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Six years after, ex-health minister, Nike Grange speaks:

NT WEEKEND No more tears... Ameze is dreaming a comeback }24

How power brokers caused my removal }45

Saturday Edition

Sanctity of Truth Saturday, February 22, 2014

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Sanusi: Senators plot against Jonathan Vol. 1 No. 4

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l Plan to block Emefiele’s screening Lateef Ibrahim Abuja l Court restrains FG from arresting he suspension of the Central ex-CBN governor Bank of Nigeria, CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi by Presil His suspension a witch-hunt, says Sanusi dent Goodluck Jonathan has pitted the All Progressives Congress Kano emirate (APC) Senators against their Peoples

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Democratic Party (PDP) counterparts. While the opposition party lawmakers vehemently condemn the action of President Jonathan, describing it as illegal, their PDP colleagues in the Upper Chamber gave approval to the suspension, saying that Jonathan acted within the ambit of the law.

Justice for slain banker... hubby to die by hanging

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STORY ON PAGE4

Provide evidence of my recklessness, Sanusi dares Jonathan } 2 We will arrest Amaechi after Jonathan’s victory, says Wike } 8 Confab: Braithwaite, Faseun, others demand fresh agenda for Yoruba } 6 INSIDE €

Akolade Arowolo, husband of murdered banker, Titilayo, after he was sentenced to death by Justice Latifat Okunnu at the Ikeja High Court , Lagos, yesterday. Photos: Hussaini sulaiman & olugbenga joseph

News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Street Diary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Showbiz. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Sport. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Love & Living. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Travel & Tourism. . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Politics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45


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NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

Sanusi: Opposition senators plot against Jonathan CONTINUED FROM PAGE p1

In a press statement issued on Friday, Senate Minority Leader, Senator George Akume, said Jonathan’s action was not only illegal but also unconstitutional. He noted that the opposition in the Senate has, as a result begun compiling what they described as the “various acts of breaches and flagrant violations of the nation’s constitution by President Goodluck Jonathan for appropriate necessary action”. Meanwhile Senators in the opposition APC are plotting to scuttle the screening of the new CBN governor-nominee, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, when the Senate resumes plenary on March 11. The plot is believed to be in tune with the APC’s earlier instruction to its legislators to frustrate the passage of this year’s budget. The president had on Thursday, a few hours after Sanusi’s suspension asked the Senate to confirm Mr. Godwin Emefiele for appointment as the new governor of the apex bank. He also asked the Senate to confirm Mr. Adelabu Adekola for appointment as the deputy governor of the CBN. But, speaking with journalists in Abuja, Senator Babajide Omoworare (APC Osun East), said the president’s action was illegal and contrary to the

Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu; Chairman, First Surat Group of Companies, Mr. Hikmet Coban; President Goodluck Jonathan; and FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, during the inauguration of Nigerian-Turkish Hospital in Abuja... on Thursday.

provisions of the CBN Act. He pointed out that the CBN Act prevents the president from taking such punitive action against Sanusi, saying that he could only do so if it was outright sack of CBN Governor, which he stressed must be presented to the Senate for approval by two-thirds majority. According to him, the sack came in view of allegations of mismanagement of oil proceeds which Sanusi had been making against the NNPC. “Sanusi no doubt, has been the crown witness in the matter of alleged mismanagement of Nigeria’s oil proceeds to the

tune of $49.8 bn within the last two years which made his suspension very uncomfortable to Nigerians at this time and her strategic foreign partners.” Similarly, Minority Whip of the Senate, Senator Ganiyu Solomon said he had been trying to see whether the CBN Act made provision for the President to suspend the Governor, but could not locate it. Solomon, however, blamed Sanusi for the controversial and conflicting figures he fed the nation with on the alleged unremitted oil revenue to the Federation Account by the NNPC. “Why did the Central

Bank Governor has to wait till now before pointing out the issue of the missing fund. He is the Government Banker, and should know everything that is going on in the in terms of revenue accruing to the Federal Government,” he said. But most of the PDP Senators maintain that President Goodluck Jonathan has not contravened any law in suspending Sanusi. The spokesman of the Senate and PDP chieftain from Abia State, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said the President, by suspending Sanusi, acted within the jurisdiction

Photo: State House

of his statutory function as President. “The President only suspended Sanusi, he did not sack him. So he acted accordingly”, he said. Abaribe, however, noted that the only communication to the Senate in relation to the CBN was the forwarding of the name of the new CBN governor for confirmation by the Senate as well a new deputy Governor. “The new CBN Governor will only assume office at the expiration of Sanusi’s tenure in June.” Also commenting on the matter, another PDP stalwart and chairman, Senate Com-

mittee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang, argued that since the President has the power to hire, he also has a corresponding power to fire. Asked whether the suspension was not a ploy to muffle the allegations raised by Sanusi, he said: “The investigation on the alleged unremitted fund by the NNPC will not die because of the suspension of the Central Bank Governor. Those are not information that is available to Sanusi; that is information that is available and known and perculiar to the institution called the Central Bank of Nigeria. “And so, it is not only Sanusi alone that knows it. After all, these information are guides given to him by the different departments of the CBN. And he is only representing what the Central Bank has called him and asked him to come and represent. So, any other person can come and give the information when needed. The other person may decide to take a different route. It is a question of approach. But the fact is a fact known to the Central Bank of Nigeria, not a fact known to him. President Jonathan had on Thursday suspended Mallam Sanusi as CBN governor over alleged financial recklessness CONTINUEd on PAGE p7

...Provide evidence of my financial recklessness, Sanusi dares Jonathan Waheed Bakare, Foluso Ogunmodede, Ibrahim Abdul’Aziz, Abdulwahab Isa and Muhammad Kabir

The suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, has challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to provide evidence of financial recklessness against him when he was the head of the apex bank. The Presidency had on Thursday said Sanusi was suspended following a report received from the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN and other investigating agencies that his tenure “has been characterised by various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct which are inconsistent with the administration vision of a central bank propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence transparency and

financial discipline.” But Sanusi, who spoke on VOA-Hausa Service on Thursday said, “I want to see what those allegations are.” The embattled CBN governor, who said his desire, was to protect the bank’s independence, added that he had wanted to quit the job in October last year but was prevailed “to stay on by some elders.” Reiterating that he would challenge the Federal Government’s decision in court, Sanusi said such step was necessary to enable the judiciary to determine whether the President had such power or not and to protect the independence of the apex bank. He said, ‘’I believe if the CBN governor cannot be removed from office, then he cannot be suspended. He can be queried, but the exercise of the arbitrary decision to remove him must be challenged.

“If it (the decision) is not challenged, then from now the next CBN governor cannot be independent. He can be suspended for any reason, and the independence of the CBN would be totally undermined. It is important to establish the point legally whether this can happen. I do plan to ask the court to confirm if, indeed, that authority exists. I will challenge it,” he said. He said his suspension was precipitated by his exposure of corruption in the oil sector, adding, “If the suspension is going to bring back the missing $20 billion, then it is fine.” On the ability of the Acting CBN governor, Mrs. Sarah Alade, Sanusi described her as a very competent person and wished her well. Meanwhile, a Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, on Friday restrained the Federal Government and its agents from

arresting and detaining Sanusi or subjecting him to any form of degrading treatment. It was learnt that Justice Buba Ibrahim granted the order, pending the determination of a fundamental human rights suit filed by Sanusi. The suspended CBN governor had in an exparte application complained of Thursday’s unlawful arrest, detention, and seizure of his passport. He said the actions violated his right to personal liberty, freedom of movement, and right to dignity as guaranteed under Sections 34, 35 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution. Sanusi, who dressed in Jalamia cloth and a red cap to match, arrived at the court around 3.15pm in a black SUV and spent about 20 minutes. He was represented by former Attorney-general of Lagos State, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), and Kola Awodein (SAN).

The matter has been fixed for February 28, 2014. In a related development, Alade, has pledged to pursue the apex bank’s price stability policy and declared that there was no immediate plan to devalue the naira. She also, attributed recent temporary slight loss in the value of naira to major currencies in the market to the recent change at CBN, adding that stability would be achieved in due course. Alade, who spoke during her maiden press briefing in Abuja, on Friday promised that the management of the apex bank would do all that it takes to ensure price and financial system stability. In what looked like policy direction of her short stay at the helms of affairs, Alade said the overall principal goal of ensuring monetary and price stability would be pursued in line with inflationary growth, through the

adoption of appropriate mix of monetary policy measures and coordination with fiscal policy. She assured Nigerians that Sanusi’s removal would not adversely affect the monetary policy thrusts of the apex bank, adding that the CBN remains committed to monetary and price stability and smooth functioning of the foreign exchange market. Alade said, “The Nigerian economy has remained strong, sound and resilient over time. Available data from the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that inflation rate was 8.00 per cent in January 2014 and indeed, it’s important to draw attention to the fact that inflation has remained within single digit in the last 13 months. Similarly, the domestic economy remained robust with a growth rate of 6.87 per cent in 2013. The exchange rate has also remained generally stable.”


NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

THE SANUSI STORY Dominik Umosen

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hen the sledge-hammer eventually descended on Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, terminating his unprecedented swagger as the most vocal and independent-minded governor of the CBN ever, the action did not come as a surprise to many Nigerians. Regardless of the fact that Sanusi defied every prediction and survived the rich foreplay of controversies spurned during his tenure, many Nigerians predicted that his latest brush with the Presidency could prove fatal. And the veracity of that prediction was proven when the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Dr Reuben Abati announced tersely on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 that the most controversial Governor of the CBN had been suspended from office over a panorama of infractions the Kano-born prince allegedly committed while in office. According to Abati, the president suspended the CBN governor from office on account of financial infractions and acts of financial recklessness committed by the CBN as reflected in its audited financial statement of 2012. According to Abati, “pursuant to Section 50 of the CBN Act 2007, a copy of the audited financial statement of the CBN for the year ended 31st December, 2012 was sent to Mr President based on the issues raised in the financial statement , a re-insertion was requested from you to enable a proper appreciation of the nation’s economic outlook. The response to this querry was further referred to the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and the review of the comment, rather than allay the fears of government, further confirmed concerns about the untidy manner in which you have generally conducted operations of the CBN. “In a most ironical manner, it has become obvious that the CBN is unable to prepare its financial statements using applicable International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), whereas Deposit Money Banks that the CBN supervises have complied with this national requirement since 2012. This laxity, apart from calling to question its capacity for proper corporate governance, is capable of sending wrong signals to both the domestic and international investors on the state of the Nigerian economy.” Continuing, the presidential spokesman added: “For example, the BOARD of Trustees, BOT, to manage Deposit Money Banks on Banking Resolution Sinking Fund was not constituted since 2010 when the fund was established. But the CBN has continued to utilize the fund for certain operations without approval of the said BOT.’ The expenditure of several hundreds of billions of naira on certain works and services by the CBN further aggravated the numerous sins allegedly committed by Sanusi and for which he allegedly deserved punishment. In this regard, Nigerians could particularly recall the uproar ignited by the donation of N100 million to victims of Boko Haram in Kano in 2012. According to the National Publicity Secretary of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Mr Raphael Ndigwe, ‘Sanusi should tell us what the CBN has done for hundreds of Igbos who were victims of Boko Haram in the North, otherwise the group would not hesitate to push for his removal from office’. Ohaneze was not alone in this harvest of sour grapes against Sanusi. Members of the National Assembly also felt sufficiently enraged to demand his blood when the suspended CBN

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Running the Gauntlet

Sanusi

“You do not read the provisions of the CBN Act in isolation, you read them together” governor accused them of allegedly constituting a drain on the treasury. Speaking in a lecture at the Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, Sanusi alleged that their salaries constituted over 25 per cent of the national budget. Coupled with the injection of several hundreds of millions to rescue failed banks, this prompted the National Assembly to attempt to amend the CBN Act of 2007 to bring the institution under parliamentary control. Another albatross that hung stubbornly on Sanusi’s neck and planted him firmly in the eye of the storm was the licencing of Islamic Banks in 2011. Although the Islamic community was ecstatic, the National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop Oritsejafor accused him of promoting Islamic banking with public funds. The transparent virtues of interest-free banking which is what defines Islamic banking was conveniently forgotten at this point. A formidable lobby that was sufficiently incensed, enough to rally against the loquacious CBN former gover were some privileged Nigerians who lost favoured and privileged status either as helmsmen, directors or chairmen of liquidated banks who failed to be rescued by the apex bank. They retreated into a powerful rump in the financial services industry, mobilizing antagonism or prejudices whenever and wherever they may be required. All these are tendencies that Sanusi juggled with during his

tempestuous tenure at the apex bank. Apparently to pre-empt those who argue that its much-touted autonomy insulated the CBN from external influence or some form of moderation by external influence, Abati elaborated on this. “There is a qualification that provided the removal is supported by two-thirds majority in the Senate. What the President has done is not removal, it is suspension. You do not read the provisions of the CBN Act in isolation, you read them together and the thrash about that is that he who hires can also have the power to suspend.” Apparently, it is on the basis of this obvious misconception about the latitude of autonomy the apex bank enjoys under the act, as well as promptings by some powerful individuals, including former vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, that Sanusi is threatening to sue the federal government, alleging wrongful suspension. But according to observers, unless the suspended CBN governor lived in a world of make-belief, he ought to have realized, even before now, that no matter its presumed independence, a thumb can never grow fatter than the whole hand from which it protrudes. In a televised interview, the suspended CBN governor waxed almost theatrical, demanding to know under what authority he was suspended given the fact that the apex bank is supposed to operate in exclusion of supervision and interference. Analysts however say that his dilemma and swagger is understandable, especially given the fact that Sanusi is on record as having declared publicly that he prefers the emirship of Kano, in which he has a legitimate stake, to the CBN position which circumscribed his latitude to play court as he would have preferred, regardless of public protestations like that by Ohaneze. Because he dared every criticism and got away with it throughout most of his tenure as CBN governor, is it legitimate to imagine, as some analysts have suggested, that the alleged invincibility of his proverbially disdainful swagger rec-

ognized no bounds, including the Presidency? According to Abati, he was suspended by the President on account of a panorama of financial recklessness and infractions. However, this is one reason that just does seem to impress some Nigerians, especially given the fact that shortly before his ouster, he had written a letter to the President, alleging inexplicable non-remittance of over S20b in crude oil sales by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. To most observers, the fact that this allegation was yet to be resolved before Sanusi was suspended amounted to a tacit admission that there is value in the allegations. According to Dr Tony Alamu, there is every reason for Nigerians to be grateful to Sanusi because without him, there is the possibility that the NNPC might not have acknowledged that any funds were missing. And going by the latest announcement by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, no funds were actually lost by the country in the controversial transactions. According to Adoke, there is legal basis in respect of the status of the S6billion NPDC gross revenue which Sanusi, in his alleged ignorance of the oil business, interpreted to mean unremitted revenue into the Federation Account; the raison d’etre for the uproar over alleged missing funds by the NNPC. ‘The NNPC can legitimately transfer its participatory interest in Oil-Mining Leases(OML) to its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd. The AGF told parliament that “by virtue of paragraph 14 to 16 of the First Schedule of the Petroleum Act CAP 10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 4FN, 2004 (NNPC Act), and Regulation 4 of the Petroleum (Drilling and Prospecting Licence (OPL), can assign its interests provided the consent of the minister of petroleum is obtained”. According to analysts, there is the valid possibility that Sanusi did not understand these much before leaking the contents of his letter to the President to fifth columnists, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo who enthusiastically bellowed the allegation that several billions in oil money could not be accounted for by the NNPC. In threatening to invoke his fundamental human rights by suing the federal government for his suspension, Sanusi has cleverly skirted the grave allegations adduced for his ouster. Other than emotional appeals and subterfuge, he refused to address allegations of reckless expenditure and spending hugely without lawful authorization. The suspended CBN governor also failed to defend himself against the allegation that CBN claimed to have paid N38.233b to the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Co. Ltd, NSPMC, in 2011 for printing of banknotes . Paradoxically, however, in the same 2011, the NSPMC reported a total turnover of N29.370b for all its transactions with all clients, including the CBN. Dr Boniface Chizea, an economic analyst, argued that Sanusi deluded himself by imagining that he could co-exist as a sovereign with the president. He said that further talk of CBN autonomy was nonsense, given that the CBN Act made it clear that the institution existed as an appendage of the supervisory federal ministry of finance. “There is no provision in this arrangement for two sovereigns,” Chizea noted, almost sarcastically.


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THE SANUSI STORY Simeon Ogoegbulem

The Many ‘Sins’ of Sanusi query to Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, over various infractions detected CBN’s 2012 audited account. The query had covered over 22 issues was as a result of bank’s account, which its auditors, Ernst and Young, presented without officially signing, with only a comment that it complies with the CBN Act. There is also the issue of CBN investment in International Islamic Management Corporation of Malaysia. The apex bank was said to have acquired seven per cent equity in the Islamic bank valued at N743 million. This transaction was neither brought to President’s attention nor was a board approval obtained before it was entered into.

Abuja

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he suspension of Mallam Sanusi lamido Saunsi last Thursday was long foretold going by body languages of both the suspended governor and the Presidency. In the last one year, the former CBN governor and top officials of the present administration were barely tolerating each other. Insiders in the corridors of power in the country and financial analysts were therefore not jolted one bit when Sanusi mid last year, announced that he will not seek tenure renewal at the expiration of his term in June, this year. Analysts knew that it was impossible for President Jonathan to renew his tenure as both have already gone their separate ways. The reason is not farfetched. The presidency was said to be bidding its time and allow Sanusi to entangle himself with the long rope which Presidency officials and even Sanusi’s cheerleaders have offered him without him knowing. Information glimpsed by New Telegraph showed that the suspended CBN governor’s cup may have filled before the Presidency decided it was time for the Magena Kano to go. Here are a few actions largely seen as underlying his suspension: Discordant figure of remitted oil revenue

In September last year, Sanusi had written President Jonathan intimating of unaccounted revenue to the tune of $49.8 billion (about N8.117 trillion) by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The letter came on the heels of a controversial letter by former president Olusegun Obasanjo to Jonathan on the state of the nation. The dust

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Sanusi

raised by the letter titled “before it is too late” had not died down before Sanusi’s letter found its way to the media. Presidency officials were quick to point accusing fingers at the suspended CBN governor that he deliberately leaked the letter to the press to cause bad blood between the President and the public and help President’s opponents to gain undue political millage. However, after reconciliations with the finance ministry, NNPC and CBN, Sanusi stated that the amount that is missing about $12 billion and not the $49.8 billion he had alleged in his memo to the President. For many close observers, Sanusi had eaten the humble pie by recanting the figure he had earlier bandied about. It was therefore a big surprise to many that Sanusi would go back to the national Assembly to state yet another figure of $20 billion as the amount NNPC is yet to account for. Analysts were unanimous in declaring that such double talk is one of the many instances he openly raised is-

sues against the government he is a key member. Donations Beyond limits

Sanusi may have ruffled feathers in the Presidency with the way he doled out taxpayers money. Attention was first drawn when he donated N100 million to Kano bomb victims. The donation to Kano bomb victims raised more dust than CBN and it public relations managers could imagine. Questions were asked why Kano of all places when the apex bank had turned the eye to victims of terror in other parts of the country. It was quickly interpreted that Sanusi had made the donation because he wanted to ingratiate himself to the people of the ancient city for political purposes. In order to douse the controversy of the kano donation, Sanusi’s CBN quickly made a donation of N25 million to victims of 2011 Christmas bombing in Madalla, Niger State. Infractions in CBN Account

President Jonathan had issued a

There is also the allegation of financial recklessness displayed by the leadership of the CBN under Sanusi’s supervision. According to the report of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) the apex bank was said to have executed or executing over 60 projects across the country to the tune of over N163billion. FRCN in the report noted that such projects were “inexcusable and patently unlawful for any agency of government to deploy huge sums of money as the CBN has done in this case, without appropriation and outside CBN’s statutory mandate. It is trite that the expenditure of public funds by any organ of government must be based on clear legal mandates, prudent costing and overriding national interest”. Non-compliance with IFRS

In what looks like an irony, the apex bank is yet to comply with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). It was observed that CBN is yet to begin preparing its financial statements using applicable IFRS while Deposit Money Banks

Non compliance with Procurement Act

The CBN under Sanusi was said to have refused to comply with the provisions of Public Procurement Act (PPA) Under the PPA, all federal government agencies should procure their goods, works and services in compliance with the PPA. The apex bank is said to have refused to comply with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act (PPA). The action by the apex bank according to Presidency officials clearly negates the spirit and principles of the PPA which was meant to promote transparency, competitiveness, cost of effectiveness and professionalism in the public sector procurement system. The apex bank was said to have over the years engaged in procurement of goods, works and services worth billions of Naira each year without complying with the express provisions of the PPA.

Justice for Slain Banker as Court Rules Hubby to Die by Hanging

Foluso Ogunmodede

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Mind-Boggling Projects

(DMBs) it is supervising have complied with this national requirement since 2012. This no compliance by the apex bank is said to have made the presidency very uncomfortable as it has the tendency of sending wrong signals to both foreign and domestic investors on the state of the Nigerian economy. Unilateral use of BRSF without BoT Approval Another “sin” of the suspended CBN governor was the inability of the apex bank to constitute the Board of Trustees (BoT) for the Banking Resolution Sinking Fund (BRSF). The apex bank had in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with DMBs, on the BRSF agreed to constitute a BoT to administer the fund. However, the apex bank was said to have breached the MoU as it has since 2010 continued to utilise the Fund for certain operations without approval of the said BOT.

WENTY-four months after he was alleged to have murdered his wife of 15 years, Omotunde Titilayo Arowolo, with a kitchen knife, a 31-year-old Lagos businessman, Akolade Arowolo, is to die by hanging. He was sentenced to death yesterday by Justice Lateefat Okunnu of the Ikeja High Court . Arowolo had on June 24, 2011, stabbed his wife 76 times at their residence , 8, Akindeinde Street, Isolo, Lagos. Okunnu , in a judgement which lasted four hours and

ten minutes, said the case brought against the convict was proved beyond reasonable doubt by the government which prosecuted Arowolo. The judge, quoted copiously from evidence of a pathologist and Lagos Chief Medical Examiner, Prof. John Obafunwa, and concluded that Titilayo, who was stabbed 76 times by her husband, died as a result of the multiple stabbing. She said: ‘’ I found the defendant culpable, his act of omission and commission caused the death of the deceased as she died as a result of injuries she sus-

tained from multiple stabbing. Therefore , the accused person is guilty as charged. He is to die by hanging.” Shortly afterwards, the convict , who dressed in a white shirt over a black jeans on a brown pair of lace-up shoes, with a diary and a copy of the Bible while intermittently wiping off tears from his puffy eyes, collapsed in the dock. In a wild scream, Arowolo betrayed his emotion and broke down in tears,said ‘ Jesusssssss, save my life, I refused to be condemned’ as he ,having been revived from the shock, was whisked away by prison officials.

No fewer than fifteen witnesses including the deceased parents, who painted gory details of Titilayo’s ‘rough moments’ in the hands of the convict, gave evidence before the court. Specifically , the deceased younger sister and Law graduate, Folake Oyahire said the convict was extremely violent to his wife even before her death as the deceased on several occasions told he rof the rough time she had in the hands of her husband, especially while at home with him in their Akindehinde Street, Isolo, Lagos, residence. In her evidence, Folake said “my sister, Titilayo, had

invited me over to her family friend’s house, where she was visiting with her husband. When I got there and saw her, every part of her face was swollen and her eyes were bloodshot. She told me she got the injury when she and Akolade went out the night before. “She told me that on their way back, Akolade had kept raining blows on her in the face despite the fact that she was carrying her baby in her arms.” Folake, who corroborated the evidence given by Titilayo’s step-mother, Adetoun and her sister, Aidehi, described how Aidehi had re-

ceived a call from their father, asking them to visit Titilayo as she had sounded apprehensive and panicky while speaking to her on the phone. But this became too late as Titilayo died from injuries sustained from multiple stabbing unleashed on her by her husband before help could come. She said: “At first, someone picked the Starcomms, but did not say anything, it became silent on the other end. Eventually, her husband picked the call and when I asked about Titilayo, he told me they had some minor issues but that they had resolved it.


Kogi Guber Tussle: Supreme Court Upholds Wada’s Election Tunde Oyesina Abuja

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he Supreme Court yesterday upheld the victory of Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State in the January 2011 governorship election in the state. The decision of the apex court was sequel to an appeal filed by a former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard bearer in the state, Mr. Jibrin Isah Echocho, seeking to void the election of Wada. Delivering the lead judgment, Justice Bode RhodesVivour held that the appellant lacked locus to institute the suit as he could not show the court how his legal right was infringed upon having not participated in the primary election. The court further held that

29.2%

Africa Business Travel Leaders to Meet at Accra Travel Forum

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NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

the lower courts were right in throwing out the suit for lack of jurisdiction. It held that the matter was a post election matter and such should have been taken before a governorship election petition tribunal and not the High Court. The court consequently dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit. New Telegraph recalls that the Federal High Court sitting Abuja had on August 29, 2012 dismissed Echocho’s suit for want of jurisdiction. Echocho, however, appealed it but it was on January 31, 2013 on the same grounds. Both courts ruled that the grievance for which Echocho sought adjudication was an election matter which should have been taken before an election tribunal by virtue of

1999 Constitution (as amended) an the Electoral Act 2010. But in his appeal to the Supreme Court, counsel to Echocho, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) rejected the judgments of the two lower courts and argued that the case was an invitation for the interpretation of some provisions of the constitution. Echocho had prayed the court to among other things grant him an order setting aside the election by the 1st defendant (INEC) to the office of the Governor of Kogi State on December 3, 2011 and which said election purportedly produced the 2nd defendant (Wada) as Governorelect of Kogi State. He also wants an order setting aside the swearing in of the 2nd defendant as Governor of Kogi State.

The appellant said as the winner of an earlier governorship primary election he sought constitutional interpretation following the Supreme Court judgment voiding the tenure elongation of some governors as it affected his nomination as PDP standard bearer for the April 2011 governorship election, which was cancelled as a result of the judgments of the lower courts calculating the tenure of the ousted governors as four years starting from the date they last took oath of office. However Wada, through his counsel, Chief Chis Uche (SAN), urged the apex court to sustain the judgment of the lower courts and dismiss the action because it was an election petition no matter the pretensions.

6,960m

N21,568bn

The height of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America.

The total import value of frozen fish in the second quarter of 2013.

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The Week Ahead

Centenary: FG to Host Fundraising Dinner Feb 25

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he federal government will on February 25 host a fund raising dinner in Lagos for Nigeria’s Centenary celebration, where government intends to devote the realised funds into charity. The event, which will be coordinated by a board headed by former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, has also been inaugurated.

…Jonathan Hosts Special Conference Feb 27

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resident Goodluck Jonathan will host a Special Centenary International Conference, with the theme: ‘Human security, Peace and Development Agenda for the 21st Century Africa’, at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, on February 27, by 10 a.m.

Progressives Governors’ Forum Holds Lecture Feb 24

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he Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) will hold its first Progressive Governance Lecture Series (PGLS) to examine the nature, scope and dynamics of the current unemployment and governance crisis in Nigeria with the theme: ‘Unemployment and the Crisis of Governance in Nigeria: The Way Forward’, at the Civic Centre, Ibadan, Oyo State on February 24, by 9 a.m.

Lagos Trade Fair Ex-Workers Knows Fate March 18

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ustice Kudirat Jose of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has fixed March 18 for the commencement of the trial of five former members of staff of the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, who were charged for allegedly stealing N274 million belonging to their employer.

AMCON to Unveil Enterprise Bank Bidders’ in Two Weeks

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he Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr. Mustapha Chike-Obi, has said the corporation will unveil the identities of qualified of qualified bidders for Enterprise Bank Limited in the next two weeks.

Aret Adams Annual Lecture for Feb 27

A First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan (right), condoling with the widows of late Senator Isaiah Balat, during the first lady’s condolence visit to Balat’s residence in Abuja…yesterday PHOTO: NAN

Gunmen Abduct EFCC’s Suspect at Igbosere Court CAUGHT

rated how four gunmen abducted an alleged fraudster it took to a Lagos High Court A suspect abducted for trial. on court premises in The EFCC, in a statement, Lagos by its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, disclosed that the said gunmen stormed Emmanuel Onan the court premises and Abuja whisked away one Princehe Economic and Finan- will Arinze Nwobodo (alias cial Crimes Commission Aboki), to an unknown des(EFCC), yesterday nar- tination.

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Consequently, the suspect’s planned arraignment before Justice Aishat Opesanwo on a 4-count charge bordering on obtaining $92,000 under false pretence, was botched. The statement reads in part: “Nwobodo had previously been arraigned in two separate courts in Lagos on fraud related charges. He was docked on October 25,

2013 before Justice Saliu Seidu of the Federal High Court, Lagos on a 15-count charge bordering on forgery and obtaining under false pretence. “He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail. His inability to meet the bail conditions consigned him to prison custody till Thursday, February 20.

ret Adams memorial lecture has be scheduled for February 27 at the MUSON Centre (Agip Hall), Lagos. The Programme Coordinator of Aret Adams Foundation, Mr. Akin Jokojeje, said this year’s lecture is tagged: ‘Oil Theft: Its Impact on Nigeria.’
He added that the Chairman/Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, would be the guest speaker, while, the Chairman, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Mr. Atedo Peterside, will chair the occasion.

Africa Business Travel Leaders to Meet at Accra Travel Forum

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he African business travel scene will come alive next week Tuesday as the African Business Travel Association (ATBA) host key stakeholders and leaders in the industry to a day Travel Forum in Accra, Ghana. The Founder of ABTA, Monique Swart of South Africa, who is heading this new initiative to get Africa travel leaders talk on the future of the industry revealed from her base that all is set for this important forum.


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NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

Court rules on house leadership suit March 25 DECISION DAY Judgment to be given in suit filed by PDP Tunde Oyesina Abuja

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Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday set March 25 to deliver judgement in the suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), seeking it to restrain the House of Representatives from altering the composition of its leadership. However, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, his deputy, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and other principal officers of the PDP urged the court dismiss the suit. Tambuwal’s application for dismissal is supported by 37 other former PDP members of the House of Reps, who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) At the resumed hearing yesterday, the defence’s legal team, which included six Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), faulted the competence of the suit. While adopting their final

addresses in relation to their counter affidavits to the plantiff’s originating summons, the lawyers described the suit as a pre-emptive step, abuse of court process and an attempt by the PDP to dabble into, and control the internal affairs of House. Counsel to the House, Tambuwal and Ihedioha, Mahmoud Magaji (SAN), argued that it was wrong for the PDP to seek to restrain it’s former members from participating in the activities of the House on the ground of their defection. Relying on Supreme Court’s decisions in the cases of FEDECO vs Goni, Nigerian Supreme Court Cases (NSCC) 1983 Volume 14 at page 481 and Aneke vs Oloye NSCC 1983 Vol 14 at pages 315 and 317, Magaji further argued that the court has the sole powers to decide when a legislator’s seat was vacant where he decamped when there is a division in his old party, and there is a dispute of fact as to whether there is actually a division in the old party. He argued that the two decisions by the apex court were based on the provision of Section 64(1(g) of the 1979 Constitution, which is the same with Section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution.

Confab: Braithwaite, Fasehun, others demand fresh agenda for Yoruba LET’S RETHINK Groups want a second look at proposed agenda Wale Elegbede

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s the build-up to the National Conference gathers momentum, some self determination groups in South West under the auspices of Pan-Yoruba Agenda for 2014 National Conference, has canvassed for a fresh agenda for the Yoruba people during the proposed gathering. Presenting the new agenda on Friday after a two-day deliberation chaired by Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, in Lagos, the convener of the group, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, said the Yoruba nation. The demand also includes, “A resolution that the the National Conference must produce

a new Nigerian Constitution not subject to any amendment by any arm of the current government. That the Constitution must be endorsed by the generality of Nigerians in a referendum with the qualification for participation being adult suffrage.” Fasehun also said the group would advocate for youth and women groups to be carried along as per representation and their particular interests. Speaking earlier at the conference, Braithwaite, w arned Nigerians to be wary of forces within or outside government who may attempt to stop or tele-guide the outcome of the conference. According to the elder statesman, the amalgamation that brought Southern and Northern Protectorates together in 1914 was fraudulent, stressing that the national conference is the right time to revisit it.

ABUJA

NEWS IN BRIE F

BAUCHI

YENAGOA

NASENI to Partner Entrepreneurs on Machine

Bauchi Dry Season Farmers Laud FG over Supply

The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has said it is ready to collaborate with entrepreneurs to mass-produce its numerous machines for local use. The agency’s special bulletin made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja, quoted the Executive Vice-Chairman, Mr. Mohammed Haruna, said.

Bauchi State Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Dr Yahaya Adamu, yesterday commended the federal government for providing dry season inputs to farmers in the state.Adamu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi, that the inputs would support the programme which he described as a people-oriented scheme.

33%

The arable/cultivable land in Nigeria.

6.8bn The total number of mobile cellular subscriptions as at 2013.

Dickson Pledges Support to Education Sector In a bid to reposition the state owned Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island and adequately address other issues confronting the education sector, Governor Seriake Dickson, yesterday held a closed-door meeting with stakeholders in the sector at Government House, Yenagoa.

N11.008bn The total export value of wood charcoal of bamboo in the second quarter of 2013.

L-R: National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Adamau Mu’azu; Gombe State Deputy Governor, Mr. Tha’anda Rubainu and former Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri, during a condolence visit to the national chairman over the death of his father in-law, Alhaji Yaya Abubakar, in Gombe…yesterday PHOTO:NAN

Sanusi’s suspension: Experts fear ripple effects on economy Mixed Reaction Nigerians continue to react to CBN governor’s suspension Simeon Ogoegbulem and Abdulwahab Isa Abuja

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ixed reactions have continued to trail the suspension of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from office with most the reactions warning that the nation’s fragile economy may be hurt. Presidency had on Thursday announced the suspension of Saunsi who has less than four months to complete his tenure.

Former Group Managing Director of Skye Bank plc, Akinsola Akinfewa said that the sudden removal of former Central Bank governor MallamSanusi Lamido Sansui is bound to elicit reactions both from withinand international markets . Akinfewa said such market reactions were imperative because of important roles play by the central banks in a given economy adding that the days to follow sanusi’s suspension could elicit positive and negative reactions. His words: “any change at that top level will attract market reactions and they could be positive and negative. This is natural and is so expected but I don’t expect to see tre-

mendous change in the operation of commercial banking but certainly the market is bound to react for the next couple months “. He applauded the former CBN governor for enthroning reforms that stood the test of time noting that those good things he had done as attested by international finance community and local finance players could be source of ripples in the market. On the nomination of Godwin Emefiele, managing director of Zenith Bank Plc as Sanusi’s successor, Akinfewa described Emefiele as complete gentleman that will sustain reforms started by Sanusi. “We are colleague and he is a complete gentleman. He

is clam, focusand has been around for quite a long while in the system and he knows the banking operations very well. Emefiele has been there and he is part and parcel of the industry and has gone through all the gamut of process “, he said. In his reaction, CEO Global Analytics Consulting Limited, Tope Fasua shared similar view with the former Sky Bank MD saying the Sanusi controversial removal from the apex bank was likely to have some a ripple effect in the market. However, he said the effect was too pre-mature to access, saying both international finance and local community were still doing the watching of trend.


Body of kidnapped Eagles’ father found KILLED Ilonyosi’s father found in a shallow grave Jude Opara Abuja

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ore than three months after he was abducted by kidnappers near his country home in Abagana, Anambra State, the body of Pa James Iloenyosi, father of former Super Eagles defender, Chikelue Ilonyosi, has finally been discovered buried in a shallow grave in Nneyi,Umuleri, in Anambra East Local Government Area of the state. The discovery of the body of the 83-year-old former soldier early in the week, was possible after the arrest of one Nnoso Ogbukezie, said to be the leader of the kidnappers who had some time in November 2013, abducted the old man as he was returning from an early

NEWS

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

morning mass. Unfortunately, the dare devil kidnappers still snuffed the life out of their victim after collecting a N10 million ransom from his family. Confirming the development to New Telegraph, Chikelue Ilonyosi said the kidnap kingpin was arrested in Lokoja, Kogi State, where he was said to have relocated since January this year, following the hot chase by security operatives who made Anambra State too hot for him. It was further learnt that Ogbukezie, after he led security operatives to Anambra State where another key member of the group, simply identified as ‘Awolowo’ was equally arrested. In fact, it was Awolowo that was said to have confirmed the death of the octogenarian and eventually took the security men and the Ilonyosi family members to where the body of their patriarch was buried in a shallow grave somewhere in Umuleri, a neighbouring community.

NEWS IN BRIEF

BENIN

SOKOTO

Two Feared Dead in Road Mishap at Auchi

Sokoto Govt to Purchase 300 Tricycles for Youths

Two passengers in a saloon car were feared dead yesterday as a tanker transporting petroleum products on the Auchi-Okene Highway at Auchi, Edo, ran over the car. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the accident, involving a Toyota Carina 11 saloon car with registration number: Ondo AH 268 KAA and a tanker with plate number : XA 559 KRT, occurred around 8.30 a.m.

The Sokoto State Government yesterday said it would spend N120 million to purchase 300 tricycles to facilitate mobility among its citizens. The state Commissioner for Information, Malam Danladi Bako, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Sokoto, that the gesture was part of the government’s effort to create job opportunities for the unemployed youths.

82%

The rate by which fixed broadband prices dropped between 2008 and 2013.

96%

The rate at which mobile cellular penetration stands globally at 2013

7

LAGOS Two Transport Unions Task FG on Fuel Scarcity Two key road transport unions yesterday in Lagos, called on the federal government to resolve all issues causing fuel scarcity in the country. The Road Transport Employers Association (RTEAN) and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) made the plea when their leaders spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

2.7bn The number of people that are online.

Opposition senators plot against Jonathan CONTINUED FROM PAGE p2

that characterised his administration as the head of the CBN. Meanwhile, the polarisation looks set to deepen even further as the Kano Emirate Council on Friday condemned Sanusi’s suspension, describing it as a “witch-hunt”. “We and many see the president’s action as a deliberate witch-hunt of the governor for doing his job by letting Nigerians to know the alleged fraud going at the petroleum industry and to divert people attention from this monumental fraud,” a statement issued by its scribe, Alhaji Mahe Bashir, noted. “As the President suspended the governor without a recourse to the rule of law, we believe it was deliberate attempt to witch-hunt him. This is desperation and impunity at the highest level by the federal government. “It is our view that the federal government should as a matter of urgency review this issue by following the laid down procedure in the suspension of public officer, for equity, justice and fairness. it said. The Emirate Council applauded members of the National Assembly and the public for “opposing the sus-

pension of the Mallam Sanusi. “At this point we will like to thank members of the National Assembly and the general public for condemning and objecting to the suspension,” the statement adds. It emerged last night that Sanusi has obtained a court order restraining the inspector-general of police, the attorney-general of the federation and the State Security Service from arresting him. The order issued by a Federal High Court in Ikoyi read: Upon this Motion Exparte dated and filed on the 21st day of February, 2014, coming before the court and praying as follows: An order of this honourable court restraining the respondents, their privies, agents, representatives, or any other law enforcement agencies of the government of the federation from violating, interfering with, or imposing any restriction on the enjoyment of the applicant’s right to personal liberty and freedom of freedom of movement pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.” There was also a claim that the former CBN governor’s residence in Abuja was raided by the SSS. The allegation could however not be confirmed.

Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State (left) welcoming the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Lulu Maguni, who paid him a courtesy call in his office, in Bauchi…yesterday PHOTO: NAN

Briggs blames NNPC for high incidence of oil theft l Says SPDC can’t account for exact oil production figures Ndubuisi Ugah

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rked by the growing incidence of oil theft in the country and its attendant effect on crude oil production, a Niger Delta environmental activist, Annkio Briggs, has accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of not doing enough to account for how much barrels of crude oil is being produced and lifted out of the country on daily basis. She said this was hinged on the fact that except concerted efforts are made by the corporation to check the incidence, the issue of oil theft will continue to deprive the

nation of enormous foreign exchange earnings, which would be required to develop the sector. Speaking in an interview with the New Telegraph in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, Briggs said it was imperative for the NNPC to be awake to its responsibilities since the federal government does not have an independent means of ascertaining the exact figures being produced. According to her, “we are told that billions of naira is being lost on a monthly basis by people who are stealing our oil in the Niger Delta. It is not that our people do not have

the technical nor security capacity to protect the pipeline or stop the people that are stealing the oil. The responsibility to protect and stop the people who are stealing the crude oil lies squarely on the people who are actually involved in the oil theft. That is why the oil theft is going on. “The oil companies have all the technical knowledge. They should tell us how much oil they are taking because the Nigerian government has no independent means of knowing whether Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC), is telling the truth when they say, today they have lifted 1.5million barrels

of crude oil.” While insisting that the NNPC was still falling short of its responsibilities in terms of giving accurate figures of crude oil being produced, the human rights activist alleged that: “It is the oil company that is telling the world how much money is being lost. The figures were not brought out by the Nigerian government.” Recalling that “What is happening today is a long time thing that has been going on,” Briggs stated that: “Oil theft did not start at the creation of Rivers or Bayelsa States. Oil theft did not start with the agitation of Adaka Boro, Ijaw youth or late Ken Saro Wiwa. It all started the day oil was discovered.”


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NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

Confusion trails Ekiti PDP guber selection process DIVISION It appears there is no respite in sight in Ekiti PDP Adesina Wahab Ado-Ekiti

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iscordant tunes have continued to emanate from the Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over which method to adopt in selecting its candidate for the June 21, 2014 governorship election. Findings by our correspondent in Ado-Ekiti on Friday showed that the party is polarised along the lines of those who are supporting consensus approach and those calling for party primary. It was learnt that the meeting called by the national leadership of the party with aspirants in Abuja, on Thursday did not achieve much in getting them to speak with one voice. A source at the meeting told our correspondent that the aspirants also failed to persuade the Adamu Muazuled National Working Committee (NWC) to reduce the

cost of obtaining Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms from N1 million and N10 million to N500,000 and N5 million respectively. The NWC stood its ground on the monies to be paid, saying that had been the tradition of the party and that the state could not be an exemption. The NWC also said until the aspirants obtain nomination forms and pay necessary fees, they would not be recognised as aspirants. The NWC also gave the assurance that every step it would take on the matter would be in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and the guidelines given parties on such matters by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). “The meeting did not agree as to whether we should adopt an aspirant as the consensus candidate as some opposed that and called for primary. Also, the NWC did not agree to the pleas that payable fees be slashed. “The NWC said whether it will be consensus or primary, aspirants should go and pay first to show their level of seriousness and commitment,” the source said.

FG restates commitment to hydrocarbon exploration in Chad Basin PARTNERSHIP Exploration of hydrocarbon to boost development

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he Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday said the federal government’s commitment to oil, gas and hydrocarbon exploration in the Chad Basin area was unwavering. Manager, Public Affairs, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), a subsidiary of the NNPC, Mr. Kennie Obateru, said this in a press statement in Lagos. He said the NNPC had continued the seismic acquisition in the basin’s frontier area in spite of security challenges. “The project is being handled by the Integrated Data

Services Limited, a subsidiary of NNPC, in partnership with the China National Petroleum Corporation. “The seismic acquisition activities are carried out with due regard to environmental protection and in accordance with international standards and best practices. “In this regard, NNPC contracted the University of Maiduguri to undertake an Environmental Baseline Studies (EBS) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which will be a guide in the current and future exploration activities in the region. “The NNPC has embarked on sustainable developmental projects for host communities in the areas of infrastructure, health and education. NNPC has undertaken projects such as provision of potable wa-

ABAKALIKI Elechi suspends fiscal responsibility commission boss NEWS IN BRIE F

Governor Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State has suspended the Chairman of the state Fiscal Responsibility Commission, former Chairman of Finance, Chief Reginald Onwe and the acting General Manager of state Investment Company, Mrs. Esther Anyigor, from office.

Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor, Dr. Onyekachi Eni, said the suspension was as a result of an investigation into the purchase of N1 billion shares by company.

IBADAN Joint health union suspends strike The Joint Health Staff Union (JOHESU) yesterday suspended its proposed nationwide strike, following the presidency’s intervention. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the union is demanding for improved working condition for its members. The Chairman, Nigeria University Allied Health Professionals, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan branch, Mr.Olusegun Sotiloye,who confirmed this to NAN in Ibadan.

FCT FG generates N6.4bn to build Abuja centenary city The federal government has realised a total of N6.4billion (about $40million) as investments from stakeholders to build the proposed Centenary city in Abuja. The new city is one of the projects lined up for the celebration of 100 years of the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates if Nigeria.

Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State signing oath forms of newly elected local government chairmen, during their swearing-in in Dutse…yesterday PHOTO:NAN

Wike: We will arrest Amaechi after Jonathan’s victory

Joe Ezuma

Port Harcourt

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he seeming ebb in the political temperature in Rivers State, after the banning of the Grassroots Democratic Initiative (GDI) and the Save Rivers Movement (SRM) and the removal of former Rivers Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu, rose again yesterday when two Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains in the state fired salvos at Governor Chibuike Amaechi. The political crisis in state reached its climax when Amaechi with four other Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors on November 26, 2013, defected to the All Progressives Congress (All Progressives Congress). But with the banning of the

two fronts of the opposing political camps and the replacement of Mbu with new Commissioner of Police, Mr. Tunde Ogunsakin, appeared to have reduced the political tension in the state. However, for many in the state who witnessed the PDP’s outing in the state, it not yet uhuru. Supervising Minister for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike and the PDP Deputy National Chairman, Mr. Uche Secondus, were the beaters of fresh war drums and in the process drew another battle line and the occasion was the official presentation of 25 buses to the 23 local government areas and the state chapter of the party to ease their logistic challenges, at the state secretariat along Aba Road, distribution

of 25 buses by PDP in Port Harcourt. While Wike declared that Amaechi would be arrested after President Goodluck Jonathan had been declared the winner of the 2015 presidential election, Secondus on his part, said this would not be allowed to pick his successor after his tenure . Wike frowned at the way the state legislators sit in Government House to pass bills that give the governor free reign to spend money, saying, “They can seat in government house and approve whatever amount of money they like for Governor Amaechi to spend. But let me tell you all now, Amaechi and his friends will account for all the monies that they are appropriating and spending now.”

He threatened that once the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), announce the victory of President Jonathan, “we will immediately shut down the Port Harcourt International Airport and all land and sea boarders in Rivers State to prevent Amaechi from escaping. Does he think we don’t know that he is planning to run away? But he and his cohorts will not succeed. “All they can do thereafter is to lock themselves inside government house and at the appropriate time, we will go there and pick them up one after the other. Believe me Governor Amaechi will surely account for all our monies that he his frittering away now. We will not allow the looters of our treasury to run away from justice.”


Fashola orders immediate reopening of LASU

• Okays N51m for repairs of damaged facilities Muritala Ayinla

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arely a month after the Lagos State University (LASU) was shut indefinitely, the state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), yesterday approved the re-opening of the institution from February 24, in the interest of the students. The institution was on January 23, this year shut indefinitely following protest by over 1,292 students of the institution, who thronged the streets over their inability to register for the rain semester examination. But in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Hakeem Bello, Fashola acceded to the recommendations of the Lagos State House

NEWS

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

of Assembly’s Ad hoc Committee on the LASU crisis, assuring that all the vandalised would be repaired. The governor also approved the sum of N51 million for the repairs of damaged property and facilities in the higher institution based on the assessment done by the state Ministry of Works and Infrastructure. The governor, in the statement, also advised the students to keep the peace and be of good conduct. It would be recalled that the management of LASU postponed the rain semester 2012/2013 examination and shut down the institution indefinitely following massive destruction by the irate students.

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Electoral Offences: Commission indicts ex-Kogi Speaker, INEC, others l Says indicted politicians won’t contest 2015 elections

Tunde Oyesina Abuja

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he National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has indicted former Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon. Clarence Olafemi, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), 53 individuals and some political parties of being guilty of political offenses during past elections. Also indicted are various states Petition Tribunals, Resident Electoral Commissioners, Peoples Democratic

Party (PDP), Federal High Court and Court of Appeal. Others are the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party ANPP, ASP Christopher Oloyede and Professor Maurice Iwu. The commission, however, stated that any politician that has been convicted of one electoral crime or the other will not be allowed to contest in the 2015 general election. The Board Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, stated this during the inauguration of the interim report and website of the electoral impunity project held at the headquarters

of the Commission in Abuja. Talking on how electoral offenders will be identified, Odinkalu said: “We have already started, the report we have launched considered 800 judgements out of which there was 84 indictment. Those indictments came with the names of the offender. “All of us were around in 2007, where it was agreed that the election that year was the worst in our history. Who have been held accountable for that? Did INEC discipline anybody? Did Police Service Commission discipline anybody? If they did, where are

the names of the people they discipline? If they did not, how come they did not? “This is not to put anybody on trial but it for the citizens, people can apply under the Freedom of Information Act to ask for the names of those electoral offenders so that parties will know what to do, candidates know what to do and INEC itself will know what to do. “We heard INEC saying that that have really not have any process of accountability internally. This have to change.”

Kano govt distributes N15m grants to empower women DISBURSED 500 underpriviledged get N300,000 each

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ano State Government has disbursed an empowerment capital totalling N15 million to 500 under privileged women, with each receiving N30,000 to establish a petty business. The state Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who disclosed this on Thursday, at the graduation ceremony of the 500 women trained on several trades, at Government House, Kano, explained that the beneficiaries include divorcees, widows, deserted women and HIV victims among others. The women acquired skills in trades ranging from beads making, food processing, toiletries, personal care items and related ventures to enable them become self-reliant and contribute meaningfully to economic development. Kwankwaso said: “The 500 women represent are just a fraction from hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries from our various empowerment schemes,” adding that besides the skills training, the beneficiaries were also lectured on entrepreneurship and personal hygiene. The government, he said, would in subsequent phase of the programme, consider

women who send their children to hawk on the streets, especially young girls, appealing to parents to desist from such practice and enrol their children in school as education is now free in the state. Speaking during the event, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs, Dr. Binta Tijjani Jibril, said in addition to imparting skills on the 500 women, a basic literacy programme was organised for them to keep them in tune with modern civilisation. Jibril further said that all the participants were assisted to open bank accounts to ease their businesses as well as to provide a window for obtaining soft loans. A representative of the Women Development Microfinance Bank, Hajiya Talatu Bashir, commended the state government for the empowerment initiative, pointing out that the beneficiaries stand to gain a lot from transacting with banks. Speaking also, the state Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Hadiza Bello, stressed that the policies and programmes being spearheaded by the Kwankwaso administration were development driven and could effectively tackle unemployment, rural neglect, child exploitation and positively give wider opportunities for education at all levels.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr. Habibu Lawal (left), with the Minister, Hajiya Zainab Maina, at the national stakeholders’ meeting on the 58th session of the United Nations Commission on Status of Women, in Abuja… yesterday PHOTO: NAN

PORT HARCOURT

OWERRI Imo Govt,PDP differ on Jonathan’s visit

NEWS IN BRIEF

Following the well publicised visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to Imo state, there have been an increasing spate of uncomplimentary exchanges between the state government and the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Governor Rochas Okorocha actually set the ball rolling when he told journalists in Owerri, that it was unfortunate that the president’s visit was not of any developmental benefit to the people of the state.

750m

The number of households that are connected to the internet as January 2014.

Rivers lawmakers Wade into teacher’s Suspension Rivers State House of Assembly has resolved to wade into a petition brought by aggrieved teacher of the state owned Ingatus Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt (IAUE). Mrs. Ayite Collins in a petition dated October 13, 2013 to the house stated that she was a teacher at Seaside Primary School, Port Harcourt, owned by IAUE till last year.

Ilorin Students Gang-rape Colleague to Coma Three students of the College of Health Technology, Offa in Kwara state have been nabbed by the police for raping a female colleague into a state of coma. The state Police Commissioner, Mr. Ambrose Aisabo, who briefed journalists, on efforts at dealing with crime in the state alleged that the suspects drugged their victim and ‘raped her mercilessly’ until she passed out.

17,836,133 N11.008bn The total population living in Shangai, China (the most populous city of the world).

The total export value of wood charcoal of bamboo in the second quarter of 2013.


Why we granted Pastor Fireman bail –Police p.11

NTWEEKEND ONLINE AT

Police investigate pool game director for N1million fraud p.11

Street DIARY NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY

22 FEBRUARY 2014

www.newtelegraphonline.com/streetdiary

Robber operates with licensed gun for 15 years

Juliana Francis

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suspected robber, Kazeem Ahmed, who was naive enough to operate with a licensed gun, has been shot dead by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Ikeja, during exchange of gun battle with the police. The gun, a pump action, was found in Ahmed’s home when the police searched his apartment. Findings show that he purchased the gun in 1999. Apart from the licensed gun, the police also found six fully-loaded police magazines and police AK47 rifles in his apartment. Besides, one of the modus operandi of the slain suspected robber was to disguise as a woman to deceive his victims as well as security agents. On the night he was killed, the police said he was wearing a wig and night gown. A police source said: “There was no way Ahmed could have gotten those police rifles and magazine if not that he and his gang killed some policemen and took the guns from them.”

Fire Arms Act, 1990 Section 3. No person shall have in his possession or under his control any firearm of one of the categories specified in Part I of the Schedule hereto (hereinafter referred to as a prohibited firearm) except in accordance with a license granted by the President acting in his discretion. Section 4. No person shall have in his possession or under his firearms control any firearm of one of the categories specified in Part II of the Schedule to this Act (hereinafter referred to as a personal firearm) except in accordance with a license granted in respect thereof by the InspecIt was learnt that Ahmed was shot and killed by SARS operatives after he attempted to scale the fence of his building at Ikorodu area of Lagos. Having been informed that the suspect was a master of disguise, the police sensed that the person who was scaling the fence was Ahmed and immediately went after him. Another police source said: “We had

tor-General of Police, which licenses shall be granted or refused in accordance with principles decided upon by the National Council of Ministers. Section 8. (3) Upon the death of the holder of a license or permit, a person lawfully in possession of the chattels of the deceased or a person to whom a firearm or ammunition therefore has been bequeathed may, notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, lawfully have in his possession a firearm or ammunition in respect of which the deceased person held a license or permit for a period of fourteen days after such death. received information from our paid informants on where to locate him. But anytime we go for him, he always evaded arrest. There was a time we heard he was in a night club. Some of us went into the night club, while others stayed at the gate. We were so sure he would not elude us that day. But we were surprised that he was part of a group of noisy women who strolled out of the club.”

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When he scaled the fence, it was learnt that the police repeatedly ordered him to halt, but rather than obey, he brought out his gun and opened fire on the policemen. Ahmed, otherwise known by the sobriquet ‘Naira,’ was popular among Fuji musicians and was a regular face at social events. It was learnt that he got his nickname ‘Naira,’ because of his penchant for spending crisp naira notes on musicians at social events. Investigations revealed that he had three houses: two in Ikorodu and one in Epe area of Lagos. Ahmed’s downfall started after one of his arrested gang members gave the police information leading to his arrest. A police source said: “The officer in charge of SARS, Abba Kyarri, drafted a team of policemen and instructed them to go to Agberigbe Street in Ikorodu that same night. We believe that once we get the wife, we would get Naira. When we got to Agberigbe, we arrested the wife and asked her to call her husband. She called him, begging him to come home that something terrible had happened. “He asked her what had happened. She told him that hot water poured on her. He replied her, ‘police have arrested you. Tell them to do whatever they like with you.’ The first wife had no choice than to take the police to the second wife’s home in Epe.” But when the police got to Epe, the wife was packing her belongings while a vehicle was waiting outside the building. After questioning the wife, the police searched the house and found 11 different number plates. The source said, “The wife said her husband used to frequent his house at Agura in Ikorodu, but she didn’t know the exact location of the building. “The police immediately went to Agura in the night. When the police got there, they started patrolling the area because they didn’t know the exact location of the building.” The police were on the verge of giving up when they saw some security guards in the area and asked them if they knew Ahmed. After the guards could not figure out the name, the policemen asked the suspect’s wife to give a vivid description of her husband. After the guards were also told the brand of vehicle Ahmed drove, they led the policemen to his residence. The source said: “When the police got to the building, it was fenced round. They surrounded the building and asked one of the guards to knock at the gate. A young lady, who claimed to be the suspect’s wife came out of the building and told the plain-clothed policemen that her husband had travelled. “When she could not give her husband’s full name and answered subsequent questions asked by the police, she was arrested. “She quickly opened up, saying he picked her at Badagry the night before that day. She added that Ahmed was inside the building. But Ahmed had already left the apartment and was climbing the fence of the building.”


street diary

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

Why we granted Pastor Fireman bail –Police

Police investigate pool game director for N1million fraud Taiwo Jimoh

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Fireman

Juliana Francis

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ore than one month after 18-year-old Ikechukwu Friday was arrested and detained for alleged murder at the State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID), Homicde Section ‘D4’, the teenager is yet to be charged to court. Ironically, Pastor Sign Fireman, who was fingered as an accomplice in the murder of the 12-year-old victim identified as Bose, had been granted bail. He has since gone home to continue with his pastoral work. The Lagos State Police spokesperson, Ngozi Braide, told New Telegraph that detention and release of suspects was procedural. She added: “Friday committed murder by killing the victim. Pastor Fireman was only alleged to be an accomplice by the suspect. Since there is no evidence yet against Fireman, he was granted bail.

Friday

The SCID had on January 6, 2014, paraded Ikechukwu for strangling 12-year-old Bose to death in an uncompleted building after calling her out from her mother’s cafeteria, where she was serving food to customers. The suspect beckoned on Bose and took her to the uncompleted building, where we allegedly killed her. An eyewitness, who saw Friday while carrying out the crime raised the alarm, which attracted people in the neighbourhood. Subsequently, the suspect was overpowered and handed over to the police. During interrogation, Ike chukwu said his pastor, Fireman, promised to give him N100, 000 if he could bring the faeces of a virgin to him. The monetary reward, the suspect said, prompted him to lure and kill Bose. According to Ikechukwu, Fireman allegedly said he wanted to

use the deceased girl’s faeces to resurrect corpses. Fireman is the General Overseer of Perfect Christianity Mission, located around Aguda in Lagos. Friday had denied that he wanted to use the slain girl for ritual purpose, insisting that he needed money and had approached the pastor, who asked him to strangle a teenage girl to death and bring her excreta in order to get money. Braide, however, said Friday’s case file had been sent to Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP). She said, “It’s not all cases that are sent to DPP, only special cases. Right now, police cannot do anything about the case, pending the DPP advice. “It’s the DPP’s advice that will determine who will be charged to court. Fireman was granted bail with reliable sureties. If the time for court comes, depending on DPP’s advice, he would be rearrested and taken to court.”

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he Managing Director, Super Pool Promoter, Mr. Olawumi Abduazeez, is being investigated by the police for allegedly defrauding a customer of N1 million. The customer was said to have placed a bet and won the said sum. But Abdulazeez allegedly refused to pay him. This, it was learnt, prompted Mr. Kayode Adebiyi of Cash Pool Agency to appeal to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, to intervene. Adebiyi said, “Before my customer placed the bet, I asked my son to phone the director to confirm from him if there is still time for more entries. The director gave my son the go ahead and asked him to send the money to his office. “The bet was placed before 12noon on October 24, 2013 and the money was sent to the office of the director at Agege area of Lagos. But to my astonishment the director of the pool agency denied ever receiving the money.” Adebiyi said rather than

give him the money, Abdulazeez came up with different excuses at different times. “Sometime last year we were both invited to the Office the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, where he promised to pay the money. But he had yet to fulfill his promise till date.” On his part, Adebiyi’s son, Oluwafemi, told our correspondent that he sent the money to the director’s office immediately the bet was placed to avoid being disqualified. “It was a surprise to me when he said the money did not get to their office. The winner has been on my father’s neck since he won the money,” he added. When contacted, Abduazeez declined to make comment saying the matter was already being investigated by the police. The spokesperson for Lagos State Police Command, Ngozi Braide, confirmed that the matter was being investigated. “We will make our findings known as soon as we finish investigations,” she said.

Adebiyi’s shop

Toyota Camry tops list of most-stolen cars in Ogun Taiwo Jimoh

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One of the recovered stolen vehicles.

here are indications that no fewer than 20 Toyota Camry cars are snatched from their owners by armed robbers in various parts of Ogun State every month. This was contained in the anticrime records made available to our correspondent by the office of the Police Public Relations in Abeokuta, Ogun State According to the records, in 2013, about 50 Camry cars were snatched by robbers in the state. However, some of the cars had been recovered by the police.

It was learnt that in January 2014, the special anti-robbery squad in the state trailed a sixman gang and recovered a stolen Camry from them. According to the spokesperson, the robbers stole the car from the owner at gunpoint at his residence and drove him to somewhere in Ifo and threw him out of the vehicle. The record further shows that in December 2013 two Camry cars marked BK 205 BG and CH 308 RSK were snatched from their owners around Sapon and Kuto areas of the state. On October 23, 27 and 28, the robbers snatched a Toyota Camry

marked PE 869 KRD and another one KU 200 MA from their owners in Ifo. They also stole another green Toyota Camry with registration No VV 40 KJA from the owner at Adigbe area, Abeokuta. The Public Relations Officer of the command, Muyiwa Adejobi, said he could not fathom why Camry was the most sought-after car by robbers. He said, “We have been able to recover some cars stolen by the robbers and I want to advise those whose cars had been stolen to come forward with proof of ownership.”


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OPINION

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014


Instyle The return of good, old velvet p.16 Travel The thrill of water sports at La Camppagne p.42

NTWEEKEND

NTWEEKEND ONLINE AT

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY

www.newtelegraphonline.com/weekend

22 FEBRUARY 2014

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C o n v e r s at i o n The life of one who has won a Miss World crown seems fairly predictable: they often strut the world stage advertising top fashion labels and earning some decent pay doing so. But Agbani Darego has gone a step further to launch a personal label which she says is “flattering to a range of body types and pocket needs”. Sony Neme visits the former MBGN winner’s flagship store in Lagos and finds her in an upbeat mood.

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ne of the alluring features of the AD showroom is the denim bar, an interactive space for customers which provides them with an intimate experience of the brand and its products. Well, AD is the ex-beauty queen’s label coined from the initials of her name.

At a press briefing heralding the official launch, Agbani had this to say: “Launching AD by Agbani Darego is a dream come true for me. Jeans are my go-to everyday look and it’s a love I share with a lot of young girls and women for its comfort and simplicity. AD by Agbani Darego is a line that caters to the ease we require of our personal style and it has been a pleasure creating a line that’s intuitive to our body, style and pocket needs. I am excited about it and I hope that it will be well received. “This is my first flagship store. It’s not the only store I hope to open. I do hope to have branches all over the country not just in Lagos,” she said, in response to my sugges-

Agbani Darego

The Queen’s own label

tion that Lekki (a swanky residential neighbourhood some kilometres away from Victoria Island) seems a curious choice of location. “I’m also working on an online vendor that will carry my clothing line online so you can go on the computer and just order wherever you are. You could be on the mainland, Abuja, Port Harcourt wherever, Kano, Bauchi you can order the clothing online and it will get delivered to you. So this is just the initial first sale launch. The next time you meet me, we would probably be talking about the online vendor.” Last year, Darego announced the launch of her denim line, AD by Agbani Darego. That was followed by a promotional campaign where she donned a few styles from the line. Products available at that launch comprised the label’s pioneer range of jeans, bags and zip front shirt dress. The jeans come in four styles inspired by some indigenous Nigerian names: Bola - “Trouser Leg”; Aisha - “Classic Cut”, Ify -“Boyfriend Jeans”; Nosa - “Skinny Jeans”. Graduating in 2012, she thought hard about her future, guided by a resolve to do something different. “Like most models you come across, it gets to a stage in our lives that we think: ‘what is next for me? What else can I do aside from this?’ And for about a year before I actually graduated, I had previous retail working in a different line. Somehow, one day I stumbled on the idea of denim. I love denim, I understand it, I know the way it works. I know there will be good profit margin for it; and I knew I could create something that will work for the different

shape ideal for the African woman. It is not the only project I will be working on. I wanted to create a niche and I saw that there is also a lack in the market in Nigeria for something like this. That was one of the reasons I chose to do that. “Everyone - Nigerians or not - has a few pairs of jeans in their closet. Research shows that the average person has at least seven pairs of jeans. So my take is if I could do something that people want to wear, then I’m in a good business. Truth is if you walk down the streets you will definitely see six out of 10 people you meet, especially on weekends, wearing jeans or some form of denim products. It’s not just me wanting to do a line because I want to do a line; it’s me wanting to do a line and also knowing there is a need for something like this in the market right now. The quality is great, the price is okay. The young adult can come buy my jeans, the girls that are still in college, the girl that just got a new job, she can actually afford to buy my jeans and she can look forward to enjoying what I have so worked hard on to create.” Reminded that the bottomline from denim might not be as impressive as it would be had the market focus been on the high end, she dismissed any suggestion of naivety. “It does make economic sense. My product is denim-based which is relaxing and comfortable. I CONTINUED ON PAGE 14


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WEEKEND | CONVERSATION

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

I’ve always been intrigued by the hum C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 1 3

love comfort and I love simplicity. I wanted something that every young girl could look forward to, look up to me and could actually afford and look forward to dressing. And who says I can’t do a high end line down the road? But for now I thought there was a lack in the market for something like this and that is why I chose to do it.” There is that quaint reality in the fashion world that label owners often seem helpless about - counterfeits. Darego realises the harm the practice could cause but remains hopeful. “There are counterfeits products all over the place. I would hope that since the name is so popular and people ap-

preciate who I am and what I have done, they won’t do that to me. But even when that happens, we will obviously figure out how to deal with the idea and people making counterfeit products. Also, the quality is not going to be the same, and the workmanship is not going to be same. I have worked hard on this and put my heart and soul into creating something I am one hundred percent happy about.” She is speaking now like a psychologist which, actually, was what she read at the university. “I studied psychology because I have always been intrigued by the human mind and how it works, how we think and create. Psychology has helped me in terms of advertising; you just realise you understand people better, be it in modeling or in any field. In my fashion retail now, I do think psychology plays a huge role. I think psychology is one of the courses that proves very helpful no matter what industry you are in. You could be a psychologist in politics. It’s just something that helps you understand the human mind and if you understand the human mind, of course you can understand what different humans want.” Beauty queens are usually expected to support a humanitarian cause during their reign. But in most cases, it appears that is merely a perfunctory function. Was that the case with Darego? “As a beauty queen, I didn’t have an NGO. However, I did work with other existing NGOs and I currently still do that. I work with NGOs I believe have a good purpose and are actually making a difference in the society. I still work with people as long as I believe their causes are legitimate and am actually seeing the difference they are making in the society. I can lend my name and support to such NGOs.” She may have overcome her diffidence which was evident when she emerged from the shadows to win the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria competition, sealing the feat months later with the Miss World crown. But she hasn’t lost that gangling physique that stood her out from the crowd. “There is no secret,” she said of her shape. “I think it’s just about healthy leaving, exercising, and healthy eating. Am lucky that I come from a family that has good genes. But, obviously, I think we should be aware of what we eat, what we put in our body. I just take care of what God has given to me.” She has blazed a trail which many young girls dream of walking. That dream, it seems, has caused a surge in the number of pageants across the country. “It’s only natural that once there are a couple of existing pageants that are doing well, people will follow

Up Close Profession: Model and fashion entrepreneur Label Name: AD Location: Lekki, in Lagos Education: Has a degree in Psychology Rise to Fame: Won the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria contest in 2001 Greatest Feat: Won the Miss World Crown

in hER words

Q:

Is it really a wise business choice to focus exclusively on Denim? Truth is if you walk down the streets you will definitely see six out of 10 people you meet, especially on weekends, wearing jeans or some form of denim products. It’s not just me wanting to do a line because I want to do a line; it’s me wanting to do a line and also knowing there is a need for something like this in the market right now.

So much to choose from ... Darego in her flagship store

“The young adult can come buy my jeans, the girls that are still in college, the girl that just got a new job, she can actually afford to buy my jeans” suit. I know there are several pageants, I will just hope that these pageants actually consider the girls that participate in them because they see it as an opportunity for them to earn a living and be exposed. I just hope the pageants organizers are taking into consideration that these young girls look up to them and believe in the competition.”


CONVERSATION | WEEKEND

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

man mind - Agbani Darego

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CUTTING EDGE

Chiwetel Ejiofor: The star that might bring home the Oscar

Lanre Odukoya

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igerians home and abroad, particularly art enthusiasts, had a swell time watching British-Nigerian actor, Chiwetelu Umeadi Ejiofor clinch that laurel as Best Actor at the just-concluded British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards for his role as Solomon Northup in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. Ejiofor, 36, plays black New Yorker Northup kidnapped and sold into the American South slave trade in 1841. And to marvel us all was his eventual win against the Hollywood titans like Leonardo DiCaprio (multiple Oscars nominee) who plays Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street, Christian Bale for American Hustle, Bruce Dern for Nebraska and Tom Hanks for Philomena. So something good can still come from Nigeria, as in the case of biblical Nazareth? While the world beams its searchlight on the Igbo born actor famed from his film debut, Deadly Voyage in 1996, a haunting emotion creeps through one’s heart from the agony of his early years; the history of the scar that could have claimed his life. At 11, Ejiofor was on a family trip back home in Nigeria when their car rammed into a lorry, he lost his father, Arinze, a medical doctor and earned the scar that became a lumpy spectacle on his forehead. And every passing second the lad came before the mirror, a monstrous scar welcomed him, same that reminded him he owed it to himself and late dad to be true to his dream. Two years after, the little man began to act in school plays at Dulwich College and joined the National Youth Theatre shortly after. Ejiofor was to eventually demonstrate enviable confidence after initially turning down the role of Solomon Northup out of fear of being “the guy that messed it up”. Whatever the British had looked out for in the winner of this award, first, it inadvertently alerts its counterpart, American Academy Awards (commonly known as the Oscars) of how well rated Ejiofor is, from the British arts point of view. The awards ceremony founded in 1947 has a resounding history of uncontested judgment since inception to date. Before 2002, the awards took place in April or May, but from the said year till date, it takes place in February in order to precede the Oscars. The awards are mostly open to all nationalities, though there is an award for Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Producer or Director. The British Short Film and British Short Animation awards are also only for UK films. The tie is also close again between Ejiofor (nominated for the Oscars as Best Actor in Leading Role from the same film that won him BAFTA on February 16) Leonardo DiCaprio who plays Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street, Christian Bale for American Hustle and Bruce Dern for Nebraska. The 86th Oscar awards hold on March 2 and Ejiofor stands a chance again as top picks are from 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle.

Does she think the girls in those other pageants are just as worthy of the world stage? Now, she spoke like a politician. “Well, Miss Nigeria represents women in Nigeria and that is where it ends. MGBN, as far as I know, is the only one that has license to go into international pageants. I’m not the first MGBN; there were previous ones before me. My point is I’m not the first and I’m not the last, so I’m not a judge of who is worthy and who isn’t. I was lucky enough to get that privilege and I’m hoping sooner somebody else gets that privilege.”

‘...My outfits are affordable’

...fielding questions from journalists at last year’s press conference


16

INSTYLE

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

‘You can never go wrong in a black outfit’ Abayomi Omoniyi Makun, the name behind Yomi Casual, a fashion label with a client base from Desmond Elliot to Uti Nwachukwu speaks with New Telegraph What is your style philosophy?

It is simple, elegant, beautiful and attractive. I put lovely pieces together to make me standout wherever I go. How would you define style?

For me, style makes up 70 percent of an individual, while the outfit is just 30 percent. That is why I pay serious attention to style. An individual can wear a gorgeous outfit, but if the individual does not have style, he or she will not stand out in that outfit. So, style is very key. Who do you consider the best designer?

That will be me, Yomi Casual. However, my mentor is Mudi and his designs are extremely classy.

Good, old velvet returns Once a wardrobe staple, velvet was knocked off its perch and consigned to the closet. But it has made a dramatic return lately, writes Angela Davies

V

elvet fabric which has become a trend today was a nogo area for many women in the past. However, it has become an elegant trend as ladies use them as aso ebi especially for wedding and other special occasions. The fabric which comes in varied colours with exquisite sequined and embellished patterns is usually comple-

mented with a stylish blouse. However, the trend depends on individual style. While some would tie the velvet fabric as a straight single wrapper, others tie it in a front knot often revealing their legs and shoes which they wear with a sheer lace or sequined blouse style. Others opt for various skirt styles such as Mermaid, A-line or flare worn with an elegant lace blouse. The look is completed with a matching headgear for that traditional look. It is a lovely ensemble especially when the blouse or skirt style flatters your figure. You too can rock this beautiful outfit in your own unique style and be the cynosure of all eyes at that event looking trendy and classy.

Retaining the cool lTips on keeping your velvet in good shape

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elvet is a soft, expensive and luxurious fabric that is produced from silk, cotton, nylon, or wool hence; it requires special care to avoid crushing the pile of the fabric which could become permanently distorted or damaged. To care for your velvet fabric, it's best to put it out in the sun for the moist to dry properly before storing. However, do not hang dry velvet fabric on a line because it could leave a permanent mark on the pile. Instead, first place a dry cloth on the line before hanging the fabric. It is important never to iron a velvet fabric as the heat and weight of the iron will crush the velvet pile and leave an imprint. Ironing on an iron board will also flatten the pile permanently. So, it is advis-

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

able to place a thick pile of towels underneath the velvet. Place the pile side of the velvet against the towels as you iron the fabric. Only iron the reverse side of the velvet. Store velvet fabric carefully but do not fold. Folds and creases will flatten the pile and are difficult to remove. If you must fold your velvet wrapper, place soft tissue paper between the folds so that it helps to maintain its shape.

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What kind of outfits take up a larger space in your wardrobe?

Casual outfits, definitely. What is that outfit you consciously give a wide berth?

I cannot be caught dead wearing a skinny jean. What is that fashion item you can hardly do without?

I cannot do without a nice pair of shoes. That is because after your outfit the next thing people focus on are your shoes. Why wear earrings?

Well, it is just an accessory to make me look lovely. What is that fashion item for which you wouldn’t mind spending a huge amount?

That will be shoes because I love good shoes. What is your favourite colour?

It is black. You can never go wrong in black. If you are confused about what to wear to an event, you can easily pull it off in black and you will definitely stand out. Signature perfume

That will be One Million. Besides the fact it’s a fragrance that makes me smell nice, it makes me feel like a millionaire.


Accessories to live for Angela Davies highlights a few fashion accessories that help define the wearer’s style Trendy toe-cap pumps

With unique twist from designers like Louboutin to Salvatore Ferragamo, Prada and Givenchy, the toe-cap pump trend is still trending. This classic shoe style is being rocked by celebrities and fashionistas at events and on the red carpet stylishly. The two-tone look adds a classy touch to the classic pump. They are simple, yet versatile, sophisticated and glamorous. The cap on the shoe adds panache and character to what would be a basic pump, especially if it is a polished metallic cap on a leather, suede or patent pump. Toe-cap pumps come in elegant colours, designs and styles. They are perfect to complete a lovely outfit as they add extra zest to your look. They are the perfect fusion of style and comfort as they look great with dresses, jeans, and even skirts and tops. So, you too can rock a pair.

INSTYLE

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

Five exquisite clutches for the evening

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hen it comes to adding a touch of glamour to your evening outfit, nothing is too much. For an evening outing, no matter the glitter of your outfit, how glamorous your make-up or how flattering your stilettos are, your evening is not complete without a clutch. There are lots of delicate, flirty and dramatic clutches to select from. However, take a look at these five superb designer clutches that will surely add spice to your evening.

Facts Vintage clothing refers to clothing made between 20 and 100 years ago while retro refers to recently made clothing that is designed to resemble the style of another period.

Miss Dolce embellished brocade clutch

This bejewelled brocade clutch by Dolce and Gabbana is simply remarkable, with a crystal and bead-embellished style. It features an elegant padlock detail and will surely make your evening a memorable one.

Men’s shirt buttons are typically on the right while women’s shirt buttons are on the left.

The Knot clutch

This cute knot clutch gold-tone engraved inner brand is a rare mix of elegance and edge designed by Bottega Veneta.

Both the pencil skirt and the A-line skirt were designed by French designer, Christian Dior, who is singlehandedly credited with inspiring 1950’s fashion.

Royal Pandora clutch

This Charlotte Olympia clutch is not too fabulous, however, the style is made to impress. Gold-tone trim clutch

Emanuel Ungaro’s timeless combination of black and gold suede clutch features a gold-tone trim. It can be easily matched with most evening dresses.

Did you know that the print dresses worn by Michelle Obama during her last year’s state visit to South Africa were designed by Duro Olowu, a Nigerian designer based in London?

Leopard pony Knuckle-box clutch

This leopard skin Knuckle-box clutch designed by Alexander McQueen comes with Swarovski crystal detail rings. With this clutch, you don’t need cocktail rings as you hold the clutch by gently slipping your fingers through the ring details.

WHO WORE IT WELL?

Sequined front zip Ankara jacket ho do you think rocked this sequined front zip ankara fitte d jacket with double pleated sleeve in vogue now? Tee Jay wore this outfit as a complete set of ankara jacket and pant. She styled it with a purple handbag, bead necklace and earrings, bangles, bracelet and sandals to match the purple sequin on her jacket. She also wore a cocktail ring. But Titi Adebayo preferred to be more casual with the outfit. She wore the sequined front zip ankara fitted jacket with a pair of blue boot cut jean trouser and harmonized her look with a small cute floral handbag, round pearl earrings, bangles, cocktail ring, wristwatch and shoes to match the gold sequin on her jacket. So, what do you think? Tee Jay

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Adebayo


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NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

Could this be love at last?

The Therapist Princess O. Oke

odunayomitide2010@gmail.com 08082592471 (sms only)

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or crying out loud, I’m just 27! So, I don’t understand what this rush is all about. I still have my whole life ahead of me and I hate to make mistakes that will cost me my happiness in future. If I take your advice now, is it not me who would live to face the consequences of my choice? I think I can still wait for some few years to be sure this is what I want to do.’’ ‘‘But Laura, time is not our friend in this case. Mother has refused to get well. As she said, ‘not until you bring the man you want to marry’, so she could at least give you her blessing and probably carry your child before she ‘leaves.’ She said she’s been having a fearful feeling that if you don’t get married soon, you might lose interest in marriage after her death. She’s doing this in your own interest, I believe.’’ ‘‘Now, can someone explain this whole thing to me? Mother has other children who are married with children, so why bother me with this idea of now or never! My interpretation of marital union is not about two adults of opposite sex coming together just for procreation, but two adults in love living together in union. And as it is now, I’m yet unsure I’ve found the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. I don’t just want to be loved by some man; I also want to be capable of returning such love. I know exactly what I want in matrimony, so I don’t want to be rushed into any decision.’’ ‘‘Oh, that? Haven’t you heard that you cannot fully know anyone within a given period of time, particularly one you are courting for marriage? Rather, you keep knowing and getting used to each other throughout your journey together. Please, Laura, marry this man and make mother happy; even if she’s going to die, at least let her die peacefully. She believes Larry will not only care for you, but would take you as his younger sister. Besides, she has noted that your children will speak one language, since you’re both from same village.’’ ‘‘But sis, did mother force you to marry your husband, or did you marry him for love?’’ “No she did not; I married purely for love. But don’t forget she wasn’t sick then, and probably she did not have any fear of

“At first I was ashamed to identify with this truth, at least for obvious reasons”

me becoming unwilling to settle down in marriage. You know these old people and premonitions.’’ ‘‘Okay, as an enlightened person, what do you think about this rush? Wouldn’t this be like a marriage of convenience? I mean getting married to a man I have not yet made up my mind about, just to please some people?’’ ‘‘Well, maybe you should at least give the man a chance to court you, instead of leaving the relationship at friendship level for this long. It is then you will know if you love him or not. More so, some love don’t grow (particularly from the woman’s side) until probably both man and woman are deeply committed,

STRIDES

Knitting a tale of success

F

or someone with a back-

ground in banking, Jane Ole’s move into the fashion business did not seem like a smart one. But 10 years later as CEO and creative director of Elizabeth Waldorf Luxury Fashion & Lifestyle Brand, she has proved sceptics wrong. She is an award winning designer, who won the Next Young Designer Award in 2013. Her brand provides luxury wedding gowns and special occasion gowns. Growing up, Jane excelled academically, winning several coveted awards. She participated in

which can only come in matrimony.’’ Now, the full gist is that within a six months period, I was persuaded into a marriage of “no confidence” with Larry; who I still live with even about 15 years after. Surprisingly, the “union” produced three adorable girls, but there was never a lasting period of bliss in it. It was always from one argument to another, until I learnt to ignore him on many occasions, and shower my love on our children. I sincerely find it shameful to say I only enjoyed sex in marriage, just the first few months of our marriage. At other times, I’ve had to endure it without any pretence, but I only learnt to pretend I was with someone else I have loved.

the Think Quest 2000 Internet Challenge, performing extremely well above a number of entries. Many expected her to specialise in the sciences due to her perceived interest in the field, but Jane was never far from her love for fashion. She spent a significant amount of time studying her favourite designers and experimenting with fabrics. Her mother, a graduate of home management was well versed in the art of tailoring and taught her the basics of sewing and knitting. Ole watched attentively while she effortlessly “fixed” worn-out fabrics using her sewing machine. She soon learnt to knit in her early teens. Inspired by her environment, she was encouraged to hone her craft and continued to

Before my fifth year in marriage, I had completely lost interest in the “art of marriage,” so much that a little touch from my husband became irritating. It got so bad that he had to forcibly get his conjugal rights from me. This left me both emotionally traumatised and physically abused. That state of affairs in my matrimony turned my heart against the marriage institution, and I began to envy my friends who were either single mothers or single but mingling - with no strings attached. Fourteen years have passed, and I live in my matrimonial home with my husband as two adults just co-habiting and trying to tolerate each other. I love my children and I try not to bear it down on them, but it’s obvious the strain in our marriage is indirectly telling on them. Poor darlings! Just last year, I re-packaged myself, got my grove back and started chatting on the social networks. Not too long, a very cool middle-aged man got interested in me, but he did not stop at just being friends; he wanted me ‘’for keeps.’’ I initially thought he was kidding, but before I knew what was going on, I had lost my heart to him. At first I was ashamed to identify with this truth, at least for obvious reasons, but I later convinced myself that this could be the love I never experienced before jumping into my now distressed marriage. Issue now is, I don’t know how to confront my husband with a request for divorce, since we’ve not even agreed on separation, neither do I want my children to suffer the consequences of a broken home. But there’s no doubt about what I want: I really want to give this new found love a chance to grow into something I can cherish for a lifetime. Maybe God has brought this to compensate me for the many years of a loveless marriage. My new found love is aware of my status, but that has not stopped him from insisting on marriage. But my fresh worry is this: if this is love at last, why is it just coming to me now? I mean now in the midst of all these complications and entanglements. - Readers are encouraged to respond to this story.

learn all she could about fashion, spending hours “sketching,” her most enjoyable phase of the fashion design process. Now in her mid-twenties, she has designed over three thousand pieces. Her “big break” came about two years ago when she designed the maid of honour’s dress for a friend’s wedding. This further stirred her passion for fashion because she knew exactly what she wanted to do. Above a number of challenges, Ole assembled a fashion studio and a specialized management team. Elizabeth Waldorf was born. The name emanated from her only sister’s name, Elizabeth, a Hebrew name which means “God’s promise” and Waldorf, a German name she had always loved which

Jane Ole means “a village in the woods” used symbolically to describe prosperity. Together, it represents “God’s promise for prosperity”. The name was the product of inspiration during a discussion between Jane and her sister. According to the intelligent young lady, over the next few years, Elizabeth Waldorf aims to have a strong presence in major cities and fashion capitals of the world. She encourages other young and aspiring people to remain passionate and never to stop dreaming “with grace, passion, and determination”. Editor’s note: In as much as being single is a phase, you can indeed be single and be successful without cutting corners.


Ameze Dreaming a comeback p.24 Akpororo Backstreet kid who gatecrashed into our homes p.20

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Ego: I miss singing with Lagbaja An era of melodious soul music and pulsating percussion ended seven years ago when the velvet-voiced vocalist, Ego Ogbaro, announced her separation from Bisade Ologunde otherwise known as Lagbaja, the masked singer and saxophonist. And since she decided to go solo, leaving her Lagbaja to scout for a perfect replacement, the beat seems to be waning for the duo tagged “star-crossed partners” by pundits. But the singers have managed to move on, forbearing the cost of the break-up that marked a turning point in their individual careers. In this interview with LANRE ODUKOYA, Ego reflects on career

DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY IN 2014

The sassy and petit songstress, Ego is doing a lot differently this year but she would rather be discreet about some of the ones her fans will like to know. “I will be doing a lot of things this year and I’ve always tried to be unique in what I do. I plan to do a lot more unique things to wow

my fans. I’m working on my sophomore album because I don’t want it to take as much as the debut took before it was released. I am working with my band working on so much that I cannot discuss right now.” She can’t readily tell what number of tracks to expect in the album she’s working on. “For me, it’s how the music flows. I can tell you it’s 10 to ex-

“I consult him when it’s necessary, even recently, I still did because I feel he’s had a lot of experience in this field

pect and I end up doing more.” SEVEN YEARS WITHOUT LAGBAJA

How the years have gone by! The reality that Lagbaja and Ego are separated seems not to be as astounding as how long it has been. And one of their last songs together, symbolic in lyrics and wholly romantic, Never Far Away, was a track they did without a premonition that their career together was to end that soon. For Ego, all that’s left are fond memories of doing so much together: “The era of being Lagbaja’s back-up singer was a major part of my life. I missed the whole experience, the people I met, places I visited and stuffs I did in the band, coming together to make music from the scratch and what I learnt. That was 12 years of my life. Lagbaja himself is a big brother to me and I miss all that we shared professionally. It was tough and I’m not saying it’s not still tough seven years without Lagbaja but I’m coping. It’s a good opportunity for me to express myself and do my own thing.” STILL IN TOUCH

It’s impressive how they understand and manage their differences so much that they stay in touch with each other and wouldn’t hesitate to call when there are matters pretty exigent. “I consult him when it’s necessary, even until recently, I still did because I feel he’s had a lot of experience in this field and I’m still learning and dealing with a lot of things. So, I go to him for advice and we talk.” The weight of expectation... fans are eagerly awaiting Ego’s sophomore album

BETWEEN ARTISTIC COMMITMENT AND

LURE OF COMMERCE

In the course of her career, Ego identified the need to bridge the gap between singing to make money without losing her artistic appeal. “I’ve always had my band and it’s because that’s an aspect of the art that I appreciate. There are songs that I really love that are not mine which I love to perform; so, having a live band is an opportunity for me to do that.” SIX YEARS AS A GLO AMBASSADOR

She was signed as a Globacom Ambassador in 2008. Between then and now, many artistes have been disengaged by the telecom giant, but her deal is still intact and she nurses no fear of getting dropped anytime soon. “It’s been wonderful to be part of Globacom family because the first time I was approached, I’d not even got an album as I had just left Lagbaja. Any company that has supported my industry has automatically supported me. Glo is a company I have tremendous respect for and whether I’m a brand ambassador or not, it’s a company I know I owe a lot because it believed in me when a lot of people didn’t see what I had in me.” MARRIAGE HAS BEEN GOOD

In previous interviews, she’d said that her man has got all she wants in a man. Here’s how she describes what goes on in her marital life: “I take each day as it comes - so far so good. I have a weird way of going about life. I don’t have some kind of expectation and that is because what works for you might not work for me and vice versa.” DEALING WITH MONOTONY AND BOREDOM IN MARRIAGE

Earlier in the month, Charles Oputa better known as Charly Boy had posted an article he dubbed “See Finish Syndrome” on Linda Ikeji’s blog and it was a commentary on how spouses feel when they’ve stayed too long together. He was spot on and to this, Ego shares her story: “Marriage is really a commitment. You took the vow for better, for worse; so, when you complain about waking up to the same face every morning, which other face would you want to see? It’s that same face. That is one thing everyone must get used to. Obviously, things might change along the line, things you used to overlook may begin to irritate you. And at other times, your spice might just go out of the regular way to wow you.”


20 SHOWBIZ

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

The backstreet kid who gatecrashed into our homes His occasional indiscretion notwithstanding, a new humour merchant, Bowoto Jephta, known by the showbiz moniker, Akpororo, has stamped his imprint on the comedy scene with a resounding aplomb. The sociology undergraduate at the Lagos State University speaks with Lanre Odukoya about his journey to stardom, family, moments on stage and more

GETTING HERE

Every glory has its story and Akpororo’s is not dissimilar. In any chance meeting with the comedian cum singer, ask him to share his tale just as we did and here’s an inkling of what you’d get: “The journey to professional comedy is a long story. I don’t even know how I got here. I can only tell you it’s God at work. I thank Him for the speed in growth and I’m so happy being this famous and attaining this level now. I have a vision. I am happy that within few years as a comedian, I emerged as the Best Comedian of the Year 2012 by Naija Fm. I can’t deny that it takes a lot of hard work, rehearsals and prayer. People think I’m already running mad because of the flawless way I mimic the mentally-challenged people…I never craze o and I no even pray to craze (I’m not mad and I don’t even pray to be).” SOURCING INSPIRATION

Unlike many of his peers who would readily give-in under the illusion that the comedy industry is already saturated, especially with perceived dominance by some bigwigs, he heeded the inner voice telling him he had more than the industry had ever produced. His spontaneity, zest and rich bank of jokes became the inspiration. Nevertheless, he acknowledges the mesmeric outings of some of his senior colleagues. “I have tremendous admiration for the works of my senior colleagues because I used to watch ‘Night of a Thousand Laughs, then. I know ‘I Go Die’ because I lived in Warri, Delta State and ‘I Go Save’ lived in Omosokofa, a street away from where I resided in Warri. These were faces of people I watched and I asked myself, God, when will I mount this kind of stage?” BEFORE PROFESSIONAL COMEDY

Interestingly, Akpororo didn’t start with comedy. He said, “I’m a vocalist, I was and I am still singing. My singing career predates my days in comedy. My debut album is finished already but it’s not in the market yet. I titled it, ‘Thank Am Oh.’ I’m the music director in my church, Ultimate Power Ministry. I’m a praise singer, though I never went to any studio before this debut album, I’ve

been singing in churches. It’s a 10-track album filled with edifying praise and worship songs.” BIG BREAK

His communion with these great minds in comedy had mostly been through watching them over the TV, but the story soon changed when his path crossed with Bright Okpocha (Basketmouth) and that became another defining moment in the life of a burgeoning artiste trying to find his feet. “The day I met Basketmouth was like a miracle, that day ‘no be play play o’. That day, he called my phone and asked, ‘is this Akpororo?’ Fear gripped me and I asked myself, ‘what have I done wrong o?’ He said, ‘you’d be having a show with me this evening. Wherever you are now, come to XYZ place. And I was so happy.” At the said time, he’d relocated to Lagos. He was born in Warri but he came to Lagos in 2000. He started his comedy career in Lagos and back home in Warri, his name began to resound as a Lagos mega star.

Comedy Challenge staged by Opa Williams. He won at the Calabar regional contest. He lost out at the finals which held in Lagos. From that point on, he advanced to AY Open Mic talent hunt and it’s been a roller coaster of fame and fortune since then. PARENTS BLESSING

He’d since left home to find a livelihood at a time his parents could hardly tell how he was surviving. And as most parents would give their endorsement on children’s career, Akpororo’s case became different because they weren’t even around when he was making the decision that was to change his life forever. “Though I cannot tell how I started being funny, I’d always been a funny character. I started comedy in Lagos. So, I made the name famous here before my people in Warri realised I was the Akpororo people talk about. My mum just heard the name and when she saw her son on the TV doing well, will she say she doesn’t want that?”

A TALE MADE IN THE GHETTO

BETWEEN ME AND THE COMIC CHARACTER AKPOS

With the paltry sum he makes when he moved to Lagos, Akpororo could only afford to pay rent in a notorious area called Okokomaiko in Lagos, but as his economy improves, he’s joining the league of rich comedians living in the highbrow location in Surulere. “I recently moved to Surulere, but I still have a house in Okokomaiko and it’s by choice. I do a programme in Okokomaiko every December. I have a mass choir of over 90 choristers.”

Many often assume he is the face behind the famous fictional character on facebook, Akpos. But the Ilaje, Ondo State-born comedian cleared the air on the personality confusion: “I’m not Akpos. I don’t tell lies. Akpos is a faceless clown and if people are peddling rumours about me being Akpos, let them come and endorse me. I’ll be who they want in Akpos.” WORST DAY ON STAGE

IN MUSIC, IN COMEDY

He has obviously found comedy more fulfilling than music, his first love which, ironically, brought him austere times. “The only time I had it tough and rough was when I was trying to make my music known and make name as well. It was pretty tough then as a musician. But in comedy, it’s truly not the same because I was doing church to church comedy before the secular space started recognising me. I started comedy in the church.” It once got so bad that he could only afford a meal once a day. He started comedy in 2010 with his first outing at the National

Every dog has its bad day. Even the greatest artistes make the humbling admission of how they once got it wrong right before an expectant audience. “I once had a day I couldn’t make people laugh on stage. It was at Festac Town, Lagos. It was at a wedding reception. Then I used to tie wrappers to the stage and I was not too strong then. The guests were eating that day and while they were doing that, I was supposed to continue to entertain but I misused the time and after their meal, I was no longer in control. After then, it never happened again.”


NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

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‘Sexual harassment won’t scare me off Nollywood’ The reigning Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Anna Ebiere Banner, in this interview with SONY NEME, speaks about her passion for charity work, Nollywood, education, journalism among others. As a beauty queen, your status must have changed in your family. What have been the changes?

Anna is just a girl next door. I remain myself. I still do things I used to do before I became the queen. My mum still yells at me. My elder brother and I still fight over certain rights within the house. My mum still expects me to carry out my daily chores and I have no reason not to obey her instructions. I do not bring Queen Anna into the house. I bring usual me into the house. We are just two - my brother and I. Do you still relate with your childhood friends?

Sometimes when they call me and I could not take their calls, especially immediately as they would have wished they feel that I am snubbing them. I prefer chatting and sending sms, rather than speaking on the phone. I don’t ping either. If you send me a ping, it will take about three days before I respond to it. I do not spend the whole day on Blackberry. I have so many things to achieve, and my reign has provided me with such platform to exploit and help mankind; especially the young ones who do not have anybody to pick their school bills. There are lots of them in Nigeria, especially Bayelsa and other parts of Niger Delta where I hail from. Queens have come and gone, what difference are you bringing with you reign?

The best thing that will happen to my reign is to be remembered for my charity work that I have embarked upon. And I hope to continue with it even after my reign because I intend to emulate Mother Teresa. What are your plans after your reign?

After my reign I will go back to school and expand on the business venture I have in mind. I will be going into acting in movies, soaps and theatre. But I won’t go into full time acting. I will start off on a part time, because even when roles start coming, I will have to always come down to Nigeria, take my roles and go back to school. I am going to have an educational calendar that will accommodate that as my school comes first. No amount of money for any movie will distort my academic pursuit. I am starting my university education afresh in the United States of America. I will be going for Media and Communications. I want to major in print journalism. I like reading. So far I have some interesting scripts, and I am planning to start writing a book. My focus will be more on true life stories, poem and stories woven in that direction. I will also write handbooks on what life is all about, definition of life and love, different stages in life and what life brings. I like writing and I write about so many things when I get inspired. There is this notion that the Nigerian movie industry is tainted with sexual harassment. How do you intend to handle that?

Leave that for me. When we get to the bridge we will cross it. It is natural for men who are used to such lifestyle, and it is also natural for you who are not in that kind of lifestyle to shun it when it comes your way. How I will handle it will present itself when that time comes. So, I have no worry about that. What I know is that I am going into Nollywood to make a mark. So many distinguished women are in the industry who have been able to hold their own. How have you been handling male attention you’re uncomfortable with?

I see men who take advantage of any lady as very irresponsible, people without self-regard and very stupid. My ideal man is one with great personality, humility, God fearing, understanding, loving, responsible and disciplined. And he must be cute. What was your experience like at the Miss World pageant in Indonesia?

Indonesia was a beautiful experience. From the airport where almost everybody who had come to receive us thought I was one of them, to the wonderful sites I visited with other queens and the

grand occasion where all the beauty queens filed out for the whole world to behold. It is a life time experience. There I was on a world stage living out a dream, because every young girl sees herself as a queen. As we waited all that went through my mind were praises to God for making it possible for me to represent Nigeria at that level. There is no need for regrets because every participant is a winner at that stage. Are you aware that some people still believe that it was ‘home advantage’ rather than merit that gave you the crown?

It was expected, because even if any other contestant had won the crown, some other people would have had some other criticism to make. It was a tough moment in my life as I began to wonder if it really worth all the trouble that we had put into the competition. So many things you have to learn like wearing of different kinds of makeup. I am not cut out for all that, but we have to get on it and learn the rudiment of a beauty queen. Any of us there was a potential winner. So, it doesn’t bother me because people will always have something to say. The important thing here is that you just have to remain focus and don’t be distracted from your set goals as a queen. As special adviser to Bayelsa State governor on tourism matters, what kind of advice do you give to the gov- ernor?

Governor Seriake Dickson in dom knows that the best way to know what your children are thinking is to bring them close and seek their opinion on issues affecting their welfare. That is the kind of advice he will continue to get from me. Mine is to advice on how to make governance to reflect on the benefit of the teeming teenagers whose hopes and aspirations we represent in the government.

his wis-

What advice do you have for teenagers?

You can increase your self esteem by yourself, and you can also bring down your selfesteem by yourself. My advice to teenagers out there is that they should believe in themselves. Because that makes you a great person, it makes you someone who can take decisions. So, be who you are, don’t try to be someone else. In terms of morals, teenagers must have to be respectful, not just for the elderly, but people of your age and those younger than you are, because respect is reciprocal. It opens doors for a fulfilled dream as well.

Anna Ebiere Banner


22 SHOWBIZ | SOCIETY

CONFLUENCE

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

... a finger on the city’s pulse

LANRE ODUKOYA - 08059296445

| FIFI EJINDU AND ERELU DOSUNMU DRIFT APART Who will tell ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo that the centre is no longer holding between two of his female friends? Close friends say the ongoing discordant tunes between these dames, Fifi Ejindu and High Chief Erelu Abiola Dosunmu may not abate any time soon, especially if a revered mediator doesn’t wade in early enough. The duo who hitherto stormed events together in enviable grace may not have resumed any verbal altercation yet, but informed sources insist that they now avoid each other like a plague. Cited to be at the centre of the row is the controversial ex-president Obasanjo who allegedly enjoyed a bond of friendship with the high chief for many years before the latter brought the celebrated architect and magnate to the scene. Somewhere along the line, just as the saying, “two is company, three is a crowd”, Obasanjo allegedly began to give Erelu the cold shoulders and in no time began to gravitate towards Ejindu. Here’s what they never told you about why the Amazons keep each other at bay, just in case His Excellency is reading.

GBEMI SARAKI’S EYE ON THE BALL } Gbemisola Ruqqayah Saraki, former senator and the most famous daughter of the late political godfather of Kwara State, Olusola Saraki, still wields enormous influence in politics despite her obvious disappearance since she lost her gubernatorial race to her brother’s acolyte. Sometime in December, she was also tipped for ministerial appointment, but this doesn’t seem strong enough to distract the lady of charm and candour from accomplishing her dream of ruling Kwara State. We gathered reliably that lady politician saunters into town to oil her political wheels in preparation for her ultimate goal of being a governor. And the coast seems clearer now that her brother has defected to the All Progressives Congress, a factor that inevitably endeared her to President Goodluck Jonathan as she reiterates her loyalty to PDP.

~

| SAYYU DANTATA MAY DRAG FAAN TO COURT The chairman, MRS Oil and Gas, Alhaji Sayyu Dantata is peeved beyond description and same explains why his company may drag the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to court if his frayed nerve is not calmed. The billionaire businessman wouldn’t want to vent his anger, but the theft of aviation fuel from MRS store at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, is happening for the umpteenth time. MRS allegedly discovered the disappearance of 4,960 litres of aviation fuel stored at the airport in December, 2013 through its farm tank officer who went on holidays in December and returned in January, this year. The stolen fuel is estimated to be worth N3 million. However, neither the airport manager nor any executive of FAAN has yet to make an official statement on the matter.

AS EMEKA OFFOR SLOWS HIS ROLL } Surely, nothing stays the same. Even Sir Emeka Offor won’t believe he’s staying this far away from controversies that once characterised his life. The Chrome Oil Services boss enjoyed a smooth dalliance with ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo who also doubles as his mentor at a time. He was one of the financiers of the Obasanjo Campaign during the 2003 elections and it’s not far-fetched why he apparently enjoyed some degree of favour in that administration. His huge influence and affluence further came to light when he solely sponsored the campaign of former governor of Anambra State, Chinwonke Mbadinuju who later fell out with him after assumption of office. Why they fell out? We can’t possibly list the specifics. But you could tell it sure was a bitter split given how he fought tooth and nail to upend his second term bid which also culminated in the political extinction of the former governor till date. That acrimony defined the era when Offor made headlines of newspapers the most. But sometime in January, Offor decorated the finger of a pretty maiden with a wedding band in Nnewi, Anambra State. His new wife, 28-year-old Adaora Ufondu, may be the principal reason he’s slowing his roll especially at this politically-critical times.

LANRE TOWRY-COKER’S GROUSE

Finicky, debonair and gracefully-aging architect, Dr. Lanre Towry-Coker has an unannounced grouse and it’s one that burns his heart. He was the commissioner for housing in Lagos State during the reign of ex-governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and since then, he took a break from partisan politics to pay a bit more attention to his towering consultancy business. But while his political lull lasted, he was funding grassroots politics and attending meetings whenever he was in the country. These criteria and more must have qualified him to participate in the Lagos Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus ministerial nomination exercise which held in Lagos last September. He won with 16 votes. Some of those said to have lost at the nomination exercise are Lagos PDP chairman, Tunji Shelle, Musiliu Obanikoro, Ade Dosumu among notable others. The exercise was held in the presence of the party leader, Chief Bode George and the result was upheld. The exercise was necessitated by the ousting of two ministers from the Southwest, former minister of state for defence, Erelu Olusola Obada and former minister of foreign affairs, Gbenga Ashiru. Though none of them was from Lagos, the state PDP was just warming up for what might as well swing in its favour. Alas, some sleight of hand played out and Chief Kashamu Buruji from the neighbouring Ogun State presented Musiliu Obanikoro to Vice President Namadi Sambo as the party’s candidate to be considered for possible ministerial appointment. The more the architect looked, the less he understood why internal democracy was upturned. The situation has pushed him to further into hibernation from which well wishers are hoping he recovers soon.


NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

SHOWBITS

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SHOWBITZ with Sony Neme

P

The stars at the rock

resident Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday approved a piece of land at the Federal Capital Territory for the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria. Jonathan who was decorated as AGN Grand Patron by Ifeanyi Dike, chairman of AGN board of trustees, also affirmed slots for the thespians to the forthcoming National Conference. It was a joyous moment for the Ibinabo Fiberesima-led AGN as Jonathan who was full of praises for the practitioners also promised to speed up the process of enacting MOPPICON, and the piracy act into law. They also called for the reform of relevant agencies to enable Nollywood flourish as an industry. The visit by members of AGN and prominent players of Nollywood to President Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja was not the first by members from the creative community. But this visit led by Fiberesima is perhaps the first by practitioners of the movie industry, where the president was told pointedly that Nollywood in spite of its many successes is in dire need of drastic transformation. In her address she read during the visit that attracted some notable figures in the Nollywood industry including Monalisa Chinda, Ini Edo, Stephanie Idahosa, Chief Zeb Ejiro, Fidelis Duker and Segun Arinze, the actors guild president requested President Jonathan to review the appointment of both the director-general of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) and the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) as they have shown lack of capacity to put the industry on the path of growth. “Your Nollywood is in dire need of purposeful, practical, dynamic and experienced leadership at the helm of affairs of the two regulatory agencies. Those that have been appointed to run those agencies have shown lack of capacity to put the industry on the path of growth especially in this transformational period. We implore Mr. President to review those appointments and appoint administrators with passion, zeal and total dedication to the development of the film industry,” Fiberesima said. The guild’s president added that while it has been acknowledged that Nollywood has the potential to generate youth employment and also help in projecting the image of Nigeria positively abroad, the practitioners find it difficult to achieve those objectives because of piracy and lack of effective distribution mechanism. Ibinabo told the president that Nollywood was in need of

... as Jonathan approves land, National Conference slot for actors’ guild

a modern, responsive legal environment for it to continue to thrive and remain relevant. She said: “The present Copyright Act is now grossly inadequate particularly in digital and internet environment. We are aware of the various abuses that Nigerian movies are subjected to, while the regulatory authorities are helpless. The criminal sanctions for piracy and other copyright infringements have become ridiculously low and no longer as sufficient deterrent to infringers. Considering the pre-eminent position of the copyright industries and their contribution to national growth the comprehensive reform of our copyright system should be given immediate attention.” Also, Ibinabo requested the president to direct the relevant government agencies to negotiate and sign various co-production treaties that exist between Nigeria and several countries for the benefit of the industry. However, for her, the most exigent need is the full implementation of the revised National Film Policy (NFP) and to present the bill on the setting up of the Motion Picture Practitioners Council of Nigeria (MOPPICON) as an executive bill. She said “Nollywood does not have a single co-production treaty with any country. This is the invisible ceiling that has hindered the ordered and structured international development of the film industry and the subsequent loss of potential investment and its positive impact on job creation.” Ibinabo told the president that the implementation of the revised national film policy which provides among other things, for the setting up of community cinemas in each of the local government area of the country, the setting up of MOPPICON and the setting up of a sustainable film fund, is the most important intervention tool that Nollywood requires to address some of its structural deficiencies. She did not, however, end her address without making some demands, which she said were specific to the actors.

First she requested for a land and building in the FCT to be used as national secretariat, which she said will be named “The Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Screen Actors House”. Ibinabo thanked the president for considering members of Nollywood worthy for federal appointment but she asked for more appointments for Nollywood practitioners and made a passionate plea for members of the creative industry to be given a slot in the proposed National Conference. She also requested that the AGN be empowered to produce a historic film on the Nigerian centenary. President Jonathan responded shortly after he was decorated as Grand Patron of the AGN. “We cannot quantify what you have been doing for this country. Our people who watch probably just watch for pleasure, but what you have been doing for this country is much more than the pleasure that we get from watching you people. You are really a tool, not just by the jobs you are creating, but which we are grateful to the industry, because you have created a number of job, directly and indirectly, but how you have been able to project the image of this country almost to the whole black race is commendable,” the president said. Reacting to the request for the provision of land and building, President Jonathan said while allocation of land to the guild can be guaranteed, he would discuss the possibility of helping the actors build the secretariat with the FCT minister. Two ministers, Labaran Maku and Chief Edem Duke of the information and tourism and culture ministries, respectively, also spoke during the visit. Maku congratulated Nollywood for the giant strides they have recorded and assured that whatever request the actors have made through their president that requires government assent will be presented before the Federal Executive Council. “I am sure that with the support of the actors guild, our transformation agenda can reach greater audiences. You are the people who have the voice and who have the reach and I call on them to continue to promote these issues that the actors guild president has raised concerning the future of our country and the great job you are doing for Nigeria,” Maku said. Chief Duke called on practitioners of the industry to continue to portray the positive values of the country in their narrative.


24 SHOWBIZ

NEW TELEGRAP 22 Febru

She was that slim, dark-hued actress whose tears on screen seemed so real to the extent many viewers found themselves tearing up as well. You have got to be a really good artiste to move your audience that way. And a damn good actress Ameze Imarhiagbe was! But her relocation to the United States meant memories of her stellar career receded gradually in the audience’s mind. The actress now dreams a comeback and speaks of some personal projects with Sony Neme from her adopted home What has been happening to your movie career?

I just came out with a movie called I Got Your Back that was premiered in a big way in the United States. I’m planning to do same in Nigeria, Ghana and the UK. I’m back and the feedback I’m getting from my

fans and colleagues has been tremendously staggering. I’m grateful. Since your relocation to the US how has it been?

Well my stay in the US has

No more tears... A been blessed. A lot of people assume I left the industry because they have not really seen me on their screen, but the fact is I never left. I have been expressing myself in other creative ways. I’m a writer and so I have continued to write. I also have been in some American productions. At a point I had a workshop theatre for the youth. It was my way of giving back and doing what I love. I do have a US-based production company that packages stage, film and TV productions.

tions are in post production phase and others completed. Among them are Closure, Pier 16, Lost in Translation, My Nana and I. My passion is the art of storytelling, the dramatization and actualization of these stories, so I established a sort of pro bono acting and writing classes geared towards aspiring artistic people and youths. It was an outfit that stemmed from my active participation in the drama department in my church at the time What is the status of those productions?

What specific productions have you been involved?

I have been involved in feature and short films by my American counterparts here in the US. I have also collaborated at the script level. Some of these produc-

My production company is called Senamedia House. And it packages ideas from conception to actualization. It’s involved in all phases of production and its first feature film is I Got Ur Back, a story about a happily married couple who created a quagmire in their matrimony by cohabitating with a friend. The movie deals with adult relationships and challenges in marriage and the extents to which the human mind can endure. I believe Closure is still at post-production phase. I starred in it. It’s a movie about the end of the world and people’s reaction and regrets about it. Pier 16 is probably completed by now. I also starred in this. Lost in Translation, My Nana and I are still in post production How do you feel about the prospect of your return to Nollywood?

“I have been offered huge money by other Nollywood producers, but Zeb was able to stir something in me”

Presido, as I fondly call Zeb right from the Ripples days is a dear friend and big brother. We go way back. I have the utmost respect and regard for him. He, like me, is a visionary and am very excited to be collaborating on a very big project with him. The project is a kind that has never been seen in Nigeria. Zeb does not only talk the talk, he walks the walk. He puts his money where his mouth is. He is the consummate creative force and kingmaker behind a lot of Nollywood stars. He and I have been in talks and have met in the US and in the UK. He has been courting me to come back to Nollywood. He says: ‘Ameze sweetheart, you can’t just leave like that; you’ve got to come back, you have a lot to offer, we need you girl’. It wasn’t the first time I’ve been approached by Nollywood producers and filmmakers, but how do I say no to my Presido? I have been offered huge money by other Nollywood producers, but Zeb was able to stir something in me. And he is very persistent. He doesn’t take no for an answer. He doggedly pursued me and jetted across the globe to meet me for meetings that have reached favourable conclusions and are bringing positive results. What should your fans be expecting and how soon is this going to be?

Sooner than expected. What we are working on is still in the works, but it is brewing very nicely and favourably. My fans will not be disappointed and I will be serving them with my professionalism and believability that they have come to CONTINUED ON PAGE 33


Sociedad target Barca scalp p29 ‘Why we don’t promote Polo in schools’ p30 NTWEEKEND ONLINE AT

www.newtelegraphonline.com/sport

Chelsea out to consolidate on top spot

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LMC, club owners agree N25million Bank guarantee

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SPSPLASH RT NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY

22 FEBRUARY 2014

world cup i’m not under pressure –Keshi Keshi

Athletics ’ll win medals at C’Wealth – Yusuf Ali

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Bosnia’s our biggest threat in Brazil not Argentina – Ogu

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Super Eagles’ Mikel Obi dribbling past an Egyptian player during a match.

25


26 SPORT

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

Bosnia’s our biggest threat in Brazil not Argentina – Ogu FOCUS Nigeria’s Portugal-based midfielder warns about the dangers of underrating any of Nigeria’s World Cup opponents Ifeanyi Ibeh

P

ortugal-based Super Eagles midfielder, John Ogu, has warned that it would be dangerous to underrate any of Nigeria’s group opponents at the Brazil 2014 World Cup. When the draws for the 2014 Mundial was conducted last December in Brazil, Nigerian football fans heaved a sigh of relief as the Eagles won’t have to face tough teams like host Brazil, world champions Spain and the German Machine, but only have to contend with former champions Argentina, alongside seemingly unpopular teams like Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iran in Group F. To the Nigerian fans, squaring up against the likes of Bosnians and Herzegovina and Iran presents a great opportunity for the reigning African champions to advance beyond the group stage after the France 98 second round experience. The Eagles were close to grabbing a quarter-final berth but the dream was truncated by a resolute Danish team motivated by top striker Ebbe Sand. Eagles’ midfielder, John Ogu, who plays his football in the Portuguese top flight for Academica de Coimbra Football Club, believes the two teams, especially the Dragons, as the Bosnians are affectionately called, have the ability to make life difficult for the Super Eagles in Brazil. The Eagles star who had a good outing at the FIFA Confederation Cup in Brazil told New Telegraph on phone from his base in Portugal that: “Bosnia have got quality players and as you can see, quite a handful of them are scattered all over Europe playing for top clubs.” He added that: “Bosnia has a plan to make a huge statement at Brazil 2014, but Nigeria will be ready to face them head on. I know some of their players in Europe and I know they are all excited to play at the World Cup. They are a great side considering the manner with which they booked a ticket for the 2014 Mundial. What this means is that, they have quality players at their disposal.” The Dragons, who will be making their debut appearance in Brazil, suffered just one loss from 10 qualifying games on their way to finishing top of their group ahead of Greece and Slovakia, scoring impressive 30 goals and letting in just six. NOT ALL ABOUT DZEKO Ten of those 30 goals by Bosnia were scored by Edin Dzeko, but the Drag-

ons do not depend solely on the Manchester City striker for redemption as they also look Ogu up to equally potent striker, Vedad Ibisevic, for desired goals after the 29-year-old VFB Stuttgart of Germany striker notched up eight during the World Cup qualifiers. Team’s coach, Safet Susic, can also count on the experienced Zvjezdan Misimovic, the team’s vice-captain who grabbed five goals in the qualifiers and who, in the twilight of his career, now plays his football in China after spending the greater part of it in the German Bundesliga playing in the colours of Bayern Munich, Bochum and Wolfsburg. There is also the talented Miralem Pjanic, who plays for Italian side, AS Roma, he’s one of the most skillful midfielders in the modern game. “Bosnia is a very good side and very exciting to watch,” continued Ogu. “We must have this on our mind when we play them in the second group game. But I am confident we won’t let Nigeria down.”

THE LIONS OF IRAN Before coming up against the Europeans on June 21 at the Arena Pantanal, in Cuiaba, the Eagles of Nigeria have a date to keep with Iran five days earlier on June 16, in the city of Curitiba, and Ogu is not one of those who believe that the Asians will be Group F’s whipping boys. “There are no pushovers in football anymore; any team is capable of causing upsets if underrated,” cautioned Ogu, stressing that, “Iran won’t be a pushover at all and we are aware of that. I just know they won’t be the group whipping boys based on what I have seen of them recently. “They have top players too who play big-time football in Europe and other parts of the world. The Lions of Iran finished ahead of South Korea, Uzbekistan and Qatar to qualify for Brazil 2014 and would be counting on the likes of Standard Liege of Belgium’s Reza Ghoochannejhad, Fulham’s Ashkan Dejagah, and a host of other foreign-based stars who have gained lots of experiences playing outside their homeland. They will be hoping to be more impressive compared to their last outing at Germany 2006, where they failed to get past the group stage. “What is clear is that the Iranians would want to get a result in their opening game against Nigeria in order to stand a chance of progressing to the second round. I believe anything is possible in football,” Ogu said. He reiterated that: “Nigeria would be in Brazil to make a statement this time

around compared to the nottoo-impressive outing at the Confederations Cup. This would shock all those who might have written the Eagles off as one of the teams in group F that would cross the Rubicon to the second round. Some believe that we may not survive the stiff challenges that will be posed by Argentina and Bosnia.” CONFEDERATIONS CUP EXPERIENCE The Stephen Keshi’s side, without key players like Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike, failed to advance beyond the group stage following defeats against Uruguay and Spain, but Ogu believes the experience gained from playing at the Confederations Cup will come in handy at the World Cup. “We were at the Confederations Cup and the experience was worthwhile, but this time around we won’t be taking it easy with our opponents. We have great players too and all we need do is to believe in our manager (Stephen Keshi) who I know as one of the best managers I have worked with,” said Ogu. The player who got his debut Nigeria game in the 1-1 draw against the Harambee Stars of Kenya last March in Calabar, said: “Keshi is a great manager who gives you all the confidence to play good football. Working with him has been great and I really like his training methods and specified style of total football. He is a huge blessing to Nigerian football and he has really shown us that he has what it takes to lead the country to the promise land. All we need do is to give him all the necessary supports and Nigeria will be team to beat at Brazil 2014.


NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

SPORT

27

Athletics’ll win medals in Glasgow, Rio -Yusuf Ali Chimaobi Uchendu

F

ormer athlete and a member of Athletic Federation of Nigeria Technical Committee, Yusuf Ali, is confident athletics will fetch Nigeria medals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later in the year and at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Ali, the former African record holder in the long jump event, said Nigeria had talented athletes good enough to win laurels at the international events despite the challenges the AFN is facing on funding. He said the AFN was able to assemble athletes in Ijebu Ode for competition and the athletes would still take part in Golden Leagues. Ali said, “We just finished our competition in Ijebu Ode and very soon the Golden League will be held to further evaluate the cur-

rent form of the athletes. “I can’t assess our athletes now until we test their abilities and that will be during the Golden League challenge. We have a long way to go, but we want to ensure that the athletes get all they need to excel.” Ali said it was unfortunate that Nigeria could not win any medal at the 2012 Olympics in London adding that the AFN is working hard to get results in the forthcoming events. “London 2012 was not good for Nigeria and so the nation’s athletics contingent to 2014 Commonwealth Games needs more preparation to excel at the games,” he said. Nigeria has 73 athletes in camp ahead of the 2014 Glasgow Games scheduled to hold between July 23 and August 3.

Olopade hails standard of wheelchair b’ball tourney Charles Ogundiya

Tball Federation of Nigeria, Bukola he President of Wheelchair Basket-

Obinna Metu

World Cup: I’m not under pressure -Keshi Adekunle Salami

A

s the 2014 World Cup draws near, Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, has said he is not under any pressure on the composition of the final list and the performance of the team in Brazil. Keshi told New Telegraph on the telephone that he was on course with the preparation of the team for the mundial. The 2013 Nations Cup winning coach said it was important for him to take one step at a time ahead of the the global football showcase. He said, “We all know the importance of the World Cup and so it is crucial to plan well because the competition is for the best teams from all parts of the world. “Again, I am aware of how passionate Nigerians are when it comes to football especially the World Cup. I am focused together with my colleagues in the technical crew and we don’t have to listen to all the side talks and comments. “Some could be good but many are so absurd. We know what we intend to do and we are working towards that.

Our team is still young and we are still building but most of the players are eager to learn and achieve results. “The commitment of the players is very inspiring and so I am looking forward to a good outing at the World Cup. We take each game as it comes and we see how it goes.” Keshi admitted that the current form of some players could affect his final list for World Cup. “It is part of the job to be faced with this situation. I am not under pressure on this and other World Cup issues. We are monitoring the players and we are aware of their respective status in terms of form or injury. That is why we are going to play friendly games to look at them in match situations,” he said. The Eagles coach is also not disturbed about the preliminary games against Argentina, Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina. “I am aware we have three games in the prelims. I don’t want to talk about names. We take each game as it comes. We are going to be fine because we are ready to work hard and make Nigerians happy. I cannot make promises but I am optimistic we will do well,” Keshi noted.

Olopade, has hailed the standard of the just concluded 3rd Ochei International Wheelchair Basketball tourney in Lagos, describing the competition as a great spectacle. In an interview with New Telegraph, the former Ogun State Sports Commissioner says the game has improved tremendously in the country and Africa as a whole. “This competition shows the improvement in wheelchair basketball in the country. I want to appreciate all the teams for their show of maturity and high level of competiveness. Likewise the sponsor of the competi-

tion for believing in the project in the past three years,” he said. Also speaking on the championship being sponsored by the Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Victor Ochei, the WBFN technical director Obrien Tamuno said the competition afforded him the opportunity to identify players for the senior national and U-23 teams ahead of the international championship later in the year. “When you look at the level of competitiveness among the players at this year competition, you will see that talents abound in this country, we are going to invite the best to represent Nigeria,” he said. Lagos defeated Delta State Wheelchair basketball team to defend the trophy they won last year.

Wheelchair Basketball players in action at the 3rd Ochei tourney in Lagos.


28 SPORT Briefs

NEW TELEGRAP 22 Febru

NEW TELEGRAPH

Cavani ready to dump PSG

www.newtelegraphonline.com/metro

Ifeanyi Ibeh & ajibade oluSesan ifeanyi.ibeh@newtelegraphonline.com, ajibade.olusesan@newtelegraphonline.com

C

helsea have been given a boost in the hunt to sign Edinson Cavani after a FIFA agent and close friend of the player, Francois Gallardo suggested that he wants to quit Paris Saint Germain in the summer. “There is a player of the squad at PSG who is not comfortable and wants to leave called Cavani,” said Gallardo.

Barca not invincible – Nasri

Sinsists Man-

amir Nasri

chester City can beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou and keep alive their Champions League hopes after going down 2-0 to Barcelona at the Etihad on Tuesday night. “It is not over,” vowed Nasri. “Before the game, we said it is a game of 180 minutes, and we can do what Valencia did and beat them at home. We will fight until the end.”

Don’t write off Milan yet – Seedorf

AClarence SeedC Milan coach

orf said the Italians’ Champions League quarter-final bid is far from over despite suffering a 1-0 defeat to high-flying Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

The Blues are coming off of a recent defeat against Manchester City in the FA Cup, a game in which Mikel did little to convince Jose Mourinho of his readiness to step up and stake a claim for a starting shirt, and Mourinho is expected to put out his best squad to secure their position, which will likely see the Portuguese tactician calling upon the duo of Nemanja Matic and Frank Lampard. Age is gradually catching up with the vastly experienced Lampard but the England international still brings a lot to the table, while Matic has seamlessly placed himself into the starting squad, following his January arrival from Benfica, and has proved himself on the field. The big Serbian is already being compared to Yaya Toure and Sergio Busquets and will do all he can to help the Blues maintain their impressive record against Everton. Chelsea have lost none of their last 18 Premier League home games against Everton, winning nine and drawing nine, but they have won just three of their last 11 Premier League games against the Toffees. In addition, Mourinho’s side are now unbeaten in their last 11 Premier League games, and the Portuguese will equally be looking at extending his unbeaten home record as a Premier League manager, which now stands at 73 games. And he just might do that considering that Everton manager, Roberto Martinez, has lost all four of his previous Premier League trips to Stamford Bridge as a manager.

M

anchester City will be hoping to get back to winning ways and maintain their push for the Premier League title when they welcome Stoke City to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday. Manuel Pellegrini’s side were on the receiving end of a 2-0 defeat at

FFabrizio Ravanelli is set to re-

ormer Middlesbrough striker

turn to Italian side Juventus as a youth team coach, according to Calciomercato. The former Premier League striker endured a terrible time as manager of AC Ajaccio in France.

hen Zlatan

movic sent a blistering left-footed shot into the top corner of the Bayer Leverkusen net after 42 minutes of Tuesday’s last-16 first leg, it was a strike that effectively secured Paris Saint-Germain’s place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The 32-year-old is now set to smash his personal best in terms of goals at club level.

zBattle z Everton at Stamford Bridge

City seek rebound against Stoke

Ravanelli eyes Juve return

WI b r a h i -

Chelsea out to consolidate on top spot

C

helsea will today take on Everton at Stamford Bridge with the hope of grabbing a win and remaining at the top of the Premier League table. But they will likely do that without John Obi Mikel in the starting line-up.

“On the whole lads showed a lot of spirit and determination and I also saw some great individual performances,” said the Dutchman, the only player to have won Europe’s most prestigious club trophy with three different clubs Ä Ajax, Real Madrid and twice with Milan.

Ibrahimovic set for best season ever

Global Footba

the hands of Barcelona on Tuesday night but will look at bouncing back from that Champions League loss to the Spanish side with a win against the Potters. City have won all five Premier League home games against Stoke without conceding a single goal, with four of the matches ending 3-0, and the Potters have failed to score in six of their last 11 league games against Man City.

Drogba to dump Gala D

idier Drogba may be on his way out of Turkey this summer, according to Turkish daily Hurriyet, with MLS sides linked with snapping him up. Drogba’s Galatasaray contract expires at the end of the season, and there is some speculation that all is not well in his relationship with coach Roberto Mancini.

It is believed things came to a head when Drogba showed his anger at being substituted during a league game against Antalyaspor earlier this week. Mancini is understood to have taken a dim view of that, and the fact that Drogba refused to shake hands with assistant coach Tugay Kerimoglu.

LA LIGA FIXTURES 4.00 pm

Real Madrid

Vs

6.00 pm

Celta Vigo

Vs

8.00 pm

Real Sociedad Vs

10.00 pm

Almeria

B

Vs

Bundesliga 3.30 pm

Freiburg

Vs

Augsb

3.30 pm

Hamburger Vs

Dortm

3.30 pm

Gladbach

Vs Hoffe

3.30 pm

Nurnberg

Vs Braun

3.30 pm

Stuttgart

Vs

Herth

6.30 pm

Wolfsburg

Vs

Lever

LIGUE 1 5.00 pm

Marseille

Vs

Lorie

8.00 pm

Bastia

Vs

St. E

8.00 pm

Bordeaux

Vs

Evian

8.00 pm

Guingamp

Vs

Nice


EPL

all Special

Sociedad B target Barca scalp

B

eaten Copa del Rey semi-finalist Real Sociedad will have revenge in mind when they host Barcelona in La Liga on Saturday.

Guardiola keen to keep Kroos

ayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola hailed Toni Kroos‘ performance against Arsenal and insisted that everybody at the club wants him to sign a new contract.

Gerardo Martino’s Barca have not won at Anoeta in their last four attempts and lost 3-2 last season despite taking a 2-0 lead after 25 minutes. Gonzalo Castro’s double and Imanol Agirretxe’s lastminute winner did the damage on that occasion and will give Sociedad hope of producing another shock this weekend. Despite its poor recent record in San Sebastian, Martino’s men have been in fine form this year, tasting defeat just once in all competitions during 2014. As well as staying firmly in the hunt for the Liga title and moving into the final of the Copa del Rey, they also edged Manchester City in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie.

The 24-year-old was the linchpin for Bayern’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal on Wednesday that means they have one foot in the Champions League quarterfinals. Currently, Kroos has stalled negotiations with Bayern due to a conflict in wages but Guardiola has made it clear that Bayern do not want to let him go. “He played on a very, very high level. That was real Champions League level,” Guardiola said a c cordi n g to ESPN. “We all want him to prolong [his stay], and he also wants that, I am

very positive about it. The club, we all want that.” In reality, Kroos probably doesn’t want to leave Bayern either given that they are currently the best team in the world but the fact of the matter is that he wants salary parity with some of the best at Bayern. If he doesn’t get that, he will feel undervalued and may look to leave.

RVP suffering at United,says Van Gaal

Real set to extend run against Elche R

eal Madrid will move top of La Liga for at least a few hours if they extend their unbeaten run to 26 matches against Elche on Satur-

day.

Elche Getafe

Barcelona Malaga

burg

mund

enheim

nschweig

ha

rkusen

ent

Etienne

n TG

Carlo Ancelotti’s side remain locked level on 60 points with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the summit of the Spanish top flight, but sit second behind the Catalan club by virtue of their inferior goal difference. Real play before either of their great rivals this weekend though, with Barca visiting Real Sociedad later on Saturday and Atleti travelling to Osasuna on Sunday, meaning they require just a point at home to Fran Escriba’s men to take top spot.

H

olland manager Louis van Gaal has suggested Robin Van Persie is finding life at Old Trafford difficult because of Manchester United’s style of football. Van Persie enjoyed a superb debut season at Old Trafford, claiming his first Premier League medal, but he has struggled under David Moyes with injury restricting his involvement. Although he has managed to score ten goals in 15

I knew I’d save Ozil’s penalty –Neuer

Buel Neuer has insisted that he ayern Munich goalkeeper Man-

knew what to expect when Mesut Ozil stepped up to take Arsenal’s penalty in Wednesday’s Champions League clash.

The attacking midfielder was awarded a spot-kick after he was fouled inside the area by Jerome Boateng after just eight minutes, but he saw his effort saved one-handed by Neuer. “I know how Mesut Ozil takes penalties,” Neuer was quoted as saying on the official Uefa website after the match.

29

SPORT

PH ON SATURDAY uary 2014

“I knew he would wait a long time before deciding in which corner to shoot but of course he could have picked any corner.” The shot-stopper then went on to stress that Bayern cannot afford to lose focus in tie after they were beaten 2-0 at the Allianz Arena by Arsenal last season. “We still know the knockout phase is all about getting through over two legs,” he added. “There is still a lot that could go wrong.”

league appearances for the Red Devils, van Gaal believes Van Persie is better suited to Holland’s style of play and he is confident the striker will shine at this summer’s World Cup. “ I think h e should be great in the tournament because he loves to play [for his country],” van Gaal told reporters. “He has shown that in all the qualification matches more than ever, because he’s our top scorer, and I hope he can continue this. “The football from Manchester United now is, for him, maybe difficult but then he wishes to show his ability. Technique [levels] in the Dutch team are higher.

SN

Team

P

W

1

D

L

GF

GA

GD Pts

Chelsea

26

17

6

3

48

21

27

2

Arsenal

26

17

5

4

48

26

22

56

3

Man City

25

17

3

5

68

27

41

54

57

4

Liverpool

26

16

5

5

66

32

34

53

5

Tottenham

26

15

5

6

36

32

4

50

6

Everton

25

12

9

4

37

26

11

45

7

Man United

26

12

6

8

41

31

10

42

8

Southampton

26

10

9

7

37

29

8

39

9

Newcastle

26

11

4

11

32

38

-6

37

10

Swansea City

26

7

7

12

33

36

-3

28

11

West Ham

26

7

7

12

28

33

-5

28

12

Aston Villa

26

7

7

12

27

36

-9

28

13

Hull City

26

7

6

13

25

31

-6

27

14

Stoke City

26

6

9

11

27

41

-14

27

15

C/Palace

25

8

2

15

18

34

-16

26

16

Norwich City

26

6

7

13

19

39

-20

25

17

West Brom

26

4

12

10

30

38

-8

24

18

Sunderland

25

6

6

13

25

38

-13

24

19

Cardiff City

26

5

7

14

19

44

-25

22

20

Fulham

20

26

6

2

18

26

58 -32

LA LIGA P

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

1

SN Team Barcelona

24

19

3

2

69

17

52

Pts 60

2

Real Madrid

24

19

3

2

68

24

44

60

3

Atletico

24

19

3

2

59

16

43

60

4

Athletic Club

24

13

5

6

43

30

13

44

5

Villarreal CF

24

12

4

8

44

29

15

40

6

R/Sociedad

24

11

7

6

43

34

9

40

7

Sevilla FC

24

8

8

8

42

41

1

32

8

Valencia CF

24

9

5

10

36

35

1

32

9

Espanyol

24

9

5

10

28

30

-2

32

10

Levante

24

8

8

8

23

30

-7

32

11

Celta Vigo

24

8

5

11

31

35

-4

29

12

Granada CF

24

8

3

13

21

30

-9

27

13

Elche CF

24

6

8

10

22

34

-12

26

14

Osasuna

24

7

5

12

21

37

-16

26

15

Getafe CF

24

7

4

13

22

39

-17

25

16

Almeria

24

7

4

13

24

42

-18

25 -11

17

Malaga

24

24

6

6

12

23

34

18

Valladolid

24

4

9

11

26

42

-16

21

19

Vallecano

24

6

2

16

25

58

-33

20

20

Real Betis

24

3

5

16

20

53

-33

14

SERIE A SN

Team

1

Juventus

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD Pts

24

20

3

1

59

19

40

63

2

AS Roma

23

16

6

1

48

11

37

54

3

Napoli

50

24

15

5

4

49

27

22

4

Fiorentina

24

13

5

6

43

26

17

44

5

Internazionale

24

10

9

5

42

28

14

39

6

Parma

36

23

9

9

5

36

27

9

7

Torino

36

24

9

9

6

39

31

8

8

Verona

36

24

11

3

10

40

40

0 32

9

AC Milan

24

8

8

8

37

35

2

10

Lazio

32

24

8

8

8

30

32

-2

11

Genoa

31

24

8

7

9

27

31

-4

12

Sampdoria

24

7

7

10

27

35

-8

28

13

Udinese

24

8

3

13

28

35

-7

27 27

14

Atalanta

24

8

3

13

24

36

-12

15

Cagliari

24

24

5

9

10

22

34 -12

16

Bologna

24

4

9

11

22

40

-18

17

Livorno

20

24

5

5

14

24

42 -18

21

18

Catania

24

4

7

13

19

41

-22

19

Chievo

18

24

4

6

14

17

35 -18

19

20

Sassuolo

24

4

5

15

23

51

-28

17

PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES (SAT) 1.45 pm

Chelsea

Vs Everton

4.00 pm

Arsenal

Vs Sunderland

4.00 pm

Cardiff

Vs Hull

4.00 pm

Man City

Vs Stoke

4.00 pm

West Brom

Vs Fulham

4.00 pm

West Ham

Vs Southampton

6.30 pm

Crystal Palace Vs Man United

PREMIER LEAGUE (SUN) 2.30 pm

Liverpool

Vs

Swansea

2.30 pm

Newcastle Vs Aston Villa


30 NEWS

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

Why we don’t promote Polo in schools –Fashinro

By Chimaobi Uchendu princehench@yahoo.com

08092747532

Yenagoa polo turf yearns for attention

Tration of the Bayelsa Polo Club is dying he excitement that greeted the inaugu-

down as the turf is gradually turning into a no-go area due to the water conditions of the environment. For the turf to host serious tournament, the entire surface must be scraped, refilled and re-grassed to return it to the standard of other turfs across the country. Yenagoa’s landscape is over 70% water and any construction undertaken by government, business concerns are handled with the familiar terrain in mind. Maybe those that planned the playing turf were not briefed or they never thought it necessary to conduct a test of the surface. Be that as it may, it is not a hopeless situation as qualified hands could still redeem whatever is left undone.

T

he President of Lagos Polo Club, Habeeb Fashinro, has given reasons behind the club’s inability to reach out to students to acquaint them with the techniques of the game.

He said the sport was one that would not be played by an individual until he learns how to ride a horse. Fashinro said learning how to ride a horse cannot be done

by children because of the risks involved and as such only those that are strong enough to learn horse riding can come into the Polo family. He said, “Polo as a sport is capital intensive because materials required to play the game are expensive. From the horse to other materials, I can say that you must have a good source of livelihood to play polo. “But we encourage those who

have flair for the game to first learn how to ride the horse, after that they can come here and witness how the game is played thereafter begin to think of how to work their way to acquiring the tools to join the playing class.” The president however asked those aspiring to play polo not to be discouraged but work hard to get what they want in life. “ Our membership cuts across different kinds of people, from

professionals to business men and politician. Just like other sports where you have those with interests, it happens here also, so I can tell you that we are complete with spectators. “We’re encouraging those who cannot play the game to come out and cheer the players as they entertain the audience at our twoweeks event which would end March 2 at the Lagos Polo Club,” Fashinro said.

Lagos Polo: Curtain falls on first leg

P

olo players are currently raising their mallets as to play the “game of kings,” as the first leg of the Lagos International Polo Tournament ends on Sunday (tomorrow). President of the Lagos Polo Club, Habeeb Fasinro, thanked sponsors who made the tournament possible. “This tournament will be different from the others as we have improved on the health, safety and aesthetics of the club. We wish to thank our sponsors, MTN, GTB and others who have been behind us for so long,” Fasinro said. Lending credence to the president’s speech, the Deputy Tournament Manager, Seyi Oyinlola, said, “We will

...as GTBank, MTN add flair

L-R: President, Lagos Polo Club, Habeeb Fasinro, Seyi Oyinlola, Secretary, Lolu Agoro, and Dola Bamgboye at the MTN Polo pre- tournament Event.

have introduced something called VVIP and a hospitality suite for our guests and sponsors. GTB has been throwing its weight behind us for a long

time and we would like to appreciate them. Throughout the tournament we have hosted about 3,000 of the best of the best, in Lagos and beyond.”

The Lagos edition, a Nigerian Polo Association tournament, has clubs from Ibadan, Lagos and Kano participating with players from other countries such as Argentina, South Africa and India. The two weeks tourney was organised in two batches; the first weekend matches for the low (Open) and medium (Dansa) cups, which started from February 19. The second batch of matches, which is in the second weekend, will hold between February 26 and March 2 as teams battle for the low and high cups, which is also called the High Goal and Majekodunmi Cup. Matches start from 2pm with about five games being played daily.

Gov. Dickson

Oba Akiolu brings royalty to Lagos Polo Hwill today present the recently intro-

is Royal Majesty, Oba Rilwan Akinolu

duced Oba of Lagos Cup to the winners and runners-up of Lagos Polo first leg, after watching top class display of skills in four explosive chukkas final game with his entourage. It is estimated that over 20, 000 polo enthusiasts and tourists would attended the festival that was spread over two weekends of top class games and solid entertainment, overwhelmingly demonstrating how the sport of kings is increasingly capturing the interest of the public. Other prestigious prizes that would be up for grabs during the annual polo fiesta include the Independence Cup, Italian Ambassador’s Cup and the Beginners Cup among others. With the guaranteed presence of His Majesty, Oba of Lagos, President Goodluck Jonathan who is expected as the Special Guest of Honour, Lagos Governor, Raji Fashola and a long list of business gurus, diplomats and political bigwigs, MTN/Lagos’2014 polo promises to be truly special.


NEWS

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

31

Leaguemania with Chimaobi Uchendu princehench@yahoo.com

08092747532

Rangers bank on CHAN players to end trophy drought

Tball Club of Enugu won the league title

he last time Rangers International Foot-

was in 1984 but the management of the Flying Antelopes are banking on the performance of their players that represented Nigeria at the 2014 African Nations Championship to end years of trophy drought in the club. The Flying Antelopes were the most represented club in the home-based Super Eagles with four of their players included in the 23-man squad, though they recently parted ways with the goalkeeper, Chigozie Agbim. They hope to utilise the experiences of the players to make a statement for other clubs to take them serious this season. According to Media Officer of the club, Foster Chime, the achievements of the players assured that the club which produced the likes Christian Chukwu, Austin ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha, Joseph Enakhaire amongst others, will do well this season while they continue to produce players for the national team. Chime noted that: “Ugonna Uzochukwu impressed all through and even scored a great goal against Morocco, while Chinonso Obiozor scored the winning goal for Nigeria in the third-place match against Zimbabwe. Ejike Uzoenyi was adjudged the Most Valuable Player of the competition after winning the MVP awards in three crucial games. “We had four players at the tournament, Ejike Uzoenyi, Ugonna Uzochukwu, Chigozie Agbim, and Christian Obiozor, who did not only participate but were useful throughout the competition.”

PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES Day 1 fixtures 9/03 Giwa FC 16:00 Kano Pillars 9/03 Akwa United 16:00 Gombe United 9/03 Heartland FC 16:00 Dolphins FC 9/03 Lobi Stars 9/03 Bayelsa United 9/03 Warri Wolves 9/03 Abia Warriors 9/03 Enugu Rangers 9/03 Taraba FC

16:00 Crown FC 16:00 Sharks 16:00 El-Kanemi 16:00 Kaduna United 16:00 Nembe City 16:00 Nasarawa

LMC, club owners agree N25million bank guarantee zz League kick-off now certain

Austin Ekpoma of Dolphin shielding the ball from Ugonna Uzochukwu of Enugu Rangers FC at a Premier League Match between the two sides last season.

T

he uncertainty which surrounds the kick-off of the 2013/13 Nigeria Premier League season over the deposit of N100million bank sureties as the major criteria for the full registration of the 20 clubs set by the League Management Company may have been resolved after an all-night meeting held by Club Owners in Abuja. Leaguemania scooped that the LMC and Club Owners told themselves the bitter truth over the N100million bank sureties and thereafter renegotiated realisable terms for the League season to kick-off. The League Management Company it was gathered had come down to N50million but the Club Owners reminded the organisation headed by Honourable Nduka Irabor that their sponsors which are mainly state governments would not be able to afford that amount.

The Club Owners advised them not to waste more time on the issue since they know the size of their pockets. It was also gathered that at the end of consultation between the LMC bigwigs, they announced that the N25million indemnity stands and advised the clubs to utilize the two weeks extension to put their books in order for the league to commence. Before this meeting no club had met the N100million indemnity guarantee which means the league kick-off on March 4 was unrealistic but this agreement, it is now certain that the league would begin. It could be recalled that the LMC had said that only the clubs, which meet the N100 million bank guarantee criteria would participate in the 2013/2014 NPFL League.

Akinbobola’s revolution to revive Sunshine

Wthe commencement of the

ith less than a month to

2013/2014 Nigeria Professional Football League, the management team of Akure-based club, Sunshine Stars Football Club was changed and Akin Akinbobola made the new chairman of Ondo State FootballAgency, the parent body of Sunshine Stars. Upon resumption, Akinbobola made the changes which almost consumed the club but as an astute administrator he was able to weather the storm and redirect the club to the direction it was when they reached the semi-final of CAF Confederations Cup. The re-negotiations of players’ salaries and the sacking of Coach Solomon Ogbeide were the greatest tests for the former Special Adviser on Sports to the Ondo state Governor, Olusegun Mimiko. A reliable source told New Telegraph Sport that Akinbobola decided to re-negotiate salaries with the players and some technical staff to reduce the huge amount of money the club spends monthly. Nick names of Nigeria Premier League clubs Enyimba - People’s Elephant Akwa United - Promise Keepers Sharks FC - Blue Angels Dolphins - Pride of Rivers Nembe City FC - Kala Ekulema Boys Crown FC – Ajilette Boys Abia Warriors- Ochendo Babes Kano Pillars- Sai Masu Gida Giwa FC- The Elephants Nasarawa United- Solid Miners Rangers- Flying Antelopes

Enyimba captain promises dream outing

T

An action between Enyimba and Warri Wolves at the last Federation Cup final in Lagos.

he captain of Enyimba International Football Club of Aba, Chinedu Udoji, says the club’s qualification for the Round of 16 of the CAF Champions League is for the club’s fans that have been overwhelmingly in their support since the start of the competition, and also for the pride of Nigeria. Enyimba advanced to the Round of 16 of the biggest club tournament in Africa after a 4-3 aggregate win over Togo’s Anges de Notse. Udoji played a vital role in Enyimba’s aggregate win last weekend. “We have worked very hard and deserved to go through. Everything we experienced in Togo was dehumanising but we stayed strong to earn our qualification.” The Enyimba captain noted that: “Even though we

lost the match, we did not lose the most important result, which is the qualification to the next round. “Now that we have achieved this desired result, we can look ahead to the next game,” Udoji declared. He added that it is common knowledge that Enyimba fans have constantly been contributing to the success of the team and the players cannot but thank them for the massive support. “We are most grateful to our fans that came to the stadium inTogo to cheer us up. “We know Kano Pillars are no longer in the competition and we cannot afford to let our country down, so our qualification for the Round of 16 is dedicated to our great country Nigeria.” he said.


32 SPORT

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

Countdown to Fifa World Cup

We are focused to win at home –Neymar Neymar at 22 is carrying the expectations of an entire nation on his shoulders, with many experts tipping him to lead Brazil to success at this year’s FIFA World Cup on home soil. He spoke to fifa.com You’ve been at Barça a little over six months now. Would you say you’re a different player to the one who left Santos?

No, I’m still the same, though obviously more experienced having been in new surroundings, in another city and a new country. You learn new things, a new culture, and that’s very good. Are you already speaking Spanish?

A little (replies in Spanish). It’s quite similar to Portuguese, though a bit harder. Has it surprised you how quickly you’ve adapted to your new club?

I wouldn’t say it’s surprised me. Thank God I’ve had a lot of good fortune, mainly to have found such a great group of people here, along with players who have made me very welcome. All of Barcelona, in fact. We’re talking about players who have won practically everything there is to win yet remain as humble as ever. That’s the main reason why everything is working out well. What do you miss about Brazil?

I miss my home there and always miss my family and friends. But as I said, I’m very happy to be discovering new things. Right now I’m living my boyhood dream, which was to play for a European club. The fact that it’s a huge club like Barcelona makes it a tremendous honour. I like everything about the city: the climate, the people. It’s quite similar to Brazil, which helps a lot. There’s even a beach! Are the fans similar to those of Santos. Can you walk down the street without a problem, for example?

They’re very passionate too – fanatics, just like at Santos. And yes, I can walk down the street without worrying. Some people recognise me but that’s normal. When you played in the final of last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup [against Spain], your planned move to Barcelona was already official. What was it like facing some of your soon-to-be teammates and did you feel somewhat scrutinised?

(Laughs) Yes it was unusual to play a final against future team-mates. Now we sometimes talk about that game and other things. It was a huge thrill to win the Confederations Cup. Do you mind telling us what’s said when that game is discussed?

We joke about it, but they’re jokes that stay among ourselves. Do you think they’ll be out for revenge in June? Your paths could cross in the Round of 16…

No, I don’t think revenge. Every team going to Brazil 2014 will be there to win, and it’s going to be a fiercely contested World

Cup. All the teams are preparing very well, but I believe we have an excellent chance of reaching the final and becoming champions. That’s what we’re working towards, and all that training is aimed at realising that dream. Going back to that final against Spain, was the atmosphere inside the Maracana and the way everyone sung the national anthem a significant factor, and what did it feel like on the pitch?

That was a fantastic moment, and I’m certain there will be a lot more moments like that during the World Cup. It will be even more emotional than during the Confederations Cup. How has A Seleção changed since Luiz Felipe Scolari’s arrival?

I don’t know that it has changed. I think the team created its own identity. We needed time to train and get to know each other better, time for our game to flow. We had that at the Confederations Cup and everything worked out well. The way the group bonded, both on and off the pitch, was fantastic, and that just motivated us even more to run and work for each other. It helped us win that title. What would say are Felipão’s main strengths as a coach?

As a coach he’s a normal, unassuming guy, just like one of us. He can crack a joke but he can be tough when he has to be. He’s a hardworking man who always likes to win, and a great person. Those are his main virtues and the reason he’s won over the squad. Can you believe that in less than four months you’ll be preparing to play at the World Cup?

It seems a long way off, but in reality it isn’t. The World Cup’s almost upon us. What’s more, it’s in our homeland, which is a huge source of pride. I’m nervous about it, but hopefully I can handle that anxiety. It’s going to be a great World Cup, especially for us, I hope. What does it mean to be able to play your first World Cup on home soil?

It’s a unique opportunity – we know that only too well. We’re delighted about it and happy that other people will be able to come here and discover our culture and country. I know Brazil will welcome everyone. Did you watch the Draw?

Yes, I saw it while on club duty with Barcelona. We’ve been given a tough group with some great teams, but we hope to have the best possible tournament. Who do I see as our main rivals? Well, nowadays there’s very little to choose between teams, so you need to take care no matter who you play. All the competing teams are strong so you need to prepare for that to avoid any surprises. You’ve always spoken in glowing terms about Lionel Messi, but come the World Cup, he’ll be a direct rival chasing the same goal.

(Laughs) Indeed, I’ve even spoken to him about a possible Final between Brazil and Argentina, obviously with Brazil winning. I was always a big fan of his, and am even more so now that I know him. I have the good fortune to work with him every day and I wish him well in everything. Have you been surprised by him now that you’re team-mates?

He’s surprised me a lot, even as a player. I never realised he was so great when I was just watching him on TV. Your country’s fans have placed great store in you for the World Cup. What would you like to say to them ahead of big event?

To rest assured they can count on 23 warriors who will be fighting for the national team in our bid to realise everyone’s dream, not just that of the players. Hopefully they’ll drive us on till the end, and we’ll be giving our all for them too. Lastly, we’d like you to finish this sentence for us? ‘In 2014, Neymar will be…’

(Thinks for a bit, then laughs) …a World Cup winner!


SHOWBIZ

PH ON SATURDAY uary 2014

33

Ameze is dreaming a comeback know and respect. I’m serving it hot and with a flourish. My movie, I Got Your Back can be viewed on facebook. That will give them an idea of what to expect. There are production pictures on and off the set. I am also involved in a soap opera being shot in United Kingdom called In The Mix.

PROFILE Course: Read zoology at the University of Benin TV Series: Starring in Zeb Ejiro’s television series, Ripples helped shoot the Edo State born actress to limelight Films: She also etched her name on viewers’ minds with appearances in movies such as Dead End and Suicide Mission Production Debut: Made her production debut with Flesh and Blood

What did it cost putting this together?

Financing is always challenging for independent filmmakers and it’s a hurdle you have to cross. If only artistic people can have the money they need for their craft, life would be so easier. I Got Your Back is the first feature film of my media company Senamedia House and I wrote, directed, produced and starred in it. I wore many hats. I had a wonderful cast and crew. It was a collaborative effort to get it off the ground from start to finish. I’m especially grateful to my lead actor Best Davis, a very popular Nollwood actor in the US for his belief in me and assistance in co-coordinating the production. My cast and crew had to be transported from various cities in the US. I Got Your Back received a lot of attention from both the African and American communities because of the issues it dealt with,

namely helping friends who are in need as married couples. I’m glad of the review and I can’t wait for my Nigerian and other African audience on the African continent to experience it. When would the Nigerian release be? And how would you rate the industry now?

I’m in talks with distributors and mar-

keters in Nigeria and some other African countries and the movie will be out soon. It is a blockbuster. The response and acceptance of my come back has been overwhelming. I’m honored and humbled. The industry has grown in leaps and bounds. There is still teething problems but that is ok. Hollywood was not built in a day and there are still thousands of movies produced in Hollywood today that are not seen or known by the larger public The calibre of stars is also impressive. We have a stable of unbelievable talents that can rival any international actor. We are good. I am also pleased that serious and informed players who know their salt are playing in the game and are venturing into marketing and distribution. Nollwood is received well in the Diaspora and only the serious ones will make it as in any profession. We still need to do more work though but we are in the right direction I believe. How has family life been and what else do you engage in outside movies?

Family life has been good. I’m eternally grateful to God for his many mercies and unmerited favours. Just like many of us

outside Nigeria, we’ve had to make career changes in addition to our first choice. And in the long run these changes or advancements in career help to facilitate our passion or other career moves. I work in the medical field in the US. My schedule is flexible and that was the main reason for the career choice in the first place. You have got to work and pay bills in America. I want to also mention that I Got Your Back and its premiere was reviewed by the print media in the US. What is your typical day like and which is your favourite spot when in Nigeria?

I love to watch movies and write. That’s how I relax. I also like to hang out with friends while in Nigeria, catching up on old times. I saw so many new spots that I’m impressed with. I was just busy enjoying the attention and loving the fuss. Which do you think stands out among your movies?

That’s an unfair question. I love them all equally. I am especially partial to Flesh & Blood and Ripples.

‘Established artistes take works to pirates’ CEO of FameHouse Music Nigeria and Hits & Fame UK, Leo Isi-Irabor shares insight on tackling the many challenges of the music industry. He speaks with CAJETAN MMUTA What is your assessment of the Nigerian music industry?

The development of modern Nigerian music in the last 15 years, an era now popularly referred to in terms of genres as Hiplife, has been an intriguing one. There is, no doubt, that one of the biggest contributions of this era to the Nigerian music culture has been its success and outright victory in the contest of space between foreign music and that of Nigeria. This return to local, pulsating rhythm and style, with just about enough injection of foreign musical elements to create a fine balance of what could truly be called the Nigerian vibe, is having a very good reception and connection - no longer juju, fuji, or highlife, but a pulse that rhymes with the beat of the entire nation. This new musical incursion has good coverage right through the Sub-Saharan region and has created an extra-ordinary economic opportunity for Nigeria. However, the haphazard exploitation of this prospect has left many observers and music lovers pondering why in the face of the popularity of this developing music trend, there are no proper and adequate structures being put in place to make the most of the cultural, social and economic opportunity that has opened up. Is this what informed your decision to establish Famehouse?

Yes, the very tools that have hugely enhanced the speedy growth and popularity of the Nigerian music are also some

of the factors militating against it. For instance, while it takes only a few seconds to share a music track over the various social media, that same ease has made it harder to get the remunerations due back to the artiste. Before the advent of the cassette when LP vinyl was being used as the medium of selling produced music, it was impossible to copy them for a friend. Consequently, for convenience, everyone had to buy their copy. However, with the various mediums of distributing music, videos and other files available today, a structure for control has to be put in place, otherwise, the artiste will become a charity worker, popular but a pauper. What about issues of piracy and artistes not getting enough for their labour?

The biggest pirates in Nigeria today are the radio stations. The stations are registered and are legal entities, and some are even owned by the government. They play anybody’s music willy-nilly to promote their business, they collect advert rates, but pay no royalties to the artistes whose works they use to gain their audience. In Nigeria today, many people think there is a clique of Alaba marketers duplicating artistes’ CDs and selling them off with no royalty paid. It is not quite like that. There is no doubt that there are music pirates out there, but these so called pirates at least have a structure of distribution and marketing. That brings us to the issue of what is the alternative structure to the one these pirates have established. Many young artistes and even established artistes now take their own works to these so-called pirates, and even pay them to put their music in the popular mix-tapes sold on the streets, in the hope that if their work manages to get across, they may enjoy some air play by radios and eventually get some live shows? This process has only worked for a few, and it amounts to a lottery to say the least. Where are the winners of the Nigerian idol 2011

and 2012 Yeka Onka and Mercy Chinwo? Why have they not gone on to huge success as is the case in many other countries with the Idol franchise? The answer lies in the lack of structure to properly release and market their works, even though these artistes already have a huge fan base from the shows. How would you describe your organisation’s goals?

I am not here to fight the so-called pirates; I am here to convince them that we can all work together legitimately and profitably to everyone’s mutual success, especially, the artiste. Famehouse’s vision is to be an entertainment company in Nigeria with a clear definition of professional management, resourcefulness and integrity; with core functions of music recording and publishing, artiste management, representation and promotion; as well as distribution and marketing of music and other entertainment products. The concept of Famehouse as developed in the business plan envisages growing the business along the various areas of the industry in stages. The preliminary stage is to develop the music recording and artiste management operations in the entertainment sector in Nigeria and international market. The experience and goodwill gained in this initial stage is then used to leverage expansion into music publishing, distribution and marketing. How is the company being funded?

The operation of Famehouse music is being financed by equity and loans. Significantly, the loans have been received from the directors of the company, who are genuine believers in the Nigerian music business potential. Music is like any other business, you have to have the skills for it. But many people have ventured into the sector with very little knowledge of how it works. For instance, Famehouse has released a compilation CD that is only available for purchase online. This compilation titled New Direction in Nigerian Music is available in 152 online retailers including iTunes, Amazon music, Spotify, Deezer, Google Music and all other major retailers, and is it is selling very well, and all royalties are being paid on time. Nigerian music needs similar structures locally for it to harness fully the connection that a vast audience has made with the new rhythm.


Music At the Afrika Shrine, a fusion of afrobeat and reggae p.36

THE ARTS ON SATURDAY NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY

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Brushstrokes that speak love An exhibition with love as its theme rounds off today in Lagos, writes Tony Okuyeme

T

his year’s Valentine’s Day, may have come and gone, resonating sundry memories for lovers alike. For art enthusiasts in Lagos, however love found expression in the brushstrokes of various artists whose works were on showcase. The exhibition featured works by 13 upcoming Nigerian artists such as Salako Olajide Peters, Tyna Adebowale, Adeleke Akeem, Adeyemi Uthman, Akhile Ehiforia Henry, and Badejo Abiodun. The others include Effiong Isaac Sunday, Emeka Nwagbara, Lawal Ismail Olanrewaju, Micheal Dagold, Owolabi Ayodele, Oyewole Olufemi Oyewole Olufemi, and Raji Mohammed. Aptly titled Cupid, the exhibition which opened on Saturday, February 15, at Alexis Gallery, Victoria Island, Lagos, has over 60 works, comprising painting and sculpture, on display. It was co-curated by George Edozie and Patty Chidiac Masttrogiannis, the CEO of at Alexis Gallery. In these works on display, the artistes offer various perspectives on love. The exhibition, Edozie said, is the “Valentine special exhibition” of Alexis Gallery, adding that some of the artists like Ebenezer Akinola, are well established, while many of them still have a fledgling career. “The choice of Cupid as title of the exhibition is in line with the Valentine season. The artists showcasing their

works in this exhibition are coming from different schools, some practicing under Biodun Olakun, Fidelis Odogwu and Biodun Akinola respectively. But we have gone beyond their artistic school; let’s look at those younger artists and see what they have to offer and encourage them.” From “First Date” (oil on canvas) by Oyewole Femi to “Aspiration” (oil on canvas), by Salako Olajide, and “Harmony” (metal sculpture) by Effiong Isaac Sunday, the array of works also highlighted the artists’ consciousness of socio-cultural developments in their surroundings as can be seen in works such as “Ojuelegba” (acrylic on canvas) by Owolabi Ayodele, “Self Contain” (oil on canvas) by Emeka Nwagbara, and “Mosafejo” (oil on canvas) by SalakoOlajide. There was Abiodun’s “Up Hill” (painting), a study of Okemesi town in Osun State. For Olufemi, a young and versatile artist who has made being an artist into a lifestyle, “painting is an illusion; art is inside”. According to him, he considers painting an important medium used to express emotions experienced in nature. “I find my subject in both the hustle and bustle of a city and the serene and tranquil calmness of the sea. Inspiration comes from confrontation with nature which demands a response; sunset, heavy showers, sunrise over a city, any or all of these elements might dictate the form

that the response will take. Most importantly, my paintings are done to communicate with their viewers. This gives the viewer the opportunity not just to enjoy the aesthetic value the painting is offering but also an invitation to walk into the painting,” he said, adding that he does not paint people and places, but paints the way light react on people and places. For Mohammed, a 400 level art student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, who began his painting career at Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Otto-Ijanikin, Lagos, art is an adventure in creativity. “I see art as an unending adventure that keeps you moving from one level of creativity to another… so if you don’t mind, enjoy this adventure with me,” he enthused. The exhibition which ends today, is sponsored by Veuve Clicquot, The Homestores, Chocolate Royal, Arra Vineyards, Avenue Suites, Cool FM, Wazobia FM, and Nigera Info.

“Painting is an illusion; art is inside...painting an important medium used to express emotions experienced in nature. ”


ARTS

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

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BETWEEN OKONKWO AND EKWEFI: LITERATURE AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF BLACK MASCULINITY The masculine-feminine tragic in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

Didi Cheeka

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hen Okonkwo swings the machete that fells the colonial authority’s messenger, he must - as a representative of the ruling class have entertained the same illusions every ruling class entertains about itself. In his imagination - as a representative of a class in power - he is a progressive hero and reason is on his side, whereas the reverse is the case. Achebe, through Okonkwo, reflects the breaking down of the old semi-feudal Igbo society and a transition towards a belated capitalist society and morality, based on money - where, to paraphrase Okonkwo, every fool with money to pay for an anklet could become a title-holder not rank and tradition. In the years Things Fall Apart was written and published, it was not colonialism that was pacifying the primitive tribes of the lower Niger. Colonialism, at least in its direct expression, was in retreat across the African continent. This physically compelling figure - “tall and huge” with “bushy eyebrows and [a] wide nose [that gives] him a very severe look,” walks, as if on springs, with his heels barely touching the ground, “as if he [is] going to pounce on somebody,” “stammers slightly” and breathes heavily is a champion wrestler - is thus placed in an imaginative space which, although suitably dramatic, lacks historical credibility. Okonkwo is thus posited, in the mind of the reader, as a hero because he seems to act against the very forces the Colonial Revolution is up in arms against. But in the clash between Okonkwo and the colonial authority, it is the latter who is looking forward, while Okonkwo is looking backwards. Colonialism represents a step forward, while Okonkwo is looking back longingly to a vanishing world that is out of step with reality, a world where every man knew his place and society was held together by men who were men. In other words he, Okonkwo, opposes the inexorable march of history. Paradoxically, Okonkwo’s heroism, this need to appear aggressively male and masculine is proof that these values, just like the society of conquering males and subservient women - that produced them, has become outdated by history. Okonkwo’s conflict with the new authority is the opposition of a doomed class that senses, but does not fully grasp that it is doomed and that the old ways has been supplanted. The swing of the machete that fells the messenger is its dying gasp.

REVIEW The swing of the machete that fells Ikemefuna is Okonkwo’s dying gasp. It is his recognition of self. But he denies this self to the end. Much of Okonkwo’s life is dictated by internal fear, the greatest being his overwhelming worry that he is like his father – lazy, cowardly and feminine. His behavior results from this fear and denial of self, and leads him to assist in the murder of Ikemefuna, to beat his wives, be cold and distant to his children. In striking the blow that kills Ikemefuna - for fear “of being thought weak” - he is striking out at his father. Critics refer to this fear as Okonkwo’s tragic flaw. (We will deal with this later). In his resigned decrepitude and bohemia, however, Okonkwo’s father, Unoka, is, for me, an overlooked tragic figure. In the latter’s lack of fear to be vulnerable in a society that offers no outlet for his creativity - thus, reducing him to a mere village-ceremonial flutist - I find Unoka to be emotionally courageous than Okonkwo. Way ahead of his time, where is Unoka to turn but drinking and borrowing? And yet, of the two, Okonkwo taps more powerfully into readers’ psyche. This is because of the reader’s own confused feelings of fear and bravado - the pressure and need to be masculine, and the fear that we are “not man enough.” This need - which goes to the prevailing concept of how history is made and who makes it - is also fed by the need of the petite-bourgeois for firm and decisive leadership at the top: all that is really needed, since all history is the history of Great Men, is one Great Man. This need necessarily excludes women from history, and so, the subversive implication of Ekwefi’s actions and Ezinma’s demands are completely overlooked. Or probably rejected. So, for Ainehi Edoro, in her post: African Fictional Characters In Bed - Okonkwo Is Less Talk, More Action, “Okonkwo is a fine figure of cultural resistance. But he is also a sex god...okay maybe not a sex god but at least a figure of erotic fantasies. Granted, Achebe does not make this point explicitly. But then he makes it quite easy to fantasize about the character. What is Okonkwo like in bed?---a question that lurks in the shadows of the story, hidden behind subtexts inviting us to look at Okonkwo’s body and imagine its erotic possibilities.” Responding with “Thighs Fell Apart,” Kiru Taye, “Nigeria’s queen

“The entire basis of Okonkwo’s struggles, his aggressive masculinity arises, not from a tragic flaw. Not from defects inherent in his own nature, but rather, to defects inherent in his society ... where men are conditioned to dominate and control.” of erotica,” “expands the story to include the bits that Achebe left out.”

This infantile expansion - serving the dubious purpose of rendering Achebe explicit - not only cheapens the poetry of Okonkwo and Ekwefi’s encounter, but degrades the latter by turning her into an adulterer. And completely misses the whole point. “Many years ago when she was the village beauty,” Achebe writes, Okonkwo had won Ekwefi’s heart “by throwing the Cat in the greatest contest within living memory. She did not marry him then because he was too poor to pay her bride-price. But a few years later she ran away from her husband and came to live with Okonkwo.” Here’s how Achebe captures the encounter: “It had been early in the morning. The moon was shining. She was going to the stream to fetch water. Okonkwo’s house was on the way to the stream. She went in and knocked at his door and he came out. Even in those days he was not a man of many words. He just carried her into his bed and in the darkness began to feel around her waist for the loose end of her cloth.” In Achebe’s hands, the embrace that Ekwefi grants to Okonkwo does not degrade her, nor does it constitute adultery. What would have constituted degradation and adultery would have been the lie, the return of Ekwefi to her husband. It is why I think the struggle of Ekwefi, her awakening as a woman in a society that offers her no room for genuine self-realisation, would have made a greater tragedy: she would have been fighting for the future. In a way, Achebe seem to sense this. I wonder, since we are here, if I can pursue this matter a bit further. It is, I think, evidence of literature’s reflection of the real world, in this instance a patriarchal one, that even female readers tend to overlook Achebe’s sense of the tragic gap between Ekwefi’s full needs and abilities, the circumscribed lives offered her by traditional society, and the partial revolt of this spirited, far from passive woman against her society and the confining sexual and marital options it offers her. Perhaps, what Culler says “that women share men’s anti-female feelings--usually in a mitigated form, but deeply nevertheless” is true? Perhaps women “have been steeped in self-derogatory societal stereotypes,” for so long they have become indoctrinated to the historical conception of women, to envision the world from a patriarchal perspective, and are thus, unable to view Ekwefi’s action except negatively? Perhaps, it is that Ekwefi’s brazenness is immoral from the standpoint of bourgeois morality? Perhaps that singular action is in opposition to the hypocritical moral

laws laid down by society? Confronted by a woman who challenges the narrow conventions of social life, what possible admiration could a woman who accepts the status-quo out of a conventional fear of causing a scandal, possibly have for such a woman? Perhaps, Achebe himself, initially acquiescing to Ekwefi’s needs, balks when he sees where this is leading by subordinating her narrative completely to Okonkwo’s masculinity. As an aside, one also wonders how Ekwefi’s only child, Ezinma would have fared had she been born male. From the little glimpsed of her one wonders how she would chafe, as she grows, at her circumscribed existence. You wonder at the possibility of Ezinma living a fulfilled life, what struggles she will have to wage to achieve it. Even as a child the beginning revolt is evident: she does not know how to be a woman, she wants to play a man’s role – her brother’s. But when she marries she will be forced to confront her socially and emotionally dependent status as wife and her overriding needs as a woman. To fully comprehend Okonkwo’s tragic burden, one must acknowledge that identity - how we define ourselves, how we are defined, as male and female - are socially constructed, and thus, the entire basis of Okonkwo’s struggles, his aggressive masculinity arises, not from a tragic flaw. Not from defects inherent in his own nature, but rather, to defects inherent in his society - a society where men are conditioned to dominate and control. To claim otherwise is to abstract the hero from his society, to trace society’s defect to a defective human nature. Okonkwo’s tragedy, therefore, springs not from any inherent flaw but from his sense of dislocation, his attempt to live in ways out of tune with the times. It is this contradiction that constitutes the tragedy. After he swings the machete, he goes out of the gathering and hatred of his tribe’s “effeminity” explodes into self-hatred. He decides to escape from them all and from myself. He is now finally faced with the futility of masculinity, and kills himself to avoid living that reality. Feudal society looks at the critical reflection of itself in its own creation and despairs at what it sees. The noose offers a way out. In making Okonkwo suffer the same burial as his father, Achebe seem to reconcile Okonkwo with himself masculine-feminine - in death. Cheeka is a Marxist critic, writer and filmmaker


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NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

At the Afrika Shrine, a fusion of afrobeat and reggae It promises to be an unusual experience this Sunday for visitors to the Afrika Shrine as Femi Kuti shares the stage with Germany’s biggest reggae export. Tony Okuyeme writes

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erman reggae icon, Gentleman will this Sunday, be in Lagos as part of an African tour during which he and his band will also grace stages in Cape Town, Dakar, Abidjan and

Waiting for The Netizens

Addis Ababa. Dubbed the Sound System Show, the concert features Tamika and Treesha from Gentleman’s band performing tracks selected by Kingstone Records producer Rodney. Prior to his recent tour of Africa, Gentleman has previously visited Ghana, Gambia and Nigeria, where he featured in an hour-long documentary with the country’s female soul singer, Asa, in Lagos. The documentary, Through The Night, was produced by French TV company, Arte, and broadcast on German television. Gentleman will be performing with Nigeria’s multiple award-winning afrobeat musician, Femi Kuti. Two decades ago, Gentleman first set foot on Jamaican soil and over the years, he has spread reggae music all over the globe and is now an international reggae headliner, topping charts and garnering awards along the way. The intensity of his vibes and his honest personality continue to earn him growing respect and the love of a global audience. Last year, Gentleman released a new album, New Day Dawn, to mark his twentieth year in reggae music. The Sound System show will take place at the New Afrika Shrine, Ikeja at 7pm. It is a collaboration between The Goethe Institut and the Afrika Shrine. Born Tillman Otto in Osnabruck, Gentleman has been drawn to reggae music since he was a child growing up in Germany listening to his brother’s records from Bob Marley, Burning Spear and Jacob Miller to all the great reggae legends of that era. After visiting Jamaica several times, at the age of 18, Genteman took his passion for reggae to the next level and made Jamaica his second home.

Francis

Mixed media artist, Ike Francis, holds his first solo exhibition this week at African Artists Foundation (AAF) Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos. Announcing the exhibition, AAF in a statement said: “The Netizens which opens on February 28, and closes March 21, “examines Francis’ interest in our increasingly digital environment as he incorporates circuit boards and used electronic parts in his sculptures, installations, and canvases. Francis explores our evolving notions of cities and its inhabitants in an Internet age, where his subjects are first and foremost citizens of the ‘net’. “ The Netizens is AAF’s first solo exhibition for the year.

Second Lagos Theatre Festival begins British Council Nigeria presents outdoor theatre festival at the Lagos Theatre Festival 2014. The event will be three days of part theatrical experience, part real life and part city journey. The festival aims to transform the historic Freedom Park, a public space born out of the ruins of a colonial prison and reconstructed to preserve the history and cultural heritage of Nigeria. “At this festival, theatre will be in non theatrical/unconventional spaces, Fringe shows and exhibitions,” the organisers stated. Plays that will be staged during the festival include Waiting for the Lottery, a play produced by Oxzygen Koncepts and directed

by Toyin Oshinaike. Waiting for the Lottery tells the story of Lagos as a place of dreams, where lives’ hustles and tumbles are a part of the everyday life of the “never-sleeping” city of dreams. “In a ‘mega-city’ with epileptic power supply, chaotic transport system, incidences of social miscreants holding peace at bay, and, youth doing everything to be heard, seen and survive, music and theatre are a major therapy for bruises; a major gateway to success and stardom, away from rot. Everybody is a player—an actor in that “fantastic” theatre of struggle and survival”. Also showing during the festival are ‘Make We Waka’ by Look Left Look Right; ‘Diagnosis’ by Imagine Nigeria; ‘Queen of the Night’ by Renegade Theatre and directed by Wole Oguntokun. The show openson Friday 28, February and runs till Sunday 2nd March 2, at Freedom Park, Broad Steet, Lagos.

New digital platform for Nollywood for launch A new digital film distribution platform for Nollywood will soon be launched. International Digital Post Network Limited, promoters of the project, said the platform would be launched in collaboration with a UK company. When launched, Nollywood Digital, according to the promoters, will be a multimedia

platform with multiple online channels to show movies from the industry, red carpet awards, events and news. The platform will also showcase the latest developments in digital film production and digital cinema equipment. CEO of International Digital Post Network Limited, Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima disclosed that Nollywood Digital will give producers more revenues for their content than other platforms. “We have a SEO platform that would make it one of the most visited websites. We will hand it over to Nollywood producers who own the content, because content is king. Therefore, content producers will be the majority shareholders. So, they can upload their movies and other programmes and keep 80 per cent of the revenues and pay only 20 per cent for using the platform,” Chima said.

ship for the development of Ikorodu community. “Ikorodu Community Development Award is our own way of helping to preach the gospel to our community, and encourage individuals to live a selfless life. Until your life becomes a blessing to people around you, you are not living a good life. Whatever service we render to people around us is a service to God,” he said. Director of the Directorate of National Transformation of TREM Liberty Centre, Ikorodu, Mr. Austen Awulonu said the Award is designed to celebrate individuals who impact Ikorodu community for good. He added that to qualify to receive any of the awards, potential recipient must fulfill relevant clauses from the following: “the potential recipient may or may not be an indigene of Ikorodu; where the potential recipient is an indigene of Ikorodu, his/her said qualifying service may or may not have been directly rendered in Ikorodu; where the potential recipient is not an indigene of Ikorodu, his/her said service must have been rendered within Ikorodu; services with more wide spread impact on lives shall be rated higher than ones with less impact in the event of a tie. All recipients must

Nomination opens for Ikorodu Development Awards Nominations for this year’s Ikorodu Community Development Awards have begun. The awards which made its debut last year is the initiative of the Liberty Centre Branch of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM). The award will hold on April 19. Announcing the commencement of nominations for this year’s edition of the award, the pastor in charge of TREM Liberty Centre, Ikorodu, Mr Mike Egwu, said the award seeks to encourage and engender positive grassroots leader-

Mrs Onayiga.

have no records of criminal activity.” Veteran actress, Mrs. Sola Onayiga, popularly known as Ireti for her role in Fuji House of Commotion, won the maiden edition’s art category.


L ve&Lv ng

Crime for Love Angry ex-girlfriend rips off man’s scrotum p.38 Sex Traditions The Sambians: The Semen-Drinking Tribe of Papua, New Guinea. p.40

MICHAEL UCHEBUAKU

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Love Confession Many people subscribe to the belief that out of sight is out of mind. But for this writer, the exact opposite made her marriage work

‘Living separately saved our marriage’

Until the last month.

All of a sudden my husband-to-be turned into a mute, uncooperative sea cucumber. I would ask him for something simple like an email address for one of his friends and in return I’d get a blank stare. Which, in turn, made me act like a crazy person. I would shout, and scream and threaten to stab him in his sleep

22 FEBRUARY 2014

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hometown and my husband got to spread out in our tiny Manhattan one bedroom. I threw myself unapologetically into work, where I find myself most content, while he had the chance to live completely on his own for the first time in his life and procrastinate as much as he wanted. We loved every second of it. After the stress of wedding planning, it was as if we both got our own, wonderful honeymoons. Everything was fabulous.

I

remember reading an article when I was younger about the increasing number of married couples living in separate homes and apartments. Aside from being a huge waste of money, I judged the amount of love those couples had for one another. But then I grew up to become one of those couples and my opinion completely changed. My husband and I had been dating for three years and living together for two-anda-half before he proposed. In fact, we were so comfortable with our future together that the proposal was a complete non-event. He asked: “So, do you want to, maybe, marry me?” And I said yes. Then we went to bed because nothing had really changed – we’d already made the commitment to one another. Now all we were going to do was sign a piece of paper and plan a party. In three years of dating we had never truly yelled at one another. The majority of our “fights” consisted of one of us sitting the other down and calmly explaining why it wasn’t OK to leave a wet towel on the other person’s pillow after a shower (apparently there are towel racks for that sort of thing), or why a comment in front of the other person’s parents was entirely inappropriate (in general, risque jokes should be left out of family conversations). Our voices stayed level, we hugged at the end of the discussion and then we’d change our behaviour for the other person’s benefit. Moving in together was just as simple. Besides a slight disagreement over one person’s hideous silverware, living together required no adjustment for us. Basically, we were a TV couple; nothing bad ever seemed to happen and if it did we resolved the problem by the end of the episode. That all changed when we started to plan a wedding. The first few months of planning were perfect. We both wanted something simple and family-oriented. I liked saving money and he liked low-key, making us a weddingplanning match made in heaven.

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We devolved to the point that I yelled at him on our wedding day and he spent most of the night ignoring me. In short, our wedding was the antithesis of our previous relationship. As soon as we got back from our honeymoon, I took off to my hometown in the Midwest. My mother was starting a business and my family was moving one of my older relatives to a new apartment so I headed back to help. The original plan was for me and my husband to move together so he could experience the town I grew up in. However, his office denied him such leave at the last minute. When he told me he couldn’t come, it was just another thing

As soon as we got back from our honeymoon, I took off to my hometown in the Midwest that made me want to give him a karate chop in the throat. In hindsight, being forced to live apart for those six months was the best thing that could have happened to us. I found an apartment for myself in my

Until something strange happened. I slowly started to miss my husband. Sure, he came to visit me every few weekends, but day-to-day I was alone. The frustration of our wedding slowly began to fade, and I gradually became sane again. When we spoke on the phone, I wasn’t constantly insulting him and he magically stopped zoning out in the middle of conversations. We reverted back to ourselves. The months apart allowed me to evaluate what had gone wrong and let go of my anger. I understand now that my husband was slowly adjusting to the idea of legal marriage. While we were comfortable with the commitment, the paper signing made him think about how much younger he was getting married than he had ever planned before. He procrastinated with his guest list because he needed a little more time to accept the event as a whole. On a much shallower level, he was the worst person in the world to ask to keep a deadline. Some people are great at working quickly, he is not. But that doesn’t mean I can’t love him, it just means that I need to avoid planning another wedding with him. Thankfully, most couples only do that once. I also understand that I allowed my perception of his behaviour to make me psychotically irrational. At no point in one’s life should a person catch herself screaming at the top of her lungs, in public, about what a terrible human being her significant other is for being a few minutes late to dinner. It took me three months of living alone to realise that. It took another three months to fully let go of the damage that had been done to our relationship and get back to a place of unadulterated love. So when the six months was up, I moved back in with my husband with a fresh perspective. I was more in love with him than the day we met, not only because we are naturally comfortable with one another, but because we’d been to a bad place and learned from it. We’ve become that sickeningly happy couple once more. It turns out the saying is true, absence does make the heart grow fonder. And the forgiveness easier. And the mind more rational. Source: psprotocol.com *Do you have an amazing or adventurous love experience to share? Tell us how you met. E-mail your story to: ireto007@yahoo.com. Call 07031028714, 07032944123.


38 LOVE&LIVING

Love Crime

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

Angry ex-girlfriend goes ballistic, rips off man’s scrotum stormed into her ex-boyfriend’s apartment, hit him on the head, then grabbed his scrotum, “squeezing as hard as she could” until it was almost completely severed from the victim’s body. Afterward, he was able to seek medical attention at-no joke--Ball Memorial Hospital. Talk about a ball buster.

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couple days post-breakup, Indiana woman, Christina Reber

An Indiana man was rushed to the hospital Wednesday after his scrotum was the victim of a vicious attack by an ex-girlfriend, The Smoking Gun reports. The victim told police that his former girlfriend, Christina Reber, stormed into his apartment as he was innocently sitting at his computer. Reber, with whom he had severed ties a few days earlier, first struck him on the head and then grabbed his scrotum and began “squeezing as hard as she could.” Naturally, he told officers that he “was in incredible pain when [she]

grabbed his scrotum and began digging in her fingers.” The police report indicates that the scrotum area was “completely torn loose from his body.” Reber reportedly “refused to let go of his scrotum,” but the victim was finally able to remove his balls from her vice-like grip. As if the story isn’t already good enough, the victim, who has not been identified, was taken to Ball Memorial Hospital. As far as we know, the hospital is not only for scrotum-specific injuries. In an interview two days after the incident, the man told police that after his ex was done breaking his balls, his family jewels were so swollen that he was unable to work, and that he isn’t sure if there will be permanent damage. Reber was charged with two felonies: aggravated battery and illegally entering the victim’s home. She was also charged with domestic battery, a misdemeanor.

Woman posts photo of her breastfeeding puppy

A

picture posted by an unidentified woman in Colorado is getting a lot of attention. As reported by KRDO News Channel 13, the lady, who asked to be kept anonymous, took a picture of her breastfeeding a puppy. Why did she do it? She claims it was to save the life of the lab-mix pup, the runt of his orphaned litter. She told KRDO, that the little fella, named Tubbs, wouldn’t eat from a bottle or take K-9 formula, “He just wasn’t taking it. I didn’t know what else to do, I was desperate and I just couldn’t bear sitting there watching it die. Literally what clicked in my head was like, put

Odd news him on you, just pray to God he will take something and not die.” The woman admits that prior to doing it, she felt the action she would commit was taboo. There is no explanation as to why she felt compelled to share her actions on Facebook, but she did. From there it spread. Though some aren’t reacting well to it, she feels she did the right thing, saying “I can’t let their criticism bring me down when I did something right and I’ve seen the

Life Experience

A Gambler’s Story: ‘My marriage ended badly because I kept losing money I did not have’

I

results. That dog is alive because I took that initiative.” The Colorado Springs station spoke with Dr. Amber Williams, who wasn’t concerned with that taboo aspect of this story, but rather the health risks. She said there are zoonotic diseases that can be passed from puppies to babies, and that human milk is not ideal for other animals. Fortunately, the woman who breastfed Tubbs says that she no longer nurses her 15-month-old child, so nothing will be passed. As for Tubbs, he’s no longer nursing either. KRDO says the little guy is now on formula.

started gambling when I was a small boy, when I was no older than 8 years old. I would make wagers with my older brother for chores around the house. We would place bets on the outcome of sports and video games. I lost most of the time, which made me want to bet even more. I soon felt the exhilaration and excitement of the games increase as the size of the bet was increased. I was hooked very young. I made my first trip to a casino in Laughlin, Nevada, when I was 18. I was on my way to Marine Corps boot camp, and my mom and I went to have some fun. It was exciting to walk into the casino. The first thing I noticed was the sound of the slot machines, then the smell of cigarettes and stale beer hit me and the music of clicking chips as people nervously shuffled them in their hands. I was in love, I had found a home. My first bet in a casino was on a nickel slot machine. That was not

Love Songs

ROXETTE

“It Must Have Been Love” Lay a whisper on my pillow, Leave the winter on the ground. I wake up lonely,there’s air of silence in the bedroom and all around Touch me now, I close my eyes and dream away. It must have been love but it’s over now. It must have been good but I lost it somehow. It must have been love but it’s over now. From the moment we touched, ‘til the time had run out. Make-believing we’re together that I’m sheltered by your heart. But in and outside I’ve turned to water like a teardrop in your palm. And it’s a hard winters day, I dream away. It must have been love but it’s over now. It’s all that I wanted, now I’m living without. It must have been love but it’s over now, it’s where the water flows, it’s where the wind blows.

Love Poem

Gretchen L. Bauknecht

You’ve Got Me All Tied Up You’ve got me all tied up, it’s been this way for awhile, and the ropes and chains get tighter, every time I see you smile. I’m trying to break free, but no matter what I do, you’ve got such a hold on me, that I’ll never get away from you. The worst thing about you doing this, is that you didn’t even try, you know you’ve got me down,

Romantic Jokes

and still you pass me by. But even with the chance to leave, I know that I would stay. I’ll be here for you, for forever and a day. You’ve got me all tied up, but you could never set me free, because the only way to let me go, is by loving me.

DEVIL IN THE CHURCH

One Sunday morning, Satan appeared before a small town congregation. Everyone started screaming and running for the front church door, trampling each other in a frantic effort to get away. Soon, everyone was gone, except for an elderly gentleman who sat calmly. Satan walked up to the man and said, “Don’t you know who I am?” The man replied, “Yep, sure do.” Satan asked, “Aren’t you going to run?” “Nope, sure ain’t,” said the man. Perturbed, Satan asked, “Why aren’t you afraid of me?” The man calmly replied, “Been married to your sister for over 48 years.”

Words of Wisdom: Follow your heart.

enough action or risk for my blood and I headed for the blackjack table. I think I lost a grand total of $40 my first trip. The feeling I had in that casino is one that will haunt me for a long time, I had the itch and wanted more. It was not an obsession not yet. My life was far from normal. I was a ferocious drinker and in trouble often while in the Marines. I was discharged from the Marine Corps honorably for a medical condition after serving 2 years as a presidential guard for Presidents Reagan and Bush. I landed a job making okay money, and the calling of Vegas was stronger than ever; I had to get back. I made my first trip within two months of being discharged from the Marine Corps. I was soon married, and my wife and I made a trip to Vegas every few months for the first two years of our marriage. The trips to Vegas were not enough to quench my appetite for action; I had to have more. Soon I was betting on darts, golf, and

everything in between. Of course I was making small wagers with my friends, but the excitement was enough to make even a boring game a matter of life and death. As a salesman on the road, it was not long until I found the card clubs in Los Angeles, and I began playing poker. I started out in the small games, playing $1-2, 7 card stud. I was not very successful but never wagered more than $20-$60 at a time. It was manageable, but it was something I hid from my wife. Thus began the excitement of a secret life and playing for small amounts held higher stakes than winning or losing. I had to win or risk being found out. I began to run into trouble with my drinking and was distracted from playing for a while maybe a year or so. When I decided to stop drinking and start playing cards, things went from bad to worse. I would play between two to four times a week, depending CONTINUED ON PAGE 40


NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

Intimate Love Advice

‘My man’s crazy temper scares me’ Dear Love Doctor, My partner has a short temper and little things really get to him and eat away at him and he also doesn’t take criticism well. It scares and upsets me when he gets angry as I’m quite a placid person. When he gets upset he lashes out and hits things, but he says he’d never hit me. However, I’m worried his overreactions will get worse with age — he’s 33. I’m concerned about how he’ll react when something really bad happens in his life as so far it’s just seemingly small things that frustrate and upset

Love Education:

him like if we have an argument or he has a bad day at the office. Is this just normal male testosterone behaviour and I’m overreacting or should I be worried? I love him and don’t want to leave him, so how can I help him? Love Doctor’s Advice:

If his behaviour is frightening or disturbing you then you are not over reacting so you need to deal with this by talking to him about it while he is calm. Everyone feels their anger is justified when they’re actually angry and most people will realise if they have over reacted after the incident is over and they

have calmed down. But for some people anger can become a problem that needs to be addressed and anger management classes or techniques can be very useful. The first issue is his reaction when you bring the subject up — do so by approaching this as something which needs to be dealt with and be honest with being overly accusing or dramatic. Something like “I know this is your way of dealing with things but it scares and upsets me so could we look at other ways of letting frustration out?” is a reasonable approach, but if he refuses to consider that or even gets angry at you for raising the subject then you are the only one who can decide whether you want to stay with someone who frightens you. That is no way to live. On the other hand, if he understands why it upsets you even if he doesn’t mean to then there is a lot of help available. Most GPs can refer you as a

LOVE&LIVING

couple for anger management and your support will encourage him to deal with it, especially once he takes the big step of acknowledging that he has a problem and is over reacting. Anger is a very normal process that has helped humans evolve and adapt but problems occur if it isn’t managed in the right way. It is also a mixture of both emotional and physical changes which make a surge of energy go through the body as chemicals such as adrenaline are released. Reacting to that by lashing out becomes the coping mechanism but some people find they have to lash out more and more and this is clearly your worry. Anger management techniques help identify the situations which bring about those reactions and look at finding appropriate coping mechanisms, which will vary from person to person, but can include different ways of helping vent frustration and burn off feelings which are bottled up such as non-contact competitive sport, running, learning relaxation methods or even shouting and screaming in a place no-one else can hear you. There are three aims here — your partner learning not to lose control in any situation, not to get angry over minor irritations and for you to stop feeling frightened of his behaviour. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t scare you intentionally — if you’re frightened he has to stop and you can sort this out together if he agrees to deal with it. If you want daily love tips or advice, download The Color of Love Guide on your iPad and iPhone. Search for ‘Color of Love’ on your Apple Store now and download the App. *Send your comments/stories to Love Doctor. E-mail: ireto007@ yahoo.com If you’re in a crisis, call for help: 07031028714, 08131161840 or 08023700641. For free marriage/relationships counseling, call Love Doctor Mike 07031028714, 08023700641 or Chris 08023913619. Visit www.romancestory.org

H ♥ ♥ K UP... f in d you r h eart’s des ire

What is Low Sperm Count?

Low sperm count means that the fluid (semen) you ejaculate during an orgasm contains fewer sperm than normal. A low sperm count is also called oligospermia. A complete absence of sperm is called azoospermia. Your sperm count is considered lower than normal if you have fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen. Having a low sperm count decreases the odds that one of your sperm will fertilize your partner’s egg, resulting in pregnancy. Nonetheless, many men who have a low sperm count are still able to father a child. Azoospermia is the medical condition of a man not having any measurable level of sperm in his semen. It is associated with very low levels of fertility or even sterility, but many forms are amenable to medical treatment. ... The consistent use of hot tubs or baths, recreational drugs such as alcohol, cocaine, marijuana or tobacco, and fevers from flu’s or other infections can all lower sperm counts in otherwise healthy men. Chronic stress from sleep disorders, travelling, or from work or emotional issues can also lower sperm counts. Generally, their effects are reversible upon recovery. Source: en.wikipedia.org.

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40 LOVE&LIVING

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

Sex Traditions

The Sambians: The Semen-Drinking Tribe of Papua New Guinea strength. When they are finally introduced back into the tribe, they continue to engage in nose-bleeding at the same time as their wives’ menstrual cycles. Sexual Communication Talk it out. Sex it up.

T

o become a man in this primitive tribe, boys are removed from the presence of females at the age of seven, living with other males for ten years. During the 10 years, the skin is pierced to remove any contamination brought upon by women. For the same reason, they also regularly incur nose-bleeding and vomiting caused by consuming large amounts of sugarcane. To top it off, they are required to ingest the semen of their elders, which is thought to sustain growth and

‘My marriage ended badly because I kept losing money I did not have’ C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 3 8

on my schedule and how much time I could get away from the house. My wife and I owned a dance studio with her parents. She would work until 9 or 10 at night. I would get home from work around 5pm, and she would be at work. It was plenty of time for me to make the 45-minute drive to the casino and wager my usual $40 in a small stud game. The games were crazy for me to play because I had a time limit of a few hours and had to force my hands; if I lost, I risked being found out. I soon began to chase losses and would borrow money from friends and family to cover my bets. It was never much money -- a few hundred here, fifty there. I was good about paying the money back; so not many questions were asked. My life was beginning to become a lie. I was playing more and more. Then it happened; I won my first jackpot. It was not much -- close to a thousand dollars but no one knew I had won the money. Now I could play undetected and move to bigger games. I lost that thousand in a day. I chased that thousand with 3 thousand, and I lost. Now the trouble started because that was my rent money and I had to tell my wife what happened. As I look back at the time in my gambling career, I see how much time I wasted. It was not just the time at the tables, it was the time chasing the lies, all the energy I spent remembering what lie I told and to whom. All the energy wasted on trying to figure out how I could get more cash so I could get back into action. I can remember the day Magic Johnson announced he had HIV I was sitting at a 4-8 stud game. I was 23 years old. Gambling for me was something I had to do, and I had already spent close to $10,000 doing it. I had to find new friends because the people I grew up with were sick and tired of watching me get crushed at the casinos. The hardest part was the horror of leaving a casino after losing money I did not have. It was to the point were I was considering suicide. Of course, all of my troubles were because of a bad marriage. No way was I sick or to blame. I had never even heard of Gamblers Anonymous.

Managed properly, sexual communication is one of the best ways to build a bond with your lover. Truly sharing your body with a lover also entails sharing your mind. All too often, sexual communication is about sharing negative experiences: “I don’t like the way you touch my breasts,” or “I don’t want to have sex tonight.” However, by making sexual com-

munication a natural part of your relationship, you can balance this negativity with compliments: Tell your lover when they arouse you.

If you find yourself reminiscing fondly about a particularly hot time together, tell your lover. After you try something new in the bedroom, ask your partner if it was enjoyable, and share your own feelings about the experience. By genuinely praising your lover’s prowess on a regular basis, you’ll help him or her feel less defensive when you try to hone or correct your partner’s less pleasurable explorations. You can also turn sexual

“You need to listen to your partner” communication into a fun foreplay game. Take it in turns to play “scholar” and “learner” and give your lover a practical demonstration of where and how you like to be touched. Let your lover practice what you’ve taught, steering your partner’s way, and once they’ve pleasured you in the way that you most enjoy, reward your lover by swapping roles and paying attention to their lesson. There’s no reason you can’t make a sexy lesson a weekly part of your life — or indeed, every night if you’re

True Confession From Overseas

My online girlfriend turned out to be a man

I

n February of 2008 I met a girl online. She was living in America, I was living in Australia. I was about to turn 18, she told me she was 19 turning 20. We became fast friends and talked every day, nearly all day on Skype using microphones and I would get on my webcam but she said she would get one. Within the first few days she had me, she sent me a bunch of pictures of herself, she was beautiful and so was her voice. After a couple of months it was clear that we wanted to meet up and have an intimate relationship. I asked her why she couldn’t get a webcam. After six months or so she just said she really wanted for me to wait and see her in person for the first time . She told me I couldn’t come and visit her and she couldn’t come and see me because she needed to finish college first and would miss me too much if I came and left or she came to see me then had to go back. After some more months she admitted to me that her father beat her and that when she came to see me she’d never go back to America and that she’d be leaving her family for good. She would get very upset when I mentioned anything about us meeting up. As the year went by she would always tell me about her gay friend, Chris, who was her best friend. She was also extremely needy and obviously had issues but I was there for her 24/7. She would get very upset if I wanted to go out and see friends, I didn’t go out much at all and

suitably inspired. Don’t think all communication has to involve talking either:

You could write your lover an erotic story detailing exactly what you’d like to do (don’t go too wild if it’s the first time you’re sharing fantasies — gauge your lover’s reaction first). You could send your partner a sexy text, asking a saucy question to garner a response. Remember, sexual communication goes both ways. You need to listen to your partner. Be honest about your needs and desires and you’re much more likely to get the sex — and relationship — that you really want.

(or should I say ‘his’) dance class. The girl in the pictures was the one whose profile I’d found on Facebook. I’d only seen the real Chris once in a picture long ago. I was devastated and after an hour or two of crying and fighting with her, I closed my laptop and had some time to myself. She had told me she might as well be dead if she can’t have me. I couldn’t live with myself if she hurt herself because of me so I sent her a text. She got back on Skype and so did I, she told me she was about to kill herself in the shower before I texted her. A few months have passed and I still talk to her nearly every day. After a few weeks I went back to how I was with her because I didn’t want her to hurt herself or to think that no one would want her if they knew the truth. She wants a sex change and wants to come and be with me. I’ve been treating her pretty much like I did when she was my ‘girlfriend’ just to help her confidence. She is way too needy and I still feel betrayed. I tried to tell her the other day that I can’t do it and its best I just be her friend, after a small break she sent me a suicide text. She didn’t say she was going to kill herself but she said she didn’t want to be around anymore and I caused her too much pain and she couldn’t live with it. I know her well enough to know what she meant by ‘not wanting to be here’. So I was nice to her and treated her like she was my girlfriend again. I am at a stage now where I don’t know what to do. I can’t let her hurt herself and she won’t have me as just a friend. I feel bad when I treat her nicely and give her hope, she thinks we’ll be together one day but I just can’t do it, I feel too betrayed and honestly I don’t want to be with someone who has had a sex change. I feel like a total jerk and I don’t know what to do. Yeah I was a fool to get in such a serious relationship like that in the first place but it happened slowly and before I knew it I was doing everything for her. What should I do?

was stuck inside the house, I even missed out on my friend’s going-away party. She would get mad at me over tiny little things like if I needed to eat and she didn’t, she’d get mad and say I didn’t like spending time with her anymore. Some of you may find it sick or weird, but we were so inseparable that we would go to sleep together, with our mics on and our laptops in bed with us. One night, we were both woken up by her mother yelling at her, only she was calling the name ‘Chris’. I thought to myself “OH MY GOD, she isn’t who she says she is and she’s really her gay friend Chris”. When she got back from being yelled at she explained to me that her mother recently found out that Chris was gay and would tease her by calling her Chris all the time. I thought this was odd but I bought into it. Another night I got on facebook and searched her school, I found one of her friends she had told me about and as I was going through the people at her school, I saw a profile with a picture of ‘my girlfriend’ – who shall remain nameless. The profile had a different name to hers. She’d told me she had no facebook or myspace. I questioned her about it and she was shocked, she told me it must be Chris messing around and not to worry about it. I believed her even though my gut feeling told me not to. It was my birthday, we’d been together well over a year, day after day of staying in my room and talking to her. She was upset about something, so I was trying to get it out of her. Eventually she just told me, “I’m not a girl, you can call me Chris.” My heart stopped. She told me that she was born neither girl or boy, so her parents had to decide what gender she would be, they chose male. All her life she has felt like a Your say: Have your say about this true girl stuck in a boy’s body. She tricked me confession below... by sending me pictures of a girl from her NB: Call Mike on +234-703 102 8714 if you have a story from abroad to share with us.


Travel&Tourism ON SATURDAY

NTWEEKEND ONLINE AT

www.newtelegraphonline.com/travel

Travel Beat Destination The thrill of water Int’l tourism up by 52 sports at La Cam- million in 2013 p.44 pagne p.42

Andrew Iro Okungbowa, editor, Travel & tourism andrew.okungbowa@newtelelegraphonline.com

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY

22 DECEMBER 2014

41

HOSPITALITY

Ibis earns its stripes

Although opened only a few months ago, Ibis Hotel Ikeja is earning some positive reviews, writes Andrew Iro Okungbowa

I

T is the latest addition to the swelling ranks of upscale hospitality hang-outs in Lagos. Opened for business in August 2013, it is the second Ibis (under the Accor group) branded hotel in Lagos, Nigeria and also bears the distinction of a mention among the over 1,700 Ibis hotels and still counting as plans are under way by the group to open more outlets globally.

Located on Toyin Street, Ikeja, it comes with an aesthetically and architecturally appealing façade with an awesome tinge that easily fascinates. Of course, there is no dull moment once you begin the exploration of its bowels. The reception, waiting lounge, cyber café, bar and restaurant come across as very simple, nicely done but yet with a certain level of sophistication that exudes an inviting warmth. You somewhat flow with the mood and symmetric creation as you observe the uninhibited move from one section to the other because of the seamless flow in their make-up. This somewhat simple but yet display of opulent is a key element of the hotel and a distinctive factor that sets it apart from others because as you explore and experience the vari-

ous offerings of the hotel, from its facilities to service culture, this is one pervasive credential that you can never forget in a hurry. This, for the Ibis brand, as reveals by the hotel’s Sales Manager, Paris Jarrett, is a deliberate design by the hotel to win the confidence and patronage of guest. Because what you see is a sophisticated property that is not luxury personified but yet you are guaranteed the comfort and the magical aesthetics of an otherwise luxurious hotel for a lesser prize. …Rooms The hotel is a 165 room affair, all of the same type. So no class distinction here but you have all the comfort required as the rooms are colourfully done and fitted to taste with the basic hospitality amenities. All the rooms are soundproof and feature comfy bed, which is the latest from Ibis, flat LED screen, wifi, mini bar, hardwood flooring, money safe and tea/coffee making facilities among others. The hotel scores first globally as the most eco – friendly hotel as its uses the energy from its chillers, which is for it air condition system to heat the water that it uses. This is one great leap as the campaign for safe energy and conservation of water in the hospitality sector is gaining ground. Conference/Business

Elegant... one of the rooms at Ibis Hotel Ikeja

It has four meeting rooms, namely Sophia room, Lucia Room, Engel Room and Ernst Hall. All fully equipped and supplied with the basic conferencing and business amenities. Any of

them should be a delight to meeting and event planners depending on the nature of the event and numbers of guests. Dining/Wining

With an open kitchen, the first of its kind in Nigeria and a well – stock bar, you are sure of the best gastronomic treat ever. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served, all buffet the exception be lunch time when Ala carte maybe on offer depending on the numbers of in – house guests. The specialty here is both continental and African dishes with occasional chef’s delight.

Profile lOpen kitchen with live cooking lReputedly the first eco-friendly hotel l15 minutes drive from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport

l10 minutes drive from the local airport l165 soundproof bedrooms lOver 1700 hotels globally lIbis, Ibis Styles and Ibis Budget are three hotel brands with a common vision of hospitality. and a commitment to make our customers’sleep happy l Locations in Africa - Algeria, Benin, Cameroun, Egypt hotel, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Morocco, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia lTwo locations in Nigeria – Airport Road and Toyin Steet, Ikeja


42 TRAVEL&TOURISM

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

The thrill of water sports at La Campagne DESTINATION

ANDREW IRO OKUNGBOWA

visited this serene beach resort on the outskirts of Lagos and writes of a blossoming pastime taking root at the leisure spot

I

T was a sunny day with all the elements in perfect condition. There was an expectant mood and for some of the guests, it was like a dreamy day since word got around about the yet to unfold event. The day’s event was the introduction of sort of a set of water sport and equipment to the resort’s patrons. Not every of the guests, particularly the Nigerian guests were familiar with the sport and so for many of them, they watched the proceeding from a distance and with great admiration except for the few adventurous ones who would not want to be left out of the excitement.

Vincent and few of his friends (all expatriates) - adept at the game and kitted to the hilt - were among the first few to experience the jet ski, gliding through the once placid fresh lagoon water. It was as if they have done this all their lives, cruising on a high speed and performing all sorts of stunts to the admiration of the guests. From the jet ski to the towables, Vincent and his friends left no one in doubt of their dexterity with the equipment and the feel of joy and innate satisfaction that come with conquering nature, this time water, as they glided and cruised effortless with certain amount of art and majestic feeling to it. With the pace and excitement generated by them others too began to venture into the water. Abbey, Lizzy and Princess, all Nigerians, were the first few to set out on one of the towables. It wasn’t an easy sail at the beginning but with encouragement and some tips from Vincent who was the toast of the day, they gained some measure of confidence and mastery over the equipment. Gradually, it became some sort of party with many people getting a feel of the action and venturing into the water to at least let out some adrenalin and feel the mood. It was a good day, a memorable one for many of the guests who expressed delight and appreciation to the resort management for introducing the sport and equipment. For many of them, a new vista to a different kind of experience has been opened, to a world of excitement and adventure that they never thought existed before. It was something that most of them had seen from a distant land but with the introduction of it to the resort, it is an experience that they would never let go as they look forward to exploring it whenever

Paddling away at the beach resort

they visit the resort. With the introduction of this new sport, the resort has changed the face of aquatic leisure in the city as many people will now look beyond the normal boat cruise and quad bike to a more exciting, adventurous and adrenalindriven activities on Lagos water that has for long remained unexplored. Settling down at the cool of the evening for a talk with the elated promoter of the resort, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, was a refreshing and revealing moment, as he spoke of the motivation for the new offering by the resort. According to him, the propelling force is the resort’s mission to offer patrons the leisure home premium service and products. Besides, the inability of Lagos State, which is virtually surrounded by water (the state’s sobriquet is “State of aquatic splendour”) over the years to attract the people’s attention to the leisure aspect and beauty of this natural gift, has also prompted this new move by the resort. “Lagos State is a state of aquatic splendour. I believe that we must take advantage of our advantage so that we can have an advantage,” said Akinboboye, adding that ‘‘one of the advantages we have in Lagos is that of aquatic

beauty. We must not only utilize this for transportation alone, but for tourism activities in the area of water sport. That is the reason why we at La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort are taking advantage of the fact that we are sandwiched between two different water bodies- the fresh lagoon water and the salty sea water from the Atlantic Ocean to make sure we create something totally unique that we add to the tourism product delivery of Lagos State and Nigeria in general.” The resort’s sight is trained on high as it is looking at competing with world class resorts across global destinations. For Akinboboye, given that Nigerians explore and enjoy extreme water sports outside the country there is no reason why they should not enjoy same in Nigeria when the country is blessed with a huge body of water and coastal areas than most of these countries. ‘‘Water sport is a tourism activity that most of us (Nigerians) partake in when we travel to the United States, Europe, Dubai and elsewhere. We believe strongly that we must strive on a regular basis to be at par in order to be competitive with the international tourism delivery by providing as many activities

as possible for tourists,” he said. But the offerings to tourists should go beyond just the provision of comfortable and nice looking rooms and food; it should rather extend to creating a variety of fun and leisure related activities to keep the tourists busy and entertained. Akinboboye said. “It is not only about comfortable hotel room alone, they (tourists) all have comfort in their homes, it is not only about good food, we are not saying all these other aspects are not important but we must create activities for tourists that will keep them busy from the minute they land until their departure. As a matter of fact, we must make sure that they borrow money to stay an extra day by creating as many activities as possible,” he added. To this end, the resort, Wanle revealed has gone out to acquire and introduce all manners of water sport leisure activities and equipment. “We have virtually everything, from Jet Ski, hydro-bikes, towables, and many others. We have towables for one person, there are also towables for two and many more. These towables come in different sizes and shapes and give different feeling on top of water. Some of them have a gliding feel, some will take you


NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

Attractions

Located at the outskirts of Lagos, about an hour drive from the frenzied and coloured Lagos environment, the resort occupies a sprawling 65 acres of forested land sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and fresh lagoon water with palm – fringed, white sand and beaches giving it a natural and tranquil atmosphere. From the Ekaabo (Reception) hut, you glimpse the resort’s natural opulence and alluring feel, inviting and welcoming you not just to its warm embrace, but its blissful cocoon where unique and rare hospitality offerings and culture await you. While trying to take in the customized traditional greeting style and gestures of the resort, the eco – friendly nature quickly beckons you to its entrails as the chirping birds draw you deeper into the enclave, while on the flip side you can savour a dip in the refreshing surge of the Atlantic Ocean on your left or the placid waters of a freshwater lake on your right. Or simply launch into a book while remaining firmly on the golden sands in between. These and many more alluring treats are some of the ways of welcoming you to a dream world, a world of La Campagne where the watch word seems to be a “world of surprises” because you are never too sure of the next offering that the young looking and enthusiastic staff at your beck and call are capable of springing up. Accommodation

It boasts a blend of accommodation of different types with a mix of traditional and contemporary outlook in terms of its materials and quality. You would be impressed by the lavish and luxurious application of Africa arts and motifs. Some of the room types include Obieze, kodi, Laba, Oso, Anago and Oba Ile Rimi, all tastefully furnished with an array of in-built entertainment packages. Depending on the nature and number of the groups the resort has different room type for the individual, family and couple. And just in case you desire a queenly or kingly treat, the newest addition to the resort’s room type is just your match. Named Oba Ile rigi (the king of tree houses), it comes as Africa theme and style, specially made in the semblance of elevated traditional hut. It is en suite and fitted with all the basic facilities and amenities that you would need for the purpose, which it is styled. Interestingly, it is located right at the beach front, surrounded by palm– fringed trees and white sands, giving it a classy, calm and inviting effect. Among them a well–appointed facilities are fluffy king – sized bed, private swimming pool, artistic reading table and chair as well as a private dining section and seating gazebo.

One of La Campagne’s Chalets

43

CUISINE

Chef Biodun is living his dream

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T is a plush and spacious kitchen where the culinary art is made plain to the guest. A theatre–like setting it is as you watch the chef gliding through, garnishing his simmering meal and setting the buffet table with a deft touch that occasionally attracts giggles from the waiting guests who are taken in by his artful display.

The lord of the manor here smartly dressed in white flowing garment and towering hat, the traditional outfit of chefs, is the assistant executive chef of Ibis Hotel Ikeja, Chef Biodun Owasoyo. For all you care, he is just living out his teenage dream of becoming Nigeria’s best acclaimed chef globally. Chef Biodun’s offer for the day is a buffet, which is a mix of continental and African dishes, richly and lavishly laid out. Since assuming duty early this year, he has painstakingly sought ways of transforming the hotel’s menu by benchmarking it against the global standard. Chef Biodun laments the fact that Nigerian foods are mostly chilly and fried foods which, according to him, is not good and healthy. For instance, he said Nigerians eat white rice without any accompaniment. This, he says is not healthy enough as it is not a balanced menu whereas it ought to go with such accompaniments as carrot, cabbage and stew vegetable. Given this instance, the task for him is developing a broad and rich menu package that would cater to both Nigerian and foreign tastes. One thing that gladdens him, he says, is that a number of the foreign guests are adventurous and do experiment with Nigerian food. ‘‘Many of the foreign guests who are familiar with Nigerian foods eat and relish them while others are beginning to embrace it gradually,’’ he adds. One of the popular foods in this category is chicken stew, catfish and even yam. ‘‘The focus is to try to create a menu that would cut across the guests,’’ he says. Some of the dishes you would relish on Chef Biodun’s menu include the popular ofada rice accompanied by garnished smoked catfish stew. There is the Nigerian risotto rice, which is a mixture of rice and beans with palm oil. He explains that this was well–embraced by the guests when it was introduced because it was quite good. There is also the Nigerian seafood stem, which he notes is a very healthy meal as it goes with vegetable. There is Jambalya, a blend of rice with sea food, sausage, chilly sauce, chicken and vegetable. They are of two types – the “fire house,” which is so named because of the heavy dose of chilly sauce while the second type is the “regular,” as it has the normal dose of chilly sauce. And for foreign flavours, which Chef Biodun says cut across, the Italian pasta is top notch for many of the guests. In the nearest future, Chef Biodun reveals that he is working on increasing the menu list on the buffet to 20 different continental meals, while for Africa, the minimum to expect is 10. The dessert session too would increase to 20 with

healthy bread and not the regular ones. All of these innovations, he says, would be served on daily basis while the open kitchen would also introduce the bakery section to its display for the

benefit of the guests. His foray into the world of food started first with his fascination with the smart dressing of a chef he chanced on while growing up. Ever since, he has developed a passion for the profession. ‘‘I have never seen them (chefs) before, so I got fascinated,’’ he says, adding that ‘‘the quest to know more about it developed innately.’’ He recalled being fascinated with ‘‘the majestic cleanliness of the chef, the awe and respect he commands.’’ From that day he told himself that he would like to be one and actually approached the chef and told him that he would like to be like him. He was egged on by the chef who advised that he should work hard as becoming a chef is not an easy one. His first step to his dream world was getting employed by Frenchies as a pantry boy where he acquired experiences at different sections. The Ikare–Akoko, Ondo State, born chef has at various times had stints with Whassan, SJ Abed and Oceanview Restaurant where he was a pioneer, alongside another chef. He also had a stopover at Golden Tulip, Enugu and Castle Field Premium Hotel, Oniru Estate, Lagos, among others before moving over to Ibis Hotel Ikeja in January 2014 where he now charms and treats guests to the best of culinary flavours. With a diploma in catering and hotel management from the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, and a training course at Scotland among others, Biodun says the journey has been a long and fulfilling one. ‘‘It has been an up and down journey and a dream come true because I have always wanted to be a chef.’’

PHOTO: OLUGBENGA JOSEPH

above the water slightly - you fly in the air and land back safely on top the water. This is for the more adventurous travellers and leisure seekers.’’ The resort’s proprietor promised maximum fun, safety and security, noting that there are life guards on parade and safety vests and equipment of international standard. ‘‘We also have all the safety devises for these sports and kayaking too. We have the special kayak vest and helmet for safety purposes. We are doing it to international standards.” He spoke further on this new development which, according to him, is not only for international tourists but also for Nigerians as the resort is devoted to promoting domestic tourism, insisting that Nigerians must be made to see reason to explore the Nigeria destination in order to inspire confidence in foreign tourists. “Although the idea is to offer exciting holiday and leisure experience to inbound tourists, but the whole idea is also to make Nigerians have the opportunity to enjoy some of the natural endowments in their country. Before you start talking about international tourism, you must develop your local tourism. I am glad to mention that a lot of people that have come to the resort for the past one week are local tourists, business tourists and those on conference tourism and what they enjoyed the most during their break period at the resort is the water sport - after their retreat, after their bonding exercises, after their games at the beach, they have enjoyed tremendously gliding on the lagoon water and other water sport.”

TRAVEL&TOURISM

Chef Biodun’s buffet


44 TRAVEL&TOURISM

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

Travel Personality

TRAVEL BEAT International tourism up by 52 million In 2013

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LOBAL tourism has continued on its impressive performance with international tourist arrivals growing by five percent that is, recording 52 million travellers in 2013 hitting the 1,087 billion mark. This development was disclosed by the latest report from the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) World Tourism Barometer, in which it x-rayed the performance of the different regions of the world. UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai described the performance as excellent and remarkable given that it not only surpassed the expectation of the global body but also the world economic instability and challenges. “The tourism sector has shown a remarkable capacity to adjust to the changing market conditions, fuelling growth and job creation around the world, despite the lingering economic and geopolitical challenges. Indeed, tourism has been among the few sectors generating positive news for many economies,” he said. UNWTO is upbeat about this record, and has forecast that 2014 will witness international arrivals increase by 4 percent to 4 percent, which is above its long-term forecast of +3.8 percent per year between 2010 and 2020. The UNWTO Confidence Index, based on the feedback from over 300 experts worldwide, confirms this outlook with prospects for 2014 higher than in previous years. “The positive results of 2013, and the expected global economic improvement in 2014, set the scene for another positive year for international tourism. Against this backdrop, UNWTO calls upon national governments to increasingly set up national strategies that support the sector and to deliver on their commitment to fair and sustainable growth, disclosed Rifai. Details of the report show that Africa gained three million additional arrivals in 2013 to reach a record of 56 million while Russia and China were outstanding among the 10 global source markets.

Abuja Bantaba holds April 25 … to honour top 100 tourism practitioners

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HE 2014 edition of Abuja Bantaba, a travel and tourism trade exhibition has been scheduled to hold on April 25 at the Ladi Kwali Hall of Abuja Sheraton Hotel and Towers. According to the organisers of the annual travel event, which is a one day speed dating forum for travel buyers and sellers to network, ATQ, one of the special features of the event this year is honouring the top 100 travel and tourism persons in the history of Nigeria travel industry. According to Mr. Ikechi Uko of ATQ, the programme is designed as part of the Centenary anniversary celebration of Nigeria with the choice of 100 persons who are deemed to have contributed in no small measure to the development of Nigeria travel industry. The award ceremony, which is the 12th travellers award, would hold during the dinner event. The 100 persons to be honoured would also be listed in the yearly travel publication by ATQ and would be on sale during the event. Among those on the honour list are: The former governor of old Knao State, late Commissioner of Police, Audu Bako, seen as one of the greatest tourism visionaries in Nigeria alongside the former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke. Pioneers in Aviation include Chief Igbinedion of the famous Okada Air, the first private major airline in Nigeria, Sir Louis Ojukwu of Ojukwu Transport, Chief Ubajiaka of Izuchukwu Transport, Austin Ilodibe of the famous Ekene Dili Chukwu . Pioneers in hospitality and tour operations will also be honoured along with the first male and female pilots and the Nigerian who invented the popular Chapman drink.

l Ladi Jemi-Alade

‘Tour business lucrative but challenging’ Despite his rather fortuitous foray into the travel industry, Ladi Jemi-Alade has grown Jemi Alade Tours – a destination management company - into a household name in the Nigeria travel and tourism trade. He speaks with Andrew Iro Okungbowa

“M

y first experience was quite intriguing. I designed a tour package to Nigeria from the USA and was unable to get enough people to buy the tour package. I was looking for a minimum of 10 participants and was only able to get five people that paid up and had to cancel the tour,’’ he recounts. But he still did not quit the business as he noted that shortly after that disappointing venture ‘‘I got an African-American company that was bringing people to Ghana to extend their tours to Nigeria. They agreed and we were able to bring in 12 participants to Lagos in 1988 and that was my first experience in handling a tour package.’’ In collaboration with the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways, he organized what he called the first familiarization visit to Nigeria by American Trade Travel Professionals in 1990. Buoyed by the relative success of that epoch-making trip he now fancied himself a tour operator. But despite the positive change he glimpsed, he would not be deluded. He still realised the business requires a lot of discipline and competence. ‘‘The fact that little capital is needed to do business and one gets paid upfront before delivering service made it quite encouraging. However, you must be sincere and trustworthy because tour packaging lends itself to fraudulent practices since clients pay in advance for services and it is quite easy to defraud or shortchange people on service delivery. But once you do so, the whole world will get to know about it and that is the end of you in that business.’’ In the over 20 years that Jemi-Alade has operated tour packages within Nigeria and the sub-region, he has recorded many significant strides. But he always has fond memories of one. ‘‘One of the most memorable experiences was when we coordinated the visit of 25 American businessmen on a trade mission to Nigeria led by Rt. Rev. Jesse Jackson of Operation Push. The group was conducted round Lagos and Abuja and showed a lot of enthusiasm about investing in the country. Some ventures emanating from that visit are now operating in the country.’’ On the flip side, he recalls one of the lowest moments. ‘‘The worst experience was when a group of 54 American tourists missed their flight due to delay at the Seme border post. The group had visited Lagos and Cotonou and on the way from Cotonou to catch their departure flight in Lagos, an immigration official at the border was so excited seeing his ‘brothers and sister from across the sea’ that he decided to take his time to socialize with the group and possibly befriend one of the females in the group. All appeal to get him to expedite the immigration process fell on deaf ears.”

The fall out of that singular experience was that it almost made him bankrupt. ‘‘By the time the group left the border, they could not meet up with the flight. We had to return the group back to Cotonou to wait for another flight in four days. The incident almost drove me out of business as we ended up picking up most of the bills.’’ In spite of the promising nature of tour business, he laments the high risk involved. ‘‘The challenges are quite daunting as you are dealing with logistics and as you know logistics can be a nightmare in Nigeria. Anything can happen as you move people around especially foreign visitors that are not familiar with the country. From electricity failure, traffic jams, lateness for appointments, intimidation by ‘area boys’, you must constantly have a backup plan at any point in time. This is why a lot of people find it difficult to get involved in the business because of the high risk involved.’’ These downsides notwithstanding, he reveals that foreign tourists simply love the country as they find it both fascinating and intriguing. ‘‘Tourists visiting Nigeria most times see Nigeria as a fascinating country. Some cannot understand why a rich country like Nigeria is so lacking in basic infrastructure and social amenities. ‘‘Some of them are fascinated by the ‘Nigerian way’ of doing things. Some say that the streets of Nigerian cities are paved with gold because they see business opportunities on every street corner.” His preferred destination in the country is the Obudu Mountain Resort, which he rates as very outstanding because of its temperate climate and facilities. ‘‘I dare say it is the best holiday destination in Nigeria. However, government intervention in running the resort is a major concern. It is best to outsource the management of the resort to competent private sector organization,’’ says Jemi-Alade. On how profitable the business of tour operator is, he reveals: ‘‘I can say that I have made a decent living and supported my family over the years from the business. However, some other people have made a fortune selling foreign destinations. There is a lot of money to be made in the tour operations business in Nigeria provided an enabling environment is put in place.’’ PROFILE

The Lagos State-born graduate of accounting and business management from the University of Detroit, Michigan, USA (1976), later earned a post-graduate diploma in industrial relations from the University of Ibadan (1982). On his return to Nigeria he went into the public service where he had a short stint with the Lagos State Ministry of Education. In 1986 he left the public sector for the private sector where he served first as the manager of Art’s Place, a restaurant and night club, before establishing Jemi-Alade & Associates Limited in the same year where he engaged in the exportation of Nigerian cultural products, among others to the USA between 1986 and 1988.


POLITICS

Talking Point The Obasanjo visit to Rivers State p.48 Bassey James Akpabioism is a statement of gratitude p.54

ON SATURDAY

NTWEEKEND ONLINE AT

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY

www.newtelegraphonline.com/politics

22 FEBRUARY 2014

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TEMITOPE OGUNBANKE MEETS ADENIKE GRANGE Nigeria’s first female minister of health and former president of the International Paediatric Association, Prof. Adenike Grange, says the controversial N300 million unspent fund that led to her resignation was the fallout of intrigues spun by some power brokers desperate to get her out of the way. Grange, a professor of pediatrics and World Health Organisation (WHO) adviser on the Reproductive Health Programme in Nigeria between 1993 to 1999, in this interview also bares her mind on why Nigeria’s health system is not working.

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n July 26, 2007, you were appointed as Nigeria’s female health minister and many thought that your coming in as professional will be an advantage. How do you see your emergence? Definitely, I did not think that being a female was a problem because I had gone to the same medical school as men and I had reached the peak of my career in the same way men have done. So being a female was not a problem to me. However, my vision of how I would like to carry out the reform in the health sector needed a lot of cooperation from various departments in the ministry and even outside the ministry. So, that was a challenge but I still felt that it was not an insurmountable challenge because I decided to establish working teams. Our plan was first of all to try to find out where the gaps and weaknesses were and then to try to bring on board those who could help us to strengthen the weak areas. So, certainly I approached the job in a very systematic manner. This was because I had the impression that the expectation of people was for ministers to work hard and make sure that whatever was not functioning became functional. For ministers to make a positive difference, they would need the full support of Mr. President; not just Mr. President but those around him who also call the shots. They will need to be liberated from taking part in partisan politics. Did you actually enjoy the support of the president as a minister?

When I first started, yes, because I was

Grange

My travails as health minister, by Grange

able to get to him and explain to him what I wanted to do and he seemed to be quite happy with the work-plan. And as I said, even those around him needed to share in that vision and to give the support. But, as things went on, it became more and more difficult to have access to Mr. President.

lowing year because it would be with that budget that one could actually carry out the planned activities but by the time we were to start operating that budget, then this horrible event was alleged to have happened and that of course complicated the matter.

Why?

What was the horrible thing that happened?

Because he himself did not have very good health at that time, so he had to look after his own health and in doing that, of course it made it difficult for us to gain access as when due. That became a big problem later, not initially. Initially, we were just planning the budget for the fol-

They said that the ministry did not return the unspent funds, etc. and that I colluded with the civil servants to share the money. This was untrue because I was told that unspent funds had been returned and a receipt was given by the

auditors for it. I was also told that what was spent was within the limits permitted and appropriated for in the budget. I most certainly did not collude with anybody to share any money. As an upright health professional with a privileged family background, I am used to living within my own legitimate means. Everybody knew that I would not receive such a gratification under any circumstances. So, it was all a scheme. I did not know what the purpose was, but it was presented in a way to cause a media hype so that it would put me in bad light and having put me in bad CONTINUED ON PAGE 46


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THE SATURDAY INTERVIEW

C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 4 5

light, then of course, I would not be able to do my work and I would have to resign. Are you saying that some people were behind your plight?

Definitely, I am convinced that there were people behind my plight, but by God’s grace I came out of it with my integrity intact. Whatever it was they said I did, I did not do it. Eventually, truth prevailed as I knew it would. Is it right then to attribute your exit from office to power tussle?

Partly yes; there was power tussle. One cannot really ignore that possibility because I went there thinking that I just needed to apply my professional skills and knowledge, whereas there was quite a lot of politics, which I was unaware of. There was quite a lot of politics going on behind the scene and unfortunately for me, I was not made aware of that type of manipulative politics. If I had been accepted by everybody, I would have been made aware of the type of politics that I had to cope with.

or she could be reconsidered for either the same job or for another job. You said in a decent society a public office holder ought to step aside during investigation whenever any allegation is raised against...

I stepped aside, but may be some people would not have stepped aside. It depends on the prevailing contextual capacity of the society to be consistent with its adopted standards.

It is obvious that the president wanted me there but some others did not want me there. That is to be expected but I did not know who they were because they were able to disguise their evil intentions. Can you be specific?

I cannot say who specifically, but there were people who did not want me there. I definitely did not go there to do anything that would smear my character and my hard-earned leadership position. I just went there to serve and as it was, it seems that there were people who thought that I had deprived them of a lucrative position which they would have liked to hold. It was later on with hindsight that I got to know what it was all about. When you look at the way they fabricated the whole thing around me, it was definitely to get me out for their own selfish reasons. It’s unusual for ministers to resign from public office; why did you resign?

It was necessary for me to resign because there were allegations against me in office. Even though I knew the allegations were false, I needed to leave room for them to investigate those allegations. If I was still there, it is obvious that there would be bias and people would say that they could not find out the truth because there would be conflict of interest. So, I had to go so that they could investigate properly what was going on. But some people would still sit tight in office during the course of the investigation...

(Interjecting) I was trained abroad and definitely I have followed the evolution of their own health care delivery system, not only their health care system but their political system as well. There is no doubt that if anybody in a high position was accused of any wrongdoing, the first thing is that that person would have to resign. But later on if that person was exonerated, he

“The plan was to strip me of my dignity, self-worth and everything I had ever struggled for in life. However, they did not succeed because I knew that I was innocent of the charges and I would one day be vindicated.”

In your own case, were you pressured to resign or you resigned voluntarily?

Both. Obviously, when it happened, I did not even know that they would not finish investigation or that the investigation that was conducted came out with just an interim report when I was indicted. And even that interim report was not sufficient to indict me. However, a few days later we were steamrolled into the high court. The whole thing was so rapid that I had no choice but to resign. I assumed that once my boss was told about the whole episode, he certainly had to tell me to resign. Did he actually tell you to resign?

What do you mean that if you had been accepted by everybody?

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

I never saw him (Yar’Adua) but I was told by those around him that he said I should resign. If you know what I mean, that he said I should resign but I never saw him. Why were you not able to see the president then?

Partly because of his health and partly because of the intrigues of those around him. As I told you before there were many things that were happening that I never understood. And everywhere I was asked, “Did you do this?” I said No, I did not. Please go and find out. But finally, the people who wanted me out got their wish because if they did not say that the President said that I should resign who knows, I might not have had to resign if the truth could have been ascertained at that point. Why did you believe them?

Because the pressures were too many and don’t forget that it was not just me; there was minister of state for health, permanent secretary and many others. I would not even say that the civil servants resigned because their own rules were different. To get a civil servant to resign is very difficult. First, they would have to be proven guilty of the crime they were accused of. In fact, in my case the next step would have been to refer my case to the Senate because it was the Senate that interviewed me and endorsed my appointment but Senate never had the opportunity to even discuss it and to ask me about the problem. So, I would say that the whole procedure was shortened, steamrolled so that everything would be in the papers before the investigation was completed. Did you get the service of a lawyer?

Of course, I got the service of a very competent lawyer, but like I told you the whole process was telescoped. We went to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) thinking that we were still being investigated, but instead they

gave us the summons and then said we were to go to court within an hour. That was when I called my lawyer, “Please, come, come, there is a problem here and we have to go to court within an hour.” So, he rushed there, looked at it and said that he didn’t understand why everything was rushed. That was why I kept saying that that rush certainly indicated to me that there was more to it than met the eye. Why do you think some people connived to get you out of office?

They would gang up because probably they felt that I was not one of them, probably they felt that I did not have a support structure that was favourable to them. I was coming from a professional background and being a woman. Honestly, I just had one purpose in mind - to serve. I don’t know whether that annoyed some people. When I got into office, there was no accommodation for me in Abuja. I left my comfortable private accommodation in Lagos and I had to put up with a protégé of mine in Abuja. I did this because I did not want to be compromised in the process of making rented accommodation my priority. It was a sacrifice I had to make, but I did not mind it because I knew I was being given a unique opportunity to join others to make a difference and touch lives positively. You were later exonerated from the charges against you; why do you think you were not recalled to office?

I don’t know because by that time my boss had died. May be if he were still alive I might have been recalled because the case against me lacked merit. But then it all depended on why I had been asked to serve in the first place. Can you then say that Yar’Adua’s illness contributed to your exit from office?

Yes, definitely. I wish he had not been ill, things would not have been so complicated. So, his illness certainly added to it because once he was not there, nobody was interested in finding out the truth. There was no interest at all in making sure that there was justice and fair play. As an insider, who was actually in charge and taking critical decision during Yar’Adua’s illness?

Obviously, there were several personalities who would statutorily be taking critical decisions about the affairs of government, for example, the vice president, the secretary to the Federal Government, head of service and others. You said some people who were close to

Grange

the president asked you to resign; who were those people?

I don’t know exactly who but, definitely, those who did not feel that I should remain there. I didn’t know why they felt that I should not remain there but definitely they did. Who actually authorised your resignation?

I would not like to indict anybody because all of them have gone; they have left office and as far as I am concerned, I want to move on. I want to forget the whole issue. If people are interested, they can find out from somewhere else about those people who were taking decisions about the affairs of the nation. It is the same people who were taking decisions about other matters that would take decision on my case. So, I would not want the focus on these people to be about me only. During your crisis, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was the acting president. Did you actu-


NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

THE SATURDAY INTERVIEW “I was told that unspent funds had been returned and a receipt was given by the auditors for it... I most certainly did not collude with anybody to share any money”

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What is your take on her eventual sack? Do you see her removal as a gain in the fight against corruption?

I have read about the sack. May be it is the beginning of the fight against corruption but I doubt it. A system that is founded and managed on patronage values already has the ingredient of corruption built into it. The sooner we begin at the beginning with a look at “how our leaders get into leadership positions”, the nearer we may get to the correct interpretation of their reactions to issues of various dimensions and importance. Therefore “the system” should be our focus. As for me, I am happier talking about the preservation of life and human dignity, the survival of children and their rescue from morbidity, mortality and abuse. If those whom we are caring for today can turn out to be future leaders with integrity, selflessness, compassion for the underprivileged and respecter of the rule of law, then our work as mundane professionals in social work is also of political relevance. In other words, I believe that we don’t all have to become formal politicians for our thoughts, words and deeds to be of political significance. I am definitely not a formal politician so there are some questions that I shall have to leave to committed politicians to answer! Don’t you think Oduah too ought to have stepped aside during the investigation?

We are different people and the contexts are different. I read in the papers about what was said to have happened but if the people who are immediately concerned about the issue do not feel that it is a big deal right now, so be it! It is for those who are monitoring to note the inconsistencies in the display of value judgements. One thing is certain, truth will always prevail. You came to office with passion to serve; do you think the system was really fair to you?

No, it was not fair to me; it was certainly very unfair to me. What can someone do? The whole issue was organised in a way to get me indicted and for me to continue to spend hard-earned resources and time going to court. That was the situation. As an indicted or aggrieved person you must spend so much of your resources including money, time and emotional energy. I am not getting younger and I don’t have such time to waste but I believe that I had to go through what I went through in order to clear my name. Today, I can walk with my head up high because I have been vindicated. When people compare what happened to me for an alleged crime I did not commit and what has subsequently been alleged to have happened in other quarters with relatively milder responses from decision makers, my own case should actually now pale into insignificance. People have moved on but my family and I are probably the only people who can never forget the rough time we went through. ally reach out to him?

Did I reach out? The way things worked in the Presidency at that time, if I was not allowed to see the President, this denial would automatically be extended to the vice president and anybody else who was actually in charge. I was actually blocked from reaching the Presidency, whether it was President, Vice President, the Attorney General or any other decisionmaker. In fact, both the minister of state for health and I were blocked from reaching anybody in the Presidency.

those around him and not by him. Yes, I was denied the opportunity to submit my own report or to defend myself. I believe that he wanted to be fair to me because he knew that I was a sincere professional. Others designed the entire episode in order to humiliate me. So at that point in time the plan was to strip me of my dignity, self-worth and everything I had ever struggled for in life. However, they did not succeed because I knew that I was innocent of the charges and I would one day be vindicated.

How were you blocked from reaching out to the president?

Your decision to resign is a huge contrast to the case of a former minister of aviation, Ms Stella Oduah, who ignored all calls by members of the public for her resignation over the vehicles scandal. How do you see her action?

How was I blocked? I said that I wanted to see him and I was told pointblank that I could not see him. In other words, although I should have been deemed to be innocent until proven guilty, the reverse position was what was adopted. As a minister, you were prevented from seeing the president?

When he first saw the interim report, he called for me and told me to go and investigate further and submit my own report. However, shortly thereafter, I was denied the opportunity to submit my own report or to see him ever again. This was why I said that I was blocked by

I don’t know anything about Ms. Oduah. Quite frankly what I know about the problem is what I read in the newspapers. Just about what you knew about my problem was what you read in the newspapers. So, I cannot make any comment about it because as I told you before, what one reads in the papers may not be exactly the truth but if it is the truth, then it is between Oduah and the president who appointed her into office. I cannot make any comment about her.

If given the opportunity again, would you like to serve as a minister?

What do you think? I have learnt that to serve as a minister in a developing economy is fraught with risks of compromising one’s values and one’s integrity. So, unless by some miracle, the country becomes sanitised within a short space of time, it will be foolhardy for me to want to serve as a minister again. I have been serving the country honestly and effectively in different capacities even before I was made a minister and I shall continue to serve my country in any capacity that will bring out in me the best of my training and my experience for the benefit of those who look up to my generation for guidance. If you are offered a political office or called upon to serve in any public office, will you accept it?

I will certainly be very wary of what might happen in that public office because my trust and confidence in the intention of decision makers has been seriously eroded. There does not appear to be any sincerity of purpose. I thought there was and that was why I took up the ministerial office but I have been proven wrong. So why should I again go and serve in a place where one’s honest efforts will not be appreciated. It will be difficult for me to survive in that system.


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POLITICS | TALKING POINT

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

Rivers, Obasanjo’s visit and Amaechi’s ‘k-leg’ surgery The no love lost situation that existed between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Rivers State governor Chibuike Amaechi apparently thawed earlier this week when the former paid a working visit to commence project-inauguration frenzy that further underlined the rift between the presidency and the governor. Joe Ezuma reports

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ven before his plane touched down at the Port Harcourt International Airport last Monday, controversy was already waiting for the former president on the runway. Or how else could anybody describe the sudden change of attitude of former President Olusegun Obasanjo who, less than eight years ago, said the candidature of former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, as the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) flagbearer in the 2007 governorship election “get k-leg?” When Obasanjo made the pronouncement at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt, in 2006, the general belief was that everything was over for Amaechi. The election was eventually conducted in April, 2007 and Celestine Omehia was elected. But on October 25, 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that Amaechi must be sworn-in as the governor. Since then, the relationship between Obasanjo and Amaechi has been like that of a cat and a rat. So, what could have forced Amaechi to invite Obasanjo to the 46-year-old state last Monday for a two-day visit? Was it to do a surgery on the k-leg, which he eventually did? Observers are of the opinion that the visit was, indirectly, to reinforce the coalition against the interest of President Goodluck Jonathan who the duo see as a common partisan enemy in the build up to the 2015 elections, establish Amaechi as an emerging national leader whose developmental strides, developmental projects and numerous achievements in office places on a pedestal far above his peers, and use the visit, during which many projects were commissioned, to show that the attacks against the Amaechi administration by its critics are largely unfounded and mostly to score cheap political points. From the elaborate preparation by the state government for the former president, the reception, the festivities that characterised the visit and the tours round the state, it was clear that both the host and the visitor grabbed the opportunity firmly to send a strong message out that the 2015 game plan is about to change. Call it fence-mending, reconciliation, political fortune hunting, adventurism, a return of the prodigal father or son, one cannot be far from the truth that in the 2015 election preparation, there is no permanent friend or enemy but permanent interests. However, it is believed that these permanent interests are in continual shifting order of preference. It is on record that Obasanjo, as president between 1999 and 2007, visited Rivers State more than any other in the country (17 times) but for the past seven years, he had not set his foot on Rivers, no thanks to the no-love-lost situation engendered by the “k-leg” theory. Last Monday, the enthusiasm from both sides commenced from the airport where Amaechi, government officials, elder statesmen, traditional rulers, security agents and over 150 journalists massed from the open field through the VIP Lounge to the tarmac. The whole atmosphere became electrified as the jet that brought the former president touched down at 11.10am. From the vicinities of the airport to all the areas the visitor toured in the state, there were always two sets of

welcoming and cheering crowd, one specially prepared to welcome the visitor and the other, residents of the respective areas who were anxious to set their eyes on a man whose action in 2006 nearly dashed the hope of Amaechi becoming a governor. Then began a somewhat frenzied inauguration of many projects by the president. On Monday, Obasanjo commissioned the G.U. Ake Road, Okporo Road (East-West Road), Elekahia Rumumasi Road 3.6km, Ken Saro-Wiwa Road 2.4km, Model Primary Health Centre Akpajo, Eleme, Ambassador Nne Kurubo Model Secondary School Ebubu Eleme, Songhai Farm Bunu Tai off Bunu Afam Road, Model Primary School, Ban-Ogoi, Banana Plantation Farm Tai and Afam Power Station. On Tuesday, he commissioned Mini Foot Ball Stadium, Basket Ball Indoor Hall and Athletes Hostel, Tennis court/ Volley Ball Court and Spectators Stands, Rivers Monorail, St. Andrew’s Model Primary School, Mile One Diobu, Kelsey Harrison Hospital, Emenike Street Mile One Diobu, Buguma Fish Farm Asari/Toru LGA. As the tour went on, residents were asking themselves: is it true that Obasanjo and Amaechi are now friends? Why is it that Amaechi, rather than invite Jonathan, chose to invite a former president who is not in good terms with the Commander-in-Chief ? Politics of the visit

Political observers believe that both Amaechi and Obasanjo are obviously playing a game to favour them in 2015. One, the governor has fallen out with Jonathan and he needs all the support, internal and external, to ensure that his loyalist succeeds him in 2015. It is also believed that the former President used the opportunity to enter the good books of residents of the state whom he offended with his ‘k-leg’ action of 2006. The ultimate game plan is for the duo to use the visit to send a strong message to Jonathan that the battle line is drawn. Although Amaechi is now a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Obasanjo remains in the PDP. Obasanjo told inquisitive journalists during the tour: “Well, to tell you the truth, I remain a PDP card-carrying member. I have not told anyone that I am joining another party. So, I am not in a position to endorse a candidate from another party. For your information, I am still in the PDP. “Why do you people keep asking me this particular question? They asked me this same question in London, too. In London, they kept asking me whether I will support a candidate from the PDP to become president in 2015, or whether I would support a candidate from another party.” “What is your business in the matters that have to do with the PDP? Wetin be your business? Na your party? Wetin concern you for PDP matter? You no go mind your business?’’ A political pundit said what Amaechi did by inviting Obasanjo was normal in a power struggle like what currently happens in Rivers State.

OBJ digging it with a dancer

Obviously, Jonathan is using Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, to create a new political structure in the oil-bearing state, indirectly using terror to achieve this. Amaechi, a veteran in this type of game, is also building a coalition to support him in the battle ahead, hence the invitation extended to Obasanjo to spite the Jonathan camp. The drama

At the reception at Ambassador Nne Kurubo Model Secondary School, Amaechi did not read his prepared welcome address but chose to speak extempore. “I have decided not to read my prepared speech in accordance with the spirit of time. Our administration is one whose rise came not by the will of man but by the grace of God. Mr. President, you will recall that fateful day in December, 2006 as you handed over the flag of the Peoples Democratic Party to the various governorship candidates at the Liberation stadium, Port Harcourt, when you announced that in the case of Rivers State, the PDP candidate had K-leg’’ Amaechi went on: “It was a pronouncement that you made based on wrong assumptions and information given to you. On October 25, 2007, the Supreme Court upturned your verdict by its miraculous and now well-famed judgement in the eyes of the law. We recall these days with nostalgia not because we want to gloat over our gains as indeed we have no special hand in this victory but because we are thankful to God for using that challenge to prepare us for the enormous task of serving our people with humility, sincerity, transparency and clear sense of purpose. “It is for this reason that, as we round-off our stewardship, we have invited our former president and one of the respected fathers of this nation to flag off the projects initiated and completed by this administration”. Amaechi added that he brought Obasanjo to show-case his achievements for his appraisal and to show him “that the young politicians in this dispensation are your boys’’ “You will ask me, why did I name a school after Ambassador Nne Kurubo? First and foremost important reason to me is that Nne Kurubo played the role of a mother to me. She is one of the important Nigerians that are dear to me. She is also the first female permanent secretary in the Old Rivers State. Most people don’t even know her name. Do you know


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Gov. Amaechi and the former President at one of the project sites.

the meaning of Nne, it means (mother) and she became an ambassador, and I feel she is qualified to be the first female that we will name our school after.” “Let me thank you sir, (Obasanjo) for coming to Rivers State, even at my age, I can’t be able to meet your schedule. I tried to bring you last year, it was impossible. So, this year I fought extremely hard. “They only reason I pushed Baba to come is that few persons, whenever they tell Baba that we are working in Rivers State, he will mention that, I have not been there and I don’t know what you are talking about. So, I said the best thing for me to do is to bring Baba here to see for himself and if you know Baba very well, you will know that I am a smaller version of him. Baba will say his mind and innocently, he will walk away. “So, if we are not doing well, he will say it, even in the car, he will mention it. He will tell us that, I am not impressed with what Amaechi is doing. So, I told my cabinet, we will achieve two things. The first is to showcase to Baba and see if he will be convinced, the second is also to showcase

to the public that these politicians who are running around, some of them lying to the public that we are doing nothing, I heard they asked one of them about our education achievements, and he said, it is only in the township that we have the primary schools. And I have decided that, we commission one of the schools in the rural areas, so that they can see, and whatever Primary school you have in the township, is the same Primary School you have in the village.” As usual, the former president tactically released his own missile during his response when he noted that Amaechi merely scratched the surface and that he would go a bit deeper. Obasanjo hinted that some people advised him not to embark on the Rivers tour because of security reasons but that he brushed such advice aside. On the k-leg controversy, he said: “I believe that as a leader, when I see something that required action, I must take it else I am not a leader. I acted on the basis of the report at my disposal and he (Amaechi) went to court to straighten it and that is the end

of k-leg and anyone not satisfied with that should approach the supreme being. “If because of the K-leg, you invite and I did not come, then I am petty. I am here to hear, see and declare. I commend Amaechi’s achievement, especially in the areas of health, education, transportation and road infrastructure. “I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to say my mind. When you invited me, many people said, I should not come, and I said why? They said, security. There is virtually nothing too dangerous than fear. At my age, what should I fear? Even if it is death. Rotimi Amaechi, if I die tomorrow, make sure, you buy a cow for the visitors who will be invited to funeral. “The governor talked about k-leg. I believed that there is a leader. When I have something that requires action, that action must be taken, other wise, I am not a worthy leader. A report came about him which indicated k-leg. and I said, as a result of the k-leg, I spoke. “But, then what was required in a democratic dispensation was that, he went to court to straighten the k-leg. I am one of those, when he got judgement at the Supreme Court, I found it awkward. I didn’t say it publicly, but, I found it awkward, to the extent that, how can a man who did not contest an election, a man who have not been voted for, will be declared the governor, without being voted for? At the Supreme Court, he won his mandate. That is the end of the k-leg. “If anybody is not satisfied about that, let the person wait for the Judgement of the Supreme being. So, the k-leg has been strengthened. Not only that, in his second tenure, in 2011, he also contested the election and won with a landslide victory. Then, what k-leg are you talking about? “Some people also said, why did you honour the invitation? One road named after you, he cancelled it. I don’t work for people to name me after roads, if for any reason anybody wants to name anything after me, good luck to that person. But, I want my name to be written in minds and hearts of Nigerians all over the world. Not necessarily on a road. If he decides that, a road should not be named after me, what is the quarrel? Why should I quarrel about that?” At the gala night which was witnessed by thousands of people, Amaechi told Obasanjo: “The reason we invited you to Rivers State is because some young boys, who by the grace of God, have been appointed in Abuja, just sit down and assume the role of God and of how they made us governor. Luckily, of all criticisms against me, I am yet to see somebody who is yet to accuse us of being corrupt. What we have done is to show you how we have spent our money. The only thing remaining for the monorail to start running is the terminal and once the terminal is roofed, the trains will start to work and we will put our enemies to shame. The people are asking what has this government done for us and when I say this government, I am talking about the government at the national level. That is the problem. I know you see the president regularly and I know you talk to the president regularly. “Let me, on behalf of the Rivers State people, send this message across to the president through you that the following things have happened to us for just voting for Mr President. We have the syringe factory, and we signed an agreement with the federal government that they will buy 500 million syringes. The

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president and the Minister for Health agreed, few months after, they refused to sign. What was their reason for not signing it? They said Amaechi is fighting the president. Am I Rivers State? My name is Amaechi and I am the governor of Rivers State. By 2015, I will no longer be the governor. If the president allows that factory to go on, today, Rivers people would have benefitted from it. People are dying for using the wrong syringes. We said let us save Nigeria by bringing a syringe factory, today our goods are at the seaports because we cannot get the president to sign the paper. That is one sin we committed for voting for Mr President. Baba, you see Mr President and that is why we want you to convey the message. “Mr President encouraged us to buy two helicopters for surveillance, we have paid $30 million for those helicopters but for two years, they are packed in the USA and we are paying demurrage. Why are they not inside Nigeria? They have refused to allow it come in because it is for Rivers people. We would have used it for something else. If Mr President knew he was not going to allow us to bring them in, he should have told us to use our money for something else. We would have built schools, we would have built health centres and we would have improved on the lifestyle of our people. Commenting on the monorail project which the Amaechi administration says will cost about N74 billion and which has been severely criticised by Amaechi’s political opponents, Obasanjo said he had told the governor that all good things must have some opposition. “I must confess my ignorance. I did not know that something of that magnitude was being constructed here in Rivers State. But when I saw it, I knew that only Rivers State can do that, considering the deficit that we currently have in the country. “With the Afam Power Plant which I commissioned yesterday set to generate about 700 megawatts, the governor can afford to channel about 20 to 25 mega watts to power the monorail. For now, there is no state that can do that. So, that is my assessment.” Opposition

Expectedly, the opposition PDP in the South-South state said it was disappointed with the diplomacy of the visit, insisting that the former president should have thrown more light on the “k-leg” controversy. Recalling the “k-leg” saga which it claimed was the genesis of the current political crisis in the state which was championed by Obasanjo in 2006 to strip Amaechi of the PDP governorship ticket, the party, in a statement signed by the Special Adviser, Media to the State Chairman, Jerry Needam, said the people of Rivers State deserve to know the outcome of those charges and investigations and why the former president suddenly swallowed his words to honour the invitation by a man he so much vilified and caused the anti-graft agencies to pursue on account of corruption. It further stated that failure by Obasanjo to tell the truth will only mean that he (Obasanjo) has either compromised his acclaimed hard stance against corruption in high places or worse still, is playing politics with the entire Rivers people, notwithstanding the after effects. Even after the visit, one thing that is certain is that partisan calculation in Rivers State will never be the same again.


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We have no regrets over our policy in Osun – APC Adebiyi

Mr. Adebiyi Adelowo, the interim state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State, in this interview tells ADEOLU ADEYEMO that Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s achievements cannot be faulted. Excerpts: What is your take on the classification of schools in Osun State?

First, I want to say that we met decay in the education sector when we took over and that was why we organised a summit on education chaired by Prof. Wole Soyinka and they came up with some resolutions which we are trying to implement. To human beings generally, change is a vital thing in life but it is always very strange to people. But whether we like it or not, change is bound to occur each passing day. If you move round Osun today, you will marvel to see structures being put up in schools. This is to salvage our education and ensure that it stands the test of time. We are trying to have qualitative education but unfortunately some disgruntled politicians thought they could disrupt such. We are unmoved. Religion is an issue which is so sensitive and which should not be overblown. Classification is a global thing and we have no regrets for introducing it. We carried everybody along including the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). The news flying about that the All Progressives Congress (APC) government imposed this idea on schools is unfounded. This is absolute lie. All stakeholders agreed with us. For them to say they were not carried along is a blatant lie. You need to drive round Osun and see the type of modern architectural pieces we have erected in schools. Starting with Osogbo, you will think you are in a London school. Let us separate facts from fallacies. If there is any government that has really improved the education sector in Osun, this present government should be taken as number one. Posterity will judge all of us. Those causing trouble in schools are touts.

Does it mean you support the school merger in the state?

I want to say it that we should travel out of the shores of Nigeria and see how education is being restructured. Must we stay in the dark and believe we can still see? Must we believe in the fact that because our fathers never wore shoes we should not wear? Merging of schools in Osun State is not an issue of controversy. Political undertone is involved on the part of the opposition. The “pull-him-down-syndrome” is the slogan of the PDP. Even if Osun State is transformed to the level of Britain, we will still be criticised. Our school merger is for unity, progress and cohesion. But there is confusion on students’ uniform; why the approval for the use of Hijab in schools, especially Christian schools?

Go to advanced countries, it is in operation there. We need to move with time and follow global trends. Our people need to travel out of the shores of Nigeria and see how things are done. Aregbesola meant well but where there are undesirable elements who meant doom for the state, we have to watch it very carefully. We have a plan of reuniting schools such that things would be done in a unique way. We want peace in schools. Nobody has legalised Hijab; mischief makers sponsored all these problems. I want to say that the government respects all religions in the state and we are never biased. There is this clamour that the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state should be redeployed over his relationship with the Aregbesola administration. What’s your view on this?

First and foremost, I want to say that Mr. Akeju’s position shoul be determined by his employer, INEC. Osun State government can neither remove nor redeploy him. All allegations levelled against him should be investigated and determined by his employer. Why must we cry more than the bereaved? Those agitating for his removal are majorly those who want to cause trouble in 2014. They want somebody they can manoeuvre. I do not know the credentials of Akeju but I think INEC should be able to tell us whether

he is a fraudster or not as alleged. Ordinary insinuations and imaginations should not be enough to assassinate the character of a personality. To the best of my knowledge, Osun REC is not a member of APC. This is slanderous. Don’t forget that that it was the same Akeju that conducted the previous elections in the state that made many PDP members to be in power. There is fear that he may rig the election in favour of the APC...

You all know the party that specialises in election rigging in Nigeria. We all know that APC is the party of the masses. We know what happened to Rotimi Amaechi at the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) election. He won quite alright but somebody somewhere overruled it. That led to crisis within their party which has so far remained unresolved. We know APC does not rig. We perform and people appreciate us by voting for us. What is your take on the criticism trailing the urban renewal programme of your administration?

Quite surprisingly, people criticise even when they are completely ignorant of what is going on. We need environmental sanity. Those not in support of this global trend are only being unnecessarily sentimental. We need change. Osun State has never had it so good. From the outset, who gave the approval to these illegal houses and shops/

“We now have a helicopter in the state to detect questionable hideouts”

kiosks? Do we because of sentiment allow flooding? Why on earth must we say houses should be built on roads? Don’t we have setbacks on our roads again? In modern cities of the world, there are conversational setbacks. Why should Osun be an exception?

We are moving forward and nobody can take us back. But the developmental projects of the administration are also being attacked.

First and foremost, we need to ask ourselves these questions: what was the state of infrastructure when we took over? What was the quality of infrastructure when the PDP was in charge? Was there any supervisory department? Did the projects go round Osun then or sectionalised? How many of the projects then, were commissioned? After asking these questions, I think those who are better informed would give sincere answers. Ogbeni came in with a vision. The vision is to reposition the state. He wanted a state where all would benefit from the dividends of democracy. Contractors were selected and given contracts on the basis of their scrutinised credentials and antecedents. Look at the quality of our projects, we have quality jobs. We have quality roads almost everywhere in Osun. We are talking of roads that generation yet unborn will ask: who constructed these beautiful roads? Generation yet unborn will never ever forget Aregbesola. Besides roads, farm settlements are becoming grants. Hospitals are springing up here and there. Investors are trooping in and things cannot just be compared to when the PDP was there. Don’t you think the opposition is right by saying the state is not secure?

One of the most secure states in Nigeria today is Osun State. There has been peace all along and people of Osun can attest to this. We have very good relationship with all the law enforcement agencies and our rapport is on the high side. The rate of crime when we came in was on the high side but God has taken control. The OYES programme has created jobs for lots of youths and they are no longer idle. Tribal wars and cultism have reduced. We now have a helicopter which hovers the state to detect questionable hideouts. Osun is going global on security and things are really changing. The people of Osun can sleep with their eyes closed.


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Aregbesola’s policies are crude – PDP Osun State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Ganiyu Olaoluwa, in this interview with ADEOLU ADEYEMO, says the APC government has plunged the state into unprecedented crisis. Excerpts: The APC insists that classification of schools is meant to move education forward in the state. Do you agree with this view?

To me, classification which the ruling party is talking about is a clandestine way of destroying the existing education system. My question is: what is wrong with the existing system we had when Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola was in government? Why and how on earth will schools have the same uniform? What are the sources of identification? When they all put on the same uniform, how will you identify criminals among them? This policy is crude and it is an indirect way of rewarding some party faithful or mistresses who worked for them during the last election. After all, the sewing of these uniforms was contracted out. Even in the North where there is Boko Haram crisis, one uniform does not exist. This is the first time, we saw masquerades in schools. I do not blame those who did it. Every sect is fighting for its right. If you really want to classify why can’t you merge Muslim schools with Muslim schools? Why can’t you merge a Christian school with a Christian school? Why not properly consult with the people and all religious groups before implementation? That is what we do not do in PDP. We always feel the pulse of the people. Communication matters in all things. What the APC should have done first is what they are now doing. How on earth can students wake up one day and be forced to wear unified uniforms? For God’s sake, we are not in military barracks where orders are passed and obeyed just anyhow. I have never seen masquerades in schools in Osun all my life, I am seeing strange things in the education sector. We need to clearly state that ours is a peaceful state where all religious groups had been co-existing before the advent of APC. Are you also saying that merging of schools is not a good development?

I laughed when I heard it. Transforming educational system is a lofty idea but the one I see in Osun is funny. Look at the schools being merged. How reasonable? What would happen to their old students? What historical records do they have again? Why do we have to merge Muslim pupils with Christian pupils? Why causing trouble

where there is none? Can Babatunde Fashola merge CMS, Lagos with any school? Can Ibikunle Amosun merge BBHS, Abeokuta with any school? Can Abiola Ajimobi merge the famous Ibadan Grammar School with any school or Loyola College? I am not in support of this at all. Never!

Olaoluwa

How do you see the approval for the use of Hijab in schools, especially in Christian founded schools?

fore 2014 elections to pave the way for transparency in the elections. Akeju must just go.

That it is the vogue in advanced countries does not mean we should be dogmatic about it. No! We have to learn our values and protect them. Flexibility should be in governance. Why don’t we legalise same sex marriage after California had legalised it? We should stop saying what operates in the UK and US must also operate here. Honestly, policies that should destabilise existing peace in this county have to be disregarded. Imagine pupils appearing in masquerade costume, sultanas, turbans and veils all in the name of protests. Where in the world have we heard this type of news? Osun is not boasting of manpower employment; Osun is not in the news for global industrialisation pursuit. Instead, our once peaceful state is now educationally chaotic.

Does it mean that the August governorship election may be rigged?

Why is your party clamouring for the redeployment of the state Resident Electoral Commissioner?

The APC knows that the state REC is one of them. The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, knows that the REC is a cardcarrying member of the APC. Not only that, he was once a Special Adviser to former governor Bola Tinubu. For God’s sake, what sort of credibility will this man display in 2014? Already in all he does, he has been obviously partial and sentimental. Let me say that as a civil servant, he has breached

“The helicopter is meant for the governor and his family” his oaths of office by romancing Tinubu and his cohorts. APC is his paymaster. He is a member of their family and we know Tinubu made him. INEC should replace this Tinubu’s man be-

Information technology has negated this. But we cannot undermine the fact that Aregbesola is one of the finest tacticians brought up by Tinubu. He looks innocent but within him, you cannot say what will happen in the next moment. But I am so confident that these days, rigging cannot displace performance. But unfortunately, this retroactive government is not just performing. We have heard reports of APC training political thugs who will later invade Osun and steal ballot boxes. We have heard that uniforms have been given to political loafers to disrupt elections. All these I consider as rumours but the law enforcement agents should be on their toes. Akeju, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, should be transferred. He wants to perfect rigging and electoral malpractices for his boss in the next election but we will resist fraud in the state What is your assessment of Aregbesola’s urban renewal programme?

I want to thank God that we are alive today to juxtapose the former administration and this present one with a view to knowing where we are heading come 2014 gubernatorial election in the state. We have seen it all and in modern politics, if you can’t improve the lives of the masses, you don’t have to compound their problems. It is sad and indeed very sad that in this age of modernisation, we find joy in destroying people’s property. China, South African etc. did urban renewal but the hopes of the people were never dashed. Here, people have been rendered homeless. Those the APC claimed voted for them are now being paid back with homelessness, poverty and insecurity. What is urban renewal when people are hungry? Why urban renewal and not human renewal? How about his developmental projects?

If we are not careful in the South-West,

our states will become Tinubu states because he is becoming a political dynasty in these states. Rumour has it that as he is collecting contracts, so also his family members. We are talking of road projects but we are not asking how much was expended on them. We cannot be fooled. Look at schools being built. The money spent on one could build three schools. The masses are no fools. Let us all come to reason. Why can’t we see the name of the winners of contracts? The PDP wants to know how much of the taxpayers money was expended on the so-called projects. On whether they are of quality or not, let us wait. The roads that Obafemi Awolowo built several years back are still being commended today. During our time, we made sure contracts were given to the indigenes and people were employed. Today, we see foreign contractors from Lagos and those expected to gain are suffering. How will you assess security in the state?

Osun State is not one of the most secured states. We should not be fooled. How on earth can a school located very close to the Government House be engaged in fracas and it took law enforcement agents hours to get there and quell it? How on earth would a school be taken over by masquerades and religious fundamentalists for hours without any security operatives on the ground? How can a teacher be stabbed without the stabber being arrested up till now? Was the stabber an angel? The helicopter is meant for the governor and his family. The helicopter ought to be with the police but the reverse is the case. The governor used it. Who is maintaining it? How much was it bought? Where is it parked? What is the financial implication of its maintenance? We need to know all these. And when you talk about OYES we want to believe they are being trained for a purpose in 2014. How can somebody in Nigeria live on N10, 000 when even the governor spends thrice as that on recharge cards daily? OYES is a mirage.


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The grandmaster lives the dream

W

hen the grandmaster, as Otunba Subomi Balogun is fondly called in the country’s financial industry, decided to heed his eight-year-old son’s challenge to float his own outfit, little did he envisage that the dream would translate into a flourishing empire. But thanks to his unwavering faith in God and commitment to hardwork that has always defined everything he lays his hands on. What initially started out as a fortuitous challenge from a mere child has expanded even beyond the imagination of the miracle worker himself. FCMB has not only become a global brand, it is also one of the wholly-indigenous banks to beat in the nation’s fast-rising financial industry. The Ijebu high chief who is a stickler for power-dressing still remembers that fateful day when he gathered his clan in the family chapel in his palatial Ijebu Ode home and prayed fervently to God for a solution to a problem that caused intense personal pain. The problem which eventually became the inspiration for FCMB, was his personal disenchantment after being passed over for the choice of the head of an investment banking arm which he helped the Nigerian Investment Development Bank (NIDB) to set up. It was in this mood of intense personal distress that he gathered his family for prayers to God for a solution that his then eight-year-old son asked him why ‘daddy’ should not just go ahead and run his own show. Coming from an innocent child, the workaholic investment lawyer was initially startled but quickly recovered to realise that there could not have been greater wisdom than the unsolicited advice from the precocious youngster. And the rest, as the

Dominik Umosen pays tribute to Otunba Subomi Balogun who turns 80 on March 9 say, has been history. The sobriquet of grandmaster did not just fall from the blues. It was well-earned from his pioneering role in the development of the nation’s financial services industry. For example, the FCMB which he founded, is the pioneer indigenous stock-broking/issuing house and investment bank in the country, justifying the cognomen grandmaster. Indeed, Otunba Balogun’s real life story is an actualisation of his autobiography: “The Cross, The Triumph and The Crown”. Nothing in the circumstances of his birth into a polygamous home suggested that he would proceed to bestride the corporate world as he does so today. As every African can easily tell, the rigours of life in a typical polygamous home is the stuff of legend. And instead of allowing the routine harassment and humiliation felt by his late father in the hands of a younger lawyer boss to intimidate and circumscribe his life, this experience actually fired the younger Balogun’s determination to qualify as a lawyer and become someone else’s boss, including his own. After qualifying as a lawyer, he worked with the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank to set up an investment bank. But when it came to the choice of head for the outfit, Balogun who single-handedly wrote the papers, was considered over-ambitious or even crazy for wanting to head the new institution. “I thank God Almighty for the grace to listen to the advice of my then

eight-year old son”, he recalled, stressing that the position of God is so commanding and central in his life that there is nothing he does, nothing, without consulting his maker. “I always seek the face of God in whatever I do. And when it was time to seek a successor, he asked the Almighty for guidance. “It is the prayer and dream of every father to be succeeded by a worthy son and I thank Him that my prayers have been answered,” he said. ”God guided me in my succession plan,” he added, in obvious satisfaction with the excellent job his crown prince and Managing Director, Ladi, is doing at FCMB. Regarding developments in the financial sector, the grandmaster believes that distress in the industry is symptomatic of the general malaise in the economy. He considers the Nigerian financial services industry as the best in Africa after South Africa. And as far as reforms in the sector by the regulatory Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are concerned, he supports them to the hilt and is convinced that the reforms are necessary for the sector to remain relevant. Despite being an octogenarian, the grandmaster whose dress sense still makes younger men green with envy, is still active in church activities. Apart from travelling which he loves, the Ijebu high chief also loves swimming. Another prized activity which he will not trade for anything are regular strolls across his palatial Ijebu-Ode home, walking about the expanse lawns picking fruits in his well-tended orchards.


NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

POLITICS

53

Sambo: Still battling for survival Led by Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, an elder statesman, the Northern Elders Council (NEC) met penultimate Thursday in Kaduna and endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan as well as the retention of Vice President Namadi Sambo as his running mate in the coming election. However, rather than earn plaudits for the duo, the endorsement has boomeranged as prominent northerners and northern groups are huffing and puffing as MUHAMMAD ALI observes in this analysis.

S

quat, rotund and dark skinned, Alhaji Umar Gana threads where angels dare. In politics, his antecedents are long, rich and controversial but largely, Gana plays in the local league of Kaduna State. However, his adroitness, rabble-rousing and connections are remarkable. Severally, Gana and former Kaduna State governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi had locked horns in the past but in 2009, the matter took an ugly turn. Makarfi, at that time, had left Government House and vice president. Namadi Sambo, his successor, was calling the shots at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House. With time, Makarfi and his protégé fell out and Gana, as opportunistic as ever, took sides with Sambo. He took on Makarfi and tarred him black, accussing him of corruption, cronyism and non-performance. However, three years down the road, Gana has turned full circle as he and Sambo, now the vice president, are on opposite sides of the barricade. Significantly, the frosty relationship started recently. On December 23, 2013, Gana wrote Sambo an open letter, highlighting the crisis in Kaduna Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Apparently, the letter was innocuous but beneath the expressed concern, there were cloak and dagger machinations. Specifically, Gana had listed several concerns, complaints and observations, especially on the incursion of the All Progressives Congress (APC) into Kaduna State and North-West. Before then, he had met Governor Muktar Yero several times, according to the letter, but the governor didn’t recognise the scary scenario. In frustration, Gana went public with his complaint and in the letter, he called “for collective concerted effort to salvage the situation. Otherwise, given our past experience, we have no alternative than to either join APC or flee for our dear lives.” Till date, Gana has neither joined the APC nor fled Kaduna. However, on December 24, 2013, a day after the letter was published, 75 PDP chieftains defected to APC, including Alhaji Ibrahim Yaro and Alhaji Yaro Makama Rigachikun, two former state chairmen. A week later, from Kaduna North Local Government, about 2,000 PDP members crossed over to APC and the next day, their counterparts from Kaduna South also left the ruling party. Naturally, these defections rattled PDP and the ruling party, from within and

outside Kaduna, tried to downplay the impact. However, the vice president was devastated, first by Gana’s letter and the rash of defections. In particular, Gana’s letter was orchestrated from Abuja, by powerful forces in the Presidency and PDP high command. Specifically, it was meant to embarrass Sambo, disparage the vice president and portray him as irrelevant in Kaduna State and the North-West. The bottom line, sources says, was to prepare the ground for replacing him as President Jonathan’s running mate in the 2015 election, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, the Katsina State governor, will succeed Sambo if the plot had succeeded. Amongst others, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the former PDP chairman, was widely linked to the plot. Aggrieved, capable and willing, Gana became the linchpin of the plot and his antecedents and closeness to Shema, including elements in the Presidency, made him tailor-made for the job. With precision, Gana commenced his assignment and the politician’s advertorial ruffled feathers. Similarly, to compound matters, a wave of defections rocked the Kaduna chapter of PDP. The double jeopardy was too much for Sambo and the vice president returned to Kaduna, met party officials and North-West stakeholders. Pleading, lobbying and cajoling, Sambo allegedly dispensed same patronage and made promises to party officials. He asked them to

Umar

Sambo

Somehow, the vice president’s camp has changed the conversation and various youth groups, in recent times, have been campaigning for Sambo stem defections, unite the party and woo aggrieved members back to PDP. However, this proved a tall order but threats to Sambo’s position, judging from media reports, have abated for sometime now. Somehow, the vice president’s camp has changed the conversation and various youth groups, in recent times, have been campaigning for Sambo. Specifically, they praised him to high heavens, canvassing for a joint Jonathan/Sambo ticket in 2015. In this regard, they touted his achievements as vice president, how he has influenced projects to the North and Sambo’s loyalty to President Jonathan. In addition, Tukur has lost out in the power game and suddenly, Sambo’s profile is on the rise. Penultimate week, the Northern Elders’ Council (NEC) upped the ante as the nascent body called for not just Jonathan’s continuation but along with Sambo. The council, at its general assembly on Thursday, waxed eloquent as Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, an octogenarian, justified their position in Kaduna. Interestingly, Yakassai was ex-President Shehu Shagari’s adviser in the Second Republic. In the main, the council applauded the good working relationship between Jonathan and Sambo, urging that they should continue in 2015. In addition, the council listed the estab-

lishment of almajiri schools in the North, the boosting of girl-child education and establishment of universities as well as power reforms, as some of the transformational policies of the present administration. Apart from Yakassai, Ambassador Hassan Adamu, Wakilin Adamawa; Alhaji Bello Maitama, former minister in the Second Republic and Ambassador Yusuf Mamman, former envoy to Spain are also members of NEC. As expected, reactions to the Jonathan/Sambo endorsement, a day after NEC’s meeting, came thick and fast from the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), prominent northerners and members of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF). Prof. Ango Abdullahi, NEF chairman, fired the first salvo as he described Yakassai as an errand boy doing Jonathan’s bidding, “a hunter’s dog who has no electoral value.” Similarly, Senator Joseph Waku, an ACF chieftain, said “NEC is not representing the interest of the North.” The council, according to him, “are job seekers and have mortgaged their conscience for pot of food.” Like Abdullahi, he also zeroed in on Yakassai, wondering why an 89-yearold should be running errands for Jonathan. In the coming days, more reactions will pour in for and against NEC, Yakassai and the endorsement but in the North, the current mood is clearly against Jonathan’s re-election in 2015. Ironically, in a bid to unite the North behind his principal and his survival, Sambo has further polarised his constituency. Like Tukur, the ex PDP chairman, can Jonathan sacrifice the vice president? Will that assuage the North? It’s hard to say, really.


54 POLITICS | AKPABIOISM

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY 22 February 2014

‘Akpabioism is a statement of gratitude’ Pastor Bassey James is the chancellor of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State based International Centre for Leadership Studies, a think-tank devoted to intellectual debate on exemplary leadership. In this interview with Dominik Umosen, Bassey explains how the remarkable development strides by Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio inspired the establishment of the centre.

What exactly is Akpabioism which your centre espouses?

Simply put, Akpabioism is a statement of gratitude to good governance as promoted by His Excellency, Godswill Obot Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State. Akpabioism eulogises the policy of free education, uncommon infrastructural development in the state as well as the uncommon leadership demonstrated by the governor in Akwa Ibom State as attested to by every visitor to the state. It also is a testimony of praise for the bridge of understanding among all parts of the state and to all parts of the world at large. It is a way of saying

thinking could not be under-emphasised. Remember also how Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s unique thoughts on African unity distinguished him from his peers and how late Mahatma Ghandi won the sobriquet, “father of Indian nationalism” via the refreshing uniqueness of his political thought. In terms of the awards he has received all over the world for his record of service, Akpabio’s thinking, charisma and pragmatism has really distinguished the man. It was no fluke when a former president visited Akwa Ibom and declared that based on what he had seen, it was his recommendation that the country’s constitution should be amended to make a third term possible for Governor Akpabio or that he should be loaned to other states to provide a model of good leadership. These are things that inspired us to develop the concept of Akpabioism. This is my way of telling the governor thank you for the good job he has been doing. Today, an average Akwa Ibom person can stand tall anywhere and proclaim himself or herself because the governor has given them the courage. What would you describe as Akpabio’s legacy?

Apart from the drastic decline in the domestic help industry that hitherto defined people from that part of the country, the free and compulsory education policy of the Akwa Ibom State Government will wipe out this social deficit. Are you aware that Akwa Ibom is the first and, perhaps, the only state in the country that operates a non-discriminatory free education policy? In other states, the non-indigene clause usually robs other residents of inclusiveness. But in Akwa Ibom, everybody sends their children and wards to schools free. There is no discrimination among beneficiaries. I challenged some journalists the other day to come and witness and see how some primary schools in Akwa Ibom could easily pass for secondary schools in other parts of the country. In terms of capacity-building, the state is number one, in terms of infrastructural development, the state is also number one and in terms of developing the consciousness of the people, the administration is number one. Little wonder that Gov Akpabio was voted chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Governors Forum. That is evidence that something good is happening in Akwa Ibom. If Gov Akpabio is so good as you have said, would it not amount to a waste if the state should allow him to slip into oblivion when his second term expires next year?

For us in Akpabioism, we have put him on his toes. We are going to saddle him with a lot of responsibilities because he is going to step into the shoes of great leaders. He will even be more occupied after 2015. He is probably the only governor who has received the most international awards. He is the only civilian who received an award from the Nigerian Defence Academy, even though he is not a soldier. And he received an award from the Central Bank of Nigeria, even though he is not a banker. He will be even more busy after leaving office as governor. The Akpabioism Centre has already prepared a place for this phenomenon to be studied and applied elsewhere. Do you have a word for his successor?

Pastor Bassey James

“These are things that inspired us to develop the concept of Akpabioism. This is my way of telling the governor thank you for the good job he has been doing. Today, an average Akwa Ibom person can stand tall anywhere and proclaim himself or herself because the governor has given them the courage. ”

thank you to the governor for the good work everyone says he has done. Akpabioism, like Zikism, Nkrumaism and Awoism, can also not be divorced from the general peace and tranquility which is being enjoyed throughout the state. Just as the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo gave the South-West free education which shot the region over others in the federation, my governor has tried to replicate this feat of statesmanship in Akwa Ibom. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the great nationalist, also distinguished himself which is why the centre is also devoting considerable focus to his contributions to quality leadership. Even though the centre is not equating Akpabio with any other great leader before him, the uniqueness of the governor’s

There are two things to note: the first is that some leaders are born; and the other is that some leaders are made. Those leaders that are born start early to demonstrate skills of leadership. Wherever they may find themselves, their presence might not be easily mistaken. Those who are made, on the other hand, have to learn the ropes, step into the shoes of greater men before them. I was told that lawyers who worked with Chief Gani Fawehinmi, the late people’s lawyer, invariably shared certain characteristics even beyond the legend’s death. Even in the church ministry, if you are close to a particular pastor, his spirit has a way of stirring itself in you. So if we inspire qualities of good leadership in people, there is the possibility of producing perhaps even greater Akpabios tomorrow.


Parting Shot

55

NEW TELEGRAPH ON SATURDAY

22 FEBRUARY 2014

Irreverent Shoneyin explodes prudish taboos on sexuality at Valentine Ebere Ameh

“M

y parents were ultra-liberals!” So declared author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, Lola Shoneyin, and confessed to having his boyfriend sleep with her in her parents’ home, a privilege her brothers also enjoyed with their girlfriends, parents she referred to as ultra-liberals for being permissive. Paradoxically, she said, “All the secrecy associated with sex had not always been there. Why is sex such a taboo? We had a lot of adage on sex in our languages; so, when did we start being very conservative? At what point did it become a taboo to talk about sex?” This was the lively opening of “Conversations into Sex, Sexuality and Morality,” organised by Cassava Republic Press and Terra Kulture held at the latter in Victoria Island, Lagos, a day after Valentine’s Day. Unlike most book events, it turned out a large gathering of book enthusiasts and those who had been drawn to the event by the sheer curiosity the suggestive title evoked. It bore out the saying that “sex sells”, and from the lively interest it generated from a largely young and moderately adult audience, it seemed the sex issue had been simmered under the surface, and only found a moment to bubble over, led on, as it were, by the duo of Shoneyin and Toni Kan (author of Night of the Creaking Bed), who have made it their creative business to expose the taboos and myths surrounding sex and sexuality and how society has become so cowed and repressed by it. To show how really wild Shoneyin could be, something of the ultra-liberalism in her own home, her husband and Ogun State commissioner for health, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, was on the front row and eagerly nodded to every word coming from his writer wife on stage. Years later when she sought to know from her mother, who had become “born again” in the Pentecostal fashion, she’d been told that it was about having control over what she did, and that she didn’t know what would have happened if she’d gone outside to experiment with sex without their knowledge. For Shoneyin, however, having allowed her elder siblings, all boys, to bring home their girlfriends to sleep with them, her parents

didn’t know how to rewrite the rules over her without appearing discriminatory. Indeed, sex is a very important and interesting aspect of human life. Unfortunately, there’s always inhibition and outright repression about it and only spoken about in hushhush tones. The silence caused by cultural, moral or religious concerns has led to a lot of intrigues, secret affairs and avoidable scandals. The event kicked off with the reading of explicit excerpts from Chinua Achebe’s A Man of the People. It also featured the reading of sexually-charged excerpts from Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives and Night of the Creaking Bed by Kan. The explicit excerpts from the books were used to initiate discussions into sex and sexuality with an audience in full anticipation. Discussions from her book soon dwelt on Iya Tope, one of Baba Segi’s wives. Despite being married to Baba Segi, she still has a lover – the meat seller to whom she always goes for sex. The story portrays her as a very sexuallyactive woman who drops her baby on the floor to have sex with the meat seller in his stall. According to Shoneyin, “People think she is a little demented but I enjoyed writing about her. I like her because she is the one that eventually discovered herself, and treated sex the way it ought to”. Shoneyin, who left Nigeria at age six for her primary education in a boarding school in England, narrated how she started from the age of 19, together with her siblings to bring their lovers to their family house. Noting that she would give so much freedom to her own children, she called for more liberalism on the issue of sex, which amazed and excited her audience. “Sex is instinctive. Why do people put rules?” Shoneyin queried again. “Sex is also political; your perception of sex is going to determine how some other person lives.” Calling the anti-gay law signed into law by the federal government both bad and idiotic, she explained: “If you listen to your mother, it is very likely that you will be misinformed,” adding that through conversations and discussions such as the one ongoing, “comes knowledge and understanding”. She explained the need for lovers to live together before marriage saying, “It is very good to

Shoneyin

Soul singer, Nneka, performing at the session, while Shoneyin and Toni Kan watch

live together to know your sexual chemistry. Else, you marry somebody who would fart under the duvet all night”. There was a whole lot of humuor and wit all through as views generated guffaws from the audience.

Kan, who did more of the readings and questioning, but concurred with Shoneyin on most points, explained the need for an end to sexual secrecy, and quoted an Indian proverb that says, “when you cover women up, an ankle be-

comes as sexy as a nipple.” From his book Night of the Creaking Bed came an excerpt telling the story of a woman who, though married, runs into her exlover, which leads to a rekindling of old flames. Questions and contributions flowed freely as Shoneyin and Kan tried to demystify sex and sexuality to the delight of the bemused audience. Though there was a lot of talk about sex and sexuality, there wasn’t any on morality. In as much as there is a need to demystify sex, in this age of unbridled hedonism, the issue of morality has to be an integral part of such discussions, many said. In reacting to an excerpt from Kan’s reading about a guy who had a girl within the hour of their meeting, an audience member, a lady, said it only took a lady 20 minutes with a guy to make up her mind on what would happen and that it depended on how the guy behaved to determine whether he was deserving of her giving away her prized possession to him or not. Another lady openly advertised her sex toyshop, as a way of assisting women to overcome some of the frustrations of having unsatisfactory sex lives with their husbands. She said most men were incapable of “hitting their wives’ g-spots”, and so need help, which her shop was ready to offer with an array of toys, including tips on other weird sex styles just to offer variety and spice. Cassava Republic Press boss, Dr. Bibi Bakare, in opening the event, harped on literature, as being the purveyor of all sort of ideas both hidden and open. She said literature and those who practice it were some of the bravest people, as they were ready to take on any idea, even those regarded as taboo or forbidden. She also noted that love or its derivative – sex, was such a hot item that it exercised such varied reactions from different people, which in turn had created totally ambivalent ways of viewing it. She hoped that the conversation on sex, sexuality and morality would help open up debate about the explosive sex issue with a view to gaining better understanding of it, as society advances. The highpoint of the event was performance by Nneka, a young and upcoming Nigerian musician who thrilled the audience with her exciting and soulful tunes. She left all asking for more.


On Marble Success...is found where there is the intelligent expertise of the commander, the bravery of the troops, and faith. Francisco Franco (1892 - 1975) –Spanish general and dictator

T

he cinematic masterpiece is called The Grey. The synopsis is as simple as the story is chilling. After their plane crashes in an Alaskan wilderness, six oil workers are led by a skilled huntsman to survival, but a pack of menacing wolves haunts their every step. They are forced to survive the mercilessly cold weather, deploying little more than their wits. The wolves pick off the survivors one after the other, devouring them. In the end, the hunter is the last man standing. As the alpha wolf crouches to launch into the final attack and last kill, the hunter utters the poem that comes from the courage of his forebears: “Once more into the fray. Into the last good fight I’ll ever know. Live and die on this day. Live and die on this day.” The hunter draws his dagger. The alpha male leaps. As metal pierces hyde and canine sinks into flesh, the movie ends. Who won? “Live and die” is different from “live OR die”, nor has this got anything to do with “door-die” (which is an adjective). I shall return to the nuance of this poetic masterpiece presently. There are many arguments against President Goodluck Jonathan’s potential candidature in the 2015 presidential election, ranging from undertakings he may or may not have made to paucity of tangible achievements; but this sophisticated one compels my attention the most: “President Jonathan is the last man standing from the Class of 1999. An already extraordinary personal history might be eclipsed by the one that beckons, but which might be ominous for the future prospects of the Nigerian people. By 2015, Jonathan will have been Deputy Governor for 6½ years, Governor for 1½ years, Vice President for 3 years and President for 5 years. He will have exercised executive power at both the state and federal levels for a consecutive period of 16 years - a record of individual domination of power without a historical parallel since independent Nigeria was proclaimed in 1960. If he prevails in the impending political hotwire of 2015, he will, by 2019, have done so for 20 years. He will have passed, by some distance, the stage at which, by historical evidence, the absolute corruptive influence of power amongst African leaders begins to manifest, followed by the onset of the demigod impulse and paralysis in the arena of policy delivery. His power and influence over the events of 2015 will be nearly determinative because he will draw on an unprecedented wealth of iterative experience of the PDP-type politics.” Amazing stuff. I guess experience can be a bad thing. True enough, the experiences paraded by the likes of Mugabe and Museveni have their downsides. But that is not what is at stake here. Hounding a minority out of power by means other than democratic in an ostensibly democratic dispensation will further smear the already blotted history of power manipulation in this country. Thinking people should not put up with it. Regional and/or tribal impulse has been

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saturday, february 22, 2014

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2015: Jonathan and the poetry of ambition

Broadside EMMANUEL ONWE

the primary propeller of central power contestation in Nigeria even decades before independence was attained. To pretend otherwise is grossly delusional. The dubious attempt to cure Nigerians of this near-genetic impulse at this time simply because a minority is at the helm smacks of hypocrisy, arrogance and only comparable to school playground bullying. With this in mind, therefore, a number of questions are posed: With what logic would Jonathan make the Ijaw people see the wisdom in walking away from the presidency - an office they attained through the tragic misfortune of others and to which they may never have another opportunity to lay a claim for at least another century? Because he has not performed? Who has, historically, performed better and since when has underperformance become a basis for abdication? On legal grounds? I will write the legal opinion that upholds his right for free. An agreement he reached with fellow politicians – under circumstances akin to a torture chamber where he was politically waterboarded by those with inordinate and clashing ambitions? As the Roman philosopher, Markus Cicero, wisely observed, an obligation to do the impossible is no obligation at all. A lesson from history? The only lesson he could glean from history is a sobering and dissuasive one - the last man to voluntarily relinquish the top office in Nigeria ended up flirting with poverty and ultimately wound up in jail. When he was rehabilitated and restored to the presidency, he squandered a fortune sto-

LIPSTICK

len from public coffers in a failed bid to make himself a life president. It is my contention that Jonathan is fully entitled to contest in 2015 and ought to declare now. Every true democrat should respect his decision in that connection. Now he has a record and a case file against which the Nigerian people will judge him. On that day, it shall be the duty of every enfranchised Nigerian to engage and to either lift him to victory or defeat him and make history. Mr President, they rigged the system in a most wicked and selfish manner since 1966. God mercifully unrigged it in 1998 and sealed the deal in 2010. Who are you to go against God’s storm? You are only the arrow not the archer. You must only travel and bend according to the dictates of Almighty’s terrific justice. Your trumpeted achievements in office are doubted and your character traduced. But there is a truth that lies in there, explicit and immutable – and you know what that truth is. Remind yourself of Julia Ward Howe’s Battle Hymn of the Republic: “Mine eyes have seen the coming of the Glory of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.... His truth is marching on.” When you think of the incredible momentum in 2010, leading up to your final ascension to full presidential power, when even the irreverent Sahara Reporters carried that classic cartoon entitled “I am Goodluck, I have Patience” – with you cradling the First Lady by your side, when the entire nation heaved in sympathy and soli-

Sergei Bubka’s 21-year-old world record for highest pole vault (male) (indoors) broken by French Olympic champion, Renaud Lavillenie’s incredible 6.16m during the Pole Vault Stars meeting in Donetsk, Ukraine darity with you – when you think of all that and how such historical goodwill could have been squandered, recall and strengthen your spirit with Tennyson’s classic: “Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’/ We are not now that strength which in old days/ Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,/ One equal temper of heroic hearts,/ Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will/ To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” “Live and die on this day”. Rational thinkers may find this rather counterintuitive. We would naturally expect, in such a clash where only one outcome is possible, “live OR die on this day”. The conjunction “and” takes the meaning in a completely different direction than the conjunction “or”. This is my own take: Whatever the outcome, you will have lived. And you will have died. It is the very nature of politics that promises made are often broken. Honour is frequently staked and lost. Character built and unravelled. Other people’s sons and daughters are sent into battle, into harm’s way, and never return. A piece of every commander-in-chief dies. The burden of a commander-in-chief is an awesome one. However, it is equally the extraordinary privilege of that high office that allows for broken lives to be touched and made whole; for small candles to be lit in very dark places. Set goals may never be attained but the shaky and uncertain steps taken today will be made firm by the commanders that will come long after you are gone. In the immense bowels of history, the Chief lives forever. Once more, then, good Doctor, into the fray. Into the last good fight you will ever know. After 2015, you will never contest another presidential election until you go to heaven or hell – it’s strictly between you and your God. This is not the time to sing Rock of Ages with a cleft in which you will hide yourself. This is precisely the moment to sing Stand up! Stand up! Let courage rise with danger and strength to strength oppose. In the end, win or lose, Horatio Spafford has great words of encouragement for you: “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way/ When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say/ It is well, it is well with my soul.”

BY CHUKWUEMEKA EMENIKE

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Sanusi’s suspension: Experts fear ripple effects on economy. Sanusi: Senators plot against Jonathan. THE SANUSI STORY: Running the Gauntlet....