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BDSUNDAY BUSINESS DAY

Eterna, Forte Oil top as 22 firms’ costs of sales rise to N800bn at half-year 2018 p. 35

‘Odun Isu’ returns after 120 years in Ile-Ife

??EPL summer transfer spending

falls first time since 2010 p.48p.

p. 38

Sunday 12 August 2018 Market & Commodities Monitor Brent Oil

5yr Bond

$72.10

0.24 13.99%

Gold

10yr Bond

$1,211.63

0.15 14.47%

Cocoa

$2,129.00

20yr Bond

0.00 14.17%

inside Nigeria is a huge market for fake prophets because most people are gullible – Apostle Elo

Vol 1, No. 229 N300

I can’t support an 18th Century president – Afegbua

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Owede Agbajileke, Abuja assim Afegbua, national publicity secretary of the ReformedAll Progressives Congress (RAPC), has vowed he would never lend his support to anything that could ensure the return of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. Afegbua, who appears to be regretting ever joining the APC, accused the presi-

dent of “sleeping” too much in the face of daunting challenges that need urgent and decisive action. “It’s about the governance of the country and I have told them pointedly that I can’t support an Eighteenth Century President when there are options elsewhere for the good of the country,” he said. Afegbua, who spoke in an exclusive interview with BDSUNDAY, said he was not surprised at the state of affairs in the country

under President Buhari’s watch. “The president told us categorically that his doctors advised him to eat more and sleep more. This country needs a man who is awake when the country is sleeping. This country needs a president that has his hands on every pie to give presidential verdict on issues, to give presidential intervention when crisis occurs, so that the country as a

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p. 16

There is a media gang-up to promote hip hop above other music genres – Orits Wiliki Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, flanked by Emma Okah (l), commissioner for Information and Strategy; John Osadolor (2nd l), deputy editor, (commercial) BusinessDay; Ignatius Chukwu (2nd r), general manager, business development (South); and Zebulon Agomuo, editor, BDSUNDAY, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, recently.

Maggi, salt, onions for votes in Kogi p. 20-21

Saraki-led Senate has made governance of the country difficult Ologunde

p. 28

as INEC conducts by-elections in Katsina, Bauchi, Kogi, C/River PDP calls for poll cancellation in Kogi By Our Reporters

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nlike in the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State where money was used to induce voters to vote for particular candidates, the by-election in the Lokoja/Kogi/Koton

Karfe Federal Constituency of Kogi State yesterday witnessed the sharing of salt, onions and Maggi to voters. The items were packaged in customized bags with the name and picture of a particular candidate and shared out to voters at several polling units.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday conducted four by-elections to fill vacancies in the Kastina North and Bauchi South Senatorial districts, as well as in Lokoja/Kogi/Koton Karfe Fed-

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Controversy Oshiomhole Vs Saraki: Playing acrobatic with ‘impeachment’ James Kwen, Abuja

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dams Oshiomhole, All Progressives Congress (APC) national chairman and Bukola Saraki, president of the Senate, are waging a fierce war of words over the unsettled dust of defections sweeping across the Nigerian political firmament. The two Nigeria’s political gladiators have been engaged in accusations and political verbal battle with each, describing themselves in lewd terms. Oshiomhole, while addressing a press conference at the APC National Secretariat Abuja, accused Saraki of political sabotage against APC, the party that catapulted him to the exalted position of the Senate President. He asked Saraki to tow the path of honour and resign his position or face impeachment based on moral, democratic and legal ethos. The APC National Chairman, who compared the recent defection of the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio from People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) to APC in which he wrote to inform the PDP even before his defection that he was resigning said, “Senator Saraki has demonstrated neither character nor being a man of honour.” “I told him when we held a meeting that he came to join the APC as a Senator and it is on our platform that you became Senate President. Once you made up your mind to leave, the honourable thing to do is to resign as Senate President. “If he does not resign, he will be impeached according to law and not by thuggery or by mob or anything undemocratic. He cannot sustain a minority rule in the Senate and that is what is haunting him in the Senate. “When I say that the Senate President will be impeached, let me emphasise that he will be impeached properly according to law. The constitution is clear how a presiding officer can be impeached and because several impeachments have taken place, we are not about to witness what has not taken place before,” he said. According to Oshiomhole, “We have enough precedent to fall back on. I have looked at the constitution which does not say that an impeachment is illegal. It is done; you cannot arrive at the conclusion that it is unlawful. How can we be accused of planning an illegal impeachment when it has not commenced. “If he thinks that by saying that he will pre-empt the APC from having him impeached, he is deceiving himself. I think that the time of Saraki is over. The way he has manipulated the politics of Kwara State, he fails to understand that the Nigerian project is far more complicated than being at the mercy of his own dynasty.” The former Edo State governor boasted that Saraki, would not only be impeached but APC would work hard to have him defeated as a Senator in his own Senatorial zone come 2019 by the people of Kwara State who are fed up with him. Oshiomhole said: “Go and check the results of the elections that made him a Senator and you will find out that the President got more votes from Kwara Central than Saraki got for himself. So, he

Oshiomhole

can’t claim that the vote the APC got from his Senatorial zone was because of him. “That is why his leaving is of no political consequences as far as electoral issues are concerned. We tried to talk to him, not out of fear, but out of conviction that as a presiding officer, there are rules of engagement.” While dismissing the alleged impeachment plot against Saraki during the last Tuesday siege on the National Assembly, Oshiomhole said: “There is the futile attempt he has made to suggest that the Tuesday’s incidence was an attempt to carry out an illegal impeachment”. “How can a presiding officer arrive at such a conclusion that there was a plan to carry out an illegal impeachment? Until an action takes place, you cannot determine the outcome, if impeachment itself is unlawful, then you can understand where he is coming from. “It is lawful to impeach anyone, including the President, the Senate and his deputy if the number required to do so is present. So, he cannot pre-empt that. From their own statement, they claimed to be aware that the Senate President was going to be illegally impeached and so mobilised thugs to the Senate,” he further said. The APC national chairman also said: “They told the world that they have adjourned till 25th September. But meanwhile, about 15 PDP Senators were in the Senate and imported thugs that molested two of our members they saw in the Senate. If APC senators were not in the Senate and it was PDP senators that were there, what is the basis of the false claim that there was an attempt to carry out an illegal impeachment? “In any case, Saraki is not going to be the first Senate President to be impeached and I doubt if he is going to be the last. But

Saraki

definitely, he will be impeached according to law and democratic norms. The only way he can avoid impeachment is for him to do what is honourable.” Apparently not allowing Oshiomhole to think he has a superior argument on the issue of impeachment, Bukola Saraki, through his aide, decided to chip in some words, pointedly telling the former labour leader that his proposition amounted to “wishful thinking”. “It is rather surprising that Mr. Adams Oshiomhole is behaving like a rain-beaten chicken, crying all over the place as if the Senate President is the apparition haunting his life and the sinking ship that he captains,” a statement authored and signed by by Yusuph Olaniyonu, special adviser on Media and Publicity to the Senate President, said. It further said: “We would not like to be involved in any meaningless exchange with the demagogue now in charge of APC. However, because he claimed that he was reacting to the issues raised by the Senate President during his World Press Conference, we thought it necessary to give the APC chairman some attention. “Alas, we found that instead of addressing any issue raised by the Senate President, his press conference merely showcased his obsession and those of his sponsors with Saraki’s removal, which he did without any decorum befitting of his age or his awarded office. He brimmed with hate, hurled abuses, threw tantrums, told lies, huffed, puffed. In the end, he said nothing. “It is indeed amazing that the same Oshiomhole, who is now describing Saraki as a politician of no consequence was the same one who only a few months ago was crawling all over the place pleading for Saraki’s support to become chairman. We are sure that those who took him to Saraki

several times to plead his case must now be thoroughly embarrassed by his reckless and uncouth manner.” The Senate President’s aide further said: “The position of Oshiomhole and his cohorts in the APC that the Senate President must resign is a mere wishful thinking. They will continue to dream about their planned removal of the Senate President. They will need 73 Senators to lawfully remove Dr. Saraki and they will never get that in the present eight Senate. “What hypocrisy! To think that this same APC were jubilating when Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal retained his position after he defected from the PDP and still retained his seat, even when his new party was in the minority. These are people whose standards of morality are infinitely elastic. “We need to inform this divisive element who now leads APC that if he wants to know why the 2018 budget was delayed, he should ask the heads of the MDAs. We reckon that should be easy for him since he is now their ‘headmaster’, moving around with canes to whip ministers into line. “Oshiomhole once again demonstrated his lack of sense of history by talking of Buhari winning more votes in Kwara than Saraki. We are sure President Buhari himself will disagree with the APC chairman. We invite the APC chairman to look at the figures of votes secured by the President in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 to know that the difference is clear, like a commercial advert stated. “We hereby assure this garrulous, tactless and reckless APC chairman that a million of Adams Oshiomhole cannot remove Saraki as Senate President. His illegal plots, can only feed his insatiable ego and keep him awake at nights. But it will remain exercise in futility.”


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News NIM adopts People’s Trust as platform for 2019 contest …Denies coalition with PDP Inibong Iwok

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he Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM) has adopted its alternate political platform, People’s Trust (PT), as its anchor political party for the 2019 general election. NIM, which is an umbrella mass movement and rainbow political formation of fresh breed political leaders in the country, also sees itself as the ‘third force’ movement which has been mobilising to dislodge power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). The movement had earlier in March this year, at its national summit, initiated a grand political alliance with some opposition political parties in the country ahead of the elections.

However, this latest development follows the emergence of Olisa Agbakoba, Senior Advocate of Nigerian (SAN) and Abduljalil Tafawa Balewa, as the National Chairperson and Board of Trustees Chairperson, respectively of the new mega political party, People’s Trust (PT). In a statement by the group and signed by its media Assistant, Olubori Isah Obafemi, it stated that the new alliance would replace the group’s earlier collaboration with the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), which was provisionally endorsed by the movement earlier in June this year. In an address to NIM stakeholders in a statement from London, United Kingdom yesterday, Co -Chair of NIM, Olisa Agbakoba, said that NIM grand political

I can’t support ... Continued from Page 1

whole will know that there is a president that was voted for and elected to represent their wishes and aspirations,” Afegbua said. “Now we have a president who sleeps more and eats more. And yet, you want Nigerians to move at the pace of that president. It can’t work. “India grows at night. Why is it so? It was a deliberate policy for them to run a 24-hour economy. But when you now have a president who sleeps at night, and whose doctors say he should eat more and sleep more, how can you apply such a president to come and heal the wounds of a country that is in serious crisis?” he said. Describing the Buhari administration as “a complete failure”, the former commissioner said the administration has not

Afegbua

been able to deliver on the primary responsibility of government, which is protection of lives and property, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). “We are saying that this was not what we promised Nigerians. We have a manifesto with restructuring as an item, with solid health facilities, with new generation education, revamping our economy and all of that. But the manifesto has been put aside. “So, we are now running the country that when they dream in the night, they want to translate it into practice during the day. No country runs in that manner. And insecurity in the country is becoming alarming. Rather than having opportunities for young men and women, there are job losses,” he said.

alliance will strive hard to achieve substantial merger of more fresh breed political parties, aspirants, while aligning with the People’s Trust towards achieving NIM’s ballot-based, PVC’s revolution for Nigeria in 2019. Agbakoba stressed that the spate of cross-carpeting and defections among the present political class in the country and the systematic slide of democracy into a police state in Nigeria has validated NIM’s raison detre for facilitating urgent rescue intervention in the affairs of the country by fresh breed leaders in the third force movement. Speaking further, Agbakoba noted that the grand alliance initiated by NIM with 45 other political parties under the aegis of Coalition for New Nigeria (CNN)

Agbakoba

Balewa

that led to the formation of Coalition for United Political Parties (CUPP), adding that NIM is not in any direct union with either the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) or the ruling APC.

“Within the next couple of months,wearedeterminedto change the course of history in Nigeria as well as the country’s political narratives, from the negative to the positive, which was why we encour-

aged the birth of Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP in the first place; as CUPP was an initiative jointly facilitated with a group of 45 political parties operating under the auspices of Coalition for New Nigeria (CNN).” The statement further said: “So, we, in the NIM, are essentially in a principled union with other like-minded platforms to be able to effectively raise the bar for civic responsibility among fellow citizens, especially the Youths, Professionals and the grassroots, so as to bring issues of good governance, rule of law and economic prosperity of our people to the fore, while making Nigerians to realise the power of their PVCs and votes. This is the whole logic for facilitating alliances, coalition and merger towards the 2019 elections”

Maggi, salt, onions for votes... Continued from Page 1

eral Constituency of Kogi State and Obudu Constituency in Cross River State. The election in the Lokoja/Kogi/Koton Karfe Federal Constituency of Kogi State commenced on a peaceful note as early as 8am amid huge voter turnout, as electoral officials arrived early with materials in most of the polling units. Despite the presence of security operatives, however, the election was characterized by violence, intimidation, ballot snatching and vote buying. Violence broke out in some polling units where thugs invaded some units to cart away the ballot boxes. The election led to the death of a thug who died during a scuffle with some voters while trying to snatch a ballot box at the NEPA polling unit. Two agents of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) were reportedly shot inside their vehicle along Federal Medical Centre road in Lokoja by suspected political thugs allegedly working for the ruling APC in the state. They victims were, however, immediately taken to an unknown hospital for treatment. At Paparanda Square, INEC staff fled the polling unit for safety due to con-

fusion created by sporadic gunshots by security men attached to a government official. The official was alleged to be going from one polling units to another in Lokoja when he was confronted by youths who questioned the legality of his action. Bashir Abubakar, the candidate of the PDP, complained of intimidation and harassment of voters by some political appointees of the state government. Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP national publicity secretary, in a series of tweets accused APC of voter inducement. “Another @OfficialAPCNg agent engaging in see and buy elections by writing names of APC voters while SARS operatives look on unconcerned. The police is definitely complicit in the rigging process..its a field day affair for APC for angwan kura polling unit #LokojaKotoDecides,” he tweeted via his handle @officialKolaO. “A serving Kogi House of Assembly member Idris Ndako is on ground brazenly using political thugs and fake @inecnigeria observers to buy votes and change results,” he further tweeted. Meanwhile, the Kogi State Chapter of the PDP has called for the cancel-

lation of the by-election due to electoral irregularities. It specifically called for cancellation of polls in Paparanda, St. Mary, Adankolo, Crowther, citing snatching of ballot boxes. Ahead of the election, Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello had alleged that the PDP had imported thugs to disrupt the exercise. He had specifically accused two former governors of the state, Ibrahim Idris and Idris Wada, of spearheading the agenda. In Bauchi, some voters in the Sabongari polling unit of Dot ward in Dass Local Government Area reportedly protested over mix-up in their voter register. A NAN correspondent covering the election reported that immediately accreditation started, names of those who registered in that polling unit could not be traced. When it became clear that there was a mix-up, they were advised to check another polling unit, resulting in murmurs from the voters, who later started shouting in anger to express their disappointment. Ahead of the election, four governors of the ruling APC were in Bauchi to drum up support for the party’s candidate, Lawal Yahaya Gumau. Zamfara State Governor

Abdullazeez Yari, who is also chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), led his colleagues Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong, Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu, and Jigawa State Governor Badaru Abubakar to the final campaign for Gumau. “Our message is simple. The Acting President is worried about what is going on in Bauchi State. He told us to tell you that it will be a shameful and disgraceful thing to us in the northern part of the Nigeria, with all the love being shown to Buhari in Bauchi State, for him to raise the hand of someone and endorse him, and he loses that election,” Yari told the electorate. In Cross River, the state governor, Ben Ayade, described the Obudu State constituency by-election as a referendum on his administration. The governor said this at Kakum Town Hall polling unit, Obudu, after casting his vote in his polling unit. “At this point, I am very impressed with INEC. The card reader just read my card at the first instance. Everybody is getting accredited by 10.30 this morning and voting is being done smoothly across the constituency. Everything is peaceful,” he said.


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News

Ripples in Rivers as EFCC begins clamp down on states’ accounts - Wike calls it ‘worst coup in Nigeria’ Ignatius Chukwu

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he clampdown on accounts of some state governments (Benue and Akwa Ibom so far) seems to cause ripples in Rivers State. The governor has reacted with a warning, calling the action the worst coup in the nation’s history. Rivers State may have big reason to fee worried. Right from the days of Peter Odili as governor of Rivers State, there has been a subsisting court order barring the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or any other security agencies from tampering or even investigating the financial transactions of the Rivers State government. The state government had dragged the EFCC then to court, saying the agency had no powers under the 1999 constitution to probe the finances of the state government, and that the task was that of the Rivers State House of Assembly. The court upheld that position and the officers of the Rivers State government thereafter, from Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to Nyesom Wike, have continued to wear that order like a shield. Gov Wike, who seems to be having a running batter with his predecessor now at the federal level, has always reiterated that court order at press briefings, saying until it is countered by a court of competent jurisdiction, Rivers State government is secure and untouchable by the EFFC. Some efforts have been made in the past to secure a higher order but it has not succeeded yet. Governors of the state have also ensured that the House of Assembly is always in close relationship with the executive for obvious reasons, since by law; it is the organ that could be used to get at the governor. Now, as the EFCC begins freezing of accounts of some state governments, the Rivers State Governor has reacted ferociously, declaring the action as nothing short of a coup. He described it as the worst coup since the return to democracy. He stated that there is no worse form of impunity than attempting

to cripple a tier of government simply because the Federal Government plans to attain unconstitutional political mileage. Speaking on national issues at the Government House Port Harcourt on Thursday, Governor Wike said that the ultimate target of the Federal Government is Rivers State, where they have already detailed the EFCC to carry out very unconstitutional activities. He said: “There is no worse impunity than for the EFCC to shutdown a tier of government through the freezing of the accounts of two State Governments. An agency of federal government has frozen the accounts of Akwa Ibom and Benue State Governments. This is the worst coup against the constitution and the law-abiding people of those states. But the target is not Benue or Akwa Ibom States. The real target is Rivers State. The EFCC as a federal agency has no business with State Funds. That is the responsibility of the State House of Assembly “. He said that Rivers State Government under former governor Odili obtained got a court judgment that the EFCC has no constitutional power to investigate state funds, pointing out that the EFCC is yet to vacate that order at a superior court. Governor Wike noted that the Federal Government has con-

tinued to use the EFCC for illegal actions in Rivers State, despite the Attorney General of Rivers State writing to the EFCC and attaching the said judgement against the Federal Agency. The FG is said to have intensified efforts to vacate that court order to enable their fingers get at the finances of the Rivers State government. Some opposition persons hinted that it may not take a very long time going forward. Governor Wike said that he was not moved by the sack of former Director General of DSS, noting that it was a function of internal politics. “If you are sacking Lawan Daura for coup at the National Assembly, what will you do with a man who overthrew two state governments through two separate coups?” he asked. Governor Wike added that the Federal Government has enthroned a culture of impunity using all security agencies to destroy democracy. He said: “The sack of the DG of DSS is mere internal politics. If not, even the Inspector General of Police has done worse. The Inspector General of Police invaded the Benue State House of Assembly. He also invaded the Rivers State High Court Complex. No action has been taken against the Inspector General of Police “.

Ex-Kogi governor, Idris, predicts brighter future for PDP Victoria Nnakaike, Lokoja

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ormer governor of Kogi State, Ibrahim Idris, has said that brighter future awaits the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election, saying that the failure of the present administration to bring smiles to the electorate informed his optimism. Idris stated this when spoke with newsmen in Lokoja, saying he hoped by the grace of God PDP was going to redeem the position looking at what is happening since the inception of the present admin-

Kogi bye-election turns violent, as thug allegedly kills self

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thug, allegedly hired by one of the contestants in the Lokoja/Kogi federal constituency bye-election, held yesterday, to snatch the ballot box at NEPA polling units in the bye-election in Kogi State, mistakenly killed himself. BDSUNDAY gathered that the thug had already carried the box when youths pounced on him to retrieve the box; no one knew he

had a gun in his pocket. It was gathered that as the youths were struggling to retrieve the box from him, the gun triggered off, killing him instantly. The election also witnessed a number of incidences of ballot box snatches from some polling booths. Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate, Umaru Imam Shafyi, was arrested and taken to Government House for interrogation.

Saraki, Kwankwaso, others should lose their seats - Arise YOMI AYELESO, Akure

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Governor Wike reacting to freezing of states’ accounts, saying Rivers is protected by a court order.

istration. “As far as I am concerned, there is a brighter future and I hope by God’s grace we will get there. We are going to redeem the position from what is happening. When you have two wives and you have tasted their soups at least you will be able to know which of the wives tastes better,” he said. Idris maintained that from his observations people are going to vote their conscience. On the issue of vote-buying, Idris said: “Naturally, it will happen and even if it happens, people know exactly what they want. They have tasted the two parties.”

chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State, Senator Ayo Arise has urged the leadership of the ruling APC to begin moves that would ensure members of the National Assembly who defected from the party lose their seats. Recall that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, former Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso and other high profile members of the party from the National Assembly had defected from ruling APC to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Arise, in an interview with our

correspondent, noted that there was no division or factions in the party that could warrant them, advising the party to move against all the defectors. Arise, who represented Ekiti North Senatorial District in the 6th Assembly, disclosed that the latest trend of defections in the legislature which he described as immoral where people took mandate of voters to another party, must be put to an end. He advised the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the APC to approach the Supreme Court and remove all the senators and House of Representatives members that have defected, saying the nation cannot survive with the current trend.

Osun guber: Group demands substitution of Adeleke’s governorship candidacy by PDP BOLADALE BAMIGBOLA, Osogbo

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group in Osun State called Osun State Coalition for Good Governance has urged the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to substitute the name of Senator Ademola Adeleke, claiming there are many alternatives. The group noted that the PDP may miss its chance to return to power after eight years on September 22 with its present flag

bearer, whom according to the group, does not have all it takes to be governor. It then vowed to mobilise electorate in the state against PDP, if the party goes ahead to field Senator Adeleke as its governorship candidate. Addressing newsmen in Osogbo, the Public Relationship Officer of the group, Akin Akinsope, on behalf of members, handed down the threat, adding that state did not need an incompetent governor at this time of its existence.

He said that Adeleke, who he claimed did not have a secondary school certificate, is not qualified to be entrusted with a very sensitive position of governor of a state. “We want to state our disappointment, perhaps the dissatisfaction of a huge number of Osun people towards the show of shame by the People’s Democratic Party in the state. “To say that we and of course the teeming population of people of Osun were well adjusted and

favourably disposed to the party as the only viable alternative is to state the obvious. “However, in the face of recent happenings, one wonders if the party is cursed to have ruined its brightest chance freely given by the people. Simply put, Osun wants PDP but that is provided the party fields a credible and acceptable candidate. “But in what looks like an insult on people’s sensibility and flagrant abuse of privilege in the face of several alternatives, the PDP

goofed and therefore, dashed people’s hope,” the group said. According to the group, “While we will not hesitate to mobilise massively against the party to save Osun from imminent predicament and danger in entrusting complicated responsibilities as the case of our state is, to unprepared individual, we warn the party to look inward before it is too late particularly in the interest of the people who believe in the party but will never settle for anything below Aregbesola’s stuff.”


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News Buhari to commission projects in Imo …As Okorocha says next governor will focus on industrialisation

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President Buhari

Stadium, Ministry of Happiness, ministry of Niger Delta of Ohaji, Okigwe General Hospital, Eastern Palm University, etc. Okorocha said that he would fulfil all his campaign promises before the current administration expires. According to him, the incoming governor would

Okorocha

have less to do except to build some industries because this administration has done nothing in the area of industrialisation. “The incoming governor will have nothing again to do except for industries; there will be less headache for the incoming governor so that there will be more money

for the incoming governor to save,” Governor Okorocha said. He insisted that his son in-law, Uche Nwosu will be the person to succeed him and that in 2019 he would be at the Senate to represent Orlu senatorial zone while Uche will take full charge in Imo state.

Drama as Ikuomola emerges Lagos Accord chairman …Promises to reposition party Iniobong Iwok

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here was mild drama weekend at the Lagos State congress of the Accord Party (AP), after disagreement erupted among party chieftains on the modalities for the conduct of the congress. Several party members had gathered at the party secretariat, along Lagos Abeokuta Expressway, to elect a new states and local government officials. However, some chieftains of the party including a defecting member of the House of Representatives from Mushin federal constituency1, Dauda Kakoare, insisted that some executives who had been suspended by the National executives of the party for various offends should not seek reelection, while also calling for a postponement of the congress.

SEYI JOHN SALAU

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SABY ELEMBA, Owerri

resident Muhammadu Buhari may at the end of this August visit Imo State to commission some of the projects executed by Imo State government led by Governor Rochas Okorocha. Governor Okorocha disclosed this in an interactive session with newsmen at the Government House, where almost all his commissioners were sited. The governor further stated that the President may also go to the People’s Republic of China for economic purposes. The projects to be commissioned include the new police headquarters built by this administration along Port Harcourt road, Owerri, Eze Imo Palace at the heart of the Municipal city, roads in the capital Owerri, done or retouched during the urban renewal programme, ministry of Agriculture building which has been moved to Ngor-Okpala LGA. Others include ministry of sports headquarters block and the Dan Anyiam

StarTimes signs MOU with foundation to enhance youth employability

However, a strong protest from delegates and other party members led to the continuation of the congress which subsequently lead to adoption of a unity list which led to the emergences of a third republic member of the

Ikuomola

House of Representatives, Femi Ikumola, has the new party chairman in the state, while Jide Oyetunde also became elected as the vice chairman. Other state executives are Lanre Ogundare, the state secretary, Waheed

Lamide, financial secretary and Isa Sodiq, publicity secretary and Adewale Kayode Apansile, youths’ leader, among others. Speaking shortly after the state congress, Ikumola said that Accord Party was the third force in the country that would challenge the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in next year’s general election. He promised to use his wealth of experience in politics to reposition the party in the state, while moving the state secretariat to a new location. “Accord Party is the third force in the country right now; we would challenge the ruling party in next year’s election. “I have been in politics since the Third Republic, having been a former member of the House of Representatives. I would reposition the party and bring all members together; my immediate plan is to take the party secretariat away from this place,” Ikuomola said.

tarTimes and SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will see the two organizations collaboratetowards supporting vulnerable families, with emphasis on the empowerment of young adults, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The MOU will see StarTimes support SOS Children’s Villages’ programmes in Nigeria, specifically in broadening local learning opportunities and extending diverse industry experiences to youths from SOS Children’s Villages programmes. This will include technical/ vocational skills training and mentorship, while driving access to digital television in the programmes and exposing beneficiaries to learnings on the StarTimes platform. Justin Zhang, chief executive officer of StarTimes Nigeria in statement said the company is committed to empowering African youths with the right skills-set to excel. “Since we commenced

providing affordable digital Pay-Tv in Nigeria, we have invested heavily in the development of youths and children in the country. “Partnering with SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria gives us a better opportunity to drive our CSR effort towards making Nigerian youth more competitive globally in their chosen career by affording them a quality learning ground,” said Zhang. Eghosa Erhumwunse, national director of SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria, said, “By partnering with StarTimes, SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria is helping to improve the lives of young people in the country and helping them realize and utilize their unique gifts, and this is in cognizance of the YouthCan project which was launched by SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria in 2017.” History have it that for young people in or coming out of alternative care, their first job is not only the first step towards independence but often a matter of survival; depicting the difference between an independent life lived with dignity and a life plagued with further difficulties.

Anyaoku advocates for creation of additional 18 states, 8 regions UDOKA AGWU, Umuahia.

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meka Anyaoku, a former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, has advocated for the creation of eight regions in the country based on the historical background of the various sections of the Nigeria. Anyaoku stated this in Umuahia, Abia State during the eight Chief Anyaoku Lecture series 2018. He said that presently, Nigeria is not working so well as it should be. “The leadership and structure cannot work in Nigeria. Without restructuring the country cannot work. I am saying so based on my experience working for Commonwealth of Nations numbering about 50 nations,” he said. “Character should form the country. Nigeria is not like United States of America and Egypt where immigrants operate and pay allegiance to these countries,” Anyaoku further said. “People in Nigeria had lived in their geographical areas for centuries; have different cultures and customs. We are trying to create a nation out of diversity. We should restructure so that states or nation can develop

at their own pace,” he said. He opined that while restructuring the country, former Midwest and Middle Belt should be carved to make up the eight geopolitical zones (Regions) Anyaoku further disclosed that the 1960-‘63 Constitution of the country would solve the problem of Nigeria. “With this composition, the security, economic, ethnic, among other problems would be solved. With eight regions, Nigeria will develop rapidly,” said the former diplomat. He also called for the creation of additional 18 states in the country. Onyema Ugochukwu, the guest lecturer, while speaking during the occasion on the topic, ‘Leadership and Good Governance in Nigeria’, noted that in an ideal setting, good leadership, in a good political environment should produce good governance. “This combination does not often exist. Instead we often find that even when leadership is good, the politics would be bad, which makes good governance difficult to achieve,” he said. Ugochukwu said Nigeria in its history has had both good, even great leaders as well as bad ones.


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News Skye9 mobile app redefines entertainment with unlimited movie access Josephine Okojie

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he Nigeria entertainment industry has received a boost with the recent unveiling of unlimited access to African movies by Skye9 mobile app for subscribers. Skye9 is a local entertainment company as well as an app that provides audiences across Africa access to any African movie of their choice. It operates a business subscription model. Tosin Shodipo, head of sales, Skye9, said during a press conference recently in Lagos that the quest to come up with something innovative and competitive borne the Skye9 brand into the Nigerian market. “Our platform is a robust one and it is compatible with all devices ranging from mobile phones, ipads, PCs even on TV. You do not need to fret about heavy data consumption when you stream the movies as it consumes very less data and you can watch on full HD formats,” Shodipo said. “Skye9 is set to redefine the entertainment landscape and create a viable and preferred option across the world especially for Nigerians at home and in the

Diaspora. “We provide subscribers the benefit of a successful offering to fit their digital lifestyle becoming the largest online store house of Nollywood movies globally,” he added. He noted that Skye9 mobile app consumes less than 20 megabytes of data and that the brand subscription rate is one of the lowest in the industry. He stated that the business will continue to provide unique services for its subscribers, adding that the organisation pride itself in fully understanding customers needs while giving them quality service. Also speaking with journalists, Jumoke Awe, brand strategist, Octo Consultmarketing firm of the Skyep9 brand, said that the organisation has commissioned some movie producers to provide content for the platform. “Skye9 sponsor commissioned some producers to produce unique movies and other content for our platforms such as weddings and comedy that will be exclusively for us,” Awe said. “We also buy content as well. We ensure we launch two new movies every week on the platform and subscribers,” she said.

Concerns mount in Ijanikin, a Lagos suburb, over planned tanker terminal JOSHUA BASSEY

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oncerns are growing in Ijanikin, Ojo area of Lagos State over the planned siting of a petroleum tanker terminal within that locality, with the residents arguing the plan is tantamount to shifting a crisis from one part of the state to another without actually solving it. Some residents of the area are apprehensive that the planned development of the truck terminal means that the current congestion crisis in Apapa and its environs would be shifted to them. Although the Lagos State Government is yet to unveil the exact location to construct the truck terminal, the residents are worried that a large concentration of petroleum tankers and container bearing trucks in Ijanikin and its environs would impede traffic flow and unleash hardship on the densely populated area. “This is like shifting the

crisis from one part of the state to another. I believe this is not the best approach to solving the problem,” said Maduka Ikenna, a resident of Ijanikin, who advised the government to consider building the facility outside of the area fully occupied by people. Ikenna’s concerns are shared by Adebola Owoeye, another resident of Ijanikin, who noted that the planned truck terminal in Ijanikin was like going round a circle and ending up at the same spot. “Why not look for a land along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway for example, to build the terminal and then make the call-up system very effective, such that only trucks that can tender genuine documents of having business to transaction in Apapa are allowed to start driving to Apapa. By choosing Ijanikin, a densely populated slum, they’re simply saying that rather than suffocating Apapa, let’s go suffocate the residents of residents. So at the end of the day, you would have succeeded in shifting the crisis from

Apapa to Ijanikin. The question to ask is what have you really achieved, because a little while the residents and businesses in Ijanikin would start crying out the same way Apapa is crying out today,” said Owoeye. Samson Adaka, another resident of the area, who sells used foot wears at the Ijanikin market, also expressed his concerns. According to Adaka, Ijanikin is already a troubling area given the bad state of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, and the trucks would only come to worsen the situation. “The government should think deeply about this decision,” he said. Recalled that the Lagos State government last weekend announced it was planning to develop a terminal to hold at least 5,000 trucks at Ijanikin in addition to the ABAT terminal which is being rehabilitated near Orile-Iganmu as part of the solution to the lingering congestion crisis in Apapa. The state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who flagged off the rehabilita-

tion of the ABAT termina, said: “One of the resolutions during the stakeholders’ meeting we had the Vice President is that we should have authorised truck terminal park. And so my visit to this place today (last Sunday) is to flag off the reconstruction of this terminal so that we can accommodate 1000 trucks. “We would do this in collaboration with the Nigeria Ports Authority so that the call-up system can work efficiently. We are expanding this particular terminal by acquiring the adjoining land. We would use that primarily for nonpetroleum trucks so that we can sectionalised these trucks and allow the callup system to work. “I have also been briefed that we have an additional land space in Ijanikin that can accommodate 5000 trucks. We will explore that possibility immediately; all that we are doing is to make sure that there is a permanent solution to this whole idea of trucks destroying our bridges and roads”.

Kogi PDP urges Nigerians to uproot APC to avert anarchy Victoria Nnakaike, Lokoja

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HE People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Kogi St a t e , h a s e n joined Nigerians to join hands and uproot the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) before it further throws the country into a state of anarchy. The PDP equally raised the alarm that the ruling party had perfected plans to engage in vote-buying, adding that actions of the party in the state and at the national level in the last three years had shown that it lacked the capacity for governance. Speaking at a rally Ibrahim Idris, a former governor of the state, said the people of Kogi have experienced the governments of the PDP and that of the APC, saying they had become wiser now. The former governor

said for almost 13 years that the PDP governed the state, there were never reports of civil servants

that were dead because of non-payment of salaries, as he lamented that many had died in the last two-

and-half years of the present administration led by Yahaya Bello in the state. He also said that the ac-

tions of the party in the state and at the national level in the last three years had shown that it lacked

L-R: Yahav Levy, professor, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme of Tel Aviv University, Israel; Uri Paz, lecturer, Recanati Executive MBA Programme, Coller School of Management, Tel Aviv University, Israel; Uche Anyanwagu, physician and clinical epidemiologist; Obichi Obiajunwa, founder and executive director, the HELP Fellowship; Nnamdi Ifeagwu, programme director, the Hutzpa Excellence Leadership Programme (HELP) Fellowship, and Emeka Okereke, professor of Finance, University of Port Harcourt, at the HELP Fellowship event held in Lagos, recently.

the capacity for governance. Idris, who governed the state between 2003 and 2012, said APC stood for deception as the people were deceived to vote for it in 2015. Also speaking, the immediate past governor of the state, Idris Wada, alleged that that APC had perfected plans to buy votes with huge sums of money. He however, charged the electorate to be vigilant, collect the money and vote according to their conscience and for the PDP, adding that the election had given the people an opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with the present administration by voting massively for the PDP. Senator Tunde Ogbeha, a former senator from Kogi west, pointed out that it was disheartening that the state government had been using security apparatus to harass members of the opposition.


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Inside Lagos

Apapa gridlock: Importers want Eastern ports open for cargoes Stories by JOSHUA BASSEY

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ome importers on Friday appealed to the Federal Government to open up the seaports in the Eastern flank of the country to decongest ports in Lagos. The importers said that the designation of the Calabar, Port Harcourt and Warri ports for cargo transaction would bring the perennial traffic at the Apapa ports to an end, just as they lamented the hardships faced getting their goods out of the Lagos ports. Jude Okeke, an importer and also the President, Association of Progressive Traders (APT), Trade Fair Complex, Lagos, said the concentration of cargo import on Apapa ports negates the ease-ofdoing business. Okeke expressed fear over the unending traffic situation along the port’s axis. “Do not be surprised that we will wake up one day and container-laden trucks will

overrun the whole of Lagos city with no access roads for commuters. “The Federal Government can do a lot of good to the importing public by opening up the other ports that have been fully utilised over time,’’ Okeke said. Also, Vivian Akubueze, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kudi Cosmetics, Lagos, said

that it was not wise for cargoes laden with goods meant for Eastern Nigeria to berth at the Apapa ports. Akubueze said that such cargoes with its goods should be routed to the ports in Calabar and Port Harcourt. “Common sense ought to tell us that when cargoes transporting goods meant for other parts of the country

LASG justifies demolition of nine-storey house in Lekki

berth in Lagos, importers will pay additional money to transport their goods to their destinations. “This will cause tear and wear to the nation’s road networks as well as push the cost of such goods up in the market,’’ Akubueze said. She said that it had taken her about two weeks to get her goods out of the Apapa ports

after the Nigeria Customs Service had released them. She, therefore, appealed to the government to come to their aid and halt the rising cost of goods by allowing cargoes to berth in other ports apart from Lagos. Also, Gab Ayodele, who deals in industrial chemicals, said that it cost him a lot to transport its products from the Apapa ports to Calabar where his clients were. “If the Calabar port is functional, that will save me some cost and time,’’ he said. There have been calls from different quarters in recent times on the Federal Government to revive and open up the Easter ports for cargoes, in order to reduce the current pressure on Lagos. The two seaports in the former capital city, Apapa and Tin Can ports presently account for 75 to 80 percent of shipping activities in Nigeria with most of the importers, especially based outside Lagos, incurring additional costs

to truck their goods by road to their final destinations. Remi Ogungbemi, president of Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) recent added a perspective to the congestion in Apapa. According to Ogungbemi, the Apapa ports with their limited facilities are currently overstretched, as they handle cargoes in excess of their capacities. He explained that while the volume of cargoes and shipping activities have increased over the decades, facilities within the ports have not seen any significant expansion, hence inspection and clearing of goods are slow, resulting in thousands of trucks making their way to ports being held down on the roads. He believed the spillover from the Apapa ports can be accommodated at the ports in Rivers, Cross Rivers, Delta and other states, if the ports are revived and made to receive cargoes.

More housing units ready for allocation October - Official

…developer risks confiscation of landed property if…

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lalekan Shodehinde, the general manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), has justified the demolition of a nine-storey building by the government in Osapa London area of Lekki, saying it was to avert collapse and possible casualties. The state pulled down the gigantic building on Thursday, because it lacked certified building plan approval in addition to other contraventions such as illegal conversion and non-compliance with approval limit. Sh o d e h i n d e s a i d t h e building was detected in 2017, after which investigations were conducted and

Why mothers must exclusively breastfeed, says Ambode

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revealed that it does not have approval plan. According to him, the finding also showed that the building does not conform to the approval limit and building pattern of the area. “The building has nine floors, while the master plan of Osapa, the area it was situated, only allows for a maximum of four floors,’’ he said, adding that the structural stability of the soil could not carry such high-rise structure, and such government gave approval for its demolition. Shodehinde stated that the exercise had to be carried out to curb the incidence of incessant building collapse in the state. He said that the state government would not fold its

arms and allow loss of lives and destruction of property. Shodehinde said that several notices had been served to the owner of the structure, but failed to comply with the order. “Though, the building does not have approval plan, what we are talking about goes beyond approval plan; because if the developer applied for approval of nine floors in the area, it will not be granted. “When LABSCA discovered the building in 2017, a ‘Stop Work’ notice was served. In October of the same year when it was at its fifth floors, the agency sealed it. After few months, the agency visited the site to discover that the building had been constructed up to the ninth floors. “Again, 14 days ultimatum notice was served to the developers to remove the structure at their own cost, which they failed to comply with it,” he said. Shodehinde explained that once an illegal building had been demolished by the government, the owner would be given 90 days to pay the demolition cost, failure of which government would confiscate the land.

bolahan Lawal, commissioner for housing, Lagos State says more housing units in the various estates being developed by the state government are ready for successful applicants as allocation will start in October. Lawal said this after inspecting some of the housing projects on Wednesday, adding that the initial pre-qualification arrangement toward the allocation of the units to beneficiaries had begun. Among the estates ready for allocation, according to Lawal, are Phase II of the Oba Adegboruwa Estate, Igbogbo in Ikorodu; Amowo-Odofin Housing Scheme and the Igando Gardens Estate. “The Amuwo-Odofin housing scheme has 84 units, Igbogbo 2B has 360 units, while the Igando gardens estate has 492 units.

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ife of the governor of Lagos State, Bolanle Ambode says exclusive breastfeeding of babies is necessary to keep them healthy and Ambode stated this on the occasion of the 2018 world breastfeeding week. First week of August every year is observed globally as breastfeeding week. According to her, the benefits of breast milk to the infant are too profound to be ignored, as it is an important founda-

For those that applied for those estates, I want to assure them that they are going to celebrate Christmas in those apartments.” The commissioner said that the government had shortlisted some would-be beneficiaries for the rent-to-own housing policy and the Lagos mortgage board was perfecting their documents. “I want to assure that these estates should be ready before the last quarter of this year,’’ he said, adding that the Igando gardens estate had 41 blocks of 492 units of one, two and three bedrooms. He said that the project was 95 per cent completed adding that the sewage treatment plant would be ready for use before October. The commissioner also said that some of the blocks at the Igando gardens estate which was started during the administration of former Governor

tion for a baby’s life, capable of determining whether the baby would live or otherwise. She said putting a baby to the breast in the first hour of life was a major safeguard against infant’s mortality. She added that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, helps the baby to grow, prevents under nutrition, and promotes brain development while reducing the risk of overweight. She further observed that breast milk was vital because it acts as the baby’s first vaccine, boosting its immunity.

Bola Tinubu in 2005 needed rehabilitation. He added that the state government had to construct a major road leading to the estate to make it more accessible to its would-be occupiers. “The road has a major challenge for the allotees. The state government is fixing the major road that leads into the estate, and that will be an incentive to them. It will also ginger us to fix other infrastructure within the estate,’’ he said. The state government officially inaugurated the rentto-own and rental housing policies in December, 2016. The scheme targets the provision of housing units to the low and medium income earners in both the formal and the informal sectors. Under the arrangement, payment for the housing units is staggered over a 10-year period.

“Nothing can compare to the breast milk, no matter the nutritional value of the baby formula, it cannot adequately take the place of breast milk in the life of the new born”. “God who created it in his own special way to be babyfriendly, has made it the most important and most beneficial type of food a baby gets to know. Nursing mothers should not make excuses of their jobs or career for not doing exclusive breastfeeding because the advantages to the baby are too many”, she stressed.


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PhotoSplash

L-R: Mary Uduk, acting director-general, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC); Henry Rowlands, acting executive commissioner corporate services, SEC, and Reginald Karawusa, acting executive commissioner legal and enforcement, SEC, during the Second 2018 Capital Market Committee (CMC) in Lagos.

Gloria Elemo, director-general, Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), (r), assisted by Lawrena Okoro, representing director-general, Nigeria International Accreditation Service, (2nd r) to present FIIRO’s Certificate of Accreditation of ISO/IEC 17025:2005, to Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of science and technology, in Abuja.

L-R: Rifkatu Chidawa, former principal of Garki Secondary School; Shehu Sani, Senate committee chairman on Local and Foreign Debt, and Adamu Yunusa, Ona of Abaji, during the World Indigenous Day celebration in Abuja.

L-R: Rifkatu Chidawa, former principal of Garki Secondary School; Shehu Sani, Senate committee chairman on Local and Foreign Debt, and Adamu Yunusa, Ona of Abaji, during the World Indigenous Day celebration in Abuja.

Hawwa Yahaya, Representing minister of state for budget and national planning, (l), presenting a cosmetology package to one of the trainee, during the cosmetology package distribution in Kaduna on Friday (10/8/18). With is Sani Maiwada Kaduna State Directorate of Employments (NDE).

Cecilia Alao, Oyo State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), (l) with Kola Akosile, chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Oyo, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti, States, during a visit of MAN team to FRSC OFFICE in Ibadan

L-R: Sakariyau Babalola, president, Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN); Sakariyau Babalola, executive sectary, MUSWEN; Muib Opeloye, Chairman, Education Committee of MUSWEN, at the news conference to mark the 10th anniversary of MUSWEN in Ibadan. NAN

L-R: Mosobolaje Oyawoye, celebrant; his son Kitibi Oyawoye and Olusola Ofi, former deputy vice chancellor, administration, University of Ibadan, at a colloquium in honor of Prof. Oyawoye in Ibadan. NAN


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NewsFeature Abia community raises alarm over security threat, alleged invasion by Utuma …Calls for security beef-up from the govt Ndukaku Ikechukwu

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he people of Isu, a community in Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State, have raised the alarm over what they described as threat to the lives and property of inhabitants in the community by the people of Utuma in Cross River State. They called on the Abia State government to create a permanent police station in Isu, saying that this would help in beefing up security in the community and curtail threats by Utuma people. A prominent son of Isu, who spoke with BDSUNDAY debunked an earlier statement made by a top government official in Cross River, during his visit to Ude Chukwu, deputy governor of Abia State, where he claimed that Isu villages of Iheosu and Aba were gazetted in Cross River State as Iheosu Utuma and Aba Utuma, respectively. The Isu people said the statement gave people the impression that both villages, which genealogically belong to Isu clan, are in Utuma, Cross River State. According to them, all the villages in Isu clan are Igbo-speaking and history has it that their ancestors settled there before the 6th century. They added that at that time, Utuma people had not occupied the place where they live now. They pointed out that in the course of history, the people of Utuma migrated from Biakpan in Cross River State and settled around Iheosu, living at the bank of the Cross River, because they were good fishermen and, as such, Iheosu and Aba people decided to settle them between the two communities in order to benefit from their fishing occupation.

Some food item/cloth send to the Iheosu people that has been deserted their village.

They stressed that a proof that Utuma people migrated from Biakpan is that during the civil war, they all ran back there to join their kith and kin. After the war, the Utuma people came back to settle at their former location and Isu natives were happy to receive them due to the high value they placed on their services as fishermen and thus they lived peacefully. However, the recent spate of attacks by Utuma people and their allies on the people of Isu clan started in 1986 when limestone deposits sufficient to sustain a viable cement factory were confirmed to be available in the parts of Isu land, the Isu people claimed. They added that Utuma people started laying claim not only on the portion of land which they settled, but on the entire Isu land. Thus, their desire to usurp what they said belongs to Isu people have informed the repeated attacks on them, Isu people stressed.

They alleged that between December 1988 and January 1989, Utuma people without any provocation attacked Iheosu and Aba communities of Isu clan, killing many people and setting several houses ablaze. In 2016, Utuma people, not minding their status as Isu tenants, were said to have surreptitiously gone ahead to negotiate with Ibeto Group of Companies Limited to commence the exploration of the limestone without reference to Isu people and Abia State Government. However, Isu people halted Ibeto Group of Companies, making them know that Utuma people had no right to lease out Isu land for whatever reason. Since then, Utuma people have allegedly embarked on several attacks that have breached the peace that existed hitherto. The recent crisis, it was alleged, started gathering momentum when the Utuma people went into an estate belonging to one Francis

Ulukwu of Aba Isu and felled trees planted over 30 years ago, the Isu people alleged. In addition to felling the economic trees, the Utuma people also set Ulukwu’s house ablaze, a matter they said was reported to the police but no arrest was made. The second assault was the pulling down of a concrete signpost with the inscription, ‘Welcome to Obimba Autonomous Community, Arochukwu LGA of Abia State,’ which is the name of the autonomous community in which Iheosu is situated. According to them, it is in Abia State gazette. The next action by Utuma people, they claimed, was to forcefully enter their forest land to exploit their economic resources without their consent. This, according to them, was reported to the police, but no action was taken. Following the silence of the police, on the 18th April, 2018, Utuma people were said to have cut logs of wood and barricaded the federal

high way leading to Iheosu; efforts by Iheosu people to evacuate the blockade degenerated into fracas during which lives were said to have been lost and houses set ablaze. In accordance with this, on the 19th of April, the police from both Abia and Cross River states came down to Utuma and Iheosu, and enjoined both parties to eschew violence and embrace peace. However, the people of Isu alleged that while their people relied on the appeal of police, the next day, Utuma unleashed their fury on Iheosu, Aba and Amachi villages, burning houses and killing many people. On the 6th of May 2018, it was alleged that the people of Utuma, holding sophisticated weapons, including an AK 47, unleashed an attack on a farm settlement at Ndi Ugbu and Ali Oso in Isu, killing innocent people and setting their houses ablaze. A number of 20 persons were allegedly confirmed dead from the incident. BDSUNDAY gathered that the traditional rulers under the aegis of Isu Traditional Rulers Council confirmed that five villages of Isu have been deserted by the people following the Utuma invasion and are now living refugees in neighbouring communities in Arochukwu Local Government Area. The Isu traditional rulers, in the report, appealed to the Abia State Government to, as a matter of urgency, to take steps to arrange a deployment of units of security men – police and soldiers to patrol the trouble zone in view of the unceasing threat-to-live by the Utuma against Isu. The Isu traditional rulers, report has it, are requesting the intervention of the National Boundary Commission for delineation of the boundary, between Cross River State and Abia State in the crisis zone, to ensure a permanent resolution of the problem.

Love Idoko leads young professionals, celebrities to empower NYSC members with start up funds Obinna Emelike

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ove Idoko, TV host, motivational speaker and founder, Activate Success International Foundation, led a team of young professionals and celebrities including; Desmond Elliot, Nollywood actor/ member, Lagos State House of Assembly, Seyi Adekunle, CEO, Vodi Tailors, Samson Itodo, executive director, YIAGA AFRICA and others to empower some members of the National Youth Service Corps. The event, which was tagged ‘Youth Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Programme’ (YEEP), held at the Abuja and Imo orientation camps was a success as youths were not only given the opportunity to learn, but also access to start up funds. While mentoring the youths on practical steps to successful en-

trepreneurship, Idoko reiterated that the programme was aimed at teaching corps members’ practi-

cal steps to becoming a successful entrepreneur, helping them to be innovative and employers

L-R: Love Idoko, founder, Activate Success Int’l foundation, Desmond Elliot, member, Lagos State House of Assembly, and Samson Itodo, executive director, YIAGA, at the event.

of labour. One of the major highlights of the empowerment programme held at the Abuja and Imo State Orientation camps was the access to grants to corps members to enable them start up their desired businesses. Apart from the N1 million grant given to some corps members by Activate Success International, N 1.2 million grant was also given to 12 others by one of the speakers. Also, N500,000 grant was given to 10 corpers by another speaker at the event, making the total of N2.7million. Business minded corpers were elated to have received not just the grant, but the opportunity to hear and learn from young professionals in business. Speaking at the event, Idoko said: “I have a penchant for motivating people, there are business minded youths out there that are just looking for mentorship or busi-

ness ideas, as well as, funds to start up their business and that is why we are here. The purpose is not just to give grants, it is also to empower and motivate as many youths as possible”. She appreciated the NYSC for making it possible and working very hard to empower the corps members as well. As well, Desmond Eliot, one of the speakers at the event, said, “Love Idoko is a true Nigerian. I love what the Activate Success Int’l Foundation team is doing. It is very pertinent we empower many of our youths given the kind of society we live in today. I am excited to be here and I look forward to other empowerment programs like this”. Samson Itodo and Seyi Vodi shared their success stories and supported some corp members as well. The event was also organised by Activate Success International Foundation in partnership with NYSC, FCMB and INTELIA.


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Feature From militancy to entrepreneurship: The story of Retson Tedheke OBINNA EMELIKE

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t the heyday of the Niger Delta militancy, the name, Retson Tedheke rang a bell among militants and even the joint military security operatives that were fighting to take over the control of the creeks held firmly then by the ‘Creek Boys’. Retson was dreaded for his stubborn stance and resistance of the military incursion in the creeks. His influence and stake in the oil-rich creeks grew with the ownership of crude oil refining point, where he refined the crude he stole from the many pipelines he burst with his boys. While in the creeks, the university graduate still found time to

farmers project came up to occupy the farms rather the National Assembly and streets. Explaining his rationale for choosing agriculture as tool for positive activism, Retson said, “There is no growth in human history that does not come from agriculture. What we did as a country was reverse engineering. Oil was supposed to help us push our agricultural model, but when we discovered oil, we ignored every other aspect of our development, especially agriculture and industrialization”. Today, Retson has led a group of social activists to develop Nigerian Farmers Group and Corporative Society (NFGCS), an innovative agricultural model that runs on over 1,000 hectares of land in Gaate, Nasarawa State, and offers Nigerians from across the world opportunity to invest in the farm as

Retson at the farm invest in the stock market, though he lost millions of naira during the financial meltdown. The loss was colossal and painful, it encouraged him to burst more pipelines, steal more crude and recover the money lost to the nosedived value of stocks. At a point, the Ugheli, Delta State-born militant, discovered that the way they were going about the crude oil ‘thing’ was not the best. However, respite came when the late President Musa Yar A’dua’s administration offered the militants amnesty and he gladly accepted to leave the creeks. Outside the creek, he sustained his fight but in a different direction. He channeled his militancy to activism in support of social justice and welfare of the masses. “I lead a march to the National Assembly in 2016 tagged ‘Occupying Us’. Dr Bunmi Awoyemi, Idris and I were the arrowheads of the occupy movement, and in November this same year, we lead the second Occupy Us, blocked the National Assembly and stopped senators from accessing the main gate for a couple of days”, the exmilitant said. But true change came when the activists realized that while occupying the National Assembly, senators and House of Representative members were going through the President and DSS gates. It was then the concept of a Nigerian

subscribers without being present, while the corporative utilises the fund realised from subscription to employ farmers who cultivate the hectares on their behalf with high yield crops, harvest, process, warehouse and market. It is an improved farm settlement model that is best described as ‘farmers without border’. The all inclusive farm, which also offers ranching platform under the supervision of paid herdsmen, delivers good return on investment to the subscribers at the end of a farming circle, as well as, gives subscribers’ opportunity to invest in its two investment windows of

February-May and August-November farming circles. “We should not be talking about unemployment in this country when every hectare of land can employ two-three people conveniently and can pay them average salary. We have about 300 people that work on the farm every day without any government support. This corporative is paying them about N1,500 a day, that is about, $4-$5 a day and we give them meals of about N200 a day”, Restson, who is the national coordinator/secretary general, Nigeria Farmers Group & Cooperative Society, disclosed. Also explaining further on the rationale for his investment in agriculture, Retson decried the fact that Nigeria spends over $4billion a year to import food. “I call it the insanity of our humanity because if you are spending that much money on importation, what you need to revolutionize agriculture is not more than $2 billion a year. If you spend $2 billion, you will produce food that we can consume and also export. So, the context and structure that became the Nigeria Farmers Group and Corporative Society is farming, revolution and activism”. Explaining the subscription model, which thrives on the principles of modern business and investment, Tedheke said, “For instance, if we put the cost of farming one hectare of maize at N280,000, all you need to do to become a member of the corporative from anywhere you are in the world is just to pay N280,000 into your subscription account and we will farm for you. “After that, you expect return on your N280,000 once every year. Instead of doing it in the farming season, we do it annually because you prepare the land, plant, harvest, warehouse and all that. So, we stretched the timing to have comfort. So, the bulk of the money used in paying workers, to support and manage the farm come from our subscribers”. As well, subscribers are not limited to one crop or size of land, but as much as their investment portfolio and risk appetite are. So far, the NFGCS model has been successful in less than two years of its establishment. “In the last farming season, we paid off everybody that invested and most of them have invested even more with us in the new farming season”.

A mother with her baby named after Retson in Gaate

Retson, after his turban as the Serikin Yaki Gaate Considering the location of the farm in the north central region which is volatile due to herdsmen and farmers clash, one may wonder if Retson is a magician. Of course, he is not. The magic wand for him is understanding and carrying the locals along. “First, we did not buy the land, we leased it from the owners. Secondly, we made the owners stakeholders by employing their fathers, wives and children to work and earn income. Thirdly, any Fulani community that is around, that owns cows, become part of our farmers and security team. With that arrangement, they know that the farm pays their bills, support their families, hence they will not allow their cattle to destroy the farms”. Beyond the farm, Retson stepped further to cement the cordial relationship with continued participation in community activities. Aside borehole, he built a community primary learning centre, which serves as school in the morning and recreation spot in the evening. In recognition of his empowerment initiatives to the community, Ibrahim Adamu, the ruler of Gaate, turbaned him with a chieftaincy title of the Serikin Yakin Gaate (The warrior of the community) in January this year. “I am the Serikin Yakin Gaate of the community. I am their warrior, their defender and head of the hunters. I was turbaned in January this year because the people felt for the first time in the history of the community an Urhobo man is coming here and helping their community. When you have a community like this with an average of N1.5 million being received as salaries every other week, how many communities have this kind of empowerment and why will the

people want to steal from you their guest”. Beyond the recognition with a chieftaincy title, some families are naming their male children after Retson. At present, there are over two boys who bear Retson in Gaate community. The father of three sons, whose parents were veterans of the Nigerian Civil War, is fulfilled occupying the farms today. Perhaps, his root explains his activism. As well, he does not subscribe to militancy as a way to get result. “What we do as militants is to destroy to become relevant. But what nation building needs in not destruction to become relevant, it is the synergic relationship to become relevant and that is what the farm does. When I was in the creek, every time, you are worried that the army is going to show up with gunboat and open fire on you. But in the farm here, I am relaxed doing my farming in a supposedly herdsmen region with everybody around and offering genuine support. I have peace of mind, freedom of movement, association and to do whatever I desire, which the militancy did not offer me”, he said. However, he thinks that with the inclusive farm model, NFGCS has been able to pool together so many puzzles that are troubling the Nigerian state together for good and recommends the model to government and more private sector participation. “ As you have seen, the Fulani men are here, the Mada man is available, the Uhrobo man, Igbo man, Yoruba among others are here. We created a synergy because it is the interest of the farmers, the interest of our people, and the interest of our country that was first”, he concluded.


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Feature

River’s youth leader to FG: Let the Ogoni Cleanup start now! IGNATIUS CHUKWU

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here is a youth leader; in fact, a youth president, always talking for the KDere youths from Ogoni area of Rivers State. He is 69 years old and still waxing strong, leading the youth. He is also a chief. When he speaks in K-Dere, the youth have spoken. He was in Port Harcourt last week to do what he best knows to do, speak for the youth. His name is Ledor Mene. He proudly announced his age at a workshop and attracted huge applause (or uproar). He was later to reveal how one of his children alone has six children. Ogoni ethnic group in Rivers State is made up of four local council areas: Gokana, Khana, Tai, and Eleme. Gokana has 17 villages but two are very popular; K-Dere and B-Dere. Nobody has exlained what the K and B represent, apart from the constant violent skirmishes and inter-communal clashes that give them a new name. The area is always tense, the community people tell us. Why would a people choose a 69-year-old grandfather to be not only a youth but a youth leader. BD Sunday gathered that the youth of K-Dere, like most other communities in the Niger Delta, are dominated by two rival cult groups. No group wants the other to rule over them. So, they recalled a man who once served as ‘King of the Boys’ and later served in other capacities in youth leadership. He is now a chief but one with strong principles and unwavering stand on matters. They made Mene the youth president for three years. He has served for 18 months. Now, the United Nations, through its agency on environment (UNEP), studied the Ogoni oil devastations that led to the formation of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and killing of the Ogoni matyres led by Ken Saro-Wiwa. The crisis led to the exit of Shell from the area and abandoned a large chunk of the rich oil field known as Oil Mining License (OML) 11 covering from Bonny to Oyigbo zones, with Ogoni in the middle. The UNEP Report asked that $1Bn be set aside to clean up Ogoni areas in about 25 or 30 years of continued action. The FG set up an agency (Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project) and went to sleep from 2011 to 2016. The next FG now set up the HYPRP 2 to act faster and released $10m but the Ogoni people say they hardly see the difference in speed. The FG says it has been busy, saying that many structured needed to be set up in line with the UNEP Report before any project fund would be released.

Ledor Mene The HYPRP says it has advertised for bids and that selection is in progress. The agency also said it has started demonstration with two companies to serve as pilot project to the clean up proper. Despite all of this, the Ogoni people say the cleanup is more

After strenuous debates, the NGOs and leaders started seeing reason on why all effort should be on clean up and remediation than compensation political than practical and have expressed fears with political interference, possible hijacking of the exercise by bigwigs, etc. What perhaps seems the biggest threat to the scheme is the question of where the fund $1bn is being kept. Shell once gave clues, saying oil majors have their own budgets in what is called Joint Venture (JV) Budget per year. They say this is where what would be spent per year is stated and presented to the senior partner, the NNPC and FG. The next virus is the hidden desire of the Ogoni people for

compensation first or instead of clan up. This distortion worked so hard that an NGO- Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) was supported to carry out a study to find out what the people actually felt, the perception study. It was discovered, according to the director, Sam Kabari, PhD), that the majority of the people want compensation instead of anything held. Fears are rife that if this perception and expectation gap was not addressed, post clean up era may be more troublesome in Ogoni than now. So, who was it to reflect the minds of the youth at the workshop to unveil the study to the communities than the 69-yearold ‘king of the boys’? He stood in his erectness and spoke in halting English laced with anger. He said his people saw nothing but politics in the Clean up noise and that his K-Dere youths were angry. He said their anger was more due to what they saw as lies. First, they were told by HTPREP officials that K-Dere would host the UN-recommended Integrated Soil Centre which was to be a centre for tests in West Africa. It would be testing the various parts of Ogoni polluted areas before and after each clean up. Many looked up to it s a facility and job spinner. Mene however, said instead, officials came now to say they want to give them an agric training centre. The people flared

up, he stated. He urged the FG to come clean on the cleanup instead of deceiving the ordinary Ogoni people. That could be why they chose a very old youth tested in integrity and truth because the people no longer knew who to trust in the authority chain from the FG to HYPREP, community leaders, the elite, NGOs, etc. The debate over desire for compensation raged for hours at the CEHRD event but Kabari, also Ogoni, made it clear that since compensation was not built into the UNEP Report, it would be difficult to do it now. It could derail the exercise by seeking to know who should get what. An elder and deputy clerk in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Dumnu Lekie, advised the communities to allow the clean up to go ahead on UN terms than start a hunt for compensation that could derail the little gains made so far. He said the owners of parcels of land may claim compensation but that the pollution destroyed common facilities such as rivers and roads and forests that affected all. After strenuous debates, the NGOs and leaders started seeing reason on why all effort should be on clean up and remediation than compensation. Mene now spoke with BDSUNDAY after the workshop. His tone reflected the new understanding, showing that much effort needs be put in education the communities through proper ways and channels like CEHRD did.

Benefit from the workshop Our belief was that the government was playing politics with the clean up but the answers I got on the floor is that the project is real, not politics, and that the actual clean up is coming up very soon and that it would go well. My worry before The issues agitating our minds before coming to this workshop were issues of free medicals and location of the Integrated Soil Centre. The youths were angry and we help rallies. K-Dere is a volatile community and I had no peace in my heart. The rally was with an NGO sensitising our people on the clean up. I asked a question that caused some uproar. Today, I will go home and tell the youths what I heard that would make the clean up go in peace and allow our people to live in harmony. There was free medical programme launched in Ogoni communities. In Gokhana, the exercise took place in only three days for 17 villages. It did not afford our people any tablets or drugs. Only three persons benefited in it. It was not done in a proper way. This was why our people protested and dubbed it as Buhari’s politics to get our votes. They also said they would locate the UNEP-Recommended Integrated Soil Centre but later, they say they would now give us agric training centre. Our people protested because we did not know how the first promise ended. Our area is a highly impacted area. That is our problem. Appeal to HYPREP Whatever has been earmarked for highly impacted areas to come and do it in K-Dere community. Compensation or remediation? We have now realised that there is no compensation in the UNEP Report but clean up and remediation. So, I will go and let my people know this and we will now expect training of the youths and jobs that will follow from it. This will make our youths to find sources of income and live by it. Let the clean up begin. Conclusion: Ledor Mene may be 69, may be a multiple grandfather, but his voice has vibration and force. He commands respect in his area. He has seven children with five boys. One of his children has six children while another has five. Yet, he is sought after by the youth to be their leader. This is why the deputy clerk renamed his position as ‘Youth Ambassador’ to the council of elders. Whatever the case, the voice of the elderly youth is clear, the mind of the Ogoni people is clear, “Let the Cleanup start, now!” 69-year-old youth president from Rivers State


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Surmounting housing deficit in Lagos

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Frank Aigbogun EDITOR Anthony Osae-Brown DEPUTY EDITORS John Osadolor, Abuja Bill Okonedo NEWS EDITOR Patrick Atuanya

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Sunday 12 August 2018

TAYO OGUNBIYI Ogunbiyi is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja

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n developed nations, housing has gone beyond just having a roof over one’s head but rather a yardstick to measure a person’s standard of living and position in the society. Consequently, developed nations invest heavily in housing recognizing that it is a key stimulant to economic growth. Thus, the health and wealth of a nation can be measured from the appraisal of its housing sector. Being the most populated nation in Africa, Nigeria is confronted with severe housing challenges as its predominantly low and middle income earners do not have access to qualitative housing. With a population of about 190 million and 35 percent of this figure dwelling in cities, it is apparent that the problem is burdensome. However, it must be acknowledged that even in developed nations, there are still some pockets of homeless people. Housing challenge is, therefore, universal in nature, though with variations from nations to nations. More than any other State in Nigeria, Lagos experiences a huge and increasing demand for housing. Being home to over 23 million persons with an estimated

86 people relocating to the state per hour, housing deficit in Lagos is a real issue with affordability worsening because more people are chasing a limited supply of real estate. This is in view of its position as a land of huge opportunities where every Nigerian aspires to live, visit or do business in; thereby making the city susceptible to overcrowding which leads to poor living conditions. In a bid to frontally address this huge challenge, the Lagos State government has evolved far reaching reforms in the housing sector. An integral part of this is the Rent-To-Own and Rental Housing policy which was introduced in response to the yearnings of the populace for affordable and accessible housing. The initiative is specifically developed for low and medium income earners. It offers prospective beneficiaries the opportunity to pay the required 5 percent of the value of the housing unit as commitment fee while the balance is spread over 10 years. The programme also permits recipients to live on the property while paying towards ownership as a fixed rent within that period of ten years. Vital eligibility criteria applicant must meet to benefit from the initiative include being a resident in Lagos State with a possession of Lagos State Residents Registration Card, being a first time buyer, must be above 21 years of age, must be taxcompliant and also must be able to cover the monthly rental pay-

ments with 33 percent of his/her earnings. Interestingly, the initiative is not just about making people home owners but giving them homes in a clean, safe and live-able environment. All the schemes are developed in serene and beautiful gated communi­ties with facilities such as wa­ter treatment plants, adequate parking space, health care centre, estate management of ­fi ce, street lights, recreational area and a police post for se­curity. There are over 4,355 homes available under the Rent-To-Own policy in five Estates including Sir Michael Otedola Estate Odoragunshin, Epe; Oba Adeboruwa Estate, Igbogbo, Ikorodu; Choice City, Agbowa, Hon Olaitan Mustapha and Alhaja Adetoun Mustapha, Ojokoro, while a total of 12 schemes have been earmarked for the policy. Aside the Rent-To-Own Policy, the Rental Housing Programme, targeted at meeting the needs of citizens who may not be interested in ownership or may not be able to meet the requirement of 30 percent equity contribution for mortgage, has also commenced. All that is required in this category is to pay one month rent. The Lagos Affordable Public Housing (LAPH) Initiative was also introduced to inject private funds into the provision of houses to enable the state bridge the gap in the housing deficit. By this initiative, the State government intends to provide 20,000 housing units over a period of four years spanning 2017-2020.

The initiative is implemented through a Joint Venture arrangement between the State and the private investor/Joint Venture Partner. Under this scheme, the state provides land, the documentation in terms of permits, approvals, registration of documents and stamping as its own contribution to the Joint Venture while the Joint Venture Partner provides funds and construction expertise as its contribution. In line with the investment policy of the State government and for the purpose of creating an investment data base, title to the project site is vested in Ibile Holdings Limited, the investment agency of the State government, which will in turn grant a Deed of Sublease of the unexpired residue of its interest to the Special Purpose Vehicle/Project Company to be incorporated for the purpose of execution and management of the project. However, in order to achieve sustainability of the various housing initiatives of the government, all beneficiaries need to play their part by ensuring good maintenance of the houses as well as remit their financial obligations to the State as at when due. This would not only open doors of opportunity for others yet to benefit, but will also motivate government to do more for its citizens. Ogunbiyi is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.

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The intrinsic link between programmable infrastructure and 5G commercialization

INDRANIL DAS Das is head of digital services, Ericsson Middle East and Africa.

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ommercial 5G networks are just around the corner, and when they go live, optimization and utilization of 5G capabilities will depend heavily on the presence of programmable infrastructure. Today, we are closer to achieving the 5G future than ever before. Commercial 5G networks are expected to go live in 2019, with data-heavy applications like AR/VR and 4K/8K video streaming on the front lines. As network demand increases exponentially, first movers can reshape the market and increase market share and revenue streams by preparing

JORGE MOREIRA DA SILVA Da Silva is Development Co-Operation Director at the OECD and former Minister of Environment and Energy of Portugal.

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ith newspapers full of stories about the challenges migrant families face, it might be tempting to assume that the causes of displacement are also being addressed. In most cases, however, such an assumption would be wrong. Today, solutions to forced migration focus almost exclusively on aiding refugees after they flee, rather than targeting the reasons for their flight. To resolve the world’s refugee crises, the causes require as much attention as the effects. Why would parents risk their lives, or the lives of their children, to leave home and journey into the unknown? And what can be done to keep families from being forced to migrate in the first place? These are among the key questions that colleagues and I have attempted to answer in a new OECD study,

their network infrastructure to effectively manage data traffic growth proactively. By combining improved capacity with increased cost-efficiency, 5G represents an opportunity for ICT operators to improve their consumer business, and enables them to explore new use cases and business models by addressing industry digitalization – and the natural next step in doing so is to implement programmable infrastructure on a large scale. The latest Ericsson Mobility Report forecasts 1 billion 5G subscriptions for enhanced mobile broadband by 2023, which will enable a range of new use cases in the coming years. As preparations for 5G gain momentum and operators gear up for commercial launches, they will likely be faced with challenges in keeping pace with network changes and evolution. Given that mobile broadband traffic is expected to increase by eight times over the coming five years, a trend largely driven by 5G uptake, operators are beginning to focus more on optimizing the spectral efficiency of networks to solve capacity needs in the long term. As such, they are turning to programmable

infrastructure as a means of future-proofing their networks. A key differentiator of 5G systems from previous generations will be a higher degree of programmability, which will support rapid deployment of new use cases by combining cloud-based services with mobile network infrastructure and taking advantage of new levels of flexibility. Programmable infrastructure enables operators to securely manage a versatile pool of virtual and physical resources while accessing and configuring them via united, open interfaces. With programmable infrastructure, a greater number of customers will be able to utilize 5G services while benefitting from a unique and personalized user experience. The key drivers behind the creation of programmable networks are the need to accelerate time to market, and the desire to reduce operational costs and take advantage of the business opportunities presented by a new mission-critical service market. In a programmable network, traditional network functions requiring specialized hardware are replaced with software functions hosted on

commercial off-the-shelf infrastructure. Technologies such as software-defined networking and network functions virtualization are essential to cutting operational and capital costs in mobile networks. Cloud-based services and applications are enablers for programmability. Service provisioning in the cloud and managed access to the provisioned services and applications are important. This requires collaboration between telecom and other industries (IT application and content providers, and automotive original equipment manufacturers, for example). One way to simplify and accelerate the deployment of services and applications from industry verticals is the automatic translation of industrial requirements to service requirements, and then on to resource-level requirements (in other words, network requirements). Network slicing provides a dedicated, virtualized mobile network containing a set of network resources, and provides guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS). The network slices are not only beneficial but also critical to support many applications in vertical industries.

New network communication services can also be provisioned programmatically; that is, by using a software service orchestration function instead of manual provisioning by engineers. As orchestration will also be used for provisioning connectivity services to mission-critical applications, mobile networks need to support QoS programmability. In line with this Digital Transformation, Ericsson, a leading global provider of ICT, has launched a range of 5G network management solutions for its Ericsson Radio System, 5G Platform, and others, based on the belief that the largest transformation of IT infrastructure is beginning right now, as 5G commercialization gets underway. Ericsson believes this transformation will reshape IT as we know it, necessitating programmable infrastructure as a means of driving top line revenue growth and strategic advantage for operators. As widespread 5G moves increasingly closer to becoming a reality, optimization, and utilization of 5G capabilities will depend heavily on the presence of programmable infrastructure.

Prevention is the best migration cure States of Fragility 2018. The findings are as illuminating as they are troubling. By 2030, more than 80% of the world’s poor will live in an area defined as “fragile” – a status that may reflect any number of political, social, security, economic, or environmental causes. Unfortunately, if current trends hold, far too little development aid will be allocated to address the factors contributing to fragility. In 2016, for example, just 2% of the $68.2 billion in official development assistance (ODA) that went to places affected by fragility was used for conflictprevention activities, and only 10% went to peacebuilding initiatives. There is no other conclusion to draw: we must change how ODA is allocated. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, a record 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced in 2017. Many of these people hailed from just five countries – Afghanistan, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, and Syr-

ia. But, while countries hosting refugees have an urgent need for money to support long-term relocation efforts, most ODA is still channeled to short-term solutions. Humanitarian initiatives – like food and shelter – accounted for roughly a third of all ODA last year, and that share has been climbing for nearly a decade. By contrast, funding for construction of schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure continues to lag. While it’s understandable that donors would gravitate toward solutions that offer immediate assistance to the displaced, neglecting refugees’ long-term needs is shortsighted. Simply put, the international community’s ambition for aid must evolve beyond keeping people alive; it must also offer migrants a future. If allocated properly, ODA can be a powerful tool in preventing conflict and reversing the trends that contribute to fragility. Moreover, this type of spending is often a

source of hope for migrants, given that in many crisis-affected areas, ODA is among the most reliable funding sources. That is particularly true as emergencies age, because funding levels typically drop as donations from other sources dry up. To be sure, reversing current ODA spending trends will not be easy. Fragility manifests in myriad ways, and addressing challenges as diverse as violent extremism, climate change, organized crime, and gender discrimination will require a new playbook for development spending. Still, the need for actions has become urgent. If unaddressed, conflict, violence, and other forms of fragility will set development gains back decades, further fueling the very dynamics that lead to instability in the first place. Unless the international community changes its approach to investing in fragile regions, the world will fail to achieve a key objective of the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

to leave no one behind. Spending on long-term solutions also makes financial sense. According to the UN and World Bank, if more money were allocated to conflictprevention programs, up to $70 billion could be saved annually in refugee-relocation costs. While the world has accepted the premise of costeffective prevention in health care (by promoting regular screenings and checkups, for example), this philosophy has yet to be applied to policymaking on migration. This can and should change. The global migration crisis – the worst since the end of World War II – has consumed huge sums of financial and political capital. To address it effectively, the focus must shift to improving stability and security, and hope for better futures, in the places where migrants originate. And that means the development community, and especially official donors, must rethink their priorities and policies. ©: Project Syndicate

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Perspective

Situating Odili in Rivers politics CHIGACHI EKE

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mbily Etekpe, Eugene Ugwulor Nwala, Young Ayotamuno and Martins C. Jumbo did something unusual in the Niger Delta. Concerned that the scourge of time was taking its toll on our revered heroes, the four methodically began to interview key players in the struggle for Rivers State creation. Their ground-breaking ‘Harold Dappa-Biriye: His Contributions to Politics in Nigeria’ is fit to stand as Chapter One of Rivers Chronicles. In reality, the work is a compilation of original documents written by Dappa-Biriye himself. “These documents dating from the early 1940s were all written by my father. He had no secretary, just one typist called Joe Barnes. Some he wrote while quietening a crying baby on his shoulder,” confirmed Miss Ibitomie Dappa-Biriye who manages her father’s foundation. We have sieved through records and archives and still came to the same conclusion, namely: The grand old man of Ijaw nationalism single-handedly conceived and propagated Rivers State before bringing others on board. At a point, to avert serious threats to his person, Dappa-Biriye dropped his Wilcox family name and assumed the one he is known with today, just as he started writing under the pen name of Lobito Bay. Charles Ogan’s masterpiece, ‘Alfred Diete-Spiff: A Legacy of Development in the Niger Delta’ and Etekpe et al’s ‘Alfred Diete-Spiff: The Vision and Realism of a Statesman’ will form the authentic Chapter Two. The number one reason Nigerians are poor biographers is intellectual hypocrisy that sees no fault in their protagonists. Ogan cleverly avoids this pitfall meekly smiting his own breast in sincere contrition that wins his hero the reader’s sympathy, “Yet, Alfred Diete-Spiff is not an Angel. Like all mortals, he also has limitations in both public and private life.” Chapter Three would be Etekpe et al’s ‘Lawrence Ekpebu: His Contributions to National Development, Integration and International Cooperation.’ This is one work that gives the nitty-gritty of how Rivers was built from scratch by the great Commander DieteSpiff. For instance, “Pan African Bank (PAB) was equally established through his (Ekpebu’s) efforts by convincing the governor based on his internship experience at Chase Manhattan Bank while at Princeton University… The bank started with a nominal share capital of 400,000 pounds (N800,000) divided into 400,000 shares of N2.00 each. The share capital was later increased to N91,345,797 and fully paid up” (pp.59-60). Chapter Four would go to Dr. Peter Otunuya Odili’s autobiographical ‘Conscience and HistoryMy Story.’ As Rivers governor, 1999-2007, his tenure interests us for two reasons. Firstly, the Rivers he served was part of the larger Niger Delta transiting from dictatorship to democracy. He returned Rivers leadership back to indigenes after decades of misrule by nonindigenous military officers. Seen

Peter Otunuya Odili from this restorative angle, he was effectively in charge. And secondly, he came to power when the region was also transiting from passive to armed resistance. Responding to the Kaiama Declaration of 1998, the youth began to mobilise. Notably, the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, and other youth organisations were formed. The battle cry was resource control “By any means necessary.” Without the powers to command the armed forces, like today’s Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Odili was helpless stopping violence. What started as non-violent agitation under moderate IYC pioneer President Felix Tuodolo soon turned bloody. It all started when President Olusegun Obasanjo made the costly mistake of destroying Kaiama and Odi, all in the bid to punish those responsible for the Declaration. His action only helped extremists within the IYC to install Asari Dokubo as president after Tuodolo. Asari declared war on Nigeria reducing Odili’s Rivers (IYC Eastern Zone), Diepriye Alamieyeseigha’s Bayelsa State (IYC Central Zone) and James Ibori’s Delta State (IYC Western Zone) to potential killing fields. Obasanjo made his second mistake ensnarling Asari with fake amnesty before kidnapping him from Odili’s capital, to believe Onisoya J. Odum who served as scribe to the Asari-led Niger Delta Peoples Salvation Front (NDPSF), political wing of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF). Asari’s absence created a vacuum

rapidly filled by his commanders who formed their own private armies of militants. Things got completely out of hand as the militants killed citizens, soldiers and foreign oilmen. Like fathers eating sour grape only for the teeth of their children to be set on edge, Odili, Ibori and Alamieyeseigha got blamed for a problem created by Obasanjo. In understanding the extraneous forces at work in Odili’s Rivers not adequately captured in ‘Conscience and History- My Story,’ therefore, a sequence of events must be factored in: Years of military misrule alienated the youth who served Nigeria and the Kaiama Declaration. While hunting down those responsible for the Declaration, Obasanjo blundered, razing Kaiama and Odi. The destruction of these towns helped extremists install Asari as IYC president. Asari’s armed struggle was exponentially bloody in Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta. Obasanjo kidnapped Asari whose absence motivated his boys to form their own private armies that killed indiscriminately. But governors of the three states unjustly took the blame. Agent of history Odili interests us as a product of historical struggle and agent of history. As a product of minority history, he is successor to a long line of icons traceable to Dappa-Biriye himself. Defining himself as a loyal son of Rivers from the Ndoni ethnic minority, this loyalty is recoverable in the recognition he accords those who contributed in making him

what he is. His identification with what Dappa-Biriye lived and died for conditioned what he did, and refused to do, while in office. One problem consistent with a people at crossroads is the tendency to blame the preceding generations for doing nothing. Nigerians blame “ancestral curse” for their woes even though Chika Onyeani’s ‘Capitalist Nigger’ indicts them as lazy bones ever relying on whites and Asians. Odili never dabbles into the blame game. His attitude is that of conscientised memory rather than lethargy or selective amnesia. His inspiration comes from Commander Diete-Spiff and his Rivers First Eleven for giving Rivers free education. He extols Eze Emmanuel N. Opurum (cruelly flogged by NCNC thugs for his loyalty to Dappa-Biriye), Jaja S. Amachree, Davies D. Manuel, GKJ Amachree, etc, who joined DappaBiriye in separating Rivers from the bandwagon Calabar, Ogoja, Rivers (COR) State favoured by external interests. Maya Angelou says, “I have learnt that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Rivers people will never forget that Odili rehabilitated our traditional rulers, restored the prestige of our judges and when our father Dappa-Biriye passed on in 2005, gave him a befitting burial. As an agent of history, Odili enthroned equity in Rivers politics. Campaigning side by side with Governor Ada George, 1992-1993,

whom he deputised, Odili was honest acknowledging the genuine complaints of the upland, not limited to Ikwerres, Ogonis, Ekpeyes and his own Ndoni tribe, who felt excluded from producing the governor. Elected deputy governor, he immediately set in motion a process that would produce an Ikwerre governor fifteen years later. He recalls, “Rotimi Amaechi met me after the Constituent Assembly and warmed himself to me as a young man who was ready to work hard and showed some aptitude for political capacity. I took him in as a young friend and employed him as a staff of my hospital in the Administration Department. It was through Amaechi that I got to knowing Celestine Omehia…” (Conscience, p. 66). The Ikwerreborn Omehia and Amaechi would all serve as governors after him; a development that fostered equity, but just not yet. What hope for Riverine? How did Odili emerge the first upland governor? Simple: The esteemed Dappa-Biriye asked riverine Ibiapuye Yellowe and Ebenezer Isokariari to step down for him. The Father of Rivers saw the injustice in the riverine denying the upland the governorship slot over the years. Yellowe agreed and went for a Senate seat, which he won. Isokariari refused and lost to Odili. So it stands to reason that the riverine actually handed power to Odili in the name of equity. At the end of his tenure in 2007, Odili was supposed to hand power back to the riverine in a rotatory arrangement but that did not happen. He handed power to upland Ikwerre. We are the first to commend his courage in doing the right thing, namely, paving way for an Ikwerre governor. That was the real equity considering that no Ikwerre man had governed Rivers since its 1967 creation till then. Going by the narrative, there was an equal merit in the riverine outcry against the Ikwerre-born Governor Nyesom Wike, 2015 till date, succeeding another Ikwerreborn Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, 2007-2015. The fear is that the upland may not relinquish power to the riverine at the end of Wike’s tenure in 2023. At 70, come 15th August, Odili is an elder statesman per excellence. As the Dappa-Biriye of our days he is expected to mediate on our behalf, in short, stabilise Rivers and the larger Niger Delta. That is why Rivers people are unease with his stolid silence. What is he afraid of? Ultimately Rivers will overcome; but his impartial voice is absolutely necessary. We are not saying that Wike should be denied a second term. Let Wike complete his full tenure for peace to prevail. What we want is a negotiated settlement where Odili would tell the upland to also step down for the riverine in 2023. Equity for every Rivers minority, not just the riverine, remains his unfinished mandate. Eke, a Port-Harcourt resident, wrote the treatise to commemorate the 70th birthday, on August 15,2018, of His Excellency Dr. Peter Otunuya Odili. Email: chigachieke@yahoo.co.uk


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15

Perspective

Onyeizu

Abia South senatorial seat: Between the old and new ‘wine’

NWAOBIA CHIGBU

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lthough the 2019 Senatorial election is still months away, the race for Abia South seat has become hot and interesting. Already, it is the most intriguing in Abia State, considering the aspirants that have so far come out in most of the leading political parties and the issues that currently dominate discussion amongst the electorate. Of all the three senatorial districts in the Southeast state, this zone, Abia South, has so far attracted the highest number of aspirants for the 2019 elections. They include the incumbent Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who is poised to contest for a fourth term in office; Chinwe Nwanganga, Professor Ikechi Mgbeoji, Solomon Ogunji, and Rt. Hon. Emeka Stanley, all on the platform of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. On the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the leading aspirants include Sir. Mac Wabara, the former managing director of the defunct Hallmark Bank, and an internationally acclaimed Petroleum Engineer, Chinedu Onyeizu. On the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), there are strong indications that

Chris Nkwonta will run on this platform. The Akwete, Ukwa East billionaire ran against Senator Abaribe in 2015, but lost. Just 38, Chinedu Onyeizu represents the new breed in the politics of Abia South. Born November 23, 1980 at Abayi-Ohanze village in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State, Onyeizu, an engineer of international repute, plans to fly the flag of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the senatorial election for Abia South seat. Young, fresh and intellectually deep, Onyeizu has, since he came out to dare, never ceased to attract attention. Close watchers of the unfolding campaign intrigues in the area say most of the other “experienced” aspirants for the plum seat at the Red Chamber, including the big and the mighty in the politics of Abia South, are already jittery over Onyeizu’s immediate acceptability and growing popularity amongst the youth and increasing percentage of the old. So, why would a young man like that, with little or no political experience, become such an instant factor to reckon with in a race that parades old political lords and known moneybags? So many factors could be adduced for this. The first is, perhaps the personality, himself. Onyeizu, according to the people

that have associated with him at close quarters, is a brilliant example of a determined youth, eager to make a difference when it matters most. It could not be said of him that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. No! He was brought up in a middle class family of five (3 males and 2 females). His father is a licensed land surveyor and his late mum was a secondary school principal. He had his primary and secondary school education in Aba, and later attended Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) where he graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor’s Degree (B.Eng.) in Petroleum Engineering. Between then and now, young Onyeizu has travelled far and wide in search of the mythical Golden Fleece and everywhere he went to, he has made visible marks that confirmed his destiny to reach the very top. His has been a story of excellence wrapped up in a humble soul. He did his NYSC service in Bayelsa State and his meritorious service during this period earned him the Best Corps Member award (given by the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State) amongst the 2003 Batch A set of corps members. As a young university graduate, he singlehandedly invited a team of 10 expatriate ophthalmologists for a

free eye surgery camp in Bayelsa State. His humanitarian project restored sight to 67 cataract blind people in the society. In 2006, Chinedu Onyeizu was recognised as the Best Young Engineer in West Africa by PENWELL Petroleum Group - a U.K. based organisation during the 2006 Offshore West Africa Conference in Abuja. He developed and presented a GIS model that is capable of detecting and transmitting real time data on vulnerability of the environment to spill in a Niger Delta oilfield. Well exposed, he has had the privilege of studying at prestigious universities like Harvard University in Boston, Herriot-Watt University in Scotland, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts for postgraduate degrees. He started his professional career as a Natural Gas Research Associate with the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) in 2004 and joined Chevron Nigeria Limited in 2007 where he worked in various petroleum upstream projects. With a scope of expertise that includes Petroleum Asset development, Strategy Planning, Power and Energy Policy development, and Project Management at senior executive levels, it would be fool hardy for

the so called experienced politicians and money bags to dismiss Onyeizu as ‘inexperienced, since the youths and the working class young adults, the critical segment of the voting population, are eager for real change in the politics of this oil producing senatorial district. The argument today is that amongst the candidates, Onyeizu is, if the hard truth is to be told, the only one that has the real experience to advance the course of Abia South in particular and Abia State in general, as an oil producing community. He is the only one that has the critical knowledge for proper development and utilisation of this natural resource. Until his emergence, all that the socalled experienced politicians, like the incumbent Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe or the other moneybags like Mac Wabara, the former Managing Director of the defunct Hallmark Bank, have to present is their huge bags of money or long years of service in the public sector. The fear they have as the 2019 election campaign begins, is that this young man, Onyeizu, has today offered something fresh and new! Something that is most needed by the people so much blessed but so much denied of the benefits of their God-given blessing. Given his background and track record, his supporters would have little or no difficulty in marketing him to the critical electorates. Though the youngest, he has the critical experience that counts. In 2016, while studying for his MBA at MIT, Onyeizu developed and shared a policy and technology based model capable of transforming Nigeria’s petroleum industry. His model promises to position Nigeria as a global hub for crude oil refining and distribution in West Africa and the rest of the world. His work received global recognition and was later published by MIT on the October 2017 edition of MIT Expert blog. He later founded an organisation - Africa Policy Evaluation and Research Associates (AfriPERA) - focused on working with national and regional governments and institutions on developing and reviewing policies on energy, power, agriculture and economy for the development of Africa and other emerging economies. No wonder even the high and mighty are already fidgeting as this young promising aspirant steps out? The questions all informed analyst will soon begin to ask must include: Why would such an aspirant, with clear vision and potential, not inspire and attract the youths, young adults, the aged and even the grassroots who have been deceived for long by the so-called experienced politicians and money bags? Your guess is as good as mine. Today’s voters, especially the youths and the other segments who feel betrayed, are no longer gullible. For them, the Abia South Senatorial election in 2019 will be a battle between the expired old leaders and the vibrant youths who are ready to hit the road running. They know what is good for them and are no longer ready to be deceived by the same set of leaders that have used them to fly high for years but have nothing tangible to offer the common people at the grassroots.


16 BDSUNDAY

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TheWorshippers Nigeria is a huge market for fake prophets because most people are gullible – Apostle Elo Apostle David Elo of the Believers’ House of Freedom (BHF) is on a mission to rescue Nigerian youths from the grips of drugs, sexual perversion, cultism and other vices as well as give hope to the indigents. The Apostle, who was the guest preacher at the succession service of the late Bishop Irene Ayalogu, founder of City of Life Bible Church, Lagos, speaks with SEYI JOHN SALAU on succession and believers’ disposition to prayers. Succession is a major challenge faced by many churches in Nigeria. Why is it so? t is simply out of greed because these days people see church as a business. To some church heads or founders, even if God does not call their children, they call their children themselves. It is not about God but about the properties they will be leaving behind. It is selfishness. Church is a big business now and we have so many gullible people. Once people begin to call some leaders ‘Daddy’, they look for how to take advantage of the people’s gullibility and manipulate them. When you have about 100 people in your church, it is like having 100 ATMs. Because of the ‘Daddy in the Lord’ thing going on, some are engaging in self-worship. The truth is that those whom God calls hardly want to go because the spiritual assignment is very tough. Once you are for God you are against the devil and the devil is the one in charge of this world. So, the will of God is very difficult; even Jesus found it difficult to do the will of God. In the garden of Gethsemane, He was pained and found it difficult as he uttered, ‘Let your will be done’. So the will of God is not easy. How can the church address the issue of self-praise/worship? It has to do with enlightenment. Once people are enlightened, it will be easy for them to know their rights. Once there is market for fake prophets, you cannot stop the market from growing. Nigeria is a very big market for fake prophets because most Nigerians are gullible. Again, we are very religious but we do not know God. The only truth people know is that they are going to church. They are not taught wisdom, creativity and how to use their

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David Elo

talents. That you spend 30 years in vigils or on the mountain does not mean you will be successful. In churches today the prayer warriors are the poorest. You don’t pray to be rich; you provide services and get paid for it. Some churches today lie to people; they make people believe that once you are anointed, even if you don’t provide services, you will prosper. So you cannot sleep in blunder and wake up in wonder. The only thing is for people to be enlightened, though no matter the level of enlightenment people who choose to remain gullible will still be gullible. You said prayer warriors are the poorest; how do you mean? Of course, they are. How much prayer does Bill Gates or Dangote pray? It is about providing services.

They provide services which people pay for. Take the telecommunications firms, for example; they make money per second because they provide services per second. Does it mean that God does not answer prayers? God answers prayers; He has already answered before you started praying. The answer to your prayer is in your talent. God told me six years ago, ‘Your education may give you a job but your talent will make you an employer of labour’. I have written about 35 books on how to be successful. What I’m trying to say is that when you use your talents, you get paid for it. Christians have to be creative as prayer is supposed to be an addition. It is like someone going to the farm and without digging to sow the corn seeds, continues to

say, ‘Corn you must grow’. That is foolish prayer. Is that to say Christians do not possess creative mindset? Very few of them do. The ones that are not creative are that way because of the teachings they are being exposed to. Anointing oil or mantle does not make you successful. For example, I would rather take my car to a pagan who I am sure will fix it perfectly than take it to a Christian whose expertise I am in doubt of. So, in essence, people should be good at what they do. Bishop Irene Ayalogu’s successor is not in any way related to her; what is the lesson for other preachers of the gospel? That is how it is meant to be. There is no blood relation between the late founder and Rev. Etinosa Aigbedion because that is how the church should be. It is not supposed to be hereditary because it is God’s business and not man’s business. That God calls a father does not mean he automatically calls the son. Bishop Ayalogu was from the East while her successor is from Edo State. What is your message to Bishop Ayalogu’s successor? During the sermon, I advised him to be weary of pastors – these are the people that can make or mar his ministry. We have quite a lot of pastors that are not saved. I was teaching somewhere when a pastor said he was about to be made a provincial pastor when he got saved. So, we have many pastors who are not Christians. If he makes friends with pastors who visit native doctors, use prophecies to deceive members and sleep with church members, he will do the same because the bible says, ‘Evil communication corrupts good manners’. In Nigeria today, we

have many unbelievers as pastors. We have few churches who are genuinely serving God but the truth is that Jesus is coming back again for the true church because these churches that thrive on immorality would fade away. The level of vices seems to be getting high despite all the churches scattered across Nigeria… Yes, till Jesus comes, it won’t get better. The world will get worse, but let’s know that heaven is real and hell is real. If you continue to live in sin, when you die you will go to hell. What is making immorality and other forms of evil thrive is the message of grace that these ‘pastors’ preach. They say, ‘Once saved, forever saved’. I call this kind of grace satanic grace. What is your assessment of the Christian bodies in Nigeria? They are good but I’m not a member. I used to be a member of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) but pulled away because of what I saw. I expect a situation where the PFN and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) can add more value. There is nothing stopping us from having PFN and CAN farm. What are the churches in Nigeria generating billions doing with the billions? We have a lot of lands lying fallow which can be converted to farmlands, from which even Africa as a continent can be fed. So PFN and CAN should create jobs. They can also identify those that have talents and invest in them. It can come like a soft loan with the aim to help businesses to grow. I love these bodies and pray for them but I want them to create more value. The church must come together as one for it is in unity that we can make progress, not as individuals.

Cleric urges Christians to renew faith in God

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s the 2019 general elections draw closer and continue to gain momentum among the populace, Christians in Nigeria have been urged to renew their faith in God in contributing to nation building. Eniwoake Oterai, the out-going presiding bishop and head of mission, Gospel Church of Christ, Lagos made this remark while speaking at the annual convention and 50th anniversary of the church, with the theme, “Total Freedom.” According to Oterai, the church encourages Christians who are interested in politics to participate and involve in party politics. However, they should do so with bible in their right hand and their heart focus on God. “Our belief is that, the church should be safe haven and last hope

L-R: Bishops John Agbor, Sam Oniekoro (Chairman, Convention Committee), E.U Emiaso (incoming Head of Mission), E.J Oterai (outgoing head of mission) and Rev. Benson Abrifor (Church Secretary) during the annual convention and 50th anniversary celebration of Gospel Church of Christ Int’l., Lagos.

in the face of social, economic and political menace; unfortunately, in some way, the church has compromised and failed the society. Nevertheless, Gospel Church of Christ has resolved to stand out to preach undiluted gospel to correct the menace and this, we shall continue to do, till Jesus Christ come”, said Oterai. He however advised the government to restructure the country and be careful in handling the on-going anti-corruption war, so as not to jeopardize the purpose of sanitizing the system in building a better society. Oterai opined that the anti-corruption war and prosecution should be fought holistically without bias, stating that “Under any circumstances, Nigeria will be great”. Going down memory lane on

the church, Oterai said, Gospel Church of Christ came out of the Anglican Church and started as a prayer group in July 1968 in Lagos. In a short time, the fellowship grew, with increase and commitments of members, the prayer group metamorphosed into a church in 1970 and duly registered as Gospel Church of Christ. According to Oterai, the first appointed President (Superintendent) of the church was Rev. G. E Osio, while Rev. S. U. Enegwero was the first pastor and the first bishop to be consecrated was Rt. Rev. Enoch Magbegor in 2003, who passed on in 2007 while bishop Eniwoake Oterai who is retiring as the presiding bishop of the church; took over the leadership as head of mission will hand over the leadership of the church to bishop E.U. Emiaso.


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BDSUNDAY 17

Inspirations The power of divine connections (4)

Pastor I.S James Acts 15:36-41

Conclusion

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here’s a right way to both connect and disconnect. And every disconnection comes with a particular level of pain. For instance, if you have to leave your church because you are relocating to another country (in this case, God would have spoken to both parties involved because in the case of things that affect divine connections He never speaks to just one person), but if someone decides on his/her own to leave and chooses to frame it as God having instructed him/her to do so without God having confirmed this to the other party, then you’ve broken the connection in a wrong way. It is also when most people have decided to break a divine connection that they now want to speak to the other person to explain their decision, this is not right. God doesn’t give you the option of altering the terms and nature of a divine connection, if you are having problems in the relationship the right thing to do is to sit with the other person and talk it out and not for you to walk out and break the connection. A person like this is deemed to be unfaithful and ends up becoming someone nobody wants to be connected to. Looking at marriages as a form of divine connection, you won’t find a marriage that is without its own share of trouble and conflicts, but these problems are meant to be worked on and resolved through com-

munication, patience and perseverance and not by walking out when things get tough. That’s how marriages (and by extension, divine connections are preserved). Man was designed and shaped to live in a community, husband – wife, father – son, employer – employee, friends, neighbourhood; even on the bad side you have cults, gangs and prisons: these are all forms of relationship/connections. Whether positive or negative, people live in communities and not independently of every other person. That’s how man was created, but the devil is trying to stop people from connecting to others and ensure they live in isolation. The American Medical Association recently declared that loneliness/social disconnect is not just a psychological ailment, but a medical one as well; one which the Association says is worse than heart disease, obesity and smoking. This means loneliness will make one physically sick. Eph. 4:11 Jesus gave the five-fold gifts of ministry to us, but even those who function in any aspect of these ministries ought to have someone he/she submits to (Gal. 2:1) Ps. 92:12-14 “12The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree, he shall grow like cedars in Lebanon. 13Those who are planted in the house of God shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing” The righteous person has a God-ordained place to flourish. Imagine what would happen if the righteous moves away from the place that God has ordained for him to flourish in. There are two things that are necessary for us to be what we want to be: 1. You have to be planted 2. There is a right place to be planted For you to flourish, you need to trust the wisdom of the Master planter/gardener. You can’t plant yourself, only God can plant you; so trust in His wisdom. There’s a difference between being

planted and just growing. Planting connotes a sense of purpose, it is deliberate. But growing happens by chance and it isn’t regulated by anyone. It also has a large measure of risk in that a plant that grew where it wasn’t planted can be uprooted at any point in time. Going further from being planted, there is a particular place above every other place where a person will thrive best. Like the Cedar is native to and thrives best in Lebanon (as quoted in the passage we just read – Ps. 92:12-14), so a person will thrive best in the place that God has ordained for him/her to beplanted.Don’tletanythingwhatsoeveruproot you from the place God has planted you. There are certain conditions God has made to favour each of His creations, there’s a thing as the proper connections to the right soil/place. Those who are planted have a sense of divine connection. They know that’s the place that God has planted them, they are members and not just attendees. Connected people don’t truly ever leave, even if they are physically removed from the church by legitimate reasons, they will stay in touch and keep tab on whatever is going on there. Members have a sense of responsibility, commitment and then a sense of divine connection. Divine connections shouldn’t be taken trivially and/or broken indiscriminately. Even when disagreements and conflicts occur, they should be worked on and worked out, because you know if you are to leave that relationship where you’re planted and connected you are on the way to destroying yourself. Just like you have it in marriage, if one disconnects himself from a divine-ordained relationship (like a Church) at will and enters into other relationships trivially, he’s an adulterer. Adam (Man) fell because he didn’t know how to treat divine things as divine. We saw this with Achan (Joshua 7) as well; he touched what God said no one should touch, and he treated the divine instruction with lev-

ity. We see this happening in the Church with people disconnecting from church at will. Truly committed people who are members of the church (those who have a sense of divine planting), take up the challenge of building their church. Remain connected 3 ways people can be disconnected: 1. Overtly • Someone in open disconnection and disagreement with the church 2. Covertly • Someone who’s not involved and uninterested in anything that’s going on; who gradually withdraws from what’s going on in the relationship/church. • These people are found in a circle of friends who are of a similar disposition to themselves; they have friends who are living in open rebellion to the standards of God and the Church. 3. Surreptitiously 1 Sam. 22:19-23S 1. Abiathar was the remnant of his family and he connected divinely with David. 2. As he stayed connected with David, he rose up in rank with David till he became the national priest of Israel. • When God wants to bless you He sends you a person who will help lead you along God’s pathway to His predetermined destination for you. Your destiny helper. • When the devil wants to mislead you, he sends you a person who will side-track you and move you out of your path to God’s predetermined destination for you. • We see this with Abiathar, who even after he had risen through the ranks with David eventually disconnected from him because he sought out his own agenda.

Dr. Iruofagha James is the Founding Pastor, Glory Christian Ministries, Odo-Olowo Street, Apapa/Oshodi Expressway, Ijeshatedo, Lagos. www.isjames.org Tel: 08060599144

Fasten your seatbelt

REV. Yomi Kasali

@rev.yomikasali

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hese are words that you hear as a frequent traveler by air, usually by the air Hostesses and pilot during most flights. I often wonder why we place so much on safety and security of the ‘body’ but ignore such remarks when it comes to the ‘salvation’ or safety of the ‘soul’ of man.  The Lord tells us not to be fearful of those who can kill the Body but cannot touch the soul but rather we should fear Him (God) who can cast both the soul and body into the place of eternal damnation, ‘And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell – Matthew 10:28  The scriptures also enjoins us to be unmovable in our resolve for the Lord

and confession of faith while always abounding in the work of the Lord. There will be seasons in our journey that will be tough and rough, we may even contemplate throwing in the towel and giving up on God, but Apostle Paul charges us to remain ‘steadfast’ and unmovable unto the end. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord – 1Corinthians 15:58  It is important for us to fasten our faith seatbelts as we embark on our Faith Journey to Eternal Bliss in the presence of the Lord. There are at least 3 times during our journeys in life that we are reminded to Fasten Our Seatbelts, I want to Inspire you on those times and seasons in your Faith Journey also.    SEASONS OF LIFE TO FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS   TAKE OFF SEASON: Most pilots instruct us with their air Hostesses to Fasten Our Seatbelts when we are about to take off because of the usual flight challenges with altitudes. This is very important for those who give their lives to Christ as Lord and Savior. My faith today was built on my foundation season in Sunday school several years ago. Unfortunately, we cannot boast of building strong foundations for

sure you do not miss heaven and lose your rewards after you have lived for Him on earth. The Lord is at hand and you should end well in faith like Apostle Paul said, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. TURBULENCE SEASON: During most flights on earth, when the pilots notice that they are experiencing some turbulences, they gently remind the passengers to fasten their seatbelts because of the turbulence, some can be very scary while others are gentle but the crew are not trained to take them lightly. Kindly note that there will be times in your Faith Journey that you will face some turbulence and you should not quit but simply fasten your seatbelts because the Lord will carry the younger believers today. Your foun- you through those seasons. David calls dation is the most important part of your those seasons the Valley Moments Of life, journey in life. How you start matters; “Yea, though I walk through the valley of your take off can determine your entire the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for flight mood if you don’t take off well. Peo- thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they ple get into dizzy spell when the takeoff is comfort me” – Ps. 23:4 I hope you have been inspired today rough and unprepared for. YOUR TOUCH DOWN SEASON:  and have decided to ensure your Seatbelts We are also encouraged to Fasten Our are fastened for your Faith Journey. It shall Seatbelts whenever the flight is about to be well. touch down, the way you end in life also Shalom and be Inspired matters. Make sure as you grow older in faith and age in life, you bring important things to the front burner and embrace Rev. Yomi Kasali is Senior Pastor, Foundation of meditation. Fasten your seatbelts to make Truth Assembly (FOTA), Surulere, Lagos


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Interview ‘We are working to lift Enugu to the global stage’ Ayobanna Ikeanumba, president of the Enugu Diaspora Organisation (EDO), in this interview with REGIS ANUKWUOJI, explains the organisation’s plan to revitalise moribund companies in the state; the group’s 70,000-book donation to IMT, among other issues. Excerpts:

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What does Enugu Diaspora Organisation mean? t is an association of Enugu people (Ndi Enugu) to start with; secondly it is the coordinating organisation of all Enugu associations all over the world. Though they are not our branches or chapters, we all work together for the overall development of the state. We have Enugu U.S.A with more 15,000 registered members, Enugu Malaysia, Enugu UK, Enugu Ireland, South Africa, Enugu Germany, Enugu Italy, Enugu Brazil, Enugu Spain and many others. There are over 68 known and registered Enugu associations all over the world with a combined population of 219,000 members. My organisation works handin-hand with all these associations to bring about development in Enugu State. The real process of coordination and co-operation has been triggered and has taken off. The result is now showing. We also work very closely with the state government, through many of her departments but especially the office of the Special Adviser to the State Governor on Diaspora Matters. In other words, we have many members all over the world, some are here in Enugu and in other parts of Nigeria, because for you to be a member of our organisation, you must have lived or still live overseas, and you must be somebody with vested interest in the Diaspora. In funding our projects, we raise funds through our members, other persons and agencies that believe in what we do. We do not raise funds for keeping; we target projects, get the funds and do the project. We are a project driven organisation purely aiming to invest in critical sectors of the economy of Enugu State. We do charity but it’s not our motivation, our motivation is to get profit in what we do and in turn, use part of the profit to do charity. Profit first before charity. May we know some of the critical sectors of the economy you have affected or intend to work in? Actually, when I came on board to lead the organisation, I had to take concrete steps to change the narrative of the organisation; before now it functioned as a beggarly organisation, moving cap in hand, looking for people to donate funds for charity work. In the days we live, things should not really work like that. You make profit before you do charity. Charity costs money. This is our method as I have said earlier. We are mindful of what we do, so we don’t cross the moral line. To answer your question, we have three critical areas we

Ayobanna Ikeanumba

want to achieve in the shortest possible time. We made these promises to our people and we must deliver. First is to facilitate to build a Diaspora Estate in Enugu for our members and other persons who might be interested. Second is the Diaspora Library Project and third is the Diaspora Fund Project. These three critical areas are achievable and we must achieve them in order of achievability. The Diaspora estate was embarked upon to challenge the frustration of our members who have tried but failed over the years to get genuine real estate in Enugu. Sometimes these people run into trouble when they send funds home to their relations and contractors to acquire real estate for them. The funds are either mismanaged or out-rightly stolen, with little or no consequences. In order to check this, as an organisation, we are moving fast to acquire land in partnership with communities or land owners in Enugu, develop the infrastructure through complex technical partnerships and then avail it to our members at affordable options. At the moment, we

are working with the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation in a particular estate of theirs with 140 serviced plots of land along the Enugu Port-Harcourt Express Way. They call it Rangers Estate. We call it Rangers Diaspora Village. This is genuine and straight. As we speak, our members are fast acquiring the plots and are starting full development. At the rate of N7m per plot including full infrastructure, you cannot get it cheaper anywhere of such location in Enugu. This is the foreign direct investment I am talking about- simple and direct. Seven million naira for 140 units is a lot of money and our members are doing it. This fund is coming direct into Enugu and it is changing gradually the economic indices of the stakeholders. Gradually we are getting somewhere promising. We aim to get at least 1,000 of such plots in the next 24 months for our members. The interesting thing is that people are bringing money home and the multiple effect is there to see; when people bring money effectively in such orderly manner as we are doing now, you

will find out that the impact on the economy of the state will be felt in the immediate and extend workers’ remuneration in increments- the traders who supply building materials, the architects who are producing drawings, different types of engineers, even government agencies that approve some of the work, get paid- all have impacts. By this we have and will continue to create a huge market for our people and the state- money from Enugu people for Enugu people. We have advanced in the library project. At the moment, we have signed a collaboration agreement with IMT Enugu to re-stock her library. We have engaged and are relying on our partner associations in the USA and UK to achieve this. In response, they are sending, as we speak 70,000 books to be delivered to IMT. This is unprecedented, especially as the books are coming through direct funding, entirely by our members and partners. Surely, by the end of August this year the batches will start arriving Enugu, sorted and delivered to the school. These are contempo-

rary, purely academic and brand new books, valued at more than N140million. We approached other schools in Enugu, including ESUT but IMT has shown commitment and passion. The rector, Prof. Nweze and his team are people of great character, desirous to do things differently. In order to avoid the pitfalls of the past, we have signed a five year collaboration agreement with the school, to ensure total compliance and usage of the materials for the best interest of the students. This will ensure the books are not diverted or sold by some elements in the school. In addition to this, we are already in touch with some Enugu indigenes who are lecturers overseas, to assist IMT as academic partners or resource persons. They will assist the school in areas of teaching and research and will also be on hand to assist the lecturers in oversea academic pursuit. So, things are looking good for the school with EDO. On the Diaspora fund, not in the sense of CBN Diaspora fund programmes, we want to do what we have to do to encourage our people to pool their funds and do something in the state. For instance, we are aiming to invest directly in some critical infrastructures and establishments that are not functioning well at the moment in Enugu- the international conference center, Enugu water Corporation, Enugu Waste Management Authority and others- these establishments are functioning far below expectation. In getting involved, we are currently working in collaboration with all our people in every part of the world to create a pool of funds to get these places to work better. Mechanisms have been activated to raise $500 million of direct funding in the next ten years to achieve this. It is not impossible to deliver pipe borne water to every home in Enugu. There are millions of persons in Enugu city that need water daily. Statistically, there are about three million persons living in the city with an average daily water usage of ten litres. Our plan will provide good water to this mass of people at minimal fee. This is not rocket science, its common sense. Water can flow to anywhere, so long as there are pipes and pressure. So the idea of water reaching a part of the city and not reaching the other is strange and dubious. Giving three million persons good water daily at a small fee N5/liter is achievable in Enugu. This will make money for our people, the state and every other person that is involved. We are also taking aim at the Presidential Hotel, Nike Lake Resort Hotels, Enugu Waste


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Interview Management Agency, Premier Cashew Limited and plenty other such establishments that have defied redemption. EDO will redeem them and bring them to profitability. We are not unaware of the legal and many other challenges facing these great establishments but we will navigate them out of the woods. We have advanced discussion with reputable globally acclaimed fund manager to handle this project. Apart the three projects which you have explained, is your organisation thinking of attracting foreign investors into Enugu that will go into manufacturing? What we intend to do is not necessarily to go scouting for foreign investors as in the common sense of it but foreign-based Enugu investors. Surely we are going to have both local and foreign technical partners in handling a venture of this kind of Diaspora fund project but we are not losing sight of what we want to achieve in the end. In order to get it right, one needs to know some of the key challenges that might face investors coming into this part of the country. My personal experience tells me that investment partners prefer to land in Lagos and do their businesses there and leave with ease, because they see Lagos as an investor friendly state. They do not see Lagos as other Nigerian states that are always marred in unnecessary bureaucracy and mundane interferences in peoples businesses by government and government persons. Investors don’t like things like that; they will want to know if there are five star hotel brands in the locality like Protea, Southern Sun, Sun International, Marriot etc. They will want to know the safety of their lives and properties. Big investors want to be safe where ever they go. Enugu for instance, does not have a four star hotel or direct flight to any other country except Ethiopia. How can you command investor respect with such a situation? It is hard if you ask me. Therefore reasonable and profound investors will hardly put huge sums of money in such a place. They would rather prefer to put it in Lagos, where they know they simply get down at Ikeja and fly away and the government won’t truncate their investments. This is why Lagos state is doing everything it can to maintain the mini Nigeria status it has acquired for herself. Nothing goes for free there; you pay for everything and the government makes money to meet the needs of the people- good infrastructure, good services, smart administration and global partnerships. Lagos works like business, it does not work like normal government establishments in Nigeria. I used this as a case study because I have the experiences of many states in Nigeria, including Enugu, with painful consequences. Enugu

must begin to run like business for it to be prosperous. The state cannot run well with the small allocation from the Federal Government or the small N2billion monthly IGR it generates and expect industrialisation and economic explosion, no, the administrators of the state must start thinking outside the box and take nothing for granted. You can’t have a crop of people tagged with no track record of business and administrative achievements to run a state and expect prosperity. It’s a square hole and must have square peg, nothing more nothing less. We must do away with mediocres and get tested hands to get things going. Political patronage should not be for the business of the state. China and South Africa are good examples, where investors businesses don’t marry with politics. Enugu is capable of borrowing some ideas from these places. EDO is leading the way. The entire South East Nigeria must get to work. What on earth is wrong with the governments of this part of Nigeria? No single five star hotel in a region with the largest number of billionaires in black Africa. No direct flights from a region that controls trade and commerce of Nigeria with daily trading volume of little over $US1b. What is wrong? The question can go on and on but the answer lies with us. We must have direct flights from the entire South East of Nigeria to America, South Africa, China, Japan and other countries where our people are trading; this is an area of our strength in the Nigeria formation, we control almost 100percent of the trading capacity of this nation both formal and informal, yet we have not strategically used this to any advantage. The last I checked, a brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet costs US$239m. This is no money for Igbo billionaires, of which we have plenty. What stops ten of them from pooling resources and get this airplane? Perhaps they don’t know it’s possible; someone should tell them. What they need do is pool funds together, buy the plane and lease to a reputable global brand like South African Airways, Virgin, even KLM to fly our people right from Enugu to Johannesburg, London, Europe, China etc. This is what we need. This is what we can do. They can even consider a smaller plane like the Boeing 777. Enugu cannot handle Airbus, so it’s out of the picture. Whatever Ethiopian Airlines are doing to lift from Enugu, every other airline should be encouraged to do the same. South East governments should step in here. There are plenty things these guys can do to shoot Igbo land to the global stage without talking too much. My organisation must get Enugu going in this direction within the time frame we have set for ourselves.

View Fifth columnists in our recent history Babafemi Ojudu

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nce upon a time a General took over the reigns of power in Nigeria. He was determined to straighten Nigeria and instill discipline in the hope that in no long time Nigeria will be counted among the developed nations of the world. He introduced economic nationalism, frowned at corruption, and said loud and clear that trafficking in drug was anathema to our national goals. He advocated that Nigeria no matter their social class, powerful or powerless must exhibit discipline in all they do. Some fellow Generals who were in power with him but whose vision was diametrically opposed to his could not tolerate his stubbornness. They plotted against him. They found accomplices in the media, the traditional institution, among politicians and in the business community. Some foreign interests too were wooed. They came up with a script. This man is too popular. We need to make him unpopular, tag him a dictator, high handed and uncompromising. Yes the Yorubas bought into his

vision and they loved him. What do they do to give him a bad name before they strike to institute their regime of locusts. They hired a band of boys within the security to proceed to the house of the revered leader of the Yorubas, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. In the middle of the night the boys sacked the house, forced their way into his bedroom, ransacked everywhere and broke down his ward robe. They claimed they were sent by the then Head of State Gen Muhammadu Buhari to go look for some confidential documents acquired illegally by the Chief. The Yorubas and other sympathizer of Buhari were outraged. That was the end of the romance between the anti corruption duo of Buhari and Idiagbon and the people. They didn’t stop at that they sent another band of marauders to Kaduna. Destination was the home of the Islamic cleric, Alhaji Gumi. Their goal: embarrass the much respected cleric and set the Muslims against the regime. They succeeded at this as well. A couple of months thereafter when they struck and overthrew the regime, these were listed among the offenses committed by Gen Buhari. The people having been deceived applauded them and Buhari adjudged high handed,

brutal and a dictator. When a couple of days ago Senator Bukola Saraki visited the gap tooted General in Minna, I interpreted as going to ask “Oga I hope I am doing well?”. Nigerians should be vigilant. The children of yesterday’s tricksters are adults and are adopting the tricks of their fathers. We must all rise up and say we shall not be deceived by them. From the shenanigans at the Benue House of Assembly, to the siege on National Assembly, the attack on judges home in the night, the so called barricade of the Senate President’s house, the laughable kidnap of Boy Dino and “his eleven hours on a tree’, the freezing of Benue and Akwa Ibom accounts all are scripted, produced and acted by Oloye Productions. Soon they may come up with a bullet riddled vehicle and claim that the Executive Producer has survived an assassination attempt. After all some of the Offa sharp shooters are still at large. May God save us from these power mongers. Senator Ojudu, Special assistant to the President on Political Matters, wrote in from Abuja.

Defection not ideal for our democracy - SDP YOMI AYELESO, Akure

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he State Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Ondo State, Korede Duyile, has said that the issue of defection from one political party to the other by politicians is not good and ideal for the nation’s political system. Duyile, who disclosed this while

Olu Falae, national chairman, SDP

speaking to our reporter in Akure said that defection is a system, but not a fundamental issue, adding that it has always been the practice in Nigerian politics. Going down memory lane, the chairman explained that defection was not common then, saying, “It was happening, but not as it is now.” He recalled that in 1999 and 2000, some senators from his former party, Alliance for

Democracy (AD), defected to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) the development, which he said was welcomed by the PDP, and its members were happy. According to him, AD as a party expressed dissatisfaction over the development, which it said was not good for democracy in the country. “But now, it has become a new thing. In 2015, the same set of people defected from PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and APC was happy. “Now that it has happened to the PDP, no party should be aggrieved about it. Defection is not good and not ideal. But what do we do? There is freedom of speech,” Duyile said. The chairman, therefore, called for the implementation of the 2014 conference for better restructuring of the country. “Due to the prevailing political environment in the country, that is why the Yoruba Pan Socio-Cultural group, Afenifere is clamouring for restructuring. “When the environment is not developing what will you do? The solution is to go back to the 2014 CONFAB, to have real federal structure,” he emphasized.


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Interview

There is a media gang-up to promote hip hop above other music genres – Orits Wiliki He ruled the airwaves in the 1980s and 90s, alongside his contemporaries Ras Kimono and others who dominated the then pulsating reggae music scene, after he stormed the industry with the release of his ‘Tribulation’ album in 1989. With everlasting songs like ‘Tribulation’, ‘Heart of Stone’, ‘Fight The Fire’, ‘Mubalamumbe’, ‘Judgment A Come’, ‘Ten Commandments’, ‘Wha Dis Wha Dat’, and numerous others, Orits Wiliki endeared himself to lovers of good music. CHUKS OLUIGBO, assistant editor, traced Orits Wiliki, who celebrated his 30 years on stage in 2014, to his office/studio at Dopemu, Lagos, and the legend speaks on several issues, from the musical to the political. He insists the fortunes of reggae are not dwindling, just that the media has refused to the right thing. We lost Ras Kimono not long ago and from August 17 his final burial rites will begin. Who was Kimono to you and what can you say about him? traight up, I will tell you that Kimono was my 5 and 6. Some called us the Siamese twins, some called us brothers, some called us all sorts, but between me and you, he was half of me actually. His passing, as I told somebody, is like half of my energy has just left me. The reggae scene used to be very vibrant in the 1980s and 90s, but it’s no longer waxing as strong as it used to. What really happened? I think what people do not understand is that if Bob Marley were alive today, he probably wouldn’t be playing the same roots rock reggae – that is, traditional reggae – that we all know, that we all played. Reggae has also evolved to some other forms and styles – for example, you have hip hop, you have the ragga, you have the dancehall, and other branches of reggae. So, you may say, yes, we don’t hear enough of the traditional roots rock reggae as you knew it or as you heard it in Bob Marley days and all that, but reggae is still very much what you listen to. Even what the younger ones are all doing is reggae because hip hop is an offshoot of reggae music, in the conceptuality of it. Reggae is spiritual music, and when you feel it, you know it, either with the bass, the drums, the ‘chom, chom’ keyboard, the ‘cham, cham’, and all of that. What has actually happened is that Bob Marley, while alive, said he was looking forward to such time when reggae music would take over the world. You remember that Bob didn’t actually conquer the Americas with reggae music, but after his demise, some group of people decided to work on reggae music, which saw the emergence of hip hop, and so it was when reggae turned to hip hop that it tore America apart. And it is what you still listen to today. But the difference is clear. Reggae is deep, or spiritual as you said, but when you listen to the lyrics of most of the hip hop

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songs, they are shallow, empty. You remember I mentioned America. Before America could accept reggae, they had to water it down, which saw the emergence of hip hop. Hip hop deviated in terms of culture; they created their own culture which looks like the Natty, the Rastaman and all that, but their own version is like the Rude Boy, gangsterism and all that – that’s what they came up with. Hip hop was popularised by that culture, not just the music. And so when you see a hip hop artiste, you will notice from the way he’s dressed, in the first place, and you know that this guy plays hip hop. Same thing with reggae. When reggae came out you would identify a reggae musician by his lifestyle, dress sense, the way he talked, his dreadlocks and all of that. But when hip hop came, it appealed to the youths a lot more than the older, traditional, strongminded, deep people. On hip hop they can sing all their trash, but you can’t sing trash on reggae. The traditional roots reggae is mystical, and you cannot sing trash on that rhythm. You can do some other things with hip hop and with dancehall, but not with hardcore, traditional reggae music. The music has got to be spiritual if it’s reggae; there has to be a message.

After the celebration of the departure of my dear brother, Ras Kimono, we are going to start coming out with singles

Orits Wiliki

But the number of those who are preserving the traditional reggae is going down. Do we even have them? We have. What is actually happening is that there is a gang-up in the media. You see, the reggae man is not a rich man. You have a lot of youths who want to play the hardcore, traditional reggae, but they are not given the desired publicity. The hip hop guys have a whole lot of money because that is what is in vogue, so there is the shine, there is the show. Most of the DJs or presenters today don’t play music for nothing, so the reggae man will want to sit back and say, ‘I will not bribe anyone to play my music. If you like you play my music, if you don’t like you forget it.’ But the hip hop guys, they are desperate, they can spend anything to be on air. That’s why hip hop is overplayed far more than reggae. So you’re saying that there are actually young and upcoming reggae artistes in the country? We go on tours, and when we

do you see a whole lot of them, and when they open shows for us you will be amazed the number of people. Most of them are doing it for the satisfaction they get, not just for the money they are expecting, but they are not given the desired airplay. You realise that in our time, we were lucky that the DJs and presenters were never this greedy. In our time you had Orits Wiliki maintaining his own space; you had Ras Kimono maintaining his own space; you had the Mandators maintaining their own space; you had Evi Edna Ogholi maintaining her space; you had Mike Okri, and you had the likes of Onyeka Onwenu, Shina Peters, KWAM 1, Pasuma each maintaining their space and everybody was heard. There was no one that was played more than the other. Everyone was given the desired airplay, equal airplay to push their works because the works were good and the message was right. But right now you see some intentions to overplay some style of music over and

above all others, no matter how good others are. That’s why I say it’s a media problem. Reggae also used to have a large audience; what is it like today? Oh my! Have you been following us on tours? You need to go with us on tour. Before Ras Kimono passed on we did what we called ‘City Concert Tour’ last year. It was massive. If you are coming to my shows, you see those people who have been dying to hear reggae; they are so many. Are you not surprised that some stations (I don’t want to mention names) who are playing those songs of old are gaining more adverts as well as more listenership? There are even some stations that will not play these new artistes because of the kind of songs they hear. And so it is with concerts. If they know that Orits Wiliki is coming to a city, you will have a full house, people who have been hungry for this music. But this audience tends to still be the same older people who


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Interview are familiar with reggae. Is that not so? Yes, I agree with you. That’s why I said the sky is big enough. The youths don’t necessarily have to like reggae. After all, that’s why you have Jazz music; how many youths like Jazz? That’s why you have highlife; how many youths play highlife? Except now you have a fusion of highlife and reggae, that’s what they now call hip hop. The likes of Davido and the rest, what they are playing is actually highlife when you listen to them, but it’s played in a different style with a different attitude and a different culture. So, if you expect to see so many youngsters in our concerts, you may not have them in numbers; you have only the mature minds, though you still have some youths too who are really reggae freaks. Overall, what’s your view on the Nigerian music scene as it is today? First of all, you have to give kudos to the younger ones. When we were so hot on the scene – and I have mentioned a list of some of those who were popular at that time – we used to argue, because it was actually difficult to say “Nigerian music” in that distinctive sense. There was not a defined sound that you could call Nigerian music. You cannot, for instance, say Akpala is Nigerian music because it is sectional. But today, the youths have been able to create the kind of sound that if you play it in Italy, someone can identify it as Nigerian sound. If you play it in America, they know this must be coming from Nigeria because the younger musicians have been able to create a unique style. The only problem I have with them is the content. If only they could do some good content on some of these rhythms, it would be nice because it means that’s the only way they can be remembered. When you sing trash on this rhythm, sooner or later you’re forgotten because that song may not be played for too long. We are still making money from royalties coming in from some of the songs released 30 years ago; people still love them like they were released yesterday. And that’s what every musician or creative person should strive towards – to be able to create something that will outlive you and for which you’ll be remembered. On the contrary, what seems to be happening now is that musicians assemble sounds here and there and release into the market, and by the time the song is played for two months it loses taste. Do you think this has to with what is on demand? Perhaps so. The youths just want to dance, and it’s their time, whether we like it or not. Music comes in circles, just like fashion. There was a time we were wearing tight-fitting trousers, and at a time it was ‘obey the wind’. And so is music. They cannot stay there forever. If you listen closely, even the sound is changing now, it’s evolving and so it cannot be for too long. By the time the media

decides to really do what is right, you’ll have a lot of popular music all over the place, and good music too. Elsewhere we have seen some younger musicians doing a cover for songs of older musicians. For instance, Rihanna covered some Bob Marley songs, like ‘Is This Love’ and ‘Redemption Song’. We don’t see much of this happening in Nigeria yet. Why is this so? That is because people do not understand the copyright laws here, so they are afraid and they don’t want to go and touch a song that they would sue them over. They don’t know that to do a cover, all you need to do is take permission from the original. There is no law that says you cannot do a rehash of anybody’s song because music is like a pool where you donate songs into, just as you donate blood. If you want to do Orits Wiliki’s song, all you need to do is to approach me for the authority. If you don’t even take authority and you love it and you do it, just inscribe the credit, ‘Original song by Orits Wiliki’; that’s all you need to do. It’s when you fail to do all this that you go on the wrong side of the law. But most people are scared; they don’t want to fall into trouble with others. When an artiste does a cover for the song of another artiste, what does this do for the original owner of the song? Beyond bringing relevance, the original owner of the song is the one that makes the money. If you do a cover of my song now, let’s say you do ‘Tribulation’ and it is written there, ‘Original song by Orits Wiliki’, the royalties come to me. You will take the royalties for performance, but for the authorship, the money still comes back to Orits Wiliki. That’s why it is criminal if you don’t give such credit. There is also the other thing that we have seen on the Nigerian music scene, where a musician from an older generation collaborates with a younger one to do a remix of the older musician’s song. Victor Olaiya and

2face, for instance, did ‘Baby Mi Da’. Is there such a thing among the reggae stars as well? There is; you’ll rather say they are not given the desired airplay. I know at least two or three who have done that. Even I have featured some younger ones. But whether they are given the desired airplay is a different thing, and it costs you a fortune now to shoot a video. So the real issue, according to you, is that the traditional reggae is still there and is still waxing strong, just that the media is not being fair to the reggae artistes... Yes, the media is the problem. In the face of this, what do you think is the way out? It is for the media to be professional and readdress their minds towards giving fair airplay to everyone. Don’t begin to play one genre of music over and above all others because there are lots of good music out there that are never heard on the stations. If you give it to them, they don’t even play it except, of course, you have the money to back it up. There’s a lot of good music out there. Are you working on anything right now? If so, can you give us a peek preview into it? Yes, I am. You know we fought the battle of copyright for 24 years, until last year when eventually God gave us victory, and I said it’s like starting all over again. So, after the celebration of the departure of my dear brother, Ras Kimono, we are going to start coming out with singles. In fact, there is one that is going to be released about a week or so after Kimono’s burial. That one is actually my contribution to the electorate. The song speaks directly to the electorate. It is a song that is going to awaken the consciousness of every voter. It is a song that I expect will open the eyes of the electorate to the fact that they have been fooling away. Somebody who collects N4,000 and goes to vote against his conscience, you have no reason to cry after one year because you have collected N4,000 for the

Chuks Oluigbo, BDSUNDAY assistant editor, posing with Orits Wiliki after the interview.

next four years. That’s what the song is going to address. Well, some Nigerians may argue that they have been voting according to their conscience and nothing has changed, so why not just collect money and vote whoever? No, Nigerians have not been voting their conscience. It is one thing to vote, it is another thing to defend it. Those who probably fulfil their civic responsibility by voting just go out there and vote, then go home and sit down. No. When who you vote for is not doing what he promised to do, you have to stand up and call such person to account and say, ‘We voted for A, B, C.’ It is high time Nigerians began to understand what voting means. Voting means I am giving you the power to do A, B, C as you told me in your manifesto. It’s a mandate. So when you are no longer doing those things, it is up to the people to stand up and say, ‘Listen, enough is enough. You told us you were going to do this, how come this is happening?’ When you begin to defend your votes like that, then the person coming next will realise that it is no longer business as usual. That’s part of what seems to have been missing. In yonder days we listened to musicians condemn societal ills. Today, things are bad but we don’t hear musicians talk about it in songs. Where are the musicians? In another way you would ask, where are the civil society organisations? Where are the human rights voices that we used to hear? None. Everybody is silent. So, it’s not just the musicians. What happened? Yes, because people are frustrated. But one would think that it is when people are frustrated that they should cry out more... If you are frustrated and you have been speaking out and nobody is listening, you get tired as well. Looking at Nigeria today, where we are, what kind of future do you see for the country? I see greater Nigeria. I see a Nigeria that people would be running to. I am not discouraged

by what I see. What I see I consider them as dues. In anything you’re doing in life, if you don’t pay the dues at the beginning, you pay them at the end. We have an America that is over 200 years old, and we are comparing ourselves to those countries that are already developed, and so we want to run before even we crawl. So we want everything in a hurry. The stealing of billions will certainly pass. There will be a time it will no longer be the culture of the people to go into the Senate and begin to steal public funds or to go in as governor and begin to loot the treasury. The people who are going to fix this country are going to be in the right places at the right time. We are at a time where we are going to do our wrongs, make our mistakes and correct ourselves. There was a time in this country that it was not possible to publicly condemn the attitude of a public officeholder, but now we are calling them to account. And so, steadily like that, we are growing, whether people like it or not. A lot of people from the older generation like to talk about the good old days. Did Nigeria really experience the so-called good old days? I will say yes and no. While we were thinking that we were suffering, we were actually enjoying. A packet of Omo was selling for N15, a cup of rice was selling for 10k that time and we were crying blue murder. But the money was also hard to come by, wasn’t it? The money was hard to come by but our total budget then is what one person is stealing today. And so you ask yourself, what sense does it make? It’s really crazy. How much can you eat as a human being till you die? Why stash away so much money in the toilet and other places? Who is going to spend it? And when you die, how much are you taking away? Nothing. It’s ignorance. So I believe that with time, as long as the awareness that we are seeing today continues, and as we continue to call people to account, people will begin to discourage themselves from really looting the treasury.


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Interview

State policing will lead to more timely and effective dispensation of justice – Alabi Boma Alabi was the first female to be elected as the president of Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CWLA). She occupied the enviable position from 2011-2013. Boma is currently the senior partner of Primera Africa Legal, a law firm based in Lagos and Abuja. In this interview with NGOZI OKPALAKUNNE, she spoke about community policing, challenges facing the judiciary and other issues of national interest. Excerpts:

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a n y Ni g e r i ans have been calling for state police given the rising insecurity in the country. What is your take on this? From my experience as a lawyer working with criminal justice system, it is important that we move forward from where we are to accommodate this suggestion of state policing. Take for instance, as a legal practitioner who goes to court, currently, I prosecute and I defend law matters. On either side, the police must be involved. So, there’s an Investigating Police Officer (IPO) who will normally have investigated an alleged criminal incident; he prepares a report and also if witness statements are taken while the suspect is in custody, that IPO is the person who is likely to have taken the witness statement, perhaps, as part of the team. Usually, there’s a witness statement whose name and rank is written in the statement. Again, if it’s a situation that involves armed robbery, it then moves from the divisional police station or local police station to Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) which is the investigative arm of the Nigeria Police. They again, will take statements; they would carry on further investigation. At the end of all these, when it goes to the office of the AttorneyGeneral, the director of public prosecution will make a decision either directly or through delegated authority with one of the lawyers working with the ministry of justice. That decision probably to prosecute is what then takes the case to court. When the case goes to court, the witnesses are called, one of the crucial witnesses is the IPO because invariably they get to the scene of the crime, they are the ones at hand and their testimony is crucial to establishing the case. Habitually, that officer by the time the case gets to court has been posted to a different place. And for this officer to come to the court to give witness becomes difficult because he has been transferred to another state and it has to be him who tells how he investigated the matter. This leads to delay and seeking of adjournments, in a bid to get the officer transferred back to where the incident occurred. So, the delays in the justice

Alabi

system, a significant portion of it can be laid at the door of the federal police. It then birth the question, do we really need the federal police to investigate localised issues that affect the everyday man, such as shop burglary, domestic violence, fight between neighbours, landlord/tenant issue that gets out of hand? These are the sorts of things that the day to day citizen is faced with. So, it is the community police that is best equipped to investigate such matters, because they live among the people, they know where the bad boys and drug dealers are and when something happens, they know those who are involved. It’s easier to solve these crimes faster. When it’s time to go to court, the police will be available to go to court. There is speedy dispensation of justice. There is fear that when you give them guns, the politicians will use them. That argument to my mind is already defeated by the fact that politicians have been known to use the federal police as well and other armed forces for their political objectives. They should define the scope of their work. Just the way we have concurrent list for legislators, there is one designed for federal and the other for the state, similarly they should break it down in the same way. This aspect is for community policing, the other

aspect is for federal. It is just to set up policies that will enable the community and the federal police to work together. The Americans are doing it, they have different layers of law enforcements and security, so if we say we are copying them, why can’t we look at that. They have 50 states, we have 36 states. They run a federation, same as we do. There’s a define scope for the state police there’s a define scope for the federal police. There are areas where they have to work together. If the community police come to stay; what challenges do you think they are likely to encounter? We have gone down the root of ill-funding policing of our communities because there’s a gap. The federal police are not equipped to properly police our community. There is need for us to have local knowledge to police locally. Take for instance, when someone from Igbo land is posted to Sokoto, he does not speak Hausa, he does not understand the language, culture or the traditions, he has a different mindset and orientation. It’s going to take him time to understand the community where he is in order to begin to even see those things that you find in investigation. Investigation is not a black and white thing. You have to understand

the body language and you have to understand instinctive and that comes with deep local knowledge. Because our federal police have never been in a position to really properly protect communities from these sorts of things, you find out that communities on their own will set up vigilante groups from the local people. Those groups are usually local men in the community tasking themselves in turns to watch over their homes and their farms to keep to the security of the areas. What has happened in our recent history is that politicians have also hijacked the local policing concept and turned them into their own personal armies for good and for bad or even ugly. They use them to terrorise other politicians. Take for instance, the case of Bakkassi, O’dua People’s Congress (OPC) and a host of others. I’m glad that the Federal Government is now in support and it’s before the National Assembly. When that happens, you will find that in local vigilante groups there may be an initial challenge in integrating and working with them. I don’t see any reason we couldn’t recruit from there. Look at what happened in Borno State when the army was working with the local hunters, they were getting better results. It’s a matter of approach. Then there is of course the issue of educating our people and orientation of the mindset of the community police. It will keep them far away from the Nigeria Police as much as possible because the Nigeria Police, the mentality is to protect government officials against the people. Not to protect the people. The mindset is to victimise the people. When community police come to stay, they should understand that their first and primary duty is to the people, the citizens of the country and that mindset and orientation should be ingrained in them from the beginning. Every step they take would be from that perspective. How would you assess the justice system in Nigeria? The justice system is under a lot of pressure because it’s chronically underfunded. Our judges are working under very difficult conditions. I have to say that I doff my hat to the judiciary in Nigeria. Not many of their colleagues in other jurisdictions will tolerate the kind of environment they have to work under.

When you go to court, on the table of one judge is about 30 cases in one day out of which there are six or seven for hearing and yet there is no constant power supply. No air conditioner, no fan, no nothing. There is no research assistant because there is no money to pay and the judges will be the one to do the research. They have to sit all day, hearing cases in uncomfortable surroundings, handwriting the proceedings; not many judges in other jurisdiction would tolerate such in-human working conditions. Nonetheless, what they are doing even with those constraints is trying to expedite the ways of justice. Recently, we paid a courtesy visit to the Chief Judge of Lagos State when the current president of Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CWLA) visited Nigeria, and the Chief Judge briefed us on the activities of the Lagos judiciary. One of those was to actually go through all those old cases, find which ones need to be settled, any case above 5 years, so they are taking very active steps to ensure those cases are settled or closed off one way or the other. Do you think that women are well represented in this present administration? None of the administrations has done well. In the course of this democracy none of the administration has given women their due. You can talk about elective positions where we contest, those positions the women are naturally disadvantaged because of the cultural norms; the fact that political meetings tend to happen late at night, its capital intensive to run for these elective positions, etc. You can’t blame any administration that women are not coming out to run for any election, but you can certainly blame the executive that is appointing. You appoint 30 ministers you cannot find 15 women. We are 50 percent of the population of this country. There are many competent women and there are competent men. Look at the President of France, Macron; he made sure it’s 50/50. We are coming out of the university same as the men are; women are achieving in all fields so you cannot tell me you cannot find a competent woman to appoint to any position in the country. From the Obasanjo regime, to the Jonathan regime, to the Buhari regime- they have all failed women and they can all do better.


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Politics New Eleme council boss vows to protect investments, deliver LG for Wike in 2019

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GODWIN EGBA, Port-Harcourt

he newly elected chairman of Eleme Local Government Area that is landlord to over 120 companies, Philip Okparaji, a lawyer, has vowed to throw everything into the ring to ensure that investors and their assets were protected in the area. The one-time caretaker committee chairman of Eleme said he trusted God to win and is now determined to address the challenges confronting the Eleme ethnic-nationality and restore the dignity of Eleme people without fail. In an exclusive interview with BDSUNDAY, Okparaji said: “I repeat, power comes from God and I have what it takes. I have an agenda, a vision for the Eleme people, not just Eleme people but also to non-indigenes doing business especially the teaming investors”. The lawyer said he has his uncompromised agenda to protect lives and investments and to deliver robust governance to Eleme people, stressing that the Eleme-industry-rich land should be a secured zone where lives and property are sacrosanct. A cross section of the community who commended Okparaji for his articulation and preparedness to tackle insecurity now that he has won recalled how mysterious assassinations in Eleme in recent times by unknown assailants had heightened unabated. A couple of killings still fresh in Alode community include killing of a female lawyer, Mary Obe, and her senior brother, Isaac Obe, the then Eleme Council Youth president, who were murdered in their cold blood. Also in March 2018, one Wuwu Ejire, 43, a carpenter by trade and father of four children was shot in Alode around 6.45pm by yet-to-be-identified gunmen. Several other innocent persons had gone down in communities like Ebubu, Alesa, Aleto among others, through killings that had posed a challenge to the past council chairmen and Divisional Police officers and other security operatives; which now demands a holistic measure by Okparaji. This is seen by many as the greatest challenge before the new council boss, but every visionary leader is seen to be armed with his or her agenda and mission for the people he wants to lead in governance. The barrister in his mid-40s hails from Aleto Community in Eleme and from his leadership antecedents is likened to a child of destiny who enjoys his masters’

Okparaji

reward as fall-outs of his unalloyed loyalty to them. These are his political leaders and fathers in the persons of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Felix Obua, Rivers State PDP chairman; Ejor Ngowa, former chairman Eleme Local Government Area, and an Eleme PDP chieftain, Olaka Nwogu, as well as other PDP chieftains in Eleme. As a sitting Eleme PDP chairman as one who served one term as Eleme Care-Taker-Committee (CTC) chairman under Governor Wike, he is now desirous to not only deliver PDP in Eleme to the governor in the 2019 coming election but also to take the mantle of leadership as the Area council chairman. In the PDP chairmanship primaries across the state, Okparaji won the endorsement of his party leadership including Governor Wike’s who ensured that other co-aspirants from Eleme stepped down for him. From available

records, he has proven to be a tested political figure that could deliver the governor in his domain as over 100,000 voters across the Eleme 10 communities or wards are already rooting for him and the governor. Apart from his total loyalty, he is a well-baked academic with enviable credentials from prestigious

There is no doubt about my loyalty to my masters and leaders alike in the course of my political career and service to humanity

institutions in the country. A peep into his academic journey has revealed that the young politician is a holder of Masters of Science degree in International Relations; Masters in Public Administration, a post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism; and he is rounding off his doctorate degree in International Law/Jurisprudence and Human Right at the Rivers State University. The unassuming lawyer while responding to a question in an interview that despite those qualifications, he has remained humble and loyal to his political leaders in both his public and private life, said: “There is no doubt about my loyalty to my masters and leaders alike in the course of my political career and service to humanity. Even a wife and husband are loyal to each other because it is a prerequisite to success of individuals in life”. Some political analysts in Eleme are of the opinion that the

chairmanship position Okparaji has clinched was an opportunity for other Eleme PDP members from other communities other than Aleto. Their argument is that the lawyer had enjoyed caretaker chairmanship once and also was the PDP chairman in the local government area. Many however, said what is going for the politician was destiny, endorsed by God Himself otherwise, the PDP leaders in the state could have easily told him to drop the ambition for the sake of equity, fairness and justice to hold sway for other eligible contestants. However, the new chairman, who says he was not losing sleep over his critics’ opinion said: “My aim and objective as the chairman of the party is to make sure by 2019, Eleme should be able to deliver PDP to Governor Nyesom Wike unlike what happened in 2015 when PDP was defeated in Eleme. We are still carrying the shame. But I want to say by 2019, we will deliver Eleme for PDP, so there is no rancour or division”. The chief of Ewuu in Aleto Community, Emere Joseph Oluji who also spoke with our correspondent on Okparaji’s emergence as chairman said the candidature of Okparaji was not foisted on Eleme electorate but his antecedents as a one-time CTC chairman endeared him to both old and the young, especially the youth bodies across the Eleme ten wards. Oluji enumerated or attributed Okparaji’s acceptance to honesty, God-fearing, cult-free, loyal and magnanimous, pointing out that when he was office as CTC chairman, he was frugal with all financial allocations coming to the Local Government by ensuring prompt payment of salaries and wages to workers, payment of allowances to all ex-chairmen and councilors of the local government until he left without a record of embezzlement or misappropriation of funds to himself and affiliates or cronies. The Ewuu chief further attested that Okparaji’s loyalty to PDP chieftains, members and supporters in Eleme coupled with his sound political office management, Governor Wike believed in him as an Aleto-Eleme choice to deliver the PDP in 2019 elections. “As an in-coming executive chairman, cultism in Eleme could be brought to zero level because when he, Okparaji, was on seat as CTC chairman, activities of cultism were brought to a low level because he was touching their lives psychologically through empowerment and to bring them to normal life; these and many more are the reasons he has won the people’s support,” Oluji said.


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Sunday 12 August 2018

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Politics

I can’t support an 18th Century president - Afegbua Kassim Afegbua was a former Commissioner for Information in the administration of immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole. He is the national publicity secretary of Reformed-All Progressives Congress (R-APC) - a faction of the ruling APC. In this interview with OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Afegbua speaks on how the APC allegedly reneged on its campaign promises; the prospects of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) in the 2019 general election and other issues ahead of the elections. Excerpts: Until recently, you were a member of the APC. Why this sudden turn around against the party and the plan to oust President Muhammadu Buhari? t’s not a sudden turn around. I’m an adult, number one. Number two, I should be able to rationalise what is bad for me and my country. I have taken an introspective view of what is happening in the country and I have seen that the Buhari Presidency is a complete failure. Failure in the sense that the government has not been able to deliver on the primary responsibility of government, which is protection of lives and property, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). So, to that extent, it means the government does not have requisite capacity, intellect, and competence to manage all the contending developmental issues as they affect us as a country. And for those of us who were in the APC before we decided to factionalise the party to R-APC, we are saying that this was not what we promised Nigerians. We have a manifesto with restructuring as an item, with solid health facilities, with new generation education, revamping our economy and all of that. But the manifesto has been put aside. So, we are now running the country, when they dream in the night, they want to translate it into practice during the day. No country runs in that manner. And insecurity in the country is becoming alarming. Rather than having opportunities for young men and women, there are job losses.

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But insecurity has always been there? Why did Nigerians vote for us? Because they felt that APC would be stronger to meet up with the challenges of insecurity and nip it in the bud. As we speak now, three local governments are under the control of banditry in Zamfara State. Boko Haram has not abated. You have forgotten that there were reports that 600 (six hundred soldiers) were taken into captive. Nobody is talking about it, they are killing the story.

So, there are quite a number of issues and we are worried that this is not what we campaigned for. It was convenient for you to take thirty thousand policemen to Ekiti to go and rig the election but you couldn’t even take one thousand to Plateau where two hundred souls were slaughtered like cows just within a night. So, we are worried that this was not the type of government we promised. We wanted a government that was participatory, interactive, engaging so that constructively, we can engage ourselves and also bargain on issues. But as it is today, it is just the whims and caprices of those who cause the levers of power. Maybe, you lost out with the cabal. If you were part of the cabal, would you be saying all these? It’s not about cabal. It’s even dangerous for the health of the country for a cabal to be the one dictating the tunes because under a democracy, there are different arms of government: executive, legislature and the judiciary. And responsibilities of political parties are also contained in the constitution of the country. What Nigerians want is a leadership that is engaging, interactive and understands the problem based on our peculiarities. We are over two hundred and fifty to three hundred ethnic stocks in this country and yet, you can see the outcry. Poverty is high; unemployment is higher because the percentages we inherited had been quadrupled as we speak. 7.9 million National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) record of job losses as of December 2017. These are very serious statistics that any country should worry and by the time you say 7.9 million and by 2018 nothing has changed, it is likely going to increase to about 10 to 12 million job losses. So, what is government even doing to take up the youth from the streets? What are they doing in the area of power generation? Only recently, Discos say they want to hands off power distribution because it is not paying them. Another man who spoke some days ago said they cannot distribute beyond 5,000 megawatts. That means there is a serious is-

sue. What is government doing about it? We thought an APC government would be able to break the barriers of underdevelopment, unemployment and insecurity. Do you expect the government to solve all these problems within three years? Three years is a long time in the life of a nation. Even the decision of a President in one day can turn things around. Do you remember that the delay - six months - of not appointing ministers; do you know what it did negatively on our economy? Because people were wondering, what is going to be the direction of this government? So our foreign investors took away their portfolios. And by the time the cabinet was formed even for you to know the economic direction was a problem. Three years, that is three dry seasons. Our roads are still in the same shape they were. Travel round this country, you will see the roads in terrible shapes. It is only dry season you do roads. But what were they doing during the dry seasons? Another dry season is coming now. We are waiting. Your former boss, Adams Oshiomhole and current National Chairman of APC, said all the defectors have no electoral value. What is your reaction to that? When he said we don’t have electoral value, let him come and help me deliver my polling unit or my ward. But I had electoral value when I was with them abi? So it is now they know I don’t have electoral value. I have people who follow me in my little ward in Okpella where I come from. And I have never lost my unit. I know how much impact and influence I put to make sure that I sustain my unit. Elections are coming. It’s not about me, it’s about the country. If we don’t have electoral value, why are they going at night to go and be begging people? Buba Galadima doesn’t have electoral value? Saraki doesn’t have electoral value? Tambuwal doesn’t have electoral value? Ortom doesn’t have electoral value? But they praised them to high heavens sometimes, only for them to make a reverse three hundred and sixty degrees and say that they are persons of no consequential value. Thank God we were able to catch some of them at night to see them moving through the homes of persons. Rabiu Kwankwaso, they took him to the President, he promised him heaven and earth, the following day, they said Kwankwaso is a nonentity, inconsequential and that he was a problem to the party and all of that. Our leaders should learn to speak with truth and honesty. Even though we know that politics is a game of immorality, quote and unquote, there is some level of participation that when you see individuals contributing into public discourse you will be able to extract some commitments that this person is different, he is not like this other person. Nobody can accuse me now of opportunism. Comrade Oshiomhole is my friend; I served under him as Commissioner for Information in Edo State but it’s not about him. It’s about the governance of the country and I told him pointedly that I can’t support

Afegbua

an Eighteenth Century President when there are options elsewhere for the good of the country. Whether you like it or not, this country is sick. The country needs serious leadership intervention. We should not pretend about it. Every day you go out, you see poverty written on the faces of people. It should pain you if you have conscience. But when powerless conscience confronts conscienceless power, it’s always a battle. So, they are the conscienceless power because they don’t have conscience. But we have conscience. And I said no, I can’t continue with this. It’s not about me feeding. I can feed myself and my family. But it’s not about that. Very close to my house, they killed seven policemen sometime ago at Galadimawa. And till today, nothing is happening. They killed other policemen in Edo again, nothing has happened. There is insecurity every day. When you are travelling on the roads, you are at the mercy of kidnappers. What are you doing about it? So, it is not about pretending that all is well when all is not well. We are in serious crisis as a country and we need serious leadership. The President told us categorically that his doctors advised him to eat more and sleep more. This country needs a man who is awake when the country is sleeping. This country needs a President that has his hands on every pile to give presidential verdict on issues, to give presidential intervention when crisis occurs. So that the country as a whole will know that there is a president that was voted for and elected to represent their wishes and aspirations. Now we have a President who sleeps more and eats more. And yet, you want Nigerians to move at the pace of that President. It can’t work. India grows at night. Why is it so? It was a deliberate policy for them to run a twenty-four hour economy. But when you now have a President who sleeps at night, and whose doctors say eat more and sleep more, how can you apply such a President to come and heal the wounds of a country that is in serious

crisis? We have assumed the topmost level of extreme poverty cases in the entire world. We have overtaken India. What are we talking about? What is even the narrative? What is our global perspective on issues? You have a President who is not interactive, who doesn’t communicate. He speaks to himself more or less like a monologue? We can’t continue like this. If you had received a juicy appointment from the Presidency, would you still be saying these things? People know me. I didn’t ask for appointment. If I want to get an appointment, I would have remained with Comrade Oshiomhole. Perhaps today, I would

That is why we say when it is a government of national unity; you spread your tentacles to embrace a number of divergent views and political leanings

be his Chief of Staff. You can’t deny that. We are quite close. It’s not about me. I have resigned from appointment before. I was Chief Press Secretary to Oshiomhole in 2009, four months I resigned. It’s not about positions; I’m a professional, an image maker. I don’t need too much money to live my life. I’ve got a wife and two kids. For God’s sake, it’s about the country. Once you have that contentment, they can’t be using appointments as a basis. If I am serving in any government and you are not doing well, I will resign. How much do I need to live my life? You can’t stay in two rooms at the same time. It’s only one room. When you are leaving the comfort of your home to also participate in politics, travel through the rigours of bad roads and campaign for somebody, it is because you believe that there will be a change in service delivery to your people by way of roads, water, housing, electricity. As I speak to you now, my community has been under darkness for the past eight months. So what’s the joy? Our roads are bad in the community. We have been raising voices, nobody is listening to us. And yet you want me to be clapping for APC? I won’t clap for APC. We promised them affordable electricity, affordable kerosene. It’s in the billboard in Edo State, go there. That is what we wrote there. But three years after, nothing of such. Kerosene has skyrocketed even the common man cannot get kerosene. Electricity is nowhere to be found. Then what do I tell them next time when I want to campaign? Some have described the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) as a union of strange bedfellows. And that like APC, it would soon fall like a pack of cards. Do you agree with that? All political parties are unions of strange bedfellows. What unites you is your objective. If you have a nationalistic objective, to say this is our country we want to make an intervention and we all agree amongst us that poverty is a sin to everybody, then we will be speaking with one voice. I keep hearing all those kind of narratives. Those are bunkum. I have read a lot of books on Political Science. You are either united by ideology of you are not. You must be strange bedfellows. Every human being is strange. You are coming from Ogoja, I am coming from Okpella, we don’t know each other before. Something must unite us. What is that thing? Your brother is not having job, my brother is not having job. So we decided to talk to each other and say how do we create jobs? Let’s come together and form a union. That is it! This is how CUPP was formed because different parties have their different manifestos. But we are united by poverty, insecurity, unemployment and we all agree that there is a need to move the country forward and address all of these societal and developmental ills. So, nobody should preach all those stories to you. You know, the problem with APC is that when they became victorious, they didn’t know how to manage their victory. They became arrogant and dictatorial. Now they are applying all the gangsterism and barbarism that are peculiar with the military

government. And they are applying them in a democracy. Look at the siege on the Senate President; look at Benue House of Assembly. There is so much to talk about. Our democracy preaches rule of law, due process, and respect for the constitutional rights of individuals. But all of these are being abused on a regular basis by the APC-led government. And yet we told Nigerians that we were going to behave differently from PDP and other parties when we were coming on stream in 2015. We came up with a manifesto, we campaigned with it. Now you abandon it. Which promises in the manifesto has been fulfilled? Name one if you have seen any. What makes CUPP different? What will make it different is because you have more than one party coming together. APC was a merger; this is a coalition. They are two different things. In a merger, you bury your identity and subsume it under one party. This one is a coalition of parties. Meaning that we are united by common strings of initiatives, objectives. If we now

decide to say that we are choosing you as our candidate, every other person will endorse that candidate and say this is the person we will work for. But in the process of choosing that person, we will now do power sharing. If you are good in Engineering and you are in Party ‘C’, what stops us from making you Minister for Works? You are so brilliant in technology, and you are in Party ‘X’, what is wrong bringing you on board? But this concept of winner-takes-all which has been a problem and the bane of APC’s crisis today is what we want to avoid. That is why we say when it is a government of national unity; you spread your tentacles to embrace a number of divergent views and political leanings. That way, you will be catering for a lot of people because those parties have their followers in their different ways. And they have their appeals among their own people. Nigeria is made up of several multi plicity of interests, several configurations. So for the first time you are having a coalition of about forty political parties, which means there is something national about us.


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Politics Battle of wits over 2019 election budget OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja

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arring any unforeseen circumstances, the National Assembly is set to reconvene this week to consider the N242 billion 2019 election budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This followed last week meeting of the leadership of the National Assembly with top management of the electoral body. On July 24, 2018 both chambers of the National Assembly had adjourned till September 25 after security operatives laid siege to the residences of Senate President Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, his deputy. Since then there have been tensions between the Legislative and Executive arms of government over the adjournment. The Presidency had appealed to the National Assembly to cut short its two-month break to consider an approval for N242 billion budget estimates from the INEC for conduct of next year’s election, which is just six months away. In a letter to the Senate President Bukola Saraki, dated July 17, 2018 Buhari had requested a total virement of N242,445,322,600 largely allocated to new projects ‘inserted’ in the 2018 budget by the National Assembly to offset part of the proposed cost of funding the 2019 general elections. In the same token, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, had said the closure of parliament would lead to a shutdown of government. Speaking with reporters after attending a meeting with Ahmad Lawan, Senate Majority Leader, and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, Enang appealed to the leadership of the National Assembly to reconvene so that some of the requests the Executive sent could be considered. Already, the Senate has been balkanised into Pro-Saraki and Pro-Buhari senators, as both sides have been enmeshed in fierce media war over the long break. At an interface with the National Assembly leadership last week, INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, revealed that there are activities the Commission will undertake from Wednesday, August 15, 2018 exactly six months to the General Election. He therefore, called for speedy consideration of the request. Yakubu said: “We are now more energised, more reassured that our plans for the 2019 general elections are absolutely in progress. “There are activities we have to undertake for a minimum of six months to the Election Day and six months to Election Day kickstarts from the 15th of August.

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“We are confident that all the grey areas will be ironed out and as far as INEC is concerned, our own component of the cost of 2019 elections will be speedily appropriated by the National Assembly”. But some commentators have raised the alarm over President Buhari’s late submission of the elections budget. An observer, Kunle Ajibade, condemned the fire brigade approach of the Presidency in handling the matter. He said: “The Commission fixed the date for the 2019 election as far back as March 2017. And released the schedule of activities for the election by January 2018. But it took the Presidency one year and four months to submit the election budget. To make matters worse, the President submitted it a week to adjournment of the National Assembly for annual recess and three weeks to when the Commission would kick-start activities for the election. “And now you want the National Assembly to approve the budget within a week when you refuse to do your homework. A serious government that is proactive would not take 16 months to present an election budget. More so, the timetable of the legislative house is known to them”.

At a world press conference last week, Senate President Bukola Saraki, spoke in the same light when he blamed the Executive arm of government for late submission of the budget. He wondered why the Executive could not present the proposal alongside the 2018 budget which President Buhari presented to a joint session of the National Assembly on November 7, 2017. The nation’s Number Three Citizen, who doubles as Chairman of the National Assembly, also hinted that the Legislature may reconvene this week to consider the 2019 elections budget. Saraki said: “On the issue of INEC request, it is amazing why nobody is asking. Is it the day that we were leaving that INEC realised that they had a budget? There was January, February, March, April, May, June. Nothing came from the Executive to say we need money for INEC until July when we were leaving. But be that as it may, we are ready to support the Executive at all times. And I will let something out: since we went on recess, even before these problems, both myself and Speaker of the House of Representatives, have met with the Chairman of INEC to tell us what the issues are. And this conversation has

been going on. So, we will do all that is necessary. As I said, if it needs us coming back because we have not even committed it to committees yet. It just came as a letter we read on the floor. It still has to go to committee. Even with the support of our members, we will do that. And that was our plan that we wanted to do yesterday (Tuesday). But the condition was not conducive for us to hold the meeting. As we were walking in here, myself and the leadership (of the National Assembly), we said since we are here we have already sent for the INEC Chairman to come so that the meeting we could not hold yesterday (Tuesday), let us hold it immediately now. And if after discussing with him and there is need for us to reconvene so that we can send it to committee, we will do that. We want a free and credible election. But what we don’t like is where the wrong message is being sent out. Whereas we are talking about from July to now, Executive from last year, they knew there was going to be a budget. Why was it not included in the 2018 budget? “After you submitted the 2018 budget, you had December, January, February, March, April, May, June. So to say today that National Assembly is the one that does not want election is not true.

I want to assure you on that and any other matter that is important that needs to be addressed, we will do it”. To others, the President’s request asking lawmakers to draw the source of funding the poll from constituency projects in the 2018 Appropriation Act, is yet another booby trap deliberately set to drag the elections into controversy. Reacting to the development, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the President of plotting to frustrate the smooth conduct of the 2019 general elections, owing to what it called his fears of losing. The party said the President’s request to the National Assembly to vire N242 billion already approved for other projects in the 2018 budget to finance the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other agencies ahead of the elections is a booby trap deliberately set to drag the elections into a financial controversy in a bid to compromise the electoral process. In a statement issued by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said the financial request of the President is capable of breeding confusion in the polity, if not well handled. “The PDP invites Nigerians and the international community to note that this request is a deliberate plot to inject disagreements in the polity, cause confusion in the electoral system and set the stage for a political crisis capable of frustrating the conduct of the elections. “Mr. President is aware that his request is in no way in consonant with constitutional provisions and extant rules guiding legislative virement of funds already meant for constituency development projects, yet he sent same to the National Assembly. “If Mr. President meant well for the nation and had no ulterior motives, he should have sent a fresh supplementary budget to the National Assembly for whatever amount he seeks for INEC, instead of seeking for a controversial virement,” the statement read in part. The PDP further urged Nigerians not to forget that it had always pointed out “series of signposts towards circumventing of our laws and extant regulations to achieve certain unpatriotic agenda including a possible self-succession plot, noting that “President Buhari must come to terms with the fact that Nigerians are eager for the 2019 general election and are not ready to be taken for a ride by any person. The party also urged President Buhari to follow the rules and immediately submit a fresh supplementary budget or seek other legitimate ways and means, devoid of bottlenecks, to finance the election.


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Politics Akpabio’s mission to APC: In whose interest? ANIEFIOK UDONQUAK, Uyo

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ne of the major news items that dominated the headlines in the last few days was the much-hyped defection of Godswill Akpabio, the immediate past Senate minority leader from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress. The defection came to its climax on Wednesday when the “uncommon transformer” formally defected, bringing to reality months of speculations that Akpabio and Governor Udom Emmanuel, his godson, may have been managing their relationship in the last three years. In the beginning. The seemingly power tussle now rocking Akwa Ibom State had its roots in 2014 during the PDP primaries when Akpabio was able to outplay other 22 aspirants on the platform of the PDP to have Emmanuel nominated as the flag bearer of the party. The other aspirants, who later became known as G22, went to Abuja spending 40 days in the capital city in an attempt to present their grievances to the then President Goodluck Jonathan but were unable to have any audience with him. When they returned to Akwa Ibom State, they left the PDP en masse. Among them were the former secretary to the state government, Umana Okon Umana, and the current managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nsima Ekere. Ekere, who had earlier served as Akpabio’s deputy but was forced to resign when he got wind of his impending impeachment in 2012 while the former secretary to the state government was forced out of office by Akpabio in a manner that had never been heard of. His office was locked and he was chased out with the backing of security forces. That was when Udom Emmanuel, a former banker was brought in as the new secretary to the state government who eventually became the governor in May 2015 with the support of Godswill Akpabio. How the relationship went sour: By the time Akpabio ended his tenure as governor in 2015, some of his legacy projects including the Ibom Entertainment Centre in Uyo, the Four Point by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene, the Ibom multispeciality hospital in Uyo, the construction of a dual carriage way from Uyo, the state capital to Ikot Ekpene, the headquarters of his senatorial district were all not completed. As Udom assumed office, he shifted his attention to new projects to fulfil his campaign promise of industrialisation and consolidation on infrastructure. The cost of Akpabio’s projects were never made known except that of the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre which gulped over N33 billion when the contract was awarded to Silverbird Company, owned by Ben Bruce. Though there were rumours that the relationship between Akpabio and Udom had soured, both parties had denied it vehemently through their media aides. But at a special meeting of the five local government areas of the state in Ikot Ekpene senatorial district, Akpabio was the first to let the cat out of the bag when he said that “all was not well in Ikot Ekpene senatorial district.’’ However, as the report began to make the rounds, Akpabio and leaders from the senatorial

Gov Udom

district went to the Government House in Uyo to pledge their solidarity to Udom Emmanuel as the governor, recanting the earlier statement he had made. Another rally to endorse Akpabio for second term as a senator and Emmanuel as governor was held last month in Ikot Ekpene township stadium where Akpabio dropped the bombshell. “Don’t worry about election; election is all about voting. Today, your notice that I heard did not shout too much about party because you have endorsed me as an unopposed candidate. All this unopposed candidate cuts across all the political parties,” he said. Everybody was jolted and few days later, Akpabio met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (now Acting President) in Aso Rock, Abuja, and the rest is history. Implications of his defection One of the things Akpabio said when he mounted the soapbox to make his speech on the day of his defection was that he was leaving his former party because he is a nationalist and has the interest of the nation at heart. “I have been accused of being a conspirator, yes I am a conspirator of national development; I am a conspirator of development and I am a conspirator of togetherness,’’ he said. But many observers think otherwise. They said it is for his personal interest in an attempt to remain in control of power in Akwa Ibom State. perpetually. Certainly, Akpabio’s defection has divided the polity down the line with opinions sharply divided on whether it is in the best of the interest of the nation for the former Senate minority leader to jump ship and in a way that may truncate the zoning arrangement in the state on which he had stood for over the years. Emmanuel Ibok Essien, one-time senator who represented the senatorial district and who served as chief whip during Obasanjo’s presidency told a crowd that gathered same day of Akpabio’s defection that the action of the former Senate minority leader does not enjoy the support of stakeholders in the district. “This is the moment of our liberation, out of the 54 appointments from Governor Udom Emmanuel administration for

Akpabio

the senatorial district, Ikot Ekpene Local Government has only five while Essien Udim Local Government Area where Akpabio hails from has 35. “We should thank God that Jonah has been removed from our boat. Our children will now have contracts. Akpabio takes everything to Essien Udim,” Essien said. “For choosing to resign from the exalted office of Senate Minority leadership to become an ordinary senator, this is a shameful thing to the senatorial district and we are going to initiate moves to withdraw the endorsement that the senatorial district gave him,” he said. Similarly, both the former deputy governor, Chris Ekpenyong and the current number two citizen of the state, Moses Ekpo who are from the same senatorial district have dissociated themselves from Akpabio’s action and have spoken openly against the decision. According to Ekpenyong, the former Senate minority leader is acting alone without the support of the senatorial district. Supposing he goes into a ship and he is the captain and he has not many passengers, what happens? “The party (PDP) is very strong, waxing stronger; it will be stronger than what it was with his (Akpabio’s) presence. “What this implies is, Governor Udom Emmanuel will move on to accomplish his

A number of youths have come to me to say that if they did not support me before, now they are going to support me fully

stay till 2013 when he shall handover to Uyo Senatorial district,” Ekpenyong said. According to the subsisting zoning arrangement for the office of the governor, rotation has been adopted among the three senatorial districts. For instance, Akpabio who is from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district had completed his eightyear tenure and the governorship has moved to Eket senatorial district being represented by Udom Emmanuel and is expected to remain there till 2013 when it would move to Uyo senatorial district. By defecting, many fear that Akpabio might have thrown a spanner into the works with the sole aim of distorting the agreed rotational principle. For Ibok Essien, if Akpabio goes ahead to truncate the zoning arrangement, it would take the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district about 23 years before the governorship would come to the area. 2019 general election: It would be pretty difficult to predict the likely effect of Akpabio’s defection on the gubernatorial election in the state or to predict who would win next election between the two political parties in Akwa Ibom State. It still remains to be seen how things would pan out in the coming months but strong indications are that many are dissatisfied with the defection which observers see as a deliberate attempt to change the existing zoning arrangement for his personal gain. A former member of the House of Representatives and minister of lands and housing, Nduese Essien said since the announcement of Akpabio’s defection, there has been celebration throughout Eket senatorial district. “A number of youths have come to me to say that if they did not support me before, now they are going to support me fully,’’ he said. Governor Emmanuel, who has maintained absolute silence since the news of the defection broke, was however, philosophical over the development when he received people from his senatorial district. “I can only say what I keep telling the youth, no shaking. There is nothing here that happens that will ever be new. Everything happening in the world today had already happened in the past,” he said.


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Politics Saraki-led Senate has made governance of the country difficult - Ologunde Funsho Ologunde is the Lagos Southwest vice chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this exclusive interview with INIOBONG IWOK, he spoke on the state party and other national issues. Excerpts: What is your reaction to the recent defection of some members of the APC to the main opposition People’s Democratic Party? he defection is not new to us, his body language says it all, and the Governor of Kwara State is an appendage of Bukola Saraki, that is why both of them made the announcement at the same time.

How do you react to the recent crisis in Lagos APC, resulting in parallel state congresses? The Fouad Oki group is not a faction; it is a delegate group. It is not a faction; for any group to wake up and say they are a faction in the party in the state does not mean what they are saying is true. We are looking at the clandestine group. They had a plan to destabilise the party; they could not hold a ward congress, local government congress, yet they gather somewhere that they are holding a state congress. So, saying that they had state congress was just a fantasy.

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But part of the reasons for their defection was that they were alleged to have been forced out of the party? That is not true; a wife who packs out of her matrimonial home must find a reason to justify her action. The excuse by Saraki and the other defecting lawmakers cannot be taken seriously; on the other hand, the Senate president has been making the governance of the country difficult for the current administration. There has never been a period in this country when the Senate has been this antagonistic of the government in my memory. He is always looking for an opportunity to create problems for the government. You don’t believe the administration is witch-hunting him? I don’t agree to that he is being withhunted or was witch-hunted. Look at the issue of the Code of Conduct Bureau; there were allegations against him; and he has gone through it and was acquitted. On the issue of being summoned by the police in the Offa robbery case, nobody is saying that he was the part of the robbers that invaded the banks; what they are saying is that; when Saraki went to visit the Olofa of Offa to pay a condolence visit following the robbery; one of the boys that was arrested was found with him and went with him on that visit or how would you explain that? In a decent society that is enough for him to resign his position. What about the allegation by opposition politicians that they are being targeted by anti-graft agencies? What about the ex-governors, who were recently jailed and are members of the APC? The PDP keeps talking about the few people who are their members who have been found wanting, it is because they were in power, and it is left for us as Nigerians not to get carried away by this; I think Nigerians are wise enough to know the truth. Are the recent defections from the APC not a major dent on the party’s chances in the 2019 elections? Saraki is one person and the governor of Kwara is another person; and they are two people. They have their supporters and the president has his supporters too, especially when you talk about Kwara State.

But they had their grievances; they alleged they were being marginalised? That is a lie; I was the chairman of the state technical support team that worked for the local government committee support. Nobody came to me to say that he or she was side-lined, that he was stopped from contesting or even to the campaign team that came from Abuja. So, it is the figments of their imagination that some leaders were using the name of Tinubu or that they were not allowed to participate in the state congress. What happened was that they bought the forms and cloned them among themselves and they were then selling these among themselves. Ologunde

Buhari has done a lot of things to make life better for Nigerians since he assumed office. Nigerians would see that the country would vote for Buhari because of what he has done. Ahmed and Saraki leaving does not mean that Nigerians in kwara would not vote for Buhari. If Saraki is a candidate then you could be worried, and if he is not a candidate, the coast is clear for Buhari to garner votes. The popular opinion out there is that Buhari has not justified the mandate given to him? The Nigerians you are talking about are those engaged in negative campaigns and it is engineered by the PDP. What was Buhari’ promised? Security; is there anybody that would say Nigeria is not better secured? He also promised to transform the economy? Are there any Nigerians that would say the economy is not better managed than he met it? Such people can never say anything good, even if he lays down his life. Are you satisfied with the President’s handling of the current killings in the country? It is malicious to say he is not doing anything about the killings; across the country, basically every country is afraid of the activities and have been talking about the

of Fulani herdsmen. People have criticised the Ecowas free protocol that was signed, which allowed free movement of rearers and their cattle from one point to the other in the region without restriction. But before somebody who is your brother can kill you because of farm land, these killer-herdsmen came into the country and they are killing and going without caring who is involved because they have no relations here.

The excuse by Saraki and the other defecting lawmakers cannot be taken seriously; on the other hand, the Senate president has been making the governance of the country difficult for the current administration

But Oki is a former vice chairman of the party in the state and a chieftain; don’t you think he must have genuine reasons to complain? It is not; there is no basis for what he has been saying around. There is no basis. As far as I am concerned he did not at anytime complain on any issue one on one, or in writing, with the former chairman of the party in Lagos State, Henry Ajomale. What has happened is that the proliferation of social media has made it possible for irrelevant people to create the impression that they are important. Has the state executive made any move for reconciliation? We don’t know the issues, it is only when you know the issues that you can settle or you would just be making that person important. Oki is my friend, this is the APC secretariat in the state; if he walks in here I would ask him; why have you been saying all these things? Why is it that the state APC has not deemed it necessary to advise the governor about the refuse crisis in the state? There is no way a human being can walk that his head would no shake; what is important is relatively not his fault; I am aware that he is doing his best, I mean doing something about it. Whether the party advised him or not does not matter; I am sure it will be over soon.


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Politics Akpabio in the eye of history ZEBULON AGOMUO

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ohn Webster (c.1580-c. 1632), English dramatist, said: “A politician imitates the devil, as the devil imitates a Cannon; wheresoever he comes to do mischief, he comes with his backside towards you.” Many years ago, a man called Jesus decided to his choose his disciples. He carefully selected 12 men, with whom he traversed the length and breadth of Jerusalem, preaching the gospel of repentance from sin and emancipation from evil works. Every one of the disciples had special roles depending on their individual competences and level of spiritual endowments. They were knit in love and fellowship until one of them began to mix up with negative influences among the opposition Jews. He began to withdraw himself from the fellowship of brethren, until iniquity was found in him. He knew that the Jews were sworn enemies of his master and that they would gladly like to work with him to destroy his master since he knew the itinerary of his master. He was paid 30 pieces of silver for that hatchetman’s job. The allure of money and newfound love with the ruling class beclouded his sense of reasoning. The rest, as they say, is history. By the same token, the conspirators who plotted and murdered Julius Caesar accused him of elevating himself above every other Roman citizen. Even his most trusted ally, Brutus, bought into that allegation. The personality of Godswill Akpabio needs no introduction in Nigeria. Since 2002, Akpabio has been a notable figure in the nation’s political space. Unlike many politicians who have no history or they are fly-by-night politicians, Akpabio began his robust political journey in the days of Governor Victor Attah. Again, unlike some state governors that were not vibrant as a result of the poor financial stand of their states, Akpabio was all over the place. He moved with swagger and dared men and demons because of the huge allocation his state was taking delivery of on a monthly basis. He was a voice to reckon with and influenced many decisions in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). While in PDP as governor of Akwa Ibom State for eight years, he made the political atmosphere hot for the opposition. He forced those who did not believe in his style of leadership to run for

Akpabio

hiding in a budding opposition party in the state at the time- All Progressives Congress (APC). His usual refrain at the time was that Akwa Ibom is a PDP state and would remain so. In the early days of his election as the Minority Leader in the Senate, Akpabio was vibrant; breathing down on APC on national issues, but suddenly, his voice got drowned and many Nigerians, who had built a measure of hope and confidence around him, began to wonder what must have gone amiss. No one knew he had been cowed; he had started to dine and wine secretly with “enemies” of his party and he wanted it to remain a “Nicodemus” affair. He started following PDP afar. True to the words of Christ that there is nothing hidden that cannot be revealed, Akpabio’s “monkey” movements eventually came into the open. He began to openly visit those he had badmouthed and denigrated. He spent a fortune to fly himself to London to meet with holidaying President Muhammadu Buhari to plead forgiveness for all the insults he had heaped on him and on the party, and pledged to be of good behaviour going forward. Unconfirmed reports said he went to see the President to ask that his name be cleaned off the records of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC). Same reports said that the EFCC has so many incriminating evidences of malfeasance

against Akpabio and that it was on that basis he surrendered. Akpabio also went on a “forgive me” visit to the National Leader of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in Abuja. Some analysts even said that the defection to the APC was mere acting, that at the fulness of time-towards the elections – he would return to the PDP. But the most stunning of his actions, according to observers, were his utterances that have been described by many as “lying with his teeth”! Like the devil that turns his back when he wants to do a mischief; the former governor of Akwa Ibom, said that the “PDP” of today had no vision and the leadership was replete with arrogance.” He further said: “The country is at war and all the hands must be on deck to salvage the situation and not to aggravate it. “As keepers of national emergency, everyone should put

The country is at war and all the hands must be on deck to salvage the situation and not to aggravate it

heads together. I decide to join to emancipate the people and provide succour for the people.” But an indigene of Akwa Ibom, Cletus Okon took exception to Akpabio’s words, saying that the former Senate minority leader was economical with the truth. “If I may ask Akpabio, who are those who put the country at war: is it not the APC; so, how can a sensible man join those who stoke war to put it off? Akpabio talked about ‘emancipating the people and providing for the people,’ look at who is talking. A man that left Akwa Ibom as a governor and wanted to finish the state with the impossible severance package for himself and the pension he instituted for himself, including mansions to be built for him. Who does not know Akpabio! “The truth of the matter is that the current governor of the state is not ready to be his rubber stamp; he has seen that he can no longer controls the state from Abuja and the heat is on him, he decided to run to the enemy’s camp for protection,”Okon said. He further slammed Akpabio, saying that a man who claims to “provide succour for the people,” instigated the Federal Government “to freeze the accounts of his state government just for selfish ends. Does that add up?” Akpabio had also alleged that there was no reward system in the party. He referred to the decision of the party leadership at the PDP NEC meeting recently

to announce Bukola Saraki as the national leader of the party as one of the things that incensed him. “My colleague, the Senate president who unfortunately was one of those who joined to destroy the PDP in 2015 just attended the NEC meeting and out of excitement, the same national chairman rolled out the drums and announced him National Leader of the party,” Akpabio said. According to him: “Having been the Senate minority leader, and by implication the chairman of the PDP caucus in the National Assembly, I thought there was no more room for me, since we now have a National Leader who has just defected.” But Okon replied, saying, “Cogent as his observation is, it must be understood that Akapbio had completed all the processes of his defection before the NEC meeting he referred to; so the events of that day could not have, in any way, been the cause of his exit.” Many observers have wondered why Akpabio, who owns all his political positions and accolades to the PDP, would turn around to bite that finger that fed him. Between 2002 and 2006, he served as commissioner in three key ministries in his state: Petroleum and Natural Resources, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs as well as Lands and Housing under Governor Victor Attah. In 2013, he was elected chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum. Under PDP platform, he won election to represent the Akwa Ibom North West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District and was also nominated for the position of the Senate Minority Leader by the South-South caucus of the PDP which was also ratified by the PDP caucus in the Senate, a position he resigned last Tuesday to join the APC. Many observers are shocked what could make a man who has enjoyed all these privileges on one platform in a country of nearly 200 million people become so aggrieved that he decided to paint that same party in black just to be accepted in his new party. It is still unclear if Akpabio’s usual slogan “let God’s will be done” was actually allowed to rule his decision at this point in time. Pundits also said that it was bewildering that Akpabio watched admiringly as Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the APC, “stylishly” abused him and the PDP for stealing the country dry in its 16 years of occupation of power stool. In all of these years, Akpabio played prominent roles in the party.


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Sunday 12 August 2018

AssemblyWatch From the Red Chamber

OWEDE AGBAJILEKE

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proar, confusion, chaos, turmoil are some the words to describe what transpired at the National Assembly on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 when heavily armed, masked operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) invaded the Complex for over eight hours. A colleague from The Guardian newspaper, Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and I were the first to get to the main gate of the Complex on that fateful day after we received a message late Monday on the Whatsapp page of the Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate, informing us to be at the Complex as early as 7am, as against 12noon for the scheduled meeting of the leadership of the National Assembly with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The message which was sent at 11:15pm read thus: “All members of the Press Corps are

My encounter with third NASS invasion hereby invited to be at the Senate on Tuesday 7th August by 7am to witness the plan by some Senators to break into the Senate Chambers and hold an illegal session”. Prior to this time, there had been accusations and counteraccusations between Pro-Buhari and Pro-Saraki senators over plans to forcefully reconvene plenary and impeach Senate President Bukola Saraki. Having left home as early as 6:25am, Azimazi picked me up in his car and fortunately we were the first reporters to get to the scene of the theatre at exactly 6:45am. The atmosphere was chaotic, as we saw agents of the secret police brandishing their weapons and barred workers, journalists and legislative aides from entering the Complex. Upon alighting from the vehicle, we approached one of the SSS officials who seemed to be their superior, dishing out instructions to them. He told us in clear terms that they were acting on instructions and ordered us to leave. I then asked him where he got the orders from and at this point he charged at me, threatening to deal with me mercilessly. Also, the security operatives seized the mobile phone of my colleague and later returned it after they asked for his password to check if he

had taken pictures of them. Chairman, Senate Press Corps, Ezrel Tabiowo, was however, not lucky, as his phone was not only confiscated but shattered by one of the security men. Five minutes later, the first lawmaker, Rafiu Ibrahim, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, arrived the scene. He identified himself but was also barred from accessing the main building just like us. Not long after, he was joined by other PDP lawmakers from both chambers of the National Assembly: Ben Murray-Bruce, Biodun Olujimi, Isah Misau, Shabba Lagiagi, Mark Gbillah, Tope Olauonu, Razaq Atunwa, Chris Azubogu, Frederick Agbedi among others. At this point, the crowd was already surging, as international media outlets like Al Jazeera, BBC, VOA Hausa and so on arrived the scene. Incidentally, this was the third invasion I have witnessed since I was posted to the National Assembly in 2014; the first being in November of the same year when heavily armed policemen invaded the Complex, tear-gassed and tried to prevent members of the House of Representatives, including the then Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, from entering the Complex. The second encounter was in April this year when armed political thugs invaded the Senate chamber,

disrupted plenary and snatched the symbol of authority – mace. Unfortunately, the culprits are yet to be brought to book. Back to Tuesday’s incident, as some male lawmakers at the scene appealed to the agents on the need to allow them entry, with other workers maintaining a distance and expressing their frustration from afar, a female member of the House of Representatives from Rivers State, Boma Goodhead, who was initially sitting on one of the road dividers, made an audacious confrontation and dared the masked security men to shoot her. Like a commander in a war front, the member representing Asalga/Akulga Federal Constituency of Rivers State, practically forced her way passed the gunwielding operatives and beckoned on her astonished male colleagues to join her. And like hen drenched by rain, they walked shamelessly behind her, as she led them to the lobby. I was later informed by my colleagues in the House of Representatives that she is the younger sister to ex-militant leader, Asari Dokubo and that she had fiercely resisted and confronted security operatives when her brother was arrested, detained and charged to court by the Federal Government between 2006 and 2007. In all my eight years in journalism, I have never encountered such a bold, courageous and

X-raying PDP caucus and prophetic invasion alarm

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woke up on Tuesday, 13th August, 2018 with the intent of starting a two-week leave. But few minutes later, I was reliably informed of the looming palace coup at the National Assembly, purportedly targeted at removing the Senate President Bukola Saraki. Of course, my reliable contacts got me acquainted of happenings as they unfolded without much ado. I had no doubt in the authenticity of the information for any reason, I was sure they’re credible, so I went ahead to break the news. But my plans of traveling out of Abuja to freshen up before the House resumes from the annual recess, was dashed as I couldn’t jettison such an ‘emergency’ which in my perception may truncate democracy. I knew what I was into when I chose journalism as a career and over the years I’ve been able to keep faith doing it. While reflecting on the discussion with the two credible sources from the National Assembly, I recalled with the speed of light the content of the press state-

ment which emanated from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives which was reported barely 12 hours. Lo, the printable words of the prophet came to pass! The statement was personally signed by the Deputy Minority Leader, Rt. Hon. Chukwuka Onyema. He had earlier raised similar allegation barely five days before the latest invasion. So I was trying to follow through. At a point after filing the reports, I paused and reflecting on all that transpired and the script being played by various actors. I was at loss actually for one reason. I then asked the question: Is the Minority Leader a soothsayer to the extent that the press statement was accurate on the timing of the invasion? Frankly speaking, what came to my mind was the scriptural passage which detailed Prophet Samuel’s words to King Saul before his coronation as King of Israel in First Samuel chapter Ten which read in part: “As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down

from the high place with lyres, timbrels, pipes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying. The Spirit of the LORD will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.” But in this case, I can’t place who inspired or engineered the prediction on the invasion! As alluded to by another media report, can it be the accuser who actually fuelled the same invasion, yet pointing finger at his rival? I perceive that, the veiled man who pays the piper is also the one dictating the tune. This must be part of the impending probe and culprits should be brought to book like the sacked Director General of State Security Service. Of course, the sudden convergence of the PDP members at the entrance of the National Assembly speaks volume to the discerning minds not just the undiscerning minds of

Nigerians who watched the entire episode ad apportion blames without crosschecking the facts. While the Minority Leader claimed that there was no formal notice sent to the leadership of the National Assembly on the President’s request to reconvene for the consideration of the INEC’s budget, the Deputy Speaker who was also accosted by me and other colleagues on his way out of the National Assembly, confirmed that the Senate President sent a text message on the President’s letter. According to him, the meeting was scheduled for 12 noon but was eventually cancelled as a result of the meeting security threat. From both reports, one can deduce that the Minority caucus’ operates on half-truth or better put, falsehood. They should have confirmed from the leadership of the House rather than misleading the general public. As it is today, it is obvious that the media hype was done to curry public sympathy and attempt to blackmail the ruling party. Of course, the

audacious woman. Her bravery was reminiscent of the days of Queen Amina of Zaria and Fela’s mother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Indeed, she has a good head. There are so many questions begging for urgent answers: how come only PDP senators were at the scene while the siege lasted? Where really were the APC senators throughout the eight-hour ordeal? Is it true that the sacked SSS DG, Lawal Daura, took orders from APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole and Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari to carry out the act? Where were the other sister security agencies stationed in the National Assembly when the operatives took over the Complex? Was the invasion stage-managed by Saraki to win public sympathy? If true, is this not an indictment on the Presidency, knowing full well that the secret police is under the Presidency? The scenario raises even more posers, including whether or not the siege reflected Senator Abu Ibrahim’s threat that Saraki would have no peace until he resigned as Senate President? Whether or not Daura was the fall guy of power play between the cabal and the Senate leadership? Who are the politicians fingered by Police IG, Ibrahim Idris, for allegedly working with Daura? What next after his sack?

From the Green House With

KEHINDE AKINTOLA deed has been done but the misgivings about Nigeria has gone viral to the outside world. We have to live with the stigma come what may. As explained by the APC caucus during its own press briefing, the entire scenario was unfortunate. For me, there’s nothing like a rape on democracy but selfish ambition of the political class to further rip-off the gains of democracy and subject Nigerians to another political crisis. As usual, I will not fail from warning those behind the veil, to have a rethink otherwise the crisis may consume like harmattan fire and unquenchable when the Fellow Nigerians beckon.


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SundayBusiness Orion&Sirius raises global awareness on sustainable gems mining practices in Africa

O IFEOMA OKEKE

rion&Sirius Gems, a global coloured gemstones merchant, has announced the release of its global “Fingerprint” campaign in September aimed to raise global awareness on the importance of sustainable gems mining practices in Africa. The brand will be unveiling different chapters of its gem journey and will start an open dialogue between international jewellery and fashion brands. Private rough auctions and a miners’ empowerment programme will be held to introduce the brand’s mine-to-market journey.

With a seven-year long experience, the African gemstone supplier has dis-

covered unique gems in different African countries including Cameroon, Kenya,

Tanzania, Ethiopia and Nigeria. Gems like aquamarine, tourmaline, garnet, emerald, sapphire, and many others are handpicked and graded directly within the mines. Orion&Sirius gemmology expertise led it to explore Jos, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Taraba, among other states to identify the best gems deposits in Nigeria. “It has been more than seven years that we have been exploring African gems fields. It has been a rewarding journey. Now, we can confidently state that coloured gemstones industry represents a substantial development opportunity for Africa,” said Solange Boccovi, managing director, Orion&Sirius. “Coloured gemstones industry is a $23 billion sector Africa

should benefit from. Nigeria is endowed with a variety of precious and semi-precious gems. Beyond their international market trade value, they also constitute local development opportunities,” Boccovi said. Boccovi further said sustainable trade and mining practices are the most effective models for Nigeria to reap long-term growth benefits from the export of its natural resources. “Beyond gemstones, solid minerals represent substantial trade opportunities internationally. The global jewellery market currently surpasses $272 billion. Then it is time for Africa to become a leading player in global jewellery sector. Sustainable trade is an impactful development solution and a

necessary sector evolution. It is also an economic legacy for the next generations to come. Producing beautiful gems should be as important as growing the hands that mine them,” he said. “Beyond our support to African gems miners, we would like to extend growth benefits to Africa luxury and fashion industries. Responsibly-sourced gems are a luxury norm which adds value to the whole supply chain,” he added. Orion&Sirius envisions economic growth potential and employment opportunities all across jewellery supply chain and it is through empowering collaborations that it plans to meet gems with ethic in bringing Madein-Africa luxury to the forefront.

Excitement as phase 3 of MTNF’s ‘What Can Bosch Power Tools opens Solution Box at Lekki FTZ We Do Together’ initiative comes underway ...provides one-stop shop for construction companies

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n fulfilling its commitment to improve the quality of lives in communities, MTN Foundation, the social investment vehicle of MTN Nigeria, has launched the third phase of the “What Can We Do Together” project, an initiative geared towards developing grassroots communities through collaborative effort. The MTN Nigeria Foundation Limited was established for the purpose of focusing efforts in terms of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives to help reduce poverty and foster sustainable development in the country Reaching over 10 million Nigerians, the first two phases of the campaign have seen 400 communities in 347 local government areas benefiting from the initiative, with 40 communities receiving 500KVA transformers, and another 40 receiving 650ft boreholes. The first two phases also saw the supply of medical equipment to 80 primary healthcare centres, provision of school furniture sets to 174 schools, as well as household supplies and equip-

ment to 66 orphanages in different communities in Nigeria. The third phase of the campaign is set to begin, and as usual, the foundation plans to enlist the support of Nigerians in order to meet the objective of the initiative. To nominate a community, nominators are required to text ‘MTN Foundation’ to the short code 321 and respond to subsequent questions with ‘MTNF (space) answer’. Nominators can also fill an online form, which is available on the foundation’s website. The nomination is free and open to all Nigerians until August 20, 2018, and shortlisted nominators will be contacted for verification upon approval. The “What Can We Do Together” initiative was first launched in 2015 during the MTN Foundation’s 10th anniversary and is aimed at complementing the efforts of the government in empowering grassroots communities with basic social amenities. Speaking on the flag-off of this third phase, Nonny Ugboma, executive secretary, MTN Foundation, said, “At MTN Foundation, we

are committed to improving the quality of lives in our communities. It is a mandate we are working steadfastly on and we believe that Nigerians deserve the best. Working with them to achieve this common goal will help make lives easier, better and brighter. “Since the initiative was launched, it has enabled MTN to solve real societal problems, but we couldn’t have done it without the help of the wonderful Nigerian people who gave us the chance to help out in ways that we can, and we hope we can do more in this third phase of the campaign.” In conjunction with local and international partner organisations, MTN Nigeria Foundation says it remains committed to improving individual and communal lives through social investment projects that nurture people’s inherent abilities, care for and respect people’s dignity and help create economic value in their lives. The Foundation has been able to produce an overall positive impact on society, as evidenced in the numerous awards it has received over the years.

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osch Power Tools, a leading manufacturer of power tools for construction, woodworking and metalworking industry in Nigeria, has unveiled its first ever Solution Box in Nigeria. Located at the Lekki Free Trade Zone Gate 1, Akodo Refinery Road, in Lagos, the Solution Box is a one-stop shop for all users in the construction industry requiring heavy duty applications and will supply professional power tools, measuring tools, accessories and after-sales services to the Nigerian customers. Boasting of a showroom equipped with practical demonstration facility and manned by onsite trained and qualified Bosch sales managers, the Bosch So-

lution Box will serve as a point of contact for servicing and warranty claims as well as a training centre for upskilling customers in various applications, providing end-to-end solutions to the users. Bosch Power Tools Nigeria developed the Solution Box concept with the vision of zero distance to the user ‒ considering the wide application range of a typical construction worker, distant locations and high expectations of deliverables. It is, therefore, expected to not only limit the distance between Bosch and its key users but also impact positively on project delivery time, access to products, among others. “We consider the Solution Box a valuable tool to meet the needs of construction us-

ers in far locations by providing them with all the required tools and accessories,” said Frank Diermann, country business director, Bosch Power Tools Nigeria. “We will also provide our users with service and trainings.” Bosch Power Tools said it plans to establish more Solution Boxes at various construction sites across the country. The Robert Bosch Power Tools GmbH, a division of the Bosch Group, has been present in Africa since 1906, and is at present in 10 African countries including South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Angola, Mozambique, Algeria, Nigeria, Ghana and Tunisia. It plans to increase this number in the coming years depending on future business development, it said.

L-R: Olakunle Adenrele, manager, Batsquare Nigeria Limited; Olalekan Oyebode, key user manager, Robert Bosch Power Tools Nigeria; Olatunji Oshunfowore, CEO, Batsquare Nigeria Limited, and Ajayi Samson, retail marketing manager, Bosch Power Tools Nigeria, at the newly opened Bosch Solution Centre located at Lekki Free Trade Zone Gate 1, Lagos.


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Sunday 12 August 2018

SundayBusiness

TriciaBiz ‘Business Growth Workshop’ moves to Accra Aug. 17

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riciaBiz, one of Nigeria’s leading business coaches, in partnership with Naijabrandchick, an Instagram coach, is set to hostitsnext‘BusinessGrowth Workshop’ in Accra, Ghana. Scheduled for August 17, the workshop/training is aimed at boosting growth and efficacy amongst entrepreneurs in Africa by getting them to think critically about their business, analyze different business elements such as customer, SWOT analysis, product and service, longterm goal, etc. The ‘Business Growth Workshop’, a one-day workshop launched recently with the key theme of building smarter and sustainable businesses, started with Kigali, Rwanda, and will move to Accra, Nairobi, Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt. The first training at Kigali

Participants at the workshop in Kigali, Rwanda.

held on July 24, 2018 and took participants through how to leverage social media to create awareness and grow their businesses. With plans to spread over a timeframe of three months, these trainings seek to empower business owners and improve their quality of productandservicedelivery,whilst focusing on the key elements that drive business growth, such as customer, structure, pricing, marketing, innovation pipeline, business model, etc. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with by far the highest number of people involved in the early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA), with Zambia and Nigeria leading the world rankings, according to GEM Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Annual Report. The region also accounts for highest number of failed enterprises. To bridge this gap,

there is the increased need for business education. “The ‘Business Growth Workshop’ was conceptualized due to the increasing need for accessible business education for small and medium enterprises,” said Tricia Ikponmwonba, the organiser. One of the participants from the first training, Alexia Uwera Mupende, general manager of Waka Fitness, a leading fitness company in Rwanda, said, “This training was very eye-opening and helped the team come up with unique ways to market our services and also innovative services we can offer to our clients to stay relevant and competitive. The training was so instructive and I like the fact that it was very practical.” Interested participants are asked to visit the TriciaBiz for further inquiries.

Lagos. Ward outlined why Nigeria was an attractive base for his consulting firm, W Hospitality Group: “In Africa I found that there was no competition for what I do. I was a pioneer. I’d been plodding along in London, and I was an owner of our consulting business there, and we were struggling because of competition. [I realised], ‘Oh look, I’m now earning a lot more money than I was when I was in London, and I’m able now to make decisions about what I do with my money,’ as opposed to just constantly going along with the treadmill, if you like, and I was building up some capital.” On whether he realised his company would experience such rapid growth in Nigeria, Ward told the programme: “I moved to Africa in 2003, set up in Lagos, and from about 2005, the business was growing ten, twenty per cent each year, and that was wonderful. When we reached the million dollar income, that was the height of the growth of Africa, when Africa was really rising. We had almost double digit growth in Nigeria and

in other countries. After 2010 with the Ebola and the oil crisis, Africa didn’t rise anymore. Several countries went into recession, including Nigeria. So my company is now less than it was. I’m very happy with that.” Ward explained how his definition of success has changed over time: “When I started out, it was just earning more. It’s addictive. Getting the next deal, signing a nice consulting contract and another one and another one… Then I realised, ‘Well, I’ve got enough.’ I just want to know that I am financially secure. That’s hugely important to me. So when I got to that stage, I just enjoy spending time with the family now. And still working, because work is addictive as well.” ‘CNN Marketplace Africa’ aired Friday, August 10, at 1615 WAT on CNN International, with a repeat broadcast at the following times: Saturday, August 11 at 1615 WAT; Sunday, August 12 at 0100 WAT and 0715 WAT; Monday, August 13 at 0200 WAT and 1745 WAT; and Tuesday, August 14 at 0430 WAT.

CNN explores industries flourishing in Nigeria

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n last week’s episode of ‘Marketplace Africa’, CNN International explored how the leather industry is growing in Nigeria. The programme also met Trevor Ward, who explained why Nigeria was an attractive location for starting his consulting firm, W Hospitality Group. Thought to be worth around $700 million annually, the leather industry in Nigeria is rapidly growing. The programme met designer Femi Olayebi, who became a champion of the industry after launching the annual Lagos Leather Fair. She told the programme why the fair has been a success: “Not only did it promote the established start up leather designers and smaller platers, it brought to light the high level of activity that was happening within the leather space. We wanted to promote ‘Made in Nigeria’ but we also wanted to see with all the backward integration that was happening it was time we started looking inward. We didn’t need to go out there and buy

leather shoes or leather bags when [we have] it right here. So not only did I invite the leather designers to the table, we invited machinery suppliers, we invited the tanneries… We just wanted to invite the major players along that value chain and the stakeholders were there and they were absolutely surprised at what they saw.” Her brand, Femi Handbags, is already well established but she believes that with the right support there could be many other successful businesses like hers in Nigeria: “There are so many people interested

in this industry, so many people that want to succeed within this industry so we need to help ourselves and we need to bring us to the attention of the policy makers and say, ‘You know what, we are right here. We are a force to be reckoned with, we are a niche industry but you’ve got to take us seriously.’” Iyalode Lawson, national president of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, told the programme that she is aware of how important the leather industry could become and that by 2025, it could be worth one bil-

lion dollars annually: “The leather industry is coming on [in Nigeria] with the diversification of the economy because the oil boom is no longer there so everything now has to go back to the cotton pyramid, the ground nut pyramid, the leather industry. We are now going back into all these areas of diversification whereby the economy will pick up and there will be more jobs.” Also in the programme, host Zain Asher met Trevor Ward to learn more about how he defines success and why he moved his company from London to


Sunday 12 August 2018

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BDSUNDAY 33

SundayBusiness Mortgage and housing deficit: The meeting point

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requently, housing deficit is linked to undersupply of housing relative to demand. Seldom do people look deeper to see how critically housing deficit is connected to unemployment through the interplay of a functional mortgage system. In Nigeria, there are two major issues that have to do with the country’s housing deficit. The first is lack of a functional mortgage system while the second one is the absence of a social security system. There is an absence of a system that is dedicated to funding housing for low income families. Ultimately, a mortgage system is only as good as employment rate in the country. This means that even if a country has a viable mortgage system and the unemployment rate is very high, the system cannot solve any problem. This is because people have to be gainfully and sustainably employed to qualify for mortgage. Good employment with regular income is a basic requirement for mortgage. The local, state and federal For that reason, governments need to come up with a comprehensive policy that recognises the average family household income and designs a mortgage product as well as a grant aided system that meets the real challenges in society. This

Spiritonomics

Debo Atiba

www.spiritonomics.org

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n my sojourn in the faith work, many times I have had to look at the entire panorama of Christianity. It never ceases to amaze me the depth of simplicity with which God packaged Christianity. Little wonder Jesus said, “learn of me ... and you shall find rest unto your soul”. The most important demand or need of man in life is not money, clothing or housing but REST.

will increase developer activity, increase supply, thereby increasing employment and reducing cost of ownership or use. It needs to be pointed out however that there are some basic problems with the mortgage system in Nigeria. One is accessibility and the second one is clarity. Talking about accessibility, when a borrower approaches a mortgage bank for loan, they will ask him for things that he cannot provide, meaning that mortgage is simply not accessible for those that actually need it. In terms of clarity, there is no unified system. There is nowhere the government has published a mortgage rate which the mortgage banks have to use or a mortgage standard or process which the banks have to fit into. It is obvious that there is no clar-

ity in the mortgage system here and if there is any such thing, it is not yet publicised and so people don’t know and, if people don’t know, it means such a process does not exist. The basic principle of a mortgage is that a borrower must have steady income and be in gainful employment. He must be able to provide income in multiples for the property that will be built for his use. If his income is N4 million/annum, for instance, and the cost of the property is N30 million, unless he wants to steal, he cannot afford that property and there is no mortgage for him at that rate given his income. In Metropolitan Lagos, most two or three-bedroom homes are sold for between N30 million and N60 million, yet the average yearly income of the

To solve the mortgage problem in Nigeria and reduce the housing deficit, there should be a legislation towards the mortgage process, but this depends on how the legislation is applied

Talking Mortgage with CHUKA UROKO (08037156969, chukuroko@yahoo.com) white-collar worker is under N6 million. This means these properties are clearly out of the reach of the average buyer. It follows that, unless the supply side is subsidised, or the demand side is grant aided, the market will remain untenable and the benefits that a community or society gains from a large and broad home ownership base will be eluded. With this comes the inability to access consumer finance, home based loans and a fluid, dynamic retail financial system that encourages buying power, creates trade and boosts the local economy. To solve the mortgage problem in Nigeria and reduce the housing deficit, there should be a legislation towards the mortgage process, but this depends on how the legislation is applied. “In some countries, what happens is that a body is set up that manages mortgage subsidies. It delivers this either through banks or by itself. So, the legislation around mortgage has to be fine-tuned, implemented and advertised so that people can access it. The mortgage industry has to improve, and developers

have to be encouraged to build mortgage-viable and ready properties; mortgage interest rates have to be reduced to single digit and made available; the whole process of securing mortgage has to be made clearer and more transparent, and the mortgage has to be available on the “retail high street” such that every time you go out looking for it, you see it. In addition, developers should be encouraged to build across all property bands, simplicity needs to be introduced into the regulatory system to make it cheaper and faster to develop. The import system needs to be tidied up to be faster, more efficient and less punitive to the building trade by allowing quality products in without attracting huge duties and red tape. This simplicity will reduce the cost of housing, making it affordable to more buyers including low income buyers. Furthermore, the government needs to find ways to make land more of a commodity—aasy to ascertain ownership, cheaper to transfer and designate large areas for social housing by ensuring developers can build for a certain sector without heavy land costs.

the kingdom of God he would grope through life. Headed nowhere even though he claimed to know God (... having the form of godliness but denying the power therefore ...nothing to show for it). Your new birth experience made you an automatic citizen of the kingdom of God with access to the vast resources of the kingdom willed to YOU. All truths are parallel, as you were given birth to in the physical as new born babe, so are you as new born babe in the kingdom of God. You now know the reason why we have many babies in the kingdom untrained, unruly, disorder and disobedient soiling the name of our God, throwing tantrums here and there. Your access to wealth untold, blessing unequalled is in the sitting down and seeking first the kingdom of

God and how it operates or function. This does require patience, training, practice and prayers. With proper adherence to this training program, we come out with our MSC (Masters of Circumstances) in the affairs of life. Truly all the things that the world is dying for, clamouring for begin effortlessly begging to locate us as their Masters. This mind-set and programming is required in the marketplace otherwise we fail woefully. Let us all pick up our gauntlets as privileged, purchased people of God and begin to do exploit as designed. As we do what is BEST first (pursue the kingdom then we can be sure of other things that the gentiles are chasing) begins to run after us. Remain blessed. @spiritonomics

Master of circumstances After a man is done toiling and struggling, his sweetest and most gratifying desire is to rest. Every day it is becoming increasingly clear that truly God loves man. The harbinger of all this citation is from Matthew 6: 33 (seek ye first the kingdom of God...). How do you partake of a blessing you never knew existed? How do you operate and benefit from an environment where direction and guidance is non-existent? These and many other questions come to mind when you look at how much man struggles and toils and he seems not to be able to make headway in life. The culprits in all of this matter are Christians. They are supposed to know better, as they are the ones the keys of the kingdom were glibly handed to. They are the ones that Jesus suffered and bled for

on the cross of Calvary (though Jesus died for the whole world, it is only people that appropriate what he did that benefit from it). He left His glory in heaven and became poor so that they can become rich. He was wounded so that they could be healed, many and all other things he stood for so that there could be perfect exchange that makes for rest in all sphere of life. Like you will bear me witness, it does not in any way look like Jesus did anything worthy of celebration or honour in favour of the believers. Many that he died for are languishing in penury, are sick and lame through life only because of disregard for instruction“seek ye FIRST the kingdom”. The kingdom of God is vast and many sided, and until a man get a good grasp of the working of


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SundayBusiness The imperative of street food safety Food & Beverages With Ayo Oyoze Baje

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ssentially, street food is defined as ready-to-eat food or drink sold in a street or other public place, such as a market or fair, by a hawker or vendor, often from a portable stall. While some street foods are regional, many are not, having spread beyond their region of origin. Most street foods are also classified as both finger food and fast food, and are cheaper on the average than restaurant meals. According to a 2007 study from the Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO 2.5 billion people eat street food every day. Today, people may purchase streetfoodforanumberofreasons, such as to obtain reasonably priced and flavorful food in a sociable setting, to experience ethnic cuisines and also for nostalgia. Historically, in places such as ancient Rome, street food was purchased because the urban

Property Logic With Akhigbe Dominic

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Deed of conveyance have carefully noticed the erroneous practice by nottoo-informed practitioners who inter use the Deed of Conveyance for The Deed of Assignment or Deed of Sublease. These are essentially not the same. No doubt they all convey titles. Without prejudice to the direct importance of the similarities of the usefulness of the

poor did not have kitchens in their homes! Street food around the world Street food vending is found around the world, but has variations within both regions and cultures. For example, Dorling Kindersley describes the street food of Vietnam as being “fresh and lighter than many of the cuisines in the area” and “drawing heavily on herbs, chile peppers and lime. But street food of Thailand is “fiery” and “pungent with shrimp paste ... and fish sauce” with New York City’s signature street food being the hot dog. In Hawaii, the local street food tradition of “Plate Lunch” (rice, macaroni salad and a portion of meat) was inspired by the bento of the Japanese who had been brought to Hawaii as plantation workers. In the Nigerian context street foods have been with us since time immemorial, always increasing in number and variety with upsurge in urbanization. Chief amongst these are bean cakes (akara), ofada rice and beans, yam porridge,okpa ,pastries, such as buns, meat-pie and egg roll. Others include local beverages made from grains such asakamu,burukutu,zobo,kunu,fura de nono and local gins(ogogoro) with variants depending on the place of origin. These compete favourbaly with international brands. In the late 1990s the United Nations and other organisations began to recognise that street vendors had been an underutilised method of delivering fortified foods to populations and

in 2007, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation(FAO) recommended considering methods of adding nutrients and supplements to street foods that are commonly consumed by the particular culture. In 2002, Coca Cola reported that China, India and Nigeria were some of its fastest growing markets; markets where the company’s expansion efforts included training and equipping mobile street vendors to sell its products. Apart from their relatively affordable prices, many urban dwellers choose to eat street foods because of the nature of their jobs which takes them out of their homes in the wee hours of the morning. Cultural and economic aspects. Walking on the street while eating is considered rude in some cultures, such as Japan. In India, Henrike Donner wrote about a “marked distinction between food that could be eaten outside, especially by women,” and the food prepared and eaten at home; with some non-Indian food being too “strange” or tied too closely to nonvegetarian preparation methods to be made at home. In Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam region, street food vendors produce economic benefits beyond their families by purchasing local fresh foods which has led to a proliferation of urban gardens and small scale farms. In the United States, street food vendors are credited with supporting New York City’s rapid growth by supplying meals

for the city’s merchants and workers. Proprietors of street food in the United States have had a goal of upward mobility, moving from selling on the street to their own shops. However, in Mexico, an increase in street vendors has been seen as a sign of deteriorating economic conditions. Health and safety Despite concerns about contamination by street food vendors, the incident of such is low with multiple studies showing rates comparable to restaurants. As early as the 14th century, government officials oversaw street food vendor activities. With the increasing pace of globalization and tourism, the safety of street food has become one of the major concerns of public health, and a focus for governments and scientists to raise public aware nesses. In 2002 a sampling of 511 street foods in Ghana by the World Health Organization, WHO showed that most had microbial counts within the accepted limits and a different sampling of 15 street foods in Calcutta showed that they were “nutritionally well balanced”, providing roughly 200Kcal of energy per rupee of cost. We should learn from the United Kingdom, where the Food Standards Agency (FSA) provides comprehensive guidance of food safety for the vendors, traders and retailers of the street food sector. Other effective ways of enhancing the safety of street foods are through mystery shopping programs, through training and

rewarding programs to vendors, through regulatory governing and membership management programs, or through technical testing programs. There are however, concerns about their safety in the Nigerian context because of several reasons. There are no credible data to work with. Othersare the sources of water used for cooking, the prevalence of filthy slums attracting houseflies and several other vectors of pathogens that causes diseases such as cholera, stomach upset and vomiting. To further the cause of the safety of street foods in Nigeria there should be strict regulatory frameworks for street foods as we have with processed and packaged foods and drugs as monitored by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC. There should be collaborative efforts between health officials at the local and state levels as well as NAFDAC, including trainings on food safety. For instance, in the sixties there were local government officials on environmental sanitation who also inspected places where food items were hawked. There should be specified punitive measures for offences committed. This would serve as a form of deterrence to the practitioners. No effort should be spared towards ensuring food safety in the public interest.

Baje is Nigerian first Food Technologist in the media ayobaje@yahoo.co.uk; 08057971776

The intrigues about land titles (4) ‘If you are not going to put money in real estate, where else?’ ...Tamir Sapir, Business Mogul Certificate of Occupancy and the Deed of Sublease, the Deed of Conveyance or Registered Conveyance was the valid proof of evidence of ownership until the promulgation of the Land use Act of 1978 which brought the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy into being. Today, in place of the Deed of Conveyance, the Deed of Assignment is in place. Before the enactment of the Land Use Act in 1970, the Deed of Conveyance was the legal document used in transferring the interest of a landed property from a seller to a buyer. After the 1978 Act which transfers lands ownership to the state governor, the Deed of Assignment which is the proof of transfer of interest is now in use. This is what is eventually graduated to the Certificate of Occupancy by the landed property owner. Next time you

buy that property and the sellers presents you with a Deed of Conveyance; it is either they acquired same before 1978 or the Attorney dwells in the past. Just politely request for a Deed of Assignment. Governor’s consent The Governor’s Consent is not a standalone Title as we are sometimes made to believe. It is a consequential document after the transfer of a valid statutory title from an original holder or on a land with family Excision. The Consent is also obtained when an Acquisition is ratified. A governor’s consent compulsorily required to recognize the transfer of a property with a certificate of occupancy to a new owner on a land with an existing a valid Certificate of Occupancy. Where a holder of a Certificate of Occupancy decides to divest himself of such interest either by sale or dona-

tion, the new owner statutorily establishes his ownership by obtaining a Governor’s Consent for same. Just exchanging a Sales Deed and going to sleep is of no effect as neither the government nor the public is yet aware of the change of ownership Or transfer till Consent is duly obtained. The governor does this in exercise of his powers as contained in Section 22 of the Land Use Act of 1978 which states inter alia: “It shall not be lawful for the holder of a statutory right of occupancy granted by the governor to alienate his right of occupancy or any part thereof by assignment, mortgage, transfer of possession, sublease or otherwise howsoever without the consent of the Governor first had and obtained’’ In simple interpretation; the above states as follows: when

a buyer has secured a land with an existing Certificate of Occupancy, he shouldn’t stop there; he should commence the process of obtaining a Governor’s consent to make that purchase legal as failure to do this renders the transfer null and void. To be continued Akhigbe Dominic.M. Esq., /Property Law Expert/CEO, PROPERTYLogic Homes Ltd Visit: www.propertylogichomeslimited.com for listed properties & Property information. Call us on: +234-8034846294 & +234-1-2166914 SENIOR STRATEGIC PARTNER, PropertyLogic Incorporated/ Seasoned Business Coach/Columnist of The BusinessDay/Contributing Editor,govandbusinessjournal.com. ng <http://govandbusinessjournal. com.ng>


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Equity Market Eterna, Forte Oil top as 22 firms’ costs of sales rise to N800bn at half-year 2018 TELIAT SULE

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wenty two (22) listed firms on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) expended N801.11 billion at half year 2018 as costs of sales, representing 20 percent increase over N669.34 billion spent same period in 2017. According to Investopedia, a cost of sales represents how much a firm expends to produce goods and services to be sold to consumers. The rising cost of sales shows the magnitude of challenges being faced by entrepreneurs especially those in the real sector of the Nigerian economy. When the cost of sales is expressed as a percentage of gross earnings or revenue, it shows how much firms in Nigeria spent in the first six months of this year to generate naira revenue. It was 64.36 percent in the first half of 2018 as against 63.57 percent between January and June 2017. On the average, this ratio shows that Nigerian firms expended 64 kobo to generate 100 kobo revenue in the first six months of this year and in similar period in 2017. On this metric, our analysis shows that Eterna, First Aluminium, Forte Oil, Conoil and Total Nigeria topmost on the table. Eternal topped the table of firms with the highest cost of sales relative to revenue at half year 2018 as it spent N170.43 billion out of N172.98 billion it made as revenue by June 2018. This compares with N77.28 billion it spent at half year 2017as cost of sales from N79.64 billion the company made in that period as revenue, implying that Eterna expended 99 kobo to generate 100 kobo revenue at half year 2018 as against 97 kobo in comparative period in 2017. “ Our technical partner did not want us to associate the company’s brand with low quality raw materi-

als, which are mostly imported. The surge in our cost of sales reflected the high cost of those imported raw materials”, a senior employee with the company who pleaded anonymity said. “ If exchange rate falls, the cost of

Equities shed N318bn in 7 days

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ransactions at the Nigerian Stock Exchange recorded 925.630 million shares worth N8.333 billion in 15,565 deals last week as against 1.391 billion shares valued at N20.316 billion that were traded in the previous week in 20,064 deals. Expectedly, the financial services led the activity chart with 680.751 million shares valued at N5.283 billion traded in 8,524 deals, and as a result accounted for 73.54 percent and 63.40 percent of the total equity turnover volume and value respectively. The healthcare industry followed with 47.664 million shares worth N31.197 million in 531

deals. The third place was occupied by the conglomerates industry which recorded a turnover of 40.814 million shares worth N63.710 million in 728 deals. The week also witnessed the exchange of 1,727 units of Exchange Traded Products (ETPs) valued at N333,925.78 executed in 9 deals, in contrast to 2,304 units valued at N376,541.65 that was transacted in the previous week in 16 deals. investors alos bought 7,787 units of Federal Government Bond valued at N8.005 million were traded this week in 11 deals compared with a total of 16,463 units valued at N18.200 million transacted last week in 27 deals

those raw materials will automatically go down”, the person added. First Aluminium expended N3.67 billion and N3.68 billion out of N3.28 billion and N3,96 billion revenue it made at half year 2017 and 2018 respectively. This implies that it

cost First Aluminium 93 kobo and 87 kobo to generate 100 kobo in half year 2017 and 2018 respectively. Forte Oil spent 91 kobo to make 100 kobo between January and June 2018. From N61 billion realised as revenue between January and June

2018, the firm spent N56.15 billion, whereas in similar period in 2017, it cost the firm N40.6 billion to realise N46.7 billion revenue, which amounted to spending 87 kobo to realise 100 kobo in that period. Conoil’s cost of sales relative to revenue increased from 87 percent at half year 2017 to 88 percent at half year 2018. In the first half of 2018, the firm spent N48.09 billion to generate N54.5 billion revenue whereas in similar period in 2017, it was N38.9 billion the firm spent to realise N44.9 billion revenue. It was 87.05 percent and 89.52 percent at half year 2018 and 2017 for Total Nigeria, which expended N136.03 billion and N136.65 billion as cost of sales from N156.3 billion and N152.65 billion revenues that were made in H1 2018 and H1 2017 respectively. “For companies in the downstream sector of the Nigerian economy, the high cost of sales is a reflection of the high landing costs of petroleum products which the subsidy regime cannot fully accommodate”, Kayode Tinuoye, an analyst with the United Capital, said. Pharmaceutical firms recorded increase in cost of sales to revenue at half year 2018 as against what was obtainable at half year 2017. On the average, a firm in this sector spent 57 kobo to earn 100 kobo in H1 2018 compared with 58 kobo to generate a naira income in same period in 2017. May & Baker has the highest cost of sales relative to revenue amongst the healthcare firms in our analysis. The cement industry experienced downward movement in its cost of sales relative to total revenue. This ratio declined from 43 kobo in H1 2017 to 41 kobo in H1 2018. Both Dangote Cement and Cement Company of Northern Nigeria incurred N204 billion and N183 billion costs of sales in H1 2018 and h1 2017, representing 26 percent and 27 percent of the total costs of sales of the 22 firms that featured in the analysis.

NSE lifts suspension on the shares of Conoil Plc

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e refer our Market Bulletin dated 6 August 2018 notifying the public of the suspension of Conoil Plc for non-compliance with Rule 3.1, Rules for Filing of Accounts and Treatment of Default Filing, Rulebook of The Exchange (Issuers’ Rules) (“Default Filing Rules”), which provides that; “If an Issuer fails to file the relevant accounts by the expiration of the Cure Period, The Exchange will: (a) Send to the Issuer a “Second Filing Deficiency Notifica-

tion” within two (2) business days after the end of the Cure Period; (b) Suspend trading in the Issuer’s securities; and (c) Notify the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Market within twentyfour (24) hours of the suspension.” Conoil Plc (the Company) has submitted its Unaudited Financial Statement for the period ended 31 March 2018. In view of the submission of its accounts and pursuant to Rule 3.3 of the Default Filing Rules, which provides that; “The sus-

pension of trading in the issuer’s securities shall be lifted upon submission of the relevant accounts provided The Exchange is satisfied that the accounts comply with all applicable rules of The Exchange. The Exchange shall thereafter also announce through the medium by which the public and the SEC was initially notified of the suspension”; the general public is hereby notified that the suspension placed in the trading of the Company’s shares has been lifted effective today, Wednesday, 8 August 2018.


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BrandsOnSunday SPOTLIGHTING BRAND VALUE

My media experience will help deepen legislation, good governance in Akwa Ibom, says assembly aspirant In the field of brand journalism, Goddie Ofose, a Lagos based media practitioner is indeed a tough bird. In his fifteen years of vibrant media practice, Ofose has served as national chairman of the popular Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria for Nigeria six years. Presently he has been invited by his people to contest for the Mbo State Constituency seat under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) into the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. Recently, Ofose spoke extensively on the trends of developments in Akwa Ibom State, his aspirations, how the Dakkada philosophy of Gov. Udom Emmanuel is motivating citizens of Akwa Ibom state to a radically different height and why media practitioners should take part actively in politics and governance. Excerpts As a journalist and indigene of Akwa Ibom state what are your views on the style and administration of Gov Udom Emmanuel? must really commend the foresight and purposefulness of the administration of Gov Udom Emmanuel. In the last three years, in line with his government 5 point agenda with the three focal points- Industrialization, Tourism and Agriculture, he has been focusing on driving sustainable development projects that will outlive his administration. If you look at industrialization, before now we had industries in the states set up and run as an extended arm of parastatals, so mortality rate was high, especially if an incoming administration does not buy into it. But what he is doing now is to anchor and bench mark things with international best practices. The Udom led government provides an enabling environment, security, infrastructures, good governance and economic policies that will draw investors. One key factor that has been lacking even across the country and Africa but it is now in Akwa Ibom proudly, that is integrity of leadership. So in the last three years we can proudly talk about at least four world class new industries- syringe factory, metering solutions industries, pencil & toothpick factory, and the paints factory. This means business has been created and investment made in areas where there is market, so sustainability is assured. Take the syringe factory for instance Nigeria spends over N30b to import syringe, so the market for them is readily there. We cannot even meet demands for Nigeria so it will expand with time. The metering factory meets the needs of Nigerians moving massively to pre-paid metering. It is same with the paint and toothpick factories. So many other moribund industries in various sectors have been resuscitated. Governor Udom was recently endorsed by Key sections of the state for a second term, do you think he is worthy of such endorsement? Any sincere observer will agree that he is worthy. I am not sure if there is any other state of Nigeria, in this intervening period that has been able to do as much as Akwa Ibom State. The Udom led administration is focusing on the route of diversifying the economy in the area of industrialization to create wealth. The dream is that by the time this administration exits, the econ-

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Goddie Ofose

omy will have a 360 degree turnaround with the private sector taking over the driving seat of the state economy. Four years cannot be enough to fix everything, a second tenure is key to consolidate this laudable masterplan. In many states of the federation, governors have been accused of focusing mainly on state capitals. Is Udom’s approach different? It would be highly uncharitable to accuse Gov Udom Emmanuel of concentrating on the State capital. Let us even start with the civil service in every local government with Udom’s continued efforts in oiling the machinery of the government structure which is the public sector. He pays salaries of civil servants promptly. For illustration purposes, any civil servant in the state whose wife is pregnant is guaranteed full welfare attention from government from birth till the child finishes his or her WAEC exams. All through the 9 months of pregnancy, the mother is guaranteed free health services from any state hospital. The first five years of the child also attract free health care, and there is free compulsory primary and secondary

education including free WAEC exams for everyone in the state. The state government spends over N600m as payment for WAEC registration exams for all indigenes of the state. On roads, the Akwa Ibom state government has constructed cumulatively over 2700 kilometres of roads benchmarking international standards. This is in just 3 years. These are roads designed and built to last for at least 25years. These good road network that cut across the state will enhance our agricultural and industrialization drive. You are from the Oron ethnic group and we know that your people have been agitating for position of governor. What advice will you give to your people now that Governor Udom is seeking a second term? Definitely it is the right of every individual or group to aspire to any leadership role in any political setting. So the desire of the Oron nation is not out of place. However every aspiration must be juxtaposed with realities on ground and what is best for the generality of millions of Akwa Ibom people. Gov Udom is one of us from our Senatorial district. He has as enviable

master plan he needs to complete. Our discussions and negotiations should continue in house. The good thing is that in the state, all elites have come to agree that the governorship should rotate among the three senatorial districts every eight years. With Good negotiation, the Ibibio ethnic group in the senatorial district will agree that it is the turn of the Oron nation when it comes round next time. Fighting and bickering will not help any group. Discussions, negotiations and concessions on this issue will be very helpful and ensure peaceful development. It will definitely be in the interest of the Oron people to support Udom and that is what I will advise strongly. It is my affirm believe that Mbo supports governor’s re-election and Oron nation in general. It is currently trending that you are planning to take active part in politics. Why did you take this decision? Don’t you feel being away from home, in Lagos is a disadvantage? Yes I have decided to enter into the political ring this dispensation. It is always a tough task to resist the call of your people. The fact is that it has become the turn of the people of Ebughu/Udesi to pick the slot for the Mbo House of Assembly seat. We are highly organised and we have our agreed political arrangement in Mbo. Yes, I am a journalist. My people have seen clearly that my experience in my profession will add value to governance and ensure quality governance. If there is a profession that can train people in law making and vibrant politicking, it is journalism. We are by nature very engaging, analytical and vibrant. I will bring vibrancy to the state assembly and the Mbo people. I also feel vibrant law-making will guarantee growth in Akwa Ibom. I also believe strongly that. My media experience will help deepen legislation and Good Governance in Akwa Ibom. You spoke about being away in Lagos as a disadvantage. That would have been so if I did not keep a strong connection with my people. Do not forget that I was invited to come home and represent them. I have been a very loyal party man. I have and still willing to work tirelessly with great Stakeholders in my area like Hon Victor Antai and RT Hon Nse Bassey Ekpeyong to elevate the philosophies the state government and that of our party the PDP. If there is one thing that is firmly established, I am fully on ground will my people and by God’s grace I am on my way to the state house of assembly come 2019.


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Life&Living Out with the old, in with the new: Summer 2018 fashion trends

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JUMOKE AKIYODE-LAWANSON

s style/fashion determined by what the popular Instagram celebrities are wearing? I’ve always wondered to myself, because once you see something becoming popular and being worn by celebs on Instagram, you then suddenly start seeing them in all the high street shops and online stores, and they seem to sell out like hot cakes because every young girl wants to buy them to look trendy and stylish. It is so fascinating the way fashion changes with time and then comes back with a bang. These young celebrities such as Kylie Jenner have a lot of followers on Instagram and tend to be a source of inspiration to a lot of young girls. So it only makes sense that if you are a fashion designer, and are designing clothes for the younger generation, you should also be inspired to make and sell what they are wearing at the moment. Summer 2017 trends saw kitten heels, mini bags, crop tops and ruffles. These all seemed new at the time but kitten heels is really an eighties style classic. Same with this year, skinny glasses, camouflage pattern/khaki and waist pouches have made it back to world of new trends for summer 2018. Here’s what’s new; Cycling shorts: Cycling shorts have been turned from just being bike shorts to becoming a full

Kylie Jenner, wearing cycling shorts and a waist bag

on style trend this year. From the catwalk to Kim Kardashian, cycling shorts have made an unlikely comeback this sports-centric season. Kim has recently been wearing the Yeezy cycling shorts of her husband, Kanye West, everywhere from shopping to the Cannes film festival, and last week, the most popular item on Amazon Prime Day was apparently a near-identical pair by Futuro Fashion that sell for about £3 (N1,500). Her half-sisters, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, have been wearing them too, as have numerous other fashion influencers – such as the model Bella Hadid, actor Emily Ratajkowski, singer

Skinny/Tiny glasses worn on the tip of the nose

Rita Ora and Instagram star Pernille Teisbaek. Baggy shirts: This summer, a lot of young girls are wearing really big, loose fitted tee shirts as dresses; some are styling it in different ways by either tying it in a knot in front or at the back and wearing really short shorts or cycling shorts underneath. This baggy shirt trend can be rocked casually by wearing it with a pair of snickers are dressed up by wearing the baggy shirt with a pair of high heeled, barely there sandals. Skinny glasses: We’ve seen Rihanna and Beyonce rock them and they have made several ap-

pearances on fashion runways this season. The 90s trend of skinny/ cat eye shape sun glasses are back. According to Elle fashion magazine, this trend is not about how “flattering” they are, it’s about saying, “I have the confidence to pull off weird styles and I don’t care what anyone thinks!” They are also syled in a different way. So rather than wearing them on the bridge of the nose to cover your eyes like normal glasses, these skinny glasses are worn below, on the tip of the nose to hardly cover the eyes. It’s all about Fashion! Sweat pant outfits: sweat pants

and hoodies are no longer for lounging at home or going to the gym. Girls are actually styling them as full on fashionable outfits. Most Nigerian celebrities on Instagram such as Toke Makinwa, Mercy Aigbe and Tiwa Savage have been seen rocking either hoodies or crop bomber jackets with sweatpants/ joggers, especially when they are travelling. Comfort is key! Waist bags/ fanny packs: The fanny pack is in the midst of a major revival.The ultra-convenient bag (known as a “bum bag” in the UK) has long been the accessory of choice for dorks and tourists. Now it’s getting a full design and marketing makeover from fashion labels such as Gucci who have rebranded it as a “waist bag,” “belt bag,” or “hip bag.” Labels from Nike to Alexander Wang are putting out their own versions, many with more refined designs than the bags have historically enjoyed. Fashionistas have been seen wearing them across their shoulders as a sling bag. Unitards: A unitard is a skin tight, one piece garment that sometimes comes in long sleeves and long legs. It looks just like a wrestlers outfit and but guess what? It’s the in thing this summer. It’s like the comeback of the cat suit from back in the day. Under wear as tops: Lace braletts, lace body suits and fancy bras are now being worn as tops, either with baggy track bottoms or skinny jeans and a blazer or just under a really transparent top.

Best celebrity wedding dresses of 2018: Brides that wowed in white

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eddings are big business, but when it comes to celebrity weddings, any budget can be thrown out of the window, just to prove its worth. And while we love to see all the photos of the lavish venues, cakes and guests, it’s the bride’s dress that is the centerpiece of the day. 2018 is a huge year for A-list nuptials, with not one but two royal weddings - Prince Harry married Meghan Markle on May 19, while Princess Eugenie will tie the knot with Jack Brooksbank on October 12. Take a look at the brides who have wowed in white and some unusual alternatives in 2018... Daisy Jenks and Charlie van Straubenzee Videomaker Daisy Jenks, 27, married Prince Harry’s childhood friend Charlie van Straubenzee at St Mary the Virgin church in Frensham, on 4 August. The beautiful bride wore a strapless floral appliqué gown by Israeliborn designer Mira Zwillinger. It is a modified version of the

off-the-shoulder ‘Gigi’ dress from the 2018 runway collection, and is available to buy from Browns Bride. Daisy’s veil also featured delicate floral embroidery and she wore her hair down in loose waves. She finished off her bridal look with a vintage diamond necklace. Her groom, Charlie, wore a navy suit, with a sage green waistcoat and red printed tie.

by Kate Halfpenny of Halfpenny London. The strapless gown was made from French lace, spotty tulle and silk organza. It also featured detachable ‘bubble’ sleeves with hand appliquéd lace flowers. Millie’s hair was styled into an elegant up do, with loose tendrils framing her face and accessorised with a headband.

Millie Mackintosh and Hugo Taylor The former Made in Chelsea stars tied the knot at Whithurst Park in West Sussex, in June 2018. Millie, 29, looked stunning in bespoke wedding dress, designed

Rose Leslie and Kit Harington Actress Rose Leslie tied the knot with Game of Thrones star Kit Harington on June 23, 2018 in Aberdeenshire. The bride stunned in a lace Elie

Saab gown with a fit and flare style silhouette and a semi-sheer décolletage. She kept her bridal look simple, with her auburn locks styled into loose waves, with a floral headband, while her new husband wore a black and grey morning suit, an ivory waist coat and a dark green tie. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry It was probably one of the most anticipated nuptials of the year, as royal wedding fever hit the nation. Prince Harry married former actress Meghan Markle in a ceremony that was watched by 29 million people worldwide. The couple tied the knot at St George’s Chapel in Windsor on May 19, 2018 and Meghan’s dress designer was finally revealed. The bride wore a bateau style gown, designed by Clare Waight Keller - artistic director of French fashion house Givenchy. Her veil, measuring, 5 feet long was embroidered with floral motifs of all 53 countries of the Commonwealth and she borrowed Queen Mary’s Filigree Bandeau Tiara from Her Majesty’s jewellery collection. She accessorised with sparkling

Cartier jewellery, believed to be a wedding gift from her husband. Chanel Iman and Sterling Shepard The Victoria’s Secret model, 27, married New York Giants football star Sterling Shepard on March 3 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Chanel wore jaw-dropping lace dress with a plunging neckline and a cape overlay by Zuhair Murad. The bride wore her hair in a sleek up do for the ceremony and later wore it down in loose waves, pinned up on one side and removed her cape.


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Arts ‘Odun Isu’ returns after 120 years in Ile-Ife OBINNA EMELIKE

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here is no doubt that Ile-Ife is the cradle of the Yoruba race. The city is an adventure that awaits visitors from its colourful cultural heritage, ancient relics, history, rare sights, education and the now magnificent Ooni palace. With a young Ooni on the throne, the ancient city is alive to events and several cultural festivals such as Ita Osun among others that woo visitors to the city. However, there is a festival that has not been celebrated elaborately in the last 120 years in Ile Ife and among other Yoruba towns, yet it is very significant to the Yorubas. The ‘Odun Isu’ or new yam festival is back in calendar of cultural events in Yorubaland. If you were at the lIe-Oodua palace in Ile-Ife, venue of the festival, recently, you will delight in the rich cultural performances that culminated in the cutting of new yam by Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife, and Ojaja II. The revival of the festival after over 120 years was in fulfillment of the cultural and tourism agenda of the new and young Ooni who is also called the Arole Oodua by custodians of the Yoruba culture. His newly built palace, which is an attraction on its own; hosted thousands of visitors from within the country and foreigners, especially African Diasporas to the beautiful and exciting cultural fiesta.

Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife, performing the cutting of new yam ceremony.

Trailing the history of the festival back to its origin, Ooni Ogunwusi explained that a deity called “Oreluere” who was one of the 401 deities sent by God (Olodumare) to establish the world was the first hunter on the planet earth that planted yam before Oduduwa supported him to make it a success. He continued his narration saying that Oduduwa collaborated with other deities on how yearly planting of yam would be guaranteed, and since then yam has been planted and celebrated by the Yoruba race,

especially the “Owo” dynasty that value the celebration yearly. Aside the Yoruba race, the royal majesty noted that yam festival is a very big event across yam belts in the world, hence Yoruba cultural heritage is very keen to it. Recognising Yoruba land as a yam belt, the Ooni charged youths to go into commercial farming of yam for employment, food security and preservation of the cultural heritage of the people. “I charge all other neighbouring towns, especially Yorubas to emulate the

ancient city of Ile-Ife in making the event a continuous exercise. Our youths should go into commercial farming as Yoruba communities are known as producers of yam for the entire world”, the royal father said. Excited that the festival has returned in an elaborate scale, Oba Oyedotun Akintibubo, the Oba Olopo of Ilode, commended the Ooni for the celebration of yam festival, first in the history of Ife Kingdom, noting that in the past; only the members of the royal family celebrated the festival. For him, the celebration is a sign of good harvest and fruitfulness for the people this year. Looking at the crowd that thronged the festival venue, Eyitope Ogunbodede, a professor and the vice-chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, said that the 2018 yam festival offered platform for the promotion of the culture and tradition of the Yoruba race globally. Beyond the peaceful coexistence between the indigenes and the university community, the vice chancellor commended the Ooni for drawing Africa Diasporas to the town and the university as well. “The Ooni has severally organised for people from Brazil, Portugal, and Cuba to come to Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife to learn African languages. I here pledge that the school management would not disappoint him.” Ogunbodede said. While the visitors look forward to another exciting edition in 2019, the royal father promised a bigger event next year.

AFRIMA jury arrives Nigeria for adjudication ...nominees list to be unveiled on August 14

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ollowing the closing of entries where 8,009 songs/videos were received for the 5th edition of the annual All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), a 13-man international jury arrived in Lagos, Nigeria on August 8, 2018 ahead of a weeklong adjudication process. From August 8-14, 2018, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, the event’s hospitality partner, will provide a secure venue for the AFRIMA International Jury members representing the five regions of Africa, the diaspora (Europe and North America) and the African Union Commission who are tasked with the responsibility of deciding artistes and or recordings that will make it to the 5th AFRIMA Nominees List that would be unveiled on August 14. 2018. The jury will be screening, categorising, assessing, grading and selecting nominees into the 38 different regional and continental categories who will vie for the 23.9 carat gold-plated AFRIMA trophy. Bringing their professionalism to play and boundless knowledge in African music, culture, and entertainment, the week-long process will have the jurors working with fairness and transparency to arrive at a truly representative nominees list that reflects the creative energy and output of African music talents between the review period of August 1, 2017 to August 1, 2018. The jury is populated by two members drawn from each region of Africa, one African music professional each representing the Diaspora; (i.e. Europe and North America), and a representative of the Afri-

can Union Commission. Eastern Africa is Tanzania’s Joett, a veteran vocal coach and artiste development manager whose song writing skills earned registered membership of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). On the other hand is Tabu Osusa from Kenya. The veteran music professional has spent more than three decades in music production and promotion. Representing Central Africa from Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, is Charles Tabu, a music executive, with wide experience in artiste management and promotion. Charles has worked with major record labels across the continent including Sony, Universal and Warner. The second jury member for Central Africa is Bob Ekukole, a renowned

Olisa Adibua, representative of Nigeria/West Africa at AFRIMA 2018 Jury.

Cameroonian media and music professional with 29 years of experience in media and broadcasting. He is currently the director, TV Programmes and Production, Cameroon Radio and Television, CRTV. Northern Africa is represented by Omar Essaidi, a Moroccan music programmer and artistic director. He brings to bear his practical experience as judge/jury for several musical contests in Northern Africa. Zimbabwean radio DJ, Delani Makhalima, takes up one of the two slots for Southern Africa. The entertainment & media executive has also honed his professional experience in songwriting and music composition in region. Filling the other slot is South Africa’s music professional, Chris Syren who is the co-founder and director of Making Music Productions, a music production company that promotes music in South Africa. Western Africa representatives include Olisa Adibua, broadcaster, music executive and talent manager from Nigeria and David Tayorault, a Côte d’Ivoire music legend, whose work in the music industry has influenced the jazz, blues, soul, zouk and Brazilian samba genre in Western Africa countries. Representing the Diaspora-Europe is Rita Ray, a UK-based BBC Radio 3 presenter, international music curator and popular Club DJ Europe. Her counterpart representing Diaspora-North America is Hadja Kobélé Keita, a music executive whose career spans experience in Artiste and Repertoire management and Public Relations with Universal Music Africa/Island Africa. The African Union Commission is rep-

resented by Angela Martins, professional African culture analyst and African music enthusiast. She is the head, Culture Division, African Union. Meanwhile, the African Union, the International Committee of AFRIMA and the International AFRIMA Jury commiserate with the family of a former AFRIMA Jury member, the late Oskar Kidjo, a renowned singer, music producer and practitioner, who passed away on July 11, 2018. In a condolence letter addressed to the Kidjo family, AFRIMA writes “We laud his service towards the development of African music and in promoting and producing top Beninoise music artistes such as the multiple Grammy award winner andmulti-talented musician, Angelique Kidjo. Not forgetting also his expert contributions as a member of the 13-man Jury of AFRIMA whose service on the Jury for three conservative years, 2014 to 2016, helped to determine the awards’ African nominees”. In its 5th edition, AFRIMA, the biggest music awards event in Africa, in partnership with the African Union Commission, recognizes, celebrates and rewards musical creativity and talents across the continent and globally. AFRIMA promotes Africa’s rich cultural heritage and endless possibilities to the world for global competitiveness. The 5th AFRIMA is scheduled to hold in November 2018 and programme of events will include the Africa Music Business Summit; The AFRIMA Music Village and the Main Awards Ceremony. These events will be broadcast live to over 84 countries around the world.


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Arts Access Bank realizes N11 million from purchase of artworks …raises money for charity at Polo game in London

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nce again, Access Bank demonstrated its commitment to making a difference in social corporate responsibility with the hosting of the annual Access Bank’s UNICEF Charity Shield Polo tournament in partnership with Fifth Chukker. However, this year’s edition, which took place at the prestigious Guards Polo Club, Windsor, United Kingdom, raised the bar with the purchase of artworks of some notable Nigerian masters of arts by the eminent guests at the tournament including; Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Emir of Kano; Bola Shagaya, businesswoman and philanthropist; Wale Tinubu, CEO of Oando Plc.; Kola and Tunde Karim, entrepreneurs, among others. The distinguished guests supported Access Bank’s cause by purchasing artworks worth $30,000 (N11 million) from notable masters of the arts including; Ben Enwonwu, Muraina

Access Bank team, presenting gifts to Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Emir of Kano at the tournament in London

Oyelami, Ablade Glover and Bruce Onabrokpeya. An o t h e r $ 2 . 2 m i l l i o n (N800 million) was raised in pledges to renovate dilapidated classrooms and provide a better learning environment for underprivileged and displaced children in Kaduna over the next five years.

As well, the event saw hundreds of polo game lovers throng the pitch to watch the Nigerian duo, Adamu Atta and Babangida Usman play alongside the number one Polo player in the World, Argentine, Adolfo Cambiasso. The first edition organised in partnership with UNI-

Artyrama presents ‘Identity Tones’, exhibition by John Madu

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CHUKS OLUIGBO

rtyrama , an online platform for the sale of African contemporary art, has announced a week-long exhibition by John Madu in Lagos. Supported by Bombay Sapphire, the exhibition will commence with a one-hour fireside chat with the artist on August 17 at the Artyrama Popup Gallery, Ikoyi, and followed by a series of

One of the works of John Madu

viewings stretching through August 24. A multi-disciplinary artist whose work is represented through personal iconographic symbols such as metaphors, texture, indigenous patterns and colours, John Madu has had two solo shows and has participated in group shows across the country. The philosophy behind his works rests on the premise that true art is based on a chain reaction to socio-economic issues or his immedi-

ate environment. In ‘Identity Tones’, his most recent work, Madu contemplates the effect of globalization on African identity using collages, portraiture, figurative symbolism and mixed media to bring it to life. The eclectic mix of source material is influenced by pop culture, African art history, music and lived experiences. “This work reflects the time that we live in. The spread of popular culture via social media has created an increase in cross-cultural contacts which is a good thing, but original cultural practices can be lost in the process,” Madu says about the collection. “‘Identity Tones’ captures how I interpret this new state of consciousness in this work,” he says. Since it launched in September 2017, Artyrama , which is focused on providing a platform for emerging African artists to showcase their works as well as widen the access to contemporary African art globally, has held series of online auctions and exhibitions showcasing the very best artists within its gallery, with each artist personally selected by its team of curators.

CEF and Fifth Chukker saw Access Bank raising funds to support services for 240 orphans and at-risk children in six local government areas in Kaduna, with a specific focus on 12 communities. With the event growing in influence and popularity, it has established itself as a destination for some of

the best polo players in the world, fans of the game, and leading philanthropists. The annual tournament has continued to expand for impact with the 2017 edition successfully raising funds to support full and partial scholarships for 12,500 children. It also allows for the provision of community-based projects like boreholes, sanitary toilet facilities and improved classrooms for institutions in the government-run school network - all important indices of the drive to improve rates of enrolment in schools for at-risk children. Commenting on the success of this year’s edition, Jamie Simmonds, MD/CEO, Access Bank UK, said, “The way we balance our economic, environmental and social impact while continuing to grow our business and enhance our reputation is an area of key importance to us.” “ Th i s y e a r, w e h a v e grown our balance sheet by 26 percent and increased

year on year profits by 76 percent. Our achievements owe much to the strong partnership we have with our parent bank. Our joint support of this new decade of the Access Bank Group/ UNICEF Charity Shield with Fifth Chukker is an evidence of the social and economic value of that partnership,” he added. Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc. in his remark confirmed that the Bank’s continued support for the Fifth Chukker UNICEF initiative is predicated on its role as a change agent in Nigeria and Africa, which can help institute socioeconomic development through responsible business practice, social initiatives, and environmental consideration. “We will continue to look for ways through which more resources can be pooled towards supporting the children. We are part of the community and as such we support its wellbeing,” he stated.

‘ONYE-NKUZI’ for presentation in October, 2018

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nye-Nkuzi is a historical biography that offers riveting insights into the life and times of a grandee—Honorable Reuben Ibekwe Uzoma, OBE, OFR, LL.D (honoriscausa) and his immeasurable contributions to nation building and the laying of solid foundation for the education sector in Nigeria. Its academic approach has been described as “an interdisciplinary analytical field in its own right placed in a battlefield of multifarious narrative forms”. The book, which is set to be publicly presented in October 2018 at Sandralia Hotel Utako, Abuja, comes from the stable of Safari Books Ltd, Ibadan. The 350-Page book titled “ONYE-NKUZI, Teacher, Statesman, Icon of Education” is the work of two female academics—Dr. Adaoha Okwuosa, OON, who is the author and Nonye Nnamezie, as co-author. While Dr. Okwuosa is a political sociologist, retired Federal Permanent Secretary and former ECOWAS Commissioner from an academic background, the co-author Nonye Nnamezie is a historian/ biographer who honed her academic career as a lecturer at the University of Lagos. R.I. Uzoma was a member of the Eastern Regional Assembly under the Self-Government MacPherson Constitution of 1951 who served as the first Minister of Education in the Eastern Regional Government from 1951 to 1953. R.I. Uzoma’s col-

leagues in the education portfolio at the time, across the nascent Nigerian Federation, were: Hon. Shettima Kashim, (Central government, under Social Services), Hon. Aliyu Makama Bida (North, Under Social Services), and Hon. S.H.O Awokoya of UPE fame in the West. ‘ONYE-NKUZI’, according to Dr. Okwuosa, “is a historical biography which stands out in the league of contemporary Nigerian biographies by adopting a uniquely insightful perspective in biographical documentation. The book sets out to show that a historical biography provides a record that is more than a ‘tunnel-narrative’ on the personality who is its subject. It is a rich store of collateral and archival material on social sector development in the East from the 1920s to the 1980s. It also documents interesting aspects of the history of formal education in Nigeria, through the committed role of the voluntary (or non-governmental) agencies such as the CMS(Church Missionary Society), and the early educated elite who drove that

process.” Writing the foreword, Emeritus Professor of Education, O. C. Nwana rightly states that the book “is a highly recommended reading and reference material for all who wish to have an informed insight into the important contributions of the Anglican Mission as a voluntary agency, in the early development of education in the former Eastern Regionof Nigeria. Against the background of the numerous challenges that have beset the education sector in our contemporary society, this book also provides a view into a past and admirable age of formal education operations, and of the teaching profession. It is equally a contribution regarding the strength and calibre of the great men and women like R. I. Uzoma who pioneered that regrettably now bygone age”. The author Dr. Okwuosa obtained her D.Phil degree in 1975 from the University of Freiburg in Germany as a scholar of the Freidrich-Ebert-Foundation. Hence, she draws from her background to recognize that the historical biographical style, which has long since thrived in European academics, has no yet received adequate attention in Nigerian academics. This is ‘because of the preference for auto-biographies, and the fasttrack biographies that are written to coincide promptly with the obsequies of personalities.’ ONYE-NKUZI is a well- crafted contribution towards addressing that gap.


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Bliss with Nonye Ben-Nwankwo

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Email: chiwuagwu@yahoo.com Phone number (sms only) 08057511893

Being a celebrity hasn’t changed me – Amaka, actress

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ctress, Amaka Chukwujekwu has said that her life as a celebrity hasn’t changed her personality in any way. The Grave Dust actress, in a telephone conversation with Bliss, said she has remained who she was despite being in the limelight. According to her, she doesn’t have to live above her means to keep up with the celebrity lifestyle like some of her colleagues. “Being a celebrity hasn’t changed me. I am still who I have always been and I will remain this way. I cannot live above my means because I am a celeb,” she said. Amaka said she cannot ‘rerock’ a dress and not because of her status but because, “I am a very fashion conscious person. “However, if I must wear a dress that I have worn before to another event, it is not anybody’s business, I

don’t owe anybody any explanation if I re-rock a dress. The dress is mine and I can wear it ten times if I have to. I don’t live above my budget. I can’t live a false life to impress people.” The actress, who is all set to become a producer said she toed that line of entertain-

No big deal not winning Project Fame – Dapo

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ne of the finalists at the last edition of Project Fame, Dapo Arogundade has said he doesn’t feel bad that he didn’t come out tops in the reality show. At the moment, Dapo, as he is fondly called, who is fast rising in the music industry said he went into the reality show to learn and become a better singer. “Project Fame also brought me to the limelight. All things happen for good. If I was the winner, I may not have got this deal I have now. I wouldn’t have been able to have the freedom I have done. Everything happens for a reason. But I still thank God I was among the finalists,” he said. Now signed under X3M Music, the young singer whose current single, Necessary has taken over the airwaves, said the reviews he got from the song have been awesome. “Necessary has brought me to the limelight and it has been crazy! I have never been used to this kind of publicity and attention. But I am trying to adapt. It is not bad. Working under X3M label is awesome. I feel free working there. Praiz and Simi are already big. The label supports my brand and finances my music. I appreciate them,”

he said. Now that he is a celebrity, Dapo said having a girlfriend is not top on his to-do list. “It is not compulsory to have a girlfriend at the moment. But then, if you have somebody, after all the hustle and bustle of the day, you can come home to the person and feel calm, then it is not a bad idea. You gist with the person and tell her all you went through during the day.” And even as he is climbing the stardom ladder very fast, Dapo said he cannot forget his days of humble beginnings and also, the embarrassing moments he has faced while getting to this stage. “I cannot forget in a hurry one of the embarrassing mo-

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hen people think they have seen or read the most incredible of Bobrisky’s post on his social media handle, the young guy keeps astounding his followers with his posts. ment to express her The cross dress shocked and versatility. stunned so many people when And now she has he posted recently on his social tried her hands on media handle that he was havmovie production, Amaka said she never ing menstrual pains. Born Okuneye Idris, knew it was this chalBobrsiky who has metamorlenging. phosed to become an inter“It is such a big net celebrity doesn’t seem to deal. Before now, I care whose ox is gored as he didn’t consider it a says whatever is on his mind, big deal. I didn’t see it as something so difficult. But now, it is tedious especially when you want to do something that is exceptional. You would have to make sure your story is very tight and you won’t go with the everyday conventional stories. It is just not easy trying to put everything together. Every career comes with its own challenge. As long as you are ready for what you do, you just go for it and see how you can establish themselves,” she said.

ments I have faced. There was a day I was performing at the University of Lagos. In the middle of my performance, I lost my voice! My voice just seized! I just couldn’t utter a word again. I felt so embarrassed.” Dapo also revealed that he was once a bad leader. “I have been performing in church. I was a band leader. I represented my school at competitions. I also had a band in UNILAG before I went in for Project Fame. I left the band when I went for Project Fame. I told the members I wanted to try my luck in the reality show and that was how we broke up,” he said.

Bobrisky gets menstrual cramps whenever he wants. He has garnered so many fans and foes that could last him a life time. In his post, Bobrisky said, “I can’t sleep; I have ‘menstrual’ pains”. His post attracted so many criticisms even as so many also condoled and sympathised with him. The young lad, who prefers to be seen as a female, is actually looking more and more feminine as the day goes by. In fact, in a recent post, the self acclaimed Nigeria’s Barbie doll told his followers that they should watch out for his looks during his birthday coming up soon. He posted, “When I step out I call for attention. Wait for my birthday outfit I’m shutting everywhere down.”

You’re not arrogant, fans reply Timaya

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ans and followers of Timaya have assured the singer that he is not arrogant or rude. The self acclaimed Egberipapa 1 of Bayelsa, had, in a recent video post on his Instagram handle, asked his fans if he was arrogant and rude as so many people had perceived him as such. In the video, Timaya had said he wasn’t rude but he was “real” but people still see him as an arrogant person. However, many of his fans told him he was the ‘realest’ person ever and not rude in any way. On his handle, blessingabdulsalam a fan said, “I met you once in Opebi when you came to check for furniture in a complex

then (9 years back). I must confess your taste in furniture is high. You are the kindest of them all. But I don spend the money you dash me finish since oooo.” Another fan said, on his handle, sese_mb said, “Nope! @timayatimaya, you are a loyal and a humble person. I confirmed that myself.”

GEM, COSON partner on Intellectual Property Toolkit

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n a bid to properly educate and enlighten the Nigerian populace and the entertainment industry in particular, the Growth and Empowerment (GEM) Project, funded by the World Bank, has just entered into a new partnership with the Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON. At the meeting held at the boardroom of COSON House, Ikeja, on Thursday August 9, 2018 during which the partnership was concluded, Mr. Bello Abba Yakasai, Cluster Manager, GEM Project, said the initiative was borne out of the need to engender a culture of respect for intellectual property amongst practitioners in the industry.

Yakasai said “What we aim to achieve with this tool kit is to simplify the grey areas with respect to Intellectual Property so as to make it understandable by everyone.” The toolkit developed under the GEM project by Mr. John Assien will be formerly presented at an event title Let’s Talk Copyright which will hold at the COSON House Arena which will hold on September 1, 2018. Let’s Talk Copyright will be the climax of the annual No Music Day celebration and will involve music practitioners, Nollywood, Legal Practitioners, Broadcast Executives and other stakeholders in the entertainment industry.


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Entertainment AMVCA style spotlight: Rita Dominic ...as voting continues for 2018 winners the look with a gorgeous pearl necklace, matching earrings and an envelope clutch. In 2014, Rita Dominic went home with the AMVCA New Era Award during the second edition of the AMVCAs, but what we will remember the most is the brilliant red gown by Lanre DaSilva-Ajayi she donned to take home her win. In 2015, Rita Dominic’s outfit to the 2015 AMVCAs is possibly one of our favourites. Everything from the simple style of the dress, the small belt, to her hair which was swooped to the side, Rita gave us life for days and we are still here for it. In 2016, we were all green with envy when Rita stepped on to the red carpet for that year’s AMVCAs. The peplum dress with the embellished detailing by designer Elvira Jude was a vibe on its own. She finished up the look with black clutch and silver heeled-sandals. Let’s throw it back to 2017 when Rita turned heads at AMVCAs and bagged the award for Best Actress in a drama. The complex structure of the gown

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IFEOMA OKEKE

he sixth edition of the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) is just around the corner and that means one of the year’s biggest red-carpet moments is upon us! Since the awards started back in 2013, celebrities have created a tradition of making memorable fashion statements at the event giving fans a lot to look forward to yearly. While many celebrities always stun in their outfits, Rita Dominic stands out as one who has hit the mark every single time. In anticipation of her glamorous look at this year’s award night, here are all the times she snatched our edges and slayed back-to-back on the red carpet. For the maiden edition of the AMVCAs in 2013, Rita showed out in a fabulous silk, one shoulder flare-sleeved number by House Of Moofa. She complimented it by accessorizing with a turban. Not one to leave any stone unturned, Rita completed

Winners emerge in “33” Export ‘Pen Down for Friendship’ competition

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keogu Chinemerem Chibuikem, a blogger, has emerged the star prize winner in the Pen Down for Friendship competition instituted by “33” Export Lager Beer to reward Nigerian journalists and bloggers as part of activities marking the 2018 World Friendship Day. He was announced the winner of the star prize of N500,000 worth of training grant, a laptop and other prizes including trays of “33” Export Lager Beer in the award presentation ceremony held recently at the Eagles Club, Surulere, Lagos to celebrate the 2018 World Friendship Day. Other winners in the competition, which was open July 11-27, 2018, are Adeoye Emmanuel Aanu and Ben Chuks, who emerged first and second runners-up, respectively. They got

N300,000 and N200,000 worth of training grant, respectively, alongside a laptop and three trays of “33” Export Lager Beer each. Other seven top contenders also won consolation prizes of a laptop and three trays of “33” Export Lager Beer each. They are Sifa Asani Gowon, Gift Wogu, Idowu Addison and Adaora Nzotta. Others are Anuforoh Prosper Obum, Hannah Onoguwe, and Chukwudi Obila. Over 160 entries were received and judged by a jury of three acclaimed writers, Toni Kan, Pelu Awofeso and Olabisi DejiFolutile. The jury shortlisted the best 10 entries, from which the winners were later chosen. “33” Export Lager is a premium quality beer brand produced by the master brewers, Nigerian Breweries Plc.

L-R: Bisi Deji-Folutile, jury member, Pen Down for Friendship competition; Pelu Awofeso, jury member; Emmanuel Agu, portfolio manager, Mainstream Lager and Stout Brands, NBPlc; Ikeogu Chinemerem Chibuikem, star prize winner; Uzodinma Onuoha, raw material development manager, NBPlc, and Toni Kan, jury head, at the “33” Export ‘City of Friends’ concert in Lagos.

complemented Rita’s simple hairstyle reminding us why she is our favourite fashionista. We are sure Rita won’t disappoint this year. Follow her style when the AMVCAs return on Saturday, September 1. Follow the conversations on all social media platforms using the hashtag #AMVCA2018. The 2018 AMVCAs is brought to viewers across the continent by Africa Magic in association with MultiChoice Africa and the sponsors, Airtel and Konga. With less than a month to the event, voting is ongoing for your favourite actors and actresses in a movie or TV series. The seven categories open to public voting at this year’s edition include Best Actor in a Comedy (Movie/TV Series), Best Actor in a Drama (Movie/TV Series), Best Supporting Actor in a Drama (Movie/Series), Best Actress in a Comedy (Movie/TV Series), Best Actress in a Drama (Movie/ TV Series), Best Supporting Actress in a Drama (Movie/Series) and Best Short Film or Online Video. Voting closes August 24, 2018.

As Osun Osogbo Festival kicks off ...6 unique facts to note

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or indigenes of Osogbo, August is a month of celebration, cultural rebirth and ancestral reunion. For culture-loving corporates like MTN, Osogbo in the heart of Osun State is the place to be for the next two weeks. Every August, thousands of Osun devotees, domestic and foreign tourists gather at the 2005 UNESCO World Heritage Site, Osogbo Grove, to celebrate the famous festival. While others have this date on their calendar, sure enough some people are just getting acquainted with this famous event. For those in the latter category, here are six things to note about the over 700-year-old celebration that attracts a mammoth crowd each year: The festival is based on the historic tale of the river goddess, Osun. It is said that when a group of wayfarers led by Olutimehin, a great huntsman, settled at the bank of the river to get away from the dearth in their village, they came across the water goddess, Osun. She guaranteed them her protection and promised to bless their women with fertility if they would offer a sacrifice to her annually. This yearly sacrifice, amongst other ceremonies, is now being celebrated as the famous Osun Osogbo Festival. The goddess has been portrayed by the popular American superstar, Beyonce. The festival is popularly known for its four major rituals, namely, Iwopopo, Ina Olujumerindinlogun, Iboriade l and the Arugba rituals. They are done to cleanse the city

from evil and are blessed by the Ataoja of Osogbo, the Arugba, the Yeye Osun, and a committee of priestesses. Among the four, the Arugba ritual is regarded as special, and it usually attracts thousands of spectators. It involves a chosen virgin carrying on her head a calabash containing items of sacrifice that would be used to appease and also worship the goddess. The virgin will lead people to the river as they hurl their problems on her with prayers for better things ahead. The festival is of international repute. Its location, the Osogbo Grove, was in 2005 added to the prestigious list of “UNESCO World Heritage Site”. It attracts thousands of foreigners each year as it has become a global event with people attending from Cuba, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Spain, Canada, and the United States. A number of people attribute the success of the festival to Susanne Wenger, an Austrian-born artist. She and her husband moved to Nigeria in the early 1950s to work at the

University of Ibadan before moving to Osun State. Susanne was intrigued by the Yoruba culture as she dedicated her life to it, especially the traditional religion. She later became a priestess and was titled Iwinfunmi Adunni Olorisha, which means, ‘The loved one who serves the deity’. She soon became the guardian of Osogbo Grove, helping to revive a number of hidden shrines, the forest around the grove and the festival. She died in 2009. MTN Nigeria’s decade-long support To positively impact on the country’s socio-cultural landscape, MTN has supported the Osun Osogbo Festival, among other festivals, for over 10 years. The ICT company has facilitated the renaissance of arts and culture in Nigeria and through its Kulturefest initiative, put various cultural festivals in the country on the international map, galvanising their potentials to generate revenue for the communities and engendering community bonding.


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Sunday 12 August 2018

Kiddies

Experts harp on education of girl-child at APWEN workshop

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Ngozi Okpalakunne

ike Onikepo Ak a n d e , p a s t president of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has appealed to parents and guardians to ensure they give equal educational opportunity to both their male and female children and wards. Akande made the call at the flag off of the maiden edition of Mayen Adetiba Technical Boot Camp for Girls (MATBC) organised by the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN). She said that girls who studied up to university level work harder in order to contribute meaningfully to the development of their families and the society. She lauded the organisers of the event, describing it as an act to expose the girl child to various opportunities, especially in the field of engineering and technology. “When we were young, we said that women should not study mathematics and sci-

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t was summer and instead of working and preparing for winter, the grasshopper preferred to dance, sing and play his violin at his leisure, not minding that these wonderful days will soon be over, that cold and rainy days will soon be near. On seeing a hardworking Ant passing by him, preparing

Standing (L-r ), past president Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Nwakaego Ojukwu, Prince Segun Adedeji, Nike Onikepo Akande, Mayen Adetiba , Idiat Amusu, Kunle Oguntayo, president of APWEN, Felicia Nnenna Agubata, Ibitoye Adeniran, Funmi Akingbagbohun , all posed with the participants , during the opening ceremony of Mayen Adetiba Technical Boot Camp for girls organised by APWEN in Lagos recently.

ences because they are difficult subjects, but things have changed now and you will find

a lot of women engineers. l congratulate all of you because of your relentless advocacy on

the need for girls and women to embrace Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Short story

The Ant and the Grasshopper for the hard winter that was to come one day, he invited him to join him and share his fun. “Unfortunately, I don’t have time for this”, the Ant answered, “I must work hard, so that winter won’t find me without shelter and food.”

“Stop worrying so much, there is still plenty of time to prepare for winter. Let’s sing and dance together, let’s laugh and enjoy life”. But Ant was very wise and wouldn’t pay attention to the Grasshopper’s words and

continued to work hard and store food for the long winter that was to come. The winter came sooner than expected, and the Grasshopper found himself without home and without food. He went to the Ant’s

Jokes *. How do you get a squirrel to like you?

A cornfield.

Just act like a nut!

* What did one DNA strand say to the other

* What do you call two birds in love?

DNA strand?

Tweethearts!

Do these genes make my butt look big?

* Why did Charlie go out with a prune?

*What did the left eye say to the right eye?

Because he couldn’t find a date!

Between us, something smells!

* What has four wheels and flies?

*What did one pickle say to the other after they

A garbage truck.

fell out of the jar and onto the floor?

* What kind of car does Mickey Mouse’s wife drive?

Just dill with it, okay?

A minnie van, of course.

* What did the Dalmatian say after lunch?

* What did one plate say to the other plate?

That really hit the spot!

Dinner’s on me!

*Why are ghosts such bad liars?

* What do you call a dinosaur when it’s asleep?

Because you can see right through them.

A dino-snore!

* How do you stop an astronaut’s baby from

* Why did the teddy bear skip dessert?

crying?

Because she was stuffed.

You rocket.

* What has ears but can’t hear a thing?

https://thoughtcatalog.com/melanie-

(STEM) field and they are really embracing the field more than ever before,’’ Akande said. Felicia Agubata, president APWEN, in her address, explained that the 3-day event which had in attendance over one hundred girls from different secondary schools in Lagos aimed at encouraging the participants to be creative, innovative, and inventive in technology. “Our target are girls in junior secondary school because by the time they get to senior class they have already made up their mind either to be in science or arts class; so we want to use the opportunity now to guide them, so that when they get to senior secondary school they will choose science subjects that will eventually lead them to the field of engineering,” Agubata said. According to her, “While the mentoring lasts, we will give them hands-on and practical experience through speaking sessions, experiments, and site visit to engineering companies.” house and begged him for food and shelter. “I’m sorry, but I can’t help you”, the Ant said. “I only have room and food for me and my family, so go find help somewhere else.” “I should have follow Ant’s example in the summer”, the Grasshopper thought sadly. “I would have been so happy now…”


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Travel Looking inwards this summer OBINNA EMELIKE

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f you are an ardent lover of outbound holiday, but could not make it to any of the oversea destinations this summer because of the cost, there are some exciting and value for money inbound destinations to explore. They are within and sometimes may require effortless searching or probing with different eyes to see, visit and enjoy them. Top among them are: Smokin Hills If you are a discerning leisure buff who likes it within, then you can hear the call of exclusive excitement over the rolling hills, and breathtaking landscape awash with natural tranquility this summer. More also, if your inclination is sports, an ambitious recreational facility awaits you at this serene enclave in the heart of a true African community. Welcome to Smokin Hills Golf Resort, a destination for golf enthusiasts and nature lovers in Ilara Mokin, Ondo State. On a visit, guests discover beyond the reasons why the resort is ‘smoking’ with leisure. The resort is set on 140 acres of virgin land carved out of surrounding jungle and rolling hills that emit smoke early in the morning and also at dawn. The unique smoke feature, which is also where the resort derived its name, is something that thrills all guests. On offer at the resort are pristine nature, an 18-hole fully matured golf course, designed by Ron Garl and quality accommodation options that carter to all calibers of guests. As expected, after the day’s exciting

La Campagne pool

Waterpark at Obudu Mountain Resort outings at the golf course or tours to nearby attractions, comfortable accommodation awaits guests at the resort’s well-appointed 26 rooms, especially its two bedroom

en-suite flats. However, based on the beautiful landscape, quality golfing, worldclass facilities and serenity that are unraveled anywhere in the country,

Smokin Hills is worth a visit this summer and beyond. Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort You truly need to visit Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, which is unarguably, the best in South South of Nigeria. The reasons to visit abound; its world of landscaped tropical beauty, 18-hole golf course, private terraces in each of the 130 guestrooms (each overlooking a forest of palm trees and the golf course), riverside marina with a floating jetty, Marina Club House & BBQ Terrace, a heliport, three retail shops, a hair salon, among other facilities, will all indulge any visitor any time. You can always enjoy enough swimming in its outdoor children’s and adult pools, two Jacuzzis, while keeping fit at the health club, and with tennis and squash facilities. Le Méridien offers a truly unique experience in every one of its stylish guest rooms and suites. Warm earth tones in addition to the luxurious sitting and work areas create an inviting ambiance for you to experience and enjoy leisure. The opportunity to discover unique cultural experiences, both within the hotel, as well as, across the local community, is awesome. Though Le Méridien Ibom terminated the branding of the resort in January this year, the resort is managed by an international hotelier with over 20 years experience. La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort For its fresh water lake, accessible mangrove forest, a savannah, extensive sandy beach, the warm Atlantic sea, stylish accommodation options, activities like burn fire, beach sports, party among others, La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort is ideal for your comfort and fun this summer

season. This top romantic destination is a unique blend of natural environment with man-made leisure aids in the resort. Its 65-acre tranquil paradise, surrounding palm and coconut trees that shields sun, beautiful stretch of the Atlantic coastal line of Lagos that cools off the intensity of the tropical heat and the sprawling beach sand that provides enough space for all to funny around, besides the luxury and comfort of five-star facilities, all combine to make the resort a must-visit. The ability to help guests connect with the real natural environment of an African set up while still enjoying the luxury also gives La Campagne an edge. From the gate of the beach, one gets to feel the uniqueness and beauty as one is taken aback with the various motifs at play of which the strongest is the African motif. The rooms are surrounded by tropical gardens that enhance the delightful village atmosphere and attract a great deal of exotic birds. All the rooms are individually decorated to impart an air of luxury and relaxation. Nike Lake Resort For sure, the wonders and breathtaking views in Nike Lake Resort will beat your imaginations, and while a day out in the lake set in the rustic Nike community in Enugu will pamper you to a pleasurable relaxation typical of resorts of its like over the world to earn it a destination in Nigeria. A few metres before getting to the resort, visitors behold with great awe the natural lake stretching over three kilometres with its incredible and rare aquatic population.

Dubai sustains tourism volumes with record overnight visitors in H1 2018

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ubai welcomed a record 8.10 million international overnight tourists during the first six months of 2018, representing a consistent increase on the same period last year. Figures released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) have confirmed the continued success of the emirate’s tourism sector, which at the end of 2017 was worth AED109 billion a year. A destination of choice for a number of global markets, Dubai is on track for projected growth into the second half of 2018. Top source markets continued to witness stable year-on-year performances in the first half of 2018, with India, KSA and the UK retaining their top three positions when compared to the same period last year. India again brought in the highest number of international guests, once again crossing the 1-million-mark over a six-month period, up by three per cent year-on-year. KSA and the UK retained their spots as the second and third largest feeder markets respectively, with the former rallying to a slight increase and remaining as the highest traffic driver from the GCC region. China ended the first half of 2018 in fourth place, continuing its upward trajectory by nine per cent to deliver 453,000 tourists. Meanwhile, Russia topped the growth charts with a stellar 74 per cent increase over H1 2017, deliv-

ering 405,000 visitors to jump five positions within the top ten source markets. Both markets continued to benefit from added ease of travel access following the introduction of visa-on-arrival facilities for Chinese and Russian citizens in late 2016 and early 2017 respectively. The first half of 2018 also witnessed increased contributions from the USA and Germany, standing strong at seventh and eighth positions with 327,000 and 302,000 visitors respectively. This affirmed the successful delivery of a diversified market strategy, activating multi-pronged efforts to prioritise maintenance of continued strong appeal to travellers from key source geographies, and increasing ad-

Dubai Acquaventure Waterparks

vocacy by focusing on targeted improvements to the tourism pillars that appeal most to these audiences. As well, Dubai’s hotel room inventory, which spread across a total of 700 establishments, stood at 111,317 at the end of June 2018, up seven per cent compared to the same time last year. With an increase in demand for mid-market hotels operating in Dubai, the number of four star properties has increased from 114 to 138 representing 25 per cent of the rooms inventory. Occupied room nights were also up year on year with a total of 14.97 million compared to 14.53 million during the same period in 2017, outlining the ongoing diversity and popularity of Dubai’s hospitality sector.

Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism, said: “Attracting 8.10 million visitors during the first half of 2018 stands us in good stead as we accelerate momentum towards our visionary aspiration of becoming the most visited city in the world. The varied offering of Dubai’s tourism proposition has steadily evolved, prudently yet actively responding to market demand, and increasing the emirate’s attractiveness among target visitor segments across our key markets. As such, we have strategically deployed partnerships to ensure we continue to stay relevant and front of mind to both first-time and repeat visitors, while simultaneously creating steady stream of Dubai ambassadors. Organically expanding the outreach and impact of this authentic advocacy for the city, our integrated networks across digital, social and mobile-led platforms reflect the future-centric mandate of the 10X initiative introduced in 2017 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to embrace innovation and ensure Dubai stays 10 years ahead of any global city.” From a regional perspective, Western Europe contributed 21 per cent of the overnight visitor volumes, maintaining its position from the same period last year as the largest source of visitors. With double digit percentage increases in visitor numbers in three of the

top twenty source markets, France, Italy and Germany witnessed strong increases of 18 per cent, 11 per cent and 12 percent respectively; a key indicator of successful destination marketing efforts aimed at driving consideration from a wider yet highly targeted spectrum of European traveller segments. With Dubai now attracting even more diverse audiences, Dubai Tourism is continuing to innovate and customise marketing-promotions delivery backed by strong insightsdriven analytics and most ‘time and audience’ relevant touchpoints within the travel decision ecosystem. This spans a myriad spectrum from the most recent success of the multi-award-winning #BeMyGuest campaign working with celebrity ambassadors to target a diaspora audience which drove over 100 million video views in just 8-weeks; to strategic market specific agreements with leading Chinese digital and technology giants to further penetrate and raise consideration for Dubai as the travel destination of choice for China. Such market and segment specific initiatives supported by strong network of trade partners in-country and amplified through content partnerships in key markets to deliver consistent, credible and relevant messaging has been the focal feature of Dubai’s 360 integrated marketing approach that has continued to yield results through the first half of 2018.


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Sunday 05 August 2018

Travel

Best things to pack and wear on a long flight Stories by IFEOMA OKEKE

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s the summer travels season kicks into high gear, long flights especially can suck the energy out of a person, but trips will go much smoother with some list of long haul flight essentials! As travellers sit for hours in a confined space, it’s crucial to wear something they are comfortable in. The plane’s aisle is the biggest space people have to move in for several hours at an end, it doesn’t make sense to be restricted even more by wearing tight clothing. The best clothes for flying are clothes that allow people to curl up in their seats in any possible way and do some exercises without cutting off their bloodstream. Wonderfulwanderings. com, a top global travel website has given some recommendations on what to wear on a long haul flight

and in-flight travel essentials to keep travellers entertained and relaxed until the plane touches the tarmac again. Here are some of the wears: Long pullover or cardigan As passengers will be seated most of the time, it’s important to wear a top

layer that’s a bit longer so that the back isn’t exposed. Especially as the flight progresses and they slide down in their seats, it’s nice to have something that still covers everything. An additional benefit of wearing something longer is that it’ll keeps them warm. Flights can get chilly

NAAPE honors Dana Air boss, as passenger commends airline’s pilot

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or contributing positively to the growth of Nigeria’s aviation industry, Jacky Hathiramani, the chief executive officer of Dana Air, has been honored by the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) in Lagos recently. Th e Da n a Ai r b o s s was awarded at the dinner and unveiling of NAAPE’s compendium of 50 Outstanding Nigerian Aircraft Pilots and Engineers. Speaking at the event themed: “Promoting Professional Excellence with aircraft pilots and engineers i n f o c u s , ’ ’ Ab e d n e g o Galadima, the President of NAAPE, said the body is committed to advocating for the rights, and privileges of the Nigerian Pilots and engineers. “ To d a y w e s h a l l be honoring eminent personalities, Nigerian Pilots and Engineers who have been contributing immensely to the growth and development of global aviation industry in general, and Nigeria in particular; having recorded five accident-free years, which is evidence that Nigerian pilots and aircraft engineers are indeed pillars of the industry.’’ Jacky Hathiramani, the

CEO of Dana Air, while reacting to his latest honor in Lagos said, he was delighted to have been honored by a key association as NAAPE, n o t i n g t h a t Da n a Ai r having employed and trained over 90 Nigerian Pilots and Engineers, is committed to decreasing the unemployment rate of Nigerian Pilots and engineers and supporting them in any way possible.’’ He dedicated the award to the airline’s Pilots and Engineers for constantly displaying and championing professionalism in the

industry and to the airline’s teeming guests for their loyalty and patronage. Similarly, a passenger on one of Dana Air’s flight from Lagos to Abuja has commended the dexterity of one of its pilots. The passenger via his verified twitter handle @ gentleojay said, ‘I flew @ danaair today and was very impressed with the pilot. He used Pidgin English to welcome us and he was so warm. Apart from this, his landing was super-amazing. He got everybody clapping and you could see he enjoys his job.’’

Jacky Hathiramani, the CEO, Dana Air

and everyone knows those airplane blankets aren’t the warmest around. Scarf or pashmina Speaking of blankets, if people wear a nice wide scarf, they can use it to keep their neck swarm but also wrap it around them or use it as an extra blanket without having to bring an actual

blanket on board. That’s space saved right there! Thick scarves can also be folded up to be used as a little pillow, or passengers can go ninja style and wrap their scarfs around their head like a sleeping mask. Their multi-functionality makes scarves one of the best travel accessories for long flights. T-shirt or top Because travellers are quickly cold, it is advisable to wear three layers: a top, a t-shirt and a cardigan or pullover. They can opt for just a top or a t-shirt, but make sure that it doesn’t fit too tightly and still covers their lower back when they are seated. Not only is more comfortable in terms of movement to wear something loose, but they will also be happy they did when it gets hot on the plane and their armpits start to cry. Loose pants This is often a point of discussion. Travellers can easily wear something loose on top and still look

classy, but achieving a stylish look with a loose top and bottom, that’s a bit harder. If a passenger wears skinny jeans to fly long haul before and he is comfortable in them, by all means, he can go ahead, but I’m pretty sure loose pants are a better option, especially after he has eaten all the snacks they brought on board. Besides, fashion has been kind to travelers lately as they’ve seen a rise of elegant loose pants come to the stores the past two years or so. Active wear There’s so much cool active wear out there nowadays and the pants can often easily be combined with “normal” tops. Combine with a cute sneaker and they are all set! If a passenger is not a big fan of active wear that looks like active wear, they can check out travel yoga pants. While I think yoga pants still look like active wear, there are some brands that have yoga pants styled to look like business wear.

Why Air Peace is leading connectivity project in Africa -Onyema

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llen Onyema , c h ai r man / chief executive o f f i c e r o f Ai r Peace, has said the carrier is championing seamless air connectivity in Africa to ensure the economic growth of the continent and ease the travel challenges of the people. Onyema spoke during the launch of Air Peace’s flights from Abuja, Lagos and Accra to Monrovia, Liberia and from Abuja to Accra, Ghana on Monday. The Air Peace boss insisted that the carrier had continued to prove its mettle in the project to link African nations and connect them with the rest of the world through flights to Accra, Freetown, Banjul, Dakar and Monrovia. Addition of Monrovia to Air Peace’s route network, he assured, would consolidate the airline’s strategy to unlock economies in Africa through air connectivity. Onyema , who was represented by Chris Iwarah, the carrier’s Corporate Communications Manager, said the carrier was gradually rewriting the negative narrative about regional flight operations in West Africa. The launch of the airline’s Monrovia service, he said,

had expanded its regional operations to five routes. “ To d a y ’ s e p o c h making event is a pleasing consolidation of our efforts to unlock the economies of Africa, offer air travellers on business and leisure trips seamless connectivity as well as create jobs for people,” Onyema enthused. Speaking on the carrier’s rapid expansion on the West Coast of Africa, he said: “We began our intervention in the air travel difficulties of the West Coast of Africa with the inauguration of Lagos-Accra service in February 2017. A year later in 2018, we deepened our presence in the region with the addition of Freetown, Banjul and Dakar to our route network. “The addition of Monrovia to our route network is a fitting response to the yearnings of the flying public for the Air Peace experience. The launch of Monrovia brings our regional destinations to five. We are connecting Monrovia from Abuja and Lagos through Accra. Shortly, we hope to add more destinations to our regional route map. “Our goal is to build a solid base to link African nation’s and connect the continent to the rest of the world by air. With our

expanded fleet of 24aircraft comprising Boeing 737, 777; Embraer 145 and Dornier Jets, we are set to soon begin flights to many international destinations including Dubai, Sharjah, Guangzhou- China, London, Houson, Mumbai and South Africa. There is no doubt we mean business at Air Peace.” For her part, Deputy Managing Director for Technical Services, Liberia Airport Authority, Pa u l a Fa r e s H a r v e y congratulated Air Peace on its commencement of Monrovia flights. The launch, she added, was a great milestone in Air Peace’s effort to connect Africa by air. ”It’s good for you, it’s good for us in Liberia at this time,” Harvey said shortly after the flight landed at the Roberts International Airport, Monrovia at about 12.15 p.m. (local time) to a rousing water salute and warm welcome by aviation authorities, airport workers and corporate executives. Th e I n t e r n a t i o n a l Te r m i n a l Ma n a g e r o f t h e N n a m d i Az i k i w e I n t e r n a t i o n a l Ai r p o r t , Abuja, Mrs. H. O. Musa also commended the airline for the launch of its Monrovia service.


Sunday 12 August 2018

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Health&Science How disease outbreaks in Nigeria can be curbed through public-private coalition ANTHONIA OBOKOH

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igeria’s unflattering outbreaks and infectious disease indices threats may be substantially addressed, as advocacy mounts for the country to advance preparedness, and establish a public private coalition on health security, to build a resilient health system for all citizens. In a bid to strengthen the National strategy for reducing infectious diseases, prevent and control emerging epidemics such as Ebola and Lassa fever, the Private Sector Health Alliance (PHN) in collaboration with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has held a private sector roundtable on Health Security: ‘Epidemics Preparedness and Response’. The roundtable evolved ways the public and private sector can collaborate in keeping life-threatening diseases at bay. Osagie Ehanire, Minister of State for Health, explained that the role of the private sector in heath securityinNigeriagoeswaybeyond corporate social responsibility. “We must prioritise multi-sectoral partnerships to end epidemics because the next pandemic is only a plane flight away. infectious diseases outbreaks are now of greeter global concern that ever before, propelled by the awareness that volume and ease of travel make an infectious diseases only a plane ride away,” said Ehanire. Ehanire stressed that the losses inbusinessturnovervirtuallyforced the closing of ranks and collaborations that arose between Government and business community to create that perfect justification of why and how strong partnerships can be the best line of mutual defense against outbreaks. “The business world and the Nigerian Government share this concern especially following recent bitter experiences demonstrated by the devastating impact of the 2014 Ebola Virus Disease which had a terribly disruptive impact on all segments of society and the economy of West Africa,” “Synergy of purpose during the outbreak became a proof of the necessity and concept to work together and not surprisingly the Nigerian businesses to contribute and work with us by joining the Private Sector Health Alliance of

Nigeria,” Ehanire added. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, chief executive officer, PHN also expressed the view that strengthening Nigeria’s epidemic preparedness and response will require bold innovative approaches and complementary public private partnerships. “The state of health in Nigeria is characterised by poor health outcomes and suboptimal health care systems vulnerable to the threat of future epidemics and outbreaks which threaten global health security,” Muntaqa further pointed out that beyond direct effects on health, disease outbreaks impose significant economic costs including stress to labour, supply scarcity, market instability and price increases. Panic and social distancing can devastate economies. “Engaging the private sector early and establishing relationships before a crisis allow for a faster, stronger response by preparing with our partner companies in advance, we can more easily and quickly deploy products and services in a crisis,” he said. Lessons learned from global strategies indicate that the roles of multi-sectoral partnerships, particularly the private sector at country level, is a critical precursor to accelerating progress towards set objectives. Muntaqa also attributed that following the West Africa Ebola epidemic in 2014 and more recently in DRC, there are important lessons to learn around the importance of partnership, leadership, communi-

cation and innovation. “With more outbreaks on the horizon,wecan’taffordtorepeatthis cycle of uncertain priorities, wasted time and investments. We need strongandclearleadership;effective deployment of new innovations,” “Thereisacompellingopportunity toengagetheprivatesectorandother non-State actors to complement government in advancing its health security agenda,” said Muntaqa. ChikweIhekweazu,chiefexecutive officer, NCDC, reiterated the need to develop the Nigerian health care system to effectively prevent, protect, and respond to disease emergencies, saying it is as important as, or more important than, an emergencyresponse.Itcostslessto invest in advance and to be ready. “Infectious diseases do not respect borders or class. There is an urgent need for investment in preparedness and the time to prepare is NOW. “Recently, Nigeria was hit by the Ebola outbreak. We would not have had a strong response without the private sector. This and other outbreaks have reinforced the need to adequately prepare for and respond to public health emergencies,” said Ihekweazu. Olajide Idris, commissioner for Health, Lagos State, on his part, said “To be adequately prepared for disease outbreaks, we must strengthen our public health system in Nigeria. We need to transform not only the health care delivery system, It is not a matterofiftherewillbeanotherglobal epidemic, but when. It is time for Nigeria to step up and improve preparedness for disease outbreaks.”

Here are reasons why you should not drink contaminated water

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ANTHONIA OBOKOH

afe and readily available water is important for public health, whether it is used for drinking, domestic use, food production or recreational purposes. “Ninety per cent of households in Nigeria consume contaminated water and other impure substances,” according to a report by the multiple indicator cluster. Experts say improved water supply and sanitation, and better management of water resources, can boost countries’ economic growth and can contribute greatly to poverty reduction. Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies, usually as a result of human activities. Water bodies include for example lakes, rivers, oceans, aquifers and groundwater. In 2010, the United Nations general assembly explicitly recognised the human right to water and sanitation. Everyone has the right to sufficient, continuous, safe, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable water for personal and domestic use. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in low and middle-income countries, 38 per cent of health care facilities lack an improved water source, 19 per cent do not have improved sanitation, and 35 per cent lack water and soap for hand washing. “globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces, accounting for about 502 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year and by 2025 half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas,” says WHO. However, contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to transmission of diseases, some of the more commonly reported problems experienced from drinking impure water includes :cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio. “Absent, inadequate, or inappropriately managed water and sanitation services expose individuals to preventable health risks. This is particularly the case

in health care facilities where both patients and staff are placed at additional risk of infection and disease when water, sanitation, and hygiene services are lacking,” says WHO. Globally, 15per cent of patients develop an infection during a hospital stay, with the proportion much greater in low-income countries. Inadequate management of urban, industrial, and agricultural wastewater means the drinkingwater of hundreds of millions of people is dangerously contaminated or chemically polluted. Diarrhoea is the most widely known disease linked to contaminated food and water but there are other hazards. Almost 240 million people are affected by schistosomiasis – an acute and chronic disease caused by parasitic worms contracted through exposure to infested water. Meanwhile, WHO has set guidelines for drinking-water quality lines, since 2014, the agency has been testing household water treatment products against WHO health-based performance criteria through the WHO International ‘Scheme’ to Evaluate Household Water Treatment Technologies. The aim of the scheme is to ensure that products protect users from the pathogens that cause diarrhoeal disease and to strengthen policy, regulatory, and monitoring mechanisms at the national level to support appropriate targeting and consistent and correct use of such products. WHO works closely with UNICEF in a number of areas concerning water and health, including on water, sanitation, and hygiene in health care facilities. In 2015 the two agencies jointly developed WASH FIT (Water and Sanitation for Health Facility Improvement Tool), an adaptation of the water safety plan approach. WASH FIT aims to guide small, primary health care facilities in low- and middle-income settings through a continuous cycle of improvement through assessments, prioritization of risk, and definition of specific, targeted actions.

Congo begins vaccination against latest Ebola outbreak – WHO AGENCY REPORT

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he Democratic Republic of the Congo has started vaccination against the latest Ebola outbreak in the northeaster North Kivu province, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday. The vaccination has targeted high risk populations in North Kivu, in which the provincial health minister and the provincial coordinator of the Expanded Program on Immunization were the first to be vaccinated.

They were followed by first line health workers from the Mangina health center, 30 km from the town of Beni, who had been in contact with people who were confirmed cases of Ebola. “Vaccines are an important tool in the fight against Ebola. This is why it has been a priority to move them rapidly into place to begin protecting our health workers and the affected population,” said Oly Ilunga DRC Health Minister. A total of 3,220 doses of rVSVZEBOV Ebola vaccine are currently available in the country,

while supplementary doses have been requested. While the vaccine goes through the licensing process, an agreement between Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Merck, the developer of the vaccine, ensures that additional investigational doses of the vaccine are available. The vaccination operation was launched just one week after the announcement of a second outbreak of Ebola this year in the country, in which a total of 44 cases have been reported so far as of Wednesday, including 17

confirmed and 27 probable. Earlier on Tuesday, Peter Salama, deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response at the WHO, said on Twitter that results of genetic analysis had confirmed Ebola Zaire strain was the cause of the latest outbreak in the DRC. The WHO, he said, is providing logistical support for the establishment of the cold chain and sending supplies needed for the vaccinations, in addition to supporting the negotiation of protocols with the manufacturer and national

authorities. He said that the WHO was also supporting the deployment of vaccination experts from Guinea to work alongside national staff, who began the vaccination. However, North Kivu province and eastern areas of the adjacent Ituri province are among the most populated in the DRC, with many majorcities,whichbringsheightened risks and new challenges in the fight against Ebola, according to Salama, who has called for fighting the outbreak with all tools, old and new. (Xinhua/NAN)


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Sports Kepa, Alisson top Premier league most expensive summer signings

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Stories by Anthony Nlebem

he summer transfer window has closed for Premier League sides, but which signings made the headlines in terms of fees paid. Premier league, regarded as the richest league in the world. However, if there is something money can’t buy, it’s time. The transfer window closed on Thursday, 9th of August, while top clubs looked to bolster their chances of winning titles, weaker teams looked for players who could help them avoid relegation. Here, we look at 10 most expensive transfers done by English clubs in the summer transfer window of 2018. Kepa Arrizabalaga (£71.6m) Chelsea At the age of 23, the Spanish international Kepa Arrizabalaga is now the most expensive goalkeeper in the football history. Chelsea broke the bank to pay his release clause from Athletico Bilbao, offering him a mega deal of 7 years, with about £10m a year as wages. Having spent all his life at Bilbao, he would surely have bigger shoes to fill at Stamford Bridge as former Chelsea number 1, Thibaut Courtois, has already secured a move to Real Madrid.

Alisson (£66m) Liverpool After the disasters of last year’s champions league final, Liverpool was in the market for a world class first choice goalkeeper and in Allison they have got one. He had a tremendous Season at AS Roma last year and would be hoping to carry the same form to England and could be a boost to Liverpool Premier league title challenge this year. Riyad Mahrez (£60m) Manchester City Mahrez was Manchester City’s only major signing of the summer, sealing a £60m move from Leicester after missing out on a switch to the Etihad Stadium in January.

The Algerian would add another dimension to the already formidable attack of Manchester City. Pre-season shows his seamless integration into the side and he would only get better under the guidance of Pep Guardiola. Jorginho (£53m) Chelsea For the most parts of the transfer season, Jorginho was linked with a move to Manchester City though, in the end, he opted to join his old boss Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea. He was instrumental to Sarri’s system in Napoli and it would be interesting to see how he integrates with his new teammates. Naby Keita (52.8m) Liverpool

It is many months since Liverpool confirmed their deal for Naby Keita, but he finally gets to make his competitive debut this weekend. The little midfielder shone at RB Leipzig. Now the challenge is to have the same kind of impact at Liverpool. Fred (£52.5m) Manchester United “A team without a Brazilian is not a team”, said Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho while being asked about his transfer plans and looking back he certainly has lived up to his words. Fred is United’s only major signing this season. His versatility and work-rate might prove to be crucial in his partnership with Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matić in the midfield. Fabinho (£43.7m) Liverpool Fabinho to solve defensive woes and it’s the same story every year for AS Monaco. Another one of Monaco’s young prospects sold at a hefty price. He can be the answer to Liverpool’s defensive woes as his versatility to play as a defensive midfielder and right back gives options to Jürgen Klopp. His partnership with Nabi Keita in the midfield would dictate the season for Liverpool. Felipe Anderson (£42m) West Ham After years of transfer ru-

mours linking him to different clubs, the 25-year old Brazilian finally joined West Ham United. West Ham has spent big this summer and Felipe Anderson along with Jack Wilshere will be their main men for the season. He was ignored from Brazil’s world cup squad and proving himself in EPL would surely boost his chances of joining the national team. Richarlison (£40m) Everton Richarlison is Everton’s new left-winger Just after a season at Watford, Richarlison has switched clubs again. The price tag might have raised a few eyebrows but his exponential growth in recent years cannot be ignored. As a left winger who can also play as a target man, he is going to be the player that defines Everton’s season this year. However, it remains to be seen how he integrates into the Merseyside club. Jean Michaël Seri (£35m) Fulham Last summer, his move to Barcelona was almost certain only to be cancelled in the end. However, this time he has a much difficult task at hand and would be crucial to the newly Promoted Fulham’s survival in the top flight. His past performances at Nice was incredible, but his adaptation to the physicality of Premier League would decide his season.

Premier League returns on DStv, GOtv Ikpeba ignite excitement as Premier

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he 2018/19 Premier League kicks off this weekend with a full round of 10 matches spread from Friday night to Sunday evening. The action gets underway at Old Trafford on Friday as Manchester United open the campaign with a home clash against Leicester City live on SS3 at 8 pm. Jose Mourinho’s team have been unimpressive in pre-season and their only notable acquisition in the transfer market has been Brazilian midfielder Fred, but they will still be looking for a strong start as they aim to challenge cross-town rivals Manchester City for the title. Leicester, meanwhile, enter the season hoping that Algerian signing Rachid Ghezzal proves an adequate replacement for Riyad Mahrez, but they have

retained a strong spine to their team, featuring Kasper Schmeichel, Harry Maguire, Nigerian midfield dynamo Wilfred Ndidi and striker Jamie Vardy. On Sunday, big-spending Liverpool will open their account when they host West Ham. The match will be live on SS3 at 1:30 pm. Burnley travel to tackle Southampton. The match will be live on SS10. The game on Merseyside will be particularly interesting for African fans, with the Reds’ Egyptian superstar, Mohamed Salah, hoping to continue from where he left off last season, while new signing, Guinea’s Naby Keita, will also want to make a big impact on his Premier League debut. The weekend ends the marquee clash between Arsenal and defending Premier League champions, Manchester City. The match will be live 4 pm on SS3. While City have been relatively quiet in the transfer market, adding only Riyad Mahrez to their already powerful squad, the Gunners have entered a new era under coach Unai Emery, who was busy in the transfer market addressing their shortcomings with the signing of Stephan Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Matteo Guendouzi, Bern Leno and Lucas Torreira.

Cool football tourney Kicks off

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he 5-a-side football competition designed by Premier Cool,abrandofPZCussons, tagged ‘Turf Wars’, kicked off over the week as 32 teams were screenedintothevotingstagesofthe competition.Thescreeningexercise took place at the offices of PZ Cussons in Ilupeju, Lagos. Thescreeningjudgescomprising ex footballers, football analysts and administrators, was led by Super Eagles legend and football analyst, Victor Ikpeba; team also included another ex-Eagles international, Olusegun Fetuga; Mojeed Adegbindin,amemberoftheboardofthe Lagos State Football Association (LSFA); and other notable football pundits. The team was welcomed by the senior staff at PZ Cussons, which included the Managing Director, PZ Cussons, Alex Goma; Head of Digital Marketing, Africa, PZ Cussons, Adefila Dayo; Group BrandDevelopmentandActivation Manager,PZCussons,AkindeleVivian, after which they were ushered into the screening venue. The screening exercise was organized to review the applicants who had registered for the competition, using the criteria which had been set for the applicants registering for the competition. Over

4000 teams had registered for the competition, with only 971 teams making it through the complete registration process. The screening process was made quite simple and straightforward as the brand team had collated and profiled each team for easy review. Teams that did not meet the stated requirements were screened out while the others with satisfactory profiles as adjudged by the screening committee were eventually announced as the top 32 teams that will eventually proceed to the voting stages of the competition. Speaking at the event, Group Brand Development and Activation Manager, PZ Cussons, Akindele Vivian, said there was need for credibility and transparency hence the involvement of the screening committee: “Weprideourselvesasacredible

andtransparentbusiness;therefore we felt it was necessary to involve credible and notable individuals who know the game and are recognized as authorities and influencers within the Nigerian football community. We are grateful for their support and contributions to makingthisprocessasuccessfulone.We look forward to a much successful competition,” she said. Only 16 teams out of these 32 teams will make it into the competition proper, as shortlisting will also include an online voting process. The competition will involve the knockout stages as well as the finals which will hold on the 22nd of August and 1st of September 2018 respectively. The winning team will get a cash prize of N3million, while the second and third runners up will walk away with N1.5million and N750, 000 respectively.


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BDSUNDAY 47

Sports

EPL summer transfer spending falls first time since 2010

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Stories by Anthony Nlebem

relatively quiet deadline day saw around £110million spent; £100m less than had been invested last year. Manchester United and Tottenham were among the big clubs to keep their powder dry, overall spending in the league dropped for the first time since 2010. A total of £1.26 billion have been spent so far compared to the record fee of £1.47 billion during the 2017 summer transfer window. Jose Mourinho looks to have missed out on a new centre back with no positive transfer news coming from Manchester United. Liverpool and Chelsea are among the biggest net spenders, while West Ham and Fulham have shelled out hefty fees on big statement signings this summer. Meanwhile, Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is frustrated with a lack of signings, as the board has refused to splash money to reinforce the squad. In the summer of 2017, £1.43bn had been spent on

transfer fees, making this the first time Premier League net spend has fallen in eight years. The likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool had completed their summer business and made no new signings, while Chelsea wrapped up the formalities of a loan deal for Mateo Kovacic and the £71.6m signing of Kepa Arrizabalaga - a world record fee for a goalkeeper. Crystal Palace’s loan signing of Jordan Ayew and the £4m switch of Lucas Perez from Arsenal to West Ham were typical

deadline day deals, with few top-flight clubs making major moves. Fulham were a notable exception, pushing their spending over £100m with five deals including the £22m signing of Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa from Marseille and a £6m deal for Bristol City left-back Joe Bryan. Tim Bridge, director in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “Premier League clubs’ gross player transfer expenditure of £1.2 billion continues to demonstrate the sheer

purchasing power of the most commercially successful football league in the world. “With Premier League clubs’ aggregate revenues forecast to reach £5 billion in 2018/19, clubs can well-afford to significantly invest in on-pitch talent in the quest for both success and survival. “Subject to any late sales, the Premier League and its clubs may benefit from having playing squads settled and in place for the start of the new season. “Whilst the transfer window remains open for other European leagues, it will be interesting to see how any late offers from overseas clubs will be handled. It is too early to predict what the effect will be on activity over the remainder of the month, or in January’s transfer window.” Deloitte figures showed that Spurs were one of only three clubs to make a profit in the window, along with Newcastle and Watford. Liverpool (£165m), Chelsea (£120m), Fulham (£105m) and Leicester (£100m) were the Premier League’s biggest spenders with around 40 per cent of gross expenditure.

Managers have to work with the players until January 2019, but having the window close so early compared to previous seasons means European clubs now have the opportunity to court Premier League talent without the threat of their own players going the other way until the end of August. Premier League clubs spent a record £1.47billion during the 2017 summer transfer window as the total expenditure surpassed 2016 record, when the £1billion threshold was smashed for the first time, by almost £300m. Manchester City splashed the most cash in 2017 summer, with an outlay of £217.3m – primarily on defensive signings Kyle Walker (£50m), Benjamin Mendy (£49.2m), Danilo (£26.9m) and goalkeeper Ederson (£34.7m) – in addition to midfielders Bernardo Silva (£43m) and Douglas Luiz (£10m). Premier League spending still top other competitions, which could yet rise in the coming 22 days. Serie A clubs, whose window closes on August 17, have invested £910m while their La Liga counterparts have spent £680m.

All set for the 2018/19 LaLiga Season

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n less than a week, the most thrilling football competition in the world returns. There are plenty of changes afoot for the 2018/19 LaLiga Santander season, with a flurry of activity in the transfer market, three clubs fresh from promotion from LaLiga 1|2|3, and stadiums better equipped than ever to give fans the most thrilling experience possible. There have also been two significant advances on the technology front, with the most up-to-date broadcasting technology now implemented to bring the spectacle to screens around the world, as well as the introduction of VAR. The first of 38 LaLiga matchdays kicks off on August 17th. The 2018/19 LaLiga Santander season will of course have three new teams on board, in the shape of SD Huesca, Rayo Vallecano and R. Valladolid CF. It will be Huesca’s maiden season in the Spanish top flight and the club’s participation in LaLiga Santander will put the city of just 50,000 inhabitants on the map. While Huesca are new to the elite of Spanish football, Rayo know the division well: they are now set for their seventh stint in the top

tier. Top-class football will be returning to the Madrid neighbourhood of Vallecas, which gave fantastic backing to their team last season. Last but not least are R. Valladolid, who are back in the big time after an absence of four years and will be the only LaLiga Santander club flying the flag for the autonomous commu-

nity of Castilla y Leon. Part of the renowned wine region of Ribera del Duero, Valladolid has common ground with D. Alaves, the Basque clubs and the aforementioned Huesca in being an important centre for viticulture. Aside from new clubs, there are plenty of fresh faces whom fans will be keen

to watch. Star names from across the globe have joined LaLiga Santander clubs, the most eye-catching transfers being Chile’s Arturo Vidal to FC Barcelona, France’s Thomas Lemar to Atletico Madrid and Peru’s Luis Advincula to Rayo. Three other notable names heading to pastures new within Spain

are Mexico’s Miguel Layun, who has joined Villarreal CF, Nigeria’s Moses Simon, who has joined Levante, and Japan’s Takashi Inui, who has signed for Real Betis. The transfer window doesn’t close until August 31st, so LaLiga Santander clubs still have plenty of time to add quality to their ranks. The LaLiga Santander broadcasts will be of the highest possible standard, with Skycams, the Intel True View system and 4K production set to be a permanent fixture, as all 20 stadiums are now equipped with the requirements for these cuttingedge transmissions. In addition to the technological advances in broadcasting, VAR will make its debut in Spain following its success at the World Cup. All of this makes for a more exciting, fair and modern footballing experience. No fewer than 380 nail-biting encounters, heightened emotions every matchday and the agony and ecstasy that await the culmination of the season are all things that will make the LaLiga Santander 2018/19 season a unique spectacle. Let the games begin!


BDSUNDAY

NEW YOU CAN TRUST

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Sunday 12 august 2018

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The high cost of food monopolies in Africa

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n May, global food prices increased 1.2 percent, reaching their highest level since October 2017. This upward trajectory is having a disproportionate impact in Africa, where the share of household income spent on food is also rising. To ensure food security, governments must work quickly to reverse these trends, and one place to start is by policing the producers who are feeding the frenzy. According to data compiled by the World Economic Forum, four of the world’s top five countries in terms of food expenditure are in Africa. Nigeria leads the list, with a staggering 56.4 percent of household income in 2015 spent on food, followed by Kenya (46.7 percent), Cameroon (45.6 percent), and Algeria (42.5 percent). By comparison, consumers in the United States spend the least globally (6.4 percent), far less than people in emerging economies like Brazil (16 percent) and India (30 percent). One reason for the distortion is the price of food relative to income. As Africa urbanizes, people are buying more imported semi- or fully processed foods, which cost more than locally produced foods. And in most countries, wages have not kept pace with inflation. But the primary cause is poor public policy: African governments have failed to curb the power of agribusinesses and large food producers, a lack of oversight that has made local agriculture less competitive. In turn, prices for most commodities have risen. The absence of antitrust laws, combined with weak consumer protection, means that in many countries, only two or three major companies control markets for items like salt, sugar, flour, milk, oil, and tea. The impact is most pronounced in African cities, where prices for white rice, frozen chicken, bread, butter, eggs, and even carbonated soft drinks are at least 24 percent higher than in other cities around the world. These prices hit consumers both directly and indirectly (owing to pass-through of higher input costs by food conglomerates and service providers). The Food and Agriculture Organization of

the United Nations (FAO) has long argued that food security and fair pricing depends on markets that are free from monopolistic tendencies. The OECD concurs, and has frequently called on authorities to address “anti-competitive mergers, abuse of dominance, cartels and price fixing, vertical restraints, and exclusive practices” in the food sector. And yet, in many African countries, this advice has rarely been heeded. To be sure, this is not a new problem. Between 1997 and 2004, for example, the FAO counted 122 allegations of “anticompetitive practices” in 23 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Violations included a “vertical monopoly” in the Malawi sugar sector, price fixing in Kenya’s fertilizer industry, and a “buyer cartel” in the Zimbabwean cotton industry. And, despite the considerable attention such cases have received, the underlying problems persist. According to the World Bank, more than 70 percent of African countries rank in the bottom half globally for efforts to protect “market-based competition.” While 27 African countries and five regional blocs do have antitrust laws on the books, enforcement is rare. The remaining countries have no regulations at all and have made little progress in drafting them. There is one notable exception: South Africa. Since 1998, the country’s Competition Act has prohibited any company controlling at least 45 percent of the market from excluding other firms or seeking to exercise control over pricing. Violators face penalties of up to 10 percent of their earnings, and during the last two decades, some of the biggest companies in the country – including Tiger Brands, Pioneer Foods, and Sime Darby – have been penalized. As Tembinkosi Bonakele, head of South Africa’s Competition Commission, noted last year, the government is “determined to root out exploitation of consumers by cartels,” especially in the food industry. Other countries should follow South Africa’s lead. Companies and special-

NDIDI OKONKWO NWUNELI Nwuneli is Co-Founder of AACE Food Processing & Distribution, Managing Partner of Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition, Founder of LEAP Africa, and a 2018 Aspen Institute New Voices fellow.

Companies and specialinterest groups will always seek to benefit from the absence of regulation. The need for reform is greatest in countries like Nigeria and Ghana, where food expenditures are high and foodindustry pressure is most pronounced

interest groups will always seek to benefit from the absence of regulation. The need for reform is greatest in countries like Nigeria and Ghana, where food expenditures are high and food-industry pressure is most pronounced. Fortunately, there is growing recognition of the need to address these challenges. Babatunde Irukera , Director General of the Consumer Protection Council in Nigeria, recently asserted that, “In a large vibrant and loyal market such as Nigeria, the absence of broad competition regulation is tragic. Unregulated markets in competition context constitute the otherwise ‘legitimate’ vehicle for both financial and social extortion.” Reducing the prices of staple food by even a modest 10 percent (far below the average premium cartels around the world charge) by tackling anticompetitive behavior in these sectors, or by reforming regulations that shield them from competition, could lift 270,000 people in Kenya, 200,000 in South Africa, and 20,000 in Zambia out of poverty. Such a policy would save households in these countries over $700 million (2015 US dollars) a year, with poor households gaining disproportionately more than rich ones. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of political leaders to protect consumers from collusion and price-fixing. There is no question that Africa’s businesses need space to innovate and grow, but their success should never come at the cost of someone else’s next meal. (c): Project Syndicate

Quick Takes

Off the Cuff

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The many ‘ifs’ on the road to 2019

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here are too many permutations flying around in the polity. People are making too many conjectures about 2019. Some can be described as pure hallucination! Many years ago, during an end of year party of our community school, a 10-year old girl staged a drama based on ‘if’. The girl came on the stage, sobbing and imagining vain things. She began: “Assuming I had grown older; assuming a man had approached me and said he would want to marry me; assuming I had agreed and my parents had also given their consent; what if we had married and I had gone to live with him; what if I discovered I was pregnant and assuming that I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy; what if that boy had started scrawling, and assuming that one day he had crawled under a coconut tree; what if a coconut had fallen on his head at that same time, wouldn’t that result in the boy’s death?” At this point, the girl burst into a loud lamentation that her son had died. Her weeping attracted other girls who rushed to join in the grieving and mourning. They were all shouting “our sister’s

son is dead ooo”. That’s the power of imagination. Crude and vain imagination! Indeed, many Nigerians are already involved in too many permutations. For instance, as we inch closer to the 2019, some people are already sensing war in the air. Some are saying that President Muhammadu Buhari may decide not to run upon his return from his leave in London. Some others believe that there would be no election the way things are going. Some said that the President traveled to consult with the power brokers in Europe who are trying to prevail on him not to seek re-election on account of the fragile state of Nigeria in the last three years. The other day, someone joked: “What if President Buhari fails to return after 10 days? What if he announces he is no longer interested in running in 2019? That would be huge relief for Nigeria.” Yet, another thinker, chipped in: “What if the PDP does not field a credible candidate from the array of presidential aspirants already pulling down the umbrella? What if the likes of Kingsley Moghalu or Donald Duke should emerge on the platform of whatever alliance?”

Yet, at a meeting of some egg heads last week, another permutation came up. Someone among them said, “By the way, I hear that the Avengers, the Niger Delta militants, have called off the ceasefire and threatened to resume hostilities? If they begin to burn everywhere in the Niger Delta, a development that may threaten electoral timetable already rolled out by the INEC, what do you think will be the fate of the election?” There is also the thinking that if the alleged harassment, intimidation and persecution of the opposition parties by the ruling party persists, the coalition of opposition parties could decide to shun the election. There is also this hallucinatory fear that if President Buhari is, for any reason, voted out in 2019, the dogs and baboons would surely soak in their own blood. So, for this reason, many Nigerians are not willing to go collect their permanent voters cards (PVCs). But, are there some merits in these permutations? Only time will tell. Zebulon Agomuo

This is the percentage of revenue losses in Nigeria’s power sector from unmetered consumers.

The bull’s eye

AbdulazizYari, governor of Zamfara State and chairman of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum (NGF) scored the bull’s eye last week when he described as unconstitutional the freezing of state governments’ accounts. Yari was reacting to the freezing of Benue and Akwa Ibom states’ accounts by the Federal Government, using the EFCC. He noted that: “The freezing of any account of the state government, whether Benue or anywhere, is unconstitutional and is not right. That is shutting down government.” It is also alleged that government is planning to freeze the accounts of prominent members of the opposition. This is dangerous in a democratic setting.

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BusinessDay 12 Aug 2018  
BusinessDay 12 Aug 2018