese converged on Oko to stage a prayer for peace in Nigeria. The prayer session, which was led by Dame Ngozi Nzeka, was held last weekend at St John’s Anglican Church, Oko, near former Vice President Ekwueme’s residence. At the event tagged Widow’s Day 2013, of the Aguata Diocesan Social Welfare Committee (widows fellowship unit), wife of the Anambra State Governor, Mrs Margaret Peter Obi lamented the number of registered widows in Aguata diocese. She urged the widows not to relent in praying for Nigeria and particularly for the

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

transition election in Anambra State which comes up in November. She donated N500,000, 100 wrappers and 100 bags of rice to the widows fellowship, saying that she was not aware the number of widows was that large while coming but assured to continue to support them. She thanked the Archbishop, Province of the Niger, Bishop of Aguata Diocese, Most Reverend Christian Efobi and wife Dame Jane Nkiruka Efobi (JP) who is the President, Mothers Union/Women Guild of the diocese for the way they are piloting the affairs of the women, especially the widows in the diocese. Obi’s wife reminded the widows that they

cannot do anything without the grace of God and traced her mission with widows since 2006 when she assumed office as she has visited each of the 177 communities in the state thrice championing the welfare of widows. She praised the Chaplian Reverend Canon Victor Ezeibe for his passion in the widow’s ministry. Most Reverend Christian Efobi said registered widows in the diocese are 3,139 and another 86 old widows who cannot join in the event of the day. He said a day was set aside for widows in the diocese to honour them, pray for them and share in their joys and pains reminding them that a chaste widow lacks nothing because God is always her strength.

•Mrs Peter Obi

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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCHY 13, 2013

The Midweek Magazine

E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

PHOTO OF THE WEEK A common sight in Bauchi State

‘No hurry in life’. PHOTO: OLUSEGUN RAPHAEL

Circus of Encounter opens in Ikoyi

Ijebu Ode celebrates Obirin Ojowu

By Seun Adeyemo

A

T

HE ancient town of Ijebu Ode was in festive mood as the indigenes celebrated the annual Obinrin Ojowu festival. For three days, the Olowa Iberu, High Chief Rasaki Oshimodi, went round the town making sacrifices and atonements at necessary places for the peace of the town. Obinrin Ojowu is celebrated during the first week of every third month of the year by the people of Ijebu Ode in compliance with the directive of Ogborogannida who was also known as Obanta by some and Ajagunla by others. Olowa Iberu recalled that when Ogborogannida, who travelled to Ijebu Ode from Wadai, Sudan, was leaving the house of Erelu Abiye Otufoluke, he left Obinrin Ojowu behind in accordance with an agreement she made with him. He, however, instructed that during the first week of every third month of the year, Obirin Ojowu must be brought to meet with him once every year. That begins the celebration of the annual Obinrin Ojowu festival. Today, the practice is for the adherents of Obinrin Ojowu to carry the deity to meet with the reigning Oba of the town. When going on such visits however, they would make a stop at Olisa’s place (i.e. Ogunja). He would receive Obinrin Ojowu, carry it and return it back to them. Thereafter, they would make another stop at the place of Olowa Mobitathe male Ojowu and husband of Obinrin Ojowu at his palace. It is after this that they would go and meet with the reigning Awujale at Itoro. This aspect of the ceremony is called ‘going for Isewu’. According to the Olowa Iberu, the Awujale was expected to dress resplendently and wears his crown to receive them. Olowa performed the traditional dance for the Awujale and together, they would performed the traditional rite for the peace of the town. It must be noted that Obinrin Ojowu as a deity, is a very decent deity. When one is praying before it, it must not be touched by blood, hot drinks, kola nut or

•Celebrants at the Obinrin Ojowu festival By Adebisi Onanuga

bitter kola etc like other deities or dire consequences awaits anybody who does that. But every nine days, a fire must be set up in its front to keep her warm. However, one striking aspect of the Festival is the killing of dogs and the use canes by the youths to whip each other. The celebration of Obinrin Ojowu started on the first day with a walk that is done in the night - “irindeoru”- during which the youth of the town carried the traditional eguntan (light), set up fire in front of Obinrin Ojowu, and walked round the town till morning. They also sprinkled “ero” round the town and made atonement for peace. On the second day, they went for “woro” at Odokala after which they were received by the representatives of the Awujale of Ijebuland, Alayeluwa, Oba (Dr.) S.K.

Adetona, led by the Ogbeni Odi of Awujale of Ijebuland, Chief Adebisi Alaran. Others were the Asokute of Awujale of Ijebuland, Chief Muftau Yaya and Aworawo of Ijebuland, Chief Oye yaya. Together they performed the necessary traditional “ato” for peace and development to reign supreme in the ancient town. They also carried out similar traditional rites for Mobita, the male Ojowu, and prayed for all women of the town present at the occasion, including the Olisa of Ijebu Ode, for their safe-keep and safe deliveries during child birth. The grand finale of Obirin Ojowu festival was held Saturday, March 2, when Olowa Iberu went to Isewu and presented Obirin Ojowu to the representatives of the Awujale. Sacrifices were made at the place where Enisemu, otherwise known as Leguru, was said to have sat on a mat and drove away water from Ijebu Ode.

GROUP photography exhibition entitled: Circus Of Encounter, will hold from March 23 to April 6 at Quintessence Gallery, Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos. It will feature five photographers. The exhibition is organised by f/stop collective using photography to promote and preserve culture. The artists, who are based in the Niger Delta, include Perez Tigidam from Port Harcourt (River State), Ebiware Okiy from Benin (Benin), Israel Ophori from Ughelli (Delta), Tuoyo Omagba from Asaba (Delta), Timipre Willis Amah from Yenagoa (Bayelsa). The artists will be showing about 25 works. Amah said the group’s mission is to exhibit the diverse culture within Niger Delta as against the stereotype of agitation and violence. Amah lectures Visual Communication and Photography at the Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State. According to him, the vision of the group is to promote, inspire, innovate, exhibit and collaborate with any organisation, group and individuals in the rebranding of the Niger Delta. He stressed that as artists, they see the politicians and businessmen as artists who are building the old order into new forms that could have new purpose. “More so, art allows the freedom of diversity and difference to find form and purpose in the contradiction and complexities of human existence. Art could benefit nation building. In this capacity, whoever that is involved in rebuilding or rebranding of the Niger Delta should see him/herself as an artist molding a new Niger Delta that can withstand the challenges of the future,” he added. The f/stop Collective is by artists based in the Niger Delta who have chosen photography as tool in building the region.

42

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

43

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

POLITICS THE NATION

E-mail:- politics@thenationonlineng.net

Imo State Deputy Governor Jude Agbaso is fighting the political battle of his life. He is being probed by the House of Assembly for alleged bribery. In this interview, Agbaso explains the circumstances leading to his travails. He describes himself as victim of a high level political intrigues ahead of the 2015 governorship election. Deputy Editor, Nation’s Capital, YOMI ODUNUGA, met him.

Agbaso: Why they want to shove me aside I

S it true that you have resigned as the deputy governor, following the allega tion of corrupt practices leveled against you by a contractor? It has become absolutely necessary that I speak to the people of Imo State who freely, a little less than two years ago, gave me their mandate that ushered me in as the deputy governor. I owe them a duty at this point in time and in the history of our state to let them know what has actually transpired. It is a known fact that the media is awash with stories of the goings on in Imo State. First, let me start by addressing the issue of the resignation of the deputy governor of Imo State. Let me put it on record and very categorical too that at no time have I contemplated resigning as the deputy governor of Imo State. As I stated earlier, the mandate was freely and massively given me by the people of this state. So, I never resigned, I never intend to resign and I will continue to serve the people of Imo State until the mandate they give me elapses. So, why is the impeachment axe dangling over your head and what do you have to say about the controversy surrounding the payment of N458 million into your account as alleged by the contractor? On the allegation that I am being impeached by the Imo State House of Assembly bothering on the issue or allegation that I received a bribe to the tune of N458 million., I want to also seize this opportunity to state that at no time did I demand N458 million or any sum of money from any contractor whatsoever in Imo State. And at no time did the contractor, Joseph Dina of JPRO, pay me the cumulative sum of N458 million. Let me tell you how the whole thing started. JPRO is the contractor that is working on the present day Sam Mbakwe Road. I never knew the construction company or the owners of the company. They are a company that was introduced to the state by Governor Rochas Okorocha who gave the permission for a contract of the magnitude of N1.5 billion. Thereafter, when I was away on a trip to India, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, apply for the final approval of the job so that the governor would give the final approval for the job of N1.5 billion. This was communicated to the governor who gave the approval but went beyond that to give approval for the payment of N1.5 billion to the contractor via the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Works. Incidentally, his approval was communicated to the Commissioner of Finance who, instead of routing the money through the coffers of the Ministry of Works for onward certification and raising of vouchers to pay to the construction company after due pro-

• Agbaso

cesses would have been fulfilled, the money was routed through the office of the Accountant-General and paid directly to the contractor. So, at no pint did I give approval for the payment of the money. At no point did I communicate the approval for the payment of the money. At no point did I pay the money to the contractor. So, the question that comes to mind is: why would this contractor pay me N458 million? For doing what? When you met the contractor at the House of Assembly during the probe, did you confront him? I heard from him when I went to House that he paid me the money in anticipation of the jobs that I will offer to him in the local government. I was the commissioner in the Ministry of Works and the commissioner in the Ministry of Works never issues jobs in

the local government areas. The chairmen of the Local Government Areas issue jobs. I never issue any job, till date, any job in any local government. So, how could this contractor have paid me in anticipation of something I wasn’t in a position to do? Anyhow, to cut the long story short, how could he have said that I conveyed instructions to him via SMS through his phone in the month of April and June 2012, stating the company, the account number and the bank to pay the sum of N235 million and N133 million? I state here also, categorically, and the record can be retrieved from the telecommunications service provider for the phone I use, that at no point did I convey to this man, Joseph Dina, via SMS to pay me, to any account or any bank, any sum of money whatsoever. So, his story is completely false and ludicrous. It is intended to malign my person. Since they said the money had been paid to the bank, I think the onus is to call on the investigative agents to look at this account. N458m is not N458,000 and cannot vanish into thin air. They should look for the money there. It must be there. If it is not there, they can put a tracer on the money. It can be traced to the last account that it went into. With forensics, they can follow the trail of that money into the pockets of who took the money. But my dear people of Imo State, I state here one more time, I never asked for the money, I never received the money and I do not have any thing to do with it. If you now deny any complicity in the bribery allegation, why would you think anybody would link you to something as damaging as this? This whole thing stems from the various players’ agitation as to the situation in 2015. I have heard stories about speculations about who runs in 2015 and who does not. I know there is subsisting agreement, which is in the public domain in Imo State, between my elder brother who happens to be a politician, Chief Martin Agbaso, and our dear governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, to hand over to the people of Owerri Zone by 2015. I have heard that this has everything to do with it. But I can tell you it has nothing to do with the person of the deputy governor as we speak. And I think that, sooner rather than

‘This whole thing stems from the various players’ agitation as to the situation in 2015. I have heard stories about speculations about who runs in 2015 and who does not. I know there is subsisting agreement, which is in the public domain in Imo State, between my elder brother who happens to be a politician, Chief Martin Agbaso, and our dear governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha’

later, this whole story would be unraveled. Let me state that I have maintained a robust, cordial relationship with His Excellency Owelle Rochas Okorocha. You have linked the current crisis to the pact on 2015 in Imo State. Can you expatiate? My brother has spoken about the agreement between them, that the governor would hand over to the people of Owerri Zone in 2015. The governor had spoken of the one term agreement to hand over to the people of Owerri in 2015. Why it is overheating the system in 2013 is what I couldn’t answer. I am caught in the web between these powerful political players in the state. When you were invited by the House of Assembly, what were the questions asked and how did you respond to those questions? The questions centered on the allegations that I talked about and I also gave the same answers that I just highlighted earlier. I stated, in very clear terms, that at no time was I offered any money by the contractor through any bank account through any means. Has the governor called you to listen to your own part of the story? I had spoken with the governor in the presence of the entire Imo State exco on this allegation and we talked about it. I expressed my innocence. What did the governor say? He said he believed that I am innocent and that, if the House seeks to investigate, then, the House should be allowed to investigate the matter. We learnt that you have not been to your office this week, how true is that? I am not aware that my office has been locked. I was in my office on Friday and it was not locked. How true is it that the governor has decided to intervene on the matter by calling on the House to stop the impeachment move against you? I am not also aware of that. There is conflicting information emanating from all angles. This one you have said is totally strange to me. Would you say the House has given you the benefit of fair hearing by preparing the ground for an impeachment motion against you? It appears to me that the House is not prepared to give me fair hearing. Are you still part of APGA or APC? I was elected under the platform of APGA. The APC is in the future. We have not got there yet. When it becomes a party, we will know who is APC and who is APGA.

‘Vote competence, disregard zoning’

A

• Prof Jega

PARTISAN group, “The Anambra Leaders of Thoughts (ALT)” has advised voters in Anambra State to vote for a competent candidate in the forth-coming governorship election. The association said that only a competent governor can fuel the fire of growth and development in the state. The group said in a statement signed by its co-ordinator, Mr. Chukwuemeka Okeke, in Awka, the state capital, that zoning should not shape the proposed election. According to ALT, the people of

By Musa Odoshimokhe

Anambra State should shun sentiment and disregard zoning in their own interest. The group added: “We call on our people to disassociate themselves from the current calls for a political leadership based on zoning and an inexplicable pact, which could rubish the electoral process”. ALT maintained that only a governor freely elected by the majority can proceed with the work of development in the state at this critical time. The association urged the people

not to sacrifice qualitative leadership on the alter of zoning. ALT said: “Without proper voters’ education, some politicians would take undue advantage of the people. Before long, desperation would set in and various rigging mechanisms that we have always experienced before will be resurrected. “We are gradually evolving as a nation and that includes our electoral process. We have seen examples of the people’s power in recent times at home in states such as Edo and Ondo where elections

took place recently”. The group maintained that Governor Peter Obi’s successor must be a patriot, hardworking, incorruptible and exemplary politician endowed with great qualities of leadership. It added: “We can admit that, save for a few incidents, which could still be avoided in future elections, the conduct of the INEC in recent elections has given us hope. Elections in recent times have been free and fair. We want to believe that this will be the trend in Anambra next year”.

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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

GESTURE

EMPOWERMENT

ADVOCACY

Umar provides buses for NUJ

Lawmaker remembers constituents

Group rises for human rights, democracy

Taraba

46

Oyo

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

Jos

47

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Page 45

Email: news_extra@yahoo.com

Honour for ACN chieftain

P

•Otunba Ogunkeyede

ENULTIMATE Sunday, the multi-purpose hall of the Delightsome Hotel at Halleluyah area of Osogbo was filled to capacity. It was the venue of a grand reception for Otunba Olajumoke Ogunkeyede who was appointed as a member of board of the O’dua Investment Group Limited by the Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. The reception was organised in his honour by a Prince of Ilase, Adeniran Anibijuwon. The day was remarkable for the people of Ilase-Ijesa in Obokun Local Government Area of Osun State who gathered in Osogbo, the state capital, to express their

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

gratitude to God and the state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for appointing of one of their illustrious sons as member of the board. Mrs. Dupe Ajayi-Gbadebo described Ogunkeyede as a real leader. She said she knew him for a long time through his column in the newspaper, even as she said that it was only three years ago that she met him physically. She congratulated the people of Ilase on producing a reliable and peaceful representative on the board of Odu’a Investment Company.

She further noted Ogunkeyede’s contributions to the successes of many people within and outside Nigeria, including former American President Bill Clinton and the Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. Contributing, Ibrahim Adeoti descibed Ogunkeyede as a detribalised Nigerian, who, as coordinator of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) in the United States of America, helped so many Nigerian families without minding whether they were of Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba extraction. This, he said, was during the dark days of the despotic and maximum

military ruler, the late Gen. Sani Abacha. He further said: “The man who we fondly call JMK is selfless beyond description. He is a great Nigerian from whom I have learnt so much. He is more or less a father figure to me.” Mr. Olajide Oke, who is a Professor of Botany at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, praised JMK for being a pillar and a rallying point for the development of Ilase-Ijesa and its environs. He expressed gratitude to the celebrator for doing the people of Ilase proud. The President, Ilase-Ijesa National Union, Sir Moses Aluko said he was impressed by JMK’s humil•Continued on Page 46

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HE inventor of centrifugal base extractor system, Mr Suleiman B. Famuro, has said that Nigeria has great potential in human and natural resources that can propel her to become one of the 20 most advanced economies as envisaged in her Vision 20:20:20. He also said that with centrifugal extractor, Nigeria will no longer spend over $1billion annually to import starch. Famuro said Nigeria, being one of the highest producers of cassava, can also be a net exporter of starch, if the hydraulic press used in the extraction of starch is dropped. He maintained that ennobling attitudes do not come unexpectedly. Rather, they are imbibed through conscious efforts. “No doubt, Nigeria is blessed with huge human and natural resources, but without the necessary technological expertise and the political will to harness the vast resources, these blessings cannot be converted to assets,” he said. Speaking with Newsextra in Ilorin, the United States of American-trained industrial engineer said: “If we are able to replace the hydraulic press with centrifugal base extractor system, Nigeria will become a net exporter of starch. “Some time ago, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said Nigeria spends over $1billion to import starch. This is ironic as Nigeria claim to be the highest producer of cassava in the world. Cassava starch is one of the best. From experiment, every 25 per cent of garri that we produce is starch wasted. That means that every four cups of garri produce one cup of starch that is wasted. In the whole of Africa, nowhere is this equipment used.” He added that the machine is capable of separating water, juice, milk or oil from any agricultural product that is pulverised. Continuing, he said: “To remove water from cassava, it takes up to five hours. But with our designed extractor, it takes only five minutes to achieve much more as we combine washing extraction and filtration all in one equipment. It

•Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Famuro

Boosting economy through starch export Nigerian invents extractor machine Country could save $1billion annually From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

is the only equipment you can use to make starch from already dried crops. It makes over 2,000 revolu-

tions per minute.” The Kogi State-born engineer lamented the apathy of successive Nigerian governments in promoting indigenous ingenuity. He said: “I appeal to government

to look into this simple technology and support it. As it is now, we have been trying to mass-produce but that is not possible without demand. Since I have been working on it, there has not been any support from gov-

ernment institution except National Office of Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) that patented it. “I have gone round many government establishments and research institutes but there has not been any official response from them. “But when the CBN management saw it, they invited me to attend and demonstrate the product at their event. Yet, nothing has been done in terms of rendering some helps. “This is why I attended the recently-concluded South-West Business Forum because I know development (there) is priority. “The Federal Government is not •Continued on Page 46

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Boosting economy through starch export •Continued from Page 45 utilising the money at its disposal to lift the people. I commend the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Adewunmi Adesina for the good job he is doing to revive agriculture. When some people opposed the use of cassava as source for bread on the basis that it is injurious to health, the minister deflated this argument and even supported his argument with very powerful, analytical and science-based reasons that projected cassava to be healthier than bread made of wheat.” He, however, expressed his disappointment at the lack of proper implementation of fine policies in Nigeria, saying that usually is the problem. He added that building big plants does not benefit people at the grassroots, even as he queried why government couldn’t reduce unemployment at that level? The reason, he said, is because big plants will fail as there is no logistics to support them. “I have been doing some engineering research particularly on how to improve local technology. I was particularly interested in cassava processing. After studying the local ways of processing garri, fufu and other products from cassava, I noticed that a very important by-product of cassava, starch, is wasted in the process. “I decided to apply my knowledge of engineering science to see how one can process cassava without losing the starch. This is how I was able to develop and design a centrifugal

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OR journalists in Taraba State, it was a day of joy as the state government provided one bus each to the state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Correspondents Chapel which is an association of reporters from various national newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations operating under the umbrella of the NUJ. The Acting Governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Garba Umar said he donated the buses to the unions to enable them to carry out their duties effectively. The chairman of Taraba State chapter of the NUJ, Alhaji Abdullahi Gambo received the key to the bus on behalf of the members of the NUJ, while chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel, Alhaji Sadiq Adamu received the key to their bus on behalf of the members. Alhaji Umar made the donation

base system which I submitted to National Office of Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP). “It was unique; even as it was different from the way centrifuge based machines are made. After searching the web, they discovered that what I did is unique and new. So, it was patented to me. “Then I continued work in order to develop the physical products from the design. This I did and demonstrated in Abuja in 2009. I invited stakeholders like NBE, NAPEP and some foreign embassies. Since there was no actual interest from any individual or government agency in what I was doing, I continued and finally put in place a commercial sample now ready for production.” Mr. Famuro stated that he has been demonstrating this product at trade fairs. He said he had attended the KWACCIMA fair in Kwara State. He hinted that when two newspapers published the work, a group of people in the United States saw the publications and invited him to participate in Meka Fair Africa in Lagos this year. The fair aims at bringing together innovators all over Africa. “The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was there and she gave me words of encouragement. Later on, I was invited to attend the South-West Grassroots Business Forum and I addressed the business group. “I believe this technology will lift women in cassava processing. This is because I discovered that the starch that is pressed away is substantial.

•Sample of the centrifugal extractor In addition, the women who have been feeding Nigerians with garri and cassava products should not be pushed aside when an additional wealth is generated from cassava. “In terms of using cassava as component of flour to make bread, I noticed that the implementation strategy of the Federal Government seems to have pushed these women aside. “Perhaps, government thinks they

don’t have the equipment and the process they are using is not hygienic. But with the centrifugal extractor which I designed, these women can be brought in to participate. By so doing, the wealth that will be generated in using cassava in bread making will be beneficial to the women,” he said. Giving a brief history of his work experience, the engineer said: “I worked at the Kwara State Invest-

ment Corporation as Head of Project Department for about five years. Since then, I have been working as industrial development consultant. “I brought Polar into Nigeria and initiated some innovations in bottling industry which I demonstrated in Polar. Polar was the first bottling plant in the world to use unitary bottling system to bottle various brands of soft drinks,” he said.

Taraba provides buses for NUJ From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo

at Government House, Jalingo, the state capital. Chief Press Secretary to the Acting Governor, Mr. Kefas Sule said: “The acting governor’s donation

was in recognition of the important roles the media play in nationbuilding.” Mr. Sule, who noted that the acting governor is press-friendly, said his boss understands the imperative of the role the press plays in information dissemination as well as in entrenching democracy in the

The acting governor’s donation was in recognition of the important roles the media play in nation-building…Reporters in Taraba will continue to be objective in their reportage and would not compromise in their dealings with the government or any group

•Acting Governor Umar flanked by Gambo (right) and Adamu

country. “The acting governor’s doors are always open to journalists in the course of their duties and when there is need to gather relevant information,” Kefas said. Receiving the key, Gambo thanked the acting governor for recognising the value of journalists and the complexity of their duties. He said the gesture was a boost to the journalism profession as it will facilitate their movement.

He said reporters in Taraba will continue to be very objective in their reportage, even as he promised that the union would not compromise in their dealings with the government or any group. “We shall always investigate and balance our reports in trying to make government accountable to the people,” Gambo said. Contributing, Sadiq Adamu said the bus would be used judiciously in carrying out their duties.

ACN chieftain honoured •Continued from Page 45 ity and visionary leadership. He further said: “JMK’s attitude is not new. His family is known for always making themselves ready for selfless service. Our man, JMK, in the face of stiff opposition and challenges, has proved himself selfless, courageous and visionary. He is a leader of leaders.” Responding, Otunba Ogunkeyede thanked friends and well-wishers as well as the people of Ilase for appreciating his good deeds and contributions to the town, its environs, the state and the world at large. He narrated how he went through life’s vicissitudes after losing his father at the age of five about 60 years

ago. He assured the people of Ilase and its contiguous communities that he would remain their good ambassador. Dignitaries in attendance who spoke glowingly about JMK included the former Managing Director of the defunct Sketch Newspapers, Mrs Dupe Ajayi-Gbadebo, former Commissioner for Agriculture in Osun State, Hon. Thomas Ogunfoabi, Onidominasi of Idominasi, Obaala of Ilare-Ijesa, Lupasi of Ipasi, Onidoka of Idoka, Otun Iyalode of Ife, Senior Apostle Albert Olayemi, Prof. Olajide Oke, Mr. Ibrahim Adeoti, Pa Moses Aluko, Mr. Rotimi Aluko, Chief Babakoya Dada, Mr. Toyin Orungbe, Alhaji Lai Oyeduntan, Mr. Moses Adegbesan, and Mr. Ibrahim Inaolaji, among others.

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Ogun restates commitment to fiscal discipline HE Ogun State government has said it will continue to make fiscal discipline and strict adherence to all known ethics its guiding principles in the implementation of its budget. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and Planning, Mr. Yomi Sobande who stated this in a statement signed by the Press Officer in the ministry, Miss Mistura Adeseye, explained that the Senator Ibikunle Amosun-led administration remains focused and committed to the implementation of its budget. He also said that despite whatever changes the state experienced in its income, government

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This administration is very faithful in terms of budget allocation. There are cases where shifting of revenue expectation may lead to adjustment of priorities. But that has never resulted in loss of focus on critical programmes of the government

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HE National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) has expressed its determination towards reducing tetanus infection to a zero level in Ogun State. The head, non-polio supplementary immunisation activities in the agency, Dr. Nneka Onwu who led a team of experts to the state, said that necessary steps were being taken to scale up activities that would eliminate tetanus among people of all ages; especially women of child-bearing age and the newborn. Speaking during the sensitisation programme on train the trainers

would remain faithful in its budget allocation and implementation. He said: “This administration is very faithful in terms of budget allocation. There are cases where shifting of revenue expectation may lead to adjustment of priorities. But that has never resulted in loss of focus on critical programmes of the government. It keeps moving in line with plans; no matter the changes in the state’s income.” Mr. Sobande stated that the ministry is making the best use of available funds to the government; even as he added that financial funding engineering was embedded in the manner the state resources were being utilised. Describing the process of expenditure and budget monitoring in the state as a time-honoured issue, the Permanent Secretary maintained that relevant mechanisms had been built overtime to ensure that extra-budgetary expenditure was reduced to the barest, if not totally eliminated. “It is impossible to incur extrabudgetary expenditure in the state these days as a result of the various levels of checks and balances as well as authorisation put in place by the government,” Sobande said. He attributed the success of the ministry i this regard to the professional competence of Governor Ibikunle Amosun who is an astute chartered accountant as well as the commitment of the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mrs. Wande Muoyo to fiscal discipline.

•Some of the empowerment materials

Lawmaker remembers constituents

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HE member representing Ibadan North-West State Constituency at the Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon. Abimbola Akeem Oladipo, has presented empowerment tools worth N12m to some under-privileged people in his constituency. Speaking at the presentation held at TCTC Compound in Eleyele, Ibadan, Hon. Oladipo said the empowerment programme was aimed at alleviating poverty among in his constituent. The lawmaker, who said about 200 people benefited from the programme, presented items including 15 chest freezers, three flat screen televisions, 17 motorcycles, 21 bags of rice, 36 power generating sets, 15 grinding machines, 15 hair dryers, 15 sewing machines, four tricycles and 16 dozens of chair.

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

Apart from empowering his constituents, Hon. Oladipo said he had constructed a block of three classrooms at Anwal-ul-Islam Primary School, Eleyele. He also said he had renovated two blocks of four classrooms at Baptist Primary School, IdiIkan, and constructed modern toilets at Ayeye. Continuing, he said: “I have also sunk six boreholes in different locations of the constituency. All these efforts are geared towards improving the socio-economic standards of the rural and agrarian communities in my constituency.” In his remarks, chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Oyo State, Chief Akin Oke commended the lawmaker for bringing benefits

Agency offers to fight tetanus in Abeokuta, Dr. Onwu, who described tetanus/lockjaw as bacterial infection caused by the germ known as clostridium tetanus that grows in damaged tissues of wound or in a baby’s umbilical cords, said that efforts are on to achieve less than one case of the infection by 2015. She said: “Tetanus infections contribute to maternal and neonatal deaths in the country. Certain strategies have been mapped out to address the menace

for total elimination of the disease.” The medical expert maintained that attention would be concentrated on the area of strengthening routine Immunisation for improved coverage of tetanus immunisation performance, adding that this would be achieved by conducting three rounds of maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination campaign in high risk local government areas, Ante-natal care through fixed, outreach and mo-

bile strategies and strengthening of school-based tetanus toxoid campaigns. She added that promotion of clean cord remains paramount as preventive measure towards eliminating tetanus. She also noted that this would be achieved through capacity building for health workers, enhancing the midwives services scheme, provision of delivery kits, promotion of clean delivery practices at maternity institutions, home and communities; through social mobilisation and awareness campaigns. “We shall also focus attention on proper surveillance aimed at improving case detection and response, monitoring, supervision and proper documentation on issues relating to tetanus,” she said. Dr. Onwu stated that communication, child survival and maternal health activities such as Mater-

of democracy to the people at the grassroots. He advised the people to expect more developmental and empowerment schemes from the ACN political office holders in the state. Some of the beneficiaries of the programme, including Mr. Basiru Ayinla and Alhaja Kafaya Aina, expressed their happiness over the gesture. They praised the lawmaker for his leadership quality, even as they advised other political office holders in the area to emulate him. Dignitaries and party chieftains present at the event included the chairman, transition committee of Ibadan North-West Local Government Area Dr Busari Adebisi, Alhaji Wasiu Olatunbosun, Alhaji Muili Oluokun and members of the state legislature.

nal, Newborn and Child Health Week would be improved upon to achieve their targets. The Director, Primary Healthcare Service in the state Primary Healthcare Development Board, Dr. Kafayat Lawal commended the efforts of the parent agency in improving the health status of people, especially women and children on issues relating to tetanus. Dr. Lawal further said that the gesture would help to record more achievements on preventive measures on tetanus infection. “Over the years, there is improved protection of children against tetanus in Ogun State. Our DPT 3 coverage has increased from 64 per cent in 2009 to 88 per cent in 2011 while the maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination case has reduced from 104 in 2006 to five cases in 2010 after the tetanus toxin intervention campaign and reduction of 16 deaths of tetanus infection in 2006 to 1 death in 2010. This has been maintained till date,” she said.

Tetanus infections contribute to maternal and neonatal deaths in the country. Certain strategies have been mapped out to address the menace for total elimination of the disease

•Representative of the wife of Ogun State governor, Mrs Olufunlayo Adesegun administering Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) to a newborn baby at the flag-off of 2012, second round of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW) in Ofada

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The Nigerian Parliament recently passed an Act to give the National Human Rights Commission prosecutory powers. It also made it an independent body. Through Acts such as the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, the HIV and AIDS Anti-discrimination Act, the Minimum Wage Act, it is strengthening human rights protection

•Hon Beni Lar (right, in front row) and other freedom fighters in Taiwan

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S part of activities to mark the 2013 edition of World Freedom Day, members of World League for Freedom and Democracy WLFD), an advocacy organisation for freedom and sustainable democracy the world over, recently converged on Taipei, Taiwan to strategise on ways to achieve global freedom. After much deliberation, they reached a conclusion that good governance and democracy remain key means through which this could be guaranteed. A Nigerian Hon. Beni Lar rep-

Group rises for human rights, democracy From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

resenting Langtang North/ Langtang South Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives was a member of the forum. The WLFD, which was formed in 1959, is an anti-communist League that fought for freedom and democracy for Taiwan.

Its objectives to advocate and support causes of freedom, democracy and world peace; to promote respect for human rights and the fundamental freedom of all people; to be a coordinating centre for international co- operation in economic development and educational and cultural exchange designed to contribute to social progress and better standard of life; and to combine

Council steps up infrastructure

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FTER providing infrastructure in Alimosho Local Government Area, Lagos which enhanced the well-being of residents last year, the council chairman Hon Olusola Israel Adekunle has pledged that his administration will do more this year. Adekunle was speaking at the presentation of the 2013 Appropriation Bill to the legislative arm of the council at its Akowonjo headquarters. The bill, according to the council chief, focuses on “accelerated growth” geared towards “road construction, free health, social engineering and poverty alleviation.” Last year the Adekunle administration raised the council’s infrastructural profile by constructing drainage, procuring and distributing three electricity transformers, surfacing streets, clearing silted drains and building a library at a Primary Health Centre in addition to providing a security post in the council. In the same year, police operations were boosted with walkietalkies as well as vans, while students got free GCE and JAMB forms, as pupils were given exercise books. This year, Hon Adekunle has promised to provide more infra-

efforts against international terrorism, aggression, imperialism in whatever form or guise. The organisation that has 100 chapters worldwide plans to partner with the National Assembly and National Human Rights Commission to open a chapter in Nigeria. In her remarks at the forum, Hon Lar said: “Nigeria is working hard to promote freedom and human rights, even as she tries to consolidate on its gains of democracy. She posited that Nigeria is strengthening its democratic institutions and processes to achieve this goal. Continuing, she said: “The Nigerian Parliament recently passed an Act to give the National Human Rights Commission prosecutory powers. It also made it an independent body. And

through Acts such as Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, the HIV and AIDS Anti-discrimination Act, the Minimum Wage Act and pending Bills such as the Violence against Persons Bill and the Anti-torture Bill among others, it is strengthening human rights protection. “The National Assembly is working hard to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedom of Nigeria citizens.” She also disclosed role that Nigeria is playing to promote regional security and development in the West African Sub-region in order to maintain peace and security. She thanked the Taiwanese government for inviting Nigeria to be among the 100 countries that participated in this year’s World Freedom Day celebration.

Youths challenge govt on indigenous airlines

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•Hon Adekunle (left) presenting the Appropriation Bill to the House Leader By Emmanuel Udodinma

structure and leave a lasting legacy in the council. For the current year, his administration has proposed a budget sum of N1,880,000,000 with

which to provide more facilities for residents of the council. “It is the wish of this administration to bring rapid development, sustainable groawth, sustainable growth, accelerated progress and prosperity to this local government,” Adekunle said.

HE National Committee of Yoruba Youths (NCYY) has urged the Federal Government to put more incentives in place to encourage private indigenous airlines. The group also called on the government not to relent on its efforts to revolutionise the aviation sector to make it safe. It noted that the sector had the capacity to considerably reduce youth unemployment if truly functional. The group, in a communiqué issued after its quarterly meeting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, lamented the soaring rate of joblessness in the country. The group further observed that if serious attention was paid to all the vital sectors of the country’s economy, the problem of unemployment would be reduced. The communiqué was signed by Comrade Oladimeji Odeyemi;

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

National President; Alhaji Bashiru Bello; National Publicity Secretary; Prince Oseni Bamisile; National Director of Strategy and Planning and Pastor Tunde Orundami who is its Patron. It commended the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah (OON) for what it described as positive changes that had taken place in the industry since she assumed office. It congratulated her on her Champion Man of the Year Award. NCYY noted that her 18 months as the Minister of Aviation have been eventful. The group expressed its optimism that the award would encourage Oduah to further pursue the vision of President Jonathan to turn the aviation sector around.

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NEWS ‘Fed Govt to stop estimated budgeting’

Tukur to minister :power supply embarrassing H T

HE former Chairman of the Revenue Mobili sation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC), Hamman Tukur yesterday, told the Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo, that the power supply in the country is embarrassing. Tukur, who is the newly appointed Chairman of the Board of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), spoke at the inauguration of the board in Abuja, adding that Nigeria has the resources to provide adequate power supply. Tukur, while insisting that the Minister must do something to provide efficient and constant power for the citizenry, said 4,000mega watts of electricity, is too meagre for a population of 160 million people. He said: “What we know is that Nigerians need efficient electricity. There is no way that a country with 160million people can cope with 4,000MW. It is an embarrassment. Please do something now. Nigerians need efficient and constant electricity. “ I worked for RMFAC for

•Inaugurates TCN board From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

10 years. I know that Nigeria has the resources to do what is required to develop infrastructure. The resources are available.” In his response, Prof Nebo told Tukur that as a key member of the power sector regulator, he challenged him to perform the necessary duty of transmitting the power. Nebo explained that without transmission, no amount of power generated can reach the consumers, saying that within a year, when the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) comes on stream, the supply would exceed 10,000mw. He said the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has worked hard to ensure that the power sector is in line with global best practices by establishing the Nigeria Bulk Trader Company.

He said: “Chairman, of the supervisory Board of the TCN, I hope you know that the buck stops on your table. I pass it over to you. I learnt that it was not easy for you to accept this job, because everybody knows you as a no nonsense person. “Without transmission, no amount of power generated will get to Nigerians.” The Minister explained that the Manitoba Hydro International (MHI) of Canada was offered a three-year management contract in 2012 after due process, saying the company was asked to work with in-house team and take control of the daily operation of the TCN which will include major functions, such as Market Operator and System Operator. Nebo said the MHI is expected to revamp TCN to achieve stable technical and financial adequacy in addi-

tion to providing stable transmission of power without system failure. “It is also expected that TCN will become a commercially viable and market-driven company, that is capable of evacuating the maximum capacity of energy generated for distribution. Thus, the expected results for the repositioning of TCN, include reduction of electricity losses in transmission networks and systems and equitable and adequate generation dispatch predicated on fair merit order,” Nebo said. “I want to implore the Board to work assiduously for the realisation of a robust grid with little or no system collapses and to actualise government objectives of delivering quality, reliable and efficient power supply to Nigerians,” he added. Other members of the Board are Akinsola Akinfemiwa, Vice Chairman; Don Priestman from MHI, Ms Larai Shuaibu, BPE Director of Human Resources; Egwesor , Ministry of Power and an independent member, Dr. Sam Egwu.

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Arik Air gets merit award

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RIK Air has secured yet another award in recognition of its commitment to developing Nigeria/Sierra Leone relations. Last week, the Nigeria High Commission in Sierra Leone presented the airline with a merit award for its outstanding contribution to the development of the Nigerian community and the relationship between the two countries in 2012. Speaking at the award ceremony in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the Nigeria High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Mr Eyo Asuquo, said Arik Air has worked tirelessly to strengthen the relations between Nigeria and Sierra Leone. He said the award was established in line with the directive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Receiving the award from the Sierra Leone High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Henry Macauley, Arik Air’s Freetown Manager, Mr Femi Asun, said the honour would spur the airline to do more to promote relations between Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor

stakeholders. A source, who pleaded not to named, hinted that there had been complaints of high handedness by the NCAA over the issuance of air operators’ certificate to prospective airline operators. Some names have been touted as possible replacement for Demuren. They include Captain Kiddy Dare, a pilot, who worked with the NCAA. Dare, according to some industry players, is a brilliant pilot that could offer leadership at the authority. There are also Captain Ibrahim Mshelia, who runs

Mish Aviation Academy, Accra, Ghana. Another source hinted that the government may consider inviting Nigerians serving as representatives in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Montreal , Canada. They include the former Rector of the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, Folashade Odutola and Dr Olumuyiwa Aliu, who were former directors in NCAA, before they were nominated to serve in the international body. There are concerns in some quarters that the government may consider

•Demuren

some former pilots from the defunct Nigeria Airways Limited, on account of their long years of experience in the industry. It was learnt yesterday that Demuren’s refusal to bow to pressure in the issuance of air operators’ certificates to some prospective carriers, may have swelled the campaign by some stakeholders to get him out of office. He was seen as ‘’too strict”.

IPPIS is ignored in comparison to the payroll component.” He assured the police that their salaries “will be paid more regularly and everybody will be paid at the same time”. He added that his office was “not treating the peculiarities of the police in the execution of IPPIS lightly.” He explained that the IPPIS initiative was designed for the benefit of the government and support the peculiarities in the police force. Otunla told the payroll officers in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), that the implementation of IPPIS was not to take over their resposibilities, as the IPPIS secretariat does not have the manpower to manage personnel payroll for all MDAs. He added that the programme would be executed with regular interface between the Office of the AGF and MDAs.

Jonathan, Da Silva for summit

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Anxiety in NCAA over Demuren’s successor HERE is anxiety at the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) over plans by the government to appoint a new directorgeneral of the regulatory authority. The office became vacant following the sack of Dr. Harold Demuren. The staff of the authority are afraid that an ‘outsider’ may be appointed, anxiety over the possibility of appointing an outsider, amid a tussle by directors for the seat. There are concerns that the removal of Demuren may trigger a major reorganisation in NCAA as a result of various concerns raised by some industry

AVING recovered over N100 billion from the use of Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), the Federal Government said it would stop executing the nation’s budget on estimates, projections, or guess work. The Accountant -General of the Federation (AGF), Jonah Otunla, yesterday said this at the sensitisation programme for the police in Abuja. Otunla said by introducing IPPIS, the “Federal Government wants to integrate payroll with payments to plan budgets for its employees for advancement, including personnel emolument. “The government wants to use modern technology to know the number of its employees and operate according to best practices because government wants civil servants to plan for their salaries with certainty as well,” he added. He lamented that “often, the personnel component of

HE Economist Events has announced the con firmation of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from Brazil, Ambassador Zhong Jianhua, China’s Special Representative for African Affairs and Ozwald Boateng, internationally renowned designer and fashion icon, as speakers at its flagship networking event, The Nigerian Summit, slated for Lagos, from March 19 – 20, 2013. By this confirmation, Lula da Silva, Jianhua and Boateng will join other notable speakers who have confirmed participation at the summit. These include President Goodluck Jonathan; Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Finance Minister and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Develop-

By Akinola Ajibade

ment. Other speakers include: Kennedy Bungane, Chief Executive Officer, Barclays Africa and Head, Africa Group Strategy; Mutiu Sunmonu, Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Matthieu Pigasse, Chief Executive Officer, Lazard France; Vicec-chairman, Lazard Europe; Karel de Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade; Diana Layfield, Regional Chief Executive Officer, Africa, Standard Chartered; Valentine Sendanyoye Rugwabiza, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organisation; Brian Molefe, Group Chief Executive Officer, Transnet; Gagan Seksaria, Chief Financial Officer and Head of Investments, International Container Terminal Services Inc, among others.

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EQUITIES NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 12-3-13

Equities rise by N147b in renewed rally T HE upswing at the Nigerian stock market gathered momentum yesterday as anticipatory transactions orchestrated the biggest price rally in the past six weeks. With buy market orders outnumbering sale orders, the demand advantage left investors with capital gains of N147 billion, pushing average year-to-date return up by 1.4 per cent to 18.78 per cent. Market pundits attributed the renewed rally to heightened expectations on the imminent release of audited reports and accounts and dividend recommendations of several major stocks. Aggregate market value of all equities trended upward to N10.672 trillion from its opening value of N10.525 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI), the common valuebased index that tracks all quoted equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), rallied to 33,351.71 points as against its opening index of 32,890.36 points. The market was positive with 34 advancers to 24

By Taofik Salako

decliners and substantial gains by several companies. Increased demand for large manufacturers, especially breweries, petroleum-marketing companies and building materials companies, boosted the market. Guinness Nigeria led the advancers with a gain of N24.87 to close at N289.90. Nigerian Breweries followed with a gain of N10.50 to close at N172.50. Total Nigeria placed third with a gain of N4.20 to close at N159. Oando added N1.60 to close at N19.80. Northern Nigeria Flour Mills rallied N1.11 to close at N23.43. Lafarge Wapco Cement Nigeria rose by 97 kobo to close at N70. Forte Oil gathered 65 kobo to close at N13.65 per share. UAC of Nigeria gained 60 kobo to close at N55 while Dangote Cement chalked up 50 kobo to close at N142.99 per share. On the downside, Nestle

Nigeria topped the losers’ list with a drop of N6 to close at N835. Presco lost N1.49 to close at N23.80. Mobil Oil Nigeria dropped by N1 to close at N124. DN Meyer was down by 24 kobo to close at N2.16 while National Salt Company of Nigeria slipped by 12kobo to close at N9.18 per share. Investors continued to take positions in financial services stocks, which recent reports indicated high prospects for good yields. Custodian and Allied Insurance was the most active stock with a turnover of N51.05 million shares valued at N98.15 million in 76 deals. Guaranty Trust Bank followed with a turnover of 38 million shares worth N948.38 million in 434 deals while Zenith Bank placed third with 35.83 million shares valued at N779.39 million in 436 deals. Banking subgroup accounted for a turnover of 1198.6 million shares valued at N2.52 billion in 2,373 deals. Insurance subsector trailed with a turnover of 123.65 million shares worth N161.52 million in 378 deals. Altogether, investors staked N4.83 billion on 474.67 million shares through 6,492 deals.

NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 12-3-13

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

55

MONEY LINK

CBN: Banks’ll be Basel II compliant by 2014

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EPOSIT Money Banks (DMBs) will be Basel II compliant by 2014, Director, Banking Supervision, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mrs. Olatokunbo Martins has said. She disclosed this in a keynote address delivered at the 1st Annual Conference on Audit and Regulatory Examination of Banking Technologies held in Lagos. The CBN director said that implementation of such principle will create buffer for banks against financial crisis. Basel Accord is a financial analysis principle that is expected to give Nigerian banks’ financials better credibility. She said the global knowledge and expertise in Basel principles reduces the risks of getting things wrong. According to her, the adoption of the model will further enhance transparency and facilitate the restoration of investors’ confi-

Stories by Collins Nweze

dence in the on-going efforts to sanitise and rebuild the financial services sector. “Where is the next crisis going to be? Our concern is that we don’t want the next crisis to come from what we are hearing about cyber espionage around the world because those figures that we are hearing are quite alarming. In banks, you employ so many technologydriven products and the banks embrace new financial, operational and compliance risk as you adopt these new technologies. “As you are aware, very soon, we won’t just be requiring you to make capital charge for your credit, you will also be required to make capital credit for your operational risks,” she said. The CBN director said information

technology (IT) risk is a major operational risk. She said a significant part of credit risk is operational. “If you say that operational risk is a failure of people, processes and system, even the credit risk, a major part of it is interwoven with credit risk. Each technology that a bank adopts presents unique risks that raise safety and soundness concern. This is to ensure the safety and soundness of the banking industry and to ensure that anything that pose as threat to the industry will be tackled. “By 2014 hopefully the banking industry should be Basel II compliant. This will bring about improved capital buffers and to protect the banks and make them more resilient,” she said. However, she admitted that information technology has evidently impacted banking tremendously, even redefining the nature of banking and banking relationships.

FCMB commits N20m to education

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IRST City Monument Bank (FCMB) Plc has financed the building of a one story building comprising six classrooms, a multipurpose hall and other facilities to Baptist Model High School in Ikola-Ipaja. The bank said in a statement that the facilities, which have been commissioned cost it N20 million. FCMB said the construction began in middle of last year. Speaking at the commissioning of the school building, FCMB’s Zonal Head for Ojo-Alaba in Lagos, Mr. Endwell Brown, explained that the bank is committed to supporting developmental projects and programmes that will benefit the larger society. The Administrator of Lagos Bap-

tist Conference Schools, Reverend (Dr.) E.A Awotunde, said the project was on the drawing board for several years until the intervention of the bank, which provided the needed capital that completed the building as scheduled. He said the bank has through this gesture, proven its commitment to education, capacity building and human development. Reverend Awotunde, who is also the President of Lagos East Baptist Conference, stated that the completion of the building would enable the school enrol more students and thanked FCMB for expressing its willingness to finance more projects for the school, one of which is another storey building comprising of 12 classrooms that will commence soon.

She said banks are truly enjoying all the technological novelties with potential for expanding their products, services, customer base and responding to regulation, and above all, improve their profitability. Martins advised lenders not to lose sight of the fact that technology comes with great risk. “Technology poses risk to the safety and soundness of financial institutions, to the public interest and to the larger economy,” she said. On his part, Chairman, Audit Committee Institute, Nigeria, Mr. Christian Ekeigwe, warned that with the nature of cyber crime, a single incident can pull down a strong bank and such can happen within a short time. He advised banks to adopt a new mindset on control in order to ensure that their institutions are not affected. “This conference will focus attention on the key issues of banking technol-

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the institution’s determination to continue to provide value-added services to its clients. Among its many benefits, the certification guarantees seamless operations of the bank’s e-platforms, translating to efficient and secure service delivery to customers. The PCI DSS is the highest compliance level globally in the payments industry. The system essentially identifies all technology and process vulnerabilities that pose risks to the security of cardholder data that is transmitted, processed or stored by a financial services provider.

FGN BONDS Amount N

Rate %

M/Date

3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

19-05-2014 18-05-2016 19-05-2016

Amount

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

PRIMARY MARKET AUCTION (T-BILLS) Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012

GAINERS AS AT 12-3-13

O/PRICE

C/PRICE

CHANGE

GUINNESS UNITYBNK OANDO NB FO NNFM UPL MAYBAKER MANSARD WAPIC

265.03 0.76 18.20 162.00 13.00 22.32 4.50 2.28 2.55 1.30

289.90 0.83 19.80 172.50 13.65 23.43 4.72 2.39 2.67 1.36

24.87 0.07 1.60 10.50 0.65 1.11 0.22 0.11 0.12 0.06

DNMEYER PRESCO ROYALEX JOHNHOLT PREMBREW TRANSCORP WEMABANK MULTITREX CORNERST FTNCOCOA

O/PRICE 2.40 25.29 0.80 1.81 0.81 1.62 1.25 0.76 0.54 0.58

C/PRICE 2.16 23.80 0.76 1.72 0.77 1.55 1.20 0.73 0.52 0.56

Exchange

Sold ($)

Rate (N)

Date

350m

150m

150m

155.2

2-7-12

350m

138m

138m

155.8

27-6-12

350m

113m

113m

155.7

22-6-12

CAPITAL MARKET INDEX Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

NGN USD

147.6000

149.7100

150.7100

-2.11

NGN GBP NGN EUR

239.4810 212.4997

244.0123 207.9023

245.6422 209.2910

-2.57 -1.51

149.7450

154.0000

154.3000

-3.04

Bureau de Change 152.0000

153.0000

155.5000

-2.30

154.0000

156.0000

-1.96

NSE CAP Index

27-10-11 N6.5236tr 20,607.37

28-10-11 N6.617tr 20,903.16

% Change -1.44% -1.44%

NIGERIA INTER BANK (S/N) (S/N)

MEMORANDUM QUOTATIONS Name

Parallel Market

153.0000

DISCOUNT WINDOW Feb. ’11

July ’11

July ’12

MPR

6.50%

6.50%

12%

Standing Lending Rate ,, Deposit Rate ,, Liquidity Ratio Cash Return Rate Inflation Rate

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

LOSERS AS AT 12-3-13

SYMBOL

Amount

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12

(S/N)

SYMBOL

Amount

Offered ($) Demanded ($)

Currency OBB Rate Call Rate

OUTH Africa posted a currentaccount deficit close to a fouryear high in the fourth quarter, undermining the rand and adding to price pressures in Africa’s biggest economy. Bloomberg said the gap reached 6.5 per cent of gross domestic product, down from a revised 6.8 per cent in the third quarter, the biggest since the same period in 2008, the Reserve Bank said. The deficit, the broadest measure of trade in goods and services, almost doubled to 6.3 per cent in 2012 from 3.4 percent a year earlier as mining strikes and slower growth in Europe cut exports. The report said that contributed to the rand sliding 7.1 percent against the dollar this year, adding to pressure on inflation and making it difficult for policy makers to reduce borrowing costs to spur the economy.

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM

MANAGED FUNDS

NIDF NESF

South Africa’s current account gap rises

DATA BANK

Tenor

Initial Current Quotation Price Market N8250.00 5495.33 N1000.00 N552.20

ogy risks, how auditors must audit them to assurance and the proposition that technology risks contributed insidiously to the distress in the industry,” Ekeigwe added.

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Stanbic IBTC gets global cards security nod HE PCI Security Standards Council, a global body charged with ensuring the security of card payment services, has certified Stanbic IBTC’s card payment services as compliant with the Payment Cards Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). In a statement, the bank said that that the lender’s card payment solutions, its debit and credit card services, have met the highest standard of security of customers’ information and transactions on its e-banking platform, which greatly lowers the risk of system compromise. This certification, it said, reflects

• CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido

ARM AGGRESSIVE GROWTH KAKAWA GUARANTEED STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND LOTUS CAPITAL HALAL BGL SAPPHIRE FUND BGL NUBIAN FUND FBN MONEY MARKET FUND FBN FIXED INCOME FUND NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL DEB. PARAMOUNT EQUITY FUND CONTINENTAL UNIT TRUST CENTRE-POINT UNIT TRUST STANBIC IBTC NIG EQUITY • ARM AGGRESSIVE

Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 137.90 146.54 0.80 1.14 1.11 100.00 1,000.00 1,780.91 14.66 1.39 1.87 10,695.04

9.08 1.00 137.47 146.06 0.78 1.14 1.09 100.00 1,000.00 1,777.05 13.95 1.33 1.80 10,397.87

• KAKAWA GUARANTEED

CHANGE 0.24 1.49 0.04 0.09 0.04 0.07 0.05 0.03 0.02 0.02

• STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE • AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

Rate (Previous) 4 Mar, 2012 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250

Rate (Currency) 6, Mar, 2012 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%

Movement

OPEN BUY BACK

Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833

Movement

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

56

NEWS

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PDP governors get five-man security panel

HE Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum (PDPGF), Governor Godswill Akpabio, has said no PDP governor plans to join the All Progressive Congress (APC). Akpabio told reporters after the forum’s meeting, which ended in early yesterday, that PDP governors would rather work to strengthen the party. The governor said his colleagues were determined to work for the party to win more states in 2015. He said: “We want to reassure Nigerians who have reposed their confidence in us from 1999 to run the affairs of this nation that we are equal to the task and that we will not let them down.’’ Akpabio said the forum had set up a five-man security committee to evaluate the country‘s security situation. He added that the committee, to be called the PDP Governors’ Forum Security Advisory Committee, is to be headed by Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako. According to him, the committee will suggest ways in which the forum can collaborate with the Federal Government and the public to curb crime. Akpabio said the forum review the constitution the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) to ensure stability. But he assured that the PDPGF would work with the NGF, saying the PDPGF was not created to destroy the NGF. He said the two bodies

‘Govt serious about federal character ’

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•Spend security votes on information, Anenih urges •Forum seeks review of NGF’s constitution From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

would collaborate to ensure that governors speak with one voice for the benefit of all Nigerians and to deepen democracy. Akpabio congratulated Chief Tony Anenih, who attended the meeting, for emerging PDP Board of Trustees’ (BoT) chairman. Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan presented the interim report of the fiveman PDP Southwest reconciliation committee on the crises in the zone to the forum. The committee, which was constituted at the forum‘s first meeting, is headed by Katsina State Governor Ibrahim Shema, with governors of Benue, Ebonyi and Adamawa as mem-

bers. The BoT secretary, Chief Ken Nnamani and Chief Jim Nwobodo, a former governor of old Anambra and other PDP chieftains attended the meeting. The meeting was the forum’s second since its inauguration in February. Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi was absent at the meeting, which was attended by eight PDP governors and eight deputies. He was also not represented by his deputy. Anenih urged governors to use their security votes to gather information that would help curb security challenges. Anenih said the Federal Government alone could not guarantee security in the country. He said: “The market wom-

en, governors, members of the National Assembly and councillors must all be involved. Most of those who destroy houses and kill people live with us and police cannot perform miracles without information,” he said. “Getting information now is very expensive; so, I appeal to the governors that this is the time to use your security votes to seek information. Nobody will blame you for that.’’ The BoT chairman urged members of the party to reconcile their differences. He said: “If anybody says that PDP is not on ground, he must be telling lies. The problem PDP has is the inability to reconcile. I want to appeal to all of you here present and through you to others that are not here that Nigerians want a

•Akpabio

change.” Anenih went on: “Our people are eagerly waiting to make sure that we take them to the promised land and it is you that will make that happen, there is no other person. “It is my special appeal that we must develop the spirit of give and take; we must remain loyal to the establishment and the party at all levels.’’

Mixed reactions trail lawmakers’ quest for immunity

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ANY politicians yesterday condemned moves by the House of Representatives to pass a bill to guarantee lawmakers’ immunity from court action on their utterances during plenary. A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Chief Abiola Ogundokun, criticised the move. Ogundokun told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the universal con-

vention was that the lawmakers were not liable for their utterances at plenary and at committee sittings. He said: “The rights and privileges of what you say in the house begins and ends there.” The National Chairman of Kowa Party, Malam Umar Mustapha, said that the bill had portrayed the law makers in a bad light. Mustapha said: “It is like seeking protection against

criminality and if they do not have anything to hide, they have better things than passing a redundant bill. “The 2015 elections is round the corner, let them put in place laws that will enhance good governance, social and economic development and job creation, rather than immunity law.” The former National Chairman of the de-registered National Conscience Party (NCP), Dr. Yunusa

Tanko, condemned the move by the lawmakers. He said the move was very insulting on the intelligence of all Nigerians. He said debating such bill did not make any sense as it had turned Nigerian lawmakers to laughing stocks. Tanko said the initiative was absurd and least expected from legislators. The National Publicity Secretary of CNPP, Mr Osita Okechukwu, said immunity

Sultan, Akinyemi, Sanusi for seminar

of the parliament was a universal convention. He said the bill had created the impression that they don’t understand their work. “The bill is self-serving and a way to cover up their shortcomings and abuse their privileges as lawmakers,” he said. Okechukwu said even the governors that had protection under immunity clause were using it to the detriment of good governance.

Fed Govt stops payment to consultants on library projects

By Evelyn Osagie

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ORMER Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi will be leading other eggheads to Minna the capital of Niger State, tomorrow for a conference on corruption. The one-day conference is tagged: “Minna National Discourse on Corruption. “The conference will be chaired by the Central Bank (CBN) Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Minister of National Planning Commission Dr Shamsudeen Usman, 16 governors, traditional rulers, led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar and members of the Diplomatic Corps are expected to attend. According to the conference’s convener, Niger State Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, leaders should be in the forefront of the war against corruption. He said: “When we are talking about corruption, we must look consciously at the real cause. Corruption originates from the leadership. As leaders, we must lead by example. As stakeholders in the Nigerian project, the conference is a platform to brainstorm on how to overcome the cankerworm of indiscipline, corruption, and disregard for rules and regulations in the country.” Others expected at the conference include Sheik Abdullah, Dr Kabiru Adeniyi, Prof Chidi Anselm Odinkalu and Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, among others.

HE Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to the implementation of principles and guidelines of the Federal Character Commission (FCC) in the distribution of facilities across the country. Minister of Education Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai spoke of the commitment yesterday in Abuja at a workshop organised by the commision for principal officers of Federal polytechnics. The workshop had the theme: “Fulfilling a Constitutional Mandate’’. The minister said government would ensure that its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) comply with the application of the principles and guidelines. Rufai, who was represented by Dr Masa‘ud Kazaure, the Executive Secretary for National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), said the adherence to federal character principles in facilities’ distribution would promote nation-building.

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•From Left: Senate President David Mark, Governors Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Peter Obi (Anambra) and House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal sharing a joke at the Council of State meeting in Abuja ...yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Assembly orders probe of fraud in Lagos firm

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HE Lagos State House of Assembly has directed its Committee on Finance to look into the allegation of fraud levelled against the Lagos Building Investment Company (LIBC) by its subscribers. Yinka Ogundimu (Agege 2), at plenary yesterday under matters of urgent public importance, drew the attention of his colleagues to a report on the issue in The Nation.

•The Nation’s report causes stir By Oziegbe Okoeki

He urged his colleagues to look into the issue as it is capable of giving the government a bad name. According to him, there is need to look into the alleged sharp practices, which subscribers say officials and nonemployee agents of the firm engaged in, thereby ripping off subscribers in millions of

naira. According to The Nation’s report, “subscribers allege that some LBICs’ officials, working with non-employee agents, have devised a scheme through which they encourage people to subscribe to non-available houses. In the process, their funds (mostly in millions of naira) are either tied down for years

or lost”. Omowunmi OlatunjiEdet (Oshodi/Isolo 2) said the matter should be of interest to the lawmakers “because the state and the government are being projected negatively and we owe it a duty to our people to verify these claims and counter claims by both the subscribers and LBIC”. The committee is expected to report back to the House next Monday.

HE Federal Government has directed the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to stop further payments to the consultant for library projects over poor performance. Minister of State for Education Nyesom Wike spoke in Abuja during a meeting with contractors handling library projects in the Unity Colleges. Wike said the consultant had shown that he could not ascertain the level of work done by the contractors handling the projects. He said this had contributed to the slow pace of work by the contractors and negatively affected the execution of work in some project sites. The minister said: ``UBEC can only resume payment to the consultant when there is proof that he has improved on the quality of his service. The consultant should also understand that he has a duty to the nation. If he improves on his quality of service, then his payment will be resumed.'' Wike added that the action would serve as a warning to any contractor who abandoned his projects. However, he commended the work done by some contractors and enjoined others to complete their jobs according to schedule or risk similar sanctions.

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

57

NEWS

Boko Haram gave me letter of appointment, says senator

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EMBERS of the Boko Haram sect are not ghosts as claimed by President Goodluck Jonathan, ex-Yobe State Governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim said yesterday. He was reacting to President Jonathan’s refusal “to grant amnesty to a ghost or faceless group” during his visit to Yobe and Borno states last week. Senator Ibrahim said some leaders were contacted and named by the Boko Haram as negotiators with the Federal Government through letters of appointment. Said he: “They gave us letters of appointment to enable us act as observers at the talks between them and the government.” On whether the letter was delivered to him by hand, Sen. Ibrahim said: “Yes, I got a handwritten letter delivered in my house, saying I would be an observer at the talks between the Federal

Lawmaker urges govt to proffer solution to insecurity

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HE Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Education, Alhaji Farouk Lawan, has said empowerment of the people, especially the youth, is the panacea for insecurity. He urged government to lead by proffering a long-term solution to the Boko Haram insurgency in the North. Alhaji Lawan spoke to reporters in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, after attending the 50th birthday celebration of his colleague, Alhaji Mashood Mustapha. He said: “I think all of us have the solution, but government has to lead the way. Government has to provide a long-term solution to the problem by empowering the

people. “This can be done by creating jobs and reducing poverty, especially among the youth. Where you have a large population of people, who are not educated, who have no hope, then you are preparing for insecurity and this can happen anywhere in the world.” On the insecurity in Kano, Lawan, who hails from the state, said: “If anybody says he cannot live in Kano because of insecurity, the person is being mischievous. There are millions of people in Kano, who are doing their businesses without fear of insecurity.”

Government and Boko Haram in Saudi Arabia. Even if it is a faction of Boko Haram, it doesn’t matter. The matter should be pursued very well from the office of the National Security Agency (NSA) to know who brought the letter and from where.

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) was in touch with them through the telephone. I am sure with seriousness, they will somehow get a faction of the Boko Haram and maybe through that get to the other faction. I believe it’s something still worth pursuing vigorously and seriously too, to get to

•Suntai

ILING Taraba State Governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai yesterday said he would soon return to the country. “I am coming back with happiness very soon,” he said in a statement. The statement was signed by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Emmanuel Bello and posted from Hannover, Germany, where Suntai is receiving treatment. This is the first time the governor has sent a message

From Duku Joel, Damaturu

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From Jide Orintunsin, Minna

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From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo

to Nigerians, particularly Taraba State indigenes, since he was flown abroad last October. The statement said Suntai sent the message during an interactive session with some eminent guests, who visited him in the physiotherapy facility of the German hospital. He reportedly hailed the leadership of the Taraba State House of Assembly for being resilient and patriotic.

Head teacher, others shot in Kano

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UNMEN yesterday in Kano attacked Dan Maliki Public Primary School at Hausawa quarters in Kumbotso Local Government, injuring the head teacher and three teachers. During the attack, the head teacher and three others sustained gunshot injuries. They

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

have been admitted at the Mallam Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital. Police spokesman Magaji Musa Majiya said the gunmen, who were on motorbikes, struck at about 8:30 am.

He said two of the injured teachers had been discharged, adding that bullets were extracted from the body of the head teacher. Magaji said the gunmen stormed the primary school when the teachers and their pupils were at the assembly ground.

Suspected cultists on rampage in Kwara

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USPECTED cultists are on the rampage in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. In the last three days, rival cult groups have clashed in Adewole Estate, Gambari, Aduralere and Mubo. The cult clashes have claimed three lives, with five sustaining injuries.

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

A 28-year-old barber was at the weekend allegedly killed by a gang of cultists at a bar in Isale-Asa. The situation got worsen when a five-man gang believed to be cultists chased a rival gang member to Ipata in Ilorin South Local Govern-

ment. The incident created panic as the cultists shot sporadically into the air before killing their victim. Police spokesman Femi Fabode confirmed the incident. He said two suspects had been arrested and investigations are on to arrest others.

Kwara ACN, CPC, ANPP merge

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HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) in Kwara State yesterday agreed to work together as a team under the emerging All Progressives Congress (APC). This, the parties said, would offer Kwarans a recipe for peace and prosper-

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

ity. Addressing reporters in Ilorin, the Chairmen of ACN, CPC and ANPP, Mr. Kayode Olawepo, Alhaji Suleiman Buhari and Taiye Eleja said they have agreed to rescue Kwara from its parlous state. They added: “Today’s historic outing is a product of rigorous inter-and-intra par-

‘Prayer solution to insecurity’ HE District Overseer, Lagos South, Apostolic Faith Church, Rev. Ayo Obatusin, has said the solution to insecurity in the North and other problems bedevilling the country is prayer and praise. The cleric spoke in Lagos at

them.” He said fear and lack of government’s commitment in building confidence in the peace talk caused its failure. The senator added: “I think the problem may be fear. The fear that if they come out, the Federal Government will kill them. They are hiding be-

Suntai: I ‘ll return soon

Measles kills 17 in Niger EVENTEEN people have died of measles in Niger State since the beginning of this year, the Commissioner for Health and Hospital Management Services, Dr. Ibrahim Babamini Sule, has said. Addressing reporters in Minna yesterday on the outbreak of the disease, he said 15 local governments were affected. The commissioner said the disease was first recorded on January 1 in Edati Local Government before it spread to 14 other councils. Dr. Sule said the disease had been reported in Bosso, Borgu, Chanchanga, Lapai, Mariga, Mokwa and Agwara local governments. According to him, other affected councils are Gbako, Lavun, Munya, Shiroro, Rijau, Paikoro and Suleja. He said the Ministry of Health had embarked on an awareness and sensitisation campaign in the 25 local governments, adding that the state government was collaborating with development partners for the free treatment of affected persons. The commissioner said his ministry had deployed large consignment of measles’ vaccines in the affected local governments for reactive immunisation. Dr. Sule said the air borne and infectious disease is caused by a virus and can be contracted by people of all age groups through sneezing and coughing. He said the disease could be prevented through immunisation, which is free in all public hospitals and clinics.

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

cause they are afraid. I believe if there is no fear, they will come out. “Government has to build confidence in them. It should tell them to come out. It should say, ‘let us see who you are; nobody will be tortured, nobody will be killed. I, as the President of Nigeria, guarantee that nobody will touch you. Come out.’ If government has something positive, I think the Boko Haram will have confidence and come out directly or indirectly. Government will have to speak with one voice on this issue rather than sing discordant tunes. If the President assures them that he will rebuild their mosque, compensate them and do some other things, they will come out.” The former governor urged Yobe indigenes to forgive President Jonathan over his late visit to the state, stressing that it is better late than never.

a bi-annual music ministration of the Apostolic Faith Church, Mushin, Lagos. He said the Apostolic Faith Church believed that any problem could be surmounted by prayer and praise. Rev. Obatusin said the

church has dedicated a day in the first and last quarter of the year to praise God. The Assistant Choir Leader, Dare Bamgbose, urged Nigerian leaders to praise God, adding: “If they do, our nation will be elevated.”

ties’ consultations, meetings and deliberations, and a painstaking assessment of the dire condition of our state in the hands of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) vis-à-vis the ongoing realignment of our progressive parties.” LAND FOR SALE A percel of land @ OHIAAKWA LAND ,Situate @ UMUCHICHI VILLAGE in Osisioma Ngwa Local Govt Area Contact- Lizzy Okoroafor c/o of Barrister CHINYERE On - 08034045047.

PUBLIC NOTICE ELOSIUBA

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Elosiuba Uzoma Ogochukwu, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs.Okhuevbie Uzoma Ogochukwu. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.

Those who visited the governor in Germany yesterday included Jalingo Local Government Chairman, Hassan Bappa; Commissioner for Information, Emmanuel Bello; Hakimi of Garba Chede, Alhaji Hashimu Kaigama; a Senior Assistant to the Governor, Mallam Aminu Babale; among others. It was learnt that Suntai also spoke on the phone with some important indigenes, such as Speaker Istifanus Haruna Gbana; a member representing Karim-Lamido I, Charles Maijankai; Commissioner for Education, Mr. Yakubu Agbaizo; and former National Security Adviser (NSA) Gen. Aliyu Gusau.

Govt can’t tackle Boko Haram, says el-Rufai By Augustine Avwode

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ORMER Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nasir elRufai has said the Federal Government can do more than it is doing to stem the Boko Haram menace. Speaking yesterday on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, el-Rufai said it was preposterous for the government to claim that they don’t know who Boko Haram members were. He said with many operatives of the sect in the custody of security agents and knowing that the crisis had been on for three years, government should not claim ignorance. “It is ingenuous for security agencies to say that they don’t know these people. Over a thousand Boko Haram operatives are in the custody of the State Security Service (SSS) in Abuja. We know that and they have been interrogating them. If the government thinks that after two or three years of confronting this issue, they have no better information that you and I have, well, I have been in government and I know that the government has a lot of information. What is lacking is the will to address this issue,” el-Rufai said. The former minister alleged that government wants the situation to continue because security agencies profit from it. LAND FOR SALE A percel of land Situate @ “OKPULO NKWA OKPOROALA” Okporoala villages Odeukwu Autonomous community in osisioma Ngwa local Govt Aba Abia State.. Contact - Lizzy Okoroafor c/o BARISTER CHINYERE 08034045047.

LOSS OF DOCUMENT This is to inform the general public that the original documents dated 10th June, 2008 with Reg. No. LU/2008/ AYOBO BL/PL for the approval of 800 square metres of Residential Scheme at Ayobo, Revenue Receipt No. 3128460/CNSKVZZC, Revenue Receipt No. 3128454/ EHKCGATM, Revenue Receipt No. 3128473/HECTLCYN, Revenue Receipt No 3128464/LEVPVNNN, respectively, All dated 10/9/2008 belonging to Mrs. Oluyadi Adeola of No. 13, Ogunsola Street, off via Folawewo Street, Aguda, Titun, Ogba, Lagos State. Got lost in transit all efforts made to trace it proved abortive. If found, please contact any nearest police station. Lagos state government, please take note

LOSS OF DOCUMENT This is to inform the general public that the original documents dated 10th June, 2008 with Ref. No. LU/2008/ AYOBO BL/PL for the approval of 800 square metres of Residential Scheme at Ayobo, Revenue Receipt No. 3128455/YBBGTNNH, Revenue Receipt No. 3128461/ RRHNRLKH, Revenue Receipt No. 3128474/TCSKZKFC, Revenue Receipt No 3128465/TBGYZHBC, respectively, All dated 10/9/2008 belonging to Mrs. Oluyadi Folawiwo of No. 13, Ogunsola Street, off via Folawewo Street, Aguda, Titun, Ogba, Lagos State. Got lost in transit all efforts made to trace it proved abortive. If found, please contact any nearest police station. Lagos state government, please take note

NEW LIVING APOSTOLIC CHURCH

16, Ibukun Olu Street, Off Ait Road, Kola Bus Stop, Alagbado, Lagos

BOARD OF TRUSTEES 1. Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Olusegun Adegbayike 2. Rev. Michael Adenrele Adeleye 3. Evang. Mrs. Omoyeni Olubunmi Ogunshola 4. Elder (Engr.) Olubukola Awe 5. Elder (Engr.) Paul olyiwola faleti 6. Elder Thomas Olugbenga Taiwo 7. Dr. Babatunde Alokuru Douglas Signed: Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Olusegun Adegbayike

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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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NEWS

North’s Governors can’t stop Jonathan, says Clark

Reps condemn deportation of Israeli From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

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HE House of Representatives has begun investigation into the circumstances leading to the deportation of a foreign construction worker. The decision followed the adoption of a motion raised under matters of urgent national importance by Razak Belo-Osagie (ACN, Edo). Belo-Osagie said Yaniv Dabah, an Israeli, who works with Reynolds Construction Company (RCC), the company handling the renovation of 5-Junction in Benin City, Edo State, ran into trouble after making clarification on the status of the project. He said: “It was noted that during the recent good governance tour led by the Minister of Information, the erroneous impression was created that it was a Federal Government project. “But we are aware that upon further enquiry, it was clarified by Dabah that the project was being executed by the Edo State Government. “It is disturbing that it was after the clarification that Dabah was subsequently deported, a situation that portends grave consequences for the completion of the project and the country’s image.” The lawmaker, who questioned the timing and intent of the deportation, said the deportation has damaging consequences on the country’s image. “At a time we are clamouring for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the power sector, oil and gas as well as manufacturing, what impression are we creating with this manner of deportation?

Suntai: Taraba Assembly to discipline CMD

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HETaraba State House of Assembly on Tuesday set up a five-man committee to investigate the Chief Medical Director of the state’s Specialist Hospital, Prof. Aliyu Zakari, for revealing the health condition of Gov. Danbaba Suntai. Zakari had in an interview with one of the national dailies said that Suntai had developed a brain injury that impaired his ability to speak and “makes it extremely difficult for him to return to duty anytime soon”. Speaking on the floor of the house, the Deputy Speaker, Mr Abel Diah, said that Zakari, as a civil servant, had no right to grant interview without permission from appropriate authorities. He said the committee was given two weeks to submit their finding on whether or not the CMD had, by such revelations, violated civil service rule. Earlier, a member representing Takum 2, Mr Marc Usaini, urged the house to investigate the CMD. He said that Zakari, who was not Suntai’s personal physician, had no business discussing the governor’s health condition. He said the CMD’s decision to reveal a confidential issue, concerning the governor’s health was a clear violation of section 44 of the Medical Code of Ethics.

Keyamo declares political ambition UMAN rights activist Festus Keyamo has indicated his interest to contest for governor. He promised to take Delta State out of what he called its “present state of underdevelopment.” Speaking in Effurun,Warri during the maiden meeting of his political platform, Delta Forces United, Keyamo condemned what he regarded as the politics of cronyism and ethnicity in the state. The rights activist said there has not been much to show for the 14 years of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) governance in the state. Keyamo vowed to live the rest of his life for the development of the state. “Delta State has been held hostage by a cabal. The cabal has done much to promote mediocrity by not allowing internal democracy reign.”

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RMAFC to states: invest in gas

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ROMINENT leader of the Southsouth, Chief Edwin Clark yesterday inferred that President Goodluck Jonathan remains the sole candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and cannot be stopped by the Northern Governors Forum. Recalling the practice in the United States, he said “an incumbent remains the sole candidate of a political party if he or she is willing to contest for a second term”. Clark spoke at his residence in Abuja. He lambasted Niger State Governor and chairman of Northern Governors Forum, Dr. Babangida Aliyu. The elder statesman chided Aliyu for insisting that Jonathan entered an agreement with North’s governors to serve for only one term. He also said he was embarrassed by Aliyu’s interview published in some national dailies that it is only him (Clark) and those who will benefit that are campaigning for Jonathan to contest in 2015. The octogenarian said the remarks against him “is most unfortunate and ridiculous”. Recalling the pedigree of the governor as an accomplished civil servant before retiring into politics, he cautioned the governor against making “inflammatory and provocative statements” that can divide the country. Expressing belief in one Nigeria, Clark said no group will allow itself to be subjected to a cause by another. “What do they expect me to explain to my own child; that you have no right to aspire to the highest post even if you have the qualification”. The Second Republic Minis-

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

ter of Information said Jonathan would make his position on the 2015 election known next year. He recalled that the president had embargoed campaign for 2015 adding, “it will be stupid of me to ask him if he would contest now”. To Aliyu on his remarks, Clark said “It is, however, unfortunate and disappointing that you could engage in such bare-faced lies and false propaganda simply because of your inordinate ambition to seek election as President of Nigeria come 2015, and the only qualification you think you have over the incumbent is that you are a Northerner who must rule at all time. “As a rebuttal to your statement, I wish to repeat that there was no agreement between the governors of the 19 Northern States and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. You are a very well educated person, but it appears you do not understand the correct meaning of agreement”. He added: “Having emphasized that there was no such agreement, but in defense of the concept of agreement and for the sake of argument, if there was such an agreement, did you keep to your own side of the said agreement? Was that why you directed your State delegates at the PDP Presidential Primaries to vote for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the Primaries and when he lost the ticket, you and your state went ahead to vote for a rival political Party, the Congress for progressive Change, CPC, in the Presidential election? “Paradoxically, in the Guber-

natorial Election that followed, you defeated the CPC Governorship candidate. This clearly shows your insincerity and dishonesty to the purported agreement which to my mind existed only in the figment of your own imagination and by extension a product of your obsession with the Northern agenda in Nigeria. In fact, President Jonathan won convincingly in the North Central States except your own Niger State. “Just because you are interested in contesting the 2015 Presidential Election, you have been trying to impress the audience by blindly criticising the Federal Government and attempting to give the false impression that you will do better if given the opportunity. “I wonder what makes the issue of President Jonathan contesting the 2015 Presidency a mere speculation, according to you. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for Two Tenure of four years each after two democratically conducted Elections. “There is no speculation that the PDP is planning to impose President Jonathan as the sole candidate of the Party in the upcoming Convention. The practice in democratic Presidential system of Government is that an incumbent President remains the sole candidate of a Political Party at the Party’s Convention, if he or she is willing to contest for a second term in office. This is the practice in the United States of America from where Nigeria copied her own model of Presidential System of Government.” “For the umpteenth time, it must be emphasised that Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians as enshrined in the nation’s

•Clark

Constitution. All Nigerian citizens are equal and can all aspire to the highest office in this country and should remain in office in accordance with the Constitution of Nigeria. We can no longer tolerate a situation where some people believe that they are superior to others and others are inferior citizens who must not enjoy the same privileges they enjoy”. “It is, therefore, unacceptable for any group of people to gang up to intimidate and frustrate him out of office by engaging in series of despicable crisis where people are killed, houses and properties destroyed. Youth Corp members maimed and killed as demonstrated in the post-election violence in Bauchi State after the 2011 Presidential Election in which my nephew Mr. Elliot Adowe whom I educated at the University of Calabar was brutally murdered along with 9 other Corp members. Today we are being harassed by politically motivated Boko Haram. Yet, I still believe in a united Nigeria based on equality of her citizens where the words of our National Anthem are obeyed and practiced.”

Amaechi excited as Rivers hit N9.5bn IGR for February

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OR the first time in the history of Rivers State, the state government has hit internally generated revenue of N9, 591, 046,990.43, the highest since the commencement of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s tax reforms in the state. The new tax regime being done by the State government in partnership with Skye Bank has continuously yielded positive results with a monthly average of between N5billion to 6billion average, and now N9.5billion in the month of February, 2013.

Prior to Governor Amaechi’s emergence at the helm of affairs in the State, the Rivers State Internally Generated Revenue has never grown beyond N2.5billion, sometimes its well below N2billion but Amaechi began the tax sector reform and the figure has gradually increased over the years. Spokesman of Governor Amaechi, Mr. David Iyofor in an interview with State House correspondents said Governor Amaechi is very excited by this new development. “He is very happy with this

figure of N9.5billion for the month of February. Governor Amaechi is happy with what our partners in the tax project-Skye Bank is doing with the State government in the tax project and has urged them to continue on this path. He believes that the state can do even better than this figure of N9.5billion and has clearly told them to improve on it.” “This new high is a clear testimony of the benefits of Governor Amaechi’s initiated reforms in IGR in the State.

He strongly believes that with a robust tax reform policy, the state can do very well in internally generated revenue,” Iyofor said.Iyofor urged Rivers people and corporate bodies to continue to support the Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue and our Syke Bank tax partners by promptly and accurately paying their taxes for sustainable growth and development of the State as funds collected would assist the Amaechi administration in carrying out more developmental projects in the State.

From Nduka Chiejina Assistant Editor

Amaechi: I didn’t shun PDP governors’ meeting

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HE Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has called on Niger Delta states to invest in gas infrastructure to harness the full potential of Nigeria’s natural gas resources. The Chairman of RMAFC, Elias Mbam, made this call yesterday in Abuja at an interactive session with directors of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), who made a presentation on investment opportunities in the gas sector. A statement from the RMAFC signed by its Head of Public Relations, Ibrahim Mohammed, said: “Mbam observed that given the huge natural gas endowment in the Niger Delta, states in the region could exploit their comparative advantage in domestic gas production by forging closer economic ties.” Mbam believes that “the country’s huge population, the power and manufacturing sectors as well as the export market in the West African region provides ready market for Nigeria’s gas products.” In his presentation, leader of the delegation, Dr. David Ige, the Group Executive Director(GED), Gas and Power unveiled the corporation’s Gas Master-Plan Policy Intervention across the entire value chain of production, processing and marketing.

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

•Amaechi

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IVERS State Governor Rotimi Amaechi yesterday said he did not

shun the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ meeting. “I only just returned to Nigeria from the Commonwealth Observance Day, which took place at the Westminster Abbey in London.” Amaechi, who spoke through the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, said contrary to rumours and speculations in some quarters, he holds the

PDP Governors’ Forum in high esteem and would not have ignored the members. The governor was one of the three high-profile speakers at the event, with the theme: “Opportunity through Enterprise.” In a statement, the commissioner said: “One wonders why mischief makers will insinuate that the governor shunned the PDP Governors’ Forum, when in actual fact he was flying the nation’s flag at the historic global event.” The commissioner also de-

scribed the governor as a loyal party man, who always participates in PDP activities,. Mrs Semenitari added: “The time has come for detractors to acknowledge the fact that mudslinging cannot overshadow the global recognition given to a peopleoriented governor. “Governor Amaechi remains committed to the building of our nation, Nigeria and the democratic ideals of his party, the PDP, and no amount of blackmail can change this incontrovertible fact.”

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FOREIGN NEWS

The Sudans agree to order oil restart within two weeks

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UDAN and South Sudan agreed yesterday to order a restart to southern oil exports through Sudan within two weeks, more than a year after Juba shut down its entire petroleum industry. According to agency reports, landlocked South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in July 2011, closed off its 350,000 barrel-per-day output in January last year in a dispute with Khartoum over how much it should pay to send the oil through Sudanese pipelines to the Red Sea. Both countries depend heavily on oil for the foreign currency they need to import

food and fuel, but disputes over the border and other issues left over from partition have prevented them resuming exports. Sudan’s chief negotiator, Idris Mohammed Abdel Gadir, signed a deal with his South Sudanese counterpart Pagan Amum in the early hours of Tuesday setting out a timeline for the resumption of oil exports after four days of African Union-brokered talks in Addis Ababa. South African former President Thabo Mbeki, who has been mediating between the two sides, told reporters they had agreed to order oil

companies to restart production within two weeks of “D-Day”, given as Sunday, March 10. A copy of the implementation timeline obtained by Reuters confirmed the date. “Resumption of production shall take place as soon as technically feasible,” it said. The two former civil war enemies agreed at the talks in the Ethiopian capital on Friday to order the withdrawal of their troops from a demilitarised border zone within a week to ease tensions and open the way to resuming oil exports.

Mali media strike over editor’s arrest

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ALI’s private media have launched a news blackout after an editor was arrested for publishing a letter about poor conditions from soldiers fighting Islamist militants in the north. Le Republicain editor Boukary Daou was arrested last Wednesday and has yet to be charged. The soldiers said they lacked equipment and rations - the same complaints made by those behind last year’s March coup. Mali’s interim government has not commented on the arrest or strike. The BBC’s Alex Duval Smith in the capital,

Bamako, says about 40 newspaper titles are published each week - and none have appeared on news stands in the city on Tuesday morning. The 16 local private FM radio stations are either silent or only playing music, she says. Communications Minister Manga Dembele has said Mr Daou acted irresponsibly and unpatriotically by publishing the soldiers’ open letter to the president, but there has been no official word from the authorities about the case. The letter also complained that the military top brass were living in comfort

in Bamako while their colleagues suffered on the frontline. Capt Amadou Sanogo led the March 2012 coup saying the army was ill-equipped to fight a rebellion led by Tuareg separatist fighters in the north. Islamist rebels then took advantage of the chaos and seized control of the whole of northern Mali - prompting France to intervene in January 2013 to help the army recapture most of the area. Our reporter says that under Malian law, Mr Daou should have been charged within 48 hours of his detention.

Falklands vote to stay in UK territory

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ESIDENTS of the Falkland Islands voted almost unanimously to stay under British rule in a referendum aimed at winning global sympathy as Argentina intensifies its sovereignty claim, results showed on Monday. The official count showed 99.8 percent of islanders voted in favor of remaining a British Overseas Territory in the two-day referendum, which was re-

jected by Argentina as a meaningless publicity stunt. Only three “no” votes were cast. “Surely this must be the strongest message we can get out to the world,” said Roger Edwards, one of the Falklands assembly’s eight elected members. “(The message is) that we are content, that we wish to retain the status quo ... with the right to determine our own future and not become

a colony of Argentina.” Falkland Islanders celebrate in Port Stanley on Monday. Of the 1,517 ballots cast, just three were against the motion to remain a British overseas territory. Pro-British feeling is running high in the barren and blustery islands that lie off the tip of Patagonia, and turnout was 92 percent among the 1,649 Falklandsborn and long-term residents registered to vote.

LENTEN TALK Rev. Henry O. Adelegan

Be loosed and make progress Text: Mark 11:1-11

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NYBODY who desires to traverse this world successfully needs to tread with high spiritual caution as the Bible attests to it that the world is filled with darkness, cruelty and wickedness. In view of this,the Bible encourages us to have respect unto the covenant ( Psalm 74:20) and put on the whole armor of God to be able to withstand and stand ( Ephesians 6:10-13). God created donkeys for instance, to be used as means of transportation of people and property from one location to another. It is apt to state however that it is not every creature that live to fulfill divine purpose because there are agents of darkness with assignment to steal, kill and destroy God’s plans for His creatures ( John 10:10a). The ass in our text suffered the same fate, no man ever rode on her from infancy to adulthood. It was so bad to the extent that she even made a baby in that state of dependency and captivity. Her captors tied her to a place where two ways met, hindered her movements and frustrated her purpose. From a very far distance, Jesus Christ spotted her and commanded that His disciples should go and loose her, with a

word of caution that if her captors attempted to resist them, they should let them know that “The Lord has need of it”. With these words spoken, the arresting powers released and allowed her go. That same day, she fulfilled her purpose, carried the King of Kings and became a celebrity in Jerusalem. Beloved, it does not matter for how long you have been trying to make a headway in life to no avail or discovered that some forces have hindered your movement and prohibited you from being somebody in life, the moment you genuinely surrender your life to Jesus, your story will change like the ass that was tied and released. As you turn to Jesus during this Lenten season, He will locate and deliver you from whatever road junction you are being tied, set you at liberty, realign you with purpose, change your story and make you a celebrity in your family, office, church and town in the name of Jesus. Prayers: Oh Lord, I surrender my life to you, forgive my sins dear Lord, I acknowledge you as my Lord and Savior, pay attention to my life during this Lenten season, deliver me from every evil injunction and cause my life to move forward in Jesus’ name

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

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NEWS Reps fault arrest, detention of Yerima

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HE House of Representatives is to investigate the arrest and detention of Senator Sani Yerima, former Zamfara State governor. He was invited by the police for questioning following the comments he made during an Hausa radio phone-in-programme on the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Kaduna, which were alleged to be inciting by the police. Yerima reportedly said members of the yet-to-be- registered All Progressives Congress (APC) would protest the non-registration of the party by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

From: Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

The decision of the lawmakers followed the adoption of a motion by Ibrahim Gusau (CPC, Zamfara), who said the incident had negative implications on the freedom of speech and democracy. Saying the police action amounted to an infringement on the rights of the former governor, Gusau cited Section 39(1) of the Constitution, which says that: “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and import ideas and information without interference.”

Besides, Gusau noted that the implication of the treatment given to Yerima was that freedom of speech was in jeopardy as other Nigerians in similar circumstances would also not be spared by the police. “If a serving senator could be treated this way by the police, what would be the fate of the ordinary Nigerian,” he said. Deputy House Leader Leo Ogor (PDP, Delta) and Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta) argued against the motion, saying the incident “has not warranted the intervention of the House at this level.” The motion was adopted after it was put to a voice-vote.

‘No evidence as to status of hostages’ From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

T •Yerima

The Committee on Police Affairs was given two weeks to investigate the matter and report to the House.

Six varsities to rescue UniAbuja engineering students

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NGINEERING students of the University of Abuja (UniAbuja) whose studies were disrupted due to non-accreditation, are to be posted to six universities to complete their courses. The Chairman of the Task Team to the university, Prof. Chiedu Felix Mafiana, said this yesterday at a news briefing in Abuja after a meeting with vice-chancellors of the six universities. Mafiana said the 334 affected students are to be posted to the University of Ilorin, Federal University of Technology, Akure and Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola. Others are Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Federal University of

•Documents of 334 students for screening From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

Technology, Minna and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The Task Team Chairman said the 500-level students would complete their courses at the Federal University of Technology, Minna and those in 400 and 300-levels are to be posted to the other five universities. Said he: “Students with qualification problems and those that did not have the requisite qualification to study engineering will not have a place in these universities. “They, however, have a choice of transferring to other departments in the universi-

ty.” According to him, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) had agreed to “regularise” those who have the requisite qualifications, but did not go through JAMB. Prof. Mafiana said the students were expected to take a “leave of absence for the remaining part of this session and join their new universities in the next academic year.” He said the 500-level students’ certificates would carry the name of UniAbuja upon graduation from their new universities. Mafiana, who is also a director of Quality Assurance at the National Universities Commission (NUC), said the

decision was taken after the Task Team visited and discovered that UniAbuja might not be able to graduate the students because the facilities for running the course had not been put in place. He hailed the management of the six universities for accepting the students and urged them (students) to abide by the rules and regulations governing their new universities. The Chairman of the Task Team thanked NUC for accepting to provide logistics and additional support for the students “so that they do not become a burden to the universities.”

ACN attacks PDP, INEC in battle for APC Continued from page 2

tion, it is calling the attention of all the good people of Nigeria to the sections of the Electoral Act that are relevant to party registration: - Part V Political Parties of the Electoral Act, Section 78 (1) says: “A political association that complies with the provision of the Constitution and this Act for the purposes of registration shall be registered as a political party, provided that such application shall be duly submitted to the Commission not later than 6 months before a general election.” - Section 78 (2) which says: “The Commission shall on receipt of the documents in fulfilment of the conditions stipulated by the Constitution immediately issue the applicant with a letter of acknowledgement stating that all necessary documents have been submitted to the Commission” The ACN said: ‘’In this case, the applicants on behalf of the phantom African Peoples Congress, the clients of Legal World Chambers, have not submitted any of the documents stipulated by the Constitution to the Commission. They have only written a letter of intent and therefore INEC could not have issued them any letter of acknowledgment, let alone starting the process of verifying the documents ‘’At this point, they cannot even be regarded as applicants. Why then did INEC through its spokesperson gleefully go to the media to proclaim that another political association has applied to be registered as African Peoples Congress using the same acronym APC?. “Clearly INEC is on a mission of mischief and its paymaster is PDP which has been having sleepless nights since the merger arrangement was an-

nounced.’’ The party also called attention to Section 78 (6) of the Electoral Act, which says: “An application for registration as a political party shall not be processed unless there is evidence of payment of administrative fee as may be fixed from time to time by the Commission” The ACN said it is aware that the applicants in question have not even paid any administrative fees and therefore INEC could not have commenced processing their application, because there is no application before INEC as they have only written a letter of intent.” To the ACN, the INEC spokesperson who announced that another political association has applied to be registered as APC is misleading Nigerians. “He should immediately be called to order before he sets the country ablaze,’’ the party said. It said what has emerged over the registration issue is that INEC is in cahoots with the PDP to stampede the merging parties to commit errors and also intimidate them to drop the acronym APC, adding however: ‘’This has failed because as of today in accordance with the provisions of S. 78 (2) and S. 78 (6) of the Electoral Act as explained above, there is no applicant on record for the acronym APC, contrary to the deceit being spread by the INEC spokesman. The ACN also alerted Nigerians to the fact that INEC has had a constructive knowledge of the merger plan and the existence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for a long time, going by statements credited to the INEC spokesman. On February 17th 2013, Mr. Idowu was quoted to have said, in a news story in The Punch of that date, that the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) re-

mained a political association, even though it is yet to be recognised by the commission. “By law, we do not expect APC to come to INEC. The political parties that are fusing into another party will individually and respectively come back to INEC, notifying us that they are fusing into a party with a new identity,’’ the ACN quoted Mr. Idowu to have said told the newspaper. ‘’The same Idowu also told TVC news on February 8 that INEC was expecting the leadership of the All Progressives’ Congress to apply for formal documentation. With these statements, it is clear that INEC has always had a constructive knowledge of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) since the merger plan started, and that the emerging party did not have to do anything until all the component parties have held their conventions and ratified the constitution, manifesto and logo of the APC. ‘’We are therefore using this medium to assure the millions of our supporters within and outside Nigeria that there is no cause for alarm. The merger process is on course. The All Progressives’ Congress that is the legitimate people’s APC will berth safely and deliver Nigerians from the oppressive yoke of the PDP. ‘’We also wish to seize this opportunity to thank the thousands of concerned Nigerians who through text messages and emails have overwhelmed us with their advice and words of encouragement in the last two days. Your support have been invaluable to us and we shall not let you down,’’ the party said. The Lagos chapter of the ACN said Jega should quit having displayed partisanship. In a statement by its Publicity Secretary Joe Igbokwe, it said:

“Lagos ACN therefore calls on Jega and his INEC leadership to resign or get sacked for falling so short of the impartial expectation of an INEC leadership. We urge Nigerians to step up the pressure to free INEC rotten leadership of Jega and the present INEC leadership. We must step up our demand that an independent and competent, non-partisan INEC leadership be empaneled by the NJC for the purpose of organising elections in Nigeria. “We must express our disapproval of an INEC leadership made up of card-carrying members of PDP, who are sworn to the protection and promotion of the PDP interests as the Jega leadership is presently committed to. We charge the members, supporters and sympathisers of Nigeria to be on their guards as the PDP/ INEC plots fully unfold and be prepared to engage in mass actions necessary to secure an INEC that is not beholden to the guiles and antics of the PDP in its quest for limitless but irresponsible power.” The statement added: “We are shocked that the Jega-led INEC should indulge in such brazen, dirty and inordinate tricks as stealing in a fraudulent registration for a shadowy political party for the purpose of denying the APC its just registration. “We are peeved that such callous act is being perpetrated by the INEC leadership in contrivance with the PDP for the sole purpose of furthering the selfish, narrow and pristine interests of the PDP. This has sent an early warning signals that the Jega INEC is bent on once again, manipulating the coming election in favour of the PDP without regard to the feelings of the generality of long-suffering Nigerians.”

HE Federal Government has insisted that it was not ready to rush into conclusion on the kidnapped seven foreign nationals, who were reported to have been killed by one of the terrorist groups in the North, Ansaru. According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru, there is no conclusive evidence on the status of the hostages. The minister yesterday noted that there must be evidence to prove that the foreigners were killed. This is coming 24 hours after the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, was quoted as saying their killing remained unconfirmed. Ashiru, who was responding to questions from reporters on the status of the seven foreign nationals reported to have been killed by Ansaru, said: “You see, before you announce that the hostages are either dead or alive, you must have evidence. I believe our security agencies are working hard to ensure that we either find the bodies or we release them alive. For now, there is no conclusive evidence on the status of the hostages.”

Fashola unveils JSC complex • Appeals to judicial workers to end strike

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HE Lagos State Judiciary yesterday recorded another first as Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) unveiled a purpose built building for the state’s Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in Ikeja, with an appeal for a quick end to the ongoing strike by federal judicial workers. Inaugurating the building, which was named in honour of the second Chief Judge of the state, Justice Joseph Adetunji Adefarasin, the governor said he was making the plea on behalf of litigants and people who seek justice in the courtrooms, adding that whatever issues may be at dispute, negotiation will make a way. Governor Fashola, who spoke before a gathering of senior members of the Bench, including former chief judges, magisrates, lawyers and the widow of the honouree, Mrs. Hilda Adefarasin, said the strike does the country no good because it does not afford service to the people on whose behalf the elected representatives exercise the privilege to be in government. According to him, the building being unveiled says many things about the commitment of the Lagos State Government to a strong judiciary as a necessary and indispensable institution for the enthronement and defence of rights in a democracy.

‘Phantom APC’: INEC has only letter of intent, says official Continued from page 2

ter the emergency African Peoples Congress. “Although we are to entertain applications for registration of parties on the basis of first come, first served, we are not bound to register All Peoples Congress, except all conditions are met as contained in Section 78 of the Electoral Act. The section reads: “A political association that complies with the provision of the constitution and this Act for the purposes of registration shall be registered as a political party, provided that such application for registration as a political party shall be duly submitted to the Commission not later than six months before a general election. “The Commission shall, on receipt of the documents in fulfillment of the conditions stipulated by the Constitution, immediately issue the applicant with a letter of acknowledgement stating that all the necessary documents have been submitted to the Commission. “If the association has not fulfilled all the conditions under the section, the Commission shall within 30 days from the receipt of its application notify the association in writing, stating the reasons for non-registration. “A political association that meets the conditions stipulated in the constitution and this Act shall be registered by the Commission as a political party within 30 days from the date of receipt of the application, and if after the 30 days such association is not

registered by the Commission unless the Commission informs the association to the contrary, it shall be deemed to have been registered. “An association which, through the submission of false or misleading information pursuant to the provisions of this section, procures a certificate of registration, shall have such certificate cancelled. “An application for registration as a political party shall not be processed, unless there is evidence of payment of administrative fee as may be fixed from time to time by the Commission. “The Commission shall have power to deregister political parties on the following grounds; breach of any of the requirement for registration and for failure to win a seat in the National or State Assembly election.”

•Jega

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013

63

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

VOL.8 NO.2,427

TODAY IN THE NATION Those who owned power –electric, generator and political-, the oil blocks, the customs, the NPA, the armed forces, Abuja for years and the unseen faces behind the cell phone and internet companies should not shy away from their responsibility in the failure of Nigeria’ TONY MARINHO

COMMENT & DEB ATE EBA

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DO not know whether Senator Solomon Ita Enang was being Machiavellian or he simply intended to tell a “noble lie” when he claimed on the floor of the Senate last Wednesday in the course of his contribution to the debate on the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill, that Northerners controlled 83% of the oil wells in the Niger Delta. Whatever his purpose, his claim, I am sure, would be hard to beat as the crudest attempt yet by any Nigerian politician to lie with statistics. This, I must say, makes the way the Nigerian media has reported and commented on his claim as if it was the truth and nothing but the gospel truth, even worse. Among the elementary rules of reporting are balance, fairness and verification of all claims and allegations. But even without crosschecking the facts, simple logic alone would’ve exposed the senator’s claim as untenable; everyone knows that all sectors of the oil business in Nigeria are dominated through and through by the oil majors, all of them foreign. Of course facts sometimes defy logic. However, the oil business is not one of those exceptions that confirm the rule. In its edition of September 23, 1991, the rested Citizen newsmagazine I managed did a prize winning cover story on the move by the Federal Military Government under General Ibrahim Babangida to facilitate the indigenization of the upstream sector of the oil business. The 14 companies whose bids succeeded were owned by a judicious mix of the wealthy from all sections of the country, including Alfred James owned by the Ooni clan, Moncroief owned by Esama of Benin, Summit Oil owned by Chief M.K.O. Abiola and Queens Petroleum owned by the Ibru clan. Even more importantly in the light of Senator Enang’s claim, most of the oil blocks owed by Northerners were, as pointed out by Toyin Akinosho, the publisher of the well-regarded Africa Oil and Gas Report, in an article on Premium Times online newspaper of March 7, unproductive - and have remained so to date. Anyone interested in the truth about the ownership of Nigeria’s oil industry should search for and read the article. If the senator’s manipulation of statistics is worrisome, worse can be said of the media. In apparently swallowing the senator’s story hook, line and sinker, we failed the elementary test of verification, balance and fairness.

Feedback RE: OBJ at 76 Sir, As usual, I have read your offering today and by now, I guess you must be tired of hearing how brilliant it is. But there is an error of fact which is rather strange with your column so I think you need to correct it. Mr John Dara did not, and so could not have said, he “managed the improbable success of Chief Otedola in beating Alhaji Lateef Jakande in the Lagos

People and Politics By MOHAMMED H ARUNA ndajika@yahoo.com

A senator’s lying with statistics gards to the NRC primaries, as far as the election proper was concerned, I think it is necessary to set the record straight that Jakande actually helped to put Otedola in power. Olusegun Adeniyi

•Enang governorship elections conducted under General Babangida’s transition programme.” Because that is not true. If I recollect very well, it was actually Jakande who helped Sir Michael Otedola to power and this what how it happened: In the course of the 1991 governorship elections, Otedola was the candidate of the National Republican Convention (NRC), having defeated Mrs Oluremi Adikwu by a narrow margin at their primaries. But the Social Democratic Party (SDP) could not produce a candidate after an acrimonious primaries between Chief Dapo Sarumi (then heavily backed by the late Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua) and the late Prof. Dapo Agbalajobi, (sponsored by Jakande). At the end, the duo were disqualified by the Prof Humphrey Nwosu-led National Electoral Commission (NEC). In the new primaries that followed, Mr Yomi Edu, another protégé of the late Yar’Adua, won the SDP ticket. So the gubernatorial contest in Lagos State was then between Otedola of NRC and Edu of SDP. But following this development, Jakande called on his supporters to vote for Otedola against his party’s candidate and even though the NRC had only two members while SDP had 38 members in the State House of Assembly, Otedola won the election on the strength of support from Jakande. That was what happened. While I know Mr John Dara played a major role in Otedola’s campaign, especially with re-

Sir, My late father warned me never to open my mouth too wide when talking with journalists, but the urge to share some of my behind-the-scene political maneuvers sometimes make me forget this fatherly counsel. I’d sent you an SMS in reaction to your March 6, 2013 write-up on “OBJ at 76”, pointing out minor inaccuracies about my relationship with the late Dr. Saraki and the role of Alhaji Jakande in the election of Sir Michael Otedola in the 1991 Lagos State governorship elections. I now have to elaborate on the text message in reaction to the comments of Segun Adeniyi which you shared with me. I’m uncomfortable with the ‘thorn in the flesh of Saraki’ bit because it’s not relevant to the Obasanjo story. My conflict with the late Dr. Saraki started in 2002 when I ran for the office of the governor of Kwara State. I reconciled with the old man after the 2005 National Political Reform Conference in which we both played key roles not only as delegates, but especially as bridge builders between the northern and the Niger Delta delegates, proposing compromises and reaching out to elders and leaders to avoid stalemates. Although I politely turned down his subsequent invitation to become a Sarakite, I developed more respect and admiration for him and for his political acumen. We maintained a good personal relationship till his death. Segun’s comments on the Otedola-Jakande part of your write-up, which you shared with me, is essentially in agreement with my earlier text message to you in which I said Otedola won that election “ with the clandestine help of Jakande”. However, Segun’s impressive recollection of the events of that period inadvertently exaggerated the role of Jakande and demeaned the remarkable role of John Dara and the then Michael Otedola Campaign Organisation (MOCO). I have managed several political campaigns over the years, and as a Fellow of the

HARDBALL

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HE news about the supposed murder of seven foreign workers abducted in Bauchi State on February 16 by the Jama’atu Ansarul Musilimina Fi Biladis Sudan, otherwise known as Ansaru, is a most unusual one. The seven hostages – a Briton, Italian, Greek, Lebanese, two Syrians and one Filipino – worked for a construction company before their abduction and harrowing captivity. Their captors had warned that the hostages would be killed if there were attempts to stage a rescue operation. They reminded Nigerian and foreign security organisations of the raid on Ansaru hideout near Sokoto during which hostages Chris McManus, a Briton, and Franco Lamolinara, an Italian, were killed when a combined team of Nigerian and British forces staged a rescue attempt in March 2012. On Saturday, however, Ansaru released an internet video clip suggesting that the hostages had been executed because the sect feared Britain and

Death and the seven hostages Nigeria were on the verge of a rescue attempt. But while the British, Italian and Greek governments have tentatively confirmed the execution, the Nigerian government has been reluctant to confirm the killings. What is curious about the murder is not the announcement by Ansaru, which is simple and direct enough, even if somewhat puzzling, nor the confirmation by the three countries of their citizens’ murder. The curious irony is that Nigeria, where the abduction took place, gives the humiliating impression it is unaware of the fate of the hostages, whether they were dead or alive. While Nigerians sympathise with their government, they do not excuse its dispiritedness. The government may not be able to stage a daring rescue, and may even rightly be afraid of stag-

ing another fiasco, but it is expected it should at least be able to tell what has become of the hostages. It rankles that foreign governments seemed surer of the fate of the hostages, while Nigeria, where the crisis unfolded, watches quizzically. The Nigerian scepticism may, however, derive from the government’s conviction that Nigerian terror groups were not known to execute their hostages except during a rescue attempt. In addition, the government also probably suspects that Ansaru may in fact have contrived the supposed execution as a red herring to throw the government and adventurous rescuers off the scent of the terrorists. A few conspiracy theorists even believe that the foreign governments quickly confirmed the

Certified Institute of Marketing Communications in Nigeria, I consider the Otedola Campaign as one of the most daring and well-managed political campaigns in Nigeria’s political history. Many analysts had superficially explained Sir Otedola’s unusual victory as being a product of luck or the ‘mystic’ in his name (Otedola literarily means ‘conflicts and intrigues turn to wealth’). I was privileged to be the Director General of the Campaign Organisation. I wrote a formal Campaign Plan with a detailed Situation Analysis. We anticipated the crisis in Lagos SDP which was a localisation of the PSP vs. PF rivalry in SDP nationwide. We built on the ‘strength’ of Otedola as a ‘Christian from rural Lagos’. We ran an in-depth campaign in rural Lagos. We had a ward-by-ward, polling booth-by-polling booth, church-by-church and mosque-bymosque campaign network. There was a great campaign theme “That Lagos May Now Excel”(which later earned Lagos the ‘State of Excellence’ appellation). The theme was backed with bold and colourful visuals. We also did a formal Influence Channel Analysis. We identified the then out-going Military Administration of Governor Raji Rasaki, the Church, the Press and any disgruntled faction of SDP(among others) as critical success factors. When Agbalajobi was initially declared winner, we were already having partnership discussions with Sarumi. When subsequently, Yomi Edu became SDP candidate, we mobilised MOCO members to join Agbalajobi ‘s supporters to protest the ‘injustice’ and to widen the schism in SDP. We kept to our script and offered to partner with the aggrieved Jakande group. John Dara and Sen. Tony Adefuye initiated the dialogue that resulted in the deal. The intricate negotiations took place at the V/I residence of the late Prince Dapo Sijuade. There were many heroes of the Otedola Campaign and victory: Late Chief Baruwa (Olori Eleyo) of NRC, Late Alh. Baruwa (then Chairman of SDP), Late Chief Babs Akerele, Dr. Charles Fadipe, Dr. Segun Ogundimu, Late Dr. Segun Oyefule, Alh. Umaru Shinkafi (who gave money and facilitated police support), church leaders who moved out the votes, pressmen like Sina Ogunbambo, Yetunde Arebi, Kunle Oyatomi and all MOCO members who saw the future with me. It was a well coordinated teamwork. We remain grateful to Alh. Lateef Jakande for his (mutually beneficial) assistance, and to Gen. Raji Rasaki who was arguably more critical to our success than anyone else (he nominated Otedola’s running-mate, blocked the SDP last-ditch rigging effort in the expansive Ojo LGA, and helped in several other ways. Above all, God made it happen. I’m not ready yet to write my memoirs, may be it will be titled “The Contributions of a small role player in Nigeria’s political development”. It will feature stories that may moderate public perception of some important political developments and players. For now, let’s wait, ‘make I reach where I dey go’. And by the way, Mohammed, leave me and my Baba alone o. John Dara •For comments, send SMS to 08023211188

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above executions in order to give Ansaru the mistaken impression they would do nothing about the hostages since they were dead anyway. Whatever the final outcome, whether Ansaru is lying and foreign governments are conniving at the lie, or whether Nigeria is in a quandary, the only group certain to be embarrassed by the whole affair is Nigeria, which has been unable both to tame its violent sects and incompetent to fight them. Nigeria must hope that the hostages are really not dead, and that its wariness is justified. Any other outcome would be disastrous, for it would paint Nigeria as ignorant of happenings within its own borders. However, in the days ahead, the unpleasant truth about the fate of the hostages will be established beyond doubt. But whatever that truth is will not mitigate the appalling image Nigeria has cultivated and continues to nurture of its government’s unpredictability, dithering and slothfulness.

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The Nation March 13, 2013