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Oil bunkering war: Who’s winning?

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News

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Condoms litter Boko Haram hideout –Military

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15 killed, over 300 houses razed in Fulani herdsmen raid

www.nationalmirroronline.net

Vol. 3 No. 25

Sunday, June 2, 2013

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Pro-Jang Govs: Why we moved against Amaechi Jang: He turned himself into a dictator Obi: Amaechi edged me out of 2011 contest Imoke: 14 years of NGF has always been by consensus

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The Ministers, their scorecards

Allison-Madueke, Petroleum

Prof Nebo, Power

Okonjo-Iweala, Finance

Adesina, Agriculture

L-R: Father of the groom, Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe; mother of the bride, Mrs. Okeya; President Goodluck Jonathan; the newly wedded couple, Mark Omo and Omolade; Senate President David Mark; mother of the groom, Mrs. Louisa Oghiadomhe and father of the bride, Mr. Dele Okeya, during the wedding ceremony in Abuja, yesterday.

State of Emergency

Al-Jazeera lied –Presidency

Says military operations not targetted at civilians P. 9 P. 8 I have no plan to probe Obasanjo –Jonathan

2015

Power: Some believe Nebo is still learning the ropes which has resulted in

laxity on the part of staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), leading to persistent drop in electricity supply in the country.

Atiku slams Anenih over automatic ticket proposal for Jonathan

Health: The Minister has been variously fingered by Joint Health Sector’s

Union (JOHESU) for aligning with groups such as the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) to inflame disharmony in the sector.

Agriculture: Nigeria’s agricultural sector transformation agenda over the

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We’ll take over in 2015, Buhari insists

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past two years has been one of the most visible initiatives with so much to show in terms of its recent value-addition impacts and implications for the overall growth of the economy.

See report on pages 12, 13, 14 and 56


Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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What’s new Politics

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Seven Days TALKING POINTS OF THE PAST WEEK JUNE 2, 2013

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Secrets that have sustained me over the years –Opral Benson Chief (Dr) Opral Mason Benson is a trailblazer in fashion and beauty care in Nigeria. She is the Chairperson of Johnson Products Nigeria Limited. She started the Chic Afrique Beauty Company in 1980 and the Opral Benson Beauty Training Institute in 1985 when she clocked 50. The Iya Oge of Lagos pioneered and organised a trade fair exclusively for the cosmetics and fashion industries. In this interview, this woman of style expresses worry about rampant nudity among young women.

DHQ also narrated how its specially-trained dogs aided the arrest of 50 terrorists who were allegedly planning to infiltrate Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, and other towns in the North-East. The DHQ said the dogs had been very helpful in its cordon-and-search operations. He added that more than 15 of the suspected terrorists were arrested with arms concealed in their body or properties.

Subscribers shun Mobile Number Portability One month after the launch of Mobile Number Portability, MNP, the service adoption by telecoms subscribers in the country has been unimpressive. National Mirror gathered that in spite of the commercial messages creating awareness on the mobile number portability service, most telecoms

consumers shunned the services due to a number of factors. While some subscribers said they were comfortable with their carrying multiple Subscriber Identity Modules, SIMs, around, others who wanted to port, said certain bottlenecks in the switching process was discouraging them.

Boko Haram: Shekau’s associate found dead –Army As the battle to root out members of the Boko Haram sect in the NorthEast continues, the army confirmed the death of a man it described as a close associate of the terrorists’ leader, Abubakar Shekau.

It said the man died while running errands for the sect’s leadership. The Defence Headquarters, DHQ, did not, however, disclose whether the man was killed in combat or died as a result of other extraneous factors.

party activities. But Amaechi has vowed to fight his suspension to the finish. “I will not leave the PDP. I will go to court. The aircraft issue is same politics, pure politics. For one year plus, a minister refuses to sign import permit. I’m sure you are aware of the House of Representatives’ Committee report on the plane issue.

Charles Umeugokwe CEO FRESHWAVE CHANNEL 117

MON

Passion

The Defence Headquarters, DHQ, in Abuja has said that anti-aircraft weapons mounted on vehicles had been destroyed in the ongoing war against terrorists. The weapons, according to Defence sources, were meant to attack military aircraft deployed in the operation to battle the Boko Haram Islamic sect in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, where there is emergency rule.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Monday wielded the big stick on the embattled Rivers State Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, Rotimi Amaechi, by suspending him from the party. The National Working Committee, NWC, of the party hinged his suspension on anti-

Mondays are for meetings. We discuss about new programs, changes, plans to make new programs and ways to meet up with the normal schedules. As a media person, the meetings usually start on time because we work with time. Timeliness is the point and then delivering what is good for the people. We make sure everything is intact on Mondays. Of course, there will be meeting also with other executives and media partners. We make plans to expand because our channel is just five months old.

TUE

Chief Mike Okoye, a constitutional lawyer, rights activist and now governorship aspirant in Anambra State, was a founding member of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO. In this interview, he says democracy under the present dispensation is on course. He also comments on the state pardon granted to former Bayelsa State governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha as well as his aspiration to contest the Anambra governorship election in November.

Emergency rule: Troops destroy terrorists’ anti-aircraft weapons

the 14 months of Bamanga Tukur-led leadership, the meeting has been held only once. Governors Amaechi, Aliyu Babangida (Niger), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Aliyu Wamako (Sokoto), Saidu Dakingari (Kebbi), and Abdullfatah Ahmed (Kwara) are believed to be under intense heat from the party over their roles at the just concluded election of the NGF with sanction hanging on their necks.

It’s fight to the finish, says Amaechi

My Tuesdays are almost the same like my Mondays. This is the day we do a lot of negotiations to introduce new programs and schedules to bring fresh programs from other producers.

THU WED

Jonathan’s govt has done well in rule of law –Mike Okoye

Governors sympathetic to suspended Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, demanded that the National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, be held immediately. The governors also swore that nobody will frustrate them out of the party, warning that only the party’s NEC can suspend a governor, who incidentally is a member of the party’s Board of Trustees. PDP’s NEC is constitutionally required to hold every quarter of the year but in

On Wednesday, we are still on our toes to satisfy our viewers and make them not to feel bored with the channel. There is no resting day for us. It is work and work everyday of the week.

FRI

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in Bompai Estate, Kano, were discovered by security agents on Wednesday. Some of the items seized from the bunker include dynamite for explosives, several AK47 rifles, rocket propelled-guns, anti-tank mines, artillery weapons and hand grenades. The suspects were quoted as admitting during preliminary investigations that the weapons were meant to fight Israeli and Western interests in the country.

On Fridays, usually, there could be one or two events. I’m usually part of the team. I don’t just sit in the office; I go to events with my staff to enjoy ourselves while we do our work.

SAT

Interview

The Nigerian Army in Kano said they had uncovered plot by foreign terrorists linked with Lebanese Hezbollah fighters to attack Western and Israeli interests in the country. It said that seized weapons from three Lebanese men on Tuesday might have had their origin with the group. It will be recalled that different types of weapons concealed in a bunker built inside a bungalow located on Gaya Road

PDP crisis: Governors demand urgent NEC meeting

Saturday is also busy with events. We are in the field attending events. It is actually hard to sleep when you just started a media company. It’s been restless for me. I’m not complaining; I’m thankful because a lot of people pray to be in my position, to be where I am. I love challenges.

SUN

14 years of democracy: The verdict

Army uncovers plot to attack foreign interests

I go to church on Sundays. I stay with my family for a while after church and go out again. We also welcome invitees on Sundays. *By Adaeze Amos (0802 301 2293)


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Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

THE

Big Read SUNDAY SPECIAL INVESTIGATION June 2, 2013

Oil bunkering war:

Who’s winning? Croatian ship linked to Nigeria’s oil theft (Inset: Allison-Madueke)

Oil theft, otherwise known as bunkering, has been on for quite a while now. It is estimated to be costing the Nigerian nation about 150,000 barrels of crude per day, which experts valued at over $1.2 billion (N190 billion) a year at current crude price. This has contributed to a cycle of violence and crisis that has led to shrinking of jobs in the sector. But, where and how do these thieves get the oil? Who are the people behind this atrocious act? How do they sell the products and why has it been difficult for authorities to prosecute the perpetrators? These are the focus of this report by Head, Special Investigations, Isioma Madike

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he nation’s economy is bleeding. This is because Nigeria’s oil production is dropping and the international oil companies in the Niger Delta region now operate in fear. The endless oil theft in parts of that region has become worrisome. According to AngloDutch oil giants, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), there has been an upsurge of this criminal activity, which is costing the Nigerian nation billions of dollars annually, in recent time. This has thrown

oil workers, who have been threatening to embark on strike if the monster is not tamed, into dilemma. In the first quarter of this year, official figures from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) confirmed that the country lost about $1.2 billion (N190 billion), to incessant crude oil theft and vandalism along the major pipelines within the Niger Delta. The Corporation, which explained that the NNPC/SPDC JV (Shell Petroleum Development Company Joint Venture) recently

‘OIL THIEVES ENJOYING SUPPORT OF INTERNATIONAL SYNDICATE’

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declared a force majeure on Bonny Crude due to this menace, predicted that the situation could be worse in the coming months. According to a statement by the NNPC acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Tumini Green, “investigations showed that 53 break points were discovered along the 97km Nembe Creek Trunkline.” While these are worrying developments, it would appear that the Federal Government is merely interested in passing the buck by blaming the international buyers of the stolen crude. This may have prompted the coordinator of the Nigeria’s Honourary International Investment Council, Baroness Lynda Chalker, to challenge the administration to provide solution to oil theft if it was desirous of convincing foreign investors to come to Nigeria. Just recently, the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), a subsidiary of the Italian energy major, ENI, suspended its operations in Bayelsa State. The company said “the decision was taken due to an intensification of bunkering activities and sabotage of the pipelines” which have in recent times affected oil production activities in the area. This came at about the same time that the SDPC raised an CONTINUED ON PAGE 4

JTF CONSIDERS NON-COMBAT STRATEGIES TO TACKLE MENACE

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The Big Read

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

‘Oil thieves enjoying support of international syndicate’

Members of JTF in Bayelsa State

Oil thieves paraded in Benin City

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 alarm over the criminal breach of its multimillion dollar Nembe Creek trunk, also in Bayelsa State. While it has become very clear that Nigeria is dealing with an international criminal cartel, it is baffling that relevant authorities seem clueless about how to contain these acts of sabotage that have serious economic and security implications for the country. With these criminal cartels getting more and more emboldened, they are investing in barges, canoes, speed boats and large wooden boats, which they use in their illicit business. Today, there are reports that a quarter of Nigeria’s crude oil production is unaccounted for and this massive leakage has been going on for years. Local refineries are also springing up with all the dire implications for the environment given the pollution that come with the activities. To underscore the gravity of the situation, there are propositions before the Senate to prescribe capital punishment for oil thieves. In adding his voice to the call in the course of inaugurating the Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Senate President, David Mark, said the committee should recommend ways of curbing oil bunkering. Mark insisted that “the law must have stiff punishment for those that steal our oil to serve as a deterrent to other people, who plan to steal our oil. The Bill must also ensure that the current rate of oil theft in the country is minimised to the barest minimum. It seems we are having a bad name internationally because of the rate of oil theft in the country. Oil theft deserves capital punishment.” There is no doubt that the incidents of theft of crude oil now pose a threat to the nation’s economy. But even as opinion leaders lament this situation, it is evident that the problem persists because there is some form of official complicity in what has become an organised crime. However, the recent spat between the oil giants and the security outfit created to checkmate the malady, has not helped

Nigerian Navy defender gunboats

matters. While the Joint Task Force (JTF) points to the fact that there could be international conspiracy at work, which are bent on disrupting the recently reestablished peace in the hitherto volatile region, Shell, one of the operators in the delta region are accusing the security operatives of possible connivance with locals to perpetrate the atrocious act. These are understandable; oil from that section of the country accounts for over 80 per cent of Nigeria’s wealth. The Managing Director of Shell, Mutiu Sunmonu, fired the first salvo when he said his company is steadily losing about 60, 000 barrels of oil per month to thieves in the region, which he described as unprecedented. While alluding to a connivance theory, Sunmonu took a swipe at the security agents responsible for securing oil installations, insisting that they may not have done enough in their anti-theft operations. He said they would have to step up the war against the criminals to a meaningful impact. “The issue of crude oil theft like I have always maintained, is a very dangerous phenomenon. The reason I am saying this is because we have now witnessed a significant upsurge in the activities of this criminals. The situation in the last few weeks has remained unprecedented. The volume of oil being stolen is the highest in the last three years; over 60, 000 barrels per day from Shell alone. That for me is a great concern,’’ Sunmonu said. He threatened that his company may have to shut down its operations in some parts of Rivers and Bayelsa states if nothing is done urgently to arrest the situation. Another concern the oil chief disclosed was the level of sophistication the perpetrators now employ in their nefarious activities. He believes too that the criminals’ activities may be enjoying the support of the international syndicates, who may be funding the unfortunate project. ‘’The other important point for me is the fact that over time, this whole crime has got a lot more sophisticated and you could see that the perpetrators are now setting up barges,

building yards; storage facilities and tank farms for storing the crude prior to shipping out. So, if you look at all of these, it is very clear to me that this is not just an act by desperate individuals trying to make a living. This certainly is a well funded criminal activity, probably involving international syndicates. We are in a crisis as a country because this is something, which I think, is beyond the capacity of any individual company to solve,’’ he said. Sunmonu’s statement expectedly did not go down well with JTF management, which swiftly countered the claims of the oil chief. The security outfit through its media manager, Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, denied any connivance, saying instead that JTF has been up and doing in its operations. He also gave a breakdown of what the task force has done in recent times. ‘’The Joint Task Force, OPERATION PULO SHIELD is fighting a good fight in combating the hydra-headed menace of oil theft in the Niger Delta. This is evident in the number of successful interceptions and arrests that we have made in 2012 through February this year. Last year alone, 7, 585 anti-illegal bunkering patrols were conducted. A total of 18 vessels and 1,945 suspects were arrested while 4,349 illegal crude oil distilleries were destroyed. “Also destroyed were 133 barges, 1,215 open wooden boats (Cotonu boats), 187 oil theft tanker trucks, 178 illegally distilled fuel dumps as well as 5,574 surface tanks. In addition, 36,504 drums of distilled petroleum products, 638 pumping machines and 326 outboard engines were seized and scuttled. So far we have arrested 260 suspects, eight vessels, nine barges and 90 open wooden barges. We have as well scuttled 452 distilleries or cooking spots of stolen crude oil within this period. As a matter of fact, at the moment, one of the oil companies is pleading with JTF to do well to evacuate the several vessels impounded and docked at its Jetty including the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) jetty because there was no more space for vessels to berth. It is, therefore, quite difficult to reconcile the

upsurge spoken of by SPDC given these record achievements. “I am, however, not unaware that our patrol troops have often times reported incidents of ruptures on the pipelines whenever they find one and as we speak, there are still a good number of those ruptures left unclamped in Dasaba and Mekakiri creeks for instance. Apparently, JTF does not have the expertise to clamp them, but the oil companies do. JTF does not have the manpower to put operatives permanently on over 6000 km pipeline. Mind you, we are talking of over 6000 km right of way in the mangroves, not on a straight cleared path. All these we have done and we are not relenting,’’ Nwachukwu said. In addition, the JTF, according to investigations, is considering persuasion and sensitisation as non-combat strategies to tackle the menace. The new strategy, Sunday Mirror gathered, would not affect the outfit’s military operations against pipeline vandalism and illegal refineries. But, it will enable traditional rulers, chiefs, women and youth organisations in various communities to be involved in fighting economic saboteurs in the region. Nwachukwu said that the 146 Battalion, Sector 2, of the outfit experimented on the strategy in Okpomakiri, Gokana Local Government of Rivers State. “JTF has carried out a sensitisation visit to the community where its officials admonished the elders on the dangers inherent in youths engaging in pipeline vandalism. It solicited the support of the elders of the community in curbing the menace and urged them to caution their youths to desist from any act of illegality,” he confirmed. Despite the appeals, he said, JTF’s troops from the sector raided the Cawthorne Channel and Bodo West creeks in Okpomakiri, K-Dere and B-Dere, destroying 16 illegal refineries. He added, “the outfit also scuttled an attempt to smuggle 15 wooden boats conveying about 26, 000 litres of stolen crude oil. JTF also impounded a self-propelled barge, 18 open boats, CONTINUED ON PAGE 5


Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

The Big Read

Sunday, June 2, 2013

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We have a robust strategy to combat oil theft –Nwachukwu Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu is the Media Coordinator of Joint Task Force (JTF), codenamed Operation Pulo Shield. He spoke with Emma Gbemudu on the operation of the security outfit as it concerns the activities of oil thieves in the creeks of Niger Delta. How are the JTF and other security agencies fighting oil thieves in the Niger Delta region? In discussing the extent of JTF‘s anti-oil theft operations in the Niger Delta, I believe we need to take a peep into the strategy we evolved to carry out effective action in the region in the pursuit of the mandate handed down to us. The JTF Operation Pulo Shield has a robust strategy with which it is effectively combating oil theft in the Niger Delta. First, it has been expanded in terms of its components and area of responsibility to cover the nine oil producing states, bringing on board, aside the Armed Forces and the Police, other security and civil agencies such as the Department of State Security, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigerian Customs Service, Immigration Services and the Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC Where do these thieves get the oil from? Stolen crude oil is usually sourced from unauthorised loading points and this could be a well head or a valve point, which had been illegitimately inserted into a pipeline by cracking it. Most of these sources are the ones mostly located in the remote and narrow creeks and some of the pipes even pass under water but still this people are able to locate them, apply under water welding skills to insert their own valve and lay in under water to their barges, open boats or any other means they use. Who are the people behind this? From my understanding of the arrests we have been

Nwachukwu

making over time, there are basically three categories of oil thieves that prowl the Niger Delta. These include those that are mainly Nigerian locals. They relocate to encamp deep in the mangroves and go about cracking pipe lines that are sited in remote creeks. They make use of local open wooden boats that could manoeuvre in shallow creeks to convey the stolen crude oil from the theft site to their illegal distillation camps where they cook the crude oil and obtain adulterated automated gas oil, which constitutes about only 30 per cent of the oil and then throw back the remaining 70 per cent into the environment thereby causing heinous pollution. This is mostly done at night. The set of people that perpetrate this crime are mainly locals from the region with a few hands hired from within the companies. The other set comprises those big

oil thieves, who are in conspiracy with a few unpatriotic Nigerians to rip off the nation. These are foreigners working with treacherous Nigerians to undo our country. The third set are those in the distribution cadre. These are some petroleum dealers, who want to make easy money. They are the ones who buy the adulterated products from the illegal distillers because it is cheaper than that obtained from the official source. What are the challenges facing the task force in carrying out its mandate on illegal bunkering? The JTF is faced with so many challenges militating against its efforts to combat the oil theft menace. Some communities shield saboteurs and oil thieves. In our bid to stamp out oil theft in the region, it dawned on us that several individuals in the communities were either actively involved in the illegal business or shielding saboteurs who vandalize pipelines and flow stations for reasons of grievances they hold against some oil companies. These are the people engaged in illegal oil distillation. This set of people relocate deep into the mangroves from where they attack remote pipelines, steal and cook the crude oil. They crack the pipe, take what they want and leave the pipe spilling, which poses fatal threat to the environment. Some people even convert their septic tanks into reservoirs to store stolen crude oil while some store stolen crude in trenches. Another issue I consider a challenge is that though most oil companies have surveillance contractors responsible for monitoring their network of pipelines, but the manner of employment by the oil companies who sub-let the employment of surveillance teams to contractors result in a lack of dedication. Recently, two surveillance contractors working for an oil company were arrested trying to vandalize a pipeline at KPORGHO in GOKANA local council of Rivers State some time in 2012.

Senior government officials involved in bunkering –NLC CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 133 plastic surface tanks and 28 pumping machines involved in crude oil theft in the region. The interception of the barge was by the Maritime Component troops of the JTF deployed in Forward Operations Base, Burutu in Delta State. The barge was laden with stolen petroleum product. Three of the illegal oil distillation camps, which had 138 plastic tanks of 7,500 litre-capacity each, 23 steel surface tanks, 16 pumping machines, two generators and one welding machine were found out by patrol operatives of 3 Battalion, Sector 1 at Otumara, Obe/Jesse communities of Delta State. Three other camps used for illegal distillation of crude oil were also scuttled in Gbelebu in Ovia South West Local Government of Edo State.” Aside that, Operatives of the Central Naval Command, have also arrested 14 oil thieves and impounded two vessels along Brass and Sangana waterways in Bayelsa State. It was gathered that the suspects and the vessels, MV BUYUS and MT HENTY PIONEER, were rounded up at separate points for allegedly forging clearance certificate and loitering. The Command Operation Officer, Commodore Emmanuel Enemor, confirmed that MV BUYUS and its seven crew members were arrested for forging a naval clearance document. He said they were arrested by the operatives of the Forward Operating Base, FORMOSO, who were on a routine patrol off the coast of Brass. The vessel, he revealed, was converted from a fishing trawler to an oil tanker. “Any vessel found loitering aimlessly on the Akassa, Nun and Sangana rivers is often tagged as a vessel of interest and inter-

Ezeoba

JTF Commander, Maj. Gen. Bata Debiro

rogation because of the criminal activities, particularly crude oil theft, illegal refineries, piracy, sea robbery, illegal bunkering and a host of other criminal acts these areas are notoriously known for. The conversion of the vessel from a fishing trawler to a tanker for bunkering was believed to be illegal as the captain could not tender any documents in support of the conversion.” The Nigerian Navy has also threatened to go after traditional rulers, landlords and community leaders found abetting crime, especially in illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region. The force said it had declared 24 hours patrol of the waterways to checkmate the operations of illegal oil thieves. The Commander, NNS Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Commodore Duja Emmanuel Effedua, said this after

the Base had carried out operations in the creeks, raiding five camps, and destroying over six illegal refineries. He warned the people to avoid whatever would link them with the nefarious activities of oil bunkerers in their areas, or face the music. He said that several local tank farms containing products suspected to be illegally refined petroleum products and accessories were destroyed. According to the Base commander, the declaration of 24 hours patrol of creeks in the Niger Delta was in view of the Nigerian Navy’s determination to curtail the excesses of illegal oil bunkerers in the region. In its continuous quest to curb the menace as encapsulated in the Strategic Guidance 01 of the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, NNS Pathfind-

er equally smashed a top oil theft syndicate in Rivers State freshly. Investigations have revealed that the syndicate, which has over 100 tank farms where the stolen products were hidden, had successfully carried out daily massive sales before its nefarious activities became known to security operatives. It was also gathered that the syndicate’s reach spanned over seven communities through which the major oil theft production in the state prospered and boomed. The suspects had engineered their nefarious activities such that the tank farms and refineries had pipes that ran several kilometres and were connected to the respective houses of members from where they attend to their customers. The communities involved in the illegality included Idama, Ikpokri, One man Camp, Kii, Ele Creeks and Bille, KM 45, where several local tank farms used in storing illegally refined AGO and crude oil were located. Confirming the incident, the Base Information Officer, NNS PATHFINDER, Lieutenant Abdulsalam Sani, said the special task force instituted by the command had carried out the raid based on a tip off. “In Ikpokri alone, we discovered over 30 tank farms and in KM45, it was uncountable. These people probably bunker pipelines and connect it to their tank farms and then supply to their numerous customers,” he said. However, authority of the Nigerian Navy in Calabar said it has installed a hightech State of the Art facility to monitor the activities of sea and oil thieves in the Calabar water channels. With the installation of the ICT facility, the flag officer comCONTINUED ON PAGE 6


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The Big Read

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

JTF considers non-combat strategies to tackle menace

Sumonu

Yakubu

Omar

Morris

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 manding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Joseph Aikhomu, said that activities of the criminals would be viewed from his office by a click of a button. According to him, this would help the Navy meet up with modern challenges of tackling oil theft in Nigerian’s domain including the Gulf of Guinea, which he feels would boost the economic development of the nation. Also in Benin City, the Edo State capital, the Nigeria Army said it has destroyed well over 3, 000 illegal refineries. Commander of the 4th Mechanized Division, Brig-Gen. Abel Umahi, confirmed that the illegal refinery operators were nabbed after members of the public alerted the security agency. The suspects were alleged to have punctured oil pipelines from which they divert crude oil to their refineries. He said that some of the suspected vandals had attempted to blow up Chevron installations in Delta State when they were arrested. For Governor Adams Oshiomhole, “with proper and honest information, criminals can’t survive because they live with us. All I can assure you is that nobody in Edo State will interfere with your prosecution of anyone that has been apprehended so that your men are not discouraged. Regardless of whom they purport to be, the suspects must be dealt with according to law.” Incidentally, the Federal Government appears to have aligned with the position of JTF. It accused the International oil traders of abetting the crime with their high appetite for the stolen commodity. The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, pleaded in her address at the opening of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, United States of America recently to the international community to join in the fight against the criminal activities of oil thieves and pipeline vandals by cutting down on their high appetite for stolen crude oil from Nigeria. The Minister, who was represented at the occasion by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, said it was imperative that they halt their appetite for stolen crude oil from Nigeria if the country must meet its obligations in the global energy supply mix. “The President is taking this matter se-

riously and the Minister is working at it aggressively,” Yakubu said. “It takes two to tango. If those stealing Nigeria’s crude do not find a ready market for it, there would be no incentive to steal. That is why we are appealing to the international community to take action. Tracing the country’s crude by DNA to the destination is being looked into, to ensure that the finger prints of our crude are traceable to the various destinations. I can tell you that as an industry, we are happy to work with governments in this regard,” he added. On another plank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, has warned that oil theft would cripple the nation’s economy. Sanusi, who was speaking on the sidelines of the First National Risk Management Conference in Lagos last week, said oil theft was creating heavy leakage on the economy, warning that if the trend continued, it would affect the sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He pointed out that oil theft had become an organised crime run by barons, stressing that the present development went beyond pipeline vandalisation. “Oil theft is becoming worrisome. The perpetrators of this criminal act are barons, who are bent on sabotaging the economy. This definitely will slow down savings and government revenue,” he said. The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has also warned that the continued menace of crude oil theft and the falling global oil prices are diminishing the amount, which could be saved in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for Nigeria. The organised labour and other stakeholders in the sector are equally concerned, with some of them pointing accusing fingers to senior government officials. For instance, President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade AbdulWaheed Omar, has said that the exponential rise in the crude oil theft in the country cannot be divorced from involvement of senior government officials and foreign collaborators. He advised the oil workers to expose the saboteurs, who are bent on denying Nigerians value for God-given asset. In like manner, his counterpart in PENGASSAN, Babatunde Ogun, said the painful damage to the environment due to pipeline vandalism and oil theft cannot be

overemphasized. “The eco-system of the Niger Delta has been greatly violated and unfortunately this aspect of the cost of crude oil theft has not been given sufficient attention,” he noted. Ogun explained that although Section 8 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act provides for life imprisonment for anyone stealing crude oil or petroleum products or vandalizing the pipelines, hardly is anyone caught or prosecuted. According to him, it is obvious the oil thieves have powerful allies in government, adding that it is also clear that the security agencies are complicit in this menace of the national resource. “The truth is that the continued unabated theft of crude oil will obviously lead to divestment by the oil and gas companies, and some attendant socio-economic crises and significant job losses,” he said. A foremost Niger Delta rights activist and state Chairman of Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Nengi James, alleged that people fighting oil theft in Nigeria are actually behind the crime, describing the war against oil theft as just a ceremonial fight. According to him, some external forces are behind oil theft because they buy the product to ruin the nation’s local economy. “The stolen crude is got from the pipelines and wellheads of oil facilities located at the local communities. Buyers are everywhere all over the world. It is a conspiracy against the Nigerian state because our leaders don’t care. They only sit down in Abuja to share oil revenue. If the situation continues in the next five years, there will be no oil for them to steal. On the Nigerian shore, men of the Nigerian Navy and JTF claimed to be guarding oil facilities, but they are not. Foreigners are penetrating our shores to buy stolen crude. We, the host communities are not happy with the development, because it is causing serious environmental problem to our neighbourhood. Our seas and rivers are being polluted. “Oil thieves cannot be prosecuted because agencies charged with the responsibility and suspects are above the law. These groups of people are involved in the criminality. If an oil bunkerer is arrested he must go through the EFCC and all that. When he gets to EFCC, before the agency would come and verify the contents in the barges, they have already pumped in water into the barges and EFCC will say it did

not see any crude oil in the barge. That has been the problem,” James explained. The activist called for the total overhauling of the security network at the oil facilities as he alleged that most of them are living above their means. “Until the security stop playing politics and embarking on true professionalism, the oil theft would remain unabated. There should be proper investigation of the security agents manning the oil platforms. Can you imagine that a junior officer guarding the oil facilities is raking in millions of naira due to illegal bunkering activities?” James said. Another rights crusader and Project Officer, Environmental Rights Action (ERA) Bayelsa State, Alagoa Morris, expressed reservation on the fight against oil theft in the region. Morris regretted that the Federal Government was not sincere on the war because of the politicians behind the crime. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom and the US have indicated interest to assist Nigeria fight this menace. Alison-Madueke, who confirmed this, said “both the British and US governments have been in discussions with us and are keen to join hands with us to fight this menace. The global community is on track and already geared up and we are working to put in place a strategic platform that will involve us all and enable us track and fingerprint stolen crude. Crude oil theft and vandalism were being executed on a professional scale beyond petty stealing: It is, therefore, clear that it is being taken to refineries outside the shores of West Africa. It has, therefore, become necessary to tackle the issue globally as it is carried out by powerful cabals and experts,” she said. On the home front, government has said that it is planning to create Pipeline Protection Agency to ensure that the asset is protected against theft and to complement the recently introduced monitoring by private hands. Not too long ago, ex-militants as well as the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) were engaged to help monitor the nation’s oil pipelines. But, how far these efforts will go at curbing the oil theft menace, remains to be seen. Additional reports from Sam Oluwalana (Port Harcourt), Sebastine Ebhuomhan (Benin), Emma Gbemudu (Yenagoa) and Richard Ndoma (Calabar).


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Sunday June 2, 2013

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Anti-Amaechi governors speak: why we moved against him •He was a dictator –Jang •Amaechi rigged me out in 2011 contest –Obi •14 years of NGF existence has always been by consensus –Imoke OBIORA IFOH ABUJA

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ore revelations were made at the weekend by Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, over the polarisation in the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF). Jang also gave insight into why he and some of his colleagues moved against Rivers State Governor, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi. According to him, the Rivers governor had virtually turned himself into a dictator as chairman of the forum. Jang, who was briefing journalists in company of Cross River, Ondo and Anambra state governors explained that there was nowhere in the NGF constitution that said a chairman could be re-elected, adding that it was only Amaechi, who knew where he got that portion of the constitution that said a sitting chairman could be re-elected.

The Plateau governor disclosed that there was at no time the governors met to ratify the constitution, adding that the only time they met on the purported constitution was when the Vice-President, Architect Namadi Sambo, was still the governor of Kaduna State, adding that the constitution was never ratified to accommodate a sitting chairman re-contesting, contrary to what the Rivers governor was propagating. His words: “Amaechi virtually became a dictator, dictating everything. He brought in a constitution that many of us have never seen or aware of. The only time we looked into the constitution was when Namadi Sambo was still there and there was nowhere that says a sitting chairman could be re-elected. The constitution was never ratified.” Jang described the video coverage of the election as morally corrupt, saying, “we have never called journalists

to video our proceedings’ if it is Amaechi that planted the camera, it is morally corrupt”. Asked why the forum had not intervened in the suspension of the Rivers State governor who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Jang said the matter was not for the NGF, but the PDP Governors Forum, PGF. He, however, added that Amaechi had not formally reported the matter to the forum. On how elections had always been conducted by the NGF since 1999, the Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke, said that NGF elections had always been by consensus in the 14 years of its existence, adding that the reason was to avoid any acrimony that would otherwise emanate after election. “It is a consensus between the North and South that it will be one term. For the 14 years of the existence of the NGF, there has never been an election. The reason why

L-R: Fellow, Centre for Human Security, an arm of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Dr. Judith Asuni; former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Director, Centre for Human Security, Prof. Peter Okebukola, at the centre’s Workshop on Building a Coordinated Approach to Flood Disasters in Nigeria, in Abeokuta, PHOTO: NAN yesterday.

we agreed on consensus is because it will be divisive,” he said. Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko said at the briefing that no governor would say he was very proud of what happened at the forum, but however blamed Amaechi for the development. He however said that the society most times sympathise with the underdog. Mimiko said he did not vote during the election, but emphasised that 18 governors endorsed Jang for the chairmanship position, noting that on Saturday after the election, the 18 members still reported when Jang called for a meeting. The Ondo State governor insisted that Amaechi cannot preside over an election he was also contesting, adding that the Rivers State governor virtually took over everything, including the printing of the ballot papers and procurement of the ballot boxes, against the principles of democratic practice. He said if they had walked out during the election, as one of their options, Nigerians would have interpreted it differently, adding that the second option was for them to smash the ballot box. He however explained that such option was below the standard of governors. Mimiko challenged whoever did a video recording of the election to show the total video clips, as the outcome of such action was not moral, adding that the forum is a voluntary association, which any governor could decide to leave anytime. He said the best thing to do before the election was for Amaechi to have stepped down and vacate the seat, so that someone else would preside over the election, but he “insisted that he will not vacate

the seat before the election. “Not one governor would say he is very proud of what happened. A few of us have received bashing, but we decided to stand our ground. The Nigerian Governors’ Forum is a voluntary organisation, any person can pull out anytime. “If you indicate interest to run for re-election, you must first step down. When Amaechi said he will run, we insisted that he should step down and allow somebody to be there and conduct the election. “He insisted that he will not vacate the seat before the election. It is Amaechi that produced the ballot papers and ballot boxes. Any governor who is not ready to identify with his conviction is not qualified to be a governor. “They should ask the person who did video recording of the event to show the full clips. Let them produce any camera in the world to show if I got closer to the virusinfested ballot box. I did not vote. Why do people believe in the voodoo ballot box?” Anambra State Governor, Mr Peter Obi, emphasised that elections in the forum had always been by consensus, adding that the election of Amaechi by seven governors and six deputies was by consensus in Kwara State in 2011. He said the South-East governors had earlier endorsed him before Amaechi was suddenly picked for the position in 2011, adding that the position was not given to him just because he was not from PDP, even when the other SouthEast governors, who were members of PDP nominated him for the position. The letter signed by the four South-East governors, Theodore Orji, Martins Elechi, Sullivan Chime and Ikedi Ohakim, with reference number SEGF/S/GOVS/

INT/1/022 and addressed to Saraki, who was the former chairman of NGF, with the heading, “nomination of Mr. Peter Obi” read: “We, the governors of the South-East of Nigeria wish to respectfully nominate Mr. Peter Obi, Governor of Anambra State of Nigeria as a candidate for the position of chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum. “Our action in this regard is unanimous as a zone and is borne out of our firm conviction that he will discharge the functions of this office with credibility, dedication and due diligence. Kindly accept the assurance of our highest regards.” Obi said he was surprised that the meeting, which was supposed to be a valedictory session for the former Kwara State governor, Saraki, who was the then NGF chairman, was turned to an election event, where Amaechi emerged as the chairman, adding that he was then begged to accept the vice chairman. Obi said the forum is an association that is not recognised by the Nigeria Constitution, adding that the forum was a trouble to him when he was holding the position of the vice. “If they don’t want me I will go my way. That did not stop me from the way I govern Anambra State. What is worrisome to me is that they have now dragged it to where it is worrisome,” he said. When Sunday Mirror got in touch with the Rivers State Commissioner for Information, Ibim Semenitari, she said she was on the road and would get back to our correspondent. She however did not respond to repeated calls to her phone and even text messages. Another aide who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “we won’t respond to all these. It is not necessary.”

2015: APC’ll win Presidency, other elections –Buhari AZA MSUE KADUNA

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ormer military Head of State and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the 2011 election, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday declared that the newly formed All Progressive Congress (APC) will win the 2015 presidential poll. Gen Buhari said this at

a conference of opposition parties and formal unveiling of APC in Kagoro, southern Kaduna. At the conference with the theme ‘A decade of democracy: A region at crossroads’, Buhari said they have confidence in the people who are now yearning for change because of bad leadership and insecurity in the country. “We are going to win in 2015. We have confidence on it. How much our states

earned from 1999 to date and what is the level of development and infrastructure? The railway, industries and so many companies have all gone because of outright theft in the system. So, between now and 2015, we have great job to do and by God’s will, we shall make it,” he declared. “The problems that the southern Kaduna people are facing and indeed many communities in the North

are facing are as a result of poor leadership and bad governance. Since 2007, I told many people that the only way we can defeat and kick the PDP out of government at all levels is by coming together under one platform. “With what is happening in southern Kaduna, I want everyone that is here to go back to his state and constituency and sensitise the people so that together, we

can deliver Nigerians from misrule,” Buhari said. Nasarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Almakura, urged the people of southern Kaduna and the state as a whole to take a leave from what happened in his state in 2011 if there must be change. Leader of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said the southern Kaduna conference was the first of

its kind in the history of the APC which signifies that come 2015, Kaduna and indeed Nigeria will be ruled by APC. Tinubu, who was represented by former Minister of Labour, Alhaji Musa Gwadebe said, “We are sure that APC will take over the leadership of this country in 2015. I urge the people of southern Kaduna to stick on their resolve for change,” he urged.


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Sunday June 2, 2013

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I have no plan to probe Obasanjo –Jonathan ROTIMI FADEYI ABUJA

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he Presidency yesterday said President Goodluck Jonathan has no intention to order a probe into the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said that there was no truth in media reports that Jonathan was making moves

to probe the Obasanjo administration because of the latter’s constant criticisms of the Federal Government. Obasanjo was President for eight years between 1999 to 2007, after which he was succeeded by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua with Jonathan as the Vice President. In the statement by Abati, the Presidency said it was “constrained to state once again that there is no truth whatso-

ever to rehashed reports in the media that President Goodluck Jonathan intends to order a probe of the Obasanjo Administration because of the former President’s ‘constant’ criticisms of the Federal Government” According to Abati, the President remains fully focused on the urgent tasks of assuring peace, security and stability across the country to create the right conditions for rapid socioeconomic development,

saying Jonathan would not be distracted from this objective by futile attempts to drive a wedge between him and other respected elders and leaders of his party. Abati further said, “The President has nothing but the greatest respect for Chief Obasanjo’s very notable contributions to national growth and development over many years and far from taking offence or seeking retaliation, will always welcome objective

criticism and advice from the very highly-regarded elder statesman” “What is more, President Jonathan regards his administration as a continuation of the unbroken chain of PDP-led governments started by Chief Obasanjo in 1999 which have worked tirelessly to entrench democratic governance and achieve rapid socio-economic growth in the country. “Rather than order a pointless probe of his pre-

decessors, he will continue to do his utmost best to build on the solid foundations for national progress laid under previous PDP administrations” “Speculations and suggestions of an impending probe of the Obasanjo Administration by President Jonathan are therefore nonsensical and should be dismissed by all rightthinking Nigerians as the product of the fertile imagination of mischievous political jobbers”.

Friends, relations bid Pini Jason farewell

The remains of Pini Jason

The family of the deceased

CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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he body of the late Newspaper columnist, Chief Pini Jason Okwuadighi Onyegbadue, was lowered to mother earth at his residence, Umuasisi Obizi in Ezinihitte Mbaise Local Government area of Imo State yesterday amidst tributes from National Democratic Coalition, NADECO members, family and friends. The late Jason whose body was lowered into the grave at exactly 1.22pm, attracted many sympathisers from far and wide who came to pay him their last respects. The dignitaries and close friends of the late social critic who attended the service include former Governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha, one-time military governor of old Imo State, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Chief Chris Asoluka, among others. In his sermon, the offi-

Chief Ikedi Ohakim

ciating priest, Ven. Chris Ukabiala, described the late Jason as a man of virtues who worked for the advancement of human freedom and justice. He said that he lived a good life that should be emulated by his children, family and friends. The priest advised the children to bear the loss of their father with fortitude and hope, urging them to sustain the ideals of freedom, hard work and knowledge, which

Rear Admiral Ndubisi Kanu

their father treasured during his life time. Also speaking, Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha, noted that the ace columnist lived an exemplary life that will continue to be remembered with fond memories. He observed that the best way to remember the late renowned columnist is to do “our best in whatever human endeavour we find ourselves”. Ihedioha further noted that Pini dedicated his life

to service to humanity, adding that, “he was one of the few who will never see anything wrong and keep quiet. He was meticulous and we will all miss him”. In his speech, Ohakim, insisted that Pini Jason was not dead but lives on and will continuously to be remembered by all men of good conscience. According to him, “Pini was fearless, he never feared Ibrahim Babangida or Mohammed Abacha, he spoke for the people at the

Chief Emeka Ihedioha

risk of his personal safety and comfort”. Ohakim, disclosed how he met Jason: “When I met Pini Jason in a hotel in Abuja, I invited him to work with us; he said he would not accept the position of a Commissioner but that of Adviser with a proviso that any day I fail to heed to his advice, he would quit. But he never quit. We had been together ever since, until his death. “Pini is not dead, peo-

ple like him don’t die, he was in the same level with Aristotle; he was a great man and he lives on”, he said, sadly. Also speaking, the former military governor and a chieftain of NADECO, Rear Admiral Kanu remembered the role the late Jason played during the military era. Kanu said that the late Pini Jason would be remembered for his contributions tothe building of a truly free Nigeria .


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Sunday June 2, 2013

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State of emergency: Al-Jazeera lied –Presidency ROTIMI FADEYI ABUJA

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he Presidency has described the report by an international news medium, Al-Jazeera, that there are civilian casualties in the military operations in the three North-Eastern states under emergency rule as untrue and misleading. Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, in a statement issued yesterday said there was no truth in the report. Said the statement, “We view with grave concern, the attempt by sections of the media, especially the foreign media to mislead the general public and the international community about the ongoing state of emergency and military operations in three states of the federation: Adama-

•Says operation not targeted at civilians wa, Yobe and Borno”. “For the avoidance of doubt, the declaration of a state of emergency and the consequential security operations are meant to protect the civilian population and the territory from the macabre and dastardly assault on the Nigerian state by insurgents and terrorists. It is not an operation against innocent citizens as Al-Jazeera and others are suggesting “In executing this sovereign objective, President Jonathan explicitly directed that the operations be conducted in line with applicable rules of engagement and peculiar care in managing a unique situation. In an earlier statement, he had also made it clear to the military high command and received assurances that those who

violate their operational orders will be disciplined accordingly “In line with this regard for the rights of the civilian population, the President had ordered the release of women and under-aged persons in protective custody, and made arrangements for their immediate rehabilitation. Fifty eight persons in this category have been released” According to the statement, “the Armed Forces have also secured the release of six women and children in Boko Haram captivity. There is nothing to suggest so far any violation of operational orders by the troops operating in the North-East. “Their intervention has received popular support, among the civilian popu-

lace, and within two weeks of operation, the possibility of calm and normalcy resonates even as enclaves of terrorists are raided and their capacity to continue their reign of terror heavily compromised. This is a process and the government owes it to the people of the NorthEast to see it through.” Abati noted that the Jonathan administration believed that media reporting of the reality of living in a state of emergency was needed to keep the local and international community well informed and to hold accountable those prosecuting the military operation to help build trust and sustain the public support needed to build lasting peace. “Rather curiously however, the last two weeks have

witnessed mischievous attempts by a section of the media to generate negative propaganda around these operations in the NorthEast. Most recently, a video report by Al-Jazeera yesterday titled “Civilians among dead in Nigeria offensive” (May 31) sought to put the government and the people of Nigeria in bad light.” The statement said, “This is regrettable. While we welcome an open interrogation of government’s activities, we reject any attempt to exploit the security situation in the North-East to malign, discredit or otherwise undermine the country’s efforts by other surreptitious means. There can be no doubt that the Al Jazeera report of May 31 is in very bad taste.

Cleric commends Obi’s performance

Shettima hails Supreme court verdict on Ekiti governorship INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI

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orno State Governor, Kashim Shettima ,yesterday congratulated his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr Kayode Fayemi, saying Ekiti people deserve an intelligent man like Fayemi as their governor and nothing short of that.

Shettima was reacting to a judgement delivered by the Supreme Court which struck out an appeal filed by former Governor Segun Oni of the PDP, seeking to reverse the October 15, 2010 judgement of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin, which sacked him from office over the 2007 elections. Justice Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court on Friday, held that the apex court lacked the jurisdiction to hear Oni’s appeal, since the appeal emanated from the decision of the Court of Appeal, in the 2007 governorship election dispute whereas the appeal court has the final say over election cases as provided by Section 246(3) of the Constitution. “I heartily congratulate my friend, brother and fellow progressive, Governor Kayode Fayemi. He is one of the most intelligent and eloquent leaders in Nigeria today; he is a technocrat that is humble, largehearted, friendly, gentle, patriotic, dogged and distinguished. The people of Ekiti State surely deserve a highly competent man like him as their governor,

especially with their very apt slogan as ‘the fountain of knowledge’ in Nigeria. Ekiti people do not deserve anything less. I urge the people to support the good man God has bestowed on them as a leader that is very determined to selflessly transform the state for the benefit of citizens. I also congratulate fellow governors, stakeholders and other supporters in the APC family and indeed all democrats in Nigeria for this victory that toughens our abiding commitment to the recovery and progress of Nigeria for the benefit of all Nigerians,”. Shettima said in a release by his Special Adviser on Communications, Isa Gusau. The governor hailed the apex court for, “once again, displaying patriotism, professionalism, reverence for the primacy of the constitution in the discharge of their critical duties while at the same time growing the confidence Nigerians have since reposed in highly respected judiciary”. Former governor Oni had appealed against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin, which nullified his 2007 election, leading to his replacement by Fayemi in 2010. He had, among others, demanded an order of the Supreme Court to set aside the 2010 judgement; an order directing a fresh panel of the Court of Appeal to hear the appeal against the result of the 2007 election, held in Ekiti.

“Two quick points will highlight the concerns here: the video is that of the unfortunate incident that occurred in Bama on May 7 and has no connection with the current operation. If anything, the victims shown in the video were those the Boko Haram attacked before they launched an offensive on the Bama prison. Second, the claim that the man in uniform shown in the video is a Nigerian soldier cannot be sustained, because in a war-like theatre as we have on our hands, anybody could have been clad in a military fatigue; and we have seen Boko Haram members appear in military fatigues in their propaganda videos. “Besides, no soldier has left the frontlines since the beginning of the operations. Surely, this type of reporting on a serious national security issue is irresponsible and should be deplored by all,” the statement added.

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Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi (middle), with Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor (1st right), Chinecherem Ezenwobodo, David Ezendidika (2nd left) and Anambra Commissioner for Education, Uju Okeke (1st left), shortly after the governor presented a cheque of N10 million for the rehabilitation of the school

2015: Atiku slams Anenih over automatic ticket proposal for Jonathan, others

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ormer Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, yesterday took on the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Anthony Anenih, over his proposal that President Goodluck Jonathan and governors should be granted automatic ticket for the 2015 elections.

The former Vice-President decried the policy of “consensus arrangement” and “adoption” rather than transparent elections to produce candidates for all elective offices, including the presidency, recalling that he was repeatedly in courts to challenge this undemocratic arrangement and that the courts ruled

that the policy was alien to the PDP and Nigerian constitutions. In a statement by his Media Office in Abuja at the weekend, the former VicePresident said the principle for which he opposed this unjust policy, which he described as a “travesty of democracy” has not changed since then. “My position remains that as far as PDP Constitution is concerned, any attempt to change the party’s rule to favour the President as a sole candidate in the event of his willingness to re-contest is unconstitutional. The contest should be open to all desiring to

pursue an ambition on the platform of the PDP,” Atiku said. While acknowledging that President Jonathan is entitled to seek the party ticket in 2015, the former Vice-President, however, insisted that Jonathan should submit himself to a transparent and fair process just like any other party member. By foreclosing free and fair process of selecting its presidential candidate, Atiku said the PDP might be sending the wrong message to Nigerians about its commitment to conduct free and fair elections for the entire country.

he Catholic Bishop of Awka, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has said that Governor Peter Obi amazed the people of Anambra State on daily basis by his boundless energy, abundant goodwill and the number of projects he was executing in the state. The Bishop said this yesterday after receiving a cheque of N10 million being the concluding cheque for 2012 for the rehabilitation of St. Peter’s Secondary School, Achina. The Bishop said he had followed with interest the behaviour of those in government when their tenure was nearing an end. He said that most of them became lethargic and unproductive as their entire thought process was being directed to life after government. On the contrary he said that Obi had proved opposite with barely a year to go, working tirelessly, productively and round the clock for the good development and progress of the state. Reviewing the performances of the schools after their return to the church, the Bishop expressed satisfaction and commended Obi who made the visit possible. The cleric said the level of infrastructural revolution in Anambra schools today was proportional to the support and cooperation the church gets from the governor. The Bishop, who noted that the impact of Obi’s development stride was felt in all sectors, thanked him for the reconstruction of Ekwulobia-Nkpologwu-Achina road.


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STORIES THAT TOUCH YOU JUNE 2, 2013

ADAEZE AMOS, ANGELA DAVIE AND VANESSA OKWARA

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omorrow, June 3 will be exactly a year when a passengers’ plane belonging to Dana Air, which took off from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and was heading to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, crashed, almost seven minutes before landing. The aircraft, a twin-engine MD-83, registered in Nigeria as 5N-RAM which had on board 153 passengers, including seven crew members crashed into a two-storey building in the crowded neighbourhood of the Iju/Ishaga area of Lagos. After the unfortunate accident, President Goodluck Jonathan declared three days of national mourning. The President noted that the crash had “sadly plunged the nation into further sorrow on a day when Nigerians were already in grief over the loss of many other innocent lives in the church bombing in Bauchi State”. He also pledged that “every possible effort” would be made to boost the nation’s aviation safety. Dana Air set up a 24-hour hotline for relatives to call and added a message to its website reading, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of guests who were involved in the Dana Air mishap. May the souls of the deceased rest in peace.” It was indeed a black Sunday for the Nigerian people as it had on board some important dignitaries such as Levi Ajuonuma, the spokesman of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) whom our reporter paid a visit to his Omodara Street, off Ajanaku Street, Awuse Estate Opebi, Ikeja Lagos residence. The house was under lock and key. One hundred and fifty-three bodies were recovered from the site of the crash. Of that figure, the pathologists which conducted an inquest into the crash were able to identify the bodies of 148 persons. These details were given in court when the Chief Medical Examiner and Consultant Pathologist of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Prof. John Obafunwa, testified before a Coroner Court which sat at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja. Prof Obafunwa, who along with other experts conducted series of postmortem tests on the bodies recovered from the crash site, said a total of nine persons among the 153 persons aboard the plane could not be identified. He said the team of experts could not identify the bodies of the pilot and the co-pilot after exhaustive deliberation and consultation. “Bodies of other crew members were, however, identified.” He said apart from Waxtan, and Rathore, who were certain to be on the plane, the other seven names of passengers on the manifest whose bodies were not found, might actually not have boarded the plane. The consultant testified that “it is either these individuals were not on board the plane or some other passengers used their names to get on board. “It is also possible some of them were completely incinerated,” he added. Then, according to Prof Obafunwa, among the 148 bodies identified with their names, three of them were identified through the DNA analyses carried out in the United Kingdom and the three were discovered to be among the bodies of those who died on the ground. The Federal Government seized the licence of Dana Air and also banned the MD-83 aircraft type used by DANA after the crash. They also set up a nine-man technical and administrative panel that audited all airlines operating in the country. On September 5, 2012, the suspension of Dana Air’s operating licence was lifted and the airline started recertification and retraining processes amidst public commendation from Labour, right activists, lawyers and relations of the Dana air crash victims which said it was premature. The question today is that a year later, have the families of the victims been compensated with mandatory $100,000 compensation for air crash victims by the International

The Dana crash site in June 2012 (Inset: The late Ajuonuma)

One year after Dana plane crash

Still, compensation is sore point Air Transport Association, IATA? Speaking during an interactive session with newsmen at the Muritala Muhammed airport, Lagos, Head of Corporate Communication, Dana Air, Mr Tony Usidamen, said that the airline was facing difficulties in paying full compensation to the families of the victims of the ill-fated plane owing to incomplete documentation, late submission of documents and multiple entries from relatives and internal wrangling among the families. He, however, assured that the airline would ensure that those who had submitted documents were fully paid. As at May 24, only 11 of the 125 families of the victims of the Dana Air crash had received the full compensation of $100,000. While saying 95 of the 125 families had received the initial payment of $30,000 (about N4.5m), he added that 21 of the families had just submitted documents from the Probate Registry to enable them claim full compensation. He said that when the 21 families received the final payment of $100,000, the total number of families fully compensated would rise to 32. On the ground victims, Usidamen said that nine families were affected out of which seven had been given partial settlement while others two refused to collect the initial payment. He stressed that Pastor Daniel Omowunmi, whose properties were destroyed and had demanded N500 million compensation but had also received initial payment of $30,000, adding that the airline and its insurance companies were still negotiating with the pastor. The Federal Government on Thursday, May 30 at the opening ceremony of the Aviation Safety Week 2013 organised by the ministry in Abuja reassured Dana Airline crash victims’ families of its efforts at ensuring prompt payment of their insured claims to legitimate relations of the victims of the ill-fated aircraft. However, Princess Stella Oduah said the past two years had witnessed remarkable transformation of the sector in terms of human capital and infrastructure capacity building, regulatory standards and technology-driven op-

erations in furtherance of the Federal Government’s commitment to make Nigeria’s air space one of the safest in air transport operations globally. Oduah, who expressed government’s sense of loss and heartfelt commiseration with the bereaved families over the June 3, 2012 air crash in which over 153 lives were lost, said the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, had worked closely with the management of the airlines and relevant insurance companies to ensure expeditious payment of claims to the families of the victims.

Days of rage in Ond HAKEEM GBADAMOSI AKURE

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he dust caused by last week’s riot in Ile-Oluji, a community in Ile-Oluji/Okeigbo Local Government of Ondo State is yet to settle. Youths in the community had engaged the Ile-Oluji monarch, the Jegun, Oba Suulade Adedugbe in a fierce battle, as they accused the royal father of illegal diversion of the community’s commonwealth Trouble started on Monday, May 27 when youths of Ile Oluji tabled their grievances before the monarch of the town whom they had accused of rejecting an offer by the Federal Government to establish a higher institution in the town. It was gathered that the angry youths in their hundreds invaded the palace to protest against the monarch for turning down the location of a proposed institution in the town. The youths of the town were said to be irked by the unilateral decision of the monarch to turn down the siting of the institution without consulting his subjects and those that matter in the town. According to one of the protesters, the monarch did not only reject the siting of the school in the town but also suggested a neighboring town, saying the traditional believed the Federal Government might not be able to pay appro-


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Politics PROVIDING FRESH PERSPECTIVES TO ISSUES JUNE 2, 2013

Two years down the line: Ministers, their scorecards P 12, 13, 14, 56

PEOPLE WILL NOT RIG ELECTION IF YOU DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE RIGGED.

POLITICIANS RIG

BECAUSE THE POPULACE IS NOT STANDING UP TO BE COUNTED, TO REFUSE AND REJECT RIGGING AS ELECTORAL PROCESS –AIR COMMODORE DAN SULEIMAN (RTD)

Briefly Group backs Aregbesola’s second term bid

A pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organisation, Coalition of Oodua Self Determination Group (COSEG), has thrown its weight behind Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola’s second term ambition. In a release jointly signed by Dayo Ogunlana and Razaq Olokoba, chairman and secretary of the Group respectively, COSEG said the level of the governor’s performance less than three years in office was so impressive he should be allowed to continue, asserting that “the state has never had it better in the last 11 years”. The group believe that “a winning team like that of Aregbesola is not supposed to be changed by the electorate that have seen the difference between the immediate past government and the current one”. It stated that “what Aregbesola-led administration has achieved in less than three years was not achieved by the immediate past government in seven and a half years in the state.” According to the statement, Aregbesola has surpassed his predecessor in the areas of infrastructural development, education sector, promotion of Yoruba culture and tourism thus believing “the people of the State of Osun would reciprocate these good gestures by voting him next year for a second term in office.” COSEG also expressed satisfaction in the governor’s prudent management of the state’s funds and commended him for his sense of accountability, honesty and tenacity of purpose,” saying “Aregbesola has demystified governance by giving it a human face.” While referring to him as the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s incarnate in the area of people-oriented programmes, COSEG expressed pleasant surprise that “we can get somebody, during our own generation, whose heart would be filled with passion for service for humanity like the late sage.”

L-R: Jonathan, Fasehun, Soyinka, Buhari, Odumakin and Obasanjo

14 years of democracy: The verdict AYO ESAN

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fter almost 15 years of military rule, except for the three months of interim government headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan, Nigeria in 1999 began the journey to democracy. The then military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar handed over the rein of power to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on May 29. Thus the citizenry who had been yearning for democratic rule heaved a sigh of relief. Obasanjo, in his inaugural speech after his swearing-in, said “… we must change our ways of governance and of doing business on this eve of the coming millennium. This we must do to ensure progress, justice, harmony and unity and above all, to rekindle confidence amongst our people. Confidence that their conditions will rapidly improve and that Nigeria will be great and will become a major world player in the near future”. With these words, full of promises of a rosy future, the expectation of many Nigerians were that with the advent of democratic rule and its promises of good gover-

nance, there would be dividends of regular supply of electricity, good road network, potable water, job opportunities, security and improved health sector among others. Little did they realise that 14 years after, their hope for a better future and true national transformation would still remain a pipe dream. Speaking on the current state of affairs, Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Mr Bamidele Aturu, said the situation in the country now is even worse than it was in 1999. “The country has become more dangerous to live in more than it was five years ago. Nigeria has become tougher to live in than it was five years ago “It shows very clearly that many of our people are marginalised. In fact, an overwhelming majority of our people are excluded from the resources of the country and they don’t see themselves as having a stake in the project known as Nigeria. This has fostered selfish attitude and a system in which everybody fends for his or herself and then the common tie, the common thread that used to bind us together as a people, as a community has been broken by the greed and apparitions of the ruling

class members. “The consequences are what we see in increased insecurity, in terms of what people now refer to as Boko Haram insurgency and kidnapping in almost all parts of the country, whether it is in the SouthEast, South-South, South-West and so on. She has become more unsafe than it was, even say, five years ago.” He said this progressive deterioration in the quality of living and life in Nigeria is responsible for what they refer to as security challenges. “The truth of the matter is that our people are frustrated, dissatisfied and have lost hope. They now believe that democracy as I said earlier on is not just working. There is the need for something to be done urgently otherwise democracy as a project in Nigeria is imperiled and more anarchy looms”, he said. Since 1999, the country had passed through a lot of ups and downs. However, civil rule has continued to thrive, despite all the uncertainties surrounding our democracy. In 2007, though the country witnessed the worst election ever conducted in its annals, Nigerians through unalloyed patience ensured that for the first time there was a successful transition from one civilian administration to the other. The first major challenge that confronted the country was the Niger- Delta unrest which led to the attack on various CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

Aregbesola

CDGA holds good governance lecture, honours Lamido, others

The Centre for Democratic Governance in Africa (CDGA) is to confer merit award on the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido; Minister of Aviation, Mrs Stella Oduah, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha; the Chief Executive Officer of Ascon Oil, Barrister (Mrs. Grace Olowofoyeku; the CEO of Nepal Oil, Mrs. Grace Ekoma and former Minister of Interior, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho. A release signed by the Director General of the Centre, Dr Dafe Akpocha, said the awardees were carefully chosen by a committee set up by the Centre having considered their performance, achievements and contributions to the growth of the country’s democracy and economy. Akpocha said this is not just a frivolous award but ones that is based on merit and performance in offices occupied by the awardees. He said the centre would also hold a lecture on grassroots governance. According to him, the two events, lecture and award would hold on June 11 at the Lagos Sheraton Hotels and Towers. The release further said the lecture with the title: ‘Good governance : Panacea for sustainable democracy and socio-political development in African countries’, will be delivered by the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio and the occasion will be chaired by the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.


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Politics

CHIDI UGWU, TOLA AKINMUTIMI, MARCUS FATUNMOLE AKINMUTIMI

Okonjo-Iweala: Impressive economic fundamentals, elusive jobs still That the National Economic Management Team under the leadership of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has done so much in core areas of its mandate exemplified by positive economic indices over the past year is not in doubt, even to the ‘Thomases’ among the people. The last 12 months of economic re-engineering anchored on sound economic policy initiatives of the Team have resulted in improved fiscal regime, single digit inflation rate, foreign reserves build up, a more transparent public finance order, stable exchange rate for the national currency and massive infrastructure transformation and other performance indicators that showed clearly that the Nigerian economy is on the right path of sustainable development. In what appears a scorecard on the performance of the economy and by implication, her transformational drives for a holistically robust economic system for the country, a few days ago, the Minister said in spite of the magnitude of the insecurity in the country, the economy remained largely stable with prospects for improvements in key measurement parameters in the years ahead. A few days ago while interacting with 112 investment experts from various countries globally during a conference call in her office, the Minister pointed out that with economic growth at 6.58 per cent in Q1 2013, inflation at single digit, fiscal deficit at only 1.8 per cent of GDP and foreign reserves standing at $48 billion and several ongoing projects being implemented across the broad sectors of the economy to transform the lives of the people, the outlook of the economy remained very bright. Various international institutions, economic reports and international rating agencies’ verdict on the economy suggest clearly that the various fiscal, monetary and other policy instruments being adopted to infuse the dose of virility on key sectors of the previously comatose economy are effective recovery palliatives. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11 crude oil installations by militants in the region. There were also ethnic crises here and there across the various regions in the country. The insurgence in the Niger Delta region was premised upon lack of development as the people of the area felt that the natural resources from their land were being taken away to other parts of the country, without it being felt where it is found. Most of President Obasanjo`s eight years tenure was used to find solution to the problem in the Niger Delta. Various committees were set up at different times during the period to find solution to the problem. However, the solution did not come until when the late President Umaru Yar’Adua came up with an amnesty programme which in turn led to the laying down of arms by the militants. The programme which is in phases is still ongoing. As the solution to the issue of militants in the Niger Delta region, was about yielding results, another insurgency erupted in the northern part of the country by a dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram. At first their mission was unknown. Following continued hostility in that region, President Goodluck Jonathan after much vacillation has declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. Nigerians are eagerly waiting to see if the declaration of state of emergency will lead to altruistic action. It is the belief of most Nigerians that the unrest here and coupled with the high level armed robbery and kidnapping which have plagued the country is attributable to the high rate of unemployment in the nation. Revelations from almost every arrest made by the police and other law enforcement agents indicate that the suspects almost always give the excuse that their actions were as a result of the pervasive unemployment in the country. The twin problem of armed robbery and kidnapping remains the most worrisome in the country. It is not peculiar to any particular region. It spreads across. Another problem facing this democracy is the issue of corruption, which has permeated all spheres of life and almost all serving and former public office holders have one issue of corruption tied to their neck. Despite the shortcomings of our democracy in the last 14 years, an average Nigerian has come to agree that the worst civilian regime is however better than the best military regime. Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has described the nation’s democracy so far as one that has been hampered by “unforced errors”– that is, errors that are quite

Sunday, June 2, 2013

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Two years down the lin

Okonjo-Iweala

For instance, the latest reports by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on the economy indicated that the Okonjo-Iweala-led NEMT is doing the right thing to reposition the Nigerian economy on the path of sustainable growth. Speaking on the highlights of the Staff Report on the 2012 Article IV Consultation, the IMF Senior Resident Representative in Nigeria, Scott Rogers, On Nigeria’s develop-

Adesina

ments and outlook; the IMF chief predicted that strong growth will continue in non-oil sectors even as tighter fiscal and monetary policies are easing inflationary pressures. The IMF recommended that the health of Nigeria’s banking system has improved considerably as credit to the private sector is growing again, Banks are fully capitalized but warned that “more work on consolidated and cross-

14 years of democracy: Nigerians avoidable if some care had been taken. He said that in lawn tennis, from where he drew his analogy, unforced errors occur in moments of sloppy thinking and/or overconfidence. “There are many promises, first of all, unfulfilled. One, of course, is power (electricity), which is so essential to the generation of the economy… The problem till now has not been solved. There are many other infrastructure examples of that. It is scandalous, for instance, that the major artery that links Lagos to the rest of the country, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, remains in such decrepit state. It is a disgrace to any regime. Whether you talk of Yar’Adua or about Olusegun Obasanjo; it is humiliating for the entire nation. Nowhere else in the world can that happen. I repeat, nowhere else in the world, either on this continent or Asia or Europe.” According to Soyinka, such a disgraceful level of failure, in better climes, couldn’t have occurred without the culpable authorities “committing harakiri.” He also scored low the Nigerian democracy as he cited what he called “high-handed actions” totally unexpected from a democratically elected President. “I refer for instance to the action during the oil subsidy when suddenly armed police and the army were sent to take over a public square which does not even belong to the Federal Government but to a state where people were protesting a glaring deformity in governance…” Soyinka noted that in instances where it becomes inevitable to insert any “minuses” into citizens’ lives, responsible and responsive governments look for ways of compensating for such by including some pluses by way of palliatives. But this, he lamented, was ignored when the Jonathan administration removed fuel subsidy back in 2011. “I said this confidently because I know that the President was advised at a time that ‘before you do this... do that and that and that. This wasn’t done. It was after the public rebellion broke out that things like transportation were introduced – buses were imported to be distributed all over the country. So that people like you and me will be quite happy to park our vehicle and take public transportation. This is what we are talking about the compensation pluses The President, Campaign for Democracy, CD and President of Women Arise, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin in her assessment of 14 years of democracy in Nigeria told Sunday Mirror that our democracy has not brought a better

deal for the people. “Nigeria pretends to be a democracy, but even by a layman’s definition of the basic ideals of democracy, it is obvious that the democratic process begun in 1999, after decades of military rule, is nothing but a scam. Fourteen years after, Nigerians of all stripes are reeling in disappointment as they live through a ‘419’ democracy that has turned out to be the most visionless and corrupt in the nation’s chequered history. “While the illegitimate so-called leaders or rather “lootocrats” continue to bandy the false label of a democracy, in reality it has been more a clone of military regimes where the usurpers of power have used the apparatus of the state, complemented by godfathers and other enablers to deliberately and routinely rig elections and impose preselected candidates at every level of government. “In fact, Nigerians are better off before 14 years of democracy. In 1999, the prevalence of poverty in Nigeria was 48 per cent but now it is over 70 per cent. Life expectancy in 1999 was below average, now it is about 46 per cent. Every other indices has worsen more. Only people who are well connected are experiencing prosperity. In the last 14 years, corruption has become the order of the day, before now public office holders stole in millions but now they steal in billions and trillions,” Okei-Odumakin lamented. She further said that that insecurity had heightened, adding that there is no security of lives and property and a total collapse of all security apparatus, thus life has become brutish and short. “All Nigeria’s health facilities are lying prostrate; they cannot meet the immediate health need of the people. Most of Nigerian general hospitals are mere buildings that lack the state-of-the-art health equipment. ‘We run kleptocracy instead of democracy. What we have in Nigeria is the government of the thieves by the thieves and for the thieves. Most Nigerian political leaders steal with impunity; they live a life of affluence at the detriment of the people,” bemoaned Okei-Odumakin. Political leaders at all levels have been the same self centered and corrupt people. They all occupy public office as a way of solving their own personal poverty. Political leaders at all levels have treated the people with disdain whereas they are stupendously rich in comparison with the critical mass that has been greatly impoverished. Most of the politicians and public office holders are selfish, self-centred and self seeking they don’t have an iota of feelings for the poor”, she retorted.


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Politics

Sunday, June 2, 2013

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e : Ministers, their scorecards Akinwumi Adesina: Rapid agric sector transformation

Maku

border supervision, a formal sunset provision for AMCON to minimize fiscal risks and moral hazard is required. The Financial Derivatives Company Limited, a leading financial consulting consultancy, has also projected better Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs) inflows into the domestic economy this year, despite the insecurity and other challenges being contended with in the country.

give verdict

The foremost human rights crusader said “the last thing in the consideration of our political leaders has nothing to do with the people in particular and the populace in general; for them the people are no more than the ballot boxes to be brought out at election period and at every election cycle. That is why there is so much disparity in the people’s wages and the earnings of political office holders. “Democratic development in Nigeria has given democracy a bad name as the people cannot distinguish between democracy and any other form of government anymore. The essence of democracy is that it should give some dividends to the people but where it cannot it is not different from any other system of government. “Most of Nigerians are despondent, they do not trust or believe the politicians/leaders; that is why they want immediate gratification before voting for anyone because they know that once a political office seeker gets to the position she/he will not revert to the people again until after another election. On the way out of the present situation, Okei-Odumakin said the only way out of these challenges is for the people to claim their country back. “There is a need for new politics which will make the people the epic-center of governance and politics. Nigerians must make those politicians who are not ready for service to go and look for other vocation, other than having politicians who have become part of the challenges facing democracy today rather than the solution”. Looking at the democracy in the last 14 years, the founder of the pan- Yoruba cultural group, the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, told Sunday Mirror that it is the worst in Africa. “The democracy we run today is the worst in Africa, and it is a shame that it does not match what obtains in Ghana, South Africa and even Liberia,” Fasehun said. “I can tell you confidently that this was not what we had in mind when we risked our lives, our limbs and our livelihood against the military.” He said it was painful that the Federal Government had failed to immortalise the pro-democrats like Chief Moshood Abiola, his wife, Kudirat and the late Chief Anthony Enahoro who paid the ultimate price for the civil government that politicians now enjoy. Fasehun maintained that Abiola especially would be disappointed at how the democracy he sacrificed his life for has turned out. He said many of those who have been in power since

To most local and international analysts, Nigeria’s agricultural sector transformation agenda over the past two years has been one of the most visible initiatives with so much to show in terms of its recent value-addition impacts and implications for the overall growth of the economy. Adesina had sounded it loud as soon as he assumed office that he was not appointed as Minister of food imports but mandated to change holistically the practice of agriculture sector in such a way that Nigeria will not only be self sufficient in food production but also become one of the net exporters of food and other agro-processed commodities to the global markets. The past two years have, in fulfilment of the Minister’s promise, witnessed huge increase in livestock, rice, cassava, pineapples, tomato, palm oil and other crops production in a scale never imagined and that is bound to give meaning to government’s efforts to diversify the economic base and transform the non-oil sector as the primary foreign exchange earner for the country. For instance, the national food supply increased in 2012 to 8 million MT, representing 70 per cent target set for the year. Staple Crop Processing Zones are also being established and investments in processing plants are increasing to minimise post-harvest wastages and associated financial losses to farmers and ensure good returns for all players in the country. Livestock production has also recorded positive development that Nigeria may soon reduce imports of livestock products and begin to export to sub-regional and international markets. Reflecting on the achievements of the ATA in the past two years of his stewardship as Minister, Adesina told a gathering of stakeholders last week that in order to ensure that genuine smallholder farmers got subsidized inputs, government launched Nigeria’s first ever national farm1999 were either minding their private businesses or hobnobbing with General Ibrahim Babangida and General Sani Abacha while the struggle for democracy lasted. He submitted that Nigeria would have fared better and witnessed greater development had pro-democrats in the vanguard of the June 12 struggle taken over power in 1999. Fasehun demanded the immortalising of and rehabilitation of those he described respectively as the dead and living heroes of Nigeria’s democracy, including Anthony Enahoro, Alfred Rewane, Bagauda Kaltho, Abraham Adesanya, Chima Ubani, Gani Fawehinmi, Beko Ransome-Kuti, Frank Kokori, Ayo Opadokun, Dan Suleiman, Joe Okei-Odumakin, Colonel Abubakar Umar, Comrade Shehu Sani and others. However, Senate President, David Mark, said irrespective of some shortcomings, Nigerians have by choice and design accepted the democratic culture. He said Nigeria as a nation has overcome the teething problem of democracy and was ready to move on. Aturu on his part believe that democracy is not working in Nigeria. Like Fasehun, Aturu called on the members of the civil society who fought to bring this democracy about to play active role in politics. “There is no question about that. That is clear to everybody. Many of the people today who are governors, presidents did not even come near the struggle for change in this country. They could not be bothered because many of them were just concerned about how to earn a living. But as soon as 1999 came and because many members of the civil society were more interested in creating platforms for perpetuating themselves or for self glorification if you like; I think it is an error to have abandoned the political turf to the so-called professional politicians. “I think that at the end of the day, the civil society must get together and we must now do everything that we can to ensure that we don’t allow this democracy to be buried. We should do what we can to deepen it and make sure we direct the way our country is going. Because if the country goes to the wrong destination, we are all going to get there with the country,” he said. Director-General, Centre for Democratic Governance in Africa, Dr Dafe Akpocha, however, is of the view that Nigeria’s democracy is still young and that the country is not doing badly. He urged Nigerians to be patient, arguing that 14 years is still a young age, saying most countries that we compare Nigeria with have had more than 50 years of democratic rule.

ers’ database system with 4.2 million farmers registered in 2012 and additional 10 million farmers in 2013. On the E-wallet project, he explained that the development of the Electronic Wallet System (e-wallet), which allows farmers to get their seeds and fertilizer using electronic vouchers sent directly via their mobile phones, enabled 1.5 million farmers to receive their subsidized seeds and fertilizers, thereby impacting on about 8 million persons last year and creating potentials to reach additional 10 million farmers this year. Adesina said Nigeria is the first country in the world to develop the e-wallet system to reach farmers with subsidized inputs and that global development finance institutions such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, IFAD, USAID, DFID and the EU have expressed interest to scale up the Nigerian e-wallet system to other African countries. The Minister said: “Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava, with a total annual production of 40 million MT. But we were not adding value to cassava, so we account for close to zero percent of global value added to cassava globally. So, while Thailand accounts for only 10 per cent of global production of cassava, it accounts for 80 per cent of global value added. “I am determined to change this. Nigeria, the largest producer of cassava in the world must become the largest processor of cassava in the world. To achieve this, we are turning cassava into gold for farmers. “Our efforts are already paying off on the import levels for wheat. Wheat imports to Nigeria declined from an alltime high of 4,051,000 MT in 2010 to 3,700,000 MT in 2012. As we implement accelerated cassava flour production, with the installation of the industrial scale cassava flour plants, expand cassava production and deploy hundreds of compact modular milling systems, Nigeria’s dependency on imported wheat will decline even further”, Adesina added. As remarkable as the ATA transformation has been over the past two years, one area that has continued to threaten the gains to the economy is the porous national borders through which banned products and others with high import tariffs find their way easily to the domestic market. Similarly, the implementation of the E-Wallet system is also regarded as elitist by some stakeholders who believe that the small holder farmers, the primary target of subsidized inputs, are still not the ones benefitting directly from the regime. In all, Adesina may remain one of the most dynamic ministers in the current team working on the government’s Transformation Agenda, analysts believe that supports from other Ministers and import-export monitoring, particularly the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga who is expected to bridge the missing link between agricultural sector and the international markets for produced commodities and agro-processed products, would be required to consolidate on the recent gains of the sector.

Ministry of Information: Innovative in information dissemination The information ministry has in the two years introduced a lot of innovations to ensure effective dissemination of information. Most significant of such is the introduction of multimedia platforms, including the social media platforms, in public information dissemination and management. The Federal Ministry of Information now has a strong presence on twitter and Facebook. The website of the ministry, which was more or less moribund, is now a lively hub of online activity a development which stakeholders say has indicated a more pragmatic approach than the era of mere propaganda. The ministry under the leadership of Maku also created spaces for all federal ministers to render account of their stewardship to the public. They include the ministerial platform series, aired live on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and other major stations, and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria weekly 30 minutes programme, which features ministers in interactive sessions with the public. Another area where Ministry of Information has played a creditable role is the hype of the efficacy of the freedom of Information Act, as a tool to fight corruption. For instance, the minister recently organised a workshop with the theme: “Openness in Governance – the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 in Perspective”, where he charged Nigerians to examine the efficacy of the FreeCONTINUED ON PAGE 14


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Politics

Madueke

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Nebo

Ministers, their scorecards CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13 dom of Information Act in the fight against corruption by demanding for information on governance from public institutions. Maku had stated that there was need to discuss among stakeholders and citizens the challenges which the implementation of the Act introduces insisting that for the law to be effective there is need for proper understanding of it by stakeholders through capacity building “The responsibility for implementing the Act rests squarely on media stakeholders, civil society organisations and public officials at all levels. It is our mutual responsibility to ensure that this Act which is slightly over one year old, does not end up without being utilised for the purpose for which we all struggled that it should be passed into law”, This effort have been commended by various stakeholders who submitted that the FOI Act is a complex law that need good understanding for better utilisation. There is also the National Good Governance tour, which is a media –focused inspection of completed and on-going projects across the country executed by the federal, states, and local governments. Although criticisms have trailed the National Good Governance Tour even from eminent Nigerians such the renowned Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka and the Lagos state Governor Babatunde Fashola, Maku, had maintained that members of his team would not lose focus. This is even as many Nigerians believe the tour will entrench good governance by providing a platform for members of the team and citizens to obtain first-hand information about government policies, programmes and projects at the three tiers of government. Also, most people are of the opinion that there should be an unscheduled follow up to the tour which has not happened yet.

Ministry of Petroleum Resources: Increased production, yes but more tasks ahead The Petroleum minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke was able to increase crude oil production from 1.3 million barrels per day (at the height of militancy in the Niger delta) to an average of 2.4 million barrel per day. Mrs. Alison-Madueke, had in 2010 given the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) a target of producing 250,000 barrels per day by 2015 from the then 65,000 barrels per day production benchmark, a target which skeptics had branded a mere political statement. This doubts stemmed from the fact that, over the years, NPDC, the Exploration and Production arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), established in 1988 to enable NNPC meet its objective of being a major player in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry could not fully realize the objective for which it was set up as a result of lack of cooperation from past administrations. But, the Managing Director of NPDC, Engr. Victor Briggs, assured “Everything is therefore set for us to meet the target. To give you an example, in the last five years NPDC drilled 10 wells, but we have a target to drill about 40 wells in the next five years. We have two rigs on site today, one offshore and the other one onshore. By the middle of

this year we are bringing in one more rig, and towards the end of the year we will bring in the fourth rig. I believe we shall keep those rigs for the next two years.” Stakeholders in the oil and gas sector say that save the support of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration and encouragement from the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, some of the very prolific acreages of NPDC was said to have already been actually stripped off resulting in low production. For instance, since the target was set in 2010, NPDC is said to have made tremendous progress. As at today the company is producing 130,000 barrels per day representing a 100 percent growth in production. Before now, indigenous participation at the upstream sector was about ten percent but the landmark acquisition of OMLs by NPDC is said to have resulted in the addition of over 1 billion barrels of oil reserves and about 5 trillion cubic feet of gas to the company’s asset base. These blocks are now said to be free of the funding constraints of the Joint Venture and increased investments from both the NNPC and the parties that have acquired Shell, Total, and Agip’s interests in the blocks. The minister also introduced series of reforms at the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) which has led to stability in fuel supply. She also set up a number of task forces to improve transparency, accountability and good corporate governance in the industry. These include a Special Task forces on Governance and Controls in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other parastatals within the ministry; the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force; National Refineries Special Task Force, (NRSTF) and a task force to fast track the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the National Assembly, the minister also inaugurated a technical committee made up of experienced industry experts to assist the special taskforce on PIB. Apart from being the vanguard for pushing for the passage of the Petroleum industry bill, Alison-Madueke has also vigorously campaigned on global politics of oil, stressing the need to give emerging economies more support. However, ever since the task forces submitted their reports, there has been no action on the part of the minister to implement their recommendations. Thus, bringing to question her commitment to industry reforms and engendering transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector, in addition, oil industry experts have criticized the continuous secrecy in oil and gas pricing and sales. The delay in the passage of the PIB also remains a major challenge for the minister.

Ministry of Power: Epileptic in performance Professor Chinedu Nebo took charge of the power sector in February 2013, having replaced Professor Barth Nnaji who resigned in August 2012. There has been more focus in the power sector in recent times following the launch of the Roadmap for Power Sector Reform. The Roadmap launched sets out a clear implementation plan of the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act (2005) as a reaffirmation of the commitment to resolve the power crises and setting the path for power sector improvement. Other activities include the re-instatement of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission; the regulatory

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body was strengthened with a new Chairman and Commissioners sworn in for the purpose of providing appropriate regulatory functions for the electricity market in Nigeria. The Jonathan administration unbundled the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) into 18 successor companies for greater efficiency and effectiveness in power generation and distribution and also created the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc. The President inaugurated the CEO and board of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (also known as the Bulk Trader) in August 2011. The requisite environment for private sector investment in the Nigerian Power Sector has been created by establishing a credit-worthy offtaker of power, NBET Plc, who provides confidence to the power generating companies that they will be paid for power produced. Also, the Jonathan administration launched the Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation Lighting Scheme. This is to promote and encourage the use of energy efficient bulbs and lighting systems in order to create an energy conservation culture The Federal Government of Nigeria entered into an MOU with worldwide leaders in the power sector, General Electric. The MoU stipulates that General Electric will invest up to 15 percent equity in power projects in the country summing up to 10,000MW capacity by the year 2020. General Electric also proposes to establish local packaging facility for small aero-derivative turbines in Nigeria which will promote job creation. Federal government also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Exim Bank to provide an investment window of up to $1.5 billion for investors willing to invest in the Nigerian Power Sector. This is the first time such quantum of money will ever be made available by the US Exim Bank for a specific sector in Africa. The Goodluck Jonathan administration has improved the power generation from around 2000 megawatts to 4502 megawatts in December 2012 the highest since Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999. All things being equal, by July this year, power generation will hit 6,000 megawatts and by December this year it will hit 10,000 megawatts assurance given last week by Minister of State for Power. All ten Power Plants under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) scheme are to be commissioned by the end of this year. At the moment, majority of them have reached 95 percent completion stage. Improved power supply has been boosted in part by the emergency declared in the Gas sector last year by President Jonathan. At the time, gas supply was insufficient. But now, thanks to the intervention by Mr. President, Nigeria now produces more gas than is required for domestic consumption. For more efficient power supply, the Jonathan administration has privatized the power distribution companies (DISCOs) under a most transparent bid process. Today, large parts of an unprecedented number of cities and towns across the country are enjoying between 14 to 16 hours of uninterrupted power supply, except in some few areas where localized problems of power distribution network have created bottlenecks for smooth transmission. Some believe Nebo is still learning the ropes which have resulted in laxity on the part of staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), leading to persistent drop in electricity supply in the country. But the Professor of mining engineering had constantly blamed the country’s weak transmission grid which is unable to evacuate all generated power. At present, the transmission network in the country is weak and cannot wheel a power load greater than 5,000 MW. Analysts say Nebo means well for the power but has been soft with staff of PHCN avoiding to the application of sanctions for non-performance.

Ministry of Health: Dogged by crises Since Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu was reappointed as Minister of Health in 2011 by President Goodluck Jonathan, the sector has continued to witness diverse crises fuelled by long-drawn battle of professional supremacy among various workers’ unions in the sector. These have eaten deep into the fabrics of health care delivery system in the country with the primary victims being the common populace they are meant to serve. The Minister has been variously fingered by Joint Health Sector’s Union (JOHESU) for aligning with the groups such as the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) to inflame disharmony in the sector. JOHESU, which the associates of the Minister often regard as minority group in the sector, have continued to brandish their weapons of indictments, demonstrations CONTINUED ON PAGE 56


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Interview ENCOUNTER WITH A NEWS MAKER

Jonathan’s govt has done well in rule of law –Mike Okoye JUNE 2, 2013

Chief Mike Okoye, a constitutional lawyer, rights activist and now governorship aspirant in Anambra State, was a founding member of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO. In this interview with Obiora Ifoh, he says democracy under the present dispensation is on course. He also comments on the state pardon granted to former Bayelsa State governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha as well as his aspiration to contest the Anambra governorship election in November. Excerpts.

Okoye

How would you appraise our democracy in the past 14 years? Let me first of all say that most of us were in the vanguard of the struggle for the democracy we are enjoying today. I can remember myself, the late Gani Fawehinmi and the late Nigeria Labour Congress President, Paschal Bafyau; a lot of us that played one role or the other and who were with me at the forefront of NADECO. We played roles that ordinarily we thought then that we would not be alive today. But, we decided to take that risk because we knew that there was no other option than democracy. When we were in the vanguard of the struggle, most of the current beneficiaries now were not there. When we were in the streets against the armoured tanks, when we were broking Abiola’s case, when Abiola was still alive, a lot of them were not there. When we forced Abacha to leave the meetings we had with him. A lot of things went down, when even we forced Babangida to leave, when Akinsanya had to declare Shonekan’s interim government illegal, a lot of people contributed so that we could have democracy. The beauty of democracy is that it is a government for the people by the people and for the people. Today, we are

saying Democracy Day. I think we should look at heroes; we have lots of them; some who are not known and many who may never be known. We have lots of people who died on the streets of Lagos and their names are not recorded. They are my real heroes and I think the time has come for us to look at them and leverage on them. Now, let’s go to the real issues. The real issue is looking at all these years, the way I will describe it is that Nigeria will be going through these ups and downs, but, ultimately, we will emerge triumphant. No nation started and got it right the same day. To me, I believe that Nigeria is on the right track; our democracy is on course. Politics of Nigeria has gone beyond tribal or regional politics. Nigeria has come to a stage where we have national politics. Today, we can boast of a political party that does not belong to the East, West, North or South; and that is PDP. In terms of governance, I will say a lot of mistakes have been made and also, a lot of achievements have been recorded, but, all in all, the errors are those of judgements of the heads and of the hearts. I can say that Nigerian democracy is on course.

C Could you highlight tangible democratic dividends enjjoyed by citizens in the past few years? In a democracy, the greatest thing you achieve is freed dom. You see, some of us who had been under chains and llocked up because of draconian laws, freedom of movem ment, freedom of expression were restricted. I recollect m my friend who was the publisher of Newsbreed of blessed m memory. I was coming to Abuja then when the city was n new to bring him out from custody. What we battled was ffreedom. Nigeria was not free; and the greatest concept n now is that element of freedom. Today, every Nigerian c can boast that we operate a free state. No draconian laws where people can be locked up without due process. Today, the constitution is such that nobody can be detained beyond 24 hours unless he had been brought before a court of law. I know that the police are conscious of this law. We are practising in Nigeria what is called rule of law. Nobody is above the law; and that is the greatest benefit of a democracy. Apart from the rule of law, the government has also provided an enabling environment. Before this democracy came, we knew the situation for example, like petrol, there was instability. People could not get the product and all of other utilities. Today, you can drive into any petrol station and buy petrol. With the ups and downs we are going through, the government has been able to have a stable economy compared to the past. In spite of all these security challenges, government has also provided a levelplaying field for foreign investments. You can see our democracy since it started focusing on progressive change. The change started with Obasanjo. When he came in, Nigeria was on analogue. Most Nigerians believed we could not have phones. Today, everybody in Nigeria can call anybody from anywhere. When you now move from those ones, that is, Obasanjo’s era into the short space of the late President Umaru Y’Ardua, you would see a continued movement. That continued movement was inherited by the current administration. You can see that the focal point of the current administration is transportation. You see what the government is doing in making it possible for you to walk into a train from East, West, North and South as obtainable anywhere in the world. So, if the present government can achieve transportation, in terms of rail as it is with telecommunication, we can now see Nigeria as the way we used telecommunication also with the rail service which is an alternative; a clear alternative to road transport. President Jonathan’s government has also impacted on the areas of agriculture, energy, trade liberalisation, you can see that foreign investments are on the increase. You can see the progressive change. One thing I can say is that government is all about structure. What people would say is that they don’t know the structure and they don’t know the roadmap. I think that is what the government should come out openly and tell the public that this is the roadmap. This is where this administration is going. Let it be clear that this is the focal point. What is your opinion on amnesty and declaration of state of emergency in three states in the North consequent upon the growing insecurity in the region? I think the President has handled the issue of security very rationally and diplomatically for two reasons. The insecurity is political. There is a difference between insecurity that is based on criminality whereby you see people stealing, robbing and killing. But, the one we are facing as a nation is purely political. The approach the President is using is political. The common man will expect him to use force, to be assertive. The people have the right to protest but they don’t have the right to take people’s lives. They don’t even have the right to take their own lives. CONTINUED ON PAGE 16


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Interview

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 The balancing is that the President looked at it, to me, he is a statesman, and judging in the best way to assuage the fear of the people of the North that he is not going to dismantle the government they have in place, but it is the people who are killing other people that he is after. He declared a state of emergency but allowed the structure to remain. He is not attacking the political will of the people of the North but he is trying to remove the chaff from the wheat without causing damage to the political institutions. Everybody says ‘very good’. When he says amnesty, the people that perpetrate these criminalities are not the people that are the problem. They are just people used; it is not arresting those Boko Haram members or chaining them that will resolve the issue. It is those that are inciting them, those that have their children abroad; those who will not come out to actively take part in the acts are the real problems. They are the ones we should see as problems; not the people that are incited. They are just like a bullet. How come the government has not gone after these sponsors and bringing them to book? They know them and cannot bring them to book because it is highly political. If some of you understand how we became a country, then you will understand what I am saying. Nigeria you see today did not wake up one day and became a republic. We were formerly in regions and we have peculiarities. When certain parts are trying to use certain methods to press for their political will, you must try to respect them. If you go down on them, you will only create more problems. And, Nigeria is not ready for a civil war. As a lawyer to former Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, do you think his pardon was necessary? I will say that the pardon was the best thing the President has done in Nigeria. You look at it in two ways. Alamieyeseigha is one of the finest Nigerians you can ever meet. In fact, to me, he is a patriotic Nigerian. Why did I say a patriotic Nigerian? Governance is about touching the lives of your people. Alamieyeseigha as governor of Bayelsa State so much touched the lives of the people of the sate that he was called the Governor-General of Ijaw nation. The whole of Ijaw nation believed in him and he is instrumental to the peace we have in the oil sector. The fact that you buy fuel, that people trade freely, the economy of this country is going smoothly, the international community buys our crude oil, rest solely on his ability to package what he had done to hold the restive people. Secondly, he is honourable. How many people in Nigeria would accept that they have done wrong? He had the right to have contested the case. We were ready and able to fight the case as all other governors have done up to the Supreme Court. But, he said to us “look, sometimes, it is honourable to feel where you have done wrong to accept you have done wrong and ask God for pardon”. Alamieyeseigha made peace with God. Let us not also forget the politics of Nigeria. Those who were in the vanguard knew the political arrangement; the reason they were after Alamieyeseigha. It was not because of finance, it was not because of corruption. They knew there were people who were gunning for power to take over from Obasanjo. And, they reasoned that those people must be brought down at all costs. Then, there was reason to go after him. For whatever it is, he had made atonement to the court. He has made atonement to his God. To me, his peace is like the biblical case where Jesus said ‘let the person without sin be the first to cast stone’. I dare say let anybody who believes his governor is not worse than Alamieyeseigha be the first to cast a stone at Alamieyeseigha. The

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‘Granting pardon to Alamieyesegha in order’

Okoye

issue was not money that comes from Nigeria; it was money that relates to his state. His state says we have forgiven you. Who are you from any other state to challenge it? Power belongs to the people of Bayelsa State. If the people of the state say we have let it go, that is the end of it. Legally, anywhere in the world, and I think that the President also comes from Bayelsa State, if it is the people of the state that feel that this man should be pardoned, then, the President did the most honourable thing. Let us look at party politics. Considering what is happening now in the PDP in which you are a stakeholder, are you satisfied with the suspension of Governor Amaechi? We cannot use one individual to decide the fate of millions of people that belong to the political party. Before we discuss the issue of Amaechi, let us understand that PDP is the only party that belongs to the people. PDP is the only party that is nationalistic. It is not a party that belongs to the North, East, West or South; it is a party of national coloration. Having that in mind, what happened in Rivers State cannot have an effect to decide the totality of Nigeria. We should not use the issue of Amaechi as if it were a national issue; it is not. Amaechi is, first, a state matter, it is restricted to Rivers State; it is not national. There is no crack in the party structure of PDP… from BOT to the national chairman. The issue is a governor that the party feels has acted improperly. Whether rightly or wrongly, we should wait and see how it unfolds. We should not judge. That is the mistake people make. They put a judgement before they understand what a matter is. Let us get the full picture; then, we can be able to see. But, I tell you that for a governor of PDP, if we all understand the principle of governance; we would know that a PDP governor must be loyal to a President and all office bearers of the party. You cannot

be disloyal or speak ill of your party and still say you are loyal. If PDP has decided that this is the person who should be the chairman and it has the majority of the governors in Nigeria, it is unthinkable that a governor of PDP should be in alliance with any other political groups. You can’t have two PDP.. We are not talking about whether Amaechi is governing Rivers State. Politics is about loyalty. If the party says this is where we are going and this is our number, he must at all times adhere to it. You should remember he is a governor of PDP and it is PDP that won the election, not Amaechi. I think that he has goofed so much that if I were him, he should be able to distinguish his personal interest and the political interest. Anambra politics is ironical. Most elective positions in the state belong to the PDP but the party did not produce the governor. How do you see that? There is no confusion. PDP is the national party and it is in power. The national influences the state. If PDP is at the national, it tells you that Anambra State is preparing to be a PDP state. In 2014, Anambra will be one of PDP states. What you are seeing is the sign of things to come. APGA is a dynamic political party. The Governor, Peter Obi, is somebody I have great respect for. At the same time, he understands the politics of Nigeria. He also understands what the Yoruba did when Obasanjo was in power was that they all moved to PDP to strengthen Obasanjo. They left AD and moved to PDP. Now, our brother is in power and we will move from APGA to strengthen PDP; there is no other issue. We will move from APGA to strengthen PDP. I was once an APGA. I was instrumental to most of the things they did in APGA but we must move to strengthen PDP because the President of Nigeria is our brother. All the pillars in Anambra State must be PDP to strengthen him.

I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT I AM THE MAN TO BEAT. I CAN ALSO SAY WITHOUT FEAR OR EQUIVOCATION THAT ANAMBRA STATE IS YEARNING FOR A CHANGE; A NEW WINE IN AN OLD SACK. NGIGE WAS NOBODY BEFORE HE BECAME GOVERNOR. IT WAS OPPORTUNITY GIVEN TO HIM THAT MADE HIM EXCEL

If you were governor of Anambra, what new things would you bring into the state? I will bring change in governance. The governed and the governor do not understand what democracy is all about. The belief is that it is the governor that gives and decides what he does. Governance as of today is what I call ad hoc. The governor wakes up and says this is a good project; I will build roads for you. Tomorrow, perhaps, I will demolish the secretariat that has historical whatever and I will build my own secretariat. There is no structural plan. Therefore, governance is ad hoc. We would start in Anambra State to practise true democracy where there will be a structure created by the ideas we have and the ideas the people have as to what they want. These things will be prepared by those who are intellectually equipped to prepare them. It is like the building plan for a house, the structural plan. The architect does his job, the builder just looks at the plan, that is, the chief executive; the job of the chief executive is not generating ideas but implementing ideas generated. That is what democracy is all about; it is what governance is all about. In so doing, Anambra will know this road map, even after Mr Okoye has finished as the governor; the road map has been defined. The main thrust of our policy is that Anambra State will be the highest producer of refined crude oil products. Now, the issue is from the evaluation: at what stage would we attain that? But, it is one of the cardinal principles of where we are going. The journey starts from 2014. Intra-party crisis has been common issue in Anambra State. Are you sure such will not come into play again in 2014? For PDP, which I belong, I believe the party is conscious of the situation. I know that they are doing something to make sure that PDP goes for the election as one family. One thing I can tell you is that PDP today, especially for Anambra State, whoever among us (aspirants) emerges; we all will step down and follow that person. What do you think gives you the edge over likely opposition such as Senator Ngige, who is reported to be interested in the gubernatorial poll? Looking at my stature as a constitutional lawyer; as a human rights activist and all I have contributed legally, politically and otherwise to the federation, to Anambra State and the fact that I come from Anambra North that has a bloc vote, I believe that victory is mine. Looking at my pedigree and the force my party has; looking at the vote we already got from the north, I can assure you that I am the man to beat. I can also say without fear or equivocation that Anambra State is yearning for a change; a new wine in an old sack. Ngige was nobody before he became governor. It was opportunity given to him that made him excel. If the same opportunity is given to somebody else, that person can equally excel beyond him. But that person must be given opportunity and must be a new brand because the old brand people will say we all know them. Politically, the North is going to vote en bloc. I can also assure you that APGA, under the leadership of the present government, will be sympathetic to support where they will have to decide whether to follow Ngige’s party, they will rather follow PDP because it is a national party. Don’t forget the party where Ngige is, is a tribalistic party, a party that has its root in the West. If APGA can win governorship in Lagos or Oyo State, then, Ngige, with the Yoruba party can win governorship in Anambra State.


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On the nation’s mournful healthcare delivery

N

ational President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Osahon Enabulele, disclosed recently that only 25,000 of the 65,000 Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria’s (MDCN) certified doctors are currently practising in the country, while the rest are in different parts of the world seeking greener pastures after their rigorous and expensive training in Nigeria. “… Of the 65,000 registered doctors, 25,000 are practising in Nigeria. A lot of these doctors take the next available flight to other countries to practise their profession… Most rural communities do not have doctors, even in the cities, there are not enough doctors. The doctor-patient ratio is appalling. There is poor primary and secondary health care delivery in this country. A trip round our country shows that primary health care in Nigeria is virtually non-existent. If that sector that takes responsibility for over 70 per cent of the country’s population is not functioning, that means people have resorted to quacks; and have besieged tertiary health care facilities for cases that should have been handled at the primary and secondary levels,” Enabulele stated. For a nation with a doctor-patient ratio of 1: 6, 400, a far cry from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) benchmark of I: 600, the situation is by every calculation a grave threat to the physical and mental well-being of Nigerians. Going by WHO’s standard, Nigeria needs 283, 333 medical doctors for her over 160 million population. Consequently, drastic and meaningful measures need to be embarked upon to give healthcare succour to millions of ordinary Nigerians who now wallow in the dark alleys of self medication, fall prey to quacks, or totally lack access to medical attention because of poverty and government’s insensitivity to their plights. Nigeria’s health sector performance literally kissed the dust, in other words, the sector

competed for the last position in the 2011 Mo Ibrahim African Governance Index, occupying a repulsive 51st position out of 53 countries in Africa rated on the basis of progress in the health sector. A recent report by WHO also revealed that 59,000 Nigerian women die annually from pregnancy and childbirth complications, while only 39 per cent of births are delivered by skilled health professionals. WHO says one out of 18 Nigerian women risks dying from childbirth, compared to one in 61 for all developing countries and one in 800 in developed countries. Worse still, the rural areas of the country seem forgotten in practical terms by virtually all tiers of government in fiscal and policy calculations. Our thinking is that with the right attitude and approach to governance, a government with demonstrable political will can transform the domestic environment to one conducive enough for medical practice, at least for medical doctors trained in the country. Indeed, does it not prick the hearts and sensibilities of Nigerian leaders, the fact that more often than not, the stones (Nigerian experts – doctors, nurses, computer experts, engineers, etc.) treated with ignominy at home, eventually emerge as cornerstones once given the opportunity and hospitable environments to demonstrate their capabilities abroad? Reports suggest, for instance, that some Nigerian doctors play key roles in foreign hospitals where Nigerian politicians, top bureaucrats and the privileged seek medical help. A situation where less than half of the doctors produced in the country practise locally, in a country where 27 fully accredited medical and dental schools and four partially accredited medical institutions produce only between 3,500 and 4, 000 doctors annually, should be of great concern to any responsible government. The nation’s abysmal health care statistics is unacceptable. A multi-

pronged action plan should be drawn up to reverse the trend, starting with a template that would help the nation to retain its medical personnel, despite the phenomenon of global mobility of labour driven by incentives and rewards. A country where just a handful of public officers and oil thieves can dare the devil in stealing, to the point that looted funds compete with national and state budgets, should be able to provide competitive remunerations and working conditions attractive enough to halt the brain drain in the medical profession. Besides, it is well known that medical students begin to shut their minds against the country during their clinical studies’ stage. There are many diagnostic tools they only read about in textbooks, while some laboratory investigations cannot be carried out because the reagents needed are non-existent. Many newly inducted doctors are also traumatised during their compulsory one-year internship because the number of medical graduates is more than the designated establishments for internship. The subsisting situation in the Nigerian health sector captures the nation’s general incapacitation in human capital development in all sectors. Budgeted funds are scarcely adequate, and even when the meagre votes are released, projects executed do not reflect value for money. However, notwithstanding whatever measures taken, for the nation’s scandalous health sector to record tangible improvement, access to medical services for politicians and top bureaucrats outside the country should be embargoed. For, only such a measure can compel them to appreciate the rot in the nation’s healthcare delivery system and be committed to reversing the trend. The Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, stated last year that the Federal Government had plans to do so. But that was the end of the story, unfortunately.

Reminiscences JUNE 2 IN HISTORY 1931: Bridge collapses in France, kills builder, others

Ten people were killed in France during the testing of a new suspension bridge that was built. Nine trucks fell into the Gironde River when the bridge collapsed at its opening. The builder of the bridge was included among the dead.

1953: Queen Elizabeth II crowned

Following the death of her father, Queen Elizabeth II was formally crowned as The Queen in England with hundreds of millions listening on radio and for the first time watched the proceedings on live television. After the coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey, millions of rain-drenched spectators cheered the 27-year-old queen born in 1926 and her husband, the 30-year-old duke of Edinburgh, as they passed along a five-mile procession route in a gilded horse-drawn carriage.

1979: Pope John Paul II visits home

Pope John Paul II returned home to his native Poland as the first Catholic pontiff to visit a Communist-ruled country.

1998: Proposition 227 passed in California

Proposition 227, requiring that all school children be taught in English was passed by the voters of California, United States.

2002: US Attorney General defends FBI

The US Attorney General, John Ashcroft, defended the FBI expanded investigative powers to monitor the activities of people and organisations suspected of plotting terrorist acts.

2007: Chinese Vice-Premier dies

A senior official in the Chinese government, Huang Ju, the vice-premier died of an illness at the age of 68. The type of illness that Huang suffered from was not disclosed, but cancer was suspected.

2010: Japanese Prime Minister resigns

The Prime Minister of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama, resigned after holding only eight months of office. Hatoyama announced his resignation in a televised speech, in which he emotionally addressed the Japanese people.

2011: New President elected in Latvia

Andris Berzins, the challenger of incumbent president Valdis Zatlers, won the presidential election in Latvia. The parliament in Latvia chooses the president and Berzins received 53 out of the 100 votes. Zalters lost favour in parliament after accusing members of being weak on corruption.


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Opinion

Sunday June 2, 2013

Uncensored U nc

Sheriff S Folarin

E-mail: sheffie2004@yahoo.co.uk 08094217972 (SMS only)

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appy Democracy Day on May 29, 2013? I don’t think so! Eleven years ago, as I was returning to Lagos from Ghana by flight, descending from the high altitude to a level in which the landscape had become more visible, I was at a vantage point by the window to see Lome, Cotonou and Lagos. I initially had a view of two well-lit and structured cities, but 15 minutes later, as the plane further descended the altitude in apparent preparation to land, all I could see was darkness, and a city barely lit with larger parts of it generously consumed by what seemed like candle light. As the captain announced that passengers and cabin crew should get ready for landing, I confirmed my speculations that the grossly darkened third city was Lagos, the biggest city in the much acclaimed “giant of Africa”. As the aircraft made to land, I noticed that the left wing of the plane where I was positioned, was brushing tall bushes as if it needed it to stabilise before halting. The tiny yellow lights on the runway were dim and some were burnt. The plane eventually landed and we were left at the mercy of the mammoth crowd of touts and other leeches from the arrivals of the Murtala Mohammed Airport to the cabs.

Eleven years after, I was returning from a trip to the United Kingdom through the United Arab Emirates (UAE), having seen “wonders” of airports in Heathrow, Newcastle and Dubai. Dubai in

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Wanted: Democracy gains, not Democracy Day the UAE is a “First World” city in a Third World nation like Nigeria. As we passed through the tube, it was unbearably hot; no air-conditioner! The tube barely protected the rains; we were tempted to ask some the airport officials standing by for umbrella. The rugs were dirty; I had to lift up my carry-on properly. At the arrivals, the escalator wasn’t working, so we made use of the still steps. We then met a very long queue in yet another unbearably hot arrivals. Some persons who had “longer legs” shunted and got cleared by the immigration officials earlier than those who had been queuing. The entire place looked like a “molue park” in Oshodi. We came out of the “oven” and had to take a long walk in the rain to get to where the driver was holed up in a messy traffic jam. What this simply means is that eleven years after, the airport has rather degenerated than got better, and does not compare in any way nor meet the minimum world standards. Going by all this mess at the airport, one is bound to conclude that the politicians (ruling class) have not learnt anything from the frequent oversea trips they make. It appears more like they either close their eyes in Europe, North America and Asia they frequently visit and only open them when they disembark at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport or MMA; or they leave at the airport gates all their baggage of experience and knowledge of international best practices and return to the Nigerian cities to continue in our crude way of life. Fourteen years ago, the roads were pliable. Lagos-Ibadan highway was manageable. Fourteen years after, the one-hour stretch of road has become a very poor example of an expressway. Same goes for Lagos-Ore-Benin highway; and it is the same story for Jebba-Mokwa-Minna high-

way. Democracy dividend, like in air transport, is blind to road infrastructure. The rail system seems to be working again; but the “giant of Africa” is using trains that had been in disuse over 30 years ago even in the poorest countries of the world. Is this democracy so expensive that it spends all the oil wealth n things that cannot be seen and leaves nothing behind for tangible national development? Fourteen years ago, the problem of insurgency and state recession had an ugly little head, with the Sharia law craze pervading Northern Nigeria. Between 1999 and 2003, President Olusegun Obasanjo had to deal with the cantankerous governors and headhunters who threw the country into a huge turmoil. Other fresh problems included the Niger Delta militancy, the Ife-Modakeke, Odi and Zaki Biam crises, all of which were later combated by the retired General. But fourteen years later, suicide bombing, killing of security agents, kidnapping and petty ganagsterism on the streets have reduced the country to anarchy. So many retired and serving security officers, easy preys for terrorists, cult groups and robbers, have lost their lives in the hands of these mere criminal gangs; police and army barracks have become easy targets; while the ‘democratic’ government shudders and begs in the face of festering insurgency. Eight years ago, we branded Obasanjo as a civilian dictator and this was understandably so because he was a retired senior military officer who led all his life as a “commander”. But today, a well educated university lecturer clubbers fellow democratically elected officials, including serving governors. Timipre Silva of Bayelsa and Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State have been victims of civilian autocracy in recent times. It can’t get worse than it is now. And corruption? It keeps getting

worse. Incidents of brazen or bare-faced stealing in which the culprit becomes the justified occur every day. With the level of decadence and the steady decline in morality and infrastructure, we do not deserve any Democracy Day celebrations; and for goodness sake, not even on May 29. It is a baseless annual ritual that showcases us as unthinking and wasteful people. May 29 means nothing to Nigeria. Some military rulers decided to hand over power to their former military bosses on May 29 instead of October 1 in 1999. That shouldn’t be our business. It is not a significant date in our long and eventful history. If we must “celebrate” democracy, we can do so on June 12. Someone won popular votes on that day against all odds and gave his life for the cause of it. His life and times after June 12 1993 pale out his intransigencies and political trajectories of the past. He outlived his captor and kept our hope alive. MKO Abiola’s life from June 12 resurrected the memory of Mandela’s uneasy walk to freedom; and his demise without realizing his mandate paved the way for Obasanjo and the May 29 handing over. So June 12 fits into any celebration of Democracy Day in Nigeria; certainly not May 29. A day shall come when we shall permanently dispose of and consign May 29 celebrations into the waste-bin of history. And for now, what we expect government to do is fulfill electoral promises, make this an enviable and much loved democracy, live out the true creed of (the rather much hyped but vacuous) Transformation Agenda and fix Nigeria. •Dr. Folarin is a Senior Lecturer and Head of Department, Political Science/International Relations, Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria

Why Fayemi deserves second term GBENGA SODEINDE

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ecently, when it was announced that Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, was to be honoured by a reputable national newspaper with the ‘Governor of the Year’ award, a foreign media that I represent in Ekiti State as grassroots freelance reporter, asked me to go round the 16 local government areas and give an analysis of the Governor`s performance in areas of reform and find out whether the Governor had really touched the lives of the people positively to have merited the award, or not. By the time I sent my report, my editor called me to say that “Fayemi actually deserves to be named the Best Governor in Africa.” Incidentally, the Governor was honoured in South Africa by SAMSUNG for his education projects in the state during a conference held in the South African city of Cape Town on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. When I went round the 16 local government areas of the state, it is noteworthy to point out that the aged people, Christians, Muslims and traditional religions’ practitioners, irrespective of their political affiliations kept on praising Governor Fayemi for the giant strides his administration has been and still taking to impact positively on the lives of the people of the state. They particularly praised him for putting in place a monthly welfare package for senior citizens in the state. It is on this premise that the people of Ekiti both in the

rural and urban areas would forever appreciate Fayemi. Apart from this, they are equally praying for his second term in office. Given the remarkable execution of projects in rural and urban areas like good, expanded and improved roads; particularly, the five kilometres of road construction in all rural areas, the Governor actually deserved the awards bestowed on him within and outside the country. Worthy of mention is the administration’s free health mission, which falls under the eight-point agenda of the government and was captured in Agenda 5. The programme, which seeks to ensure that essential health services are provided to vulnerable groups and also increase immunization coverage to the people across the 16 local governments in the state, is another pointer to the fact that the Fayemi administration is the type that puts the welfare of the people first. Recent of such free medical interventions was the seventh edition which came up in April 2013 and was bankrolled by the state government in conjunction with members of the state House of Assembly. Patients who trooped out in large numbers to avail themselves of the opportunity provided by the programme, said provision of free treatments, drugs and medicated glasses are “examples of dividends of democracy from a benevolent administration.” According to a beneficiary at Odo-Ayedun in Ikole Local Government area, Mr. Albert Iyunade, the programme brought relief to those suffering from hypertension, diabetes,

eye and dental defects. He added that most of the beneficiaries of the mission are poor and have not been able to afford some drugs needed to tackle their health challenges until the state government’s intervention through the free health mission programme. Another beneficiary at Aisegba in Gbonyin Local Government area, Mrs. Opeyemi Awe, said the programme remained one of the best policies of the Fayemi administration, urging the governor to ensure its continuity. Not to be forgotten or brushed aside is the state government’s reform at the local government level which had demonstrated the good intention of the government. The affected staff members have now discovered that the state government meant well for them because the exercise at the Local Government Service Commission, (LGSC), State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) was not to sack workers but to make them more productive, and reengineer the local government system for maximum performance. As it stands, the affected staff members have now discovered the rationality in their redeployment; they have now seen that they were actually away in the local government system and have now been properly placed on the job they were trained for. Many of them, who have remained for long on Grade Level 04, have now been properly placed on the right grade in the teaching service. This is a big plus for the staff as their promotion, which was not possible when they were in the local

government system was effected within few weeks. Besides, the redeployment has gone a long way to boost and strengthen the education sector in the state. Not a few of the affected workers are now singing praises of the Governor for making them realise their potentials. Mrs. Ronke Adebayo, a former staff of the community department in one of the local governments said, “I thought I was pursuing logical career at the local government until the redeployment exercise, when I now discovered, I had been in a wrong place. Now in the teaching line, I can faithfully pursue my career as a trained teacher; the government has really done well. Initially, I thought we were being sacked, but now the truth had been revealed, that it was actually meant to reform the local government and make us professionally relevant”. Most importantly, the workers lauded the Governor for payment of minimum wages, as well as regular payment of salaries and allowances; restoration of vehicle, housing and other related loans to workers in the state at the inception of his administration, merit based appointment of permanent secretaries among others. The list of the Governor’s achievements within his two years in office is endless, but time would not permit us to mention in full details. The people are to take the stock one after the other. This is the basis of Democracy. •Sodeinde, a journalist, is Special Assistant to Ekiti State Governor on ALGON Affairs


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Praise Worship E-mail:richardeghaghe@yahoo.com

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EDIFYING GOD

QUOTE

Every time you commit a sin, you are crucifying Jesus the second time, every crime you commit shows the blood he shed was not enough for you, that you need more. –Apostle Utibe-Abasi

Sunday, June 2, 2013

I once mimicked Idahosa and miracle happened –Pastor Okoh S enior Pastor and General Overseer, Sovereign Word Church, Pastor Antoni Okoh, has sensationally revealed how by merely mimicking the late televangelist and preacher, many evangelists in the country became miracle workers. The evangelist recalled this ahead of his church’s forthcoming quarterly programme, ‘Day of Recovery’, billed to hold at the Banquet Hall of Excellence Hotel, in Ogba, Lagos on Sunday June 9, 2013. Okoh whose church’s headquarters is at 11, Awori Street, Egbeda, Lagos with outreaches in different parts of the country, recalled how he, along with others, was endowed with Idahosa’s style of performing miracles, he said many of them merely mimicked the late man of God. His words: Consequent upon my healing, the Church of God Mission automatically became my church and Archbishop Benson Idahosa became my pastor. We also watched him on television and saw all his crusades abroad. Taking spiritual inspiration from him, we started putting up crusades right in the dining hall of our school and urging our fellow students to go and bring the sick people around to attend and get healed. Interestingly, our friends brought a lot of sick people. “It was indeed a frightening experience. Couples of deaf and dumb person were brought among the sick to our crusade. So, I just did what I saw Papa Idahosa do i.e. I put my ear near their ears and my finger on their tongue, even when I didn’t know what those gestures signified. I just replicated what I saw Idahosa do and said, ‘You deaf and dumb spirit, come out in the name of Jesus.”’ “Though the first, second and third persons were not healed immediately, it was on the fourth person that miracle happened. He was deaf and dumb but spoke and the crowd yelled and erupted in jubilation. He recalled with nostalgia how he had physical challenges in his early days before he was miraculously healed, saying

Understand why you need the Holy Spirit –Pastor Samuel

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the miracle made him a living witness of God’s power. “The vision has been birthed in my heart right from my childhood, precisely at age 13. My encounter at that time could be described as the catalyst that actually thrust me into the healing ministry and that was how I got to know Jesus. I fell sick and what they thought was malaria was later discovered to be tuberculosis of the bones and it damaged my cartilage. “Within a space of months, I could not walk. That caused me to actually repeat a class. There was something demonic about the sickness because after about one year, the doctors felt I was not improving and forcibly discharged me. “It was then that my elder sister invited me to a crusade that was organised by the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa, of Church of God Mission, at Upper Mission Road, Benin City. That was in 1980. Evangelist R. W. Shambark was one of the guest ministers from America. It was in that crusade I got healed and till date, the testimony of the healing is still outstanding. I gave my life to Christ at that crusade. “The two people that actually brought me out of the car, crippled, were Pastor Chris Oyakhilome and Dr Boyo. Pastor Chris was the President of the Christian Fellowship in Edo College, then and Pastor Boyo, a medical doctor, now has a church in Mafoluku, Lagos. It was at that crusade that I took my first leap after almost a year of being bedridden,” he realled. So what has the miracle of your healing got to do with your ministry? He stressed that his healing ministry is intrinsically linked with his childhood He added, “For a child of about 13 years to have been bedridden and seeing your mates go to school and not being able to walk, the emotional torment and torture are intense. Eventually, when God gives you a second chance to bounce back to life, the experience just ignites a passion in you naturally, to see other people healed. Also, you can identify with the suffering of people that are sick and

Cleric at 60 says: No sanctions for wrongdoing, no progress for Nigeria

Briefly Obadare for burial August 17

The World Soul-Winning Evangelical Ministry (WOSEM) has said that the late founder of the Ministry, Apostle (Dr) Timothy Oluwole Obadare’s burial ceremony is billed to hold in Lagos, Ibadan, Offa, Akure and Ilesa in Nigeria as well as in the United States of America and the United Kingdom between the 5th and 17th August, 2013. According to a release by Pasor J. Olu Alabi, the .Ministry has also successfully held its first conference after the demise of the founder, Apostle Obadare. He said the conference which was the 39th in the series was held in Ilesa between 11th and 20th April, 2013. The theme of the Conference was “Watchman Asleep in the Storm: Symbol of Today’s Church” and was drawn from the book of Jonah 1 verses 14 to 15. Alabi said the conference drew participants from among traditional rulers, government functionaries, pastors and all categories of church workers from within and outside WOSEM, and from different parts of Nigeria, Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Gammons storms Peace Arena for crusade

Okoh

infirmed. Sometimes, you cannot really be compassionate until you have been in places where other people have been. Take for instance, somebody who has been an orphan or widow, naturally will gravitate more towards those who are in that situation and be more sympathetic towards them. “So my case was like, ‘Yes, you have tasted sickness, you have known what it means for doctors to say, ‘there is nothing we can do.’ Then, God gives you a miracle. It just makes you passionate to see other people healed and delivered.

The Abundant Life Gospel Church is hosting renowned American healing Evangelist, Dr. Peter Gammons to a week-long healing/deliverance crusade and minister’s conference at the sprawling Peace Arena of the church at Pencinema, 69, Iju Road, Agege, Lagos. In a statement during the week, the new General Overseer of the church, Rev (Mrs.) Jane Onaolapo said, “Peter Gammons is an esteemed man of God, widely sought after all around the world. He has spoken to larger crowds than any person in history, with up to four million people attending a single service!” The crusade holds on Thursday, June 6, 7 and 8, 2013 at the Peace Area, of the mega Church, at 6 pm daily, while the minister’s conference comes up on Friday, June 7, from 10 am inside the church auditorium. According to Rev. (Mrs.) Onaolapo, “As a young person, I received a dramatic call from God to take His healing message and His healing power to the world.

Sunday Mirror/Babcock University Bible Quiz: • Current and past winners can collect their prizes from the office of the Editor, Sunday Mirror, 151/161 Broad Street, Lagos anytime from Monday to Friday. Participants should always indicate their names when sending their entries.

The hidden blessing in persecution, by Pastor Muoka 24

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Praise & Worship

Sunday June 2, 2013

Understand why you I need the Holy Spirit –Pastor Samuel Many people in our society today have learnt how not to get anything right. Some desire to get it right but just like Apostle Paul said, often find themselves indulging in bad attitudes. Pastor Samuel Daniel, General Overseer of Global Grace Church says you need to get the Holy Ghost to empower you. Excerpt:

Daniel

n continuation of our study on the Holy Spirit, I want to read from the book of Galatians 5:16-21, it says: “If I say then work in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfil the lost of the flesh; for the flesh losteth against the Spirit and the spirit against the flesh; but these are contrary one to another. So that you can’t do the things that you would; but if you be lead by the Spirit you are not under the law. Now the work of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrought, strive, sedition, heresy, envy, murder, drunkenness, reviling and such like of which I told you before as I have told you in time past that them which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Now, the importance of the spirit is that it will keep you from the lust of the flesh and from all those things that make the worldly things and give you the Spirit that will suit for heavenly being. Roman 6:12-14 says, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body that you should obey it in the lust thereof neither yield ye your member as instrument of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourself unto God as those that arise from the dead as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under the law but under the grace.” That grace there is the Holy Ghost. Holy Ghost is a grace because it is a gift, not what you worked for and for sin not to rule over your body, you need the Holy Ghost. The Holy will make sin to diminish from your body, from you character. Psalm 19:13 declares, “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sin; let them not have dominion over me, then shall I be upright and I shall innocent from the great transgression.” It is only the Spirit of God that can keep you from presumptuous sin, those sins that easily beset you before you will be able to overcome it. For instance, some people still masturbate; you cannot overcome such life except the Spirit of God comes to help you. This is the first benefit you stand to derive if you have the Holy Spirit working in you. Psalm 119:133 says, “Order my steps in thy word and let not my iniquity have dominion over me.” The word of God will help you to order your steps so that sin will not have dominion over you. When you receive the word, you have received the Spirit of God because the word itself is spirit and it is life. The spirit will help you to dominate over worldly desires. That is what the scripture says in that portion. If you also read through Roman 6:23 you will learn that the wage of sin is death but the gift of God is internal life through Jesus our Lord.” Have you seen it now? Sin is death but if you receive the Holy Ghost you have received Christ so that you cannot die any more. If death has already taken hold of you, the moment you have received the Holy Ghost, death will vanish and you begin to live the life of Christ. The life you live from that moment is no more your life but the life of Christ; that is what is called Zoe, God’s kind of life. God’s kind of life comes from the baptism of the Holy Ghost. When you receive the Holy Ghost, God will transfer His Spirit into you and you begin to live like Him. Just like God cannot be destroyed, you can no

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more be destroyed because you are no longer living by your own power, but you are living by the Holy Ghost. Let’s read again from the book of Roman 28:1; “There is therefore no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus who work not after the flesh but after the Spirit; for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death; for that the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sent His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and condemned sin and for sin condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who work not after the flesh but after the Spirit for they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh but they that are after the spirit do mind the things of the Spirit. But the canal minded is death but to be spiritual minded is right and true because the canal minded is enmity against God for it is not subject to the law of God...” If you read down you will see the benefits of the Spirit. Number one as we read here is that to be canal minded is death, but any one that is filled with the Holy Ghost is filled with life and peace. That is why I told you that the Holy Ghost will keep you from sin. When you receive the Holy Ghost, you will live a Holy Ghost filled life, God’s kind of life. And Psalm 119:9 sums it up, “Where shall a young man clean his way; by taking heed thereto, according to thy word.” The only way you can be able to overcome the flesh is by taking heed according to the word of God. By hearing His word and obey, you have taken heed of the word. In verse one it says, “Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” When you hide the word of God in your heart that is when you have received the Holy Ghost and from that moment you cannot sin anymore. Sin cannot have dominion over you. The second benefit of having the Holy Ghost is that he will teach you to do things right. May be you don’t know how to do things right; the Holy Spirit of God will help you to do things right. The same Psalm 119:98 says, “Thy commandments has made wiser than my enemies for they are ever with me.” Verse 99 says, “I have more understanding than all my adversaries for thy testimony are my meditation.” Verse 100 says, “I will understand more than the ancient because I keep thy precepts.” You keep the precept of God when you receive the word and it is living in you. That is when you begin to know more than the ancient. Ancient there refers to an old man that thinks that he knows everything. It is no longer by age; but God begins to teach you, irrespective of your age or qualification, the knowledge of God and how God wants you to live your life. That is why you need to receive the Holy Ghost. The book of Job 32:8 says, “But there is a Spirit in a man and the inspiration of the almighty giving them understanding.” Have you seen it now? When you receive the Holy Ghost you will begin to receive divine understanding. •For counseling contact Pastor Samuel Daniel via email globalgracechurch@ ymail.com , www.globalgracechurch.org or phone:08060143296, 08164392405


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Praise & Worship

Sunday June 2, 2013

Discover grounds for total deliverance –Pastor Adewunmi The devil will not rest until he oppresses you. But be happy because he that is in you is greater than all the forces of the devil put together, so says Pastor of House of Prayer ministry, Segun Adewunmi. Excerpts:

hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.” (Eph 1:19-22) “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:6) “And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth.” (Rev 10:2) “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1st John 4:4). In the next three to four editions of our weekly Sunday messages, we shall provide the spiritual tools and weapons that will deliver all believers who at present, suffer stagnated life, failure and in earthly bondage as spiritual slaves. ”I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.” (Lev 26:13) Spiritual slave is that person whose life is in spiritual bondage, a situation that stagnates and prevents him from living according to the plan and desire of God in his life. A slave is that person that was sold and who becomes a mere property or possession of another person. The slave has lost his human identity and will live at the pleasure of his owner. He is what the Bible described as lawful captive. “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 49:24-26)

Below are some situations of persons who can be regarded as spiritual slaves.

Adewunmi

T

he Bible states clearly that our real battle as believers is not against the flesh and blood. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph 6:12) This implies that the real enemy that stands against our physical and spiritual success is Satan and his team. The Bible also says Satan has vowed to fight with believers. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev 12:17) One of the ways by which he fights is by resisting the earthly success of the believers. “And he causeth all, both small and

great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” (Rev 13:16-18) “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.” (Zach 3:1). Fortunately for us, all powers and indeed absolute power has been delivered to our Saviour. “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right

• What works for others do not work for him. He cannot compete with his contemporaries. He is always at a disadvantage against others. • The spiritual slave may experience stagnation and inability to prosper. His life is in a situation of standstill like that of biblical Jabez. • A slave cannot claim his destiny just as David was sent out of Israel and became a fugitive; slaves are usually excluded from their divine role especially when they are destined to be masters. • A slave is the hated one. He is despised, ignored, abhorred and excluded. He is the first suspect when something bad happens even when he was not around when the event took place. • He cannot get married easily. Rumours and gossips go on always about him. (Psalm 69) • The slave is underrated. Nobody gives him the chance to proof himself. Public opinions are always against him. • The slave suffers promise and fail. He is never lucky because he suffers from the spirit of ill-luck and dishonor. • He is that person that has constant attacks of terminal sicknesses. He can therefore not aspire for greatness because his resources go for treatment of illnesses. • His children may not prosper because the spirit of slavery has been transferred through his blood line to the children. • The spiritual slave would be prone to

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accident and bad happenings. He is always having a bad thing happening to him from time to time. •If he works in an office, his good and genuine efforts will not be recognized. It is when he makes a mistake that the attention of the authourity will be focused on him. The consolation of the slave is in (Isaiah 49:7) (Isaiah 49:24-26) “Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.” (Isaiah 49:7) “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 49:24-26) Indeed there are three categories of human kind: The first category is the ordinary earth man. The earth man walks on the surface of the earth, he therefore encounters sadness and joy because he walks on the plain, valley, bush, rivers and even sea. At creation God said let there be light and there was light but God did not cancel darkness, He only partitioned them, light for the day and darkness for the night. This is why ordinary earth man must oscillate between light and darkness, a situation that explains his struggle between the good and the bad. Next are the people that soar on the sky that the Bible describes as the wicked in (Psalm 73:3). “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:3) These are the earthly men that are into cultism and have pact with the demons. They are excluded from the earthly worries because they operate in the sky. Psalm 73 described them from verse 3 to 12. Yet we have category three and these are the spiritual slaves. They can neither walk on the earhtly surface nor fly in the sky. They have been dumped into the pit of life. They are marginalized and are unable to prosper. There are three types of these pits in the Bible into which spiritual slaves are dumped.

• Pit of Joseph.

“And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.” (Gen 37:24)

• The pit of Daniel.

“Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.” (Dan 6:16)

• The pit of Lazarus.

“Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.” (John 11:39) These will be discussed in the next week messages •For counseling, contact Pastor Segun Adewumi on 08039425631 Email: past orsegunadewumi@gmail.com


Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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here is a spirit people must desire to have. And that is the spirit that makes our minds lighter and prevents them from being heavy-minded. Spiritual investigation and study revealed that whatever a person bears in his or her mind before going to sleep comes back to him or her as dream. If the dream did not happen that very night, within one week, when the person would have forgotten about it, the dream would occur. Just like if a person desires to eat a particular food before going to bed at night, it is possible for the person to dream later that he or she ate that particular food in his or her sleep. In some cases, people would be worried and troubled that somebody gave him or her food in the dream. This is one of the spiritual researches carried out. If it is the food people claimed they ate in dreams that cause their problems and predicaments, many people would not have been alive today. They would not be happy and enjoying their lives. Whenever a person is hungry and wants to eat a particular food which he or she saw another eating and the person could eat it before going to sleep. The eyes would have captured and recorded it in the retina and transferred it to the brain which would be played back as a dream while sleeping. A man or woman that is nursing the spirit of adultery in his or her mind would always want to have sexual intercourse with the opposite sex Also a mother that always think and show too much concern for her child could not sometime damn and ignore the child would always have problems. In fact such mothers do not command any regard and respect from the children. Truly, mothers are to show concern for their children but not a burden in their minds. When a mother or father damns her or his child occasionally, the child would caution herself or himself not to offend his or her parent. A great Prophet of God shared his experience with me during our discussion. Why people should be wary of giving pref-

Praise & Worship

Sunday June 2, 2013

Desire to have the spirit of God –Pastor Oloruntimilehin Pastor Joshua Daramola Oloruntimilehin, founder of Omnipotence Mission of God, gives tips on how to get the Holy Ghost. Excerpts: erence to worldly things than God in our minds. Since the advent of mobile phone 12 years ago, he had never entered the church with his mobile phone for service. On a particular Sunday, he came into the church with his phone and placed it in his office behind the altar. While the service was in progress, he entered his office and found many missed calls of the same number on the phone. Then he decided to call the number and got response that a member of his church had a fatal accident and the person was in the hospital. Immediately, he called some of his elders and pastors to go and see the victim. He was so thankful to God that if not for the phone he brought to the church, he would not know what happened to his member. After the service, the people came back and gave him feedback. About two weeks later, he came into the church with the phone again and went to his office and saw missed calls of the number. He dialed the number and got response that the church patroness was critically ill. He became worried because the woman was not in the church. Meanwhile, he sent some emissaries to the woman in the hospital. Later, he noticed that whenever he did not come into the church with the phone, he was not get-

Oloruntimilehin

ting distressed missed calls. Then he reflected and thought deeply on the matter and noticed that prior to his coming into the church with phone, he was not receiving distress calls and his church members

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were not encountering problems. Immediately he realised his undoing, he stopped coming into the church with phone. The implication is that the man of God had allowed the phone to be more important than his life. He was having the phone because he wanted to receive distress calls; definitely, in that case, distress calls would come in. God knew he was putting his mind on vain things. The spirit of God does not stay in an unsettled mind; so, a doubtful mind does not create an avenue for the spirit of God to dwell in a person’s mind. Peter, a disciple of Jesus Christ had double mind. He and other disciples saw Jesus walking on water and Peter requested if he could come, Jesus obliged him. He then stepped into the water and found he was walking and he imagined himself sinking, immediately he started sinking until Jesus rescued him and told him he had little faith. Matthew 14 verse 25 – 31”…Immediately, he reached out his hand and caught him. You of little faith, he said why did you doubt?” Therefore a person that believes that something would happen to him or her has already cursed himself or herself. Brethren, let your mind be very light. Do not allow anything to burg your mind. If a person’s mind is not light, there is nothing the person request for that would be granted to him or her. If a person wants the spirit of God in his or her life, what is required is to relax the pressure exerted on the mind. In the process, start rejecting and forsaking certain things and allow your mind to be clean and pure to man and God. Do not fight, endure and tolerate that anger that is coming, and the stain and insult that are coming. Do not claimed to be too wise because you might eventually be the foolish person. When all these are done then the body and mind would become lighter. Avoid telling lies, committing adultery and greed etc from your lifestyle. All these are sins that make the mind to be heavy. Finally, endeavour to be doing what is godly so as to have a free mind.

Let the Holy Spirit work in His power –Pastor Olusore Minister in charge of Livinglight Church, Lekki, Lagos, Pastor Israel Olusore, depicts the essence of working in understanding and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Excerpts:

L

et’s quickly look at some other things that the Holy Spirit does that only God can do. The spirit causes people to be born-again. John 3:4-7: “And Jesus answered, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” So, you are a creator in the class of God when you have the spirit of God at work in you. The Holy Spirit reproves the world of sin. He makes us to know that this is sin, it is not good. John 16:7 says “Never the less, I tell you the truth. It is expedient for you that I go away because if I go not away the comforter will not come unto you. But if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment of sin because they believed not on me.” Of sin because anybody that does not believe in Jesus is a sinner, for all has sinned and come short of the glory of God. And two, of righteousness because I go to the father and ye see me no more; what a proof that Jesus came to live out the word. That made Him righteous, that the thing the world says is impossible; “I have done it; so it is possible the help of

the Holy Spirit; that by the Spirit of God, I have lived righteously. By the Spirit of God, I have exposed sin and by the Spirit of God, I have judged the world and there is judgment coming. Look at verse 11, “... Of judgment because the prince of this world is judged; I have conquered Satan.” So anybody that says he or she does not believe in Him comes under judgment by the Spirit of God. Jesus could not do anything without the Holy Spirit. So the Spirit of God is what casts out the devil. Flesh and blood cannot cast out Devil; it takes the Spirit of God to cast out evil spirit- (Matthew 12:28). That is why no human being can say, he or she can cast out Devil. It is impossible; and no evil spirit can cast out the devil. Anyone that does not have the Spirit of God working in him cannot cast out the devil. All those who go to places, prophets and say this thing can be done, or say go and wash in the water, it is a lie. They will just depart a little and go and gather their friends and come back and they will still be making money. Oh! Go and get some other things. Then you see them going over and over again. But look at verse 28 of Matthew Chapter 12, “but if I cast out the devil by the spirit of God then the Kingdom of God

has come back to you. You can’t have the spirit of God and the devil oppress you. The day you become born-again and you are filled with the Holy Ghost, that day, even those that are not yet filled with the Holy Ghost that are born by the spirit of God, they will start moving forward. Every torment will begin to disappear. They can’t torment you; but they may be coming around; but when you exercise your right, because you know the truth, they must give up. However, they trade on ignorance. Ignorantly, people don’t know their right. Jesus said, “In my name you shall cast out demons.” But when you come to know, the devil must give up on you. This morning, there is deliverance for somebody, in the name of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God raised Jesus from the dead. God sent His Spirit. He said, “Eli. Eli Lama Sabatini.” Then He said, “It is finished;” and He gave up the ghost. Before He gave up the Ghost, he said, my father, my Father, Why have you forgotten me? Then He said, “My father into your hands I commit my Spirit. God took that Spirit and kept it; and when he died and was buried, the Holy Spirit took the spirit back into his body and he rose up. That is why when some people said it

Olusore

is like they are dead, they said the spirit came back. When you have this understanding, we will work in victory. We will work in power. •For counseling contact email: info@livinglightng.com or phone 08028425555


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Praise & Worship

Sunday June 2, 2013

Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Cleric at 60 wrongdoing, Pastor Austen Ukachi, General Overseer of He’s Alive Chapel, is a model worthy of emulation. A strikingly handsome young man, Austen began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ as an undergraduate. And having joined the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), he became a bi-vocational pastor and maintained his integrity even in the face of corruption prevalent in the Nigerian public service. He retired from NNPC as Lagos Zonal Manager to serve God and the younger generation within His bourgeoning He’s Alive Chapel. Celebrating his 60th birthday in Lagos, Pastor Austen bares his mind on various societal issues in this interview with Tai Anyanwu

Pastor Ukachi

THE CHURCH MUST ENCOURAGE HER MEMBERS TO AIM TO BRING ABOUT TRANSFORMATION IN EVERY SECTOR OF THE SOCIETY Could you tell us what you are celebrating today? As you can see everywhere, I am 60 years old today. I have been the senior Pastor and General Overseer since 1990. I have been in the ministry since 1977, a year before I graduated from the university in 1978. Since then I have been preaching the gospel. 24 years of these thirty something years I have been a bivocational pastor, I was working and preaching. I worked in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). What was your experience regarding corruption which characterises our public service? Corruption is not new to this particular era. In Nigeria, it has always been there. The only thing is the magnitude. Even when I was in NNPC, I retired 13 years ago, there was corruption. And you know the thing about corruption is that some level of it is concealed. What I mean is; I was in NNPC when the Halliburton issue was taking place but didn’t know. It was, I think, three years ago it was unravelled that some Nigerians took money from Halliburton. So there was corruption quite alright. But it is when your colleagues know that, ‘look you cannot bribe this kind of person’, then they will tell other people that look, don’t come near that man because he is not going to take anything from you of that nature. How were you able, as a believer, to survive the wave of corruption and still rose to the apex of your service? I remember once I had to go to work on a Sunday, to do a job for a contractor. He offered me money and I said no. It was on a Sunday. He said but I am giving you this money because you came to work on a Sunday. I said no; I don’t have to take money from you, incidentally I will mention the name of that person, you will know him. Then after he executed that contract, he came back to my office and said, “Austin I was challenged by

what you did”. And said; do you have a house. And I said no, I don’t have a house. He said, “Look I want to give seed money. Go and start building a house. And that happened to be Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi. Then he was sacked from The Guardian and he said when he left he didn’t have a house. But he was so challenged the way I handled his job, the way I received him into my office. I told him I will come to office on a Sunday to finish his job; that is to draft the memo, type it and forward it to the Group Managing Director’s office. I did that and I didn’t negotiate with him. I didn’t ask for money, I didn’t do anything. So later he came and gave me N50, 000. No, in the course of our discussion I got to know he grew up in Kano where I was born and it turned that he knew my elder brother. What I am saying is that in the civil service there is corruption but there are also some people who maintain their integrity. One of my friends, who is a well known businessman is one of the people who bought one of the electrical companies being sold. He called me up and said Austin I saw your advert in paper and I must tell you that I appreciated all that you did for me when you were in NNPC. I am so grateful but unfortunately, I wouldn’t be around for your birthday. I appreciate all that you did for me. The corruption was there but if you are a man of character, you are a man of integrity; you will still navigate through it without corrupting yourself. I still have some of my friends who up till today visit me, both Muslims and Christians. This was because of the way I related with them. I didn’t have to make demands on them. I didn’t have to hide their files as is commonly done today. So you can still maintain your integrity without corrupting yourself. Looking back at 60th birthday, what are your regrets? If there is any regret that I have, it’s only one. I left the university full of optimism.

As I said, I started preaching in 1967 and we began to mobilise Christians and youths to pray in the universities. We were so optimistic that there would be lots of transformation in Nigeria, lots of changes. But looking back to thirty something years, the shock, the pain and the regret you have is that when you look at the economy, social indices; they are all declining. You look at the infrastructure, they are declining; you look at the standard of education, the value system, the rate of exchange of the Naira to the Dollar, they are all declining. It makes one sad and worried that your expectations as it were, hope and dreams are not what it should be. So if ever I have any regret and concern, it is one. But at the same time I am very optimistic. I am optimistic because, I read a certain account, I think the book is upstairs, and I was surprised that they were talking about the 19th century and they were complaining that things were deteriorating in the 19th century. I remembered reading about Spurgion. Spurgion lived in the 17th and 18th centuries. He was also complaining in his own era that things were degenerating. So I look at it and said could it just be relative. But I know that in our own case it is not relative, because we didn’t look at education. When you look at education, there is nothing relative about it. The quality of education is so bad that only two days ago we went to a prayer meeting, a lady who works in a government parastatal said they sent someone to their office, a so-called graduate to be recruited and the graduate was asked; “Where is your application?” And he said: “Madam, can you help me to write the application.” Can you imagine a graduate not being able to write an application? So you can see how things have degenerated. In those days even with class five school certificate, people can write very good English and submit their application. It is really so sad; but we must keep on praying and believe that things will change. Could you tell us the role of the church in nation building, character moulding, mentoring and discipleship? I believe the church has a great role to play in the society. It was a preacher, a well known revival writer who said, ‘As the church goes, so goes the nation’. If the church is right the nation will be right. So the church as it were is the barometer for measuring the nation. The church lives not only to preach the gospel but to impact on the society, to impact on the poor, to impact on the young people, to give them hope and direction in life; to impact on the disadvantaged in society, to impact on the children because they are the future of tomorrow and of course to checkmate as it were the excesses of leaders because the church ought to be the watchman

of the society. It should be a voice of correcting the leadership of the nation where they fail to do what they are supposed to. In doing that, the church must be able to encourage even her members to actively get involved in the society and to bring about its transformation. In the past, many years when I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ, Christians believed that they didn’t have anything to do with politics. In fact, in those days, if you studied law, we felt you were going to hell because we believed that a Christian shouldn’t study law. But we know that it was Edmond Burke who once made a comment like this: ‘If the righteous fail to go into politics or into leadership, then those who are there will take advantage of the situation’. So, the church must encourage her members to aim to bring about transformation in every sector of the society. Is it the economy, politics, the civil Service, education which in my own view you can see that after that the government as it were polluted the educational system it is gradually reverting back to the church to correct. That is why you see a lot of churches going into education. Tshe church has a lot of role to play in building the society and in building the nation; what the church does is teach your members that they have been called to transform the society; that they are not complete if the society is left to evil men, ungodly men to have an upper hand. It is the righteous, men with vision, with commitment, patriotic citizens who should go into the government and help to transform the society. That is how standard can come into the society. Unfortunately, the church has not done that effectively and that is part of the moral issues that we have today in our society that the church has failed in her responsibility. We have a lot of problems in our hands. Some Christians who went into politics ran into problems because they can’t win election except they joined cult and do politics without corrupting themselves. It would appear that the church did not prepare these Christian politicians enough for the challenge of politics; what is your take on this? To get into politics in our country, you must be very strong because members of the occult have taken over the realms of leadership. But you don’t have to be an occult to participate in politics, because even if you stay back, you have the occult in your profession, in every profession; you have corruption in every profession. I still believe that if God who gives men calling, if you a man has a call to get into a certain area either into leadership or politics and you have your vision clear and you pray to God, He will give you the strength to navigate and still be able to do what He wants you to do. The few Chris-


PASSION A Lifestyle Magazine

PASSION

I will never marry an unbeliever –Linda Francis >>27

Sunday June 2, 2013

NAUGHTIEST THING

I played prank on my friend –Uche Brainard >>29

Secrets that have sustained me over the years –Opral Benson

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Passion

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Secrets that have sustained me over the years –Opral Benson Chief (Dr) Opral Mason Benson is a trailblazer in fashion and beauty care in Nigeria. She is the Chairperson of Johnson Products Nigeria Limited. She started the Chic Afrique Beauty Company in 1980 and the Opral Benson Beauty Training Institute in 1985 when she clocked 50. The Iya Oge of Lagos pioneered and organised a trade fair exclusively for the cosmetics and fashion industries. In this interview with Adaeze Amos, this woman of style expresses worry about rampant nudity among young women. At 78, you are strong enough to wear high heeled shoes and still look this good; what are you doing right? The secret is that I’m a hard worker. Yes, I’m working very hard. I never relented, I never relaxed or rested. I’m ever active, always on the go. You are always on the go to do what? I’m ever ready to promote the beauty and fashion industry. I have a non-governmental organisation. I have various organisations that I do which I use to keep myself very busy. But most importantly, I don’t worry about anything. Not worrying about anything adds to a woman’s good looks and health. That helps you not to develop early wrinkles. You know when you worry a lot, your whole body system is also worried and that reflects on you. At your age, you still wear high heeled shoes. As a beauty expert, what are those beauty rituals you do to look good? Are you sure I’m really looking good? You have your eyes wide open on me. Well, I still try my best to do some little exercises. I eat well. I don’t have any special beauty routine but whatever I need to do to look good, I do it. My life is very simple and hard work is a must in my life. That is all I do. Some women after getting married or when they attain to some age feel it is no longer necessary to look good or be fashionable. What is your opinion on this? I don’t think that is proper. I don’t believe that should be the case. I think every woman should take good care of herself whether single or married. Take good care of yourself and look as presentable as you can all the time. What are some fashion blunders by our women that put you off? Nudity! Oh there is much nudity these days or haven’t you observed it? I think the fashion blunder common these days is body exposure. Our young ladies are exposing too much. Please help me tell them to start covering up. I mean nudity is becoming very rampant. There is much nudity these days than our own days. You are the ‘Iya Oge’ of Lagos, what makes your style stand out? My style is comfort. That stands me out. I wear something that I feel comfortable in, that makes me appear respectful and responsible before people.

What is your opinion on colour-blocking trends? There is nothing wrong with colourblocking trends. Young ladies are free to play with colours provided they look good in colours of their choice. Where is your tattoo? I don’t have any on me. I don’t think having tattoo on me is necessary. It is not because of my religion but I don’t need tattoos on me. In your heyday, what styles were you crazy about? Did you wear minis in those days? My styles have not really changed much although to some people they would regard such styles as very conservative if compared with today’s trends. But I think there are styles that are timeless. Dresses that have been there in the fashion radar and they are still being worn till date. Those are the styles I used to wear in my heyday. I still wear them till date. I wore minis but mine weren’t as short as the ones today’s young ladies wear now. Ours were a little bit short but never as bad as the ones today’s ladies wear. Then in our minis, nothing was showing. But it is no longer like that now. I still repeat, there is too much exposure now. I pray our young ladies reduce their rate of nudity. A lady can be properly covered up and still look trendy. Exposing your body would not make you more fashionable, it wouldn’t make you trendier or prettier. It would rather attract the wrong kind of men to you. It’s always good to dress to appear decent and not tacky. Do you find time to exfoliate? I do just like others do. I don’t do anything extraordinary. I have a beauty institute. It is 28 years old now. It is where I teach ladies and gents how to take care of themselves. I practise what I preach by doing the things I teach them just to look good. I don’t only teach how to take care of the face alone, but how to care for your nails, skin, hair, I mean body care generally. What thrills you in life and when you are down what do you do to derive your inspiration? Making others happy thrills me. When I’m down, I pray to God and he lifts me up. I don’t joke with prayers. What is your life philosophy? Do unto others as you would like them do unto you. You are the life patron of Fashion designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), can you reach out to FADAN? I think FADAN should continue its good work. They should continue to add power to the fashion industry by training more young people. I counsel them to help promote Nigeria by helping to create jobs for the people.


Sunday y Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Passion

Sunday, June 2, 2013

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‘To keep men away, I rely on God’s grace’ Lin Francis is the Chief Executive Linda Li Off Officer Q8media, an event planning com company and the organiser of the popular Re Red Roses Valentine Dinner. She is a The Theatre Arts graduate of the University of Lag Lagos. As an actress she has featured in m many movies and soap operas. She spo spoke with Adaeze Amos on her lifestyle Linda francis started acting in 2006 when she went in for the first 20 Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO) A reality show. She was the last girl re in the house and since then she has been acting. ha She said, “The movies I have featured in are many. The first fe one was Cut in the Middle which on was with Richard Mofe Damijo, w Dakore and some other seasoned Da stars. Then I also did Golden Jewel st which was with Clarion Chukwuw ra. But Shallow Waters a TV soap ra opera shot me to the limelight. I’m op fondly known as a TV-drama acfo tress but not that I don’t do home tr videos but most of what I do is dravi ma. So, Shallow Waters directed by m Tope idowu as I said brought me to To the limelight. It ran for a couple of th years on TV.” ye There are really things that make this damsel happy in life. m “What I find happiness in or what “W I derive pleasure from is seeing that everyone is happy. When I th see my friends happy, that everyse one has what she or he wants, I’m on thrilled. The fact that I have Christ th in me makes me happy too. This is because I wouldn’t have aspired to be anything if not for Him that strengthens me. ” st Linda would soon be married. To keep her faith intact with God, you may wonder how this black yo beauty, fashionista who is not marbe ried keeps men who want to get inri timate with her at bay. “I just rely tim on the grace of God. His grace is sufficient for me. Basically, my su pastor, Kris Okotie, of Household pa of God Church always says that the amount of sin we commit is th not in what we do. It’s actually in no our minds, in your thought realm, ou you have committed so many sins. yo So, it’s not until they see you do So something that you have commitso ted a sin. Thinking of the sin alone, te you are already offending God. So, yo

what I do is to rely on His grace. When I wake up every morning I ask for His grace so as not to think the wrong thoughts. That is what I do not to offend God,” she says. The qualities of her ideal man are not far-fetched. Her first criterion is not to get married to an unbeliever. This is no matter the amount of money he has. “I mean this is mandatory as a believer to get married to a womb mate. This comes first, then of course I begin to look at how attractive he is. He must be a gentleman, someone who doesn’t use his fists at the slightest provocation,” she said. Linda emphasises that she would soon be married because she so much believes in the institution of marriage. “I believe in marriage and that is why divorce makes me sad. I’m an event planner. The event I planned in February was a dinner for couples. This is because I have passion for marriage and I took it upon myself to ensure that couples dined out on that Valentine dinner. This is the only little way I could contribute to ensuring that couples live happily. Honestly to me, marriage is a lovely thing. It was instituted by God and my pastor has actually taught me a lot of things on marriage. It is a good thing and I’m prepared for it.” To ladies who still dread marriage for one reason or the other, Linda has some words of advice. “Ladies who keep saying that it is not every woman that should get married say so because they are not willing to submit. If you are willing to submit and realise that marriage is sweet, although there are some bad men out there, yet the major thing is just for you to submit. Say your prayers constantly, commit your marriage to God and leave the rest for Him,” she counseled.


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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Faces

Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

& Events

JUNE 2, 2013

Baileys’ ‘cream with spirit’ in new elegant bottle

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he Night out with Baileys was held on Friday, May 24 at Muri Okunola Park, Victoria Island. The event featured live performances by Tiwa Savage and Praiz who thrilled guests. They also had special treat for the ladies. General Manager, Diageo Brands Nigeria, Mr. Felix Enwemadu, said the introduction of the new Baileys bottle into the Nigerian market was in line with the global drive to further position the brand uniquely in the minds of its consumers. Some of the guests at the event included Mike Okri, Ras Kimo, Vixen, and Queen Arhneva, among others.

DJ Lambo

Mike Okri

Bailey’a Ladies

Praiz thrilling guests at the launch

Queen Arhneva

Temitope Davies, Fantelle, Dolapo Parkers Davies and Ivie Baileys

Tiwa Savage on stage

Ajueshi Edewor, (Salem in Tinsel) and Dennis Oshea

Yvonne ‘Vixen’ Ekwere

Ras Kimono

Tan Lewis and Sauriah Joseph

Stephanie Igbokei


Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Perfect Cut

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Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Ethnic Look JUNE 2, 2013

Colourful, Afrocentric kaftans ANGELA DAVIES

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rom traditional African prints to contemporary designs, kaftans are the best outfits when it comes to comfort. kafta They look casual yet elegant and could be worn when Th you are expecting guests. They are also perfect for relaxing e at home at weekends if you want to feel free from your jean trousers and tops. Kaftans Kaftan come in varied elegant designs, fabrics, patterns and vibr vibrant colours. They come in short and full lengths. Depending Dependi on your style, you could choose the one that best suits you you. This a attire comes in round, scoop and v-neckline with different sleeve styles which could be extra wide, short, drawstring drawstri and long. Some come with simple embroidery or ffabric piping to add glamour to the outfit. With iits loose flowing style, slip into one today and enjoy the freedom of a comfy Kaftan.


Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Pregnancy Talk with

Adaeze Amos

Pregnancy doesn’t exempt you from wearing seat belt A heavily pregnant Susan loves to drive herself. Eight months into pregnancy, she continued because driving did not pose any danger to her. M o r e o v e r, her doctor did not warn Models her to desist, although Susan never raised the issue to him. But one day, she had an experience that made her stop. That was one evening when she was driving home from work and there was a heavy traffic jam that lasted for hours. She couldn’t come down to straighten her legs because the vehicles were moving at a crawl. Suddenly, her already swollen feet became numb. She couldn’t feel anything there but she still managed to press the throttle gently using her right leg. When it culminated to muscle pull, she couldn’t drive any further. She stopped but couldn’t pull by the side of the road because there was no space for that. When she alighted, despite the loud honk from the cars behind her, she was trying to resist the pull in her toes but all to no avail. She had to pour cold water on her toes as advised by a woman in a commercial bus who saw her battling with her feet. She did and somehow after a while, the pull subsided and she managed to drive herself home. That was an experience Susan said she wouldn’t forget in a hurry. So, the question now is how safe is it for pregnant mothers to drive? Medical experts say there is nothing, but “on long journeys you may have to stop a bit more often for toilet breaks or to rub your tummy, have a walk or stretch to relieve any backache,” they counsel. Susan had muscle pull on the wheels because she couldn’t stretch her legs when she needed to. “Other than, these common problems associated with pregnancy, driving while pregnant is safe. However, as your pregnancy progresses and you grow larger, it becomes more difficult for you to enter and exit a car, especially with the steering wheel getting in the way. Although there is no fast or loose rule, most women tend to stop driving around 30 weeks preferring their partner do the driving simply because it’s easier and more comfortable,” experts state. At a time, Susan began to suspect that what affected her legs that evening was her safety belt. But health experts debunk that. Many women worry that wearing a seat belt during pregnancy may injure their unborn child. They fear their baby could be injured by their seat belt if an accident oc-

curs or if they had to brake suddenly. But research has found that it’s much safer for both mum and her unborn baby if seat belts are worn. “A study has proven that seat belts clearly protect the foetus, in large part because the foetus protects the mother. It’s very clear, based on this study that pregnant women should wear a seat belt every single time they’re in a car. Being pregnant does not exempt you from wearing a seat belt while driving or as a passenger either in the front or rear of the car. You should always wear a seat belt. Wearing your seat belt protects you and your unborn baby from injury or death in the event of a car crash. But if per chance you are unable to use it on medical grounds, your doctor will issue a medical exemption certificate which you would have to produce if stopped by the police while driving,” medics add. “But remember to wear your seat belt the right way when your tummy is fully bulgy. “It is very important for pregnant women to wear a 3-point lap and diagonal seat belt. These belts are designed to stop you from being thrown from the car during an accident. The shoulder strap helps keep your body weight off your tummy and also off your unborn baby in the event of an accident. It is absolutely crucial for your safety and for your baby’s safety that you wear your seat belt correctly. The lap belt portion of the seat belt should be placed well under your pregnant tummy, snugly fitting over your pelvis and pubic bone and across your hips as high up on your thighs as possible. It’s really important that while driving you constantly check to see the lap belt has not risen up on to your bump. “The shoulder strap should be positioned off to the side of the uterus and between the breasts. Again, it’s important that while driving you routinely check that the shoulder-belt is not directly lying over your bump as this could increase the risk of injury to your unborn baby during a high-speed collision. Many cars have belt adjustment mountings that allow you to lower or raise the height of the shoulder strap so it fits snugly between your breasts and off to the side of your bump. “It’s advisable to sit as far back from the steering wheel as your legs will allow with the steering wheel tilted (normally downwards) to suit the size of your bump and stature. Or better still, buy a maternity seat belt for added safety,” experts advise.

Kardashian

Kim Kardashian back to doing what she does best; showing off her curves Thirty two-year-old mother-to-be, Kim Kardashian wore a very tight-fitting dress on Thursday as she accompanied her sister Kourtney at the meat market Mr. Kosher in LA. The pair were out and about filming for their reality show doing some shopping as they were followed by a camera crew. Kim looks exhausted filming the reality show despite pregnancy However, it looked as though Kim, who is expecting her first child in July, was ready for a night out in the figurehugging graphic print dress from her own Kardashian Kollection for Dorothy Perkins range that showed off her cleavage. Kim has been under fire lately not just by critics slamming her fashion choices, but also by one magazine report that accused her of using Botox whilst pregnant. A spokesperson for the star said: ‘It’s absurd and NOT true!’ The report in In Touch magazine, stated: ‘She’s still getting injections even though she’s seven months pregnant.’ ‘She’s become more neurotic than ever about her looks,’ a family insider told the magazine. ‘She’ll do anything to be beautiful.’Judging by Kim’s most recent outfit choice though, it appears she’s given up on caring what people think about her. Kimmy has struggled with trying to please everybody in the fashion world

since becoming pregnant. Even Kim’s sister Khloe recently admitted that the floral dress she wore to the Met Gala was a mistake. The dress had been widely mocked, with Robin Williams hilariously claiming that he ‘wore it better’ as Mrs Doubtfire in the 1993 movie. When asked her opinion of the dress, Khloe stumbled: ‘I think Kim is beautiful. I wish, like, the gloves...’ She added: ‘I just felt like it was too covered somehow, just because her body, her boobs, her belly, just all looked like one.’ Perhaps Kim has realised that while she’s never going to please everyone, she might as well please herself. Setting the trend for a modern approach to maternity wear, Kim has been seen in a variety of different outfits since she became pregnant. Most of the Reality star’s ensembles have highlighted her ‘pregnancy curves’, a term that may have well been coined for Kim especially. And it looks as though Kim has no intention of trying to cover up, even in the final stages of her pregnancy. Meanwhile, Kourtney’s man, Scott Disick was indulging in an Italian lunch at a Beverly Hills restaurant, Il Pastaio. The businessman and reality star looked every bit the latter, as he strolled up to his brand new yellow Ferrari sporting ripped jeans and animal-print loafers. Culled from the Daily Mail


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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Connecting with

Vanessa

Vanessaonsunday@yahoo.com

Blind date can lead to wedding bells

Models

A lot of people are skeptical when it comes to going on a blind date. And who would blame them? The story of Cynthia Okosogu who got raped and killed when she travelled all the way from Nasarrawa to Lagos state to blindly meet a supposedly ‘boyfriend’ she added on Facebook in a hotel room, is still fresh in our minds. The horror stories of people getting raped or even killed just because they went on a blind date is enough to scare even the most adventurous person. All the same, like Helen Keller, the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree rightly said, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Blind dates do not necessarily mean you are on your way to be executed or kidnapped. It’s the human natures’ adventurous side taking a plunge into the unknown to find out if the person they are about to meet might actually be “the one”. So don’t bury your head in the sand like an ostrich or allow the fear of the unknown to rub you of what might be an encounter of a lifetime. Before the advent of the social media and blackberry messenger BBM, people got hooked up by word of mouth or covert introductions by their friends and relations. Some are even packaged blindly as ‘parcel wives’ to husbands who live abroad. They know next to nothing about this person; yet they blindly agree to get married just because a mutual friend introduced them. In those days, people were quite adventurous and took it up in their stride to go for blind dates. For some people, it worked out perfectly and they lived happily ever after. While for others, the union ended in divorce courts. In today’s world, there is no real blind date anymore unless your date is living under a rock. Almost always, a mutual friend may have set both of you up, or you may have met someone interesting on a dating website or Facebook and you decide to take it a step further by hooking up for real outside the virtual media. You can easily find out a lot about the person even before you arrive at the blind date venue. All you need to do is Google your date’s name to find out everything about them that they’ve shared in the public domain. You would be surprised to discover that you can actually know almost everything about a person by just looking intently at their Facebook wall, the kind

of friends they have on their friends’ list and the comments their friends make on their walls and pictures. By taking your time to scrutinize this information, going on a blind date with this person will not be a totally ‘blind’ affair. Also, bug your matchmaker. Try to get to know as much as you can about your date from your matchmaker if it’s a friend who’s setting both of you up. Even if your friend’s trying to build the suspense by hushing all details, ask your friend to tell you more about their personality so you know what to talk about during the date. It’s on this premise that blind dates should not be totally written off as a dangerous idea. Blind dates cannot be totally blind if you take your time to find out everything you can about this person you have been speaking on the phone or chatting with on the social media. By so doing, you’ll be safe guarding yourself from some unpleasant surprises. The next time you get the opportunity to go on a blind date, I’ll like you to have a second thought before you out rightly dismiss it. Do you know why? A lot of people have actually headed to the altar right from a blind date. Yes, even a colleague of mine met and married someone he met on Facebook. According to him, after a few chats with the lady, he perceived in his mind that she might actually be the type of woman he will like to have as a wife. But the lady did not agree to meet with him for about two months after their first chat online. It was later he discovered that she was using that period to ask him a lot of questions, do a background check on him to see if the things he told her about himself were true. When she was satisfied, she agreed on a blind date so that they can physically see and decide if they were compatible in other areas. They met at an eatery of her choice and not him dictating where she would meet him. After the initial awkwardness of their first time meeting, they agreed on a second date where they discovered they liked each other for real. From there they started dating seriously, six months down the lane, they both headed to the altar to say “I do”. Important things to note when going on a blind date is to make sure you don’t put yourself in danger by agreeing to meet a blind date in a secluded location. Also, don’t judge a book by its cover. Give the guy or lady another chance by setting up a second date. You might be surprised to discover that they actually have the qualities you desire in a partner. You never know, just when you think your date is the last person you’d want to go out with, you may start to feel the chemistry and both of you get smitten by each other.

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Heart-throb ...Find your soul mate here

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& ovies Music M Stories by Olumide Segun-Oduntan 08189418761 e-mail: lumidezy@yahoo.com

Eulogy as Femi Odugbemi marks 50

Amata

Mbong Amata returns to the screen in style Do you remember Mbong Amata? Well, let’s inform you that the sexy and beautiful lady first burst into national consciousness when she acted in the captivating and interesting movie, Amazing Grace. Then she later went on to feature in other flicks such as Reloaded, Sweet Tomorrow, Bridge of Hope and the yet-to-be released Black November (formerly Black Gold). But movie fans may have been wondering why they have not been seeing the talented Amata on their screens lately. Well, M&M gathered that some years ago, the lovely Nollywood travelled out of the country with her sweetheart, Jeta Amata, and not much was heard from her since. But the story is different now as M&M can categorically tell you that the very beautiful and talented Mbong is back in the country. In fact, it was learnt that a few weeks ago the stunning actress actually shot a couple of movies with legendary producer, Emem Isong. So perhaps, Mbong’s fans should be gearing up to welcome her next movie as they would be seeing her on the big screen soon.

It was tribute galore penultimate Friday as the Golden Boy of the Nigerian documentary/film industry, Femi Odugbemi, celebrated his golden age. The event which took place at the Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos had in attendance the who-is-who in the entertainment and film industry in Nigeria. These movers and shakers in the film and entertainment industry set aside that Friday evening to rejoice and honour one of their own, Femi, who became 50 years old that day, a star in the art of documentary/filmmaking. The choice of the event’s venue and the atmosphere was perfect and it provided the windy environment needed for such a celebration. It was a blissful evening when the event started around 8.00 p.m. with music and this was later punctuated with rib-cracking jokes from renowned comedian, Lepacious Bose. A documentary was also shown to the audience which revealed the works and life history of the celebrant as well as comments and tributes from his workers, family members and friends. In a chat, the ace film producer, Tunde Kelani, described the celebrant as one of the best brains in the documentary film industry. “He deserves a national award,” he told M&M. Ace television producer, Yemi Shodimu, and Hafiz Oyetoro a.k.a. Saka also commended Femi for his works and intellect

Tomiwa Kukoyi debuts in his first Yoruba movie

Movie stars dazzle at launch of Ifunanya It was an amazing night for the cast and guests recently when the much talked about movie, Ifunanya was premiered in Lagos. The venue of the movie launch was the exclusive Cafe Vanessa on Victoria Island, Lagos. It was packed to capacity. The movie, which was produced by Serah Donald and Theresa Dickson who was the sponsor of the launch, starred Chika Ike, Ebele Okaro, Paul Sambo, Bryan Okwara, Theresa Dickson and many others. It was directed by Serah Donald. The film premiere event was well anchored by wavemaking actor, Bryan Okwara, as he made the cast of the movie and guests at the launch feel relaxed with some light chatBryan Okwara & Theresa Dickson’s ter and exciting jokes. Entertainers who dazzled fans at the event included Uti Nwachukwu, Paul Sambo, Lelee Byoma, Meg Otanwa, Grace Johnson, Diana Yekini and many others. It would interest movie fans eager to see Ifunanya to know that it is set for release to the public in the next couple of weeks.

Odugbemi & a friend at the party

Kukoyi

The 1st Runner-up in the Next Movie Star television reality show, Tomiwa Kukoyi, has finally featured in his first Yoruba movie entitled Ifihan. The movie which was shot in the beginning of the year is due for release very soon. The movie, which was directed and produced by Akin Balogun Tijani, also featured the talented Gabriel Afolayan, Taiwo Ibikunle and Yemi Solade among others. Tomiwa is really excited about his role in the movie and the role he played as he believes it will pave the way for him to take his position in the Yoruba movie industry where he feels he will be able to make an impact. The budding actor who is also a stand-up comedian also cleared the air about the rumour that he will be hosting a TV program too. He said, “It is true that I’ll be hosting a kiddies TV show. It should be on every station in the country. But I can’t really talk about it because of my contract. You’d hear about it once it’s done”. When asked if being in the Next Movie Star has helped his career in anyway, Tomiwa said, “I’d be wrong to say it hasn’t. Though I am not the best or most famous movie star as you know, it’s a journey. And I’ve started the journey. It’s rough out here. It takes a lot of sacrifice and determination to climb to a pedestal when you finally settle down to say one is made. But I am grateful. But my role in the movie A Longer Night is the most challenging for me this year. I had to cry in almost every scene basically. It was very disturbing for me psychologically. I was a sad teenager. But I enjoyed it. It should be out in the cinemas soon”. While a soap he featured in, Dormitory 8 is currently running on TV he told fans to watch out for another one entitled Meet The Neighbors. On how he intends to cope with being a comedian and actor, Tomiwa said, “Same way Chris Rock, Kevin Hart, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Julius Agwu, Basorge Tariah Jnr and Koffi managed. It’s interwoven, a good comedian must be able to act, to hit the punch-line”. Tomiwa, who has featured in many comedy shows and even produced one, says he is planning a monthly comedy show for Lagos Mainland residents where they can come and unwind and also a comedy sitcom which should hit the screen next year.


Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

39

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mercy Johnson returns after maternity break

0

Fans of sensational actress, Mercy Johnson, MJ, would be delighted to know that she has returned to doing what she knows best – acting. Yes, last month, star actress Mercy Johnson resumed work; she is back on location with director and producer, Elvis Chucks. This is MJ’s first job after giving birth last December. Interestingly, she is not just rolling back to movie set, she is actually appreciative of her fans who have been there for her on and off screen and eager to see her next movie. That is why MJ now says, “I want to say thank you to the fans, friends, colleagues and producers who were there for me. Many of them proved to be friends on and off work. Many adjusted their schedules for me and sent in their greetings during the child dedication. “I resumed work this week with grateful heart and understanding that I am here because God through the help of people made it possible. Or how could I explain the overwhelming votes I got at AMVCA despite being away and inactive on social media? How could I explain the number of producers and scripts waiting for my return? How could I explain the overwhelming love and gifts while I was away? “I am very grateful and here to say a big thank you to everyone who played a role and those who as much as had good wishes in their hearts. Thank you and God bless you.” In the past months of Mercy’s ‘absence’ she gave birth to her first child, Purity, moved into a new mansion with her husband, Prince, and won the Best Actress in comedy at the maiden edition of Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA). Work-wise, Mercy Johnson has continued to generate interest as

Johnson

many producers and a couple of corporate organisation are in discussion with her for movies and other business. She is returning on the heels of the record set by Dumebi, the dirty girl, the enviable record of being the highest selling hit. And just so you know, Mercy Johnson started acting in 2003 with The Maid. She is being touted to be one of the few method actors around by respected movie director, Lancelot Odua Imasuen.

The Future Awards goes continental for season 8

Sobogun

Presenting Taruwa festival of performing arts in Nigeria VANESSA OKWARA The Taruwa festival of arts in Nigeria which is designed to be a 3-day cocktail of rich events, is an annual event kicking off on Thursday, June 6 and ending on Saturday, June 8, to paint Lagos all shades of art through music, poetry, theatre, dance, fashion and screening of short films. All will hold at the artsy venue of TerraKulture, Victoria Island, Lagos. Speaking about the inspiration behind the festival, Lydia Idakula Sobogun, CEO of Gbagyichild Entertainment, conveners of the monthly Taruwa event and organisers of The Festival, explains, “Taruwa has always been about finding true art, true passion and giving it a stage to express, no matter who it is. It will hold for a weekend in June and will present ground breaking work in Performing Arts (Theatre, Music, Comedy, Spoken Word, Dance and Fashion) focusing on Nigeria and Africa but including the global artiste. The festival will expand the horizons of Nigerian artistes and audiences with work that is visionary, genre-bending, multi-disciplined, startling and original. “The festival will showcase international, African and local (Nigerian) artistes and mix them together with an alchemy.

Central Working Committee for The Future Awards has announced the formal calendar of activities for The Future Awards 2013, which is its 8th season – and the formal statement comes with a big announcement. “It has been seven years of inspiring young Nigerian leaders across the country,” said Chude Jideonwo, who is executive director of The Future Project. “We have visited 23 states with the awards, the town hall meet- Nominees for the future awards 2012 ings, conferences amongst others and we have touched thousands of lives. That legacy will remain. “This year, however, after visiting Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia, we are excited to announce that The Future Awards

will go continental for the first time – and this move is timed to coincide with the just-concluded 50th anniversary celebration of the African Union.” This edition is hosted in partnership with the youth office of the African Union Commission, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and nominations for the awards’ biggest prize, Young Person of the Year to be Africa-based. “We are very proud of The Future Awards because it has always been based on performance and achievement,” said Dr. Raymonde Agossou, who is Head of the Division of Human Resources and Youth Development of the African Union Commission. “Those values have remained intact and should always be.”

Mactee rocks music scene with Delilah

Mactee

Imo State-born Mac-Anthony Ugochukwu Abirika whose stage name is Mactee may not ring a bell in your music ear, but he is set to give players on Nigerian music scene a run for their money. As a kid, Mactee listened to his dad playing songs from the likes of Bob Marley and Don Williams; it spurred the music instincts in him, which led him to form a musical group in high school. After his high school education, Mactee decided to pause on the music scene and further his education. He proceeded to Caritas University Enugu State, to study Accounting. After some months he transferred to Madonna University where he completed his bachelor’s degree. Now Mactee is an Accountant by profession, but he never forgot his first love which is making music. For those who know him well, it wasn’t shocking that immediately he graduated from the university in 2011 he decided to return to the industry that he had always longed for. He met with his long-time friend and school mate Mr. Bobby Romeo the CEO of Maka Safety Entertainment, and his musical sojourn began. Interestingly, Mactee is the real definition of a versatile musician. He does music with ease and passion. According to his record label, he understands the basics and rudiment of music. This is the reason he does R&B, Hip-hop, Reggae, Afro and he is set to take over the Nigerian music scene with a banging new single he took time out working in the studio. Titled Delilah, Mactee’s new single was produced by MikkyMe Joses and includes a West African collaboration from his Ghanaian counterpart, EL. The single shows the Reggae side of Mactee and has EL spicing it up.


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40

Lessons of Life

ANGELA DAVIES lessonsoflife2@yahoo.com 08023342083

TRUE LIFE STORY ON MATTERS OF THE HEART JUNE 2, 2013

‘My fiancée rejected me at the altar on our wedding day’

O

n the eve of my wedding, my close friends organised a resounding bachelor’s party for me. They wanted me to do some crazy and naughty things but I declined because I truly loved Cassandra. I imagined that she was right there and watching me, so I felt I must not disappoint her. Although, I must admit I had a few bottles of booze and almost got drunk but thanks to Tobi, my best friend and best man who watched my back for me. After all the partying and drinking, I decided to have some hours of sleep. However, I couldn’t. I just kept tossing from one end of the bed to the other. I felt restless and nervous. All I wanted was to quickly walk my jewel, Cassy, down the aisle and love her forever. However, I managed to have about three hours of sleep before Tobi came knocking on my door. “Knock, knock Robert, it’s time to wake up. Get up and start getting dressed, I am sure you would not want the bride to get to church before you,” Tobi said. Quickly, I jumped out of bed, looked at my wristwatch and it was 7:40 a.m. I rushed to open the door for him and happily said, “Tobi, wow, this is the day I have been waiting for. Today, I will be marrying Cassy, the love of my life.” “Congratulations, Robert but I hope your wedding will be real this time around?” he said. “Of course, I love Cassy dearly and she loves me too. This time, it is real and I am going to be a married man,” I emphasised. “I hope she will not leave you at the altar like you did to those three other women?” he questioned. “Cassy cannot do that to me neither will I do that to her. I am older and wiser now and we love each other so much,” I assured. He ordered me to go and have a bath and start dressing up so that we could get to the church in time. In less than an hour and a half myself, Tobi my best man and my five groomsmen were looking dapper in our grey suit and white shirt outfit. Before I left the house, I called Cassy and told her how much I love her. “Cassy I just want you to know that I love you very much. I will be waiting for you at the altar.” “I love you too sweetheart. I cannot wait to finally become your wife and the mother of your children,” Cassy assured. On our way to the church, I had my secret fears and prayed that Cassy will not abandon me at the altar. Thank God, she showed up but with a shocker before the main blow. The first shocker was that she had among her bridal train, the three ladies I had at different times abandoned at the altar. Then I began to imagine how Cassy knew them because in our one year of dating, I never saw any of them with her. “God are these not Linda, June and Biola? What are they doing in Cassy’s bridal train? Do they

know one another? Is this all a charade to pay me back in my own coin,” I muttered. All of a sudden, I felt cold shivers down my spine. I began to doubt if the wedding would take place or not. While all these negative thoughts were going through my mind, I looked back and saw Cassy and her father walking gracefully towards the altar. The little glimpse I got of her, even though her face was covered with a veil, her beauty radiated with her charming smile and I began to thank God for the day I met her. She looked stunning in her sequined-fitted tube wedding gown. Seeing her eradicated any doubt that the wedding will not take place. As we sat close to each other, we kept stealing glances at each other until it was time for the exchange of marital vows. “Robert, do you take Cassandra to be your lawfully wedded wife, to love and to cherish in sickness and in health, till death do you part,” asked the pastor. Smiling and looking straight into her beautiful eyes, I replied, “Yes I do.” And the congregation applauded. Then it was her turn to take her vows and I got the shock of my life. “Cassandra, do you take Robert to be your lawfully wedded husband, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health till death do you part,” asked the pastor. Cassy turned, looked at her bridal train, then smiled and looked me straight in the face and

answered, “No, I don’t”. I almost collapsed when I heard her response. The pastor and the congregation too were surprised at her response. The pastor repeated the question and her answer remained the same. “No, I don’t”. “What is happening here? Can someone please tell me what we don’t know?” yelled the pastor. Cassy faced the congregation and said, “I will not marry this player who thinks he can treat ladies like trash. A man who thinks he can abandon women at the altar and go scot free. So, Robert how does it feel to be abandoned on your wedding day?” she asked. “Pastor, this player has abandoned three women at the altar and those ladies are all here today. On three consecutive times in three different churches involving three women who incidentally were all my friends, they were abandoned at the altar on their wedding day which was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives. They are among my bridal train and I chose them on purpose just to pay him back in his own coin. The truth is that they never knew one another but somehow they were all linked to me. When I discovered that they were all abandoned by the same man, I made all of them come together so that we can hatch a plan and teach Robert a bitter lesson he will never forget. Somehow, Robert and I met and within weeks, he told me he had fallen in love with me and before I knew

it, he proposed. I had to play along because I knew there will be no wedding. Having Linda, June and Biola, the three ladies he abandoned at the altar on my bridal train was intentional as that would be the first shocker when he sees them together. Then, not accepting the marriage vow will be the blow below the belt. I have or should I say, we have no regret for this action,” Cassy narrated. Cassy, Linda, June and Biola all looked me straight in the eyes, laughed hard, hissed and said, “Now you know how it feels to be abandoned at the altar.” Immediately they happily left the church. It was so painful but the truth is that I truly loved Cassy and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. My father walked up to me and told me I had been paid in my own coin after what I did to those ladies, and he left with my mother. People kept whispering to one another and in minutes, the church was empty. For the first time in my life, I shed tears while Tobi and my other friends consoled me like a baby. I felt so humiliated that I wanted the ground to open and swallow me. I realised that the pains I felt were the same those ladies felt and even more while I thought I was being smart back then. Everyone called me fine boy, no pimples because I am very handsome and I guess that entered into my head. I come from a family of four handsome boys but according to my parents I was the most handsome. I thought that the best way to handle women was to be a player. I led these women on, I guess I didn’t know when and where to draw the lines or open up to them that I cannot marry them. I got their family members, friends and loved ones involved and at the end, I intentionally disappointed them by not showing up at the church at all. The worse was that I switched off my phone and cooled off at a hotel until the tension had died down. Now I understand the kind of trauma and heartache they all went through. I call myself a player until I met Cassy who I eventually fell in love with and wanted to marry but little did I know that she had her game plan. I do not blame her, and I thank God that they did not conspire to kill me. Abandoning me at the altar is torture enough for me. I learnt my lesson the hard way and I hope young men like me out there will learn from my story. Never take any woman for granted. Do not tell a woman you will marry her when deep down you know you are only playing a game. My story is the evil that men do really live with them. My past caught up with me when I never even expected it.

Please send your advice to the phone number or e-mail address above. No calls, please.


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Sunday June 2, 2013

Praise & Worship

41

says: Without sanctions for Nigeria can’t progress

Pastor Ukachi

I BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE MUST NOT ONLY BE SANCTIONED FOR CORRUPTION BUT THERE SHOULD BE CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR CORRUPTION tians who have broken into the realms of politics didn’t get there because they joined cult, but rather because they compromised when they got there. That was the problem, the challenge they faced. I am not in any way belittling the fact that politics is highly occultic, very demanding, fiendish and full of violence and so on. But somehow, God makes a way for people. If you believe that God is almighty, determines all things, and is all powerful, then we must believe Him to give us also the strength and courage not to go into the realm of politics, to work as policemen, to getting into the realm of business; business could be equally terrible and occultic. There are some businesses in this country, for you to survive they would say you have to belong to an occult group. But yet there are Christians who brave through the realms of those businesses and they still survive. There are challenges, but we must not just leave it to the whims of the occult to just lord it over us in politics. The state of the nation today is fearful, a lot of people are suffering. Hunger, poverty and even the issue of insecurity and other economic, political and social problems are there; yet we hear men of God asking us to pray the country out of these problems but aren’t there practical actions that can be taken to bring the country out of the wood? The call to pray for the leaders of the nation and for the nation is a biblical injunction. 1Timothy chapter two, “I wish above all things that first of all prayer should be made for kings and for those in authority and for all men that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness. Again you look at the book of Jeremiah 29:6-11. When the children of Israel were in captivity, God told them; “Pray for the city where you live; in its prosperity you will prosper. So, first and foremost, the church or the average Christian has a biblical injunction to pray for its leaders and the na-

tion whether things change or don’t change; God says we should pray. That is the first thing we must realise. The second is that we pray so that God will intervene and that change will come about. Thirdly, we pray because Jesus asked us to pray this way: “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Get it right; three levels, first there is a biblical injunction on us to pray. Two, we pray so that there will be changes, transformations reformations and so on and so forth because we believe that God intervenes in the affairs of men. Then thirdly, the Bible enjoins us to pray ‘thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. Now the issue is we pray and there are no changes the way expected. I want you to know that God is sovereign, the way He answers prayer may not be the way we think. But whether God answers prayers? Oh yes; He does. God answers prayers and there are many testimonies to that effect. You know, I have been going through my latest book which will be unveiled on June 1; and there I was listing out some of the answers to prayers. They are just enormous. You know the June 12 crises; the crises lasted for five years from June 12, 1993 to 1998. And in 1998, how did God resolve the crises? The two people involved died within a space of one month. With that, the whole crises as it were simmered down. On many occasions we had seen our nation at the brinks of chaos, especially when elections are coming and we said how would this crisis be resolved? People will pray and God will also intervene. Look at, but for prayers, please tell me who would ever believe that a man like Abacha was not just a millionaire but a billionaire. He had over $5 billion stashed away from this country. How would you know, he died and a good deal of that money was repatriated. Now but for prayers, some of the moneys which were stolen from this country wouldn’t have been repatriated back. But for prayers, this country would have gone into serious civil war, serious bloodshed. I don’t know whether you saw the civil war. I fought

during the civil war. War is a terrible thing. When you look at countries like Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone; Nigerians being what we are, would have gone into another civil war and probably dismembered completely. But God has helped us. No matter what our disagreements are, the church would pray, God would answer; somehow things would be resolved. So, God answers prayers. But he probably may not answer prayers the way we expect being human and at the time we expect. But there is no doubt that He does answer prayers. I believe that in view of the few answers we have seen, it should motivate us to keep on praying because what really would have happened if we were not praying? We must keep on praying in spite of the fact that our expectations are not met. As I said, looking back now, we all have the tendency when we look at what is happening in the society to feel discouraged. But we can’t give up because doing so would mean complete disaster. We must keep on praying, keep on asking the Lord to intervene in our land. But it will not end with prayers. My wife will always say each time we are watching the television and talking about prayers she will say, “Pastor, is it only prayers we are going to pray?” I completely agree that there must be social action. The church must rise up, not necessarily as a body but as individuals within the church, speak out and actively engage the society on issues that portend corruption, falling standards of education, the values of the society, injustice. The church must get up and be actively involved. I don’t know about the answers, I must confess. My wife was going through my book and she got to the portion where we mentioned about what the church ought to be doing. She said, “Pastor, I have read this section. Beyond prayers what do we do?” I looked at her and said; “Woman of God, you are the wife of a Pastor, suggest to me. What do we do?” After she had gone to bed, I went back to that section she had read and looked at it and said okay. Let me add political engagement. That is another thing we really need to do. So I don’t have all the answers but the church must wake up and be socially active, politically active to help to correct the injustices of our society, they are just enormous. Let me give one little example of what I have said that Christians must be doing. I have a member of my church; she works in one of the government parastatals. A young man who does not have a degree but went and took someone else’s degree – impersonation - and went for an interview. They made him a boss in his office. A graduate of 1986 was intimidating a graduate of 1979, not just intimidation but hounding her. And one senior advocate of Nigeria heard of it and said, “Madam, I am going to defend you. He appeared in on behalf of this woman and said, don’t give me anything. He is standing in court for this woman. Such actions are what Christians need to be doing in fighting injustice, godlessness in our society. You are involved in the prayer for transformation of Nigeria; could you tell your assessment of President Jonathan’s presidency? Just like other presidents, humanly speaking, he has failed. Any president, any politician who takes over from Jonathan will also fail; for the simple reason that until Nigeria comes to a point where there is sanction for doing evil, we are not going to move forward in this country. I am a Pastor but I must tell you this. This will shock you. I believe that people must not only be sanctioned for corruption but there should be capital punish-

ment for corruption. Because the human nature is such that if you do evil and you are not punished, I will emulate you and even want to go beyond what you did because nothing is going to happen. That is the problem we have in this country. There is a lot of impunity. People do things because they know they can use money to bribe their way out. Even if they are thrown into jail, they can be coming to sleep in my house at night or fake ill health and sleep in the hospital. People we believe that are in Kirikiri but they are in the hospital. In Singapore and Malaysia, for instance, if one is caught with a little drug, they kill you immediately. People are afraid. But here, people do wrong things and get away unpunished. We easily appeal to ethnicity, religion and because of which part of the country I come from and take cover that I am being persecuted because of my religion. As long as there is no sanction, this nation is not moving anywhere. Who will solve it? I don’t know. This for me is the core reason why things are deteriorating. Any politician who comes there will not succeed. Some people say that democracy is not right for Africa but benevolent dictatorship. What is your view on this? I tend to agree with that. Definitely I’ve sat down and reflected on that. Yes democracy is good. But we can’t keep on going this way. I was reading a book the other day about 18th century United Kingdom. Everything you see in our society today happened there. There was corruption; lawlessness; blood letting, everything; and I underlined it that this is typical of Nigeria. But again it brings us to this same issue of sanction. They evolved with time to the point that there was sanction for everything you did. It is a deterrent because if you do anything today it will work against you for some time and that would make you think before you commit any offence. But here, we do things with impunity because there is no such sanction. Short of benevolent dictatorship, we can move forward with a democracy where there are sanctions. What is your honest view on the Chinua Achebe book, ‘There was a country’? You know we live in a society where there is a lot of ethnic and religious coloration, which affects the truth. When Chinua Achebe said there was genocide, Wole Soyinka admitted it. But I noticed that no journalist criticised Soyinka for what he said because he is highly respected in this part of the country, at least. And of course that has always been his position that there was genocide. They criticised Chinua Achebe but they didn’t criticise him. I took note of that. Politicians didn’t, many journalists didn’t because they revered him. And according to Chinua Achebe, he said it was unfortunate that he was highly misunderstood. That he wanted to point all those facts so that there would be no repeat of what happened in the past. But unfortunately he was highly misunderstood. And being a man who went through the war, I can appreciate what he meant when he said there was genocide. Many of us who live in the North and who saw Igbos hounded, killed, I can appreciate when he talked about genocide but unfortunately, as I said, we live in a an environment where even when you speak the truth, because of your ethnic or religious background, you will say it is no longer the truth. That is basically what our problem is.


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Praise & Worship

Sunday June 2, 2013

When it’s your time, God will pick you out, says Pastor Chidi Do not fret or despair; God will pick you out of the multitude when it is your time, says Pastor Chidi Anthony, General Overseer, Kings in Christ Church, Lagos.

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et me tell you about my experience with a woman I met on a flight. After a preaching programme in a church in South Africa, I boarded the next available flight to Nigeria.

Fifteen minutes after the flight took off, a woman sitting beside me looked at me and said; “Young man, are you a Christian or a Muslim?” I told her that I am a Christian. She said “shall we pray then?” “Okay Ma,” I replied, bringing out my hand. She did all the prayer and I responded ‘amen and amen’ to all the prayers. At the end of the prayer, she took another careful look at me and said, “Young man, I want to help you.” I said “thanks to God,” wondering what kind of help because somehow, I really needed some help. She then said that any time I came to South Africa, I should locate any Pentecostal church. “Enter and ask for new converts class and they will help you so that you can grow spiritually,” she further said. I asked her if that was all and she replied yes. At that point, I was highly disappointed; but I kept quiet. She looked at me again and said, ‘Young man, you are very gentle and quiet, May I know? Then I said, “Mummy, do you want to know me? She said “yes.” I put my hand inside my pocket and brought out my complementary card and handed it over to her. Sighting my card she shouted; “Eh! Are you Reverend Chidi Anthony? I said “you have said so.” She said, man of God, I heard what God had used you to do in the Lord’s Chosen Church in Johannesburg, South Africa. “I heard about your preaching in the church. Everywhere in Johannesburg, they are talking about the prophet from Nigeria and I have been waiting for a time I can have an encounter with you, man of God. Oh! Man of God, you have to pray for me,” she insisted. And I said that would be after the new convert class. The woman said that she had never paid her tithe for over eight months. According to her, she is in London today, tomorrow, she would be in Paris, or America next tomorrow or any other part of Europe. “I have no time for myself and for my family. My work does not give me time. I have not stepped into any church and I haven’t paid my tithe for that long. I said any man of God I will set my eyes on, I will pay my tithe to him,” she announced. I said eight months and you have not paid your tithe? She said “yes.” Then I looked at the woman and asked: Do you need my prayer, she said yes? Yes; she answered. Then I said, “Can I collect the tithe before the prayers”? She said “yes”; and dipping her hand into her purse, she brought out a Zenith Bank cheque and wrote N2. 8 million in my name. I was still watching until she handed it to me. When I received, I felt like jumping then I remembered that I was inside an aircraft. And a voice said to me, “Chidi Anthony, even in the air, miracle located you.” What am I saying sir? When your time comes, you do not need to struggle. Where you live now does not matter. In fact, your

Chidi

background does not count. But when it is your time, miracle will look for you. And I prophesy to 1,100 people reading my message, wherever you are, wherever your family is, miracle will locate you, in the name of Jesus. The Bible says in the book of John 5:1-16, “Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.” Sir, the Bible says that when the time comes, others will struggle to enter the pool. But it is the time of this impotent man; the angel behind the healing pool decided to locate this man. Look at what the Bible says about this spectacle: “And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir; I

have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.” Note that when Jesus asked the impotent man will thou be made whole? He began to lament, he began to tell story. Jesus said that is not what I asked you. Do you believe that you will be made whole? The truth is; when your time comes, it does not take God more than a second to solve whatever your issues are. That which you call a problem is never a problem before God. I prophesy to you; everything you call problem you will look for it and you will never see it again, in Jesus’ name. Hear me church; the Bible says that thousands of people with infirmity lay by the pool side; but when Jesus came to the sport , He did not see any other person except this impotent man. Listen to this story. I was preaching in a church. And God moved and led me to a young man. The power of God touched him; I called out his name, Okechukwu and he answered. As led by the Spirit of the Lord, I told him all his problems. The

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spirit of the Lord revealed that he was the son of a wretched widow in the village. You have been suffering in this town; but the Lord said he has remembered you. I told him that within three days from now, the Lord said He would change his life. That prophesy came on December 17, three years back. When the church dismissed, he ran into the pastor’s office and said to me: “Daddy, I have suffered. I am the only surviving son of a wretched widow in the village. For eight years, I have never set my eyes on my mother; and I learnt that she was sick. I don’t even have money to eat before I can talk of travelling. But thank God, you said that God has remembered me. He continued; “This is my 18 years in Lagos and I have no home. I don’t even have a shop. What I normally do in Alaba market is locating buyers for any shop owner and eking out a living out of the peanut profit I am able to bargain. But thank God, your God has remembered me. I believe in your ministry.” He was so happy. On the 18th of that December, the young man went to Alaba market, he was struggling. All his mind was “O God, you have spoken through your servant; confirm your word. He tried throughout that day nothing happened. On 19th the next day, right there in the village, Okechukwu’s mother kept praying “Oh! God, wherever my son is, bring him home at least to see me before I die.” On the 20th, Okechukwu went again to the market, he never prayed to travel but Oh! God give me money to eat, not money to travel. Again, nothing happened that day. On the 21st, the mother would hear that someone had returned from Lagos, she would run down to ask, Angela, did you set your eyes on my only son? Angela said, “Oh that one, the only time I saw him, he was having handcuffs in his hands. Dike also returned for the Xmas; Okchukwu’s mother ran down and asked the same question. Dike also gave a negative report, “when I saw him, he was smoking Indian hemp. Church, do you know that when things are not well with you, people will give you a name that is not your own. Okechukwu’s mother cried out, “oh! God, this is not what we agreed on. You are the father of the fatherless; you are the husband of the widow. Let nothing happen to my only son. Okechukwu is my husband. Okechukwu is my brother; he is everything I have. Please, let nothing happen to him. On the 23rd December, Okechukwu was hustling in the market; all his prayer is God, I don’t want to travel again; I don’t need money for car; give me what I will eat throughout this holiday period so that I will not die of hunger. All my friends will travel home, what will I eat? Eight O’clock in the morning, Okechukwu has landed in the market. Ten O’clock, there was no headway for Okechukwu and the mother was crying up and down in the village, praying for her son to come back and see her before she died. By 10.30pm, only one hour and minutes for the market to close till next year, nothing has happened. Okechukwu was there believing God. Eleven O’clock, he was there reminding God that God never comes late, that God had spoken through his servant that God had remembered him, still nothing happened. When it was 11.30, only 30 minutes for the market to close for the year, a wagon painted brown drove into Alaba market and parked. And four hefty men came out to the vehicle, they entered the market filled with thousands of people. They could not find any other person to assist them except Okechukwu. When your times comes up, inside the multitude, God will pick you up. (To be continued next week)


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Sunday June 2, 2013

Praise & Worship

43

Understandable but not acceptable (2) Family FORA wit Pastor N. C with

Amaefula

E-mail: familyfora@yahoo.com Phone:08060315052,

E

steemed reader, I promised in the last edition to continue this article in view of its importance. One of the things to remember is communication which we initiated in the previous edition. Today, let us consider other deeper facts connected to communication. How were you able to relate to your spouse at your first meeting point? I sure know that there is no other way of doing so if not by communicating your feelings towards him or her. We shall quickly look at the components of communication. This is vital to the building of our blissful marital relationship and peaceful home. An understanding of the component of communication will help you to open up all communication lines in your marriage. This will indeed help your marriage to grow and be progressive. There are different ways of communication; some are verbal while others are non-verbal. When last did you understand the gestures made by your spouse? Remember Trust. Any marriage that is devoid of trust cannot last. It is difficult to effectively disclose your innermost dreams, desires and thoughts to someone you do not trust. Your trust determines your level of confidence, faith and assurance in that person. Trust has a lot to do with being reliable. Trust indeed is precious. When issues that border on trust are discussed, women have always complained that they open up their whole heart to their spouses by telling them everything that brings fears and uncertainties in their heart but the men on the other hand will be

hiding theirs. Such hide-and-seek game affects the marital relationship. Most of the partners who have headed to the courts for divorce are largely lack trust in each other. Some husbands see their wives as talkative and will hardly be confident enough to share their innermost heart with them. It is no gainsaying that the women are more open than the men, but husbands and wives should build their relationship on trust. This will enhance their love and submission one to another. Husbands should endeavor to understand the difference between them and their wives make up. That notwithstanding, every wife should make herself reliable and trustworthy. Make yourself your husband’s confidant. Do not give the man room to rely on somebody outside more than you as his wife. Learn to keep his secrets, and you will gain his trust when he discovers that the last one he shared with you is still intact. Remember Transparency and Openness. Your ability to remain honest and lucid one to another is an aspect of communication that will increase your love in marital relationship. The husband and wife are seen before God as one flesh and does not need to be ashamed. Gen.2:25. It is not possible for anyone to hide anything from himself or herself. In the same vein, partners in marriage should open up one to another. Ensure that your watchword in dealing with one another is sincerity. Most of the breakups we observe in the society today are as a result of outright rebellion against God’s word. This is the beginning of insincerity. Some men feel that one of the ways to show their manliness is to have some secrets that their wives do not know about. No, you are wrong in your assertion. That thing you are hiding today may become a public issue tomorrow. How are you sure that it will not bring shame after all? You may have understandable reasons why you keep some things away from your spouse knowledge but do not forget that these reasons are not genuine before God. Hence your actions and attitudes are not acceptable. When last did you take time to

tell your spouse the story of your daily experiences? Some people will feel that that is childish but wait a minute it is one of the oil that lubricates your communication. You must learn to tell these little stories to your wife. She needs them. Do not ask what she will do with them. It will help her to rely more on you as a husband. Also you as the man should know that women naturally enjoy telling little nothings to their husbands. Yes, it is nothing to you because you can do without hearing it. However, for the sake of trust and openness, that will propel your union to greater heights. You need to listen to those unnecessary details. Your ability to be a good listener will motivate submission from your wife. Husbands do not be too officious in your dealings with your wives. In the same vein, do not be too secretive. Be transparent and honest with one another and your home will be placed in the atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Remember Understanding as a material for building your home. Wisdom is needed in building a house but understanding establishes it. Proverbs 24:3. Understanding is the basis for effective communication and homes are established by it. Understanding gives you a special insight in your partner’s gestures. You must not open your mouth before you speak. Understanding will make you know the meaning of your spouse’s eyes movement, body signal and even voice tones. With this, you will be equipped to have the right reaction for every action that your spouse makes. Some partners today accuse one another of lack of intelligence and knowledge. Accusing yourselves will not bring the solution rather understanding will. Every word does not need a reply. Some are for outright actions; others are for adjustments while some are informative. But when there is lack of understanding between husband and wife, the actions required are not received and when adjustment is needed, people begin to act or talk. This destabilizes the relationship instead of building it. On the other hand, help your spouse to

improve his or her understanding by adding value in knowledge empowerment. Every husband should sow into his wife the understanding he desires by exposing the woman to issues for discussion. Practice they say makes perfect. Therefore boost the understanding of your spouse by engaging him or her in constant sensible and sensitive discussions. Finally, you must know that when you communicate effectively to your spouse, you derived some uncommon benefits. One of them is intimacy in your relationship. Do not create a gap and give the enemy an opportunity to come into your marriage. Even if you had closed the lines of communication to your spouse, it is a high time you opened it. Thinking about divorce is adding your name in the list of failures. However, I know too well that God did not create you a failure even in your marriage. You have what it takes to amend your life and attitude and move to the right direction. Divorce is not an option no matter how convenient or understandable it may be. Indeed it is not acceptable. Your intimacy breeds togetherness and self awareness. You can bring out hidden talents in your spouse through right communication. This will foster acceptance of one another in marriage. You are meant to share your life together as husband and wife. Do not plan to divide what God has joined together. I introduce Jesus to you today, he has what it takes to give you the right mind and words toward your spouse. Never say anything that will not edify or motivate your partner to the right direction. Prophesy positive things into one another’s life and you will be amazed how God can lift your family and home from zero to hero. Congratulations because when you believe, all things are possible and you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Cheers! There is hope for your family. •For Counseling and Prayers: Email: nneomamaefula@yahoo.com or call +2348060315052, +2348187464031, +2348052157173

Erroneous conceptions about sex, by Rev. Izuchukwu Are you one of those who wallow in the belief that sexual intercourse is meant for procreation only? Then you need to explore the benefits of sex in a marriage setting, says Reverend Chukwudebelu Izuchukwu, presiding minister of Assemblies of God Church, FESTAC 11. Excerpts:

Procreation: it has been erroneously assumed and solidly conceived by many particularly among the illiterates and old fashioned types that sex is only intended for procreation. As a pastor cum marriage counsellor, reports come to me on sex refusal of spouses based on ‘we are through with child bearing or there is no child yet.’ Couples who are yet to conceive see sex as a wasteful exercise while those who are through child bearing see it as foolish indulgence.

Much as God intended sex for procreation, it is also meant for enjoyment and expression of love between husband and wife. June last year to be precise, while in Berlin Germany, a friend took me to the premises of the Chancellor’s office, Angela Merkel. In the course of interactions, I found out that she prepared the husband’s mind before marriage, that she was not cut out for procreation. Africans are the most tormented for majority wallow in this ignorance that sex is solely meant for procreation. •Forbidden fruit: Misinterpretation, misunderstanding and misapplication of scriptures have misled many here. Junk preachers and quack theologians have cre-

ated a lot of havoc in the marriage institution. Some have even gone ahead to teach that God is not interested in our sex life because there is no sex in heaven. This school of thought was propounded by priests who do not believe in marriage but engage in secret sex which the media and the Nollywood seldom spare. Friends, whatever God does is reasonable and responsible. Sex organs were neither science nor western community but God’s creation. God is very interested in our sex life as much as He is with our heart and entire life. •Men are not meant for specific women: This is a concept born from the polygamous nature of African men. It encourages heterogeneous, against homogenous sex. Unfortunately, this has crept into the church and has done much harm to many couples. Raising children indiscriminately from different women by the societal affluent has created unnecessary rivalry among brothers and sisters from same father but different mothers. They often see witches and wizards among themselves leading to being milked by commercial preachers, as it were. •Sex is not a frequent act: Whether you make love hourly, daily, weekly, monthly,

occasionally or seasonally, the only important criterion is satisfaction with the frequency of your sexual relationships. Whatever pleases your spouse and you is normal. However, in the words of Apostle Paul, ‘do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time so that you may devout yourselves to prayer; then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.’ I Cor. 7:5 indicates that ‘common sense equally teaches that there are periods we should abstain from sex such as sickness, menstrual moment, and early pregnancy stage in order to avoid miscarriage. Couples should endeavour to explore the benefits of sex; it should be bone to bone, flesh to flesh, according to Professor Adam, the first man who had sex. Presiding Minister, Assemblies of God FESTAC 2, Plot 268A&B, 4th Avenue, FESTAC Town, Lagos. izuchukwudebelu@yahoo.com +2348028390885, +2348056027044, +234704414424. Izuchukwu


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Praise & Worship

Sunday June 2, 2013

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The hidden blessing in persecution, by Pastor Muoka As the monumental miracle crusade by the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Movement tagged, “That Yokes must Break”, hits the grand finale today, General Overseer of the church, Senior Pastor Lazarus Muoka, draws inspiration from the scriptures to minister, saying the blessing that will bring great reward and give you exceeding gladness of heart is obtained from persecution.

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atthew 5: 10-12 say, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” Beloved, it is true all blessings that are consecrated and hallowed have a dual reward of being received in heaven and on earth, but there are blessings that will not only be rewarded in heaven and on earth but are greatly rewarded above others and can cause one to rejoice and be exceedingly glad. This kind of blessing is not easily reachable because the road to it path is rough and full of thorns. Only few people even among the Christians wish to go through its bumpy path to obtain it. This kind of blessing is hidden in persecution, derision, reviling and oppression. It is like the honey which is the most exquisite sweetener known in history but hidden inside the beehives and the process of getting it remains thorny and stingy as only few people could take the risk of visiting the beehive for honeycomb. As it is in the procuring of honey so also it is in obtaining spiritual reward/ blessing and other good things of the world. No wonder the Scripture says that the blessing that will bring great reward and give you exceeding gladness of heart is that blessing that is obtained from persecution, which included when you are reviled, abused or slandered, when your name, reputation, interest or property is injured on account of your righteousness. This also includes all calumny, allegations and all that the tongue can affect.

Thus they said of Jesus, that he was a Samaritan and had a devil; that he was mad and as such they reviled and mocked Him on the cross. But being reviled, he reviled not and thus being reviled, we should bless. Although the contempt of the world is not in itself desirable, yet it is blessed to tread in the footsteps of Jesus, to imitate His example, and even to suffer for His sake. Beloved, Christianity is all about persecution and victory, no Christian can boast of his faith if he has not been persecuted. Persecution, reviling, scornful, mocking, false accusation, etc are the trademark of the people of the world. They are filled with all manner of wickedness. The history of early Christians is characterised by persecution, derision, threat, death of which great numbers were burnt alive on such accusations that could not be substantiated. It is not blessing to have evil spoken of us if we deserve it, but if we deserve it not, then we should not consider it as a calamity. If, in the honest effort to be Christians, and to live the life of Christians by trying to win souls for Christ, others persecute and revile us, we are to consider this as a blessing. We should take it patiently, in order to show to the world how much the Christians under the consciousness of innocence, can bear persecution. It is all evidence that we are the children of God, and that He alone will defend us. 2Tim 3:12 says, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” So if, in the faithful endeavour to be Christians, we are reviled, as our Master was, then we are to take it with patience, and to remember that thousands before us have been treated in like manner. When we are

reviled, or persecuted, we should be meek, patient, humble and not angry nor reviling, in this way, shall many be convinced of the power and excellence of that faith we are professing. They will see that nothing else but Christianity could impart such patience and meekness to the persecuted and will by this means, be constrained to submit themselves to the gospel of Jesus. For such a patient and cheerful suffering of persecution for Christ in this life, shall certainly be rewarded with the glory and blessedness of the life that is to come. Lk 23: 21-23 & 25 say “But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. 22 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go. 23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed…. 25 And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will”. In the above context, there was no sin which immediately could occasion the death of Christ, but that we might be saved. The Chief priests delivered Him up to Pilate to crucify and Pilate was very unwilling to be the instrument of our Saviour’s death because he knew there was nothing that could justify him to put Christ to death. Thus, Jesus was pronounced guiltless and justified by his judge but yet crucified for His innocence. So, it is expected that whosoever gives himself entirely up to God and His righteousness, making the Holy Scriptures the rule of his words and actions, will be scorned, reviled and persecuted. 1 Thes. 3: 3 says, “That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto”. All Christians are exposed to persecution, and could not hope to avoid it and God imparts the highest rewards to those who suffer most. Hence the crown of martyrdom has been thought to be the brightest that any of the redeemed shall wear and hence many of the early Christians sought to become martyrs, and threw themselves in the way of their persecutors, so that they might be put to death. And literally they rejoiced, and leaped for joy, at the prospect of death for the sake of Jesus. Though God does not require us to seek persecution, yet all this shows that there is something in living a righteous life that can sustain the soul, which the-world does not possess. This is because nothing but the consciousness of innocence, and the presence of God, could have borne them up in the midst of these trials and the flame that was kindled to consume the martyr has also been a bright light, showing the truth and power of the gospel of Jesus. Our application Beloved, no matter how well we live, how much we give, or how much evil we expose in the world, as long as we are followers of Jesus Christ we must suffer persecution. The Scripture says, “But rejoice, in as much as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified”. (1Pt 4: 13- 14) While we suffer for His sake, we should rejoice in hope of more abundant glory, for the measure of glory answers the measure of suffering, and much more abundantly. If any man suffers as a Christian, he should not be worried or ashamed because it is expected he will suffer derision and maltreatment. He should regard his identification with Christ as honourable, and all that results from it desire able. He is not to be ashamed to be called a Christian, he is not to be ashamed of the Saviour whom he professes to love, he

is not to be ashamed of the society and fellowship of those who are true Christians, neither will he be ashamed to preach the gospel nor have himself be subjected to reproach and scorn. Christians should be ashamed only of that which is wrong. They should glory in that which is right, whatever may be the consequences. They should know that one who is a believer is called to “suffer as a Christian.” He may be reviled and despised. His views may be regarded as bigoted or narrow on account of his opinions. His former friends and companions may leave him because he has become a Christian. A wicked father and worldly mother may oppose a child, or a husband may revile a wife, on account of being a believer. In all these cases, the same spirit essentially is required which was enjoined on the early Christian martyrs. We are never to be ashamed of our religion, whatever results may follow from our attachment to it. Revelation 22:11 says, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” We may see the heartache, but we cannot lose heart. We can feel the suffering, but grace abounds. We have a Savior who has overcome the world and all its evil. We, who know Jesus, have an opportunity, to show Him in our lives, in our speech and deeds. How we react to the unjust, the filthy, the vile, reveals the glory of Christ who lives within us. Let the righteous continue to be righteous. In the face of unjust treatment, the filthy and vile actions of others, we should remain in the righteousness we have in Christ. We must be righteous when others are unrighteous. Let our Light shine. In the face of unholy acts, heresy, and blasphemous deeds around us– we must remain holy, separate, and sanctified. We must be holy when others are unholy. As we know that fire is used to purify gold and brings it to an acceptable standard. In the other hand when God wants to refine us, He uses fiery trials to bring us to His acceptable standard. Whenever you see someone whose life reflects the life of Christ, you are sure that you are seeing somebody who has gone through fire. Nothing brings wholesomeness to character and commitment to the heart like adversity. Are you facing some challenges in your life now? Are you been accused, reviled, disparaged or scorned for preaching to people and you are thinking that God has abandoned and allowed your enemies to say and do all manner of evil things against you? Rejoice for God knows everything about you and is doing special work on you to refine and bring you to His acceptable standard. Do not be disheartened for the hand of God is on the thermostat of your life monitoring the temperature required to burn away the things that hinder His purpose in your life. He will finish the work soon and you will come out stronger in patience, prayer, forgiveness, faith and lots of other character building work. You need His correction that will yield peaceable fruit of righteousness in your life though you may not enjoy it but you need it and in it is your blessing. Do not look at the fiery trials as unusual things, but to expect them, and prepare for them if you have not gotten one for unexpectedly it will come but when trials come because we are prepared for it, it will strike but will not hurt us. The scandals, afflictions and persecutions which fall upon God’s people are to try them, not to consume them, to try their graces, and destroy their corruptions, to give them opportunity to make proof of the truth of their faith, sincerity, and constancy. The duty which God expects and requires from them who suffer these fiery persecutions for the sake of His Son is to rejoice and be exceedingly glad for your reward is at hand.


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alvary is the place where a Christian’s life source was incepted. It is a Place to set your mind on as a Christian. When you remember Calvary, You can then recall all the works of salvation by Christ for you. But Christians are no longer conscious of what happened in Calvary, how Jesus was beaten, wounded, mocked, shamed and was finally crucified just for the salvation of you and I. If we look in the world today, we can say Christians are more but Christ-like people are very few. Why am I saying this? If you say you are a follower of Christ, I believe your thoughts and doings should be more about Him, but today we seem to forget so quickly about our saviour, what he went through for us on the way to Calvary. We only remember a little the moment we watch the video or sing it in songs; the next minute we forget and continue with our normal everyday activities. If only we can go back to Calvary, if only we can open our heart to understand and receive what transpired at Calvary for You and I, that Jesus Christ was beaten like a common criminal, that he was wounded, long sharp thorns were pushed into his skull, he was mocked, Shamed for the crime (sin) he did not commit, he carried the weight of our sins on his shoulder, he fell, got up and carried it again, he did not give up on us because he loved us, and he went all the way to Calvary And was crucified. Luke 23:33. Says, “And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified him. After Jesus had meet the devil, he collected the key of life and death from the devil and Jesus then said to his children, IT IS FINISHED, which means the work of salvation for us has been accomplished and there comes the victory of all who believe in God. John 3: 16 states, “For God so love the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that who so ever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus came and died so that all those that say they are Christ-like may have eternal life. I used the word Christ-like because Christians are the worst people on earth today, the Bible tells us in Matthew; 5: 20, for I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Most of you have once of twice come across this verse in the Bible but you still do not show concern, because God unlike the devil will not destroy you immediately, he still gives a chance for repentance because he went through so much for you, I even hear some Christian say, “I am not among those that killed Jesus.” I want you to know that Jesus died for you so that every time that you commit a sin, you are crucifying Jesus the second time because every crime you commit shows that the blood he shed was not enough for you, that you need more. How do you think he feels whenever you make the devil to rejoice over Him by committing a sin? How do you think he feels to see the people he suffered and died for increasing the kingdom of satan instead of his? He went into hell, collected the key of life and death so that we might have eternal life and said unto us “it is finished”, but we don’t believe it is finished, we don’t believe in what he offered us, we choose death and reject the life he has given because of the short moment of pleasure. Paul says in Galatians 2: 20-21, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I knew live in the flesh, I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God for if righteousness comes

Praise & Worship 45

Sunday June 2, 2013

Way back to Calvary, by Apostle Utibe-Abasi General Overseer of Rock of Salvation Ministries, Iju, Lagos, Apostle Emmanuel Utibe-Abasi, enjoins Christians to retrace their steps and return to the pristine Christian values as a way of pleasing Christ Jesus who shed his blood to remit their sins. Excerpts:

Utibe-Abasi

by the law then Christ is dead in vain. Paul said, “the life we now live in the flesh, He lived by faith in the son of God, who loved Him and gave himself for Him. He accepted and realised that greatest love that Christ showed to him and tried not to frustrate it by living the holy life. He did not allow the suffering and death of Christ to mean vain in his life, he never forgot about Calvary, that is why he lived a life of no disappointment to that man that so loved him unconditionally. Paul was of Flesh and Blood like us, he strived to be righteous. Today, our everyday’s activities frustrate God, we prove his death in our lives to be vain, we forget about him and choose to live our own way, instead of embracing Christ, we embrace wickedness and strife. My children, let your heart return to Calvary, if your heart is in Calvary, your first Christian life experience will be brotherly love. We live in sorrow because of what we use our hand to do, I know as followers of Christ, we will face tribulation but it can only be for a short while; God is admonishing us to go back to Calvary if we want, a good life. Our hands that we lift up in praising God are supposed to be holy, but we pollute them because of the wickedness we accumulate in our heart. Ephe. 5: 12 says, “For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. Most of the things we do in

secret is unspeakable, you live a life of deceit. You appear as light before people but inwardly, you are an enemy of progress, you are jealous of your brother or neighbours, you don’t want to see the success of people’s children. You need to go back to Calvary. Remember those two sinners at Calvary, one repented and received eternal life, while the other remain hardened and died in his wickedness, which do you choose to emulate? I will advise you choose to repent, don’t die in your wickedness. The word of God says in Ezekiel 33: 11, “Unto them, saith the Lord God. I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked but that the wicked turn of his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways for why will ye die? O house of Israel? Repent, instead of backstabbing your brothers, bless and pray for Him, learn and practice love, let brotherly love continue, be not forgetful to entertain strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unaware. Remember them that are in bonds as bound with them, and them which suffer adversity as being yourselves also in the body. (Heb. 13; 1-3). God is instructing you to show love to everyone because you don’t know when your blessing will come knocking, don’t rejoice when your neighbour is in problems, some will say “serves him right”, pray for your enemies, don’t only love those that will love you back the Bible says entertain angels, show love to that wicked person,

that particular one you feel is your greatest enemy, show him/her love, that person that hates you to death, show love, Matt. 5: 46 says. For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? Do not even the sinners the same? Why I am particular about love is because God is Love, if you want to be a child of God you must practice Love. In a gathering where there is love, that gathering can never fall. If we can show love to one another, do away with judging, condemning and being trabalistic the world would have been a better place. 1cor. 13: 8 says; Love never faileth; but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail, whether there be tongues, they shall cease, whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. Verse 13 says, “And now abideth faith, hope and love. These three; but the greatest of these is Love. Everything shall pass away, whether you are poor or rich, have the power to oppress or be oppressed, it shall all pass away but only your good works shall remain, which is Love. When I was a soldier, one of my commanders tore his cloth to bind up the wound of a wounded soldier as a result of a serious battle. But I am now telling you that the love of Jesus for man is more and greater than that of the commander. He died for you, Jesus poured out his blood as a balm of healing to our injuries and instead of using his blood as the commander to bind our wounds, his flesh was used instead. A Christian whose heart has gone back to Calvary must experience a stream of eternal life flowing from the cross, seeking for a channel to pass through. Will you make yourself available for the flow of the stream of eternal life? Christian, will you open your heart so that you can have a total experience of God’s salvation? 2 Cor. 5: 17 says, “Therefore is any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new. Let your life become new today, put away all flesh, hatred, anger, bitterness, strife, jealousy, malice, backbiting, sauciness, idolatry, and return back to Calvary, for in Calvary there is no sin, healing, deliverance, miracle, testimony, salvation and redemption, etc. I say, back to Calvary, let your heart visit Calvary today and you will live to tell the goodness of the Lord. Are you an elderly person? I want you to look into your life today and ask yourself, “What is that thing that I have crucified? What is the self sacrifice I have made to gain Christ as Paul did’’ he said “I am crucified with Christ”. Paul made a self sacrifice, he went to Calvary and crucified that one thing that he loved so much, his flesh (his earthly desire) for the love of Christ. I also went to Calvary and crucified that one thing that gives me pleasure (my flesh) for the love of Christ. That’s why the Holy Ghost came with the message THE WOUND THAT DESTROYETH THE WORLD. Are you still licking that wound? Forsake it and return to Calvary today and have a nail on the love of Christ. For what shall it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul. I say thank you, to all, my callers and those that sent messages for your support and encouragement.


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T The Voice o of wisdom

with Dr. David

Oyedepo E-mail: bishop@davidoyedepoministries.org Phone: 7747546-8

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he Word of God is the master key to a world of exploits, but spiritual understanding is what empowers the Word to deliver. The Word delivers only to the measure of our understanding of it. It is understanding that converts the Word to light. Exploit on the other hand, connotes unusual accomplishments, generational impact and outstanding feats. It is breaking new grounds, scaling new heights, setting the pace and blazing the trail. You have no capacity to understand the Word of God, except you are saved, and the only way to walk in libertyis to walk in the light of the Word.Every time light goes out, darkness takes over. Your freedom is not guaranteed except you have access to light. The light of God’s Word does not only enlighten you, it lightens you. In the beginning was the Word…In him was life; and the life was the light of men.That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1: 1, 4, 9). Everyone needs salvation to escape from the harassment of life, which includes generational curses. Most people are saved, but still experience torments because they lack understanding of their authority in the Word(Hosea 4:6).The devil is not that powerful; we are just victims of our ignorance. It is our ‘lightlessness’ that

Shepherd Life with Bishop Kingsley

Enakirerhi

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here is a way of survival, which helps and strengthens you; there is also a way of destruction, which pushes you into oblivion. Success in life is not a product of chance; also you can never enjoy victory by mere wishes. Both are deliberately achieved. Greatness has been the desire of all men in all generation. Living a successful life has been the utmost agenda in life.

There is a “way” leading to success and there is another leading to failure and lamentation. Whether we succeed or fail in life depends immensely on the configuration of these grounds. Let us quickly discuss some of the path ways to a successful life. In this context, pathway means steps, strategies or approaches one can adopt to establish himself firmly in the land of success. You must have read several books on the sub-topic. I know that on several occasions you have listened to tapes and sat under the message of a preacher listening to this kind of message. All the same, I wouldn’t want you to flip through this. Take a bite of it and I promise by the power of the Holy ghost that you will definitely find something uplifting. The scripture says, “without vision the people perish” –No man or woman can live a life to its fullness without vision. Vision is the ability to perceive the end from its beginning. It means perception of what is invisible to others and response to pos-

Praise & Worship

Sunday June 2, 2013

Understanding the master key to exploits! gives him power. When you are lighted, you are free and in charge! It is the light of His Word that empowers you for liberty and exploits. Understanding of the Word puts you in command of every other thing,because all things were created by the Word, and everything remains under the command of the Word forever (John 1:3). It is not enough to have potentials; you must have the working knowledge of how to actualize your potentials. So, potential does not translate into reality; there is a process that turnsit into reality. Your gifts and your calling are not substitutes for insight. By redemption, you have been repositioned for exploits, but this can be made real only by revelation, which equals understanding. Revelation is all about being able to see what God is saying and that simply means spiritual understanding, which is the bedrock for exploits(Isaiah 60:1). It is impossible to realize God’s ‘Next Levels’agenda for your life, except by revelation.Understanding differentiates a believer from another, and also from an unbeliever. Our level of understanding is what determines our ultimate placement in life(Proverbs 21:16). We discover from scriptures that men of insight were men of exploits. Insight here represents the light of God’s Word and when you are a carrier, it shows in the following ways: •It distinguishes you (Isaiah 60:1-3). •It empowers you for a flight: (Isaiah 60:8). Think of Job, he said: As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God

was upon my tabernacle (Job 29:4). By insight, he became the greatest of all men in the East. It is very important to know that insight is your greatest need. Proverbs 4:7 says: Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. What does Understanding Do to us? • It Stirs Automatic Faith: When you arrive at a point of understanding, your faith comes alive supernaturally (Matthew 11:29). •It also Boosts your Confidence (Daniel 11:32): You can dare anything when you have insight. So, understanding boosts your confidence to be in command of the results you desire. Friend, the grace to do exploits with God’s Word, is the privilege of God’s children. You become a child of God as you confess your sins and accept Jesus as your Saviour and Lord. If you are set, please say this prayer: Lord Jesus, I come to You today. I am a sinner. Forgive me of my sins. Today, I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Thank You, for saving me! Now, I know I am born again! I will continue this teaching next week. I invite you to come and fellowship with us at the Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, the covenant home of Winners. We have four services on Sundays, holding at 6.30 a.m., 8.30 a.m., 10.30 a.m. and 12.30 a.m. respectively. •I know this teaching has blessed you. Write and share your testimony with me through: Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, P.M.B. 21688, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria; or call 7747546-8; or E-mail: feedback@lfcww. org

Pathway to successful living sibilities not yet discerned by those who look only at the obvious. It entails seeing opportunities before they are visible to others and being quick to act. “Without vision the people perish” Most people have come to dwell on the belief that shouting Amen alone in the Church will earn them desired success. If you are sharing this thought this is the right time to do away with it and reposition yourself for optimum productivity in life. You must grab the future by the throat, you must learn to control the options leading to success. You must adopt a clear and productive boundaries and well defined strategies for survival and having vision in life is one of those strategies. The scripture in replete of those who succeeded through vision: Abraham was a man of vision, Isaac his first generation son survived in Gerar Philistine because of his economic visionary insight. When people were complaining on bad weather condition he seized the opportunity to acquire wealth until his wealth acquired evangelical duty. Joseph started his life by knowing how its end will look like. Through great visionary insight he was able to perceive the moody look of his inmates, and through that same medium, the economic woes of the world giant then was subverted. In the path of success, your eyes are not the effective organ for vision, but your knowledge and idea is. This is why blind men are on the good book of success stories. Vision is the compass of success. It is one of the paths leading to success. Caution: Though vision is as good and sweet as the honey comb, but when your own vision is perceived by another, it becomes a weapon of bad omen. This is what happened to Joseph and Esau. Esau never perceived the advantages in head-

ship until Jacob subtly took it away from him. To avoid this, the scripture added: “The vision is yet for an appointed time, write it down…”Habakkuk 2:3 Many have thrown away their vision by the opening of their mouth. Write your vision down and make it plain until it is time for it to materialize. The second pathway of success is: Diligence. Every great achievement is a product of diligence. Those who began in a little way will always increase in what they are doing, if they are diligent. In whatever you are doing there is room for growth. Every man and woman on the surface of this earth has the potentials to develop. This can be achieved through diligence. The sky is your beginning, and the heaven is your limit, if you are diligent in what you are doing. In Proverbs 10:4-5; the Bible says; “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.He that gathereth in summer is a wise son; but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame”. As many who will respond to this call to diligence will end up in great success and they will never be ashamed. The word diligence means; steady effort, carefulness and hard work. Success is not for the idle person or the lazy ones. Every success demands a price and being diligent is one of the cost of success. Success will not come to your house while you are busy wasting your precious time discussing “sweet nonsense”. To perform this miraculous feat; you need vision and diligence. That is the very pathway leading to success; it is the only way leading forward. •For counselling or enquiries send an email to bishopnoproblem@yahoo.com

47

08033258648, 08073285240

Disciplining the Nation with Bishop Wale

Adekoya

E-mail: shalom_ministeries@yahoo.om

No more grave clothes R

omans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, he lost the glory of God and therefore became naked, Grace clothe was removed and disgrace took over in his life. Law of sin and death was put into motion in Adam’s life and generation which lead to grave clothes took over in the life of Adam. The manifestation of grave clothes is sickness, death, sorrow, stagnation, affliction, hardship and all kinds of suffering; toiling and manifestation of death. John10:10 reads: The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. The Bible says that the enemy came to steal, kill and destroy. And so in the garden of Eden, Satan deceived Adams and his wife to lose the grace covering which was the glory of God and so gave man grave clothes and its consequences. The coming of Jesus into the world is to bring life and life abundantly. Therefore as Adam was naked after the fall, Jesus had to be naked on the cross to pay the price of disobedience and fall of Adam. The last Adam Jesus Christ paid the price for the exchange of grave clothes for grace clothes by his death on Calvary cross. Today, you can receive grace as you give your life to Jesus and receive the glory of God as a result of the grace received at salvation. Glory of God which is the result of grace brings splendour, beauty and shining to the life of the believer. When Lazarus came out of the grave which is a typology of the salvation of the believer, Jesus said, loosen him and let him go. He is not expected to carry grave clothes because of his salvation and so the master says loose him and let him go. Grave clothes cover his face, hands and legs. This talks about his vision, financial blessing and his walk. But the master says loosen him and let him go. The process of removing grave clothes is called ‘deliverance’, for there to be fullness of the benefits of salvation in your life. Grave clothes of sickness, failure, poverty, barrenness, hardship, stagnation leave your life today in Jesus’ name. You will never remain the same again. Grave clothes does not belong to you again, somebody has paid the price for your deliverance and liberation. You can command grave clothes as God’s will for your life. I prophesy to you in Jesus name. Pray this prayer every grave clothes still manifesting in my life catch fire in Jesus name. In the epistle you are also told to put off every form of ungodly and satanic habits character which are manifestation of grave clothes. Grave represents the old life with its sinful deeds. These vices in a person’s life will surely lead to death and destruction. It is important you put off anger, malice, envy, blasphemy, drunkenness, lying and others because they lead to death and destruction. The process of putting these vices involves deliverance and discipleship which eventually leads to your dominion on this earth •Wale Adekoya is the presiding Bishop of Shalom International Christian Church, 11 Fola Jinadu Crescent, Gbagada, Lagos. For prayer and counseling, call: 08033258648, 08073285249, Email: Shalom_ministries @yahoo.com; www.shalomng.org.


48

Praise & Worship

Sunday June 2, 2013

Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Creeping compromise

J

esus said: “When the Son of man shall come, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 8:18). Why would Jesus say a thing like that? There are Churches on almost every street corner in many Nigerian cities. Christian Churches now own their own television stations. Many famous preachers crisscross with their own private jets. The Bible remains the best-selling book in the world from year to year. What will evaporate true faith on earth in the last days? It is COMPROMISE. Subtle compromise has led to bold-face compromise in the Church.

There is a sad worldly encroachment upon the Church. The Church is becoming worldly and the world is becoming churchy. Ellen White laments: “The distance is widening between Christ and His people, and lessening between them and the world” [Spiritual Gifts, 68]. Too many believers are yielding to the customs and fashions of this degenerate age, making compromises with its corrupt and idolatrous practices. Instead of the Christians to set the standard for the society, we have become slaves to societal expectations. Christians are called to be the head and not the tail. We set the pace. We are no “follow-follow!” We do not blend in; we dare to be different! It takes backbone to stand out rather than stand in! “And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God,… and are careful to observe them” (Deut 28:13). Lot seems to have romanced with unrighteousness little by little and insidiously. A little rationalization here and there! Lot started out by “choosing for himself ” instead of letting God inspire his choice (Gen 13:11). Later, he “pitched

his tent towards Sodom” (Gen 13:12). He knew that the people of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful in their ways (Gen 13:13). Little by little, Lot mingled with the Sodomites. By the time, there was a military invasion into Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot “dwelt in Sodom” with a lot of possessions (Gen 14:12, 16). When the angels visited for the final destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot was found “sitting at the gate of Sodom” (Gen 19:1). This expression indicates that he was among the elites, elders, and judges who were popular in Sodom. He had mingled so much with Sodom that he became in-law of Sodomites who married two of his daughters. No wonder he eventually lost those two daughters along with their families to the inferno. They thought all Lot’s warnings to escape from Sodom, hours before its destruction was a silly joke! (Gen 19:14). Creeping compromise at its worst! What happened to finding prospective spouses among fellow believers like Isaac and Jacob did? (Gen 24; 29). God’s warning reverberates through the centuries for us today as found in 2 Corinthians 6:14-17: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the liv-

ing God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” Make no mistake about this: Lot was a believer! The Bible even notes that he befriended angels, being hospitable to them (Gen 19:1-14). Peter gives Lot credit for his righteous indignation against the filthy conduct and lawlessness of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (2 Peter 2:7-8). Unfortunately, this was not enough to insulate Lot and his family from their imperceptible creeping compromise. Having unsuccessfully urged his in-laws to abandon Sodom, why was he himself dilly-dallying after the angels urged Lot to hurry out of the city about to go up in flames? “And while he lingered,” the angels “took his hands, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him.” (Gen 19:15-16). Lot even argued with the angels against going too far from Sodom into the mountains. “Then Lot said to them, “Please, no, my lords! . . . See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.” (Gen 19:18, 20). Just a little compromise and you are on a slippery road to apostasy, singing your way to miserable ex-

Answer these questions and win a prize 1. 2. 3.

Which of the seven Churches of Revelation means brotherly love? Supply the scrip ture. Egypt had ten terrible … because Pharaoh wouldn’t let Israel go. Fill the space and locate the passage? Who entered into the presence of the Lord in the Holy place of the tabernacle? Supply the passage.

•Please, be informed that the first correct entry via text message wins the prize. See next week’s column for answers to the quiz. Send your answers with your names to 08054238905. Gifts: courtesy Babcock University.

istence and hell-fire, if care, caution, courage, and cry are not made to save your soul! You only know your first easily-justified step toward compromise. You cannot guarantee how far it will take you! The size of the step is not what matters but the direction in which the step leads. Indeed, gradual compromise blinds our senses and distorts our judgment. Such desensitized Christians begin to defend their progressive drift of lowering the biblical standard, saying: “Is it not a little one?” Recall: “little drops of water, make a mighty ocean!” Mrs. Lot could not handle life without her conveniences and she decided, against strict instruction, to look back! She became a pillar of salt: a monument of creeping compromise! (Gen 19:26). What a sad end! Eventually, Lot and his surviving two daughters moved from that little town into the mountain that the angels wanted them to move to initially. What will it cost you to realize that creeping compromise is deadly? Worst still, those girls carried Sodom in their hearts. They made their father drunk and committed sacrilege with him (Gen 19:30-38). The results were two ungodly tribes of Moabites and Ammonites who were reprobates. Creeping compromise is always deadly. “Even the smallest deliberate violation of the revealed will of God is serious.” May the Lord deliver us from creeping compromise. Watch out! To be continued... Tunde Ojewole, PhD, is the Babcock University Pastor in charge: Division of Spiritual Life. For enquiries, contact: ojewolea@babcock.edu.ng or call/SMS 08058299434/08060376577

Answers to May 19, 2013 Quiz 1. 2. 3.

Jacob - Genesis 32:28 (King James Version). Grace, Zechariah- Luke 1:19-21, 62-64. God; sons-Rom 8:14

I have a stable girlfriend; so can we have sex? Holy Inquiry with Pastor Paul

Nkirukah E-mail: pstpaul11@yahoo.com

Dear Pastor, I am a Christian and I read my Bible every day, but there is something I want to know from you. I have a girl I am so much in love with and the two of us have agreed to get married when the time comes. I want to know if it is a sin for us to begin to have sex now because any time I make attempts to have sex with her, she will say ‘no, until we are married’. I wonder if she is serious about marrying me? Thanks Akpan in Aba. Dear Reader, Listen and listen good: All unrighteousness is to be judged. Fornication is a sin before God. Moreover, I want to let you know

that sexual sin can be seen in three perspectives, adultry, whoring or prostitution and fornication. Adultery is a sexual sin committed by a married man or woman. While whoring or prostitution is a sexual sin committed by both married and unmarried persons; mostly women who commit this evil act for money and not for fun or pleasure (sexual satisfaction). Any act of sexual activity for money is prostitution and constitutes a sin. Fornication is a sexual sin committed by married and unmarried women and men. See or read 1Corinthians 7, verses 1 and 2. The Bible says it will even be better not to touch a woman; in verse 2, it goes further to say we should avoid or flee fornication by marrying a woman properly to ourselves. Moreover, in 1 Corinthians 6 verses 12 to 19, the Bible talks about all things being lawful to us but all things are not expedient and that we should not be brought under the power of any. In verse 13, it says that our body is not for fornication but for our Lord. See verses 14 to 17; also read verses 18 and 19. God warned us to flee fornication because our

body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in us; so our body is not ours but for Christ’s. Therefore, if God warned that we should flee or run away from fornication, it means fornication is forbidden; you will agree with me that anything forbidden is a sin. In addition, see or read 1Corinthians 10 verses 5 to 9. God states in verse 5 that he was not pleased with those that committed fornication and other evil acts in the time past hence were they overthrown in the wilderness. Verse 6 says that it was for example to us that we should not lust after evil things of the world and perish like as they perished in the wilderness but that we might have everlasting life. More so, 1 Thessalonians 4 verses 1 to 5 record that it is the will of God for us to flee or abstain from fornication for our sanctification. Verse 5 states that we should not act as the unbelievers or Gentiles who know not God. If I may ask; before my advice to you, do you believe that the Bible is the word and commandment of God? Do you believe that every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God must be fulfilled? Well like you said, you always like reading the Bible

and that you are always going to church. I will advise that you stop reading the Bible but continue studying the Bible as there is different between novels and newspapers and the Bible, you can read novels and newspapers but you study the Bible. My dear, do not be a church attendant, but a believer; you should know that it is not enough to be a believer but to behave what you believe. To be able to flee or avoid fornication, see or study Galatians 5 verses 16 and 17 which says you should walk in spirit so that you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh but be led by the spirit. However, 1 Corinthians 7 verse 2 advises that we should avoid or flee fornication by getting married properly, one man to one woman. Therefore, I advise that you properly get married like your girlfriend said, to avoid sin of fornication. Be aware that fornication is a very big sin before God. My dear, whether you have agreed and have got three children, without you marrying properly, I mean if you have not done traditional marriage, you are committing fornication, and fornication is a big sin before God.


48

Praise & Worship

Sunday May 26, 2013

Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Creeping compromise

J

esus said: “When the Son of man shall come, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 8:18). Why would Jesus say a thing like that? There are Churches on almost every street corner in many Nigerian cities. Christian Churches now own their own television stations. Many famous preachers crisscross with their own private jets. The Bible remains the best-selling book in the world from year to year. What will evaporate true faith on earth in the last days? It is COMPROMISE. Subtle compromise has led to bold-face compromise in the Church.

There is a sad worldly encroachment upon the Church. The Church is becoming worldly and the world is becoming churchy. Ellen White laments: “The distance is widening between Christ and His people, and lessening between them and the world” [Spiritual Gifts, 68]. Too many believers are yielding to the customs and fashions of this degenerate age, making compromises with its corrupt and idolatrous practices. Instead of the Christians to set the standard for the society, we have become slaves to societal expectations. Christians are called to be the head and not the tail. We set the pace. We are no “follow-follow!” We do not blend in; we dare to be different! It takes backbone to stand out rather than stand in! “And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God,… and are careful to observe them” (Deut 28:13). Lot seems to have romanced with unrighteousness little by little and insidiously. A little rationalization here and there! Lot started out by “choosing for himself ” instead of letting God inspire his choice (Gen 13:11). Later, he “pitched

his tent towards Sodom” (Gen 13:12). He knew that the people of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful in their ways (Gen 13:13). Little by little, Lot mingled with the Sodomites. By the time, there was a military invasion into Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot “dwelt in Sodom” with a lot of possessions (Gen 14:12, 16). When the angels visited for the final destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot was found “sitting at the gate of Sodom” (Gen 19:1). This expression indicates that he was among the elites, elders, and judges who were popular in Sodom. He had mingled so much with Sodom that he became in-law of Sodomites who married two of his daughters. No wonder he eventually lost those two daughters along with their families to the inferno. They thought all Lot’s warnings to escape from Sodom, hours before its destruction was a silly joke! (Gen 19:14). Creeping compromise at its worst! What happened to finding prospective spouses among fellow believers like Isaac and Jacob did? (Gen 24; 29). God’s warning reverberates through the centuries for us today as found in 2 Corinthians 6:14-17: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the liv-

ing God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” Make no mistake about this: Lot was a believer! The Bible even notes that he befriended angels, being hospitable to them (Gen 19:1-14). Peter gives Lot credit for his righteous indignation against the filthy conduct and lawlessness of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (2 Peter 2:7-8). Unfortunately, this was not enough to insulate Lot and his family from their imperceptible creeping compromise. Having unsuccessfully urged his in-laws to abandon Sodom, why was he himself dilly-dallying after the angels urged Lot to hurry out of the city about to go up in flames? “And while he lingered,” the angels “took his hands, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him.” (Gen 19:15-16). Lot even argued with the angels against going too far from Sodom into the mountains. “Then Lot said to them, “Please, no, my lords! . . . See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.” (Gen 19:18, 20). Just a little compromise and you are on a slippery road to apostasy, singing your way to miserable ex-

Answer these questions and win a prize 1. 2. 3.

Which of the seven Churches of Revelation means brotherly love? Supply the scrip ture. Egypt had ten terrible … because Pharaoh wouldn’t let Israel go. Fill the space and locate the passage? Who entered into the presence of the Lord in the Holy place of the tabernacle? Supply the passage.

•Please, be informed that the first correct entry via text message wins the prize. See next week’s column for answers to the quiz. Send your answers with your names to 08054238905. Gifts: courtesy Babcock University.

istence and hell-fire, if care, caution, courage, and cry are not made to save your soul! You only know your first easily-justified step toward compromise. You cannot guarantee how far it will take you! The size of the step is not what matters but the direction in which the step leads. Indeed, gradual compromise blinds our senses and distorts our judgment. Such desensitized Christians begin to defend their progressive drift of lowering the biblical standard, saying: “Is it not a little one?” Recall: “little drops of water, make a mighty ocean!” Mrs. Lot could not handle life without her conveniences and she decided, against strict instruction, to look back! She became a pillar of salt: a monument of creeping compromise! (Gen 19:26). What a sad end! Eventually, Lot and his surviving two daughters moved from that little town into the mountain that the angels wanted them to move to initially. What will it cost you to realize that creeping compromise is deadly? Worst still, those girls carried Sodom in their hearts. They made their father drunk and committed sacrilege with him (Gen 19:30-38). The results were two ungodly tribes of Moabites and Ammonites who were reprobates. Creeping compromise is always deadly. “Even the smallest deliberate violation of the revealed will of God is serious.” May the Lord deliver us from creeping compromise. Watch out! To be continued... Tunde Ojewole, PhD, is the Babcock University Pastor in charge: Division of Spiritual Life. For enquiries, contact: ojewolea@babcock.edu.ng or call/SMS 08058299434/08060376577

Answers to May 19, 2013 Quiz 1. 2. 3.

Jacob - Genesis 32:28 (King James Version). Grace, Zechariah- Luke 1:19-21, 62-64. God; sons-Rom 8:14

I have a stable girlfriend; so can we have sex? Holy Inquiry with Pastor Paul

Nkirukah E-mail: pstpaul11@yahoo.com

Dear Pastor, I am a Christian and I read my Bible every day, but there is something I want to know from you. I have a girl I am so much in love with and the two of us have agreed to get married when the time comes. I want to know if it is a sin for us to begin to have sex now because any time I make attempts to have sex with her, she will say ‘no, until we are married’. I wonder if she is serious about marrying me? Thanks Akpan in Aba. Dear Reader, Listen and listen good: All unrighteousness is to be judged. Fornication is a sin before God. Moreover, I want to let you know

that sexual sin can be seen in three perspectives, adultry, whoring or prostitution and fornication. Adultery is a sexual sin committed by a married man or woman. While whoring or prostitution is a sexual sin committed by both married and unmarried persons; mostly women who commit this evil act for money and not for fun or pleasure (sexual satisfaction). Any act of sexual activity for money is prostitution and constitutes a sin. Fornication is a sexual sin committed by married and unmarried women and men. See or read 1Corinthians 7, verses 1 and 2. The Bible says it will even be better not to touch a woman; in verse 2, it goes further to say we should avoid or flee fornication by marrying a woman properly to ourselves. Moreover, in 1 Corinthians 6 verses 12 to 19, the Bible talks about all things being lawful to us but all things are not expedient and that we should not be brought under the power of any. In verse 13, it says that our body is not for fornication but for our Lord. See verses 14 to 17; also read verses 18 and 19. God warned us to flee fornication because our

body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in us; so our body is not ours but for Christ’s. Therefore, if God warned that we should flee or run away from fornication, it means fornication is forbidden; you will agree with me that anything forbidden is a sin. In addition, see or read 1Corinthians 10 verses 5 to 9. God states in verse 5 that he was not pleased with those that committed fornication and other evil acts in the time past hence were they overthrown in the wilderness. Verse 6 says that it was for example to us that we should not lust after evil things of the world and perish like as they perished in the wilderness but that we might have everlasting life. More so, 1 Thessalonians 4 verses 1 to 5 record that it is the will of God for us to flee or abstain from fornication for our sanctification. Verse 5 states that we should not act as the unbelievers or Gentiles who know not God. If I may ask; before my advice to you, do you believe that the Bible is the word and commandment of God? Do you believe that every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God must be fulfilled? Well like you said, you always like reading the Bible

and that you are always going to church. I will advise that you stop reading the Bible but continue studying the Bible as there is different between novels and newspapers and the Bible, you can read novels and newspapers but you study the Bible. My dear, do not be a church attendant, but a believer; you should know that it is not enough to be a believer but to behave what you believe. To be able to flee or avoid fornication, see or study Galatians 5 verses 16 and 17 which says you should walk in spirit so that you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh but be led by the spirit. However, 1 Corinthians 7 verse 2 advises that we should avoid or flee fornication by getting married properly, one man to one woman. Therefore, I advise that you properly get married like your girlfriend said, to avoid sin of fornication. Be aware that fornication is a very big sin before God. My dear, whether you have agreed and have got three children, without you marrying properly, I mean if you have not done traditional marriage, you are committing fornication, and fornication is a big sin before God.


49

Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wellness YOUR HEALTH AND HEALTH RELATED ISSUES JUNE 2, 2013

Ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion –WHO VANESSA OKWARA

‘C

igarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Your Health’ and ‘Federal Ministry of Health warns that Cigarette Smokers are liable to Die Young’ are phrases that are used during cigarette adverts and also found on cigarette packs. Yet these warnings have not stopped smokers from going for this harmful product at any stall that cigarette is being sold. The global campaign against tobacco use and advertisement is an ongoing project spearheaded by the World Health Organisation, WHO. In this year’s World No Tobacco Day marked every May 31, the world health body called for countries of the world to ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship to help reduce the number of tobacco users. In a research fact sheet released by WHO, tobacco kills up to half its users. By 2030, it estimates that tobacco will kill more than eight million people every year, with four out of five of these deaths occurring in low and middle-income countries. Tobacco is a major risk factor for noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases. According to the WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, “Tobacco use ranks right at the very top of the list of universal threats to health yet it is entirely preventable. Governments must make it their top priority to stop the tobacco industry’s shameless manipulation of young people and women, in particular, to recruit the next generation of nicotine addicts,” she cried out. In this year’s campaign, the health body says a comprehensive ban of all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship is required under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, FCTC. This is because tobacco not only kills nearly six million people every year, more than 600 000 are non-smokers exposed to

Inhaling tobacco smoke is harmful to the health of both smokers and non smokers

Dr. Chan

second-hand smoke. “The tobacco epidemic is man-made and entirely preventable. Yet, only half of the world’s population lives in a country that fully protects its people with at least one of the key policy interventions that significantly reduce tobacco use,” research indicates. For the 2013 campaign, the theme: ‘Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship’, has been adopted, with the global organisation beaming its searchlight on the tobacco companies’ advertising, promotion and sponsorship campaigns to reduce the influence of tobacco on the world and thereby its negative effects on the people. According to the body, the WHO FCTC required countries to comprehensively ban all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. However, only 19 countries, representing six per cent of the world’s population, have the comprehensive national bans and Nigeria has been reported not to be among this group. In Nigeria, there are still covert adverts of cigarette companies and their products. This can be seen in the colourful branded tobacco kiosks used by ‘Mallam’ in the sale of their small provision businesses and some bars and drink joints also contain ad-

Confab lauds Nigeria for saving 1 million lives Participants at the 3rd global conference on ‘Women Deliver’ in Kuala Lumpur, commended the Nigerian government for saving one million lives. The conference noted that the country recorded the feat under the world health initiative on saving lives. Co-Chairman, Bill and

Melinda Gates Foundation, Mrs. Melinda Gates, said the initiative would further encourage the governments to save more lives of women and girls. She said putting women at the centre of development and delivering solutions that meet their needs would result in huge improvements in health, prosperity and

quality of life. Minister of State for Health, Uganda, Dr Sarah Opendi, urged other African countries to emulate what Nigeria had started. Opendi said: “This is a good start; I believe and wish other African countries can have such political will as demonstrated by Nigerian government.’’

vertising materials of tobacco. The Nigeria National Tobacco Control Bill, NTCB 2009 is a comprehensive law to regulate the manufacturing, advertising, distribution and consumption of tobacco products. It is aimed at domesticating the WHO FCTC because Nigeria is a party to that international convention. The key highlights of the bill are prohibition of smoking in public places; to include restaurant and bar, public transportation, schools, hospitals etc. Whether this law has helped to reduce the sale and distribution of cigarette in Nigeria in any way is still open for debate. Coalition Against Tobacco (CAT), civil society groups, legal practitioners and public health advocates have called on the present government to be stricter on tobacco growers and the manufacturing companies that have their plants and plantations in the country such as the British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN). Instead of just collecting huge taxes from them at the detriment of the health of its citizens, these groups said, “For us to achieve our objective of reducing tobacco-related diseases in the country, government must ensure the control of smuggling, direct prohibition of production, crop substitution, in-

crease taxation and outright ban on advertisement.” The companies that manufacture tobacco warn its users that they are liable to die young; but what they also failed to tell the general public is that even those who are non smokers but inhale the smoke coming from those that do so will equally suffer from the same diseases associated with cigarette smoking. A Consultant Cardio-thoracic Surgeon and senior lecturer, University of Lagos Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Dr Ezekiel Ogunlewe, told Sunday Mirror in an interview that, “Smoking is banned in most parts of the developed countries. In other parts, it is banned in enclosed places like restaurants, theatres or other public places in order to avoid the risks of passive smoking. These countries that manufacture these cigarettes and export to Nigeria or have their plants here have banned public smoking in their own countries and we should also do the same. The legislative arm of government should look into this to curb the menace smoking and passive smoking is causing on the health of Nigerians.” Medical experts define passive smokCONTINUED ON PAGE 50

HEALTH NEWS Polio: Katsina to immunise 2 million children More than two million children are expected to be immunised against child-killer diseases during the ongoing Maternal and Child Health Week in Katsina State. Executive Chairman, state Primary Health Care Development Agency

(PHCDA), Dr Muawiya Aliyu, said this while monitoring the exercise in Bindawa recently. He disclosed also that over 500 nursing mothers and pregnant women would be given blood tonic during the week. Aliyu added that the chil-

dren would be immunised against the child-killer diseases, be de-wormed and administered with Vitamin A supplement. The chairman said the exercise would include antenatal care, malnutrition check, health education and registration of births.


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Wellness

Know your organs

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The human ear

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he ear is the organ that detects sound. It not only receives sound, but also aids in balance and body position. The ear is part of the auditory system. The structure of the ear can be divided into three main parts: the outer ear or pinna, the middle ear and the inner ear. Roles of outer, middle, inner ears The outer ear collects sounds from the environment and funnels them through the auditory system. The outer ear is composed of three parts, the pinna (or auricle), the external auditory canal (or external auditory meatus), and the tympanic membrane (or eardrum). The middle ear transmits sound from the outer ear to the inner ear. The middle ear consists of an oval, airfilled space approximately 2 cubic cm in volume. The middle ear can be thought of as a room, the outer wall of which contains the tympanic membrane. The back wall, separating the middle ear from the inner ear, has two windows, the oval window and the round window. There is a long hallway leading away from the side wall of the room, known as the Eustachian tube. The brain lies above the room and the jugular vein lies below. The middle ear is lined entirely with mucous membrane (similar to the nose) and is surrounded by the bones of the skull. The inner ear is responsible for interpreting and transmitting sound (auditory) sensations and balance (vestibular) sensations to the brain. The inner ear is small (about the size of a pea) and complex in shape, where its series of winding interconnected chambers,

has been compared to (and called) a labyrinth. The main components of the inner ear are the vestibule, semicircular canals, and the cochlea. Location of sound The outer structure of the ear is responsible, in part, for helping us to place the original location of a sound, be it ahead or behind, above or below us. It also helps to funnel and focus sound waves on their way to the middle ear and auditory canal. The middle ear contains the auditory canal, which terminates in the eardrum, or tympanic membrane. Attached to the other side of the eardrum, in a small space of air, are three tiny bones or ossicles, the malleus, incus and stapes (or hammer, anvil and stirrup) which then attach to a fluid-filled structure called the cochlea of the inner ear at a point called the oval window. It is in the cochlea that the vibrations transmitted from the eardrum through the tiny bones are converted into electrical impulses sent along the auditory nerve to the brain. The inner ear, which is surrounded by bone, also contains semicircular canals, which function more for purposes of equilibrium than hearing. Of adverse effect to the ear Some of damage that can occur in the human ear include: Ear canal injuries which can come from firecrackers and other explosives, and mechanical trauma from placement of foreign bodies into the ear. The ear canal is most often self-traumatised from efforts at ear cleaning. Others include: Outer ear trauma, middle ear trauma and inner ear trauma.

‘Cigarette smoke contains 4,000 harmful substances’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 49 ing also called second-hand smoking as the involuntary inhalation of the smoke from cigarettes or tobacco that is being smoked by others. Second-hand smoking occurs when cigarette smoke spreads in the air and is inhaled by people who are present in the same environment. All over the world, it has been found that passive smoking is as injurious to health as the actual smoking itself. Most of the time, passive smokers are the ones who live with smokers such as the spouse and children and they are regularly exposed to tobacco smoke. On the other hand, a non-smoker can also get exposed to tobacco smoke while working in a smoky atmosphere or simply by being in a smoke-filled restaurant or bar. Dr. Ogunlewe outrightly condemned the habit of smoking and the creating of passive smokers by those who do. He said, “When a cigarette is smoked, about half of the smoke is inhaled by the smoker and this is called mainstream smoke. The other half floats around in the air and this is called side stream smoke. The combination of mainstream and side stream smoke makes up environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) which is very injurious to the health of human beings. An estimated 35,000 to 62,000 deaths are caused from heart disease in people who are not current smokers, but who are exposed to ETS. When you smoke a cigarette, the smoke that is blown out contains about 4,000 harmful substances of which at least 250 are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer of the blood; cancer of the esophagus; lung problems and generally blocks the blood vessels. What a smoker

blows out is what you and I will inhale and they are more dangerous than the one the smoker even inhales into their system because it is a combination of both mainstream and side stream smoke. Presently, we’re seeing an upsurge of these diseases in our hospitals and clinics unlike in the past. We perform an average of five to eight cases of lung cancer surgeries within a year in this hospital. The arteries are developing diseases and all these are direct effects from tobacco smoking,’’ he laments. Experts warn that in adults, second-hand smoke causes serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including coronary heart disease and lung cancer. In infants, it causes sudden death. In pregnant women, it causes low birth weight. Almost half of the children regularly breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke in public places. Second-hand smoke causes more than 600 000 premature deaths per year. “Every person should be able to breathe smoke-free air. Smoke-free laws that protect the health of non-smokers should be promulgated strictly in the country to curb the kind of diseases caused by passively inhaling cigarette smoke,” experts advise. As the world marks yet another World No Tobacco Day, it is a time of reflection on the health implication of tobacco, as well as the obvious diseases which have been linked to it. It is a clarion call on the government and all concerned to put hands on deck to ensure that Nigeria joins the rest of the world to show commitment by taking decisive action to reduce tobacco use, the leading preventable cause of death in the world.

Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Your

BONE Health

with Dr. Olatunji Idowu

What is Osteoporosis? (7) Hormone therapy (menopausal hormone therapy) Estrogen hormone therapy after menopause (previously referred to as hormone replacement therapy or HRT) has been shown to prevent bone loss, increase bone density, and prevent bone fractures. It is useful in preventing osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Estrogen is available orally or as a skin patch. Estrogen also is available in combination with progesterone as pills and patches. Progesterone is routinely given along with estrogen to prevent uterine cancer that might result from estrogen use alone. Women who have had a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) may take estrogen alone since they no longer have a uterus to become cancerous. However, due to adverse effects of HRT, such as increased risks of heart attack, stroke, blood clots in the veins, and breast cancer; HRT is no longer recommended for long-term use in the therapy of osteoporosis. Rather, HRT is used short term to relieve menopausal hot flashes. Medications that prevent bone loss and breakdown Currently, the most effective medications for osteoporosis that are approved by the FDA are antiresorptive agents, which decrease the removal of calcium from bones. The bone is a living dynamic structure; it is constantly being built and removed (resorbed). This process is an essential part of maintaining the normal calcium level in the blood and serves to repair tiny cracks in the bones that occur with normal daily activity and to remodel bone based on the physical stresses placed on the bone. Osteoporosis results when the rate of bone resorption exceeds the rate of bone rebuilding. Antiresorptive medications inhibit removal of bone (resorption), thus tipping the balance in favor of bone rebuilding and increasing bone density. HRT is one example of an antiresorptive agent. Others include biphosphonates like alendronate, risedronate, raloxifene, ibandronate, calcitonin and zoledronate To reduce side effects and to enhance absorption of the medicine, all bisphosphonates taken by mouth (orally) should be taken in the morning, on an empty stomach, 30 minutes before breakfast, and with at least 8 ounces (240 ml) of water (not juice). This improves the absorption of the bisphosphonate. Taking the pill sitting or standing (as well as drinking adequate amounts of liquids) minimizes the chances of the pill being lodged in the esophagus, where it can cause ulceration and scarring. Patients should also remain upright for at least 30 minutes after taking the pill to avoid reflux of the pill into the esophagus. Food, calcium, iron supplements, vitamins with minerals, or antacids containing calcium, magnesium, or aluminum can reduce the absorption of oral bisphosphonates, thereby resulting in loss of effectiveness. Therefore, oral bisphosphonates should be taken with plain water only in the morning before breakfast. Also, no food or drink should be taken for at least 30 minutes afterward. TO BE CONTINUED If you have any problem or question about your musculoskeletal system (bones, joints and muscles) do send me a mail at tunjiidowu@live. com for advice. Meanwhile, your comments and feedback on the issues discussed are highly welcomed.


Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

51

Business FRESH BUSINESS NEWS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS Sunday June 2, 2013

Revenue sharing

Can RMAFC satisfy political agitators?

Dankwambo

TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

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enerally, one of the greatest problems undermining accelerated development of the country and which analysts have called for urgent solution over the past few years is the lopsided structure of the revenue sharing formula configured within the larger fiscal federalism framework.

Analysts have canvassed the need for a review of the existing revenue formula, which came into force in 2002, under which the Federal Government gets 52.68 per cent, while states and local governments receive 26.72 per cent and 20.60 per cent respectively. The formula has been reviewed twice. Until the recent political altercations among the state governors which have caused bad blood and polarisation of their ranks, the campaign for a reviewed formula had remained in the front burner of their discourses over the past two years. They had in 2011 and early 2012, univocally agitated for a reviewed formula that should be “new, equitable and just”. Like other stakeholders who felt the old formula was no longer reasonable within the contexts of the prevailing socio-economic problems in the polity, particularly the apparent lack of development at sub-national levels where poverty remains the hallmark of governance, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) did not only support the agitations but also, being the agency charged with the responsibility of proposing a new one, indicated its readiness complete the project without delay. Giving the assurance of the Commission to get a new revenue formula for the country when the Gombe State Governor, Mallam Ibrahim Dankwambo, visited his office early last year to canvass an urgent consideration of the review agenda, the Chairman of the Commission, Engr Elias Mbam, said getting the review process completed on time was a prioritised agenda of the Commission in view of the national development importance of the project. He said: “This Commission has a serious task to accomplish. I want to assure you that we are ready to serve the country to the best of our ability in the assignment given us and we promise to give Nigeria the best. We share be fair and just in handling the issue of revenue sharing as our actions or inactions will have

Mbam

serious impact in the development of the country. What we will come out with will be acceptable to majority of our people. “We have commenced the processes and we are sure of delivering by the first quarter of 2012 as promised. We shall look at all indices relevant to the new revenue sharing formula based on their merit and dispassionately. We plead that all States give us the necessary support as we go round to collate these crucial indices by ensuring that all data provided are reliable and based on socio-economic realities of their domains”, Mbam added. However, in spite of its spirited efforts which although appeared to have waned in recent months, the Commission is yet to come up with a new proposal for consideration by the Executive and the Legislature, six months after the House of Representatives had compelled the commission to advise President Goodluck Jonathan to submit the new revenue formula to the National Assembly. Mbam had given similar promise to the Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, and other governors when they came knocking at the Commission’s door in 2011. Midway into its journey to delivering the much awaited formula, which many stakeholders have described as unfair to both states and local governments, the Commission ran into the murky waters of intense politicking which, like a windstorm in a terribly weather condition to a flying aircraft, stalled its aggressive efforts aimed at conducting necessary surveys ad gathering critical data that would help it complete the project on schedule. Mbam, who was visibly worried by the ugly development told journalists a few weeks before the Q1, 2012 target earlier set by the Commission to provide the new formula, that the Commission was seriously concerned with the politicisation of the exercise over some months, a development which, he claimed ,was worrisome in view of the negative implications for the various tiers of governments’ socio-economic development. He said: “It is true that I promised that by the end of first quarter 2012 we should have a new revenue formula ready for presentation to Mr. President. It is also true that I said all things being equal and I was very emphatic. Unfortunately, you know very well that we have had a number of challenges, including national challenges. Even the budget year was moved from December to March and so many other challenge which you know as

much as I do. “So, I am saying that at the end of the first quarter I will brief you on the progress so far. It may be difficult to assure you now that it will be ready in a few weeks’ time. But I can assure you that I will brief you on progress so far made. We have really made reasonable progress. We don’t want to start by shouting. There has been a lot of job behind the scene. But this issue is very sensitive. The issue has a lot of implications in the unity and peace of this country. “We are conscious of that and we are very careful in all our actions and inactions. So, we don’t also want to be joined in the politics of the review exercise. We want retain our image as an unbiased umpire and we will be fair and devoid of any political consideration in terms of politics of any section of the country. We keep to that and we will not be dragged into the politicisation of the review of the revenue allocation formula”, Mbam assured. Expectations that the improved allocations to the Commission in the 2013 budget would fast-track the implementation of the projects are again becoming forlorn, as the Commission seems not yet fully armed to deliver on its promise. Details of the capital expenditure spending plans of the agency indicate that the production of the new revenue formula will gulp 78.8 per cent of its total capital budget of N1.65 billion. Mbam had said the amount which was provided under the budget subhead, “Research and Development” will cover public hearings in the country’s six geo-political zones on the new revenue allocation formula to enable Nigerians to make inputs into the new revenue sharing formula. Yes, the assurance by the Commission is there but analysts are wont to believe that the 2013 target may not be feasible in view the magnitude of the work involved, the meagre resources which when shared amongst the 36 states may not be more than N50 million each, and the current volatile political environment in which the exercise is expected to be conducted. As it is now, the question in the lips of ordinary Nigerians, who suffer the pains of under-development and socio-economic deprivations, is can RMAFC produce a “a fair and equitably just’ revenue formula in a suffocating political environment where 2015 re-election battles have become the primary pre-occupation of the President and the Governors?


52

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net


Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Business

Sunday June 2, 2013

53

FG to sell stakes in 10 new power plants UDEME AKPAN

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he Federal Government has concluded arrangements to sell 80 per cent of its stakes in 10 new National Integrated Power Project, NIPP power plants to indigenous and foreign investors in order to attract additional funds required to build infrastructure, expand capacity and provide more electricity to consumers. The stakes to be sold in the 10 firms are valued in excess of $5 billion while the remaining 20 per cent would be retained through the instrumentality of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, NDPHC, which is jointly owned by local, state and federal governments. The companies included the Alaoji Generation Company Nigeria Limited - situated near Aba in Abia State of Nigeria with

total gross installed capacity of 831.3 MW; Benin Generation Company Limited –situated near Benin city in Edo State of Nigeria with total gross installed capacity of 507.6 MW; Calabar Generation Company Limited - situated near Calabar city in Cross River State of Nigeria with a total gross installed capacity of 634.5MW and Egbema Generation Company Limited - situated near Owerri in Imo State of Nigeria with a total gross installed capacity of 380.7 MW. Others included the Gbarain Generation Company Limited situated near Yenegoa in Bayelsa State of Nigeria with total gross installed capacity of 253.8 MW, Geregu Generation Company Limited - situated in Ajaokuta in Kogi State of Nigeria with total gross installed capacity of 506.1 MW; Ogorode Generation

Company Limited - situated near Sapele in Delta State of Nigeria with total gross installed capacity of 507.6 MW and Olorunsogo Generation Company Limited situated in Olorunsogo in Ogun State of Nigeria with total gross installed capacity of 754 MW. They also included the Omoku Generation Company Limited situated near Port Harcourt in Rivers State of Nigeria with total gross installed capacity of 264.71 MW and Omotosho Generation Company Limited - situated in Okitipupa local government area in Ondo State of Nigeria with total gross installed capacity of 512.82 MW. The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Mr. James Olotu who confirmed the development in Lagos over the weekend, said bidders must be experienced power gen-

eration companies with proven record. He said in case of a consortium, at least one of the consortium members must be an experienced power generation company (the “Technical Partner”). The Technical Partner shall be responsible for providing operation, maintenance and management services under a long term Agreement. Olotu said the call for Expression of Interest has already been published while a road show planned to further create awareness on the subject would start in Lagos this week before moving to other parts of the nation and overseas. He said names of short listing companies would be made known in August while bidders conference would be held in September to further intimate bidders

on critical issues involved in the privatization of the firms. The Managing dDrector said many things including opening of financial bids, negotiation with bidders and transaction of agreements would be sealed before handing over in June 2014. He said the NIPP was conceived in 2004 as a fast-track government funded initiative to stabilize Nigeria’s electricity supply system while the private-sector led structure of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) of 2005 took effect. Olotu remarked that in August 2005, the National Council of State and the National Assembly approved an initial funding of US$2.5 billion for NIPP from the “Excess Crude Oil Account” (ECOA) which statutorily belongs to the Federal, state and local governments.

SON seizes N50m substandard goods in Abuja market T

he Standards Organisation of Nigeria at the weekend raided the building materials market located in Dei-Dei, Abuja.

L - R: Chief Executive Officer, Simon Page Business School, Princewill Omorogiuwa; Chief Operating Officer, Bytesize, Bukola Akingbade and Specialist, Products and Services Division, Etisalat Nigeria, Doubrapade Koroye at the second edition of the Digital Marketing Conference & Exhibition, in Lagos recently.

FG, UNIDO partner to tackle youth unemployment

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o tackle youth unemployment, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment (FMITI) and the UNIDO are partnering to organise entrepreneurship and career fairs to train over 1,000 university and secondary school graduates.

The programme will take place at the Velodrome on June 27 in Abuja and at the Landmark Village in Lagos on July 4. This is contained in a statement issued by United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) on Saturday in Abuja and made available to newsmen. The statement said that young Nigerians who were eager to start their own businesses would have a chance to meet and interact with entrepreneurs and representatives of organisations, institutions and companies during the fairs. It said that the initiative, the first of its kind in Nigeria was aimed at facilitating job match-

ing between job seekers and recruiters. The fairs would also showcase successful entrepreneurs and promoting alternative forms of employment, including self employment, it said. ``UNIDO and FMITI are to utilise the partnership to establish public-private knowledge sharing platforms that will allow unemployed youths to access job opportunities in local businesses and institutions across the country,’’ it said. According to UNIDO, an interministerial committee has been inaugurated in February by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Samuel Ortom to this effect. It said that the committee had engaged over 15 federal ministries, departments and agencies from the public sector and more than 30 companies from the private sector. According to the statement, the aim is to attract over 1,000

university graduates and secondary school graduates between the ages of 18 and 35 years as participants in the career fairs. ``The ministries include the ministries of Education, Labour and Productivity, Women Affairs, Youth Development. ``The agencies are Industrial Training Fund (ITF), National Board for Technical Education, National Committee on Job Creation, National Directorate of Employment (NDE), and National University Commission (NUC). ``Others are Small and Medium Enterprises Development of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Bank of Industry (BOI) National Board of Technical Education (NABTEC), Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA). ``Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Chamber of Commerce, Cooperatives, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) are also included,’’ it said.

The raid, which was carried out by a team led by the Regional Coordinator, North Central, SON, Mr. Nelson Adebiyi, saw the agency confiscating iron reinforcement for building houses worth N50m. The agency took away 90 pieces of steel for further investigation, while the remaining was withheld. Adebiyi said the exercise was to enable the agency rid the Nigerian markets of fake and substandard products. “The enforcement was based on survey carried out earlier in the market by SON, which revealed that there are some substandard iron rods being sold by traders, which we need to evacuate from the market,” he said. The SON coordinator said the agency had noted all the complaints of traders and it would address some of the issues raised by them adequately with a view to riding the market of substandard goods. He said the target of the agency was to reduce substandard products in the market by 80 per cent, adding that substandard products in the country currently stood at 40 per cent in the market. But some of the traders bemoaned the action of SON, stating that rather than seizing their products, the agency should have gone to the factories where the rods were being produced. The Chairman, Building Materials Dealers Association, DeiDei Market, Mr .Anthony Chukwuneke, for instance said, “If

there was the prevalence of substandard products in the markets as the officials had alleged, then SON should be an accomplice as it is expected to have representatives in each of the factories to enforce standards.” Meanwhile, the Consumer Protection Council has promised to speedy address consumers’ complaints through negotiation, mediation and conciliation. The Director-General, CPC, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, stated this on Thursday at a sensitisation campaign rally held in Abuja. She said the council would, henceforth, get tough on the proliferation of substandard products in the Nigerian market. “On a more serious note, henceforth, any market that has proliferation of substandard or fake products, the council will hold the market executives responsible. Any problem with the consumer that cannot be resolved by the market executives, such should immediately be made know to the council for necessary action,” she added.

Joseph Odumodu, SON D-G


54

SM Extra

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Emeka Offor Foundation remembers the indigent •Doles out scholarship to 40 students ISIOMA MADIKE

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ir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF), based in Oraifite, Anambra State, Nigeria, has again remembered the less-privileged in the society. SEOF doled out huge sums of money for indigent students from various universities and colleges in parts of the South-East on May 27 at Oraifite in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State. A total of 34 undergraduates and six post-graduate students of various universities across Nigeria benefited, including one physically-challenged student studying law at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. The foundation also offered two Secondary School pupils scholarship. Presenting the Cheque to the beneficiaries at the Foundation office at Oraifite, the founder, Sir Emeka Offor, reassured that he would always give back to the society what Almighty God has blessed him with in order to better the society. He said that the Foundation has ordered for 32 containers of books to benefit African nations like Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Tanzania and Nigeria. Offor expressed joy that one of the beneficiaries of his Scholarship Scheme, Miss Ebere Anaegbunam, recorded first class in the Department of Industrial Physics during the last graduation at the Anambra State University, Awka. “I am also challenging any of you here to graduate with a first class degree in any discipline of study and take home a brand new car and an automatic employment from my group of companies,” he added. Apart from the students, the Foundation also announced a donation of a wellequipped ambulance vehicle to Nnewi Diocese Hospital while Offor stressed that the Foundation would continue to touch lives in all sectors of human endeavour. Before now, about 120 students from Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo and Anambra states had benefited from the Foundation’s magnanimity. Majority of them are presently studying at various universities, polytechnics as well as secondary schools in Nigeria and abroad. In a speech by the coordinator of the Foundation, Sir Anthony Obi, he said that over 200 students in vocational education are equally under the sponsorship of SEOF in different institutions in the country, adding that 230 Nigerian schools, including universities have thus far benefited from SEOF since 2011. Obi disclosed that the Foundation had distributed over One million tons of books to these schools. The schools comprised of 200 primaries and post-primary, as well as 30 tertiary institutions located in the six geo-political zones in the country. He emphasised that Offor has committed billions to charitable projects in his desire to provide for Economic and Social Empowerment of the less privileged in the Nigerian society. The vice chancellor of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Prof. Boniface Egboka, who spoke through his Public Relations Officer, Emma Ojukwu, expressed joy for the books and other facilities made available to the University by the Foundation. “It has given the institution a big boost. The best road in the UNIZIK has

now been named after Sir Emeka Offor,” Egboka revealed. In like manner, the Deputy Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Dr. Dom Mmuo, also said that the staff and students of the institution would ever remain indebted to Offor, who he described as a divine gift to humanity. President of Oraifite Improvement Union (OIU) through Obinwa Uyaeme also described the philanthropist as an asset to the Nigerian Nation. He told everyone present at the occasion that Offor had recently took up a bill of N7, 000,000.00 (Seven Million Naira only) for the Kidney transplant of Mrs. Stella Eze from Nnsukka, Enugu State. In an emotional laden voice, a blind law student said he has now been empowered and thanked God for using Offor to help others. This is even as the Archdeacon of Oraifite, Venerable, E.C. Ezumezu, prayed that God grant him guidance and protection. The director, Center for Moral Mentorship, Chima Maureen, was overwhelmed with satisfaction for what God has used Offor to achieve in the Nigerian society, particularly in the South-East. She said, “what could be more religious than this? If only we have more of such personality, the country and, indeed, the world would be a better place, moral wise, because there would be no vacuum for deviants and immorality in every spheres of our human development. I urge the President, Senate, House of Representatives, state Houses of Assembly and all right thinking Nigerians with milk of kindness to support the likes of Offor and his Foundation. I also pray that the man would not relent in such a patriotic gesture in developing and reviving our educational system and most importantly, uniting Africa in a most significant manner. All NGOs should take a cue from this exemplary step,” she advised. Since inception, SEOF has committed billions to charitable projects in its desire to provide for economic and social empowerment of the less privileged in Nigeria. The Group Managing Director, OCI International Ltd, Sunny Igboanuzue, said, “we have done so much in this regard in the past; it’s no longer news to some of us.” He added, “SEOF expects no financial or material returns from the enormous donations made to people, who have benefited from the Foundation’s corporate social responsibility. It was so painful seeing children, who are homeless and have been orphaned. Apart from all those, a lot of people are living in harsh conditions. They need our help,” he further said. In October, 2011, SEOF signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Books for Africa Foundation, which is an American non-profit organisation based in St. Paul, Minnesota and dedicated to collecting, sorting, shipping and distributing books to children and adults in Africa. The agreement made the Foundation distribution partners in Nigeria, paving the way for the shipment of approximately 640,000 books and assorted computers and schools supplies to Africa at an estimated $7 million. Under the agreement, nearly three dozen 40-foot sea containers filled with primary, secondary and university texts and library books were shipped to Nigeria and would continue in the next two years. “Signing the agreement advanced a

Offor making a cheque presentation to one of the recipients

Obi and Offor, flanked by special guests

personal commitment to education in Nigeria by supplying books for students and teachers to a significant number of disadvantaged schools across the country,” said Offor, who doubles as the founder and chairman of Chrome Group, a leading West African oil and gas conglomerate. “Books are the foundation of a strong educational system and I am proud to have accomplished this in collaboration with the philanthropic efforts of Books for Africa. I wholeheartedly endorsed the mutual goal of helping to improve the book situation in African schools,” he had declared. Offor had also assumed the status of Africa’s single largest donor to Rotary International with an endowment of $1.31 million into four different causes of the charity organisation. The endowment, which elevated him into the prestigious status of the Arch C. Klumph Society (AKS) reserved for highest donors to the Rotary cause, was invested in further pursuit of global peace at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, eradication of polio and guinea worm across the globe and Nigeria in particular, maternal and child mortality rate as well as women empowerment programmes. Also in December 2012, the Foundation sent a delegation of Widows Cooperative Societies Limited to the State of Karnataka, India. The delegation, which comprised 16 members of the eight Widows Cooperatives Groups of SEOF and

Chima

a Consultant in cooperative studies, Sir Henry Enekebe, was on a three weeks study visit on the invitation of Talent Research Foundation (TRF) Mangalore of the Karnataka State, India. During their stay in India, the widows interacted with others on their various activities, which had enhanced economic, social and political lives of the rural populace of Indian people. Such areas of interest included skills Acquisition Centers, Small Holder Farms, orphanages, Cheshire Home, destitute and rehabilitation centres and Designated Rural Health Centres.


Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

SM Extra

Sunday, June 2, 2013

55

Dana crash-site residents react:

Road construction yes, but we are neglected K AYODE FASUA & OLADELE LUQMON

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yewole Ogundele, like other residents of Olaniyi and Akande streets in the Toyin suburb of Iju, Lagos, was harried. Time was 3:45pm, and it was 15 minutes after Nigeria managed to score a goal against Kenya in a World Cup qualifier, beamed from the National Stadium, Abuja. The strange, deafening noise from the sky was that of a plane alright. But while the noise was frightening, the sight of a descending airbus battling for altitude or in dire need of a landing space was heart-shattering. Ogundele, whose home was a storey building of four flats of three-bedroom apartment, froze. He was not alone. He and his family members and other residents in the neighbourhood flocked to the streets, and were dazed by the reality of a plane about to crash. “The plane would have crashed on my house but was diverted by a mango tree which its wing hit and as it hit the mango tree, its wing broke and fell on a cow tethered for a ceremony. “The cow died instantly but the plane

still surged forward a bit before it it, within a minute, crashed on a duplex belonging to Pastor Omowumi of Winners Chapel-a church. Where it crashed on had a printing press factory and a storey building of six flats.” Still visibly shaken as he recapitulated this event of one year ago, Ogundele demurred, saying “the shock I had that very day, I’d never had it in my life. For a week, we (referring to self and family members) moved out of this place because of the whole lot of dead bodies we had to behold.” For Sadiru Adeyemi, also a resident of the area, he joined other locals in what appeared as a rescue mission for the cabin crew of the be-troubled Dana passengers’ place, which unknown to many, had on board 153 human beings. “First, we saw the plane go towards our community playground and it was as low as the height of a three storey-building. We summoned courage and sped on the ground along with it. But it suddenly made a detour; maybe the pilot realised that young guys were there playing football and did not want to crash on them. “So, the plane faced the direction of the railway line and might have targeted a canal upfront but if it had crashed there, a whole lot of community of slum dwellers

Engineers working on the cenotaph, yesterday (Inset: Mrs. Bashiru, Adeyemi)

would have been exterminated,” Adeyemi recalled. Regarding the real crashing, Adeyemi said it was not true that the plane did not burst into flames immediately it crashed. “I was there; immediately it crashed, there was a staccato of loud sound that prompted an inexplicable whirl of flames and fire. Nobody could wait; we all ran. But my pain remains that the pilot understood our concern to have a safe landing place for him: we waved towards the playfield, he followed us; he saw people there and didn’t want them to die, and together, everybody eventually died in the plane,” he finally lamented with his palms clasped, as if to pray for the repose of the be-gone souls. As for another resident, Frank John, the irreparable losses recorded by his close friends were worthy of mention, even though he says the residents have foreclosed government assistance to individuals who survived with bodily injuries or material losses. “My friend, Daniel Odika rented one of the flats in the affected storey-building only six months before the crash. He was lucky to be away when the incident happened but all his properties and certificates got burnt and up till date, he is squatting, with no one to assist him.” John also shares fond memories of another friend who died in the building along with his wife and their last born. He recalled too, the tragedy of Nwabueze, one of his friends and an occupant of the ill-fated building “who just arrived from church and was about to have his rest when the plane crashed on the building and killed him.” Ogundele, speaking on the land casualties in the crash incident, recalled the case of Jerry, a commercial motorcycle operator, popularly called Okada rider, who died along with his wife, in the affected building. “Jerry sent his first born to go get an electrician to repair their faulty electric switch so they could watch the NigeriaKenya match. But when the boy failed to arrive on time, he sent his second born to find out what was wrong; but the last born sneaked out and hopped to join his sibblings who were on errand. “Before the children returned, the Dana

PHOTOS: OLADELE LUQMON

do community, as youths sack monarch priate compensation to the owners of the economic trees. The youths however converged on a roundabout close to the palace to stage a peaceful protest, calling on the monarch to rescind his decision or vacate his stool and leave the palace and the town. It was gathered that it took the intervention of some senior chiefs in the town to smuggle the monarch from the palace as he took refuge in one of the senior chiefs’ house in the community. Protesters were seen in their hundreds barricading the road leading to the town, chanting war songs as they carried placards with various inscriptions such as “ Bring back our school”, “Bad leaders, where is our Federal Poly in Ile-Oluji?”; “Jegun must react to our demand, Federal Poly we need”, to mention a few. The protesters pursued the traditional ruler to the High Chief ’s residence but they were said to be prevented from gaining entry to the house. The angry mob vowed not to allow the monarch to gain entry into the palace again as they threatened to destroy the palace. They alleged that the king was a cog in

the wheel of development in the area, area and that he also diverted money meant for development of the community to his personal purse. He was also alleged to have hijacked government projects meant to be established in the ancient town. They also averred that he wrote fictitious petitions against the indigenes of the town and that he he relished extortion. However, one of the town’s High Chiefs, Oyebade Olaogbebikan Adeoba, the Odofin of the community, described all the allegations leveled against the Oba as false, unfounded and a blackmail. Defending the royal father, the Odofin said the youths had earlier in the morning came to the Oba’s palace and asked him questions about the proposed Federal Polytechnics and asked him if it had been actually shifted to another community, but that he told the youths he has no inkling about the issue and called on the youths to embrace peace and dialogue in the interest of the development of the ancient community. He also stated that the allegation the royal father was hijacking government projects in the community was not true. Policemen from the town however dis-

persed the protesters only for the mob to rere group as early as 7am the following day to stage another protest, demanding that the monarch leave the town. According to a source, this led to fracas between the mob and the police. Sources said some of the youths were injured in the process while some policemen were also injured. But some of the protesters were arrested. “The protesters were not deterred by the presence of policemen and when the police attempted to drive them away; they retaliated and some police officers were injured in the process; some of the protesters who were seriously injured have been taken to the hospital, the source said. Speaking on the situation, an indigene of the community, Idowu Akinbobola who claimed to be one of the youth leaders, said that the protest which had no political coloration, was carried out to demonstrate over what he described as the rumour concerning the shifting of the proposed Federal Polytechnic which was said to be sited in the community and later moved to another town. Also reacting, a woman chief in the community, Chief Martindale Olabanji, de-

plane had crashed on their building, killing their parents.” Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State eventually came to take away the three orphaned children for rehabilitation. All these instances depicted the tragedy of June 3, 2012 when a passengers’ plane belonging to Dana Air crashed in the Iju area of Lagos, killing all 153 persons on board and about 12 others on ground. A year after the incident, the residents still recall their experiences amid misty eyes. Nonetheless, there has also been a galore of complaints, as many of them allege neglect of individual victims in the area. Though they praised both the federal and Lagos State government for embarking on road constructions and the building of a cenotaph for the dead victims of the crash, they nevertheless averred that “we the residents are the ones suffering the whole development efforts.” Mrs. Bibi Bashiru, who lives at Babade Close in Olaniyi Street, alleged that all development efforts were concentrated on Akande Street, “where powerful people live.” She complained over continuous flooding that has sacked residents of Olaniyi Street from their homes, as the drainage that came with the road construction was badly done. Bashiru, a landlady, said all her tenants, including a 75-year-old man have been rendered homeless, “simply because government imagines in its heart that it is helping us.” As for John, whose house’s fence was mauled down to pave way for the road construction, “it is unfair for government to break down our fences and ask us to rebuild them, without any compensation.” He said the only development so far brought to the area by government “is road because I’m not aware that any one has been compensated.” At the construction site of the cenotaph built amid an arcades and flower beatification in a fenced-off acre of land, at where the plane crashed, it was observed that the contractors were in a hurry to meet tomorrow’s remembrance anniversary deadline. “We can’t talk to the press now, we started this work late and government insisted we must finish before Monday”, said one of the site engineers to our correspondent. scribed the situation as unfortunat, and expressed serious concern about the trends of events, appealing to the youths and inhabitants of the community to remain peaceful and law abiding. She said “ i think the students are being misled by some people who had some scores to settle with the monarch, why should an enlightened Oba like Jegun turned down an offer to site an institution in his domain.” The protest however turned the community to a ghost town, paralysing commercial activities with all stores and markets closed for business activities. It was also gathered that the state Commissioner of Police visited the scene of the crisis with some of his officers to return normalcy into the town, even as claims and counterclaims raged that some of the protesters and police officers were killed during the two-day protest

Oba Adedugbe


56

Politics

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ministers, their scorecards CONTINUED FROM PAGE 14 and industrial down tools against the Minister with various calls on the President for his sack. JOHESU comprises Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN); National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM); University Teaching Hospitals Research Institutes and Allied Institution (UTHRIAI); National Union of Pharmacists, Medicine Technologists and Professionals Allied to Medicine (NUPMTPA) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associate Institutions( NASU). Some of the contentious issues among parties to the feud are: use of doctors in all administrative cadres in the country; the National Health Bill currently at the National Assembly which JOHESU says does not reflect the interest of its members; issues of disparities in salaries, alleged exclusion of some of the unions from the recently reconstituted Boards of tertiary hospitals in Nigeria among others. The disharmony is so pronounced that some of the aggrieved parties have resolved to litigations. The dissension, notwithstanding, the Ministry under the Minister, which only enjoys six percent of the country’s annual budget, has achieved some degrees of success in the past two years which include drastic reduction in maternal and child mortality, elimination of guinea worm disease, with no case recorded in four years even as the nation expects WHO’s certification on its eradication from Nigeria in June this year; reduction in polio cases across Nigeria, sharp decline in HIV/AIDS transmission and increased commitment in provision of antiretroviral drugs for HIV patients. There has been greater commitment shown to containing growing deaths arising from non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer and the likes under the leadership of the Minister. The Federal Government recently resuscitated Residency Training for doctors while greater punitive measures are meted out to any professional who runs afoul of ethics and laws of their discipline. Also, the recently launched Conditional Cash Transfer for pregnant and nursing mothers; Save-One-Million-Lives programme of the Federal Government; targeted zero-tolerance of fake and counterfeit drugs of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); efforts of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and activities of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) consolidate on the journey to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which now remains in the realm of speculations. Similarly, there has been general infrastructural upgrade in all federal tertiary institutions across the nation. More facilities with world-class technologies, driven by Public-Private-Partnership in the health sector, help in achieving these outcomes. Malaria, cause of highest number of deaths in Nigeria, is also receiving substantial attention. Nigeria currently contributes 25 percent global burden of malaria. The disease also causes 11 per cent of maternal deaths and 30 per cent of child deaths in the country. There is an estimated 100 million malaria cases leading to over 300,000 deaths in Nigeria, yearly. This year, the Federal Government said it planned to distribute 36, 085, 772 mosquito nets to help combat the disease. About 51, 703,880 Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLIN), it said, had been distributed across Nigeria to fight the scourge be-

fore 2013. Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) and Rapid Diagnostic Test kits (RDTs) are parts of measures prioritized to contain the disease in Nigeria by the government. The Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) has been instrumental to uplift of the sector. This year alone, N16billion was earmarked to the health sector from the fund. The NPHCDA is charged with the responsibility of executing health programmes under the SURE-P which include the Midwife Service Scheme (MSS), Community Health Extension Workers (CHEW), Conditional Cash Transfer, Maternal and Child Health Care to name a few. The agency, through the MSS and CHEW, now takes health to the people in their homes when they discover the people fail to access health facilities. The only parastatal in the ministry which appears to have come short of its mandate is the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development. The Nigerian public are yet to see huge prospects the agencies hold for the country. Most pharmaceutical products consumed in Nigeria are imported from developing nations like China and India, while Nigeria is blessed with abundant species of herbs that are yet to be explored, a mandate in which the institute must play significant roles. Meanwhile, under the supervision of the Minister, the sector has witnessed killings of health workers across troubled parts of Nigeria such as the simultaneous killings of nine health workers in Kano and two expatriate doctors in Borno in February this year. There was also an attack on University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) by police recently where medical officials were reportedly killed. Other huge challenges which demand urgent interventions in the sector are: disharmony in the sector; major low level of political commitment to healthcare; poor security and safety of healthcare workers; infrastructural deficits and poor constitutional framework and huge funding gaps leading to unsatisfactory budgetary provisions for health. The list include poor health human resource development plans; absence of universal health coverage for all Nigerians; pervasive quackery in the sector; poor community ownership of health policies, programs and projects; weak primary and secondary levels of care with a weak referral system, coordination, integration and implementation of health policies, programs and projects; and, poor data base, Information Communication Technology (e-Health and m-Health) and Health Management Information System; and, a definite and sustainable programme to be put in place for the care of ageing population in Nigeria. To be continued next week

Chukwu

Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Condoms litter Boko Haram hideouts –Military OMEIZA AJAYI

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he Nigerian military yesterday accused the Boko Haram Islamist sect of leading false lifestyles, disclosing how its men stumbled on what it described as “bizarre objects” which included several used and unused condoms. The military said other items discovered in the camps were charms, amulets, test tubes, syringes and gloves. “Apart from chemicals and materials for producing Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) narcotics of all types are also found to be common features as troops combed through camps in Sambisa forest, New Marte, and others”, the military stated. In a statement made available to Sunday Mirror last night and entitled, “Life in Terrorists Camp: Condoms everywhere”, Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade stated: “More of the dirty sides of the insurgents’ life style are being revealed as troops continue to stumble on strange and bizarre objects such as several used and unused condoms as well as charms and amulets of various shapes seen in the captured terrorists’ camps. “Other common items are syringes, test tubes and hand gloves usually found in the rubbles of most of the destroyed camps. Vehicles and various brands of electronics believed to have been stolen from various parts of the country were also found abandoned or destroyed in the camps or the escape routes of the insurgents”. He explained that most of the items were either destroyed or set on fire as the terrorists fled in different directions. According to him, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) Assessment Teams are already in Yobe and Adamawa States “to

update the reports on the conduct of security operations in those states since deployment of troops in line with the State of Emergency.” Olukolade said the outcome will also be presented for DHQ’s further strategic guidelines for the subsequent phase of the operations. Meanwhile, the DHQ has expressed dismay at the dissemination of “unfounded reports” by Aljazeera Television, alleging massive civilian casualties in the ongoing security operations. According to the DHQ, “the video clip being shown on these Aljazeera reports has no bearing whatsoever on the current reality in the operations areas.” The DHQ added: “It is noted in particular that the footages being referred to as civilian casualties were actually pictures of the destruction perpetrated by the terrorists at the police stations and prisons in Bama Borno State on 7 May 2013 when the insurgents attacked the town. “It is equally noteworthy that all the soldiers participating in the Special Operation have remained restricted to operational area since the mission started and could not have been available to grant the purported interview shown on the clips. “Besides, the identity attributed to the interviewee is therefore doubtful. It is noteworthy that the Defence Headquarters had earlier alerted the public on the desperate attempts being made or put together to discredit the ongoing well planned security operations. “It is unfortunate that the medium of Aljazeera is again being used for this unfortunate design. Thus, DHQ once again affirms that there has been no collateral damage to civilian lives and property in the scale presented by Aljazeera since the operation began. “The unfair report is therefore to be discountenanced as part of the mischief aimed at undermining Nigeria’s security, territorial integrity and sovereignty by some foreign media and individuals.”

Lagos Assembly summons commissioner over Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge

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embers of the Lagos State House of Assembly have summoned the Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure, Mr Obafemi Hamsat, to appear before the House to clarify the proposed toll fees on the newly constructed Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge. The House also summoned Mr Ayo Gbeleyi, the Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Public Private Partnership, on the issue. The two government officials will appear on June 6. The agency recalls that the assembly had Tuesday engaged in a heated debate following a motion moved by the Leader of the House, Ajibayo Adeyeye (Kosofe II). The motion was in respect of the proposed Concession Agreement for Electronic Tolling System (ETS) on the bridge. The House then adjourned the plenary to Friday, May 31, to deliberate more on the toll fees. Some of the members of the assembly who commented on the proposal, wondered why toll should be collected on a

one-km bridge. At the Friday session, Mr Adeyemi Ikufori, the Speaker of the House, said that it was very important for both the commissioner and the governor’s aide to appear before the House to make clarification on the proposed toll fees on the bridge. He said:”We have spent the whole day with the executive discussing the issue of the toll fees. “However, there is the need for more explanation from the commissioner of Works and Infrastructure and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Private Partnership (PPP) on the issue.’’ Fashola on May 29, 2013 inaugurated the bridge designed to ease gridlock around Lekki/Ikoyi axis. The toll rates are N250 for saloon cars; N300 for mini vans, Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and light, pick-up trucks and N400 for non-commercial buses with a maximum sitting capacity of 26 persons. Operators of motorcycles with 200 engine capacity and above will pay N100 while the collection of the toll fees is billed to commence on June 1.


Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

South News

Sunday June 2, 2013

57

Fashola opens Lekki-Ikoyi bridge, commissions water scheme

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s the clock ticked past midnight on Friday, the new Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge was opened for use to motorists. Many, who welcomed the project, commended Governor Babatunde Fashola administration for the bridge, which they said would shorten their travel time. Some of the motorists who passed through the bridge urged other motorists to use the bridge and pay the requisite toll because, according to them, good infrastructure like the bridge can only be provided through public private partnership investment. One of the motorists, Mr Agore Aboh, expressed happiness and excitement that such a feat is record-

ed in Nigeria. “If similar things can be happening in our country, we would be happy. That was why I decided to ply the road, pay the toll and encourage others to pay because the most important thing is to be part of this innovation,” he said. Another, Chief Adolo Okotie-Eboh, described it as an evidence of good governance and hoped that other states would emulate the Lagos State Government. For Mr Bambo IbidapoObe, “I love the new bridge. I think it is a new development. I have been waiting for this for a very long time to open. I am glad it is opened now. “I made efforts to make sure I pass it today on the

first day it opened and I am very impressed. “It is a very beautiful road. I look forward to Lagos State doing a lot more of this for us,” he said. Mr Dare Ajayi, who also reacted to the commencement of operations of the Bridge, said he is encouraged by what the state governor is doing because that is essentially what is needed in the country. “This is good infrastructure. The quality of the road speaks for itself, well built and the aesthetic value as well is very visible. “Once again, I congratulate Lagosians and the governor for such an initiative. “I love the governor. I was going to say I would keep this ticket as a souvenir and keep it for future

generations to see. “If we have 10 of Fasholas in this country, things would turn around for the better. “I am not a member of any party but I like to recognize good things. For me, it is a joyful moment like this,” Ajayi said. The governor on Saturday also commissioned the Igborosun Micro Water Scheme in Badagry Local Government Area of the state. Fashola, who was represented by the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Adetokunbo Abiru, said that the new micro water scheme was one of the projects aimed at achieving the state’s objective. He said that his administration was passionate about the lives of the

people and would continue to inaugurate projects to complement existing water schemes until all the people had access to potable water. ``In the last six years, the government has provided 445 types of water projects of various designs in rural and semi-urban areas, based on their population and topography. ``The government has always complemented the efforts of the state water corporation with different water scheme designs in semi-urban and rural communities where the corporation is yet to extend its services. “We are passionate about the lives of the people in

Catholic Archbishop reiterates call for national conference LEONARD OKACHIE

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L-R; Gov Godswill AKpabio (right), Rochas Okorocha (2nd right) during the cutting of traditional cake at the Traditional Marriage of Mrs Njideka Odili daughter of former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili at Ndoni, Rivers State

Amosun calls for end to Group decries harassment HND/ B.Sc dichotomy of journalists

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gun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has called on the Federal Government to end the dichotomy between the graduates of Polytechnics and Universities without further delay. The governor noted that “Polytechnic graduates are by no stretch of imagination inferior to their university counterparts.” He spoke yesterday in Abeokuta while addressing the National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), which met him during an inspection of road projects in the state capital. Amosu described the discrimination against the Polytechnic students as unwarranted, adding that “it is only in Nigeria this practice takes place.” He said the state Polytechnics, Monotechnics

and Institutes of Technology should be able to award degrees in no distant future. Speaking earlier, the Senate President of NAPS, Mr Liberty Nwogu, said they were in the state for the annual convention of the association at the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta. He lauded the administration of Amosun for its strides in infrastructural development and massive investment in education. Nwogu called on the Federal Government to end the ongoing industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) by negotiating with the lecturers. He said that ASUP should enjoy the same attention with their university counterpart, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

AYO ESAN

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pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political pressure organisation, Coalition of Oodua self Determination Group (COSEG), has condemned the incessant harassment of journalists by various security agencies in Nigeria. “The act is antithetic to the growth of democracy,” the group added. Speaking with Sunday Mirror yesterday, the General Secretary of the group, Razaq Olokoba, expressed displeasure over the development, which he described as “barbaric, uncivilised, primitive and anti-democracy.” Olokoba was of the view that “such unacceptable acts of cohesion by the security agents in the country, is not only contradictory to the spirit of the freedom

of Information (FoI) Bill but also to the freedom of speech as entrenched in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” While reviewing the harassment and intimidation of media men while discharging their constitutional duties by the security operatives, especially those in the task force arrangement, Olokoba said “it is borne out of sheer overzealousness of the operatives.” He emphasized that “their bosses, who sent them out on special duties are friends of the media as they have nothing to hide from the public.” He, therefore, warned that “such uncivilised attitudes towards the journalists that are discharging their lawful duties should stop henceforth.” COSEG threatens to take necessary actions within the confines of law to safeguard the rights of the journalists in Nigeria.

Lagos State and we are determined to provide portable water for all the people across the state,’’ he said. The governor disclosed that he had approved the construction of 28 additional water projects this year, promising that they would not be abandoned. He charged the community to ensure adequate maintenance of the newly inaugurated water scheme. Earlier, the Commissioner for Rural Development, Mr Cornelius Ojelabi, said that the water project was sited in the community to improve and transform the lives of the people of Igborosun and its environs.

n the face of current security challenges facing the nation, the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, His Grace Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, has reiterated the call for a conference of all the various ethnic groups and stakeholders in the country so as to fashion out the best way to live in peace and harmony. Archbishop Martins said that such move by President Goodluck Jonathan has become imperative even as the countdown to 2015 general elections begins. He stated this yesterday in Lagos on the occasion of a press briefing to mark his 54th birthday anniversary, organised by the Order of the Knights of St. Mulumba (KSM), Idimu Subordinate Council. Martins, who was enthroned as the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos in August 2012, noted that since it is the duty of government to provide adequate security for the lives and property of its citizens, it would be foolhardy to disregard the perceived genuine grievances of any group of people in the country. While commending Jonathan for initiating various peace moves aimed at finding a lasting solution to the Boko Haram menace, he however said, “I want for the sake of emphasis, align myself

with the position of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, that the proposed amnesty for the Boko Haram sect members should be approached with caution. “In the first place, we must know the identity of these sect members and there must be genuine repentance on their part that would pave the way for true reconciliation.” The cleric condemned the on-going political faceup, which has pitched President Jonathan and the Executives of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, against Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, saying the dimension which the whole imbroglio has now taken left much to be desired. “It is regrettable that, rather than focusing on delivering the fruits of democracy to the citizens of this country, various gladiators have chosen to dissipate invaluable time and enormous state resources in fuelling personal vendetta for unjustifiable political reasons,” he said. He therefore, called on all those concerned to toe the path of peace and resolve the matter amicably for the good of all. Most Rev. Martins, who is also the Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, lamented that no matter the effort made at building a just and equitable society, all will be in vain so long as corruption continued to hold sway in the country.


58

Zonal News

SOUTH SOUTH

TONY ANICHEBE UYO

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romise by Governor Godswill Akpabio to site industries in local government areas has become a reality with the arrival of four industries in the state under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. The industries, which are Water Purification Chemicals, Fertilizer Blending, Animal Feed and Feed Mill, to be sited at Industrial Layout, Oku Abak in Abak Local Government Area of the state, will commence operations in September this year. Akwa Ibom government, represented by Akwa Ibom Investment and Industrialisation Promotion Commission (AKIIPOC) and a United States of Americabased Greenwell Technologies Limited have, signed a Memorandum of Under-

Sunday June 2, 2013

Four new industries 1,500 Nigerians, others underway in A’Ibom marooned in Niger standing (MoU) for the siting of the industries. Akpabio, who stated this during this year’s Democracy Day celebrations held at Ibom Hall grounds, Uyo, believes the industries would promote the state economy and generate employment opportunities for Akwa Ibom people. He listed some of the things “we have done to include: tarring of over 305 roads with four flyovers. “Our state has one of the best road networks in the country. We completed the first phase of the Ibom International Airport (which we met at siteclearing stage) and have embarked on the Second Phase, which targets the completion of the MRO and other components. “We have also constructed over 4,000 Interministerial projects with each of our 31 local government areas having over 100 such projects commissioned in its area. ‘‘The Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, which comes with a five

star hotel, an international conference centre, a galleria, a wet and dry park, and a shopping mall is nearing completion. Its Cineplex has been functional for a couple of years now. “We also have Ibom Industrial City, a self-sustaining city, with oil and gas support services and a deep seaport; and the 20th Anniversary Specialist Hospital among others,’’ the governor remarked. In his sermon, Rt. Hon. Msgr. Peter A. Inyangetor, who preached at a special inter-denominational thanksgiving service on the theme ‘’Thankfulness Increases Blessings’’, described thankfulness as a cherished virtue that attracts God’s blessings, favour and affects ones relationship with God. He urged Nigerians to always have a thankful heart in whatever situation they find themselves. Inyangetor, who said God uses humans as His instrument to attract blessings to the people, reasoned that God raised King David.

C’River expresses concern over NIMET’s prediction

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ross River government says the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) weather forecast for 2013 is posing serious concerns for its disaster management capacity. The Director-General of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr Vincent Aquah, made this known in Calabar on Saturday. He said though, the prediction was timely, “it was a sad news because it would further

affect SEMA’s resources on emergency, flood and natural disasters’ management and control.” NIMET’s Director-General, Dr Anthony Anuforom, had recently predicted in Abuja that the rainfall for 2013 will be above normal as compared with the volume of rain in 2012. He predicted that there would be more rains in 2013 in the northern states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara and Zamfara. According to Anuforom,

catchment areas of River Niger and parts of the Niger Delta have higher chances of even more rainfall this year than previous years. He said that his worry was heightened by the likelihood of some communities in Cross River to be permanently dislocated. The director general said two other communities in the state would be resettled permanently from their ancestral homes for fear of being obliterated.

A’Ibom outlaws maltreatment of widows

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he customs of seizing properties belonging to deceased married men and subjecting their widows to several practices such as shaving of the head and making them drink the water used to clean the deceased husbands, among others, have now become illegal and an offence against the state in Akwa Ibom State. The state government, in a bill passed by the

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House of Assembly and signed by the Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, outlawed the customs, which maltreat widows after the deaths of their husbands, declaring it as unlawful and inhuman. In his Democracy Day speech, the governor declared that it had become unlawful for widows to be maltreated in Akwa Ibom State, insisting that defaulters of the new law would risk a penalty ranging from fines to

three years imprisonment. While reacting on the new law, the First Lady of the state, Chief (Mrs) Unoma Ekaette Akpabio, commended the House of Assembly and the governor for the pro-women law, describing the passage of the new law as a breakthrough for womenfolk in the state. According to her, “I appreciate the state House of Assembly and the state governor for standing with the womenfolk through this law.

SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN

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o fewer than 1,500 West Africans, majority of who are Nigerians are currently facing homelessness, insecurity, hunger, starvation and death after they were deported by Libya Government authorities on Friday and Saturday. As at the time of filing this report, it was gathered that the deportees were just arriving at the commercial city of Agadez in Niger Republic, where they were dumped by the Libyan authorities in tents erected by the International Red Cross Society, whose officials are doing their best to keep them alive. Confirming the situation in a telephone chat with our correspondent, the Executive Director of the Initiative for Youth Awareness on Migration, Immigration, Development and Re-integration (IYAMIDR), Mr. Solomon Okoduwa, said hundreds of the deportees are Nigerians, some of who had been calling him since they were forced out of the

North African country. He added that majority of the Nigerian deportees are from Edo State, which state government authorities he has already alerted about their plight. Okoduwa, a Libyan deportee himself, who returned to establish the nongovernmental organization “for the sole purpose of persuading and dissuading Nigerians from running abroad in search of unavailable golden fleece”, urged the Federal Government and state government authorities to quickly act to rescue Nigerians that are facing severe dangers in Niger and Libya. Okoduwa said, “As I am talking to you today, Libyan authorities have just forced about 1,500 West Africans, who are mostly Nigerians, Ghanaians, Senegalese and Nigeriens out of the country. Some of the returnees, who have been calling me since morning, said that they have just arrived at the city of Agadez, a major commercial city in Niger Republic at about 9.00 am this morning.

NORTH EAST

“They said they were being attended to by a few Red Cross officials on ground there. But there is a limit that the Red Cross can do for a people without food, without cloths, without shelter and without security.” “The Initiative for Youth Awareness on Migration, Immigration, Development and Re-integration, whose aim is to discourage illegal desert migration, human trafficking and advocacy for youth empowerment is hereby appealing to the Federal Government and state governments whose citizens are victims of this inhuman and cruel deportation policy to quickly make a move as a matter of urgency to rescue these Nigerians who are our brothers and sisters and whose lives are in grave danger of death presently. Such a move would only be fit and appropriate for the democracy that we have been celebrating since May 29th.”

Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Adamu (middle) with pupils of the Alfulquan International Academy, during their courtesy visit to the Emir in Bauchi at the weekend. PHOTO: NAN

Sect members nabbed in Borno while searching for food T he relentless effort of Special Troops in Borno State yesterday paid off, as a detachment apprehended some Boko Haram members, who were going around in search of food at the weekend. Director of Information, Defense Headquarters, Brigadier General Chris Olukolade, made this know in a chat with newsmen. He said a group of ter-

rorists moving from village to village in search of large quantity of food were nabbed following a tip off from civilians. The spokesman said the intensive cordon and search operation being conducted by the troops of the Special Forces in Borno State have received a major civilian cooperation in communities close to locations being focused

in the operation. The group, which was moving around in a Toyota Land Cruiser jeep were arrested at Daban Masara with weapons including AK 47 rifle, single barrel shotgun, double hand shotgun and various kinds of ammunition. He further stated that in other locations, a total of 56 identified insurgents were apprehended with the help of military police dogs.


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NORTH CENTRAL

HENRY IYORKASE MAKURDI

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uma local government area of Benue State at the weekend witnessed another major massacre by Fulani herdsmen, who allegedly killed over 15 persons and set ablaze about 300 houses at Aku village. Sunday Mirror gathered that the herdsmen invaded the village, killing some people before moving to Aku Market, which was set ablaze with many sustaining injuries. A source told Sunday Mirror that the Fulani invaders, who emerged from the bank

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NORTH WEST 15 killed, over 300 NLC urges Kano to resolve e-payment crisis houses razed in Fulani herdsmen raid T of River Benue bordering Benue and Nasarawa states, shot sporadically at people in the community before setting the houses on fire. “From there, they moved to the market place where they caused a stampede that led to the killing and maiming of many other people,” the source added. Reacting to the killings, former speaker and member representing Guma at the State Assembly, Hon. Dave Iorhemba, in a telephone interview with Sunday Mirror said that the killing has become one too many. This situation, according to him, “appeared as if it is a genocide targeted at my people. “Not too long ago over

10 persons were killed in like manner around the local council area. “So, if you look at this thing, it is very boring and completely inhuman for people to be killed indiscriminately like chickens by Fulani marauders. “We have reported this matter over time; as I speak, no solution yet in sight. “What manner of nation is this, where life is being wasted without feelings,” he asked. Police PPRO, DSP Daniel Ezeala, however, said that only four died in the crisis. He said that security has been beefed up in the area to forestall further breakdown of law and order.

he NLC in Kano State has called on the state government to resolve the crisis bedeviling the electronic payment of civil servants salaries. The state Chairman of NLC, Mr Inusa Danguguwa, made the call in Kano on Saturday. He said it was necessary in view of the hardship being experienced by some civil servants as a result of the introduction of the electronic payment of civil servants salaries. Danguguwa said that the union had set up a committee to meet with heads of various ministries and

agencies with a view to resolve the problem. ``The committee has been directed to meet with the officials of the ministry of finance and office of the Accountant General to find lasting solution to the lingering problem. ``We have also given them two weeks to submit their reports before we take the necessary action,’’ he said. The labour leader urged the civil servants, who had problems in connection with the electronic payment to forward same to the committee for necessary and appropriate action. ``We want to know if is it a

sabotage or the state government is not ready to implement the e-payment,’’ he said. He urged the state government to rectify the problem within the shortest possible time as the union would not fold its arms and allow its members to continue to suffer. Some of the affected civil servants said they had not received their salaries for three months.

Al-Makura inaugurates N2.7bn geographical information complex IGBAWASE UKUMBA LAFIA

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asarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko AlMakura, has inaugurated the Nasarawa Geographical Information Complex to curb the haphazard and indiscriminate physical development taking place in urban areas of the state. Performing the ceremony in Karu, near Abuja, Almakura said the idea to this effect became imperative to consider effective control measures to curb the trend that was most visible in the Mararaba-Karu-Keffi axis as a consequence of the proximity of the area to the Federal Capital Territory.

His words: “This disturbing scenario has made it necessary for government to commence a development control programme in all the urban centres of the state. “This is aimed at achieving order, serenity and healthy living in the growth and expansion process of our urban and semi-urban areas. “It is in this connection that government has since designated six towns across the state as planning areas, while a development master plan for the entire state has been completed. “Following this preliminary exercise, government commenced the digital aerial mapping, including de-

tailed district plans of Karu and Keffi in 2011,” he added. To actualise the policy objective of government on land reform, the governor said government has engaged Messrs SIRAJ Consulting Engineers, a reputable urban planning consortium to design, construct and equip the Nasarawa Geographic Information System (NAGIS) at the cost of N2.7billion. Al-Makura said government expectation was that with the commissioning of the NAGIS complex, the state will witness efficient land administration and management by the relevant government agency for the benefit of the people of the state.

Church condemns killing of Christians in the North PRISCILLA DENNIS MINNA

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he Anglican diocese of Kutigi in Lavun Local Government Area of Niger State has decried the persistent and systematic attacks and killing of Christians and other innocent people by the Boko Haram sect in northern Nigeria. The Synod also noted that the intention by the Islamic sect to Islamize the North is not acceptable. In a 10 point communi-

qué signed by the Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Revd. Jeremiah Ndana Kolo, at the end of its second session of the 1st Synod and 5th year anniversary, the synod reaffirmed the commitment of the diocese of evangelizing unreached people and developing a historic self propagation and self sustaining diocese. With the theme “what shall we do”, the synod urges people to repent to salvage the nation even as it commensurate with the families of those that lost their lives during the Mayhem in Baga, Bama and Nassarawa.

It also commended President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on the declaration of state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states and urged the government to put more efforts to bring the culprit to book. While calling on the government to diversity its economy instead of the over dependence on oil, the Synod urged the government to speed up the rehabilitation of Bida/Mokwa road and other part of the roads in the state, which has claimed many lives due to its deplorable condition.

Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko (left) congratulating the Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, at the inauguration of the Farm Skills Acquisition Centre in Sokoto on Thursday. PHOTO: NAN

Kebbi Council of Ulamas prays for peaceful co-existence T he Kebbi chapter of the National Council of Ulamas on Saturday urged local government areas in the state to organise special prayers for peaceful co-existence in the country. The Chairman of the council, Malam Ibrahim Ika, made the call in Birnin Kebbi after an Islamic lecture organised by the state government. Ulamas are Islamic cler-

ics, who teach the faithful about the tenets of Islam. Ika also called on Muslim clerics to do the same at the weekly Friday prayers. He said that supplications and fervent prayers were the panacea to the current security challenges facing the nation adding. “We will not relent in praying for peace in our nation,” Ika added. He urged members of

the public to be steadfast in prayers and remain vigilant to complement the state’s and Federal Governments’ efforts at securing the nation. The chairman also advised parents to ensure proper upbringing of their children to make them lawabiding leaders of tomorrow. “Government’s efforts need to be complimented by patriotic zeal and dedication from the citizenry,” he said.

Kano calls for cooperation on sanitation K ano State government has urged security agents in the state to cooperate with it to ensure compliance with sanitation laws and regulations. The state Commissioner for Environment, Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas, made the call on Saturday during the monthly environmental sanitation in Kano. He noted that this would encourage other people

to obey the policy and described as disheartening the way security personnel who were not on duty flout sanitation restrictions. ``On many occasions, these security personnel will come out doing commercial services with their vehicles. ``We should all know that this duty is to ensure good health and sanitation for all residents,’’ he said.

Abbas said that the government would no longer hesitate to visit the full wrath of the law on any offending security agent who violated sanitation offences. On averting the impending flood disaster in the states, the commissioner said that a drainage committee had been set up to keep all waterways and gutters free of blockages.


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Del Potro: I like football more than tennis P. 62

Reina tipped as next Barca keeper P. 63

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KEEPING YOU ABREAST OF SPORTING NEWS June 2, 2013

IBU grants Bash Ali June 7 deadline ANDREW EKEJIUBA

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Confed Cup Rangers international of Enugu

Rangers in survival battle against Sfaxien IFEANYI EDUZOR

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igeria’s representative in this year’s CAF Confederation Cup, Rangers International of Enugu will today face a difficult task when they battle Tunisia’s CS Sfaxien in the second leg, 3rd round tie of the CAF Confederation Cup. The Flying Antelopes, the only surviving Nigeria club in continental action, moved down to the second tier African competition after they were ousted from the more lucrative CAF Champions League by Angolan Recreativo de Libolo. When the two sides met a fortnight ago in Enugu, the match ended 1-0 in favour of Rangers, thanks to Ugonna Uzochukwu’s late goal against the visitors. However, Uzochukwu will not be part of today’s game because he bagged a red card in the first leg. Rangers who will be facing a herculean task qualifying as one of the eight clubs that will play in the group stage of the

competition, have already been d deprived titi h l d b i d of the services of Sunday Mba, Chigozie Agbim and Emeka Eze who are presently with the Super Eagles, while striker Alhaji Gero is also with the U-20 team at the Toulon Tournament in France. The plight of the Coach Okey Emorditutored side has also not been helped by the fact that Sfaxien are in high spirit having won the Tunisian League title on Wednesday and coupled with the fact that Rangers dependable midfielder, Chinedu Sunday, has been ruled out of today’s cracker by injury. Aside the aforementioned, Sfaxien have won three matches consecutively in their local league after the first leg encounter with Rangers in Enugu. They defeated Club Africain 2-1, followed it up with another defeat of Etoile Sahel before stunning Esperance 2-1 at away. They held Club Africain to a 1-1 draw at another away fixture. Therefore, Sfaxien are expected to be at their best in this encounter and it will take an extra effort on the part of the Coal City side to survive the Tunisian

Zabaleta, P. 63 Richards to earn new City deals

champions scare. h i However, not minding the precarious situation the club finds itself, Rangers players believe they have what it takes to defeat the Tunisian champions and qualify for the group stage of the competition. Speaking shortly before their departure to Tunisia, Cyril Oriaku appealed to Nigerians not to write them off because they are capable of holding their own against the North Africans. “We are aware that the match is going to be a difficult one, considering that some of our players will not be around because of national assignment or injury but we are well prepared and capable of shocking the Tunisians before their home fans. “We are also aware that our opponents just won the Tunisian league, coupled with the fact that they are three-time finalists and the only club to successfully defend the Confederation Cup, but we are not going to be intimidated by such records because Rangers is also a force to be reckoned with in African football,” Oriaku said.

Grenier drops Arsenal hint P. 63

he International Boxing Union (IBU) has given World Boxing Federation (WBF) Cruiserweight champion, Bash Ali (OON) till June 7 to confirm the readiness of Nigeria to host his Guinness Book of World Records fight or forfeit the fight from holding in the country. According to a copy of the letter made available to Sunday Mirror and signed by IBU’s Chairman (Si/DL), Don “Moose” Lewis, he charged Ali to complete all details for the record breaking fight card to be held in Nigeria before the said date. “After much deliberation and with my personal pleading, the IBU Executive Committee has granted your request today for a final extension to complete all details for the record breaking fight card to be held in Nigeria. “We anticipate your meeting with the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, to be the final step in moving forward with the event. Therefore, we expect the IBU sanctioning fees of $1 million (USD) to be transferred and received by the IBU not later than 5 o’clock pm New York time, on 7 June 2013. “Again, please understand that this is the deadline for monies to be received-not initial process of transfer. Contact has been made with all parties and all fighters anxiously await the official confirmation from the IBU of such occurring as they await their own respective opportunity to finalise their contracts in order to come to Nigeria and be a part of history. “Should you fail to act accordingly, I have no choice but to inform them to move to the next available contender for the title. This puts you in a position of not having another opportunity to fight for our title until spring 2014 at the earliest and at your age, time is a greater opponent than the man opposite you in the ring,” he said. Meanwhile, Bash Ali has appealed to the PDP Chairman, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, for his intervention so that Nigeria can beat the IBU deadline and successfully host this first Guinness World Record fight in Nigeria to the glory, honour and joy of all Africans.

Mourinho thanks Real fans P. 63


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Kwara set for world wrestling tourney

MTN Football Scholar will create new stars –DeMiao

IFEANYI EDUZOR

ANDREW EKEJIUBA

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wara State Government in conjunction with the Nigeria (Pro) Wrestling Federation has concluded arrangements to host the maiden international ultimate wrestling super slam championship tagged “Kwara 2013” slated to take place in the state from June 16-22, 2013. Disclosing this to our correspondent, the state’s Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Hajia Ramat Adeshina stated that all arrangements to host the tourney which is being organised in honor of Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed is at an advanced stage, even as she announced that a Local Organising Committee for the championship has been set up with the mandate to organise a befitting tournament. According to her, the LOC will be headed by the Permanent Secretary of her Ministry, Mrs. Rhoda Fumilayo Ajiboye. Other members include the initiator of the championship and President of NWF, Prince Hammed Olarenwaju Mohammed, the Director of Sports in the Ministry of Sports, Alhaji Sanni Lukpan, Director of Sports in the Sports Council, Tunde Yinusa Kazeem and the state’s Chief Sports Officer, Mr. Bako. Others are Bosun Awaye and Tunde Ogunbiyi. Meanwhile, President of NWF, Prince Olarenwaju Mohammed has announced that the championship will be held in six centres across the three senatorial zones of the state adding that both home and foreignbased wrestlers from at least 20 countries of the world will be contesting for the five golden belts that has since arrived Ilorin in the Super heavyweight, Heavyweight, Cruiserweight, Royal Rumble and Ladies bout.

Nigeria finishes 5th at ICC-ACA World Cup qualifier IFEANYI EDUZOR

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igeria U-19 cricket team recorded 128 runs over Zambia to finish 5th in the just concluded ICC-ACA Cricket World Cup qualifier decided at the University of Kampala, cricket oval in Kyambogo, Uganda. Man of the match, Bimbo Adu, combining well with Isaac Okpe and Joseph Adedeji helped the side set 221 for 9 with a combined contribution of 100 runs in the last 10 overs to sway victory in their favour. Zambia captain Chetan Reddy used eight bowlers in total but none was impressive, save for Azhar Haveliwala, who snapped 4 for 37. However, Zambia’s chase was over even before it started with the openers, Naeem Patel and Haveliwala taking forever to find their groove. Patel faced 49 balls for his 17 runs whereas his partner Haveliwala played out 66 deliveries for his 12. Only Faizal Patel recorded the innings’ with other double figures with an unbeaten 18 off 72 balls. Despite being there until the end, he ran out of time as Zambia ended on 93 for 8.

Sport

Sunday June 2, 2013

he coordinator of the ongoing MTN Football Scholar, Season 3, an American soccer trainer and administrator, Tom DeMiao has said that a crop of new generation of football stars will emerge from the initiative. He added that he sees new soccer stars emerging that will efficiently combine football skills with good academic work. DeMiao disclosed this at National Stadium, Lagos during the trials to select young players that with participate in this year’s edition of the programme. According to him, the football strategy currently employed all over the world shows that the game is for intelligent people. And with MTN Football Scholar, a crop of young footballers is about to emerge in Nigeria that will be up to the task. “The idea MTN Football Schol-

ar is to provide footballers that will have something to fall back on after their soccer career, as educated footballers, and the initiate is going to give them career options in many ways,” he said. The Lagos trial brings to an end the nationwide trials which have taken the MTN Football Scholar technical team to the cities of Port Harcourt, Enugu, Abuja, Benin and Akure. In all, a minimum of 100 students would be selected based on their football skills and educational requirements. These students will then sit for mock SAT examinations where they will be pruned down to 30. The qualified 30 students from the exams will proceed to Academy 1 where they will receive training on football and lessons for the SAT exams simultaneously. Students who successfully pass the main SAT exams will then be selected for scholarship processing into American universities.

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08055829770 ifeduz24@yahoo.com

Afolabi vows to knockout Huck

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BO Interim cruiserweight champion, Ola Afolabi (19-2-4, 9 KOs) says he is capable of recording a knockout against Cruiserweight champion, Marco Huck (35-2-1, 25 KOs) when they meet on June 8 at MaxSchmeling-Halle in Berlin, Germany. The two cruiserweight champions are meeting for the third time. In their first meeting, Huck recorded unanimous points’ decision over Afolabi while their second fight in May last year ended in a draw. According to the 33-yearold boxer, he affirmed that

he has identified his weak points which made him not to finish up his opponent in their last fight, promising that he wants to end the fight as quickly as possible. “I am in real good shape because I started preparations for this fight since November last year. “I have also discovered what made me lose focus towards the end of our last fight that made Huck to run away with a draw, but he will not be lucky this time around because I want to end the fight as quickly as possible, probably through a knockout,” he said.

Ola Afolabi (right) exchanging blows with Marco Huck when they met last May in Germany

Mensah: Ajose can still win on noted that the boxer is still world title one of the best in the weight

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L-R: Former Eagles Captain, Segun Odegbami; Managing Director of Wakanow.com, Obinna Ekezie; Vice President and Area Business Head, West Africa, MasterCard, Omokehinde Ojomuyide; a guest; and ex Super Eagles Captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, at the UEFA Champions League 2013 final fan viewing experience hosted by MasterCard at the Eko Hotel Conference Centre, Lagos.

AJC: Oduduru optimistic of victory

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ivine Oduduru, a 100m and 200m male gold medallist at the maiden Africa Youth Athletics Championships (AYAC) in Warri, yesterday said that Nigeria would excel at the 11th Africa Junior Championship. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the championship would hold from June 27 to June 30 in South Africa. Oduduru told NAN on telephone that with the calibre of athletes already in camp for the

championship, the country would definitely emerge tops at the meet. The 17-year-old SS2 student of West End Secondary School, Asaba, won the 100m and the 200m races at 10.63 and 21.53 seconds respectively at AYAC. “I am certain that with more training we will emerge winners at the championship. Looking at those called to camp and with our performance in Warri, I am sure we will emerge winners,” Oduduru said.

L-R: Regional Distribution Manager South-East, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Francis Nnaike, Team Captain Shooting Stars of Ezeagu, Enugu State, Eze Remigius, Coach Enugu Rangers International Football Club, Mr.Okey Emordi and Manager Mass Market Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Nnamdi Ezeani during Etisalat Easy Starter Football Fiesta in Enugu.

eteran boxing coach, Joe Mensah, believes that former mandatory challenger for the WBC light welterweight title, Segun Ajose, is still capable of winning a world title if given the necessary support and financial backing by government and well meaning individuals in the country. He told our correspondent that Ajose who last year lost to Lucas Matthysse of Argentina for the WBC light welterweight interim champi-

category, but needs encouragement to succeed. “I want to tell you that Segun Ajose despite his last year’s loss to Matthysse, is a world class boxer and one of the best fighters in the light welterweight category. “He still has his eyes on the world title and I believe that if given the necessary encouragement and financial support, he will win a world title for the country,” Mensah affirmed.

WBC sets up foundation fund

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he World Boxing Council (WBC) and the Nevada Community Foundation has announced the formation of the WBC Boxers’ Foundation Fund. The Fund represents WBC President Jose Sulaiman’s lifetime dream of creating a well-funded vehicle to assist boxers in need. “Generations have grown up watching these great boxers becoming our heroes; they gave their hearts to our beloved sport. We all dream to be like them, and now is time to give them something back,” the WBC President said while launching the fund. According to a statement from the WBC, the fund’s $1 million take off grant was raised in conjunction with Swiss watchmaker (Hublot) and it will be administered by the Nevada Community Foundation. It also stated that eligible

WBC President, Jose Sulaiman

boxers to the fund includes all former title holders of any WBC world, regional, national or minor belt and non- title holders who have made significant strides toward the glory of the sport and will cover such needs as housing, basic living expenses, medical insurance and payment of medical costs not covered by insura


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Del Potro: I like football more than tennis While Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are the undisputed top four in world tennis, not far behind them stands a 24-year-old Argentinian by the name of Juan Martin del Potro, who has both the game and the stature to look the leading quartet in the eye. Seventh in the current ATP Rankings, a bronze medallist at last year’s London Olympics and a US Open champion at the age of 19, the 6’4-tall Del Potro spoke to FIFA.com at his training base in Buenos Aires on his passion for football.

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s there a place for football in your hectic playing schedule? Absolutely! It’s the number-one for me. I really love it. I watch football in my spare time and I play it with my friends too. I don’t get a lot of free time in Buenos Aires, but we’ve got some teams set up in Tandil and every time I go there for a few days we have a few games before the sun goes down or before a barbecue. I follow Boca Juniors closely but I like all types of football to be honest, and when I’m in Argentina I can see a bit more of the team I support. Football and a barbecue: is that a typical day with your friends? We have a game at about six or seven in the evening and we play for an hour on a seven- or nine-a-side pitch. We don’t play on a full-size pitch because you have to run around a lot and I already do plenty of that when I play tennis (laughs). The winners don’t have to do anything later. The losing team has to set the table, do the shopping and the barbecue and tidy everything up afterwards. In Tandil we’ve got really good salamis and cheeses and the losing team always has to do the snacks as well. We stay up late and have a really good time. Which position do you play in? With your height are you a centre-half or centreforward? Centre-forward. I’ve enjoyed playing there since I was a kid. I used to play a lot in the centre of defence too. I liked the position with all the passing and running. I ended up playing up front though and the fact is I love the game. Actually I like it even more than tennis, which is like a job to me now. I still have this desire deep down to play a competitive match for any club that will have me when I finish my tennis career. I want to experience that intensity and play for points, which is what I did when I was young. Which club did you play for? I played for Independiente de Tandil and we were always fighting for the title.

We played in a lot of regional and national competitions, where we came up against the likes of Boca, Newell’s, Colon, Racing Club and Independiente. You can imagine how big the gap was between us and big teams like them but I just thought it was fantastic. You’d play Boca and they were all there in their matching kit and boots and with the same balls, and there we were with the little bit of kit we had. We were kids living a dream, though. When I was about 12 or 13 I had to choose between tennis and football and I went for tennis. How difficult was it for you to make that choice? Really, really hard. My football coach spoke a lot with my tennis coach. Neither of them wanted to let me go, and the fact is I always liked football more. The decision came about, though, because there was a very important football tournament at the same time as a South American championship for 12-year-olds in Brazil. As I’d never been out of the country, I said: ‘I’m going to Brazil to play tennis.’ It was the first time I’d been on a plane and my first tennis tournament and I ended up being the best player. That came as a complete surprise for everyone, for my family and my coach. When I got back they said I had a chance of making it and that it would be difficult for me to carry on playing both sports, which meant I had a decision to make. I said tennis, and I spent three of four months just playing that. Then I said to myself: ‘No, it’s football for me.’ So I put the racket away, carried on with my studies at school and played nothing else but football. That’s the way things were till I was nearly 14, which is when I lost enthusiasm for it and felt something for tennis instead. So I got my head down and devoted myself to tennis. Do you think you would have had a good career if you’d stuck with football? From what they said when I was a boy, yes. They said I was like Marangoni (Claudio, who played for Independiente and Boca in the 1980s) because of my physique

Juan Martin del Potro showing off his football skills.

and the way I played. But then I started growing and I wasn’t as nimble on my feet. That’s why they put me up front. I loved playing football. I’d kick a ball against a wall for an hour before tennis training and afterwards I’d spend another hour playing football. Some of my team-mates from back then play in the Argentino A (the national third tier) for Independiente. I don’t know if I’d have made it with Boca or another big team but I definitely would have made it with them. What’s your first football memory? Kid’s tournaments that we played on five-a-side pitches, when I was about 8 or 9 and already playing against kids who were a couple of years older. I’d be wearing football kit every weekend from eight in the morning through to nine at night, playing match after match. Did you go to sleep wearing your Boca jersey? Yes, yes. I was all ready the day before.

I had my boots at the ready and my grandfather would get me a ball. I had the lot. I remember a funny incident when I was about 11 or 12, playing in a tournament in Tandil. The parents of the opposing players were saying: ‘That kid’s really big. We should check his papers’. They’d hit all these crosses and I’d head or kick the ball away further than anyone, and really hard too. People would always talk about whether I was older than I said I was. Why Boca? Because of my grandfather. There are a lot of Boca fans in my family, my dad included. When you’re young you start supporting a club even though you don’t understand that much, and then you start to watch more and more games. I caught Boca’s most successful era and that’s when I became a real fan. I was lucky enough to meet a lot of the players and to become friends with some of the club’s legends. For me as a fan and a person it doesn’t get any better than that.

I LIKE IT EVEN MORE THAN TENNIS, WHICH IS LIKE A JOB TO ME NOW. I STILL HAVE THIS DESIRE DEEP DOWN TO PLAY A COMPETITIVE MATCH FOR ANY CLUB THAT WILL HAVE ME WHEN ISH MY TENNIS CAREER.

Del Potro

I FIN-


Sunday Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Sport

Sunday June e 2,

Reina tipped as next Barca keeper

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arcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has targeted Liverpool’s Pepe Reina as the man to take over the No. 1 jersey at the Nou Camp. Valdes, a target for the likes of Arsenal and Monaco, announced on Friday that he will stay with the Spanish champions for another season before moving on for a new challenge and pinpointed fellow La Masia graduate Reina as a potential replacement.

EURO BRIEFS

Mourinho thanks Real fans ose Mourinho has broken his silence at Real J Madrid to wish the club happiness in the future. The Portuguese will leave the Bernabeu after a colourful three-year stay in charge after winning the hearts of the Madrid fans with a Copa del Rey and Primera Division win, but his third and final season has been a testing one.

“Pepe is an international keeper who has shown his quality,” Valdes said. “He knows the club. We were here together in the past - he is a good friend of mine. He is a very valid keeper to play ay at any club in the world, including Barcelona.” Valdes dismissed claims ms that yesterday’s La Liga game ame with Malaga was his last and nd that he “owed it to the club” to stay on for another year. In February, current Barcelona reserve goalkeeper Jose Pinto, 37, extended his contract and tied himselff to the club until June 2014. Reina

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Grenier drops Arsenal hint

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yon midfielder Clement Grenier claims to know who he will be joining this summer, and has hinted at a move to Arsenal. The 22-year-old has been linked with the Gunners for some time, while Liverpool and Juventus are also said to be closely monitoring his situation in France. Lyon are reluctant to part with the services of a key performer in their present and future, but would struggle to turn down a sizeable approach. Grenier, who has been

called up to the senior France squad for the first time, has revealed that he expects to be on his way to pastures new. He has stopped short of revealing the identity of his next club, but admits a switch to the Premier League would appeal. “I have more or less made a decision about which club I want to join,” said Grenier. “I have made the choice for sporting reasons above all. Arsenal? It could well be them.”

anchester City are planning to hold contract extension discussions with defenders Pablo Zabaleta and Micah Richards. City have worked hard over recent months to tie key men down on fresh terms, with the likes of Yaya Toure and David Silva committing their longterm futures to the club. The Blues intend to continue pressing ahead with those talks, which is it important for them to keep the ‘core’ of their squad intact. Chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak has revealed that he hopes to have further positive news to report on the contract front in the near future. Richards and Zabaleta are among those set to be presented with new deals, with the defensive duo considered to be important assets heading forward. “There are other players coming soon - Zabale-

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hoever is appointed as the new manager at Manchester City has been told that he will be expected to challenge on multiple fronts. Blues chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak,

he German Football Association (DFB) has confirmed the cities of Munich and Berlin have put forward their candidature to host games at EURO 2020. Munich’s Allianz Arena and the Olympiastadion in the capital are both potential venues for the Europe-wide event in seven years’ time, and the

DFB will now examine its dossiers before deciding which of the two to recommend to UEFA as Germany’s candidate city. Germany is to apply for both packages available for games, the first of which includes three group games and a semifinal and the second involving both semi-finals and the final.

“With these two cities, we have two very strong candidates,” DFB general secretary Helmut Sandrock said. “Both have proven in the past they are excellent venues for big football events. “The DFB will now examine very closely which of the two venues we will put forward to UEFA.”

who hopes to have the coaching void at the Etihad Stadium filled inside the next two weeks, claims the club must challenge for every trophy available to them.

Vilanova dismisses Cruyff calls

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ta, Micah Richards,” AlMubarak said. “We’ll make sure these players stay as part of the future at City because they are really the core of this team. As much as we need to continue to invest in this team, we also need to invest in the core foundation of the team, which is these players.”

Vilanova

arcelona coach Tito Vilanova says he will definitely be in charge of the team next season despite calls for him to resign. Barca legend Johan Cruyff had told the media that Vilanova should step down and focus on his health, but Vilanova said he had no intention of relinquishing his post.

Nistelrooy praises ‘top class’ RVP

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ormer Manchester United star Ruud van Nistelrooy has praised striker Robin van Persie for his excellent first season at the club. Van Persie enjoyed a superb campaign, finding the net 30 times in all competitions for the Old Trafford outfit after joining from Arsenal last August and helping them to the Premier League title.

Van Persie

Zanetti: Mazzarri the right man for Inter

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Zabaleta

Munich, Berlin bid for EURO 2020

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Mourinho

City: We must win everything

Zabaleta, Richards to earn new City deals

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Munich’s Allianz Arena staged the final of the UEFA Champions League last year while the Olympiastadion will hold UEFA’s showpiece club event in 2015. Both stadiums were venues during the 2006 FIFA World Cup with Munich hosting the opening match and Berlin staging the final, which was won by Italy.

Zanetti

avier Zanetti is confident that Walter Mazzarri has what it takes to help Inter back to the top after a disappointing 2012-13 campaign. The Giuseppe Meazza side had to settle for ninth spot in the Serie A table this term and consequently parted company with coach Andrea Stramaccioni, before hiring the former Napoli boss.

Heskey: Liverpool must keep Suarez

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ormer Liverpool ace and Newcastle Jets striker Emile Heskey insists Luis Suarez must stay at Liverpool despite recent comments to the Uruguayan press claiming that he is ready to leave the club. Heskey, 35, admits Suarez has caused problems through a number of incidents this campaign but believes he remains a ‘massive asset’ to the Reds.

Suarez


N I G E R I A

N2.6

Vol. 3 No. 25

Sunday, June 2, 2013

www.nationalmirroronline.net

trn, amount the Director-General of NEMA, Muhammed Sani-Sidi, said Nigeria lost to 2012 flood N150 disaster.

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F I G U R E S

bn, sum the CBN N700 Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, disclosed as

what FG borrowed in securities in four months.

Politics again takes centre stage

Back Page

Comment

E-mail: nwaunah@yahoo.com Unah is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Lagos

with Jim Unah

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take time away from the discourse on the single tenure system to zero in on the illegitimate contraption and distraction called the Nigerian Governors Forum-NGF; which election to select a chairman, penultimate weekend, ended in a fiasco and the final polarisation of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party-PDP; much to the admiration of opposition political parties and the less discerning section of the press and the general public. People are commenting glibly on the authenticity of Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s victory, which does not appear dubious to me, on account of the excellent reportage of the event by the print and electronic media; as if it really mattered which of the two gangs of the PDP emerged victorious in the selection of the helmsman of the governors’ gossip and scheming appurtenance. For the motley fraternity of political opposition now contracting a pact to compel the ouster of the ruling party, the huge crack evident in the PDP from that electoral outing is welcome as it enhances optimism that the coffin of the country’s political incubus will be nailed finally in 2015. For the PDP, the Chibuike Amaechi electoral victory at the NGF is a giant killer and one embarrassment too many, and the party

responded promptly with the immediate sack of the man they perceive as a Judas and prodigal politician masquerading as a national hero and messiah. Unbeknownst to the PDP, it would not have mattered to the discerning Nigerian whether the NGF Chairmanship was clinched by an Amaechi or a Jonah Jang. It is six the one, half a dozen the other. For the discerning public, until the re-incarnation of a Jerry Rawlings on the nation’s political scene, nothing would stop the dog from guzzling and reveling in faeces. Neither the Amaechi nor the Jang faction of the NGF has any legitimate claim to state authority; both on account of the fact that the organ itself-NGF-is not a creation of law and largely because the entire political class, and that includes the emerging fraternity of opposition parties, has mortally wounded the very people on whose back they rode to power. The political class as state actors have plundered the nation’s treasury and completely rendered the country into a failed, renter, state essentially lacking in life enhancing and development enabling infrastructure and amenities for the people. By their greed and corruption, the politicians have made criminals of an otherwise resilient and hard working people; turning the young active population into thugs for rigging elections and snatching ballot boxes, then using them as assassins to wipe off political opponents and obstacles, later turned into kidnappers and armed robbers whenever vacancy did not exist for the dirty politically insured jobs, and finally into the much dreaded suicide bombers. As the Boko Haram is causing mayhem in the north-east, so are kidnappers and armed robbers turning life into a hell for the unob-

trusive, law-abiding members of the public, all over the country. No state of the federation, where the governors are in charge, can boast of good, motor-able, roads; and the parlous state of road infrastructure is such that the number of road accidents recorded daily nationwide, with their casualties, frequently out-number the fatalities wrecked by the insurgents in the northern states now fighting, for reasons not known to anyone, against their fatherland. And none of the states, where the garrulous governors claim to be lords, can provide regular electric power—a major infrastructure--on which depends the economic and industrial development of modern nation states. Yet, the gullible, funny, section of the press and the public are busy clapping for the charade of the political class, whose interest is only in the acquisition of political power, to sustain a decadent system of rewards for sycophants, charlatans, assassins, and political jobbers; not for the committed, hard working Nigerian worker and conscientious objectionor. Which of the state governors has respected the constitutional status of the local governments to function as independent, third tier of government, designed to uplift the fortunes of the grassroots? None. In what area of national development and people empowerment have the governors demonstrated that they are working for the people that elected them? Are the local government elections conducted in Edo and Lagos states called elections in the true sense of the word? Is it only the elections conducted and supervised from the centre that the principles of free and fair election are supposed to apply? Where is democratic practice in the

W/Cup qualifier: Supporters clubs mobilise for ‘Battle of Nairobi’

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he Nigeria Football Supporters club and others sports’ clubs yesterday said they would on June 4 join hundreds of its members in the Diaspora in Nairobi for the 2014 World Cup return-leg qualifiers. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Super Eagles return-leg against Kenya would hold on June 5, in Nairobi. The Eagles were forced to a 1-1 draw by the Harambee Stars in the first leg of the qualifiers played on March 23 in Calabar, Cross River. Mr. Samuel Ikpea, the Secretary of the club, revealed in Lagos that the members planned to be in Nairobi on June 4 for adequate preparation ahead of the qualifier on June 5.

“We had concluded preparations for the return leg. We had contacted our members in other African countries to be in Nairobi in large number for the return-leg. “Members from Ghana, South Africa, Tunisia and others, had assured us that they will be in Kenya to cheer the African Champions to victory at the second-leg,” he said. He said that the club planned to mobilise large numbers of its members because of the situation surrounding the return leg. Nigeria is in Group B of the World Cup qualifiers alongside Malawi, Namibia and Kenya. Nigeria is currently topping the group’s table with five points from three matches. Won its first match 1-0 against

Namibia, drew its second 1-1 against Malawi and also drew the third 1-1 against Kenya. “Although, Nigeria is leading in Group B, the return leg against Kenya is crucial because it is a must win for the Eagles for consolidation in the group. “The club is also worried of any antics and pranks that the Harambee Stars could manifest during the encounter. “We are not frightened of their antics or pranks, but we still need to mobilise adequate support for the Eagles to triumph,” he said. The secretary, however, urged the team’s handlers and players to be determined, courageous and focused for the match, stressing that their opponent could be tricky.

devious handling and suffocation of the local governments by the state governors? Why is it that in the matter of plotting to frustrate and unseat the Presidency that the Amaechi-led faction of the NGF should be saluted for upholding the ethos of democracy? How many of the state governments have concretely addressed the problem of power which affects the life of every Nigerian? What have the governors done to address the pandemic of massive youth and graduate unemployment threatening the implosion of the Nigerian State? When is the Nigerian State going to stand up to the debilitating problem of national infrastructure development? Must we spend all our lives, all our time, and all our resources on the struggle for political power that never translates to improved living conditions for the people? The governors’ power, which they wield, is not for the benefit of Nigerians. The Chairmanship of the NGF has become a parallel presidency; and an organ for arm-twisting the central government to concede more resources to the states, which the governors never use, at any rate, to improve the lot of the people. Once a central government is formed, the governors’ gang has no business working at cross-purposes with national development projects such as road or electric power infrastructure. Nor do they really develop democratic institutions by sponsoring insurgency against the state to create enough confusion to wrest power from the centre. Once you set that sort of “do or die” political culture of destructive opposition to state power in motion, no one else can reverse the trend, unless by a major putsch or social rebellion.

CAF Confed Cup: Rangers in survival battle against Sfaxien

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INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY RESULT

Mexico 2-2 Nigeria INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY FIXTURES

Today’s Matches Lesotho v South Africa 15:00 Sudan v Tanzania 17:00 Algeria v Burkina Faso 18:00 Rep. of Ireland v Georgia 18:30 Ukraine v Cameroon 20:00 United States v Germany 20:30 Brazil v England 21:00 Honduras v Israel 23:30 Monday, June 3, 2013 Estonia v Belarus 19:00

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